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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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.

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.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

The Zen koan of the sound of one hand clap, by Hakuin Ekaku is very simple to understand. In fact it is so integral to our existence that it has been there all along, but we have never bothered to really listen.

Ofcourse it is something to be experienced, and one cannot be articulate enough to describe it in its entirety, and all that. Let us assume that we all know how to clap and we all more or less can relate to the sound of two hands clapping.

Let us come back to it later. Now, haven’t we all been deeply involved in listening to a song that we like.So deeply involved that we could not possibly think of the world, not even ourselves?

Now what if I got as deeply engrossed as that, say, when I am listening to the sound of my teeth chewing food, or water falling on my head during a bath, or my fingers touching the keyboard while I type this post, or the listening to the sound of my breath leave my nostrils. What if I was deeply engrossed every time I sense using my eyes, hands, ears, mouth and nose, so much so that I suddenly realize, that these are not really five different senses, its just one sense. A deeper faculty of observation that employs the bodies organs to feel or sense.

What if I suddenly realize, that it is my nature to observe. Further, when I am deeply engrossed in the observation there is nothing else but the observation. When I am listening to the music, there is only the music. There is no me. I am also the music. The listener and the listened are one. The observer and the observed are one. There are no two hands, there is just one hand.

In effect, when the hands are folded and palms touch each other, without making a sound, it is also a prayer. The highest form of prayer is absolute silence. Silence of thoughts.

 

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.

Expectation, Belief and Love

Belief is nothing but relentless expectation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with expectation, it is in fact a very honest human construct. Human beings can never be devoid of belief, the very effort of negating all beliefs (nihilism), is also a belief. It is very simple to understand this principle.

We are bound within causality of this universe. Every effect tangible or intangible is not without cause. The reason I believe that god can disappear and re-appear is because, I “expect” him to achieve this with tremendous ease. There is an idea and then there is a belief in possibility of this idea. But where does this idea come from ?

Either there has been substantial evidence of such an event in the past, which makes me expect a recurrence.
Or, I simply am the first to imagine such an event and expect it to manifest some point in time. In this case it is also a certain intuition a more inherent form of expectation. Something inseparable from my existence.

In either case, the root premise is expectation. So much so that belief itself is Ego! Expectation is nothing but the self-individuation, the projection of existence in this material frame , the reflection of our awareness in this world. As long as the ego remains, expectations will remain, beliefs will be formed, destroyed and reformed. Only when the ego dies, expectations die.

Love is nothing but the death of ego. Love is not an emotion, say like compassion. It is merely a state, a very high state of the mind. Ego is the barrier between the higher mind and its smaller projection that we struggle with in our day to day life. The Ego dies and connects us to a something gargantuan, something beyond measure.