The mind gets affected by three things: Time, Food and Company.
If you turn back and see, you must have experienced this in your life; even if everything is alright, you have all that you need, yet, if the time is not right then your mind goes on a big rollercoaster ride, it gets upset.
It is the quality of time that makes the mind become happy or crazy; angry and upset or pleasant and compassionate. Time has an impact on the mind. How can we reduce the effect of time on the mind? By chanting Om Namah Shivaya mantra; it nullifies almost 99% of the negative impact of the planets
How does one know if the time is not right? Through jyotish or astrology. Jyoti means light, Jyotish means understanding or recognizing the light. Light understanding light is jyotish; the nature of our life. Everything in the universe is connected; microcosm is connected to the macrocosm.
How do you determine time? What is time? Time is movement; the distance between two points or events is called time. It is the movement of celestial bodies that determines time; the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, all the planets are moving; the quality of time is determined through the movement of these planetary positions.
Do you all know that the mind and the Moon are connected? That is why if someone is off, you call them lunatic, because luna means moon.
The mind, the Moon and water are connected. Around 60% to 70% of our body is made up of water; the moon affects the fluid levels in the body, and in turn affects the mind.
The mind is connected with the fluid levels in the body. Do you know what will happen if you do not drink water for a whole day or two days? You will go crazy. Something happens in the brain, in the mind, which is why water is so important.
The water element is connected to the Moon, which is the reason for high tide and low tide. It is an obvious thing; we do not need to elaborate as to how important water is for human beings, and how the Moon is connected with the water element.
Similarly, the movement of different planets in the zodiac has an impact on the mind.
We will go into the details some other time. It is fascinating to know how every 2.5 days the Moon moves from one constellation to another, and that affects the mind, and the mood.
Similarly, it is interesting to know how Saturn brings certain influences in the system. It takes 2.5 years to move from one constellation to the other, and it takes 30 years to make one cycle. The Sun moves every month, and how it impacts us is interesting.
Mars moves every few days; Mercury, Venus, all these planets move. The slowest is Saturn, which takes 2.5 years to make one move; the Moon is the fastest, it moves every 2.5 days. Thus, it is the movement of the planets, and not the planets themselves that influence the mind.
It is the quality of time that makes the mind become happy or crazy; angry and upset or pleasant and compassionate. Time has an impact on the mind, and knowledge about the planets is called Jyotish.
How can we reduce the effect of time on the mind?
By chanting Om Namah Shivaya mantra; it nullifies almost 99% of the negative impact of the planets. One percent of the effect might still be there, but 90% to 99% can be eliminated.
In addition to Om Namah Shivaya chanting, there are other yagnas (ritual offering and sacrifices to the sacred fire) and pujas; many elaborate things that the ancient people have found to help reduce the impact of the planets.
The type of food you eat has its repercussions on the system. There is a whole lot of knowledge about food and herbs,known as Ayurveda.
Do you know each planet is connected with a particular grain, a particular color, a particular flower, a particular type of wood, a particular tree and a particular animal or bird? The macrocosm and microcosm are all connected. In yagnas, these different herbs, barks of trees, roots, and grains are offered to the fire as mantras are chanted, and this turns into a remedial effect of the planets. However, just chanting Om Namah Shivaya is enough for us; it is very simple (nature gives us very elaborate things to do and very simple things too). Thus, the effect of time can be nullified by chanting, meditation, yoga, and pranayama.
The type of food you eat has its repercussions on the system. This is also connected with time, i.e., what type of food you eat in what season. For example, in summer, when the pitta levels are already high, one needs to have pitta-pacifying foods. In winter, when the kapha levels are high, kapha producing food is not good for the system. There is a whole lot of knowledge about food and herbs, known as Ayurveda.
Herbs have many positive effects that could improve the mental and physical well being of human beings. This is why in the Shanti (peace) mantras, in any festival or in any Vedic ceremony, they say, ‘Om dyau shantir, antarikshagwam shantir’, let there be peace in the heavens, let there be peace in between the heaven and the earth.
‘Prithvi shantir’, let there be peace on earth, let there be peace in the waters, let there not be any Tsunami, any disaster due to water.
‘Rapa shantir, Oshadhaya shantir’, let the herbs bring peace to us, let the herbs which bring peace grow and let it bring us harmony.
‘Vanas patayah shantir’, let the trees, the breeze that comes from trees, bring peace to us; let there be no forest fire.
Wishing for peace at all levels of creation is an ancient practice.
Do you know how Ayurveda was born? Once, 84,000 Rishis sat in a place called Naimisharanya, in Uttar Pradesh, Central India. Naimisharanya is known for a lot of herbs, it is where Ayurveda was born.
All the Rishis sat there to meditate and download the Materia Medica (the Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing).
When everybody goes into meditation, somebody should be there to record what is said; thus, the question was, who will record, who will keep themselves awake and write everything down? Rishi Bharadwaja volunteered to write and not meditate. (It is like to how the driver is awake, when all the other people travelling are sleeping.)
Thus, all the Rishis closed their eyes and went into deep meditation. They started downloading, speaking, ‘This herb is good for this, that herb is good for this, and so on’, and that is how Ayurveda, the first Materia Medica was born.
Ayurveda is valid and effective till today, and it is also going to be the medicine of the 21st Century.
Once, 84,000 Rishis sat to meditate and download the Materia Medica. Rishi Bharadwaja volunteered to write and not meditate. Thus, all the Rishis closed their eyes and went into deep meditation. They started downloading, speaking, ‘This herb is good for this, that herb is good for this, and so on’, and that is how Ayurveda, the first Materia Medica was born.
There was a request for me to talk about the impact of herbs. You can give me the list of herbs that we have, and then we can talk about it. Different herbs have different impact on the body.
In the ancient days, people used specific herbs and considered them as sacred, e.g., the Native American community considered sage and several other herbs as sacred. Even in India, when food is offered to the deities in temples, you put one tulsi or basil leaf on top. In fact, unless you put a tulsi leaf on the food, it will not become prasad (an offering to God). This is because herbs have their vibrations, they have an impact on the body and the mind.
Now, we will share the qualities of some of the herbs:
Triphala - is a very good herb, balances all the three doshas in the body (according to Ayurveda, our basic constitution is governed by three life forces called doshas, which are Vatta, Pitta and Kapha and they control the activities of the body). It is good to have Triphala two to three times a week.
Ashwagandha - is very good for the nervous system.
Haritaki - is good for cleansing, digestion; it does not allow fat to accumulate in the body. It is also a good laxative. If you have eaten too much or something not good, there is acidity in the body, Haritaki cleanses very well.
Neem - is a very good antibiotic, anti-viral medicine; one of the best antibiotics. It stimulates the body very well, and is a very good tonic for the body. You should have neem at least few times a year, or once or twice a month, one or two neem tablets. It is a good way to eliminate unfriendly bacteria and viruses that would accumulate in your system.
Although neem is very good, it should not be consumed in excess and in very hot seasons. If you do not drink enough water with neem, you may get a headache. Neem should be consumed before meals or on an empty stomach; if you find it hot, then you should have a little bit of milk to balance its impact.
Neem is also a very good pesticide. In Bangalore Ashram, whenever there are some bugs on any plant, we just spray a little bit of neem water and it becomes alright.
The neem tree is one of the most sacred trees in India; in any temple of the Devi, goddess, you will find a neem tree. The neem tree is worshiped as shakti, divine power and energy.
Tulsi - is basil; it has the Vishnu-tattva, therefore it is called the protector. It is good for the chest and throat region.
Shatavari - is very good for women; it is very cooling.
Yashtimadhu - is a liquorish tablet; it is a good antacid. Do not eat the regular antacid tablets, instead try Yashtimadhu, it is natural and has no side effects of the usual antacid. Just chewing a Yashtimadhu is so soothing for the stomach. It is also good for cough and cold. It is one of those medicines that is good to keep in your bag.
Brahmi - is good for the brain.
Amla - is goose berry, it has Vitamin C.
All these herbs are very good, and have been used over a long time.
The type of company that we keep definitely affects the mind.
To handle company that pulls down your energy: First, you see that you do not get pulled down, and second, you pull them up. Third, if you cannot do that, then you move away from them.
How can one measure the type of company?
If you sit and share your problem with some people, after walking away from them, if the problem appears much bigger than you ever thought, it is not good company. On the other hand, after sitting and sharing your problem with your friends, when you walk away from them, if it appears as though the problem was nothing, you were unnecessarily worrying, it does not exist, then that is very good company. This is how you should measure company.
When you leave the company, if you go out with much enthusiasm, with a positive feeling, or your energy is pulled down and you feel negative, accordingly you can label your company.
Now if you find that someone’s company is pulling you down all the time, you do not have to avoid it, you simply have to know that they pull down your energy; the next time, you refuse to be pulled down, rather pull them up!
There are two ways to handle company that pulls down your energy:
1) Pull people out of their negative syndrome - If the company of your spouse or friend is pulling you down, and you feel that you want to avoid them, how many people can you avoid? It is impossible! Instead you step in, refuse to be pulled down, and instead say that I am going to pull them up now! You pull them out of their negative syndrome, that way you are influencing them rather than getting influenced, and this is what we need to do.
2) Recognize people, do not label them, nobody is negative the entire time - Do not label a person as always negative, it is not possible. It is just very comparative, very relative; sometimes they are negative, and sometimes they are positive.
Thus, first, you see that you do not get pulled down, and second, you pull them up. Third, if you cannot do that, then you move away from them.
So, company also affects the mind!