Facing the Ravan within

People identify the Diwali or the Festival of Lights as a time of celebration. A victory of light over darkness. Lord Sri Ram returning to His Kingdom after defeating the evil Ravan. His path lit with lamps (diyas).

Since those ancient days, Diwali has been an occasion for celebration and reflection and a time to leave behind the non-virtuous qualities within ourselves.  Although the evil Ravan met his end at the hands of Lord Sri Ram a millennium ago, the battle of good over evil still rages on today – relocated to the battleground within ourselves. 

So now, we have to defeat the Ravan within us.  Who is this Ravan?

Whether we like to believe it or not, we all have distractions and undesirable traits within us – from familiar challenges like procrastination, addictions, and material excesses, to subtler things such as excessive time spent on social media, gossip, self-idolisation and personal obsessions. All these activities are of a lower vibration and drag our consciousness, intellect and spirit in a downward direction.

Within this backdrop, Diwali and New Year festivities should not only be a time of celebration, but also a time of reflection: to realise how we can improve ourselves as individuals and ourselves as people in society. 

Many of us have embraced the western concept of “the pursuit of happiness”.  What is happiness? If we are constantly chasing it, isn’t it just out of our reach – like the proverbial donkey chasing a carrot dangling at the end of a stick attached to its head?

If we looking for things, situations and circumstances outside of ourselves to make us happy then aren’t these very things, by their nature, fleeting and temporary? Even the people we love – our children, our spouses, family and friends change, grow, evolve or sometimes become distant from us, either geographically or emotionally. Therein lies the irony - change is the one constant in life!

Thus, realising that we cannot find true happiness through outside gratification alone, let us turn to the reality of eternal bliss within – a truth spoken about from time immemorial, by saints, sages and seers who learned it and lived it. And how shall we uncover such inner contentment, on our journey within? We have to start by recognising and facing our inner enemies – the inner Ravan.

Renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung referred to this as the “shadow self”. This is the dark side of our personality – traits such as lust, anger, greed, envy, negativity, procrastination, and so on. Although our soul - our atma - is sat-chit-ananda - ever eternal, knowledgeable and full of bliss, our ego accumulates the dark side of our personality through countless life experiences in this and many previous incarnations.

Therefore, in order to progress ourselves (our atma) towards the ultimate goal of self-realisation and reuniting with the Supreme, we need to re-discover and reconnect with our true selves – our spiritual essence – a theme which is emphasised in all Vedic, as well as other world religious literature.

We need to open up our internal Pandora’s box to face emotions and negative aspects of ourselves that we have been burying for years or lifetimes – and learn to do this without judgement, with patience, perseverance and love.

Where do we start?  The first place is to spend time with ourselves to get to know and sit with our “shadow self”. Start to shed light into the darkness.  

Just as Lord Sri Ram used brahmastra (divine weapon) against Ravan, we can use the following practices as our “weapons” against our own Ravan:

  • Meditation.  If you struggle on your own, then seek out groups who offer teachings in this area.

 

  • Chanting Mantras – These are timeless, ancient Vedic words that were channelled from the great masters.  By repeating these over and over again (a process known as japa), you start to clean your conscious and subconscious mind, ego and intellect of the Ravan qualities of yourself.

 

  • Association – being mindful of the company we keep. A famous speaker once said: “You are the average of the 5 people you associate with the most". Seek out people that inspire you, that push you to be a better person, that wish you well and lift you – and spend more time within their company, aiding one another (satsang).

 

  • Time in Nature – Spend time in the great outdoors.  We complain about the weather in England, but there are so many parks and recreational grounds that we can frequent when the weather has a respite.

 

  • Reading – Even 15-30 minutes a day, of spiritual scriptures or self-development books, can aid in our personal growth, purification and ultimately elevation.

 

  • Yoga – was developed by the ancients not just for physical benefit, but ultimately, to help us reawaken our inert spiritual nature and tendencies.

 

  • Breathing (Pranayama) Prana means life force or breath sustaining the body; Ayama translates as "to extend or draw out”. This can start to clear internal energy blocks. The ancients used breathing to draw fresh prana into the body, expel negativity, and to sharpen our mind and intellect.

 

By adopting even some of these daily practices, we can gradually defeat the Ravan within ourselves.  With consistency and perseverance as our allies, we can rewrite our own story of good over evil - where the soul triumphs over the false Ego, and reunites with our true nature, reinstating Ram Rajya within ourselves.

 

Mantra Therapy is a movement dedicated to empowering professionals from all backgrounds and walks of life to help them become the best versions of themselves – unleashing their potential, to live a healthier, more fulfilling and meaningful life. Mantra Therapy organises specially tailored Modern Satsang Events, Workshops and Wellness Retreats to beautiful, serene destinations – to bring about powerful transformations in personal, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Upcoming Events: The Mantra Therapy Wellness Day Retreat: Sunday 19th November 2017 – more details here: www.mantrawellness.eventbrite.co.uk

Find out more about Mantra Therapy at www.mantratherapy.co.uk and on Facebook Page www.facebook.com/mantratherapy.co.uk

 

Prashant Kotecha – aka Prash – is a Lifestyle Consultant, Public Speaker, Life Coach and Performing Artist. He has had a highly successful corporate career for over two decades with leading financial institutions including HSBC, Deutsche, Barclays, Santander, and Lloyds Banking Group. A talented Project and Relationship Manager by profession, Prash brings a wealth of experience in interpersonal dealings, conflict resolution, negotiation and personal development, through his work both in the UK, as well as Europe, India and the USA.

Through the cultivation of nearly two decades of spiritual pursuit, Prash founded Mantra Therapy – a successful organic, self-evolving programme of emotional and spiritual development, based on Eastern wisdom, fused with Western artistic expression. Music, Voice Coaching, Martial Arts and Functional Skills Transfer, are skills that Prash incorporates into his training and delivery style.