Soul Culture Journal - Fall 2007

Table of Contents

Paramahamsa Hariharananda:

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda:

Scriptures:

Kriya Yoga News

Greeting to one and all from Mother Center.

Oct 20, 2007 was Vijaya: The Day of Victory.

Below is the email sent on the day by Baba Prajnanananda:

Vijaya: The Day of Victory

October 20, 2007

Loving and divine Soul,
God bless you all.

I am writing you all on the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami, the Day of Victory, which is celebrated far and wide in India to mark the end of the nine-day worship of Divine Mother Durga.

Everyone wants success in life. No one wants failure. To achieve success in all walks of life, the primary requirement is to bring inner transformation by overcoming weaknesses and negative qualities. This makes a person stronger and helps to achieve the goal in life.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord said, jahi shatru — eliminate your enemies. The enemies are not outside; rather they are within each one of us. Anger, ego, pride, jealousy, greed, procrastination, and so forth are great enemies within. We should be free from them.

These enemies are also powerful. To fight with these enemies, one should be careful and sincere. Stand up and fight! Never make any compromises in your pursuits. Meditate and pray sincerely from the core of your heart. There is no other alternative. Maintain a discriminative attitude.

On this special occasion, I am praying to God and gurus and especially to the Divine Mother to bless you all with all-round development and success.

With Love,
Prajnanananda

Message From the Master

The problem and the Solution

God realization and Self knowledge are the birthright of every human being, but as a result of heredity, environment, delusion, illusion and error, people are extrovert and bound to the senses. They search for happiness in the sensory objects. When one is engrossed in the world, it leaves no time for spiritual enquiry.

The main problem is that they forget that the soul is the sole doer. How does one know the indwelling self? What is the solution? Yoga is the only way. What is yoga? Yoga is union: feeling the state of union consciously in every step of your life. Your body is united with the soul. Breath is constantly flowing and uniting with the soul within. Just through the breath you can move inwardly to the divine presence of the soul. Real yoga is to perceive union with God in every moment. It is the realization of the perfection that is already within us.

If you remove the insulation from an electric wire and touch the bare wire, you feel the current. Similarly feel the touch sensation in the body as the touch sensation of the soul. Perceive and feel that divine current in every sensation. Always be aware of the inner self and you will get reality, the truth in life. You are born for this. With sincerity and simplicity, you have to follow the path of discipline and regular practice.

Balashram Trek Sinai November 2007

We are happy to report that the first Balashram Trek through the Sinai desert was a great success both financially and operationally. Twenty seven trekkers including Baba Prajnananandaji spent a week trekking and sleeping under the stars to raise money for Balashram. The trek which included a climb to the top of Mount Sinai was physically challenging but provided a unique and beautiful experience that was enjoyed by all trekkers.

Every trekker managed to raise the minimum sponsorship required and we have raised £62,500 (Euro 100,000 or $125,000) in sponsorship which will go directly to aid the construction programme at Balashram. In view of the success of this trek, Baba has confirmed that he is happy to join us on another trek next Summer in the Himalayas. Further information visit www.balashramtrek.org .

To see more photos of this trek visit here

In November Baba sent out a special Thanksgiving message.

Also we’d like to recognize all contributions of Yogacharya Miguel Bermudez who passed this year. A message of Paramahamsa Prajnanananda here.

December 3, 2007 Gurudev Baba
Hariharananda's Mahasamadhi Day

Loving and Divine Soul,

God bless you all.

On the occasion of Gurudev's Mahasamadhi and the fifth Punyatithi Aradhana Day, I am sending my love, prayer, and best wishes to you all.

Already five years have passed since Gurudev's mahasamadhi; it seems like just yesterday. Gurudev's loving smile flashes in the eyes and his divine guidance resounds in the ears. Many things have happened. Before his departure, Gurudev said, "Many will be confused and deluded. Many will leave and go. But many beautiful souls will come and carry out my work." I am witnessing what he said to be happening.

However, on this special day I want to remind you that Gurudev's loving and living presence is in us. Through sincere prayer and meditation we can feel it. Please meditate with love. Study his writings carefully. Come to group meditation classes whenever you can. Help to carry out Gurudev's work.

I am now in India, at his hermitage, Hariharananda Gurukulam, Balighai, Puri, conducting the four months training program. I am with you all.

With Love,
Prajnanananda
December 3, 2007

December 24-25, 2007 Holy Days Seminar at Mother Center

The Mother center hosted a lovely Holy Days Seminar with
Brahmachari Vidyananda, Yogacharya Elizabeth Tackenberg &
Yogacharya John Thomas Lopategui.

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A Prayer to the Master

nidhaye sarva vidyilnilm bhiaje bhava roginilm
gurave sarvaloklinllm dakshinllmurtaye nama

My salutations to Sri Dakshinamurty,
the Guru of all the worlds, the treasure of all knowledge,
and the doctor for those afflicted
with the disease of worldly attachment

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Excerpt From The Book "Kriya Yoga" - Chapter III: The Science of Kriya Yoga - pg. 69

By Paramahamsa Hariharananda

The next important part of the technique is call kriyā proper. As already explained: God is constantly going up and coming down the spinal cord and He is destroying the bad influences of the planets and stars inside the spinal canal. A rusty wire has no power; but if you plug this rusty wire into the electric socket, then immediately you will see it electrified and alive with powerful energy. Similarly, by magnetizing your spine through kriyā, you can change your life force into all accomplishing, radiant divine force that in turn hastens physical and mental evolution. You will also constantly realize the living God abiding within you. The ladder of the spine is the only way to true ascension and upliftment to God-consciousness.

What the mind cannot comprehend, but what constitutes the mind, know that alone to be God. What speech cannot reveal, but what reveals the speech, know that alone to be God. So, the kriyā yoga technique can lead us beyond gross sense perceptions and can give us extreme peace and calmness, which is Godliness. The more one practices this technique faithfully, regularly and sincerely, the more one will experience savikalpa samādhi or super-conscious stage and nirvikalpa samādhi, the cosmic conscious or pulseless stage.

There are six stages of kriyā technique through which a kriyāvān can control his different centers and get Self-realization. These should be learnt from a realized yogi and practiced under his direct guidance and supervision. After completion of these six steps, cosmic consciousness will automatically dawn. Then your life will be full of bliss and the goal which is the achievement of the Supreme Reality is attained. By first kriyā you can convert your mind into consciousness and get calmness and the triple divine qualities of light, sound and blissful vibration. Also, the devotee gets sound health, sound mind and intellect is transformed into knowledge. By the help of first kriyā the kudalini śakti comes up from the coccygeal center to the pituitary and above. The devotee can practically feel that some divine current and divine light are coming up and going down the spine. When a person practices meditation and the mind, intellect, thought and ego do not remind in him, then he hears the divine sound, the invisible talk of God. Through practice, he hears the sound continually. This is call anāhata dhvani or non-stopping sound. In first kriyā the meditator can get suvechhā samādhi. Śuvechhā means divine desire for Soul-culture. This arises in first kriyā when the meditator gets supersensation in the body and great calmness.

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An Excerpt from the ‘Nectar Drops’

Paramahamsa Hariharananda
  • People go to higher stage, but due to little bad action they come down

  • Feel the presence of God as much in your friend as in your foe

  • In every human being, the heart center is very powerful and vicious

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An Excerpt from the Book ‘River of Compassion’

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Chapter 6:
From Brahmacharya to Sannyasa

Miracles or God's Love

People who have read in 'Autobiography of a Yogi' about the miraculous life of many monks, or episodes from the life of Moses or Jesus wonder, "Are these miracles possible? Can this really happen?" Every human life is a miracle. We need the vision to perceive it. Every breath is a miracle, which keeps life in this body, we must realize it. The life of a spiritually elevated soul is a miraculous gift of God for all, meant to turn our mind to the presence of God and perceive Divine Love. Every happening in our life has a message from God, but many cannot comprehend this.

To live in Puri is a great opportunity. On one side is the vast ocean roaring aloud the glory of God, the Creator, and on the other the lofty temple of Lord Jagannath with a furling flag visible from miles away, reminding all not to forget the Divine. Every particle of sand in this city is sanctified by the presence of saints, sages, seers and seekers.

Brahmachari Rabinarayan had a deep desire to stay in Puri for some time and to intensify his own meditation and sadhana in his Guru's Ashram. But he became ill with chronic indigestion. His body was emaciated. As a routine after evening meditation, he would visit Jagannath Temple for darshan and prayer. One day he stood in the Sanctum Sanctorum and prayed to the Lord, "Is it not thy wish for me to stay in this holy city and meditate? This body is becoming an obstacle." After that he went to the market to purchase some fruits. He paid the money and waited as the shopkeeper weighed the fruit. The shopkeeper and his friend were engaged in a discussion about health. The friend advised the shopkeeper, "By taking good food alone one may not get good health. One should go to the doctor and get checked for worms in the intestine." He also mentioned an ayurvedic medicine as a cure.

Brahmachari Rabinarayan was listening to the conversation of these two friends. He understood it was an indirect message from Lord Jagannath, an answer to his prayer. He went straight from there to a nearby ayurveda pharmacy and purchased a few bottles of that medicine. He used the medicine and it worked wonders. He recovered completely from his illness. Later he prayed to Jagannath, "Oh Lord! I came for a few months to live here. You kept me for a good period of time with you. This is your love."

From 1948 on, low blood pressure became a regular complaint in the life of Swamiji. But towards the middle of 1958 the condition became alarming. He was seriously ill. He was not able to get up from his bed. He thought it was the end. From his astrological chart, he knew that it was the worst period of his life. He was expecting the inevitable to happen at any time, any moment.
The night of September 27, 1958, he was praying to the Divine Mother as he lay on his bed. No prayer goes unanswered, for God is full of compassion. It only requires a little patience. The Divine Mother Kali appeared before him in her Divine Effulgence.

"The entire room was full of light!" he narrated later. “Beautiful aromatic fragrance was spreading all around. Her charming smile was clearly visible through a condensed mass of blue light surrounding her.” She raised a hand towards him and said, "You will be all right, my child. You will live to fulfill the mission for which you have come here. However; you will have to suffer a little more, but have patience. I am with you always." The vision faded away. He gained a lot of strength. The ailment disappeared. It took some days to recover completely, however.
After a few days, while bathing, he was shocked to notice a small white patch of leukoderma, near the navel. Day by day it spread allover his body on the chest, the thumb, the toes disfiguring the body.

Well, the Divine Mother saved his life from a fatal condition, blessing him to fulfill his divine mission, but who would come near a man afflicted with such a disease? He began praying to Her again.

One day, while in his room and meditating, he saw a flash of light in front of him and through the light an address was visible which read, Dr. Ghosh, Dharamtala Street, Calcutta, 7 p.m. He took this as a message of the Mother. He reached the place and found the name of the doctor on the door. It was a great surprise to find Dr. Ghosh a busy medical practitioner of dermatology alone at 7 p.m. He was sitting and waiting for someone to arrive. He examined Swamiji and gave him some medicine for external use. After a few days application, the disease stopped spreading, but the already discolored patches continued to be the same. Several months passed without any noticeable change in the color of the skin.

Then, another day during meditation, he heard a sweet voice, "Dr. S. K. Mitra, Calcutta." This again, as he understood, was a further direction of the Divine Mother to consult another physician. But this was not easy. In the previous message, a complete address was given, but now only a name. It was extremely difficult to locate this doctor in the bustling metropolitan city of Calcutta.

He was trying to search and locate this doctor on the streets of Calcutta. One day, on the way, he met an old friend who mentioned that he was on his way to the clinic of Dr .S. K. Mitra, Dermatologist. Brahmachari, being glad that the search for the physician had finally ended, went to the clinic of Dr .Mitra with his friend. He explained to the doctor the purpose of the visit with details of his suffering and the indications of the Divine Mother from time to time. The doctor listened to all the details patiently but said nothing. He remained busy with his patients while Brahmachariji waited patiently for hours. Then he approached the doctor and asked him if he would prescribe some medicine for him. The doctor stopped his work, stared at him and said, "What medicine do you expect me to prescribe for an ailment ordained by the Divine Mother? She gave you my name but has not yet told me the name of the medicine to be administered. You may please wait."

A little later two medical representatives from a medical firm in Haryana came to the doctor with samples of medicines. One of them placed two sample bottles of medicine saying it was a new remedy manufactured recently for leukoderma and allied skin diseases. The doctor asked for two more bottles from them. After the representatives left, the doctor who was a devoted soul gave the medicines to Brahmachariji and said, "Here is the medicine which the Divine Mother has sent for you." After a few days of application of the medicine, the disease was almost cured, only a slight mark on the skin is still visible.

On another occasion, a person came to Puri Ashram early in the morning, looking for Swamiji. When he saw him, he prostrated at his feet and prayed for him to save his life. He looked pale and sick. He narrated that he was suffering from a serious ailment, which could not be cured medically. Giving up all hope of recovery through further treatment, he had performed severe penance at the temple of Shri Tarakeshwar. He had a vision of Tarakeshwar, an aspect of Lord Shiva, who directed him to approach Swami Hariharananda of Karar Ashram for remedy. Swamiji took pity on him although he did not know what to do.

He went to the temple of Shriyukteshwar and meditated to find a solution. Then he saw a flash of light and within the mass of bright light was a small creeper with yellow flowers. He saw this vision repeatedly and knew that this plant could heal the ailment. He collected the tender plant with the roots and treated the ailing man. He was cured completely.

Being a true philanthropist, he kept many poor, helpless orphan children in the ashram and took good care of them. Even when the financial condition of the ashram was not good, he helped them in every respect. One evening, all the children came to Brahmachariji and requested him. "We want sandesh tomorrow. Can you give it?" He consented without a second thought. Then they said, "We will eat sandesh for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We will not take any rice or anything else. Only sandesh! "

Brahmachariji was praying to God about his promise to the children. There was not enough money for that. The morning came. Brahmachariji was going to his meditation room where the idol of Mother Kali was installed. All the children of the Ashram ran towards him to remind him of last night's promise. Brahmachariji smiled and said, "Please, all of you meditate outside until I finish my worship." He closed the room and was absorbed in meditation and a prayer for the children near the Mother Divine.

After a while he came back into consciousness, hearing someone knock on the door. He opened the door and saw an old lady who lived in the neighborhood, standing with a big metal plate of sweets covered in a new piece of cloth and a holding a metal glass of water. Brahmachariji was surprised. As was customary, he took the plate from her hand, and offered the sweets to Divine Mother with the appropriate ritual. After that, taking a couple of sweets from the plate he was returning the rest but the lady objected, "No, no. Please do not do that. All these sweets are for you, including the plate and glass. Only give me a couple of sweets for my family." When questioned, she narrated that the previous night she had a dream of the Divine Mother, who instructed her to bring sweets to the Ashram, which she did. The children outside were overjoyed to have the sweets, while Brahmachariji had tears of gratitude and love for the Mother Divine.

Swami Hariharananda was in Patna. There was a prominent attorney of Patna High Court, who took initiation at that time. He had a regular habit of worshipping the Divine Mother, standing in water up to the waist, and chanting mantras for hours. Swarniji during his instructions said to him not to waste such a long time in chanting, and spend the time for meditation. But no one wants to give up a practice, which he had been following for several years. Displeased, he said, "You are my Kriya Teacher. You should not give me other advice."

At this remark, only two words emerged from Swamiji's mouth, "Hey Ma! (Oh Mother). After the completion of the program in Patna, Swamiji left for Puri and was busy with Ashram work. He received a telegram with a money order from the said attorney, requesting Swamiji to come back to Patna, since his daughter was suddenly ill and not recovering.

Swamiji, the incarnartion of compassion, left for Patna by the evening train. He reached the palatial residence of the attorney. He was well received. When he asked the cause of their telegram, they said their daughter was suffering from extremely high fever which was unremitting, even with the best medical care. She was almost in an unconscious state, sometimes crying and uttering "Gurudev." Then the attorney begged apology for his misconduct.
Swamiji entered the room of this little girl, and closed the door. He sat near her bed and placing his hand on her forehead, started meditating. After a short period of meditation, the fever was gone, the child opened her eyes and started talking with Swamiji; "Gurudev, when did you come?" The parents were eagerly waiting outside. Listening to the voice of their daughter, they could wait no longer. They knocked on the door and came in to see their smiling daughter.

It was in July 1974. Swarniji was in Germany. He got a subtle message from Shriyukteshwar. He appeared near him and directed him to leave for India, as there was some trouble in Puri Ashram. He got this message repeatedly. He then decided to come back to India, canceling all his programs. When he came to the airlines counter and inquired, the lady officer at the counter replied that there was no seat available for two weeks. Swarniji told the lady that since his Gurudev wanted him to go back soon, there must be some accommodation for him. She lost her temper and frowned at Swamiji and used very unkind words about Indian monks.

When Swarniji repeatedly requested her with love to be calm and kind, she softened and looked through the reservation of seats on the next flight. She then suddenly exclaimed, "Oh Swami! I am sorry. Please excuse me. There is one seat vacant from here to Frankfurt and from there, two seats to Delhi."

Then she came out from behind her desk, caught his hands and requested Swarniji to excuse her as she spoke ill of Indian monks. Then Swarniji replied, "My mother! I am not at all unhappy .I know that when my Guru directed me to go, surely he would devise some means to get a seat in the plane for my journey."

It was long ago in Puri. Swamiji went into town to purchase some materials. There were some people on the way and one of them started speaking ill of monks in the presence of Swamiji. They were expecting him to be irritated. He did not react and left the place with a smile.

Immediately after Swamiji's departure, this man suffered a dislocation of the jawbone and he was unable to speak. Others, who thought it was the result of his misconduct towards an innocent monk, brought the man to the ashram and requested Swamiji to forgive him. At first he could not think of what to do. Then he thought of a remedy. The man was wearing Indian clothes - a 'lungi.' Swamiji went near him and whispered to another person standing close by to pull down his lungi in the presence of others, which he did. Out of shame, the afflicted person cried "Uph," and his jaw was relocated. He could talk. He touched the feet of Swamiji and begged apology.

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An Excerpt from the Book ‘Path of Love’

VI. Love for Love's Sake

Sage Narada, in his Aphorism on Divine Love, teaches us,

tat sukhe sukhitvam

“Love finds fulfillment in the happiness of the beloved."

A story about Krishna tells us that once he suffered from a severe headache. Many remedies were tried, but nothing seemed to work. He felt unbearable pain. Promising they would do anything, the people around him asked Krishna for a solution. Krishna suggested that if the dust from the feet of his devotees could be applied on his head, it would bring instant relief. There was only one major obstacle, it was a sacrilege to apply the dust from the feet of devotees to Krishna's head, so whoever performed this good action would go to hell. On hearing this, people were silent and withdrew, no-one felt like suffering in hell. Krishna's headache became more acute and the news reached Brindavan. The Gopis, whose intense love for Krishna was well-known, cried in a chorus, "We will anoint the dust of our feet on Krishna's head. If it will make Krishna well, we will gladly go to hell." Krishna's headache immediately disappeared, and the Gopis found fulfillment in their love.

Narada in his Bhakti Sutras tells us,

tat sukhe sukhitvam, tat vismarane parama vyākulatā' iti

"Be happy in His happiness and restless and remorseful if you have forgotten to remember."

Is God ever unhappy? What can we do to make God happy? When a child is sick can the mother be happy? A mother's joy is dependant on the child's pleasure and well-being. God is much more than an earthly mother. God will be pleased with us if we can wipe away the tears of any of his children, and make them smile again. A mother sacrifices a great deal for her children. The mother eats only after the child is fed, and rests only after the child has fallen asleep.

As a child, I once saw the grief of a monkey in my village, when baby perished. The mother did not leave the side of the dead little monkey, she sat there for days without food. If a monkey can have so much love, we as human beings can do much better. Our love for God, manifest itself in intense love for all His creation, and we must be ready to sacrifice ourselves, if it is ever needed.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Narada describes love as not conditioned by expectation possessiveness. Love cannot be purchased or possessed.

If I say I love India in winter because it is nice and cool, and not in summer as it is too hot, my love would depend on a cause. In the absence of that cause, love would also be absent. If I love a rose only because of its beauty, then I do not love it when its petals fall down. Bees visit the flower when it is young and full of honey, but the flower is alone as it starts to wither. When love is felt for a particular reason, it does not withstand the test of time. Likewise it can also change, today's friend can become tomorrow's foe. True love is unconditional and must hold no expectations.

If you want to take a bath in the water, jump in with surrender, and enjoy your swim. Let there be no condition to love God. Wherever you are, whatever the situation might be, full of pleasure or pain do not forget God. Love Him in every situation, in every breath.

There is a story about a king who had two daughters, whom he loved very dearly. One day the king asked his daughters how much they loved him. The first daughter answered, "I love you like I love honey." second daughter said simply "I love you as I love salt." The king was not
too happy with the second answer. He started visiting this daughter less. One day she invited him to lunch and served him the most delicious looking food. But everything tasted very sweet. Then she brought dish, this time with salt. The king understood the completeness of the love that this daughter held for him. Love needs an all-encompassing understanding.

LOVE IS TOLERANT

Shri Chaitanya, while teaching the Shikshastakam, gives us the following description,

"If you love God, be more tolerant than the tree. Be humbler than the grass. Honor all, even the most insignificant one, and chant the name of the Lord."

What does it mean to become tolerant like the trees? When children throw a stone to make a mango fall, the tree gives fruit as a reward. A mango tree is just like a mother, it provides nourishment, shade, firewood and shelter.

We are so intolerant that we overact at the most insignificant things. When we are unable to express our emotion, we react inwardly. Weak people react, strong people act. Whereas weak people are reactive, strong people are active. In order to accept all the difficulties that life has in store for us, we need to develop tolerance. To increase our level of tolerance, we need to discipline ourselves. Give up something you like for a week. This will shape your character, increase your inner discipline and make you more tolerant towards yourself and others.

LOVE IS ACCEPTANCE

Life becomes successful only when we learn to accommodate and adjust to those around us. Many things in life are not under our control. There is much we cannot change, so it is wis'er to accept the situation with a smile. A prayerful attitude is the best inner shield. Inconsistent behavior and a vacillating temperament is the root of our problems. It also causes confusion in those around us. Love brings forth acceptance.

Once you stop complaining and become full of acceptance, you become stronger. If we accept things as they are, life is suddenly easier. Start with very simple things; like the coming of winter. When we complain about the bitter cold it just makes it harder to bear. Winter is part of nature. It is God's play. Think, instead, how many children enjoy playing in the snow, or of the beauty of the snow. Accept things as they are. The trees outside are able to accept autumn and winter with equanimity, shedding their leaves and decorating the ground with them. They know the soft spring sun will come again and new leaves will sprout once more. The patience and endurance of nature knows no bounds.

As you begin your spiritual journey, do not complain too much. Try not to be inwardly weak. When problems arise, face them with courage as a challenge. Then you will see that even a problem has a positive element. To solve a problem you need patience and practice. Through practice it becomes easy. When I was working in Cuttack, and living in the Puri Ashram, I had to commute to work, by bus, during several hours each day. Loud, romantic music is often played in this kind of transportation. But in my mind, I thought of those love songs as dedicated to God, and used the time for meditation instead of getting irritated. If you persist in complaints, life becomes miserable. I also traveled by train throughout India. The trains are equally loud, making an obtrusive rhythmic clamor that, with my eyes closed, I converted into chanting. Since everything is God, and He is omnipresent, the sound of a machine is also God. Once we have a determined and focused outlook, nothing can disturb our meditation.

LOVE TRUSTS

Love is based on faith and trust. Love increases as faith stronger. Where there is love, there is no iota of doubt. Doubt is a ground of difficulties. There is a story in the Ramayana.

Sita, the wife of Rama, was kidnapped. She was kept on an island in order to rescue her Rama had to cross the ocean. So Rama, with the help of his army, wanted to build a floating bridge and was wondering how to go about it. A soldier claimed to know a trick to make a stone float on the water. Rama was curious since this was most unusual. The soldier threw a stone, invoking the name of Rama. Since Rama was an incarnation, and the soldier had so much faith, the stone started floating. Rama tried to do this himself, but the stone sunk down. Rama was somewhat surprised, but Hanuman, the monkey god, was highly amused. After a while, he decided to explain that the stone had sunk because whatever is rejected by God as personified by Rama, would drown in the ocean of the world. In the case of the soldier, the stone had floated because of the absolute trust and faith in the name of God. Where there is love, there is belief and trust and anything can happen.

EXPERIENCING LOVE THROUGH THE SENSES

When we have placed our trust in God, love brings inner strength to face all the challenges of life with a smile. Our body is a palace with many doors. With God as the doorkeeper, one is able to experience the same inner bliss that a Yogi experiences in deep meditation. Just as when you close your eyes and ears, and hold your breath you enjoy Divinity, then also with your open eyes, alert ears and in every breath you will experience God.

The sacred scriptures teach us:

hrsikānām hrsikesa sevanam bhaktirucyate

"Experiencing Divinity through the senses is love."

In India there is a group of devotees called the vaishnavas. They hold their love of God to be supreme. They would rather spend their lifetime loving God with all their senses, than reach union with God. From early dawn to dusk they spend every thought, word and activity, dedicated to their love of God. They worship God in name and form. They decorate the temple and the altar so that it is pleasing to the eyes. They offer food to God before they eat. They constantly sing the name of God. They utilize each of their sense organs to worship God. Through this lifestyle they experience tremendous love for God.

Vaishnavas, or true devotees, want to behold the majestic glory visually, and feel the presence of God mentally. Their love is with the outlook of duality, not willing to merge and to experience state of unity. They consider this form of love to be greater than liberation. They would rather taste the sugar than become sugar itself. This vaishnava bhakti.

When Krishna was seven or eight years old, the Gopas played with him and they all loved him very much. Since Brindavan was in the country, families depended on cattle-rearing and dairy products for their living. Young Krishna, surrounded by his friends, would go to the nearby woods and guide the herd. While the cows and calves grazed, the children played and at dusk they would return home. They would eat on the sandy of the river Yamuna. Since all the friends wanted to sit close to Krishna, He sat at the center, while the Gopas made a circle around him, and placed their food in front of them. In this way, each of them felt in direct contact with Krishna and proceeded to offer him the best morsels. Krishna let each of them feed him and fed them by turns.

What is the significance of Krishna feeding his friends? Who is eating, and who is giving us the joy and the satisfaction that we derive from food? Krishna's friends were feeding him. This is feeding the Divinity within us. And Krishna in turn is feeding his friends with joy and satisfaction. We are all part of God's creation and each living being is the manifestation of God. When we are fully aware of this, every act becomes more loving and our love multiplies.

If you hold a rose in front of a cow, the cow will surely eat it. If give a rose to your beloved, it is meant as a token of love. If you offer a rose to a devotee, it will be used to worship God. The same rose appreciated in different ways, depending on our perception. The world is like the rose. What is revealed to us depends on our outlook. At the body level the world is experienced as bondage, but when it is viewed at the soul level, the world manifests itself as a play of consciousness. The same soul is abiding in all, like the same electricity is manifested in different bulbs. Names and forms are different but the soul is one. We all are one, all in one and one in all. One who experiences this is liberated. We say God is all pervading, but we go on to divide one another into friends and enemies. If an unfortunate or unpleasant situation is the cause of such a rift, can we not find some love in our hearts to forgive and make amends? One who cannot have love for all, will not be liberated.

Everyone is familiar with the picture of the three monkeys, which Gandhi kept with him. One monkey closed his eyes with his hands, to see no evil, the second monkey closed his ears, to hear no evil, and the third monkey closed his mouth, to speak no evil. If the mind is filled with love and is not affected by anger, ego or jealousy, our every action will be full of love. But this is not enough, there is a new version of the triple monkeys, one eye is closed but the other is open to see the Divine everywhere. The second monkey hears no evil, but is ready to hear good things. The last monkey does not speak any evil, only truth.

Experience Divinity through all the senses. When you speak, speak with love, addressing the Divinity in the other person. Remember the living presence of God in all. When looking, listening, or working manifest love constantly. Nothing is impossible when we overflow with love, life itself becomes complete.

LOVE IS NOT ATTACHMENT

Attachment is an emotional stagnation that holds us anchored in the past. Attachment hinders growth and causes unhappiness and depression. Kriya Yoga teaches us to be compassionately detached, from people, places, positions and even our memory.

Once Yoganandaji was talking with Shriyukteshwarji, and he had to catch a train in half an hour and was therefore in a hurry to leave. Shriyukteshwarji detained him on purpose and sensing his restlessness said, "What is more important? Your love for God or your train? You have to be detached. The train will come when you are ready to leave." Yoganandaji was over an hour late to reach the stations but since the train was also delayed, the Guru had taught him a valuable lesson.

People are often concerned about being attached to their children. Love is not attachment. Love your children, but do not be attached. While a newborn baby needs to be physically close to his parents, a growing child can never be held as close. Attachment becomes less physical and emotional. As the child matures, emotional attachment must be modified to make room for independence to sprout. Yet the love that joins your family should grow stronger and more solid with the passing of time.

LOVE IN DETACHMENT AND UNDERSTANDING

Most people are attached to their body. In the spiritual path, you love your body but you are not attached to it. Treat the body as the God. Take care of it with proper food and exercise, keep it clean and pure but do not be overly attached to it. Grow in detachment and understanding. The root of many troubles suffered by humanity as a whole, stem from lack of love. Love avoids friction and quarrels. Love bridges over gaps and differences. Conflicts at any level, on a personal, family, social or even national scale, can be avoided if one manages to ascend the predominant narrowness of spirit and have a pacifying influence, full of love and understanding. Love and peace are inextricably welded together.

LOVE IN SILENCE

There is proverb, " An empty vessel makes much sound."

It needs to feel important since it feels its emptiness. Love is the state of completeness and calmness. Love is the state of contentment through a feeling of oneness. Love is complete surrender and ultimately the state of total absorption.

Very few people know the art of loving in silence. Most people are afraid that if they do not express their love, it will be lost. In reality, love is often misunderstood through words. Communication is haphazardness as people have different levels of intelligence. Loving in silence is the truest way of loving God.

LOVE CANNOT BE MEASURED

People often claim to love someone more. But in reality, can love be measured? What is the yard stick for measuring love? Love is beyond all comparison and even comprehension. Love is infinite. Love is immeasurable. To illustrate this point, I am reminded of a story of Krishna.

Krishna had two wives. Each one claimed she loved him more than the other. One day Krishna wanted to test their love. He told them that since he had decided to distribute his wealth to the poor, the amount of what he would actually give should be equal to his weight. The first queen, overflowing in material wealth, offered to match his weight in gold so he could distribute it to the poor. Krishna sat on one side of the scale, and the queen started heaping gold and jewels on the other side. To her surprise she was unable to match his weight. Krishna then looked at his other wife. She made a prayer to him, and put one small tulsi leaf on the scale saying humbly, "I love you like this." The scale turned. Love is immeasurable. One whose life is absorbed in love, is absorbed in God. When love saturates one's life, pleasure and pain cannot be felt.

The Upanishads teach us, 'We are born out of love, we grow in love and we merge in love.' Those who realize this make life complete. Experience love through every breath. Let life be complete by merging in the ocean of love.

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 5)

By Paramahamsa Hariharananda

yajñadānatapaḥkarma
na tyājyam kāryam eva tat
yajño dānam tapaścaiva
pāvanāni maniṣiṇām

Translation

Acts of sacrifice, charity, and penance (austerity) are not to be given up; rather, they must be performed. For sacrifice, charity, and penance sanctify the life of the wise men.

Metaphorical Interpretation

Renunciation does not mean to avoid all action; that is impossible. Three actions that should not be shunned are yajiia (sacrifice or fire ceremony), dana (acts of charity), and tapas (penance or austerity).

People usually take these three types of action literally and perform fire ceremonies by offering oblations to the ceremonial fire, do charity by giving material help to the needy, and undertake austerity that tortures the body. But the proper approach to these three spiritual practices is metaphorical. Yajna means pranayajna, offering oblation of breath to the soul fire in the pituitary and to the God fire in the fontanel. Those who want spiritual growth must be conscious of the indwelling Self in every breath so they will be free from all negative qualities.

Dana means to donate. Realization would be extremely easy if you could pass through its gateway by donating your belongings. In reality dana means donating your restless mind full of dirty ideas to God, so that every thought becomes divine and God-oriented.

Tapas is the breath (oxygen) that goes up: and touches the God fire in the fontanel, thereby maintaining body temperature. Another meaning of tapas is to remain in tapah loka. The seven lokas (planes of consciousness) -bhuh, bhuvah, svah, mahah, janah,tapah, satyam -correspond to the seven centers in the spine and tapah loka is associated with the ajna chakra near the pituitary. The real penance and austerity, is not allowing your mind to go this point, keeping your attention above, in the pituitary.

These three activities make the mind pure. A person can become compassionately detached and God conscious, truly educated. Those who perform these three kinds of work are perfect.

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