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Friday, May 26, 2006

PANCA KOSA -6- Being versus Doing

If you look at this situation of tension, speed etc., they are qualities of “doing”. On the other had relaxation slowness etc., are the state of “being”. We can simply therefore says, yoga is a conscious journey from “doing to being”. Yoga is therefore not doing but it is undoing. Yoga is never a workout as it is often called these days. Yoga on the other hand is working in. A poetic expression of yoga is, it is a conscious process of “home coming”.

We are inaccurately referred to as “human beings,” when we should actually be called “human doings”. Only when we practice Yoga we can accurately be called as human beings.

Why do we come out of our nature? Why did God provided us this way of coming out, what is the use of it? Why did he not create us without being able to come out of our nature?

There is some usefulness in coming out of our nature. It is actually a life saving facility at the time of crisis, let us look at the classical example, explained in a modern way.

You are walking in a dark place, down a hazy path, where you cannot see anything except the ground that is directly ahead of you. Suddenly, you come cross a snake lying down right under your next step. You are shocked! The body becomes tense, the heart palpitates more quickly, and the mind is agitated. You are ready to jump! All of these changes are necessary for life saving decisions, but you cannot go forward or backward, you are arrested. Fortunately, the snake is sleeping, but you don’t want to disturb him.
In the mean time, somebody walks behind you, nonchalantly putting his flash light on the path. Oh! You no longer see a snake, it is a rope. You breathe a sigh of relief. The fellow coming from behind doesn’t even notice you, you are sure now that it is not any more a snake. But it is only a rope. Even then, you cannot cross. You want to double check before you cross. You allow him to walk first, and then slowly and carefully you walk. May be the snake wakes up. And after crossing you look back. Making sure it is still only a rope and not a snake. Even then, for the next few hours, your body is still tensed. The prana is heightened. Your mind is agitated. Your blood pressure is up only for the next few hours. All these things take a long time to come back to its normal level!

The changes occur momentarily. But it takes long time to come back to the original state. The blood pressure goes up instantaneously at the moment of fear. But it takes long time to come down. This we can observe when we suddenly hear a big or unexpected sound. If there were a long pause between one incident and the other, then there is sufficient time gap for the blood pressure to come down and the body to relax. Earlier it was like that, but in today’s life style, before the body comes back to its original state, another incident occurs and then a third incident and it continues. The body continues to be tensed; the prana continues to be fast. The blood pressure, which has gone up, wants to comedown but before it comes down, you push it again and again. So the blood pressure stays up. It becomes a habit.

Thus the episodes of tension, speed etc., having repeatedly occurred become a habit. So all these altered changes are our habits, and the habit can be reversed by consciously working with a counter habit. If the tension has been our habit formed unconsciously driven by circumstances, yoga is the counter habit consciously practiced. Relaxation in doing asanas should be a conscious reversal. Similarly at the prana level, pranayama is the conscious reversal of speed into slowness. Meditation is a conscious process to calming down the mind.

If we don’t correct at the habit level, it percolates deep into us forming “vasanas”. Vasanas are hardened habits. Habits are superficial and they have not yet interfered with the pathology, but the vasanas are percolated into pathology. At the habit level, it is simple restlessness. Given an avenue, the habit would like to take over, but it does not disturb the physiology. But when the habit becomes a vasana, it interferes with our physiological function. It becomes pathological

People have the habit of drinking tea or coffee. It is habit acquired from outside. It has not come from birth, it is acquired from the world outside. When the tea drinking is at the habit level, if we don’t get tea, you feel little restless and uneasy. When it becomes vasana, it becomes pathological. It stars interfering with the natural body function. When the habit of drinking tea or coffee reaches the level of vasana, then without that one starts getting headache or one might not have his normal body functions in the morning. It means our body becomes a slave to the vasanas.

Our name, our religious faiths etc., they all percolate at the vasana level, which is definitely deeper than the conscious level, immediate unconscious level, like sleep. That’s why when a group of persons are sleeping along with you, and if your name is called out you will respond because only you hear and others may not respond for your name. That shows your name has gone into ‘sleep conscious level’. The same way in the dream state your religion does not change, a Hindu is still a Hindu, a Muslim is a Muslim; a politician is still a politician.

When not corrected at the vasana level, the same habits percolate deep in our body, affecting even the genetic level, which is called samskaras.

At the samskara level, they are at much deeper subconscious levels, and they percolate life after life. Anger, hatred, fear etc., all can percolate in us from life after life.

When I first joined in my job, I was still in my probation; I had a super boss, a superintending engineer, deeply wanting to become chief engineer. Just to illustrate how passionately he was nurturing the desire to become chief engineer, every morning when he came to the office, the first thing he said is that he had a dream last night where he became a chief engineer. Any temple he comes across, he goes to pray to god to make him chief engineer. The moment he sees any person with an ochre robe or otherwise religious looking, he falls at his feet and begs them to please bless him to become chief engineer.

One day I came to the office late, rushed into the elevator, and found ,this super boss in the elevator. Smilingly I said good morning. The elevator closed with only two of us in and started moving to the fifth floor. Like lightening, I found in a moment, this man touching my feet and saying “Raghuram, bless me; I have become chief engineer”. I said, “Sir, what is this I am so junior and you are senior, how I can bless you”. He replied “I heard people talking that you also do meditation, maybe you have powers so please bless me”. I blushed and said, “Sir, what if people see us. He replied “that’s’ why I am at your feet in the lift”.

And the lift stopped at the fifth floor and we both came out. At once he stated in strong tone, “Raghuram, why are you late?” I was surprised! Moments back he was at my feet and now he became my boss! It is just to show how he was so caught up wanting to become chief engineer.

He was also given to all vices, he was drinking so much that his liver is spoiled; he developed jaundice, which developed into liver sclerosis and hewent in to deep coma. In the hospital ICU he was connected to heart lung machines. The doctors lost hope and were waiting for the final moments. We colleagues were talking turns to be by his bed side.

It is said light glows big before dying, the same way a person also gets a glow of life before finally departing. So after ten days that evening I saw an activity in him indicating coming in to slight consciousness, I immediately held his hand, pressed it and wanted to give positive suggestion, “Sir, you will become alright, things are fine! In a day or two we will go from this hospital”.

He gently open his eyes halfway, requested me feebly, “Raghuram, save me, I want to become chief engineer!”

I wondered, how deep this desire wanting to become chief engineer has gone into him to subconscious levels. Ten days of deep coma did not erase this desire. I am sure it has gone into subtler layers, which cannot be destroyed by death. So I was feeling these desires will hang on to his soul and will become the bondage for the next birth and then struggle continues.

That’s why our people used to say, it is the deep rooted desire which is the bondage for our rebirth.

So the incidents unchecked become the habits, not controlled become vasanas. When they percolate deep into subconscious levels or genetic levels these vasanas become samskaras. So our vritties or disturbances and disharmony can be at the habit level or may be at samskara level, we may not know about them. One happy note about this way of looking is, if a habit can be reversed by a few days of counter habit, vasanas can be reversed by conscious practice of counter habit for a longer period of time. Samskaras can also be reversed by working for a longer period of time. Deep rooted samskaras or the nature of anger, hatred, fears, phobias or even physiological dysfunctions can be reversed by long and conscious practices of the counter practices.

When tension, speed, agitation etc., are habits or vasanas and samskaras, practice of asanas, pranayama, meditation etc., can help to reverse them. If tension, speed, agitation are percolated at samskara level resulting in to hypertension, diabetes etc., the practices of yoga for sufficient period of time consciously can reverse and health can be restored.

In Sanskrit health is called “Swastha” (swa=self; stha=being) which means “being in self” and sickness is called as “Aswastha” which means “being away from self”. Tension, speed etc., are being away from self therefore they are the cause for sickness. When you practice yoga, conscious practice of slowness, calmness and peace are swastha, which is the state of bliss, and the nature of all of us.

-to be continued...


1 comment:

peninjau said...

Very nice explanation, and I loved the story! Thank you very much!

Gerald Lopez
Auckland, New Zealand