Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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Yoga Sutras 2.30-2.34: 
Yamas and Niyamas,
rungs #1 and #2
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Click here to return to the main page of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.Yamas: The first of the eight rungs (2.29) of Yoga is the five Yamas (2.30), which have to do with training your actions, speech, and thoughts in relation to the external world, particularly with other people. They include:

  • Non-harming (2.35), 

  • Truthfulness (2.36), 

  • Non-stealing (2.37), 

  • Remembering the higher reality (2.38)

  • Non-possessiveness (2.39).

As these are gently, lovingly practiced over time, they gradually evolve into great vows for living (2.31). 

Niyamas: The second of the eight rungs is the five Niyamas (2.32), which have to do with your relationship within yourself. They involve:

  • Purifying your body and mind (2.40-2.41)

  • Cultivating an attitude of contentment (2.42)

  • Training your senses (2.43)

  • Inner exploration (2.44)

  • Letting go into your spiritual source (2.45).

When you are not doing the Yamas and Niyamas: When you are acting, speaking, or thinking against the Yamas and Niyamas (2.33), the suggestion is to remind yourself that such negative actions, speech, or thoughts are going in the wrong direction, and will bring you nothing but unending misery (2.34). It can be as straightforward as silently repeating the words to yourself, "Mind, this is not useful; this is going to bring me nothing but more suffering, and lead me into greater ignorance of truth." This simple practice is an extremely important way to balance, purify, and train the mind (2.34).

27 varieties of negativity: Those contrary actions, speech, or thoughts can be done by oneself, got done by another, or merely approved of. They may be accompanied by anger, greed, or delusion. They may be mild, medium, or intense. Thus, there are 27 combinations of these three triads (2.34). Awareness and witnessing of these is a very useful part of discrimination, which is the key to enlightenment (2.26-2.29).

Why practice the eight rungs?: One of the most common principles that is missed is why one is practicing these eight rungs. The reason for practicing the eight rungs is discriminative knowledge, as described in the previous three sutras (2.26-2.29).

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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 (click the links to go to the sutras dealing with the individual Yamas):

  • Ahimsa: non-violence, non-harming, non-injury (2.35)
  • Satya: truthfulness, honesty (2.36)
  • Asteya: non-stealing, abstention from theft (2.37)
  • Brahmacharya: walking in awareness of the highest reality, continence, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God (2.38)
  • Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-holding through senses, non-greed, non-grasping, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness (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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Sense 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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. 

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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).

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:

  • Jati: In relation to beings of any type of birth, species, or state of life
  • Desha: In any space or place
  • Kala: At any time
  • Samaya: In any circumstance, condition, or other such consideration 

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2.32 Cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha), an attitude of contentment (santosha), ascesis or training of the senses (tapas), self-study and reflection on sacred words (svadhyaya), and an attitude of letting go into one's source (ishvarapranidhana) are the observances or practices of self-training (niyamas), and are the second rung on the ladder of Yoga.
(shaucha santosha tapah svadhyaya ishvarapranidhana niyamah)

  • shaucha = purity of body and mind
  • santosha = contentment
  • tapah = training the senses, austerities, ascesis
  • svadhyaya = self-study, reflection on sacred words
  • ishvara = creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher
  • pranidhana = practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice
  • niyamah = observances or practices of self-training

The five Niyamas: The five Niyamas are the observances or practices of self-training, and deal with our personal, inner world (click the links to go to the sutras dealing with the individual Niyamas):

  • Shaucha: purity of body and mind (2.40, 2.41)
  • Santosha: contentment (2.42)
  • Tapah: training the senses, austerities, ascesis (2.43)
  • Svadhyaya: self-study, reflection on sacred words (2.44)
  • Ishvara pranidhana: surrender; (ishvara = creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher; pranidhana = practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice) (2.45)

Training body, mind, and senses: It should be self evident that having a healthy body, clear mind, and regulated senses is necessary if we wish to sit for meditation and experience the depths of Self-realization. The five Niyamas are a means for self-training in relation to body, senses, and mind.

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.

  • Actions: At the same time that one is aware of actions in the external world through practicing the Yamas, he or she also becomes aware of the personal, inner processes related to body, senses, and mind, by practice awareness of the Niyamas. By mindfulness and self-awareness, you see when your actions are contrary to the Niyamas (as well as 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 Niyamas.
  • Speech: Through similar mindfulness and self-awareness of speech in relation to the Niyamas, you see when your speech is contrary to the Niyamas. This can also be countered that by noting that the speech is not useful (2.33, 2.34), and speaking more in line with the goals of the Niyamas.
  • Thoughts: The subtlest level of self-awareness and self-regulation is that of thought in the inner world. Each of the Niyamas are consciously practiced at the level of thought. By mindfulness and self-awareness, you see when your thoughts are contrary to the Niyamas, 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 Niyamas. See the sections of the article Seven Skills to Cultivate for Meditation, which deal with the witnessing and training the thinking process.

Coloring or klishta: It is extremely important to understand the subtler context of the coloring (klishta, 2.3, 2.4) involved with the Niyamas. What 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" an impure body, cluttered mind, or a sensory addict, etc. Rather, it is the thought patterns deep in the basement of the mind (chitta), which have been colored in some way (2.4), which in turn affect the body, mental processing, and the sensory attractions and aversions. These colorings are dealt with in their gross (2.1-2.9) and subtle (2.10-2.11) levels.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Foundation for meditation: The more you have lovingly trained yourself through the Niyamas, 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. 

Meaning of Ishvara: In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one's individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe. (from Swami Rama in the section What God Is from Enlightenment Without God)

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2.33 When these codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas) and observances or practices of self-training (niyamas) are inhibited from being practiced due to perverse, unwholesome, troublesome, or deviant thoughts, principles in the opposite direction, or contrary thought should be cultivated.
(vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam)

  • vitarka = troublesome thoughts, deviating (from the yamas and niyamas)
  • badhane = disturbed by, inhibited by
  • pratipaksha = to the contrary, opposite thoughts or principles
  • bhavanam = cultivate, habituate, thought of, contemplate on, reflect on

When you are not doing the Yamas and Niyamas: What do you do when you are not acting, speaking, or thinking in the way you know you want, when not following the suggestions by the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32)? For example, you want to practice ahimsa, which is non-harming. But what do you do when you have a harmful, or angry attitude towards somebody else? The suggestion is to go in the opposite direction, which means reminding yourself to go away from that the anger. This is further described in the next sutra (2.34).

What does opposite direction mean?: When thinking of anger or hatred, for example, it can seem that one should cultivate love, which is a good idea.  However, you may have noticed how hard it is to cultivate love for one with whom you are intensely angry. The word opposite is used here to suggest that rather than going into, or getting caught up in that anger, we move away from it, in the opposite direction, which is not quite the same as saying we should cultivate love. Recall the foundation principle that consciousness wraps itself around the thought patterns in the mind field (1.4), and that this is the cause of suffering. When we unwrap our attention from those thought patterns (1.2), we rest in our true nature (1.3). This is the meaning of moving in the opposite direction; it means moving away from the entanglement of the negative. By moving away, we naturally experience the love. While the example of ahimsa (non-injury) and love were used here, the same principle applies to the other Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) as well.

When acting, speaking, or thinking against your values: The Yamas and Niyamas give superb suggestions for living and being. However, the most important suggestion is on what to do when you are not acting, speaking, or thinking in the way you know you want, when not following the suggestions by the Yamas and Niyamas. For example, you want to practice ahimsa, which is non-harming. But what do you actually do when you have angry emotions towards somebody else? 

Remind yourself, "This is not useful": When you know that your actions, speech, or thoughts are not what you want, the suggestion is to repeatedly remind yourself that this anger (or other example) is going in the wrong direction, and will bring you nothing but unending misery. It can be as straightforward as silently repeating the words to yourself, "Mind, this is not useful; this is going to bring me nothing but more suffering, and lead me into greater ignorance of truth. Mind, you need to let go of this." 

Going in the right direction: This contrary training will gradually lead the mind in the right direction. It is done gently and lovingly with yourself; it is not suppression or repression of thoughts or emotions. This is further described in the next sutra (2.34).

Use your determination: In Yoga Sutra 1.20 there were five foundation practices or attitudes suggested. These included cultivating memory and mindfulness (smriti), developing the faith that you are going in the right direction (shraddha), and committing the energy to go there (virya). To maintain an awareness of this kind of faith and determination is an important part of actually practicing and living the Yamas and Niyamas, rather than having them drift into the back of the mind as mere data that has been studied and then forgotten.

Opposites for the individual Yamas and Niyamas: Each of the individual sutras for the five Yamas and five Niyamas give guidance about cultivating the opposites:

  • Ahimsa: non-violence, non-harming, non-injury (2.35)
  • Satya: truthfulness, honesty (2.36)
  • Asteya: non-stealing, abstention from theft (2.37)
  • Brahmacharya: walking in awareness of the highest reality, continence, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God (2.38)
  • Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-holding through senses, non-greed, non-grasping, non-indulgence, non-acquisitiveness (2.39)
  • Shaucha: purity of body and mind (2.40, 2.41)
  • Santosha: contentment (2.42)
  • Tapah: training the senses, austerities, ascesis (2.43)
  • Svadhyaya: self-study, reflection on sacred words (2.44)
  • Ishvara pranidhana: surrender; (ishvara = creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher; pranidhana = practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice) (2.45)

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2.34 Actions arising out of such negative thoughts are performed directly by oneself, caused to be done through others, or approved of when done by others. All of these may be preceded by, or performed through anger, greed or delusion, and can be mild, moderate or intense in nature. To remind oneself that these negative thoughts and actions are the causes of unending misery and ignorance is the contrary thought, or principle in the opposite direction that was recommended in the previous sutra.
(vitarkah himsadayah krita karita anumoditah lobha krodha moha purvakah mridu madhya adhimatrah dukha ajnana ananta phala iti pratipaksha bhavanam)

  • vitarkah = troublesome thoughts, deviating (from the yamas and niyamas)
  • himsadayah = harmful and the others (himsa = harmful; adayah = et cetera, and so forth)
  • krita = committed (by oneself)
  • karita = caused to be done (by others)
  • anumoditah = consented to, approved of (when done by others)
  • lobha = greed, desire
  • krodha = anger
  • moha = delusion
  • purvakah = preceded by
  • mridu = mild, slight
  • madhya = middling
  • adhimatrah = intense, extreme
  • dukha = misery, pain, suffering, sorrow
  • ajnana = ignorance (a = without; jnana = knowledge)
  • ananta = infinite, unending (an = un; anta = ending)
  • phala = fruition, results, effects
  • iti = thus
  • pratipaksha = to the contrary, opposite thoughts or principles
  • bhavanam = cultivate, habituate, thought of, contemplate on, reflect on

Two consequences: When acting, speaking, or thinking in opposite directions from the Yamas (2.31) and Niyamas (2.32), as described in the sutra above (2.33), there are two most undesirable consequences:

  1. Infinite misery: When you feel the effects from injuring others, dishonesty, stealing, uncontrolled senses, and possessiveness, the misery, pain, suffering, and sorrow go on and on. A vicious cycle is set up where the colored thought patterns or samskaras of the karmashaya (2.12) repeats itself, over and over. This is the meaning of infinite misery; it doesn't stop; it just keeps recycling. To break this cycle of karma (2.12-2.25) is a key point in Yoga. To break the cycle first requires seeing clearly the fact that the cycle tends to just keep repeating itself once it starts. To see a situation clearly is a prerequisite to changing it.
  2. Unending ignorance: When repeatedly moving in the direction of injuring others, dishonesty, stealing, uncontrolled senses, and possessiveness, which are away from, opposite to, or contrary to the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32), the mind becomes ever more clouded, not seeing the situation clearly. As with the infinite misery mentioned above, there continues an ignorance (2.5), a not-seeing, which self-perpetuates without end. The ignorance of not seeing clearly (2.5) feeds on itself, and creates an ever more clouded mind (1.4), which blocks the true Self (1.3). To clear the clouded mind is the task of Yoga.

Karma article: See also the article on: 
Karma and the Source of Actions, Speech, and Thoughts
 

What does opposite direction mean?: When thinking of anger or hatred, for example, it can seem that one should cultivate love, which is a good idea.  However, you may have noticed how hard it is to cultivate love for one with whom you are intensely angry. The word opposite is used here to suggest that rather than going into, or getting caught up in that anger, we move away from it, in the opposite direction, which is not quite the same as saying we should cultivate love. Recall the foundation principle that consciousness wraps itself around the thought patterns in the mind field (1.4), and that this is the cause of suffering. When we unwrap our attention from those thought patterns (1.2), we rest in our true nature (1.3). This is the meaning of moving in the opposite direction; it means moving away from the entanglement of the negative. By moving away, we naturally experience the love. While the example of ahimsa (non-injury) and love were used here, the same principle applies to the other Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) as well.

The opposite of hate is not love.
The opposite of hate is non-hate,
letting go, releasing of that hate.
Then, love naturally arises. 

It's all about coloring or klishta: This entire subject of cultivating opposites is the same as the process of uncoloring the colored thought patterns, the klishta vrittis. It means moving away from klishta (colored) to aklishta (uncolored). This was described as a foundation practice of Yoga (1.5), and was described at its gross levels in the earlier sutras of chapter 2 (2.1-2.9), and then in its subtler aspects in the next few sutras (2.10-2.11). Breaking the subtle alliances of karma was then discussed (2.12-2.25). This principle is extremely simple, yet can be extremely difficult to comprehend initially.

Remind yourself, "This is not useful": When you know that your actions, speech, or thoughts are not what you want, the suggestion is to repeatedly remind yourself that this anger (or other example) is going in the wrong direction, and will bring you nothing but unending misery. It can be as straightforward as silently repeating the words to yourself, "Mind, this is not useful; this is going to bring me nothing but more suffering, and lead me into greater ignorance of truth. Mind, you need to let go of this." 

27 types of negativity: In moving against the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32), there are 27 different varieties of negative actions, speech, or thoughts. It is very useful to remain mindful of these, as this self-awareness is most important in being able to train the mind in more positive and useful ways. There are three dimensions, which when combined with one another, produce the 27 possibilities (3x3x3=27) of not-useful or negative actions, speech, and thoughts:

  1. 3 doers of action: yourself, recruiting another, or approving
  2. 3 mental states: anger, greed, delusion
  3. 3 intensities: mild, moderate, intense

Examples: Here are a few examples of how these might interact:

  • You (yourself) may tell a little (mild) lie to someone so as to get something that belongs to another (asteya, non-stealing), but that you want for yourself (greed).
  • You may have your spouse (another person) call your office to say you are sick (satya, truthfulness) when you are (moderately) upset and dissatisfied (delusion) with your boss or coworkers.  
  • You may smile (approve) and feel great (intense) satisfaction (with anger) when someone you dislike (ahimsa, non-violence) gets a ticket from the police (done by another) for driving too fast.

Being ever mindful: Being ever mindful of these three dimensions, and their 27 combinations is very useful in purifying and training the mind.

Being positive and joyful: Talking about 27 ways of negative thinking can itself sound depressing (recall that such obstacles naturally come, 1.30-1.32). However, the more this kind of self-awareness is practiced, the easier it becomes to focus on the positive, useful thoughts and emotions. Joy more naturally comes, as the many antics of the mind are increasingly seen to be nothing but humorous.

Three ways of negative actions: There are only three ways in which negative actions operating against the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32) can play out:

  1. Doing it yourself: You can carry out that negative action yourself, acting in ways that are contrary to the principles such as those suggested in the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32).
  2. Recruiting another person: You can get some other person to carry out the action for you, either with or without the knowledge of anybody else. This sometimes provides a false sense of not being responsible for the action.
  3. Approving of another person's action: You can simply wait for some other person to carry out a negative action of which you approve. This is like feeling happiness when some perceived enemy gets the consequences you think he or she deserves.

Effects of all three are the same: Whether you do it yourself, have somebody else do it, or only approve of it, the internal consequences of these negative actions are the same. In all three cases, the coloring (klishta, 2.3) of your deep impressions or samskaras is the same. You bear the burden of that coloring for future karmas to play out.

Three mental states: In moving against the Yamas (2.30) and Niyamas (2.32), there are three associated mental states. The three are unique directions, and are important to be aware of and witness in oneself. Anger is symptomatic of pushing against; greed is symptomatic of pulling towards; and delusion is a confused state of mind. To be ever mindful in a non-obsessive way of these three possibilities is very useful.

  • Anger: Anger is symptomatic of pushing against, or of aversion (dvesha), one of the five kleshas (2.3). Pushing against or aversion is one of two directions, the other of which is pulling towards. Notice in the article on karma and its sources that unfulfilled desires lead to anger and related emotions.
  • Greed: Greed is symptomatic of pulling towards, or of attraction (raga), another of the five kleshas (2.3). Pulling towards or attraction is one of two directions, the other of which is pushing against. Notice in the article on karma and its sources that fulfilled desires lead to greed and related emotions.
  • Delusion: Delusion is a general state of mind that might also accompany the negative actions, speech, and thoughts that run contrary to the Yamas and Niyamas (2.33).

Three intensities: The three intensities are known purely subjectively, and are relatively easy to see with practice:

  • Mild: Those not-useful tendencies opposed to the Yamas and Niyamas (2.33), which are mild can be minimized or attenuated through meditation, as described in sutra 2.11, eventually using the razor-sharp discrimination of samyama (3.4-3.6). There may be a temptation to disregard these tendencies because they are mild. However, getting such thoughts to a mild state so that they can then be further reduced in meditation is an important part of the process of breaking the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25). For mild tendencies, it is extremely useful to remind oneself how the tendency is not-useful, as described above in sutra 2.33.
  • Moderate: Those negative or not-useful tendencies opposed to the Yamas and Niyamas (2.33), which are mild can be dealt with somewhat as with the mild tendencies, and somewhat as with the intense tendencies. It is important to note that one desires to bring the moderate tendencies down to the mild tendency, so that these might be dealt with in the inner chamber of meditation.
  • Intense: Those not-useful or negative tendencies, which are intense might be very difficult to attenuate through meditation alone, although it might be possible with intense dedication and determination. Most often, people find themselves in an internal mental fight when trying to deal with the intense tendencies during meditation. What is more available and extremely useful for most people is to frequently remind oneself how the tendency is not-useful, as described above in sutra 2.33. It is also very useful to practice the means of stabilizing and clearing the mind as described in sutras 1.30-1.32 and 1.33-1.39, particularly making the mind one-pointed as described in sutra 1.32. The practices of kriya yoga, described in sutras 2.1-2.9 should also be practiced.

Actions, speech, and thoughts: The 27 types of negativity can involve actions, speech, or thoughts, or some combination of them. One needs to be ever vigilant of these in daily life and at meditation time. This vigilant self-awareness is done not with obsessiveness, guilt or self-condemnation, but with gentleness, acceptance, and love towards oneself.

 

The next sutra is 2.35 

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This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Yoga Nidra Meditation CD by Swami Jnaneshvara
Yoga Nidra CD
Swami Jnaneshvara