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The Mirror Of The Self: [18] Perception Of Psychic Centres (2)

Published: 21.02.2009
On The Horns Of A Dilemma

A man is conditioned by his thought and this conditioning creates a problem. The world of thought is a world beset with problems. Problems inevitably accompany thought. A disciple presented himself before his guru with a problem relating to his studies. Very deferentially he said, "O Master! I have read psychology. It says one should not suppress one's instincts. When we try to suppress them, our passions retire into the sub­conscious mind. These suppressed urges later cause great torment to man. I have also studied spirituality. It says, 'Indulgence ot appetites weakens our powers; our energy languishes, we are enfeebled, and therefore we must forsake all kinds of gratification; so passions must be controlled.' I thus find myself on the horns of a dilemma. The message of spirituality negates the teaching of psychology. What am I to do?"

There Is A Third Way

The Acharya said, "O Son! It is true that mere suppression of appetites cannot end them. They just subside. That such suppression can also cause a sharp resurgence later is not al­together untrue. Through the abatement of passions, a sadhak reaches the eleventh stage of spiritual development. However, if a reaction sets in, there is no saying how far down he may go. The way of suppression may only temporarily yield results, but it is fraught with danger: On the other hand immoderation, coupled with lack of restraint altogether, results in the languishing of one's powers, and the powers of the body and the mind might even exhaust. It is a dilemma indeed. But there is a way out, a third alternative viz., control over the palate."

Control Over The Palate And Brahmcharya (Chastity)

The tongue can kill as well save. It can accomplish great good and also cause great harm. In all other prescribed methods of meditation, the tongue has hardly been recognised as an important centre. Hatha-Yoga recognises six to seven chakras, but the tongue has been left out of these. In the technique of preksha meditation, the tip of the tongue has been recognised as an important psychic centre, and it is called brahma kendra (the Centre of Chastity).

There is an intimate connection between brahmcharya and self-restraint. One of the ways of achieving brahmcharya is control over the sex organ. It is more or less a physical control. The ninefold fencing of piety forestalls the factors not conducive to chastity. Control over the sex organ is good, but its full develop­ment is not possible without mental and emotional restraint. For full development of chastity, the purity of mind and emotions is essential. A man seeks to control his sex organ, but if his mind is caught in lust, brahmcharya cannot flower. In that case, the question of awakening one's wisdom just does not arise. Only he who can exercise restraint over his tongue can explore the truth and make progress in his search for eternal laws.

Control Over The Tongue: Various Interpretations

From the physiological point of view, the tongue has been considered to be negative electricity whereas the brain is considered to be positive electricity. If the tongue is raised a little, it comes under the attractive pull of the brain. A posture called khechari was evolved in which the tongue is turned up so that its lip touches the upper palate. The khechari posture is the secret of unparalleled inner chastity. However restless the mind might be, the mere adoption of the khechari posture would instantly abate its restlessness. This is open to proof by practice. There is no end to the secrets of the tongue. Control over eating is not the only form of control over the tongue. Eating and speaking are linked with the tongue - this is common knowledge. But there are other secrets of the tongue which are not so well known. One form of control over the tongue is control over food. Another form is control over speech. The third form is control of fickleness, and the fourth is control of the sexual urge. We must understand all these forms. Practice without understanding is of little avail.

Meaningful Action

Once upon a time, a man was found saluting various directions. The posture of reverential salutation has always been a part of sadhana. The man bowed in reverence to the six directions. An enlightened sadhak asked him,

"What is it you are doing?"
The man said, "I am bending in obeisance to all the directions."
"But why?"
"Such is the provision in my religion."
"Do you know what is behind this reverence to the six directions?"
"No. I know nothing about it."
At this, the sadhak further advanced his argument. He said, "How do you treat your servants? Some people behave very cruelly towards their dependents. You are not one of them. I suppose?"
"Well, I treat my servants well enough. But sometimes I am very rough with them too."
"Do you pay obeisance to your gurus?"
"Sometimes I do, at other times I don't."
"Do you quarrel with your friends?"
"Occasionally I do quarrel with them."
The sadhak said, "Then what will you gain by paying obeisance unto various directions. Are you acquainted with the hidden significance of such reverence? Don’t you want to know it?"
"Will you kindly acquaint me with the significance thereof?"

The sadhak said,

"Bowing to the East is tantamount to doing reverence to your ancestors. Bowing lo the West means doing reverence to your descendants. Bowing to the South means carrying out the orders of your guru, which means keeping in his good graces. And bowing to the North means acting rightly towards your friends. To do reverence to the sky means paying homage to one's religious teachers and Acharyas. Bowing to the earth means to honour one's servants and subordinates."

On being so enlightened, the man was filled with gratitude towards the sadhak.

Exercises Connected With The Tongue

To come to understand this secret means one has mastered the art of living. We know a particular rule or provision, but we do not know the significance behind it. We are acquainted with the rules of speech, but we must also understand the spirit underlying these. In preksha meditation camps, the sadhaks are made lo perform the exercise of keeping their tongue absolutely still. They are directed to keep the tongue in the void of the mouth, so that it touches neither the sides nor the palate. The tongue keeps in the hollow, immovable. People are directed to focus their attention on the tip of the tongue. It is a very good exercise for ensuring concentration of mind. Another exercise consists of letting the tongue stick to the roots of the teeth. The steadier the tongue remains, the more concentrated the mind will be. Conversely, the greater the flickering of the tongue, the more fickle is the mind. The instincts too, in that case, would be more skittish. When the tongue is set close to the palate, the mind will grow calm and concentrated.

Amrit-Srava ('Flowing of Nectar'): An Important Exercise

Amrit-Srava is an important term in Hatha Yoga. When the secretion of nectar begins, the mind grows perfectly tranquil. One important exercise for this is control over the tongue. One who has not experienced this state is misled into talking of suppressing the mind or of total non-restraint. The exercise of controlling the tongue Is designed to avoid both these extremes. What is required is not any discipline imposed from outside, but innate, spontaneous discipline.

The functioning of the brain has a rhythm of its own. With the awakening of lust, anger, greed, distortions take place and the rhythm is broken. The man who wants to succeed in life would see to it that no defilements arise and the rhythm is not broken. This is possible only when the passions are sublimated. Did Einstein rise to the heights he did through the indulgence of passions? If that great scientist had been caught in the network of passions, he would never have achieved greatness. He was exclusively devoted to research and experimentation and his mind never wandered off in any other direction. Whatever problem absorbed him at the moment, he gave himself to it wholeheartedly. The execution of all great work demands total attention.

The Example Of Vachaspati Mishra

In the field of Indian Logic, Bhamati is considered to be an important work. The author of this book was Vachaspati Mishra. He was a married man, but he devoted all his energy to the writing of his book. Many years elapsed. He was so absorbed in his work as to quite forget that he was married. The name of his wife was Bhamati. She served him night and day. Twice a day she would bring him food where he sat. When it grew dark irvthe evening, she would go and light his lamp. This went on for many years. At last, the book was completed. That evening when Bhamati came o light the lamp, Mishra looked up at her face. He felt he had been unjust to her. He asked her how she got along. All the time he was wondering how he could repay her debt. He decided to entitle his book, "Bhamati".

This may seem far-fetched to some but is nevertheless true. Those who have performed great deeds have always controlled and sublimated their passions.

Brahma Kendra (The Centre Of Chastity) Vs. The Gonads

Control over the Centre of Chastity and control over the gonads are linked together. It would be wrong for someone to assert that he had control over the gonads but not on the Centre of Chastity, or that he had control over the Centre of Chastity but not over the gonads. For the practice of self-restraint, it is very important to be acquainted with the secrets of both these psychic centres. Without knowledge of the laws governing these two centres, we shall not be able to develop and sublimate our passions. For the development of consciousness, one has to observe some self-restraint. That one should live a life of non-restraint, and at the same time accomplish a great task, is not possible. Those who have resolved to accomplish some great intellectual task, must exercise control over their lower parts.

The Worlds: The Body

Just as there are three worlds, our body is also divided into three parts. In ancient literature, the word 'loka' (which also means 'world') was employed for the body. In Ayurveda also, the word loka connotes the body. Again, the same holds true of religious literature - one of the meanings of the word loka used there is the body. So the world of the body is divided into three parts: the portion above the navel is known as the upper body, that around the navel, the oblique body and that below the navel, the lower body. The man aspiring to self-development must predominantly inhabit the higher body. He, who does not live in the higher body, cannot accomplish anything great. An excessively selfish mentality, characterised by preoccupation with grinding one's own axe, deceit and frauds, is nourished when one's consciousness predominantly resides in the lower centres of the body. When consciousness habitually descends to the lower parts, it encourages in the individual a spirit of self-aggrandisement, hatred, etc. Such a person is never truly grateful, he would never acknowledge a kindness shown to him. When consciousness resides in the higher centres, in the upper parts of the body, it serves to refine and sublimate instincts and passions.

Factor Of Greatness

The Centre of Chastity (Brahma Kendra) is situated in the upper body. It constitutes in itself the chief factor in the development of the brain. He who wants to utilize his intellect lo the full, he who wishes to develop great thoughts, wholesome thinking, creative power, high imagination and who wants to execute his plans, must exercise control over his diet. Either you worship the intellect or the tummy - you cannot worship both. You cannot worship two gods simultaneously. To accomplish something great in any field, one's consciousness must flow upward. This upward movement of consciousness is the real foundation of greatness.


3rd Edition 1995

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
Ladnun -341 306 (Rajasthan)

Muni Dhananjay Kumar (Hindi)
Muni Mahendra Kumar (English)

Translated by:
Late Prof. R.K. Seth

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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. Amrit-Srava
  4. Anger
  5. Ayurveda
  6. Body
  7. Brahma
  8. Brahma Kendra
  9. Brahmcharya
  10. Brain
  11. Chakras
  12. Concentration
  13. Consciousness
  14. Deceit
  15. Discipline
  16. Einstein
  17. Gonads
  18. Greed
  19. Guru
  20. Hatha Yoga
  21. Hatha-Yoga
  22. Kendra
  23. Loka
  24. Meditation
  25. Mishra
  26. Preksha
  27. Preksha Meditation
  28. Preksha Meditation Camps
  29. Psychic Centre
  30. Psychic Centres
  31. Sadhak
  32. Sadhaks
  33. Sadhana
  34. Yoga
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