10. Yama - Purity | Śaucha
Summary of the Tenth Restraint
Uphold the ethic of purity, avoiding impurity in mind, body and speech.
Maintain a clean, healthy body.
Keep a pure, uncluttered home and workplace.
Keep good company, never mixing with adulterers, thieves or other impure people.
Keep away from pornography and violence.
Never use harsh, angered or indecent language.
Worship devoutly. Meditate daily.
The Tenth Restraint
Śaucha / शौच
Purity, śaucha, number ten of the yamas, is the outcome of restraining ourselves in all the other nine.
Purity is the natural heritage of men and women, disciplined in mind and body, who think before they speak, speaking only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary.
People whose thoughts are pure—and this means being in line with the yamas and niyamas—and whose bodies are free from incompatible alien obstructions, are naturally happy, content and ready to perform japa.
Japa yoga lifts the spiritual energies and annihilates pride and arrogance by awakening within the superconscious areas of the mind an extra-terrestrial intelligence, far surpassing the ordinary intellect one would encounter in the schools and universities of the present day.
To be pure in mind means to have a bright, luminous aura filled with the pastel hues of the primary and secondary colours under every circumstance and life situation.
Those who practice this restraint have realized that thoughts create and manifest into situations, actual physical happenings. Therefore, they are careful what they think and to whom they direct their thoughts.
A clean personal environment, wearing clean clothes, bathing often, keeping the room spotless where you meditate, breathing clean air, letting fresh air pass through your house, is all very important in the fulfilment of purity.
Śaucha also includes partaking of clean food, which ideally is freshly picked food, cooked within minutes of the picking.
There are creative forces, preservation forces and forces of dissolution:
The preservation force is in the continued growing of a fruit or a leafy vegetable. It reaches its normal size and if not picked remains on the plant and is preserved by the life of that plant.
As soon as it is picked, the force of dissolution sets in. Therefore, the food should be cooked and eaten as soon after picking as possible, before the dissolution force gets strong.
Dissolution, as it causes the break- down of the cells, is an impure force:
When we constantly eat food that is on the breakdown, the body is sluggish, the mind is sluggish and the tongue is loose, and we say things we don’t mean.
Many unhappy, depressed situations result from people eating a predominance of frozen foods, processed foods, canned foods, convenience foods, which are all in the process of dissolution.
Clean clothing is very important. One feels invigorated and happy wearing clean clothing. Even hanging clothing out in the sunlight for five minutes a day cleanses and refreshes it.
Keeping Pure Surroundings
Cleaning the house is an act of purifying one’s immediate environment.
Each piece of furniture, as well as the doorways and the walls, catches and holds the emanations of the human aura of each individual in the home, as well as each of its visitors.
This residue must be wiped away through dusting and cleaning. This regular attentiveness keeps each room sparkling clean and actinic.
Unless this is done, the rooms of the home become overpowering to the consciousness of the individuals who live within them as their auras pick up the old accumulated feelings of days gone by. Small wonder that a dirty room can depress you, and one freshly cleaned can invigorate.
In these years, when both mother and father work in the outside world, the house is often simply where they sleep and eat.
But if a home receives all of the daily attentions of cleaning it sparkly bright, both astrally and physically, it becomes a welcoming place and not an empty shell.
The devas can live within a home that is clean and well regulated, where the routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner is upheld, where early morning devotionals are performed and respected, a home which the family lives together within, eats together within, talks together within, worships together within. Such a home is the abode of the devas.
Other kinds of homes are the abodes of āsuric forces and disincarnate entities bound to Earth by lower desires.
It is very important that the saṁskāras are performed properly within a śaucha abode, particularly the antyeshṭi, or funeral ceremonies so as to restore purity in the home after a death.
Birth and death require the family to observe a moratorium of at least thirty-one days during which they do not enter the temple or the shrine room:
Such obligatory ritual customs are important to follow for those wishing to restrain their desires and perfect śaucha in body, mind and speech, keeping good company, keeping the mind pure and avoiding impure thoughts.
Purity and impurity can be discerned in the human aura:
We see purity in the brilliancy of the aura of one who is restraining and disciplining the lower instinctive nature, as outlined in these yamas and niyamas:
His aura is bright with white rays from his soul lightening up the various hues and colours of his moods and emotions.
Impure people have black shading in the colours of their aura as they go through their moods and emotions. Black in the aura is from the lower worlds, the worlds of darkness, of the tala chakras below the Mūlādhāra.
It is unfortunate that at this time in the Kali yuga there are more people on the Earth in important positions who have risen into physical birth from the Nāraka loka, the world of darkness, than have descended from the Devaloka, the world of light:
Therefore, they are strong as they band together in anger, corruption, deceit and contempt for the Devaloka people, who live in the chakras above the Mūlādhāra.
It is important for the Devaloka people to ferret out who is good company and who is not:
They should not presume that they can create any sustainable changes in the Nāraka loka people.
And they need to know that the āsuric people, bound in anger, greed, jealousy, contempt, covetousness and lust, can make and sustain a difference within the saintly people, bringing them down into their world, torturing and tormenting them with their callous, cruel and insensitive feelings.
To sustain śaucha, it is important to surround oneself with good, saintly company, to have the discrimination to know one type of person from another.
Too many foolish, sensitive souls, thinking their spirituality could lift a soul from the world of darkness, have walked in where even the Mahādevas do not tread and the devas fear to tread, only to find themselves caught in that very world, through the deceit and conniving of the cleverly cunning.
Let’s not be foolish. Let’s discriminate between higher consciousness and lower consciousness. Higher-consciousness people should surround themselves with higher-consciousness people to fulfil Śaucha.
Changing to a purer life can be so simple. You don’t have to give up anything. Just learn to like things that are better. That is the spirit of purity.
When you give up something because you think you should give it up, that creates strain. Instead, search for a better life; search for Śaucha.
From tāmasic eating we go to rājasic eating, and because sāttvic food tastes better and makes us feel better, we also leave much of the rājasic food behind.
Are not all persons on this planet driven by desire? Yes, indeed:
Then let’s redirect desire and let our desires perfect us:
Let us learn to desire the more tasty, sāttvic foods, the more sublime sounds, the most perfect things we can see, more than the gross, exciting and reprehensible, the desires for which will fade away when we attach ourselves to something better.
Let our desires perfect us:
The ultra-democratic dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we can use as a New-Age goal and pursue the happiness of something better than what we are doing now that is bad for us.
Let’s go forward with the spirit of moving onward.
A devotee told, “I gave up coffee because coffee is a stimulant and a depressant. I stopped eating meat because meat is a cholesterol-creating killer and forest decimator.”
Another approach would be to give up coffee because you have found a beverage that is better. Test all beverages!
Some have found that coffee gives you indigestion and green tea helps you digest your food, especially oily foods and foods that remain in your stomach undigested through the night. It also tastes good.
Others have found that freshly picked, nutritious vegetables, especially when cooked within minutes of the picking, give more life and energy than eating dead meat that has been refrigerated or preserved.
Still others have found that if you kill an animal and eat it fresh, it has more nutritive value than killing it, refrigerating it, preserving it, then cooking it to death again!
Be mature about it when you give something up:
The immature spiritual person will want everyone else to give it up, too.
The spiritually mature person quietly surrenders it because it is simply his personal choice and then goes on with his life.
The spiritually immature person will make a big issue of giving anything up and want everyone to know about it.