Transcript source of the talk "Self Mastery" by Swami Paramarthananda Saraswati Ji. Grammatical and typos are mine & shall not be attributed to Swamiji.
Into the talk,
The great poet Kālidāsa mentions in one of his works that, "We should not reject anything old or anything new just because it is old or just because it is new." Don’t blindly judge something because it is old or new. There are some people, especially the elder generation, they will say everything ancient is great and they are totally against anything that is modern, blind criticism of anything modern.
There is a younger generation which judges the other way, everything modern is great and anything ancient is outdated, therefore, should be rejected. Kālidāsa says, both approach is wrong. Never judge a thing based on its historical date. Study it thoroughly and see whether it is worthwhile, whether it is useful to us and if after objective study if a thing is worthwhile, we should accept it, whether it is old or new as long as a thing is worthwhile, valid, meaningful, relevant, you have to accept it.
Similarly, after an objective study, I find something is not worthwhile, something is detrimental to us, then we should be honest enough to reject that, whether it is old or new. Therefore, don’t be blind, use your discriminative power, Kālidāsa has said this centuries before " purānamityeva na sādhu sarvam, na chāpi kāvyam navamityavadyamsantaha parikshatart bhajante, muDhah parapratyayena buddhihī".
Thinking people will never reject blindly without going into that, whereas, mōdahā, only an unintelligent person will be carried away by other’s opinion and make a value judgement. When you look from this angle and study our ancient scriptures objectively without making any value judgement, we can find it is a treasure house of many varieties of teaching which are relevant even now. Certain teaching and aspects might be outdated, we may have to reject them, or at-least it might be irrelevant, there is nothing wrong in rejecting them, but we should be intellectually honest enough to study and take whatever is good. This is called hāṃsak shīran gyāyahā, it means, just as a mythological swan separates the milk from water, and absorb the milk, similarly never reject any ancient thing or modern thing, take whatever is good.
Among the many teachings in the scriptures, I will just take one aspect and try to analyse that. One important principle that all our scriptures emphasize is, "Success in any field is possible only when there is self-mastery, without ātma (self) jayaha (mastery) one cannot attain success in any field, whether it is spiritual field or material field, science, sports, music and any field. It is the foundation." The Bhagawad Gitā points out, "Un-mastered self is the biggest enemy to the individual, when I have not mastered myself, this un-mastered self is the greatest enemy to myself, in fact, Krsna goes one step further, it is not the greatest enemy but it is the only enemy of a human being."
When I have not mastered myself, not only I become inimical to myself, I will turn every other person, even I will turn the world as an enemy. Therefore, the world which is an ordinary neutral thing, I convert into an enemy if I have not mastered myself.
"Bandhur ātmātmanas tasya yenātmaivātmanā jita anātmanastu çatrutve vartetātmaiva çatruvat." A mastered self is a friend to myself which will assist me in accomplishing all my goal, whereas, an un-mastered self becomes an obstacle at every stage and it will destroy everything. If you want to have an example for this, it is like our immunity system.
If I keep my immunity in good condition, not only I enjoy an healthy body, but the world cannot cause any harm to me. We know, that in any place, there are varieties of infection, if you go out, air, water, everything is full of germs, how come we are able to move about and remain healthy ? Only because of one reason, my immunity gives me a protection. What happens to an AIDS patient ? AIDS is nothing but acquired immunity deficiency syndrome, what happens is, I have destroyed my immunity, the damage has taken place and I turn the whole environment as an enemy, which means, I’m vulnerable to all forms of diseases.
This vulnerability is caused not because of the world, since other people are living in the same world, the vulnerability is caused because of the lack of immunity. In-fact, if an AIDS patient dies, it not because of AIDS, but because of immunity deficiency, any disease that is surrounded, he is the first host. He dies of various diseases caused by the immunity deficiency.
Similarly, Kṛṣṇa says, "An un-mastered self means, I’m vulnerable to all types of problems caused by the world." Anger, trust, jealousy and all kinds of tension and psychological disease causing situation, I create out of the world. World remains the same, one person is extremely disturbed emotionally whereas the other person is able to remain calm, the difference is only immunity deficiency.
How to attain self-mastery ? What is self mastery ? What do you mean by the self ? For the purpose of self-mastery, our scriptures divide our personality into several layers. For the purpose of understanding and for the purpose of handling, the human personality is divided into several layers so that we can understand each layer and work for its fitness, like in medical sense, one human body itself is divided into different departments, there is an ophthalmologist he takes care of only one aspect of my personality the eyes, there is a dentist, neuroscientist etc.
Even though, the person is one for the sake of convenience of the study and handling, we have divided and in-fact the division has increased. Even in one eye itself there is one person concentrating only on retina, one person concentrates on the teeth but not the gum. If there is any little deviation, they will say, this is not my field. My guru tells, "Dermatologist is one who has skin deep knowledge, he can deal with the skin, a little bit down if there is a problem in the bone, there is a different person." It is good because for the sake of convenience we are dividing. Whenever, we have a problem, we can divide the problem into several areas, financial problem, health problem, relationship problem, don’t lump all of them together, when we divide problems into layers and handle, we can very easily handle that.
Now, an individual is divided into several layers. One type of division is, seeing the human being as six layers. A human being is divided into six layers and we are asked to understand each layer, what is its role and how to keep every layer in a fit and mastered condition. We cannot ignore any one layer because any one layer is affected in due course it will affect all others, like diabetes.
All the 6 layers must be given equal importance. This is holistic approach and then alone we can have self mastery. One of the problems with allopathic medicine they say, they take into account only the outermost physical layer, they never take into account the psychological aspect of the person, the family condition, the social condition aspect. When you go homeopathy or some other Indian system, they always take into account on every aspect. Now, what are those layers ? The first and foremost and outermost layer is called annamaya koṣaha, the physical and the grossest layer called the anatomy.
Our scriptures point out, never neglect your physical body. In our busy activities, we have to run around the world perhaps, different time zones, and we have different times in different countries and therefore, we ignore our physical health and when we are young our body has enough immunity to withstand all this misbehaviours, but sooner or later it affects the health. Therefore, the first lesson is "śarīram ādhyam khalu dharma sādhanam", any undertaking, or any good work you want to do, you require the physical health. They say, "When wealth his lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, everything is lost."
Therefore, we have several prayers asking for health. And dealing with the physical health, śastra talks a lot and the modern science also talks about 2 things, diet and exercise. These are the 2 fundamental, inevitable disciplines to be followed for maintaining the outermost layer and with regard to diet also, they give the rule, "hita, mita, medhya asanam" Hitam means, "Eat only what is good for your health, that means don’t eat junk food, that is the fashion now. Eat only what is nourishing." The second rule for maintaining annamaya koṣaha is mita asanam which is moderation. What do you mean by moderation ? We are suppose to eat only that much to remove the discomfort caused by hunger, hunger certainly causes a discomfort and I’m supposed to eat that much sufficient to remove the hunger. First thing, is the discomfort of hunger I should wait for, and I should feel the discomfort and eat enough to remove that discomfort If I’m going to overeat what will happen ? Discomfort caused by hunger is now replaced by another discomfort caused by overeating, you have not improved the situation.
Therefore, I should get rid of both the discomfort and that is called mita asanam measured moderate eating. Then finally, medhya asanam means, eating food which is sacred and holy. How to make the food sacred and holy ? Before eating, whatever you are eating, mentally offer to the lord because ultimately all the resources belong to the lord alone. Therefore, offer to the lord and look upon to the food as prasādhā coming from the lord.
When I look upon the food as prasādhā it will make the mind calmer. The very attitude can make the mind calm and that is why the holy food is called prasādhā. In fact, in Sanskrit, the word prasādhā does not mean eatable at all. Prasādhā does not refer to any eatable, prasādhā means tranquillity of the mind. And why it is called tranquillity ? Because when I receive anything as a gift from the lord, then the tranquillity from the lord is transferred to me through the food. Because, according to our scriptures, when we receive something from someone, in an invisible manner, we are receiving the character and the mental condition of the person also. If that person has disturbance negative thinking etc, according to the scriptures, through the food, that will also come. So, when we eat food, it is coming from different sources, how do I know what type of person is she or he ? What is the best remedy ? You eat the food not coming from disturbed human being, you eat only the food which is coming from the Lord who is embodiment of "Shāntākāram bhujaga shayanam" This is called hita mita medhya asānam.
Once I look upon the food as holy, naturally I should respect the food and since I’m supposed to respect the food, according to our tradition, when we eat the food, our attention should not be turned to anything else. That is disrespectful to the food. Imagine, a guest comes to your house, and you are doing some work, and he is talking to you, if you have respect for the person, you drop everything that you are doing, you exclusively turn your attention to the person, that is showing respect. When a visitor comes, you cannot afford to disrespect.
Similarly, if food is holy and it is coming from the lord, I’m supposed to respect and deliberately and consciously eat. But now, the practice is, every other work is done only during eating, mainly watching TV. It is not only disrespect to food, there is another problem also, when I do any other transaction, my mind may get disturbed, and when the mind is in tension, unhealthy enzymes like adrenaline and all those things, they are released from the glands, and they are all going to affect our digestive capacity.
When we eat with stress in mind, the food becomes not only non-nourishing food, but also becomes a poison. Therefore, they say, silently eat and respecting the annam you eat or even if you talk let it not be such talk with leads to mental disturbance. Thus, that holy attitude makes a big difference. Next is the exercise, our śastra doesn’t talk about that much because in the olden days, our very living itself involved exercises. They need not ask you to daily walk because, you have to walk. Now, since vehicles have come, we have to add it as a separate routine. Thus diet and the exercise will take care of the first and outermost layer called annamaya koṣaha.
The second layer is called prānamaya koṣaha which can be roughly translated as the physiological system, while annamaya is anatomical system, prānamaya is the physiological system which they have classified into prāna, apāna, udhāna, vayāna, samāna. All of them come under physiological system, prāna represents the respiratory system, apāna represents the excretory system, vyāna represents the circulatory system, udāna represents the reversing system like whenever there is a toxin in the body, it has to be thrown out by sneezing, vomiting etc. That reversal system is called udāna. Then, the samāna is the digestive system. The physiology is broadly classified into fivefold prānas, we call it prānic energy. According to śastra, if this prānic energy or the system is not fit, it will create all types of problems, it will affect the anatomy also, it will affect the other inner layers of personality like psychological, rational and all other systems. Now, how do we tone and refine the prānic layer ?
According to śastra, even though, there are 5 components of this prānic system, by handling any one component you can indirectly handle others. Of this 5, the primary and easier component is the breathing which is called prāna which is closely connected to excretion, circulation, digestion and the entire physiological system is hooked to the breathing or respiratory system.
Therefore, if a person handles the prāna, the respiration, then the second layer will be in a fit condition and therefore they prescribe the exercise of prānāyāmaha. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful and powerful system which is recognized by even modern science. There was an article in reader’s digest written by a western doctor, I have to say western doctor because only if they give certificate, we will accept, still that colonial attitude is not gone.
If I say Shankarāchārya tells it, it won’t have a value. If a western doctor comes and says, then people think that it must be right. He says, "Immunity and peace are right under your nose.", this is the title. He says, "It is one of the most efficacious and least expensive system.". After glorifying prānāyāma, he says, that this method has been invented by ancient Indians thousands of years ago. Thus prānāyāma is the breathing discipline, it is a very big science. But even simple practice of deep breathing in and breathing out will tone the second layer, called the physiological system, the prānāmaya koṣa.
If there is a table with 4 legs, and you want to drag the table, pull the table, you need not hold all the 4 legs, you catch hold of one leg and pull, then other 3 will come. Similarly, you are only catching hold of prāna it will take care of apāna hunger will be very good, evacuation will be very very good, circulation will be excellent. Thus, the second layer is the prānic layer called the prānamaya koṣaha. The discipline is prānāyāma.
For the first layer, annamaya koṣaha, the discipline is diet and exercise. Each layer influences the other. So, if one is fit the others will be benefited by that, if one is sick sooner or later it will affect the other. Vedic chanting is an indirect exercise of prānāyāma because we have to hold the breath and chant mantras, therefore it will improve the health.
The third layer is manomaya koṣaha, the psychological or emotional personality which is the place of all violent upheavals like depression, jealousy, anger, worries, anxiety and this is so sensitive that it can be easily affected, one person yesterday smiled at me 2 inches long, today it is one inch less and I’m upset. To get upset, we don’t even get any big reason, any small disturbance anywhere emotional upheaval and therefore, handling the manomaya koṣa emotional or psychological personality becomes another important thing.
Today, when you see people, all the time stress and all the time irritable, anger at the tip of the nose. Therefore, emotional personality has to be refined and toned, this is also is very very elaborately discussed in our śastras. I’m going to emphasize only one aspect, that is samatvam yoga uChyathey, emotional health is defined as emotional tranquillity, emotional balance even when the situations around is going haywire.
Kṛṣṇa’s definition of yoga is, "Samatvam yOga: ucchyathey". All our puranic stories are meant to give this training only. Rāma was offered the kingdom by Daśaratha and all the people were excited, they jumped and celebrated and it is said, when Rama received the news, of-course, he would have been happy but not carried away by that particular offer. He was not over excited. Then, sooner or later, he got the other news also, Kaikeyī asked the 2 boons and he was called and said, "You are not going to rule, and given the kingdom." Also said, "You have to live in the forest." from one extreme of emperor hood to the other extreme of a wayfarer in the forest.
This was the experience. Imagine, we get an order in the business and the next day, the order is cancelled, this fellow collapses. Then Valmiki describes the condition of Rāma " na vanam gantu-kAmasya tyajataSca vasundarAm | sarva-lokAtigasyeva lakshyathey chittha vikriya". When Rama received this news of the loss of kingdom and life in forest, that also he received with equanimity. You know who was disturbed ? The ayodhya people, they were so much attached. This upheaval is emotional sickness, emotional ill health and therefore, training or toning or refining the emotional personality is samatvam.
Now the question is, "Swamiji, it is very nice to say that, it is easily said than done, you can say it from the pulpit and go away. Come to my house or my office, you will know, how difficult it is." So, the question is, "How to accomplish or implement, how to maintain the samatvam ?." This is also another topic very elaborately discussed in the scriptures, I’m going to emphasize only 2 points.
One is recognizing that the lack of samatvam is a great danger for me. That awareness program. Awareness can change our attitude, similarly here also, first I should clearly understand, what are the different forms of damages that are caused by the fluid emotional condition. Firstly, when the mind is disturbed all the time, the first problem is, it affects my physical health. I’m not getting any benefit out of it, I’m spoiling my physical health. Anybody who has undergone some treatment for heart problem, the first advice the doctor gives is, take life easily, have the attitude of acceptance. So, what he says is, this is not for spirituality but for maintaining the health of your heart. You require samatvam.
First I should note that visamatvam is detrimental to my physical health. I should dwell upon this. Next thing I have to note is, when my mind is disturbed, whatever intellectual resources I have, my skill, my education, all of them are blocked when there is emotional disturbance. So, a disturbed mind blocks like a virus, the computer called our brain whoever uses a computer, you know you should be very careful about the virus, it blocks all the resources I have carefully collected and reserved. What is the use of gathering all those things if it is not available for me when I want.
Just as virus obstructs the computer resources, emotional disturbance obstructs my intellectual resources. There was a book whether EQ is important or IQ is important in life ? IQ means intellectual quotient your intelligence, education, degree etc. EQ emotional quotient means the high threshold of the mind, the resilience of the mind that it will not be easily disturbed by any amount of disturbances around. If a person doesn’t have EQ any amount of IQ becomes worthless, like some of our children they study very well at home, and the parents asks the question, the child answers. The child goes to the examination hall and sees the question paper, the first question the child doesn’t know answer, it panics and then the other answers which the child knew, they are all disturbed by the virus. All the knowledge is gone. Therefore, I should clearly remember EQ is more important than IQ. This is the second awareness.
When my intellectual resources are blocked, certainly my performance, my efficiency will be affected. Because, I don’t use right judgement, I don’t use my discrimination because intellect is fused out.
Therefore, all my reactions will be unhealthy, because they are not filtered by right thinking, but they are all impulsive actions and therefore, I will have to regret for almost every decision that I take. After the decision is taken and the damage is done, I remember everything. Like the children coming back home and says I knew all the answers, but I could not recollect in the examination. What is the use ? It must be available when I need.
"PustaksTA tu yā vidyā parHastagatam dānam kAryakAle samutpanne na sA vidyā na tad dānam" The knowledge that is in the book and the money which is elsewhere is not yours because it is not available when you want. Similarly, your knowledge will not be available if the emotional disturbance blocks the intellect. This is the third problem. My efficiency is diluted. The fourth problem is, at the sociological and the social level, an emotional person is a highly irritable person. Therefore, through his words and actions, even through his facial expressions, he hurts many people around which is a violence. Not only that, I slowly distance every person from me. Because, if I’m highly irritable and I’m going to hurt everyone and if I’m not a pleasant person which person will like to come near me.
Thus, socially also the person will get more and more isolated. Because, nobody would like to come near me. Dayānanda Swāmiji says, "When such a father comes home, even the children will say, father is coming, let us all run."
Another important thing required for the maintenance of the emotional balance is this, Kṛṣṇa emphasizes in the Bhagavad Gita, "However powerful the human being may be, there are many choice less situations in our life for which we have no remedy at all." No doubt, we are physically powerful , intellectually powerful, science is advanced, medicine is advanced, in all the fields the human beings have become powerful, but even now, there are many situations which we cannot control.
When a cyclone is going to hit the coast, the science has advanced enough to predict at least approximately where it may hit, but still we have no way of stopping the cyclone, human limitations. We have got so much advancement in medicine, we have found cure for many and still there are diseases in those cases, the doctor says, "We are helpless. You pray and I will also join." There are certain diseases I recently discovered that, there is a medicine for this disease but that particular medicine does not suit this person’s system, because he has got some other disease. Therefore, the doctor knows this is the medicine, but he cannot give that medicine because of some other complication.
There are so many situations over which we don’t have control because of our limited knowledge and because of our limited power, there are many unknown and uncontrollable factors and when such situations come, we have no other way except preparing ourselves to accept with least resistance.
The more we resist such situation, as the resistance increases, you know in the law of physics, it gets heated up in a wire, when the resistance is more the heat increases. Similarly, the more you resist a choice less situation, so you are blocked in a traffic jam, you cannot move forward, you cannot go backward and you have to catch a flight or train, I by fretting and getting anxious I’m not going to reach the airport faster, if there is a method we can certainly apply, but when there is a choice less situation we have to work within ourselves to change our attitude. When you cannot change the world, learn to change your attitude so that you can accept.
The acceptance is gained only through strengthening the mind. We have to collect emotional shock absorbers, shock-absorbers are there in vehicles because on the road potholes are there. Bangalore is better, come to Madras and see, when you cannot fix potholes, because it is corporation job, what best we can do ? We can fix our vehicle with shock-absorbers. Similarly, you cannot change other people, you cannot change the behaviour, you cannot often the government, many things you cannot change and then the best thing is instead of trying to make everything favourable which is not possible try to get a shock-absorbent, which is called emotional strength.
The emotional strength can be drawn from either ourselves through auto suggestion, the psychological method is the auto suggestion method, because the mind has the strength to withstand any amount of pressure. This is also proved scientifically. I repeat myself that I will be able to face any situation. I have the inner resources, I can. We go on repeating, we can prosper. This is the auto suggestion method and the second method prescribed is surrender to the lord and seeking strength from the lord.
I tell myself that I’m a weakling who cannot face but I have the backing of the lord. Like, Sugrīva challenged Vālī for battle, you know why ? Even Vālī was surprised, how can this fellow, every time he gets beaten by me, he is challenging me, Vaali was angry and when he was about to go, then Tāra said Sugrīva doesn’t have the strength to fight, but still he is now challenging you which means he has got strength and some other backing. That backing is Rāma, we are all Sugrīvas and all choice less situations are Vālī where we are utterly helpless and such challenges we can face if we take the help of Rāma or Kṛṣṇa’s or any name you call. So thus, develop, acquire a shock-absorber either by śaraṇāgati or by sangalpaha (auto-suggestion) then the emotional upheaval will not disturb the mind too much. This is the handling of manomaya koṣa, the psychological personality and fitness of the mind is its balance. Then we go to the fourth layer, vijJAnamaya koṣaha.
VijJAnamaya koṣaha, here alone the IQ is there, the rational faculty, the intellectual faculty which is a total faculty. There are many people who are emotionally sound but intellectually bankrupt. Then there are many people who have very high IQ, intellectually giants, but emotional dwarfs. So, if a person has to integrally develop, he has to take into account the emotional as well the intellectual faculty.
Intellectual faculty is learning through education, and in that we are all experts. We all have varieties of degrees but unfortunately all that education they are meant for earning our daily bread only. We never gain education to guide us in our life. To handle our life, to fix appropriate goal, to work in that direction, such an education was given in the olden gurukula vāsa, all these were taught. Before letting the student out in the society, because otherwise he will damage himself as well as others, so something like a quarantine, in gurukula vāsa he is trained well and sent out.
But now in the modern education, how to handle life, society, people it is not taught. How to handle problems in the family that is not taught. So, we have got all kinds of materialistic education, but the other knowledge is, the capacity to decide what are priorities of life. What do I want out of my life, what is my absolute goal, is it merely getting a degree which will useful for a five figure salary ? If this is the goal, animals are better.
Because, they do all these efficiently, so we are meant for something else, and therefore, I have to learn living skills and education for that. This is also a very big topic, for each layer in our scriptures we have got so much. Regarding the intellectual education, I will talk about 2 aspects. One thing is primarily being clear about the goal of life, What do I want ? What am I looking for ? Our scriptures suggest a goal, and according to our scriptures that must be the goal. If our goal coincides with that, then it is wonderful, otherwise we have to discover that goal and it is beautifully presented in one verse, "sarvam paravaśa dhukkām, sarvam atmavasa sukham, yetaD vidyā samasena lakṣaṇam sukha dhukkayodh."
Dependence is misery, any form of dependence is misery, it may be on external factors, situations, objects, people. Dependence is sorrow because when I depend on external factors, each factor becomes capable of hurting me. This watch, is a simple object in the creation, it doesn’t have any capacity to influence me at all, suppose I choose to buy this watch and I get used to this watch, a time comes when I connect my happiness, my fulfilment to the presence of this watch. The moment I depend upon this watch, this watch has got a power over me. This lifeless watch has got a power over me, you know what type of power ? It can make me happy when it is with me, and the watch can make me unhappy when it is away from me. By its presence it can switch on my happiness button, by its absence its switches on my sorrow button. Now, tell me if this watch is powerful or I’m powerful ? It has got a power to disturb me.
The more I depend on the external factors, I’m becoming weaker and weaker, I’m becoming slaver and slaver. This, our scriptures calls as saṃsāra. Sarvam atmavasa sukham, whereas, independence, not depending on any particular object or any person or situation is joy. If you want a happy life, learn to go from dependence to independence. Never choose dependence to more dependence. If this value is clear throughout my life, I will work for this independence.
Kṛṣṇa talks about an independent person in the gīta,"duḥkheṣu anudvigna manāḥ sukheṣu vigata spṛhaḥ vīta rāga bhaya krodhaḥ sthita dhīḥ muniḥ ucyate." If you take Rāmāyaṇa as an example, Rāma was not disturbed by the arrival and the loss of the kingdom only because of one reason, because Rāma’s fullness, Rāma’s contentment, Rāma’s happiness was not hooked to that. This is called internal freedom. In śastric language, it is called mokṣa.
Therefore, we have to develop our intellectual maturity to such an extent, that we should clearly see the goal as freedom and this is more important because the direction of my life will depend upon the goal that I have fixed. At the end of this seminar, which road you will have to take will depend upon the destination that you have fixed, therefore, if the destination is clear and fixed, you can direct your life appropriately now itself. As they give this slogan, "Start early, drive slowly, reach safely." Otherwise, at the 95th year I discover that my problem is my dependence on my children. Many parents depend upon the children and expect to them to spend some time with them.
One father was telling me, "Swāmiji I have 3 children, they are all well-off, they have provided everything, whenever I’m sick, they are ready to take me to the hospital, they are ready to spend any amount of money, but they don’t talk to me at all, Why can’t they come and ask, how are you ?" There fear is if they ask the question how are you, this old man starts from 1957 like when I was in that college and he continuously talks, that is the problem. But the thing is, he wants. If the father had some cold, you have to ask several days, how is your cold, if the children do not do that, this fellow is upset. This is dependence. Like that, so many varieties of expectations are there, every expectation becomes a bondage capable of hurting me any-time. This internal freedom must be kept as the goal. Thus goal fixing is the first thing at the intellectual level. Then, the next thing is, the intellect especially the human intellect has the capacity to remember the past and project the future which is a wonderful faculty, but it often becomes a very big problem. One problem is, I brewed over the past all the time, Why it happened ? Why he did to me ?
When you go on regret over the past, the past becomes a powerful retarding force which drags me in the present. When I want to go in future, it pulls. So, memory becomes a curse. Another problem is, I begin to visualize, foresee the future, how I will be in next few years, whether the children will take care of me, we go-on project and begin to worry and develop anxiety and that foreseeing capacity becomes another obstacle in the present. Thus, memory becomes one obstacle and worries with regard to future becomes another obstacle, I’m never allowed to efficiently work in the present.
Suppose I say, You live in the present, it’s an advice I often give. To live in the present, the problem is, even though I would like to live in the present, the past memories are not going to go away, it remains in me not because I want, but still haunts. Therefore, we require an intellectual training to make our memory of the past and our foreseeing capacity into a favourable force. How do you accomplish that ?
Use your past experience only for learning. Because, experience have got a wonderful capacity to teach beautiful things. That’s why in India we respect old age, because they have gone through a lot. Therefore, I use the past, not for producing regrets, but I use the past only for educating myself. If I use the past to educate, then it becomes a pushing force in the present, my efficiency increases when I learn from the past, my efficiency decreases when I brew over the past. Past remaining the same, past used for brewing over it dilutes the efficiency, past used for learning it increases the efficiency.
Therefore, like the sugar-cane bit, put in the mouth, chew it, suck the sugar-cane juice and spit it out. Similarly, put the past in your brain and then crush it then take the juice of wisdom from the past experiences then forget the past. Bhagavan has given me that experience to educate me. Similarly, the foreseeing capacity also is not used for worry and anxiety, it is used for intelligent planning. Planning is possible only because of our visualizing capacity.
Therefore plan well, and thereafter forget. I want to go on a tour, world tour perhaps, I have fixed the rooms, I have fixed everything. You can prepare everything, but ultimately the tour will happen or not I do not know. Anything can happen, If I’m going to worry whether it will happen or not, then the future becomes a burden. I plan and then forget, if it happens it is the will of good, if it doesn’t happen it is also the will of god. Thus, the intellect can turn past also into a positive force, future also into a positive force. This training on the part of the intellect is making the intellect healthy, in addition to that, of-course developing the reasoning power, developing communication skill that is also intellectual and not emotional. All these are there, taking care of intellectual health. This is the fourth layer vijJAnamaya koṣaha. The fifth one is ānandamaya koṣaha.
Ānandamaya koṣaha is the fifth layer, which in the language of psychology, they call the un-conscious mind, the inner mind, the deeper mind which is the store house of all our past emotional experiences. Whatever emotional experience we have underwent, pleasure, pain, tragedy, trauma all these are stored in our deeper mind and so of our emotional problems, we could not solve at all, and all the unsolved worries and problems, they remain. That’s why in the Indian culture, when somebody dies, they asks the relatives to cry, even if they don’t feel like crying, they will encourage and talk about the dead person and make sure that the person cries.
In English a poem is also there, "A warrior dies in the battle field and the dead-body comes, and the wife is shocked, and that shock has gone deep inside and if that shock is kept in the unconscious mind, she will die, because extreme shock is dangerous, she has to be made to cry. Everybody tries, all fails. An old woman brings their new baby, that baby is brought and placed over her lap, then suddenly she remembers that when the child grows it will ask for the father, how I will deal with that, gush of water flows and she cries, and every time a person cries, there is a release."
Similarly, there are many occasions where we are not able to release our emotions, when boss gets angry with us, we feel like shouting back. But for the safety of the job, we swallow. But that anger is inside, similarly, wife’s anger, husband\children’s anger towards parents, so many suppressed angers are there, that unconscious is the fifth layer. How do you know that ? Whenever our reaction to a present situation is not proportional to the situation, an un-proportional reaction indicates hidden anger. When I’m angry with a person for days together, it’s all suppressed. When a person commits a small mistake, it doesn’t require a violent explosion, but this person explodes. The mistake is small, the reaction is too violent. It indicates, like communal flair-up and all, what do the mob psychology ? It is a small thing only, but is a bottled up emotion that comes.
Thus, we all have got the bottled up emotions which we were not able to express due to various reasons, especially, in the present day, we have to present a false front, to be a gentleman you have to keep smiling, whatever the emotions you should not express, and if you are salesman you have to keep smiling all the time, even though, you are angry. One lady, came to my place, and I don’t know her at all, and just sat in front of me, kept her hands on her face, and started sobbing. I have never faced such a case before, I don’t know how to handle, there is only one way, you have to bring out. So, find some victim or the other and bring out, they talk about different methods, one method is writing out and then throwing it away. In our religious tradition, the best method is you go in front of the lord and express all your feelings, you can scold the lord, you can shout, but make sure nobody is around, because they will think you are mad. So, bring up by writing or by sharing or by talking to the lord, this ānandamaya koṣah will also should be handled if these 5 layers are handled, then this person is a composite integrated personality and then there is a sixth layer, which according to the śastra is our real core personality which is called ātmā.
If we have got an integrated personality, in which all these 5 layers are healthy and fit, then we can enter into the sixth layer which is called sat chit ānanda svarūpaha. Layer which consists of the pure consciousness, pure existence which is the only source of happiness, only source of security, only source of immortality. I’m not going to enter into the sixth layer deeply for that, we have to handle the first five layers properly. Handling the first five layers is the first part of our scriptures and the discovery of the sixth layer and the core is the last part of vedas. With these words, I will conclude my talk.