Many of you might have heard the story where as requested by King Bali, Lord Vishnu goes in his sleep mode in Patal Loka for a duration of four months starting from the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of Waxing moon period (Shukla paksh) during the month of Aashadh (the month that starts around 20th June in northern hemisphere). Like every other story of Vedic wisdom, this story too has a deep seated meaning. This blog will explain you the same using simple principles of Ayurveda. But before that we must understand that “Lord Vishnu” represents that Deity who nourishes/administers/manages/takes care of the Universe and “Patal Loka” represents the lower realms. So from “YAT PINDE TAT BRAHMANDE” – “YPTB” (as in macrocosm so in microcosm and vice versa) philosophy, Lord Vishnu represents nourishment in our body and we all know that it is Blood that nourishes our body. Also from “YPTB” philosophy, Patal (underground) Loka represents our lower chakras, Swarga (heaven) Loka our highest chakras and Bhoo (earth) loka, the middle chakras. Bali represents that Asura (King of lower realms/Patal Loka) who is religious/ethical but enjoys the worldly possessions and activities whether it be food, sex, art, wine, lavishness etc. Now once we understand the meaning of the characters in this story, lets move forward…
We all know that anything that heats up, rises above and anything that cools down, settles downward whether it be water or air. Exactly the same goes with our body fluids too. Thus during summers since overheating of Blood and Rasa (interstitial fluids) rises them above, this phenomenon weakens the lower chakras and core organs as they don’t get enough blood/nutrition which is why extreme summers may overstimulate/ irritate/ overexcite us. This is also the reason that during summers we feel less hungry as core organs get less blood to digest food and are therefore able to create less blood too.
However, the onset of rains during June end in the Northern hemisphere, suddenly drops the temperature by several degrees thereby cooling down Blood and Rasa (interstitial fluids) in our body. Thus, now Blood and Rasa (representing Lord Vishnu) feeds the starving lower chakras and the core organs (Patal Loka). This trend of feeding the lower organs (chakras) more than upper, continues till October for around four months until the weather becomes very pleasant and the lower chakras have become strong once again which is why we all begin to get engaged in activities that spread circulation in entire body. This is the reason that our digestive fire becomes stronger during these four months to feed the lower chakras and core organs including heart, stomach, intestines, brain which is why once rains begin, we feel more grounded and more elated/energetic.
*** Astrologically, the period starting 20th October onwards represents 8th zodiac of Mars where Rasa and blood is circulating well in the entire body and not just lower or upper chakras. Mythologically, King Bali’s request for Lord Vishnu to rest in the lower chakras was essential to keep them healthy for the overall health of the entire Universe (human body here). In other words, all chakras (upper or lower) are essential for the wellbeing of the living body.
While most of the Indians would be aware of only two Navratris (the nine nights that fall around March end and Sept end), the fact is that Vedic sciences talk about two more Navratris called as Gupt Navratris (meaning secret nine nights) one of which starts around June end. This is because this is the time when Lord Vishnu goes in Patal in the sleep mode and native moves into a relative cocoon as his/her conscience moves into the lower realms (and also inwards) which are supposed to be more of occult (secretive and introspective) in nature. So while the major/main Navratris (especially the one falling in September end) are celebrated by leading Sattvic food and lifestyle along with worshiping rituals, the secret Navratris are supposed to be observed/celebrated with practices/processes/procedures that help to ensure that our body and mind remain strong. This is because during this season, the Asuric energies (i.e. energies of the lower chakras/realm) become relatively stronger due to more blood there thereby weakening the Devic (energies of higher realm/chakras which govern our sense of seeing/thinking/taking right decisions etc).
Thus to counter this, one can practice Asanas/Pranayama/Bandhas like Siddhasana/ Moolbandha/ Padmasana /Tribandha to ensure that upper chakras are properly fed and donot become too weak and lower chakras donot overpower which could otherwise make us over-indulge in acts of sex/alcohol etc thereby weakening our Ojas (strength). Loss of blood/prana from upper chakras may also result in depression/anxiety etc. Apart from Asanas etc., there are other ways too which can help us to keep the energy of the upper chakras strong like having red, warm (but not pungent) foods/spices. Together they all form part of Tantra because Tantra is nothing but process and procedures to attain a specific goal. Goes without saying that one exercise prudence and self awareness while performing any process/procedure to align energies of the chakras.
*** Remember that while during this time there is a higher possibility of lower chakras becoming stronger than upper however we must exercise prudence because a lot depends upon the individual constitution too at that point of time. It is therefore extremely important that all chakras are balanced. While relatively more blood in lower chakras would weaken function of upper as discussed above, on the other hand, excess of blood in upper chakras thereby weakening the lower ones is also bad as this would lead to issues like constipation, loss of hunger, backaches etc. Thus in the latter case, one would need to avoid the Asanas that push blood from lower body to upper (as mentioned above) and instead perform Asanas like Bhujangasana to strengthen the lower body. In fact, Kundalini awakening is nothing but the act/process/tantra of ensuring that all chakras are balanced through different Asanas/foods/pranayama/bandha etc.
From health, food and activity viewpoint, summers is the time to avoid any intense exercises/Yoga/jogging, hot spices else it will further heat up the blood and body thereby further weakening core organs and lower chakras. This is the reason that cases of sudden heart failure/arrest are on the rise in many gym freaks/athletes who refuse to live in line with weather. On the other hand, these four months after the beginning of rains is the period to slowly get into light exercises/Yoga but only for those whose core organs are strong and healthy. This is also the reason that sudden drop in temperature should be accompanied with slight increase in warm and pungent spices like Asafoetida or Ajwain (This is not to advocate their excess and continued use but only to counter the sudden drop in temperature). The problem comes when apart from drop in temperature, we further reduce heat in our body during rains/winters with pitta/heat reducing foods and medicines (antihypertensives, antiallergics, cold spices etc) thereby taking conscience/blood/nutrition/tissues/Lord Vishnu deeper into core and lower body. This is the reason that those already high on BP meds begin to experience even higher BP during winters as this is the time to consume warm and hot spices whereas BP and other meds as mentioned above further reduce it thereby thickening the blood and further increasing BP.
*** Also to note that different people have different constitution and thus strength of different chakras, which is why the above mentioned suggestions are more of thumb rules for most of us and some constitution may need mild deviations in food/asanas etc.
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