tapas = The Practice of Vedanta

To avoid the three gates of hell, LORD prescribes three things of practice. They are

yajna = sacrifice
daana = charity
tapas = tapas

यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत्।
यज्ञो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम्।।18.5।।

yajna, daana and tapas are the three actions that can’t be given up! These three are the purifiers of men.

yajna and daanam are prescribed for the “grihasta” (a householder) where as the “tapas” is for a qualified mumukshu.

What is tapas?
Lord has already explained this in 17th Adhyaya as follows:

देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम्।
ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते।।17.14।।
17.14 देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनम् worship of the gods, the twice-born, the teachers and the wise, शौचम् purity, आर्जवम् straightforwardness, ब्रह्मचर्यम् celibacy, अहिंसा non-injury, च and, शारीरम् of the body, तपः austerity, उच्यते is called.

अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत्।
स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते।।17.15।।
17.15 अनुद्वेगकरम् causing no excitement, वाक्यम् speech, सत्यम् truthful, प्रियहितम् pleasant and beneficial, च and, यत् which, स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनम् the practice of the study of the Vedas, च and, एव also, वाङ्मयम् of speech, तपः austerity, उच्यते is called.

मनःप्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रहः।
भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते।।17.16।।
17.16 मनःप्रसादः serenity of mind, सौम्यत्वम् good-heartedness, मौनम् silence, आत्मविनिग्रहः self-control, भावसंशुद्धिः purity of nature, इति thus, एतत् this, तपः austerity, मानसम् mental, उच्यते is called.

The above three layers of “tapas” [of body, speech and mind] need to be performed with “sattvika” predominance without hankering for fruits of such tapas. Explained as follows:

श्रध्दया परया तप्तं तपस्तत्त्रिविधं नरैः।
अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैः सात्त्विं परिचक्षते।।17.17।।
17.17 श्रद्धया with faith, परया highest, तप्तम् practised, तपः austerity, तत् that, त्रिविधम् threefold, नरैः by men, अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः desiring no fruit, युक्तैः steadfast, सात्त्विकम् Sattvic, परिचक्षते (they) declare.

Commentary (of Swami Sivananda) : Trividham: Threefold — physical, vocal and mental.Yuktaih: Steadfast: Balanced in mind, unaffected in success and failure.Sraddhaya: With faith: With belief in the existence of God, in the words of the preceptor, in the teachings of the scriptures and in one’s own Self.

So, YOGA VEDANTA is a highly PRACTICAL mode of self realization. TAPAS is its means! This three layered satwika tapas mentions “mauna” (silence) as the tapas of MIND! One who makes his mind silent raises above the three gunas of nature and attains the highest goal for sure….

om tat sat


One Response to “tapas = The Practice of Vedanta”

  1. Prasanth Jalasutram Says:

    nice article prasad garu.

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