Soul Culture Journal - Summer 2007

Table of Contents

Paramahamsa Hariharananda:

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda:

Swami Shuddhananda:

Scriptures:

Kriya Yoga News

Greeting to one and all from Mother Center. Here at the Mother Center we went from feverish outward activity supporting the worldwide Centenary preparations to an intense phase of inner activity in our Kriya practice and study. A wonderful example of this was the Guru Purnima celebration held in July at the Mother Center.

Guru Purnima is an age-old tradition of celebrating the birthday of the great guru and compiler of scriptures, Maharshi Shri Vyasa Deva. Sage Vyasa was born on the full moon day in the month of July. Full moon in Sanskrit is called Purnima. Sage Vyasas birthday is dedicated to all masters, as a day of remembrance, love, and offering to the guru-preceptors. The Mother Center celebrated with a three-day intensive seminar, dedicated to honoring our beloved Gurudev Baba Hariharanandaji. Teachers in attendance were Swami Samarpanananda, Yogacharya Elizabeth Tackenberg, & Brahmachari Vidyananda.

Aug 10th was the birthday of our beloved Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. Below is the email that was sent from the Mother Center recognizing this auspicious day.

An Offering of Love

Divine Souls,

Be it the universe within or the universe without, everywhere and in every moment the effulgence of God is self evidently manifest. He always sends His envoys of love and peace to nourish the garden of spirituality for the benefit of humanity. The master is the breathing image of God.

The loving and learned master of our Kriya lineage, another beloved of the Earth, Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji, is always roaming around the Earth as a guide teaching the holy message and teachings of beloved Baba Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji and promoting the cause of his master.

On this 10th of August 2007, Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji enters into the 48th spring of his life in the Divine play. Let us all unite and organize to observe our masters holy birthday by re-dedicating ourselves to Kriya Yoga. It is through our sincere sadhana that we can help humanity and shift the balance from sadness to joy and from war to peace.

Let us offer a collective meditative bow at the lotus feet of the master as a token of love and pray to the Almighty for his longevity and prosperity so that he may continue to guide many souls to the ultimate goal.

May you all enjoy the blessings of God and masters.

In divine service,

Mother Center

September was full of many auspicious dates:

  • Birthday of Krishna Sept 3
  • Tattendorf Ashram Foundation day Sept 6
  • Birthday of Ganesha Sept 15
  • Kriya Yoga Institute [Mother Center] Foundation day Sept 22
  • Autumnal Equinox Day Sept 22
  • Mahasamadhi of Lahiri Mahasaya Sept 26
  • Birthday of the Bhagavatum Sept 28
  • Birthday of Lahiri Mahasaya Sept 30

To add to this Paramahamsa Prajnanananda was in residence at the Mother Center Sept 20 Oct 10 for the Divine Glories Retreat. The topic covered was The Shrimad Bhagavatam, also known as Bhagavat Purana, literally means the beautiful or glorious activities of God. It was written by Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa more than 5000 years ago in India. It consists of twelve cantos and eighteen thousand verses and is considered to be a holy scripture because it contains knowledge that was originally revealed by God.

The Bhagavatam tells us who we are, why we are in this world, where we originally came from, and what the true purpose of life is. Moreover, it explains the basic cause of all our suffering physical, mental, and emotional and shows us how to prevent or overcome it forever. Most importantly, the Bhagavatam shows us how to awaken our lost relationship with God, and thereby experience continuous peace and joy under all circumstances. It does this through the presentation of remarkable stories about the Lord and His dealings with powerful gods, terrifying demons, illustrious kings, compassionate saints, and ordinary people.

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda explained these wonderful stories in the light of Kriya Yoga and Self-realization.

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Invocation To The Guru

samadisatka pradavaibhavabhyam
ksamadi dana vratadiksitabhyam
ramadhavanghri sthirabhakti dabhyam
namo namah sri gurupadukabhyam

I bow again and again to the sandals of the Guru, who represents the glory of the six qualities beginning with sama and the conviction to adhere to forgiveness and firm devotion to the feet of the Lord Vishnu the husband of Goddess Lakshmi.

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Message From the Master

The State of Kevalah

Kevalah means a pure state above the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas. Only by the practice of the original Kriya Yoga technique declared by Babaji Maharaj to Lahiri Mahashaya and then through Shriyukteshwarji, Paramahamsa Yogananda, myself and so on can one attain this state of practice

A Kriyavan always focuses attention in the fontanel in the atom point. In hatha Yoga Pradipika 4:114 it is written yavad bindur na bhavati dhira - so long as your mind is not fixed in the atom point you cannot progress in meditation. In the same scripture again it is said,

Yavan naiva pravisati caran maruti madhya marge

as long as your breath does not become feeble and equally distributed through both the nostrils allowing the breath to flow through the susumna, you cannot proceed further in meditation. Kriya Yoga is the simplest easiest, quickest, surest and the best technique for the simultaneous development of body, mind, intellect, and soul.

It is said,

Japat santo punah dhyayet dhyanat santo punah japet

You may do worship and chant the name of God as you wish but after that you must also meditate. You can alternate puja with meditation but you still have to meditate. It is a must and the only passage to God realization.

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An Excerpt from the Book Kriya Yoga

By Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Chapter III: The Science of Kriya Yoga

By the practice of Kriya Yoga, inner and outer purification naturally occurs. Whoever is God-conscious is always pure. God is abiding in every human being. If we search for Him within our whole system, our mind cannot be attracted to external pomp and grandeur.

There is a very important part of the Kriya Yoga technique that gives all-around development to the one who practices it. This precious technique, when practiced correctly, gives necessary stimulation to the principal glands important for physical health. With the practice of this technique one gets pressure on the liver, which increases the digestive secretions in the system; food is digested quickly and constipation is banished. By putting pressure on the adrenal glands, one gets salts that give strength to the heart and cures gastric troubles. The pressure on the pancreas sends insulin into the system and diabetes is avoided. By this technique, duodenal troubles also disappear. This technique gives pressure on the kidneys, which prevents urinary problems. With its practice, one gets sufficient pressure on ascending, descending, transverse, sigmoid colons, and the rectum is massaged. Also, the sex organs receive pressure, which prevents impotency. The testicles secrete several hormones. These hormones affect the meninges that lie just below the skull and vertebral column and can give man energy and agility. These hormones also make man strong, brave, hardy, enduring, and make the semen vigorous and healthy by which a man can have healthy children.

The thyroid is a master-regulating gland. It, too, receives massage with this technique. In consequence, the thyroid gland functions normally and that in turn prevents serious diseases. The pituitary gland is the master gland of all glands in the human body. When it is attuned, the secretions of the other endocrine glands become perfectly balanced and regulated. By Kriya Yoga practice people get balanced secretions from all glands.

There is a pair of endocrine glands in the womb of the female, the ovaries. By the practice of this Kriya Yoga technique the woman gets pressure on these glands, which produce two types of secretions: estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen gives luster, beauty, and youthfulness to the woman. Retarded physical growth and lack of breast development can be cured with the help of this hormone. The hormone progesterone helps the woman in her pregnancy and lubricates the whole system during the conception of the child.

While practicing this technique one has to bend the head and body, which gives circulation to the fine tissues of cerebrum and cerebellum. Circulation is increased in the whole nervous system, including the entire spinal cord and various plexuses, which gives subtle inner perception and God-realization. There are three channels inside the spinal cord, named in the Sanskrit Shastras as ida, pingala, and sushumna. By the practice of this precious technique, ida and pingala separate themselves from sushumna and the passage in sushumna is clearly opened. This is said to be the awakening of the kundalini shakti. This spinal channel is the royal road through which the indwelling Self, God, is constantly functioning in the human being, going up and coming down the spine and giving various dispositions and inspirations. We can say that our soul is hidden in the jungle of matter and with the Kriya Yoga technique we can free the soul from bondage. We can then cultivate the fallow land in the sushumna by Kriya breathing and continually live in cosmic consciousness. If a person does not practice the technique of Kriya Yoga, the master gland, the pituitary is not stimulated sufficiently. Taking hormonal injections will not secure God-realization. But the regular practice of this technique will automatically take us to the third circuit in the brain wherein lies the pituitary, which is the real abode of God.

In our physical body there are three knots or granthis. The first knot is called brahma granthi, which is between the coccygeal and navel centers. Unless this knot is opened, one cannot realize the Truth, the realization of the living God abiding in one's own body. Since human consciousness is in the brahma knot, it remains completely absorbed in material and sensual desires.

The second knot is called vishnu granthi, which starts from the navel center to below the pituitary. There the five sense telephones are always busy with the external world and the mind is not able to achieve God-realization.

The third knot, rudra granthi, remains between the pituitary and fontanel. If a true seeker with sincere desire withdraws the senses from the coccygeal center and remains concentrated above the pituitary, then surely he will perceive that God is dwelling in the cranium. At that stage he will get constant God-realization. In every activity he will feel that God is the only doer. Then he will constantly think of Him. No matter where the compass of his actions turns the needle, the concentrated subconscious attention will always point to north, the presence of God on the top of the head.

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An Excerpt from the Nectar Drops

Paramahamsa Hariharananda
Kriya-Yoga is the quickest means to success.
Food is God. Do not hate any food.
In every human being, the heart center is very powerful and vicious.

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Five States of Mind: Part III

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda
Anandamayi Ma sang,
Guru Bole daak re o man, Hari bole daak
param pada pave jadi, charan tale pade dhaak
Pashu-Pakhi Tara sabe prahare-prahare jaage.
tumi kena lipta sukhe ghumer ghare march daak
Guru Bole daak re o man, Hari bole daak

O Mind, sing the name of God. Sing the name of the Guru. If you want to achieve the Supreme State, be humble. Birds and Animals dont sleep so long. If you come to Balighai Ashram, every three hours in the night, you will find that jackals are howling. Have you heard it? Every 3 hours. I dont know what type of watch they have? I slept in Gurudevs room many many times, in India, in Europe, in USA. In the beginning when he used to sleep, he used to cover his eyes with a piece of cloth, a silk cloth. And later on when he found that in the aeroplane they give some eye-cover, then he started to use that. So when we go to sleep, he is sleeping here. I am sleeping there. In 2 minutes, he will snore- a special breath sound. [Hell inhale long and exhale short.] You can see that hes slept. Just after one hour, hell take a turn, he will lift up the eyecover, he will take a flashlight and look at the watch, then hell look at me. Then he will cover the eyes and again in 2 minutes, making the same special snoring sound he will go back to sleep. Again after one hour he will get up and the follow the same routine. I was thinking what was going on! He is sleeping just hour-to-hour. Animals, they get up after every 3 hours.

Pashu-Pakhi Tara sabe prahare-prahare jaage.

There was a conversation between a crow and human being. The human being said that we are the supreme. The crow said Dont be proud of it. You are lazy. Have you ever seen us sleeping at the daytime? Have you ever seen us sleeping till late in the morning? We get up early in the morning and we make the sound If you stay in the Miami Ashram, the roosters and hens in the neighbours house shout first thing in the morning- beautiful music in the morning. So we sleep and snore. Tamasic quality overpowering us, the mind is dull. There is a general lack of interest. So what to do? In the olden times Not only in the olden times, but even today if the teachers are really strict- those who have gone to the Miami Ashram and stayed with Gurudev, working in the garden. Go and work, work, work. Why? We have so much of dullness in us that it should go. Dullness goes with determined effort. Let it be some physical activity or some physical exercises or singing the song of God and sometime meditation. But in meditation, not to sleep. ok. Otherwise dull mind brings sleepy meditation. If we want to overcome dullness in our mind, be careful of tamasic food. Again, you refer to Bhagvad-Gita to find out which food is tamasic and we should avoid.

Pray to God within. O God! Make me free from dullness. Make me free from lack of interest. Sometimes because of failure, we loose interest and zeal. OGod! Bless me and keep me active. I will not allow laziness to overpower me. Ill not allow dullness to overpower me. Ill not allow too much sleep. Give me strength. Love God. Love the Masters. Love Jesus. Love Krishna. Love all the divine incarnations. Every breath with love. Not to forget. Dull mind is a slow mind. It cannot understand things. God has given us a beautiful brain. If we want, we can transform our brain, our mind, everything. Everything is changing. We have to change our lives. Love, love, love. Pray with sincerity.

Let us be loving and helping towards each other. Let our minds be always in love, in God, in joy.

Mind is like a cloth. Just like a cotton cloth is made of many threads; and those are woven together to make the beautiful piece of cloth. If you take one thread out, 2 threads out, 3 threads out and so on; then you will find that there is no cloth, just a bundle, a lump of thread Human mind is like that- a bundle of thoughts, a bundle of desires. And we all are having that mind. When it is clean and when the thoughts are coherent, it is beautiful and useful. If a cloth becomes dirty or threads going apart from each other, we dont feel so comfortable and happy with it. Mind is the cause of all our sufferings; mind is the cause of our own development, our own growth. Mind is the friend, which is staying with us for lives after lives. The same mind is going from today till tomorrow. Let us understand this mind and let us handle this mind intelligently. In Yogasutra, sage Patanjali says that mind passes through five stages or five states.

Mudha- the dull, lazy, inert mind. And in dullness of the mind, three things develop- doubt, laziness and sleep. In Sanskrit, these qualities are known as pramada, aalasya, nidraa. If our mind is full of doubts, we cannot take a proper step in our life. Doubtful mind deludes us. We cant make a good decision. Doubt, laziness, attitude of procrastinating and this procrastination takes away so much of our precious time. There is a proverb in Hindi, the teachings of Sant Kabir:

Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do it today. And what you want to do today, do it now. Who knows, what will happen tomorrow.

We are to make the best use of the time. And the third quality of dullness is sleepy state. Just like in sleep, we forget many things. Even in the wakeful state, mind is not active, not willing to know, not willing to learn. A fool never learns. Intelligent people learn from every event in life. We should learn in our own life, from our own experience.

The second state of the mind- this is known as Kshipta. Kshipta in Sanskrit has two meanings. If I throw something out, thrown out is kshipta. The second meaning of kshipta is scattered. A simple example and which happened to me in childhood. In India during my childhood, we used to purchase spices and other things. Shopkeepers used to give these things in a piece of paper but folded in a manner that it became a small packet but not very nicely packed. If you are not careful, it might open. In my childhood, I loved to go for shopping. And my mother also liked my shopping. So, I brought everything. When I was opening each packet- there was a packet of black mustard seeds and it opened and seeds fell on the ground. It was a cemented floor and mustard seeds were scattered everywhere. You cant imagine that the packet opened at one spot but some mustard seeds had gone a few meters away. They were scattered everywhere.

Human mind from one state of dullness comes out, it is projected outside and is full of thoughts. And what type of thoughts? These are not synchronized, coherent thoughts, one after another. For example, when I am talking, thoughts are coming in a systematic, disciplined manner. But in a scattered mind, thoughts come but without any link with each other.

Those who meditate, they can easily recognize. While meditating with little calmness, a thought came, e.g. a thought of cooking. So, when thought came to us, thought took us to the kitchen. Although physically we are sitting in a meditation room, the thought threw us, kshipta means to throw out, from a point of concentration, calmness, it threw us into the kitchen. And if we are not careful and if we are not witnessing the mischief of the mind, one thought after another- so many thoughts are coming in a few moments. We are somewhere else; we are no more in meditation hall. We dont know how to use thoughts and the mind. We came into this world without proper training a untrained mind, searching for the happiness. And not the momentary happiness, it is searching for long-lasting joy and happiness. And we are moving out. Just like a monkey, picking a fruit, tasting it and throwing it out. If you observe the difference between other animals and monkey- monkey wastes so much. Eating a little and throwing it out; plucking it and throwing it out. And thats the type of mind, we have. Searching for happiness but not getting real happiness. Thinking that this is beautiful and vainly pursuing various worldly objects

In Ramayana, there is a beautiful story- When Hanuman, the monkey god, was born, looking at the rising Sun, thought that it was an apple and wanted to eat it. It is a mythological story. Monkeys, after birth, they become very active. Hanuman took a jump and caught hold of Sun. And put it into the mouth.

Human mind is like that. Looking at something and wondering, Ah! it is very nice. Jumping there immediately thinking that it might be like an apple. Putting it in the mouth and realizing it is burning like chilly And thats what our mind is - restless mind. Kshipta is thrown out, scattered and restless.

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An Excerpt from the Book River of Compassion:

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Chapter 6
From Brahmacharya to Sannyasa

According to the vedic tradition, the path of sannyasa, the monastic life-style, was considered to be the best among the four different life-styles. Brahmacharya was the beginning and sannyasa was the end. In the middle, one can be a grhastha - householder and a vanaprastha following life of non-attachment and service, sannyasa is inner transformation through a self-disciplined divine life.

There are two types of sannyasa - vidvat sannyasa - to accept monastic life style after realization and another, vividisha sannyasa -to embrace monkhood for self realization. Blessed are those who really embrace this life from the core of their heart, not out of emotion or through persuasion.

In the scriptures it is described, danda kamandalu dhaarana maatrena nara naarayano bhavet. - one who carries a water pot and staff in the hand becomes divine. In essence, one who has his spine (staff) and the brain (water pot) under complete control is divine.

Since 1938, Brahmachari Rabinarayan was leading a strict celibate life of sincere meditation and achieved the rarest state of nirvikalpa samddhi. Now he had the wish to accept the monastic life of sannyas. His Guruji, Swami Shriyukteshwarji was no more. Although Swami Satyanandaji of Sevayatan, Jhengram Midnapore was also a monk-guru, he wished to take sannyasa from H. H. Jagadguru, Swami Bharati Krishna Teertha.

Before giving sannyasa, Jagadguruji wanted to know more about the family of Brahmachari Rabinarayan. While he was in Calcutta he sent for the brother of Brahmachari Rabinarayan who was an attorney in Calcutta and inquired more about Brahmachariji and his family. He found out about the divine nature of Rabinarayan from his childhood, the aristocratic and spiritual tradition of the Bhattacharya family, the death of the father Haripada, and that the widowed mother Nabin Kali had no trouble for maintenance. Jagadguruji was extremely delighted to hear all these facts about his beloved disciple.

His twenty years of Brahmachari life came to an end on May 27, 1959, on a Wednesday. Consulting the Indian calendar, Jagadguru Shankaracharya chose the 13th of Vaisakh as the day for the initiation of Brahmachari Rabinarayan into monastic life. Before taking sannyas from this renowned monk, Brahmachari Rabinarayan wanted to know in detail about monastic life, its restrictions and the many do's and don'ts. The able Guru was happy to answer his questions in a befitting manner.

Rabinarayan's Questions and the Jagadguru's Answers :

Q. What should be the quality of a monk ?

A. A monk should always be humble, and God-conscious. He should not have the slightest sense of greed or lust. When he accepts the sacred robe of ochre color, a symbol of fire in the body, he should be free from body consciousness and be always merged in the divine.

Q. Is a monk allowed to participate in social and religious functions like marriage, upanayana (thread ceremony), etc.?

A. A monk should try to avoid the social festivals. Only when a disciple is holding a samskara ceremony like marriage or thread ceremony, he can be present there to bless the occasion and come back. The presence of the monk may elevate them spiritually.

Q. Can a monk serve his old parents?

A. Even after renouncing family life, a monk if necessary can serve his old parents. Look at the example of Adi Shankara, considered the incarnation of Lord Shiva, who was present at the time of death of his mother and performed her funeral rites.

Q. What is the foremost duty of the monk ?

A. A monk should spend his time in spiritual practice, meditation, self study and study of Holy Scriptures. The monk should always manifest universal love.

The conversation continued for a good period of time. At the end, Jagadguruji asked, "Brahmachariji! On the day of sannyas I will wash your feet and worship you as living Shiva. Do you have objection to it? If I touch your feet, can you tolerate it?"

Humble Rabinarayan answered, "Divine Gurudev! During initiation of disciples into Kriya Yoga, I wash their feet, offer flower at their feet, I worship and bow at their feet." Jagadguruji was extremely delighted to hear this.

On the auspicious day of sannyasa along with Brahmachari Rabinarayan, another co-worker, a disciple of Paramahamsa Yoganandaji, Girindra Dey also was also initiated into monk's life.

The initiation ceremony was conducted in Shriyukteshwar temple on the premises of Karar Ashram. Jagadguru Bharati Krishna initiated them on behalf of Swami Shriyukteshwar, with the monastic name of 'Giri'. He directed Rabinarayan not to shave his head. As a tradition one was to shave the head and conduct many ritualistic ceremonies. This was unnecesssary since he had already lived the life of a brahmacharin in the Ashram for more than twenty years.

At the end of the sannyasa (initiation) ceremony Guru gives the robe, staff and the name. He gave the monastic name of Swami Hariharananda Giri. Swami is a title used before the name of a monk and Giri is one of the ten orders of the guru-disciple tradition of monks chosen by Adi Shankaracharya. Rabinarayan became Hariharananda. Girindra Dey became Swami Vidyananda Giri, meaning the bliss of knowledge.

Jagadguru Shankaracharya then explained the meaning of the name : It is consisting of three words Hari, Hara and Ananda. Hari and Hara are two aspects of the divine trinity, sustenance and dissolution of the universe, and ananda is bliss. There is a deeper meaning to these three syllables : ha, ra and i

In the scriptures it is described :

hakara pingala varna sarva varna varottamah /
rakara tejovarnah syat ikara sakti dayakah //

ha - represents the supreme color of the rising sun.

ra - is the brilliance of the flame.

i - the source of energy.

These three syllables combined together ha-ra-i- is hari and ha-ra is hara - ananda is bliss. Hariharananda is the state of divine bliss arising in real formless state.

Then the Guru continued; "Renounce the life of brahmana and Brahmachari. Now you are a Swami in the Vedic tradition and follower of Shri Shankaracharya." The disciple with humility and love bowed down at the feet of this renowned monk; as he blessed him with Sanskrit chants fulfilling the divine will of Almighty Lord.

On the day of monk's initiation, as a tradition, the newly initiated monk begs food from a few houses and takes food on the roadside, or under a tree. The food received from begging is considered the most holy food. One should not choose the house to beg from. So on this day, Swami Hariharananda, the new monk, begged food from the nearby sweeper's colony. In Indian society, they were not only untouchables; they were lowest among all castes. They all knew about Swamiji for a long time because of his charitable work and meditation. Swamiji stood in front of a sweeper's residence begging food. All the people of the locality assembled there to witness this beautiful scene. The lady from the house brought some food in her hands with tears in her eyes and offered it with great devotion.

One is reminded of an incident in the life of Adi Shankara. Once after a holy bath he was bringing water from the Ganga to the temple, for the abhiseka of Lord Vishwanath. On the way a sweeper considered to be unclean and untouchable was cleaning the street. While cleaning he came closer and closer to Adi Shankara. Looking at this unusual behavior of the man, Adi Shankara said, "Please go away, go away from me." Then the sweeper asked, "Who will go away from whom? The body of five elements from another body of five elements, or the soul - pure consciousness from the soul?" This was a great education for Shankara. He never expected such a question from a sweeper who is considered to be an ordinary person. He forgot all his samskara (habits) of being a brahmin and a monk, and bowed down at the feet of this sweeper praying, "Let he be a sweeper or a brahmin, he who has this kind of realization is really a guru to me." He spontaneously composed a prayer of five verses, dedicated to God in the form of the sweeper, called manisha panchakam.

On this day, Swami Hariharananda proved himself to be free from all samskaras of being a brahmin, a Brahmachari, and was shining as a glorious sannyasi, a monk, a swami, a true propagator of vedic spiritual wisdom.

From this day, H. H. Swami Bharati Krishna became his sannyasa guru. Even after being a monk he never missed the opportunity of serving his beloved Guruji. H. H. Sankaracharya Swami Bharati Krishna Teertha was advanced in age. He entrusted Swami Hariharananda with performing on his behalf, the daily ritualistic worship customarily done by the pontiff, the head of this great monastery. Jagadguruji had a strong desire to appoint his beloved Swami Hariharananda as the successor to this age-old math, the most respectable position of Shankaracharya. It was no doubt a rare opportunity and a great blessing for the Gurudev. Swami Hariharananda, a free soul, humbly with due regards replied, "Gurudev! You know my life is fully dedicated to the service of my Guru Swami Shriyukteshwar. The position of Shankaracharya is full of restricted activities, ritualistic practices with all the paraphernalia and protocol. I am to serve my Guruji staying in Karar Ashram and maintain the tradition of Kriya Yoga. Please excuse me for not being able to accept." The loving Guru could understand the mind and heart of his beloved disciple.

Beloved Gurudev H. H. Jagadguru Shankaracharya Bharati Krishna Teertha left his mortal body on February 2,1960, in Bombay. This was no doubt a great loss to a loving disciple like Swami Hariharananda.

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An Excerpt from the Book Path of Love

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

V. LOVE; AN INNER JOURNEY

Say, truly my prayer and total devotion and my life and my death are for God; Lord of the Worlds.
Holy Koran ( an - An'am 163)

Love makes our life run without friction, just like lubricating grease reduces friction when we turn a wheel or a handle. Everything in life is friction. Breathing, eating, walking, writing, talking; all involve friction and can be painful when there is no love. In life, love is the lubricant that reduces friction.

We come from different backgrounds; no two persons are exactly similar. That is the beauty of God's creation. But we all have the same Soul. We all have the same soul and we breathe the same air, but we display only our differences in body, mind and behavior. We all have the same energy, which is expressed in a thousand myriad ways. We speak the same language, but make different sounds. We worship the same God, but choose divergent paths. It is one soul manifested in a multiplicity of forms.

Love should be an open book. Love does not hold back or hide anything. A mother can give up everything for her baby. Try to bring that type of love into your life in a practical way. Just listening to spiritual talks and meditation is not enough. Manifest that love in your practical life. Without giving love, life is not complete.

When I lived in Cuttack, within a short distance to my house were two schools. Sometimes, I would stand at my doorway as school was about to open, and smile at the children hurrying to school. For one smile you can get so many smiles back. Expand in love. Expansion is life, contraction is death.

Love bears and forbears. Love tolerates. Love is not a reaction or rejection. Psychologists describe love as an emotion, but in reality it is the manifestation of the Divinity within.

LOVE IS NOT A TRANSACTION

People live like businessmen, with a calculating attitude. A businessman gives, but shrewdly considers his return. Wherever they pray in a temple, it is like this, "Oh God, You give me more and I will give You more."

There is a song in Hindi, which is very popular and it is sung in many temples,

"Oh God, my body, mind and wealth are all Yours and I offer them to You."

A humorous anecdote tells us that God, having listened to this song repeatedly, asked a devotee, "Since you gave me everything yesterday, when did you get it back to offer it to me again today?" We insist everything belongs to God verbally, but quickly take it back. You cannot do a business transaction with God, if you love Him from the core of your heart.

There is another story to illustrate this point. A young man had a final examination in Mathematics. The day before he went to the temple and prayed to God that if he would get easy math problems on his test the next day, he would spend twenty Rupees in order to offer Him fruits and flowers. He went to his exam and was delighted to see that the questions were really easy, he therefore thanked God, and started to answer them. Just then he started thinking, 'God does not need twenty Rupees worth of flowers and fruits, what if I spend only ten and with the other ten I can go to a movie, since today is the last day of the exams.' Then he thought even ten Rupees was too much. 'Why not spend only five on God, and with the other five buy a snack before going to the movie.' While his mind was drifting in this chain of thought, he was late in handing over the papers to the examiner. Confused, at the last minute, he crossed out his good answers and handed over the rough draft. You can imagine his score. This is a story about how the human mind works and how some people bargain with God. Love can never be treated on those terms.

IN LOVE THERE IS NO EXPECTATION

It is very common to hear people complaining, 'I have done so much for him or her. I sacrificed so much, now I feel let down.' Did you do it out of love or expectation? In love there can be no expectation. Expectation is like an investment in the stock market. There is no such consideration in love. Narada in his Aphorisms on Devotion and Love said,

If we love God with expectation then it is not pure love. It is the love of a prostitute.

The word used in Sanskrit is jaranan iva. A prostitute expects money and that is why she sells herself. But if one truly loves the other, you want nothing back.

Jesus said, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but Yours will be done." (Luke XXIL42)

A spiritual person tries to harmonize his individual will with the cosmic will. If one is able to achieve this, then life becomes immersed in God and saturated in love.

LOVE IS BLIND

They say love is blind because a person in love looses the rational quality of judgment. In a way it is true. Love brings blindness to the ordinary aspects of life and opens the real eye. Mundane things do not matter any more. In the brilliance of the sun can any other light shine? Love is like a blinding light, which overpowers us and makes us blind to ordinary things. Thus one experiences the source of bliss and joy, being blind to small things.

Shriyukteshwar was so engrossed in his love for God that sometimes he forgot to clean his body. When someone asked why he did not clean himself, he answered with a smile, "I do not have time to even blink my eyes." For hours he sat with his eyes open, meditating, without blinking.

He was in love with his Lord, with such intensity, that he was oblivious to everything else. Those disciples, who loved him in turn, cleaned his body. This is blinding love. Ordinarily, people fall in love, but when you fall you get hurt. One should rise in love. Evolve in love. To love God within and in everyone around you is to rise in love.

LOVE IS PATIENT

Love does not take account of time. It is immersed in a state of timelessness. Those who are enslaved by time, loose the charm of life. Love fortifies one with inner strength and patience to reach the goal of spiritual life. Only a person, who waits in love, can reach the highest state of cosmic consciousness.

There is a beautiful mythological story to illustrate this point. Two persons were meditating, as Narada, the celestial sage, was passing by. The first man asked Narada where he was going, and he replied that he was going to see God. So the man became enthusiastic and asked, "Could you please do me a favor? When you see God will you ask him how much longer I have to wait before I get realization? I have been meditating for the last twenty years." Narada agreed. As he passed by the second person, he received a similar request. After some time, Narada returned. When the first man inquired about God's answer, Narada responded that it would take him another twenty years to become realized. He was devastated and filled with disappointment. Narada approached the second person somewhat hesitantly, and reluctantly told him that it might take him another five lifetimes. The second man jumped with joy, he was happy that God had remembered him and had given him an answer at last, "I would have waited for any length of time," he cried in delight, and in that instant he was realized.

There is another story about a virgin who meditated on Shiva with deep devotion and wanted him to be her husband. Pleased with her devotion, Shiva agreed to marry her and went on his way in a bridal procession, for the wedding. Parvati, the beloved wife of Shiva, was somewhat concerned, but did not know how to stop the wedding. Narada came to her rescue and promised he would find a way. He approached Shiva and engaged him in an argument as to who was the greatest among the Holy Trinity; Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the protector and sustainer or Shiva, the destroyer. Since Shiva is the cause of destruction he is also the root of creation. Shiva felt he had to share his supreme knowledge about creation. He lost track of time and the auspicious time for the wedding was past. Parvati breathed in relief. To this day, in the Temple of Kanyakumari, in Southern India, a deity is decorated as a bride every evening and supposedly waits for her groom until early morning. Only then her dress is changed into one appropriate for meditation. She waits indefinitely, and will not choose another groom. Love knows not the barrier of time. With infinite patience, one waits for the beloved.

There is another story in the Ramayana. Shabari, a young tribal girl, had run away from her village on her wedding day, because so many animals had been slaughtered for her wedding feast. She reached the hermitage of a monk named Matanga. She stayed there to serve him, and lived a life full of penance and austerity. The monk taught her how to pray and meditate. When he was about to leave his body, he promised that one day she would actually see God.

Expecting that God would come to her any day, she cleaned the roads in the forest that led to the hermitage. Metaphorically, this means cleaning our mind and making it pure as God's presence is possible only in those who are pure. She also collected fruits every day as an offering and waited patiently as time went by. She grew older and older, until she became very old. Still, she did not stop cleaning the road and offering fruits. Then the time came when God incarnated as Rama. During his exile, Rama, together with his brother, Lakshmana, went to this very forest. The day came when Rama came to the cottage of Shabari and stood at her door. She recognized him immediately. Shabari's patience brought total fulfillment to her life.

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Elements of Spiritual Development: Part XI

By Swami Shuddhananda Giri

You are practicing. You are sincere to your practice. You are very sincere about your spiritual practice, with your vairagya, with your abhyaasa but sense of helplessness will be there. O Lord. I am practicing for hours and hours but I dont know where I am. O Lord! Still I dont know how to meditate.

If you analyze the life of our Gurudev, he had such a strong will-power that he must meditate. I must get the state of samadhi. Because when he first time went to his first family Guru Bijoy Krishna and Bijoy Krishna told very clearly to Baba, My dear child, keep your goal to realize the truth. Keep your goal as Realization. Dont keep your goal as attaining of samadhi state. Because Baba was asking about how to get the samadhi state. So Bijoy Krishna was telling, Keep your goal to realize the truth. Dont keep your goal to attain samadhi state. Then Baba was telling, I want both. I want realization and also I want to get samadhi state. Such a strong will-power! Bijoy Krishna then told Baba, What I practice, what I teach, I can teach you - about how to get the truth. But I cant teach you about how to get samadhi state. Because that I dont practice. But if you want to practice, if you want to practice some yoga techniques to get the samadhi state, then you should go to Shriyukteshwar at Srirampur. He would teach you how to get samadhi state. Then Baba met Shriyukteshwarji and he was practicing very sincerely. In Karar Ashram also, he was practicing very sincerely for hours and hours, days and days, practicing. And he got the truth. And when a person like Baba was practicing- in 1932 he got the initiation, in 1948 he got the samadhi state. If a person like Baba is practicing for 16 years sincerely to get the truth, where are we? What is our standard? With little practice, we feel satisfied, we develop so much ego that I am practicing that I am a better person. That we start analyzing, we start judging. Nothing The real knowledge is that which brings humbleness to life, which brings more closeness, ignorance that I know nothing. But you are sincere in your practice. We are practicing for the development of humbleness and not the ego. We are practicing sincerely for the development in love and not the knowledge. Because love takes you closer to God and this knowledge develops the ego, which takes you away from God. Intellectually, you may be spiritual but spiritually you are nothing. You are not progressing. So to get progress, these three things, you should remember. First thing- to have total faith in God and Gurus. Number two- to keep awareness of the Self that I am the disciple of my Master, that I am the child of God and number three- practice with sincerity, sincerely practice but a sense of helplessness should be there. The sense of helplessness makes one from a disciple to a devotee of God. Life is getting more and more devoted at the feet of God and Gurus. Then you will feel, you will experience the real bliss in life, the bliss of God. All the time God is with you. And all the time, you should be conscious of that. And all the time, to be conscious of the presence of God, all the time to be conscious that I am the soul, I am the child of God. Because as soon as you realize that I am the soul then the realization that is God, dawns upon you. In Vivekchudamani, Shankaracharyaji wrote a beautiful verse:

vadantu shaashtrani, yajantu devaan
kurvantu karmaani, bhajantu devataah
atmaikyabodhena vinaapi mukti
na sidhyati brahmashataantarepi.

You can practice, you can worship, you can do your karmas- charity, good things, service, seva. for how many years? Even hundred of Brahma would go it is said that one year of Brahma is equivalent to thousands of years in this world- So hundreds of Brahma will go but still you can not get the truth unless and until atmaikyabodhena vinaapi mukti the real salvation is there when you are identified with your own Self. He is not telling that you identify yourself with God. He is telling that you have to identify with your soul, with your true nature. That I am to identify myself with the soul, atmaikyabodhena vinaapi mukti without that there is no salvation, i.e. Until and unless you realize that I am one with the soul. This I, this ego- I means ego- The true I is soul but when we use, I am hungry, I am a male, I am a female, I am a disciple, I am a meditator or I am a spiritual person. This I is ego. So the ego is to be united with the soul, the real ego This is the state of Yoga, this is called Mukti. When I am free from this ego and I am one with the real nature, the real soul, the real nature of my own Self. That brings the salvation. That brings the mukti. The mukti is to be free from this ego. And when you practice, you get some knowledge, ego is also getting stronger and stronger. Then you are away from the truth, you are away from the soul. And we are more and more connected to the sentiments, to the mind, to the thoughts, to the knowledge- everything. Away from the real truth. The real salvation is that this I- the gross I- should be one with the real I. And when the gross I goes towards the real I, the power of gross I would be less and less. And when it is coming closer and closer to the real I, it is much less and less. And the moment it touches the real I, becomes one with the real I, it ceases to function, it ceases to exist. There is no existence. Oneness means that only one, the real soul is there and the ego is no more existing. You can say that I am hungry but at that very moment, you are totally conscious that I am the soul. Then the body will work, the mind will work but you are complete witness to the physical and mental functions. Sakshi Bhava. You are sakshi to your own self. Be the witness to your own self. And now this gross I, when it is getting closer and closer, you are getting the spiritual development. When this gross I is getting closer to the real I, there is more humbleness. More humbleness means more love. More love, more devotion. More devotion, more humbleness. So you are getting closer and closer. Then, the moment this gross I touches the real I, gross I ceases to exist. And what is existing, is the real Soul.

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verses 3 & 4)

By Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Verse 3

tyajyam dosavad ity eke
karma prahur manisinahp
na tyajyam iti capare

Translation

Some wise men declare that action is to be abandoned and is full of evil, and others say that the acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity are not to be abandoned.

Metaphorical Interpretation

In this verse the word manishi is used. He who has controlled the mind (manas) is manishilearned, wise (see the Isha Upanishad, Mantra 8). There are many learned people in the world who say that work includes attachment and must be shunned, but others say that activities like yajna (sacrifice), dana (charity), and tapas (austerity) should not be abandoned (see Chapter 17).

What is real work? Real work is performed as an oblation to God. While working, one must watch the indwelling soul who is drawing the breath day and night. With every breath one is united with the almighty father.

One must also feel the presence of the marvelous power of God in every family member. When taking care of family members, the spiritual seeker must feel that he is serving the Lord. This service is dana real charity. At the same time, one must also do charity for a noble cause.

Breath is life. Only with the breath can work be done. Without breath one cannot work. As the work changes, the breath also changes. The breath flows because of the soul inside. Every person must feel that the soul, through the breath, is activating his life. With every breath, if one perceives the presence of God, the creator of life in the body, then every breath will be oblation to God with love. This is prana karma, "action" of prana, the real worship of God.

Those who have not yet controlled their minds, who have not trained the state of manisha, should practice Kriya while working so they will realize, "The doer is He. He is working through this body from the fontanel through the pituitary." They will feel that they are serving God in every action. Service to human beings is service to God.

With this attitude, if you remain in the world and work, you will become compassionately detached and will attain realization. Through breath consciousness you can rise to the state of soul consciousness in tapah lokathe plane of meditation and penance. If you keep your mind on the Lord, and if in every breath while working you feel that every work is worship"I am giving my love and life in work"then this is the real fire ceremony.

Verse 4

niscayam srnu me tatra
tyage bharatasattama
tyago hi purusavyaghra
trividhah samprakirtitah

Translation

O Best of Bharatas (Arjuna)! Please hear my conclusive remark on the topic of tyagarenunciation. O Tiger among Men (Arjuna)! Renunciation is declared to be of three types.

Metaphorical Interpretation

Arjuna is addressed by Shri Krishna, the Lord and the divine preceptor, by two different names: Bharata sattama (best of the Bharatas) and Purusha-vyaghra (tiger among men). These two names stand for two important qualities of a sincere spiritual seeker. Bharata (bhara + tana) means the state of expansion attained by the life force (prana) when one practices Kriya, the supreme meditation technique in which brilliant divine light is perceived. Arjuna, following teaching of his master, perceived that divine illumination.

The other name is Purushavyaghra (tiger among men). Vyaghra is explained in the Sanskrit scriptures as vyajighrati ity vyaghra: "On who has strong smelling power". This is the tiger, a most powerful animal whose power of nose (breath) is very strong. Arjuna, through the power of meditation, has thorough control over his animal qualities, and he devours all his ambitions. He also has a powerful ability to regulate his nose (he has breath control). Arjuna remains in the stage of super-consciousness, absorbed in the almighty father. He is the best of all seekers.

In Indian mythology Jagaddhatri, the divine mother, sits on a tiger, and Durga sits on a lion. The divine beings sit on the tiger and the lion, the kings of animals, symbolizing thorough control over the animal qualities of a person.

The Lord is saying, "O Arjuna! You desire God-realization. In your love to know more and more you repeatedly ask questions. I will explain the real meaning of renunciation. Please listen to me carefully".

Generally speaking, there are three types of renunciation: sattvic, the spiritual renunciation; rajasic, the renunciation of the extremely active; and tamasic, the renunciation of the idle. These three types of renunciation exist in every human being, but the true renunciate is free from all ambitions for present and future life.

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Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda
kshina vritterabhij atasyeva manergrahitr - grahanagrahyesu tatsthatadanjanata samapatti

Word meaning:

Kshina vritteh disappearing as annihilated modification or waves of the mind

abhijatasya transparent or well-polished

iva like

maneh of crystal or jewels

grahitr the cognizer, the knower

grahyesu the cognized objects or the knowable

tatstha on which it remains, rests

tadanjanata taking the color, shape, and the power of that (object)

samapattih concentration, transformation, outcome, fusion

Translation:

One whose play of the mind is almost annihilated (attains) the entire absorption of the Knower, knowing, and the knowable in one, just as the polished and transparent crystal takes the color of the object that rests on it.

Commentary of Shri Lahari Mahasaya:

With a well-disciplined mind, the yogis with thorough mastery attain deep concentration over the senses and elements and complete absorption and merger. Just like crystals or jewels accept the color and glamour of objects associated with them, similarly, the self-disciplined yogis who experience the world as being illuminated by the light of Brahman, attain freedom with the help of liberated beings. One who is established in Brahman attains its nature.

Metaphorical Interpretation:

This sutra speaks of human transformation. Spiritual life is the life of transformation. Just as an iron is transformed into magnet, similarly, a seeker or yogi transforms manhood into godhood. Lower tendencies are transformed into higher levels of awareness. A life transformed in love, joy, and bliss is the true life of yoga and meditation. Let us try to understand the following concepts:

 1. Kshina vritti (disappearance of waves):

A stormy lake or ocean is full of waves and is restless. It creates havoc for all who live in it. The lake of life is disturbed with waves of thoughts, emotions, imagination, and expectation. A tranquil and peaceful mind is the lake free from waves of thought. It can be achieved gradually through breath control, self-inquiry, prayer, and meditation.

2.  Abhijatasya eva maneh (like a well-polished crystal):

A polished crystal, diamond, or jewel is shining, valuable, and well accepted. It accepts the color of the object near it and multiplies and manifests its beauty manifold. The mind and life are like a crystal or diamond. It needs to be polished and disciplined. A disciplined mind is valuable as it can conceive and manifest divine light easily. The masters guidance and ones self effort polishes and regulates life.

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