According to the timeless Vedic wisdom there are specific things we can do to support our close ones when they are going through tough times.
Ups and downs are a part of life, and we inevitably go through difficult times at some point in life. Life can throw innumerable challenges at us, and when it does, for sure it isn’t easy.
Yet, through these hardships we touch upon what it is to be a human. Our friends or family come by our side and help us through the dark days. We move through an array of intense emotions, and are eventually healed by time itself.
Sometimes, we are that person who supports a friend or family member as they go through their own trying times. We stand by their side, and give what we can to help them get back on their feet and progress in their journey of healing.
Here are 5 Vedic ways we can support our loved ones when they need us:
1. Chant Om Namah Shivaya
Chanting the mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, either out loud or mentally, promotes overall wellbeing, protection and peace, so it is very beneficial to chant it when times are tough. You can sit together with your friend or family member who is going through a hard time, and chant it 108 times.
Aum, or Om, is the primordial sound of the universe, meaning love and peace, and the further syllables in this mantra each represent one of the five elements; earth (Na), water (Ma), fire (Shi), air (Va), space (Ya).
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explains that we can save ourselves from the ill effects of planetary movements through the zodiac by chanting this mantra 108 times. Astrologically, there are 9 planets moving through 12 signs, so there are 108 different effects that we may experience in our lives. Chanting Om Namah Shivaya 108 times protects us from these effects.
Shiva is not a person, it is the all-pervading divine consciousness that permeates the entire universe. It is that which is transcendental, innocent and beautiful. Chanting Om Namah Shivaya together with your loved one will help them, and you, to relax, remove negative energy and release stress.
2. Check for Saturn's Influence and Perform Remedies
People fear Lord Shani (Saturn) as he is known for being just and strict when it comes to giving you the fruits of your past life karmas. If your loved one’s challenges are the result of the influence of Saturn, then there are specific rituals that they can do. You can use the Cosmic Insights app to check if they are running a Dasha (major planetary period) or Antar Dasha (Sub period) of Saturn, or if they happen to be under the influence of periods such as Sade Sati, Ashtama Shani or Kantaka Shani.
If this is the case then encourage them to light a sesame oil lamp everyday in the morning with devotion and sincere attention. The lamp can face east from west, or west from east. Avoid lighting a lamp that faces south.
All of nature, including the foods of the earth, have planetary associations. Sesame is connected to the planet Saturn. That is why lighting a lamp with sesame oil can help manage the negative effects of Saturn and create a more harmonious energy.
You can also gift your loved one the book, ‘The Greatness of Saturn.’ Taken from the East Indian Vedic tradition, this is a therapeutic myth that honors the planet Saturn, and has been told and retold through the centuries.
3. Pick Up the Phone and Chant the Primordial Sound Om
Particularly in the age of social media and speedy messaging, it’s tempting to send our condolences or well-wishes in a quick digital message. And while this is always bound to be appreciated, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of picking up the phone and giving someone a call. Although it can be hard to know what to say to someone who’s going through a hard time, it’s always worth making the effort, and they can choose when they are ready to pick up the call.
Whether in person or on the phone, when you speak with them, avoid gossip or negative talk. Sometimes it’s best to speak less, and simply be present for them, allowing them to share their struggles or grief. Being a listening ear allows someone to get issues off their chest, and can help them feel lighter. As much as possible, guide them towards spiritual knowledge, which will help them to look inwards and see life from a bigger picture. As the spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “a good friend is one who in the time of turbulence encourages you to be on the spiritual path.”
A great thing you can do together on the phone is to chant the sacred sound, ‘Om’. You may be familiar with this sound, either from scriptural knowledge or from a yoga class, but have you ever truly tapped into its power?
Om, or Aum, is the primordial sound of the Universe, and therefore it is ever present. The sound is so important that the great saint Adi Shankara said if you can only study one of the Upanishads then it should be the Mandukya Upanishad – an ancient text which is devoted almost entirely to the sound Om.
When on the phone with your loved one, or sitting with them in person, together take a deep breath in, and on the exhale chant the sound AAA-UOO-MMM out loud and then remain with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. When you open your eyes, notice how the chanting of this sacred sound changes the energy in the room, and creates space in your mind. To chant the sound Om is to connect with a primordial vibration.
4. Send a Healing Blessing
The ancient scripture, Yoga Vashista, alludes to the universe as a vibration of consciousness in space. Modern scientists, too, say that everything in our universe is vibrating and in a state of constant motion. Words, thoughts and intention all carry a certain vibration, which have an impact on our experience. This is why giving a ‘blessing’ has been given great significance in cultures all over the world, and particularly in India.
Maybe you have experienced feeling uplifted, both physically and mentally, when you get a hug from a caring friend or family member, as if some of their good vibes have transferred to you. Often when giving a healing or a blessing, the ‘blesser’ channels their energy and puts their hand on the head of the person they are blessing. It is in our hands in particular where we find many nerve endings through which an energy transfer can take place.
So when a loved one is going through a challenging time, you can pray for them, give them a blessing or send them healing thoughts, in a way that connects with you. You may have a specific ritual of your own for how to do this, but a simple way is to bring them to your mind and consciously send them loving energy.
5. Check Their Golden Moments
When your friends or family members are going through a hard time, wouldn’t it be useful for them to know that there are certain moments in their day that the universe is on their side? And that those are their power moments to go out into the world, do the things that need doing, and shine?
When things are tough, our responsibilities don’t just stop – life needs to go on. If your friend is struggling with their personal challenges then why not send them the times of their Golden Moments every day. In this way you can give them the encouragement they may need, and they can ensure that the times they choose to stand up, be like a lion and face the world are also the times that the universe has their back.