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Asana-Pranayama-Japa: A Wholesome Lifestyle
What the eye can do, the ear cannot. What the ear can do, the nose cannot. What the nose can do, the mouth cannot. Yet, they are very well integrated with one another and work in unison. They are not against one another. Everything is working in totality.
Now, we have three components as such – body, senses, and mind and then there is the breath which integrates them. To be more precise, it is the prana which binds body, senses, and mind, and it is the prana itself which disintegrates the body and the union of body and mind. So, we have to cover up all the three components.
This means that we have to take care of the body which is the vehicle, we have to take care of the breath which is running it as the fuel of the body, and we have to take care of the mind which is the engine of the vehicle. So, you cannot say that because I have cleaned my car’s exterior I do not have to get fuel. You have to get fuel too to run the car. Now, you cannot say that my car is clean and I have got its tank filled with fuel, so I do not need an engine. Well! Your car cannot move without the engine, so the engine too should be in perfect condition. Therefore, the engine, the fuel, and the car – these three things as such are not three. These three things are one.
Similarly, you have to bring a system into your life through which you can take care of your body, senses, and mind. This means that doing asanas & pranayama is important. Asanas are going to bring the much needed health, vigour, vitality, energy and strong immunity. Secondly, when you do pranayama, you are not only breathing deep and taking in more oxygen, but you are taking in more of the pranic energy which is the cosmic energy. Thirdly, when you do your mantra chanting or when you do some kind of meditation and most importantly, when you listen to such words, this wisdom makes your mind stronger.
You cannot say that I am not going to do asanas and I will just do pranayama, or I will not do pranayama and just do asanas. You cannot say that I will not do asanas and pranayama, I will just listen to Gurumaaji. It will not work. When you prepare a dish, for example, an Indian curry, you need salt, you need pepper and you need tomatoes. To make an Indian curry you need all these ingredients. You cannot say that I am not going to use tomatoes or I am not going to use salt or I am not going to use spices. No spices! Well! Then it is not Indian curry. It is definitely not! You cannot make your curry without spices.
Similarly, asana & pranayama are the spice for your body and mind. It is the practice of these which is going to bring in the zing, the zing called energy! You may eat the best foods which are available in your respective countries. However, even after eating all this good food, even after drinking milk, even after drinking pint after pint of orange juice, you still do not have enough energy in your body. You are still wearing glasses. Glasses are a sign that your vision is deteriorating, else why would you need glasses?
Swami Buaji, my hundred and twenty-five year old friend, I have to say hundred and twenty-five again and again, because this is going to shock you, that how is it possible? He does not use any glasses. You give him the smallest font, he reads that perfectly. He has no memory loss. His memory is functioning right. His brain is functioning right and he can eat like an elephant.
He was there with me in my Ashram for almost a month. Often, we would eat together. He loves me so much that he would not eat without me. He would say, “Amma comes, I eat!” So, Amma has to go! Amma is forty-two and her son is hundred and twenty-five! And he would sit and eat more than me!
He is very fond of sweets. If he wants to have rasgulla, he doesn’t use a spoon to eat a rasgulla but rather pick it up and put it in his mouth! There is a Bengali sweet called malai chap. It is quite long and thick. One day, he picked up the whole thing and he kept holding it in front of his mouth, saying, “Should I take it whole? Should I take it whole?” And before anyone could say anything, he put the whole sweet in his mouth! It was difficult for him to close his mouth too, it was so big! But he ate it, not one or two or three but four of those!
He never ever says that I have indigestion or flatulence or constipation. And after a sumptuous meal, within half an hour, he is fond of drinking hot milk. Nothing cold for him, as ice is bad for the human body. Everything should be hot – he can drink such hot milk that you cannot even imagine and that too with a straw! When you take in any liquid through a straw, it hits your palate first and the skin of the palate is the softest, but he would just take it in!
One day, he inserted the straw in his nose. He said. “Today I am going to drink from here.” I said, “Go ahead!” I knew he could do that. So, fine, do it! And he was drinking through the nose! This is the mastery over the body. It is not a game. It is not something which is supposed to be exhibited but it is just the sign that how deep is his control on his muscles, on his glands, on his stomach, on his elimination. Why will he not enjoy long life then? Scriptures say that the human body is meant to live two hundred years. If I accept this, then hundred and twenty-five is not a very big number.
However, people abuse their bodies so much – they do not eat wisely, they abuse their sleeping hours and they just want to make more and more money. Fine! Go ahead! You will have money, but you will die early and someone else is going to enjoy your money. Go ahead! Do it! Kill yourself! You are killing yourself slowly if you are not respecting Nature. Remember this – if you fight with Nature, you lose. You cannot win against Nature. Therefore, you need to do yoga-asanas to stay healthy and live a balanced life.
There has to be an integrated discipline for practicing asanas, pranayama and to do chanting. And one needs to learn them, else you will end up wasting this precious life and nothing can be as precious as your life. You do not consider this fact, so you do not think about it. You are just following the rat race, working more than is needed. At the end of the day, how much food can you consume? There is a limitation to that. How many dresses do you need?
You earn so much and then you buy so much. You then hang all these clothes in your closets and they are just lying there. It eats away your precious time when you have to decide, “What should I wear? What should I wear? What should I wear?” As you have so many things, so much time goes in choosing. “This does not go with my purse. This does not match with my pagri. This does not match with my shirt. This does not match with my shoes.” So, you have to match everything then, right from the shoes to the turban!
Well! If you are not a Sikh, then the turban thing is taken care of, because you are just going to comb your hair. But if you wear a pagri, then the pagri is another added value. You have to worry about what colour it should be, how it should look and so on. “It should come right. It should not be so big. It should not be so small. It should not be looking clumsy.” How much time does this take? This is not living wisely, actually. I will just say that this is not living wisely. At the end of the day, you just need a bed to sleep in, but you want your bed to be in a palace! You do not want your bed to be in a smaller cottage or a smaller apartment because you do not live for yourself.
The truth is that we live for others. “Others should see how I live. Others should see how I dress. Others should see what I eat. Others should see what I see.” “You know, I went to see this,” or, “I went to eat there”, – this is what you really want to announce all the time. I say that the human mind is now more of an advertisement company, always throwing lines to people and dropping names. “I know this, this and this.” “I went to that place!” If only you could use your wisdom rightly, then you will begin to say, “Oh! I do not need this, I do not need that.” Now you say, “I want this. I want that.”
When you have time, just sit down with a notebook, write down what you need and what you desire. The desire list is going to be too long, and the list of what you need would be too small if your lifestyle is right. Asana, pranayama, japa – if you practice them regularly, you never fall sick. You do not need so many medicines, you do not need so many doctors, nor do you need so much medical treatment. This means that you do not need a bigger medical insurance!
So many things are inter-related. When you are happy with yourself, then you do not have to go shopping to feel happy. People go shopping because they are depressed. They go shopping because shopping makes them happy. But if you are happy within yourself, you know that it is just a matter of closing your eyes, sitting in a posture and following the chant and enjoying it. Why then would you want to go to a place to buy unnecessary things which you are not even going to use? See, we do have needs. When we are alive, the body needs things, right? However, the body can live without so many of those things which were actually never ever needed.
So, you do need to learn yoga. You do need to learn pranayama. I believe that if in the morning one hour can be put aside, then a right schedule can be made. I am reducing everything to one hour. This means that if you are devoting thirty minutes for asanas, then you may do fifteen minutes of pranayama and fifteen minutes of silent sitting.
When you are doing pranayama, there is a way I can teach you in which, while doing your pranayama you can do your mantra too. So, two things can be combined here. If you begin to follow this one hour schedule, soon this one hour is going to grow on you and it is going to grow so nicely, that while driving to your workplace, your mind could think about a billion stupid, foolish things but your mind will stay solid in your mantra.
This means that it is just a forty or forty-five minute drive and you have already used that time too as your japa time. Right? You can play a discourse CD too; listen and broaden your mind. I say, you might be the busiest person on earth but you still have these two hours or one and a half hour when you drive to your workplace and back. If you use this time sensibly, then you can do your chanting or listen to a discourse. This way you are not wasting your time. So, spare time to learn and then adopt the practices in your lifestyle to live a healthy, happy & conscious life.