Kīrtan Chant

By Michael Johnson & Friends

अहिंसासत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहाः यमाः ॥३०॥
ahiṃsāsatyāsteya brahmacaryāparigrahāḥ yamāḥ ॥30॥


“The restraints are: non-violence, truthfulness, to not steal, respecting boundaries and non-possessiveness.”

– Yogasūtra 2.30


ahiṃsā ≈ non-violence, disrupting harmful practices
satya ≈ truthfulness, not lying
asteya ≈ to not steal, respecting others property
brahmacarya ≈ respecting boundaries, chastity  
aparigrahāḥ ≈ non-possessiveness, not hoarding

Michael's  Bhāṣya (commentary)

Here is the first limb of Yoga. It is a set of skillful means (upāya) that we can adopt to create a space where we can practice Yoga. These five great vows (Mahāvrata) appear to have originated with the Jainadharma tradition c.600 BCE, yet have been adopted by many other traditions. In Yoga Philosophy, these vows are not be used as a way of being better than others (Virtue Ethics) or a goal in and of themselves (Consequentialism) or even rules that we must devote ourselves to (Deontology), rather we can choose to adopt them and create the space to practice Yoga (Tapas, Svādhyāya, Īśvara Praṇidhāna).

Here is a famous commentary on this sūtra from the Vyāsa’s Bhāṣya (c. 450 CE)

“Of these Ahiṃsā is to abstain from injuring any being, at any time in any manner. Truth and other forms of restraints and observances are based on the spirit of non-injury. They, being the means of fulfillment of non-injury, have been recommended in the Śāstras for establishing Ahiṃsā. They are also the best means of making AhiMsā pure. That is why it has been stated in the Śāstras: “As the Brāhmaṇa advances in the cultivation of the many virtues prescribed for him, he abstains from acts of injury to others due either to misapprehension or ignorance and thus purifies within himself the virtue of non-injury. Satya (truthfulness) is correspondence of speech and mind to fact, i.e. saying and thinking of what has been seen, heard or inferred. Words uttered for the purpose of communicating one’s thoughts to others are true provided they do not appear deceitful, delusive and meaningless to the listeners. The words should, however, be uttered from inflicting harm on creatures but for their benefit; because if they hurt others, they do not produce any piety as truth would, but only sin. By using such apparently truthful words (which hurt others) one gets painful consequences (or infernal region). Therefore, truthful words beneficial to all creatures should be uttered after careful consideration.

Asteya means unlawfully taking things belonging to others. Asteya is abstention from such tendencies even in one’s mind. Brahmacharya=Suppressing the urge of the sexual organ and of the activities of other organs leading to it. Aparigraha means to desist from taking or coveting things, seeing that getting and keeping them involve trouble, that they are subject to decay, that association with them causes mischief and that they beget malice. These constitute Yama or restraint.”

Come experience Community Kīrtan live at our studio!

Join us for an evening of inspiring Kīrtan and community with Michael Johnson and friends!

Open your heart with Bhakti devotion to enjoy the presence of community and celebrate the divine energy within. With music and devotion, we will create a space for sangha (community) with one another.

Everyone is welcome, no previous experience required.

All Donations will benefit the Asheville Yoga Center Teacher Training Scholarship Fund

*Donations will be accepted in-person at Asheville Yoga Center. Please bring cash or card with you!

Community Kīrtan

Hybrid (in-person/virtual)

Friday November 25th from

3-4:30pm by donation