Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Stresslessness (Anāyāsa) – An attribute of the soul

Kannada article by: Vid. Narasimha Bhat

English Rendering by: M R Bhashyam

Respond to (lekhana@ayvm.in)


The attribute of the soul that we consider now is Anāyāsa or Stress-lessness. Every day, when we worship the Lord, we pray to Him to grant us death without stress or anxiety. While we are dying, we should not experience any afflictions or torments of the mind or body. When we expend more energy for performing a task than that is required, then it results in fatigue or exhaustion.  A question arises as to how we can perform a task without tiring ourselves?  The sages say "When a task is initiated if we find ourselves tormented, even-though it may be the right task to perform, a dharmic task, we should not perform that task - Yadārambhê bhavêt pīdā nityam atyantam ātmana | Tadvarjayêt Dharmamapi SôAnāyāsa Prakīrtita ||" Anāyāsa or non-Stress is also a characteristic of the soul – Ātmagua.


Performing Activities Skillfully is Stress-lessness

We need the body for performing tasks.  It is but natural that the body and limbs become tired when we work.  We cannot assume that getting tired is equivalent to becoming stressed.  If this tiredness leads to a future ill health, then we can consider that as stressful. The famous Ayurvêda Doctor, the revered Carakācārya has described what is health and what is ill health.  The body is made of seven types of basic bodily composites called Dhātūs (Seven types of tissues).  The imbalance in these has been termed as ill-health. The activities which give us joy have been termed natural or as per our Prakti and those activities which cause unhappiness are abnormal to our nature and are called Vikti. This imbalance may occur immediately or in future. Sometimes, even though we may be working, we will not be fatigued but its effect may come to the fore after a few days. For example, someone may be travelling far or during the night. He has to suffer the consequences of lack of proper sleep.   Viduranīti while describing six types of joy decrees that one should not travel long distances every day.  That travel creates imbalance in the three conjugates Vāta– (Combination of the elements Space and Air), Pitha (Combination of Fire and Water), and Slêhma (Combination of Earth and Water) or in the mental states Satva (Serenity), Rajas (Activity) and Tamas (Inertia). These imbalances cause bodily ill-health called Vyādhi and mental imbalance called Ādhi.  These create impediments in the path of self- realization and the attainment of the eternal. Patānjali's Yôga Sūtrās detail how these create obstacles to Yôga. One should perform activities skillfully in such a way they do not become impediments to the path of self-realization.  Performing activities skillfully to achieve desired outcomes is termed as "Yôga - Yôga Karmasu Kauśalam".  If we make this as our routine, it will, without doubt, not only result in a peaceful stressless end but also begets us eternity.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.