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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Yoga Purificatory Practices Parikarma


Thus

in accordance with it in the midst of many bad thoughts and bad habits there come good moral will and good thoughts, and in the midst of good thoughts and habits come also bad thoughts and vicious tendencies. The will to be good is therefore never lost in man, as it is an innate tendency in him which is as strong as his desire to enjoy pleasures. This point is rather remarkable, for it gives us the key of Yoga ethics and shows that our desire of liberation is not actuated by any hedonistic attraction for happiness or even removal of pain, but by an innate tendency of the mind to follow the path of liberation [Footnote ref 1]. Removal of pains

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[Footnote 1: Sa@mkhya however makes the absolute and complete destruction of three kinds of sorrows, _adhyatmika_ (generated internally by the illness of the body or the unsatisfied passions of the mind), _adhibhautika_ (generated externally by the injuries inflicted by other men, beasts, etc.) and _adhidaivika_ (generated by the injuries inflicted by demons and ghosts) the object of all our endeavours (_puru@sartha_).]

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is of course the concomitant effect of following such a course, but still the motive to follow this path is a natural and irresistible tendency of the mind. Man has power (_s'akti_) stored up in his citta, and he has

to use it in such a way that this tendency may gradually grow stronger and stronger and ultimately uproot the other. He must succeed in this, since prak@rti wants liberation for her final realization [Footnote ref 1].

Yoga Purificatory Practices (Parikarma).

The purpose of Yoga meditation is to steady the mind on the gradually advancing stages of thoughts towards liberation, so that vicious tendencies may gradually be more and more weakened and at last disappear altogether. But before the mind can be fit for this lofty meditation, it is necessary that it should be purged of ordinary impurities. Thus the intending yogin should practise absolute non-injury to all living beings (_ahi@msa_), absolute and strict truthfulness (_satya_), non-stealing (_asteya_), absolute sexual restraint (_brahmacarya_) and the acceptance of nothing but that which is absolutely necessary (_aparigraha_). These are collectively called _yama_. Again side by side with these abstinences one must also practise external cleanliness by ablutions and inner cleanliness of the mind, contentment of mind, the habit of bearing all privations of heat and cold, or keeping the body unmoved and remaining silent in speech (_tapas_), the study of philosophy (_svadhyaya_) and meditation on Is'vara (_Is'varapra@nidhana_). These are collectively called _niyamas_. To these are also to be added certain other moral disciplines such as _pratipak@sa-bhavana, maitri, karu@na, mudita_ and _upek@sa_. Pratipak@sa-bhavana means that whenever a bad thought (e.g. selfish motive) may come one should practise the opposite good thought (self-sacrifice); so that the bad thoughts may not find any scope. Most of our vices are originated by our unfriendly relations with our fellow-beings. To remove these the practice of mere abstinence may not be sufficient, and therefore one should habituate the mind to keep itself in positive good relations with our fellow-beings. The practice of maitri means to think of all beings as friends. If we continually habituate ourselves to think this, we can never be displeased with them. So too one should practise karu@na or kindly feeling for sufferers, mudita

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[Footnote 1: See my "_Yoga Psychology_," _Quest_, October, 1921.]


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