Supreme beauty of body, mind and soul

1. Supreme beauty of body, mind and soul

Every individual has a natural desire to look beautiful and there is nothing wrong in it. Youth and particularly young girls often spend hours before the mirror. A saint once said in his discourse that, “Beauty is only skin deep”. A young man stood up and told him, “We are interested only in external beauty. What have we to do with the inner muscles and bones?” In general, the common impression is that beauty depends on the external appearance and the qualities of the skin. But this external beauty depends on the health of the body and mind. Even a beautiful person does not appear so when he is tense or afflicted with an ailment. Hence to look beautiful, it is important to maintain a healthy body and mind.

1.1 Ayurvedic oil massage

Diet, activity, exercise, rest, oil massage, bathing, attire, etc. which are important to maintain a healthy skin and the ways to modify them in various seasons are well described in this book. Ayurveda advises amalaka, yashtimadhu (glycerrhiza) and triphala as tonics for the skin. Ayurveda advises that everyone should apply to the skin, a paste of keshar (saffron) and agaru in winter, a paste of sandalwood and ushira in summer and a paste of keshar and sandalwood in the rainy season. Ayurveda advises massage with oil medicated with rasna and bibhitaka for individuals with a vata constitution, milk medicated with sandalwood, manjishtha and sariva for individuals with a pitta constitution and a fine powder of triphala or a mixture of lodhra and katphala for individuals with a kapha constitution.

1.2 The three humours

Vata, pitta and kapha constitutions are diseased constitutions. As the constitution is present since birth, the individual gets used to the unhealthy state. Guidelines to change the diseased constitution into a balanced one (sama prakruti) through appropriate diet, activity and medication are elucidated in this book.

The body and mind constantly work as one unit. The unbalanced state of vata, pitta and kapha humours (doshas) gives rise to disease and their balanced state results in health. Natural desires help to restore health and promote the quality of the weak tissues, e.g. an individual with decreased body fluids desires to drink water to prevent dehydration. An emaciated person with decreased muscular and fatty tissue develops a desire to eat meat, ghee and butter. Such natural desires should be fulfilled.

1.3 Importance of Spirituality

The mind becomes healthy and beautiful when its sattva component increases and the raja and tama components decrease. This is achieved by undertaking the practice of Spirituality as advocated by the Path of Action (Karmayoga), Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) or Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga). Sattvik (sattva predominant) people possess good qualities such as compassion, kindness, helpfulness, etc. However they are unable to tolerate the misery of other people. Hence they have to achieve a higher state i.e. a state beyond the sattva, raja and tama components (trigunatit state). In this state, a person’s Serenity and Blissful state are not affected by praise or criticism, respect or insult, riches or poverty. An ideal man (Purushottam) attains the trigunatit state but continues to work for the welfare of society without any selfish motive or ego.

Lord Krushna was such an ideal person (Purushottam). He had a balanced constitution and every tissue of His body was of an ideal quality. Lord Krushna is beauty in the manifest form. The beauty, fragrance and sweetness of His divine life will continue to have its impact on the universe and the minds of the people and make the entire universe overflow with Bliss and beauty. To appreciate the beauty of Lord Krushna we will have to become ideal.

This book will serve as an excellent guide to attain the state of supreme and eternal beauty which begins with the beauty of the skin and the body.

If a person follows the guidelines as described in this book, he will experience the universe overflowing with Bliss and Beauty from within and outside too.


2. Contents of the book

  • 1. Beauty
  • 2. Beautiful life
    • 2.1 A healthy life
    • 2.2 A healthy mind
    • 2.3 A happy life
    • 2.4 A useful life
  • 3. Vedanta theory of origin of components of human life

Section I: Beauty of the skin

  • 4. Skin (structure, functions and care)
    • 4.1 General information on skin
    • 4.2 Structure of the skin
    • 4.3 Hair follicles
    • 4.4 Hair on the skin
    • 4.5 Sebaceous glands
    • 4.6 Apocrine glands
    • 4.7 Sweat glands
    • 4.8 Structure of the skin (Ayurvedic concept)
    • 4.9 Hair
    • 4.10 Nails
    • 4.11 Functions of the skin
    • 4.12 Colour of the skin
    • 4.13 Constitution and the skin
    • 4.14 Age and the skin
    • 4.15 Tissues and the skin
    • 4.16 Ideal skin (tvaksara)
    • 4.17 How to maintain the skin healthy ?
    • 4.18 Season and the skin
    • 4.19 Diet for the skin
    • 4.20 External applications in different seasons
    • 4.21 Skin tonics
    • 4.22 Improving the complexion of the skin according to the constitution
    • 4.23 Selection of an appropriate preparation for external application to the skin
  • 5. Oil massage (abhyanga)
    • 5.1 General information
    • 5.2 Various modes of application of oil
    • 5.3 Advantages of oil massage to the entire body
    • 5.4 Contraindications for oil massage
    • 5.5 Advantages of scalp massage
    • 5.6 Advantages of instilling oil drops in the ears
    • 5.7 Advantages of massage to the legs and soles
    • 5.8 Advantages of sitting with the body immersed in an oil tub
    • 5.9 Advantages of sprinkling or spraying the body with oil
    • 5.10 Oil massage according to the season
    • 5.11 Udgharshan and utsadan
    • 5.12 Samvahan or gatramardan or mardan
  • 6. Bath
    • 6.1 Advantages of having a bath
    • 6.2 Temperature of water used for a bath
    • 6.3 Contraindications for having a bath
    • 6.4 Udvartana
    • 6.5 Attire
  • 7. Skin diseases associated with beauty
    • 7.1 Acne
    • 7.2 Dark circles below the eyes
    • 7.3 Medicines which increase the lustre of the skin
    • 7.4 Medicines which impart freshness to the colour of the skin
    • 7.5 To darken the colour of the skin
    • 7.6 To make the skin fair
    • 7.7 To keep cold skin warm
    • 7.8 To prevent wrinkling of the skin
  • 8. Hair
    • 8.1 Role in beauty
    • 8.2 Constitution and hair
    • 8.3 Causes of hair loss
    • 8.4 Exercises for maintaining the hair healthy
    • 8.5 Dandruff
    • 8.6 Ayurvedic treatment
    • 8.7 Seborrhoeic dermatitis
    • 8.8 Lice
    • 8.9 Greying of hair
    • 8.10 Medicines which improve the colour of hair (kesharanjana)
    • 8.11 Medicines which augment the growth of hair (keshya)
    • 8.12 Diet beneficial for the hair
    • 8.13 Removal of unnecessary hair
    • 8.14 Nails
    • 8.15 Shampoo
  • 9. Baldness
    • 9.1 Causes
    • 9.2 Treatment
  • 10. Local applications in skin lesions
    • 10.1 Acute eczema
      • Wet dressings
      • Solutions
      • Powders
      • Lotions
      • Sprays and aerosols
    • 10.2 Subacute eczema
      • Creams
      • Gels
      • Hydrophilic ointments
      • Pastes
    • 10.3 Chronic eczema
      • Moisturising creams
      • Ointment
      • Cold creams
      • Keratolytic creams, lotions or powders
      • Tar preparation
      • Antifungal agent
      • Antibiotics
      • Corticosteroid solutions, gels, creams and ointments
      • Sunscreens
    • 10.4 Selection of an appropriate preparation for external application to the skin
  • 11. Cosmetics
    • 11.1 Cosmetics and their side-effects
    • 11.2 Cleansing agents
    • 11.3 Bleaching agent
    • 11.4 Axillary antiperspirant
    • 11.5 Scented oils and perfumes
    • 11.6 Lipsticks
    • 11.7 Eye shadows and eyeliners
    • 11.8 Dentifrices and mouth wash
    • 11.9 Bindi dermatitis
    • 11.10 Kumkum (vermilion dot) or bindi
    • 11.11 Hair dyes
    • 11.12 Rinses and tint
    • 11.13 Hair bleaches
    • 11.14 Permanent waves
    • 11.15 Hair straighteners
    • 11.16 Hair sprays
    • 11.17 Depilators
    • 11.18 Hair tonics and lotions
    • 11.19 Hair conditioners
    • 11.20 Nail lacqures or nail polish
    • 11.21 Nail polish removers
    • 11.22 Artificial nails
    • 11.23 Nail hardeners
    • 11.24 Refresheners
    • 11.25 Lubricants of the skin
    • 11.26 Fragrance
    • 11.27 Medica or mendi or mehendi
  • 12. Facial treatment
    • 12.1 Cleansing
    • 12.2 Facial massage
    • 12.3 Steaming
    • 12.4 Gentle scrubs
    • 12.5 Facial or nutritional packs
    • 12.6 Toning moisturising pack
    • 12.7 Toners
    • 12.8 Moisturisers
    • 12.9 Mists
    • 12.10 Use of Ayurvedic cosmetics based on the season
    • 12.11 Daily and seasonal regime
    • 12.12 Home remedies to keep the skin of the face healthy
  • 13. Groups of medicines acting on the skin
    • 13.1 Jivaniya gana (group)
    • 13.2 Brumhaniya gana
    • 13.3 Lekhaniya gana
    • 13.4 Bhedaniya gana
    • 13.5 Sandhaniya gana
    • 13.6 Balya gana
    • 13.7 Varnya gana
    • 13.8 Kushthaghna gana
    • 13.9 Kandughna gana
    • 13.10 Krumighna gana
    • 13.11 Svedopaga gana
    • 13.12 Shvayathuhara gana
    • 13.13 Dahaprashamana gana
    • 13.14 Udardaprashamana gana
    • 13.15 Rukshana gana
    • 13.16 Snehana gana
    • 13.17 Svedana gana
    • 13.18 Rakshoghna gana
    • 13.19 Rasayana gana
    • 13.20 Pûyavardhana gana
  • 14. Diet for skin disorders and spiritual therapy
    • 14.1 Diet
    • 14.2 Spiritual therapy (karmavipak)

Section II: Beauty of the Body

  • 15. Beauty of the five cosmic elements
    • 15.1 Qualities and action of the five cosmic elements
    • 15.2 Absolute earth (pruthvi) element
    • 15.3 Absolute water (apa) element
    • 15.4 Absolute fire (tej) element
    • 15.5 Absolute air (vayu) element
    • 15.6 Absolute ether (akash) element
  • 16. Molecular beauty
    • 16.1 Kapha
    • 16.2 Vata
    • 16.3 Pitta
  • 17. Constitution and beauty based on the three humours (tridoshas)
    • 17.1 Origin of constitution
    • 17.2 Vata constitution
    • 17.3 Pitta constitution
    • 17.4 Kapha constitution
    • 17.5 Balanced constitution (sama prakruti)
  • 18. Diseased constitution due to increase or decrease in vata, pitta and kapha
    • 18.1 Causes of increase in vata, pitta and kapha humours (doshas)
    • 18.2 Clinical manifestations of increased or decreased humours (doshas)
    • 18.3 Treatment of decreased humours (doshas)
    • 18.4 Treatment of excessive increase in humours (dosha prakopa)
    • 18.5 Humours (doshas) and diet
  • 19. Healthy and a beautiful body (tissues and beauty)
    • 19.1 Rasa dhatu (body fluids)
    • 19.2 Rakta (blood)
    • 19.3 Mansa dhatu (muscular tissue)
    • 19.4 Meda dhatu (fatty tissue)
    • 19.5 Asthi dhatu (bony tissue)
    • 19.6 Majja dhatu (nervous tissue)
    • 19.7 Shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue)
    • 19.8 Oja (vital energy)
    • 19.9 Dhatu sara (tissues of a good quality)
    • 19.10 Ideal tissue and the associated quality of the mind

Section III – Beauty of the Mind

  • 20. Impact of the body on the mind
    • 20.1 Origin of the body from the mind
    • 20.2 Effects of constitution on the mind
    • 20.3 Effects of tissues on the mind
    • 20.4 Humours (doshas) and desires
    • 20.5 Tissues and desires
    • 20.6 Unnatural desires
    • 20.7 Ideal tissues and qualities of the mind
  • 21. Four stages of treatment
    • 21.1 Roga nashini (treatment of diseases)
    • 21.2 Prakruti sthapini [establishing a balanced constitution (sama prakruti)]
    • 21.3 Rasayani treatment (administration of tonics to improve the health of the tissues
    • 21.4 NaishthikiMokshadayini treatment (attaining the Final Liberation)
  • 22. Soul, mind and body
    • 22.1 Self-realisation
    • 22.2 Deny the presence of the disease
    • 22.3 Faith
    • 22.4 Love
    • 22.5 Getting rid of your real enemies
    • 22.6 Truth
    • 22.7 Beautiful and ugly
  • 23. Beauty of the mind
    • 23.1 Psychological constitution
    • 23.2 Tamobhuyishta or tamasik (tama predominant) individuals
    • 23.3 Rajobhuyishta or rajasik (raja predominant) individuals
    • 23.4 Sattvabhuyishta or sattvik (sattva predominant) individuals
    • 23.5 Trigunatit (one beyond the three components)
    • 23.6 Ideal individual (Purushottam)
    • 23.7 Diet and the mind
    • 23.8 Qualities of an individual with a healthy mind
    • 23.9 Beautiful life
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What is the real beauty?

Contents


1. Beauty

According to the common man, that which appears pleasing to the eyes and which attracts the mind is beautiful. Any object or person whom we consider dear to us also appears beautiful. Hence every mother feels that her child is beautiful. A future bride did not like the groom selected by her parents as he was not good looking. However after contemplating about his qualities, she willingly agreed to marry him. Thereafter whenever they met, the boy appeared more and more handsome to her. Thus, beauty is not the quality of an object or a person, rather it is the reflection of our acceptance of that object or person. A girl is neither beautiful nor ugly. She appears beautiful due to the sexual desire in our mind.

The Indian poet Kalidas states that, that which appears fresher, newer and more lustrous each moment is beautiful.

क्षणे क्षणे यन्‍नवतां उपैति तदेव रूपं रमणीयताया: ।
नव नवोन्‍मेषशालिनी रमणीयता । – कालीदास

The Upanishads state, ‘That which is pure and eternally Blissful is beautiful (सत्‍यं शिवं सुंदरम्‌)’. True beauty never withers away. The soul principle which is the same as Brahma, God (Îshvar) or the individual soul is the only principle which has eternal existence, bliss and beauty.

To appreciate the beauty of God, a seeker must raise himself to the highest level of consciousness. It is said, ‘One can truly worship Lord Shiva only when one becomes Lord Shiva Himself (शिवो भूत्वा शिवं यज्ञेत्‌ ।)’. One has to tune oneself to the frequency of one’s deity before one can love and appreciate its beauty. For most people, the idol of Lord Viòhòhal is merely an idol. But Saint Tukaram considered the same idol as the most beautiful, manifest God Himself.

Every object or an individual has an aura i.e. it radiates energy of a particular frequency. When the frequency of the observer matches that of the object or the individual, that particular object or individual appears beautiful to the observer.

As God is beautiful, an individual with divine qualities such as serenity, compassion, kindness, goodwill, contentment appears beautiful. On the other hand, an individual with bad qualities such as anger, vengeance, hostility, violent nature, etc. appears ugly and ferocious.

Beauty appears where there is harmony and harmony exists when there is perfect co-ordination between all the elements in a situation. The food that one prepares may be highly nourishing and may contain all the essential nutrients in an adequate quantity. However, the food will be beautiful only when a sense of cleanliness, neatness and order is maintained while preparing and serving it. The one who cooks and serves it should have love and affection for his master. This is the manner of presenting and serving food beautifully. Such food is digested easily and is more nourishing to the body as well as the mind. This food is termed as ‘beautiful food’.

Beauty does not exist in the sunrise or a rose. If one is merely looking at the sunrise or a rose but one’s mind is elsewhere, then they will not appear beautiful. One can appreciate beauty only when one is engrossed in viewing the object.

A dance looks beautiful when one is so engrossed that the dancer disappears and only the dance remains. Similarly, music becomes beautiful when the musician disappears and only the music remains.

The Upanishads do not believe in perfection. They believe in totality i.e. living in harmony with the universe. When one lives every moment in totality by being fully engrossed in whatever one is doing, the entire life becomes beautiful and it takes one closer to God.

It is only in the Sanatan Religion (Dharma) that beauty is equated to God. The Upanishads state, ‘God is the Absolute Truth, Absolute Purity and Absolute Beauty (सत्‍यं शिवं सुंदरम्‌)’. The word shiva refers to purity or one who is benevolent to all. Shiva is the Name of Lord Shiva. Another Name of Lord Shiva is ‘सुंदरेश्‍वर’ i.e. ‘The Lord of beauty’ or the ‘most beautiful God’.

Lord Krushna says in the holy text, the Gita (10-41) –

यत्‌ यत्‌ विभूतिमत्‌, श्रीमत्‌ ऊर्जितं एव वा ।
तत्‌ तत्‌ एव अवगच्‍छ त्‍वं मम तेजोंश संभवम्‌ ।। – गीता १०-४१

Meaning: I represent the divinity in all living beings and objects, e.g. I am the spring season among the various seasons; I am the energy in energetic individuals and the strength in the powerful; I am the knowledge in the learned and the beauty in the beautiful.

ऋतूंता कुसुमाकर: । – गीता १०-३५
अंह तेजस्‍विनां तेज: । -गीता १०-३६
ज्ञानवतां ज्ञानमहं । -गीता १०-३८


2. Beautiful life

Ayurveda, the science of life defines life as a constant and continuous amalgamation and union of the body, the sense and motor organs, mind and the soul acting as one functional unit. The concept of beauty is not limited to the skin alone. Life itself has to be beautiful. For a beautiful life, the four essential components are – a. A healthy life, b. A healthy mind, c. A happy life and d. A useful life. The characteristics of each are described below.

2.1 A healthy life

A healthy individual has a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. He has a well balanced constitution and all his tissues and organs function at an optimal level. He is well built, healthy, strong and has a proportionate and shapely physique. His skin is lustrous and complexion is pink. He has a swift, rhythmic gait and a deep, voluminous, melodious and resonant voice. While enjoying sex and having good libido, he has total control over his sexual urge. He has a good appetite and digestive power and regular bowel habits. He enjoys all seasons equally well. He enjoys sound sleep. He is energetic and undertakes physical and mental chores with enthusiasm and skill. He rarely falls ill. Though capable of enjoying all the worldly pleasures, he does not crave for them. He looks younger than his age and enjoys a full, healthy life of a 100 years.

2.2 A healthy mind

The characteristics of a healthy mind are –

  • A happy and contented state of mind, cheerful disposition and pleasing manner
  • A feeling of security
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Absence of tension and frustration
  • Ability to accept and give love, affection and happiness
  • Insight or knowledge of the self
  • Ability to use one’s capability in the task at hand
  • Maximum ability of getting along with people and being friendly to all
  • Ability to adapt easily in every respect
  • Stability of the mind which does not fluctuate or waver
  • Fortitude and courage
  • Intelligence and a good memory
  • Creative ability
  • Follower of the dictates of one’s conscience
  • Having perfect control over one’s own desires, instincts, emotions, behaviour, actions and speech
  • Having respect for teachers and learned people
  • Truthful speech, clarity of thought and right action
  • Humility and gratitude
  • A well wisher of people and working for the upliftment of the society.

2.3 A happy life

The characteristics of a happy life are as follows –

  • Life which is free from physical or psychological illness.
  • Strong, energetic, courageous and confident life which is full of the vigour of youth.
  • Powerful sense and motor organs, intellect and memory.
  • Life with all the means and freedom to enjoy whatever one likes and travel wherever one wishes.
  • Every desire in the life of such a person is fulfilled, all his activities are successful and he gains fame. His children too fulfill his desires and expectations

2.4 A useful life

The following are the characteristics of an individual leading a useful life.

  • One who is intelligent, has a good control over his desires and instincts, speaks the truth, loves peace, thinks before he acts and follows the rules of righteous conduct even while earning money or fulfilling his desires.
  • One who always aims for that which is good for his present life as well as for his future lives and who is engrossed in acquiring spiritual knowledge and meditation.
  • One who respects the elderly and respected people, one who does not expect any help from others but himself wishes to help and donate wealth to others and one who desires and works for the welfare of others.

Primary instincts: The basic instincts of all the living beings are –

  • Instinct for survival (pranaishana) : This is the most primitive but a very important instinct as all the aims of life can be fulfilled only if one is alive and healthy.
  • Instinct for the propagation of the species (putraishana) : It is important to have progeny as through it our unfulfilled desires and activities can be fulfilled.

Pursuits of human life (purusharthas) The aim of human life is four-fold namely –

  • Righteousness (Dharma) : A desire to lead a good, righteous and respectable life on earth and in heaven after death. By following the rules of Righteousness, the society and government, one commands respect from people as well as ensures happiness for oneself in one’s next birth.
  • Desire to acquire wealth (artha or dhanaishana) : By acquisition of wealth through righteous means, not only can we enjoy it but we can help others too.
  • Fulfillment of desire (kama) : Desire to lead a happy life through fulfillment of our desires. Our motto should be fulfillment of not only our desires but also those of each one in this world.
  • The Final Liberation (Moksha) : Desire to attain eternal and supreme Bliss. By attaining the state of highest evolution of the mind and acquiring true knowledge about the self and the universe, one can achieve a state of supreme and eternal Bliss i.e. the Final Liberation.

It is but natural that even if a person has a beautiful skin, he will not appear beautiful and attractive if –

  • He is suffering from an ailment.
  • He has mental tension.
  • He is not happy.
  • He is not living a useful life.

In our country, we worship God as beauty (Shyamasundar). We do not fear Him. We love Him. God or divinity manifests as knowledge in our mind, love in our heart, energy in our life and as beauty in our physical form. Beauty lies not only in one’s appearance but in the way one walks, moves about, organises one’s life and in the way one thinks i.e. the beauty of thoughts. The beauty of the heart is to love. Such a person feels good and makes others feel good too. He is always a well wisher of others. Frequencies of good qualities radiate from him and reach everyone. A perfect form, proportion, pattern and co-ordination of the different parts of the body and a lustrous skin with a good complexion constitute the beauty of the physical body.

In ancient India, beauty was valued and respected. About 2500 years ago, when Gautam Buddha and Mahavir made a tremendous impact on the minds of the masses, the values of beauty and joy started dwindling. People underwent renunciation (sannyas), shaved off their heads, wore saffron robes as ascetics and discarded beautiful clothes condemning them to be a sign of materialism.

The Sanatan Religion (Dharma) states that the body is the temple of God. We have to treat our body as sacred and keep it clean, pure, well decorated and beautiful. Indian philosophers say that the world is the divine play (lila) of God. One should accept life and imbibe the qualities of God. Only then will all His divine or sattvik (sattva predominant) qualities including beauty descend upon oneself.


3. Vedanta theory of origin of components of human life

Man is an epitome of the universe. The soul, mind, sense and motor organs and the body constitute the main components of an individual.

Soul : The soul is eternal, omnipresent and is without a beginning or an end. The soul is the trinity of Absolute Truth, Absolute Knowledge and Bliss (सत्‍यं ज्ञानं आनंदं ब्रह्म). The universal soul is called God. Devotees describe God as the trinity of Absolute Truth, Absolute Purity and Absolute Beauty (सत्‍यं शिवं सुंदरम्‌).

Maya is the basic energy of the universal soul principle from which the entire universe including the animate and inanimate creation is formed. It is the finest form of energy. The subtlemost cosmic elements of absolute ether (akash), absolute air (vayu), absolute fire (agni), absolute water (apa) and absolute earth (pruthvi) are derived from the Great Illusion. Each of these cosmic elements is derived from the preceding cosmic element.

These subtle cosmic elements are composed of the subtle sattva, raja and tama components. The mind as well as the sense and motor organs are derived from the subtle sattva, raja and tama components of all the five cosmic elements. Though the mind and the subtle sense organs are derived from the sattva, raja and tama components, they are dominant in the sattva component. The Sattva component is derived from the five cosmic elements of absolute ether, absolute air, absolute fire, absolute water and absolute earth and gives rise to the subtle sense organs of hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell respectively. Similarly, the five vital energies (panchaprans) and the subtle motor organs are predominant in the raja component. The tama component is derived from all the five cosmic elements which get differentiated into the five subtle elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth which still exist in the form of energy and are known as tanmatras. These five tanmatras get further differentiated into the five gross elements which exist in the atomic form of ether, air, fire, water and earth. These are called as the five gross cosmic elements (panchamahabhutas). In this state they cannot be recognised by the sense organs. These atoms combine with one another and form molecules which are termed as the panchabhautik panchamahabhutas which are the pentad gross elements, e.g. pruthvi (earth element) contains 50% of the gross earth element and the remaining 50% is composed of the other four gross elements. All man made objects and the physical bodies of all animals and human beings are derived from these five gross elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth.

God also known as Paramatma is the universal soul principle. He is the creator of the Great Illusion (Maya). After creation of the universe, God permeates the universe and is omnipresent.

Beauty is an integral quality of the soul and God. If God is beautiful, the entire universe has to be beautiful. There can be nothing ugly in the universe.

How does sattvik mind help in leading blissful life?

Contents


1. Soul, mind and body

1.1 Self-realisation

The soul of every individual is a minute part of the universal soul i.e. God. God is omnipresent and He dwells in each one of us. The Vedanta states that knowledge of the Self is itself the true knowledge. Unless you know by experience who you are, how can you know others? After experience, the individual realises that he is the soul principle and not the body or the mind. Our life is a constantly active amalgamation of the body, mind and soul which act as one unit. The soul does not have any qualities hence it is impossible to describe it. A yogi following the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga) experiences the soul as Absolute Knowledge and Bliss. A devotee following the Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) experiences the soul as spiritual love, beauty and Bliss. One following the Path of Action (Karmayoga) experiences the soul as infinite creativity, activity and Bliss. Even the eternal Truth – God who is formless and devoid of qualities (nirgun) is experienced by the spiritually evolved according to their own path.

The mind exists in the form of energy. It is an instrument of acquiring knowledge about the Self as well as the external world.

The body exists as matter. Matter always degrades and dies. Hence for the body, death is unavoidable but the soul is immortal. The soul has neither a beginning nor an end. The innate energy of the soul gives rise to the mind and the mind gives rise to the body.

When an individual realises that in reality he is the soul principle and not the body, his fear of death disappears as the soul is immortal. In reality, we die only once but we die thousands of times due to the fear of death. When the fear of death disappears, the individual appears peaceful and Blissful even at the time of death. The seeds of all the diseases are implanted in fear. Even a beautiful person appears ugly when in a state of fear.

When afflicted by a disease everyone should take treatment as advised by the physician. However one must bear the following points in mind which will help one to get rid of the disease and lead a happy and beautiful life.

1.2 Deny the presence of the disease

An individual is the soul and not the body. The soul is immortal and Blissful. It cannot suffer from any ailment. Whether it is cancer or some hereditary disease, the firm belief that I cannot suffer from a disease helps one to get cured even from an incurable illness. Even if the illness is not cured or it advances, one does not suffer because one can look at the illness with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav).

1.3 Faith

Faith plays a significant role in the life of every individual. The Upanishads state, ‘Man is faith (श्रद्घामयोऽयं पुरुष:)’. Everyone receives different results for the same action depending on one’s faith. If one believes that getting wet in the rain will give rise to cold and cough, one will certainly suffer from it when one gets wet in the rain. On the other hand, people who enjoy getting wet in the heavy showers hardly ever catch cold on getting wet.

The very feeling that I am a sinner and I am suffering from a disease due to sins in my past life becomes an obstacle to getting rid of the disease. Swami Vivekanand says, ‘You are the sons of immortality – God. How can you commit sins ?’

Live with full faith in God and be sure that God will definitely cure one. Instead of keeping the mind engrossed in thoughts about the ailment, concentrate on some useful activity, repeat (chant) The Lord’s Name or meditate. Despite the ailment, one will be able to live a happy and beautiful life.

1.4 Love

Immense faith in God and His creation enhances beauty. God is love and beauty. If the physician and relatives of the patient treat the patient with love and compassion, he will get cured very fast. Love is the tonic for the mind and in turn for the body.

1.5 Getting rid of your real enemies

Cravings, greed, ego, jealousy, anger, etc. are one’s real enemies. They make the mind restless and ultimately one develops ailments like high blood pressure. Even a beautiful person looks ferocious when he gets angry.

1.6 Truth

Truth is beautiful and untruth is ugly. Diseases which arise from untruth get cured by following the path of truth. Diseases, misery, sins and death do not have a real existence. They arise from ignorance.

1.7 Beautiful and ugly

Shakespeare says that there is nothing beautiful or ugly in the world. It is our thoughts which make them so. A person with good thoughts sees everything as beautiful and himself becomes beautiful.

God is beauty Himself. Naturally, the universe created by Him is overflowing with beauty. Look at the mountains, rivers, sea, sunset, moon or stars. How beautiful they are ! Look at the plants and animals. What natural beauty they exhibit in their appearance, their look, their movements, their gestures ! Go to any forest. How clean and beautiful it looks ! Man has lost his natural beauty. Therefore wherever he goes, he carries with him dirt, foul odour and jealousy.

Plants and animals are naturally beautiful. All infants and children appear naturally beautiful because their mind is simple and straightforward.

When a diamond appears more beautiful than a stone, the beauty is of the diamond. If the stone appears as beautiful as the diamond then it is one’s inner beauty of the mind and the soul. Everything in the world is beautiful. We only have to change our ideas and attitude.

We spend a lot of time, money and energy to appear beautiful. It is important that we ourselves (i.e. our mind) become beautiful. When we become beautiful, the inner beauty radiates outside and the external appearance automatically improves.

Worship (upasana) of Shri, the deity of beauty: Deity Shri is also known as Lakshmi, the deity of wealth; Dhanalakshmi, the deity of money; Dhairyalakshmi, the deity of courage; Vijayalakshmi, the deity of victory; Shouryalakshmi, the deity of bravery; Vidyalakshmi, the deity of knowlege; Kirtilakshmi, the deity of fame; Rajyalakshmi, the deity of the kingdom; Bhagyalakshmi, the deity of fortune and Soundaryalakshmi, the deity of beauty.

Thus, deity Shri or Lakshmi is the deity of beauty, wealth, cleanliness, purity, success, fame, prosperity, etc.

The Shri sukta is the Vedic hymn consisting of 16 stanzas (ruchas). The word sukta means well spoken. The Shri sukta mentions how one can please deity Shrilakshmi by repeating (chanting) verses in Her praise, which describe Her divine qualities.

Once a devotee asked deity Shri, “O mother, where do you dwell ?” The deity answered, “I dwell in courage and adventure (साहसे श्री: प्रतिवसति ।)

It is important to repeat (chant) the Shri sukta by understanding its meaning and imbibing the divine qualities of deity Shrilakshmi by emulating Her.

Deity Lakshmi sits on a lotus in a lake. Though the lotus floats on water, it still remains aloof from it as water does not adhere to the leaves of lotus. Just like deity Lakshmi we too should learn to remain aloof or detached from worldly objects and transactions. Though Lakshmi is the deity of wealth, prosperity, success and fame and despite her being the consort of Lord Vishnu, she sits at His feet and serves Him by gently pressing His legs. This shows Her humble nature and servitude. If we imbibe such qualities of deity Shrilakshmi, our mind too will become beautiful along with the body.

One should repeat (chant) the 16 stanzas of the Shri sukta (verses in praise of deity Lakshmi) daily as well as the 10 stanzas about the benefits (phalashruti) of repeating (chanting) it. The first stanza of the Shri sukta and the ninth stanza about the benefits of repeating (chanting) it are given below along with their meaning. Undertaking repetition (chanting) of these two stanzas, nine times a day after completely comprehending their meaning serves the same purpose.

हरि: ॐ – श्री सूक्‍त
हिरण्‍यवर्णां हरिणीं सुवर्णरजतस्‍त्रजाम्‌ ।
चंद्रां हिरण्‍मयीं लक्ष्‍मीं जातवेदोम आवह ।।१।। – श्री सूक्‍त

O Jata Veda (the deity of the sacred fire), who has complete knowlege of the entire universe, we pray unto you to invite deity Shrilakshmi, who adorns gold ornaments, whose radiance is lustrous akin to pure gold, who loves to wander from one place to another like a deer, whose effulgence radiates light and who imparts happiness to the entire world, into my house. – Shri sukta 1

श्रीवर्चस्‍वं आयुष्‍यं आरोग्‍यमविधाच्‍छोभमानं महीयते ।
धान्‍यं, धनं, पशुं बहुपुत्रलाभं शतसंवत्‍सरं दीर्घमायु: ।। लक्ष्‍मीसूक्‍त ९

O deity Shri, bless your devotees with good position, victory, prosperity, sound health, beauty, fame, healthy progeny and a long, wealthy and useful life of a 100 years. – Lakshmi sukta 9

ॐ महालक्ष्‍म्‍यै च विद्‌महे महश्रियै च धीमही । तन्‍नो श्री: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।

We are aware of the divine nature of deity Mahalakshmi. We meditate upon deity Shri. May deity Shri enlighten our intellect.


2. Beauty of the mind

The word ‘mana’ is derived from ‘मन (mana)’ which means the mind. The one who can think [मनन (manan)], is a man. The mind is also called as the antahkaran i.e. the inner sense organ in relation to the five external sense organs of hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell. The antahkaran is composed of –

  • Ego (ahankar)
  • Mind (mana)
  • Intellect (buddhi)
  • Subconscious mind (chitta)

The qualities of the mind which is subtle and those of the gross body differ. Increase in weight and attachment make the body strong. The mind becomes strong by becoming subtler and detached. The speed of the mind varies. At times it exceeds the speed of light while in the meditative state (samadhi) or deep sleep, its speed becomes nil.

The mind manifests through the nervous system. It is composed of subtle components of sattva, raja and tama. The sattva component is composed of subtle knowledge, light and pleasure. It manifests as love, gratitude, compassion and other divine qualities. The raja component has the basic qualities of misery and movement. It manifests as sexual desire, anger, greed, selfishness, craving for power, jealousy, etc. Ignorance and darkness are the basic qualities of the tama component. It manifests as laziness, sleep and jealousy.

Though the tama component is subtler than electrons yet it is more gross as compared to the sattva and raja components. The raja component is subtler than the tama component while the sattva component is the most subtle one.

2.1 Psychological constitution

Indian philosophers classify the qualities of the mind into good qualities i.e. the sattva component and undesirable qualities. The undesirable qualities are further divided into raja and tama components. All of us possess both, good as well as bad qualities. Individuals are classified into the following groups depending on the predominance of the sattva, raja or tama component.

2.2 Tamobhuyishta or tamasik (tama predominant) individuals

Individuals who come under this category are less intelligent, in a depressed frame of mind and generally prone to laziness. The slightest mental exertion tires them easily. A common feature is a tendency to feel sleepy even during the day. They take the path of least resistance and eat, drink, sleep and indulge in sex to a greater extent. They are extremely greedy, irritable and do not have consideration for others. They may go to the extent of even harming others to safeguard their vested interests. In these people, the id dominates over ego and super ego.

Pashav (animal), matsya (fish) and vanaspatya (vegetable) constitutions represent the three types of tamasik personalities.

2.3 Rajobhuyishta or rajasik (raja predominant) individuals

These individuals are egoistic, proud, ambitious and have a tendency to boss over others. They are loquacious and though hardworking, their endeavours lack proper planning and direction. Their mental makeup is not so strong as that of sattvabhuyishta individuals. Emotions such as anger, joy, attachment, jealousy, etc. dominate their personality. They are prone to emotional outbursts and hence their mental energy is wasted. They require eight hours of sleep. They are calm and patient, only so long as their interests are not affected. They are good, friendly and faithful only to those who are helpful to them. In these people, the ego usually dominates over the id and super ego. Asura and rakshasa (demon), pishachcha and preta (ghost), sarpa (serpent) and shakuna (bird) constitutions represent the six varieties of rajasik (raja predominant) personalities.

2.4 Sattvabhuyishta or sattvik (sattva predominant) individuals

These individuals have a steady and pure mind. They have a religious inclination and follow the path of Truth and Righteousness (Dharma). They stand out by their good manners and good character. They possess a great deal of self-control and do not get easily upset or angry. Even a considerable amount of mental activity does not result in mental fatigue. They need hardly four hours of sleep. They respect their teachers and always try to improve their knowledge, proficiency and skill. They are capable of taking correct decisions after careful and mature thinking which is derived from a clear intellect. Religious by nature, they have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and take a detached view of problems. In sattvik people, the super ego dominates over the id and ego. Brahma and Arsha (saint), Indra, Yama, Varun and Kubera (God) and Gandharva (celestial musician) constitutions represent the seven types of sattvik personalities.

2.5 Trigunatit (one beyond the three components)

A trigunatit person is one who has mastered all the mental processes. He ceases to have any desires, aversions, emotions and attachments. As he has no desires or aversions, he performs his activities without expecting any returns. As he has full control over his emotions, all attempts to make him angry, frighten him or make him elated prove futile. Even Menaka, the celestial beauty cannot stimulate his sexual instinct. He is a fearless person, not even afraid of death. Free from all attachments, he renounces all worldly pleasures. He is least concerned about what the society thinks of him. As he has lost his identity, he is neither happy when honoured nor unhappy when insulted. He is engrossed in elevating his own mental level and lies in his own realm of peace and happiness. A renunciant (sannyasi) who has renounced all worldly pleasures and spends his life in meditation is a trigunatit person.

2.6 Ideal individual (Purushottam)

How then should we categorise an ideal individual ? What are the components which give shape to such a balanced personality ? An ideal individual should have all the qualities of the mind and heart of a trigunatit and sattvik (sattva predominant) personality. Complete and total detachment of the former should combine with a friendly, helpful and social nature of the latter. He should place service unto others before self. Though detached, he should perform all his activities in a masterly manner for the benefit of his fellowmen and upliftment of society. Lord Krushna may be cited as an example of an ideal individual. Lord Krushna’s detached attitude towards life is well portrayed in the following episode which took place when He was at the tender age of twelve. Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krushna was the king of Mathura at that time and a tyrant. He came to power by imprisoning Ugrasen, the rightful ruler. Lord Krushna killed Kansa when He was twelve years old. The people of Mathura were grateful and happy to be relieved of Kansa’s tyranny and wanted Lord Krushna to become their king. Though Lord Krushna had the ability and wisdom to rule the kingdom, He refused. Detached as He was, He handed the kingdom to Ugrasen the rightful ruler and left Mathura. Throughout His life there are many such instances wherein He fought for justice and played the role of a king maker but never accepted the role of a ruler.

Lord Krushna had exemplified perfection in various spheres such as music, philosophy, politics, war, etc. Even the animals and birds were enchanted with the melodious notes which flowed from His flute. The victory of the Pandavas in the Mahabharat war was on account of Him. Arjun, the most renowed archer of His time, could not combat Lord Krushna on the battlefield. In a duel between Lord Krushna and Arjun, Arjun was humiliated in no time. The Bhagvadgita, one of the most phenomenal philosophical discourses of all times was narrated to Arjun by Lord Krushna within a few hours on the battlefield. The teachings of the Bhagvadgita and the life of Lord Krushna portray how an ideal individual should be.

A tamasik (tama predominant) person has an ugly personality. A rajasik (raja predominant) person has a changing personality. He looks ferocious when angry and affectionate when loving. A sattvik person has a pleasant personality due to his Blissful state of mind. A trigunatit person appears beautiful due to His Blissful state. He radiates Bliss and attracts people. An ideal individual (Purushottam) is the healthiest and the most beautiful and attractive person.

2.7 Diet and the mind

According to the Chandogya Upanishad, the sattva, raja and tama components in the food, supply these components to the mind. Diets which dominate in sattva, raja and tama components are given below.

Sattvik (sattva predominant) diet: Cow’s milk, butter, ghee, fruits, dry fruits like almonds, walnuts and food items which do not ferment or putrefy easily increase the sattva component of the mind.

Rajasik (raja predominant) diet: Spicy, pungent, sour, salty and hot food items, garlic and onion increase the raja component of the mind.

Tamasik (tama predominant) diet: Unclean, stale, dry, fermented and putrefied food items increase the tama component of the mind.

Food bought with money acquired through righteous means increases the sattva component of the mind. Food bought with money acquired through selfish motives increases the raja component of the mind. Food bought with money acquired by stealing or cheating others increases the tama component of the mind.

Food offered heartily by sattvik (sattva predominant) people or eaten as a holy sacrament (prasad) increases the sattva component of the mind. Food eaten at parties increases the raja component of the mind. Food given by or eaten in the company of a wicked person increases the tama component of the mind.

When every morsel of the food is eaten while repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name, it increases the sattva component of the mind. Food eaten while gossiping increases the raja component of the mind. Food consumed with alcoholic drinks increases the tama component of the mind.

Fresh fruits increase the sattva component, pickles prepared from fruits increase the raja component while wine prepared from fruits increases the tama component of the mind.

Buffalo’s milk increases the strength of the body and the tama component of the mind while cow’s milk increases the strength of the mind and the sattva component.

Good thoughts, righteous conduct and good speech increase the sattva component of the mind. Thoughts have an immediate and 100% effect on the mind as thinking is the function of the mind. Food can affect the mind only to the tune of 5%.

Birth in a pious family, the holy company of saints and sattvik people and visits to places of pilgrimage increase the sattva component of the mind.

2.8 Qualities of an individual with a healthy mind

Individuals with a healthy mind are intelligent and have a good memory. They execute the job entrusted to them skillfully. Their thoughts are pure and pious. They are enthusiastic, brave, courageous and believe in the existence of God. They respect learned people, saints and the Guru. They are humble and grateful. They face any calamity fearlessly. They have good tolerance and have full control over their mind as well as the sense and motor organs. They are well wishers of others and work for the upliftment of the society.

Individuals with a weak mind require constant support. They are fearful and lose their mental balance easily. Their mind is unstable and they feel embarassed and become restless by minor disturbances. They do not have control over their mind as well as the sense or motor organs.

2.9 Beautiful life

The beauty one acquires at a beauty parlour lasts only for a few hours. If one makes one’s heart beautiful, the whole world will always appear beautiful.

Beauty does not lie in external objects. Rather beauty manifests when one gets engrossed in the object. Dance and music appear beautiful when one is so engrossed that the dancer and the musician disappear and only the dance and music remain. Similarly, when one is fully engrossed in whatever one is doing, life becomes beautiful at every moment.

2.10 Lord Krushna – The ultimate beauty

Life is defined as constant amalgamation and union of the body, mind and soul. An ideal individual must have an ideal body and mind. The soul never gets destroyed and remains eternally in a state of Absolute Knowledge, Bliss and beauty (सत्‍यं शिवं सुंदरम्‌). For an ideal healthy body one should have –

  • A balanced state of the five great cosmic elements (panchabhautik panchamahabhutas) i.e. an ideal quality and quantity of absolute ether (akash), absolute air (vayu), absolute fire (tej), absolute water (apa) and absolute earth (pruthvi) i.e. panchabhautik beauty.
  • A balanced constitution (sama prakruti) i.e. an ideal quality and quantity of vata, pitta and kapha i.e. molecular beauty.

For an ideal mind, the mind should be of a sattvik (sattva predominant) or trigunatit (beyond the three components) nature.

Lord Krushna had an ideal body and mind and He lived an active, healthy, happy and useful life of a hundred and sixty years.

He had a healthy, beautiful and attractive body and mind. Every part of His body and every action was beautiful. Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu, a great scholar, saint and an ardent devotee of Lord Krushna was overwhelmed with the beauty of Lord Krushna and composed a song of 8 stanzas on the beauty of Lord Krushna whom He calls Madhuradhi pati – the king of beauty and sweetness.