fasting and tapas

Fasting and tapas will increase your resistance
Columns by Sri Sri Ravishankar – 124

Thought of the day :
While you are fasting, you are not pleasing God or going to heaven ..
What happens by practising all this?
Your senses become strong because the impurities in you are eliminated.
Fasting and tapas will increase your resistance power

We were discussing about the five Niyamas or rules.

Cleanliness, happiness, penance, self-study and devotion to God are the five rules.

Kayendriya siddhir ashuddhikshyat tapasaha (Sutra 43)
Kaya = body;
indriya = senses;
siddhihi = strong;
ashuddhi = impurities;
kshayat = eliminated;
tapasaha = by penance.

By penance or purifying actions, the body and senses become strong because the impurities are eliminated.
While you are fasting, you are not pleasing God or you are not going to heaven or getting enlightenment!
What happens by practising all this?
Your body becomes strong.
Your resistance power increases and your senses become strong because the impurities in you are eliminated.

What is tapas?  Patanjali Maharishi says, Tapo vay dwandwa sahana
Tapo = tapas;
Vay = indeed;
Dwandwa = opposites;
Sahana = endurance
Tapas is indeed endurance of the opposites.
Life is full of opposites of pain-pleasure, heat-cold, good-bad, friends-enemies, praise-blame. These things do come in life. Just take them with equanimity. How much ability you have to endure the opposites, that much is tapas.
What does tapas do? This brings strength to your body and mind. Body gets prepared to hold the infinite consciousness. The body-mind complex gets prepared to emit the divinity that is there in everyone.

Swadhyayat ishtadevata samprayogaha (Sutra 44)
Swadhyayat = by self study;
ishta = desired;
devata = deity;
samprayogaha = presence is felt.

By self-study, the desired deity’s presence is felt.  Swadhyaya or self-study is usually mentioned as the study of scriptures and books. In a way it is correct, but it is not just that. The scriptures and books are only aids in the study of the self.  Just by reading scriptures without any experience is of no use.
By self study , by observing, by becoming hollow and empty, we become the Divine’s channel. You are part of the Divine. You are able to feel the presence of the divinity and all different forms of consciousness starts blossoming.

The last rule is Eshwara pranidhana which means letting go and surrendering to the higher self, to the divine.

Next sutra is Samadhisiddhir eshwarapran idhanat (Sutra 45)
Samadhi = the state of Samadhi;
Siddhihi = attainment;
Eshwarapran idhanat = by devotion to God.

The state of Samadhi is attained by devotion to God.  This means seeing life with context to the universe. This universe which is so vast and enormous has been here for billions of years and will continue to be here for billions of years.
Eshwara Pranidhana means offering or surrendering to that consciousness which is the substratum of creation.
Patanjali has mentioned about God very rarely. This is one such place where he mentions about devotion to God. He says that by surrendering to that consciousness which loves you so dearly and which is free from any imperfections or suffering, one attains Samadhi. This is the fifth rule or niyama.

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