Karma Dharma Moksha

Being able to do, what we want to do, when we want to do it, without, hurting others and ourselves in the process is Moksha. There is no buddhist, islamic, hindu, or any other world religion that tells us otherwise. Doing what we do to the best of our abilities is karma, it is also dharma. The side effect is Moksha. Moksha is not a destination. There is no destination. That’s the beauty of it all. When we know there is nowhere to go, does it matter if we have little or more time. There is just action to be done.

Gods aren’t liberated beings, they need to take a corporeal form to get liberated. Gods are alpha, beta, delta, gamma, omega beings that yearn to be born in a human form. So that they can liberate themselves to join the Overmind. Gods like to do karma and reinstate such karma as dharma to get Moksha. Manifestations to perform various karmas, to get to Moksha happen in an event based space called the Universe. Ths is Karma kshetra, it is the dharmakshetra and is the kurukshetra.

Do not follow a buddha, or become a buddha, do not let ideas, incept ideas in you, that is not you. If you have a idea first within you, and then you see that someone has put it in good words, you can point to that, but thats that. Forget that idea, let it pass. Do not hold on to it.

 

God is Love, Pure Love. Why Would We Think Otherwise?

God is Love

Vulnerability is Good : Accepting Vulnerability is Better

Recently, I see a lot of posts about vulnerability, mostly accepting it as a positive human construct. It is encouraging to feel this wave of perception that has risen and is relentlessly touching thousands of kindred souls.

Of course, my friends and fellow travelers! Vulnerability is an honest human construct. Fear, doubt, frustration, hurt, failure, depression, angst, anxiety, insecurity all are sensory responses to varied external stimuli.

I find movies a good place to quote or to draw parallels from. The iconic martial artists, actor and stunt man, Jackie Chan brought something fresh and new to the erstwhile martial art movies. His movies introduce vulnerability with impeccable comic timing. He made the  people, the viewers relate to the troubles of the protagonist.  The heroes also get hurt and why not, they are human beings, made up of flesh and bones. They are susceptible to emotions, circumstances, to the people in their lives. Of course a hero wins at last, but it is usually after he learns from his mistakes and learns to adapt.

We are conditioned, programmed to believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. A valid point, apparently. But what is weakness? Have we analyzed weakness enough to understand it. Or have we made a rapid connection to the word, and formed a thesaurus of words like bad, lack of strength, inability, inadequacy, imperfection and so on? What if we look closer, spend a little time with vulnerability? We begin to realize, hey, it is more a tendency, just like our tendency to laugh at jokes, or the tendency to feel bad. We are sentient beings, we are meant too feel. If we were not vulnerable, why would we feel hurt?

Vulnerability is the nature of the garb, this human body. Human beings are susceptible to change, vulnerable to the world around them. What is vulnerability, if not heightened sensitivity and awareness. It is this awareness that makes us such a wonderful species. Vulnerability to thought, emotions, stimuli, environment and practically everything perceivable and tangible. Accepting vulnerability brings us closer to our awareness. What do we find when we are past vulnerability, a rewarding revelation, that we are still here! We continue to be, so can this be a weakness then? How can anything be a weakness, isn’t it just strength in disguise.

Accepting vulnerability takes us to  something indomitable, invulnerable and imperishable viz. the human spirit.

Here are some choice posts that I enjoyed for their honesty

http://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/vulnerability-the-birthplace-of-creativity-connection-and-authenticity/

http://tonningsen.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/reflections-on-self-belief/

http://atruthseekerspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/a-case-of-the-tomorrows-learning-to-live-in-the-now/

Zentheogens

Disclaimer: The post and its author do not promote or encourage the consumption of alcohol, drugs, psychedelic or psychoactive substances.

An Entheogen, says Wikipedia is  (“generating the divine within”) is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. Entheogens can supplement many diverse practices for transcendence, and revelation, including meditation, psychonautics, psychedelic and visionary art, psychedelic therapy, and magic.

A good article that sums up a lot about entheogens,  has been posted by Ryhen Satch at Entheogen: The power of the forbidden fruit

An entheogen is ritually used to alter one’s perception of reality, to generate god or divinity within. It has found altruistic uses in

  •     Ego death
  •     Egolessness
  •     Faith healing
  •     Psychedelic therapy
  •     Spiritual formation

and so on.

Alcohol has been used by Tantrics and Aghoris for spiritual advancement. Shaivite extremists, pan-india consume Bhang, a preparation made out of cannabis during  MahaShivaratri (the night in reverence of Lord Shiva).

I have not tried any of these for spiritual advancements. There are certain herbs that are known to increase dopamine levels in the brain. I call them Zentheogens. These herbs, are not entheogens, but may be used as ingredients, among others, for preparing entheogens.  The herbs are

  • Periwinkle
  • Ashwagandha
  • Kapikachhu
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Gingko
  • Green Tea
  • Brahmi

Although radical changes in ones perception of reality, can be induced chemically, as there are definitive pharmacological effects during deeper states of meditation. However, I believe the body along with the mind needs to be ready to withstand the effects of such radical changes. Supervision by seers, or traditional practitioners also is necessary to conduct such experiments on the self.

I always say, and I believe that the human body has everything it needs within itself. One should not underestimate the power of a suitable diet, good rest and regular meditation.

Diseases – Part 2

Continued from Diseases – Part 1

Sage Patanjali in his yoga sutra (1:30)  says:
vyâdhi-styâna-sanåaya-pramâdâlasyâvirati-bhrânti-daråanâlabdha-bhûmikatvânavasthitatvâni cittavikæepâste ‘ntarâyâï
vyâdhi = sickness
styâna = apathy
sanåaya = doubt
pramâda = carelessness
âlasya = laziness
avirati = sexual indulgence
bhrânti = false
daråana = vision, perspective
alabdha = failing to attain
bhûmikatva = developmental stages
anavasthitatvâni = inconstancy, instability
citta = consciousness
vikæepâï = distraction, stirring up
te = these
antarâyâï = obstacles

Sickness, apathy, doubt, carelessness, laziness, hedonism, delusion, lack of progress, and inconstancy are all distractions which, by stirring up consciousness, act as barriers to stillness. These are not isolated individual problems tampering the steadfast quality of the citta. Instead, these are all connected and evolve from one to another.

Prevention of disease and thereby distractions, is always better than their respective cures. For a cure, is a process of reverse engineering from analyzing the effect to reach and identify the cause. It is an overhead, it is time consuming, because the effect, may not be a benign one and would steadily or rapidly aggravate whilst the analysis is in progress. Or even if the effect is a benign one, it might not be an irreversible one. Even if it is irreversible, restoring the human body or mind to its original state needs time, this is time required in addition to the time already invested in reaching from the cause to the effect.

Systems like Yoga, pranayam, meditation and others are programmed for nipping the bud of distractions in their early stages. Simple body language techniques reveal,when we think about some event in the past, we tend to look downwards. We access the temporal lobe of the brain. The temporal lobes are involved in the retention of visual memories, processing sensory input, comprehending language, storing new memories, emotion, and deriving meaning.

Similarly a person who is thinking about the future, or the next step of action focuses upwards towards the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is associated with reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, planning, and motivation.

Most yoga, meditation and mind control mechanisms are well aware of this natural tendency of the human mind. They are scientific approaches to preventing the mind from wandering and improving concentration.

Research in Ayurveda, goes deeper into analyzing the chemical composition of these lobes and regions of brain at the time of duress, distraction and depression; as well as the chemical composition of the brain in states of ecstasy, happiness, calm and meditation.  Certain Ayurvedic herbs are powerful anti-stress agents and also help induce a sense of well-being and calm.

Having said all that, the benefits of eating full timely meals, avoiding over indulgence, exercising and adequate rest should not be underestimated. They are almost necessary prerequisites for any further developments, physical or mental.

God, Guru and Grace: Shri Ramana Maharshi

“Paul Brunton found that the Maharshi’s way of helping others was by an unobtrusive, silent and steady outpouring of healing vibrations into troubled souls, a mysterious telepathic process for which science will one day be required to account.”

All those who seriously ponder upon the question “Who am I?” have invariably heard of Shri Ramana Maharshi. The unassuming spiritual master, who propounded one of the most simplest theories of knowing the self. The method of self-enquiry.

“He simply puts forward a way of self-analysis, which can be practised irrespective of any ancient or modern theories and beliefs which one may hold, a way that will finally lead man to true self-understanding.” – says an ardent follower.

Here is a conversation between Ramana and a seeker, where Ramana establishes that God, Guru and Grace are one and the same thing, They are all the single quintessence found dwelling deep within the seeker’s own heart.


Grace

D.: Is not Grace the gift of the Guru?

M.: God, Grace and Guru are all synonymous and also eternal and immanent. Is not the Self already within? Is it for the Guru to bestow It by his look? If a Guru thinks so, he does not deserve the name.

The books say that there are so many kinds of initiations – by hand, by touch, by eyes and by mind. They also say that the Guru makes some rites with fire, water, japa, mantras, etc., and call such fantastic performances Initiation, as if the disciple becomes ripe only after such processes are gone through by the Guru.

If the individual is sought he is nowhere to be found. Such is the Guru. Such is Dakshinamurti. What did he do? He was silent; the disciples appeared before him. He maintained silence; the doubts of the disciples were dispelled, which means that they lost their individual identities. That is wisdom  and not all the verbiage usually associated with it.

Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and emphatic the scripttures may be, they fail in their effect. The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. These questions arise because of the feeling, that having been here so long, heard so much, exerted so hard, one has not gained anything. The work proceeding within is not apparent. In fact the Guru is always within you.

D.: Does Bhagavan give initiation?

M.: Silence is the best and the most potent Initiation. That was practiced by Sri Dakshinamurti. Touch, look, etc., are all of a lower order. Silence changes the hearts of all. There is no Guru and no disciple. The ignorant confounds his body with the Self and so he takes the other’s body for the Guru. But does the Guru think his body to be the Self? He has transcended the body. There are no differences for Him. So the ignorant cannot appreciate the standpoint of Guru and of disciple.

D.: Vivekananda has also said that silence is the loudest form of prayer.

M.: It is so, for the seeker’s silence Guru’s silence is the loudest instruction. It is also Grace in its highest form. All other initiations, e.g., touch, look are derived from silence. They are therefore secondary. Silence is the primary form. If the Guru is silent the seeker’s mind gets purified by itself.

Later, a passage from the Yoga Vasishtha was read out before Sri Bhagavan, indicating initiation by look and initiation by touch.

Sri Bhagavan observed: Dakshinamurti observed silence when the disciples approached Him. That is the highest form of initiation. It includes the other forms. There must be subject-object relationship established in the other initiation. First the subject must emanate and then the object. Unless these two are there how is the one to look at the other or touch him? Initiation by silence is the most perfect; it comprises looking, touching and teaching. It will purify the individual in every way and establish him in the Reality.

D: “Can anyone get any benefit by repeating sacred syllables (mantras) picked up casually?

M.: “No. He must be competent and initiated in such mantras.” Maharshi illustrated this by the following story: A King visited his Premier in his residence. There he was told that the Premier was engaged in repetition of sacred syllables. The King waited for him and, on meeting him, asked what the words were. The Premier said that it was the holiest of all, Gayatri. The King desired to be initiated by the Premier. But the Premier confessed his inability to initiate him. Therefore the King learned it from someone else, and meeting the Minister later he repeated the Gayatri and wanted to know if it was right. The Minister said that the mantra was correct, but it was not proper for him to say it. When pressed for an explanation, the Minister called to a page close by and ordered him to take hold of the King. The order was not obeyed. The order was often repeated, and still not obeyed. The King flew into a rage and ordered the same man to hold the Minister, and it was immediately done. The Minister laughed and said that the incident was the explanation required by the King. “How?” asked the King. The Minister replied, “The order was the same and the executor also, but the authority was different. When I ordered, the effect was nil, whereas, when you ordered, there was immediate effect. Similarly with mantras.”

Mr. MacIver had an interview with Sri Bhagavan and spoke about initiation.

Sri Bhagavan asked: What is this initiation? After a pause, He continued, “Initiation is of various kinds, by word, by sight, by touch and so forth.”

D.: Bhagavan’s is silent initiation, is it not?

M.: Yes, this the highest form of initiation.

D.: Is it applicable to the path of enquiry only?

M.: All the different paths are included in the path of enquiry.

After a pause Sri Bhagavan spoke to the effect that people who come here are brought by some mysterious Power which will look to their needs. The conversation practically ended with this.

D. How is the Guru found?

M. God, who is immanent, in His grace takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself according to the devotee’s development. The devotee thinks that He is a man and expects a relationship as between two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God or the Self incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways and guides him in the right path until he realizes the Self within.

D. What should the devotee do then?

M. He has only to act up to the words of the Master and work within. The Master is both ‘within’ and ‘without’, so He creates conditions to drive you inward and at the same time prepares the ‘interior’ to drag you to the Centre. Thus He gives a push from ‘without’ and exerts a pull from ‘within’, so that you may be fixed at the Centre.

D. What is guru’s grace? How does it lead to Self-realization?

M. Guru is the Self…. Sometimes in his life a man becomes dissatisfied with it, and, not content with what he has, he seeks the satisfaction of his desires, through prayer to God etc. His mind is gradually purified until he longs to know God, more to obtain His grace than to satisfy his worldly desires. Then, God’s grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a guru and appears to the devotee, teaches him the Truth and, moreover, purifies his mind by association. The devotee’s mind gains strength and is then able to turn inward. By meditation it is further purified and it remains still without the least ripple. That calm expanse is the Self.

The Guru is both ‘external’ and ‘internal’. From the ‘exterior’ he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the ‘interior’ He pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in the quieting of the mind. That is guru’s grace. There is no difference between God, Guru and the Self.

You think that the world can be conquered by your own efforts. When you are frustrated externally and are driven inwards, you feel ‘Oh! There is a Power higher than man!’

The ego is like a very powerful elephant which cannot be brought under control by any less powerful than a lion, which, in this instance, is no other than the Guru, Whose very look makes the elephant-like ego tremble and die.

You will know in due course that your glory lies where you cease to exist. In order to gain that State, you should surrender yourself. Then the Master sees that you are in a fit state to receive guidance, and He guides you.

D. How can I obtain Grace?

M. Grace is the Self. That also is not to be acquired: you only need to know that it exists.

The sun is brightness only. It does not see darkness. Yet you speak of darkness fleeing on the sun’s approach. So also the devotee’s ignorance, like the phantom of darkness vanishes at the look of the Guru. You are surrounded by sunlight; yet if you would see the sun, you must turn in its direction and look at it. So also Grace is found by the proper approach you make, though it is here and now.

D. Cannot Grace hasten ripeness in the seeker?

M. Leave it all to the Master. Surrender to Him without reserve.

One of two things must be done : either surrender yourself, because you realize your inability and need a higher power to help you; or investigate into the cause of misery, go into the Source and so merge in the Self. Either way, you will be free from misery. God or Guru never forsakes the devotee who has surrendered himself.

The main type of instruction given by Ramana Maharshi was silence, as it was with Dakshinamurthy of old. Divine bliss permeated those who sat around him. In this silence the doubts of his devotees were cleared and their questions were either answered or faded away, ceasing to exist. This silence was, and is, a dynamic force, eternal and universal in nature.


To have a Guru or Not to Have a Guru is NOT the question!

When you think of Hinduism or traditional Indian culture, the concept of a Guru (the spiritual master), is more indispensable and more quintessential than the concept of God. The proverbial haiku by Saint Kabir ” Guru Govind dono khade kaa ke laagu paaye. Balihari Guru aapki, Govind diyo bataye” which translates to “Whilst in the dichotomy of the Guru (the spiritual master) and Govind (God) appearing simultaneously in front of me(kabir, the spiritual aspirant), at whose feet do I offer my obeisance first? I (kabir) choose to first bow to my Guru, as only through my Guru could I have realized God”.  This is perhaps the most commonly accepted testimony to the necessity of a spiritual master.

Then again, a Guru who could churn out a disciple like Kabir, must have been some guru indeed. For, Kabir is considered to be a realized soul, yet  he did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir, chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative. This was something rare in those days, when abandoning the world, to vanish in a secluded cave in the Himalayas at the drop of a hat, was a precondition to most spiritual quests.

Having the right Guru is like being a son to a billionaire. We start of with a lot of bank balance. But ultimately, it is upon us to invest these funds judiciously. If I am a wastrel, even under the tutelage of the best of Gurus, the spiritual quest is destined to fail. Now, if a Guru is not apt, and has some selfish motives, the disciple is knocking on the wrong door already.

On the other hand, If we do not find or stumble upon a Guru to guide us, by the analogy, one is a pauper by birth. But that by no means  no judgement to whether one can become a billionaire or not. It all boils down to our own belief and tenacity for a cause. Transcending belief are love and compassion for a cause.

Most religions proclaim that God is within oneself. If God is in everyone of us, it should be more than evident, that our spiritual quest must begin by loving ourselves, accepting ourselves and the conditions as “we see them to be” to be the conditions that God himself is living in. Only then can we begin to see beyond the faux pas in others, and see the good in them. A person, powered by love, is a person powered by relentless belief. If we love and believe, we can learn from everyone and everything. Life itself becomes the greatest spiritual master.

I see some of my friends conduct acts of kindness, when I look at them, I am inspired and they are then my Gurus. In India we do not have to go far actually, to find Gurus. An average Indian woman, assumes the role of a mother, sister, wife, homemaker and bread-earner flawlessly. She is indeed the very embodiment of the divine Universal energy, seamlessly donning multiple hats. No one can be a better Guru on time management, humility, selfless service and compassion, than her.

Then do we need to seek a smart orator, in ochre robes, who sits on a high chair and siphons money out of unwary devotees on the premise of some divine communion? I see my daughter, 1.5 years old, who without a moments hesitation feeds me a morsel of the bread that I give her to eat. That is unconditional love there. What does she know, if I am going to be a good father or not, if I am a worthy individual to be with or not.  She just performs this innocuous act out of pure love. There is no judgement here. She is my guru!

To have a Guru or Not is never the question. If we truly believe, then spirituality, Guru, religion, love, life and God will all happen.