What are the health benefits of meditation and yoga? How do they help in relieving stress in today’s world? Chat with Expert on meditation and yoga, Swami Ram Swarup, conducted at at 2 pm (IST) on December 05, 2003

akshay> Which asanas do you recommend we do before doing meditation and for how long?
Swami Ram Swarup> Ten asans must minimum be done. Siddhasan, padmasan, paschimotanasan, uttaanpaadasan, halasan, sarpasan, vajrasan, sarvangasan, tiddiasan. Every asan must be done at least for 2-3 minutes. But siddhasan and padmasan must be done at least for 1 hour to 2 hour, if possible because on these two asans, naam jaap and meditation is done and gives fruitful results. But these asans must be learnt from an experienced yogi because Vedas say ‘Brahmano mukham aasit’ (Yajurved Mantra 31/11), which means that a yogi who knows vedas and yoga must only preach.

naomi> How many times should I medidate in a day and is it true that meditation will help me in increasing my concentration power?
Swami Ram Swarup> In Saamveda, it is said ‘Thoshavasta dive dive’, which means that twice a day, that is early in the morning, and in evening. Practice depends on available time but after 50 years of age, at least more than 2 hours must be given each in morning and evening. But a sanyasi practises even four times a day because the main objective of the human life is to realise God even while discharging duties towards family and nation. Yoga controls 5 perceptions, 5 organs and mind. So it is perfect meditation and is a complete way to attain samadhi, that is, salvation, which is our motto. The human being, whether family, nation or world, if they do not practice yoga, then they cannot concentrate. And without concentration, anger, selfishness, ego, lobh (greediness) and several other bad habits arise and thus you cannot control and cannot give justice to the public and yourself also.

naveen> I am a diabetic and a heart patient, I want to know in what way can yoga can be beneficial to me? Please help.
Swami Ram Swarup> Yoga is meant for ill-free life. So ardhmatisindriya, uttanpaad, sarpasan, gaumukhasan, bhramcharyaasan and pranayaam can give you ill-free life, if they are learnt and done in presence of an experienced yogi. Please try to attend yoga camp in Dharamsala commencing from December 23. Contact at www.vedmandir.com. One of my disciples, a retired army officer with heart problem, is now fully cured (named L R Gulati of Panchkula), by doing yoga practice.

radha> Is visualisation same as meditation? I read somewhere that it is very good in relieving stress?
Swami Ram Swarup> No because in meditation eyes and every organ becomes dead and meditation is the seventh stage of ashtang yoga. And meditation means a man has controlled all desires and nothing to do with features, sites, etc. and has got ascetism (vairagya) as said in yoga shastra sutra 1/15. In meditation the aspirant knows only two things that he is there and he is meditating to God. That’s all. So he has nothing to do with the world at that time. As regards visualisation, it is some kind of practice, in which one has to see some point parallel to his eyes without closing eyes, as much time as he can and mostly the magicians practice this type of exercise. God is realized inside only, that is in human body by a yogi.

nida> What is patanjali system of yoga and how useful is it? Can it cure psoriasis?
Swami Ram Swarup> Yes, you can cure. Patanjali yog darshana teaches ashtang yoga in full. That is, yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahaar, dharna, dhayaan and samadhi, by which a yogi conrolls chitta vriti and realises God in his body. But the base of this ashtang yoga is yam and niyama, in which bhramcharya and study of vedas are most essential by which only an aspirant is able to know the real God and the way of ashtang yoga.

romidas> How can I keep a control over my emotions? I feel hurt on every small thing? I am very sensitive can yoga or meditation make me strong from inside because if this keeps happening I am going to lose everyone who’s close by this attitude of mine?
Swami Ram Swarup> There is only one way to control all these problems, which is to practice ashtang yoga, which is mainly meant to control five perceptions, five organs and mind, resulting in peace of mind and getting power, energy, mental fitness and physical fitness with long happy life and even salvation. Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, and every muni did this, even in family life and served the human beings too. We must not break the tradition and eternal knowledge by making our own path.

karuna4all> Whevever I try to meditate my mind gets involved in unwanted thoughts, which disturb me a lot. What should I do?
Swami Ram Swarup> It is natural because Pantanjali yog darshan says about two samadhis – sampargyaat and asampargyaat. So, if anyone starts practising real ashtang yoga, starting from yam, niyam, aasan, pranayaam, pratyahaar, dharnaa, dhyaan and samadhi, then you must please know that dhyaan is the seventh stage of ashtang yoga, and dhyaan means meditation. If anybody else does not fulfil the rules and leaves all the first six stages and directly starts from meditation, then it is quite wrong. And if anybody else starts properly then in sampargyaat samadhi, first is vitark, in which, a he has to face the sthool features and ideas, and it is not harmful. When he still continues it, he will have to to face vichaar, where suksham views will come. In the third stage, the aspirant will experience merriment and in the fourth stage, he will realise his soul, which is called asmitanugat-sampargyaat samadhi. Thereafter he gets asampargyaat samadhi, which is called salvation. So this is not the problem that one starts feelings of some outgoing and ingoing ideas or thoughts. Problem is this that whether he practices right from the beginning of ashtang yoga or not.

karuna4all> Apart from asthang yoga, what is the simplest way of meditation which could bring peace of mind and which we can do in this busy life?
Swami Ram Swarup> First of all, one should listen the shabda braham that is the preaches of vedas and shastras (holy books), which is clearly said in Shanti Parv of Mahabharat by Bhishma (53/20) that “O Yudhistar, he who becomes perfect yogi by listening the preaching of vedas, i.e. shabda braham then he only realises almighty God. In addition, one should daily do jaap of holy name of God. But at last, in one stage, he will have to do the meditation also because it is said in shastra that fundamental law of nature can never be changed.”

reeeeeeeeeee> My niece is 12 years old who has been diabetic for the past seven years and now has renal infection. She is at AIIMS now. She in bad shape please help us.
Swami Ram Swarup> This can be cured by practising the yoga. But first one will have to be learned because it is clearly said in Bhagwad Geeta by Yogeshwar Krishna: “Yogo Bhavati Dukha (6/17)”, which means that yoga practice ends all problems or sickness, etc.

siddh> Swamiji my mind is not stable. I am not able to concentrate on my studies, what should I do?
Swami Ram Swarup> You need to practice ashtang yoga, but first please listen to the preachings about yam and niyam. Yam means satya, ahinsa, astaye, bhramcharya, apariygrah and niyam means shauch, santosh, tap, svadhyaye, ishar panridhanani. Shauch means purification, santosh means heart working towards right way and religious deeds, tap means to listening to vedas, etc. Svadhayay means to read religious books which inspire salvation, and jaap. Isharvar paridhanam means faith on God and surrender the all deeds and results thereof to almighty God. Whereas ahimsa means not to harm anybody, satya means to listen to tell only the truth and the facts and qualities of God, which are true only, to be listened. Astahye means to avoid theft. Brahamcharye means to control five perceptions, five organs and mind. Aparhyigraha means that the things which are actually needed are to be gathered and used and avoid baseless and huge quantity of articles, whatever maybe. And thereafter you should awake early in the morning for a long morning walk and exercise. Thereafter you can start one day asan and pranayaam. It will give you full mental and physical energy and concentration.

karuna4all> Swamiji practicing all these things which you told right now is quite difficult for a common man in the present life, for doing so he has to take “sanyas” I think. Isn’t there any shortcut method of getting peace of mind?
Swami Ram Swarup> In shastras, it is clearly said that fundamental laws of nature can never be changed. So, traditional and eternal knowledge of the vedas, originated directly from God and thus cannot be changed. Nowadays there is a pollution, so can any scientist change the fundamental law that man can use carbondioxide in place of oxygen? Moreover studying science, and maths is essential but I think it is more difficult than learning and doing meditation, which was practiced in more than 96 percent of people in family life in past three yugas like Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Harish Chandra, Yayati King, Ashtak, Shipt and Vikshipt, Manu bhagwan and all their public. So before starting the yoga practice, please control your mind, because only this will give you peace and a long and happy life, which is fundamental requirement of a soul. Mostly present saints who are against the vedas and yogas at their own have started saying the simplest way, which is totally against the enternal knowledge of the vedas, shastras, Geeta, Ramayan and other holy books. And in this way Tulsi has rightly said that “Dvij Shruti Bechat, Bhoop Prashasan”. So yog shastra clearly says in sutra 1/7 about four proofs, that is prataksh, anumaan, vedas and alive mantradrista yogi.

Signoff Message> Human beings, after getting birth, always try to get peace and long ill-free life but it is only attained by hard-working, present pious deeds towards a right path, and by concentration, devotion, dedication, Everybody must do this and the base of all these achievements is a study of or listing of Vedas or doing ashtang yoga practice. So, what is the future? Future is based only on the present pious deeds towards a right path. By which, we can make our nation strong also. The present type of astrology is not mentioned in vedas, 6 shastras, 11 upanishads, Bhagwad Geeta, Balmiki Ramayan, etc. So there is no proof of such astrology and without any proof, it cannot be accepted.