Seeker after Liberation (pt.#2)

vanity-of-the-world

Repeated Creations & Incarnations

This world consists of brute, human and heavenly beings whose lives, when they are said to perish in any part of it, really exist in the same part.

The mind is described as ever-fluctuating. In itself, it gives rise to everything in the three worlds. It resides in a void in the form of the heart, and the Uncreated also resides in the empty space of the soul (giving the mind the power to realize the latent ideas of the soul).

The millions of beings who are dead, those who are dying and will die hereafter, are all to be reborn here according to the different desires in their minds. The external world appears as a reality, but in truth it is only a creation of our desires. It is an ideal castle in the air, and a magic view spread before us.

It is at the point of death and afterwards that the unreality of the world best appears. But this knowledge (of the unreality of the world) becomes darkened upon being reborn on earth, when the shadow of this world again falls on the mirror of his sentient soul. Thus there is a struggle for repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after death. After he shuffles off his body, he assumes another and then another form, and thus the world is as unstable as a stool made of plantain leaves and its coatings.

Divinity like a sea shoots forth in various waves of creation that rise constantly and plentifully one after the other. All beings here are only the waves of this sea. Some are alike to one another in their minds and natures, while others are half alike, and some quite different from the rest.

There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras. Thus will there be other people like those who have gone by and, as I understand, another Rama and Vasishta like ourselves.

Those liberated in life may sometimes associate with relatives and estates, his acts and duties, his knowledge and wisdom, and all his exertions, like those of any other men, or he may forsake them all at once. These beings are either reborn a hundred times in some age or never at all (as in the case of divine incarnations), depending on the inscrutable will (maya, or illusion) of God. Souls undergo such changes by repetition, like a bushel of grain that is collected only to be repeatedly sown, then reaped again and again.

As the sea heaves its constant surges of different shapes, so all beings are born constantly in various forms in the vast ocean of time. The wise man who is liberated in his lifetime lives with his internal belief (of God) in a state of tranquility, without any doubt in his mind, and quite content with the ambrosia of equanimity.

Excerpts from “Yoga Vasishta” by Sage Valmiki, translated by Vihari Lala Mitra

The Phenomenon of Sex

Swami SivanandaSex energy or lust is the most deep-rooted instinct in man. A man has a thousand and one desires. But the central strong desire is the sexual desire. The fundamental desire is the urge for a mate.

This world is nothing but sex and ego. Ego is the chief thing. It is the basis. Sex hangs on the ego. If the ego is destroyed by Vichara or inquiry of “Who am I?”, the sex idea takes to its heels by itself. Man, master of his destiny, has lost his divine glory and has become a slave, a tool, in the hands of sex and ego on account of ignorance.

Passion reigns supreme in all parts of the world. The minds of people are filled with sexual thoughts. The world is all sexy. The whole world is under a tremendous sexual intoxication.

Man, with his boasted intellect, has to learn lessons from birds and animals. Even animals have more self-control than men. It is only the so-called man who has degraded himself much by indulgence. At the heat of sexual excitement, he repeats the same ignoble act again and again. He has not a bit of self-control. He is an absolute slave to passion. He is a puppet in the hands of passion. Like rabbits he procreates and brings forth countless children to swell up the numbers of beggars in the world. Lions, elephants, bulls and other powerful animals have better self-control than men. Lions cohabit only once in a year. After conception, the female animals will never allow the male animals to approach them till the young ones are weaned and they themselves become healthy and strong. Man only violates the laws of nature and consequently suffers from innumerable diseases. He has degenerated to a level far lower than that of animals in this respect.

As a king is no king without a treasury, subjects and an army, as a river is no river without water, so also, a man is no man without Brahmacharya. Ahara, Nidra, Bhaya and Maithuna—food, sleep, fear and copulation—are common to both animals and men. That which differentiates a man from an animal is Dharma, Viveka and Vichara Sakti. Jnana and Vichara can be secured only by the preservation of Veerya. If a man has not got these qualifications, he should really be reckoned as a veritable animal only.

The sexual degradation that has overtaken mankind today is due directly to the fact that people have assumed that there is a natural “sexual instinct” in human beings. It is not so. The natural instinct is the procreative one. If men and women restrict sexual indulgence to mere procreation, then that itself is observance of Brahmacharya. As this is found to be impossible in the vast majority of cases, total abstinence is enjoined on those who seek the higher values of life. As far as the Sadhaka of burning Mumukshutva is concerned, celibacy is a sine qua non, as he cannot afford to waste his vital energy at all.

May you, without worldly desires and ambition, rest in That which ever is in the midst of the enjoyer and the enjoyed!

The Sex Impulse

According to the Gita, impulse is Vegam or force. Lord Krishna says, “He who is able to endure here on earth, before he is liberated from the body, the force born of desire and passion, he is harmonised, he is a happy man”.

Impulse is a mighty force. It exerts influence on the mind. It is a force suddenly communicated to the mind.
Just as petrol or steam moves the engine, the instincts and impulses move this body. The instincts are the prime movers of all human activities. They give a push to the body and move the Indriyas to action. The instincts create habits. The instinctive impulses supply the driving power by which all mental activities are kept up. These impulses are mental forces. They operate through the mind and the intellect. They mould the life of a man. The mystery of life lies in them.
The attraction towards women in men is born of Rajas. That unknown attraction and happiness in their company is the seed of the sex impulse.

A sexual act produces a Samskara or impression in the subconscious mind or Chitta. This Samskara raises a Vritti or thought-wave in the mind and the Vritti again causes a Samskara. Enjoyment thickens the Vasanas. Through memory and imagination, a revival of the sexual desire comes in.

Even in a blind man who is a celibate who has not seen the face of a woman, the sexual impulse is very strong. Why? This is due to the force of Samskaras or impressions of previous births that are embedded in the subconscious mind. Whatever you do, whatever you think, are all lodged or printed or indelibly impressed in the layers of the Chitta or subconscious mind.

It is easy to control the conscious mind. But it is very difficult to control the subconscious mind. You may be a Sannyasi. You may be a moral man. Mark how the mind behaves or conducts itself in dreams. You begin to steal in dreams. You commit adultery in dreams. The sex impulses, ambitions and low desires are all ingrained in you and deep-rooted in the subconscious mind. Destroy the subconscious mind and its Samskaras through Vichara, Brahma-Bhavana and meditation on ‘Om’ and its meaning. A man who is established in mental Brahmacharya can never have even a single thought of evil in dreams.

When the impurities emerge from the subconscious mind and come to the surface of the conscious mind with formidable force, do not try to resist them. Repeat your Ishta Mantra. Do not think of your defects or evil qualities much. Do not worry yourself often: “I have got so many defects and weaknesses”. Cultivate Sattvic virtues. Through meditation, and by the development of positive qualities, through the Pratipaksha Bhavana method, all the negative qualities will die by themselves. This is the right method.

You may become old, your hair may turn gray, but your mind is ever young. The capacity may vanish, but the craving remains even when you have reached advanced senility. Cravings are the real seeds of birth. These craving-seeds give rise to Sankalpa and action. The wheel of Samsara is kept revolving by these cravings. Nip them in the bud. Then only will you be safe.

One’s purity can be gauged by one’s experiences in dream. If one is entirely free from any sexual thought in dreams, he has reached the climax of purity. Self-analysis and introspection are indispensable requisites to determine the state of one’s mind. A Jnani will have no wet dreams. He who is established in Brahmacharya will not get even a single bad dream. Dream serves as a criterion to judge our mental state or the degree of our mental purity. If you do not get impure dreams, you are growing in purity. The very idea of sex should vanish from the mind.

Sukadeva had this experience. Suka did not marry. He left his home and roamed about the world at large, stark naked. The separation was very painful for his father, Vyasa. Vyasa went out in search of his son. While he passed by a tank, the Apsaras, who were freely indulging in play, felt ashamed and put on their clothes hastily. Vyasa said, “Very strange indeed! I am old. I am putting on clothes. But when my son passed this way naked, you kept quiet, you remained unmoved”. The Apsaras replied, “O venerable sage, thy son knows not man and woman, but thou knowest”.

You cannot attain perfect Brahmacharya by limited effort. You will have to search out carefully this dire enemy, lust that lies hidden in the various corners of your heart. Just as the fox hides itself within the bush, so also, this lust hides itself in the substratum and corners of the mind. You can detect its presence only if you are vigilant. Intense self-examination is very necessary. Just as powerful enemies can be conquered only if you attack them from all sides, so also, you can keep the powerful senses under control only if you attack them from all sides, from within and from without, from above and from beneath. The senses are very turbulent. The powerful virus that causes syphilis is attacked on all sides by the doctor by various contrivances such as inunction or local rubbing, injection, mixture and powder. So also, the senses must be controlled by various methods such as fasting, restriction in diet, Pranayama, Japa, Kirtan, meditation, Vichara or enquiry of “Who am I?”, Pratyahara or abstraction, Dama or self-restraint, Asanas, Bandhas, Mudras, thought-control and destruction of Vasanas.

Lust cannot be completely rooted out of the mind except by the grace of the Lord. You are bound to succeed if you have faith in Him. You can destroy lust in the twinkling of an eye.
The Lord makes a dumb man speak and a lame man ascend a steep hill. Mere human effort alone will not suffice. The divine grace is needed. God helps those who help themselves.

Passion is a very strong desire. A mild desire becomes a strong passion by frequent
repetition or frequent enjoyment.

Women are eight times more passionate than men, but possess eight times more strength of control over the sexual impulses or the sexual urge. This is the weakness of man, though he may be physically and intellectually more powerful than a woman.

Sex Is In Imagination

Sex is the distinction between male and female. For a liberated sage, this world is full of Brahman only. For a passionate man, this world is full of woman.

If there is pleasure, why do the young educated men retire into forests? If there is pain, why do young men run after wealth, women and position? Mysterious is Maya! Mysterious is Moha! Try to understand the riddle of life and the riddle of the universe.

Maya havocs through the imagination of the mind. Woman is not beautiful, but the imagination is beautiful. Sugar is not sweet, but the imagination is sweet. Food is not palatable, but the imagination is palatable. Man is not weak, but the imagination is weak. Understand the nature of Maya and mind and become wise. Curb this imagination of the mind by Vichara or right thinking and rest in Brahman wherein there is neither imagination nor thought.

Beauty and ugliness are false imaginations of the mind. Mind itself is a false illusory product. Conceptions of the mind also must therefore be false. They are all like a mirage in the desert. What is beautiful for you is ugly for another. Beauty and ugliness are relative terms. Beauty is only a mental concept. It is only a mental projection. It is only a civilized man who talks much of the symmetry of form, good features, graceful gait, elegance of manners and graceful form. An African Negro has no idea of all these things. Beauty resides in the mind and not in the objects. Mango is not sweet; the idea of mango is sweet. It is all Vritti. It is all mental deception, mental conception, mental creation, mental Srishti. Destroy the Vritti; beauty vanishes. The husband stretches his own idea of beauty in his ugly wife and finds her very beautiful through passion. Shakespeare has rightly expressed this in his “Mid-summer-Night’s Dream”: “Cupid is painted blind. It finds Helen’s beauty in the brow of Egypt”.

The fly runs towards the fire or lamp thinking that it is a flower and gets burnt up. Even so, the passionate man runs towards a false beautiful form thinking that he can get there the real happiness and gets himself burnt up in the fire of lust.

The Value of Semen

Eminent doctors of the West say that various kinds of diseases arise from the loss of semen, particularly in young age.

Mark carefully the evil after-effects that follow the loss of seminal energy! Persons are physically, mentally and morally debilitated by wasting the seminal power on so many occasions for nothing. The body and the mind refuse to work energetically. There is physical and mental lethargy. You experience much exhaustion and weakness. He who has wasted the vital energy becomes easily irritable, loses his balance of mind and gets into a state of explosive fury for trifling things. It is the most powerful energy in the world. One sexual act shatters completely the brain and the nervous system.

The energy that is wasted during one sexual intercourse is tantamount to the energy that is spent in physical labour for ten days or the energy that is utilized in mental work for three days. Mark how precious is the vital fluid, semen! Do not waste this energy. Preserve it with great care. You will have wonderful vitality. When Veerya is not used, it is all transmuted into Ojas sakti or spiritual energy and stored up in the brain. Western doctors know little of this salient point. Most of your ailments are due to excessive seminal wastage.

The vital energy, the Veerya that supports your life, which is the Prana of Pranas, which shines in your sparkling eyes, which beams in your shining cheeks, is a great treasure for you. Remember this point well. Veerya is the quintessence of blood. One drop of semen is manufactured out of forty drops of blood. Mark here how valuable this fluid is!

According to Ayurveda, semen is the last Dhatu that is formed out of food. Out of food is manufactured chyle. Out of chyle comes blood. Out of blood comes flesh. Out of flesh comes fat. Out of fat comes bone. Out of bone comes marrow. Out of marrow comes semen. These are the Sapta Dhatus or the seven Dhatus that support this life and body. Mark here how precious is semen! It is the last essence. It is the Essence of essences. The Veerya comes out of the very marrow that lies concealed inside the bones.

Semen is found in a subtle state in all the cells of the body. Just as sugar is all-pervading in the sugar-cane, butter in milk, so also, semen is pervading the whole body. Just as the butter milk is thin after the butter is removed, so also, semen is thinned by its wastage. The more the wastage of semen the more is the weakness. In the Yoga Sastras it is said:
Maranam Bindu Patanat,
Jivanam Bindu Rakshanat.
Falling of semen brings death; preservation of semen gives life. Semen is the real vitality in men. It is the hidden treasure in man. It imparts Brahma-Tejas to the face and strength to the intellect.

If the spermatic secretion in men is continuous, it must either be expelled or be reabsorbed. As a result of the most patient and persevering scientific investigations, it has been found that whenever the seminal secretions are conserved and thereby reabsorbed into the system, it goes towards enriching the blood and strengthening the brain.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda

Obstacles in God-realization #2

Doubt (Samsaya)

Swami SivanandaMind deludes people through doubting. Sometimes he gives up his Sadhana altogether. This is a serious mistake. Whenever doubt tries to overpower any student he should at once take recourse to the company of Mahatmas and remain with them for some time under the influence of their currents.  There are various kinds of impurities in the mind. It takes a long time for purification of the mind and getting a one-pointed mind. Concentration is a question of practice for several lives. Concentration is the most difficult thing in the world. Even if you do a little practice the effect is there. The Samskaras are there. Nothing is lost. That is the immutable law of nature. You will not be able to detect the little improvement that has come out of a little practice, as you have no subtle intellect and as you have many kinds of impurities from beginningless time. You must develop virtues, Vairagya, patience and perseverance to a maximum degree; you must have an unshakable conviction in the existence of God and in the efficacy of spiritual practices. You must have a strong determination: “I will realise God right now in this very birth, nay in this very second. I will realise or die.”

Tandri-Alasya-Nidra

Tandri is half-sleepy state. Alasya is laziness. Nidra is sleep. The first two are the precursors of sleep. These three are great obstacles in the path of realisation. Sleep is a powerful force of Maya. It is called Laya. It is Nidra Sakti. Sleep is the greatest obstacle as it is very powerful. It takes time and demands great strength of will to tear this old, old habit.

Arjuna is called Gudakesa or conqueror of sleep. Lord Krishna addresses him: “O Gudakesa”. Lakshmana also had conquered sleep. Besides these two persons who had conquered sleep, we have not heard of anyone. There are people who have reduced the sleep to 2 or 3 hours. Even Yogins and Jnanins sleep for two or three hours. Sleep is a psychological phenomenon. Brain needs rest at least for a short time. Otherwise man feels drowsy and tired. He can neither work nor meditate. The sleep of a Jnani is different from the sleep of a worldly man. In a Jnani the powerful Samskaras of Brahmabhyasa are there.

Sadhakas can gain time for their Sadhana by reducing sleep. The practice of reducing sleep will be very troublesome in the beginning. When the habits are changed, it will be pleasant in the end. When drowsiness tries to manifest, stand up and do the Japa. Dash cold water on the face and head. Take milk and fruits only at night. Avoid overloading the stomach at night. Take the night meals before sunset. Do Pranayama morning and evening before starting meditation. Do Sirshasana and Sarvangasana. Run for five minutes in your compound. Drowsiness and sleep will vanish.
The Practice of keeping vigils on Sivaratri and Sri Krishna Janmashtami is highly commendable. The Christians also keep vigils on Christmas and New Year’s night.

Manorajya

Manorajya is building castles in the air. This is a trick of the mind. The power of imagination is tremendous. Maya havocs through the power of imagination. Imagination fattens the mind.
The power of imagination will not allow the mind to keep quiet even for a second. Just as swans of locusts or flies come forth in a continuous stream, so also currents of Manorajya will stream forth incessantly. Vichara, discrimination, prayer, Japa, meditation, Satsanga, fasting, Pranayama, practice of thoughtlessness will obviate this obstacle. Pranayama checks the velocity of the mind and calms the bubbling mind. A young ambitious man is unfit to remain in a solitary cave. He who has done selfless service in the world for some years, and who has practised meditation for several years in the plains in solitary rooms can live in a cave. Such a man only can really enjoy the solitude of Himalayan retreats.

Lack of a Preceptor

The spiritual path is thorny, rugged and precipitous. It is enveloped by darkness. The guidance of a Guru who has already trodden the path is imperatively necessary. He will be able to throw light and remove the obstacles on the path. The knowledge of the Self is revealed through Parampara and handed down from Guru to the disciple in succession.

Beware of pseudo-Gurus. They are knocking about in abundance in these days. They will exhibit some tricks or feats to attract people. Think that those who are proud, who are roaming about to make disciples and to amass money, who talk of worldly matters, who speak untruth, who boast of themselves, who are talkative, who keep company with worldly people and women, and who are luxurious, are false impostors. Do not be deceived by their sweet talk and lectures. In this connection it will not be out of place to mention the story of a man who was in search of a Sat-Guru. He found out after all one Sat-Guru. The student asked the Guru: “O Venerable Sir, give me Upadesh.” The Guru asked: “What sort of Upadesh do you want?” The disciple asked: “O Beloved Master! Who is superior, disciple or Guru?” The Guru said: “Guru is superior to disciple.” The disciple said: “O Revered Guru! Make me a Guru. I like that.” Such sort of disciples are plenty in these days.

Vishayasakti (SENSUALITY)

This is the greatest of all obstacles. The mind refuses to leave completely the sensual pleasures. Through the force of Vairagya and meditation, the desires get suppressed for some time. All of a sudden the mind thinks of sensual pleasures through the force of habit and memory. There arises mental disturbance. Concentration decreases. The mind moves outwards in sensual objects.

In the Gita (II-6O, 67) you will find: “The turbulent senses, O Arjuna, do violently carry away the mind of a wise man, even though he be striving (to control them). For the mind, which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination, as the wind carries away a boat on the waters.” “The objects of senses turn away from the abstinent man leaving the longing (behind); but his longing also turns away on seeing the Supreme.” (II-59.)

Some desires lurk in the corners of the mind. Just as old dirt from the corners of the room comes out when you sweep, so also through the pressure of Yogic practices, these old lurking desires come out to the surface of the mind with redoubled force. The Sadhaka should be very careful. He should be ever watching the mind vigilantly. He must nip the desires in the bud by developing his Vairagya, Viveka and increasing his period of Japa and meditation.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Words of Indian Saints Part #4

paramahansa-yogananda“Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.”

Attachment is blinding; it lends an imaginary halo of attractiveness to the object of desire.

Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you.

The impartiality of saints is rooted in wisdom. Masters have escaped maya; its alternating faces of intellect and idiocy no longer cast an influential glance. Sri Yukteswar showed no special consideration to those who happened to be powerful or accomplished; neither did he slight others for their poverty or illiteracy. He would listen respectfully to words of truth from a child, and openly ignore a conceited pundit.

Always one with the Lord, he needed no separate time for communion. A self-realized master has already left behind the stepping stone of meditation. “The flower falls when the fruit appears.” But saints often cling to spiritual forms for the encouragement of disciples.

“Patanjali’s meaning was the removal of desire to kill.” Sri Yukteswar had found my mental processes an open book. “This world is inconveniently arranged for a literal practice of ahimsa. Man may be compelled to exterminate harmful creatures. He is not under similar compulsion to feel anger or animosity. All forms of life have equal right to the air of maya. The saint who uncovers the secret of creation will be in harmony with its countless bewildering expressions. All men may approach that understanding who curb the inner passion for destruction.”

“Guruji, should one offer himself a sacrifice rather than kill a wild beast?”

“No; man’s body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value because of unique brain and spinal centers. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped. It is true that one incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any living thing. But the Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law.”

“Medicines have limitations; the creative life-force has none. Believe that: you shall be well and strong.”

“‘Really, it has been your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong.’ My master looked at me affectionately. ‘You have seen how your health has exactly followed your expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of God. I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.’

Excerpts from the book by Paramhansa Yogananda “Autobiography of a Yogi”

Meditation Point by Sankara

  1. Sri SankaracharyaThat which is beyond caste and creed, family and lineage; devoid of name and form, merit and demerit; transcending space, time and sense-objects; —that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind. 
  2. That Supreme Brahman which is beyond the range of all speech, but accessible to the eye of pure illumination; which is pure, the Embodiment of Knowledge, the beginningless entity;—that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind. 
  3. That which, though One only, is the cause of the many; which refutes all other causes; which is Itself without cause; distinct from Maya and its effect, the universe; and independent; — that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  4. That which is free from duality; which is infinite and indestructible; distinct from the universe and Maya,— supreme, eternal; which is undying Bliss; taintless; — that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  5. That Reality which (though One) appears variously owing to delusion,taking on names and forms, attributes and changes. Itself always unchanged, like gold in its modifications, — that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  6. That beyond which there is nothing; which shines above Maya even, which again is superior to its effects, the universe; the inmost-Self of all. free from differentiation; the Real Self; the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute; Infinite and immutable; — that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  7. That which is free from birth, growth, development, waste, disease and death; which is indestructible; which is the cause of the projection, maintenance and dissolution of the universe;— that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  8. That which is free from differentiation; whose essence is never non-existent; which is unmoved like the ocean without waves; the ever-free; of indivisible Form;— that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind 
  9. That which is untouched by the six-fold wave; meditated upon by the Yogi’s heart, but not grasped by the sense organs; which the Buddhi cannot know; and which is unimpeachable; — that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind. 
  10. On the Truth inculcated above, one must meditate in one’s mind, by means of the recognised arguments. By that means one will realize the Truth free from doubt etc., like water in the palm of one’s hand.

Sri Sankara “Vivekachudamani”

“Recognized arguments” — that are in harmony with the Vedas.