December 26, 2013 Comments Off on Failure, either in health or affairs
Failure, either in health or affairs, means there has been lack of self-control.
Bowl of Saki, December 24, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
The control of the self means the control of everything. What does it mean when we see a person fail time after time, or another person succeed time after time? It is just a matter of holding the reins of our affairs in our hands. When there is no rein there is failure. Failure means that there has been lack of self-control, whether it is a failure in affairs or in health.
In order to practise self-control in everything one does in everyday life, the best thing is to develop in one’s nature a certain amount of indifference. Every word that is said to one need not be taken to be so important that it should upset one’s whole being, disturb one’s balance and rob one of one’s will power.
There are things that matter, but there are many things in one’s everyday life which do not matter much and one often is apt to put an undue stress upon them. … All one says and does, and all that one thinks and feels, makes a certain strain upon one’s spirit. It is wise to avoid every chance of losing one’s equilibrium. One must stand peacefully but firmly against all influences that disturb one’s life. The natural inclination is to answer in defence to every offense that comes from outside; by that one loses one’s equilibrium. Self-control therefore is the key to all success and happiness.
~~~ “Complete Works of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, 1923 II, Character Building”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Our lives are so absorbed in worthless things; very little time has been left to us to think about life and the mystery of it. Absorbed as we are in worldly things, all these will take away all our lives and thoughts. But a fuller life should be lived.
At the back of all the misfortunes of humanity, the lack of patience, of self control, of consideration and equilibrium, the one reason is: the lack of self-discipline. Wherefore all mystics say, the medicine of all diseases is this: to be master of life. … Be wise as the serpent, the Bible says. The serpent is, in its stillness, a symbol of wisdom. It can rest its body for hours together without moving. How difficult it is for man to be motionless for a quarter of an hour. We can hardly be still for one moment if the photographer tells us so.
So man has no control over his own life, and as long as he has no control over his body and mind, he cannot gain that control over his spiritual life, he can never attain to that inner vision which is the benediction of life.
~~~ “Complete Works of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, 1924 I, Power of Breath”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
December 17, 2013 Comments Off on Behind us all is one spirit and one life
Behind us all is one spirit and one life; how then can we be happy if our neighbor is not also happy?
Bowl of Saki, December 15, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Selfishness may begin with the thought, ‘As long as my country is benefited, that benefits me;’ and then it will narrow down to, ‘If my family is benefited, if we become wealthy and have desirable things, that is sufficient for the present!’ And then it narrows down again, ‘For my father, or mother, or wife or children,’ until it ends in, ‘Nothing matters as long as I am happy myself.’ Man has now become cold, ignorant, and blind to the law that life depends on the happiness of those with whom we live. The whole of life is one. In all these different names and manifestations life is one. The true thought is, ‘If my wife is not happy, if my children, my neighbors, my servants are not happy, how can I ever be happy?’
The Prophets and Masters have warned mankind against the intoxication of self-interest and egoism. The world, the nation, the family can be pictured as one single body and when one part of the body has pain although the other part has no pain, the person feels sick. Therefore you can never be happy unless you see your brother and your neighbor happy also. But very few people think this way; very few see it from the true point of view. … For man must have a perfect ideal to which he directs his activities. When the ideal is imperfect, the progress is imperfect also. … The work of the spiritual man is to forget his false self and so to realize the true self which is God, and this true self not only in him, but in his neighbor also.
~~~ “Supplementary Papers, Brotherhood II”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)
November 3, 2013 Comments Off on Man mistakes when he begins
Man mistakes when he begins to cultivate the heart by wanting to sow the
seed himself, instead of leaving the sowing to God.
Bowl of Saki, October 29, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:
The Sufis have learned the lesson of love, of devotion, of sympathy, and
have called it the cultivation of the heart. It is known by the word suluk,
which means the loving manner. What we call refined manner is only a manner
behind which there is no life. When manner is directed by the heart quality
then it becomes loving manner, the manner that comes from love, and all
such attributes as kindness, gentleness, tolerance, forgiveness, mercy and
compassion — they all spring from this loving manner. … One may ask: How
to cultivate the heart quality? There is only one way: to become selfless
at each step one takes forward on this path, for what prevents one from
cultivating the loving quality is the thought of self.
The question may be asked: Is any effort required for realizing the truth?
The answer is yes. There is a work that one can do, which is as the work of
a farmer, it is to cultivate the heart. But where man makes a mistake is
that when he cultivates the heart he wishes to sow the seed himself instead
of leaving the sowing of the seed to God. As to the way how to cultivate
the heart, the first condition is explained in a story. A young man went to
a great seer in Persia and asked him for guidance on the spiritual path.
The seer asked him, ‘Have you loved in your life?’ ‘No’ he said, ‘not yet.’
The seer answered, ‘Go and love, and know what love is. Then come to me.’
October 10, 2013 Comments Off on It is the image that gets hurt
What is it that is hurt? One says that it is I who am hurt. What is that “I”? From childhood one has built up an image of oneself. One has many, many images, not only the images that people give one, but also the images that one has built oneself: as an American— that is an image—or as a Hindu, or as a specialist. So the “I” is the image that one has built about oneself, as a great or a very good man, and it is that image that gets hurt. One may have an image of oneself as a great speaker, writer, spiritual being, leader. These images are the core of oneself; when one says one is hurt, one means the images are hurt. If one has an image about oneself and another comes along and says, “Don’t be an idiot”, one gets hurt. The image which has been built about oneself as not being an idiot is “me”, and that gets hurt. One carries that image and that hurt for the rest of one’s life. – Krishnamurti, The Flame of Attention, p 88
September 17, 2013 Comments Off on From Attachment to Sublimity
Attachment, resultant misery and the rest are all in and by the mind. It is a mental condition. The way to cure it or get relief should also be ‘mental’. Is there any doubt on this? So the mind should again and again think, reflect and understand that to be attached is not good – it causes affliction. This ‘counter-introspection’ – if I can so describe it – must be cultivated. This is done by spending some time on the problem of attachment, the need for being relieved of it. Sit and reflect over the episodes or values.
It is almost like speaking to the mind, as you would to another. Discuss with the mind itself, the mind’s problems: “What is the use of being attached? To be attached is to be suffering. Is suffering good or acceptable, by any standard? Whatever causes suffering must be got rid of. My attachment brings misery. To whomsoever it is, it has to be dispensed with. How many times should I suffer and keep on suffering … …?”
Strengthen your grasp of the problem and the need for its solution. Once you are clear as to where lies the solution, you do not have to do this kind of introspection again and again. So, work for the solution. How? This is where the deekshaa comes in. Sit and contemplate, chanting the mantra. To chant the mantra is actually to pursue meditation. Mantra is actually an idea. You consider the Lord, the Paramaatmaa to be the Supreme. Everything emerges from Him and also subsists on Him. The mind is His expression. Thoughts again are propelled by the same source.
By contemplating on the Paramaatmaa and by expressing your allegiance to him, you make yourself pious, devotional and sublime. This sublimity will be felt, and will also sublimate all that you think, act and speak. The transformation comes and grips from within. Like milk poured into water making water milky, the sublimation permeating from the Self (Aatmaa) will gradually sublimate the mind and intelligence. Mind’s thoughts will become more harmonious, and intelligence’s reasoning also will be equally so.
The benefit of this sublimity is fully experiential – it will be felt by you. Credit not claimed or sought, yet credit-worthy thoughts and acts still being done, is an indication of inner sublimation. Mantra surely works. Don’t call it ‘auto-suggestion’ and the like and demean the process. Growth is always from within to without, from inner to outer. Can spiritual growth be different? Understand the efficacy of mantra. What you are doing through anusandhaana is actually a pursuit, it is not a mere japa (chanting).
Your very feeling – the inner pressure – for purity itself is the result of the saadhanaa. The same saadhanaa will bring many more important changes, transformations. So carry on.
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An excerpt from Poojya Swamiji’s correspondance with a seeker that was published in the June 2012 issue of Vicharasethu.]
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012
September 12, 2013 Comments Off on THE PRACTICE OF CONCENTRATION
Fix the mind on some object, within the body or without. Keep it there, steadily, for some time. This is concentration. Practise this daily.
Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance. You can concentrate internally on any of the seven centres of spiritual energy. A man who is filled with passion and fantastic desires can hardly concentrate at all, even for a second. His mind jumps around like a monkey.
Sit in the lotus pose. Gaze gently at the tip of the nose. Practise this for one minute in the beginning, gradually increasing it to half an hour. This steadies the mind and develops the power of concentration. Keep this up even as you walk about.
Or, sit in the lotus pose, fixing the mind between the eyebrows. Do this gently for half a minute. Gradually increase to half an hour or more. This removes tossing of the mind and develops concentration. Select either of these methods.
If you want to increase your power of concentration, you will have to reduce your worldly activities. You will have to observe the vow of silence every day for two hours or more. When the mind runs from an object, bring it back again and again. When concentration is deep and intense, the senses cannot operate. He who practises concentration for three hours a day will have tremendous psychic power and will power.
You should steadily direct your gaze towards the tip of the nose (nasikagra drsti) and keep the mind fixed on the Self only. In chapter five, verse 25 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says: “Having made the mind abide in the self, let him not think of anything.” Another gaze is gazing between the eyebrows. Do not strain the eyes; practise gently.
When you practise concentration on the end of the nose, you will experience various sorts of fragrance. When you concentrate on the ajna cakra (eyebrow centre), you will experience divya jyoti (divine light). This will give you encouragement. It will push you up the spiritual path and convince you of the existence of transcendental things. Do not stop your sadhana (practice) now. – Swami Sivananada
September 11, 2013 Comments Off on INSTRUCTION IN JAPA
Make the divine name the sheet-anchor and prop of your life. If you take to the recitation of the divine name, all inauspiciousness will certainly vanish. Om Tat Sat is the most excellent of mantras (mystic formula). One becomes a siddha (perfect being) by japa of this mantra, Om Tat Sat. By repetition of this mantra, Om Tat Sat one becomes the conqueror of death. Practice of the divine names and sincere prayer to the Lord, are the greatest purifiers of the heart and of human nature.
After selecting a suitable mantra, stick to it. Frequent change of mantra is not desirable. All mantras mean and signify the same thing – the supreme truth, the one eternal, infinite, almighty being. Ever remember the Lord. His divine name is the greatest treasure in this life. His name has got indescribable power. It bestows blessings upon all those who have faith.
Remembrance of the Lord is auspiciousness and forgetfulness of the Lord is inauspiciousness. Reciting the names of the Lord at bedtime is a good practice. Sing the Lord’s names. Dance in ecstasy. Be regular in your sadhana (spiritual practice). Realise the Self in this very birth.
Japa is of three kinds: manasic (mental), upamsu (humming) and vaikhari (audible) japa. Mental japa is more powerful than audible japa.
Get up at 4 a.m. and do japa for two hours. This is the most favourable time for japa and for meditation. If you cannot take a bath, wash your hands, face, feet before sitting for japa. Face north when sitting as this enhances the efficacy of the japa. Sit on a kusa (grass) seat or deer skin or rug, with a white cloth spread over it. This conserves body electricity. Recite some prayers before starting japa. Have a steady pose. Be able to sit on padma, siddhas or sukha asana for three hours at a stretch.
Repetition of the mantra removes the dirt of the mind things such as lust, anger and greed. The mind, from which the impurities have been removed, acquires the capacity to reflect the highest spiritual truth. – Swami Sivananda