Self Help.

The widest variety of books in any bookshop can be found in the “Self Help” sections. The one industry that did not suffer during the recent recession is the self help industry. In fact, it is reported to have grown faster than ever before.

What does that say about all those people who are willing to spend money to improve themselves? From what condition of existence to what? Why is there such a strident demand for such advise? Why are these people not satisfied with the status quo?

The answer is in one word. Conditioning. We must de-condition ourselves, if that is the word/phrase to use.

Uddhared ātmanātmānaḿ

nātmānam avasādayet

ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur

ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ.

Bhagwat Gita Ch VI Verse 5.

uddharet — one must deliver; ātmanā — by the mind; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; na — never; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; avasādayetput into degradation; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; hi — indeed; ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul; bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; ripuḥ — enemy; ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul.

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

Bandhur ātmātmanas tasya

yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ

anātmanas tu śatrutve

vartetātmaiva śatru-vat

Bhagwat Gita Ch VI Verse 6

bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — the mind; ātmanaḥ — of the living entity; tasya — of him; yena — by whom; ātmā — the mind; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the living entity; jitaḥ — conquered; anātmanaḥ — of one who has failed to control the mind; tu — but; śatrutve — because of enmity; varteta — remains; ātmā eva — the very mind; śatruvatas an enemy.

For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by yours truly. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Nema, Noor,Ordinary Joe, Paul,Maria the Silver Fox, Padmum , Rohit, Will knott, and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get seventeen different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmum.

The breathing apparatus that all of us are endowed with performs two functions. One it takes in oxygen and throws out carbon di oxide; and the other is that it gives us the ability to smell things. The former is our main line life support and the latter a sensory organ to enhance our lives.

I would prefer that I restrict myself to talk about the latter as there is little that I can talk about the former.

Earlier this week, I had posted about the mogra flowering in our garden. Just breathing normally in the morning, I found that the scent can be overwhelming. Mogra in garland form is often worn by Indian woman as adornment on their heads.

I believe that this was the old way of using the scent of the flowers as deodorant!

I had also written about Curry Wars. while the former was about something pleasant, the latter was about people’s willingness to go to war over unfamiliar odours from others kitchens.

Let me take two more of the latter category to explain how we have been brain washed into liking or disliking odours. This is a peculiar human trait not seen other creatures.

Bad Breath, or Halitosis, is the most off-putting problem one can come across in situations where one is in close proximity with someone else with that problem. It is also the most embarrassing message to convey to someone with the problem by someone else about it. As a sales manager, I have had to carry out that unpleasant task with a few salesmen.

On that score as well as on being at the receiving end of Body Odour, my breathing, and I am sure other people and more importantly customers breathing would be assaulted and that could be disastrous for salesmen.

I was not an expert on the problem, and would ask them to go to the company doctor to get proper advise and would arrange to pay for the treatment. I was not a martinet but this was just one of those things that helped salesmen become better at their jobs. Eventually, they would appreciate what was done for them and hopefully they spread the word.

Here are the two cases where one taking in the breath has to suffer discomfort from someone else’s problem with bad breath and an inability to identify his own body odour by perhaps defective breathing or may be by just indifference.

Or is it our conditioning that we have become like that? Surely, our ancestors without access to tooth brushes, tooth paste, mouth washes, deodorants and medical advise, led comfortable social lives? Did they find Bad Breath and Body Odour offensive? I have not come across any indication that they did.

Just some rather odd thoughts on breath(ing).