Bhagawatam 160: The principles of Yama and Niyama and their importance

Maharishi Kapila continued,

“Abhisandhāya yo hiṁsāṁ dambhaṁ mātsaryam eva vā

Saṁrambhī bhinna-dg bhāvaṁ mayi kuryāt sa tāpasaḥ

The devotee who with strong feelings of separateness (dualism), worships Me with feelings of envy, pride or anger, or who worships Me with the view to display his greatness or in order to show off his adherence to the principles of dharma, then such devotee is known as a tamasa-bhakta (devotion coupled with ignorance/ darkness).

Viṣayān abhisandhāya yaśa aiśvaryam eva vā

Arcādāv arcayed yo māṁ pṛthag-bhāva sa rājasa 

The devotee who, with feelings of separateness (dualism), worships Me through the medium of idols with a view to obtain material fame, wealth and prosperity, is known as a rājasa bhakta (devotion coupled with passion).

Karma-nirhāram uddiśya parasmin vā tad-arpaṇam

Yajed yaṣṭavyam iti vā pṛthag-bhāva sa sāttvika

 The devotee who, with feelings of separateness (dualism), participates in puja and other related activities so as to wash away his sins or considering it his obligatory duty, to offer the action to the Lord, then such devotee is a sātvik devotee (devotion coupled with goodness).

Nirguna bhakti refers to pure devotion unaccompanied by any clauses. Just as Ganga eternally flows towards the ocean, the mind of such pure devotee flows towards Me upon listening to My qualities. Such devotee’s love and devotion are free from any form of expectation! It is pure! He perceives Me nothing but his inner Self! This is the characteristic of a supreme devotee.

Such supreme devotees focus totally upon offering services (seva) to Me. They do not accept Sālokya, Sariśti, Sāroopya, Sāmeepya or Sayujya types of liberation even when offered! Sālokya means to live with Srihari in the same world (plane). Sāriśti means to have the same levels of prosperity as Srihari. Sāroopya means to be identical in form to Srihari. Sāyujya means to merge totally into Srihari. Such form of bhakti is the ultimate!

Due to such devotion, the devotee will be free from the shackles of these worldly bondages, that arise from the three attributes of Nature (trigunas) and will merge into Me.

Without any form of expectation, the devotee should strictly abide by his own dharma (swadharma). More important than plucking flowers for puja, is adherence to the principle of non-violence! He should practice Karma-yoga (yoga of action) without causing injury to any living being. He should regularly see My idol, touch My feet, offer Me worship, sing My hymns and offer obeisance to Me.

He should see Me as the Self which exists within all living beings. Courageously he should practice detachment. He should respect elders, show compassion to the needy, be on friendly terms with equals. He should strictly practice non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing and celibacy. In addition through practice of Aparigraha vrata (vow of non-acceptance) he should not be desirous of material comforts. These 5 disciplines, known as Yama, are a must!

In addition he should also practice the 5 Niyamas viz., inner and outer purity, contentment, penance, Self-study and Self-surrender.

He should read or listen to spiritual texts and chant My holy names. He should maintain friendship with holy beings. He should give up pride. Through practice of these disciplines the mind of the devotee will be rendered totally pure. By listening to My qualities, effortlessly the mind attaches itself to Me.

Divine fragrance travels through the medium of air and reaches the nose. Likewise through the medium of bhakti yoga, the mind that has been purified reaches its original source i.e. the Self (atma). It means, it merges into the Self.

Ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā

Tam avajñāya māṁ martyaḥ kurute ’rcā-viḍambanam

I remain eternally within every living being in the form of the Self (atma). Rejecting this idea that I am all-pervading, if the person worships Me as an idol then it amounts to mockery. It is deceitfulness.

Realizing that the Lord exists everywhere and in everyone is a sign of knowledge.  We have to be immersed in such thinking process.

Yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram

Hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauhyād bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ”

Trivikramāya namah.

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