Our 6 Senses (Endryias) and a Personal Reflection on Kritajnata

Spring Greetings, Yogis!!    

Last month in our April Teaching, we were reflecting upon the many gifts with which we have been blessed during this lifetime.  I promised a personal story this month.  And so, here goes…
Most yogis are aware of the endriyas. These are the ten senses which help not only to keep us safe in our surroundings, but also serve to help us to learn about our world and all that is in it. The endriyas enable us to see, hear, taste, smell and feel.  As well, they enable us to speak, to move, to grasp, to eliminate and to reproduce.
The endriyas are divided into two categories – those which enable us to interact with the rich internal world inside us – they import knowledge. These are called the Jnanendryias.
The second category – Karmendriyas – enable us to export our thoughts, and actions and to move outwardly – to interact with the external world. They enable us to communicate with others and to fulfill our life’s work while we are here in this lifetime.

Here is a concise graph which will help to clarify:

Very soon after we come into this life the Jnanendriyas kick in. It is said that the sense of hearing is first to come in, and the last to leave…hence, admonitions against speaking ill of those in coma, or on their deathbed!  The sense of touch is said to be so well informed at birth, that an infant, when deprived of cuddling, will not thrive. The ability to see is refined after a few weeks, as are the senses of taste and smell.
How blase we become! How complacent we are about these most splendid gifts! Perhaps, pause now to reflect now on the last thing that you truly smelled, tasted, touched, heard or saw – with your whole heart. Even when we are ‘in the mud’ as referenced by last month’s teaching, we still are blessed!
How truly blessed I was became very evident about 3 years ago.  At that time, due to a chronic, unrelenting, and utterly miserable condition of sinusitis accompanied by polyps (small growths inside the sinus cavities), I lost both the sense of taste and that of smell.  Prior to that time, I truly enjoyed cooking, and of course eating!....but since then, these activities had become a real effort. (Interestingly, I chose food by its colour, by its texture – the feel of the food in my mouth - and by the memory of the taste.  Truly interesting.) In spite of many many medications, specialists’ appointments, natural therapies, even surgery, everything remained as it was.  No smell.  No taste.  More importantly, I was told by all in the medical profession that there was an almost zero chance of recovery. There was no hope. (Heads shaking side to side!)  No.
However, being born an Aries, and by nature a stubborn, ankle-biting, driven person (!), I continued to search and most importantly, to hope, for something – anything - that would bring me back to full health.
This past January, after an especially bad episode of sinusitis, asthma and pneumonia – and a couple of trips to Emerg - two things happened which literally changed my life. I don’t know which it was…perhaps you can decide. I saw a new doctor who prescribed one of the medications that I was already taking - but in a different method of transport...and I spoke with a healer – long distance – over the phone – in California. A few days after these two events, I was in my kitchen placing ginger cookies on a platter ready to serve to the family, when I stopped short in my tracks…I THOUGHT I had smelled ginger! And I did! Since then, I am positively overjoyed at being able to both smell …. And taste! In fact, I would have to say that I am smelling and tasting things I have never really smelled or tasted before! I would have to say that I have been twice blessed.  
A miracle? Maybe. Or just a very inventive doctor. Or both. Possibly a miracle!? I don’t suppose I will ever really know for sure.
To say that I am grateful is to say the very least.  
Yogis… the message here is…..SAVOUR what you have.  And never give up HOPING for what you would like to have!