Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.30 mentions:
अहिंसासत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहाः यमाः ॥३०॥
ahiṁsā-satya-asteya brahmacarya-aparigrahāḥ yamāḥ ॥30॥
Out of the Five Yamas mentioned in the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, Aparigraha is the 5th Yama. Since it is part of Yama it is considered under Bahiranga Yoga and not Antarang Yoga.
Parigraha means taking possession or holding things. While Apraigraha is the negation of Parigraha which means not taking possession of things. Possession of anything in excess of one’s need makes one susceptible to greed. It also increases attachment to material things. When someone no longer desires to have possessions, he frees himself from the material world. This gives him a perspective of the purpose of his birth, both in this life and in past ones. He starts comprehending the law of Karma, and understands the lessons to be learned in this life.
Maharishi Patanjali says that “when aparigraha is established, one gets awareness of past life events. One aspect of Aparigraha is non-attachment. Attachment gives rise to a feeling of mine-ness which strengthens our Ego consciousness. Thus in one sense Aparigraha is dispassion and desirelessness. It is also the absence of greed as well as jealousy because greed gives rise to jealousy. Aparigraha teaches you not to create attachment with anybody, including your loved ones. This sense of non-attachment helps you to have a sense of belonging to everyone without becoming possessive, jealous, and dependent. Aparigraha also means “nongrasping,” and it can be tough at times to convince our minds to let go out of our grasp. Nonattachment does not mean that we should not enjoy the pleasures and joy of life. In fact, nonattachment frees us up to be immersed in appreciation of life and of one another. Aparigraha is asking us to let go of the attachment to the things, not the enjoyment of the thing itself. The lesser the baggage we carry with us, the more we are free to enjoy every moment of our life. The more we generously share and give out, the more expansive and light we become. Aparigraha reminds us of the impermanence of this world. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. If we can witness our breath and each inhalation and exhalation, we can acknowledge the transience of all things.
In Bhagwad Gita also we find mention of Aparigraha in Shloka 6.10:
योगी युञ्जीत सततमात्मानं रहसि स्थित: |
एकाकी यतचित्तात्मा निराशीरपरिग्रह: || 10||
Those who seek the state of Yog should live in seclusion and remain engaged in meditation. The mind and body should be under control. They should get rid of desires and develop an attitude of non-possession for enjoyment.
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