The Five Natural Elements - Nector Of Wisdom from Pujya Guruji.

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Parama Pujua Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji's teaching on the Five Basic Elements.

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Today, our perception has become so limited that we pay attention only to ourselves and our loved ones, but we hardly spare a thought for other fellow creatures. Every single organism in Creation has its own assigned role to fulfill. God has created every part of Nature for a particular purpose, and they all play a part in our lives. So, we must never ignore Nature. This is detrimental to our well-being. A wholistic spiritual life is intricately woven with Nature. In fact, the three paths which lead us to self-realisation help us to correspond with Nature - Jnana Yoga (the path of knowledge) teaches us how to understand Nature, Bhakthi Yoga (the path of devotion) instructs us about how to revere Nature while Karma Yoga (the path of divine action) tells us how to express this understanding and reverence through action in our way of living.

There are five basic elements which comprise all parts of Nature - earth, water, fire, air and ether – and when we were in our mother’s womb, the same elements wove our body around the soul. That is why it is very important for us to resonate synchronously with them and make sure that we balance them within ourselves as well as in the environment around. There are certain spiritual techniques that all of us can use to do this and ensure that the subtle energy field in the place we live is fully charged with vitality. They are as follows:

1. EARTH: Mother Earth is the home for all beings – insects, animals, human beings and plants as well. Every morning, before we step down from our beds, we must pray - “Oh Mother, I lead my entire life on you, by sitting, sleeping and even treading you. Please bless me to take my first step on you today and bless me to live on your surface another day filled with peace, contentment and joy.”When we begin our day in this way, we are completely in tune with the earth element.

2. ETHER AND AIR: This technique is a part of Jnana Yoga. Immediately after we get up in the morning, we must open all the doors and windows to allow a free flow of air (Vayu) and ether (Akasha) through the house. This also fills the house with an abundance of natural light. Fresh air removes all the residues of carbon dioxide that we have exhaled during the night. By and large, the carbon dioxide that we breathe out when we sleep has to go out of the house within half an hour. Otherwise, our lungs and skin are adversely affected. This also depletes the energy in our five sheaths of consciousness (physical sheath, sheath of vital airs, mental sheath, intuitive sheath and sheath of bliss) and the beneficial effects of all the sadhana that we perform are completely nullified. The oxygen that is available till seven in the morning is relatively clean and pure in urban areas, after which it gets polluted. So, recharging the house with clean fresh air, ether and light early in the morning is crucially important.

3. WATER: This is part of Bhakti Yoga. Before we brush our teeth in the morning, we must take a little water in the right hand and sprinkle it over our head saying – “This is the water of the holy river Ganga. May it wash away all my impurities.” This will bring the water of the Ganga through all the taps. You may disagree here and say that the water flowing through the taps is not really from the river Ganga. As we have discussed together earlier, the feeling in our heart is all important. When we invoke Ganga in the water in our homes with complete devotion, her vibrations immediately purify us and transform the water flowing through the taps into Ganga herself. We must use this sacred water to bathe and to rinse our mouth. We will feel completely revitalised. Also, we should make a habit of rinsing the mouth once in every two hours since it contains the highest percentage of bacteria in the body. Keeping this habit removes them. Whenever possible, we must also rinse our mouth before drinking water to prevent harmful bacteria from going into the stomach and affecting our digestion.

Every time we use water, we have to remember how precious it is. Without water there would be no life. Thus, we express our reverence for water and use it to purify ourselves.

4. FIRE : Of all the millions of creatures on Earth, only human beings have the ability to light a fire and keep it under control. Though Early Man lived without fire in the beginning, we cannot imagine our present life without it. So, as soon as we are up in the morning, we must have a bath and light the oil lamps in the shrine room (Pooja room). When we light the stove for the first time each morning, we must reverently invoke the Lord of Fire by chanting – “Om Namo Agni Devaya Namaha.” A few decades ago, all the cooking was done using firewood in India. They would worship the wood stove using sacred turmeric and vermillion powder before they lit it. Sacred symbols (rangoli) would be drawn on the ground in front of the stove to invoke Divine forces. When we pray before lighting the stove, the fire is completely Sathvic (pure) and the food that is cooked on it is pure Sathva. The fire that manifests itself after such a prayer is as sacred as the camphor flame of the Arathi in a temple. Invoking Agni (fire) like this is a part of Karma Yoga.

When we follow these methods, we will constantly be aware of the five elements and offer our homage to them. We automatically tune ourselves to all of them, and we will be able to lead a happy and contented life with no troubles, worries or problems.

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