Guiding Light: Lankhanam Parama Aushadam

Guiding Light: Lankhanam Parama Aushadam

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 05:31 PM IST
article-image
Representative Image | Unsplash

“Lankhanam” is calibrated fasting and “Parama Aushadham” means supreme remedy. Together it tells us that calibrated fasting shall rectify most of the situations/conditions. The primary question that arises is what is Lankhanam? Is it bodily/physical fasting or something beyond? How does depriving inputs result in better conditions when careful sustenance has not yielded the desired results? Insightful introspection shall unfold the deeper meaning and provide the complete answer.

Fasting often is simply taken as the physical deprivation of food to the body. It is partly correct but incomplete. The body is beyond the physical entity we see, touch, and feel. How can then depriving inputs to part of the entity shall get us the full benefits? It cannot be, is the answer. Appreciating the multi-level existence and knowing the real meaning of Lankhanam reveals insights and lead to outcomes.

The maximum “levels” to which modern literature progresses is mind-body-spirit. Vedic knowledge as got contained in the Upanishads tells us about the pancha-koshas (five sheaths). These respectively are Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vigyanamaya, and Anandamaya. These can be roughly translated and understood as physical, the spirit inside, the thought level, the wisdom level, and the existential bliss level. An inner probing and deeper contemplation shall make one appreciate these levels which definitely are beyond the crude approximations. And the knowledge of “Lankhanam” shall be clear and complete only if one understands the concept of koshas.

Going by the modern diet and fasting trends, depriving the physical body of material food is first-order fasting, at Annamaya level. However, this needs to be attempted in a more educated and careful manner. Regulated and conscious breathing through pranayama offers a better solution at the second level of Pranamaya. Structured silence and disciplined mental engagement offer “Lankhanam” at the third level called Manomaya. Letting go of false beliefs and mental debris shall offer the cleansing at Vigyanamaya level. When one progresses from one to the other levels of these, not necessarily in the same order but probably beginning with the first, one elevates oneself to the existential bliss level. This nourishes and nurtures the Anandamaya kosha, helping one to fulfil life’s very purpose. “Lankhanam” would have offered the benefit of “Parama Aushadam” by then.

Prof. S. Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

RECENT STORIES

Guiding Light: Happy Father’s Day

Guiding Light: Happy Father’s Day

Guiding Light: How Do We Improve Our Lifestyles?

Guiding Light: How Do We Improve Our Lifestyles?

Guiding Light: Breaking The Vicious Cycle

Guiding Light: Breaking The Vicious Cycle

Guiding Light: Chaturmasa Deeksha

Guiding Light: Chaturmasa Deeksha

Guiding Light: Prejudice, Intolerance And Hatred

Guiding Light: Prejudice, Intolerance And Hatred