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Thread: Tapa

  1. #11
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    December 2013
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    Re: Tapa

    Namaste ji
    Quote Originally Posted by orlando View Post
    My question is about one of the five niyamas listed in Patanjali's Yoga-sutra: what is tapa?
    I am currently studying the Yoga Sutras and several commentaries on Patanjali's work describing Ashtanga Yoga, and wanted to offer my thoughts.
    Also, my thanks to you for this question at this timing. Reviewing this has cleared up and settled my mind in some areas. Thank you.

    Interesting the form of the word you chose here: "Tāpa" is not a Niyama, the Niyama is "Tapas" or "Tapasaḥ":

    ताप - meaning "distress" or "suffering", sometimes "pain" found in sutra II.15:
    परिनाम्तापसंस्कारदुःस्वैगु॔णवून्त विरोधाच्
    च दुःस्वम एव सव॔ँ विवेकिनः
    For one who has discrimination, everything is suffering on account of the suffering produced by consequences (of action), by pain (itself), and by the saṃskāras, as well as on account of the suffering ensuing from the turmoil of the vṛttis due to the guṇas.

    This is a key sutra to the second chapter and to Kriya Yoga. All experience, whether good/pleasurable or bad/unpleasurable, is suffering. When we understand this, we seek to end distress or suffering through the practice of Yamas and Niyamas.

    तपः - meaning "Austerity" or "Self-discipline", found in II.1
    तपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगः
    Kriyā-yoga, the path of action, consists of self-discipline (Tapas), study (svādhyāya), and dedication to the Lord (Īśvara-praṇidhāna).

    This is the path for those living in the material world, who are not yet established enough in sattvic mind and Yoga to practice abhyāsa and vairāgya well. Kriya Yoga helps to cultivate sattvic mind.
    Because we are attracted and addicted to sense objects, we must cultivate self-discipline, 'Tapas', it is the most important thing to Yoga, there is no Yoga without Tapas. For those who are not in full control of their mind, it is best to use faily gentle auterities to cultivate sattvik mind and avoid causing turmoil or impressions. Limiting actions to ones that produce as much sattva as possible and as little Rajas and Tamas as possible helps the individual gain control of mind, from which one can progress. Things like controlling what you eat and how much, what you listen to, what you read, celebacy, these are good for beginners on the path to reign in the senses. More severe austerities may be taken by those in strog control of the mind.

    Together, all three key practices in Kriya Yoga are also the first three Niyamas.

    The form of study and dedication to the Lord described here is not the same as in the advanced stages described in the first chapter. This is considered by many to be a match to Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jñāna Yoga, as described in the Gita. Kriya Yoga combines them all.

    Last edited by Aanandinii; 19 July 2015 at 10:58 PM.
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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