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Posted on: June 21, 2015
for Physical, Mental and Spiritual Well-Being
On December 11, 2014 the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 June as the International Yoga Day, and hence we are celebrating today as the first Yoga Day ever. Ancient India’s contribution to the world of science, technology and medicine is immense, and the immensity of which is being acknowledged increasingly now, in the modern world. Most of this recognition has been very late in coming forth. As a result, for example, we still teach children in India the Fibonacci series named after the 13th century Italian scientist, with no reference to Virahanka (700 AD), Hemachandra (1150 AD) or even the genius Pingala (200 BC) who explained the theory much before! The above being a case in point to show how we value knowledge that we have imported or begin to value what is native when validated by the western world.
But one could say that Yoga is one contribution of ancient India that has been actively acknowledged and adopted by the world at large. So it is but befitting that this comprehensive science to improve one’s ‘standard of life’ be given a platform such as the International Yoga Day and thereby encourage the widespread adoption of its practice. The Asana and Pranayama are just two aspects of Yoga that have become popular for their practical value. So much so that when we speak of Yoga we only refer to these two. But Yoga by itself is a concept that is much deeper.
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the root word, ‘Yuj’ that means, ‘to yoke or to connect’. So broadly defining it, we can say Yoga means to connect or attach oneself with something. And as one’s inner Divinity is what an aspirant is supposed to be after, Yoga is a means by which one establishes a connect with one’s own Divine Self. Physical health and mental tranquillity are two milestones one crosses in this journey, or akin to two byproducts of this profound pursuit. So it would indeed be fruitful for all of us to understand the essence and recognise the value of this ancient science. And what better way than to hear from Bhagawan. To commemorate the first International Yoga Day, we present for you excerpts from the Divine Discourse delivered by Bhagawan on 30 May 1993 on ‘The Philosophy of Yoga’. Let us all listen, learn, imbibe and practice in our everyday life the message that Swami gives in this discourse.
Deeds done without purity of mind will never confer peace on the seeker.
He who can still the mind without agitations and impurities is the one who is really great.
Yoga is For All
Ancient saints from time immemorial have practiced, experienced and taught this special art of yoga. This is an aspect of the ashtanga (eight-fold) yoga. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are the names by which they are known. Bharatheeyas didn’t put the right efforts to know the significance of these aspects. Though Bharath was the birthplace for Yoga, it was developed abroad. Either because of progressive education or because of the effects of modern civilization, the blind faith is on the rise among Bharatheeyas. If man wishes to know about anything he must investigate with all sincerity and faith. Without sincerity and due enquiry the truth will not reveal itself. Bharatheeyas neglected this science of yoga thinking that it is meant for the ochre-clad ascetics and sages, living in the forest and consuming fruits and roots. They had misgiving that yoga is not meant for the regular householders and ordinary folks, that it is for renunciants who spend time in solitude. But this is not true. The researchers today have proven and propagate that yoga is indeed essential for ordinary people too.
Yoga is the Best Solution for Problems Caused by Modern Lifestyle
In this age of technology, in order to maintain the burdensome family life and to bring more prosperity, man struggles day and night and exerts himself. Because of this exertion he becomes tired and loses sleep; and for sleep he takes sleeping pills or intoxicants and thereby spoils his health. Investigators began wondering why this happens and what is the solution to this problem. They eventually concluded that yoga is the solution to these ailments. Having lost mental peace and physical health because of the exertions in the world, following all perversities, ceaseless pining, limitless desires and entertaining meaningless anxieties he is working for the money he doesn’t deserve. He neglects the body and the mind to maintain his family and loses everything. People started searching for the way out of this. And as a result of this continuous investigation they could arrive at the right solution. On account of too much exertion man’s body is weakened. Due to the high rate of inhalation and exhalation, even the lungs are damaged. Since blood is circulating at a high speed, high blood pressure develops. For these diseases there seems to be no cure even if one takes the right medicines. Therefore, the investigators declared that Yoga alone is the only solution for peace, prosperity and happiness.
Increasing Number of Researchers are Converging on the Medical Benefits of Yoga
In an international university in America, a physiology professor experimented in different ways. He was firm and determined to find the results, and so kept his focus on research. He is Carlton Cane. Just recently he arrived at the results. He discovered and concluded that, through Patanjali Yoga anything could be changed. Later, some other researchers conducted experiments at the university in Hawaii and recognised this truth too. Colleat, Sheaton and Johnson were the researchers and they conducted experiments in diversified ways. Among the three professors Johnson was quite astute. He didn’t have any inclination or faith in Yogasana, but after the research results, he understood the misconception he developed towards Yoga. It is said in Patanjali Yoga Sutra, ‘Chitta Vritti nirodhakaha’. When the vagaries of the mind are controlled one can accomplish anything in life, one can improve one’s mental and physical abilities - this was also a conclusion they arrived at. They publicised that yoga is a must if one wishes to maintain good health without spending a penny and without going to doctors.
Yoga Can Bring Benefits Way Deeper Than Just Physical Health
It was also investigated in a different way in old Mexico. There in old Mexico, they had jailed many people. Among these people living in the prison, restlessness and sickness was on the rise. Doctors investigated as to what could be the reason behind this, whether it was the food or water. They then came to the conclusion that restlessness of the mind is the cause. Recently, they have started the practice of Yoga in this prison in old Mexico. And in a matter of two months time, the people in this prison began regaining their health. Not merely health they were also happier and more cheerful. They developed keen interest on spending all the time in the practice of Yoga. As they were practicing Yoga, many of the students gave up consuming drugs and intoxicants too. The students also began showing aversion towards cigarettes. Having had such experiences, students themselves started teaching other students about the benefits of Yoga. That is how around three to four lakh students practice Yoga everyday in foreign countries now. They have come to have faith that the practice of Yoga can confer many benefits. It is in Bharath, that the practices of Patanjali Yoga started, but the foreigners enjoy the practice of it. The reason for this is that Bharatheeyas lack the faith and devotion in it.
It is a Pity that Yoga is Not Valued as Much in the Land of Its Birth
Yashoda brought up Lord Krishna has her own child, earned the name that she is Krishna’s mother and rejoiced. But mother Devaki was despondent and thoughtful. One day she was thinking thus sitting under a tree:
It was not for me to see the wondrous deed of Your sucking away the life of Putana while she suckled You;
It was not for me to kiss Your wondrous belly, which ropes failed to bind;
It was given to me to suffer the labour pains to deliver You to the world;
It was given to Yashoda to fondle You in fond joy: Though fertile, I became a barren women. Without begetting a son, Yashoda became the mother of a Great Son.
The Bharatheeyas of today have to lament in the same way. Though India is the mother of Yoga Sutras and Shad Darshanas, it is the foreigners who foster Yoga in their countries and derive immense benefit thereby. The Indians are reduced to the pitiable condition of learning Yoga in foreign lands. This must be considered a misfortune of the Bharatheeyas. Though all the mysterious, unique, powerful and sacred concepts have arisen from Bharath, you don’t make the effort to foster, protect or experience them.
Mere Practice of Asana Cannot be Called Yoga
Patanjali dedicated his life for the sake of yoga. Not only this. He propagated that human life is based upon health and that without health it cannot exist; that for all activities body is most essential and for the body discipline is most essential. And that the most important role of yoga is to impart this discipline. Na Sreyo Niyamam Vina - There can be no welfare without discipline. There are some rules and disciplines for yoga too. Eating within limits and eating healthy is also essential. Food must also be tasty. But taste should not be all important either. We should also know the sacredness of the material. But man today is not taking into account these two factors. Eating whatever comes his way, man is completely ruining his health. Food is for the sustenance of the body and clothes are for protection from the cold. Food is for the maintenance of the body and not for your taste. Hunger is a disease, food is the medicine; thirst is a disease and water is the medicine. We want that this medicine should be very tasty. We should never give consideration to the taste when it comes to medicine. Relief from disease should alone be the goal. Similarly, today we give much importance to the taste of what we eat. We fail to recognise the true value of the food. Nowadays, foreigners following discipline in eating, have reduced eating spicy, salty and sour foods.
The goal of Patanjali yoga is complete health and complete peace. As we are not able to practice such yoga these days, nerves become weak and the rate of blood circulation rises, causing more agitations in us. The reason for such agitations is essentially blood pressure. And this blood pressure is cause due to absence of rest. And this lack of rest is caused due to lack of sleep. Today, wherever you see in the world man is facing many agitations.
Yoga is Not Complete Without Pranayama
It is not merely sufficient to practice yogasanas. One must also follow certain regulations. When observed with proper discipline we will receive the full benefit. All practice of Yoga is based on discipline. Yoga is not merely a physical exercise. Pranayama and Pratyahara have to go along with it. Pranayama is the process of inhaling and exhaling air. There are three steps, namely: Purakam, Rechakam and Kumbhakam. Purakam is inhalation, Rechakam is exhalation and Kumbhakam is the retention of the inhaled breath. How should this be performed? One should not attempt to do Pranayama reading from books, without the guidance of a guru. It is very dangerous. We can keep a timer and note the time we take to inhale. You can do it for a duration that is comfortable to you, there is no strict rule that inhalation should take a certain duration. But the breath has to be retained for the same duration you took to inhale. And the same time taken for retention should be taken for exhalation. These three processes should take equal intervals of time. Watch... (Swami demonstrates)! You should not gasp or become breathless, it should be natural. This has to be practiced, and with time you have to take breath through one nostril alone and exhale through the other. It is referred to as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The air taken in goes through the nerves Ida and Pingala, and in between is retained in the Sushumna. When there is any mistake in this process, the lungs get damaged. Not only this, even the brain gets affected to an extent. This is a very subtle process, but when practiced correctly we will experience no strain, no matter how much work we do. Some people after running pant like a dog! This is not right. However much one runs, after coming to a halt, the breathing should be even. This is possible through the practice of yoga alone.
There Cannot be a Healthy Body Without a Mind Filled With Sacred Thoughts
Mind is responsible for both bondage and liberation. We must entertain only those thoughts that are deserving. That is why in Yoga there are two aspects - Yama and Niyama. Yama refers to the control of the inner and outer senses. That’s not all, you have to ensure only the good is acquired. Such regulations go with it (yoga). Therefore, yoga is completely based upon sankalpas (thoughts). So we must transform them to good sankalpas. What type of sankalpas? Thoughts of the Divine alone are eternal and pure.
The Essence of Patanjali Yoga is Unity in Thought, Word and Deed
To some, the worldly appears to be good. For how long? It is only temporary. This is called happiness (santhosham). What is the meaning? Some...thosham – it's a fractional happiness or a gift. You feel hungry, you go to the canteen; you ate two chapatis; hunger is appeased but for how long? It is only for two hours. In the third hour, again you feel hungry. Therefore that which confers temporary happiness is called Sukham. But that which confers divine happiness (Daivanandam) is called Bliss (Anandam). Just enquire the difference between happiness and bliss. This bliss comes out of the heart; happiness comes out of the head. Head carries the responsibility; but heart has right. For every man, head and heart are important. Think good; you then reflect upon it. Then put it into action with hands what you thought. Therefore, the heart, head and hand together assume the '3H' form. In Patanjali Yoga it is said that we should exercise control over the senses and also achieve unity of the senses. Unity...unity...unity... That's why it is said – the proper study of mankind is man. What is this mankind? It's the harmony of three - heart, word and action. Therefore, out of this unity we will develop purity; through purity we will step into Divinity. The moment we step into Divinity, the enmity will be set away. Therefore the Patanjali Yoga sutra confers the Divinity. So, to the extent possible, the young students - boys and girls, in times of anger or difficulties, they should be able to tolerate and forbear, face it boldly and earn the patience to move forward. In the beginning stage, you may find it a bit difficult. As you practice, gradually it becomes a habit. Walking, talking, reading, writing, eating... everything comes out of practice. Everything is accomplished only by practice which brought us to this level. Do just-born babies start run immediately? No. First the child gets up, crawls, stands up, falls, again gets up and eventually starts walking. Therefore, we have to develop such practices gradually. Therefore, this yoga is not meant only for rishis, yogis and renunciants but it is essential for every human being with the body.
The Body is the Temple of God - Treat it Thus
Whether you believe it or not, I never did these sadhana at all. But, this body which is 67 years old never experienced any kind of fatigue or tiredness whatsoever. The reason being, all the powers are latent in this body. The yoga shakthi (yogic power) and everything are present inside. Body is just like an instrument. Because of this yogic power, if anything is cursed it becomes stand still. If we say that this feeling should not leave, it stops there itself. Not only for Me, it is possible for everyone. The reason is, God is in every one. In this body, that body and in all bodies, the Self is same. Specifically, you should not have differences based on the body. The Self present in everything is one and develop that spirit of oneness. This body is a temple of God. 'Deho Devalaya Prokto Jeevo Deva Sanathana' – that is why it is said that the body is like a temple of God. But you should make use of this temple in a sacred manner. You call it a temple but you use it like a choultry. You construct a house and keep doors. You have the doors for going in and out of the house and also for the use of your relations, friends, family members etc. But just because we have doors, do we allow donkeys, pigs and dogs which are roaming in the bazaar to enter the house? Similarly we have senses; what for do we have the senses? It is for our own self experience. Just because we have these doors called senses, we allow everything that roams in the bazaar to enter inside and thus the body becomes a choultry. We shouldn't do that. They should not enter into me; those dogs are to be driven out. Permit only what is needed.
Through such enquiry, human being can become sacred to any extent. It is because there is scope for such sacredness, man becomes God. ‘Oh, where is God and where is man?’, thinking so, you should never give room to disappointment. Man is God. Strengthen that kind of a true feeling. You can experience this within three days time. If you do not have that firm faith and give in to bumps and jumps, even after thirty generations you can never accomplish it. Yogic exercise is too small and very easy; it is not difficult; there is no expenditure; you need not exert much and it's an easy path. I will tell you much more later. In this easiest path, you can get the bliss however much you want and attain good health also.
- Radio Sai Team
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