List of seven holy books that you must read for managing tension:- 1. Gita 2. Ramayana 3. Vedas 4. Guru Granth Sahib 5. Buddhism 6. Bible 7. Quran.
Mahatma Gandhi considered Gita as a potent source of tension control and mental poise.
His words are clear and concise:
“When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad Gita, and find averse to comfort me, and immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow”.
The GITA, an epoch-making part of Mahabharata, has teachings which help in understanding the concept of happiness. It offers hope to mankind in all climes and a remedy in all situations. It is a guide for self-fulfillment, self- awareness, and self-evaluation for betterment. It is a practical manual that offers comprehensive advice to achieve ‘moksha’ by making one to understand the philosophy of this worldly life.
The teachings of Gita are the basic principles of life and if the same are pondered over in the right way, become a source of guidance to meet the various challenges of life.
1. It is necessary to surrender the lower unriped ego to higher riped ego through an intense inner self.
2. Uplift oneself through own-self, never bring it down.
3. Man is the creature of his faith, what his faith is that verifies what he is.
4. Work is important for purification of mind and intellectual work is important for cleaning of mind. This process of refinement has been called Chitta Shuddhi in GITA. In practice, purification through work means overcoming envy, greed, selfishness and similar tendencies of mind which may lead to tension.
Actions may not bring happiness but there can’t be happiness without actions. Inaction is like stagnant pond and work or action is like running water.
5. The flow of thought is governed by the messages one gets through five senses and this is manifested in the form of behaviour through speech and action. There is need to master one’s desires born out of senses.
Most of the problems are caused by desire, greed or craving. We give undue importance to the gratification of sensual and material desires. A man whose mind is free from desires of the senses under the discipline of the soul achieves external bliss.
6. Love every soul as Brahm dwells in every soul. Creator of this world and the source of happiness is within you. There is need of recognising Him which is possible when you are able to see him within you beyond the layers of artificiality. There is need to recognise the urge of developing unity of all living beings on spiritual platform.
The supreme happiness comes to yogi when mind is peaceful, whose passions are at rest, who is sinless and is identified with God”.
Man’s condition has been described like musk deer who does not know that musk is lodged right in the navel but it leaps and runs amuck all over the forest in search of the same.
7. When any work is done as duty and when the result is left to Him without attaching oneself with the result then only one can attain happiness. This emphasis needs full surrender before Him by developing full faith in Him.
“He who looks upon all as himself in pleasure or in pain is considered, O Arjun, a perfect yogi”.
“He who does any works (service to humanity) and recognises me as the Supreme, who worships me without other attachments and who does not have hatred towards any creature, he reaches me, O Arjun.”
One should not take credit for the success or failure, doer alone should not take the whole brunt himself (provided he has been doing consciously) and as such should not dissipate his energy in despair. Each individual can become a stitha-pragya through practice of rules.
The teachings of GITA cover very widely the problems of life and death, duty and devotion, action and inaction, knowledge and meditation and also provide eternal solution to the problems of mankind.
As per the teachings of GITA, Sat-Chit-Anand state is nothing but pure existence, consciousness and bliss. The root cause of all sufferings is on account of ignorance (avidya) and non-apprehension of reality (maya). Stitha-Pragya is a tension free person who is a personification of godliness.
Lord Rama set an example by leading a life of bare and pure minimum, even though he had access to the various facilities available to the prince of a kingdom. He emphasised on the art of enjoying life without becoming a slave of materialistic pleasures which are available in one’s surroundings.
It is the sole materialistic approach that has made people tiny creatures. There is need to rise above the body and the mind on driving oneself into the Divine powers. When one develops faith in Supreme Self, all tension disappears. There is need to conquer one’s mind and become victorious. Rama advocated a life to be lived on pure heart, free from ego and pride.
The basic teachings of Ramayana convey that one should lead the life of service, truth and love and these should not be touched by the sense of ego. It must be understood that Rama denotes ultimate knowledge. Hanuman is a medium through which Rama sent the message to the world. Shri Hanuman’s life, the attitude of service, truth and love, all remained untouched by a sense of ego.
God has given everyone both intellect and faiths so that one can apply the intellect in worldly matters and rely on faith in spiritual matters. In modern days this order has been reversed. People have started applying intellect in spiritual matters and rely on faith in worldly matters.
Today one does every worldly thing on trust but when the question is about God, one often argues that until, one can conceive God through intellect one can’t believe in God. Ramayana’s teachings help us to overcome tension by introduction of the concept of faith, attitude of service, truth and rising above egoism, in one’s day to day activities.
Vedas teach how to lead pure life bound by the ethical code of conduct.
In Vedas, the destructive role of tension has been rightly summarised in the conversation that Worries have with Death:
Worries say to Death, “You come in the end to burn a corpse… Burning alive gives a laugh! So, I burn a live man in the start… I am the stepping stone for reaching you”.
4. Guru Granth Sahib:
Guru Nanak’s sacred verses are embedded in the Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, which is a masterpiece and contains solutions to all types of problems of life whether they are social, religious, economic, political or otherwise.
This holy book was composed in the seventeenth century and includes preaching’s of different saints who lived between the twelfth and seventeenth century. The granth exposed the hollowness of virtual, preached truth and humility, spread the message of brotherhood.
This covers very widely His voice against the social, religious and spiritual malpractices of the time and showed the path of happiness. Various teachings suggest the technique one should learn to overcome the tension provoking problems. One has to accept that it is basically one’s attitude and outlook rather than an event that creates tension. The problem is universal as the words of Baba Sheikh Farid make evident:
“Farida main janea dukh mujh ku, dukh sabaia jag kothe char ke dekhia ghar ghar eh agg….”
(I thought as if I was the only unhappy man but when I looked around I found that everybody is sailing in the same boat).
The teachings of Guru Granth Sahib give a new dimension to solving various problems and warn aptly about the adverse effects of tension on body and mind which give birth to physiological, mental and neurological diseases.
“Jin ko chinta bahut bahut dehi veape rog….”
(One who worries gets numerous diseases)
This sacred book while covering social problems has rightly emphasised that a person does not become superior merely by caste, creed, colour, the family in which he takes birth or the riches. Superiority is not determined merely on the basis of religion that one adopts. A man is basically superior by actions.
Casteism is one of the causes of tension and has been dealt in the following quotations:
(a) “Phakker jati phakkar naon….”
(Caste is a condemnable notion and so is pride of name)
(b) “Garbh ras main kul nahin jati ….”
(In the mother’s womb one belongs neither to a dynasty nor to a caste)
The need to give respect to female class has been emphasised. For this Guru Nanak says,
“So kyun manda akhiya jitt Janme rajan….”
(Why revile one who has given birth to kings)
Similarly, when all life has originated from one common source, the Supreme Power, how anyone can be bad.
Regarding economic problems, Guru Nanak’s teachings preach the need to:
(a) Reduce one’s needs to match with one’s capacity.
(b) Be contended with what one has, when one hasn’t had those things that one likes.
Humanity and service without selfish motive have been prescribed to overcome the evils of pride, anger, avarice, jealousy, revenge, hatred etc. Many of the problems that arise out of anger can be overcome by developing the quality of forgiveness and tolerance. The need to develop the quality of silence to overcome many of our problems has been emphasised.
To have good health, this sacred granth suggests less sleep, less eating and less clothing.
“Dhrig Dhrig khaea
Dhrig Dhrig soia
Dhrig Dhrig kapad ang charaja….”
Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings suggest the need to develop the technique of solving problems by way of compromise and adjustment.
“Ek ne kahi, dusre ne mani
Nanak kahe dono giani”.
The need to develop the role of charity and having faith in God has also been emphasised in the teachings. His name alone works as a panacea to many problems. In Todi Mahala 5(713), it has been suggested to sing the virtues of the Lord to get peace, poise, fortitude and the secret knowledge thus obtained helps in eradicating all sorrows.
Churn His name with steady mind to avoid loss of butter. Guru Nanak has advised to learn virtue of five elements viz. to learn patience from earth, coolness or calmness from the water, equanimity from the air, all embracing or pervasive qualities from the sky and purity from the fire. In terms of Maru Mohala 5 Ghara 4 Ashtapadian (1018),
Supreme light is that light of the Lord that illumines the corridor of my heart.
Supreme worship is the name worship of the Lord.
Supreme renunciation is the surrender of body and mind unto Lord and also of lust, anger, greed, attachment, ego etc.
Best begging is begging for singing of the virtues of God through Guru’s teachings.
Best awakening is possible by singing the glories of Lord.
Best clinging is clinging the holy feet of Guru i.e. adopting the qualities of Almighty.
Best refuge is the refuge of Lord.
It is only when the Supreme infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immaculate Lord showers His mercy on an individual only; he is released from all the bonds. He alone can take one across the ocean of the world of conflict, pain, greed and attachment.
Just as the sea is never satiated even with thousands of rivers and fire with fuel frequently added to it, so is an individual not satisfied with all sensual pleasures? In terms of teachings of Buddhism, there is need for complete destruction- of three drives which give birth to human tension.
They are cravings for:
A man becomes free, when he goes for right belief and aspiration, right speech and conduct, right livelihood and endeavour, right memory and meditation. The fact is that birth, decay, illness, death, separation are nothing but sufferings which lead to tension.
He has attained peace who is indifferent to the pleasures of the senses, who has traversed the mire without getting besmirched. He has no son, no relatives, no land, and no wealth. Their ownership does not please him; he is free of jealousy, of greed, this saintly man abjures pride, he does not think mean, he does not compete.
The web of time does not bind him. He too does not weave a web for anyone. He is indifferent, does not lament a loss, and does not worry. Such a one has attained Nirvana. Buddha: Suttanipat
When one is not able to obtain what he desires, he is led to tension. Desires give birth to fear and grief. The need to abandon all desires has been emphasised in the teachings of Lord Buddha by adopting seven methods.
(a) By Insight:
This is done by overcoming the delusion of self, right along hesitation and dependence on external rites.
(b) By Subrogation:
Of the five senses and mind.
(c) By Right Use:
Of clothes, alms and abode.
(d) By Endurance:
In all situations whether they are painful or pleasurable.
(e) By Avoiding:
Dangers, improper places and bad companions.
(f) By Removal:
Of evil thoughts.
(g) By Cultivation:
Of higher wisdom.
Actions, physical, verbal or mental, must be controlled and the direction for the same is considered correct if it leads to happiness. There is need to do meritorious acts from all the faculties called faith, energy, awareness, concentration and knowledge. Buddhist path suggests the path of truth consisting of morality, concentration and wisdom.
The path is considered good if it avoids self-mortifying austerities and self-deceiving in sensual pleasures. The path suggested by Lord Buddha believes in the doctrine of friend-lines and charity, of renunciation and concentration, of wisdom and compassion, of morality and purity.
The noble path consists of eight constituent’s viz. right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. His teachings are aimed to create universal love without giving any weight to divisive forces of caste or creed.
For getting true happiness, he suggested to observe the following rules of morality:
(a) Abstinence from taking life.
(b) Abstinence from theft.
(c) Abstinence from adultery.
(d) Abstinence from telling lies.
(e) Abstinence from taking intoxicating things.
(f) Abstinence from eating at the wrong hour.
(g) Abstinence from enjoying vulgar shows such as dancing, singing and instrument playing.
(h) Abstinence from using ornaments.
(i) Abstinence from sleeping on a high (luxurious) bed.
(j) Abstinence from borrowing.
(k) Abstinence from slander.
(l) Abstinence from impolite speech.
(m) Abstinence from talking senselessly.
(n) Abstinence from covetousness (greediness).
(o) Abstinence from malevolence (ill will).
(p) Abstinence from false views.
It is craving for self-enjoyment in this life and even thereafter, one leads a life of tribulation, grief, suffering, distress and despair between life and death and only by following the path suggested one can have the real bliss.
Bible has emphasised the need to develop faith in Him and this therapy does wonders to get rid of all diseases including tension. Bible is considered to be a philosophy, a system of theology, of metaphysics and of worship. It contains moral and ethical code, techniques and formulae to understand human nature.
By development of faith in Him, by infusing positive thoughts of hope, faith, courage, expectancy and by getting rid of old, dead thoughts of fear, one can tap wonderful effects that stem from one’s mind.
The secret behind tension is that human mind is literally saturated with apprehensive thoughts, defeat thoughts; gloomy thoughts etc. which ultimately become a part of the sub-conscious mind arid repeatedly the subconscious ideas reach the conscious zone and make the individual tense again and again.
If one’s mind is saturated with the ideas of faith, hope, happiness and glory, one automatically attains a tension-free life. One needs to drain out thoughts of fear and failure which lead to tension and replace the same with new dynamic faith in Him. Such faith gives peace, cleans the mind and develops determination. Spiritual faith in Him conserves the energy for clarity of thoughts and appropriate actions.
The following preachings of the Bible emphasise the need to develop unquestionable faith in Him, to attain tension-free life:
i. “If ye have faith…. nothing shall be impossible upto you”.
ii. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthen them”.
iii. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Get the truth into your mind and you will be free of such failures.”
iv. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed …. nothing shall be impossible upto you”.
v. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and He will free you”.
vi. “….don’t be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the days own trouble be sufficient for the day”
vii. Jesus says that the human beings who are weary should come to Him and lay all the burden on Him…. He will bear it. In his famous sermon on the mount. He cadis the individual to be merciful, peace loving, righteous and pure at heart.
The holy Quran advocates purification of soul and reconstructing society based on this. It denounces concept of religion, Muslims are those who keep up prayer (Salah), pay the welfare due (ZAKAT), command what is proper and forbid what is improper. In Islam all men are equal irrespective of their colour, language, race or nationality.
Teachings address to the conscience of mankind. Islam aims at establishing equilibrium between the two aspects of life viz., the material and the spiritual. It says that everything in this world is for man but man is himself for the service of higher purpose the establishment of moral and just order which fulfills the will of GOD. Its teachings cater for the spiritual as well as the temporal needs of men.
The code of life has been envisaged in the two documents called ‘Shar’ah’ in Islamic terminology:
(a) The holy book in which God has expounded His law viz. Quran and
(b) The authoritative interpretation and exemplification of the book of God as given by various prophets through their words and deeds by setting practical example in their capacity as the messenger of God and last on Mohammad (peace is upon him).
As per this if one follows the teachings of Islam, he is likely to get peace, will be away from tension. According to Islamic law man is trustee, “Khalifah” of God. All are the creations of God and a man is expected to voluntarily acknowledge this fact by maintaining loyalty and allegiance to Lord. Man should renounce his claim of supremacy to Allah.
Man or his actions and thoughts should gracefully accept that all powers and organs, rather all free will functions are gifts from Him. Independence of choice itself has been accrued to man by Him and all the things in which man’s will operates belong to him.
All those persons who surrender themselves to the will of God and community so formed are called Muslim Society. It is God and not man’s whose will is the primary source of law in the Muslim society.
Man has not been left like a ship without moorings who is supposed to be tossed about by the blow of wind and tides. As HE is all wise, all powerful and omniscient man is expected to follow His guidance to achieve his bliss. The holy Quran and prophet’s guidance cover practically all fields of life right from cradle-to grave.
A person following the guidance as provided by Him is to get Divine pleasure He gets eternal peace as he follows His will against the actions motivated by personal motives of worldly man. A man is expected to adopt an attitude which is approved by God. In Islam spiritual development is nearness to God.
The main features of Islam can be summed up as follows:
i. The sacred book reveals to man how to live life by nurturing the good. This has been termed as Marufat and has been classified under three broad categories:
(a) The mandatory.
(c) The permissible.
The sacred book reveals to man what has been prohibited i.e. the Munkarat, under two broad categories:
(a) Absolutely prohibited i.e. HARAM
(b) Those things which have been disliked and discourage
The shar’ah is a complete plan of life embracing in it social order.
ii. The main objective of the Shar’ah is to construct human life on the basis of marufat (virtues) and to cleanse it of the munkarat (vices).
iii. Besides setting standards. Islam furnishes man with the means of determining good and evil conduct.
iv. The moral code of Islam covers smallest details of domestic life as well as broad aspects of national and international behaviour. It integrates through its teachings moral virtues by prescribing their limits and utility, and assigning to them their proper place.
v. The three sanctions on the back of moral law as envisaged in Islam are:
(a) The love and fear of God
(b) The sense of accountability on the Day of Judgment
(c) The promise of external bliss and reward in life.
vi. The meaning of worship must be extended to beyond mere rituals into all activities as it regulate sill aspects of life.
Two important aspects of worship are:
(a) There should be feeling of absolute certainty and conviction in ones heart about the God i.e., Allah.
(b) A man should seek His guidance in every stir of one’s conscience, in every fluttering of the senses and in every movement of life.
vii. To do one’s duty it is not bad to remember one’s right along with duties and also not forgetting the right of others.
viii. It is not possible to oppress women, children, old people, sick persons or the wounded. Woman’s honour and chasity are worthy of respect in all circumstances.
ix. According to Islam the real spirit of marital life is love, understanding and mutual respect. The most fundamental institution of human society is the unit of family. For proper regulation of life, Islam has imposed regulations of Hijab (for Muslim woman), ban on free mixing of men and women, restrictions on filthy music and pictures. Discouragement of the spread and propagation of obscenities and aberrations.
x. Islam gives importance to neighbours. He wishes man to share one’s happiness and sorrows with neighbour, though overall one’s friendship and enmity should be for the pleasure of God only. Cold shoulders to neighbour have been looked down by Quran. As per Him a person is not true Muslim who takes his fill while his neighbour starves.
xi. Equal opportunities to every one: Islam believes in equality in respect of the opportunities for the struggle for securing a livelihood and for claiming the uppermost rung of the ladder of well-being and prosperity. The idea is to create love and affection among the people.
xii. Items which create disharmony have been discouraged.
Islamic laws categorically hold as illegal, manufacture and sale of liquor and other intoxicants, adultery, professional dancing and obscenities, gambling, speculation, races and lotteries (transactions of speculative nature, price manipulation by withholding the sale of necessities of life.)
xiii. Islamic law permits only descent life but one can’t waste one’s riches on luxurious pursuits.
“Eat and drink but don’t be extravagent” The Quran
xiv. As per Islamic laws the real place for growth, upliftment and elevation of the spirit lies in the midstream of the activity of life and not in solitary places of spiritual hibernation. Body is not a prison house for soul but its workshop or factory. It stands not for life denial but for life fulfillment.
It does not expect to avoid material things but spiritual elevation is to be achieved by living piously in the rough and tumble of life and not by renouncing the world. The prophet said: A Muslim who lives in the midst of society and bears with patience the affliction that comes to him is better than the one who shuns society and can’t bear any wrong done to him.
xv. Road to spirituality.
Three pillars of the road are as follows:
(a) Islam (Faith):
To have unreserved faith through intellect and his will, holding high in the head and heart of a man for God taking Him as the only master, sovereign and deity.
(b) Ita’at (Obedience):
It means that a man divests himself of his independence altogether and accepts subservience of God in practice after having proclaimed faith in him and his creed.
(c) Taqwa (Piety):
It consists in a practical manifestation of the faith in God in the mode of daily life. It is desisting from everything which He does not approve.
xvi. The path of spiritual development is not meant for individuals only but for the communities and nations as well.
xvii. All human beings are equal and constitute one fraternity. They will not be subjected to any racial, national or class distinctions of any kind. No one will be regarded as high or low.
xviii. Knowledge: Quran gives lot of importance to gaining more knowledge:
(a) Those who have no knowledge are not equal to those have it.
(b) “Basic qualifications for leadership among other things are knowledge and physical strength.
(c) It is by virtue of knowledge that man is superior to angles and has been made vicegerent of God on earth.
The Quran gives complete code of life not only for individual but for the society and if principles of life are properly understood and obeyed, one is likely to get eternal peace.
The mechanism of spiritual training which Islam has laid for preparing individuals and society for this purpose are as:
Three basic articles of Islamic faith are:
(a) Belief in Oneness of God
(b) Belief in the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and in the guidance which he bequeathed; and
(c) Belief in life after Death and in man’s accountability before God on Day of Judgment.
All these beliefs and concepts are epitomised in the Kalimah There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is His Prophet”
In this regard, the Qur’an says
“Those who believe and act righteously, joy is for Him and blissful home to return to”
And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said; “God does not accept belief if it is not expressed in deeds, and does not accept deeds if they do not conform to belief”.
The test of acceptance of God and His Prophet lies in conducting all human affairs in accordance with the law revealed by them.
ii. Prayer (Salah):
Which brings man into communion with God five times a day receiving His remembrance reiterating His fear, developing His love, reminding man of the Divine commands again and again? The prayer is offered in congregation which inculcates social discipline, awakens a sens of social responsibility in man, organises human rights in a society. The idea is that society as a whole prepares them for the spiritual development.
iii. Zakat (Jihad):
Islam by making it obligatory for rich to share total accumulated wealth 2½ % pa, in agriculture land depending totally on natural for water and other on irrigation respectively commands 10% & 5% of agriculture produce toward ZAKAT. By this Islam develops the sense of monetary sacrifice, sympathy and co-operation among the people. The real meaning of Zakat is sublimity and purification.
iv. Fasting (Soum):
This is observed for a full month every year which trains a man individually and the Muslim community as a whole in piety and self-restraint. It enables to have experience of the pangs of hunger to both rich and poor. It prepares the people to undergo hardships to seek the pleasure of God.
v. Hajji (Pilgrimage):
This aims at fostering universal brotherhood of the faithful as the basis of worship of God.