Shraddha or dedication – the fifth Niyama

School of Yoga explains shraddha (dedication), the fifth niyama

Dedication (shraddha) – is the ability to complete a chosen task to the best of one’s ability. Shraddha is actually a mix of sincerity, focus, patience, drive for results, passion and willingness to change solution-set to complete the task. Often, this may mean working with severe constraints, failure and frustration, no help, maybe adverse conditions, no recognition or resources, including money.

School of Yoga explains what shraddha requires;

Patience (sahana)The ability to start and maintain an activity till its logical conclusion. When we start an activity, there will be obstacles, delays, stumbles and denials. The ability to stay the course requires patience.

If we were to insist on knowing the outcome before starting any activity, we may never begin. So, we start an activity based on certain assumptions. Consequently, all we can guarantee is effort, not the result. Also, shraddha requires that we work without guarantee of reward and this can be very difficult. Therefore, sustained effort and the ability to keep going in adverse circumstances calls for enormous motivation and ability to withstand distress.

Modesty (hrimati) –

Dedication also requires an ability to accept ideas from others. Modesty and humility allow us to accept other people’s suggestion and reach the goal. Modesty also is the quality of giving credit to others and keeping our ego (Asmita) in check.

Determination (siddhi)

The path to success is not easy. We will experience fear, frustration, self-doubt, loneliness, failure and learning on the path of dedication or shraddha. This happens because we are going against our conditioning, which is to expect a reward and recognition for effort and achievement. However, even when we fail in our efforts, this does not mean one has failed in the endeavor. The lessons are subconscious and manifest as behaviour over time.

Consequently, the determination to stay invested in a project brings an awareness in one’s sense of identity because of the tempering of expectation with achievement and management of fear.

Anecdotes, experiences and situations to help understand…

(Wikipedia extract) Mitsuru Ushijim was a Japanese general at the Battle of Okinawa, during World War II.


Mitsuru Ushijima

Ushijima was sent to Okinawa to take command of the newly formed 120,000 man Japanese 32nd Army and charged with the defence of the Ryukyu Islands against American invasion. Ushijima commanded all Japanese forces in the southern portion of the Okinawa main island. He led a skillful defence of the island.

After an offensive action led to a near massacre of the attacking Japanese troops by superior American firepower, Ushijima adopted a defensive attrition tactics. However, this failed too. Ushijima and his Chief of Staff General Cho retreated to Hill 89; but the situation of the 32nd Army soon deteriorated here also.

Ushijima refused to surrender. Instead, Ushijima and General Cho committed ritual suicide, each disemboweling himself with a short sword followed by his beheading by his principal aide.

General Yahara, his Second in command, was the most senior officer to survive the battle. Yahara had asked Ushijima for permission to commit suicide, but the general refused his request, saying, “If you die there will be no one left who knows the truth about the battle of Okinawa. Bear the temporary shame but endure it. This is an order from your army commander”. 

  • How would you define the identity (Asmita) of Mitsuru Ushijim?
  • What was his sense of identity (Asmita) and what were the similarities or differences from his conditioning (Dharma)?
  • Is seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide) a form of surrender? If yes, to what? If No, why not?

Points to ponder;

Internal Tags: Dharma (conditioning)Stress and Situational AwarenessStress and pranaAwareness measuresHatha Yoga PradeepikaPatanjali Yoga SutraBhagawat Geeta, Bhakti Yoga, Niyama, Dharma, Asmita

External Tags: Consciousness

  • What is the relationship between shraddha, conditioning and stress?
  • What is the relationship between shraddha, yama and niyama?
  • How does shraddha impact Situational Awareness (sthitha pragnya)?
  • How is surrender related to Bhakti Yoga?
  • In the above example, there are two kinds of shraddhashraddha in a situation with an external entity (the enemy in this case) and shraddha to one’s Dharma (internal shraddha) including surrender to one’s fate. What is common and different between these two types of shraddha?
Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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