In a land of tranquility

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Through yoga and meditation, we are able to witness a peaceful sanctuary, away from the noise and disturbance of the materialistic world, says Benoy K Behl

The immediate effect of yoga and meditation can astonish some people as they have the ability to quickly still the mind and clear negative thoughts. When we begin to meditate, we often wonder why we had not done it before. Patanjali, the ancient author of the ‘Yoga Sutras’, describes the mind as a restless monkey, which is constantly distracted and always hovering around.
However, meditation is something that can help one gain peace and control over the frenetic activities of the mind. We are able to land in a peaceful sanctuary, away from the noise and disturbance of the materialistic world. In this state of mind, our being is much better balanced and our body becomes healthy. This should be our first and most natural protection against the ongoing pandemic and all other diseases. If this is done in time, we may be stronger and we may not even need medicines. We must also remember that all yoga is first based upon yama or niyama. This is the ethical foundation of life and it is the basis of yoga. Unless this ethics is not followed, the mind will never be still and meditation will not be possible.
Here are a few excerpts from my film, Key to Immunity Part III, where yoga experts talk about how they view it:
Yoga expert, Dr Ananda Balayogi from Puducherry, says, “The chitta (a part of mind) is that subconscious, unconscious mind that is constantly in motion. The ancient rishis said that the mind is a monkey, a drunken one, and on top of that, is bitten by a scorpion. Well, if that’s how the mind is – constantly in motion, it’s whirlpooling the subconscious mind. The two together just drag you down, away from your goal even before you can blink an eyelid.”
Yoga exponent, Sivananda School, Grass Valley CA, Ananda Prema of Russia, says, “When you do asanas, your mind becomes focussed, and hence, it becomes still. When mind is still, there is no desire and when there is no desire, you attain happiness. It’s all about mind and controlling the mind. It’s very hard to control your mind which is running like a wild horse, unwilling to follow any discipline and it’s very tough to gently take over it, to make it listen to you, to make it follow what you would like it to do.”
New York-based Tulku Sherdor, director, Blazing Wisdom Institute, says, “What modern cognitive science, theories, physics, Buddhist science and the yoga agree with is that all that we ever experience is our own mind and all we can personally experience is the natural display or energetic expression of our own minds. This is exactly what we need to realise through practice. When we realise that all we experience is the product or result of our own minds, it means that there is a potential to work skillfully with that expression of our own minds to transform or change it.”
Acharya Swami Sitaramananda, Sivananda Yoga, Grass Valley CA, says, “A lot of people practice yoga but they jump over its foundation, – the two main practices of yama and niyama, which are the prescription by the yogis about the dos and don’ts, the restrictions and the observances.”
Talking about yama-niyama, Puducherry-based Yoga guru Minakshi Devi Bhavnani, says, “It basically means a method or could be called a technology to evolve from the dominance of the animal brain into the conscious use of the human brain.”
As Patanjali had said, yoga never harms. It is absolutely brilliant how it takes control of the tongue, our sexual desires, greed, the desire to steal and all the other natural impulses necessary for survival.