Search This Blog

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pancha kosha 6 - Basics of Yoga Therapy


We notice physical sickness when it manifests itself in the form of symptoms. Hence, present day medicine is based on symptoms. The patient is referred to specialists based on the area of the body affected. If the sickness is found to manifest in the heart, the patient is sent to a cardiologist, and if it manifests at skin he is referred to dermatologist etc. Whereas, the ancient texts have divided sickness, not into categories based on symptoms, but rather on the cause of sickness. The logic of this is simple: the sickness can be cured only when its origin, or root cause, is located.
The Yoga-Vasista further explores this logic. Vasista says to Rama that it is the disturbances at the subtle level that percolate into the gross level. For example, when we are angry, we can see the blood rushing up to the face and flushing our face red. When we are anxious over something, we immediately notice our heart beating faster. Or when we feel sorrow, we see tears filling the eyes. How does this happen? Whenever such disharmony occurs at the psychological level, it percolates onto the physical level through an imbalance in Prana. Prana is the inner movement. This movement has two different characteristics: rhythmic and speed. Prana that is rhythmic and slow is natural. Prana that is arrhythmic is not natural and is an imbalance. This Prana imbalance precipitates onto body level creating ajeernatvam, kujeernatvam and atijeernatvam. In simple English, this translates to indigestion, wrong digestion and over digestion. Usually when we consider digestion, we think only of food, but in this context digestion is not limited only to the food we eat but to everything that we do: the exercise we perform, the knowledge that we gain, the sleep that we experience, and the experiences that we encounter in our daily life. All of these things are referred to as food in the Vedanta and thus we must properly digest all of these things in order to stay healthy. If we do not, then any or all of them can cause illness and problems resulting in symptoms of sickness in our life. In such cases, the cause for the sickness is the deep rooted imbalances which have percolated within and these imbalances are referred to as ‘adhi.’ Such ailments that originate from adhi are called ‘adhi+ja’= adhija diseases. In Sanskrit we have similar expressions – born out of lotus is padma (lotus) + ja, born to mountain is giri + ja etc. On the other hand, there are certain other diseases where the cause for the sickness is external. Such sicknesses are called ‘na+adhi+ja’= anaadhija or not being caused by internal disturbances. They are sicknesses where the cause is external such as an injury or external abuse of the body such as eating too much sweets or improper food consumption. When the cause is external, the solution can lie at the external level, but when the cause is internal, the remedy is also internal where deep inner harmony must be created. Another side effect of internal sicknesses is that they can make our systems weak and vulnerable, causing additional external disturbances and illnesses. Again the remedy of inner harmony improves our inner stamina and tolerance, allowing us to overcome the unwanted external influence.

- to be continued...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sri NV Raghuramji's US phone number

Dear all,
Please note that, you may reach Sri NV Raghuram through the following mobile number during his entire visit in US.

+ 1 (713) 562 8001

With regards.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pancha kosha 5 - Basics of Yoga Therapy


When we examine our disturbances and disharmony in the above said way meaning the progression, from episode to habit to Vasana to samskara there is a great benefit in terms of reversing the process. We all know that we can easily overcome our habits by working on consciously reversing the habit for a certain period of time. This is what we do in case of de -addiction programs. Even every child would have picked up some habit or the other in growing period for few days. But being tutored by the parents or teachers that that habit is bad the child consciously comes out of it by working for a short period of time. One of such common habit is biting the nails and soon the child gives up consciously. If habits can be reversed by consciously working to reverse it, we can similarly reverse the Vasanas and samskaras. Only the difference is that it will take a longer and more arduous process. Thus, we can reverse all problems of disharmony by working to reverse them consciously. The altered conditions like tension at physical level speed at the level of Prana and restlessness at mind level can also percolate and do percolate in us to become Vasanas and samskaras. If tension at a physical level is our Vasana or samskara, we can consciously practice relaxation techniques for a longer period of time. In the same way, we can practice calmness of mind at the mental level and we can consciously overcome our fixations at intellectual level so that we can easily come out of our disharmony at various levels and develop harmony. Harmony is the health; harmony is strength and stamina; and, ultimately, harmony is freedom from suffering, not only in human being but in the whole creation.
Therefore we need to consciously relax at the physical level to be free from the disturbance but some times our physical condition may limit us from doing certain practices of asanas. For example a person with problem of back pain will not be able to do front bending or back bending with ease and comfort. Therefore, depending on one’s current physical conditions, one must design a practice of physical and relaxation techniques to develop awareness and relaxation. To relax means to be able to leave the body aside and transcend to a subtler level called Prana. With the practice of proper Pranayama techniques one can make the flow of Prana smooth and free from all disturbances and one can make it slow. In turn one can transcend the Prana levels. Here also there are certain techniques some persons need to avoid because of their health conditions. Transcending the pranamaya level takes us to subtler level called mind and by calming the mind one can become harmonious at that level and will be able to reach subtler levels so that finally one can be one with the Ananda level. This is the scheme of yoga therapy. A state of attachment shows the sign of sickness where as a facility for transcending is the sign of freedom or health. In fact this can easily be observed in the case of children. When they are healthy, children are not at Annamaya level or attached to body. Only when they are sick, they are at body level. For example, Mother often says about her child, who is sticking to or clinging to the mother, ‘She normally plays on her own and does not bother me at all, but now since she is sick, she is sticking to me.’ This indicates the reason for attachment is sickness and the manifestation of attachment is sickness. When health and harmony are there then the attachment will not be there.

-to be continued...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

US Tour Program back to normal

Dear All,

Due to goodwishes of all the prayers and by the grace of God, Raghuramji's sister's illness is retarded and she is out of hospital.

Therefore, the US tour program will continue as it was planned before. Raghuramji will be back to Bangalore/India by 2nd of May.

You may find the Detroit program at the below link and may always contact with the local coordinators ( for more details.

With love...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Postponement of USA Tour Program

Dear all,

The US Tour program is postponed to an unknown date, due to sudden ill-health of Sri Raghuramji's beloved sister, Shailaja. Let us all pray for Shailaja's health and also for the well-being of her family in these difficult times.

Please contact with the local organisers for details of the postponement.

Raghuramji will be arriving to Bangalore at 00.35hrs on 11th of March.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pancha kosha 4 - Basics of Yoga Therapy


Life is dynamic and is bound to have ups and downs, elations and disappointments, desire – fulfillments and non-fulfillments. Thus, we go through a certain amount of disturbances that are personified in our moods. These things individually and collectively leave a certain degree of disharmony. In addition, our own expectations and greed create even more disharmony. According to the philosophy of yoga, this disharmony, if at the incident level, will disappear, similar to the way a child wants something and then cries a bit when he doesn’t get it, but soon forgets about it and moves on. However, we are not like that. We get caught up. Disharmony becomes deeply set in us and takes the shape of habit, much like how our anxiety may manifest in the form of smoking for temporary relief and soon becomes a habit. When we do not remove this at the habit level, it becomes Vasana. At habit level it has not percolated into our pathology.
When it becomes Vasana, it becomes pathological. For example, when smoking has percolated into a deeper level than a mere habit and the lack of a cigarette actually manifests itself as a headache or other such physical ailment. Similarly, several people have the habit of drinking coffee or tea and it has become a Vasana. If they cannot find what they are addicted to, they become dysfunctional and will not feel okay until they get it. As this goes deeper, it becomes genetic or influencing at our gene level where it is called ‘Samskara.’

Therefore the equation is

Incident or episode -> habit -> Vasana -> Samskara

Let me explain it with the help of a real life examples
A colleague of mine one day asked me, “Hi Raghuram, you go all over the world to help people to get rid of their habits. Why don’t you help me to overcome my habit of smoking? I smoke almost continuously and want to quit smoking please suggest me something simple. After all you are my good friend therefore keeping all the yoga kind of stuff for others, and suggest me some thing simple. He is after all a good friend and therefore I want you to help him. I thought when ever one feels like smoking there will be uneasiness in the mouth and if we take care of it with some thing less harmful that will solve his problem. I thought if he takes a pan (the beetle leaf with lime and nuts you get in India) when he has a desire for a cigarette that will keep the mouth engaged for next half hour and leaves mouth bitter and may be he does not feel like smoking for next one hour or so. That way once a cigarette gets postponed eventually he may give up smoking. With this idea I suggested him go for a pan when ever you feel like smoking.
But two months later he appeared before me asking Raghuram now get me rid of both the habits earlier only cigarette used to be my craving but now a days when ever I feel like smoking I also want a pan and I don’t get right kind of pan every where which makes me more frustrated!
This is Vasana. At habit level it was simple but now it has risen to the level of Vasana where it is more complicated.
Further hardened, Vasanas will become samskaras which then percolates into our deep inner sub conscious levels.
Therefore habits Vasanas and samskaras are not different things. Habit itself is like being in a groove loosing our freedom of movement and Vasana is much deeper groove and samskara is still more deeper groove. These grooves are formed when we are not being aware of what we are doing. It happens unconsciously. One may have several things at habit level and several at Vasana and some at samskara levels also. Our journey towards freedom is a conscious process of removing these grooves.

-to be continued...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pancha kosha 3 - Basics of Yoga Therapy


Indian philosophy considers this harmony as the spiritual health and wellbeing of God’s creation. But as we look at the world today, people are actually fighting with each other in the name of spirituality. Coercive acts of conversion of religion and beliefs are creating complete disharmony and violence, taking us away from spiritual health and well being. Only when we realize this truth, the world can become a better, more harmonious, place.
When we investigate sickness, we notice that the underlying factor in most illnesses is disharmony. The illness that most people associate with is that of the physical body. When there is a disturbance within the auto immune system, there is a germ or foreign element which has entered the body and caused the sickness, or disharmony within the systems of the body. It is the fight occurring between one group of our body’s cells with another category. They lost the harmonious way of existing and as a result our own body cells started fighting. This disharmony may have originated somewhere deep within us. According to Indian philosophy, the disharmony may even follow us from life to life. Therefore, we may not even be able to pin point the true cause of our illness. Yoga Vasista tells us not to worry about the origin of the disharmony and where it started, but rather, to concentrate on how to remove this disharmony.


The way to remove this disharmony is consciously revert back to our true nature at all personality levels, since we started causing disharmony within as we moved away from our true nature. For example, at the body level, our nature is to be relaxed, so we need to perform practices that will help us get back to this relaxed state to reach harmony.
As shown in the table, at every personality level we can go back to our nature. It is easy to understand at the physical level that when we are relaxed we are naturally happy so the practices of yoga are good for relaxation. Similarly with a little close observation one can agree that slowing is important at the inner activity level. Sufficient knowledge and lab studies have been made all over the world that meditation will give us a clam state of mind and that is good for harmony. But it is much more difficult to see how we can make use the faculty called intellect for inner harmony. We also feel it is the emotions which disturb our peace of mind very deeply with emotional hurt. We use our intellect to convince others that we are right and they are wrong. On the other hand, if we start using our intellect to see how we can be at peace with one another and we begin to aim our emotional and intellectual abilities towards this goal, we can become harmonious and healthy. In Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga these points are made very clear.
We are rich with soft emotions such as love, compassion, appreciation, and a sense of wonder. We are born with these emotions which naturally give us harmony. They are with us even before we acquire intellect as a child. However, as we get older, we neglect these soft emotions and give importance to violent emotions of anger, hatred, greed, etc. Soft emotions are health and violent emotions are sickness, soft emotions bring bliss where as violent emotions bring sadness, distaste, and bitterness. But we often fail to realize this. Let us, therefore, consciously create harmony: This is the purpose of yoga.

- to be continued...