Guard your faculties

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Guard your faculties

Sunday, 13 September 2020 | Ajit Kumar Bishnoi

Guard your faculties

Careful use of our faculties — spiritual and physical — can help us lead a satvik and healthy life, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI

Let me start with the definition of the word faculty. It is any of the physical or mental abilities that a person is born with. The first faculty I will take up is intelligence, because it is in use most of the waking hours or should be. Lord Krishna has described the proper use of intelligence in the verse #18.30 of the Gita, where He has stated, that one should know what is worth doing and what is not. However, this is not so simple. One must have sufficient spiritual knowledge, otherwise one may go wrong. All our other faculties require guidance.

The next faculty — the mind, is also subtle. Its control is crucial for a quality life. We have been alerted in the Gita that if the mind has not been conquered by self it acts as an enemy of self. (6.6) And we see this all the time. Take the present situation. There is a pandemic, and almost the entire world is affected. But we don’t have to be frightened; we can take necessary precautions, especially social distancing, and we will be reasonably safe. However, such control of the mind comes mainly with the help of God. Theoretically, one can have good mental control, but I would rather take help from God.

The third faculty is equally important because its use must be limited to doing duties and nothing more. I am referring to ego or ‘ahankar’. It was given to us to feel motivated to do our duties, that is, I will do it; I am the doer; who else but I must do my duties. What happens when we cross its ‘maryada’, i.e. use it beyond what it was meant for we get in serious trouble. The worst thing we can do is not to heed God’s instructions or account of ahankar. And what can happen is not very pleasant; we will perish. (18.58) How does one protect oneself from that happening? One must take shelter of God, who is the Master of the universe. (13.13-16) There are innumerable benefits in doing so. One has to do so to realise what was being missed. Ask me.

Now I take up our gross faculties beginning with the eyes. These are most precious. Our eyes are the best tool for gaining information/knowledge. We can see as well as read. However, the modern man has corrupted this magnificent faculty. This harms both the psyche and consciousness. Obviously, we should restrain ourselves. I will take up the tongue next. This faculty was provided to us to enjoy what we eat. So what have we done? We have corrupted it as well by eating all kinds of meats. This meat-eating craziness harms the climate, when we burn forests to grow more grains, which can then be fed to animals, whom we can eat. There is a possibility that this dangerous virus has found entry into human beings this way.

The speech and hearing were meant to help us communicate and share goodness. Our eyes and ears are excellent tools to gain information and knowledge. But we waste these faculties by spewing venom, passing rumours and creating unpleasant environment around us, full of suspicion and aggression, especially on social platforms.

Our hands are best used when they are made us of, i.e. in extended position. Bending them fully is necessary to eat. Legs, likewise, should be in the vertical position to stay healthy; keeping the legs up should be restricted to the limited period of entertainment. Sitting down to work or lying down to sleep is fine. These days nose should be kept covered to guard against the virus. Good quality masks must be worn when in public places.

Similarly, we must protect our skin, especially hands to avoid contact with the virus. Proper hygiene is crucial if we wish to avoid getting stricken. Good care of ourselves and careful use of our faculties — spiritual and physical — can help us lead a satvik and healthy life.

Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at spiritual@ajitbishnoi.com  

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