Our best paper will be the system of Buddha (1), but it is so complex that no quick overview would serve, and in other cases, we do not have the stories of the Masters, but those of their immediate disciples.
METHODS RECOMMENDED BY ALL THESE PEOPLE GIVE A striking resemblance. They advocate "virtue" (various types), loneliness, lack of excitement, moderation in food, and finally a practice which some call prayer and other meditation (the first four are just conditions favorable to the latter).
The mental activity is so intense, and seems so natural, it is difficult to understand how someone had first thought it was a weakness and a nuisance. Perhaps this was because in practice the more natural "devotion," people realized that their thoughts interfered. In any case, calm and self-control should be preferred to restlessness. Darwin to the present study contrasts sharply with the monkey in his cage.
IT IS WHEN RELEASING THE SPIRIT OF EXTERNAL INFLUENCES, MAY THEY BE CASUAL OR EMOTIONAL THAT ONE BECOMES able to perceive the truth of things.
We shall have little work to do to convince us that all external influences are likely to be inappropriate. New faces, new scenes will disturb us, even the new lifestyle that we contract with the sole purpose of controlling the mind will tend to start to trouble. Already, we must rid ourselves of our tendency to overeat, and follow the natural law requiring that we eat when we are hungry, listening to the voice within us indicating that we are sufficiently satisfied.
The Hindus have placed these achievements at the forefront of their agenda. These are the "moral qualities" AND THE "GOOD WORKS" DEEMED predisposed to mental calm.
Yama is not to kill, not steal, do not receive gifts, to tell the truth and to be chaste.
In the Buddhist system, Sila, "Virtue" is similarly recommended. These qualities are, for the uninitiated, the following five: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. You not lie. You shall not commit adultery. You do not get drunk. To the monk, many others are added.
The commandments of Moses are familiar to all, they are roughly similar, and those given by Christ (2) in the "Sermon on the Mount".
Some later theologians have attempted to improve the teaching of the Masters, and gave a sort of mystical importance to these virtues, they have insisted on them as such and are deflected towards puritanism and formalism. Thus, "do not kill," which originally meant "do not get excited to hunt the tiger," was interpreted to imply that it was criminal to drink unfiltered water, and as you kill them animalcules.
A similar difficulty on the wives was that some teachers have recommended celibacy. In all these matters, common sense should be the guide. No absolute rule can not be fixed. "Do not receive gifts," for example, is more important for a Hindu to be totally upset for weeks if someone offers him a coconut, as the average European who takes things as they come, time to put in his long trousers.
The only difficult question is that of chastity, which is complicated by other considerations, such as that of energy, but everybody's mind is hopelessly muddled on this subject that some confuse with érotologie, and other with sociology. There will be no clear thinking on this issue before Is understood that this is only a branch of athletics.
We can now leave Yama and Niyama by this advice: THAT THE STUDENT HAS DECIDED FOR HIMSELF WHAT STYLE OF LIFE, WHAT MORAL CODE, TO BE THE BEST FOR DRIVING HIS MIND, but once he has chosen holding it there, he will avoid opportunism, and he will be very careful not claiming any credit for what he does or refrains from making - this is purely a code practice worthless by itself.