We need the grace of Ganesha to overcome the obstacles that we face in our life to become healthier and happier, positive and optimistic, smiling and hopeful.
This morning I came across a passage written by Paramahamsaji, ‘The practice of yoga will bring happiness to people in Kali Yuga.’ I was a bit surprised because I have never come across in his writing where he actually refers to a yuga. He may say the practice of yoga will bring health and happiness, but to say ‘in Kali Yuga’ was the surprising part for me. I started to think why did he mention specifically Kali Yuga? What could be the reasoning. Trying to decipher or understand his thinking made me analyse Kali Yuga as well.
What is the meaning of Kali Yuga? In one word we can say deterioration, something that deteriorates. It is deterioration of everything: the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, humanistic, the benevolent and the divine. It is said that Kali Yuga started 5123 years ago with the physical demise of Sri Krishna. The day Sri Krishna left his physical body was the day Kali Yuga started, and according to the calculations that happened 5123 years ago.
In these 5123 years, we have seen the development of the human civilization from being a foraging society, an agrarian society, to what it has become today. In this journey of humanity, there have been adjustments, adaptations amidst all struggles. Struggle has always been part of human life, yet we survived through all that to reach where we are today. We have not only survived but multiplied as well and have become the most dominant race on the planet. We have been given something that no other species on this planet possesses – intelligence, the ability to know the good from the bad, right from wrong, the day from night, the plus from minus. However, the path that we are walking upon is not towards enlightenment, it is towards self-destruction.
This change has been very drastic, dramatic, and very fast. If I analyse my own life, then the decade of the 1960s was the decade where I lived a carefree life. In society everybody was part of the family. There was no stranger. I used to run away from home at the age of three or four and people would find me two to three kilometres away in the railway station, recognize me and bring me back. Nobody ever thought of kidnapping me, yet today if a child is alone, there is no surety of survival. That was the carefree life that I have seen in the decade of the 1960s.
The decade of the 1970s was the age of discovery for everyone. The scientific discoveries were being made, like the refrigerator, television and air conditioner – out of solid twenty-four-gauge iron sheets which even an elephant could not dent. Travelling was by propeller planes not jet planes. The first time I travelled from India to Europe by propeller plane, it took me three days, flying from Delhi to Karachi, to Afghanistan to Dubai, to Paris, to London. From going at snail’s pace to the age of today when you get on a flight and you are in another corner of the world in a very short time.
The 1980s was the age of exposure. Everybody was exposed to modern technology in the form of computer, internet, the white web and the dark web. This changed people globally. Suddenly a rickshaw-wallah was able to see exactly the same things that a person in London sitting in Harrods would see. This change was very sudden and you have to remember that human beings have their own unique, individual personality. Sure, we have the right to choose, we can say, “Yes, I need it,” or “I do not need it. This is my decision and my choice.” However, there is something subtle behind me and my consciousness and that is the collective consciousness; and we are all part of that.
According to ancient scriptures and yoga, the human body is nothing but energy. Science tells us that the human body is nothing but compressed energy. We know it because we have studied it and heard about it, yet we identify not with energy, we identify with this matter which is the product of that energy. We are not identifying with the essence of life, but with something that is created from that essence, and which is material and gross. This has been the collective consciousness right from day one – the body, the senses! The mind simply enforces the needs of the body and senses and desire enforces the needs of the body and the senses.
This externalized awareness is what has made us deviate from our evolution and led us towards destruction.
The last chapter of the Ramayana describes very eloquently what is going to happen in Kali Yuga – fear, insecurity, disease, death, separation, isolation, violence, aggression. The worst of the human nature is coming out, so much that you won’t be able to face it, manage it or deal with it; it is going to destroy you. This is what the scriptures have said.
If we look at our own life, civilization and society, there is definitely a quest to seek happiness and pleasure, yet this drive is very much oriented to oneself only, ‘This is my demand, I seek this pleasure, I seek this happiness.’ When the same drive is not oriented towards oneself, and instead the same drive covers more people, more beings around you, then it becomes selfless. There are these two words: selfish, meaning self-oriented, and selfless meaning inclusive, where everyone is included in what I am having, experiencing and going through. Everyone is a part of that.
The selfish or self-oriented nature is the prominent nature today. It is the destructive nature as it does not allow the subtle aspects of our nature like emotions or the spirit to express their own nature of ananda, bliss, happiness. The craving of the desires and senses always makes one identify with what one does not have and ignore what one has, and this becomes the cause of unhappiness, disease and ill health.
When I read Sri Swamiji’s statement that the practice of yoga will make people happy in Kali Yuga, I thought. ‘Yes, health is what we need and for that asana and pranayama are very good.’ Yoga has the only self-help tools in the world today, apart from the medical tools, which can give optimum health. No other exercises, gym or practices will give you total health, but the correct and right application of asana and pranayama will give you total health.
Now about mental happiness. If you are happy, you have peace and everything. Happiness is the next quality. Just as health is required for the body, happiness is required for the mind. If you follow the principles and lifestyle defined by yoga, then you are bound to experience happiness. The path is laid out, but we lack motivation and continuity.
This has been an ancient problem; people want to do something, yet they are not able to sustain or continue with it. Fickleness of the mind is human nature, even Rama asked his guru, Sage Vasishtha, how to control the fickle mind. Even Arjuna asked Sri Krishna, how to control the fickle mind. Every person in society today is asking how to control the fickle mind. The fickleness has always been there – and the lack of spiritual stability in life has become the cause of identifying with the external environment and disconnecting from the internal dimension.
Society and the world today is not a healthy or a happy place. The imbalance we see in people’s lives and in society around the world shows that we have lost control over our mind and wisdom. There is no longer such a thing as wisdom. People derive happiness and enjoyment from complaining about others.
The culture of complaint has come into people’s lives. Complain about anything and everyone, and the more people support you, the more important you become. All the social movements are based on complaints. This leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness, which is the biggest setback for human life, as it gives birth to violence and aggression. People are going through it and the collective consciousness is transmitting the same energy to people who are not even in the vicinity.
The energy that is being transmitted by all the brains all around, the thoughts that are being transmitted by all the brains all around, the electronic waves that float in the air of all the Whats Apps and other medias – does it not affect the brain? Just because you don’t see the radio waves you can't say that they don’t exist.
For this reason, I can only pray to Ganesha to remove the obstacles and give us the wisdom to live in the right manner and be responsible for health and happiness and transmit that! Self-realization is not the need of today, it might have been an inspiration of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It is definitely not the need of today. Health and happiness is the need of today, and only these two items can bring balance in a person’s life. If you are happy, you will become more positive, and the more positive you become, the more spiritual you will become.
Think about it and try to experiment with yourself and see if this capsule works on you or not. If it works, explore it, discover new venues, develop your own experience and inspire other people to experience health and happiness. This is going to be the next profession for the next decade. The way people are suffering from mental problems, from the isolation, the lock-downs, the family conflicts has become the catalyst to open new doors for mental traits which are not positive or conducive to a healthy life.
The WHO is worried about how to deal with mental health for the coming generation. Those people, who can understand the need to be healthy and happy, will be able to help those people who need some kind of intervention in their life. If you begin to live a balanced, harmonious lifestyle and encourage and inspire others to live like that, then that will be the biggest help to humanity – to manage the physical and psychological problems that we are going to face in the next ten to twenty-five years. This onslaught is not going to stop. It is the beginning, the first of many that are going to come. This is not the last virus, though it is a very potent one; it has changed life everywhere.
As people involved with yoga and spiritual life, we should be ready to deal with the challenges that our society and civilization is facing. We should be ready to help people discover health and happiness in their life, and for that you have to find it within yourself first I pray to Ganesha today, that you find health and happiness within yourself.
4 April 2021, Ganga Darshan, Munger