Continuing with the theme of Yogic concepts that can be applied to everyday life ad a householder, as someone living in society, we look at the next concept in Parikarma today. If you’re wondering what Parikarma is, you can read a little introduction about it here. The article has links to the individual articles about each concept as well.
What is Mudita?
Personally, this was a new word to me but I know many people who speak Indian languages may be familiar with this word or may even be using it in everyday language. Some popular meanings of this word in Sanskrit and other languages that have the word; it may be used as a noun or an adjective, with similar meanings:
- In a state of being pleased
The meaning of the word seems to remain more or less constant in various languages and texts.
Before we proceed, let us look at another word that is used in the Yoga Sūtra along with Mudita, and that word is Punya, a word that is, again, used quite commonly in many Indian languages. It seems to retain the original Sanskrit meaning in most cases and is used both as a noun and an adjective:
- Merit, especially moral or religious merit
- Virtuous, righteous
- Just, sweet, pure
Let us now see how Yoga uses these words in the spiritual context. Mudita and Punya are used to explain the context in greater detail and bring clarity to the concept.
Mudita in Yoga
In Yoga, we retain the meaning of the original word while adding a little more context to it. In the earlier articles about Parikarma, we noted how the concepts apply to our interactions with others.
People who are happy, successful, doing well for themselves are known as Punya people, those doing good, honest work and reaping its benefits materially or otherwise.
Mudita, in this context, refers to the delight and joy felt at someone’s success and good fortune. Human nature tends towards jealousy when we see someone who is more successful, richer, more skilled, or happier than us. Some people wish to pull such a person down with thoughts, words, and actions as a result of the jealousy.
Mudita is the Yogic recommendation in such scenarios, where we slowly build a habit of going against this nature and instead feel joy when we see someone who is Punya. We make a habit of seeing them as people we can emulate and learn from to become more successful and happier ourselves.
Can you imagine how our lives and the lives of those around us would change if we all started doing this? No one would pull someone down to get ahead or hurt someone to feel good about themselves. We would also experience lots of vicarious pleasure and joy from those around us. We would be so much happier as people!
Yet another concept which, if applied with all our heart, can truly change our lives and help us be happier and more joyous and help spread the joy to others.
Joy and contentment are feelings I always strive to help my students feel, whether through physical practices or through deep philosophical conversations or even just silly banter. If you’d like to practise with me, do not hesitate to get in touch here or on Instagram.