Soul Culture Journal - Fall 2009

Contents

GuruDev

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Scriptures

Kriya Yoga News

Greetings and Love to all:

Invocation To The Guru


yasya prasadat bhagavatprasado
yasya prasadat na gatih kuto’pi
dhyayan stuvan tasya yasah trisandhyam
vande guroh sricaranaravindam

I take refuge at the lotus feet of SriGuru. I pray and meditate on His glories because the grace of God is obtained only through His grace and indeed there is no way without His grace.

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Message from the Master

Characteristics of Renunciation

Renunciation and detachment are the basis of all sadhana. The Bhagavad Gita (18:11) describes the renunciation of desire and fruits of Karma:

      na hi dehabhrita shakyam
      tyaktum karmany asheshatah
      yas tu karmaphalatyagi
      sa tyagity abhishiyate

“Since actions cannot be given up entirely by someone possessing a body, only he who renounces the fruit of actions is called a man of renunciation.”

The characteristics of people who are well-established and steadfast in wisdom and have renounced the fruits of karma are described in verse fifty-four to seventy-two of Samkhya Yoga, the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. The basis and real meaning of renunciation is to realize in every work that Prana Krishna (Lord Krishna as breath of life) is the sole doer. To realize that He is the real doer of everything is the true spirit of renunciation. Even though we are attached to all activities, He is the cause of breath and life and ultimately is the real doer. To remain always conscious and aware of Prana Krishna as the sole doer is the characteristic of ideal renunciation. God Himself – through maya shakti (His creative power of illusion) – deluded human beings into desires, anger, passion, avarice, and so on, but remains detached within them. When a person becomes lustful, God never becomes that. Remaining completely detached to lust, He shows compassion. He has given enjoyment to all, yet is detached from it. For example, the rising sun gives light to all, shines on everything, and all are able to see each other, but the sun remains always detached. This is the characteristic of renunciation.

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The Theory of Kriya Yoga

THE REAL MEANING OF THE FIRE CEREMONY

The Hindus make offerings in a fire ceremony called agnihotra. They offer oblations on the fire and chant various mantras. For the real fire ceremony, where the five sense telephones cannot function, one does not require any material object, such as wood, butter oil, and so on. The oxygen being inhaled and the divine soul fire inside your cranium is the real fire ceremony. This can be felt by the practice of Kriya Yoga.

Butter oil is nothing but a type of matter. In the brain and mind of a yogi, so many material desires and ambitions remain. The yogi takes all the desires and ambitions and offers them in the unparalleled fire. Gradually, all the past thoughts, present thoughts, and worldly thoughts within the yogi are completely burned. All the whims and madness of the yogi are completely burned to ashes. The yogi, with his love, withdraws his inhalation; this is the butter oil. By the help of this, the yogi can burn all his desires in the spiritual fire inside the cranium. The power of God within the yogi is happy to see his sacrifice. This is, undoubtedly, a divine fire ceremony. The yogi gets the formless stage, thoughtless stage. In Christianity it is taught that the formless stage is the ultimate goal. This is also taught in Islam and Hinduism. It is taught by Kriya yogis. The air is the supra-electronic force that carries oxygen through the nose and offers oblation to the living fire. A person should constantly feel his inhalation and exhalation, which is the living power of God always within. Then he will get constant liberation in family life through worldly actions. Kriya Yoga does not make a person lazy. It gives constant awareness of his inherent divinity.

The Hindus carry firewood, incense, fruits and flowers to God for His satisfaction. Likewise, the Christians take candles, flowers, and donations to the altar. The Muslims enter the mosque with incense to satisfy God. However, the Kriya yogis convey their lives, that is, they offer their breath of life to the living fire that is the soul. The Kriya yogi constantly offers oblation to the fire and becomes very humble towards the soul, that is, the power of God. Lahiri Baba and Shriyukteshwarji said, “Through every human being, the power of God is taking 21,6000 inhalations in a day. Of these, if a person can watch 1,728 inhalations and exhalations taken by the soul through the nose, this finishes the meditation of ten years.”

-- Kriya Yoga The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture and the Essence of All Religions; pg 125 - 132

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"The Divine Mission"

Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me:
Nevertheless not my will, but your will be done.
       -- Luke (22:42)

mata me parvati devi pita devo mahesvarah
bandhavah shiva bhaktanam svadesho bhuvana trayam
“Divine Mother Parvati is my mother and Shiva is my
Father. All those who love God are my friends and
The entire globe is my home.”

This is a prayer of monks with a true spirit of renunciation. Monks are here for humanity and the entire creation. Monks look beyond national boundaries, religious dogmatism, and fantastical ideas. Monasteries are the temple of universal love, and monks are moving temples of the living scriptures. With their compassionate outlook and love for all, they serve not only human beings, but also animals and plants.

When Alexander the Great when out to conquer the world, he went out to conquer the world, he went to his master, apprised him of his mission and declares, “My master, please let me know what I should bring for you on my way back. This time I am in the conquest of the East.” The master looked at him and replied, “If you go to India, please do not forget to bring back some monks from there.” Alexander could not understand this wish and thought his master was being whimsical. Later however, he encountered some monks on the western frontiers of this great subcontinent, and when he returned in defeat, he understood the subtle desires of his master. He realized the greatness that comes from controlling human weaknesses, the mind, and emotions.

The Guru in the East and the West

Monks of the Vedic tradition are unique in their attitude, outlook, understanding, and teaching. They give up luxury, comforts, and material pleasure for the realization of Absolute Truth. They are compassionate and share their spiritual wisdom without any expectation of reward. They believe that spiritual wisdom is not the monopoly of any land but belongs to all. The following is a poem on this subject written by Rabindranath Tagore:

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depths of Truth,
Where tireless striving stretches in its arms towards perfection,
Where clear stream of reason has not lost its way into dreary
desert sand of dead habits,
Where the mind is lead forward by Thee into ever widening
thought and action
Into that heavenly freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

A comparable sentiment is expressed by a saying in Sanskrit:

ayam nija paroveti gananam laghu chetasam
udara charitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam
“’This is mine and that is not mine’ it is the attitude of narrow-minded people,
but for those who are broad-minded, the entire earth is their family.”

A realized master, united with God, is like a loving and serving mother who gives everything to the children for their all-around development. The master has no boundaries or limitations. In being completely dedicated to God, the masters are free from worries and fears. They travel ceaselessly, or they stay in one place without perturbation, serving inwardly and silently.

Between 1967 – 1973 Swamiji (now titled Paramahamsa Hariharananda) traveled far and wide in India, and through him thousands of people embraced the marvelous technique of Kriya Yoga. They were attracted to his dynamic personality and deep spiritual experiences. Many people were blessed to see him in the rare state of nirvikalpa samadhi, and hearing of his spiritual power, hundreds of sincere seekers from the West also came to him. Many of them were then initiated into Kriya Yoga, and through it experienced much calmness and peace.

River of Compassion; pg 177 - 179

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CULTIVATING VIRTUES

There is a humorous story. Once there was a cleaning woman in a village, who did everything in the name of Krishna, offering every aspect of her work. When she finished cleaning the floor, she would throw out the dirty water saying, “I offer this to Krishna.” The story goes that this dirt began to stick to the statue of Krishna, in the temple, and the temple priest became concerned. One night, as he dreamt, he saw in a vision that this lady was the cause of the trouble. The next morning he went to her, and informed her that she should change her ways. She promised to stop, and the statue remained clean: no mud stuck on the idol. At night the priest had another dream in which Krishna appeared and told him clearly that he did not mind the dirt as even that belonged to him, and he would accept good or bad that was offered to him with such love. The priest understood that such a high degree of devotion is always harmless.

There is another story about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who loved God in the form of Mother Kali. He was not educated and could barely sign his name. He had not studied any scriptures yet his love and devotion for God were truly remarkable. Naren, a young disciple, who later became the world famous Swami Vivekananda, often came to see him. Naren was eighteen years old at the time. He asked his master why he kept referring to the goddess Kali as ‘Mother’. The temple was only thirty years old, and even the sculptor, who had made the beautiful statue, was only fifty. Naren argued that the sculptor should be called ‘father’ and the goddess should be his ‘daughter’. Since Ramakrishna was in his forties, he could not possibly be the son, or Kali his ‘Mother’. Ramakrishna listened patiently and said, “I know She is my Mother, but for your sake, I will ask Her tonight and give you Her answer tomorrow.” The next day, when Naren went to visit Ramakrishna, he told his young disciple the following, “I went to the Mother and told her Naren had asked all these questions, since he is very intelligent, and how was it possible that She was my Mother.” Mother Kali had replied, “Tell Naren that I am not only your mother but the mother of Naren, and of the sculptor and of all those who are born and yet to be born.” Where there is pure love there is no room for logic or intellectual analysis.

Naren had a friend called Rakhal, and they both attended a spiritual organization, the ‘Brahma Samaj’. This school of thought advocated the doctrine of a formless God, and those who followed were obliged to take a vow not to pray to any form. Sometimes, Naren brought Rakhal to visit Ramakrishna. One day, Naren discovered that Rakhal was sitting near the Kali temple with his eyes closed, and tears streaming down his face, praying to the ‘Mother”. Naren became upset, and quarreled with Rakhal accusing him of untruthfulness and breaking his promise. Rakhal could find no answer to defend himself since in a way it was true, but his experience of the ‘Mother’ was also true, and vividly imprinted in his spirit. Shri Ramakrishna told Naren never to interfere with other’s intimate beliefs. He also expressed his curiosity about the fact that Naren kept visiting him, if he did not accept the way Ramakrishna worshipped. Naren admitted that he came because he loved Ramakrishna, even if he disagreed with him.

A few years later, Naren went through very trying times, his father had passed away leaving his widowed mother and the rest of the family, under his care. Although a brilliant graduate, he had no job and sometimes there was not even enough food to eat. Floundering among such difficulties, he did not visit Ramakrishna for a long time. Then one day, he fell unconscious due to weakness and fatigue. As he recovered, he felt a strong urge to visit Ramakrishna. When he faced his master, he bowed down and narrated his predicament. After hearing hi out, Ramakrishna sent Naren to pray to the ‘Mother’ for whatever he needed, assuring him that his wishes would be granted. The desperate circumstances had somehow modified his convictions, so Naren went to the temple to pray. When he looked at the deity, he did not see a form, but was overpowered by a brilliant light. All he could pray for was detachment, wisdom and love. When he regained consciousness, he went back to his master and related the incident. Ramakrishna sent him back again to go and ask for food and worldly comforts. Naren made another attempt but was unable to ask for material things. Taking pity on him, Ramakrishna told Naren to go him in peace and that the ‘Mother’ would take care of him and of his family, so that they would no longer have to endure any economic hardship. He also promised that the ‘Mother’ would grant him his special request. Since all this was proved true, Naren understood that God was both form and formless. But the most important lesson of all was that God always responds to love and devotion.

Love flourishes and grows in purity and simplicity. Let that kind of love shine in all of us, and help us to transform our life. To be silent is not enough. Love God in silence. It will come slowly; do not be impatient, God is waiting and watching in silence.

The Buddha used the imagery that disciples were like pots, and the grace of God and Gurus was like raindrops. To fulfill our purpose, a few conditions had to be met. First of all, the face of the pot had to be turned upwards. Secondly, it had to be empty of all contents. Last of all, the pot had to be in good condition, without any leeks.

Examine your life to see if it is God-oriented; your mind should be open, and facing upwards, no negative thoughts should occupy the mind, and strive to get rid of bad habits that provoke nasty leaks. These are the essential conditions to earn the grace of God. Change and transform your life. When the outlook changes, your experience will also change.

After expounding on these nine forms of devotion, Rama said, “Anyone possessing even one of these, is extremely dear to me. If you have all these qualities in you, your life will be fulfilled.” Shabari, the tribal woman, who had the good fortune to hear Rama expound on the nine steps of love and devotion, had also unwavering faith that God Himself, in the personification of Rama, would one day come to her doorstep. The body house also has many doors. God come to us through the doors of the senses, and in every breath, but we are unable to recognize Him.

     

Path of Love; pg 83 - 86

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 11)

na hi dehabhrta sakyam
tyaktum karmany asesatah
yas tu karmaphalatyagi
sa tyagity abhidhiyate

Translation

Since actions cannot be given up entirely by someone possession a body, only he who renounces the fruit of actions is a man of renunciation.

Metaphorical Interpretation

Most people are externally attached to the body. They think that they are the body. They cannot realize that they are really the soul – living in the body. Body consciousness breeds many difficulties. Body-conscious people cannot perceive the importance of breath in their daily life. In this verse, these ignorant people are called dehabhrit, body-conscious, engrossed in activity, forgetful of the indwelling self. There are also those pseudo-spiritual individuals who present themselves as if they were renunciate monks, externally detached, but internally, in their minds, they are extremely attached to the material world. They always maintain a double standard, and that is not spirituality.

One must clearly understand the true principals of spiritual life. Every human being is the soul living in a body house. So long as the body is there, one must work. The body needs food. One must provide enough food for the nourishment, growth, and maintenance of the body. To obtain food, one must work and earn money, purchase food stuffs, and cook. This type of work is unavoidable. If you do not eat regularly, disease, ill health, and ultimately suffering and death will come. Ordinarily, you cannot completely detach yourself from material work so long as your body exists.

So what should the spiritual aspirant do? He must reform his outlook. He must know the secret of work (kri and ya). Work must be worship.

While eating, be attached to the indwelling self, not the tempting tongue. While taking food, offer each taste of food as an oblation to the divine fire for the purpose of maintaining the body. This attitude will generate inner detachment and God-conscious higher living, making you free from the fruits of action, ultimately leading to liberation.

Most people are whimsical. They are afraid of work, but for the sake of the body, work must be done. Due to laziness, some people don’t even cook their own food: they purchase and eat fast food, junk food. If they persist, they will acquire disease (dis-ease) and ailments in their bodies. You must be careful about food. IT should not be rich, spicy, and oily merely for the satisfaction of the tongue. Take food in moderation, only as required. In this way, during all work, with moderation and God-consciousness, you can avoid karma-phala, fruition of actions.

Inner detachment does not mean you work because of desire and ambition for achievement. Only for the sake of the body should material work be performed. When you constantly search for the indwelling self while performing action, you will perceive that you are not working, the soul is the cause of al activity. Through such inner awareness, all immoral and debauched attitudes can be avoided.

There is no need for pomp and grandeur in spiritual life. Spending a lot of money and spending day and night in extroverted religious exhibitionism will not yield the ultimate fruit. To be spiritual through calmness, only watch the Lord in the fontanel and silently search for Him in the breath. Then you can be free from attachment; then you can experience continuous God-realization and liberation.

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"Clean Your Cup"

When Jesus had finished speaking,
a Pharisee invited him to eat with him;
so he went in and reclined at the table.
But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus
did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.
Then the Lord said to him:
“Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.”
      — Luke 11:37 – 39; Matthew 23: 25

The Pharisees (Jewish religious teachers) may be compared with the Brahmins in India who emphasized external purity – cleaning the body, hands, and feet before any religious ceremony or partaking of food. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It is good to be externally clean and pure, but it is not enough. Jesus, an enlightened spiritual master, gave His followers a lesson about the real meaning of cleanliness on the path to spirituality and God-realization.

The human body is the vehicle for traveling on the divine path. The body should be kept fit, both for worldly and spiritual activities. Kalidas, a Sanskrit poet, said:

sharisam adyam khalu dharma sadhanam,
“The body is the principal thing of human life.”

Jesus often compared the body and the mind with a dish and a cup. Ordinarily, people keep their body clean with soap, shampoo, cream, fragrant oil, and expensive lotion. They decorate the body with beautiful, attractive clothing. They wash the outside of the cup and dish, but they are unaware that both the cup and the dish were made by God. Although the outside of the cup looks beautiful and clean, it is often dirty inside. So even when good food is offered, it is contaminated. Similarly, on the outside a person might look clean and attractive, but if the mind and thoughts are not pure, life will not be beautiful. Jesus said:

You are like the whitewashed tombs,
which look beautiful on the outside,
but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones
and everything unclean.
In the same way, on the outside you appear to the people as righteous,
but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
      — Matthew 23:27 – 28

He also said:

Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
      — Matthew 9:4

First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
      — Matthew 23:26

Along the spiritual path, inner purity is more essential than outer cleanliness. Inner transformation is more important than changing the manner of dress. God loves the inside more than the outside. Many hypocrites fill the field of religion and spirituality. They seem very spiritual, but inside they are full of negative feelings and attitudes. Nothing is hidden from God.

How do we cleanse the inner life? The gross body can easily be cleaned with water and soap, but the inside can only be cleaned with yoga practice and meditation. By cleansing and purifying the body system, immunity increases and harmful toxins are removed. In the practice of Kriya Yoga, some techniques help clean the gross body. As a result a devotee completely transforms physically and mentally.

sarvaroga upasamanam
jatharagni vivardhanam
vapusam kantim amalam
jara mrityu vinasanam
vanchhitartha phalam saukhyam
indriyanam ca maranam
etad uktani sarvani
yogarudhasya yoginah…

“By eliminating disease and increasing the digestive fire, one attains a beautiful lustrous body. Being free from old age and death, one lives a life of accomplishment. Having control over the senses, one experiences happiness in life. All these are experienced by the established yogis.” (Siva Samhita 6:32 – 34)

By practicing Kriya Yoga constantly:

  1. A seeker enjoys more health and less disease. Immunity increases, and many unknown diseases can be prevented;
  2. The digestive and assimilative power of a person will increase through peristaltic movement of the colon and easy evacuation;
  3. Bending the spine creates muscular flexibility and better circulation, which increases longevity;
  4. The extrovert sense organs that cause restlessness become easier to control;
  5. The ida (the slothful life energy channel in the spine) and the pingala (the restless channel) will separate, allowing the sushumna (the spiritual channel) to open inside the spinal canal. This increases concentration and peace. Then, a sincere practitioner can easily mediate and achieve a higher level of consciousness;
  6. All impurities of the mind are burned when a seeker practices this technique with sincerity and love;
  7. Fear of death and old age disappear, and the meditator experiences lasting peace, bliss, and joy.

In addition, a mudra properly energizes and rejuvenates the internal organs, such as the liver, the spleen, the pancreas and the adrenal glands, the kidneys, the testicles (male), the urinary bladder, the uterus and ovaries (female), the stomach, the large and small intestine. Even the brain cells are activated, increasing memory, as does better circulation.

Through this exercise, the blood is decarbonized and oxygenated blood flows to every part of the body. The circulatory system is transformed. The sensory and motor nerves, and even the entire nervous system, is thoroughly controlled. The prana or life energy flows in the body in a systematic way.

The midbrain is the storehouse of thoughts and memory. Whatever we have learned in the past (good or bad) is stored in the midbrain. Memory is an obstacle for mediation, spiritual practice, and realization. The astral body is also purified, because the spinal channel is energized. Meditation helps the spiritual seeker break free from restless thought, worry, and emotion.

Jesus asked His followers to clean the inside of the cup and dish. Once the inside is clean, the path is clear for spiritual evolution.

       The Torah, the Bible, and Kriya Yoga, pg. 149 – 152

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