Archive for the ‘Routine’ Category

The Life of a Women

Posted: 19/07/2013 in Routine

It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or from the west; they originate within one’s own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortune from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.

There are four types of women.

  1. Of the first type are those who become angry for slight causes, who have changeable minds, who are greedy and jealous of other’s happiness, and who have no sympathy for the needs of others.
  2. Of the second type there are those who grow angry over trifling affairs, who are fickle and greedy, but who do not feel envious of others happiness and who are sympathetic for the needs of others.
  3. Of the third type there are those who are more  broad-minded and do not become angry very often, who know how to control a greedy mind but are not able to avoid the feeling of jealousy, and whom are not sympathetic for the needs of others.
  4. Of the fourth type there are broad-minded, who can restrain the feel of greed and retain calmness of mind,who do not feel envious of others happiness, and who are sympathetic for the needs of others.

When a young woman marries, she should make the following resolutions:

  1. I must honor and serve the parents of my husband.They have given us all the advantages we have and are our wise protectors,so i must serve with appreciation and be ready to help them whenever i can.
  2. I must be respectful to my husbands teacher, because he has given my husband a sacred teaching and we could not live as human beings without the guidance of these sacred teaching.
  3. I must cultivate my mind so that i will be able to understand my husband and be able to help him in his work. I must never be indifferent to his interest thinking their his affairs but not mind.
  4. I must study the nature,ability and taste of each of the servants of our family and look after them kindly. I will conserve the income of my husband and will not waste it for any selfish purpose.

~ To be continued ~

Penance

Posted: 29/06/2013 in Routine
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Vasana is divided into two, the pure and the impure. If thou art led by the pure vasanas, thou shalt thereby soon reach by degrees My Seat. But should the old, impure vasanas land thee in danger, they should be overcome through various efforts.

Means of Atonement

Vitalized by bhakti’s grace, a devotee’s conscience is aroused, bringing the desire to confess, repent and make up for misdeeds. Through divine sight, the soul perceives unwise actions, performed when in the lower nature, as a hindrance to spiritual progress. Tantras are many to release the soul from these burdensome bonds. Penance well performed propels the soul into its natural state of bliss.

Chakras look like lotus flowers. There are four petals on the muladhara chakra, which is situated at the base of the spine. These petals unfold one after another as a person’s consciousness emerges upward from jealousy, anger and fear into memory, reason and willpower. Only then awakens the consciousness of religiousness and the ability to admit the existence of God and angelic beings. This new humility causes the devotee to admit that grace is needed to progress on the spiritual path and resolve unwholesome karmas of the past, to admit that wisdom is needed to avoid making new unwholesome karmas in the future. The four petals of the muladhara can be described as unrestrained remorse, confession, repentance and reconciliation.

All help is given by the divine devas to those who admit their mistakes and are seen performing a sincere penance. These devas that oversee those in a penitent state of mind are similar to doctors and nurses gathered to help their patient become well again. The angelic helpers surround their “patient,” assisting in the relief of mental and emotional illness caused by transgression of dharma and the guilt that follows. When the penitent is undergoing penance, it is a form of tapas, described by some as psychic surgery performed by the devas working together to bring the soul from darkness into light. It truly is a happy event, but only long after it is over.

When penance is given, it must be fulfilled, especially when requested. Otherwise, the life of the penitent is vulnerable to the company of asuras. Penance is given after a certain degree of remorse is shown and the urgency is felt by the devotee to rid his mind of the plaguing matter. Admitting a transgression, I have discovered, is often preceded by one of three forms of denial: casual denial, soft denial or hard denial. Say a boy steals some candy from a store. Casual denial is making little of the matter, “Big deal! Why is everyone so upset?” Soft denial is rationalizing, “Yes, I took the candy, so what? It was only two dollars’ worth!” Hard denial is to say, “I didn’t do it. They have me mixed up with another boy!”

We all know the refined, uplifting feeling of bhakti. Every religious person in the world has experienced this at one time or another. It is the total surrendering of oneself to God and the Gods. As the soul emerges out of the lower aspects of the instinctive mind, the muladhara chakra begins to unfold because of the bhakti that has been awakened through daily worship and sadhana. Admission and honest confession then bring up repentant feelings through the subsuperconscious mind quite unbidden. When this happens within the devotee, it is truly a boon, marking progress on the spiritual path. Confession, the voice of the soul, can now be heard. As the intellect clears, the honest truths of experience, formerly hidden to oneself as well as to others, are revealed. The soul, the conscience, emerges in all honesty and remorsefully confesses the burdens it has been carrying. Yes, confession is truly the voice of the soul. Nothing is hidden to oneself when dharma supersedes adharma.

Confession And Penance

As a mature being in the higher nature, above the muladhara chakra, ever seeking higher plateaus through sadhana, the Saivite seeks peace whenever the mind is troubled. How does such a Saivite confess? How does one tell of the reactions to misdeeds performed in all innocence when but a child in the lower consciousness, living in the lower nature, below the muladhara chakra? How and whom does one tell of misdeeds performed during a lapse of conscience, even when living a life of dharma? A Saivite confesses to God Siva, the Gods or his guru. To confess to God Siva, go to His temple and mentally, psychically place your burden at the holy feet of the murti in the sanctum sanctorum. To confess to Gods Murugan or Ganesha, go to their temple and place your confession at their holy feet. Or go to your satguru and tell him of your inner plight, holding nothing back. This is how a Saivite confesses inner burdens as he emerges out of the instinctive mind of the lower nature into the purified intellect of the higher nature.

Yes, reconciliation is food for the soul. After the soul has unburdened itself of the dross of the lower mind through honest confession, a resolution must be made not to reenter the lower states or rekindle the flames of the chakras below the muladhara. To achieve reconciliation by apology for hurts caused another, or to atone by performing acts of penance if a long time has passed since the apology could have been made and received, is truly food for the soul.

There are many forms of penance, prayashchitta, such as 1,008 prostrations before Gods Ganesha, Murugan or Supreme God Siva, apologizing and showing shame for misdeeds; performing japa slowly 1,008 times on the holy rudraksha beads; giving of 108 handmade gifts to the temple; performing manual chores at the temple for 108 hours, such as cleaning, making garlands or arranging flowers; bringing offerings of cooked food; performing kavadi with miniature spears inserted in the flesh; making a pilgrimage by prostrating the body’s length again and again, or rolling around a temple. All these and more are major means of atonement after each individual confession has been made.

The keynote in serious cases is asking one’s satguru to give a specific penance once the problem has been revealed. Once the satguru is asked for penance, the penance must be performed exactly according to his instruction. It should be done with full energy and without delay. Deliberate delay or refusal to perform the penance shows the devotee has rejected the assistance of the satguru. Further advice and guidance will not be forthcoming until the instruction has been fulfilled. Therefore, a devotee in such a condition does not approach the satguru. He may, however, beseech the guru’s assistance and continued guidance if he is in the process of fulfilling the penance over a period of time.

The Esoterics Of Penance

The inner process of relieving unwanted karmic burdens occurs in this order: remorse and shame; confession (of which apology is one form); repentance; and finally reconciliation, which is making the situation right, so that good feelings abide all around. Therefore, each individual admission of a subconscious burden too heavy to carry must have its own reconciliation to clear the inner aura of negative samskaras and vasanas and replenish the inner bodies for the struggle the devotee will have to endure in unwinding from the coils of the lower, instinctive mind which block the intellect and obscure spiritual values. When no longer protected by its ignorance, the soul longs for release and cries out for solace. Prayashchitta, penance, is then the solution to dissolve the agony and bring shanti.

The guru has to know the devotee and his family karma over a long period of time before prayashchitta is given. Otherwise, it may have the wrong effect. Penance is for religious people, people who practice daily, know the philosophy and have a spiritual head of their family, people who genuinely want to reach a state of purity and grace. It is not for nonreligious people. Just as in the Catholic Church, penance, to be most effective, is given to you by the spiritual preceptor. It is not a “do-it-yourself,” New-Age kind of thing. Those who try to do it alone may overdo it. It takes a certain amount of talking and counseling to gain an understanding of what is involved. Before undertaking any of the physical prayashchittas, I have devotees do the maha vasana daha tantra — “great purification of the subconscious by fire” — writing down and then burning ten pages of memories, called samskaras, good and bad, for each year of their life to the present day.

Anything can be written down that concerns you: friends, home, family, relatives, sports, TV shows, vacations, work, pastimes, indulgences, anything that is in your mind. This may automatically clear up events of the past. The idea is to remove the emotions from the experience and bring yourself to the eternal now. Forgetting the past, concern yourself with the now, move with life day to day and create a glorious future for yourself and others. Also, I’ve experienced that sometimes just making the confession to the satguru is a sufficient prayashchitta and nothing else is necessary. What the troubled conscience thought was bad may not have been bad at all, just normal happenings, but the conscience suffers until that fact is known.

It is important to note that the vasana daha tantra must be done by hand, with pen and paper. Various devotees have tried it on the computer and found it not effective. Writing is uniquely effective because in the process the prana from the memory flows from your subconscious through your hand, through the pen and is embedded in the paper, bringing the memory out in the open to be understood, defused and released when the paper is burned. Some devotees have also tried sitting and pondering the past, meditating on it and even visualizing themselves writing down their recollections and burning them. This often does more harm than good, as it only stirs up the past.

Suitable Prescriptions

Anger, I have observed, is the most difficult fault for people to overcome, because it comes in so many different forms: pouting, long silences, shouting, yelling, swearing and more. Psychotherapist Ron Potter-Efron says in his book, Angry All the Time, that there are eight rungs of anger on the “violence ladder:” sneaky anger, the cold shoulder, blaming and shaming, swearing, screaming and yelling, demands and threats, chasing and holding, partly controlled violence, and blind rage. Some people are just angry all the time because they live in the lower nature, constantly engaged in mental criticism and arguments. Anger can eventually be controlled by putting a sum of money — five dollars, for example — in a jar each time one becomes angry and then donating that money to an orphanage. It soon gets too expensive to get angry. However, for devotees who are wealthy, that doesn’t work. For them, I’ve found the penance of fasting for the next meal after they get angry works.

The “flower penance” has proven useful especially to young people who have been beaten and abused by their parents. They put up a picture of the person who beat them — father, mother or teacher — and every day for thirty-one days place a flower in front of the picture. While doing so, they sincerely forgive the person in heart and mind. Some are able to see the experience as their own karma. They forgive their parents and experience a great deal of freedom. Others have so much hatred and resentment toward their parents that they can’t do it at all. This penance has also worked for those who have a mental conflict with their employer. There is a severe penance, too, for one who beats his children. It involves private self-punishment and giving public lectures against corporal punishment, as well as teaching classes on Positive Discipline to the public many times throughout the years.

For wife-beating, adultery and various collections of smaller transgressions, I advise the traditional, age-old penance of kavadi, putting small spears in the body, at least fifteen, and circumambulating the temple many times during a temple festival with the supervision of trained priests. Wife-beating and adultery are very serious matters; they break up homes astrally and often physically and create for the perpetrators a rotten birth in the next life. To atone for all that is very difficult.

Without resolve and remorse, no penance will work. People have an internal ego and an external ego, and for many, one is quite different from the other. For instance, someone may be smiling and joking all the time, but inside himself be angry and critical of those around him, though he lets no one see that he is. There are also those who are smiling and sociable on the outside but crying on the inside over hurts and memories of things that have happened in the past. The maha vasana daha tantra — writing down and burning all the emotion out of the memories of the past, the hurts of the past, the good things and the bad things that have happened to us since birth — harmonizes the internal and external ego so that we are the same person on the inside as on the outside. When we write down our hurts and fears and misunderstandings, as well as all the happy times, our loves and losses, our joys and sorrows — and then crumple up the paper, light it with a flame and watch it burn, thinking of it as the garbage of yesterday — we detach the emotion from the memories. Almost magically, the emotion that had held the memory vibrating within the subconscious mind, perhaps for years, goes away in the flame. There is nothing left but the quiet memory. As a result, finally the soul begins to shine forth within the person as the memory patterns of the deep past no longer bind awareness. The inner and outer become one and the same.

It is very easy to read the external personality of an individual by listening to what he says, looking at what he does and observing his various forms of communication. The internal personality of the person can be read by observing body language, facial expressions, movements of the eyes, movements of the feet and hands, the way a person walks, the hesitancy before he answers a question. All of this shows the workings of the internal ego, which generally blocks the natural joyousness of the soul. So, the first step in spiritual unfoldment is for the individual to harmonize the internal and the external ego so that he is a complete, integrated person twenty-four hours a day, and nothing is hidden, even to himself.

Releasing The Past

The older we get, the more memories we have, and those memories contain emotion — both positive emotion and negative emotion. Emotion takes many forms. We can have happy emotions, we can have sad emotions, we can have emotions of depression, we can have emotions of elation, we can have emotions of discouragement, we can have emotions of encouragement. As you go over your life, reliving it year by year, writing it all down from year one to the present, ten pages per year, you are the author of your own script. You are the star upon the stage of your own life. You may run into happy emotion, discouraging emotion, encouraging emotion. It’s good to get rid of it all. If you uncover a period of your life that makes you depressed, then you have been carrying that depression around with you for many, many years. Reliving the depression and the unhappy feelings as you write about the experiences in detail and burn the paper unwinds and releases the pranic emotional energy from each memory. You especially want to deal with the traumatic areas of the inner mind and release the discouragement, the regret, the depression, the loss of faith in humanity, the loss of faith in yourself and all those negative emotions that you’ve been carrying for so many years. They will go away like paper dragons. They will disappear.

You have three kinds of prana inside of you: spiritual, intellectual and instinctive. When you think, you make or cause a motion in that prana and create a form of prana. You speak, laugh, cry, think and interact with others; all this is the use and movement of one kind of prana or another, or a mixture of the three. In the inner mind, the subconscious pranic forms have a color and a corresponding sound when they vibrate with emotion, not unlike a Technicolor production. The purpose of this ancient tantra is to remove the color/sound from the memory pattern so that the memory would appear as a black-and-white silent movie when revisited, without the vivid, vibrating emotion. Your life, in moving and creating with the prana inside of you, can be like writing on water. An experience happens and it just goes away, without residue, without attachment, without lingering emotion. Or your life can be like carving in stone; each experience remains with you, embedded in memory by the impact of emotion. As you look back through the pages of your life, you want to melt the stone, break it up and make it go away. That’s the whole idea, regardless of what the motion is of the mind. The stones in your past are generally the surprise things that come along in life. Living a routine life — you go to work and you come home, and one day is pretty much the same as another — does not produce memories with emotions so much. But then you come to a major change, such as moving to a new home, or some new person coming into your life. That makes a big impact, and you have to deal with it. Like many people, you may deal with these things by packing them away: “I don’t want to think about that anymore.” “I don’t like that person” or, “I like that person,” but you are married so you can’t like him or her too much; so you just pack it away and try not to think about it anymore. Those are some of the things you want to dig up and discharge, to break up the patterns.

Each of us has a story. You are the major actor on the stage of your life, playing the script that you wrote. You are the director and you are the lighting engineer, the stage manager, costume designer and make-up artist. When a particular experience or pattern of experience is repeated over a long period, it creates in the sub of the subconscious mind a latent tendency or propensity in that same direction. This is a vasana, which may be positive, shubha, or negative, ashubha. A negative vasana is like a subconscious motor that makes you do things you later wish you had not done. A positive vasana brings success and good fortune. Through the vasana daha tantra, we withdraw the energy from the memories, and in so doing weaken, even destroy, the pathways or vasanas that led us to the experiences that created the negative memories and leave in place the pure, positive vasanas that will continue to create a positive future.

Spiritual Journaling

The maha vasana daha tantra, a once in a lifetime experience, is the practice of writing down ten pages of memories on lettersize lined paper (about ten words per line, twenty-eight lines, totaling 250-280 words per page) for each year of your life to date and burning them in an ordinary, nonauspicious fire. To begin, put together a collection of ten blank pages for each year of your life. Each page must be carefully marked with the page number, the year and your age at that time. Then set aside at least fifty pages for each of the other four parts of this tantra. As you proceed in your journaling, you will find it necessary from time to time to backtrack or jump ahead to a year when memories pop up related to a certain period. In other words, it’s okay to write about years out of order, especially when old memories arise naturally, but do so on the designated pages. This is the reason for numbering each page in the way suggested above. Each time a page on one of the years has been completed, it must be immediately burned.

After your journaling of ten pages per year is complete, there are five more steps, making six in all. Step two, the “spot check,” is to scan back through the years of your life and see if there are memories you missed in your previous journaling. These, of course, would be the happy and unhappy experiences, and anything else that comes to mind. The mere remembrance of an experience coming unbidden proves there is still color/sound emotion attached to it. Pay close attention to times when you did not apply the eternal laws of karma, reincarnation and the acknowledgment that Siva is everywhere and in all things. Note the times when you blamed others for what happened to you, when you did not acknowledge all happenings in life as your own creations accomplished in one life or another in the past. Be honest here. It is important to acknowledge when we do and do not put Sanatana Dharma into action in our lives. Be honest; no one is looking. You are the actor on the stage of your own experience, having written the script yourself. Write down those experiences and burn them up as garbage.

Step three is the “people check” — to write about each person who had an influence in your life, including family, friends, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and casual acquaintances. Write about your interaction with them, happy times, misunderstandings, upsets and apologies. Ask for forgiveness, forgive and give best wishes for a long life and positive future. Call each face before you and write a letter expressing appreciation, dismay, hatred, anguish, misunderstanding. Get it all out. Don’t hold anything back. No one will read it. It is a letter you do not mail, e-mail or leave lying around. Just burn it as garbage. The effect of the “people check” is to harmonize the pranas that flow from one to another. We are all connected, for we are a one human race. Those we know and whose faces and names we can remember are the closest, whether they be friends or enemies. Sometimes enemies are closer, because they are thought about more than friends. During the “people check,” bring up the love, the forgiveness, the acceptance that whatever happened in the relationship was part of the birth karmas, the prarabdha karmas, of each of you. Once the letter or series of letters has been written, the memories fade into the silent, colorless past. Then you should truly be able to bring up each face in your mind and mentally say the six magic words, the magic mantra, “I love you. You love me.”

Three More Steps to Clarity

Step four is “sex check” — to go over any past sexual experiences, including visual images such as pornography in adult movies, on the Internet, television or in magazines, dreams and fantasies. This is quite an obsession for some people, often called an addiction. Also be sure to write about youthful experimentation and, yes, masturbation and the thoughts before, during and afterwards. Include sexual repressions, regrets that you have had throughout your life up to the present day, especially any that are currently bothering you, then write them down and burn the emotion out of the memories as the garbage of the mind. This area is very important, as repeated experiences that have produced guilt or ended in sadness, and those that no one knows about but you and your partner — and happy, satisfying, longing-to-be-repeated experiences — do leave colorful memories. Some are brightly colored and sing happy songs in the memory patterns, while others are bathed in darkness and resound with dull tones. Both need to be reduced to black-and-white pictures. The modern notion of “Let’s put this behind us and go on with life” is held hostage here as color/sounds pile up in the inner aura and inhibit creativity, productivity, energy flows and even health. The “sex check” should be written in many pages of explicit detail, including letters to the partner or partners, which are not saved or mailed, of course, but immediately burned. Be open and honest with yourself; you may be writing the best porno novel of all times. Include on your last page of “sex check” some new resolves for the future in regard to sexual matters.

Step five, the “teacher check,” is to write about your relationship with your satguru, teachers, mentors or advisors, including your first meetings, initiations, encounters, instructions and any misunderstandings, large or small. Again, letters may be written, descriptions in detail, about whatever need be said. Of course, the person’s face and name should always be present in your mind when writing, as if a conversation were being held. Appreciation can be shown that was never shown, misunderstandings settled and hurts on both sides healed. As you complete each writing session, burn the pages as garbage.

The sixth stage is the “penance check.” Penance, prayashchitta, is of three kinds: mental, emotional and physical. In completing parts one through five of this tantra, you have completed the mental and emotional prayashchitta. Now we must deal with the physical in a different way. There will be a few emotional memories that writing will never cause to go away, such as not paying full taxes several years ago, stealing something, killing birds or animals for sport, or beating children, wives or husbands. These and other transgressions require resolution through actually physically doing something to mitigate these karmas made in this life. You can not write them away. Should there be in your life any of these kinds of experiences that require a physical prayashchitta, tell your spiritual teacher about them, and if ordained to do so, he or she will give you a penance to perform to put to rest those specific karmas. If I happen to be your satguru, write a letter of rededication and mail or e-mail it to me at prayas@hindu.org before beginning this sixth and final stage of the maha vasana daha tantra.

After these six steps of the maha vasana daha tantra have been completed, rejoice. Now you are ready to begin the serious practice of traditional meditation, as you dance with Siva, live with Siva and merge with Siva.

The maha vasana daha tantra is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thereafter, you continue your subconscious spiritual journaling, vasana daha tantra, when needed to maintain the clarity and inner freedom that you have achieved. I encourage everyone to write at least ten pages at the end of every year about the just-completed year in the same way, ten pages for the year, followed by the other steps, including the sixth one. This annual journaling is called the vatsarika vasana daha tantra.

Those who have performed and continue to perform this lifetime, yearly and when-needed sadhana have testified to remarkable transformations. They find that they are free of burdens, clear of mind, joyously alive in the eternal now, eager to serve and able to enjoy sublime, penetrating meditations. Unlike before, their past is now small and their future, once limited, looms large and inviting. They enjoy new-found harmony with family and friends. They find it easy and natural to fulfill the Hindu restraints and observances, the yamas and niyamas. Why? They are not burdened by vasanas created by past experiences that have not been understood, resolved and released.

Of course, at the time of death it is the memories of all the emotional happenings that pop up before one’s inner vision, and which have the power to bring you back in a future birth to be faced. Those that have been resolved and released in understanding are no longer strong in the mind. So, you are effecting a near-death experience, in a sense, upon yourself by doing this tantra, because you are putting to rest the memories of the past that you might not otherwise face until you actually die. This doesn’t mean that you forget your past. It just isn’t bothersome to you anymore. It seems almost as though it all happened to someone else.

Life is Joy

Posted: 29/06/2013 in Routine

Instill in us a wholesome, happy mind, with goodwill and understanding. Then shall we ever delight in your friendship like cows who gladly rejoice in meadows green. This is my joyful message.

Living In Spirit

Stress is a consequence of the technological age, and these days everybody is talking about stress. Stress and strains of a fast-paced and demanding modern age affect every organ of the body. A calm mind, a peaceful mind, is needed to encompass changing times. Times are changing very rapidly. To cope with these changes, we have to rely on ourselves to keep a balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life. Our religion has ways to combat stress and the diseases it causes, ways to avoid the mental anguish which this fast-paced world brings about. These pressures did not exist in the agricultural age. Things were more relaxed then. All we had to do was plant our crops and wait for the harvest. Plant and wait. Plant and wait. And in-between there was plenty of time for religious activities.

But life in the technological age is a life of constant work, constant activity, all of the time. So, we tend to set religion aside just when we need it the most. We have to rely on our religion to keep a balance in our life. It is a proven fact that religious people can cope with stress and strain better than nonreligious people. The answer to stress is not to take a pill to be able to relax. The answer is not to give up the temple, not to give up the culture, not to give up the scriptures which put everything into perspective, not to give up the art of meditation and the practices of yoga.

Spiritual things you must understand with your heart, with your feeling. Feeling and thinking, working together, give you that deep understanding that you need to cognize the wisdom of the spirit. All you can do in living your life every day is to make today just a little bit better than yesterday was. You will then have confidence in yourself, so that tomorrow will be all right, too, and you won’t fear the tomorrows. Why? Because in striving to make today the perfect day of your lifetime, you bring through your spirit. You allow the spirit, God, to permeate through all layers of your mind.

At our sunrise pilgrimage this morning to the top of Mount Tamalpais we had over thirty devotees. It was a beautiful, inspiring time. Let me explain to you just a little bit what we were researching together on the mountaintop. Your thoughts sometimes literally flood your body or flow through your body. Sometimes you find your thoughts spinning and jumping from here to there. You don’t know where they come from, and they confuse you as they flow through your body or your brain. Just as thought can flow through the body, so can spirit, or God, flow through the intuitive, the intellectual and the instinctive mind. When your thoughts flow through the body, your body becomes either dejected and heavy, or light and happy, depending upon the nature of your thinking. Affirmations can help you to improve the patterns of your thought and feeling. You have to repeat certain affirmations for certain lengths of time to produce a certain result. Every word — and the meaning of each word if you know the meaning — has a certain vibration. As a thought goes into motion, it permeates your nervous system and gives you a particular feeling. Just as your thoughts and your words can make your body feel a certain way, in the very same way the spirit, or God, flowing through the mind, can illumine and does illumine the mind and purify it.

In facing your past, if your past is not exactly what you would like to look at, and you look at it and still react to it, you will create today as a day much worse than yesterday. You will not be living the spiritual life. But if you seek first the spirit within you each day, and make the day a little bit better than yesterday, you flood the spiritual being of you, the real you, through the mind. And you wipe away and clarify much of the past and bring much understanding through your mind.

What is responsible for negative reactions of the subconscious mind? Simply the transgressions that you have caused against the natural laws of the mind, that’s all. If you transgress the laws of the physical body, eat the wrong things, behave in the wrong way, your physical body will suffer because of it. If you transgress the natural laws of the mind, hurt another instead of help another, discourage instead of encourage another person, then your mind will suffer. A part of the mind goes out of control, and that is called being emotional. The emotions are a part of the mind out of control. They gain a momentum of their own and eventually take over the entire mind. But when the will of the spirit comes up and controls the emotional nature, the emotions subside for a period of time until they gain momentum again. This goes on sometimes all through life.

Are You Ready?

When you control your emotions, you are bringing through your spiritual being. It is only your spiritual being, your soul in action, bringing through the spirit, or bringing through God, that can control the mind. When you are living in an emotional state, you are only experiencing the mind temporarily out of control. And like anything that gains its own momentum, even if you do not control it, it will subside automatically after a period of time until it builds up again. This is all caused by subtle transgressions of natural laws of the mind, in this life and in previous lives.

There are many subtle laws. For instance, if you are planning to do something for someone and then you decide for some reason that you won’t, all of the spiritual power that you had previously brought through from your spiritual being will be coagulated and blocked by your hesitation. Then tomorrow will not be as good as today was. It will be worse.

To keep your spirit flowing, always allow yourself to be in the line of understanding. In other words, do not allow misunderstanding to arise in your mind. Should misunderstanding arise, sit down, be quiet and do not get up until you understand the problem. You might have to sit for an hour. Instinctively your animal nature will not allow you to do that, but if you use willpower and persist, tomorrow will be a perfect day. Now, this is easy to talk about, and also easy to understand, but it takes a very discerning mind, utilizing the power of discrimination, to master these laws of the mind.

Train your mind to awaken the spiritual being. This is as difficult to do as it is to train a person to dance or to swim, or to accomplish any athletic feat requiring a highly trained body. You have to always be the master, and be attentive to your goals in life.

What is your goal in this life? Is your goal to sit and wallow in the emotions? Is it to memorize a lot of things that different people have said so you can quote from them? Or is your goal in life to find first your Infinite Being within yourself? If you could only once gain just a glimmer of your true Being — the spiritual Being flowing through the mind which you always thought was you. Instead, you have things that you have to do that you haven’t done, things that you will do, and things that you will not do, things that you haven’t made up your mind to do as yet and things you thought you would like to do but decided you wouldn’t do. All of this is going on as a process within yourself, and it keeps you nicely confused.

A confused mind creates the form to which you give a name, and you become Mr. or Mrs. Somebody from Somewhere. You go along like that for years and years until all of a sudden you drop dead and give up the physical body. Then what happens? What happens to this mind that is so concerned about “What will my friends think?” All of these various concepts that make up your personality, when you lay down your physical body and die, just what happens to them? Are you ready for that experience of death? You should always be ready, especially nowadays when the opportunities are so great. Always be ready, spiritually ready.

Are you spiritually ready? Have you done your duty to your family? Have you done your duty to your temple? Have you done your duty to yourself? Or do you shirk some of your responsibilities? It’s not up to your swami to know all those things about you. Somebody once said, “Well, Gurudeva just knows everything about me.” What good does that do? It’s up to you to take a running total on yourself, daily, through feeling. You can’t do it through thought; you’ll get all mixed up. Are you ready to become a spirit, a spiritual being, an illumined mind, at the moment of death? Or at the moment of death are you ready to become a completely confused, congested mass of gaseous matter, which is what a confused mind looks like? These are vital religious questions that the individual must face and find the answers to.

You Must Purify Yourself

Ask yourself, “Have I followed all the good advice given me?” You come to hear my upadesha. Your coming is the asking for advice. You get advice, and many of you ignore it and you have your own opinion. If you have your own opinion, why come? Opinions are just of the instinctive and intellectual mind. Most opinions are only moldy concepts! You come to have your opinions changed. You come to have them changed from within you through your own spiritual insight. But if you come with the armor of your opinions, then you are very foolish. You might as well stay home and live with your opinions, because there will be no spiritual progress or unfoldment for you for many, many years, maybe many lives.

Ask yourself these vital questions. What are you going to do with the past that keeps bothering you and sometimes makes today a hell on Earth for you? It is really easy to transcend this state of mind. Just remember and try to understand that the spirit within you flows through you, flows through the mind, like water flows through the Earth. If you build barriers, then you fight your own spiritual Being flowing through you. You develop qualities of jealousy, hatred, anger, revenge, and malice. Negative qualities are just congested masses of mind-stuff that are temporary and do not allow the spirit to flow through. If you have negative qualities as boulders in your mind, the spirit cannot flow through you; but as it tries to flow through, it will automatically set a part of your mind out of control, and you will be emotional. You can’t help it.

So, you must purify yourself. You purify yourself by being kind to others, being generous until it hurts, being benevolent, being ready to serve at all times until you are strained in serving. Put a smile on the faces of other people. Gain your happiness and your positive states of mind by making other people happy. Negative people are always worried about themselves. Positive people are concerned with the happiness of others. Be strong enough to understand, and do not allow yourself to sleep at night until you have understood the problems of the day. If you go to sleep with problems on your mind, you will go into a confused state of mind, and you will toss around and later say, “That is just the dream world” or “I had a nightmare.” All you did was lose your consciousness in a troubled subconscious state. But if you practice yoga, and you sit and master each problem before falling asleep, even if it takes you several hours, you will gain enough rest for the next day, for you will have made this day a perfect day.

If you refuse to do what you should do when you have the chance to do it, what hope is there for anybody else who does not even know what he should do? If you resist a spiritual life, possibly the responsibility for others falls on your shoulders, because everything starts with the one and multiplies into the many. It behooves you to understand very acutely and discriminatingly these basic principles and immediately put them into action in your life. Seize every spiritual opportunity you have to advance your soul, because when you do, the reaction is glorious on you. But when you resent and when you fight within yourself, the reaction is disastrous unto yourself, because you lose the battle when you begin to fight your own inner Self. You win the battle when you begin to express yourself spiritually, when you begin to live with Siva.

Daily Mental Maintenance

Shall we all close our eyes for just a moment and think and feel what living with Siva really means? When you are tired of playing in the emotions, that will indicate that your soul is ready to take over and control the lower states of mind. Siva is always within you, always there. Through silence, quieting your mind, you can become That which you truly are and shine out through that which you thought you were. Your experience will have a healing effect upon the mind and burn away the past. Intensify the spirit within you and heal any wounds that the mind may have. As Mother Nature heals the body, so does Siva, the Self, heal the mind. Give yourself in to the real you. Turn your mind inward. Turn your will inward and live that glorious spiritual life and be ready as a spiritual being to meet the experience of death.

Morning pujas are excellent opportunities for you to practice self-discipline, to offer yourself opportunities to change, to alter the habit patterns that have been built into your mind during the year. In these early morning meditations, you may learn to cease criticizing yourself and begin having a greater understanding of yourself. When you learn to stop criticizing yourself, you are able to appreciate the many experiences that you have been through during the year, rather than regretting them. Regret possibly is an experience more harmful than the experience you have been regretting. Some people actually live by a righteous code of ethics which offers a justification for constantly hurting themselves through regret, guilt or related emotions. Through your meditation you will appreciate your experiences for what they are — good or difficult. Simply make a resolution not to repeat the difficult ones and have faith enough to correct what your experiences have caused in the world as a result of your going through them. The first step in learning to rejuvenate your mind is being able to look objectively at your experiences. You will find this difficult to do, because you are so closely associated and identified with your mind. The mind claims you, and therefore you think that your experiences are the real you, but they are not.

After your morning puja, take five minutes to write down on a piece of paper those things which disturb you. Write concisely and honestly, without reason or justification, what is burdening your subconscious mind. In doing so, you will release yourself from the reactions to those experiences. Burn the paper in a fireplace or garbage can (not in your shrine room), and realize that the experience is complete, finished, except for the wisdom which you have now derived from it. You will find that this practice, known in Sanskrit as vasana daha tantra, does much to make your subconscious transparent and give you a greater power and control over your mind. Making the subconscious mind transparent is a basic religious practice. Only when this is first done is it possible to make progress in seeking God. Try now to find Siva within you, the permanent Reality that never changes.

Sri Ramakrishna, the great Indian saint, compared the mind’s turning inward, seeking to connect itself to God, with the image of a little boy holding on to a rope tied to a post. The little boy swings on the rope and it winds him around and around the post. Then he swings the other way, still holding on to the rope, and the rope wraps him around the post again. The little boy represents man simply having fun and enjoying the experiences of life. He is perfectly safe as long as he holds on to the rope and the rope is connected to the post, for the post is God, and That doesn’t move. The little boy we would call mind. The rope connecting mind to God is the soul, the indomitable will. And so, Sri Ramakrishna went on to say, if man turns his mind inward and keeps his mind looking within, he will see the reality of Spirit and the transient nature of all of the mind’s activity. He may live in and enjoy the activity of the mind and never be hurt or harmed so long as he holds on to that rope, maintains his inward vision constantly and holds himself connected to the permanence of his own Being.

To Realize the Spirit Within

When you have nothing in your subconscious that particularly bothers you, it is easy to turn the mind inward. But if you are bothered or disturbed, the subconscious acts as a barrier and makes it difficult to turn within. When you try to do so, up from the subconscious come all the remnants of the experiences which you hold on to through regret. If this is the case, you will have one more experience to go through before your mind does turn within. You will have to experience the understanding of all your experiences — not through analysis, not through, reason (although the “whys” may come to you intuitively), but through the higher experience of pure understanding. You will find it is possible to have an understanding of yourself without going through the process of analysis.

A disturbed mind which is not permeated with Sivaness is strong in a negative sense, strong in that it will keep you from the realization of God. When the mind is disturbed, it is outwardly strong. The mind that is not disturbed is inwardly strong. Your inner strength is always more dependable than your outward display of strength. When you have gained your inner strength, you will be able to sit in meditation for at least a half hour every day and practice being the guardian of every thought and the ruler of every feeling within your body. If you do this, you will realize That which is the center of your Being. You will be uplifted, elevated, through the purification that you have brought to your mind.

Hold your consciousness high, keep your mind alive and alert so that your soul is alive and alert. You have heard me say many times, “Observation is the first awakening of the soul.” If your observation is intense and accurate, your mind is not bothered and you are not regretting things that have happened to you in the past. But people who have poor observation often do hold on to their regrets, and they rationalize most of what happens to them, putting the blame for their own experiences on someone else. It is so much easier to close the door on these reactions and live more like on a spring day rather than in the dead of winter. Life is meant to be lived joyously. The awakened soul is a joyous soul with a positive mind. The practice of observation will bring you closer and closer to this state of consciousness.

If you feel that your observation is not keen, begin observing things more closely. Observe the different colors in a store window. Study the shadows and the shades of color in one tree. Listen to the sounds of the city. How many can you distinguish? What do they mean to you? If your observation is already good, you can participate more fully in life and find yourself living above the dreary happenings of the day.

Recognizing that all experience is but a fading dream, you are closer to the permanence within you that never changes. You can sense it. It is God. It is Siva. It has never changed. It will never change. You have all felt this permanence at one time or another, but then perhaps you find that you lose this feeling, this consciousness, and you drift out into the mind and find yourself thinking again that the mind is real. But then, maybe tomorrow, you will face it again. And as soon as you have found it, you leave it again, for the mind cannot bear the intensity of God, and you forget all about it. But then, a little later, you face that permanence within you yet again. And little by little you find that you are turning inward, opening up the inner channels more and more each day, making a greater and greater contact with God by turning within, drawing yourself ever closer to the pole at the center, the core of your Being. You will go through many different tests to prove your own realization to yourself. Face each test graciously. Welcome each test, and welcome each temptation that shows you the strength of your will over the chaotic senses. You have only to quiet all things of the mind to realize your identity with the eternity of God Siva, the spirit, the Eternal Self within you.

Overlapping Reactions

When you die, you are freed from your senses. While you are living, you are caught up in your senses and reacting to memories of things you wish you had or had not done. Many people live in a constant state of overlapping reactions. They try to find peace of mind on the outside, externally. Reactions are caused by what we have placed in the subconscious mind that we have not fully understood. Reactions are packed away in the subconscious mind, influencing our everyday life, attracting our successes and failures to us. We keep meeting blocks because of our reactions in the subconscious mind that we set up in the past. Overcome these reactions, and opportunities will open up and we will begin to succeed. Reaction is a natural thing, either positive or negative. If we are reacting in a negative way, that is because of lack of understanding; if in a positive way, that gives us more understanding, and we become our own teacher or psychologist.

If you do not understand your reaction to something, wait until it subsides emotionally, so you will not be upset, then try to understand it by writing about it in a quiet moment. Then burn the paper in an inauspicious fire, such as in a garbage can. This vasana daha tantric process releases or detaches the emotion from the memory. This means that the memory of the experience no longer harbors the emotion that was previously attached to it and vibrating twenty-four hours a day. You will still have the memory, but without a reaction or emotional charge attached to it.

There are many individuals who get their security from their reactions, who make themselves disappointed and keep themselves in a constant state of emotional vibration. Peace of mind is not a blank state. It is not having emotion attached to the memory patterns within the subconscious. These memory patterns, once freed from emotion, remain at peace, and then pure contentment resides through the entire mind. A negative reaction can be likened to a fog over the city. You cannot see clearly because of the fog.

When we react to something, how long does it take before it subsides? How can we guide our lives so as to have only positive reactions? We have to awaken a certain control over our nature. We have to anticipate what is going to happen to us. Whether we admit it or not, we attract everything that happens to us. What we react to, and what we have reacted to in the past, we will create in our future. If we face experience with understanding, we will free ourselves from recreating past unpleasant experiences. Experience is man’s greatest chain. It holds him in a certain pattern. The chains of experience get stronger and stronger until man enters spiritual life through the realms of understanding. Every man must decide whether he wants to be caged in by experience or be freed by understanding the cause of the experience.

A negative reaction may have been set up in the mind many years ago. How long does it take to subside? In a person with some understanding, the initial reaction will subside in a few hours, but it takes five to seven days before it subsides enough for him to get a complete understanding. The average man reacts to something every day. That’s what makes him average. A reaction today, another one tomorrow, another one the day after tomorrow, then those reactions are overlapping. To stop these overlapping reactions, we have to sit down and face everything that we have created for ourselves in the past and control our circumstances until the reaction subsides.

Be on your guard. Control your circumstances and your life. Guard your weak points with understanding, and don’t allow yourself to be put into a position where you will react. Then you can become fully conscious of what is within you and within your fellow man.

How to Face Yourself

Life must become positive. In reactions, man is not his best friend. He is seeking outside for something to quiet his nature. He is carrying his reactions with him, keeping old habit patterns going. For a person to renovate his subconscious mind, he must be willing to move out for awhile, redesign, rebuild, redecorate, then move back in. This is a form of spiritual discipline. Overlapping reactions are dangerous. Living in overlapping reactions and understanding nothing of how to get along without them, because of no discrimination, makes man give up.

Overcoming reaction is easy. You can wipe it out of your life and realize the benefit of having done so. Sit down and think. Look at your life. Look at the tendencies within your nature which created your habit patterns and which formed your subconscious mind and gave it the foundation for many more of the same old situations. The tendencies will be greater in each succeeding situation unless you apply the brakes of understanding. If you sit down and realize the law of cause and effect and live according to the basic laws of life, you will overcome the reactions within you. You will be able to overcome old reactions by understanding them. More realization will burst forth from within you, and you will live a more spiritual life. You can either walk through a city full of fog, or climb above it.

Thinking and believing clearly are only possible when a man knows that he knows. When you realize something, you only know of your realization after you have realized it, not before. Realization is your teacher. Realize something every day, or something will block the subconscious mind. The reactionary nature must subside. Its death gives birth to a greater understanding. If you can live for three weeks without reacting to anything, you will attain a realization.

If you simply remember this without practicing it, you will not be helping yourself or anyone else. But if you take the law and put it into practice, you will be doing something for yourself and your fellow man, because you will realize a greater spiritual power, a greater humility, and be the person you should be. Then don’t react again. Discriminate as to each move you make, each word you say, and decide whether there will be a reaction. If you can see ahead that you will not react, proceed. Dictate to yourself, face yourself, face your mistakes and don’t make them again. Breaking spiritual laws creates reactions in the subconscious, and man loses spiritual power. We can find actual peace of mind in a certain place, right here and now, within ourselves, when we overcome reactions.

Let us look within and see if we are reacting to anything right now, holding any resentment, holding any fear. Let us know that that is just a gauge of experience of the instinctive nature. Loosen it and let it go. Mentally look ahead to the future and know that everything we do and say will have a reaction. Let us give birth to good, positive, controlled reactions, and be sure that if they overlap, they are transparent — that they create a light growing brighter. Overlapping negative reactions bring darkness, depression, and make man nervous.

We have been delving into our consciousness. If you have understood all this about your reactions, your subconscious mind has been impressed. Look into your mirror. Your reflection is your subconscious mind objectified. Find out what is holding you back. Face yourself and find out what is keeping you from expressing the great things which are within you here and now. After all, life is meant to be lived joyously.

Willpower

Posted: 29/06/2013 in Routine

O All-Knowing God, that powerful strength with which sacrifice endows you, the strength of the sun, the strength of the elephant, King among men — may the two Spirits, garlanded with lotus, vouchsafe that to me! Behold the elephant, best of all creatures to mount and to ride! I anoint myself with his share of strength, with his elephant splendor!

Awareness, Will And Life Force

The primal life force ever resident within the body, emotions and mind of man is, when used or allowed to function, what I term willpower. Now we can see that the ever-present persistence of life force gives an overabundance of willpower and with it the ability to direct it from deep within. This ability to direct the willpower is the jnana, the wisdom we seek. We have but two choices: to gain jnana through learning the tried-and-tested, set patterns for living and conducting ourself or, through assuming a relaxed approach of ignorance, be guided by the “good” and “bad” and mixed emotional forces of the wills of others. Therefore, the devotee seeks to gain the conscious control of his own willpower, to awaken knowledge of the primal force through the direct experience of it, and to claim conscious control of his own individual awareness.

Thus we can begin to see that our individual awareness, willpower and the primal life force deep within body, emotion and mind are, in fact, one and the same — that willpower, individual awareness and life force, their habits and usages, are but various aspects.

You will notice that, through our study together, these three aspects are referred to time and time again, individually as well as collectively. However, in the study of yoga it is important to keep in mind the totality of their sameness in order to fully identify your personal and continued experience of yourself as a being with unlimited will, constantly and fully aware of the primal life force flowing through body and emotions, as you, awareness, travel through the mind. This is the goal of the jnani, the one who has attained to wisdom, to the acquisition of divine knowledge and the personal experience of what he has learned.

A child in his early years becoming acquainted with living with his family on this planet will show tendencies toward a quiet, peaceful will or a provocative willfulness. The wise parent teaches the culture and etiquette of the household and the community at large, ever endeavoring to bring forth the inner knowledge within the child as to the wise use of his willpower, guiding him carefully away from impulsive, willful behavior so that, little by little, he becomes responsible for the action he causes, as well as its reactions. The unwise parent with no particular cultural heritage, completely vulnerable to his own instinctive impulses, overlooks this area of childhood training. Therefore, impulsive willfulness bursts forth from within the children, cultivating abilities to hurt themselves as well as others, and to upset the home, with no particular remedy in view.

This of course is the opposite to what we have in mind to obtain for ourselves. It is the attainment of that ever-collected mastery over our faculties through holding our inner perspective of them that keeps a heavy reign over the aspect of awareness called willpower, maintaining an even balance between the emotional-instinctive, the intellectual and the spiritual aspects of our being. It is through the study of raja yoga, while always holding a silent overview as to what you are learning and how it relates to your particular life patterns, that you will come to know that an inner change is taking place. Harness the powers of your will in the ways indicated. The reward is simultaneous with the effort employed. The results are immediate.

Inner and Outer Willpower

There are basically two aspects to the force of willpower. One controls our external life in the world and with those about us. The other controls our internal life, strivings and personal spiritual disciplines, or sadhanas. The externalized individual, who throws his force totally into the outer aspect of willpower, inwardly suffers nervousness, confusion and the lack of self-mastery. The devotee who throws his force totally into the inner aspect of willpower suffers total withdrawal from being able to face and cope with the forces of the world at large.

It is the total willpower, through both these two aspects of will, the inner and the outer, that the devotee seeks to develop within himself, with an emphasis on the internalized, spiritual processes of his being, for he full well knows that only in this way is he able to serve effectively in the world without being of the world in any way.

Willpower developed in this way brings forth the complete being of man to the foreground of himself. He no longer feels he has to sit and meditate to leave one area of the mind, through detaching himself from that area because of his sense of dislike of it, in order to go into another more desirable area. His free flow of awareness from the inner to the outer is but a short distance, so to speak, when the fulfillment of his sadhana has equalized the forces of the totality of his willpower.

Only the more evolved souls, through acute perceptions, can understand these analogies without confusing them into prior conceptions they may have had about the force of will. We must always try to grasp the totality of what is being said, from the overview, rather than endeavor to hassle with one individual concept or another. It is only through sadhana performed regularly over a long period of time that any of this knowledge becomes experiential reality in one’s life. The first sadhana, therefore, is to always hold the overview and cling in your memory to the intuitive flashes that come as a result. These intuitive flashes come from deep within and are the only thing that should be remembered, for this is your jnana, your insightfulness, your own wisdom, breaking through.

It is only when one identifies his willpower as separate and a tool unto itself that he is able to move into the next phase, of discerning the difference between the primal life force within him and what it manifests. Then he can separate awareness from these manifestations, for he has gained the intuitive knowledge that he is the all-pervading life force in the universe. Once awareness has attained individuality and the devotee becomes the onlooker rather than identifying with what he looks upon, then he becomes full of the substance of the totality of the primal force which he experiences as willpower and is able to use this willpower in his daily life, which he experiences as awareness flowing through the mind. This shows the evolution of this awakening on the inner path.

Harnessing Willpower

In the beginning stages on the path, you will surely experience your mind wandering. This is what “the mind wandering” means, that awareness is totally identified with everything that it is aware of. This gives us the sense, the feeling, that we are the mind, or that we are the emotions or the body. And so, when you are sitting for meditation, myriad thoughts bounce through the brain, and it becomes difficult to even concentrate upon what is supposed to be meditated upon — in some cases, even to remember what it was. That is why the sadhana of the practices of yoga given in Merging with Siva must be mastered to some extent in order to gain enough control over the willpower and subtle sense organs to cause the meditation to become introverted rather than extroverted.

The grace of the guru can cause this to happen, because he stabilizes the willpower, the awareness, within his disciple, as a harmonious father and mother stabilize the home for their offspring. If one has no guru, or has one and is only a part-time disciple whose guru is a picture on the wall, then he must struggle in his efforts as an orphan in the institution of external life. I feel some of the basic tools to struggle along with are clearly explained in this book, and every effort made toward the Divinity of oneself only serves to bring forth blessings, which may not immediately be seen, but will manifest in years to come.

It is the regular practice of sadhana that really counts, for the habit patterns of the subconscious mind must be gently guided into new channels of expression. It is only when this begins to occur that some results will be visibly seen.

Willpower is first identified through the processes of self-control when the devotee finds himself impelled by instinctive impulses into directions that he has long since passed through and experienced. Thus, self-control, of the appetite, the fantasies, the reactions, is diligently sought for through performance of his sadhana — chanting on the beads, performing regulated religious routine and ritual during the day and various other more personal disciplines given to him by his satguru. It is not without great effort that this control of the little “self” is attained.

The next challenge then is the use of the willpower to control the intellect. A precisely controlled intellect pierces deeply beyond the veil of words into the threshold of spiritual experience. The noble devotee uses his willpower to discriminate philosophically as to the nature of his quest. It is the elimination of words and thoughts, which are the intellect, that is his goal. He already has a great deal of self-discipline through having conquered, somewhat, the emotions and passionate instincts of his past. Now comes the more advanced practice of pranayama, the control of breath and inner direction of prana in transmutation toward the highest goal, of realization of the Self, that he hopes one day to attain.

Merging into The Self God

When one looks at the Earth and the Sun, one thinks more of the Earth than of the Sun, which is so far away. Traveling through space toward the Sun, the Earth fades into a distant speck and one contemplates the Sun as it looms larger and larger as he draws nearer and nearer. There is no intellect here, you see, for the intellect is connected to the Earth in its exterior ramifications of worldliness. The devotee’s path is to merge into the Sun. The devotee’s path is to merge — in the totality of his awareness, willpower and life force — into the Self, God, Siva. Siva is the ancient name of the Self, God. Mystically, Shi is the Absolute state. Va is the All-Pervading Self flowing through the mind. It is only when the devotee, through yoga disciplines under the direction of his satguru, traverses the thought strata of his mind that he begins to experience what he has been learning philosophically. Then the Sun, his Siva, the Self God, blooms paramount before his vision. Earthiness, worldliness, humanness, instinctiveness fade into a speck within his memory patterns; and like the astronaut hurtling through space toward the Sun, awe-struck as to the impending annihilation of the remnants of his identity, the devotee piercing his inner depths awes at the magnificence of Siva.

This then brings willpower into its crowned usage. The transmuted force of the divine will of the devotee compellingly guides the last remnants of intellect and passions, and in total surrender, when confronted to respond, he voices, “I know not. Siva’s will be done.” The will of Siva — the totality of all force that is active, quiescent force and nonforce as found in Shi and Va — begins to take over the dharma and the karma and floods through the being of the devotee on the threshold of Reality. And so, while in a dual state of assuming some personal identity, he states, “Siva’s will be done,” as his new and most refined sadhana of giving up the last of personal worldliness to the perfect timing of the infinite conglomerate of force and nonforce within him. This he says as a mantra unto himself when he sees and hears in the external world. But when eyes and ears are closed, through the transmuted power of his will he merges into the samadhi of Va and Shi and Shi and Va, experiencing Reality as himself and himself as Reality.

The Two Great Transmutations

It is important to gain an intellectual concept of what it is like to experience through a prolonged term the deep, inner will of Siva — for, granted, we are always experiencing something. Therefore, it is easy to categorize in one of three departments just where the impulses are coming from that cause our motivations. Number one: the instinctive impulses are from us and from others, and mainly concern our body and baser emotions. These are easy to distinguish, as these impulses provide most of the daily activities. Number two: the impulse to speak and to think, begun through one’s own efforts or those of another. This is generally based on recurring knowledge accumulated in the past, churned up through present observations and conjecture about the future. This is also easy to distinguish, as these impulses generally fill any gaps that the instinctive impulses have made in a typical day. We can easily see that unless some break occurs, there is absolutely no room for number three, which is simply for Siva’s will to occur.

Therefore, the process is one of breaking up the patterns of instinct and intellect, separating the impulses of them both, through regular and regulated periods of sadhana and meditation, so that the divine will, spiritual energy and infinite awareness can filter in and cause a new intellect to form. Beginning the sadhana, and the continued practice, is the first sign that Siva’s will is being done in the aspirant’s life. New energy abides within him because of the transmutation from the base to the Divine. New knowledge comes forth from within him as he builds upon it through remembering his accumulated inner experiences as if they occurred but a moment ago.

Should you wish to separate number one from number two and experience the dominance of number three, Siva’s will, simply begin to say to yourself, “Siva’s will be done,” throughout each day as the occasions arise. Be careful to categorize each impulse, so that it is clear to your intellect which category you are aware in, just as by being more aware of the Sun than the Earth you begin to forget the Earth and come to know the Sun. Siva’s will is being done always. By being more aware of the inner processes and impulses of willpower than the outer configurations of other people, their thoughts and feelings, you will soon live in the world contentedly and come to know the Shi, the Absolute Self beyond all form, time and causation, and the Va, the All-Pervading Self, as actinic energy permeating all form, and you will rest blissfully in this new knowledge on your new intellectual threshold. “Siva’s will be done” — the first sadhana on the path. “Siva’s will be done” — the last sadhana on the path, after all others have been perfected.

Conscious Comprehension

You have of course comprehended something at one time or another. You have a certain power of comprehension latent within yourself, the power to grasp, to encompass with the mind. It is an all-knowing state. In spiritual unfoldment, thinking is not enough. You have to comprehend the yoga path and the steps on the path. You have to comprehend your own nature. That is why in the study of yoga we work to clear the subconscious mind as one of the first steps. Then you can comprehend the subconscious state of your own mind. When the subconscious is comprehended, it no longer holds power over you. It does not have the ability to influence your life by itself. Many people think they comprehend things which they do not comprehend at all. Others do comprehend, but they do not maintain a consciousness of their power of comprehension, or a consciousness of what they have comprehended. By not doing so, they become vulnerable again to the instinctive states of the mind. By holding a consciousness of comprehension, on the other hand, the higher states of mind, the realms of intuition and perception, remain open while living in the everyday world, even while facing some of the reactions of the subconscious.

There is a story told about a great spiritual teacher, a satguru, who lived in India many years ago. In his small group of disciples, two were in perfect harmony with the mind of their guruji. They could easily comprehend everything that he had to say. The yoga master used to send them on long trips, traveling all over India doing good for other people. When they returned, they found they were able to grasp and master even deeper actinic controls and laws and powers. The continuity of consciousness does not stop. In other words, the continuity of spiritual unfoldment for the chelas did not stop in the satguru’s absence.

However, other disciples who were not in absolute actinic harmony with their teacher, even when they were with him, found that when they were away from him for a few hours they would quickly lose their comprehension of the spiritual path and teachings that were quite natural to them while they were in the radiance of his vibrations.

Have you ever been with someone and found yourself able to understand things of a deeper nature better in his presence than when you are away from him? His actinic vibration opened your actinic force field, harmonizing and quieting your odic forces. Such people unfold in you a certain power of comprehension. But unless it opens up your own actinic force field permanently, the power is really temporary, and when you are away from the vibration, it closes up again. Just so, the students who were in harmony with their Indian satguru traveled all through India maintaining their consciousness of comprehension. They were in full control of that power, for a jnana yoga master, or satguru, can effect a permanent actinic awakening for his chelas.

Continuity of Consciousness

Students functioning odically and out of actinic harmony with their satguru found that they did not have control of the actinic power and had difficulty in maintaining the continuity of consciousness of the yoga path and its teachings. Something went wrong. In realizing this, these students wondered what they could do to regain and maintain this awakening. They knew the laws of the disciplines, the practices. They entered into concentration and meditation, and yet they were not able to maintain their power. They discovered that it was the law of actinic harmony in effect between themselves and their satguru that maintained them as actinic force channels through a deeper state of comprehension. By working with the law of harmonious flow of actinic forces, they would have been able to enter into complete harmony with all states of their own mind and those of their satguru, whether or not they were in his presence.

This particular yoga master had gained a cumulative power of actinic force within himself through his yoga unfoldment, enabling him to hold the vibration of comprehension for his students. Because his actinic yoga students were in harmony with him, they were tuned into his actinic force reservoir. The odic yoga students analyzed themselves and found that much of the time they were not in harmony with the satguru, that they were mentally criticizing him on worldly matters or debating with him in a way which they did not think would make much difference. And they did not use their actinic power to resolve these differences. In discovering this, they went to the guru and said, “We have realized something about the necessity of being in harmony with you.” The guru said, “Yes, you have realized your own actinic force, and now I am going to start testing you.” In his testing he showed them consciously that they had been attached to their personalities and had not been able to attain any realization at all, because of this attachment.

There are some people who go after a job with the idea of working for advancement. But after they are settled into the routine for awhile, they begin to lose their impetus, their self-reliance. They begin to feel, “Oh, it’s too much trouble; there are too many blocks in the way.” In their mind they keep working for promotion, but never really get around to doing anything to advance themselves. These yoga students were in the same predicament. They had started their yoga training, and then became settled and comfortable in it. They began to lose their impetus for unfoldment subconsciously. In other words, they began to live instinctively, using only the odic force.

To demonstrate the difference between the use of odic and actinic forces, this Indian satguru began to test his students, asking them to do different tasks. He would start them on one thing, and when they were in the middle of it and personally attached to the doing, he would ask them to do something different. The students found it very hard to drop one thing and go into another because, involving themselves in odic power, they had become egotistically attached to what they were doing, instead of just enjoying the action. When the guru showed them how they were more interested in and attached to material things than to awakening an actinic cognition and comprehension of the truths within themselves, they were able at that time to comprehend what he was saying. But the comprehension was projected to them from the guru, maintained by his own actinic vibration at the moment of their harmony. They had yet to awaken this ability on their own.

It is the actinic continuity of comprehension that is the important ability to be awakened and maintained in this study. For instance, if you comprehend formlessness, and then you find that you comprehend the form of a particular experience, you have to maintain that comprehension while you are going through your everyday-world experiences in the external mind. In other words, you must become conscious of having actinically comprehended something that is out of the realms of the lower states of consciousness.

By holding your mind to one particular physical object and seeing how long you can maintain this one-pointedness, you are mastering the art of concentration, controlling the odic forces. You will discover the consciousness of comprehension that encompasses an entire principle, and eventually all the great yogic laws of life. Comprehension is superconsciousness, the actinic force flowing through the mind; and maintaining the consciousness of comprehension is having conscious control of the superconscious mind.

Meditation

Posted: 28/06/2013 in Routine

Born along and defiled by the stream of qualities, unsteady, wavering, bewildered, full of desire, distracted, one goes on into the state of self-conceit. In thinking, ‘This is I’ and ‘That is mine’ one binds himself with himself, as does a bird with a snare.

Taming Distraction

Throughout your inner investigations in meditation, cling to the philosophical principle that the mind doesn’t move. Thoughts are stationary within the mind, and only awareness moves. It flows from one thought to another, as the free citizen of the world travels through each country, each city, not attaching himself anywhere. When you are able, through practice, to sit for twenty minutes without moving even one finger, your superconscious mind can begin to express itself. It can even reprogram your subconscious and change past patterns of existence. That is one of the wonderful things about inner life. That’s why it’s inner life — it happens from the inside.

If you just sit and breathe, the inner nerve system of the body of your psyche, your soul, begins to work on the subconscious, to mold it like clay. Awareness is loosened from limited concepts and made free to move vibrantly and buoyantly into the inner depths where peace and bliss remain undisturbed for centuries. However, if you move even a finger, you externalize the entire nervous system. Like shifting gears from high to low, you change the intensity of awareness, and the outer nerve system then is active. Superconscious programming ceases, awareness returns to the body and the senses, and the external mind takes over. By sitting still again at this point, it is just a matter of a few minutes for the forces to quiet and awareness to soar in and in once again. Sitting quietly in this state, you will feel when the superconscious nerve system begins to work in the physical body. You may feel an entirely different flow through your muscles, your bones and your cells. Let it happen.

As you sit to meditate, awareness may wander into past memories or future happenings. It may be distracted by the senses, by a sound or by a feeling of discomfort in the body. This is natural in the early stages. Gently bring awareness back to your point of concentration. Don’t criticize awareness for wandering, for that is yet another distraction. Distractions will disappear if you become intensely interested and involved in your meditation. In such a state, you won’t even feel the physical body. You have gone to a movie, read a book or sat working on a project on your computer that was so engrossing you only later discovered your foot had fallen asleep for a half hour because it was in an awkward position. Similarly, once we are totally conscious on the inside, we will never be distracted by the physical body or the outside.

If distractions keep coming up in meditation over a long period of time, then perhaps you are not ready to meditate. There has to be a point where distractions stop. Until then you are hooked very strongly into the instinctive or intellectual area of the mind, and the whole idea of meditation won’t inspire you very much. Therefore, you need something to spur you on inwardly. In Hinduism when this occurs, the grace of the satguru is sought. By going to your guru openly, you receive darshana, a little extra power that moves awareness permanently out of the areas of distraction. You are then able to sit in inner areas for long periods of time. Distractions become fewer and fewer, for he has wrenched you out of the instinctive and intellectual areas and changed the energy flow within your body.

After the meditation is over, work to refine every attribute of your nature. Learn to work and work joyfully, for all work is good. Learn to be happy by seeking happiness, not from others but from the depths of the soul itself. In your daily life, observe the play of the forces as they manifest between people and people, and people and their things. Don’t avoid the forces of the world, for the meditator lives fearlessly, shying away from nothing. The “out there” and the within are his playground, his kingdom. He becomes vibrant and confident in himself. He learns to lean on his own spine and not on any other person, teacher, book, organization or system. Answers begin to become real and vibrant, hooked onto the end of every question. His body radiates new grace and strength. His mind, disciplined and uncluttered, becomes one-pointedly agile. His relationships take on new, profound meanings. His emotions are stabilized and reflect his new-found tranquillity. These and many more are the dynamic rewards of the sincere aspirant who searches within through meditation.

Sleep and Dreaming

Get into the habit of meditating before sleep each night. If you catch yourself dropping off to sleep while sitting for meditation, know that your meditation is over. The best thing to do is to deliberately go to sleep, because the spiritual power is gone and has to be invoked or opened up again. After getting ready for bed, sit in the lotus position and have a dynamic meditation for as long as you can. When you feel drowsy, you may deliberately put your body to sleep in this way. Mentally say to yourself, “Prana in the left leg, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the right leg, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the left arm, flow, go to sleep. Prana in the right arm, flow, go to sleep. Torso prana, flow, go to sleep. Head filled with inner light, go to sleep.” The first thing you know, it’s morning.

The whole dream and sleep world is very interesting. Often we go into inner planes of consciousness at night. How do you know if you have been in meditation all through the night, studying at the inner-plane school in higher states of mind? You will wake up all of a sudden with no interim period of sleepiness. You wake up invigorated. There you are, as if you came out of nowhere back into external consciousness. Otherwise, you wake up through the subconscious dream world. You feel a little off-key, and you know that you have been in the dream or astral world or the realms of intellectual aggressiveness much of the night. Striving yoga students do go into inner-plane meditation schools for short periods of time during their sleeping hours. This occurs when the mind is a well-trained mind, a keen mind, a crystal-clear mind.

Perhaps by this time you have seen the clear white light, or less intense inner light, and you have seen how crystal clear and sharp it is. Each thought, each feeling, each action has to be crystal clear and sharp to maintain and bring through a balance of your consciousness to the external world. When this happens, you have control over these states of consciousness, so much so that you are your own catalyst, and you can slide into higher states and out to external states of consciousness without being disturbed by one or the other.

When we act and react in daily affairs, we dream at night. We are living in the external or the aggressive magnetic force, called pingala. Thus, we dream in pictures. Should a yogi live in the passive force, the magnetic indrawn force, called ida, he feels and emotes on the astral plane. He would have a fretful, eventful night, an emotional night. He would not dream in pictures as much as he would in feeling. When one is living in the pure spiritual force, sushumna, the primary life force, he flows from sleep into meditation. The meditator should strive to put his body to sleep consciously and deliberately, after balancing the external and internal magnetic forces. So, whether he is lying down in his body or sitting in the lotus posture, he is in deep meditation, going to schools of learning and schools of spiritual unfoldment within his own mind. In the morning, many of my students remember inner-plane class activities which occurred during the night, not as a dream but as their own experience. So, you can meditate while you sleep, but don’t sleep while you are meditating!

Clearing the Subconscious

After you have practiced meditation for some time, your inner vision will become keen and clear. For a while there may be the feeling of arrival, that you have at last conquered life’s cycles, that you are pure now and free at last. But soon, layer by layer, your past will begin to unfold itself to you as your subconscious mind shows you in vivid, pictorial form all the vibratory rates you have put into it in this life. Like a tape recorder, it begins to play back the patterns and vibrations of previous cause and effect.

Since some of these memories and actions may not have been complimentary, you may try to avoid looking at them. The more you avoid facing them, the more apparent they will become. You might think that everyone is seeing them, but they are not. This natural phase of spiritual unfoldment can be a pitfall, for these associations and attachments of the past seem temporarily attractive as they pass before the mind’s eye. Old desires, old friends, old and comfortable habits you thought were gone now come up to tempt awareness, to pull it back into a seemingly desirable past. This event should not be taken too seriously. It is natural and necessary, but you must avoid a fear of the process, which, in order to stop the unpleasant feedback, often brings people to stop their efforts at meditation. This is not the time to stop meditating. Nor is it the time to avoid the past. It is the time to fully review each year of your life that led you to where you are now.

As you remain inwardly poised, watching the images of life but remaining detached, they gradually fade away, leaving awareness free to dive ever deeper into superconscious realms. This sometimes intense experience brings you into renewed desire to live the kind of life that does not produce distorted images. You become religious and consciously shape up your lifestyle according to the yamas and niyamas, so that the reverberation of each action is positive in the subconscious. You have seen the uncomplimentary results of living according to the moods and emotions of the instinctive mind and the senses, and that experience has taught a great lesson. In reviewing life according to this new guideline, you may change your profession, your address, your diet and values. You will undoubtedly find new friends, for it is essential to associate with people that are of good character. Choose your friends carefully, but don’t get too closely attached. People clinging to people is one of the biggest deterrents to the life of meditation.

Generally as soon as someone gets on the path and starts meditating, he wants to tell everyone else how to do it even before he has learned himself. This socializing never produces inner results. Keep your meditation abilities and activities to yourself. Don’t talk about inner things with anyone but your guru. When it comes others’ time to turn within, they will do so naturally, just as you did. That is the law.

Conflicts with Other People

Good interpersonal relationships help the meditator a great deal, and meditation helps keep those relations harmonious. When we get along nicely with others, meditation becomes easy. If we have problems with other people, if we argue or disagree mentally and verbally, we must work exceedingly diligently in order to regain the subtlety of meditation. Poor interpersonal relationships are one of the biggest barriers, for they antagonize awareness, causing it to flow through the instinctive and intellectual forces. This puts stress and strain on the nerve system and closes inner doors to superconsciousness.

If we cannot get along with our fellow man whom we watch closely, observing the expressions on his face and the inflections of his voice, how will we ever get along with the forces of the subconscious, which we cannot see, or the refined superconscious areas of the inner mind, when we face them in meditation? Obviously, we must conquer and harmonize all our relationships — not by working to change the other person, but by working with that other person within ourself, for we are only seeing in him what is in us. He becomes a mirror. We cannot allow the unraveling of the relationship by attempted outer manipulation, discussion or analysis to become a barrier to deeper meditation. Instead, we must internalize everything that needs change, work within ourselves and leave other people out of it. This helps to smooth interpersonal relationships, and as these relationships improve, so does our ability to meditate.

Our nerve system is just like a harp. It can be played by other people. They can cause many tones to be heard in our nerve system. All styles of music can be played on a harp, but no matter what kind of music is played, the harp remains the same. People can do all sorts of things to our nervous system, and make patterns of tone and color appear. This does not hurt the nervous system. It, like the harp, remains the same. The same nervous system can be played by our superconscious or by our passions. We can experience beautiful knowledge from within, which is the outgrowth of good meditation abilities, or experience a mental argument with another person. All tones are played at different times through the same nervous system. We want our nervous system to be played from the inside out through the beautiful rhythm of superconsciousness. This is bliss. We do not want to allow other people to affect our nerve system in a negative way, only in a positive way. That is why it is imperative for those on the path to be in good company.

The Journey Within

Beginning to meditate can be likened to starting a long journey. The destination and the means of travel must be known before setting out. Meditation is an art, a definite art, and well worth working for to become accomplished. Meditation is not easy, and yet it is not difficult. It only takes persistence, working day after day to learn to control and train the outer as well as the subtle, inner forces. We must realize that meditation is the disciplined art of tuning into the deepest and most subtle spiritual energies. It’s not a fad. It’s not a novelty. It’s not something you do because your next-door neighbor does. It is sacred, the most sacred thing you can do on this planet, and it must be approached with great depth and sincerity. At these moments, we are seeking God, Truth, and actually controlling the forces of life and consciousness as we fulfill the very evolutionary purpose of life — the realization of the Self God. Unless we approach meditation in humility and wonder, we will not reach our goal in this life.

Now we are in a new age. Everything is changing. Everything is different. We must believe that we can change by using our powers of meditation, for we are here, on the surface of this Earth, to value and fulfill our existence. Value yourself and your fellow man. Say to yourself again and again, “I am the most wonderful person in the whole world!” Then ask yourself, “Why? Because of my unruly subconscious? Not necessarily. Because of what I know intellectually? Not so. I am the most wonderful person in the world because of the great spiritual force that flows through my spine, head and body, and the energy within that, and the That within that.”

Know full well that you can realize the very essence of this energy in this life. Feel the spine and the power within it that gives independence, enthusiasm and control. Then say to yourself, over and over, “I am a wonderful person,” until you can fully and unreservedly believe it. Lean on your own spine. Depending on the greatness within is the keynote of this new age. Get your willpower going. If you find an unruly part of your nature, reprogram it, little by little, using the yamas and niyamas as your guideline. Live a dynamic, God-like life every day. Dance with Siva, live with Siva and merge with Siva. Get into this area of the mind called meditation. Make it a fundamental part of your life, and all forms of creativity, success and greatness will find expression in your life. Everyone is on this planet for one purpose. That purpose will be known to you through your powers of meditation, through seeing and then finally realizing your Self at the very core of the universe itself.

Inspiration Unbridled

I would like to tell you about one of my students and his experience with the discovery of the superconscious state of the mind. When I first met him, this young man told me that he wanted to be a composer, to write music. He wanted to compose more than anything else in the world. He had just graduated from a university with a degree in music, and he had learned all the accepted, intellectual rules for the composition of music. But he wasn’t entirely satisfied with being told how to compose according to certain mechanical laws. He wanted his music to flow through him without a thought. One day I said to him, “Sit over here at the piano and get in touch with your superconscious through diaphragmatic breathing. Now, find a chord with your right hand. Write it down. You are a composer aren’t you? You are a composer now, not fifty years from now. The superconscious mind that you are contacting works in the eternity of the moment, not tomorrow. Subconscious is yesterday, superconscious is immediate, now.” So he wrote down the chord that his fingers found. “Now write another chord,” I said, “and then another and then another.”

We finished a page of music with the right- hand staff, and I asked him, “What about the left hand? You don’t have a complete piece of music with only the top bars filled in. “Well,” he said, “I would have to work out the left hand according to what I have already written with the right hand.” “No you don’t,” I replied, “Let the superconscious work it out for you. Make your first chord with your left hand now, without referring to what your right hand has done.” He exclaimed that the sound of the two hands together might be terrible, but I insisted that he continue writing the chords with the left hand until the entire page was finished for both hands. When I asked him to play what he had written, he laughed and put his hands over his ears but obliged, “All right, if you insist….” “I do,” I said. He played what he had written. It was a difficult piece of music, but there was no discord whatsoever. I congratulated him, “Now you are a composer. You created that piece superconsciously, without consciously knowing how you put the tones together. But you had sufficient faith in yourself to do it. In the same way, you must always depend upon yourself in the eternity of the moment to be able to accomplish whatever you set out to do.”

The next day, he was right on time for his appointment, and he wanted me to help him compose from his superconscious again. “No,” I said, “I am not going to be a composing machine for you; you will have to find your inspiration from within. It is time you put your yoga laws into practice now and attain concentration and meditation.” He tried and he tried, but somehow his subconscious kept getting in the way. It told him he wasn’t a composer anymore. Then I realized that his present conditions were a little too easy, and he was finding too much security in the conscious mind. Since his next step was to stabilize himself as a composer and find the ability at will to create inspirationally, I sent him on a very difficult mission: to resolve the negative karmas in his subconscious that were blocking his superconsciousness. As his major tool, I gave him the maha vasana daha tantra. I told him that he could not come back until he fulfilled all the conditions of the mission and began to compose again as he wished. He was reluctant, because he would have to leave all of his current friends for a time. But being a sincere and determined student, he went out and successfully fulfilled his mission. In the process, he had to suffer through all of the things in his subconscious mind that had been bothering him since he was a small boy. In doing so, he lifted many of the blocks that had been a part of his subconscious for years, until one day his higher faculties completely opened to him, and music poured through him almost as fast as he could write it down.

Exercising Concentration

There are many faculties of the superconscious mind just waiting to be tapped by you. Only by tapping into and opening your superconscious, creative powers will you ever come to know and realize your real Self. It is not difficult, but in order to open the higher or inner consciousness, you have to gain a perfect control of the thinking faculties of your mind.

Concentration has to be practiced and perfected before meditation can begin. If you find that you are sitting and trying not to fall asleep for a half hour, you have only accomplished sitting and trying not to go to asleep for half an hour — and perhaps refraining from scratching your nose when it begins to itch. But that cannot be called meditation. Meditation is a transforming state of mind, really. A person once said to me, “Well, I concentrate my mind by reading a book, and when I’m reading, I don’t hear a thing.” This is not concentration, but attention, the first step to concentration. Concentration is thinking about one definite thing for a given length of time until you begin to understand what you are thinking about. What should we concentrate upon? Start with any solid object. Take your watch, for instance. Think about your watch. Think about the crystal. Think about the hands. Let your mind direct itself toward the mechanism of your watch, and then observe how your mind, after a few moments, begins to wander and play tricks on you. You may start thinking about alarm clocks or a noise in the street.

Each time your concentration period is broken by a distraction, you must start all over again. Breathe deeply and coordinate all the energies of your body so that you are not distracted by an itch or a noise. Direct your awareness once again to your watch. Before you know it, you will be thinking about a movie you saw four weeks ago and living through all the fantasies of it again without realizing that ten minutes of your time has gone by. Be careful and gentle with your awareness, however. Bring it back to the object of your concentration in a firm, relaxed manner and say to yourself, “I am the master of my thought.” Eventually, your awareness will begin to do just what you want it to.

Once you are able to direct your awareness, without wavering, upon one object, you will begin to understand what you are concentrating upon, and you will find that this state of understanding is the beginning of your meditation. You are more alive in this state than you were in the noisy condition of your mind before you began to concentrate, and you come forth from your meditation a little wiser than you were before you went in.

The next state of consciousness, which is attained when meditation has been perfected, is contemplation. In the contemplative state of awareness you will feel the essence of all life pouring and radiating through your body and through the object you have been meditating upon. When contemplation is sustained, the final step is samadhi, and that is finding or becoming your true Self, which is beyond all conditions of your mind, all phases of consciousness. Only after you have attained samadhi can you answer the question “Who am I?” from your own experience. Only then will you know that you are all-pervasive, and finally, in the deepest samadhi, that you are causeless, timeless, spaceless and that you have been able to realize this through a balance of your awakened inner and outer consciousness, a bringing together of the forces of your mind in yoga, or union.

Steps to meditation

Posted: 28/06/2013 in Routine

One should meditate on his own guru, his tradition and God after bathing and assuming a suitable sitting posture in a sanctified place. He should purify the five elements of his body with deep concentration.

Turning Inward

Meditation is a long journey, a pilgrimage into the mind itself. Generally we become aware that there is such a thing as meditation after the material world has lost its attraction to us and previous desires no longer bind us to patterns of fear, greed, attachment and ramification. We then seek through philosophy and religion to answer the questions, “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” We ask others. We read books. We ponder and wonder. We pray. We even doubt for a while that there is a Truth to be realized, or that we, with all our seeming imperfection, can realize it if it does exist. Oddly enough, this is the beginning of the meditator’s journey on the path, for we must empty ourselves fully before the pure, superconscious energies can flow freely through us. Once this state of emptiness and genuine searching is reached, we soon recognize the futile attempt to find Truth on the outside. We vividly begin to know, from the depth of ourselves, a knowing we could not explain or justify. We simply know that Reality, or the Self God, resides within, and we must go within ourselves to realize it. Of itself, that knowing is not enough. Even great efforts to meditate and vast storehouses of spiritual knowledge are not enough. Many have tried to find the Truth this way. The Truth is deeper and is discovered by the resolute devotee who dedicates his life to the search, who lives a balanced life according to the yamas and niyamas, the Vedic spiritual laws, who willingly undergoes change, who finds and obeys a spiritual teacher, or satguru, and who learns precisely the disciplined art of meditation. This, then, outlines the destination of the meditator’s journey and his means of travel.

One of the first steps is to convince the subconscious mind that meditation is good for us. We may want to meditate consciously, yet maintain fears or doubts about meditation. Somewhere along the way, a long series of events occurred and, upon reaction to them, awareness became externalized. We became geared to the materialistic concepts of the external world. As we begin to feel that urgency to get back within, the old patterns of thought and emotion, cause and effect, naturally repeat themselves. For a while, the contents of the subconscious may conflict with our concepts of what it is like to fully live spiritually. Our habits will be undisciplined, our willpower ineffective. Quite often the subconscious seems almost like another person, because it is always doing something unanticipated.

In these early stages, we must mold the areas that are different into a new lifestyle so that there will be nothing in the subconscious that opposes what is in the conscious or superconscious mind. Only when all three of these areas of consciousness act in harmony can meditation be truly attained and sustained. For us to be afraid of the subconscious is unwise, for it then holds a dominant position in our life. The subconscious is nothing more than the accumulation of vibratory rates of experience encountered by awareness when it was externalized, a storehouse containing the past.

Remolding the Subconscious

Externalization of awareness results in one layer upon another layer of misunderstanding void of an inner point of reference. We have to reprogram the subconscious to change it, and not worry over the old impressions. We have to make this change in a very dynamic way by always remaining positive. You have heard many people say, “It can’t be done,” and then go right ahead and prove it by failing.

Never use the word can’t, as it becomes very restrictive to the subconscious. If often used, it becomes almost an incantation. This is not good. As soon as we say, “I can’t,” all positive doors subconsciously close for us. The flow of pure life force is diminished, the subconscious is confused and we know we are going to fail, so we don’t even try. The solution to subconscious confusion is to set a goal for ourselves in the external world and to have a positive plan incorporating meditation daily as a lifestyle within that goal. Through this positive initiative and daily effort in meditation, awareness is centered within. We learn how to disentangle and unexternalize awareness.

As soon as strong initiative is taken to change our nature toward refinement, a new inner process begins to take place. The forces of positive accomplishment from each of our past lives begin to manifest in this one. The high points of a past life, when something great has happened, become strung together. These merits or good deeds are vibrations in the ether substance of our memory patterns, because each one of us, right now, is a sum total of all previous experience. All of the distractions of the external area of the mind begin to fade, and positive meditation becomes easily attainable. It is not difficult to move our individual awareness quickly within when distractions occur.

This new pattern of setting goals and meeting them strengthens the will. One such goal is to perform sadhana every day without fail during a morning vigil period of worship, japa, scriptural study and meditation. Daily meditation has to become part of our lifestyle, not just a new something we do or study about. It must become a definite part of us. We have to live to meditate. This is the only way to reach the eventual goal on the path — the realization of the all-pervasive Sivam. Deep meditation takes the power of our spiritual will, which is cultivated through doing everything we do to perfection, through meeting the challenges of our goals, and through its constant expression as we seek to do more than we think we can each day. So, set your spiritual goals according to where you are on the path. Set goals for deeper, more superconscious meditation, for a change of your personality or outer nature, for better service to your fellow man, and for a totally religious lifestyle.

Goals are generally not used in spiritual life, because the inner mechanism of goal setting is not clearly understood. Dynamic, successful people who go into business for themselves have to have a positive, aggressive plan and keep their lives in a good routine to achieve success. The most prominent among them begin and end each day at a certain time in order to sustain the pressure of the business world. We can and should approach the practice of meditation in a similar way. Like the businessman, we want to succeed in our quest, the only difference being the choice of an inner goal as opposed to the choice of an outer goal, the fulfillment of which entangles us and further externalizes awareness.

Setting Inner Goals

If we plan our meditation goals unrealistically, we create unnecessary problems. For example, it might be unrealistic to say, “I am going to realize the all-pervasive Sivam in two months.” The seeker setting this goal for himself may be far too externalized to face the resultant reaction in the short period of two months. Ten years, however, may be a more realistic goal for him, providing time is spent regularly every day in meditation as he directs awareness in and in and in, day after day after day, until all of the forces of the nerve currents of the inner body begin to respond.

As they respond, something new happens. He gains firm confidence in his own abilities to fulfill positive goals by using his willpower. As each inner goal is established then met, the pattern of his life is changed and refined. The conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the superconscious areas of the mind come together, and a spiritual dynamic occurs. All aspects of his nature work together to strengthen and deepen his meditations. Doubts and fears loosen their hold on him, allowing awareness to penetrate to the core of mind substance. The mind becomes quiet enough to turn back upon itself.

In the early stages of meditation, it’s very difficult to sit without moving, because that has not been part of our lifestyle. The subconscious mind has never been programmed to contentedly sit quietly. We didn’t see our families doing that. Perhaps we haven’t seen anybody doing that. No example has been set. Therefore, we have to be patient with ourselves and not sit for too long in the beginning. Start by sitting for ten minutes without moving. In a few weeks extend it to twenty minutes, then a half hour. Thus we avoid being fanatical and allow the subconscious to make its necessary adjustments.

These adjustments are physical as well as emotional and intellectual. The nerve currents rearrange themselves so that prolonged stillness and absence of external activity is comfortable. Similarly, the philosophy of the path of enlightenment fully penetrates every layer of the subconscious, adjusting previous erroneous concepts of ourselves and enabling us to consciously intuit various philosophical areas and know them to be right and true from our personal experience of superconsciousness. This, then, may take a few years.

If we plant a tree, we have to wait for it to grow and mature before we enjoy its shade. So it is in meditation. We make our plans for beginning the practices of meditation, then give ourselves enough time, several years, to fully adjust and remold the subconscious mind. Living as we do in the externalized culture of the West, we are conditioned to be in a hurry to get everything. When we try to internalize awareness too quickly through various intense and sometimes fanatical ways, we reap the reaction. Meditation goes fine for a brief span, but then externalizes again according to the programming of our family and culture.

To permanently alter these patterns, we have to work gently to develop a new lifestyle for the totality of our being — physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. This we do a little at a time. Wisdom tells us that it cannot be done all at once. We have to be patient with ourselves. If we are impatient on the path, failure is in view. We are going to fail, because instant spiritual unfoldment is a fairy tale concept. It is far better that we recognize that there will be difficult challenges as the subconscious looms up, with all of its conflicts and confusions, heavy and strong. When it does, we must face them calmly, through spiritual journaling, vasana daha tantra. If our eventual goal is clearly in mind and we have a positive step-by-step plan on how to reach that goal, then we won’t get excited when something goes wrong, because we view our mental and emotional storms in their proper and temporary perspective.

Dealing With Doubt

Not only does the subconscious create barriers in our own minds, it also draws to us the doubts and worries of other people for us to face and resolve. There is such a vast warehouse of negative conditioning against meditation that it is almost useless to begin if we believe any of it at all. We have all heard a few of the fears: “Something terrible must have happened to you as a child if you want to go into that.” “You don’t love me anymore. That’s why you meditate — you’re withdrawing.” “You’re just afraid of society and responsibility. It’s an escape from the real world that you can’t cope with.” “You’re going to be poor if you meditate. Everyone who meditates is broke, you know.” And so it goes, on and on.

We do have to answer these objections for the subconscious and thus settle all doubts within ourselves. Of course, the results of meditation will themselves convince the subconscious of the benefit of inner sadhana as we bring forth perceptive insights, renewed energy, a happy and balanced life and spiritual attainment. Negative conditioning breaks down as we prove to ourselves according to our own experience that it was wrong. Such conditioning is inhibiting to some and has to be corrected. To counteract it, we can ask ourselves, “Why? What is it all about? How did I attract these problems? Do I still have such doubts in my subconscious, consciously unknown?” We can further ask, “Who has done the conditioning? What was their life like? Were they happy people?” Finally, from our own positive efforts to cognize, we actually remold the subconscious, erase false concepts and become free.

The mind in its apparently endless confusion and desires leads us by novelty from one thing to the next. The reaction to this causes the miseries of the world, and miseries of the world happen inside of people. But occasionally we have to call a halt to the whole thing and get into ourselves. That’s the process of meditation. It’s an art. It’s a faculty we have within ourselves which, when developed, gives a balance and a sense to life. And everyone, whether they know it or not, is searching, trying to find out what life is all about.

So many people tell me, “Oh, I would like to study yoga, but I just don’t have the time,” “I can’t get quiet enough,” or “The kids make too much noise,” or some excuse like that. They don’t realize that you don’t become quiet automatically. Becoming quiet is a systematic process. You become quiet systematically. It might take you two weeks of practice before you can sit down and feel that you’ve made any progress at all, or even feel like sitting down and trying to become quiet. But it’s one of those things you eventually have to do. You get up and cook breakfast because you have to eat. You are hungry. And when you become hungry enough to get quiet within yourself, you will do so automatically. You will want to. And then what happens? You will sit down, and your mind will race. Say, “Mind, stop!” and see how fast you can make your mind stop and become quiet. Say, “Emotions, you are mind-controlled,” and see how quiet you become.

The Right Conditions

We now come to the practical aspects of meditation. In the beginning, it is best to find a suitable room that is dedicated solely to meditation. If you were a carpenter, you would get a shop for that purpose. You have a room for eating, a room for sleeping. Now you need a separate room just for the purpose of meditation. When you find it, wash the walls and ceiling, wash the windows. Prepare a small altar if you like, bringing together the elements of earth, air, fire and water. Establish a time for your meditations and meet those times strictly. There will be days when you just don’t feel like meditating. Good. Those are often the best days, the times when we make strong inner strides. The finest times to meditate are six in the morning, twelve noon, six in the evening, and twelve midnight. All four of these times could be used, or just choose one. The period of meditation should be from ten minutes to one-half hour to begin with.

By sitting up straight, with the spine erect, we transmute the energies of the physical body. Posture is important, especially as meditation deepens and lengthens. With the spine erect and the head balanced at the top of the spine, the life force is quickened and intensified as energies flood freely through the nerve system. In a position such as this, we cannot become worried, fretful, depressed or sleepy during our meditation. But if we slump the shoulders forward, we short-circuit the life energies. In a position such as this, it is easy to become depressed, to have mental arguments with oneself or another, or to experience unhappiness. So, learn to sit dynamically, relaxed and yet poised. The full-lotus position, with the right foot resting on the left thigh and the left foot above, resting on the right thigh, is the most stable posture to assume, hands resting in the lap, right hand on top, with both thumbs touching.

The first observation you may have when thus seated for meditation is that thoughts are racing through the mind substance. You may become aware of many, many thoughts. Also the breath may be irregular. Therefore, the next step is to transmute the energies from the intellectual area of the mind through proper breathing, in just the same way that proper attitude, preparation and posture transmuted the physical-instinctive energies. Through regulation of the breath, thoughts are stilled and awareness moves into an area of the mind which does not think, but conceives and intuits.

There are vast and powerful systems of breathing that can stimulate the mind, sometimes to excess. Deep meditation requires only that the breath be systematically slowed or lengthened. This happens naturally as we go within, but can be encouraged by a method of breathing called kalibasa in Shum, my language of meditation. During kalibasa, the breath is counted, nine counts as we inhale, hold one count, nine counts as we exhale, hold one count. The length of the beats, or the rhythm of the breath, will slow as the meditation is sustained, until we are counting to the beat of the heart, hridaya spanda pranayama. This exercise allows awareness to flow into an area of the mind that is intensely alive, peaceful, blissful and conceives the totality of a concept rather than thinking out the various parts.

Control Of Breath

Control of the breath, to be learned properly, might take months or even years. That’s all right. If you were learning to play a musical instrument, it would take months or even years to perfect the basic principles of making chords and putting chords together into a melody. There is no hurry. Hurry is the age we want to bypass when we meditate. The control of the breath is exactly the same as the control of awareness, so it is good to be patient in the early stages and perfect each element of practice.

As we learn to breathe rhythmically and from the diaphragm, we also release tensions in the solar plexus. We learn to be spontaneous and free on the inside, and life force runs through us in an uninhibited way. We achieve and learn to maintain contentment, santosha. All of these things come through the simple techniques we practice while in meditation. But the practice of meditation is not the end. It is the total being of man that is the end to be sought for — the well-rounded, content, spontaneous being that is totally free.

After you have quieted the body, and the breath is flowing regularly, close your eyes. Close your ears and shut off the external sense perceptions. As long as you are aware of sights and sounds on the outside, you are not concentrated. It is a fallacy to think you have to find a totally silent place before you can go within. When your senses are stilled, you don’t hear any sounds. You’re in a state of silence. You don’t hear a car that passes, you don’t hear a bird that sings, because your awareness has shifted to different perceptions. It helps, but it’s not necessary, to have a totally silent place. This is not always possible, so it is best not to depend on outer silence. We must discover silence within ourselves. When you are reading a book that is extremely interesting, you are not hearing noises around you. You should be at least that interested in your meditations.

Having thus quieted the outer forces, we are prepared to meditate. Just sitting is not enough. To meditate for even ten or fifteen minutes takes as much energy as one would use in running around a city block three times. A powerful meditation fills and thrills us with an abundance of energy to be used creatively in the external world during the activities of daily life. Great effort is required to make inner strides. We must strive very, very hard and meet each inner challenge.

Four Steps To Meditation

When we go into meditation, what do we meditate upon? What do we think about during meditation? Usually the sincere devotee will have a guru, or spiritual guide, and follow his instructions. He may have a mantra, or mystic sound, which he concentrates upon, or a particular technique or attitude he is perfecting. If he has no guru or specific instructions, then here is a raja yoga exercise that can enhance inner life, making it tangibly real and opening inner doors of the mind. Use it to begin each meditation for the rest of your life. Simply sit, quiet the mind, and feel the warmth of the body. Feel the natural warmth in the feet, in the legs, in the head, in the neck, in the hands and face. Simply sit and be aware of that warmth. Feel the glow of the body. This is very easy, because the physical body is what many of us are most aware of. Take five, ten or fifteen minutes to do this. There is no hurry. Once you can feel this warmth that is created by the life force as it flows in and through the body’s cells, once you can feel this all over the body at the same time, go within to the next step.

The second step is to feel the nerve currents of the body. There are thousands of miles of nerve currents in each of us. Don’t try to feel them all at once. Start with the little ones, with the feeling of the hands, thumbs touching, resting on your lap. Now feel the life force going through these nerves, energizing the body. Try to sense the even more subtle nerves that extend out and around the body about three or four feet. This may take a long time. When you have located some of these nerves, feel the energy within them. Tune into the currents of life force as they flow through these nerves. This is a subtle feeling, and most likely awareness will wander into some other area of the mind. When this happens, gently bring it back to your point of concentration, to feeling the nerves within the body and the energy within the nerves.

The third step takes us deeper inside, as we become dynamically aware in the spine. Feel the power within the spine, the powerhouse of energy that feeds out to the external nerves and muscles. Visualize the spine in your mind’s eye. See it as a hollow tube or channel through which life energies flow. Feel it with your inner feelings. It’s there, subtle and silent, yet totally intense. It is a simple feeling. We can all feel it easily. As you feel this hollow spine filled with energy, realize that you are more that energy than you are the physical body through which it flows, more that pure energy than the emotions, than the thought force. Identify yourself with this energy and begin to live your true spiritual heritage on this Earth. As you dive deeper into that energy, you will find that this great power, your sense of awareness and your willpower are all one and the same thing.

The fourth step comes as we plunge awareness into the essence, the center of this energy in the head and spine. This requires great discipline and exacting control to bring awareness to the point of being aware of itself. This state of being totally aware that we are aware is called kaif. It is pure awareness, not aware of any object, feeling or thought. Go into the physical forces that flood, day and night, through the spine and body. Then go into the energy of that, deeper into the vast inner space of that, into the essence of that, into the that of that, and into the that of that. As you sit in this state, new energies will flood the body, flowing out through the nerve system, out into the exterior world. The nature becomes very refined in meditating in this way. Once you are thus centered within yourself, you are ready to pursue a meditation, a mantra or a deep philosophical question.

Self discipline

Posted: 28/06/2013 in Routine

Find a quiet retreat for the practice of yoga, sheltered from the wind, level and clean, free from rubbish, smoldering fires and ugliness, and where the sound of waters and the beauty of the place help thought and contemplation.


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 1.7.2.1. 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.


Establishing Your Sadhana

Many of you here today have studied with me for some time and understand how a good religious life can be lived in this technological age. You have learned how to pass the knowledge of Saiva Dharma on to the next generation, the next and the next. But you may not yet feel fully confident to teach Saiva Dharma outside your home and immediate family. All of you are preparing yourselves to be teachers of Saiva Dharma, so that the Saivite who has not had the benefits of knowing a lot about his religion may know more, so that the Hindu who does not have the benefit of knowing whether he is a Saivite, a Vaishnavite, a Shakta or a Smarta may learn the difference and then fully practice one of these four great religions of our heritage. In order to teach with confidence, you must train yourselves. Since this is an inner teaching, you must train yourselves inwardly through the regular daily practice of sadhana.

Who sets the course of sadhana? The course of sadhana can be set by an elder of the Hindu community. It can also be set by one’s satguru. Your mother and father, who are your first gurus, can also set the course of sadhana for their children. Or, it can be set by yourself, from a book. There are many fine books available, outlining the basics of yoga, sadhana and meditation.

Where does sadhana begin? It begins within the home, and it begins within you. This is ancient wisdom recognized not only in India, but among many great civilizations of history. Thus upon the wall of a famous ancient Greek temple and oracular center at Delphi was inscribed “Know thyself.” The religion of the Greeks, which was in many respects not unlike Hinduism, is long since gone, but remaining temple ruins testify to its magnificence. By disciplining your mind, body and emotions through sadhana, you come more and more into the inner knowing of yourself.

You will first discover that when the breath is regulated, it is impossible for the thinking mind to run wild, and when the breath is slightly held, it is impossible for more than one thought to remain vibrating in the mind at a time. You will experience that when the nerve currents are quieted through diaphragmatic breathing, it is impossible to be frustrated, and it is possible to absorb within yourself, into the great halls of inner learning, into the great vacuum within you, all of your problems, troubles and fears, without having to psychoanalyze them.

Through the regular practice of scriptural study, which is a vital part of your daily sadhana vigil, you will soon find that it is possible to touch into your subsuperconscious mind and complement that study with your own inner knowing. After you are well established in your sadhana, you will enjoy a greater ability to discipline your body, your breath, your nerve system and your mind.

We first have to learn that in order to control the breath, we have to study and understand the breath, the lungs, how the body is constructed and how the pranas move through it. This enables us to understand the subtle system within the body that controls the thinking mind. Then we are ready to study the mind in its totality.


The Five States of Mind

In Merging with Siva we embarked on a great study of the mind in its totality. Here we shall review the five states of mind. The conscious mind is our external mind. The subconscious mind contains our memory patterns and all impressions of the past. The sub of the subconscious mind holds the seeds of karmas that are not yet manifest. The subsuperconscious mind works through the subconscious mind, and intuition flows daily as a result. Creativity is there at your bidding. Your superconscious mind is where intuitive flashes occur. The accomplished mystic can consciously be in one country or another instantaneously, according to his will, once he has, through the grace of Lord Siva, attained a full inner knowing of how to remain in Satchidananda, the superconscious mind, consciously, without the other states interfering.

Yes, sadhana begins in the home, and it begins with you. It must be practiced regularly, at the same time each day — not two hours one day, one hour the next and then forgetting about it for three or four days because you are too busy with external affairs, but every day, at the same time. Meeting this appointment with yourself is in itself a sadhana. In the technological age nearly everyone finds it difficult to set one hour aside in which to perform sadhana. This is why in your sadhana vrata you promise to dedicate only one half hour a day. In the agricultural era, it was easy to find time to perform sadhana two to three hours a day. Why? The demands of external life were not as great as they are now, in the technological age. Half an hour a day, therefore, is the amount of time we dedicate for our sadhana.

Brahmacharis and brahmacharinis, celibate men and women, in their respective gurukulas dedicate their time to the performance of sadhana. They rise together early in the morning, perform their sadhana as a group, and then are off to their daily work. The regular practice of sadhana, they have found, enables them to get along admirably well with one another because of their newly acquired abilities of absorbing their difficulties, thus avoiding argument and confrontation. In these gurukulas, found worldwide, various kinds of sadhanas are performed, such as scriptural study, chanting the names of the Lord on the japa beads, group chanting of bhajanas, the singing of Devarams and the yogic concentration of holding the mind fixed on one point and bringing it back to that one point each time it wanders. The more disciplined gurukulas religiously administrate group sadhana at the same time each day, every day without fail. Daily life revolves around this period of sadhana, just as in a religious Saivite home life revolves around the shrine room and each one’s daily personal vigil.

Ask yourself what you put first in your daily life. Do your emotions come first? Does your intellect come first? Do your instinctive impulses come first? Does your striving to overcome worries and fears and doubt come first inside of you? Does your creativity, your love for all humanity, your search for God and peace within yourself come first inside of you? What are your priorities? The pancha nitya karmas outline our basic religious priorities. Your inner priorities in implementing these five duties must be just as well defined, and you must define them for yourself and therefore, come to better “Know thyself.”


Questions and Challenges

When you first begin your daily sadhana, it is likely to begin in an awkward way, and you may come to know yourself in a way that you don’t want to know yourself. Don’t be discouraged when the mind runs wild as you sit quietly and are unable to control it. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you are unable to even choose a time to sit quietly for one half hour on a regular daily basis. If you persist, soon all this will be overcome and a firmness of mind will be felt, for it is through the regular practice of sadhana that the mind becomes firm and the intellect pure. It is through the regular practice of concentration that awareness detaches itself from the external mind and hovers within, internalizing the knowledge of the physical body, the breath and the emotions. Concentration of the forces of the body, mind and emotions brings us automatically into meditation, dhyana, and into deeper internalized awareness.

The spiritual practice should be reasonable, should not take up too much time, and should be done at the same time every day. Often seekers who become associated with Hindu sadhana go to extremes and proceed with great vigor in an effort to attain results immediately. Sitting two or three hours a day, they wear themselves out and then stop. Here’s a formula for beginners: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, twenty minutes to a half an hour of sadhana at the same time every day; Saturday and Sunday, no sadhana.

The keys are moderation and consistency. Consistency is the key to the conquest of karma. If you go to extremes or are sporadic in your sadhana, you can easily slide backwards. What happens when you slide backwards? You become fearful, you become angry, you become jealous, you become confused. What happens when you move forward? You become brave, you become calm, you become self-confident and your mind is clear.

It is often feared that meditation and religious devotion cause a withdrawal from the world. The practice of sadhana I have described does not detach you from or make you indifferent to the world. Rather, it brings up a strength within you, a shakti, enabling you to move the forces of the world in a positive way. What is meant by “moving the forces of the world”? That means fulfilling realistic goals that you set for yourself. That means performing your job as an employer or as an employee in the most excellent way possible. That means stretching your mind and emotions and endurance to the limit and therefore getting stronger and stronger day by day. You are involved in the world, and the world is in a technological age.

The sadhana that you perform will make your mind steady and your will strong so that you can move the forces of the physical world with love and understanding, rather than through anger, hatred, antagonism, cunning, jealousy and greed. Daily sadhana performed in the right way will help you overcome these instinctive barriers to peace of mind and the fullness of being. If you have children, the rewards of your sadhana will help you educate your children properly in fine schools and universities and see that all of their physical needs are met through the flow of material abundance that automatically comes as you progress in your inner life.

Through daily sadhana we shall come to know the body, we shall come to know the emotions, we shall come to know the nerve system, we shall come to know the breath and we shall come to know the mind in its totality. Each one of you will soon be able to mentally pick up all of the dross of your subconscious, throw it within, into the great cavity of inner knowing at the feet of the Gods, there to be absorbed, dissolved and disappear. All this and more can be unfolded from within each one of you through your daily practice of sadhana. Sadhana is one of the great boons given to us in our religion.


Guardian Angels

When the devas within your home see you performing your sadhana each day, they give you psychic protection. They hover around you and keep away the extraneous thought forms that come from the homes of your neighbors or close friends and relatives. They all mentally chant “Aum Namah Sivaya,” keeping the vibration of the home alive with high thoughts and mantras so that the atmosphere is scintillating, creating for you a proper environment to delve within yourself. The fact that the devonic world is involved is one more good reason why you must choose a specific time for sadhana and religiously keep to that time each day, for you not only have an appointment with yourself but with the devas as well.

By performing the pancha nitya karmas, living the yamas and niyamas to the best of your ability and performing your daily sadhana, your religion becomes closer and closer to you in your heart. You will soon begin to find that God Siva is within you as well as within the temple, because you become quiet enough to know this and experience that Lord Siva’s superconscious mind is identical to yours; there is no difference in Satchidananda. From this state, you will experience the conscious mind as “the watcher” and experience its subconscious as the storehouse of intellectual and emotional memory patterns. In daily life you will begin to experience the creativity of the subsuperconscious mind, as the forces of the First World are motivated through love as you fulfill your chosen dharma in living with Siva.

Thus our religion is an experiential religion, from its beginning stages to the most advanced. You have already encountered the magic of the temple, and you have had uplifting experiences within your home shrine. Now, as you perform your sadhana, you will enjoy spiritual experiences within yourself on the path of self-transformation.

It is up to you to put your religion into practice. Feel the power of the Gods in the puja. If you don’t feel them, if you are just going through ritual and don’t feel anything, you are not awake. Get the most out of every experience that the temple offers, the guru offers, the devas offer, that your life’s experiences, which you were born to live through, offer. In doing so, slowly the kundalini begins to loosen and imperceptibly rise into its yoga. That’s what does the yoga; it’s the kundalini seeking its source, like the tree growing, always reaching up to the Sun.

It is up to you to make the teachings a part of your life by working to understand each new concept as you persist in your daily religious practices. As a result, you will be able to brave the forces of the external world without being disturbed by them and fulfill your dharma in whatever walk of life you have chosen. Because your daily sadhana has regulated your nerve system, the quality of your work in the world will improve, and your mood in performing it will be confident and serene.

When your sadhana takes hold, you may experience a profound calmness within yourself. This calmness that you experience as a result of your meditation is called Satchidananda, the natural state of the mind. To arrive at that state, the instinctive energies have been lifted to the heart chakra and beyond, and the mind has become absolutely quiet. This is because you are not using your memory faculty. You are not using your reason faculty. You are not trying to move the forces of the world with your willpower faculty. You are simply resting within yourself. Therefore, if you are ever bothered by the external part of you, simply return to this inner, peaceful state as often as you can. You might call it your “home base.” From here you can have a clear perception of how you should behave in the external world, a clear perception of your future and a clear perception of the path ahead. This is a superconscious state, meaning “beyond normal consciousness.” So, simply deepen this inner state by being aware that you are aware.


Control of The Pranas

A great flow of prana is beginning to occur among the families of our congregation worldwide because each one has decided to discipline himself or herself and the children to perform sadhana. That brings the prana under control. If the prana is not under the control of the individual, it is controlled by other individuals. The negative control of prana is a control, and positive control of prana is a control. That’s why we say, “Seek good company,” because if you can’t control your prana, other people who do control their pranas can help you. The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group. If you mix with bad company, then the pranas begin to get disturbed. Once that happens, your energies are like a team of horses out of control. It takes a lot of skill and strength on the part of the individual to get those pranas back under control.

The control of prana is equally important on the inner planes. When you leave the physical body, you are in your astral body, your subtle body. It is not made of flesh and bones like your physical body — as the Buddhists say, “thirty-two kinds of dirt wrapped up in skin.” The astral body is made of prana. It floats. It can fly. It’s guided by your mind, which is composed of more rarefied prana, actinic energy. Wherever you want to go, you’ll be there immediately. And, of course, you do this in your sleep, in your dreams and after death. Many of you have had astral experiences and can testify how quickly you can move here and there when your astral body is detached from the physical body However, if you don’t have control of your prana, you don’t have control of your astral body. Then where do you go when you drop off your physical body at death? You are magnetized to desires, uncontrollably magnetized to fulfilling unfulfilled desires. You are magnetized to groups of people who are fulfilling similar unfulfilled desires, and generally your consciousness goes down into lower chakras. Only in controlling your astral body do you have conscious control of your soul body, which is, of course, living within the astral body and resonating to the energy of the higher chakras.

My satguru, Siva Yogaswami, spoke of Saivism as the sadhana marga, “the path of striving,” explaining that it is a religion not only to be studied but also to be lived. “See God everywhere. This is practice. First do it intellectually. Then you will know it.” He taught that much knowledge comes through learning to interpret and understand the experiences of life. To avoid the sadhana marga is to avoid understanding the challenges of life. We must not fail to realize that each challenge is brought to us by our own actions of the past. Yes, our actions in the past have generated our life’s experiences today. All Hindus accept karma and reincarnation intellectually, but the concepts are not active in their lives until they accept the responsibilities of their own actions and the experiences that follow. In doing so, no blame can fall upon another. It is all our own doing. This is the sadhana marga — the path to perfection.

The sadhana marga leads us into the yoga pada quite naturally. But people don’t study yoga. They are not taught yoga. They are taught sadhana, and if they don’t perform it themselves — and no one can do it for them — they will never have a grip strong enough over their instinctive mind and intellectual mind to come onto the yoga marga, no matter how much they know about yoga. So, we don’t learn yoga. We mature into it. We don’t learn meditation. We awaken into it. You can teach meditation, you can teach yoga, but it’s all just words unless the individual is mature and awake on the inside.

To be awake on the inside means waking up early in the morning. You woke up early this morning. That may have been difficult. But you got the body up, you got the emotions up, you got the mind up, and your instinctive mind did not want to do all that. Did it? No! Spiritual life is a twenty-four-hour-a-day vigil, as all my close devotees are realizing who have taken the vrata of 365 Nandinatha Sutras. It means going to bed at night early so you can get up in the morning early. It means studying the teachings before you go to bed so that you can go into the inner planes in absolute control. It means in the morning reading from my trilogy, Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva, to prepare yourself to face the day, to be a strong person and move the forces of the world.
Sadhana and Life’s Stages

Devotees who are doing sadhana and who are in the grihastha ashrama, between age twenty-four and forty-eight, should move the forces of the world rightly, dynamically, intelligently, quickly and make something of their lives. Such devotees should not be stimulated by competition. In today’s world most people have to be stimulated by competition to produce anything worthwhile, even if that means hurting other people. They have to be stimulated by conflict to produce anything worthy of producing in the world, and that hurts other people. They have to be stimulated by their home’s breaking up, and that hurts other people. And they have to be stimulated by all kinds of other lower emotions to be able to get enough energy to move the forces of the world to do something, whether it be good or bad. Those who perform sadhana draw on the forces of the soul to move the forces of the world and make a difference.

It is during the latter stages of life that family devotees have the opportunity to intensify their sadhana and give back to society of their experience, their knowledge and their wisdom gained through the first two ashramas. The vanaprastha ashrama, age forty-eight to seventy-two, is a very important stage of life, because that is the time when you can inspire excellence in the brahmacharya students and in the families, to see that their life goes along as it should, according to the Nandinatha Sutras, which have the entire ideal life pattern embedded within them. Later, the sannyasa ashrama, beginning at seventy-two, is the time to enjoy and deepen whatever realizations you have had along the way. We are all human beings, and every one of us — including the sapta rishis, seven great sages who help guide the course of mankind from the inner planes — is duty-bound to help everyone else. That is the duty. It must be performed by everyone. If you want to help somebody else, perform regular sadhana.

Traditionally, a Hindu home should be a reflection of the monastery that the family is attached to, with a regular routine for the mother, the father, the sons, the daughters, so that everyone is fulfilling their rigorous duties and sadhanas to the very best of their ability. We had a seventeen-year-old youth here as a guest in our monastery from one of our families in Malaysia that performs sadhana. That sadhana enabled him to come here to perform sadhana. If his parents had not been performing sadhana in their home regularly, he would not have been inclined to come here and perform a more strenuous sadhana with us.

I was asked recently what to do about all the things that you cannot avoid listening to and seeing on the TV and news and reading about — atrocities, crime, murders, poverty, unfairness — which may tend to disturb one’s sadhana. To perform good sadhana, we have to have a good philosophical foundation, which is found in Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva — The Master Course trilogy. A good philosophical foundation allows us to understand why we have the highest and the lowest human expressions here on planet Earth. Philosophers and mystics have for centuries said, “Only on planet Earth in a physical body can you realize the Self, because only here, in this world, do you have all twenty-one chakras functioning.” You need the lowest in order to realize the highest. Some people are born peaceful because of merits attained in past lives. They are born helpful, and they are the uplifters of mankind. Others are born angry, scheming, conniving, resentful, and they are the doubters, the detractors, of mankind. But all have an equal place here on planet Earth. All are going through a similar evolution up the spinal column to the top of the head, through the door of Brahman and finally out.

From the Western religionist’s point of view, God is doing it all. He is punishing mankind. He is helping mankind. And many Hindus who were raised in Christian schools hold that perspective. But from the perspective of Sanatana Dharma, the oldest religion in the world, we do it all. By our karmas we are creating our future this very moment. So, as you proceed in your sadhana, disconnect from the lower and proceed into the higher. As a family person, it is your dharma to serve society, uplift mankind and help relieve human suffering within your sphere of influence. But do not try to fix, or even entertain the desire to fix, that which you cannot fix, which is the karma, the action and reaction, of individuals who are going through the lower phases of life and must experience what they are experiencing and which you read about and hear about daily in newspapers, on TV and on the Internet.