Ayurveda: Mind and Disease

In Ayurveda the body and the mind are two pathways for the manifestation of disease. The mind itself is of three constituents of sattvika (balance and purity), rajasika (arrogance and activity), and tamasika (indolence and ignorance). Rajas and tamas are only reactive tendencies that culminate and vitiate the mind and are the creation factors of psychological disturbances. The mind without these is sattvika, naturally pure and of correct functioning. Therefore the two doshas (that which is imbalanced) of the mind are rajas and tamas. There is also the three biological humors of Vata, Pitta and Kapha which are also doshas but of the body, not the mind. They are what vitiate and create metabolic imbalance within the body which intern culminates and vitiates the body with somatic disturbances. The mind and body have separate etio-pathological agents. This is why diseases in Ayurveda are classified under two categories of somatic and psychological. What is taught in the Western world for ayurveda does not teach this and instead throws everything into a vata pitta and kapha waste basket of generalities. Ayurveda exists only in details, not generalities.

 

The psyche and soma are always interrelated as they influence symbiotically into psychosomatic disorders. There are so very few disorders that come from just either one singularly. This is why Ayurveda has a huge comprehensive psychosomatic approach that does contain completely management, treatment and cure as well as diagnosis to see a disorder and its ability to be managed, treated, or cured.

There are three categories of method of treatment approach. They are Daivavyapasraya (esoteric/magic/religious) practices, Sattvajaya (psychological), and Yuktivyapasraya (physio-pharmaacological).

Daivavyapasraya is from the words devah surayonayah meaning a divine or celestial personality, daivamadrushtam which is fate or destiny that is not seen or known, and daivam karma yadpourvadaihikam which is the acts of past life and based in the concept of rebirth. Daivavyapasraya is derived from the Rig Veda and Artharvaveda and other literature. This is dealing with past life actions and diseases due to them. Treatment is from mantra and divine intervention.The funny thing about this is that it has no place in modern Western world paradigm. It has its roots over 10,000 years in deep detailed understanding of the entirety and hierarchy of creation and manifestation from subtle to matter. Yet, today the Western science is searching for the “god particle” but disputes and invalidates anything from an “ancient” science.

Daiva makes reference to all that is acquired before birth in inheritance of past lives. All of what goes into this; familial, class, lineage, profession, location of descent, age of descent, and all have qualities that bestow beneficial or non-beneficial qualities on the individual of which they must live out. All of which are unseen and beyond reason of the human mind. because of this it is nowadays called spiritual. Treatments are thought of as black magic, sorcery, and witchcraft, but are actually just rituals  like benedictions and offerings but with detailed understanding of the connections to nature. Mantra itself is not as the Western spiritual world of today would like to think as you can say whatever you want and it is all good as the entire pronunciation is slaughtered by the western tongue of pop spiritual bands and rock kirtan. Rather mantra it is a science of detail with two primary aspects; dhavani and varna or sound and the form/alphabet.The actual sound or vibration and its effect are grouped under dhvani. This includes the science of pronunciation and chanting (Siksha), and the energy associated with sounds/beejas. The basic study of varna or sound-roots is the piece of the detail. The combination of varnas to form words, their sequencing and ordering in sentences is called vyakarana or grammar. The study of meanings associated to words is nirukta. It is based on the psychological effect or reaction to various natural phenomena, and the sounds corresponding to those effects. Chandas is another detail as it is the study of meter, arrangement of syllable groups, with different lengths. So, Dhvani is the acoustic aspect of Shabda. Varna, as it means color, is basically the shade of sound that is produced. Varna mala is the set of basic elements of sound, from which all kinds of sounds emanate. There are seven varnas then there are 64 sound roots or ganas under this. Suffice to say, it is a science of sound related to a unmanifest divine hierarchy that is hardly understood or believed by the western world, hence the irreverence in the slaughter of it and the invalidation by the western medical science. Today there are so many new “scientific break-thoughs”, that we are seeing with “new” discoveries such as research by Masaru Emoto showing that water molecules are subject to effect of human consciousness and other stuff based in quantum theory that is just the ancient science rewritten.

Other treatments of Daivavyapasraya come in the same detailed form as mantra but of Incantations, wearing precious stones or amulets of herbs, performing propitiatory rites, offerings and oblations, sacrifices, restraints and penitence, fasting, benedictions, prostrations, pilgrimages, prayer, pacificatory rites, and observing vows. All of these are based in individuality of the individual from place to need to disease.

 

Sattvavajaya or subjugation of the mind is the next treatment category. Its principles and methodology based in the detailed understanding of manas (the mind) and its functions.It ranges from conciliatory measures to psychophysical shock. Some of the concepts are; manonigraha or mind control, aswasanadayah or reconcilitory measures, pradtidwandvibhavah or replacement of emotions with opposites, manokshobanam or pyschophysical shock, sadachara or moral and behavioral code of conduct, and samadhih or mental equanimity.

The three principal causes of disease are asatmedriyarthasamyoga, prajnapardha, and parinama. Asatmedriyarthasamyoga is any unhealthy/unwholesome/incompatible contact or interaction between the mind and the environment/respective objects with or without the agency of the sensory organs. Interaction in general is a continual process. Prajnapardha is intellectual blasphemy or doing what one knows is harmful…. “one bite of this is not going to hurt” or staying up to late because one decides to watch a movie or work.  Parinama is time factors including chrono-biological errors like seasonal disturbances. In all three of these there is three types of that contact; excessive, deficient and erroneous… too much, too little, and just plain wrong. We can see in the Western modern world today that most everything pretty much falls into these categories from the media, music, movies and other sensory overload to lifestyle of over work and then party hard. Even our basis of success is based upon working extra hard or excessive to be successful like putting in all nighters and even our education system is based in the same, etc etc. Stressful socio-environmental conditions send their signals to the mind directly or through the sense organs. The stressor that causes psychosomatic and psychological disturbances is always of too high, too low, mixed, or incompatible frequencies to the human system. Error of judgement in the Western world is based in balancing what one has to gain on a material level and based in desire rather than intelligence and knowledge of beneficial or non-beneficial to the health of the being. The very lines of what is beneficial is blurred showing the depth to the adharma that exists in the culture. Errors of judgement pertains to sensory actions, mental processes and modes of speech. Each of these are then sub grouped into excessive, inadequate or improper use. All action done in these manners create an imbalance in the doshas and is the very cause of exogenous and psychological disease. Ayurveda gives extensive detail to this  and covers all diseases that are due to expression and suppression of urges, improper conduct, and unwholesome contact of cognitive sense organs with objects.

Treatment is based in psychological controls. They are: samachittatwam which is treatments and techniques focused on building of a calm mind (mental equanimity), jnanam which is proper knowledge or proper understanding (proper understanding means knowledge of self, the place, family, time, vitality, and ability), samadhih (mental tranquility), smritih (memory), dhih (intellect). dhritih (perseverance), and dhairyam (valor). You may see that these when absent are the very reasons for pragnaparadha.

Yuktivyapasraya is internal purification therapy or panchakarma. This is treatment based in management and elimination of the doshas (biological humors) and malas (wastes) or basically cleansing procedures focused in elimination, evacuation and removal of the causative agents of disease to ensure the non recurrence. It includes emesis, purgation, basti, nasal insufflation, blood letting, dietetic regimen, and can include external purification measures, surgical methods, and palliative measures.

 

 

Cessation of Sukha (Happiness) and Dukha (Unhappiness) in Yoga and Ayurveda

Association between soul, sense organ, mind, and objects of sense organs produce the feeling of happiness and unhappiness. Both the types of sensations disappear when the mind is completely concentrated and blended with in soul and supernatural power. This state is known as “yoga” as per the sages.  – Charaka Samhita 1.138 – 139

Moksha (liberation) is a state of absolute detachment from all contacts by virtue of the absence of RAJAS and TAMAS of mind due to nullification of effects of past deeds. – Charaka Samhita 1.142

Nishtha means liberation from misery i.e. in the form of salvation and the means for salvation is naishthiki. It is devoid of upadha (desires). It is the way for the ultimate aim of life, one among four objects of human life, the salvation. – Charaka Samhita 1.14

Desire is the root cause for all miseries. Sacrifice of all desires is the factor to vanish all miseries. As the silkworm weaves itself with suicidal threads, in the same way desire makes the person suffer from misery.

An intelligent person avoids objects of senses, considering them dangerous fire. He will be away from worldly pleasures. So that miseries can never conquer him, where as the ignorant person will always be bounded with worldly pleasures and miseries.  – Charaka Samhita 1/15 -17

Love, hatred, etc are called as attachments and they are the root cause of misery. Detachment from the six enemies i.e. desire, hatred, greed, attachment, ego, jealousy, is ultimate bliss. – Charaka Samhita 5.8

Detachment is the ultimate peace, eternal and supreme. It is the right path to attain salvation. – Charaka Samhita 5.11

 

 

Attachment is produced by ignorance, desire, and hatred. Ahamkara, sanga etc… arising from attachment overcome an individual as a large tree with many branches overshadows a smaller and younger tree.

Ahamkara is the egoistic feeling such as I am endowed with beauty, money, intelligence, character, education, place, age, strength, influence etc etc etc…

Deeds by body, speech and mind which are not conducive for the attainment of liberation are sanga.

Doubt regarding existence of effect of past deeds, salvation, soul, life after death is samshaya.

Abhisamplava is feeling such as I am first in any situation, I am creator, I am blessed person by nature, I have an excellent state of health, sense organs, intelligence, memory, etc…

Abhiyavapata is attachment about father, mother, brother, sister, wife, children, relatives, friends, and servants. They belong to me and I to them.

Vipratyaya is when someone lacks the knowledge of what should be done and what should not be done. Ignorance about good, bad, conducive and non conducive and opposite acts.

Avishesha is the inability to differentiate between conscious and unconscious elements, nature and its modifications, attachment and detachment.

Nivritti is the path of moksha. It is the only path of yoga. Detachment is salvation, liberation and path of moksha.
It is para or absolute. It is peace, it is supreme brahma.

There are 40 ways of attaining salvation.
Following the principles of preceptor such as ways to attain salvation
Bringing the principles into action
Following the principles told in shastra (ancient scriptural knowledge)
Understanding of the shastra
To have patience to follow the procedures in shastra
Performing the actions that are prescribed in the shastra
To leave the company of bad people
Abandon company of bad people
One should always speak truth, speak after thinking, speak words which are conducive for all beings and not use harsh words
All beings should be considered as oneself
Avoiding all contacts including remembering, thinking, requesting, and speaking with women
Avoidance of all belongings
Small cloth for covering the body
Wearing saffron coloured cloth
Water pot for cleanliness
Hold sacred stick
Bowl for auspicious begging
Taking prescribed amounts of food once a day to keep oneself alive
Bed made of dry leaves/grass for taking rest
Wooden plank for meditation
Living in forest without home
Non Indulgence in drowsiness, laziness, etc…
Avoiding love, hatred etc, and controlling sensory faculty
Control of hunger, sleep, thirst, efforts, moments, heat, happiness, miseries, etc
Unperturbed by sorrows, miseries, respect, attachment, fear, jealousy, anger, etc
Devoid of ego
Always performing good action and unperturbed by praise, humour, criticism, and result
Remembering the similarity between nature of universe, self, and creation
Afraid to postpone action which leads to salvation
Yogic practices
One should develop Satvika qualities and enthusiasm
Intelligence, courage, memory and strength should be directed towards salvation
Control over soul over mind and soul over himself
Cognition of the dhatus (tissues) and organs intricately
Realization that non eternal worldly things are all cause for misery and do not belong to Self
Considering all factors which lead to attachment as sinful
Complete detachment is the cause for bliss

These are the ways to moksha

 

 

Ayurvedic coffee and chai

This post is dedicated to someone due to their curiosity of how to make the perfect cup of coffee and also make it ayurvedically.

I would advise people to make it several ways to define and create discernment to learn from. In doing this you learn the why and the how of what is ayurveda. In this you see how it tastes but more so you see how it feels in your system and have more discernment grow as to what is ayurveda and how it works.

The idea behind a chai is that the milk and sugar balance the drink making it more digestible as well as more pleasing to the system. You would never pour cold milk or cream into a chai so why would you do the same to a cup of coffee. Adding cold to hot creates a subtle (but not really) dysfunction that has an obvious impact on the system when brought to awareness. 

The spices in a masala chai (notice here that normal chai does not include spices) help the digestion of the drink as well as they would change due to the seasonal doshic impact. Also, in blending spices, we need to understand the qualities and actions of those spices. In example of this, ginger and cardamom are never used together in a chai due to their potency or virya. one is hot and the other is cold. These are opposites and will create problems in the further processes of digestion and assimilation. In a cup of coffee, Cardamom can be used to reduce the acid in coffee, while neutralizing the effects of caffeine. So you see, most of what is ayurveda lies no where near what your tongue desires and rests all in the knowledge of what is. In this, the final result is something that pleases the taste buds and desires but at the same time is healthy for the system and does not create dysfunction that further creates disease.

As much as has been touted by Western research about coffee being bad in the past, has now been flipped once again much like everything else. Confusion is the outcome. Coffee is now considered healthy and has been found to be good for Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, and liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. This is all Western research though, which is very limited and also why it changes with the tide. Bottom line, coffee remains acidic. This goes against the Western research into alkaline systems and disease. All of it, as you can see is stating facts that oppose each other as we do not have any foundational knowledge to come from that links all of our paradigm together. The acidic nature of coffee aggravates the intestinal mucosal tissue and will cause inflammation and stops assimilation when the intake is in to great of quantity or the quality is too strong. This is part and parcel of why cream or milk and sugar is used to balance. 

 

Another note here is that a 32 ounce coffee or chai is never going to be healthy. A little is medicinal, excess is just excessive and will create imbalance. In this you can see the plight of the mind and desires over proper functioning intelligence. this is known as pragnaparadha or crimes against wisdom in Ayurveda. It is the main casualty of all disease. In India, a chai or coffee is served in a very small shot glass type proportion. It stimulates digestion. In a large proportion it will slow the digestion. 

 

Here is the recipe:

1. Heat your water. The temperature of the water for a coffee has the utmost importance. too hot and it burns the oil in the bean. Too cold and it doesn’t brew properly. This recipe is for the French Press due to its excellence in producing a balanced coffee. Water for French press coffee should be heated to 195°F to 200°F, not boiling (212°F at sea level and elevation does contribute to the proper brewing). If you use a stovetop kettle, take it off just before it reaches a boil and then use a thermometer to check and see when it cools to the right temperature. A lot of newer electric kettles, though, have a setting for this temperature.

2. Measure out 1/2 cup coffee beans.

3. Grind the coffee beans on the coarsest setting in a burr grinder or a short sharp pulses in a blade grinder to make thicker evenly-sized grains of ground coffee. 

4. Two tablespoons of grounds for a cup of coffee is a general rule. This is where a person’s preference comes in. A little more for a stronger cup, a little less for a weaker cup. All of this is within using knowledge to not go out of the bounds of what remains balance though or in other words don’t let your preferences go beyond proper knowledge. Put the ground coffee into your French press, then pour the proper amount of hot water for how much is being made. It is better to make a full French press of coffee rather than to make a small amount in a large press. Then stir gently for the full 4 minutes using an up and down motion.

5. Steep and stir this for 4 minutes exactly. Any more and it it bitter and any less it does not brew the grounds enough. If you are using a timer, when the it goes off, immediately press the coffee, and pour it into a carafe. Press it slow as it builds pressure as you press and if you do it too fast, grounds can get around the filter screen and stay in the coffee making it bitter. It can be wise to use a strainer to pour the coffee thru to catch the fine grounds that may have slipped through. 

6. Pour the coffee into a small pot. this is where you would add the cream or milk as well as the sugar and any spices that you might use such as cardamon. Cardamon is interesting. If you cook it, you cook away all the potency, it evaporates. Same with cinnamon. This makes a really nice smell but the actually potency is lost. Bring the mixture to the point just before it boils or right before it flash boils as it is called. 

7. Pour into a cup and drink immediately. Enjoy.

 

A really good experiment to try here is to make a regular cup of coffee as well and test it against this. You can also just put the cold cream or milk as well as the sugar into the hot cup of coffee and try this in comparison to this other one you just made. This is where you learn by experience, the best way to create proper knowledge and discernment. In doing this you will be able to feel the difference of how heavy and displeasing to the system a cup of coffee is when you just pour cold into the hot and mix. 

 

By heating the sugar and milk or cream it becomes lighter as well as the entire drink becomes more digestible and pleasing.

 

Ayurveda is based in subtleties in the details of how things work. Discernment is the key to understanding and creating the functioning of a healthy mind. 

 

 

Onions and Garlic are not eaten in a yogic diet

According to Ayurveda, foods are grouped into three categories – sattvic, rajasic and tamasic – foods in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Onions and garlic, and the other alliaceous plants are classified as rajasic and tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. Rajasic and tamasic foods are also not used because they are detrimental to meditation and devotions. Garlic and onions are both rajasic and tamasic, and are forbidden to yogis because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body. They stimulate the central nervous system, and can disturb vows of celibacy. Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac. Ayurveda suggests that it is a tonic for loss of sexual power from any cause, sexual debility, impotency from over-indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion from dissipating sexual habits. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high nervous tension and diminishing sexual power. Onions are harmful to the lungs, garlic to the heart, and spring onions to the kidneys. They induce aggravation, agitation, anxiety and aggression so they are harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

 

 

Palandu lasunam sigrum alambum grjanam palam

bhunkte yo vai naro brahman vratam candrayanam caret

(Padma Purana, Brahma Khanda 19.10)

O sages, one who eats garlic, onions, drum stick, turnips, bottle gourd and meat, that person should observe a candrayana fast.

 

Chandrayana vrata is observed for a whole month. It consists in reducing the amount of food which totals fifteen mouthfuls on Full Moon, by one mouthful daily until New Moon when the fast becomes complete and then increasing it in the same manner from the day after New Moon to Full Moon. Complete abstinence from food is also observed for one, three, six, nine or twelve days according to each person’s capacity and inclination.

Among the most auspicious times for fasting are the days of Full and New Moon as well as the eighth and the twenty-third of each month (counting from the first day after New Moon). New Moon Day (Amavasya) is that day of the lunar month which begins when the last crescent of the Moon becomes invisible at dawn – for which reason it may accurately be called No Moon Day. The night before this, that is, New Moon’s Eve, is the Sacred Night of Shiva (Shiva Ratri) which is also known as The Fourteenth Day of Shiva (Shiva-Chaturdashi) and The Dark Night of Shiva (Shiva Kalaratri). Fasting during the day and night on this auspicious occasion is particularly meritorious, and is observed for the expiation of sins as well as for acquiring religious merit.

“O Sages! on the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month, one meal only shall be taken (by the devotee). But on the fourteenth, complete fast shall be observed. The fourteenth of the dark half is sure to bring about the propitiation of Lord Shiva”. Shiva Purana

And by the way, Lord Shiva is the lord of yoga…

 

 

 

vrntakam jalisakam kusumbha smantakam tatha
palandu lasunam suklam niryasan caiva varjayet
gRJjanam kinsukan caiva kukundanca tathaiva ca
udumbaram alavun ca jagdhva patati vai dvijah

(Kurma Purana)

One should not eat eggplant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves, onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery porridge) or the juice of the tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and white pumpkin. If the twice born persons (twice born mean one that has taken up a spiritual life with proper initiation into it) eat these things, they all become fallen.

 

 

 

palandulasunadini jagddhva candrayanam caret
sraddhe devanpitrnprarcya khadanmamsah na dosabhak

By eating garlic and onion one becomes sinful and as atonement one should perform Candrayana. (Garuda Purana 1.96.72)

 

 

 

Onion, feces-thriving pigs, Selu, garlic, Goplyusa (milk of a cow before the lapse of ten days from calving), Tanduliya (a grain growing in fecal rubbish) and mushrooms— all these are to be avoided. (Skanda Purana 40.9)

 

 

 

The householder taking the rite shall avoid heavy indigestible pulses like Nispava, Masurika etc., stale food, defiled food, brinjals, gourds, cocoa-nuts, garlic, onion, intoxicating beverages and all kinds of meat. (Siva Purana 7.10-12)

 

 

 

He should avoid stalks of lotus, safflower, gold or silver, onion, garlic, sour gruel; so also chatraka (a kind of mushroom), vidvaraha (pork), greasy milk of a cow during the first seven days of calving, vilaya (a particular product of milk) and mushrooms. By eating the small red variety of garlic, blossoms of kimsuka (flame of the forest), so also udumbara (cluster fig), bottle-gourd, a twice-born becomes fallen. (Padma Purana Vol. 42, 4.56.19b -24)

 

 

 

I shall now mention those things that should always be avoided in Sraddha (spiritual rites & ritual). Garlic, onions, globular radish and Karambha (groats or flour mixed with curds), and other articles devoid of smell and with no taste should be avoided in Sraddha. The reason is also mentioned (as follows): Formerly in the fight between devas and asuras, Bali was defeated by suras. From his wounds drops of blood gushed out and from them these articles grew up – hence they are avoided in the Sraddha rite. (Varaha Purana 16.11b-15)

 

 

 

Manu-samhita:

5.5. Garlic, leeks and onions, mushrooms and (all plants), springing from impure (substances), are unfit to be eaten by twice-born men.

5.19. A twice-born man who knowingly eats mushrooms, a village-pig, garlic, a village-cock, onions, or leeks, will become an outcast.

 

Living a life in reciprocity

 

Reciprocity as understood by the modern world is responding in kind to an action, the give and take, a rewarding of action with equal action. It is thought to be as a categorization of an action as kind by viewing its consequences and also thought to be a determining factor of person’s fundamental intentions and human behavior.

In the modern world, everything is mental. A psychological view is the only view to looking at everything. This is the foundational point that needs to be seen to comprehend the depths of what is as well as what is reciprocity.

Would a person that is a tribal from New Guinea that has never had interaction with the outside world view life in the same manner as a modern world Westerner? Then to understand that as Westerners we have bias that we are somehow smarter or better or a huge amount of under the radar of our conscious. We think by the way we have been programmed to by our culture. We need to realize this first to then step out of that to learn anything from any other culture and even a different way of being. This is so obvious but yet so oblivious in application.

Quick read:

http://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/yogaschitvritinirodhah/

If yoga is the cessation of the whirlpools of the medium through which the Jivatma materializes, then we need to really get out of any psychological understanding and view of anything to really see what this is. There is no way out of the mind from the mind. All kinds of illusory states and fantastical delusions are had from the mind and they can even be believed to be enlightening but they are all still of the mind, in the mind. This is not what yoga is talking about, at all. Those experiences…. fantasmagorical and fantasy. The mind is so tricky it will make you think all sorts of things.

The mind is “kshipta” by nature, meaning it is always moving and fast, scattered and not able to be stilled. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.4). The material madness entangles people more and more in suffering and the process of birth and death. This is a fundamental understanding in all of the ancient philosophies. The moon is the significator of the mind as the fastest moving planet and the mind of the individual is seen through the moon and other connections of the moon in Jyotish (astrology).

The Gunas are the qualities of mind. Maybe a better way to explain them is that they are mind. Sattva is considered the pure mind undisturbed, empty, and clear. It is passive and pure. The mind has two dosha or imbalances which are Rajas and Tamas.

Sattvam laghu prakashakam ca rajas ishtam upasthambhakam chalam tamah guru varanakam eva ca vrttih arthatah pradipavat. “Sattva is light buoyant and illuminating, Rajas is exciting, mobile and restless, Tamas is sluggish and obscuring. Their function is for single purpose like that of a lamp.” - Sankhya Karika Chapter 1 verse 13. 

Rajas is one of the gunas or qualities of the mind. It is the force that is responsible for passion and activity. It is a hostile force that is responsible for holding you in Samsara. It is a restless quality of mind. The Rajasic mind always wants new sensations and variety. It likes certain persons, objects and places now and, after some time, it becomes disgusted with them and wants new persons for company, new vegetables to eat, new books to read and new places to see, need more and more and more. Rajas is what creates movement. Anything that has quality or anything that is manifest has gunas or qualities. Satta and Tamas are passive or inert. Their effects are derived from the driving force of Rajas. The three gunas are functioning for the common purpose like the lamp. They are to illumine. The same way the doshas of the body vata, pitta and kapha serve the purpose to sustain the body the gunas of the mind illuminate the soul, yet they are doshas or that which is an imbalance in itself. Pleasure, pain and delusion all appear in many forms because by their nature they ALL are suppressive. They are meant to illumine. They are all forms of the kleshas, attractions and repulsions, therefore of a subjective nature, therefore unreal. The illumination of their grasp on the mind is the step towards emancipation from them. There is much more than joy and pleasure, there is something higher and those just as all the rest bind one in karma.

Just a note here on gunas… Sattva (righteous, honest, spirited, and capable) focused people are not focused on self, like Vishnu, the focus is vast and detached. Rajas focused people are self serving. They are always acting and it has an emotional and/or material motivation. There is differentiation and discrimination to their actions. This is normal society. This is Brahma… creative. Tamas focused is like Shiva, like a meditator on the top of a mountain in a cave, a real sannyasi. A sannyasi is married to god. They do not break vows and get married or live in a secular world. Satvika guna is in a state of reciprocity.

“Shiva cuts the head of Brahma and leads one to Vishnu.” Think deeply about this.

Like begets like and opposites counter. More movement = more rajas.

ये चैव सात्त्विका भावा राजसास्तामसाश्च ये। मत्त एवेति तान्विद्धि नत्वहं तेषु ते मयि।। Bhagavad Gita 7.12 Those things that indeed are made of the quality of sattva, and those things that are made of the quality of rajas and tamas, know them to have sprung from Me alone. However, I am not in them; they are in Me!

This itself is very easy to put into perspective of what the path of yoga is and what all the original texts explain. Today, we believe that asana is a flowing routine that creates peace. Sorry, doesn’t. Just as much as running is meditation. They create more rajas.

In all of the original yoga texts, asana:

1. Yogasana before the Hatha texts in the 11th to 15th century was seated postures following the obvious meaning of asana or asa = to sit, a seat, etc..
2. 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika has the first non-seated postures. The text is not only about asana but asana is just a small part of the entire process or practice. Asana in this text, is only in the “8th” of 15 chapters and the entire text is the method and not just asana. Kind of like only having five pages of a book read or the 10 minutes of a movie…. and it is not the ending that you get to read or see.
3. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that asana is only for four reasons: to create a firm and comfortable seat for meditation to cultivate tapas (burning of karma, austerity, penance) to control the vital energies or in other words prana to provide physical or therapeutic benefits

4. Gorakshanath lineage only had seated postures
5. Premodern yoga – motionless is key to postural practice
6. Modern “yoga” – flowing sequences that produce rajas

Yoga is an ascetic path as it has been written in the texts of yoga. It is spiritual in its roots and religious. It is a path to god consciousness. Then there is this big spin to what we have today. Basically in the opposite direction. Pretty much godless and ego based, all mind based from the culture we are produced from. We can see the ego and self absorption of it in all the ezines articles about how to be happy, how to be in shape and etc etc etc. None of the ancient texts speak of all of this stuff. They all explain the way out of that world. We can’t sit still in this modern world. In our confusion, its a shame, we are missing everything that yoga is about. It isn’t an exercise based in Western exercise or based in Western psychological and sociological terms.

Have doubts??? Try this. Pick a single asana. Any asana. Now hold it for 3 hours. No shit, 3 hours.

This will open a totally new doorway into a world that is unexplored territory today. Even if one lives in their head and have no experience of anything else, if one do this it will allow some kind of break thru.

Who has time to do this???? Well, an actual yogi does. This points out the culture of needing to do and never having enough time to do absolutely nothing and be not engaged, not reactive or interactive. Not rajasic. This also opens a whole new path that exists out of the mind if one can get there. The culture does not support it but real full life does. What can happen in that different context? What happens in this space?

All of this thus far has been preemptive to give the scenario of what is the scenario and then the discernment to be able to see what is reciprocity when we are able to strip away the bondages of the Western biases and life. The Western mind is in an imbalance of believing everything is the mind. One does not have the experience of being out of the mind in the West and everything is a mental construct. There is something else, really. From that place of being out of the mind, everything has different meaning or  a depth that cannot even be understood from the Western mental spinning mind and ego. Need to go beyond that to experience this. Out of the mind and out of concepts.

All of daily life can/should be approached as sacred. Activities, tasks and communications are all expressions and experiences of the sacred, not a mental thought but an actual living, a continual experience. But what is the difference between it being from one’s mind and ego versus being of the sacred? There is a relatedness that acknowledges obligation to the other but this is not of the mind. It is a beingness experience, not a heady mind cognitive experience. I do not have words for this but if you have to fake it to make it, that never works here and cannot. This is very black and white, you either are or very much are not. If you naturally live in reciprocity to the natural world you have reverence. Can it be learned? Not from a book.

If you go swimming, you are wet and are surrounded by water. That interaction goes beyond ones own thoughts of where to swim, what to do in the water and all the mind stuff that happens. The fundamental reciprocity is with the water, in the water. The relatedness allows a felt sense or knowing of reciprocity. It is out of reaction and thus out of the mind and out of past and future therefore out of any action coming from though of a how a reaction is presented or how to react. It is a awareness of all that is. This is a greater, call it body sense…. a physical energy. It is subtle, it is hidden. The orientation is totally different. As this is a totally different state of apprehension than what is from the mind. It is not concept. It is difficult to explain with language as it is an experience and expression that is not of just a moment but is constant. It is a mode that is contemplative. It is reciprocal.

Although this was a very superficial expression of what reciprocity is, it does a tangible job to give the deeper experience. It is very hard to talk about this without coming up against the Western stereotypes and ideas of how things are romanticized and believed to be due to books published for the mass market. This is much like talking about kundalini from the experience of it to a crowd that has read books on chakras and gone to modern yoga classes for their understanding of these things.

So now picture that relatedness within a society that is in harmony with the natural world. No one sits around and has discussions or talks about themselves. Whatever is said is just basic. This is an experience of living in a society that is grounded in humanity, in what is natural. There is reciprocity in all experience on going. There is nothing to accomplish, attain, or motivation. There is doing activities but they are in momentum of service. Service not in the likes of how the concept is in the Western mind but a service that is also a constant and not a thought. It is a state, a paradigm. It is a totally different context. It is not a dreamy paradise either though.

In this reciprocity exist in its true form. Outside of it, it does not. Only mental constructs with ties to desires and needs exist. Only here relating can happen in its pure state as well.

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