Mastery over the Body (HH 231)

A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)


It is now well-known that the human body has much more potential than we are even remotely aware of. Research is slowly turning towards exploring the hidden potentials of our own body, something that ancient yoga practitioners always knew. Today we share one such story where a person in the face of inner distress took to a most unconventional way to bring out the powers latent within himself. The important element in this story seems to be an intense urge to know and to master. If that is there then the doors open and the path is found and the journey begins.


[ a link to the short YouTube video which was discussed and projected during the class, is given at the  bottom of this post]  


Words of Sri Aurobindo

This detachment of the mind must be strengthened by a certain attitude of indifference to the things of the body; we must not care essentially about its sleep or its waking, its movement or its rest, its pain or its pleasure, its health or ill-health, its vigour or its fatigue, its comfort or its discomfort, or what it eats or drinks. This does not mean that we shall not keep the body in right order so far as we can; we have not to fall into violent asceticisms or a positive neglect of the physical frame. But we have not either to be affected in mind by hunger or thirst or discomfort or ill-health or attach the importance which the physical and vital man attaches to the things of the body, or indeed any but a quite subordinate and purely instrumental importance. Nor must this instrumental importance be allowed to assume the proportions of a necessity; we must not for instance imagine that the purity of the mind depends on the things we eat or drink, although during a certain stage restrictions in eating and drinking are useful to our inner progress; nor on the other hand must we continue to think that the dependence of the mind or even of the life on food and drink is anything more than a habit, a customary relation which Nature has set up between these principles. As a matter of fact the food we take can be reduced by contrary habit and new relation to a minimum without the mental or vital vigour being in any way reduced; even on the contrary with a judicious development they can be trained to a greater potentiality of vigour by learning to rely on the secret fountains of mental and vital energy with which they are connected more than upon the minor aid of physical aliments….

This detachment can be made so normal and carried so far that there will be a kind of division between the mind and the body and the former will observe and experience the hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, depression, etc. of the physical being as if they were experiences of some other person with whom it has so close a rapport as to be aware of all that is going on within him. This division is a great means, a great step towards mastery; for the mind comes to observe these things first without being overpowered and finally without being at all affected by them, dispassionately, with clear understanding but with perfect detachment. This is the initial liberation of the mental being from servitude to the body; for by right knowledge put steadily into practice liberation comes inevitably.

Finally, the mind will come to know the Purusha in the mind as the master of Nature whose sanction is necessary to her movements. It will find that as the giver of the sanction he can withdraw the original fiat from the previous habits of Nature and that eventually the habit will cease or change in the direction indicated by the will of the Purusha; not at once, for the old sanction persists as an obstinate consequence of the past Karma of Nature until that is exhausted, and a good deal also depends on the force of the habit and the idea of fundamental necessity which the mind had previously attached to it; but if it is not one of the fundamental habits Nature has established for the relation of the mind, life and body and if the old sanction is not renewed by the mind or the habit willingly indulged, then eventually the change will come. Even the habit of hunger and thirst can be minimised, inhibited, put away; the habit of disease can be similarly minimised and gradually eliminated and in the meantime the power of the mind to set right the disorders of the body whether by conscious manipulation of vital force or by simple mental fiat will immensely increase. By a similar process the habit by which the bodily nature associates certain forms and degrees of activity with strain, fatigue, incapacity can be rectified and the power, freedom, swiftness, effectiveness of the work whether physical or mental which can be done with this bodily instrument marvellously increased, doubled, tripled, decupled.

[The Synthesis of Yoga CWSA 23]

 

Words of the Mother

January 31, 1961

Suppose, for example, that there was a disorder here or there in the body, not actually an illness (because illness implies some important inner factor such as an attack or the necessity for some transformation, many different things), but the outer expression of a disorder, such as swollen legs or a malfunctioning liver – not an illness, a disorder, a functional disorder. [52] Well, it was all utterly unimportant: It in no way changes the body’s true consciousness. Although we are in the habit of thinking that the body is very disturbed when it’s ill, when something is going wrong, it’s not so. It isn’t disturbed in the way we understand it.

Then what is disturbed if not the body?

Oh, it’s the physical mind, this stupid mind! It makes all the trouble, always.

It isn’t the body at all?

No! The body is VERY enduring. 

Then what suffers?

Suffering also comes through the physical mind, because if this entity is calmed down, we no longer suffer – exactly what happened to me!

The physical mind, you see, makes use of the nervous substance; if we withdraw it from the nervous substance, we no longer feel anything, for that’s what gives us the perception of sensation…. We know something is wrong, but we no longer suffer from it.

This was a very important experience. Afterwards (especially yesterday afternoon and this morning), I gradually began to realize that this kind of indifferent detachment is the ESSENTIAL condition for the establishment of true Harmony in the most material Matter – the most external, physical Matter (Mother pinches the skin of her hand).

This experience has been like a stage – an indispensable stage for establishing this complete detachment; an indispensable stage so that the harmony of the body-consciousness (which came with the body’s experience of the Divine) might have its effect upon the most external, superficial part of the body.

(silence)

This is the logical consequence of the research I have been doing for a long time now on the cause of illnesses and how to overcome them.

*

(The disciple complains of his difficulties)

Difficulties are sent to us exclusively to make the realization more perfect.

Each time we try to realize something and we encounter a resistance or an obstacle, or even a failure – what appears to be a failure – we should know, we should NEVER forget, that it is exclusively, absolutely, to make the realization more perfect.

So this habit of cringing, of being discouraged or even feeling ill at ease or abusing oneself, saying, ‘There, I’ve done it again …’ All this is absolute foolishness.

Rather, simply say, ‘We do not know how to do things as they should be done, well then, let them be done for us and come what may!’ If we could only see how everything that looks like a difficulty, an error, a failure or an obstacle is simply there to help us make the realization more perfect.

Once we know this, everything becomes easy.

***


Video Clip, projected during the class:

How to Unleash Hidden Powers | Wim Hof

 

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