Yama Niyama

Yama and Niyama – An Ethical Base for Meditators

It is said that without a firm base, progress in meditation is impossible. Yama and Niyama, as a base, is more than 7500 years old and still provides meditators with a framework of how best to conduct oneself internally and externally.

Five Yama (Introversial Conduct)

(i) Causing as little harm by thought, word or action as possible (Ahim’sa’).

(ii) Benevolent truthfulness of mind and words (Satya).

(iii) Non-stealing – giving up the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others (Asteya).

(iv) Keeping the mind absorbed in the infinite – seeing the oneness of everything (Brahmacarya).

(v) Live according to your needs – giving up non-essential luxuries (Aparigraha).

Five Niyama (Extroversial Conduct)

(i) Cleanliness of body and mind – mental purity involves kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful (Shaoca).

(ii)  Contentment with what one has and being cheerful (Santosha)

(iii) Service – undergoing some physical hardship to help others or attain the objective (Tapah).

(iv) Good company and study – studying, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books (Sva’dhya’ya). Sva’dhya’ya is also done by attending group meditation regularly and keeping spiritual company, in addition to study.

(v) Having faith in the Cosmic Mind (Iishvara) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity. Considering oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument. (Iishvara pran’idha’na)