Raja Yoga – Part 4: Effects of Niyama Practice


Flower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

In the last post, we discussed niyamas in Raja Yoga.  Just to recapitulate:  they are practices of self-discipline aimed to focus ourselves to the Universal Self.  What are the benefits obtained along the way  by following  these?   Let us understand.

Maharishi Patanjali is the authority and our revered teacher. He says:

Shauchat swanga jugupsa parairasamsargah | -Yoga Sutras 2.40

Establishing in shaucha(cleanliness) leads to non-attachment  with our own body and others.

The fact that we are cleaning our bodies everyday implies that –  by nature they are dirty or get dirty everyday!  When one practices shaucha, it will generate the awareness in him that – “I am pure self and my body is dirty. So, I should not be so attached with it!” When one’s body itself is dirty, how can he assure the cleanliness of anybody else?  So, the practitioner reduces the attachment with others too.

Are these all? Maharishi says “No, there are more benefits by shaucha”.  He elaborates:

Satva shuddhi saumanasya aikagrya indriyajaya atmadarshana yogyatvani cha | -Yoga Sutras 2.41

Purity of nature, pure mind, concentration, control of senses and qualification to see the Universal Self too.

Satva Shuddi(Purity of our nature): Some of us are by nature calm, some are aggressive and some are easily irritable. So, this nature will be purified by our practice of shaucha. We will be more calm, composed and peaceful.

Saumanasya(Pure mind): Most of the times, our mind thinks continuously on various things – on many topics – good and bad. Shaucha practice directs our mind to think on only good things including the best thing – the Universal Self.

Aikagrya(Concentration):  Concentration of the mind improves by shaucha. Remember, that we said that shauch is about cleanliness of thoughts. So, it leads to concentration.

Indriya Jaya(Control of senses):  We will have better control on our sense organs. How?  Imagine we sit for meditation in a place where song or music is playing. Our ears report about the music and mind starts focusing on the music! Now, if our senses are under our control, we are in charge. We command the sense organ(ear in this case) to just stop listening until we finish meditation! We can peacefully meditate anywhere. How nice it would be!

Atmadarshana yogyatva(Qualification to see our Self): All other benefits above lead to this. How?  After our nature is purified, when sit for meditation with pure mind with full concentration and when our senses are controlled, we can see our Individual Self very easily now!  This is the ultimate benefit, indeed!

We will discuss more in the next post.

Next post: Raja Yoga- Part 5. Read on!

Shan no Mitrah Sham Varunah |

May Surya(Sun) and Varuna (Rain God) do good to us!

Om Namah Shivaya ||

– Kalidas

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