Saturday, July 11, 2015

I want to plant ten million Ayurvedic Trees - Yogi Arwind

Its been about four years that I am planting trees (Ayurvedic saplings). As a part of my yogic journey, I have traveled extensively in different parts of India and various other countries. Everywhere apart from teaching yoga and philosophy of yoga, important messages I have given are cleaning the rivers, reducing / eliminating use of plastic and planting trees - especially Ayurvedic plants. 

During my travel I realized that India though one country has different weather patterns. There is a confirmed co-relation between trees and rainfall. Wherever more trees / deep forest are, rainfall in these areas is better than the regions which are deforested. Western Ghats, regions of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, North Eastern India, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand are good examples of this phenomenon. So idea came to my mind - why not plant trees where there is scarcity of rain. Parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, Odisha, MP, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh really need drastic measures and huge drives of forestation so that the green cover & resultant rainfall could be improved.

I started my plantation in Kashmir through some unique encounter. A Muslim lady visited me calling Pir sahab and wanted some remedy from me for the problem of a soul possessing her. I advised her to plant five Chinar saplings and miraculously she said her problem got over. Then I planted trees in Rajasthan, Karnataka, parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat. As a matter of faith when people visit me for some divine remedy to their problems, I do advise to plant trees. Increasing number of people give me the feedback that their problems get solved. I call it as divine grace and blessing of Vriksha Devata (Tree God). 

Aamla tree plantation near Bangalore at Kanyaka Parameshwari Temple
I do have a theory regarding this. Human life day by day is becoming superficial by bringing a disconnect between humans and the nature. Modernization, Urbanization have created new employment opportunities and people are moving away from farming. City population is swelling and villages are drying up. Impact of this city ward movement of population is making the village population lazy. Best example is Kerala where people spend their month by waiting for remittance coming from abroad. Same scene is observed in many parts of India. So the villagers are not farming seriously. the lands under cultivation are becoming arid. There is no guidance to these villagers about new methods of farming, fruits plantation etc. Such vast idle manpower in India needs to be tapped for forestation, mass plantation drives. I am exactly trying that.

Farming is predominantly done by our farmers with commercial motive. Which is not wrong. But some measures of common gain, like forestation need to be advised to the farmers. Forestation will improve rainfall in the region and will benefit all. When I share this simple idea with the farmers, they like it and wish to participate.

While doing plantation, choice of plants is very important. Government agencies do forestation too. But they mainly plant the trees which are non-local (foreign), which can grow fast with less water, and which normally don't bear fruits. Such forestation drives help in reporting increased forest area. But all plants don't suit the given region. So I suggest to plant Ayurvedic saplings. General trees useful in Ayurvedic medicines are Aamla, Vat, Peepal, Arjun, Harad, Behad, Bael, Audumbar, Jamun, Neem, etc. These grow into big trees and generally grow in any part of India. And then we have list of other trees which can grow in specific regions. I advise on that too. 

Ayurvedic Saplings distribution at Nashik, Maharashtra
 Another reason to go for Ayurvedic plantation is, increasing demand for Ayurvedic medicine. World over the demand for Ayurvedic medicine has drastically gone up. Many new companies in India are producing Ayurvedic medicine. General worry you would find with the raw material procurement department of these companies is - unavailability of enough raw material. Parts of Himalayas, Cchattisgarh, Odisha, Western Ghats etc are the few regions where you procure raw material from. With increasing demand, the plants are depleting fast. In few years, or may be today itself we may come with the news of ayurvedic products not meeting the specifications as advised in the old scriptures. So planting Ayurvedic sapling is a must. If we wish to give good medicine to ourselves and future generations, we should plant more and more Ayurvedic plants. 

Not only big Ayurvedic trees, but encouraging Ayurvedic farming is important in this regard.

This plantation drive is for the benefit of humanity. So larger participation in this is expected.Everyone may not own farmland, but one may have ability to help buy the sapling, one may have ability to help nourish the plant for two years, one may help protecting the plant. My idea is to develop a big garden for each village where basic medicine for the village could be procured from. 

Sapling plantation at Sao Paulo, Brazil
Cities are cutting trees for making space for constructing new houses, some are cutting trees for making wood available for the housing and industrial purpose, villages are mindlessly cutting trees for source of energy (for cooking fire). During my journey I have seen, if not less, thousands of hands cutting trees. Unfortunately I seldom came across the sight of tree plantations. 

Though I have not kept record, by now, I must have planted between 8000 to 9000 plants. I wish to plant one Crore (ten million) Ayurvedic plants in my lifetime. Directly or indirectly. I am sure I will get necessary help from the conscious souls who think of common welfare. I am sure the divine will complete the Sankalpa.


Shubham Bhavatu.

Yogi Arwind

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

हम परदेसी पंछी बाबा (Hum Pardesi Panchhi Baba)

(One of the very insightful bhajans of Kabir interpreted by Rangi Arwind)

हम परदेसी पंछी बाबा, अणी देसरा नाही
Hum pardesi panchhi baba, ani desara nahi.
(I am from the foreign land my dear and not from here!)

Realized soul recognizes that the soul (the real force of the human existence) is from somewhere else - from the domain of supreme consciousness. It expands beyond the physical reality which is defined as the local land (individual consciousness). The key to existence is divine grace. The moment the grace evaporates, existence ceases. This grace is represented by soul which can not be identified by our senses but its there! So a realized yogi who identifies himself with the soul and not with the body, says that the 'subtlest' life force -Atman is the reality and not the gross body. Gross body here is called as a local land and Soul as the bird from far!
Hence the realized soul says - I am from the foreign land my dear and not from here!

Rangi Arwind at Kunjapuri (Himalaya)
अणी देसरा लोग अचेता पल पल पर पछ्ताई भाई संतो
Ani desara log acheta pal pal par pachhtaai bhai santo
(And listen dear saints, the people from local land repent every moment)

Sufferings are experienced because one identifies his existence with the body - the gross one. And gross is bound tho undergo sufferings as it is measurable. Those who suffer will obviously repent for the experience. They will repent that they have not grown beyond bodily identification and hence are suffering!

मुख बिन गाना, पग बिन चलना, बिन पंख उड जाई हो 
Mukh bin gaana, pag bin chalana, bin pankh ud jaai ho
(one would sing without mouth, would walk without feet, and would fly without wings)

Soul is powerful. Soul is powered by supreme soul - the supreme consciousness. And this all pervasive, omnipotent force can make anything and everything happen. Bodily consciousness would limit ones power of manifestation to the the bodily organs and senses but 'soul' identity won't require bodily organs at all. Hence for such joyful creature, its possible to experience the joy of singing, wandering, flying etc just by imagination. He doesn't need to actually walk, sing or fly with the body! 
So here actually Kabir is trying to explain Vibhuti characteristics explained by Patanjali in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Where a realized yogi can do miracles - not for public display but as a part of his evolutionary yogic journey!

बिना मोह की सुरत हमारी, अनहद मे रम जाई हो
Bina moh ki surat humari, anahad mein ram jaai ho
(My identity is one that is unattached, who is constantly engaged in divine pursuit)

Yogi reaches the bliss of samadhi or constant 'experience of soulfulness' by non-attachment. attachments stall ones progress in spiritual evolution. Attachments keep one busy at body and mind level where disers and efforst to manifest them become core theme of life. And desires appear in chain which keep one engaged in illusionary world. Yogi on the path of 'self-realization' has to be detached and one-centered! Patanjali maharaj says that abhyasvairagyabhaym tannirodhah. the modulations of mind can be restrained by persistent self study and supreme detachment.

छाया बैठू अगनी व्यापे धूप अधिक सितलाई हो 
Chhaya baithu agani vyape, dhoop adhik sitlaai ho
(when one sits in shadow, he can feel heat of fire and in the sun, he experiences coolness)

For a ordinary human who is engrossed with various desires, even in the shadow, there will be experience of sunburn (uneasiness) or even in the sun he will feel cold - because his mind is busy, constantly working. Master yogi would rise above duality. He won't experience heat or cold as a normal human being would do. ideally he would master over the bodily experiences of heat and cold. These experiences in yogic language are called as Urmi. They actually are the food/ inspiration behind bodily being. These Urmi are hunger & thirst, heat & cold and desire & attachment. Master yogi would rise above these six urmis and attain the siddhi where he can experience cold in heat and sunburn in the shadow!

छाया धूप से सतगुरु न्यारा, मै सतगुरु के भाई 
Chhaya Dhoop se satguru nyaara, main satguru ke bhai
(Guru is unique force than the experience of duality of shadow and sun. I am with the Guru who guides to Truth!)

Experience of duality is ordinary experience. Divine truth would expand ones consciousness to an extent where the duality ends and supreme oneness pervades. Such experience is possible through a guru when one derails on the path of detachment and self study. Hence the real seeker is committed to a guru who guides one experience the truth.

आठो पहर अडक रहे आसन, कदे न उतरे शाही
Aathau pahar adak rahe asan kade na utare shahi
(All the time I ll be meditating and would experience the bliss of 'Royal Self')

During one's yogic journey - which is not result oriented but directed towards the 'wider' experience, towards experiencing the divine vastness - determination is important. consistency is important hence a yogi would be meditating / focusing on the Supreme consciousness with determination all hours of the day. The only thought in his mind is God, God and God! When this happens, it is like a royal ride -Shahi! All majestic and colorful.  

Sadhu in meditation
मन पवन दोनो नही पहुंचे, उन्ही देस के माही 
Man pavan dono nahi pahunche unhi des ke maahi
(When yogi establishes his one-pointedness on god, the waves of mind or power of wind can not destabilize)

When the state of samadhi, which is a constant experience of bliss, and not glimpses of it - is achieved, the seeker is firmly established in Supreme Consciousness. And then nothing can deviate him from there. In that country of supreme consciousness, mind and wind can not reach. 

निरगुण रूप है मेरे दाता, सरगुण नाम धराई 
Nirgun roop hain mere daata, sargun naam dharai
(Supreme consciousness has no form, it only takes form for a while)

The realized yogi knows that the nature of god is -formless, shapeless, tasteless - i.e. beyond senses. The 'form' or name is temporary for a less conscious being to understand. Form is just the few attributes of god that are used by seeker as -a step - to understand the wider nature of god!

कहे कबीर सुनो भाई साधो, साहब है घट माही
Kahe Kabir suno bhai sadho, sahab hain ghat maahi.
(And says Kabir, listen O' Sadhu, the Supreme Lord resides in you!)

Rangi Arwind
Kunjapuri, Rishikesh 

You can listen this bhajan sung by Rangi Arwind here:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Food: Raw or Cooked?

Its a hot topic of discussion amongst yogis and followers of spirituality, whether to eat food raw or cooked? With the rapid spread of yoga and Ayurveda globally and its collusion or assimilation with different cultures, there is lot of curiosity, harsh opinions, blind following on this issue. No doubt there is rise of food consciousness!

I have seen many yogis during my spiritual travel in India who are living only on fruits, roots or milk. Some of them have been drinking only chai as a source of their food. On the other hand I have seen yogis from certain lineages over-eating, eating rich food (cooked) and are obviously overweight & not in good health. 

So there is no thumb rule to prove the fact that yogis eat raw food or cooked food. The traditional yoga lineages (which have gone corrupt by adopting various influences) have varied opinions on whether to eat food raw or cooked.

For me the very question of 'this or that' type is full of injustice to the wholeness of the topic of discussion. We must understand the reasons why we eat food, why we cook, when we cook, when eat raw, which body types need what type of foods, weather conditions one lives in and so on...

Indian Thaali 
Ayurveda would treat food habit differently than the science of yoga. Yogic science expects human being to rise above the annamaya kosha and experience higher beings to experience ultimate 'Kaivalya'. So obviously the food pattern changes from solid cooked food to raw, fruity and juicy food with less spices and 'guna' consideration - Sattvik food. Ayurvedic considerations will be mainly the six rasas, seven dhatus, three doshas, three gunas, etc. 

Cooking of food is greatly dealt in many Indian sciences and the kings, gurus, wives of gurus have attained great expertise of cooking food. Bheem of Mahabharata has played the role of ballavacharya when the pandavas when in exile and he is considered as the inventor of 'fruit salad' (Ref; Durga Bhagvat)

The very reason of cooking food is to make it free of bacterias, decomposing the molecules for ease of digestion, making of rasa by combining various ingredients. There is such great detailing of cooking food in Ayurveda that which wood should be used for fire and how much time the food should be cooked etc is mentioned with clarity. For example chyavanprash is supposed to be cooked on the wood fire of Indian berry (Ber in Hindi)

Movement of raw food is growing big and big. Many yogis in the west proudly convey of their raw food diet. if the digestive ability of a person is good, eating raw food is not bad. secondly source of the raw food, bacteria in it also counts. Pitta dominant persons can go for raw food. But vata dominant people who generally are gifted with weak digestive ability should be careful with raw food. 

Raw Food: Fruits, vegetables & Juices
The kind of life one leads is important factor in deciding the food habit. For the ones leading sedimentary lifestyle, raw food is good. In my opinion, yoga teachers who undergo physical strain must not be totally dependent on raw food. Till their 40s they may not feel any bodily ailment but later on they may face issues with veins and muscles. 

Leading spiritual life means bringing balance to life. Hence real yogis should not go for raw or cooked food debate but should make a right combination based on their conditions. 

For those who wish to undergo cleansing, following raw food diet is advisable for a short period. Since the modern day yogis keep themselves busy in traveling, strains, stressful lifestyle, it is good to go for food that builds body to cope with all these.

We already have brought down health parameters to 'thin body' & 'less calories'. If we shrink the whole lot of considerations of food culture, we will be actually killing the science that has kept human race alive and going ahead with strength.  

In my opinion, the food should be 'light' that leads you to 'light'


Shubham Bhavatu.

Rangi Arwind