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Archive for March 30th, 2013

Date: 29 Mar 2013, 21:37:41
From: “Piyusa Deva” 


Baba

This letter contains two parts:
1. Posting: Re: Upavasa: Why & How to Prepare & Break #2
2. Prabhat Samgiita #4380

== UPAVASA: WHY & HOW TO PREPARE & BREAK ==

~ Part 2 ~

(Note: This is the second letter in this series. A link to the first letter has been appended below. – Eds)

Namaskar,
As we all know, fasting is a special practice whereby one’s entire system gets cleansed and purified. By allowing the organs to rest and collect the toxins, the body gets the opportunity to rejuvenate itself. Breaking the fast properly with a thorough cleansing process is an indispensable feature of fasting – otherwise much of the benefits are lost.

Each and every Ananda Margii understands that Baba has blessed us with the gifts for a fruitful life. He has graciously bestowed upon us the needed tools, guidelines, and “know-how” for a pristine and sweet existence. And while so many of His teachings lead us in this direction, certainly His divine guidelines about fasting are also an essential ingredient. It is by this wonderful process of regular fasting that our whole entire being gets cleansed and purified – in all the realms of life: physical, mental, and spiritual. And that propels us forward towards our cherished Goal.

So by doing the whole fasting and breaking process in a sincere and complete manner, an innumerable amount of “health and wealth” is aroused in the human structure such that the body and mind glisten with purity and lightness.

BABA WATCHES FOR OUR WELFARE

That is why we all know that Baba Himself is very strict with all margiis and acaryas on the point of fasting. He wants that we should derive all the many benefits from this great practice. Indeed, in multiple ways, He reminds us that always He is watching. This following teaching is leading in that exact manner.

“Suppose, a gentleman is undergoing fasting, and secretly in a closed room, he takes chocolate. ‘No one will know, nobody will know.’ But it is not so. His unit cognition will know that he has taken chocolate. And similarly, the Cosmic Father will know that in a particular room one unit body took chocolate very secretly, and that unit body is still thinking, that the fact that he took chocolate on a fast-day is not known to anybody. It is known to everybody. Nothing is a secret.” (1)

Hence, Baba is acutely aware of exactly what happens – as well as what does not happen – on our each and every fasting day. And He wants that we sincerely follow His guideline as this is for our welfare.

BABA POINTS OUT ON THE POINT OF FASTING

That is why in dharma samiiksa and in all types of reporting sessions, Baba used to point out sadhakas on the point of fasting in front of one and all. And if one person was pointed out it was understood that if others are also falling into this same category then they should also rectify themselves. That was the spirit. It was not just that Baba was speaking to only one individual on such occasions.

Some people would wonder why Baba was pointing out margiis or Wts in front of the collective, as opposed to informing them individually. The reason for this is that Baba did not have the time to speak to each and every individual on each and every particular point. So by highlighting a particular sadhaka’s mistake in front of the collective, then if 4 or 5 others were doing the same wrongdoing then naturally they would get also alarmed. And the feeling would come that they too should rectify themselves. As they understood that Baba is very concerned and strict on this point.

Plus, another reason is that naming the defects on the collective platform was a good way of reminding one and all. Because day after day or every few days if He was pointing out a different margii or Wt on the point of fasting, then it automatically became a reminder to all those present that this was something important. So if anyone was attending the reporting for an entire week or two week period, then they would get numerous reminders.

And invariably they would spread that idea to others who did not attend.

Here we should keep in mind that as Guru Baba was pointing out the defects of disciples from the very beginning, not just in later years. From the Jamalpur era up to the grand DMCs in the late 80’s, Baba would point out, benevolently scold, and His shower love. This was all done for our welfare. By this way we could grow and move on towards Supreme fulfillment. Baba is the dharma Guru and His special quality is to both love and punish.

“The preceptor must also be nigraha (capable of inflicting punishment) and anugraha (capable of bestowing grace). One who punishes only or who bestows grace only is not an ideal preceptor.” (2)

WHY POINT OUT IN COLLECTIVE SETTING

Hence overall there were at minimum two distinct reasons for pointing people out in front of the collective:

(a) A lack of time to speak to everyone on an individual basis and by this way it was a good reminder to one and all. Thus within a short period Baba could rectify and instill proper practices within countless sadhakas within the entire Marga. Overall we can say it was His special technique and blessing.

(b) Baba is very strict on the point of fasting. And He wants that we should all be sincere on this very point. As He tells us again and again in various ways that indeed He is always watching our each and every action to ensure our welfare.

Here then are more points about the great benefits of fasting.

UPAVASA PURIFIES THE PHYSICAL BODY

On the physical plane, fasting plays a direct and significant role. Because the whole health and balance of the physical body revolves around the stomach. Non-sadhakas may raise their eyebrows about such a statement, but those with just a little inner understanding about their bodily systems and functions recognise that the stomach is the nucleus and the most integral organ for maintaining human health on a day to day basis.

Because only in the case of the stomach does something from the external environment actually enter inside the body. And that “something” which enters is food which gets deposited directly into the stomach; and then in turn the various nutritional (and not-so-nutritional) components get distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. But the stomach is the starting point.

So if the stomach is not in good working order and if it cannot do its job properly, then the immediate effect is that the limbs and the various body parts and organs get adversely affected and diseased.

And what results are problems like: Acidity, gout, rheumatism, obesity, skin diseases, and ultimately cancer, heart disease, and more. All of this starts with the initial onset of difficulties in the stomach. And in numerous chapter of Yogic Treatment book, Baba clearly describes this. Yet, as we may have experienced, the practice of regular fasting naturally controls all these problems. Because before any real difficulty develops the health of the human body is restored. That is why most sadhakas do not suffer from the aforementioned physical ailments and diseases. Instead we enjoy a strong state of health.

And if per chance any problem does arise, then in numerous chapters of His Yogic Treatment book, Baba prescribes fasting as a cure. Hence fasting is an excellent resource and remedy for various physical ailments and diseases as it helps purify the entire body

“Fasting is also included in the scope of Pramitaha’r, because it gives rest to the digestive organs and frees the body from so many ailments.” (3)

“During fasting the body’s organs get a good rest, and the healing process is more rapid.” (4)

Thus those who fast regularly maintain a healthy and vibrant existence and find that the body becomes completely habituated and adjusted to this cycle of fasting. Such that the body is anxious and ready for the next fasting as the day approaches. This is the common experience of many sadhakas. And by this way the body keeps itself neat and clean.

UPAVASA BRINGS MENTAL CLARITY AND SHARPNESS

In addition, on the mental plane also fasting has a tremendous effect. Because we have all experienced that after a big meal we tend to feel sleepy, tired, and even a bit dull. This is the common problem and the reason behind this is that when we ingest food then that blood has to race to the stomach to help in digestion. And in that way less fresh oxygenated blood goes to the brain.

So during fasting none of the body’s crucial resources get diverted towards the stomach. In which case the body can better support one’s mental functioning.

That is why on fasting day sadhakas experience a distinct clarity of thought and mental freshness. The mind is flexible and sharp as it is not dragged down by bodily functions such as digestion.

Another everyday example of this phenomenon is that just before an exam or important meeting or debate, then no student or professional person will eat a large meal. Otherwise their mental faculties will be significantly hampered.

That is why in numerous traditions people proclaim that a light stomach equals a light mind. And fasting is an exceptional method for enhancing mental concentration and energy.

UPAVASA INVITES BENEFITS IN SPIRITUAL LIFE

The benefits of fasting in spiritual life are well known to all. No doubt initially at the very beginning one may feel that it is difficult to do sadhana on fasting days. But with just a little effort many sadhakas experience very good sadhana on those days since all of the body’s energy can be utilised for spiritual pursuits. And Baba’s guideline below is pointing in this same direction.

“As a result of fasting, the poisonous and unproductive waste of the body gets destroyed and expelled. Moreover, the energy that is not expended in digesting food can be utilised for other purposes. Therefore, a fast day is an excellent time for sadhana.” (5)

FASTING IS NOT ONLY FASTING BUT UPAVASA

Here below Baba colorfully describes how we are to spend our fasting days.

“‘Upa’ means proximity. And va’sa means to live, to reside. So the upava’sa word means to live near the Lord. In these days of fasting, what the aspirants are to do? Mentally they should live near their Lord. On all other days there remains a balance between external objective adjustment, and subjective approach. An adjustment between objective adjustment and subjective approach. But on these fasting, or upava’sa, the aspirant remains more in proximity to the Lord than in other mundane duties. That’s why these days are known as “upava’sa”. The word ‘fasting’ doesn’t carry the proper sense or the proper spirit of the term ‘upava’sa’. To go without food, for this the proper word is anasan. ‘An’ means not, ‘asan’ means eating. And not upava’sa. So these ekadashii, amava’sya, and purnima they are, upava’sa. Do you follow?” (6)

And Baba’s next guideline further details how fasting days are perfect for an enhanced spiritual routine.

“These fixed [fasting] days are called upavasa since during these days people keeping their minds engaged in spiritual matters ‘live closer’ to God, and any possibility of mental degradation is averted: their humanity is not endangered by the lengthening shadows of annihilation.” (7)

By all this we an understand that on fasting days one can enjoy heightened spiritual awareness and thus deepen their devotional link with Parama Purusa– Baba.

Here following Baba says more about the process of upavasa.

“Upavasa in the sense of fasting is also useless…if one does real upavasa that can do a lot. The scriptural meaning of uspavasa is– by derivation– upa which means “near”, and va’sa, which means “to stay”. Upa’vasa therefore means “to make the mind stay near Parama’tma'”. In other words, it means to withdraw the mind from thoughts of physicalities and keep it near Parama’tama’. The sanskrit word for fasting as such is anashana [remaining hungry / starving].” (8)

Namaskar,
In Him,
Piyusa

REFERENCES
1. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 12
2. Ananda Marga Ideology Way of Life – 9
3. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 12
4. Yogic Treatments, p.95
5. Caryacarya – 3
6. Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 6
7. Namah Shivaya Shantaya, p.188
8. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 23, p. 36-7

Note: LINK TO FIRST LETTER IN THIS SERIES

http://am-global-01.blogspot.com/2013/03/upavasa-why-how-to-prepare-break-part-1.html

“Maneri gahane tumi a’cho, a’cho prabhu sada’ jege a’cho…” (Prabhata Samgiita 4380)

Purport:

Baba, O’ Divine Entity, You remain always in the depths of my mind – You never leave me. I am never alone. Baba, You are always awake. You go on working day and night, beyond time. You never tire or stop. Baba, whatever You want to do, You go on doing.

O Parama Purusa, this whole expressed universe is Your eternal game. You are ever-present: beginningless and endless. You are ever intoxicated in Your divine flow. You are the Goal of everyone – everyone wants You. You are remaining with one and all.

Baba, only those trying to come close to You by their virtuous deeds, shravan, manan, nididhyasana, & dhyana, are able to come to You. Only they are able to realise You and have Your grace and proximity.

Baba, You are grace-Personified…

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