Principles of Niyamas
August 17, 1977
[Bapuji translated by Gurudev]
[Bapuji chants Ram Dhun]
BAPUJI: Beloved satsangi brothers and sisters, lovers of God and Guru. Today I will discuss about ‘Siddhantasravana’, means listening to the principles which is part of the niyamas. There are two words in this word, “siddhanta.” ‘Siddha’ plus ‘antha’. These are the two words. Siddhanta means the truth that the great masters have realized, and the end of it that they have seen is called ‘siddhanta’, the final realization of truth.Siddhanta is the seed of the experiences, or we can say that siddhanta is the essence of all the experiences, from where all the other experiences; where all the experiences merge in. Maharshi Patanjali says that “While you are practicing yamas and niyamas, you must also study the scriptures.”
In ancient India, in the earliest stage, or in the beginning, everyone was taught the scriptures. In that, the principles were taught in great detail. Then after studying the scriptures, they had to go through the kriyas, and at the end of the kriyas, whatever was the knowledge they accumulated, it was described in the very compact form, called siddhanta.
So in ancient India, two kinds of scriptures were written. One kind of scripture was an expansion, great explanation of the truth while other one was in the seed form. In this niyama, there are two words, ‘siddhanta’ and ‘sravana’. The truth that the masters have realized, to listen to that truth every day is called siddhantasravana. The siddhantas, or the principles, being the essence of the experiences, if the beginner students reads it, he cannot understand it.
So such a student, on one hand, he should go through the kriyas. On the other hand, he should study the scriptures. Doing this way, when the experiences of the kriyas are found to be in harmony with the writing of the scriptures, one goes into ecstasy and enjoys the sadhana very much. First of all he gets the bliss of sadhana and as he has done sadhana and reads the scriptures, the secrets of the scriptures are revealed to him and that gives him a great ecstasy.
I’ll describe you one of my Yogic experiences. At that time, hardly five or six months had passed when I began my yoga sadhana. At that time Amrit was about fifteen years old. I was in his native place at that time. In sadhana, my Guru, Gurudev had only taught me padmasana and anuloma viloma pranayama. And then, how to do yoga sadhana. He had shown me one secret for that. When I started my Yogic practices, I was practicing pranayamas three times a day, one hour each time. Then I increased my practices from three hours to five hours a day.
This way I continued to progress in pranayama. During that period, I went into the town of Amrit. There I had established a cow’s place, which is called ‘Gomundhi’, [temple of cows]. I used to live in one part, in those buildings. There there were many mosquitoes.
So I had started doing my pranayama, having the mosquito net over my bed. One day practicing pranayama, my body landed forward into ‘bhunamapadmasana’ and then I was unconscious.
I don’t remember how long I stayed in that position. But when I become conscious, I was wondering what had happened to me. From that day, from the very next day, I gave up sitting in the bed with mosquito net. Next day experience was, as soon as I sat for pranayama, I all of a sudden got up and started dancing. I was greatly pleased. [Laughter]
Because Indian dancing is of a very special kind. It has been born through the Yogis. So the dance that has been popular in India has been the gift of the Yogis. It is not the creation of the artist. It is the experience of the Yogis. By the dance, my mind was greatly filled with joy and I was greatly surprised at the same time. At that time, I did not have a single book on yoga, neither had I read books on yoga.
So after that, I moved to a very close town and there I found the book list, which had all the list of spiritual books and Yogic books. I immediately wrote the letter for some books. Neither had I seen those books before, nor had I ever heard about those books before. The books, some books that I had read before, they were mostly on jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. I had not seen the books on yoga, [means karma yoga].
And my beloved Gurudev was also so smart, he had only told me most necessary information of it. And yet he had revealed to me everything that was worth revealing. When I read these books on yoga, when I compared my experiences, there was a great similarity. I was greatly pleased and I realized that I was on the right path. I do not believe that such experience can happen to me alone. It is possible that every sadhak may have these experiences.
This is why the discussion on listening to the truth given by the masters is discussed here. In siddhantasravana mostly you listen to the Vedanta philosophy. Vedanta is considered to be the supreme knowledge, or highest knowledge, or essence knowledge. Under ordinary conditions, it is very difficult to understand it. Yes, with logic or reason you can understand some portion of it; but if you really want to experience it, you will not really understand it without practicing yoga sadhana. In that, it is explained that only Brahma exists.
Within that comes God. In order to understand Indian philosophy, it takes a little more in depth attention and one has to go deep into it to understand it. So the philosophy of India is not simply written by thinking about it but it is the result, end result of the practices. So today’s science becomes just ordinary phenomena in future. So also future science becomes ordinary science of further future. So also it happens in the spiritual science, too.
The ancient rishis knew this principle. So whenever they found some truth, they did not just come to final conclusion that, “This is the end of the realization.” They progressed further and further and further. And whatever they found, they were closely observing it and then reflecting on it. So when they reached to the climax, the highest, they said that at this stage, this is the truth that is visible or experienced. And they presented that truth in front of everyone. And the stages and all its stages were regularly tested.
So whatever the decision was taken about the realized truth, was always an experienced truth. First of all, it is necessary to know the basic principles of sadhana from Sadguru. And after knowing that, one needs to reflect deeply on it. One will have to have a special effort in understanding each and every principle. The siddhanta means the principles are experienced only through the experiment, not by thinking. Thinking, logic, or reasoning do help up to certain point, certain stage. The experiment proves that the thinking and the logic is correct, that is helps it to realization is made thorough after testing
So you got the idea that if you go in a better surrounding, then our life may receive better samskaras, [impressions]. So you gave up one condition to come in a better and a desirable condition. And then you observe that, “How was the mental condition in the previous condition and how was it in the present condition?” The specialty of ashram life is that everyone is a sadhak. So by coming in touch with other sadhaks, it gives more encouragement to your own sadhana.
In ashram life, you find the peace and aloneness that is necessary for spiritual life and the scenes that can destroy the mind are also not there. Because the surrounding is very natural, so naturally the mind goes more towards God. Because the life being disciplined, it creates the encouragement and the inspiration in the mind. Then you experience what is taught in the scriptures, that the sadhak should live among the sadhaks; and in the lonely quiet places, you experience that truth.
It is true that by living the previous disturbing condition, the samskaras, or the impressions received from the previous condition, do not disappear right away. So similarly, the new conditions that you arrive in, the good qualities of it, are not impressing upon the mind right away. And yet the preliminary experiences are very inspirational. And gradually the new impressions of the new surrounding goes deeper into the mind.
Ordinary sadhaks cannot study the scriptures in depth. Usually they go on the path of bhakti readily and easily. In bhakti marga, love plays a major role. One should not forget that whether it is bhakti marga or karma yoga, the knowledge is invariably necessary. A bhakti without the knowledge and karma without knowledge do not know where it will take you. If you properly understand we can say that the knowledge becomes the love and love becomes the knowledge.
So similarly, the knowledge emerges from karma and karma emerges from the knowledge. By understanding this truth, it is obvious that every individual needs the knowledge of the marga. Jnana marga should read the books on jnana marga. And yoga, those who are following yoga marga, should read the books on yoga marga. Yoga means karma yoga, means yoga. Even if you just say word ‘yoga’, that means karma yoga, unless you specify bhakti yoga or jnana yoga.
When a bhakti yogi progresses, he naturally gets attracted towards the knowledge and karma. Then such devotee goes automatically and researches as to what is this relationship of bhakti to jnana and karma. And as he goes on thinking deeply and practicing it, he realized that both knowledge and karma are related with bhakti. Similarly, the follower of the path of knowledge and the follower of the path of Kriya, they both realize that other two paths are also integral to their path. Just as the sadhak goes on realizing the siddhantas and the truths, his joy goes on increasing and his wisdom goes on increasing.
The principles are understood by stages. We can compare siddhanta with the engine. It takes the rest of the carriage in a very specific direction. One who does not have principles, they cannot go in one very specific direction. I have seen such sadhaks. Those who sometimes follow bhakti, sometimes jnana and sometimes yoga. Such an individual cannot progress quickly. One should follow one path and read the books and the Shastras of the same path.
The path that you are following in order to understand that most thoroughly, Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is the first book and the last book. It is true, that that book, being very high, is not easy to understand in an ordinary stage. And yet the sadhaks living an ordinary life can also derive an inspiration from it. I desire, or I wish that the study of the Gita would start here very soon. You will also experience that the ideas that are given in this book are also very scientific. I will now give you one shloka.
When one individual stays in contact with one subject for a long time, for that, to that subject, one becomes attached. If we stay with one subject and reflect deeply on it, the secrets of that subject are revealed and the love begins to rise from our heart for that subject. So in this world, wherever your senses go, our eyes, our ears, this is how the attachment begins. From attachments, the desires are born. And when those desires are unfulfilled, it gives birth to anger, so by such association with such desirable objects, the desires arise and when the desires are not fulfilled, the anger comes.
In the old testament it is said, that do not kill. But Christ says, I go further than that and say do not be angry. Because when the anger grows stronger, it results into violence. Only when the anger becomes intense, there is desire for committing violence. So if we cut the anger from its roots, one will not go as far as physical violence. So when, [and Gita goes further and says that] when there is anger, one is deluded to do wrong action. So when a person is angry, his mind becomes completely confused. His body begins to shake. There is a kind of fire in the eyes, no control over his speech.
And as the degree of anger begins to grow, the human becomes demon. Then as a result of the anger, one forgets what he is doing, he loses his memory. When one loses one’s memory, or the lessons of one’s past experiences, the man is destroyed. So when the anger rises, what happens during that and what happens after that, this is the scientific explanation in this Bhagavad Gita shloka.
So by reflecting deeply on the principles, you gradually understand that. I recommend that to Yogeshwarji and you all that you start your in-depth study of Gita. From that you will receive the very high inspiration. So by receiving new inspirations, your sadhana will also progress. This way today I give you my thoughts on the truth given by the masters.
[Bapuji chants Ram Dhun]