The Yahoo! Groups Product Blog
- Members: 1847
- Category: Meditation
- Founded: Feb 3, 2001
- Language: English
Yahoo! Groups Tips
Did you know...
Hear how Yahoo! Groups has changed the lives of others. Take me there.
Show Message Summaries
Sort by Date
10-YEAR MAHASAMADHI CELEBRATION OF SWAMI RAMA
Himalayan Institute Hospital
November 10-13, 2006
Swami Rama left the body on November 13, 1996 in his apartment at the
Himalayan Institute Hospital of India, which he founded in 1989. A
special celebration of the 10-year "mahasamadhi" of Swami Rama will be
held November 10-13, 2006 at the Hospital. See the HIHT site for
hospital info and the Commemorative page for schedules.
Commemorative page of schedules:
The Yogi should understand two symbols: the lotus, which grows in water
though its petals remain untouched by the water; and the sun, which
shines eternally and equally for all yet remains far above and far
away, unaffected by the changes occurring in the world. These are
symbols of the Yoga of equanimity, which leads one to perfection.
ART: THE EXPRESSION OF DIVINITY
Divine Life Society
ALL beings however low in evolution, all actions however trivial in
their nature, all things however lifeless they may appear to be, bear
the stamp of the light of the Eternal; the principle of the Beautiful
is dancing in them all; the splendour of the Truth is shining equally
in all creation—in the man toiling in the field, in the birds of the
air, in the beasts of the forest, in the blossoms of the garden, in
the waves of the sea. There is only one Law of Life that is pulsating
in the veins of the contents of the entire universe. Glory to the
Everyone in this beautiful creation is a piece of art; all that we
see is but the manifestation of His art. We are His art, vivifying
His might, reflecting His beauty and expressing His grandeur. Every
man has the eyes of the painter and the poet; every heart has a
dormant feeling for beauty and for the awareness of perfection. Every
speck of space is rich with the inexhaustible abundance of goodness,
of godliness, of beauty. One has to widen one's consciousness and
deepen one's spirit to be able to develop the vision of all spirit
shining in and through matter, all reality revealing itself in and
through the unreal. To escape from this world of limitations (while
yet being on earth) into the boundless world of Freedom and Beauty,
Power and Brilliance, is the purpose of our existence.
For the one who has eyes to see, all is goodness, all is sweetness,
everything is beautiful, everything is graceful; whatever he
perceives is homogeneous and harmonious. Children of Light! Behold
the brilliance of the diamond in the darkest coal mine; look at the
lustre of the eyes in the ugliest face; smell the fragrance of the
lotus in the stinking pond; feel the omnipresence of your life in the
lowliest creature revelling in filth; discover the greatness of the
genius in the humblest family grovelling in poverty. To one with
insight, whatever is met with will be seen to be the master-touch of
the Divine Painter, of the Master-Artist, who expresses himself in
such infinite and ineffable beauty.
Art is not for the fleeting pleasures of the human creature nor a
solace to the sorrow-stricken heart nor yet for mere aesthetic
enjoyment; it is more than all these—it is a systematic and
scientific living in Absolute Beauty, in Infinite Harmony, in Perfect
Peace, in Eternal Joy. Art is a kingdom of intense feeling, a feeling
in which one is aware of the one undivided Divine Essence of
Existence. Art is majestic and mystic, idealistic and symbolic,
supernatural and transcendental, an expression of the Unseen in and
through the seen.
That art blossoms into perfection which is free from all sense
desires and physical interests. In the name of art one should not
fetter oneself in the prison of professionalism and sensualism. The
artist should be moved by the beauty of Truth; and his art should be
progressively creative and spiritually suggestive; it should be a
revelation of his moments of inspired vision and of total self
surrender. In his creative moods the artist should soar high—high
into the skies of luminous imagination and of glorious existence,
wholly oblivious of all mundane madness. Purified in heart, one
should wave the magic wand of art at whose touch everything is
converted into the beauty of the Beyond.
Let the drawing rooms be filled with the vibrations of the highest
spiritual ideals which pour into us the power and beauty of a new
life of joy and peace. Let the wielder of the brush be free from all
stuff of pride and selfishness and from all that is related to the
sense-world, so that the Divine may fill him with His Will to paint
the pictures that breathe healing power and soothing balm into all
onlookers through their eyes, so that they may be relieved of their
illness of mind and sickness of heart. Let your art be a lamp of
deathless beauty, shining with an effulgence dispelling the darkness
of the soul that sings the sorrowful songs of the world.
An art that panders to the lower appetites of men, that does not aim
at discovering the meaning of life, that does not awaken the
spiritual consciousness in the human heart, is soulless and,
therefore, unsalutory in its effects and malefic in its influence.
The test of true art is implied in its profoundest suggestions. True
art should embody the best of the genius of the artist, the finest in
him, and awe one into a subtler plane of refinement and thrill; all
art that falls short of this great purpose is profane and perishable.
In your meditation today....
May your body be still and comfortable....
May your head, neck and trunk be aligned....
May your breath be smooth, slow, serene, and with no pauses....
May the flow of thoughts in your mind not disturb you....
May your meditation today bring you peace, happiness and bliss....
In loving service,
CREST JEWEL OF DISCRIMINATION (Vivekachudamani)
By Adi Sankaracharya, 788-820 CE,
Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkattaranslation
THE NATURE OF A SAGE WHO KNOWS THE SELF
The knower of the Atman, who wears no outward mark and is unattached
to external things, rests on this body without identification, and
experiences all sorts of sense-objects as they come, through others'
wish, like a child.
Established in the ethereal plane of Absolute Knowledge, he wanders
in the world, sometimes like a madman, sometimes like a child and at
other times like a ghoul, having no other clothes on his person
except the quarters, or sometimes wearing clothes, or perhaps skins
at other times.
The sage, living alone, enjoys the sense-objects, being the very
embodiment of desirelessness – always satisfied with his own Self,
and himself present at the All.
Sometimes a fool, sometimes a sage, sometimes possessed of regal
splendour; sometimes wandering, sometimes behaving like a motionless
python, sometimes wearing a benignant expression; sometimes honoured,
sometimes insulted, sometimes unknown – thus lives the man of
realisation, ever happy with Supreme Bliss.
Though without riches, yet ever content; though helpless, yet very
powerful, though not enjoying the sense-objects, yet eternally
satisfied; though without an exemplar, yet looking upon all with an
eye of equality.
Though doing, yet inactive; though experiencing fruits of past
actions, yet untouched by them; though possessed of a body, yet
without identification with it; though limited, yet omnipresent is he.
Neither pleasure nor pain, nor good nor evil, ever touches this
knower of Brahman, who always lives without the body-idea.
Pleasure or pain, or good or evil, affects only him who has
connections with the gross body etc., and identifies himself with
these. How can good or evil, or their effects, touch the sage who has
identified himself with the Reality and thereby shattered his bondage?
From: Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita
By Swami Rama
DISCIPLINE AND ACTION
REASON AND NON-ATTACHMENT
Skilled action is the gift of a disciplined mind, and non-attachment
is the gift of buddhi yoga, the yoga of pure reason.
Skilled and disciplined action and non-attachment are separated here
only to enable one to understand the importance of developing both,
but actually the two qualities go hand in hand.
Disciplined action is definitely superior to inept and harmful
action. This is clear when we examine the fruits of each. Although
disciplined action brings positive results, one is still not free
because those results prompt him to do more actions.
It is not possible through disciplined action alone for one to come
out of the whirlpool created by his actions and the fruits he
receives from those actions. Only when disciplined action is combined
with non-attachment is one free from the bondage of his actions.
CONVERSATION ON RELIGION, MYSTICISM AND YOGA
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
This recording is a podcast by Ron Frazer who I have come to know quite
well through an interfaith group in Florida, as well as private
conversations. Ron is of the Bahai faith and asked me if he could have
some of my comments on religion, mysticism and yoga. He also has kindly
allowed me to copy his podcast here for you. I hope you find the
conversation enjoyable and insightful.
From web page:
Endless loop audio:
PURNA: THE FULL, INFINITE, WHOLE, COMPLETE
The Isha Upanishad starts with the famous and insightful verse:
Om shanti, shanti, shanti
There are many translations and commentaries on this verse, each of
which adds a different slant on the vast meaning. In some sense, a
complete explanation of the nature of Reality and the entire wisdom
of the path of Self-Realization is contained in this short summary.
Here are seven translations:
That is infinite, this is infinite;
From That infinite this infinite comes.
From That infinite, this infinite removed or added;
Infinite remains infinite.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
That is full; this is full.
This fullness has been projected from that fullness.
When this fullness merges in that fullness,
all that remains is fullness.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
Completeness is that, completeness is this,
from completeness, completeness comes forth.
Completeness from completeness taken away,
completeness to completeness added,
completeness alone remains.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
Brahman is limitless, infinite number
of universes come out
and go into the infinite Brahman,
Brahman remains unchanged.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
That is the whole, this is the whole;
from the whole, the whole becomes manifest;
taking away the whole from the whole,
the whole remains.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
That is the absolute, this is the absolute;
from the absolute, the absolute becomes manifest;
when the absolute is added to or taken away from the absolute,
the absolute remains.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
That is reality, this is reality;
from the reality, the reality becomes manifest;
adding or subtracting reality from reality,
only reality remains.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
I DON'T HAVE TIME
Modern man has a problem.
He always complains about time.
I don't have time.
You don't need so much time.
You have time to go to bathroom for your ablutions.
You have time to eat.
You have time to gossip.
You have time to talk.
You have time to cry, laugh, and do many things.
How come you don't have time to sit in meditation?
It's a dire necessity.
TWENTY FOUR GURUS OF DATTATREYA
From the Srimad Bhagavatam
Once King Yadu saw Lord Dattatreya (Avadhoot) in a forest and
addressed him "Sir, you are indeed quite capable, energetic and wise.
Such as you are, why do you live in the forest, free from all
desires? Even though you have neither kith and kin nor even a family,
how could you be so blissful and self-contented?"
The Avadhoot (one who has shaken off all worldly desires)
replied, "My bliss and contentment are the fruits of self-
realization. I have gained the necessary wisdom from the whole
creation, through 24 Gurus. I shall elaborate the same for you".
Shri Dattatreya had twenty-four teachers from nature "many are my
preceptors," he told King Yadu, "selected by my keen sense, from whom
acquiring wisdom freely, I wander in the world…. The earth,
air/breeze, sky, fire, the sun, pigeon, python, sea, moth, elephant,
ant, fish, Pingala the courtesan, arrow-maker, infant/playful boy,
the moon, honeybee, deer, bird of prey, maiden, serpent, spider,
caterpillar and water are my twenty four preceptors.
1. EARTH: All creatures, in accordance with their previous store of
karma (action) assume different physical forms and live on earth.
People plough, dig and tread the earth. They light fires on it.
Still, the earth does not swerve from its course even by a hair's
breadth. On the other hand, it feeds and houses all creatures. Seeing
this, I learned that the wise one should never swerve from his vow of
patience, love and righteousness under any circumstances and one
should dedicate his life for the welfare of living beings. The earth
along with its mountains and rivers is my first guru.
2. AIR: I observed that air is pure and odorless in itself. And it
blows on both sweet and foul-smelling things without any
discrimination or preference. Though it momentarily seems to take on
the smell of its surroundings, in a short while, it reveals its
pristine quality. From this I learned that a spiritual aspirant
should live in the world, unaffected by the dualities of life like
joy and sorrow and by the objects of the senses. He should keep his
heart's feeling and his speech unpolluted by vain objects. As I have
learned all this by observing it, air is my second guru.
3. SKY: The soul is also like the sky, which is omnipresent. I have
noticed that sometimes the sky (or space) gets thickly overcast, or
filled with dust or smoke. At sunrise and during night, it apparently
takes on different colors. But in fact, it ever retains its colorless
self, and it is never touched or stained by any thing. From this I
learned that a true sage should remain ever pure like the sky or
space, untouched or unaffected by anything in the phenomenal universe
in time, including his own physical processes. His inner being is
totally free from emotional reaction to things and events even like
the space. Thus I accepted the sky or space as my third guru.
4. FIRE: My fourth teacher is the element of fire. Sometimes, it
manifests itself as blazing flames; sometimes as smoldering embers,
covered by ash. But it is always present in all objects as latent
heat. The god of fire accepts the offering of everyone, irrespective
of his moral worth and burns down his sins; and it still remains the
ever-pure divinity as the fire-god; he is untainted by the sins of
such devotees. So too, a sage of perfect realization should accept
food of everyone, burn down his sins and bless the giver. Though fire
has no specific form of its own, when it is associated with fuel that
burns, it assumes such apparent forms. So too, the true Self, though
formless in itself, appears in the forms of deities, human beings,
animals and trees when it is associated with the respective physical
structures. The source of all forms in the universe, as also their
end, remains ever mysterious. All the things are manifest only in
between their origin and their end. Their source and end is the true
Self, which is eternal, unchanging, unmanifest and omnipresent. The
nature of the element of fire is such. The manifest fire transforms
the various things it consumes into the same ash. So too, the wisdom
of self-realization rejects the manifest forms and properties of
things as illusion and realizes their one original essence as itself.
Thus the element of fire is my fourth guru.
5. SUN: My fifth guru is sun. Though the sun we see in our daily life
is one, it appears as many when reflected by water in different
vessels. Similarly, the one real Self manifests itself as many selves
of living creatures when reflected by their physical structures. As
Sun illuminates the many forms in nature to our visions, the sage too
illuminates the true nature of all things to his devotees.
6. PIGEON: I have gained wisdom from a pigeon too. Once a pair of
pigeons lived together on a tree. They bred their young and were
bringing them up with deep affection and love. One day, a hunter
caught the young fledglings in a snare. The ladybird, which returned
from the forest with food for its young ones, saw their plight and,
unable to leave them, she leapt in the snare to share their fate.
Shortly after, the male pigeon turned up and, unable to bear the
separation from its sweetheart, it too jumped in the snare and met
its end. Reflecting on this, I realized how, even after being born as
an intelligent human being, man is caught in the coils of
possessiveness and brings about his own spiritual destruction. The
self, which is originally free, when associated with the body sense,
gets identified with it, and thus gets caught in the endless cycle of
birth, death and misery. Thus the pigeon was my sixth guru.
7. PYTHON: The python is a sluggard, unwilling to move out briskly
for its prey. It lies in its lurch and devours whatever creature it
comes across, be it sufficient to appease its hunger. From this I
learnt that the man in search of wisdom should refrain from running
after pleasures, and accept whatever he gets spontaneously with
contentment. Like the python, he should shake off sleep and
wakefulness and abide in a state of incessant meditation on the Self.
Thus the python was my seventh teacher of wisdom.
8. SEA: Contemplating the marvelous nature of the ocean, I have
gained much wisdom. Any number of overflowing rivers may join it, yet
the sea maintains its level. Nor does its level fall even by a hair's
breadth in summer, when all the rivers dry up. So too, the joys of
life do not elate the sage of wisdom, nor do its sorrows depress him.
Just as the sea never crosses its threshold on the beach, the wise
one never transgresses the highest standards of morality under the
pull of passions. Like the sea, he is unconquerable and cannot be
troubled by anything. Like the unfathomable ocean, his true nature
and the depths of his wisdom cannot be easily comprehended by anyone.
The ocean, which has taught me thus, is my eighth guru.
9. MOTH: I often observed that the moth (or, more precisely, a
grasshopper) is tempted by fire to jump in it and get burnt down. So
too, the unthinking man is enticed by the illusory pleasures of the
senses and thus gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth and
death. On the other hand, the wise one, when he catches even a
glimpse of the fire of wisdom, leaves everything aside, leaps in it
and burns down the illusion of being a limited self. Thus the moth
was my ninth guru.
10. ELEPHANT: The elephant was my tenth guru. The human beings raise
a stuffed cow-elephant in the forest. The wild tusker mistakes it for
a mate, approaches it and then skillfully bound in fetters by the
cunning human beings. So too, the unregenerate man is tempted by the
opposite sex and gets bound by the fetters of infatuation. The
seekers after liberation should learn to be free from lust. The
elephant was thus one of my teachers.
11. ANT: The ant stores up lots of food materials which it neither
eats nor gives away in charity to any other creature. In consequence,
other more powerful creatures are tempted to plunder the ants. So
too, the man who lays by treasures of merely material things becomes
a victim of robbery and murder. But the ant has something positive to
teach us, too. It is a tireless worker and is never discouraged by
any number of obstacles and setbacks in its efforts to gather its
treasure. So too, a seeker after wisdom should be tireless in his
efforts for Self-Realization. This noble truth has the little ant
taught me and became my eleventh guru.
12. FISH: The fish greedily swallows bait and is at once caught by
the angle-hook. From this, I realized how man meets his destruction
by his craving for delicious food. When the palate is conquered, all
else is conquered. Besides, there is a positive feature in the fish.
It never leaves its home, i.e. water. So too, man should never loose
sight of his true Self, but should ever have his being in it. Thus
the fish became my twelfth guru.
13. PINGALA: The thirteenth guru that has awakened my spirit is a
prostitute named Pingala. One day, she eagerly awaited a particular
client in the hope that he would pay her amply. She waited and waited
till late in the night. When he did not turn up, she was at last
disillusioned and reflected thus: "Alas! How stupid I am! Neglecting
the divine spirit within, who is of the nature of bliss eternal, I
foolishly awaited a debauchee (sensualist) who inspires my lust and
greed. Henceforth, I shall expend myself on the Self, unite with Him
and win eternal joy. Through such repentance, she attained
blessedness. Besides, reflecting on its obvious purport, I also
realized that a spiritual aspirant should likewise reject the lure of
lesser spiritual powers, which are mere by-products of sadhana
(spiritual practice). I learned that the temptation to secure things
from other's hands are the seeds of misery; that renunciation of
these is the sole means of realizing infinite joy.
14. ARROW-MAKER: Once I observed an arrow-maker who was totally
absorbed in molding a sharp arrow. He grew so oblivious of all else
that he did not even notice a royal pageant that passed by. This
sight awakened me to the truth that such single-minded, all-absorbing
contemplation of the Self spontaneously eliminates all temptation for
the trivial interests of the world. It is the sole secret of success
in spiritual discipline. Thus the arrow-maker is my fourteenth guru.
15. PLAYFUL BOY: Little boys and girls know neither honor nor
dishonor. They do not nurse a grudge or a prejudice against anyone.
They do not know what is their own, or what belongs to others. Their
happiness springs from their own selves, their innate creativity and
they do not need any external objects or conditions to be happy. I
realized that the sage of perfect enlightenment is also such. A
playful boy thus happened to be my fifteenth guru.
16. MOON: Of all things in nature, the moon is unique. It appears to
wax and wane during the bright and dark fortnights. In fact, the
lunar globe ever remains the same. In this, it is like the self of
the man. While a man appears to pass through the stages of infancy,
boyhood, youth, maturity and old age, his real self remains
unchanged. All changes pertain only to body and not to the self.
Again, the moon only reflects the light of the sun, but has no such
of its own. So too, the soul or mind of man is only a reflection of
the light of awareness of the real Self. Having taught this truth,
the moon became my sixteenth guru.
17. HONEYBEE: Honeybee wanders from flower to flower and, without
hurting them in the least, draws honey. So too, a spiritual seeker
should study all the Holy Scriptures but retain in his heart, only
that which is essential for his spiritual practice. Such is the teaching I
imbibed from my seventeenth guru, the honeybee.
18. DEER: It is said that deers are very fond of music and that
poachers employ it to lure them before hunting them. From this, I
learned that passions and sensual desires will soon bog down a
spiritual aspirant who has a weakness for merely secular music, till
he ultimately loses whatever spiritual progress he has achieved
earlier. The deer that taught me this truth is my eighteenth guru.
19. BIRD OF PREY: A bird of prey is my nineteenth guru. One day, I
saw one such carrying away a dead rat. Many other birds like crows
and eagles attacked it, now kicking on its head and again pecking on
its sides in their endeavor to knock off the prey. The poor bird was
thus very much pestered. At last, it wisely let its prey fall and all
the other birds rushed after it. Thus freeing itself from so much
botheration, it sighed in relief. From this, I learned that a man who
runs after worldly pleasures will soon come into clash with his
fellow-beings who too run for the same, and has to face much strife
and antagonism. If he learns to conquer his craving for worldly
things, he can spare himself much unhappiness. I realized that this
is the only way to the peace in the world.
20. MAIDEN: Once, I observed a family visit a maiden's house, seeking
her hand in marriage for their son. At that time, her mother was away
from home. So the maiden herself had to entertain the guests with
refreshments. She at once started pounding food-grains with a pestle.
The bangles on her hand started knocking against each other, pounding
sound. She was afraid that the guests might hear the sound and be
unhappy for having caused her so much of trouble. As a Hindu maiden,
she is not expected to remove all the bangles on her hand at any
time. So she kept two on each hand and removed all the rest. Even
then, they were knocking against each other and were making noise. So
she kept only one bangle on each hand this time and she could finish
her task in quiet. Reflecting on this, I realized that when a number
of spiritual seekers live together, a lot of unwanted gossip ensues
and no spiritual practice can be pursued with a single-minded effort.
Only in solitude, a spiritual aspirant can carry his task. Knowing
this truth, I henceforth resorted to solitude. Thus, a maiden
happened to be my twentieth guru.
21. SERPENT: I observed that a serpent never builds a dwelling for
itself. When white ants have raised an anthill for themselves, the
serpent eventually come to inhabit it. Similarly, worldly people have
to endure many hardships in raising houses for themselves, while a
recluse monk does no such thing. Worldly men raise the monasteries
and the monk lives in them; or, he leaves in old dilapidated temples,
or underneath shady trees. The serpent moults, leaving off its old
skin. So too at the end of his life Yogi leaves his body deliberately
and in full awareness of his own true self and is not frightened by
the phenomenon of death. On the other hand, he casts off his old body
as happily as he does his worn out clothes and dons new ones. Thus
has my twenty first guru taught me.
22. SPIDER: The spider is my twenty second guru. It weaves its web
from the thread in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up
the web into itself. The supreme projects the whole creation out of
itself and after sometime, withdraws it into itself at the time of
dissolution. The individual soul too, bears the senses and the mind
within itself and, at its birth as a human being or any other living
creature, it projects them out as the sense organs, organs of action
and the whole body. In accordance with its latent tendencies, the
creature thus born, gathers up all the means and objects needed for
its living. At the end of its life's duration, the soul again
withdraws the senses, mind and acquired tendencies at the hour of
death. Thus have I learned from the spider.
23. CATERPILLAR: The caterpillar is also one of my teachers of
wisdom. The wasp carries its caterpillar to a safe corner and closes
it up in its nest and goes on buzzing about it. The young caterpillar
is so frightened by the incessant buzzing, that it cannot think of
anything else than the buzzing wasp. Through such unintermittent
contemplation of its mother, the caterpillar too, soon grows up into
a wasp! In a like fashion, a true disciple is so charmed and over-
awed by the spiritual eminence of his own guru that he cannot think of
any one other than him. Through such contemplation, he soon blossoms
into a great spiritual master himself. The caterpillar is thus my
twenty third Guru.
24. WATER: Water is my twenty fourth Guru. It quenches the thirst of
every creature, sustains innumerable trees and all creatures. While
it thus serves all living beings, it is never proud of itself. On the
other hand, it humbly seeks the lowliest of places. The sage too
should likewise bestow health, peace and joy to every creature that
resorts to him. Yet he should ever live as the humblest of God's
With such humility and devotion, I looked upon the whole of God's
creation as my teacher, gathered up wisdom and, through patient
effort I realized my goal of spiritual enlightenment.
Yoga Sutras Newsletter:
YOGA SUTRAS OUTLINE
CHAPTER 3 OF 4
PROGRESSING, VIBHUTI PADA
DHARANA, DHYANA, SAMADHI, #6, #7, #8 OF 8 RUNGS
1: Dharana or concentration is #6
2: Dhyana or meditation, #7, comes from repeated concentration
3: Samadhi, #8, comes from deep absorption
SAMYAMA IS THE FINER TOOL
4: Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi together are Samyama
5: Mastery of Samyama brings the light of knowledge
6: Apply Samyama to finer planes, states, or stages
INTERNAL IS SEEN TO BE EXTERNAL
7: These 3 rungs: are more intimate and internal than the first 5
8: Even these 3 are external compared to seedless Samadhi
WITNESSING SUBTLE TRANSITIONS
9-16: Samyama is done on 3 extremely subtle thought transitions
EXPERIENCES FROM SAMYAMA
17: Three aspects of an object
18: Samyama on samskaras
19-20: On ideas from others
21-22: On physical form and senses
23: On karma foretells death
24-25: On attitudes and strength
26-35: On inner subtleties
36-37: On pure consciousness
WHAT TO DO WITH EXPERIENCES
38: They are both attainments and obstacles
MORE FROM SAMYAMA
39: Passage to another body
40-41: Samyama on pranas
42-43: On space, hearing, and body
44: On thought projections
45-47: On the five elements
48-49: On senses and actions
RENUNCIATION AND LIBERATION
50: Discernment of Buddhi and Purusha brings mastery over all
51: Non-attachment to forms and omniscience destroys seeds
52: Decline invitations of celestials
53: Moments and succession
54: Discriminating similar objects
55: Higher knowledge is intuitive and born from discrimination
56: Equality between Buddhi and Purusha brings liberation
From: Conscious Living
THE EASIER OF TWO WAYS OF FINDING UNITY IN DIVERSITY
On the temple of Delphi it is written, "Know thyself." How can you
know the self? There are two diverse approaches. Western philosophy
says go from the gross to the grosser and then to the grossest aspect
of life. That is the Western approach. The Eastern approach is to go
from the gross to the subtle and then to the subtlest aspect of life.
Both are searching for unity in diversity. There is no difference.
However, it is easier to go within. Because if you go within, there
is no chance of getting lost. If you go outside, you may get lost.
You may become a victim of worldly charms and temptations. Therefore,
the simple way is to learn to sit still and go within. You don't have
to call it meditation, you can give it any other name.
Man has made many experiments on mind, matter and energy. These
experiments have been made because man wants to attain another level
of consciousness, a higher civilization. He is not attaining it
because there is so much disparity. Those who have attained look like
fools in the world and those who have not attained look like they
If we really want to attain the next step of civilization, a higher
civilization, then we should learn to look within, find within, and
be within. This exploration is missing. I do not say that there is
nothing outside, no, no, no.
So far, do you think that the knowledge you have received in the
external world, is called right knowledge? This knowledge, received
through your sense perception, and by your conceptualization and
analysis is limited. This knowledge is important only for dealing
with the external world, the world of objects.
There is another library within you called the infinite library from
where you receive knowledge. That knowledge does not need
verification. You will never need to ask your spouse, friend, boss or
anybody, "Am I right?" Because you know it and know that you know it.
And there is no conflict, and you don't need any evidence. That state
of mind seems to be the very state of contentment, it brings and
gives you great contentment. Therefore you should learn to meditate.
By Sri Swami Sivananda
FIVE SECTIONS OF THE ARTICLE:
2) Brahman and Maya
3) Sadhana Chatushtaya
4) The Seven Stages of Jnana
5) Practical Hints
Jnana is knowledge. To know Brahman as one's own Self is Jnana. To
say, "I am Brahman, the pure, all-pervading Consciousness, the non-
enjoyer, non-doer and silent witness," is Jnana. To behold the one
Self everywhere is Jnana.
Ajnana is ignorance. To identify oneself with the illusory vehicles
of body, mind, Prana and the senses is Ajnana. To say, " I am the
doer, the enjoyer, I am a Brahmin, a Brahmachari, this is mine, he is
my son," is Ajnana. Jnana alone can destroy Ajnana, even as light
alone can remove darkness.
Brahman, the Supreme Self, is neither the doer of actions nor the
enjoyer of the fruits of actions. The creation, preservation and
destruction of the world are not due to Him. They are due to the
action of Maya, the Lord's energy manifesting itself as the world-
Just as space appears to be of three kinds - absolute space, space
limited by a jar, and space reflected in the water of a jar, - so
also there are three kinds of intelligence. They are absolute
intelligence, intelligence reflected in Maya, and intelligence
reflected in the Jiva (the individual soul). The notion of the doer
is the function of intelligence as reflected in the intellect. This,
together with the notion of Jiva, is superimposed by the ignorant on
the pure and limitless Brahman, the silent witness.
The illustration of space absolute, space limited by a jar and space
reflected in water of a jar, is given to convey the idea that in
reality Brahman alone is. Because of Maya, however, It appears as
The notion that the reflection of intelligence is real, is erroneous,
and is due to ignorance. Brahman is without limitation; limitation is
a superimposition on Brahman.
The identity of the Supreme Self and the Jiva or reflected self is
established through the statement of the Upanishad 'Tat Tvam Asi' -
'That Thou Art'. When the knowledge of the identity of the two
arises, then world problems and ignorance, with all their offshoots,
are destroyed and all doubts disappear.
Self-realization or direct intuitive perception of the Supreme Self
is necessary for attaining freedom and perfection. This Jnana Yoga or
the path of Wisdom is, however, not meant for the masses whose hearts
are not pure enough and whose intellects are not sharp enough to
understand and practice this razor-edge path. Hence, Karma Yoga and
Upasana (Bhakti) are to be practiced first, which will render the
heart pure and make it fit for the reception of Knowledge.
2) BRAHMAN AND MAYA
Brahman is Sat, the Absolute, Reality. That which exists in the past,
present and future; which has no beginning, middle and end; which is
unchanging and not conditioned by time, space and causation; which
exists during the waking, dream and deep sleep states; which is of
the nature of one homogeneous essence, is Sat. This is found in
Brahman, the Absolute. The scriptures emphatically declare: "Only Sat
was prior to the evolution of this universe."
This phenomenal universe is unreal. Isvara created this universe out
of His own body (Maya), just as a spider creates a web from its own
saliva. It is merely an appearance, like a snake in a rope or like
silver in mother-of-pearl. It has no independent existence.
It is difficult to conceive how the Infinite comes out of Itself and
becomes the finite. The magician can bring forth a rabbit out of a
hat. We see it happening but we cannot explain it; so we call it Maya
Maya is a strange phenomenon which cannot be accounted for by any law
of Nature. It is incapable of being described. Its relation to
Brahman is like that of heat to fire. The heat of fire is neither one
with it nor different from it.
Does Maya really exist or not ? The Advaitin gives this reply: "This
inscrutable Maya cannot be said either to exist or not to exist".
If we know the nature of Brahman, then all names, forms and
limitations fall away. The world is Maya because it is not the
essential truth of the infinite Reality - Brahman. Somehow the world
exists and its relation to Brahman is indescribable. The illusion
vanishes through the attainment of knowledge of Brahman. Sages,
Rishis and scriptures declare that Maya vanishes entirely as soon as
knowledge of the Supreme Self dawns.
Brahman alone really exists. The Jiva, the world and this little "I"
are false. Rise above names and forms and kill the false egoism. Go
beyond Maya and annihilate ignorance. Constantly meditate on the
Supreme Brahman, your divine nature.
The world is unreal when compared to Brahman. It is a solid reality
to a worldly and passionate man only. To a realized sage it exists
like a burnt cloth. To a Videhamukta (disembodied sage) it does not
exist at all. To a man of discrimination it loses its charm and
Do not leave the world to enter a forest because you now read that
the world is unreal. You will be utterly ruined if you do this
without proper qualifications. Be first established in the conviction
that the world is unreal and Brahman alone is real. This will help
you to develop dispassion and a strong yearning for liberation. Stay
in the world but be not worldly; strive for liberation by the
practice of Sadhana Chatushtaya.
3) SADHANA CHATUSHTAYA
Jnana Yoga of Brahma Vidya or the science of the Self is not a
subject that can be understood and realized through mere intellectual
study, reasoning, ratiocination, discussion or arguments. It is the
most difficult of all sciences.
A student who treads the path of Truth must, therefore, first equip
himself with Sadhana Chatushtaya - the "four means of salvation".
They are discrimination, dispassion, the sixfold qualities of
perfection, and intense longing for liberation - Viveka, Vairagya,
Shad-Sampat and Mumukshutva. Then alone will he be able to march
forward fearlessly on the path. Not an iota of spiritual progress is
possible unless one is endowed with these four qualifications.
These four means are as old as the Vedas and this world itself. Every
religion prescribes them; the names differ from path to path but this
is immaterial. Only ignorant people have the undesirable habit of
practicing lingual warfare and raising unnecessary questions. Pay no
attention to them. It is your duty to try to eat the fruit instead of
wasting time in counting the leaves of the tree. Try now to
understand these four essential requisites for salvation.
Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, between the
permanent and the impermanent, between the Self and the non-Self.
Viveka dawns in a man through the Grace of God. The Grace can come
only after one has done unceasing selfless service in countless
births with the feeling that he is an instrument of the Lord and that
the work is an offering to the Lord. The door to the higher mind is
flung open when there is an awakening of discrimination.
There is an eternal, changeless principle amidst the ever-changing
phenomena of this vast universe and the fleeting movements and
oscillations of the mind.
The aspirant should separate himself also from the six waves of the
ocean of Samsara - birth and death, hunger and thirst, and
exhilaration and grief. Birth and death belong to the physical body;
hunger and thirst belong to Prana; exhilaration and grief are the
attributes of the mind. The Soul is unattached. The six waves cannot
touch Brahman which is as subtle as the all-pervading ether.
Association with saints and study of Vedantic literature will infuse
discrimination in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum
degree. One should be well established in it.
Vairagya is dispassion for the pleasures of this world and of heaven.
The Vairagya that is born of Viveka is enduring and lasting. It will
not fail the aspirant. But the Vairagya that comes temporarily to a
woman when she gives birth to a child or when one attends a funeral
at a crematorium, is of no use. The view that everything in the world
is unreal causes indifference to the enjoyments of this world and the
heaven-world also. One has to return from heaven to this plane of
existence when the fruits of good works are all exhausted. Hence they
are not worth striving for.
Vairagya does not mean abandoning one's social duties and
responsibilities of life. It does not mean abandoning the world, for
life in a solitary cave of the Himalayas. Vairagya is mental
detachment from all worldly objects. One may remain in the world and
discharge all duties with detachment. He may be a householder with a
large family, yet at the same time he may have perfect mental
detachment from everything. He can do spiritual Sadhana amidst his
worldly activities. He who has perfect mental detachment in the world
is a hero indeed. He is better than a Sadhu living in a Himalayan
cave, for the former has to face innumerable temptations every moment
of his life.
The third requisite is Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtue. It consists
of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. All these
six qualities are taken as one because they are calculated to bring
about mental control and discipline, without which concentration and
meditation are impossible.
Sama is serenity or tranquillity of mind which is brought about
through the eradication of desires.
Dama is rational control of the senses.
Uparati is satiety; it is resolutely turning the mind away from
desire for sensual enjoyment. This state of mind comes naturally when
one has practiced Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama.
Titiksha is the power of endurance. An aspirant should patiently bear
the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc.
Sraddha is intense faith in the word of the Guru, in Vedantic
scriptures and, above all, in one's own self. It is not blind faith
but is based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. As such,
it is lasting, perfect and unshakable. Such a faith is capable of
Samadhana is fixing the mind on Brahman or the Self, without allowing
it to run towards objects. The mind is free from anxiety amid pains
and troubles. There is stability, mental poise and indifference amid
pleasures. The aspirant has neither like nor dislikes. He has great
inner strength and enjoys unruffled peace of mind, due to the
practices of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha and Sraddha.
Mumukshutva is intense desire for liberation or deliverance from the
wheel of births and deaths with its concomitant evils of old age,
disease, delusion and sorrow. If one is equipped with the previous
three qualifications (Viveka, Vairagya and Shad-Sampat), then the
intense desire for liberation will come without any difficulty. The
mind moves towards the Source of its own accord when it has lost its
charm for external objects. When purification of mind and mental
discipline are achieved, the longing for liberation dawns by itself.
The aspirant who is endowed with all these four qualification should
then approach the Guru who will instruct him on the knowledge of his
real nature. The Guru is one who has a thorough knowledge of the
scriptures and is also established in that knowledge in direct
experience. He should then reflect and meditate on the inner Self and
strive earnestly to attain the goal of Self-realization.
A Sadhaka should reflect and meditate. Sravana is hearing of Srutis,
Manana is thinking and reflecting, Nididhyasana is constant and
profound meditation. Then comes Atma-Sakshatkara or direct
4) THE SEVEN STAGES OF JNANA
There are seven stages of Jnana or the seven Jnana Bhumikas. First,
Jnana should be developed through a deep study of Atma Jnana Sastras
and association with the wise and the performance of virtuous actions
without any expectation of fruits. This is Subheccha or good desire,
which forms the first Bhumika or stage of Jnana. This will irrigate
the mind with the waters of discrimination and protect it. There will
be non-attraction or indifference to sensual objects in this stage.
The first stage is the substratum of the other stages. From it the
next two stages, viz., Vicharana and Tanumanasi will be reached.
Constant Atma Vichara (Atmic enquiry) forms the second stage. The
third stage is Tanumanasi. This is attained through the cultivation
of special indifference to objects. The mind becomes thin like a
thread. Hence the name Tanumanasi. Tanu means thread - threadlike
state of mind.
The third stage is also known by the name Asanga Bhavana. In the
third stage, the aspirant is free from all attractions. If any one
dies in the third stage, he will remain in heaven for a long time and
will reincarnate on earth again as a Jnani. The above three stages
can be included under the Jagrat state.
The fourth stage is Sattvapatti. This stage will destroy all Vasanas
to the root. This can be included under the Svapana state. The world
appears like a dream. Those who have reached the fourth stage will
look upon all things of the universe with an equal eye.
The fifth stage is Asamsakti. There is perfect non-attachment to the
objects of the world. There is no Upadhi or waking or sleeping in
this stage. This is the Jivanmukti stage in which there is the
experience of Ananda Svaroopa (the Eternal Bliss of Brahman) replete
with spotless Jnana. This will come under Sushupti.
The sixth stage is Padartha Bhavana. There is knowledge of Truth.
The seventh stage is Turiya, or the state of superconsciousness. This
is Moksha. This is also known by the name Turiyatita. There are no
Sankalpas. All the Gunas disappear. This is above the reach of mind
and speech. Disembodied salvation (Videhamukti) is attained in the
Remaining in the certitude of Atma, without desires, and with an
equal vision over all, having completely eradicated all complications
of differentiations of 'I' or 'he', existence or non-existence, is
5) PRACTICAL HINTS
Purify the Chitta by doing Nishkama Karma for twelve years. The
effect of Chitta Suddhi is the attainment of Viveka and Vairagya.
Acquire the four qualifications (Sadhana Chatushtaya), - Viveka,
Vairagya, Shad Sampat and Mumukshuttva. Then approach a Guru. Have
Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. Study carefully and constantly the
twelve classical Upanishads and Yoga Vasishtha. Have a comprehensive
and thorough understanding of the Lakshyartha or indicative (real)
meaning of the Maha-Vakya 'Tat Tvam Asi'. Then, constantly reflect
over this real meaning throughout the twenty-four hours. This is
Brahma-Chintana or Brahma-Vichara. Do not allow any worldly thoughts
to enter the mind. Vedantic realization comes not through mere
reasoning but through constant Nididhyasana, like the analogy of
Brahmarakita Nyaya (caterpillar and wasp). You get Tadakara, Tadrupa,
Tanmaya, Tadiyata, Talleenata (Oneness, identity).
Generate the Brahmakara Vritti from your Sattvic Antahkarana through
the influence of reflection on the real meaning of the Maha-
Vakyas, 'Aham Brahma Asmi' or 'Tat Tvam Asi'. When you try to feel
that you are infinity, this Brahmakara Vritti is produced. This
Vritti destroys Avidya, induces Brahma Jnana and dies by itself
eventually, like Nirmal seed which removes sediment in the water and
itself settles down along with the mud and other dirty matter.
Retire into your meditation chamber. Sit on Padma, Siddha, Svastika
or Sukha Asana to begin with. Relax the muscles. Close the eyes.
Concentrate on or gaze at the Trikute, the space between the two
eyebrows. Repeat 'Om' mentally with Brahma-Bhavana. This Bhavana is a
sine qua non, very very important. Silence the conscious mind. Repeat
mentally, feel constantly:
All-pervading ocean of Light I am OM OM OM
Infinity I am OM OM OM
All-pervading infinite Light I am OM OM OM
Vyapaka Paripoorna Jyotirmaya Brahman I am OM OM OM
Omnipotent I am OM OM OM
Omniscient I am OM OM OM
All Bliss I am OM OM OM
Satchidananda I am OM OM OM
All purity I am OM OM OM
All glory I am OM OM OM
All Upadhis (limiting adjuncts such as body, mind, etc.,) will be
sublated. All Granthis (knots of heart, viz., Avidya, Kama and Karma -
ignorance, desire and action) will be cut asunder. The thin veil,
Avarana, will be pierced. The Pancha Kosha Adhyasa (superimposition)
will be removed. You will rest doubtless in Satchidananda state. You
will get highest Knowledge, highest Bliss, highest Realization and
highest end of life. 'Brahma Vit Brahmaiva Bhavati'. You will become
Suddha Satchidananda Vyapaka Paripoorna Brahman. Nasti Atra
Samsayah', there is no doubt of that.
There is no difficulty at all in Atma-Darshan, in Self-Realization.
You can have this within the twinkling of an eye as Raja Janaka had,
before you can squeeze a flower with fingers, within the time taken
for a grain to fall when rolled over a pot. You must do earnest,
constant and intense practice. You are bound to succeed in two or
Now-a-days there are plenty of 'Talking Brahman'. No flowery talk or
verbosity can make a man Brahman. It is constant, intense, earnest
Sadhana and Sadhana alone can give a man direct Aparoksha Brahmic
realization (Svanubhava or Sakshatkara) wherein he sees Brahman just
as he sees the solid white wall in front of him and feels Brahman,
just as he feels the table behind him. Practice, practice, practice
and become established in Brahman.
MEDITATION AS A WHOLE OR A PART?
The picture below captures one of the most confusing aspects of
Meditation methods being promoted in our modern world. While the
aspects of Meditation listed in the picture below are not intended to
be all-inclusive, they are representative of the fact that
Meditation, at least in the ancient most Yoga traditions is very
broad and and very deep. Yoga Meditation is complete unto itself.
Picture can be seen at:
However, it has become popular to take one small part of the whole of
Meditation, give it a trademark or brand name, and sell that to an
unsuspecting public as a complete Meditation system. The promoters of
these fragmented systems often ignore, suppress, or condemn the other
practices as being invalid or ineffective methods or parts, further
hiding the original whole of Meditation.
This segregating of the part from the whole gives the impression that
one must choose "this" or "that" so-called "method" of Meditation.
This phenomenon has widely happened not only in "spiritual" contexts,
but also in medical and psychological professional services. I'll
refrain from naming any of the the brand named or trademarked
systems, but you are probably familiar with many of them through the
advertising of programs, seminars, and materials such as books.
If one is seeking only a tiny portion of Meditation for purposes such
as the "management" of stress, then practicing only a tiny portion of
the whole of the process might be sufficient. However, for those
seeking the height or depth of self-awareness, spirituality, or
enlightenment, the finer practices of Yoga work together, like the
fingers of a hand or the various systems within the human body. This
is not a case of pasting together or integrating various parts to
make a composite whole, as Yoga Meditation is already complete; it is
already a whole.
In holding this perspective it is essential to remember that Yoga is
far more than the physical postures, which is one of the ways in
which the part has become separated from the whole in recent years.
The whole of Meditation can be learned and practiced, gradually
leading one to know himself or herself at all levels, up to and
including the eternal center of consciousness, which is one with the
absolute reality, by whatever name you choose to call that.
My wish for the sincere seeker of the highest Truth, Reality or
Divinity--however you name that--is that you find the whole of
Meditation and the preexisting Whole to which it leads.
From web page:
Click here for AUDIO-VIDEO:
WISDOM TO LIVE BY AND SHARE WITH OTHERS
• There is only one highest reality and many teachers.
• All humans and life arise from the same one source.
• All countries, religions and institutions arise from that.
• There are many books of wisdom from many ages.
• Thinking there is only one way comes from ignorance.
• Coercive conversion is violence against other peoples.
• The goal of life is found within, not in institutions.
• Wisdom, joy and freedom come from inner stillness.
• Love all, as we are all waves of the one ocean.
Click here for AUDIO-VIDEO:
From Conscious Living
By Swami Rama
ISBN 8188157031 (Book)
ISBN 818815718x (Audio)
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
A PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
I have come to share my joy truthfully with you. I say, ye human
beings, among all the species on the earth, you are the greatest. You
are the greatest for you can change your destiny, you can build your
destiny, you can enlighten yourself. Other species do not have this
privilege. From among the kingdom of animals, the kingdom of
vegetables, the kingdom of rocks and clay you alone have that
privilege. Why are you not enjoying that privilege? I have come to
remind you of that. Have you seen guards at night? They roam around
and say, "Remain awake, remain awake!" But you remain sleeping. I am
like that guard. Uttishtata, uttishtata! Wake up, wake up! Jagrata,
remain awake. Prapta varanya bodhasa, gain knowledge. This is my
message to everybody. I know they are sleeping but yet I have to say
this. This is my duty. This is my job. If I don't do it, I will not
be happy. We human beings, all of us, have the birthright to attain
the final goal of life, and sooner or later we'll reach that goal.
So, everyone has hopes. But do you have the patience to wait for such
a long time? I don't.
I will try to cover the entire philosophy of life in these lectures.
We need to understand one word and that is called freedom — freedom
from all bondages, from all ignorance. That state which is free from
stress, strain, bondage and ignorance is called the state of
enlightenment and that can be considered to be the state of
What is the aim and goal of life? You think I am going to tell you
it's God? No, that's not being practical. The aim of life is
contentment and for that you need adjustment. Can you adjust yourself
mentally, physically, and through speech so that you are content?
What do you mean by being content? I always say: do not be satisfied
yet remain content. Contentment is a great virtue that you can
develop in your daily life. If it is not there, your God business is
not going to help you, let me assure you. Repeating God, God, God,
God, God, without understanding! What a waste of time and energy! I
am not an atheist, but I have learned to analyze things with clarity
of mind and that's how I was trained. And that same thing I am
imparting to you now.
You may say that the purpose of life is to attain God. I say no. In
my childhood, one day I went to my Master, a great yogi and sage from
Bengal, who lived in the Himalayas for many, many years. And I
said, "My heart cries because you have not shown me God. And so I
think you have destroyed my life." He kept quiet. He said, "Go on." I
said, "I want to see God." He responded, "You want to see God? Are
you sure you want to see God?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I will show
you God in the morning, tomorrow morning." So that whole night I
remained restless and I could not sleep. I was filled with joy but at
times doubts too came into my mind. I could not sleep. In the
morning, without sleep, I was looking tired. I took my bath and that
day I became an extraordinarily holy person bowing often in front of
my Master because he was going to show me God. He said, "What has
happened to you today? Your behavior has changed." I said, "It's
because I want to see God today." He said, "I promised to show you
God. I will be very honest, but will you please also be honest with
me?" I said, "Yes." He asked me a question, "Tell me what kind of God
do you want to see?" I was taken aback and asked, "Are there many
kinds of God?" He said, "No. I want to know what is the concept of
God in your mind?"
All your life you long to meet God, but you have no concept of God.
What type of God will you meet? Everyone says, "I want to see God, I
want to see God." Someone is doing chanting, someone is meditating,
someone is talking of Gita, someone is talking of Upanishads. Nobody
sees God, it's all mere talk. Why? Because you don't have a clear
concept. You should have a clear concept and then you should learn to
work towards that concept. Only then will you get it.
So I said to my Master, "It means you bluffed me yesterday. You
promised that you would show me God. And this morning you say what
kind of God do you want to see?" He replied, "Look, I promised to
show you the kind of God you wanted to see. Think about it. I give
you time. At any time you can come and say that this is the type of
God I want to see and I'll show you that God." I was speechless. So
is the case with all of you. You want to see God without knowing what
He is and that's why He never appears before you. If He suddenly
appears before you, perhaps you will not recognize Him. So if there
is no clarity of mind, if there is no purity of heart, your whole
life remains full of confusion. This is my point. What do you mean by
seeing God? Are you at peace, are you happy, do you lead a balanced
life, are you attaining your goal in life? These are the vital
questions of life.
So after half an hour, my Master again called out to me, "Have you
decided what kind of God you want to see?" I said, "Not yet." He
said, "Please decide and come to me and I will show you." To this day
I don't dare to say that I have.
If a swami, a priest or a yogi comes to you, if your teacher or guru
comes to you and says, "My child, what do you want? What do you want
to know?" There are many things in your mind and heart. You want to
become millionaire but you won't tell him. You'll say, "I want to see
God." You want to have a good wife but you won't say that. You'll
say, "I want to see God." There is a beautiful saying, any human
being who gives responsibilities to the Lord, his own
responsibilities, cripples human potentials. If you don't want to
perform your duties and then say God will do everything for me, this
is not good. You are not utilizing the gifts given to you by
If I have no understanding of what God is, I cannot get enlightened,
I can never see God. Even though I have a desire to see God, nothing
is going to happen. Let us not cheat ourselves. There are things
which we have been repeating without understanding why we are doing
it. Tell me what is the purpose of God in your daily life? When you
need food, you don't eat God. When you want to wear clothes, you need
clothes, not God. Where do we need God in life? Let us understand
This human life is very precious. It's not like animal life. Animal
activities are completely controlled by nature. They cannot do
anything. In the animal kingdom, nothing is by choice. But as a human
being, you can do tremendous things, you can perform wonders. You
have choice and the power to change. As easily as you can turn your
face from this side to that side, you can change yourself. You can
transform your personality completely. It's a very simple thing,
provided you are practical and you are truthful to yourself. We human
beings live our lives based on how the world judges us. Take the case
of a wife at home who looks toward her husband all the time, like a
German shepherd, wanting to know what he thinks of her. And if he
says, "Honey, you look very beautiful, you are wonderful." She may
feel, "He has made my day." She leans on him all the time seeking
approval. This great force on earth, called womankind, has never been
utilized properly. It is only being exploited. And that is one of the
causes of our suffering. Please, please, try to understand what I am
I want to give you a glimpse of your individual self, because there
are many false notions. When a human being suffers, the suffering is
not because of external forces, not because of others. The suffering
is because of his or her own thinking and understanding. So we will
discuss that. We have many such fears in our life. We talk of God so
much, we sing kirtans, we study the scriptures like the Ramayana, the
Gita and Bible, we go to temples or churches. Yet our ignorance
remains. There is no change in our daily life, in our behavior. What
is the reason? The reason is that right from our childhood, we are
trained to see and examine things in the external world. Nobody
teaches us how to look within, find within, and see within. So we
remain a stranger to ourselves, yet we want to know others; isn't
So first of all, a human being should learn to understand himself on
all levels and then he can understand all, the Self of all. And he
can understand that absolute Self which is called absolute Truth.
This is the right system and there are three schools, and any of
these schools will help you: the school of meditation, the school of
contemplation, and the school of prayer. If you learn to understand
prayer, what prayer is, you can easily evoke your emotional self and
attain that height of ecstasy and be there. If you understand the
philosophy of life through contemplation you can attain the goal of
life. If you understand the school of meditation and systematically
meditate, you can attain the fourth state which is called sleepless
sleep, you can attain the purpose of life. But if you practice
meditation for a few days, contemplation for a few days, and then
prayer for a few days, and finally decide that none of them suits
you, you won't attain anything. The basic thing is that we create
certain problems and barriers for ourselves, because of our fears and
confusion. We have certain questions in our mind and we should learn
to tackle them first. As long as you remain under the pressure of
fears you cannot do anything. And talking about God is a good
pastime, but you don't get anything. You may become godly but you
cannot attain God, you cannot have peace, you cannot have happiness.
Forgive me if I am crushing your sentiments but this is the truth.
Let us learn to enjoy one thing. All the great scriptures of the
world, which have been revealed to the sages from the depths of their
deep contemplation, say one and the same thing. A human being has
been created exactly in the image of God. When God created human
beings in His own image, why do human beings suffer? It's because
human beings have forgotten their Creator; that's why they suffer.
Otherwise there is no difference between man and God. The moment you
realize that you don't exist, but God exists, you are free. And in
reality that's true. All the scriptures say, God is omnipresent,
omniscient, and omnipotent, God is everywhere. Then where are you?
Where is there place for you to exist? How can you claim that you and
I exist somewhere and this is mine and that is yours? It's the human
mind that creates all the barriers for individuals. We have to
understand this whole philosophy, get rid of all our confusions, be
at peace and start realizing the great glory that is hidden deep
within our hearts and minds. Therefore every individual should try to
understand one thing: I will know myself on all levels in this
lifetime and get enlightened here and now. There should be this
determination. That is the purpose of this series of lectures.
What does the body mean to us? Is human being a body alone? No. He
breathes too. Then you see we are breathing beings. This breath of
ours creates a bridge between our thinking process, or mind, and
body. Why does the body not fall apart, separating itself from the
thinking portion? Because there are two guards, called inhalation and
exhalation. Life is breath and breath is life.
How does our mind function and from where does our mind receive its
power and energy? There is a center of consciousness beyond mind and
that is called your individual soul. So it is from here that you
receive consciousness and energy. Individual souls are like ripples
in the vast ocean of bliss called Brahman, the summum bonum of life,
the very source of all life force, from where all the ripples rise,
play, and again subside.
Let's begin with the body. We take care of our body but do not
understand anything about it. So if you want to be physically fit,
understand the importance of a good body. Good body means, physically
healthy body. You need to understand something about diet and
nutrition, and about body language. Your body speaks to you.
When you learn to understand your body's needs and body language,
then you should learn how to breathe. We all are breathing but we are
not breathing correctly, not breathing diaphragmatically. You'll find
that a child spontaneously breathes diaphragmatically but because of
our defective living, our breathing changes after some time. So deep
diaphragmatic breathing is very necessary for health (see Appendix A).
What is diaphragmatic breathing? When you push in your abdomen as you
exhale, it will help your diaphragm to empty your lungs and will help
you to expel the used up gas. When the abdomen moves out it will
expand the lungs and draw in the oxygen.
It's easy to know the body and breath, but it's a little bit more
difficult to know the mind, because there is no such education that
teaches and trains us to understand our mind. So let us have simple
understanding. Scientific research and scientists today say that 80%
of diseases are created by the mind. They originate in the mind and
are expressed in the body. All of the body is in the mind, but not
all of the mind is in the body. You don't see your mind but through
your mind your eyes can see. If you are frustrated all the time,
never happy, then your wife says, "What can I do? He's never happy,
no matter what I do. Very unhappy person, nobody can please him in
this world. No matter what I do he's never happy." Poor husband is
heading towards some problem!
As it is important for you to eat good nutritious food and to do some
exercise daily, it is important for you to maintain mental health,
spiritual health, by learning to do certain exercises of breathing,
relaxation and meditation. It's very good for you. Once you have
learned how to use your deep diaphragmatic movement to regulate the
motion of your lungs, then you watch your breath stream. It's very
joyous, wonderful. Who is giving you life breath? The Lord of life
who gives to all. It's your direct link with the Lord that you have
all the time. Watch your breath, the flow of breath and the mind will
find an easy way to attain peace, to taste peace.
For a few minutes every day you should learn to sit quiet, to sit
still, to make your breath serene, to make your mind calm. Practice
will make you perfect, not mere theory. This is something that you
have to practice. I cannot meditate for you. I can do anything for
you; I can cook your meals, I can drive you from one place to
another. But meditation is that something which you should practice
yourself. Buddha clearly said, "Ye, light thy own lamp. Nobody can
give you salvation." Meditation you should practice. A guru, a
teacher, a priest, can give you blessings, and that gives you solace,
good solace, but meditation practice you have to do yourself.
When you know you are not a body alone, that you are a thinking
being, that you have a mind, then you ask, "Who am I? I have body and
mind, who am I? Am I the body? No. Am I the mind? No. Then who am I?"
You wonder. Then you don't identify yourself only with your body and
mind. That which you are is called soul, hub of the whole wheel. How
do you know that? Unless you make your body quiet, breath calm and
mind completely resolved, you cannot reach your finest self. You are
constantly identifying with the objects of your mind, forgetting your
true nature. Your true nature is peace, happiness, and bliss. But you
are suffering because you do not know yourself. You know only the
small self called body, breath, and mind. You have three selves—
mortal self, semi-mortal self, and the immortal Self. The mortal self
is this body that goes through change, death, and decay. Semi-mortal
self is that which enables you to think. The real Self is that which
makes you free, completely free. Then, there are no fears, there are
no anxieties, there is no pain.
When you repeatedly do something, you form a habit pattern. What is
individuality, what is an individual? An individual is a character
composed of habit patterns. You say God created you the way you are.
That's not true. God created you and you are beautiful. You are a
most beautiful person. Don't look at the mirror to admire yourself.
You are most beautiful because you are unique, there is no one like
you on this earth. No one can be compared with you. So don't compare
yourself with others. You are most beautiful, be aware of this. You
are wonderful, be aware of this. God has created you in a wonderful
way, try to learn this. So human beings have not attained the next
step of civilization because of certain things, not because of God.
If God comes down and says, "Ok son, what do you want from me?" What
will you say, tell me? "I want to become a millionaire." "There are
many millionaires." "I want to have two dozen cars." "There are many
people with dozens of cars." What will you ask of God? What do you
want from God? Finally you will say, "God, give me peace." God will
say, "My child, I have given you all the potentials to attain peace."
You can be at peace, you can make your mind tranquil and thus
Our deeds, our karma, are the cause of all suffering. How can one
live in the world, yet remain unaffected? First you have to
understand the inevitable law of karma, which is a universal law, no
matter from which community you come from. If you are a Hindu, you'll
have to follow it. If you are a Christian, a Buddhist or of any other
religion, you'll have to follow it. Never forget this universal law,
accepted by all the great religions and bibles of the world: as you
sow, so shall you reap.
I am doing my actions and I reap the fruits of my actions. And those
fruits again motivate me to do actions and there is no end. It
becomes a whirlpool. You all boast that you are doing your actions,
duties, truthfully and you are right. But there is something missing
in your statement. I once asked a housewife, a very gentle, very
chaste, very loyal housewife, "Can you sit down for a few minutes?"
She wanted to go home, but just to test her I said, "Just sit down
for a second." She replied, "I would like to, but what to do? I have
to do my duties." It means your duty has made you a slave. How to
deal with it? You don't know how to handle it. So the great men say,
learn to love your duty then duty will not make you a slave. A simple
thing, grease your duty with love. Otherwise your duty will create
bondage for you, you cannot live without doing your duty. If you have
understood this key, then you will try your best to perform your
actions and learn the philosophy of nonattachment which is called
love. What we mistakenly call love is actually lust. Love means
nonattachment. Love does not mean attachment. Attachment leads to
misery and pain, nonattachment gives you freedom. As St. Bernard has
said so beautifully, all the things of the world are to be enjoyed
but God alone should be loved. Our scriptures also say this.
You have to make a formula if you really want to practice and enjoy
life. I'm not telling you to renounce the world and go to the
Himalayas with Swami Rama, this is not my point. I want you to live
here and enjoy life and yet remain above, as a realized being, a
jivan mukta. How is it possible? Many people become swamis and how
many swamis disappoint us? I once asked my Master, "What is this fun
in the world? So many swamis?" He said, "Look here, everybody has
good intentions to do something but they don't. They are not
competent, they are not able, they don't find the way, so don't blame
anyone. They are trying, they are making efforts." I said, "Ok. Out
of 13,000 swamis I met in my life, I met only three people, rare
people." Then I said, "Why, why this?" He said, "All other swamis are
like a hedge, and the rare ones are like the real flowers." He told
me, "Come on. I'll make a formula for you. Share it with your
students, share it with the people who come in touch with you: All
the things of the world are meant for you. Please enjoy them. But
they are not yours, don't get attached to them." You have no right to
get attached to them. There is nothing wrong with your enjoyment. If
there is anything wrong it's getting attached. Where are you
committing a mistake? You get attached to the things of the world
which are not yours. Actually they are meant for you. So the first
principle is that all the things of the world are meant for me. I
will enjoy them but I will not get attached. Second principle, I will
be conscious of the truth or fact that the Lord of life is within me.
Thirdly, I will meditate, go within, beyond body, breath, and mind,
to enjoy that silence which is the living silence within. If you just
follow these principles, you are free.
MEDITATION WITHOUT RELIGIOUS BRAND NAME
O man, realize that the kingdom of God is within you, the Lord of
life is the highest of all. Anyone who has realized this, would like
to go to his innermost self. And there is a way for that. I am not
talking about Hinduism, I am not talking about Buddhism, I am not
talking about Christianity, I am not talking about Islam. I am
talking about something universal. The moment you realize that the
absolute truth which is not subject to change, death, and decay is
within you, then you attain a freedom, freedom from fears, all fears.
That is called the state of enlightenment and that can be considered
to be a state of perfection. Therefore, learn to go to the deeper
aspect of your being. Everyone should learn to meditate so that he's
free from many, many diseases. That meditation should be simple, a
purely scientific technique, without putting any brand, like Hindu
meditation, Buddhist meditation, Zazen, Zen meditation, Christian
meditation or Jewish meditation. These teachers have destroyed the
whole philosophy of meditation. Meditation is a simple method.
QUESTION: Is Dharana just "meditation" in an advanced state?
RESPONSE: Remember that "meditation" is an English word that is used
in many different ways by different people. Most often,
however, "meditation" is linked with "dhyana". It is extremely common
in English speaking cultures to use the word "meditation" for any
form of attention or concentration. Hence, for example, we
have "meditation music" where the person is not at all concentrating
in the strictest sense of the word, but is instead just listening to
music (which is useful and pleasant, though not meditation as
There is a sequence:
Attention leads to concentration (dharana).
Concentration leads to meditation (dhyana).
Meditation (dhyana) leads to absorption (samadhi).
Like most arts or sciences, yoga has its own language, which is
usually Sanskrit. The terms are more specific than the English words.
English words are fine, once we understand the context of their use.
See also Yoga Sutras 3.1-3.3:
As if Yoga in America was not already extremely distorted, here is
the latest devolution: Wine and Yoga, as described in a current New
York Times article.
See also the article:
MODERN VERSUS TRADITIONAL YOGA
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
DAYS OF WINE AND YOGA
By Cindy Price
New York Times
December 15, 2006
On the one hand, there is Angela Gargano, a yoga instructor in
Madison, Wis., who doesn't quite see what the big deal is.
"Yoga can be very serious, sure, but why not have it be really fun?"
she said, shrugging off concerns that yoga purists might raise an
eyebrow at her latest venture — yoga-and-wine retreats.
On the other hand, there are those like Nancy Elkes, a New York-based
yoga trainer and instructor who doesn't necessarily condemn drinking —
she just isn't so sure it goes with yoga.
"After a yoga class," she said, "the last thing you're thinking about
getting is a drink."
Nonetheless, when Ms. Gargano, who owns Bliss Flow Yoga in Madison,
teamed up with David Romanelli, Yahoo's Mind/Body columnist, last
August to stage a weekend-long yoga-and-wine retreat at the Fairmont
Mission Inn and Spa in Sonoma, Calif., it was successful enough for
Mr. Romanelli to schedule a lineup of seminars across the country for
2007. Tomorrow, Ms. Gargano will take the idea international with a
retreat in Barcelona. And next year DeLoach Vineyards, in Sonoma
County, will hold its own series of yoga-and-wine retreats.
For Ms. Gargano, the idea was sparked when Mr. Romanelli held one of
his popular yoga-and-chocolate seminars at her Madison studio. Ms.
Gargano loved pairing yoga with something unconventional and was
eager to try a spinoff. When she told Mr. Romanelli about her
background in wine, the two decided to team up.
"I was struck by the similarities between the two," said Ms. Gargano,
who was helping her Sicilian father choose wines for the family's
restaurant by the age of 16. "Which sounds kind of funny, but both
yoga and wine can be very intimidating to people. I noticed yoga
students coming in and saying, `I'm not quite sure where to get
started with this.' " It was a concern she'd heard before, while
working as a wine buyer and sommelier in San Francisco.
But while the notion of combining yoga with another facet of American
pop culture is nothing new — Mr. Romanelli, in fact, is currently
creating a "Yoga + ___" concept series with Yahoo.com — serious yogis
may draw the line at wine.
"Yogis tend to think the drug is the problem," Ms. Elkes said. "But
then what about Tylenol? Refined sugar? Caffeine? At some point, one
has to say, O.K., if you want a glass of wine, but I don't think it
should necessarily go in conjunction with yoga."
Especially, she pointed out, if you're doing something like Kundalini
yoga, an intensely meditative form of stretching that many Americans
closely associate with the Sikh religion — though, for the record,
many Sikhs would argue that their religion and yoga are not as
closely intertwined as Westerners believe. Nevertheless, Sikhs who
have undergone the Amrit ceremony are instructed against using
tobacco, alcohol or any other form of intoxicants.
"Kundalini does things to balance your nervous system," Ms. Elkes
said. "And then for you to go do something that changes that? It's
going to affect your nervous system after you've done all this work
to balance yourself. You'll soon find out that drinking and Kundalini
don't go well together."
That sentiment is shared by the popular Web site Holistic Online,
which states in no uncertain terms: "Yogis do not touch alcohol,
since they consider it to lower the vibrations of their subtle body
(astral body). This defeats the purpose of yoga, which is to increase
the vibrational level so they can gradually unfold their Higher Self."
But for Rachel Cimino, a Californian who has practiced with Sikh
instructors at Los Angeles's star-studded yoga empire, Golden Bridge
Yoga, the deviation from ritual isn't a deal-breaker.
"Yoga has become so American, and we have this cafeteria attitude of
picking and choosing what we like," Ms. Cimino said. "If you were
very serious, it would definitely interfere with being a yogi. The
best time to do yoga is at twilight, from 3 to 5:30 in the morning,
when your energy is most powerful. And if you're hung over, you're
altering your chemistry."
But, she added, "if you are doing yoga a few times a week, you can
probably throw down a few glasses of wine. I guarantee that 80
percent of the people that do this also go tear it up."
For Ravi Hari Kaur Khalsa, a 20-year Kundalini veteran who teaches at
the New York Open Center, the key to pairing wine and yoga is
moderation. "I don't think we can be rigid and across-the-board about
these things. I'm hoping that the instructors running these places
are responsible, and I trust that they are," she said.
"Now, will I condone drinking and doing yoga?" she said. "Absolutely
not. I would never want to teach someone drunk; that's just
dangerous. But what is wrong with people sitting out in the vineyard
and enjoying themselves? There's a lot of suffering in the world, and
people have a right to live their life. It's a tough world."
For her part, Rosemary Garrison, the San Francisco-based instructor
who will lead the DeLoach retreats, thinks moderation is the key as
well. The retreats will feature vegetarian meals from the 18,000-
square-foot organic garden, cooking classes and twice-daily yoga
sessions. The wine poured for dinner will come from DeLoach's own
vineyard, in the Russian River Valley.
"You could get five yogis in a room, and every one would have an
opinion on everything," she said. And though she plans to tailor her
classes to the skill level of the participants, she intends to focus
on her area of training, vinyasa yoga — a fairly vigorous form of
yoga that she maintains does not prohibit alcohol.
"I certainly would not want to say that vinyasa yogis are all
lushes," Ms. Garrison said. "But in the traditions I've practiced,
alcohol is not off-limits.
"Still," she added, "I don't imagine it's going to be the kind of
thing where people are drinking to get drunk, but more about enjoying
the beauty of the wine and the setting, and having a weekend of
healthy indulgence. Have a glass of wine, enjoy your night, get a
good night's sleep and come to a really cleansing, vigorous practice
the next morning. I mean, that's what a lot of my students here in
San Francisco do anyways — that's their weekend."
AT Mr. Romanelli and Ms. Gargano's retreat last summer, guests didn't
shy away from indulgence when they kicked off the weekend with a five-
course dinner, with wine, at a local restaurant.
"Yoga's something that is spiritual to me — whether I play Bob Marley
when I'm doing it or not," Ms. Gargano said. "I feel like we've lost
the spiritual connection to the land that food and wine grows on, and
I think anything that can bring us closer to that is good. If someone
thinks that's unorthodox, that's fine — and there's room for a lot of
different things within the world of yoga.
"We've gotten really far away from our food sources," she said. "And
that was what was nice about the retreat — getting people to really
connect to the wine. If you go to a wine bar, that's one thing. But
if you stand there in the vineyard with the people laboring to make
this wine, it just really resonates a lot more."
With that in mind, Mr. Romanelli and Ms. Gargano's goal was to
integrate their two subjects fluidly rather than have them coexist in
the same weekend. For instance, her grounding-down class was followed
with a vineyard tour, where they talked about how the vine growing in
the earth affects the taste of the wine.
"We tried to bring it all together," Ms. Gargano said, "so that
practicing yoga completely brings you into the moment so that you can
appreciate one of life's great pleasures, which is wine."
But will American yogis buy it? "Let me put it this way," Ms. Cimino
said, when told about the coming retreats. "If they do have a wine
retreat somewhere in Northern California, sign me up. I want to go."
Click here to listen to the audio Podcast:
STAGES OF MEDITATION, SUBTLE EXPERIENCES, OBSTACLES TO MEDITATION
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Recorded December 16, 2006
This is a conversation on the stages of meditation dealing with
senses and actions, body, breath, the various levels of mind, and
that which is beyond the mind. It centers around a graphic on the
home page of SwamiJ.com that shows these stages, along with a
question mark representing that which is beyond. We also talk about
subtle experiences of meditation, obstacles to enlightenment, yoga
sutras, and balancing living in the world and the highest goal of
SWAMIJ.COM AUDIO PODCAST WEB PAGE & ARCHIVES:
SWAMI J PODCAST also available through I-Tunes, Podcast.net, Yahoo.com, Odeo.com
(There are useful graphics at this link. This newsletter is 1 of 7
sequential web pages at SwamiJ.com on Kundalini Awakening. The other
pages are available at the link above.)
THE PROCESS OF KUNDALINI AWAKENING
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
KUNDALINI IS INNATE FOR ALL PEOPLE:
At the base of the spine, subtler than the physical body, lies the
Kundalini energy, or spiritual energy, in a latent form. Regardless
of what religious, spiritual, or meditation tradition one follows,
the awakening of this energy, by whatever name you call it, is a most
innate and essential part of spiritual advancement, unfoldment, or
realization. Awakening kundalini and leading it to union with the
Absolute is the goal of the Himalayan sages and the path of Yoga,
Vedanta, and Tantra.
See also the article:
Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra
Also, listen to the audio (mp3):
The Secret of Shiva and Shakti
STAGES IN KUNDALINI AWAKENING:
The graphics above display the seven major chakras (section #5), the
left and right energies of Ida and Pingala (section #1), and the
Sushumna nadi, the central channel that courses through the chakras
(Sushumna is sometimes called "silver cord"). The six graphics
visually represent the process of Kundalini Awakening. Clicking on
each of the six graphics will move you through explanations of the
stages. Also, there is an index for the contents of these pages.
The six stages are:
1) Prana usually flow in Ida or Pingala
2) Prana is made to flow in Ida and Pingala
3) Prana is made to flow in Sushumna
4) Kundalini energy is awakened
5) Kundalini is lead upwards
6) Kundalini rises to Sahasrara
NUMBER OF STAGES IN KUNDALINI AWAKENING:
There is nothing especially significant about describing this
Kundalini Awakening in six stages (the six graphics), as opposed to
some other number; it is simply a convenient way to explain the
process. The simplest way of describing the entire process is in
1) Awakening, opening, or applying Sushumna
2) Awakening Kundalini
3) Kundalini arising to the crown Chakra, Sahasrara
ONE ENERGY WITH MANY NAMES AND FORMS:
There is one energy (Shakti) that keeps taking on new shapes and
forms. Each time the energy takes on a new form, we give it a new
name. See the article Kundalini, Shakti, and a River for an
explanation of these names and forms.
SHIVA AND SHAKTI:
Tantra considers the universe to be a manifestation of pure
consciousness. Through this process of manifesting, consciousness
divides itself into two parts, which, though seeming to be separate,
cannot exist without one another.
Shiva remains as a static, formless quality.
Shakti is a dynamic, creative aspect.
SCIENCE AND PHYSICS:
Modern science also considers these two forms of energy, though
viewing them in different ways. Science includes, for example,
potential energy and kinetic energy (the energy of motion),
recognizing that they are both manifestations of the same underlying
energy. Tantra describes the unification of all as the pouring out of
the energy of consciousness through the manifestation of the static
(Shiva) through a veiling and projecting process (Shakti), creating
the levels of the universe. At the physical level, modern physics
also seeks to find a unifying source, and is in the process of
explaining this unification through quark and string theories.
LIKE INK AND THE WORD:
Shiva and Shakti are inseparable and coexist, like ink and the
written word, which, though one and the same, are different. With one
pen of ink, many different words or images can be manifested,
although there remains only one container (pen) of ink. It is that
creative process of manifestation that makes the ink appear to have
different forms and meaning from one word to the next. When you write
different words, or draw both a circle and a square, you have not
created a single ink molecule, but have only rearranged the existing
molecules, creating the appearance of different words or forms. It
remains exactly what it was in the first place, which is ink. This is
not negative or merely intellectually reductionistic, but is a most
awesome, beautiful process. Similarly, the unmanifest Shiva can
manifest into countless forms through the creative appearance of
Shakti. Simple metaphors such as ink and written word can be
extremely useful to contemplate on, so as to understand the principle
of the one appearing to be two, and how these two dance together to
form the elegant complexity of manifest reality.
EXPERIENCING THEIR UNION:
The journey of Tantra and Kundalini Yoga leads to Kundalini Awakening
and to the realization of the Absolute, where these two apparently
different aspects of manifestation are experienced in their original
union. Yoga means union, or joining, and this union of the static and
the dynamic is the meaning of Yoga (see also Yoga Sutras,
particularly sutras 1.1-1.4, which define Yoga). Through the process
of going ever deeper or higher in practices relating to your own
constitution, one repeatedly comes to see the way in which seemingly
different realities and self-identities are only apparent, and that
manifestation is the mere play of the creative aspect of Shakti with
the static aspect of Shiva.
CONCEPTS OF SHIVA AND SHAKTI:
As with many principles of reality, some religious people and
traditions conceptualize Shiva and Shakti as anthropomorphic deities,
while others view the two as principles and processes of the
universe. In either case, the journey of Kundalini Awakening is an
inner experience, going from gross to subtle, to subtler, and subtle
most, to one's own center of consciousness, by whatever name you
choose to call that. In this article, Shiva and Shakti are seen to be
the two principles and processes of static and dynamic, as noted
several paragraphs above.
See also the article:
Secret of Shiva and Shakti
MEANING OF KUNDA AND KUNDALA:
Kunda means bowl, or cave, and refers to the bowl of fire of
consciousness resting in the first chakra at the base of the spine.
Lini refers to that which resides in that bowl. Kundala means coiled,
as the Shakti forms in a coil there.
MEANING OF SHAK:
The word shak is the root word of Shakti, and means to be able, or to
have power. Hence, Kundalini Shakti is the power of consciousness
that is coiled in a latent form, in the base of the spine.
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL PRACTICE:
For those who are lesser prepared, the path of external practices
(bahiyayag) is preferred, which may include external forms of rituals
or symbolic gestures. For those who are prepared, the path of
internal practices (antaryag) is available, which involves making the
mind one-pointed and doing introspection.
KAULA, MISHRA, AND SAMAYA TANTRA:
The three schools of tantra are kaula, mishra, and samaya. The kaula
school starts with the lower chakras, and involves external
practices. The mishra school also works with external practices, and
emphasizes the central chakras. The samaya school is the highest,
emphasizing the upper chakras. It involves no external practices,
focusing only on the inner (antaryag) practices. (The Tantra practice
of Yoga Nidra is extremely effective in opening, balancing and
purifying the chakras. See also the page describing the Yoga Nidra
REGULATING THE PRIMITIVE INCLINATIONS:
Before treading the later stages of Kundalini Awakening, it is very
important to manage the basic urges. Otherwise, the surge of energy
may not be handled very well. This means regulating the four
primitive fountains of food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation.
SPONTANEOUS KUNDALINI AWAKENING:
The approach of these writings is to describe the systematic process
of intentional Kundalini Awakening. However, it may also come
spontaneously to people who have done no intentional practices. One
may argue that spontaneous awakening may be coming as a result of
previous practices that are not remembered, but in either case the
perception of the individual may be that nothing was done to bring
forward the experience.
INTEGRATING THE EFFECTS:
Regardless of whether Kundalini Awakening comes spontaneously or
through practices, there may be some amount of time and effort needed
to integrate the effects of such experiences into the body and
personality. It is a time when stabilizing actions are important,
including daily exercise, high quality food, regular sleep patterns,
and healthy relationships with other people. During this time is very
useful to be around someone who has knowledge of this process, and
has experienced it personally.
PREPARATION IS MOST IMPORTANT:
Preparation is much more important than the practices of Kundalini
Awakening themselves. If one skips the basics and the preparation of
body, breath, and mind, then the surge of energy can be more
disruptive than beneficial. In the Himalayan tradition Yoga, Vedanta,
and Tantra go together, with a solid foundation being built first.
The practices of yoga nidra and bhuta shuddhi (chakra meditation) can
be quite useful.
Let the Bud of Life Bloom
A Guide to Raising Happy and Healthy Children
By Swami Rama
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
TEACHING MEDITATION TO CHILDREN
When you practice meditation, initially you come in touch with
yourself and all your thought patterns; you come to understand your
inner dialogue. Then, you learn to discriminate—to select and reject;
and finally, you learn how to work with yourself. These seeds should
be sown in childhood.
Instead, believers of all faiths, clinging to external rituals,
impose their ideals on their children and force them to participate
in their time-honored customs. Children are taught to love and to
worship pictures of Christ, Krishna, or other gods and goddesses, and
sometimes even community or religious leaders. This does not help
them to become independent or to acquire peace of mind. Children need
to be taught how to cultivate divine virtues within themselves; they
need to be taught how to look within, and how to find within in order
to attain freedom. I think if everyone were to be given a spiritual
education in childhood, they would have fewer problems living in the
world. Without understanding the values of spirituality, with all its
currents and crosscurrents, one becomes lost living in this jungle
that is called world. The world is the real jungle; that which is
considered to be the jungle is not the real jungle.
Most diseases originate in childhood. Children become ill because
they have not learned the means of acquiring peace of mind. Why do
you not lead your children to silence before they learn to be active?
Mothers can do this if they are friends with their children. But
these days mothers have no time. They go out and enjoy themselves
while their children remain at home. The lack of communication
between the younger generation and the parents is creating great
chaos. First of all, you have to learn to respect the family
institution where parents become counselors to their children, and
where children accept their parents, not only as parents, but also as
When you make meditation a part of your life, your children will
follow your example. Exemplary education is very important for
children. Children imitate their parents; you don't have to teach
them to meditate. Never do that. You should teach your children
through example how to sit quietly and make their minds one-pointed.
When you sit in meditation, your child will also come and sit next to
you and pretend to do what you are doing. In this way the child will
come to know what you are doing and will also form the habit of
sitting with you.
I used to do that in my childhood. When my master would sit in
meditation, I would sit next to him. When I wanted his attention, I
would climb onto his lap. He wouldn't say anything to me, so I would
do something to get his attention. Then he would rub my forehead, and
I did not know what had happened. I am sure I was not sleeping. If
you sit in meditation, and your child comes and sits next to you and
closes his eyes, it is very helpful for the child. Do you think the
child is meditating? I say the child is meditating better than you
are. Even when a child simply imitates you when you are meditating,
it is very helpful for the child.
Meditation is a very powerful thing that gives helpful vibrations to
all. When you meditate, it definitely affects your children. If you
record the brain waves of a child who is sleeping while you are
meditating, you will find a difference. Even your plants and your
pets are affected when you meditate. Instead of imposing your ego or
your emotional problems on your children in the name of discipline,
please discipline yourself, and then your children will also learn.
As a part of our educational training we must define spirituality in
its most precise and universal terms. Spirituality means that which
helps us to discipline our thoughts, speech, and actions; that which
leads us toward the center of consciousness, and thereby helps to
unfold our inner potentials. Education based on such spiritual
guidelines will help humanity to become self-reliant and confident.
Only education based on spirituality can bring harmonious balance to
both our external and inner life.
We need not force children to believe that there is a God. However,
we should provide them with the opportunity to unfold their inner
potentials, to gain confidence, and to become inspired to search for
God according to their own inner tendencies and capacity. For
children to learn to cultivate divine virtues within themselves, the
knowledge of theories that prove the existence of God is not as
important as to learn how to discipline oneself. Through self-
discipline God can be experienced directly.
Spiritual practices, undertaken at an early age, have a profound and
long lasting effect. Human beings have tremendous potential provided
they are taught to train themselves on all levels—physical, mental,
and spiritual. Let us teach our children how to become aware of
themselves on all levels. With a calm and one-pointed mind, children
can obtain a glimpse of true peace and happiness.
MEDITATION ON SAGUNA (FORM) AND NIRGUNA (FORMLESS),
KNOWLEDGE AND DEVOTION
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Recorded December 23, 2006
1 hour, 13 minutes, 9 seconds
Click here to listen to the audio Podcast:
This conversation is about Saguna and Nirguna, and the paths of
meditation and contemplation with form or without form, which is
related to the paths of Knowing (Jnana Yoga) and Devotion (Bhakti
Yoga). The discussion involves the approaches individually, and how
the work together. The recording ends with a 17-minute guided
contemplative meditation on either Form or the Formless, which begins
SWAMIJ.COM AUDIO PODCAST WEB PAGE & ARCHIVES:
SWAMI J PODCAST also available through I-Tunes, Podcast.net,
Yahoo.com, Odeo.com and others.
From Sacred Journey
By Swami Rama
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
ATTACHMENT IS THE GREATEST OBSTACLE TO REALIZATION
The greatest obstacle in the path of realization is attachment to the
body and to the objects of the world. This attachment makes us
slaves. It is because of our attachments that we experience fear of
death and loss. The more body-conscious and body-attached a person
is, the greater the fear of dying.
The same principle applies to people who are attached to the things
of the world, to their houses, property, clothing, jewelry, and
money. They fear losing those things because they somehow offer
meaning, identity, and worth. People also become very attached to
other people. The emotion they feel for others gives them an identity
and they fear giving up that identity in death. They fear the deaths
of those to whom they are attached for similar reasons. If one's
identity is somehow defined by attachment to others, the death of
others then affects that identity.
The solution is to do away with these attachments to the body,
property, possessions, and other people. This point cannot be made
often enough. Reducing and finally eliminating attachments does not
mean to escape life, to deny the enjoyment of life, or in any way to
diminish life's value. Just the opposite occurs. Life is enhanced,
enriched and expanded by reducing attachments. The person learns to
love and give and open up to others and to the events of the world.
Attachment means to grip, clasp, grasp, and hold on tightly. When
death comes all that was being clutched and grasped is wrenched away.
The tighter something is held, the greater will be the wrenching
away, the deeper will be the pain. If life has been led with open
hands, with no attachments, then death comes but there is nothing to
be wrenched away.
We cannot all of a sudden wake one moment and let go of all
attachments. It is a lifetime's work to undo the habit of forming
attachments and requires attention every day, because the attractions
and temptations of the world constantly work to strengthen
TRANSITIONS: NEW YEARS AND NEW MOMENTS
IN LIFE AND MEDITATION
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Recorded December 30, 2006
1 hour, 9 minutes, 25 seconds
Click here to listen to the audio Podcast:
The transition from one year to the next year happens in an
infinitely short moment that is actually non-existent in time. So
too, there are transitions in the moments of life and the moments of
meditation. Mindfulness of transitions in daily life and during
meditation time is extremely useful on the spiritual journey to
enlightenment. The recording ends with a 15-minute guided
contemplative meditation on Transitions, which begins at 54:42.
SWAMIJ.COM AUDIO PODCAST WEB PAGE & ARCHIVES:
SWAMI J PODCAST also available through I-Tunes, Podcast.net,
Yahoo.com, Odeo.com and others.
REASON FOR THE EIGHT RUNGS OF YOGA
The Eight Rungs of Yoga are well known, and are (including Yoga Sutra
1) Yama: codes of restraint, abstinences (2.30, 2.31)
2) Niyama: observances, self-training (2.32)
3) Asana: meditation posture (2.46-2.48)
4) Pranayama: expansion of breath and prana (2.49-2.53)
5) Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses (2.54-2.55)
6) Dharana: concentration (3.1)
7) Dhyana: meditation (3.2)
8) Samadhi: deep absorption (3.3)
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are together known as Samyama, which is
described in Sutras 3.4-3.6:
However, WHAT IS THE REASON for doing those Eight Rungs? This is
often overlooked. The Eight Rungs are presented in the 29th Sutra of
Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras. The reason for doing them is presented
in the three sutras just before that. According to Patanjali,
codifier of the Yoga Sutras, the reason for the eight rungs is
DISCERNMENT or DISCRIMINATION (viveka) so that one may gradually
reveal the true self that remains after all of the false identities
are set aside. It is an extremely important principle for the Yogi or
Yogini to be aware of. All of the work with body, breath, and the
more surface levels of mind is done so as to cultivate this subtler
tool of enlightenment.
From YOGA SUTRAS 2.26-2.29:
Clear, distinct, unimpaired DISCRIMINATIVE KNOWLEDGE is the means of
liberation from this alliance [referring to the alliance of
consciousness with thoughts and avidya, ignorance described in
previous sutras]. Seven kinds of ultimate insight come to one who has
attained this degree of discrimination. Through the practice of the
different limbs, or steps to Yoga, whereby impurities are eliminated,
there arises an illumination that culminates in DISCRIMINATIVE
WISDOM, or enlightenment [VIVKEKA KHYATIH]. The eight rungs, limbs,
or steps of Yoga are the codes of self-regulation or restraint
(yamas), observances or practices of self-training (niyamas),
postures (asana), expansion of breath and prana (pranayama),
withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana),
meditation (dhyana), and perfected concentration (samadhi).
MORE INFO from the website on the Reason for the Eight Rungs:
NEWSLETTER on Yoga Sutras:
MAIN PAGE of Yoga Sutras:
INTRODUCTION to Yoga Sutras:
Just address an email to Yoga-Meditation@yahoogroups.com
Jump to a particular message