17 Feb Hansaji on ‘Yoga for the Golden Years’ at the Satsang, 17th Feb 2013
The topic for the Hindi Satsang on Sunday, 17th February, 2013 was ‘Yoga for the Golden Years.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the audio:
“We generally associate the word ‘Old Age’ with negativity, sadness, cribbing, non-adjusting personality, etc. If we look at our life, diseases are there at every stage. Small children fall sick very often, youngsters fall and hurt themselves and experience anxiety, etc. At all stages the body shows changes. So it is wrong to associate old age with sickness.
In old age, many times, our life’s experiences may not prove helpful because the body reacts differently. So it is necessary not to be too rigid. Try to change with the time and body. According to me, the definition of old age would be: ‘When we are not ready to learn, we become old. If we cannot adjust to situations, we are old.’ Puja (Worship) is associated only with old age. If we want to depict an old lady, she is shown with a Mala (beaded necklace/ rosary), taking God’s name. In fact, God’s name should be taken more at a young age! At a young age God is remembered only if one fails in examinations, etc.
If care is not taken at a young age, nothing can be done in old age. Training has to be given from a young age itself. The first 25 years that we take to develop ourselves will be useful to us in the future. If Batata Vada (a junk food item) is on your mind all the time in your youth, that only will come to mind in old age.
Adjustment is important. If you want to remember God, you wake up early in the morning, go to the temple, then sit and take God’s name, offer flowers, and what not. But you are also a member of the family; you are supposed to contribute to the family. Be there when needed. You can watch over the children if others are busy, open the door when the bell rings if others are occupied, etc. If you are busy in your Puja all the time, and don’t want to be disturbed, a certain rigidity develops, which is wrong. A person can do Puja at any time. It is not necessary to have a fixed time or place. A person was sitting outside a Masjid, drinking alcohol. Someone asked him why he was drinking in a holy place, he should go somewhere else. He replied by asking, “Tell me one place where Khuda (God) is not there, and I will go there.” Anyway, the point is about understanding that God is everywhere, at all time.
In childhood, children are taught to sit with joined hands, ring a bell, offer flowers etc. while worshipping because it is not possible for them to sit still in one place. So these external expressions become necessary. But after that, at an older age, this rigidity is not required. It should be a more internalized experience. This understanding and open-mindedness is essential. So the person who is not flexible and is rigid is old.
The third definition of old age is when a person keeps talking of the past. They complain about youngsters today and compare them with their own past. Forget the past, you are still alive today, so talk of the present. The present is the result of the past. If you have done the right things in the past, you will benefit from it in the present. There is no need to tell others about it, for example complaining about the rising prices of groceries, etc. We tend to glorify the past and put down the present. So somehow, we need to change the way we live.
Additionally we should not advise our future generations and keep telling them what to do. We must support them and look at the positive side to encourage them. After giving it a great amount of thought and weighing the pros and cons, a young man is investing money for a new business. But if the parents will keep doubting him and say negative things, he will never be able to stand on his two feet. But if parents support him and just guide him in not doing anything ethically wrong, and encourage him to take risks, the man will gain strength and confidence.
We must see what we are contributing to the young generation. We should have the maturity to see the good things in the world and not pick and search for the negative things. In the Vedas, the mantra is given “Charaiva Iti Chiraiva Iti” – Always be on the move. This should be our life’s philosophy. Do not hold on to things.”