The Great Battle of Life
Elucidating on the Gita’s primary metaphor of inner battle, Sri Yogananda writes, “From the moment of conception to the surrender of the last breath, man has to fight in each incarnation innumerable battles: biological, hereditary, bacteriological, physiological, climatic, social, ethical, political, sociological, psychological, metaphysical — so many varieties of inner and outer conflicts. Competing for victory in every encounter are the forces of good and evil. The ultimate aim is Self-realization, the realization of man’s true Self, the soul, as made in the image of God, one with the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss of Spirit.”
Lord Krishna Leads Arjuna in the Righteous Inner Battle of Ego vs. the Soul
SWAMI SMARANANANDA: Yama Niyama are the spiritual dos and don’ts, essential not only for God-realization but also to lead a happy life. The stress and anxiety we often feel are because of violating Yama Niyama. These were given to man by saints out of sympathy. Spiritual life is like a chariot. Its three wheels are Meditation, Right Activity and Good Behaviour. Even if one of the wheels is defected, the progress is hampered.
Yama has five principles (Ahimsa, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, and Self-control, Not desiring others’ position.) Niyama includes Spiritual study, Devotion to God, Self-Control, Santosh (contentment). Yama is responsibility to the society. Niyama is responsibility to the soul. Buddhism has Eight Fold Path with similar principles, Christianity has the Ten Commandments. The soul wants to cultivate Ahimsa, Joy, Purity, Contentment etc. Those are natural innate qualities that the soul gets attracted to. We are all basically spiritual in nature having a human form for some time. It is not that we are spiritual for some time. We have so much ego in ourselves that it is the one ruling inside us. There is a tug of war between the ego and soul.
Each yama niyama is a portal of joy. Evenmindedness is a quality of God. Our soul wants the purity of body and mind. Ego wants us to meditate but not follow Yama Niyama. We feel like picking and choosing. To meditate we need concentration. To concentrate we need interiorization. To go inside we need to do Pranayam, to do Pranayam, we need to sit in some asana. If our behaviour is not proper, it is going to haunt us in meditation. Nature is always watching. The cosmic Law of Justice. ‘No virtue goes unrewarded, no sin goes unpunished.’ We will always be appreciated and rewarded. Sometimes one lifetime is not enough to reap the results of our good deeds. Even to perfect Yama Niyama we need motivation through meditation.
Yama is the power of mental resistance, which helps to neutralize the karmic effects of bad deeds. Getting angry is not bad but the way we react and behave when angry – that matters. We should say to ourselves – this anger is not me, it is the Kaurava in me. This lust, greed and hatred is not me. But when we do good deeds like forgiving easily then say to yourself – that’s me! The role is not important but the spirit is important.
BACK TO SRF MONASTIC TALKS