Yoga for the health of body and mind
Dr S Kulachandra Singh
Healthy trees and plants alone yield good flowers and fruits,and horticulture was evolved to make trees and plants grow healthy. So also man evolved the stages of Yoga to free him from the above three afflictions. Yoga is a science which deals with the health of the body, harmony of the mind,and clarity of the intellect. Yoga is communion of the individual soul with the individual soul, the merging of the jivatma with Parmatma.
Before exploiting the unknown and invisible Universal Soul, man has first to learn about the known and visible objects like his own body and then go to the subtle thing like the mind, the intellect and the will. He has to bring into unison the body, the mind, the intellect and the will which are the vehicles of his soul. It is the training of the body and mind that lead man to experience the tranquility of the soul. Yoga encompasses the whole man and it is devised for his complete evolution, from the base of his body to the apex of the soul. .....
Yoga has eight stages : Yams, Niyama, Asana, Pranaysms, Oratyahara, Dharma, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The five great universal principles of Yams, namely non-violence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), celibacy (Brahmacharya) , non- covetousness (Aparigraha) , and non- possession of wealth beyond necessity (Asteya ), discipline man's senses of action (Karmendriyas), which are his hands and legs, organs of excretion and generation and speech.
The disciplines of Niyama namely, cleanliness (Shaucha), contentment (Santosha), austerity (Tapas), study of the scriptures which enlightens the intellect (Swafhyaya), and surrender to the Lord (Ishwara Prandhana) purify the senses of perception ( Jnanendriyas ), namely, the eyes, the ears,the nose,the tongue and the skin.
Asanas sublimate these controlled senses of action and perception and harmonise them with the organic functioning of the body. Pranayams (rhythmic control of breath) quietens the tensions of the body and mind unfolds the brilliance of the intellect. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the objects that attract them) illumines and shows the path towards the Self. Dharma (concentration or holding firm) and Dhyana (Meditation) dissolve the illuminated intelligence into the very Self, leading to total absorption (Samadhi) . Science has advanced to the extent of sending man to moon and bringing him back.
The science of medicine has progressed beyond imagination. Transplantations of the heart and kidneys are performed and artificial tongues enable men to speak. Inspite of these developments physical as well as emotional diseases are sapping the life force of men throughout the world. Administration of drugs helps to relieve pain,but leave behind worry, anxiety, depression and sorrow. What is it that keeps men away from pain and sorrow ? Health of the body, mind and soul alone can make man live happily from birth till death. Health alone can enable man to die nobly and majestically. Health is not a commodity which is gained by swallowing pills. It has to be earned by hard means and discipline. One has to exercise in order to keep the muscles, the organs, the nerves, the glands, the flow of blood and the systems of the body in proper conditions.
Then the mind and the entire human system are well regulated like the rising and setting of the Sun. No doubt the body is the dwelling place of the soul. But a dead body has nothing without realisation or ethics, moderation in food, sex and sleep. It is the living body which has to be kept ever alert by educating and re-educating it in our modes and habits, food and sex by performance of asanas, prana Yogasana for the Health of Body and Mind.
No one knows when the world came into existence. Both Purusha and Prakruti (God and Nature) existed before man became aware of them. As man developed, concepts of duty and yoga dawned upon him. Perhaps the word "Yoga' came into usage when man experienced Viyoga (desperation, disunion). Sorrow and happiness followed each other like spokes of a wheel.
Man started thinking of a personality free from affection of action and reaction, an external being whom he called God or Guru of Gurus. With his attention centered round this Personality, man developed certain norms and behaviour. These norms were termed “Anushasana Yoga” or disciplines like cleanliness of thought, word and deed. Man gained hereby health and strength, peace and divinity. Letter it was termed "Santana Yoga", Yoga of integration, freeing man from dualities like body and mind, mind and soul.
Nature introduced into man and the three Gunas or qualities of Sattva (illumination), Rajas (action)and Tamas (inertia) and man was caught within the circles of these Guna and his cycles started moving like the wheel of a potter.
(To be contd)