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Swa-Adhayaya-Introduction

Swa-Adhayaya, A Sanskrit originated word with meaning of “one’s own reading and self-study”, incorporates any activity done to cultivate self-reflective consciousness. It is a process of self- transformation, self-empowerment and life changing experience which gives people self-respect, dignity and self-esteem. Swa-Adhayaya integrates people from different identities, belongings and communities to serve a system of beliefs and heal at both community and individual level. According to Vyasa Bhashya, swa-adhyaya is japa, or repetition, of purifying mantras such as the sacred syllable Om and the study of scriptures on liberation. It is further said that deities (devas), sages (rishis) and adepts (siddhas) reveal themselves to one who becomes naturally inclined towards swa-adhyaya. Thus it becomes one’s nature or character and one remains occupied in performing their works. The main objective of Swa-Adhayaya is to develop a self-awareness of the omnipresent God within each individual. Bhakti is another basis of Swa- Adhyaya. This helps to realize divine presence of God within us. Further it goes to much deeper understanding of human’s relationship with the Divine and with every other being.

Swa-Adhayaya and Yoga

Swa-Adhayaya the study of the self is the fourth Niyama of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra, Saucha, Santosha, Tapasya, and Ishwarapranidhana being first, second, third and fifth respectively. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra says: “Study thy self, discover the divine.” So, it’s almost vivid that the more we realize what we are not, the closer we become to us. The practice of Swa-Adhayaya in our daily life not merely refers to study of The Upanishads and the Vedas but it also indicates reading any article about yoga practice that makes us closer to our true self. But it also focuses on practicing meditation and yoga which ultimately leads to ego’s banishment. Swa-Adhayaya implies continuous and aware observation of our actions and reactions in various situations and circumstances to understand various reasons for greed, anger, sorrow, happiness and sorrow. This results in understanding of our mind functions and helps in preparation of basis for our gradual spiritual enhancement.