Yama and Niyama – Tapas (Week 4 Day 5)

Posted: April 16, 2010 in Yoga
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Through tapas impurities are destroyed, negative karma is burned up and the perfection of the body and of the sense organs is achieved.

– Pantajali

  • An ardent effort on all levels, in any circumstance, in order to accomplish a clear goal in life.
    • Tapas involves purification, self-discipline and austerity.
  • Austerity – making life more difficult for oneself
  • Tapa – to burn     Tapasya – burning desire
  • Burning up all the desires that hinder us on the path toward a goal, in the effort to reach ultimate fusion with the Divine.
  • Modern life – pursuit of pleasure, avoid discomfort -> when this happens, one lose sight of spirituality
  • Be aware that there is pain and suffering in the world.
    • Lack of suffering is an illusion – ephemeral
    • Lack of suffering is lack of motivation
    • We are suffering deep down but we have numbed ourselves to not feel it.
  • We could try to give up anything for a period of time to prove that we are free from them.
  • Manipura is the gateway from the dense, lower energies to the higher, subtler energies.
  • Will power is not innate.
    • It could be manipulated – just like muscle, it grows with regular use.
    • An act of will, completed -> strengthens your will power
  • A tapa is either 100% done or not done at all.
    • Always complete your tapas – satya
    • Start small – it is much worse to fail a tapa
  • In India, tapas is equated to spiritual achievement.
  • If you know nothing else, using tapas alone will get you there – sheer will power without intelligence.
  • Choose your tapas wisely, choose beneficial ones.
    • E.g. Fasting, certain diet restrictions, yoga practice, meditation, mauna, satya, getting up early.
  • Don’t advertise your tapas to build your pride, your ego. Tapas is for you.
  • Always do a little tapas.
    • It it the yogic mentality to always gently push yourself.
  • Consecrate the fruit of tapas up – to the benefits of all beings.
  • Ultimately, we are trying to get somewhere beyond the ego but we have to go through our ego.
  • Tapas is not a matter of self-control but rather of the manifestation of his inner nature, which is permanently calm and equanimous. He has risen above the restrictions and achieved a state of unconditional freedom.
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