Hansaji Talking on Positive Rituals

The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 10th August, 2014 was ‘Positive Rituals.’

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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“Our routines should be so healthy that it has a good effect on our body, health, mind, attitudes and interpersonal relationships. Rituals should only be such that they would not be a burden on us. If they are a burden, the whole point of rituals is lost.
Small rituals taught in childhood, like joining hands in front of God, remembering God before sleeping, these have great effect on the person. With this, we get a peace of mind and strength with the faith that some power is there which is protecting us

But when we start using these rituals just to show others how much faith we have or how spiritual we are, that’s where it goes wrong. In yoga we say that the more internal an attitude is, the better. Try and avoid externalizing it, otherwise you end up showing-off which can be harmful; there is no growth in it. Man is very cunning and can end up using these rituals for personal gains. The basic purpose of rituals, in turn, gets defeated.

Yoga philosophy says that to begin with, as children, superficial acts are alright, such as using flowers, lighting incense, joining hands, etc. But as we mature, the reason behind these acts should be focussed on more. When we are remembering God or Higher Reality, why can’t we sit quietly? Spend time with ourselves and think good things.

Yoga recommends certain rituals. When waking up in the morning, take a few long breaths and feel the strength or the universe / God coming to you through breath. So bring some good, positive feeling. Then stretch the body, remember your duty towards your body and thank God that the body is in good condition. And if there is pain in any part, pay more attention to that part. This should be a daily ritual. Then drink two glasses of water and do all the morning Kriyas with full attention. All this comes in a rhythm, we can even call it Niyama. But we can call it a ritual when we associate Ishwara (God) with it. If we can bring this attitude in everything we do, it is enjoyable, not just mechanical.

Such healthy things should be made into rituals. These things do not have to be announced to others. They should become part of our personality. Rituals have to go deeper, not remain at the external, superficial level. There are many festivals in India and I have seen all kinds. The main point behind them all is that we share some joy, eat together, meet each other, while forgetting all hatred and past rivalries, etc. On today’s day, Raksha Bandhan, brothers and sisters will at least remember each other, in a time when everyone is living in different parts of the world and are busy. It is not necessary to tie Rakhi or gift each other. If you are content, there is no need for give and take. The simpler and more meaningful the ritual, the longer they will last. There are many people who don’t follow certain rituals any more because they have become too complicated and are bad for health. Having too many sweets, etc, can spoil the health.

There are many negative rituals too, such as Dowry system, etc. Do not make rituals compulsory and we have to see that we internalize them more. Focus more on the meaning of the ritual and inculcate it deep into our being.

The most important characteristic of rituals is repetition. Tantra Shashtra says that if a person sits even for a minute in total concentration at the same time and place every single day, he can achieve great things. This is a very strong statement. Such rituals, associated with self-development are very beneficial.

I remember an uncle of mine who, during his morning prayers, would decide to do one particular thing for the whole day, such as not to lie, not to get angry etc. As children, we used to try our best to make him angry on that day, but he would try and control his anger. Slowly, he transformed as a person. So this is how we should imbibe positive rituals in our lives.”

– 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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