The 5th rule of non accumulation

The 5th yama is Aparigraha – meaning non-accumulation. It simply means confidence in one’s existence, confidence in one’s ability, knowledge of one’s Self.


The 4th Yama – Brahmacharya

The 4th Yama is Brahmacharya – meaning celibacy. Celibacy brings you strength; a lot of strength, but Brahmacharya has a deeper or bigger meaning than just celibacy. Brahma means the infinity and charya means moving in the infinity. Brahmacharya is the increased strength one feels when one sees oneself as more than the body, as consciousness, as Brahman.

The 3rd Yama – Asteya.

The third yama, asteya, means non stealing. Guruji says, If you look at somebody and say how nice if I had a voice like them, you have already stolen their voice. You look at someone looking beautiful and think, Oh, how nice if I were to have looks like that, you have stolen. Do you see what I am saying? This creates jealousy.

Astheya eliminates jealousy. Non-stealing. People steal many things, someone else’s poem, some one else’s techniques, things. Comparing yourself with others and wishing for what they have is asteya, and will inhibit your ability to live peacefully.

People who steal they remain poor. The effect of non-stealing, if you are committed to be sincere, non-stealing – sarvaratnopalapati – all the wealth comes to you effortlessly. A little intention to steal can keep you poor.  Most of the time poverty is self-made. A person wants to be sneaky and try to get, grab as much as he can, that is where his luck goes down the drain. Non-stealing brings all the wealth.

Yamas and Niyamas – 2

The second rule is Satya. It means to be with what is right now, to be with something that is not changing. Satya does not mean just speaking the truth. It is total commitment for truth. It is not just words. Unfortunately people mistake satya to be just speaking words. Many people consider being blunt as being truthful.

The sutra is Satyapratishtayam kriyaphalashrayatvam (Sûtra 2.36), meaning. When you are established in truth then the fruits of action will follow.

When you become established in truth, any action you do will become fruitful. Many people do their actions, but their action does not bring about results because there is no truth consciousness inside. When there is truth consciousness inside, when you are established in the truth, the fruit of the action will follow the action immediately. It is the quality of the consciousness. Even if you lie, if you are bold enough to say that, ‘I am telling a lie right now’, you are speaking the truth!

When you lie, your consciousness is not straight-forward or strong. A person who is committed to truth is committed to the presence of the being. For them, success comes easily. The ancient saying in India is Satyameva jayate meaning ‘truth alone triumphs’. Truth will eventually win though it may appear not to be winning.

There is a story about Emperor Akbar and his minister Birbal. Once Akbar heard a lecture on truth and he became so enthusiastic and said “Okay, I will make everybody speak the truth.” Immediately he ordered that ‘‘anybody who says a lie will be hanged!” He wanted this law to be implemented. As this law was announced, there was a big commotion in the market place. What was the commotion about? All the lawyers gathered together and said “What is this law? Our profession will be finished.” In another corner all the merchants gathered together and said, “See, what is happening. This is disastrous. How can we sell anything?”

Next, all the priests gathered and it was the same story there too. The doctors gathered and said “Oh! We have to migrate to some other country. This law is too dangerous.”

All of them approached this wise minister in the king’s court, Birbal and said, “Come on Birbal, you have to do something. What will happen to our trade? This is outrageous.” Birbal said “Okay I will do something.” So, the next day Birbal, the minister entered the king’s bedroom. As he was trying to enter, the guards stopped him and asked him where he was going. Birbal said “I am going to get hanged.” Now, this was a lie! He was one of the top ministers of the cabinet. He was getting into the king’s room and saying “I am going to get hanged.” That was not a place to be hanged. So the guards said, “Minister Birbal has spoken a lie!” He was brought in front of the king. If Birbal was to be hanged then he had not spoken a lie. Whatever he had said was the truth. Then it means that an innocent man will be punished for no crime of his. It will be a big crime. If he will not be hanged then the law becomes obsolete. Then what to do?

All the wise people and all the ministers were called and there was a big debate, “Now, what should we do? Should we hang him or not? If we hang him we violate a law. If we do not hang him, even then we violate a law.” The king was in a fix. Everybody else was in a greater fix. So they told Birbal, “You yourself suggest to us as to what we should do?” Birbal then said, “Truth is not what is spoken. Anything you speak becomes a lie. The moment you open your mouth, you are distorting the truth.” Akbar realised this and withdrew the law!

Satya or truth means ‘to be with what is’. It is not just the words but it is to be truthful in one’s life, heart and presence. Truth is not what we speak, but what we are.

[Courtesy Sri Sri RaviShankar’s column in New Indian Express on Patanjali Yoga Sutra]

Restraints and Observances – 1

Yamas (Restraints) and Niyamas (Observances) are the first two limbs of the Eight Limbed path laid out in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

The first yama is Ahimsa – Non Violence. Non Violence unites you with the whole creation. Everything is part of yourself and since you do not harm yourself, how can you harm anything? A practice of not harming anything and realizing that everything is a part of you is Ahimsa.

What is the effect of ahimsa? Patanjali Maharishi gives a beautiful explanation in

Sutra 2.35: Ahimsapratishtayam tatsannidhau vairatyagaha
which means “When a person is established in non-violence, then violence is dropped in his or her presence.”

If you are established in non-violence, in your very presence, violence will be dropped by other creatures. For example, someone comes to attack you. As soon as they come near you, because your vibrations are totally nonviolent, they drop down. They stop being violent. Lord Mahavira emphasises on ahimsa. It is said that whenever he walked, twenty kilometers around him, people would stop being violent. The story goes even to that extent and says even the thorns would not prick anybody but would instead become soft.

Ahimsa gives rise to tolerance.

Have you ever felt like hitting somebody? Why is that violence arising in your mind? What is the source of the violence? As you watch the source of violence, you will see that violence disappears, dissolves and peace dawns. Yoga brings that inner peace which in turn establishes non-violence. Practice of non-violence is two-way traffic. Ahimsa or non -violence brings about the union of the mind or peace of mind and when you are peaceful or calm within, you naturally become non-violent.

[Source: Sri Sri Ravishankar’s column in Indian Express]