Day 411 | 26 February 2016 | Day of Rest | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 1.Prof-M-C-Misra,-Director-AIMS-presents-a-memento-to-Sri-M,-AIIMS,-New-Delhi
  • 2.On-Spirituality-&-Health,-Sri-M-at-the-AIIMS,-New-Delhi
  • 3.The-national-anthem-played-by-a-visually-impaired-youngster,-AIIMS,-New-Delhi
It was a rest day. There was an important evening session at AIIMS with Sri M’s talk on "Spiritual Health - Fourth Dimension of Holistic Health". Dr Balram, Dean Academics, welcomed Sri M and said, "I would call this not a Walk of Hope but a walk of certainty, because this is the very need of the hour".

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Sri M then addressed the audience thus: Om, Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu Mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ May all be prosperous and happy May all be free from illness May all see what is spiritually uplifting May no one suffer Om peace, peace, peace Loka Samastu Sukinoh bhavantu – May the entire universe be Happy. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti - Om peace, peace, peace “Director Dr. Mishra, Dr. Chandrakant Pandav - my good friend - all are friends, Dr. SK Acharya who is the Dean of Research, Dr. Balram Airan who is the Dean of Academics and some other doctors whom I know, Dr. Suresh Sharma, Dr. Sanjay Rai, Dr. Ramesh Bijlani, all other dignitaries, the administration of AIIMS, administrators, professors and teachers, Head of Departments, I should not forget to mention Dr. Prasanna Kumar Pincha who was the Chief Commissioner For Persons with Disabilities, Government of India who is here and all our friends in front of me, my dear padayatris, ladies and gentlemen.” “First, I thought I would speak in Hindi but after Dr. Mishra’s speech my Hindi will go no close. He spoke in such chaste Hindi, my Hindi will not come even close, so I am going to stick to English.” The subject given to me today is “Spiritual Health - The Fourth Dimension Of Holistic Health”. I am informed that the WHO also talks of the spiritual as the fourth dimension of health. Although it is the fourth in number but it is the first to start with. It should not come at the end. So, we have to define spiritual health. What is spiritual health? “I won’t say anything about the Walk because you all know about it. You have seen the film, you have read of it in papers and just now Dr. Mishra spoke on it well in a few words.” “First of all, even though Dr. Balram has overtaken me in greeting you in four different greetings, which I always do first, I greet you all with Namaskars, Salaam-Alaikum, Sat-Sri-Kaal and good morning!” “So, as I said, even though we are talking about the fourth dimension of health, I think it should come first. Without mental health, there is no physical health. If that would have been so, then why is it that people walk around with terrible expressions on their face in reality? And, we, as teachers, go about talking about peace and harmony, meditation and so on. First, we should know what it is all about. As it is said in the Bible, ‘Physician, heal thyself’. First, we have to heal ourselves before we talk about others. As one of the speakers pointed before me - I think it was Dr. Mishra - you have to do what you preach yourself before going and preaching about it. I think 90% I do that but 10% perhaps I lack here and there; human beings are like that, with imperfections.” “Let me start like this. I am 67 years old now. When I started this walk, I was 66 years old. That is my physical age. We have walked 5900 and some odd kilometers. There are many padayatris with me who have also walked with me. We also need to walk another 2000 kilometers. We have walked through all weather conditions, through all situations and yet, since Dr. Pandav keeps popping here and there, and sometimes walking with us also like he did in Maharashtra - he will assure you medically that my BP is okay, my sugar level is okay, general parameters of health are okay. There are some who have asked me if there is a secret to this. There is no secret to this; this is what I am going to say.” “There are many walkers who are with me. Our youngest walker, of course, is Commodore Ravindranath who is 80 years old. Will you please stand up? (Commodore Ravindranath stands up and the hall is drowned in thunderous applause lasting about half a minute). That was Commodore Ravindranath who was a pilot in the Indian Navy. He used to fly sorties off INS Vikrant. I get a little worried because even now he drives his car like that.” “How are we all walking? I am sure many of us have hardly walked 2 kilometers a day, me included. My driver for instance, if you ask him to get something from the shop, he will ask me, ‘can I take the car?’ It has become a habit. How is it that we are walking like this? It is because our minds have settled down. It is because our hearts have accepted something and have decided to do it." “Have you ever observed that there are people who are excellent professionals who become sick the moment they retire - not sick but there is something or the other - they complain of this pain or that pain, this issue or that issue. Till their retirement, their health is fine because their minds are engaged in doing something good.” “As Dr. Acharya and Dr. Mishra said, this is a temple. This is a temple where people are looked after. This is a place where complete attention is needed, where we come and say: ‘Our lives are in your hand, please look after us’. After God, there is nobody but a doctor who can look after us. When there is tremendous faith, when there is inspiration to do something - especially that which is not for yourself, something that is for another - then a tremendous energy builds up for you. Great people have moved mountains - I am not talking about myself. If you look at them, they have frail frames - where does that energy come from?” “I would say that this energy comes from other sources – please, I know that there are many doctors and scientists among us here – please forgive me if there is anything that is not correct. I think this energy comes from beyond the ordinary workings of the brain.” “To give an example how energy can suddenly come into a system. Imagine an old man limping along a road with a bundle tied to a stick with painful steps. You might think that next moment he might fall down. Imagine a car or a jeep suddenly comes close by and brakes, with screeching of break and horns. Generally - 9 times out of 10 - this person who you thought could not go two steps properly would have jumped the footpath and cleared all long jump records. How is this possible?” “Of course, there is a medical explanation. In times of danger, the part of the brain that reacts to immediate danger - the limbic system - reacts and pumps adrenaline into the system. That is fine. But there has to be a switch somewhere. I would say that he did not have the time to condition himself by thinking that ‘I am old’, ‘I cannot jump’, ‘I will die’ and so on. While thinking is on one hand positive, on the other hand thinking can also be negative. It can be a conditioning process also. The reason being that all our thought processes, all our so-called blueprint of rationalities are built only from the data that we gather from the five senses. There are no other sense organs than what we have - sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. Is there any other sense organ that we have? This is all that we have, that is a different matter.” The data that comes through these organs is imperfect at best and misleading at worst. If you think this can be not so, let me give you an example. In morning, what do we see - we see the sun rising. And, in the evening, the sun sets. Our most organs of perception are the eyes - chakshu as the Upanishads say. If seeing is believing, than this must be true. But even a high school student will tell you that it is not so. He knows for a fact that the sun neither rises nor sets. The rising and setting of sun is due to the spinning of the earth. All I am saying that we cannot take it on face value.” “There is something called the dog whistle. We cannot hear it but the dogs can. Why is it so? It’s so because the frequency of the sound the dogs hear is different from the frequency that we can hear.” “The data we gather from these sense organs goes into building our so-called rational framework, our blueprint and we act based on that. Very often, it can be quite conditioned.” “I had a very wonderful discussion once with a very good friend of mine. He is very busy now; I have not seen him for many years. I don’t know if you know Dr. VS Ramachandran who wrote one of the most interesting books called ‘The Phantoms in the Brain’. He is a brilliant neuro-psychiatrist and a neuro-surgeon also, I think, living in San Diego. He said probably there are extraordinary responses, extraordinary energies in the human system which are operated by parts of the brain which have not been sufficiently tapped. In fact, he said that - according to some neurologists in United States - the human frame, the human system is wired for spiritual experience - neurologically. If one has it or not is not the question.” “We are saying if we can transcend the ordinary thinking because in this two plus two may not be four. It might be five, like in higher mathematics. Take this analogy - we are not dealing with Newtonian physics, we are dealing with Quantum physics – something that can’t be reasoned with. Perhaps, we may define it in future when we have sufficient instruments of perception, but right now, no. In fact one of the most important theories in quantum physics, or particle physics, is the theory of uncertainty.” “I am saying that it is a wonderful thing. It is a scientific thing to begin research into these things, in these psychological realms, these spiritual realms with uncertainty, without defining how something is. All great discoveries have been made like this - when someone says ‘I don’t know, let me find out’. Let go of the thinking that everything is known so that you may go further and find out what is happening. I am sure that in any given period of history there is much more unknown than what is known.” “So, when we do this, if we learn ways and means to transcend the ordinary barriers of thought and get past our conditioned thinking, then according to the great teachings of Yoga, Upanishads and so on, you touch the consciousness which is at the core. Whenever any excellence comes out, it is one part of that consciousness that manifests itself. Now, this is also true that when you have touched That, then psychological healing and spiritual healing has already started.” “There are two ways of reaching That and they both go hand in hand. Swami Vivekananda was very fond of this Vedantic expression. Atmano mokshaya jagat hitayacha - freedom for the soul and service to living beings. I think personally that these both cannot be isolated. I know great people who do not believe in a God but who do so much service out of kindness and compassion. They cannot explain why, if you ask them why they do it, because kindness is not a business that you do where you expect something in return. I know some who do not even believe in the existence of a God but who are religious people because they believe in the goodness of humanity and try to do good. Then, there are those who believe in God.” “I want to clarify one thing. Recently, the Marxist Party of Kerala invited me to inaugurate a Yoga class. I don’t think anyone has done this before. I don’t know why they singled me out but I went very happily. Because I thought that spiritual health is very important for everybody. In fact, they tried to coax me into writing a book called ‘Yoga for the Godless’. I said I can’t do that but I can write ‘Yoga also for the Godless’.” “So, we have, in this country, specialised in this research – in how to reach the inner, how to keep oneself spiritually healthy, how to touch the core of your consciousness, how to identify yourself with humanity at large. What we are doing with Walk of Hope is an outer expression of that inner experience. How, through kindness, compassion and service, the mind can reach peace on one hand and how through wisdom the mind can be calmed and quieted - because the immense amount of energy that is trapped under negative thinking can be unleashed for good. In ancient times, many techniques were not given out because it really is a tremendous energy. It is not a good idea to use it if you do not have a moral compass and understanding of where and how to use it. It is like sitting in a place with buttons, where if you press a button an atomic missile will destroy the whole world. Which is why there is spiritual training in India and, not only in India but in other traditions elsewhere also. I have also been trained in these systems – in Sankhya, in Yoga, Vedanta and so on. And this is not theory; they are very, very practical systems. I am not talking about Bhakti because Bhakti, or devotion, cannot be practiced or learned. It comes or it does not come.” “The path called Yoga is a step-by-step movement which Patanjali has defined as Chitta Vritti Nirodha, which is calming of the thought waves, which go up or down. You see how we are. When something good happens, we are up and when something bad happens we are down. Doctors in medical profession know that the medicines sold most today are those for depression. This is how we live; we go up and down. There are ways and means in Yoga where one can be kept calm and quiet, where one can enjoy the inner bliss no matter what the circumstances are. No one can remedy all the circumstances, that is not possible - I may have one thing, I will not have something else. Somebody joked the other day, ‘You can’t sit in the middle with your wife on one side and your girlfriend on the other’. It has to be either.” “So, this is so important to understand. The step-by-step teaching of Yoga is called {Ashtanga Yoga}. It means 8 steps to calming the mind, which leads to spiritual evolution. It is not the end, mind you. At-least, one can arrive at the state where mind can be kept quiet. What happens because of it? Your capacity to work increases. Your capacity to irritate others decreases. Your capacity to be calm amidst different circumstances increases. As the Gita says, Tulya-ninda-stutir mauni - a great Yogi is the one for whom praise and blame are the same. I am not talking about someone with a thick skin. This calmness is when one is not elated when one is praised nor is one depressed when someone says ‘you are a bloody fool’. You know what you are - stay with that.” “There are step-by-step ways and I don’t want to go into the details. But since words are not enough and one must go into the practical application, I will start with Yamas and Niyamas. These simply mean that one follows certain simple rules and regulations so that one can progress along the path. Krishna says in the Gita that this is not for the person who eats to little or eats too much, sleeps too little or sleeps too much - balance is the key. Smoking is avoided, everybody agrees. Drinking is avoided which creates a little bit of a problem for some people. The other day, someone joked, ‘My doctor says that a glass of wine is good for the heart’. I said, ‘Please have a glass of wine - first of all, you are vegetarian - but please ensure that you have just one glass’. Moderation is everything. Moderation in eating; moderation in sleeping. It is not easy because we have become so unruly. Moderation in entertainment; moderation in sleep. It is good to sleep; we need good hours to sleep. There are some who just get up to eat food.” “Then comes - I am talking about practical Ashtanga Yoga - Asana, Pranayama and so on. Now, Asana are the postures, which are practiced. Nowadays, people think that Asanas are just physical postures. It is not like that. The Asanas have a peculiar and particular effect on the ductless glands - the endocrine system. If one does the Matsyasana - Yogis believe that much of our moods are chemical - then one can bring moods and emotions under one’s control. In meditation, serotonin is pumped into our system. Why do we feel angry? It’s so because adrenaline is pumped into our system. Anyone who does proper Matsyasana will soon learn how to control these things. I am saying this because people nowadays think that nobody knew anything of science in those days. There were Rishis like Shusruta, Charaka - they were the scientists of that time. In fact, they had surgery at that time.” “Ayurveda is not a system of medicine. Literally, it is the ‘science of life’. It can also be applied to allopathy. We won’t go into all that.” “I will share with you something very practical which all of you can try out. It does not matter if you believe in God or you don’t believe in God - I believe. This is Pranayama.” “But, before that I want to tell you how science and spiritual practices are connected and how mystic and yogic practices are linked together to spiritual growth. There is a small little organ, a ductless organ, again an endocrine organ, called the pineal gland, shaped like a small green chilli, but smaller. Till a few years ago, everybody thought it was a vestigial organ. By the way, everyday we do not have a talk like this. We talk about Walk of Hope, love, this or that. Today, I thought I felt we should talk about something… reasonable.” So, till a few years ago, most people considered it as a vestigial organ. Just like the appendix. A few years ago, it was discovered that it has a great role to play in the sleep cycle. I think you all know that the circadian cycle is responsible for the sleep cycle. When you switch off the light and make everything quiet, then the pineal gland secretes what is called melatonin, which makes you fall asleep. When you go abroad and come back, you experience what is called jetlag, which is that the Circadian rhythm is out of sync. Now you get melatonin tablets. I advise people against it. You are completely disturbing your circadian rhythm.” “So, it was discovered that it has a very close relationship with the sleep cycle. Many years ago, a hundred years ago, Swami Vivekananda, when speaking about Soundarya Lahiri spoke about chakras, the energetic centers in the body. You have to find it, it is there somewhere in the complete works, go to the index. He said that there is a little organ in the brain that can be considered the stem of the Sahsrara, which if activated can take you to the states of consciousness. He called it higher state. I am not saying that sleep is a higher state - we need it, of course.” “There is the smallest Upanishad, called the {Mandukya} Upanishad. It is a very small Upanishad and all it does is talk about different states of consciousness. These states are common to all, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Man, Woman - waking state, dreaming state, deep sleep and Turiya - which we generally are not aware of. Why I am saying this is that if the pineal gland is connected to deep sleep, it is also connected to Turiya. Turiya is where the mind expands and is witness to all the three states and yet remains as a witness to it. If you look carefully, it is an entirely scientific proposition.“ “When you are very agitated - if you watch your breath - you will find out that it is very agitated. When you are very calm, when you are listening to beautiful music, close you eyes and check your breath - it is calm and quiet. Now, the Rishis who were the scientists of the inner - not the physical science but the beyond - they made a very intelligent observation: If the state of mind can affect the rhythm of your breath, is it possible to change the state of mind by changing the rhythm of the breath?” “From this one observation and question, came the whole science of Pranayama. There are many practices in this, but the simplest one is this - sit quietly and do nothing but observe your breath. The breath has the tendency of slowing down when you notice it, like a guilty child. Sit somewhere quietly, close your eyes and just concentrate - not concentrate but just watch, just witness your breath. After you watch your breath for some time, you will feel like taking a deep sigh. You will have relaxed at this point. That is the tarmac from which you can take off towards higher meditation.” “So, to sum up, we believe that spiritual health is one of the most important dimensions because health today is a holistic concept, not just the readings of the blood pressure and so on. If it is not so - Japan is considered to be technologically advanced nation, advanced in all ways, it has the highest rates of suicides in the world, do we want to head in that way? Or, do we not mind becoming so advanced as Japan but that we keep our minds quiet and not let suicides overtake us? I personally vote for health. I know that doctors of WHO, doctors here, doctors and people everywhere recognise the importance of holistic health. The spiritual dimension, which is said to be the fourth dimension of health, is of first importance. Thank you very much!”

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