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Techniques for a Disciplined Body, Speech and Mind

"मन: प्रसाद: सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रह: | भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते"Bhagavad Gita 17.16

Lord Krishna gave us five interesting techniques for mind development through the above sloka. They are Cheerfulness, Gracefulness, Silent (introspection), Self-restraint & Purity of intent.

What is Tapa

Tapas in Sanskrit means penance or austerity. Most of the interpretations of the above sloka and the two previous slokas indicate a meaning of ‘penance’ or ‘austerity’. Tapa also means ‘to heat up’. Metals are heated and melted to remove the impurities and make it flexible to make into beautiful and useful forms. When gold is placed in the fire, its lustre increases. Similarly, when our body, speech and mind are put to tough discipline as suggested by Lord Krishna (five discipline each), the soul gets purified and growth gets assured.

It is interesting to look at this Rigveda sloka to understand tapa better:

"O Paramatma, Master of the soul; Your appearance is holy and can permeate anything. You are the master of everyone. You pervade everything all through. He whose body has not suffered in the heat of the fire, has not practiced tapa, is unripe and not ready. They cannot experience your bliss. They are able to bear the bliss and enjoy it who have been prepared by the flame."

It is very essential to put our body, speech and mind through a tough regime of practice.

Techniques for a Disciplined Body, Speech and Mind

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Purification of Body

Before teaching about these mind techniques, Lord Krishna talked about the penance for the body and speech in the two previous slokas. We will now see about the body and speech techniques vide the Bhagavad Gita slokas 17.14 & 17.15. Sorry for taking them in the reverse order.

"देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम् | ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते" - Bhagavad Gita 17.14

Like five techniques for the penance of the mind, there are five techniques for the penance of the body. They are pujanam, shauchm, aarjavam, brahmacharyam & ahimsa.

  1. Puajanam – Worshipping (actual intent may be taken as ‘Respecting’ need not necessarily worshipping) God, Learned (dwija in the sloka means twice-born and can be considered as reference to ‘Learned’), Teachers(s), Wise (shall include parents, elderly, mentors, etc).
  2. Shauchm – Cleanliness includes external and internal cleanliness.
  3. Aarjavam – Simplicity, Simple ways of living. Simpler we live, more we have time for higher thinking. Can also refer to ‘straight forwardness’, acting without duplicity in thought, word or deed.
  4. Brahmachryam – Literal translation of brachmacharyam is celibacy. Lord Krishna used the word brahmacharyam to refer to ‘discipline against sensual pleasures’. It is included here as antithesis to ‘kama’.
  5. Ahimsa – Literal translation is non-violence’. Not harming anyone / anything even if provoked.  Non-violence is included as an antithesis to ‘krodha’.

So, Lord Krishna indicates that the tool to control Kama is Brahmacaryam and the tool to control Krodha is Ahimsa.

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Ahimsa Paramo Dharma

Ahimsa Paramo Dharma is a sanskrit phrase that was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and is often repeated by many leaders today to demonstrate the universality of Ahimsa.

Loosely translated, Ahimsa means Non-violence, Paramo means topmost, ultimate, or supreme, and Dharma means duty. Thus, non-violence is the topmost duty to the extent that it supersedes all other duties. There is no selective application of ahimsa. It must be applied in every case and in all matters. This universal sense leads to an unconditional and unilateral abandonment of violent resistance, under any and all circumstances (as in the philosophy of Buddhists and Jains). “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma" is mentioned several times in the Mahabharata.

Story time:

In Vana Parva of Mahabharatha, Markandya Muni narrated an interesting story to Yudhishtra, the story of a brahman learning the secrets of dharma from a butcher, a butcher teaching the greatness of ahimsa to a brahman. This story was covered in a previous blog and in my book Grandma in the Boardroom but shall repeat a short gist in the next blog as the story is very relevant to the tapas of body, speech and mind.

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Jaganathan T
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Priyanshu Ranjan
  • 2024-01-04 00:24:28
तप, त्याग, परिश्रम means...
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Sahasra Kudikala
  • 2023-12-30 22:27:12
After going through this informati...

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