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Δευτέρα, 30 Ιουνίου 2014

Mantra - Vehicle for Self-Discovery

Mantra - Vehicle for Self-Discovery

Swami Satyananda Saraswati
given at the Dublin Convention on Sept. 22nd 1979

For thousands of years, you and your ancestors have been working on mind control, and most have either failed or slipped into a state of hypnosis. The mental process is an involuntary process and you cannot cut through it at any point you like. Even if you can stop the thoughts, you can't stop the process. Mind, thought and consciousness maintain their level. You only have the satisfaction of knowing that you have created a vacuum in your mind- shoonya, void, a thought free mental area. But that's all delusion; man can never be free from the thought process.
You not only think on the conscious plane - you think even though you are unconscious. When you are extrovert and preoccupied, an unseen, eternal, unbroken and protracted process of thought movement continues behind the mental curtain. You don't see anything but there is constant movement.
Mind is not a homogeneous substance- mind is a replica of proto-matter, universal mind. You talk about controlling the mind, but what are you talking about? You can definitely streamline and channelize your emotions, the pattern of your thinking and the structure of your ambition- the social mind. But the real mind is invincible and is completely indomitable. Therefore, intelligent people must realise that in order to understand and control the thought process you have to go into the deeper spheres of your mind. That is the science of mantra.

The process

Mantra is not the name of a god or goddess or of a person. It is not a holy word or part of a hymn.
Mantra is not sacred, nor is it a tool for concentration. It is a vehicle for expansion of mind and liberation of energy.
The sounds which you receive and the sounds you make, create resonant waves in the depths and surface of the mind. These sound waves have various forms known as mandalas which go deep and hit the depths of the mind. If you take a pebble and throw it into a pool- circles, waves or ripples are generated. Deep freeze the whole pool immediately and then look at it- follow the ripples and find the point where the pebble hit the water.
The process of mantra is very similar. First of all fix your mind on the nose tip or one of the centres. This is very important, because when the eyeballs move, the rhythms of the brain are affected and shadows move- the level of consciousness does not become steady. For that reason the eyes have to be absolutely steady. In order to create steadiness, you have to find one centre, the nose tip, close the eyes, and fix your mind there. That is point one. Secondly, the nose is directly connected with the perineum, which is the seat of the most important centre in the body- mooladhara chakra. When you concentrate on the nose tip the impulses keep moving from the nose tip right down to the perineum.
After you have been concentrating on the nose tip, become aware of the breath, the natural breath which moves at the speed of fifteen rounds per minute. The breath has to be felt at the nose tip, flowing through both the nasal orifices. Then synchronise your mantra with the natural stream of the breath, either one mantra with inspiration and one with expiration, or more than one mantra with inspiration. That all depends upon the length of your mantra and on your personal choice.

Unlocking Pandora's box

What happens when you are practising mantra ? More and more thoughts express themselves. Mind becomes wild. As long as you are occupied, you are quiet; your mind is peaceful. But when you begin to concentrate on the mantra, everything comes out from the depths. Does this mean that you are not progressing? Is it a negative symptom? No- during the period when you practise mantra, the wilder the mind becomes, the better it is for you. It is not clarity, tranquility or passivity of mind that is required. The most important thing is to face the mind- to see the entire process.
Thinking is not a process- it is a panorama. Mind does not move, mind does not walk, mind does not run. It is just a thing. But you see the mind in parts, therefore you think it is moving, just as you see the sun moving but the earth not. This is one of the most important things that all of us must understand. This idea is very important in yoga. It influences the whole mental condition, the state of being. You feel thoughts moving, emotions running wild, passions assailing you. But that's your experience, your feeling- that's not a fact. You see the whole thing, part by part, and therefore you feel that the mind is moving from past into present and from present into future, from future into past and from past into future. But it is not like that. Universal mind is a homogeneity; it cannot be separated by time and space. Time and space are in its womb.
Therefore, when you are practising mantra, you should be happy when your mind is developing the areas concerning the past, present and future. When evil and criminal thoughts are awakened in your mind, or when you have thoughts of God and compassion-it is all the same. If you want to crush the evil idea, you must crush the good idea as well. This is a very important point, and it is here that the whole process of life, of evolution, is stuck. Those people who have been able to transcend the barriers of life, have done it only after realising this.
You expect the mind to be calm like a moonlit night, free from clouds and thunder. That's not expecting something which is possible. When you practise your mantra, please remember that you are not practising it to stop this eternal process; to crush the basis of your faculties, your knowledge, your enlightenment. To crush the mind is to kill life. To suppress an emotion is to destroy the very base of your ambition and desire. Man cannot be anything unless he has the whole mind to work from. The greatest discoveries in history, the greatest victories, the greatest paintings, compositions, and realizations-what are they, but products of the mind.
Therefore, when you practise mantra, please be aware of whatever comes to your mind. Do not put things into categories and compartments: 'Very nice thoughts I had today, thank God.' Or, 'Today my meditation was very bad; throughout the practice I have been having horrible thoughts.' No, this is where we are making a great mistake. When you fix your mind on the nose tip, on the breath, and on the mantra - the deeper you go the greater will be the manifestation of the whole mind.

Forget about control

The mind has infinite experiences, pictures, realisations and ideas. Therefore, I cannot agree with those people who say: 'Close your eyes, control your mind and practise mantra. You will come to the light.' I have practised not for one or two years, but for a whole lifetime, and I know this is not the way.
By trying to control the mind, you are creating a split in your personality. Who are you and whom are you trying to control? As you practise mantra, every time a bad thought comes, you set it aside. Who is doing this, and with whom? Who is the controller, who is controlled and who controls the controlling process? It's all you - one mind, myself, and two perceptions. You are creating a conflict between the two perceptions that have arisen in you. That's why the whole civilisation has become schizophrenic and neurotic. For that, you are responsible; your religion, your system of spiritual life, is responsible.
Man does not live by faith or belief. Man lives by an absolutely cruel sense of discovery, and great things have come out of it. Faith and belief have their limitations, but discovery has no limitations. You can explore into eternity, into infinity and keep on going as far as you will. That's discovery, that's adventure. But once you stop and say, 'I have found it', that is faith or belief, and that is setting limitations to your capacity, to your potentialities.
So when you practise mantra, the deeper you go, the greater areas of the mind you explore. You will not only see the passions, ambitions, dreams, and compassions; you will see horrible fears, thoughts which you could never think on the mental, psychic or para-psychological planes. There is not one moment in the life of a practitioner when the mind is totally vacant.
People come to me every day saying, 'Swamiji, my mind is very restless and I am not able to concentrate. Kindly give me a mantra.' I have to tell them, 'This is not possible. I don't teach mantra for this purpose. But if you want your unconscious to be exploded, if you want the great treasure to reveal itself, then, I can give you a mantra.'
The science of mantra is not a branch of hatha yoga; it is a part of tantra. In tantra it is said that mantras can influence the totality of human consciousness and destiny. Therefore, when we set out to practise mantra, we should forget one point, control of mind.
Mantra can be practised at any part of the body, not only the nose tip. You can practise mantra awareness at the navel, the centre of the heart, the eyebrow centre, or even sahasrara chakra - the crown lotus on top of the head.
There are four ways in which mantra can be practised: (i) baikhari - aloud, with the mouth; (ii) upanshu - whispering, with movement of the lips; (iii) manasik - silently in the mind, with no movement of the lips or tongue, no stir in the throat; (iv) ajapa japa - spontaneously with the breath.
When the sound is produced in these four different forms, it has different types of waves. When you chant Om aloud or in a whisper, it creates a standing wave. When you repeat it silently in the mind, it produces a resonant wave. Spontaneous mantra synchronised with the breath creates a continuous, rhythmic wave which has a long range of vibration. When you chant the mantra with your mouth or lips, it has a short range of vibration, a very quick rest period.
This doesn't mean to say that you should not chant aloud, but this is the lower form. Feeling the mantra spontaneously is the higher form. For the best results, mantra should be practised in the following sequence: First chant aloud, producing the sound with your mouth. After a few months, just whisper it on the lips, without producing any vibration. Then later, after a year or so, fix a point at the eyebrow centre, nose tip, or in the heart, and repeat your mantra silently there, synchronising it with the pulse beat. Finally, practise spontaneous awareness of the mantra with the rhythm of the breath. This is the most important form. If the mantra is to penetrate the inner consciousness, to reach the point where thoughts originate, where consciousness emanates and evolution begins, then this last form of spontaneous mantra awareness, ajapa japa, must be practised.
Acceptance of the mind is a very important attitude, especially during the practice of mantra. To live with our own thoughts and feelings is very difficult. People suffer from inferiority and guilt due to their own mind, their own mental behaviour. If you can come out of this by understanding and accepting the mind, many people will want to receive guidance from you. It doesn't matter how long you can sit in the lotus position. You can hold your mala for fifteen years and still be wrestling with the mind. What matters is that you learn to live with the mind, to understand the mind, and to utilise the perceptions that it is projecting before you. Whenever the mind is disturbed, you must find out what is the cause of the disturbance - the sound, the individual, the situation. Try to become a witness of all that is happening- this is the attitude that must be developed in the practice of mantra. Finally, when you have finished the practice, put your mala down and stop the mantra. Fix your mind on one point, for example, the nose tip or eyebrow centre, for five minutes and visualise the symbol of your mantra there.
If you continue this practice regularly you will treat your own mental problems, and correct your abnormal mental behaviour. You will be your own mental doctor. As well as this, you will develop an intimate friendship with the mind, and all of its fantastic faculties will open up to you. This mind is telepathic, clairvoyant, psycho-telekinetic This mind has infinite qualities- it can create a poem and make you a Milton. It can decide your future and make you a warrior, a soldier, a statesman or a saint. But we must know how to make use of this mind.
Tranquility is not necessary when you practise mantra, nor is it the aim. If you want to get rid of hypertension, blood pressure or coronary stress, and you are trying to make the mind tranquil, you can expect another heart attack. Tranquility is an ideal. Man has to learn to live with reality. Nature is living with stress. The universe is living with stress. How long do you want to be like soft butter? Learn to live with stress. That is the ultimate aim. Stress is struggle; struggle is life, and life is progress.

The tantric approach

Why did the tantric tradition give us mantra? In the tantric texts it says that even a person who can't walk, talk, see, or hear, who is absolutely destitute, with everybody against him, can practise mantra and become enlightened.
Mantra eliminates sickness and madness, not by controlling the mind but by letting the mind open itself. The more you practise mantra, the more you see on the beautiful television before you. You will have endless thoughts, dreams and visions. The practice of mantra lets all the wild animals out of the cage. You may think this is not at all necessary, but I have found that before you can get peace of mind, before you can transcend the mind, you must be able to face all the disturbances of the mind.
If I have a problem and am unable to sleep for three days, I don't care that my mind is agitated. I believe that the mind must face truth honestly. If I am up against the agony of death, I must face it and experience it. If I am feeling the turbulence of passion, I must face it and experience it.
The purpose of mantra is not to make the brain inactive to these things, but to increase its sensitivity and awareness. This is the tantric system and it teaches you to face facts, with your eyes open. We don't want people to be like ostriches. Are you ready to unlock the mind and face its manifestations, or do you still want to put a cover over them? If you want to put a cover over them, then you have the hypnotic aspect of mantra meditation. But if you are willing to face them and work them out, then you have the tantric aspect, and mantra is the way.

Satsang on Mantra

I have tried many mantras and have become confused. How do I know which one I should persist with?

Well, the question could be put in a different way, 'I have married so many times and nothing has succeeded.' You see, the first thing is to stay with one mantra and continue it. Don't go on changing the mantra. Don't go on jumping from guru to guru. There is only one secret of success- stick to something. Even if you are stuck to a very ineffective system it does not matter. Maybe you will reach the goal a little later, but you will reach it. Don't get fed up with the practice. If you are practising my system stick to it, and if you are practising some other system stick to that. One guru, one mantra - that is called spiritual chastity.
Remember the words 'spiritual chastity'. Don't go on with your old habits of flirting, or at least don't project them into your spiritual life. In material life you may go from this husband to that husband, from this wife to that wife, from this job to that job, from this flat to that flat, from this country to another, and it may all work out all right. But in spiritual life only one thing will work- one-pointed chastity of spiritual purpose.

What is the difference between a personal mantra and a general mantra?

Up to the point of initiation, you can practise any general mantra, but once you have been initiated into a mantra, this becomes your personal mantra and it should not be changed.
There are also special mantras which can be utilised for specific purposes such as influencing your destiny, or to overcome a specific problem. These mantras are discontinued as soon as they have fulfilled their purpose, and are then classified along with the general mantras.

If you already have a guru, is it possible to receive a mantra from another guru?

According to my understanding, the guru has to be properly defined. If you have learned yoga from someone, he is your yoga guru. If you have learned the Gita or the Bible, he is your Gita or Bible guru. If you have been going to him for a long time and learning about spiritual life, then he is your spiritual guru. If he is a spiritually illumined person and you have great respect for him, he is also your guru. Accordingly, one can have many gurus, and the person who gives you a mantra is your mantra guru. So if you have a spiritual master, a Gita or Bible master, a raja yoga or tantra yoga master, you can also have a mantra master. Guru has two aspects :(i) he teaches you; (ii) he can help you to illumine your consciousness. So you can have these two aspects in one person or in many persons.

What is the benefit of receiving a mantra directly from the guru?

When the mantra is heard from the guru, it is registered by your atman. Then it becomes the seed which grows as you practise your sadhana.

What is the difference between a tantric mantra and a vedic mantra?

Tantric mantras are those which influence the deeper nature of the universe. They are also intended to fulfil certain desires of man. Tantric mantras are very powerful and when you practise them, they create a great force in the atmosphere.
Vedic mantras are intended for worship of the divine and for self-realization. They change the nature of a person and make him more devotional.

Is it necessary to pronounce the mantra correctly?

If you make a mistake in pronouncing the vedic mantras there is no harm. For example, if you are repeating the mantra Om Namah Shivaya and you say Om Namah Shivaya, it won't make much difference. But the tantric mantras must be pronounced absolutely precisely and correctly.
I have found that anyone who listens with awareness can produce the correct sound of the mantra. At first you may not be able to repeat the correct sound aloud, but you can perceive it. After hearing a melody several times, you can think it in your mind, even though you may not be able to sing it. In the same way, if you listen to the pronunciation of the mantra, even if you do not repeat it aloud, you will conceive the correct sound in your mind, and this is enough.

Is the intellectual meaning of mantra important?

The mantra is a combination or assembly of powerful sound waves. As such, the intellectual understanding of the mantra is not at all necessary. It is not the meaning, but the sound waves created by the mantra which influence the cosmos in the brain and outside. There are some mantras which don't even have a meaning.
The mantra has two basic aspects: sound and form. For example, when you chant Om, it is a sound; when you write Om in script, it is a form. So every mantra has a sound and a form, but the most powerful aspect is the sound. All educated people have a concept of script in their mind. If you are not educated and have no concept of script in your mind, then you will conceive Om as sound only. The problem is- you are not able to separate the sound from the script. If you repeat the sound Om, it is not only the sound, but also the script which follows it. When you are practising a mantra, gradually try to leave the idea of script and follow the sound.

How should the practice of mantra be integrated into the daily routine?

Practise for ten minutes early in the morning before everyone gets up, and again at night just before you go to bed. Also try to remember the mantra and repeat it mentally throughout the day, when you are at work or just sitting.

How important is regularity?

Mantra is so powerful that it can change your destiny, economic situation, physical structure, etc. If you want the mantra to change the whole structure of your life, you must practise it regularly, every morning and evening.

Why is it recommended to chant mantra aloud in the beginning?

Unless your mind is steady and one-pointed, mental repetition of mantra can bring more dissipation.

What is the purpose of chanting Om in groups?

Om chanting is done in groups to raise everyone at the same time. There are two types of Om chanting used for this purpose. One practice is where everybody chants aloud together O-o-m-m-m-m- The other is where everybody chants silently Om, Om, Om. The latter is a relaxed way of chanting used for chakra work. It allows you to be independent. When the group is chanting Om aloud together, they have to keep their minds on each other, but when you are practising silently, you can chant freely in your own rhythm. Om is a combination of three sounds 'A', 'U' and 'M'. These three can be pronounced in different ways according to grammatical rules. Generally, however, the combination of 'A' and 'U' becomes 'O'. Thus the pronunciation is really O-o-m-m-m-m'

How does a mantra act scientifically?

Every sound and form has a different archetype inside the brain. The process of knowledge takes place through these archetypes. As I am talking to you, knowledge simultaneously takes place inside you, but this process is not based on the actual sounds I am pronouncing. As soon as the sound goes into the brain, it changes its waves and assumes various geometrical patterns. These patterns are the archetypes. Now, in science, the principle is that perception and cognition take place inside through the intermediary archetypes, and what we perceive is not exactly as it was outside.
There are infinite archetypal patterns. In yoga they are known as mandalas and yantras. Scientists have found that by producing certain sounds, certain flower-like shapes were formed. When certain mantras were chanted, they found that they created the archetype of a lotus flower. That is why the lotus is so common in spiritual literature. In the same way, different forms can be created by different mantras.
Sound is a force, and this force affects a certain part of the universe and creates ripples in the vast ocean of the cosmos, just as the electromagnetic or radio waves can't be heard even though they pass through the atmosphere. In the same way, a mantra has its own field by which it travels. In this universe which we see around us, there are thousands of channels of waves. We call them layers or zones. In one layer radioactivity travels, in another layer electromagnetic waves, in the third layer thought waves.
When you produce a sound it attains a certain frequency. If your mind is dissipated then the frequency is low. If your mind is one-pointed, then the frequency is high. Your mind is a part of the cosmic mind. When you are in concentration, you are a part of the cosmic mind, but when your mind is not concentrated, then you are not in communication with the cosmic mind.

Are the vedic gods created by the archetype of mantra?

Yes, in fact the gods and goddesses that we hear about in religion are only archetypes. Gods and goddesses like Shiva and Parvati are divine archetypes. In Sanskrit, these vedic deities are known as deva, meaning illumination. When your mind is illumined, you can see so many things inside. Within this cosmos there are infinite forms. The human brain is a miniature universe, and whatever you see in the whole cosmos is contained inside. If you can illumine the inside then you can know all about the outside.

What is anusthana and how is it practised?

Anusthana is a traditional practice in which a particular mantra is chanted. There are many kinds of anusthana but the two most important are sadharana anusthana and purashcharana anusthana. Sadharana anusthana is done on all nine days of Navaratri. During this time, simple, bland food is taken and no work is done. Purascharana is a long anusthana in which the mantra is repeated as many hundreds of thousands of times as the number of matras or letters it contains. For example, if the mantra is Om Namah Shivaya, it must be repeated 500,000 times - this means 5000 malas. This can be completed in a short period of time or over a long period at your convenience. If you do not want to undertake the full number, then you can do only half or one quarter. Anusthana is initiated on an auspicious day, for example, the day of an eclipse, when the number of mantras, and perhaps the duration of time, is fixed and a sankalpa or vow is made to complete them. After many years of practice, the sound waves awaken the causal body. We call this mantra siddhi, the perfection of the power of mantra.



Τρίτη, 24 Ιουνίου 2014

Six Yogic Capsules in One

Tools for Transformation in Our Daily Life:
There is no difference between spiritual and worldly life. The moment we try to create a division between our spiritual and daily life, so that in one area we meditate, concentrate and do yoga, whilst in the other we are slaves to the mind, attached to sensory enjoyment, happiness and satisfaction, we are in trouble. However, if we believe that our spiritual life is our daily life, and our daily life is our spiritual life, there will be no conflict. The whole process of spiritual life is to be open and friendly with all fellow beings, to help, guide, love and live in harmony with each other.

Six Yogic Capsules: by Swami Niranjanananda
Negativity is a weed which kills and suppresses the power of Positivity. Hatred, jealousy and envy are weeds which suppress the benevolent qualities of the mind. If we are identifying with the weed and we are under the influence of our negative states of mind, then we lose track of the positive nature. Just as a lawn has to be maintained regularly, the mind also has to be maintained on a regular basis. It has to be taken care of with positive thoughts and positive Sankalpas which become our strengths in life. We must protect the mind from influences which disturb its peace, balance and harmony. People who can do this are the real yogis.
There are six practices to be adopted on a daily basis.
The First is the practice of mantra, which will give birth to inner strength, optimism and creativity. The ‘Mahamrityunjaya, Gayatri and Durga Mantras’ are the three Sankalpas or seeds. The seeds are planted in the subconscious mind when the mind is still, dormant, not active in the waking state, not connected with the senses, with the world or the sense objects. Therefore, these three mantras should be practiced as soon as one wakes up in the morning, when one is still in bed. With regular practice, we will discover that these three mantras play a major role in cultivating Inner Strength, Optimism and positivity.
The Second practice which should become part of our daily life is Yoga Nidra. Practicing Yoga Nidra will help reduce the Psychological, Psycho-Emotional tensions and stresses and keep the mind active, creative, stress-free and clear.
The Third component is Pranic stimulation (pranayama). The Pranas in the body should be activated and balanced. When the pranas are active and the energy system is properly regulated, then a lot of the psychological, psycho-emotional and psycho-physiological stresses can be avoided. The body and the mind will always be energized, without a dull moment in life, without lethargy or isolation, rather a self-contained state in which the optimum creativity of body and mind will be experienced, attained and expressed.
The Fourth component is simple meditation. In yoga, Pratyahara, withdrawing the senses, comes first. We work through the superficial levels of our feelings and thoughts, as in the practice of 'Antar Mouna', Inner Silence. To know the state of stability in the body we practise 'Kaya Sthairyam', stillness of the body. Awareness of the subtle movements comes with 'Ajapa Japa' and 'Chidakasha Dharana'. We start with '10 minutes of Trataka', then we blow out the candle, continue with ten minutes of 'Pratyahara and Antar Mouna' to observe the inner activity, and end the practice with ten minutes of 'Ajapa Japa'.
Asana is the fifth component. We are free to do as much as we want, wherever we want, but there has to be a purpose to the practice of asana. If flexibility and body work is the purpose, then that should remain the focus. If stability and comfort is the purpose, then that should be predominant.
In the sixth component we adopt one Yama and one Niyama which we try to follow wherever we are. In the system of Patanjali, Yama and Niyama are mental practices, attitudinal practices to discipline and regulate our life, to bring about an attitudinal and mental change.
If we can apply this system of yoga on a regular basis, we will understand the process of Yoga Sadhana. The understanding of our mind, behaviour, attitude, nature and character will develop more and more. If we can follow this for one year or six months or even for three months on a regular basis, we will definitely discover a transformation in our life.
The sequence is important and therefore we do the mantra after waking up, Asana and Pranayama in the morning, Yoga Nidra during the day, whenever we feel stressed out and in need of relaxation or new energy, and meditation in the evening.

Morning yogic capsule  by Swami Niranjananda

For busy people it isn’t always easy to find time and motivation to establish a daily practice. Acknowledging this, together with the importance of regular practice, Swami Niranjanada has come up with a recipe that he called the yogic capsule. It does not require plenty of time, and it consists of easy-to-perform mantras, cleansing, asanas and pranayamas. It is performed Monday to Friday. On Saturday there are much fewer techniques and on Sunday there is only rest

Upon waking up, while still in bed, sit comfortably with spine straight and chant two mantras, 11 times each. Whether you pray to god that you experience outside yourself, or connect with the divine inside you, does not matter. Just try to keep the mind steady as you chant the mantras, be present and feel the vibrations.
The first one is Maha Mrityunjaya, also called the life-giving mantra. Chanting this Mantra strengthens the immune system, improves overall health and increases energy. Chant 11 times. The Sanskrit text follows.
Aum Trayambakam Yajamahe,
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam;
Urva Rukamiva Bandhanaat,
Mrityor Mokshiye Maamritat

The second is Gayatri Mantra – for physical, mental and emotional healing, purification and protection. It is one of the most widely used mantras - sometimes referred to as the mother of all mantras - for self-realisation and awakening. The Sanskrit text follows.
Om Bhur Buvaha Swaha 
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat

This step is not a necessary part of the capsule but it is highly recommended. It is described on page 487 of the Greek translation of the book: Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1999): Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Bihar School of Yoga, Bihar, India
Lean your head to one side. Using the neti pot, pour salty water into one nostril, and let it leak out through the other. Continue until you empty the pot. Then do the other side. 
After neti, dry the nostrils by repeating 5-20 quick Kapalabhati exhalations through one nostril while keeping the other one closed with your hand. Take a few normal relaxing breaths. Then do the other nostril. Kapalabhati are strong short rapid abdominal exhalations through the nose. Always take calm slow breaths after performing Kapalabhati and ALWAYS listen to your body and take care not to overdo it and get dizzy.

Note: The names of Asanas differ from one yoga tradition to the next. Here they are described as in Satyananda tradition and the refereces are made to the Greek translation of the book: Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1999): Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Bihar School of Yoga, Bihar, India

1. Five times Tadasana (pg 144)
2. Five times each side Tiryaka Tadasana (pg 146)
3. Five times each side Kati Chakrasana (pg 147)
4. Three rounds of Surya Namaskar (pg 164-179)

You may do Pranayama immediately after Asana, or at work, whenever you feel tired or drained out. You can choose between various techniques, such as: 7-10 Brahmari breaths (pg 398), 7 rounds of Nadi Shodan (pg 388),Bastrika (pg 403) or Kapalabhati (pg 407)
Later on in the afternoon, possibly upon returning from work, do 10 minutes of the so-called power nap. This can include bringing the attention to the body parts and to deep abdominal breaths like in Yoga Nidra. 
It is preferable that this restful, rejuvenating break takes placebefore one takes on evening activities. It is refreshing and it makes one more relaxed and present with people of their surroundings.
Finally, in the evening, just before sleep, devote 10 minutes to review the day from the last moment towards the beginning of it. Try to stay as a witness, not judging, but noticing events, your reactions, feelings.
On Saturdays only do neti and meditation.
On Sundays take a break and do nothing.

Note: Because of individual differences, it is highly advisable that you consult an experienced Satyananda yoga instructor before establishing your daily routine.

* Neti pot video by Himalayan Institute
* Yoga Nintra & video by satyananda yoga
* Mantra yoga

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha book & Yoga Nintra cd

Πέμπτη, 19 Ιουνίου 2014

Τύποι Εγκεφαλικών Κυμάτων


Τύποι Εγκεφαλικών Κυμάτων

Από τότε που ανακαλύφθηκε για πρώτη φορά το ήλεκτροεγκεφαλογράφημα, οι επιστήμονες παρατήρησαν ότι ο εγκέφαλος παράγει 4 διαφορετικούς τύπους εγκεφαλικών κυμάτων. Τα ονομάζουν Κύματα Βήτα, Άλφα, Θήτα και Δέλτα.
Κύματα Βήτα:(13-30 Hz)
Τα Κύματα Βήτα χαρακτηρίζουν το είδος της συγκέντρωσης που κατευθύνεται προς τα έξω. 
Είμαστε σε εγρήγορση (όχι σε κατάσταση ύπνου),σε ετοιμότητα και ο νους μας λειτουργεί με λογικό και αναλυτικό τρόπο. Επίσης λαμβάνουν χωρά συσχετισμοί που φτάνουν στα όρια των ανήσυχων σκέψεων, του άγχους, της οργής και του φόβου. Σχεδόν όλοι μας έχουμε έναν εγκέφαλο που διέπεται από Κύματα Βήτα.
Κύματα Άλφα: (8-12 Hz)
Τα κύματα Άλφα δηλώνουν νοητική και σωματική χαλάρωση. Αποτελούν χαρακτηριστικό γνώρισμα για δεκτικότητα, υψηλή απόδοση μνήμης, δημιουργικότητα, φαντασία και ενόραση. Μέσω της συχνότητας των αγχολυτικών αυτών κυμάτων, ενοποιείται και ολοκληρώνεται η σχέση σώματος και νου.
Τα Κύματα Άλφα ενισχύουν τις λειτουργίες του παρασυμπαθητικού νευρικού συστήματος και την ενοποίηση του δεξιού και αριστερού ημισφαιρίου του εγκεφάλου. Με αυτό το τρόπο υποβοηθούν τις διαδικασίες αποθεραπείας του σώματος. Εμφανίζονται όταν κλείνουμε τα μάτια μας και γινόμαστε χαλαροί και παθητικοί. Παράγουν μια αίσθηση ηρεμίας και ευδιαθεσίας. Εμφανίζονται επίσης μετά από έναν ευχάριστο περίπατο στη φύση, με μασάζ, σάουνα, χαλαρωτική μουσική, προσευχή κ.λ.π. Όταν οι άνθρω ποι είναι υγιείς και χωρίς άγχος παράγουν μια ποσότητα ενεργοποιήσεων Άλφα. Όταν αυτές οι ενεργοποιήσεις απουσιάζουν, αυτό μπορεί να αποτελέσει το πρώτο μήνυμα για ασθένειες ψυχικές , άγχος, στενοχώρια, μελαγχολία ακόμα και βλάβες στον εγκέφαλο.
Στην περιοχή Άλφα είμαστε πολύ δημιουργικοί. Τα Κύματα Άλφα είναι ιδανικά για εκμάθηση και απομνημόνευση νέων πληροφοριών, γεγονότων και στοιχειών τα οποία βρίσκονται στο συνειδητό μας.
Κύματα Θήτα (4-7 Hz)
Τα Κύματα Θήτα εμφανίζονται κυρίως κατά την διάρκεια του ύπνου και γενικά όταν είστε ολοκληρωτικά βυθισμένοι μέσα σας (αυτό-ύπνωση) Η σκέψη εγκαταλείπει τις συνηθισμένες οδούς.
Τα Κύματα Θήτα επαναφέρουν την ισορροπία μεταξύ του παρασυμπαθητικού και του συμπαθητικού νευρικού συστήματος, όταν παράγονται τακτικά και για μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα.
Η συχνότητα των 7,8Hz (ηχητική συχνότητα Schumann) αποτελεί πολύ σημαντική συχνότητα του μαγνητικού πεδίου της γης και κατά συνέπεια είναι ιδανική για την αναζωογόνηση του σώματος.
Τα Κύματα Θήτα εκπέμπονται και μπορούν να ανιχνευτούν όταν βρίσκεστε σε βαθύ διαλογισμό, σε τεχνικές χαλάρωσης, αυτό-υπνωτισμού και απαλής ύπνωσης.
Κύματα Δέλτα (0,5-3 Hz)
Τα Κύματα Δέλτα παρουσιάζονται κυρίως στο βαθύ ύπνο και σπανίζουν όταν δεν κοιμόμαστε.
Αντίστοιχες καταστάσεις συναντάμε όταν βρισκόμαστε σε βαθύ και δίχως όνειρα ύπνο (όχι σε κατάσταση ύπνου REM),σε βαθειά ύπνωση, καθώς και σε κατάσταση θεραπείας και αυτό-αναζωογόνησης.
Στη διάρκεια του ύπνου Δέλτα ενεργοποιείται η αφύπνιση των ορμονών. Επίσης, όσο είναι δραστηριοποιημένα τα Κύματα Θήτα λαμβάνει χωρά και η κυτταρική ανανέωση.
ΣΗΜ. Υπάρχουν πολλές αποδείξεις ότι οι άνθρωποι μπορούν να διατηρούν τη συνείδηση τους ανεπηρέαστη από τρίτους, σε όλες τις περιοχές των Κυμάτων Άλφα, Θήτα και Δέλτα, με κάθε τεχνική αυτο-ύπνωσης, ύπνωσης, χαλάρωσης και διαλογισμού. Πράγμα το οποίο δεν συμβαίνει, (να διατηρούμε την συνείδηση μας δηλαδή ανεπηρέαστη), στον φυσικό καθημερινό μας ύπνο!
Άρα, η ύπνωση είναι ασφαλέστερη απο τον ύπνο, στο θέμα των ανεπιθύμητων υποβολών, γιατί η συνείδηση είναι σε επιφυλακή και αποκρούει αυτόματα οτιδήποτε είναι αντίθετο προς το συμφέρον σας!

Δευτέρα, 16 Ιουνίου 2014


Όταν ακούμε τη λέξη διαλογισμός συνήθως φανταζόμαστε κάποιον που κάθεται ακίνητος σταυροπόδι, με τα χέρια ακουμπισμένα πάνω στα πόδια του, κάπου έξω στη φύση ή απομονωμένος σε κάποιο βουδιστικό μοναστήρι. Δεν χρειάζεται όμως να είναι κανείς βουδιστής μοναχός για να διαλογιστεί, ούτε χρειάζεται να μυηθεί σε κάποια μυστηριακή τεχνική. Αν και υπάρχουν διάφοροι ορισμοί για τον διαλογισμό, όλοι έχουν τα εξής κοινά χαρακτηριστικά: τη συγκέντρωση του νου σε ένα συγκεκριμένο αντικείμενο (έναν ήχο, την αναπνοή ή την κίνηση της κοιλιάς κατά την αναπνοή), την παρατήρηση των δραστηριοτήτων του νου (τις σκέψεις) και την επίγνωση αυτών των δραστηριοτήτων με αποδοχή, χωρίς κριτική.

Με άλλα λόγια, η ουσία του διαλογισμού είναι να παρατηρεί κανείς ό,τι συμβαίνει όπως συμβαίνει την ώρα που συμβαίνει, χωρίς να διαμεσολαβούν τα φίλτρα του νου. Και όταν αυτά τα τελευταία παρεμβάλλονται στη διαδικασία παρατηρούμε το φαινόμενο και αποδεχόμαστε το γεγονός ότι αυτή είναι η φυσιολογική λειτουργία του νου: να θέλει να αποσπάει συνεχώς την προσοχή μας. Ο απώτερος σκοπός είναι η αποταύτιση από τον νου. Με τον διαλογισμό, αυτό που ακούγεται θεωρητικό και ίσως αυθαίρετο γίνεται ξεκάθαρο. Όταν παρατηρείς τη λειτουργία του νου, δηλαδή το πώς δημιουργούνται οι σκέψεις σου, πώς αναπτύσσονται και πώς φεύγουν, σημαίνει ότι δεν είσαι πια ο νους σου - είσαι ο παρατηρητής του. Όντας ο παρατηρητής σημαίνει επίσης ότι δεν επηρεάζεσαι από τις σκέψεις που δημιουργεί ο νους σου και δεν εγκλωβίζεσαι στην αλυσιδωτή τους μορφή ανάπτυξης (η μία σκέψη σε οδηγεί στην επόμενη, αυτή σε μία άλλη, κ.ο.κ). 

Το όφελος από αυτή τη διαδικασία είναι το εξής: το σώμα δεν αντιδράει ασυνείδητα στις σκέψεις που δημιουργεί ο νους, όπως όταν είσαι ταυτισμένος με τον νου. Έτσι αποφεύγονται οι ασυνείδητες και υπερβολικές συναισθηματικές αντιδράσεις, πολλές από τις σωματοποιήσεις που δημιουργούνται από αυτές, ενώ παράλληλα επέρχεται μια συναισθηματική σταθερότητα. Γι' αυτό ο διαλογισμός προτείνεται για τη θεραπεία των ψυχοσυναισθηματικών διαταραχών (κυρίως των αγχωτικών).
Σχηματικά θα μπορούσαμε να περιγράψουμε τη διαδικασία του διαλογισμού ως εξής: ο νους είναι σαν μία δεξαμενή όπου δημιουργούνται συνεχώς σκέψεις ανάλογα με τα εξωτερικά ερεθίσματα που λαμβάνουν τα αισθητήρια όργανα και ερμηνεύονται πάλι ανάλογα με το παρελθόν του. Ο νους δηλαδή ερμηνεύει και φιλτράρει τα εξωτερικά γεγονότα ανάλογα με το τι έχει μάθει και πώς έχει προγραμματιστεί από τα προηγούμενα χρόνια. Όταν παρατηρεί κανείς αυτή τη νοητική λειτουργία (τον κύκλο των σκέψεων που έρχονται και φεύγουν) απομακρύνεται από τη δεξαμενή, αποστασιοποιείται από αυτή, και μπορεί να δει καθαρά ότι αυτές οι σκέψεις είναι ακριβώς αυτό που είναι στην πραγματικότητα: απλά σκέψεις που δημιουργεί ο νους ανάλογα με το παρελθόν του και όχι η αλήθεια για την τωρινή πραγματικότητα.
Οι περισσότεροι άνθρωποι μπλέκονται και εγκλωβίζονται καθημερινά στα ασταμάτητα σενάρια που δημιουργεί ο νους τους ανάλογα με το παρελθόν τους και τις ερμηνείες που έδιναν στα παρελθοντικά βιώματα. Ο νους επαναλαμβάνει και αναπαράγει συνεχώς τις ίδιες σκέψεις, τις ίδιες απόψεις, τις ίδιες πεποιθήσεις, οι ρίζες των οποίων μπορεί να φτάνουν στην πρώιμη παιδική ηλικία. Τότε που, εντελώς ασυνείδητα, όντας ταυτισμένοι με τον νου και τα ακατέργαστα συναισθήματα, πιστεύαμε τις ερμηνείες που δίναμε με βάση ένα κύριο συναίσθημα: το φόβο. Το φόβο της εγκατάλειψης, της απόρριψης, της ασημαντότητας και φυσικά του θανάτου.

Για να ξεφύγουμε από αυτόν τον ανυπόφορο πόνο, δημιουργήσαμε τα αντίθετά τους: την προσκόλληση, την ανάγκη για αποδοχή και την ψευδαίσθηση της μονιμότητας και της σταθερότητας των γεγονότων, τόσο στην προσωπική μας ζωή όσο και στις συνθήκες διαβίωσής μας. Επιθυμούμε τα πράγματα να μην αλλάζουν, οι άνθρωποι που αγαπάμε να ζουν για πάντα (και εμείς το ίδιο), να αποκτούμε ολοένα και περισσότερα αγαθά αναζητώντας σ' αυτά την αίσθηση της ολοκλήρωσης, της κατοχής και της σταθερότητας, και άλλες παρόμοιες συμπεριφορές. Ο διαλογισμός μάς βοηθάει να δούμε την πλάνη σ' αυτό το σύστημα αντιλήψεων και πεποιθήσεων που έχουμε αναπτύξει από παιδιά και συνεχίζουμε να συντηρούμε μέχρι σήμερα.

Αν αποδεχτούμε ότι όλα αλλάζουν, όπως συμβαίνει στην πραγματικότητα, τότε πρέπει να αποδεχτούμε ότι και οι σκέψεις που δημιουργεί ο νους μας δεν είναι σταθερές και δεν αντανακλούν μια σταθερή πραγματικότητα αφού αυτή δεν υφίσταται. Είναι απλά προϊόντα του νου που γεννιούνται στον εγκέφαλό μας, αναπτύσσονται για λίγο και φεύγουν. Ακολουθούν και αυτά την πορεία που ακολουθούν όλες οι μορφές ενέργειας στο σύμπαν. Αν αυτό γίνει κατανοητό μπορεί να λειτουργήσει πολύ απελευθερωτικά. 
Το να συνειδητοποιήσει κανείς ότι δεν είναι υποχρεωμένος να αντιδράει στα εξωτερικά συμβάντα, αλλά ότι μπορεί να παρατηρεί πρώτα το μοτίβο των σκέψεων που δημιουργεί ο νους του και μετά να αποφασίζει τι στάση θα κρατήσει και πώς θα πράξει, σηματοδοτεί και την απελευθέρωση από το παρελθόν. Το να βλέπουμε τα εξωτερικά γεγονότα απλά ως γεγονότα που έρχονται και φεύγουν, και το ίδιο να κάνουμε για όσα συμβαίνουν μέσα μας, μας βοηθάει να δούμε καλύτερα την πρόσκαιρη φύση των πραγμάτων. Μειώνεται δηλαδή αυτομάτως η προσκόλληση στις μορφές, στα γεγονότα και στην εικόνα μας. Αφού μειωθεί η προσκόλληση μειώνονται και οι επιθυμίες μας να αποκτούμε πράγματα που δεν κατέχουμε, που μέχρι πρότινος πιστεύαμε ότι θα μας κάνουν πιο ευτυχισμένους. Παράλληλα, αυξάνεται η εκτίμηση απέναντι στα πράγματα που ήδη έχουμε και στις συνθήκες που επικρατούν στη ζωή μας. Απομακρύνεται δηλαδή το βάρος τής δήθεν καταναγκαστικής εξάρτησης τόσο απέναντι στα εξωτερικά γεγονότα όσο και στα πρόσκαιρα δημιουργήματα του νου μας.
Αν και για τον διαλογισμό θα μπορούσε να πει κανείς πολλά, ένα σύντομο περίγραμμα της θεωρίας του είναι αυτό που μόλις περιγράψαμε. Η ουσία του όμως είναι η πρακτική. Ο διαλογισμός δεν είναι άλλη μία φιλοσοφική έννοια ή άλλη μία θεωρία που προσπαθεί να εξηγήσει τα πάντα. Είναι πρακτική από το Α στο Ω. Τα όποια οφέλη του θα τα βιώσει κανείς μόνο κατά την πράξη του διαλογισμού και όχι κατά τη συζήτηση γι' αυτόν ή τη διδασκαλία του. Μάλιστα, οι βουδιστές μοναχοί που εξασκούν συστηματικά τον διαλογισμό λένε ότι ο διαλογισμός σε οδηγεί στην κατανόηση της αλήθειας που μπορεί να αποκτηθεί από τον καθένα, χωρίς δάσκαλο. Και αυτό γιατί η αλήθεια είναι ήδη μέσα μας και ο διαλογισμός αποτελεί απλά το μέσο, τον δρόμο, που οδηγεί σ' αυτή την αλήθεια.
Περιληπτικά λοιπόν μπορούμε να δώσουμε κάποιες πρακτικές οδηγίες για τον διαλογισμό. Το είδος του διαλογισμού που παρουσιάζουμε σ' αυτό το άρθρο ονομάζεται βιπάσανα, που στην αρχαία διάλεκτο Πάλι της Ινδίας σήμαινε "επίγνωση" ή "η ακριβής εικόνα για ό,τι συμβαίνει τη στιγμή που συμβαίνει". Καθίστε κάπου αναπαυτικά, είτε σταυροπόδι στην κλασική στάση του διαλογισμού, είτε σε μια καρέκλα όπου θα αισθάνεστε άνετα. Το σημαντικό είναι να κρατάτε την πλάτη σας ίσια γιατί αυτό ενισχύει τη συγκέντρωση του νου. Μπορείτε να συγκεντρωθείτε στην αναπνοή σας και συγκεκριμένα στο εσωτερικό των ρουθουνιών σας, στην αίσθηση που σας δημιουργεί ο αέρας καθώς αναπνέετε.

Κρατείστε το στόμα κλειστό και αναπνέετε φυσιολογικά μόνο από τη μύτη. Μην προσπαθείτε να ελέγξετε την αναπνοή σας, απλά παρακολουθήστε τη με τον νου σας. Μπορείτε να σκέφτεστε "εισπνοή" καθώς εισπνέετε και "εκπνοή" καθώς εκπνέετε (στα αγγλικά είναι ίσως ευκολότερο αν σκέφτεστε απλά "in" για εισπνοή και "out" για εκπνοή). Να σκέφτεστε αυτές τις λέξεις καθώς η αναπνοή εξελίσσεται εκείνη τη στιγμή. Να υπάρχει δηλαδή συντονισμός μεταξύ νου και συμβάντος. Ο νους να περιγράφει αυτό που συμβαίνει στην πραγματικότητα και όχι να γίνεται μηχανικά η όλη διαδικασία ενώ ο νους τρέχει σε σενάρια και φαντασιώσεις ("τι έκανα χθες", "τι έχω να κάνω αύριο", "τι μου είπε ο άλλος", "τι του απάντησα", κ.τ.λ). Επειδή όμως είναι αδύνατο να κρατηθεί ο νους σε ακινησία, θα παρατηρείτε τις σκέψεις που δημιουργούνται, όποιο περιεχόμενο και αν έχουν, και θα επιστρέφετε την προσοχή σας πάλι στην αναπνοή σας.

Από ένα σημείο και μετά, μόλις ο νους θα έχει "εγκατασταθεί" στην αναπνοή σας, μπορείτε να σταματήσετε να σκέφτεστε "εισπνοή" και "εκπνοή" και απλά να παρακολουθείτε τόσο την αναπνοή όσο και τις σκέψεις σας. Ουσιαστικά η προσοχή σας θα μεταβαίνει συνεχώς από την αναπνοή στις σκέψεις και πάλι πίσω.  Αυτή είναι η άσκηση που δυναμώνει την προσοχή, που δαμάζει τον νου και που βοηθάει να κατανοήσουμε την πραγματική φύση των σκέψεων που δεν είναι τίποτα άλλο από συμβάντα με αρχή, μέση και τέλος. Να θυμάστε ότι δεν πρέπει να ακολουθείτε τις σκέψεις που θα δημιουργεί ο νους σας και να περιμένετε ότι ο νους θα κάνει τα πάντα για να σας ξεγελάσει και να σας παρασύρει στα φανταστικά του σενάρια. Οι μεγαλύτεροι πειρασμοί του νου αφορούν ερμηνείες και υποθέσεις για το τι μπορεί να συμβεί στο μέλλον ή τι έγινε στο παρελθόν. Να έχετε στο μυαλό σας το εξής: το μόνο που υπάρχει είναι το τώρα. Ούτε το μέλλον υπάρχει, ούτε το παρελθόν. Υπάρχουν μόνο οι σκέψεις μας γι' αυτά και οι σκέψεις δεν είναι η πραγματικότητα, είναι η υποκειμενική ερμηνεία της πραγματικότητας με βάση το παρελθόν.

Η διάρκεια του διαλογισμού είναι κάτι που το κανονίζετε εσείς, αλλά με την πρακτική να περιμένετε ότι θα αυξηθεί από μόνη της. Για αρχή πέντε λεπτά μπορεί να είναι ήδη αρκετά και να αναμένετε να δυσκολεύεστε να κρατήσετε την προσοχή σας στην αναπνοή σας ακόμα και για μια αναπνοή (εισπνοή και εκπνοή) χωρίς ο νους να παρέμβει. Η εξάσκηση του νου είναι όπως κάθε άλλη δραστηριότητα που απαιτεί επιμονή και κυρίως υπομονή. Οποιοδήποτε συναίσθημα σάς δημιουργηθεί, όπως ο θυμός ή το άγχος επειδή δεν τα καταφέρνετε σύμφωνα με τις προσδοκίες που δημιουργεί ο νους σας, να ξέρετε ότι είναι απλά προϊόν του νου και η αντίδραση του σώματος που ακολουθεί την ασυνείδητη ταύτισή σας με αυτόν.
Ο σκοπός του διαλογισμού είναι η επίγνωση των όσων συμβαίνουν μέσα μας, καθώς και η κατανόηση της πραγματικής τους φύσης. Είτε είναι σκέψεις, είτε συναισθήματα, είτε ακόμα και ο σωματικός πόνος (εξαιτίας της στάσης που καθόμαστε), δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε ότι όλα έρχονται και φεύγουν και μπορούμε να τα δούμε στην πραγματική τους διάσταση μόνο από το πόστο του παρατηρητή. Αν θέλουμε να ζήσουμε πιο ήρεμα, με συναισθηματική σταθερότητα και υγεία πρέπει να μάθουμε να δαμάζουμε τον νου. Έτσι θα μειωθούν οι εντάσεις, οι φόβοι, το άγχος και όλα τα άλλα προϊόντα της ασυνείδητης νοητικής μας δραστηριότητας. Ο διαλογισμός είναι στην ουσία το φως της συνειδητότητας στα άδυτα σκοτάδια του ασυνείδητου.

Βιβλιογραφία: Mindfulness In Plain English, by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana

Τετάρτη, 11 Ιουνίου 2014

Become Fearless

Satsang by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Become Fearless

To develop fearlessness, do not be afraid of anyone. One who is frightened is constantly plagued by fear. People lock the doors at night and then sleep. Why do they do this? What are they afraid of when the walls are built up so high all around the house? They are scared even when there is nothing to lose. But there are many other reasons for fear as well, such as death and disrepute.

Right from childhood I was never afraid of anything. There were thick forests where I lived and I used to walk straight into them. I was fond of hunting and even at the age of eight I used to go on hunting expeditions. I used to walk through the forest in the dark. I had the desire to kill a tiger and was never afraid of death. What is there in death? Everyone has to die one day. I did not agree with the philosophy of fear. I think a man's samskara is imprinted on him from birth itself. When I was born, a gun was brought for me to touch, not a mala. I was given wine to drink, not honey.

When parents give certain samskaras to a child, he is bound to develop along these lines. It is because of this background in my childhood that people call me names and spread rumours about me, but I am not the least bothered. Those who are writing my true life story will see that it survives the ravages of time. I think in this way.

Science tells us that nobody dies of hunger. People die of overeating, not hunger. The death rate is higher among the eaters than among the starved. In the Jain religion you are told not to drink milk. I lived on milk for many days and nothing happened to me. Once in Swami Sivananda's ashram I decided to fast for forty days and take only fresh limewater, but my vow was broken on the occasion of Swami Sivananda's birthday. For prasad distribution, boondi laddoos, a type of sweet, were brought from the local market and stored in a room. I was made the in-charge of that room. In the beginning I helped myself to a little bit of boondi, then I took, another helping, and thus my fast was broken. But I never thought that one would die of starvation.

Fearlessness has to be imparted by parents as a samskara during childhood. The mother plays a crucial role in this area. Many mothers threaten their child, saying, "Keep quiet or I'll beat you. Stop crying or I won't give you any food to eat." When the child does not stop crying, the mother says, "I will go and tell your father." Such threats should not be uttered to a child. Children are bound to be naughty. If they do not make mischief in your presence, they will do so behind your back. You should never give any suggestion which will create fear in the child's mind. If the child jumps from the wall, what will happen? He will die. So what? Death is not such a big thing.

Being born is a big thing. To take birth there has to be a long preparation. There is no problem in dying. People are so scared of death. I do not understand this fear. The body is a decrepit flat, seventy years old, parts of which are wobbling and falling apart. There is heat, there is cold, the window is coming apart, white ants are eating into the wood. You go on living in the same flat and cannot even move around properly. You cannot eat, you cannot drink, you cannot throw out the wastes from the body. Won't you think, let me die quickly so I can get a new model in the next birth?

If you die today, you will be born next year; it is only a matter of one year. After that, you will get a good birth in which you will have a loving, caring mother who will feed you well. As you grow up everything will be available. You will go to school and college, play football, hockey, badminton and tennis. Now this old body can play nothing. Why should I keep this 1923 model which can do nothing? Fear of death is the root of all fear. Man is afraid of death. Desire for food, sleep and progeny are the first three instincts. Fear of death is the fourth.

The feeling of insecurity is deeply ingrained. Parents, especially the mother, play a vital role in imparting samskaras to the child. I do not give any importance to the father's role, which I consider to be only social, but the role of the mother is crucial and deeply significant. If the gurudom of the mother falters, the discipleship of the child gets shaky. The mother is the first and foremost teacher, but the mother may put many false ideas and beliefs into the child. I will tell you about my own childhood events in this connection.

Near where we lived there was a bamboo structure and it was widely believed that a ghost lived there at night. As I grew up I began to wonder about the truth of that belief and sometimes I was inclined to believe it. At first I hesitated to pass by there, but then I purposely decided to take that road and started going that way. I asked my family members about it. My father used to tell me that there was an ulterior motive in creating this kind of fear in people. He said that there was no need to be frightened and I could easily pass by on that road. He also suggested that I take a torch with me. My father explained, "There are rascals who spread such fear of ghosts in order to isolate a certain area. Then, after committing thefts in crowded areas, they use that lonely place as a hideout because they are sure that nobody would dare to go to that supposedly haunted place to catch them." My father was in the Police Department and he knew the ways of criminals. He was also influenced by the ideas of Arya Samaj, which stood against superstition and blind belief, even though the Arya Samajis themselves were not completely free of such false convictions.

When fear is completely uprooted we can get rid of the limitations of the personality, and in this way social limitations will also come to an end. For example, if there is no brake in a car it makes no difference as long as we can manage with the clutch and the accelerator. But suddenly when the need to apply the brake arises, then we realize there is a problem because the clutch and the accelerator are of no use. Here fear will come to our rescue. This limiting, natural instinct can also become our saving grace. Food, sleep, sex and fear are the switches that keep the life process under proper control. Just imagine what life would have been like if there had been no need for food or fear? Many problems, organizational complexities and limitations arise because of the need for food! These are the speed breakers on the road.

In the 8,400,000 species of man's evolution these instincts and the consequent limitations are essential for human development. When the heart is purified, the emotions purged, the antahkarana, the psyche, deconditioned, then it is right to become fearless. But today your heart is not pure and your mind is not clean. There are people whom you think are your enemies or your friends. If you become fearless at such a stage, it will be very difficult for the people around you. Fear is a necessary instinct. It is nature's defence mechanism working through you.

Fear, sex, sleep and hunger are instincts common to all beings, not only humans. You can find them everywhere. But why should these instincts be there? Why are you not free? In the process of evolution there are grades, just as there are grades in primary school, high school, college and university, and each grade has its own limitations. You can't have a college syllabus in primary school. You can't have an MA syllabus in high school. You can't teach higher mathematics to a child in seventh class. In seventh grade you have to teach that a yard is made up of three feet, a mile is made up of eight furlongs, but when the child goes to a higher grade and starts advanced maths, then inches, feet and yards become irrelevant. At that time you tell him that these are all false, but you do not tell him so in the lower grades.

In the same way, fear disappears on its own. There is no effort needed to eliminate it, but the real necessity is that man becomes self-aware. He must know what he is up to at every moment. If you misappropriate any item, the outcome is fear. If you pursue sensual enjoyment, fear of ill health and disease will crop up. If you have a lot of money, fear of taxation will creep in. If you are famous and enlightened, fear of being denigrated and downgraded will creep in. Everything in the world is governed by fear. There is only one thing that will not lead to fear - vairagya, or non-attachment, is outside fear. The outcome of delusion is fear; the outcome of learning and erudition is fear. All the assets of life give rise to fear, the only exception is vairagya.
Non-attachment in life generates fearlessness.

-Rikhia, 1996