Yamas The Key To Worldly Success
Ancient scriptures give a very rich and scientific account of approaching Yoga. “Yog-Darshan” of Patanjali describes Yamas as the first step of yoga accomplishment. Scriptures describe five personal qualities under this head viz: ahinsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha.
Ahinsa (Non-Violence) means not to hurt anyone by thought, speech or action. It demands utmost control on the subtle aspects i.e. conscious and sub-conscious mind to ensure positive communications and purposeful dealings with all concerned. It is possible only if one has love and concern for all. Therefore ahinsa is a powerful tool with deep impact on self and around.
Satya (truth) is another yama (spiritual quality), which a yogi should cultivate. It is a frank but polite expression of any fact or feeling, which needs to be shared with all. It is not aimed to hurt or create hatred for anyone. It expresses fearlessness and purity of thoughts.
Asteya (non-stealing) is self-contentment. Beyond conventional non-stealing, it is the lack of greed for material things and their personal possession. It also entails all such thoughts & practices which are not directed to forcefully/cunningly, snatch the natural rights and possessions of other beings. Therefore, asteya on one hand is a personal quality of not stealing/ snatching the belongings/possessions of others, on account of self contentment and on the other hand it is a conscious concern and respect for the rightful share & possession of others.
Brahmacharya (celibacy) is control on sexual desires. In worldly sense, for married people, it permits sexual contact with spouse only, that too limited to having a progeny. Sexual indulgence is one of the most powerful human weaknesses of mankind and observance of brahmacharya helps in focussing on the transcendental issues by rationally limiting sexual desires. It also results into value-based respect and love, for opposite-sex members, leading to the development of a society, having no sex discrimination. It also helps in reducing the sex crimes and female foeticide, which are the most concerned social evils of many societies today.
Aparigrha (non-collection of material things) is fifth yama and is important principal for simple living. Desire for the collection of material things, more than one’s personal basic requirements, indicates material attachment and longing for them. Desire for immense material possessions, unconsciously indulges anyone into unscrupulous means and practices to achieve them and remain unconcerned about the genuine possessions and rights of others. Hence aparigraha helps in attaining material detachment.
This brief knowledge about five yamas, helps us to know that how important they are for habit formation and self purification. Observance of yamas makes personal life simple, peaceful and socially concerned, which is a basic requirement for treading the path of spirituality. It also conveys that for spiritual attainment, one should be equally conscious and concerned about the rights and requirements of others. It helps every practitioner to be in peace with the self and others, for a more comfortable and focussed Spiritual journey.
By Dr Dipak Shukla