The Fire Within

A fortnight ago I had talked about bhutagni and kamagni, two types of fire. The third type of fire is jataragni, the fire of hunger and digestion. This is an important principle of Ayurveda. Jataragni or the fire of digestion more or less affects your health. It affects your balance.


Even before you feel hungry, if one gorges, there are more toxic substances in the body. Many people fall ill or die not because of hunger, but due to overeating. We do not allow the fire of hunger to rise within us. This is the principle of fasting. When you fast, every cell of your body comes to life. Fasting is very good because it cleanses your system.


When your head is clogged with worry, tension and unpleasant thoughts, fasting helps. The jataragni can purify your blood; it can remove the toxins from the body and make you feel much better. In Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam and in almost all the religions of the world, fasting and prayer are practised. Fasting touches the deepest samskaras in you. But there are people who simply fast without knowing much about it. Jataragni can burn one down if it is done without understanding. There are people who go to extremes, who either overeat or fast too much. Neither is good. Fasting can cleanse your system and bring balance but it should be done with modulation and guidance.


The fourth type of fire is badavagni or fire of social criticism. When people criticise you what happens? A fire awakens in your system. When you stand in front of a big crowd, your heart beats faster and you tremble. This is because of the fear of criticism and of the opinions of people.


Man is a social animal. We live in a society and we have certain rules to follow. Man cannot think he is free and that he can do whatever he wants to. When you drive on the road, you have to drive on the left side. You have to walk by the side of the road, you have to stop at red lights etc. In short, you have to follow certain codes of conduct. When you have to follow rules, the fear of being punished arises. Adhering to certain laws brings up concern over abiding to those laws. Here again if you are too concerned about criticism and what people say about you, your freedom vanishes. Your openness, your sense of centeredness and freedom will all be destroyed. Push aside this fear of criticism. It does not matter what people say; opinions change anyway.


The fifth type is fire of knowledge or love. This is called premagni or jnanagni. Love creates such a fire in you. The fire of love is so strong and all-consuming that it can lift you up from the fear of criticism. Fire of love and fire of knowledge are synonymous. Fire of love begins with an intense longing. Only in human birth can this fire be experienced. Fire of love or fire of knowledge creates an unpleasant sense of longing in the beginning, but it moves on to the blossoming of bliss.


These are the five fires present in each person from childhood.