Non-violence or Ahimsa

Ahimsa or Non-violence: The first step of Raja Yoga is the practice of Yamas or restraints. In chapter II of the Yoga Sutras, Sage Patanjali describes the yamas as Ahimsa (Non-Injury), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Abstention from stealing), Brahmacharya (Continence) and Aparigraha (Abstinence from avariciousness). Of these Ahimsa, is to abstain from injury or violence. Many people consider violence as something inflicted on others. But ahimsa, when correctly practiced, also covers practice of non-violence on oneself. Thus, if you make a mistake don’t blame yourself. By staying calm and analyzing the mistake you will realize the cause of the mistake so that you don’t repeat it. Everyone, with no exception, makes mistakes – however, small or big. Recognizing it without blaming yourself and moving on is something you need to master.

[From a March 2006 email sent to students]

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