Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Gateway of Bliss

Meditation is the highest spiritual technique that needs to be practiced diligently and devotedly by qualified practitioners. The essential prerequisite is a calm mind. A mind burdened with desires and attachments is unable to take off into subtler realms of concentration and meditation. Entitled: “The Yoga of Meditation, chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Gita elucidates meditation as the final gateway to self-realization.
Krishna begins with the definition of a sannyasi a renounced person. Renunciation is not giving up enjoyments, abandoning one’s duties and escaping to a safe sanctuary. It is this misunderstanding that has turned away genuine seekers and prevented them from accessing the benefits of renunciation. Krishna describes  a sannyasi as one who does what one ought to do, fulfills one’s duties and responsibilities fully, without depending on the fruit of action.
A Sannyasi is not one without a higher ideal, nor is he an inactive person. Krishna describes the three stages of spiritual evolution, from an active yogi to a meditative sannyasi and, finally to the exalted state of a janani, the enlightened one.
A sannyasi has offloaded the bulk of his desires and is in contemplation of the higher. He is fit for meditation and embarks on the path of deep reflection and focus on reality. A janani has reached the exalted state of enlightenment. Krishna describes the three stages in terms of mental states rather than external appearances.
Step by step, Krishna takes us through the preparatory disciplines as well as disqualifications for meditation. One must have a balanced contact with the world – neither too much nor too little. Every activity must be carefully supervised by the intellect so that no desire interrupts the subtle practice of meditation.
Krishna then gives the test of enlightenment. A realized soul is one who feels one with everyone. He sees his self as the self in all beings. In the end he worships God not in a temple, church or mosque, but in every living being. Therefore, he lives in Atman whatever his lifestyle. It is pointless to declare love for God when you cannot connect with His images everywhere.
Arjuna, like us, is afraid of leaving the safe confines of his present existence to discover the unknown realm of the infinite. He asks Krishna what the fate is of those who commit themselves to a spiritual life but die before realization. Krishna gives a fitting reply to reveal one of the most insightful laws of life. He says, “One who is righteous will never come to grief – either now or in the future.” Your efforts will not go in vain. You will carry forward the credits to your future life.

A spirituality evolved person who falls short of realization will either be born in the home of the happy and wealthy or in a family of wise yogis. There, endowed with the wisdom acquired in previous lives, he will strive even more to attain enlightenment. Thus the diligent seeker effortlessly reaches Brahman. The key words are vairagya, dispassion and adhyasa, practice. One must be convinced of the futility of worldly passions and pursue the necessary spiritual practice consistently.

Invest in Karmic Deposits

Just as matter cannot be created or destroyed but merely transformed into another form, our body after our passing away from this life is transformed into another form. There is no end, no finality to our lives. There is just transformation.
It is proven in Buddhist tantric experiments that the natural elements of nature, earth, wind, fire, water and space – have qualities of the mind and also support vital systems of our body functions. It is also proven that there is continuity of our mind from one birth to another. There have been reports of instances where a child quite naturally yet vividly remembers the place of birth and some of the critical happenings of her past life. Therefore, there could be direct linkage of elements to our psychophysical state.
If we conclude that there is afterlife, the question arise “What kind of births could we take?”
According to Buddhist teachings there are six realms in which we can reborn - As hungry ghosts, animals, humans, demigods and god realms. It is not to say that there are different worlds that we are born in or anything like that. All these counties rebirths are the direct effect of our affected emotions. The reason for being born in these realms is driven by the resulting karmic accumulations. Being born in the hell realm is due to our affected emotions of hatred, being born as hungry ghosts is due to greed; envy and jealousy leads us to birth in the asura realm, pride into the god realm, confusion as animals and ignorance as human beings. Even for those born in god realm, there is intense suffering as the good effect that has given them this birth will be born out someday and they will have to be reborn in lower realms. This is because they are not in a position to neither accumulate anymore good karma nor clean their accumulated bad ones, being in a state of mental blankness.
Now the good news -It Is birth only in the human realm – with its freedoms and advantages of being born with sense faculties at a place where dharma teachings can be obtained (perhaps obsolete in this interest era) and with the right intent and faith – that  spiritual trajectory and, therefore, possibility of good rebirth is possible.
All this simply means that if we wish to be born in higher realms we can undertake practices in this life to achieve the end we want. We can tweak the stacked up causes before us to our advantage to have the desired good effect. And these practices essentially lead us to doing good deeds of body, speech and mind, in the process accumulating deposits of good karma in our spiritual bank account.
Accumulate good karma by doing good deeds without an ulterior motive of personal gain or gratification or to show off. However, the true fruit of this merit is deposited into your account only after such deeds are dedicated to the wellness and Buddhahood of every sentient being. While it is good to increase the ‘bank balance’ in this way and add to credit, it is important to keep an eye on the debit side of the entries as well!

What better investment can we think of in this materially driven world than investing in the mother of all investments, where accomplishment and returns are guaranteed – the investment in good karmic deposits?

Keep the Flame Burning

OK – the term that is sometimes written as okay – keeps creeping into people’s conversations ever so often. When did we first start using this term that looks more like an abbreviation?
The two letters were first used by the Democratic OK club in the mid 19th century. Martin Van Buren the then US president was born in Kinderhook, a village in New York State. So people gave him the nickname, ‘Old Kinderhook’. The name became popular when he was seeking a second term. His friends thought he had done well as president and endorsed him for another four years in office. So the letters OK came to mean ‘all right’ or correct.
‘How are you? People ask and many do not even wait for a reply! Sometimes you, too reply without applying your mind. You say “I am OK!” What do you really mean when you say that? Perhaps this calls for a bit of self examination. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”, observed poet- philosopher Henry D Thoreau, and  his observation continues to be relevant in the 21st century as well despite all the comfort aids we have invented for ourselves with the help of technology
Why is it so easy for us to say “OK”? Do we find it is a convenient term that means neither this nor that? Does it mean we are close neither to God nor to our family and friends? Is it a way of hiding our hypocrisy? Does it indicate that you are letting love grow cold?
There could be many genuine reasons why, in the course of our engagement with society, our love gradually begins to grow cold. We tend to become selfish, proud, ungrateful and irritable. Jesus has warned that in the ‘last days’ the faith of many will grow cold. So also love might grow cold. When love grows cold, it is life threatening. Love is the oxygen which sustains positivity and compassion, ousting bitterness and resentments from us. Love is energy.
When relationships breaks down, filling us with unhappiness, let us examine whether or not it is the result of a power failure in our lives; the failure of love. Love heals and restores us back to health. We should not cause our love to become cold.
If you want to ensure spiritual well-being, you need to keep the flame of love burning in your heart though others might ignore you, hate you and even hurt you. Love calls for sacrifice and forgiveness.
It is being repeatedly proved that the things of this world and our own possessions will not be sufficient to keep us happy if there is no love felt within us. Did not Mother Teresa keep reminding us that the world experiences a famine of love?
Lovelessness is the bane of our times as people are getting increasingly addicted to a materialistic culture and begin to assume that by consuming more and more they could become happy. In the race for bigger and better worldly pursuits, we tend to neglect relationships – we forget to love one another; this is what causes us to feel a ‘quiet desperation’.
Let’s not give up meeting one another and encouraging one another because we need one another. Love is the binding force that helps us feel connected and secure.

So when you put the question to someone: “How are you?” pay attention to the answer. For the answer will show whether he is keeping the flame of love burning or is letting it go cold.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Live the Quantum Mind

The mindset we have has not helped us. It has led us to a mediocre reality. It has led us to accepting a reality that is full of suffering and pain.
We need something that is fulfilling, something that we can enjoy. Bliss will be the character of that existence. When can humanity as a whole get that reality? Is it impossible? No, it’s not impossible. It is the very nature of our existence to be in bliss, to be in symmetry.
In quantum physics, they call it ‘super symmetry’. There is super symmetry – at the particle level. Super symmetry is when everything is in perfect condition, but then we are far from that kind of reality. But we cannot access this reality if the mind is functioning in the same way as it is now. It has to function from a different level. \and what is that level, where there is no knowledge, no ignorance.
All that we need to do is not gain anything more than what we have. As a matter of fact, it is a matter of losing what we have. Losing our ego, which is your ‘I’ consciousness, is the culprit.
Then there is Maya which is again in the mind functioning at a very gross level. Maya is only seeing material reality. You look at a banana but the banana is not the ultimate reality. The banana is composed of particles. Do we see any particles in the banana? We don’t. We only see the banana whether it is a green banana, a ripe banana, small banana or long banana. So, the bottom line we don’t see the ultimate constituent of the banana fruit which are a bunch of particles, but we only see a gross reality of the banana fruit.
Our consciousness has been trapped to process only gross realities. The quantum mind gives the ability to process quantum realities. We have to process quantum realities because it is the most powerful reality. It has infinite freedom, energy and intelligence. We should all embrace that quantum reality.
In the 15th century in south India arunagirinathar lived a very licentious life; he developed a dreadful disease and he didn’t want to live anymore. He climbed up the temple tower and then jumped off. Then the story goes that Muruga, son of shiva, took a form of the old man and then held him while he was falling down from the tower.
He put him down and then said to him. “Be still without words.” And his mind stopped there were no words there was no mind. As soon as the mind stopped what happened was he was in a quantum reality of nothingness. And in that nothingness, he experienced a feeling of “fullness”
Everyone is going through only the gross molecular intelligence. We have no access to this quantum mind. As soon as Muruga told Arunagirinathar “be still without words” he lost his ignorance and lost his knowledge, too. Both are two extremes. When these two extremes of knowledge and ignorance were lost, he was able to understand everything without any reference point. At the time what happened was he developed omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence.

Nothing was impossible at that time when he found that he was in that quantum mind. Is it possible for everyone to attain this quantum mind? Yes it is.

Liberation from Person-hood

The brain’s various centers are each designated for a specific function. The senses take cognition of the environment. The anthropological basis of the nervous system was to facilitate an interaction with the environment, based on the individual’s awareness of being separate from the environment. All senses sub-serve the function of underlining a sense of discreteness. Touch, taste, sound, smell and vision are instruments of discrimination. The entity that integrates these inputs and collectively coordinates them as a subject is the assumed ‘identity. The coordinated output of separateness that the senses keep generating is ego.
The brain helps fragment awareness into the subjective ‘self’ and objective ‘non-self’ are vital for each other’s symbiotic existence. Our own identity relies on our ability to perceive our self as uniquely different and distanced from the environment. Various detrimental states of consciousness, such as feeling drowsy, deep sleep, semi consciousness or even an unconsciousness state are familiar. Therefore, it is only logical to believe in states where there is an incremental increase in the level of consciousness.
If identity was base merely on a deep rooted sense of discreteness that the senses generate, would a person, alone in a dark, quiet room – whose brain is not being fed with sensory inputs – consider himself as non-existent? N unconscious person doesn’t interact with the environment but might be assumed to possess an ‘am-ness’ that is partial and aware of only the ‘self’ without comprehending or interacting with the environment. It’s a state of partial awareness.
A seizure that arises in the portions of the limbic system – phylogenetically one of the oldest groups of neurons – could give rise to profound spiritual experiences. Repeated bursts of abnormal electrical activity can facilitate a new pathway within the compels network of neurons. This is called ‘kindling’ – where consciousness may be getting defragmenter leading to an un-split awareness.
All sense organs route their inputs through the limbic system and to various designated areas. The sensation of extreme bliss generated by un-split awareness gets triggered by the limbic system and not in the frontal lobes, the seats of intelligence and logical analysis. Such experiences are hence states of altered awareness rather than conclusions arising as a result of intellectual through processing of the brain. The experience or realization that the am-ness of subject and object are of the same essence could be that final frontier of consciousness evolution, the attainment of state of super consciousness. Faith and devotion as ways to salvation rely on the dismantling of the worshipper’s identity and becoming one with the worshipped. That is, perhaps inputs that serve to generate and maintain a separateness of the self are modulated or filtered within the limbic system – a state of comprehensive, un-resurrected oneness.

It’s a paradoxical situation of the observer becoming the observed without the meditation of sense3 organs, by expanding awareness to a supra sensory level. Realization may well be a modulation and ‘kindling’ of the neural pathways leading to a perception of oneness with the entire cosmos. It would  then really be more a liberation from the person rather than of the person.

Problems as Driving Force

We often complain about problems in life. However, if problems did not exist, the challenge and charm of life will be gone. Necessity is the mother of invention; problems shows us new pathway, taking us closer to truth. The circumstantial complexities make us more curious and inquisitive and then the thirst for knowledge makes us keen to understand the truth.
Problems make us more compassionate. They help us mature, and make us more resistant and at the same time create sensitivity in us. For example if you accumulate wealth and face no problem then you could be rude and unreasonable. Problems make you realize the transient nature of your possessions and bring you closer to a person who has nothing. Death is the ultimate equalizer, had death not been there, life would have been a series of endless torture and exploitation of one by the other. If we have experienced the pinch of poverty we can easily feel the agony of a hungry soul. In the face of problems we learn to surrender ourselves to a greater reality, thus helping us empty our mind. In the Mahabharata, Kunti request Krishna to give her more problems so that she would be impelled to remember him more frequently and intensely.
If life were a bed of roses the mind would not have developed any awareness or sharpness to understand reality. If one does not get an opportunity to deal with complicated and difficult persons in life several facilities of the mind would not develop and the brain would not grow strong. As such in our entire life, we are not able to utilize more than a very small part of the brain.
What about individuals who create problems in our life? We often despise them. Instead we should be thankful to them. Indirectly they contribute to our productivity. Keeping them in view we try to be on our toes and enhance our sincerity. Once a devotee asked Ramakrishna, “Why has God created bad people who cause problems for the good ones?” Ramakrishna promptly replied, if bad would not exist what would be the importance of good then? The darker shade makes light really bright. On being asked what kind of treatment should be given to the b ad, Ramakrishna suggested to avoid them – to remain at a safe distance from them. At the same time wish them no harm. At the most one may be careful so that there is minimum or no damage. To the snake the guru advised not to bite anyone as the snake had turned into a devoted soul. But that does not mean that it should stop hissing. Else, others kill it. Similarly, in self-defense one may have to put on a hard exterior despite being a great devotee. But at heart there should not be any ill feeling against anyone.
Without problems would one be better off? No, for we will then start thinking in a negative manner, causing harm to each other. And the destructive power of the mind is much stronger than its constructive capacity. What takes decades to build can be smashed within a second. When we struggle, our efforts have a specific direction and objective. The mind concentrates and this enhances the ability of the mind to continue the journey.
Remember that from dirt emerges the beautiful lotus, from the scorching heat comes the shower of relief and from the depth of pain springs joy.


The call to forgiveness and reconciliation is vital for the survival of the human race. “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness,” wrote Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor.
Our capacity to for. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” pleaded Jesus as he endured the Cross. The2000 year’s old plea continues to be the subject of meditation for Christians as they observe Lent every year. The example set by Jesus is the cardinal doctrine built into the faith that of forgiveness. The day of crucifixion, observed as Good Friday, is a reminder to reflect and learn to forgive.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was but fulfillment of a prophesy that a Messiah would arrive to intercede for the sins of the human race and would rescue them from the power of darkness and b ring them into the Kingdom of Light. Had the Roman soldiers known that they were crucifying the ‘Lord of Glory’ they would have averted it.
Jesus provided a new way – the way of Grace – that whoever believes in His atoning sacrifice on the Cross would receive forgiveness and salvation.
Through the work of Jesus Christ the seeker discovers the love of God and the forgiveness of God. This transference from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom and from condemnation to forgiveness is all implied in the atoning death of Jesus on the Cross and his resurrection.
The cause of many of suffering is the feeling of vengeance, jealousy and greed, yet we have a choice before us, to not succumb to these negative aspects. By forgiving those who wrong us, not only do we create the right environment for harmony and peace, we also promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Miracles happen when two alienated people start all over again. An estranged father holds out his hand to his daughter; those on the brink of divorce suddenly undergo a change of heart; bitter enemies become friends as suspicions get lifted – transforming relationships happen through the melting away of bitterness and animosity.
When Jesus directed his followers to love their enemies and to forgive offenders ‘seventy-times seven’ he was prescribing not any ways of protecting their souls, but also their bodies from various illnesses that arise out of anger and frustration.
Forgiveness is an act of love. It has the power to heal. The life of Jesus is an example of the fact that at the heart of love is forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness creates the possibilities of release from an unfair or unpleasant past. It takes us off the escalator of revenge providing an escape from gradual and total ruin. To forgive is to put down heavy baggage from one’s back. It is setting oneself free from bonds of hatred.

Today when terrorism and hatred suspicion and greed seek to create chaos and uncertainty all over the globe, understanding atonement and forgiveness need to be propagated improve the quality of our lives and evolve on the spiritual path. Forgiveness holds the key. Its give and take that will open doors to greater brotherhood  and understanding, and renew hopes in the hearts of those who live in remembrance of what Good Friday stands for.

An Incredible Journey of the soul

Soul is a dynamic system. We are all given a map at the time of birth that broadly determines the proportions of various elements in the soul but all this changes as soon as the experiences of our senses begin to leave their own imprint on the soul. The input from our senses can change this map at any time.
Sounds and smells can invoke any one of positive or negative feelings. As our experiences expand they are imbedded in our memories. A beautiful melody can touch on within our soul. It is the eternal fight between the Cosmic Intelligence and the negative forces that are nothing but emptiness on the soul map.
Those who live in reasonably happy surroundings, can sustain positive feelings most of the time and remain happy. The unhappy soul strays trapped inside an unhappy body. When the body dies the unhappy soul is released into the universe only to come back as an other unhappy person. The cycle goes on. The grander purpose of life and the universe is unfulfilled. So staying happy by increasing the proportion of cosmic intelligence in our souls and getting rid of emptiness should be a common goal.
The key to finding that happiness is the so-called “sixth” sense or “sense of belief” as I would like to call it. This sense is the portal through which cosmic intelligence enters the mind. Even a child has this sixth sense. There is a sense of wonder, a quest to know more and to accept what we learn, in all of us. However, this sense of wonder is mediated by our upbringing, surroundings and education and that wonder starts getting clouded. But the good news is that it can be cleared of clouds by conscious effort.
Once the sixth sense is opened it allows direct communication between cosmic intelligence inside our souls and the all prevailing cosmic intelligence in the universe. The more we “believe” the greater are the chances of our consciousness flowing freely and taking advantage of the vast ocean of positive energy flowing all around us. So the first and foremost step of achieving permanent happiness is to believe in something completely with your heart, mind or soul whatever you want to call it. This sense has also been described in mythology as the inner eye or third eye. Many people already have the sixth sense opened to a great extent. This manifest in them as the power of intuition.
The Bhagavad Gita describes Karma Yoga, the practice that allows us to continue working and doing whatever we are doing as long as we do not work for ulterior motives, and follow the pure way of life with detachment from all results of our actions. We do not consider ourselves as the “doer” but believe that cosmic intelligence within us determines all actions or karma.

Be in the presence of people who know ‘the truth’. Satsang simply works from the flow of cosmic intelligence between people. By sharing, it grows further. People who are in love with each other experience this feeling in the presence of the loved one. Your sorrow, pain and grief are diminished if someone else shares those with you. That is the key to compassion that flows from people who have high levels of cosmic intelligence.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Examine Success and Failure

What is success and what is failure? We understand that to be successful is to arrive, to get somewhere; and so we worship success. When a poor boy grows up to become a multi-millionaire, or an average student becomes the prime minister one day, he’s feted for being successful.
Is success an absolute or is it an idea we pursue? Because the moment one arrives, there’s always a point further ahead at which one has yet to arrive. In the pursuit of success we are faced with challenges and conflicts. Even when you have ‘arrived’, there’s no rest for you because now you want to go still ahead; you want more. The pursuit of success is the desire for ‘more’ and a more is not an intelligent mind; on the contrary, it’s a mediocre, stupid mind, because its demand for ‘more’ implies a constant struggle in terms of the pattern which society has set for it.
What’s contentment, and what’s discontent? Discontent is hankering for ‘more’ and contentment is the cessation of that struggle; but you cannot come to a state of contentment without understanding the whole process of the ‘more’ and why the mind demands it.
If you fail an examination, for example, you would perhaps take it again. But by themselves, examinations and your performance in them don’t really reveal your true worth. Passing an examination is largely a feat of memory or it may be a matter of chance; but you strive to pass your examinations and if you don’t succeed, you keep at it. With most of us it’s the same process in everyday life. We’re struggling to achieve something, and we’ve never paused to enquire if the way we are dealing with it is the right way. It’s only when we have understood the significance or insignificance of wanting ‘more’ that we cease to think in terms of failure and success.
We’re all so afraid to fail, to make mistakes not only in examinations but also in life. To make a mistake is considered terrible because we’ll be criticized for it. If we’re afraid of making mistakes, we’ll never learn. The ideal of success is held up for us to follow; and success is always in terms of respectability. Even the saint in his so-called spiritual achievements must become respectable, otherwise he has no recognition, no following.
So we’re always thinking in terms of success, in terms of ‘more’ and the ‘more’ is a relative ideal dependent on what prevailing social norms consider to be respectable. If you do not live up ot that societal ideal, you are likely to be called a failure. But if you love to do something with all your being, you are then not concerned with success and failure. However, very few have the evolved perspective that allows them space to think this way. The whole concern of an intelligent person is to see things as they are intelligent person is to see things as they are and understand the problem –which is not necessarily about bracketing action in terms of being oriented towards success or failure. It’s only when we don’t really love what we’re doing, that we think in those terms. Didn’t a wise person say; “Success is a relative term; there’s nothing absolute about it?”

What we think of as success today might be thought of as failure in another time and situation and vice versa. It would be in our best interest to view both what we call success and failure as relative states, and so treat both success and failure with equanimity.

Dharma of Right Conduct

Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the unifier and sustainer of social life. The code of righteousness is meant to help us regulate our lives in this world – just as we need a constitution, written or otherwise, that helps us make the framework for the governance of a country or an institution.
Since the Constitution of a country is conceived and framed by human intellect. It could become out of context over the passage of time and therefore, amendments may become necessary from time to time. On the other hand the rules of righteousness are evolved by the supreme – they are valuable and relevant in any context and hence they are eternal. \there is no room for corruption in its implementation. All are equal before it. Righteousness brings as its consequence happiness both in this world and in the next. If we protect it, it will protect us.
That which elevates is righteousness. It leads us to the path of perfection and glory and helps us to have direct communion with the supreme. Righteousness is at the heart of ethics. Striving intently to uphold it is the purushartha or the concept of pursuits of life. And these are dharma or righteous conduct, artha or acquisition of wealth by honest means, kama or desire for physical and mental well being and moksha or liberation of the embodied soul from the vast ocean of acquisitive life.
Scriptures say that dharma and moksha are like the riverbed to artha and Kama, and so should never be breached. At the end of the Mahabharata war, Bhisma lying on a bed of arrows tells Yudhhisthira that whatever creates conflict is nor-righteousness and whatever puts an end to conflict and brings about unity and harmony is righteousness. Anything that helps to unite all generates love and universal brotherhood is righteous. Anything that creates disagreement, divide and disharmony is nor-righteous. Any righteous act brings good karma.
“Dharmo rakshati rakshita”. An ancient during the Mahabharata war illustrates this. During the war in the thick of combat Arjuna sees the blurred vision, like a figure exuding a flame like radiance, in the opposite camp. At the end of the day an intrigued Arjuna asks Vyasa: “What was that blur of light, a figure, I think, I could see in the opposite camp”? Vyasa asks: “Son did you notice the figure holding a trident”? Arjuna says “yes, I could see a trident than Maha Rudradeva: He is helping you since the war which you Pandavas are fighting is dharmic” Arjuna asks “If shiva wants to assist me in the war, why is He in the Kaurava camp? What is He doing there?”

Vyasa tells Arjuna that Maha Rudradeva does not tolerate adharma. He is there to deter those who have supported adharma. He is known for destruction; by His mere presence in their camp He is sucking all the vigor of the warriors on that side. Hence Kaurava warriors who were known for their strength now seem weak, sapped of energy. Vyasa tells Arjuna that whatever is done in righteousness, the support to that act comes from all sides. Vyasa says in the Mahabharata: “Do not forsake your code of righteousness out of desire, being overwhelmed by fear or greed or even when threatened with death – as righteousness is eternal whereas being happy or unhappy is momentary. The embodied soul is eternal and the gross body is perishable.”

Deepen Your Awareness

Krishna says in the Gita that it is because of ajnana or ignorance that people experiences are kinds of agitation and so they are deluded. The cause of sorrow is moha or delusion. One can achieve one’s objective of dispelling sorrow only when one discards and destroys one’s delusion. The Gita’s message is that we should get rid of ignorance.
A German psychiatrist said, “The pathology that humanity seems to be suffering from is robot pathology.” We have become robots. We have become unaware and that leads to becoming mechanical and so we have become unhappy. The extent to which ignorance is discarded determines the quality of improvement in one’s life. The greater our freedom from ignorance, the greater is our happiness.
I was recently reading an interesting cartoon. The Bishop was very happy with a Father for his excellent missionary work. He called the Father and said, “I am very happy with your missionary work, and as a token of my love I am going to give you a very beautiful horse, which I have loved. I am going to give you this Arabian horse so that it may help you in carrying out your missionary work.”
The Father was very happy. The Bishop said “There is only one condition that you should beware of…. The horse only knows two words – “Hallelujah, and ‘O God!’ If you mount the horse and goad it to run, it will not; but if you utter ‘O God’ immediately, it will start galloping. Being teamed by a Bishop, it has become very religious. And if you want to stop the horse, pulling the reins will not do; you have to say. ‘Hallelujah’ and then instantaneously, it will stop.”
The father sat on the beautiful Arabian horse and said. “O God!” The horse started galloping at great speed. And as he said “O God” again and again, it ran faster and faster. While the Father was enjoying the ride, suddenly he realized that the horse was heading towards the brink of a cliff. Now he wanted to stop the horse and said “stop, stop!” “Hallelujah” and immediately, the horse stopped, right at the edge. One moment later they would have plunged to their deaths.
And then he looked at the valley and said “O God! You saved me”. No sooner had he uttered this, the horse started galloping…. So uttering O God was a mechanical act and not one that was thought out!.
One can find people of any religious sect say their prayers mechanically. Their prayers and expressions, “O God, O Ram or O Krishna”…. Are mechanical. And the genesis of the mechanical tendency is unawareness. The more you are unaware, the greater is your mechanical tendency, the greater is the robotic life that you lead and consequently, true religious quality gets totally eroded.

Therefore, it is very essential, in spiritual life and in religious life, to deepen the quality of awareness, be it a prayer or a worship that you are doing. To deepen your awareness, which is born out of true perception and understanding, is one of the important qualities of a spiritual or a religious life. In Tantra Shastra it is said, “Chaitanya Atma,” our Atma, the self should be one of Chaitanya, of awareness. And therefore, to deepen one’s awareness is one of the principal teachings of all the great Masters and especially of the Gita.

Cleverness and Wisdom

Zomo the rabbit, though not big or strong, was known to be very clever. Zomo decided it was time he was known for wisdom too, so he approached Sky God.
Sky God told him he would have to earn it by bringing him the scales of the Big Fish Of The Sea; the milk of the Fearsome Wild Bull Cow, and the tooth of the Mighty Leopard.
Zomo confidently agreed. He begin playing his drum so loud at the shore, that the drumbeats went down to the bottom of the sea. Big Fish, dancing to the irresistible rhythm, flipped right out of the water. Zomo drummed faster and faster; Big Fish danced faster and faster so fast that its jingling scales fell right off. Embarrassed, it jumped back into the sea. Zomo grabbed the scales and ran.
Back in the forest, Zomo climbed a palm tree till Wild Bull-Cow showed that it wasn’t really big and strong, daring it to knock down the little palm tree. Enraged, it charged and its horns stuck in it, so Zomo slid down, turned his drum upside down filling it with milk before it got free.
Zomo then ran to the top of the hill where Mighty Leopard lied, sprinkled some fish scales and a few drops of milk on the path, and slipped, rolling down the hill, hitting a rock. Its tooth immediately popped out. Zomo caught it and hopped a way to Sky God.
Sky God smiled, ‘You are clever enough.” He said. “But not wise…. Three things in this world are worth having: Courage, good sense and deep understanding of things and creatures,” said Sky God. “Little rabbit, you have lots of courage, a bit of sense, but absolutely no understanding. So next time you see Fish, Cow or Leopard …. Better run fast!”
Like Zomo, we imagine that cleverness can easily bring us to wisdom, or that they are sister states of being. Actually they are more like distance relatives.

Cleverness is satisfied with short-term gains; wisdom acts from a wider perspective. Wisdom is founded on confidence rather than arrogance,; learning from experience, yet forever open to the power of new possibilities.
Most of us are good at being clever, and are encouraged to be so, appreciated for being so. Being clever has made us more powerful. We can build organizations, cities, countries. We can also destroy them.
How does it make sense to say, “He is a wise man but he does foolish things”
Wisdom is not just thinking intelligently, but living intelligently. More than just being effective in daily life, it means we choose our values and basic priorities well and we live by them. It means we can fail, but learn from mistakes. It means we take responsibility for the intended as well as unintended consequences of our actions.

When cleverness does serve wisdom, knowledge, information and experience can be distilled in a meaningful way.  Often cleverness, recognized in showy brilliance, involves resourceful accepting reality, putting things in perspective ten contexts – dependent; wisdom is timeless, free of context. Cleverness mostly is a means to wisdom, recognizing the interrelatedness of everything, is always for the good of all.

Musical Heritage.

Songs are the most precious heritage of mankind. What makes a song endure, with its music, words and rhythm, is that special moment of divine inspiration that gives it birth, a moment known only to its creator, but a moment that he passes on to the song in a silent kind of way.
Those who learn songs will know. For it is such a mysterious though delightful process, ‘getting’ the melody in bits and then as a whole, the words holding your heart as you cat ch the lilt, and the tempo coming along, like an organic part of the whole. No wonder once you learn a song, you remember it always.
Pandit Amarnath, who gave to the Hindustani khayal a vast repertoire of Sufi songs, referred to the song as a pearl in an oyster, produced by a moment of divine inspiration, a ‘noor ki boond’, or drop of the heavenly waters.
Like one evening when in a moment of inspiration, he suddenly became acutely aware of the joy of togetherness, seeing hundreds of sparrows chirping together on the boughs of a grove of eucalyptus trees before the cape of night wrapped the grove in silence. He then composed a haiku like piece in the raga Gauri – traditionally a funeral dirge – “Kohu na ikla daar daar/ Kohu need nahi peed/ sochat man baar baar,” “None alone, branch after branch/ in no nest any pain/ thinks my heart again and again.”
In the same intuitive way, the ‘thought’ or ‘khayal’ of painless, togetherness came to Panditji towards the end of life, when this song was composed, as against the ‘thought’ of painful aloneness which came during the early part of his composing life, when in the same raga, Gauri, he composed the lines in the raga’s traditional mood: “Take wind my soul-bird/ Little of the day is left/ All nestle in a home or other/ Lies in your destiny a disunion.”
The moment of inspiration is a moment that becomes heady, like wine giving way to an inner intoxication. Like Panditji’s song in raga Madhmat Sarang: “O bring the wine brim-filled,/ And pour with your mystic glance,/ Lots and lots for all. O wine True, and wine giver True/ Awaken That Truth intoxicating in the hearts of all.” In raga Kindoli he says: “Holy is the soul of the intoxicated one/ Who dranks from the cup of Love/ Bright shine his lights/ His days a Diwali have become”
In music the moment of inspiration also embodies to become the muse, known as the mitwa of innumerable songs, the beloved or the soul-mate, whose love is a message from the divine. In Panditji’s song for the raga shree, the mitwa is the ‘sakar’ or embodied from of the nirakar, the formless. “One form pervades my heart’s universe/ Which is endless boundless/ As form becoming the ‘meet’ (or mitwa).

The word ‘truth’ figures like a touchstone in Pandit Amarnath’s repertoire of lyrics for the khayal. Khayals are timeless truths, ‘unvelied’ to the composer now and then during his life of Sadhana: “Sing songs that are true/ They be, or be not now”, is a song in a raga he discovered byh the name of shyam bhoop, a song which then continues as “Tum he preet karo/ Be it requited, or be it not,” …. In the eternal symbiotic relationship of songs with Love that is both human and divine.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Preparing for the Journey

The first guru of yoga was Shiva and parvati was the first disciple. It is said that when humankind began to forget its potential for spiritual realization. Shesh Nag, the serpent king and the carrier of Vishnu. Incarnated as Sage.  Patanjali and wrote the yoga sutra.
Though the purpose of yoga is Self-realisation, there are various by products as you move up the ladder towards realization. Here you embrace the inner and outer realities for a perfect harmonious balance; the important point is that you do not intellectually understand inner and outer realities but experience them. Yoga is an experience and not a subject of the intellect. Yoga works on all aspects of a person – physical, vital, mental, FINANCIAL, EMOTIONS, PSYCHIC AND SPIRITUAL. Only when all the aspects are in a state of balance does a being experience liberation and perfect harmony. The aim of yoga is kundalini awakening for liberation from bondages. A practitioner of yoga goes through three phases.
The first stage assumes that the practitioner is a normal person who is attracted to various aspects of the physical world; that he wants to enjoy everything and miss nothing. He wants to live life to the fullest. Yoga says, why not? Go ahead, enjoy and go beyond, do not suppress your desires, go and sail in the ocean of life, but do not sink in it. Be like the boat, which is in the water but the water is not in it. It sails through the ocean and misses no part of the ocean and yet completes its journey, experiencing the ocean in totality.
The first stage of yoga deals with very simple asanas and pranayamas; these are preparatory for the journey ahead; your vehicle, that is your body, is taken through physical purifications with the aid of yogic asanas, pranayams and shatkarmas. The emphasis is on purifying yourself. A by product of yogic practices is a light body, a clear and active mind, great physical and mental strength and balanced emotions. You feel as if you have been overhauled, and have gained a new body.
Now you are ready for the intermediate practices on the physical plane that make your limbs supple and your bones strong so that you can do long hours of meditation. Only when an asana is perfected do you feel bliss and stillness in that posture, which is indicative of you having thoroughly gone over the yoni, the level of existence. Now your mind is prepared for controlling thoughts and emotions. You are getting ready for awakening the kundalini. You are preparing for the advanced stage through total experience and ananda. By the time you have reached here, body and mind are in perfect harmony. You have total control over body, mind and spirit.

The next step is advanced yoga. You are ready to awaken the kula kundalini or the force of creation, which lies in a semi-dormant state in your mooladhar chakra. The guru gives you shaktipath; the mother, the kundalini, awakens and begins her ascent. You are given mantras for various levels of evolution. You are introduced to the energies controlling creation and are told how to harmonize  yourself with them. You are taught the five states of matter and how to become one with each state. The advanced level is a level of pure bliss and ananda. This you will achieve with the help of a suitable guru.

The Prophetic Character

I love the month of Rabi ul-Awwal, and look forward to hosting and attending Milad celebrations, marking the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad. Milads are effective in increasing one’s love for the Prophet whom the Quran exalts, calling him the exemplar for humanity and mercy for all the words.
The twelfth of Rabi ul-Awwal, the third month of the Hijrah, Islamic calerdar, is both the day Prophet Muhammad came into this world and left for the Hereafter. On the same date he arrives in Madina, the hijrah, migration happened from Mecca marking the beginning fo the Hijrah calendar. This month invites reflection on the prophetic personality.
Rabi-ul- Awwal, literally meaning ‘the first spring’ symbolizes birth and renewal. A time when the Lord splits open the earth to reveal His bounty within, without which His servants could not subsist. More importantly, it is the season of beautiful moderate weather, free of bitter cold or stifling heat. It reminds of the prophetic call to moderation and his repeated warnings of extremism, ‘Moderation. Moderation! For only with moderation will you succeed.’
Prophet Muhammad inspired with the words, ‘I have come to perfect noble character.’ Ayesha, his wife once commented, ‘His character was the Quran.’ Prophet Muhammad said the bankrupt ones are those who despite good deeds of prayer and worship, abuse one another treat neighbors badly and lack good character.
The prophet’s character was based on moderation in spirit, generosity, justice, dignity, moral excellence, humility, bravery and firmness in the face of death, good fellowship, sympathy for others detachment of the world and constant fear of the Lord. He chose poverty over wealth, sleeping on the floor with a bed made of stuffed palm fibres.
The most forgiving of people, the Prophet never sought revenge despite 13 assassination attempts on his life. He told his followers not to respond to persecution with aggression assuring that Allah rewards those who exercise patience. He remained sympathetic to those who had left Islam due to persecution from their families and no sanctions were issued against them. Ubaydullah Ibn Jehsh, who migrated to Abyssinia with the first batch of Muslim immigrants, converted to Christianity. He abandoned his wife Um Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufiyan whom the Prophet later married. None of the Muslims took any action against him and he died upholding the Christian faith. When the prophet settled in Madina, he made it clear that he wanted relations with the new society to be egalitarian.

When the Prophet entered Mecca, he encountered his staunchest enemies. These people who had inflicted so much suffering on him and his followers expressed their desire to be treated nobly. The Muslim army readied for revenge, but the prophet did not allow it saying, “Today I shall say to you what prophet Joseph said to his brother, ‘You may leave. No reproach this day shall be on you. May God forgive you, He is the Most Compassionate’. Laying great emphasis on the heart Muhammad spoke of it as a repository of knowledge, sensitive to the needs of the body. He said that wrongdoing irritates the heart for it perceives wrong action and is designed to be in a state of calm.

Journey of Self-discovery

Even as children, we dream. We try to realize our dreams all throughout our lives. However, when our dreams remain unfulfilled, we tend to sink into dejection and get disillusioned.
Of the several attributes that define humankind, there is I dare say just one which meets with more general approbation. That is we’re born with an innate feeling which tells us that we are a shade better than that intolerant neighbor and that incompetent colleague. This uncanny awareness constitutes one of the first characteristic of our being. Indeed, the most ordinary thing about each individual is the fact that he thinks himself a little bit out of the ordinary. In thinking, so we acknowledge only a portion of the truth, the other half of which we unwittingly choose to dismiss – the fact that every individual, without expectation is born different and is therefore, unique.
It is true that the first step in the direction of unraveling our potential is to understand, in view of our circumstances, the role that we can best play. Discovering our uniqueness must be the starting point. Explaining the situation of one who is bereft of this knowledge, Prophet Muhammad said: “The condition of an unwise man is that of an animal who is not aware of why his master has tried it or untied it.”
To me, the urgent, unaddressed question is: Why do most people, if they are born unique and consequently talented in some sense of the word, not achieve the success to which they are entitled?
The answer to the question as to why many fail to actualize God-given gifts might, if looked at from different perspectives, have varying answers. To me, it is simply this: We have to pay a price to acquire anything at all in life. Nothing comes for free. Similarly the unique individual can be brought out into the light only after paying the due price.
“Ek kaam ko karne ke liya dusre kaam chhodne padte hain” – to do one task, you might hav eto abandon some others – said a wise Sufi. Therefore, to bring to the surface that extra ordinaries, to reveal the measure of your mind, you must work towards achieving it with complete dedication and undivided attention, consigning all else to the back burner. It must be conceded, moreover, that this is not an easy path to tread. Embarking on such a journey calls for practicing an iron restraint over our whims and fancies, recognizing the need to control unruly emotions and avoiding every distraction.
Problems that multiply our fears and shake our resolve will show up at every corner. It is in such situations that we must hold on. To overcome such unpleasant occurrences one ought to rise above life’s frivolities. The seeker will falter commit mistakes, and sometimes even get derailed; it will require colossal courage to get up again and march ahead with renewed zeal and determination.

Life is an opportunity. It gives us the freedom to act as we would want to. If we fail to avail of this because of our own neglect, we shall have no justification for complaining later. The journey of Self-discovery can be rewarding nd exciting if only we focus more on positive as well as extraordinary aspects.

How We Relate to Life

He who has faith and devotion in God as a result of his innate innocence, easily beholds God in everything, in every tree and animal, in every aspect of Nature. This attitude enables him to live in perfect harmony, in tune with Nature. The never-ending stream of love that flows from a true believer towards entire Creation will have a gentle, soothing effect on Nature. This love is the best protection of Nature.
The relationship between man and Nature is like the relationship between Pindanada, the microcosm and Brahmnananda, the macrocosm. Our ancestors understood this and so they included Nature worship in religious practices. The idea behind all religious practices was to closely associate human beings with Nature. By establishing a loving relationship between man and nature they insured both the balance of nature and the progress of the human-race.
Ancients loved and worshipped trees and plants such as the banyan tree, bilva and tulsi, not because the trees bore fruit and helped them to make a profit, but because ancients knew that they were connected.
Indic scriptures suggest that a householder should perform the pancha yajnas or five daily sacrifices… Bhuta yajna is the last sacrifice; it is to serve all living beings as embodiments of the Universal Being. This is done through the feeding of and caring for animals and plants. Earlier, family members never ate before feeding domestic birds and animals.
They would also water their plants and trees before eating. In those days worshipping Nature and natural phenomenon were part and parcel of human life. People were always eager to please Nature in gratitude for her kind gifts. Bhuta yajna brings about the consciousness of the unity of all life.
The will of separation between humans and Nature is created mainly by the selfish attitude of humans. They think that Nature has created only for them to use and exploit in order to fulfill their selfish desires. This attitude creates a wall, a separation and a distance.
Everything is pervaded by consciousness. It is consciousness which sustains the world and all creatures in it. To worship everything, seeing God in all, is what religion advises. Such an attitude teaches us to love Nature. None of us would consciously injure our own body, because we know it would be painful. Similarly, we will feel the pain of other people to be our own when the realization dawns in us that everything is pervaded by the same consciousness. Compassion will arise, and we will sincerely wish to help and protect all. In that state, we won’t feel like plucking even a leaf unnecessarily.

Looking at Nature and observing its selfless way of giving, we can become aware of our own limitations. That will help to develop devotion and self surrender to God. Thus, Nature helps us to become closer to God and teaches us to truly worship Him. In reality, Nature is nothing but God’s visible form which we can behold and experience through our senses. Indeed, by loving and serving Nature we are worshipping none other than God Himself.

Color Everything with Love

The purpose of meditation is to look inward, to reach a state of inner spiritual bliss. We are conscious of our soul’s connectedness with God and all life. We are strengthened by the fearlessness that comes with identifying with soul. We live in the knowledge that we are immortal. By looking inward, we go to the source of wisdom from which all outer knowledge is derived. Through meditation we can go beyond the door of death to meet the bliss and beauty that await us beyond. We no longer live in fear of death.
Saints who have seen past this world say that death is not something to fear, but something to embrace. Kabir said, “The death of which other people are afraid is a source of happiness for me. It is only with death that I attain everlasting bliss.” St. Teresa of Avila has said of death. “I do not die. I enter into life.”
For enlightened beings, life as we know it on earth is sleep. Death and entry into the kingdom of God is walking up. St Paul said, “Oh death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Behind many fears is the fear of loss, pain and death. Having experienced our immortality, our fears begin to dissolve. The soul, in its state of oneness with the Lord, fears nothing. It only fears ignorance of that oneness. In reality, sin is merely ignorance of truth. Sin means being unaware of God and the laws of truth and love that govern all the universes. It is a simple formula. Virtue is what brings us closer to God, sin or evil takes us away from God.
If we walk on the path of righteousness, observing the laws of non-violence, truthfulness, chastity, humility and selfless service and spending time in our spiritual practices of meditation, then we have nothing to fear in this world or in the beyond.
When we see the same Light that is within our soul in all other souls, we experience connectedness with all forms of life. With such a bond of unity, we realize that all beings are members of our family and life becomes one joyous reunion with everyone we meet.
The joy of family gatherings extends to the whole of humanity. Love permeates all our dealings because we are among our universal family and friends. By journeying within, we can reach this state and consider all creation our family and all places our home.
Unending bliss is ours when we look inward. Sufi saint Shamas -i- Tabreze offers a glimpse into this state of bliss: “Please do not ask me about my inner state of being. My senses, intellect and soul are intoxicated, and they have achieved a permanent bliss of intoxication. The roots of these trees are drinking the secret wine of love. Have patience, because one day you too will wake up into this state of intoxication. In my mind there is a festival of intoxication. Feel the effect of the wine of Divine Love, so that even the walls and door are intoxicated.”

When we are in love with an earthly beloved, the whole world takes on the color of love. We see things as rosy and blissful. Similarly, when in a state of bliss from within, it colors the whole world in bliss. We then see ecstasy wherever we look.

What is death?

In nature there is no such thing as death but only a reshuffling of atoms. Death occurs only when there is a need for atoms to maintain the balance of energy in the universe. This organism has no way of finding out that it was born at a particular point of time and is going to die at another point of time, and also that it is living at this moment and not dead.
If you ask me the question “Are you alive?” I would say that I am alive. Because the question is born out of the idea of how a living human being functions, acts, and thinks. That is an idea, so naturally, if you ask dead?” I would say I am very much alive, because that question brings all the knowledge that we have about the behavior patterns of living human beings. But we have no way of experiencing the fact that this is a living thing. You see, thought id dead. It is trying to capture something that is living pulsating.
Does the body have the understanding minus the thoughts?
The heart does not for a moment know that it is pumping blood. It is not asking the question. “Am I doing it right?” It is just functioning. It does not ask. “Is there any purpose?” To me, that question has no meaning. The questions, “Is there any meaning?” Is there any purpose?” take away the living quality of life. You are living in a world of ideas.
Is there life after death?
When people ask me whether there is any such thing as reincarnation, my answer is that there is reincarnation for those who believe in it, and there is no reincarnation for those who do not believe in it. If you ask a fundamental question, “Is there any such thing as reincarnation as the other laws in nature like gravity?” my answer would be negative. It is not as much part of nature as gravity is. But if you want to believe that it is so, it is a different matter.
 The belief in reincarnation is born out of the demand that something will continue after your so-called death. It is the same mechanism which wants to know what will happen after death. For exactly the same reason you are asking the question. “Is there any meaning is there any purpose in life?” For some reason that mechanism, that movement of thought, does not want to come to an end.
You have seen people dying there. So, the belief that there is a centre here, that there is a spirit here, that there is a soul here, is what is responsible for that belief, that there must be something beyond. But if you want to know if there is anything beyond you have to die now. When the question or belief about that comes to an end, death will take place here right now. Clinical death will take place.
Then the question whether there is an afterlife would not at all arise, because the living organism has no way of knowing that it is alive. The belief has to go. The end of belief is death.

Thought is your energy. Mind shattering conversation with the man.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Path of Pure Love

As regular at religious discourses, one often finds followers of one guru or faith criticizing those of other faiths because they think that their own philosophy is far superior.
Why is it so difficult for us to respect the right of others to follow any teaching or teacher of their choice? No one who claims loyalty to any faith that advocates compassion, tolerance and understanding can affords to ignore these tenets.
“Few, among thousands of men and women, strive for perfection; and a few perchance, among the blessed ones striving thus, know Me in reality “said Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita (7.3). Too many of us are preoccupied with unearthing details of when Krishna was born and when he actually delivered the Gita. We are more interested in knowing what Jesus looked like, and whether he really got resurrected. We tend to get ensnared in irrelevant details, and we begin to lose sight of the wood for the trees.
Few love God unconditionally. Ramakrishna would tell the story of some men who went into a mango orchard. They began counting the leaves, twigs and branches examining their color, comparing their size, and then proceeded to argue about who was right. The most sensible among them began eating the fruit. Similarly a truly spiritual person is not bothered about the history or geography of God; he simply yearns for God, he is not as keen to memorize the Gita’s verses as he is to follow its teaching.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa did not spend time reading the scriptures. He advised all seekers to ‘eat the mangoes’, leaving it to the learned to pore over the details. He knew from personal experience that God could be reached via any path. He found God by following the various paths of the Hindu faith, including the vaishnava, shiva and Tantrik path. He discovered the beauty of Christ and Mohammed by learning about them. At the end of each path God was there waiting for His beloved devotee. The only qualification needed was pure love.
A true devotee, no matter which faith he believes in goes through the equivalent of a crucifixion. Jesus was crucified, Meera was tortured by her in laws, Prahlada was terrorized by his hather, Kabir was ridiculed by society, Namdeva was labeled mad. Tulsidas was threatened by the upper caste and Socrates was given poison to drink. None was spared. The Lord demands complete surrender. He resides in our hearts. But only the pure are allowed into this sacred space, and that’s why we need the guidance of a hallowed sadhguru.
Ramakrishna said that the heart was like God’s living room. So we need to keep it clean. Ramana Maharshi explained that to seek true consciousness, you must concentrate on the heart which is the seat of consciousness – or we could say it is consciousness itself. The heart is another name for reality, he said, and this is neither inside nor outside the body.

Loving God results in ‘rising’ rather than ‘falling’ in love. Your vision gradually begins to encompass entire humankind, all living beings and inert matter as well. You become one with that loving an earthly being means possessiveness and this is restrictive. That’s why you ‘fall in love. Loving God, however, enables us to love all. This way, you can achieve ultimate oneness of existence of Brahmn.

Know Your Value System

Every choice we make has consequences, whatever obvious or not. What seems a great choice at the moment may perhaps have negative consequences later on? A holistic way to approach choices and consequences is to examine our personal value system.
There once was mountaineering team that had prepared for three years for a competitive clime. When they finally began, somewhere after the second camp they came across a seriously injured climber in need of medical assistance. Those were the days of no cell phones. One of the members of the team, seeing the dire situation, and obviously out of a strong value system, decided to drop out of the climb and help to bring down the injured person. No amount of pleading from his team convinced him to do otherwise. And their argument was that “we have our own agenda and this case is of no concern to us”.
If you have been brought up to be caring as soon as a situation presents itself, you are prompted to action. Take the example of someone with a hundred-rupee note on a busy street corner looking desperately for change today for an auto rickshaw and getting refused by people around/ As  soon as you see this you know you have the required change as well as the willingness to relieve another person from difficulty and anxiety. You also know that you might one day be in the same situation. “Do unto others what you would like them the Golden Rule, because it is an eternal value.
So you approach the person, respond to the need and walk away. You feel good about yourself because there was congruence between your value system and the choice you made.
What is this ‘congruence?’ It is a match between value and action. Sometimes we are faced with choices that are not congruent with our value system; extreme ones are like having to perhaps pay a bribe for something that is our legitimate right.
How we respond to a situation depends on how strongly we wish to uphold our personal value system. It helps if you take time to write down a set of values that you believe in. Then comes the real test, of living the value. The strange thing is that, whenever we make a commitment to ourselves, all sorts of situations pot up to test us.
Making a good living, being peaceful, helpful, sharing resources – these are all values. Out of these values we make choices and take action. Interestingly, every choice we make has a price. In the case of the mountaineer he paid the price of not reaching the summit, with all the successes that could have followed; perhaps also of having let down his team. He let all that go for saving a life.
Values determine our action preferences and priorities. When asked why he had done this, the young mountaineer’s response was, “If I had let that young man die, no matter what success I achieved, I could not have lived with the thought for the rest of my life.” A rabbinic text encourages us: “in places where there are no human beings, be one.”

The yogic scheme of yamas talks about values that are connected with interactions with others. Another is the four-fold maîtri –karuna –mudita -upeksha or universal friendship, compassion; joy in others’ happiness and consideration for others. If you add these two sets you get a comprehensive value system that can stand the test of time and you will notice that all spiritual traditions are in conformity with these.

Family: Frame of Reference

Our life id full of connections. Through them we understand the negative and positive aspects of life. So we have to be circumspect about availing of the opportunities afforded by the natural connections or relationships which are formed in the course of our existence.
For example, you family is your first frame of reference. You spend your days and nights with them. You share experiences with them, sweet and bitter. In this sense, your family is the most important part of your social environment.
You should avail of every kind of lesson that you receive from your family. If you find that certain happenings in your family are undesirable, you have to show understanding. You have to appreciate that if even your family is not the ideal one, it is still family. For you are going to find life very difficult outside the family when you enter the outside world and encounter all kinds of unpleasant situations.
Accept that unpleasant experiences are a part of life and that there is no escaping from them. Your family is not just your family: It is also a source of training for you. In this sense, your family is springboard for your future. Your school is a source of formal education for you and your family is a source of informal education. And both are equally important.
For example, if you receive a negative experience from a member of your family, take it as a first training lesson which is very necessary, because you are destined one day to go out of your home and live in society. And every day in society you will receive the same kind of negative experience.
Try to accept and tolerate negative experiences in family life, so that you will be able to live and adjust in society. In this sense, your family is a blessing for you. The family seeds you our into society as a prepared person or a mature person
Everyone knows that formal education is  very important for the future. Without a good formal education, it is not possible to get a good job. But a better quality of life you need something more and that is informal education. For everyone, the family is the centre of informal education. To gain admission into this institution, you don’t need to pay any kind of admission fee. It is destined by nature and by birth – a fact of which everyone is well aware. You should therefore make certain to avail of whatever your family offers you in terms of informal education.
As a unit, the family is like a miniature society. It is training ground to enable you to face the big world outside. One who fails to live a good life in his family will fail to live a good life in society.

For example, adjustment, a principle of life is what makes all social life run smoothly. If you enter social life without first having learned to make adjustments within the framework of the family, you will have only two options; either learn to make immediate adjustments – not an easy matter – or be hypocritical and then live in a state of severe tension at all times.

Cherish Your ‘Aloneness’

Billion of people live on earth. Every second as many thoughts take birth and dissolve, even as beings come and go. There is a process in life; to come and to go. Have you seen any wave in the ocean that stays still? No, it comes and goes. Thoughts also come and go, reactions come and go, everything comes and goes.
Considering the transitory nature of life, it makes senses to not cling to things. And why are we so serious? Perhaps we are so serious because we have so much negativity. Even if something happens that helps us, and we refuse it. We are unable to see the difference between a diamond and mere stone.
What causes you pain often turns out to be the most beautiful blessing of your life. If any source gives you pain, feel gratitude for that. For suffering creates the opportunity for change. Sometimes we need pressure and pain to make us change for the better.
When sculptor takes a stone, he removes all the unwanted parts and discovers the figure in that stone. Pain and pressure in life are processes that help remove all unwanted substances from our lives and realize our true self.
Aurobindo said that pain is a hammer in the hands of the Divine. Divinity is trying to make a true figure. He is removing all the unwanted substances very slowly, and all around you, for some it could also be their near and dear.
Keep alive your aloneness. We came from One and we have to become One. One is alone; alone means One. The highest possibilities of life come in aloneness. When you are two, nothing comes to you, two is a pastime. If our life is happy, if it is full of the divine blessings, blessed by divine grace, it is because life gives us the fruit of aloneness. Only the Divine is alone. The Divine is one, He’s not two.
We should feel gratitude if something or someone gives us the experience of aloneness. Only when we are alone, are we able to understand ourselves, to know who we are, to become aware of ourselves, to be alone, to be single, we want to become two, and two takes you out from you. Becoming one is a process of life.
When I say, “I do Yoga,” what does yoga mean? To become One. You are two and now you want to become one. Yoga means to become One and One is God. One is the highest source of possibilities. If you want only a pastime you can become two, three or four.
If we feel alone, we should try to live with this aloneness for a long. And the tree that comes from the seed of aloneness gives us love, peace, harmony, joy, bliss, everything.

But we have to hold this aloneness with all the patience. Remember that we are blessed with divine grace if aloneness comes into our life, because this comes to very few people. This world is so strange that it always keeps us involved, always busy. So keep alive your aloneness and play the game of life with that

Change Your Attitude Willingly

Taking to spiritual development is to day seen as a way to stress busting and thus bettering the quality of our lives. This seems to be more relevant in urban living where lifestyle, desires and aspirations are working at cross purposes. People are getting increasingly edgy and short-tempered and social grace is taking beating.
Treading the spiritual path, the aspirant needs to ensure that he has the correct reference point of beneficiary.
There was a sorcerer in a town in Tibet who would torment people with his black magic. Stories spread of how he could bring down hall and destroy villages with his powers. He would rob and kill people at will. He gained great respect out of sheer fear. After a few years, a great personal tragedy shook him and he decided he would practice this sorcery no more.
In the high mountains lived a lama of repute. He had heard of the deeds of the black magician and was overwhelmed with the suffering the people had to undergo because of him. The sorcerer approached the lama and said to him. “I need to redeem myself. Please help me.” The lama suggested: “Very well, now that you wish to change, you need to change your attitude first! Just as you did all the evil things to people causing them great suffering, thereby deriving great pleasure from it, you are to exactly reverse the process!”
“What do you say, master” I don’t understand,” the penitent asked. The lama continued: “Well, just as you did harm to others and derived pleasure now do good to people and derive happiness. It’s so simple. “The sorcerer got the message and went on to become one of the greatest masters of our time.
We always look at benefit with this view point: “How will I derive benefit out of my practices and actions?” The shift of attitude should be in cultivating a mind that thinks of how others can derive benefit from my practices and actions. The moment shift of the reference point of the true recipient of the beneficiary is made the pathway is yours for gainful merit. This has to be done willingly and in happiness, otherwise we will accrue negative karma.
The teacher becomes the compassionate one who gives direction. The rest is up to us, to translate to action willingly, understanding why it is necessary to do so. The shift in attitude, in the point of reference of the true beneficiary of action undertaken, is necessary for all those in public life, too, like administrator and politicians. Then the results would be of great common benefit.
Summarising everything into a single verse, the greatest teacher of Mahayana and Indian scholar, Shantideva said” “All the joy the world contains Has come the misery the world contains has come through wanting pleasure for oneself. Tathagatha realization to you!”

Tathagatha refers to one who has walked the path to full awakening and so reached the end of suffering and is released from life death cycle. The implication is that the path is open to all who would follow it. In later Mahayana, Buddhism, Tathagatha came to mean the essential Buddha nature found in every sentient being.