The value of yoga and nature-cure techniques for maintaining and preserving I health is now recognised not only by therapists but also by patients .
Yoga keeps the body healthy and the mind alert. It has a relaxing effect on the practitioner, and in combination with nature cure, it can become the ideal healing method.
This book shows how health can be maintained and improved through yoga and how diseases can be cured through natural methods.
Yoga today is a subject of worldwide interest. This is, indeed, a wholly new and remarkable phenomenon in the long history of Yoga. Until only a few years ago, Yoga used to have a very limited appeal. It had little meaning for the common man busy in the routine of daily life. Those who understood it were very few, and fewer still practised it. It was a pursuit reserved for the chosen ones. They were usually men of not this world. Their main interest was in the world hereafter. In order to study Yoga, one had to renounce the world of achievement, desire, and enjoyment. Yoga was taught and practised in remote places called ashrams under the direct supervision of a guru.
We find lucid descriptions of ashrama life, its atmosphere and surroundings, in the writings of ancient times. Kalidasa (who lived probably before Christ), Shankaracharya (7th century), Jnyaneshwara (12th century), and Swatmarama, the author of the renowned Hathayogapradipika (16th century), have depicted how Yoga was practised in the ashrams in an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
This view of Yoga practice has recently undergone vast changes. Yoga is no more regarded as a discipline to be followed only by those who have set 'emancipation' as the highest goal of their life. It is now very much a thing which interests the man in the street. The factory worker, the office-goer, the housewife, the business executive, and the student and tile teacher, have all alike found Yoga to be useful in their daily life. Renunciation is no longer a pre-condition to the study of Yoga. Yoga has come out of its secret 'hiding place'. It has crossed the boundaries of its land of origin, and has spread to practically every nation of the world. The popularity of Yoga has not been hindered by the diversity of religious beliefs, languages, or geographic conditions.
One often wonders as to how such a sudden and widespread revival of interest in the age-old practices of Yoga has come about. The reason for the growing universal interest in Yoga in our day is twofold. The popular and conventional means of solving human problems having been found to-be increasingly inadequate, the need for a new approach is being felt more and more. Secondly, the awareness that Yoga provides answers to some of our immediate and distant problems better than anything else is increasing.
The fact is that we are today faced with a situation that is wholly new, and with certain problems which were never felt so acutely in the past. And Yoga, it is being realised, can be of great utility in these changed circumstances. That is why Yoga, which had remained obscure and little known for centuries, has all of a sudden come into limelight. It would be interesting to see how this new change came about.
In the pre-scientific days man lived in a rather compact world. Religious beliefs had a profound influence on his way of life. He was far more helpless in the face of natural calamities and epidemics than we are today. With the advent of science a new factor came into existence, namely, the machine. With its use man acquired better control over the external world. His knowledge of happenings in the world around him increased rapidly, and with it his power to influence them according to his will. The steam engine, the diesel engine, the petrol engine and newer sources of power like electricity and nuclear fission increased his hold over nature.
Scientific knowledge has been progressing rapidly in all fields of life through physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, medicine, and agriculture. The variety and quality of tools and devices employed are improving at an accelerated pace, and what was unimaginable and unthinkable a few decades ago is now becoming possible.
In essence, scientific progress may be said to have given us three major boons: tremendous speed and power of movement, increased power of perception with highly sensitive instruments, and highly specialised devices to take over the work of our body parts. For example, a few generations ago a man could not travel at a speed exceeding forty or fifty miles a day, whereas today it is possible for him to go round the world in a few hours.
As regards the powers of perception, we can today view on TV a distant event at the same time of its actual happening. Similarly, a speech being delivered thousands of miles away can be heard on the radio while one is working in the field or factory, or lying down in bed. The X-ray machine, electron microscope, polygraph, and micro-filming machines are some of the instruments which have helped us to expand the range of our perception to the minutest happenings inside our bodies 01 in the external world. Scientists can now perceive things which could not even be imagined to exist in the past. Thus the frontiers of Knowledge have expanded tremendously in all possible directions.
If we were to make a list of the various devices used by us in the kitchen, in the household, and elsewhere which have taken over the jobs that our forefathers had to do' with their own hands, there would be no end to it. The most striking technological aid devised to help us is the computer. With its help, tedious calculations which even a highly intelligent person will take months to make may be done in a jiffy.
But, it is' doubtful whether these wonders of science have made us happier than our less knowledgeable and slow moving ancestors. Science while bringing about vast changes in our immediate external world has been able to do practically nothing to improve our inner world of desires, emotions, and conflicts.
Our inner world has remained chaotic. The balance between our inner and outer being is lost. And it is this balance which is the most crucial factor in deciding whether or not one can have happiness in life. Happy everyone of us wants to be. All our thoughts and activities are, in the ultimate analysis, directed to this goal of happiness. Science definitely has contributed enormously to improving our lives by increased production of food and consumer goods, by effective control of pests and diseases. by providing better living conditions and means of transport, and by inventing new means of enjoyment But the net result of all this has not been quite happy. That is because the growth of scientific knowledge has been one-sided. Human happiness is not merely a product of what things one handles in daily life. Our relationship with the things we use is, of course, important, but more important is our interaction with people and with ideas. And it is in this field that science has had no influence so far. 'The instruments which are useful in our dealing with things have been wholly revolutionised by science, but the instrument used in our relationship with people, that is to say, the instrument called the mind, remains unchanged.
Yoga has become a household name these days. It is one of the oldest and most effective way of cleansing and keeping the body, mind and soul completely fit. It also helps in removing the harmful toxins from the body and improves the blood circulation.
This book discusses exhaustively the countless beneficial effects of various yogic asanas enabling one to cure some of the very severe diseases like diabetes, arthritis, acidity, obesity, piles, kidney and liver diseases, indigestion and constipation, genital disorders and many more. It also lays emphasis on the importance of practising yogasanas and meditation regularly to keep yourself away from life threatening diseases and staggering doctor's bills. Along with the various asanas for certain problems the author has also discussed the diet restraint and the code of conduct to be followed by the practitioner as yoga is a perfectly scientific therapy. Step by step method of every asana in a very simple and easy language will help the readers a lot. The book will definitely be helpful in running yoga centres across the globe.
Yoga is not just a therapy, it is a lifestyle which you have to incorporate in your life for a healthy living. So pick up this book and learn about the science of health and better living and put one step ahead towards a healthy and blissful life.
Swami Durganand Saraswati (b. 1947) did his post graduation in Kolkata. Later on he left for Himalayas in search of his innerself. In Rishikesh he came in close contact with H.H. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Sri Sri Swami Brahmananda Saraswati . He listened to their sermons and teachings regularly. He worked under Maharishi as a secretary, stenographer and editor of their publications. After some years of intensive yoga practise, the author felt it was time to take up monkhood as it is the best path to attain self realisation. He meditated in the caves of the Himalayas for more than 25 years and also learnt the perfect way of doing various yoga postures. He has cured hundreds of patients till now through yogasanas.
By the grace of the Almighty, like the words Dharam Karam in India, Yoga is also now a household name especially in the Western countries. Therefore, the number of books on yoga is increasing day by day. After going through some books, I thought it to be needful to disperse the blessings of Yoga, especially in respect of curing diseases to the pupils who are sincerely eager to turn over a new leaf by adopting a full-fledged yogic way of life, or who are unluckily suffering from various kinds of diseases because of which they live a stressful life and waste thousands of money but of no avail or of a temporary consolation only.
The yoga of asanas is the most scientific variety of ontology ever deciphered till this day under the Sun. There is no system which can challenge the hygienic validity in so shortest a time as Yoga is capable of. We should worship the foot-dust of the lotus feet of the Seer sages by whose magnanimous benedictions we can try to practise yoga today.
Yoga of asanas and pranayamas (breathing exercises) are as old as the Sun God. The historians are not unanimous in their opinions as to the oldness of this spiritual knowledge. Countless manuscripts have been destroyed by jealous, narrow-minded, communal and base-born torturous kings; another wave of worldly play had started; again destroyed and again another destruction. This has been the play for a long time out of memory.
To come to the subject, the bone of contention of the world of hygiene which is connected with Yoga of physiological exercises, is diet or food. Diet is a substituting theological or philosophical word for food on the ground that Sages looked upon human beings as great sufferers of misery - a cancerous disease and, hence, they use this word 'diet'. A most sorry state of affairs of the day that there is no or hardly any food or drink which is perfect healthful except water of some places - a fact which is known Naturopaths than any man in the street.
There are at least two reasons which count for such a pathetic state: One is overpopulation and the other is misguiding guidance or commerciality. The rise in population being out of hands of the government of many countries, the production is needed to boo up in order to feed the extra mouths every year. It is impossible to produce more food in a natural way since the soil capacity decreases every year. So, under the compulsion of circumstance inorganic food stuff has made an unrestricted access into the world markets. The result being that a lay man is absolutely unaware I the real nature, character or taste of the real food.
Edibles, thanks to the research of food technologists, loc apparently attractive but produce a highly incurable effect on the human economy. Nowadays cows are being injected to become fat for procuring more meat; the result of such an absolute unintelligent policy has given birth to epidemic diseases among cows leading to a loss of money, perhaps, millions. Readers may have become aware of this fact through newspapers. Adulteration is no more a secret nowadays. It is no matter of the day. The fruits that are sold in most markets of the world are ripened artificially by using a heavy amount of toxic chemicals, especial carbide gas which is used to burn lamps. Injurious insecticides are spread on them against premature damage. So is the case of vegetables.
Cow's milk, the most balanced food, is highly injurious most cases; first of all, the milk is produced artificially for, cow served with the food that is highly chemical. Cows live hardly on green grass - the food that should be given to them. It is, perhaps known to many readers that green grass has been in use by a number of Yogins among whom the name of Durbasaji is well known. Durba or Doorba means green grass. According to media reports, milk is now being manufactured from even animal skin, potato, etc. Such is the state of the food product. According to Srimad Bhagvad Gila, "Man is what he eats". One day I prepared some aubergines but could not eat them on account of its excessive bitterness. I tried giving it to the cow but it also refused to eat it.
However, diseases can be brought to a minimum number only if the dietetic rules are followed as far as practicable, and yoga asanas are practised regularly with patience. Idleness is known to be one of the greatest hindrances of yoga. Everybody should practise yoga keeping an eye to his health. Diet is again, more important than practice of Yoga especially when the object is to uproot a particular disease.
Fast food which is catching up fast with the young generation is also the cause of many diseases. God knows better, how such misguiding ideas crop up in a human mind. The rule of cooking food is that food should be prepared slowly and not fast. It should be cooked on a low temperature. The fire too should be wooden and not gas, electric or kerosene oil which is injurious to health. If a research is done on the nutritive value of both the kinds of food - fast food and the food cooked with wooden fuel, it is sure the former would be proved to be of less nutritive value.
Ignorant people are carried away by advertisements and by repeatedly treading on the wrong path, the wrong path itself is mistaken for the right one. This is Kali Yuga; except love and life, everything seems to be possible by way of money. The wrong paths of human life are looked upon as fashion or an inescapable way of life in some cases. A vast majority of human beings have lost their common sense to look into the affairs of the world in its proper perspective. The reason is non-practice of Yoga and spirituality and, therefore, unveiling of spiritual acumen. Habitual use of heavily artificial or poisonous foods could be another formidable reason for such wrong notions. Despite all these misconceptions, may God bless them. Wrong food is the root biological cause for all the nefarious activities we come across through the mishaps taking place all over the world.
Yoga is an ancient discipline that improves the vitality of the regular practitioner. It is also a therapeutic system, which helps in regulating the production of various enzymes and hormones. It corrects the function of vital organs and strengthens the nervous system and muscles. It has a relaxing effect on the practitioner. In combination with nature cure, it can become a useful healing process.
sophisticated techniques of yoga.
Yoga has been an integral part of our Indian culture from time immemorial. The Asanas and Kriyas, painstakingly evolved by the sages over the centuries, have been perfected to cure a wide range of diseases and also to help maintain a high standard of health. Unfortunately, many have turned a blind eye to their merits, preferring medical treatment for recovery.
Modem society the worldover, is now realising the importance of Yoga, the ancient technique of drugless therapy, after seeing the sufferings of the multitudes, due to the side effects of drugs.
The Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Science (INYS) is endeavouring to create public awareness about this simple and natural therapy to regain and maintain physical and mental health.
Presented in this book are some important Asanas, Kriyas, Pranayama and relaxation methods and comprehensive information about their application and efficacy in treating various diseases. In order to obtain maximum benefit however, Yogic practice must be done under the guidance of a qualified and experienced teacher.
Patience and perseverance should also be exercised to achieve full benefit of Yoga. It is hoped that this book will meet the long-felt need of all those who practise Yoga and create an interest in those who have so far
ignored the therapeutic values of Yoga and help them gain maximum benefit from its practice.
INYS is an institution devoted to the propagation of Yoga and Naturopathy for prevention and cure of various diseases. Naturopathy and Yoga when combined, is a scientific system of medical cure, born out of observing the bio-physiological responses in human beings objectively and intimately. This system utilises and highlights nature's methods of sustenance; repair and healing with minimum interference from the outside forces. At the same time, Yoga being a complete science of life, also contributes vitality to increase the natural process in the body and in combination with Naturopathy, evolves a medical system which can give wonderful results both in case of diseases as well as, a preventive measure.
Every year thousands of patients come to INYS to learn the scientific and therapeutical aspects of Yogic Kriya, Yogasana, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, etc., to overcome a wide-range of diseases maintain perfect health. However, it has been found that after leaving the Institute, these enthusiasts fail to practise Yoga, regularly. It must be remembered that it is by regular practice alone that full benefits of yogic science can be obtained.
The aim of writing this book is not only to remind the inmates regarding the benefits of regular Yogic practices but also to help them increase their understanding that the purpose of Yogic practices is to establish harmony between the body and mind which leads to a healthy and disease-free life.
The basic purpose of yogic management is to ensure greater efficiency in work and a better control over mind and emotions, because the various organs and systems in the body have to carry out their functions with complete coordination and harmony. If any of the organs or system fails to coordinate its functions with others, the whole system becomes imbalanced. Thus in any ailment whether physical or mental, the whole system loses coordination. Ill-health of one system creates ill- health of the other.
A careful study of this book and following the instructions therein will help in reaping the twin benefits of Yoga, a sound mind and a sound body. If the reader takes even one small step in achieving this significant goal, I would deem that the purpose of writing this book has been served.
This book will dispel all false notions about yoga, which for quite some time has been construed as something connected with magic, or has been viewed as a modern craze prevalent in the West.
The complexities of modern life with its stress and strain, have made living a constant source of conflict and tension, leaving man exhaused in body and mind. Pills are not the answer. Nor is just exercise. What man needs to do is relax. This book tells you how.
Pandit Shambhu Nath is a fine product of The Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz, an institute that is devoted for the last 70 years to the popularisation of Yoga in a systematic and scientific way. Persons like Pandit Shambhu Nath who have been associated with The Yoga Institute on its staff for many years can be easily distinguished. Such persons are sincere and dedicated, and it takes just a little while to realize the difference between peddlers of spirituality and pseudo-yogins and genuine teachers of Yoga. When such a missionary teacher of Yoga decides to write a book on his experience of many years, the product becomes significant and intrinsically valuable. It matters little if Pandit Shambhu Nath is not a literary wizard so long as what he writes is useful to and understood by a busy executive, an overworked physician or a tensed-up artist or worker. I am sure this book will be found helpful to the intellectuals who are not acquainted with Yoga but who would like to read and practise something simple that can mean good health, mental tranquility and spiritual poise.
The sophisticated industrial civilisation with its revolutionary and spectacular successes in the realms of the atom as well as outer space is now faced with a value crisis. It witnesses a terrible disintegration of the human personality that results in abnormality, tension, anxiety, boredom and unhappiness in the society. In the most affluent societies of numerous developed countries too, today', material possessions and technology representing the ultimate value of life are proving themselves inadequate, nay, counterproductive. Modern civilisation seems to promise everything except human happiness and peace. There seems to be much greater need today, if mankind is to survive, for the culture of the self which alone can ultimately ensure peace and happiness for the man. Without this, everything achieved materially or externally, as it were, will not only be far from being worthwhile but positively dangerous as well.
YOGA, the science of man-based on our ancient wisdom and culture-has laid down a technology consisting of various psycho-physiological processes for dealing with the body-mind complex. It tries to harmonise and integrate the human personality at all levels and stages of life. It shows the way out of the complexities and problems of life and holds the KEY TO BETTER LIVING
The book presents the psychosomatic yoga technique for tackling all problems of both the mind and the body. It adopts a commonsense and rational approach in re-educating the modem man by giving him the basic guidelines to 'Better Living'. The short and long practical courses of 'Better Living' covering Twelve practices and Twenty-four practices at a time respectively, as a daily routine, have been worked out to give the maximum result in the minimum time through exercises which are not too vigorous or strenuous and are best suited both to the layman and the Sadhak (practitioner of Yoga) equally. These integrated courses have been carefully selected, well investigated and scientifically evaluated through half a century of research work carried out at the Yoga Institute of Santa Cruz Bombay-the pioneering institute dedicated to Yoga education, therapy and research in our country since 1918. These courses have been weIl tried at the institute and have been tested further by the author on thousands of students belonging to all age groups and from varying walks of life at New Delhi, with very encouraging results for the last fourteen years. One can initially take up the first basic "12 BL Course" and after developing a certain amount of flexibility of the spine thereby, one could graduate to the next graded "24 BL Course". Even the first basic course collectively gives one a feeling of freshness, more energy, physical tranquillity and mental peace, besides toning up the body system, solving minor health problems and redressing stress condition. To create in the Yoga aspirant a better understanding and greater appreciation of the subject in its true spirit, each element of Yoga technology is well explained first, followed by practicals under that category-graded from simple to moderately hard ones.
Special features of therapeutic asanas are mentioned with their mani- fold benefits that accrue when we ideally coordinate breathing rhythm with physical movement to derive maximum hygienic advantage from each asana. Economy of time is the principle observed in the selection of these asanas and only the essential ones are covered. Prime importance, how- ever, is given to maintaining the structural integrity of human organism both in health and disease, with the cooperation of the nervous system. Standardised techniques of simple pranayama (breathing process) are included and so also certain yogic hygienic processes made safe enough for the common man. Special psychosomatic practices have been very much emphasized, to learn the art of neuromuscular relaxation and for quietude and stillness of the mind. The aim is that physical-cum-health education must effect the whole person (body-mind-complex) leading to self-control, concentration and mental purity (Chitta Shuddhi). The importance of diet reform from yogic as well as commonsense point of view is covered in recommending a health-promoting, vegetarian, well-balanced diet.
A separate section deals with guidelines on living through the techniques and principles available in Yoga, especially to help the modem man or woman who suffers much too much from psychosomatic problems. These techniques help in promoting greater self-awareness and understanding of self through motivations, value judgement, attitude and behaviour, which lead to a gradual change in one's HABITUALREACTION PATTERN and better control of one's personality. With the help of psychosomatic and pranayama practices and by conditioning the mind and the body, one develops mental poise, serenity and ability to relax at will. All this and much more for self improvement is contained in the book, to enable an individual to become less inhibited and more and more integrated to lead a TENSION-FREE LIFE. It is the Yoga way of life, which, if practised daily, can make our life healthy, efficient, more creative and meaningful. This book will be of special interest and use to Yoga teachers as an aid who want to follow a classroom method of teaching, while being equally useful to the layman and uninitiated.
The book deals with the problems of stress of modern living and provides guidelines for securing release from the bondage of thoughts, feelings and reflexes. The yogic process is essentially psychosomatic. An integrated health-care programme is prescribed in the book. It has been scientifically evaluated and tested for more than two decades and is based on four distinct elements of yoga technology. There are simple meditative postures to bring about inwardness of the mind. Therapeutic asanas are carefully selected for release of tension from the muscular and nervous systems and discomfort from the body. Techniques of simplified pranayamas are included to promote inner peace and cheerfulness.
The book shall prove to be of special value to psychologists, psychotherapists and yoga teachers, overstressed busy executives and overworked physicians who want to seek release from tension and enjoy freedom, happiness and peace in this age of competition, restlessness, anxiety and fear.
This book presents a time-honoured yogic prescription for leading a life without tension. Of immense immediate and practical benefit to people of all ages, it offers an integrated health care course which harmonises one's personality on the physical, mental, moral and emotional levels.
The present trend of thought based on a materialistic philosophy of power, prosperity and pleasure has resulted in a form of sensate culture. Worldly values dominate the modern man, who reacts to stimuli, struggles for self-preservation, self-aggrandisement and self-gratification. This ego-ridden individual seeks freedom and happiness in his nerve-racking hunt after worldly objects in the external world which leads to a life of bondage, misery, worries, insecurity, despair, frustration, disillusionment and doubt. The modem man has sold himself out to gain reputation, personal power, more money, selfish ends; he is caught in a never-ending mad rat- race to meet all kinds of unrestrained needs which wear out, tear out, destroy his vital organs much sooner than before due to his abnormal living habits, strenuous and overstressed life. We overstrain this human machine, and then either the body or the mind breaks down. We disregard nature's warnings. All this leads to disintegration of personalities which is expressed in so many psychiatric and psychosomatic disturbances. At least 72 per cent of diseases in metropolitan cities are psychosomatic diseases or stress related diseases, associated with mental or emotional disturbances.
The modern man needs to be re-educated to find the basis of a healthy and satisfying life, a creative and meaningful life, a life which is tension-free and gives him real freedom, happiness and peace. Yoga, the science of man, based on ancient Indian wisdom and culture, is an art par excellence of living a healthy, balanced, peaceful and contented life. Yoga, being a total integrated system, studies man in his wholeness-body, mind and spirit and is wedded to certain intrinsic principles, ideas, values, attitudes and a way of life for personal and social benefit.
"Yoga suggests an integrated approach to man with the personality-complex (chitta) as the basic factor and treats man as a body-mind complex." If the chitta is to play its larger role today, it is in the field of reintegration and restructuring of man's personality to bring about a qualitative change in him from the ignoble to the noble. The practical system of yoga aims at the psychosomatic discipline, meditation and spiritual consciousness.
This book presents an Integrated Health Care course based on Classical Yoga techniques with its variegated elements of yoga technology for harmonising and reintegrating the individual's personality at all levels of consciousness-physical, mental, moral, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
This Health Care Course has been tested for more than a decade at the Academy of Yoga and Research, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Delhi Branch). It was also applied to patients suffering from anxiety, as an exploratory study in the Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi. The results have been very encouraging and thousands of students belonging to all age groups and walks of life have benefited from it.
Simple therapeutic asanas have been carefully selected, based on the principle of relaxation. These are to be performed following a well-defined pattern of rhythmic breathing for reducing stress. They create a positive feeling, steadiness and comfort.
Standardised techniques of simple pranayamas (breathing process) are included to improve one's breathing, making it harmonious and deep, which has a sedative effect on the nerves and brings about mental equilibrium. Special psychosomatic practices are there to give one a feeling of let go and complete neuro-muscular relaxation. Practices to condition the mind and meditation techniques are prescribed for gaining quietude, stillness of the mind and silence. These help in developing a state of peace and tranquillity. Devotion and surrender to God is of help in meditation - "Be still and know God", says the scriptures. The importance of diet reform from yogic as well as a commonsensical point of view is stresses.
A separate section deals with mental and emotional therapeutics and with the four basic destructive emotions: anger, jealousy, fear and worry, and depression. One can heal the mind by contemplation and thought power. A positive, hopeful, constructive mental attitude has to be cultivated. The right attitude of mind and a belief in a higher benevolent reality are vital in Yoga which gives one courage, confidence, fortitude, steadfastness and strength. All this helps to develop an objective attitude to life and leads to a gradual change in one's habitual reaction pattern, a better control of one's personality and enables one to lead a tension-free life. The book contains useful suggestions and guidance for self-improvement, reflection and understanding of life.
The book will be of special interest to Yoga teachers, counsellers and those suffering from stressful conditions of anxiety and tension and will prove equally useful to the layman and the uninitiated.
It is the purpose of yoga to free the personality-complex from the bondage of thoughts, fielings and reflexes which have accumulated in the subconscious. Only then is it possible for us to have a balanced mind or intellect.
We live in an age of crises. There is a crisis of character and discipline. There is a crisis of faith. There is large-scale erosion of values. There is widespread corruption in all walks of life. At all levels, enforced discipline has totally failed threatening the very fabric of life. The dimensions of the crises make them almost appear civilisational in nature posing a threat not only to all value systems but to life itself.
It is but proper that in such a situation, sensitive and thoughtful people should ponder over the problem and devise ways and means to arrest the rot, rehabilitate the degenerating man, start a process of reconstruction of society, raise the moral tone of the people and the quality of life and enrich life on earth even while the Homo sapiens may be left free to carry on their pursuit for material prosperity and happiness.
Yoga, one of the six systems of Indian philosophy and a part of the ancient Indian mysticism which was passed on from the master to the disciple as a sacred and secret wisdom in the hermitage, represents both the highest goal that man could achieve as well as the instrument through which it could be done. Conceived by the great sages in their quest for self-realisation, it has come to be recognised, during its long travails from the hermitages to the cities, as the science of man, a philosophy of life, a code of conduct, an attitude and an approach, as well as an art of living which is capable not only of ensuring physical well-being, mental peace, harmony, moral elevation and spiritual upliftment of man but also of transforming man from his gross animal existence to the sublime heights of divinity. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, Yoga puts the instruments of evolution itself into the hands of man and thereby makes him an architect of his own destiny, It is a system of self- discipline which is capable of introducing an element of harmony in the life of man, who is torn by conflicts, tensions, greed, avarice, jealousy, hatred, exaggerated ego and the pursuit of material objects. Yoga has a very wide and comprehensive sweep and is multidimensional. Whether it is Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Gyana Yoga, Dhyana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga or any other form of yoga, the emphasis is on the control of mind, the steadying of the mind, subordinating it to the superintellect, the highest consciousness and the claim of the soul. All human actions, whatever be their motivation, are the result of the play of the mind and an unregulated, uncontrolled mind causes pain and even disaster. Yoga, therefore, introduces an insulating element between the mind and action and ensures reasoned action, balance in action, virtuous action and value-oriented action. It is, thus, possible to tame the mind in course of time and keep man on the path of rectitude, purity and good.
It is, however, necessary to bear in mind the dynamic role of yoga as an instrument of evolution and therefore, of growth and development, both material and spiritual. It is also good to remember that the need for equanimity must also be understood not as resignation or acceptance of fate but in its positivistic quality of ensuring fairness and justness in all your dealings and in your numerous relationships and embodying a quality of evenness of temper and a mental balance in the face of the stresses and strains of life. It, however, does not mean insensitivity to the challenges of the modern age. These challenges must, however, continue to agitate our minds so that they are squarely met in an effort to raise the quality of life. The challenges should not disturb the mind but reinforce it, egging it on to better effort and excellence in the field of action as symbolised by the Gila - "Yogas karmasukaushalam".
When we talk of yoga, it must, however, be kept in mind that it is a long and arduous journey calling for perseverance, persistence, dedication and total surrender. There is no instant yoga. It is not a question of merely closing one's eyes or of sitting in a posture. It involves cultivation of attitude and approach to life. It must not only be a philosophy to be imbibed but a practical philosophy which must be lived. It is, therefore, not enough to think of yoga but to do it and to live it in our lives. It is also necessary to understand that yoga is not a substitute formation. Human effort is indispensable. The transformation we talk of is not at the cost of action but it enables us to perform our duties more efficiently, more effectively and honestly.
Man may or may not have a 'mind of his own', he may or may not be able 'to mind' his business in difficult areas of life amidst the pursuit of worldly pleasures, and the play of his sensory perceptions; and may be guilty of , mindless' thoughts, utterances, and actions, and thus may cause pain and misery to himself, his fellow human beings, the other members of the living species, and may even embark on a suicidal course of destruction of life on earth; yet man is man because he has a 'mind', a faculty that nature exclusively bestowed on him in the course of evolution from the animal-like state and thus placed this chosen species at the pinnacle of the earthly system. The divine gift of mind has not, however, been an unmixed blessing. While man has achieved material prosperity, developed scientific and technological skills, and through their intelligent use, accelerated the pace of growth in an attempt to improve the standard of living, if not the quality of life, the mind has at the same time been responsible for widespread misery and pain in life.
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