शिरडी साईं बाबा और योग
साईं बाबा योग का अभ्यास क्यों करते थे? इस धारणा से जुड़े कुछ तथ्य हैं, जिन्हें साई युग नेटवर्क की टीम इस लेख में साझा करना चाहती है। अच्छे स्वास्थ्य और मन के स्वास्थ्य के प्रेमियों के लिए एक दिलचस्प लेख।
Over the recent years, a wave of acceptance of Yoga and its techniques has risen up. Though it looks like a modern phenomenon it has roots dating back 5000 years. The first mention of Yoga was in Rig Veda, the earliest of the Vedas. The practice that connects mind, spirit, and body through meditation and controlled breathing is Yoga, which literally means “Union”. When all of the above are in line with their functions, it brings wellness of the mind which in turn helps to reduce stress and tension. Stress is considered to be a major reason for most of the chronic diseases that this generation is suffering from. It does not only mean that chronic diseases affect a specific age group, today many infants are born with such conditions. Various physical benefits of Yoga are it minimizes stress, promotes pain relief, benefits heart health, improves flexibility, corrects the posture, protect the spine, helps to revise the blood flow, lowers the blood pressure, maintain heart rate, lowers blood sugar, maintains nervous system, makes the sleep deeper, prevent digestive problems, boosts immune system functionality, curbs depression, strengthens the mind-body synchronization, stress reduction, relieves anxiety, gives peace of mind. While the physical benefits of regular practice of Yoga seem to be very promising, we are still focusing on the benefits that it will provide to those who are eager and active on the path of spirituality. Yoga can help spiritual seekers at a length to transit from this gross body to the subtlest one.
Shirdi Sai Baba, The ParaBrahma, The Spiritual Master had a unique way of addressing issues. He would resort to different yet unique techniques to make the world understand the importance of living a simple life that led to self-realization. Sometimes He Himself would bring into action those teachings for us to accept and follow instantly, one of them was “Practicing Yoga”.
“Baba knew all the processes and practices of Yoga. Two of them will be described here: (1) Dhauti or Cleaning Process: Baba went to the well near a Banyan tree at a considerable distance from the Masjid every third day and washed his mouth and had a bath. On one occasion, He was seen to vomit out his intestines, clean them inside and outside and place them on a Jamb tree for drying. There are persons in Shirdi, who have actually seen this, and who have testified to this fact. Ordinary Dhauti is done by a moistened piece of linen, 3 inches broad 22 1/2ft. long. This piece is gulped down the throat and allowed to remain in the stomach for about half an hour for being reacted there and then taken out. But Baba’s Dhauti was quite unique and extraordinary. (2) Khanda Yoga: In this practice, Baba extracted the various limbs from His body, and left them separately at different places in the Masjid. Once, a gentleman went to the Masjid and saw the limbs of Baba lying separately at separate places. He was much terrified; and he first thought of running to the village officers, and informing them of Baba being hacked to pieces and murdered. He thought that he would be held responsible, as he was the first informant, and knew something of the affair. So he kept silent. But the next day when he went to the masjid, he was very much surprised to see Baba, hale and healthy, as before. He thought that what he had seen the previous day was only a dream. Baba practiced Yoga since His infancy and nobody knew or guessed the proficiency He attained. He charged no fees for His cures, became renowned and famous by virtue of His merits, gave health to many a poor and suffering person. This famous Doctor of doctors cared not for His interests, but always worked for the good and welfare of others, Himself suffering unbearable and terrible pain many a time in the process. One such instance, I give below, which will show the all-pervasive and most merciful character of Sai Baba.
Now a curiosity gave birth to the question of “why Baba practiced yoga” and made it an integral part of His routine. Being Parabrahma He did not need any such practice as a routine, but He wanted to set an example of Himself for His devotees. As it was one of the important routine activities of Baba, we can conclude that He gave it importance and wanted His devotees to practice yoga for their spiritual growth and upliftment.
Yoga should be performed for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Once we are successful in attaining this milestone, we can proceed to spiritual well-being. Basically, yoga is for cell-level well-being.
In one of our last posts, we had a look at the relationship between Sai Baba and Nath Panthis. Some more light is being shed here.
The earliest texts on Hatha yoga of the Naths, such as Vivekamārtaṇḍa and Gorakhshasataka, are from Maharashtra, and these manuscripts are likely from the 13th century. These Nath texts, however, overlap with the 13th-century Jnanadeva commentary on the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita, called the Jnaneswari. This may be because of mutual influence, as both the texts integrate the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta schools of Hinduism in a similar way.
Numerous technical treatises in the Hindu tradition, composed in Sanskrit about Hatha Yoga, are attributed to Gorakshanath.
The Naths recruited devotees into their fold irrespective of their religion or caste, converting Muslim yogins to their fold.
Yoga comprises four activities as listed below:
- Postures (Commonly Known As Asanas),
- Breathing Techniques (Pranayama),
- Meditation (Dhyana)
To understand “how Yoga works” on a physical body, let us understand certain biological terms and how they are linked with yoga and its techniques.
The practice of asana, pranayama, and dhyana can help to maintain genomic integrity and are of key importance to human health and lifestyle disorders. It happens because the Telomeres, which are repetitive sequences that protect the chromosomes, are maintained and it results in healthy longevity. In short, shorter telomere length can be associated with lifestyle disorders, as the studies show. A review was conducted to assess the effectiveness of asana, pranayama, and dhyana in maintaining telomere and telomerase. The results showed that asana and pranayama increase the oxygen flow to the cells and dhyana reduces the stress level.
Conclusions: Adopting yoga/meditation-based lifestyle modification causes reversal of markers of aging, mainly oxidative stress, telomerase activity, and oxidative DNA damage. This may not only delay aging and prolong a youthful healthy life but also delay or prevent the onset of several lifestyle-related diseases, of which oxidative stress and inflammation are the chief cause. This report suggests this simple lifestyle intervention may be therapeutic for oxidative DNA damage and oxidative stress. (Reference)
The very agenda of practicing yoga is to attain Samadhi (Mukti or to become one with Paramatman) but practicing yoga also concludes how Yoga can slow down the aging process and thereby keep you healthy. A healthy body increases the level of concentration (Dharana) needed for meditation (Dhyana) and it connects the path to the inside of us and thus we are able to realize the true nature of our existence. One of the many, different ways Sai Baba imparted spiritual guidance, practicing Yoga is a very powerful method for spiritual growth and upliftment. Earnest ones can take Yoga as the first step towards the goal, that is staying healthy and to achieve the ultimate abode “Paramatman”.
In the end, if you are not able to do any hard practices owing to any reason, Sai Baba has suggested “NaamSmaran” as the Best Sadhana in this Kaliyug. Just remembering Him with all the love and devotion each moment will pull you on the path that leads towards the goal. He came to this earth to take us with Him. It is our experience that Sai Baba gives us messages directly, we got the following message from Him when we were doing research on this topic and wanted guidance. For every post, Shirdi Sai Baba is guiding us, and see He did it in the following manner for this post. We came across this board outside a temple of Sai Baba.
As a footnote, I quote an apt phrase from
योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || 48 ||
Yoga-Sthaḥ Kuru Karmāṇi Saṅgaṁ Tyaktvā DhanañjayaBhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 48
Siddhy-Asiddhyoḥ Samo Bhūtvā Samatvaṁ Yoga Uchyate
Be steadfast in the performance of your actions (karma), Ho Dhananjaya (Arjuna), with non-attachment to achievement and nonachievement. Such equanimity is called Yoga.
Om Tat Sat, Om Sai Raam