July 14, 2013 Comments Off on The Devotee’s Responsibilities
The aspirant may go to his guru and be one with him by preparing himself to receive his grace. As a result he may be able to meditate, to keep his personal karma subdued sufficiently to quiet the inner forces. Once a guru has been chosen, the aspirant must be loyal to him and stay with that one guru only. He should not go from one to another, because of these subtle, powerful inner, connecting vibrations of darshan and the training received through the power of a satguru’s use of darshan. These inner, mystical laws protect the guru himself against people who wander from one guru to another, as well as warn the seeker against the fluctuating forces of his own mind as he creates and breaks the subtle yet powerful relationship with a holy person.
Satguru darshan opens psychic seals in the devotee by moving his awareness out of an area that he does not want to be in. Similarly, a blowtorch changes the consistency of metal. The satguru is like the sun. He is just there, radiating this very pure energy like the sun evaporates water. The satguru hardly does anything at all. It is the seeker who opens himself to the great accumulated power of darshan which the guru inherited from his guru and his guru’s guru, as well as the natural darshan he unfolded from within himself through his evolution and practices of sadhana and tapas. It’s all up to the aspirant at first.
A satguru doesn’t do a thing. The guru can amuse himself externally with anything. It does not make any difference in his darshan when he is at a certain point in his unfoldment. If you are around him long enough, and if you are honest with yourself and persistent in the tasks he asks you to perform and directions he gives you, psychic seals lift after awhile. But you have to do your part. He does his in an inner way, and as he does, you will feel the psychic seals melt away under his fiery darshan, just like a blowtorch penetrates and transforms the metal it touches. – Lesson 308 from Merging with Siva, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
April 23, 2013 Comments Off on Sadhana and The Five Duties
When we study and practice our religion, we are not necessarily performing deep sadhana. We are simply dispatching our religious duties. These duties are concisely outlined in the pancha nitya karmas, the five minimal religious obligations of Hindus. The first duty is dharma, proper conduct, living one’s life according to the teachings of the Tirukural and atoning for misconduct. The second duty is upasana, worship, performing a personal vigil each day, preferably before dawn, including a puja, followed by the performance of japa, scriptural study, and meditation. The third duty is utsava, holy days, observing each Friday (or Monday) as a holy day, as well as the major festival days through the year. On the weekly holy day, one cleans and decorates the home altar, attends the nearby temple and observes a fast. The fourth duty of all Hindus is tirthayatra, pilgrimage. At least once each year, a pilgrimage is made to a Hindu temple away from one’s local area. Fifth is samskaras, the observance of traditional rites of passage, including namakarana, name-giving; vivaha, marriage; and antyesti, funeral rites.
Another vital aspect of Hindu duty is service. The Vedas remind us, “When a man is born, whoever he may be, there is born simultaneously a debt to the Gods, to the sages, to the ancestors and to men” (Shukla Yajur Veda, SB 22.214.171.124. ve, p. 393). Service to the community, includes helping the poor, caring for the aged, supporting religious institutions, building schools and upholding the lofty principle of ahimsa in raising one’s children. Hinduism is a general and free-flowing, relaxed religion, experienced in the temple, in the ashramas, the aadheenams, at festivals, on pilgrimage and in the home.
The performance of personal sadhana, discipline for self-transformation, is one step deeper in making religion real in one’s life. Through sadhana we learn to control the energies of the body and nerve system, and we experience that through the control of the breath the mind becomes peaceful. Sadhana is practiced in the home, in the forest, by a flowing river, under a favorite tree, in the temple, in gurukulas or wherever a pure, serene atmosphere can be found. A vrata, vow, is often taken before serious sadhana is begun. The vrata is a personal pledge between oneself, one’s guru and the angelic beings of the inner worlds to perform the disciplines regularly, conscientiously, at the same time each day.- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, from: Living with siva
April 19, 2013 Comments Off on ANASAKTI YOGA
Asakti is attachment. Man gets attached to the objects of the world and is bound thereby. He takes birth after birth and is caught in the wheel of birth and death. Attachment is death. Non-attachment is eternal life.
Anasakti is non-attachment. Asakti is destroyed by vairagya (dispassion) and viveka (discrimination between the real and the unreal). Look at these – birth, death, old age, disease, impermanence, pain, sorrow, misery, worries, anxieties, fears, etc. Thus you will develop non-attachment.
If you abandon attachment to the fruits of your actions, if you are ever content, if you consecrate the fruits of your actions and the actions themselves to the Lord, you will attain emancipation. Actions will not bind you because you are not doing anything, although you go through the motions of doing something. This is anasakti yoga.
Do not hope for anything. Control the mind and the senses. Give up greed and desire. Free yourself from the pairs of opposites. Be balanced in success and failure. Destroy envy. Though you perform actions you are not bound. Destroy attachment. Be harmonious.
Fix the mind on the innermost Atman – now you will not be bound. You will attain salvation. Practise this yoga. You will purify your heart and attain the goal of life.
Selfless work is yoga. Work is atma-puja (worship of the self). There is no loss in service. Work is transmuted into jnana (wisdom). See the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, Verse 33. “Sarva karmakhalam partha jnane pari samapyate – all actions, in their entirety, O Partha, culminate in wisdom”.
Service of the sick is service of the Lord. There is no yoga greater than relieving human suffering. If you serve a sick man for half an hour, it is tantamount to meditating for three hours, or doing japa of Om 21,600 times. Do not think that in service there is loss.
Karma yoga is only a means to an end. It removes the impurities of the mind. As soon as purification is effected, you will have to take refuge in vedanta, the path of jnana (self-knowledge). – Swami Sivananda
April 12, 2013 Comments Off on BENEFITS OF KARMA YOGA
Karma yoga prepares the mind for the reception of the light of knowledge. It expands the heart and breaks all barriers that stand in the way of unity or oneness. Karma yoga is the effective method or sadhana for citta suddhi (purification of the mind).
When the thought of doing good to others becomes a part and parcel of man’s life, of his very being, then he will not entertain the least selfish motive. He will take immense delight in serving others and in doing good to others.
There is a peculiar joy and bliss in vigorous selfless service. You get inner spiritual strength and power by performing motiveless and selfless service.
You will develop humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance and mercy. The sense of separateness will be annihilated. Selfishness will be eradicated. You will get a broad and liberal outlook on life. You will begin to feel oneness and unity. Eventually you will attain knowledge of the self.
If you really want to grow in the spiritual path, you must do all sorts of service daily, till the end of your life. Then only you are safe. Do not stop serving when you become a famous yogi. The spirit of service must enter every nerve, cell, tissue and bone of your body. Then you will become a real, full-blown practical vedantin.
This is a prayer for karma yogis by Sri Sankaracarya: “Thou art Atman, buddhi is thy consort Parvati; the prana is thy attendant; this body is thy house; the act of sensual enjoyment is thy worship; deep sleep is samadhi; walking by my feet is the prambulation around thee; all my speeches are thy praise; whatever actions I perform, are all thy worship, O Lord Siva”. – Swami Sivananda
April 6, 2013 Comments Off on BE FREE IN ACTION
Every thought and every deed of yours will generate certain tendencies which will affect your life here and hereafter. If you do good actions with a selfless spirit, you will soar high into the regions of bliss and peace. As you sow so shall you reap.
Good actions generate good thoughts. Wrong actions bring pain, misery and unhappiness. Every one of us is governed by the law of action and reaction. Your present personality is the total result of your previous actions and thoughts. Your future depends upon your present action. Man moulds his own destiny.
Actions by themselves do not bind a person. It is the attachment and identification in regard to the work that binds us and brings pain and misery. It is the motive that binds you. It is the motive that liberates you.
Work, but work with detachment. In every act kindle the light of divine love. Always remember your essential divine nature and act in the world in a spirit of divine dedication. This world is ruled by the Lord’s eternal laws. In the east, the great law of cause and effect is called karma. In the New Testament the same truth is expressed in the words: “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap”. (Gal. 6-7).
Actions produce samskara (mental impressions) that coalesce and form tendencies. Tendencies develop into habits and character. Evil deeds generate bad character.
Actions, without the idea of agency, without expectation of fruits, without attachment to the action, and being balanced in success and failure, will not bind you. Selfless actions purify your heart and lead to the attainment of wisdom of the self.
Karma yoga is skill in action. It is a great art. You have to take as much interest in each act that you perform daily, as an artist takes in his dearly loved paintings. Note how, after keen deliberation, the artist puts the brush – his entire mind is centred on the work in hand – his entire being is focussed on the painting – he works self-forgetfully. This should be your attitude. Take this interest in all that you do and at the same time be detached from all your actions. Then you will not be bound to samsara (the wheel of birth and death). – Swami Sivananda
February 18, 2013 Comments Off on Balance Of Mind
Samadhana is mental balance. There is perfect concentration now. This is the fruit of the practices of sama (control of mind), dama (control of the senses), uparati (turning away), titiksa (endurance) and sraddha (faith). It is fixing the mind on Atman (Self) without allowing it to run towards objects and have its own way. It is self-settledness. Sri Sankaracharya defines in “Atma-Anatma Viveka”: “Whenever a mind engaged in sravana (hearing) and the rest wanders to any worldly object or desire, and finding it worthless, returns to the performance of the three exercises – such returning is called samadhana.”
The mind is free from anxiety amid pains. There is indifference amid pleasures. There is stability of mind or mental poise. The aspirant or practitioner lives without attachment. He neither likes nor dislikes. He has a great deal of strength of mind and internal peace. He has unruffled supreme peace of mind.
Some aspirants have peace of mind when they live in seclusion, when there are no distracting elements or factors. They complain of great tossing of mind (viksepa) when they come to a city, when they mix with people. They are completely upset. They cannot do any meditation in a crowded place. This is a weakness. This is not achievement in samadhana. There is no balance of mind or equanimity in these persons. Only when a student can keep his balance of mind even in a battlefield when there is a shower of bullets all round, as he does in a solitary cave in the Himalayas, can he be really said to be fully established in samadhana.
Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “Perform all actions, O Dhananjaya, dwelling in union with the divine, renouncing attachments, and balanced evenly in success and failure.” This is samadhana. Again you will find in the Gita: “The disciplined self, moving among the sense objects with senses freed from attraction and repulsion, mastered by the self, goeth to peace.” This is also samadhana. – Swami Sivananda
December 31, 2012 Comments Off on How Is Namah Sivaya Properly Chanted?
The Panchakshara Mantra, Namah Sivaya, is repeated verbally or mentally, often while counting a mala of rudraksha beads, drawing the mind in upon itself to cognize Lord Siva’s infinite, all-pervasive presence. Aum.
Japa yoga is the first yoga to be performed toward the goal of jnana. In the temple perform japa. Under your favorite tree perform japa. Seated in a remote cave perform japa. Aum Namah Sivaya can be performed on rudraksha beads over and over when the sun is setting, when the sun is rising or high noon lights the day. “Aum Namah Sivaya,” the Saivite chants. Aum Namah Sivaya feeds his soul, brightens his intellect and quells his instinctive mind. Take the holy tears of Siva, the auburn rudraksha beads, into your hands. Push a bead over the middle finger with your thumb and hold as the intonation marks its passage. The duly initiated audibly repeats “Namah Sivaya,” and when japa is performed silently, mentally chants “Sivaya Namah.” There are many ways to chant this mantra, but perform it as you were initiated. Unauthorized experimentation is forbidden. Those prone to angry rage should never do japa. The Tirumantiram announces, “His feet are the letter Na. His navel is the letter Ma. His shoulders are the letter Shi. His mouth, the letter Va. His radiant cranial center aloft is Ya. Thus is the five-lettered form of Siva.” Aum Namah Sivaya. – from Sathguru Sivaya Subramuniya swami