Clear the clutter: Ravi Valluri on how to achieve inner peace
Recently I received a message on my cell, "I am the son of Lord Krishna, I keep visiting Tirumala, yet I take drugs, why do I suffer? Please help me." My terse response was, "Meet a psychiatrist, undergo counselling, practice meditation and undergo the Happiness Programme of the Art of Living." But the caller was unsatisfied and kept pestering me with a flurry of such messages. This person was positively in a state of misery and fear.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger or pain. His crutch and life boat was Lord Krishna. The mind of the caller was both fragmented and deeply disturbed. He appeared to be in a state of imbalance.
No one in his right frame of mind would come up with such outlandish prepositions. He refused to take proper medication, meet a psychiatrist or undertake the Art of Living programme. Here was a challenge staring me in the face.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras have identified the following as root causes of miseries in life- Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dwesha and Abhinivesha.
Avidya: This is nothing but lack of knowledge or ignorance. Everything around us keeps changing constantly. It could be our cells, blood, stomach linings or hair to name some. But we are oblivious to the change.
Asmita: Is our intellect and self. We get stubbornly stuck to our opinions. Like the caller was fixated with the idea that he was the child of Lord Krishna and was staying put at Tirumala.
Yet he was partaking drugs. We are unable to comprehend life beyond our stubbornness and ignorance. Unfortunately the mind is stuck in our mirror image of stubbornness. We too become our own versions of 'Picture of Dorian Gray'.
Raga: This is nothing but craving. Normally craving arises out of certain pleasurable experiences of the past. It has deep imprint on the mind. But such impressions only aggravate our wants and misery. It is a vicious cycle of pleasure begetting more pleasure and ending up in a cachet of misery.
Dwesha: This is nothing but hatred. Hatred is antithetical to craving. Though it arises out of craving, the premise is an unpleasant experience. This could be because of certain tragic moments in the past or unrealistic expectations which do not materialise.
Abhivivesha: This is fear of the unknown, an emotion which affects all of us. Only a saint or an insane person has overcome this barrier. Fear can also help as a protecting cloak when it is in relatively small measure. This helps us to not indulge in chest thumping bravado. Erudite scholars too live with this primordial instinct.
The caller proclaiming to be the son of Lord Krishna was in obvious pain and agony. He could experience ecstasy only through scientific help that is, consulting a psychiatrist, taking proper medication and maybe undertaking an Art of Living course. That was of course my suggestion.
However his escapist response was that the course would be expensive and where could he locate a centre. This is how a how a fragmented and an escapist mind reacts - primarily looking for excuses and not accepting the reality.
Invariably the cloak of negativity and ignorance shrouds the mind from combating the problem. I suggested that through the Art of Living website a centre could be identified. Further there are free courses like Nav Chetna workshops which he could attend.
Finally, exercising all love, caution and care, I asked him to chant Om Namaha Shivaya a 108, times thrice a day to purge his mind of all negative thoughts and make positive affirmations by writing 'I am happy, healthy and peaceful'; this task too thrice daily 108 times. This tapas is to be done for 41 days.
In case a day is missed for some reason, the process is to be repeated again for 41 days. Such signals to the mind are extremely useful and powerful. The mind responds to positive thoughts and discards negativity.
He has not contacted me so far. Presumably, he has embarked on the journey of tapas and hopefully has found a beacon of light in the dark tunnel.
His Ishta Devata, Lord Krishna wielded Sudarshan Chakra wading through negativity. Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, yoga and meditation will certainly swathe through the cobwebs of his troubled mind and increase his prana.