Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

Home Feedback Contents Search Contact


Shruti declare Bhayat tapati sooryah, bhayat vahati marutah, the sun heats up due to fear; wind blows as a result of fear. Fire ignites because of fear; rain pours down due to fear. All these fears could be termed universal, but the fear that all of us encounter in our life is very beautifully described by King Bharatruhari in his “three books of hundreds Shlokas”. It is said that

The enjoyment fears of diseases,
The beauty fears of old age
The high-ranking person fears of losing his status
The king fears of his enemy
The learned man fears of his opponents
The Vadi is afraid of Sanvadi

In his childhood Pujya Bapuji Mahatma Gandhi also entertained deep fear of ghosts. A maid servant in his house had instructed child Mohandas to utter Rama-nama so that the ghost would run away Bapu used to be afraid while returning through the lane with a tamarind trees, when he returned alone from the school. Even in the early morning when he went for the tuition he was afraid. But the Rama­nama proved a panacea. Really speaking the material or the subject, which makes us afraid, is not there at all. Looking at the fact, most of the fears are a result of mental weakness or immaturity of mental power.

It is natural for a man to be afraid of getting caught about a thing which he knows is not true. We are afraid of getting caught of a theft, we make, when a thing which is not ours and which we have stolen is divulged. We know that certain thing should not be done; still we do it; but our soul does not accept this untruth or improper actions; as a result we are afraid.

Milk has its own nature, but if even a drop of curd or a sour thing touches it, the milk will get spoiled. You can load a camel with a weight of 500 kg but once the capacity is crossed even an addition of 5-tool kg will not be bearable and the camel will sit down. This is the case about our mental and intelligence power also. The soul force of every indi­vidual is not similar We get afraid even if some disturbance is felt in the common mass of thoughts and intentions collected in our mind. We get afraid because of the materials, things, activities or situations. We doubt the existence of ghost in a stub of a dried out tree when seen in a dark night, we see a ghost in a post. We feel fear of a serpent when accidentally a rope comes across our leg in stark darkness.

A misunderstanding about danger creates a fear which itself very dangerous. Fear is such a mental attitude, which creates misunderstanding due to understanding arising in our mind. There are many types of fears or phobias. When a man suffers from normal fears, he trembles, he shakes and his lips and tongue stammer One can perspire also but if the fear is really a danger, then it may not be possible to control natural call and one may urinate or even pass stools. Some people are afraid of ghosts where as some others are afraid of ailments. The greatest fear is one of social boycott, and cases are known where driven by fear, people have committed suicide. In America especially teenaged boys and girls are known to die of such terrible fear. On 31st October children organize a Halloween day when they clad like ghosts and try to create fear amongst each other. In East America most of the TV channels stage a horror show. People watch mid-night horror show of universal studios or read horrifying books. They go to sleep while reading the book. In the subtle sub-conscious mind during half sleep or deep sleep stage, fear takes hold in the dream world, they see the engenders fear which makes a person afraid as if the occurrence was real. On watching the occurrence during a dream, fear created increases the throbbing of the heart, there may be disturbance in the stomach, and one may vomit or even pass stools. It is quite likely that one urinates often, one may feel vomiting sensation, one may feel giddy, and one may feel suffocation and the face may also redden.

Psychologists divide out this phobia or fear mainly in three divisions. Ordinary fear is generated when some animal is seen. A husband may be very powerful, he may be a big police commissioner but before his wife who is very high handed, this officer will be afraid of the fighting nature of his wife. This wife however strong natured will be afraid of a cockroach or a lizard. She would shout out when she sees a cockroach. There is a fear of a closed space. All around there may be stark quiet, peace of a crematory, perfect quietude. Such pacific peace can also devour the mind of a man. A mind, which is accustomed to continuous hubbub, will not be able to bear the loneliness. Mind trembles. Individual soul shudders. “Will this loneliness not devour me?Similar type of fear arises when we go on a big height. All around there may be beautiful scenery, every where it is leveled ground, yet if individual soul is situated on a very big height and if one observes a deep ravine underneath, then one entertains a fear whether one would fall down or not.

The latter type of fear described is known as Agora­phobia. In the midst of vast plain ground, under an open sky, when the ocean of human beings gets together there is tremendous shouting and howling, pushing and pulling, disorder and confusion. Under such circumstances one gets afraid of getting caught, entangled and entrapped as well as getting confused. Those people who are habituated to stay at home only cannot bear such crowds. Public transport and vehicular traffic as well as deep noises in the market place are found intolerable. In America specially on thanks giving days, Christmas or on 4th July when crackers and fire works collects big crowds alone man finds it very hard to mix in the crowd.

The third type of phobia is arising out of incapacity of speaking or acting in public in community meetings. “Will I feel abashed? May be I act wrongly, something irrelevant may be done. Would something unbecoming happen?“ Such social phobias also eat into certain people. Actors who are well known to act in dramas will hardly be able to give some talk if suddenly they are requested to do so. This is because they only repeat the crammed up conversation in a drama. Thy are habituated to act in a certain set up only. You do not find any personal independence and there is no original individualistic acting. Thus people who are habituated to meet and act in definite circumstances behave as if they were to taste grapes high up on the vines.

Some children form a phobia for certain animals. Such children even when they become adults are not capable of driving away that phobia which has entered their child like mentality because their adult mind does not drive out the fear that has entered their nervous system. A wild cat had jumped over Napoleon Bonaparte when he was quite young. Even when he reached adulthood that fear that had entered in childhood had not left him. Once the enemy camp learnt about this personal phobia of such an adept soldier who was habituated to fight many a terrible wars. The enemy camp kept in the forefront of their army 500 cats tied with a chain. On viewing these cats Napoleon started retreating, he was caught, he lost the battle and ultimately met his death. Fearful occurrences observed in childhood have a frightening impression on the mental screen. Such impres­sions are hard to drive out even in adulthood. Agoraphobia really affects adults. This type of fear can be observed in persons who have matured. Social fear can also be observed in aged persons after the ghosts of praise and insult catch them. Really speaking there is no element branded as fear or phobia. Mental condition only makes us enjoy, happiness or unhappiness. Amongst people who are affected by phobia, agoraphobia is observed to a maximum extent. The form of agoraphobia is quite different from the normal fears. In all the societies, whether from the east or the west, 5 to 10 percent of the people are found to suffer from one or the other phobia. This agoraphobias or any other type of phobia is more common amongst ladies than amongst males. Agoraphobia, social phobia and animal phobia are particu­larly commonly found amongst members of the same family.

It is possible to remove ordinary and social phobias by cultivating a little mental understanding and if one is given some sort of assurance to the heart. There is one method which is based on regular decentralization of the senses, which allows the people, suffering from phobia or fear by relieving them from the items that cause feat This method can give peace of mind resulting from proper understanding. Fear can be reduced if a fearing person is brought out amongst the society by moving him away from lonely life and by slowly making him accustomed to meet and mix with people in the society The fear could also be reduced by making him form a habit of taking a stroll under the open sky, at night under the stars studded night, along the river banks, along the streams and in gardens full of flowers. A man who entertains fear for particular things can be repeatedly brought near that item and explained that his fear is ill placed and there is nothing in that item worth any feat.

A man should harbor a feeling that he has no reason to be afraid when he is having a company of his brothers, friends and all the relatives. By experimenting again and again in this manner the fearful situation as well as item that one is afraid of can be made immune of feat Medicines which alleviate uneasiness can also be useful to a certain extent. Anti-depressant medicines are also employed to make the fearful person phobia free.

One day Swami Vivekanandaji was loitering at Varanasi in an uninhabited area. A group of monkeys followed him. He was afraid and started running away One Sash on seeing him running called out, ‘Don’t be afraid, stop, present a strong front, if you get afraid they will try to make you more fearful”.

There is another similar well-known story. Once a ghost caught hold of a man. The ghost extracted work from him day in and day out. The ghost used to threaten the man saying, “If you don’t work I will eat you up.” Some Sadhu tutored the man. “Tell the ghost, O.K eat me up. Do as you wish, what more can you do than eating me up? I am not afraid.” When the ghost felt that he would not work if he is not afraid, the ghost set him free. In short, the more we are afraid of a happening or an item, the more the fear increases. Phobia never leaves us if you are afraid of fear. You must face it. One has to strengthen and develop mental power to face any fearful situation. It is possible to achieve this by practicing Pranayama, Asanas and meditation according to the science of Yoga.

Mental power develops by practice of Sukhpurvaka Pranayama. This Pranayama is very easy if you can sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana, Vajrasana or Sukhasana - that is with normal cross legs - keeping the back and spinal column erect; then it is the best. However, if you cannot sit in any of the above postures, you can sit in a chair or you can even sleep on the ground. Begin by deep inhalation through both the nostrils. Thereafter exhale through both the nostrils slowly and without any fear. Do not use any force while inhaling as well as exhaling. This process is all right to begin with. It is not necessary nor there is any need to count the number of respirations. Breathe in and breathe out peacefully, without any sort of haste and as quietly as possible. Thereafter try to retain the breath inside. Inhale through both the nostrils and hold the breath inside. Thereafter exhale peacefully through both the nostrils. The inhaling is called Purak, the holding of breath is called Kumbhak and the exhaling is known as Rechak. The breath that we hold inside is called Antar-kumbhaka and the breath, which we exhale and stop it outside, is called Bahya-kumbhaka. The rule for the period to be observed in Purak, Kumbhak, Rechak and Kumbhak are 1:4:2:4. Do not worry if the process is not possible to begin with. Be satisfied with inhaling and exhaling. Every inhalation brings in some newness, energy, vitality alertness, joy and enthusiasm. Every exhalation makes you one with the Almighty power of the universe. You are not alone. The whole world is connected with you. There is no reason to be afraid. Even if we sit at one end of a quiet pond and start splashing, the waves will travel to farthest end. The light touch at one end of the pond is felt at the other end. A snowfall in Simla in India is felt as a cold wave in Gujarat.

When you start feeling that you are afraid, drive out the thought from your mind that you are all alone. Even when you do not feel any fear always hold a powerful thought in your mind. “I am infinity I am joy incarnate. I am great”. The starting pages of Guruvani in Shree Gurugranth Saheb declare, “One Omkar, the doer, timeless person, fearless, without any enemy” One Omkar means that Almighty is the only truth. The creator of the universe is God. He is beyond time, he is everywhere, he is present in everything and he is all-powerful. Therefore live, throwing off all the phobias, live happily

By a regular practice of sitting for meditation we inherit fearlessness and undoubted ness. Whenever you sit for meditation, before beginning the process, pray, “Let there be peace in the east, in the west, in the north, and in the south. Let all meet auspiciousness in mountains, ocean, and forests. Let there be welfare of all, everywhere.” Thereafter think that you are not meditating. Who is the entity for your medi­tation? Suppose you are meditating on Shree Rama, in that case always think that Rama himself is meditating on Rama. This is not your body this body belongs to Shree Rama. The legs, hands, belly, chest, neck, head nothing belongs to you. All these belong to God. This process is called “Anga­nyasa and Kara-nyasa”. If you are given any Guru mantra, repeat the same. The more the regular you are in Japa, the more the manifestation of God’s power, strength and domi­nation in you. You earn the boon of Grukrupa through the power of Japa. Japa, meditation, company of the wise, study of scriptures, company of good and strong-minded persons will make you strong.

Besides the above, get up early in the morning. Go for a long walk before sunrise. You will be filled with nature’s fresh power by the effect of open air, open blue sky, the chirping of birds and the exhilarating atmosphere.

In the practice of Yogasana, Suryanamaskara, Viparitakarani-mudra, Halasana and Yoga mudra are found to be quite beneficial. The practice of Shitali and Sheetkari Pranayama will bestow upon you mental peace and capa­bility Always remember, you are your own friend and your own enemy Fear is not outside, it is inside you. Never underrate yourself. Virat Purusha resides in you. He is a fountain of great power. The ocean of joy is rising in big waves. You have in you a fountain of enthusiasm. Manifest it by meditation and be fearless.


Latest Additions.........

Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)

Divya Jivan (Gujarati)/ "Amrut Putra" (Gujarati) /  

Atam Mahek (Gujarati) / Fragrance ( English) - Swami Adhyatmananda

Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda


"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda  


 Books on Yoga by  Swami Adhyatmananda

Please subscribe to Divyajivan Mailing List. We will update you with new uploads of spiritual literature on the web of Holy Master Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, saints of his lineage and other saints. We will also update you about the Sivananda Ashram, Ahmedabad website and facilitate communication with Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji Maharaj. 

Please enter your email address and click Subscribe button

 To manage your subscription, please visit Subscription Page.  You can also subscribe and unsubscribe from this page.  You may unsubscribe by yourself anytime you wish. You will be required to send confirmation link that you will get in your e-mail to complete this subscription. 

[ Home ] News ] Upcoming Events ] What's New? ] Services ] Swami Adhyatmananda ] Multimedia ] Publications ] Administration ] Saints and Sages ] Photo Gallery ] Contact ] Guestbook ] Important Links ]  Webmaster: