Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Tapas in Hatha Yoga

by Swami Veda Bharati

[This passage has been taken from of the book Philosophy of Hatha Yoga by Swami Veda Bharati, pages 41 – 42, published in 1977 by Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA].

What the hatha yogis do is follow a very wise principle, which has been spoken of by all the schools of wisdom and philosophy in the whole world and which is one of the many secrets of a happy life. This principle is that whatever you dislike; do voluntarily and willingly, if you do not want it to come to you by force. Whatever you do not like, do voluntarily. Whatever you are running away from, turn and face it squarely and say, “What is it that I am afraid of? Let me examine you. Let me analyze this fear, this horrible thing that I dread, this terrible thing I do not like coming to me that I run away from.”

For instance, a natural instinct of every dog going to sleep at night in the wilds is to find a nice leafy area to make itself comfortable; similarly it is the habit of every lazy body like mine and yours to find a nice cushion or quilt, and so on. We are running away from physical discomfort. The idea behind tapas, asceticism, is to take voluntarily what you otherwise absolutely dislike. Turn around and say, “Let´s see, now, what is this discomfort that I run away from?” At every step you do that in your life. If you want to attain perfection – perfection in health, perfection in mind, perfection in speech, perfection in action, perfection in spirituality, perfection in godliness – whatever you are running away from, find out what it is and turn around and look at it straight in the eyes and examine it. As soon as you will turn around, this thing that you have feared for so long will try to run away from you. If you run away from it, it chases you, but as soon as you turn around and say, “Hey, now you have found me,” it tries to run away. You tell it, “You have been chasing me and I have been running away from you. Now you better stand right here. Let me examine you. What is your anatomy? What is that I fear?” Examine that.



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