Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mother and Father are next to God

Today I came to know that my father's heart pumping rate is quite slow. Though there is no immediate danger, I became aware of the possibility of death in face of the bad health. The doctor suggested a costly procedure to recover from this condition. Looking at my financial position, It was unlikely that such an operation could happen. My mother suggested to me that not to worry about his health since medicines along with control in diet will work well for him. I know how much she loves him. I was broken down when the suggestion came from the mother herself. She needed to be so strong within herself. She did not make me feel like I was not doing enough. I was just standing there like a beggar, realizing that how much little I was doing for them. Every moment became precious. I just wanted to be with them in whichever way I could participate with them. Those words that "Mother and Father" are next to God became a reality in my life. I know my mother how she had sacrificed herself for the sake of wellbeing of her children. Never caring for her health. She has been my inspiration. I have not well behaved with my father in the past. I was always pinpointing his mistakes without realizing that Love ignores all shortcomings of life. What is precious is being together. Just sharing small moments together. Rejoicing in life, given has a gift by God. Death and Love are two sides of the same coin.

Despite our financial difficulties, the word "Suffering" looked so unreal. Yes, there can be physical pain, there can be sadness, but even sadness is the emotion which is sweetly coated with Love. And that has been a greatest gift from Isha. All the hankering for the worldly objects dropped. Only enjoying in each other's presence became the truth of in our life. Only serving each other was the source of bliss, which I learned during my Volunteering in Isha. It showed that money is so powerless in front of Love.

Spiritual Music reminds you of where you are coming from.

And that has been my experience. Especially the music here in Isha has that divine quality in it. It fills the morning with so much peace and joy. One can feel the waves of stillness all over the place. It reminds us to be at our original place. It awakens love within us. And that fragrance can be carried with us all day long. The Music of Isha is the outpouring of love for Sadhguru. Love has a miraculous quality for transformation.
I will recommend readers to purchase all the 4 albums of Isha which have been released upto now.
1. Exuberance of the unmanifest - Sound of Isha
2. White Mountain - Sound of Isha
3. Project Green Hands - Sound of Isha
4. In the Lap of the Master - Sound of Isha

Adding to this, The Album of Krishna - Vikram (Art of Living) has wonderful devotional music. Devotion by Sharma Sisters has beautiful spiritual music to add to your basket. One can purchase the songs individually on the internet from the given link And last but not the least I will keep developing the Music Jukebox given at the bottom of my blog.
I am quite aware that I am the most selfish person in this planet. I have experienced that the more I share, the more joy it brings to me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guru Pooja

The Guru is looked upon as an embodiment of God himself. For, it is through his grace and guidance that one reaches the highest state of wisdom and bliss. "My salutations to the Guru who is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. The Guru is Parabrahma incarnate" Gururbrahmaa gururvishnuh gururdevo Maheswarah | Guruh-saakshaat parabrahma tasmai shrigurave namah ||

When we infuse spirit to a ritual, it becomes spirit-uality. Without the spirit, even spirituality becomes just a ritual! What this means to say is that every act of ours can become spirituality when we infuse the intensity and enthusiasm. It could be a small thing like having a cup of tea, if the spirit is there then it becomes a blissful act. Otherwise it becomes another ritual, another chore. Our life becomes monotonous and mechanical.

So, coming back to Guru Puja. What does this ritual do? It's to offer our gratitude to existence for all that we have. We are taught only societal "thank you"s, but when true gratitude oozes out from inside, its a natural expression of the being. This ritual creates the ambience and triggers that expression from within - ONLY if we are open to allow this to happen. Let me explain to you briefly the meaning of the chants that accompany the Guru Puja. It basically says that we offer our entire mind-body system, part-by-part to existence in gratitude. Since Guru symbolises existences, we invite Him to our core, just like we would invite a guest and offer ourselves to Him. We make the Guru comfortable in the home of our inner space by offering Him water to drink, rinse His mouth, fresh clothes to wear, sandal perfume to adorn Him, food to eat etc. Inviting the Guru to our inner space is equivalent to invoking the divinity/existential energy/God/cosmic energy that is within us.

Now, you may ask, 'if I have the feeling of gratitude, it's enough; why should I perform the ritual?'. Very valid question. But the problem is that our mind and inner space is so polluted that it easily wanders away here and there not allowing us to even feel the emotion of gratitude intensely. By doing the external ritual, it integrates our actions with our thoughts and emotions. It only adds intensity. This is the reason, we physically offer flowers, fruits, incense etc. How beautiful! When we are connected to the external Guru, then the Guru Puja can becomes even more beautiful! We can literally experience the Master sitting in front of us accepting the puja. Guru Puja can become an intimate rendesvouz with the Master!

We unite our minds with the holy mind of the Spiritual Master, who is considered the root and life-force of the spiritual path, to receive blessings to generate realisations on the path to enlightenment. The word puja literally means "to please", thus Guru Puja means "to please the Gurus, or Spiritual Teachers". Why should we please them? Because they are fully dedicated to helping us develop our inner potential to be enlightened. In fact, we cannot become enlightened without their skilled guidance, and thus they are more important to us than anyone else. The idea of "pleasing" our Spiritual Teachers is for our own benefit, not for theirs. We need merit, or positive energy for our enlightened potential to grow and become perfect, and one of the best ways to do that is to make beautiful offering and prayers to our Spiritual Teachers. This is what happens in the Guru Puja.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Everything is divine - Animate or Inanimate

................................................................................................................................................ As far as I can look at my pre-isha life, I was never inspired to go to temple or to take on to some kind of worship. Looking at the society, I always felt that the temple-going people are always living on the surface and all the worship is just unreal. It is like the body without a soul. Someone like Shreemaa, a realized saint is offering worship, as a complete path in itself. One can check for details. I was inspired to take on to worship by Bhagavan Das, a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba. And looking at the way various festivals that are celebrated in Isha Yoga Centre, it has become a way to celebrate our life in this planet. Why not dance our way to death ? In the following excerpt from a book "Its here now" by Bhagavan Das, Ram Dass is a fellow traveller of Bhagavan Das. Not to forget while reading this excerpt is that Bhagavan Das prepared himself with intense practice before experiencing the things of the other world. The following is the excerpt from the book :-

Ram Dass was always extremely generous. He gave me the sitar he'd bought in Delhi because he knew that i loved music.
A sitar is a very complicated instrument. This one had dozens of strings, and I did not know how to tune it. I didn't know where to begin, so i left it in the empty room next to Ram Dass's room. Every day I'd bring it flowers and worship it has Saraswati - The Goddess of music, art and letters. For weeks I sat with it and meditated.
One day, the sitar spoke to me and told me to pick it up. I picked it up very respectfully, as if I was holding a beautiful woman in my arms. Then it said, "Tune me". And I started tuning the strings. For the next couple of weeks, i spent hours tuning the sitar, never playing it. Finally, something happened and all came together. I started to play. But it didn't feel like I was playing the sitar - It felt like the sitar was playing me. Saraswati was playing the sitar by using my fingers. I never had a lesson. I just surrendered to the Goddess. The music was sublime.
Soon after I learned to play, Ram Dass told me he had been sitting in the next room listening to me play the sitar for about an hour. It was the most beautiful melody. Then he happened to look of window and saw me over at the tea stand accross the street. And still the divine music continued.. He turned white and ran next door, and there was the sitar lying by itself on the floor. There was no one in the room.
Ram Dass realized he had tuned in to where music itself comes from. He realized that I was tuned in to where it was coming from when i sat down to play perfectly, never having had a lesson. In India, musicians practice Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound following the notes back to their source, searching for the original player. It's so arrogant of us to believe we can make music. Only God makes music. The universe is her song.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Suprabatham - Invocation of Lord Venkateshwara

The following is the excerpt taken from the book "It's Here Now" by Bhagavan Das, a disciple of the enlightened master Neem Karoli Baba. The excerpt signifies the importance of the Lord Venkateshwara Temple in Andhra Pradesh. The excerpt :-
One of the most famous temples I was told to see was Tirupati, at "The Seven Hills of Lord Vishnu". This is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, north of Madras. The seven hills were originally sacred to the seven sages and the Goddess. The statue there is of Venkateshwara (Lord Vishnu) appearing as the charming cow herder Govinda (Vishnu's incarnation of Krishna as a boy). I hiked up the seven hills and dropped into the vortex of devotion swirling around Krishna. It was like wading into a pool. I started to move with the pilgrims, and suddenly I was swirling in the frenzy of devotion.
Here I began kissing the ground as a spiritual practice. I would take a step, kiss the ground, murmur "Om Namo Bhagavatay Vasudevaya (I Bow to Lord Vishnu)", stand up, say "Om Namo Bhagavatay Vasudevaya," bend down, touch the ground, repeat the mantra, stand up. I did this for eight to ten hours, and it altered my conciousness. I went to the inner light of the heart of the deity by approaching the formless reality and projecting an image onto it and crying, "Out of your mercy please let me love you! Become a mirror for my devotion so I can see myself in you."
I didn't understand any of this philosiphically at the time. I was simply lost in the bhava, the divine mood. I was experiencing the truth of tantra: Only God can worship God; only Goddess can worship Goddess. You become what you worship, and then you worship yourself.
Thousands of pilgrims arrived every hour on the hour, asking for boons (spiritual gifts and blessings). They sacrificed their hair. Thousand of Barbers lined up in stalls, and freshly cut hair was lying everywhere in big heaps. The devotees offered their hair, and their prayers were answered.
Intention, commitment, sacrifice, faith, and devotion- together these produce real effects. Too often we underestimate the power of thought. Thoughts manifest. Your life is what you think it is. That's why meditating and disengaging from the thought process helps free the self. The devotees believe, "I will give my hair, my beauty, my good looks to Vishnu and he'll have compassion for me and help me out. " And he did.
The temple was so big that I was dwarfed. I stood under massive carved columns twenty-five feet tall, surrounded by thousand of pilgrims waiting in line to go through the giant doors.
The ceremony in front of the temple was intense. It was as though I had found the one place in the world where God really lives. The music, chanting, prayers, vast number of people--Oh, the enormity of all! I couldn't go to this place just once. There was too much to see and too much to feel.
I entered a turnstyle machine set up by the initiated priests who, with the power of mantra, keep the river of liquid shakti flowing. After many hours of repeating mantras in line, I was finally inside the doors. Everything got dark. The giant stone walls, dark with soot, reminded me less of a cathedral than a fortress. I couldn't see the end of the corridor. It was so long, with a cavern of blackness backlit with flickering torches. The ceiling had to be at least thirty feet high.
Devotees that we were, we all had little boats in our hands made of leaves, containing offerings of food and flowers. Around me clusters of family were waiting together, everyone chanting "Govinda, Govinda, Govinda, Govinda!." Thousands of people were chanting around me . "Sita Ram, Sita Ram" , "Radhe Shyam Radhe Shyam". Everyone was trying to drown out everyone else with their own favourite name of God.
It was musky and damp, and everyone was dripping with sweat. I was drenched, too, as I was pushed along in the line.
There was no way out. I was totally trapped in the enormous crowd. I was like a snake in the bamboo reed: there was no reverse gear; I could only go forward. I had no choice. i was being pushed toward God.
IT WAS GOING to happen. I was going to see God. As it got darker and darker and sweatier and sweatier, I could smell everyone's bodies and all the crushed flowers under my feet. Sonorous sounds of the sacred prayers being chanted by the Brahmins came from both side of the corridor. Imagine a hundred Brahmin on each side, chanting in unison- a really unearthly sound echoed in the chambers of this castle of God.
Finally I came out of darkness and into the golden light. God was tall, fifteen or twenty feet, and made of one solid black, carved, basalt stone. Vishnu was covered with Gold. The Brahmins have melted down everyone's jewelry and stuck it on the statue. Tirupati is the richest temple in India. Those who can afford it, give all their bracelets, necklaces, rings- all their gold- to God, and their desires are fulfilled.
The atmosphere was very intense within five feet of God. The chaos was part of the worship. Yet in the midst of the craziness was a deep sense of peace.
I was standing in front of God with my offering in a basket when one of the priests took it to the feet of the Lord. Then he picked up another offering and placed it in my basket. The priest kept the rupees from the basket as his salary.
Now I had shakti, the energy of God, in my basket. I had offered my devotion, and someone else's devotion was returned to me. All of us are linked in the eyes of God, and the love we offer him, flows back and forth among us all.
The line suddenly jagged, and right in front of God was an empty space. It was the first I'd seen in many hours - a genuine miracle! The statue of Vishnu was very big, scary and mysterious. Although it was black, it was really bright. And the intensity of light was all the greater because I'd spent hours in the long, dark halls. Now I could either go into the light or look away from it. I held that empty space as long as I could. How long could I hold the vision of God? As long as i wanted. Then I closed my eyes, bowed and said "Enough, God. Thank you." and shuffled out of his presence.

Blogger's Remark :

I was excited when I came accross this article. The only thing I could imagine was that someday I would shave my head to see that Sadhguru lives a long life. May Lord Venkateshwara adds my life of years to Sadhguru.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sadhguru on floods in Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka

...........................................................................................................................................................................08 October, 2009
After the recent floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, wherever I go, one question I'm repeatedly asked is: "Such a great calamity; what can we do? Are the gods angry with us? Is there some spiritual process that we can do to avoid cyclones and floods in this country? Can we do some yaga or yagna for this?"
I want you to understand, a cyclone or a flood is not a calamity but just a natural process that can happen anywhere, and at any time. Two-thirds of the earth is under water anyway, so a little extra gets displaced now and then due to natural reasons or maybe because of global warming. But what is a calamity is that so many people have died and so many more have been displaced, their lives shattered perhaps to a point where they will never be able to put it back in their lifetime. This could have been avoided to a large extent, if we only managed our lives better.
The present devastation by floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka is not sudden or unforeseen. In 1998-99, when people in this region complained of lack of rains, I said that the way we were progressing in another 5-6 years there would be too much rain. It does not take any great intuition to say this because if there is any slight disturbance in climate over the oceans, a certain low-pressure area will get created over a dry peninsular tract of land with oceans on both sides and with insufficient green cover. This will naturally attract enormous amount of rains.
If there was enough vegetation, it would have held the rain and let it out in small drops to become streams and rivers which we could have enjoyed. But unfortunately, we have stripped the land completely of green cover so the rain, which should have been a great blessing, has become a curse upon us. This is just a natural progression; it is neither God's wrath nor is it some unforeseen force acting upon us. We are the cause for the effect that we are facing right now.
The human tragedy due to these rains is because the land is also overpopulated. In the beginning of the twentieth century the world had a population of only 1.6 billion people. Today we have grown to 6.7 billion, which is an enormous and unprecedented increase. So wherever there are any small changes in nature like earthquakes, tsunami, floods etc, human beings are badly hit, because they are everywhere to die. This has become our condition today.
This is because, through the advancement of medical science, to a large extent we have taken death into our hands. So it is all the more important that we also take birth into our hands. But today various vested interests in the form of religions and other forces are resisting any kind of control over the growth of population. So the pressure on the land will be high with more forest being cleared resulting in more devastation.
We can create human societies either with conscious action or nature and other situations will force us to act in a certain way. It would be worthwhile if we act consciously and see that such situations, such pain and such devastations don't happen to human societies. One of the most important things that we must do right now, as a nation, is to aim for reduction of population by at least one third in the next 50 years. We must also ensure that a minimum of 33% land is under green cover. If these two things happen we can largely control such calamities.
As a part of our efforts in this direction, Isha Foundation started Project Green Hands. I must say, since 1998 we have been making efforts to plant trees in people's minds and in the last six years we have been transplanting it into the land. We have planted millions of trees in Tamil Nadu where the green cover according to official figures, has actually increased by 4.2% in the last 5 years. This is probably the only geographical entity of its size in Asia where the green cover has actually gone up in the recent years, everywhere else, it has been going down. It is not enough if we do this in one state. Everywhere the political leadership, the citizenry, the religious leaders, media and everybody should come together and make sure that our goals on population and environment are achieved.
This is the yaga and the yagna that needs to be done.
For every calamity that we bring upon ourselves there is no need to look for cosmic explanations, this is a local disaster. When I say local I'm talking about what we have done to our surroundings and the planet. This has nothing to do with the cosmic phenomena and is very localized to our planet and to our country right now. So this is something we have to handle and there is no need to look for any cosmic solutions or divine interventions.

Papaji, no-mind, dead mind and silent mind, what are the differences ?

Silent mind means to keep quiet temporarily. It is simply a suppression of the objects in mind. It can happen many times, but it will not last. Still mind is also temporary. Mediatation or concentration can result in still mind. It is like the flame of the candle. When there is no breeze, the flame will be still. When a wind comes, the candle will flicker and go out. Still mind will be blown away as soon as it encounters the wind of a new thought.

As for no-mind, I am hearing this question for the first time. No person from India or the West has ever asked me about this before. I am very happy to deal with this question for the first time.

Before we speak about no-mind, we have to see what mind is. Let us start from conciousness. Sometimes you want to look in a mirror to see what you look like. In the same way, conciousness sometimes wants to look at itself to see what it is. A wave will arise in conciousness. It will ask itself, "Who am I"? This wave that arises in conciousness imagines itself to separate from the ocean. This wave becomes "I", the individual self. Once it has become separate, this "I" degenerates further and start to create. First there will be space, the vast, frontierless emptiness of infinite space. And along with space, time will be created, because wherever there is space, there must be time. This time becomes past, present and future, and from these three attachments arise. All creation rises within the past, the present and the future. This is called samsara. Samsara is endless past, present and future. Anything which is born in time, which stays in time, will be finished in time. And all this is mind. The "I" arose and created space, then time, then samsara. This "I" has now become mind, and this mind is "I".

Then at some point, an intense desire for freedom will arise. This desire will arise from conciousness itself. Originally there was a descent from conciousness- from the "I" to space to time to samsara. Now there will be an ascent. As you ascend, attachment to physical object will go, then vital, then mental, then intellectual. Finally , you return to "I" alone. This "I" is still mind.

This "I" has rejected everything. It exists alone with no attachemnts. It cannot go back to the world of attachments, to samsara. It has a desire for freedom; it wants to return to its original place. This "I" which rose from conciousness is now returning to conciousness. It takes the decision, "Become no-mind now" and with that decision the "I" is gone, mind is gone. The "I", which is the mind, has been rejected, but there is still something there which is between the "I" and conciousness. This in-between thing is called no-mind. This in-between entity will merge into conciousness, and then it will become conciousness itself.

Look at this cup (pointing at a tumbler on the table). There is space, emptiness, both inside and outside this cup. The space inside we call "inside space" and the space outside is called "Outside space". Why ? Because name and the form of the cup divides the inside from the outside. When the name and form are removed, the space inside and the mahat, the greater space, becomes one. In fact they were always one. From the point of view of space itself, there never was an outside or inside. Name and form made it appear that there was an inside and outside, but the space was never affected by the artificial divisions. Likewise, freedom is always there, always unaffected by names and forms. Name-and-form is "I". When the "I" goes, the walls which appear to divide conciousness are removed. This becomes This.

When you go from mind back to conciousness, you go through this stage of no-mind. In that state there will be the feeling, the recollection, "Now I have no-mind". Gradually, slowly, this no-mind will merge back into the beyond. But how it happens, I do not know.

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