Aparigraha literally means ‘non-acceptance’.
Spiritual illumination resulting in kaivalya or liberation is the final goal of life. This is possible only when a sinless life is led and efforts are assiduously made to purify the mind. Out of the several disciplines advocated in the religious works towards this end, aparigraha (non-acceptance of things) is an important one. The Yogasutras of Patañjali has mentioned it under the first of the eight graded steps of yoga, viz., yama.
A yogi or a spiritual aspirant, who has dedicated his life entirely for spiritual illumination, is advised not to accept gifts of material things from others, nor make efforts to obtain them otherwise, beyond the bare necessities of life. This means, he has to consciously keep in check of greed and the desire to possess and enjoy the possession of objects. This is facilitated by constant reflection on the difficulties, risks, and evils involved in obtaining such objects or protecting them.
It is interesting to note that Patañjali assures that the yogi who observes this vow sincerely, can develop, in course of time, the super-sensual knowledge about his previous and future lives.
- Yogasutras 2.30 and 39
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore