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Yoga Sutras 2.30-2.31: Five Yamas or restraints, abstinences, self-regulations

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras 2.30-2.31: FIVE YAMAS OR RESTRAINTS, ABSTINENCES, SELF-REGULATIONS http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.30 YOGA SUTRAS 2.30.2.31:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 2006
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      Yoga Sutras 2.30-2.31:
      FIVE YAMAS OR RESTRAINTS, ABSTINENCES, SELF-REGULATIONS
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.30

      YOGA SUTRAS 2.30.2.31: Non-injury or non-harming (ahimsa),
      truthfulness (satya), abstention from stealing (asteya), walking in
      awareness of the highest reality (brahmacharya), and non-
      possessiveness or non-grasping with the senses (aparigraha) are the
      five yamas, or codes of self-regulation or restraint, and are the
      first of the eight steps of Yoga. These codes of self-regulation or
      restraint become a great vow when they become universal and are not
      restricted by any consideration of the nature of the kind of living
      being to whom one is related, nor in any place, time or situation.


      YOGA SUTRA 2.30:

      Non-injury or non-harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), abstention
      from stealing (asteya), walking in awareness of the highest reality
      (brahmacharya), and non-possessiveness or non-grasping with the
      senses (aparigraha) are the five yamas, or codes of self-regulation
      or restraint, and are the first of the eight steps of Yoga.
      (ahimsa satya asteya brahmacharya aparigraha yama)

      ahimsa = non-violence, non-harming, non-injury
      satya = truthfulness, honesty
      asteya = non-stealing, abstention from theft
      brahmacharya = walking in awareness of the highest reality,
      continence, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God
      aparigraha = non-possessiveness, non-holding through senses, non-
      greed, non-grasping, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness
      yama = codes of restraint, abstinences, self-regulations

      THE FIVE YAMAS:

      The five Yamas are considered codes of restraint, abstinences, self-
      regulations, and involve our relationship with the external world and
      other people:

      AHIMSA: non-violence, non-harming, non-injury (2.35)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.35

      SATYA: truthfulness, honesty (2.36)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.36

      ASTEYA: non-stealing, abstention from theft (2.37)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.37

      BRAHMACHARYA: walking in awareness of the highest reality,
      continence, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God
      (2.38)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.38

      APARIGRAHA: non-possessiveness, non-holding through senses, non-
      greed, non-grasping, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness (2.39)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.39

      BUILDING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WORLD:

      It should be self evident that having a good relationship with the
      world and other people is imperative if we wish to sit for meditation
      and experience the depths of Self-realization. The five Yamas are a
      means of building that relationship.

      ACTIONS, SPEECH, AND THOUGHTS:

      It is easy to mistakenly lump these three together, as if they are
      one concept. Actually, they are three separate practices, which work
      together intimately. To cultivate self-awareness or mindfulness of
      actions, speech, and thoughts as separate entities is very important.
      Witness your actions as an independent practice, though related to
      the others. Witness your speech as an independent practice, though
      related to the others. Witness your thoughts as an independent
      practice, though related to the others.

      1) ACTIONS: The first level of self-awareness and self-regulation is
      that of actions in the external world. Each of the Yamas are
      consciously cultivated at the level of actions. By mindfulness and
      self-awareness, you see when your actions are contrary to the Yamas,
      and you can counter that by noting that the action is not useful
      (2.33, 2.34), and acting more in line with the Yamas.
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.33

      2) SPEECH: Self-awareness and self-regulation of each of the Yamas
      are also consciously cultivated at the level of speech. By
      mindfulness and self-awareness, you see when your speech is contrary
      to the Yamas, and you can counter that by noting that the speech is
      not useful (2.33, 2.34), and speaking more in line with the Yamas.
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.33

      3) THOUGHTS: The subtlest level of self-awareness and self-regulation
      is that of thought in the inner world. Each of the Yamas are
      consciously cultivated at the level of thought. By mindfulness and
      self-awareness, you see when your thoughts are contrary to the Yamas,
      and you can counter that by noting that the thought is not useful
      (2.33, 2.34), and promoting positive thoughts that are more in line
      with the Yamas. See the sections of the article Seven Skills to
      Cultivate for Meditation, which deal with the witnessing and training
      the thinking process.
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.33
      http://www.swamij.com/sevenskills.htm

      COLORING OR KLISHTA:

      It is extremely important to understand the subtler context of the
      coloring (klishta, 2.3, 2.4) involved with the Yamas. While we are
      surely wanting to practice the Yamas in their more obvious worldly
      sense, the part that is ultimately most important is the coloring or
      klishta qualities of the subtle mental traces, or samskaras in the
      karmashaya (2.12), as these form the veil (1.4) that blocks the
      direct experience of the center of consciousness (1.3). It is not
      that "I" am violent or non-violent, truthful or non-truthful, etc.
      Rather, it is the thought patterns deep in the basement of the mind
      (chitta), which have been colored in some way (2.4). These colorings
      are dealt with in their gross (2.1-2.9) and subtle (2.10-2.11) levels.
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-20109.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-21011.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/koshas.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/fourfunctionsmind.htm

      SENSES AND MIND:

      To understand not only the gross, but also the subtle aspects of self-
      regulation through the Yamas, it is necessary to also understand the
      nature of the senses and mind in Yoga:

      1) SENSES:

      The senses (indriyas) are of 10 kinds, five of which are means of
      expression (karmendriyas), and five of which are means of cognition
      (jnanendriyas). These are explained in the article on Training the
      Ten Senses or Indriyas.
      http://www.swamij.com/indriyas.htm

      2) MIND:

      The mind (manas) as thinking instrument is one of the four aspects of
      the inner mental instrument (antakarana). This is described in the
      article on Coordinating the Four Functions of Mind.
      http://www.swamij.com/fourfunctionsmind.htm

      WITNESSING YOUR THOUGHTS:

      A separate article describes in greater detail the process of
      Witnessing Your Thoughts. It may seem complicated at first, but there
      is a basic simplicity that will reveal itself with practice. The
      benefits for advancing in meditation are tremendous.
      http://www.swamij.com/witnessing.htm

      FOUNDATION FOR MEDITATION:

      The better your relationship with the world and other people, and the
      more you have lovingly trained yourself through the Yamas, then the
      more naturally will come the other steps to meditation and higher
      experience. The meditation can then, in turn, enhance the way you
      relate with the world and with yourself. In this way, all of the
      rungs, or limbs of Yoga work together.


      YOGA SUTRA 2.31:

      These codes of self-regulation or restraint become a great vow when
      they become universal and are not restricted by any consideration of
      the nature of the kind of living being to whom one is related, nor in
      any place, time or situation.
      (jati desha kala samaya anavachchhinnah sarva-bhaumah maha-vratam)

      jati = type of birth, species, state of life
      desha = space, place
      kala = time
      samaya = circumstance, condition, consideration
      anavachchhinnah = not limited by
      sarva-bhaumah = universal, in all parts (sarva = all; bhaumah =
      parts, spheres)
      maha-vratam = great vow (maha = great; vratam = vow)

      BECOMING VERSUS STATING A VOW:

      Few people are able to state these vows of the Yamas (2.30) with one
      hundred percent conviction from the beginning. Therefore, one starts
      from where he or she stands, living them to the degree possible.
      Later, as sadhana (practices) evolve, they become a great vow when
      they are universal in nature.

      BECOMING GREAT VOWS THROUGH FOUR CONDITIONS:

      The five Yamas gradually become great vows as one moves towards four
      conditions:

      1) They are practiced universally in relation to all beings of all
      types of birth, species, or states of life.
      2) They are practiced equally in all places or spaces.
      3) They are practiced continuously in all times.
      4) They are practiced uniformly among all circumstances or situations.

      VOWS OF ACTIONS, SPEECH, AND THOUGHT:

      It is extremely important to understand that one may take a vow
      related to action and speech, but that a vow of thinking might lead
      to suppression or repression of thoughts and emotions. This is
      definitely not the path of Yoga. If it were possible to truly make a
      vow to not have contrary thinking, then there would be no need for
      the self-exploration described, such as dealing with the gross (2.1-
      2.9) or subtle (2.10-2.11) impressions. There would also be no need
      for any instructions on what to do when one acts contrary to the
      Yamas (2.33). One would simply make a vow, and that would be it! The
      mind would be clear. However, that is not the case. We live the Yamas
      (2.30) within our capacity, and relentlessly do the inner work to
      clear the mind (1.2, 1.4), so that the Self underneath may be come
      known (1.3).
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-20109.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-21011.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm

      FOUR ASPECTS TO THE GREAT VOW:

      These five forms of self-regulation, self-restraint, and self-
      exploration apply in four ways, once they become universal:

      1) JATI: In relation to beings of any type of birth, species, or
      state of life
      2) DESHA: In any space or place
      3) KALA: At any time
      4) SAMAYA: In any circumstance, condition, or other such consideration


      http://www.swamij.com
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