ahimsa satyam asteyam
brahmacaryam tapah saucam
ahimsa—nonviolence; satyam—truthfulness; asteyam—refraining from theft; yavat-artha—as much as necessary; parigrahah—possessing; brahmacaryam—celibacy; tapah—austerity; saucam—cleanliness; sva-adhyayah—study of the Vedas; purusa-arcanam—worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One should practice nonviolence and truthfulness, should avoid thieving and be satisfied with possessing as much as he needs for his maintenance. He should abstain from sex life, perform austerity, be clean, study the Vedas and worship the supreme form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The word purusarcanam in this verse means worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, especially the form of Lord Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita it is confirmed by Arjuna that Krsna is the original purusa, or Personality of Godhead, purusam sasvatam. Therefore in yoga practice one not only must concentrate his mind on the person of Krsna, but must also worship the form or Deity of Krsna daily.
A brahmacari practices celibacy, controlling his sex life. One cannot enjoy unrestricted sex life and practice yoga; this is rascaldom. So-called yogis advertise that one can go on enjoying as one likes and simultaneously become a yogi, but this is totally unauthorized. It is very clearly explained here that one must observe celibacy. Brahmacaryam means that one leads his life simply in relationship with Brahman, or in full Krsna consciousness. Those who are too addicted to sex life cannot observe the regulations which will lead them to Krsna consciousness. Sex life should be restricted to persons who are married. A person whose sex life is restricted in marriage is also called a brahmacari.
The word asteyam is also very important for a yogi. Asteyam means “to refrain from theft.” In the broader sense, everyone who accumulates more than he needs is a thief. According to spiritual communism, one cannot possess more than he needs for his personal maintenance. That is the law of nature. Anyone who accumulates more money or more possessions than he needs is called a thief, and one who simply accumulates wealth without spending for sacrifice or for worship of the Personality of Godhead is a great thief.
Svadhyayah means “reading the authorized Vedic scriptures.” Even if one is not Krsna conscious and is practicing the yoga system, he must read standard Vedic literatures in order to understand. Performance of yoga alone is not sufficient. Narottama dasa Thakura, a great devotee and acarya in the Gaudiya Vaisnava-sampradaya, says that all spiritual activities should be understood from three sources, namely saintly persons, standard scriptures and the spiritual master. These three guides are very important for progress in spiritual life. The spiritual master prescribes standard literature for the prosecution of the yoga of devotional service, and he himself speaks only from scriptural reference. Therefore reading standard scriptures is necessary for executing yoga. Practicing yoga without reading the standard literatures is simply a waste of time.
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