Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Freeing ourselves by Conscious perception

Here again we see the need for being aware of ourselves, for observing what goes on beneath our surface activities. A person might think, for example, that he is very happy while at a picnic. But, beneath his outer gaitey, he might have dozens of subconscious worries over his finances, or worries about whether others like him or not. A clear awareness of such negativities would destroy them, for the sadness is in the thoughts themselves, not in the finances, or in acceptance by others. We are enslaved by anything we do not consciously see.* We are freed by conscious perception.**

Vernon Howard ,The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power (c) 1967 Parker Publishing

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Proper Diet

Proper diet is one of the 5 fundamental points of Yoga as taught by Swami Vishnu-devananda founder/Guru of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers. The yogic diet is a vegetarian one, consisting of pure, simple, natural foods which are easily digested and promote health. Simple meals aid the digestion and assimilation of foods. Nutritional requirements fall under five categories: protein, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and vitamins. One should have a certain knowledge of dietetics in order to balance the diet. Eating foods first-hand from nature, grown in fertile soil (preferably organic, free from chemicals and pesticides) will help ensure a better supply of these nutritional needs. Processing, refining and overcooking destroy much food value.
The Yogi is concerned with the subtle effect that food has on his mind and astral body. He therefore avoids foods which are overly stimulating, preferring those which render the mind calm and the intellect sharp. One who seriously takes to the path of Yoga would avoid ingesting meats, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, coffee, tea (except herbal), alcohol and drugs.
Any change in diet should be made gradually. Start by substituting larger portions of vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts until finally all flesh products have been completely eliminated from the diet.The Yogic diet will help you attain a high standard of health, keen intellect and serenity of mind. To really understand the Yogic approach to diet one has to get familiar with the concept of the 3 Gunas or qualities of nature.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sacrificial Killing in Vedic Yajnas - Maha Periyval

Sri Kanchi MaaMunivar was camping in Mylapore Sanskrit College, Chennai, in the year 1957, along with his disciple Sri Jayendra Sarawathi SwamigaL. A Vegetarian Conference held at that time in the Adyar Theosophical Society was attended by representatives from all over the world. Resolutions were passed in the conference to the effect that it was a great sin to harm the animals for whatever reason; so flesh eating should be avoided and only vegetarian food should be taken. They had also devised ways to popularise the message of ahimsa and vegetarianism among the general public.
When the conference was over, its president and the chairman of the Theosophical Society Sri Sankara Menan brought a group of people from the western countries for darshan and blessings of Sri Kanchi Acharya MahaSwamigaL, after taking his prior permission. The delegates were keen on meeting the sage.
Their president (Sri Menan) introduced everyone to SwamigaL, telling him the name and country. After this introduction, when he started telling them about the sage, SwamigaL interrupted him and said, "You need not tell much about me. The extent they know about me is enough."
Some of the delegates wanted to ask questions to Swamiji. When he said yes, the very first question that came was "Is sacrificial killing in Vedic Yajnas justified? Is it not a sin?"
SwamigaL said, "Yes, it can be done, it is not a sin!"
At this reply, they all suddenly laughed. Menan was angry that they had insulted the sage. He told them, "I brought you to this sage to seek his blessings. Had I known you would behave with such indecency, I would not have ventured at this task."
SwamigaL pacified Menan. "Don't be angy with them! They have come with a premeditated resolution. They have concluded that jIva himsa is a sin and it should not be done for any reason. Since my reply was contrary to their conclusion, they had this laugh. They never had any thought of insulting me. We should reply to them in the proper manner."
As Menan's anger subsided, SwamigaL continued: "A rowdy kills a man. A law court inquires the incident and a judge gives him a sentence of death. The rowdy committed the sin of killing, say in a fit of passion, with no idea of sin and spiritual rewards. Then isn't it a jIva himsa to give him a death sentence? Do we blame the judge for this action?"
These words from SwamigaL sent them into thinking. After all, they were learned people. Sensing some interesting exposition of truths, they waited eagerly for the next words from Swamiji.
SwamigaL continued: "In a junction of four roads, an ambulance comes first. Since the vehicle is for saving a life, we stop all other vehicles and permit it to pass first. On another occasion, an ambulance and a fire engine come on the road. We let the fire engine pass at the cost of saving one life, because the fire engine is rushing to save many lives. On a third occasion, a fire engine and a military van in an emergency come up. What do we do now? We let the military van go first since the life of a country assumes more importance than the lives of a few people. At such a time, we don't think of voluntarily sacrificing the lives of a few people in the city for the sake of the country.
"A king is conducting a battle to save his country. He kills thousands of people in the battle. If a man who kills another gets a death sentence, how large a sentence should the king be given? But then we garland him for his victory. In all such cases, we justify and accept jIva himsa. We develop our own rules and regulations to guide us in such matters. In the same way, we don't consider the sacrificial killing as sin. The Vedas say that if they are done for the welfare of the world, they are admissible and won't be construed as sin.
"Veda is beginningless. It is like the air that Bhagavan breathes. So both Vedas and the Bhagavan are both eternal.
shastraya ca sukhaya ca.
Vedas and shastra teach only good things. Bhagavan Sri Krishna also says the same thing in his Bhagavat Gita:
"'devAn bhAvayatAnena te devA bhAvayantu vaH parasparaM bhAvayantaH shreyaH param avapsyatha '

"If we do the yajnas and satisfy the devas they give us rains and good life. So the killing done in sacrifices won't be construed as sin.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Path of Yoga and Path of Jnana

Yoga is the path of effort i.e in Yoga you assume body is real , mind is real and that they have to be purified controlled , made stable before going to higher levels .Jnana is the path of effortlessness i.e here we do not try to control the body / mind as we take both body and mind to be unreal and inert and not worth controlling and spend our whole time and energy in just abiding in the self .OSHO , Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi , J.Krishnamurthy , Eckhart Tolle , Nisargadatta Maharaj etc advocated the path of effortlessness i.e path of Jnana while people like Swami Sivananda , Sringeri Acharyas , Kanchi Paramacharya, Swami Vivekananda and other spiritual saints advocated the path of effort i.e Yoga Marga .There is no question of who is right or who is wrong .The path of Yoga and path of Jnana are both needed and it is always advisable to start first with the path of effort i.e yoga marga and later one must switch over to the path of effortlessness i.e Jnana Marga .
Note : Here Yoga denotes everything : Raja Yoga , Karma Yoga , Bhakthi Yoga , Hatha Yoga etc

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Problem of mindless thinking

Thinking, for most people, is involuntary and compulsive, even addictive. Many people are tortured on a daily basis by their minds, by the voice in their head that never stops speaking. Most negative emotional states are caused by dysfunctional thinking, and emotions are the reaction of your body to your thoughts. For example, grievances, resentment, guilt etc. disappear when the voice in your head stops telling its old stories. Fear disappears when your mind no longer creates future scenarios – to which your body reacts as if they were a present reality.

Eckhart Tolle

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pseudo Vedantic Students

Every Vedantic Teacher when they start their Vedantic lessons start with the statment that to understand Vedanta they have to have the following 4 fold qualifications : 1) Viveka 2) Vairagya 3) ShatSampat 4) Mumukshutva .But no teacher says how to acquire them .They imagine that the student has it or leave it to his / her own responsibility to acquire them . That is the reason why we can see in Major Cities across India and whole world why inspite of many teachers giving Vedantic Lectures for many years very little transformation is happening in people listening to them .In fact it develops negative qualities in people like spiritual pride / egoism that that know the Upanishads , Gita , Brahma Sutra etc and they ridicule people who do yoga / spiritual practices saying will u get Moksha standing Upside down or twisting ur body or holding ur breath ? They also give up the normal pujas dones at home and other Vedic rituals that have been done for Centuries by their forefathers saying that they have crossed all these and have reached a higher level and it is not needed for them .If these people make an enquiry in to their own life they will be shocked to know that Vedanta is only in their lips and not in their heart .They continue to be still jealous , insecure , greedy ,egoistic and spiritually immature .For them Vedanta is just an intellectual stimulation and like parrots they go vomitting it to others what they have heard from their own teachers without doing their own sadhana and trying to understand them at heart or just escape from the reality temporarily by listening to their talks .They are avoiding Spiritual Sadhana / Vedic Karmas not because they have reached a higher level but purely out of laziness and lack of insight in to the operation of these Sadhanas / Karmas . Well I am not saying that listening to Vedantic lectures is not having any impact . There have been many people reformed by listening but the percentage is less .The problem is not in the teachers / their teachings but in the quality of students listening to their talks . Most of the students attending such talks have never prepared their minds or developed the 4 fold qualities needed for easy assimilation of Vedantic Truths .So as a result there is more and more vedantic information but very less transformation .So what is the solution ? The only solution is for people to take up serious Sadhna ( yoga , pranayama , reiki , tai chi , zen meditation , vipassans etc ) and involve in Seva ( any form of social activity- community serivce , charity , social work etc ) or if they are strictly traditional they must follow the Vedic Path of their forefathers ( Pancha Maha Yagna ) that can help purify and refine their mind and make it one pointed and sattvic .So either they follow the New Age techniques or involve in traditional Vedic Karma to purify and stabilise their mind or an intelligent combination of both .Unless and Until such a mind is prepared , Vedantic Truths will be only on their lips and not in their hearts and they can spend years after years just studying more and more books on Vedanta , listening to talks after talks on the same but very little qualitative transformation will be in them .This is what Swami Sivananda said " An Ounce of action is worth Tons of Theory "

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Preparation for Higher forms of Meditation

In the last 2 messages of OSHO we find that he has given a new dimension to the concept of Meditation .It is not just OSHO who gave such an insight .Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi , J.Krishnamurthy , Eckhart Tolle , Nisargadatta Maharaj, Papaji have given similar insight . That is according to them Meditaion is not just focussing on an object ( like Mantra , breath , Sound etc ) but involves understanding the "enquirier" i.e person doing the meditation .Another name for this is called "Self Enquiry" or "Atma Vichar" .Now the next question is are all people capable of doing this type of meditation .The answer is no because for doing this type of meditation a person must have the 4 qualities as prescribed by Vedanta for any serious seeker i.e 1) Viveka( Discrimination ) 2) Vairagya( Dispassion ) 3) ShatShampat( keeping the mind one pointed and integrated ) and 4) Mumukshutva ( intense desire for liberation ).It is always easy for people to quote the example of Janaka who was a king but yet lived like a Jnani . People like Janaka are excpetions and we must not fool around thinking we can also be like them .Also people quote the example of Ramana Maharishi saying he did not read anything , he did not do any yoga , he did not go to any guru etc .People are forgetting the fact that Ramana Maharishi left home at young age , did tapas in the underground "Patala Linga " that was at that time infested with sankes , scorpions etc and lived without any food / water for many days .How many are prepared to live like that ? Froget snakes and scorpions , many cant even tolerate ordinary mosuquitoes in their room and need A/C while meditating .So while it is necessary to understand the higher forms of meditation and read about it , one must lay the proper foundation for the same and the best way is the path of yoga i.e ashtanga yoga .If Ashtanga Yoga is understood as a means for a higher purpose and not as an end in itself then it is the best .But the tragedy is many people take Ashtanga Yoga as an end in itself and try to get mystical experiences and feel that the end of spirituality is getting such mystical expereinces .Many people are trapped in this craze for experince of siddhi , samadhi and mystical experinces through yoga and waste their entire lieftime on it .The solution for these people is to shift to the teachings of Bhawan Ramana , Eckhart Tolle , Osho , J.Krishna Murthy etc after they have had a through grounding in the path of yoga .Jnana without yoga is very dry and academic and yoga without Jnana will be incomplete . So you have to combine the path of Yoga & Jnana and that is what Swami Sivananda & Swami Vishnu devananda did .They brought both these wonderful sciences together and gave a combined approach called Yoga Vedanta .More specifically the "Five Points of Yoga" of Swami Vishnu devananda is the best suited for people in current times to be healthy & stress free in their day to day life and also at the same time lay a foundation for their spiritual growth .So in conclusion if you want to really lead a higher form of meditative life on the lines prescribed by Osho / Bhagawan Ramana /Eclhart Tolle then the best is to start first with the Path of Yoga .
I will deal about it in the coming days .


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Meditation is not concentration

MEDITATION is not concentration. In concentration there is a self concentrating and there is an object being concentrated upon. There is duality. In meditation there is nobody inside and nothing outside. It is not concentration . There is no division between the in and the out. The in goes on flowing into the out, the out goes on flowing into the in. The demarcation, the boundary, the border, no longer exists. The in is out, the out is in; it is a no-dual consciousness. Concentration is a dual consciousness; that's why concentration creates tiredness; that's why when you concentrate you feel exhausted. And you cannot concentrate for twenty-four hours, you will have to take holidays to rest. Concentration can never become your nature. Meditation does not tire, meditation does not exahaust you. Meditation can become a twenty-four hour thing - day in, day out, year in, year out. It can become eternity. It is relaxation itself.Concentration is an act, a willed act. Meditation is a state of no will, a state of inaction. It is relaxation. One has simply dropped into one's own being, and that being is the same as the being of All. In Concentration the mind functions out of a conclusion: you are doing something. Concentration comes out of the past. In meditation there is no conclusion behind it. You are not doing anything in particular, you are simply being. It has no past to it, it is pure of all future, It what Lao Tzu has called wei-wu-wei, action through inaction. It is what Zen masters have been saying: Sitting silently doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. Remember, 'by itself - nothing is being done. You are not pulling the grass upwards; the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. That state - when you allow life to go on its own way. When you don't want to give any control to it, when you are not manipulating, when you are not enforcing any discipline on it - that state of pure undisciplined spontaneity, is what meditation is. Meditation is in the present, pure present. Meditation is immediacy. You cannot meditate, you can be in meditation. You cannot be in concentration, but you can concentrate. Concentration is human, meditation is divine.


Monday, February 12, 2007

What is Meditation ?

"Meditation is a single lesson of awareness, of no-thought, of spontaneity, of being total in your action, alert, aware. It is not a technique, it is a knack. Either you get it or you don't." - Osho.

Osho has spoken volumes on the subject of meditation. Virtually all his talks include the importance of meditation in everyday life. And despite the fact that he says meditation is not a technique, he has invented dozens of them, and spoken on dozens more from other traditions.Ultimately, meditation is an experience which is not easily described, like the taste of cheese or falling in love -- you have to try it to find out. But for sure anyone interested in meditation will find something in what Osho has to say about this topic that "clicks" for them, just like a "knack" -- including his insistence that he can be helpful to you, but ultimately each individual has to create his path by walking it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Be discriminating

I am not saying be disrespectful . I am not saying be disobedient .I am simply saying be discriminating .And discrimination comes out of awareness - be alert , be aware , see the whole situation .And let the decision come from yourself , not from outside - not from your father , not from your teachers , not from your priests . Listen to what they have to say , listen carefully , respectfully .But the decision has to come from your own innermost being .Then you will have an individuality and you will have an independence .And with you , the whole society will move in to consciousness , into freedom .

OSHO from Osho Upanishad

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Awareness is never lost

Awareness is never lost . It simply becomes entangled with the other , with objects . So the first thing to be remembered : it is never lost .It is your nature , but you can focus it on anything you want . When you get tired of focussing it on money , on power , on prestige , and that great moment comes in your life when you want to close your eyes and focus your awareness on its own source , on where it is coming from , on the roots - in a split second your life is transformed .And don't ask what are the steps ; there is only one step .The process is very simple .The step is only one : that is turning in .

OSHO from Osho Upanishad

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dont choose the convenient

Whenever there are alternatives , don't choose the convenient , the comfortable , the respectable , the socially acceptable , the honorable .Choose something that rings a bell in your heart . Choose something that you would like to do in spite of any consequences .Society teaches you : "Choose the convenient , the comfortable .Choose the well-trodden path where your forefathers and their forefathers and their forefathers , since Adam and Eve , have been walking .So many millions of people have passed on it , you cannot go worng ." But remember one thing , the crowd has never had the experience of truth .Truth has only happened to individuals .It is not a collective phenomenon , it does not happen to a crowd .It always happens to the individual .

The new awakened consciousness

Although the old consciousness or rather unconsciousness still has considerable momentum and to a large extent still runs this world, the new awakened consciousness – presence – has already began to emerge in many human beings. In my book The Power of Now, I mention ways in which you can maintain present moment awareness, but the main thing is to allow this new state of consciousness to emerge rather then believe that you have to try hard to make it happen. How do you allow it to emerge? Simply by allowing this moment to be as it is. This means to relinquish inner resistance to what is – the suchness of now. This allows life to unfold beautifully. There is no greater spiritual practice than this.

Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What keeps us living in either the past or the future?

We live in a world of mental abstraction, conceptualization, and image making — a world of thought. And that becomes our dwelling place. It is a world characterized by the inability ever to stop thinking. The mental noise is a continuous stream. Psychologists have found that 95 percent or more of it is totally repetitive. Perhaps 10 percent of those thought processes, at most, are actually needed to deal with life. Thought can sometimes be very useful [laughter], but in our world it has become obsessive, compulsive, almost like an addiction. People’s sense of identity, of self, gets bound up with their mental concepts and mental images of “I” and “me.”

Eckhart Tolle

Saturday, February 03, 2007

To correct oneself is to Correct the whole World

Bhagawan Ramana once said " to correct oneself is to correct the whole world ". When one has corrected oneself completely one find that there is no one other than onseself to correct .One becomes quiet and peaceful within and one spontaneously radiates happiness to all beings .If is a powerful light is shining it need not say to darkness "Please Go Away" .In the presence of such a powerful light all darkness immediately vanishes .Similarly , the jnani spontaneously radiates a spiritual light which automatically dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance .

Annamalai Swami from the Book Living by the Words of Bhagawan

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What is a prayer?

Prayer is sending blessing to all. Prayer is sending your compassion to all. Prayer is creating an antidote for negative thoughts - it is positively .