HALASANA

September 21, 2013 Comments Off on HALASANA

HALASANA – The Plough – All Levels

Continuation of the forward bend movement in Shoulder stand/Sarvangasana,
amplifying Sarvangasana.
Caution: If you have slipped disc or other painful neck condition, seek advice
before practicing.
Begin either from a lying down position on back, or taking legs over the head
from the shoulder stand.
From mat: Raise legs and hips in 2 stages. Inhale and raise legs together to 90
degree angle.  On next inhalation lift hips and support lower back with hands.

With control bring the legs over the head and point the feet to the floor.

Tip: Keep legs straight and back supported with hands.
If feet not on floor yet: Keep supporting lower back with hands. Breathe through
the nose. Practice abdominal breathing. Hold the position 5 breaths and roll
out.
If feet on floor, Extend arms flat on the floor behind back to increase
flexibility of shoulder girdle.  Keep arms close to each other as possible. Now
interlock fingers and press palms against each other.
Variation: Take arms next to ears and try to touch toes. Move very smoothly.

Tip: Keep knees straight and legs together with toes pointed to head. Keep spine
straight and focus on slow abdominal breathing. Think of the stretch as
extending from fingers to neck and over back to feet in the plough shape. Hold
up to 1 minute or half the time of shoulderstand.
Coming out of pose: Release hands, arms are flat on floor palms down to brake
the descent. Raise the legs till parallel to floor. Then slowly roll the spine
down to the floor.
Relax in corpse pose at least 8 breaths.
Benefits:
Keeps spine youthful, strong and elastic.
Loosens hamstrings.
Stretches entire back of body.
Helps  flexibility of shoulder joints.
Increases blood supply of spinal nerves.
Improves digestion.
Mental Benefit: Soothes stressed nerves and tired brain. Helps better coping
with any claustrophobia.
Those who practice Halasana can never become lazy. – Swami Sivananda
The self-effort of today becomes the destiny of tomorrow. Self-effort and
destiny are one and the same. – Swami Sivananda

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Realise Thy True Nature

May 28, 2013 Comments Off on Realise Thy True Nature

First, learn to know yourself, the true value of your own character. Then alone you will be able to serve humanity and benefit people. You are taintless, tranquil, pure consciousness; you are beyond nature. All this time you have been duped by illusion, maya.

Know one individual (yourself) correctly – and you can know the whole world. To know thy self, is to know God. Seek perfection, freedom and eternal bliss in the Atman or Self, by the Self and through the Self. Talk only of Atman. Purify, meditate, lose yourself in Brahman or the Absolute and you will find your Self, you will know your Self.

Nobody doubts his own existence, though he may doubt the existence of God. Find the truth, the source of your own Self and then you will know everything. The more you know the more you will grow in humility. I climbed the peak of vedanta and merged in the Light of lights. How can I express it? To express the unspeakable – all words are feeble. I am the witness – the eternal, pure, infinite, internal self. I am Siva himself. I am changeless. None of the things of the world have touched meer touch me. I have no moods – I am beyond moods. I am the blissful Atman. The light which illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon, the stars and also the yonder lamp, is bliss eternal. That light am I. Om.

If you find you need a place of perfect security and peace then come, sit in my heart and be one with me. There is a central harmony within you, a wisdom, a spirit of wholeness which is divine. That is immortal Atman, your own innermost soul or self. Dwell in this Atman. Realise this Atman and be free for ever. The Atman or Supreme Self must be realised. This is practical religion.

Open the eye of your heart,
Enjoy the vision of the Lord.
Break the seal of your ego,
Realise the eternal bliss of your self.
Clean the dirt of your mind’s mirror,
Behold the beauty of the majestic Atman.
Sit on the horse of brahmakara vritti.

Reach your destination; the home of eternal peace.
Still the waves of the mind,
Take a dip in the ocean of bliss,
Shut up your mouth and the mouth of your mind
And enjoy the peace of supreme silence.
– Swami Sivananda

From Worship to Discipleship

March 18, 2013 Comments Off on From Worship to Discipleship

Man prefers to think of God with form. He considers God to be of a personal nature. And he starts worshipping. The worship goes on. However, at one stage, he starts questioning the very object of the worship – ‘I am worshipping Goddess, Kali, but actually my worship is offered to the idol. Is it only the idol made of granite block, or is there any power or presence called Kali which evidently should not, or will not, become merely this stone’. Now, this kind of seeking has to come to a true worshipper. He should examine his own attitude. “Why should I express my gratitude or humility to the Creator or Almighty?” So, the worship, when properly performed, should make him more and more deep and intense. And an enquiry into the worshipped and what the worship ultimately bestows upon the worshiper should arise.

When these questions come up, the object of the worship – the mute idol – is not certainly going to answer the devotee. At that time he has to outlive worship of the invisible in the form of a visible medium. That is the time – either directed by somebody or directed by the scriptures or even by a suggestion that he gets in his own mind by a dream or by a reasoning – he finds his access to a teacher or Sadguru.

Once he goes there, the worship of the Guru is the primary step. He pleases the Guru by virtue of his aaraadhana. The next step to follow is pariprasna – he has to place before his Guru whatever enquiries he wants to make or the doubts he has. He must seek answers and guidance from the Guru. The first is the preparatory ground. The next is the most crucial one. Here, the Guru and the sishya will start interacting in a very close relationship.

If it is done properly, it becomes a soul-level relationship. If he is able to find in the Guru a soul-mate and if the Guru also finds in the sishya a soul-mate, then, as both start sharing each other, the disciple begins to imbibe from the Guru the qualities essential for the realization of the Truth. Doubts will be cleared. Emotions will be expressed. Suspicions will be set at rest. Fears will be removed. Curiosity will be answered and clarity and enlightenment will be had. There will be a lot of sharing and exchange. Peace will be felt by proximity, and inner personality will grow to a level of enlightenment, fulfillment and fruition. Now, this may take time. Not all people will have it the next day.

There is no doubt that Guru will have to be available to the sishya to interact closely. And the purpose of the interaction should be to open oneself up completely without reservation and to imbibe whatever is given without any resistance and grow towards fulfillment. In the mind level the association will generate nobler emotions, more and more peace and sublimity. In the intelligence level it will generate and arouse more and more knowledge and enlightenment. And in the sensory level it will bring about moderation, more of purity and sublimation. An integrated growth of the personality should take place. A close interaction, imbibing, expressing, sharing and further imbibing and thereby transforming oneself – is the process. This is the benefit of going to a Sadguru. A Sadguru alone can bring about these transformations.

– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

[This is an excerpt from the Oct 2000 issue of the monthly journal Vicharasethu.]

(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012

Failure comes when will surrenders to reason

January 24, 2013 Comments Off on Failure comes when will surrenders to reason

Failure comes when will surrenders to reason.

Bowl of Saki, January 22, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

It is man’s lack of faith that generally causes failures. In faith is the secret of fulfillment or non-fulfillment of every thought. There is no doubt about the fulfillment of a desire if man’s faith works with it. But when one’s own reason and doubt come and destroy the hope, one generally meets with failure. … there are numberless people who are thinking and reasoning all their lives, asking themselves, ‘Shall I do this? How can I do that? How can I overcome these obstacles? And all the time they are thinking of the hindrances, or waiting for suitable circumstances to arise, and they never do. Their whole life may be spent in the pursuit of something which reason prevents them from attaining.

from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_11.htm

An important rule of psychology is that every motive that takes its root in the mind must be watered and reared until its full development. And if one neglects this duty, one does not only harm the motive, but by this the will power becomes less, and the working of the mind becomes disorderly. Even if the motive be small and unimportant, yet a steady pursuit after its attainment trains the mind, strengthens the will, and keeps the inner mechanism in order.

For instance, when a person tries to unravel a knot, and then he thinks, ‘No use giving time to it,’ he loses an opportunity of strengthening the will and attaining the object desired. However small a thing may appear to be, when once handled, one must accomplish it, not for the thing itself, but for what benefit it gives.

~~~ “Githa I, Sadhana 10”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

Should All Youths Be Urged to Marry?

August 13, 2012 Comments Off on Should All Youths Be Urged to Marry?

All but the rare few inclined to monastic life should be encouraged to marry and schooled in the skills they will need to fulfill dharma. Young boys destined to be monastics should be raised as their satguru’s progeny. Aum.
Traditionally, boys with monastic tendencies are encouraged and provided special training under their satguru’s direction. It is considered a great blessing for the family to have a son become a monastic and later a swami. Generally, children should be taught to follow and prepare themselves for the householder path. Most boys will choose married life, and should be schooled in professional, technical skills. Girls are taught the refinements of household culture. Both girls and boys should be trained in the sacred Vedic arts and sciences, including the sixty-four crafts and social skills, called kalas. Boys benefit greatly when taught the profession of their father from a very young age. The mother is the role model for her daughters, whom she raises as the mothers of future families. Sons and daughters who are gay may not benefit from marriage, and should be taught to remain loyal in relationships and be prepared to cope with community challenges. The Vedas pray, “May you, O love divine, flow for the acquisition of food of wisdom and for the prosperity of the enlightened person who praises you; may you grant him excellent progeny.” Aum Namah Sivaya.
– Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, From:Dancing with siva

Geetha means ‘song’

April 8, 2012 Comments Off on Geetha means ‘song’

Geetha means ‘song’; Krishna sings at Brindhaavan with the Flute. He sings on the battlefield too; in both places the call is for the Particular to merge with the Infinite, the Universal. For Him, the Rudhrabhuumi (place of cremation) as well as the Bhadhrabhuumi (sanctified ground) are the same; they are equally placed for imparting Upadhesh (spiritual instruction) in the form in which the Bhaktha most likes it, namely, Song. And imagine with what concentration Arjuna heard it? His concentration was steady as that of the Gopees (Cowherd girls) who listened to the Message of the Flute in Brindhaavan. He forgot the opposing armies, his own hatreds and enthusiasm for war and he became immersed in the teaching he secured. If you develop that ekaagratha (onepointedness) in the Kurukshethra of your own particular ‘battlefields’, you can assuredly also listen to the Geetha – the Bhagavath Geetha or the Sai Geetha or the Sathya Sai Geetha, intended for you.

 

The Geetha was spoken to remove the ajnaana sammoha (the delusion caused by ignorance), and it succeeded in removing it so far as Arjuna was concerned; others like Sanjaya and Dhritharaashtra who also heard it did not benefit, because they were still bound by their own particular brand of ajnaana.

 

Dhritharaashtra was all the while worried that the battle had not started yet and that his sons’ enemies had not been destroyed! So he was not benefitted. Therefore, many read the Geetha but few benefit. You must have Arjuna’s Vairaagyam and Arjuna’s Ekaagratha to derive profit from the Geetha. Nirmala hridhaya (pure heart) and Nischala bhaava (firm disposition of mind) are essential.


Source: Sathya Sai Speaks 01 – 1953-60.

 

Failure comes when will surrenders to reason

January 23, 2012 Comments Off on Failure comes when will surrenders to reason

Failure comes when will surrenders to reason.

Bowl of Saki, January 22, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

It is man’s lack of faith that generally causes failures. In faith is the secret of fulfillment or non-fulfillment of every thought. There is no doubt about the fulfillment of a desire if man’s faith works with it. But when one’s own reason and doubt come and destroy the hope, one generally meets with failure. … there are numberless people who are thinking and reasoning all their lives, asking themselves, ‘Shall I do this? How can I do that? How can I overcome these obstacles? And all the time they are thinking of the hindrances, or waiting for suitable circumstances to arise, and they never do. Their whole life may be spent in the pursuit of something which reason prevents them from attaining.

from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_11.htm

An important rule of psychology is that every motive that takes its root in the mind must be watered and reared until its full development. And if one neglects this duty, one does not only harm the motive, but by this the will power becomes less, and the working of the mind becomes disorderly. Even if the motive be small and unimportant, yet a steady pursuit after its attainment trains the mind, strengthens the will, and keeps the inner mechanism in order.

For instance, when a person tries to unravel a knot, and then he thinks, ‘No use giving time to it,’ he loses an opportunity of strengthening the will and attaining the object desired. However small a thing may appear to be, when once handled, one must accomplish it, not for the thing itself, but for what benefit it gives.

~~~ “Githa I, Sadhana 10”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

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