May 28, 2013 Comments Off on PURITY AND CONTENTMENT
Sauca is internal and external purity. External purity generates pure thoughts. Practice of sauca brings disgust for one’s own body and the body of others also. You will soon give up mamata (mineness of body). Take a bath in the early morning and wear simple, clean cloth. You will get the meditative mood quickly. Sauca helps to maintain brahmacarya. The practice of celibacy, kindness, love, mercy, patience, japa (repetition of God’s name) and meditation will purify the heart and eradicate jealousy, cruelty, hatred, anger and lust. This is internal sauca.
This is the first anga or limb of niyama (discipline). Niyama and yama (self restraint) are interdependent. Niyama strengthens and safeguards yama. Removal of lust, anger, hatred, jealousy etc., constitutes internal purity. Internal purity is more important than external purity. Internal purity makes the mind one pointed; it bestows serenity, cheerfulness, joy, strength, harmony, poise and happiness; it instils love, patience and magnanimity. Therefore develop internal purity through diligent and vigilant effort.
Contentment (santosa) cuts at the root of all desires. It gives success in the practice of yama. It gives peace, one pointedness of mind, serenity and eternal satisfaction. Divine light will descend in a contented mind alone. A contented man is satisfied with his lot, he is happy in whatever condition he is placed, he does not crave for things he has not got. Contentment is a mystic stream of joy that cools the three fires of samsara and joins the ocean of immortal bliss.
Contentment – this is a most vital subject. You all know the maxim: “A contented mind is a continual feast”. The mind is always restless on account of greed. Greed is a kind of internal fire that consumes a man slowly. Contentment is a powerful antidote for the poison of greed. There are four sentinels who guard the domain of moksa (liberation). They are: santi, santosa, satsanga and vicara (peace, contentment, company of the holy and enquiry). If you can approach any of these sentinels, you can get hold of the other three. If you get hold of santosa (contentment) you can easily see the other three following you. – Swami Sivananda
May 15, 2013 Comments Off on We cover our spirit under our body
We cover our spirit under our body, our light under a bushel; we never allow the spirit to become conscious of itself.
Bowl of Saki, May 9, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
The life one recognizes is only the mortal aspect of life. Very few have ever seen or been conscious of the immortal aspect at all. Once one has realized life, that which one has hitherto called life is found to be only a glimpse or shadow of the real life that is beyond comprehension. To understand it one will have to raise one’s light high from under the cover that is hiding it like a bushel. This cover is man’s mind and body; it is a cover that keeps the light active on the world of things and beings. ‘Do not keep your light under a bushel’ means that we are not to keep the consciousness absorbed in the study of the external world, and in its pleasures and enjoyments.
We cover our spirit under our body. We cover our light under a bushel. We never allow the spirit to become conscious of itself. … when the soul is illuminated it will desire to find some other soul illuminated in like manner, and will find great joy and bliss in its society. Such a one will surely find others who are on the verge of illumination. Even a drunkard will find others to drink with. And so it is mystically. A very little light can be turned into a flame, and that flame into a very big flame.
Why is it better to become a mystic than to remain a drunkard? As a matter of fact a drunkard will never be satisfied. The mystic will look for what Omar Khayyam calls wine, the wine of the Christ, after drinking which no one will ever thirst. He will always seek the wine whose intoxication never wears off. It is the only wine: the intoxication of the divine love.
According to the belief of a Sufi the heart is the shrine of God, and when the doors of the shrine are closed it is just like a light being hidden under a bushel… God is Love. If He is love He does not stay in the heavens. His earthly body is the heart of man.
April 27, 2013 Comments Off on Dealing with Household Problems
Question: During the last several months, various household problems are troubling me, and at times I feel I will break into many pieces. At such moments, I pray to Supreme Lord; He graces me with strength and courage. Your words of advice echo in my ears; but I feel that I am not able to practise any of them.
Poojya Swamiji’s Response: Problems of the household: What you describe as problems are not verily so. They are like knots in the threads woven into a cloth. Household life is like the flow of a river. The course of the river is neither straight nor in the same level. It is made so by the nature of the ground through which the river flows. The river is formed and it flows on only because the earth surface itself is uneven. The hills and ridges tend to arrest the flow, but in effect, they can only hinder and intercept. The flow gains momentum to surmount the obstacles.
Dear S, your life is such a flow on the earth. Unlike the river on the physical terrain, it is centred on your own personality in which contributions as well as hindrances come from your own senses, mind and intelligence. Ageing is a factor, ill health another. When you cannot plug your ears against a possible gossip or eruption of others, the irritating input results. Once it succeeds in registering itself in the brain, the tussle becomes yours – in the form of reactions, counter-reactions and what not! Likewise, the eyes cannot always be shut from disturbing sights. Once these inputs are there, the mind begins its habitual work of remembering and thinking criss-cross. These are the rocks, mounts and pits on the terrain through which the life has to flow.
Once the terrain is well understood, the wisdom must gradually build the counter-elements, which will even out the disturbances. This is a kind of growth and expansion of our personality which is essential to make our life flow on and on, despite anything on the way. Facilitating the flow and becoming enriched in the process is the sublime course of any discerning man.
Even to the most ill-healthed mother, is the child born a load? The mother may lack physical strength and ability, but the mind generates its emotional strength and sustenance.
Let the household present its hindering facets, but your mind must spin its emotional threads to fill the gaps and transcend the disturbances. It is not the absence of hindrances that you should look for but the presence of the counter factors. The first depends on sources outside, other than you, while the second has you alone as the source. Why not the source in you become creative and expansive?
Seen from outside, you are a body first. Next, you are the mind and then the intelligence. Further within, you are the SELF. Mind you, THE SELF. Look at the Subject reality scientifically.
The body is gross; subtler is the mind. Still more so is the intelligence. Then what should be the subtlety of the Self? A colour cannot be easily dissolved in earth; but in water it can be. It can also be washed off by water. The dissolution process works with greater effectiveness in the mind. In that the intelligence works as a great friend. But, for everything positive or negative, the Self is the ultimate dissolver. Like sleep, It dissolves and regenerates as well.
The process is subjective alone; it does not depend on anything other than you. When the obstacles and disturbances from the external sources pose before you, why not you tap your own being and try the dissolving process?
It is generally done by resorting to some counter sentiments or emotions. Desire or passion works first in household minds. That is quite natural. But equally, the same mind will have to develop a tendency for desire-dropping and dispassion as well. Householders either do not recognize or refuse to act in accordance. Naturally there is imbalance – sometimes very strong. They deserve it!
Life is a flow authored by nature. Why not leave it to itself? Do we not accept growth and decline of the body? Why not equally accept the need for passion and dispassion too? The mind has enough capacity to provide the needs of the hour.
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha [This is Poojya Swamiji’s correspondence published in the Jan-Feb 1993 issue of Vicharasetu]
April 16, 2013 Comments Off on Asaadhana
The true nature of spiritual saadhana, is the asaadhana that has to be constantly looked into and eliminated. What does this mean? What is asaadhana? In actual practice, what is the process of dealing with it? All this must be properly looked into and understood.
One important aspect of spirituality that I always emphasize is: incorporation and elimination. You must incorporate noble virtues and eliminate harmful traits. This twin process should be continuously going on in the mind of the saadhaka.
For anyone who wants to be effective, happy and progressive in this world – whether he is a spiritual seeker or a worldly aspirant – this quality is very necessary. In fact, that person alone can be considered as good and efficient, who is constantly given to eliminating undesirable traits and incorporating desirable notes. This is the summum bonum of life. We have the necessary means with us to accomplish this. Our mind can develop the required will and wish for the purpose.
In this context, you may wonder: what is meant by removing asaadhana? In spirituality, one fundamental and ultimate concept is that the Soul is ever present. It is already there. You don’t have to bring the Soul; nor can you drive it away. It is always present and you are That. If you are the Soul, and if it is ever blissful, a question arises. Why is it that you have non-blissful moments so often? You should contemplate on these lines: “If I am the blissful Soul, which part of my system feels un-blissful? And why am I allowing it?” That means, whenever your mind is hurt, disturbed or agitated, immediately the thought should come: “Why am I getting hurt and agitated? What has happened to my mind?”
The external cause may be there. It may be a person – his actions, words or attitude. Let that be! That is his! But, why is it impacting your mind in this harmful manner? Why are you losing your peace and blessedness?
Your line of thinking should be: “I am the blissful Soul, always. The blissfulness of the Soul is getting covered – an aavarana has taken place. Because of this covering, I am getting distracted. These two extraneous elements – the covering and the subsequent distraction – have to be removed by me. They will not go away on their own. I have to remove them by my own efforts, willfully.”
So, do not get overwhelmed by external causes of your agitation. Understand that it is your mind that is getting affected. Again, ask yourself: “What is that factor in my mind causing this affectation? Is it because of any intolerance? Is it because of mind’s constriction and clouding? Am I influenced by preference and prejudice? Do I have anything like a desire?” – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012
Venginissery, P.O. Ammadam, Trichur, Kerala – 680 563
March 26, 2013 Comments Off on Live with Mental Health as Age Advances
We know that the body will not remain strong and fit forever. Some people have a habit of exaggerating their diseases – they keep on complaining. Let us not magnify our troubles; at the same time we must not neglect them. I always tell people that as the body grows old, we have to live with our mind’s health. As far as the mind is concerned, age is always a factor to its advantage – the mind grows as age advances. The mind of a person at sixty years as compared to that at twenty five, certainly had more opportunities to assimilate matters, adjust to surroundings and tolerate difficult circumstances.
Understand that the entire body is evolved, shaped and administered by the spirit in the body. This spiritual content is something different from matter and energy. It animates and activates the body. I would like you to reflect upon this. Our brain, our eyes and ears – our entire body with all its organs has been shaped by the spiritual presence within. It is the creator, preserver and also the destroyer of the body.
We speak about creation, preservation and dissolution with regard to the world. But, at our body, mind and intelligence levels also there is constant creation, preservation and dissolution. How many cells are created and destroyed in our body every day! Look into your mind. How many thoughts are created, preserved for a short while and then dissolved! This is something that takes place in your system.
Ask the question: Who makes it; who controls it? There is only one answer. The spiritual Presence within the body alone is causing everything. Rely upon that inner Presence confidently. Give that Presence its due place and importance, and invoke its support, its power. Depend upon that Presence within to give you better health.
Of course, medicines and medical treatments are necessary. But, if the body is not able to assimilate, distribute or utilize whatever medicines are administered, do you think medicines can help? No! The medicines are only external props. But the real assimilator of the medicines is the power within the body. Rely upon that power confidently. Be in greater proximity and bond with that power, and try to live with more mental health as the age advances.
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha (c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012
March 20, 2013 Comments Off on DEVELOP YOUR PERCEPTION
Organs deteriorate if you do not use them properly – just as hands and legs are atrophied by disuse and are developed by muscular exercise, etc. There is intimate connection between sight and memory, and between hearing and memory.
He who has acute sight, keen perception, good powers of observation and hearing – he will have a good memory. In the internal astral body there are counterparts of these. They are called astral senses. A yogi hears through astral ears and sees through astral eyes. Thus he can hear sounds from distant lands, he can see objects in distant localities. This is called clairvoyance and clairaudience.
Generally people are very careless. They have no wish to learn higher things and have a fund of knowledge. Keep a watch very close to the ear; hear the sound attentively. On the second day put the watch a little further away. Listen to the tick-tick sound. Every day increase the distance, training yourself to hear the sound. Then plug one ear with the index finger of your hand. Train the ears alternately.
Here is another exercise. Close both ears through yonimudra; try to hear the anahata sounds that emanate from the heart lotus. You will hear ten varieties of sounds, such as: flute, mridanga, veena, conch, bells, thunder, humming of a bee, drum, etc. Allow the organ of hearing (ear) to shift from one sound to another and carefully differentiate the various sounds. Eventually fix the ear on one sound. Try the gross sounds first and then go to the subtle sounds.
There is another exercise. Fix the ears on the pranava dhvani (Om sound) that emanates from a river, ocean or wind. It will be heard like `bhum’ or a long `Om’. Train your ears to hear this sound. Do this exercise at 4 a.m. or at 9 p.m. when the noise of the town has died down.
Keep your ears keen. Differentiate the sounds of various kinds of birds, beasts, children, factories, motor cars, aeroplanes, cycles, shrieks, yells, snores, sobbing, crying, laughing, mocking, joking, etc.
The mind may be there, the instrument may be perfect, but if the mind is not functioning perfectly, you cannot see or hear properly. Perception is possible only when the mind is linked with the external instrument (ear, eye, etc.).
– Swami Sivananda
February 24, 2013 Comments Off on Dispassion – a necessary quality for success.
Dispassion is a quality that cannot be dispensed with in any spiritual instruction, for ascetics as well as householders. In fact dispassion is a necessary quality for success in any walk of life. Those who take Bhagavadgeeta as a Gospel of Action and would like to rejoice in worldly or secular pursuits in an exclusive manner, should not fail to reflect on this fact and moderate their thoughts and addictions. Let it be clear that dispassion is a quality that always enriches everyone – a spiritual seeker as well as a secular person. That alone adorns the Soul-wisdom and renders the seeker strong, wholesome and independent.
indriyaartheshu vairaagyam-anahankaara eva-ca ?
Not to be passionate towards sensory objects, to shun egoism.
Indriyaartheshu means the entire range of sensory objects, which verily includes the whole world with all its contents. Towards all this, says Krishna, the attitude should be that of dispassion. Do not crave for any sensory object. Let not world objects be the seeker’s master. Let them be, if at all, subservient to the seeker. Looking at the bounteous world, seeing the thrills and allurements it provides, let no servility be allowed to creep into the mind.
To be spiritual is not to look for one’s delight and fulfillment in the objects of the world. The mind that generates delight through any object of the world can also provide delight without such objects. Delight in reality belongs to the mind alone. It is verily the mind’s own gift. It may be occasioned by an external medium or spontaneously generated internally.
People in general, due to ignorance, seek to satiate their senses by courting sensory objects. This habit prevails till one grows to be a saadhaka. When the spirit of saadhana takes over the mind, the focus shifts from the objects to the Inner Spirit. Krishna is quite emphatic on this, although he is speaking to a warrior in the battlefield.
What is vairaagya? It is the direct impact of knowing the perishable nature of the world – its contents, sentient and insentient alike. This one plight of perishability is sufficient to question man’s attraction towards them. At the same time the Spirit that enlivens the body is not perishable. Should not then the Imperishable Spirit within be dearer than the external perishables? – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An extract from Poojya Swamiji’s book “Essential Concepts of Bhagavadgeeta – V”]