Fire sustains life. There are five types of fire. One is Bhutagni. Bhutagni means the fire with which you heat your home, to keep warmth in yourself. It sustains life. The physical fire. This is very obvious. It may not be so obvious in tropical countries. They might not give much value to fire. But in cold countries, you know how important it is. Without the physical fire, life gets extinguished. This physical fire is present in the body to some extent.
There is a second type of fire known as Kamagni, the fire of desire. When the fire of desire comes, it gulps you. The fire of lust and passion. It is because of this fire of passion that life continues on this planet. The passion fire is present in all the species of the creation.
The third type of fire is called Jataragni -the fire of hunger and digestion. This is one of the important principles of Ayurveda. If the fire of digestion is less or more, it affects your health. It affects your balance. You know when you get fever, you simply treat the symptoms. You do not understand the principle.
When a foreign body enters the system, your whole body heats up.Fever comes.
In fever, your body is developing a defense mechanism.It is burning all those foreign particles and enemies that have entered the body.As soon as this foreign bacteria or virus goes out of the body, your fever comes down. Fever purifies the system. The purpose of fever is to purify your body. To get rid of the virus or the foreign particle. Isn’t it?
Then,Badabagni, the fire of criticism. When people criticize you, what happens? Fire wakes up. Fire awakens in your system. When you stand in front of a big crowd, what happens? You feel your heart beating and you are shivering from the fear of criticism or of the opinions of people. This is a fact.
Then there is thefire of knowledge or love: Premagni and Jnanagni. When life moves through all these fires, it comes out cold. Unfortunately, we have not understood this principle. We do not even allow the fire to come up. The moment fever comes, we take Paracetamol and suppress the symptoms and our immune system goes down. Not that you should not take medicine. You take it but attempt to tackle its root cause rather than just attending to the symptoms of fire in your system.
Naturopathy and Ayurveda deal with all these things. Your body develops your own air conditioning. If you put on the air conditioner all the time, then you are not letting the self-modulating system of the body function. Especially in tropical countries, air conditioner is used all the time, day and night. There is no prana (life force energy), no freshness in the environment. Have you noticed this? Our body produces sweat and it cools the body, like the wind which comes and your body becomes cool. It has its own air-conditioning system.
For this to happen, you should be used to it from a young age but unfortunately, we are used to air conditioners from childhood. So, to make a shift suddenly is certainly difficult. Nevertheless, you can look into this aspect. I have nothing against the use of air conditioners, but make sure that the fresh prana comes and your body temperature agrees with the environment. It will make a difference. Then, you get the ability to work in a cold place without having to wear too much. Or to be in a hot place without feeling suffocated.
Then comesKamagni, the fire of passion. We do not allow the fire to rise up in us. The moment a desire comes, we fulfill it immediately. Then the fire does not stay in you and does not burn you up. People who are very promiscuous have zero Kamagni. They do not even allow the fire to come up and burn them even a little bit, bake them a little bit. The moment the desire of sex comes, finish it there.
Then the Kamagni does not awaken in you. Sex is one of the oldest samskaras (impressions) other than eating. From all life times, you have done two things for sure. One is eating and another is sex. As a cow, as a monkey, donkey, horse, ox, whatever it is, passing through all these qualities, these two acts have been there.
When this passion arises, observe it. It is present in every cell of your body. It engulfs you, burns you and moves on. If this shifts, there is 100 percent totality of alertness, awareness that gets developed in kama (desire). If you do not allow that to come up and when a little desire comes and you immediately cool it down, then your power or shakti, the potentiality in you, goes down.
You become more inert and less sensitive. More inertia comes. Then there is no vigor, valor, joy, or enthusiasm in any activity one does. That is why people who are promiscuous do not have that enthusiasm. They do not have the force or will or strength to do any action. Have you noticed this? Yes or no?
The same thing with Jataragni too. Even before you feel hungry, you keep stuffing things into yourself. By stuffing the food more, there are more toxic substances in the body. Many people get diseases or die not because of hunger but out of overeating. Today in the world, very few people die out of hunger; more and more people are dying of overeating.
We do not allow the fire of hunger to come up. We have never kindled that. This is the principle of fasting. When you fast, every cell of your body becomes alive. Fasting is a very good therapy. It cleanses your system. The Jataragni cleanses you of all the toxins.
(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)