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Prajnaparada: Crime against Wisdom

Yoga Well / Blog  / Articles  / Prajnaparada: Crime against Wisdom

Prajnaparada: Crime against Wisdom

Life is a paradox. It is both easy and difficult. It is painful and pleasurable. It is good and bad. Depressing and uplifting. It is indeed, a mosaic of all kinds of opposites that we have to juggle with from the first breath we take to the last breath we give. It is a colourful contrast of diverse situations that live in dynamic tension with each other.

 

This book aims to reconcile the warring factions of our lives into a cooperative though not always harmonious truce between our conflicting needs. It aims to explain why we do what we do and provide workable solutions using the time- tested systems of thought that have helped countless millions of people live more productive and positive lives.

 

I do not claim to have all the answers. Life is unknowable in its totality but the ancient seers have given us glimpses and pointers on how to approach our lives and make the best of them, for life is forever evolving. Nothing remains the same for very long. As nature’s children, we too are evolving. We are changing moment by moment on a physical level. Our stomach changes its lining every few days, in fact there is not a single cell in our body that was there more than 7 years ago. Life recreates and rebuilds us every day until our own life cycle ends and we give our bodies back to the 5 elements of nature. Ultimately, all things must end only to begin again. Life is a paradox.

 

 

Crimes against Wisdom

 

With all the Will in the world, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. It seems like we have been possessed. As though another person is doing the deed. Like automatic writing, there’s the automatic hand that reaches for the chocolate, or the bag of crisps instead of the boring looking fruit. Even when we are strong, there’s a part of us that’s waiting for our guard to drop, resenting our good intentions.

 

Where does all this come from? Psychologists have explained this phenomenon in terms of the subconscious mind. They say that 95% of what we do is controlled by the subconscious mind. Consider this for a moment. Only 5% of what we do is controlled by the conscious mind. The conscious mind includes the Will. So if we don’t work with our subconscious impulses, what chance have we got of overcoming our weaknesses with Will alone. The numbers speak for themselves… 5% chance! But why have a subconscious mind in the first place if it is pushing us to act destructively?

 

The subconscious mind controls our automatic activities that once mastered by the conscious mind, get delegated across. Our daily life is full of automatic activities like walking, drinking, driving, cycling… imagine how exhausted you would be if you had to consciously think about how to do all these things every time you did them. It would drive you mad. Once your conscious mind has programmed the body to respond appropriately to a regular activity, it becomes robotic and habitual. The subconscious mind doesn’t have a moral compass. It is like a tape recorder that looks to the conscious mind for its cue. It doesn’t care if what is being recorded is good or bad. It just records it and plays it back when a similar situation arises.

 

Most of our bad habits come about as a result of negative messages and experiences recorded into the subconscious mind. In Ayurveda, this negative behaviour is called PRAJNAPARADA or crimes against wisdom as expressed by Robert Svoboda. [1]

 

The Wisdom Mind

 

The mind as we have seen is a very complex and multifaceted thing. The aspect of mind that acts like a tape recorder and generates subconscious activities is called CHITTA in Sanskrit. There is also an aspect of mind that knows what is best for us. The wisdom mind that records everything we have learned rather than acquired. The wisdom mind can be likened to a wise old crone that understands instinctively what is right and wrong because lifetimes of experience have shown the way. This higher knowledge is recorded in the wisdom mind and can be accessed under certain conditions. The wisdom mind is known as BUDDHI in Sanskrit. When our consciousness is overwhelmed with the turbulent vibrations of desire, like the waves created on the surface of a lake, it is difficult to see through them to the bottom. Therefore, we allow ourselves to get swept away by the force of our desires and find ourselves propelled into yet another adventure of highs and lows that we love when the adventure is on the up and cry when it crashes with equal force and velocity.

[1]Robert Svoboda “Prakruti”

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