Friday, April 29, 2016

Light of Yoga - Book by BKS Iyengar - Ancient solution to modern day psychiatric problems

Till I came across a pdf titled Light of Yoga, there was not much clarity on what is self. BKS Iyengar, the author, has given an introduction to ancient philosopher Patanjali's thoughts about the different states of mind.

While reading about the types of distractions/obstacles to a person's well being, I came across certain Sanskrit terms used by Patanjali which very clearly illustrated modern day psychiatric issues we see daily. Some of the below are what caught my attention and prompted to pen a blog:

1. Pramaada - I had known the word to mean some danger. But never had I imagined it to mean a person who believes that he alone is wise (suffers from lack of humility or is full of self importance). Gosh. Though I was falsely thinking that I am kind to other human beings, I think I can co-relate circumstances wherein I have thought I alone was wise. It came as a shock to know that this aspect is one of the hindrances to spiritual progress. Below is another quote that stunned me-
"No doubt he knows what is right or wrong, but he persists in his indifference to the right and chooses what is pleasant"
This reminds me of Justin Bieber's song titled "Love yourself". This is what we do all the time. A task ahead may be hard, but we still choose to go with the pleasant side (which may be wrong) than choose to do the painful part (the right way). Below is the continuation of the quote -
"To satisfy his selfish passions and dreams of personal glory, he will deliberately  and without scruple, sacrifice everyone who stands in his way"

2. Samshaya - meaning doubt.  I remember the 66th Verse of the 18th Chapter of Gita, whenever I read the word doubt. This verse is considered to be climax or epitome of Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krishna asks for surrender of our soul without an iota of doubt. The book says that a person cannot be happy as the faithless/doubter destroy themselves. The words used are very moving.

3. Aalasya - meaning laziness. Though my mom and my wife agree on one thing- that I am lazy, I would not have agreed till I came to know that surprisingly there are two types of laziness : that of the body and that of the mind. I know I am not a lazy body, but a lazy mind? Well, its food for thought, because my body and mind is very active during office hours [otherwise we would be kicked out lol :) ], but does seem a bit lazy when I am at home [like wishing to read a fiction rather than non-fiction, or being averse to household chores]. To overcome laziness, the tool suggested in the book is to have hope as shield and courage as sword {too much over the head? then see below quote}.
"Unflagging Enthusiasm (virya) is needed to remove laziness ..... attitude of the aspirant is like that of a lover ever yearning to meet the beloved but never giving way to despair"

4. Avirati - tremendous craving for sensory objects after they have been consciously abandoned. The solution suggested to become emancipated from desire and to achieve tranquility is the practice of "Pratyaahaara" (whatever it is?  need to delve deeper into the subject)

5. Bhraanti Darshana - person with a powerful intellect but lacks humility and makes a show of wisdom. Everyone I have met in office tell that I have a powerful intellect. But my family feel that I make a show of wisdom. The article further says that its a weakness which can be overcome by remaining in the company of great souls. So I am coming to know that there may exist a weakness in me to show off (like in this blogging) but where shall I find GREAT SOULs?  I have been volunteering to translate some English version of spiritual texts to Kannada from past month and I think my association with this group of translators over the internet may help me, as I personally feel that these people are greater souls than myself.

Enough of discussion on problems. Coming to the ancient solutions prescribed by Patanjali, they are four simple tasks:
1. Maitri- friendliness - turning enemies into friends, being malice towards none
2. Karunya- showing pity (not by words, but through use of physical resources)
3. Muditha - feeling delighted at others' work (avoiding jealousy, save heart-burn by not showing anger)
4. Upeksha - self study of a man fallen in vice (understanding the faults of others by seeing and studying the faults first by oneself)

The final crux of the chapter is to do above 4, one needs a peaceful mind and that can be achieved by rhythmic breath control (praanaayaama).

Post script: Thanks to this blogging activity at 2-30 am, I realised some common spelling errors of words I had only read but never had an opportunity to write- Rhythm (not Rythm), Jealousy (not Jealosy), Conscious (not Concious), Tremendous (not Tremandous), etc.