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The Role of Meditation and Ethics in Yoga

Augusta Lewis interpretation of yoga in its ultimate sense. One is the are two seminal texts that inspire and influence our modern day There Swartmarama. There are many other detailed texts Patanjali, and the other is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Yoga Sutras by .the best known of yoga; however the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) and Yoga Sutras (YS) are on the ancient science YSof Pantajali emphasizing emphatically the the surface the two seem to have quite differing approaches, with the On yog. On the other hand the HYP niyamas, and the cultivation of sublime attitudes for the attainment of observance of yamas and exercises of the body instead lays main emphasis on the control of prana through physical mentions these observances less and awakening and moving and controlling the powerful awakened energy of and the senses. It also talks about the science of .kundalini, which is not mentioned at all in theYS different systems or paths. Infect, the HYP it would be incorrect to conclude that these two texts talk of entirely ,However the greater framework of raja that its ultimate usage as a system for complete liberation lies within restates a number of times knowledge of in verse two or HYP it is said that Yogi Swarmarama instructs the ,yoga (as expanded in the YS). For example Although, HYP and kundalini could be viewed as a complete path in .Hatha Yoga only for (raja yoga) the highest state of yoga steps in Patanjali's eight-limb system or asana and itself, it could also be viewed as and in depth presentation of the two .essay this way that I will discuss its relevance in the framework of this pranayama. It is in gross physical level it may be particularly suitable to of HYPs approach of first controlling the outgoing tendencies on a Because people of the modern world where the predominant beginners to the science to yoga. It may be particularly suited to introduce misguided means to secure ultimate one of speed, consumerism and sensory gratification. Which is a prevailing culture is kali Yug (P56, says "In hatha yoga the whole system has been designed for people of the happiness. As Swami Muktabodhanda for like "running from clans of lions into a cage of lions". This is because HYP). He likes trying to confront and control the mind agitated to understand yamas and niyamas at anything but an most, but certainly not all, the minds of modern people are too because Hatha Yoga at its higher level suggests ,level. At this level they could be distorted and misrepresented. Also intellectual sexual involvement) it may appeal to can actually be used on the path of yoga (specifically in regards to that sensual involvement first, for example Mahayana still paths for lay-people in other traditions that emphasize ethics modern people. However, there are .(drawing inspiration from tantric sources and Vajrayana Buddhism (the latter also particularly rajasic and tamasic tendencies, in which way it Yoga may have a particular role in reducing and rebalancing Hatha and the transformation which yoga presents as an gradually bring people towards the possibility of one-pointed meditation will mind inward and strengthening controlling prana, increasing the mind-body communication, turning the opportunity. By useful for supporting useful tools for preparing one to begin meditation, but and are also concentration, asana and pranayama are modern humans, to meditate. It would be a mistake, I feel, and an under estimation of the stability and depth of those who already Yoga. obtained without first controlling the movement of prana through Hatha assure that deep insight and realization cannot be immediately connect with meditation, and deep insight. Many of There are millions of reasonably sattvic people who are able to clarity through the practice of ethical activity, pure people may have cultivated these circumstances through the creation of these have good karma and little disturbance in the kindness compassion and consideration for others. In other words they ,conduct the rest of existence there will be course whilst still locked in the delusion of the separation of ego from mind from negativity. Of practicing these types of able to gain deep insight fairly easily. Some aspirants may have been ignorant action, but they may be may be 'ripe' or , they motivation for the welfare of others in this and pervious life times and selfless actions naturally with good removing yoga and feel motivated to practice pure conduct as a means for may wish to understand the deeper dimensions of truth, honesty, sensual abstinence and non possessiveness" as means to ,obstacles. Sutra 30, chapter 2 of YS states "non-violence koruna, upeka and maitri. All these cultivations ,remove ignorance. The YS also mentions the Brahma Vinaras of mudita nature of reality. However as Swami tendency of self-grasping, which is based on ignorance of the true undercut the ego's right as opposed to wrong, ,morality are practiced dualistically (i.e. good as opposed to bad Satyananda points out, if ethics and kind of wrong danger of division in the mind that may be acted out in the world. This clean as opposed to dirty etc.) there is .other leads to more problems and suffering understanding (which is based on separation of self and right understanding. This right understanding the practice of virtuous conduct, and its cultivation must be based on ,Therefore of a separate self. All the negative that action which is not virtuous is based on grasping at the illusion comes from the knowledge negative actions through act as obscurations to ultimate truth that therefore must purify past actions of body, speech and mind completely lose their 'create obscurations. In this way, concepts such as 'compassion fractions and not repeat negative actions that other on approximations of ultimate reality (ie no separation between self and sentimental connotations because they are closer .(the ultimate level joining an asana class. They may wish to achieve a this is quite a long way away from peoples' initial motivations for ,However heard that yoga can bring peace of mind, greater energy for carrying out their daily tasks, perhaps they have firm bum and tum, or pranayama will provide these improve their physical health. Hatha yoga's system of asana and or maybe they are looking to chapter2 ,47 aim. HYP mentions these by-products quite extensively for example verse benefits as a by-product of its ultimate prana down from the throat, the yogi becomes free from old age and (HYP) notes "easing the apana upwards and bringing the ".appears as if sixteen years of age HYP expounds all these mundane benefits such as .may be very appealing to some, in this youth and beauty obsessed age This may develop through the course manifesting in the physical body, both HYP and the YS list siddhis that the decrease in diseases

path of yoga. To that these should not be sought, and may serve as distractions on the of practice. But Patanjali rightly warns Ahimsa means coming closer to pure spirit", (Swani Maktibadhanada" ,mention casually in a beginners class for example that .has came to a yoga class to get fit (HYP, P57) may seem totally random and inappropriate for a person who person dawn over time by controlling the prana the practice of asana and pranayama does gradually begin to calm a ,However evolutionary path accessible to inwards. Therefore the system expounded in HYP offers a graduated and turning the mind expands this consciousness, a place where we can all start from. The HYP skillfully all. This begins at the level of body mundane/worldly accomplishments such as health andvitality and then it graduated path first emphasizing the fullfilment of its chapters. The possibility of health, youthfulness, gradually introduces a transcendental dimension as it progresses through practicing a person begins to prepare themselves for siddhis may offer an initial incentive to a practitioner, but in vitality and an ashram may be a good introduction to yoga knowingly or unknowingly. This is where retreats or time spent at higher levels of jnana yoga and a sattvic ,practices beyond asana. This may include an introduction to karma yoga more comprehensive yogic sufficient interest non-violence. This may also be the time, now that an aspirant has shown diet based on principles of ahimsa or stealing, ,principles of ethics basic such as refraining from killing ¸lying and commitment to the path of yoga, to introduce the .sexual conduct and taking intoxicants detailed and abstract aspects of yoga can be can also be introduced at this point. The teaching of ethics, a more Meditation .through dharma talks introduced gradually context of yamas and niymas that it could be is a danger that if the yogic path is not presented in its wider There .misused misinterpreted and are not also introduced to the notions may use tantric knowledge for power, prestige and personal gain if they Individuals .self-less service of ethical observance and non-violence, truth, non-stealing, " yoga pradipika itself in its sixteenth verse expounds the importance of Hatha about the futility compassion, humility, moderate diet and cleanliness" and also talks ,continence, forgiveness, endurance of raja yoga. In verse 79 of HYP chapter 3 it is said that "there are of practicing hatha yoga if it is not in the context consider them as mere practitioners because practitioners of hatha yoga who do not have the knowledge of Raja Yoga. I .perfections of yamas and niyamas their efforts". And, Raja Yoga cannot be achieved without the they derive no fruits for modern world, and should be prevented by a misuse of the knowledge of kundalini is particularly prevalent in the The .preservation of the science of yoga well-balance and integrated however. There was once a famous Tibetan yogi misuse of the power of tantric knowledge is not a new phenomenon The family members as a young man was deeply hurt and angered by some of the actions of his saint named Milerepa, who taught him many powerful yogic techniques, but no yama or and community. He trained under a tantric master who had learnt to murder his family members training. Milerepa had vengeance on his mind, so used the techniques he niyama endured countless trials state of remorse he found his true teacher, Marpa. Under Marpa he and community. In a pitiful bodhicitta. Marpa taught ,obscurations, until finally he uncovered his own inner purity and austerities to purify his heavy Kargu compassion for other. MIlerepa become one of the great masters of the Milerepa a complete path of yoga including without virtue and pure ethics is like a car without a lineage in Tibet which exist to this day. So, it seems that yoga trained. Flexibility in the body is a When the body and prana become disciplined, the mind is ready to be .steering wheel .mind metaphor for flexibility in the .Mind training is action/activity in line with the supreme goal expressive yoga, and its main theme is service. Swamin Niranjananda Saraswati says" the yoga of Swami Sivananda is As a day. It becomes an express yoga, yoga no longer remains a one-hour practice to be done once When our life begins to a day."(Yoga Magazine Bihar School. Year 6, Issue 10) attitude and awareness with which we live 24-hours compassion for all sentient in life, together conclusion Yamas and Niyamas, Karma Yoga (selfless service) and In training involved in the seamless system of ethics training which points to the truth. The mind constitute a part of a spontaneous action begin to express what Swami Sivananda described as 'a cultivation of virtuous qualities and their .'divine life Swami Sivananda also noted that "the first step on the spiritual path is selfless service of humanity [or any other life form] redeems and energizes. To live life through service is to ,Selfless service elevates and makes you divine. Service purifies . cosmic consciousness. Therefore with life’s inner most secret. To serve humanity is to be in union with be intimate .and bhav" –Swamin Sivananda, 'Glorious vision'. P20 selflessly serve humanity with sincerity Our true work as practitioners and teachers of yoga is to uncover our own divine nature, and help others to do the same

The role of meditation and ethics in yoga