Actions are Sacred

August 19, 2014 Comments Off on Actions are Sacred

Figueras_KeepHands

Tell your hand: “Oh hand, how sacred you are? You are unity personified. One finger cannot lift a cup; when one finger moves to pick it up, all of you, though different in sizes and shape, rush to help and hold the cup! You don’t care for or observe any difference. Such is the unity inherent in you, amongst your fingers. Oh hand, you are very helpful in preserving the human body, you remove troubles through your hard work and you help others. Why do you sometimes act in a manner that develops enmity? Today there is no unity in any congregation, society or religion. However, you know no hatred. Please never indulge in wrong actions.” Thus instruct and guide your hand so that your actions become sacred. When your thoughts, words and deeds are sanctified, all the other instruments also follow suit and thus you attain liberation.

(My Dear Students, Vol 5, Ch 2, Mar 9, 1993).

– Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Thought for the day as written at Prasanthi Nilayam  12th August 2014

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THIEVES

September 13, 2013 Comments Off on THIEVES

Asteya is non-stealing. This is one of the five limbs of yama (self-restraint). This is also another form of self-restraint. Why does a man steal? He wants something. When he cannot get it by legitimate ways of earning, he begins to steal things. Desire (trsna) or want is the root cause for stealing. This is a deep-rooted, evil trait in man.

Control desires or (trsnas) and cravings. Reduce your wants. Reflect and do vicara. Think of the evil result of stealing, namely, killing of conscience, dishonour, pin-pricks, guilty conscience, unfitness for yoga, bad name in society, punishment through the law of karma and penal code. Think of the advantages of non-theft (asteya) – honour, clean conscience, reward in heaven, fitness for the practice of yoga. You will at once stop this stealing habit.

Man removes a thing secretly without the knowledge of the owner; he does not like that his act may be known by others. This is stealing. Taking blotting paper, pins, paper, pencil, etc., from the office is stealing. Hoarding money too much is stealing. Eating too much or gluttony is stealing. Ever thinking of objects by increasing the wants is also stealing in a comprehensive sense. Keeping more things than are actually necessary is also stealing. A yogic student must be free from all these forms of theft. He must have a very clean mind – like the pure white cloth or crystal. Then alone Atman (Self) will shine in his heart.

Man is not very careful and conscientious. His mind brings up very clever arguments. Some secretly take away some old journals which contain some pictures or useful matter and say: “This is nothing. It is only an old copy. It will go into the hands of a shop-keeper for packing.” But the thing is, he has removed it without the knowledge of the librarian, so it is theft.

Even a sensitive mind becomes blunt gradually by continuous stealing, by jumping from stealing small things to big articles. Even a little dirt, a little theft affects the mind of a yogic student seriously. He will have to be very careful and vigilant. He must keep the mind as clean as a polished mirror. He must avoid even very little thefts in any form. Then alone will he have success in yoga.  – Swami Sivananda

Practical Instructions

May 25, 2013 Comments Off on Practical Instructions

success
Difficulties exist only that you may grow strong by overcoming them. So overcome all difficulties, one by one, patiently. If you fail ten times, do not despair. If you fail a hundred times, do not be disheartened. If you fail a thousand times, rise up and march on boldly. Failures are indeed stepping-stones to success.

Watch your speech. Watch every word. Speak no word that is impure or vulgar, or that can affect the feelings of others. Never allow an unclean thought to enter your mind. If it does enter your mind, drive it out at once. Purify your mind so that an impure thought may not be able to gain entrance. Strengthen your resolve. Patiently persist in your sadhana (spiritual practice).

Intensify your dispassion and yearning for liberation. Destroy your personal element. Forgive those who harm you. Give love for hatred. Overcome evil by good. Resist the promptings of the lower nature.

Make your body your obedient servant, your slave. Do not give up your sadhana simply because you do not make any progress. Struggle as long as you can each time. Each time you will be nearer to success.

Give, give, give. Giving is the very nature of love. Giving expands and purifies the heart. Ask for no return. Ask for no gratitude. Where there is no free giving, there is no room for God. Giving itself is the secret of abundance. Interest and attention will strengthen your will. Cultivate attention to a considerable degree. Constantly repeat some inspiring verses from the Gita or the Upanishads.

Constantly repeat some mantras such as: Om Satchidananda or Om Namo Narayanaya. This will be your divine background of thought: This will be a shield, to counteract the objectionable impure thoughts.

Follow these instructions carefully. You are sure to attain Self-realisation here and now.

If you realise the one in all and the all in one, you are an illumined sage. Be serene in the oneness of things. All duality will disappear by itself. One alone is the living reality. All is illusory. All is maya’s jugglery. One appears as the all. Reject, negate the all. Realise the one and be free. – Swami Sivananda

AIDS TO BHAKTI

May 19, 2013 Comments Off on AIDS TO BHAKTI

People put the question: “How can we love God whom we have not seen?” Live in the company of saints and hear of the divine sport of God, study the sacred scriptures. Worship Him first in His several forms as manifested in the world. Worship any image or picture of the Lord or the guru. Recite His name, sing His glories. Stay for a year in Brindavan or Ayodhya, Chitrakute, Pandharpur, Benares, or Ananda Kutir. You will develop love for the Lord.

Every act must be done that awakens the emotion of bhakti. Keep the room of worship clean, decorate it, burn incense, light a lamp, keep a clean seat, bathe and wear clean clothes. Apply ash and kumkum (sacred red powder worn on the forehead by devotees). Wear a rosary, either that made of beads symbolising the third eye of Siva or that which is made from the stalks of the holy basil. All these produce a benign and elevating influence on the mind inspiring it and generating piety. They help to create the necessary attitude or feeling to invoke the deity that you want to worship. The mind will be able to concentrate easily.

Practice of right conduct, keeping company with the holy, repetition of God’s name, remembrance, singing of the names of the Lord, prayer, worship, service of saints, residence in places of pilgrimage, service of the poor and the sick with divine feeling, observance of duties, offering of all actions and their fruits to the Lord, feeling the presence of the Lord in all beings, prostrations before the image and saints, renunciation of earthly enjoyments and wealth, charity, austerities, and vows, practice of ahimsa (non-violence), truth and celibacy – all these will help you to develop devotion.

Desire obstructs the growth of devotion. Devotion to the Lord increases in intensity when mundane desires are renounced. Renunciation is the very essence of devotional love. Divine love has no element of desire in it.

Devotion cannot co-exist with desire of any kind, not even the desire for liberation. The devotee wants God and God alone, and His loving service. The devotee loves God and serves Him and His creation. He does not strive consciously for liberation which God confers on his devotee unsolicited.  – Swami Sivananda

Dama – Sense Control

March 15, 2013 Comments Off on Dama – Sense Control

Dama is self-restraint. It is control of the senses. It is a vedantic sadhana (practice). It comes after the practice of sama (restraint of mind). It is one of the sad-sampat (six-fold wealth). It does not allow the senses to run outwards. It gives strength, peace and concentration. It develops will-power. It helps you to disconnect or shut off the mind from the senses, and the senses from the objects. It corresponds to pratyahara (sense-withdrawal) of raja yoga. An objector says, “Why should there be practice of dama when the mind is controlled by sama?” It is a double attack on the mind. The mind operates in conjunction with the senses; the mind will be subdued easily and effectively if you practise dama also. It weakens or thins out the mind.

There is also a deliberate order here. Without viveka (wisdom), vairagya (dispassion) is not powerful. It is viveka that weans the mind from sensual objects and directs it towards the Absolute. So viveka comes first. If there is dawn of viveka, vairagya, serenity (sama) will come by itself. It is easy to control the mind if the senses are also controlled. So dama comes after sama. If you practise dama, uparati (satiety) follows – you are disgusted with sensual objects. Serenity and restraint of the indriyas are increased if you have titiksa or power of endurance. When you possess the above qualifications naturally you will have faith (sraddha) and a balanced inner life (samadana). If you are endowed with viveka, vairagya and six wealths, a burning yearning for liberation (mumuksutva) will automatically follow.

Sensual pleasure is the womb of pain. The cause for pain is the pursuit of pleasure. Sensual pleasure is imaginary, illusory, fleeting and tantalising. Abandon pleasure and rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Atman. He who has destroyed desire is really a harmonised, peaceful and happy man.  – Swami Sivananda

The 34Th Meditation Technique of Vigyan Bhairava Tantra.

February 24, 2013 Comments Off on The 34Th Meditation Technique of Vigyan Bhairava Tantra.

Lord Shiva explains to Devi : “ LISTEN WHILE THE ULTIMATE MYSTICAL TEACHING
IS IMPARTED. EYES STILL, WITHOUT WINKING, AT ONCE BECOME ABSOLUTELY FREE.”

LISTEN WHILE THE ULTIMATE MYSTICAL TEACHING IS IMPARTED. This is a secret
method. In this Esoteric Tantra, the Master gives you the teaching secretly,
the doctrine secretly — or the Mantra secretly. When the disciple is
ready, then the Mantra, or the Supreme Secret, will be imparted,
communicated to him/her, privately. Just in his ears it will be whispered.
This technique is concerned with that Whispering. LISTEN WHILE THE ULTIMATE
MYSTICAL TEACHING IS IMPARTED.

When the Master has decided that now you are ready and the secret of His own
experience can be communicated, when the moment has come, when He can say to
you that which is unsayable, then this technique has to be used. EYES STILL,
WITHOUT WINKING, AT ONCE BECOME ABSOLUTELY FREE. When Master, is imparting
his secret to you in your ear, whispering it, let your eyes be totally still
: no movements of the eyes. That means the mind should be quiet,
thoughtless. ( Sometimes, when the Master is whispering the sacred Mantra
in the ear of his disciple, naturally his/her eye lids are firmly closed,
and in such situation his/her eye balls become totally still whereby the
mind becomes quiet, thoughtless. )

No winking— not even a slight movement, because that will show a
disturbance within. Just become an empty ear with no movement within. The
consciousness is just waiting to be impregnated, just open, receptive,
passive…. No activity on its own part. And when this will happen, this
moment when you are totally empty, not thinking anything but just
waiting…not waiting for something, because then it will become thinking, not
waiting for something but just waiting; when this static moment, this
non-dynamic moment will happen; when everything has stopped, time is not
flowing and mind is totally vacant— it becomes NO-MIND. Only into a
No-Mind can a Master IMPART.

And he is not going to give a very long discourse: he will give just one or
two or three or a few words. In that silence those one, two, three, or a few
words will PENETRATE to your very CORE, to the very CENTER, and they will
become a seed there ( To be later sprouted to become a small plant and a
GIANT TREE whose seeds will become further a cause for hundreds or
thousands of Giant Trees.) In this passive awareness, in this silence, AT
ONCE BECOME ABSOLUTELY FREE.

One can become free only by becoming free of the mind; there is no other
freedom. Freedom from the mind is the only Freedom. Mind only is the cause
for bondage or identifying with the body,etc. Mind is the bondage, the
slavery,the servitude. So a disciple has to wait with his Master for the
right moment when he will call him and impart. He is not to ask, because
asking means also a desire. He is not to expect, because expectation means
conditions, desire, mind. He is just to wait. And when he will be ready, and
when his waiting becomes total, the Master can do anything.

Sometimes the Master can do trivial things, and the thing will happen. And
ordinarily, even Lord Shiva goes on talking about hundreds of methods,
nothing will happen because the preparation is not there. You can throw
seeds on stones, but nothing will happen. The fault is not of the seeds. You
can throw a seed out of season, but nothing will happen. The fault is not of
the seed. The right season is needed, the right moment is needed, the right
soil is needed. Only then will the seed become alive and transform.

The flow of power from the Master or Guru can be received by anyone whose
attention is focused on the SELF or on the Form of the GURU; distance is no
impediment to its efficacy. This is called sat-Sang, which literally means’
association with Being’. Bhagavan Ramana whole heartedly encouraged this
practice and frequently said that, “ it was the most efficient way of
bringing about a Direct experience of the Self. Traditionally it involves
being in the physical presence of one who has realized the self, but Sri
Ramana gave it a much wider definition. He said that the most important
element in the sat-sang is the ‘ Mental connection with the Guru; Sat-Sang
takes place not only in the presence of Master but wherever and whenever one
thinks of Him.

So sometimes very trivial things work. For example, Lin Chi became
Enlightened while he was just sitting on his Master Huang Po’s verandah. And
the Master came out and just LAUGHED. He looked at Lin Chi— into his
eyes— and laughed uproariously. Lin Chi started laughing, bowed down, and
left. But he had been waiting there for six years : that verandah was his
abode for six years.

Lin Chi’s Master Huang Po would come day after day, month after month, and
even he would not even look at him. And Lin Chi was waiting there. Then
after two years, for the first time he looked at him. Then two more years
passed, and for the first time the master patted him. Then Lin Chi waited
and waited, and after six years, one day suddenly the Master came out,
stared into Lin Chi’s eyes, and Lin Chi must have done this technique:
LISTEN WHILE THE ULTIMATE MYSTICAL TEACHING IS IMPARTED. EYES STILL, WITHOUT
WINKING, AT ONCE BECOMING ABSOLUTELY FREE.

The Master looked and used Laughter as a Medium. He was a great Master.
Really words were not needed, just laughter. Suddenly there was that
laughter, and something happened in Lin Chi. He bowed down, laughed, left,
and told everyone that now he was no more, that he was Liberated, Free. He
was no more : that is what Liberation means. You are liberated from
yourself.

Lin Chi used to tell how it happened. For six years he was waiting. It was a
long waiting, a patient waiting. He was just waiting on the verandah, and
everyday the Master would come. And the Master would wait for the right
moment— when Lin Chi would become ready, then the Master would do
something. Just by waiting for six years, you will FALL INTO MEDITATION.
What can you do? Lin Chi might have thought for a few days about old things,
but if you do not give new food every day to the mind, by and by the mind
stops. How long can you chew again and again on the same thing. Finally when
mind stops, experience happens.

Lin chi might have been thinking about past things, and by and by, because
no new stimulus was fed, thinking stopped. He was not allowed to read, he
was not allowed to talk, he was not allowed to move and meet anyone. He was
just allowed to fulfill the basic bodily needs and wait on the verandah.

Silently he waited, day after day— day in , day out, day and night. Summer
would come and pass away, and winter would come and pass away, and there
would be rain and it would pass away: he must have forgotten time. He must
have forgotten for how many days he had been there. And then one day
suddenly the Master appeared, and he looked deeply into his eyes. Lin Chi’s
eyes must have suddenly become static, non-dynamic. This was the moment; six
years were spent for this. There was no movement of the eyes, because a
single movement and he may miss. Everything must have become silent— and
then suddenly, the uproarious laughter : the master began laughing madly.
That laughter must have been heard deep down at the very core; it must have
reached finally.

So when Lin Chi was asked, “ what happened to you?” he said, “ when my
Master laughed, suddenly I recognized that the whole world is JUST A JOKE.
In his laughter, this was the message: the whole world is just a joke, just
a drama. Any seriousness disappeared. And if the whole world is just a joke,
who is in Bondage? And who needs to be FREE?” So, Lin Chi said, “ There was
no bondage at all. I was thinking that I was bound, and that is why I WAS
TRYING TO BE FREE, and suddenly the Master laughed and the BONDAGE FELL
AWAY.”

Is it not the very similar case, dear Saibandhus, that thousands of devotees
including us are waiting in the Sai Kulvant Hall and the verandah in front
of Interview room in Prashanthinilayam to get Liberation, Freedom from the
Divine hands of Cosmic Master and Kali yuga Avatar Bhagavan Shri Sathya Sai
Baba? And this waiting is such a great TAPAS, PENANCE for we devotees, if we
just think to whom we all are waiting regardless of hours, days, weeks,
months, years and years. It will be an eye opener. Only Swami and the
Realized themselves know how many devotees are Liberated by such WAITING.
Swami won’t tell, Realized devotees won’t reveal. But, there are many and
many. There must be many, many numbers, because the arrival of God in this
age is for the sole purpose of uplifting the whole humanity to different
highest stages of spirituality. Indeed we all are extremely and abundantly
fortunate to be the contemporary of the present Great Avatar.

Sometimes it has happened with such things; you can never conceive of how it
was possible. There are many Zen stories…. One zen Master became aware when
the gong was beaten. Just while he was hearing the gong being beaten, the
sound, the vibration, something shattered in him. One Zen Nun became aware,
enlightened, while she was carrying two pails of water. Suddenly the bamboo
broke, and the earthen pots fell down. The sound, the breaking of the pots
and the water flowing out of them—and she became enlightened.

What happened? You can break many pots, but nothing may happen. A right
moment had come for her. She was coming back. Her Master had said, “ This
night I am going to give the secret, so go and take a bath, and bring two
pails of water for me. I will take a bath and impart to you the secret for
which you have been waiting.” She must have felt ecstatic— the moment had
come. She took a bath, filled the pots, and carried them back.

It was a full-moon night, and just when she was passing on the footpath from
the river to the Ashram, suddenly the bamboo broke. When she reached, the
Master was waiting, and he looked at her and he said, “ Now there is no
need, it has happened. Now I have nothing to convey. You have already
received the secret.”

That old Nun used to say, : “ With that bamboo breaking, the water pots
broke— something broke in me also. Those pails falling down, those broken
earthen pots, and I saw my body broken. I looked at the moon. Everything was
silent, Serene, and I became SILENT and SERENE. From that moment, I have not
been, I am NO MORE.” This is what Liberation, Freedom means.

My humble pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan.

Sai Ram.

Ranganatha. Rao

Listening is an action of truth

October 27, 2012 Comments Off on Listening is an action of truth

Please, since you have taken the trouble to come here, may I suggest that in listening to what I am saying, you listen to the end, and not just take little bits here and there which happen to suit you; listen to the totality of it, and you will see that the whole thing hangs together. If you take a little part of it, you will have only the ashes which will create more misery, more sorrow, more confusion.

Also, listening itself is quite an art. Most of us never really listen, therefore we hear only partially. We hear the words that are spoken, but our minds are elsewhere; or our minds respond only to the meaning of the words, and this immediate response prevents us from hearing that which lies beyond the words. So listening is an art; but if you can listen totally to what is being said, then in that very listening you will find there is a liberation, because such listening is unpremeditated, uncalculated; it is an action of truth because your whole mind is there, your total attention is being given. If you listen without interpreting, without remembering a quotation from some old book, or comparing all this with what you have read, then you will find that your own mind has undergone a really radical change.
– JKrishnamurti,from:
Collected Works, Vol. X – 185

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