Friday, November 18, 2011

How do we accumulate Debt?= How difficult it is to Repay? = YOGASUTRAS CH:2.SAADHANA PAADHA VS.31 = YAMA = APARIGRAHAM

VS.31 : YAMA

Aparigraha is the fifth  pillar of Yama. We have already seen the first four, namely, Ahimsa (non-violence); Sathya (truth); Astheya (non-stealing) and Brahmacharya (self control-abstrinece from sex-treading the path of Brahman). All the five are intended to purify us and make us a perfect mirror-like, reflecting world as it is.

Yoga is uniting YOU with YOURSELF. In non-violence - in thought word or deed – you must free yourself from all thoughts of others. Look at people as they are. Be non-judgmental. When you judge, you judge not only the good but the bad also. Then, you become violent. Therefore, remain non-judgmental. 

Sathya or truth is similar.  See truth as it is. This is difficult. Most of the time, our perceptions through the five senses and the mind are coloured by our judgment. Then, invariably, the mind fills up many blanks and comes up with a story that it is comfortable with. But, the story is not what we have actually seen or heard. Can you take an incident and tell what exactly is the truth? What you have seen is different from what you think you have seen. 

We ask people to describe! The word ‘describe’ itself goads us into untruthfulness. Describe implies – tell us a story. Not the Bits and Pieces you have seen actually. So, you fill up the blanks and construct the story. Being truthful is extremely difficult.

But, Yoga needs you to be truthful. Truth, as you have seen, is not an empty, irrelevant truth. When you have to “tell a truth to someone else” – you must have clarity between what is the EXACT TRUTH, and what you need to tell.  There are rules on when, how and to whom – you must tell the truth. Truth must be told in a perfectly non-violent way – only to the person to whom it needs to be told and when it does him maximum good.

The third is Astheyam or non-stealing. Non-stealing implies that you pay the reasonable price for anything that you get. You must get it from others with all their willingness. Willingness of both parties, reasonable price and mutual satisfaction in each transaction – are essential features of non-stealing or Astheyam. Stealing of ideas, writings, things, people – or anything visible or invisible is prohibited. Only possible exception may be -  if you must steal, steal the others’ hearts. And, they will be more than happy with it.

The fourth is Brahmacharyam. Abstinence from sex is one aspect of it. If one  practices Brahmacharyam in childhood, during his studies at the feet of Guru, brahmacharyam is really easy. Else, later it needs more vigorous practice. Brahmacharyam also implies treading the path of Brahman or the absolute truth. This means the Yogic path.

The fifth is Aparigraham. Praigraham means taking up things for our use – implying that we take them from others. Aparigraham means - not receiving anything from others for our use – even with their consent-without paying its just price.

There are many interpretations for this word. We must not take – even from nature – what is not required for our use – just for storing as wealth for future use. A yogi must not keep anything beyond the limited immediate need. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

What is absolutely needed for today - only must be taken in the most dharmic or legal / ethical way. What you take from trees etc also must be non-violent. One must pray to the trees to release for one’s use – what one really needs. The trees will be happy to comply with his request.

Beyond this, we must not seek or keep anything.

Do not take anything FREE. Actually nothing is FREE. When you take anything free – knowingly or unknowingly – you get into the Karma spiral – and will pay a huge price for it – as the story below indicates. 

We may not understand the bondages we create when we earn, when we protect what we have earned and when we lose what we had earned, or when we take without paying its just price. But, all these processes create huge bondages – which distract the Yogi from his Sadhanas very heavily.

Look at this ancient story :

There was a cobbler who was also security official in the king’s court. In day time, he makes chappals, sandals and shoes. In the Night, he is required to go round the town in each period (say, each one and a half hours time) of the night and shout – beware of thieves! He must also report the sighting of any thieves in the town.

He is a happily married man – but has no children. A great learned man comes to the town and delivers a sermon on  a day. The cobbler is highly impressed – and invites him to his home. The cobbler washes his feet, treats him as guest – and then seeks his blessing for having children. The learned man tells him – you will have children; but, for that, you must do something good to any great Sage and please him. This advice gets into the mind of the cobbler and he starts searching for such a sage.

Outside the town, in deep woods, he finds a sage, who was performing deep penance (tapas) under a tree. The cobbler is much impressed by the glow in the face of this Sage. He decides to do whatever he can for this sage. But the sage is in deep meditation. So, he cannot disturb him. He looks around- for what he can do. Under the tree – he finds the worn out sandals (footwear) of the sage. Quietly, he takes measurements of the same, goes home, prepares a new pair exactly to the same measurement and same shape – and places it at the feet of the sage, where the old sandals were. He then throws off the old sandals. The Sage is totally unaware of these happenings.

When he gets up from meditation and goes to the river for taking bath – he now wears his new sandals for the walk. He enjoys the new sandals but does not know about them. Four days pass. On the fifth day, the Sage decides to give up his mortal body and take mukthi or liberation forever. He again wears his sandals, goes to the river, performs his morning ablutions and leaves his body.

But, to his total surprise, his sookshma & karana sareeras are unable to dissolve themselves – and he is unable to achieve total liberation. He has of course, left his gross body and cannot re-enter into it. He then searches for the cause for this sudden turn of events. He finds that he is yet to repay a debt – that of the cobbler. The cobbler has given him new sandals and has sought fulfillment of a wish. He has enjoyed the sandals but has not fulfilled his wish. The debt remains. The “parigraha” remains. He has to take another birth – in the house of the cobbler, repay the debt and then, attain his liberation. There is no other way. Accordingly, at a right time, he takes birth in the house of the cobbler. The cobbler is very happy at begetting a son. The learned man who had given this idea to the cobbler was again passing through the town – and the cobbler seeks his blessings for his new born son.

The learned man looks at the glowing face of the son, understands the events – and tells the cobbler “ Go on showering all your love and affection on the boy. Give all that he needs. But,..but, do not take any thing from him. If you do this, he will live long in your house.”

The cobbler and his wife do not understand the inner significance of this advice – but, all the same, they bring up their son with all love and affection. Five years pass in this way. One day, the cobbler was invited by his brother in the adjacent town for the marriage of his son. And, it is in that night. The cobbler has his security duty at Night! So, he does not know what to go. He searches for a substitute who can do his job that night but does not find any one that day.

Seeing his predicament, his wife tells him, you go and attend the marriage tonight; I will go and shout exactly the way you do. I will manage well.

But, the cobbler asks – what will you do with the boy? The wife says – I will take him along. The boy says playfully – I will also shout! The cobbler laughs at the enthusiasm of the son – and goes away for attending the marriage function.

As promised, the wife takes her son on her shoulders – and goes round the town in each period,shouting, Beware of the thieves. But, not accustomed to such shouting, she becomes tired very quickly in the first round itself.

So, the son volunteers – mother, you say, I am always shouting at the top of my voice. So, you take rest. Now, I will shout, beware of the thieves etc. the mother laughs at him, but says, fine, go ahead.

As the mother and son are now going through the main roads – specially before the King’s palace, Minister’s palace etc, the boy starts shouting – beware of the thieves. Having said that, he adds further- beware of the six internal thieves in you who are constantly robbing your most precious wealth, your happiness – these are kaama, krodha, lobha, moha, madha, matsarya.

The King listens to this. He is wonder struck. What the boy said – starts echoing in his heart. He instantly understands the truth of this. We are ignoring the real thieves who are constantly taking away our happiness, our real wealth – and are after a few petty ones, stealing small moneys, jewels etc. 

The Minister too listens to this in his house. So does the commander. So do other officials. So do all public. Their sleep is now gone. Who is this new security? Who appointed him? How is this great teaching coming to us free and all of a sudden? Now, they are waiting for the next period – to listen to what he says next.

The next period comes. The boy shouts again. Beware of the thieves -  Your mind is your friend. Your mind is also your thief and your greatest foe. It is where your six internal thieves reside. when your mind keeps the real wealth of happiness within; the six internal thieves run away. Else, they rule you; Beware of the thieves.

The rulers and the ruled are now lightning struck. Something in them is suddenly opening up. The world is starting to look different. Now, their minds and hearts are totally filled with these great advices coming from their new  security.

The third period comes. Now, the mother is happy that the boy is really shouting much louder than her and her husband. The boy shouts again - Beware of the thieves. They have stolen your childhood, your youth, your middle age and even your old age. They steal You also - away from all the wealth and all the relations that you earn. Beware of the thieves.

The King and the public are now being taken away into a different realm of life altogether. They understand – and yet not understand. They are deeply thinking now. And waiting for the last call.

The last call comes. The boy shouts - Beware of the thieves; Be aware. Be awake. Be a Sakshi, a pure witness.There will be no more thieves. – Beware of the thieves. 

There is no more sleep in the town. The boy and mother go back home. The Cobbler comes back in the morning, ascertains that the duty was done and all of them sleep.

But, when morning comes, all people flock to the King’s court. The king looks at all people. He understands that all of them are filled with the same thoughts and same emotions. The Minister thanks the King for appointing this new security for the town. The King is surprised. He confesses that he was assuming, the Minister has done it. Then they ask the commander and other top officials. No one is aware of this new security. Finally, they call the regular security, the cobbler, and ask him who patrolled last night. The cobbler was afraid, but says, My lord, I did it. He was then asked to repeat what he said that night. 

The cobbler shouts – beware of the thieves. The king scolds him and asks who really did the shouting and patrolling. The Cobbler falls at the feet of the King and seeks his pardon for his wife and son  – and tells the whole truth. The wife and the son were duly called and asked to explain what they shouted. The son starts explaining. It was clear that this child was not an ordinary child but a great soul who has come for  educating their minds. 

The child explains a lot of truths about life, life thereafter, what is reality, what is not, what we must seek, what we must not seek and so on. The king and the public prostrate before the child for all the wisdom that he has given them. But, the king says – I cannot take anything from any one without returning its value to them. But, I have only these treasures- gold, diamonds etc. Please take them and bless us. Thus, cart loads of all these are taken and the cobbler, his wife and son happily reach their home. 

The boy also was holding a bagful of diamonds. At the door step, the boy tells the mother- mother, why don’t you take my load. The mother takes the bag. The boy tells, mother, my debt is over. I need to go now. So saying, he leaves the body. The body falls dead. The cobbler and his wife weep profusely. Now, the learned man comes again to the town, hears of all these happenings, comes to the cobbler and consoles him.

The point to understand here is – parigraha creates debt – which sits heavily on your life. Yogi must repay all debts – and stay in APRAIGRAHA. Hope the story makes the concept clear.

Parigraham arises because of Greed, trustlessness in tomorrow, fear and so on. The more wealth you have, the more it sits on your head – and the farther away you are from peace and yoga. These five Pillars of Yama are not meant for Yoga Sadhakas alone. They are meant for all of us. And, these constitute the FRIST STEP in Ashtanga Yoga.

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