Yam n Niyam

Five steps of Yam (Self Discipline)

Yam is a bridge between you and others, and that is the first thing: that you should settle things between you and others. If things are unsettled between you and others they will constantly create worry. “Close all accounts with others” — that is the meaning of the first, yam.

The first is ahimsa, nonviolence. People have used it to cut themselves from life because they think if you are in life there will be some violence or other

Second is truthfulness means authenticity, to be true, not to be false — not to use masks: whatsoever is your real face, show it… and at whatsoever the cost.

Three things have to be remembered.

  1. Never listen to anybody- what they say for you to be: always listen to your inner voice.
  2. Never wear a mask- if you have done the first thing only then the second becomes possible: never wear a mask. If you are angry, be angry.
  3. Authenticity- always remains in the present: Be true to the present, and then you will be authentic. To be here-now is to be authentic. No past, no future: this moment all, this moment the whole eternity.

The third is asteya, achaurya — nonstealing, honesty. The mind is a great thief. In many ways it goes on stealing. You may not be stealing things from people, but you can steal thoughts.

Fourth is brahmacharya. This word is really very difficult to translate. It has been translated as “sexual continence,” celibacy. That’s not right, because brahmacharya is a wide word, very vast. Sexual celibacy is a very narrow thing; it is one part of it, but not the who]e of it. Brahmacharya is a transmutation of the energy: it is not being against sex, rather it is changing the whole energy from the sex center to the higher centers.

“… and the last is Non-possessiveness.” And only after brahmacharya, when you have attained to the fulfillment, Don’t be possessive, because whenever you are possessive you simply show that you are a beggar.

These five inner self-disciplines are the basic requirement “… regardless of class, place, time, or circumstance.” Whether you are born today or you were born five thousand years before makes no difference.

Niyam-(the law)

Now is the second step: niyam. Niyam means “the law.” This has nothing to do with others; you have done that. Now, something you have to do with yourself. So if you move to a Himalayan cave, the first step will not be possible because others will not be there. But you will have to follow the second step — it belongs to your aloneness. Yam is between you and others; niyam is between you and yourself.   THERE are laws, and laws: laws to suppress man, laws to help him bloom; laws to Prohibit, restrict, and laws to help him expand, increase. A law which simply prohibits is destructive; a law that helps to grow and increase is creative.  Patanjali’s laws are totally different; they are creative.  The discipline should come out of inner understanding, and then it is beautiful.

The First is “Purity,” Shauch..Purity is weightless; impurity is heavy and burdened. A healthy man feels light, weightless; an unhealthy man feels too much burdened by the earth, too much pulled down. Yoga knows three words, three gunas: sattva, rajas, tamas. Sattva is purity; rajas is energy; tamas is heaviness, darkness. Shauch, purity, means purity about food, purity about body, purity about mind — three layers of purities. And the fourth, which is your being, needs no purity because it cannot become impure. Your innermost core is always pure, always virgin, but that innermost core is covered with other things which can become impure — which become impure every day. You use your body and mind every day…body collects dust, becomes dirty; mind collects thoughts, becomes dirty.

The second step of niyam is “Contentment,” Santosh. A feeling of deep acceptance is santosh, contentment, a feeling of saying yes to the whole existence — as it is. Once you say yes, mind stops; and that very stopping of the mind is contentment.

And after contentment, Patanjali says “Austerity,” tapa.

This is simplicity. This is austerity. But difficult: a man can live in a palace, and if the palace is not in him, it is austerity. You can live in a hut, and if the hut has entered into your mind, it is not austerity. The more complex your living, the more unhappy you will be, because you have to manage so many things. Simpler the life, the happier, because there is no management, really. You can simply live like breathing.

And then comes “Self-study,” swadhyaya…Self-study is not self-analysis; it is just looking into the self. It is meditating on the self.

And after self-study comes the last step in the second stage that is Surrender to God.” When you have studied the self, only then can you surrender. Because what will you surrender otherwise? The self is to be surrendered. If you know it well, only then you can surrender.

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