By Anup Taneja
Jul 14, 2012
Creation has many aspects and among the various beautiful creations of God, the human body stands out prominently as His most wonderful creation. Swami Sivananda calls the body a mysterious moving palace within which God dwells. Buddhi or intellect is His prime minister; mind is the commander; the 10 indriyas or senses are soldiers; the eyes are the windows of the palace; and the devatas who preside over the indriyas — eyes, nose, ears, for example — are the gatekeepers.
The human body is therefore without doubt a work of art. Observing the artistic manner in which all the muscles are attached to the bones by tendons, joints balanced with the help of ligaments, fat deposited in a manner that imparts good shape to the limbs, trunk and abdomen; the skin pigment that makes the body look attractive — looking at all of these, one cannot help marvelling at God's creative output.
God makes use of the five elements of nature while creating the body: bone is nothing but earth or clay; blood is water; the radiance of skin and eyes is fire; and the prana or breath that moves through the nostrils and lungs is nothing but air which derives its support from ether. The four elements — air, fire, water and earth have all emanated from ether.
Swami Sivananda says that after demise of the body, all the elements get dissolved. What happens is that the bones merge with the earth and by doing so they go back to their source. When the body is placed on the funeral pyre, mantras are chanted with the purpose of invoking the blessings of the Lord so as to ensure that the body gets dissolved with its five material components of earth, water, fire, air and ether from where it originally emanated. The body is then offered to the fire.
It is rather ironical that despite the Lord dwelling right within the innermost chambers of one's heart, people remain unaware of His presence throughout their lives. Under the influence of Maya or illusion, the power that deludes, people tend to cling to the perishable body even though it is filled with impurities like urine, faecal matter, pus and so on and they get trapped in the vicious circle of the unending process of transmigration.
Coaxing aspirants to become aware of the transitory nature of life, Swami Sivananda urges them to wake up from their slumber. Use the present time and devote the precious moments of your lives to the practice of meditation in order that the Eternal Lord — who provides support to all the pranas, mind, intellect, senses and the body — could be realised. He says that when the body is free from disease and decrepitude, when old age is still far off, when the powers of the senses are not affected and life is not decaying, the person of discrimination ought to constantly endeavour to attain Self-realisation through meditation. It is useless to dig a well when the house is on fire.
We may conclude with the following words of Swamiji: "O friends, wake up, sleep no more. Meditate. Open the gate of the temple of the Lord in your heart with the key of love. Hear the music of the soul. Melt your mind in His contemplation. Unite with Him. Immerse yourself in the ocean of Love and Bliss".
Swami Sivananda entered mahasamadhi on July 14, 1963.