Of Shri Paramhans Krishnananda

After spending ten years in Germany, I returned to India in March ’96. At this point of time, I looked, spoke and thought like a German. The Guru gave me about eight months to acclimatize, and then he appeared for the first time in this incarnation. Years later, I realized, that it had been a long wait for him, for a Guru loves the disciple strongly, and only the Guru has the strength to wait for decades till the disciple is ready again in his/her new body. When the Guru appeared, the last thing on my mind was discipleship. Then, I was suffocating under the apathy and corruption prevalent in my homeland, and was still coming to terms with the culture shock I had suffered upon returning to India. Yes, India had changed. Parts of it and some of its people had become even more western than the West. The red-tapism and the bureaucracy were at an extreme, but apparently not peaking yet. The slums and the pollution had drastically increased. The country was in shambles. And now I had this monk sitting in my office, asking for a food-donation for one of his Ashrams, which somehow broke some barrier in my system, and I started lamenting about my country in a very loud tone in front of the monk, as if everything were his fault. One thing lead to another, and the dialogue got louder from my side, whereas the monk remained calm. I finally got down to yelling that had his boss, the “amazing” God, and his linage of Gurus, not the eyes to see the appalling state of India and to do something about it? The monk had had enough of the insolence, and he banged his palm against the table (the one and only time I have observed him losing his cool in the last seven years), took out a small paper pouch from his dhoti, took a pinch of “Vibhuti” (ashes from meditation/prayer practice) from the pouch, and gave me the Vibhuti, commanding me to mix it in water and sprinkle it over all the property my family owned. Such was the power of this outburst that I quietened down. During an incarnation in India, the Sanskar of obedience to men of God gets ingrained into the system, and is followed even unconsciously. I obeyed the monk without realizing the meaning of this ritual. A few months later, I realized that the monk had taken my entire family and me into his protection, and the sprinkling of the Vibhuti was the reflection of this occurrence on the physical plane.

Amongst all this commotion, I noticed that the monk was experiencing pain on speaking, and the voice was only a hoarse whisper. Later, I found out that at that point of time, Krishnanandji was in his 21st year of a 27 year fast, in which he would only eat fruit and take milk, water etc., but no “Anna” (even slightly heavy food) as they say. [This fast ended in 2002, and I went to Krishnanandji’s main Ashram in Hardwar to obtain part of the fruit of this fast. During the 27 years of this fast, Krishnanandji was popularly known as Phalahari Baba, or the monk who survives on fruit.] But why the pain on speaking? The monk had just completed another penance of standing on one leg for two years at a stretch, and one result of this penance was that he experienced pain even on speaking. But why undergo such a penance? “So that what one wills happens”, was the exact answer of the monk. Over the years I was to find out that this monk had performed severe penances. He had roamed over entire India bare-feet for six years, surviving on alms. The rules of the penance were that he was only allowed to beg from 5 houses per day for food. If he got nothing, he could not beg from a 6th house-hold, and had to go hungry. Before this, he had spent six years shut in a cave in the Himalayas, the parameters of which barely allowed one to stand. This was after he had gained complete control over his 5 senses and attained communion with the Almighty in 1970. [A few years ago I asked him about life in the cave. He said that life in the darkness of the cave made his practice so intense, that “he began seeing maps of the entire realm of God” (to quote him exactly).] Then, after his wanderings and after establishing the Hardwar Ashram, for eight years he did not lie down, doing everything (even sleeping) while standing. Upon knowledge of this penance, a big “Why would anyone do this?” flashed across my mind. Gurus can read minds, so to answer my question he showed me a photograph of him during the 7th year of this penance. Till above the knees, both the legs had gone totally black with blood clots. [He was burning his disciples’ evil Karma by taking their pain on to his body.]

The monk’s face reflected youth, yet the body and the teeth were of an aged person. He required a stick to walk. When he spoke, one couldn’t help noticing that the structure of the gums was such that the monk must have been practicing Khechadi Mudra for years on end. Upon being asked his age, he went into a trance, emerged a minute later, and came up with the answer that he had been friends with Krishna during childhood, but they had gotten separated, and he hadn’t seen Krishna physically since then!!! [He also added that he had been following my progress since three births!] He lived for 8 months a year in his cave in a forest near Joshimath, and came down to the plains for 4 months a year to look after his Ashrams and give Satsanga to disciples. Apart from the main Ashram in Hardwar, he ran an orphanage in Hardwar, an Ayurvedic hospital in Benares, a cow’s haven (Gau-Shala) in Sonepat, was building an Ashram in Ghaziabad outside Delhi, and planned to build an Ashram in Panipat. None of these institutions were registered in his own name, but under the name of disciples. They were being run completely on donations. Amongst his disciples were the rich and the poor alike, and some of the rich would donate huge sums regularly for the running of the Ashrams. The Ashrams and their responsibilities would become reason enough for the monk to come down to the plains at regular intervals (totalling about 4 months a year), and the disciples would get their Satsanga regularly. It was a beautiful cycle.

Whenever he crossed Panipat, Krishnanandji would drop by at my office and give me Satsanga. A relationship began to build from my side too. Guruji, as I had started calling him now, came again to my factory after my engagement to Nidhi. I told him that I had gotten engaged. He said that this was the happiest day of his life. Much later I would realize the meaning of this statement. Normally I would give a small donation for his Ashrams, but this time he commanded, that it was imperative for me to donate Rs. 11000 at this stage, and I would obtain the fruit of this donation very soon indeed. So forceful was this command, that I made the donation. Upon obtaining this donation, he immediately got up, said something to the effect of “watch how the fruit of this donation is given to you”, blessed me and left. During our courtship, Nidhi and I used to be on the phone before bed-time. A week after this donation, I noticed that Nidhi’s voice was sounding very tired on the phone, and she was yawning away. I told her that there was something unusual about her voice. I asked her to call her father, since I wanted to bring this to his notice. She said that everyone was asleep. Strange, this, at 9:30 p.m. I sensed something, and immediately ordered her to wake her father up that very instant. After 5 minutes a yawning father-in-law came on the line. His voice sounded funny too. Drugged was the word I was looking for. I warned him about what I felt, and he immediately controlled and saved the situation. Actually, the entire family had been drugged by the servant, who had mixed 20 sleeping pills in the food. Nidhi had stayed awake waiting for my call. Had even she gone off to sleep, the entire family was doomed, because outside in the bushes was waiting a gang of four robbers to rob the household (later all were apprehended). This gang was known to kill upon the slightest retaliation by any family member. Since the donation, the commanding voice of the Guru and this incident occurred only a week apart, I knew that somehow the Guru had saved the day. Nidhi’s grandmother woke up three days later, and her mother suffered hallucinations for two days, but the situation had been saved. Thank God, and thanks to the Guru.

The Guru never stops testing the disciple, so there he was again, a month later, with the same commanding voice, asking for another Rs. 21000 to be donated urgently. This was a big sum, and I said that I could not go through with such a big donation at this stage. He said that in that case I should donate whatever I deemed fit. I made a small donation of about 20% of the amount asked. He seemed a bit disappointed, but he left. Within a week there was a raid on my factory by government officials and because some papers were not in order, I faced either a fine of Rs. 600,000 or immediate arrest. An arrest, that too fifteen days before my wedding, could have dampened all future prospects for me. Luckily for me, my father and my uncle controlled the situation and avoided the arrest, but had to shuck out the huge fine to the very penny. It was a big loss. I wished that I had listened to Krishnanandji and had made that donation of Rs. 21000.

In 1999, Krishnanandji arrived with a dark and robust man who started giving me Satsanga. During this discourse, Guruji sat quietly, watching me. I sensed that something unusual was at play.  Looking at the dark fellow in the ochre robe, I, then studying physiognomy, saw that his thumbs were those of a dacoit. I then only paid attention to Krishnanandji, not once looking at the dark fellow. After the two had left, I got a call from my grandfather, who asked me to invest Rs. 200,000 on some shares which promised a return of Rs. 35000 within two months. I told grandfather that as a matter of principle, I did not invest on the stock-market. All he said was that for once I should please listen to him. Actually, grandfather was never really forceful, but now, there was forcefulness in his voice. Again that strange feeling that odd forces were at play. I followed grandfather’s instructions and purchased the stipulated shares, making sure that when the promised return of Rs. 35000 was ripe, I cashed in on the Rs. 2,35,000. Grandfather seemed satisfied, and I was beaming from inside, for I now had Rs. 35000, generated out of nowhere, and I thought I would donate them, bit by bit, to Guruji. The next day the dark fellow landed up with another fat fellow, both in ochre robes. They said that Guruji had met with an accident and was lying in hospital. His life was in danger, and the doctor had to operate urgently. The cost of the operation was Rs. 35000, and they had come to me on instruction from Guruji to obtain this money. I promptly gave them my entire earnings at the stock market without any further clarification. They left. Two months later, a beaming Guruji entered my office. He couldn’t have looked better. I enquired about his accident. He said that he hadn’t had any accident. Then it dawned upon me that I had been duped, but on second thought and after meditative insights, I feel that Guruji had focused a chunk of my karmic debt upon the dark fellow, and had then sparked him off indirectly to go and obtain this debt. So that I wouldn’t really incur a loss, the earning at the stock market through an abnormally forceful grandfather came about, again ignited through Guruji, I felt. And, killing three birds with one stone, Guruji was able to test my reaction when confronted with the question of his life, a test which I had passed with flying colours. This was a master-stroke, Krishnanandji, a hole-in-one. Guruji closed this meeting with the instruction that if anyone wearing an ochre robe came to my doorstep (apart from himself), I were to offer a glass of water followed by a cup of tea and a donation of Rs. 11, and nothing else. Sure enough, regularly ochre-robed persons come for donations, and I openly apply Guruji’s maxim of water, tea and Rs. 11.

Between 1999 and 2002, Guruji one-pointedly would concentrate on the value of charity during his discourses. Somehow he would make it a point to make me feel that if I thought that I was one of the most charitable persons going around, I was mistaken. He would then narrate episodes from the classics about when the protagonists of the episodes would donate their children to the gods for sacrifice without wincing, the whole thing being a test for the protagonist by the God. The Gods would return the children unharmed after the test, of course. One protagonist even donated a child to a God only to see the god tear the stomach of the child with a saw, and the protagonist did not shed a tear, thus passing the test and having the child returned to him, healthy, unscathed. Guruji was trying to get it across to me that true charity was done without shedding a tear and without the expectation of a reward, and after the performance of the deed, true charity was soon forgotten by the performer. Any expectation of reward and any pinch felt while making the donation reduced the value of that donation in the eyes of the Lord.

In September 2002 came the big test. Guruji expressed a desire to travel all over India and give Satsanga to as many people as possible. His itinerary was such that this 6 week tour would cost him Rs. 3,00,000. He had chosen three disciples who would finance the trip, each having to donate Rs. 1,00,000. I was one of them. Around the same time, for the first time in my life, I had felt that there was something lacking in my life. Nidhi and I had been married for four years then, and we did not have any children. Both of us had just started to want a child. For the first time in his life, I had an unfulfilled desire. Firstly, would he make this donation? Secondly, would he make it with or without the expectation of the reward of a child? Thirdly, would he feel the pinch of donating the huge sum of money? I had been practicing Kriya then for nine months then and had been a disciple of Guruji for six years. Something must have rubbed off on me, for I recognized the test in its full and complete form. I then made the donation without wincing and without the expectation of any reward. Krishnanandji was able to travel to remote parts of India, feed many hungry persons, and give Satsanga to those who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to meet and hear him. I had passed the test, and the moment I handed him the packet of money, he patted me on the back many times and beamed, brimming with joy and shouting “You have passed the test.”

On the path of Sadhana, the tests get more and more difficult. The current test is the most difficult I have ever experienced in my life, having to do with two Sanyasis having to conceive by physical means. The task is very difficult, and Guruji is using the situation to annihilate as much of his disciples’ evil karma as possible by jugglingly magnifying the situation to cause prolonged but bearable amount of mental pain to his disciple.

Meanwhile, Sadhana and the Guru’s tests have made me partly numb towards the pain, apathy and corruption prevalent in India. Both of these have helped me establish my own mental niche, which is essential for the survival of any evolving soul, especially in India.

Paramhans Krishnananda is a part of our lives. He can barely read or write. His visits are tests. We look forward to them, but know that we will be examined. One cannot define Paramhans Krishnananda.

 

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Superstition and the Limitedness of a Fearful Mind

The good old Rishi-Munis were faced with the task of the incorporation of healthy habits and a sattvik lifestyle into the lives of common folk. Though everyone was spiritual in the times of Satyuga, the Rishis had the foresight that in times to come, especially during Kalyuga, almost no one would be spiritual enough. If good / healthy habits were not given down the ages as a traditional package which was easy to remember and follow, they would die out and the entirety of future generations would succumb to consumption, doing no justice at all to their much earned Yonis as human beings.

  As a solution to this task, the Rishis packaged healthy habits and a sattvik lifestyle into customs and minor rituals, which they coupled to festivals and changes of season, mostly as per the lunar calendar. A prime example are the Navratras, the festive 9 days which occur twice a year at the change of the seasons from warm to cool (October) and cool to warm (March-April). The required lifestyle as per the norms laid down during Navratras to maintain health and not fall sick is nothing but a page out of hoary Ayurveda and the (Panchakarma) regimen followed by Ayurveda at the junction of the seasons to expel excess Doshas from the body, maintaining a balance of Doshas in the body and thus health.

  In today’s India, Navratras have become a splurge-season for many. It has become a superstition to commence any task or make any purchase during the Navratras. The youth doesn’t really know much about the fasting and rest to one’s bodily system as advised by the Rishis during the Navratras. On the contrary, the youth looks forward to the late night cultural festivities organized on each of the nine nights in many Indian states. Not switching the body on and off with the Sun (approximately) leads to ill-health. Most people today who hold partially to the norms laid down for the Navratras follow these lightly, without knowing their full significance, a state of affairs envisioned by the Rishis, for which purpose this custom was designed in the first place, i.e. to keep virtue alive despite the level of ignorance in Kalyuga.  Among those who actually “slow down” and give their body rest so as to allow the body to get accustomed to the change of weather, there is a high percentage of people who demarcate for themselves one meal in the day, and then go all out during this meal, taking it at night, and then sleeping right away! Ayurvedically speaking, not healthy at all. And then, when the Navratras are over, some of these folk splurge at all meals for a while, putting on a few extra kilos overall in the bargain. The “Pointe” is the feeling of being blessed by the Gods for having “held” the Navratras with partial fasts and regimens like not shaving and not eating meat (!!!) or consuming alcohol, any positive effects of which are more than drained by the binges afterwards. There also exists fear that transgression during the Navratras would yield extra sin and punishment, which is more of a reformer than the incentive of following virtue and reaping rewards in solid health. This develops further into the false belief that outside the Navratras, transgression is allowed, yielding lesser sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. Transgression is paid for by ill-health, Navratras or no Navratras.

  Similar to the Navratras is the all-year round custom which is prevalent in many parts of North India, of fasting on Tuesdays, partially if not fully, and laying off non-vegetarian food and alcohol on the part of those who indulge. I have seen many men holding this Tuesday fast and then binging on non-vegetarian food and alcohol during the rest of the week. [At the same time I must add that many pious women follow this custom too, and their customary visit to the temple brings upon them a certain holiness and a shine on the forehead, since these women are devotees of Lord Hanuman, one of the few true celibates in the history of mankind.]

  Another laid down custom by the Rishis is the period of the “Shradhas”, or the fifteen days during which one pays homage to one’s ancestors. Here, all fifteen Tithis of a lunar Paksha are demarcated for homage to one’s ancestors, depending upon the Tithi on which the ancestor passed away, be it Shukla or Krishna Paksha. The power of the penance performed during Shradha by the  descendants reaches out to the ancestors’ spirits, and those spirits which are refusing to move on are instilled with positive vibrations and urged to move on to other pastures and to forsake attachment to their families still in the body. In the real-life scenario, day to day transactions almost come to a standstill, with the superstition prevailing, that any new activity begun / performed or any big purchase made during Shradha is inauspicious. Of course the Rishis were fully aware that detachment between spirit and substance is the key to allow the spirit to move away, and that an enlightened mind would not require the crutch of the Shradhas to help a deceased relative move on. At the same time, the Rishis rightly felt that in Kalyuga, attachment levels would be high, causing spirits to linger on. Thus the Shradhas were devised, during which the Rishis themselves undergo penance that empowers the rituals performed by the common individual  to bring rest to the souls of deceased ancestors. Unfortunately, the common individual passes the Shradhas with the fear that something inauspicious or uncalled for might happen at any step.

  In the course of one’s Sadhana, one develops the power to rise above superstition. The mind breaks the shackles of fear and evolves more and more. Light starts emerging from within, and one’s aura starts expanding, purifying and healing everything and everyone within its diameter. The crutch of customs and rituals is not required anymore, with body and mind purification happening 24 / 7. Any spirit in the vicinity is spiritualized and receives energy to move on automatically, Shradhas or no Shradhas. Day to day actions gain in auspiciousness due to the bubbling / overflowing spiritual energy, Navratras or no Navratras. Unwanted guests stay away, so as not to jeopardize the next session of meditation. During the course of meditation, one exchanges energy with Cosmic Consciousness, recharging one’s batteries with the vast reservoirs of spiritual energy abundant in the Cosmos. Hence the need for physical food declines. One even needs less sleep for regeneration, because regeneration during deep meditation is 1.5 times during the first hour and about 6 times during the second hour of meditaion when compared to the regeneration during good sleep. This list is endless…….. . All it takes for the mind to move beyond superstition is the identification of a spiritual routine and the discipline to stick to the routine, day in and day out. The outlined results follow automatically.

  In other words, the  essence of this article is an appeal to the Grihastha Ashram individual (the “common individual” of the days of yore) to take perhaps an hour off per day, split the hour into two, and to practice the chosen spiritual routine in these two sessions daily (each ranging at least half an hour), morning and evening, day in, day out. Let me not limit the reach of this article to Grihastha Ashram individuals only. Spiritual evolution is the ultimate goal of all humans anyway. Actually, it is one’s birthright.


Siddhis or Supernatural Powers

 

Being able to see auras is a gift one gets on the path of meditation. It is one of the many super-natural powers the path of meditation is paved with. Some seekers get their gifts early on their path. These gifts are meant to assure the seeker to continue. They are beacons of the right track, but at the same time they are also massive tests for the seeker. If the seeker is greedy, he/she gets entangled in the Siddhi and does not move forward. If the seeker is staunch, Siddhis are not really required to keep him/her lured onto the path. The ultimate goal is way beyond and much above these Siddhis, so one should not be dazzled by the bright lights of the Siddhis.

                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                    Panipat, the 25th of September, 2003

Recently, I had the good fortune of meeting Swami Sambodhananda, an ascetic who performs penance in a remote village in the Himalayas and comes down to the plains once a year to teach Yoga, philosophy, astrology etc. He taught me that Siddhis are blockages in the path of the rising Kundalini. The manifestation of a Siddhi is a weakness in the system coming in the way of God-realization. If any of the Chakras has blockages due to entanglement so as to not allow the Kundalini to advance upwards, the Kundalini stays put at the Chakra, giving the native supernatural powers pertaining to the Chakra concerned. If the native still has greed and lust patterns lurking within him, new behavorial patterns due to the Siddhi can cause the native to accumulate loads of evil Karma by misusing the Siddhi, which could be difficult to negate in the forthcoming lifetimes, and because the Kundalini has stopped advancing and has stayed put well before its goal, there can be no question of the attainment of Moksha in the current lifetime. Of course, if the blockage is cleared by the Guru in time and the Kundalini allowed to advance upwards, and also the evil Karma accumulated is negated or annihilated, then one can still have Moksha in visier. Therefore, the practice of Sadhana for x number of years without the development of a Siddhi is a sign that there are no blockages in the upward rise of the Kundalini, a very positive sign indeed. (Progress on the path of Sadhana can be measured by other indicators, for example the level of detachment, dependency on physical food, number of breaths per minute in everyday life, ability or non-ability to switch the system off at will, resistance to mental and physical pain, appearance of youthfulness on face, lustre of skin, immunity against disease………………………..). Thank you Swami Sambodhananda, for this enlightenment.


Special Lassi


Ailment: When one suffers from excessive Vata, especially after meals.

Quantity: 1 Glass

Ingredients: Ginger, Lemon Juice, Black Pepper, Cumin, Curd, Water, Honey.

Procedure: Put 100 ml Curd and 100 ml water in the mixer and add 4 drops of ginger juice, 3 drops of lemon juice, a pinch of black pepper, half a pinch of cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons of honey. If in a hot country, add 1 cube of ice. Mix for 30 seconds. Don’t strain, but pour into glass and drink after a meal.

Note 1: Make sure no lemon seed gets into the mixer. (These spoil the effects of lemon).

Note 2: Don’t make the drink too cold, because that nullifies the effect of the digestive juices. Drinking more than one glass after a meal would dilute the digestive juices too much.

Note 3: Digestive Lassi seems to suit almost everyone. It enhances the proper outflow of excessive Vata through the proper channels. Those who have acute problems with milk products should lay off though.

Note 4: Don’t feel sheepish about letting off Vata after a meal. Vata held inwards is extremely bad for health, because then Vata seeks improper channels to flow into, thereby poisoning the whole system.

Adjustment: Quantities of the ingredients can be adjusted depending upon the intensity of the Lassi required.

 

Trifala Eye Care


Ailment: Eye pain and strain, especially from computer-work.

Quantity: 100 ml

Ingredients: Trifla and water

Procedure: Mix half a tea-spoon of Trifla powder into 100 ml of water. I use Dabur and Khadi Trifla. In summers, strain with cloth after 1 hour. In winters, strain after 6 hours. Wash the eyes with the strained Trifla-water.

Note 1: It will sting in the eyes!

Note 2: The Trifla should be genuine.

Note 3: During the spread of eye-flu, one can wash the eyes with strained Trifla water upto 4 times a day, but one should use half the above recommended concentration of the Trifla solution. Trifla is a great preventive against eye-flu, and you won’t have to use the allopathic antibiotic preventives recommended by the doctors.

Note 4: No particles should be left in the Trifala after the straining, because these can be harmful for the eyes.

Dosage: For computer or TV buffs, once every evening. After one week, one can reduce this to every alternate day, slowly coming down to twice a week.

 

 

The Karmic Ills of Non-Vegetarianism


The average human being must eat to survive, but it should be clear to us that each morsel has been previously earned by the soul. No backup earning means no food, and there are plenty starving this very instant. Plants feel pain, but animals feel much more pain because their central nervous system is developed.  The human being feels the most pain because of the highest development of the central nervous system on Earth. The average plant consumes a few buckets of food and water in its lifetime. The average animal consumes thousands of kilograms of food and water in its lifetime. This consumption is lowest for white-meat animals and highest for red-meat animals. The good Karma bank account of the consumer of a portion of meat is lowered by the food and water consumed by that portion of the aminal for its till-date existence. This account depletion is about a thousand times higher than the account depletion per meal from a vegetarian’s account. Furthermore, in the bad karma bank account of the non-vegetarian, the pain of the animal is registered. In the vegetarian’s bad Karma bank account, the pain of the plant is registered. Again a factor of approximately a thousand looms here, because the animal suffers much more during the killing. The consumers will have to account for this bad Karma by either experiencing proportionate pain with compound interest on their own bodies and/or minds, or they will have to do proportionate good to negate the pain caused. It has generally been seen that the vegetarian individual, because of the Sattwik nature of most plants, is aided by the Cosmic Force to perform Sattwik activities, i.e. those activities which uplift mankind spiritually. Because of these virtuous deeds, such an individual soon negates the pain caused during preparation of his/her food, and moves on to accumulate compounded amounts of good Karma which ensures future healthy human bodies born in a spiritual environment, so as to resume the spiritual path from where the individual left off during the former incarnation. The non-vegetarian individual is full of Tamas after the consumpton of meat. This Tamas attracts its cousins which are also full of Tamas, i.e. alcohol, nicotine and other stale/dirty stuff. The Tamasik individual then attracts to him/herself other Tamasik individuals, and together they perform Tamasik activities, i.e. what mankind considers sins and what earns bad karma. The bad Karma account of such an individual is rising exponentially, coupled with the simultaneous exponential depletion of the individual’s good Karma bank account. The body earned in the next life by such a human might not necessarily be human, because it might not suffice to wipe off even a small percentage of the bad karma account. For example, woe is such a life when one is born as a buffalo which toes heavy goods for 10 years at a stretch under whiplashing, and then drops dead from exhaustion. One sees many such entities on the roads of India, their eyes revealing their suffering, their thick skin split from the loads and the whips. Is this suffering a coincidence? Most definitely not. It is a wiping off of karmic debt, and if you’ve understood this text, you now know one of the basic activities with which karmic debt can be accumulated, i.e. non-vegetarianism, and also a basic regimen with which karmic credit can be earned, i.e. vegetarianism.

 

The Language of the Heart

Between mid-January and mid-July, 2004, I had been working very intensely in field of Ayurveda, both on a theoretical and a practical level. Most of my studies were at home, and the last six weeks were spent gaining practical knowledge in the USA. The intensity of the work was cushioned by the comforts of the home, though I did notice once or twice a mildly painful air trying to find a house in the region of the heart. During a period of rest, I would feel this air recede. In the USA, the shield of the  home was gone and I was exposed fully to the strain, without family and comfort to fall back upon. To add to my woes, the difference in the structure of society as compared to India made me feel home-sick. During these six weeks, the “bad air” found housing in the region of the heart, and upon my return to India, I found that the mild pain in the heart was there more often, along with tension, and wouldn’t recede during times of rest. My lungs were congested too, and breathing was becoming a slight strain. I had put on lots of weight. It was my last chance to take permanent action.

    My Ayurvedic analysis of the situation was as follows. Due to the strain (long hours of work, personal deadlines, abnormally long air-transits) and the many hours of sitting cross-legged, Apana Vayu had gotten blocked, and was now flowing partly upwards and not fully downwards. It had found an abnormal route of flow towards the heart in its effort to do Sthana Samashraya at the appropriate Kha Vaigunya. Why had the overflowing Vata Dosha identified the heart as Kha Vaigunya? The negative emotions absorbed by the heart are worry, sadness, anxiety and rejection. Yes, these emotions had been abounding since January, had been absorbed by the heart and the heart had become a Kha Vaigunya for an overflowing Dosha to do Sthana Samashraya in. But why the tension in the region of the heart and the difficult breathing? Well, the home-sickness had caused me to binge on cheese, cream, chocolate, chips and chilled beer for the six weeks in the USA, in a subconscious effort to increase Kapha intake to lessen the pangs of the home-sickness. Kapha Dosha had become  aggravated and was overflowing into the lungs (difficulty in breathing). It was also being pushed into the heart region by the overflowing Vata Dosha (hence the tension due to clogging in the heart and the pushing of Vata).

    Luckily, once awake from my slumber and upon realizing my health-follies, I was in a position to deal with the situation on a purely Ayurvedic level. Here is the strategy I devised to combat the situation, taking my large frame and constitution into consideration:

1). Arjunarishtha, 3 tablespoons taken with same quantity of water after lunch.

2). Dashamularishtha, 3 tablespoons taken with same quantity of water after breakfast and dinner.

3). Trikatu, one big pinch before each meal.

4). Masala Chai with ginger, Tulsi, cardamom, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, Trikatu, Vasa and Honey, two cups upon awaking in the mornings.

5). Trifala, three-fourths of a teaspoon boiled in  water (1 cup), cooled to room temperature and drunk before sleeping.

6). Eyes washed with Trifala eye-wash daily for 2 weeks at a stretch. Here, 1 teaspoon of Trifala is boiled in water (1 cup), cooled to room temperature, sieved thoroughly, and the eyes are washed with this decoction, preferably in the morning.

7). Thorough increase in Pranayama and meditation, both of which had come to a standstill in the USA.

8). Lessening of work-load to 20% of prior exertion.

    The reasoning for this strategy was quite simple. Arjuna is good for any problem of the heart. For Vata Dosha becoming lodged in the heart, Dashamula is recommended. I decided to have Dashamula twice a day till Vata receded sufficiently, after which I would phase it out and stick to Arjuna once a day for a couple of weeks. The Arishta (medicated wine) was the Anupana, made by adding yeast to the fresh juice of the herbs in question. Trikatu would increase Agni, get rid of Ama, and would also tackle the congestion in the lungs and the heart. After dealing with the heart, I thought to myself, I would discontinue the heart herbs and possibly continue with Talisadi Churna (decongestant) and Sitopaladi Churna (expectorant), if the heaviness in the lungs persisted. Meanwhile, I had strongly reduced my intake of fats. An added bonus was that Dashamularishtha would cause a mild distaste in the system towards alcohol, lessening the craving for chilled beer. The Trifala would give good motion in the mornings, regulating the normal flow of Apana Vayu and the proper absorption of Prana in the colon. The Trifala eye-wash would strengthen the eyes which were suffering from severe computer-strain, and would seep into the sinuses, spreading its anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects there. Then, meditation would increase Ojas, thereby giving the body immunity. Pranayama would burn Ama and speed up decongestion, adding to the effects of Trikatu. The lessened work load would give the system rest and allow it to settle.

    Within three weeks of returning to India and commencing upon the above regimen, I had already lost three kilograms (6.6 pounds). Vata was flowing out of the heart towards the colon. Congestion was less. The tension in the heart was gone, and breathing was easier. Then I had a dream, in which a well-known heart-surgeon performed an operation upon me, during the course of which my heart was taken out and allowed to rest. Meanwhile, somehow I was kept alive. When the doctor was satisfied that the heart had rested sufficiently, and that its clogging had receded, he installed the heart back and said that I was free to go this time, but would not escape so easily from the effects of future binges. The message was pretty clear, and I understood.

I decided to continue with the above regimen for another two weeks and then to phase it out slowly, but would carry on with the Pranayama and the meditation as regularly as possible.