06 Sep Hansaji Talking on Pratyahara
The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 31st August, 2014 was ‘Pratyahara.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the Audio:
It is important to learn to focus the mind. A small child always remains with his mother in the beginning, then slowly he ventures out, starts running around, troubles people and if someone gets angry and wants to scold or hit him, he comes running back to his mother. This is a symbolic thing. Similarly when we are disturbed with the outside world, we should go inwards. A tortoise is the best example of this. In case of any imminent danger, it immediately takes in its limbs into its shell to protect itself. It lives in the outside world but with full control over itself. We need to learn how to do this.
Instead of always getting hurt by things happening outside, it’s better to sit quietly with ourselves. Pratyahara is a stage where a person learns to be with oneself and understands and enjoys the Self more. Sitting peacefully leads to Ananda (bliss). One day, a little child was told to close his eyes and sit quietly, without getting distracted by noises, keeping the mind only focussed on the breath. He began enjoying this state. So even at home, when there was no work, he would sit in this way. His personality began to change. He stopped getting irritated, angry, reacting and fighting. One day his father returned home early and upon seeing him, he scolded him for wasting his time this way. He ordered the child to get busy in some work or play. Unfortunately, the father didn’t understand that we do these things all day with the outside world, but the moment we sit peacefully, the personality becomes disciplined, systematic, healthy and manageable. Later, the father too was advised to sit quietly.
Pratyahara is a very interesting and practical stage and it opens up your inner Self. It is something every individual should do on a daily basis. Try and connect with your inner self. So close your eyes and reflect on what you did the entire day. Try to internalize certain rituals such as praying and Puja, instead of doing it externally. This path of gross to subtle should be opened up. The more we remain in the external world, the more we will get hurt as it is not in our control. Control your inner world.
By practicing an Asana externally, there is a limitation. You can do it probably for a minute or two. But with the internal world, there is no limitation. You can spend as long as you like with it.We can go much deeper. Such activities where concentration on God is there are recommended. In external Puja, there are too many preparations and worry in doing the rituals. God doesn’t come in mind and when the event is over, we feel relief. Instead, why not spend five minutes with ourselves in peace?
The Ganesh festival is going on right now. Lord Ganesh’s vehicle was a mouse, which tends to run around and be restless. Ganesh sits on top of it with complete mastery on the sensory organs. This is symbolic. Instead of letting our mind run around in different directions, keep it fixed on one thing.This is possible with practice and should be encouraged even at home. If there is a problem, it should be discussed for ten minutes and then stop the discussion. Then quiet the mind because that is when the solution can come.
I remember when I was living in Ville Parle with my parents, there was a tenant who lived in a tiny home with six other members and they used to have many guests over to stay. They had five children, but inspite of all the disturbances and chaos, the children would study in a corner with full concentration. The grew up to be very successful and grew well inspite of lack of comforts because they were able to go inward.
So we must practice this, instead of suffering in the external world. Learn from the external world but go within yourself.”
– 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.