Down Ribbon: Celestial Truths Part-4
(S.G.V. Ramanan, Bengaluru)

 

 

 

Part IV– Contents of this part :

 

Sec. 1 Namaskar(am) or Obeisance

Sec.2 Namo Namaha Abivadhan, Anjali, Pradikshan

Sec.3 Cow Protection

Sec.4 Diseases and their Cure

 

 

A 4-Part series.

 

(Access other 3 parts by clicking the link below)

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

 

 

Section 1

Namaskar(am) or Obeisance

 

In every Hindu household, doing Namskar(am) to elders and  to God is taught from child hood and considered as important. But very few understand how to do Namaskar(am) in the right way and understand the real meaning thereof.  Maha Periaval. (picture on the left) “Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Svamigal”, the 68th Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha in South India has erudite explanations on this, as seen below:  ( The  original text is  in Tamil which runs into 150 pages; this is a  summarized version and  a free translation-deficiencies in this are mine-sgvr)

“To Whom: Adi Sankara says that Namaskar wherever and to whomsoever done belongs only to the Almighty who controls and runs the entire world. He has also ruled that Sanyasins should not to treat Namaskar as done to them, but should direct them to the Lord to whom it really belongs; he has asked the Sanyasin to recite the name of ‘Narayana’ when a person does the Namaskar. 

“Adi Sankara further says that all that is in this world is created directed and controlled by Lord Narayana and therefore, only He has the right to accept the Namaskar; Namaskar done to various deities finally reach only Lord Narayana. 

“Very few Sanyasins to whom these Namaskars are done have the power to bless. So, all Sanyasins bless the people in the name of Narayana; that is, while the Namaskar is being done, the Sanyasins are in turn expected to do Namaskar to Lord Narayana mentally and pray to Him to show His mercy and benevolence to those who do the Namaskar to them. They should not think they have a right and the power to do ‘Asirvad’ (Blessing). 

“The prayers and wishes of people who do such Namaskar to a Sanyasin gets fulfilled through the mercy and kindness of Narayana and due to their faith in HIM and not due to the ‘asirvad’ of the Sanyasin. The Sanyasin becomes Lord Narayana’s representative. 

Manner and purpose:

“All people excepting Sanyasins have to do Namaskar by prostrating[1][1]like a stick falling on the ground. The analogy of stick is appropriate for the mind (manas) as it becomes unbending in nature since it is under the hold of personal ego. Once the ego is thrown away, mind becomes humble and thus receives the highest well being ever. 

“Prostration done like a stick falling on the ground is symbolic of the status of the mind after it throws its ego. Really speaking, it is not the body that really prostrates; it is only an instrument of the mind. It is the mind, which controls the body, and when the mind prostrates like this, it recognizes the fact that the Bhagwan alone directs and controls all actions and it is He who can confer all happiness and prosperity.

Namaskar is really the symbolic expression of the mind controlling its thought flow and directing it towards the Almighty; it does this through its instrument viz., the body. As atonement for all the sins the mind made the body to commit, it makes the body to prostrate and earns punya for itself and the body. 

“Humility is expressed truly only when prostration is done before an elderly person who is just before our eyes. Here, respect to the elderly takes a predominant place and not ‘bhakthi’ or adoration as in the case of the Gods etc. So, one should make full use of the ‘Namaskara baghyam’ (the boon of doing obeisance) and do Namaskar to all elderly persons. This kind of respect shown to elders brings out in all its strength and forms, the true humility and submissiveness. When this practice gets carried through ages, it promotes without our knowledge a race consciousness and a heredity  practise of humility. 

“In the case of Gods and Goddesses and Saintly persons, we recognize that they are godly and therefore, obeisance done before them is acceptance of the known fact that we are very much inferior to them and does not express real humility but only adoration. In the case of elderly persons, we do recognize that they are ordinary mortals like us.

Manner: “Namaskar should be done as follows: There should be one pointed attention and the eyes should not wander. All the senses should be controlled and drawn only in one direction away from the worldly things. That is the reason Namaskar is done head and body facing the earth. Showing one’s back is a deep sense of shame for all other purposes except for doing Namaskar. This kind of Namaskar is called ‘Shaashtaanga Namaskar’, when all the eight parts[2][2] of the body touch the ground. “

The Maha Swami then gives detailed instructions on how to do ‘Sashtaanga Namaskar’; he quickly adds that many may not find  detailed Namaskar practical and may be rest content with a simple one by which the entire body is laid on the ground facing the ground and with hands folded in forward position in an ‘Anjali form’. 

Panchaanga Namaskar: “In the case of women, the rule of Saashtaanga Namaskar does not apply, taking into consideration the chest portion of their body. Elders felt that the part of women’s body, which feeds the child after it is given birth, was sacred and should not be allowed to touch the ground. Hence the eight parts of the body, in their case becomes five. 

“Bending the body like a bow to express one’s reverence and humility is the essence of the Namaskar; the basis is obeisance. In our ‘Sastras’, saluting is prohibited. Doing Namaskar with one hand will erase all ‘punya’ earned in one’s life. An exception probably is in the case of police/military, where it is expressed to show valour. If Namaskar is done in the proper manner, even a sinner will earn ‘punya’. 

To whom:  Namaskar should be to all elders in age who is at least three years older. The exception is the wife of an elder brother (who is considered to be the mother) and Guru’s wife; in these cases age is not the criteria. Husband and wife together should do Namaskar to them. The others to whom age should not apply are: Erudite scholars, people who have irrefutable character, Sanyasins, people who are great Bhakthas, Head of Mutts and other religious institutions which are not tainted by money or power, and the son of a guru. The more ‘Namaskars’ one does, the greater will be his humility and shredding of ego factor. 

“Irrespective of whether the person to whom Namaskar is done blesses you are not, you should do Namaskar reciting the words ‘Namo Namaha’; the grace of Lord ‘Narayana’ will reach you in one form or another. The word ‘Nama’ should not be used in singular; it should be ‘Namo Namaha’. If there is no humility in the Namaskar, it becomes a routine exercise and will not get the desired blessings. 

“When doing Namaskar to elders, do it as though you are doing it to God and keep Him in mind and thought. Dharma Sastras claim that Namaskar done in this manner leads to liberation from birth and death. The last sloka in Bhagavatham says that Namaskar done to Hari neutralizes all sorrows and get rid of them; the sorrow referred to hear is the grief of not able to reach and become one with Hari. 

Those who are physically unable to do this Namaskar may do obeisance  mentally with faith and devotion; this  will get them all the benefits that are derived by physical expression. Such mental Namaskar can also be done when one is in a crowd. These should be exceptions and not to be taken as alternatives.

 (This is a free translation (excerpts) from a Book in Tamil entitled “Deyvathin Kural” –Vol. VII  containing series of lectures given by the Swamiji from time to time . Compiler: Shri Ra. Ganapathi. Publisher: Vanathi Pathippakam: Chennai)

 

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Section 2

Namo Namaha-Abhivadhan, Anjali, Pradikshan etc.

 

Earlier, I covered Maha Periaval’s explanations on Namaskar. In this related subject, under the heading “Namo Namaha”, Swamiji explains Abhivadhan, Anjali, Pradikshan etc. and a few rules re: Namaskar. We do these almost on a day to basis, but without understanding their deeper significance and manner of doing them. The following paragraphs carry condensed version of Maha Swami’s thoughts on them.

Abhivaadhan(am): This has to be done after the Namskar and NOT before. This is a self introduction  by the person doing the Namaskar to the recipient. In this introduction, the person’s identity (name, the family of ancestors, the Vedas and the sutras followed etc.) is revealed after doing Namaskar. This is done with both hands touching the ears; after the introduction, the body is bent and both hands are made to touch the respective knee and the toe. This, like Namaskar, is also a purifying exercise. The hands should then touch the feet of the recipient. In this gesture, all our bakthi and submissiveness is fully expressed; and treating the recipient as representative of ‘Easwara’, receive the ‘asirvad’ (blessings) from the elderly person. In practice, mostly, the feet of the recipient is not touched; it is done symbolically. This practice is also appropriate, as the elderly person cannot discriminate between the sinner and good person. (In the case of a sinner, the touch produces bad vibrations on and transfers bad karmas to the recipient). 

Thus, it is enough if the person doing Namaskar shows as if he touches the feet of the elder concerned. This very act will induce the recipient to do ‘asirvad’ (give blessings). What is important is that this should be done in truthful ‘bhava’; here, ‘bhava’ or ‘bhavana’ means the true bhakthi combined with humility and not a mere routine gesture. Whether the recipient really blesses are not, this ‘bhavana’ itself will make the ‘antaratma’ of the recipient, which is none other than ‘Easwara’ (Narayana), to give the ‘asirvad’.  

When doing this ‘touch gesture’, the right hand should be near the right feet of the recipient and the left hand near the left feet. This means that the hands should be crossed as in scissors. This is what is prescribed in the ‘Sastras", though this is not the usual practice. 

To whom Namskar should not be done:  It is prescribed further that one should not do Namaskar to a person who does not know to do "Prathyabivathanam", that is those who do not do ‘Asirvad’ by saying "dheergaayushman bhava sowmya" (Live long). 

Like wise, Sastras prohibit doing Namaskar for the following: an elder who is lying down, a person who is doing japa or homa or pooja, when the person is having oil in his head, a person who is having pooja aids like, flowers, ‘achathai’, ‘panchapathram’ with water in it, ‘dharbai’, ‘samith’ or ghee, or who is having food items, or who is taking food, etc. The person who is doing Namaskar should not also do it when he is in such a position, that is doing japa, holding pooja aids , food items etc. 

To some ‘Abhivathan’ should not be done. These are: Sanyasins, Devas, sacred rivers, elders in a congregation, agni, sacred trees etc.  These include all women except mother, Guru’s wife and elder brother’s wife.

 Anjali versus  Shaking Hands  

Another method widely prevalent in India to show one’s respect to the other is by folding the two hands together and raising it to the chest level. This is called ‘Anjali’ in the north and ‘kumbiduthal’ in Tamil Nadu. At the same time the word expressed is ‘Namaskar’ in the North and ‘vanakkam’ in Tamil Nadu. This is done only to elders (by age). Westerners, however, greet everyone irrespective of the age by shaking hands. Hugging and kissing is also practiced by them depending on age and status. This practice of shaking hands and kissing is not prevalent in India. Hugging is common in north India and not in the southern India. 

Kissing is not there at all in our culture. Though shaking hands is not there, we do extend our hands and invite the guest by holding theirs. Even Lord Rama did this in respect of Sugreeva to express friendship. 

Hugging is not congenial to personal hygiene and on the spiritual plane. The love and affection shown to each other without hugging is far better in value.  Probably foreign influence through several interactions with people from outside India from the days of Alexander would have made Northerners to accept hugging, whereas, southerners are free from such influence. Even westerners who practice dhyana and yoga feel that this is not only unnecessary but also not good; psychologists admit that hugging etc., belong to the category animal impulse. 

‘Sparsh’ or body contact (touching and holding of hands) is considered sacred in two of the Hindu rituals; one is in wedding and another in thread ceremony. ‘Panigrahan’ is important in wedding rituals whereas it is not given such importance in ‘upanayana’ (thread ceremony). In the latter, the Guru (who is his father) holds the boy’s hand. In the case of shaking of hands (as prevalent in the west), it is mutual; whereas in wedding and upanayana only one party (bridegroom and the Guru as the case may be) holds and rests the other person’s hand inside his palm tightly; this gesture denotes surrender of the former to the latter (‘charanaagathi’) and there is no mutuality in this. All thought, speech and actions are offered and surrendered to the husband or the guru, respectively through this gesture of offering of hand. The guru or husband accepts it and shows by gesture again that he will lead and protect the other

Manner of doing Anjali: Before God, Anjali should be done by raising the two folded hands above the head. For Guru, the folded hands should be between the two eyebrows. To father and king, it should be near the mouth, to the mother, stomach; for all others, it is the chest.

Common amongst all is to do it by raising hands near the chest; for God, the pointed hands should face the chest and for others the fingers should face them. The former signifies ‘Antharmukha’ anjali and the latter ‘Bahirmukha’ anjali (obeisance expressed openly to others). ‘Antharmukha’ anjali expresses obeisance to the God within. 

Pradakshin(am)  

To go round a Swamy (God) or a small hill where a temple is located by foot keeping them at one’s right side is called ‘Pradikshanam’.  God pervades the entire universe and he is inside everything in the worldly matter. Nothing moves without Him; it is with this awareness (pragjai) that one should go round Him. When this is being done, one should remember the truth that even though the directions change, He is always in the directionless central place and that He is the centre of gravity for everything. It is for this very purpose that ‘Paradhikshan’ is done. 

Earth and other planets go round from the west to the east. This is anti-clock-wise direction called  ‘apradhakshin’ and is prohibited in the Sastras. 

Movement and action are all ascribed to Goddess ‘Ambal’. It is with Her special power and grace that all planets do this revolution at great speed. Her side is left and hence all rotating planets’ movements are on the left side.  This phenomenon of all planets going round the Sun is taking place over billion billions of years. It is following this, our elders have stipulated that all who live in this Universe should do ‘Pradhikshan’ keeping the light of the soul called ‘Easwara’ at the central place. Further, keeping in view that ultimately our objective is to leave all these circling and come to a ever permanent peaceful status (‘shantham’ or tranquillity), we are asked to do ‘Pradhikshan’. 

As earth revolves round itself apart going round the Sun, we are also asked to go round ourselves (rotate our body) standing at one place.  While doing so, we should constantly remember that The God which is outside also resides within ourselves at the centre of our heart and that so long we think we are different from Him, we go round that centre throughout our life. It is with this thought that we should do ‘Athma Pradikshan’. By this, the unreal self, (the body) goes round the real self that resides within. The moving ‘self’ goes round the central point, which is unmoving and constant, called ‘Easwara’. 

The Dharma (nature) of the Universe as represented by revolution of planets is to do ‘apradakshin’ that is going round from left to right. If this type of revolution is followed by us, life will end with this experience of the Universe. Therefore,  ‘Pradikshana’ philosophy indicates a step beyond this and lead us to cross karmic world through spiritual experience. (Swamiji then explains the differences between the inert universe and the ever conscious nature of ‘Easwara’-ramanan).  

Namaskar after Pradikshan: There is a rule for the Namaskar done after ‘Pradikshan’. For Gods facing east and west, Namaskar should be done facing north. For those facing north and south, it should be done facing east. Namaskar should never be done facing south and west. Even for human beings Namaskar should be done only facing east or north and NOT in other directions viz., west or south.  

In a temple, one should not do Namaskar wherever you want. Only ‘anjali’ should be done for every deity; this is because several of these deities face different directions and it will be offensive to any one of them if Namaskar is done in a particular direction. So, Namaskar in a temple should be done only before a ‘Dwijasthamba’ on the side of the main deity. In this way done, the Namaskar will reach all deities.  But if one deity has a separate ‘dwijasthamba’, then Namaskar can be done to that deity. 

Another important rule is that the ‘pradikshan’ should be done slowly and steadily; this will help concentration of thought on God. Fast pace will detract attention and such concentration. Apart from this, the main reason is, slowness symbolises blending of motion with motionless ‘Shantham’ (tranquillity). Secondly, many of these rules are framed by sages for our well-being and for reasons which cannot be explained or proved to us because of our limited knowledge and intelligence. There is a many meaning to every one of these rules and it is better for us to accept them without questioning. 

A physical expression of a ‘manobhava’ (mental attitude) done for ages creates an inner strength in us. Then the very act strengthens the attitude or thought force (manobhava) and promotes the true lofty wealth of humility in us.  The divine grace is present only in true humility and keeping this in mind, Namaskar should be done to all elders by searching for them.

(This is a free translation (excerpts) from a Book in Tamil entitled “Deyvathin Kural” –Vol. VII  containing series of lectures given by the Swamiji from time to time . Compiler: Shri Ra. Ganapathi. Publisher: Vanathi Pathippakam: Chennai)

 

 

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Section 3

Cow Protection

 

Not many have understood the importance of Cow protection in India, one of the basic faiths and beliefs of Hindus. Let us see what the Swamigal has to say on this subject:

Cow is the most important animal in our life as it gives milk, which is the sustaining and complete food for human consumption. While a mother gives milk only for the infant, cow’s milk is available at all times and to all people throughout a man’s life. That is why we give so much importance to the Cow and treat it on par with our own mother calling it with reverence as “GOMATHA” (Mother Cow). 

Besides giving milk, this Gomatha helps all of us in several ways. 

From the worldly point of view, this milk is a complete and pure food containing all nutrition necessary for human life and is fit for consumption of all including the aged, children and the sickly ones. 

From the spiritual point of view, it promotes Sathvic qualities[3][3][1] in a human being; Sathvic qualities are those which make a man clear in his thinking, unbiased, unruffled, calm & quiet, at the same time vigilant & ever-conscious of his surroundings, peaceful etc. Sathvic qualities alone are pure; Rajasic and Thamasic ones are impure. 

Food derived from animals will normally promote only Rajasic and Thamasic qualities. Cows milk does the opposite. Even though blood-related food is prohibited for Sanyasins, cow’s milk is permitted by Vedas. There are two aspects of food prescribed for Sanyasins; one is that it should promote Sathvic qualities and the other is that the food should have been derived without causing harm to any other living being. Cow’s milk fulfils these two qualities. 

Cow, unlike other mammals, produces enough quantity of milk for its own calf and also to others (human beings). It is God’s will that cow should act as a mother to all of us; it is this mother’s love that gives cow a high status not available to any other animal. It is “Srimathaa’s” own incarnation. When it takes the divine form, it becomes “Kamadhenu” (Celestial Cow) which arose from the “Ocean of Milk” (Paarkkadal). 

Usually all excreta are dirty with bad odour, spreading diseases. But Cow dung is totally different and does not produce bad odour; it cleans other dirt and also becomes a disinfectant.

 We use cow dung for cleaning the floor of the house. The water mixed with it is sprayed in the front of the house and rangoli (kolam) drawn as an auspicious symbol inviting Goddess Lakshmi to the house. 

Scientists have now admitted that smoke emanating from the cow dung is a powerful disinfectant and anti-pollutant. In Bhopal gas tragedy, the only house, which escaped, is the one, which was surrounded by smoke from Agnihothram. The credit goes to the smoke produced by cow dung along with other inputs used in the Agnihothram and equally to the mantras recited at that time. The dung is given a special place in all yagnas, as it adds to yagnas’ sanctity and power. 

Another important aid to internal and external purity is ‘Panchagavyam’; this is a combination of milk, curd, ghee, ‘gomayam’ and ‘gomuthra’. ‘Gomayam’ is cow dung and ‘gomuthra’ is cow’s urine. In all ‘Punyahavachana’ karmas, this is given as ‘prasada’ to be taken in the mouth. All our past bad karmas are said to be extinguished by this ‘panchagavyam’. What better help can the cow give than this?  A ‘punyahavachana’ mantra says: 

‘Just as fire reduces a log of wood to ashes, let this panchagavyam taken by me remove all sins and bad things spread ad twined deep into my body from skin to bones.’  

Cow’s milk, curd and ghee have also medicinal value. In Ayurvedic system, they are not only energy givers but have also curative value. 

Cow dung is used in the preparation of ‘Vibhoothi’, the sacred ashes worn on the forehead and body by us. These ashes are prepared from the ‘Gomayam’ by a special process. There is nothing more sacred than ‘vibhoothi’.  External purity is achieved by two means: one by taking a bath in water and another wearing sacred ashes on our body. This ‘vibhoothi’ is used for the ‘abhishekam’ in temples etc., in addition to milk, sandalwood paste, honey etc. 

Cow’s hoof dust is also sacred. Getting the whole body covered by hoof dust of the herd of cows is considered superior to taking a bath in sacred waters. Lord Krishna reveled in and enjoyed when his body was covered with such dust. The twilight, when the herds of cows create their cloud of dust, is considered as a propitious Lagna (auspicious time). 

In Yagnas, the material provided by cow is as important as the person who conducts the yagna.  The main ingredient given as ‘Ahuthi’ is Ghee. The next one, which is called ‘Havis’, is milk.  In ‘Agnihothram’ curd and ‘goksheeram’ are offered. The cow dung paste is one of the main inputs for creating Agni in homas and yagnas. Hence, without cow, there cannot be a yagna. 

Gorakshanam’ or protection of cows is protection of earth. The two important beings considered essential for a Yagna, which is done to protect the all the living beings in this Universe are cow and the Brahmin. But, cow is given the first place in Vedas even before a Brahmin. The cowshed is considered as the best place for doing japa as it gives immense strength to and benefit from the mantras. Thirty-three crores of ‘Devas" and all sacred waters are said to be within the cow and the cow thereby becomes a temple by itself. Among the sacred places where Goddess ‘Lakshmi’ resides is the backside of the cow.

“Gohatthi” or slaughtering cows should not even be dreamt off.  A small injury done to cow is a sin, not to speak of killing this sacred animal. Such a thing is as worse a sin as killing one’s own mother. Sending it to a butcher’s shop after the cow seizes to yield milk is like killing a mother after she becomes old and invalid. One can use the skin after its natural death, but killing it for getting the skin out of it will never be pardoned by God. 

Let alone worshipping the cow. It should be the duty of everyone to give at least one handful of grass to it. Irrespective of whether it yields milk or not, we should not fail to give enough food to a cow. If we don’t do this, it will be a blot on us and we would be considered to have committed a crime. In all other countries, which do not have the same values as we have, cows are maintained in the best of health condition, whereas we give the minimum food for their sustenance and our cows look bonny and sickly. 

It is important for the Government to enact legislation preventing cow slaughter. People should strongly induce them to do this. Alongside, people should undertake propaganda against such killing. It should be done without anger or provoking the opponents.  

No doubt Government has a duty to enact such legislation, but it does not take away our primary duty of giving enough food and raising them in hygienic sheds. It is not difficult to feed the cow; let every one save the skin peeled off from the vegetables they cook everyday and feed them to the cows, instead of throwing it to the dust bin. The main aim is not to feed those that are properly taken care of in shed by milk producers. It is the barren cow and neglected ones that require our attention and feeding in this manner. If big hotels save the vegetable skin, it would be sufficient for a majority of such cows. 

There is no greater gift than giving away a cow to a deserving man and who will protect it well.

(This is a free translation (excerpts) from a Book in Tamil entitled “Deyvathin Kural” –Vol. VII  containing series of lectures given by the Swamiji from time to time . Compiler: Shri Ra. Ganapathi. Publisher: Vanathi Pathippakam: Chennai)

 

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Section 4

Diseases and their Cure

 

In the world of Modern Science, tremendous progress has been made in the medical field.  Almost relentless and continuous efforts are being made and research work done to find out causes for diseases and how best they can be cured.

Against this background, I read a “saintly” and interesting explanation to the cause of diseases in the human body and their cure.  I am sharing this with all the readers of this Series.

I had referred to this in my Series No. 32 on Thirukkural and had promised to bring this exposition by Maharishi Vasishta done several thousand years ago (before Christ) during Dwapara Yuga.  It shows the deep knowledge the Rishis of our country possessed even before the Allopathic world came into being.

Saint Vasistha speaks:

Laghu Yoga-Vasistha, one of the highest  philosophical treatises of Hindu Religion, gives answers given by “Sage Vasistha” to “Lord Rama’s” questions on Hindu Religious thoughts. On the question of diseases and their eradication, the dialogue between them is summarized below: 

Primary and Secondary Diseases:  “Rama interposed and said: Please enlighten me as to the origin and destruction of mental and bodily disease.”

 In answer to this, Vasistha continued:

“The pains that afflict the body are called the secondary diseases whilst the  “Vasanas” that affect the mind are termed as mental or primary diseases. We have reached our present state through the absence of transcendental “Jnana”, want of mastery over our sense organs and the perpetual growth of desire and egoism in the mind. And our delusion becomes intensified in us by forgetting the degradation of our state through such causes.”

“With the growth of such delusion, the mental disease also conceals like the snows of winter. When the intense desires of a person begin to manifest themselves externally and the “Ajnana” in him preponderates, he performs fearful karmas and these in their turn breed bodily diseases.”

“The body is further subject to diseases through such actions as the eating of unwholesome food, living in unhealthy places, doing things at unseasonable hours, injuries inflicted, association with the wicked, longing after improper things, evil desires, bad thoughts, the distension and contraction of the orifices of the “Nadis” in the joints, etc. and the interrupted flow of the beneficial “Prana”s”  throughout the body –these cause the body to whither. These flourish in the form of diseases in the body, waxing and waning like the floods in a river during the different seasons.”

“The body attracts effects to itself according to the nature of its countless affinities, good or bad, whether in the previous births or the present one. Thus, we see diseases, primary and secondary, arise through the five fold Bhutas (elements).”

Their Cure: “Now listen, Oh Rama, to the manner in which the two forms of disease, primary and secondary, are destroyed in two ways. The wise say that the primary disease has two sub-divisions: “Samanya” (ordinary) and “Sara” (essential). The former includes the diseases incidental to the body, while the latter the rebirth to which men are subject.”

“If the diseases which afflict this body return to their primal state then they are destroyed. Their primary cause being (bad) thoughts, if these thoughts are destroyed, all bodily diseases will vanish.”

“But the disease of rebirth. coming under the head of “Sara”, will never go except through  “Atma Jnana”. Is it possible to suppose that the misapprehension of a serpent in a rope can be removed except through the discovery of the real rope? But those grievous diseases of the body which do not arise through the original cause can be extirpated by mantras, medicine, and the many means used by men well versed in the medical lore. I need not expatiate upon this subject any further here.”

Mental Diseases: “Here Rama asked Vasistha how mental diseases arise and how they are destroyed.”

“Vasistha proceeded:

“When the “manas” is agitated, then this body also follows in its wake. And when the body is agitated, then there is no proper perception of the things that are one’s way and ““Prana”” flies from its even path on to a bad road, staggering like an animal wounded by an arrow. Through such agitation, “Prana” instead of pervading the whole body steadily and equally, vibrates everywhere at an unequal rate. Therefore, the “Nadis” do not maintain a steady position, but quiver.”

“This disturbance of “Prana” in Nadis result in irregular, incomplete or excessive digestion. The badly digested food, which settles down in this body amidst such commotion, is transformed into incurable diseases. Thus, through the primary cause (of the mind), the disease of the body is generated. If this primary cause be annihilated at its root, then all diseases will be destroyed.”

Effect of Mantras: Now hear of the path by which disease may be removed by uttering of mantras. Like base gold which, when placed in the crucible, is transmitted through alchemical processes into pure gold, the mind is rendered unfailingly pure, through true, virtuous and pure actions and by serving the wise. In the mind purified thus, there is unalloyed bliss. Is not the whole world exhilarated with joy, when the soft and delicious Moon, begins to shed its silvery light? If the mind becomes purified with true “Satvaguna”, then, “Prana Vayu” will begin to circulate freely throughput the body, the food taken will be digested properly and hence no diseases will arise. I have thus described to you the path by which the two kinds of diseases can be destroyed.”

(This is a free translation of the Sanskrit text taken from Yoga Vasistha on the illnesses and their remedy.)

Source: Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy for Positive Health. By Dr. R, Nagarathna and Dr. H.R. Nagendra published by Sawmy Vivekananda Yoga Prakashana, Bangalore 18

 

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[1][1] The entire body is laid on the ground with face down.

 

[2][2] The eight parts of the body are: forehead, two shoulders, two hands, the torso consisting lung, heart and stomach region, and two legs. Another interpretation of eight parts is: torso (chest and stomach included), head, eyes, mind, speech, legs, hands and ears.