The centrality of ethics in the Axial liberation.
In the karma discourse, release from re-birth was a direct function of the actions and moral choices that an individual made in his present life. It was no longer an automatic default process. For the Jains this implied an ascetic life committed to for instance non-violence. Ethical living as defined by the Jains – and this is where they express an Axial Age episteme -was central to stop the karmic pollution of the jiva (soul).
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Similarly for the Buddhists, the eight-fold path to release was informed and distinguished by ethical living and thinking. It was a process of continuously building up metta (kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity). The culmination of this was a part of the liberating moment (Obeyesekere 2002, Gombrich 2009).
In other words the demanding labour and effort of living an ethical life became an intrinsic and initial part of generating symbolic capital among Sramanic groups. No one could aim for liberation before the adept had built up sufficient symbolic capital through prolonged ethical self-discipline. In this way, from the early days ethics became a part of the habitus of liberation discourses. However this habitus took centuries before it came to inform the yoga discourse. One of the earliest texts incorporating ethics was the Yoga Sutra discussingyama and Niyama as the first limbs of a yogic life.
Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on the right side Yoga mat bag. ARMS CLASPED BEHIND variation of Salabhasana Purpose: To strengthen the shoulder extensors and stretch the Yoga mat bag flexors, to improve posture and joint stability. Contraindications: Recent rotator cuff tear, carpal tunnel syndrome in that case, use a belt. Prop: Possibly a belt. Avoiding pitfalls: Lift your arms up an inch before pulling them back. Do not lock your elbows. If your back arches a lot, pull back through the sides of your waistline.