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BIOPSYCHOLOGY

OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
SCIENCE BEHIND THE SIXTEEN POINTS OF ANANDA MARGA PRACTICES

PHYSICAL CLEANSING
Dr. Jitendra Singh Ac. Bhaskarananda Avt.
For the New Millennium 2000
Spiritual practices must be scientific, rational and easy to learn and sustain.
Furthermore, they should spring from a universal mind that loves all living beings and
responds to the need of the entire humanity. Sixteen Point practices of Ananda Marga is
such a response that is intended to bring about a gradual and systematic yet total
transformation in the physical, psychic and spiritual existence of all human beings
irrespective of their race, religion and nationality.
By regular and sincere practice one progresses through the stages of physical
cleansing, mental growth and spiritual enlightenment and eventually achieves the
pinnacled state of mind. The science underlying this transformation is explained in this
rather small contribution to the welfare of entire mankind.
— Authors

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES


SCIENCE BEHIND THE SIXTEEN POINTS
OF ANANDA MARGA PRACTICES
Authors:
Dr. Jitendra Singh Ac. Bhaskarananda Avt.
For the new millennium 2000

Dr. Jitendra Singh Ac. Bhaskarananda Avt.


All rights reserved by the authors.
No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted without permission.
First Printing : November 2000
Published by
GURUKULA PUBLICATIONS
Anandanagar
P.O. Bagalata
Dist. Purulia
West Bengal
India
Sponsored by
Abha Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Anandanagar
Printed at
ANANDA MUDRANALAYA
Mumbai 400 018.
Tel.: 494 2693

CONTENTS
Reaction vs. Response 1
Psychic Energy 6
Physical Energy 9
Drive Management 13
1. Use of Water 19
2. Care of Foreskin 22
Retraction/ Circumcision 22
3. Care of Joint Hairs 24
4. Pelvic Gear 27
Lungota I Underwear 27
5. Half Bath 29
Vyapak Shaoca 29
6. Full Bath 31
7. Food and Diet 33
Some Notable Quotations 43
8. Fasting45
(Upavasa) 45
9. Sadhana 52
(Spiritual Meditation) 52
Freeing the mind from physical occupations 5 3
Preparation 55
Sense Withdrawal 56
Expanding the magnitude of mind 5 8

Transmutingthc mind into Consciousness 61


Apexed State of Mind 63
Ancillary Practices 63
Spiritual Energy 72
10. Focus on Goal 80
(Ista) 80
11. Ideology 85
(Adarsha) 85
12. Code of Conduct 88
Yama or Control 89
Niyama or Self-regulation 92
Social Norms and Fifteen Shiilas 93
13. Supreme Command 94
14. Dharmacakra 95
(Collective Meditation) 95
15. Oath 97
16. C.S.D.K. 99
Appendix 101
Reaction vs. Response
Human body reacts with the environment and the person in this body responds to it.
Reaction and response are quite different. For instance a scorching sun might justify
running for the shade but will not deter a person on a mission. That is to say that man's
response is not merely the reaction of his body machine to the transitory physico-
chemical conditions that he encounters. He has rather used the environment for self-
actualisation and expressive behaviour. For example, man did not remain confined to his
caves to protect this body machine from the hostile environmental conditions. He went on
to invent means to overcome them so that he can continue to march on the path of
progress and not merely submit to the physical preservation.
"Human life is thus the outcome of the interplay between three separate classes of
determinants, namely; the lasting and universal characteristics of man's nature, which are
inscribed in his flesh and bone; the ephemeral conditions which man encounters at a
given moment; and last but not least, man's ability to choose between alternatives and to
decide upon a course of action." Thus Wrote Rene Dubos in his award winning book
-Man Adapting.
Whether a man responds or reacts will depend on the universality in his nature, his
capacity to rationalise and the impact of his culture and his civilisation on his thoughts,
his words and his actions. When the universality of his nature prevails, he responds to the
needs of the masses because then his nature is laced with universal love. His rationality
follows the dictates of this love and only that part of his environment impact*

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

upon him thai accelerates the expression of this love. Such a man is u Universal Man.
In contrast, when the impression of his environment overpowers his lasting nature and
his rationality serves the purpose of his culture and his civilisation, the man reacts to the
transitory needs of the limited masses. Such a man may be noble, popular and exceptional
but never universal. His noble deeds may even be potentially divisive and dangerous for
the development of a uni vcrsal human society.
A Universal Man is not only noble and exceptional; he is deeply spiritual and all-
loving. He is the embodiment of love itself. He not only possesses the true knowledge of
the intricacies of human mind and body; he delivers the means to untangle them.

Many great personalities of the past have either reacted or responded to the needs of
the masses. Buddha reacted to disease, death and suffering. He underwent rigorous self-
discipline to attain Nirvana and formulated a reactionary philosophy of liberation from
sufferings. Carl Marx reacted to the exploitation of labour in British industries during the
Industrial Revolution and socialism/communism emerged that died a premature death.
Similarly, religions arose out of reactions to various kinds of exploitations and led to
crusades and military expansionism that have coloured the pages of human history.
On the other hand Shiva and Krsna responded to the needs of humanity in general.
Shiva observed that the human psyche was poorly developed in the general masses. It
was too primitive to comprehend the essence of spiritual practices let alone to practice
them. He also observed that the root cause of their undeveloped psyche was lack of
parental love that they received in their formative years, a legacy of an absence of the
institution of marriage and family unit. Men used to mate and wander off

leaving women behind to rear children. Shiva institutionalised marriage so that parents
share the responsibilities of growing children. The love and affection they received made
their mind
grow in magnitude and manifested many potentials that had remained dormant until then.
A well-developed lymphatic system with adequate lymph is indispensable for the
proper growth of mind. Jumping aids and enhances the growth of lymphatic system, was
first realized by Shiva and hence he introduced the dance called Tandava that invigorates
body and mind by increasing the circulation and formation of lymph. Similarly for the
proper expression of aesthetic and supra-aesthetic mental potentialities a well-balanced
hormonal system is essential. He invented mudras (gestures) and nrtyas (dances) that
influence the glands that secrete hormones. Above all, he introduced tantra sadhana with
an ability to transform our total existence. Thus he gave a kick-start to the psycho-
spiritual evolution of mankind. This constitutes a response, an act of universal love from
a universal personality.
Krsna observed that the political disunity and social fragmentation of the time were
creating many dogmas in philosophies and vacuum in common values. He restored social
harmony by promoting the principles of devotion or Bhakti. He proclaimed that the
universal elements in human nature could be nurtured only by fostering devotion for the
Infinite Consciousness.
The events that he masterminded proved beyond any doubt
that once devotion is aroused in the human heart, a common
philosophy and common values spontaneously emerge and social
change becomes inevitable. Thus, like Shiva, Krsna also focussed
on the universal element in the human nature.
In the twentieth century once again we find a human race desperate and disillusioned,
destitute and downtrodden, marred by

4BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES


divisive and destructive mentalities. The cry of the human heart once again culminated in
the advent of a Shiva and Krsna like personality - Shrii Shrii Anadamurtiji. His Gracious
Self - Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji proclaimed that all human problems result from ever-
increasing mental occupations of human beings in the face of limited psychic dimensions.
Take for example the modern techno-society that has highly organised the routine of life
but has made the man servile and mechanical. It has given the external life the uniformity
and mechanical accuracy to a singular degree of perfection but it has also impoverished
that part of life that springs from man's innermost nature. External order has led to
internal chaos and external progress to internal regression. Scientific and technological
refinements have led to moral depravity. Atom bombs are used for exterminating
defenseless people rather than conquering armies.
These paradoxes and contradictions are the consequence of stagnation in the growth of
psychic dimensions while occupations of human mind continue to grow at an accelerated
speed, professed Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji. As a result of the limited psychic dimensions,
the ever-growing mental occupations or psychic pabula consume the mental stuff or
ectoplasm of human beings for the gratification of their physical greed and sense
pleasure. This has certain bio-psychological consequences. There is a change in the
hormonal balance as the hormones required for physical pleasure are not the same, as
those required for the growth in psychic dimensions.
There is also a readjustment in the production and distribution of lymph to supply for
the physical greed. Lymph according to him, is the mother of all hormones. It is also the
precursor of ectoplasm and therefore, affects the mind and its dimensions.
Thus, Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji declared that the moral

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES


depravity, loss of human purpose and impoverished inner life of man that we see today is
rooted in his failure to increase the dimensions of his thinking and in its bio-
psychological consequences. He responded to the need of mankind by inventing a set of
practices that not only alter the human biology but also expand the dimension of human
thinking. Like Shiva and Krsna, he also focussed on the universal aspect of human
nature.
It takes a universal mind to spring a universal approach for universal welfare. This
only can be called as the response of universal love. History will testify that Shiva, Krsna
and Anandamurti have been the only responders. All other great men and women have
been the reactionaries. In following chapters we have attempted to offer a
biopsychological explanations of a set of spiritual practices that came to be known as
"The Sixteen Points". Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji has put them together for the lasting
welfare of all.

Psychic Energy
Sigmund Freud believed that man has limited amount of psychic energy that he has
called upon to create his culture and his civilisation. He stressed that the psychic energy
is fundamentally sexual in nature. Most modern psychologists believe that sex is the basic
force that has powered all human endeavours. All human relationships are to some extent
erotocised. All human drives originate in the sex drive.
In contrast Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji stressed that the psychic energy is fundamentally
creative. The creative expression of this energy depends on the environmental factors and
the reactive momenta or samskaras that are stored in the individual mind. Sex drive is
only one of the many expressions of this energy. Therefore, it is a fallacy to call it
fundamentally sexual. He cited that the psychic energy has two components; a physical
component and a spiritual component. The physical component is the product of physical
factors such as food, drink, air and socio-cultural environment from which the vital
energy is derived. The spiritual component is the product of inherent spiritual powers that
one carries from life to life.
These components are intricately intertwined and determine one's thoughts, emotions
and behaviour. The physical component interacts with the aerial factor of the human body
to give rise to various vayus, which are subsequently transmuted into various forms of
physiological energy that operates this body machine. Hence the psychic energy could be
diverted and consumed by physico-chemical reactions of this body machine and/or
channelled into psycho-spiritual movement of mind. Therefore,

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 7


the psychic energy that drives our basic instincts such as hunger, thirst and sex can also
propel our mind in search of supreme bliss. However, these two belligerent forces
compete with each other for the psychic energy. That is why one has to apportion this
energy according to one's motives and mission in life. When our purpose in life is
triumph in physical sphere the psychic energy is diverted to the lower three cakras
activating and accelerating the functions of sex glands, adrenals, pancreas and other
regional glands. However, if our mission is spiritual bliss the upper cakras gain
ascendancy with the dominance of thyroid, pituitary and pineal glands.
The spiritual practices are in essence a rational and prudent management of psychic
energy. Conservative and economical use of its physical component frees a large
proportion of it to be redirected from mundane to spiritual pursuits. "The Sixteen Points"
consist of a number of physical measures that reduce, step by step, the need for our
instinctive drives and conserve energy so that it can be freed for creative purposes. These
measures, although physical, have far reaching psychological effects that will be detailed
in the subsequent chapters. Then there are psycho-spiritual and abstract practices that
systematically expand the mind from being purely instinctive and emotional to become
intelligent and devotional. As a result intuition develops till one becomes all knowing and
God-loving. Such a state is called pinnacled or apexed state of mind.
Thus, "The Sixteen Points" are a practical process of rectification and transmutation of
our animal instincts that we have carried through our evolution, into divine qualities so
that we can reach the zenith of evolution. Is it not what humanity is crying for?
There is a story to illustrate the psycho-social effects of the Sixteen Points. Once a
sanyasi (monk) of Ananda Marga wanted

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 8


to visit Baba when he was in Patna jail. The jail authorities declined his request. He kept
appealing to higher and higher authorities till he reached the highest state authority in the
state, the governor of jail affairs. He burst into his office without permission and let the
steam off his chest. He rebuked him with whatever harshness he could muster from the
core of his heart. The governor was uncharacteristically and visibly frightened. He called
his guards and got him thrown out of his office. The sanyasi had to be content with
sending his namaskar to Baba through others who were given permission to visit him. Of
course, no one knew the inner pain and the misbehaviour that he had undergone. When
his namaskar was passed on to Baba, HE smiled with a big namaskar and after a short
pause said "you know my children are not yet established in the sixteen points, they are
only trying to establish themselves. And yet even governors are scared of them. When
they are fully established, just imagine what will be the condition of these immoral forces
in high positions? They will tremble by the mere sight of them." HE chuckled and then
asked the visitors "do you understand?" As usual everyone said 'yes Baba' without the
slightest clue of what he was referring to.
Since the above event many of us have come a long way in our endeavour and have
experienced the inner strength that it has nurtured in us. We have endured the psychic
energy that is freed from the physical preoccupations by the psycho-spiritual
transmutation that the Sixteen points have bestowed upon us.

Physical Energy
The physical energy that forms an important part of psychic energy is a transmuted
form of vital force that operates each and every phenomenon in this universe. All living
organisms ingest it in the form of food and drink or imbibe it from air and sun to maintain
a ceaseless source of supply for their survival. In humans, as in other animals, this by-
product of primordial vital energy operates all physiological processes. The
electromagnetic currents in our nerve cells and nerve fibres, the chemical reactions in our
body machine, the mechanical contractions of our heart and skeletal muscles are nothing
but the derivatives of this physical energy.
The physical energy controls the body machine by regulating the electrical impulse in
our nerve cells and nerve fibres as well as by adjusting the secretions of our hormones.
Mind meets body in these nerve cells and hormones. Our thoughts and emotions
crystallise into the molecules of our neural juices called neurotransmitters and into our
hormones that control the metabolic factory of our body machine. This factory is not only
the supply line for each and every cell of our body but also a regulator of body heat.
Body functions depend on body temperature. Therefore, it is important to discuss the
regulation of body heat in some detail particularly because a number of our spiritual
practices involve cooling of the body.
Humans are warm-blooded or mesotherms, that is, they can maintain a relatively
constant body temperature regardless of their surroundings, through a sophisticated
regulatory mechanism. Balancing heat production against heat loss controls

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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

11

body temperature. Most heat produced in body is generated in the deep organs such as
liver, brain, heart and muscles. This heat is then transferred from the deep organs and
tissues to the skin, where it is lost to the surroundings. The blood flow transports the heat
from the deep tissues to the body's surface. Therefore, the skin is an effective "heat
radiator" and the flow of blood in the skin is a mechanism of heat transfer from the core
to the surface of the body. A nerve centre in the hypothalamus of the brain senses the
fluctuations in temperature inside and outside of the body and adjusts the blood flow
accordingly. Therefore, the hypothalamus acts as a thermostat.
It is essential that the excess heat from the deeper organs is radiated through the skin
otherwise overheating of these organs will impair their function. Higher temperature
accelerates and lower temperature slows their functions. When the heat production is
more than that can be radiated from the skin surface, sweating ensues to increase the heat
loss by evaporation in addition to radiation. The rate of breathing also rises to increase
the heat loss by evaporation in the breath. Hyperthermia is a condition where body
temperature rises above normal as occurs in fever, heat stroke and dehydration. If it goes
too high it damages body tissues especially brain and testes.
Conversely, when the core body temperature drops below normal as occurs in cold
exposure, hypothermia results that could be life threatening. When the body is too cold
the blood vessels constrict through out the body. This prevents blood flow to the limbs
and diverts it to deep tissues where heat production is accelerated by increasing the
cellular metabolism in the muscles, thyroid and adrenal glands. Shivering is an attempt of
muscles to increase heat production.
Body hair plays a very important role in the regulation of temperature. It insulates the
body from fluctuations in the

external temperatures as well as regulates the heat loss. When the body temperature falls
below normal and heat needs to be conserved the hairs become erect increasing their
insulation value. If the cold exposure is prolonged the hair coat thickens. Hair tufts are
thicker in certain joints such as armpits and pubic areas that have an important effect on
heat regulating mechanism of the body. Shaving these areas will interfere with this
mechanism.
Thus, the body temperature must be maintained within strict range for survival. Brain
and endocrine glands are especially sensitive to fluctuation in body temperature. A
precise range must be maintained for their proper functioning. Body temperature is
higher during the day and during exercise because of the higher metabolic rate. It is lower
in the nights and mornings. Therefore, these times are better for sadhana. It is also lower
in the limbs than in the deeper organs. Therefore, bath and half bath, with water cooler
than body temperature, will divert the cooler blood from the skin and limbs to the deeper
organs. Incidentally, one fifth of our total blood volume can be pooled in our limbs by our
daily routines. It can be utilised to lower the core body temperature. The cooling effect on
brain and glands will improve the quality of sadhana.
Food, drinks, air and sunlight are the major source of physical energy that needs to be
constantly replenished. Foods drink and air that we consume goes on to form lymph in
our body machine. Lymph affords vitality to the body. It stocks the ingredients that
endocrine glands use to produce their hormones. The nerve cells convert lymph into
ectoplasm or the stuff of which mind is made. Therefore, the quality of the provision for
the physical energy will determine the quantity and quality of the ectoplasm and hence
the scope of one's mind. A sentient and vegetarian diet produces copious lymph of a high
quality that enables the mind to grow in magnitude.

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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

The physical energy provides vigor and drive to the psychic energy. However, if it
rules due to an inadequate supply of spiritual energy the vigor and drive is directed to the
gratification of physical urges and achievement of mundane pleasures. Just as the
physical energy is provided for by physical means, the spiritual energy also needs to be
constantly replenished by spiritual practices. Therefore, for any system of spiritual
practices it is mandatory to include the means for prudent and judicious use of the
physical energy so that its vigor and drive can be sublimated into providing the impetus
for spiritual growth.

Drive Management
The psychic energy that drives our basic urges such as hunger, thirst and sex also
drives our psychological growth and our spiritual elevation. However, its physical
component tends to sway it towards these instincts rather than the state of exaltation. To
turn it around one needs to manage these drives in such a way that the instinctive
functions are confined merely to the survival and not to the pleasure seeking. In the broad
scheme of evolution, after all, survival is the only goal of instincts. Man's evolution
through animal species has endowed him with an abundance of instinctive drives that we
call animality. The preponderance of animality has prevented him from turning these
multilateral
physical drives into a singular spiritual drive.

One hundred billion nerve cells in the brain, an extensive network of nerve fibres and
a cascade of hormones have failed to provide man a little more than the mechanistic
civilisation that we keep bragging about. It is humbling to learn that all our mechanical
triumphs have required us to use less than ten percent of our biological potential. The
enormous neural circuitry and the huge permutations of hormonal profile that is at our
disposal have largely gone begging because all our aesthetic and scientific achievements
have been a mere extension of our instinctive functions. Instincts do not need any more
than ten percent of our biological potential. The remaining ninety percent is meant for
psycho-spiritual growth and attainment of divinity.
For the mobilisation of this unused ninety-percent potential, the animal drives will
have to be contained and pleasure principle

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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

15

will have to be subjugated. Some old harmful circuits in our complex neural network will
have to be closed down and alternative circuits will have to be opened through which
spiritual elevation becomes inevitable. The nerve cells must be primed and hormone -
producing cells refined to create a physical environment that is conducive for psycho-
spiritual success. The body machine must be overhauled and refurbished if we have any
hope of converting the physical energy into psychic and spiritual energies.
Once Baba was asked, "is it true that the paths are different but the goal is one?"
Baba replied, "No, the goal is one and the path is one, that is a physico-psycho-
spiritual approach. Convert physical energy into psychic energy and psychic energy into
spiritual energy by sadhana, service and sacrifice." A person whose physical body is not
refined and whose psychic energy is not pure enough, is neither fit nor worthy of
receiving the subtle and very powerful currents of spiritual energy. Many unfit and
unworthy seekers have physically and mentally harmed themselves. Baba chose his
subjects for spiritual demonstrations with great care for this reason. He later explained
that not all of us can sustain the impact of positive microvita that he applied in those
demonstrations.
Therefore, in the first phase the body machine should be renovated and renewed by
physical practices that convert the physical energy into psychic energy and instinctive
drives into psycho-spiritual drive. "The first phase of realisation comes through nerve
cells and nerve fibres," said Baba in his discourse on Biopsychology. These physical
practices should not be undervalued and underplayed. They should not be short-circuited
or bypassed. Eight of the Sixteen-Points are meant to tame the horses that impel the body
machine in three hundred and sixty different directions. Therefore, great emphasis is
given to physical purification.

The above eight points involve practices of physico-psychic nature. They are the physical
means to control the physical drives and conserve physical energy so that remaining
eight-point practices can convert them into psycho-spiritual energy. The seeds of all
drives; physical, psychic or spiritual lay in the lowermost cakra, the muladhar in the form
of various longings. They manifest according to one's samskaras and environment. The
hormones and nerve cells support their expression as one's thoughts, emotions and
behaviour. For modification of these expression hormones and neural circuits need to be
modified.
All drives are fundamentally creative. When they manifest in the physical realm they
create cultures and civilisations. However, if the drive is purely physical without any
support of the spiritual, sensuality and sensory gratification will underline each and every
aspect of that culture and civilisation. One of the very basic expressions of this physical
urge is the sexual urge that is meant to create children for the survival of human species;
a demand of the evolution. From this basic urge spring the forces that have created art,
science and culture of the modern man. Hence sexuality permeates very deeply in all
human achievements. Therefore, Freud believed that all human endeavours are powered
by sexual energy.
Muladhar cakra controls this sexual energy by regulating the sex hormone production
from testes in males and ovaries in females. In addition, the hormones of adrenal,
pancreas, liver, kidneys and gut also support physical endeavours. These hormones
convert the physical energy into physiological energies that run the physico-chemical
processes in human body.
They are in turn controlled by Svadhisthan and Manipur cakras. First eight of the
sixteen points are made to primarily influence these lower three physical cakras and
discipline them in propriety and modesty. The energy thus freed is then sublimated

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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
to carry out the psychic growth and spiritual elevation because in Muladhar cakra also lay
the seeds of psychic and spiritual longings.
The eight points of physico-psychic practices are:
1. Use of water after urination
2. C are of the foreskin in males
3. Care of joint hairs
4. Use of underwear in men (lungota) and women
5. Half bath or vyapaka shaoca
6. Method of full bath
7. Sentient food
8. Fasting or upavasa
The ninth point is the psycho-spiritual practice:
9. Sadhana or spiritual meditation that includes:
• Six lessons of Ananda Marga sadhana
• Yogic exercises or Asanas
• Early morning meditation or Paincajanya
• Taking Guru's, shelter or Guru Sakasha
The tenth through to the sixteenth points are abstract practices:
10. Focus on one's goal or Ista
11. Strictness about Ideology or Adarsha
12. Code of conduct that includes:
• Social norms
BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 17
• Yama and Niyama
• Fifteen shiilas

13. Supreme Command


14. Collective meditation or Dharma Cakra
15. Reminder of Oaths
16. C.S.D.K.

• C-Conduct rules
• S-Seminar
• D-Duty
• K-Kiirtan
In the following chapters we will discuss bio-psychological imports of these practices.
"Man is distinguished by his karma. His psychic activities, thoughts and ideas are also
known by the nature of his actions. If one is a Sadhu internally, it cannot remain hidden."
— BABA

1. Use of Water
Water is an eternal purifier. It cleanses not only our body but mind as well. When we
feel dirty we run for it although the dirt may be in our imagination only. A bath gives us a
sense of cleanliness. A drink of water at the peak of thirst not only quenches the thirst but
also cools and satisfies our innermost being. This is because our existence depends on
water. Seventy five percent of our body mass is water and our body preserves it at all
costs. Kidneys and intestines conserve water under the influence of hormones from the
hypothalamus of the brain and from adrenal glands.
Among the many uses of water, one that is least known and least practised despite its
great significance is the use of water after urination. Some cultures prescribe it without a
sound explanation. However, some physical benefits are common sense as well as
scientific. Doctors are increasingly encountering conditions that can be directly attributed
to poor pelvic hygiene. They range from simple thrush to recurrent cystitis and even
serious kidney and pelvic infections. One of the major reasons for poor pelvic hygiene is
the contamination of genital organs with urine that occurs after each voiding. Both male
and female genitals are so structured that the last few drops of urine that dribbles after
cessation of voiding seeps under their skins. Normally we do not wait for these drops to
fall in the pan because the sensation and force of these last drops are not strong enough.
In the skin folds of genitals (foreskin and labia) there are glands that put out small
amount of lubricant secretions. When

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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

21

urine that is usually acidic contaminates these secretions it forms a perfect medium on
which a number of bacteria and fungi grow causing genital infections. Some of them can
ascend up the urinary tract spontaneously or through sexual intercourse and infect the
urinary bladder causing cystitis. They can go up to kidneys, uterus and fallopian tubes
with disastrous results. By pouring water on genitals after urination one washes away the
residue of urine as well as the secretions and prevents a number of illnesses.
In addition, this practice induces a complete evacuation of the urinary bladder by
activating the local reflexes. A person passes forty thousand litres of urine on an average
in his or her lifetime. The urine that is left in the bladder for too long is the perfect target
for bacterial infections. Normally urination is a double act. In the first part the bladder
empties passively due to the tone of its muscles. In the second part a portion of it that has
specially arranged thick muscles, contracts to expel the remaining urine in the bladder.
The local nerve reflexes that come into action by genital irrigation induce a strong
contraction of these muscles thus completely evacuating the bladder. The effect of this
practice on the incidence of prostate disease is a subject of research for the future
scientists.
The claim that post-urination irrigation of genitals affects human mind will certainly
cause controversy among the objective scientists. However, spirituality is a subjective
science and needs subjective explanation as well. Modern civilisation is a sexual
civilisation. Media and sex industry are endlessly spewing sexual venom. Sexual
thoughts and sexual fantasies are constantly distracting the mind. Genital sensation is a
perpetual feeling particularly in young minds. There is a high level of activity in the sex
glands and selective overactivity of muladhar cakra. Physical energy is lavishly being
wasted in these activities. Sadhana becomes a battle.

The genital irrigation several times a day cools the lower cakras and glands. The energy
that it conserves is diverted to psycho-spiritual pursuits. Mental composure returns and
sadhana improves. Therefore, the effects of this simple practice are far-reaching. It can
very well be called a physico-psycho-spiritual practice.

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

23

2. Care of Foreskin
Retraction/ Circumcision
This item is exclusively for males and helps in caring for the foreskin of their penis.
The average area of foreskin in an adult penis is about twelve square inches. This skin
protects the penis and is highly erogenous. It enhances sexual pleasure and facilitates
intercourse. Whether this is a providential decree or spiritual misfortune depends on one's
perspective of life. Nevertheless, our sex-civilisation is passionately defensive and
protective of it. However, in the field of spirituality the emphasis is on sexual restraint
that is necessary for spiritual growth.
The foreskin should be easily and fully retractile in adults in order to prevent
accumulation of smegma that is formed as a residue of the secretions from the glands that
line the circumference where skin joins the penis. Urine residue also accumulates in this
pocket. Additionally the preponderance of sexual thoughts bred and fed by our sex
civilisation keep many of us in a heightened sexual state that stimulates prostatic
secretion of mucus. This slimy substance is expelled through the penis and accumulates
under the foreskin.
All these substances form the dirt that collects under the foreskin if it is not retracted
and washed regularly. They irritate the highly sensitive head of the penis and may lead to
various types of infections such as thrush and herpes. These infections can be passed on
to their sexual partners. When the infection becomes chronic the opening of the skin
becomes very tight and

may obstruct the flow of urine. In that case the circumcision becomes necessary.
However, besides the medical reasons circumcision is a personal choice. Some cultures
follow it religiously with claims of many physical benefits. There are claims and
counterclaims that it lowers the incidence of penile cancers, urinary tract infections and
sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. However, medical jury is evenly divided
on the subject. Passions run high on either side of the argument and it is impossible to
find an uncoloured and undistorted view on circumcision.
Genital itching is one of the most embarrassing yet unavoidable distracters of mind.
Sportsmen, stage-performers and public speakers have all succumbed to its call at a time
when they are focussed on their line of duty. Even during meditation mind quickly runs
away to relieve it. When mind is repeatedly diverted to the genitals it creates sexual
feelings disturbing the concentration on other things. Moreover, repetitive contact with
this highly erogenous skin only fuels the fire. It goes without saying that its complete
removal by circumcision or retraction may have a spiritual advantage. A note of caution
must be given here. In children the foreskin is not fully retractile, sometimes until they
are adolescents. Care should be taken in retracting their foreskin. Forcing it may do more
damage. As they grow it becomes more retractile and they should be taught its care.
In conclusion, circumcision is a personal choice according to one's perspective of life.
This choice should be made with the full knowledge of its effect on the physical and
mental health of the individual as well as on his spiritual growth. If it is decided to be left
intact one should be educated in its care that includes retraction, irrigation after urination
(item-1) and use of lungota (item-4).

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

25
3. Care of Joint Hairs
We grow nine hundred and fifty kilometers of hair on our body during our lifetime.
Some of them we shave and others fall spontaneously to be replaced by new growths.
Our scalp contains between 100 to 150 thousand hairs of which about 50 to 100 hairs fall
out every day. Our hair coat undergoes at least four major changes in our lifetime. The
first set develops all over the body while we are still in the mother's womb. These fine
short hairs, called lanugo, act as insulators and fall off about two months before birth. At
this time a second set of lanugos develop that insulate the baby up to the age of three to
four months when they are replaced by a set of more permanent hairs. The third change
occurs around the puberty when axillary and pubic hairs develop as a part of secondary
sex characters. The final change occurs in old age when all body hairs thin out.
Our scalp hairs grow at a rate of approximately one half of a millimetre and body and
facial hairs at a rate of one quarter of a millimetre per day. Nevertheless, to modern
medical scientists hairs provide no vital function other than its psychological benefits.
Armpit hairs are a characteristic exclusive to human species. Their only recognised role is
dissemination of the odour from the apocrine glands that develop at the same time as
these hairs. The joint hairs in particular serve no scientific function. This belief has given
rise to the widespread practice of shaving body and joint hairs for grooming and
beautification in the modern civilisation. It is an interesting observation that in developed
countries women widely shave their body hairs as a part of grooming. Over sixty percent
of the medical consultations

in these societies are provided for women, a high proportion of them for psychological
problems. The relationship between these two will be an interesting subject of research.
However, in spiritual science hairs in general and joint hairs in particular have a great
role to play. Their role in heat regulation and their insulating effect is born out by modern
science as well. However, their influence on human psychology and sexuality has not
drawn the attention of scientists. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence is compelling. It is a
long standing tradition in the spiritual orders to let hairs of five different parts of the body
grow; head, face, chest, armpits and pubic area. These were called Paincagni or five fires
because they fuel the fire of courage and bravery. They increase one's stamina to face the
struggles of life. They infuse the psychology of "never say die" and never give up your
chosen path.
About two thousand and five hundred years ago Buddhism swept India and fourth fifth
of the population converted to the principles of Buddha that removed many dogmas and
sufferings from the masses. Removal of five hairs was an important religious practice of
these people. When the invading Muslim forces challenged their courage they succumbed
without a fight. Their monasteries were occupied without resistance. Their gentleness did
not come to help in hours of their need. They surrendered helplessly en masse to Islam. In
contrast the Sikhs fought to the end against the same Muslim forces and contained their
expansion. The result is that Buddhism is almost nonexistent in India while Sikhism
thrives. It is mandatory for Sikhs to preserve all five hairs.
Joint hairs control fear vrtti by conserving physical energy. By proper heat regulation
they appropriate the functions of lower glands that are constantly engaged in energy
production and expenditure. Fear is caused by a malfunction of the glands of

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Manipur cakra. These are pancreas, adrenals, liver and kidneys. As mentioned in earlier
chapters, these deeper organs are very sensitive to the core body temperatures. If body
hairs are removed the core body temperature looses its fine tuning resulting in the
malfunction of these glands. This can lead to symptoms of dyspepsia as well as ill temper
and various phobias.
The sex glands, particularly testes are very sensitive to overheating. They develop
inside the abdomen but descend to scrotum just before or just after birth to avoid the
relatively higher temperatures inside the abdominal cavity. In the scrotum also they are
protected by only few thin layers of skin and membranes to promote a rapid heat loss.
However, they are insulated from the atmospheric heat by the thick tuft of pubic hairs. If
these hairs are removed the heat produced by the friction of thighs directly affects their
function. Muladhar cakra is affected and consequently the physical stability and stamina
is also impaired. Ovaries are located deep in the pelvis, however, their blood and lymph
flow is also influenced by the surface body temperatures. Therefore, preserving joint hair
controls sexual urge and strengthen the mental resolve to follow spiritual path. Their
proper care is mandatory.
A common phenomenon found in regular and long standing practitioners of spirituality
is the new growth of hairs on their trunks, especially chest of men. These hairs are softer
and straighter than the primary hairs that develop around puberty. All hair growths are
associated with hormonal changes in the body especially the changes in the sex hormone
secretion. Therefore, it can be inferred that spiritual practices influence our hormonal
balance in a way that enables us to have a proper control on our sexuality. This also
causes changes in our body hairs.

4. Pelvic Gear
Lungota I Underwear
Contrary to the common practice, male and female pelvic gears should be different
because of the differences in the structure of their pelvis and genital organs. Male genitals
are protruding externally and need support as well as protection. In contrast the female
genitals are inwardly placed and need protection but not external support. However,
breasts in women need support as well as protection. For protection all the genital area
and as much of the surrounding area as possible should be covered. For support the
scrotum and penis should be firmly fastened to the pelvis and breast to the chest. Another
function of the pelvic gear is to provide strength and stability to the lower spine that is the
base of our physical structure. Very little of under-clothing that are currently in use justify
these demands.
Male genitals without support may become victims of injuries and disease. The
unsupported scrotum is more likely to develop varicocele, a type of varicose veins, due to
antigravity blood flow in it. One can also develop hernia in the groins if one is engaged in
repetitive lifting without a properly supported scrotum. Groin hernia is more common in
men than women.
The psychic effects of a proper pelvic gear are rather subtle and refined. It strengthens
mind by bracing svadhisthan and muladhar cakras. At the svadhisthan it controls the
murcha vrtti that prevents us from developing common sense. This vrtti (propensity)
keeps us in a spaced-out state and stupor. Under physical and mental stress such a person
faints easily. Hysterical fainting is a type of murcha. At the muladhar cakra a good pelvic

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gear should control the kama vrtti and thus strengthen the body by mastering the sexual
lust and passion.
A proper pelvic outfit for males is a lungota whose rectangular central piece envelops
the pelvis and its two cords wrap around the waist stabilising the lower spine. They also
reinforce the svadhisthan cakra. The third flap of the lungota that crosses over the tip of
spine between the thighs fastens the scrotum and the penis to the pelvis providing them a
good deal of protection. It also reinforces the muladhar cakra.
In every culture, people demonstrating their physical strengths have used some sort of
firmly fitted pelvic outfit similar to lungota. Suma wrestlers of Japan use a version of
lungota during wrestling. In ancient India, King Samurin of Kerala used to hold a sport of
marshall art. It was physically and mentally so exhausting that the wrestlers used to faint
in the arena. To prevent these fainting spells and exhaustion they used a type of lungota
that included a flap that they wrapped around their waists several rounds. This gave them
enormous physical and mental strength and they stopped fainting in the arena. However,
when they returned home after the fierce fights and removed their lungotas they fainted.
Physical strength is as good as the mental resolve that drives it. The will power is the
engine and the propensities its fuel. Physical indulgence or kama vrtti weakens the will
power and breaks the mental resolve to achieve the spiritual goal. Every aspect of our
daily life should be well organised so that resolve is not broken. Nothing is trivial.

5. Half Bath
Vyapak Shaoca
Bath serves two purpose; cleansing and cooling. Two together result in a refreshing
feeling. This feeling is an end product of a series of physiological changes that are set in
motion by the act of bath. The most important of them is the redistribution of the blood
flow. The cooler blood from the skin is squeezed out to the deeper organs and the warmer
blood from the deeper organs is pumped out to the skin for cooling. The amount of blood
that is exchanged between the surface and the core of the body will determine the degree
of cooling.
We have roughly between five and six litres of blood in our body. Approximately one
third of this volume is pooled in our legs and forearms alone. If this stagnates there it
causes tired and aching feelings in our limbs that we experience after a hard days work.
This pool of blood is also an asset to our cooling system. Much of our body heat is
dissipated through this pool provided it is properly circulated and the surface temperature
is lower than the core temperature.
The surface area that is washed in the half bath covers approximately forty five
percent of the total body surface, thus cooling fairly large amount of blood that is
contained in the skin and muscles. It is mandatory that the temperature of the water used
should be lower than the body temperature. Furthermore, splashing the water in the eyes,
holding cold water in the mouth and cleansing the nostrils and throat reduces the tension
in the sympathetic nerves. As a result vasodilation or opening up of the blood vessels
increases the blood flow to the deeper organs such

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as heart, liver, kidneys and brain. Flow of cooler blood in these organs improves their
performance.
The freshness that results by this practice invigorates the entire body by cooling all
five sensory and five motor organs. The revitalised body releases the mind from the grips
of pains and pleasures of daily routine. Such a mind is easier to control and concentrate.
It also relaxes the mind from daily stresses and strains. Therefore, half bath is very
beneficial before sadhana, before meals and before sleep.

6.Full Bath
The core body temperature is always higher than the surface temperature. The gradient
thus produced sets in motion a chain of physiological events that enable the transfer of
heat from the deeper organs to the surface and finally its loss to the surroundings. Fifty
five percent of this heat is lost by evaporation in our sweat and breath. About thirty five
percent is lost by direct conduction and convection and only ten percent by radiation from
the skin. Therefore, skin is the major organ of heat loss. Its health and hygiene is crucial
to the heat regulation.
Our metabolic factory is a collection of innumerable number of inter-related chemical
reactions that produce the energy to run this body machine. These chemical reactions
depend on the body temperature. Higher temperatures accelerate the reactions and lower
temperatures decelerate them. When the reactions are accelerated an inappropriate
amount of energy is produced that can not be utilised and has to be wasted. When the
reactions are turned down energy is conserved. Therefore, our skin plays an important
role in the control of our metabolic factory.
The bath must be systematic that enhances these two functions of the skin; heat
regulation and energy conservation rather than casually drenching the body. Since the
naval area is the hub of energy production and metabolic activity it needs to be cooled
first followed by the lower half of the body then the vertex and finally the upper half.
Because of the larger surface area of the lower half the cooling effect is rather rapid in
this system. A thorough cleaning of skin with a neutral soap and a bath sponge maintains
its health and hygiene.

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The temperature of water that one uses for bath is of crucial importance. This should
be less than the core body temperature. In humans the core body temperature is around
thirty-seven degrees Celsius. Ideally, the water temperature below thirty degrees is
beneficial. However, in cold climates lukewarm water below thirty-five degrees is
appropriate. This temperature gradient is necessary for the cooling effects of bath.
If bath is taken in at dawn and wet body is allowed to sun-bake in the crimson rays of
the rising sun, it provides extra physical benefits. These rays have high level of infra red
that is refracted through the water drops and penetrates the skin. The infra red component
of the sunrays is very useful for skin, muscles and nerves. It is a natural medicine for
diseases of skin, heart and digestion. Physical movement increases the absorption of these
rays. Therefore, the bath-mudra accelerates their assimilation. When combined with its
mantra it invigorates the upper three cakras of the body and their associated glands. The
upper cakras are sentient and therefore this mudra involves only the upper part of the
body. Artificial lights have lower level of infrared rays and can be used as substitute when
it is not possible to have direct sunlight.
Therefore, in this system of bath lower cakras are cooled first to control the static and
imitative forces in our body. This is followed by cooling of upper cakras and finally
invigorating these sentient cakras by bath mudra and mantra. The external physical
cleanliness that results adds glaze to the body as well as purity and composure to mind.

7. Food and Diet


We spend three and half years of our life eating fifty tons of
food that we consume in our lifetime. Most of it goes to maintain
a total workforce of fifty thousand billion cells that our body
contains. One billion of these cells are old every day ready to be
replaced by new cells that are formed from the ingredients of the
food that we consume. We shed twenty-five grams of dead cells
daily from our intestines alone. Nineteen kilograms of dead skin
will be shed from our surface during our lifetime. Two hundred
billion red cells are released in our blood every day. This great
renovation and renewal is sustained and nourished by the food
and drink that we consume. Therefore, the quality of our
nourishment must affect the replacement. As you eat so you
become. One cannot expect a premium performance from a low-
grade fuel.
The food that we eat undergoes a complex processing and refinement in our body to
render it usable for various physico-chemical processes of this machine. At first all
ingested food and drink is churned with the digestive juices into a semi-liquid called
chyme (l.Rasa). This homogenised food containing all nutrients including carbohydrates,
proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals passes through the entire length of intestine at a
speed most suitable for the extraction and absorption of the nutrients from it. First the
carbohydrates (foods containing starches and sugars) are digested and absorbed in the
blood providing immediate energy to the body machine. This is soon followed by the
digestion and absorption of proteins in the blood that provide long term energy as well as
form the building blocks of our flesh and bones. Fats are the last major component of
food to be digested and absorbed,

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35

most of it in the lymph and a small part in the blood. Finally, vitamins and minerals find
their way into the blood stream.
Thus we find almost all nutrients except some of the fats are transported from our
gastrointestinal tract to the blood stream. The first priority over them is provided to the
bone marrow where blood (2.Rakta) is formed. Two hundred billion red blood cells are
released in our circulation everyday. These red cells carry oxygen to every cell of our
body including brain, heart, liver, kidneys etc. Without oxygen life is unsustainable. The
red cells live for about four months and when they get old they are removed by a filter
bed that is formed by the spleen, liver and lymph glands.
The blood that returns from the intestines carries the proteins that are absorbed from
the food. These proteins are broken down in liver into smaller molecules of amino acids,
which are reassembled in small, medium and large molecules of body proteins. The
modified proteins form the skeleton of our body cells or tissues (3.Mansa). Without these
proteins cells will not be able to maintain their structure. About a billion cells are old
every day. Without these proteins they will not be replaced. Additionally, these modified
protein molecules supply the basic ingredients for the synthesis of a number of hormones
and enzymes that are essential for the cell function.
The fats that are absorbed from the intestine largely return through the slower
lymphatic channels because they are not the preferred source of energy and are called
upon to provide energy only when carbohydrates and proteins are not readily available
such as during fasting and starvation. The surplus carbohydrates and proteins that are left
over after burning as fuel for energy and after tissue storage are converted into fats as
well. Fats form the wall of each cell of our body whereas proteins provide the
scaffoldings. Without the defining wall scaffoldings have no meanings. All cell walls are
not similar. They vary according to

the function of the cell. For instance nerve cells require a special type of cell wall through
which electrical impulse can be conducted quickly and efficiently. The type of fat in their
cell walls will determine their performance.
Fats also play an important role in the heat regulation. They provide twice as much
energy as carbohydrate and proteins. They also form the fundamental ingredients of a
number of life-sustaining hormones. Our total fat pool (4.Meda) is approximately eleven
kilograms, sufficient to maintain life for forty days. The surplus fat that is unused is
stored in special fat cells called adipose tissues for emergency uses. In obese persons this
store can double or even triple.
The defence system of our body is Reticulo Endothelial System (RES). It produces the
white cells called killer lymphocytes that protect our body from all external invaders such
as bacteria, virus and other germs. It also produces the antibodies against these invaders
to keep us immune from their onslaught. Thus it is the kernel (S.Majja) of our physical
existence. The sustenance of this kernel is also derived from the nutrients that are
absorbed from the food. The specialised cells of RES are widely distributed in bone
marrow, spleen, liver, lymph glands and intestine. Their strategic locations enable them to
police the whole body. An extensive network of lymphatic channels supports them to
conserve, purify and circulate the essential proteins and fats that body cannot afford to
loose. The modified fluid that returns from the RES back into the blood is called lymph
(6.Shukra).
Lymph is the vital fluid that contains many essential ingredients for hormone
(7'.Granthirasa) secretion. It also nourishes the nerve cells in our brain. Thus we see that
the food we eat undergoes immense modifications and transformations to be incorporated
into our body either as its molecular make up or
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37

its fuel on which its physical and mental performance depends. Therefore, in addition to
the nutritional classification, the food groups can also be classified according to the
performance that they generate. In this classification the food groups are performance
focussed in contrast to the traditional classification where they are nutrient focussed.
Based on the physical and mental performance there are three main food groups:
1. Those, which are conducive to the wellbeing of both
body and mind and are not harmful in any sphere of
our existence. They are called Sentient (Sattvika)
foods.
2. Those, which are good for physical health but may or
may not be good for the mind. They are called
Mutative (Rajasika) foods.
3. Those, which may or may not be good for physical
health but are certainly harmful for mind. This is
called Static (Tamasika) group.
The cells of human body grow out of the food, drink, air and light. Out of these
ingredients they manufacture their small protozoic and metazoic minds. The food must
come from the sources that also have these minds. Rocks and sand can not provide the
force of life. That is why it has been said "jiivah jiivasya bhojanam" that is, for food
living beings subsist on other living beings. The life force in the food cells will inevitably
influence our body cells and their minds. Since the protozoic and metazoic minds are
connected to the unit mind, the latter will also be affected. The stronger the life force in
the food, more tenacious and resolute will be cellular mind that grows out of it.
The more the physical, mental and spiritual expressions in the source of food, the
more the exposition of life force in it and greater the strength that protozoic and metazoic
minds derive

from it. These two primitive levels of mind are static or tamasik in nature and strengthen
the lower two cakras; muladhar and svadhisthan. They constantly engage in physical
survival and sense gratification. They tend to draw the unit mind to their level of sensory
pleasures and prevent it from engaging in higher intellectual and spiritual pursuits. Meat,
fish, eggs, onion, garlic, mushrooms, alcohol and stale and rotten foods carry such
tamasik life forces. Some of these foods may be good for physical health but they are
disastrous for psycho-spiritual growth. For these reasons many great personalities had to
give up all tamasik foods. These foods lower the quantity and quality of lymph
production and thus diminish vitality and vigour.

Mutative or rajasik foods consist of beverages, chocolates, spices and condiments.


They strengthen manipur cakra, which controls the physical energy that drives the
objective mind and the body. Therefore, these foods provide ample energy for physical
actions. A cup of coffee or tea revitalises a tired person and a hot chocolate drink infuses
a new life on a cold winter night. However, if overused they are also harmful for both
body and mind.
Sentient or sattvika foods produce sentient energy and sentient cells and therefore
sentient thoughts and sentient behaviour. They strengthen the anahat and vishuddha
cakras and thereby the subjective mind. Therefore, sadhana improves, memory sharpens
and one's intellect is pin pointed on the Supreme Consciousness. That is why it has been
said "aharshuddhao sattvashudhih, sattvashuddhih dhruvasmrti" that is, sentient food
creates sentient self and sentient self creates apexed mind. Most grains and lentils, fruits
and dairy products are examples of sentient foods. These foods contain the vital energy
that can be easily converted into the psychic energy.
Food and diet are not one and the same thing. When the

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39

food is so chosen that it supplies all the essential nutrients for physical wellbeing of a
person and at the same time enhances the mental and spiritual wellbeing, it becomes a
truly balanced diet. A food that is good for one person may be the cause of suffering for
the other. For instance milk is a sentient food and one can thrive on it whereas another
can be intolerant to it. People with lactose (milk sugar) intolerance suffer with abdominal
cramps and bloating after ingestion of milk. Similar is the case with gluten in wheat,
barley and some other grains. One man's food is another man's poison.
The same food may have different affect on a person at different times of the day.
Some bananas are healthy food for body and mind if eaten during the day. However, if
taken at night they can cause coughs and colds. A type of cucumber is sentient before
noon but static in the afternoon and night. Cow's milk is sentient till nine p.m. after which
it becomes mutative. Buffalo's milk is mutative before four p.m. and then becomes static.
It is never sentient. The differential effects of food on body and mind are due to the
influence of sun and moon. Microvita, the tinniest virus like particles, are carried by the
direct or reflected light waves from sun and moon to the earth and affect all living things
including our body and our food. Since these microvita can be positive or negative they
influence our body accordingly.
Foods containing animal flesh decrease the formation of the vital fluid lymph whereas
green vegetables and fruits increase it. The chlorophyll in the green vegetables is a great
catalyst of lymph formation. Lymph induces vitality and vigour in the body and produces
effulgence to the cells creating an aura and gleam that is seen in sentient people. These
characteristics describe the Latin word vegetare from which the term vegetarian has
derived and not from the common notion of vegetable eaters. Hence, vegetarian diet is
the "food for gods".

Nutrients-focussed modern scientists vehemently oppose the notion of vegetarianism and


rightly so because much of the vegetarianism that is being advanced is based on fads
rather than facts. Their foundation is laid on shallow social and cultural sentiments rather
than their effects on human body and mind. However, modern nutritionists emphasise
solely on the effects of food on body and body alone. Therefore, they concentrate on the
nutrients of body and ignore the nutrients of mind and soul. George Bernard Shaw's
physician told him that his vegetarianism would one day kill him. The patient lived in his
seventies and the physician died much younger.
Vegetarianism always sparks a lively debate between science and philosophy.
Science's argument centres around the lack of high quality protein, vitamin B12 and low
iron content of vegetarian diets. The first is conclusively proven wrong. Many grains and
beans have more high quality proteins than meat. There is also abundant iron in milk and
many vegetables. However, the B12 controversy continues despite small amounts of B12
being present in dairy produce and some seaweed. It is also synthesised in normal human
intestine. The bioavailability of B12 from these sources is the big issue. However,
epidemiological surveys have not found deficiencies of B12 in the traditionally
vegetarian communities.
One possible explanation for the above inconsistency could be difference in the B12
requirements and the biodegradation systems of vegetarians and the meat eaters. Whether
such a difference exists or not is a subject of further research. However, considerable
evidence exists of the differences between the biological responses of meditators and
non-meditators. Most schools of meditation encourage vegetarianism.
The beginners of meditation however, should be cautioned against sudden conversion
from heavy meat eating to no meat

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41
eating. The transmutation of biological processes is slow and gradual. It takes four
months for the blood to be renewed. The cells of the body machine have to be gradually
entrained to adjust to the changing nutrient supply. Any impatience may result in physical
disorders. A good guide would be to go down the gradation list every three to four
months, from the meat of developed animals to lesser developed ones and finally to fully
vegetarian. For instance, poultry and seafood should gradually replace red meat over a
period of three months. Once established in this diet without adverse consequence these
animal products should gradually be phased out in the instalments of three months. It
goes without saying that the substitutes should come from grains, lentils, beans, dairies,
fruits and vegetables.
Water is a great internal cleanser as well. In addition to its cleansing effect it is
essential for keeping the fluids in the body flowing efficiently and economically.
Circulation of blood, lymph, urine and stool will all be hampered if water intake is not
appropriate. Seventy five percent of our body is water and it must be strictly maintained
at that level. In hot climate water intake should be kept at four to five litres per day or
more if one perspires excessively. In cold climate a minimum of three litres is
recommended. Not more than two hundred and fifty millilitres of water should be taken
at a time.
Hunger and thirst are drive states controlled by the nerve centres in the hypothalamus
of brain that has sensors in all parts of the body monitoring their needs. However, the
actual feeling of hunger and its satiation, and thirst and its quench is in the self-
controlling faculty of the mind. This self-controlling faculty prompts us to eat till we are
full and stop on satiation. It also drives us to drink till the thirst is quenched.
This control system is finely tuned. Constantly demanding

it to go against the needs e.g. eating without appetite or not eating when hungry and
drinking without thirst can reset the tuning. However, once inappropriately reset it
becomes a compulsive behaviour that is inappropriate to the body needs. Eating disorders
such as anorexia and bulimia and some forms of obesity are some such examples.
Compulsive behaviours are difficult to modify. Therefore, the spiritual practitioners are
advised to eat only when they are hungry and not let the greed drive them to food.

Some general guidelines for the nutrition of the spiritual practitioners are given
below:
1. Only foods that are helpful in keeping the body and
mind sentient should be eaten.
2. Mutative foods should be taken only in the forenoon.
3. Care should be taken about the differential effects of
foods at different hours of the day.
4. Diet should be balanced in its nutrient as well as
sentient values.
5. Late night eating should be avoided. Eat only when
you are hungry. Greed poisons the food.
6. Water consumption should be maintained at four to
five litres per day in hot climate and three litres in
cold climate. Not more than 250mls of water should
be taken at a time.
7. Conversion from a meat diet to vegetarian diet should
be gradual according to the gradation list.
8. Always include green vegetables in your diet, so that
their chlorophyll can be utilised for lymph formation.
9. Cow's milk, rice, green leafy vegetables and tamarind
are brain's food.
10. Before you eat find out the intrinsic value of each
ingredient in the food.
1.
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43

Food gradation list: From most tamasik (static) to most sattvika (sentient).
1. Red meat: beef, pork, lamb, goat meat and meat of other mammals.
2. Poultry: chicken, fowl, turkey and other birds and
their eggs.
3. Seafood: oysters, prawn, crayfish and all other fishes.
4. Alcohol: bear, spirits and wines.
5. Tamasik vegetables: mushrooms, onions, garlic and
white eggplant.
6. Fats: cold mustard oil.
7. Grains: black and toor lentils.
8. Beverages: tea, coffee, chocolates and cola drinks.

For practitioners of sadhana foods in categories 8 to 15 only are suitable.


Food table: Differential value with time
Items Forenoon Afternoon Evening Night
Cow's milk S S S R
Buffalo's milk R R T T
Banana S R T T
Leafy veggies S R T T
Cucumber S T T T
Grains S S S S
Fruits (most) S S S R
Key: S- sattvik, R- rajasik, T- tamasik.
9. Condiments: herbs, spices, seasonings and appetisers.
10. Oils: all vegetable oils except mustard oil. Coconut
oil is always sattvika.
11. Legumes: beans, peas and pods.
12. Grains: lentils, barley, oat, wheat, rice and all other
grains and cereals.
13. Vegetables: all root, stem and leafy vegetables except
no.5.
14. Dairy produce: cow's and goat's milk, ghee, butter
and cheese. Please note that buffalo's milk is rajasik
at best and becomes tamasik in the afternoon.
15. Fruits: most fruits.

Some Notable Quotations:


"The healthy stomach is nothing if not conservative. Few radicals have good
digestion "
— Samuel Butler.
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you
are" — Brillat-Savarin.
"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals"
— Benjamin Franklin.
"What is food to one man may be fierce poison to
others" —Lucretius.

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"Other men live to eat, while I eat to live "
— Socrates.
"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"
— Fanny Fern.
"Man does not live by bread alone, but by faith, by admiration, by sympathy"
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"Every science has been outcast"
— R. G. Ingersoll.

8. Fasting
(Upavasa)
Fasting is practised in many cultures and religions around the world. Some use it for
the fulfilment of more mundane wishes while others use it as a penance to please the
gods. However, its role in the purification of body and mind is often ignored or at least
underestimated.
Our body machine works ceaselessly through out our lives without a moment's rest. In
a year, our heart beats at least forty two million times and pumps enough blood to fill
several swimming pools, our lungs breathe enough air to inflate two hot air balloons, our
liver secretes three hundred and sixty five litres of bile, our stomach produces seven
hundred and thirty wine-bottles of gastric juice, our brain looses 2,555000 nerve cells
from the age of thirty five years on, our kidneys produce seven hundred litres of urine,
our entire skin coat is renewed three times over and our sweat glands perspire 606 soft
drink cans of sweat. We grow twenty-eight meters of nails and shed sixty-five litres of
tears in our lifetime.
The best of man-made machines also need to be turned off every so often for service
and maintenance to keep its performance to an optimal level. Our body machine can not
be turned off for servicing but its workload can be reduced and its own internal processes
can be used to tune up the engine and maximise its performance. Human body has many
contingency plans for emergencies. One of them is the alternative rout of metabolism that
comes into play when we fast or starve. When we are fed carbohydrates are the main
source of energy. The

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metabolic pathway ensures their breakdown and release of energy. However, when we
starve carbohydrates are in short supply and fats and proteins are called upon to provide
energy for body functions.
The carbohydrates are an instant source of energy. They are quickly absorbed from the
intestine in the form of glucose that is fast metabolised into water and carbon dioxide
with the release of energy. The unused glucose, if the supply is more than the demand, is
stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen that can be mobilised at a short notice of
demand. However, glycogen store is not big enough in relation to the number of
unexpected demands that are put upon it by cutting the supply (missing meals and
fasting) or increasing the expenditure (exercise). It can be rapidly depleted and alternative
source of energy has to be found.
Fats and proteins have much larger stores. Before they can be utilised for energy
however, they have to be converted into glucose by a process called neoglucogenesis.
This process is slower than carbohydrate metabolism and slows the whole body machine.
Hence in fasting state we feel tired and lethargic. Fats are mobilised from the stores and
are converted partly into glucose and partly in ketones by the liver. The ketones are toxic
above certain level and must be excreted from the body by the lungs and the kidneys.
Therefore, on fasting days our breath and urine smell of ketones.
However, most tissues use a part of these ketones for energy during fasting. The new
glucose formed from the fats and proteins is spared for the brain that primarily depends
on glucose. In late stages of fasting when the supply of new glucose fails to meet the
demand the brain also starts using the ketones for energy. This slows the thinking process
and endurance that we experience in the later part of the fasting. Our red blood cells
contain large amount of glucose. Unfortunately, this is not

available directly. It has to be converted into lactate and then back into glucose.
Therefore, there is accumulation of lactate in the blood that makes the blood acidic. This
makes our muscles feel tender and stiff on fasting days.
Our metabolic factory is not exclusively focussed on energy production. For each
molecule of carbohydrate, protein and fat that it breaks down it produces several
molecules of water that is necessary for various metabolic processes. When this factory
slows down its water needs decline. Hence we find that those who fast with liquids pass
unusually large amount of urine. On the contrary a complete fast with no food or drink
reduces the water load decreasing the load on excretory organs such as kidneys, bowels,
lungs and sweat glands.
Like any other factory, our metabolism also puts out some waste products such as
carbon dioxide (CO2), urea (NH3) and Ketones from the breakdown of carbohydrates,
proteins and fats respectively. These wastes are partially recycled in the process and the
rest are excreted in urine and in breath. The CO2 in the breath quickly vanishes in the air
whereas NH3 and ketones form residue on the tongue giving it a white coating that we
see during fasting. Therefore, extra attention should be paid to the oral hygiene on fasting
days. Frequent rinsing, brushing and tongue scrapping may be required.
Hormones influence every aspect of our body function. From digestion to metabolism,
from heart beat to brain function and from drinking to urination some or the other
hormones are involved. This strains our endocrine glands and drains much of the lymph
into these glands. On fasting days all these functions are turned down and therefore the
need for these hormones is reduced.
Water is a great solvent. Almost anything merges in it

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suspending its identity. Minerals and salts easily disperse in it as electrically charged
particles called ions. These ions may carry positive or negative charges that interact with
other oppositely charged particles resulting in chemical reactions. It cannot be
emphasised enough that human body is three fourth water and therefore largely solvent.
In this ocean of solvent are dissolved numerous ions. Because water is also an excellent
conductor of electromagnetic currents, these ions move freely in the body to maintain a
state of chemical equilibrium that is essential for body's functions. Fluid and electrolyte
balance and acid-base balance are the results of the solvent property of water. They are so
finely tuned that even a slight deviation results in disastrous consequences.
We live in a web of photo-radiation and electromagnetic currents that are not constant.
They vary with cosmic events that result in climatic and seasonal changes. They also
have affect on our body and mind. For instance, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which
manifests as depressive illness commonly occurs in winter due to lack of sunlight.
Episodes of mania are more common on the first day of new moon and on full moon day.
Various biorhythms in human body follow a cycle of twenty to forty days. These cosmic
events alter the electromagnetic field that we live in, and consequently influence the
ocean of water that we carry within. The electrical charges on the ions are interfered with
and our internal chemical environment is disturbed.
Such cosmic events can be conveniently computed to the position of the moon in
relation to the earth. It does not necessarily mean that the moon is the cause of the
electromagnetic changes. It rather means the association of events. The relationship
between the moon and human behaviour has been a matter of wild speculation for
thousands of years. In many cultures it is worshiped, in some it is feared and in others it
is consulted for scheduling important tasks. However, it is in the

past three centuries that the moon's effect on life on earth has become a subject of
scientific scrutiny. Kepler in the sixteenth century asserted that the moon controlled tides
of the ocean. Galileo rubbished it as "astrological non-sense". However, Newton, born a
year after Galileo's death, precisely explained the effects of the moon on tides. Since then
its effect on body chemistry and human behaviour has been studied extensively linking
the moon with human emotions and health, sanity and criminality and biological rhythms.
The moon possibly alters our body chemitry by causing
gravitational changes that are sensed by the pineal gland and
translated into our physiology by altering hormonal balance.
However, it must be stressed that the moon and stars do not
control human destiny. The cosmic forces that control these stars
also control life in the universe and hence this assocition.
Therefore, when there is a tide in the ocean or in the human
biology, it is not because of the moon and stars in cirtain position
but because of the forces that have forced them in that
relationship.
It has been observed that on four days in a lunar month the cosmic events are such that
the electromagnetic field and photo-radiation waves have most adverse effects on our
physiology. It is claimed that the pregnancies conceived on these days may result in a
higher incidence of congenital abnormalities in the newborn. These days are new moon
and eleventh day after the new moon as well as full moon and eleventh day after the full
moon. On these days, if our metabolism is turned down and water content of our body is
minimised, the alterations in the electromagnetic field will have minimal effects on our
body and mind. Hence these days are prescribed as fasting days.
Moon shines in the reflected light from the sun of our solar system and possibly from
the planets and celestial bodies in other

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solar systems. The reflected light and radiation are media of transportation of microvita
from planet to planet. When they reach the earth they affect all animate and inanimate
structures. If human body is in a fasting state and mind is absorbed in the thoughts of
Infinite Entity they imbibe positive microvita otherwise negative microvita enter and
affect it adversely.
On breaking the fast the re-feeding does not immediately reestablish the normal
carbohydrate metabolism and glucose absorbed from the food does not start to supply the
energy for few hours. Body's priority is to replete the glycogen store first before letting
the glucose free for energy production. Therefore, the alternative source of energy from
fats and proteins continues till the glycogen deposits in the muscles and the liver are
restored. During this transitional period body continues to feel tired and lethargic in spite
of resuming food intake. Ketones, urea and lactic acid continue to be produced.
Hence there is a specific method of breaking the fast. It is broken with salted lemon
water in copious amounts. Water flushes out the wastes. The salt (NaCl) forms sodium
citrate with the citric acid of the lemon juice. Sodium citrate is alkaline that neutralises
the acid wastes of fasting state. After one to two hours of fluids a light diet high in
carbohydrate but low in fat and proteins is taken. This enables the body to build up its
glycogen store rather quickly and re-establish the main pathway of metabolism. Three to
four hours later a normal diet can be resumed.
Thus far we have dealt with the physical effects of fasting. However, this practice is
more than mere fasting. Upavasa means to remain in the proximity of the Param Purusha
(Infinite Entity) which requires transcending the mundane needs of the body.
Nevertheless, it is not easy to transcend when the body indulges in survival games and
sensory pleasures that are the attributes of

our physical minds (protozoic and metazoic). In addition the cosmic events on fasting
days render us vulnerable and exposed to their negative effects. They drag the mind down
to the things of this world and make the communion with the transcendental entity
extremely difficult.
Fasting secures us from many of these effects. It is one of the most effective means of
taming the protozoic and metazoic minds. By denying food and water to the body when it
is hungry and thirsty is a direct challenge to these levels of our mind. It sends them a
clear message that their childish temper and tantrums need to be contained within certain
limits. They must know who is in command. When parents are firm children must yield
for their own good. Many yogis through the ages have emphasised that fasting reduces
the propensities of physical lust and passion by taming the physical mind.
However, our unit mind must engage itself in the thoughts of our goal if the taming
has to last. Parents must set example for the children by their conducts to nurture
discipline and order in their lives. The higher levels of our mind (objective and
subjective) must set example by the constant thought of the transcendental entity that he
is the top priority in our lives and not the physical gratification. The physical mind will
have no options other than deriving pleasures from these exalted thoughts. Then and then
alone we are successful in making this physical body pure.

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9. Sadhana
(Spiritual Meditation)
Sadhana literally means an endless endeavour to achieve one's goal in life. The
purpose of human life is to free oneself of all limitations of relative factors such as time,
place and person. It is to the achievement of this freedom that all human endeavours are
consciously or subconsciously goaded. However, limitlessness can not be attained by
physical endeavours alone because of the very limited nature of the physical universe.
Human mind must transcend the physical world in search of this freedom. The psychic
world is much more expansive than the physical but still not without boundaries. It has its
own limitations and finiteness. Nevertheless, human mind has the potentials to expand
beyond these limitations and become infinite.
The process that manifests these potentials is called sadhana. This process has two
inseparable components. The physico-psychic component converts the crude physical
structure into a subtler psychic structure, the physical energy into the psychic energy and
the psycho-spiritual component converts psychic energy into spiritual energy and mind
into discriminative conscience. It is in this state that the mind crosses all the boundaries
of limitations and becomes infinite. Neither of these components is dispensable. Once
Baba was asked to express his opinion about the common belief that the paths are
different but goal is one. He replied, "no, the goal is one and the path is also one and that
is a physico-psycho-spiritual approach. Convert your physical energy into psychic energy
and psychic energy into spiritual energy by sadhana, service and sacrifice."
The physico-psychic approach of this process has been dealt with in previous chapters
from item one to item eight. What follows is the psycho-spiritual approach. Like the
preceding items the general principles and biopsychology of this approach will be
discussed rather than the specific processes. The general principles of sadhana are:
1. Freeing the mind from physical occupations: This is
the first stage of sadhana where wavering mind is
forced to concentrate.
2. Expanding the magnitude of mind by concentrated
thinking. This is the second stage of sadhana.
3. Transmuting the expanded mind into pure
Consciousness. This involves mental talk first to
oneself and then to Param Purusha. This constitutes
the third stage of sadhana.
4. Achieving an apexed state of mind. In this fourth and
final stage one experiences spiritual bliss.
Therefore, sadhana is a rather paradoxical process where mind is first concentrated
then expanded and again pinpointed into the Infinite Entity. It can be compared to the
water drop that wants to reach the ocean. It leaves the pond as clouds and condenses into
a raindrop that falls in the ocean and becomes ocean itself. These paradoxes are essential
for reaching one's destination.
Freeing the mind from physical occupations
Swami Vivekananda used to say that human mind is like a mad monkey, restless by
nature. To make the things worse it gets drunk with the wine of desire, stung by the
scorpion of jealousy and possessed by the demon of vanity and pride. It is a huge task to
control such a monkey. Our mental occupations are the byproducts of interaction between
our environment and our samskaras and manifest as propensities or vrttis. The
propensities find expression through cakras that regulate regional hormones.

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The hormones influence our nerve cells and modulate our behaviour. Whether we are
mad monkeys or serene monks depends on these propensities.
One of such propensities is mamta that generates the feeling of "me and mine". It is
this mine-ness that attaches us to the world around us. The more the proximity between
the world and "me", the stronger the bond between the two, the more the difficulty
freeing the mind from this attachment. The bond becomes the bondage. We are more
attached to this planet than to the Universe as a whole and more attached to our nation
than to this planet. Our town is more attractive for us than anywhere else in the nation
and our family and friends are dearer to us than anyone else in the town. Our pains and
pleasures feel stronger than our neighbour's does and our thoughts and emotions prevail
over our bodies.
Thus we find that our mind is buried under the heavy weights of the propensity of "me
and mine" so much so that this feeling permeates in each and every molecules and atoms
of our body. Our entire defence system is charged with this propensity ready to shoot
down the invaders. Unfortunately, sometimes it gets over-jealous and shoots down our
own cells. This propensity of attachment expresses through the anahat cakra that lies in
the chest where thymus gland is also located. Thymus gland is the heart of our defence
system that keeps reminding the killer lymphocytes of their defensive functions and
reinforcing their memory in recognition of "mine" and "not mine".
The attachment is a universal phenomenon. However, when it is associated with other
propensities such as greed, indulgence, jealousy, cruelty, hatred, fear, alongwith vanity
and hypocrisy the mind becomes the "mad monkey" jumping endlessly from one thought
to another, from one object to another marching on the path of self-destruction. And yet
these are the attributes that the

world outside promotes. It is a challenging task to manoeuvre the mind from the
swampland of these propensities and steer it free from all mental occupations. Changing
the world is a collective responsibility of all but changing the mind is our individual
obligation.
Central to this change in mind is stepwise minimisation of the feeling of "me and
mine" starting at the remotest end of the world outside and finishing at the innermost core
of the mind itself, transmuting all mine-ness into pure "I", where "I" is felt in its absolute
state rather than in relation to the world outside.
Preparation
In the wakeful state our sensory and motor organs connect us with the world around us
that is diverse and colourful. Millions of bits of information is fed to our brain every
second by our eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue of which only a small portion is
processed by the brain for relevant functions. However, it is enough to turn it into a "mad
monkey". Therefore, as one prepares to perform sadhana one has to minimise these inputs
in the brain so that the process that follows is accelerated and enhanced.
The most powerful distracter of all is our hearing (Shravana). Sound waves constantly
enter our ears and find their way to the brain. The meaning these waves carry will
determine whether the mind is ruffled or composed. When we hear spiritual discourses,
devotional songs and chanting mind is composed because the organs of hearing are
flooded with these sound waves and the passage of sounds that agitate the mind are
blocked. This helps taming the monkey. Similarly, reading and writing, eating and
drinking, touching and feeling and smell influence the mind accordingly. They generate
the kind of thoughts (Manana) that may enhance or obstruct composure. When the object
of shravana and manana is the Param Purusha and Param Purusha alone,

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when mind contemplates of the Supreme Consciousness alone it is called Nididhyasana.


A combination of shravana, manana and nididhyasana is an ideal preparation for sadhana.
All three can be achieved by singing Prabhat Samgeet and performing Kiirtana before
sadhana. They block all sensory pathways with the thought of Param Purusha and engage
all motor organs in dancing for him.
Sense Withdrawal
After a good preparation the wild horses of our sensory and motor organs are already
contained. Now starts the gradual withdrawal of mind, also called shuddhis, in a reverse
direction beginning with where the attachment of mine-ness is least. We are very loosely
bound to the physical universe and therefore the journey starts there reducing the sensory
input from the things of this world into our brain. This is called bhuta shuddhi.
About one billion bits of information enter our brain every second through our special
senses alone. Billions more are fed into it from our internal organs, joints and muscles.
All do not reach our conscious levels. They are sorted out, prioritised and distributed to
various parts of the conscious brain by special cells in the brain stem that form reticular
activating system (RAS). The latter acts as a mail exchange for the delivery of messages
to the appropriate parts of the cerebral cortex that must receive adequate input from the
RAS to remain awake and alert. Failing this input we feel drowsy and recede into sleep.
This property of RAS is utilised in modern anaesthesia to produce a state of deep sleep
where pain is not felt.
All information entering our brain from within the body and without must relay in the
RAS. Interestingly, the RAS is located in the region from lalana to ajina cakras. In bhuta
shuddhi the mind is withdrawn step by step from the world outside to the world within
disengaging it from this physical world of five

fundamental factors or paincabhutas. This stepwise withdrawal reduces the sensory input
into the RAS and alters the state of consciousness.
Now begins the disengagement of mind from the internal
physical, from toes to head, a process called asana shuddhi. This
order from bottom up is essential because we are less attached to
our feet than to our face and detaching the mind in this order is
relatively easier. Here again mind is comfortably seated in a step
ladder fashion from muladhar to a'jina cakras. Cakras control
the regional hormones that in turn control the body machine.
When mind is concentrated in the muladhar cakra the sex
hormones from testes and ovaries are controlled and optimised.
Since sex hormones are responsible for maintaining the structural
solidarity of the physical structure, this process gives us optimum
control over the solid factors of our body machine such as bones,
flesh and tissues. In old age when the sex hormone secretion
ceases the solid structures loose there texture and conditions like
osteoporosis and muscle wasting ensues.
By concentrating the mind in svadhisthan cakra one optimises the secretion of adrenal
glands and functions of excretory organs such as kidneys, bowel, bladder and prostate.
One is able to gain control over the liquid factors such as blood, urine and semen.
Adrenal hormones maintain the water and salt balance in the body and thus affect the
amount of blood that circulates in our system. Adrenaline and Noradrenaline from the
same gland influence the heartbeat and blood pressure. Therefore, concentration in
svadhisthan cakra optimises heartbeats and blood pressure and gives control over the
liquids in the body.
Asana shuddhi at the manipur cakra optimises the functions of the glands that are
engaged in digestion and energy production in our metabolic factory such as liver,
pancreas, stomach and intestine. This allows a judicious production and

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prudent use of our physical energy. Similarly, by shuddhi at the anahat cakra one gains
control over the vital energy or vayus that binds body and mind together and is
responsible for life to continue. The concentration on vishuddha cakra establishes a
proper control of mind over body by optimising the functions of thyroid and parathyroid
glands.
Thus we find that by asana shuddhi we gradually disengage the mind from the
physical occupations, both external and internal. This disengagement does not mean dis-
association because the latter means death. It only means that physical world is no more
the object of its concentration. The focus shifts from the body in this world to the mind in
its own rights. The conscious mind instead of running after the things of this world is
redirected to the things of inner world. However, the conscious mind is not yet fully
controlled. Senses can still lure it to the external attractions such as favourite TV show or
the sports at the stadium.
In the final stage of asana shuddhi therefore, mind is concentrated in a'jina cakra that
primes the pituitary gland which in turn controls all other lower glands. Here lies the
controlling point of conscious mind. By concentrating on this cakra control is established
over the conscious mind. The sensory input from the internal organs into the RAS is
minimised and mind is ready to transcend into the deeper levels of consciousness. It is
ready to explore the inner world of human existence.
Expanding the magnitude of mind
Despite the control over the conscious mind thoughts keep emerging from within
because mind can never remain objectless. These thoughts have to be transmuted by a
strong contemplation. This process of contemplation is called citta shuddhi. By this
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BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES


of thinking to the world of feeling. The mind is seated in a'jina cakra when citta shuddhi
is performed and later transferred to one's ista cakra.
A'jina cakra is also called pituitary plexus which consists of certain brain structures in
addition to the pituitary gland such as the hypothalamus, limbic system and the RAS.
They represent the subconscious and feeling parts of our brain. Bhuta shuddhi and asana
shuddhi influence the hypothalamus and RAS and transform the world of sense input into
our thoughts and reasons. The limbic system links feelings to thoughts and converts our
perceptions into experience. Citta shuddhi, through the medium of limbic system,
transforms the objective world of reason into the subjective world of human experience.
However, to goad this conversion into limitless experience the object of contemplation
has to be limitless. Hence the ideation in citta shuddhi is "one's minute existence in an
infinite ocean of nothingness that one cannot fathom". When this idea persists unimpaired
and unbroken for sometime the meditator plunges into the world of experience and
enjoys this infinite ocean. This is called bliss. Nonetheless, the continuity of ideation is
very difficult to sustain for long enough to experience this bliss due to the constant
interruptions by thoughts from within the mind. These thoughts are generated by our
samskaras.
Human biology is a collection of cycles and rhythms that have different vibrational
expressions. They are integrated into a larger rhythm called biorhythm. All biological
functions are tuned with this rhythm. We breathe about fifteen times a minute and for
each breath our heart beats four to five times. Our digestion, metabolism, excretion and
hormone secretions follow a daily rhythmic pattern called diurnal rhythm. The biorhythm
is further integrated with our psychic rhythm. Therefore, pains and pleasures of the body
are translated into our minds and hopes and

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aspirations, and thoughts and emotions are reflected in our body functions. The
combination of these biological and psychological rhythms is called our Entitative
Rhythm. Every physical entity has an entitative ryhthm with its own vibrational
expressions.

The individual entitative rhythms are generated by one's samskaras that permeate into
the bone and marrow, in the very atoms and molecules of the person. Samskaras create
propensities, which in turn activate corresponding cakras. The cakras secrete hormones
from the regional glands that influence the nerve cells. Thus the whole entity, or the
identity of the person, vibrates with the vibration of one's samskaras and limits one's
existence. This is called one's entitative rhythm. This is the rhythm that causes frequent
interruptions in our ideation on the rhythm-less Infinite Entity.
It is a common experience that the events that overwhelm our thoughts continue
bouncing back in our mind for quite sometime until they are overpowered by some
stronger and relentless ideas that are subtler and compelling. Similarly the individual
entitative rhythm can be overpowered by the incantative waves of one's ista mantra. The
latter is chosen according to one's samskaras and it has the capacity to strike at one's
entitative waves. It fights against them to elevate us from their depraving effects. In this
fight between the entitative waves and the incantative waves of the ista mantra the
wandering mind is repetitively brought to the meaning of mantra. This is called mantra
pap or incantation of mantra.
As the entitative rhythm is gradually transformed by the stroke of ista mantra the
lymph is converted into ectoplasm (citta) or conscious mind. This expansion of the
ectoplasm is associated with the development of certain qualities in the practitioners that
increase their capacity to love and rid themselves of hatred. When the ectoplasm expands
it becomes

subtler and sublimated. This relatively purer mind cleanses the physical body as well.
After all mind's vibrations are translated in the language of the body as illustrated by the
story of the great Italian painter and spiritual seeker Michaelangelo. For painting his
famous "the Last Supper" he used a most handsome model for Christ. Ten years on he
embarked upon painting the Satan. After a long search he found a fierce looking model in
a convicted murderer. During painting the Satan, the model burst into tears. When
insisted upon by the painter, he revealed that ten years earlier he had also modelled for
him as Christ.
By the protracted strike of ista mantra (mantraghat) the ectoplasm is further
sublimated into endoplasm (aham) or subconscious mind. As a result intellect develops
further and mind grows in magnitude. When the mind ideates on the meaning of mantra it
imbibes its idea. It awakens the Kundalini and an extreme urge for spiritual elevation
emerges. This process is called Mantra Caetanya and the resulting state devotion or
Bhakti.
Transmuting the mind into Consciousness
It is only in the state of pure consciousness that the goal of human life is reached. It is
in this state that one is free from all relative factors and attains limitlessness. To attain
such a state all vibrations, forms and colours have to be goaded into one culminating
point in Guru Cakra. In other words all mental occupations, all vrttis have to be
sublimated into a longing for the Great. Nevertheless, mind flows in an uninterrupted
river of vibration, form and colour. Therefore, for this goading and sublimation mind has
to be seated and concentrated on the form and colour of cakras in a stepladder fashion.
Incantative waves of mantra then strike at the vibrations of the vrttis that are controlled
by that particular cakra. This process is called dharana.
As the vrttis are calmed down the regional glands adjust their secretions exerting
lesser pressure on the pituitary gland.

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The demands for the trophic hormones of the pituitary are reduced. The wave of reduced
pressure spreads retrogressively to hypothalamus, limbic system and cerebral cortex.
The hypothalamus and limbic brain have receptor sites that bind a variety of
hormones. The limbic brain is our feeling brain that regulates our emotions. Emotions are
the expressions of vrttis that are seated deep in our minds. It is an integral part of thinking
process and as important in knowing as is rationality. In some situations it carries deeper
certainty than rationality when we feel our "heart" is stronger than our "head". The two
together constitute our mental life; one external and the other internal. The limbic brain is
called our "inner world" that empowers us to experience the world in a framework of our
inherent vrttis. It also permits us to remember and learn from the experience for future
reference. Thus it acts as a gatekeeper of our vrttis.
The hypothalamus is our acting brain that integrates and co-ordinates the behavioural
expression of our emotional states. More directly, it transforms vrttis into behaviour.
However, it needs the support of cerebral cortex for this transformation. Therefore, the
interplay between hypothalamus, limbic system and cerebral cortex allows us to
experience the emotional states such as fear, anger, pleasure and contentment.
In dharana, by associating the ajina cakra (hypothalamus and limbic brain) with each
of the lower cakras a new hormonal environment is created. Consequently, behaviour and
thinking changes in a way that allows the left and right cerebral hemispheres to achieve a
state of equilibrium where leftist and rightist propensities are in balance. Accordingly, the
conscious mind is subjugated and will power increases. Now this mind is ready to direct
all its propensities towards the goal in an endless flow, a process called dhyana or more
correctly abhidhyana. This process has two phases. In the first phase of pranidhana all

mental propensities are directed towards the Supreme desideratum and in the later phase
of anudhyana one takes the ideation of Param Purusha and starts chasing him till the
mind merges into the object of its ideation. In this state mind is suspended and
transmuted into Consciousness. The pineal gland plays a most important role in the
process of dhyana. Its hormones are well known to restrain the functions of thyroid,
adrenal and sex glands. This enhances the control and redirection of mental propensities
by restraining the lower cakras.
Thus in a state of dhyana one makes the mind run after its object of ideation, catches
hold of it and merges into it. All one's desire merges into one supreme desire; the desire
for Param Purusha or Supreme Consciousness. Therefore, dhyana is an unbroken flow of
mind towards this supreme goal.
Apexed State of Mind
When the unbroken flow of mind is established, it is said to be apexed or pinnacled
because it has no diversions and no distractions. It is pinpointed in its goal. Such a
pinpointed mind strikes at the seat of Unit Consciousness; the pineal gland. The pineal
hormones overwhelm and suspend the activities of all other glands and nerve cells. In this
state one appears to be unconscious because one's unit consciousness has expanded into
the Cosmic Consciousness. This state is called a transcendental state or Samadhi.
Ancillary Practices
In Ananda Marga sadhana there are a number of other practices that enhance and
improve the progress of the practitioners. Two of them; Pranayam or breath control and
Cakra Shodhan or refinements of cakras are incorporated as lessons of this system of
sadhana. Pratyahara or surrender marks the end of the practice whereas Guru Shakhash or
proximity with the Guru is practised the first thing in the morning on waking up followed
by Paincajanya or or early morning meditation.

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Pranayam is a process of breath control along with the ideation of the Supreme
Consciousness. It helps the mind in concentration and meditation. Mind flows in
accordance with the flow of respiration. It concentrates better during the pause between
inhalation and exhalation. When the respiration is rapid and shallow, as occurs during
physical exertion, this pause is minimal and the mental power of receiving and thinking is
severely obliterated. On the other hand, when one is engaged in deep thinking or
meditation where mind flows unobliterated, the respiration is slow and deep and this
pause is increased. The longer pause enhances the degree of concentration and clarity of
perception and therefore, one enjoys one's object of ideation better and bigger.
We must breathe to live. We breathe in and out between ten to twenty times a minute
depending on our physical and mental state. That is about eight to ten litres of air a
minute and over a year that adds up to an amount enough to inflate two hot-air balloons.
Nearly half a litre of water is lost daily through normal respiration. We can hold our
breath only for a few seconds. We cannot deprive ourselves of respiration beyond certain
limits. If it is forced upon us, as occurs in drowning and strangulation, the death is
inevitable. On the contrary, if we over-breathe, we suffer from its ill effects called
hyperventilation that is associated with clouded thinking, dizziness and panic attacks
among other symptoms.
Hence, our respiration is partly voluntary and partly involuntary. The involuntary part
is pre-set to protect it from the excesses of the voluntary regulation. The regulation centre
is located in the brain stem among the nerve cells of the RAS that ascertain our mental
state as discussed earlier. The RAS receives inputs from all visceral organs including
lungs. A rapid respiration increases this input and consequently the input into the cerebral
cortex. Depending on the rate of breathing, this results in
alertness, restlessness, cloudiness, panic feeling or even confusion and coma. The faster
the respiration, the more unsound the state of mind. On the contrary, the lesser the speed
of respiration, the more is the uninterrupted flow of mind. When mind flows unbroken,
the concentration on spiritual goal is inevitable.The respiratory centre in the RAS is pre-
set according to the flow of the life force called Prana Vayu that is active in upper chest
and neck. It can be voluntarily re-set, within limitations of course, to increase the pause
between the inhalation and exhalation and slow the respiration to a degree that improves
concentration during sadhana. This process of re-setting is called pranayama.
"The indriyas (sensory and motor organs) are the
controller of the body, the mind is the controller of
indriyas, and the vital energy (Prana) is the controller
of the mind" — BABA
Pranayam is performed while mind is concentrated in a particular cakra. Thus it
influences the secretions of hormones from the regional glands and the activity in the
nerve cells and nerve fibres. It affects, although indirectly, other four internal vayus as
well and consequently the flow of all fluids in the body such as blood, lymph and urine
are optimised. However, Pranayam must be learned from an experienced teacher because
of its intricacies and preciseness that is required for its practice.
Cakra Shodhan is a process of refinement and purification of cakras that is exclusive
to Ananda Marga sadhana. Cakras are comparable to step-down transformers. The
powerful transformers in the powerhouses influence the less powerful transformers in the
buildings and factories. Similarly, cakras above influence the cakras below them. Since
they have a capacity of converting psychic energy into physiological and spiritual
energies, their refinement will lead to an appropriate physico-psycho-spiritual
transformation in every cell of the body.

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The uppermost cakra is the Sahasrar or crown cakra that is primarily extra-corporeal.
Its intra-corporeal counterpart is called Guru cakra that regulates all other cakras and
corresponds with the pineal gland in the centre of the brain. The pineal influences the
secretions of all other hormones in the body. It entrains the biological rhythms to the
cosmic rhythms. Because of this function of pineal, we are able to sleep at nights, wake
up at the sunrise, ingest, digest and excrete in rhythmic fashion and even feel happy in
certain seasons and sad in others. Decrease in sexual activity in winters and increase in
springs is also mediated through the pineal gland. Thus, the pineal gland also controls our
procreativity.
Therefore, the pineal gland is called our biological clock that tunes our biological
system with the cosmic events such as day and night as well as seasonal variations in
mood and affect. It has been shown that the nerve cells in the hypothalamus of brain
contain receptor sites that bind melatonin, a hormone of the pineal gland. It has been
mentioned earlier that hypothalamus is the centre of a number of behavioural and
involuntary functions. Through the pituitary gland and autonomic nervous system it
controls entire physiological processes of the body. The pineal gland, by exercising
control over the hypothalamus, prevails over our entire biological machine. However, the
relationship between the pineal and our body machine is inverse rather than reciprocal.
The higher the pineal activity, the more tranquil the physiological processes and vice
versa.
The physical universe has emerged from a series of contortions in the Supreme
Consciousness. Sound, form and colour are the very archetypal outcome of these
contortions. Our cakras also carry these contortions. By concentrating on the form and
colour of cakras and vibrating them with the sounds of one's ista mantra, their physical
vibrations are sublimated, their energy flow is optimised and their hormonal secretions
are readjusted to

produce a feeling of spiritual bliss in the corresponding region.


When one reaches the Sahasrar cakra, the pineal is activated. Its
secretion is divine nectar that pervades the entire physical body
resulting in complete peace and composure. A deeper sadhana
becomes inevitable.
Pratyahar is a process of withdrawing the mind from all external objectivity and
goading it towards the Supreme Entity. It literally means giving it back to where it
belongs. It is done in two stages. In the first stage every object that occupies the mind is
ascribed Brahma-hood by the help of one's Guru mantra and in the second stage this
Object-Brahma complex is offered to the Pure Brahma or Supreme Consciousness by
performing Varnarghya Dan or offering of the mental colour.
Ordinarily human mind is propelled by some basic instincts such as hunger and thirst,
sleep and rest, fear of annihilation and urge to procreate. While these instincts are
fundamental to our survival and the survival of our species, they do not differentiate us
from other living beings and yet most of pur social, cultural and scientific achievements
have been driven by these primitive instincts. They are the drives that we have used to
create our culture and our civilisation. The hypothalamus and limbic system of the brain
produce, as well as control most drive states. To elevate oneself to one's special human
nature, as opposed to basic instinctive nature, one has to exercise restrain over these basic
drives rather than escalate them.
Control does not mean suppression and repression that invariably lead to psychic
diseases. It rather means sublimation and elevation where psychic energy is diverted from
physicality to spirituality. All physical objects affect our mind through the sensory organs
of hearing, vision, touch, smell and taste. The mind in an ordinary state will perceive their
input as physical objects. However, a mind in cosmic ideation will perceive them as
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spiritual entities. For illustration following example can be used. Ones perception for
one's brother/sister is not the same as for one's lover or spouse even if both are equally
beautiful. Therefore, our state of mind determines our relationship with the external
world. When this state is so transformed that an object is perceived as a cosmic
materialisation rather than a mere physical one, we say the mind is sublimated.
When the mind is sublimated, that part of hypothalamus is activated that controls basic
drives rather than that, which escalate them. Such a mind is bound to elevate itself by
imbibing sentient human nature. This sublimation is possible by ascribing cosmic-hood to
all physical objectivity by the help of Brahmacarya sadhana and Guru mantra and finally
consecrating it into the Supreme Entity by Varnarghya Dan.
Guru Sakasha is a process of experiencing proximity with the Guru, or rather taking
shelter in the Guru. This is achieved by performing Guru dhyan in the Guru cakra
immediately after waking up in the morning before any other ideas enter the mind.
Human brain is mapped in numerous areas and centres such as thinking area, visual
area, speech centre, respiratory centre so no and so forth. They are the controlling points
of their respective functions. All these centres must be entrained and integrated in one
common circuitry so that the brain acts as a single unit. Hence our thoughts, words and
actions reflect our complete personality rather than parts of it. The environmental
influences tend to somewhat dissociate these elements of our personality by fragmenting
our thoughts, emotions and expressions. The centre that unifies them into a blended
personality is located in the pineal gland. The pineal resembles a pinecone or the tip of a
blade of grass. Pineal's influence on the brain function is currently a subject of intense
scientific research. The studies so far point to an overall stabilising

influence on the electrical activity of the brain producing sleep, wellbeing and EEG
changes.
Stabilisation and fragmentation continue in a cyclic fashion during night and day
respectively with the waxing and waning activity of the pineal gland. By concentrating at
this point on awaking in the morning, while there is a relative vacuum in the mind and
before fragmentation begins, prevents the decline of pineal activity to the level of
degeneration and dissociation of personality. The ideation of Sadguru at this point
overwhelms the brain with hormones that are responsible for a feeling of wellbeing and
increase in will power. This state is called taking refuge in the Guru.
Paincjanya is a term ascribed to the collective meditation at five o'clock in the
morning. Its timing is crucial. The functions of human body vary according to the time of
the day. For example, in the morning all systems are on go, in the evenings they are toned
down and at nights they are at the lowest ebb. This is called diurnal variation that is
mediated through a series of hormonal changes. Similarly, mental functions also vary and
are hormone dependent. Mind is crudest during daylight when all sensory organs are
active, subtle at dawn and dusk when they are chaste and subtlest at midnight when they
are completely restrained. The justification lies in the interrelationship between
astronomy and the biology of human body.
It is stimulating to note that many scientists of the past such as Johannes Kepler and
Carl Jung had deep interest in astrology and wrote many serious treatises on the subject.
Kepler wrote, "For nothing exists nor happens in the visible sky that is not sensed in
some hidden manner by the faculties of Earth and Nature..." His cofounder of new
universe, Tycho de Brahe expressed regrets for not personally welcoming Kepler to his
town because of forthcoming opposition of Mars and Jupiter, to

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be followed by a lunar eclipse. The "stargazing" cannot be supported, however, the subtle
influence of many stars and planets in our solar system and beyond, on biological
organisms is no longer a matter of speculation.
We interact and evolve with the Universe around us to maintain a dynamic
equilibrium with it. The interaction is negotiated through a series of changes that occur in
the magnetic field of the Earth as a result of its movement in the solar system. Therefore,
the nuclear, gravitational and electromagnetic field around our planet varies according to
the proximity of Earth with other planets in our solar system. Since the universe is
constantly evolving, these energy fields change accordingly. There is ample evidence
now to suggest that these changes in the energy fields affect weather, life processes as
well as animal and human behaviour on the Earth.
Our Earth is one of the nine planets that move in an elliptical orbit around the Sun.
Our Sun is one of millions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy that are revolving in an
elliptical orbit around its axis. Our Milky Way is one of the countless Galaxies that are
moving away from each other in a radial direction from what is presumed to be the centre
of the Universe. Notwithstanding this vastness and magnitude, the Universe functions as
a single unit. This cosmic continuity sets up a subtle yet pervasive, transference of the
ebb and flow of cosmic events between the community of planets. In the case of Earth,
the fluctuations impinge on its biosphere that is perceived by animals, plants and humans.
This results in changes in their biorhythms detectable in their inner electromagnetic
activity.
Since the Sun is the lifeline of the Earth, it has the strongest effect on the life of this
planet. On its surface matter is constantly converted into energy in a regular cycle of
eleven years. This is observed as sunspots through the optical

telescope. Sunspots are centres of intense magnetic activity. When some of them
coalesce, a huge explosion occurs that is called solar flare. These flares emit large
amounts of X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, light and radio waves that enter Earth's
atmosphere within a matter of minutes. In humans they are sensed by the pineal gland
and transmitted to our entire biological system. The brain chemistry changes with an
increase in serotonin. Therefore, during the day when these radiations are in abundance,
we are alert and active and pineal activity is at the ebb. In contrast, during the night
pineal activity is flowing and we are tired, sleepy or restrained. From midnight to three in
the morning the Sun is in the farthest meridian and the pineal gland is at the highest flow.
The sleep is deepest in this part of night. Alternatively, if one prefers to meditate at this
time one achieves a very deep concentration.
However, at five o'clock in the morning, the cosmic events are a little different. The
Sun is entering the proximity, the pineal is turning down its activity and mind is exiting
the Sleep State. For a short period there is a kind of mental vacuum. At this very
important juncture one can entrain the mind and biological rhythm to set the scene for the
rest of the day. Paincajanya inspire the mind at this opportune moment with cosmic
ideation and instils vigour and vitality in the body by making appropriate neural and
hormonal adjustments.
In addition to the above, at this hour the concentration of negative microvita is
minimal in the atmosphere for two reasons, one intrinsic and the other extrinsic. Because
sleep is a relatively subtler state than wakeful phase when subconscious mind is more
active, one does not imbibe the negative microvita as much during this vacuum state.
Also, most other negative minded people are still asleep minimising the concentration of
negative microvita. Some negative mcrovita use light and sound waves as their vehicles
that are minimal at early hours of the morning.

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Asanas or yogic postures are sets of exercises that make one feel relaxed and
composed. They have widespread effects on body and mind and thus modify our
behaviour by nurturing cirtain qualities in us. They do this by enhancing lymph formation
and flow that nourish the brain cells and hormones, the major players in all human
behaviours. Two most inportant fluids in our body that are essential for our existence are
blood and lymph. When blood stops circulating death occurs within a matter of minutes
and when lymph ceases to flow death is imminent within a matter of hours. Asanas
optimise their flow, even in the remotest corners of the body that ordinary exercises are
unable to access. Some selected asanas, their biological and psychological effects and
their indications and contraindications are tabled in the appendix.
"In marrow and bones, in the very atoms and
molecules, the reactive momenta of name, place and
person pervade." — BABA
Spiritual Energy
"Convert your physical energy into psychic
energy and psychic energy into spiritual energy by your
sadhana, service and sacrifice." — BABA
- Human mind must flow like a river, uninterrupted and unchecked. The difference is that
unlike a river that flows only downstream, it can flow downstream as well as upstream.
When its stream is downward it engages in the physical universe. Psychic energy is
converted and consumed by physicality. Therefore, psychophysical conversion is a
process of consumption and exhaustion of energy. Hence, even after the best physical
enjoyment one feels exhausted, after the party of a lifetime one has a hangover for days.
A kind of numbness pervades the body and mind. One does not want to be bothered

with anything irrespective of its importance. This is the effect of downstream flow of
mind.
In contrast when the flow is upstream the psychic energy is converted into spiritual
energy. Such a flow occurs in deep meditation, in the company of elevated people and by
spiritual music. The resultant spiritual energy energises one's total existence and one feels
invigorated. Mind gets filled with selfless love and body with stamina. One is ready to
render selfless service without any reservations. This signifies spiritual love that is a
characteristic of spiritual energy. It is devoid of the physical feelings. However, it is
expressed though the physical structures for the physical beings and hence is a subject of
misinterpretation and fabrication by less developed minds. We have seen character
assassinations of many elevated souls through the history. Spiritual energy is replenished
through an Infinite source and therefore, is largely not consumed and exhausted.
When the mind is overwhelmed with fear, the psychic energy is transmuted into
physical energy. Brain is flooded with neural juices that mediate a reaction called
"fright". The heart pounds, breathing fastens, pupils dilate and hairs erect. The thoughts
of the fearful event keep intruding the mind. After a while the fright reaction becomes a
continuous feature of life. The startle response becomes permanent and habituation to a
startling event fails to develop. Numbing of emotion follows that disables the person
from feeling happy and from being sensitive to others feelings. Such a person is said to
be suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) where a number of brain
neurotransmitters and hormones are reset to a heightened level. The resulting brain
chemistry leads to very negative thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The above is an illustration of psychophysical conversion that is a hallmark of modern
day living driven by survival

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instinct. Indulgence in the sensual world, like the PTSD, resets the brain chemistry to a
level that makes one susceptible to "Stress" and its psychosomatic consequences.
In contrast, the experience of a deep spiritual meditation slows the heart rate, deepens
the breathing and calms the mind. A distinctive peace pervades the body and mind. This
is called bliss. In this state psychic energy is transmuted into spiritual energy that resets
the brain chemistry and hormonal secretions to a level that is most conducive to the
development of many positive qualities. However, this resetting is a long and meticulous
process requiring utmost care and unflinching determination. Therefore, this process is
called sadhana or ceaseless effort. As one gets engrossed in sadhana psychic expansion
occurs step by step converting lymph into ectoplasm, ectoplasm into endoplasm and
endoplasm into discriminative conscience. This psycho-spiritual transmutation is
characterised by a number of noticeable features that follow.
The intellect develops and mind grows in magnitude. This intellect is of practical
nature rather than of extravagant character. It brings to the sadhaka (spiritual practitioner)
a methodical thinking and psychic dynamism rather than argumentative capacity and
mere verbalisation. It makes the sadhaka a practical person able to do maximum work in
short time due to an enhanced capacity for planning, decision making and problem
solving. The methodical thinking enables one to lead an well-organised life amongst the
chaos of the present day world.
Another dimension of this mental growth is the improvement in memory. Cerebral
memory improves due to the changes in the nerve cells, nerve fibres and nerve fluids. The
brain can carry higher currents of ectoplasm. The biological mechanism of memory is not
yet fully understood but it appears that an increased production of ribonucleic acid
(RNA) and/or formation of new connections at the synapses of the nerve fibres

are somehow involved. Nerve cells are by far the biggest containers and producers of
RNA of all the cells in the body. In experimental animals it has been demonstrated that
when the RNA production is blocked by drugs their capacity to learn is disrupted. The
macromolecules of RNA are formed from the ingredients (high molecular weight
proteins) provided by the lymph. Sadhana possibly enhances the synthesis of RNA in the
nerve cells. In addition, it may establish new connections at the synapses of the nerve
fibres accelerating the passage of nerve impulse through certain circuits involved in the
storage and recollection of information.
Cerebral' memory is not stored in any particular part of the brain. It involves the whole
brain but the limbic system plays an indispensable role in its registration, retention and
recall. Being a part of the pituitary plexus, limbic system corresponds with the ajina
cakra. During sadhana the mind is withdrawn and concentrated in this cakra.
Another dimension of growth in mental capabilities is one's ability to convert abstract
into tangible and communicate it to others with greater impact for the welfare of all. With
this newfound expertise one is able to present subtle concepts more effectively with a
greater effect on others way of thinking. One is able to diversify and transmute others
mental occupations into subtler concepts. This capability enables one to invent newer and
newer methods of presenting new concepts,
Sadhana creates psychic clash by rewarding or punishing us according to our
samskaras. As a result the intellect is transformed into the discriminative conscience from
which the true rationality arises. Contrary to the common belief, rationality is a spiritual
quality. It cannot spring without the development of a discriminative conscience. As this
rationality develops one realises that all physical problems must have psychic solutions

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and all psychic problems must be solved by spiritual approach. Ultimately one comes to
the conclusion that the true solution to all problems lies in the spiritual excellence.
As one continues to expand the mind by sadhana the fine intellect is further
sublimated into intuition. In this state ones ego is temporarily suspended, the endoplasm
(aham) explodes and comes in contact with discriminative conscience (mahat). Although
one exists in this universe, one is not confined to this body. Flashes of original knowledge
from the unconscious mind surface in the subconscious mind and some are able to extract
this knowledge into their conscious mind and utilise it for scientific discoveries and
inventions.
This is called functional intuition. Archemedes's eureka, Darwin's natural selection,
Mendel's theory of genetics, Kekule's benzene ring are examples of functional intuition
that came to them in a flash because of total concentration on their conceptions.
However, the intuition that develops as a result of spiritual sadhana is somewhat
different to those in the above examples. In case of so-called genius the subconscious
mind (endoplasm) expands to come in contact with the unconscious mind and receives
the original knowledge from it in fragments that the conscious mind later connects
together to form a concept. Their ego is never fully suspended and therefore, the
knowledge is patchy and open to interpretation according to one's samskaras and social
and cultural conditionings. Conscious mind is constantly influenced by these factors.
Therefore, the "genius" never recognises the source of this knowledge and takes all the
credit for it. His ego gets further boost and further flashes of original knowledge become
scarce. Hence we see that these geniuses come up with a very few original concepts in
their lifetime. The rest of their lives they

spend expanding and applying this knowledge like a good craftsman.


The fragments provide incomplete picture that is further distorted by the inherent state
of conscious mind and therefore, they cannot foresee the consequences of their inventions
and discoveries. Despite their best intentions, many of their applications have a dark side
to them. Albert Einstein's story illustrates it well. His name has become a household term
for measuring genius of a person in the current century.
Convinced that Hitler had developed atomic bomb Einstein
campaigned vigorously among the scientists of his adopted
country, the US, to persuade the American president to develop
the bomb for which he had the theory. They did. As it turned out
Hitler did not have the A-bomb and Americans dropped theirs on
the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Deeply moved by
the death and destruction Einstein exclaimed, "If I had only
known!" Freud's cocaine and Mendel's genetics are having similar
dark effects on the masses today.
However, the undivided original knowledge comes in the absence of ego. This requires
explosion of the endoplasm that will suspend the ego and lay open the unconscious mind
for an uninterrupted flow of the original knowledge. Because the ego is suspended one
does not own this knowledge. In the absence of ego the conscious mind is also inactive
and therefore, distortion does not occur. One comes in contact with the source of this
knowledge and gets overwhelmed by its infinite nature. When the ego and the function of
conscious mind return, the experience would have left a profound effect on the person.
One becomes humble and meek, submissive and enduring, obedient and compliant.
The ego can be suspended by enduring deep insults and by developing an intimate
longing for the Supreme Entity, the source

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of all knowledge. Once a dada was desperate for this intimacy with Baba and asked Him
the solution. Baba advised him to get insulted. Insult is nothing but a severe blow to our
ego. Sadhana increases the longing for the Supreme.
Thus the functional intuition of geniuses may provide them Olympian intelligence but
does not guarantee them a success in life. Mozart played harpsichord at the age of three,
composed at four and toured at six but died of self-inflicted alcoholism at thirty-five. A
high IQ does not necessarily widens one's perspective and vision of life as we have seen
in Einstein's exclamation. In contrast many yogis have been a perennial source of
knowledge and devotion for millions around the world without putting the stamp of their
ownership on them. Their humility was the outcome of their spiritual journey to the land
where all minds meet and collectively own everything.
Rjuta or straight-forwardness is a quality that is diluted in the sophisticated mannerism
of present day living. We do not express what we think and we do not act what we say.
No one wants to disturb the apple cart, or rock the boat, so to speak. Hence, hypocrisy is
an accepted way of life as long as the word is not used. Rjuta is a spiritual quality where
straight-forwardness is motivated by the feeling of collective welfare and reform. It is not
synonymous with rudeness or arrogance. It is the antonym of hypocrisy. It nurtures a
feeling of purity and goodwill and illumines the subconscious mind. Its development
marks the sublimation of psychic energy into spiritual energy.
Swami Vivekananda displayed this quality all his life. When in the West, keen to uplift
the masses to the true spirituality, he praised the East for its spiritual excellence and
encouraged the West to learn from it. When in India he was critical of the religious
dogmas that had prevented the scientific and physical developments of the nation and
urged them to follow

the West. This was in contrast to the modern mannerism where the opposite prevails. The
rigidity and apparent cruelty in Rjuta is an outward expression of internal love and
sincere desire for others welfare such as parents have for their children. One has to be
"cruel to be kind" if real change is desired.
The psycho-spiritual conversion of energy is not irreversible after all. The spiritual
energy is not set in concrete. It can revert back to psychic energy and when it does, it
advances with a vengeance. It carries the subtle forces with it that could be extremely
destructive. It fuels one's ego and generates superiority complex. However, a state of
relative irreversibility can be endowed to spiritual energy by performing self-less service
and by making sacrifices for the welfare of others. Therefore, service and sacrifice are
integral part of one's sadhana. Without them one is treading a very dangerous path of self-
fulfilment and self-deception.
Nevertheless, service and sacrifice are inherent only in universal love. The universal
love sprouts only in a universal mind and universal mind develops from the spiritual
energy that is goaded towards the Universal Entity. This is a very abstract and
transcendental idea. However, it is not impractical. The spiritual energy can be impelled
towards the Supreme Consciousness by certain practices that slowly and gradually
imbibe its attributes and transform one's mind into a universal mind. These practices arc
abstract practices and constitute the points ten to sixteen that arc discussed in the
following chapters.

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10
Focus on Goal
(Ista)
Hope (asha vrtti) is a distinct propensity of human mind and underlies all human
endeavours, be it bad hopes (durasha), mean hopes (niichasha) or good hopes
(shubhasha). It plays a very potent role in life. It must be kept unhurt to prevent ruins. In
an American study at Kansas University, the psychologist C.R. Snyder found that hope
was a better predictor of student's achievement than the IQ. He defined hope as "
believing you have both the will and the way to accomplish your goals, whatever they
may be."
Daniel Goleman wrote in his best seller, Emotional Intelligence that hope is more than
the sunny view that everything will turn out right; ".. .having hope means that one will
not give in to overwhelming anxiety, a defeatist attitude, or depression in the face-of
difficult challenges or set-backs. Indeed, people who are hopeful evidence less depression
than others as they manoeuvre through life in pursuit of their goals, are less anxious in
general, and have fewer emotional distresses."
There are many legendary stories in many cultures that stress the adherence to hope
even in the worst setback. The story of ancient Greek princess Pandora is the most
familiar one. She was given a gift of a mystery box by the gods who were jealous of her
beauty. She was, however, forbidden from opening this box. Overcome by curiosity she
opened it to have a peek and inadvertently unleashed miseries on the world in the form of
disease and madness. A friendly god however, let her close the box just in time to capture
one remedy that makes all miseries of life bearable: hope.

Goal seems to be the keyword in all human achievement. A student sets the examination
as his goal, a businessman the profits, a doctor the patient and a spiritual seeker the
Supreme Being or Brahma and they all strive for the achievement of their respective
goals. The question naturally arises, what should be the goal of human beings? We have a
physical structure that lives in a physical world. We ought to have some physical goals to
fulfil our physical responsibilities. Nevertheless, we should not forget for a moment that
physical existence is only a tiny part of the whole. Indulgence and preoccupation with the
physicality will disturb our balance and wholeness. We shall begin to worship the
"machines and their masters" rather than the thoughts and emotions that have inspired
them. Our restlessness for physical achievement is illustrated by the following story.
In the early part of twentieth century, Carl Gustav Jung, one of the founders of modern
psychiatry was speaking to his Red Indian friend in confidence. The friend said to Jung,
"We don't understand whites, they are always wanting something - always restless -
always looking for something. What is it? We don't know......We think they are all crazy."
Today, when the century
and the millenium are counting down, this restlessness has become a global trait and
craziness a world-wide phenomenon.
To accomplish our physical goals, the restlessness compels us to seek outside help at
every step of our lives. From the cradle to the funeral pyre and at every milestone in
between our achievements are laced and seethed with someone's mercy. We acquire skills
to discharge our duties, with the help of our family, friends and social institutions. The
restlessness is not necessarily a scourge provided we recognise the true cause of this
restlessness. This craziness does not have to be an affliction unless we fail to realise that
it is meant for a much bigger goal beyond the world of matter and motion. For this
realisation we need a friend and a mentor who shows us the path of human purposes.

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83

When the achievements of physical goals, however, fail to satiate us any more we turn
to psychic expansion and acquisition of knowledge. We look for teachers and mentors,
books and role models that help us in self re-examination and revaluation. We seek the
institutions that help us in self-renovations and renewal. We begin to discover ourselves.
In the process of discovering we become many things; a spiritualist, a theosophist, an
astrologer or a psychoanalyst. We grow beyond physicality with the outside help.
However, the questions abound that can be best summarised in Jung's words:
"Our age is apparently bent on discovering what exists in the psyche outside of
consciousness. The question asked in every spiritualistic circle is: What happens when
the medium has lost consciousness? Every Theosophist asks: What shall I experience at
higher levels of consciousness? The question which every astrologer puts is this: What
are the effective forces and determinants of my fate beyond the reach of my conscious
intention? And every psychoanalyst wants to know: What are the unconscious drives
behind the neurosis?"
The answers to these and many more questions must come from a multi-faceted
personality who has a deep penetrating intellect of a perfect philosopher, craftsmanship of
a perfect teacher and mentor, foresight of a perfect astrologer, who is magnanimous like a
perfect institution and above all is a friend with deepest love for all creation. He must
have the methodology that makes our subjective life more disciplined and resolute and
objective life more fulfilling and meaningful. He must have an ideology that abhors
dogmatic postulates based on faith and replaces them with a direct experience of spiritual
life, an ideology that provide the means to experience the inner life and manifest it in the
outer world. In addition, his personal life is a role model. Such an all-in-one personality is
called Guru.

Who can be Guru? While it is true that great innovations never come from above just as
trees never grow from sky downward, it is also true that their seeds fall from above. Guru
is that seed from above that falls in the fertile land of his disciple's psyche where it
sprouts as order, value and purpose in his life, magnifies his human powers and gradually
grows into a huge tree that is called Spiritual Man. Under the shadow of such tree scores
of people get peace and solace on their journey to their spiritual goals. One must not
confuse the tree with the Guru. Guru descends from above whereas the tree sprouts from
below. Therefore, it is said in scriptures: Brahmaeva gururekah na'parah ie. Brahma or
Supreme Consciousness alone is the Guru and no one else.
Using the laws of deductions, therefore, Guru is the goal (ista) of spiritual seeker from
whom he imbibes the transcendental qualities such as hope and optimism and eliminates
the negativisms such as fear and complexes. Golman wrote, "Optimism and hope - like
helplessness and despair - can be learned. Underlying both is an outlook psychologists
call self-efficacy, the belief that one has mastery over the events of one' s life and can
meet challenges as they come up." Guru emanates optimism and instils hope in the
disciple.
Psychologists have described a bliss-like state called "flow" in which people perform
above themselves, where peak performance appears natural and ordinary and difficult is
easy. In flow the person is absorbed in the task without emotional upheaval. The cerebral
cortex is quietened down rather than aroused as normally expected. The brain is said to
be "cool" and its electrical activity stable. In this stabilised state neural circuits are most
efficient and performance optimum. Very little energy is spent and exhaustion is unusual.
We also know that the pineal hormones have a stabilising effect on the electrical activity
of the cerebral cortex. However, this stabilisation of cerebral cortex

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occurs only when the person is well skilled and well rehearsed in the task. A fully
concentrated mind is a pre-requisite to the state of flow.
When Guru is the goal, it is relatively easier to concentrate the mind on his form rather
than the abstract idea of Brahma. When this concentration occurs in the region of Pineal
gland there is surge in the secretion of its hormones and consequent stabilisation of
cortical activity. There is difference however, between the concentration on a particular
task and that on Guru. The former is focussing on a limited achievement of a temporary
nature whereas the latter on the universal personality of the Guru that has all-round
effects of permanent nature.
There is a mystical side to Guru as well. Guru graces the genuine disciples by
deliberately applying positive microvita to their neuro-endocrine system and alter the
brain chemistry in a way that allows optimum use of their neural circuits. With the help
of positive microvita he transforms the negative propensities of disciple such as fear,
melancholy and despair into a positive state of courage, hope and optimism. This alters
the activity in cakras and consequently the total hormonal profile and behaviour of the
disciple. With his mystical powers he connects the deeper layers of human mind with the
Supreme consciousness and sets the disciple on the path of salvation. Therefore, only
Guru can be our ista, our goal.

11
Ideology
Adarsha
Science is a search for truth and not the worship of the machine and its masters. It
discovers new ideas that can be applied to the welfare of all creatures. Its application is
technology that we tirelessly gloat about and misrepresent as science. It is this
misrepresentation that has eliminated the spirit of welfare and human purpose from the
science. The consequence of technological advances at the expense of a true science is
well expressed by Mumford in his book Art and Technics:
"We had created a topsyturvy world in which machines had become autonomous and
men had become servile and mechanical: that is, thing-conditioned, de-humanized -
disconnected from their historic value and purposes. And so it has come about that one
whole part of man's life, springing from his inner-most nature, his deepest desire and
impulses, his ability to enjoy and bestow love, to give life to and receive life from his
fellow men, has been suppressed."
Science asks the question "Is it true?" whereas technology asks the question "Will it
work?" We must ask the question " work for who?" The essence of science is to discover
new ideas that serve the purpose of all round development of human beings. A science of
such ideas is called ideology. When such ideas flow towards the physical and mechanical
development, that is, when psycho-physical parallelism triumphs, the technological
advances occur that uplift the humanity out of disease and sufferings. However, excessive
psychic energy is converted into physical energy and spiritual march is deprived. Our
inner life becomes impoverished. Therefore, we see with every technological triumph

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87
there is rise in scepticism, cynicism and criticism of spirituality and decline in moral
values that is sensitively expressed by Mumford; External order - internal chaos, external
progress -internal regression, external rationalism - internal irrationality.
On the other hand, when the ideas flow towards the spiritual goal, a state of psycho-
spiritual parallelism results. A psychic concept of this state is called ideology. The starting
point of this state is morality and culminating point the love divine. The process that
empowers us to tread the path between these two points is called ideology. Such an
ideology however, should apportion psychic energy appropriately to both; physical and
spiritual endeavours. Therefore, an ideology must be a practical one and not a mere
Utopia.
The physico-psycho-spiritual parallelism that results from adhering to one's ideology
produces corresponding biopsycho-logical changes in the person. A readjustment occurs
in the thinking part of the brain called neocortex as well as in the hormonal outputs from
the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Some old undesirable neural circuits are closed
and new circuits are established. The stress centre in hypothalamus is restrained and
relaxation centre is activated. The neocortex is in an activated state particularly the areas
that are responsible for the development and co-ordination of language indicating a
heightened state of self-awareness. In this state our emotions cannot hijack us because we
can identify and control them.
Golman defines, "Self-awareness is not an attention that gets carried away by
emotions, overreacting and amplifying what is perceived. Rather, it is a neutral mode that
maintains self-reflectiveness even amidst turbulent emotions."
Self-aware people know their boundaries and are therefore, humble. They are positive
and yet they are not egotistical and

arrogant. There was an incidence with Baba where he was asking and answering
questions. It went like this.
He asked, "What is that quality that is indispensable for God-realisation?"
He answered himself " truthfulness, one should not fall in one's own eyes."
He asked again, "What is the disqualification that renders God-realisation impossible."
He answered again, "to be aware of one's unsurpassed and unrivalled qualities."
The incidence illustrates the type of self-awareness and self-reflectiveness that is
required on the spiritual path and the ideology that nurtures and sustains these traits
should be strictly adhered to and followed without a compromise.
Guru accelerates the psychic evolution of his disciples. Human beings evolve through
four stages of psycho-spiritual transformation. In the first stage they worship almost
everything such as trees, rivers and mountains and the likes. This is the stage of
pantheism. In the second stage they become idol worshippers. In the third stage they are
anthrpomorphist when they adore great men and women of past and present. This is the
psychology of hero worship. In the final stage they yearn for one singular entity -
Brahma. In this stage of monoism, they actively look for a Guru who not only shows
them the way to the Supreme Being but also takes them by the hand and guides them all
along till the goal is reached. Such a Guru is called Sadguru.
Above all, the Guru personifies the impersonal that is he has a perfect control over his
physical medium. In additionhe has aperfect control over his own ectoplasm by which he
creates a stir in the collective ectoplasm. This has social and ecological consequence. He
can also awaken new power in shabdas or phonetics.
Who does not want such a friend, a philosopher and a guide?

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12. Code of Conduct


Mahrshi Patanjali said, "adhah yogah anushashanam" that is, discipline is the
foundation of yoga.
Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji (Baba) said, "hitartham shashanam ityarthe anushashanam"
that is, discipline for the all round welfare of people constitutes code of conduct. The
welfare should be in all realms of human existence; physical, psychic and spiritual.
A disciplined conduct is essential for all human endeavours. It renders control over
one's external and internal impulses and conserves energy. Most people are unable to
transcend the limitations of their physical existence. They are relentlessly goaded and
tormented by their carnal desires no different to the animals. There are some that pass the
physical urges to venture into the arena of art, science and philosophy by sheer discipline
and determination. Fewer are those that attempt to explore the spiritual world that
requires utmost discipline and surrender. Thus, a disciplined conduct is fundamental to
human progress.
The old undesirable conducts can be unlearned by shutting down some neural circuits
and new advantageous conducts can be learned by opening unused circuits or forming
new ones. Learning and unlearning is helped by alterations in the transmission of nerve
impulse through the nerve fibres. There is a corresponding adjustment in the hormonal
output as well.
The conduct rule fall in three main categories: 1. Yama and Niyama

2. Social norms
3. Fifteen Shiilas
The observance of conduct rules produces internal transformation with external
consequences that have far reaching effects on our environment and society in general.
Yama or Control
Yama is a set of practices that control our internal inspiration as well as external
actions. All human actions are controlled by mind and mind must be guided by certain
principles that enrich human life. When there are no principles, mind is not able to
discriminate between right and wrong and a state of confusion prevails that has disastrous
effects on the society. The current topsyturvy world is a glaring example of lack of these
principles. The principles of yama connect the inner inspiration of human mind with the
external expression and therefore suffuse our actions with value and purpose.
In order to understand the bio-psychological significance of yama we need to
appreciate the biological purports of fear. Fear is a base propensity that humans have
carried over from their animal ancestors. Fear manifests in a variety of ways such as
angst, insecurity, anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The essence of all these expressions is the threat to one's survival. In humans this
propensity is controlled by the glands of manipur cakra such as pancreas, liver, adrenals
etc. These are the glands that are responsible for the energy production in body.
Therefore, to overcome this propensity we work tirelessly to accumulate the means that
may save us from the bane of daily life.
Human brain has the neural circuitry as well as the hormonal support to overcome or
enhance this scourge of modern life. All sensory impulses that enter our body from
outside

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through the sensory gateways as well as those that arise from within have to transit
through a part of the brain called thalamus. It is conveniently located almost in the centre
of the brain to dispatch these impulses to appropriate destinations in the brain for
appraisal and response. Thus what comes through the eyes goes to the visual cortex and
that comes through the ears to the auditory cortex and so on and so forth.
Our brain has an emergency system as well to by-pass the time consuming appraisal
channels of the cerebral cortex, which activates an immediate response in urgent
situations such as fear. The thalamus is also wired to the limbic system for this purpose. A
small rounded part of the limbic system called amygdala is our alarm system that alerts
us to emergencies and sparks off a series of neurological and hormonal responses that
result in expressions such as startle, apprehension, fear or even a panic attack. The
principles of modern life, or lack of it, misdirect the sensory impulses through the
emergency channels and keep us in state of readiness to ward off the illusory threats.
Therefore, we become entrained in apprehension, anger and aggression. We are fearful of
anything and everything.
Fear eats away the feeling of hope and one falls in the dark dungeons of melancholy
and helplessness. Hope is a propensity of anahat cakra that is overpowered by the lower
cakras when one is in the grips of fear. One's ruin is inevitable unless released from the
noose of fear. One has to unlearn the fear by taming the emergency channels. The
amygdala has to be toned down and its neruro- hormonal response calmed by embracing
a new set of principles in life. These principles are constituted in yama. Yama is an
antidote of fear. It nurtures hope and generates confidence in its practitioners. It
engenders the force that is called morality, the starting point of spirituality. Hence, its
practice is called yama sadhana..

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 91


"The greatest gain in becoming a moralist is that
a man has tremendous moral force. That, one has not
committed a wrong, is not doing so, nor will do so - this
very awareness generates in one a force, the moral
force." — BABA
Fear generates falsehood. We speak the untruth because we are afraid of facing the
truth. Falsehood is the greatest enemy of will power. Once this foe finds its hold in the
mind the will power progressively declines. Will power or iccha shakti is essential to
keep the lower depraving propensities of mind under control. In the absence of will
power the tendencies of hurting others, infatuation and indulgence, greed and jealousy
grow. All these tendencies hijack emotions down the emergency lane and turn us into a
selfish and violent creature. To reverse this process we have to restore and strengthen our
will power.
There is no better way of restoring our will power than the practice of the most
fundamental component of yama, Satya. The practice of satya is not merely stating the
fact and being truthful but also to do so with the motive of others physical, psychic and
spiritual welfare. Unless one cherishes the idea of welfare of others one cannot practice
satya or for that matter any of the components of yama. The spirit of welfare discourages
us from accumulation and indulgence (aparigraha) and violence and aggression against
our fellow beings (ahimsa). Satya has the straightforwardness of a child without
arrogance. It makes one courageous and honest and therefore, one will not take
possession of things that belong to others, that is one will not have even the temptation of
stealing or depriving (asteya) others of their due. One becomes a practical person and
views the world with most fundamental fact that is its atoms and molecules are
fundamentally the ectoplasmic stuff of Supreme Being (brahmacarya).

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Therefore, we find that the practice of satya is central to the practice of yama as a
whole because it strikes at the very root of degenerative tendencies. By its
straightforwardness (rjuta) it straightens the mental waves where they arise, the
subconscious mind (endoplasm). As a result both the conscious (ectoplasm) and the
unconscious (causal) minds get illuminated. Effulgence (ojah) develops in the ectoplasm
that vibrates the nerve cells and nerve fibres that reorganise the whole neural circuitry
and hormonal balance.
Niyama or Self-regulation
Whereas the practice of yama requires two entities, the practitioner and his
environment, the practice of niyama is independent of the second entity. It is internal
practice and requires no one else. Its practice primes the body and mind for forward
movement on the spiritual path and that, like any other forward movement, requires
special rules and regulations. This process of self-regulation is composed to prepare the
body and mind for the soft landing of samskaras or reactive momenta as they are
expressed by the practice of sadhana.
Shaoca or cleanliness is the first component of niyama that is external as well as
internal. The external cleanliness includes use of water, bath and half bath that has been
dealt with in earlier chapters. Here it will suffice to mention that the external cleanliness
is meant to keep lower two cakras and their glands (sex glands and adrenals) free from
excitement. Internal cleanliness deals with food and fasting that has also been discussed
in the earlier chapters. A vegetarian diet is an essential component of internal shaoca.
However, it must be stressed that a sentient diet is more that a vegetarian diet as
discussed in the chapter on food.
Shaoca is not only physical cleanliness but psychic cleanliness as well because it is the
mind that operates the body.

BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 93


Therefore, without the psychic cleaning the physical cleaning has no meaning and it will
be reduced to a "kitchen and bathroom spirituality". Mind easily runs after the crude
objects because the entire nervous system is at its disposal in this downward movement.
The nerve cells and nerve fibres however, do not come to its help in the upward
movernent towards the spiritual goal. On
the contrary, they create obstacles on this march. It is to remove these obstacles that
mental cleanliness is essential.

Mind is influenced by sensory organs and acts through the motor organs, all of which
are located in the brain. Therefore, whatever we see, hear, touch taste and smell will have
corresponding effects on the mind. This if where the cleaning process has to start.
Through these organs we should imbibe only those impulses that serve our spiritual
purpose. We should read only those literatures that inspire and enlighten us (svadhyaya).
We should only keep the company that motivates and encourages us on our path
(satsaunga). The remaining components of niyama such as contentment (santosha) and
compassionate sacrifice (tapah) supplement this process of mental purification.
Social Norms and Fifteen Shiilas
of social norms and fifteen
It is the duty of spiritual aspirants to manifest their internal Equipoise that they have
achieved through spiritual practices in
their social conduct. The forty points
shiilas are compiled to set examples of highest value in the society and establish social
harmony. Declining social values are reflections of degenerating cardinal human values.
Therefore, one has to first change oneself before fmbarking on transforming others.

14. Dharmacakra
13. Supreme Command

The Supreme Command is reminder of the fundamental


duties of a spiritual aspirant. There are minimum requirements for all human
achievements that must be met before one is considered worthy of it. The Supreme
Command reminds us, at least once a week, of our goal and the means to achieve it. The
minimum requirement for spiritual growth is to perform sadhana twice a day and adhere
to the principles of yama and niyama. It also requires to lead others along the path of
righteousness. In a world full of delusions and confusions, where it has become
increasingly difficult to discriminate between right and wrong, these guidelines are the
polestar in the darkest sky.
In addition to guiding the aspirant, the Supreme Command also offers great hope and
optimism. Irrespective of one's constitutional and social traits, it guarantees one the final
emancipation, the liberation from all bondages and limitations of human life. It replaces
the hopelessness and discontent in the human mind with hope and contentment, defeatist
attitude witn optimism and frustration with strong resolve and purpose. Thisj change in
the state of mind transforms the whole neural chemistry of the brain. Feel-good hormones
such as endorphins and serotonin replace the stress hormones such as adrenalin and CRH.

A happy blending occurs between the internal world of emotions and outer world of
intelligence.

(Collective Meditation)

"Just as unit mind controls the physical body, similarly collective mind affects the
collectie body When 10, 20, or 30 sadhakas assemble at a place, their common spiritual
tendency forms a collective mind and vibtares a spiritual flow in the
environment which helps everyone present" — Baba.
The way human beings respond to a given situation is profoundly influenced by the
structure of the environment. The "mob psychology" and the "crowd diseases" are the
negative reflections of this response that painfully display our undeveloped consciousness
and hence exploited by the fascists and self-proclaimed prophets of this world. The
biological and behavioural disturbances caused by overcrowding have been well studied
in animals. However, man is a gregarious animal shaped by his history and culture.
Nevertheless, in an environment of competition and domination his bio-psychological
adaptation is breaking down. The culture of diversity in thinking and endless search for
"private space" has disconnected him from cardinal human values and purpose.
The cardinal human values are archetypal, free of distortions. They connect us with our
historic past. They make our subjective life more disciplined and rtesolute. They foster
internal transformations that magnify human powers. In order to nurture and nurse these
cardinal values we have to foster collectivity of thoughts. We have to think together, not
necessarily alike. We have to ideate together on a common goal. Togetherness brings
strength, both physical and moral whereas aloofness
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generates fear. We have no fear in the hustle and bustle of city, However, even the
thought of going alone to a graveyard causes a chill in the spine.

The collectivity in thought waves as opposed to diversity must restore the values and
purpose. However, the restoration is not enough, their sublimation is essential and for
sublimation a sublime idea is indispensable. We find much value and purpose in the
parochialism of sporting arena and in the patriotism of wartimes but these are not sublime
ideas. When all minds collectively concentrate on a sublime entity an inspiring "flow" is
created that permeates the whole society and its individuals. Cooperation and compassion
gradually replace the environment of competition and domination, Dharmacakra
generates such a flow.
This is the true spirit of Samvomanasi janatam. Therefore, it is the responsibility or
rather a duty,of every spiritual aspirant to attend weekly dharmacakra.

Collective meditation helps those who are weak in sadhana and find it difficult to
concentrate in solitude. Moreover, a collective resolve quickens the pace of progress.

15. Oath

Human life is a flow of ideas. In this movement of thoughts we learn many things and
perform numerous actions. As our ideas change due to social conditioning, so do our
actions. We flow with the flow of the society. Nevertheless, if we are focussed on a
clearly defined goal and are supported by hope and optimism, we do not waver from the
path that we have chosen. Spiritual path requires unflinching attention and unwavering
endeavour. It demands internal as well as external dynamism. Oath engenders this
dynamism.
Before taking any major responsibility we are commissioned with some oath of
allegiance to the spirit of our duty. However, an oath must be such that accelerates this
dynamism. It must presuppose conscience. It should be able to imbibe universality and
nurture social consciousness in us so that our actions are infused with love and
benevolence. In addition, the oath reminds us of our goal and guards our actions from
degeneration. A well-kept oath conserves energy and channels it in positive thinking.
Daily remembrance of oath purifies the feelings that is indispensable for generating
blessedness regarding environment. The aspirants must not think of harming anyone and
they should not engage in actions that engender ill feelings.
Sadhana is an internal process that imposes sublime ideas on the mind. Its sanctity and
effectiveness can be maintained by keeping it internal. By extroversion of the process and
its effects, these very outcomes are obliterated. Therefore, the secrecy of the process is
mandatory. Such secrecy is a part and partial of sadhana.

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On the twelve of October 1990, just few days before his departure, Baba gave us an
oath that we must remember along with other oaths that we took at the time of initiation.
Let us reiterate it:
"All my energy, all my mind, all my thoughts, all my deeds are to be goaded unto the
path of collective elevation of human society without neglecting other living and
inanimate objects right from this moment until the last moment of my living on this
earth."

16. C.S.D.K.
C for conduct rules: This point has already been dealt with in previous sections.
However, it should be reiterated that the basic purpose of conduct rules is to accelerate
the movement from staticity to sentient goal. It involves value judgement and self-
transformation.
S for seminar: Rationality increases through study and meditation. Spiritual seminars
consist of collective sadhana and kiirtan, spiritual discourses and discussions, collective
meals and satsaung. As a result the minds of all those who assemble emanates similar
thought waves. The collective thought waves permeate the entire society. A spirit of
"Samvomansi janatham" is generated that equilibrate the collective psychic waves. The
new collective psyche can move the mountain. The Jehad and the Crusades were the
negative use of this collective psyche.

D for duty: Seminars produce collective psyche that has to be put into collective action
for the welfare of all and prevent i and crusades. To harmonise thoughts and actions
appropriate duties have to be taken. High philosophy has to be grounded into responsible
actions. Any action that is injurious to the collective body (papa) has to be eliminated and
the actions that promote collective welfare (punya) have to be encouraged. This
transmutation of action requires a number of neuro-humoral modifications in the brain's
circuitry and chemistry.
K for kiirtan: We live in a world of innumerable phenomena. Each phenomenon has its
own specific vibration. The flow of these vibrations is from subtle to crude. Our mental

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vibrations also flow towards crudity and our nerve cells and hormones organise and adapt
to this downward flow. Spiritual practices are the process of reversing this flow from the
crude to the subtle. In this process of reversal one has to go from vibrational world to the
primordial faculty from where thought waves arise. For this phase of back flow control of
our sense organs, particularly hearing (shravan) is essential.
In kiirtan, all indriyas or sensory and motor organs are concentrated into one ideation.
Once the sense organs are controlled and mind has transcended to the vibrational faculty
it is taken further proximal, to the primordial faculty by deep contemplation (manan) until
it gets absorbed (nididhyasan) into the basic faculty; the cause of all phenomena. In this
state mind dwells in the noumenal world. The nerve cells and hormones reorganise and
readapt to the new inner world. Kiirtan provides a combination of shravan, manan and
nididhyasan.

Appendix
Asanas (Yogic Postures)
Asanas Site Physical Psycho- Indication Contra-
Remarks Effects spiritual indication
Sarvaunga- All Rests all Rests higher All People<60
Salt sana - Cakras glands & cakras with high
BP restriction Type I body Cures
beneficial all diseases Increases longevity
Type II Manipur Less than I More than I Dyspepsia Pancreas
Appetite< Liver Belly<
Matsyamudra Vishuddha Improves Calcium
Should (Fish) Vocal cords Calcium deficiency
follow Thyroid absorption Osteoporosis
Sarvaun-Para thyroid
gasana

Viirasana
Head
Cooling
Increases
Alopecia
effect
will power

Prevents hair

loss

Matsyendr
All
Massages all
Psychic
Males
Menses,
Women
asana
Cakras
sensory and
vitality

Pregnancy.
should
(Twist)

motor

avoid it.
gateways.

Prevents

calcification

of vertebrae.

Optimises

bone density.

Youthful.
Longevity.

Cakrasana
Manipur
Growth &

Low weight.

Can be

development

Short stature.

given to

_—=——""

Diabetes

children.

Flatulence

above 5 yrs

Constipation.

Naokasana Manipur Rectifies 7 Little Syphilis (Boat)


dhatus: rasa, Leprosy rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, shukra
Utkat Manipur Maximum Syphilis Liver &
Pashcimott Svadhisthan spinal jjtrejteh. Early sciatica spleen
asana (head Muladhar Acidity in diseases, to
knee) blood Hernia.
Appendix
Halasana Anahat Spinal stretch. Flatulence Heart and
(Plough) Visuddha Redirect Constipation, lung blood
to Indigestion diseases head, neck Menstrual
and chest. troubles
Siddhasana Manipur Decrease in Mental Sadhana; Women
In Women (Perfect) to Ajina Kama vrtti Equipoise. dhyana mainly
has Patience Better opposite concentration
effects

Gomukhasana
Muladhar
Controls

Diseases of

Cautious
(cowhead)
Svadhisthan
sexual urge.

kidneys, testes

use in

Preserves

and scrotum.

women

semen.

General ill-
health in

women

Mayurasana
Manipur
Increases

Diabetes

(Peacock)
Pancreas
digestive

Diarrhoea

power

Diseases of

Stomach

Shalabhasana
Uppar
Strengthens

Heart disease
Active heart
(Locust)
portion of
heart and

in remission.
disease.

body above
lungs

Rectal and
Menses.

naval

geni to-urinary
Pregnancy

bleeding

Bhujaungasaiia
Visuddha
Chest develop-

Nose bleed

(cobra)
Anahat
ment. Deep

Upper GIT

breathing
bleeds

Abdominal

Heart troubles

strengthening

Menstrual

disorders

Shashaung-
All cakras
Reduces
Improves
Thyroid

Good for
asana
All glands
belly fat
memory
disease

sadhana
(Hare)

Tonsillitis
Bhastrikasana
Lower three
Removes gas

Constipation

(Bellow)
cakras
from stomach

Headache

Heart trouble

Janushirasana
Muladhar
Prevents
Improves
Piles

(Half head to

seminal loss in
brain power
Kidney disease

knee)

adolescents.

Sciatica
....
Control of

Stomach

sexual instinct

troubles Gene-

in women.

ral ill-health

in adolescents

Diirgha
Lower
Strengthens

Period pains.
Pregnancy
Special for
Pranam
three
abdominal

Irregular

women.
(Worship)
cakras
muscles.

menses.
Yogamudra

Normalises

has similar

menses

effects

Padahastasana
Manipur
General good

Anaemia

(Foot-Hand)
to Ajina
health in

women.

Energises
...

body.

Shavasana
A!! cakras
Relaxation

HighBP

One should
(Corpse)

Luwers BP

Heart disease

not sleep in

Excessive

this pose

mental work

There are two categories of asanas. Those that are good for physical health are called
Svasthyasana. They may or may not be good for the mind but are certainly not harmful.
Those that are good for mind and may or may not be good, but not harmful for the body,
are called Dhyanasana. The above is not a complete list but a selection of commonly
practiced asanas.

Appendix

Asanas (Yogic Postures)


Asanas Site Physical Psycho- Indication Contra-
Remarks Effects spiritual indication
Sarvaunga- All Rests all Rests higher All People<60
Salt sana - Cakras glands & cakras with high
BP restriction Type I body Cures
beneficial all diseases Increases longevity
Type II Manipur Less than I More than I Dyspepsia Pancreas
Appetite< Liver Belly<
Matsyamudra Vishuddha Improves Calcium
Should (Fish) Vocal cords Calcium deficiency
follow Thyroid absorption Osteoporosis
Sarvaun-Para thyroid
gasana