We have come to the last niyama, which is Isvara-pranidhana. If you missed the posts about the first four niyamas, you can read about Sauca here, Santosa here, Tapas here and Svadhyaya here.
Isvara-pranidhana can be translated to something along the lines of devotion to a higher power. Devotion, dedication, worship, reverence, total surrender to God/a higher power/whatever you believe in. It is a total surrender and devotion to God.
Without surrender and devotion you could make the mistake of thinking you have become God, the divine creator of all if you succeed at all the other aspects of the eight limbs. It is only through the grace of God we attain. It is a balance between effort and surrender. I sometimes think of Isvara-pranidhana as meeting God or the universe halfway there. Or rather, God will meet you halfway there. You must put in the work (the effort) but eventually you must surrender and have faith (Isvara-pranidhana).
Many people hear the word God go yick… If the word God doesn’t resonate with you, replace it with a word that does resonate with you. It could be love for the gift of life, the universe, Mother Nature, a higher power, goddesses… Whatever resonates with you, you say that word. I believe we are ultimately all talking about the same higher power anyway.
I believe Isvara-pranidhana will help you in your life. It will help you to have faith when you fail in life, when you struggle, when things are hard. Faith gives you a sense of trust that whatever is meant to be will be. Without grace how can we forgive ourselves?
Isvara-pranidhana is the path of surrender. It gives you an element of relaxation. You don’t have to stress about it. But remember, it’s a balance between effort and surrender.
I hope you have learned a little something from this post about Isvara-pranidhana.