Hari Om


In Patañjali’s yogadarśana (the yoga sutras of Patañjali), chapter two Sādhana Pada, he calls out the 8 limbs of yoga. Within these 8 limbs he outlines yama & niyama¹. We have several posts on this and there is little need to list them out here.

One may think yama and niyama ' jheesh, more rules to comply with'. Yet there is a benefit to mastering these behaviors; I hope I can be better at this myself and improve.

Each sutra¹ on this matter talks of the benefits the sadhu will realize when the practice is successful. We can discuss each of them if there is interest, yet The one that has caught my attention as of late is one of the 5 yamas, and that of aparigraha.

Aparigraha... If we look at this word it is most interesting, apa+ri+graha. The components tell us something about it:
_apa अप as a prefix suggests to back away, to back off + ri ( rI or rī री) is to release , set free, detach from + graha ग्रह is seizing , laying hold of , holding, some say binding. That is why we call the planets grahas, as they seize or influence the actions of the native.

So this aparigraha is to back-away from and release (from the behavior of, since it is a yama) of grasping, binding and seizing. Therefore apaigraha is a most descriptive term for the absence of hoarding. Some people in the West call this avarice or being greedy and covetous. There is even a psychological disorder called compulsive hoarding; the urge to hold on to even the most mundane objects and collect them.

This hoarding is the accumulation of finite things, of more possessions that bind ones awareness to the objects possessed. Why does one do this? Why is there this grasping and collecting? Patañjali gives us a clue:

Chapt 2, sutra 7: Sukhanusayi ragah
Sukha¹ - ordinary pleasure
anusayi- associated with; clinging to; dependent upon
raga - attachment; an attraction or propensity toward an object; a desire, liking, a positive preference; something mind considers desirable
Clinging to (anusayi) the anticipation of pleasure (sukha), that attraction becomes raga or attachment, a preference for that pleasurable (sukha) experience.
So, this notion of hoarding is the expected result of some pleasure. Hence, more accumulation of things infers to the native that more pleasure should accompany the accumulation, but with this comes more attachment to the objects and the cycle continues.

Perhaps this is why rishi Sanatkumara said nalpe sukham asti - 'finite things do not contain happiness'. The wise know that finite things possess little bits of happiness for us. Not enough to satisfy us for long periods of time. These bits of possessions do not bring the full joy we are looking for. Also these bits are part of the whole, the fullness of this Being. They are not bad things, they are material. To the enlightened eye all things are , in essence, consciousness that has taken shape.

Why does one pursue things? The wise tell us that the desire for final freedom, when projected through the senses becomes the desire for objects. "Maybe if I have this, this it will make me feel full, complete, whole". This chasing takes us from birth to birth. Its said , unfulfilled desires brings one to the next birth.

What then is the fruit of achieving aparigraha?

Chapter 2, sutra 39: aparigraha-sthairye janma-kathamta-sambodhah
aparigraha - (as we discussed above) - non-hoarding, non-craving, non-clinging, or the absence of greed i.e. freedom of being compelled to attachments.
sthairye or stha - occupied with , engaged in , devoted to performing , practising
janma: birth, arisen existence
kathamta - ~ the what and how of events and things
sambodhah - Awakening insight

Three different (complimentary) views¹ of this sutra
Version 1:
When one has become well established/fixed (sthairye) in non-possessiveness (aparigraha), then the conditions for openness of the Heartmind is established, awakening true insight of the causes of existence, how things appear, how they cease, and how spiritual progress continues to flow. (janma-kathamta-sambodhah)
Version 2:
On perfection ( becoming established in) of aparigraha, knowledge of past and future existences arise.
This infers knowledge of past and future existences ( janma-kathamta-sambodhah) of the aspirant, the sadhu that becomes established in aparigraha.
Version 3:
The fruit which accrues when one is established in aparigraha the native or sadhu becomes aware of his/her own past, present and future


1. Words Used
Yama यम - we know this as restraint - the act of checking or curbing , suppression , restraint; self-control forbearance; It is interesting to note the Śani (Saturn) is also known as Yama,.Sani brings discipline and restraint. Some times we experience this as an obstacle
Niyama नियम - we know as observances; any fixed rule or law , necessity , obligation ~ compliance.
Sutra सूत्र - stitch; a short sentence or aphoristic rule , and any work or manual consisting of strings of such rules
hanging together like threads; some may also call this a very abbreviated, concise statement in verse or kārikā

Sukha सुख - comfortable , happy , prosperous ; ease , easiness , comfort , prosperity , pleasure , happiness

The views offered by svami hariharānanada āranya, svami Laksmanjoo, and the third author who he gives credit to his teachers giving him the wisdom contained in Patañjali's great work; they are Hari Das Baba, Dr. Ramamurti Mishra (Sri Brahmananda), Svami Veda Bharati, Sri Pungaliya, Sri Svami Satchidananda and others.