It should also be remembered that the
body is the abode of the soul. Our existence functions in duality. That
is, the subtle spiritual self works within the gross physical body. It is
the spiritual self which gives one a sense of wisdom and mastership. But
it must have a physical body to function and perform in. Science also has
now proved that life's processes for man lie almost wholly within himself.
Thus, the body alone can be the medium of exercising the power and
authority of the consciousness to control and subdue one's primal drives,
animal impulses and carnal desires. And subjugation of these urges will
ultimately result in the eradication of the contamination by karmic
matter. The spiritual self will then achieve the state of pure
The process of sarira preksa is
centripetal, i.e. from outside to inside, thus reversing one's usual
direction of the flow of consciousness which is from inside to outside.
Commencing with the outermost layers of consciousness one has to penetrate
more and more deeply. Thus the successive stages of sarira preksa
would be perception and awareness of :
(a) the superficial sensation of the
skin such as contact with cloth, warmth, perspiration, itching etc.,
(b) the sensation produced by the
(c) the sensations produced by
functioning of the internal organs such as liver, heart etc., and finally,
(d) subtle vibrations produced by the
electrical impulses travelling in the nervous system.
In the vast complex of our organism
various complicated chemical, mechanical and electromagnetic processes are
constantly going on. Our sense-organs and other sensory outposts send
thousands of separate sensation signals coded messages to the brain every
moment. They are a variety of intensities of pleasure, pain, etc.
Process of sarira preksa aims at
the development of totally impartial perception of pleasure and pain. This
is practically achievable because there is a remarkable distinction
between sensation and perception. While the sensation signals are the
unprocessed inputs of awareness, perception is the finished product
processed by the brain in the light of mood, expectations and many other
variations. In the case of pain, for example, same sensation-signals (say,
from a toothache) affect each person differently. His suffering is his
perception and this varies immensely from person to person. The sarira
preksa changes one's perception so that the sensation signals of pain
are experienced without suffering. Same is the case with the signals of
the sensation of pleasure.
As stated above, the sarira preksa
is a centripetal process. Now the extension of the psyche is on par
with that of the body and the spiritual self is on par with the psyche. In
other words, each and every one of the billions of cells which constitute
the body is permeated by the spiritual self, and that is why each cell is
sensitive and capable of carrying out metabolic function through
biochemical and bio-electric actions. In short, a totally impartial
perception of the mass of sensations within the body is direct perception
of the psyche and the spiritual self.
It is obvious that sarira preksa
is the only means of complete body awareness, which, as explained above,
is really self awareness. On the physical level, it helps each cell to
revitalize itself, it helps digestion, improves quality and circulation of
blood and increases the efficiency of the nervous system and bio-electric
activities. On mental level, it is a methodology for training the mind to
concentrate on internal phenomena instead of wandering about externally.
On the spiritual level, impartial perception of ever-changing biological
functions of the body is a means of experiencing the substratum of
consciousness through its modes and attributes.