The Three Laws of Life: Health, Happiness, Harmony
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
June 20, 2021
Satsang to the faculty members and students of University of Delhi, Campus Law Centre
Hari Om Tat Sat Hari Om Tat Sat Hari Om Tat Sat
Greetings from Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, to the faculty members and the alumni of the University of Delhi. We are also grateful and thankful to Professor Dr. Sri Raman Mittal, Professor in Charge of the Campus Law Center of the University of Delhi, for giving us this opportunity to discuss something about yoga vidya with all of you. My name is Swami Niranjan and I am a sannyasin disciple of Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati who was a sannyasin disciple of Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati of Rishikesh. It was Swami Sivananda Saraswati who inspired the teaching and training of yoga and instructed his disciples that although as sannyasins you belong to the Dashnami Sannyas Parampara of Sri Shankaracharya and though your part of philosophy is that of Advaita Vedanta, for everyone else, teach yoga as that which will be the need for humanity in the society of the future and do not propagate the philosophy of Vedanta.
Following this mandate of Swami Sivanandaji, his sannyasin disciples in the 60s and 70s spread throughout the world and became the forerunners in imparting the training of yoga to humanity at large. Swami Sivanandaji always mentioned that a human being is the combination of the faculties of head, heart and hands and for this reason the practices of yoga must enhance the creative ability of the intellect, emotion and action. For Swami Sivananda this was the purpose of yoga not self-realization. For Swami Sivananda it was the development of the human potential, and to demonstrate the possibility of developing that potential through the practices of yoga became his primary instruction to his disciples.
Endowed with this mandate, his disciples spread the message of yoga vidya in different parts of the world. One of his disciples was Swami Satyananda Saraswati, my guru, who came to Munger in Bihar and established the Bihar School of Yoga and propagated the integral yoga for body, mind and spiritual awakening. As Sri Swami Satyananda said, “The aim of human life is spiritual awakening and spiritual awakening means connecting with the positive, creative abilities and faculties that they come with in this life. There is no differences in the grey matter of geniuses and normal people but they know how to harness the potentials of the mind, how to develop the creative dimension of our personalities which reflect in the intellect, the emotions and interactions with our surroundings”. Sri Swami Satyanandaji brought the whole system of yoga into focus by creating a yogic system called the yoga chakra. Yoga chakra is the practice of complete holistic yoga. It begins with Hatha Yoga followed by Raja Yoga and Kriya Yoga. These three constitute the practice, the sadhana dimension, and then comes the living aspect, the aspect of yogic life-style, in which Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga play a primary role as the expression of the qualities to which you have connected through the practices of yoga vidya.
Sri Swami Satyananda concentrated on yogic research and propagation of yoga through the different continents and countries of the world and made yoga into a very practical and scientific way to access and experience the potential of the human nature. Over the last 60 years Bihar Yoga has not only propagated yoga but also focused on living yoga. We believe that there is a progression in yoga practices. Yoga is a system of disciplining the lifestyle. Yoga is a system of harmonizing the upheaval of mind and emotions. Yoga is a system to connect with the creativity which can be expressed in life for the betterment of ourselves, for our families, our society, the nation and the world. Today the focus of yoga is health, happiness and harmony in life.
Let us start with health. Yoga has become very popular as a therapy and many people are using yoga asanas to treat many kinds of physiological problems, imbalances and illnesses. But that is not the purpose of yoga and what you do to help your body is not yoga but is the practice of yoga asanas. Yoga is the science of life, it is a lifestyle and asanas, the physical postures, are what people are calling yoga today, it is a misnomer. Yoga is a science, asana is a component of that subject and people use the practices of asanas to attain health but remember, yoga is not a therapy. In fact you can imagine three aspects of yoga asanas: first is promotive, it promotes health; second is preventative, it prevents imbalance in the organs of the body, it prevents illness from debilitating the body; and third aspect is curative, but remember that the focus of yoga is not curative this is not the main aspect, the main aspect is the first, the promotive. When yoga becomes part of our daily routine in lifestyle, just as brushing the teeth in the morning is a part of our daily routine in lifestyle, in the same manner practicing of neti can become a routine and become a part of our routine in lifestyle, practicing of asanas can become a part of our lifestyle and in this manner we can promote our health, we can develop better immunity, better digestion, better circulation of blood through the system, better oxygenation in the body, better management of the nervous agitations and can also improve the performance of all the internal physical systems. This is the promotive component of yoga. Once the health of the nervous organs and the systems of the body has been achieved then naturally the stamina, the strength, the immunity, as well as the vitality of the body stops the attack of external foreign agents from attacking the body and debilitating the body. The immunity is greatly enhanced. However, people do not find time to practice, they say there is no time so, they don’t look after their health and at the expense of work their health is lost.
They suffer from various psycho-somatic illnesses by the time they reach 40 and are under the attack of many illnesses and diseases. Yoga practices of asanas and pranayama, mudras and bandhas, relaxation and concentration techniques gives us the ability to strengthen, rejuvenate our body, harmonize and regulate our systems and obtain optimum health. For this one does not need to practice an hour of yoga. Bihar School of Yoga promotes a very simple and less time consuming yoga sadhana.
Early morning when you wake up, practice the three mantras with the sankalpa for health, wisdom and overcoming difficulties in life. Repeat mentally the sankalpa to attain health, total health and chant the mahamrityunjaya mantra eleven times. Repeat the sankalpa for management of mind, clarity of mind, stress-free mind and wisdom and repeat the Gayatri mantra eleven times. Make your sankalpa to overcome all difficulties and distresses in life and chant the 32 names of Durga once. The whole process will take 5 minutes but it will create a foundation to start your day on a positive, optimistic note. You will be aware and relaxed throughout the day. You will feel a different strength and stamina throughout your entire personality and body. This is the first sadhana of the morning to connect with positivity in life.
This group of 5 asanas is enough to maintain your body healthy, to maintain vitality in the body and to maintain immunity, to improve respiration and circulation. The practice of these 5 asanas will not take more than 20 minutes and can be easily done before breakfast. Then two pranayamas: One, nadi shodhana pranayama, alternate nostril breathing, inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. Inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right. Make sure that your breath is long and deep and practice it for 5 minutes. Second pranayama, Bhramari, plug your ears with your fingers and inhale deeply and while exhaling make a humming sound. Practice this pranayama for 7 to 10 times and this can be done before you embark on your journey to your office. It will take 10 minutes at most but these two pranayamas can improve the life function, stimulate the production of melatonin in your brain, which helps to relax your body and the senses and the mind. It also increases the production of nitric oxide in the blood which allows your blood pressure to be regulated. Scientists have shown that the practice of bhramari pranayama cause and it is good, for it produces nitric oxide 15 times more than in the normal breathing, maintaining the health of your lungs. The fourth practice is relaxation when you come home after your work. For 10 minutes lie down on your bed, close your eyes and remove all the stress and tensions from all the muscles, joints and body. Release all thoughts and stresses from the mind and practice a yoga nap. That will remove the tiredness, the weakness from the body and will eventually revitalize the entire psychological and physical systems.
And then at night just practice 5 minutes of a very simple concentration to stop the agitation of the mind. Before you go to bed observe the inhalation and exhalation of the breath between the navel and the throat, navel and throat, navel and throat. When inhaling the breath comes up from navel to throat and when you exhale the breath goes down from throat to navel. Observe this for 5 minutes and after observing the breath moving up and down this passage between the navel and the throat then mentally repeat the mantra SoHam. So with inhalation and Ham with exhalation 5 minutes and then you go to sleep; you will have a better sleep, a deeper sleep, a relaxed sleep.
And for attaining health one can apply these daily practices of yoga which are not only beneficial for the body but also for the overactive mind, emotions, removing distractions and dissipations.
Next comes happiness. The whole society is searching for happiness today, but how to find it. You should know that when somebody is happy a special biochemical known as serotonin is produced and when one is seeking pleasure then a special biochemical known as dopamine is produced. People mix up pleasure with happiness but they don’t know the difference between the two; pleasure is mental entertainment. For pleasure you try to entertain yourself by trying something different, like going to a party, going to a disco, or watching a movie, going out with friends to have good and great times. And these activities they give you pleasure. There are people who drink and smoke because it gives them pleasure, they think they are able to relax. But pleasure is not happiness, Pleasure is momentarily, it comes and goes and it becomes addictive and this seeking of pleasure produces dopamine in our body and this chemical makes one more ignorant, more addicted to the pleasure seeking desires, thoughts and actions.
But when one is happy, it is serotonin which is produced and this happiness is much more than the normal pleasure that you achieve. It lightens up the body, it lightens up the mind, it lightens up the spirit and gives a feeling of optimism, hope and goodness. People have forgotten how to be happy in their search of pleasure. So the next point is how we can be happy in our life, while living our normal pleasure seeking life along with it. You know, smile at everyone, that is the first step. Find time to laugh joyfully for 5 minutes every day and increase this moment of joy and happiness by one minute every day. Cultivate optimism, inspire others, don’t see problems as problems but as something that you can easily overcome if you apply the wisdom, the skill, the training and the understanding which you have. Everything is possible because my guru Sri Swamiji Satyananda has said, “What we live in our life is nothing but our own mind, our thoughts, our desires, everything comes from the mind, it is what we live in our daily life. And there are very few thought moments in which we can separate ourselves from the mind”. Even at night separation becomes difficult in sleep, but in partial sleep it becomes possible to separate the mind from the desire of pleasure and connect it with the experience of happiness. Try this and you will certainly be benefited.
The third thing is harmony; harmony within oneself, harmony in the family, harmony in society. How can that be achieved? Not only through material pursuits but also by training our minds and emotions to do the right thing at the right time, to think the right thing at the right time, and to act in the right manner at the right time and in this way bring harmony into our life, into our family and into our society. These are the roles that yoga fulfills, not only through asanas but as a complete holistic science of life and this is the theory of yoga chakra. Starting with health, by treating the body and mind to remove the imbalances and to develop the coordination and harmony of the internal systems; to manage the mind, the senses, the tensions, the anxieties and to change the quality of mind by making it more happy, optimistic, creative and inspirational. And finally through our behavior, through our jnana and through our sentiments to live and express the beauty of life. That is the topic of yoga which Sri Sivanandaji and Sri Swami Satyanandaji have propagated.
Yes, we start with our body but let us not forget the aim of yoga which is the awakening of the human nature and personality to attain health, happiness and harmony, to attain peace and prosperity in life. So therefore our humble request is that you give yoga a chance in your life.
Hari Om Tat Sat