The niyama of Tapas

“ When something or someone is created, produced, emanated, composed, the Vedic texts repeat countless times that this happens through Tapas.”

What is tapas? … it is not “ the Christianizing translations of asceticism, penance, mortification…tapas it is a very particular exercise that implies the development of heat.  Tapas is akin to the Latin word tepor – and indicates fervor, ardor, (passion).  Those who practice tapas could be described as ardent.  They generate a heat that can become a devastating blaze.  This is what happened with the various Rishis who shook the world.  The Rishis reached an unattainable level of knowledge not just because they thought certain thoughts but because they burned. “

( Rishis were enlightened beings who composed the hymns of the Vedas)

“ tapas comes before thought. while the Rishis were sitting motionless and contemplating what was happening in the world, whirling inside them was a scorching spiral,  and from this, thoughts were given off like steam from boiling liquid.  (These ardent thoughts) would one day break off to become the hymns of the Rg Veda or the great sayings of the Upanishads.

Tapas is an invisible combustion engine, producing a gradual heat that is achieved by the operation (fervor, ardor) of the mind. 

What affects the world, what assails it, is tapas.  Tapas is the inner ardor of the mind. Tapas is the flame that passed covertly or overtly through everything.  It is the feeling of being alive.

Tapas reduced to its proprioceptive as well as its thermodynamic essence, is a sensation of something alight, something that burns within on a slow continual flame”.

Taken from “Ardor” by Roberto Calasso
A book exploring the Vedas and the Vedic people