Monday Morning Greetings 2023 #4 – The Ten Foundational Principles of Yoga

January 23rd, 2023

The Ten Foundational Principles of Yoga [1]

  1. The goal of yoga and all spiritual paths is to end suffering.
  1. Reality is beautiful, and therefore all suffering is caused by illusion. For example, the greatest fear is death, but death itself is an illusion—the illusion of non-existence. Free from illusion, we can see the beauty of the eternal soul.
  1. Illusion is caused by the distorted or impure mind, by the myriad of selfish thoughts.
  1. To free our self from illusion and alleviate suffering, the mind must be brought to sattva. Sattva literally means “the nature of being,” or the true nature of something. What is the true nature of the mind? The mind is like a lens or mirror, and thus its true nature is to be clean, free from distortion, and perfectly perceptive of what is before it. Therefore, when the mind is in sattva we are able to perceive and live in our eternal spiritual nature.
  1. Yoga, or meditation, is the technique, or method, to bring the mind to sattva. Its strategy is simple. As the mind is distorted by a myriad of thoughts, if we can just steadily concentrate on one thought, then all other thoughts will gradually be quelled and the mind will slowly morph into a higher level of perception and contentment.
  1. When for a prolonged and uninterrupted period of concentration the mind is so fixed in meditation that one is not even cognizant of anything outside the object of our mediation, then one has reached samādhi, the goal of yoga.
  1. We can steady the mind in one of two ways: by our intelligence, the strong understanding that it is good for us to fix our mind on the object of our meditation, or by our heart, a strong attachment to the object of our meditation.
  1. To be connected to an object of contemplation through some feeling (emotion) is superior to being connected by our obligation or understanding (the intelligence), because it is naturally more absorbing.
  1. Mantras have thus been the preferred object of meditation for yogis through the ages, because it is God in sound. As described in the Yoga Sutras, God and the expression, or name, of God are nondifferent. Being part of God, we thus have a natural relationship with mantra, and by focusing on mantra our love and absorption for mantra naturally increases. It is also preferred because the mantra is not just an inert prop to help steady the mind; it is an all-powerful Supreme Person who can reciprocate with our meditational devotion by helping us remove the obstacles to meditation.
  1. As the most consummate emotion is devotion or love, bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, is the topmost yoga.


[1] Due to his Puri Yatra, Dhanurdhara Swami was unable to finish a new Monday Morning Greetings. Instead we are sharing this one originally published on December 12, 2016.

Comments are closed.