Monday, February 27, 2017

Concept of Mind in Yoga Vashishtha

The Vasistha Maha Ramayana is the earliest Indian Philosophical work of the highest order on Vedanata. It is a monumental work wherein Sri Vasistha, the great sage, taight the principle of Vedanta to his royal pupil Rama, the victor of Ravana and hero of the epic Ramayana. A study of this work raises any person to the lofty heights of divine awareness and splendor. Those who practice Atma-Chintana or Brahmabhyasa or Vedantic meditation will find in this marvelous work, a priceless treasure. Even the most worldly-minded person will become dispassionate and will attain peace of mind, solace and consolation by a study of this book. The practical hints n Sadhana are unique.
Yoga Vaishtha is a comprehensive, deep, systematic and literary philosophical work of ancient India. It embodies in itself the science of ontology, the  knowledge of the Self, the principles of psychology, the science of emotion, the tenets of ethics and practical morality, discourses on theology, etc. According to this work, the world of our experience with various objects, time, space and laws is a creation of the mind, i.e.,Idea or Kalpana.
Mind is endowed with creative power. Just as objects are created by the mind in the dream, so also everything is created by the mind in the  waking state also. Expansion of the mind is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation generates this universe. Time and space are mental creation only.Through the play of the mind in objects nearness seems to be a great distance and vice versa. Through the force of the mind a Klapa is regarded as a moment and vice versa. A moment of waking experience may be experienced  as years in the dream. The mind can have the experience of miles within a short span and miles can also be experienced as a span only. Mind is the cause of bondage and liberation .
The mind manifest itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness. Obectively it is this universe. The mind attains through its enemy of discrimination the quiescent state of Parabrahman. The Sankalpas and Vasanas or subtle desires,which you generate enmesh you as in net. The Self-light or Parabrahman alone is , appearing as the mind or this universe.
Only those person who are without Atmic enquiry will see as real this world which is nothing but of the nature of Sankalpa,mind. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa. Sankalpa,through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction of Sankalpas alone is Moksha.
This impure mind which is filled with excessive delusion and a host of worldly thoughts, is the real enemy of the Atman. There is no other vessel on this earth to wade through the ocean of rebirth than the  mastry of the anatagonistic mind. Destroy this mind to its roots, by the fire of the Knowledge of the Self. This is the essence of Yoga Vasishtha.

 The  conception of mind in the philosophy of Vasishtha is most rational, most dynamic, and truer than any presented in Western or Eastern psychology. It satisfies the latest conclusions on modern science, modern psychology, modern theories of philosophic thought. In cpmparison with the wonderful psychology Yoga Vasishtha present us, the whole of the contemporary Western psychology looks so very valueless for a practical grasp of the nature and the powers of the human Mind, For a resolution of all problems of life, which are brought to being by the mind alone, for the perfection of human life possible only a mastery and conquest of the Mind.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fasting A Natural Cure of Depression: Part 2

Besides it fasting also does one more thing. Hinduism has the belief that by learning to fast, a person also learns how to face other obstacles in his life. Fasting teaches how to face hardships of life with self control. While following Upvaas, or not eating due to some mental physical trouble, a person stops his dependence on the very basic need of human survival i.e. food itself. This way in the challenging situations body and mind announce their independence from the very basic needs of life. Hence it gives courage to the person to cut it off its dependence from the object he is missing so dearly. Of-course he becomes sad and depressed, still as a coping mechanism the person keeps on saying to himself that he can live without it and he can manage his life. Interestingly longer he keeps on fasting, stronger his independence becomes. For understanding the benefits of fasting it we can see how fasting is explained in Ayurveda medicinal system. The fasting (for a small duration) balances the three doshas in human body i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha in human body. In Ayurveda before a person is given the intensive treatment for complex problems, he is made to undergo fasting. Besides it human body is composed of 80% liquid and 20% solid. The gravitational force of the moon affects the saline fluid contents of the body. It causes emotional imbalances in the body, making some people tense, irritable and violent. Fasting acts as antidote, for it lowers the acid and saline content in the body which helps people to retain their sanity. 

Now when body and mind have declared that this person does not need any more of Rajas and Tamas but a lot more of Sattva Guna, we need to find some ways to help the body increase it only. There is no harm in letting a person to continue with his desires of not eating (fasting). And in this fast if we can give him some diet that can increase the Sattva Guna in his body, his recovery will be fast and normal.

These things can be fruit juices or vegetable juices. The raw vegetables and fruits contain higher amount of Sattva Guan and lower amount of Rajas and Tamas. Rajasic and Tamasic foods are totally bad for depression patients, since these trigger negative thought processes in the mind. Best suited is the Sattvic food, which comprises mainly of fruits and vegetables.

The practical example of the effectiveness of Upvaas or not eating in a therapeutic way has always been present in society. It is to be noted that in Indian culture (Hindu religion) when a person dies then it is the tradition that for 13 days no food is prepared in the home of the dead person. Instead of this, in the house of the deceased person for 13 days there remain some regular spiritual seminars, Katahs, Yagyas and other things that soothe the pains of the family members and relatives. Idea behind this tradition was to decrease the Rajas and Tamas Guna hence reduce the sadness and depression and to increase the Sattva Guna by fasting and spiritual guidance. In Bhagwad Geeta (BG 14/17) it is said “from the Satva, knowledge is born". The food that is full of the quality of Satva is the cause of growth of knowledge. They promote energy and health; they also promote pleasure and happiness.

Moreover we see the instances in the scriptures when fasting was prescribed as a means of Prayashchit (penance) to reduce the guilt feeling. It is quite understandable. Any guilt feeling arising in heart increases the Rajas and Tamas in heart and mind many folds and so the person starts sinking in the feeling of sadness and helplessness. Here fasting increases the Sattva and reduces the Tamas and Rajas gunas. Hence his pain reduces and he comes to know that what ever wrong has been done is done and only way out is to look forward and not to repeat this again.

This way we can confidently say that Upvaas or fasting is surely a natural way to treat the depression as it is harmless, harmonizing, strengthening and most importantly body’s own reaction to fight any mental trouble. There are many individual experiences of the people suffering from various neurotic troubles like anxiety, depression panic disorders etc. and getting benefits from fasting.

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Fasting A Natural Cure of Depression: Part 1

According to Yoga texts this nature has three constituents, namely sattwa, rajas, and tamas. All matter and empirical phenomena, including the mind, is matter-manifest in endless combinations of these three gunas. So logically if we are eating Rajasik or Tamasik food we’ll have the thinking of the same kind. The gunas, may also be understood in terms of unactivity (Sattva), activity (Rajas) and inactivity (Tamas). The characteristics associated with these three gunas are mutually different. For instance; Sattva is characterized by purity, serenity, poise, calmness, discrimination, transparence, compassion, clarity, goodness, altruism, dispassion, contentment, etc.; Rajas is characterized by love of fame, passion, lust, strife, impatience, jealousy, pride, display of power etc. ; and Tamas is characterized by anger, greed, ignorance, solidity, resistance, inertia, forgetfulness, confusion, darkness, brutality, etc. Sattva is the condition of harmony in the human system. Contrary to it Tamas and Rajas are Maanas Doshas (mental impurities). Lust, anger, fear, jealousy, attachment, greed, grief and worry etc are all the mental disturbances and are caused by the disharmony between Rajas and Tamas. The Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas correspond to sukha (happiness), dukha (suffering), and moha (attachment) respectively. In the challenging situations like depression we are already having the mind full of Tamasik and Rajasik thoughts like sadness, grief, desire of suicide, anger, frustration, revenge, violence, guilt and so on. So in these situations eating anything that can aggravate the Tamasik and Rajasik thoughts is asking for bigger troubles. Any food material that we eat consists of all three Gunas Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Most of the food materials that we consume have high quantity of Tamasik and Rajasik gunas. In normal conditions a person may keep eating the same food without any visible ill effects as his body and mind can cope with the good and bad effects of that. But in case of some illness it is logical that same food may become dangerous. Ayurveda literature suggests that jealousy, fear, anger, grief (caused by Tamas and Rajas) reduce the fire in stomach (digestion juices), hence the digestion of food becomes difficult.

By denying to eat the food, body declares that it can not take any more of these tamasika and rajasik gunas as the mind is already overwhelmed by the ill effects of them. While there is no more supply coming from outside of these two Gunas (by fasting), slowly their amount and effects keep on getting balanced. This way body and mind get some time to slowly reduce the effects of rajas and tamas. Besides it, we also need to see that a depressed person is avoiding all his daily routine work that was otherwise pleasing to a normal person because they increase the Rajas and Tamas in his system. These things are sexual activities, physical exercises, sleeping, talking to friends and family members, sports and enjoyment etc. Again it just naturally happens with everyone as it is also the normal coping mechanism of his body and mind.

Moreover we also need to see that in these depressing conditions, most of the time, the body and mind of the person also push him towards the activities that increase the Sattva Guna. It is generally seen that most of the depressed people start taking interest in reading the scriptures like Geeta and his natural inclination is in Vairagya. They start saying that this world is illusion and nothing is real and none is your own. It is called “Shamshaan Vairagya”in India with sarcasm as this is only the momentary reaction of otherwise normal worldly person. Again it all is directed from an unconscious level. But momentary or not we can not deny that these are the natural reactions of a depressed person. All these things clearly point out that body and mind definitely want to increase the Satva Guna in the system.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017


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Once, around five thousand years ago, 

There was great King named Yudhishthira. One day a poor man reached King Yudhishtira. King was also called Dharmaraja, because he strictly followed the path of virtue. The poor man asked the king for some help in some matter. 

Yudhishtira said, "Come tomorrow, I will give you what you want. Right now I am quite busy." 

Yudhishtira's brother Bhimasena, king's brother, listened this conversation and at once ran to the top of the palace, a place where a huge bell was hanging. This bell was rung only when there was any great victory or emergency situations. Bhimasena straight away violently rang the bell. It created great surprise everywhere, as the ringing of the bell was sudden and people inside the palace and outside the palace did not know of any function or victory. They all came out to know the reason. The king Yudhishtira was also surprised. He was informed that Bhimasena had rung the bell. Bhimasena was summoned and king asked him for an explanation. 

Bhimsena replied, "Its a great day. My brother king Yudhishthira have gained a great victory today, victory over death for twenty-four hours at least. You have asked that man to come tomorrow, saying that you would give him what he wanted. It means that till tomorrow You are not going to die till tomorrow- which is indeed a triumph over death. 

So this is a great victory." Yudhishtira was awakened. He felt embarrassed. At the same time he called the poor man back, helped him as he wanted and sent him away without making him wait for the next day.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jealousy: How to Remove That

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Jealousy is one of the most common vice we suffer from. It’s wrong, everybody says, but how do you avoid it? No one knows. It is so natural that even after we deny it repeatedly, we do accept its existence in the hearts. Jealousy grows silently in a very subtle manner so that we sometimes don’t notice it until it starts burning us from inside. They say in English that jealousy arises from the lack of confidence in yourself. Really? But then I saw that many very confident people are suffering from jealousy. I myself found that there was jealousy in my heart even when I was confident about myself in all respects. One thing is important here to note. People are always seen jealous of good things or good fortune.  People feel jealous of someone’s beauty, riches, talent, skills, fortunes, comforts wisdom. The good thing about the jealousy is that people can admit it if they want or dare. They do it. They say that I am jealous of your sweet voice or your new car. But there is something interesting about jealousy. Invariably each time, we are jealous of a person lot better than us in one or other things. I never saw anyone jealous of someone’s misfortune. Nobody says that I am jealous to see your poverty or I am jealous to see that you are so bad looking.  In reality the jealousy is an appreciation in disguise. If you are jealous of someone, then in reality you appreciate him. Same way if people are jealous of you then you must be good at something. All sort of jealousy in reality are the appreciation, but repressed appreciation. The root cause of jealousy is the failure of a generous appreciation. If somehow we fail to appreciate something openly, the repression of it turns into jealousy. The warmth of the appreciation, that you can enjoy and share with the person whom you appreciate, if repressed becomes the fire and starts burning us. That’s why jealousy burns us from inside. Here lies the secret of busting the jealousy, heartfelt and generous appreciation.

Note: This piece is taken from the upcoming book named 'The Joystick' of Dr. Gaurav Agrawal