November 24, 2011

Chase Bossart workshop: Manomaya – Human Intellect

I promised myself to finish documenting my notes on Pancha Maya model before I attend the next workshop with Chase Bossart. He is coming to NY on 12/23, so I have a few weeks to finish. I’ve tried to capture the notes as close to the workshop as I could, but there are ears, writing and experience filters…

Consider reading about the first two dimensions: Annamaya and Pranamaya prior to this article.

We are multidimensional beings. The Pancha Maya model covers teaching about the human system based on the teachings found in Tattriya Upanishad and recorded in Vedas. The teachings had the same mind blowing effect on me as when I first heard the Bhagavad Gita.  Imagine sages lived in the isolated mountain peaks, sitting in deep meditation, listening, hearing and receiving to transmit the messages into a poem or a chant. Later, these chants were organized into Veda. They passed on from teachers to students. It’s been going on for several thousand years. And now I have a privilege to immerse myself into the text, wow!

The main point behind this model is that the feelings of disease whether this is fear, anxiety, anger, or whatever else it might be, correlate to unproductive behavior, negative thinking and non-attentive mind, short shallow breath and for the body to stop functioning well. Our main focus is how we can bring the system back to function or back to balance. We need to cultivate the attentive mind. The appropriate action at the right time will result in balance.

Manomaya – the intellectual training. What kind of training do we have? What that means is the carpenter, philosophers or doctors have a certain mind and it gets trained to think in the specific ways. Hence that training influences the way we perceive, understand and do things.

The Veda is a collection of statements and hymns that were heard in the state of a deep meditation. These statements were organized into four groups based on the content. The four Vedas are the bases for this model: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.

The Rig Veda is the Book of Mantra with hymns to deities.

Yajur Veda is the Book of Ritual which consists of hymns and various comments. It has the detailed instructions to how to do the sacrifices.

The Sama Veda is the liturgical collection of melodies. It has the same hymns as Rig Veda but with more melodic sounds.

The Atharva Veda is the book of spell and healing remedies. The science of Ayurveda comes from this Veda.

Let’s review the five elements of the Manomaya bird model.

The head is called: Yajurveda and signifies how you live your life. When something significant happens or when you want something to happen, you perform a ritual.  According to this tradition, there are sixteen rituals to be done during the individual life – with three of them happened when you’re not on this planet and a few after you have said your final farewells. You can say, we have holidays – we get together to stuff ourselves and get drunk! Why bother performing rituals? Since we’re dealing with the mind, drinking won’t do any good. On the other hand, the rituals are sacred and you treat them with reverence or care. It requires the attentive mind. Vedic chanting is a big part of the ritual. There is a strong feeling in it. You are not only focusing the mind, but change also the quality of your system. As that happens, you go throughout your life paying more attention to a special events. With increased attentiveness, you increase your success in acting correctly in the important situations in your life.

The two wings are the Rgveda – spirituality and Samaveda – art. After you’ve taken care of life, you have spirituality and creativity. Those are the wings that move the intellect. If somebody does not have a creative outlet in their life, then there is no soul, no painting, no poetry and no dancing. That’s a broken wing. The creativity helps reason. As for the spirituality, there is a mystery in life. The acknowledgment that there is something is greater than ourselves and is also critical for the proper intellectual thinking. We need to take into account that there are forces bigger than us.

The tailAtharvangirasa – is what balances you. If something goes wrong you need to know how to handle it. Know your “magic” formulas and medicine when you get sick.

The central body of the bird is Adesa, meaning instruction. If we break down the word: A – means continuously and Desa is a place. You learn continuously at the place. Just another way of saying, listen and observe. In our times, we tend to listen for five minutes and we become experts or jump into conclusions. Forget about the past. Go on! Invent something new. Young and beautiful rule, screw the old…In Sanskrit purva means several different things. It means what’s in front of you and it means the past. So as we face the future, other cultures face the past. There is an acknowledgment that we’re standing on the shoulders of people who developed the science and created the society in a certain way. In this model, you can learn so much if you can spend time with someone who is doing what you want to do instead of trying to re-invent the wheals.  The respect for old age and the mentor-ship is in decline.

Our world might be different from the ancient one, but we are still the same monkeys running around asking the same questions, trying to leave our lives. If we can just chill out and learn how to listen and observe, we can develop the ability to maintain attention. It will require some open mindfulness and desire to receive instructions. It can help us to develop our intellect and have a better understanding of our lives.


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