In the first article of this series, we explored the ancient Indian yoga called Rasa Sadhana and in the second explained how to deal with disagreeable moods. In this we will learn how to promote the agreeable rasas.
Only when we have our unpleasant moods under control, we can fully develop the pleasant ones. For example, one minute of anger can destroy the fine energies and chemicals known as prana, ojas and tejas, which are obtained through long periods of deep meditation. Of course, nothing works better to remove a negative emotional field than to cultivate a positive one. Each of the agreeable rasas is a potent antidote to the disagreeable rasas, though each of them also has its own little problems that may lead to unpleasant moods. The sadhana of the pleasant rasas thus not only means to stay in these moods for a long period of time. It also means to work with their limitations.
Love is called the “King of Rasas” as nothing brings as much joy as the Rasa of Love [Shringara], and nothing brings as much pain neither. Love is the very purpose of this universe, but only universal love is truly painless. Nevertheless, love between two people is an important exercise in mastering universal love. Love means total surrender and this is difficult for the ego when the object of love is the universe, whatever one dislikes included. Obviously, love often doesn’t work out well between two people. In the US, around 45 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. The Indian tradition of arranged marriages and joint family houses is not without problems either, but it pays to look at the advantages.
In a love marriage, the choice is based on likes and dislikes, so that love is always in balance and it can end anytime as its object undergoes natural changes. Every morning people wake up without knowing if they will be able to meet their partner’s expectations. In an arranged marriage, love becomes an act of Dharma and is never questioned as long as Dharma is maintained within the relationship. Thus, when a person feels loved unconditionally, to maintain the Dharma of love and be a proper husband or wife becomes much easier. Feeling secure in love also removes the urge towards unhealthy forms of attachment, such as jealousy or partner dominance. Young people who marry out of love should have the wisdom to marry out of Dharma instead and both keep their love hidden inside as their own little secret that they were lucky enough to discover. It means that they will easily distil true love out of the aesthetic level, a highly important but still secondary and fleeting aspect of the Shringara Rasa.
Within the nuclear family ideal of the West, two people are condemned to be with each other for most of their free time and thus need to be able to fulfil all needs of the other, which is obviously not possible. In the joint family of India, if your husband isn’t funny, maybe his grandmother is. With more people around, both jobs and enjoyments are easily shared and child care especially becomes a natural game as opposed to being experienced as unbearably oppressing by many Western women. While in India, more and more women are now working, it pays to understand how the traditional job division between man and wife left each with their own domain of expertise, responsibility and satisfaction. If modern couples want to avoid having to deal with a long practical agenda every time they meet, they should avoid sharing all jobs. Instead, if the wife takes care of the laundry and the husband cleans the dishes, there is no need to talk about it, or argue about it.
Last but not least, when we lose faith in the divine, faith in marriage is also lost. When we can see our husband as Krishna, Shiva, Ram. or our wife as Radhe, Parvati, Sita. then their qualities will be allowed to develop. Only then will the love between two small people become the great force of nature that binds everything together.
In Love Sadhana, we exercise our capacity to love. For a day or more, we will love everything we meet. To the Bhakta, everything is God and loved as God. Bhakti is the highest Love Sadhana.
While the greatest Joy [Hasya] originates in the feeling of being loved, humour is another main source. Life is an illusion, so why take it seriously? The biggest delusion is Mr Ego and thus ego is the best possible object of our jokes.
However, if we laugh at the ego of others, we must be careful. There is nothing wrong with a little teasing and satire certainly has a role to play in society. But sarcasm contains too much value of the Rasas of Anger and Disgust. Only pure humour can produce true joy and this mostly happens by laughing at ourselves. We cannot consciously produce laughter, but if we can make others laugh at us, we will also be able to laugh. Pure laughter is infectious, relaxing and healthy — clowns are healthier than most doctors.
Joy Sadhana means that for a certain period of time nothing is taken seriously. Laughing Yoga which has become so popular is a minor derivative of it. True Hasya Sadhana is very difficult. It is so easy to take life seriously and if we try this Sadhana we will soon find that life will come up with some serious lessons indeed. To be very serious about not being serious at all requires nothing less than truly letting go of our ego. The benefit: nothing less than eternal happiness.
When we feel to understand everything, life becomes a bore. The Wonder [Adbhuta] Rasa is important for our wellbeing because it keeps our ego in proportion. The moment you feel like your problems are too much to bear, just look up at the sun or the stars and feel how small you really are. As you become less significant, so will your problems.
However much science has discovered, it will never be able to unravel the mystery of existence. Spirituality is the best antidote against modern day emptiness. Western science is entirely based upon sense perception by its own choice. Spiritual science goes beyond the senses towards a reality that is no less real because of our inborn inability to limit it to our own conceptual understanding. While blind faith causes many problems, blind scepticism is no less culpable. The only way to discover some truth about this universe is through the direct experience offered by yoga. Yoga and meditation replace conceptual knowledge with wordless knowing. Wonder Sadhana means to deny the intellect any claim in understanding anything. Whatever happens is never judged or labelled. True Adbhuta Sadhana requires mastery of thought, brought on by advanced meditation practices. Only the thoughtless state can bring truth. If you want to experience something miraculous, just make the effort of meditating nearby a holy person. If nothing wonderful happens inside, you have either chosen the wrong person or are insufficiently able to meditate.
While the Courage [Veera] Rasa is mostly associated with the heroes of old, we all need to be heroes in our daily life. Just as the knights in shining armour, we all need to regularly train our abilities. Sadhana especially requires great courage — it is the training needed to develop our human nature.
Courage is based upon self-confidence, which is usually seen as an aspect of our ego. If courage however is based on the false identification with our body – which is the ego – then it will be limited to the limits of our body. If we take the credit personally for whatever great deed we have done, then our self-confidence turns into pride. It will cause us to overestimate our abilities and our downfall will be near. To keep our self-confidence free of ego, we must possess the humility to give all credit to God. Every Sadhana is Courage Sadhana. However, true Courage Sadhana means to undertake a particular challenge in selfless service, without anybody knowing about it, neither before nor after. If you can also forget about it yourself, it is even better.
The Rasa of Peace or Calmness [Shanta] was not regarded as a rasa for a very long time, because true Shanta is without emotion. True Shanta comes only in the highest state of meditation called Samadhi, when mind, ego and intellect are gone. However, everybody can and should exercise some level of Shanta, because without it you can’t survive. Most people become crazy for life when they stay without sleep for just a few days.
Learning meditation means to learn how to stop thinking. Whenever a bad mood develops, it will enable you to escape from it into calmness and develop a more positive mood. In life, peace will come when we focus on our spiritual needs rather than on our material, mental and personal desires. We should practice Dharma and especially pay our debts to ancestors, teachers and their teachings, as well as to the universe. Caring for others brings peace. Whenever peace is gone, slow down your breath and it will return.
Peace Sadhana is nothing more or less than the yogic path. Shanta is the rasa of preference to the saint. Fasting from whatever attracts attention brings freedom and therein lays peace.
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