Soul Culture Journal - Spring 2008

Contents

GuruDev

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Scriptures

Kriya Yoga News

Greeting to one and all from Mother Center and Happy New Year Greeting.

April 24-30 was the first ever Higher Kriya Retreat held at the Mother Center in Florida. Shri Lahiri Mahasaya used to say that a disciple should spend at least a few days each year in the company of his or her master. This unique retreat at the Miami Ashram was a rare opportunity to not only be in the presence of our great divine master, Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji, but also to learn and deepen your practice of the higher Kriyas. Kriyavans had the opportunity to learn and practice the advanced Kriyas, get clarifications on the techniques, as well as receive spiritual teachings and get insight into the deeper wisdom hidden in the scriptural texts.

May we had a special Mother’s day message from Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. The Mother Center also celebrated GuruDev’s birthday on May 27.

Mother’s day Message

Loving and Divine Soul,

God Bless you

I pray for all of you and for all the mothers who brought us into this world. In the Vedic culture there are seven mothers:

  1. the Earth
  2. the rivers
  3. the Divine Mother, God as Mother
  4. the mantras
  5. the holy scriptures
  6. the cows who give us milk, as the mother feed the baby
  7. the birth mother

On this special day let us express out love to our mothers, whether they are in physical body or they have departed.

Let us manifest motherly love, kindness and compassion in our hearts.

I am praying for all. Please meditate nicely.

With love

Prajnanananda.

GuruDev’s Birthday Message

Loving and Divine Soul,

On this auspicious occasion of Gurudev’s birthday, I am sending my love, prayer, and best wishes to all of you.

A century of his life is over and another new year has started. Gurudev’s divine life is still a beautiful source of inspiration not only for those who came in contact with him, but also countless seekers in the world who pursue their sincere effort to progress on the spiritual path. He never emphasized to follow him blindly, but to open your own eye of understanding and unity, which he called the third eye. This third eye, or the eye of spirituality, can be opened by prayer, meditation, and discriminative attitude toward real and unreal experiences.

Gurudev often quoted from the Bible: "If therefore thine eye be single, then thy whole body shall be full of light." Two of our eyes are extrovert and full of duality and division. We should train ourselves to open the eye of unity and harmony, which is what Jesus was emphasizing, so that we will not have the attitude of friend and enemy. We all are children of God. When this eye of unity is open we can see the presence of the Divine everywhere.

On this special day, I am praying to Gurudev to bless us with his divine love, kindness, and compassion. Let his life show us how to live a life of love and joy.

With Love,

Prajnanananda

April and May auspicious dates:

  • Birthday of Shankaracharya - April 21
  • Birthday of Swami Shriyukteshwar – May 10
  • Birthday of Buddha – May 20
  • Birthday of Paramahamsa Hariharananda – May 27

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Invocation To The Guru


kalatram dhanam putrapautrādi sarvam
grham bāndhavāh sarvametadhi jātam
manascenna lagnam guroranghripadme
Tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim
(Gurvastakam-2)

Spouse, wealth, progeny, sons, grandsons, house relatives and all related things are of no avail when the mind is not fixed on the lotus fee of the guru.

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Message from the Master

Your Destiny is Divine

We are all children of God and out real heredity is God. We have inherited divine qualities of love, kindness and compassion. Our environment is nothing but the presence of God, as God is omnipresent. Your practice is also done in the divine presence. You are the power of God all the time but you have forgotten it. You are born only for God realization. Living a life of meditation does not mean renouncing your family and living in a cave. You can live with your family and still meditate and become realized. This is the natural way. Your destiny is divine and your karma should also be divine. Then you will realize your inner divinity all the time.

Whether you are Christian or Hindu does not matter. What is written in the Boible or the Bhagavad Gita is universal and the teachings must be practiced by all. You must seek God in every step of life. Ask you conscience “who are you?”

Your body must be a living temple. Your life must be a divine life. Through the practice of self discipline and sincere meditation you can achieve it. Follow your own religion and its scriptures. According to your own religion, you must go to the church, temple, or mosque. A good environment will give you good results making you divine.

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An Excerpt from the Book ‘Kriya Yoga’

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Chapter III – The Science of Kriya Yoga pg 72-75

Cosmic consciousness is also intimately linked with the individual consciousness. But this link becomes less and less intimate when we become more and more individualistic, selfish and body-bound.

As the life force in man moves outward, sensations and thought distort the calm image of the Self or soul. The presence of breath in a person is life and absence of it is death. Hence, the method that teaches us the process of Self-realization through the control of life force must be scientific and best of all. The kriya yoga method has proved to be most effective and teaches us to turn the life force inward. It takes us straight to the consciousness of the Self-the blissful God. The main thing in this process is to understand thoroughly the mystery of life force that sustains the human body organism, causing it to vibrate with life and energy. Normally, the life force is conducted down from the medulla oblongata through the inner spinal centers to different physical regions and senses. The life energy at the base of the spine in the coccyx is known as kundalini or Serpent Power. Through the kriya process the current from the senses can be withdrawn and directed into the spinal passage. This will lead to the awakening of kundalini.

When kundalini is awakened, the current reverses its outward flow to the senses and flows inward towards the brain. Reverse action is also noticed in the different chakras or physiological centers in the spine. The lotuses in the different chakras, with their varied number of petals that symbolize the amount of energy emitted by each center, start reverse action. The petals turn up towards the brain instead of drooping towards the coccyx. Thus, the yogi consciously directs his life current towards the infinite or cosmic life force.

During the dreamless sleep the human mind is withdrawn from outer distractions and thoughts in its subconscious remain dormant. This is a negative state. Conscious withdrawal of the mind from outer distractions and body consciousness and the focusing of attention on a single object of thought result in a state of positive and real concentration. The powers of the mind are like dissipated rays of light that illumine when concentrated. Such concentration may be accomplished through the practice of kriya yoga.

Mind is the Lord of all passions, but breath is the controller of the mind. If breath is restive, man becomes insane with lust, anger, greed and looses the power of judgment and discrimination. If breath is properly controlled through the scientific process of yoga, realization is possible even during this lifetime.

The medulla oblongata is the seat of life energy in the human body. When, through the practice of yoga, we increase our power of perception, feeling and intuition, we always feel divine light, sound and touch sensation of super-consciousness and realize the truth-that this body is the shadow of God. The life current existing in the nervous system becomes purified and consequently, the divine passage in the spinal channel is opened. The life energy from the coccygeal center passes to the medulla oblongata, pervading the cerebrum and cerebellum. As a result, all mental propensities reach the stage of equilibrium. Life becomes meaningful, filled with celestial bliss and with direct perception of divine effulgence.

Every soul is destined to be perfect and every being in the end will attain the state of perfection. External influences and vibrations affect some amount of development in the whole universe, including the human mind and soul. As the life energy moves around its nucleus by the cosmic force, everything in the universe undergoes automatic evolution. The passing of cosmic current once around the spine will, similarly, give us the equivalent result of one year of solar evolution, if we consciously direct it in a scientific way.

One complete revolution of the earth around the sun produces one year's effect upon a human being. This normal time of human evolution can be quickened by revolving the life force around the elliptical path of the spinal column and its six centers, upward from the coccyx to the pituitary and above and downward from there to the coccyx. The soul is the central sun and the spine with its six centers makes twelve points corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Kriya yoga is a scientific technique. The practice of this yoga annihilates all the unusual and unreasonable elemental propensities ever-present in the spiritual centers of the human body. It awakens the kundalini or Serpent Power and restores the equilibrium. It enables one to dispel delusion and ignorance and discover the divinity within one's own self. Practice of kriya yoga simply opens an apparently sealed way to divinity that resides in the human body. Once this reality is discovered, all other outward mantras and worship become futile. The kriya process quickens the realization of the formless in the form and frame of the body. Close personal contact with the guru makes this realization easier. The earth moves around the sun in twelve months and absorbs sufficient energy to undergo necessary transformation. Similarly, spiritual consciousness equips one with required energy for spiritual change. The northern declination of the sun starts with vernal equinox and the southern declination with autumnal equinox. Each declination takes six months. In the human physiology there are six plexuses from the coccygeal up to the soul center or the divine cave. The awakened kundalini ascends and descends through the susumna nerve, which is similar to the sun's northern and southern declination. In the human body the soul is the sun around which the serpentine power moves. In kriya yoga, this movement of kundalini once around susumna is equal to one year of spiritual practice elsewhere.

Every night during sleep our attention remains unconsciously disconnected from the senses, providing rest and refreshment to body and mind. The rejuvenating effect of sleep can be accomplished consciously by regulated kriya breathing, while the body is quiet in a meditation posture. Activity of mind, organs and muscles is stilled without any loss of consciousness.

By slowing down the functioning of heart and preventing the outward dissipation of life currents through the sensory nerves, kriya practice prolongs the life span.

During kriya practice the breath does not actually circulate in the spine, but the increased life force derived from transmuted breath is mentally directed by visualization and will power to circulate continuously up and down the spine during the practice of kriya. The magnetic pull of circulating current draws the bodily currents away from the sensory nerves and organs.

Oxygen is nutrition to our whole system. It creates new blood corpuscles and through them gives vitality, luster, beauty, good health, rejuvenation and regeneration to the body. Through kriya yoga oxygen changes into its basic constituents of atomic energy, which in turn transforms into subtle life energy. By continuous regulated breathing, as prescribed in the kriya technique, the entire carbon-waste content of the body is burnt out. When that is accomplished, there is no more dark, impure, poisonous blood to flow in the body and no impure blood is pumped into the lungs for purification. Hence, this gives rest to the heart and lungs.

The purpose of burning the carbon is to quiet the heart. The purpose of quieting the heart is to control the five sense telephones and direct the energy from them to the spine. The condition of sleep produces unconscious quietness and peace. The kriya technique leads to an ever increasing, ever-new joyous state of awareness culminating in breathlessness. Hindu yogis state that the spiritual potency of this current actually changes the atomic composition of the body cells.

Breathlessness is deathlessness. Many people erroneously believe that prānāyāma or control of life force, is accomplished by control of breath. The opposite is true. Control of breath is a result of controlling the life force. Trying to control the life force by holding the breath in the lungs is unscientific and unpleasant. Holding the breath in the lungs for an uncomfortable long period causes harmful pressure on the heart, lungs, diaphragm, arteries and should, therefore, be strictly avoided.

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An Excerpt from the book Spirit of Religions

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Once a rich man approached Guru Nanak to offer him a great deal of wealth. Guru Nanak said “God is my wealth. I do not need anything else.” But the rich man insisted and asked again and again to accept some of his wealth and use it for the poor. At the time Nanak was sitting with a needle and thread stitching his clothes. He said, “I will accept your wealth on one condition. You should take this small needle from me and bring it back to me in my next life.” The man was puzzled but took the needle and went home. When the wife asked what has happened, he said “I could not convince the Guru to accept my wealth. But he said I should carry this needle to the next life for him.” The wife exclaimed, “O my husband! You did not get the Guru’s message as it was so subtle. Do you think you can carry the needle to the next life?” The rich man said, “No, it is impossible.”

The wife said, “The guru wanted to open our eyes. If you cannot carry even a small needle with you to the next life, how can you carry your wealth with you to the next life? Guruji wanted to point out, not to was too much time in amassing wealth. Use it for the needy and poor. But more important is to accumulate good qualities and do noble deeds which will come with you to your next life.”

Thus Guru Nanak transformed the life of the rich man. Ordinarily people do not understand what life really is. They suffer a lot, wasting precious time with hard work to accumulate material wealth forgetting God. Guru Nanak’s teachings were humble and divine, at the same time, very simple and practical.

About real wealth Guru Nanak said, “The name (of God) is the diamond, jewels, rubies and pearls. It is the pearl of the heart. God’s own wealth.”

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River of Compassion Ch 7 Pg 146- 155

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

A Flower’s Fragrance

The light of the rising sun spreads all around, and the fragrance of a flower in bloom reaches everywhere. When there is nectar in the flower, bees fly towards it from every direction. When fruit ripens, the color changes, indicating that it is ready to eat. Then, it gradually detaches itself from the tree. So also when a person attains perfection, it is self-evident and people will come to know of it.

It is said in the Upanishads that looking at the face of a disciple (upamanyu), the guru would know if he has attained Self- realization. The face is preface to the man and the eyes reveal the state of enlightenment. So the news of Swami Hariharananda’s spiritual glory slowly spread.

Dr. Hare Krishna Mahatab was a famous freedom fighter who was once India’s Industry Minister, Governor of Maharashtra, and several times the Chief Minister of Orissa. After hearing of Swami Hariharananda’s powerful spiritual qualities, he sought Kriya initiation from him. With this end in view, he planned to visit Karar Ashram during a function celebrating the visit to India of Shri Daya Mata, the President and Sangha Mata of the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) and the Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS). There was a great congregation at Karar Ashram, and Dr. Mahatab came as a spectator, sitting silently in the audience. At the end of the program, he received a leaf plate full of prasad from the hand of Swamiji, and looked into his eyes. During this memorable moment he expressed his desire to be initiated on the morning of his birthday by this great guru. His prayer was granted and he received Kriya initiation from Swami Hariharananda. From that day on he received great joy and spiritual growth through the practice of Kriya Yoga. He said to Swamiji one day, “You are hiding yourself behind the walls of the ashram, unnoticed by many. If a flower is growing outside, bees can come to it for nectar, but if it is inside a room the bees will not come. Allow me to take you to meet others so that they also might benefit from your teachings. Please do not deny my request.” Swamiji agreed.

First he took Swamiji to a conference for state officials, where Swami Hariharananda encouraged them to practice meditation to increase their efficiency in work and to enjoy inner peace. Owing to this meeting, many of the high-ranking administrators and police officers in the state became his disciples. On another occasion, he took Swamiji to a conference of several hundred students and professors of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar. The students had received a modern education without any teachings on the great spiritual heritage of India. A challenging situation developed when, in their ignorance, they raised several questions about India’s spirituality, demanded answers from Swamiji before the lecture, threatening to leave the hall if they did not get satisfactory replies. Among several questions asked, one concerned Mother Kali and why one should worship her, a naked vulgar lady, standing on the bosom of her husband with a sword in one hand and human head in the other.

Swamiji explained that spiritual truths are very subtle and cannot be grasped with an extroverted mind; only in deep meditation are they revealed. Swamiji explained the inner meaning of idol worship and its message for humanity. He said we do not worship the idol itself, but try to practice the truth that it symbolizes. Shiva lying down as though sleeping or dead is the symbol of the purusha (Self), and Kali standing on the bosom of Shiva symbolizes the manifested union of purusha (Self) and prahriti (material world, nature). The Self is unmanifest, remaining unnoticed; and prakriti, the divine manifestation, appears to be active and alluring. Without purusha, prahriti has no existence. Union of prakriti and purusha is the cause of creation and the drama of life. Prakriti is always naked. If the eyes are not open (naked) one cannot see. Kali, being naked, is the symbol of all the sense organs actively engaged in the world.

Electricity can flow through an insulated wire, but to use electricity one must remove the insulation from the end of the wire and connect it to the power source. To remove the insulation is to make it naked. The electric wire carrying limited volts is always connected to a generator, its source, where there is extremely high voltage. Similarly the human body is an insulated wire through which the divine current of life energy is continuously flowing. One end of this “wire” is connected to the source of energy, and the other end transmits energy appropriately calibrated for day-to-day use. Similarly, at one “end” we are always connected with the divine, the source of life and energy. At the other “end,” this energy pours out through the different doors of the sense organs, such as our eyes and ears, which are kept open to allow the energy to manifest in activity. This signifies the union of Shiva (Soul, or Self) and the naked Kali (the manifested energy in daily life).

The students never expected such a beautiful reply. All their questions were answered in the same metaphorical way that reveals many hidden, spiritual truths and a philosophy of life.

The audience was spellbound for hours after Swamiji’s discourse. More people heard about Swamiji, and they came from different parts of the country, and even from abroad; to meet him.

In those days the most popular daily newspaper of Orissa, with the highest circulation, was The Samaja. Its editor, Dr. Radhanatha Ratha, lived to be one hundred years old, tirelessly serving the community in many ways. During his life he became an admirer of Swamiji, so he regularly printed his writings and synopses of his discourses in the newspaper, thus further spreading Swami Hariharananda’s message to people in the state of Orissa.

His teachings were further propagated by The Theosophical Society, an international organization with branches all over the world. In the sixties and seventies, its chapter at Cuttack regularly invited Swamiji to teach them the essence of spiritual life. Every talk he delivered was unique. They once wanted to assess the spontaneity of his talks, and so asked him to speak on a topic to be announced at the time of the meeting, not in advance, and he agreed. The audience was full of the city’s intelligentsia, and after the welcoming address, the organizers announced the topic of the discourse, which was “Brahma Darshan: Realization of the Absolute.” Swamiji began his speech with a prayer to Maharshi Vyasa, and another prayer to the Absolute that was composed by Sage Vyasa. Then he asked the audience to be silent and meditate for a while. After the meditation, Swamiji delivered a soul-stirring discourse on the impromptu topic that touched the heart of everyone. He spoke in Oriya, a language in which he was not fluent. Everyone experienced the inner Truth that Brahman cannot be known through the spoken word or through books, but only in the experience of spiritual practice (sadhana).

Sometimes Swamiji’s audiences were less hospitable, at least at first. Once, Professor Nigarn (Principal of Rajendra College, a large educational institute in Balangir, Western Orissa), a dear disciple of Swami Hariharananda, invited him to organize a program in his college to spread the message of Kriya Yoga. Swamiji agreed, but on the day of the talk there was a students’ strike. All the activities of the college were boycotted. Professor Nigam explained the situation and advised him to cancel his talk; the students were extremely undisciplined, agitated, and aggressive, he explained. However, Swamiji insisted on going ahead with his plan. In the afternoon, Swamiji was taken by car to the college. He left the car some distance from the college and walked the last distance with folded hands. His-pleasing personality and calm appearance brought a great change in the minds of most of the agitated students standing outside. Some students at the back of the crowd sarcastically remarked within his hearing, “This is great! Professor Nigam has solved great problems of life like unemployment. Now this monk will teach us to renounce work altogether and become monks, so there is no need to study or get jobs but just carry a blanket and a water pot!”

When Swamiji entered the hall, only the professors and a few students were there. Slowly, though, some others began peeping through the windows. Swamiji commenced his talk with a prayer and with folded hands, in his inimitable way. There was silence in the hail as all listened with eyes closed. When the prayer was over people opened their eyes to find the hall filled with students, all eager to hear what he had to say. He discussed the role of students, and how to be successful in life. The students were impressed and asked Swamiji to come again to teach them. His appearance was also influential in ending the student agitation. Many of the students became his disciples.

On another occasion, Swami Hariharananda was invited to address a different gathering. The Divine Life Society, an international spiritual organization with headquarters in Rishikesh, one year held their “All India Conference” in Cuttack, Orissa. Several thousand delegates came from all over the world to attend, along with many monks and spiritual leaders of different religions. Swami Hariharananda’s talk had a profound effect on the listeners, who sat with rapt attention. At the end of it, Kavi Yogi Swami Shuddhananda Bharati, a famous saint, poet, and yogi of South India, declared that he had never heard such a soul-elevating talk in his life. He said that every word was full of spiritual truth, that the speech was free of dogmatism, that it proffered a scientific outlook and deep insight, showing a practical way for the common person to pursue spirituality. He did not hesitate to say that “Swamiji was the best speaker at the conference.” When Swamiji descended the platform, the people were so enthusiastic that he had to be escorted through the crowd. Everyone wanted to bow to him and receive his blessings.

About this time, he also spoke before a large audience in Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, the premier educational institute of the state. Following this and the Divine Life Society engagement, invitations to speak came from many parts of India, and he happily accepted.

Organizers of another historic religious conference near Madras, attended by many prominent religious leaders and hundreds of monks, also asked Swamiji to attend. As part of this program, all the monks went in a colorful procession to bathe in the ocean early in the morning. As Swamiji was not used to bathing in public or in a crowd, he did not go with them and some of his fellow monks noticed. One of the Shankaracharyas who presided over the celebration gave every speaker ten minutes to talk, although most of them spoke only for four to five minutes. When it was Swamiji’s turn, he stood up to deliver his speech, but an orthodox monk objected because Swamiji had not gone for a holy bath in the ocean— Perhaps he had not taken a bath at all that morning? His Holiness Shankaracharya looked at Swamiji, who humbly replied with a quote from the scriptures:

ganga gangeti yo bruyat yojananam sliatairapi
sarva papa vinirmuhtva vishnu loka sa gacccJsati

“One who utters the name of the Ganga repeatedly with devotion, even from a thousand miles away from it, is free from all sins and gets liberation.”

Swamiji inquired, “Is it oniy by taking a dip in the river that one’s life is purified? If this is so, then all the fish and aquatic creatures would be pure and clean and liberated.” Jagadguru Shankaracharya and the other monks were spellbound and highly impressed by this reply. Jagadguru Shankaracharya not only allowed Swamiji to speak, but encouraged him to continue speaking for more than the allotted time on his designated subject: “Unity of Faith and Practical Spirituality.” It was a rare opportunity and great honor to Swamiji.

Clearly, Swami Hariharananda’s response to people’s questions and objections was invariably wise and amiable. When he was living as a brahmachari at Karar Ashram, he visited his native town. While passing through the local court area, some of his lawyer brother’s friends and colleagues asked him, “Will you be a monk? It is not so easy to be a monk. Many people have tried to be monks, but gave up in the middle. Why are you doing this?”

He patiently listened to them and answered politely, “My brothers, I am now a brahmachari. I know it is not easy to be a monk; it is extremely difficult. I do not even have courage to say that I will be. You are aware that in our Indian culture we follow the stages of first being brahmacharya (celibate), then grihastha (householder), and so on. I am still only on the first rung of the ladder and trying a little.” Hearing this, the lawyers were silent.

Because of Swamiji’s humility and wisdom, many people sought his advice. Shri Bishwanath Dash, the former Governor of Uttar Pradesh and the former Chief Minister of Orissa, was a very spiritual person who founded the Veda Pathasala in Puri near Karar Ashram. Another institute that he established near Karar Ashram was the Chaturdham Veda Patasala where people went to study the Vedas and other scriptures. A close associate of Swamiji, he visited him frequently in the ashram and always addressed Swamiji as “Gosain Mahapnabhu,” which means “great swami and lord.” He and Dr. Radhanath Ratha, editor of The Samaja, always sought advice from Swamiji in managing Veda Pathashala.

Likewise impressed was Bhagavat Dayal Sharma, the Governor of Orissa at that time, who once was invited to preside over the foundation day celebration at Karar Ashram. When he arrived at the ashram gate he was so taken with the ashram’s spiritual environment that he was reluctant to enter with shoes (it is traditional in India not to enter holy places with shoes). There was a huge crowd behind them and Swamiji, knowing his thoughts, pushed him a little, letting him know it was acceptable for him to enter the ashram. The governor visited the shrine of Shriyukteshwarji and immediately asked, “Swamiji, please first tell me when you are going to initiate me, and only then will I attend the function.”

Swamiji replied, “Tomorrow is a good day for initiation.” Both he and his wife were initiated into Kriya Yoga the next day. Not only Bhagavat Dayal Sharma, but many other governors, chief ministers, justices, doctors, engineers, professors, and even villagers and illiterate people, all came to Swamiji to attain his spiritual guidance.

In early 1970’s there was an “All-India Conference” on yoga and tantra in Chandikhol, a hilly area with a temple and a hermitage thirty miles away from Cuttack. The conference was a rare occasion where many yogis and tantriks came from all over India to participate, and Swami Hariharananda was invited to give a discourse. Because there is confusion about tantra, exacerbated by some of the people who profess to know about it but who have little experience of its inner meaning, this conference provided a good opportunity to shed some light on the subject. Without deep inner spiritual practice, one cannot know the subtlety or understand the strength of tantra.

Swamiji began his talk by quoting a verse from the tantric text in Sanskrit, the literal meaning of which was extremely vulgar. He then asked the audience, “My friends, you all claim to be tantriks, but have you practiced according to the dictum of this sloka?” Everyone was silent, because answering either yes or no would create embarrassment. Only one clever person countered by asking, “Swarniji, have you practiced this?” Swamiji bravely answered, “Yes!” All were mesmerized, and then he went on to explain beautifully the inner meaning of the verse, as well as the real essence of tantra: Tantra is not a method of sense appeasement or of gaining power to attract people and glory; it is a science of Self-evolution in order to achieve liberation. He also explained the spiritual message of pancha makara in tantra: madya (wine), mamsa (flesh), matsya (fish), mudra (fried food), and maithuna (sexual pleasure). At the end of the talk, everyone present came and bowed reverently at the feet of Swamiji.

Some incidents testify to the authenticity of Swami Hariharananda’s spiritual insight. There was once a saint who lived in Puri whom many people visited to receive her darshan and satsang. One afternoon, Swamiji and many other monks listened to her talk and were discussing different spiritual matters. A young woman approached them, and everyone except Swamiji looked at her. She came straight to Swamiji and asked, “Swamiji, can you please tell me how to find this house? I am the daughter of the owner. Our house is rented and I want to see it before I leave Puri.” Swamiji appropriately replied. Some of the monks asked her, “Can you please tell us why you went straight to this young swami with your question when all of us elderly monks are here?”

She replied, “When I was walking in this direction you all looked at me except him. So I thought he was the best person to ask.” Then the saint, who was actually the tenant in the house of this young woman, sent her inside and said to Swamiji, “She gave you a beautiful certificate.” Then she continued, “A monk should have thorough control over all the sense organs, including the eyes.”

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An Excerpt from the Book ‘Path of Love’

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Chapter 7

VII. The Need of a Teacher on the Path of Love Page 53- 56

Seek therefore the company of the sage who is steadfast, learned, wise devoted and noble. Follow the example of such a good and wise being, as the moon knows the path of the stars.
The Dhammapada

Love is a natural and spontaneous as our breath. Still, for the manifestation of love in our heart, life and activities, we need a guide, a Guru. God is the real Guru. Once this truth is accepted, we can proceed on our way. How will God teach us? Are we ready to learn? If you really love god you will always be ready to follow His directions. In the Bhagavad Gita (II:7) Arjuna says,

kārpaṇyadoṣopahatasvabhāvaḥ
pṛcchāmi tvām dharmasamm&#363#363;ḍhacetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitam brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te 'ham śādhi mām tvām prapannam

”Unable to judge what is right or wrong and deprived of my heroic nature, I am now a victim of strain and cowardliness. I therefore ask You, please let me know, what is suitable for me? I am Your disciple, I surrender myself, please teach me. “

Just as an instructor is needed to learn anything in life, a teach is essential in spiritual life. How to choose the right teacher? There are two types of knowledge described in the Mundaka Upanishad (I.1.4),

dve vidye veditavye iti ha sma yad brahmavido
vadanti parā chaivāparā ca

“Two kinds of knowledge are to be known, as indeed, those who know Brahman, declare the higher as well as the lower.”

Similarly, there are two types of teachers. College and University teachers, who are intellectuals, with sharp minds and good teaching skills, and spiritual teachers, whose necessary ingredient is an overwhelming love and purity. A spiritual teacher who does not have implicit love and purity from the beginning to the end, will face difficulties. That is why one has to be extra careful in choosing a spiritual teacher. People are generally attracted to intellectual pursuits, but that is not enough. With the teachers in schools and colleges our contact is limited. Most often the bond is of respect rather than love. In spirituality the Guru-disciple relationship is very special. In the olden days, it was easier to choose, since the teacher and the student lived together during the student's apprenticeship. There was ample opportunity to know each other. That is why Lahiri Mahasaya insisted that one should live with the Guru at least for one month every year. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa counseled, "See the teacher by day and night." One may seem very attractive and fascinating outwardly, but appearances are deceptive. Jesus warned about false teachers. Basic human nature does not change. From the time of the Vedas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana or the Bible until Modern Times,' human nature remains unchanged. People may have progressed in their grasp of worldly matters but all their negative habits like doubt, hatred and jealousy still thrive.

The spiritual teacher should have a good grasp of the Holy Scriptures and be able to communicate this profound knowledge to his disciples. Besides his spiritual knowledge, a Guru should exercise great self-control, and possess a heart rich in love. The essential quality of a spiritual teacher is love. When someone has not experienced love within, it is impossible to give love to others. In other words, if he is not rich in love, he cannot distribute love. In the Bible, in the first letter of John (IV:8), it is declared that, "Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love". A realized master is in love with the whole universe. He spreads knowledge to sincere seekers who are earnest in their quest for truth. A true master has surrendered himself to God. My own Guru, Paramahamsa Hariharananda, is such a teacher.

One who experiences God, has seen God. Jesus encouraged us to worship God in spirit and truth. In Kriya Yoga, we are taught that the influence of the chakras is very strong. The three lower chakras represent money, sex and food. Passion is a lower form of love. From the heart center upwards, the chakras of the heart, throat and soul center are considered of a higher nature. The soul center is the seat of the Guru. We must prove worthy of receiving the all-encompassing knowledge from our teacher.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Guru, as he addresses his students at the end of their studies says,

yāni anavadyāni karmāni tāni sevitavyāni no itarāni
yāni asmākam sucaritāni tāni tvayopasyāni
(I.11.3)

"My children, you have stayed here with me and you have learnt many things. We are all human. The teacher teaches but if you have not learnt in the right way, or if you have not understood the teacher in the right way, it could have caused you some pain. Leave all negative feelings or pain here, and take only with you the positive nourishing things."

The Guru-disciple relationship is a very critical one. We live in a modern society and we have a tendency to believe that we know everything. If you know everything, then there is no need of going to a Guru. If you come to learn something, then be humble and have a positive attitude in order to learn many beneficial things that may have escaped you. Do not be overly critical. What you perceive depends on your frame of mind. Always be in a receptive mood. Even Jesus was misunderstood, but his own disciples, mainly simple people, trusted and loved him and thus learnt far more from him than those that believed themselves to be very sophisticated. It is good to be intelligent, but do not be analytical about spirituality.

When looking at the same flower, a botanist may be intrigued by its structure, a poet may be imbibed in its beauty, and a devotee would probably appreciate its purity. The botanist, while analyzing the floral structure, may miss both the beauty and the purity of the flower. The poet immersed only in emotions would also miss the essence of the flower. When we examine the lives of Great Incarnations, we find again and again that they have a propensity for being misunderstood, since they are usually far beyond their time. If you are unable to understand your teacher, pray to God to give you the right form of understanding. Remember that you are search for truth and love, so pray that there will be no obstacles in the path of learning.

Even metaphorically, if one wants to reach God in the fontanel, one must pass first through the ajna chakra, or the soul center. Jesus said (John XIV:6-7) “ I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you know my Father.” God is love, but the Guru is the personification of love in spiritual life.

Through self-confidence and self control, one progresses in the path of self-realization. With the help of the Guru, the disciple gets up from the slumber of ignorance. The Guru is a guide who leads the disciple with all caution and extreme care. Being aware of the difficulties and possible hazards, the Guru helps the disciple to overcome all obstacles, step by step.

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 7)

Paramahamsa Hariharananda
nyatasya tu samnyāsaḥ
karmaṇo nopapadyate
mohāt tasya parityāgas
tāmasaḥ parikīrtitaḥ

Translation

But renunciation of obligatory action is not proper. The abandonment of these acts through delusion is tamasic (idle).

Metaphorical Interpretation

In the previous two verses the Lord said that yajna (sacrifice), dana (charity), and tapas (penance) should not be avoided because abandoning work brings idleness. Many people think that spiritual life is a life of inactivity. They think, “I will not work. I will remain silently inactive.” Someone with this type of disposition is not sannyasi, a true renunciant.

All the work you accomplish or that God forces you to do is truly worship. God gives the motivation, but when the path of inactivity is adopted, God’s motion is suppressed. Similarly, from a biological point of view, suppression of the motion of urine or of evacuation of stool leads to health disorders.

Deluded people want to avoid work. In this verse the Lord describes niyata karma, karma performed through the indriyas – activity of the senses. God has given us eyes to see good things. Many people however want to avoid natural exercise of the senses to make themselves seem spiritually advanced, which is not divine action. It is sheer idleness, tamas. Real spirituality requires the proper use of the mouth, eyes, ears and so forth for good work. Above all in every action, true spirituality means to be aware of the indwelling Self. This approach to spiritual life is necessary.

Constantly keep your attention on the imperishable soul through breath consciousness. Do your work without negative or immoral activity. Realize that destiny plays a role, so you will experience antecedents and consequences. During every breath watch the almighty Lord. By remaining compassionately detached from the results and fruits of actions, by searching for Him during every breath, spiritual emancipation will be achieved. This is the work that everyone must accomplish well. This is the expression of love for the almighty Lord.

If you do not work and love the almighty Lord, how can you grow spiritually? Work is the vehicle for spiritual growth. The soul makes us breath and do every activity. If you do not change your attitude toward work, there is danger of extreme delusion. Those who are inactive, lazy, or idle cannot love god in the true spirit.

Open your eyes and see the beauty of God. Walk and watch the living power of god walking. Do all the work given to you by the Almighty Father. Be free from negative activities. God has provided sense organs to be used in a positive way, for reaching the divine goal.

At times, due to a quarrel in a family, someone will leave the family and take sannyas in a faraway place. Many people try to leave their family and pose as a renounced monk. They lead idle and inactive lives, afraid of the conflict in their family. This is a negative renunciation, not rue spiritual living. This is delusion, not sannyas. This is a tamasic (slothful) attitude toward life.

God has given you all the power. Search for Him. He is your life. Love Him.

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Patanjali Yoga Sutra 46

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda
Tā eva sabijah samādhih

Word meaning

Tā eva - those indeed

Sabijah Samādhi – objective Samadhi, Samadhi with the seed cause

Translation

Those very states indeed are said to be samadhi with seed.

Commentary of Shri Lahiri Mahashaya

Savitarka, Nirvitarka and in the subtle form Savichara and Nirvichara: these four are Sabija Samadhi.

Metaphorical Interpretation

Before four levels of Samadhi were elaborately describe such as:

  1. Savitarka
  2. Nirvitarka
  3. Savichara
  4. Nirvichara

These four levels or stages are no doubt higher levels of attainment, state of perfect concentration but it is not the end of everything. These four together are described as “Sabija Samadhi”. Bija means the seed or the cause. Sabija means with a seed or a cause.

What is the cause of creation?

What is the cause of individual’s life and activities?

The cause of creation is desire. In the Vedas, the Bible, etc, there is a description of creation and its cause. It is the desire in the Divine that brought this beautiful creation.

In individual life, this desire is the cause of continuation of activities associated with pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes. In the cosmic creation there is divine will, but in individuals, it is desire associated with ignorance.

In the cosmic creation, the seed or the cause of everything is Divinity, which is also manifested in every individual but remaining hidden. But in the case of the individual, it is ignorance which brings all miseries.

Through sincere practice of concentration and meditation, the negative thoughts are eradicated first because the natural attention of the seeker is drawn towards negativities. The memory is of triple qualities. When memory is extrovert it brings happiness, unhappiness and delusion. When it is introvert it brings three fold qualities: divine illumination [mahat prakasha], inner detachment [para vairagya], and ceasation of thought [nirodha].

But this is not the ultimate end. Still now there is the trace of the bija. So these four fold Samadhi (on the level of higher consciousness) or perfect concentration will lead the seekers to ultimate end.

O Seeker!

Do not neglect your practice with the taste of joy and bliss arising out of concentration. You have to eliminate all the seeds of misery i.e. ignorance completely. Practice with love. Sincere effort with love and surrender to the divine will lead you to the ultimate goal.

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