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Soul Food

Food is more than food for thought, as the Vedas. Soul "food" is what helps growth in spirit (and soul) and nourishes the mind from inside, the Upanishads say.

Wisdom Maha is Brahman. Om (Aum) is Brahman.
By Maha all the Vedas flourish.
Maha is food.
By food all the vital breaths (pranas) flourish.
On that you should reflect.

[Taittirya Upanishad 5: 3-4; 6:2. (In Katz and Egenes 11-12; Gambhirananda 1: 246-50)]

Thus, Sanskrit maha is a word with many meanings. They include strong, great, abundant, mighty, brilliance and more. Let us say, (1) "By abundant, strong brilliance (meaning Brahman-Om) the Vedas exist and flourish. (2) Great abundance of mighty Om (influx) is great food more directly for humans, for by vital food the pranas ("vital life functions") flourish as well.

Advancing in higher yoga, we may see that radiance, brilliance, and learn to tap it as food for spirit and mind and regeneration. Development should follow; it remains to be seen. If we don't see it, despair not; there are yogis to teach methods to us. And if they do not, we may be stuck for quite a while. If we are stuck on lower levels, there is the id-system (libido system) to sort out. That can bring help. Meditation can probably help far more and better, but that depends on how good, effective and safe the methods are. All right practice of ◦Transcendental Meditation has helped many.

Freudian Theory - A Helper

Id theory Preserving oneself and one's good lot in life is very often a good, multiple aim, and had better not be overlooked and forgotten. Strict ascetism can fail, and if one forgets to develop one's inner sides, one goes amiss in another way.

Now for glimpses of basic Freudian thinking: According to Sigmund Freud, the id, the ego, and the superego interact:

  1. The id, libido (lusts, desires, is often involved in proclivities) The id can be so-called primitive. It has to do with eating, drinking, eliminating wastes, and gaining sexual pleasure - the gratification of such impulses.
  2. The Ego, or "I" leads to rational handling of much. The ego learns to consider demands of reality. It finds fit environmental conditions, and it becomes an "executive" of the sexual urges in time, if one lives long enough. The ego often mediates among the demands of the id, the realities of the world, and the demands of the superego.
  3. The superego, "above-I", "over-I" is had from parental figures, if any, or from a society at large. The Superego, is the internalised representation of morals of society as taught by strong others. The superego develops in response to parental rewards and punishments through incorporating rigid, or parental standards into itself somehow. [EB, "id", "ego", "superego"]

The ego (in the sense of rational sense or judical awareness) should take the needed steps to preserve and bulwark the id and to straighten the superego as needs be.

One could say that the Canadian Geoffrey D. Falk (2009) illustrates it in chapter 26, "... To a Nunnery"

For those interested in yoga and contemplation (meditation), this is a help:

  1. Look into scientific studies of the contemplative experience first. Physiological, psychological and social (behavioral) changes may be seen. Changes of brain-wave patterns are specially interesting. In the light of present-day research, kriya has effects, but the best method of meditation - and the most studied method - is TM, Transcendental Meditation, informs David Orme-Johnsen. [◦Link]

  2. In addition there are subjective reports. Many are positive, but seldom all of them. Postings on the SRF Walrus Board are much of this sort, and tend to furnish the least thought of kind of scholarly evidence, that is, anecdotal evidence. In other words, a handful of stories constitute no proof. There is a grave risk that such stories are one-sided, overly biased, and not representative, so this sort of evidence has to be handled with care.

  3. One express good side of study first, before committing in any serious way, is a chance to maximise the odds of welcome changes and reduce very unwelcome stuff. By this one can draw benefit.

  4. On the other hand, many participants on the now folded-in, SRF-related SRF Walrus Discussion Forum, speak of negative experiences. In a cultlike setting or a setting with many hallmarks of cults, wrong conformism might stiffle and outgrow otherwise positive, budding effects of deep meditation. The harmonising effects of decent meditation methods may be counteracted by poignant and conform strives and cults.

    Some get awfully disappointed by realising they had been fervent in a manipulative way, or that they had been given too high hopes in guru words who later show up to be rather bombastic.

  5. There are still beneficial teachings in the art of living, even cream teachings, and excellent methods. Be allied with research so as to estimate the general chances to succeed.


Id, ego, superego, Yogananda, psychoanalytic basics, Literature  

Bach, Sheldon. The How-To Book for Students of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. London: Karnak Books, 2011.

Blass, Rachel B. 2002. The Meaning of the Dream in Psychoanalysis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Falk, Geoffrey D. Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment. Toronto: Million Monkeys Press, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ In an article in Elephant Journal (27 April 2010), Ramesh Bjonnes is provoked:

"So far, I am hardly impressed with the shoddy scholarship and tendency toward sensationalism [denigrating Vivekananda undeservedly].

"What makes you a bad Swami or monk is your acting out those desires by having sexual activities with yourself, your students, or others. And Falk is unable to provide any such examples from Vivekananda's life in his book.

"Falk [seems to] have another agenda: to dig up the dirt on famous yogis. And when there is no real dirt to be found, they make it up for you. . . .

"That said, there is undoubtedly some merit to some of the cases presented in Stripping the Gurus. [A]busive teachers should be investigated . . ."

Falk did ask his readers to report possible flaws or mistakes in the book.

[Article link]

Freud, Sigmund. 1920. A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis. Tr. G. Stanley Hall. New York: Horace Liveright.

Gambhirananda, Swami, tr. Eight Upanishads. Vols 1 and 2. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1957 and 1958. ⍽▢⍽ Heavy, with good information.

Katz, Vernon, and Thomas Egenes, trs. The Upanishads: A New Translation. New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2015. ⍽▢⍽ Much recommended.

McWilliams, Nancy. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide. London: The Guilford Press, 2004. ⍽▢⍽ Good perspectives from a practitioner's angle. A chapter is on caring for one's own id, ego and superego.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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