Disputes in a Married Life
Question: I am suffering from heart disease, ulcer, hernia and panic attacks. I wish to know which asanas will help me stay healthy? My husband has a discordant relationship with my daughter and me. For my daughter’s sake, and in the interest of getting her married off, I have continued my relationship with my husband, even while living my life in great agony; kindly save me?
Gurumaaji: My dear, you say that you are 70 years old, have ischemic heart disease and vertigo; you have stomach ulcers and umbilical hernia. I wonder what kind of a life you have lived: a bad marriage, a bad husband, both you and your daughter have psychological problems for the last fifteen years. Still you continue in a bad relationship for the sake of a social image! What kind of social prestige and social status do you wish to carry on with? I am sure in your city everyone knows that your husband is living separately; everyone in your social circle must know that he is an abuser; everyone must know that he does not live with you and that he hates you. He hates his daughter and both of you too hate him for his bad behaviour, exploitation and oppression. Yet you wish to keep the relationship going! This relationship is not just dead, but rotten – maggots are infesting it! You say that for the sake of your daughter’s marriage you continue with this situation! Isn’t that sick? What kind of ignominy do you wish to impose on your daughter? What example do you wish to set? Is this the ideal you wish your daughter to follow?
Your daughter already suffers from psychological disorders and so do you. What kind of a life do you have? And even if you get her married, will she be able to live a happy married life with the panic attacks she suffers from? Do you think so? Even if you find a husband for her, will you conceal her mental health from him? And if you do, will he, later on, accept a sick wife?
What asanas can I suggest to you? You are 70 years old; at this age, because of a wrong life style your arteries and veins have hardened; calcification must have taken place and that is the reason why you have heart disease. Your heart disease has not come from an alien land – you have worked hard to earn it! Vertigo has not been gifted to you; you did not go to the market to buy it, right? However, vertigo is there and you are the one who has created it! In addition you have successfully created ulcers and hernia too. I do not believe that any disease comes just like that – accidentally. Most diseases arise in the mind; if the mind is sick, the body cannot be healthy.
The problem with Indian wives is that they are conditioned to believe that their husbands are God. They are conditioned to believe that they should worship, love and serve this God. They are not ready to understand or see the truth: God is not a man; no man is a god. Therefore, you are attempting the impossible.
The man you get as your husband is a mortal being who makes hundreds of errors and mistakes. He is ignorant, egotistic and full of worldly desires. Attachment, lust, greed, anger – all are a part of his personality. Yet you put such a man on a high pedestal and worship him as a god. This god makes you suffer; this husband-god is a very angry god and so he makes you suffer. He makes your daughter suffer, and still you wish to be legally bound to him just for the sake of delivering your daughter into the same hell you are living in – the marriage you maintained for fifty years. I can only sympathize with you. You never shared a moment of love; other than sex, did you ever share a moment of love with your husband?
Listen to this very attentively Vaishali: What kind of a life has your mother lived? A traumatic life at best. My dear Swati, how can you, a loving and caring mother wish for your daughter to be in a marriage – the kind you have sustained? Is that what you wish for your daughter? Please think it over. I have nothing against marriage; I think everyone should get married for it is such a beautiful relationship; a lovely institution – but only if your eyes and mind are open. It is beautiful if you do not become a bonded slave to a man or woman and suffer your whole life.
Life is not meant to be lived trying to please a mortal man whom you can never actually please! A man who is not there to please you, but is there only to torment you. Yet you say he is my husband and I cannot have a legal separation from him or how else will my daughter get married? What would society say? I am really surprised! I can only make a suggestion; the rest is up to you. My suggestion is that you think over what kind of a relationship you have. I think it is already dead, it is already defunct; it has already been mummified and it is only the ghost of this relation that is still hovering over your head. All the pain, all the stress, all the frustration, all the misery that you have suffered has made your body ill.
Therefore, if you want to reverse the situation, you have to once again begin from the mind. The root cause of all of the problems – for both of you – is your bad relationship with your husband, and Vaishali’s with her father. You have lived a hellish life, but whatever is left of it …….. I think you should wake up now, for it is a nightmare you have lived. You just have to separate your mind from your husband. You must also realize that your husband is a husband only in name. This is not what a husband is like; this is not how a husband should behave with his wife; this is not how a man should behave with his daughter – most definitely!
Yes, a stepfather can definitely behave rudely with his stepdaughter. I have heard and read stories about happenings in Europe, the US and maybe even here in India, where a stepfather was having sex with his stepdaughter! He had no qualms about using the girl’s body for his own pleasure. I know that happens, nevertheless, if a biological father hates or illtreats his daughter, something is very wrong.
I am repeatedly stressing the point that until and unless you are ready to be in a relationship of marriage, and you understand what a marriage is, never get married! And even if you have, at least do not bring a child into your life. Do not try to add on another soul to the family – one who will just be given a dreadful and painful life.
What was your daughter’s fault that she had to suffer so much? She had to drop her studies and what is she now? Nothing! She could not complete her medical studies, she cannot work, she has panic attacks, she cannot live alone and cannot go out alone! What kind of a life have you given her? What kind of a life have you given yourself? You still say that for the sake of Vaishali’s marriage, you remain in this so-called marriage! The day she gets married, she will need a father to do her kanya-daan (giving away ceremony). She has to have a father to host the marriage. A father who wishes you to be dead?
Wake up Swati, you are still sleeping! I am putting things in their correct perspective before you. Although you are asking me to suggest some yogic asanas to help you heal – and I will definitely love to see you healthy and hearty – but as long as your mind is not healthy, your body cannot be healthy. This is the worst case scenario at the moment! You are still worried about your body and you still cannot see that it is your mind which has cultivated, designed and made your body sick. My God! What kind of a life have you lived! My heart really goes out to you. Do you have anything more to say?
Question: I was hoping a day would come when he would change.
Gurumaaji: Who will change? Your husband? A day will come when he will change!? Okay, keep on hoping then. Seventy years! Your feet are in the grave and you are still hoping for change! These are age-old conditionings of the mind given by society; keep on hoping, keep on hoping that one day the devil will become a god. Always waiting for a miracle to happen! Maybe he will change, maybe he will change….but the question is: for how long will you wait for this miracle to happen? For how many more years? Already you are seventy; I do not think Indian women live this long; I am surprised you have lived this long! You must have some good karma which has extended your life. I say use it as a chance to create hope for yourself….now you change! Now pray that you change. Pray that before you die, you change. Discard the hope of your husband ever changing.
We cannot see our mind because it is not a physical entity like our hands, feet, legs or face. The mind is, in fact, nothing compared to its powers. A mind which is frustrated and filled with negativity, or a mind which is sad and dejected, stresses the brain and all the glands in the body, which then secrete chemicals that generate disease.
Many people say that if you eat healthy food with less oil, then your heart will always be healthy. I have seen a yogi friend of mine who is a hundred and twenty-four years old – he eats like a pig, he eats so much! He never ever refuses any sweets, any amount of sweets! He never ever refuses to eat ghee or oil. He never says no to food; especially when I offer him food he eats like a baby and never says no; never says that now he is full! How strong his digestion is! How strong his heart is! How strong all his organs are! This is because the mind in that body is so strong that it can digest even stones!
There are stories about yogis who were fed sulphur – it was dissolved in water – it looked whitish, like yoghurt. One yogi was told that someone had brought him a yoghurt drink and he gulped it all down. Nothing happened! A yogi who practices his yoga correctly can even digest sulphur! No harm comes to him. If a normal person eats sulphur, right away his entire food-pipe will be gone; he would die within hours. These yogis do not have bodies which are different from ours. They have the same bodies, but their minds are very different from any normal person’s mind. Totally detached from the body and the attachments of the body; totally disciplined in spiritual practice; totally dedicated to bringing saiyyam and niyama into their lives; totally surrendered to God; totally surrendered to Guru and following his teachings meticulously: this is what makes an ordinary person a yogi.
You need to take a very serious look at your mind. You really need to analyze how much harm you have brought to yourself because of your attachment to your husband. If only you could see the truth, your life would be very different from what it is now. I suggest you read my book ‘Shakti’.
I can write down the asanas which you should do; I can write down the pranayama you should do, but it won’t work unless and until you set your mind right. So if you are ready to bring about this change in your mind and in your life, I will definitely suggest the asanas, but to learn them you will need to be here for at least ten days – you cannot learn them in an hour; it is not instant coffee. Sure, you are most welcome to come again for that is the best thing you can do for your daughter and yourself.
Question: I was a weak person and I feel guilty. What to do?
Gurumaaji: You need not feel guilty. I was telling Vaishali that every individual, living his life, is settling his own karmic accounts. It is only the karmic accounts which you have to settle. So if a person comes into your life and makes it hell, please do not get angry with that person – maybe you made his life hell in some past incarnation. Now he is simply settling the score. Just because you have forgotten your past and because you do not remember what you did in a previous life, it does not mean that all your karmas will be simply wiped away. Your karmas remain, and the karmic force is a great force of Nature. No one can escape it or run away from it. If you sow a good seed, you get a good fruit; if you sow a bad seed, you get an undesirable fruit – and all these fruits will come back and you will have to accept them. You cannot say, “Oh no, now I have changed my mind, I don’t want to!” No one can complain about God making them suffer. Actually God has nothing to do with your life, it is you alone who are responsible, as a result of all the actions of the past.
Every day, right from the time you wake up, to the time you go to bed, maintain a diary of each and every action you do – write down, just write down everything. There will be scores of actions, and many of them will be good. I can give you a simple example: Just now before I arrived, I could see two asanas lying there; the people were missing but the asanas were there. This is a sign of possessiveness; this is definitely not a sign of their love or of a desire to sit close to me. If they really wanted to be close, then they would have been waiting for me, even if I take three hours to come here. They would not leave their place. But they do leave their place for whatever reason, maybe to answer nature’s call – that is not my problem. However, they had no right to leave their asana here; they are reserving a seat and announcing that this is their place and no one else should sit here – this is possessiveness. When you act out of possessiveness, can you call it a good action?
I will give you another example. It is breakfast time at the ashram and people are sitting waiting to be served; the last portion is left in the serving bucket. The person besides you says that he is hungry today and you hear him say this. What will you do? Will you simply ignore what you know and take the last portion for yourself, or will you offer it to that person? Would you ask the helper to first serve the gentleman or the lady, saying that they need it more than you? Now that would be a good action! The bad action would be to simply ignore what you have heard as though were deaf, and just grab the food. Then you justify your act saying that it was supposed to come to you anyway, and the person serving was just doing his job. But what was your job? If you cannot be kind to a fellow human being, how can you expect kindness for yourself?
Analyze your whole life through these binoculars, which I am asking you to use: Are we kind? Are we compassionate? Are we full of servitude for others? Do we pay attention to someone’s suffering or are we just inert, insensitive and inconsiderate? I am not asking you to just be polite and display etiquette – what about kindness?
So, just as there is good action and bad action, there are good thoughts and bad thoughts. When you become greedy on seeing something beautiful, your mind’s natural reflex is to want it for your own self. “I need it. I should get it.” No one knows about this desire of yours – but you know.
When you get upset with someone, we can call it a bad karmic thought, and remember that every thought and every action will come back to you. If you can totally understand the principle of karma, then you cannot be upset with anyone, because god knows in which life you had troubled that person, and today that person is simply settling the score with you.
You have no right to say that this person is bad because he has behaved badly with you. Maybe he is just answering back; this person is just giving you what you deserve. Now is your moment to be unbiased, unprejudiced and not angry or upset with that person, but to take whatever fruit that person is giving you, and to live your life being de-attached from that person. If you begin to settle the score again by making a new entry in your account, then the account will go on and on and on and on……… Therefore, if you wish to clear your account, what should you do? Once a particular score is settled, do not set it up again, do not restart it. When no fresh entries are made, your account will automatically come to zero.
What is your plan Vaishali? What do you want to do with your life?
Question: I want to learn pranayama properly. Will you please guide me? Now I do deep breathing and nadi shodhan but I am not sure if I do them properly. I suffer from a lumbar disc problem and find that kapalbhati makes the backache worse. Am I doing it wrong or should I not do it at all?
Gurumaaji: If your lumbar back is weak, kapalbhati will definitely make it worse. See, pranayama comes after asana, not before. The sequence is: first, you follow the yama and niyama, then do the asanas and then follow it up with pranayama. If you are not following the fundamental principles of yama, then your asanas will not give you the benefit they can give. Following these principles faithfully is very important.
So you need to strengthen your lumbar region because if it is weak, then you are just waiting for new diseases to occur in your body. All the nerves connecting the spine to the entire nervous system – all this networking has to be very strong, and if your lumbar region is weak or if you have pain in your lumbar region, then it is a sign that this is already a weak area. A weak lumbar region means that the base of your body is weak. More than the sacral, thoracic or cervical region, it is the lumbar region which gives us an understanding of a person’s body. Therefore, to correct your lumbar region you have to learn a series of asanas to make your spine flexible. You need to tone up your spine and make it more supple. Then kapalbhati will really benefit you.
Nadi shodhan and anuloma viloma are two different things and not the same. However, nadi shodhan has no serious side effect or bad effect, rather, it strengthens your nervous system. Kapalbhati can be done by taking some support for the back. This means that you may lean against the wall keeping your spine erect and then do kapalbhati, because the wall support will help to do the bellow-breathing. Sufficient movement of the diaphragm muscle and sufficient movement of the abdominal muscles is required in kapalbhati. If this does not happen, then you are not doing it properly; you will not reap any benefit by doing it incorrectly.
Your problem is that you ask questions but do not act upon my suggestions. These techniques need time and space to be learnt correctly. You cannot learn asanas in one day. Actually, in one day all you can learn is to stand correctly; people do not even stand correctly! When you stand incorrectly and when your posture is wrong, it adds to the pain and worsens the health of the spine. Most people really do not know how to stand. When throughout the day you stand in a wrong posture, sit in a wrong posture, sleep in a wrong posture, you are just hurting and harming your body. The harm you have done to your body over the years cannot be corrected in a day. Therefore, you need to be here, whenever convenient – in this life or another – but you need to be here and be totally focused. Because a weak lumbar region is not a good sign of health, so most definitely you need to address this problem – it can be done, it is not very difficult.