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The Moral Obligations that Aid Our Spiritual Development

Apr 12th, 2024 | 3 Min Read
Blog Thumnail

Category: Yog Sutra


Language: English

Certain moral obligations can aid our spiritual development. By following them, we can make progress on our spiritual journey.

  • Ahiṁsā (अहिंसा) - Non-violence: It means not impeding the progressive life of other living beings through thought, word, or deed. 

  • Satya (सत्य) - Truthfulness: It means restraining oneself from distorting facts to suit one's purpose. God is the Absolute Truth, and hence, truthfulness draws us toward him; on the other hand, falsehood, while convenient, takes us away from God. 

  • Akrodhaḥ (अक्रोधः) - Absence of anger: The manifestation of anger is a defect of the material mind. It takes place when the desires for happiness are obstructed. By developing detachment and surrender to the will of God, one overcomes anger.

  • Tyāgaḥ (त्यागः)- Renunciation: All material energy belongs to God and is meant for his pleasure. Hence, the opulence of the world is not for one's enjoyment but for being utilised in the service of God. To be fixed in this understanding is renunciation. 

  • Śāntiḥ (शान्तिः) - Peacefulness: The cultivation of virtue requires mental poise. Peacefulness is the ability to retain inner equilibrium despite disturbing external situations. 

  • Apaiśunam (अपैशुनम्) - Restraint from fault-finding: The whole world and everything in it is a mixture of good and bad qualities. Focusing on others' defects dirties our minds while focusing on their virtues purifies them. The nature of a saintly person is to see their own defects and observe the virtues of others. 

  • Dayā (दया) – Compassion:  As individuals evolve spiritually, they naturally rise above self-centeredness and develop empathy for all living beings. Compassion is the deep sympathy that arises upon seeing the sufferings of others. 

  • Aloluptvaṁ (अलोलुप्त्वम्) - Absence of covetousness: Greed is the desire to accumulate more than one legitimately needs to maintain one's body. Under its sway, people acquire huge amounts of wealth and possessions, though they know that everything will be left behind at the time of death. Freedom from such covetousness leads to contentment and inner peace. 

  • Hrīḥ (ह्रीः) - Modesty: It means a sense of guilt in performing actions contrary to the injunctions of scriptures and society. The saintly nature is imbued with a ruthless inner conscience that gives one a sense of guilt for committing sinful acts. 

  • Achāpalam (अचापलम्) - Absence of fickleness: We may begin with good intentions, but we cannot complete the journey if we get distracted by temptations and hardships. Success on the path of virtue comes by unwaveringly pursuing the goal despite all diversions that come along the way. 

  • Tejas (तेजस्) - Vigour: From the purity of mind comes a deep inner drive to act according to one's values and beliefs. Hence, saintly personalities bring immense power and vigour to the tasks they pursue. 
  • Kṣamā (क्षमा) - Forgiveness or forbearance: This is the ability to tolerate the offences of others without feeling the need to retaliate. Through forgiveness, one heals the emotional wounds caused by others that would otherwise disturb the mind. 

  • Dhṛtiḥ (धृतिः) - Fortitude: It is the inner strength and determination to pursue the goal, even when the mind and senses are wearied due to unfavourable circumstances. Sri Aurobindo eloquently said, 'You have to be more persistent than the difficulty; there is no other way.'

  • Śaucam (शौचम्) - Cleanliness: It refers to both internal and external purity. 

  • Adroha (अद्रोह) - Bearing enmity toward none: Enmity toward others poisons our minds and impedes spiritual progress. The quality of freedom from hatred toward others is developed by realising that they are also like us and that God resides in all. 

  • Nātimānitā (नातिमानिता) - Absence of vanity: Self-praise, boastfulness, ostentation, etc., all stem from pride. Saintly personalities see nothing in themselves to be proud of but instead feel gratitude to God for their good qualities. Thus, they refrain from self-aggrandisement.

Incorporating these moral obligations in our lives can help us progress on our spiritual journey and bring us closer to inner peace and contentment.

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Patanjali Yoga Sutra [English]- 11.04.2024