I previously said one of my favorite sanskrit words is sattva which equates to peace, calm and tranquility. On the flip side, one of my other favorite sanskrit words is pranjnaparadha. A mouthful yes, and what it stands for is just as loaded as it sounds. Pranjnaparadha is one of the three main causes of disease according to Ayurveda and what it stands for is “misuse of the intellect.” To translate pranjnaparadha is a word that sums up a struggle many of us go through on a daily – or even hourly or minutely basis. Every time we say or think “I know I shouldn’t eat this BUT…I know I should go to the gym BUT…I know this job is bad for me BUT…” Whatever the activity may be, when we continue to do it even though we know it may not be the best thing for us – that is pranjnaparadha.
What I find most fascinating about pranjnaparadha is that having knowledge about whether something is good or bad doesn’t stop the behavior – that is the misuse. But the reason why I am bringing it to your attention is because I think starting by just being AWARE of the fact that we are misusing our intellect can help get us back on track.
At the end of the day none of us are perfect – and never will be. And we all struggle with certain things more than others. For me, as an example, exercise is a healthy activity that comes easily to me. I enjoy it and while I fall off the bandwagon sometimes, in general it is something I should be doing that I enjoy doing so having it as part of my life is not a struggle. Wine on the other hand is a vice of mine. I know I should drink less than I do, BUT I enjoy it and stand by my belief it is a natural substance and everything can be had in moderation. At the same time, every time I have a glass, I feel a little pranjnaparadha sneak in….BUT I do it anyway. However, I am AWARE of this dialogue…and to me that makes all the difference. I am making a conscious choice – not an unconscious one. And being healthy and balanced isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being aware of the choices you make and the impact.
So tell me, what vice is your pranjnaparadha and how do you deal with it?