Another wonderful yoga teaching from Ammaji
It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who said he wanted this statement engraved on his tombstone: “Two things instill in me great awe: The vast starry skies above me and the moral law within me.” He touched on a great truth. When the human soul evolves to a certain high level, the spirit will experience “the moral law within!” (Humans of lower levels of development are governed by another set of rules: the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest. That is another story!) Some may call this moral law the conscience but often what is called the conscience is a socially conditioned set of rules ingrained in the human personality to enable the social community to function harmoniously. The “Inner Moral Law” is something quite different. It is the microcosm of the macrocosm. These laws are the bedrock of Sat –Chit – Anandam, the essential component of the Cosmos. The Rishis called these laws Dharma Rai, or the Law of Dharma which maintains universal stability, harmony and balance. Patanjali called these laws Yama and Niyama and said realization of the necessity of aligning one’s life in harmony with these laws constituted the first two steps along the eight runged ladder leading to Moksha, Kaivalaya or Samadhi.
William Blake the English mystic poet said: “Love virtue. She alone is true.” Yama-Niyama is that love of virtue for its own beauty, its own sake and not for the purpose of any reward, either here or hereafter. It is an unconditional love.
A beautiful manifestation of this “Innate Moral Law” was the emergence of what has come to be known as “Morality Plays” which were popular in 15th and 16th century in Europe and England.
In the 15th century play, ‘The Summoning of Everyman’, the traveler realizes that the companions he was counting on to accompany him on his pilgrimage through life – Friendship, Family, Material Possessions, Social Status , Accomplishments and Knowledge – refuse to go along with him to the end of the journey into the Valley of Death. In the hour of reckoning he walks alone towards deliverance.
This theme is the central tenet of Upanishadic teachings which promulgate the human evolutionary journey as “From untruth to truth, darkness to light, and from death to immortality.” This journey was called “the flight of the alone to the Alone,!” We enter the world alone, with nothing in our hands. We depart this world alone, with equally empty hands. A Bengali poet put it poignantly: “ Wives, lovers , children, friends, drops of water on heated sands. What are they to me, O Kesava, now that I am old!”
This morality play also echoes a Vedic truth. In the play all deeds are recorded in a ledger by God. At the journey’s end, Everyman realizes that all that is left as his companions are his good and bad deeds.
We can take nothing with us when we depart … just our good (and evil) deeds! But there is one other friend who can at least accompany us to the gates of Yama, the Lord of Death.
To borrow from the play again, advice from the character Knowledge to the 15th century Aam Aadmi(Every man) is “Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide, in thy most need, to go by thy side.” In India we would use the term “Vidya” instead of Knowledge. Vidya implies not just knowledge, but also consciousness and awareness. It is a high state of development in our evolutionary journey. The state of evolution (consciousness) we attain in our life’s journey also goes with us in our departure from the body and determines the level of existence we will assume in our next birth. That Vidya along with our good deeds are our faithful and true companions in our long pilgrimage from untruth to truth, from darkness to light and from death to immortality.