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Wisdom Shared by Swami Tarakananda

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Often at atmajyoti.org, readers will send in questions regarding meditation and spiritual life. The following excerpted question and answer may be of interest
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2006
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      Often at atmajyoti.org, readers will send
      in questions regarding meditation and spiritual
      life. The following excerpted question and
      answer may be of interest to readers at the
      Meditation Society:

      Question: Many references indicate that a mantra
      is useless unless empowered by a master. Is this
      universally true?

      Answer: Here is the section entitled "Initiation?"
      from the third chapter of the complete Om Yoga book:

      "It is commonly believed that an aspiring yogi
      must be empowered for yoga practice through some
      kind of initiation or transference of power. There
      are many exaggerated statements made about how it
      is impossible to make any progress, much less
      attain enlightenment, without initiation. But they
      have no relevance to the practice of Om Yoga, which
      requires no initiation because it is based squarely
      on the eternal nature and unity of the jivatman and
      the Paramatman–what to speak of the nature of Om
      Itself. The japa and meditation of Om are themselves
      expressions of the eternal nature of God and man.
      The eternal spirits need no external input to return
      to their Source.

      "It is when the individual perpetually experiences
      the eternal point where Om is common to both itself
      and God that it can know its oneness with God, and
      separation from God is impossible for it. Yet it is
      still itself, still distinct, though its consciousness
      is totally absorbed in God and it sees only the One,
      and can say, `God alone exists. There is no other but God.'

      "All we need is God Himself in the form of Om."

      As far as needing a "master" is concerned, here is the
      preceding section from the third chapter, entitled:
      "God is guru in the form of Om":

      "Immediately after telling us that God is the Guru,
      Patanjali says: `His spoken form is Om.' In a hymn
      of the poet-saint Kabir, an Indian mystic of the
      fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there are two
      important statements: `That Word is the Guru; I have
      heard it, and become the disciple.…That Word reveals all.'

      "Beautiful as the thought of God being the guru may
      be, is it true? If so, how is God the guru?

      "From the depths of God's Being, Om is eternally
      present, is eternally flowing or rising, and the
      same is true of each individual spirit. The heart-core
      of God and the core of the individual spirit are
      the same in non-dual unity. Om is flowing from the
      single point where the spirit and the Spirit are
      absolutely one. God is eternally stimulating or
      `teaching' the spirit to emanate Om as the agent of
      its evolution and perfection. In this way God is the
      guru of each one of us. One finite spirit may reveal
      to another finite spirit the way to realize its oneness
      with God, and thereby momentarily become a spiritual
      teacher for that spirit; but God alone will be the Sat
      (true and eternal) Guru.

      "Om is the ultimate guru, the infallible teacher and
      guide from within. Yet, according to Vyasa there is
      another teacher: our yoga practice itself. He says:
      `It is yoga that is the teacher. How so? It has been said:

      "Yoga is to be known by yoga;
      Yoga goes forward from yoga alone.
      He who is not careless [neglectful] in his yoga
      For a long time, rejoices in the yoga."'

      "Shankara, commenting on these words of Vyasa, discusses
      the reaction that the awakening person has upon learning
      about the possibility of liberation from his present
      state of bondage: `Meditation on his own being, which is
      the cause that should lead to liberation, begins of itself,
      caused by karma of a previous life or else by steadfastness
      in renunciation in this present one. And it goes on of
      itself, without instruction from a teacher.'

      "The experience gained from yoga practice itself
      teaches us the reality and value of yoga. But even
      more, it opens our intuition and enables us to
      comprehend the inner workings of the subtle levels of
      our being and its mastery. Yoga truly becomes our
      teacher, revealing to us that which is far beyond the
      wisdom of books and verbal instructions. Moreover, it
      is practice of yoga that enables us to understand the
      basis and rationale of its methods and their
      application. The why and wherefore of yoga become known
      to us by direct insight."

      Please read the books Om Yoga and The Word That Is
      God more than once.

      The bottom line, however, is your own experience through
      practice. This is the only way the validity of any
      methodology can be known. Just see how both here and
      in India people are laboring away at all kinds of
      exotic "yogas" that have no real basis in the pure
      Sanatana Dharma tradition. They get nowhere, but because
      they have accepted a great deal of exaggerated praise
      about the practice and the guru, they waste decades in
      "faith" instead of using good sense about their own
      perceptions–or lack thereof. People often lament their
      lack of progress, but mistakenly blame themselves
      instead of facing the truth that their practice is
      worthless–and so is their guru.

      [To read more from the sources mentioned above, visit:
      Om Yoga–Its Theory and Practice
      (http://www.atmajyoti.org/me_om_yoga_book_01.asp)
      and The Word That Is God
      (http://www.atmajyoti.org/me_word_that_is_god_0.asp).]

      We hope you find this useful.

      Swami Tarakananda
      Atma Jyoti Ashram
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