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Control of mind- Part 1
Date: Thu Oct 01 1998 - 07:38:54 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
Sometime ago there was a discussion on Control of mind. In Hinduism, Control
of mind is inextricably interwoven with the twin disciplines of (1) Yoga with
breath control as its primary ingredient and (2) Dietary regimen The two
disciplines are absolutely necessary, if anyone desires to have control over
one’s mind. If one cannot control one’s breath and if one cannot control one’s
taste buds, - one cannot for sure, control one’s mind. We will discuss in this
series (1) above. After completing this series, we will discuss (2) Dietary
Anbil Ramaswamy
An Introduction
A study of all religions will show that they have one thing in common:
The awareness of the finiteness of the individual being in its efforts to cope
with the problems of life and the fact of death; the need to escape from both;
the realization that the only means to escape is to seek communion with the
infinite - in other words, hitching the wagon of the soul to the everlasting
star of the infinite. This is what we understand by the oft- repeated term

The word `Yoga' is derived from the root `yuj' whih means 'to integrate', `to
coalese'. What is integrated and with what? The individual soul with the
Infinite Paramatma. The integration is both physical and mental, ascetic and
athletic. It makes the practitioner master of his senses from being a slave to
them by `Yoking' in psychosomatic relationship with infinite state of
everlasting bliss. It shows the way to carry on our daily chores selflessly
even while we are intensly interested in efficient discharge of our duties
without aspiring for the fruits thereof. This, the GITA defines as "Nishkamya

That the health or ailment of the body affects the mind and vice-versa is a
well known fact. Almost all the Alwars and Acharyas have uniformly tried to
create a ‘Jugupsaa’ (aversion) to attcahment to the body and its vagaries
alluding to the  frailties flesh is heir to and the perishability of  the
body. In spite of all these, they have also drawn our attention to the fact
that in spite of this, our body and our soul  (Achit and Chit) constitute in
a sense also the body of Iswara, since He is said to reside in the innermost
recesses of our heart. It then behoves us to keep the body pure, clean,
healthy and worthy of the Lord. 

Also, as Kalidasa observes - " Indeed, body is the primary tool even for
carrying out the dictates of virtuous actions"

RABINDRANATH TAGORE  wrote in his Nobel prize winning work ' GITANJALI '-
"Life of my Life ! I shall ever try to keep my body pure
Knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs"

Bodily exercise does not mean self-inflicted tortures which some Tantriks
indulge in to exhibit their forbearance and stoicism. Nor does it mean the
drills with which we are familiar in our physical exercise classes in the
school or those that are practiced in the UOTC, Defence or Police
establishments even though they also aim at disciplining reflexes in the face
of enemy attacks from without. The physical exercise we speak of in Yoga is of
a different kind in that it is designed to tackle the enemies within -
regulating the body clock to make the body healthy and worthy enough for the
Paramatma to reside therein. In short, body is like a temple which has be kept
neat and clean at all times.

Primarily `Yoga' deals with `Asanas' `Postures' for achieving the midpoint of
balance and the control of breath. Though thousands of Yogasanas ( postures
for union) have been described  in Yoga - Sastra, (Science dealing with
physical fitness through postures) they would cease to be `Yoga' if any of
them calls for any more strain or discomfort than what the `Sadhaka'
(practitioner) could bear. By constant practice and gradual progression, we
can see how supple our body can become and how even those `Asanas' which
seemed impossible at the beginning could be practiced with ease and comfort.
These `Asanas' are aimed at keeping every system in the body like the nervous,
the circulatory, the respiratory, the digestive, the musculo- skeletal, the
alimentary, the cardiovascular, the hormonal and even the anabolism and
metabolism all in fine fettle and ensuring a built- in prophylactic against
all ailments which flesh is heir to.

 A difference can be discerned in the approach to Yoga between the East and
the West..India and the East looked upon Yoga in a metaphysical context as a
means to acquire precision and complrte control over body and mind for
achieving spiritual upliftment whereas the West sought to employ Yoga,  merely
on a physical plane as a beauty- booster and a body- builder.
(To Continue)