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Saturday, January 02, 2010

More Question and Answers / 18th international yoga conference

Question: for scientists and medical professionals only air and its movement up to lungs make sense. On the contrary, yogis believed to have seen 10 pranas [and nadis]. How can or will scientists understand the role of panca pranas in healing?

Answer:  Modern day scientists can understand that in order for the lungs to move we require power behind lung muscles and this power is a form of energy because for performing any kind of activity we require energy. The growth of an individual also requires energy.  The only source of energy we have is the food we consume. This alone cannot explain every activity we do. Therefore, Indian philosophy has given the idea that we are born with some thing similar to energy, which is called as prana. In my talk, I explained that prana is not what in the lungs but it is that which is behind the lung muscles, which makes respiratory system to function like other systems namely circulatory nervous and digestive systems function.

Yoga science and for that matter all Indian philosophy is based on the inner observation. Accordingly we all perceive inner activity going on and some inner scientists have divided it into five parts an some have given it is seven parts  and some in ten. What matters is what we do with this division. If that division is helping us to proceed in establishing our mastery over self then it is useful. If that division is not helpful in developing mastery over self but for academic interest then we do not have to give importance to it so much. If we can explain prana or pranic healing in this language then we can convince an open-minded thinker be it a scientist or anybody else.

Question: will you help in negative thinking? Please give the way.

Answer:  the whole purpose of spiritual knowledge is to help one to have positive thinking. If we start taking simple steps in life and seeing that, we are capable of doing them then we develop positive outlook of life. If we are looking at only failures in life and if we are looking at the inefficiencies of the world then we are filled with negativity. In addition, to look at things negative we do not require any awareness and to look at things positive it is a conscious process!

Question: mind consists of manas buddhi chitta ahankara – so what happens in a particular situation especially when one is in stressful situation; not able to have a discerning ability of what is right or wrong – real or unreal in the particular situation.

Answer: according to the Indian philosophy all that which is available for the sensory organs is called as GROSS WORLD or stula world. Then they have categorized what can be experienced directly by the sensory organs or the instruments, is called as Sukshma world. In that, we have in our experience two things. One is the force, which is responsible for activities, which is called as prana.  We have another aspect which is responsible for further  inner layer of activity which is called as further sukshma and that is the mind which is called as manas which is characterized by several functions like collecting information, analysing and memorising and recollecting. These are given the names as manas buddhi etc.

We experience stressful when the smooth harmony between these faculties is disturbed and we find one is not cooperating with the others requirements. Like for a student in exam hall he wants to recollect some thing, which is there in his memory but it does not cooperate and he ends up with stress and frustration.   In such a situation, if we observe within we can notice every faculty is with tremendous speed. All that we require is to slow down the inner speed. Be an observer then we are not identified with the situation and it is easy to slow down and calm. In that calm state, our discerning ability will come back! Hook the mind on to deep breathing by observing the breath for four or five respirations and with that the mind slows and you develop inner awareness.

Question: a thought experiment – to trap consciousness.

Answer: As I know, consciousness is the freedom which means it does not have any bondage By giving up this freedom only consciousness becomes matter which is always available for us to trap. Therefore, I do not quite follow the question called to trap consciousness. This is like saying a very bright darkness. Darkness means there is no light and no brightness.

Question: can pranayama open up the love within oneself. From where does love come?

Answer:  Pranayama will help to open up the love within by two processes.

Pranayama is a practice for slowing inner activity. When, we slow the breath with pranayama practices, all inner activities slow. Inner emotions like love compassion etc are slow emotions and anger hatred etc are violent emotions. Therefore, like the way when the rains come soaking the ground with water, the seeds hidden for days and months under the ground unnoticed will sprout filling the land with life in the same way once the inner life force prana slows the hidden natural life called love springs up!

The second aspect is an indirect connection. Whenever we are away from love in the form of hatred or complaint etc, we have lost our awareness and when we regain our awareness then the anger hatred frustration etc drop or dissolve. Pranayama techniques are done with awareness and they tend to build awareness!  This awareness opens up deep hidden love to the surface. Another added benefit is that when we are able to slowdown the prana activity within it also adds to the feeling of wellness and satisfaction. The sings of frustration, irritation and anger are the products of dissatisfaction. This way, also love unfolds itself with the practice of pranayama.

Question: Through the ways of correcting prana, can the ego of a person be tamed or removed? Can we change evil tendencies through pranic correction? If so, what is the source of all human tendencies?

Answer:  The answer for this question is also similar in its understanding as given for the earlier question. In addition it s said that love is the greatest alchemy to dissolve our ego. When we are in love, we do not care to protect our ego and it spontaneously dissolves. All our acts of evil are speed in nature that is why it is said when you want to do some thing bad postpone it and slow it for some time later then you may not do the evil at all. Slowness removes the evil tendencies. Especially the slowness brought about in prana is some thing, which will bring slowness in every cell in the body. Therefore, the practice of pranayama not only brings about the improvement of an individual but it also brings about greater harmony and social morality.

Question:  yoga – to come out of all habits like liquor, smoking etc?

Answer:  according to the yoga psychology the habit s like smoking drinking etc do not start as problems but they start initially as supports for the other underlying problems and these things would have given as props to escape from those problems. However, when one is habituated to these things then they appear as problems.

Problems keep coming and going to every one. That is life. Some times, he feels strong enough to face the problems but some times the problems baffle him and he feels weak. It is in such weak moments one falls pray to various habits. Feeling weak is the result of lack of inner awareness and frustration. Feeling weak is also the result of not accepting the reality. Yoga makes to come in touch with one self and core of one self, which in turn helps one not to resort to the external support. It also strengthens one to come out of external support for his problems.  But it requires an expert guidance so that he a proper environment is created and proper sequence of practices is designed so that he can come out of his problems with the help of the practice of yoga.  Some times, there are other stricter methods to come out of addictions and a person can take to come to our centre to over come or handle the withdrawal symptoms, which in some cases is necessary!

Question: I have read/ heard yogis can bring down breath to 1 breath per minute, but if the breath goes still longer could you please explain what would happen to yogis’ consciousness/ energy/ outlook to life/ will he be in Samadhi always. It is interesting to know please guide.

Answer:  consciousness is the one, which becomes prana, which is also known as life force. This life force is responsible for all activities in our body and one of its functions is respiration. This respiration activity is semi voluntary that means that it will adjust itself according to our requirement. When we are climbing up the hill we need more oxygen and then the rate and depth of respiration automatically adjusts and we breathe deep. The same thing when we relax we do not need so much oxygen and for that reason automatically our respiratory rate will come down. When we say yogis reduce their respiratory rate they calm their inner activity or in other words they relax so much that they are doing very less activity within and in turn they require less amount of oxygen. Therefore, their respiratory rate has come down and together their requirement of oxygen comes down. Therefore, when their breath rate comes down due to meditation etc practices, their consciousness or life energy or prana is more conserved and their outlook of life will be one of pleasantness filled with positive feeling. They are in a very relaxed state which ordinary person can call as very near to Samadhi state!

Question: what are mind and intellect?

Answer:  According to Indian wisdom, we have inner faculties where we handle several functions. All these functions such as memory intention will to do or analysis etc all these functions id known by one single word called ‘manas or antahkaran or inner instruments’. Out of this Indian philosophy gave different names for different functional aspects. We can understand this with the help of a crude example. What coordinated all the sense inputs is called as manas. Like we see hear a sound and immediately we turn our head to see in that direction. What is in us, which said that sound is coming from this direction and we need to look in that direction? This aspect is called as manas. Intellect is the faculty, which analyses the input into us through what we see etc with the help of input from our memory and what is our desire etc.  This is much more subtle function compared to the functioning of mind.

Question: is there a difference between pranayama done in a sylvan atmosphere   and that done in a highly polluted city granting the room is very clean? If yes does it mean that most public cannot reap full benefit.

Answer:  Certainly, the quality of air that we breathe is important for our health point of view. Same rule applies in practicing of pranayama also. The practice of pranayama is supposed to help us to reduce the expenditure of prana in our activities, which will be there wherever you practice pranayama. If one can help to find clean atmosphere go for it but if it is not possible then that much bad effect will be there and benefits of pranayama is reduced.

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