Veneration of the Gods, Dwija – the twice born, teachers and the wise erudite, practising purity (of thoughts), nobility in attitudes (and behaviours, such as simplicity and humbleness), celibacy, non-violence (by heart, mind, body and speech) – these are Satwik austerities of the body.
Dwija are people who are born twice:
1. Biologically by parents,
2. Spiritually by the teachers.
Spirituality in beings is actuated as they seek knowledge of Purusha and Prakriti and subsequent effects on worldly life. Learning this, one grows from adolescence to more mature being and is said to have taken new birth by spirituality. Hence, the word Dwija.
Speech that does not provoke, is truthful, cheering and benevolent, practised through self-application (applying the language on self) such practice is austerity by speech.
It is said in Manu Smriti: “Satyam Api PriyamBruyat, Na Bruyat Satyam Apriyam” that is, “One should speak truth which is pleasant and does not provoke; one should not speak the truth that is unpleasant”.
Acharya Sri Om Shankar ji once cited a situation. A criminal wanted to kill an honest person, who was running away to save his life. The honest man comes and hides in front of you and the criminal comes and asks if you had seen that man. What will you do? Here the responder has individual moral duty to speak the truth; however, he also has a duty towards society and humankind. Obviously, such truths that favour Sinners and promote Adharma in society are not to be told. The sixth sense inside us, the Kayastha alarms and indicate such directives, without going in details. The man said, ‘No I have not seen’, thereby saving a life from a criminal, Dharma prevails. A truth that is heart breaking or disturbing may be told with diplomacy and sobriety. Yet again, a truth that can excite people need not be told upfront and directly. Depending on contexts, truths need to be revealed in regulated manner. Constructive criticism comes under this category. Direct challenging does not work, but advisory and opining with objective justification may. Enemies often use these tactics to psychologically excite you to do something wrong and then take advantage of it. Conscious control is needed. Such knowledge comes naturally to people, due to Purusha’s element hidden inside them. Road rage, intolerant attitude of people and their foul language result into unnecessary controversies. One should always be cautious of what one is speaking and practice emotional maturity and diplomacy. This is austerity of speech. Not so easy, but practice makes one better, if not perfect. For satwik souls, the innate character and thought process helps and austerity in speech emanates from within, naturally. Hence try to develop satwik soul, that offers several similar benefits naturally.
Pleasing etiquettes, congenial demeanours, non-critical of others, quietly self-controlled (purifying thoughts constantly, replacing negative by positive thoughts), without malice to anyone – this is called austerity by mind and thoughts.
Such introspections and practices help us develop positive thoughts and attitude, purity and serenity of mind, straight-headedness and congeniality. Often a little malice in others against us is squared off by our positive attitude reflected through congenial demeanours and pleasing language. On the other hand reactionary attitudes multiply acrimony. What we think, we speak. What we speak we do, what we do, further fosters our thoughts. Unable to tamp down one’s negative thoughts, and retrospect causality this turns into a vicious circle. When we cultivate malice against people, it is reflected in our speech and behaviours. This diminishes our spiritual persona and energy. The same applies for families, communities and societies, where such practices proliferate. Families are destroyed, communities collapse, and societies get caught in mass unrest. Anxiety and fear prevails all over, thanks to mindless thoughts and speech led by tamas. Few in control of situation, if having intellect in satwa save the people in such families, society and country. This is when the great reformists and avatars are revered.