Patanjali's Niyamas

Patanjali's Niyamas

Posted On : 01 February 2017.

Posted By : Yogi Mahesh Chetan.

Patanjali’s yoga sutra contains 8 limbs. Here, we will explore the 2nd limb: Niyamas.
Niyamas are rules for personal behavior. The five Niyamas are:

  1. Shauch - cleansing
  2. Santosh - contentment
  3. Tapas - austerity
  4. Swaadhyaya - self-study
  5. Ishwar Pranidhaan - devotion to God

Shauch - Cleansing

According to Patanjali, there are four negative emotions that need to be removed constantly.

Jealousy: Caused because of someone else’s fortune. It’s caused by the inability to give genuine appreciation for what someone else has. Learning how to give genuine appreciation is called friendship.

Hate: How do you change the hate? You have to replace it with love. Hate is the absence of love.

Sadistic pleasure: This is the act of deriving pleasure from another’s misfortune or suffering. This should be over come by compassion.

Arrogance: Caused by the go, it can be removed by humbleness. It comes through knowledge and understanding.

Santosh: contentment

What is contentment? It is the practice of being rich. In this materialistic world, it’s easy to find yourself always wanting more. Richness is a state of mind. When someone is content, they have no more complaints. Satisfaction is not a resignation. It is contentment.

Tapas - austerity

Simple meaning of the word tapa means burning. The practitioners are asked to burn themselves.
The difficulties of life need to be accepted as a method of self-development. They will burn away the impurities and make you solid. When the subject is able to overcome various injuries and he can handle them easily, he has become a tapasya.
Becoming a tapasya by choice is more difficult. A tapasya would say problems of life are not enough for them and jump into the furnace. They choose more problems in life. It happens when one challenges the self and get stronger.
The most common universal tapasya is fasting. It is a universal and appreciated method in all religions. Fasting doesn’t go well with Hatha yoga and cleansing.

Swaadhyaya - self study

This is the practice of knowledge and acquiring more knowledge. Light will come after the knowledge. Then going beyond immortality and fear is possible.
What is false knowledge? It's saying that you already know. It's the arrogance that you already know it. Right knowledge is being aware of your own ignorance. Spiritual growth begins with realizing our own ignorance.
There are three levels of learning: education, knowledge and wisdom. Education is what you learn from parents and surroundings. Knowledge comes from asking, evaluating and criticizing. It is achieved as an essence of education.
Wisdom comes with experience: application of what you know and putting it in to practice.

Ishwar Pranidhaan - devotion to God

This is the practice of belief, devotion and surrendering to God. Here, one needs to see existence and occurrences as part of the plan and discover one’s role in the scheme of things. Ishwar is not only the creator and sustainer but also represents our goals in life.