One who is the bliss of Brahman and the bestower of the highest joy; who is absolute and knowledge personified, beyond duality, (all pervasive) like the sky, and the object of (the great Upanishadic statement) "Thou art That," who is one eternal, pure, steady, the witness of all thoughts; beyond all modifications (of mind and body) and free from the three gunas, I bow to that Sadguru!
In Islam we see a crescent and star symbol. What does it mean? Every religious symbol has a metaphorical meaning and spiritual significance, and it directs our mind toward many truths which can be applied in our daily spiritual life.
The moon and stars symbolize nighttime. Night is the time when people forget God because they are engrossed in pleasure or sleep. In the Bhagavad Gita (2:69), it says:
ya nisha sarva bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisha pashyato mune
“During the time that it night to all beings, self-disciplined persons remain awake; when all beings are awake, it is night to the sage.”
During that which is night for all creation, the disciplined and dedicated one is awakened. Forgetfulness of inner divinity and the presence of God constitute metaphorical night and sleep, while awakening and prayer constitute the time of light. In the night the sun is absent, but people can see light even at night.
Thus, even those who are not awakened can see the moon and stars. Be awake at night; that is, do not forget the presence of God. From ego and ignorance be awakened, be alert in divinity.
The first meaning of the crescent and star is that the One God is always with you, reminding you not to forget Him.
The second meaning speaks of inner transformation. The crescent is a very little moon. It appears on the first evening after the new moon. It is only a trace of the moon in the sky. The moon symbolizes the mind. In Purusha Sukta there is a Vedic prayer: chandrama manaaso jatah, “moon is born from the mind of the Cosmic Being.” The moon and mind are related. Just as the full moon and the new moon create high tides in carious bodies of water, they both also create a bit of waves and troubles in the mind. So be careful of the tides of the mind. The tides of the mind make life miserable. The crescent symbolizes a disciplined and regulated mind – a sign of growth in spirituality.
Eliminate the restlessness of the mind. With only a little mind you can enter divinity; you can go towards God. A little moon symbolizes thorough control over the mind. On Lord Shiva’s head, in the locks of hair, there is a little moon. A little moon symbolizes divinity; a little moon symbolizes the mind in God, the mind absorbed in God consciousness.
The star symbolizes the goal of life, just like the pole star. -- When the disciplined and prayerful mind is always conscious of the goal in life. It symbolically teaches the togetherness of the crescent and star.
The star can be seen at the midpoint of the eyebrows. The Kriya symbol, the logo created by Swami Shriyukteshwarji, has a star and a little moon in the middle of the third eye. It is a beautiful emblem of the combination of yoga, meditation, and spiritual experience. Below the two eyebrows is the play of the sense organs and above the eyebrows is the domain of spiritual experience. The two eyes represent the duality of the world, such as heat and cold, pain and pleasure, success and failure, and so on. But above them is the third eye, the eye of wisdom and spirituality. It is the eye of unity and God consciousness.
When one meditates, one experiences the star and the moon-like light. So let the mind be always conscious of the goal of life, realizing the presence of divinity everywhere.
What is the real goal of life? It the goal of life to suffer in misery, to worry, or is goal of life to be peaceful, loving, and God conscious? Living a peaceful, loving, and God conscious life is possible when your mind is always directed toward the goal. If the mind ignores the goal, the result is that misery and troubles appear in one’s life. When the mind is conscious of the goal – the goal is light, the goal is love, the goal is to be united with God – then life is beautiful and ever more perfect. So the crescent and star symbolize the disciplined mind and consciousness of the goal of life.
Kriya Yoga is a short-cut technique for Self-realization (i.e., God-realization). Kriya can be split into two words: kri and ya. Any work you are doing is kri and that work is done by the power of God (i.e., indwelling Self, ya).
Because the power of God is inside your body, constantly inhaling since your birthday, your body remains alive. Because your body is alive, you are able to do dome work. So all work you do is really done by the power of God.
It is written in the Bible (Genesis 1:27; 2:7) that God made men and women in His own image and breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of every human being. So every human being is a living image of God. But we ignore Him. We ignore His presence within us. We have to give love to Him. In every breath, to watch Him, to feel that the power of God is activating our every action, is constant liberation.
The Almighty Lord, having created everything, entered into them. In Taittiriya Upanishad (2:6:3) it is written, tat srstva tadevanupravisat: The Almighty Lord is hiding in every human being and is constantly inhaling, thus making us alive. So we are able to perform some actions. Through our every action (kri), we ought to watch the real doer of the action (ya).
The person who thinks he does nothing – although he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, walks, sleeps, breaths, speaks, answers the calls of nature, grasps, opens and closes the eyes – but instead realizes that the power of God does everything (i.e., everything is done by ya), is certainly a better person (See the Bhagavad Gita 5:8 – 9).
Many people do many types of work. But without the soul, without the breath, one can do nothing. The Almighty Father (yakri). This is kri and ya, so to watch Him in every work is Kriya.
Hinduism has four casts: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. If we analyze subtly, we can find in each human being all four of these castes. A Vedic hymn (Purusha Sukta 13) declares:
Brahmanah asya mukhamasit means, above the neck region a person is brahmin. The mind, intellect, consciousness which lead to superconsciousness, cosmic consciousness, and wisdom state, remain inside the brain. So the head of each person is represented by brahmin.
Brahma janati iti brahmanah: When one’s mind is completely merged with the Absolute wisdom by the practice of meditation, one is a brahmin.
Vahuh rajanyah kritah: The hands of a person represent a kshatriya because by the help of the two hands one does work.
Urutahah asya yat vaishyah: The thighs enable a person to walk wherever he wants. So the thighs represent vaishyah, through which one performs many types of actions, office work, earning money, and so on.
Padbhyam shudrah ajayata: Shudra represents the feet of a person, as the feet serve the whole body.
It is quite evident from the explanation of the above verse that, in reality, there are not four different types of castes, rather that in each human body there remain four castes. These are the four types of work being done in a human body: four types of work done by the Almighty Lord (ya). A dead person cannot do any work. A person works because the breath is going on constantly. That breath is inhaled by the power of God (ya), the indwelling Self who is hiding in every living being.
— Kriya Yoga The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture and the Essence of All Religions; pg 133 - 136
Before 1973, Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji and Prrabhuji Swami Narayan Giri had founded a beautiful ashram in a remote village in Bengal where people were very poor and deprived of education for their children. As compassionate as always, Paramahamsaji built a school in this village in 1973 and became the founding president of the school comity. He named the school Shri Yukteshwar Vidyayatan as a tribute to his beloved guruji, Swami Shri Yukteshwarji. He generously paid the teacher’s salaries for more than ten years until the school was recognized by the government, who then began to pay the teacher’s their full salary. Throughout the years hundreds of children have been educated at this school, and their lives have been enriched by this work of love.
Prajnana Mission, which was founded in India in 1993 on the advice and direction of Paramahamsa Hariharananda, has been serving on many fronts – educational, humanitarian and spiritual. The Mission organizes youth camps, international seminars, bramachari training programs, health centers, and health awareness programs. It has also arranged for a mobile medical and dental unit, and the construction of libraries, orphanages, and homes for the poor. In July 1999, two health centers named Hariharananda Charitable Health Centers were opened, one in Balaghai and one in Cuttack. The facilities provide medical treatment and free prescriptions to the poor. Additional health centers were later established on Panarhat and Bhisindipur and thousands of people each month receive the much needed health care. The mobile medical and dental unit visits remote villages and school to provide basic medical and dental care.
Paramahamsaji provided financial support for educational and medical facilities, and for orphanages. He financed many people who were having difficulties finding housing, repaying loans, or paying for the weddings of their daughters. Whenever he had money, he immediately thought how best to use it and for whom. His generosity was boundless and no one who approached him for help ever left empty handed.
Like Adi Shankara, he served his old and ailing parents even though he was a monk. When his father was seriously ill, bedridden, and later paralyzed, Paramahamsaji nursed him day and night with the upmost care and attention. He kept photos of his parents in his bedroom at the ashram. Some criticized him asking, “What type of monk are you, keeping photos of your mother and father!” He answered with a smile, “I have not become a monk yet. I am trying to be one. Then [my parents] are my first gods, and by their grace I received this body through which to do sadhana.” His mother was well taken care of by Paramahamsaji after the death of her husband.
A special feature of this great soul was his humility and love. He could be softer than a flower and sometimes, harder than steel. His speech was lilting and charming. He was like a child with children, a friend to the young, a companion to the old and distressed, and an inspiration to all. This was one of his unique ways of teaching – he was always humble even though he was a Self-realized master; and so for each of his disciples he was an example of perfect humility. He often quoted the great saying of Shri Chaitanya:
“Be always lower than the grass, tolerant like the trees, give honor and love to the lowliest, remember the Lord continuously.”
His gaze was of love, his talk was divine, his activities were mysterious, and his life was really unknown. Those who were fortunate to be in his presence were inspired and motivated to follow a path of love and service. Through his selfless service, he helped others to change their outlook in life.
Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, defines Kriya Yoga as:
tapah, svadhyaya, iswarapranidhana
tapah means austerity, or practice of meditation. It also means watching the breath to maintain body heat, so that life, itself, is sustained.
svadhyaya means study of the scriptures and also the study of the Self.
iswaraparanidhana is to surrender the fruits of your actions to God, and to maintain love for God.
These three elements together define Kriya Yoga. The Path of Love is to be conscious through every breath and through every action. The heart center is the source of either immense emotional satisfaction or deep despair. By focusing on this chakra, and by developing our awareness through deep meditation, we can energize this center and make it a source of profound inner joy. First of all, we need to deal with ups and downs with a sense of equanimity, and secondly, to channel our emotions constructively. Selfish love is at the root of many of our problems today, so it should be replaced with love for others. All of us have the same basic need to love and be loved. We will find ourselves released from the self-made prison of our emotions when we learn to feel warmth and compassion for all creatures. We will be free, at last, to love without fear and without restraint. Through loving others, we love God, and that love returns to us a thousand-fold when it is given unselfishly and without ulterior motives.
How can such a state be achieved? Through the same process of relaxation, mediation and self-inquiry we use to overcome the downward pull of the other chakras. Selfish emotion drags the mind down, burdening it with feelings, which bury our spiritual energy and dissipate it in the joys and sorrows of the present moment. True happiness and spiritual awakening require us to expand our emotions to envelop the entire universe, and gain the riches therein.
Meditation is silence is an even better way of expressing love. Practice to be completely silent in your love for God. If we can be really silent in meditation, then it is real meditation.
A mother had one son and she had not seen him in a long time. She wanted to tell him many things. The son had written many times to say that he would visit her, but he had been unable to come. Finally, one day he arrived. There was a knock, and as the door opened the mother beheld her son. The son bowed at her feet, and she hugged him. They held on to each other without pronouncing a word. This is love in silence. God is the Mother and we are the children. Sometimes words can cause confusion, if not used in the right way. But in silence, feelings and emotions come across with more strength. Very few persons know the art of communicating in silence. Express love in silence. In meditation, you are on your own.
There is a story of a man traveling with his family, a wife and an infant child, in a distant place where there were hardly any roads and bridges. When the man came to a big river, he realized the only solution was to swim across. The man was tall, his wife was small, and the child was tiny. He carried his family on his back, the water was reaching up to his neck, but the depth seemed to be increasing with every step. The story goes that the man tried his best to cross the river with the child on his shoulders, and his wife holding onto him. But the water pulled them all downwards. When he was almost drowning, the man had to let his family go and swim alone.
This is what happens in deep meditation. You cannot enter there with a body and a mind. In silence and deep meditation, body and mind create trouble through physical pain and restless thoughts. You have to overcome body consciousness and thoughts. For meditation you have to be alone.
Once you close your eyes you are alone. You should enter a state where there is no home and no body. If we can go to that state, real meditation can be experienced. It is natural that thoughts will come. Do not be worried, just try to relax, keeping your mind blank. If you entertain a single thought, more will come. Then you will be physically present but mentally absent.
Path of Love; pg 98 - 100
tatraivam sati kartaram
atmanam kevalmm tu yah
na sa pasyati durmayih
In this material world most people have misconceptions about do-ership. Many people think that they are the body, and that their body is doing all the work. Others think that the work is done by the soul, atma. Both are wrong in their understanding.
The previous verse clearly delineates the five factors essential for any kind of work. But without the presence of the soul, these five factors cannot function. The soul’s presence energizes the five instruments and makes them active. Without the soul, they are inert and dead. On the other hand, many people with perverted understanding think that the soul is doing all activities, even bad work. They do not hesitate to say that the soul in the thief is stealing, or the soul in the murderer is killing. In which case, the result of good or bad works would go to the soul, not to the person – sin would go to the soul. This is silliness and completely wrong.
Consider the example of the sun. The sun is the source of light, energy, and activity. In the dead of night, people cannot see anything and cannot work. When the sun rises, people are active. They can see everything. In the day, in the sunlight, some are meditating while others are preparing food or eating. Some are taking a bath and others are reading. They are all doing different work in the sun’s light. Although the sun is the cause of all of these activities, it is detached from everything. The sun can cause extensive activity while beings detached.
Those who do not meditate or who do not know the nature of the Almighty Father and the imperishable soul cannot perceive the truth. Those who seek the truth meditate sincerely and remain compassionately detached like the sun. On the other hand, those who think that the soul is responsible for all work and is “guilty” are foolish and ignorant. They have scanty knowledge about the Almighty Father. As it is said, people with a little knowledge are dangerous.
Body-conscious people, who think that the body is the Self, and that any work done by the body is done by the soul, are far from reality and the truth. They think that the soul is born with the body and dies with the body. (See Bhagavad Gita, 13:31 – 32 and 14:19).
The primordial sound and vibration of cosmic energy are the first manifestations of the divine will; they sooth the mind so calm and love can be realized. A sincere seeker listens to it with deep love. It is a step to spiritual growth and enhanced concentration. The ultimate goal of a spiritual seeker is to hear this beautiful sound without interruption. This sound is described in different scriptures.
The voice of the Lord is the divine sound. “From heaven He made you hear His voice to discipline you.” (Deuteronomy 4:36) A seeker will hear the divine sound when the mind and the sense organs have been disciplined. Without discipline, spiritual progress and success in the battle of meditation are not possible. By regulating the breath, the mind becomes disciplined and concentrated.
Kriya Yoga meditation allows the mind to become introverted within a short period of time. It is the path of self-discipline and self-development. In the state of complete calm, it is easy to perceive the voice of God, which helps us grow in every aspect of life. All the inner enemies are eventually controlled, even destroyed. These enemies are not outside. Our weakness is our principle enemy; it can bring our downfall.You are your friend, you are your enemy.
Through constant vigilance and devotion, with love and faith in God, a seeker should focus within, and reject the source of his weakness.Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight.
Life is a series of actions and reactions. Every action has the tremendous potential to bring multiple results, both pleasant and unpleasant. The Lord directs us to lead amoral, disciplined, loving, and God-conscious life, free from evil tendencies and slavery to the senses. A person who has achieved self-mastery can perform positive actions and offer the fruits to God in a loving manner. In this way, life is completely transformed.