In this article you’ll find Swami Vivekananda‘s quotations and comments on Yama(Sanskrit/Hindi: यम, Bengali: আসন). Yama is the first stage or limb of Raja Yoga. Yama means self-restraint, self-control and discipline.
According to Shandilya and Varaha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha and the Tirumantiram of Tirumular, there are 10 yamas. Patanjali, in his Raja Yoga, prescribed 5 yamas. Let’s have a look—
|Yama||Meaning||10 Traditional Yama||Patanjali’s Raja Yoga|
|Ahimsa (अहिंसा)||Non-violence, not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action||⎷||⎷|
|Satya (सत्य)||Truthfulness, benevolent use of mind and words||⎷||⎷|
|Asteya (अस्तेय)||Non-stealing, non acquiring anyone’s property by fraud||⎷||⎷|
|Brahmacharya(ब्रह्मचर्य)||Continence, celibacy, to keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma||⎷||⎷|
|Kshama (क्षमा)||Patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.||⎷||✗|
|Dhriti (धृति)||Steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through to completion.||⎷||✗|
|Daya (दया)||Sympathize with, to have compassion on all being.||⎷||✗|
|Arjava (अर्जव)||Honesty, straightforwardness, avoiding deception, wrongdoings.||⎷||✗|
|Mitahar (मितहार)||Little eating; moderate appetite.||⎷||✗|
|Shaucha (शौच)||Internal and external cleanliness and purity||⎷||✗|
(included in Niyama)
|Aparigraha (अपरिग्रह)||Non-appropriation, absence of avarice, to renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body||✗||⎷|
Now we’ll move into our main topic of the article— Swami Vivekananda‘s quotes and comments on Yama.
Swami Vivekananda on Yama
Swami Vivekananda told—
- First — Yama. This is most important and has to govern the whole life; it has five divisions:
1st. Not injuring any being by thought, word, or deed.
2nd. Non – covetousness in thought, word, or deed.
3rd. Perfect chastity in thought, word, or deed.
4th. Perfect truthfulness in thought, word, or deed.
5th. Non – receiving of gifts.[Source]
- Non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving are called Yamas.[Source]
A man who wants to be a perfect Yogi must give up the sex idea. The soul has no sex; why should it degrade itself with sex ideas? Later on we shall understand better why these ideas must be given up. The mind of the man who receives gifts is acted on by the mind of the giver, so the receiver is likely to become degenerated. Receiving gifts is prone to destroy the independence of the mind, and make us slavish. Therefore, receive no gifts.
- Râja-Yoga is divided into eight steps. The first is Yama — non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gifts.[Source]
- The first is Yama, controlling the mind by avoiding externals. All morality is included in this. Beget no evil. Injure no living creature. If you injure nothing for twelve years, then even lions and tigers will go down before you. Practise truthfulness. Twelve years of absolute truthfulness in thought, word, and deed gives a man what he wills. Be chaste in thought, word, and action. Chastity is the basis of all religions. Personal purity is imperative.[Source]
- The first stage of Yoga is Yama.
To master Yama five things are necessary:
(1) Non-injuring any being by thought, word, and deed.
(2) Speaking the truth in thought, word, and deed.
(3) Non-covetousness in thought, word, and deed.
(4) Perfect chastity in thought, word, and deed.
(5) Perfect sinlessness in thought, word, and deed.
Holiness is the greatest power. Everything else quails before it. Then comes Asana, or posture, of a devotee. The seat must be firm, the head, ribs, and body in a straight line, erect. Say to yourself that you are firmly seated, and that nothing can move you. Then mention the perfection of the body, bit by bit, from head to foot. Think of it as being clear as crystal, and as a perfect vessel to sail over the sea of life.[Source]
- Yama, Niyama, Âsana, Prânâyâma, Pratyâhâra, Dhârâna, Dhyâna, and Samâdhi are the steps in Raja-Yoga, of which non-injury, truthfulness, non-covetousness, chastity, not receiving anything from another are called Yama. This purifies the mind, the Chitta. Never producing pain by thought, word, and deed, in any living being, is what is called Ahimsâ, non-injury. There is no virtue higher than non-injury. There is no happiness higher than what a man obtains by this attitude of non-offensiveness, to all creation. By truth we attain fruits of work. Through truth everything is attained. In truth everything is established. Relating facts as they are — this is truth. Not taking others’ goods by stealth or by force, is called Asteya, non-covetousness. Chastity in thought, word, and deed, always, and in all conditions, is what is called Brahmacharya. Not receiving any present from anybody, even when one is suffering terribly, is what is called Aparigraha. The idea is, when a man receives a gift from another, his heart becomes impure, he becomes low, he loses his independence, he becomes bound and attached.[Source]