Hansaji on ‘Positive Thinking’ at the Satsang

The topic for the Hindi Satsang on Sunday, 30th June, 2013 was ‘Positive Thinking’

Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.

Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra
Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra

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“Today’s topic is Positive Thinking/Rituals. There are many negative rituals which are harmful and in the process positive rituals are also lost. In the old days the tradition of Sati was there where if the husband died, the wife also had to die. Her hair would be removed, her bangles broken, etc. These rituals were filled with violence and negativity. A person’s perspective of another would change with a change in the situation. There were many such wrong rituals such as, if a lady having her period touched someone, it was considered bad, if a Shudra (untouchable) touched a Brahmin (higher caste) by mistake, the Brahmin would take a bath. These rituals we will not be able to accept.

However, if there are positive rituals by which we gain mental peace and faith, by which fear, tension and anxiety are removed, then they are necessary for us. These are small things which do not take up much of our time. However there should not be rigidity in rituals. If you can’t do some of the externalized rituals such as going to the temple or Masjid, etc. at least you can close your eyes and experience the same peace as you feel there.

In the beginning it may be necessary to teach children these externalized rituals, but if sometimes it cannot be done, it should not be made into a big deal. For example, if you are sick or the weather is bad and the government has warned you from going out of your house, and you still go to the temple; that would be wrong. There should be correct understanding.

Yoga philosophy talks of certain types of rituals, for example, taking deep breaths on waking up in the morning, quieting the mind, remembering Ishvara (God/ Higher power), stretching the body, drinking warm water in the morning, cleaning the throat and teeth, etc. These Niyamas are also rituals of a kind, including Asanas, Pranayamas, Meditation, etc. Whenever free, sit quietly for some time, think that some higher power is running the world and that we have nothing to be sad or worried about.

The Yoga Sutras talk about ‘Om’ – ‘Tasya Vacakah Pranavah’ which says that the one word to remember God in any form is ‘Om.’ The sutra after that says – ‘Tad Japa Tad Artha Bhavanam.’ Repeat the name with meaning and feeling. This can be done many times during the day.

So there are rituals followed in the family and we can also make rituals based on yoga. All religions have their own rituals, albeit even opposite to each other, but all are following them in their own ways. Try to follow what you can because rituals lead to a kind of compulsive thinking. At least we will remember God on a regular basis through rituals. This kind of thinking does not harm, it can only benefit us because we are remembering something positive.

From the external, try and go towards internal rituals which are described in yoga. This will definitely lead to progress and prevent one from going in the wrong direction. If some emotion overpowers you, rituals help in settling it down.

Once there was a huge strike among the workers in some mills in Mumbai. At one point around 200 workers collected outside one mill owner’s house with torches in their hands, calling out slogans and giving death threats. The mill owner’s family was very scared but the man was very level-headed. His wife wondered who could help them in such a situation and he said ‘God.’ So together they all began reciting the Gayatri Mantra. In such a situation, such a ritual prevents the mind from getting disturbed. The mill owner then went and faced the crowd and told them to kill him if they thought that would solve their problems, otherwise they should give him some time to negotiate with certain people to find a solution. Everyone became silent and went away. So such rituals done on a regular basis come handy in such situations where anxiety could set in. These should be instilled in our sub-conscious mind.Memorizing good Shlokas, etc. can be more helpful than just reading them. Sukhasana, Nispandabhava, etc. are yoga rituals that should be established in our personality and will help us face any kind of difficulty. So choose the right rituals. In one family they used to burn incense sticks but one of the members had severe Asthma. So such rituals were stopped and they began sitting together in Sukhasana for some time. So let us make our own rituals and change them according to the demands of the situations. But these Niyamas only can keep us out of problems so we must practice them.”

– Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra


Satsang is an open meeting held every Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 am at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz East, Mumbai. It involves an interesting presentation to the public, made by the students of the Teacher Training Course. Each week, a new presentation of a Yogic concept is made in a simple way through skits and decoration for the general public, followed by a short speech from our Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji Yogendra.
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