Yoga Therapy

Speech delivered by his Holiness Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj at the 3rd International Yoga Conference

In our Vedic Religion all the way of Sadhana is called yoga; as Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, etc. The true meaning of Yoga is Union with Supreme Divinity, Supreme Self. So, Yoga is usually practiced and cultivated with the main object of realising one's true self in order to be free from the suffering and bondage of the Creation.

There are two divisions of practical Yoga School, Raja and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga mainly gives stress on purification of mind in such a way that we can be master of mind and being master of mind we can surpass the mental region to realise our Divine Self which is beyond mental region, beyond sensuous world.

Raja Yoga is fully described in Patanjali Yogadarshan. It will not be possible for me to discuss on Raja Yoga in this limited time. So, I shall briefly talk on Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga is the foundation of Raja Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the preliminary stage of Raja Yoga. Without the help of Hatha yoga the ideal of Raja Yoga can not be fulfilled. Our physical body may be without disease, without senility, if we follow Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga emphasizes mainly in the purification of our body in such a way that our physical body may be bearers of Divine Mind.

Literal meaning of Hatha Yoga is to unite sun and moon or Ida and Pingala. When Ida and Pingala are united, Sushumna becomes active. Sushumna can easily lead our mind towards Supramental stage. When Ida and Pingala is active lower mind predominates, Tamah and Rajah prevails. When Sushumna is active, higher mind, Divine mind, predominates, Sathwa guna prevails. So root-meaning of Hatha Yoga is to realise our Divine Self through the help of Sushumna. When Sushumna is active, Kundalini rises up.

Yoga was not popular in East India, especially in Assam, Bengal and Orissa, and to popularise it we have modified Hatha Yoga system. We have abandoned the complicated system of Dhouti, Basti, Pranayama of Hatha Yoga, and after years of experiment we have invented easier process of Dhouti, Basti and Pranayama without losing their effectiveness. So education which we are now preaching and advocating has been rendered suitable for practice by boys, by girls, by young and old alike.

Yoga therapy is not a quackery, and scientific experiment have proved the truth of its marvellous effects on the human body.

According to Hatha Yoga, body is the foundation stone of life. If this foundation stone of life be strong, firm and without any defect, then the higher stories of lifes building may be erected on it in safety. Hatha Yoga tells us that the body is the machine and our self is the machine driver. Mind, intellect, ego, which are the power or energy of the self, are active through the nervous system and glands etc. If the nerves and glandular functions are healthy and normal then Divinity of the self, Godliness of the self is manifested through this body organ. Naturally, to those who are possessors of this pure body we call godly men. We respect and worship them as a living God.

We have mentioned before, that Hatha Yoga mainly emphasise on the purification of our body in such a way that our physical body may be free from all kinds of disease, and may be bearer of Divine Mind, which naturally realizes Divine self. So, Hatha Yoga is not for physical improvement only, not for curing diseases only. It helps physical, mental and spiritual upliftment. What are the reasons of Hatha Yoga for this big claim?

Hatha Yoga has six division - Dhouti, Basti, Neti, Asana, Mudra and Pranayama. With the help of Dhouti we can wash but all accumulated poisonous things from stomach and abdomen through the help of water. If our system is free from all accumulated poisons, no dangerous diseases can attack our body. From accumulated poison are all disease germs born. This accumulated poison is the nourishing food of all disease and germs. If food-supply road of enemy soldiers is cut off, the enemy soldiers will not be able to fight and longer, they will become weak, it will be easy to kill them, they will do without food.

Similarly Dhouti also cuts up the food supply of disease germs, through Dhouti the disease germs become weak without food. These disease germs will be killed easily by our bodyguard germs, which are called white corpuscles. At the time of disease, if this Dhouti is applied, the diseases are cured rapidly for this reason. So Dhouti is the surest way for prevention of dangerous diseases, for prevention of ultimate death. So, we can control death, we can be master of death, with the help of this Dhouti. It is needless to say we have invented a special simple process of Barisar Dhouti which can wash, which can bring out, not only poisonous things from stomach, but also from the abdomen.

Another place where the germs of disease are accumulated is unclean bowel. This is why cleaning of the bowels precedes all treatments in Allopathy and Ayurveda, etc. Our simple Yogic Basti Kriya cleanses bowel harmlessly, perfectly and easily.

Neti cleanses nose and portion of forehead. This Neti is the surest remedy for almost all kinds of headache.

Asanas have their main purpose in making the nerves and muscles stronger and to keep the spine flexible. As a machine cannot work without the help of strong belt or tape or chain which connects all portions of the machine, in this way our body machine cannot be active without the healthy nerves and muscles. This is why Asanas are so essential for health.

The main purpose of Mudra is to keep glands in health and in proper functioning. These glands have great responsibility for preserving physical health and mental equilibrium.

The body becomes weak, invalid and diseased and finally falls prey to premature death for want of adequate secretion of the endocrine glands.

If I lecture hour after hour, it will not be possible for me to explain fully the activity of a single gland. Gland is conductor, preserver and destroyer of our body. Practice of Mudra is very helpful to regulate glands in maintaining sound physical and mental equipoise. We are astonished to think how deep knowledge of physiology, how correct knowledge of Anatomy, is in the background of Hatha Yoga. For this correct knowledge Hatha yogis of ancient India had been able to discover Mudras to rejuvenate glands, to correct wrong activity of glands, to correct over activity and under activity of glands.

It our body glands are defective animality or beastly propensity becomes prominent, as for example, if the liver of the body is defective, the man becomes peevish and ill-natured. If the sex-gland is over-active or under-active, the man becomes passionate and selfish. If Mangal Granthi (thymus gland) is not normal, the man becomes thief, dacoit, murderer. If Sivasati Granthi (pituitary gland) is not normal, the man becomes low minded, mischievous, pitiless, black-marketer, habitual bribe taker, etc. In our age, for wrong diet, glandular activity of almost all of us is defective, this is why we have lost our moral character.

So, without correction of glandular activity, man can not be master of mind, cannot be victorious over lower mentality, can not be possessor of Divine Mind. So, it is the clarion call of Hatha Yoga, it is the verdict of Hatha Yoga, that not a single human being is bad. Those who are called bad men are not really bad; only their body organs or glandular functions of the body are defective. By correct diet and by Hatha Yoga this organic defect can be rectified easily. So by Yoga process we can reform, we can rectify human character, we can refine human nature. We can transform a brute man into a godly one. So, we should think, practice of Mudra, how much beneficial for human society, how Mudra can do a world of good to all of the human race.

We read in Hatha Yoga book: ‘As a lion can kill an elephant, so can this Uddiyan Bandha Mudra kill death; with the help of Uddiyan Bandha Mudra one can be victorious over death.’ If this Mudra is practiced from young age, body will look fresh and young, in the old age also. In this present age we shall laugh at on hearing that a single Mudra can save us from untimely death.

When we should die, what is the span of our life, it should be ascertained. It is a natural rule that when the body of an animal is fully developed then the animal is quite fit for becoming a parent. It is generally counted that the span of life is five times the developed period. As for Example, the body of a cow becomes developed at the age of 4 and 5 and then she becomes mother. So natural span of life of life of a cow is 20 to 25 years. The body of a cat is developed within 2 years, when she begins to be a parent of kittens. She we see, span of life of a cat is 10 or 11 years. The body of a human male child becomes fully developed at the age of 25 years, so, natural span of life of a man is 125 years. If a man lives a good moral and peaceful life he can add another 25 to 35 years with his span of life. So, it is possible for us all to live 150 or 160 years without disease, without senility, and with full power of physical and mental activity. Our modern medical science, our modern physiology is telling us human body cannot die until Sukra Granthi (Suprarenal Gland) is inactive. It is strange to note that if Uddiyan Bandha Mudra is practiced this Suprarenal Gland and Pancreas Gland (Surya Granthi), which are the chief glands of the navel region, which are the chief sources of vitality of our body organs, become stronger and remain active until 160 years or more, provided along with it correct diet is taken. So, it is not superfluous for a Hatha yogi to utter that Uddiyan Bandha Mudra can kill death,Uddiyan Bandha Mudra is helpful to be victorious over death, this is why we have told before: 'YOGA THERAPY IS NOT A QUACKERY, IT IS NOT CHARLAITRY, IT IS SCIENTIFIC'.

We like to see our face daily in glass. Why we feel this attraction; what is the cause behind it? Cause of it is - we like to be beautiful, we like that our face should be graceful. This is why our fair sex, our girls and ladies rub powder or cream daily on their faces. Nowadays, our young boys and grown up boys are also imitating the habits of our fair sex. But, it is needless to say, one cannot be beautiful, one cannot be really nice, merely by rubbing cream and powder. In our society, only a limited number of boys and girls, limited number of men and women, are fine to look at; we, almost all, are ugly. In Hatha Yoga we find the real process to be beautiful. The inherent cause of our ugliness is abnormal activity of our Thyroid Gland. When activity of Thyroid Gland is normal in both parents, then the body construction of children becomes beautiful, their faces become lovely, Sarbanga Sadhan Mudra can rectify the defect of Thyroid Gland, it can invigorate the activity of Thyroid Gland. So, Mudra of Hatha Yoga has capacity to reform our body formation also. If both parents, from one generation to next generation, with the help of Sarvangasana, can keep fit their Youban Granthis or Thyroid Gland, their children, whether black or white must be nice to look at, their faces will be lovely. So, with the help of Sarbanga Sadhan Mudra we can drive away ugliness from our human body structure.

The centre of our chief mental activity is in the brain glands. Shibasati Granthi (pituitary gland), Brihaspathi Granthi (pineal gland), some Granthi and some other important Granthis, which help higher realization, are situated in the brain. When these glands act regularly, Divine Mind, high thinking predominates. A Sadhaka can regularly easily advance in the path of self-Realization. If these glands act abnormally, human nature becomes unbalanced and unrestrained.

Mastak Mudra or Sirshasana can rectify the defects of these glands. So this Mastak Mudra is very beneficial for a Sadhaka. Some modern authors of Yoga advise practicing this Sirshasana for half an hour or more. It is wrong, it is harmful. After long years of experiment, we have selected fixed timings. If this time is followed, Sirshasana will be very beneficial, it will do a world of good to all.

Hatha Yoga has other two branches which are called Laya Yoga and Swarodaya Yoga. Laya Yoga tells us various interesting easy processes of mind concentration. Such as Nada or Anahatha Dhwani Sadhana, Tratak Sadhana, etc. We have intention to amplify these processes in our book Dhyana Yoga which we wish to publish soon.

Swarodaya Yoga gives stress on the control or our breathing system, on the control of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, the three breathing processes. By controlling Ida, and Pingala, almost all kinds of diseases can be cured. By controlling Sushumna one can easily march forward to attain Self-Realization or God-Realization, raising Kundalini from Mooladhara to Sahasrara.

Kundalini Shakti means concentrated vital energy in human system. This energy has a main centre in the lowest part of the body and another main centre is in the highest part of the body, which is called Sahasrara or Infinite. Our body is a tiny Universe. In our Vedic scriptures universe is called Loka, which is divided into seven parts; Bhuh, Bhuvah, Swah, Maha, Jana, Tapah and Satya Lokah. In these Lokas seven types of vital energy are manifested. So in our body these are also centres of seven types of energy - lower, upper, higher, higher most, etc. In Hatha Yoga, the centre of this energy is called 'Chakra'. So there are seven Chakras or centres of energy in our body - Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi, Ajna Chakra and Sahasrara. Energy or shakti has come out from Shaktiman. In English terminology we may call it Supreme Divinity or Supreme Consciousness. According to the low evolution this vital energy moves upward, thus lower energy or lower mind is transferred into higher mind, higher mind becomes Divine mind, Divine mind becomes Super mind or 'Chinmaya Man'. In this Yoga it's known as Kundalini Uththapan.

When Kundalini reaches Ajna Chakra, man becomes master of his mind; when Kundalini reaches Sahasrara, mental energy loses its existence, a river loses its entity in the sea, it reaches its Source, the Infinite Consciousness or Supreme Divinity, as we call it. The evolution of vital energy is complete.

All Creation is made of prana or vital force. So prana is creator, conductor, preserver of our body universe. This process by which expansion of this prana or vital force is managed, is called pranayama. So pranayama ensures vitality, victory over disease, decay or premature death. Pranayama specially invigorates the activity of lungs and heart. So pranayama can prevent and cure all kinds of dangerous diseases.

So Hatha Yoga is the natural process of curing disease sure method of attaining higher mind or Divinity. It is needless to say Kumbhaka pranayama is not beneficial for ordinary person and sick person. This is why we have introduced Sahaj Pranayama and Bhraman Pranayama for general public. Kumbhaka Pranayama is for Sadhaks only. 5 to 15 seconds Kumbhaka is not harmful for ordinary healthy person. Long Kumbhaka has special rules, regulations and diet. This long Kumbhaka is not for common people.

Hatha Yoga was used only for prevention of diseases, but by our researches we have invented new Yoga processes. Our application of these processes we have found that all kinds of diseases can even easily be cured by our easy method of Yoga Process. Hundreds of patients who are attacked with diseases like Heart disease, Blood pressure, Coronary Thrombosis, Dysentery and also other chronic diseases, are cured by our Yoga process of treatment. It is needless to say that patients wanting to give up the hope of life come to us as the last resort. They are treated and cured. It is strange to note, it is interesting to note, that where all methods of modern treatments fail, the yogic treatment succeeds. On seeing miraculous curative value of yogic process we can now boldly say that by regularly practicing this easy and safe process introduced by us, human beings at large can get bored of senility, disease and premature death. Yoga has a great message for human beings - message of healthy body, a message for beautiful body, a message for mental upliftment, a message for spiritual progress. Our aim is to organise with the help of Yoga a godly type of mankind through individual regeneration. Chronic diseases are not cured by medical process; yogic system can cure it.

So Hatha Yoga has the capacity to replace Medical Hospital (except surgery). If Yogic Hospital is introduced, all mankind will be relieved from taking poisonous drugs and operation tables of Doctors will remain empty. Yogic Hospital does not require medicine, so it is very much less expensive than Medical Hospitals.

We have mentioned before - Medicine cannot cure chronic diseases, cannot cure perfectly the dangerous diseases, cure Heart Disease, Coronary Thrombosis, Blood pressure, etc. We have practical experience that Yoga System can cure them. Taking our prescription, a great number of heart disease, blood pressure and cancer patients have been cured permanently. So Yogic Hospital is badly needed in this age.

We hope, our Yogic Hospital and Yogic College, when we have established in our Ashram, and which should be established in every Yogashram of our country, will render great help for physical, mental and spiritual progress of mankind.

Man should be master of his destiny. Man should have power to to resist disease and untimely death. Mankind must be divine with the help of this yogic system and thereby will he be fulfilled.

We have also practical research on food. Wrong diet is the root cause of all physical and mental troubles, so, what should be diet of children, what should be diet adult prepare, what should be diet of old men, what should be balanced diet, what should be ideal diet, all that should be ascertained. You will find it in our book "KHADYANITY AND SENSHUPALAN". We hope, our diet principle and easy Yoga system will be acknowledged and will be appreciated by every race, every country throughout the world, sooner or later.

Natural height of human body is seven feet. Nowadays average height of our Indian people is five feet. We have lost 2 feet height. To account for this loss I have my own research and experiments. I selected some boys and girls from my intimate circle. I advised to give them correct diet, to recommend some selected Yoga exercises. These boys and girls have surpassed their parents height. They have become 6 feet, or almost 6 feet in height. These girls have so reached their marriageable age. Parents of the girls are now accusing me, or saying, ‘Swamiji Maharaj, you have created a problem; now, it is very difficult to collect 6 feet bridegrooms for our girls. The bridegrooms which we have to select from are almost between 5 and 5½ feet in height. So our girls refuse to select their partners who are shorter then themselves.’

On seeing the result of our experiments we can hope that if, with correct diet, Hatha Yoga is practiced then after a few generations human race will again gain 7 feet height. We wish to see 7 feet tall healthy boys and girls roaming about the streets of each and every country.

In conclusion, I repeat again it is not that Yogic exercises help to gain a healthy physique only, but also it helps to have a strong, honest and specially gifted mind. We want to see the manifestation of such pure ideal and honest mind in ideal bodies of our boys and girls, of our adults and the aged. So, we advise our students to have recourse to the exercises of Hatha Yoga. Easy process of Hatha Yoga, easy process of Dhauti Basti.

You students, you ladies and gentlemen, being living examples of good physique, good mind and good spirit, you MUST fight for moral regeneration of our age. You MUST drive away all injustice, malice and selfishness from our society. You will, I am sure, try to fulfil the dream of our Indian sages, transforming this world into a Heaven, a celestial abode of godly people.