Aparigraha – Letting Go…In The Context Of Yoga

Aparigraha – Letting Go…In The Context Of Yoga

How many times did you hoard things, thinking that you might need them in the near future? Many animals have the same tendency, like mice. However, humans are considered beings of the higher order. So, this is something, you can resist. Aparigraha happens to be the fifth Yama, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. You must learn not to hold on to things, or to clutch things. You must learn to live with a few basic possessions.

Let us go back to a story, which you have probably heard of, as a child.

The Teacher And The Carrots

One day, a teacher at a primary school told her students, ‘Go home today and think of all the people in your life, whom you hate or envy. You must write down the name somewhere, but not on paper. You must write each name on a single carrot. Bring them in tomorrow’s class.’

The students were quite happy with this homework. They went home and wrote down the names of all the people they hated, or were jealous of. The next day, the students brought their carrots to school. Some brought a few carrots, and others a sack full of carrots.

However, the teacher said, ‘I am not going to complete this lesson today. Let us do it the next day.’

Every day, the teacher postponed the classes. The students started getting angry. They teamed up and planned to air their grievances when the teacher kept postponing the class for this, till around eight days. Every day the students were carrying the carrots, and some had even started rotting. A bad smell emanated from the carrots.

The students were really frustrated, as they had written various messages on the carrots. Some had written about a classmate he hated, while others had written about relatives. A few envied other’s wealth. Eventually, the students felt sick of the smell that came out of the sacks.


Aparigraha – Finally….

The teacher told them at last, ’This situation which you are going through, is very similar to what you carry in your heart.’ ‘

You cannot tolerate the stench from the carrots. Just think, how much stench your heart has to endure. The impact of hatred is huge, and is sickening for your heart. The more people you hate or envy, the heavier your spirit becomes. You just stop enjoying all the simple things.’

Moral – The heaviness of the soul comes from clinging to things, like thoughts, or it could be anything. You become light, when you let go. Dropping physical things is easier, but dropping mental and emotional baggage is tough. Once you can do that, you are believed to have achieved ‘Aparigraha.’

Aparigraha In The Context Of Yoga

Most people think that ‘Aparigraha’ means non-possessiveness. It is not just related to material things, but it actually goes deeper. You must also relate this to non-hoarding nature. You do not possess another human being, so stop making demands. When you practice yoga under the aegis of a learned teacher, like the one at Hari Om Yoga Vidya School, you master it.

You have to let go of all kinds of attachments or baggage, whether materialistic, mental, or emotional. You must think like a bird, and soar high. You can do the yoga teacher training at the above school to learn the true meaning of Aparigraha and practice the actions associated with achieving it.

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Pramod Sahoo
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