This practice is inspired by the first Yama, Ahimsa, Non-Violence.
Over the past few sessions we have focused on clearing the Malas to know, see and act in this world knowing the truth of who and what we are, that there is impermanence to all life and finally being responsible for what is motivating us (Kleshas) which causes suffering. To live is to create Karma and that all activities creates Karma, choices and consequences whether positive or negative on ourselves and others. It is a fundamental desire to a Yogi’s journey to know your personal Dharma – your purpose and devote to your life to fulfilling it, creating as little ‘bad’ Karma as possible. However, it is hard to be perfect, it is impossible to exist without doing some harm to ourselves and others. By avoiding Karma, or action, it said, you still create Karma (sorry!). So the little secret to life is: You fulfil your Dharma and take care of your Karama and Karma will take care of you. One objective of practice is to refine the Buddhi – your intuitive guide, through daily practice of Yoga to see and know the best path for you to take creating the Karma that aligns to your Dharma. Yamas gives us moral and ethical guidelines to reduce as much ‘bad’ Karma and prevents us wavering off our path.
Ahimsa means non-violence, mentally, emotionally, verbally and physically towards all sentient beings. Himsa means judgement. When we are in judgement, harsh criticism and pain we tend to react to others with violence, harm and hurt. When we are happy and content, we tend to respond with kinder actions. In practice we are trying to dissolve and abandon evil tendencies of malice, hatred and disdain which gives rise to actions that inflict injury on others. When we look at what is motivating our actions, Kleshas, the Yogi pauses and self reflects to choose wisely affecting current and future Karma.
The emphasis is on the “feeling” of Ahimsa, not the nature of the act, this pause on sitting with the feeling gives us proper or wise action to develop and entertain feelings of Metta, Maitri or Friendship, Compassion. This Bhavana or feeling of Maitri draws on those kind thoughts and this influences how we take action, Karma.
In the MahaBharata there is a portion of the text called Mokshadharma stating two paths;
- inwards Nivritti (path of knowledge),
- outwards Pravritti (path of Action), Pravritti – outward actions, Dharma.
We need ethical rules to live by and to relate to the society we live in. Abstaining from harming or injuring any being any time or in any manner is a basic tenet of a Yogi’s life and by the teachings of the Suttras, will reduce your Karma. But as the Yamas unfold in the next few parts of this series, there is a whole lot more to consider and to think about as a practicing Yogi.