28 Nov Tapa for Householders
Tapa for Householders
“The word Tapa means ‘fire’, ‘heat.’ Why should we do Tapa? We want Ananda, happiness and relaxation in life. But it is said that life itself is a Tapasya. The world cannot work the way we want it to. Situations happen; it is up to us whether to become tense or not. So firstly to remain balanced in this world, we need to do hard work, and this hard work is called Tapa.
Conscious effort to control
Many times we feel like saying something, but we don’t – When the boss or our elders are shouting at us. Even when small children do something wrong, we know they are small, and so we keep quiet and bear it. We adjust, tolerate and wait for the right time to explain to them. All these things that we do by putting in conscious effort to control ourselves are called Tapa.
Tapa in food through fasting
In some cases, more hard work is required – if we keep making the same mistakes again and again, we need to do Tapa. For example, food is our weakness. If food is tasty, we overeat. We do so much planning and preparation for making food. We travel far to taste specific item prepared by a particular restaurant. Why not just have simple food at the right time. Its preparation also doesn’t take a long time. In this case, animals are better than us. They eat only when hungry, whereas we fill up the stomach and then immediately think of our next meal. Almost every religion talks of Tapa in food through fasting. But we are so clever that we even make special fasting foods which are very tasty. The purpose of fasting is to think of God, not of food, but our mind does not go there. So, when fasting, have fruits, milk, lemon juice, eat on time, be disciplined and don’t think of food and taste.
So Tapa is not just in anything, we need to apply it to our weaknesses, where we need it the most. Speech is also a weakness. Remember the statue of Lord Ganesha. He has big ears to listen, sharp eyes to see. So speak less, observe more. Sitting in one place quietly for some time is also a Tapa. Observe Mauna.
Why worry; be happy!
These are more gross things for physical management. Now yoga talks about more things, like our tendency to worry. Thinking (Jnana) and Action (Karma) should go hand in hand. But we think more, suffer more and act less. Limit the time you want to worry about 15 minutes, then let it go; don’t continue it throughout the day. Cultivate objectivity.
Many people are too “look conscious,” and some keep seeing negative in everything and everyone. The aspects of our personality which bring us pain are those in which we need to do Tapa. Don’t fast or do Tapa to show off.
Tapa is not to be practised for the whole life, for example, some people decide to refrain from eating something for their entire life. Instead, concentrate on removing the craving for it.
Do Tapa after understanding.
Hatha Yogis used to do Tapa to gain certain powers. But for us householders, in Patanjali Yoga Sutras it has been mentioned for removing our weaknesses and for our spiritual development. Try it for half a day or one day. But keep trying and we will have to work hard.
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