Though they practice Yoga for eight thousand years, still men do not see the Lord, sweet as ambrosia and delightful to the eye. But if, illumined, you seek Him within, He is there in you, as a reflection in a mirror. Tirumantiram 603
Below are listed thirty six contemporary dharmic principles that stabilize externalforces so that a contemplative life may be fully lived. When practiced unrelentingly, they bring the understanding of the external and deeper experiences of life.
Simplify life and serve others. Live in spiritual company. Seek fresh air and sunshine. Drink pure water. Eat simple, real foods, not animal flesh. Live in harmony with nature. Consume what you genuinely need rather than desire. Revere the many forms of life. Exercise thirty minutes every day. Make peace, not noise. Make a temple of your home. Develop an art form or craft. Make your own clothing and furniture. Express joy through song and dance. Grow your own food organically. Plant twelve trees a year. Purify your environment. Leave beauty where you pass. Realize God in this life. Be one with your guru. Be nonviolent in thought and action. Love your fellow man. Rely on the independent energy in the spine. Observe the mind thinking. Cultivate a contemplative nature by seeking the light. Draw the lesson from each experience of life. Detach awareness from its objects. Identify with infinite intelligence, not body, mind or intellect. Be aware in the eternal now, not in the past or the future. Do not take advantage of trust or abuse credit. Keep promises and confidences. Restrain and direct desire. Seek understanding through meditation. Work with a spiritual discipline. Think and speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Create a temple for the next generation by tithing.
Eat a little, drink a little,
Talk a little, sleep a little,
Mix a little, move a little,
Serve a little, rest a little
Work a little, relax a little,
Study a little, worship a little,
Do Asanas a little, Pranayamas a little,
Reflect a little, Meditate a little,
Do Japa a little, do Kirtan a little,
Write Mantra a little, have Satsanga a little. Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.
Be Good, Do good; Be kind, Be compassionate.
Enquire ‘Who am I?’ Know the Self and be Free.
Yoga unites us all. There is a beautiful Indian story which can vividly illustrate why we need Yoga in our life. It talks about several blind men who tried to describe a big elephant by feeling different parts of his body. The one who kept his tail, said: “The elephant is like a snake.” The second man, groping one leg, exclaimed: “No, an elephant is like a big tower.” “You are both wrong,” – said the third-wielding animal’s ear: “The elephant looks exactly like a big fan.” The fourth man, who drove his hands on one of the tusks, shrugged his shoulders and said with confidence: “This elephant does not fit under any of your descriptions. He looks like a horn.” “All you’re crazy” – said the fifth man touching the trunk – “The elephant resembles the trunk of the banana grass.” These five people perceive the same elephant differently. The elephant does not change, and if the blind suddenly saw the light, they would understand the reason for such different descriptions: they would have realized that they were talking about different aspects of the same. Exactly similar knowledge most of us have about themselves. We see the division – we perceive ourselves as separate from the environment and other people, because in fact we are like blind men, having no real idea or knowledge about themselves and our environment. By practicing yoga we increase inner light that can dissipate darkness of separateness (ego) and help realize our infinite nature.
Sadhanas (practice) differ according to the stage of evolution, the strength of ego, weaknesses and the nature of the lower Self. A strong and sturdy constitution and a fine health are in themselves a good qualification for the student. All other qualifications can be developed when one is placed in favourable environments. In the spiritual path any type of student can progress and evolve if he is endowed with Sraddha, sincerity and faith. There is no need for special talents or qualification. There is no need also for a deep study for years and Japa on one leg for decades. A willing, loving heart is what is needed. The student must have a new angle of vision and try to crush the ego at each step by discipline, discrimination and dispassion. Charge the mind with Divine Consciousness through constant Japa, prayers and systematic meditation.
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
Compare to Vivekachudamani by Sri Sankaracharya *
 “Of the tree of Samsara ignorance is the seed, the identification with the body is its sprout, attachment its tender leaves, work its water, the body its trunk, the vital forces its branches, the organs its twigs, the sense-objects its flowers, various miseries due to diverse works are its fruits, and the individual soul is the bird on it.”
Risking all to be oneself, that’s what maturity is all about.
Life begins where fear ends.
“Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny–he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally–you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.”
“Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.”
“If you are a parent, open doors to unknown directions to the child so he can explore. Don’t make him afraid of the unknown, give him support. ”
“Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I. I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential to life. I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being.”
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”
“You exist in time, but you belong to eternity. You are a penetration of eternity into the world of time. You are deathless, living in a body of death- Your consciousness knows no death, no birth- It is only your body that is born and dies-But you are not aware of your consciousness-You are not conscious of your consciousness-And that is the whole art of meditation; Becoming conscious of consciousness itself.”
“Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed, borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves.”
Compare to Vivekachudamani by Sri Sankaracharya *
. The man of perverted intellect, having his self-knowledge swallowed up by the shark of utter ignorance, himself imitates the various states of the Intellect (Buddhi) as that is its superimposed attribute — and drifts up and down in this boundless ocean of Samsara full of the poison of sense-enjoyment, now sinking, now rising, — a miserable fate indeed!
Throughout the long history of human existence the man has been wondering about his true nature and questioning the purpose of his presence on Earth. In his search for answers he came up with an idea that happiness is the reason why he comes into being and God is his true nature. Equipped with these bold believes and motivated to acquire infinite happiness the man manifests his God’s nature through modifying the surrounding and landscapes by building roads, constructing skyscrapers, blasting rock mountains, diverting rivers, creating damns, removing and implanting body organs, creating millions of food recipes to consume, changing climate by polluting oceans and atmosphere, applying chemicals to kill millions of lives, formulating new laws and religions to rule the Earth, creating more and more comforts and pleasures and still feeling unsatisfied, building air and space ships to be closer to his God, searching and researching, pushing limits far and wide, further and further, through competition winning and defeating simultaneously, growing resentment and attachment which explode into fears and hatred that in their turn lead to wars and depressions, acquiring multiple educations, digesting tremendous amounts of information and rarely discovering that the only path to omnipresent God of infinite and absolute love, dwelling within each and everything is from within and not without.
There are five steps that awareness has to flow through, gaining strength each time, on the path to enlightenment. When we first start, awareness is flowing through many areas of the mind. Then finally it will have enough experiences flowing through the mind to turn in on itself. When this happens, certain faculties come into being. One of them is willpower. And we learn to hold attention. We learn to hold awareness at attention. Awareness: attention!
1st: What is attention? Attention is the first of the five steps on the path, that is, holding awareness steady, centralized in only one area of the mind, and the area that we choose it to be in, not the area that someone else has chosen it to be in.
When other people move awareness through one area or another, we call that distraction, or worldly distractions. The mission is to move awareness yourself. How do you learn to do that? By holding it at attention. How does attention work? Attention is awareness poised like a hummingbird over a flower. flower. It doesn’t move. The flower doesn’t move, and awareness becomes aware of the flower—poised. The entire nerve system of the physical body and the functions of breath have to be at a certain rhythm in order for awareness to remain poised like a hummingbird over a flower.
Give up the idea that thoughts come in and out of your mind like visitors come in and
out of your house. Hold to the idea that it is awareness that moves, rather than the thoughts that move. Awareness held at attention can then come into the next vibratory rate and concentrate.
2nd: Take a flower and place it in front of you. Breathe deeply as you sit before it. Simply look at it. Don’t stare at it and strain your eyes. But simply become aware of it. Each time awareness moves to some other area of the mind, with your willpower move awareness back and become aware of the flower again. Keep doing this until you are simply aware of the flower and not aware of your body or your breath. Then begin to concentrate on the flower. That is the second step.
This is what concentration is—remaining in the thought area of the particular item that you are aware of and flowing through the different color and sound vibrations of the thoughts. How does it work? The powers of concentration—it is only a name. Actually, what is happening is you are flowing awareness through the area of the mind which contains the elements which actually made that particular flower, and you are perceiving how all those elements came together.
3rd: After we are able to hold awareness hovering over that which we are concentrating upon, we come into great powers of observation. We are able to look into and almost through that which we are concentrating upon and observe its various parts and particles, its action and its reaction, because we are not distracted. Even observation in daily life, as a result of regular participation in the practice of concentration, comes naturally. We are able to see more, hear more, feel more. Our senses are more keen and alive. Observation is so necessary to cultivate, to bring awareness fully into the fullness of meditation. This leads us then into our very next step, meditation. Meditation and concentration are practically the same thing, though meditation is simply a more intense state of concentration.
You are scrutinizing the inner layers of the mind, of how a flower grows, how the seed is formed. You are observing it so keenly that you have forgotten that you are a physical body, that you are an emotional unit, that you are breathing. You are in the area of mind where that flower exists.
4th: We go deeper, deeper, deeper within, into the energy and the life within the cells of the flower, and we find that the energy and the life within the cells of the flower is the same as the energy within us, and we are in contemplation upon energy itself. We see the energy as light. In a state of contemplation, we might not even be conscious of light itself, for you are only conscious of light if you have a slight consciousness of darkness. Otherwise, it is just your natural state, and you are in a deep reverie. When you are in the mind of energy, in that rarefied consciousness, you are not conscious of the Earth or any planets. You are just conscious of the stratum of energy that runs through Earth, space and planets. It’s not even really energy.
5th: This, then, leads to samâdhi, the very deepest samâdhi, where we almost, in a sense, go within one atom of that energy and move into the primal source of all. There’s really nothing that you can say about it, because you cannot cast that concept of the Self, or that depth of samâdhi, you cannot cast it out in words. You cannot throw it out in a concept, because there are no areas of the mind in which the Self exists. You have to realize It to know It.
You have to be so simple to realize the Self, not simple-minded, but so unattached. Before you went in, you knew all sorts of things about it. You could quote a thousand different things about the Self; you knew so much. And when you come out, you don’t know anything about it at all. And everything is different. You look at the world from the inside out. You look at people from the inside out. You look at a person, and immediately you see how he came along through life. You see the whole sequence, all now. Then you really know, after that deep samâdhi, that the mind, in all phases of manifestation, was all finished long ago. It’s already complete. Before that, you try to believe in that concept. And it’s a vast concept to believe in, because at certain times, when awareness is flowing in the external areas of the mind, it certainly doesn’t look that way at all. Our perspective is limited.
After the deep samâdhi of Self Realization, our perspective couldn’t really be called vast; we simply see things the way they are. But for Self Realization, you have to really want it more than your life; for that deep samâdhi, that’s what it is: more than your life.
By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in “Merging with Siva”
“The principle underlying the system of yoga is that the source of thought, on the one hand, and the source of breathing and vitality on the other is one and the same. In other words, the breath, the life force, the physical body and even the mind – it is nothing more than a form of prana or energy. Therefore, if we effectively manage any of the two, the others will also automatically come under control. Yoga seeks to influence manolaya (state of mind) through pranalaya (state of breath and vital forces) managed and tuned by the practice of pranayama.”