Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 1 - Yoga Has No Need for Likes & Dislikes

December 9, 2021

Yoga Has No Need for Likes & Dislikes  

   Yoga does not prohibit people from enjoying life. It does not demand that one should cut oneself completely away from all the pleasures of life. We have a weakness for surrounding ourselves with so many prohibitions that nobody wants to look at spiritual practices, because before I take up spiritual practices I think I must drop this and drop that. When I come across somebody who tells me this, I ask: "Please tell me what I can do! Not a string of 'thou shalt nots'." Let us try some “Thou shalts”.
    Far from making the student incapable of enjoying life, yoga enables one to enjoy life more keenly. If I resolutely make up my mind that I shall live to be happy, that I shall live in such a way that life gives me pleasure, then I am quite sure that my life will be well disciplined.

     I'm quite sure that I will eat the right food, engage myself in right activity. Before I take a cigarette in my hand, I will think "does it give me pleasure?" Momentarily, maybe, but I can feel it is going to lead me into distress - so I may not want it. Therefore, basically, the philosophy of yoga does not indulge in injunction and prohibition, but promotes awareness. That is the key word. Awareness!  

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