Ekadashi fasting, breatharianism and free will

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  • #14044
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    Pranaam Ashish

    I recently observed Mohini Ekadashi and was reading about some of the benefits one gets by observing fast on Sri Hari’s holy day. The material mentions that observing fast will destroy sinful reaction of past deeds and that all his desires will be full filled before he dies. In your articles I have read how a person who doesn’t believe he has free will is advised to have control over hunger, thirst,  sleep, sex and moreover it is consciousness that moves over hungry body, thirsty body, sleepy body and lusty body. Can you shed any additional light on this subject?

    Personally I have witnessed plenty of changes and especially on the ekadashi days when I fast and stay awake the entire night, worshipping Narayana. I have no doubt in its benefits at all but I have a few questions regarding the same.

    What is the significance of the eleventh night in either dark or light fortnight? Why eleventh day? As far as I know it is related to the qualities of Moon and it’s qualitative effects on the mind.  Also I was wondering what is your views on breatharianism, where a person doesn’t live on food but on prana. You have indeed mentioned in one of  the articles that a yogi will just stop the movement of consciousness and stay in that state for thousands of years. Can you show any additional light on this subject??

    When I was fasting, I was contemplating on the nature of food like how innumberable processes have happened before it appears on the plate. When we say no to this on a fasting day, what is the significance of it? On other days I cook the food and offer to Krishna and eat it as prasadam, the quality of food is definitely different and it feels like a celebration. Would you advice to go food free and become breatharians to those who are capable? I am interested to know your thoughts on the same.

    As I keep reading your works and applying the same in my daily life, I feel immensely grateful to God. Thank you Prabhu.

    Here’s link to short video of a bretharian if you are interested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjiDjkIDTz8

    #14045
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    In your articles I have read how a person who doesn’t believe he has free will is advised to have control over hunger, thirst, sleep, sex and moreover it is consciousness that moves over hungry body, thirsty body, sleepy body and lusty body. Can you shed any additional light on this subject?

    Our willpower has two components, one will, and the other power. The will is spiritual and the power is prāṇa. This prāṇa is material and controlled by time. But it can also be controlled by us. For example, when you are asleep, time controls prāṇa, and your body keeps performing its regular functions such as digestion, circulation, immunity, etc. without your conscious intervention. However, when you wake up, then you can control these functions by breathing exercises.

    In modern science, the spinal cord supposedly controls the “autonomic” activities like circulation, digestion, immunity, etc. We are not supposed to have control over that. Instead, the brain gives us volitional control over muscular movement. This distinction between what we can control and what we cannot is falsified by the control of prāṇa (obtained through breathing exercises). Thereby, it is understood that both autonomic and consciously controllable activities are in turn controlled through prāṇa. However, prāṇa itself can control the soul or can be controlled by the soul. And through it, the body can control the soul, or be controlled by it.

    When the body controls the soul through prāṇa, the prāṇa forcibly moves the soul from one bodily state to another. But when the soul controls the prāṇa, it stops this forced movement, and can even change the body willingly. An example of forced movement of the soul to a new body is seen in the so-called “autonomic” function of getting hungry every day. And an example of the soul controlling the prāṇa is seen when this so-called “autonomic” hunger is stopped by the soul’s will.

    Hence, one method to develop willpower is to intervene in the so-called “autonomic” bodily activities, which are currently under the control of time, and outside of our control. The simple ones are hunger, sleep, and lust (we might not realize it, but lust is also autonomic). By conscious intervention, we bring the autonomic activity under our conscious control, like we can move our hands and legs. Since most people cannot do that, therefore, those who can are naturally considered materially superior. They have greater power of will. The will is the same, but it is able to control the power better than most people. Those who can conquer these simple autonomic urges are better prepared to handle the bigger hardships of yoga.

    What is the significance of the eleventh night in either dark or light fortnight? Why eleventh day? As far as I know it is related to the qualities of Moon and it’s qualitative effects on the mind.

    Numbers as real entities are not quantities; they are qualities. That quantity view of numbers is not reality. It is assigned to a collection of objects by treating all objects equally. For example, you can count people in a group, and each person is one person. But some of these people are more capable than others. Some are superior to others. So, all the people in a group are not equal. If they are not equal, then we cannot count them as ‘one entity’. Without equality, we cannot count.

    God is one entity, and everyone is part of God. So the ‘one’ called God is bigger than all the other ‘ones’. In quantitative arithmetic, one God is just one, and equal to one soul, because that is also one. Since one equals one, soul equals God. We reject the idea of equality between the soul and God. But to sustain it all the way, we have to do new arithmetic, in which one part is not equal to one whole, which requires qualities. God is not equal to the soul, because God has many more qualities than the soul. Thereby, we count qualities. A number is assigned to a quality. Some quality is the first quality, another quality is the second quality, etc. Basically, the irreducible is not always atomic. God is irreducible and we are irreducible. But God is great and we are small. Hence, big things can also be irreducible. For example, color is an irreducible quality, and yellow is another irreducible quality. But the color quality is bigger than the yellow quality. So, we count qualities from top to bottom, such that there is an original quality, followed by a partial quality, and so forth.

    By this number assignment to qualities, a number becomes identical to quality. Since these qualities also exist in personalities, therefore, sometimes, a number is also equated to a personality. Once we understand that, then we can grasp why a number is a personality. The number eleven has the qualities of Lord Viṣṇu, which is why it is considered “His day”. The link between eleven and Lord Viṣṇu is qualities. It is not that other days are devoid of all of His qualities. Rather, certain days in the month have greater qualities of the Lord than others. To understand and explain that, we have to explain how time is also qualitative; that is, all moments, hours, days, months, and years are not the same. For example, there is a Damodar month, which has the qualities of Lord Damodar. All these things depend on the science of numbers, where numbers are qualities. Therefore, to explain why eleven has the qualities of Lord Viṣṇu, we have to understand numbers as qualities.

    Also I was wondering what is your views on breatharianism, where a person doesn’t live on food but on prana. You have indeed mentioned in one of  the articles that a yogi will just stop the movement of consciousness and stay in that state for thousands of years. Can you show any additional light on this subject?

    SB describes how Maharaja Dhruva progressively performed his austerities. He first lived on leaves and fruits. Then he stopped eating solid food, and just subsisted on water. Then he stopped drinking water and subsisted on air. Then he even stopped breathing. So, he became a breatharian and then went beyond it. When he stopped breathing, then Brahma requested Lord Viṣṇu to appear before Dhruva.

    By focusing our awareness, we can stop aging. You can remain in a fixed state, which can be a fully satisfied state. I have explained how consciousness is moving in space like we take a walk in the park. As you walk, you see different things, including hunger, sleep, and lust. But you can stop walking, and then you will just see one thing. That is called fixed consciousness. That state is obtained in many ways, one of which is the control of prāṇa. But it cannot be sustained simply by the control of prāṇa. One has to control one’s desires as well, which is why bhakti sustains this.

    The four Kumaras never age beyond 4 years. They live for millions of years, but they are always 4 years of age. This is the byproduct of controlling consciousness. It doesn’t move to a state that the soul doesn’t want. The Kumaras did not want to be affected by lust; they did not want to get married or produce children. So, when Brahma asked them to procreate children, they refused and fixed themselves at the age of 4 years. By such control, the yogi’s body becomes almost eternal.

    When I was fasting, I was contemplating on the nature of food like how innumberable processes have happened before it appears on the plate. When we say no to this on a fasting day, what is the significance of it?

    Different kinds of foods have different kinds of material qualities. The grains we eat are said to be prominently in rajas. In contrast, fruits and milk are in sattva. Lord Viṣṇu personifies the mode of sattva in the material world. So, on “His day”, which is a day predominated by sattva, we eschew grains to align with Him.

    Would you advice to go food free and become breatharians to those who are capable? I am interested to know your thoughts on the same.

    No, I will not. In the eightfold yoga system, the control of prāṇa is the fourth stage, after which there are four more stages that include the control of senses, the control of mind, the control of judgments, and finally the surrender of the soul to the Supersoul. The control of breath is simply to facilitate the control of other things. Even that control is not permanent unless other things are controlled.

    If you have read many Vedic texts, they describe the life of sages who performed such austerities for thousands of years and then fell to lust upon seeing a heavenly damsel. The lust was not cured by austerities. It just wasn’t triggered in them due to isolation from women. But upon such contact, lust reappears. In contrast, the devotees never fall, because they have changed themselves emotionally, not just bodily. So, bhakti is advised after taking cognizance of the soul’s state over thousands of years. Most people don’t know these things. They think if they can do something over the short run, that thing is itself perfection. They don’t know that even if you can control your senses, mind, and body, it is because the material nature has agreed to your control due to your persistence. There is no “law” that guarantees such control. It is an agreement to be controlled by a more powerful person.

    Just like a child can ride on the back of the parent and think that it is more powerful than the parent, in the same way, the Lord entertains Himself by carrying His children on His back. That doesn’t make the Lord weaker than the children. It is just entertainment for the Lord. One day, when the soul misbehaves, the parent quickly puts the child down and reprimands it. This is called a fall from grace and power.

    So, try to practice devotion so that you will never misbehave, even if you are given power. Then, the Lord will always carry you on His back, because it is entertaining to both. You use all your power to please the Lord, and the Lord will use all His power to please you. If you do that then the Lord will give you more power so you can use it to please the Lord more. If we misuse power, then the Lord takes it away. So, power can come and go. It is not permanent. It becomes permanent if we have devotion. Therefore, devotion to the Lord is infinitely more important than power.

    Sense control is not bad per se. But there are certain methods of sense and mind control under which the means become the goal. In short, when we see the power that comes from sense and mind control, we become enamored by that power and forget that it is a means to a goal. The pursuit of power itself becomes the goal. Hence these things are discouraged. We have to become free of the entrapment of power prior, and that is obtained through bhakti. Then, even if we get power, it will be used properly, and we will treat it as a means rather than a goal.

    #14046
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    Thank you Prabhu, your explanation gave the clarity that I was seeking.

    Also on a related subject I remember reading one of your articles wherein you have mentioned that the demi god Agni associates with us for digestion. I can’t remember the exact context in which you wrote. My question is are we making an offering to the demi god Agni by eating food? Also who are demi gods in general? How many are there? Your article ‘Nature is governed by persons and not laws’ answers some of these questions. What more could you say on this topic??

    Thank you.

    #14047
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    My question is are we making an offering to the demi god Agni by eating food?

    No, it’s not like that. The association of Agni creates hunger, and its dissociation creates the feeling of satisfaction. They are our hunger and our satisfaction. They are not Agni’s hunger or satisfaction.

    Also who are demi gods in general? How many are there? Your article ‘Nature is governed by persons and not laws’ answers some of these questions. What more could you say on this topic?

    Demigods are controllers of material nature. They are the substitutes for “laws of nature”. Just like trains and airplanes run on time because there is a government, organization, and people, similarly, nature is ordered because of demigods. In the post above, I have explained how this order is not a law because the order is broken in rare cases. By and large, nature works in the same way.

    What more is there to be said? The details of which demigods control which aspect of matter are also present in Vedic texts, but that is a subject of far more detail than we can cover here.

    How many demigods are there? There are primarily 33 demigods. The book Cosmic Theogony discusses them. But under them are thousands of other demigods. Due to this, it is sometimes said that there are 33,00,00,000 or 330 million demigods. It’s not important to go into that detail.

    Many of these demigods were previously worshipped in different parts of the world. That fell into disrepute when these worshippers were designated as “pagan worshippers” and their gods called “pagan gods”. After that, there was a rapid decline in the scientific understanding of nature for many centuries. Then, post-Enlightenment, a new kind of depersonalized and impersonalized science was invented. It substituted persons with “laws”, mathematized the laws, and reduced matter to physical properties. That science has proven to be incomplete or inconsistent (if it tries to be complete). Hence we have to retrace centuries of changes to go back in time and understand “pagan gods” again.

    #14048
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    Thanks for the clarification Prabhu,

    Now I remember the history lessons of Vikings where they worshipped demi gods and even vedic rituals appeasing Indra and other demigods. So just like the association of Agni creates hunger, is it correct to say that thirst, lust is created by association with other demi-gods? I will delve into Cosmic Theogony for more details.

    Now by worshipping these demi-gods many of the world problems can be solved, isn’t it? I vaguely remember you mentioning in one of your posts that crops, rain etc can be obtained by worshipping these demi-gods.

    #14049
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    So just like the association of Agni creates hunger, is it correct to say that thirst, lust is created by association with other demi-gods?

    Yes, that’s a general principle. Nothing is absolutely fixed. There is always a person.

    Now by worshipping these demi-gods many of the world problems can be solved, isn’t it?

    They can be if we know how to worship. At present, we don’t. We are not able to chant the mantras and perform the rituals. If people try to do that, there will be too many mistakes. Hence, all these things are not recommended at present. But there may come a time when people are sufficiently pure that they can do these things. It could happen, although I don’t know if it will.

    The science exists. But to practice that science there is a need for perfection in the mental and sensual instruments. If you do a scientific experiment with bad laboratory instruments, the results are not guaranteed. Similarly, the body is an instrument for different kinds of experiments. If the instrument is bad, the result is not guaranteed. So, first, we have to improve the instrument.

    #14050
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    Thank you, this was both an interesting and insightful discussion.

    I have an unrelated question and also personal in nature, if you think the question is inappropriate for the forum please feel to ignore.

    I was browsing the academy tab of Shabda site. My interest was drawn towards logical sciences and introduction to computing theory. I am a student pursuing a computer science degree. When can one expect the academy to be available?

    Until then can I get a few pointers on where computer science stands with respect to the semantic science and a few suggestions as to what is worth studying in computer science now with the future in mind. A few tips and pointers can be very beneficial to me.

    Thank you

    #14051
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    I’ve not had the time to develop those courses. I will do that, but I don’t have a timeline.

    Regarding computing in general, you can read Godel’s Mistake. It discusses the fundamental problem of computing, which is called the Halting Problem and is generally cited as the first instance of a big mathematical problem that can be proven to not have a solution.

    The book discusses its implications. One of these implications is that you can never decide if a program is malicious. Hence, computer security problems are fundamentally related to the Halting Problem and are unsolvable. Similarly, you can never tell if a program will only do what it is intended to do and always do what it is intended to do. This means that whether the software is written correctly can never be mathematically (or programmatically) proven. As long as the software is written, there will always be bugs, there will always be a need for testers, and there will always be security issues, and hence a need for defenses. That is something we can mathematically prove.

    But we cannot mathematically prove if the software will always be written, because all software can be modeled as an event-state combination, and as events and states increase, their combination grows exponentially more complex. We solve problems of growing complexity by factoring them into independent problems of smaller complexity. By the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, every number can be factored into a multiplication of some prime numbers: X = A x B x C .. where A, B, and C are primes. At present, we assume that A, B, and C are small prime numbers, which means that once a problem has been factored into smaller problems, each of the smaller problems would be relatively easy to solve. This, however, is not guaranteed. It is possible (and likely) that as complexity grows, we will find problems corresponding to higher prime number complexity. Such problems cannot be factored into simpler problems (because they are prime numbers). And they are not easy to solve (because they are large prime numbers). Such problems are economically prohibitive.

    Now imagine that you are linearly progressing in complexity, and you start getting larger numbers, which also have large prime factors. You cannot solve those problems economically. With passing time, such unsolvable problems grow constantly, and you have a harder time finding those problems which can be solved economically as opposed to those that cannot be solved in this way.

    So, by the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, we can divide problems into two categories: (A) those which can be factored into small primes and (B) those which cannot be. In the first category, are large numbers, all of which have small prime factors; all these are theoretically easy, but in practice, testing out the combination can be expensive. In the second category, there are large numbers, all of which have large prime factors; these are theoretically very hard. So, linear progression simply means most new problems are harder to solve–theoretically, practically, or both.

    Turing’s Halting problem applies to the first category–it is very hard to verify and validate software, even if the problems can be broken down into thousands of simple problems. But in a more sophisticated sense, it also pertains to the second category–it is very hard to solve many new problems, and computers are not going to be of assistance. That, however, is more obscure.

    Finally, regarding your question about guidance on whether to study computers, I cannot tell you. I don’t give people personal guidance for two reasons. One, I don’t know enough about them. Two, people don’t follow through with the guidance for any number of reasons, and a guidance half taken can be worse than taking no guidance at all. I have tried doing this in the past, but it becomes an endless problem about not being implemented completely, landing into new issues due to partial implementation, and then being saddled with the ownership of the newly created problems.

    #14052
    Shanky Worker
    Participant

    Thank you Prabhu for your pointers. I will read Godel’s mistake for further details. I respect your stance on giving people guidance.

    Thank you for creating this forum in addition to your books and blog. This forum has become a wonderful tool to reach out to you.

    Thank you.

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