The goal of everyone is the same but we name it differently. We are heading towards one goal of peace, happiness or knowledge. Ancient people set a norm that one must seek four things in life – ayu, vidya, dhanam and yasham or kirti. These are good guidelines for living.
- AYU – long life or the science of life.
One should seek for ayu – long life. Long life is good if you keep healthy and happy and have something to do. If you have nothing to do life is a burden. Yoga teaches you how to preserve yourself and be healthy and happy. Yogic exercises cannot be equated with other exercises. In Gita the definition of yoga is given as ‘equilibrium of mind’ (samatvam yog ucchyate). We cannot have balance of mind unless the body is balanced. Mind and body are entwined together. There must be a balance between our physical, emotional and mental bodies. Ayu means this science of balanced living.
Other teachings of the science of life and healthy living regard cleanliness. In the West everybody has to go to a dentist, but in India you will not find a dentist in the villages and towns. In India we are taught to rinse the mouth with water after eating any morsel. We can’t go to the temple, chat or read holy scripture until we have rinsed our mouths.
Another teaching is to get up in the hour of God, (brahma muhurta) the hour before sunrise. Early rising is very good for those who are mentally disturbed or who feel they have problems in life. They will be able to gather themselves and get a stronger mind because to get up early needs will power. You develop your will power by getting up at a fixed hour which you have scheduled for yourself.
- VIDYA – learning wisdom.
Next it is taught that you must have learning. A long life is useless without learning. You must seek to educate your mind. In India it used to be said that the first 25 years of life should be devoted to learning. After this one was to return to the family and marry. I feel the mind is more receptive to learning in the early part of life. Later on our habits are so strong that it’s difficult to learn quickly.
Learning by heart is very essential. What we learn by heart we assimilate. What we read only remains on the surface. It doesn’t enter our subconscious mind and we tend to forget it. Learning will always help you. Knowledge never goes waste.
- DHANAM – wealth or money.
The spiritual conception says that the greatest wealth is the five elements of nature. The sky, air, fire, water and earth are the wealth of mankind. We cannot live without them. Whatever wealth we produce comes from these five. We only learn how to blend them.
Dollars are only a medium of exchange. We only get mental satisfaction from having dollars in the bank and we actually use only what the body needs. Even if I have a big mansion with seven bedrooms, I still only require five feet in which to sleep. I cannot use more than that but having a big house gives mental satisfaction. Man uses only as much as is determined by the laws of nature. He can eat only a handful more than that cannot be assimilated by the body.
Dhanam is not neglected by spiritual beings or yoga philosophy. You must have enough to eat. A Hindi proverb says, ‘We need only that much which will keep us healthy and happy.’ That is our share. However, if you have more you may be doing charity in a disguised form. If you start a business you are increasing the wealth of the country. You think the wealth is yours but actually it is the nation’s and you are the custodian.
The first sloka of Ishavasyam Upanishad says that every atom you see here is possessed by the Divine Power. So is it your health? You have the right to use and enjoy it but don’t forget the Creator. Remember He is in each and every atom. The moment we start being greedy and desiring more and more we shall suffer. We shall enjoy only that wealth which is meant for us. There is a popular Indian saying that one each and every grain of rice which is meant for us our name has been engraved. One who is meant to enjoy will enjoy. We are here to share all the wealth which belongs to Mother Earth.
- YASAHM or KIRTI – FAME.
Kirti comes only after performing good deeds. Are we here only to study and enjoy? We must also do good work. We must do our best to make the life of the next generation better.
I read in one Indian scripture that golden opportunities are provided for everyone but some are alert and grasp and use them while others are sleeping and neglect or don’t recognize them. There are some psychic moments in everyone’s life. As such moments one can and should inspire oneself to resolve and do something.
We must aspire to do something good. We must have a high level of aspiration. Don’t be an impractical idle dreamer. Be practical, but at the same time set a goal in your life. Look high. Hitch your wagon to a distant star. This aspiration is kirti or fame. It means looking ahead for a bright future which you have to create by your own efforts.
Everybody has surplus energy. If this energy is not employed constructively, it will become negative and destructive. We must have something to love or do. This is a basic human need. Wherever your mind goes naturally, select something which is good for you and aspire to achieve it. When you put all your efforts in one direction, the energy will not get lost.
By Ma Yogashakti 1986