ORDER IN YAMA AND NIYAMA
July 28, 2013 Comments Off on ORDER IN YAMA AND NIYAMA
There is a deliberate order in the five parts or limbs of yama (self-control). Ahimsa (non-violence) comes first, because man must remove his brutal nature first. He must become non-violent; he must develop cosmic love. Only then does he become fit for the practice of yoga. Then comes satyam or truthfulness. Because the whole phenomenon of maya (illusion) is asat or unreal, the aspirant should be aware of this fact. He should ever remember the truth or Brahman. Then comes asteya or non-stealing. Because he must develop moral consciousness, he must know right from wrong, righteousness from unrighteousness; and he must know that all are one. Brahmacarya is a divine attribute. The aspirant is now becoming a superman by the practice of brahmacarya or celibacy. The fifth is aparigraha. The yogic student is free now from desires, cravings, unnecessary wants, luxuries, desire to possess and enjoy. He has a very expanded heart.
Yama is “taking of vow”. Niyama is “religious observance”. Yama is not a policy or company manners or courtesy, it is sticking to ideals and principles; it is development of divine traits that will transform human nature into divine nature; it annihilates desires, cravings, evil qualities; it eradicates brutal instinct and brutal nature; it removes harshness, violence, cruelty and covetousness; it fills the heart with cosmic love, kindness, mercy, goodness, purity and divine light. It is the foundation of divine life or yoga, on which the super-structure of samadhi is built. It is the corner-stone of yoga, on which the edifice of super-consciousness is built.
Niyama is canon or religious observance. It consists of five limbs; namely, puca, santosa, tapas, svadhyaya and Isvara pranidhana. Sauca is purity, internal and external. Santosa is contentment. Tapas is austerity or control of senses or meditation. Svadhyaya is study of scriptures. It means also chanting of mantra (name of God) or enquiry. Isvara pranidhana is self-surrender to the Lord. It is consecration of one’s work as an offering to the Lord.
There is an intimate relation between yama and niyama. Niyama safeguards yama. If one has internal purity one can get established in brahmacarya. If you have contentment, you will not steal or hurt others or tell lies. It will be easy for you to practise aparigraha.
– Swami Sivananda