Yama & Niyama are the first 2-stages of Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali
The 10 Yamas – Restraints or Proper Conduct
- Ahimsa …………………or Non-injury
- Satya ……….. …………or Truthfulness
- Asteya ……….. ………..or Nonstealing
- Brahmacharya ……….. or Sexual Purity
- Kshama ……………….. or Patience
- Dhriti ……….. …………or Steadfastness
- Daya ……….. ………….or Compassion
- Arjava ……….. ………..or Honesty
- Mitahara ……….. ……..or Moderate Diet
- Saucha ……….. ………..or Purity (Hygiene)
The 10 Niyamas – Observances or Practices
- Hri ……….. …………….or Modesty
- Santosha ……….. ………or Contentment
- Dana ……….. …………..or Charity
- Astikya ……….. ………..or Faith
- Ishvarapujana ………….or Worship of the Lord
- Siddhanta Sravana …….or Scriptural Listening
- Mati ……….. ……………or Cognition
- Vrata ……….. ………….or Sacred Vows
- Japa ……….. ……………or Incantation
- Tapas ……….. ………….or Austerity
How simple they sound and how difficult they are! Are they truly difficult? Anything you are not accustomed to – appears difficult. For a person who has not even seen a swimming pool or pond before – swimming appears difficult. Familiarity removes the fear and makes it easy. Then, once a person starts familiarizing with the above – they progressively become easy and practicable.
Visishta Nirvachana Vaani means … Superior voice of definitions!
Master Ekkirala Krishnamacharya (Master EK) is one of the greatest Sanskrit – Telugu – English – scholars and also one of the “Saint-Masters” of our time from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. I happened to live very near (a minute’s walking distance) to where he lived in Guntur during my boyhood and teenage days – absolutely oblivious to the fact that I will be venerating him one day – in my later part of life.
Master EK had authored many books in varying subjects, lectured and taught people – on Sciences, Yoga & Spirituality. I have studied quite a few of them, heard his recorded speeches on variety of subjects with great interest – learnt a lot and benefited from that learning. For this benefit obtained by me – I owe my debt of gratitude to my close childhood friend – Shri Vavilala Umapathi (S/o Shri Vavilala Somayajulu – a contemporary and a very close friend of Master EK) who supplied me with the books and CDs of Master EK from his personal Library.
Mandra Gita & Shakharavam are just two of many books that have flown from the ocean of outpourings from this great Master EK. His daughter Smt. P. Lakshmi Devi, picked up some important and very useful definitions from the above two books to present them in one lot – for the benefit and convenience of those who seek greater clarity in understanding the ancient philosophical scriptures. “Visishta Nirvachana Vaani” is probably the smallest booklet written and published in Sanskrtised Telugu – and flowing from the very own daughter of this great “Man-Institution”. This booklet encapsulates in a nutshell most of the clarity needed on definitions of words in order to comprehend clearly (without the normal confusion) the essence of – Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Bhagavat Gita.
Those who have studied Indian scriptures to some extent and understand at least some words of Sanskrit but have no full clarity on them (due to lack of clarity of definitions) – will get greater clarity form these “Capsules of Wisdom”. For the benefit of the English readers (who cannot read Telugu original) – I am attempting this transliteration (plus very little of translation) from Telugu to English. I have tried to preserve to the best of my ability – the original flavour of Master EK’s style and that of Smt. P. Lakshmi Devi – which is inimitable for its precise brevity. This is done so – notwithstanding the fact that it is extremely difficult to totally convey the complete, extensive and voluminous meaning of what is said in Sanskrtised Telugu into another and grammatically different language like English – with the same or identical precision & brevity.
I had gone occasionally – beyond the “strict script” in my transliteration – wherever I thought the additional information given in brackets is essential to ensure the conveyance of the full purport to the English reader – to help proper understanding. I also kept the Sanskrit words bold for easy noticing with their English meaning given in the brackets – for quick references later. Here are 224 Invaluable Gems of definitions (Delivered in some form of axioms or aphorisms) – each one containing the equivalent “substance-content” of a text book – if only to be elaborated for simplification or for elucidation.
These Nirvachanas (Definitions / Axioms / Aphorisms – call what you may) are individually capsules of wisdom and also clarifications by themselves. They have been picked up at random only from the 2 books of Master EK’s works. They are not organized in any particular order to establish or accomplish any kind of connectivity serially – or in accordance with any predetermined flow as you proceed sequentially. This will be similar to a dictionary that is not alphabetically organized – but meanings clearly defined. Hope the readers will benefit as much as I did – reading the original Telugu works of Master EK.
If there is one word in “Sanskrit” that pervades the entire physical & material universe on one side – and also the universe of Life & Spirit on the other side – it is “Dharma”. It is used very colloquially on one side by all and sundry – as much as with extreme poignancy and significance by the very learned to explain the esoteric truths of God’s creations.
Let us look at the Indian mythological connection to this word and I quote ….
Dharma: An ancient “Hindu Sage” – a Rishi, who married thirteen of Daksha‘s daughters. According to the Mahabharata, Daksha sprang from the right thumb of Brahma, and his wife from that god’s left thumb. Their numerous progeny, transparently personifications of virtues and religious rites, were married to – “Dharma” (meaning moral duty in Sanskrit); to Kashyapa – another ancient sage and the grandfather of Manu, the progenitor of mankind; and to Soma – the king of the Brahmins and the guardians of sacrifices. Dharma in Hindu religion is the doctrine of the duties and rights of each caste in the ideal society, and as such the mirror of all moral action.
Now we look at the religious interpretations and I quote ….
Historically – that is since the Vedic periods – India had been a very large group of monarchies, ranging in size from very small to very large, such as the size of a present small village of population of 500 to the size of an Empire with a population of 10 million or more … in those days. The ruling kings were benevolent dictators – highly educated in and self-governed by Dharma (Ethics). The rules of succession were laid down so clearly, that there were hardly any conflicts on that account. Competence to deliver good and impartial justice internally and ability to ward off threats externally were considered most important characteristics needed for a monarch – in the process of selection and election.
While the kings enjoyed the privilege and prerogative of nominating their successors while still functioning as kings – it was not automatic for confirmation. The ministers had the right to question the choice and selection of the king – about the track record of the nominee prince or the heir-apparent. Only after due deliberations on the choice of the successor, the new prince was confirmed for the crowning ceremony. The popularity of the king’s nominee with the common people of the kingdom was also a major factor in determining the suitability of the heir-apparent prior to the confirmation as the crown prince. Even a small blemish in following the ethics or morals by the individual will permanently disqualify him for future kinghood. He was to function as de facto king (king in probation) – under the supervision of the actual king – for fairly long time to prove his mettle before getting the final confirmation as the king by the governing council of ministers. The retired king was never powerless; he held the veto power to disqualify the newly crowned king – if he becomes unpopular later by virtue of his conduct and bad governance. There was no incentive to indulge in corruption, while there were all rewards for good governance. Read the rest of this entry