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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...

1 comment:

Asok Shantha said...

Raghuramji, I could get time to go thro this now.It is beautifully written in simple language.I would like to get the second part of this.Be rest assured this will be included in my talks , ( Of course mentioning the source),like I quote,paramcharya of Kanchipuram,Swami Chinmayyananda,Swami Paramarthananda etc.Love.Asok.