Saturday, December 10, 2011
PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS = CH.2.32 : NIYAMA = External & Internal cleanliness- Contentment (Happiness) - Great Effort - Self study of Yoga Science - Surrender to the Supreme Power
CH.2.32 : NIYAMA
SHAUCHA – SANTOSHA –TAPAH –
SVAADHYAAYA – EESWARA PRANIDHAANAANI
Shaucha = Internal and External Purity (of body and mind)
Santosha = contentment (& consequent happiness)
Tapah = Any serious austerity / practice
Svaadhyaaya = Self-study – especially of Sastra (science / veda)
Eeswara = The lord / Creator
pranidhanaani = devotion, surrender of our self – these are
niyamaah = observances or practices of self-training
We have seen the first step in the Ashtanga Yoga, namely, Yama. It consists of five important parts, namely – (i) Ahimsa or non-violence (ii) Sathya or truthfulness (iii) Astheya or non-stealing (iv) Brahmacharyam (or, abstinence from sex and also seeking the path of the Brahman) and (v) Aparigraha or non-taking of any thing from any one beyond our need; or without paying its right compensation; or without their specific permission (all conditions need to be fulfilled). The first step of Yama is a great self purificatory step. But, it is of the nature of nivritthi or getting rid of certain undersirable things.
Yama involves –
1. Not involving in violence (Ahimsa)
2. Not speaking untruth (sathya)
3. Not stealing (Astheyam)
4. Abstaining from sex and impermanent pleasures (Brahmacharyam) and
5. Not taking / keeping any thing beyond need, or without paying its Justified price or without full consent of the other person (Aparigraha)
We will now examine Niyama – another self purificatory step – which also consists of five parts. Niyama is a pravrutthi path – of doing certain right things. Niyama, essentially signifies discipline or conditions to be followed in a particular path. Like – what are the conditions soldiers should follow? What are the conditions school students should follow? And so on. Here, what are the conditions that a Yoga Sadhaka must follow – are explained. These are also five in number as explained below :
SOUCHAM : The first part of Niyama is Soucham. It signifies both internal and external purity and cleanliness. Keep your external surroundings clean and serene. Likewise, keep your internal thoughts and feelings clean and beautiful.
Your mind should be beautiful and clean if your are to succeed in Yoga. You must think healthy thoughts – like lokaah samasthaah sukhino bhavanthu; sarve janah sukhino bhavanthu and so on. If yama – 5 steps are followed, the thoughts will be clean generally. But Soucham being a “TO DO” list, it is not enough, if you are not indulging in violence, not speaking untruth etc.
You must practice internal cleanliness of a higher order. Seek universal welfare. Seek universal truth. See beauty, see truth everywhere. God’s creation is truth in itself. It is beautiful in itself. In fact, there is no UNTRUTH in God’s creation any where except on the tongue of the human being. And, that is where truth needs to be established. When a Yogi speaks truth, consciously and devotedly, nature listens and even follows his words. Not speaking untruth is one thing. But, being absolutely truthful –is yet another thing. That requires huge internal Soucham and removal of all doubt, fear, jealousy and other causative factors of untruth, stealing etc. As Adi Sankara says – “Satsangathvam” or company of the good and truthful persons - is a great way of ensuring internal and external soucham.
Likewise, external Soucham implies keeping the body and surroundings clean. Taking bath daily, cleaning the mouth and all other organs, keeping the house clean, keeping the house surroundings clean and so on – are all part of external soucham.
Others will be able to see a Yogi – even from his very looks. His calm, cool, peaceful, happy looks are a great give away for the Yogi. Sadhaka must start practicing this. The external looks will spread into the inside as well.
At the beginning – one can even look into a clean mirror and see how his face looks and what feelings are reflected in his eyes. Sadhaka’s face must be serene and his eyes must reflect peace – not restlessness; compassion – but not jealousy, hatred or anger. This peace and compassion must reside in the mind and travel to his face. But, Sadhaka must not be in any undue haste to achieve any thing. Things will come his way. So, he must remain peaceful.
SAMTOSHAM : The second part of Niyama is Samtoshaha.Samtoshaha means – whatever you get honestly and in normal course – be happy and be contented with that. This goes along with Aparigraha – mentioned in Yama. Earn in honest ways – and just sufficient to lead the sadhaka’s life. In ancient days – this was not a problem at all – as the Sadhaka remained in Jungles and Jungles provide every thing that the sadhaka needs.
In populated areas also – people respected sadhakas – and sadhakas earned by their small deeds of help for the population. The Brahmachari (while undergoing teaching and training under a Guru) and the sanyaasi – are allowed to beg from right persons – but, just sufficient to maintain his body and mind. But the Grihasta or householder must work. He is also a sadhaka.
Whatever the Sadhaka receives through honest means – he must remain happy and contented. This is called Samtosham. King Janaka is also a Yogi. He has a Kingdom to rule. Yet, he too is a Yogi. So, what is contentment?
In Nature, none of us can ever have all that we possibly want. A Grihasta, especially has certain needs. But, all his needs may not be satisfied fully. In fact – Nature never gives everything to everybody. Everybody will have certain things lacking for him.
Many things are given to us – though many things are not given. But our mind never thinks of what is given – but grieves for what is not given. This grievance should go out of the sadhaka’s mind.
Even if we have huge treasures – yet if mind is dwelling on a desire, it is full of dissatisfaction with what one is lacking and not full of happiness with what one is having.
Peace and Happiness is a natural feeling, and is independent of what we have or what we do not have. So, one must learn to be happy with what one has.
It is not that – the Grihasta will stop doing any work because of that. No one can stop all karma or action till the last moment of his life. This Action goes on yielding its own results.
Actually, Krishna advices – do all of your actions with great excellence. Krishna’s definition of Yoga it self is – Yogah karmasu kousalam. It means Yoga means excellence in Action. Krishna never advocated Inaction – but deprecated inaction. One must excel in his actions.
But, find samtosham in one’s actions and its results. Patanjali says – be content with what you get and also with what you do not get. Be satisfied with whatever you have. Be still content – even if what you have, goes away from you. It is in the nature of things / persons to enter your life at some time and go away from your life at some other point of time.
Samtosham is not an obstacle or obstruction to human progress. What we see here is be eminently happy with the fruits of action – whether they are more or less or equal to our expectation or target.
The important point is - Do not compare yourself with others in your actions or their results. Yaddhrucchaa laabha samtushtaha – is the rule. Not only in laabham – but also in Nastam – we must keep samtosham only.
Samtosham is a great tool – remove all negative qualities from us – like Jealousy, anger, hatred, undue desires, delusions, pride, fear, enmities and so on.
Samtosham reduces and removes mental stress greatly and gives us great energy for further effort and especially Yoga.
TAPAH : Tapas or Tapam means any / all types of Sadhanas. Usually, Tapas has a goal to achieve. The ancient slokas say – Sathyam tapah; Dharmam tapah;Daanam tapah...and so on. Generally –whatever good qualities you wish to cultivate in you and strive for it devotedly – that effort is your tapas / tapam. You become goal-oriented and willing to bear any difficulty as a challenge and not as a burden. You are pleased with the efforts you are making. One must put his thought, feeling, word and action behind his effort – for the effort to become tapas / tapam.
Control of senses, mind-control, soucham, keeping truthfulness – practice of any such qualities are tapas only.
But, tapas / tapam can also be done for negative goals – like destroying others. Yoga is not concerned with such tapas. Yogic tapas is coupled with all other yama and niyama steps – so, this tapas is for enhancing our good qualities and cultivating other needed good qualities – that are supportive of our yoga practices.
If tapas is for destroying others – it is taamasik. Rajasik is for selfish ends. Aaathvik tapas is - for self progress.
Tapas can enable us to achieve the most difficult to do, difficult to reach, difficult to go beyond, difficult to understand goals over a period of time.
Yath dustaram; what we cannot go beyond; yath duraapam; what we cannot achieve; yath durgam; what we cannot understand; yascha dushkarma; what we cannot do as per our feeling; sarvam thats tapasaa saadhyam; all these are possible to achieve through tapas. Tapohi duratikramam; this tapas stands beyond all sadhanas. So great is tapas.
We can find Sage Vasista doing tapas. We can also find the Raakshas (daemon) Ravana doing tapas. Now also, some one devoted to the finding of medicines for incurable diseases – is doing tapas. Some one manufacturing latest explosives to destroy innocent people – also is doing tapas. Negative tapas destroys the doer himself in course of time.
SVAADHYAAYAM :- Svaadhyaayam means studying the Saastram, which means science. Which Saastram should a Yoga Sadhaka study? Obviously, first science to study must be the Yoga saastram itself. How else can one be a sadhaka of Yoga? There were / are many great works on Yoga – like Bhagavad Gita, which is called Yoga Saastra, or the Science of Yoga.
Any one who does not have a fair grip on Bhagavad Gita – will not be understanding the Patanjali Yoga Sutras – which are short, summarized principles of dhyana yoga. For this reason only, Dhyana Yoga of Bhagavad Gita was first covered in this Blog. There are also other great works like Yoga Vassista. But, Gita is the quintessence of Yoga science – followed by Patanjali Yoga sutras – which is an extremely shortened version containing the principles of Dhyana yoga.
In general, Vedas, Upanishads and writings of great sages like Adi Sankara are all considered as Saastra. But for a Yoga Sadhaka, Gita Yoga Saastra and Patnajali Yoga sutras are essential readings for Svaadyaaya.
EESWARA PRANIDHAANAANI :Eeswara means the lord of all of us. Patanjali has already given a special definition for Eeswara –as a Purusha who does not have our human limitations and weaknesses. Eeswara is not therefore any Hindu God or any other such religious God. He is beyond all religions.
We must surrender to this Eeswara. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and so on. This surrender is essential – as it leads to merger with the universal Power. How do we surrender to this Eeswara is important.
Every selfless Action leads to Eesara Paranidhanam. Science prescribes 5 different types of actions – which are considered as Yajnaas. These are named Pancha Maha Yajnaas, and has been dealt with in detail in a different Blog Post.
This involves surrendering the fruits of all of our actions to the Eeswara. See the doer in you as Eeswara. See the fruits of actions as His. See Eeswara everywhere, in every person and being. The ancient question is – where is this Eeswara? The answer is – where is he not?
These five are totally called Niyamam.
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