Saturday, April 20, 2013

Abhyasa - Perseverance (Words of the Master)

“Practice makes a man perfect” - This is true of Yoga studies as well.

In fact, the role of perseverance is pivotal here. Because after stalling the flow of one's biological and psychological energy, from getting dissipated in mundane objectives, one has to direct it to better purposes.

There is this great need for holding on to that first inspirational state, that arises within us occasionally, to pursue the path of self-improvement. We are apt to lose heart, when traveling this path of self-evolution. Long is the journey, and uncharted the path. It is therefore, that we are commended prolonged and uninterrupted effort. There is no sense of a spiritual life that proceeds by fits and bounds turns into a drudgery or is devoid of energy, strength, enthusiasm and cheerfulness.

For one thing, there is no question of hurry in spiritual matters. In the oft quoted story in the commentaries on Yoga Sutra: 

"The two tiny tittibha birds, that lost their eggs, to the sea, vowed to recover the same, is very apt. The birds began to gather drops of water in their beaks and flew a distance away dropping the sea water, with a hope that in this operation they would dry up the sea bed. They affirmed to themselves that though they knew very well, that their final objective may not be met in a few moments, or few hours, or even a few days, or a few weeks, or a few months or a few years, they were sure that if they persisted, birth after birth, they would succeed in the end. That was their determination and their source of enthusiasm. The impossible happened, as per the mythological story, when the divine Garuda intervened on their behalf, and recovered their lost eggs."

The efforts are not to be just for a little while.
Efforts are to be continued for a long time.
Much patience is needed here

"Patience is therefore also synonymous with the name of great yogis like Goraknath."

In traditional learning, there are to be asked no such questions:

"How long will I have to continue my studies?"

Sketch of Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra
President of The Yoga Institute of Santacruz
There can be no crash program in Yoga.

Another important point is that of not allowing any efforts to get lost. Once we create a certain climate, momentum and mood, we should keep up the tempo. The slightest distraction has to be avoided, lest the momentum might get interrupted.

It is often that the students of Yoga undertake tapa (severe discipline) to condition themselves for a serious and consistent study of Yoga. In this act of sadhana (spiritual study), the ritual of initiation has an emotive value. Spiritual journey could not be a dry and barren exercise, shorn of feelings of a positive kind.

Much can therefore be said of devotion, enthusiasm, cheerfulness and spiritual passion in this context. Before anything else, one has to pass through this positive experience.

This experience combines the will with the next important process of disinterestedness.

With regard to Yoga, faith and disinterestedness are the two sides of the same coin.

From "Stray Thoughts on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" by Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra, published by The Yoga Institute of Santacruz, Mumbai - India.

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