What exactly is tapas? Does it refer to a dissolved state? I understand that the words: burn, cook are used here as metaphor but what do they actually refer to?
Tapas means endurance. Tapas is how strong are you mentally to be able to go through the ups and downs of life with a smile and a happy heart. Tapas simply means how much discipline can you endure. There are three main types of tapas:
- Tapas of speech: Not everyone’s mind is strong enough to prevent them from uttering nasty words in an explosive situation. Thus, such a person needs to learn to discipline his tongue. Willingly going through the burning of not uttering bad words even in the most volatile situations is called Tapas of speech.
- Tapas of body: Willingly and calmly being able to bear the discomfort that life brings at the physical level. For e.g. disease, old age, extreme temperatures, uncomfortable situations like sitting in a long flight, etc. This called Tapas of the body.
- Tapas of mind: Willingly going through the ups and downs of life, devoid of raaga and dvesha and cultivating a calm and happy mind in all kinds of situations with all kinds of people is Tapas of mind.
The process of this discipline itself is difficult and it burns you from within. That is why synonyms like burn, cook, and bake are used for the turmoil that your small mind creates within while not wanting to get disciplined. But when you inculcate these 3 types of Tapas in life, you come out shining like Gold!
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