Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of natural and holistic medicine. When translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the science of life” (the Sanskrit root ayur means “longevity” or “life” and veda means “science”).
While allopathic medicine tends to focus on the management of disease, Ayurveda provides us with the knowledge of how to prevent disease and how to eliminate its root cause if it does occur.

Core Principles

The knowledge of Ayurveda was passed on orally through a lineage of sages in India until it was collated into text more than five thousand years ago. The oldest known texts on Ayurveda are the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and the Ashtanga Hrudaya. These texts detail the affect that the five elements found in the cosmic system - earth, water, air, fire, space – have on our individual system, and expound on the importance of keeping these elements balanced for a healthy and happy life.
According to Ayurveda, each person will be influenced by certain elements more than others. This is because of their prakriti, or natural constitution. Ayurveda categorizes the different constitutions into three different doshas:
  • Vata dosha, in which the air and space elements dominate
  • Pitta dosha, in which the fire element dominates
  • Kapha dosha, in which the earth and water elements dominate
The dosha affects not just the shape of one’s body but also bodily tendencies (like food preferences and digestion), and the temperament of one’s mind and emotions. For example, the earth element in people with Kapha dosha is evident in their solid, sturdy body type, their tendency for slower digestion, their strong memory, and their emotional steadiness. Most people’s prakriti is made up of a combination of two doshas. For example, people who are “Pitta Kapha” will have the tendencies of both Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha, with Pitta dominating. By understanding the qualities of our natural constitution we are better able to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle

Ayurveda places great importance on one’s pathya, or lifestyle (eating habits and daily routine). Ayurveda also provides guidance on how to adjust our lifestyle based on the change of seasons.
A happy mind lets you stay calm; make better decisions and improve the overall quality of life. Fill in the form below to learn how a dash of happiness can revamp your life.

Learn to Care For The Environment - From Within

Yesterday, the World Environment Day‬‬ was celebrated across the world. Only the ones who are unpolluted from within can take care of the environment. If someone’s mind is polluted with anger, aversion, hatred or greed, how can that person clean the environment? A greedy person won't be concerned about the welfare of the environment. He will be busy doing his work.
Today, pollution in the environment is caused due to greed. See, if a person is angry all the time, his vision becomes clouded and he never finds anything right outside. When the vision is distorted, the outcome of whatever work he undertakes will be similar. The person who is full of anger, his actions are followed by regret. This is for sure. You see within your own lives, whatever you have done anything in a state of anger, haven’t you regretted it later? It has to happen. This is because anger is not the right state of mind.
I am not saying that you should not get angry. But whenever anger comes, it should not stay for more than a minute in the mind. Then, it’s not pollution. But when anger stays for long in our mind, it creates pollution. You see, you eat a banana, after removing the peel if you leave the peel on the table, it does not create any pollution. But if that peel stays at the same place for two to three days, then it creates pollution.
When you eat a chocolate and you leave the wrapper at the same place for 4-5 days, it creates pollution. This accumulation of the garbage is pollution.
Sometimes anger is needed in life, it can get work done. But when it makes a place within us, then it creates pollution. It pollutes our vision. Our work starts getting affected and we are filled with regret. Then there is hatred, which is solidified anger.
A person who has hatred can never be sensitive towards the environment. The Nature and the environment are very delicate and sensitive. In order to grasp their delicate nature we need to have sensitivity within ourselves. The one who has this fluidity and simplicity within, can be sensitive towards the environment.
The environment is our first body out of the ‘Panchakosha’ (five bodies or sheaths). The environment is the first sheath. Then comes the body made of blood and bones. The second kosha is the Pranamaya kosha (breath). Third is Manomaya kosha (mind). Then comes the Vignaanamaya kosha (intellect), and fifth is the Anandamaya kosha (bliss).
I believe that the environment is our body. How is that? See, if the air is polluted then your body cannot live. If the air is poisonous, the how will you survive? Therefore, it is the first body.
We should clean up the pollution within our minds first. There are some people who say that The Art of Living has created pollution, it has become a fashion now. They say that The Art of Living should clean the environment. We said we will clean the pollution from the minds first. The one who says that The Art of Living has created pollution, their vision is polluted. Clear the vision and you will see that we have not created any pollution.

Significance of Pujas, Homas, Yagnas, and Chanting in Today's Life

There are two types of knowledge - Para Vidya and Apara Vidya. Apara Vidya includes homas, yagnas, and mantras (chants) and Para Vidya includes meditation and grace. Death can be postponed through Apara Vidya, while immortality can be attained through Para Vidya. That is why both are required in life.

Para Vidya can be attained only through grace. This does not mean that we have to perform the yagnas ourselves. It is alright if we just sit in the yagnas with some devotion in our heart. E.g., when we want to fight a case in the court, we don't fight it ourselves. What do we do? We sign the papers, and give the case to a lawyer who knows the rules, and fights on our behalf. Don't we do this?
Similarly, we only take the sankalpa in yagnas; the rest of the work is done by the knowledgeable pundits, who do the chanting and the rituals. But the benefits of yagnas is only when there is a meditative atmosphere!

Have you noticed, there is such a big difference in the pujas that happen here and at other places? Pujas happen in so many temples, but people don't go into meditation, they don't meditate. When you don't meditate, then the puja has no impact. That is why it is written in the Vedas, "Yo jagara tam richa kamayante, yo jagara tam u samani yanti", which means -- the Samaveda mantras run towards those who are awake in their consciousness, who do sadhana, who meditate, and do kriya; mantras work for these people.

All of you must have attended pujas and satsangs earlier. Did you start enjoying them after you started doing Sudarshan Kriya or not? Many of you have started enjoying bhajans (devotional songs) after doing kriya and meditation. Do you know why? This is because, when your consciousness has opened up and you have experienced the inner space, then you immensely enjoy the mantras and bhajans.

Similarly, when you heard the Samaveda, many of you started feeling meditative. This is because wherever meditation happens and where a Guru is present, there is a significance to the yagnas and homas happening there.

We should follow a bit of rituals but we don't need to get involved in it deeply. Did you understand this? If you don't do certain rituals correctly it can also have the opposite impact. That is why it is important that only the people who are well trained conduct the ritual.

Surya Namaskar

The word Namaskar has two meanings: worship and greeting. When you meet somebody, you say 'Namaskar'. Namaskar means that you are greeting the person, and not worshiping them. Do you see what I am saying? It is used both during worship, and also as a greeting.

Now this has become a big controversy in India because it can give a religious overtone to it.
Similarly, these different mantras are sound vibrations. Sound vibrations affect different parts of the body. For example, when someone is stressed, what is the sound that comes out of them naturally? Hmmmph! This Hmmmph-kara is a mantra.

There is a story in Devi Bhagawatam. It is said when the demons came and attacked, Mother Divine stood up and said, 'Hmmmph', and all the demons got destroyed. All the demons turned into ashes.
Now what does this story mean? When a lot of negativity comes into the mind, there is an inbuilt mechanism in your own body and that is Hmmmph-kara. Take a deep breath in and say 'Hmmph', and the negativity leaves you.
So these sounds have their own vibrations and they mean something to our system. If someone has reservations, they do not need to do it.

Dealing with Failure and Unhappiness

Teenagers can never fail their parents because there is a lot of time to fail them! If after the age of 40 or 50, you feel you have failed, then it is fine. Actually, you can still do something at that time also. Never get disappointed or think that you have failed in life. Even those who think that after the age of 50 or 60, your life is a failure, I tell you, it is not! Even if you have fallen ten times, it is not a failure! Do you know why? It is because you have taught so many people by your failure!

You can only learn and teach in life, whether good or bad! If you walk on the right path, you will show the path and move. If you walk on the wrong path, even then you are useful. Why? You have taught people - "Don't do what I have done. I have fallen in the ditch, you don't fall".
If you at least look at your life on this basis, you have cautioned someone and your life is not a waste. That is why you should never think about committing suicide. Don't you ever think about it! Die; get wiped out, but after living your life! Not by putting a noose around your neck! Kill your mind, not your life!

How unhappy can you be? Cry as much as you want, go under the ground, but come back alive! Think that you are already dead, then you will experience good yog nidra. Rest well! It is your hopes, desires and ambitions that are killing you, your cravings that are killing you. Kill your desires and cravings and not yourself.

Why do you get jealous? Because you think what you were supposed to get, someone else got. Think that they are also going to die. See everyone as dead, other than you! Only you are there! Think as if you have come into a new world in which you are alone, this is called Kaivalya. Kaivalya means I am alone, there is no one else. Everyone else is just bubbles, like waves in the water.
Think like this for all those towards whom you have anger and jealousy; know that they have all turned to ashes.

Many people remove other's clothes in their mind, and get disturbed. No, you remove the skin also, don't stop at the clothes, go beyond the clothes, remove the skin and you will see only muscles and bones. This is what everything is made up of! Then see how your mind becomes so peaceful.

This is what Shri Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita, "I have killed all of them, they are already dead. What are you feeling sad about? This whole world is only dead bodies". When you see things in this manner, then knowledge arises within you. This is what you have to see. Whenever you are sad, stand up and see that everyone is dead, no one is alive. Then notice you will be at such peace!

Can you recall how you were before a craving arose in you? How you were when you were a child? After dying, what will you be? All this filth? Will you take all this filth within your mind and die? Then in your next birth also, you will be like that. Beware! Now, before this birth ends, make your mind peaceful, happy and content. You can be content only when you realise there is nothing else of value.

Wake up! It is time. Tell yourself this. Call yourself by your name; wake up, wake up quickly! It is way past the time! You have spent a lot a lot of time in the muck, now go and bathe in clean waters, in pure knowledge, and then sit like a lion or lioness. Know that no one can make us unhappy, if our mind doesn't want to be unhappy. If we don't want to be unhappy, no one can upset us! The cause for our peaceful state and restless state is our own mind.

Meditation and success

Well, what do you call success? Is it just having a big bank balance? People may have had a lot of fame and name, and a big bank balance, but they may be unable to smile, or they may not be having a good night’s sleep, and many cannot enjoy their meal. Do you know that?
To me, success is the undying smile on someone’s face. To me, success is the confidence in a person that he can win, that he can overcome any obstacles, or any situations in his life.
That is success! Look at some of the wealthy people, they are so scared of even making friends with anybody. They think that their friends are just there for their money. They get into that state of paranoia. Do you call this success? There are many so called famous people, that even if you squeeze them, there is not an iota of joy in them. I don’t call it success.
Well, if you want to be successful and famous, you can do all that, but you have to keep a healthy body and healthy mind. For that, you need to meditate my dear! Meditation is not a direct way to success. It is like watering the root of a tree. When you water the roots, then there are fruits, are flowers and greenery. If you don’t want to meditate, don’t meditate. There is no compulsion. Get thoroughly stressed, and be stressed. If stress can bring you success, well, you should go for it. Who asked you to meditate?
Wake up, please wake up. Meditation is not an obstacle for you to be dynamic and successful in your life. In fact, it helps you. If some people are meditating and they are not successful, it is their choice.

Yoga and the art of living healthy

Thousands of miles away and your words here get into this cell phone which is not even connected to a wire. Usually when something is connected with a wire we take it for granted because we see that there is a connection, but here there is not even a solid connection. A cell phone is your hand, you speak and that gets transmitted in this empty space and goes and reaches somewhere so far away. If you just put your mind on this phenomenon you will be amazed. We take this for granted and we just speak on the cell phone and don't even notice the mechanism behind it.
If you look into the mechanism you will be in awe. This awe awakens the spirit inside you. That awe takes you to the state of meditation. 'Vismaya Yoga Bhumika'; Astonishment is the preface for Yoga. If you are astonished/stunned, that is when yoga begins, means your spiritual journey begins, meditation begins. So you must be astonished in order to get into yoga or whenever you feel that 'wow', that astonishment in you, know that you are connected with the spirit that you are. You are in that state of spiritual elevation. Isn't it amazing, isn't it beautiful?
How could someone think that the 'oh wow' could create such an elevation of the spirit? All present day crisis and problems can be solved by this change in the attitude, don't you think so?!

Scientific study of spirituality

Spirituality is anyways scientific. What does science mean? Systematic, logical understanding which leads to something beyond the arena of the known. Here, science is exploring the unknown through the known. Spirituality is exactly the same. That's why spirituality is where all religions connect and merge at one point.
There was only one Buddha but today, there are 32 sects of Buddhism. There was only one Jesus but today, there are 72 sects of Christianity. There was only one Prophet Mohammad and there are so many sects of Islam. And with Hinduism, you can't even count. So many sects are there.
The world is diverse. We must honour diversity. The people who say, "My religion is the best religion; it is better than yours", are not scientific in their thinking. Something is basically wrong with them. This is the reason half the world is in the grip of terrorism because people think my religion is better than yours, and those people want everyone else to follow that religion. This is a problem. And what is the solution? Solution is to celebrate diversity, to see the common thread of all the religions. That is spirituality. That is meditation. It is not in conflict with anyone's religion, but it unites people across, and that is the simple thing that the Art of Living has been working toward for all these decades.

Sensitivity and strength

Those who are sensitive often feel weak. Those who feel strong are often insensitive. Some people are sensitive to themselves but insensitive to others . They often feel the others are "bad guys." Those who are sensitive to others but not to themselves often end up feeling "Poor me". Some conclude it's better not to be sensitive, because sensitivity brings pain. They shut off .But mind you, if you are not sensitive, you will lose all the finer things in life, too--intuition, beauty and ecstasy of love.
Insensitive people usually do not recognize their weakness. And those who are sensitive do not recognize that their sensitivity is their strength. This path and this Knowledge make you strong and sensitive.
Sensitivity is intuition. Sensitivity is compassion. Sensitivity is love. Sensitivity is real strength. Sensitivity brings calmness, endurance, silence, non-reactiveness, confidence, faith and a smile. Be both sensitive and strong.

Blaming and Misery

When a worldly man is miserable, he blames the people around him, the system, and the world in general.
When a seeker is miserable he, of course, blames the world, but in addition he blames the path, the Knowledge, and himself.
It is better not to be a seeker so that you blame less. But then a seeker (sadhak) also enjoys everything much more. There is more love in life and more pain. When there is more joy, the contrast is greater. A certain level of maturity is needed to see things as they are and not to blame the path, the self, and the world. Do you see what I am saying?
It is like a quantum leap. If one jumps across this threshold then there is no fall.
The Divine does not test you. Testing is part of ignorance.
Who will test? One who does not know will test, isn't it? God knows your capacity, so why does he have to test you? Then, why the misery? It is titiksha, or forbearance, in you. And forbearance could be increased by prayerful surrender or vigorous challenge for patience! 

What does "Narayana paro dyatha dyayanam Narayana para" from the Narayana Upanishad mean?

‘Dyatha’ is also Narayana, and the one who is meditating is also Narayana. It is all Narayana - inside, outside and everywhere. This is seen in all the mantras of the Gods. For example, in Ganapati mantra ‘Artharvashirsha’ - it says, 'Lord Ganapati is present everywhere - behind me, in front of me, beside me, above me, below me, inside me and outside of me'. Similarly, Narayana is present everywhere, before, behind and in front. This was a way to meditate.

In earlier days, they used to keep an Idol or kalash (pot of water), worship it and settle within themselves. In the course of meditation they would start to feel the presence of Ganapati all around, inside, outside, above, below, in front and then this would take one into Samadhi. The main purpose of all this is to go into Samadhi.

Another aspect is that, when we engage with the outside world (through rituals), it creates positive vibrations within us and affects the atmosphere positively. The same results are obtained when yagyas and poojas are performed. Therefore, these are the two aspects - firstly, to be established within oneself and to be in a state of Samadhi, and secondly - to purify vibrations and bring positivity in our behaviour and in the atmosphere.

The heat of knowledge

For your prayer to be answered, the desire has to be intense. The greater the intensity of desire and the longer it takes to get fulfilled, then greater will be the gratitude. Intense desire leads you to devotion. For desire to get intense, time and the need for the desire are required. The feeling of gratitude is so overwhelming after the fulfilment of desire that it's achievement loses its charm and significance.

The son of a farmer in India had a life-long desire to go to England and he prayed deeply for it. Even the news of his trip to England materializing filled him with immense gratitude -- he did not even care whether he went or not.

Often people think that they are unfortunate if their desires don't get fulfilled quickly. Intense desire can frustrate you or make you prayerful. In prayerfulness, there is gratitude and devotion. Any intense experience makes you whole.

Your consciousness is like corn. With the heat of Knowledge, consciousness pops ups and becomes white and fluffy.