Tapas, or Living The Understanding

May 23, 2010

Of the Niyamas, “Tapah” is one that can easily be misunderstood, either by improper translation or improper interpretation, both leading to misapplication of otherwise strong efforts. What it is not, is a torture, as in to make the body fast, or deny its demands, suppressing and repressing. It is an austerity. This is to live the truth you understand. Tapas is to educate the body through experience – Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, etc., so that it can set itself free of the clutches of conditionings. Conditionings cannot be destroyed but you can release yourself from their hold, their domination, their clutches.

Austerity is required to live the truth you have perceived. Without perceiving the truth there can be no tapah because that is passive repetition of certain codes of conduct. If you understand the truth about diet then you do not move an inch away from your understanding about diet. If you understand something about sleep, such things as how much sleep is necessary, when to give the body sleep, what kind of bed should be given, then you live that truth. What kind of exercises to be given, what clothes to be worn, how to use sound, how to use the mind, and movement of thought, once you are acquainted with, observe, and understand it, then you live the understanding. That is Tapah.

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