Gradual disconnect with materialism

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Normally we come across camps on Dhyan Yog being organised by Yog gurus. And a good number of people perturbed by tensions of life are drawn to attend such camps at exorbitant costs.
Dhyan is often made to link with meditation and meditation with concentration, in such camps. And with pride people claim to undertake meditation on a regular basis in their lives. But a little conversation on their life styles reveals the truth how deeply they are involved in the materialistic life even after attending such camps.
Dhyan is gradual disconnect with materialism. And more so Dhyan is the 7th stage of Ashtang Yoga.
Can one be made to learn the 7th stage straightaway without going through the first six stages which are an integral part of preparing oneself for Dhyan Yog? Obviously not. Let us learn about the different stages explained by Maharishi Patanjali. It is essential not only for yogis but all of us to go through these stages to reach Dhyan Yog.
These stages are:
1. YAM is the first stage of Ashtang Yog. This stage prepares us to withdraw our Mind and Indriyans (instincts) from ills of Hinsa (violence) etc. There are five steps of Yam to be practised in our lives. These are:
a ) Ahimsa (Non violence )- It is not only our physical overture over others but also that of mind, speech and thoughts. Even thinking ill of others is beyond troubling others physically or mentally.
b) Satya – Truth is not only what one speaks. It is aligning the process of thoughts, actions and speech. Normally we tend to speak according to circumstantial requirements while there is something else in our thoughts and mind. As we come across someone on road we tend to utter how wonderful it was to meet him, or that “I was just thinking of you”, but inwards it had struck our mind, oh how bad it was to face that person while on way to the holy business.
Often we tend to smile at others while curse them in our thoughts. Our speech should not be hurting others and if uncontrollable we should try not to speak.
c) Asteya- It means not to steal. Possessing something which doesn’t belong to us is Asteya. Even the thought of possessing through fair or foul means is Asteya. We should be contended with what God has bestowed upon us.
d) Bramcharya – It not only means not getting married but also staying chaste in thoughts and all actions. A brahmchari must be able to achieve total control on his sensual and physical instincts like eyes, ears, nose, skin, reproductive organs etc.
The way water has the properties of liquid, ice, and steam and return to its original form. Similarly Bramcharya is our true state. Truly we have no inherent qualities of Kaam (vasna), Krodh (anger), Lobh (desire), Moh(attraction) and Ahankar (pride). These bad thoughts come to us like thieves, stay with us for sometime and steal away our physical strength, our values and peace of mind. If we perceive it to be all natural in life then no one can save us.
In Bhagwat Geeta also Lord Krishna says that we are a soul and not just a body. And the natural instincts of a soul are Friendship, love, sympathy, service, submission, peace and anand. It is we alone who invite these bad thoughts which result into bad actions and of course bad karmas.
e) Aprigrah- It means non accumulation of worldly possessions. One should be contended with minimum money, bare necessities of life, a small house etc. While the major aim of life should be worshipping God. One should not be proud of worldly possessions and belongings. All these are temporary and must be utilised for the welfare of others.
The ills of amassing wealth, the ills of protecting those possessions, the ills of attachments with these items lead to violence against others, one way or the other.
One should abide by the rules of all these Yamas with total involvement of our thoughts, speech and actions.
Normally while following these principles we tend to set our own limitations of time, place, circumstances beyond which we feel that we are free to go astray. But there cannot be any self drawn limitations.
Following Niyam is the second basic need of doing Yog after Yam which we have discussed in the previous chapter. Yog in simple terms is plus or addition or getting United to God. Some of the readers may have been in disagreement with accepting brahmcharya as it is difficult to follow. But let us accept that beyond physical brahamcharya there is spiritual cleaning too. Strictly having relations with spouse only.
Now coming to Niyam. There are five kinds of Niyam. These are:
1. Shauch- It means purity and pavitrata. It is of two kinds, internal and external. While the external cleanliness can be obtained with daily bathing, the internal purity can be attained with the following activities;
purity of heart with truthful conduct,
purity of soul with education and tapah, and
purity of mind through knowledge.
For internal purity one needs to seek the blessings of Rishi munis.
2. Santosh – One must do complete (purusharth) efforts within the available sources. It also denotes that one must remain fully satisfied with the outcome of efforts without undue desires of the unattainable. It means that one must remain satisfied with the results of efforts and grace of God and not hanker after the mirage of endless desires.
“Jab aaye Santosh Dhan
Sab Dhan dhuri saman”.
Those at peace of heart can attain eternal satisfaction which many rich people cannot get. The real meaning of happiness is internal satisfaction. Money can never satisfy anyone as the desires are unlimited. The more these are fulfilled the more they arise.
One must remain fully satisfied with whatever results God gives us judiciously for our karmas.
3. Tapah – Being at peace with the internal struggles of mind is called tapah. Acceptance of problems, difficulties, and oppositions in the pursuit of rightful goals is indeed the true tapah.
In Mahabharta when Yaksh asks Yudhishtar, “what are the goals of tapah? To this Yudhishtar replies that “Facing all the difficulties bravely in the achievement of one’s duties is the real tapah”. Such adversities are hunger, thirst, sukh dukh, honour dishonour, win lose, etc.
These difficulties do not include self imposed hardships some people do to the physical self like standing on one foot, walking or facing the heat of fire etc.
4. Swadhyay – The dedicated recitation of God’s name and reading of Ved , Upnishads, Geeta, and religious books is swadhyay. The literal meaning of swadhyay is reading of good books.
The second meaning of swadhyay is reading of the self, to realise “who am I?” What should I do, what I am doing, what is the aim of my life? Why I was born? etc. Once we realise the real goal of human life to make progress towards Moksh and attaining higher levels, the materialistic pursuits will appear to be fruitless.
5. Dedication to God – If one decides to dedicate all his karmas to almighty God, one will always be careful to perform only good karma. Because naturally we can offer only the good, pure, holy and spiritual to God, we will always be required to perform only such karmas which can be dedicated to God.
When the aim of all our karmas will be unto God we will automatically do the good karmas only. . One must realise that that entire he has got in life viz this body, strength, beauty, affluence, money, materialistic possessions, position etc is because of the blessings of God.
Then why not to utilise all these possessions to appease him. Such a person will always remain under His blessings.
It is becoming clear that the mere following of these Yams and Niyam one can be on the path of leading a pious and spiritual life.
In the next episode we will discuss on the difficulties one encounters in the performance of such karmas.
Aayshmaan bhavah!

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