Raja Yoga – Part 5: Effects of Niyama Practice (Continued)


Photo credit: THEORO

Namaskar, welcome back!

We were discussing the benefits of practicing niyama, the second limb of Astanga Yoga.

Our great teacher, Shri Patanjali Maharishi tells us about the effect of practicing santosha(contentment) as:

Santoshat anuttama sukha labhah |   -Yoga Sutras 2.42

By practicing, santosha, we get the best happiness.

It means that, we will always be happy with what we have. We will no longer go after accumulating more things and becoming more happy!  That is why Maharishi said: santosha leads to the best happiness.

Kayendriyashuddhih  ashuddhikshaayah tapasah | -Yoga Sutras 2.43

Establishing in tapas eliminates our impurities and unleashes special powers of body and senses.

What are the impurities? Accumulated karma, i.e. effects of our good and bad deeds in our past lives. Once we eliminate these, we gain supernatural powers(siddhis) of Universal  Self itself.  We obtain special powers of body: anima(becoming as small as we like!), garima(growing our body as big as we wish!) etc.  Also, our senses will be super-sensitive: our eyes can see the things happening in a distant place(clairvoyance), our ears can hear people talking  in a place several thousand miles away(clairaudience), etc.

Fantastic! Is it not a great achievement to acquire these supernatural powers (siddhis)!?

Well, it depends on what you are looking for.  People can easily get carried away by siddhis and fall from their path into a deep abyss!  At worst, some people go after siddhis without any guidance and cause themselves immeasurable damage. This is where the importance of Sadguru comes in.  Sadguru’s Grace protects us from this kind of free fall and all dangers.

Our great masters term these special powers or siddhis as obstacles in the path of yoga and advise us to just ignore it. They further warn us not to get entangled with them in any way. Maharishi Patanjali says:

Te samadhau upsarga vythane siddhayah | – Yoga Sutras 3.37

These  special powers are siddhis in daily life and are obstacles in meditation. Well said by our great master!

Why? Remember, our goal is to realize the Universal Self.  Going after temporary siddhis to attract  people’s attention, just  like a street magician, is definitely not a goal! The siddhis put us again through the infinite birth-death cycle and suffering as a result.

So, the message from our great masters is loud and clear: supernatural powers are impediments in our path and we must ignore and move ahead to realize the ultimate goal. Needless to say, any siddhi is never a goal. Since it is important for every yoga practitioner to know this, we went into finer details.  OK! That is enough for now.

Let us continue our discussion further in the next post.

Next post: Raja Yoga- Part 6. Stay tuned!

Krishno rakshatu no Guruh |

May Krisha, our great teacher protect us!

Om Namah Shivaya ||

– Kalidas

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