05 Mar Hansaji on ‘Yamas’ at the Satsang, 3rd March 2013
The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 3rd March, 2013 was ‘Yamas.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the Audio:
“Yama – the first step of the 8 fold path. It is observed that Patanjali was a great psychiatrist, psychologist and philosopher. The whole list of Yamas given is such that if we don’t follow Yamas, we are going to hurt ourselves. We are going to harm ourselves, weaken, we would develop diseases, etc.
So the first step is to stop hurting ourselves. We should live life in a way that we would be doing something good, not something wrong. Yama is the step which turns us from animals to human beings. Action-reaction is an animal quality. If one dog barks, the other barks in return. A human is one who acts after thinking.
But instead of following Ahimsa, we do Himsa. We get hurt and hurt others. If someone shouts at you or does not respect you, you feel hurt and are harming yourself. In following Yamas, you DON’T get hurt, you DON’T speak lies, etc. So Yamas are DON’TS. Normally we would like to do because biologically we are animals and we have the natural traits to react. But we have to deviate from the natural traits. So what you normally like to do, don’t do. So when we come to the level of human beings, life would be easier.
So firstly we should not hurt ourselves. We feel bad, anxious, sad, tense, hate, jealousy, etc. These traits harm us, peace and quiet are out of the picture, what really comes in is restless mind, sick mind, insecure mind, a mind that is full of fear and anxiety.
So we are given five Yamas:
Ahimsa – don’t get hurt and don’t hurt others. Don’t impose your ideas on others, don’t speak loudly, etc.
Satya – It is harmful if you speak untruth. Face the situation, speak the truth. Truth is a very clinical thing, facts as they are. Don’t bring emotions into it.
Asteya – Taking the credit for something others have done is the work of a calculative mind. This sort of development is wrong for human life. So Asteya is non-stealing. It is said that what you think and do when no one is watching, is your true character.
Bhramacharya – Yoga talks a lot about our sensory organs. They should be completely in our control. Our organs show us what is happening outside, which could be good or bad. But what am I seeing or hearing, speaking or how am I behaving is having a direct influence on my physical and mental health. So it is important to not overeat, to remain disciplined in married life and not allow the mind to wander elsewhere. We should not keep hoarding things, we should share and think of the good of others. Bhramacharya is not limited to just sex. It means control in any sensory pleasure. Keep the purpose and limits in mind when you act.
Aparigraha – Hoarding is wrong. Keep your cupboard only half full. Even with books. Too much reading and thinking with no application is hoarding. Anything you do has to be level-headed.
So these Yamas are to uplift us into human beings, to make us do what is good for us and keeps us balanced. It is a very scientific step. Someone was arguing that Yama is very difficult to follow. Asanas are easy. And we generally go from easy to difficult. Then why is Yama kept as the first step? Yamas take us above animal level to human level. If that is not done, Asanas will be practiced at a very animalistic level, just for show, it would take you downhill, not for yourself but for the world to appreciate your body or to entertain, etc.
So Patanjali has made these steps after great thought. Now what is required is effort, to whatever extent possible. But at lease the awareness should be there that we should take the right path. It might be difficult but ultimately it will make me strong, healthy and capable. So we must live our life keeping this in mind.”