Navodita, our Associate Editor, a yoga expert, tells us about the Eight Limbs of Patanjali Yoga, which tells us that want creates fear, while in giving we receive. Yoga is for the mind, not the body. It is said that most diseases, too, are psychosomatic. Read more about it, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Yoga is so much more than just asana. This path can take you on an inner journey of the Self. First and foremost, Yoga is for the mind, not the body. It is said that most diseases, too, are psychosomatic. Hence, when you do yoga, the asanas actually work on the mind and then show results on the body.
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are Eight Limbs of Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, which when followed take you a step towards peace and tranquillity. The steps are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. However, few of these can be discussed in the following ways:
“Aparigrahasthaiye Janmakathayanta Sambhodhaha” – this means that when you do not accumulate then you get knowledge of previous births and knowledge of different species. The communication in you improves. When a person wants more and more, he just thinks of himself and is obsessed with fear. He does not know the eternal value of life. Life has been there for ages and will continue for ages to come. Non-accumulation means confidence in one’s existence and in one’s ability, and having knowledge of one’s Self. If you know how to make bread, then you will not go on making bread for a week and then store it in your room. It will become stale and inedible.
In China, there is a proverb, “What you give, you gain more. Whatever you scatter, you will have it all. You lose what you hold on to.” When you scatter it all comes back to you. Everything is yours and you are all over. A person who is very afraid of himself and who has no idea of his strength is very stingy. A person who is very selfish and stingy stores and stores, he accumulates.
Patanjali says, “Janmakathayamta Sambodhaha” – when you give things to people, it brings back something to you. There are some good vibrations and this makes you happy. If you are very unhappy one day, then give away something or give some gifts to somebody. Then your Consciousness will change, shift. Sometimes when you accept gifts from someone, you will feel unhappy. In the ancient days, they knew this science very well. They used to call wise people to their homes and give them food and gifts. When they accepted, they would give one more offering. This was to show thankfulness to the wise people for having accepted their offering. This was then called Dakshina.
So, if someone accepts a gift, then the giver should be thankful. The giver is thankful because they are not just taking something. The acceptors are giving back their mind and taking away certain impressions or Karmas from the past from the giver’s mind. Non-acceptance or non-accumulation of objects or things from people is called Aparigraha.
Parigraha is always receiving and wondering what will be received. If you do not accept anything from anybody, you will feel different. This is practically not possible in the world. There are people who practice this to the extreme. You do not have to go to the extreme but being aware of this fact is useful.
There are five Mahavratas – the great rules, the great vows. You will get results according to the extent of your practice. There are the five Yamas and five Niyamas. The Niyamas are- “Shaucha, Santosha, Tapas, Swadhyaya, Eshwar Pranidhana Niyamah” – Shaucha is physical purity or keeping oneself clean. Water is the greatest purifier for this physical body. There needs to be cleanliness in the atmosphere and in the environment. Santosha means contentment and happiness. Happiness is an attitude. If you are used to being unhappy, you will grumble and be unhappy even in the best of situations. Unconditional happiness is a practice.
One of the limbs is Santosha – being content and happy. What could make you unhappy? Losing a lot of money? Could that make you unhappy? So what! Anyway, you are going to lose this body, which is going to enjoy those millions of dollars. It has to happen. So many people had millions of dollars and they died. What else are you unhappy about? Is your friend leaving you? Your own body is going to desert you. Why are you so unhappy about your friend deserting you? Sometimes people lose things one by one and sometimes they lose everything together. This is the only chance. Either you lose everything at one time, or you keep losing them one by one. So when you lose your friend, you should think that you may have lost one friend. And that the body is going to be lost after some time. So it does not matter.
Hence it’s important to keep in mind what worse situation you could have been in and how better off you are from others in a lot of ways. A lot of times we fret over situations, which may seemingly be depressing but in reality, when viewed objectively, maybe not so bad after all. It is best to maintain equipoise and equanimity in all situations – very sad or very happy ones, too.
Photos from the internet.
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