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Yama and Niyama

Yama and Niyama

This class refers to spiritual "dos" and "don'ts" - the universal precepts of moral behaviour. So perhaps a good way to get right to the point would be to tell you that I am your "Drill Sergeant" for this evening, and am here to tell you the rules.

It is interesting to observe one's immediate reaction to such a statement. Did you feel yourself drawing back mentally? If so, that response is very understandable; the soul instinctively rebels against anything that diminishes its inherent sovereignty. But in this case a negative response is a little misguided and that, really, is the first point to understand about this subject: that maya tries to convince us that spiritual rules curtail our freedom, that they are oppressors. We react negatively to these rules because the soul within us has been de-throned; that petty dictator, the ego, has asserted itself.

And the ego feels threatened, because it knows that yama and niyama the laws we find in the scriptures of all great world religions, and which are referred to in Iudeo-Christian scripture as the Ten Commandments - are the first steps to soul freedom. The truth is this: Rules are not our masters but our servants, and he is their master who obeys them. 

About the Spiritual Author

Debolina Choudhury

Swami Chidananda Giri has been a monk of the Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization Fellowship for more than thirty-five years. He is a member of the SRF Board of Directors and serves as assis- tant to the editor-in-chief of SRF publications.


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