The 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

Facepage of the October 2007 issue of Hinduism...

Facepage of the October 2007 issue of Hinduism Today

(4 Yogas Main) Once a person decides to seek enlightenment, there are 5 Abstentions and 5 Observations that are a preliminary step to the productive work of the relevant Yoga.

5 Abstentions:

  • doing injury
  • lying
  • stealing
  • sensuality
  • greed

5 Observances:

  • cleanliness
  • contentment
  • self-control
  • studiousness
  • contemplation of the Divine

On the one hand, this is basic stuff.  On the other, to actually live it requires great devotion.

There’s a story of a holy man who saw a beetle drowning in a pool of water, and used a branch to fish it out.  It fell back in, and he helped it out again.  They kept on like that, one falling in and the other helping it out, until the man’s student said, “Master, why do you keep doing that when you know it’s the creature’s nature to fall into the water?”

He replied, “Why do you ask when you know it’s my nature to help it out?”

The 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances are part of the path of spiritual renunciation.  You can think of them as prerequisites to any of the 4 Yogas.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Introducing the 4 Yogas of Hinduism Series « TiltedCandle

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