Yama-Niyama

Yama-Niyama

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Observing Yama and Niyama is the first stage of Sa’dhana’[5] the foundation[3] and base[5] of spiritual life. To follow these principles is the best way to attain mental purity[6]. Its serves as a beacon in the life of a spiritual aspirant, to dispel all darkness from the mind[5] and develops a healthy body and mind[10].

As weapons[11,12,13], Yama-Niyama give the sa’dhaka the spiritual strength to fight against all sorts of crudeness in order to attain Brahma[5].

Those established in Yama-Niyama attain emancipation from the As’t’apa’sha and S’ad’aripu arising from Avidya’[9].

Cardinal principles[4,7,8,] and spiritual morality[2] are terms used in relation to Yama and Niyama.


Yama is divided into five parts (1) Ahim’sa’, (2) Satya, (3) Asteya, (4) Brahmacarya and (5) Aparigraha.

Niyama is also divided into five parts–(1) Shaoca, (2) Santos’a, (3) Tapah, (4) Sva’dhya’ya and (5) Iishvara Pran’idha’na.

Yama Sa’dhana’

1. Ahim’sa’–Not to inflict pain or hurt on any living thing in the world by thought, word or action is Ahim’sa’.’[1]

2. Satya–The benevolent use of mind and words is ‘Satya.’[1]

3. Asteya–To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is ‘Asteya.’ ‘Asteya‘ means ‘non-stealing.’[1]

4. Brahmacarya–To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma (the Supreme Entity) is ‘Brahmacarya.’[1]

5. Aparigraha–To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as ‘Aparigraha.’[1]

Niyama Sa’dhana’ 1. Shaoca is of two kinds–Purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful.[1]

2. Santos’a–Contentment for things received unasked-for is ‘Santos’a.’ It is essential to try to be cheerful always.[1]

3. Tapah–To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as ‘Tapah.’ Upava’sa (fasting), serving the Guru (Preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of Yajina, namely, Pitr Yajina, Nr Yajina, Bhu’ta Yajina and Adhya’tma Yajina (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of Tapah. For students, study is the main Tapah.[1]

4. Sva’dhya’ya–The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is ‘Sva’dhya’ya.’ The philosophical books and scriptures of A’nanda Ma’rga are A’nanda Su’tram and Subha’s’ita Sam’graha (all parts) respectively. Sva’dhya’ya is also done by attending Dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having Satsaunga (spiritual company), but this kind of Sva’dhya’ya is intended only for those who are not capable of studying in the above manner.[1]

5. Iishvara Pran’idha’na–This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life.[1]


1. “(c) The requirements and prohibitions of Yama and Niyamahave to be observed under all circumstances.

Yama has five parts-(i) ahim’sa’, (ii) satya, (iii) asteya, iv) Brahmacarya, v) aparigraha.

(i) Ahim’sa’: Not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action, is Ahim’sa’.

(ii) Satya: The benevolent use of mind and words is Satya.

(iii) Asteya: To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is Asteya. Asteya means ” non-stealing.”

(iv) Brahmacarya: To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma is Brahmacarya.

(v) Aparigraha: To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as Aparigraha.

Niyama has five parts — (i) shaoca, (ii) santos’a, (iii) tapah, (iv) sva’dhya’ya, (v) Iishvara pran’idha’na.

(i) Shaoca is of two kinds — purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful.

(ii) Santos’a Contentment with things received unasked-for is santos’a. It is essential to try to be cheerful always.

(iii) Tapah: To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as Tapah. Upava’sa (fasting), serving the guru (preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of yajina, namely. pitr yajina, nr yajina, bhu’ta yajina and adhya’tma yajina (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of tapah. For students, study is the main tapah.

(iv) Sva’dhya’ya: The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is sva’dhya’ya. The philosophical books and scriptures of Ananda Marga are A’nanda Su’tram and Subha’s’ita Sam’graha (all parts), respectively. Sva’dhya’ya is also done by attending dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having satsaunga (spiritual company), but this kind of sva’dhya’ya is intended only for those who are not capable of studying in the above manner.

(v) Iishvara pran’idha’na: This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Carya’carya Part 2, Sa’dhana’ (Intuitional Practice)

2. “On several occasions I have said that Sadvipras are those who follow the principles of Yama and Niyama — the principles of spiritual morality — and are devoted to the Supreme Consciousness.” – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, 1969, Ranchi, Eledit 6, 2001, Prout in a Nutshell Part 18, Sadvipra Boards

3. “The first stage of sa’dhana’ is yama and niyama (strict moral observances), the foundation of spiritual life, the light which dispels the darkness of static ignorance. By perfecting the ten principles of yama and niyama, spiritual aspirants gain the spiritual vigour required to wage the constant war against the dullness of staticity.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Caetra Pu’rn’ima’ 1957, Na’thnagar, Bhagalpur, Eledit 6, 2001, Subha’s’ita Sam’graha 5, Form And Formless

4. “To act according to the dictates of Yama and Niyama or cardinal principles of morality is Pun’ya or virtue; to act against them is Pa’pa or sin. ” – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, July 1961, Ranchi, Eledit 6, 2001, Prout In A Nutshell Part 15, Talks On Prout, Papa And Pun’ya

5. “The first step of sa’dhana’ is Yama and Niyama (moral principles). Yama and Niyama constitute the very base of life of a spiritual aspirant, and serve as a beacon in the life of a spiritual aspirant, to dispel all darkness from the mind. The ten weapons of Yama and Niyama give the sa’dhaka the spiritual strength to fight against all sorts of crudeness. The attainment of Brahma is the only desired goal of their lives, and the weapon for their ceaseless struggle to attain this goal is Yama-Niyama.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Eledit 6, 2001, Light Comes, Necessity Of Sa’dhana’, Subha’s’ita Sam’graha 5, page 97

6. ” The best way to attain mental purity is to follow the principles of Yama and Niyama. ” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti , Eledit 6 , 2001, Yogic Treatments and Natural Remedies , Appendix

7. “Regarding the term “human cardinal principles”, to act according to the dictates of Yama and Niyama is to act according to cardinal human principles and to go against them is to act against cardinal human principles. To violate Yama and Niyama is both a sin and a crime. ” – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, July 1961, Ranchi, Eledit 6, 2001, Prout In A Nutshell Part 15, Talks On Prout, Papa And Pun’ya

8. “If sa’dhakas remain vigilant and alert regarding the principles of Yama and Niyama, that is, the cardinal moral principles, there is little chance of their degradation. Rather with their developed mental and occult force, they will be in a position to render better service to humanity and to utilize their intellects in a better way.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Shra’van’ii Pu’rn’ima’ 1959, Bhagalpur, Eledit 6, 2001, Discourses On Tantra Volume 2, Tantra And Its Effect On Society

9. “The potentiality of an ideal humanity is inherent in Yama and Niyama. Those who are established in Yama and Niyama attain emancipation from the as’t’apa’sha and s’ad’aripu* arising from Avidya’ [the extroversial force]. In this connection it is important to remember that overcoming the as’t’apa’sha and s’ad’aripu is not the same as eliminating them. In order to survive, one will have to maintain these pa’shas and ripus, but you should not be subservient to them, rather they should be subservient to you.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Eledit 6, 2001, Carya’carya Part 1, Chapter 2, Sa’dhana’

10. “To develop a healthy body and mind, the following items must be strictly followed: (1) Yama Sa’dhana’ and (2) Niyama Sa’dhana’.* Special instructions regarding the items of Yama and Niyama should be learned from an a’ca’rya/a’. In fact, the principles of Yama and Niyama perfectly illustrate how one should deal with the surrounding world.” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Eledit 6, 2001, Carya’carya Part 1, Chapter 2, Sa’dhana’

11. “Usually those people whose sole aim is to bring about social, intellectual and economic reforms collapse in exhaustion after achieving a certain amount of success and either give up or get confused. But this does not happen to sa’dhakas because their main focus is not the struggle, but how to reach the goal. Thus they wage a ceaseless struggle against all kinds of defects and distortions with their two most important weapons: yama and niyama. ” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Caetra Pu’rn’ima’ 1957, Na’thnagar, Bhagalpur, Eledit 6, 2001, Subha’s’ita Sam’graha 5, Form And Formless

12. “You know the Sa’dhak is a soldier, a soldier requires weapons. Sa’dhana’ is a fight in your internal sphere, in your mind. There you should have 10 weapons, five Yama and five Niyama. ” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, 17 November 1967, Eledit 6, 2001, Subha’s’ita Sam’graha 19, Triangle Of Forces And The Supreme Entity 13. “In this fight against avidya’ shakti one must have sufficient weapons. You know, a soldier requires weapons, and sa’dhana’ is a fight. In your internal sphere, that is, in your mind, you should have ten weapons. Those ten weapons are five Yama and five Niyama [moral principles].” – Shrii Shrii A’nandamurti, Eledit 6, 2001, A’nanda Vacana’mrtam Part 34, I Have Become A Hero

“HOW TO LIVE IN THE SOCIETY

The establishment of an ideal society depends on the mutual help of the members and their cooperative behaviour. This cooperative behaviour depends on the practice of the principles of Yama and Niyama; so, spiritual practices, especially the practice of Yama and Niyama, are the sound foundation of an ideal society.

It is often noticed that individuals incur debt because of their violating the principles of Yama and Niyama, especially due to their extravagance – and as a result, they approach the society for relief. In this connection I must point out that just as the society is duty-bound to give relief to individuals by combined efforts, so also it must have control over the conduct of individuals, over their practice of the principles of Yama and Niyama, and also over their expenditure. Not to consult anybody at the time of spending money but to ask for help from all when in debt, is not a good practice. Such a mentality cannot be encouraged.

To purchase, by incurring debt, serge where tweed will do, or gaberdine where serge will do, is surely against the principle of aparigraha. Similarly, people should take food which is nutritious but not rich. They have to give up the practice of feeding others with money taken on loan. That is why social control over the individual’s conduct and expenditure is indispensably necessary. Hence, all Ananda Margis, when they see other Margis acting against the principles of Yama and Niyama, must make them shun this habit either by sweet or harsh words or by dealing even more strictly. Thus they will have to make the society strong. Henceforth I direct every Ananda Margi to keep strict vigilance on other Ananda Margi to make them practise the principles of Yama and Niyama and also to accept calmly directions of other Margis in this connection.

I am also giving one more advice in regard to aparigraha. If any Margis have to spend on anything in addition to the fixed expenditure (for example, expensive clothing, ornaments, articles of furniture, marriage, building, etc.), they should, before incurring such expenditure, obtain a clear order from their ácárya, unit secretary or district secretary, or any other person of responsible rank. Similarly, permission is to be obtained before taking loan from any businessman or money-lender. Where one’s own ácárya or any person of responsible rank is not easily available, consultation or rather permission is to be obtained from any other ácárya, táttvika or any right-thinking member of the Marga. Every member should follow this instruction strictly.

NIYAMA SÁDHANÁ

The initial phase of the yaogika cult is the practice of Yama. This has already been explained. Today’s discourse will be on the practice of Niyama. The practice of Brahmacarya is held in higher esteem than the other four items of Yama. Similarly, in Niyama, the most important item is Iishvara prańidhána. To be more clear and concrete we may say that out of the ten principles of Yama and Niyama the remaining eight are subordinated parts of the two items, Brahmacarya and Iishvara Prańidhána. While dealing with their specialties, we may say that Yama Sádhaná is the practice of the physical and psychic strata while the Niyama Sádhaná carries equal weight in mundane, supramundane and spiritual strata.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Ánanda Púrńimá 1957, Jamalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 11, A Guide to Human Conduct, HOW TO LIVE IN THE SOCIETY

“To develop a healthy body and mind, the following items must be strictly followed:

(1) Yama Sádhaná and (2) Niyama Sádhaná.(1) Special instructions regarding the items of Yama and Niyama should be learned from an ácárya/á. In fact, the principles of Yama and Niyama perfectly illustrate how one should deal with the surrounding world.

The potentiality of an ideal humanity is inherent in Yama and Niyama. Those who are established in Yama and Niyama attain emancipation from the aśt́apásha and śad́aripu(2) arising from Avidyá [the extroversial force]. In this connection it is important to remember that overcoming the aśt́apásha and śad́aripu is not the same as eliminating them. In order to survive, one will have to maintain these páshas and ripus, but you should not be subservient to them, rather they should be subservient to you.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1956, Jamalpur, Ananda Marga Caryácarya Part 1, Sádhaná

“(3) Love all, trust in all, but do not give responsibility to those not established in YamaNiyama. (4) Science is not the enemy of humanity. Avidyá (ignorance) is the enemy of humanity. Keep strict vigilance that the knowledge of science is confined only to those persons who are established in YamaNiyama.“… … …”(26) Political workers: (a) Do not be misled by anybody’s tall talk. (b) Do not have any dealings with a party whose policies are opposed to those of the Marga. (c) Continue efforts to change the activities of a party whose policies are in agreement with the Marga but whose activities are opposed to it. (d) Those not established in YamaNiyama should not get the opportunity to assume leadership.“… … …”(27) Electorate: (a) Do not be misled by anyone’s tall talk. Judge merit by seeing the performance. (b) Remember, whatever position one is in offers sufficient opportunity to work. (c) One whose character is not in accordance with YamaNiyama should not get opportunity for becoming a representative. (d) Only people established in YamaNiyama deserve your support; in case of more than one such person, vote for the best worker. Rather than support an incompetent person, it is better not to exercise one’s franchise because to invest an incompetent person with power means to push society towards destruction knowingly and deliberately.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1956, Jamalpur, Ananda Marga Caryácarya Part 2, Society

“Only psychic and spiritual education can create sadvipras. Only those who are established in Yama and Niyama – who are imbued with Cosmic ideation – I call sadvipras.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 26 January 1958 RU, Trimohan, Bhagalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 3, Problems of the Day,  32 “The responsibility for leading society can only be entrusted to the sadvipras because they are well established in Yama and Niyama – they are imbued with Cosmic ideation.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 26 January 1958 RU, Trimohan, Bhagalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 3, Problems of the Day, 34

“Unity and benevolent intellect lead human beings towards supreme fulfilment. Reading voluminous treatises on philosophy will be of no use in awakening this benevolent intellect. For this, one will have to sincerely follow Yama and Niyama in individual life. To establish unity, the society will have to select an ideology which remains unassailed by any spatial, temporal or personal differences. That is why only Cosmic ideology will have to be adopted as the polestar of life. I have already said that those who are established in Yama and Niyama – who are imbued with Cosmic ideation – are genuine sadvipras. They alone can represent human beings. They alone can serve living beings selflessly. People will recognize such sadvipras by their conduct, dedication to selfless service, dutifulness and moral integrity.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 26 January 1958 RU, Trimohan, Bhagalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 3, Problems of the Day, 37

“The first step of sádhaná is Yama and Niyama (moral principles). Yama and Niyama constitute the very base of life of a spiritual aspirant, and serve as a beacon in the life of a spiritual aspirant, to dispel all darkness from the mind. The ten weapons of Yama and Niyama give the sádhaka the spiritual strength to fight against all sorts of crudeness. The attainment of Brahma is the only desired goal of their lives, and the weapon for their ceaseless struggle to attain this goal is YamaNiyama.“- Srii Srii Anandamurti, Saḿgraha V, 97

“The present-day politicians misguide students for their own selfish ends. Certain sections of students have become puppets in their hands. They have lost their originality, and hence are unable to work as a moral check. You Proutists should work as a non-political group strictly adhering to the principles of Yama and Niyama.

Those who have a correct philosophy and a correct spiritual sádhaná based on the principles of Yama and Niyama will be the guiding personalities in the society of tomorrow. It is the duty of conscious people to snatch away the physical power and the intellectual leadership from the hands of political hypocrites. Politicians are of no use to society because they are engaged in the business of mudslinging and nothing else.

If sadvipras [spiritual revolutionaries who follow Yama and Niyama] get active mass support, revolution is bound to come. In case a government adopts the ideals of Prout, the rule of sadvipras will prevail. If the same is not adopted by the government, a physical revolution is sure to come, and ultimately power will be transferred to the sadvipras.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 20 October 1959, Jamalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 4, Discourses on Prout

“G. MENTAL PURITY

Mental purity helps particularly in keeping a person healthy. Impure thoughts increase the acidity of the blood and invite disorders of the stomach, heart and brain. That is why every human being should make a strong as habit as possible of selfless service and Iishvara Prańidhána (meditation). The best way to attain mental purity is to follow the principles of Yama and Niyama. (For a fuller explanation of Yama and Niyama, see A Guide to Human Conduct.)(1)

YAMA SÁDHANÁ

Yama is divided into five parts (1) Ahiḿsá, (2) Satya, (3) Asteya, (4) Brahmacarya and (5) Aparigraha.

1. Ahiḿsá – Not to inflict pain or hurt on any living thing in the world by thought, word or action is “Ahiḿsá.”

2. Satya – The benevolent use of mind and words is “Satya.”

3. Asteya – To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is “Asteya.” “Asteya” means “non-stealing.”

4. Brahmacarya – To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma (the Supreme Entity) is “Brahmacarya.”

5. Aparigraha – To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as “Aparigraha.”

NIYAMA SÁDHANÁ

Niyama is also divided into five parts – (1) Shaoca, (2) Santośa, (3) Tapah, (4) Svádhyáya and (5) Iishvara Prańidhána.

1. Shaoca is of two kinds – Purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful.

2. Santośa – Contentment for things received unasked-for is “Santośa.” It is essential to try to be cheerful always.

3. Tapah – To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as “Tapah.” Upavása (fasting), serving the Guru (Preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of Yajiṋa, namely, Pitr Yajiṋa, Nr Yajiṋa, Bhúta Yajiṋa and Adhyátma Yajiṋa (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of Tapah. For students, study is the main Tapah.

4. Svádhyáya – The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is “Svádhyáya.” The philosophical books and scriptures of Ananda Marga are Ánanda Sútram and Subháśita Saḿgraha (all parts) respectively. Svádhyáya is also done by attending Dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having Satsauṋga (spiritual company), but this kind of Svadhyaya is intended only for those who are not capable of studying in the above manner.

5. Iishvara Prańidhána – This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life.

Human life is short. It is wise to get all the instructions regarding Sádhaná (intuitional practice) as soon as possible.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1958, Yogic Treatments and Natural Remedies, Appendix

“No attachment to worldly objects will be developed if we observe Yama and Niyama, since every item of YamaNiyama is part of Brahma Sádhaná through worldly deeds. Hence when you are able to perfectly observe the spiritual practice of YamaNiyama, your mind becomes absorbed in Brahma – the ultimate goal of this spiritual practice. For example, suppose a woman is extremely occupied in earning money. For her nothing remains in the world except money. In the same way for the aspirant who is absorbed in YamaNiyama Sádhaná and dedicated to the attainment of Brahma, there is nothing but Brahma. The life of the person devoted to earning money becomes like a desert because everything except money is alien. But the aspirants of Brahma cannot call anything alien since everything is Brahma.” – Srii Srii Ananda Murti, c. 1955 DMC, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 1, The Form of Sádhaná

“PROUT’s view is that there should be no difference between sin and crime, and hence the penal code should be prepared on the basis of human cardinal principles. Regarding the term “human cardinal principles”, to act according to the dictates of Yama and Niyama is to act according to cardinal human principles and to go against them is to act against cardinal human principles. To violate Yama and Niyama is both a sin and a crime. Proutists should have nothing to do with local faiths or customs while framing the legal structure of human society.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, July 1961, Ranchi, Prout in a Nutshell Part 15, Talks on Prout, PÁPA AND PUŃYA

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