Light the Lamp Within You

Karthigai Deepam in Tamil and Karthika Deepam in Telugu, this festival of lights signifies lighting the lamp within. This post details the story behind this festival and the also the inner meaning conveyed

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Anti-stress methodology in adults and children

Right understanding or Right knowledge is the perfect antidote to master stress. With the right understanding of prevailing stressful situation one has to explore and evolve alternate modes of handling it to come out of stress.

An adult empowered with various experiences, is more mature and is better placed to take appropriate decision even under stressful situations. Anti-stress measures in adults progresses through the stages of relaxation, acceptance and understanding based on the situation one is in. Intervention can be through yogic tools and techniques for relaxation; counselling; SWAN method to prioritize and solve problems; satsang – right company of friends, mentors and guides; and medication where stress has manifested at the physical level as disease.

SmileInStress

Smile-In-Stress

A child is dependent and has to abide by the decisions and instructions from parents at home and teachers at school. He/she has neither the requisite experience, skill, maturity nor bandwidth to take decisions. The responsibility for eliminating stress from a child’s life lies in its perpetrators – family, teachers and the education system.

They have to be provided a stress-free environment with appropriate tools and techniques.

  • The tools for providing right inputs and counsel could be bedtime stories, parents playing with them, friendly discussions, etc., Remember “the best gift parents can give to their child is, their time”.
  • Appropriate asana practices, pranayama, yoga nidra and other relaxation practices are yogic tools available to alleviate stress through relaxation both in adults and children.
  • Keep the negative environmental factors at bay or provide the right inputs about negatively influencing elements around them. For this a parent has to give some time to the child, be aware and observant about their environment, inputs, movements, changes in behaviour, etc.,
  • Diet – when, what, how much, prepared by whom, etc. also plays a role on influencing stress.

To do the above efficiently, parents and teachers need to be in a relaxed, energised and empowered state.

In situations where parents and teachers have a little role to play appropriate inputs through counselling may help. For example, education system may put pressure on the child. This is beyond the scope of parents and teachers to correct. However, they can take the effort to represent to the appropriate authorities with suggestions for improvisation. This effort could be in addition to counselling the child and keeping them in a relaxed state.

Hence, stress mastery through right understanding is the route for adults. Stress alleviation through relaxation is the best option available for children. During late-adolescence or early adulthood one can explore counselling along with relaxation techniques to handle stress.

As a person moves from a dependent (child) stage to independent (adult) stage one progresses from managing stress to mastering stress.

Know your thoughts

What do you wake up to, every morning?

Have you ever observed the constant chatter going on in your mind from the moment you wake up till you fall asleep?

Are you aware of what thoughts traverse your mind daily?

It has been scientifically proven that one does not have a big range of thoughts, but a small number of similar thoughts projecting themselves differently all through the day. As we know, our thoughts determine our action, our habits and ultimately our character.

Training gurus recommend that if one can manage thoughts, one can change their destiny.  But how do we manage our thoughts?

First we need to become aware of them.  For the next one month try this out…

Take out five minutes every day. Close your eyes and observe the thoughts that flow in your mind. You need not judge whether the thought is good or bad, right or wrong. You may simply observe the thought as if watching a movie.  At the end of five minutes, you may note down the list of thoughts that traversed your mind.

Doing this exercise for 30 days will help one become aware of their thoughts. Awareness solves 90% of the problem. It makes easier to move to the next step to manage the thoughts and reshape one’s destiny.

Music of the Fishes

A very pleasant cool morning breeze, birds chirping around, first rays of morning light emerge from behind the clouds to say hello to their lotus friends in the still lake.

Ankur and Rishi are on a stroll along the pathway by the side of the lake. Rishi glances towards the east, mesmerised by the beautiful painting on the morning sky takes a deep breath, eyes closed in tranquility… says “Thank You Lord for another wonderful morning!” and settles down enjoying the musical movement of fishes in the still lake.

“Whaw! that’s a wonderful sight, Rishi? We could not see all these fishes and colourful pebbles last night.” exclaimed Ankur

fish6

“You are right” agreed Rishi

“It is really pleasing to see this. Even though we were enjoying all the fun last evening, the tranquility and clarity of the morning lake is more enjoyable. What do you say Rishi?”

Both their glance fell on the water sporting boats, etc., at a distance on the other side of the lake.

“Last evening we were all blind to the beauty of the lake. We were busy with the sporting equipment, boats, etc., We could hardly see the bottom of the lake, what with the waves and mud spread all over.” explained Rishi

“Can I say, similar was the state of the mind. We were happy enjoying all the sports, games and activities around blind to the beauty and stillness of the mind.” asked Ankur

“You are right. The senses then were completely involved with the outer beauty, blind to the inner stillness and tranquility.” completed Rishi.

“Is this the reason we feel real happy and fresh early in the morning?” Ankur inquired further

“Just as the waves die down, mud settles and fishes come out to the top happily in the morning… thoughts die down and stillness of the morning calm makes the mind filled with peace and tranquility. In this state mind emits more alpha waves, has clarity and is more receptive” clarified Rishi

“Alpha waves! what are they?”

“Scientists have identified that our mind emits various kinds of thought waves. Alpha waves are the kind of waves which denote clarity and calmness. In this state the mind is clear, able to go into its depths, highly intuitive, creative and receptive. It is God-like or we may say closer to God”

“Is this the reason early morning hours are called as Brahma Muhurtham?”

“You may say so.”

“Then, this state exists even after doing Yoga Nidra. Then, is it right to call the period after doing Yoga Nidra also as Brahma Muhurtham

Rishi smiles and nods in agreement.

“If we are able to keep the mind in alpha state for most part of the day, children can study well and get good marks, adults can be more effective in their work, everyone can be aware of why they are doing what they are doing and there will be more harmony and peace around.”

“You are right, Ankur” Rishi smiles.

“Then, why aren’t people like that?” asks Ankur slightly disturbed.

“That is a much deeper and broad subject. Let us discuss that on some other day. For now… You can decide and be in an alpha state.”

Ankur smiles and gets immersed in the music of the fishes… Happily…!

Faith Works Wonders

There was once a tribal who knew the divine spell (or mantra) to cure one from snake and other poisonous insect bites. His name spread far and wide. People from far used to come to him for cure. This news reached the ears of a learned sage. This sage was curious to know, how a tribal in some corner in the world can know mantras and also use them effectively. He wanted to verify if that was really a mantra or some black magic.

On moving with the tribal for some days, the sage was convinced that this is no black magic and he really knew the mantra. Now the sage was curious to learn the mantra. After all the sage was a jignasu (thirsty for knowledge) and he wanted to learn something he didn’t know. He then approached the tribal to teach him the mantra.

The tribal is now worried. He believed that the sage is highly learned and there is nothing in this world, which he could teach to such a learned man. Even if there is something he can teach him, how can he ask such a learned man to serve him before teaching? He could neither refuse the sage nor did he have the courage to tell the truth. He slowly mustered courage to say that the student should serve the master before he can learn from him.

The learned sage being aware of the guru-sishya parampara as mentioned in the scriptures, immediately agreed. After some weeks of service, the sage now a student requested his master to teach him the mantra. The master said the time has not come yet and he has to serve him for another year. The sage had no other option but to follow the orders of his master.

A year passed and the time has come for the master to teach the student…

One auspicious day after the morning bath, on the banks of the river the master and student settle down to transact the lesson. The master tells something in the student’s ear. The sage was not able to believe his ears. He still wanted to verify the truth and requests the master (tribal) to repeat the mantra. The tribal does so, as he felt obliged to teach a sincere student to his utmost satisfaction. Soon, the sage bursts out in laughter.

He shouts in utter dismay… “How on earth did I waste one full year serving an unlearned tribal to learn this nonsense?”

He then turns to the tribal and asks “Is this the mantra which is curing people from poisonous bites?”

The tribal nods in agreement.

The learned sage then felt he has the responsibility to clarify facts to the tribal and save him from bad consequences. He explains to the tribal that “This is no mantra to cure people from poisonous bites. It is in fact a mantra in praise of Lord Shiva… And you are uttering it in a wrong way. This may cause serious problems for you in future as there is a method and tone in which any mantra has to be repeated. Wrong pronunciations may result in dire consequences. Take care”

Saying so, the sage left the place.

The tribal had lots of regard to the learned sage and completely believed in what the sage said. So, he was afraid to use the mantra again. Due to pressure from the wise-men in the tribe, he did try out the mantra in a couple of instances. But it did not work. His faith in the mantra is broken and hence it lost the power.

The sage anyway did not believe in the mantra and never used it. Consequently the world lost the power of a mantra which can cure people from poisonous bites.

The fact however remains that the mantra was real. It was passed on in the tribe for several generations in guru-sishya parampara. They did not have a written script and knowledge was passed on from master to the student. It is possible that the mantra might have changed its tone over generations, but it worked perfectly because of the faith the tribe-men had on the mantra and the shradda (there is no absolute translation for this word in English… it is more than faith and absolute conviction) with which it was administered for generations. Once the faith is broken the mantra lost its power.

With absolute faith or “Shradda” any sound can gain power, without “Shradda” even the most powerful mantra can lose its power.

This story is based on a real incident originally narrated by HH Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji and extracted from a discourse by his disciple HH Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji.

Being Humane – Man is not an emotional being

Man is an emotional being is the adage. This statement indicating man is emotion is a myth and contradicts established facts. Let us see why and how…

Lower beings driven by instincts become the emotion and does not identify themselves as distinct from emotion. A dog does not think and choose to feel sad or joy as it cannot be aware of its emotions. Humans however have the distinctive ability to be aware of their emotions.  They can feel and be aware that they are happy, joyous, enthusiastic, jealous, angry, etc., This ability to distinguish the emotion from oneself even while experiencing the emotion is a determinant factor for one’s Emotional Quotient.

In one of the lectures, Swami Mitrananda of Chinmaya Mission mentions that “man is wise before facing a crisis, he is also wise after the crisis, but while in the midst of the crisis he is otherwise”. This ability – to be wise while in the midst of the crisis determines one as emotional, intelligent or otherwise.BeingWiseTo have an ‘insight’ one has to develop the ability to master emotions.

Emotions can be broadly classified as head emotions and tail emotions.  Emotions like joy, empathy, love, compassion, etc are head emotions while feelings and emotions like anger (krodha), craving desire/lust (kama), greed (lobha), delusion (moha), pride (madha), envy and jealousy (matsaryam) are considered as tail emotions.

As long as one does not become the emotion but be aware of the emotion one will be able to handle the emotion appropriately.  When properly placed and handled, emotions on either side can be used in a positive way and when one comes under the clutches of emotions negative consequences ensue.  Hence, we are not calling them as positive or negative emotions but head and tail emotions based on the position of the chakras from where these emotions are aroused.  A single incident can arouse positive emotions in one while negative in the other depending on the energy levels from which the individual functions.

Emotion in yogic science is explained as energy in motion.

Psychic science and yogic science agree that…

“Potential energy triggered by the instincts or higher sources connects with the inner experience and the memory of inner experience to arouse an emotion.  The emotions thus aroused further get reinforced and embeds in the mind-body complex, conditioning one’s personality.

For handling emotions effectively and shape human personality one need to get to the root level – at the level of instincts, memories of inner experiences and at the level of new-experience-input into the mind-body complex through senses and intellect”.

Development of awareness – physical, energy, thoughts, feelings, emotions is the first step in handling emotions. The next step is to submit to the directions of the well-developed intellect (insight) for choosing the appropriate response.

In the absence of awareness one becomes an emotion, comes under its clutches and is not in a position to take the help of the intellect in choosing the appropriate response. In such a situation one simply reacts which is equal to functioning at the level of animals.

Development and exercising of free will – a unique ability in humans, is possible when the energy levels are high and one functions under the direction of the intellect to make appropriate choices. By intellect the reference is not to the gross intellect but to the highly developed intellect or subtle intellect which is by nature in harmony with the heart.

Hatha yoga practices like asana and pranayama develops awareness at the gross – physical and vital levels.  This paves the way for developing awareness at the subtler levels in the mind – feelings, thoughts and emotions, through the practices like Yoga Nidra, Antar mouna, Value meditation, Pratipaksha bhava meditation, Sakshibhava meditation, etc.

Playback meditation followed by Daily-SWAN-journaling are integrated practices which brings together time-tested ancient Indian Wisdom and 21st century tools to suit the needs of 21st century global citizen in nurturing  a healthy self-image. A positive self-image helps in handling the emotions better. As one handles the emotions in a better way, the positive self-image is further reinforced which in turn helps in better handling of emotions. This is a virtuous cycle leading one to become a master emotions and function humanely proving man is not an emotional being.

Notes of caution for the quick-result oriented 21st century citizen…

  • We have a huge mental garbage dumped in our system and it takes time for it to be cleared. One needs patience and perseverance to cleanse the same and master the emotions. In this process, it is not important to not fall – because it is part of the process. What is important is to rise up again each time one falls.
  • There may be short-cut solutions which address the symptoms and hence their results are also short-lived. Any solution which addresses the root-cause will take time to produce results, but will be long-lasting.
  • Each individual is unique and needs guidance from experts to learn the appropriate practices as suited for his situation.

Nurturing appropriate Self-Image

The four basic aspects of mind are Chitta (Memory), Manas (aspect of feelings and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankaram (self-image).

The impressions – sensory, emotional and intellectual accumulated in our memory store house (chitta) interacts with our manas and buddhi to determine our actions, habits and hence our personality.  Some of these impressions are in our conscious mind and are easily accessible to us.  This depicted as IC  in the below figure is what we think we are.

Self Image

There is a larger part IU – The unconscious/unknown aspect of our personality, is what we do not know we are.  These two aspects – IC and IU together determine our true personality.

However, in human interactions there are three other elements of I which come into play.

  • IO – The others’ I’ is what others think we are.  The way others interact with us depend on IO.
  • Unaware of what Iis, we develop our own perception of what others think we are – the perceived I denoted by IP. Generally people try to be acceptable to others and attempt to build their IP.  In a society where we interact with hundreds of people every day there are hundreds of IPs which we continuously try to work upon. One source of stress…
  • The so-called intelligent and smart people in their attempt to become successful in life put forth another image IM – The Mask I what we want others to think we are. (Do you remember the “silencer” in the movie three idiots?).

Ignorant of IO, we make a continuous effort to work upon IP and/or IM trying to match the two. In the process we completely forget the true aspect of our personality determined by IC and IU. An effective personality development program brings to the fore the unknown and unconscious aspect of our personality IU, provide tools to identify and work on our strengths and weaknesses.

As we have understood earlier, this is a time-consuming process which the busy 21st century global citizen does not have. Hence, the shortcut approaches taught in average personality development and soft skills programs focus upon cosmetic elements like interview skills, negotiation skills, communication skills, etc. helping to design a good mask IM and try to align it to the perceived I – the IP.  This approach at best can bring short-lived, short-term benefits. No doubt people are stressed out spending all their energies in living a split life – in continual denial of their conscious true self. Do you find people around blaming other people, things and situations in life for their sorry state of life? No doubt there is dearth of exemplary leaders in the society today.

The true leader in us is nurtured by working upon these core aspects of our Self-Image – IC and IU. Such self-image when rightly communicated will match with Io. This is simple but the road less traveled in building healthy relationships.  Any self-image which has a mask would get exposed sooner than later and is a major cause for strained relationships.

Practices like play-back meditation, journaling, sakshi bhava meditation (witness attitude), etc. helps to increase the IC and cut IU developing deeper self-awareness. Self-awareness is the first step towards building a better self-image.

When we are aware of our strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and needs we can work to enhance our strengths, overcome our weaknesses, eliminate inappropriate aspirations and fulfill all our needs in harmony with others. Pratipaksha Bhava meditations, sankalpa in yoga nidra, self-hypnosis, etc. are some of the tools available for the same and work not only on the wakeful conscious state but also on the unconscious state of our mind and build a positive self-image.

Playback meditation followed by Daily-SWAN-journaling are integrated practices which brings together time-tested ancient Indian Wisdom and 21st century tools to suit the needs of 21st century global citizen in nurturing  a healthy self-image.

Intervention at the stage of sensory, emotional and intellectual inputs in daily life help determine the formation of appropriate impression and develop positive self-image. This is also an approach to handle our emotions and stress in daily life.

IP, IM and IO depicted in the above figure overlap to varying extents on IC and IU in different people and in the same person at different times. One cannot determine this on their own and need expert guidance. Hence, it is advised to take the assistance of an expert in determining the above, learn and deploy appropriate tools to nurture a positive self-image.

Master your mind

Yoga philosophy talks about five domains of human personality – physical (annamaya kosha), vital (pranayama kosha), mental (manomaya kosha), intellectual (jnanamaya kosha) and spiritual (anandamaya kosha).

The physical, vital and mental domains are quite well-developed in all plants and animals. While the mind is the highest state of evolution in lower beings, mental domain/mind reaches its greatest state of evolution in humans. Mastering the mind is the first step to awaken our higher potential in the intellectual domain and truly rise above other animals and plants.

Rare are those who have tapped into this potential and left a mark in this world. Sage Veda Vyasa, Sukabrahma, Adisankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya, Buddha, Jesus, Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo, etc., are some of the names we can remember who have tapped into the subtle aspect of the intellect and spread awareness in spiritual and philosophical domains to various extents as relevant to the times they dwelled on this earth. King Janaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Gandhi, etc., tapped into their higher potentials for the welfare and development of society through the political and economic fields. Bhaskaracharya, Aryabhatta, Edison, Ramajuna, Sushrutha and the likes have deeply studied, understood the material world and evolved as exemplary scientists by tapping into their higher potentials.

Average man is distracted by various aspects of the mental domain – senses, emotions, feelings, ego, etc.  thereby tapping only to a negligible extent, the creative and intuitive faculties of the higher intellect. Irrespective of the field one chooses excellence can be achieved by mastering various aspects of mind. Ancient Indians have achieved excellence in all spheres of life – economics, science, politics, astrology, medicine, mathematics, religion, spiritual, etc. by mastering their mind apart from their physical and vital domains.

To master the mind we need to understand the four basic aspects of the mind – Chitta (memory), Manas (aspect of feeling and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankara (self-image).  Various tools and methods have been prescribed by those who have tread this path to master the mind.  All of them proclaim that prerequisite for mastering the mind is to have a healthy physical body and high levels of pranic energy.

Life according to ancient Indian philosophy and yogic science does not start with birth nor does it end with death.  Life is a continuum. As the experiences and memories of childhood will affect the behaviour and personality in youth and older ages, the impressions from memories of the previous births will also have effect in the current life and affect our personality.  The modern psychology has also come to realise this fact – techniques like hypnosis and past life regression are scientific proofs to testify to the modern intellectual minds about this age-old wisdom. Albert Weismann refers various case studies of his clients where past life regression helped as a therapeutic tool in his famous book “Many masters many lives”.

Human memory is thus a store house of sensory impressions, emotional impressions and intellectual impressions one has accumulated over many lives.  Different components of memory are tapped into in different states of mind – wakeful state (conscious mind), dream state (subconscious mind), deep sleep state (unconscious mind) and turiya state (super conscious mind).  While these past impressions determine one’s current personality, expression of human WILL provides the ability to work on the impressions in the four states of memory and evolve above them.

This introduction to understand human personality is not to overwhelm the reader with the enormity of the task ahead, but to understand, what we are now is a result of the choices we have made over many lives. In the same way our current choices and expression of WILL in an intelligent way decides our future.

This is also to understand that change does not happen overnight.  It is a long run process. Obstacles in various forms do come and distract us.  Many a times we seem like failing. It is through perseverance, by standing up each time one fails, will we overcome these challenges and master the mind. As it is said, “it does not matter how many times we fall down as long as we have the perseverance to rise up again”.  It is with this basic understanding and attitude should one approach to master the mind.

From known to unknown is the path towards knowledge – be it scientific discoveries or spiritual or philosophical growth or with mastering the mind. Initially we need to deal with the wakeful state, develop awareness and learn to manage various manifestations of the mind – sensory perceptions, memory, emotions, feelings, self-image, etc. in this state.  Purification to an extent, in this state makes one fit to work on other states.

It is pertinent to note that most of the personality development programs start and end in the conscious state.  Rare are the programs which even deal this state in a holistic manner.  This explains the abysmally low rate of success of the so-called personality development programs.  As the awareness and understanding develops in the conscious state we need to start working on the sub-conscious and unconscious states of mind. These states in fact, influence most of our decision-making process and actions.  Here are a few eg:

  1. The conscious mind, the awaken state is aware that eating right is good for health.  But our action directed by our sub-conscious or unconscious mind does not help in implementing the same.
  2. We are aware that getting up 15 minutes early in the morning helps us accomplish more things.  However, we snooze the alarm every morning.
  3. Regular exercises keep us fit.  But we fail to prioritize the same into our schedule.
  4. We walk out of a two-day personality development program with lot of enthusiasm and vigour to work on the new resolutions. But the same fizzles out soon, causing little change in us.

The lacuna is not in the efficacy of the program or understanding of the values, but the lack of energies – the energy of will, the energy of knowledge and energy of action in the participant.

Empowered with the above energies, one can gain a deeper understanding of all the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and manage them effectively.

We shall discuss in greater detail about the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and tools to manage specific areas like emotions, stress and thought in our future posts.

Manifesting Vitality – VQ

Vital health / high vitality quotient is reflected as effective functioning of other faculties of human personality – body, mind and intellect. Vital energy is the life-giving force and a means to regulate and co-ordinate between them. Vitality is manifested in three domains as:

  • Energy of WILL (Ichcha Shakthi) – endurance in the mental faculty
  • Energy of KNOWLEDGE (Jnana Shakthi) – clarity in Knowledge domain, intellectual faculty and
  • Energy to ACT (Kriya Shakthi) – effectiveness in Action, physical faculty.

Any work we undertake involves a goal, the means and real work done.

Goal is the function of mental faculty where the desire arises. Will Power is the ability to transcend desires arisen out of sensory impressions and manifest our deepest aspirations in action. Desires arisen out of sensory impressions are not born out of free choice. True will power is the ability to transcend such desires and obstacles, endure and persevere for attainment of the deepest aspirations born of free choice.

A well-developed Ojas (a form of pranic energy) provides for endurance and will power.  Ojas is related to the grosser water element among the five elements.  Ojas is the primal vigor or vitality energy that preserves the essence of digested foods, impressions and thoughts. It provides a sense of calmness, nourishes and supports the higher states of consciousness, thus enhancing the capabilities of perseverance and endurance. 

Once desire or a goal is established, we need to have clarity on the means to achieve the goal. This is primarily the function of intellect – knowledge faculty. Clarity here is the intelligence or ability to discriminate the appropriate from the inappropriate towards attainment of the objective.  This clarity is provided by the Tejas element of pranic energy.

Tejas is related to the fire element and Ajna Chakra at the mental level. It is the inner radiance through which we digest the impressions and thoughts and develop higher perceptual capabilities. This is the guiding force for all the other chakras and indirectly manifests as effectiveness in all other domains of human personality.  A well-developed Tejas also help burn the inappropriate desires entertained by the will and acts as the guiding force for the will.

It is to be noted here that various domains of human personality – body, prana, etc., do not act independent, exclusive of each other. They are closely connected and the boundaries for their functionality are not clearly drawn. The classification of manifestation of vitality in different domains is done only for gaining a better understanding. Causing change in one domain will affect other domains as they function parallel. For example, high tejas enhances clarity, purifies the desires, enhances endurance and perseverance(an aspect of ojas). On the other hand perseverance in action coupled with awareness will provide for clarity and develops tejas… With this understanding let us now go ahead to discuss the third aspect where prana manifests – Energy of Action…

Once a goal is decided and there is clarity on path to be taken, the next step is to put the plan into action.  This is guided by Prana element of the pranic energy. Good supply of Prana to the organs of action will provide the physical body with energy to act. While the asana practices help in clearing the blocks along the energy pathways in the body, pranayama practices help better distribution of pranic energy to all parts of the body. Action can also mean mental action. In such case, mind is the place of action and pranic energy is diverted for its functioning. We have already seen that thoughts also consume pranic energy. 

The other ways in which vitality is manifested are:

Handling problems:

The Prana allows the mind to move and respond to challenges of life.  Tejas handles it to perceive and judge accordingly while Ojas gives patience and endurance that provides psychological stability to overcome the problem.

Handling emotions:

At emotional level, Prana provides for emotional harmony, balance and creativity.  Tejas gives courage, fearlessness and vigor, helping accomplish extraordinary actions.  Ojas provides peace, calmness and contentment.

Imbalance in Prana, Ojas and Tejas:

Prana is responsible for enthusiasm and expressions in the psyche, lack of which leads to depression and mental stagnation.

Tejas governs mental digestion and absorption, lack of which leads to lack of clarity and determination.

Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance, lack of which leads to anxiety and mental fatigue.

River with Two-Directional flow…

A normal river carrying water flows in one direction…

The river of mind carrying thoughts flows in two directions, the direction of flow of one’s mind determine where one heads in life…

The downward flow towards destruction is the easy and natural flow, where one acts simply based on instincts.

Humans are bestowed with a special ability to act as per their WILL, commonly known as Will-Power. The upward flow is based on the extent of manifestation of this will power. This upward flow will be effective and smoother, if we direct the senses and emotions as per dictates from the higher intellect. By higher intellect we refer to the creative and intuitive powers of the intellect. The lower intellect is one which helps us deal with the day-to-day affairs effectively and survive.

It is said…

those who create changes LEAD

those who adapt well to changes SURVIVE while

those who resist changes PERISH

And…

To LEAD one need the powers of the Subtle and HIGHER INTELLECT

To SURVIVE one need to effectively use the gross and LOWER INTELLECT

To simply PERISH without getting noticed, it is enough to act according to one’s INSTINCTS.

On introspection and analysis we will understand that…

Great Leaders in all fields who inspire people for generations, effectively used Higher Intellect

Good people who make a mark during their life-time, live as per directions of the Lower Intellect

Vast majority (like animals) live subdued to their instinctual directions

This puts into perspective the cause behind stress and worry in the modern world.

Perseverance and Dispassion are the two wings of a bird which help one to flow in the upward direction of evolution making the most use of higher intellect.

Consistent practice or Sadhana as per the first two limbs of Ashtanga Yoga – Yama and Niyama help one to develop perseverance.

Development of dispassion is not getting disinterested with the day to day affairs or suppression of desires as is commonly understood. It is growing beyond these through well-developed intelligence. Such intelligence is also developed by following the principles of Yamas and Niyamas. 

Change does not happen overnight. It is a steady and continuous process. One need to first start using their lower intellect properly before moving forward to usage of higher intellect and there is no short cut in this journey. While on the journey, our past actions and their results will continue to haunt us in the form of resistance from people around and mind within. This is where perseverance comes handy. We need to be mentally prepared to face any obstacle, be resilient and rise up more swiftly than in the previous fall.

Tools for practice:

  • Asana practices with awareness help one to develop the will and awareness
  • Pranayama practices help to keep the energy levels high and activate the higher chakras
  • Pratyahara practices like antarmouna, yoga nidra, etc., help to develop awareness, control over senses, emotions and mind
  • Study and interaction with experts for gaining proper understanding of Yamas and Niyamas

One need to get the right schedule of practices for their need, as per the advice from experts

Courtesy: This insight is from a talk by Swami Muktanand Puri during World Yoga Convention 2013 in Oct 2013 at Munger

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