“By the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the imperial dwindle away and there dawns the light of wisdom, leading to discriminative discernment.” – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Book Two 28.
Raj means Royal. Royalty must rule. Rulers make rules. Patanjali’s rules are Ashtanga. Ashtanga is Eight Limbs. Eight balances the material to the non-material.
Now wether we decide to take these on as rules or guidelines, one thing should be clear : to progress to Samãdhi one must play by the rules – or at least know what they are. These rituals are just that because they have stood the test of time. Even though we may be able to adapt and modify for modern western living, I believe the core principles shouldn’t vary.
Yama gives us a code of ethics to use as a measuring stick for moral rectitude. According to many of the sages, without the recognition of this social yardstick, one will never attain the foundation for Nirvana.
Practice compassion not only to all other living creatures but also to yourself. There can be no greater expression of Love than compassion.
Worldly possessions are subject to change and will ultimately be destroyed. The practice of non attachment allows us the freedom to change and move without hinderance.
Seek Truthfulness. The old adages say “the truth will set you free” and “the truth hurts”. Patanjali also teaches us that there can be no yoga without pain. Seek the truth. The pain will set you free.
Be generous with your energy and never take what is not yours. Do not support exploitation or oppression of your brothers and sisters.
The practice of moderation. When we practice continence and control our physical impulses we can conserve energy and maintain healthy balance within ourselves which will then radiate into the macrocosm around us.
To bring these observances into one’s life is not easy. It is the challenge of every mortal being however to transcend from the physical to the metaphysical.