The word ‘Yat’ (which) is used as a conjunctive. The word suggests that one should not speak anything other than this. It is better to keep quiet if it is not possible to speak in this prescribed manner. The second part of the verse (Swadhyayabyasanam Chaiva- and also the study and practice of the scriptures) has been joined to the first part by the conjunctive ‘Yat’(which).
It is said that a spiritual aspirant should quietly abandon the place where he meets a wicked person.
Swami Chinmayananda says, “If one decides not to speak unnecessarily, a lot of words can be avoided. We save money by cutting down everyday expenditure. And we make a large investment from this total saving. In the same way, Swadhyaya means saving unnecessary words and using them for a noble purpose.’’ One has to study scriptures, spiritual literature and also his own self.
Swadhyaya means study of own self. A person looks in the mirror not because he wants to see the mirror, but he wants to see his own face. In the same way one has to study scriptures in order to study his own self.
In the word Swadhyayabyasanam, Swadhyaya and Abhyasanam have come together. Difference between the words Swadhyaya and Abhyasanam is like ‘test’ and ‘study’. Abhyas means revising and mastering over the topics that have been studied. A topic cannot be understood in one reading. It can be understood a bit in the second reading. In the third reading, it can be understood in a better way. Gurudev Ranade used to say, “In God’s university, one has to be a lifelong student.”
Vanmayam Tap Uchyate
One has to speak and also meditate upon any name of God. This is called as the austerity of speech.
Mental austerity has been discussed in the next verse. Description of austerities has been started from physical austerity and after that verbal and mental austerities have been discussed. Speech comes in between body and mind or thought and action. A feeling in mind cannot be immediately carried out into action. That feeling gets transformed into words and then into thought. The thought is matched with the previous experiences and an action-plan gets ready. The action-plan includes all the proper steps and also the procedure of carrying out those steps. Speech comes in between this path from feeling towards the action. Speech and action are complementary to each other. Therefore if a person wants to control his actions, he should establish a control over his speech.
A person can mould his actions so that an undesirable action can be prohibited. Physical and verbal austerities are designed so that a wrong thought will be stooped by itself. If we have a habit of chanting Stotras and God’s name in the morning, wrong thoughts may not be able to enter into the mind easily. Even though they enter, they will not stay for a long time. After making mental preparations like this, a person becomes ready for mental austerity.
People often complain that they are not able to concentrate in meditation. The main reason is that they do not spend their remaining time properly. Meditation is not possible unless you perform verbal austerity. A person should concentrate on himself by reducing other unnecessary thoughts and actions.
Jnaneshwar Maharaj says that austerity does not only mean endurance, it also means a control over body, sense organs and vital energy.
While a person is performing meditation, he establishes a control over breath, sensations and physical actions. While milk is getting condensed, amount of water becomes less and nutritional value becomes more. In the same way, austerity is meant for throwing away unnecessary thoughts and nurturing valuable thoughts in mind.
Why should I perform austerity? I have to reach to the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim of performing austerity is self-realization. Proper behavior and sweet words are necessary not only for social welfare, but also for my own progress. This becomes possible only for a few people and I have to attain it. For that ultimate purpose I have to perform austerity.
To be continued...