More Than A Set Of Scales
By GAYATRI PAGDI
Years ago, when I decided to study what caused me clinical depression,
I came across many points-of-view depending on who you were sharing
Some psychiatrists told me that it was an imbalance of neurochemicals
in my brain. Chinese diviners told me that my yin and yang were
imbalanced. Ayurvedic practitioners told me that the blame lay squarely
on the imbalance of the doshas; spiritual experts said that I was
balancing out my “purva sanchit.” I was told that every
saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Human as I was,
I stood somewhere in-between the two extremes trying to find the
balance of my life. The common factor of all I heard was rectifying
From the trapeze artists in circus shows to evolving minds of would-be saints, each of us knows that balance is crucial. If we lose it, there’s unhappiness waiting for us.
Each action gives out a reaction. The Goddess of justice stands, with the scales in her hand tipping up and down. We all walk a tightrope balance of survival, stability and adaptability, action and passivity, single-minded pursuit and a wide-open outlook. The esoteric symbols of our idols are about balance too. The Holy Trinity is about Creation, Preservation and Destruction. The Shakti sits serenely astride a tiger balancing all the five senses as symbolised by what She holds in her hands: the trident [touch], flower [smell], the vase of nectar [taste], the drum [sound], and Her own glow, the Radiance of the Sight.
Modern physics tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Vedic wisdom says that the law also applies to human action. Every thought, whether expressed or merely a ripple in our mind, reaches out to the Universe and binds us to the results forever. Our thoughts and actions are undying and their effects cannot be fathomed by any laws of intellect, or rationality.
Balance Holds The Key
Alternative therapies ask us to retain the balance of our minds
and bodies. Activity is to be balanced by rest. Moderation is a
balance of thoughts and actions. It is comparatively easy to maintain
a healthy balance in our physical well-being, but to be able to
carry that balance to our emotional well-being might need extra
effort. When life dishes out pain or unhappiness for long, it is
easy to get cynical and develop a darker view of the world. The
more darkness we feel, the more of it we will attract. We are responsible
for the outcome of what we create. Balancing anger with understanding,
humility with good self-esteem, simplicity of mind with social skills,
generosity with the ability to maintain one’s personal impenetrable
boundaries, concentration and distraction, going too far and falling
just short… all of this needs effort.
Patanjali’s "Yoga Sutra" says when we attune ourselves
to our body’s natural intelligence, it is easy to recognise
the signs of even a single imbalance. A lesson in niyama [observance]
includes the cultivation of balance and health, along with emotional
contentment and surrender to the higher powers.
Everything Is Better
Balance is a conscious dynamic process. Given the extreme indiscipline
of our lives and minds, starting on it may seem a bit tough. One
may slip from time-to-time, but getting back in there does the trick.
Once the mind and the body get used to balance, the flow is fairly
smooth but, at no point of time, can we take it for granted. If
there is restraint, there is temptation. If the change is only forced
from the outside, or if it does not come from within, there are
more chances now of the balance being disturbed.
One realises the outcome of everything is so much better and long-lasting when we experience things in moderation. Once this is done, it becomes motivating enough to choose and maintain our balance in our thoughts and also life.