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.

 

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Ramayan: A Yogic Allegory

Ram symbolizes a Yogi-Sahdhak. He broke Shivdhanushya into pieces- this is the Avayava Chhedan of Merudanda (spinal chord). This experience can be achieved by superior Yoga practice only. Ram broke Shivdhnushya and got married to Sita (self-experience). He gave up worldly life and along with Sita (self-experience) and Laxmana (discretion/ prudence) eminent Yogi Ram lived in the forest Dandakaranya (for doing the penance of Merudanda Sadhana). After carrying out such Sadhana for 14 years with maturity and prudence, a Sadhak can become one with his soul. Some studies suggest that, 12- 14 years of celibacy also helps gather enough virility for a sadhak to potently direct the kundalini towards its goal.

Dandakaranya is a forest, where the house namely Panchvati is made of five senses. Ram cuts ears and nose of Shurpanakha (Avyava Chhedan or desire for women) and kills the golden deer i.e. covetousness. He has left his kingdom too. Thus, Ram is ready for Sadhana after giving up his all materialistic wishes. As Laxman (prudence) follows him Ram performs his Yog-Sadhana. Royal self-experience (Sita) is taken away by Brahmadnyana Ravan. When Sita, self-experience is lost, Ram becomes desperate and yearns for her. Laxman keeps his balance. The air element, Hanuman, meets Ram at Pampa Sarovar, the water element, and helps him to find out Sita. Hanuman, is one with the hanuvati, a chin. The dasa (servant) of atma ram (the self god) is Hanuman.  Sita is found at Brahmarup Ravan. Since Ravan has taken her away, Ram has to fight with him to get her back. This is the battle between good and evil attitudes. In this battle Ram kills Kumbhakarna who symbolizes Sadhana done by only listening. Other ill wills are also killed in this attitudinal war of Ram and Ravan. Egoistic Ravan has a son Indrajit, who has command over his limbs. Ram asks Laxman to kill Indrajit who is busy performing Yadnya. Brahmavastha is in the form of Ravan. He is egotistic as he has mastery over Vedas and knowledge. So Ram has to target his heart, meaning thereby, he has to change the mind-set totally and nurture that good attitude. Ravan is thus merged into Ram. Sita, self-experience, acquires grace of Brahmadnyan but has to go through an ordeal. Now, Sita is sacred, pure and symbolizes divine self-experience. She is also waiting to meet Ram after her stay with Brahmanubhuti. Ram and Sita and Laxman return to Ayodhya, a place where there is no war but peace. Ram symbolizes a Yogi-sadhak leading a peaceful life. Sita conceives two virtues namely Lav (time) and Kush (penance). Thus Ram achieves authority for Samdahivastha. But Story of Ramayan continues.

Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva: A Yogic Explanation

A Yogic Explanation by H. H. Shri Shailendra Sharma

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva

Ancient sages realized three states of the creation and introduced their presiding gods as Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the fosterer; and Shiva, the destroyer. A pondering on these symbols from modern perspective leads us to a new meaning of all these symbols.

The principal basis of the creation is matter. As far as eyes can see, there are very many forms of matter that are visible. Right from the gross to the subtle, the matter with its entire immensity is present within the infinitude of the universe. The term Brahma means ‘unlimited immensity’. It is a symbol of the immensity of matter, the principal basis of this creation, or it may be said that the root consciousness of the conscious matter was adorned by the term ‘Brahma’ by the sages.

Lord Vishnu contains the creation and while containing it, he also fosters it. We have read this in the scriptures. After pondering upon this we find that the element that contains the matter is ‘void’ or the empty space. So much so that upon studying the smallest unit of matter – the atom, we find that the void exists between the centre of the atom and the particles moving around it. The support of the movement of matter is the void. Sages realized the capacity of the void to contain the matter and gave the name Vishnu to the consciousness of the conscious void.

When we split the matter and reach the atom, and then split it too, we can experience pure energy. In our quest for analyzing the energy or searching the root source of the energy, when we reach the original source, we are able to see that the advent of energy takes place from pure thought. Pure thought, which we can also term as the consciousness of the matter, is born from the conscious void. Pure thought alone is the link that establishes a relationship between the matter and the void. Continue reading

Which is the highest or best Yoga practice?

I love answering this question always and my answer, as always is, none. Yoga, is the end, not the means to achieve the end. Yoga is communion with the self. So whatever means suits you catches your attention, or strikes you as pragmatic and effective.

  • Ha tha Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Sahaj Yoga
  • Kriya Yoga
  • SIddha Yoga
  • Tantra

among other instruments, to achieve this communion, are just instruments. Everything that we possibly need, is already there with us. Samkhya Cosmology maintains that there are 25 tattvas that manifest in this universe or creation. Incidentally (or not?), research shows that the human body contains 25 elements including some trace elements (not all) from the current periodic table, that play significant biological roles. Some may argue that there are 58 known elements or even all of them in our body. So be it.

The point here is, the human body is perhaps one of the most complex systems to have evolved. It encompasses the best known biological, chemical, electrical, magnetic and physical systems within it. It is not a wonder then, human beings are amongst the sentient species known. The human body is the best available tool, equipped with a powerful mind, to probe beyond the observable, to inquire the supernatural and to discover the metaphysical. Ultimately, to merge with the spiritual.

Anyways, I digress, coming back to which Yoga practice is the best; I would like to use the western movie analogy here. A cowboy who could draw fast, was the one who could shoot the others. He may or may not have the best hand gun in the world. His foes and contestants could even have rifles, cannons, shotguns. But, the gun was  and is as good as the hand that uses it. And, the hand is as fast as the mind that uses it. This was true, even when all shootists trained hard for precision and speed.

Similarly, in all yogic practices the body and the mind have to be trained. Scriptures, texts, tutelage, music, dance, entheogens, chanting, exercises and practice are all part of the training. This training is more to restructure the conditioning of the mind, to  be able to comprehend or accept that is inherent and within,  to better make sense of the day to outwardly experiences that we accumulate post birth.

Like the Oracle says to Neo in the Matrix, ” You have already made the choice! You are here to understand why you made it.”

There have been seers, religious revolutionaries like J. Krishnamurti who sought freedom from the Guru, the book, the tradition and the authoritarian voice of another. “Truth is within you”, he said, and to discover the truth in the luminous light of perception was to transform the very nature of thought and consciousness. It was to awaken intelligence, insight and abundant compassion. The total responsibility lies with the individual. No one, according to J.K. can free another.

Then there was, who I dare to call the nihilist yogi, U. G. Krishnamurti. He was an Indian thinker who questioned enlightenment. Although necessary for day to day functioning of the individual, in terms of the Ultimate Reality or Truth, he rejected the very basis of “thought” and in doing so negated all systems of thought and knowledge in reference to It.

“Tell them that there is nothing to understand.” he said.

Although many considered him an “enlightened” person, U.G. often referred to his state of being as the “natural state.” He claimed that the demand for enlightenment was the only thing standing in the way of enlightenment itself, if enlightenment existed at all. Incidentally, to clutch on to nirvana was also a desire and not a fool proof mechanism, as per the Buddha.

The legendary, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, changed his religion several times to explore the ideology and philosophy behind each. Changing a religion for a Hindu was then and even today is a great taboo. Ramakrishna Paramahansa saw the mother goddess Kali in his wife and remained a celibate thereafter.

All said and done, all perceptions, ideas, beliefs and systems can be changed, broken, reused,  Religious doctrines, texts, philosophies, teachers, yogic systems all exist in abundance for men to extract what facilitates their quest and discard what they cannot. This does not imply, however, that we disrespect the means or belittle the efforts of others. Talking, listening, reading, following, imitating, meditating, self-enquiry, questioning, all are part of the process. Like a clay sculptor, who adds and removes clay as needed to sculpt, we must learn to imbibe and let go as need be. Adapt and Improvise.

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.


Diseases – part 1

Disease is the final distraction of a human beings life. It is the collaborative expression of physiological and psychological distractions accumulated over a period of time. The process of accumulation of distractions happens wittingly or unwittingly and in most cases, inevitably.
With age, the most powerful organ, the human brain, actually becomes more stronger, contrary to the popular notion. It then becomes more decisive and capable to fight distractions. However, for most of us by the time this empowerment takes place, the accumulation of innumerable distractions attains considerable solidarity, enough to defy most resistance by the human brain, rendering the individual susceptible to diseases.
Today, stress has been termed as the biggest contributor towards diseases. It is very important to understand stress and its nature to be able to work towards successful prevention, reduction or elimination of stress. Stress cannot be isolated as an individual cause. It is a process, like weaving, conflicts of various amplitudes and various types are its threads.

The energy (work done over a period of time, thus inclusive of the time spent) consumed in processing the conflicts, results in its dissipation into various channels, and not into a single original intention. The mental projection of this unavailability of energy for the original cause, is called distraction. Prolonged distraction triggers a counter-measure in the human body. In this attempt the human mind tries to demand back the divided energies back into a single channel, very rapidly, ironically, consuming more energy than planned. The psychological projection of this attempt is called ‘anger’. Anger, only does half the job.  It manages to break the threads, however, it does not  re-channelize the energy back to the mainline. It is a more dissipative mode of energizing.