Intellectual Level of the Human System from the Yogic Bird Model (Manomaya)
My husband and I made a decision to make one of our biggest dreams come true – to move to Colorado in 2012. It was nerve-racking to uproot our lives and to say good-buys to our families, friends and to my long time students. Not to mention, that most of the people called us mad.
At the same time, I was taking a class with my beloved teacher Chase Bossart. The subject was a representation of the human system in a bird model or Pancha Maya.
As a part of this workshop, Chase guided us through the meditation. We were instructed to visualize a bird and record our feelings associated with that image. I don’t recall the exact steps. However, years later, I still distinctly remember a bluejay bird’s image in my mind. And the associated feeling of the new beginnings and magic.
I went for my morning run in the Prospect Park, and a bluejay bird flew by me the day after the class. Call it coincidence, my crazy imagination or whatever you’d like. But, from that moment things just fell into place.
So, ready to find your magic?
Revelations From Ancient Sages (Vedas)
Imagine ancient sages who lived in the isolated mountain peaks. Firstly, they got into a deep meditative state to listen and observe the world. Secondly, they recorded these observations into a poem or a chant. Finally, they organized these poems into Vedas. Further, Vedas were passed from a teacher to a student. It’s been going on for several thousand years. And now we have the privilege to immerse ourselves into the text!
The Vedas is a collection of statements and hymns that were heard in the state of deep meditation.
Eventually, Vedas were organized into four groups based on the content. The four Vedas are Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.
The Rig Veda is the “Book of Mantras” containing hymns to deities.
The Yajur Veda is the “Book of Ritual.” It consists of hymns and various comments. This Vedas has the detailed instructions to how to perform the sacrifices.
The Sama Veda is the liturgical collection of melodies. It has the same hymns as Rig Veda but with more melodic sounds.
The Atharva Veda is the “Book of Spells and Healing Remedies.” The science of Ayurveda comes from this Veda.
Why Practice Yoga?
The Pancha Maya model is a multidimensional representation of the human system from the Tattriya Upanishad. One of the major points of this model is:
The feelings of disease – which can be expressed as fear, anxiety or anger – correlate to unproductive behavior, negative thinking, and a non-attentive mind. Consequently, the body stops functioning at its optimal state.
So, we need to cultivate the attentive mind to bring our system in the state of equanimity.
The physical body (Annamaya) is the first layer of the bird model. Let’s unpack the second tier – the mental training (manomaya).
What is your mindset? Or what kind of training do you have?Are you a trained carpenter, philosopher or a doctor? Your mindset is a result of your training. Hence, your training influences how you perceive, understand and act.
1st Layer: Bird’s Head (Yajurveda)
The first layer of the bird model is the head. This layer signifies how you live your life.
You perform a ritual when you really want something. According to this tradition, there are sixteen rituals to be done during the individual’s life. The first three rituals are performed when are conceived and a few final ceremonies after your last farewell.
Don’t confuse our modern holidays with rituals. It might be good to celebrate with drink and food, but rituals have a very particular purpose.
Why bother performing rituals?
The rituals are sacred. You treat them with reverence.
For instance, Vedic chanting is a big part of the ritual. There is a strong feeling in it. You are focusing the mind. Also, you change the quality of your system.
With increased attentiveness, you increase your success in acting correctly in the critical situations in your life.
I like to make my personal rituals. For example, I have a morning therapy routine daily. Also, I love to fast, clean and do a digital detox for Thanksgiving and New Year’s celebrations.
How about you? Do you have any special rituals?
2nd & 3rd Layers: Wings: Spirituality and Art
The second layer of the bird model is two wings: spirituality (rgveda) and art (samaveda).
In other words, you need both wings to fly. Also, these wings move your intellect.
There is no soul in your life without the creative outlet in your life. The creativity helps reason.
Spirituality wing is an understanding that there is a mystery in life. Equally important, the acknowledgment that there is an existence of something greater than yourself.
How do you express your creativity and spirituality?
4th Layer: Bird’s Tail – Balance (Atharvangirasa)
If something goes wrong, you need to know how to handle it. Know your “magic” formulas and medicines when you get sick.
5th Layer: Bird’s Body – Instruction (Adesa)
If we break down the word: A – continuously, Desa – a place.
You learn constantly at the place. In other words, listen and observe.
This approach is counterintuitive to our Facebook and texting culture. We tend to jump to conclusions without depths.
How about a more yogic approach to life?
You can learn a lot by spending time with someone who is already doing what you want to achieve. From my understanding, there is no such thing as “guru” who gives you all the answers. In fact, a teacher who answers your question is a not a worthy one. In contrast, a mentor is a person who helps you to find your own answers.
Learn how to listen and observe to develop the ability to sustain attention. Cultivate an open mind and desire to learn. With the evolution of our intellect you can have a better understanding of your live.
Please note, this blog is a collection of my notes and my interpretations based on my studies. It is not a direct translation of the text.
Given that, my intention is to make the subject as applicable as possible.
Thanks for reading! What can you apply to your life today?