New Man : New World: [14] Life's Philosophy

Published: 23.12.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

We have no clear concept about life. Some people do think about it but most do not. All that people know is about the body, a little about the mind and quite a lot about how to earn a living. In fact, the daily needs have become so demanding that most of our time is spent in finding ways of fulfilling them.

Necessities of Life

Upadhyay Yashovijayi has described the necessities of life: The first problem is that man is extremely worried about his desire to have food and water. The second problem is that his mind is restless to have clothing, living accommodation and its decoration. The third problem is that he has a constant desire to marry, have children and obtain the beautiful objects of sensual pleasure. With all these entanglements how can he stay healthy?

Satisfaction of the Sense Organs

We never take an overall view of life, nor do we seriously think about it. All our attention is concentrated on the body. Even that we keep well-groomed only externally, since we do not know how to take true care of it. We just care a little about our physical health, although we like to keep it perfectl and are worried about it. Going one step beyond physical health, we hardly worry about and work for the health of our sense organs. If the sense organs are not healthy, the body cannot at all be healthy. Have we ever paid special attention to the ears, eyes, nose and tongue? If the tongue is not well, it will create a big problem. It has a deep connection with life. In the Science of Tantra deep consideration has been given to the five senses of perception, eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, and the five organs of action, hands, feet, larynx, organs of reproduction and anus. If these organs are not healthy, life can never be happy. The tongue is also connected with the reproductive organs. If the tongue is not well, not properly restrained, the sexual organs will be highly excited and create hindrances in life.

The Importance of the Tongue

The tongue is very important. Speech is its secondary function. Its main function is tasting, relishing and making the individual aware of its effects. We do not try to discipline the tongue taking into consideration the effect on the body of what we like to eat. Meditation cannot be successful in the case of a person who is unaware of the fact that the temptation of the tongue makes the mind fickle. It is a big secret.

The Importance of the Nose

The primary function of the nose is to smell. Smell has a great influence on the mind and therefore it affects life itself. The more disciplined the nose and the greater the practice of meditating on the Centre of Vitality (the nose), the greater the control on the mind. From one point of view, the nose, the eyes etc. act as the switchboard of the mind. One has to know when to turn the switch on and when to turn it off. One who knows all about the switchboard succeeds in discovering the secrets of the brain.

The Importance of the Ears

The ear is a very important centre. It is connected with the brain, the nervous system and the whole body. It has been given maximum attention in acupressure and acupuncture therapies. It is treated as an infant in the womb. It has the same shape. All our faculties of the body are reflected inside it. Thousands of fibres are connected with it. Although it is normally a subject of physiology, the study of reflex points and centres inside the ear is beyond physiology.

The Importance of the Eyes

The eye's function is to see, but there is hardly any better centre in the whole body for meditation. The exercise lies in making the eye the object of perception and thus meditating on the eyes makes the mind completely calm and tranquil, free from all excitement and agitation.

One of the practices lies in gazing with the naked eye. It is called tratak in Hathayoga. In Preksha Dhyan, it is called Animesh Preksha, perception without winking. Lord Mahavira practised it extensively. Seeing the object of meditation with bare eyes is a powerful means of rousing trans-sensual awareness. The eyes are kept open and perception is directed at the tip of the nose, Centre of Vitality. If the practice continues, even for five minutes, the mind steadies itself.

When the gaze is fixed on the tip of the nose, which is the Centre of Vitality in Preksha Dhyan, this meditation with the eyes open is called sambhari mudra in Yoga. It is the sitting posture of Lord Shiva.

Lord Mahavira meditated with open eyes on the tip of the tongue, whereas Lord Shiva meditated on the Centre of Intuition between the eye brows.

Understand the Mind

Psychology has tried hard to understand the mind. From Freud onwards till today a number of psychologists have thrown light on it and have made many discoveries. And yet, the mind is too complex to yield to full understanding.

Jain literature talks of paryaya (modes). The first letter of the Devanagari script is a, but to understand it, needs a lot of time, because even though the letter is one, its modes are innumerable. How can a man understand them all in his lifetime? Let us try to understand the above statement. There is a line in anushtup chhand of Sanskrit. It has eight letters. The literal meaning is: 'Rulers give happiness'. One of the Acharyas began interpreting it and found that these eight letters yielded eight hundred thousand meanings. A voluminous book was the result of interpreting one line, which was named Ashtlaksharthi. The Acharya wrote, “If a person like me - who knows but little - can find eight hundred thousands meanings of eight letters, those who are erudite and highly knowledgeable can find infinitely more.”

So colossal are the subtle world and the world of modes that they cannot even be imagined. Likewise, the successive turns of meaning (modes) of the word 'mind' are also innumerable. The more one learns, the more remains to be learned.

Perception of the Mind

Preksha Dhyan qualifies to be regarded as a Philosophy of Life because it tries to understand the mind, and that too not merely theoretically but also practically. Full comprehension is not possible on the basis of theoretical study alone. It is possible only through practice. Just as we make breath the object of meditation, similarly the mind itself is made the object of meditation. In Preksha Dhyan, this is called Vichar Preksha. We concentrate on the mind and then start perceiving the incoming thoughts. We should neither stop the flow of thought, nor provoke it. All we do is fixing the attention on the brain and meditate on it. All thoughts, good as well as bad, are perceived. Vichar Preksha is perhaps the most effective means of understanding the mind.

Perception of the Body

Sharir Preksha requires perceiving the body and the vibrations therein. Under Preksha Dhyan one more practice, called Saptadhatu Preksha has been developed. It means perception of seven constituents of the body. We should first meditate on the chyle, then on the blood, the coursing of the blood, then the bones, then on the marrow, then on the semen and like this cover all the seven constituents (the remaining two being the flesh and the fat). It is an effort at understanding the seven constituents of the body.

Perception of the Vital Essence of Life

Another practice consists in meditating on the vital energy. It is the strongest practice but also very difficult. Medical science uses the terms body, mind, and sense, but as yet refrains from discussing the subject of the vital essence of life, Prana. It does use terms like vital energy and vital force, but there is no serious work done yet on the course of this vital energy. Of course acupressure and acupuncture therapies have given it a lot of attention. In Yoga, we are told about it in the form of Nadis (tubular organs for the passage of pran or energy carrying cosmic, vital, seminal and other energies, as well as sensation, intelligence and consciousness in the causal, subtle and physical bodies) like ida, pingala, sushumna etc. It has been said that there are seventy-two thousand nadis in the body. If they would have had physical organs, physicians could have identified them, for today's medical scientists know more about the human body than anyone else in the past. But the pran system transcends the body. It is not a physical organ. There are thousands of routes through which pran, the cosmic energy, flows through the body. An understanding of the pran gives one rich and abundant knowledge.

Pran is unbalanced

Let us think of health. Today, there are innumerable instruments and big diagnostic machines the like of which never existed before. They can reveal even the minutest parts of the body, and both the brain and the heart can be scanned. But the irony is that when both machines and physicians find no ailment in an individual, he says he is extremely miserable. To such people we advise the practice of pran. We tell them that theirs is not a physical disease caused by germs and viruses or by some foreign elements, but a case of unbalanced pran.

The above imbalance is beyond the competence of any machine or physician to perceive. The physicians are dependent on machines. They first see the various investigative reports. If the reports were to show what the mind shows, where would be the difference between the two? The mind has become dependent on machines, whereas it should be the other way round.

With balanced pran many problems become automatically solved. Once a Preksha Dhyan training camp was being held in Tulsi Adhyatma Needam. Jethabhai Jhaveri walked in. He had a collar around his back. On being asked what the matter was, he said he was suffering from spondylitis and that he could neither sit erect nor stretch. We gave those attending the camp practice in pran. Jethabhai grasped it and did it several times. Next morning he again practised it in the early morning sun. The third day he had carded his collar and once again began sitting erect and lying normally.

God laughs when...

There are many responses to the question: “When does God laugh?” One of them is, “God laughs when the patient is dying and the doctor says that he will not let him die.” Can any doctor give life to someone? If medicines could keep the people alive, the population of the world would have been many times more than it is today. No one would have died. Doctors would keep everyone alive. What keeps us alive is our Pranshakti or bioenergy. As long as bio-energy is there, cells will retain the power of regeneration (constructive metabolism) and so long as cells keep regenerating, life will remain intact. Once the regenerative power ends, our resistance or immunity will decrease and gradually a stage is reached when nei­ther the doctor nor any medicine will be able to save life.

Life's main Basis

Pranshakti (bio energy) is the main basis of life. In Sanskrit life and pran are synonyms. Acquiring this understanding is the main subject of Preksha Dhyan. Ten prans have been mentioned. The energy that keeps the body going is pran. Then there are the senses and their pran. The energy that keeps the senses functioning is pran. Next is the mind and its pran. Similarly, there is breath and its pran. There is a practice in Preksha Dhyan: breathe and experience the inhalation. It is pran, which makes inhalation possible. Practise to see pran and breath as two distinct things. During this practice the subtlety and concentration of the mind register a high rise. It feels like a scientist becoming so absorbed in a major experiment that he becomes completely oblivious to all external goings-on.

Forgetting everything outside

Once Einstein invited a friend to dinner. The latter arrived at dinnertime but found that Einstein was totally absorbed in his research. In fact, he had forgotten all about the dinner. The guest sized up the situation, helped himself with the food and quietly returned home. When Einstein finished his experiment he found empty used plates on the dining table. He said to himself that possibly he forgot that he had already eaten his dinner and so went back to the laboratory.

How did such a great scientist behave so abnormally? When we are engaged in the subtle investigation of bio energy, our energy withdraws within itself and nothing external is remembered.

Perception of the Body, Perception of the Sense, Perception of the Mind, Perception of the Vital Essence or bio energy and other practices are aimed at a comprehensive understanding of life. From this point of view, it can be said that Preksha Dhyan is not mere meditation, but a philosophy of life.

Existentialism: Utilitarianism

Let us all examine the philosophical aspect. 'Philosophy' is an ancient word, but the philosophy taught in modern universities is purely at the level of ideas or thoughts. There are two dimensions of the word 'Philosophy' - one of its meanings is related to it as a subject and another as a body of ideas. The subject of philosophy is facts. Science has also the same subject. The only function of philosophy from this viewpoint is to know reality. It can be factual or fact-oriented philosophy. Knowing reality is knowing the truth. In philosophy, it represents the existential stream of thinking.

The second stream is utilitarianism. It is concerned only with utility, not with reality at all. These days there is a lot of talk about 'Applied Philosophy'. Anything that cannot be applied is not philosophy. Philosophy should not be merely factual, it should be utilizable.

The Meaning of Life should be understood

Traditionally philosophy split into two schools: idealistic and realistic. In the latter, existence or reality is central, while in the former, the whole thing moves around an idea or presumption. Let us veer away from both approaches and link philosophy to life. Let us refrain from explaining the world or the highest or absolute truth. Let us explain only life and try to understand it. Such a philosophy is the philosophy of understanding life. Let us develop a viewpoint, which helps us understand life.

Today the entire energy is being spent on understanding the means of livelihood or earning a living. I asked a few students who came to meet me, “Do you ever think about life?” They could not understand what I meant. Then I asked, “What is the purpose of your studies?” They replied, “The aim of studying well is to earn sumptuously.” A girl would put it thus, “The aim of studying well is to get a good match.” The whole life has got cribbed and confined and it has led to all sorts of problems.

The Purpose of Life

The Ramayana cannot be understood by reading just a line. A hundred thousand hymns of Valmiki explain its full meaning. Today, we have no Valmiki (author of the Ramayana) or Vyas (the author of the Mahabharata) or Hem Chandra and Jinsen (authors of long Puranas). Why then is it not thought necessary to write a long treatise on life? Life becomes very small if it is confined to making a living. Life is held to be so insignificant that its very distorted image emerges. People live just for earning money, which gives status, honour and happiness. Life has been depreciated by such a narrow outlook and as a result we are getting entangled in more and more problems.

Change the Angle of Thinking

Preksha Dhyan is a philosophy of life. Its chief message is: Try to understand the importance of life also along with that of earning a living. Man as a social being has got to earn a living. Its importance cannot be underrated. At the same time, we should also know the value of life. After all, what does one earn a living for? Is it not for the sake of life? So how can the importance of life be under-estimated? Many people die young of heart ailments. Why should the heart stop functioning at a young age? In physiological terms, the heart has the capacity to function for over a hundred years. So the minimum life span should be a hundred years. If people die much earlier, one reason is the overwhelming importance given to livelihood at the cost of life. Preksha Dhyan is a philosophy, which can change the above angle of thinking. But justice will not be done to Preksha Dhyan merely by spending an hour on close-eyed meditation. The purpose of Preksha Dhyan is to first understand life in its totality and then treat it justly and in a balanced manner. By giving equal importance to life and livelihood, we can ensure that life is lived well and peacefully.

Sources
Edition 2005
ISBN No. 81-7196-019-7

© Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110 002

Edited by:
Muni Dhananjay Kumar

Translated by:
Prof. R.P. Bhatnagar

Published by:
Kamlesh Chaturvedi
Adarsh Sahitya Sangh,
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg
New Delhi

Printed at:

R-Tech Offset Printer Delhi-110032

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharyas
  3. Adhyatma
  4. Animesh Preksha
  5. Body
  6. Brain
  7. Centre of Intuition
  8. Concentration
  9. Consciousness
  10. Devanagari
  11. Dhyan
  12. Discipline
  13. Einstein
  14. Ida
  15. Mahabharata
  16. Mahavira
  17. Meditation
  18. Mudra
  19. Nadis
  20. Paryaya
  21. Pingala
  22. Pran
  23. Prana
  24. Pranshakti
  25. Preksha
  26. Preksha Dhyan
  27. Puranas
  28. Ramayana
  29. Sanskrit
  30. Saptadhatu Preksha
  31. Science
  32. Sharir
  33. Sharir Preksha
  34. Sushumna
  35. Tantra
  36. Tratak
  37. Tulsi
  38. Tulsi Adhyatma Needam
  39. Upadhyay
  40. Veer
  41. Vichar Preksha
  42. Yoga
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