To go through life one needs all three.
Deha Balam (Physical Strength) :
Yoga, Walks, Exercise, Food, Rest and proper natural activities will give you Deha Balam. This helps you accomplish things on a physical plane.
(Allopathic doctors work with your body on this plane)
Mano Balam (Mental Strength)
Education, Reading, Thinking, Interacting with other minds, deha balam, Learning, feeling, learning to regulate your feelings and channel your thoughts and all proper mental activities will give you mano balam. Curiosity, questioning, imagining, a thirst for truth. This will help you accomplish things in the thoughts – mind plane.
(Psychiatrists and Psychologists work with your mind on this plane)
Atma Balam (Self-Strength – spiritual strength)
Parayanam (Chanting), Puja, Praying, Bhajans… Yagnya … and all the eight steps of Yoga.
- Yama : Control of your body
- Niyama : Regulations/Rules or principles that control your mind
- Asana : Holding a comfortable posture undisturbed for long periods
- Pranayama : Control of your breath
- Pratyahara : Turning your senses away from external stimulations, by turning your manas away from external objects. It is said the senses can either lead the manas outward or be led by the manas inward : Easy example : I can carefully listen to birds chirping, instead of other sounds if I wish, by paying close attention. So the manas can lead the senses also.
- Dharana : Concentration to your manas and indriyas (senses) on one thing
- Dhyana : Is contemplation. It is much effortless than Dharana. ( You may read Extending your senses, Meditation as a way to God)
- Samadhi : Is absorption in the One.
Each step leads easily to the others. The Army officers discipline will focus on first two or three steps. Modern Yoga Gurus will teach you 3 (asana) and 4 (pranayama) and pretend as if there is nothing else to yoga. School teachers will teach you 5 (Pratyahara) : “”Pay attention!, Don’t look out of the window/at your pencil tip etc!” . College education will teach you Dharana, focus on a single subject. Modern Gurus will start you at 6 (Dharana) and/or 7 (Dhyana) if you like and call it meditation. Who but DakshinaMurthy can teach you about Samadhi?
I can put this in easy english like this..
Become Physically Disciplined.
Practice Mental Discipline and Self-Control.
eg “I won’t tell lies”,
“I will attend to my baby’s cry”,
“I will start and finish work on time”.
” I won’t sacrifice family time to my greed/insecurity.”
Learn and practice a comfortable yogasana that you can hold for any stretch of time. The difference between a yogasana and and general sitting postures is that the latter may lead to a backache.
Practice turning your attention to things and paying attention to things.. at will.
Practice concentration on a single problem for long durations.
Maths and Physics really help with this.
By now, you know how to sit undisturbed, you are healthy in body and mind, you now how to turn your attention to things and concentrate.
NOW, you have to pay attention to “That” which is in you, “the Tat”. Your mind is free of distractions and guilt too (because you have been good!).
As you contemplate on the Divine Tat, your manas will be absorbed in That for brief durations of time initially and then for longer and longer durations of time.
What you have gained now is what I call as Atma Balam, Sankalpa Balam, Spiritual Strength or Will Power.
When you were small if you wanted to move a block you moved it yourself or cried.
Then you learned to ask politely and someone stronger helped you.
Then you acquired the power of thought and made people do your bidding by payment or force.
With Sankapla or Will, you don’t have to ask, people (and objects according to some), as well as events will follow your will. People will obey your unexpressed wishes and thoughts. Nature will reflect your moods. You will be a Yogi.
For those following the dwaita/advaita discussions on this site, Yoga or union could mean the unification of 2, mind atman or jivatman paramatman, OR the discovery that one of these two was an illusion and there was only one all the time.