Countering COVID-19 with Agnihotra and Yajñopathy

(Editorial note: The information presented in this article from literature and personal practice provides food for thought, but perhaps more as a provocative theory of using ancient practices for modern environmental and medical problems. Scientific research to examine these ideas will be essential to apply such information for public good.)

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

(….continued from previous article)

Vedic sciences have a proven tool/methodology for dealing with pollution problems, plagues and epidemics of all types particularly as a Preventive Care and that is Agnihotra and Yajñopathy (Homa Therapy) as a part of day to day life. Astrality of a field or area as also of the individuals can be improved with purification of Atmosphere. ‘Heal the Atmosphere and healed Atmosphere will heal you’ is the fundamental principle of healing by Vedic Sciences. Param Sadguru Shri Gajanan Maharaj narrated the essence of Satya Sanatana Dharma, i.e., panch sādhan mārg or fivefold path.  Take ‘Yajña, Dān, Tapa, Karma and Swādhyāya’, as your way of life and that is the eternal religion given by Vedas to the humanity.

The Bheshajya Yajña is a part of Vedic Yajña System and is to be performed during the transition period (Sandhi-kāl) of two seasons. Therefore three Bheshajya Yajñas are to be performed as, ’Nitya’ (Regular order) in a year. This is known as ‘Chaturmāsya Esti or Yajña. Change in seasons has impact on plant life, animal life and human life. We generally have cough, cold and fever (Flu-like symptoms) during this time. Therefore our great Sages made Bheshajya Yajña as a part of life. Shri Vasant V. Paranjpe has described ‘Bheshyajya Yajña’ as ‘Medicinal Yajñas’ in his book ‘Homa Therapy our Last Chance’.

Research on Agnihotra  and Yajñopathy

I would like to mention on Agnihotra and Yajñopathy to deal with COVID-19 at least as a Preventive Care (of course in addition to Govt. Guidelines about washing hands, keeping personal hygiene, social distancing, wearing mask in public etc.) and also at least one very relevant and important research study here, which probably may or may not be there  in the aforesaid compilation:

An interesting study of Shri Rahul Ravindran Nair, ‘Agnihotra : A Prototype of South Asian Traditional Medical Knowledge’ indicates as follows:

This study conceptualizes the principles of Agnihotra Yajña. The perusal of ancient and modern literature reveals that the functioning of the human body is impossible without maintaining an energetic continuum driven by sunlight. The seven major chakras existing over the spinal cord help to maintain this energetic continuum. Agnihotra Yajña is proposed to balance the chakra system as a whole by minimizing entropy. Offerings of natural elements to fire lit in a copper pyramid during Agnihotra liberate various volatile compounds having potent pharmacological actions. Attempts were made to enhance the efficacy of fumes by incorporating two to three pieces of coconut endosperm and ‘navadhānya’ (nine grains) to the conventional oblations. This investigation clearly demonstrates that the purpose behind the practice of Agnihotra Yajña is ‘letting incessant flow of energy (life) through our meridian lines and acupuncture points. The volatile organic compounds in smoke were analysed using gas chromatography and masspectrometry method …

… In addition to the ingredients tested, cow ghee is another important traditional ingredient that is poured into the fire. The fumes that are liberated during the combustion of ghee help to protect the respiratory system and facilitate the removal of blood clots and the bacterial infections in nasal passage lungs and veins. Hence daily exposure to this medicinal smoke should certainly have a favourable influence on the health of the mind and body of the person inhaling the fume. In addition, the potent antimicrobial action of the above identified compounds, purifies the air in the place where Agnihotra is performed……

…These electromagnetic waves, together with the chanting of Vedic hymns (unique sonic signals) have potential health benefits. The combustion of offerings in the Agnihotra pyramid is thought to increase PCE/Chi/Prana in the surrounding atmosphere and the intake of this increased quantum of PCE/Chi/Prana by breathing is thought to optimize the alignment of chakras and would certainly establish energy connections between the physical body and the electromagnetic body via the chakra system…..

..In the light of all the above facts, Agnihotra Yajña can be considered as a complementary medicine that removes the energy blocks in the meridians/nādis. In conclusion the ultimate purpose of practicing Agnihotra Yajña is to realize “Life” which means ‘letting incessant flow of energy’ through our body–mind system as any blockage in this flow would cause disharmony and chaos in the system, thus leading to poor health.”

Although the ingredients used and studied in Shri Nair’s experiment are different from the standardized ingredients used in daily Agnihotra as recommended by Param Sadguru; the results, observations and conclusions are important from the point of Yajñopathy for building immunity.

Practical recommendations

Agnihotra

Agnihotra’ as ‘Kāmdhenu’ not only give protective shield against COVID-19 as a preventive measure but also bring health, peace and prosperity to people performing Agnihotra by purifying the atmosphere.

The performance of Agnihotra at sunrise and sunset is a must as this Primary and Supreme Yajña through its Resonance Effect captures many ethers, electricities and subtle energies at sunrise and broadcasts them in the atmosphere for its purification.

While interpreting Rigvedic Surya Sūkta (Mandala 1 Hymn 115 and Mandala 10 Hymn 170) Shri Shyam Ghosh says, ‘The invisible electromagnetic waves of cosmic energy carry the properties of heat, light and sound which manifest when those come in contact with matter’. (Rigveda for Layman-Shatsukta Paridarshanam by Shyam Ghosh).

Article, ‘Corona Pandemic- Aspects and Perspectives’ refer to our active self-movement and our relation with the sun, i.e., our rhythmical system is connected with the sun and its course throughout the day. Agnihotra establishes connectivity between our biorhythm and the biorhythm of circadian cycle of sunrise and sunset and the subtle energies emanating from the sun are attracted even if you are confined to your house.

Yajñayopathy (Homa Therapy)

In addition to performing Agnihotra daily, I would recommend performing daily or from time to time ‘Tryambakam Homa’ for about fifteen minutes in which one is able to offer oblations with Tryambakam Mantra for about 108 times.

ॐत्र्यंबकं यजामहे, सुगंधिंपुष्टिवर्धनम्।

उर्वारुकमिव बंधनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीयमाSमृतात  स्वाहा।।

The oblations to be offered in the sacred fire will be that of pure Cow-ghee fortified and enriched with certain essential oils which have antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antispasmodic properties to deal with pathogenic bacteria and viruses of any type, therefore it is called as ‘Amrut Havi’, this is recommended by Dr. Kamal Narayan Arya, a Research Scientist of Ayurveda and Yajnyopathy. In ‘Panch Mahā Yajña Vidhi’, Swami Dayanand Sarswati said ‘this śloka not only gives beautiful description of Agnihotra but also prescribes guidelines for preparation of Havirdravya (Medicinal, Aromatic, Strength and Energy giving herbs/medicinal substances for giving offerings to the fire). He says:

अग्नये परमेश्वराय जलवायुशुद्धिकरणायच, होत्रं हवनं दानं यस्मिनकर्मणिक्रियते ‘तद्-अग्निहोत्रम्’ सुगन्धिपुष्टिमिष्टबुद्धिवृद्धिशौर्यबलकरैऱ्गुणर्युक्तानाम्द्रव्यांणांहोमकरणेन वायु-वृष्टिजलयो:शुद्धख्यापृथिवीस्थपदार्थानांसर्वेषांशुद्धवायुजलयोगादत्यन्तोत्तमतयासर्वेषांजीवानांपरमसुखंभवत्येव।अतस्तत्कर्मकर्तृणांजनानांतदुपकारतयाSत्यंतसुखलाभोभवतीश्वरप्रसन्नताचेत्येतददाद्यर्थम्अग्निहोत्रकरणम्।

Therefore in preparation of Havirdravya aromatic substances like Kesar, Kasturi, Ghee and Milk-like nutritious and strength–giving products, sweet things like jaggery, sugar, honey and medicinal herbs/plants like somalata, disease curing medicinal herbs/plants /substances be used. The following are the ingredients of this Havi:

Amrut Dhara (Divya Dhara)

This is a preparation of three ingredients i.e. Crystaline essence of Ajwain (Omum-Trychyspermum ammi), Pepper Mint (Mentha spicata), and Bhimseni Camphor (Cinemomum camphora).When all these three ingredients in crystal form are mixed together in a bottle automatically they get melted into a liquid form. It is anti-septic, anti-bacterial and head-ache and pain remover.

Cardamom Oil (Elettaria cardamomum)

Anti-spasmodic-muscular and respiratory spasms, muscle pulls and cramps, anti-bacterial, anti-mycotic, anti-viral, carminative activities. Used in  asthama, whooping cough  and as overall health-booster.

Clove Oil (Syzygium aromaticum)

Chemical constituents are iron, calcium ,potassium, phosphorous, vitamin A and C, minerals, compounds like eugenol, eugenol acetate etc. anaesthetic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative and anti-inflammatory.

Cinnamom Oil / Dalchini oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

Number of compounds including cinnamaldehyde  which reduces inflammation, anti-bacterial, carminative, anti-microbial, antifungal; suppresses the growth of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi-good for cough, cold, constipation etc.

Malkangani Oil / Jyotishmati Oil (Celastrus paniculatus)

Helpful for concentration and memory-used in Divya MedhaVati. Steam inhalation for treating upper respiratory infections, cardiac tonic, diuretic in nature, low-BP, vigor and vitality.

Almond Oil  (Prunus dulcis  amygdalus )

High in anti-oxidants, vitamin E, protects cells from harmful substances/free radicals, maintains blood-sugar control and heart-health, acitic, formic, linolenic and palmatic acids

Ten ml. of each of the above six oils is to be added to half a kilo of pure Cow-ghee and this fortified cow-ghee is to be offered as oblations to the fire while chanting Tryambakam Mantra. Even if you light a lamp of this Goghrita (Cow-ghee) in your house it will give results; but performing Tryambakam Homa for fifteen to twenty minutes will be better, because the vibrations of Tryambakam Mantra will have the resonance effect for  creating a protective shield.

Ayurvedic Home Remedy

One more home remedy is preparation of a decoction (Kaḍā) as a preventive measure for COVID-19. This Kaḍā is made up of 7-10 fresh leaves of each of Adulsa (Adhatoda vassica), Parijat (Nyctanthes arbortristis), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Bael (Aegle marmelos) and Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) with addition of approx. two grams of each of Black pepper (Piper nigrum), Peepali (Piper longum), Star spice, Sunthi (dry ginger powder),  Cinnamom  powder. Boil all these ingredients into 1.5 to 2 litres of water to make it as a one litre of Kaḍā and keep it bottled. You can prepare a hot drink of this Kaḍā by adding a table spoon of the preparation to one cup of tolerably hot water and take it with lemon and honey. You can sip this hot drink two-three times in a day. You can also add a table-spoon of this preparation to the vapourizer and inhale the vapours, whenever you have cough and cold or you are sneezing. Parijat has been found to be very useful in case of fever and joint pain in cases of Chickungunya. This Kaḍā will be helpful as a preventive measure as well as an immunity booster when combined with Agnihotra and Trambakam Homa.

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

What Modern Science, Anthroposophy and other Theories have to say about the Emergence and Existence of Corona Viruses?

-Sh. Anand Gaikwad

The Pandemic of new Corona virus SARS-Cov-2 or ‘COVID-19’ has caused unprecedented social, economic, cultural as also political consequences in the lives of people in almost all the counties of the world. At present there is a fierce race amongst all the countries for the search of vaccine/remedial measures for COVID-19, but so far the success seems to be far off, and in fact it is not clear that even after vaccines/therapeutic medicines are made available in sufficient quantities whether COVID-19 in its new form will not keep on returning? WHO has already indicated that, ‘Corona virus’ is going to stay and we will have to live with it, accept it and adapt our life-styles to its existence.

What the Science has learnt and is learning about Corona viruses.

Corona virus is a generic name for a virus that originates in an animal and gets transmitted to human beings. Dr. Sasi Kumar Menon, Associate Professor at Ruia College, Mumbai in his presentation entitled, ‘COVID-19: What has Science Learnt and is still Learning’, finds some similarities between SARS-CoV and COVID-19 and maintains that although Horseshoe bats are natural reservoirs of Corona viruses, there are different intermediary hosts through which they are transmitted to human beings. The slides of WHO Table and Intermediary Hosts from his presentation are given here.

Although in case of COVID-19 the fatality percentage is less as compared to earlier Corona viruses, it is more fearsome; more contagious and fast spreading. Dr. Menon attributes reasons for origin of SARS–CoV and COVID-19 to China to its lucrative Wild Animal Market.

There are Wild Animal Breeding Farms and caged animals in market place that have close proximity with each other including human beings and thus Corona viruses are easily passed on to human beings. Dr. Menon makes an interesting question as to “Whom we should blame for CoVs, BATs or HUMAN Lifestyles?”

This is an irony that despite spending billions of dollars in R&D the Pharma Industry and Medical Profession have not come out with vaccines or effective medical treatments for Corona virus infections which have flu-like symptoms.

The Economic Times Magazine dated 15-21 March, 2020

Anthroposophical View

The Anthroposophical view of COVID-19 supports the view of animal torture as the cause of the spread of this virulent and intelligent virus differently. Shri Josef Graf in his article, ‘Corona virus – Meeting COVID-19 head on with Anthroposophy’. According to him, the origin of COVID-19 is likely due to the debasing of the general Astral Field of the area (and many of the inhabitants themselves) due to the suffering of animals. Massive Factory Farming in China has been degrading the quality of life for animals for a while now.

  • Both the Wuhan lab-work and the local animal meat market contained suffering animals and /or animal meat products.
  • Animal suffering lives in ‘mass meat and eggs’, etc. and is transferred into human Astral Bodies”

In another theory, he revealed that “whenever we have these modern pandemics, they have tended to originate wherever high-tech radiation has been a factor. In this case the first roll out of 5G-Technology is said to have taken place in Wuhan province. The Anthroposophic view is, The Corona pandemic affects humans, and evidently no animals are falling ill (although there may be some exceptions). It thus clearly indicates that it is related to the ‘I’ being. Prevention and cure must therefore also include the spiritual dimension alongside many other things.’

Nature’s Balancing Theory / Absolute’s Correction Theory

There is another theory for the emergence and existence of COVID-19, and that is the ‘Nature’s Balancing Theory’ or ‘Absolute’s Correction Theory’. Dr. Chand Bhardwaj (the Originator and Author of ‘Co-AIM Theory and Practice’, which very briefly means Co-relation theory of Attention, Information and Material) puts this theory as, ‘Jaisi Karani Vaisi Bharani’. Universal Cosmic Order is an intelligent and conscious design, where everything works in a set order. All Cosmic Creation is divine and all beings including animals and humans are three-in-one:

Soul = Attention – Outer expression of Creative Intelligence-connected to its origin Absolute;

Mind = Information of time (past and future events and experiences) -connected to Universal Mind;

Body = Material (elements) – Material body made out of the floating material like our earth and planets (Panchtatva).

The Absolute Creative Intelligence through its Universal Mind carries on the functions of regulation of the Universal Cosmic Order. The correction takes place as per Newton’s third law i.e. ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. The Absolute Intelligence and a capable force operate the Universal Mind to enforce the laws of Nature. The animal sufferings through their bodies and mind communicated to the Absolute as a Single Sensor of all senses, as well as Planet Earth’s devastations due to man-made pollution, witnessed by the omniscient Absolute/ Universal Mind; might have set in the correction process to teach a few lessons to the human species. Human beings are threatened by COVID-19 but all other beings and Nature are welcoming this change. Ecological balance and Atmospheric Order are getting set properly. Articles published on Vedic WAVES blog by Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Brig J.S.Rajpurohit, and Raghava S. Boddupalli on this subject highlighting harmony with nature.

Also, quoting few lines of Vi Vienne  in Spain –

“The Earth whispered but you did not hear. The earth spoke but you did not listen. The Earth screamed but you turned her off…….And so I was born. I was not born to punish you. I was born to awaken you……The Earth cried out for help….massive flooding. But you did not listen…..Start caring about the Earth and all its creatures. Start believing in (your) Creator….Signed Corona Virus”

Vedic View

The wisdom of Vedas provides principles, values and guidelines for dealing with problems in life. Dis-harmonized life-styles in conflict with the nature and large scale man-made pollution are the main causes of human suffering and ill-health. Param  Sadguru  Shri  Gajanan  Maharaj said that so long as Agni Upāsana (Yajña) was in vogue Bhārat  Varsha was a rich and glorious country, but with its loss, the spread of slavery, poverty, diseases and epidemics have become rampant and beyond the control of man (हवन पुस्तिका, वेदविज्ञान अनुसंधान संस्था, सोलापुर). COVID-19 pandemic has made world re-examine interconnection between man and nature. ‘Yajña’ and ‘Yoga’ are the two basic concepts of Vedas and Vedic Sciences.

Sarvam Yajñayamayam Jagat

 The whole universe is the process of Yajña

The twin objectives of Yajña are: Vyashti Kalyan and Samashti Kalyan. Vedic Sciences have a lot more to offer for Samashti Kalyan and countering pandemics like COVID-19, but that would need another article to follow.

(to be continued…..)

Sh. Anand GaikwadKrishi Bhushan Sendriya  Sheti  M. S. & Retd. Executive Director/Company Secretary

स्वतंत्रता भारत की सतता

– प्रोफ़ेसर बलराम सिंह

इंग्लिश में है इंडिपेंडेन्स, 

उर्दू में आज़ादी;

अपनी भाषा स्वतंत्रता की, 

दिल मानवतावादी। 

इन का मतलब इन्साइड से,

अर्थ आत्म बल वाला;

डिपेंडेन्स से निर्भरता की,

सभी पिरोएँ माला।

आत्मनिर्भर, इंडिपेंडेन्स,

दोनो जुड़वा भाई;

अर्थ समझ में आ जाये,

फिर कोई नहीं लड़ाई। 

आज़ादी कुछ और बात है,

ज़ादी ज़द से बनता;

ज़द का अर्थ पिटाई होती,

जग ही पीड़ित रहता। 

आज़ादी पीड़ित लोगों की,

है गुहार कहराई;

इसमें रोष ग़ुबार बड़ा है,

बोले और लड़ाई। 

स्वतंत्रता स्वावलम्बन है,

नींव आत्मनिर्भरता;

ऐसा तंत्र स्वयंभू बनकर,

जन कल्याणी बनता। 

भारत की मिट्टी से ऐसी,

परम्परा में जान है;

इसीलिए भारत की गरिमा,

जग में बनी महान है। 

भारत में तो भा का रत है,

भा सूरज की कांति है;

जहाँ के लोग सृजन में रत हों,

वहीं वास्तविक शांति है। 

भारत का ये वैदिक दर्शन,

कला ज्ञान विज्ञान है;

इसी का अनुयायी जग सारा,

भारत तभी महान है। 

विषरि गए ये प्रथा हम अपनी,

चक्रवर्त सम्राटों की;

रक्षा वाट जोहती वसुधा,

हमीं पथिक उन वाटों की। 

स्वतंत्रता दिवस ये पावन,

उसी प्रथा की शान है;

आओ मिल संकल्प लें फिर से,

स्वतंत्रता सम्मान है।

– Prof. Bal Ram Singh, Director, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, MA, USA

“Tamaso Mā Jyotirgamaya”- Finding a Guru in Modern Times

– Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal and Prof. Bal Ram Singh

Knowledge is a supreme reality that is not limited to experience, education, reasoning and practice. It is an awareness, or understanding of facts that helps in awakening the intellect of a person for making one wise, and use that wisdom (बुद्धि) to pursue naturally the purpose of life through चित्त, अहंकार (अस्तित्व), and महत (the supreme mind) according to the Sankhya Darśan. The mahat concept is the gateway to understanding the brahm (ब्रह्म), the ultimate seat of the knowledge. Thus, a journey of this kind requires training, practice, guidance, and ultimately the sākśātkār (साक्षात्कार) or darśan. An important individual who effectively guides in this journey is known as ‘Guru’. Since Vedic era the word ‘Guru’ is well recognised in various texts like Muṇdaka Upaniṣad (1.2.12), Śvetāśvetara Upaniṣad and Advayatāraka Upaniṣad.

Literally, ‘Guru’ word is constructed from two Sanskrit words, gu (गु) and ru (रु), gu (गु) means dark, ignorance, superficial, confusion, etc., depending on the context, and ru (रु) means to break, to remove, to end, deeper/heavier, or enlighten. Guru-Gītā, a Hindu scripture (Guru Gītā is a spiritual text originally constructed by Sage Vyasa, and narrated again in  the Sakanda Purāṇa where the nature of the guru and the guru/disciple relationship is described in the form of a dialogue between Śiva and Pārvatī). Śiva narrated the etymological derivation of the word ‘guru’ that is based on the syllables gu (गु) and ru (रु), and their meanings in different contexts. According to Wikipedia, there are different versions of Guru-Gita ranging in verses from 100 to 400. According to a Guru-Gita following verses are directly defining the term Guru. It is interesting to note that the primary meaning of the gu (गु) as dark and ru (रु) as the remover is retained to describe the concepts of the ślokas. –

गुकारश्चान्धकारो हि रुकारस्तेज उच्यते |

अज्ञानग्रासकं ब्रह्म गुरुरेव न संशयः||33||

‘गु’ शब्द का अर्थ है अंधकार (अज्ञान) और ‘रु’ शब्द का अर्थ है प्रकाश (ज्ञान) | अज्ञान को नष्ट करने वाला जो ब्रह्मरूप प्रकाश है, वह गुरु है | इसमें कोई संशय नहीं है |

 In this translation the physical reality of dark is removed by the physical element of light, and that is then metaphorically used to indicate that the guru removes the ignorance by eating it away (grāsakam), means destroying it permanently.

गुकारश्चान्धकारस्तु रुकारस्तन्निरोधकृत् | 

अन्धकारविनाशित्वात् गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ||34||

‘गु’ कार अंधकार है और उसको दूर करनेवाल ‘रु’ कार है | अज्ञानरूपी अन्धकार को नष्ट करने के कारण ही गुरु कहलाते हैं |

Here the guru is presented as someone who does not allow the darkness to continue, in other words the guru destroys it. Implications are here that the guru is a dynamic personality who can spot, assess, and prevent the ignorance from continuing.

गुकारः प्रथमो वर्णो मायादि गुणभासकः |

रुकारोऽस्ति परं ब्रह्म मायाभ्रान्तिविमोचकम् ||36||

‘गुरु’ शब्द का प्रथम अक्षर ‘गु’ माया आदि गुणों का प्रकाशक है और दूसरा अक्षर ‘रु’ माया की भ्रान्ति से मुक्ति देनेवाला परब्रह्म है |

Here guru is projected as someone who removes confusion from the illusionary māyā. Two points worth noting are (1) gu (गु) here is presented as the promoter of illusion by highlighting its qualities or features; and (2) ru (रु) means not just a remover of the confusion from this illusion but doing this from the perspective of the parbrahm (परब्रह्म), meaning after attaining that status.

Thus, a guru is a very dynamic personality who can provide guidance to his/her disciple (शिष्य) under a variety of natural and artificial (illusionary) conditions of activities to develop wisdom and vivek in the pursuits of the ultimate goals of life.  

The attributes of guru have to be such that such a dynamism in developing the disciple is readily feasible. Some of those attributes are described under stanzas on ‘आचार्यलक्षणम्’ in Śukla Yajurveda’s Advayatāraka Upaniṣad (an ancient Sanskrit text on Yoga), as outlined below.

आचार्यो वेदसम्पन्नो विष्णुभक्तो विमत्सरः ।

योगज्ञो योगनिष्ठश्च सदा योगात्मकः शुचिः ॥14॥

A truly competent teacher is, armed with Vedic knowledge, a devotee of Viśṇu to mean that the guru has full knowledge of the causal world, free from envy/jealousy through the knowledge, devotion, and practice of yoga. This is important for a guru so that there is no envy with the disciple, providing total devotion to the guidance of the of the disciple.

गुरुभक्तिसमायुक्तः पुरुष्ज्ञो विशेषतः ।

एवं लक्षणसम्पन्नो गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ॥15॥

He should be devoted to his own guru, meaning continues to remain a śiṣya in practice, thus being able to develop the camaraderie with his own disciple, is particularly well versed with the knowledge of puruśa and prakriti, the source and expressive powers of the universe, He who possesses various types of  such virtues is designated as a guru.

गुशब्दस्त्वन्धकारः स्यात् रुशब्दस्तन्निरोधकः ।

अन्धकारनिरोधित्वात् गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ॥16॥

The syllable gu (signifies) darkness. The syllable ru (signifies) the destroyer of the darkness. By the reason of the ability to destroy darkness he is called a guru.

गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म गुरुरेव परा गतिः ।

गुरुरेव परा विद्या गुरुरेव परायणं ॥17॥

The guru alone is the supreme absolute brahm. Guru alone is the supreme way. Guru alone is the master of parā (as opposed to only aparāvidyā. Guru alone is the supreme and last resort.

गुरुरेव परा काष्ठा गुरुरेव परं धनं ।

यस्मात्तदुपदेष्टाऽसौ तस्माद्गुरुतरो गुरुरिति ॥18॥

The guru alone is the limit of all knowledge. The guru alone is the ultimate wealth. He is the teacher of the non-dual reality. Therefore, he is the ultimate guru.

The tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring, where teachings are transmitted from a guru to a disciple, is known as guruśiṣya paramparā. This guruśiṣya relationship has evolved in Indian tradition since Upaniṣad era where guru and śiṣya developed resonance of thoughts and then guru transmits his knowledge to the person who respectfully sits down near him with śraddhā, in the quest for knowledge. A guruśiṣya relationship are beyond age, gender, and battlefield, as the guru can be Yama to a teenage boy Naciketā, lord Kṛśṇa to warrier Arjuna, or sage Yājñavalkya to his own wife (Gārgī / Maitreyī).

The concept of guru and Guru Purṇimā is quite old, the oldest being celebrated as the birthday of Ved Vyāsa, on the day of Aṣāḍa Purṇimā. The latest revival of Guru Purṇimā festival was done by Mahatma Gandhi in honor of his spiritual guru, Rajchandra. In its true tradition a guru does not expect anything in return from a śiṣya, and performs the imparting of knowledge as a karmayoga.  

With time, people started observing guru as a mentor, counsellor, advisor, who inculcates values in his disciples by sharing knowledge and his own experiences, and who cares about the wellbeing of his disciples. A guru, however, in its true tradition will dedicate his/her life caring about disciples spiritually, and educating them in accordance with their nature. Thus, he is an inspirational source for the spiritual evolution of the disciple. The tradition of guru runs deep in India. The entire Sikhism concept is laid down based on the the teachings of Guru. Its main scripture is called Guru Granth Sahib and the words therein called Gurbaṇī.

In present society too, we have come across many such gurus. Like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekānanda, Swami Dayānanda Saraswatī, His Holiness Dalai Lama for Buddhism, ISKCON founder A. C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada for Bhakti Yoga, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for Art of living, Radha Swami, Swami Rāmdev Bābā for Yoga, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for Spirituality, and many others in such tradition. Their disciples usually refer to them as Gurudev! These spiritual leaders are kind of role models and sometimes preferred by people as an alternative to established religions to know more about divinity.

In olden days, the school or pāṭhśālā ran by guru was known as gurukula, later on in modern times they are called as āśrama, although the gurukula system of education is still in practice. Both of these are residential places of learning, without requiring any fees. Guru treats disciples or followers as part of their own family. In gurukula, students received complete knowledge of Vedic scriptures, philosophical-spiritual-medicinal-political, etc. along with various art forms, whereas in āśrama followers received spiritual preaching from their guru. Ultimately these are concentrated on such education that helps in revealing the purpose of life. While pursuing teaching or preaching, guru focuses on self-discipline among learners that result in inner perfection leading to liberation in the form of mokṣa.

Guruśiṣya tradition superficially still is observed in modern educational institutions, at least in traditional ones, where students in general pay respect to their teachers on occasions of Guru Purṇimā. Sometimes these occasions are observed in United States by Hindu groups, such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, and American teachers really appreciate such a devotion. The devotion to teachers, no matter where they are, is always beneficial to students, as śraddhā is critical for earning knowledge.

श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: |

ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति || Bhagvadgita 4.39||

Those who are devoted and who are ready willing to control their mind and senses attain knowledge. Through such knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.

Thus, in Indian tradition the position of Guru is more or less same as Deva, the lord. One should be devoted to his Guru just like he is devoted to his Deva.  

यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ । Śvetāśvetara Upaniṣad 6.23

Will this system ever return, is it the right time for its return, can this system adapt to the modern time, can it compete with modern educational system, and will it be allowed in a time when education itself has become an over $6 trillion business? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear with forced adaptation during the Corona time, that the bluff of traditional system of institutional classroom has largely been called out! With the cost of education spiraling out of control at all levels throughout the world, the educational practices adapted during the Corona lockdown may in fact have provided the needed pause for pondering.

A trillion dollar question is whether gurus are ready to take their place! Let’s hope the answer would be YES by the next Guru Purṇimā!!

Worthy Gurus are absolutely needed!

– Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Assistant Professor and Prof. Bal Ram Singh, Director, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Godliness, Strength and Grit

-Dr. Ravi P Bhatia

They said it was the Asian century

With economies booming

Democratic principles shining

Scholarship, education rising

We  see these aspects arising

The century only a fifth gone

Many efforts still to be done

Several years still remain

The optimist will refrain 

From disputing the current grain

The pessimist highlights the coming doom

When it will be darkness at noon

What about the ordinary citizen

The poor homeless migrant

Who has lost his status,

His livelihood in the COVID virus

S/He will not despair

They will stand up and share

Whatever little they have to spare

With the other homeless migrants

Who are their brotheren and sisteren

There are examples galore

Of their humanity and more

They pick the miserables from the street

Give them something to eat

They push them in their carts

Who thank them in their hearts

They ride their bicycles or walk

Covering long distances to their home

The families give hearty welcome

A newborn smiles to see her father home

As long as they are fit

And have strength and grit

They will not grieve

They will struggle but thrive

And show the world they are alive

Yes the Asian century belongs to these braves

And India’s Vedic thought adds to their  strength

Where do these braves get their strength

In India along the breadth and its length

A spirit of God head or Parmātmā pervades 

They say that they don’t love God

Rather it is God that loves them 

Blesses them, soaks them

In a  spirit of Divinity

Godliness and Unity

-Dr. Ravi P Bhatia, Former Senior Officer, University of Delhi

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता और वर्तमान

– Mr.Vikram Bhatia

श्रीकृष्ण द्वारा कही श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता पर हर काल में बहुत बार लिखा गया और बोला गया है, फिर भी जब भी मैं इसे पढ़ता या सुनता हूँ तो मुझे हमेशा कुछ नया समझ में आता है।

गीता की शुरुआत युद्ध की भूमि में अर्जुन के युद्ध नहीं लड़ने के कारण हुई। श्रीकृष्ण द्वारा अर्जुन को समझाने के लिए ही गीता कही गयी थी| युद्ध को धर्मयुक्त मानने से लेकर उसकी सीमा का वर्णन करते हुए श्रीकृष्ण ने कर्म, कर्मफल, सन्यास व अन्य विषयों पर भी चर्चा की। कई लोग भ्रमवश गीता को या यूं कहें की श्रीकृष्ण को ही युद्ध का कारण मानते हैं, किन्तु गीता केवल सही और गलत की बात करती है, हिंसा या अहिंसा की नहीं। जैसे कोई देश जो आतंकवाद से पीड़ित है उसके लिए युद्ध करना या युद्ध के लिए तैयार रहना एकदम सही है और जो आतंकवाद के पोषक देश हैं उनके लिए गलत।

गीता एक आम इंसान की रोज़मर्रा की ज़िन्दगी को भी दिशा देती है। पहले की तरह आज जीने के तरीके पूर्णरूप से बदल चुकें है किन्तु समस्या जो पांच हज़ार वर्ष पहले थी जब गीता कही गयी थी आज भी वही है जैसे अवसाद (डिप्रेशन), भय (फियर), कुंठा (फ़्रस्ट्रेशन), आत्मविश्वास की कमी (लैक ऑफ़ कॉन्फिडेंस) यह सारी भावनात्मक समस्याएँ जैसे की तैसे हैं।

आज सारे विश्व में भावनाओं का आवेश है हर कोई भावनात्मक दृष्टिकोण से ही सही-गलत का निर्णय कर रहा है और गीता इसके उलट बुद्धि के प्रयोग पर ही बल देती है। इसी कारण यह पूर्णरूप से मनोवैज्ञानिक (साइकोलॉजी) है।

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||

(श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता २.४७)

यह श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता का सबसे महत्वपूर्ण श्लोक है। इसका भावार्थ यही है की संसार में हर एक घटना बहुत सारे कारणों पर निर्भर होती हैं, यह कारण कुछ एक तो स्वयं द्वारा  निर्मित होते है लेकिन अधिकतर  प्रकृति, देश अथवा विश्व के वातावरण और जनमानस के द्वारा निर्मित होते हैं, उन कारणों की पूर्णरूप से गणना करना असम्भव है किन्तु भावनावश हम अपने कर्म के निश्चित फल की कामना करते है (जो शायद ही कभी पूर्ण होती हो) और यहीं से समस्या शुरू होती है जिससे जीवन में चिन्ता, तनाव, कुंठा या अवसाद उत्पन्न होते हैं। जब कारण असंख्य और अनिश्चित हैं तो फल (जो भविष्य में है) निश्चित नहीं हो सकता इसलिए उसका विचार करना केवल अपनी ऊर्जा नष्ट करना है और कुछ नहीं। इस श्लोक में श्रीकृष्ण कहते हैं की कर्म पर तेरा अधिकार है उसके फल पर नहीं इसलिए भविष्य की कल्पनाओं में न जीयें केवल वर्तमान में जीने के बारे में विचार करें। इसका सबसे बड़ा लाभ यह है की जो वस्तु या सम्बन्ध वर्तमान में है उसके प्रति हम कृतज्ञ हो जाते हैं और उसके उपभोग से आनन्द प्राप्त करते हैं।

जीवन में धैर्य रखना वर्तमान में जीने का एक अनुपम उदाहरण है या यूँ कहें की वर्तमान में जीने से धैर्य रखने में बल मिलता है। जब आप वर्तमान में जीना सीख जाते हैं या केवल वर्तमान में जीने का हृदय से प्रयत्न करते हैं, तो आप पातें है की संसार में फैल रहे झूठे प्रलोभन और आश्वासन से आप मुक्त हो गए हैं और स्वयं का जीवन केवल स्वयं की जवाबदारी पर जीने लग जाते हैं, जिससे बिना किसी कारण ना तो किसी से प्रभावित होते हैं और ना तो कोई सहारा खोजते हैं। इन सबका लाभ यह होगा की आपका स्वयं पर विश्वास गहरा होता जाएगा।  

वर्तमान में जीना एक कला है और इस कला को पाने के लिए अभ्यास बहुत जरुरी है। प्रतिदिन निरंतर वर्तमान में जीने का चिंतन और जो वस्तु आप के पास है या जो भी वर्तमान में परिस्थिति है उसका सर्वोत्तम उपयोग करके ही आप यह कला में निपुण हो सकते हैं और अपनी मानसिकता पर विजय पाकर सकारात्मक दृष्टिकोण रख सकते हैं।

यही कारण है की सम्पूर्ण गीता के सात सौ श्लोकों में से केवल एक श्लोक में ही मनोविज्ञान की इतनी गहरी बात श्रीकृष्ण ने कही है, जो इसे मनोविज्ञान की एक महानतम रचना बनाता है। गीता एक धर्म की पुस्तक नहीं है (यहाँ धर्म अर्थात रिलिजन या पंथ से है) बल्कि सम्पूर्ण मानव-जाति के लिए रची गयी है। जिस समय पर श्रीकृष्ण ने गीता कही थी उस समय आज की तरह मानव-जाति रिलिजन या पंथ में बटीं हुई नहीं थी बल्कि सम्पूर्ण मानव-जाति के सामाजिक व्यवहार को वैदिक दृष्टि से उपयुक्त या अनुपयुक्त ठहराया जाता था।

संसार में पहले ही सब लिखा और कहा जा चुका है लाभ तो केवल उस ज्ञान का अनुसरण कर उसके मार्ग पर चलने से होगा। अत: वैदिक मीमांसा को जानने और मानने वालों का यह कर्त्तव्य है की संसार में फैले मनोविज्ञान-विषयक इस अंधकार को दूर करने के लिए श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता के ज्ञान को जन-जन तक पहुंचायें।

Mr.Vikram Bhatia, Entrepreneur, Indore

ज्ञान की महिमा स्वीकार करने का दिन – गुरुपूर्णिमा

– डॉ. शशि तिवारी

गुरुब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु: गुरुर्देवो महेश्वर: |

 गुरु: साक्षात् परब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ||

’उस गुरु को प्रणाम है जो ब्रह्मा है, जो विष्णु है और जो महेश्वर का रूप है। साक्षात् परमब्रह्म गुरु ही है।’ इसी तरह एक हिंदी दोहे में कहा गया है कि-

गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े काके लागू पांव ।

बलिहारी गुरु आपने जिन गोविंद दियो बताए ॥

‘यदि गुरु और गोविन्द दोनो खडे हों तो किसके पैर छुएं ? मैं तो गुरु की बलिहारी जाऊंगा  जिन्होंने गोविन्द के बारे में बताया।’

वास्तव में गुरु ब्रह्म के समान हैं; कुछ माने में उससे भी बड़े हैं क्योंकि ज्ञान का रास्ता गुरु ही बताते हैं। वेद में तो साफ-साफ निर्देश है- मातृदेवो भव, पितृदेवो भव, आचार्यदेवो भव । ’माता, पिता और आचार्य का सम्मान करने वाले बनो’। संस्कृत के एक श्लोक में कहा गया है -’जो ज्ञान की शलाका से अज्ञान के अंधकार को दूर कर आंखों को खोल देता है, ऐसी श्री गुरु को प्रणाम है।’

हिंदू कैलेंडर के अनुसार प्रत्येक मास के अंतिम दिन पूर्णिमा की तिथि होती है इसे ही पूर्णमासी भी कहते हैं। यह पूर्णता की प्रतीक है। देखने की बात है कि लगभग सभी माह की पूर्णिमाएं किसी विशेष नाम से भी जानी जाती है -जैसे चैत्र मास की पूर्णिमा हनुमान जयंती,  वैसाख मास की पूर्णिमा गंगा स्नान, श्रावण मास की पूर्णिमा रक्षाबंधन या श्रावणी, आश्विन मास की पूर्णिमा शरद पूर्णिमा । आषाढ़ मास की पूर्णिमा गुरुपूर्णिमा या व्यासपूर्णिमा के नाम से जानी जाती हैं ।

गुरुपूर्णिमा उन महर्षि व्यास के नाम पर है, जिन्होंने चारों वेदों का व्यास  किया था, पंचम वेद महाभारत की रचना की थी और पुराणों का प्रणयन भी किया था। ये वेदव्यास के नाम से भी जाने जाते हैं। महर्षि व्यास एक श्रेष्ठ गुरु के प्रतिनिधि हैं। विचारणीय है कि कैसे गुरुपूर्णिमा का पवित्र दिन एक बहुत बड़ा दिन हो जाता है-  गुरु की पूजन, वंदन और विश्वास का दिन। माता-पिता के बाद यदि कोई पूजनीय माना गया है तो वह गुरु ही है। वह हमें ज्ञान देता है जिससे हमारा व्यक्तित्व विकसित होता है। भारतीय संस्कृति में ज्ञान की सर्वाधिक महत्ता है, इसीलिए समाज में गुरु का भी विशेष स्थान है। वैसे तो प्रतिदिन गुरुवन्दन करणीय है, पर  इसे समारोहपूर्वक मनाने के लिए एक दिन पर्व के रूप में रखा गया है।

पिता और गुरु अपने पुत्र और शिष्य को सब कुछ दे देना चाहते हैं । उससे पराजय की कामना करते हैं जिससे उनका यश हो। कभी पिता लोभवश कुछ अपने पास बचा कर रख भी ले, परन्तु गुरु कभी भी कुछ भी ज्ञान अपने पास छुपा कर नहीं रखना चाहते, सब कुछ निस्पृह भाव से शिष्य को दे देना चाहते हैं उसके जीवन को विश्वास से परिपूर्ण करना चाहते हैं ।

गुरुपूर्णिमा मना कर हम अपने आदरणीय गुरुजनों को सादर स्मरण करते हैं और इस तरह् जीवन में ज्ञान की उपयोगिता को स्वीकार करते हैं। गुरुपूर्णिमा अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से उदात्त चरित्र, अनुशासित जीवन, और सम्यक ज्ञान की महिमा स्वीकार करने का दिन है – तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः

– डॉशशि तिवारी,अध्यक्षवेव्स –भारत

Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana (Controversy over Sūrya or God?)

Sh. Vidya Sagar Verma

Declaring International Day for Yoga is a great tribute to the seers and sages of India who propounded the Yoga Discipline.

The literal meaning of the word ‘Yoga’ is union. Union of what? Answer to this question has been given by renowned commentator on Yoga Darśana Yajñyavalkya: Samyogo Yoga Ity Ukto Jivātma-Paramātmanoriti, i.e., Yoga is the union of Soul and God. There is a divine spark in all of us and that, because of ignorance, we are not aware of it and, hence, the advice is to know ourselves. And that can be done only through Yoga. God being present everywhere is present in our souls too and can be discerned there directly.

Thus, Yoga and its purpose defined by many seers, scholars, philosophers-

Gita offers a secular definition of Yoga, viz.,

योग: कर्मसु कौशलम्

Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam

i.e., Yoga is perfection in action. By controlling the thought currents of one’s mind, one attains deep concentration on any subject matter and, thereby, attains complete knowledge of the matter pondered over.

Sage Patanjali in his Yoga-Sūtra said :

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः 

Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah

i.e controlling the modifications / thought currents of mind is Yoga. It is a holistic system having both physical and psychological traits.

Rudolf Steiner has also said “Meditation is the way to knowing and beholding the eternal, indestructible, essential centre of our being” (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/edit-page/Dissolve-thoughts/articleshow/347676.cms).

Philosopher Allie M. Frazier has also defined Yoga: 

The purpose of Yoga is to unite man with the Divine Ground, with the Cosmic Consciousness. Yoga is the psychological linking of the mind to the super-ordinated principle ‘by which the mind knows’. 

Every human being possesses three things – Body, Mind and Soul (Spirit). Yoga aims at the composite development of human personality — physical, mental and spiritual. The Vedas and the Upaniśads advise ‘Ᾱtmānam Vidhi’, i.e., Know Thyself.

आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि शरीरं रथमेव तु।

(कठोपनिषद्, अध्याय १, वल्ली ३, मंत्र ३)

To know oneself, one has to concentrate deeper inside. Performing Yoga-Ᾱsanas is not just a way to physical fitness but also helps in deliberating deeper essence of his/her body. Out of 84 Ᾱsanas of Hatha-Yoga, two are very prominent and effective — Shirṣa-Ᾱsana and Sūrya-Namaskār Ᾱsana.

The Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana energises the whole body, it wards off many diseases related to the spine, stomach, thyroid gland, arthritis, et al. It is, therefore, recommended that this Ᾱsana must be learnt and performed by all the practitioners of Yoga.

It is unfortunate that the Yoga Capsule devised by the Ministry of Ayush for the International Day of Yoga Celebrations, Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana has been excluded, whereas, in many countries, it forms a prominent part of the Yoga Demonstration on this day celebrated by almost all the countries in the world.  

The word ‘Sūrya’ in the Sūrya Namsakar does not mean Sun, but God.

सूर्यो वै सर्वे देवा:।

(शतपथ ब्राह्मण १३.७.१.५)

In the Vedas Indra, Varun, Sūrya, et al, are all the names of God and he (Sun) is worthy of being bowed to by all. Brāhmaṇas of Yajurveda narrated various references where Sūrya is said to be ‘द्वादश’.

आदित्यो  द्वादश:।

(तैत्तिरीय ब्राह्मण १.५.३.४; शतपथ ब्राह्मण ११.६.३.५)

विष्णुर्धाता भग: पूषा मित्रेन्द्रौ वरुणोऽर्यमा….॥

सूर्य (आदित्य) के बारह नाम – विष्णु, धाता, भग, पूषा, मित्र, इन्द्र, वरुण, अर्यमा, विवस्वान्, अंशुमान्, त्वष्टा, और पर्जन्य।

(ब्रह्मपुराण ३१.१७-१८)

To avoid the controversy over Sūrya Namaskār Ᾱsana, a humble suggestion is that it be renamed as Iśa Namaskār Ᾱsana as Sūrya here means God.

Prof. Max Muller’s following words in ‘India: What Can It Teach Us’ are worthy of attention: 

“They were all meant to express the Beyond, the Invisible behind the Visible, the Infinite within the Finite, the Supernatural above the Natural, the Divine, Omnipresent, Omnipotent.”

It is not only the Vedas, but many religions, philosophers and scholars declare God as the Soul of the Universe: 

All are but parts of (the Universe is) one stupendous Whole

Whose Body Nature is, and God the Soul.

— Alexander Pope (https://www.bartleby.com/360/4/13.html)

Sh. Vidya Sagar Verma, Former Ambassador

प्राणसाधना क्यों और कैसे?

डा. राजकुमारी त्रिखा

२१ जुन, २०१५ को संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासभा द्वारा संकल्पित “अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस” ने न केवल भारत में अपितु विश्वभर में ख्याति प्राप्त की। वस्तुत: योग विद्या हमारे पूर्वजों की अत्यन्त प्राचीन और अनमोल विरासत है। आधुनिक वैज्ञानिक परीक्षणों द्वारा डाक्टरों ने योगसाधना से होने वाले अनेक शारीरिक और मानसिक लाभों को प्रमाणित किया है। उन्होंने सूर्य नमस्कार और अन्य सूक्ष्म व्यायामों के प्रभाव का योगक्रियाओं के प्रभाव के साथ तुलना की, और इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुंचे कि योग के प्रभाव अन्य व्यायामों की अपेक्षा अनेक गुणा अधिक, उत्तम गुणवत्ता वाले और व्यापक रहे। शास्त्रों में तो स्पष्ट उद्घोष किया है – नास्ति योगसमं बलम्। प्राचीन और गुरुपरम्परा से मिलने वाली इस योग-विद्या का प्रचलन धीरे-धीरे इसके जिज्ञासु और साधकों की उत्साहहीनता के कारण कम होने लगा। समय के साथ-साथ मनुष्यों की शारीरिक और नैतिक शक्ति क्षीण होने लगी। परिणाम स्वरूप धीरे-धीरे यह विद्या लुप्त होती गई । इस विद्या के जानकारों की यह भी मान्यता रही कि विद्या अपात्र व्यक्ति के पास न पहुँच  जाए तथा उसका दुरुपयोग न हो, इस कारण भी हमारे ऋषियों ने इस विद्या को वेद मंत्रों में संकेतों के माध्यम से सुरक्षित रखा। यह विद्या अत्यंत गोपनीय है और अनेक प्रकार से मानव कल्याण करने वाली है।

प्रायः आसन और प्राणायाम को ही योग समझ लिया जाता है परंतु योग के आठ अंग है – यम, नियम, आसन, प्राणायाम, प्रत्याहार, धारणा, ध्यान, और समाधि। आसन तो योग का केवल मात्र एक ही अंग है। आसन के अन्तर्गत स्वास्थ्य की दृष्टि से अत्यंत लाभकारी क्रियायें आती हैं, अतः आसन बहुत लोकप्रिय हुए। प्राणायाम भी अत्यंत ही महत्वपूर्ण और लाभकारी क्रिया है, जिसका उपदेश योग ग्रंथों में बहुत विस्तार से है। प्राणों की शक्ति को सभी जानते हैं। जब तक शरीर में प्राण हैं तभी तक व्यक्ति जीवित रहता है। हमारे ऋषियों ने बहुत सावधानी से प्राण की गतिविधियों को देखा और मनन किया। अतः प्राण-साधना को जानना परमावश्यक है।

ऋषियों ने शरीर में पंचप्राणों, उनके कार्यों और स्थानों का भी अध्ययन किया। उन्होंने बताया कि शरीर में पाँच प्राण और पाँच उपप्राण होते हैं। प्राण, अपान, उदान, व्यान और समान – यह पांच प्राण हैं तथा नाग, कूर्म, कृकर, देवदत्त, और धनंजय उप प्राण हैं।  इन मुख्य पांच प्राणों में भी प्राण मुख्य है। इसका स्थान हृदय में बताया है। अपान वायु का स्थान गुदा में, समान वायु का नाभि में, उदान का कण्ठ और उसके ऊपरी भाग में स्थान है। व्यान वायु सम्पूर्ण शरीर में व्याप्त रहती है।

हृदि प्राणो स्थितो नित्यमपानो गुदमण्डले।

समानो नाभिदेशे तु, उदानो कंठमध्यगः।।

व्यानो व्याप्य शरीरे तु , प्रधानाः पंचवायवः।

(घेरण्ड संहिता ५.५९-६०)

शरीर में इन प्राणों और  उपप्राणों का कार्य भी अलग अलग है। प्राण शरीर में शक्ति प्रदान करता है, अपान वायु  शरीर से अशुद्धि निकाल कर बाहर कर देता है। समान वायु खाए हुए भोजन को पचाता है । उदान वायु कंठ के ऊपर के भाग में संचार करता है। व्यान वायु पूरे शरीर में विचरण करता है। नासिका द्वारा ली जाने वाली वायु जीवन दायिनी होती है। यह शरीर के अंदर जाकर आन्तरिक अशुद्धियों, रोगाणुओं और कफ, वात, पित्त (त्रिदोष) के मल दूर करती हुई उनको प्रश्वास के साथ बाहर फेंक देती है। जब तक शरीर में प्राण वायु समुचित रूप से गतिशील रहती है, तभी तक शरीर स्वस्थ रहता है। यही कारण है कि केवल प्राण का ही विस्तार किया जाता है, अर्थात् प्राणों का ही आयाम किया जाता है, अपानवायु आदि अन्य वायुओं का नहीं। विधिपूर्वक किया गया प्राणायाम अनेक रोगों को दूर करता है।

(Source of Image : https://arlivenews.com/in-udaipur-final-rehearsal-of-yog-one-day-before-of-international-yog-day/ )

दह्यन्ते ध्मायमानानां धातूनां हि यथा मलाः।

तथेन्द्रियाणां दह्यन्ते दोषाः प्राणस्य निग्रहात्।।

(मनुस्मृति १.७१-७२)

अर्थात् जिस प्रकार लोहार की धौंकनी से तेजी से जलती हुई आग में सोना आदि धातुओं के मल जल जाते हैं, उसी प्रकार प्राणों के नियन्त्रण से सभी इन्द्रियों के दोष, मल, और अशुद्धियाँ जल जाती हैं। योग साहित्य और एलोपैथिक डाक्टर भी प्राणायाम की रोगनिवारक शक्ति को स्वीकार करते हैं। अस्थमा के रोगियों के एक समूह पर प्राणायाम के प्रभाव का अध्ययन किया गया। प्राणायाम के पहले उनके कुछ रक्त तथा श्वास संबंधी परीक्षण किए गए और प्राणायाम के कोर्स की अवधि के बाद पुनः रक्त और श्वास के वही परीक्षण  दोबारा किये गये। साधकों के परीक्षणों में सकारात्मक परिवर्तन मिले। साधकों का हीमोग्लोबिन, रेड ब्लड सेल्स तथा लिंफोसाइट काउंट्स बढ़े हुए मिले जबकि व्हाइट ब्लड सेल्स, पॉलीमर्स,  इस्नोफिल्स और मोनोसाइट्स कम हो गए। यह रक्त के बदलाव अस्थमा की तीव्रता कम होने के सूचक हैं। सबसे महत्वपूर्ण और आश्चर्यजनक उपलब्धि तो यह रही कि उपचार की अवधि में रोगियों को अस्थमा का दौरा ही नहीं पड़ा। उनके फेफड़ों की शक्ति बढ़ गई जिससे वे अधिक वायु को श्वास के द्वारा शरीर में खींच सके और अधिक समय तक उस वायु को भीतर रोकने में समर्थ भी हुए। इससे उनका श्वास का एंप्लीट्यूड और होल्डिंग टाइम बढ़ गया। यह सभी परीक्षण डॉ के. एन. उडुप ने किए और प्राणायाम के लाभों को स्वीकार किया {“Stress and it’s management by yoga”, Dr. K. N. Udupa, Delhi, 1985 and K.N.Udupa, R.H. Singh, R.M. Settiwar, and M.B.Singh. “Physiological and biochemical changes, following the practice of some yogic and non-yogic exercises,” Journal of Research in Indian medicine, 10(2)}। प्राणायाम की इस रोग निवारक शक्ति  का संकेत हमें ऋग्वेद के दशम मंडल के १३७ वें सूक्त के प्रथम और द्वितीय मंत्र में मिलते हैं, जहां प्राण को विश्वभेषज और बल दायक बताते हुए शरीर के रोगों और मलों को दूर करने वाला कहा है।

प्राण साधना कैसे करें

प्राणायाम के अनेक प्रकार हैं और अनेक विधियों से किया जाता है। रोगी की शारीरिक शक्ति और रोग की अवस्था को देख कर उसके अनुसार ही प्राणायाम का चुनाव करना चाहिए। किसी अनुभवी, स्वयं साधना करने वाले, कुशल और सज्जन स्वभाव वाले योग शिक्षक की देखरेख में उचित प्राणायाम का ज्ञान प्राप्त कर अभ्यास करना चाहिए जो पालन करने योग्य नियम भी बताएगा और सावधानियों की शिक्षा भी देगा। कुछ प्राणायाम विशेष रोगों में ही लाभकारी होते हैं जैसे शीतली और सीत्कारी प्राणायाम, जो उच्च रक्तचाप,  एसिडिटी तथा गर्मी से उत्पन्न रोगों में लाभदायक होता है परंतु निम्न रक्तचाप तथा कफ के रोगियों के लिए यह प्राणायाम हानिकारक है। इसी प्रकार श्वास को भीतर रोककर कुम्भक सहित किए जाने वाले प्राणायाम हृदय और स्ट्रोक के रोगियों के लिए हानिकारक होते हैं। सामान्य रूप से स्वस्थ व्यक्ति को नाड़ी शोधन/ अनुलोम विलोम प्राणायाम करना स्वास्थ्यवर्धक और अनुकूल रहता है। श्वास को भीतर रोके बिना बाईं नासिका से श्वास लेकर दाहिनी नासिका से निकालना और फिर दाहिनी नासिका से लेकर बाईं नासिका से निकालना नाड़ी शोधन प्राणायाम है। इसका कारण है कि बाईं नासिका में चंद्र स्वर चलता है जो ठंडा होता है और यही जीवनदायक है। दाहिनी नासिका से निकलने वाली वायु गर्म होती है, क्योंकि यह शरीर के सभी दोषों को लेकर बाहर निकलती है। अतः शरीर में पहले स्वास्थ्यवर्धक प्राणवायु को  श्वास से भीतर खींचना चाहिए और दाहिनी नासिका से सभी मलों को बाहर फेंकना चाहिए। श्वास लेते समय यही विचार करना चाहिए कि  प्रकृति से शक्तिदायक वायु के साथ मेरे शरीर में शक्ति प्रवेश कर रही है। बाहर श्वास फेंकते हुए यह विचार करें की मेरे शरीर के सभी रोगों के कीटाणु और शरीर के सभी मल श्वास के साथ बाहर निकल रहे हैं। इस प्रकार प्राणायाम द्वारा सकरात्मक विचारधारा से शरीर के साथ-साथ मानसिक बल में भी वृद्धि होती है।

प्राणायाम का मूल तत्व है गहरा श्वास लेना, इतना गहरा की नाभि तक हिलने लगे। इससे श्वास से भीतर ली गई वायु की गुदा स्थित अपान वायु से टक्कर होती है। तब अपान वायु प्राण को नीचे अपनी ओर खींचती है, और प्राणवायु अपान वायु को ऊपर अपनी ओर खींचती है। प्राण अपान का यह घर्षण से नाभि स्थित जठराग्नि तेज होती है और रोगों के कारणभूत कफ, वात, और पित्त के कुपित अंश को जला कर शरीर को रोग मुक्त कर देती है।

प्राणायाम के नियम

प्राणायाम के लिए कुछ पालनीय नियम हैं , जिनका पालन करने से प्राणायाम का पूर्ण लाभ मिलता है।

1. प्राणायाम के ३ घंटे पहले कुछ ना खाया हो और पानी आधा घंटा पहले पी सकते हैं।

2. प्राणायाम के पश्चात् स्नान लगभग १ घंटे के बाद करें। पानी आधे घंटे बाद पी सकते हैं परंतु भोजन एक से डेढ़ घंटे के बाद ही करें।

3. प्राणायाम का साधक उचित समय पर सोए और उचित समय पर जागे। वह स्वास्थ्यवर्धक और सीमित मात्रा में ऋतु अनुकूल भोजन करें। तभी प्राणायाम का पूरा लाभ मिलता है।

प्राणसाधना के लाभ

प्राणायाम से अद्भुत लाभ होते हैं- मन की एकाग्रता बढ़ती है (जिससे व्यक्ति की कार्यक्षमता बहुत बढ़ जाती है, एकाग्र मन से किया हुआ कार्य भी श्रेष्ठ गुणवत्ता वाला होता है),  मन का तनाव भी बहुत कम हो जाता है (परिणाम स्वरूप तनाव से उत्पन्न होने वाले मनोदैहिक रोगों में बहुत लाभ होता है), मन में शान्ति रहती है, काम, क्रोध, ईर्ष्या आदि के नकारात्मक भाव धीरे धीरे कम होते जाते हैं (काम, क्रोध, लोभ आदि ही अनेक सामाजिक, आर्थिक, यौन अपराधों के मूल कारण होते हैं), भावनाएँ शुद्ध होती हैं जिससे व्यक्ति समाज में शान्ति और व्यवस्था बनाए रखने में सार्थक भूमिका निभाता है। प्राणायाम से इन लौकिक लाभों के अतिरिक्त आध्यात्मिक दृष्टि से भी  बहुत लाभ होता है। शरीर की अशुद्धियां नष्ट हो जाने पर प्रकाश स्वरूप आत्मा के ऊपर से अज्ञान अंधकार का आवरण हट जाता है। तब साधक को आत्मसाक्षात्कार होता है। यह आध्यात्मिक लाभ मानव जीवन का अंतिम लक्ष्य माना गया है।

ततः क्षीयते प्रकाशावरणम्।

 (पतंजलि योगसूत्र २.५२)

यदि इस जीवन में आत्म स्वरूप को पहचान लिया तो बहुत उत्तम है, जीवन सफल है, और यदि न जान पाए तो बहुत बड़ी हानि है क्योंकि मानव जीवन का यही प्रथम लक्ष्य है कि वह आत्म-दर्शन का प्रयास करता रहे।

इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति, न चेदिहावेदीन्महती विनष्टिः।

(केनोपनिषद् २.५)

अयन्तु परमो धर्मः यद्योगेनात्मदर्शनम्।

(याज्ञवल्क्य स्मृति ८)

आशा है कि इस योग दिवस योग के इन सार्वभौमिक सकारात्मक परिणामों को स्वीकार करते हुए तथा प्रेरित होकर प्रबुद्ध जिज्ञासु प्राणायाम साधना में रुचि लेंगे।

डा. राजकुमारी त्रिखा, पूर्व अध्यापिका, संस्कृत, मैत्रेयी कालेज, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय

DemoNOcracy is Here – Readers offer ways out

The article “Democracy turns into DemoNOcracy!!” authored by Prof. Bal Ram Singh published on 22nd May, 2019. The title itself of the article said a lot about Prof. Singh’s view. According to Singh the purpose of the piece was not exactly to provide road map and solutions, rather raise the consciousness of intellectuals towards the problem. Therefore, VedicWAVES blog sought response from the readers of the blog.

(Source of Image: https://mastergolflivestream.com/image/democracy-clipart-government-bill/459473.html#gal_post_480_democracy-clipart-government-bill-7.jpg )

Readers were requested to consider the following questions: 

1. Whether readers are agree with the observation. 

2. What maybe the reason? 

3. What can be done from Vedic view?

Below are the short responses received –

Prof. Girish Nath Jha, Dean, School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Agree with your observation. In fact, just yesterday I was wondering [if] someone [had] compiled all the invectives used in this election. It would be a good linguistics resource for research.

The reason why politicians are using these into quickly to hone their message in a very short time. The audience would perhaps remember these more than plain talk.

The Vedic way of sound democratic ways is not possible today. The closest that we can go would be to promote leadership with Tyāga and general wellbeing of others as the guiding principles.

Dr. Pandita Indrani Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago

I agree for a code of ethics for politicians on the campaign trail. Leaders should show restraint in speech and conduct. I found nothing wrong with the ‘termite’ metaphor because of what a termite does – it works silently from within and before you know it, your entire house falls down like a pack of cards. It is an appropriate metaphor for campaign rhetoric.

Political speech is not in the realm of religious or academic discourse. There is the element of ‘warring opponents’ – nothing wrong with that. However, while being feisty, the campaign rhetoric should aim not to injure and hurt the personhood of the ‘other’ – stick to the issues not personalities. The subtle, artistic, bringing down of your opponent with words is to be enjoyed as the art of debating. It should not descend into ridicule and slander.

Sumit Ganguly’s analysis is from a leftist perspective and nationalism for these folks is not a welcome concept. I disagree with their consistent recourse to demonization of minorities. It’s simply not true. Minorities in India have greater privileges and protections than many other parts of the world and are used by leftist activists seeking favours in foreign countries. Uplift of the economically disadvantaged is more pressing than identity politics in India. Chandra Bhan Prasad’s comment is puerile.

Criminalization in Indian politics is a real issue. Remove goondas and corruption.

India needs a vision to manage its great diversity and the socio-economic and spiritual development of its citizens. India is the spiritual capital of the world. A return to the principles of Rām Rājya is mandatory. Let the state provide the social and economic conditions for development so that people may actualize their highest goals of spirituality. 

India has to be constantly vigilant about external cultural, economic and political forces that see it citizens as ideal consumers. India has to be constantly vigilant about the constant threat to its sovereignty, for near and far, especially its neighbours.

Dr. Raju Chidambaram, USA

Democracy is a basically good concept, perhaps the second best one can have other than a Rāmraj led by a dhārmic monarch.

The problem is the Party system that plagues all democracies. Cooperation (the Yajña spirit of Gīta) needed for progress is not possible in a party-based democracy.

How do we enforce parties to cooperate? Every two years in the US the election should be about the entire House of Representatives. Instead of choosing individuals, the people should decide “Has the House worked for the people in the last 2 years? If so, all of them return for the next 2 years. If not none of them will be allowed to run for re-election and every seat filled with a new comer”. Drastic idea, maybe, but it might force all representatives to cooperate for the good of the country in order to stay elected.

Sh. Rishi Pal Chauhan, Jiva Institute, Faridabad.

I agree with your observations. Earlier social workers used to join politics. They not only used to understand the culture of the nation but lived that in their day to day life. Their life was for nation.

In seventies people started keeping muscle man. In eighties muscle man started join politics. Now people with money power and criminal record join politics.

There should be basic qualification for a politician. He should submit his achievement about the knowledge of the culture of India and the record of social work practically achieved in his constituency He should submit his individual plan for five years. There should be review of his work after every year. He or she did not achieve as per the satisfaction of people he should get grading. There should be basic qualification of voter also.

Sh. Lallan Prasad Pandey, Former Income Tax Officer, Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Yes I agree with the observations made in the write up, given above. 

I think that people see the power politics an opportunity to make money and enjoy power as this was previous trend.

Democratic system of India has provisions and institutions for check and balance. But now a days there needs to come forward the learned and right thinking people to observe the conduct of Parliamentarians and issue public warnings of their observations. Some proper learning courses may be conducted for new members.

डा राजकुमारी त्रिखा, पूर्व अध्यापिका, संस्कृत, मैत्रेयी महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

डॉक्टर बलराम सिंह ने बहुत सुंदर विश्लेषण करके भारतीय राजनीति की तस्वीर प्रस्तुत की है। यह सच है कि हमारे राजनेताओं ने इलेक्शन के दौरान अनेक प्रकार के आरोप-प्रत्यारोप एक दूसरे पर लगाए, जो कि हमारी संस्कृति और नैतिकता के विरुद्ध है ।

जहां तक अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का प्रश्न है , कुछ बोलने से पहले यह सोचना जरूरी है कि हमारी बातें नैतिकता के विरूद्ध न हों। हमें अपनी डेमोक्रेसी को डेमोनोक्रेसी बनने से रोकना होगा, जो कि गिरते हुए नैतिक स्तर के कारण लगभग असंभव सा लगता है। भ्रष्टाचार में आकंठ डूबी अधिकांश जनता और भ्रष्ट विरोधी पार्टियों से भरे हुए देश में डेमोक्रेसी फेल है। यहां तो समुचित और त्वरित दंड व्यवस्था, और सीमित राजतंत्र वाली ऐसी शासन पद्धति होनी चाहिये जैसी महाभारत में बताई गई है। वहां मंत्रिमंडल का कार्य था राज्य के हित को देखते हुए कानून, नियम बनाना और राजा का कार्य था उन कानूनों और नियमों को जनता में सख्ती से लागू करना। कानून के विरुद्ध आचरण करनेवाले को अपराधानुकूल निष्पक्ष दण्ड देना। यदि राजा अपने इस कार्य में असफल होता था, तो उसे गति सिंहासन से उतारा भी जा सकता था। यही उचित राजधर्म है।  महाभारत में इसी व्यवस्था को आदर्श शासन पद्धति कहा गया है। परंतु दुख की बात है कि भ्रष्टाचारी जनता और विरोधी पार्टियों के रहते हुए इस तरह का परिवर्तन संभव प्रतीत नहीं होता। फिर भी ईश्वर से प्रार्थना है कि वह हमारे नेताओं को सद्बुद्धि दे और भारत को नैतिक दृष्टि से भी समृद्ध राष्ट्र बनायें।

Prof. R.P. Singh, Professor, Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

In Vedas, Asuras were not demonized. Demonization started in the Purānas and Epics. Since then it has been happening in one way or another. Britishers were called as mylekshas (म्लेच्छ). There is a lack public morality and predominance of civil society over the State. It will give rise to the State to become authoritative. I appreciate the paper through and through nostalgic.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidyalaya, Kuruown, Uttar Pradesh

First of all Sir, the content is mind blowing and is the true scene of our prevailing so called democracy. I truly agree with it. There’s no more the taste of democracy, instead every leader now just puts each other’s name down which really gives a bad impression to everyone.

According to me the reason is selfishness of political leaders. Now what has become the point that everyone somehow or the other just wants the rule …politicians instead of serving nation, they have developed the mentality of serving their pockets. Development has become a faraway point. They just put each other’s name down to move ahead.

Lastly, according to me as in each n every competition certain education is necessary, likewise it should be made mandatory for politicians as well to be qualified because its education which can mentality and bring in good leaders to the show!!

Sh.Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Scholar, Sanskrit, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Nice thought by you (Prof.Singh)

राजनीति में मतभेद होना संभव है, किन्तु मतभेद नहीं होना चाहिए। भारतीय संस्कृति में राजनीति के अंतर्गत ऐसी नीतियों के निर्धारण का मार्ग प्रशस्त होता है, जिसका अंतिम लक्ष्य “लोककल्याण” होता है।

Ms.Ami Shah, Corporate Legal Expert, Mumbai

Yes totally agree with the observation… The demon of politics is clearly visible now… The status has gone down significantly.

Today the scenario is such that they want to win at any cost. Losing is not am option as their fake reputation is at stake and for that they can go to any extent even if they gave to lose your moral values. They attack at personal levels… They attack your family and your morals. They attack at your weakest links. It has become a battle with no rules, just win at any cost.

In my opinion the best way to improve the practice of democracy is to conduct elections every five year plus conducting voting out every year… This will be an added responsibility and fear of getting removed in the minds of those who are elected. They won’t take their positions for granted. Introducing e-voting system to implement this. Apart from this education is a must to improve the practice of democracy.

Our View

The responders are unanimous in holding politicians responsible for the deterioration of the discourse of democracy to demonocracy. The reasons range from selfishness, no rules of engagements, criminalization of the politics, lack of public morality, power politics and money, party-based democracy, and expedient short term political gains

It is interesting that most of the readers feel that there should be some level of accountability and a provision to recall and/or the elected representatives for lack of progress on promises made. Education and training of politicians are needed, and perhaps principles of sacrifice for public good, following dhārmic principles need to be introduced and  encouraged. The concept of Rāmrajya needs to be invoked.

We feel intellectuals and policy makers need to look at the history of governance in India for inspiration of a system that can serve India’s diverse population without creating acrimony and divisiveness currently being practiced. It is important to be willing to storm out of a system that is becoming detrimental to the nation.

Editorial Team, Vedic WAVES