Ahimsaa Ahimsaa is no violence in thought, speech or action. Since violence always starts from fear, Patanjali’s nonviolence idea means fearlessness. If I am not afraid of something – I have no reason to use violence against it /in order to hurt it. The ultimate goal is to have no fear, and thus no violence. However, since this is extremely hard to achieved, violence can also be understood according to its reasoning. If violence is used purely in order to hurt another being – then it is not good. However, if, according to one’s assessment, the chances are that you will get hurt -then using violence is a self-defense mechanism, and is allowed.
In other words, Patanjali does not forbid any sort of violence – he asks us to examine the reasoning behind our actions, and decide accordingly. The idea is to have no patterns of intentions of harming others.
Another point to remember is that the effect of non-violence is so profound, that if a person is truly engaged in it (=fearless), it effects the beings around her so that they are not afraid from her, and do not use violence either.
Satya – Truth. Patanjali claims that a truthful person is that who “investigates, appreciates and follows the truth”. The main idea is that if you find yourself to be wrong – be freed from ego enough to admit it and to start your research all over again. As each Yama has all the previous ones within it, so is that a fearful person cannot truly follow the truth – when you impose your ideas on others using violence, or refuse to listen to others -it is because you are afraid you might be proven wrong. In that case, what you claim to hold as the truth can never be it – as the true truth means believing it after fully exploring it, and being able to drop it and move forwards if better investigation results show elsewhere. In the search for truth, there can be no attachment, shame or grid – only a pure mind looking for the right answer right now, while recognizing if may change countless times still (and may even include going back to a truth once dropped).
Another part ro remember is that the truth is never contradictory, and so if it seems that way – it is only because we are only holding one side of the truth. In our blinded state, we must be able to recognize that we might never be able to see the whole thing, and thus should get comfortable with the part of truth that we are lucky enough to hold.
Brahmcharya – abstenancy.
Sex is a natural process, helping to advance humankind further. Similarly to Ahimsaa, Brahmchyara does not mean no sex at all – it means that there should be no imaging or doing of the temptations. Patanjali is not worried about the sexual performance – he recognizes the importance it has in society. However, he is concerned about the mental occupation possibilities that come with sex (and which stop spiritual advancement). When Patanjali speaks about cessation of the mind, he also means cessation of temptation, of all patterns in the mind – sexual patterns being just some of them. Unlike the body’s physical limits, the mind knows no limits – and with this comes grid, which is the source of worry.
Thus, Brahmchyara does not ask us to refrain from sex – it asks, like in all other aspects of Yoga, to control the desires, go beyond them, as only then can there be a progress in the spiritual journey.
Author Yogi Chetan Mahesh