Last 3 months I was inactive in blogging due to travel & other commitments. With the result I could not complete my series on Navarasas. In the previous episodes I wrote commentary on eight rasas and here is the last and most important rasa namely “Shantha Rasa”.
The Navarasas are the nine different states of our being that manifests at different circumstances without our consent, as they are our non-voluntary emotional responses like our physical responses; for example increasing heart beat while panic. Before we take up Shantha Rasa, here is a quick summary of each of rasas for your reference.
1. Hasyarasa – sense of humour -
2. Adbudharasa – sense of Wonderment
3. Shringararasa – Romance (very approximate translation)
4. Raudrarasa - Anger
5. Karunarasa – Empathy & Compassion
6. Veerarasa – Valor (Fearlessness)
7. Bhayarasa (Fear)
8. Bibhatsarasa – Disgust
9. Shantarasa – Peace
Why it is nine? Your state of being falls into only these nine categories and one cannot add any more.
Why this order?
One may wonder why the above sequence? I was looking at different angles to explain the order in which they are expressed and found the following explanation very convincing. Let me try to bounce it upon you!
- When we have born and grew up as a toddler, we always had fun in everything – Hasyarasa - humour.
- As we grew up everything was a wonder; the toys, the colors, animals, flowers and so on – Adbudharasa – wonderment.
- When we reached teen age, we were looking for a girl or boy to fall in love with - Shringararasa – Romance.
- As we grew further in our middle age we became impatient for everything and got angry with everyone – Raudrarasa – Anger.
- At forty we developed empathy towards others as our blood chemistry changed, developed BP, wearing bi-focal etc. – Karunarasa – compassion.
- During the same period we were courageous to explore new opportunities and willing to rock our boat – Veerarasa – Courage.
- When we reached 50+, fear of old age and retirement started haunting us – Bhayarasa – Fear.
- Around sixty, we were disgusted about our whole life feeling sorry about missed opportunities, strained relationships and so on - Bibhatsarasa – Disgust.
- During late sixties if we are lucky to survive, we start thinking of peace as everything lost significance by that time – Shatharasa!!
Note: There is no guarantee that as we grow, we will get matured; there are people in sixties still having Shringararasa!!
Shantharasa is a state of a being when we are cool and centered – this is the nearest explanation I can think of. This is a state where we experience peace of mind, every one of us are longing for through out our life. In our modern life we hardly experience this state for variety of reasons. Let us examine how this state is reached. Hindu philosophy says “Shantha” is our natural state of being by default; hence why we have to reach something we already possess? If it is true, then why we are always in a state of agitation? Let us examine where have we lost this natural state and how to regain. Above all I am keen to deal with the necessity to attain tranquility for material progress in a corporate world.
The synonyms of “Shatharasa” are tranquility, serenity, harmony, stillness etc. I have observed many corporate leaders holding top management positions are always in a state of tranquility. It is very strange some times to see some one shouldering such a big responsibility seen in a serene state. I wonder when they face some issue or the other every minute, how they are able to maintain their cool, when we see mundane people are always seen in a state of flux. From this we can draw conclusion that, it is not the situation external to us is responsible, but our texture of our personality is the root cause.
Anatomy of Our being:
Human beings are the most advanced version of the species with complex brain that can be wired in many different ways depending on our childhood and conditioning. In fact conditioning and un-conditioning is possible only in human species. For example embracing a religion is a conditioning, which is nothing but a belief. People who change religion have re-conditioned their belief. Our adult personality is a manifestation of our conditioning in which few rasas are more predominant, for example anger. Some of us wired to have sense of humour in every situation and end up as a comedian or declared as “not serious person” in a corporate world.
Never the less, the person who has an imbalance in rasas is never successful in material world. Most interesting aspect is, in addition to balance of all rasas, one needs Shatharasa to lead an organization. Only the difference between a leader and follower is their “behaviors”. I am not concluding that if you are wrongly wired you have no redemption; it is important to know that we are wrongly wired and one must have will to re-wire oneself with the help of a mentor. In summary, Shantharasa is nothing but EQ – Emotional Quotient proposed by Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of the book “Emotional Intelligence”.
How to improve Shantharasa?
Tip:1 Know Thyself
First and foremost to know what rasa in you is more dominant from the perception of the people around you, both peers in office as well as loved ones. It is very rare and almost impossible to have a well-balanced rasa. If the feedback says that you have well balanced rasas; then either people are trying to please you or afraid of telling you the truth. Throughout the day read the state of your being by witnessing your mind as someone else? Lord Buddha says one must witness them as though “watching the vehicles by sitting in your balcony”; here vehicles are the thoughts in your mind and observer is your intellect. This needs some practice through meditation and one can master this art of “witnessing” over a period of time.
Tip:2 Know the root cause of Anxiety
Somewhere down the line we are programmed to believe that material wealth will save us from death. Alas! What a wrong expectation? We got a false sense of security by believing that money will give peace of mind and ended up in chasing it resulting “piece of mind”. The only purpose of life today for a modern man is chase wealth postponing the peace for a later date. We started saying “I will be happy after…….this & that”. The society and parentage conditioned us to run in the rat race to amaze wealth. We are programmed to believe that wealth is the only means to achieve peace of mind. We have heard of the famous story of Alexander the Great having a dialogue with the lazy man lying idle and doing nothing. Whatever we have got is not enough as what we are chasing is a moving target. This perennial pursuit of postponing happiness cannot give us a glimpse of Shatharasa. It can give us a sense of incompleteness, anxiety leading to blood pressure and diabetes.
The only way you can break this vicious circle is by chase wealth without postponing peace of mind. It is very paradoxical but doable. In fact peace and happiness is the result of vibrations of mind settling down and not by the external object. A Gulob-jamun (sweet) is irresistible in spite of knowing it is bad for oneself. When you eat third or the fourth one it is not as tasty as the first one; but if you continue until say 25, it will be nauseating to even to look at it. It is not the object made you happy, but the craving vibration settling in your mind gave you the sense of happiness or peace. Please read Ramakrishna Paramahansa story I shared in one of my previous blogs.
In essence, please re-educate your mind understanding the peace is not in material object. As Rajneesh says, the sexual orgasm is happening inside your being and the other person is an object that makes it happen. Yogis are believed to have organismic experience even without a partner.
1. Navarasas are nothing but manifestation of our emotions in nine different states. Rasa is a state of a being.
2. Rasa is an involuntary expression of life, which you cannot control them.
3. A human being is complete and has happy life when he has balanced rasas.
4. If a person has very few predominant rasas only, he/she will have issues in their relationships and hence progress in their material life.
5. Age and rasas have no links between them, as one is expected to have balance of all rasas through out their life.
6. All rasas have their own place in life and wrong ones manifesting at wrong times will pose a problem – for example Humour in a serious discussion.
7. There is no negative or positive rasa and all are needed including anger, fear or disgust. Only difference they must appear at the right occasions. Fear when you give a speech is the wrong manifestation of a rasa.
8. Shatharasa is the center of your personality and if it is absent, you will have poor EQ – emotional quotient.
9. Shatharasa is the substratum (the base or foundation) of all rasas. You can have anger even in a peaceful state of a being, which is a controlled expression of discontent.
10. Essence of life is “Shantha” which is your natural state which need not have to be searched, but to be realized by meditation.