Q&A on ‘Tapa’ (Fortitude) at the Satsang

The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 23rd June, 2013 was ‘Tapa.’ (Fortitude).

Following is the transcript of the Q & A between the audience and Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra and Smt. Hansaji Yogendra.

Smt. Hansaji and Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra

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Q. In adverse situations, people have a tendency of becoming a victim of bad habits. How can this be avoided?
Dr. J: Take a big foolscap paper and start writing from the morning the word ‘No, No, No…’
Smt. H: In adverse situations, it is imperative to stick to our healthy routines without slackening of our efforts. Eating, sleeping, walking and practising Asanas on time, singing, reading, writing something, etc. these healthy habits should be inculcated in daily routines. Adverse situations will come and go, you will remain strong, not weak. This is Tapa – being very strict with your time-table.

Q. How to increase the strength of our mind and stop thinking about consequences during adverse situations?
Dr. J: If you remember, last time we had used this phrase, Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodha. Yoga means stopping the mind from thinking.
Smt. H: The story that we gave (enacted during the Satsang) that a King wanted a gift so that where he felt that when the problems are too much, he should not worry about them, so the gift would give him some solace or when problems are not there and he is very excited, the gift should bring him down to normal state. And the gift which was given to him be the wise men of the king’s state was a ring where it was inscribed that “This too shall pass.” When adverse situations are there, you have to continuously remember that it is not a permanent situation so we should not get disturbed. To not consider an adverse state adverse and to remain in a positive state requires hard work. Here is where Tapa is required.

Q. What is the role of Tapa in saving a marriage?
Dr. J: Don’t marry.
Smt. H: “You are always right” (using that phrase) is one simple way. Do what your partner tells you to do. You can either live this way or that. Men and women both see a situation from different angles. So marriage means either she listens to him or he listens to her. The person who is weak and sensitive in a marriage, needs help. So it is important that that individual listens to the other and starts living life in that way. This is when they can live in togetherness. There is nothing like my opinion and your opinion or I am right and you are wrong. Everything is right. Let go of your opinions, likes, dislikes, live according to the opposite person’s preferences. If one of the two decides to do this, the marriage will last.

Q. Is Tapa not a kind of torture and Himsa? When is it Himsa (violence) and when is it Ahimsa (non-violence)?
Dr. J: See, you don’t make it known. You just remain quiet and not react.
Smt. H: When it is done with a purpose, it is not Himsa because it is well thought over. But when a Tapa is done mechanically without purpose, for example, locking up a child in a room (to teach him as punishment or Tapa), then it is Himsa. So whatever we do should be for self-management, by self-decision with a purpose in mind. If done to others, it is a Himsa. Tapa is totally for the self to manage our weaknesses.

Q. Is there any difference between Sadhana (practice) and Tapa? If yes, then what is it?
Dr. J: These are various techniques. One is a positive word and the other is a negative word.
Smt. H: Sadhana is a practice done with a purpose and for a long time. Tapa is done only till our weakness is overcome. Tapa is a temporary thing, not a lifelong thing. Refrain from eating chocolates while the chocolates attract you. But the moment the understanding comes and you gain control over your urge to eat chocolates or overeating when given a choice, then Tapa is no more required. Keeping that in mind, we have to do various Tapas.
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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