The Six Enemies Of the Human Being
How can I attain perpetual peace or bliss in my life of struggle and chaos? Everyone confronts this challenge.
The human being is incessantly searching for constant peace and happiness in his life. He is aware of his incomplete life and continuously tries to upgrade it. He knows also that he is subject to the destructively overpowering impact of his six enemies on him. The six enemies are desire, anger, greed, jealousy, delusion, and vanity listed in the Hindu scriptures.
A venerated Indian yogi aptly expresses in his vachana (prose poem) the depth of the pervasive six enemies and implores his own conscience to empower him to vanquish them:
“I melted away in lust,
I writhed in anger,
I ached with desire and greed,
I boiled in arrogance and envy,
I have become dull because of my ego and selfishness,
That is why
purge me of this group of six enemies,
remove my ego and selfishness
make me one without ego and self
The supplication is a passionate call to oneself like the other classic call ” Know thyself”.
The six mental enemies are conquerable for the upliftment of the individual.
The Four Stages of Human Life
Again, according to the Hindu scriptures, the human being has to pass through the four stages of his life, dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. The Sanskrit words mean that dharma is right conduct, artha is wealth, kama is desire and moksha is liberation resulting in eternal peace or bliss in life, the final goal of the human being. He has to conquer his six mental enemies during his life to meet his spiritual destination.
To maintain physical health, breathe clean air, take good and nutritious food, have a sound sleep and practice daily exercise. Everyone knows these health principles and has to adhere to them.
To maintain mental health and attain the ultimate goal of the human being, practice three life management steps, satsanga, discipline, and meditation as suggested by Swami Amartyananda, the yoga practitioner, and guru in his book Effective Life Management.
1. Take good and nutritious food to nourish and naturally grow your body, maintain and enjoy good physical health. Items of such food are available and cheap. I prefer vegetarian food. The food choice is individualistic. You have a choice.
2. Physical exercise is an essential tonic for revitalizing and refreshing the human body. The exercise must be regular and systematic under the guidance of a qualified trainer. It may be jogging, walking, sports activity in a group, etc. It should be in the morning or evening. You should sweat after the exercise.
3. Sound sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Different people need different durations of sleep from a maximum of eight hours to a minimum of five hours a day. Sound sleep is nature’s best immunity against diseases.
4. Clean Air
One cannot overemphasize the importance of the life source of oxygen. Our environment at our home and workplace should be full of oxygen, clean and pollution-free.
Mental and Spiritual Health
5. Satsanga is keeping the company of good and inspiring people, of good and ennobling books and of relaxing sonorous music. Good people are the living source of direct impact and inspiration. They are wise, mature and sympathetic and influence our minds for our good.
Good books of literature like the poetry of Shelley, Gitanjali of Tagore, nature poetry of Wordsworth, novels (my two favorites, the Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck), autobiography (My Experiments with Truth by Gandhi), Shakespearean plays, and so on leave a lasting and deep mark on our minds. Great books on philosophy like the History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, prose poetry (vachanas) of Basavanna and of Allama, India’s rational mystics have a similar impact on our minds.
Urdu ghazals (lyrics) pregnant with hidden mystical meaning are memorable and soothe our hearts.
The lilting instrumental music of Ravi Shankar makes you forget yourselves and has an unfailing healing effect on your mind.
Songs and music touch your heart, can offer ecstasy to and unerringly relax you.
6. Discipline is a planned daily schedule of work. Discipline sets up organized regularity and saves time. It is one of the basic tools for productive life and time management. It is an antidote against the waste of time and energy. Waking up in the morning and going to bed at night at a fixed time should be the norm. Disciplined life can make your lifespan longer and uplift you to more productivity and enhanced life.
7. Meditation is a systematic introspection without attachment. Watching our thoughts dispassionately is like doing the gatekeeper’s duty. A watchman at the gate watches over the entry and exit of people efficiently. When his wife meets him at the gate and he talks to her, he cannot properly watch over the people entering and exiting the gate. Meditation enables us to view our mental world minutely and to analyze our mental and physical activities objectively. It controls, focuses and calms the mind. Practice it.
“One ounce of practice is worth a thousand pounds of theory.”-Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Amartyananda stresses: ” The crucial difference between our physical and mental ailments is that while we have medicines, hospitals, doctors, and nurses to help us treat physical sickness, there is really nobody who can cure us of mental sickness. We can at best get some guidance from people like psychologists or psychiatrists but ultimately it is our own efforts that will help cure us. We have to become our own doctor and make full use of introspection, which is the most effective (and in fact, only) tool available to us. Introspection is also a form of prevention because when we practice it regularly, we become strong enough to ward off mental diseases even before they appear. This makes introspection even more important, since prevention is better than cure!”
Waking Up guided course of meditation developed by Sam Harris, the reputed American neuroscientist offers one of the simple and easy meditation practices. The regular practice of this course produces the desired result of constant mindfulness, mental peace and spiritual serenity in a world of disquieting noise, restlessness, and distraction. Waking Up is a popular application.
I have been practicing it for at least ten minutes in the morning and evening and got an impressive positive result. The practical method is a rational way to achieve and maintain mental and spiritual wellness; it has no religious intrusion.
This is one of several ways to achieve the highest goal of life that is uninterrupted peace or bliss.
Who doesn’t want uninterrupted peace or bliss in his life by implementing these simple and easy processes? You may practice them and see the profound beneficial effect on you.