In this article you’ll find Swami Vivekananda‘s quotations and comments on Niyama(Sanskrit/Hindi: नियम, Bengali: নিয়ম). Niyama is the second stage or limb of Raja Yoga. The word Niyama means “observance” or “disciplined practice”.
Patanjali in his Yoga Aphorisms prescribed to follow the following Niayamas—
शौच-सन्तोष-तपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः (Chapter 2, verse 32)
- Shaucha: cleanliness of thought, mind and body.
- Santosha: Satsifaction, happiness
- Tapas: Spiritual practice, austerity.
- Svadhyaya: Self study
- Ishvarapranidhana: Thinking, concentrating and meditating on God
Now we’ll see Swami Vivekananda‘s quotes and comments on Niyama.
Swami Vivekananda on Niyama
Swami Vivekananda explained “Niyama” as—[Source]
Niyama — cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study, and self-surrender to God.
He told “Niyama” is the practice of—[Source]
not allowing the mind to wander in any direction.
The following are helps to success in Yoga and are called Niyama or regular habits and observances; Tapas, austerity; Svâdhyâya, study; Santosha, contentment; Shaucha, purity; Ishvara-pranidhâna, worshipping God. Fasting, or in other ways controlling the body, is called physical Tapas. Repeating the Vedas and other Mantras, by which the Sattva material in the body is purified, is called study, Svadhyaya. There are three sorts of repetitions of these Mantras. One is called the verbal, another semi-verbal, and the third mental. The verbal or audible is the lowest, and the inaudible is the highest of all. The repetition which is loud is the verbal; the next one is where only the lips move, but no sound is heard. The inaudible repetition of the Mantra, accompanied with the thinking of its meaning, is called the “mental repetition,” and is the highest. The sages have said that there are two sorts of purification, external and internal. The purification of the body by water, earth, or other materials is the external purification, as bathing etc. Purification of the mind by truth, and by all the other virtues, is what is called internal purification. Both are necessary. It is not sufficient that a man should be internally pure and externally dirty. When both are not attainable the internal purity is the better, but no one will be a Yogi until he has both. Worship of God is by praise, by thought, by devotion.
Commentaries on Patanjali’s Yoga AphorismsWhile explaining Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, Swamiji told—[Source]
शौच-सन्तोष-तपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः ॥३२॥
32. Internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God are the Niyamas.
External purification is keeping the body pure; a dirty man will never be a Yogi. There must be internal purification also. That is obtained by the virtues named in I.33. Of course, internal purity is of greater value than external, but both are necessary, and external purity, without internal, is of no good.
Lifelong practiceSwami Vivekananda described Yama and Niyama as lifelong practice. He told—[Source]
Yama and Niyama are for lifelong practice. As for the others, we do as the leech does, not leave one blade of grass before firmly grasping another. In other words, we have thoroughly to understand and practise one step before taking another.