Ramayan, Hanuman and Sundarkand

The Ramayan and the Mahabharat are the two Itihas, a narration of historical events coupled with the deepest philosophy.

The Mahabharat also contains the Yogshastra Bhagvat Gita, which is a step by step guideline to what you deeply desire. In the Ramayan there is the Aditya Hrudaya stotra which in my opinion is the highly condensed ‘Gita’ of the Ramayan. If you are on the spiritual path, you must listen/ recite this once in a while.

There was a question on the Sundar kand so writing a detailed post on it.

The original Ramayan written by Rishi Valmiki is in Sanskrit  (Devbhasha Samskrutam) and ends with the coronation of Shri Ram. Ramayan means Ramasya ayanah iti Ramayan. It talks about the travels of Ram. It ends when the Rajya-abhishek of Ram as the King of Ayodhya ie Ram’s travels end with this event. The coronation is on the first day of the new year Chaitra Shukla pratipada. The death of Ravan, the King of Lanka, occurs on the last day of the year on Falgun Amavasya. Ram travels back to Ayodhya immediately after Ravan’s death in the Pushpak viman and is immediately crowned King of Ayodhya. The Ramayan ends here.

There are 6 main sections/ Kaand in the original Ramayan.

  • Bala kand has the part of the birth of the main characters and their childhood is described. (It has some interjected stories which were added later and not connected to the main story.)
  • Ayodhya kand – the princes live in Ayodhya, grow up, get married etc.
  • Aranya kand – the first part of the exile of Ram, Sita and Laxman.
  • Kishkindha Kand – Ram and Laxman interact with the Vanars of the kingdom of Kishkindha
  • Sundar kand – Hanuman realises Himself. This section is exclusively related to the activities of Hanuman.
  • Yuddha kand – describes the war between Sri Ram and Ravan, the King of Lanka. Ravan is killed at the end of the war. This section ends with the coronation of Ram as per Rishi Valmiki’s original text. The Ramayan ends with the coronation of Shri Ram as the King of Ayodhya.

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Now about Hanuman. His other equally popular name is Maruti. Maruti indicates his connection to the breath, wind, storms, war, divinity, movement, power, etc.

Maruti has several other names, Anjaneya, Kapish, Vajradehi, Kalanabha, Chiranjeevi, Manojava, Jitendreya, Vatatmaja, Vanar-yuth-mukhya, Ram-doot, Pavan-putra, etc. And because these are all Sanskrit words, each describes some trait of his. To understand the real meaning of Sanskrit words, you have to add intention and the energy of the Akshar. So Maruti is the son of Anjana, the one who was hit on his chin, the king of everything that moves, his body is tougher than lighting, indestructible, the navel of time, the one who exists forever, he is produced by the Mind/Manas, the one who conquers the organs of sense/action, the one concealed in the pran, the leader of the other-dimensional intelligence, the messenger of the ultimate happiness, etc.

Maruti is a ‘Vanar’, this word does not mean a monkey. In Sanskrit, ‘Markat’ is the animal ‘monkey’. So saying that Hanuman was/ is a ‘monkey’ is extremely offensive and demeaning. Vanar is ‘Vansaya narah iti Vanarah’. The ‘Nar’ who are of the ‘Van’. Nar are a class of beings like the Yaksha, Kinnar, Gandharva etc. ‘Van’ is the forest, distant lands, other dimensions, running water, sun-ray, vehicle, residence, desires, abundance etc. A Vanar can be understood as a being from the other dimensions as the simplest meaning. Our human body is composed of all the 5 panchabhoot, Akash, Vayu, Agni, Aap, Pruthvi. The other dimensional beings have other types of bodies composed of differing proportions of the mahabhoot, eg Yaksha have bodies composed of only Akash, Vayu and Agni.

The Ramayan is also a guidebook to self realization. Ravan the anti-hero is an embodiment of the ego, the tremendous and discordant vibrations created by a sense of personal-ego. (In the Mahabharat this role is fulfilled by Duryodhan, ‘the one who is extremely difficult to defeat’.) If you follow the Ramayan as your guide, you will see your self-ego as Ravan in the very last confrontation when you are finally required to destroy it in the highest stages of Dhyan.

So, in all this, who or what is Hanuman?

He is the embodiment of pran, the vital energy flowing in the energy channels/nadi of your pran-mai-kosh body layer. He is also called the Mukhya Pran devata. The energy of the seed of the vital energy. There are 5 different main types of pran, the panch-pran. Pran, Apan, Vyan, Saman, Udaan. Maruti is the combined conscious intelligence of the Panch-pran. You might have seen some images of Hanuman with 5 terrible faces. Now if you do your Dhyan sincerely there will come a time when you will see these the conscious energies of these 5 main types of pran and yes they are very Ugra, terrible and terrifying. The power of pran blasting in your nadis and in the universe around can indeed be terrifying, so you have to do your spiritual practice to prepare yourself.

The objective of every spiritual aspirant is basically to control the movement of pran consciously. To be able to shut down its movements in the rest of the body and to drive it into the Brahmanadi within the Sushumna. Then to guide it with infinite precision through the chakras till it reaches the top. This movement of pran in the Brahmanadi ‘cleans’ it, makes it through so that when the Kundalini starts moving, it can simply move from the Mooladhar chakra to the central Bindu with the Sahsarar chakra in one smooth sweep. This movement of the Kundalini grants Moksh in one stroke.

So to be able to control the pran, you must absorb the energy of Maruti. He is of supreme importance in spiritual practice. Unless you are able to control the pran/ vital energy flowing in your nadi/ energy channels, you cannot get anywhere.

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Now the question I was asked was on doing a Parayan of the Sundar kand.

The Sundar kand is that part of the Ramayan where Hanuman realises his power. He goes through several experiences and events which makes him aware of his reality. This is the reason why doing a Parayan of this section is very helpful. ‘Parayan’ पारायणं is reciting mantras with intention, absorbing the energies completely. The Ramayan is an esoteric text and each verse/ shlok is a mantra. So if you recite the Sundar kand with the intention that you gain the blessing of Maruti you will get it. You will gain the ability to control the pran, so this parayan will benefit the spiritual aspirant. This will also regulate the movement of the pran and bring it to the best possible levels. So if you are ill, or under mental stress, or suffering from negativity, evil eye energy, nightmares, psychic attacks, impending danger etc, all this will be removed. On the material levels too, power, courage, health, ability to win, destroying enemies, finding what you want, success, emotional stability, strength, peace of mind etc will be granted.

Doing the Sundar kand Parayan.

The original Valmiki Ramayan, the Sundar kand is 68 chapters long and is extremely powerful. Sundar kand parayan is an Anushtan, a powerful practice to use the mantra. Ideally a Brahmin is required as there is a specific way of reciting the shloks. But if you wish to do it on your own, this is the basic minimum you should do. The easiest method is this,

  • You start on any any auspicious day. (post here)
  • Get a small image of the deities or a photo. Set it on a small wooden altar in front of you.
  • You will sit on your Asan facing either the north or east direction. And obviously facing the deities image.
  • Begin with a small puja of Shri Ram and Devi Sita. Then do a puja of Maruti. Here you can offer flowers, saffron, sandal-wood, turmeric, incense, light a lamp, do an arti with camphor etc as per what is available in your house.
  • You can blow the Shankh thrice if you have it. Or sprinkle the Ganga water if you have it. Or at least visualise golden/silver aura around you, feel the kindness of the deities surrounding you in a loving cocoon. Recite ‘Jai Shri Ram’, while you are setting up all this.
  • You have to keep a sweet dish/ Naivedya for the deities. Panchamrut is mixing some milk, curd, honey, sugar (khadi-sakhar) and desi cow ghee. Or keep 5 types of fruits. Or 5 pieces of dry fruits, almonds, cashew, dried grapes, dry coconut, apricots, figs etc with some jaggery/sugar. Keep this Naivedya in a silver or glass bowl. (Never use iron/ steel in any form in your pujas.) 
  • Then speak aloud to the deities and tell them briefly why you are doing this parayan. eg for getting well from an illness, for resolution of disputes, or spiritual growth, or just because you love them. This is the Sankalp, the intention, so take a few drops of water in your right palm and drop it to the ground after you finish speaking.
  • Also request that they help you complete the parayan and protect you while this is going on. This request for protection is necessary. As you progress in your parayan, you will accumulate positive energy, your aura will glow like the Sun. Then the souls/entities roaming around trapped in our dimension will come to you and request you to use this energy to set them free. This can manifest as actual problems eg falling ill, or some unexpected event which makes you break the parayan.
  • There are 68 chapters in the Sundar-kand. Ideally you should read it all in one sitting but this is not possible for regular people. So try to recite 6 chapters daily for 11days and finish the remaining 2 chapters on the 12th day. (I think this is a reasonable time frame in which you can manage)
  • The small puja and sweet dish/ naivedya has to be offered on every day you do your parayan. After you finish for the day, eat the sweet dish as a Prasad or distribute it among your close family members.
  • After you finish on the 12th day, thank the deities for the love they have showered on you. Then do a Dhyan, Soham (Sushumna yog) 108 times, relax your mind and absorb the energy of the Sundar kand parayan into yourself.

This is the simplest way you can do your Sundar kand parayan.

Ramayan, Hanuman and Sundarkand

Now the other part of the question which was asked to me.

The actual Ramayan has been simplified and abbreviated into other languages over these thousands of years. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states of India, the commonly used ‘Ramcharitmanas’ is a version in the local dialect called Avadhi. It was written by Tulsidas a few hundred years ago. This version is written in very typical old time language and is a highly abbreviated form of the original Ramayan.

The Sundarkand in the original Valmiki Ramayan is 68 chapters long and in this ‘Ramcharitmanas’ it is a mere 63 verses. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, people think that reading these 63 verses in Avadhi is ‘Sundar kand parayan’. It is not. But then faith and intention is important so even if you recite these 63 verses in Avadhi you will get some benefit. But to answer your question, this is not Sundar kand parayan.

The actual Sundar kand parayan is reciting the 68 Chapters of the original Ramayan written by Rishi Valmiki in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit is the Devbhasha Samskrutam, the words cannot be translated and each word is a mantra, the Shabda-Brahma, the divine Intelligence manifested in perfection. You can try doing the parayan yourself in the highly simplified method as per what I have written above, or you can get it done through a proper Brahmin pandit for the maximum auspicious effects and positive results.

Jai Sri Ram ..

 

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Edit : I got a comment that what should someone do if cannot read Sanskrit? So here is a youtube link to the entire 68 sarga of the Sundarkand. Some kind soul has recited it beautifully in Sanskrit. So listen to it and try to follow what is being recited in your book.
Also buy a book with the Sanskrit text of the Sundarkand. Gita press has the Ramayan in Sanskrit with the Hindi translation. The book is priced at very very affordable rates. And now you may have to do fewer sarga per day depending on the recitation time/ sarga. So your parayan might continue for more days. During this Parayan period you should avoid non-veg, alcohol etc and live a satvik life style to derive the max auspicious benefits. (And later give yourself 10mins daily to learn some Sanskrit at least. It is our mother tongue, post here.)

Bhagwat Gita as Yog-shastra

Yog means union and shastra means a manual, rules, a step-by-step direction. Union of what? Of the body with the soul, of the soul with the Eternal, of karma with the soul, ‘union’ can be quite a wide topic. From the Sadhak’s point of view union means self realisation this is achieved after the union of the Kundalini with the Para-‘unknowable beyond’ Moksh.

There are several Gita-s. The Bhagwat Gita is recited by Krishna in the Mahabharat, it is in Sanskrit – Devbhasha Samskrutam. It is fundamentally an Advaita experience. The first commentary i.e. Bhashya on the Bhagwat Gita is written by Adi Shankaracharya. In fact before he wrote his Bhashya, the Bhagwat Gita was not very popular, as its real nature is extremely esoteric. This Bhashya clearly establishes the Gita to be a manual for attaining Sadyo-mukti i.e. experience Advaita/ Non-duality. This Bhashya is obviously written in Sanskrit. Most of us have lost touch with our real mother-tongue Sanskrit. Then the more recent commentary ‘Pranab-Gita’ originally in Bengali and available in Hindi was written some 150 yrs ago. Some of us can read these languages so this is very valuable. It also about Advaita. Read these commentaries if you want to understand what the Gita really means. Else read the actual Gita in Sanskrit. Even now in traditional Indian schools, the children are required to learn by heart the actual Gita shlok/verses. Even if you do not understand it, the original Sanskrit will go deep within and trigger changes.

Dhrutarashtra Uvacha, ‘Dharamkshetre Kurukshetre Samaveta Yuyutsavah, Mamakah Pandavashchaiva Kimakurvata Sanjay’.

The first verse of the Bhagwat Gita starts with ‘Dharma-kshetrae Kuru-kshetrae’. Now what is this really, the physical battle-ground? Perhaps yes, when you were a child and your Grandmom told you stories from the Mahabharat. But not anymore. You are a sadhak now, the meaning is different for you.

A quick re-cap. You are familiar with the energy structure of your body. There are 6 chakra, linked to your back, from the base of the spine to the center of the eyebrows, Muladhar, Swadhisthan, Manipur, Anahat, Vishuddhi, Ajnya. Then there are the six chakras in the head, Mula, Vama, Jeyshtha, Raudri, Sahasrara and the Bindu. The Kundalini is the energy of self-identification locked at the Muladhar chakra and it is supposed to reach the top-most chakra complex of Sahasrara+Bindu. Thus you achieve self-realisation or Moksh.

You also know about the 24 Tattva-s of creation. These are Prakruti, Mahat-buddhi, Ahamkar, Manas, the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action, the 5 panch-bhoot/ elements and the 5 tan-matra/ perceptions. I have written about these in my earlier posts. This is how your individual soul is created and the differentiated from other souls.

All this energy now forms your energy body and this is the Kshetra.

You know that there are the three Gun, Sattva, Raja and Tama. You, your body and mind are animated by the movements of these Gun. These three Gun are represented by the top-most triangle of the Shri-yantra. Now these three pervade throughout the energy body animating it. Their action divides the Kshetra into 3 parts.

The first part is the Karma-kshetra or simply Kuru-kshetra. ‘Kuru’ in Sanskrit means to act eg ‘kim kuru?’, means ‘what to do?’. So Kuru-kshetra means the ‘field of action’. This is composed of the 11 tattvas ie the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action and the Manas. This area is dominated by the Raja and Tama Gun. This part is connected to the actions related to the external world. You sense things, you see, smell, taste, etc. You also move things with your hands, legs and reproduce, create children etc. All this stuff is connected with the external world. These are infinite actions created by infinite permutations and combinations of these tattvas and animated by the Raja-Tama Gun-s in combination. The mind/ Manas is more dominant in this region and it decides what actions are to be taken.

Kundalini and the Shatchakra

Then next part of the energy body is the Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. This is composed of the Sushumna which extends from the Muladhar chakra to the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 lower chakras. This part of the energy body is controlled by the Ajnya chakra. Your individual soul resides in the Ajnya chakra. The Bhagwat Gita starts with this word and the first verse/shlok describes this region. This is the real battle-ground of the spiritual aspirant.

This region is dominated by Satva-Raja Gun-s. The lowermost area near the Muladhar chakra is pervaded more by the Raja-gun and the upper areas near the Ajnya chakra is more Satvik. This is the reason why starting spiritual practice is so difficult. The Raja dominated lower chakras, i.e. Muladhar and Swadhisthan, do not allow the mind to focus, there is always movement. These lower chakras are linked more to the field of action ie the Kurukshetra, so are susceptible to greater interference from the tattvas. The gross body moves, the pran moves and the mind also moves under the influence of external forces and it takes significant mental force to still them. Raja means movement. But if you persevere and battle it out here, your body and mind both start getting still and more sookshma/ subtle or fine. Later, things ease out as you approach the Satva dominated upper regions.

The Satva and Raja are in equilibrium at the Manipur chakra. This chakra is the location of the samaan vayu. It is when you reach this chakra that the Kundalini actually starts getting aware. Reaching the 10 petalled lotus of the Manipur is the crucial point in your sadhana. In the Gita this stage is described as the fall of Bhishma, which takes place on the 10th day of the war.

In this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region the mind/ Manas and the individual soul/ Jivatma both operate. Your individual soul along with the mind together have control over the actions of this region. Here the 5 subtle perceptions, tanmatra reside. Also the 5 -bhoot, the conscious parts of the earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the subtle tattva-s. These move outwards and power the sense organs and the organs of action. But when these subtle tattva-s turn inwards they illuminate the real self. If you consciously act here you can influence your mind as well as soul. This happens when you do your Dhyan with pure Om or either of the ajapa mantra-s Soham or Hamsa. Thus is the paramount importance of this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region.

If the aspirant wishes to realise himself, he has to fight the battle here in Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. The tendencies of the Mind fight the tendencies of the Intelligence. The mind and the creations of the mind attack, there is no other word, they really attack, these are the armies of the Kuru.

The aspirant stills the flow of breath by pranayam, thus the flow of pran also starts getting regulated. Then pran is made even finer, ie extreme control over the movement of the pran is achieved. Thus you make this thinnest pran move in a controlled way into the Sushumna. While you are doing this the mind located in the Ajnya chakra also is required to be made still. These things happen simultaneously and spontaneously.

How do you thread a needle? It is the same concept, but here the thread/pran is a million times thinner. You cannot see it with your physical eyes. The eye of the needle is in fact a super-thin tube twisted and re-twisted in complicated knots. You are required to push your pran-thread through all these twists. It requires super-intense focus. Another problem is that you really don’t have the thread-pran available. Pran is being distributed by the Ajnya chakra to the entire body! Your thread is frayed! So first you have to collect the pran at one point. All this happens gradually as you do regular Dhyan. (My Guru, his Guru, his Guru-brothers all are very clear on this, if you do your Dhyan regularly as it should be done, you will achieve your goal within 2 yrs.)

And, the last part of your energy body is the Dharma-kshetra. This extends from above the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 chakras of the head. This is the region of the Para. This is also called the Bindu Mandala of Shri-Vidya. Here the Satva-Tama Gun dominate. There Raja-Gun does not push things out of equilibrium. Here things are still, stable. The topmost Bindu is the abode of the Para in your own body. The residence of the Bhairav of Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. Dharma also means the right foundation. This region is neutral in nature. If you reach this level in your Sadhana you move onwards by the inexorable pull of your own Self. Things don’t get easier but the pull is stronger. It is Sahaj/ spontaneous.

The Gita is highly esoteric. It took an entire post to write about just ‘Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra’ and I haven’t even touched 5% of its reality. So read the original Sanskrit Gita, or the Bhashya by Adi Shankaracharya or the Pranab-Gita. For the real Sadhak there is no other option. Any other ‘translations’ of the Gita are ok for the beginner levels but are extremely misleading for the real aspirant. A commentary is only as good as the person who wrote it. A person who has actually practiced and experienced the Gita a Yog-shastra, is an authority, none other.

Every story in Sanatan Dharm aka Hinduism is about the Kundalini its movement and your eventual Moksh. Every single story. There are 3 very valuable books which detail the step by step process on Dhyan and spiritual progress. I keep these with me always for reference because these also describe what happens when you do practice.

  1. Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra
  2. Bhagwat Gita
  3. Devi Mahatmya or Durga Saptashati

The first is a clear precise manual. The other two are written as allegory-stories, but are quite understandable if you know Sanskrit. And they all describe the same thing. The words may be different but they ultimately mean the same.

Vishvam-aatma vinirgatam’. Creation has emerged out from the Singular Atma. A real sadhak does not worship a specific ‘deity’. Hinduism has several gods, goddesses, deities and energies which are worshipped. This is necessary for the initial steps into Sadhana. But a genuine aspirant does not worship a ‘form’, he is an Atma-sadhak, an aspirant of the Self. His goal is Sadyo-mukti. He desires to know himself completely, aatma-pratishtha, and is determined to attain Brahma-sthiti the stability of the Self.

 

Kundalini and the Shatchakra

 

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Everyone knows about the Surya-namaskar sequence. This is a Yog-Asan, yogic posture which we all should perform everyday from the age of 6yrs onwards regularly. It is the right of every human to be healthy and this Yogasan is the foundation of your life-time health. Here I list out things which will add energy to your practice.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Use the power of the rising Sun. Do your Surya-namaskar in the early morning, facing the east. Looking at the rising sun is ideal. If your house has a balcony do it there, where fresh air can touch your body. Or in a park? Or at least open the windows of your room so that fresh air can touch your body/mind. Now we live in cities so seeing the rising sun may not be possible. So on the East wall of your room, put a nice photo of the rising Sun, your favourite deity, source of faith, Shri yantra? or at least paint that wall in light yellowish-orangish, the color of the radiant rising Sun. This will give your mind an object to concentrate on. Gradually will give you the ability to silence the mind’s continuous chattering and increase your mental strength/ability.

You will need a flat horizontal non slippery surface. A cotton mat is traditionally used, but you should use whatever you are comfortable with. Wear minimum possible cotton clothing. Ensure that the clothes do not interfere with the body’s freedom of movement. Do not eat, empty stomach is necessary.

A set of 10 yogic postures = 1 Suryanamaskar. Start with 3 sets daily and increase 1 set per week. Maximum is 108 sets, do not increase beyond that. Doing 108 sets will take about 1hr 15 mins which is not realistic in today’s life. So fix some figure in your mind, as a maximum of 27 or 54, but do it everyday.

This is a complete physical exercise, a spiritual exercise and a pranic exercise. You strengthen your entire body from the head to the feet and the tips of your fingers. You improve your sensory organs. You make all the fluids in your body move. You will increase the volume, quality and regular flow of pran in your nadis. And finally you strengthen your mind and will power.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are doing 3 things here.

  1. Exercising your physical body in a series of 10 interconnected yogic postures. You are using the muscles of your entire body. As the muscles work effectively they positively influence the other organs near them. So muscular health is essential for complete body health.
  2. Exercising your pran/vital energy movements in your naadi strucutre by a fixed sequence of breath in and breath out sequence. Each of the 10 postures is linked to either exhale or inhale, and the entire sequence goes fluidly. Simple logic is when you extend the body you inhale and when you contract the body you exhale. Always breathe through your nose, never open the mouth. First focus on getting the muscular movement perfectly, the breath will automatically sync later. The sync comes slowly with practice. (Ideally the 10 postures of the Surya namaskar are performed in 3 complete breaths!)
  3. Adding the power of Surya mantra to all this. There are a set of 10 mantra-s, one for each yogic posture in the sequence. This is the real power of the Yog-asan. Breathing without a mantra makes the whole thing tamasic. You will get excellent physical body but no spiritual benefit. Something like musclebound gym-crazy young men who do not ‘sparkle’ with ‘inner light’. You should add the mantras to the postures after you have got the muscle movement and the breath sync. Maybe after 1-2 months.

 

I searched the internet videos for the correct version of the Surya namaskar, it is this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt9eeXo5YPk  From 4:41 sec to 5:25 sec is the ideal Suryanamaskar sequence of the 10 postures. Except that there is no requirement to hold the ‘downward dog’ position for 5 deep breaths as he mentions. The entire Suryanamaskar continues in a fluid sequence of 10 postures, no ‘holding’ any pose. In the video the young man is in superb physical condition and is a teacher himself so don’t feel disheartened!

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are exercising for yourself and not competing with the young man in the video. I have seen people get enthusiastic about exercise and then in a few days they get demotivated and never exercise again. The fault is with the trainers.

  • Always remember, exercise should be in proportion to one’s own strength.
  • It should be regular and continuous to be of benefit. You do only 3 sets per day, but do them. They will not be perfect, it is ok.
  • Exercise should be within your physical limit, ie after doing it you should feel refreshed and energetic not tired out. If you are feeling tired, reduce the intensity or the duration.
  • Don’t compare yourself to your younger self. (I used to go to the gym for 2 hrs everyday in my 20s. At the age of 29yrs I looked like a 17yrs old often confusing people. Now I can’t do that much exercise. Accepted!)
  • You are not perfect in your practice now, but you are doing it regularly that is most important.
  • At the beginning of this ‘body/mind reconstruction exercise’, there is bound to be some discouragement and pain as unused muscles are forced to move. But this has to be gone through.

So practice slowly at your own pace, regularly, don’t get lazy after all this, it is just for 5 mins! Suryanamaskar are done quite slowly at first. First you have to get the physical movements correct. When you practice slowly, you will know which part of your body is under strain. When you change posture which bones creak. And slow movements will help this straining creaking body parts gradually build strength. You are doing this for yourself.

Then the mind. While doing the sets, do not let your mind wander. Your mind as well as body need discipline. You have to focus on the Sun and on your own body. Look at the Sun with your eyes. Intend that the energy of the Sun enters your body parts which are moving. We want increased pran moving in the body, this is possible only by the power of the focussed mind. As you breathe in visualise gold/silver energy entering you, energising you, making you one with the Sun. This is also an exercise for the mind.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

 

Now the mantra. Before beginning your practice you are required to recite this out loud, ‘Om Hraang Hreeng Hroung sah Suryaya namah”. Or as the second option, “Om Mitra Ravi Surya Bhanu Khaga Pushna Hiranyagarbha Marich Aditya Bhaskarya namah Om”. Speaking aloud, voice is very important. When you speak these words you are exercising your vocal cords and setting the tone for your entire exercise. Breathe deeply a few times. This you can do from the first day itself.

Then these ten basic mantra are to be recited in your mind, once per posture, these are,

  1. Om Mitraya namah
  2. Om Ravaye namah
  3. Om Suryaya namah
  4. Om Bhanave namah
  5. Om Khagaya namah
  6. Om Pushnaye namah
  7. Om Hiranyagarbhaya namah
  8. Om Marichaye namah
  9. Om Adityaya namah
  10. Om Bhaskarya namah

Add these mantras to your posture and breath only after you have gained confidence, maybe 1-2 months later. Don’t complicate things for yourself at the start. If you have no faith in Sanskrit and Mantra, do not recite them. But a Yog-asan done without a mantra remains tamasic, it gives only physical strength no inner fire. So you will have to at least intentionally recite So-ham. ‘So’ mentally as you breathe in and ‘hum’ mentally as you breathe out. So-ham is also a mantra.

So start in whatever slow imperfect way you can, it will take only 5 mins of your time initially. Evaluate yourself after 21days. After this self-motivation will come in. And in a few months you won’t believe the change this will bring in you. Perfection comes with regular practice. (If you are already physically damaged or ill, do consult your healthcare professional before doing them. These are quite strenuous and vigorous movements.)

Now for women. Women must perform Surya namaskar. In Indian cities, you see young women in severely unhealthy states. If the woman is physically/ mentally /spiritually ill, the entire house suffers. She is the centre around which our families and our societies both revolve. If she is healthy the nation will be healthy. Surya namaskar is the ideal three-in-one way to remain forever fit. Women go through two physically challenging events in their lives, one at the age of 12yrs as the monthly cycle starts and then at the age of 51yrs when it stops. Also the monthly 5day cycle is physically exhausting. As the girl-child starts Surya-namaskar at the age of 6yrs and continues for a life-time she will never face any problems related to this aspect of the female life ever. It is a guarantee.

Women are exempted for the 5 days of their monthly cycle, they should rest. During pregnancy the practice has to be stopped. But she should not break her habit of standing before the rising Sun. Mantra-s can be recited. Some light warm-up stretching types of movements recommended for pregnant women can be done. After delivery do not perform Surya-namaskars for 3 months. After this, if the medical professional agrees, can start with 3 sets and gradually increase.

Suryanamaskar are the complete exercise for your mind body and soul. You will discipline your body, your breath and your mind over time. Give yourself these 5-10 mins daily and see the change in yourself as you draw in the energy of the Rising Sun into yourself.

Part 2 continued here.

 

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

 

Secrets of your Shadow Chhaya Sadhana

I am sure as a child you must have enjoyed playing with shadows. In a dark room with a single candle making imaginative shadow shapes with your hands? Or in the evening, making shadow shapes on walls with your friends. Those were good uncomplicated times. Today’s kids wouldn’t have even seen their shadows. They are in school the whole day! Sometimes I wonder if they suffer from Vit D deficiency?

Now shadows. When I was a child, it was an enjoyable pass-time to stare at the shadow for a minute, we would purposely stand in scary poses with arms raised and all. And then look in the sky and see the large shadow/after-image looking back at you. An enjoyable scare perhaps and it felt like magic. Now imagine my surprise when I grew up and read in a book that this is actually a spiritual practice and is called ‘Chaaya Sadhana’!

Secrets of your Shadow Chhaya Sadhana

Chhaya छाया is a Sanskrit word and means shade, play of light or color, resemblance, reflection, blending colors, reflected image, etc. One of the two wives of the Sun is named Chhaya the other is Sanjana (Also called Sandhya or Usha).

  • These four names have much deeper meanings. Sanjana means the connecting point between the two. To know what these ‘two’ mean you should start your spiritual practice. Sandhya is the joint, if you can find your way out from this Creation maze, it is from here. Usha is the aura of the internal Sun. Chhaya is the reflection of the internal Sun which you see at your third eye.
  • And in common usage, Usha is the light we see before sun-rise, ie, morning twilight. And Chhaya is the light that we see at evening twilight.

Sadhana साधना means accomplishment, performance, diligent practice, to propriate, to worship, to adore, to subdue, to find the solution to the conflict, establishing the truth, the agent, the reason, the means, the materials, the perfection etc.

Not much is written about Chhaya Sadhana but there are couple of books in Sanskrit on Swar-yog in which it is mentioned. The basic practice is as follows,

  • Get your Sushumna active first. Either by doing pranayam or shift the nadi physically. Later you can shift the nadi just with your conscious intention. If your Pingala is active when you do your practice your mind will not be able to concentrate. And if your Ida is active when you do your practice your body will face some discomfort in sitting/standing for so long. So Sushumna should be active when you are doing any mind-focussing practice.
  • Stand in the morning sunlight, about 1hr after sun-rise. The light should not be too intense and the skies should be clear. Wear light/thin clothes. (Yogis do it wearing the basic minimum)
  • Stand with your back at the sun so that your shadow falls straight in front of you either on the ground or on a wall. Remember that the shadow should be seen in its entirety.
  • Stand, straight arms at your sides and focus at the neck of the shadow.
  • Mentally recite the mantra “Hreeng Parabrahmane namah” ह्रींग परब्रह्मणे नमः 108 times. You already know how to count on your fingertips so be precise with this count. This will take 3 mins max.
  • Now close your eyes, put your hands over your eyes so that it is dark. (technically a Mudra is performed here, but it is not for beginners). You should see the after image of your shadow in your closed eyes. Here the shadow gets projected on your third eye chakra. Be in this pose for 2-3 seconds.
  • Open your eyes and look into the clear blue sky. The after image of the shadow will be superimposed in the sky. Now you will use this image to analyse yourself.

Secrets of your Shadow Chhaya Sadhana

If you are already doing some spiritual practice (mantra with the breath), you will see the shadow’s after image as it should be seen within a few days. If you are starting from nil, it might take upto 6 months.

The books say that the following are the interpretations.

  • Left upper arm absent: misfortune to the spouse
  • Right upper arm absent: misfortune to a close friend
  • Both arms absent: misfortune to some close relative
  • Head missing or the entire shadow is very faint: one’s death can occur soon
  • Any other body part missing: personal misfortune or illness of that part
  • An elongated body part can indicates good fortune.

The colour of the image

  • A completely black or dark blue image – personal misfortune
  • A yellow image – personal illness
  • A red image – mental stress and deep rooted mental problems
  • Many colours mixing together –  development of intuition and good progress in spiritual practice.

First on what is actually happening when you concentrate your mind like this on your own shadow. You can do this on clear full moon nights also when the moon is bright enough to cast a shadow. It becomes an even more powerful experience on such nights. But first practice it in daylight, else you might end up scaring yourself at night. Any sadhana requires complete control over mind and body, but it doesn’t come in one day, but keep practicing regularly, most of the things I write about take very little time. If you choose to do this sadhana, it will take 5 mins of your time, no more, but everyday.

The combination of the mantra and the shadow and the sun/moon light creates a stillness in the mind. As the mind goes still, it sees beyond the simple light-shadow. It now sees the ‘shadow’-image cast by the movement of pran in your body. The shadow is something like a ‘photography negative’ of the body. When you are seeing the shadow on the wall, then seeing it at your third eye and then seeing it projected on the backdrop of the blue skies you somehow make it a ‘positive’ image again. Basically you see your pran-mai-kosh. If the pran/vital energy is not moving properly in a particular part of the body, it will cause illness there. So if the shadow looks thinner or vanishes from a body part you should be careful. Do healing on that part.

As far as the predictions from the book go about the misfortunes/ death I haven’t experienced such severe misfortunes (thankfully!) like these till date. But yes if the shadow gets ‘thinner’ for some body part I do feel pain. e.g. I tore the ligaments of the knee, that shadow-part got slightly ‘thinner’. You can correlate this with your body’s aura reading too, it will match. But the predictions apart, it is a very uncomplicated exercise which helps the mind expand.

You are superimposing your shadow-self on the skies. Can you understand this statement? You are linking your pran-mai-kosh to the Sky, to the Limitless. This exercise increases the pran flow in your body, both the quality of pran as well as the smoothness of the pran flowing in your nadis. The sky is a wonderful thing. Do you even turn your face up and look at the sky? Do so. Clear blue uninterrupted blue, limitless. All the pran/vital energy of the Universe just there looking back at you. Just looking at the clear blue skies balances the Saturn of your horoscope, makes your karmic leads easier to bear, Forget the esoteric, this uplifts the mind, relaxes it and wipes off looping thoughts from your psyche.

If you continue this exercise, you will be able to experience not only the pran-mai-kosh but also progressively the Mano-mai-kosh, Vidnyan-mai-kosh and the Anand-mai-kosh. Ultimately this will also lead to Samadhi and the ultimate knowledge of the Soul.

(There are other uses of this practice too. I had written in a post about the real tantriks being able to create a shadow to go and do their work. This is one of the ways of creating such a shadow. But after you learn how to use it, you have to be very much in control of your emotions and reactions to others. This is your sub-conscious you are harnessing. eg your boss scolds you, you are deeply hurt, sad. Your subconscious thinks it is a serious attack on you and sends off the shadow to attack the source of your pain, your boss!)

As a kid, playing the ‘shadow game’, I never knew that I would be doing this as an Chhaya Sadhana when I grew up! Indeed every action you do, leads you towards your Self. It has been quite helpful too, so once in a while do check up your shadow. It is also a good way to soak up some extra sun-rays. It might sound very simple and childish, but it is a very powerful and full-fledged spiritual practice in its own right. It alters your perceptions of Time, Space and pulls you on your road to yourself.

Secrets of your Shadow Chhaya Sadhana

 

 

(Whatever I write about is obviously from some text or the other, I do not claim that originality. Whatever could be written about, all Tatva-gnyan, all Sadhana, ie all knowledge and all practices possible have been written down by our ancient Seers/Maha-Rishi. But yes, the experience which I had from practicing them is my own. So practice yourself and experience your own too!)

(A small update: Dad read this post, rolled his eyes and told me that there is a Chhaya-Jyotish too. The length of the shadow is measured and there are conclusions drawn from it. I asked him for the formulae, he said will give me the reference book if he still has it. So many aspects of Jyotish are vanishing in these modern times!)

 

Health tips from Swar yog

Swar means the the tone, sound, voice, air breathed through the nostrils, 7, etc. ‘Swar yog’, means the conscious power of the vital energy/pran that you are pulling in with your breath. Your pran is your best friend. Now if you are able to use this power consciously you will not only progress on your spiritual path but also live a happier, healthier physical life.

Spiritual growth is everyone’s right. There are several paths which suit people of different temperaments but the destination remains the same. Broadly the paths are of two types Tantra and Yog. Yog is to wilfully avoid the physical experience and focus only on the core inner practice. Tantra is to experience everything with awareness, thus remain immersed but yet apart, ultimately transcending it all. Both require complete control over the mind and the body.Swar yog is analysing the quality of your breathing and recognising the rhythm of the pran that you are pulling in. You adapt your behaviour/actions as per the power of the pran. It is different from Pranayam. Pranayam is controlling pran and then using it.

Health tips from Swar yog

There are 3 swar, and they flow through the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna in a rhythmic pattern.

For perfect health, Ida and Pingala must alternate approx every hour or 1.15 hrs. Both should be open for equal durations. And during the point when they change, the Sushumna should active for 2-3 minutes. i.e. one nostril will feel alternately blocked and then for 2-3 minutes both will feel open. If this is rhythmic then it means that the brain is being utilised equally. If this is not happening in regular rhythm, the body/mind will fall ill, i.e. one part of the brain is over-stressed. If the Left nostril/Ida is open for more time it means a problem which has its source in the mental processes. If the Pingala/right nostril works more than is should there is an imbalance in the flow of vital energy/pran in the physical body and you will fall seriously ill within the next 6 months. You can time your Ida/Pingala durations and if there is a problem address it by consciously shifting the swar (refer post here). Eg. Digestive problems, respiratory problems, impotency, ‘cold’ linked problems are linked to excessive Ida flow. Pingala over-active means problems related to heat, ulcers, acidity, muscle pains, high blood pressure etc. (This post on nature of medical problems)

When you sleep at night, try sleeping on your left side, this will keep the body warm and resolve digestive/respiratory problems. If you are feeling cold, or suffering from ‘cold’ related ailments, sleep more on your right side till the ailments sort out. Sleeping on the back for extended periods is not advisable.

 

The flow of Swar is linked to weather too. If the weather is hot dry, Pingala flows more. In cold rainy weather Ida is more dominant. The Indian season/Rutu ‘Sharad’ is the best as the Swar cycle is best balanced during these two months. When the Sun is in the odd signs, Pingala tends to dominate. And when the Sun is the even rashis, Ida tends to work more. There is a very intimate link between Jyotish and Swar. Especially when you get clients for Prashna kundali, you are required to be aware of your personal swar movement. A lot of your answers can be given from this itself.

For women in the reproductive age group, the swar cycle is unbalanced for the first 3 days of the monthly cycle. Sushumna works more or a combination of Sushumna/Ida overpowers Pingala. The body gets tired and you simply droop. So take rest during these days. From the 4th day of the cycle the swar rhythm somewhat regularises. Always remember if your Swar cycle is disrupted for more than 3 days be alert as you might fall ill soon.

For simple illnesses you can try this simple technique. e.g you have a sudden headache, check which nostril is active and immediately change it to the other one. You will feel relief. If you are getting feverish, close down the Pingala nadi and activate the Ida, your fever will go down. It always works.

Health tips from Swar yog

Now, you can easily check which nostril is active, one will feel ‘open’ and the other ‘blocked’. You can also blow on a mirror. Have you ever checked how your exhaled breath looks like? So take a mirror, keep it 2 cms away from your nose and exhale normally. Look at the shape formed on the mirror. If your Ida is active, left side of the exhaled moisture will be larger, if Pingala is active then the right side will be larger and if the Sushumna is active both halves will be equal. If you keep track of the shape of the exhaled air over time, things can get more interesting.

The five-elements, the Pancha-Bhoot, are also active in the body in a particular rhythm and their activity is reflected in the shape of your exhaled air! If you are already doing some spiritual practice you will be able to instantly see these shapes. Spiritual practice controls the mind so the flow is smoother, so the shapes are more defined. Else you will have to practice something and then observe the shapes and study them for a couple of months. The five cycle in a fixed manner through the Swar cycles. Some practical uses,

Akash tattva in the Swar – small scattered dots. Happens only for 4 minutes so you might not see this pattern in your study. Its significance is limited to spiritual practice. Relax, take a few deep breaths, enjoy the inner nothingness. If you attempt any physical/mental activity during this period, you will be unable to focus. If by a rare chance Akash occurs when Sushumna is active (max 30 secs). You can bless/curse, do any spiritual practice, read any chart, intuition/power is extraordinarily high.

Vayu tattva in the Swar – oval shaped exhalation, for 8mins. Agitated situations so if you act without thinking you will get unexpected results. But if you act with balance and self-focus, this will work.

Tej tattva in the Swar – a triangular shaped exhalation. Occurs for 12 mins. This period gives mental agitation. Keep your opinions to yourself do not get into arguments. Keep away from sharp objects, you might hurt yourself.

Prithvi tattva in the Swar – The mirror is covered by the exhaled moisture as large amount of moisture is created. This continues for about 20mins, so you will see this pattern most commonly. Do some material type of work during this period, plan, think about something permanent physical thing. If you want to work on your health, take medicines or self-healing this is the perfect time.

Aap tattva in the Swar – this exhalation is seen as a half-moon shape. Occurs for 16mins. Things done during this period give immediate but changeable results. So do some actions which require movement.

Health tips from Swar yog

So use your Swar. Sanatan Dharm/Hinduism is about practice and studying the self. You have to be aware of yourself. There is no pill which will do this for you, you have to do it for yourself.

Here is the easiest thing you can do. Be aware of the physical inhaling/exhaling. Whenever you get even one minute free at home or at your work, do this. Mentally recite ‘So’ as you breathe in and mentally recite ‘hum’ as you breathe out. You might think to be very silly and childish. But this simplest thing has the power of the Ultimate. Doing this you will remain aware of your breath. This is the first step which leads on to control of the mind. Ever seen a monkey’s behaviour? The mind is just like that monkey, always looking around, always agitated, picking up objects discarding them, jumping around for no reason, aimless but oh so very busy. This simple 1 minute So-hum is reining in your mind, one minute at a time. Do this for 21days and see the difference in yourself.

Modern ‘biorhythms’ are nothing but a crude version of Swar yog. Take care of your mind/body is these are the vehicles through which you exist on this earth. Being aware of the flow of the Ida/Pingala/Sushumna, the Swar is the first step to permanent health.

 

Health tips from Swar yog

 

Using your dreams to improve your health

There are four stages of existence, when you are awake, in deep sleep, in the dreaming state and the last one is the Turiya, the indescribable. Generally all of us experience the first three stages every day of our lives. Reality exists in all these  three states of existence. Neither of them is more ‘real’ than the other. In fact the spiritual texts consider the awake state to be a Dirgha swapna, an extended dream!

Dreams have always fascinated us, it is almost magical that we go to another world as we sleep. Most of us see 5-6 dreams every night. These are the ordinary dreams triggered by whatever you were doing during the day or what was on your mind as you went to bed. If your mind was in turmoil or emotions were agitated or you were more into material/sensual things, your dreams would be haphazard and disconnected. Or you might see too many dreams, thus disturb your rest cycle. (Your body/mind/soul rejuvenates only during the deep sleep/sushupti phase.) If you have had a peaceful relaxing day and were contented as you went to bed, your dreams would be less troublesome and you will experience more deep sleep time.

Using your dreams to improve your health

 

Dreams are special as you are both the actor and the audience. You feel the emotions of only the actor. You feel like/dislike and attraction/repulsion while acting out your dream. But as the spectator you are merely the witness. Thus the ancient Rishis considered the dream phase as an important component for creating the Sakshi-bhav, the mind-set of the Witness. If you can bring this witness-mind-set into your waking state too you have achieved your spiritual goal.

Your dreams are dependent on your personal nature and inclinations. If your mind has achieved steadiness you get prophetic dreams of events to come. People who do regular spiritual practice often get guidance in such dreams. You can see significant events from your past/parallel lives which have a bearing on your present situation. Sometimes you can see your past life’s self telling you what to do. Your sub-conscious mind can give you creative or intuitive hints during dreams. The dreams seen early in the morning are the most useful of the lot. This time before sunrise is called the ‘Brahma muhurt’ and is extremely auspicious. Your ancestor spirits often communicate via dreams. If you are exceptionally spiritually inclined, you can see deities or your source of faith in your dreams. In the Indian context seeing dreams of Rishis or Gurus is very auspicious. Often you will be given valuable guidance in such dreams.

If you can control your mind you can also control your dreams. If you have achieved this you can complete significant karma in this way. Then you take on the role of the puppeteer as you direct your actor/puppet self in the dream scenes. The potential of dreams in this respect is limitless.

You mind plays games with you. If you analyse the working of your mind, you will realise that your mind does only two things 1) Imagine and 2) Discriminate. An out of control mind prefers to ‘imagine’ more than ‘discriminate’. e.g. your boyfriend has vanished, phone unreachable. You wonder why. You think he has ignored you. You start feeling hurt. You get upset. You waste your mental energy. You don’t feel like eating dinner. You meet him the next day and he tells you that he was at the hospital because his grandmom fell ill. You are concerned and you both talk normally. Things are rosy and you feel in-love again! But do you appreciate that you let your mind drive you nuts just because it ‘imagined’ things?

 

Using your dreams to improve your health

Keeping your mind in control starts with not letting it run wild imagining things, but forcing it to discriminate, analyse logically.As per Ayurved, the science of life and the living, there are three tendencies of the mind and body, called Pitta, Vaat and Kapha. Each one has one of these in excess again depending on our horoscopes. You would be surprised to know that your dreams are also linked to these, if you have dreams of light/fire you are pitta dominant. You will experience ‘heat’ in your dreams. If it goes out of balance completely you dream horrifying scenes and your forehead can get hot. If you body is Vata dominant at that time, you will see scenes with sky, winds, flying in space. If you tend towards the Kapha your dreams will be of water bodies. An easy way to balance out your Kapha-Pitta-Vaat is this. If you know from your dreams that one of these is out of balance. Then for one minute before you go to sleep do this tiny thing, Sit comfortably, back and neck straight. Close your eyes, focus at your third eye/ajnya chakra and visualise the following.

  1. A red dot – Pitta dosha will be balanced
  2. A black dot – Vaat dosha will be balanced
  3. A white dot – Kapha dosha will be balanced.

In terms of the vital energy, the udan pran is responsible for vivifying the subconscious mind who creates our dreams. If you engage in activities which regulates udan pran you will see a difference in the dreams you see. Try it out!

If you are suffering from some medical conditions then keeping track of the dreams you see, can help in determining how the disease is going to unfold. Eg if you are suffering from cold and you dream of water, it means your cold is worsening. If you are suffering from diarrohea and dreaming of cold stuff will indicate that it is going to get worse. If you are suffering from problems of the lungs, and you see yourself running or in a windy area etc the condition will get worse. So use the power of your dreams pro-actively. If you are suffering from a medical problem, you can try this simple experiment. Choose one photograph of yourself from your healthier and happier times. You should be smiling and looking visibly happy/healthy. Keep this at your bed-side table and look at it for a minute or so before you sleep. Your sub-conscious mind will ‘remember’ this past healthy state and work to get you back to this. Try this for 21 days and evaluate for yourself.

Those few minutes before you sleep are very important. Whatever you do in these few minutes will have the maximum impact on your sub-consciousness. This will be replayed in your dreams. So use this time wisely. A couple more tips. You are in bed and falling asleep, try to visualise a silvery full-moon at your third eye chakra during these couple of minutes. This will increase your life-span. Visualise the gold disc of the sun for an energetic/youthful mind and body.

Dreaming is essential for mental, emotional and physical health. Dreams are an essential self-diagnostic tool. Keep a dream-diary at your bed-side table and write a few keywords as you wake up so that you will remember your dreams. Analyse your dreams over time, you will learn a lot about yourself. If you get negative dreams for extended periods of time, take it as a signal that something is going wrong and actively work to set it right.

 

 

Using your dreams to improve your health

Ayurved – Sapt Dhatu 7 elements

Ayurved is the science of life and the living body. As per Ayurved, the human body is composed of the Sapt Dhatu. These are the seven primary ingredients, roots, subtle essences, causes, constituents etc which create the human body, ie. the visible Anna-mai-kosh or the sthool sharir, the visible material physical body and its functions.

These seven constituents, Sapt Dhatu are created from the energy of the food you eat. You take in the food with the energies of Praan Vayu. Then the ‘fires’ of digestion/Jathar-agni in your body convert the food into the following three parts first,

  1. The solid /Sthool part – the dull, material part with very dim energy, this will be converted to feces and urine and removed from the body. The Apaan vayu will be responsible for this elimination.
  2. The liquid part which will be converted to ‘Rasa’ – This is the essence of nutrition, the actual liquid absorbed by the intestines and also its vital energies. This is that part of your food which will be actually converted to the Sapt Dhatu which make up your body.
  3. And finally the ‘airy’ and ‘fiery’ part of the food you eat will be converted into the mind. These include the sub-conscious impressions that the food has absorbed. Now these impressions will create your mind.

Ayurved - Sapt Dhatu 7 elements

For creating the physical body, the energies of Rasa will be used to create the seven primary ingredients in sequence as follows,

  1. Rasa –
    • There is ‘Rasa-agni’, the intelligent ‘fire’ which converts the nutrition supplied by it to the various parts of the body. Rasa-agni is also responsible for the transformation of the ‘essence of food’ to Rasa. Food takes 6 hours to be converted to Rasa in the stomach/ intestine.
    • This is all the liquids in your body, intracellular fluids, the fluid the intestines absorb, the plasma in your blood, the mother’s milk, lymph, tears, saliva etc.
    • Rasa is responsible for providing nutrition and taking away the wastes produced in every cell of your body. It is the major primary component of the body, i.e. a significant percentage of your body is water! It is connected with immunity. It also your capacity for affection.
    • It is connected to the Kapha dosh of the tri-dosh of Ayurved.
    • Some foods which help Rasa formation are Tulsi, Ginger, Milk (from a Indian desi cow which has a prominent hump).
  2. Rakta –
    • This is all the solid components of blood (except the liquid plasma which is Rasa). Rakta is the blood components, red blood cells, white blood cells, the platelets, and the molecules and enymes which are carried in the blood and circulated in the body.
    • This is the function of life! Oxygenation to enthusiasm in living.
    • It takes Rasa, 15 days to be converted to Rakta. That means that the food you eat should have enough ‘essential energy’ first create and work as Rasa for 15 days and if there is any left over, then it gets transformed into Rakta.
    • Transformations related to Rakta dhatu are mediated by the Rakta-agni.
    • Rakta is connected to the Pitta dosh.
    • Some foods which help Rakta formation are Pomegranates, Ghee.
  3. Mansa –
    • This is all the muscle, the flesh and skin. This includes the organs and the tubes that are the soft tissues of the body. The plastering and the gap-filling stuff! It grants form, strength, movement and protection.
    • Converting the essences of Rasa and Rakta into Mansa/flesh takes a further 27 days. So you need to eat nutritious food for at least 2 months to see a visible difference in the ‘fleshy’ components of your body.
    • This is the structure of the body thus linked to the kapha dosh. The intelligent energy of conversion associated with it is called Mansa-agni.
    • Ghee and Honey help in formation of Mansa.
  4. Medha –
    • This is the fatty tissues of the body, the ligaments, tendons and includes the lubricants in the joints.
    • It has an important role in brain function and normal intelligence and is used to build the brain, spinal cord and the insulating fats on the nerves.
    • It is responsible for lubrication, bulk, personal love and beauty
    • As per modern dietary standards, body fat is viewed as dangerous. In my opinion, one should be at the higher side of the recommended weight range. Medha is also the stored nutrients which are utilised in cases of emergencies e.g. falling ill.
    • Converting the essences of Rasa, Rakta, Mansa to Medha will take a further 41days. And the ‘fire’ of conversion here is called ‘Medha-agni’.
    • Medha is linked to the Kapha dosh.
    • Honey and drinking warm water helps in formation of Medha.
  5. Asti – .
    • Asti is the skeletal frame of the body – the bones, the cartilages and includes the teeth, nails and hair.
    • This supports and protects the vital organs.
    • Converting the essences of Rasa, Rakta, Mansa and Medha to Asti takes 52 days. The intelligent energy related to conversions of Asti is called Asti-agni
    • Asti is linked to the Vaat dosh of Ayurved.
    • Milk (desi cow) helps in Asti formation.
  6. Majja –
    • Majja is the marrow inside the bones and the innermost red/yellow cells of the nervous tissues, brain and spinal cord in the body. It ‘fills the spaces, and is responsible for sensations, memory and communication.
    • The processes linked to these are mediated by the “Majja-agni’.
    • 64 days required to convert the other essences to Majja. If you look at the time-frame, the cumulative days required to convert the energy of food into bone marrow is over 200 days!
    • Majja is linked to Kapha dosh
    • Ghee and honey are easily available foods which help Majja formation.
  7. Shukra –
    • And then finally, an additional 96 days are required to convert the essences of these six Dhatu into your reproductive cells, the seventh Shukra dhatu.
    • So this means that, first you have to eat food with sufficient ‘essential nutrition’.
      Then Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Medha Asti and Majja are created in sequence, used in life, plus the daily wear, tear and repair. Then the remaining if sufficient in quantity will be used to create Shukra dhatu. No wonder problems related to reproduction are on the rise these days!
    • The bulk of this energy is used in creating the reproductive cells, the sperm/Shukra and ovum/Shonita. And a very minor portion used in creating the stem cells in small children. After adolescence, stem cells production drastically reduces as the sperm/ova/reproductive cell production starts in real ernest.
    • Shukra is linked to Kapha dosh and is responsible for reproduction, production of Ojas and emotional contentment.
    • Shukra-agni mediates the conversion processes associated with the Shukra-dhatu.
    • Milk (desi cow) and almonds help in formation of Shukra dhatu.

Ayurved - Sapt Dhatu 7 elements

Now for the spiritually inclined, Ojas. Ojas is created when Shukra is converted further. Shukra is the subtlest and most ‘refined’ dhatu of the body. If it is not utilized by the person it converts to Ojas, this takes 108 days. Ojas is the conscious essence of Kapha dosha. Nutrition and the ‘fires/Agni’  both need to be perfect to form Ojas. Ojas is the divine vitality, the ‘shine’ that you see on the faces of persons who follow a highly spiritual life-style. This process is faster when you exercise control over your senses and eat nutritious, vegetarian, simple food which you have cooked with your own hands. This is the real reason why over-indulgence in sexual activity ‘drains’ the body. You are using up the Shukra dhatu and very little remains for conversion into Ojas.

  • In men, if sufficient Shukra is created in the first place and reasonably limited sexual activity occurs, then significant amount of Shukra converts into Ojas.
  • In women, while she is in the reproductive age-group, a significant proportion of Shukra dhatu is lost every month with the monthly cycle. After menopause however, the essences of Shukra dhatu are not lost like this. So if she limits sexual activity similarly larger quantities of Ojas will be created from Shukra dhatu.
  • This does not mean that one should remain celibate. It just means over-indulgence will drain. This is also common-sense!

Ayurved is not just ‘Indian medical science’. It is a science of consciousness first taught by Bhagwan Dhanvantri. It discusses not only the physical body, but also the conscious layers of the body, the mind, the vital energy/pran flowing through the energy channels of the body and the soul. The body and its structure is linked to Astrology and also to Ayurved. Medical conditions can be diagnosed using the chart. And if you have ever seen a Nadi Vaidya (a doctor of Ayurved is called a Vaidya, ‘the one who knows’) in action, he can tell you the precise haemoglobin levels in your blood by reading your nadi/vital energy channel at your wrist. Sapt-dhatu, Panch-kosh and Panch-pran are how your body and mind works with your consciousness at the deepest levels. And so Ayurvedic treatments though slower than allopathic ones cure on the very deepest levels.

 

Ayurved - Sapt Dhatu 7 elements

 

Spare the rod and spoil the child? Really?

I really wish everyone learns to see auras, its easier than learning to analyse horoscopes.

A small (perhaps) incident. A few years ago.

One of my clients had a small 3yr old son, cute, behaviour was as per his age, no big problems, no tantrums. My client had married against the wishes of his mother. Naturally she disliked his wife. And whenever she would come over to stay at his house, his son would misbehave, screaming, crying, out of control behaviour, very agitated. Then the MIL would scold her DIL saying ‘you are not a good mother’!

I had gone to meet up with his mother, a social call. The child was misbehaving terribly, screaming at his mother, and rather than coming to meet me as ‘Auntie!’, he came and spat on me. His dad was furious and was going to beat him.

But the reality was something very very different. The child was not being rude, he just was agitated beyond control. See, the child would play with his grandmom, she would give him his food, take care of him, sleep next to him in the afternoon etc while his parents went to work. A doting grandmom, no issues at all, she actually loved him. But her aura was still so full of anger at her son and her DIL for getting married against her wishes. The auras of the three were actually fighting. The client and the DIL were not aware of this, were just generally uneasy around her. Whenever they got within 2 feet of each other, the auras would send out flares of rage and all sorts of negative stuff! (sometimes auras are really not pleasant to see).

The MIL’s illogical rage and frustration had spoilt the energy of the house. And the poor child was caught in this wild storm of negative auras! The MIL was being with him, taking care of him but unconsciously passing on her feelings through auras! And children are most sensitive to the astral, subconscious etc! No wonder he was misbehaving, he had gone mad with all the aura-conflicts around him.

Spare the rod and spoil the child? Really?

Just look at the kind of energies we are exposing our children to! The television is garbage, movies are full of negative stuff. We give them mobiles and the internet which spoils their eyes and expose them to age-inappropriate ideas and behaviour. The schools they go to, what kind of education do they get there? Overstressed with school-work and home-work! And the quality of education has also dropped. The food we give them is full of pesticides. The houses we keep them in are cramped, we cut them off from nature. Our cities are full of sound, which tears into their auras. There are just so many things going wrong.

And then us. We are exposing our children to our energies. I wish everyone looks into their own aura sometime. Frustration, tiredness, fear, negativity in our auras, our children are drinking it all in! We don’t give them time. We don’t enjoy their company! Most children are living a life of trauma caused by the intense negativity around them. Hitting them would be the worst thing that anyone can do!

A lot of these problems with children can be resolved if we add pran/vital energy to their energy-starved lives. Sitting in the early morning sunlight, massage by ayurvedic oils, fresh fruits/salads in the diet, listening to Sanskrit high energy mantra. Going for day visits or vacations in places of natural energy, seaside, forests etc where the air is rich in pran (Pine forests have the highest pran levels). Performing the Agnihotra is compulsory for all Hindus, its vibhuti is very high energy. (My son eats it all the instant the homa cools down, but if I have been distracted during the homa, he also points out that the vibhuti’s energy was low).

And the most important, if it is a boy-child, Upanayan/Yadnopavit must be performed at the age of 6yrs. And he should be encouraged to do regular Gayatri mantra puja. For a girl child, she does not need to wear the yadnopavit sutra, on her 6th birthday she should be taught the Gayatri and she should also do Gayatri puja, at least recite it (27 or 54 or 108 times) every day in the morning and evening. Gayatri is the right of every human. It increases the mental stability and intelligence and is the most valuable gift you can give him/her, the foundation of his/her life-time’s spiritual practice. And the parents too, recite the Gayatri along with the child, give yourself these 10 mins in the morning and the evening, your own personal energy quality will improve. (When the age of 7yrs is complete, the chakras of the child stop being so receptive to external influences.)

Why would a child misbehave? It is not normal behaviour, it is a response to something going wrong with him. Find out what is going wrong and change it for the better, this is the parent’s responsibility. Children represent the ‘creativity’ and divine intelligence of the parents in every way possible.

I can never condone hitting a child. Scolding is one thing, but physically hitting or verbally abusing cannot be justified. Maybe I am too idealistic, but we are adults, so should be wiser, more analytical and more understanding? Children copy us. And because we are human too, if we do lash out in anger, we should be sensible enough to make up and reassure the child before it causes a permanent negative impact on his psyche. (I have seen several of my grown-up clients carrying childhood scars of negligent parents, it is very difficult to resolve them later in life.)

Spare the rod and spoil the child? Really?

And yes, there are children who are neglected by their parents, perhaps beaten up or abandoned or put in hostels and orphanages. There are several combinations which show neglect by the father and by the mother. The astrological combinations would be related to the 4th house/ruler or 10th house/ruler or the Sun or the Moon being damaged by malefics in the child’s chart. If it is physical hurt then the birth chart D-1 will show the damage and if the torture is more emotional, the chart seen from the birth moon’s sign will have the indications.

If small children are misbehaving, first analyse the behaviour of the parents and the child’s environment. From the astrological point of view the Dasha of the child and the parents should also be analysed. (Gandant nakshatra births often go through a difficult childhood.)

If grown ups abuse and neglect their parents, then such parents would have a damaged 5th house/ruler and from what examples I have seen, their own Sun /Moon and 9th house/ruler would be afflicted too. And their own charts would show combinations of parental neglect during childhood.

But all things considered, a child is precious. We all may not be able to afford a lot of things for our children but two things we can do. One is to hug the child, tell him/her that he is the most loved one in the Universe, really mean it (remember he can see auras better than you). And the second is to gift him with ‘faith’ (spiritual practice, Gayatri), let him know that someone is always there, looking out for him. This brings in Hope, the ability to withstand the challenges that life is going to throw at him.

And my client’s child? He went back to his usual sweet self after his grandmom went back to her own house after staying for 1 month. The next time I saw him, he sat on my lap and showed me a drawing he had made.

 

Spare the rod and spoil the child? Really?

(This post was in response to this comment I received in the comments form. “I have seen small children in my area hitting their parents with lot of angst and the parents stand helplessly. Are there any combinations of children physically abusing parents no matter what their age. I happened to read an article by E Sreedharan -“Metro Man” talking about parenting. He mentioned that children from the age of 4 should be disciplined with corporal punishment. He believes in “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. What is your take on this…..”)

What happens at the moment of Death

I have written a lot about life, there was a question about death. I take this to mean the physical death, where we leave this physical body and move out. Death can be of two types now, one is where we move out into the spirit dimension/Pitrulok and the second type is where the soul realises itself to be the Ultimate and achieves Moksh. Here writing about the first sort of death which we all will generally experience.

The body is electromagnetic, there are chakras/energy vertices and nadi/channels carrying pran/vital energy. As long as pran moves inside this system the body remains animated and alive. Once the time allotted is over, the pran along with the Jivatma/individual soul with its karmic baggage, blasts through any one of these nadis and exits. Thus the body dies. You do not die, you are the Jivatma/ individual soul. A quick go through on what happens when the body dies.

What happens at the moment of Death

For a brief period before the body dies, there is restlessness and agony. This duration varies. The first reason will be the diseases etc due to which you have decided to leave the ailing body, this can go on for days or even months depending on the disease you chose for yourself at the moment of your birth. Then the main reason for this agony is, you are withdrawing pran from the nadi structure of the body. You are systematically destroying the body, and its pain does not really affect you now. You want the pran boost which will propel you faster and higher so you withdraw pran to your third eye/Kuthastha point and the body organs fail. The residual bio-energy of those organs can cause temporary spasms or pain. The pran will be now allocated only to that nadi from where you have decided to exit. This happens in a matter of seconds.

This is followed by a period of ‘senselessness’. During this brief period, the soul i.e. you leave the inert body. This is a very very brief period where you take with you everything from your current life. Everything you have done, felt, experienced, touched, mentally, physically, emotionally, in every way, all the experiences of this life, you take them, this is the karmic baggage. These are the impressions/Sanskar on your Jivatma.

You reside in this five layered body called Panchakosh/ five-enclosures, the lowest energy is Anna-mai-kosh, Pran-mai-kosh, Mano-mai-kosh, Vidnyan-mai-kosh and Anand-mai-kosh the highest energy layer. You leave behind the Anna-mai-kosh, the visible body, and take the other 4 layers, your karmic baggage, along.

When you take on the body, i.e while you are moving within the astral body of your mother and your body is being made within her womb, you are aware of the sum total of your karma. Your higher self is aware and you plan for what all you will do when you are born to reduce your karmic baggage (the 4 higher energy layers). But the moment of birth is the moment of binding. Your higher self goes into a shock briefly at the moment you are born, and in this moment the bindings/sanskar of the birth moment tie it. Now the lowest energy layer is bound to your soul and it dominates the other four. You reduce this domination when you perform your regular spiritual practice.

Now back to the moment of exit. If the soul has not managed to complete what it had planned, then at the moment of death it regrets, regrets terribly. And in the pain of this regret, it exits through a lower energy exit near the lower parts of the body. In case it has managed to complete something good on the spiritual path then it can move out through the upper part of the body. When soul has completely achieved its agenda of karmic rebalance it can move out through the sushumna-bramarandhra thus achieve Moksh.

If you are able to see auras, you will notice that a before a person is to die, 6 months in advance the aura goes ‘thinner’, more ‘wispy’, even if the death is going to be by an accident. If the person who is to die, is spiritually oriented he will gradually withdraw himself emotionally from his loved ones during this period. A few days before death the aura goes white and a few hours before it will turn translucent. If you pay attention you will see the Jivatma/individual soul come out of the body looking like a whitish orb. This orb remains spherical for sometime, presumably the soul is in shock at entering the astral like this. But within an hour you will see the orb now looks like the dead person. The soul has come out of its ‘coma’ and takes on the impression of the body it inhabited. This soul is weightless and whizzes around the house. It tries to talk to its family. If you can see it, best not let on that you can see, else it will continuously and pointlessly keep on chattering to you. Even if you ignore it later, it will keep talking in the background. It remains disoriented and trying to adjust to its new body but after sometime it actually enjoys itself. The new astral body is weightless, ageless and painless. It retains the image of its discarded body for some time but soon it balloons up and distorts and the image fades. Then it looks like a spherical ball about 4-5ft across, flying about the place. After all the cremation rites (anteyshti/cremation and dissolving the asti/ashes in flowing water) are done and over with, this soul leaves the house. It is important that the body be offered to fire as it completely cuts off the attachment of the soul to its discarded shell.

What happens at the moment of Death

(If you want to catch a spirit, the best place would be a burial cemetery where bodies are buried. Not that I want you to try this, they are quite frustrated and angry. But it is a fact that as long as the physical body exists, the soul remains attracted to it.)

Then we call the soul at the 13th day ritual for powering it with mantra and energy offerings/Tarpan. These are essential as the soul will now rest and recoup itself. It has laboured hard for so many years (lived in the body), and cannot rest immediately, so at the 13th day it is given the energy, so that it can relax and sleep. People who die a natural death, aged persons, spiritually inclined persons accept their new body more easily. But people who have died young, in accidents, suicide and the worst, a pregnant woman who has died, have unfulfilled desires and suffer for longer periods before they can ‘sleep’.

Generally a soul ‘sleeps’, recovers then takes stock of its karma and actions. Then it starts preparing for its next life and searches for an appropriate situation where it can take a new birth. This can take a few years depending on the soul. Time is relative. When the soul is in Pitrulok/astral dimension it can and does communicate with its ‘soul group’, the souls who are travelling together and interchangeably interact as as mother, father, husband, wife, child, friends etc. But for the highly spiritual souls this interaction will be minimal, as they are more aware and their soul group with whom they have karmic relationships is very small. These higher spiritual souls can also work, they work as deities, demi-gods etc in other dimensions.

When your loved ones leave the body it is advisable to stop mourning and even thinking about them. The Jivatma is not your dear mother who left, your ‘mother’ stopped existing the instant the soul left the body. The soul is much much more that the limited mother you knew. It now remembers everything about itself, its karma from the instant of its creation. It is not your ‘mother’. So stop thinking about her, you will obviously offer the yearly mantra/energy offerings as per the tarpan/rituals, but that is it. Best would be to avoid keeping photographs or other things which affect you emotionally, donate the stuff to the needy if you can afford to. Stop thinking about those who have left. Emotions will disturb them and give them a route to access you, and you really do not want this to happen. (I have had so many examples of departed ones creating problems, that it is best to keep away.) However much you may grieve, try to understand that if your mother left behind her body (the most beloved possession), then she has left everything. Do not call her again now. That part of your life is over, there are so many new things calling out to you now, look forward at them and move on.

 

What happens at the moment of Death

Ida and Pingala continued

This is a continued post from this one. Ida and Pingala naadis are not randomly active, they follow a fixed sequence which is linked to the phases of the moon. This sequence also varies as per the fortnight, bright and dark. In the bright fortnight (shukla paksh), the first 3 days after the no-moon (Amavasya), the Ida is first active when the sun rises, then Pingala alternates every hour or so. Then for the next 3 days the Pingala is first active at sunrise and so on. During the dark fortnight (Krishna paksh), the first 3 days after the full moon/Purnima, the Pingala starts first at sunrise. And the next 3 days the Ida starts first and so on. This sequence is fixed.

Ida and Pingala continued

Now if you notice your active nostril does not follow this sequence, it means the body is going to fall ill soon, it will be fever if you start with Pingala when Ida was supposed to start. And you will catch a cold if you start with Ida when Pingala was supposed to start. If this wrong sequence continues for more than 2 months it can be severe enough to indicate even physical death.

So if you realise that the wrong naadi has started, how to reset the correct sequence. How to shift the naadis from Ida to Pingala and then the other way round? Here are 3 options which you can use as per your personal fitness levels,

Yogdanda – Ancient Rishis carried this item with them. If you want to change your naadi from the left to the right, you simply insert the Yogdanda in your left armpit and sit for a few minutes and vice versa.

Ida and Pingala continued Ida and Pingala continued

Ardhamatsyendra asan – If you can perform this yogic posture, you can easily shift the naadis. To activate the left naadi, tuck the left knee in the right armpit and twist the trunk, hold your left ankle with your right hand and your left hand passes over the back. Retain
the position for 2 minutes. (To induce the right nadi, perform the alternate movement jamming the right knee in the left armpit.) But before attempting these postures ensure that you have basic fitness levels at least.

Ida and Pingala continued

Then the easiest method is lying on your side. If you lie on your left side for 5 minutes or so your right nadi Pingala is activated and vice versa. 

(If you cannot do any of the methods I have given in this post, you can try the crudest method. Physically shut the active nostril with your finger for a few minutes. It will be a bit difficult to breathe for a couple of minutes till the other one fully opens. This is to be used only if you cannot do any of these above methods. Or very rarely, like you are in public and you need to change the flow of breath/swar.)

You might need to activate the Ida and Pingala if you realise that you are waking up with the wrong naadi active. Or for doing a specific activity, e.g. you have to go to the gym and you have your Ida active you will feel lazy. Shifting it to Pingala will charge you up and you will go for your gym session happily. (A secret, if you and your husband/wife want to conceive a baby, try it when the husband’s Pingala is active and the wife’s Ida is active. You now know how to shift them!)

Now finally, to activate the Sushumna. This is ideally done before doing intensive spiritual practice, Dhyan or Jaap. If you can shift your pran to Sushumna, it will act as a booster. But do these following only and only if your physical health permits it.

Anulom/Vilom Pranayam – Anyways your pran does automatically shift to the Sushumna some 5-10 mins after you start your spiritual practice so even if you cannot actively do these things it is ok. At the very least you can do the Anulom/Vilom Pranayam where you alternately close the right and left nostrils. The thumb is used to close the right nostril and the little and ring fingers together close the left nostril. Anyone can do this irrespective of physical fitness. Close your right nostril and breathe in from your left, then close your left nostril, open your right and breathe out from the right. Next breathe in from the right, close the right, open the left and breathe out from the left nostril. This is one count. Do 12 sets of this pranayam.

Ida and Pingala continued Ida and Pingala continued

Now the real thing, the Bastrika pranayam – It requires you to have a basic good health as this is strenous, if you are not sure do not do it, you might faint. Very fast powerful forced expiration and inspiration, for just 1 min, no more. Sit in your chosen yogic posture, Siddhasan or Padmasan. Breathe out forcefully with a hissing sound through your nose. Breathe in equally forcefully. Your entire chest and abdomen should feel the strain of the physical effort. You might even start perspiring. In about 1 min both your nostrils will be clear and open, and your pran will start moving in the Sushumna.

Paschimottana Asana – This also requires basic physical fitness, if you have back problems or are quite fat, do not do it. You might strain your back and black-out too. Lie on your back. Sit up with your hands above your head. Touch your fingers to your toes. Touch your head to your knee. Retain this final pose for two minutes. This will shift the pran to the Sushumna.

Ida and Pingala continued

Finally the Shirshasan – Again these yogic postures are not just ‘exercises’, they are called ‘Yog-asan’, meaning the foundation of your spiritual practice. And they require considerable physical fitness. Do this one, only if you have been taught by a proper teacher. Sushumna is activated with the Shirshasan posture within 2 minutes.

Ida and Pingala continued

So this was a bit on how to get your naadis working the way you want them to. You are now consciously allocating pran depending on which activity you are about to perform, so that you can get the most out of it.