Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…
The science and art of Yoga has for millennia guided humanity in its search for truth. Even in each individual’s personal and social life, Yoga has provided tools and techniques to manifest health, happiness, social harmony and spiritual realization.
So many cultural concepts of Yoga continue to guide us towards shaping our thoughts and the interpersonal relationships that sustain our social life. All of these are part-and-parcel of the timeless unitive ethos of Sanathana Dharma.
Vasudaiva Kudumbakam — The whole world is one family. This is an excellent concept which helps one to understand that division on the basis of class, creed, religion and geographical distribution are all ‘man-made’ obstructions towards oneness. One can then look upon all as his own and can bond with everyone irrespective of any barrier.
Pancha Kosha — The concept of our five sheaths or bodies helps us to understand how all our actions, emotions and even thoughts can influence our surroundings and that “No man is an island”. The concept of “Nara” or psychic disassociation helps us to be aware of why things happen to us and others in our daily life.
Chaturvidha Purushartha — The four legitimate goals of life tell us how we can set legitimate goals in this life and work towards attaining them in the right way, following our dharma to attain artha (material prosperity), kama (emotional prosperity) and finally the attainment to the real goal of our life, moksha (spiritual prosperity).
Chatur Ashrama — This concept of the four different stages in life, helps us to know how,what and when to perform the various activities in our life. Brahmacharya is the period from birth till 27 years and is the period for study, conserving the creative impulse and channeling it towards elevating spiritual pursuits. Grahasta is the period of responsibility, spanning the period from 27–54 years in which we learn to care about others in the family and the social network, fulfilling our dharma towards both the young and the old. Vanaprasta or retirement is the period after 54 years when one’s life can be played over again and again in the mind with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction having not to worry about anything at all. Sanyasa is the period of life when after performing our duties to the best of our ability for 81 years and after having attained perfection in life we renounce everything for the divine.
Pancha Klesha : Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (ego), Raaga (attraction), Dwesha (repulsion) and Abinivesha (urge to live at any cost) are the five Kleshas or mental afflictions with which we are born into this human life. Through Yoga we can understand how these control our life and see their effects on our behaviour. These ‘Kleshas’ hinder our personal and social life and must be destroyed through the practice of Patanjali’s Kriya Yoga which is Tapas, Swadhyaya and Iswar Pranidhana (Atman Prasadhanam).
Nishkama Karma : Selfless action and the performance of our duty without any motive, are qualities extolled by the Bhagavad Gita which is one of the main yogic texts. Performing one’s duty for the sake of the duty itself and not with any other motive helps us to develop detachment (Vairagya) which is a quality vital for a good life
Karmasu Koushalam : ‘Skill in action’ is Yoga, says Yogeshwar Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. ‘To do our best and leave the rest’ is how Pujya Swamiji Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj used to describe the best way of life. Even if we don’t practice the other aspects of yoga, we can be ‘living’ yoga, by performing all our duties skillfully and to the best of our ability. A great artist, doctor, worker, singer or sportsman can be a Yogi by performing their duty to perfection and without care for the rewards of the action, even if they do not practice any asana, pranayama etc.
Samatvam : ‘Yoga is equanimity ‘ says the Bhagavad Gita. Development of a complete personality who is neither affected by praise nor blame through development of Vairagya (detachment) leads to the state of “Stitha Prajna” or “Sama Bhava”. This is a state of mind which is equally predisposed to all that happens, be it good or bad. Such a human is a boon to society and a pleasure to live and work with.
Yama –Niyama: The Pancha Yama and Pancha Niyama provide a strong moral and ethical foundation for our personal and social life. They guide our attitudes with regard to the right and wrong in our life and in relation to our self, our family unit and the entire social system. The Pancha Yama are the “Do Not’s” in the Sadhaka’s life. Do not kill (Ahimsa), do not be untruthful (Satya), do not steal (Asteya), do not waste your god given creativity (Brahmacharya) and do not covet that which does not belong to you (Aparigraha). These guide us to say a big “No” to our lower self and the deviant tendencies such as violence etc. When we apply these to our life we can definitely have better personal and social relationships as social beings. The Pancha Niyamas guide us with “DO’S” — do be pure (Saucha), do be contented (Santhosha), do be disciplined (Tapa), do self-reflection (Swadhyaya) and do be grateful to the divine for all blessings (Ishvara Pranidhana). They help us to say a big “YES” to our higher self and the higher impulses. Definitely a person with such qualities is a God-send to humanity.
Even when we are unable to live all of these Yogic concepts completely, the very attempt by us to do so will bear fruit and make each one of us a better person. This will enable us to be of value to those around us and a valuable person to live within our family and society.
These are values which need to be introduced to the youth in order to make them aware and conscious of these wonderful concepts of daily living which are qualities to be imbibed with joy and not learnt with fear or compulsion.
The parents and teachers can by example show their children the importance of these qualities and when the children see the good examples of their parents living these principles they will surely follow suit sooner than later.
When this manifests, India will surely become a Vishwa Guru as each and every one on this planet begins to adopt these life transformative teachings.
May we all prove to be worthy and loving children of our Divine Mother Yoga!
Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani