The eight limbs of Sadhana to achieve Bhagavan —

तत्प्राप्तिसाधनान्यष्टौ तानि वक्ष्यामि तच्छृणु ।
यमो नियमसंज्ञश्च आसनं च तृतीकम् ॥
प्राणायामश्चतुर्थश्च प्रत्याहारश्च पञ्चमः ।
धारणा च तथा ध्यानं समाधिरिति सत्तम ॥
(अगस्त्य संहिता)

tat-prāpti-sādhanāny-aṣṭau tāni vakṣyāmi tac-chṛṇu ।
yamō niyama-saṃjñaśca āsanaṃ ca tṛtīkam ॥
prāṇāyāma-ścaturthaśca pratyāhāra-śca pañcamaḥ ।
dhāraṇā ca tathā dhyānaṃ samādhiriti sattama ॥
(Agastya Samhita)

“Oh best among sages ! There are eight limbs of Sadhana (spiritual practices, sadhana bhakti) to achieve Bhagavān Śrī Rāma , listen them I am telling those, they are — Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna and Samādhi.”

Aforementioned limbs of Sadhana-Bhakti are collectively called as Ashtanga Yoga in Yoga Shastras (Upanishads) and other scriptures. “Yoga (योग)” is to unite self with Brahman (or Bhagavan).

Each of these eight limbs are now being described in detail with their characteristics —

Yama (यम i.e. restraints)

अहिंसा सत्यमस्तेयं ब्रह्मचर्यं दयार्जवम् ।
क्षमा धृतिर्मिताहारः शौचः चेति यमाः दश ॥
(अगस्त्य संहिता)

ahiṃsā satyamastēyaṃ brahmacaryaṃ dayārjavam ।
kṣamā dhṛtirmitāhāraḥ śaucaḥ cēti yamāḥ daśa ॥
(Agastya Samhita)

Ahiṃsā, Satya, Astēya, Brahmcharya. Dayā, Ārjava, Kshamā, Dhriti, Mitāhāra, Shauch — These ten (10) are Yama (restraints [for the right living]).

These ten Yamas with their characteristics:—

1. Ahimsa (non violence) — Harming (causing pain to) no Jiva from the words, mind and actions is called Ahimsa (non violence) by sages.

(Ahimsa is Param dharma for all Vaishnava.)

2. Satya (Truth) — As seen or heard something, if it is told same again, then it is called Satya (Truth) by great ones.

A devotee should inculcate Truthfulness in self.

3. Asteya (non stealing) — Not stealing anything even a grass of others is called Asteya by sages.

4. Brahmacarya — Forsaking copulation with woman in actions, thoughts, and words is called Brahmcharya.

Same is for a Brahmcharini (woman with Brahmcharya), she should forsake copulation with man in actions, thoughts, and words.

For a Grihastha (householder), restrained physical-relation with one wife or husband only during proper time is also allowed within Brahmcharya.

(One should discard all secret talking with opposite sex, and become pure at heart.)

Kama (lust), Krodha (anger) and lobh (greed) — are three gates to hell (Naraka). [ - Gita ]

5. Daya (pity, compassion, mercy) — Upon seeing the Dukha (distress, grief, sadness, pain etc) of someone, feeling of this is my Dukha, and after this trying to remove them is called Dayā (pity, compassion) by wise sages.

A Vaishnava has daya like his Bhagavan, and he has a tender heart, having incapacity to withstand the suffering of others.

6. Aarjav (Straightness, rectitude, tenderness) — leaving Kutilata (crookedness, guile, deception, dishonesty) in thoughts, words and actions is called Aarjav (Straightness, rectitude, tenderness) in conducts and behaviors.

A devotee should inculcate this tenderness and straightness in self.

7. Kshama (forgiveness) — They who have done Apakara (misdeeds, offense, harm etc) to us, and still treating them in friendly manner is called Kshama (forgiveness).

A Vaishnava like his Bhagavan should forgive offenses done by others to him.

And He is the best who forgives even before someone seeks forgiveness for his misdeeds and offenses.

8. Dhriti (Fortitude i.e. mental and emotional strength, content, steadiness, self-command) — Neither desiring about nor making efforts for the matters happened in past is called Dhriti (content, steadiness, self-command).

Another way to say Dhriti (Fortitude, content, steadiness, self-command) is the sense of determination to do duty even under averse situation, even while body and senses are dispirited, without desiring and making efforts for the matters happened in the past.

9. Mitahara (taking moderate food) — Eating only in moderate quantity, what is sacred (Shuddha-Satvik) as well healthy for spiritual life is called Mitahara.

When Ahara (food) is Shuddha-Satvik, then Antahkarana becomes pure and one gets the firm remembrance, and firm remembrance of Bhagavan brings union with Bhagavan and liberation from this material world.

Food should not be very hot, bitter, sour, etc. Food should be sacred and healthy, should have been offered first to Bhagavan.

Food should not be very hot, bitter, sour, etc. Food should be sacred and healthy, should be offered first to Bhagavan.

10. Shauch (cleanliness, purity) — Freedom from or Removing the dirt of body by washing the body properly and the impure thoughts from one's antahkarana (mind/conscience) is called Shauch (cleanliness, purity).

These are 10 Yamas.

Niyama (नियम i.e. religious observance, discipline, rule)

Visit here, Niyama will be soon uploaded here within a week.

SiyaRaghavendra Sharan


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॥ श्रीसीतारामचंद्रार्पणमस्तु ॥