Soul Culture Journal - Winter 2007

Kriya Yoga News

Greetings to one and all - Wish You A Happy New Year. On the auspicious occasion of the New Year Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji sends his love and good wishes to one and all, "This is our beloved Gurudev's centenary year. His life was filled with divinity, love, and light. Let us follow his footsteps. Let us live with love, service, and meditation. Pray and meditate nicely. Celebrate the New Year and Gurudev's birth centenary year in your heart and soul. Make your life a new life with more love and devotion".

Centenary celebrations of our beloved Gurudev Baba Hariharanandaji Maharaj are being celebrated across the globe with great success. The Centenary Celebrations at the Mother Center here in Miami was well attended, inspiring and soul elevating.

The Mother Center celebrations started with the World Peace Conference held at the Koven's center in collaboration with the Florida International University Center for the Study of Spirituality. The key note speaker on that occasion was Mr. Arun Gandhi. Over 500 people participated in the Peace Conference which highlighted the unity in diversity amongst the different religion and how we can all live together in love and peace. It was very inspiring and given the participation of the general public we firmly believe we need more of such Peace conferences to change the direction the world is heading towards today - A society living in fear, hatred and mistrust. This was followed by an Interfaith Symposium in Ft.Lauderdale.

The Mother Center also witnessed a lot of funfare and celebrations under the auspicious presence of Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji. All of Baba's Yogacharyas had come to Baba's home to participate on this festive occasion which included inspiring talks, deep meditation sessions and a Cultural night.  Baba's Mahasamadhi Day was celebrated on the 3rd of December. Paramahamasa Prajnananandaji's message on this holy day -

Mahasamadhi Day, Punyatithi Aradhana, 2006

No Birth and No Death

Loving and Divine Soul,

On this special day I am sending my love and prayer to you all.

Gurudev is beyond everything. A living light of God has no beginning and no end, no birth and no death. In his life he showed us the state of nirvikalpa samadhi (the breathless, pulseless state) to reveal that it is beyond death. We, the children of God, should remember that we are the children of immortality. No fear of death should touch us.

Fear kills people. It creates weaknesses. A spiritual seeker should cultivate the virtue of fearlessness in daily life.

Gurudev said, "Exhalation is death and inhalation is birth, and it is going on in every breath, in every moment." We are not afraid of breathing. Rather, we cultivate love in every breath. This will lead to immortality and love.

When Gurudev cast away his physical limitation and became formless, this special day became powerful, a day to help us in many ways. Let us meditate and pray on Gurudev on this special day and seek his boundless love and blessings to enrich our lives.

Please meditate nicely. Remain in the true spirit of love for God so that you can experience the living presence of the masters in your daily life.

I am praying for you all.

With Love

Prajnanananda

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An Excerpt from the Book 'Kriya Yoga'

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Chapter III: The Science of Kriya Yoga

Many people like to have their horoscopes read by an astrologer. It is a frailty of human nature to seek to know the future. Kriya Yoga will enable us to become free from the bad influences of stars and planets that are located in the six spinal centers. In ascending order, the centers from the coccygeal to the medulla oblongata are called the summer solstice of six months; in descending order, from the medulla oblongata to the coccygeal is the winter solstice representing the other six months of the year. In these six plexuses the signs of the zodiac with the nine planets and twenty-seven stars are located. By practicing Kriya Yoga and praying devotedly to God to go up and come down the spine using inhalation and exhalation, He will destroy the bad effects of stars and planets. Divine grace will certainly exercise influence over the six centers and make us free from troubles and will give integral advancement (Diagram 3).

The inherent nature of the mind is restlessness. To master the mind, deep inhalation is required. So, when we practice Kriya Yoga, within a short time automatically we will feel that the mind is transformed into cosmic consciousness, experience superhuman perception, and be ultimately transported to the divine plane. If a person does not strive for salvation or Self-realization, he will be confronted with various troubles, worries, anxieties, pitfalls, and shortcomings. These dangers and difficulties will turn the mind towards God. But by prayer alone, one cannot reach God very quickly. Self-realization is the ultimate goal of every human being. So, if a person practices this scientific technique regularly and sincerely, he can surely attain the God-realization that is Self-realization.

Do not wait for tomorrow. The immediate present is the time to earn God, that is, to realize that God is abiding within you and everywhere around you. You should feel that God is inhaling through your nose and that is why you are alive. Inhalation is the living God in every human being, because once this breathing stops life ends. This breath is God. We are indebted to God, who is always inhaling through us, keeping us alive, and giving us the opportunity to realize Him. No one knows when death will come. So, it is wise to practice Kriya Yoga and learn to keep constant attention on the natural inhalation, which is God Himself. To maintain this constant attention, one must meditate, meditate, and meditate.

The Kriya Yoga technique enables one to watch God through every action. The more you practice, the more you will feel that God is inspiring you to do the work. Then you will be able to watch God all the time. Kriya Yoga enables one to be calmly active and actively calm. If you can think of God in your everyday action, then you can remain in a state of perpetual Self-realization and be filled with eternal joy. By Kriya Yoga you can establish yourself forever in the Infinite and you can feel God before, during, and after every action.

Kriya is derived from the root kri, which means 'to do.' We are to do our duty and perform all necessary actions. Ya signifies the doer, who is the invisible, subtle power in us. In every action, in every disposition, we are to realize this power. Whatever a person does, whatever he thinks, this power is the basis. The scriptures say that the union of the embodied soul with the Self is yoga. The individual is united with the all-pervading cosmic power. This is the divine power and the union is always present. If there is no union, it means death. But being engrossed in illusion, delusion, and error, one does not perceive this union. By the practice of Kriya Yoga one will perceive it and become free while living in the body, a jivanmukta (one who is free from the cycle of birth and death).

Kriya Yoga is a scientific technique that closely follows the method I of Patanjali. There is no need to abandon family life and go to the forest, nor is there any need to change one's eating habits. Also, there are no physical sufferings to be undergone. Most people labour under misconceptions that yoga means physical  feats, control of breath, and so on. But yoga, particularly Kriya Yoga, is different. There are various phases of Kriya Yoga. In the first phase, the restless and unstable mind becomes calm and directs itself to the divine.

By the practice of Kriya Yoga we attain a new goal of happiness, awakening, and Self-realization that enables us to live according to the highest existence. One will feel the presence of God and perceive Him in every object, every thought, and every feeling. By achieving his own Self-realization, one will understand that Kriya Yoga is the best that India has given; it offers the most scientific and easy technique of liberation.

A rusty wire is charged when connected with electric current. Similarly, if the extrovert human mind is charged with wisdom, science, and super wisdom, then ignorance vanishes within a second and life is illumined with divine light. The scientific means of transforming the physical consciousness into divine consciousness is called Kriya Yoga.

In order to know Brahman, one has to become Brahman. The scriptures say that one has to become God in order to worship God. Only by transcending human limitations and becoming established in the Divine, is realization possible. Just as one has to change the station of a radio to hear something different, one has to switch over to divine consciousness from human consciousness. Unless the outgoing and extrovert nature of the mind is controlled and is withdrawn into itself, concentration for Self-realization is not possible. Then will come the realization of the omnipresence of God and, ultimately, fulfillment of life. Then one will realize the Truth taught in the Gita, Upanishads, and other scriptures. It is for this that one has to practice a technique that will provide constant divine consciousness.

In his Yoga Aphorisms, Patanjali (Sadhana Pada, 1) says, tapah svadhyaya isvarapranidhanani kriyayogah: which means "Mortification, study, and surrendering the fruits of work to God are called Kriya Yoga." In other words, working towards yoga (i.e., union, which is achieved in samadhi) is called Kriya Yoga, which consists of all the preliminaries. Control of the body is called physical tapas, but real tapas is inhalation by which the mental wave is controlled. Repetition of scriptures is called svadhyaya, but its real meaning is Self-study that leads to Self-realization. Worship of God means to perceive Him everywhere, within and without.

The sense organs can be compared to horses, the mind to the reins, intellect to the charioteer, and the Self to the rider. The body is the chariot. If the horses are not under control, there is danger. But, if the senses are controlled by the help of the mind, then the chariot (i.e., the person) reaches the goal, which is yoga.

A person bores a hole in the Earth into which a pipe is connected to a pump. With this pump thousands of gallons of water are lifted from a depth of two to three hundred feet and made available for common use. Similarly, the technique of Kriya Yoga, popularized by Lahiri Mahasaya, draws the latent cosmic energy in the coccyx through the spine into the brain and gives one divine realization. The worldly consciousness of a person is easily transformed into divine consciousness.

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An Excerpt from the 'Nectar Drops'

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

 

Anger is the greatest enemy of man.
The more you follow the teacher, the more you will get the good results.
Man is essentially spiritual, luminous and self-sustaining.

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Five States of Mind: Part I

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Human mind is the cause of bondage and also it is the cause of success, cause of liberation. One young man was traveling in a new unknown place and he wanted to know the right way. It is crossroads. Nearby there is a pond. And one elderly man is sitting with an angler to catch the fish. This young man went to him and asked,

"Hello Sir, Can you please tell me the way to this village?"

No Answer.

"Can you hear me? I am a new person in this place. Can you help me?"

Still there was no answer.

The Young man was unhappy. "Are you deaf? Can you not hear me?"

No reply.

Then this man being unhappy and at the same time not knowing the right way, sat down under the shade of the tree.

Another young man came. He was a little bit stronger and he had the same problem, he was lost and wanted to know the way to the village. And he went to this man, who is catching the fish.

"Can you please tell me the way to this village?"

No reply.

The first young man is thinking, ' I am a little weak. This young man is strong. Maybe he'll scold the elderly man because he is not replying.'

He asked second time and when he did not get a reply, he bowed down at the feet of the elderly man and then left. The first young man thought, 'what is the matter?' This elderly man does not know how to behave and this young man went and he bowed down to him. Being curious, he came to this strong young man,

"My friend, I have a question from you. Your behavior is very strange. That old man, who neither helped you nor me and why did  you bow down to him."

"Don't tell such type of words because he is my guru."

"What, he is your guru?"

"Yes"

"Really, is he your guru?"

"Can you not see how much concentration he has? Just looking there, his eyes are not blinking. He is not conscious of anything, anybody or any voice. Can you not see that such person has such a beautiful concentration? Did he not teach that we all should have such good concentration."?

Let us think of ourselves. God has given us a mind. And what is the condition of our mind today? Is our mind peaceful? Is our mind clean? Is our mind a loving mind? Is our mind steady? If so, then congratulations to you. If not, think why? What is the cause of misery in my life? Why did I get this condition of my mind today? This mind will bring you success or this mind will bring you failure. Even if staying in Ashram for a few days, even if staying in the company of teachers for such a good period of time everyday, taking food together, meditating together, spiritual discussions- but still if you think of the condition of your mind - How is your mind?

Two ladies, they were good friends. They had their own business. One sells flower; the other sells fish. Every morning, one goes with the flower basket; other goes with fish basket, selling fish and selling flower. One day the fisherwoman, after selling the fish, became late. It was difficult for her to go back to home alone at night. So she decided to stay the night in her friend's house and came to her friend's house, who sells flowers. And the friend was so happy to see her friend. True friendship brings a lot of joy and happiness when they meet each other. There is a proverb in Hindi:

Chaar mile, chausnath khile, bees rahe kar jod.
Harijan se harijan mile, vihans saat crore.'

These two lines have double meaning. Four are meeting together; sixty four are cheerful, happy. Twenty people are remaining with folded hands. When true friends or lovers of God meet together, seventy millions are excited.

What does it mean? When good friends or two devotees of God meet together; so they have two-two eyes- two eyes and two eyes, four are meeting together. Chausanth (Sixty Four) khile- thirty two and thirty two teeth coming out completely. Bees (20) rahe kar jod-  remaining with folded hands. harijan se harijan mile, vihans saat crore (Seventy million)- hair in the body, they stand up. That is true friendship- two lovers of God meeting together.

So, when this flower-seller saw the fisherwoman and sat together, they talked a lot, took food together, then to sleep. In one room, this friend (flower-seller); and in the other room the other friend (fisherwoman). But the fisherwoman is not able to sleep. Do you know why? It smells! What is the smell? Fragrant smell of flowers. How can I sleep with the smell of the flowers? She is trying her best to sleep but is unable. She is concerned that if she can't sleep then she may not able to take care of selling her fish the next day. Then she got an idea. Do you know what did she do? She brought the fish basket along with the cloth that she uses to cover the fish. She took some water and sprinkled. The smell of the fish came from the basket and pervaded her room. She then took a long deep breath, enjoying the smell, she slept and snored.

This is what human mind is. How is our mind? Is it like the fisherwoman's basket? Does it smell good? Why this condition came to us? Mind is like a piece of cloth. When we came to this world, God gave a very clean piece of cloth, a clean mind. But what did we do? We made it dirty. We did it ourselves, nobody else made our mind dirty. It is your mind, which thinks. It is my mind, which is also thinking. We are sitting in the same hall. We are sitting together. But if we see what we are thinking, from morning till night, it is very different. Why are you thinking like that? Why am I thinking in another way? We have colored our clothes in different ways or we made it dirty. There is a song in Hindi...

Maili chaadar od ke kaise dwaar tihaare aaun
He paavan parameshwar mere, man hi man sharmaaun'

O' God, how can I come to your presence with these dirty clothes?

It is written in the Bible, if you are invited to the dinner of the Lord, you should come in beautiful clothes. Not these external clothes but the cloth the mind is made of. We have made it dirty. And we can also clean it and we have to clean it. This afternoon, somebody asked me, "Can you tell me how to stop my mind?". I said, you have to stop it. We are to take care of our mind. If you study the Yogasutra of Patanjali, it speaks of five states of mind. Five states of mind- Mudha, Kshipta, Vikshipta, Ekagra, Nirruddha.

We will now discuss about the state of the mind, which is Mudha. Mudha means dull. Mudha means fool. Which type of mind is dull or fool? To discuss before the five states of mind, we should know about the triple qualities of nature a little bit. In sanskrit, it is known as tri-guna, sattvika-peaceful; rajasika- restless, agitated; tamasika- inert, lazy. Every individual every day passes through these three qualities of nature, depending upon our nature, our food, taste for food, and attitude for food. Not only that, depending upon our nature, our attitude towards the world also becomes different. Just like if you look at the rose plants- below the soil is the same, the air is the same, they feed off the same sun, but if you see, there are different colors of roses.

There is a beautiful story. This story is from Ramayana- the story of Rama. There was a great devotee of Lord Rama and he was explaining Ramayana to people, hundreds of people. There is a belief- wherever there is a discussion of Ramayana, where there is discussion of Lord Rama, Hanuman, the great devotee of Rama comes and sits hiding. Nobody can know him but he will be listening to Rama's glory.

Yatra-yatra raghunatha kirtanam
tatra-tatra krita mastakanjalim
vashpa vaari paripurnam lochanam
namani shatatam rakshantakam

Wherever there is talk on Lord Rama, Hanuman comes there with tears in the eyes and listening to glory of Lord Rama. And when this devotee is describing Ramayana, speaking of Sita being kidnapped and kept in a beautiful garden and there were lot of flowers and flowers were white. As he says that flowers were white in color. Hanuman got up.

'Don't tell lies. How could you know that there were white flowers?''

'I see it'.

'You are telling lies. Because I was there, I am telling that all flowers were red in color.'

'Impossible, all white.'

'I am telling, I was there. All were red.'

'So, who will decide whether it was white or red? I am telling white and he is telling red.'

Then they came to a decision. Let us go to Lord Rama and ask. He will give the decision. And then they both went to Lord Rama. Rama and Sita were sitting together. And now this problem is placed in front of them. Now Sita opened her mouth,

'Do you know, I have lived there for several years. Flowers' color was neither red nor white, it was blue.'

Now with Mother Sita telling that they were blue, a third opinion was added to the argument.

Hanuman said, 'Impossible. It was red. How come can you tell, it is blue.'

And the devotee (person describing Ramayana) is telling, 'No, I see that it is white'.

They looked at Lord Rama. Rama smiled and said, 'You all are correct'.

They said, 'Impossible. How can all be correct? It should be either white or red or blue. Same flower cannot be of three colors'.

Now you see what a beautiful explanation  Lord Rama give.

"Hanuman, when you went there, you were really upset. You were so much angry with Ravana, looking at the suffering of Sita, that even though the flowers were white but you looked at white flowers with red eyes and it looked red." Then looking at mother Sita, he said, "Look, all the time you were thinking of me, because people say my color is blue, thinking of blue color continuously years after years, you saw everywhere my presence. The same flower looked to you like blue" and looking at this devotee, 'your mind is so peaceful. Because of your peaceful mind, it looked white'. Everyone bowed down at the feet of Lord Rama for such a beautiful analysis of human mind.

Everyday we pass through the triple qualities more or less and which quality is dominating us, let us analyze. And depending upon that dominating nature, our food is changing, our attitude is changing, our activity is changing, our emotions, feeling, perceptions- everything is changing.

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An Excerpt from the Book 'River of Compassion'

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Chapter 6
Acharya to Swami
Service to Parents

matr devo bhava, pitr devo bhava, acarya devo bhava, atithi devo bhava

Serve the Mother as God, serve the Father as God, serve the Teacher as God and serve the guest as God - is the declaration of the Upanisads.

When a young boy in his adolescence asked his widowed mother for permission to embrace the monastic life, she allowed him to follow that glorious path on one condition, that he should be by her side when she was sick. He kept his word. This happened in the life of Acharya Shankara, the great spiritual reformer, author and philosopher born nearly 1500 years ago.

Ordinarily a renunciate monk does not keep in touch with the family members of pre-monastic life. But in rare cases, there are exceptions. A weak mind may commit mistakes, but a realized soul does not need these rules.

To keep his promise to his own parents, Brahmachari Rabinarayan was occasionally in touch with his parents. Sometimes when relatives visited Puri, they visited him and spent some time in Karar Ashram. Brahmachariji' s favorite was his nephew, Debi Prasad Chatterji (popularly known as Debi Baba) the eldest son of his second brother, Pareshnath. Debi Prasad, was intelligent and industrious, and was a favourite of his grandparents, Haripada and Nabin Kali. During his college days, he stayed at Karar Ashram for some time and during that time his uncle, Brahmachari Rabinarayan, initiated him into Kriya Yoga. He was the first disciple of the great Guru, practicing Kriya Yoga, and serving his uncle and Guru in every possible way. His love for God, Gurus and the Ashrams is unique.

The family of Haripada was worshippers of the Divine Mother. They celebrated Navaraatri Durga Puja and also Kaalii Pujaa with all the rituals on a very grand scale. Durga Pujaa was a special occasion for the family as there were several weeks of holidays at that time. All the relatives from far and near came together, to celebrate this special occasion with love, devotion and joy.

This was in the early 50's. Requested by family members, Brahmachari Rabinarayan came to his native place to participate in this festival. They were all happy to see his spiritual progress, which was evident in his words and actions. Before beginning the worship, Haripada approached Brahmachariji with a request, "Can you please perform the puja of the Divine Mother this year? You are not only well-versed in all ritualistic practices, you have also attained the blissful state of realization." Brahmachari Rabinarayan, an obedient son, agreed. But he said, "I will do all the puja. But you should all be patient and participate in utmost devotion." The celebration started with a spiritual thrill in everyone's heart.

On the day of Mahaashtaml - the eighth day of the celebration, the father requested his loving son again, "Sannyasi Thakur ! Can you not fulfill one wish of mine? I have a long cherished desire to have the vision of the Divine Mother, fully manifested, in all her glory and illumination." Humble Rabinarayan agreed. In the evening, the Puja room (a big hall) was filled with devotees of the Divine Mother. In front of them, on the pedestal, was the earthen idol looking live and showering divine Bliss. Brahmachariji was worshipping, chanting and praying to the Divine Mother with intense love and concentration. Suddenly every one was wonderstruck with their eyes transfixed on the deity. As they watched, the deity and the pedestal were filled with a beautiful blue illumination. The goddess appeared to be alive. All bowed down with great devotion and prayer. It was a rare privilege to see the Divine illumination of Mother Durga.

It was a day of complete transformation for the father, Haripada. He came to his son alone and requested him, "Will you initiate me into Kriya?" It was a rare occasion. Brahmachari Rabinarayan accepted the request. On the day of Upanayana (the sacred thread ceremony) Brahmachari Rabinarayan requested his father to initiate him. His father became his first guru and spiritual guide. Now, after nearly three decades, the same father requested his own realized son to initiate him and be his Guru, as the son excelled him in spiritual practice and experience.

Shri Lahiri Mahasaya also initiated his own father-in-law into Kriya Yoga, which created turmoil in the community of brahmin scholars in Kashi, Benares.

They say it is hard for a doctor to operate on a family member because of the close association. To accept a family member as a guru, especially one who is younger in age is very difficult because one has to surrender oneself with love and reverence to guru. A family member may have a preconceived opinion about the other family member. But here the situation was different. They had all seen Rabinarayan from his childhood. He was special in his behavior and temperament. He never lost his temper with anyone. He was always sympathetic to others, free from ego and vanity. His mother also wanted to be initiated. The Guru in Rabinarayan initiated the loving parents into the sacred technique of Kriya Yoga.

After initiation into the path of Kriya Yoga, Haripada was very happy. He put an end to his orthodox outlook and lengthy ritualistic worship every day and preferred to spend more time in inner calmness and meditation. Some incidents reveal his balanced state of mind and perseverance.

After some time, Brahmachari Rabinarayan receiving the news of the demise of his eldest brother Dr. Bholanath Bhattacharya and went to visit his parents in the village Habibpur to console and comfort them. It was early in the morning when he got off the bus. From a distance he saw a person who looked like his father, coming towards the bus stop. Brahmachariji was surprised as it was too soon for his father to be out, after such a sorrowful incident. It was indeed Haripada and they greeted each other and proceeded towards their home. There was no sign of sorrow or mourning in the face of Haripada, he looked as though nothing untoward had happened. When they reached home, Haripada requested his beloved son, Brahmachariji, to go in and to console his mother who lost consciousness hearing the news of her eldest son's death. This time Brahmachari Rabinarayan stayed with the parents for several days till all the rituals of the death-ceremony were completed. He was surprised at the balanced state of mind of his father under all these circumstances.

One day Haripada came to his monk son and said, "It is not right on your part to spend such a long time away from the Ashram. It was good that you came here at the right time to help your parents. Now it is time to return to your Ashram." Brahmachari Rabinarayan looked at his father and said, "Can I ask you one question? Since I arrived here, I have observed you very closely. I have not found even the slightest touch of sorrow or remorse on your face. You have lost your eldest son and still you are not perturbed. How could you have such self-control? It is a surprise to me!" The father smiled and patted the son's back and said, "Baba! You are a monk. You are not married. How can you understand the joy of being a father? Your eldest brother was our first child who gave us the joy of parenthood. Now he is gone! No doubt it is painful. Still it is a drama. That is why I am not disturbed. I will give you an example. Suppose a person has deposited money in a bank for sometime and then he wants to withdraw the amount. Will the bank be unhappy to give the money back? No, because the bank has already invested the money and enjoyed the interest from that. Likewise, God deposited this child with us for a short time. We had the pleasure of his company as a son. Now God wanted to take the child back. Why should I be unhappy? I am like the bank." This reply of the learned, experienced and intelligent father delighted Brahmachari Rabinarayan. He bowed down at his feet and returned to the Ashram.

Once a telegram came to the Ashram addressed to Brahmachariji, which read "Mother serious. Start immediately." Without a second thought Brahmachariji set out to visit his parents. As the bus approached the final destination very early in the morning he saw his father waiting for him. On the way home Rabinarayan asked his father about his mother's health. The father replied, "Your mother is all right. But the Divine Mother is serious!" The son could not understand.

Then the father continued, "In six months practice of the technique you taught, now I have perfected Khechari Mudra. I wanted you to come here and see and to teach me some higher technique. That was the cause of the telegram." Haripada was extremely diligent in his practice and advanced rapidly on the path of Kriya.

Previously he would not drink a drop of water until he finished his worship, which would be about 2 p.m. But his present Guru, his beloved son, taught him how to feel divine vibration in the entire body and complete external worship in a short time and have more time for meditation. Now, in the company of Brahmachariji, he took breakfast after his morning meditation.

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An Excerpt from the Book 'Path of Love'

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

III: Love: An Expanding Circle

The Svetasvetara Upanishad (11:5) says;

srnvantu visve amrtasya putra
a ye dhamani divyani tasthuh

"May all the children of the Immortal listen, even those who have reached their heavenly abode."

The Soul is immortal, divine and ever pure. The body itself is inert. When in deep sleep there is no sense of the world. You do not know where you are. Just like a bulb is useless or a sound system is useless without electricity, a body is inert and cannot function without the power of the Soul. So to love the body is the first step, then through the body we should serve and love God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVING YOUR FAMILY

The family cell is a fundamental institution that promotes the all-round growth of a human being. Within the close relationship of a family unit, parents, brothers and sisters should grow in love and understanding. Many people are nicer to strangers than to their own family. If there are differences of opinion within your family, try to have understanding and compassion to overcome them. Charity begins at home.

The human infant is the most helpless of all, and takes the longest time to become independent. A newborn calf stands up minutes after birth, and tries to suckle milk from its mother. Kittens and puppies compete for the mother's milk, pushing the weaker one away. Animals are born as animals and live as animals. We are born as animals but grow as humans and should try to become divine. So it is a more intricate process of evolution and needs a longer period of training. We need the parents' love and discipline, and the friendship, cooperation and tolerance of our brothers and sisters in order to grow as healthy individuals within society. Since we have grown stronger in their love, we have become indebted to the whole family.

If there are misunderstandings, forget them. Love does not judge. Judgement is for those who do not know how to love. Love your parents, brothers and sisters.

There is a story of two brothers who lived close by on a farm. The older brother was married and had children, the younger one was single. The married brother would think, "I have a wife who cooks and takes care of me. My brother is alone and needs someone to look after him." He used to pack food for the younger brother and take it over to his brother's place in the middle of the night, leaving it in a place where the brother would be sure to find it. The younger brother thought, "I am single and can take care of myself. My brother is married and has to support his wife and children. Surely he needs some help." The younger brother supplied his brother's family with whatever he could, in the same secret way. One day their paths crossed, so they discovered where the help was coming from. A person who witnessed their meeting, disclosed it to the rest of the village. Everyone was so moved by the beautiful bond that linked the two brothers, that they called them 'angels' and constructed a place of worship to honor their exemplary love.

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

Like water filling a pot and flowing over, love flows from one person to another. When you succeed in loving your family, love your neighbors. Love will then expand from a smaller circle to a bigger circle. Be rich in love. Do not think in terms of what you have given and what you have received in return. Love is not calculating. Love only knows how to give and if you give you get, that is the law. I will give an example of how neighbors express their love in Indian society. When I was a college student, while going home to my village for a holiday, I was greeted by the rickshaw pullers right at the bus stop, and they would compete to take me home. I would put only my bags in the rickshaw, and walk home. Many people on the way would talk to me, and we would inquire about each other's welfare with love and concern. When I reached home, many neighbors came over with small tokens of affection. A man would come with a cucumber, grown in his garden and would say, "I brought it for you as you may not be getting fresh vegetables in the city." A cucumber may cost almost nothing, but the love with which it was given made it unique.

In Sanskrit there is a proverb;

"Give more and you will get more, the more you give the more sweet you will be, if you only take and take you will be salty like the ocean. A river gives and gets and the water is sweet. The ocean takes and takes and the water is salty."

Think of a tree. When you see an apple tree in season, bending down under the weight of its own fruit, your heart is filled with joy and wonder. If one asked the apple tree why it is giving so much, while taking the risk of breaking in half, the tree would probably say, "Have you never given anything to anyone? Have you not experienced the joy of giving? This is fulfillment. I have only transformed what I got from the soil below, and the wind and the sun above, into beautiful fruit. I am only an instrument of God."

Children in India throw stones at mango trees, to get the mangoes that are green and still not ready to fall. Green mangoes never fall easily. Even when we throw stones, a tree will give us fruit.

Love gives and forgives and selfishness only gets and forgets. There is a story of a rich man who happened to be a miser. A rich miser is useless, as he can never share his wealth with anyone. This man was walking in a forest and fell into a well. He was crying for help. Fortunately, a passerby heard him, approaching the well he stretched his hand and said, "Give me your hand so I can get you out." As soon as the miser heard the word 'give' he automatically withdrew his hand. After a couple of times of witnessing this strange reaction, the helpful stranger changed tactics and said, "Take my hand and come out." On hearing the word 'take', the miser readily complied and was saved. Some people are unable to give, even in the face of death.

Picture the cloud and the ocean. Which one contains more water? The ocean. But the cloud gives and the ocean takes. The cloud is above and the ocean is below. The hand that gives is always above, the hand that takes comes from below. Do not be afraid to give. Give and get. Give love and your heart will be filled with love.

In the Torah (Leviticus XIX: 11-18) the Lord said,

"Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by My name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord. Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him. Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight. Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord. Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord. Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so that you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

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Elements of Spiritual Development: Part IX

By Swami Shuddhananda Giri

With finite mind, intelligence, thinking and contemplation, one cannot think of such thing, which is infinite in nature. Mind cannot think the source of the mind. Intelligence cannot analyze the source, the force behind the intelligence. It is limited. So in the life of the disciple, when we practice some spiritual discipline, when you get some knowledge, when you get some bliss, when you feel something, when you get some perception- at that time, you should feel that it is not enough, what I know is not enough. More and more would be ignorance- spiritual ignorance. Knowingly, you know something but still you would be ignorant. And this spiritual ignorance, through spiritual practice, more brings humbleness to life. And this more humbleness to life softens the heart. Then you are closer and closer to becoming a devotee of God. Life would be more and more devoted. You practice days and days, months and months and months, years and years and lives and lives, and then you feel complete helplessness. O'Lord! I am helpless. Through practice after lives and lives, what I realize is that through my own efforts alone, I cannot get this truth, I cannot realize this truth. So long as I am practicing to realize the truth, I won't get the truth because truth is infinite and I am limited. And when I realize through my practice, through my efforts, since lives and lives- O'Lord, I am totally helpless. O'Gurudev, I am totally helpless. I cannot get the highest truth through my own efforts. I am at thy feet. Then the blessings of God and guru bring the truth to the life of the devotee.

When you are aware of your true nature then you are not giving importance to your thoughts, you are not giving importance to the restlessness of the mind. Something happened to the mind, nothing to me. Something happened to the thoughts, nothing to me, because I am always conscious that I am a child of God, I am conscious that I am a disciple of my Master. Always Guru is looking at me, always God is looking at me; we should be conscious of that.

Don't think that to get the truth, to get the development in spiritual life, I have to be totally clean. Clean in thoughts, clean in deeds, totally clean. Total cleanness is not possible, it is almost impossible. You don't want but again impurities will come into the mind, will come into the body. Maybe tiny, maybe just a little bit. Just to give you an example- So you are putting fresh clothes today. You are very careful, not to allow any impurities to touch the fresh dress. You can take maximum care but still after a few days you will find that the dress is dirty. You don't want it to be dirty. Nobody wants the clothes to be dirty. But when you live, when you put on new clothes, you will get the dirt- this dress would be dirty. So what will you do? You see that it is dirty, you just clean it. You put on a new cloth. You don't want your clothes to be dirty, but clothes would get dirty. It is a natural process. The same thing, which happens in the physical world, also happens in the astral world, because of so much of past experience. It is not only our experience but hundreds of thousands of other forces which control our thought patterns. There are negative acts done in the past lives. They bear fruit in different ways. The thought patterns created by our expectations and others' expectations. The forces created by our own past experiences. The forces created by our own past actions and forces created by other factors, many unknown factors, hundreds and thousands of unknown factors. They come into the astral body, to dirt the astral body, the mind. Primirily the mind, thoughts. But to expect the total cleanliness, it is almost impossible. But what can you do? Just like, I put on these new clothes, I don't want them to be dirty. But after two days, I find that they are dirty, I should not use this. So what I do? I don't think how it became dirty, why it became dirty. Then I would be more restless. Then what should I do? I remove the clothes for washing and put on new fresh clothes. So let the restlessness thoughts, what you can call impure thoughts, restless thoughts come but don't put so much attention to them. It is coming, ok. I am to clean my self. Always I have to clean. I have to clean my clothes. I am to put fresh clothes. So what is happening to physical body, same thing, we should practice for the astral body, for the mind. Then you find that spiritual life becomes easier. We are not fighting with it, we have just a sense of awareness. I am a child of God. I should be clean. Physically I should be clean. Mentally I should be clean. But even if you take maximum care, you cannot keep yourself totally clean, absolutely clean. Because many unknown factors come to affect our lives.

You are driving your car on the street. You are a very good driver. You did nothing wrong but somebody is driving and dashing his car into your car. What will happen to you? You see, how we get sufferings from other factors. Same thing- this is just an example of the physical body. In astral body, how many accidents happen? We maintain a clean thought. We maintain a clean contemplation. Always I am to practice, always I am to love God, always I am to watch breath, always I am to follow my Master. But there are many accidents in the mind, in the astral world due to many unknown factors, which we don't know. The cause also we don't know. Many things happen. Without your wish, impurities come. How do we free ourselves? Every moment, God is with you. Every moment, you are with you. Every moment, You are the soul. So be conscious of inner nature, the true nature.

So not to fight with the body, nor to fight with the mind. It is just a state of complete, total, absolute state of consciousness. What is that? I am the child of God. I am the disciple of my Master. I am the soul. It is the truth. So let us be more and more aware, if I have some ego, let this ego be continuous that I am the child of God. That I am the disciple of my Master. When this ego gets stronger and stronger, this ego will nullify the other ego, that I know something. I am a child of God- this ego is very nice. But I know something, I have some knowledge and spirituality, I have some realization, I get the truth- this will take you down in the spiritual life.

So I am the disciple of my Master, I am the child of God - let this ego be continuous and this ego would make other ego less and less. And when the other ego- I know something, I am practicing, I am a spiritual person, when this ego is getting less and less, the life would be more dedicated, devoted to God and Gurus. The real knowledge is that which can bring you total ignorance. You know, for lives and lives, you have read scriptures, practiced your spiritual discipline, practiced your vairagya (detachment), everything is poison. I have to realize my own Self. You can practice lives and lives but if you are not getting total humbleness, softness in life that after knowing many things, I know that I know nothing. You can feel that. You can feel from heart that even though I am practicing, my meditation is not enough, it is nothing. Although I know something from scriptures, from the Masters, from the good teachers, from the holy personalities, from the saints and sages but still our knowledge is not enough. It is nothing. First to feel it is not enough then feel that it is nothing. And this nothingness brings true knowledge. And the true knowledge is that which brings love in heart. True knowledge is that which brings total humbleness. True knowledge is that which opens the heart to receive the love of God, which opens the heart to receive the blessings of God and Gurus. And this blessings of God and Gurus, this love in the heart, makes you a devotee of God. And once you become a devotee of God, it is their responsibility- responsibility of God and Gurus to take care, to bring the truth to you, to take you to the truth. Truth will come to you. They will bring the truth to you. Before that, let us be aware of our true nature that I am the child of God, that I am the disciple of my Master. Let these two things be continuous in our life.

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 17, Verse 28)

By Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Verse 28

asraddhaya hutam dattam
tapas taptam krtam ca yat
asad ity ucyate partha
na ca tat pretya no iha

Translation

An oblation offered, a gift donated, an austerity practiced, and work performed without faith (love) is of no account here­after or here, O Partha (Arjuna)!

Metaphorical Interpretation

Here the Lord explains, "O Arjuna! You have a beautiful body. Perceive that this body is made by God. This body is divine. Do not feel that it is your body; it belongs to God. In the material world, you have many things, but do not think that you possess anything. Everything belongs to God. If you do not feel this way, when you do yajnas (fire ceremonies), dana (charity), and tapas (penance), it is falsehood."

Throughout the world, there are many cults, monastic orders, traditions, and religions. People try to worship God by reading,  singing, chanting, praying, even by observing fasts and doing many types of fire ceremonies, and on and on. God cannot be perceived by all of these things. What is really important is to know that God is in everything and that God is beyond that. In extreme silence, in the complete seclusion of the fontanel, in the atom, one can realize God.

Every activity should be done with faith in God and love. If one does anything in vanity, hypocrisy, arrogance, or without love and faith, it is known as asad (falsehood). Spiritual life is always free from falsehood and hypocrisy. Spiritual life should always be established in truth. With faith and love, one should proceed.

Activity devoid of faith and love is falsehood and delusion that brings bondage and suffering. It is rajasic and tamasic. Lova and faith associated with divine work brings liberation and God-realization. This is the essence of spiritual life through the practice of Kriya Yoga.

Summary of 17th Chapter

The seventeenth chapter of the Holy Gita is entitled "Yoga of Classification of the Threefold Faith." This chapter dealt with the nature of human being, especially one's own nature that one can easily know through one's own self-realization; the goal is to know in essence that "I am the soul, immortal and perfect."

Food is necessary—not for appeasing the tongue, or filling the stomach— but for producing better health, balanced mind and spiri­tual progress. People eat with greed, few eat simply to fulfill the necessities of life.

This chapter was enriched with the divine gospel of the Lord for self control and spiritual evolution. This self-disciplining way of life should be based upon the scriptural prescription, not out of one's whims. Even in the path of meditation, sacrifice should aim at one's emancipation.

This chapter discussed not only anna (food), but also yajna (sac­rifice), dana (charity) and tapas (self-disciple, meditation).

The twenty-eight verses of this chapter are distributed as follows:

Verse 1: Arjuna's question related to faith based upon one's  own nature.

Verses 2-4: the Lord's answer to Arjuna's question on the three­fold qualities.

Verses 5-6: prayer and meditation of evil-minded personalities.

Verses 7-10: highlight of three types of eating depending upon the nature of the person.

Verses 11-13: describe three types of yajna (sacrifice).

Verses 14-16: discussion about penance or self-discipline on a physical, verbal and mental plane.

Verses 17-19: elaborate discussion on tapas (meditation, penance, self discipline) based on three qualities (sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic).

Verses 20-22: three types of charity described.

Verse 23: description of om tat sat

Verse 24: explanation of om

Verse 25: explanation of tat

Verse 26-27: explanation of sat

Verse 28: anything done without faith and love is fruitless, declared the Lord

Change the life force, and then use this life—it will take care of the future. Strive to attain perfection now, then the future be beautiful. Practice for perfection through faith, love and sincerity. This is key to success.

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Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Sutra 42

Word meaning:

Tatra - There

Shabda -artha-jnana-vikalpaih: of word, its meaning, with knowledge and options or alterations

Samkirna - mixed up, confused

Savitarka - samapattih - a state of Samadhi characterized by transformation of thought

Translation:

There, a state of Samadhi, characterized by transformation of thought is achieved based on the word, its meaning with knowledge and reasoning.

Commentary of Shri Lahari Mahasaya:

Savitarka Samadhi is attained through word (sound) artha (its real meaning), knowledge and going beyond all alternative. Still it is limited. After that one attains nivitarka Samadhi. It is being said.

Metaphorical Interpretation:

Samapatti is a state of progress in meditation. It is achieved through maturity in meditation. There are four different classification of such states; related to object of perception and the process of perception. Those are named as:

  1. Savitarka Samadhi

  2. Nirvitarka Samadhi

  3. Savichara Samadhi

  4. Nirvichara Samadhi

In this sutra there is description of the first state which is also described as Savitarka Samapattih. Let us understand this state better. To have a clear perception of any object is dependent on three factors:

  1. Shabda; word or the sound

  2. artha: its meaning or better understanding

  3. jnana: its knowledge , with direct perception

For example, to have a clear knowledge of anything we are to go through these three factors. Let us think of a rose. It is a sound or word. Its meaning is that it is a flower but to have complete knowledge of the rose depends on much more experience than just a word and its meanings.

O Seeker! You think that you are a child of God. This attitude of being a child, it is a word and a meaning. But to be really a child of God, you have to be and become something different. It is a state of knowledge. It is an effort too.

People are busy in the word with shabda(word) and artha (meaning). But to live in knowledge is much above it.

Please understand what vikalpa is. Vikalpa means imagination, ideas etc. imagination and ideas make your understanding narrow, limited and wordly.

O Seeker! Rise above imagination. Meditation is not imagination or projection of mind. It is being and becoming.

When you want to be the child of God, then follow the path of ishwara pranidhana- deep love, surrender and devotion to God.

O seeker! Do you know shabda also means- sound. During meditation, you experience the inner sound; anahata nada. Then you tried to understand this sound. It is pranava, omkara, om sound, the cosmic divine sound. But the real state of knowledge is to go to the source of it and merge in it.

O seeker! You are the soul, pure, immortal, beyond time and place, beyond birth and death. Do not stay with his verbal word and its meaning. Go beyond. Dive deep into meditation. Grow and be matured in your experience. Be and become what you are. This is Savitarka Samadhi.

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