Guru Poornima Sadhana – June 27 till July 9, 2017

0 Sun, 16 July 2017, 13:59

Hari OM,

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰

Like every year this year too Guru Poornima sadhana started on the聽27/06/2017 聽this year with Yamas and Niyamas:

swami niranjanji says,

This Guru Poornima Fine tune your life – go beyond asana and stress – release.

Everybody likes practicing asana, as it is something dynamic and physical with which they can connect. However, the final attainment of asana is only physical and pranic.

People also like to meditate, as it allows them to escape from the reality of the present moment into an abstract idea of goodness and godliness, so they can forget their problems for a short while.

The practice of Yoga that you have adopted so far, have not fulfilled the real needs in your life, for you have never allowed them access into your life. They only way you can allow them access is by recognising that you need to connect with聽Positivity and Goodness.

Yoga is rooted in the notion of developing a positive personality. Therefore ethical discipline or the practice of correct conduct is necessary for success in yoga.

This is the basis of聽Yama & Niyama, the two moral backbones of yoga. They define the attributes to be practised in everyday life by a spiritual aspirant.

People think Yamas & Niyamas as ethical and moral teachings. That is incorrect, they are an expression, a behaviour and a conditioning of the mind.

Every Spiritual guru has said:聽BE GOOD AND DO GOOD.聽That is the checklist.聽

See how good you are today.聽How much good did you do to other people?

Towards whom did you do good or not?

Who did you rattle and who did you support.

Compare that, see the percentage, and you will discover a different you – 聽not the one that you think you are pious, humble and gentle. You will discover, in the words of Tulsidas – Mo sama kauna kutila khala kami – “There is no one more crooked, wicked and debauched than me in this world.”

So the area of knowledge missing in everyone’s spiritual life is the understanding of Yama and Niyama.

Yama & Niyama relate to lifestyle, for they represent the emergence of a better, positive conditioning. They always connect you with the positive dimension of your nature and are an antidote to the negative.

If HIMSA, violence, which is negative, then you connect with Ahimsa which is positive. If Asteya, absence of truth is bad, you connect with satya, truth, which is positive.

If聽one is contented, one will not steal, hurt others or tell lies and will find it easy to practise non-covetousness.

In this way, Yamas & Niyamas always take you in the positive direction that you can aspire for. Yet you don’t walk that path. Therefore there is no change in lifestyle and your practice is mechanical. In this situation don’t say you are a practitioner of yoga, say that you are a practitioner of asana and pranayama. If you say you are a practitioner of yoga, then you have to look at the whole picture of yoga and your involvement in it.

This is where your own聽Seriousness, Sincerity, and Commitment聽comes to play.

Can You do 聽It?

28/06/2017

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿

*Yama & Niyama*

Path of Ethical Discipline

Yoga is rooted in the notion of developing a positive personality. Therefore ethical discipline or the practice of correct conduct is necessary for success in yoga. This is the basis of yama and niyama, the two moral backbones of yoga. They define the attributes to be practised in everyday life by a spiritual aspirant.

Yama is the first limb of Patanjali鈥檚 ashtanga yoga and means 鈥榯aking a vow鈥 while niyama is the second limb and means 鈥榬ule of conduct鈥. Yama and niyama are inter-dependent. Niyama strengthens and safeguards yama. For example, if one is contented, one will not steal, hurt others or tell lies and will find it easy to practise non-covetousness.

The yamas and niyamas were originally a part of the Yoga Sutras, which are a series of short sentences of wisdom through which Sage Patanjali conveys his teachings.

*Yoga sutra 29*

啶ぎ 啶ㄠた啶ぎ啶距啶膏え 啶啶班ぞ啶`ぞ啶ぞ啶 啶啶班い啷嵿く啶距す啶距ぐ 啶оぞ啶班ぃ啶 啶о啶ぞ啶 啶膏ぎ啶距ぇ啶啶洁し啷嵿啶距さ啶權啶椸ぞ啶ㄠた 啷ムエ啷ゥ

_yama niyama-膩sana pr膩峁嚹亂膩ma praty膩h膩ra dh膩ra峁嚹 dhy膩na sam膩dhayo-‘峁a弓膩va峁単膩ni 啷29啷

The limbs of the eight-fold path are as follows: respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi).

*Yoga sutra 30*

啶呧す啶苦啶膏ぞ啶膏い啷嵿く啶距じ啷嵿い啷囙く 啶啶班す啷嵿ぎ啶氞ぐ啷嵿く啶距お啶班た啶椸啶班す啶距 啶ぎ啶距 啷ムォ啷︵ゥ

_ahi峁乻膩-satya-asteya brahmacarya-aparigrah膩岣 yam膩岣 啷30啷

Respect for others (yama) is based on non-violence (ahimsa); truthfulness (satya); not stealing (asteya); non-covetousness (aparigraha); and acting with an awareness of higher ideals (brahma-charya).

*Yoga sutra 32*

啶多啶 啶膏啶む啶 啶むお啶 啶膏啶掂ぞ啶о啶ぞ啶啶多啶掂ぐ啶啶班ぃ啶苦ぇ啶距え啶距え啶 啶ㄠた啶ぎ啶距 啷ムォ啷ㄠゥ

_艣auca sa峁乼o峁 tapa岣 sv膩dhy膩y-e艣varapra峁噄dh膩n膩ni niyam膩岣 啷32啷

Cleanliness (shaucha), contentment (santosha), self-discipline (tapas), learning from yourself (svadhyaya) and accepting your fate (iishvara-pranidhana) automatically translate into the practice of respect (niyama).

According to the Yoga Sutras, the yamas and the niyamas are the first two steps in the eight-fold path of yoga. The yamas and niyamas are eternal and can be applied in people鈥檚 lives always, even though they were formulated as a practice thousands of years ago.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰
*Eight steps or branches of Patanjali鈥檚 path are*

Yama and niyama (self-restraints and fixed rules to observe as the first steps to yoga),

鈿淎sana (postures/practices),
鈿淧ranayama (breathing practices),
鈿淧ratyahara (disconnection of the mind from the indriyas, or ten sensory organs),
鈿淒harana (concentration),
鈿淒hyana (meditation) and
鈿淪amadhi (a state of superconsciousness).

The yamas and niyamas are self-disciplinary qualities that everyone should have and observe for their own spiritual development. They are the code of conduct for a sannyasin and anyone seeking spiritual development. It would not be beneficial to practise any of the other steps without practising the yamas and niyamas simultaneously, as they are the base of the ladder leading to Self-realization.

One may practise asanas and have a fit body. One may practise pranayama and balance the pranic energy, the nadis. One may practise pratyahara and dhyana and reach deeper states of consciousness, but what use is that if one does not practise the yamas and niyamas? The yamas and niyamas create a fit and balanced mind.

馃尲馃尮馃尮馃尲馃尮馃尮馃尲

*5 Yamas*

鈿淎himsa (non-violence),
鈿淪atya (truthfulness),
鈿淎steya (abstinence from theft, honesty),
鈿淏rahmacharya (being established in divine consciousness),
鈿淎parigraha (non-possessiveness)

The yamas are mainly qualities that the spiritual aspirant should have in order to communicate and interact with the outside world and the people in it, They are also self-restraints from performing actions of the weaker lower mind.

*5 Niyamas*
OR
*5 fixed rules of selfdiscipline*

鈿淪haucha (cleanliness),
鈿淪antosha (contentment),
Tapas (austerity),
鈿淪wadhyaya (study of the self)
鈿淚shwara pranidhana (complete self-surrender to God).

Niyamas are the self disciplinary qualities which are entirely devoted to helping the aspirant on their spiritual journey. They are also fixed rules one should follow in order to do the practices of meditation (dhyana) and to reach samadhi.

Practising the yamas and niyamas is very fruitful in itself, but the main aim and consequence is spiritual growth and evolution.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰

29/06/2017

*YAMAS*
Being the first limb of yoga, the five yamas are the foundation of spiritual life on which the super-structure of samadhi is built.There is a deliberate order in the five yamas.*Ahimsa* (non-violence) comes first because one must remove one鈥檚 brutal nature first. One must become non-violent and develop cosmic love. Only then does one become fit for the practice of yoga.Then comes *satya or truthfulness*. The whole phenomenon of maya or illusion is asat or unreal and the aspirant should be aware of this fact. He should ever remember the truth or Brahman.Next comes *asteya or non-stealing*. As one must develop moral consciousness, one must know right from wrong, righteousness from unrighteousness, and one must know that all is one.*Brahmacharya or continence*, which is the fourth yama, is a divine attribute. The aspirant is now becoming superhuman through its practice.The fifth is *aparigraha, non-covetousness*. The yogic student is now free from cravings, unnecessary wants, the desire to possess and enjoy, and his heart has expanded manifold.
馃尲馃尮馃尮馃尲馃尮馃尮馃尲
*AHIMSA*
啶呧す啶苦啶膏ぞ啶啶班い啶苦し啷嵿啶距く啶 啶むい啷嵿じ啶ㄠ啶ㄠた啶о 啶掂啶班い啷嵿く啶距啶 啷ムォ啷ゥ__ahi峁乻膩-prati峁a弓h膩ya峁 tat-sannidhau vairaty膩gha岣 啷35啷*Meaning* :ahi峁乻膩 = non-violence
prati峁a弓hayam = on being firmly established
tatsannidhau = in its vicinity
vaira = hostility
ty膩gha岣 = to abandonment ,to let go_On being firmly established in ahimsa,there is abandonment of hostility in his vicinity_.Ahimsa mean love, harmlessness ,non-killing, non-violence. It means absence of enmity, hostility and harm. For the spiritual aspirant it should mean absence of any harmful intention whatsoever . Pratishtha means being firmly established. When one is established in ahimsa,there develops a king of magnetism around one that influence anybody who approaches.one becomes free of a very dangerous, evil complex – that of violence and hostility..
Ahimsa, non-violence, not only means not causing harm or pain to any creature in thought, word or action, but also not having even a hint of aggression within your being. We shouldn鈥檛 skip this yama, for what is the use of truthfulness, non-possessiveness, abstinence from theft and so forth without establishing ahimsa in our minds and actions first? Swami Sivananda says that one of the purposes of the other yamas is to perfect ahimsa.Giving up meat or any other type of food or beverage whose acquisition causes pain to others beings (being vegan) is also considered to be ahimsa.
Usually our actions in themselves are violent, though our purposes are not at all so. When a mother slaps a child, she does so because she wants to teach the child a lesson. It is done out of love, not hatred. Therefore, it is the purpose that matters, and not the action.
It is equally sinful if we encourage others to be violent or if we are violent ourselves. Himsa (violence) is not only physical violence, but also includes manipulation, hurting someone鈥檚 feelings, psychic influence and so on. The most important thing is not to directly deny people, even if they get violent, i.e. not getting into fights, arguments, disputes, quarrels. Himsa is not considered to be violence if it is to save your life, or if you kill one in order to save many. It is said that when you perfect ahimsa, a sort of magnet will act around you, preventing anyone from doing you harm or being violent. People will start to enjoy your presence and feel no discomfort as long as they are in your presence.In the Christian Bible, Christ says, 鈥淚f one smites thee on thy right cheek, turn to him thy left also.鈥 Christ, Krishna, Rama, Prophet Mohammed, Buddha and other saints, prophets and messiahs were great followers of ahimsa and dharma. Great saints like St Francis of Assisi and Ramana Maharshi, who could communicate with animals, were also great followers of ahimsa. Aggression is a reaction to fear and, therefore, if we overcome our fears (through brahmacharya, we can practise ahimsa.It will be easier to observe ahimsa if we remember that whatever we do, good or bad, will come back to us in this life or in the next, whether we believe in reincarnation or not. Good actions produce good results, while bad actions produce bad results. This is called (the law of) karma, and you can鈥檛 escape it. Someone is always watching over you.A good example is the story of the Sufi saint who called his disciples together and said, 鈥淚 have five birds, one for each of you. Take them and kill them in separate places, but no one must see you doing it. When you bring them here, we鈥檒l have a feast.鈥 So they all came back sooner or later and gave explanations about where they killed their birds and how no one saw them. When the last disciple came, he said 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry Guruji, I failed you. I could not kill it. Wherever I went, I felt as though someone聽was watching me.鈥 He turned out to be the best disciple.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰

30/06/2017

*SATYA*

Satya, or truth, is the second yama, and also a very important qualification.

啶膏い啷嵿く啶啶班い啶苦し啷嵿ぅ啶距く啶 啶曕啶班た啶ぞ啶げ啶距啶多啶班く啶む啶掂ぎ啷 啷ムォ啷ゥ

_satya-prati峁h膩ya峁 kriy膩-phala-膩艣rayatvam 啷36啷

*Meaning*

satya = truthfulness
prati峁a弓ham = fixed; permanent; stable
kriy膩 = action; statement
phala = outcome; result
膩艣rayatvam =basis; foundation; support

_Once a state of truth (satya) has been permanently established, each statement will form the basis for a truthful result._

*Galileo as an example of satya*. He was caught by the Inquisition twice for his discoveries, but, in spite of the danger, he went on with his writing, teaching and research until he could no longer use his eyes and ears. He stuck to the truth of his discoveries till the end, because he knew they were true, and he wasn鈥檛 even prosecuted.

Swami Sivananda says, 鈥淕od is truth, and He can be realized by observing truth in thought, word and deed.鈥 According to him, *the thirteen forms of truth* are: truthfulness, equality, self-control, absence of jealousy, absence of envious emulation, forgiveness, modesty, endurance, charity, thoughtfulness, disinterested philanthropy (being too public-spirited or civic-minded), self-possession, and unceasing and compassionate harmlessness. Under certain circumstances, telling a (white) lie to produce immense good is regarded as truth.

Swami Sivananda says that the vak siddhi (vak means speech, and siddhi is a special power a yogi receives through practising sadhana and tapasya) can be mastered by observing truth always and at all times. The vak siddhi gives you the power to make whatever you say or think turn out to be true, even if it was not so before you said it. In other words, one gets the power to accomplish things by mere thought. This is also known as psychic speech. By practising truth at all times, one also obtains the power to weigh one鈥檚 words during conversation, thus directing the result of one鈥檚 words according to one鈥檚 will.

A lie is not only a lie if you speak incorrect or dishonest words. If you acted foolishly and afterwards blinded yourself with the belief that you did the right thing, it is also considered to be a lie, even though it all happened in your mind. It鈥檚 the same if you exaggerate, or brag, in order to boost your ego. Satya is not merely abstinence from telling lies, but also the ability to see the truth, to be aware of the truth behind everything. If you tell people what they should or should not do and then do whatever pleases you, you are a hypocrite. You say one thing and do another, thereby not being true even to yourself. Why should one lie? One lies to escape the consequences of the actions of oneself or one鈥檚 associate. This is a manifestation of the petty mind. Therefore, satya also helps in overcoming the petty mind.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿

01/07/2017

*ASTEYA*

Asteya, the third yama, is commonly known as honesty (in the sense of 鈥榓bstinence from theft鈥).

啶呧じ啷嵿い啷囙く啶啶班い啶苦し啷嵿啶距く啶距 啶膏ぐ啷嵿さ啶班い啷嵿え啷嬥お啶膏啶ムぞ啶ㄠぎ啷 啷ムォ啷ゥ

_asteya-prati峁a弓h膩y膩峁 sarvaratn-opasth膩nam 啷37啷

*Meaning*
Once non-stealing has been permanently established, all riches will be available. ||37||

asteya = to not steal
prati峁a弓h膩y膩m = fixed; permanent stable
sarva = all
ratna =jewel; precious stone
upa = near; nearby
sth膩nam = space; room
upasth膩nam = to be available

To be able to follow asteya, we must be satisfied with what we have, our personal belongings, our way of thinking, what we do, where we are, who we are, etc. In other words, we must not be greedy and should try to be contented. We steal things because we desire them. To be able or to be strong enough to resist the temptation to steal the object that one desires, one鈥檚 mind must be strong. Hence, through mastering asteya, one purifies the mind of desires and vrittis.

Asteya makes the mind pure, like a mirror in which your divine mind is reflected. The very thought of gain through theft should not arise in the mind, because constant desire for objects not belonging to oneself is actual theft. People sometimes feel that you desire something belonging to them, and if they are good-natured, they鈥檒l give it to you. That is not good, because you probably did not deserve it in the first place, and above all you are depriving that person of something they may have liked. Non-expressed desires for things that are not yours is a milder form of mental manipulation towards the owners of whatever you desire.

We steal things because we desire them, so it does not necessarily mean that we steal physical objects. There are people who steal the ideas of others. That is the worst form of theft. Try to keep your desires moderate. If you cannot fully clear your mind of them, do not just try to forget them, suppress them or put them aside, because when they come back to you, they鈥檒l have reinforcements. And if the desires become too strong and you are unable to fully suppress them, they should be fulfilled as soon as possible, or else they will weigh even more heavily upon your mind until they lead you to theft or something similar.

These desires or thoughts which trouble the mind are called vrittis. If you are too good or too kind-hearted to steal, the desires/vrittis may probably gain more power over you if you are not mentally strong; and you will soon not be able to think straight or sleep well. That is the power of vrittis and desires. If you can control the mind with its desires or vrittis, you can observe asteya. And if you can completely observe asteya, it is said that things for which you have even the slightest desire will just come to you by whatever means, as if you were a magnet. Another material fruit obtained through perfecting asteya is that one will also get the intuitive power to know where to look for and find wealth.


馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰

02/07/2017

*BRAHMACHARYA*

Brahmacharya is usually depicted in books, discourses, scriptures etc. as celibacy. But Brahma literally means the 鈥榙ivine consciousness鈥 and charya, in this case, means 鈥榣iving鈥 or 鈥榦ne who is established in鈥. Therefore, brahmacharya actually means 鈥榖eing established in divine consciousness鈥, or 鈥榖eing established in the higher (form of the) mind鈥.

*SUTRA*

啶啶班す啷嵿ぎ啶氞ぐ啷嵿く 啶啶班い啶苦し啷嵿啶距く啶距 啶掂啶班啶げ啶距き啶 啷ムォ啷ゥ

brahma-carya prati峁a弓h膩y膩峁 v墨rya-l膩bha岣 啷38啷

*Meaning*
brahma =God; the absolute
carya = to change; to transform; to transition; to move; to walk
brahmacarya = transitioning to an awareness of the absolute; to be a monk; hence also frequently connotes celibacy
prati峁a弓h膩y膩m = fixed; permanent stable
v墨rya =聽 life force; vitality; strength; force
l膩bha岣 = require; achieve

When walking in the awareness of the highest reality (brahmacharya) is firmly established, then a great strength, capacity, or vitality (virya) is acquired.

Scientists have proved that only ten percent of the average human brain is active and freely accessed during daily activities. Spiritually evolved people said long ago that the human mind has an enormous capacity. Unfortunately, a large part of the ten percent is driven by instincts and indulges in sensual and petty activities.

The four basic instinctive drives are:
Ahara (food)
Nidra (sleep)
Bhaya (fear)
Maithuna (sexuality). These are dominant in our minds for the simple reason of survival. Since survival is not such a big problem in today鈥檚 society as it was in ancient times, a sort of vacuum is created. Food is over-available, fear becomes an obstacle in daily life, the world is over-populated and so on. Most people fill this vacuum by amplifying the fulfilment of these desires for sensual pleasure. Brahmacharya deals with filling this vacuum with spirituality.

Many people would say that ahara is the greatest drive, but it is not so. Brahmacharya is being free from the pleasure of fulfilling the instincts of the lower mind, and it is most commonly known as 鈥榗elibacy鈥 because maithuna is the most powerful instinct. Maithuna is the greatest drive for without it we would have died out as a species long ago.

To most people, following brahmacharya would mean suppression of desires. Brahmacharya should not be suppression, and suppression is not the remedy for overcoming the lower mind or controlling any of its instinctive drives. Unless one is established in the higher mind, suppression is of no avail. One may be able to stop oneself from satisfying any of these instincts, but one cannot suppress the mind from dwelling upon them continually. That is not brahmacharya, being established in the higher mind, and the higher mind does not waste time by dwelling on such matters.

There is a story about two monks on a pilgrimage in (supposedly) strict brahmacharya. When they come across a lady unable to cross a large puddle, the senior monk carries her across to safety. Shocked, the younger monk eventually remonstrates with the senior monk, who replies, 鈥淵ou are still carrying her in your head while I left her by the banks of the puddle!鈥 The younger monk is a perfect example of the opposite of brahmacharya. Swami Satyananda says, 鈥淲hen firmly established in brahmacharya, the yogi gains vigour, energy and courage, whereby he becomes free from the fear of death. Thus, brahmacharya is an important way of overcoming the klesha called abhinivesha, which is fear of death.鈥 And since almost all fears have their roots in death, brahmacharya is a useful tool for overcoming fear in general.


鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿溾殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿溾殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿溾殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿溾殰鈿滒煂光殰

03/07/2017聽

*APARIGRAHA*

Aparigraha, the fifth and last of the yamas, is non-possessiveness (also known as abstinence from greed). It is actually complete freedom from greed or covetousness.

*SUTRA*

啶呧お啶班た啶椸啶班す啶膏啶ム啶班啶 啶溹え啷嵿ぎ啶曕ぅ啶傕い啶 啶膏啶啶о 啷ムォ啷ゥ

aparigraha-sthairye janma-katha峁乼膩 sa峁乥odha岣 啷39啷

*Meaning*
aparigraha = non-covetousness; non-acceptance of gifts
sthairye = stability
janma = birth; consequences of birth; incarnation; earthly life
katha峁乼膩 = the how and why; goal
sa峁乥odha岣 = understanding; knowledge

_When one is steadfast in non-possessiveness or non-grasping with the senses (aparigraha), there arises knowledge of the why and wherefore of past and future incarnations._

You should not try to possess more than you minimally need. As Swami Satyananda Saraswati mentions in Four Chapters on Freedom, 鈥淭his keeps the mind unoccupied and also he (the aspirant) does not have to worry about anything because there is nothing (no possessions) there to be protected.鈥 When we become non-possessive, or non-attached, we become impartial and in that way the conditioned love, affection, compassion and so on becomes unconditional, and not merely restricted to family, friends, relations, etc.

Gifts from others affect us and make us greedier. One consequence is that we start giving gifts because we expect something in return, which is bad because we get offended if we do not receive anything. A sannyasin should therefore avoid gifts. Greed also leads to attachment, and anxiety accompanies attachment. These are all obstacles to gaining spiritual knowledge. Swami Sivananda says, 鈥 . . . freedom from attachment will result in knowledge of the whole course of our journey.鈥 Also, it will be easy to observe asteya, or abstinence from theft, if we have mastered aparigraha.

The memories and habits of possessing objects must be first washed away from the mind, and only then can you start life anew. The mind also becomes pure by following aparigraha, and it is said that when you observe aparigraha fully, you obtain the siddhi through which you can remember your past lives, if you believe in reincarnation. But you must not carry aparigraha beyond your limits, or it will give rise to vulnerability and possessiveness. In other words, if aparigraha is carried too far, it may have the opposite effect.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰

04/07/2017

*NIYAMAS*

The five niyamas, or five fixed rules of self-discipline, are: Shaucha (cleanliness)
Santosha (contentment)
Tapas (austerity)
Swadhyaya (study of the self)
Ishwara pranidhana (complete self-surrender to God).

The niyamas, all in all, are the fixed rules of self-discipline for spiritual aspirants on their journey of spiritual development.

*SHAUCHA*

啶多啶氞ぞ啶む 啶膏啶掂ぞ啶權啶椸啷佮啷佮お啷嵿じ啶 啶ぐ啷堗ぐ啶膏啶膏ぐ啷嵿啶 啷ムオ啷︵ゥ

艣auc膩t sv膩峁単a-jugups膩 parairasa峁乻arga岣 啷40啷

*Meaning*
Purity (shaucha) results in the abandonment of physicality and the cessation of physical contact with external things. ||40||

艣auc膩t =purity; purification; cleanliness; hygiene
sv膩 = their own
a峁単a = body; limbs
sv膩峁単a = one鈥檚 own body
jugups膩 = disinclined, distanced from, drawn away from
parai岣 = with others; from others; from the outside
asa峁乻arga岣 = cessation of contact, non-association

Shaucha, cleanliness, is the first niyama. Not only external cleanliness, like having a shower, brushing your teeth, etc., but purity of actions, purity of mind from evil and distracting, unnecessary thoughts and from bad, haunting memories. Cleanliness of the environment and of oneself is necessary for hygienic reasons, but the state of the environment also affects your mind. If it is clean and tidy, you will become more centred and will be able to concentrate properly, but if it is an unhygienic, messy or untidy environment, your mind may become disorganized. That is why it is better to tidy up your room in the morning. Such things seem trivial, but they help to keep the mind free of clutter and make it sharp and clear.

In other words, practising shaucha on the physical plane also affects the mind on the pranic and mental levels. Sage Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras that by practising shaucha on the physical plane, one gains indifference towards the body and non-attachment towards others in the course of time. He says that when your mind is pure through shaucha, you become cheerful and fit to practise concentration (dharana) and sense control (pratyahara), as the mirror of the mind is clean and, therefore, you are able to see your real self reflected in it.

鈿滒煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿溾殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂光殰鈿滒煂光殰馃尮鈿

05/07/2017

*SANTOSHA*
Santosha, contentment or satisfaction, is the second niyama.

啶膏啶む啶粪ぞ啶むえ啷佮い啷嵿い啶じ啷嵿じ啷佮啶侧ぞ啶 啷ムオ啷ㄠゥ

sa峁乼o峁D乼-anuttamas-sukhal膩bha岣 啷42啷

*Meaning*
An attitude of contentment (santosha) gives rise to unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy, and satisfaction. ||42||

sa峁乼o峁D乼 = contentment
anuttama岣 =unexcelled; extreme; supreme
sukha =聽 pleasure; happiness; comfort; satisfaction
l膩bha岣 =聽 attained

Santosha is being content with one鈥檚 actions and with what one has, what one is, where one is, and with what one has done or what one is doing. It also means to be content about where one is, whether it be concerning time or space. You should not daydream about the future nor should your mind linger in the past. Be content with where you are, or you will never be happy or feel true satisfaction. Also, santosha is being content with what one is. If you do not like being what you are, you won鈥檛 find any happiness in life either. You have to be contented with what you do, if you have done your best.

Santosha is essential for spiritual life. If you do not practise it, you won鈥檛 really get very far on your journey. By putting santosha into practice, you can get rid of cravings and attain great happiness to progress on the spiritual ladder, path, journey, or whatever you want to call it. It is also necessary to practise santosha in order to observe asteya. A beggar is a king if he is contented with what he has, while a king is like a beggar if he still desires more riches to add to his treasure troves and vaults by imposing more taxes on the poor.

If you are dissatisfied, it causes psychic infirmity and many other complexes. _In the Yoga Vashishtha, Sage Vashishtha, who was one of Rama鈥檚 teachers, says that vichara (reflection), shanti (peacefulness), satsang (being in the company of truth, in any form), and santosha (contentment) are the four sentinels at the gate of moksha (salvation, or being completely freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth)._ He says that if you have mastered santosha, the other three will let you pass automatically.


鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿

06/07/2017

*TAPASYA*

The third niyama is tapasya (or tapas), austerity or moderation 鈥 depending upon one鈥檚 capacity.

*SUTRA*

啶曕ぞ啶啶ㄠ啶︵啶班た啶じ啶苦う啷嵿ぇ啶苦ぐ啶多啶︵啶оた啶曕啶粪く啶啶む 啶むお啶膏 啷ムオ啷┼ゥ

k膩yendriya-siddhir-a艣uddhi-k峁y膩t tapasa岣 啷43啷

*Meaning*
Through self discipline (tapas), mental impurities are destroyed and the body and senses take on supernatural powers. ||43||

k膩ya = the physical body
indriya = senses; organs of perception
siddhi岣 = supernatural power
a艣uddhi = impurities
k峁y膩t =聽 removal, destruction, elimination
tapa岣 = self-discipline; ascesis

The main purpose of attaining tapasya is to be able to meditate properly. It creates a controlled mind which will not accept any interference from the body, like 鈥淚鈥檓 thirsty!鈥 or 鈥淚 want food!鈥 or 鈥渢hat hurts!鈥 etc. It also hardens the body, so that these desires aren鈥檛 too frequent. It strengthens the organs and makes them healthy in order not to experience painful distractions during meditation. Thus it leads to pratyahara or abstraction of the senses.

In the Bhagavad Gita it is mentioned that there are three types of austerities:
(i) austerity of the physical body
(ii) austerity of communication and speech (mouna)
(iii) austerity of the mind. Tapasya includes control over one鈥檚 thoughts in order to avoid unnecessary talking.

As a sculptor chips away all the unnecessary bits of rock to make a beautiful sculpture, so the hardships through which the body goes strengthen the mind and chip away all the unnecessary bits, leaving only the true essence of your real self. By practising tapasya, the body becomes immune to extensive heat, cold and even poisons and other hardships.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Four Chapters on Freedom, there are five types of tapas:
(i) exposure to the sun to harden the skin
(ii) exposure to fire to make one鈥檚 body slim and brown
(iii) doing pranayama to heat the body
(iv) accumulating the fire of concentration at one point
(v) the fire of fasting.

These are the five fires which remove the toxins to make the body fit for meditation.

Tapasya is not only about making the body fit for meditation. Doing things one does not want to do out of laziness or tamas is another form of tapasya. The same applies to moderating entertainment which only pleases oneself and does no good to others. This form of tapasya helps to control the ego, making one more disciplined.

鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰

07/07/2017

*SWADHYAYA*

*SUTRA*

啶膏啶掂ぞ啶о啶ぞ啶ぞ啶︵た啶粪啶熰う啷囙さ啶むぞ 啶膏啶啶班く啷嬥啶 啷ムオ啷ゥ

sv膩dhy膩y膩d-i峁a弓a-devat膩 sa峁乸rayoga岣 啷44啷

Self-study and reflection on yourself (svadhyaya) brings you into contact with the desired ideal. ||44||

sv膩dhy膩yat = self-study; learning from one self
i峁a弓a = loved; sought out
devat膩 = godliness; personal God; ideal
sa峁乸rayoga岣 = connected with; oneness

Swadhyaya is the fourth niyama, which is defined as study of the self in the introduction. It is usually defined as 鈥榮tudy of ancient spiritual scriptures鈥, but one can read the scriptures and not understand or apply a single thing from them in our daily lives. Swa means 鈥榮elf鈥 here; therefore, swadhyaya is actually the study of the self, or self-analysis. One must be the drashta, the witness, the observer. The higher type of knowledge is actual experience, while the lower form is learning directly from books and the even lower form is learning from books but not understanding a thing that one is reading. It is recorded in the Essene Gospel of Peace that Jesus said, 鈥淪eek not the law in your scriptures, for the law is life, whereas the scripture is dead.鈥

Through swadhyaya we can improve ourselves and guide ourselves on the right path to some extent without the help of the guru. If you can see your life and observe it like a book, as in the yogic practice of antar mouna, you can observe swadhyaya, as Swami Niranjanananda has pointed out in Yoga Darshan. One can observe and modify one鈥檚 reactions, one can moderate one鈥檚 negativity and improve one鈥檚 way of perceiving things through observing the self.

From another point of view, chanting the name of God in the form of the Gayatri mantra, the Om mantra, a prayer, etc., or even your own initiation mantra, helps to focus the mind, which helps in swadhyaya. When one chants a mantra from the heart, one does not necessarily need to understand what one is chanting in order to experience spiritual upliftment.

鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂桂煂光殰

08/07/2017

*ISHWARA PRANIDHNA*
*SUTRA*
啶膏ぎ啶距ぇ啶 啶膏た啶︵啶оた啶冟啶多啶掂ぐ啶啶班ぃ啶苦ぇ啶距え啶距い啷 啷ムオ啷ゥsam膩dhi siddhi岣-墨艣varapra峁噄dh膩n膩t 啷45啷y accepting your fate (ishvarapranidhana), you achieve self knowledge (samadhi) and supernatural power (siddhi). ||45||sam膩dhi = transcendent state; samadhi; the goal of yoga siddhi岣 =supernatural power; attainment; capability; powers 墨艣vara = God; personal God
pra峁噄dh膩na = devotion to a higher idea; accepting one鈥檚 fate.

Ishwara pranidhana, or complete self-surrender to God, is the last and one of the hardest niyamas. One gets to a stage on the spiritual journey when the guru steps back and when one cannot proceed without help and one becomes desperate. Such is the human mind that one can develop complete faith in God only when a desperate situation arises, where none but God (by God I mean Ishwara, Allah, Yahweh, or any other) can help, whether you believe in God or not. People understand God in many different ways. Some do not even believe in the concept of God. Yet everyone who seeks spiritual guidance and evolution reaches this stage if they are sincere in their quest. As God is different to many people, we reach this stage through different means and situations. It is the time when one completely lets go of all ego and surrenders to destiny. Sage Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras that one can even attain the highest form of samadhi, the final stage before kaivalya, if one can truly and fully surrender to God. Your self-surrender should be free and unconditional.There is a story about a dedicated monk deep in meditation in his cave. Suddenly there was a freak flood and the town nearby was filled with gushing water. Some good-natured people paddled laboriously on their little raft to try and save the monk. But when they reached his cave, the monk said, 鈥淒o not worry. I am a pious man who has been serving God all his life. God will not desert me now. Never fear, He will come and save me with His own hands.鈥滱 few minutes later a yacht with five men arrived. They attempted to rescue the monk, but received the same reply. Finally, a rescue helicopter arrived and hovered outside the cave, but the monk sent them away.The water rose, flooded the monk鈥檚 abode and he drowned. When he reached heaven he said to God, 鈥淚鈥檝e been worshipping you all my life and yet you didn鈥檛 come and save me when I needed you the most!鈥 And God replied 鈥淲ell, I don鈥檛 know what you expected. First I sent you a raft, then a yacht, then a first class helicopter, and you only said silly things like 鈥楪od will save me with His own hands.鈥 The raft, yacht and helicopter were my hands.鈥滻t all seems to be a mental process; however, the physical outcome is that when one surrenders to and realizes Ishwara, one never remains the same because one cannot realize God if one has even the smallest hint of a human ego.Sage Patanjali supported advaita vedanta, which does not support the principle of God as our loving father living in another world, in heaven. So here Ishwara is not God, but the unchanging, ever-uniform reality, while nashwara is the changing, decaying, creative aspect in the cycle of (our) evolution. God exists, and you can experience that only if you have complete faith in him or her.鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂光殰馃尮馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰馃尮馃尮馃尮鈿滒煂桂煂光殰

聽Hari OM Tat Sat

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