By Yogi Baba Prem Yogacharya, Veda Visharada
The heart has held a special fascination amongst a variety of cultures for untold millennia. This fascination is rooted in spiritual truth, with the heart representing a powerful spiritual point in the physical and astral bodies.
These can be viewed as a simple formula to practice daily For the average person, the keys to the doorway of the heart begin with the ability to give freely, receive freely, which results in lightness within the heart. We even have terms to describe the absence of lightness within the heart; with terms such “I have a heavy heart. A burden was lifted from my heart.” This illustrates the need to create lightness within the heart.
While this basic formula sounds simple, for many it is difficult to obtain. Some are excellent at receiving. Others are strong in the ability to give. But the key is in the ability to give and to receive. And an unfortunate few cannot perform either task.
For the spiritual aspirant it is important to approach “giving” and “receiving” with equality. One must not take prominence over the other. But rather they reinforce the ability to embrace the opposite quality.
Ya can form an important quality in this formula. Yam literally can mean “to sustain or support”. To sustain our life and achieve our goals we need a light heart. “Ya” literally can mean to go or move, but more importantly it is reference to light. To lighten our heart is to bring forth the light of the heart.
“Da” for many people is “to give” as previously mentioned. Within “Da” itself another formula exists:
For more spiritually inclined, it is control of the senses or more importantly self control. For those that still have conflicts with the emotions, anger and similar issues “da” comes to mean compassion or mercy. To work with the qualities of “Da” on all levels, one can chant “Da, Da, Da”
“Hr” from a higher standpoint can mean to kill or destroy, come from the root “ha”. This means to destroy the lower emotions, thoughts and feelings that occupy the heart and limit the experience of Yam or lightness. In it’s higher manifestation it represents the seat of the soul and mind.
Again another basic formula is revealed. One must destroy the lower emotions and cultivate higher feelings within the heart. One the most basic level they should give. They must receive; have self-control, and compassion. From this they will obtain union and lightness in the heart. This in turn results in the experience of Hrdaya (the heart center), where hrdaya is no longer a work but a consciousness.
1) Deva or divine consciousness.
2) Men, ordinary human consciousness.
3) Raksha or demonic consciousness.
But much more can be gleamed from the word hrdaya or hridaya. While hridaya can mean the seat of feeling, more importantly hridaye means the seat of the soul, the doorway to the mind, and seat of mental actions. These are actual meanings of the word from the standpoint of the Rg Veda. This importance of the heart center in reflected in a variety of teachings, especially within advaita Vedanta through the teachings of Ramana Maharishi. One of the central teachings of Ramana’s Jnana yoga system involved enquiry within this doorway of the heart.
But the primal compound root to ‘hridaya’ would be be hri. Some of the common definitions of’hri’ is ‘to take, to carry, to carry in’. Hri has a dual flow, as it carries the energies of the soul to the physical body, it also carries impressions from the physical body via the senses (indriyas) to the soul. It also means to ‘remove or destroy’. Our true experience of the hrdaya center removes illusion or destroys illusion.
Through practice, these teachings start to reveal numerous secrets regarding the heart. The heart contains knowledge and is the doorway to knowledge, as the spiritual heart is the seat of the atman. Likewise, the spiritual heart is an important key to gaining control over the mind. The transquality of the mind is supported through an understanding of the primal sounds that comprise Hrdaya--Hr, Da, Ya. This can increase santosha or contentment. The importance of santosha is recognized even within the 'Yoga Sutras of Patanjali', as it appears as a Niyama.
We see a constant thread from Vedic times up through the period that the Upanishad was recorded referencing the importance to the heart center. This is reflected even in modern times through the teachings of Ramana Maharishi, Ganapati Muni, and a variety of great spiritual teachers.
“Ayurveda and the Mind” by Dr. David Frawley
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