About the Book
" Tradition of Yoga has explored all possibilities to live a healthy long life. Be it power of mind, balancing of emotions, internal and external cleansing of body, stretching of muscles , manipulation of breath, repetition of mantra, invocation of divinity, herbs, diet regimen, alchemy, positive visualization, attitudinal training, living close to nature - tradition of Yoga has left no avenue untouched within human intelligence or imagination to achieve its goal of total wellbeing.
In Yoga maintenance of health in every sense of it, has been a cherished priority. This fact is more than" evident in the present monographic work carefully collected from Yoga texts." The collected material is classified according to various groups of practices. It 'stands testimony to the fact that Yoga is a well-integrated therapeutic system. Yoga has therapeutic methods for human body; it has remedial measures for mental disorders; and it also has austere ascetic practices leading to spiritual freedom.
The purpose behind this collection has been a limited one - to provide material for further research on practical lines .
It is hoped that the present textual material will open new vistas in human health-care and longevity.
Evolution is 'dis-ease'. Involution is remedy. The very process of creation by which one comes into life, is beset with suffering, pain and travails. To roll back this process of life is the only cure.
This observation is not a dry philosophical speculation born out of intellectual exercise based on mere rational thinking. Nevertheless, it is the 'realization' of the ancient sages who arrived at this conclusion through implementation of higher Yogic techniques of meditation during their life-time.
Due to interaction of gunas-satva, rajas and tamas, this process of life gets manifested as the first breath through its 'spandana' (vibration) of prana. With the 'breath' ,principle of rajas being actively involved behind it, all other signs of life as mental faculty, bodily functions (which according to Yoga are actually mere expressions of 10 different works of prana) come into being. Had there been no movement of prana, there would have been no mind and rest all other consequent complexities. Therefore, the Yogis have, to get rid of this, suggested to control the very 'movement' of breath, as a result of which all other 'activities' can be terminated. The state of 'Being' attained by this process is variously known as kevala, samadhi, apavarga etc.
It is variously discussed in all ancient traditions. It is well-known as 'svastha' ('svasthya' meaning 'good health' has been derived from this word) to be established in one's own self which is free from all forms of 'dis- eases'.
In other traditional schools of thought, life is called as 'bhava-roga' participation in the process of life is the 'dis-ease' - a very big discomfort.
Human life is a combination of matter and non-matter. It will be of some use to know their nature at this point to get clarification on various principles and practices of Yoga.
Matter has characteristic features as fickleness, motion, change and shakiness. Matter is always on a move. By its very nature, it is unstable. Its condition, position, dimension, state and status change every split moment. A unit of matter (for example, an atom) is never the same in two different points of time and two locations (spaces) due to its inherent nature of being seized by force of change.
According to Indian classical philosophy, mind too is matter, therefore, mind is subject to change. Mind can only be identified as a process of thoughts constantly in a flux. We notice thoughts which are essentially in the form of letters, words and sentences changing each moment in the space of mind.
Matter comes under the scope of sense perception of mind. (It is indeed enigmatic how mental functions can be observed by mind itself).
This change is identified as suffering or causing suffering in human life. Therefore, a search for freedom from change (or suffering) is sought after. Quest for changeless or eternity is as primordial as human existence is.
It is postulated that there should be another principle altogether different from matter.
Non-matter inherits just the opposite characters to that of matter. Non- matter would be known that principle (as a source of creation) which never undergoes any change whatsoever at any point of time. As it is posited against matter, non-matter is supposed to remain in one state at all times and spaces.
Non-matter is variously known as Pure Consciousness, Self, Caitanya, Brahma etc.
Non-matter cannot be perceived by senses including mind.
Man vs. Nature
Through a natural process, a man is produced by the Nature who lives in the lap of Nature with aids provided by the Nature to finally merge in the Nature itself. Individuality is a sheer misnomer. Philosophically it is illusion. An individual nature, thus is actually an universal Nature. Even then, due to certain reasons, an individual commit some acts which are generally considered 'unnatural' without fully knowing the course of universal Nature, thus creating a scope for consequent illness. To make a comparison, animals seem to be close to the Nature in their way of living. Therefore they hardly fall sick, since they follow the law of Nature, particularly in eating, drinking and cohabitating.
Man has been equipped with reasoning. With this faculty in man, he can argue against and also ignore his signals sent by 'instincts', which spring from Nature indeed. Thus, he can neglect the instructions issued by the Nature for his wellbeing. Consequently, he can misuse and abuse his organism inviting troubles. Nature finds such as an unworthy.
Knowledge of Nature, its anatomy and physiology, its way of functioning would be a very powerful tool to prevent and combat a disorder in an individual.
Yoga has been developed, practised and taught in the lap of nature. Yogis mostly preferred to live in the lap of Mother Nature. They carefully avoided 'pollution' of all kinds. Serenity of nature is quite conducive for concentration and also for maintenance of overall good health.
(a) Since the beginning of Industrial Revolution, there has been a steady flow of migration of people from their rural and natural habitat towards urban and semi-urban localities, which are generally thickly populated. Urban culture has its own set of inevitable factors causing distress in man. It has its own kind of 'pollution'.
(b) True pursuit of spirituality actually is a sincere effort to understand the very nature of creation and universe. On the contrary modem scientific studies, in a guise to understand the rationality of the creation, not only meddles with its process but also interferes with its smooth functioning. This unwanted interference is highly unwarranted, since it has caused immense destruction so much so that at present we are witnessing irreversible threat of 'global warming'. Such catastrophic development has wide spread implication on health of all of us.
(c) In the same line, there has been a plethora of chemical interference in almost every walks of modem life, be it medical treatment of a disease, plant and crop protection, animal husbandry and so on. Undue and unwanted spread of chemicals is evidently taking its toll on human health. This problem is often aggrieved many folds when general ethics in the practice of medicines is given a go by for whatever reason.
(d) World has witnessed advent of space age at the back of industrial revolution.
And now is the time of information technology. Experts of this new-found development hold that quantity of information, in a general estimate, can double up in each year. In such an event, as human mind would be exposed to it, pressure and stress on it will only be inevitable. Its repercussion on health can also be imagined.
(e) Third world countries are witnessing an unabated explosion in population.
It is putting pressure on its limited natural resources. Strife due to insecurity and fru tration has gripped the inner self subconscious of men. This is a highly potential source of modem health disorders.
(f) Modem time is seeing one more development. It is market driven style of life.
It is not an individual who can consciously and 'freely' choose his own way of living a peaceful life and enjoy bounty of happiness. It is consumerism and market that decide how one loves his life. To meet this external demand which i quite often unnecessary artificial and one is pushed beyond one's normal means. This is another cause of modem disease. Added to this is expensive modem gadget pouring into the market everyday. To meet up with its speed and complexity which are actually imposed on an individual is at the very cause of difficult health conditions.
(g) A typical characteristic feature of modem man is his liking for more and more comfort. His resistance even to minimum physical strain has left him vulnerable to poor and depleted immunity.
(h) Over and above all these and many more causes of modem day health problem ,one more fine cause can be pointed out as lack of contentment. Man has many priorities. In this list, contentment has no placen be it for poor or rich. As if nothing or no amount of wealth can satisfy him.
Scheme of Transliteration
Abbreviations and Bibliography
Chapter I satkarmas
Chapter II Asanas
Chapter III Pranayama
Chapter IV Mudras and Bandhas
Chapter V Dharana
Chapter VI Ahara (Food)
Chapter VII Herbs
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