The second chapter of Yoga Sutra–the reference book for yogis, begins with this yoga sutra. It underlines the importance of pure potential which each one of us carries within us. When we start using more pure potential of ours, the life unfolds very unique dimensions of our being. Knowing self in completely different perspectives escalates our growth in every aspect of life. The adaptation of kriya yoga practice (consisting of tapas, swadhyaya and ishwarpranidhan) can help us realize our fuller potential. Patanjali defines kriya yoga as the action plan that can help the person to discover innumerable possibilities of progress as per his dharma (duty).
A person has to fulfill many dharmas in his life; if you are a teacher your dharma is to endow your students with knowledge and wisdom in a greater possibility. As the student your dharma is to absorb as much knowledge as possible. A teacher can be student as well as teacher. So one person has to fulfill dharmas of both. Our duty is not only limited to certain works or professions, one has to play important role in family and the community too. Practicing dharma is not an easy task. If you want something best come to you, you need to put up your best efforts in your task.
Tapa (Disciplined Efforts)
kriya yoga is made up of three components; tapa, swadhyaya and ishwarpranidhan. Tapas means clarity and austerity. It helps us tests our capacities all levels physical, mental, emotional and intellectual level. For example, mastering asanas or any sports you required to put up continuous and consistent dedicated efforts in terms of practice. The tapas is not necessarily should be applicable to physical dimensions only. Your response to ongoing challenges and difficult situations in an improved manner also helps the person to rise beyond situations.
Swadhyaya (Self-awareness, self study)
Efforts shouldn’t be breaking you but they should build you. The understanding of right path is crucial to keep you on the track. You can be sure of direction through swadhyaya- self-study. You keep on checking on self what changes to be made. The self-awareness plays a key role here. This awareness can be obtained through the practice of yoga and meditation and also reading good books and scriptures. Just reading books will not take you anywhere. You need to choose the books that will give you the insight on the path. After reading, the major time should be put into action. Endlessly reading several books will not take you anywhere. Also the satsang – the company of wise people plays a pivotal rule to understand own strengths and weaknesses and also characteristics which don’t fit into good-bad equation.
Your swadhyaya should be an exercise to search answers to self-inquiries such as, who am I? What’s my objective? What’s my connection with others and the whole cosmos? Why am I put in certain conditions? What can I do in the given situations? You don’t need to be an extreme self-critic when you are following swadhyaya. You can also keep on appreciating self for the good changes you made with self-awareness. And keep on following the best practices you are already following.
Ishwarpranidhan (Unconditional Faith)
The unshakable faith in the power of higher almighty is the essence of Ishwarpranidhana. The unconditional faith in the higher power can promise you the satisfied life. You need to surrender all your efforts to the universal force. God doesn’t mean any deity but the cosmic power that governs both living and non-living objects in this universe. Why it has to be unconditional? Your faith is not faith if it comes with certain conditions. If you believe in God only when something desired happens; then it is not faith because it comes with conditions.
Surrendering the fruits to the God doesn’t mean you cannot expect the results but you don’t have any control on it. The results can be different, better or not so good than you expected. But when you put up your 100%work and then leave things to higher forces, you are blessed with amazing outcome. The moment doubt creeps in your mind, your faith is shaken and so consequences to hard work too. The acceptance of results whether expected and unexpected strengthens the belief in higher power.
Tapa, Swadhyaya and Ishwarpranidhan are also part of Niyama (observances), the second limb of Ashtanga yoga Marga. When we start following these niyamas, you are bound to be a yogi inside out. A yogis is not a Sanyasi (one who departs self from worldly pleasures.) A yogi faces his life difficulties with great panache and creates his own life with the help of Him. He is a doer and not the quitter, but at the same time he is wise enough to stop at the right moment.