Willingly going through that which is not easy is tapas

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 48

Contd. from knowledge sheet 47

What is Kriya Yoga? It comprises three parts. Patanjali says tapaha.Tapas is endurance, acceptance.

Say you are traveling in a plane; it is a long-distance flight. You are sitting and your legs are getting numb. You are tired but you keep sitting. You feel heavy but still you keep sitting. You cannot say, "Oh! I cannot sit now. I am going to get out of the plane". No way. If the plane is delayed, held up in the air, you have to be there. There is no choice. Now, if you had a choice, then you would not sit for eight hours like that in one place. No way. But in a plane, you sit, accepting it willingly, without grumbling. That is tapaha.

Tapaha is really experiencing opposite values without grumbling. Do you get what I am saying? You are driving somewhere and you are feeling sleepy. Sleep time. You never mind, another two to three hours; you say, “It does not matter. I will reach home”. You will not say, “It is already 10 o’clock. It is my sleep time. I will sleep now”. You do not park your car somewhere and just go to sleep, unless it is absolutely unbearable.

In the same way, if you are hungry, you say, “No I am fasting. I want to have a cleansing diet. I want to cleanse my body. So I am just going to fast on juice or water”. You decide on your own to do some action which is not usual. That is tapaha. Are you getting what I am saying?

You know that it is beneficial, the result of this action is very good. “It is beneficial for me, I am going to do it”. Like doing exercise. People go to the gymnasium. It is not a joke, it is not giving them any pleasure doing that, lifting the weights. It is not a pleasurable job. Same with bicycling. But one does it. Why? They know that it is good for their system. This endurance is called tapaha.

Swadhyayaisbeing alert, self-study, observing the thoughts, emotions and where the emotions come from. Where do the thoughts come from? What is happening inside you? Studying yourself is swadhyaya.

Eshwarapranidhanameansdevotion to the Divine, love for the Divine. These three things make up Kriya Yoga. What does it do? What do they all do to you?

(IISutra 2)


samadhi= meditative state;bhavanarthaha= brings about;klesha= difficulties;tanukarana= reduce;cha= and

“They bring about samadhi, equanimity and reduce difficulties.”

Kleshatanukaranarthascha- they reduce the suffering. They reduce the misery in life.
Samadhi bhavanarthaha
- gives rise to samadhi, equanimity. There are certain people who walk in very hot weather without wearing shoes. It looks like some type of a torture. You wonder - why is this person torturing oneself? But if you actually talk to them, they are so used to that and their body is much stronger. It can bear the heat, bear that weather. But for someone else, it is unbearable.

So, tapas makes you strong somewhere. If you come from California to Switzerland, you need to wear one sweater over the other and a coat. There are a lot of things you put on. But if you are coming from the Northwest province or above that, then this cold weather is nothing to you. You walk even without a sweater. This is because your body is used to harsh weathers. Do you see what I am saying?

Willingly going through that which is not very easy is tapas. This strengthens you. People can stretch this to another extent. They can become masochists. They torture themselves. Here also there are two types of tapas- one being tapas for the body, the other being tapas for words, for speech and tapas in the mind.

To be continued…

<< Introduction to Kriya Yoga Five Types of Fire >>


(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)