Saturday, August 19, 2017

The tendencies in human nature, which stand as bar to illumination ~ Swami Chidananda

What are these tendencies in human nature, which stand as bar to illumination?  

One is spiritual ignorance,
second is egoism,
third and forth, attachment and aversion,
and fifth, clinging to life.

What is ignorance?

Ignorance is characterized by non-discrimination, failing to discriminate between the Eternal and the non-eternal, between the Real and the unreal, between appearances and Reality, between the passing, the perishable and the Permanent, the Imperishable.

It is the failure to distinguish between the two and taking the unreal for the Real. Taking the non-eternal for the Eternal—this is ignorance. And regarding the non-self to be the Self, failing to distinguish between the Atman and Anatman, (Self and non-self), failing to distinguish between your Self and the body you dwell in and thinking I am this body—this is ignorance, this is spiritual ignorance.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fitness for Wisdom ~ Swami Sivananda

Fitness for Wisdom  
- Essence of Vedanta

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it 'in due time.' Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagra, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiated into the mystery of Existence.  (Read more about the qualifications of an aspirant of Advaita Vedanta at the end of this essay)
 
One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities. Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for Liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka (discerment) and Vairagra (dispassion) of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence. It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation. How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got a strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya (The knowledge of Brahman, the Science of the Self)
 
It is only the best qualified (Uttama-Adhikari), who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute! 
 
Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than for the Realisation of the Absolute, that man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousand doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from Vedantic Meditation. A person should desire for nothing else, than the Realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation. Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.
 
NOTE
 
Sadhana Chatushtaya or the fourfold means for salvation or the four kinds of spiritual practices, is a pre-requisite to the aspirantj in the path of Jnana Yoga (Vedanta), or, for that matter, in any system of evolution towards Godhead. The four means are: 
 
 1. Viveka-discrimination between Sat (real) and Asat (unreal).

2. Vairagya-dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter.

3. Shad Sampat (6 virtues):
(a) Sama-peace of mind through eradication of Vasanas.
(b) Dana-control of sense organs.
(c) Uparati-satiety, renunciation of all works (Sannyasa).
(d) Titiksha - forbearance.
(e) Sraddha-faith in scriptures and the Guru's words.
(f) Samadhana-concentration of mind, balance of mind.

4. Mumukshutva-Intense longing for liberation.
 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The ego-created sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole of Eckhart Tolle

The ego-created sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole

Extract of the book The Power of Now of Eckhart Tolle

Another aspect of the emotional pain that is an intrinsic part of the egoic mind is a deep-seated sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole. In some people, this is conscious, in others unconscious. If it is conscious, it manifests as the unsettling and constant feeling of not being worthy or good enough. If it is unconscious, it will only be felt indirectly as an intense craving, wanting and needing. In either case, people will often enter into a compulsive pursuit of ego gratification and things to identify with in order to fill this hole they feel within. So they strive* after possessions, money, success, power, recognition, or a special relationship, basically so that they can feel better about themselves, feel more complete. But even when they attain all these things, they soon find that the hole is still there, that it is bottomless. Then they are really in trouble, because they cannot delude themselves anymore. Well, they can and do, but it gets more
difficult.

As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.

COMMENT by Atman Nityananda

they strive* after possessions, money, success, power, recognition, or a special relationship:
I will add also pleasures. According my own experience the ego causes this sense of lack, that something is missing here and now in order to drive us find something pleasurable to fill the hole. Desire for pleasure is what generates this sense of lack in order to drive us to seek some pleasurable experience. Moreover  desire end ego are one and the same thing. I am talking about the vital rajasotamasic ego which what makes us identify with the body, the mental and emotional formations and the sense objects and situations. The essential nature of this vital ego is lust and desire.

Read about the vital ego:

 THE VITAL EGO IS THE GREATEST OBSTACLE OF SELF-TRANSFORMATION ~ Atman Nityananda

Our true Self (Consciousness), is beyond the lower and the higher ego ~ Atman Nityananda

 


The knots of samsara by Swami Sivananda

The knots of samsara 
 (ignorance, desire and action)
by Swami Sivananda 

Avidya (ignorance), Kama (desire) and Karma (action) are the knots (Hridaya Granthis) that have tied the deluded Jiva (individual) to this Samsara (wheel of birth and death).

In the light of Vedanta philosophy, desire is born of Avidya or ignorance. There are neither desires, nor cravings, nor longings in Brahman. It is ever pure and transcendent. It is not touched by even a trace of desire. It is absolutely free from Maya or Mala (impurities of desire).

From the Avidya Sakti desire arises to enjoy the external objects of desire. As soon as man was enveloped by the veil of ignorance, he forgot his essential blissful nature and began to run after sensual objects to seek his pleasure through the avenues of the senses. He began to exert, to do selfish Karmas, to realise his objects of desire. He lost his original freedom and became bound.

~~~~~~

The chain of Samsara  
~ Atman Nityananda


1. Experience gives us pleasure,
2. Memorized pleasure becomes lust,
3. Lust becomes desire,
4. Desire becomes an urge or an impulse that prompts us to action,
4. Action leads us to experience,
5.Experience gives us pleasure,
1. Memorized pleasure becomes lust.
2. Lust becomes desire.....
and this chain goes on without a break.

After some time our behaviour of seeking pleasure through certain sensory stimulus becomes habitual and attachment and greed are developed as well. That means we suffer when we cannot have this pleasure and we want  more and more of this pleasure.

There is also multiplication of every kind of pleasure. We seek variety of sexual partners and various ways to multiply sex pleasure, we seek variety of food pleasure, drink pleasure and so on.
There is no end in the insatiable thirst of lust for more, greater, more intensive and different kind of pleasures.  Lust using imagination discovers innumerable ways to multiply pleasure. Pornography and glutton-food industry are the most obvious examples.

Addiction is the culmination of  the conditioned mechanical pattern of pleasure, lust and attachment.

This vicious circle of:

Pleasurable experience-lust-desire-action-pleasurable experience-lust-desire-action-pleasurable experience......

goes on in eternity or stops when due to suffering we decide to destroy this this chain by sincere, regular, systematic, daily sadhana (spiritual practice).

Rajas and tamas gunas, imagination, identification, projection, superimposition  are the components of Samsara or bondage.

Tamas makes the mind dull, fool, obscured, inattentive, without discernment,  and thus unable to see things correctly and rajas makes the mind extroverted, passionate, restless and attached to the objects.

Sattva, self-awareness, detachment, dispassion, discrimination or discernment, dispassionate self-observation, disidentification, conscious attention, concentration, self-enquiry, reflection, prayer, Japa nama and meditation are the components of liberation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MENTAL PEACE THROUGH NON-ATTACHMENT. ~ Swami Sivananda


MENTAL PEACE THROUGH NON-ATTACHMENT

The subject of non-attachment is of universal importance.
Attachment is the most powerful weapon of Maya for binding the Jivas to the Samsaric wheel of birth and death. You would have never come into this world, had it not been for attachment.

The attachment first starts with this physical body. Then all other attachments crop up. Then comes relationship of father, mother, brother, sister, wife, son, friend, etc.

One may be attached to a place, person, or an object. Wherever there is attachment, there is the idea of Mineness or Mamata. Attachment is a kind of very strong glue that binds the mind with the objects. Why does the mind get attached to objects or persons? Because it finds pleasure in objects or persons. Wherever there is pleasure, the mind gets attached there. It is attached to wife, son, house, property, money or a friend, because the mind finds pleasure in these objects.

Attachment is the root cause for human sufferings. It is the product of effect of ignorance or Avidya. It is a modification of nescience or ignorance.

It is attachment that brings us again into this Mrityuloka. The seeds of attachment are ingrained in the subconscious mind. We have to obliterate or fry up all these seeds through right thinking, Vichara and Atma-jnana. We have to cut all these illusory attachments through the sword of non-attachment or Vairagya. The Gita says, - Asangasastrena dridhena cchitva. - - Cut this tree of Maya with the sword of non-attachment. (Chapter XV).

Develop internal Vairagya (dispassion) by understanding the illusory nature of this world. Remember the pains of this Samsara, viz., birth, death, old age, diseases and miseries of this world. Place before the mind the glorious life in Atman and the immense bliss of a spiritual life. Remember the Saints and Yogins and Jnanis like Sri Sankara, Mansoor, Shams Tabriez, Jnana Dev and their teachings. Slowly the mind will be weaned from sensual objects. It can be gradually turned towards God and higher things. Have recourse to Satsanga.

Do Atma-Vichara (Self-enquiry). Meditate daily. That man who has no attachment in this world, is the most happy man. He is God Himself. His joy is indescribable. He must be adored.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Wisdom of Chanting and Singing to Lord Siva ॐ By Swami Sivananda Saraswati



The Wisdom of Chanting and Singing to Lord Siva ॐ

The Name of Lord Siva chanted in any way, correctly or incorrectly, knowingly or unknowingly, carefully or carelessly, is sure to give the desired result. The Glory of the Name of Lord Siva cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. It can certainly be experienced or realized only through devotion, faith and 'constant repetition' of the Name and singing His hymns with Bhava (pure reverent approach).

Every Name is filled with countless potencies or Saktis. The power of the Name is ineffable. Its Glory is indescribable. The efficiency and inherent Sakti of the Name of Lord Siva are unfathomable.

The mind is purified by constant repetition of Siva-Stotra and Names of Lord Siva. The Stotras are filled with good and pure thoughts. Repetition of the hymns to Siva strengthens the good Samskaras. “As a man/woman thinks, that one becomes”. This is the psychological law. The mind of a one who trains their self in thinking good, holy thoughts develops a tendency to think of good thoughts.

Their character is moulded and transformed by continued good thought. When the mind thinks of the 'Image of the Lord' during singing His hymns, the mental substance actually assumes the form of the Image of the Lord. The impression of the object thought of is left in the mind. This is called Samskara. When the act is repeated very often, the Samskaras gain strength by repetition, and a tendency or habit is formed in the mind.

One who entertains Thoughts of Divinity, becomes transformed actually into the Divinity itself by constant thinking. Ones Bhava or disposition is purified and Divinized.  When one sings the hymns of Lord Siva, one is in tune with the Lord. The individual mind melts in the cosmic mind. One who sings the hymns becomes One with Lord Siva.

Just as fire has the natural property of burning inflammable things, so also the Name of Lord Siva has the power of burning the sins, Samskaras and Vasanas and bestowing eternal bliss and everlasting peace on those who repeat the Name of the Lord.

Just as burning quality is natural and inherent in fire, so also the power of destroying sins with their very root and branch and bringing the aspirant into 'blissful union' with the Lord through Bhava Samadhi, is natural and inherent in the Name of God.

O Friends! Take refuge in the Name of Siva. Sing His hymns. Nami and Name are inseparable. Sing Lord Siva’s hymns incessantly. Remember the Name of the Lord with every incoming and outgoing breath. In this Iron Age, Nama-Smarana, (the supreme sadhana) or singing the hymns is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to reach God and attain Immortality and perennial joy. 

Glory to Lord Siva! Glory to His Name!

ॐ नमः शिवाय.  On nama Shivay!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Divine Mother -Shakti \ The active aspect of Brahman and the awakening of kundalini ~ Atman Nityananda




The Divine Mother -Shakti  \ The active aspect of Brahman
and the awakening of kundalini

Brahman (Shiva or Atman or God, or Spirit etc.) and Shakti are not two. They are the static and the dynamic aspects of one and the same principle.

"The power or active aspect of the immanent God is Shakti. Shiva (Brahman, God etc.) is the unchanging consciousness. Shakti is His changing Power which appears as mind and matter. She runs this world-show. She maintains the sportive play or Lila of the Lord. She is the supporter of the vast universe. She is the supreme Power by which the world is upheld. She is the Universal Mother (the Divine Mother)."

~ Swami Sivananda



"It is this cosmic energy, this Para Shakti, that manifests as the incredible energy of the sun, the energy of the planets and, the incredible speed at which they whirl in their own orbits. It is this cosmic energy which manifests as the power of gravity, as the power of the sun’s radiance, as the power of all these great planets and heavenly bodies, as the power of the wind and other elements. Shakti controls the entire manifestation, just as electricity allows all appliances to work."

~ Swami Chitananda

"The Divine Mother is everywhere triple. She is endowed with the three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. She manifests Herself as Will (Ichha Shakti), Action (Kriya Shakti) and Knowledge (Jnana Sakti). She is Brahma-Shakti (Sarasvati) in conjunction with Brahma, Vishnu-Shakti (Lakshmi) in conjunction with Vishnu and Shhiva-Sakti (Gauri) in conjunction with Shiva. Hence She is called Tripurasundari. The Chaitanya (consciousness) that is associated with the Sattva Guna is Vishnu. The Chaitanya that is associated with Rajoguna is Brahma and the Chaitanya associated with Tamoguna is Siva. 

The one Ishvara (Chaitanya associated with Shakti or Maya; the reflection of Brahman in Maya is Ishvara.) has become three according to the functions of creations, preservation and destruction. The Chaitanya (consciousness) is the same."

~ Swami Sivananda

The Shakti is neither female nor male. She is everything, male, female and neutral and beyond these aspects also. Shakti is considered as female in relation with Brahman which of course is not neither male nor female; Brahman or the absolute Truth is beyond any description.

"Any power that we see in this universe is the power of this great cosmic force and it is this same power that animates all living beings, trees, plants, insects, birds, bees, reptiles, fish and animals. It is the power of the lion, it is the power of the elephant and it is the power of the brilliant intellect or genius of a Faraday, a Raman or an Einstein.

"This self-same power abides in us and animates our entire body mechanism. Our lives depend entirely upon Shakti, which grants us vitality, feeling and consciousness or awareness, through which we operate on all levels and can set in motion both our outer actions and inner sadhana (spiritual practice). 



"The body is Shakti. The mind is Shakti. The needs of the body are the needs of Shakti. The shakti is the power that digests our food, that makes our heart pump blood, that makes our lungs breathe, that makes our muscles and joints work, that makes our tongue talk and ear hear. 

~ Swami Chitananda

"The Shakti rules over the processes of birth and death and the unfoldment karma. She provides our souls with the bodies and minds and the worlds in which to experience life. All that we eat, breathe, perceive, feel or know consists of some portion of her energy and an aspect of Her dynamic processes that surround us on every side. All that we seek to acquire for sustenance, happiness, knowledge or growth is part of Her and comes from Her."

 ~ David Frawley

The sexual aspect of Shakti

The sexual energy is the most fundamental expression of cosmic energy, because through it the entire universe is born and exists.
In our bodies its main functions is the reproduction of the species and the experience of pleasure, but it is even more important in spiritual development.

Sexual energy is the deepest reservoir of our energy. In the sexual fluids (semen and vaginal fluids) are stored the more subtle and fine energies (Tejas and Ojas) which are very important for maintaining good health, mental and emotional balance and harmony and achieve a high level of consiousness .

Sexual energy has also a higher potential which causes the awakening of Shakti-kundalini which in its turn awake the superior capabilities of the seven chakras and mind (clairvoyance, clairaudience, cosmic consciousness etc.).

"It is this very power that is also present as the sex energy in us. Therefore, the sex energy is nothing but the presence of the Divine Mother in all human beings."

"So, the sexual energy is part of the one indivisible great cosmic power present in the human individual. In its gross biological aspect, it is called the sexual energy. In its subtler aspect, it is the energy of discrimination, the power of the intellect to analyze and enquire and ratiocinate. In a still subtler aspect, in its psychic aspect, it is the power of the Shakti Kundalini. And in its supreme aspect, it is nothing but Atma-Shakti. Because Brahman and Shakti are not two. They are the static and the dynamic aspects of one and the same principle."

~ Swami Chitananda

Shakti and spirituality

"Even to seek Brahman, to seek what is beyond Shakti (Shiva, Brahman etc.), we must work with Shakti. Shakti provides us the power of meditation and the discriminating insight through which we can transcend time and space. This means that the best means for both spiritual realization and for gaining all the other goals of life is to worship Shakti, to work with and for the Goddess (Divine Mother). There is no other way as effective, if there is any other way at all. If the Brahman is the goal, the Shakti is both the path and the power to traverse it. We can awaken and follow her current to Brahman, or remain asleep and get caught in her outside streams that move in different directions."

 ~ David Frawley


The worship and devotion of Divine Mother can be included in all spiritual paths and can be a part of the sadhana of everyone who wants to realize the Truth.  But there are paths like Shaktaism that are dedicated in the worship of the Divine Mother and have spesific practices for the awakening of Shakti-kundalini.  

Worship and devotion can be done by rituals, prayers, singing praises and kirtan, reading sacred texts about the Divine mother, repetion of mantras, by the sexual Maithuna and finally by recognising every person and action as a manifestation of the Shakti, by seeing  the Divine Mother in everything.

 

Shakti-Kundalini yoga sadhana

Shaktaism is an ancient path of India in which the devotees adore the Divine Mother and with specific practices aim to the unfolding and awakening of Shakti-Kundalini. 

"Shaktaism helps the aspirant to arouse the Kundalini and unite Her with Lord Shiva (pure Consciousness) and to enjoy the supreme bliss or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. A Shakta (devotee of Shakti) does Sadhana which helps the union of Shiva and Shakti through the awakening of the forces within the body. He becomes a Siddha (perfect) in the Sadhana when he is able to awaken Kundalini and pierce the six Chakras. The mode of Sadhana depends upon the tendencies and capacities of the Sadhaka. One should become perfectly desireless and should be full of Vairagya before he attempts to awaken Kundalini.



"In this path the aspirant adores the Shakti and practices, Dhyana, Bhava, Japa, pranayamas and Shakti-Mantra in order to awaken the Shakti-kundalini. Devotion, celibacy, renunciation, dispassion and purity of mind are necessary for the awakening of kundalini."

~ Swami Sivananda




There are other paths like the Tao and the Gnosis movement of Samael Aun Weor which although they give practices for celibates  for the transformation of sexual energy they suggest the sexual Maithuna as the main practice for the awakening of kundalini. However, in these paths are also essential the purity of mind, the dispassion, concentration and meditation for the awakening of kundalini. 
Sexual Maithuna is the adoration of Shakti through the sexual union of male and female without orgasm in order to transform the sexual energy and awaken the Kundalini. Shakti kundalini is the serpent power, that has 3 coils with face downwards, in the Muladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine.  By concentration, imagination, pranayama, bandhas and mantras the aspirants lead the sexual energy through the spine (the subtle nadis of ida, pigala and susumna). When kundalini awakens, awaken also the latent superior powers of the six chakras and the yogi aquires siddhis (clairvoyance, clairaudience, cosmic consciousness etc.).

However  Maithuna is not easy to practice in this age and paths like Advaita suggest celibacy. 

Swami Sivananda used to say: Brahmacharya is the basis of immortality.”
 
Swami Sivananda
Sri Swami Sivananda who himself followed celibacy, suggests celibacy, and considers as more important requisites or qualifications for the awakening of Kundalini, as well as for self-realization, the purity of mind (a mind free from desire, anger, greed, fear, jealousy and rajas and tamas gunas), the devotion, the discrimination, the dispassion, the absence of Iness and mineness, the faith and concentration. He claims that Kundalini can be awakened by various ways :

 "Kundalini can be awakened by various methods such as Japa, devotion, Vichara (enquiry of “Who am I”), Asana, Kumbhaka, Bandhas, Mudras, and above all by the Grace of the Guru."

Sivananda, Paramahansa Ramakrishna and Amritanadamayi (Amma) are great sages that demostrate that Kundalini can be awakened by celibacy despite the fact that devotees of Tantra and Samael Aun Weor (the founder of Gnosis) insist that the sexual Maithuna is necessary for the awakening of kundalini.

"When Kundalini is awakened, reaches the top of the head after piercing one Chakra after another and finally unites with Lord Shiva and enjoys the Highest Bliss. Now the Yogi attains super conscious state and becomes a full-blown Jnani. He drinks the Nectar of Immortality. Illustration shows the ascent of the Kundalini to the top of the head and its union with Lord Siva.

"When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to the world. He has objective consciousness. When She awakes, he sleeps. He loses all consciousness of the world and becomes one with the Lord. In Samadhi, the body is maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Shiva and Shakti in the Sahasrara. 

"Mother Kundalini-Shakti unites with Lord Shiva in the Sahasrara during Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is real Maithuna or blissful union. This is due to Divya-Bhava (divine disposition).ª

"No one can free himself from the thralldom of mind and matter without Mother’s grace. The fetters of Maya are too hard to break. If you worship Her as the great Mother, you can very easily go beyond Prakriti through Her benign grace and blessings. She will remove all obstacles in the path, lead you safely into the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, and make you absolutely free."
~ Swami Sivananda