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FOUR PATHS OF YOGA:
JNANA, BHAKTI, KARMA, RAJA
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
The four paths of Yoga are Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and
Raja Yoga. These four paths of Yoga are aspects of a whole that is
called Yoga. The four paths of Yoga work together, like fingers on a
YOGA IS THE PREEXISTING UNION: Yoga means the realization in direct
experience of the preexisting union between the individual
consciousness and the universal consciousness. There are different
ways of expressing this, including that Atman is one with Brahman,
Jivatman is one with Paramatman, or Shiva and Shakti are one and the
same. Each of these ways of saying it come from a different viewing
point, while they are not essentially different points of view. They
all point in the same general direction of union or Yoga.
NOT MERELY UNION OF BODY AND MIND: It has become common to say that
this union is merely the union of the physical body and the mind.
This allows both teachers and practitioners to dodge the true meaning
of Yoga so as to present it as being something other than a spiritual
path such as only physical health or fitness. It also allows people
to avoid any sense of conflict with limited religious views that have
no place for such high direct experience.
THE FOUR PATHS OF YOGA: There are four traditional schools of Yoga,
and these are: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Raja Yoga.
While a Yogi or Yogini may focus exclusively on one of these
approaches to Yoga, that is quite uncommon. For the vast majority of
practitioners of Yoga, a blending of the four traditional types of
Yoga is most appropriate. One follows his or her own predisposition
in balancing these different forms of Yoga.
1) JNANA YOGA: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom,
introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the
nature our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false
2) BHAKTI YOGA: Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love,
compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in
the context of remembering the Divine.
3) KARMA YOGA: Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others,
mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling
our actions or karma in the world.
4) RAJA YOGA: Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes
meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals
with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind.
INTEGRATION: It is popular these days for a teacher or institution to
develop some approach to Yoga that "synthesizes" or "integrates"
these four paths of Yoga (along with other component aspects of
Yoga). However, that is misleading in that they were never really
divided in the first place. It is not a matter of pasting together
separate units. Rather, they are all a part of the whole which is
called Yoga. Virtually all people have a predisposition towards one
or the other, and will naturally want to emphasize those practices.
OTHER PATHS OF YOGA: Yoga is traditionally taught orally, rather than
organized in books, which naturally are linear in nature, and are
clustered into chapters. In oral teachings, there is a natural
movement from one to another of the aspects of Yoga, including
between the four paths of Yoga. Books and organization are useful,
but we need to remember that Yoga is, in fact, a whole which has
different aspects. For example, in the text Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
Hatha Yoga (often called "physical yoga") is described as also
related to Kundalini Yoga. It also explains that the purpose of Hatha
Yoga is Raja Yoga. Thus, we can easily see the relationship of Hatha
Yoga and Kundalini Yoga as being parts or aspects of Raja Yoga, which
is one of the traditional four paths of Yoga.
WE CAN'T ABANDON THE OTHERS: While it is definitely true that we each
have predispositions towards one or another of the four paths of
Yoga, we cannot really avoid or abandon the others.
1) JNANA YOGA: While Jnana Yoga deals with knowledge, wisdom,
introspection and contemplation, everybody has a mind and at some
point will need to examine it, wherein quiet reflection naturally
2) BHAKTI YOGA: All people will experience emotions such as love,
compassion, and devotion at points along the journey, regardless of
which of the four paths of Yoga is predominant.
3) KARMA YOGA: Nobody can live in a body and the world without doing
actions. Even a renunciate living in a Himalayan cave has to do some
form of actions, and thus, some degree of Karma Yoga is essential.
4) RAJA YOGA: Everybody will become still and quite from sadhana or
spiritual practices, will naturally encounter and deal with
attractions and aversion, and will meditate, thus touching on Raja
YOGA CLASSES: One thing that can lead to some confusion about the
four paths of Yoga is the modern "yoga class" which often focuses
mostly (if not completely) on physical postures. By referring to
postures classes as "yoga classes" one is left with the false
impression that this, unto itself, is the meaning of "Yoga." It is
important to understand that asanas (postures) are a small, though
surely useful, part of Yoga. It would be far better that such classes
be called "postures classes" though that seems now unlikely to
happen. In any case, the seeker of the authentic goals of Yoga will
need to discern amongst usages of the word "Yoga" so as to follow the
four paths of Yoga.
CHOOSING A PATH: Although the four paths of Yoga work together, along
with the companion aspects of Yoga, it is extremely useful to be
mindful of which of the four paths of Yoga is most in alignment with
your own predispositions. By identifying that path, it can be
emphasized in life, and the others can be wisely, lovingly used to
enhance the chosen path of Yoga.
DAILY PROGRAMS IN FLORIDA
EVERY DAY OF FEBRUARY 2008
6 hours per day of time together
Please see this page for complete info:
During the month of February 2008 we will be having programs every
day, including our regular daily meditations at 11:30 am and 6:00 pm.
The spirit of the gatherings is that of old friends who are very
sincere about the practices getting together to learn and laugh, to
meditate and contemplate, and to spend some time away from home to
reconnect with the deeper, quieter aspects of yourself.
Many of our gatherings here have historically been spontaneous (often
after evening meditation), and this has been quite enjoyable,
flexible, insightful and fun. Some of our times will have themes,
which we'll choose on the basis of program participants. If you have
a specific topic request, please let me know. We'll surely have a
wide range of discussions, training and practices, both in groups and
Whoever is here will come together in a sense of community, with our
schedules being flexible, while punctual. Out of state or country
visitors can stay at hotels or condos at the beach, while local
people are also welcome to participate in all activities.
Please let me know of your wishes or intent about coming for this,
including what you think will be your approximate arrival date and
departure date. If you live in the Fort Walton Beach area, please let
me know how much time you think you'll be involved, as well as if
you'd like to be available to help with organizing.
In loving service,
The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of the SwamiJ.com website has
been revised and has over 25 questions and responses. These really are
questions that I am often asked. If you regularly visit the website or
read this newsletter, you will probably enjoy some of the responses and
find them useful.
FAQs from SwamiJ.com
In loving service,
THE PRACTICE OF KARMA YOGA
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
The practice of Karma Yoga does not demand that you should possess
enormous wealth. You can serve with your mind and body. If you find a
poor sick man lying on the road side, give him some water or milk to
drink. Cheer him up with sweet, encouraging words. Put him in a
carriage and take him to the nearest hospital. If you have no money
to pay for the carriage, carry the patient on your back and see that
he is admitted into the hospital. If you do service like this, your
heart will be purified. God is more pleased with such sort of service
for the poor helpless people than with the service done by rich
people with pomp and vanity....
A Karma Yogi should be absolutely free from lust, greed, anger and
egoism. Even if there are traces of these, he should try to remove
them. He should not expect any kind of fruits for his actions herein
and hereafter. He should not have any desire for name and fame,
approbation, thirst for applause, admiration and gratitude. He must
have a spotless character. He should try to possess this gradually.
He should be humble and free from hatred, jealousy, harshness, etc.
He should always speak sweet words....
By doing selfless service you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred,
jealousy, ideas of superiority and all the kindred negative qualities
will vanish. You will develop humility, pure love, sympathy,
tolerance and mercy. Sense of separateness will be annihilated.
Selfishness will be eradicated. You will get a broad and liberal
outlook on life. You will begin to feel oneness and unity. Eventually
you will obtain knowledge of the Self. You will realize One in all
and All in one.
From the extensive article:
BINDU AND THE THREE STREAMS
OF YOGA, VEDANTA, AND TANTRA
(Summary of the article)
EXPERIENCES COLLAPSE INTO THE BINDU: There is a stage of Advanced
Meditation in which all experiences collapse, so to speak, into a
point from which all experiences arose in the first place. It is near
the end of the mind itself, after which one travels beyond or
transcends the mind and its contents. It is the doorway to the
Absolute or Truth (by whatever name you call it). The Bindu is an
actual, directly experienced reality.
BINDU IS THE CONVERGENCE: The Bindu, Mustard Seed, Dot and Point are
widely used symbols. The Bindu is the convergence point of the
highest principles and practices of Raja Yoga as codified in the Yoga
Sutras, Advaita Vedanta as summarized in the Mandukya Upanishad, and
the highest Tantra, which is Samaya (Internal) Tantra and Sri Vidya.
1) YOGA: Meditation on OM Mantra is recommended in the Yoga Sutras
(1.23-1.29) as a direct means of removing the obstacles to Self-
Realization and to that Realization itself. The Bindu at the top of
the OM symbolizes Turiya, the Absolute Reality, Purusha or Pure
Consciousness that is to be realized.
2) VEDANTA: Contemplation on the four levels symbolized by OM Mantra
is at the very heart of Vedanta practice leading to Self-Realization,
the pinnacle of which is outlined in the Mandukya Upanishad. Here
again, the Bindu at the top of the OM symbolizes Turiya, the Absolute
Reality, Purusha or Pure Consciousness that is to be realized.
3) TANTRA: Meditation in Tantra is on the convergence of all
energies, with the highest of those inner practices being in Samaya
Tantra and Sri Vidya, which is represented by the Sri Yantra. The
Bindu at the center of the Sri Yantra symbolizes the final union of
Shiva and Shakti (the static and active), the Absolute Reality that
is to be realized.
BINDU ALLOWS PRACTICES TO BE SEEN AS COMPATIBLE: It is extremely
useful to have a means of holding in mind all of the many practices
of the various aspects of Yoga and Meditation, as well as of
Contemplation, Prayer, and Mantra. By seeing that each of these leads
towards the Bindu, the different practices can be held as compatible
and parallel with one another, rather than contradictory or of
CONSCIOUSLY, INTENTIONALLY REMEMBER THE BINDU: One of the most
beautiful aspects of this focus on Bindu is that all people can do
this, whether or not you have absolutely or finally decided on your
own conceptions of the nature of yourself, your Self, the universe,
God, Absolute or Truth, etc. If you already have your own concepts,
you can use your awareness of the existence of Bindu as a guiding
light. Or, if not, you can focus on the practices and processes that
are leading towards the Bindu, and then allow your own direct
experience of whatever is discovered beyond the Bindu to speak for
itself. Both ways work quite well when remembering that the practices
along the way all converge on the point called Bindu, which leads to
By focusing the mind on `I am', on the sense of being, `I am so-and-so"
dissolves; `am a witness only' remains and that too submerges in `I am
all'. Then the all becomes the One and the One – yourself, not to be
separate from me. Abandon the idea of a separate `I' and the question
of `whose experience?' will not arise. On a deeper level my experience
is your experience. Dive deep within yourself and you will find it
easily and simply. Go in the direction of `I am'.
NEW VIDEO (5:34Minutes)
Diaphragmatic Breathing for Advanced Yoga Meditation
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Proper diaphragmatic breathing is a central foundation practice for
one who wishes to move on to advanced meditation, to experience the
highest direct experiences of Yoga. One of the challenges to
breathing diaphragmatically is in knowing exactly where the diaphragm
is located, and how it works. When breathing diaphragmatically, the
muscles of the abdomen, chest, and clavicles are not involved. They
remain still, while the diaphragm gently contracts on inhalation, and
releases on exhalation. Breath is an extremely useful part of the
systematic process of Yoga meditation, which leads one beyond the
breath to the finer, subtler practices and experiences. There is
tremendous value in understanding the process of breathing, and in
diligently, gently practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
From Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom
Volume One of Yoga the Sacred Science
(Lectures on the Yoga Sutras)
By Swami Rama
STUMBLING AND GETTING UP
When you start practicing you will stumble many times. I have
stumbled many times, even despite having a great force behind me—my
master, several other sages, and the grace of God. I had a fire
within so that no matter how many times I stumbled I would get up
again. I did not give up. You give up too soon. You close your eyes
and if you do not see anything in meditation, you say, "My method is
not good. My mantra is not good." You go on collecting mantras. You
do not do meditation but you have a long collection of mantras. You
have wasted so much money, and you have not done any real meditation.
In abhyasa [practice] and meditation, on this path of enlightenment,
you have to be very patient and strong and persistent. When a child
stumbles, she gets up again because she wants to walk. It is her
right to walk. It is your right to walk on the path and finally reach
the goal. Do not postpone it for the next lifetime. Do it here and
now, in this lifetime. You do not attain anything overnight; you will
stumble many times like a child stumbles when she starts learning to
walk. When you practice you will experience, and when you experience
you will find that conscience is strengthened and guides you again
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the trademarked Transcendental Meditation®
(TM®) program, left the body on Tuesday, February 5, 2008. Om
THEISM, ATHEISM, NONDUALISM, CONTEMPLATION, AND SHAKTIPAT
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
AUDIO RECORDING (PODCAST)
Presentation by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati at the annual conference of
the Center for Non-Dualism in Fort Walton Beach, Florida on February
23, 2008. The talk blends three topics: 1) Theism, Atheism, and Non-
Dualism; 2) How do I contemplate? What are "great" contemplations? 3)
What is shaktipat? How does it work?
Mahavakyas (great contemplations)
STAGES OF YOGA VEDANTA MEDITATION AND CONTEMPLATION
Meditation and contemplation are two different techniques, yet they
are complementary to each other. Meditation is a definite method of
training oneself on all levels – body, breath, conscious mind, and
unconscious mind – while contemplation builds a definite philosophy.
Without the support of a solid philosophy, the method of meditation
does not lead to higher dimensions of consciousness.
Contemplation makes one aware of the existence of the Reality, but
Reality can be experienced only through the higher techniques of
meditation. In the Vedanta system, meditation and contemplation are
both used. When an aspirant tires of meditation because of lack of
endurance, then he contemplates on the mahavakyas [great
contemplations] and studies those scriptures that are helpful in the
path of Self-realization and enlightenment. Contemplation, vichara,
complements the Vedantic way of meditation, dhyana.
Mahavakyas (great contemplations)
In Vedanta philosophy, there is a definite method used for
contemplation. Ordinarily, the mind remains busy in self-dialogue,
entangled in the web of its thought patterns. Because of desires,
feelings, and emotions, unmanageable conflicts are created in one's
mental life. But the Vedanta way of contemplating transforms the
entire personality of the aspirant, for the statements, mahavakyas,
imparted by the preceptor create a dynamic change in the values of
his life. These statements are compact, condensed, and abstruse
srutis and cannot be understood without the help of a preceptor who
is fully knowledgeable of the scriptures and these terse texts. Only
a realized teacher can impart the profundity of such knowledge in a
The thoughts, feelings, and desires which were once important to the
aspirant lose their value, for he has only one goal to attain. The
glory of contemplation brings a dynamic transformation to the
internal states of the aspirant. This seems to be very necessary,
because that which creates a barrier or becomes an obstacle for
students loses its strength due to the power of contemplation, which
transforms all his internal states.
First, an aspirant attentively listens to the sayings of the
Upanishads from a preceptor who is Brahman-conscious all the time.
In the second step, he practices vichara (contemplation), which means
that he goes to the depths of the great sayings and determines to
practice them with mind, action, and speech.
One-pointed devotion, full determination, and dedication lead him to
the higher step called nididhyasana. Here he acquires comprehensive
knowledge of the Ultimate Truth. But he has not yet attained the
final step of consciousness that leads him to the direct realization
of the one self-existent Truth without second.
The highest state of contemplation is called saksatkara. In this
state, perception and conceptualization are in complete agreement,
and all the doubts from all levels of understanding vanish forever.
At this height of knowledge, truth reveals itself to the aspirant,
and perfect realization is accomplished, "I am Atman – I am Brahman."
This state of advaita is attained by the process of contemplation.
Meditation plays an entirely different role and helps the aspirant
make his mind one-pointed, inward, and steady.
Steadiness and stillness are practiced from the very beginning in
this meditational method. The method of sitting, the method of
breathing, the method of concentration, and the method of allowing a
concentrated mind to flow uninterruptedly are subsequent steps that
help the aspirant to expand his capacity so that he can contemplate
My dear friend Swami Ma Chetan Jyoti has left the body in Rishikesh,
India on afternoon of Sunday, 20 April 2008. She was at peace.
From: Conscious Living
By Swami Rama
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Death is a solemn experience, a change from which no one can escape.
One who does not prepare for it is a fool.
The discussion about life after death has been going on since the
dawn of history, but no definite conclusion about the immortality of
the soul can be reached by those who are on an intellectual plane and
are not spiritually awakened. It is not possible to understand what
exists after death by intellectual arguments or discussions. The
absolute Truth cannot be scientifically proven because it cannot be
observed, verified, or demonstrated by sense perceptions. The Atman
is beyond sense perceptions. Scientific experimentation, confined by
its own limitations, cannot reveal the highest truth. That is why the
scientists cannot reach any concrete conclusions on the immortality
of the soul and life hereafter, and nothing can convince them either.
The materialist finds it difficult to believe that anything continues
to exist after death. One who lives on sense perceptions only cannot
catch a glimpse of the beyond.
One has certain expectations of life after death according to his or
her religious beliefs. People dream of immortality and wish for
heaven. They comfort one another with the thought that the departed
loved one is now with God forever. The religious hold that in heaven
there are plenty of watersheds, fruits, beautiful women, music,
dancing, and so on. Followers of certain sects believe in a heaven of
heroes where battles are fought against their enemies and against
ferocious animals. All these heavens are nothing but mental realms
where one's highest desires are allegedly fulfilled.
Everyone has certain desires that they consider to be the most
delectable, and at the same time they wish for a realm where such
desires could possibly be fulfilled. Therefore, the longing for a
heaven projects a realm that is a replica of the heaven one has
sought to achieve. This heaven is a projection of one's own ideas and
desires that is no more real than are dreams. When a person dreams,
she may think she is in heaven till she wakes up. On waking, the
reality of the dream vanishes. Dreams and heavens are realities only
under certain conditions.
The idea of heaven was conceived by the ancient seers of India, but
they did not consider it to be an eternal state, as some religions
do. Outside of Hinduism and Buddhism, the concept of heaven implies
an eternal existence. According to Hindu philosophy, the idea of an
eternal heaven is a practical impossibility. Heaven or any other kind
of existence after death is not static but is determined by one's own
thoughts and actions. Those who experience heavenly realms and enjoy
celestial pleasures can do so only as long as their good deeds and
thoughts entitle them to. There is always a limit to good deeds and
thoughts, and likewise, there will be a limit to the results accruing
from them. The word eternal denotes that which is beginningless and
endless. According to Vedanta, heaven cannot by its nature be
eternal, for all things that are subject to the laws of time, space,
and causation are impermanent and perishable. All worldly pleasures
are limited by time; they do not continue forever. Celestial
pleasures are akin to the pleasures of the world. Even though they
may be experienced for a long time, they must eventually come to an
end. Those desires that cannot be fulfilled anywhere except in the
world will bring the soul back to the physical plane of existence.
At the time of death the soul discards the body, its outer garment.
Yama told Nachiketa that after the body is dead and destroyed, the
soul continues to exist. There are spiritual realms where the soul
remains without the help of the physical body or the phenomena of the
material universe. These realms are not cognizable to the sense
organs and can be perceived only through spiritual intuition.
Unrealized souls remain in the realm of the departed ones for an
uncertain period after death. They have gone through the ordinary
process of death because they could not realize the true nature of
the real Self on this plane.
Much of the fear associated with death is the fear that death may be
painful. The process of death itself is not painful; it merely
changes conditions. Lack of preparation and attachment are the cause
of the pain experienced at the time of death. Death is never painful
for one who is prepared and has acquired knowledge of Atman. Such an
individual remains detached from the body and bodily senses, and is
unaffected by bodily changes. Death may be painful and lead to a
sorrowful state when the soul is very attached to the physical plane,
things of the world, or individuals. At the time of death such a soul
suffers and goes through agony because it is unable to completely let
go of those attachments.
Between life and death there is an intermediate state in which prana
ceases functioning. If one is not prepared for this moment, he will
suffer mental tortures and will not be able to explain or express
anything to others. One who has known the Reality is saved from this
In the transition of death, before the external vehicle is completely
dropped, those who are not enlightened experience various temporary
levels or realms, pleasant or painful, respectively—depending on
previously performed, positive or negative, karmas. For example, in
pitriloka we meet our ancestors or dear ones, and in svargaloka we
enjoy various pleasures. The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Garuda
Purana of Hinduism explain extensively the stages through which one
passes in the process of discarding the body.
There are different heavenly realms, lower and higher, depending on
the purity and impurity of one's mental constituents that remain even
after the physical body is dropped. For the ignorant, death is a long
and deep sleep, interspersed with dreamlike heavenly or hellish
visions. Those who claim to communicate with departed souls are
either hallucinating or lying. When someone is in deep sleep, it is
not possible to communicate with anyone. Only enlightened souls can
communicate with others after death because they remain fully
conscious all the time.
Those who have performed good deeds, have led righteous and selfless
lives, and have obtained some perfection in this life, can enjoy a
clear vision of the divine Self in the highest realm. However, the
wise say that the highest attainment and realization of the Self can
be had only in this very life. Heavenly realms like pitriloka and
svargaloka cannot reveal the highest truth. Liberation cannot be
attained in these realms and the various pleasures of heaven can
hinder the soul from realizing the Atman. Self-realization is
possible only here in this life and not after death. Those who
believe that they can realize the real Self in the realm of the
departed soul after death will be sadly disillusioned. Those who do
not realize the immortal nature of the Atman before the dissolution
of the body lose the great opportunity which comes through a human
birth. The attainment of Brahman is possible only here in this life
and not in life hereafter.
According to Vedanta the human being consists of five sheaths or
koshas: the gross, physical sheath (annamaya sharira), the sheath of
prana (pranamaya sharira), the mental sheath (manomaya sharira), the
sheath of intellect (vijnanamaya sharira), and the blissful sheath
(anandamaya sharira). They are called sheaths because they cover the
Atman as a sheath covers a sword. They are described as being formed
of successive layers, one upon another. The physical sheath is the
outermost, and the blissful sheath is the innermost. The Atman
remains separate and detached from all these five sheaths.
At the time of death the physical body, along with the conscious
mind, are separated from the immortal part. There are no sense
perceptions after death because the sense organs are left behind with
the body. Senses do not function on the subtle level.
In the process of discarding the outer vehicles or sheaths after
death, one comes briefly in touch with the blissful sheath,
anandamaya sharira. Those persons who have documented near death
experiences are describing this brief contact when they speak of
being drawn to a brilliant light that overwhelms them with love. Such
experiences are possible but they have nothing to do with Self-
realization or enlightenment. These momentary experiences do not have
the capability to transform anyone or bestow extraordinary powers
such as clairvoyance or the energy to heal others. If one remains in
darkness and ignorance through-out life, how is it possible to come
in touch with the Atman even for a brief moment at the time of death?
If a lamp has many coverings, the light can be seen but it is very
dim. When all the coverings are removed, the light is clearly
visible. To see the light is not enlightenment, but to realize the
light within is the real experience. This is not the light of the
sun, moon, or stars; it is the light of wisdom and eternal bliss.
There is no other experience comparable to enlightenment. Death has
no power to enlighten anyone. The seeker should make sincere efforts
to prepare for the next step and should try to attain enlightenment
here and now while on the earthly plane, instead of hoping to be
enlightened after death.
Ignorant souls go to heaven or return to earth for the satisfaction
of their unfulfilled desires. He who desires is born. One who does
not desire is not reborn. According to the theory of rebirth, a soul
is born again and again, depending on the merits or demerits of its
actions, so that in every successive birth it may acquire more and
more knowledge, and in the end attain perfect liberation.
This theory of rebirth cannot be proved by modern scientific methods.
A scientific approach can only treat it as a plausible theory which
is in conformity with the laws of cause and effect, that are the very
basis of the physical universe. The rishis of the Upanishads were not
impressed by the theory of eternal retribution in heaven or hell, for
such a hypothesis is based on a disproportionate relationship between
cause and effect. Life on earth is short and full of temptations. To
inflict upon the soul eternal punishment for the errors of a few
years, or even of a whole lifetime, is to throw to the winds all
sense of proportion. The ancient seers developed the doctrine of
rebirth on a rational basis, showing that it is unfulfilled desires
that bring about a soul's embodiment. The length of time the soul
must spend in the transition of death before taking another body is
solely dependent on the intensity of desires. There is no hard and
fast rule set by nature.
Many western philosophers such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato
believed in the theory of rebirth. Nowhere in the Christian Bible and
Zoroastrian scriptures has the doctrine of rebirth been explicitly
mentioned, nor has either prophet repudiated the theory of rebirth.
The reason is that during the period of Christ and Zoroaster it was a
Believing or not believing is not the important consideration for
one's spiritual uplift. The fact is that if almighty God is kind and
merciful and decides human destiny, there should not be any disparity
in His creation. Equality is the law of the Absolute, and disparity
is humanity's making. According to the doctrine of rebirth, we are
all fully responsible for our lives here and hereafter. Each person
is born into a world that has been fashioned through the personal
karmas of his or her past.
The soul, after fulfilling its desires through the manifestation of
the body, discards the body and assumes a fresh form. According to
our desires and tendencies, we are born on a higher or lower plane
consisting of the various gradations in the subtleties, the levels of
purification, of the subtlest sheaths. We must not forget that we are
the creators of our future destiny through our thoughts and deeds. It
is foolish to think that God punishes the wicked and rewards the
We do not consciously choose the factors of our next rebirth. They
are determined, or chosen, by our previous actions, thoughts, and
desires. This accumulation of grooves or samskaras that define a
person superficially as personality, travels from one birth to the
next. The grooves shift like dunes on the desert, responding to the
experiences and will of the person. They change shape and influence
over great expanses of time, creating different personalities and
different incarnations, but all moving toward ultimate liberation.
The grooves determine the characteristics of the incarnation—whether
male or female, what parents, any siblings, which station in life,
the lifespan with how much suffering, how much joy, and so on. There
is nothing arbitrary about it. The birth is perfectly matched to the
spiritual needs of the evolving individual soul.
Those who have realized the transient nature of life on earth or in
heaven seek to avoid the endless repetition of births and deaths.
They aspire for Brahma loka, the highest reality beyond the heavens
from which one never returns. The realized individual remains fully
aware in all conditions—while living in a human body, and during the
state of death. The knower of Brahman does not go to any realm or
heaven, nor does the knower become anything other than what it has
always been—the Atman, the Self of all. After dropping the physical
garment, the realized soul remains in a state of perpetual bliss and
happiness, and infinite love and wisdom. The knower of Atman is like
a person who has awakened from sleep and dreams no more; she is like
a blind person whose sight has been restored. A liberated soul who
has direct experience of the Atman does not come back to the physical
plane unless he chooses to return to serve others. Such a jivanmukta
is no longer tossed into the dualities like bondage versus liberation.
The enlightened soul has burned all the strands of karma which bind
other human beings. Such a one wields free will and chooses whether
to be reborn or to merge with the Absolute. If the choice is for
rebirth, the circumstances of that birth are also consciously
selected. Such souls, according to Buddhism, are called arhats.
The secret that has been revealed by the King of Death is the
greatest of all secrets for every human being who wishes to know
where he will live after death. For ordinary mortals this remains a
secret for many births to come. The mysteries of life and death and
life hereafter are known to only a fortunate few.
Humanity has learned so much about the material world and how to
overtake nature. They have worked hard to know the secrets of birth,
and have found ways to make the process of birth easier and less
painful. However they have not learned to prepare properly for dying.
Death is not frightening, but that which is frightening is fear of
death. Death is like a mother that gives solace to those who have
wasted their time and energy in enjoying the world—just like chewing
on a husk that has very little content and does not at all quench the
Death is but a comma and not a full stop. Death is a solemn
experience, a change from which no one can escape. One who does not
prepare for it is a fool.
The real Self cannot die. It continues to exist even when the
physical sheath is destroyed. The physical self is the gross medium
that remains latent in the Atman. When the physical body is
destroyed, the subtle substance of the body remains the same. Nothing
is ever lost in the universe. Cosmic energy continues from eternity
Modern science has discovered that everything in this world is but
the product of vibrations which impel energy particles to attract
other energy particles. Solid matter has successively been reduced to
these empty particles, and then to electromagnetic waves, that have
ultimately come to be understood to be forms of energy. In the
philosophy of yoga, all that exists and happens in this universe is
the result of motions and vibrations, the cause of which is the
cosmic energy or prana. All animate and inanimate objects of this
universe are made of the vibration of prana. This vibration of prana
is at the root of all universal phenomena and is the prime cause of
all events happening in the universe. Prana is the cosmic life
principle and it has its own laws. Without prana the universe would
not exist. The eminent scientist, Sir Arthur Eddington, said that we
must remember that the concept of substance has disappeared from
fundamental physics and has been replaced by a concept of the
periodicity of waves. Modern science has indicated by experiment that
the world of physics is a mental phenomenon. It is therefore no
wonder that physics has virtually ended in metaphysics, thus
confirming the intuitional revelations of ancient rishis: Sarvam
khalvidam Brahma (Verily all this is Brahman).
The first manifestation of prana was space, akasha, which gradually
evolved into the phenomenal universe. According to Vedanta there is
no such thing as dead matter in the universe. The entire universe is
a living organism. Yama explained to Nachiketa that whatever exists
in this phenomenal world is but the manifestation of the vibration of
prana. According to Rik Veda the cosmic force existed before the
beginning of evolution and will continue to exist after the
dissolution of the manifested universe. From one mighty source all
the forces of nature have burst into manifestation. The universe is
the manifestation of that One who is the substratum of the universe.
There is no such thing as loss or gain of the vibration of prana in
By the power of prana and through the forces of evolution, the
internal and external worlds come into existence. The whole world is
eternal in its essential nature, but non-eternal in its external
form. When all the external forms of the universe are destroyed, the
formless substance—the mother energy of the universe—will continue to
exist from eternity to eternity.
Wherever there is life, there is some manifestation of intelligence.
Intelligence and life go together. This intelligence is of the inner
Self, which has as its instrument the life force, prana. It is really
the Self that lives and functions through the help of the pranic
The objective world is only one half of the universe. What we
perceive with our senses is not a complete world. The other half,
which includes the mind, thoughts, and emotions, cannot be explained
by the sense perceptions of external objects.
The five senses are the main doors through which the individual ego
comes into contact with the external world. These five senses are the
gates through which we receive the vibrations from the external
world. These vibrations are first carried into the brain cells.
Molecular changes take place in these cells and the vibrations are in
turn translated by the ego into sensations. Next, the sensations are
formed into percepts, which after a series of mental processes are
transformed into concepts. This goes on and on endlessly. When you
think of any object, you perceive instantaneously the mental image of
that thing. It is called a concept.
If an intelligent mind does not exist, there will be no perception.
Vedanta describes the position thus: "Finer than the sense organs are
the sensations, but the mind is beyond, and beyond the mind is the
intellect, and greater than the intellect is the cosmic ego. Beyond
the cosmic ego is the unmanifested One. This is the highest path that
reaches the ultimate Reality."
The pranic force has been given five names according to its different
functions in the physical body—prana, apana, vyana, udana, and
samana. In the human body the air which rises upward is prana, and
that which moves downward is apana. Vyana sweeps like a flame through
all the limbs, maintaining circulation of all fluids and energy,
throughout the body. Udana conducts the soul from the body at death,
and by virtue of samana nutrients are assimilated.
When the soul or jiva departs, it is followed by the vital energy,
prana. When the prana departs, all the other life supporting organs
follow. The breathing system is the vehicle of prana. It is the
breath that establishes the relationship between mind and body. When
inhalation and exhalation cease to function, death occurs. Physical
death is a change, but it does not annihilate the subconscious mind
The subtle powers of the five organs of action (the ability to speak,
to grasp, to move in the world, to procreate, and to excrete) and of
the five organs of sense perception, the five pranas, the manas, and
the buddhi constitute the subtle body. At the time of its rebirth,
the soul is accompanied by the subtle body. The gross body dissolves
at death, but the subtle body continues to exist. The subconscious
mind, which is the storehouse of merits and demerits, becomes the
vehicle for the jiva, or the soul. All the samskaras of our many
lives remain in the storehouse of our subconscious mind in a latent
state like seeds. The relation between the subtle body and the gross
body is akin to that of the seed and the plant. As the seed contains
all the qualities of the plant in the seed germ, so the subconscious
mind retains all the samskaras of our previous lives.
The Buddhists and the yogis believe in and discriminate between the
soul, the mind, and the body. The soul has not been created. It is
essentially consciousness and is perfect. After the dissolution of
the gross body, everything remains latent. The soul survives. Our
souls remain after death. If the soul is the real entity and
existence, there should be some way to experience it. Everyone who
undertakes the appropriate spiritual discipline can have this
Life and death are only different names for the same fact—the two
sides of one coin. One who goes beyond such differentiations can
conquer death and reach the other shore, that is, eternal life. A
person who understands the fundamental truth that the Atman is
immortal and all else is perishable, can solve the mystery of death.
Life after death can be experienced here in this very life by those
who have attained samadhi. Those who have realized their real Self
NEW VIDEO (9:10 Minutes)
YANTRA AND MANTRA OF SRI VIDYA TANTRA YOGA
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
VIDEO at YouTube:
In the Himalayan tradition, the aspirant breaks through the final
barrier through Samaya Tantra and Sri Vidya, after clearing the mind
through the practice of Yoga meditation as codified in the Yoga
Sutras by Patanjali, and practicing self-enquiry through Vedanta.
Vidya means knowing, and Sri Vidya is the highest of all aspects of
knowing, as it leads to the Absolute Truth. Yantra refers to the
visual form, and Sri Yantra is the form of that knowing. Central to
the practices is Maha-Tripura-Sundari, the great, beautiful one,
essence, consciousness, or reality that dwells in the three "cities"
(tri-pura, or three cities including: gross, subtle, causal; waking,
dreaming, sleeping; conscious, unconscious, subconscious). Sri (or
Shri) is conceptualized as the feminine creative force of Shakti that
is ultimately found to be one and the same with the static
conceptualized as masculine or Shiva.
For more information please see:
Below are brief descriptions of Nondualism from Wikipedia on several traditions:
Advaita, Buddhism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Sufism, and Taoism. The Wikipedia
description on Nondualism only includes these, so none are being excluded here
in this newsletter. I hope you enjoy these.
In loving service,
NONDUAL RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS
Advaita (Sanskrit a, not; dvaita, dual) is a nondual tradition from India, with
Advaita Vedanta, a branch of Hinduism, as its philosophical arm. The theory was
first consolidated by Sri Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century AD. Most
smarthas are adherents to this theory of the nature of the soul (Brahman).
According to Ramana Maharshi, the jnani (one who has realised the Self) sees no
individual ego, and does not regard himself (or anyone else) as a "doer" of
actions. The state of recognition is called jnana which means "knowledge" or
"wisdom" referring to the idea that in this state of being, one is constantly
aware of the Self. Bob Adamson (Melbourne, Australia), once a student of
Nisargadatta Maharaj, who belonged to the Navanath Sampradaya lineage, says that
a 'Jnani' is the 'knowing presence' which abides with all (of us) yet this
knowing is seemingly covered over by identification with the 'minds content'.
Ramesh Balsekar comments that it is in order for phenomenae to occur, that the
illusion of personal existence and doer-ship (ego) is present:
"Consciousness-at-rest is not aware of Itself. It becomes aware of Itself only
when this sudden feeling, I-am, arises, the impersonal sense of being aware. And
that is when Consciousness-at-rest becomes Consciousness-in-movement, Potential
energy becomes actual energy. They are not two. Nothing separate comes out of
Potential energy... That moment that science calls the Big Bang, the mystic
calls the sudden arising of awareness..."
However, teachers like Adamson point to the fact that the content of the mind is
known, recognized by a presence or awareness that is independent of the mind's
content. Adamson teaches that we form an identity based on the content of the
mind (feelings, sensations, hopes, dreams, thoughts), however our true identity
or nature is that which observes all of these things - the seer, the witness or
All schools of Buddhism teach No-Self (Pali anatta, Sanskrit anatman). No-Self
in Buddhism is the Non-Duality of Subject and Object, which is very explicitly
stated by the Buddha in verses such as "In seeing, there is just seeing. No seer
and nothing seen. In hearing, there is just hearing. No hearer and nothing
heard.". Non-Duality in Buddhism does not constitute merging with a supreme
Brahman, but realising that the duality of a self/subject/agent/watcher/doer in
relation to the object/world is an illusion.
In the Mahayana Buddhist canon, the Diamond Sutra presents an accessible nondual
view of "self" and "beings", while the Heart Sutra asserts shunyata — the
"emptiness" of all "things" and simultaneously the "thingness" of all
"emptiness". The Lotus Sutra's parable of the Burning House implies that all
talk of Duality or Non-Duality by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is merely Skillful
Means (Sanskrit upaya kausala) meant to lead the deluded to a much higher truth.
The fullest philosophical exposition is the Madhyamaka; by contrast many laconic
pronouncements are delivered as koans. Advanced views and practices are found in
the Mahamudra and Maha Ati, which emphasize the vividness and spaciousness of
Mahayana Buddhism, in particular, tempers the view of nonduality (wisdom) with
respect for the experience of duality (compassion) — ordinary dualistic
experience, populated with selves and others (sentient beings), is tended with
care, always "now". This approach is itself regarded as a means to disperse the
confusions of duality (i.e. as a path). In Theravada, that respect is expressed
cautiously as non-harming, while in the Vajrayana, it is expressed boldly as
enjoyment (especially in tantra).
Dzogchen is a relatively esoteric (to date) tradition concerned with the
"natural state", and emphasizing direct experience. This tradition is found in
the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, where it is classified as the highest
of this lineage's nine yanas, or vehicles of practice. Similar teachings are
also found in the non-Buddhist Bön tradition. In Dzogchen, the primordial state,
the state of nondual awareness, is called rigpa.
The Dzogchen practitioner realizes that appearance and emptiness are
inseparable. One must transcend dualistic thoughts to perceive the true nature
of one's pure mind. This primordial nature is clear light, unproduced and
unchanging, free from all defilements. One's ordinary mind is caught up in
dualistic conceptions, but the pure mind is unafflicted by delusions. Through
meditation, the Dzogchen practitioner experiences that thoughts have no
substance. Mental phenomena arise and fall in the mind, but fundamentally they
are empty. The practioner then considers where the mind itself resides. The mind
can not exist in the ever-changing external phenomena and through careful
examination one realizes that the mind is emptiness. All dualistic conceptions
disappear with this understanding.
Zen is a non-dual tradition. It can be considered a religion, a philosophy, or
simply a practice depending on one's perspective. It has also been described as
a way of life, work, and an art form. Zen practitioners deny the usefulness of
such labels, calling them, "The finger pointing at the moon." Tozan, one of the
founders of Soto Zen in China, had a teaching known as the Five Ranks of the
Real and the Ideal, which points out the necessity of not getting caught in a
dualism between duality and non-duality, and describes the stages of further
transcendance. Naturally, many in the Zen schools became bogged down in this
text, so that later masters, notably Dogen Zenji , were quite scathing about
The God of traditional Christianity is absolute and infinite. The devil or
adversary is an opposing character, but is subordinate to God. The Christian
faith thus does not consider the duality of good and evil to be two equal and
opposing forces. Mystical Christianity can be entirely non-dual, as in the
teachings of Meister Eckhart or St. John of the Cross, among others.
A Course in Miracles or ACIM is a modern day Christian non-dualistic teaching.
This tradition states, "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God."
Christian Science might also qualify as non-dualistic. In a glossary of terms
written by the founder, Mary Baker Eddy, matter is defined as illusion and when
defining individual identity she writes "There is but one I, or Us, but one
divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence".
Since its beginning, Gnosticism has been characterized by many dualisms and
dualities, including the doctrine of a separate God and Manichaean (good/evil)
dualism. The discovery in 1945 of the Gospel of Thomas, however, has led some
scholars to believe that Jesus' original teaching may have been one accurately
characterized as nondualism.
The Gospel of Philip, another of the Apocryphal books, also conveys nondualism:
"Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one
another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor
evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will
dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are
indissoluble, eternal." 
Although some may claim Gnosticism to be a dualistic world-view, it ultimately
is not because of its firm belief in one true ineffable God.
Sufism (Arabic تصوف taṣawwuf, meaning "Mysticism")
is often considered a mystical tradition of Islam. There are a number of
different Sufi orders that follow the teachings of particular spiritual masters,
but the bond that unites all Sufis is the concept of ego annihilation (removal
of the subject/object dichotomy between humankind and the divine) through
various spiritual exercises and a persistent, ever-increasing longing for union
with the divine. "The goal," as Reza Aslan writes, "is to create an inseparable
union between the individual and the Divine."
The central doctrine of Sufism, sometimes called Wahdat-ul-Wujood or Wahdat
al-Wujud or Unity of Being, is the Sufi understanding of Tawhid (the oneness of
God; absolute monotheism). Put very simply, for Sufis, Tawhid implies that all
phenomena are manifestations of a single reality, or Wujud (being), which is
indeed al-Haq (Truth, God). The essence of Being/Truth/God is devoid of every
form and quality, and hence unmanifest, yet it is inseparable from every form
and phenomenon, either material or spiritual. It is often understood to imply
that every phenomenon is an aspect of Truth and at the same time attribution of
existence to it is false. The chief aim of all Sufis then is to let go of all
notions of duality (and therefore of the individual self also), and realize the
divine unity which is considered to be the truth.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, (1207-1273), one of the most famous Sufi masters and
poets, has written that what humans perceive as duality is in fact a veil,
masking the reality of the Oneness of existence. "All desires, preferences,
affections, and loves people have for all sorts of things," he writes, are
veils. He continues: "When one passes beyond this world and sees that Sovereign
(God) without these 'veils,' then one will realize that all those things were
'veils' and 'coverings' and that what they were seeking was in reality that
One." The veils, or rather, duality, exists for a purpose, however, Rumi
contends. If God as the divine, singular essence of all existence were to be
made fully manifest to us, he counsels, we would not be able to bear it and
would immediately cease to exist as individuals.
Taoism's wu wei (Chinese wu, not; wei, doing) is a term with various
translations (e.g. inaction, non-action, nothing doing, without ado) and
interpretations designed to distinguish it from passivity. From a nondual
perspective, it refers to activity that does not imply an "I". The concept of
Yin and Yang, often mistakenly conceived of as a symbol of dualism, is actually
meant to convey the notion that all apparent opposites are complementary parts
of a non-dual whole.
NEW VIDEO (3:40 Minutes)
MEDITATION ON THE SMALL AND THE LARGE
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
VIDEO at YouTube:
When the mind in meditation can be stable on the smallest and the largest, then
it is truly under control. Yoga is the mastery, integration, and transcendence
of all the fluctuations of the mind field. Then the "seer" rests in its own true
nature as pure consciousness or purusha. With equality of purusha and the
subtlest intelligence, there comes liberation, and that is the end. (from the
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
For more information please see:
Introduction to Yoga Sutras 2.26-2.29
DISCRIMINATION AND THE EIGHT RUNGS
THE EIGHT RUNGS OR LIMBS:
The art and science of Yoga is systematically described in eight
(ashta) rungs, steps, or limbs (anga). Thus, this section of the Yoga
Sutras is also called Ashtanga Yoga. The eight rungs of Yoga are
summarized in sutra 2.29, and explained in the next section (2.30-
2.34). Subsequent sutras further describe the benefits and methods of
working with those eight rungs (2.35-2.45, 2.46-2.48, 2.49-2.53, 2.54-
2.55). The links below will take you directly to the descriptions of
each of the eight rungs:
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)
THE EIGHT RUNGS ARE FOR DISCIMINATIVE ENLIGHTENMENT:
The reason for practicing the eight rungs of Yoga (2.29) is to
develop attention as the tool for discriminative knowledge, which is
the means to discriminative enlightenment and liberation. It means
using razor-like attention (3.4-3.6) to separate the seer and the
seen (2.17), so as to break the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25), and to
get past the four mistakes of ignorance, or avidya (2.24-2.25), which
are: 1) confusing the temporary for the eternal, 2) the impure for
the pure, 3) misery for happiness, and 4) the false self for the true
Self (2.5). Resulting from this systematic discrimination, the seer
or Self is eventually experienced in its true nature (1.3).
DISCRIMINATION ALLOWS SUBTLER INTROSPECTION:
This one-pointed attention and discrimination, which comes from the
practice of the eight rungs, is used for examining, exploring, and
attenuating the colorings of the subtle impressions of the mind field
(2.10), so as to go beyond, inward to the pure, eternal center of
THE FIRST FIVE RUNGS SHARPEN THE RAZOR:
If it is razor-like attention that is the tool for discrimination,
then it is the first five rungs of the Yoga Sutras which are honing
the edge of that razor. Then, the finer, sharpened tool is the last
three rungs, which are concentration, meditation, and samadhi, which
are collectively called samyama (3.4).
SEE ALSO the article:
Coordinating the Four Functions of Mind
NEW VIDEO (9:29 Minutes)
INVOKING THE INFINITE IN YOGA VEDANTA MEDITATION
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
VIDEO at YouTube:
Included are transliterated Sanskrit and eight different English translations of
the invocation of the text entitled Isha Upanishad. The wisdom of this text is
central to Yoga Vedanta meditation and contemplation. "Isha" refers to that
supreme power which regulates and governs all, and which resides in the heart of
all creatures. It is that in which we live, that in which we move, and that by
which we are. "Upanishad" means to sit down near the teacher to discuss, learn,
practice and experience the means and goals of Yoga Vedanta. "Upa" means "near;"
"ni" means "down;" "shad" means "to sit."
"Purna" is the full, infinite, whole, complete. Om or Aum is a compound of A, U,
and M, which represent waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, as well as the gross,
subtle, and causal realities. They merge into the fourth, the silence, which is
the absolute reality.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti
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.
More of my videos at YouTube:
NEW VIDEO (3:04 Minutes)
(revision of a previous video)
THE DANCE OF YOGA ON THE LIPS OF THE MIND AND MT. KAILASH
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
VIDEO at YouTube:
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, sweet Yoga.
The word dances on the lips of the mind.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
The wave that is one with the ocean of bliss.
The union of the illusory "I" with the "I" of all,
That was never divided in the first place.
Ah, sweet Yoga.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
How the word flows through the field of mind.
The consciousness as Purusha,
Never one with, but playing with all the layers of being,
All the levels of the finest soil of matter called Prakriti.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
One without a second.
One absolute reality,
With the appearance of soul called Atman,
As a breeze thinking itself separate from the wind
Of the absolute called Brahman.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, so utterly, incomparably, sweet is the word.
The essence that is both the beauty
And creative force called feminine or Shakti,
And her companion of masculine, Shiva.
The two which are one in Yoga.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, passionate, loving, driving, quieting,
Fulfilling, emptying, full filling Yoga.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, so sweet;
No sweeter word to ring in the canyons of mind,
Than the word of Yoga,
That arises from, and returns to the silence.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
You and I are one.
Only one. Only Yoga.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
More of my videos at YouTube:
From Merging with Shiva
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
TAPPING INTO YOUR INTUITION
Begin to feel that your intuition works rather rapidly and is generally very
reasonable, but does not use the process of reason. When you really want to
reason something out, it may take a lot of time, but when you get an intuitive
flash, it's right there. Then if you want to prove it, you have to reason it
out. You will find that reason and intuition agree. Intuition is more direct
than reason. That is why you should always use intuition. Always go in and in
and in and find answers from within yourself, rather than wasting time scurrying
around in the externalities of the mind.
Take this teaching in and apply it to yourself, making every metaphysical and
philosophical area work within you. Do not carry all of this around with you as
knowledge in the intellect. It will burden your intellect, and soon you will
have to forget it, because the subconscious will have more than it can handle of
inner teaching. It takes a while to convince the subconscious that you are a
spiritual being whose existence does not begin and end with this life.
Therefore, this inner teaching must begin to be applied as soon as it has begun
to be understood.
The superconscious mind is the most wonderful area of the mind there is,
although awareness is not always in it. We are not always aware in the
superconscious mind, because we are generally aware in the conscious mind, or
aware of our own subconscious or that of another. But the more and more we
detach awareness from subconscious binds and conscious-mind attachments, the
more we become superconscious. When we feel as if we are living totally in the
moment, as if there is no past and there never has been any past or future, we
are becoming subconsciously certain we are an intense, vibrating entity of the
eternal now. That is superconsciousness, and that is very real. More real than a
table, a chair, an automobile or a person sitting next to you is this feeling of
being an intense sheath of energy right in the eternal moment, with no past, no
future. This is superconsciousness.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT, NONDUALISM, AND YOGA VEDANTA
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
AUDIO RECORDING (PODCAST)
This presentation is on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 of the Christian
bible), Nondualism, and Yoga Vedanta Meditation and Contemplation. It is from a
presentation at the Center for Nondualism on May 11, 2008. Here are a few
concepts from the presentation: There are over 39,000 Christian denominations.
Each denomination has its own interpretations of the teachings. If they have the
right to interpret those teachings the way they want, then I claim the same
right of interpretation that they have claimed. I claim the right to say that
Jesus teaches that there is one absolute nondual (advaita) reality, that we all
are of that one, that he teaches from that perspective, and that he teaches
people to seek enlightenment in their own direct experience. I claim the right
to believe that Jesus was a supreme Yoga teacher.
Center for Nondualism:
THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION OF
NONDUAL YOGA VEDANTA MEDITATION
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
AUDIO RECORDING (PODCAST)
This recording is on the million dollar question of nondual (advaita) Yoga
Vedanta meditation and contemplation. It is from a presentation at the Center
for Nondualism on May 25, 2008. Just like the game show, this million dollar
question is the last of all the questions of nondual Yoga Vedanta. It is also
the hardest question, and the most important question. It is the question that
supersedes all other questions. It is the question that is neither in the past,
nor in the future. It is the question by which all other questions pale by
Center for Nondualism:
We will have satsang and programs in New York City June 12-15 and in
Pittsburgh June 19-22. If you would like more information, please
write to me and I'll connect you with the people locally who are
kindly making the detailed arrangements of times and locations.
In loving service,
Below is the announcement from Sadhana Mandir Ashram (Swami Rama
Ashram) in Rishikesh, India about the upcoming Swami Rama Intensive.
I will be in the ashram during that time, and will be involved in
making presentations, as well as providing private consulting time
about practices. I look forward to seeing some of you during that
time. If you would like to come, please do make your reservations
early, as it is sincerely not an exaggeration to say that space is
limited. Please note the website link at the bottom of the
announcement, which also includes a faculty list. In each our last
two programs (April, 2008 and November, 2007) there were 13
presenters. We reasonably expect approximately the same teaching
In loving service,
Sadhana Mandir is happy to announce the dates for the next Swami Rama
October 26 to November 16, 1008.
SWAMI RAMA INTENSIVE
Immerse yourself in three weeks of the profound wisdom and practical
teachings of Swami Rama.
Sadhana Mandir offers a three week SWAMI RAMA INTENSIVE and YOGA
MEDITATION RETREAT twice a year, in the spring and fall. This Program
will be of tremendous interest to those familiar with Swami Rama and
who want to explore the teachings and practices in greater depth.
Swami Rama is widely known to have presented the deeper teachings of
Yoga in extremely clear and accessible ways, and with the perspective
that the goal of Yoga is nothing less than the direct experience of
one's true Self (Atman, Purusha) in this very lifetime.
SCHEDULE: Following is a general schedule outline. While there will
be several events each day, not all of the listings below will happen
each and every day. Our Programs are flexible, and we shift to
accommodate the needs of the participants.
5:00 Lemon water
6:00 Meditation #1
7:00 Hatha Yoga
11:30 Meditation #2
2:30 Practicum or Discussion
6:00 Meditation #3
MEDITATION: The Program will have four meditation times every day,
with each session being of the duration with which you personally
feel comfortable. It is the regularity that is emphasized, rather
than the duration.
PRESENTATIONS: Most days (though not necessarily every day) there
will be two presentations on practical Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra
based directly on the written teachings of Swami Rama. The Presenters
1) choose a chapter from a book by Swami Rama and give a presentation
with that title, including quotes,
2) elaborate or further explain the principles and practices, and
3) share their own experience with learning and practicing the
DISCUSSIONS: Approximately every other day there will be a
facilitated group discussion related to practices of mindfulness,
meditation in action, witnessing, and internal dialogue (important
aspects of contemplation). These will be based on the actual
practices in which you will be coached during the retreat.
HATHA YOGA and PRACTICUMS: Every day there will be Hatha Yoga classes
or other practicum classes, such as for Pranayama and breath
training, Agni Sara, or Yoga Nidra. The specific offerings each day
will be based on how they might blend with the rest of the Program
and the needs of the Participants.
WALKING: It is extremely convenient and pleasant to walk along the
River Ganges, as the ashram is directly beside the river in a less
densely populated part of Rishikesh (downstream from the busy areas).
Participants are encouraged to walk at least once, if not twice or
more per day between classes and meditations.
ACCOMMODATION: Double occupancy only, as space is limited. Register
Duration: 3 weeks, application is required
Program fee: Rs. 500 per day (includes food and lodging)
Sadhana Mandir Trust
Ramnagar, P.O. Pashulok
Rishikesh, 249203, (Uttarakhand) India
NEW VIDEO (7:19 Minutes)
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA MANTRA: YOGA MEDITATION, VEDANTA, TANTRA
By Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
VIDEO at YouTube:
Om Namah Shivaya is a most potent and popular mantra, which is at the
heart of the Vedas and Tantra, and is widely used in this and other
variations in the Himalayan tradition, as well as by others. While
there are other descriptions of the mantra, the following focuses on
meanings for mantra meditation leading to Self-Realization.
OM/AUM: The three parts of Om (A-U-M) encompass the three states of
waking, dreaming, deep sleep, the three levels of gross, subtle,
causal, and the three levels of conscious, unconscious, subconscious,
as well as the three universal processes of coming, being, and going.
Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM. It
also refers to Tripura, the one who live in the "three cities" as in
Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, as well as the light referred to in Gayatri
NAMAH/NAMAHA: Adoration, homage, respect. Nothing is mine (as an
individual person); everything is thine (as the Absolute Reality).
The three levels of Om, the three worlds of gross, subtle, and
causal, along with the three states of waking, dreaming, and deep
sleep states of consciousness, as well as the three levels of
conscious, unconscious, and subconscious themselves are "not mine" as
the true properties of who I really am. Truly, "nothing is mine."
Rather, everything, all of these triads is "thine" or the "other" as
the Absolute Reality.
SHIVAYA/SHIVA: That Absolute Reality that is the ground out of which
the others emerge. It is that "ink," so to speak, that is not
separate from the many forms which may appear to manifest or be
created from that ink. In the Realization of this, one comes to see
that he or she is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. The
Mahavakyas, the great utterances, are seen to be true. Shiva (the
static or ground) and Shakti (the active or creative) are seen to be
one and the same. She (Shakti), while one with Shiva is realized in
direct experience as the one in the three worlds (Tripura) outlined
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
In the regeneration and divinisation of man, the first step is to
eliminate his beastly nature. The predominant trait in beasts is
cruelty. Therefore, wise sages prescribe Ahimsa (non-injury). This is
the most effective master-method to counteract and eradicate
completely the brutal, cruel Pasu-Svabhava (bestial nature) in man.
Practice of Ahimsa develops love. Ahimsa is another name for truth or
love. Ahimsa is universal love. It is pure love. It is divine Prem.
Where there is love, there you will find Ahimsa. Where there is
Ahimsa, there you will find love and selfless service. They all go
The one message of all saints and prophets of all times and climes, is
the message of love, of Ahimsa, of selfless service. Ahimsa is the
noblest and best of traits that are found expressed in the daily life
and activities of perfected souls. Ahimsa is the one means, not only
to attain Salvation, but also to enjoy uninterrupted peace and bliss.
Man attains peace by injuring no living creature.
There is one religion - the religion of love, of peace. There is one
message, the message of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a supreme duty of man.
Ahimsa, or refraining from causing pain to any living creature, is a
distinctive quality emphasized by Indian ethics. Ahimsa or
non-violence has been the central doctrine of Indian culture from the
earliest days of its history. Ahimsa is a great spiritual force.
MEANING OF AHIMSA
Ahimsa or non-injury, of course, implies non-killing. But, non-injury
is not merely non-killing. In its comprehensive meaning, Ahimsa or
non-injury means entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm
whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word, or deed.
Non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth, and hand.
Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love.
It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced
by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is
Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.
SUBTLE FORMS OF HIMSA
Only the ordinary people think that Ahimsa is not to hurt any living
being physically. This is but the gross form of Ahimsa. The vow of
Ahimsa is broken even by showing contempt towards another man, by
entertaining unreasonable dislike for or prejudice towards anybody, by
frowning at another man, by hating another man, by abusing another
man, by speaking ill of others, by backbiting or vilifying, by
harbouring thoughts of hatred, by uttering lies, or by ruining another
man in any way whatsoever.
All harsh and rude speech is Himsa (violence or injury). Using harsh
words to beggars, servants or inferiors is Himsa. Wounding the
feelings of others by gesture, expression, tone of voice and unkind
words is also Himsa. Slighting or showing deliberate discourtesy to a
person before others is wanton Himsa. To approve of another's harsh
actions is indirect Himsa. To fail to relieve another's pain, or even
to neglect to go to the person in distress is a sort of Himsa. It is
the sin of omission. Avoid strictly all forms of harshness, direct or
indirect, positive or negative, immediate or delayed. Practice Ahimsa
in its purest form and become divine. Ahimsa and Divinity are one.
AHIMSA, A QUALITY OF THE STRONG
If you practice Ahimsa, you should put up with insults, rebukes,
criticisms and assaults also. You should never retaliate nor wish to
offend anybody even under extreme provocation. You should not
entertain any evil thought against anybody. You should not harbour
anger. You should not curse. You should be prepared to lose joyfully
even your life in the cause of Truth. The Ultimate Truth can be
attained only through Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is the acme of bravery. Ahimsa is not possible without
fearlessness. Non-violence cannot be practiced by weak persons. Ahimsa
cannot be practiced by a man who is terribly afraid of death and has
no power of resistance and endurance. It is a shield, not of the
effeminate, but of the potent. Ahimsa is a quality of the strong. It
is a weapon of the strong. When a man beats you with a stick, you
should not entertain any thought of retaliation or any unkind feeling
towards the tormentor. Ahimsa is the perfection of forgiveness.
Remember the noble actions of great sages of yore. Jayadeva, the
author of Gita-Govinda, gave large and rich present to his enemies who
cut off his hands, and obtained Mukti (liberation) for them through
his sincere prayers. He said: "O my lord! Thou hast given Mukti to Thy
enemies, Ravana and Kamsa. Why canst Thou not give Mukti to my enemies
now ?" A saint or a sage possesses a magnanimous heart.
Pavahari Baba carried the bag of vessels and followed the thief
saying: "O Thief Narayana! I never knew that You visited my cottage.
Pray accept these things." The thief was quite astonished. He left off
his evil habit from that very second and became a disciple of Pavahari
Remember the noble actions of saints like Jayadeva and Pavahari Baba,
you will have to follow their principles and ideals.
GRADATIONAL PRACTICE OF AHIMSA
When thoughts of revenge and hatred arise in the mind, try to control
the physical body and speech first. Do not utter evil and harsh words.
Do not censure. Do not try to injure others. If you succeed in this by
practice for some months, the negative thoughts of revenge, having no
scope for manifesting outside, will die by themselves. It is extremely
difficult to control such thoughts from the very beginning without
having recourse to control of the body and speech first.
First control your physical body. When a man beats you, keep quiet.
Suppress your feelings. Follow the instructions of Jesus Christ in his
Sermon On The Mount: "If a man beats you on one cheek, turn to him the
other cheek also. If a man takes away your coat, give him your shirt
also." This is very difficult in the beginning. The old Samskaras
(impressions) of revenge, of "a tooth for a tooth", "tit for tat", "an
eye for an eye", and "paying in the same coin" will all force you to
retaliate. But you will have to wait cooly. Reflect and meditate. Do
Vichara or right enquiry. The mind will become calm. The opponent who
was very furious will also become calm, because he does not get any
opposition from your side. He gets astonished and terrified also,
because you stand like a sage. By and by, you will gain immense
strength. Keep the ideal before you. Try to get at it, though with
faltering steps at first. Have a clear-cut mental image of Ahimsa and
its immeasurable advantages.
After controlling the body, control your speech. Make a strong
determination, "I will not speak any harsh word to anybody from
today". You may fail a hundred times. What does it matter ? You will
slowly gain strength. Check the impulse of speech. Observe Mouna
(silence). Practice Kshama or forgiveness. Say within yourself: "He is
a baby-soul. He is ignorant, that is why he has done it. Let me excuse
him this time. What do I gain by abusing him in return ?" Slowly give
up Abhimana (ego-centred attachment). Abhimana is the root-cause of
Finally go to the thoughts and check the thought of injuring. Never
even think of injuring anyone. One Self dwells in all. All are
manifestations of One God. By injuring another, you injure your own
Self. By serving another, you serve your own Self. Love all. Serve
all. Hate none. Insult none. Injure none in thought, word and deed.
Try to behold your own Self in all beings. This will promote Ahimsa.
BENEFITS OF THE PRACTICE OF AHIMSA
If you are established in Ahimsa, you have attained all virtues.
Ahimsa is the pivot. All virtues revolve around Ahimsa. Just as all
footprints are accommodated in those of the elephant, so also do all
religious and ethical rules become merged in the great vow of Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is soul-force. Hate melts in the presence of love. Hate
dissolves in the presence of Ahimsa. There is no power greater than
Ahimsa. The practice of Ahimsa develops will-power to a considerable
degree. The practice of Ahimsa will make you fearless. He who
practices Ahimsa with real faith, can move the whole world, can tame
wild animals, can win the hearts of all, and can subdue his enemies.
He can do and undo things. The power of Ahimsa is infinitely more
wonderful and subtler than electricity or magnetism.
The law of Ahimsa is as much exact and precise as the law of
gravitation or cohesion. You must know the correct way to apply it
intelligently and with scientific accuracy. If you are able to apply
it with exactitude and precision, you can work wonders. You can
command the elements and Nature also.
THE POWER OF AHIMSA
The power of Ahimsa is greater than the power of the intellect. It is
easy to develop the intellect, but it is difficult to purify and
develop the heart. The practice of Ahimsa develops the heart in a
He who practices Ahimsa develops strong will-power. In his presence,
enmity ceases. In his presence, cobra and frog, cow and tiger, cat and
rat, wolf and lamb, will all live together in terms of intimate
friendship. In his presence, all hostilities are given up. The term
'hostilities are given up' means that all beings - men, animals, birds
and poisonous creatures will approach the practitioner without fear
and do no harm to him. Their hostile nature disappears in them in his
presence. The rat and the cat, the snake and the mongoose, and other
beings that are enemies of each other by nature, give up their hostile
feelings in the presence of the Yogi who is established in Ahimsa.
Lions and tigers can never do any harm to such a Yogi. Such a Yogi can
give definite orders to lion and tigers. They will obey. This is
Bhuta-Siddhi (mastery over the elements) obtainable by the practice of
Ahimsa. The practice of Ahimsa will eventually culminate in the
realization of unity and oneness of life, or Advaitic (non-dual)
Consciousness. The Yogi then enjoys the highest peace, bliss and
LIMITATIONS TO THE PRACTICE OF AHIMSA
Absolute Ahimsa is impossible. It is not possible to the most
conscientious Sannyasin or monk. To practice that, you must avoid
killing countless creatures while walking, sitting, eating, breathing,
sleeping and drinking. You cannot find a single non-injurer in the
world. You have to destroy life in order to live. It is physically
impossible for you to obey the law of non-destruction of life, because
the phagocytes of your blood also are destroying millions of dangerous
intrusive spirilla, bacteria and germs.
According to one school of thought, if by the murder of a dacoit many
lives are saved, it is not considered as Himsa. Ahimsa and Himsa are
relative terms. Some say that one can defend oneself with instruments
and use a little violence also when one is in danger; this is not
considered to be Himsa. Westerners generally destroy their dear horses
and dogs when they are in acute agony and when there is no way of
relieving their sufferings. They wish that the soul should be
immediately freed from the physical body. Motive is the chief factor
that underlies everything.
A renunciate or monk should not defend himself and use violence even
when his life is in jeopardy. To an ordinary man, Ahimsa should be the
aim, but he will not fall from this principle if, out of sheer
necessity and with no selfish aim, he takes recourse to Himsa
occasionally. One should not give leniency to the mind in this
respect. If you are lenient, the mind will always take the best
advantage of you and goad you to do acts of violence. Give a rogue an
inch, he will take an ell: the mind at once adapts this policy, if you
give a long rope for its movement.
Ahimsa is never a policy. It is a sublime virtue. It is the
fundamental quality of seekers after Truth. No Self-realization is
possible without Ahimsa. It is through the practice of Ahimsa alone
that you can cognize and reach the Supreme Self or Brahman. Those with
whom it is a policy may fail many a time. They will be tempted to do
violent acts also. On the contrary, those who strictly adhere to the
vow of Ahimsa as a sacred creed or fundamentals cannon of Yoga, can
never be duped into violence.
A UNIVERSAL VOW
Ahimsa is a Mahavratam or "great universal vow". It should be
practiced by all people of all countries. It does not concern the
Hindus or Indians alone. Whoever wishes to realize the Truth must
practice Ahimsa. You may encounter any amount of difficulties; you may
sustain any amount of losses, but you must not give up the practice of
Ahimsa. Trial and difficulties are bound to come in your way to test
your strength. You should stand adamant. Then alone will your efforts
be crowned with sanguine success.
There is a hidden power in Ahimsa which protects its practitioners.
The invisible hand of God gives protection. There is no fear. What can
pistols and swords do ?
Even now there are people who do not give the least pain to any living
creature. They carry sugar and rice for distribution to ants in their
holes. They do not use lights at night for fear of killing the small
insects. They are very careful while walking in the streets, as they
do not wish to trample upon small insects.
Blessed are these men. They will soon see God as they have very soft
Swami Hariharananda Bharati left the body on June 29, 2008, 3:10am
India time. This is June 28, 2008, 4:30 pm Central Daylight Savings
time in US. Swami Hari has been a swami initiate of Swami Rama since
1992, and had known him since the 1950's. Swami Hari lived in the
hermitage at Tarkeshwar in the Himalayas for many years. I count him
as a close personal friend. We called one another brother.
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