Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Have we ever wondered as to what could be the greatest gift for us? Something by receiving it , all other gifts pale into insignificance? Perhaps the following story, as told by my Guruji (slightly modified by me) would answer the question. There was a prison housing a large number of prisoners, who were being punished for different crimes, varying from murder, robbery, and other criminal offences. None of them liked the place and longed to get out. Doubtless many of them had tried to escape but were unsuccessful in their attempts. A kind hearted person felt sorry for them and brought fruits and good home cooked food to make the prisoners happy. All the prisoners loved the food and thanked him profusely. However, once they ate all the food they were back to square one and their transient happiness came to an end very soon. The kind hearted person felt that he should, perhaps do a little more for them and brought some nice clothes this time. Again the prisoners felt very happy in their new outfits and their happiness continued for quite some time but when the new clothes lost their sheen, gradually their happiness too faded. There was an old worker in the prison, who had been there for quite some time, had keenly observed the prisoners and felt that their conduct had been good and that they had been punished enough. He felt that there was no need for them to remain in prison any longer. He, therefore, managed to procure the keys to their cells and one fine day opened all the locks and set the prisoners free. The prisoners ultimately found the freedom they had all been waiting for. Our lives are very similar. Our soul/atma is deep down inside us and covered by layers and layers of our physical bodies and the mind, both of which have been suffocating it, not allowing it the freedom of getting out and merging with Paramatama. Our minds and our egos have conditioned us to align ourselves with our worldly surroundings , making us believe that this world is our true life( just like a frog living in a small pond believes that there is nothing beyond). They have made us crave for transient material things, happiness, unending desires, all of which lead us nowhere. Our mind has enmeshed us in this vicious cycle of birth and death, making us go round and round and keeping us ‘earthbound”. We have become prisoners of time and space, from which, we have made umpteen attempts to free ourselves (from very deep inside us, time and again, we have had the stirrings to be free , which has led us to search for this elusive freedom outside us, in forests and hills, ‘renouncing’ our families and homes, travelling to various places), little realizing that the key to freedom lies inside us and connecting to our atma is what will lead us to Paramatama and unite us with Sadhguru. It is the realized guru who is forever seeking to free us from this bondage and has the power to give us our greatest gift ….but we need to sincerely yearn for it and the gift becomes ours’. It is by following the realized guru’s teachings and travelling on the path ordained by him that this gift can become a reality. May we all get the blessings of a true guru and claim this invaluable gift which has been waiting for us for eons.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Ever since we can remember we have been thinking, since that is something we think we cannot do without, as it is a part and parcel of our lives. Since our childhood it has been hammered into our heads that we must always ‘think’ and do nothing without thinking and have often been punished in class during our school days for ‘day dreaming’ and not thinking! On the spiritual path, however, thinking has hardly any relevance……a paradox, isn’t it? In order to comprehend the process of thinking we need to understand our thought process. We need to understand that thinking is just a small part of consciousness but we tend to attach far touch much to thinking but ‘think’ very little about consciousness…. All our thoughts arise from the Cosmic ‘Mind” or the “Mind” of the ONE from which they are supposed to percolate down to our mind. It can also be said that thoughts arise from Consciousness. Our ‘mind’ comprises of a Superficial or “Conscious” part which is extremely active , flitting from one thing to another and perpetually ‘creating’ its own new world by producing incessant thoughts, and each and every new thought giving birth to many more and the cycle goes on. This happens because the thoughts arising from the Cosmic Mind do not reach it as those pure thoughts get ‘blocked’, so to speak ‘on the way’ and the conscious mind, therefore, gets free reign to do as it pleases. The deeper parts of our mind are much more stable and extremely powerful. The Subconscious Mind houses the entire knowledge of everything which exists or has existed since millennia. The Individual Superconscious part is synonymous with our Atma and the deepest is the Universal Superconscious Mind or the Mind of the ONE, which is pure consciousness…. and all powerful. Between all these layers there is a barrier which prevents us from accessing the deeper layers of our mind. However, when one meditates it is possible to bypass the barrier and access all the layers so as to connect with the ONE. Thinking is the function of the Conscious part of our mind and has been given to us to be used as a tool for our day to day activities…..it is meant to be used by us but what is actually happening is that it is using us! We have fallen prey to its myriad ideas and suffer because of it. Thinking comprises of logic, analysis and weighing the pros and cons of everything we think of, creating so much ‘noise’ and chatter that we fail to listen or connect to our deeper self. It has been said that we must “control” our mind in order to remain peaceful and relaxed but nothing could be further from the truth…..how can we, while continuously thinking from our Conscious mind request the same part of the mind to shut up! In order to achieve equanimity we need to connect to our true selves for which thinking is a barrier. “Thoughtlessness”, therefore, has nothing to do with ‘controlling” our mind or thoughts…. (here ‘thoughtlessness’ does not irresponsible actions performed which are often called thoughtless and occur due to a fault in thinking process) When we meditate, however, we gradually start connecting to our selves, which translates into the fact that we start getting aligned to pure consciousness and as that happens the gap between each thought gradually widens and we experience short phases of “no thinking”. This phase also coincides with periods of extreme clarity and wisdom, since in those phases we tap into the “Mind” of the ONE and pure and absolute consciousness and whatever is transpiring there becomes accessible to us as the barriers between the different levels of the mind slide away and thoughts from ‘above’ pass through the created passage and become our own. It is these phases occurring in the minds of scientists which are responsible for their ‘brain waves’ resulting in so called inventions and discoveries. (As an aside…. only if scientists ‘thought’ less, there would perhaps be more ‘discoveries’)! As one progresses in his/her meditation, these phases of ‘no thinking’ become longer and longer resulting in peace, harmony and an increase in wisdom and all positive emotions since one gets closer and closer to the ONE by imbibing His very nature of absolute Love, compassion, kindness, etc. With still further spiritual progress slowly but surely our ‘thinking’ mind starts taking a back seat and one needs to think less and less as one now just KNOWS instead of believing something. This happens due to development and strengthening of our intuition. Whatever action one does now is based not on the thinking process but stems from the KNOWING one has gathered by accessing the deepest layer of our mind…which is His mind. The purpose of the spiritual path is to ultimately merge with the ONE…..to reach our ‘home” where Sat Purush resides. With greater advancement in meditation our proximity with Him becomes more and more till finally we and the ONE become one….the drop becomes the ocean. When this happens our own thoughts cease altogether since they are replaced entirely by His. It is at this stage that we become truly thoughtless. Thoughtlessness happens when we transcend time and space….. past and future become irrelevant and we live in the present which is NOW. It is then that we accept the reality of everything, we learn to accept things as they ARE, with no addition or subtraction. This is the moment when we are truly connected with our SELF and therefore, with the ABSOLUTE REALITY which is the ONE. We transcend the mind and the Atma and Paramatama become ONE Let us learn to USE our conscious mind for day to day activities only and evolve to a stage of thoughtlessness by connecting to ourselves and living in the present…..truly evolved souls may not ‘think’ even for their daily activities and do everything based on their advanced intuition. May He bless us all and take us all to those dizzying heights….
Words don’t matter……it is the WORD that matters. Names don’t matter…it is the NAME that matters. The loudness of the chants don’t matter…it is the SOUND OF SILENCE that matters. It is not gold that matters….it is the GOLDEN LIGHT that matters. Our selves don’t matter…it is the SELF that matters. Our thoughts don’t matter…it is THOUGTLESSNESS that matters. it is not how much I know that matters …it is what I have EXPERIENCED that matters It is not happiness that matters …it is BLISS that matters It is not ‘I “ that matters ….it Is HE who matters It is not ego that matters…..it is HUMILITY that matters Outside beauty does not matter…it is the BEAUTY OF THE SOUL that matters Words don’t matter….it is the WORD that matters
Thursday, October 2, 2014
All of us are familiar with Maya, so difficult to define or to pin down but something which, like God, pervades everything we are associated with in life. It is so subtle that one does not even know that one is totally enmeshed in it. Meditation on Him, on the other hand is the only sure way of wriggling out and recognizing its subtle nature…..with a very few actually defeating it. A subtle tog-o-war continues throughout our lives with maya most often being victorious. (By maya i mean Satan/Shaitan/ Devil/Diabalos). Throughout man’s known history, prophets, saints and realized souls/gurus have repeatedly taken birth to help mankind to thwart the subtle clutches of maya, which can masquerade as any and everything. It becomes much more enticing and fierce in its severity when a person tries to escape it by trying to connect to Him through meditation. Meditation is the method by which our conscious mind (most affected by maya) can be made to become quiet. Our conscious mind is like the surface of the ocean, always in turmoil, full of huge waves, and storms….all of which symbolize our thoughts while deep down the ocean is serene, moving….. yet still and full of ‘depth’. The deeper parts of the human mind too are still, extremely powerful and, by their proximity to God, full of wisdom. Wisdom is what maya abhors and meditation is what takes us there. Most of the times, we are easy meat for Maya Ma’am because of our nature and habit of relating to and “worshiping” all worldly things…..riches, comfort, so called happiness from the things we wish to acquire. Mayaji is always happy giving us such toys so that we remain busy in gossip, other people’s affairs, trying to make us feel happy even if it is at the cost of another fellow being’s unhappiness or pain. This scenario has continued for ages and will continue to do so. Maya makes us do “simran” on the world and worldly things rather than on Him. To a very few of us, however, a very faint inner voice becomes audible above this mad cacophony, and we, with His grace, try to start the journey towards Him by getting close to ourselves (which is the same as trying to meet Him). We resolve to get close to Him and try to meditate but most of the times, one finds it difficult to even start doing so because maya prevents us from focusing and produces myriads of thoughts, and very subtly makes our minds wander and flit from one place to another, thereby making it impossible to get anywhere near Him. Suddenly a lot of things start happening in our lives, sometimes good, at times bad. The good things, like getting a promotion, a large sum of money coming our way, news of our child getting awarded etc or bad situations, like an illness, grief or demise in the family. These are all situations in which Maya thrives. As we know, the main purpose of Maya is to cause disillusion and prevent us from seeing the single Reality of the ONE since where there is He Maya cannot exist. When Nature gifts us with something which makes us happy, maya makes us so engrossed in that momentary happiness that we forget the Divine….maya makes us believe that the happiness has been acquired by us and is real, though the fact of the matter is that it is transitory….. It is in grief that she almost always wins…..she ties us to the memories of the departed soul, and takes us back both in time as well as our spiritual evolution. Without realizing it we suddenly slide down the ladder of spiritual progress ….worldly things, situations and circumstances, people, again become our pivotal points. What people and this world convey to us becomes all-important than His Naam, which becomes distant and unapproachable….that little inner voice which had awakened us becomes weak and inaudible. Maya weaves a thick net around us like a wall so that the consoling and loving suggestions given to us by sincere well wishers fail to penetrate and to be imbibed by us but get scattered in the wind ……we get so entrenched in the grief and sorrow that they sound like mere words…..such are the machinations of Maya Memsaheb! She makes us focus on the death of the physical body of the deceased, taking us deep into sorrow and depression, preventing us from seeing that beautiful, scintillating Divine Light which is forever beckoning us and is the only thing which can banish our blues and maya. So called hurts, too, are the handiworks of maya….who actually hurts whom?........the one who hurts another is actually hurting him or herself ten times more…it is said “the people who really care won’t hurt you ……but if they do, you’ll see it in their eyes ….for they’ll be hurting too” (author unknown). Such negative developments too impact us and are detrimental to spiritual progress. In the above situations of grief, hurt, sadness, depression etc, it becomes even more important to not lose sight of the Almighty, who is all loving, kind and compassionate, and to remember that He takes care of all much better than we humans can ever do. We must remember that it is this ‘Mohini’ Maya which is misguiding us …..to see through it and to move forward again. If we are fortunate, our ‘inner’ journey commences with His and the Guru’s grace but Maya does not spare us and intrudes on our inner spiritual journey as well by manifesting itself as horrifying visions, grotesque figures and monsters and even appearing in the form of the Guru! This sort of thing goes on and the further we travel on the inner path, the worse it becomes. Maya is relentless and springs forth surprises at every step and we fall into its trap without realizing it. No one can say he is free from Maya since it is not them speaking but Maya Ma’am voicing her opinion! However, Realized Gurus/Saints/ Prophets who have understood how she works are best suited to guide us away from her, though even they are tested…..Jesus Christ, when he was on the Cross, had cried “Father , why has thou forsaken me?” We must remember that just as God, maya too has been from the beginning and is a part of all dualities. It is only when we see beyond these dualities can we hope to achieve Union or Yoga with Him. This is so aptly brought forward in the image of Maa Kali….her scary and fierce countenance with her protruding tongue covers the deep beauty, kindness, love and compassion she encompasses. God resides everywhere but we fail to see Him, all because of maya….. We need to see beyond all such dualities …..unmask Mohini Maya and witness the beauty of the Divine. In our sad, melancholic and depressed moments our simran must become more vigorous and we need to pray to Sadhguru from the bottom of our hearts (nay… cry our hearts out) for Him to be with us at all times. He always obliges …..but our simran and longing for Him has to be sincere. Our meditation then bears fruit.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
This is a very common term we come across in almost all Spiritual texts but what does it actually mean, how is it achieved and what does it translate into? If we are actually Bramhan why do we not behave like Him….We know that Bramhan is everything, the support of all that exists, creation, maintenance and dissolution (Srishti, Sthiti and pralaya) all originate from Him. Bramhan is tranquil bliss and at the same time He is intense action…..when in action we perceive Him as Ishwar while in His creation mode we call Him Brahma , Vishnu, when He is sustaining and Mahesh when He is in the dissolution mode. So what did our sages mean when they boldly declared ‘I am Bramhan”? It is true that we and all individual souls are extensions of Bramhan and we have the same attributes. After all when the One decided to become many He actually became part of us and resides inside us just like fragrance resides in a flower, unseen, but felt. The only difference between Bramhan and us is that Bramhan is pure Consciousness. We too are the same but we are conditioned by our name, form and nature (naam, rupa and prakriti)…. (Sri Bimal Mohanty) while pure consciousness remains hidden inside us…present but elusive. Even though we are essentially the same as Bramhan we have been accumulating layers and layers of coverings as a result of karmic influences accumulating from the multiple lives we have lived …..just like the peels of an onion, because of which we have become separate from Him. We have become enveloped by maya which prevents us from realizing our true nature….that of pure bliss. As seen from the yogic perspective pure Spirit, in its downward descent gets covered by enshrouding sheaths or koshas, the first being Vigyan Mai Kosha, concerned with knowledge (gyan) and enlightenment (vigyan), followed by the Manomai Kosha as a result of which the soul becomes inclined towards the mind and gets mind ridden. This is then followed by the Pranmai Kosha and the soul then vibrates with the ten types of pranas. Finally the soul takes on yet another covering called the Annamai Kosha which is present on the inner side of the physical body and is responsible for its existence. The integral part of the soul (which is the individualized form of Consciousness or Spirit) or Atma, however, exists as the Anandmai Kosha which is actually the first covering and is also known as the Bliss Sheath. Our aim, therefore is to transcend the various layers and to merge with the pure consciousness present inside us…..for the individualized consciousness or soul to merge with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit or Bramhan. How do we do that? As mentioned in our Scriptures the way to realize Bramhan is to connect with the word AUM, which is the name given to Bramhan. As we are aware the “A” of AUM is related to our base consciousness associated to the physical and gross things of the world around us. This is the stage in which we are physically awake or Jagrat to the physical world around us or the Vishwa, hence also called the Vaisvaanara stage based on our physical senses, mind, intellect and ahankar. The jagrat stage is ruled by our Conscious mind. Since we live in this world we are aware of this ‘vishwa’ and nothing else. The real self remains hidden in this stage. The wise know this is night but the ignorant call it day. Since our senses, mind (manas), intellect (vivek) and ahankar are all impediments to our spiritual evolution, we need to do away with them in order to connect to Bramhan because that is the only way we can get away from this world and in doing so we enter what is called the Dream stage where the five senses become dormant and only the mind, intellect and ego remain. This stage is symbolized by the “U” of AUM. This stage is also called the Taijasa stage and related to our subconscious intelligence. Both the above stages give us happiness, but happiness which is evanescent and impermanent. In order to reach the pure soul, mind, intellect and ahankar also must be done away with and when that happens we enter into the deep sleep or Sushupti stage. In this stage only the Self remains and is characterised by awareness and knowledge of Bramhan but is still unsustainable as we can still go back to the jagrat stage from here since we have not yet severed our karmic chains. We, therefore, still need to go a step further where even our karmic shackles have left us and this stage is called the Turia stage or Avastha and has been considered to be the final stage of union with Bramhan and one realizes that ‘O God! I am the same essence as Thou art” . This stage is also called the ‘Fourth State’ since it is beyond the three states of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. In this stage one becomes a witness which is also why it is called the Fourth as the Self, is a witness ….beyond the three other states……which it can witness Most yoga systems have taken this to be the final stage of self realization.…. but in reality it is still just “a half way house on the spiritual journey” (Sant Kripal Singhji)…..it is the culminating point in the process of self analysis without which one cannot proceed God ward and enter the Kingdom of God The reality, therefore, is that this Turia Stage is a stage in which one has reached a stage of Self Analysis…. a stage of equanimity where the mind becomes still (‘sthir’) with the opening of the “Daswan Dwar” but this is NOT the final stage as it is the point where one gets a knowledge of Bramhan but what is needed is merger with Him and for that the atma needs to progress much further for its union with Paramatama….and this is possible through the continued connection with Aum or Shabd. …..which is the only way to the real stage of Aham Bramhasmi. Aum or Shabd is the primordial sound which existed in its secret or hidden form even before creation…. when nothing existed but the shabd existed in itself, without any name or sound, was unseen, unapproachable, beyond intelligence, unexplainable, and indescribable and became known as Shabd after it became apparent (Sant Kripal Singhji in his book ‘Naam or Word”). Mere chanting of Aum is not likely to lead to spiritual progression unless and until one connects and appreciates the sound and/or light current internally. Brahman has two “forms”, ‘Shabd Brahman” and “Par Brahman”. Only the one who has a complete experience of Shabd can merge completely with Par Brahman since it is this Shabd which is the link between man and Paramatama. This Shabd is the creator of this entire Universe and exists everywhere but also responsible for its destruction….When I write about Shabd I also mean ‘Aum”. Aum, is , therefore much more powerful than most believe since continued connection with it can actually take the atma right up to merger with Bramhan…much beyond the Turia Avastha as believed so far. The Rig Veda states “Prajapati vai idam agref aseet’ Tasya vag dvitya aseet, Vag vai parmam Brahma”…meaning “In the beginning was Prajapati, the Bramhan, with whom was the Word and the word was verily the Supreme Bramhan”. This is very similar to what St John said “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was God”. Here Word is the same as Shabd or Aum. The Sam Veda too mentions “Bramhan is at once Shabd and Ashabd both, And Bramhan alone vibrates in space” (Sant Kripal Singhji) Sants (saints) have described that it is this continued connection with Aum or Shabd, along with spiritual evolution, is associated with the hearing of ten types of sounds varying from the sounds of thunder, the sound of waves, ringing of bells, sound of a waterfall, buzzing of bees, chirping of birds, sound of a whistle, flute, or conch shell (Sant Kripal Singhji). The Nad Bindu Upanishad says something similar ….’First the murmuring sounds resembling those of the waves of the ocean, the fall of rain and then running rivulets, after which the bhervi will be heard, intermingled with sounds of bell and conch” . All these sounds are also associated with beautiful Divine light of different hues. During this entire process the atma progresses very subtly through the five Khands on its way to union with Him. According to our sages this spiritual progression leads to a feeling of one getting enveloped in the Divine light, associated with a sense lightness, and fullness, and a sense of expansion…..so much so that one takes on gigantic proportions, enveloping and becoming part of everything around them…..merging with everything surrounding them…merging with people, plants, trees, flowers…..a feeling of being inside them yet without…..associated with freedom from illusion, which Guru Nanak Devji has described as “Bhooto Anda Bharam ka….)….here Bharam is illusion which has been enveloping the atma till now…..the atma breaks out of this cage of illusion and expands on and on till it merges completely with the scintillating Divine Light of Bramhan…..this is the real ‘Aham Bramhasmi”…the Atma and Paramatama become One…. Let us all connect with Shabd/Aum and realize our dream of merging completely with Him…”Aham Bramhasmi)…. (This is dedicated to fellow blogger, Ms Simrat Kaur to whom i am thankful…. for her persistent queries which finally culminated in the form of this blog) Acknowledgement: 1 My Guruji 2“Naam Or Word” and ‘The Crown Of Life A Study In Yoga” by Sant Kripal Singhji 3 The Spiritual Approach to Life” by Sri Bimal Mohanty 4 The Internet
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
This blog is dedicated to Ms Simrat Kaur who asked me to ‘dissect’ Shunyata…..i have attempted to do so as best i could. The word Shunya, though just a “zero” has tremendous significance in Spirituality though, considered important both in Physics and Mathematics as well. Mathematics sees it as a ‘zero’ or “nothingness” while Physics views it as a vacuum or perfect absence of matter. Shunya is steeped in mysticism, and has been looked upon differently by different people resulting in varying views about it, even though it has been mentioned in almost all religions with many interpretations. Broadly speaking the ‘shunya’ of mysticism too is also what our mathematicians and physicists say! Swami Vivekananda too talked extempore on this in the US way back in 1893…..and surprised everyone by apprising them that it was this Void…this ‘nothingness’ from which the entire Universe originated. Spirituality is about practical experience which is the best way of understanding everything. Shunya too is one of them. Many explanations have been offered to make us understand it but ultimately our intuition will give us the best answer. To me the simplest explanation is the one given by Guru Nanak Devji: Shunya and the Absolute Reality are the same things. Before the creation of this Universe there was nothing…only darkness, no earth or sky and only His will prevailed, which means that God existed. This existence of God in His primal state, which can also be called His state of Samadhi is Shunyata. In other words Shunya is God’s abode before creation. Guru Nanakji has also called this state as ‘Adi Sach”…..the Sach becomes ‘Jugad Sach” after creation has taken place. “Adi” means from the beginning. When the Absolute Reality or God beyond Creation decided to become many He produced a vibration comprising of sound and light, called ‘Shabd”, which resulted in the creation of the entire Universe. This unstruck sound or Shabd lies deep within Him and since He has been there from the beginning (Adi Sach) the unstruck sound therefore vibrates and resounds in Shunya. It also means that in order to reach this state one needs to connect with the Shabd and get absorbed in it. It is for this reason that Sant Kabir said that whoever is absorbed in Naam is lovingly immersed in Shunya. For this to happen, one first needs to be initiated by a Realized Guru, who is instrumental in opening the initiate’s Third Eye ren sulting in the Atma traversing the path through various stages for its liberation. This is the route as described in Sant Mat. (Kabbalistic teachings too mention that before the Universe was created there was ‘nothingness”or Ayin) Yoga has described Shunya as a state where” there is no worldly awareness”. When one is truly immersed in Naam or Shabd one loses all worldly awareness which happens in samadhi too. Some people have called shunya as ‘mindlessness” but to me a better term is ‘stilling’ of the mind rather than mindlessness. When the mind is still, there are no ripples, no thoughts, no samskars…..just emptiness or a void. This happens when we are totally immersed in Naam or deep Samadhi. The Shabd is like a sutra which takes us directly to this ‘empty’ space …..but the space which is actually full enough to give birth to this entire Universe! This concept of stillness is central to Taoism too. Lao Tzu describes emptiness ever so beautifully ‘we shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside which holds whatever we want”. This is true of the human body and, for that matter, for all aspects of our lives too…..we are interconnected to everything in Nature through the medium of this ‘empty’ space. This concept is very similar to the concept of the Five elements .Shunya (Akash, Space), recognised as the element ‘Wood” in Chinese Medicine. According to the Shivagama Shiva explains ‘it is the least tangible of the Five Elements……but it is the very essence of potential…..it is pregnant emptiness….the possibility of being and is the first element to emerge from the utter void”. Although it is empty itself, it is considered the medium through which sound is transmitted, which is why a seed sound or mantra, when chosen to resonate with our essence is thought to have the potential to reconnect us with our source! Hence by actually ‘realizing’ the ‘Aum” Mantra or the ‘Shabd’, “Amen”, ‘Ameen”…..which are other names given to the primordial sound, one can go back to the unity from where one came. All phenomena originate from there. It is from Akash that swirling masses of gaseous matter spin out. This is the second element, Vayu or Air. These then combust to form heat and light and the Third Element arises, called Tejas or Fire. The residues then condense and pool and moisture appears , which is the liquid element, called Apas or Water. This is then followed by crystallization and solidification leading to the formation of the Fifth Element or Earth. Yet another way of looking at it is that it is shunya which separates Purusha from Prakriti ,where Purusha is Consciousness and Prakriti is matter. This happens by creating a vacuum by Dhyana or Samadhi. According to Satyananda spiritual evolution is associated with three levels of Shunya. The first is when gross consciousness is transcended, while the second occurs after transcending mental awareness, (Manomaya Kosha) and finally after transcending the Anandmaya Kosha or Bliss Sheath the final Shunya is reached. In the first experience of Shunya the samskars are still very powerful, which become weaker in the second experience and almost completely eliminated in the third phase which means that there is complete suspension……and this is shunya. So it can be said that it is a transition from one stage of meditation to another. Those who meditate regularly under the guidance of a guru would understand that spiritual evolution through meditation is associated with lessening of samskars depending upon our transgression from the Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanmaya Kosha and finally the Anandmaya Kosha …..all a result of gradual stilling of the mind. From what i have written so far it probably appears that shunya is something which is very far away and happened just once. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fact of the matter is that this ‘space’ is a part of us and situated deep inside us and can be accessed in deep meditation. Advanced meditators keep flitting in and out of it…..(on their way to a “permanent residence” there) when they “go in’ to that space they realize that the mind becomes perfectly still …..there is no sense of time and there is no memory but a feeling of tremendous tranquillity and absolute peace…..there is no beginning, no end and one realizes that this is actually the ground of Being….. the world as we know it ceases to exist and one just wants to ‘be’!(Andrew Cohen). This space is vast and, surprisingly even though it is empty it gives a feeling of fullness…..imagine an empty space which is full! It is both everything and nothing at the same time….one realizes that “something is coming from nothing every second” (Andrew Cohen).This emptiness is ‘unconditional freedom’ but also full of infinite potential as one understands that everything is possible. As mentioned above, shunya is Absolute Reality. This Reality has two parts, the manifest and the unmanifest. “Most of the time, we are only aware of the manifest dimension, the domain of time and space and becoming. But like an iceberg floating in the ocean, only visible above the surface but extending far below ,the reality we see is resting on an unseen, unknown, unfathomable dimension……”(Andrew Cohen). Buddhism, however, has a totally different concept of Shunya. Everything is interdependant and the world as we see it is ever changing, insubstantial and constantly in flow. Since everything is ever changing it cannot be real……. This, according to Bhuddhism is what is Shunya. ‘Reality” as we see it is based on our mind and how the mind sees it rather than anything innate in it. We give names to things and tend to assume that they have specific characteristics but the reality is that everything is made up of so many other things and therefore does not have its own characteristic. For example we call a table a table but does the table have anything which is its innate feature? The Mahayana Buddhists call shunya as a ‘fullness’ which is empty of the ‘self’! Let us all meditate , quieten our minds, listen to our ever vigilant intuition and go deeper and deeper into that ‘Zero’, and the ‘emptyness’ to the place from where we came, the Ground of Being and of infinite potential and profound presence of the One…..by connecting to the primordial sound of ‘Aum”, “Shabd” ,“Naam’ ….which originates in this empty space and will take us back to where we belong. Acknowledgement: http://freemanireland.ning.com/group/yoga-and-tantra/forum/topics/shoonyata-the-void?xg_source=activity http://buddhism.about.com/od/whatistheself/a/Sunyata-Or-Emptiness.htm http://www.sikhreview.org/pdf/june2000/pdf-files/metaphysics.pdf “Radical Healing” by Rudolph Balentine MD, Himalayan Institute ‘Evolutionary Enlightenment…..A Path To Spiritual Awakening” by Andrew Cohen, JAICO 2012
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Just like Divine Consciousness Maya too pervades everything in the entire Universe and spares no one. Everything is under its clutches as it lives in every household and every nook and cranny of this world. Its main job is to maintain our distance from Him and loves to break relationships. After all it has been there ever since this Universe was created. The following story illustrates how subtly and deeply entrenched it is. There was a young boy who was very attached to his little sister and loved her no end. He always made it a point to keep her happy by whatever means possible. One day while coming back from School he remembered that his little sister had mentioned that she had not eaten ‘gulab jamuns” for a long time. He felt a surge of love for her and decided to buy some for her. He searched far and wide but could not find them anywhere. The young boy felt disappointed when suddenly his prayers seemed to be getting answered as he saw a new shop which he had not seen before. He bought some very tasty looking ‘gulab jamuns’ and headed for home to present her with her favourite sweet and longed to see her happy face. When he met her he gave her the box of sweets with love in his heart and waited for his loving sister to hug him with affection but what he saw and heard stopped him in his tracks. His little sister looked very happy no doubt, looked at the sweets he had brought for her but waived another box of sweets which she clutched in her little hand and said excitedly “Bhaiya, look what I got from your friend!” Before the boy could say anything she went inside and came out with another box and said ‘Bhaiya…..these are some more sweets i got from another fried of yours!” The boy felt very disappointed and hurt. The little boy inside him had expected to be appreciated for his efforts with which his little sister had spoiled him with. Without stopping to think he said ‘had i known you had so many sweets i would not have taken the pains to buy these “gulab jamuns” for you!” The little girl felt very hurt at her loving brother’s reaction and burst out crying and said “Bhaiya, i was showing those sweets to you so that we could add the gulab jamuns to the ones i already have and have a feast together. The ones i have with me are your favourite ‘barfis”…..i was waiting to show them to you!’ The boy realized his mistake. ….he had reacted without thinking as his hurt had been paramount in his mind. He wondered with great regret as to what had made him doubt his little sister’s intention and cried …..then they both cried and hugged each other. This is how maya acts…it can poison our mind and make us do things which are detrimental to us. It has created an ugly counterpart for every beautiful creation of God……takes us towards duality in place of unity with Him. Its sole purpose is to keep us attracted to the outside world with our sense pleasures and prevent us from connecting to the One Reality within since that is the only way it can survive. It is not possible to beat it at its own game. We, therefore need Divine intervention to see through its evil machinations. Let us all listen to our inner voice ….seek Him in all earnest and try our best to merge with Him.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Many of us talk of spirituality and aspire to become spiritual but very few actually take even the first step forward on this path…..just sit on the fence afraid to take the plunge as we feel that we do not have it in us and that those who have evolved are very different from us or are blessed’ differently”! The fact of the matter is that God has given each one of us the wings to fly and reach Him, but we are not aware of it! It is illusion or maya which makes us think like that since Maya does not want us to succeed and keeps us tied down to material and sense pleasures. i would like to share a beautiful story in this connection as told by my Guruji but slightly modified by me. There was a man who had been seeking God and trying to meditate for many years but had not achieved any success. One day he was sitting under a tree feeling sorry for himself as he felt that he had not been blessed with what was needed for spiritual progress. It was then that he saw a pair of birds, sitting on a branch of the tree below which he was trying to meditate. Soon they started collecting little twigs and made a beautiful and small little nest. He continued to watch them build their nest. Something prompted him to see what happened after that which made him come there every day. A few days later he noticed that the birds had laid a few eggs. Very soon a few lovely little chicks were hatched. They started cooing like their parents and started emulating them in trying to fly. In a very short span of time all of them were flying successfully, though a little gingerly at first. But one of them was far too scared and was shying away, as it believed that it did not have wings at all…so how could it fly? The parent birds tried very hard to coax and cajole it but to no avail. They finally did the unthinkable…they pushed the little one off the branch of the tree in the hope that it would ‘find’ its wings and fly! The little one gasped with fright but found that it had spread its wings and had managed to come back to its nest and safety! It then realized that it did have wings after all! The man sitting under the tree got the message …….he understood that The Almighty had shown him that spectacle for a purpose. He had also been shown that each one of us is a bird fully equipped to fly! The man also understood that one needs to stay in the company of ‘gurmukhs’ and connect with those who have ‘flown’ themselves or have traversed the entire spiritual path and seek their guidance. Let us not feel helpless and incapable of achieving the true goal of our lives, that of merging with Him …let us believe in ourselves, seek, connect and hold the hands of those evolved beings who have take birth to show us the Divine Light.