Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Ten Commandments and the Yamas and Niyamas: Morals and Ethics

Photo Courtesy of Centre of Pan African Thought

Much of this week’s readings refer to the Holy Spirit and Trinity.  This was discussed in last week’s blog comparing Trinity to the Heart Sutra.

There are also references in this week’s readings to keeping the commandments and words such as boundaries, vows, good conduct, God’s will, and good conscience bring the commandments to mind in all the readings. I created a chart comparing the Ten Commandments to the Yamas and Niyamas.  The Yamas and Niyamas are the ethics and morals of yoga.  Niyamas refer to our relationship to ourselves or inner world, and Yamas refer to our relationship with the outer world or others. They do not perfectly line up with the Ten Commandments, but the result is virtually the same: rule for living a moral and ethical life…

Yamas and Niyamas

Ten Commandments

Ishvara Pranidhana ~ Surrender~ Niyama

1. You shall have no other gods before me.

Santosha ~ Contentment~ Niyama

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol

Svadhyaya ~ Self-study~ Niyama

3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God

Brahmacharya ~ Non-excess~ Yama

4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

Tapas ~ Self-discipline~ Niyama

5. Honor your father and your mother

Ahimsa ~ Nonviolence~ Yama

6. You shall not murder.

Saucha ~ Purity~ Niyama

7. You shall not commit adultery.

Asteya ~ Non-stealing~ Yama

8. You shall not steal.

Satya ~ Truthfulness~ Yama

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Aparigraha ~ Non-possessiveness~ Yama

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife


Acts 17:22-31

Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Psalm 66:8-18

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.
I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.


The Epistle: I Peter 3:13-22

Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God's will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you--not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him


John 14:15-21

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”


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