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Practice of Meditation

Meditation in Daily Life

swami Sivananda in Meditation”Dhyanam nirvishayam manah”: – That state of the mind wherein there are no Vishayas or sensual thoughts is meditation.
”Tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam”: – A continuous flow of perception or thought is Dhyana (meditation). There is continuous current in the mind of one object like the flow of water in a river (Pravaha). There is only one Vritti in the mind.

Meditation destroys all causes of sorrow. Meditation gives vision of unity, induces sense of oneness, opens the avenues of intuition knowledge, makes the mind calm and steady, awakens an ecstatic feeling. Many of your doubts will be cleared by themselves during meditation.

Real rest can be had during meditation when the mind rests in Atman.

In dream also you will begin to exercise control gradually. You will check the mind when it does an evil act. The force of your Sadhana done in the wakeful state will come to your aid in the dream. This is a sign of your spiritual growth. Watch the dream carefully.

How to Meditate

Keep the head, neck and back in one straight line. Face East or North. A spiritual neophyte should observe this rule. When you are a neophyte in meditation, start repeating some sublime Slokas or Stotras (hymns) for ten minutes as soon as you sit for meditation. This will elevate the mind.

Whatever you meditate on in silence should be manifested in daily life. You should keep up poise and harmony in action. You will be ever peaceful. Then only you will enjoy the real fruit of meditation.

When the body is light and without diseases, the mind without desire, when the colour is shining, the voice sweet and the smell pleasant, when the excrements are few, they say, the first degree of concentration is gained.

Five things are indispensable if you want to practise vigorous meditation and attain Samadhi or Self-realisation quickly. They are Mouna, light diet, solitude with charming scenery, personal contact with a teacher and a cool place.

You will enter into deep meditation only if you lead a moral life.

You must have a mental image of God or Brahman (concrete or abstract) before you begin to meditate. When you see the concrete figure of Lord Krishna with open eyes and meditate, it is the concrete form of meditation. When you reflect over the image of Lord Krishna by closing your eyes, it is also concrete form of meditation but it is more abstract. When you meditate on the infinite abstract light it is still more abstract meditation. The former two types belong to Saguna form of meditation, the latter to Nirguna form.
Even in Nirguna there is an abstract form in the beginning for fixing the mind. Later on this form vanishes and the meditation and the meditated become one. Meditation proceeds from the mind.

When the mind becomes steady in meditation, the eye-balls also become steady. A Yogi whose mind is calm will have a steady eye. There will be no winking at all.

Concentrate and meditate on the expansive sky. This is also another kind of Nirguna meditation. By this method of meditation, the mind will stop thinking of finite forms.

You must be regular in your practice of meditation. Rapid progress and great success can be attained if regularity is observed by the practitioner. Even if you do not realise any tangible result in the practice, you must plod on in the practice with sincerity, earnestness, patience and perseverance. You will get success after some time. There is no doubt of this. Do not stop the practice even for a day, under any circumstance.

If you keep lemon-juice or tamarind-juice in a golden cup, it is not spoiled or tainted. If you keep it in a brass or copper vessel, it is at once spoiled and rendered poisonous. Even so, if there are some Vishaya-Vrittis (sensual thoughts) in the pure mind of a person who practises constant meditation, they will not pollute the man and induce Vikara (passionate excitement). If there are sensual thoughts in persons with impure minds, they cause excitement in them when they come across sensual objects.

At 4 a.m. do Sirshasana for 5 minutes. Then take rest for five minutes. Then sit and meditate. You will have wonderful meditation. All saints and Yogis practise meditation at this period and send their spiritual vibrations to the whole world. You will be highly
benefited by their vibrations if you start your prayer, Japa and meditation at this period. You need not exert. The meditative state of mind will come of itself.
Before doing meditation, do 20 mild Kumbhakas. Then sit for meditation. Pranayama drives away Tandri and Alasya (drowsiness and laziness) and makes the mind steady.

An aspirant who meditates in a solitary upstair room in a town will have as much quiet there as in a forest. But he will not have the congenial spiritual vibrations there as in Rishikesh, Uttarakasi or Gangotri. Vibrations play a vital part in the elevation of mind and in producing Ekagrata of mind. In these holy places the vibrations of Rishis are lodged in the ethereal space and the aspirants are highly benefited by these vibrations. Vairagya, Sattvic Bhava and the meditative mood come by themselves without effort or struggle in these holy places. It is only sages and Yogis who can know at once the nature of vibrations of a place for meditation.

Requisites for Meditation

God has hidden Himself in this world (immanent) and is seated in the cavity of the lotus of your heart. He is an absentee landlord. You will have to seek Him through concentration and meditation with a pure mind. This is the real play of hide and seek.

A cool Sattvic place like Uttarakasi, Rishikesh, Lakshmanjhula, Kankhal or Badrinath is necessary for meditation, because the brain gets hot during meditation.

Meditation is possible when the mind is full of Sattva Guna. The stomach should not be loaded. There is an intimate connection between the mind and the food. A heavy meal is harmful. The night meal should be light for those who meditate.
Every human being has within himself various potentialities and capacities. He is a magazine of power and knowledge. As he evolves, he unfolds new powers, new faculties and new qualities. Now he can change his environments and influence others. He can subdue other minds. He can conquer internal and external nature. He can enter into superconscious state.

Mind is Brahman or God in manifestation. Mind is God in motion. As Brahman is approachable by means of the mind it is only proper to meditate upon the mind as Brahman.

You want for meditation a properly trained instrument (mind). It should be calm, clear, pure, subtle, sharp, steady and one-pointed. Brahman is pure and subtle and you need a pure and subtle mind to approach Brahman.

Mind feels tired after hard and protracted work. It cannot therefore be Atman. Atman is the storehouse of all powers (Ananta Sakti). Mind is only  an instrument of Atman. It should be properly disciplined. Just as you develop the physical body through gymnastics and various kinds of physical exercises, so also you have to train the mind through mental training, mental culture or mental drill.

Before saturating the mind with thoughts of Brahman you will have to assimilate the divine ideas first. Assimilation first and then saturation. Then comes realisation at once without a moment’s delay. Remember this triplet always: ASSIMILATION- SATURATION-REALISATION.

Leading a virtuous life is not by itself sufficient for God-realisation. Constant meditation is absolutely necessary. A good virtuous life only prepares the mind as a fit instrument for concentration and meditation. It is concentration and meditation that eventually lead to Self-realisation. Haste makes waste.
It behoves well that advanced Grihastha Yogic students (householders) will have to stop all the worldly activities when they advance in meditation, if they are really sincere. Work is a hindrance in meditation for advanced students. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says in the Gita ”For a sage who is seeking Yoga, action is called the means; for the same sage who is enthroned in Yoga (state of Yogarudha), serenity (Sama) is called the means.” Then work and meditation become incompatible like acid and alkali or fire and water or light and darkness.

Why do you close your eyes during meditation? Open your eyes, and meditate. You must keep your balance of mind even when you are in the bustle of a city. Then only you are perfect. In the beginning when you are a neophyte you can close your eyes to remove the distraction of mind, as you are very weak. But later on you must meditate with eyes open even during walking. You can meditate only when the mind is beyond all anxieties.

Resist the fatal downward pull by the dark, antagonistic forces through regular meditation. Check the aimless wanderings of the mind through clear and orderly thinking. Hear not the false whispers of the lower mind. Turn your inner gaze to the divine centre. Do not be afraid of the severe setbacks that you will encounter in your journey. Be brave. March on boldly till you finally rest in your centre of eternal bliss.

When you meditate, disregard the substratum awakenings in the mind that arise out of the senses. Avoid carefully the comparisons with all other cross references and memories of ideas. Concentrate the whole energy of the mind on the one idea of God or Atman itself without any comparison with any other idea. The student of Yoga should not possess much wealth as it will drag him to the worldly temptations. He can keep a little sum to meet the wants of the body. Economical independence will relieve the mind from anxieties and will enable him to continue the Sadhana uninterruptedly.

In summer, it is rather irksome and difficult owing to perspiration to have long sittings for meditation. So, have only two sittings during summer. Winter is very favourable for meditation. In winter the mind is not tired at all. You can meditate even for 24 hours without the least exhaustion.

Just as cannabis indica, opium or alcohol gives you intoxication, even if you take a small quantity, and lasts for some hours, so also the God-intoxication that you get from regular meditation, lasts for some hours if you meditate for half an hour daily. Therefore be regular.

Excerpts from “Concentration and Meditation” by Sri Swami Sivananda

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Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka

Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka

Yoga in Sri Lanka

In modern times, known as an era of information, Yoga is everywhere – it is popularized in social media, propagated among the young and old, the weak and strong, the poor and rich. Almost every town and city will have a yoga studio or school where you can get yoga guidance for money. You do not need to search far and wide to attend a yoga class -google search will quickly provide directions of the nearest yoga center to your location. Don’t get confused by a variety of Yoga styles, trends and brands. Yoga became a part of the market that inevitably leads to versatility with the essential goal of selling. And yoga (union, oneness) turns into multiplicity, competition and opposition. Yoga in Sri Lanka

One of such products in the market that is growing in demand and popularity is yoga holidays when you travel to another place, country or continent to experience different environment,  surroundings, culture, food, climate, people and all of the above seasoned with the yoga gravy. Let us look at what yoga travel has to offer to customers and what has made it such an attractive product in the market. Yoga in Sri Lanka

And to be more precise let us take yoga journeys to the island of Sri Lanka and enumerate names with discriptions as well as reasons for a great variety of Yoga Retreats and Centers that have sprung up in recent times.

  1. Nature of Sri Lanka promotes quietude of the mind and links you towards your own nature.
  2. Water element manifested in the Indian Ocean, innumerable lakes and life-sustaining rivers purifies both thoughts and bodies. Yoga in Sri Lanka
  3. Earth element manifested in magnificent mountains and eye-catching scenery and landscapes.
  4. Fire element expressed in 365 days of summer with a climate that keeps your body warm and open for transformation.
  5. Air element boosts your creativity and adaptability giving new insight and point of view to contemplate over your life perspectives.
  6. Either element promotes meditative state of the mind. Many people arrive to Sri Lanka to learn more about spiritually and meditation as a means to establish connection between human world and spiritual world.
  7. Inhabitants of the island are more than friendly and open, eager to help and chat. English is quite well understood by locals and smiling is a never ending way of communication here.
  8. The island is of medium size though astonishes with diversity of wilf-life, vegetation, terrain and even climate.
  9. Buddhism with all its virtues and ideals is still in the air and that can be the reason why the island bears the name Sri Lanka – Sacred Land.
  10. Ayurveda is an intrinsic part of Sri Lankan nature that naturally sprung up from itself. Ayurvedic education on the island is the most comprehensive and offers theory and all conditions to put it into practice. The climate of Sri Lanka gives life to a great variety of herbs and plants with ayurvedic properties and healing powers.
  11. All the year round fresh fruits and vegetables are available on the island. Coconuts are in abundance here and there is almost no meal without scraped coconuts or coconut milk.

Let us look at some yoga Retreats and Centers in Sri Lanka which are constantly growing in numbers and diversity Yoga in Sri Lanka

VILLA MY WAY

79141954Villa My Way – quite a new Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka is located in Ahangama. The property overlooks the rain forest, just 10 min to the white beach of Indian ocean and 30min from Historical Galle Fort, organizes free yoga classes twice a day.

Yoga Retreat Villa My Way also includes a spa centre and offers massage treatments. It provides Ayurveda Doctor’s Consultation. Guests can enjoy an outdoor pool and a restaurant on site. You can play darts at the property, and free use of bicycles is available.

This Yoga Retreat serves breakfasts and dinners.

DOOWA YOGA

DOOWA YOGA is a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka, located in Kandy, which provides resources and facilities to learn and practice the yoga of the great Eastern traditions. Accommodation is not available. You will need to find a closeby place to stay. The yoga retreat offers Drop-in classes as well as 7-14 days courses. 100 hours yoga teacher training is also conducted from time to time at the yoga center.

NIAGAMA HOUSE

The yoga retreat Niyagama House was completed in 2012 by the German architect and yoga teacher Elke de Silva and her Sri Lankan husband Chaminda. It is situated on the highest point of an active tea plantation, nine kilometers inland from the coastal city of Galle. 7 generous rooms and 2 double suites are equipped with high quality furniture and luxurious bathrooms. There is 18 meter chlorin free pool. Niyagama House and pool area is non-smoking – with a “secret” smoking spot just behind the pool. They do not serve alcohol – but you can bring your own and enjoy it where ever you want to. All of the above adds up to the relaxing purpose of this yoga retreat in Sri Lanka.

PLANTATION VILLA

Another ayurveda and yoga retreat in Sri Lanka, Plantation Villa situated in a rural village called Nehinna, in Kalutara, 120km away from the International Airport and 80 km from the capital city of Colombo.

The yoga retreat centre has 8 rooms overlooking the lush gardens which are decorated in colonial style. The property itself is a 30 acre plantation of Rubber, Coconut, Cinnamon and Black Pepper located at quite a distance from Kalutara town as well as the beach. Plantation Villa is more an ayurvedic retreat than a truly yoga center that offers an authentic ayurveda treatments, food and care.

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The Role of Diet in Sex Control

Swami SivanandaDiet plays a prominent part in keeping up Brahmacharya. Purity of food brings in purity of mind. There are certain kinds of food that make the mind and the body very strong and steady. If proper attention is given to the purity of the food that we take, Brahmacharya becomes quite easy.

The influence of foodstuffs on the brain cells, emotion and passion is remarkable. A confection of sparrow produces an aphrodisiac effect. It directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish and eggs stimulate passion. Mark how elephants and cows that live on grass are quiet and peaceful and how tigers and other carnivorous animals that live on meat are turbulent and ferocious. Instinct or the voice from within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet that are conducive to the keeping up of Brahmacharya.

Sattvic food

Cheru, Havis Annam, milk, wheat, barley, bread, ghee, butter, dried ginger, green gram, potatoes, dates, plantains, curd, almonds and fruits are all Sattvic articles of food. Cheru is a mixture of boiled white rice, ghee, white sugar and milk. Havis Annam is also a similar preparation. This is very useful for spiritual aspirants. Milk is a perfect food by itself, containing as it does, the different nutritive constituents in a well balanced proportion. This is an ideal food for Yogins and Brahmacharins. Fruits are great energy producers. Bananas, grapes, sweet oranges, apples, pomegranates and mangoes are wholesome and nutritious. Dry fruits such as grapes, raisins, dates and figs, sweet fresh fruits such as bananas, mangoes, Sapotas, melons, limes, pineapples, apples, wood apples and sweet pomegranates, sugar and sugar-candy, honey, sago, arrowroot, milk, butter and ghee of cows, tender coconut water, coconut, almonds, pistachio nuts, Toor Dhal, Ragi, barley, maize, wheat, rice of red paddy whose bran is only partly removed and rice of good smell or sweet taste, and all preparations from any of these grains, and white pumpkin are Sattvic articles for keeping up Brahmacharya.

Forbidden food

Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, Chutnies, chillies, meat, fish, eggs, tobacco, liquor, sour articles, oil of all kinds, garlic, onions, bitter things, sour curd, stale food, acids, astringents, pungent stuffs, roasted things, over-ripe and unripe fruits, heavy vegetables and salt are not at all beneficial. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Salt is the worst enemy. Too much salt excites passion. Even if you do not take salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other foodstuffs. All foodstuffs contain salt. Giving up of salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and all the other Indriyas.

All kinds of peas and beans, both fresh and fried, horse gram, sprouted grains, mustard, all sorts of chillies, asafoetida, lentils, brinjals, lady’s finger, cucumbers, bamboo shoots, papaw fruit, drumsticks, all varieties of gourd such as white gourd, snake gourd and squash gourd, radish, leeks, mushrooms of all kinds, things fried in oil or ghee, pickles of all sorts, fried rice, sesame seeds, tea, coffee, cocoa, all kinds of vegetables, leaves, roots, fruits and foodstuffs that create wind or indigestion, grief, pain or costiveness or other sickness, pastry preparations, foods that are dry and burning, foods that are bitter, sour, saline, over-hot and pungent, tobacco and its preparations, foods and drinks containing liquor or narcotic drugs such as opium and bhang, food preparations which are stale or have become cold subsequent to their removal from the hearth or which have lost their natural taste, smell, colour or form, and milk of buffalo, goat or sheep should be avoided as they are either Rajasic or Tamasic by nature. Lemon juice, rock salt, ginger and white pepper can be used in moderation.

Mitahara

Mitahara is moderation in food. Take wholesome Sattvic food half-stomachful. Fill a quarter with pure water. Allow the remaining part free. This is Mitahara. Brahmacharins should always take Mitahara only. They should be very careful about their night diet. They should never overload the stomach at night. Overloading is the direct cause for nocturnal emissions.

Control of tongue is a sine qua non if you want to control lust. The tongue must be controlled first. Then it will be easy to control the passion. There is intimate connection between the tongue and the organ of generation. Tongue is an organ of knowledge. It is born of the Sattvic portion of the water-Tanmatra. The organ of generation is an organ of action. It is born of the Rajasic portion of the water-Tanmatra. They are sister organs as the source is the same. If the tongue is stimulated with Rajasic food, at once the reproductive organ also gets excited. There should be selection and restriction in diet. You should take food only when you are really hungry.

Fasting

Fasting controls passion. Fasting destroys sexual excitement. It calms the emotions. It controls the Indriyas also. Passionate young men and ladies should take recourse to occasional fasting. It will prove highly beneficial. Fasting is a great Tapas. It purifies the mind. It destroys a great multitude of sins. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric acid deposits. Young, robust Brahmacharins should observe fasting whenever passion troubles them. You will have very good meditation during fasting, as the mind is calm. The chief object in fasting is to practice Dhyana rigorously during that period as all the Indriyas are calm.

Avoid excessive fasting. It will produce weakness. Use your commonsense. Those who are not able to observe a full fast can fast for nine or twelve hours and can take milk and fruits in the evening or at night.
During fasting, the internal digestive organs such as the stomach, the liver and the pancreas take rest. Ninety per cent of the people in this world take more food than what is absolutely necessary for the body. Overeating has become their habit. All diseases take their origin in overeating. An occasional complete fast is a great desideratum for all to keep up good health, relieve the internal organs and maintain Brahmacharya. Diseases that are pronounced incurable by allopaths and homoeopaths are cured by fasting. Fasting develops will-power. It increases the power of endurance. Manu, the Hindu law-giver, prescribes in his code the remedy of fasting for removal of the five capital sins also.

It is better to drink a large quantity of water, either tepid or cold, according to temperament and inclination, during fasting. It will flush out the kidneys and remove the poison and all sorts of impurities in the body. In Yoga it is termed as Gata-Suddhi or purification of the flesh-pot, the physical body. You can add half a teaspoonful of soda bicarbonate to the water. Those who fast for two or three days should not break their fast with any solid food. They should take some kind of fruit juice, either sweet orange juice or pomegranate juice. They should sip the juice slowly. You can take an enema daily during fasting.

Fasting is more a spiritual Kriya than a physical Kriya from the viewpoint of health. You will have to utilise the fasting days for higher spiritual purposes and in the contemplation of God.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda

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Words of Indian Saints Part #21

paramahansa-yoganandaManu is the universal lawgiver; not alone for Hindu society, but for the world. All systems of wise social regulations and even justice are patterned after Manu.

He has outlined the duties of a king. “He should shower amenities like Indra (lord of the gods); collect taxes gently and imperceptibly as the sun obtains vapor from water; enter into the life of his subjects as the wind goes everywhere; mete out even justice to all like Yama (god of death); bind transgressors in a noose like Varuna (Vedic deity of sky and wind); please all like the moon, burn up vicious enemies like the god of fire; and support all like the earth goddess.

“In war a king should not fight with poisonous or fiery weapons nor kill weak or unready or weaponless foes or men who are in fear or who pray for protection or who run away. War should be resorted to only as a last resort. Results are always doubtful in war.”

The origin of the caste system, formulated by the great legislator Manu, was admirable. He saw clearly that men are distinguished by natural evolution into four great classes: those capable of offering service to society through their bodily labor (Sudras); those who serve through mentality, skill, agriculture, trade, commerce, business life in general (Vaisyas); those whose talents are administrative, executive, and protective-rulers and warriors (Kshatriyas); those of contemplative nature, spiritually inspired and inspiring (Brahmins). “Neither birth nor sacraments nor study nor ancestry can decide whether a person is twice-born (i.e., a Brahmin);” the Mahabharata declares, “character and conduct only can decide.” Manu instructed society to show respect to its members insofar as they possessed wisdom, virtue, age, kinship or, lastly, wealth. Riches in Vedic India were always despised if they were hoarded or unavailable for charitable purposes. Ungenerous men of great wealth were assigned a low rank in society.

Inclusion in one of these four castes originally depended not on a man’s birth but on his natural capacities as demonstrated by the goal in life he elected to achieve. This goal could be (1) kama, desire, activity of the life of the senses (Sudra stage), (2) artha, gain, fulfilling but controlling the desires (Vaisya stage), (3) dharma, self-discipline, the life of responsibility and right action (Kshatriya stage), (4) moksha, liberation, the life of spirituality and religious teaching (Brahmin stage). These four castes render service to humanity by (1) body, (2) mind, (3) will power, (4) Spirit.

“These four stages have their correspondence in the eternal gunas or qualities of nature, tamas, rajas, and sattva: obstruction, activity, and expansion; or, mass, energy, and intelligence. The four natural castes are marked by the gunas as (1) tamas (ignorance), (2) tamas- rajas (mixture of ignorance and activity), (3) rajas-sattva (mixture of right activity and enlightenment), (4) sattva (enlightenment). Thus has nature marked every man with his caste, by the predominance in himself of one, or the mixture of two, of the gunas. Of course every human being has all three gunas in varying proportions. The guru will be able rightly to determine a man’s caste or evolutionary status.

“To a certain extent, all races and nations observe in practice, if not in theory, the features of caste. Where there is great license or so-called liberty, particularly in intermarriage between extremes in the natural castes, the race dwindles away and becomes extinct. The Purana Samhita compares the offspring of such unions to barren hybrids, like the mule which is incapable of propagation of its own species. Artificial species are eventually exterminated. History offers abundant proof of numerous great races which no longer have any living representatives. The caste system of India is credited by her most profound thinkers with being the check or preventive against license which has preserved the purity of the race and brought it safely through millenniums of vicissitudes, while other races have vanished in oblivion.”

Serious evils arose when the caste system became hardened through the centuries into a hereditary halter. Social reformers like Gandhi and the members of very numerous societies in India today are making slow but sure progress in restoring the ancient values of caste, based solely on natural qualification and not on birth. Every nation on earth has its own distinctive misery-producing karma to deal with and remove; India, too, with her versatile and invulnerable spirit, shall prove herself equal to the task of caste-reformation.

“Do not do what you want, and then you may do what you like” – a guide to soul freedom through mastery of the ego told by Sadasiva.

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

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Words of Indian Saints Part #19

paramahansa-yoganandaMarconi, the great inventor, made the following admission of scientific inadequacy before the finalities: “The inability of science to solve life is absolute. This fact would be truly frightening were it not for faith. The mystery of life is certainly the most persistent problem ever placed before the thought of man.”

“‘Woman,’ he said, ‘seek divine wealth, not the paltry tinsel of earth. After acquiring inward treasure, you will find that outward supply is always forthcoming.’

“The Son of God is the Christ or Divine Consciousness in man. No mortal can glorify God. The only honor that man can pay his Creator is to seek Him; man cannot glorify an Abstraction that he does not know. The ‘glory’ or nimbus around the head of the saints is a symbolic witness of their capacity to render divine homage.”

Though the human race and its works disappear tracelessly by time or bomb, the sun does not falter in its course; the stars keep their invariable vigil. Cosmic law cannot be stayed or changed, and man would do well to put himself in harmony with it. If the cosmos is against might, if the sun wars not with the planets but retires at dueful time to give the stars their little sway, what avails our mailed fist? Shall any peace indeed come out of it? Not cruelty but good will arms the universal sinews; a humanity at peace will know the endless fruits of victory, sweeter to the taste than any nurtured on the soil of blood.

Though India’s civilization is ancient above any other, few historians have noted that her feat of national survival is by no means an accident, but a logical incident in the devotion to eternal verities which India has offered through her best men in every generation. By sheer continuity of being, by intransitivity before the ages-can dusty scholars truly tell us how many?-India has given the worthiest answer of any people to the challenge of time.

The Upanishads have minutely classified every stage of spiritual advancement. A siddha (“perfected being”) has progressed from the state of a jivanmukta (“freed while living”) to that of a paramukta (“supremely free”-full power over death); the latter has completely escaped from the mayic thralldom and its reincarnational round. The paramukta therefore seldom returns to a physical body; if he does, he is an avatar, a divinely appointed medium of supernal blessings on the world.

“‘The substance of a dream is held in materialization by the subconscious thought of the dreamer. When that cohesive thought is withdrawn in wakefulness, the dream and its elements dissolve. A man closes his eyes and erects a dream-creation which, on awakening, he effortlessly dematerializes. He follows the divine archetypal pattern. Similarly, when he awakens in cosmic consciousness, he will effortlessly dematerialize the illusions of the cosmic dream.

The karmic law requires that every human wish find ultimate fulfillment. Desire is thus the chain which binds man to the reincarnational wheel.

“Always remember that you belong to no one, and no one belongs to you. Reflect that some day you will suddenly have to leave everything in this world-so make the acquaintanceship of God now,” the great guru told his disciples. “Prepare yourself for the coming astral journey of death by daily riding in the balloon of God-perception. Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones, which at best is a nest of troubles. Meditate unceasingly, that you may quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence, free from every form of misery. Cease being a prisoner of the body; using the secret key of Kriya, learn to escape into Spirit.”

The great guru taught his disciples to avoid theoretical discussion of the scriptures. “He only is wise who devotes himself to realizing, not reading only, the ancient revelations,” he said. “Seek truth in meditation, not in moldy books. Look in the sky to find the moon, not in the pond.”-Persian Proverb. “Solve all your problems through meditation. Exchange unprofitable religious speculations for actual God-contact. Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception. Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life. Though man’s ingenuity for getting himself into trouble appears to be endless, the Infinite Succor is no less resourceful.”

“We know that man is usually helpless against the insurgent sway of evil passions, but these are rendered powerless and man finds no motive in their indulgence when there dawns on him a consciousness of superior and lasting bliss through Kriya. Here the give-up, the negation of the lower passions, synchronizes with a take-up, the assertion of a beatitude. Without such a course, hundreds of moral maxims which run in mere negatives are useless to us.

“Our eagerness for worldly activity kills in us the sense of spiritual awe. We cannot comprehend the Great Life behind all names and forms, just because science brings home to us how we can use the powers of nature; this familiarity has bred a contempt for her ultimate secrets. Our relation with nature is one of practical business. We tease her, so to speak, to know how she can be used to serve our purposes; we make use of her energies, whose Source yet remains unknown. In science our relation with nature is one that exists between a man and his servant, or in a philosophical sense she is like a captive in the witness box. We cross-examine her, challenge her, and minutely weigh her evidence in human scales which cannot measure her hidden values. On the other hand, when the self is in communion with a higher power, nature automatically obeys, without stress or strain, the will of man. This effortless command over nature is called ‘miraculous’ by the uncomprehending materialist.

For the faults of the many, judge not the whole. Everything on earth is of mixed character, like a mingling of sand and sugar. Be like the wise ant which seizes only the sugar, and leaves the sand untouched.

In his youth Kabir was approached by two disciples who wanted minute intellectual guidance along the mystic path. The master responded simply: “Path presupposes distance; If He be near, no path needest thou at all. Verily it maketh me smile To hear of a fish in water athirst!”

“Forget you were born a Hindu, and don’t be an American. Take the best of them both,” Master said in his calm way of wisdom. “Be your true self, a child of God. Seek and incorporate into your being the best qualities of all your brothers, scattered over the earth in various races.”

“Lord, he who remembers Thee as the Sole Giver will never lack the sweetness of friendship among mortals.”

A passage in Eusebius relates an interesting encounter between Socrates and a Hindu sage. The passage runs: “Aristoxenus, the musician, tells the following story about the Indians. One of these men met Socrates at Athens, and asked him what was the scope of his philosophy. ‘An inquiry into human phenomena,’ replied Socrates. At this the Indian burst out laughing. ‘How can a man inquire into human phenomena,’ he said, ‘when he is ignorant of divine ones?'” The Aristoxenus mentioned was a pupil of Aristotle, and a noted writer on harmonics. His date is 330 B.C.

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

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The Subconscious Mind #1

Satguru-Sivaya-Subramuniyaswami-26The Form of the Subconscious

Everything that has once passed through your conscious mind in the form of experience is resident right now within your subconscious. The life, the biological evolution of your  forefathers, is all registered in the molecular strands of your subconscious, capable of being recalled into memory. The life, the biological evolution of your forefathers, is all registered in the molecular strands of your subconscious, capable of being recalled into memory.

The subconscious mind, like the conscious mind, has a form of its own. It is given form, shape and momentum by the nature of your experiences in life and the way you react to them. Most people are not happy with the form of their subconscious mind. They are still reacting to early experiences, early environments. Some people go to great expense in trying to change the form of their subconscious through therapy or travel, but because there is no absolution in either, in time they generally manage to recreate their subconscious in the same old form. Childhood experiences do have a profound influence on  one’s make-up in this life, but these influences are by no means binding. Any attitude, any personality conflict or block in the subconscious can be demagnetized and resolved.

How do we change the form of the subconscious? We purify it by resolving in understanding those experiences which have created it. How do we resolve those experiences through understanding? We bring them up into the light and face them without reaction. By resolving our reactive experiences in understanding, the subconscious becomes more and more transparent to our own view and, therefore, necessarily undergoes positive change. To be able to objectively observe one’s own experiences without reaction is one of the powers acquired through the performance of sâdhana.

The subconscious mind may appear to be a very complex state of mind, as anything is when we do not understand it. Through daily sâdhana you will learn how to clear the subconscious of its unnatural states of confusion and how to keep it clear, transparent. 

Your mind being at rest and no longer disturbed, intuition can flow through it unhampered. Your best answers often come after you have removed the searchlight of your conscious mind’s focus for a time. This is the superconscious working through the subconscious, making it subsuperconscious. You have now unfolded the key to living an intuitive and productive life. People who live positive lives have clear goals well impressed in the subconscious mind. They often draw upon their subsuperconscious mind, though they may call it by another name—perception, insight, intuition, instinct or sixth sense.

The subconscious mind performs many, many functions for us. In fact, it would be impossible to do without it. But think of some of the uses of the subconscious—the skills which your memory bank acquires, such as typing, driving, playing musical instruments or speaking a language. As soon as any learning process becomes subconscious, the conscious mind is free to direct its attention to new areas of learning. Even all the processes of the physical body are governed by the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is a storehouse, a reflection of all previous conscious mind experiences. The power of our decisions creates our reactions of tomorrow. When tomorrow’s reactions happen, they program the subconscious. We have to be careful that our programming is just right, so that the channels to superconsciousness begin to open through the subconscious.

Facing Old Memories

When man finally turns inward, sits down and asks “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” what is the first thing he discovers? The subconscious mind, of course. Do not be afraid of the subconscious. It is useless to be afraid of the past.

When you begin to meditate, you become keen and perceptive enough to begin to see within yourself. Occasionally, you will see into the subconscious area and begin emotionally to relive the past. This means that many of the predominantly strong memory and reactionary patterns of the past loom up before you, one after another, and you may begin to react to them all over again, emotionally and even physically. These are not real experiences. It is only a layer of the subconscious exposing itself to your inner vision, indicating that reprogramming is needed. Handle each layer dynamically. Welcome the thoughts and accompanying feelings in a hospitable way. Do not fear them or regret them, and certainly do not criticize yourself for having them. The reaction will subside, but the memory will linger as an education upon which you can formulate decisions for the future, thus avoiding the same problem.

On the path to enlightenment, you have to face everything that has gone into the subconscious, not only in this life, but what has been registered in past lives. Until you do, you will never attain Self Realization. Your final obstacle will be that last subconscious area that you were afraid to face, looming up before you in the form of worries, fears and repressions that you will wish to push away, hide from, so that neither you nor anyone else can see them.

To hear of the Self is a great blessing, indeed, but to desire to realize the Self means that in this and your past lives you have gone through all of the experiences that this Earth consciousness has to offer. You have died all of the deaths and had all of the emotional experiences. You have had the good of the world and the bad of the world, and the mixed good and bad of the world through all of your many lives before you come to the life where you say, “I want to realize the Self in this life.” Now you begin to tie up all the loose ends of past experiences that have not been fulfilled or resolved, because those loose ends are what bring you back to birth.

Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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The Ideal of Education

Rabindranath Tagore“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake!”

RABINDRANATH TAGORE