Definition - What does Desavakasika mean?

Desavakasika is a Sanskrit disciplinary vow. Developed by the Jain monks, desavakasika, is the vow a person makes for how they will approach and live their life in their immediate environment. While the monks were known to sacrifice relationships and many comforts of life, they created a tiered set of vows that included the guna vratas, or "merit vows," and the siksa vratas, or "disciplinary vows," to help all yogis develop an intentional life.

Yogapedia explains Desavakasika

Desavakasika is the intention with which a yogi can begin to practice the five mahavratas. Historically, it was believed that one had to sacrifice all family life, career and comfort to attain samadhi; however, it was realized that everyone would benefit if the teachings and practice were made available and attainable. In this way, it was possible to support the practice of the monks, by living and promoting an intentional life.

Desavakasika is a discipline that will give a yogi the support and encouragement to pursue their spiritual practice to develop a pure heart. Once the vow of desavakasika has been taken, a yogi prioritizes charitable deeds for his/her community and all humanity, to the best of their ability as defined by their circumstances and place in life.

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