The Mirror Of The Self ► [25] Leshya: Odour, Taste And Touch

Posted: 07.03.2009

What Is The Contribution Of Religion To Society?

This is the big question confronting the religious world. Specialists in secular arts have made a significant contribution to life. One who is ill can go to a physician practising Ayurvedic Medicines or other Medical Sciences, he who wants to study, finds a teacher. In the field of education, of medicine, and other secular arts, the contribution of specialists is quite apparent. The same is true of the scientific field. But what is the great contribution of religion for which society should feel grateful to it? Or is it that the people of religion have no idea of exploring the depths of religious experience or that they have failed to evolve a balanced social system acceptable to the whole world? This is an important point for the consideration of people connected with religion.

 

Contribution Of Religion: Psycho-Therapy

During talks held with a senior doctor of Sawai Mansingh Hospital, Jaipur, we had an occasion to refer to samadhi in the context of preksha meditation. We also presented the problem of physical, mental and emotional diseases. The doctor took a special note of the last, the emotional diseases. He said, "We have many centres, medical colleges, hospitals and dispensaries, for the treat­ment of physical diseases. Also many centres have come into being for the treatment of mental diseases. But there are practi­cally no centres for the treatment of emotional diseases. He said that a centre for the treatment of emotional diseases should be established at Jain Vishva Bharati.

This is a very useful suggestion. Spirituality can be a great inspiration behind emotional therapy. Intensive work in this field is likely to prove most beneficial for society as well as the individual. The solution of many human problems lies therein. If constructive steps are taken in this direction, it would be a great contribution of religion and spirituality to social welfare.

 

Who Invites Disease?

An emotional therapy centre is meant for the treatment of emotional diseases. Is it possible to establish a centre where it is suggested to individual men and women to take up certain prac­tices, which would ensure total freedom from disease. It is one thing to try to cure an existing disease, but to suggest a way of living in which disease does not occur at all is quite a different matter.

After all, why do diseases come at all? Let us consider this question in depth. We contract certain diseases from the outer environment. Some other diseases are seasonal, such as the con­traction of bad cold in winter or the rainy season. Some other diseases are produced by the food we take. Food has become so much contaminated today, so many toxic substances are mixed in it, as to make it easy for diseases to enter our system. From the time the seed is sown and the little plant sprouts to the time its product reaches the kitchen for cooking, it is subjected to an endless process of poisoning. The trees and the plants are sprinkled over with various toxic substances. Neither fruits, nor other foodstuffs are immune from the effect of poisonous pes­ticides. A portion of the toxic chemicals with which the plants are treated, remains in the food we consume. This forms one of the major factors of disease.

 

The Cause Lies In Leshya

The biggest cause of disease lies in our leshya and emotions. Many diseases are the reflection of our inward state. There is the pituitary gland, which is responsible for 12 different kinds of secretions, one of these being ACTH hormone. This hormone excites the adrenalin, which produces adrenaline in excess, which in turn produces anxiety, restlessness, impatience, etc., thus extend­ing an open invitation to disease by preparing the necessary ground for it. Our bio-chemical equilibrium is disturbed and our power of resistance adversely affected.

 

At The Level Of The Emotion

The patient says, "I have had a check-up at many big hospitals, have undergone all kinds of tests. The doctors say, 'You are quite normal; there is nothing wrong with you.' But I continue to suffer." A father related his problem thus, "My son is weak. He is constantly ill. Ours is a well-to-do family. There is no dearth of good food. All kinds of amenities are available. However, despite good doctors and most potent drugs, my son has shown no improvement; nothing seems to suit him. He continues as frail as ever."

The question is, what is the root cause of all these problems? A doctor seeks to find the cause in the body. Modern machines are able to apprehend the physical changes. When no physical change is apparent, the doctor is Unable to detect the cause. One, who is primarily concerned with the treatment of the outward symptoms, cannot detect the true cause. Many diseases originate from the emotions. They can only be treated and cured at the emotional level.

 

The Effect Of Odour

The doctrine of leshya offers a remarkable solution to these problems. All the negative leshyas, (krishna, neela and kapota) their particles, their colour, odour, taste and touch are harmful. When negative emotions and inauspicious particles affect us, we fall ill. The odour of a particular leshya sways us. This odour affects a part of the brain called the 'animal brain'. The odour of inauspicious leshyas is very deleterious; it is so poisonous that a man cannot endure it. Mercifully, this odour is very subtle and not palpable to man. Had it been gross and palpable, a man could not survive it even for a second. Nature came to his help and so ordained that man is able to apprehend this injurious smell only upto a limited frequency and extent; the subtlemost odour is not felt by him at all. We are surrounded by various odours, but we cannot apprehend them; we can only apprehend gross elements.

 

Diseases Originate In Emotion

The constitution of our body is such that only gross things can become the objects of our senses. If our sense organs start apprehending subtle objects, it would land us in a queer situation. We are surrounded by noise on all sides, but we cannot hear it. If a man could hear all the tumult that goes on around him, he would go mad. Also there is a great uproar within; we cannot apprehend even that. We can only apprehend gross objects. In a way this is in the order of things or a man's life would become impossible. Similarly, the odour around us is very potent. We may not be able to apprehend it, but it does influence our mind and body. A feeling of envy is aroused in the mind or that of hatred or aversion, and it turns a man churlish. He broods over it and stews in his own juice. Under the circumstances, the inauspicious odour exercises a most powerful influence upon him, making the body and mind ill. God knows how many people have fallen ill on account of such feelings. According to modern scientists, emotional factors are largely responsible for various diseases, such as intestinal boils, ulcers, dysentery, heart attack, etc. Negative emotions and mental tension are the chief causes thereof.

 

Unchaste Emotion And Leshya

No offensive worldly odour can match the intolerable stench of inauspicious leshyas. Nor can any worldly taste be so acrid as that of dark leshyas. Unripe mango is known to be very tart. The very teeth of the man who tastes it become soured and the man is not able to eat it. The taste of inauspicious leshya is immeasurably more sour. Nothing in the world could be sourer.

Also the touch of inauspicious leshya is very cutting. How mordant must be the touch of krishna leshya in which falsehood, hypocrisy, envy and lust originate. We know how the handsaw works. How it goes tearing a block of wood! How quickly a sharp point shears a slab of marble! A thousand times sharper than the teeth of a saw is the touch of krishna leshya! We cannot even imagine how sharp it is.

Such atoms of colour, odour, taste and touch of dark leshyas enter our body. They cannot but produce disease. No wonder that scientific instruments fail to project a correct diagnosis. How even the X-rays fail to apprehend them! The scientific instruments and the index of the galvanometer cannot detect them. These particles of odour, taste and touch are very subtle. We cannot apprehend them. But they operate upon us all the time.

 

Purity Of Feelings And Leshya

At this point we must appraise the purity of our feelings. The purity of feelings and leshya are intimately connected with each other. Pure feelings give rise to auspicious leshya. If the leshya is auspicious, its colour, odour, taste and touch will also be pleasant. The odour of auspicious leshya is infinitely more fragrant than that of roses or pandanus. Similarly, the taste of auspicious leshya is infinitely more sweet than that of a ripe mango. Likewise, the touch of auspicious leshya is immeasurably softer than that of freshly prepared butter. How tender and pleasant is the touch of siris leaves! But the touch of auspicious leshya is infinitely more tender and pleasant.

 

Leshya: Colour, Smell, Taste And Touch

In Uttaradhyayan Sutra is found a systematic portrayal ot the colour, odour, taste and touch of leshyas:

Leshya

Colour

Odour

Taste

Touch

Krishna

Like soot

Infinitely more foul than the stench of a corpse

Infinitely more acrid than bitter gourd

Infinitely more cutting than the teeth of a handsaw

Neela

Like the wing of the blue bird

Infinitely more foul than the stench of a corpse

Infinitely more pun gent than ginger, pipal and black pepper

Infinitely more cutting than the teeth of a handsaw

Kapota

Grey as a a pigeon's neck

Infinitely more foul than the stench of a corpse

Infinitely more astringent than an unripe mango

Infinitely more cutting than the teeth of a handsaw

Tejas

Red like the rising sun

Infinitely more fragrant than sweet-smelling flowers

Infinitely more sweet-sour than a fully- ripened mango

Infinitely more soft than butter or the leaves of a shiris tree

Padma

Yellow like orpiment

Infinitely more fragrant than sweet-smelling flowers

Infinitely more delightful than the flavour of different kinds of juices and beverages

Infinitely more soft than butter or the leaves of a shiris tree

Shukla

White like silver or the conch-shell

Infinitely more fragrant than sweet-smelling flowers

Infinitely more sweet than sugar

Infinitely more soft than butter or the leaves of a shiris tree

 

The Quintessence Of The Classification Of Leshyas

Just imagine: On the one hand, we have the blackness as that of the soot, on the other hand, the whiteness of shining silver! The stink of a corpse contrasted with the most pleasant fragrance of the sweet-smelling flowers, and the extreme sourness of the unripe mango with a sweetness far excelling that of sugar! A touch far more cutting than that of a handsaw, or far more soft than butter! What a difference between one leshya and another! What correspondence! Within and about us lie scattered two kinds of particles. It is up to us which particles we employ. It depends upon each individual whether he chooses the cutting edge of the handsaw or the softness of butter. Each man himself is the maker of his joy and sorrow. In this context how significant is the dictum, The soul itself is the doer or the non-doer'! It sounds so simple that even a novice cannot miss its meaning and yet what a great secret does this seemingly simple sentence contain! On one side, we have inauspicious colour, taste and touch, on the other side auspicious ones. Which of these shall we make use of? What switch shall we put on and which put off? Which button shall we press? We are absolutely free to do as we please. This indeed is the doctrine of self-exertion.

 

Ushering In Of A New Movement

Let us consider what contribution the religious world can make to human society. It can certainly make a very big contribu­tion; it can start a new movement altogether. The doctrine of leshya can be utilized in the fields of both education and medicine. Also, there are many other contributions, which the religious world can make for the peace and comfort of the world. Today, founda­tions should be laid for opening some new branches in the sphere of spirituality. It might take some time for the building to come up, but if the foundation stone is laid and the construction work starts, a grand building will take shape in course of time. Let us chalk out a programme. Let us sow the seed and water it regularly and one day this seed will take the form of a gigantic tree. What is required is that the seed be sown, watered and preserved. Some new seeds can be sown in the field of spirituality; some new mansions erected which science cannot erect. Although the scien­tists are making efforts to advance in various directions, certain programmes constitute the special inheritance of the people of religion; they are beyond the scientists' reach. For executing those programmes, the people of religion do not have to seek anything from outside. They have within themselves all that they require. Their own sadhana and adoration, their metaphysics and spiritual philosophy, will give them what they need. They have inherited a vast amount of knowledge. What is required is creative work, deep study and analysis, concrete thinking and churning of ideas.

 

What Is Required Is Churning Of Thought

A system of philosophy which has such an important doctrine as that of leshya and other significant formulae - can it not blaze a new trail in the field of psycho-therapy? Let us leave aside for the time being all talk of physical treatment or surgery, letting medical science and its practitioners take care of it. But may not a man of religion undertake inner probing? Cannot spirituo- or psychotherapy be developed? It can be done but it requires deep thought and analysis. There are not separate stair­cases for going up and coming down. A house may have a number of staircases for convenience, but there is no staircase for ascend­ing which cannot also be used for descending. Man sheds tears through the same eyes which are full of laughter at other times. There are no separate pairs of eyes for weeping and laughing.

 

Who Is Qualified?

Three men approached the guru and said, "Gurudev! We wish to undertake sadhana. Kindly teach us the principle under­lying it." The teacher thought he must first examine them. So he posed the question, "What is the difference between the eye and the ear?" The first man said, "The eye is separated from the ear by the width of four fingers." The second said, "The eye has greater utility than the ear. An eye-witness account is more trustworthy than mere hearsay." The third man said, "With the eye we can see, but it is only with the ear that we hear spiritual truth." The guru said to the first man, "You better take up some business yet, since you are interested in measurements. You are not qualified to practise sadhana" To the second aspirant, the guru said, "You should practise law and resolve people's disputes. An eye-witness account is considered to be more reliable." To the third, he said, "You are qualified for undertaking sadhana. I shall teach you because you are interested in spiritual things."

 

Utility Of Spirituality

All of us have eyes and ears. If the eye begins to perceive the truth, if the ear begins to hear the talk of salvation, we might come to know something new and really worthwhile. But for this we will have to delve deep. In order to make an original contribution, we must explore the depths; merely keeping on the surface would not do. If we can evolve some new applications of the doctrine of leshya in the field of spirituo- or psycho-therapy, it would provide the world with a new principle of conduct which would underline the utility of spirituality and strengthen the belief that not only materialism but spirituality too has an empire of its own and without it there can be no peace or happiness for man.

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