book review the yoga of the nine emotions peter marchand

Book Review: The Yoga of the Nine Emotions by Peter Marchand

Genre: Philosophy

The title got my attention and after reading the blurb I wanted to find out:

What’s prescribed in the book to control our emotions instead of letting them control us?

First: What’s Rasa?

“A Rasa (Sanskrit for ‘essence’ ‘juice’) denotes an essential mental state and is the dominant emotional theme of a work of art or the primary feeling that is evoked in the person that views, reads or hears such a work.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Lessons from ‘The Yoga of the Nine Emotions — The Tantric Practice of Rasa Sadhana by Peter Marchand’

1: Take Break from 24/7 Vicious Cycle of Information:

Just like in ‘Silence’ the author of this book too suggests that we should refrain from over-indulging in watching television. Or using external tools like listening to music to uplift or create positive moods.

I think it goes for social media as well. People are going crazier for social media than for TV these days.

Also, you should try to maintain happy/calm state of your mind on your own and without over-using external mood influences like music, reading, TV etc. 

Pay attention to what you read, watch or hear as it affects and alternates how you end up feeling. Don’t allow external stimuli to control your emotions.

 

“Focus means involvement and attachment, so the moment we focus on something, we becomes involved with and attached to it. Thus in order to get our Rasas under control we not only need to do some television fasting and media fasting but also need to stop the continuous process of evaluating whether impressions are agreeable or not. This is the only way to stop attachment.” ~~ Peter Marchand (Book: The Yoga of the Nine Emotions)

 

 2: What To Eat and About Sleep:

Now most of what the author has shared is a common knowledge. At least, my grandfather and some other members of my family shared it. I’m sure most parents try to. Whether a growing child listens and applies is a different matter.  

But the problem with common knowledge is that almost no one cares for it.

Unless something happens, say you suffered from some ailment and doctor prescribes you to change your lifestyle, quite a lot you already knew just didn’t practice.

Here are some examples of leading balanced life for healthy body:

1: Eating healthy food, not overeating or completely refraining from junk and fried foods.

2: Sleeping on time and waking up before the sun rises.

3: Exercise.  

4: Have a daily routine.

 

3: Controlling Emotions to Avoid Reacting to Unpleasant Situations or People:

Now this one is difficult. Most people can’t manage it and are managed by their emotions.

As per the author, you need to do Rasas Sadhana to learn to control your emotions. So you could stay calm no matter the provocation.  

Here’s what I understood:

1: Pick one emotion you want to master. For example: take anger. If you’re easily aroused to anger, decide to not get angry no matter the provocation.

2: Set time limit for Rasas Sadhana like an hour or a day. If during this duration you get angry, then you’d have to start your practice again from the scratch.

3: You should remember that controlling anger is not about suppressing your emotions. It’s about acknowledging those emotions, but consciously deciding not to allow them to control your response to the situation.

It seems like no solution at all, but it does make some sense. There are only a few choices available when it comes to emotions:

You either allow them to rule you or you learn to control them to some extent at least. But I still have doubts about this technique. I just didn’t get it.

“To be detached from something that is not present seems easier than to be detached in the face of full temptation.” ~~ Peter Marchand (Book: The Yoga of the Nine Emotions)

 

What I Found Amusing — The Great Indian Generalization:

Now generalizing is common and also sometimes (maybe most times) promote stereotypes.

I’m not unaware of the advantage of stereotypes (comfort for the brain when you’re venturing into an unknown territory), but I’m not a fan of them.

Generalization, I also find amusing (I used to find them annoying; amusement is a better state of mind I’ve decided). There’s probably nothing more amusing than generalization.

One should try not to fall in this trap, but it’s also one of those traps that are very difficult to avoid, especially when you’re fascinated by something new you’ve discovered.

I expect more from someone pursuing “enlightenment” than falling prey to generalization.

Anyway, here are a couple of amusing generalizations from the book: 

1: Matching horoscope before marriage leads to harmonious marriage. (100% False)

These days it could easily lead to divorce. What? It’s the new reality here and matching horoscope isn’t preventing it. Matching horoscope was never the reason for almost non-existent divorce in India. Giving credit to something that’s more or less nothing but a con, is amusing.

If the truth be told, horoscope never had anything to do with keeping marriages intact in India.

Women not speaking or standing up for themselves was (and still is) the major reason, the most marriages in the older times lasted.

Women also were not financially or emotionally independent and certainly were brain washed to not demand anything, not even their rights. This entire topic actually requires an entire post dedicated to it. But it’s safe to say Horoscope cannot predict marriage success or any success.

The equation instead should go something like: Horoscope = Superstition is a tool of weaklings to keep their fears under check.

I have observed not a couple of but many marriages in my life span that are a perfect example of how matching horoscope is not a factor in having a harmonious marriage. They were and are some of the worst marriages I have had the displeasure of knowing about. Rest assured so-called nonsense horoscope was matched to everyone’s satisfaction!

Then there are marriages in which partners are actually living harmoniously, but they hadn’t bothered to match horoscope.

What I learned from my observation: you could match whatever superstition you want to; ultimately, how two people interact with each other over the time would decide the fate of their marriage or whatever relationship they have.

It’s difficult to predict human behavior based on an outdated set of beliefs.

Last I checked, scientists decided to rule that Pluto is not a planet, but Pluto is one of the important members of Astrology. 

I wonder, if Pluto is no longer recognized as a planet, then how astrologers are dealing with the new crisis. Or is it an old crisis or no crisis at all?

Maybe it does not matter to them how many planets are not considered planets anymore as long as there are fools to waste their money on the hoax.

I’m ending it here as I run a risk of writing more than I should. It’s a book review not an essay on horoscope. 😉

2: “Indian people have the healthy habit of always telling jokes after a meal.” ~~ Peter Marchand

Now-a-days it’s difficult to find families who sit together for meals. To some extent you can blame it on modernization and on new jobs that require people to work at odd hours at night.  

So if a family wouldn’t even get together to eat, what are the chances of telling a joke and to whom?

Also, not every family engages in this activity. How the author came to this conclusion? Where is the research he did to support his generalization?

I would have given him the benefit of doubt if he had mentioned almost every Indian’s obsession: Cricket & Politics.

Adding ‘most people’ would have been more appropriate instead of running away with generalization.

Yet, I can’t say that reading the book was a waste of time.

Hit or Miss: Good.

Rating: 3stars/5

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Priyanka Sharma

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