Two Forces of Life

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26There are two basic forces in the universe, which you can look up in the dictionary. One is called odic force. The other is actinic force. Odic force is magnetic force. Odic force is the force of collective energies that make things—trees, chairs, tables, houses, the physical body. Odic force is of the material world—dense and heavy. The aura around the physical body and the forces of nature which govern much of man’s life on Earth are odic force. Actinic force is your pure life force coming from the central source deep within, out through the nerve system. But as soon as this pure life force begins to mingle with the astral atoms and the physical body atoms, it turns to odic force. The study of these two forces can give you a great awakening—two primal forces.

The sahasrâra chakra, the âjñâ chakra, the visuddha chakra—the top three, the head and throat centers—are primarily actinic force centers of rarefied inner consciousness within the superconscious itself. The anâhata chakra, the heart center, which allows us to look out into the external world and within to the internal areas, is primarily a mixture of actinic force and odic force. It’s called actinodic . It’s a mixture of these two forces. However, the lower three chakras—manipûra, svâdhishthâna and mûlâdhâra—are primarily odic force chakras . They are the forces that make up what we call the world.

The ida and pingalâ forces are basically odic forces. So, therefore, when the odic force is withdrawn back into the sushumnâ, back into its actinic substance, we completely lose awareness of the external world. That is how we enter meditation , by withdrawing the odic forces. The prâna is the in-between. It is the actinodic force that flows in and through odic and actinic forces. It is the binder of these two forces.

To stabilize awareness, so it does not flow through the first chakra, the fifth chakra, the third chakra, the second chakra, to stabilize awareness, what do we do? Attention, concentration, meditation. We work daily within ourselves so we stabilize, and so that willpower and awareness become one and the same great motivating force, so we travel through the areas of the mind that we want to, not propelled by the forces of karma as they boomerang back, not propelled by those forces. We have to work within daily to stabilize the breath and the body so that will and awareness become one and the same great motivating force.

In the evolutionary cycle, man eventually becomes conscious of the actinic force as it flows through the odic areas of the mind. On these rays, education comes from the inside of himself out to the conscious mind. A person going through such an experience feels he has tapped a higher, intuitive resource.

It is known that sages have learned languages, mathematics and all flows of knowledge in meditation. Uneducated men have become scholars by opening what Jnanaguru Yoga swami called “your own book.”

As soon as we stop making the effort to penetrate the actinic realms, the ordinary forces of attachment, fear and desire force in upon us. It then requires extra effort to balance the forces and penetrate the life-giving, light-giving regions in meditation.

A guru-disciple relationship may be established on the actinic plane for years before a physical meeting and training takes place. The study and unfoldment begins when one turns within himself, creating the irrevocable “golden yoke” and attuning himself to the same actinic ray of consciousness in which the guru functions. Teachings can then be conveyed on these rays, as long as guru and disciple are in harmony. By working with this golden yoke, one’s karmic experiences are hastened, but at the same time they are encountered in a more orderly fashion.

The state of contemplation

The force field of actinic consciousness is one which a guru has worked perhaps for many years to enter. His awareness of it is his control of it. This mechanism works in the same way a corporate executive guides the forces of his business, through knowledge of the field and experience. A guru learns control of actinic force fields just as a businessman learns to control his odic force fields. The odic force and the actinic force make up this planet. The action and interaction of these two forces working together cause the life that we see on Earth.

The woman holds the power of the odic force field. The man holds the power of the actinic force field. Between them they cause a chemicalization that brings through the soul and the physical and emotional body of a newborn child. Depending upon this chemical balance, they give birth to an old soul or a young soul. That is why it is so important for families to have a deeply religious life. What is a religious life? It is the balance of these two forces, the odic force and the actinic force. It is so important that there is an absolute harmony between the man and the woman. This guides and governs the inner currents of the children until the age of twenty-one. At that time, the inner forces dissolve from the family and are governed by their own superconscious mind.

Striving in meditation for a continuing contemplative awareness, a strong actinic vehicle is built. The aura of a person who has created access to this inner world gives evidence of a higher energy source. This is what is behind the ancient myths wherein the Gods rode through the skies in golden chariots. The golden chariot is the actinic vehicle of the superconscious. A satguru must be able to control his travel on more than one actinic ray. In doing so, he is able to establish a continuity of contact in the deeper consciousness within his various disciples. It is on an actinic ray that intuitive knowledge is gained and passed along.

The actinic world is only attained and sustained by initiating definite controls over the odic world. One state of consciousness is controlled in the process of awareness moving and expanding into another state. As we progress along the path, we become more and more and more sensitive. This sensitivity that you will begin to recognize is so refined and yet so strong. You communicate with yourself through the nerve currents which extend out, around and through the physical body—physical nerve currents as well as psychic nerve currents. Before we get deeply within on the path, we’re not too sensitive. But as this sensitivity develops, we begin to see through our hands. We begin to hear feeling. We begin to see sound, and all sorts of new faculties manifest.

We want to be sensitive, and yet we want protection, psychic protection. Our dreams become more well defined, but we don’t want to be vulnerable to negative areas of the mind, disruptive areas, experiential areas of the astral plane, while we are sleeping. Neither do we wish to be attacked on the astral plane by the mischievous beings, entities, that are on that particular side of life. We need this astral protection. We need this psychic protection. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. The force field of a group of people on the path goes along at a certain rate of intensity which is not broken, and this gives us tremendous psychic protection. In the very same way, a positive group of people only admit into their midst other positive people. A group of businessmen have a well-managed force field, and generally only a businessman of their same caliber can come and mix with them. A group of artists has a force field, and only artists of the same caliber can get into it. Why? If they let everybody in, they wouldn’t have a force field. The business would fail. The art would go into chaos. Friendships would be destroyed because of other influences coming in and amongst the people.

Force fields protect and sustain not only our outer forms of expression, but deep spiritual layers as well. When we go “out” into superconsciousness, if we are sensitive and unable to protect our subconscious mind, all sorts of other types of influences can enter. We don’t want this to happen, and it’s not necessary. It is a deterrent on the path, for we then are exposed to unseemly astral influences that detract us from our quest.

Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with fine, positive people. Don’t be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside, or who are criticizing you for what you are doing. There’s the old statement, “One bad apple can turn the whole bushel rotten.”

Psychic protection

Psychic protection, to sensitive people, is extremely important. It involves every detail of life—your home, friends, clothes, diet, even your dreams.

By keeping your house, your meditation room, as clean as possible. By entertaining few guests and then only people of the same caliber and nature. Guests, other than close relatives, should not stay more than three nights. Why? Because otherwise they bring too much distraction, too many other influences into the home. Finally, the whole atmosphere may be disrupted. Many families have broken up and lost their home, and children have gone homeless, simply because guests have stayed too long and worked into the inner atmosphere and brought in too many influences of a distracting and disturbing nature.

Keep your environment positive, so that the inner feeling is always content. Keep your home shrine or meditation space radiant, so that the inner feeling there is always uplifting.

As you advance along the path, the radio mechanism will become highly tuned, very positive. Being positive, it will register all types of influences. Influences that are distasteful to you will come through as strongly as influences that are really magnificent. You have to learn to shield out the static by finely tuning this mechanism. That is why you strive for mastery of sâdhana, mastery of concentration, your ability to hold awareness where you want it by taking awareness out of the entire context into just being aware. You pull awareness out of the thought processes. You pull awareness out of the emotion processes. You pull awareness out of the bodily processes, and you’re just completely on that pinnacle of being aware of being aware. That’s so necessary to practice every day, even if you do it for a split second. To hold that experience and to stabilize the physical and emotional elements long enough to hold that intensity for even a minute takes more practice—not too much, but consistent practice, more effort, more will, more dedication to the life of sâdhana.

When you meditate, you become inwardly strong. You become extremely sensitive, and sensitivity is strength. Now, it is true that if you are centered in yourself completely enough to be all spine and just a being of energy, you can go anyplace in any type of environment, inside or outside, and the environment would be better for your having been there. You would not absorb any of the distracting or negative vibrations. But until that day comes, it is better to be wise and live in a positive vibration and among people who can help stabilize the force field around you, so that your inner life goes on without interruptions—of spinning out, having to crawl back, and spinning out and then having to crawl back.

Part of the psychic pitfall is the belief that in order to be spiritually awakened, one must also be psychically awakened, seeing auras, visions, hearing celestial music and such. We do not have to awaken the third eye. To me, that is a translation error made in the old scriptures. This third eye has never been asleep. It’s always awake. We are not aware, however, of the visual mechanism of the third eye. As we become more and more sensitive, the third eye becomes more and more apparent to us, because we keenly observe through that faculty more than we did before.

You have often noticed that you moved your foot or some other part of your body out of the way of danger just in time. Well, your third eye wasn’t asleep then, and you didn’t see that foot coming down on you with your physical eyes. You saw it with your third eye. We use this third eye all the time. When someone greets you who is apparently looking fine and you sense otherwise, thinking, “I feel he’s disturbed. I wonder what’s wrong,” you’re seeing his inner condition with your third eye. When you walk up to someone’s house and you have the feeling that nobody is home because you don’t feel vibrations coming from the house, you’re seeing this with your third eye. We see and respond to things seen with the third eye every day, whether we are fully conscious of it or not.

Protect yourself as you protect a precious jewel. Guard your awareness from coarse influences and you will enjoy the bliss of the natural state of the mind—pure, clear and undisturbed.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The Glory of Brahmacharya

Swami SivanandaThe meaning of brahmacharya

Brahmacharya literally means Achara or conduct that leads to the realization of Brahman or one’s own Self. It means the control of semen, the study of the Vedas and contemplation on God. The technical meaning of Brahmacharya is self-restraint, particularly mastery of perfect control over the sexual organ or freedom from lust in thought, word and deed. It must further involve a permanent abstention from indulgence in erotic imagination and voluptuous reverie.

Brahmacharya is the vow of celibacy. The avenue to the abode of supreme peace begins from Brahmacharya or purity. Brahmacharya is absolute freedom from sexual desires and thoughts. Brahmacharya is meant for both men and women. Bhishma, Hanuman, Lakshman, Mira Bai, Sulabha and Gargi were all established in Brahmacharya.

Mere control of the animal passion will not constitute Brahmacharya. This is incomplete Brahmacharya. You must control all the organs—the ears that want to hear lustful stories, the lustful eye that wants to see objects that excite passion, the tongue that wants to taste exciting things and the skin that wants to touch exciting objects.

It is very necessary that you should be pure in mind if you wish to be a Brahmachari. Mental Brahmacharya is more important. You may succeed in physical Brahmacharya, but you must succeed in mental Brahmacharya also. That state of mind wherein no single sexual thought enters the mind is termed mental Brahmacharya. If thoughts are impure, the sex impulse will be very strong. Brahmacharya depends upon regulating the whole course of life.

When you cannot control the lustful thoughts, at least control the physical body. Physical Brahmacharya must be strictly practiced at first. Control the body when the sex impulse troubles you. Mental purity or mental Brahmacharya will gradually manifest.

You may be able to stop copulation for months and years, but there should not be any sexual craving or attraction for women. Evil thoughts also should not arise when you look at a woman, when you are in the company of women. If you succeed in this direction, then you are established in perfect Brahmacharya. You have crossed the danger zone. Thought is the real action. An evil desire is tantamount to adultery. The desire is more than the act.

The state of mental Brahmacharya must be kept up even amidst temptations and sickness. Then only you are safe. The senses begin to revolt during times of ailment and also when you come in contact with sense objects.

Keep the mind fully occupied. Intense musing on the objects of sense does more harm to the inner spiritual life than actual sense-gratification. If the mind is not rendered pure by Sadhana, mere mortification of the external senses will not produce the desired effect. Although the external senses are mortified, their internal counterparts, which are still energetic and vigorous, revenge upon the mind and produce intense mental disturbance and wild imagination.

It is the mind that really does all actions. A desire arises in your mind and then you think. Then you proceed to act. The determination of the mind is put into action. First there is Sankalpa or thought and then comes action. Therefore, do not allow the sexual thoughts to enter the mind.

No space is empty at any time. This is the law of nature. If one thing is removed from a place, immediately another comes in to take its place. The same law holds good in the case of the inner mental world also. Therefore, it is necessary to entertain sublime divine thoughts to replace evil thoughts. As you think, so you become. This is the immutable psychological law. The vicious mind is gradually divinised by entertaining divine thoughts.

The glory of brahmacharya

You cannot have health and spiritual life without Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya brings material progress and psychic advancement. It is the basis for morality. It is the basis for eternal life. It is the shield for waging war against the internal Asuras—lust, anger and greed. It serves as a gateway to the bliss beyond. It opens the door of Moksha. Brahmacharya is the only key to open the Sushumna and awaken Kundalini. Just as the oil comes up in a wick and burns with glowing light, so also, the Veerya or semen flows up by the practice of Yoga Sadhana and is converted into Tejas or Ojas. The Brahmachari shines with Brahmic aura in his face. Brahmacharya is the bright light that shines in the house of the human body. The scriptures declare emphatically:

“Ayustejo Balam Veeryam Prajna Sreescha Yashastatha
Punyamcha Sat-Priyatvamcha Vardhate Brahmacharyaya”

By the practice of Brahmacharya, longevity, glory, strength, vigour, knowledge, wealth, undying fame, virtues and devotion to the truth increase. Truth cannot dwell where passion lives.

Without Brahmacharya, all your exercises are nothing. It is the master-key for opening the realms of health and happiness. He who has even a little bit of Brahmacharya will tide over a crisis of any disease very easily.

After Dhanvantari had taught all the details about Ayurveda to his disciples, they enquired about the keynote of this medical science. The Master replied, “I tell you that Brahmacharya is truly a precious jewel. It is the one most effective medicine—nectar indeed—which destroys diseases, decay and death. For attaining peace, brightness, memory, knowledge, health and Self-realization, one should observe Brahmacharya, which is the highest Dharma. Brahmacharya is the highest knowledge; Brahmacharya is the greatest strength. Of the nature of Brahmacharya is verily this Atman and in Brahmacharya It resides. Saluting Brahmacharya first, the cases beyond cure, I cure. Aye, Brahmacharya can undo all the inauspicious signs.”

The power of celibacy

By the establishment of continence, vigour is obtained. The Yogi gets Siddhi or perfection by attaining perfect mental and physical Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya helps him in gaining divine knowledge and other Siddhis. When there is purity, the rays of the mind are not dissipated. Focusing of the mind becomes easy. Concentration and purity go together. Although a sage talks a few words only, a deep impression is produced in the minds of the hearers. This is due to his Ojas Sakti, which is conserved by the preservation of semen and its transmutation.
A true Brahmachari in thought, word and deed has wonderful thought-power. He can move the world. If you develop strict celibacy, Vichara Sakti and Dharana Sakti will develop. Vichara Sakti is the power of enquiry. Dharan’a Sakti is the power of grasping and holding the Truth. Continence increases infinitely the power of retentive memory. The strict celibate has keen and acute memory even in old age. A man who has the power of Brahmacharya can turn out immense mental, physical and intellectual work.

Jesus, Sankara, Jnana Deva and Samarth Ramdas were all Brahmacharins. Even among electrons, there are bachelor electrons and married electrons. Married electrons manifest in pairs. Bachelor electrons exist singly. It is these bachelor electrons only that create magnetic force. The power of Brahmacharya is seen in electrons also. Friend, will you learn some lessons from these electrons? Will you practice Brahmacharya and develop power and spiritual force? Nature is your best teacher and spiritual guide.

Brahmacharya for householders

It is beyond all doubt that a life of Brahmacharya is glorious and marvellous. At the same time, a life of moderation in the household life is equally good and helpful for spiritual growth. Both have their own advantages. You must have great strength to tread the path either way. The life of an ideal householder is as much difficult and rigid as that of an ideal Sannyasin. Pravritti Marga or the path of Karma Yoga is as much difficult and rigid as that of Nivritti Marga or the path of renunciation.

Even as a householder you can be a Brahmachari, by sticking to the principles of Grihastha Dharma, by moderation and regular worship of God. Brahmacharya in Grihasthashrama is absolute moderation in sexual intercourse. Marriage should not in any way lead you downwards in your spiritual path. You should keep the spiritual fire ever blazing. You should make your wife also understand the real glory of a spiritual life. If both of you observe Brahmacharya for sometime and then avoid excesses, she will give birth to robust children who will be the pride of the country. Conserved energy can be used for higher spiritual purposes. Prevention of frequent maternity will preserve your wife’s health too.

If you want to practice Brahmacharya, think and feel that your wife is your sister. Destroy the idea of husband and wife and develop the idea of brother and sister.

As soon as a son is born to you, your wife becomes your mother, because you yourself are born as the son. A son is nothing but the energy of the father. Change the mental attitude. Serve your wife as the World Mother. Start spiritual Sadhana. Destroy passion. Every morning, as soon as you get up from bed, touch your wife’s feet and prostrate before her taking her for Kali or the World Mother. Do not feel ashamed. This practice will remove the idea of ‘wife’ from your mind. If you cannot do the prostration physically, at least do it mentally.

As soon as a child is born, man must give up lust. He must observe celibacy. He must treat his wife as his own mother. This is a great Sadhana for the householder.

Says Manu: “The first-born child is born of Dharma and the rest of Kama or lust. The sexual act for mere pleasure is not justifiable”.

When the couples who live around you vie with one another in materialism, and in their individual capacity, to drag each other down, both of you should compete with each other in advancing rapidly in spiritual Sadhana. What a novel competition! What a blessing it is to have such a competitor as the lifepartner!

Duty of teachers and parents

If you compare the present system of education with our ancient Gurukul system, there is a wide gulf between the two. In the first place, the present system of education is very costly. The moral side of education is absolutely ignored at the present moment. Every student in the Gurukul was pure. Every student, had perfect moral training. This was the predominating feature of ancient culture. Every student had a knowledge of Pranayama, Mantra Yoga, Asanas, the code of morals, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishads. Every student possessed humility, self-restraint, obedience, a spirit of service and self-sacrifice, good demeanour, politeness, a courteous nature, and last but not the least, a desire to acquire Atma-Jnana.

A great and onerous duty rests with the teachers and professors of schools and colleges to train the students in the path of Sadachara or right conduct and to mould their character properly. Brahmacharya includes character-building or right moulding of character. They say that knowledge is power. But I assert boldly, with great assurance and practical experience, that character is power and that character is far superior to knowledge even.

Your whole life and your success in life depend entirely upon the formation of your character. All the great persons in this world have achieved their greatness through character and character alone. The brilliant luminaries of the world have won their laurels of fame, reputation and honour through character and character alone.

The teachers themselves should be strictly moral and pure. They should be endowed with ethical perfection.

When students reach the age of maturity, certain growths and changes take place in the physical body. The voice changes. New emotions and sentiments arise. Naturally, the youngsters become curious. They consult the street boys. They get ill advised. They ruin their health by vile habits. A clear knowledge of sexual health, hygiene and Brahmacharya, of how to attain longevity and how to control passion, should be imparted to them. Parents should teach their children the various stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana that relate to Brahmacharya and right conduct.

Parents should advise their children, often and often, on the subject of Brahmacharya. This is their imperative duty. Candid talks to the boys and girls are very necessary when they begin to show signs of puberty. It is no use beating about the bush. Matters that relate  to sex should not be kept hidden. It will be only false modesty if the parents feel shy to talk to their children on this important subject. Silence will only excite the curiosity of the adolescent children. Whereas, if they can understand these things clearly in time, surely they will not be misguided by evil companions and they will not develop bad habits.

Teachers and parents should give proper instructions to the boys and girls as to how they should lead a clean life of Brahmacharya. They should get rid of their false sense of modesty and shame.

O teachers and professors! Wake up now! Train the students in the path of Brahmacharya and righteousness and morality. Make them true Brahmacharins. Do not neglect this divine work. You are morally responsible for this onerous task. This is your Yoga.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda