Hindu Code of Conduct

  •    Hinduism

     

     

    The Krishna consciousness movement is part of an important and distinctive tradition of devotional faith, the Gaudia Vaisnava tradition, which began in the sixteenth century with the great saint Sri Caitanya, but which participates in a much older movement of devotion dating back to at least the second century B.C.

     

    This devotional faith is called bhakti, which means devotion to God or the love of God. The word bhakti comes from a Sanskrit root which means “to love, to be devoted, to share.” Bhakti expresses the relationship between human beings and the Lord. It is a relationship of shared being and of mutual love.

     

    The bhakti tradition found a full expression in the ancient Bhagavad-gita, "The Song of the Lord." The Lord is Krishna, the Supreme Lord, who manifested Himself as the charioteer of the warrior Arjuna in the ancient era of the Mahabharata war. The Bhagavad-gita is the dialogue of Krishna and Arjuna at the edge of the Battlefield of Dharma (Right; Duty; Sacred Order) just as the battle is about to begin. It is an existential dialogue on some of the most deeply significant human questions, raised in this dramatic limit-situation: What is human life? What is transcendence? How can one be actively engaged in the world without being ensnared by it?

     

    Krishna gradually reveals Himself to Arjuna as teacher, as friend, and finally as Lord. The Gétä has been heard and told and cherished by generations of Hindus, who have seen Krishna as the Supreme Godhead: one who is utterly and awesomely transcendent and who is, at the same time, personal, loving, and intimately related to human beings.

     

    Like the New Testament, the Bhagavad-gita is a gently revolutionary treatise. It picks up and redefines many of the major terms of the ancient Vedic ritual tradition, making religious life accessible and meaningful not only to the elite few—the brahmana priests, the gurus, yogis, and monks—but also to the common people in the context of their ordinary lives of relationships and duties.

     

    What is sacrifice? It is not the complicated and expensive ritual fire sacrifice described at length in the ancient scriptures and performed infrequently by dozens of priests. Rather, all of one's ordinary actions, done in an attitude of surrender to God, can be called "sacrifice:'

     

    What is renunciation? It is not leaving the world behind to become a wandering monk or a hermit. Rather, it is active participation in the affairs of the world, renouncing only what is hardest to renounce: egotistical attachment to the fruits of one's labors.

     

    What is worship? It is not elaborate ritual which only a few can afford, but simple offerings to God, made with a pure heart. As Krishna explains to Arjuna: “Whoever offers to Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion [bhakti], that person's offering of love made with a pure heart do I accept.” (Bg. 9.26)

     

    What is yoga? It is discipline. That to which one "yokes" oneself is one's yoga. It is not only the spiritual discipline of those adepts who seek liberating wisdom (jnana-yoga). It is also the discipline of action without attachment to the personal rewards of action (karma-yoga). And it is also the discipline of devotion to the Lord in all one's activities (bhakti-yoga).

     

    Who is the yogé? Who is the priest? Not just the privileged few may follow the path of yoga or make acceptable offerings in the temple. Everyone, men and women, high caste and low, may be a yogé of devotion or may offer the simple fruits of action to the Lord.

     

    Among the many religious ideas which the Gita shapes for the later tradition, bhakti is one of the most significant: the love of God which gives life and meaning to all one does—ritual, spiritual discipline, the search for truth, and ethical action.

     

    The tradition of devotional piety that began in India with the Gita is long, varied, and rich. The life of the incarnate' Lord Krishna is told in some of the great scriptures, particularly the Bhagavata Purana. He was born of a royal family—and rescued at birth from His uncle, the wicked king Kaàsa, who wanted to kill the baby Krishna.

     

    He grew up in the care of foster parents in the village of Vrindavana in rural north India. In. His life among these simple villagers, Krishna's devotees have discovered meaningful paradigms for the human-divine relationship. Krishna was the child who grew up in their midst, and people loved the child Krishna with the spontaneous love of parents who delight in the playful exuberance of their children. Krishna was the heroic youth who conquered many a demon and protected the people of the land of Vraja. His companions loved Him—with the trusting, admiring love of friend for friend. To the young women of Vrindavana Krishna was the enchanting lover. Here one sees one of the most dramatic paradigms of human-divine love: the risking, serving, fervent, and sometimes anguished love of lover for beloved. Krishna and Radha are the divine pair, lover and beloved.

     

    One of the most vigorous and vibrant periods of devotional piety on the Indian subcontinent began about five hundred years ago, when a new wave of this ancient bhakti tradition broke across north India as virtually a Protestant Reformation of the Hindu tradition. The love of Krishna was an important part of this movement, which produced a burst of devotional poetry, not in the Sanskrit of the elite, but in the vernacular languages of the people. In their songs and hymns these poets repeated many of the themes of the Gétä: the supremacy of devotional faith rather than ritual; the affirmation of human equality rather than hierarchy; the importance of simple acts of praise—making offerings of flowers or singing the name of the Lord.There were many poets, saints, and theologians who contributed to this era of exuberant devotion. Among them was the Bengali spiritual leader Sri Caitanya, who may be called the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. He was born in Bengal in 1486 and at a young age became an adept Sanskrit scholar. In 1508 on a pilgrimage to Gaya, he encountered a teacher of the devotional Vaishnava school named Isvara Puri. From this time on, he gave himself fully to the devotional worship of Krishna, popularizing and developing a form of worship called kirtana, the chanting and singing of the holy names of the Lord to the accompaniment of small brass hand cymbals and long cylindrical drums.

     

    Sri Caitanya traveled throughout India and attracted many followers. He made one pilgrimage to the heart of the Vaishnava South, and according to his biographers he left the entire South chanting the name of Krishna. More important to the Caitanya movement, however, were his travels in the North, where he is said to have converted great nondualist philosophers as well as some of the world-renouncing sannyasis of Banaras to the love of Krishna.

     

    Caitanya's devotion to Krishna was both intense and magnetic. According to his immediate followers, Caitanya revealed himself as Krishna and Krishna's beloved Radha manifest together in one body.

     

    Sri Caitanya himself left only eight written verses. After he passed away, however, he was followed by a group of six inspired disciples and scholars called Gosvämés who settled in Krishna's ancient homeland of Vrindavana and contributed a tremendously rich body of literature to the emerging Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Among them, Sanatana Gosvami wrote the famous Hari-bhakti-vilasa, a manual of ritual still utilized by the Hare Krishna movement. His brother Rupa Gosvami wrote one of the principal theological works of the movement, the Bhakti-rasamata-sindhu, translated into English by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as The Nectar of Devotion. Rupa Gosvam, the author of Sat-sandarbha; was the chief philosopher of the movement. A somewhat younger contemporary was Krishnadasa Kaviraja, who, at the request of the Gosvamis, wrote the biography of Sri Caitanya, the Caitanya-caritamita, in Bengali.

     

    From this first generation of disciples both in Vrindavana and in Bengal, the great teachers of this devotional tradition emerged, one after another, passing their insight from one generation to the next. They have followed in succession to the present day, and Vrindavana continues to be the spiritual heart of this bhakti tradition.

     

    In 1933 one of the leaders of the Gaudiya Vaishnava movement, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, initiated a new disciple: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, whose special task was to bring the message of Krishna-bhakti to the English-speaking world. In 1944, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami began to publish in Calcutta an English semimonthly magazine called Back to Godhead, which is published in the United States today under the same name. During the fifties he retired to Vrindavana, where he lived a very simple life in the temple of Radha-Damodara and began to translate into English the voluminous Bhagavata Purana. In 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami came to the United States, arriving by freighter, with little money and no contacts. In time, with difficulty, he established the first Krishna temple in the United States, a Second Avenue storefront on the Lower East Side in New York. Before long, one could hear the name of Krishna in Tompkins Square Park or on Fifth Avenue. Within a decade the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—the American strand of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition—spread to most major American cities. It became known by the very words with which the saint Caitanya praised the Lord some five hundred years ago: "Hare Krishna!" "Praise Krishna!"

     

    Among the recent projects of those who have devoted themselves to Krishna is the establishment of a farming community in the hills of West Virginia named after the homeland of Krishna—New Vrindavana. Meanwhile, in the original Vrindavana, the worship of Krishna flourishes, and the new Krishna-Balarama temple, built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has become one of the favorites of Hindu pilgrims to the holy land of Krishna.

     

    In the summer of 1978 while I was doing my own research in north India, I was approached by a number of Hindus who assumed, because I wore a sari and spoke Hindi, that I was a Hare Krishna devotee. Without exception they praised the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in India, both in Vrindavana and in the birthplace of Caitanya at Mayapur in Bengal. I remember especially one old woman who came up to me in a temple in Banaras, and touched my feet in a gesture of respect, and said to me in Hindi, “The temple you have built to Lord Krishna in Vrindavana is splendid, so splendid, and I want to thank you.”

     

    Surely the greatest affirmation of the authenticity and significance of the Hare Krishna movement has come from Hindus themselves. ISKCON temples have become a gathering place for many of the Indians who live here as professional people or as students. There on Commonwealth Avenue, together with American devotees, they worship Krishna and celebrate the great festivals of the Hindu year. And in Vrindavana, Hindus crowd into the new Krishna-Balarama temple and sing "Hare Krishna" with those young Americans who have become new participants in their ancient tradition.

    by Dr. Diana L. Eck

     

    Dr. Diana L. Eck is Assistant Professor of Hindu Religion in the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies and the Comparative Study of Religion at Harvard University. 

     

    The worship of Vishnu, meaning "pervader," dates back to Vedic times. The Pancharatra and Bhagavata sects were popular prior to 300 bce. Today's five Vaishnava schools emerged in the middle ages, founded by Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya. Vaishnavism stresses prapatti, single-pointed surrender to Vishnu, or His ten or more incarnations, called avataras. Japa is a key devotional sadhana, as is ecstatic chanting and dancing, called kirtana. Temple worship and festivals are elaborately observed. Philosophically, Vaishnavism ranges from Madhva's pure dualism to Ramanuja's qualified nondualism to Vallabha's nearly monistic vision. God and soul are everlastingly distinct. The soul's destiny, through God's grace, is to eternally worship and enjoy Him. While generally nonascetic, advocating bhakti as the highest path, Vaishnavism has a strong monastic community. Central scriptures are the Vedas, Vaishnava Agamas, Itihasas and Puranas. The Bhagavad Gita states, "On those who meditate on Me and worship with undivided heart, I confer attainment of what they have not, and preserve what they have." Aum Namo Narayanaya.

     

    asanas: postures used to stimulate flow of life-force through the body and to aid meditation.

     

    atman: The human soul or spirit -- the essence of the inner being.

     

    ahimsa: The doctrine of non-violence toward sentient beings.

     

    akasha: The ether; primordial substance that pervades the entire universe; the substratum of both mind and matter. All thoughts, feelings, or actions are recorded within it.

    Brahman: Hindu god who represents the highest principle in the universe; the essence that permeates all existence. Brahman is the same as atman in the philosophy of the Upanishads.

     

    dharma: One's personal path in life, the fulfillment of which leads to a higher state of consciousness.

     

    dhyana: The focusing of attention on a particular spiritual idea in continuous meditation.

     

    guna: A cosmic force or quality. Hindu cosmology maintains that the universe is composed of three such qualities: satvic, meaning pure or truthful; rajasic, meaning rich or royal; and tomasic meaning rancid or decaying.

     

    Ishwara: Personal manifestation of the supreme; the cosmic self; cosmic consciousness.

     

    karma: The principle by which all of our actions will effect our future circumstances, either in the present or in future lifetimes.

     

    mantras: Syllables, inaudible or vocalized, that are repeated during meditation.

     

    maya: The illusions the physical world generates to ensnare our consciousness.

     

    moksha: The attainment of liberation from the worldly life.

     

    mandala: Images used to meditate upon.

     

    nirvana: The transcendental state that is beyond the possibility of full comprehension or expression by the ordinary being enmeshed in the concept of selfhood.

    ojas: Energy developed by certain yogic practices that stimulates endocrine activity within the body.

     

    prana: Life energy that permeates the atmosphere, enters the human being through the breath, and can be directed by thought.

     

    pranayama: Yogic exercises for the regulation of the breath flow.

     

    samadhi: State of enlightenment of superconsciousness. The union of the individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness.

     

    sadhanas: Spiritual disciplines. Practical means for the attainment of a spiritual goal.

     

    samsara: The phenomena of the senses. Attachment to samsara leads to further rebirth.

     

    siddhis: Powers of the soul and spirit that are the fruits of yogic disciplines.

     

    soma: A plant, probably with psychedelic properties, that was prepared and used in ritual fashion to enable men to communicate with the gods.

     

    tantras: Books dealing with the worship of the female deities and specifying certain practices to attain liberation through sensuality, particularly through the heightened union of male and female energies.

     

    yoga: This is the Sanskrit word meaning union and refers to various practices designed to attain a state of perfect union between the self and the infinite. 

     

    Patanjali’s Eightfold Path of Yoga:

    1. Yama (moral conduct): noninjury to others, truthfulness, nonstealing, continence, and noncovetousness
    2. Niyama (religious observances): purity of body and mind, contentment in all circumstances, self-discipline, self-study (contemplation), and devotion to God and guru
    3. Asana: right posture
    4. Pranayama: control of prana, the subtle life currents in the body
    5. Pratyahara: interiorization through withdrawal of the senses from external objects
    6. Dharana: focused concentration; holding the mind to one thought or object
    7. Dhyana: meditation, absorption in the vast perception of God in one of His infinite aspects — Bliss, Peace, Cosmic Light, Cosmic Sound, Love, Wisdom, etc. — all-pervading throughout the whole universe
    8. Samadhi: superconscious experience of the oneness of the individualized soul with Cosmic Sp

     

    We were talking, about the space between us all

    And the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion

    Never glimpse of truth, then it's far too late, when they pass away

     

    We were talking, about the love we could all share, when we find it

    To try our best to hold it there, with our love

    With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew

     

    Try to realize it's all within yourself no-one else can make you change

    And to see you're really only very small,

    And life flows on within and without you

     

    We were talking, about the love that's gone so cold and the people,

    Who gain the world and lose their soul

    Then you may find, peace of mind, is waiting there

    And the time will come when you see we're all one,

    And life flows on within and without you.

    Within You and Without You,  George Harrison

     

     

    Three Kinds Of Karma

    Karma is threefold: sanchita, prarabdha and kriyamana. Sanchita karma means "accumulated actions." It is the sum of all karmas of this life and our past lives. Prarabdha karma means "actions begun; set in motion." It is that portion of sanchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of our bodies, personal tendencies and associations. Kriyamana karma means "actions being made." It is the karma we create and add to sanchita in this life by our thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. While some kriyamana karmas bear fruit in the current life, others are stored for future births. Each of these three types can be divided into two categories: arabdha ("begun, undertaken;" karma that is "sprouting"), and anarabdha ("not commenced; dormant"), or "seed karma." 

     

    In a famed analogy, karma is compared to rice in its various stages. Sanchita karma, the residue of one's total accumulated actions, is likened to rice that has been harvested and stored in a granary. From the stored rice, a small portion has been removed, husked and readied for cooking and eating. This is prarabdha karma, past actions that are shaping the events of the present. Meanwhile, new rice, mainly from the most recent harvest of prarabdha karma, is being planted that will yield a future crop and be added to the store of rice. This is kriyamana karma, the consequences of current actions. 

     

    Prarabdha karma determines the time of birth, which dictates one's astrology, which in turn delineates the individual life pattern by influencing the release of these karmas. Three factors are fundamental: the nature of one's birth, the length of life and the nature of experiential patterns. Dormant sanchita karma, while not directly being acted upon, is a weighty and compelling force of potential energy, be it benign or gross, good or bad, slothful or inspirational. It is this dormant karma that explains why two people born at the same moment, and who thus have the same astrology, differ in their talents and tendencies. It is this held-back force of sanchita karma that the yogi seeks to burn out with his kundalini flame, to disempower it within the karmic reservoir of anandamaya kosha, the soul body. 

     

    Astrologers who understand karma well emphasize that one can influence his or her dormant sanchita karma. Further, one does have power over karmas being made, kriyamana. But karmas set in motion, prarabdha, are binding. They form the gridwork of life and must be lived through. Facing them positively is the key to their resolution. Fighting them through resentment and the release of other negative emotions only creates more unseemly sanchita karma for the future. The law is: we must accept and bear our karma cheerfully. 

     

     

     

    Terms for Holy Ones

    Many terms name Hindu masters, teachers and aspirants including: jivanmukta, rishi, muni, siddha, mahatma, guru, swami, sannyasin, tapasvin, yogi, sadhu, sadhaka, pandita, acharya, shastri, pujari, shishya and brahmachari. Aum.

     

    A jivanmukta is a liberated soul. Rishi refers to a venerated sage or seer. A muni is an ecstatic mystic, especially one living in seclusion or vowed to silence. Siddha refers to a perfected being or one who has attained magical powers. Mahatma denotes a great soul or renowned guru. The term guru usually describes a spiritual master, but can connote a teacher of any subject. A sannyasin, or swami, is a formally ordained renunciate monk. A tapasvin is an ascetic seeking purification through rigorous disciplines. The yogi is dedicated to intense meditation for inner attainment. Sadhu is a general term for a holy man or wandering mendicant. A sadhaka is a serious seeker of the Self, and is often a monk. The acharya, like the pandita, is a respected teacher and advisor. Shastri refers to an expert in scripture. A pujari is a temple priest. A shishya is a formal disciple. A brahmachari is a celibate student, often under simple vows. Some titles have feminine equivalents, such as sadhvi, yogini and brahmacharini. The Vedas explain, "The brahmachari moves, strengthening both the worlds. In him the devas meet in concord; he upholds earth and heaven." 

     

    Our soul is God Siva's emanational creation, the source of all our higher functions, including knowledge, will and love. Our soul is neither male nor female. It is that which never dies, even when its four outer sheaths-- physical, pranic, instinctive and mental--change form and perish as they naturally do. The physical body is the annamaya kosha. The pranic sheath of vitality is the pranamaya kosha. The instinctive-intellectual sheath is the manomaya kosha. The mental, or cognitive, sheath is the vijnanamaya kosha. The inmost soul body is the blissful, ever-giving-wisdom anandamaya kosha. Parashakti is the soul's superconscious mind--God Siva's mind. Parasiva is the soul's inmost core. We are not the physical body, mind or emotions. We are the immortal soul, atman. The sum of our true existence is anandamaya kosha and its essence, Parashakti and Parasiva. The Vedas expostulate, "The soul is born and unfolds in a body, with dreams and desires and the food of life. And then it is reborn in new bodies, in accordance with its former works. The quality of the soul determines its future body; earthly or airy, heavy or light." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

     

    Just as children are kept from knowing all about adult life until they have matured into understanding, so too is the soul's knowledge limited. We learn what we need to know, and we understand what we have experienced. Only this narrowing of our awareness, coupled with a sense of individualized ego, allows us to look upon the world and our part in it from a practical, human point of view. Pasha is the soul's triple bondage: maya, karma and anava. Without the world of maya, the soul could not evolve through experience. Karma is the law of cause and effect, action and reaction governing maya. Anava is the individuating veil of duality, source of ignorance and finitude. Maya is the classroom, karma the teacher, and anava the student's ignorance. The three bonds, or malas, are given by Lord Siva to help and protect us as we unfold. Yet, God Siva's all-knowingness may be experienced for brief periods by the meditator who turns within to his own essence. The Tirumantiram explains, "When the soul attains Self-knowledge, then it becomes one with Siva. The malas perish, birth's cycle ends and the lustrous light of wisdom dawns." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    Moksha comes when earthly karma has been resolved, dharma well performed and God fully realized. Each soul must have performed well through many lives the varna dharmas, or four castes, and lived through life's varied experiences, in order to not be pulled back to physical birth by a deed left undone. All souls are destined to achieve moksha, but not necessarily in this life. Hindus know this and do not delude themselves that this life is the last. While seeking and attaining profound realizations, they know there is much to be done in fulfilling life's other goals (purusharthas): dharma, righteousness; artha, wealth; and kama, pleasure. Old souls renounce worldly ambitions and take up sannyasa in quest of Parasiva, even at a young age. Toward life's end, all Hindus strive for Self Realization, the gateway to liberation. After moksha, subtle karmas are made in inner realms and swiftly resolved, like writing on water. At the end of each soul's evolution comes vishvagrasa, total absorption in Siva. The Vedas say, "If here one is able to realize Him before the death of the body, he will be liberated from the bondage of the world." 

     

    Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will, creating his own destiny. The Vedas tell us, if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. It is the interplay between our experience and how we respond to it that makes karma devastating or helpfully invigorating. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate reaction. Not all karmas rebound immediately. Some accumulate and return unexpectedly in this or other births. The several kinds of karma are: personal, family, community, national, global and universal. Ancient rishis perceived personal karma's three-fold edict. The first is sanchita, the sum total of past karmas yet to be resolved. The second is prarabdha, that portion of sanchita to be experienced in this life. Kriyamana, the third type, is karma we are currently creating. The Vedas propound, "Here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will. As is his will, so is his deed. Whatever deed he does, that he will reap." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    Through the ages, reincarnation has been the great consoling element within Hinduism, eliminating the fear of death, explaining why one person is born a genius and another an idiot. We are not the body in which we live but the immortal soul which inhabits many bodies in its evolutionary journey through samsara. After death, we continue to exist in unseen worlds, enjoying or suffering the harvest of earthly deeds until it comes time for yet another physical birth. Because certain karmas can be resolved only in the physical world, we must enter another physical body to continue our evolution. After soaring into the causal plane, we enter a new womb. Subsequently the old manomaya kosha is slowly sloughed off and a new one created. The actions set in motion in previous lives form the tendencies and conditions of the next. Reincarnation ceases when karma is resolved, God is realized and moksha attained. The Vedas say, "After death, the soul goes to the next world bearing in mind the subtle impressions of its deeds, and after reaping their harvest returns again to this world of action. Thus, he who has desires continues subject to rebirth." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    For Hindus, death is nobly referred to as mahaprasthana, "the great journey." When the lessons of this life have been learned and karmas reach a point of intensity, the soul leaves the physical body, which then returns its elements to the earth. The awareness, will, memory and intelligence which we think of as ourselves continue to exist in the soul body. Death is a most natural experience, not to be feared. It is a quick transition from the physical world to the astral plane, like walking through a door, leaving one room and entering another. Knowing this, we approach death as a sadhana, as a spiritual opportunity, bringing a level of detachment which is difficult to achieve in the tumult of life and an urgency to strive more than ever in our search for the Divine Self. To be near a realized soul at the time he or she gives up the body yields blessings surpassing those of a thousand and eight visits to holy persons at other times. The Vedas explain, "As a caterpillar coming to the end of a blade of grass draws itself together in taking the next step, so does the soul in the process of transition strike down this body and dispel its ignorance." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    As we study the mystical teachings of our religion, we begin to reprogram the subconscious mind and mold it like we mold clay. We become more conscious of our fears. We tell ourselves, "There is nothing to be afraid of. There is not one thing to be afraid of." We are able to talk to the subconscious mind in this way. It is called affirmation. "I am a fearless being. I am a fearless being," we keep saying to ourselves time and time and time again. In affirming this truth we begin reeducating or reprogramming the subconscious mind. Finally, we begin to remove the layers upon layers covering the soul. 

     

    In India there is a traditional analogy of a lamp whose light is concealed by a screen of colored pieces of cloth. It is said we can uncover the lamp, representing the light of the soul, by reprogramming the subconscious. First we take off the black piece of cloth. The dark green one is still there, so little light comes through as yet, and we are faced with the instinctive emotion--our great protective power of being jealous. Both fear and jealousy are protective mechanisms of the mind. We work with our jealous nature as we make other affirmations. "I have all that everyone else has. The same power that is within everyone is within me." In this way we begin reprogramming the subconscious and gain more and more confidence in ourselves. Jealousy is inferiority. We feel we lack that which someone else has, so we try to cut them down a little bit to our size. Jealousy makes people mean. Finally, we work our awareness through this dark green sheath of jealousy, and we remove that sheath from the lamp of the soul. A little more light now shines through, and we begin to feel good about ourself--"I'm not so bad after all. In fact, I'm pretty good." We become more confident and penetrate even deeper while working on the next instinctive quality, and the next and the next and the next. Finally, as we take off the last sheath, we find that we are That which we were all the time. We are inwardly free. We have removed awareness from the conscious mind and brought it through the subconscious state into pure superconsciousness. Now the physical body seems to us but a shell, a place in which we live in order to express ourselves on the surface of the Earth. The spiritual body seems to us to be our real body, and we wonder why we didn't realize that before. 

     

    Charya, kriya, yoga and jnana are the sequence of the soul's evolutionary process, much like the natural development of a butterfly from egg to caterpillar, from caterpillar to pupa, and then the final metamorphosis to butterfly. These are four padas, or stages, through which each human soul must pass in many births to attain its final goal. Before entering these spiritual stages, the soul is immersed in the lower nature, the anava marga, or self-centered path, bound in fear and lust, hurtful rage, jealousy, confusion, selfishness, consciencelessness and malice. Then it awakens into charya, unselfish religious service, or karma yoga. Once matured in charya, it enters kriya, devotion or bhakti yoga, and finally blossoms into kundalini yoga. Jnana is the state of enlightened wisdom reached toward the path's end as a result of Self Realization. The four padas are not alternative ways, but progressive, cumulative phases of a one path, San Marga. The Tirumantiram says, "Being the Life of life is splendrous jnana worship. Beholding the Light of life is great yoga worship. Giving life by invocation is external worship. Expressing adoration is charya." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    When we live in the conscious mind, we are aware of other people's ideas. We listen with our ears, we see with our eyes, we feel with our fingers. We are involved in our physical senses, functioning instinctively as far as the physical body goes. We are functioning intellectually as far as our education goes, and we are dealing and working vibrantly and vitally in the world of external form. We can live in the conscious mind and be aware of that area of consciousness life after life after life after life, because the conscious mind is ever changing, perpetuated by its own novelty. One thing or idea leads us to another, and then on to another and another and another. We listen to people talk, and we want to know what they will say next. 

     

    The conscious mind is very curious. We taste something and we want to taste something else. We see something and we want to see something else. We feel something and we want to feel something else, and we go on and on, completely dominated by our five senses. This domination by the senses makes up the totality of the conscious mind. These five senses are constantly active, as energy continually flows out into the external world through them. The conscious mind makes up what is called the external world, and the external world is the conscious mind. We are all participating in making our own conscious mind as we go along through life. 

     

    Though the conscious mind is only seeming, it is very real while we are in it, as it glorifies in adding to itself. This process is called the intellect. As concepts and partial concepts are added one after another, the average person develops his or her intellect, and if it is not balanced by inner knowing, it holds the person firmly in the external realms of consciousness. Many people are trained to think, having had their conscious mind programmed in such a way, that the superconscious mind is nothing but a farce, that it doesn't exist at all, that the only reality is the external world, and pleasing the external senses is what life is all about. They are coached to believe that anything of an inner life or an inner nature is just pure fantasy, imagination, which only weak-minded people believe in. Many people live this way, with their awareness bogged down in the conscious mind--believing reality to be outside their physical body. The object of spiritual unfoldment is to transcend the conscious mind into superconsciousness and beyond.

     

    Remember, the sum total of the conscious mind only knows what has preceded it, what has gone before it--the past, what it can remember. It will only accept that which seems to be reasonable. So when the process of going inward persists, the sheaths have to be removed, one after another. The senses have to be quieted, the subconscious mind reeducated. This is how the conscious mind and the subconscious mind work hand in hand. 

     

    The subconscious mind is like a great computer. It responds to the programming that has been set in motion through all the previous lives. Our reaction and habit patterns of this life form our tendencies of the next life, and the tendencies of our last life make our reactions and habit patterns of this life. Life after life after life, we have been programming the subconscious mind. It has been mainly programmed by awareness caught in the instinctive emotions of the senses of the conscious mind itself. 

     

    The conscious mind can become just as vast and wonderful, or as terrible, as we want to make it. It is not to be feared. It is not to be ignored, either. It is to be understood. The conscious mind is a state of mind just like all the others, for there is only one mind. Our individual awareness flows through the various phases of that one mind. 

     

    The conscious mind is primarily an odic force structure. Odic force is the emanation of actinic force through the physical body. Hidden tendencies, repressions, suppressions and reactionary habit patterns accumulate in the subconscious mind and give enough ballast of odic force for awareness to be neatly attached to everything of which it is aware. We are then in the conscious mind most of the time, and not inwardly oriented. 

     

    When people are caught in the conscious mind and believe it to be absolute, they believe in finite terms such as: "When you're dead, you're dead. So live your life and really get as much as you can out of it, because when you're dead, you're dead, and that's the end of it." They believe that the external world is absolutely real, and that anything of an inner life is simply imagination. They live a rather shallow life, perpetuated by their emotional habit patterns and reactions. They anger quickly. They are quick to become jealous. They are suspicious, and they become emotionally attached to other people, with whom they later argue or fight. They love to be entertained. They seek entertainment, trying to get more of everything that is possible to get. Their desire nature is never satisfied in their conscious-mind experience. Awareness has been enmeshed in these conscious-mind desire cycles for such a long period of time that to release it and dive deep within, we must first gain mastery of awareness through attention and concentration. 

     

    After awareness is wise to the conscious mind and the subconscious has been positively reprogrammed, attention and concentration bring us into subsuperconscious states. We begin to breathe regularly and diaphragmatically. We become aware of only one thing at a time in the physical world, allowing one thing to attract our attention, rather than continuing to ramify. This practice begins to weave awareness into subsuperconscious, perceptive states. 

     

    You have heard the statement "Being in the world, but not of it." This is done through detachment. It is an attitude. It is a perspective. It is how we hold ourselves within that really matters. Basically, that is the only difference in the beginning stages between one who is on the spiritual path and one who is not on the path--it is how awareness is held within, the perspective from which the conscious mind is viewed and responded to. 

     

    The conscious mind is created and ramified by man himself. It is carried on by its own novelty. It goes on and on and on, and awareness can go on and on and on and on in it. Only in those quiet moments of retrospection does someone who lives in the conscious mind relax, turn inward and understand a little philosophy. This pondering gives release, a new influx of energy. The object in being on the spiritual path is not to have just a little influx of energy, but to be the energy itself--consciously. The object is to have awareness basically attached to the primal life force, and to see that and experience that as the real thing, rather than be attached to a collection of possessions and memories in the material world. 

     

    Anyone who is strongly in the conscious mind has a feeling of possession and a feeling of fear. We're afraid of losing possessions. We own something. We love it! We break it! We cry! Our nerve system hurts when the odic force detaches. It was attached to that which we owned. Emotional involvement is a function of odic force. Holding awareness within the higher states of mind does not mean we cannot own anything. It means we will love it more when we do, but we will not be attached to it to the point that we become emotionally torn when it goes away. 

     

    Understanding of the forces comes as we unfold on the path. Someone who is not involved deeply in the conscious mind is not subject to as many instinctive emotions. He is more of a real person, more himself. Most people think of the conscious mind as the entirety of the mind. But actually it is only one-tenth of the mind's entirety and, therefore, should not frighten us in any way. Nor should we wish to retreat from the conscious mind. The only retreat is simply to detach awareness from that which it is aware of and allow it to go soaring within to that indefinable source from which all energies spring. Dive into the source and lose awareness within it and attain your ultimate goal. 

     

     

    What Is the Nature of the Subtle Plane?

    The subtle plane, or Antarloka, is the mental-emotional sphere that we function in through thought and feeling and reside in fully during sleep and after death. It is the astral world that exists within the physical plane. Aum.

     

    The astral plane is for the most part exactly duplicated in the physical plane, though it is of a more intense rate of vibration. Beings in the higher Antarloka are trained in technology, the arts and increments of culture to take up bodies in the Bhuloka, to improve and enhance conditions within it. It is in this more advanced realm that new inventions are invented, new species created, ideas unfolded, futures envisioned, environments balanced, scientists trained and artists taught finesse. We function constantly, though perhaps not consciously, in this subtle plane by our every thought and emotion. Here, during sleep and after death, we meet others who are sleeping or who have died. We attend inner-plane schools, there to advance our knowledge. The Antarloka spans the spectrum of consciousness from the hellish Naraka regions beginning at the patala chakra within the feet, to the heavenly realm of divine love in the vishuddha chakra within the throat. The Vedas recount, "Now, there are, of a truth, three worlds: the world of men, the world of the fathers, and the world of the Gods. The world of the Gods is verily the best of worlds." Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    When we are in the conscious mind, we are like a donkey with a carrot in front of our nose. We are always walking to try to get that carrot. We are never satisfied, and we are never happy. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. No matter how much money we have, we want more. No matter how many clothes we have, we need more. No matter how many television programs we watch, there is always a better one coming up. No matter how many sights we have seen, the next one may surpass them all. No matter how much food we eat, there is always the next big wonderful meal to enjoy. No matter how many emotions we experience, the next set of those emotional experiences will be the high point of our entire life, and we are sure of it. That is the conscious mind. 

     

    When we live in the conscious mind, we only surmise. We make guesses. We are never quite sure if we are right. Therefore, we are insecure, because the conscious mind only knows what has gone before it. It is certain only about the past. If it has been provided with a good memory, then it knows the past very well. But without a good memory, the conscious mind doesn't know the past well at all. So, when we are in the conscious mind, we have one predominant and solid quality that we really can be sure of, and that is fear. We are afraid! We're afraid of the future. And many of the things in the past petrify us, for we don't want them to happen to us again. We don't know quite how to avoid them, because with awareness caught in conscious-mind concerns, our superconscious faculties are temporarily cut off. The superconscious mind is seen as a figment of imagination, a product of superstition. 

     

    The conscious mind is the real enemy, the real barrier, the real distractor to someone on the path of enlightenment. It is intriguing. It is the temptress. It leads us on and on and on, life after life after life after life after life after life after life. It is a wonderful state of mind, however, as long as our superconscious faculties are also available for awareness to flow into once in a while to become refreshed and renewed by a change of perspective and influx of energy. Otherwise, the conscious mind is a difficult and onerous state of mind in which to live, day after day after day. The spiritual path leads us out of the morass of the darkness of the conscious mind into the mind of light, which we call superconsciousness.

     

     

     

    Reprogramming The Subconscious

     

    Superconsciousness functions through the conscious mind as well as the subconscious. Basically, we have no need for those two particular categories of mind unless we slip out of superconsciousness and start to rebuild a subconscious by spending too much time with awareness flowing through the conscious area of the mind, or the world of the senses, which is separate, in a way, from superconsciousness. In short, this is called worldliness. When we neglect our religious life and spend too much time only being aware in the environment of the external world, a subconscious begins to build, clouding the inner sky and separating us from the sun, God Siva. Is worldliness having two Mercedes, a large house, lots of money, and everything that you want in life? No, those are the tools that you must have to fulfill your dharma. Worldliness is the animal nature, the nature that gets angry, jealous, hateful. That's worldliness. So, when the subconscious mind becomes too full, then we are totally in the conscious mind and don't want to have any desire to look inside ourselves, because we are afraid of what we might see, and then we are worldly. 

     

    The subconscious mind is divided into two sections. One regulates the involuntary processes of the body and the other the involuntary processes of the emotions, the instinctive habit patterns, our action and reaction process and all the things we experience in everyday living. Most people on the path have experimented with proper nutrition, have closely watched their diet, and have seen that it has had an immediate effect upon the physical body. The body began to change, to look different and feel better to live in. It became more vibrant and slender as the food intake had its chemical reactions upon the cells. Generally, unless they had acquired a deep understanding of nutrition, or it became a part of their lifestyle, they drifted back to their old patterns of eating. They found that the body quickly changed into the way it used to behave, look and feel, because of the improper chemical balance from the food intake. This is what can happen in the part of the subconscious mind which handles the involuntary processes of the body. 

     

    The very same thing happens in the part of the subconscious mind that handles the processes of the emotional body. The aspirant on the spiritual path can work diligently with himself and put a fine program into his subconscious, but if he does not use that program and keep up the intensity by traveling on the path--if he sits down on the path where he is and stops striving, if he allows previous habit patterns, action and reaction processes, to remold his subconscious again from the instinctive areas of the mind--the subconscious will rebuild itself or reprogram itself, all by itself, into the same conditions it had before he started working with it. 

     

    Be alerted to this. Be careful with the subconscious mind. If you are on the path, keep moving along. Stay in a good environment. Keep up the intensity and associate with those who are on the path, those who are working with themselves, those who are inwardly striving, and by their example and the vibration of their being, they will inspire and help you work with yourself and inwardly strive. 

     

    When old habit patterns start to reprogram the subconscious mind almost without your knowing it, the vibration of those that are striving on the path around you will check those qualities from gaining too much power. We are influenced by our environment. We are influenced by the people around us. Therefore, be with the people that can influence you the best until you are reprogrammed powerfully enough to influence those around you. 

     

    In the philosophical-theological perspective of the mind which I call moolef, we see thoughts as traveling from one to another. This is what they seem to do, from one point of view. They not only travel from one person to another, but are seen to pass rapidly before our vision, ever demanding and commanding our awareness to travel with them. We are then faced with the tedious task of quieting the mind by endeavoring to control these thoughts. Through breath control and various forms of prior understandings, which are cumulative as we persist in the performance of our sadhana, the deep, mystical perspective which I call shumef soon situates individual awareness deep enough within ourselves, undisturbed by physical or emotional upheavals and intellectual tangents, that the world of thought may be viewed as stationary, and it is awareness that moves from thought to thought, scanning and registering what it sees. This, as I have mentioned before, is the perspective to be sought and attained through the performance of sadhana. 

     

    Remaining in one place in the inner depths of the mind, totally aware of being in that one place, as well as aware of that which is happening about you, is the state to be attained and maintained throughout your life. By being the watcher, ignorance is dispelled, emotion is quelled, and the foreboding stampede of excitement is subdued. By being the watcher, the overview of life is precise, and an equal balance between the inner and the outer is maintained. 

     

    During the course of this practice, you may feel totally apart from what you had come to believe were the realities of life. It must always be remembered that an initial dissatisfaction had occurred, compelling the search within to begin. It was this dissatisfaction that first consciously established the deep, inner state of being able to watch your mind think and experiences occur. But this state, once attained, is not easy to maintain. Practice is needed to give confidence and accept new habit patterns in the outer realms of daily expression. The practice is the constant pulling of awareness within and from there, that one central point, looking out upon the mind. Only in performing this act time and time again does success come and stay. 

     

    If you have never experienced watching your mind think, observing your emotions play, watching your body move while living within it, then you may find it difficult to conceive of this state of perpetual permanence within one central point deep within. 

     

    As we have to start somewhere, let's begin with the body. The eyes watch the hands at work, and while doing this, we can think about the hands. Also, one step deeper, it is possible to think about the eyes and inwardly observe the mechanism of sight. There is a "you" in there that is observing this mechanism of sight, the eyes, the eyes seeing the hands, the thoughts about the hands, eyes and sight. This "you" is the watcher, the witness--the state that the mystic is consciously conscious in. Becoming conscious in this state through this one simple practice is possible for short periods of time, and once you have understood the principle involved, success is assured. 

     

     

    The average man may have occasional subsuperconscious experiences and rare superconscious intuitive flashes. His awareness, however, is not attuned to know the intricacies of the working of his own mind. Therefore, he is not able to identify one from the other, making his sense of enjoyment less than that of the mature mystic. Because he is unaware of the higher states of mind, the average man may harbor his awareness deep in a subconscious state of suffering over the past for long periods of time, thereby completely ignoring his superconscious intuitive flashes when they come. As a result, his ability to bring awareness inward, out of the external, conscious and subconscious states of mind and into more blissful and refined areas, is lessened. Now sadhana is necessary for him to unfold his inner depth. Although he is unaware of these superconscious happenings within himself and unable to astutely pinpoint and dramatically distinguish them from his turbulent subconscious, his superconscious breakthroughs do have an effect upon the totality of his being. But when man lives externalized in the conscious and subconscious states, all the inner enjoyment and conscious abilities of exercising perceptive faculties are completely lost. The ritual of daily sadhana must be performed to quell the ordinary mind's tumultuous turbulence. 

     

    There are many mystics in the world today who have had no formal training and seem to unfold inwardly very rapidly simply by learning about the five states of mind, how to distinguish one from another, and how to move awareness within them consciously and systematically. They are participating in and enjoying some of the benefits of being able to experience step-by-step direct cognition of the five states of mind--conscious mind, subconscious mind, sub of the subconscious mind, subsuperconscious mind and superconscious mind. There is but one mind and, in its functioning, it works the same in everyone, as an autonomous, interrelated, self-perpetuating mechanism. Concentrate upon that mind. Find out what the mind is. Observe your thoughts, feelings and actions from within, and know that your mind is yours to use to the extent that you control the mind with the will. 

     

    Why must you study the mind? Because understanding alone is fifty percent of the control of the mind. This understanding is necessary to impress the subconscious deeply enough to secure awareness so that spiritual strength continues to come from within, from the superconscious through the subconscious. Before we can meditate, we have to know our way around within the mind. What part of you understands how the mind works? It is your superconscious. The subconscious can't understand how the mind works, because it's the repository. The subsubconscious can't understand. It's a collective repository. Your conscious mind can't understand either, for it is opinionated knowledge--looking at the world through the eyes of others. Only the superconscious and subsuperconscious can conceive how the mind works. 

     

    When a situation comes up, I observe how the conscious mind looks at it. Then I ask how my subconscious would see it. Pondering further, I inquire how my subsuperconscious relates to it; then, how my superconscious views it. Through this process I get a clear picture of what happened, how it happened and if I should take it seriously. You might react strongly to a happening, but when you look closely you see it wasn't much to be concerned about. It is just the subconscious reacting, so you forget it. The subconscious was the problem. It is your subsuperconscious, intuitive understanding that makes such judgments. 

     

    Remember, these are not five separate departments. They all interrelate. The conscious and subconscious work together. The subsubconscious seems to work independently of both the conscious and the subconscious, but it is not really independent. It is just another aspect of the subconscious. The superconscious is our vast, pure intelligence. The subsuperconscious is one aspect of the superconscious, functioning through subconscious patterns. 

     

    As we begin working with ourselves, we remold the patterns that set the course of our life. We remold our subconscious mind. We begin to identify with infinite intelligence, not with the body or the emotions or the intellect. As we prepare for the realization of the Self in this life, we set new energies into action within our body. We begin to flow our awareness out of the past and into the present, right into the now. This steadies emotion. Then we cease to have concepts that the physical body or the emotional body is "I." We begin to claim spiritual independence and are able to watch the mind think. By remolding old habit patterns in the subconscious mind, we cultivate a contemplative nature and become nonviolent in thought and action, having that innate understanding of the karmic cycles of the working of the various states of mind. We are able to love our fellow man. It is easy to keep promises and confidences, for we have a certain restraint. We can begin to direct desires and acquire a certain inner poise which we did not have before, and we continually find new understanding through meditation. 

     

    In order to meditate, it is not enough to memorize the five states of mind--conscious mind, subconscious mind, sub of the subconscious mind, subsuperconscious mind and superconscious mind. It is not enough to memorize the processes of unwinding awareness and reprogramming the subconscious through affirmation, attention, concentration and observation. We must study out and apply these teachings to ourself. We must master them. This is the way we become a different person than we are today. When we simply memorize, we are only putting another intellectual covering over the beauty of our soul. 

     

    Surround yourself with superconscious people, people who are on the path. Being in their presence will help you, and their being in your presence will help them. The group helps the individual as the individual helps the group. This is provided the group is of one mind, both inner and outer. Place yourself in a good environment, a physically clean house, clean clothing, clean body, and among people who are shining forth from within. Do not surround yourself with people who are bound in the conscious mind, engrossed in jealousy, hate, fear and the other instinctive-intellectual qualities that cause contention in and among them. This will disturb you and hinder your progress on the spiritual path. If you are going to sit for meditation, you must follow these inner laws. 

     

    Do not argue with anyone anymore. A mystic never argues. Argument pulls awareness into the conscious mind and programs the subconscious in a strange way. It becomes mixed up. Then it has to be unscrambled. Also, never try to convince anyone of anything. If you are talking to a mystic, he will understand what you are going to say as you speak it. Usually before you have spoken he will have grasped the point of it. He is that sharp. He is that keen. If you are talking to someone who lives deep in the intellect of the conscious mind, he will want to discuss endlessly. He will want to argue subtle points, and the issue will never be fully settled, especially if you disagree with him. 

     

    The mystic sits in meditation and asks himself, "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?" He has the sensitivity to take a little flower and study it and conquer the functions of distraction as he works to hold his awareness at attention, like a well-disciplined soldier of the within, with a will supreme in governing that attention. This caliber of mystic will in this way learn to concentrate inwardly, as his supreme will dominates his powers of awareness, bringing forth the body of the soul into the physical elements so its keen inner observation is unfolded.

     

    It really hardens a person to live in the conscious mind all the time, because he has to build an ego shell around himself for protection, and that makes him insensitive and rough. One of the biggest protective influences of the conscious mind is anger. Anger makes a person cunning in his thinking, and of course the predominant underlying quality of anger is fear. He is always afraid of something. It is generally something that may happen or is going to happen. He is always in conflict with someone. These are the motivating forces of the conscious mind: anger and fear. Most people live in the conscious mind unconsciously. 

     

    The conscious mind is the area of the mind where memory and time are Gods, and reason is the Supreme Ruler. "If it is not reasonable, it is not acceptable," declares the conscious mind, and "If we can't measure it, it does not exist." That is the conscious mind. It is active. It is alive. The conscious mind perpetuates itself, and we all help it to do that. It is carried on in ramification by its own novelty. We can always find in the conscious mind some distraction to please us, to intrigue us, to dominate our awareness of other states of consciousness. And we don't have to look very hard to find it. 

     

    The mystic's goal is to control awareness while he is in the conscious mind--to know where he is in consciousness. When he finds he is aware in the conscious mind, and the five senses have become his ruler, he then controls his awareness within the conscious mind itself. He does this in a number of ways. One way is through the control of breath. Breath is life, and life is breath. Breath is the controlling factor of awareness. Awareness rides on breath. Breath is also a controlling factor of our willpower. A seeker must develop a dynamic will to walk the path of enlightenment, so that he does not stumble or falter, but continues onward no matter how difficult the path seems to be for him. 

     

    The mystic loves the conscious mind, for he sees it like an adult sees the toys of children. An adult does not take children's toys too seriously, but the child does. Meditate on that comparison. Meditate also upon the conscious mind while you are aware in it. Write down on a piece of paper the various areas of daily experience over a period of three days to which you are most attached. Then meditate on those time periods until you are able to see the chemistry that makes the conscious mind appear to be what it is. When you live two-thirds within yourself, even physical things begin to look transparent to you.

     

    Spiritual unfoldment leads us along the path into the illumined knowing of where we are in consciousness at any point in time. There are many methods through which this may be accomplished. 

     

    Carefully choose one path and then stay with it with extreme loyalty. For this, a preceptor is needed, a spiritual guide, to answer questions, to raise questions for you to find answers to within your meditations. It is an arduous journey. The rewards come only near its end. 

     

    To live positively in the conscious mind each day, exercise at least a half hour. Keep the vital energies of the body high and healthy. Eat simply and follow a vegetarian diet, feeding the stomach rather than the mouth. Be considerate of others always and live inconspicuously, almost transparently, by not ruffling your surroundings, by keeping the home neat and clean, by passing through a room or place and leaving it in a nicer condition than before you arrived. Seek fresh air and learn to breathe deeply. Get out in the sun. Move the physical body, walk briskly, dance, keep the energies vibrant and buoyant. Be close to nature. Grow food. Develop an art or craft so the hands are active, creative. Of course, being neat and attractive in personal appearance keeps the thoughts of others toward you positive. This is the way to live in the conscious mind. Try to live life as though you are walking in the rain without getting wet, or carefully writing on water. No ripples, no disturbance, no reactionary residue that has to be faced at some future date. 

     

    When we live unconsciously in the conscious mind, we most often look at the physical body as who we are. We say, "I am hungry," "I am happy," "I am not feeling well," "I want to go to America" or "I have just come to Bangalore." Instead of "I am not feeling well," we mean our physical body is not feeling well. Instead of "I want to go to America," we mean we want to take our physical body to America. Our language is a conscious-mind language. The perspective of our language is constructed to make the conscious mind the real thing, the entire reality of the world. From little children we have been taught that the conscious mind is real and that anything other than this real, solid, conscious mind is to be doubted. 

     

    The mystic walks in the opposite direction. He goes against the crowd. He learns to swim upstream. It is a little more difficult for him, but oh so worth it. The seeker has to learn that the conscious mind is only a vast dream created by many, many people who are dreaming openly. They are dreaming, and every mystic knows it. They are forming the dream by what they say, by their emotions, by what they think and by that in which they involve themselves. The mystic knows there is no enduring reality to the vast dream made up by people themselves, by their desires, their relationships, their cravings and their insecurities. 

     

    What is your subconscious mind? Think about this for a minute. Realize that everything that has once passed through your conscious mind in the form of experience is resident right now within your subconscious. Not only that, but imbedded within the cellular structure of your body, in the DNA code--one of the most formidable discoveries of modern science--lie all the experiences of your genetic history. The life, the biological evolution of your forefathers, is all registered in the molecular strands of your subconscious, capable of being recalled into memory. 

     

    In our study together we will be concerned with much more than the negative areas of the subconscious. We will discover that the subconscious can be a great help in our daily life--once we learn to impress it properly, and consciously utilize the latent powers within it. Then it ceases to be a deterrent to well-being, and becomes a valuable tool, available at all times and under all circumstances as we progress through the experiences of life. 

     

    The subconscious mind, like the conscious mind, has a form of its own. It is given form, shape and momentum by the nature of your experiences in life and the way you react to them. Most people are not happy with the form of their subconscious mind. They are still reacting to early experiences, early environments. Some people go to great expense in trying to change the form of their subconscious, through therapy or travel, but because there is no absolution in either, in time they generally manage to recreate their subconscious in the same old form. Childhood experiences do have a profound influence on one's make-up in this life, but these influences are by no means binding. Any attitude, any personality conflict or block in the subconscious can be demagnetized and resolved. 

     

    How do we change the form of the subconscious? We purify it by resolving in understanding those experiences which have created it. How do we resolve those experiences through understanding? We bring them up into the light and face them without reaction. By resolving our reactive experiences in understanding, the subconscious becomes more and more transparent to our own view and, therefore, necessarily undergoes positive change. To be able to objectively observe one's own experiences without reaction is one of the powers acquired through the performance of sadhana.

     

    We are happy, serene and stable when we follow good conduct, when we listen to our conscience, the knowing voice of the soul. The superconscious mind, the mind of our soul, knows and inspires good conduct, out of which comes a refined, sustainable culture. Wrongdoing and vice lead us away from God, deep into the darkness of doubt, despair and self-condemnation. This brings the asuras around us. We are out of harmony with ourselves and our family and must seek companionship elsewhere, amongst those who are also crude, unmindful, greedy and lacking in self-control. In this bad company, burdensome new karma is created, as good conduct cannot be followed. This papa accumulates, blinding us to the religious life we once lived. Penance and throwing ourselves upon the mercy of God and the Gods are the only release for the unvirtuous, those who conduct themselves poorly. Fortunately, our Gods are compassionate and love their devotees. The ancient Vedas elucidate, "The mind is said to be twofold: the pure and also the impure; impure by union with desire--pure when from desire completely free!" Aum Namah Sivaya.

     

    From Violence To Nonviolence

    So many today are wondering how we might move from violence to nonviolence, how mankind might transform itself from approval of killing to opposition to it. There are millions of Hindus who are born into the Hindu religion because their parents and forefathers profess that faith, but who are not educated in the beliefs that will produce proper attitudes. Because they are Hindus, their desire to pursue the depth of their religion wells up often in later life. Through soul-searching, self-examination and psychological overhaul--not without a lot of mental pain attached--the old beliefs are replaced with new ones. A conversion has taken place within the subconscious mind. The computer program within the muladhara chakra, which contains the memories of the deepest past, has been updated. Through this process, the meat-eater becomes a vegetarian, a hurtful person becomes kindly, himsa becomes ahimsa. 

     

    The Hindu knows that at this time on this planet those of the lower nature, unevolved people, are society's antagonists. Being unevolved, they are of the lower nature, instinctive, self-assertive, confused, possessive and protective of their immediate environment. Others are their enemies. They are jealous, angry, fearful. Many take sport in killing for the sake of killing, thieving for the sake of theft, even if they do not need or use the spoils. This is the lower nature, and it is equally distributed among the peoples of the world, in every nation, society and neighborhood. Those of the higher nature--ten, fifteen or twenty percent of the population--live in protective environments. Their occupation is research, memory, education, which is reason; moving the world's goods here and there, which is will. Those of yet an even higher nature delve into the mysteries of the universe, and others work for universal peace and love on Earth, as groups and individuals. The Hindu knows that those of the lower nature will slowly, eventually, over an experiential period of time, come into the higher nature, and that those of the higher nature, who have worked so hard to get there, will avoid the lower nature and not allow themselves to be caught up in it again. Hindus believe in the progress of humanity, from an old age into a new age, from darkness into a consciousness of divine light. 

     

    Humans are essentially instinctive, intellectual and superconscious, or soul, persons. The instinctive nature is based on good and bad, mine and yours, up and down, pairs of opposites. The soul nature is based on oneness, humility, peace, compassion, love, helpfulness. The intellectual nature is based on trying to figure out both of these two. It juggles knowledge from the lower nature to the higher nature and from the higher nature to the lower nature. It works out formulas, finds solutions and processes knowledge. The key is yoga, yoking the energies of the soul with the energies of the physical body (the instinctive nature) and yoking the energies of the soul with the energies of the mind (the intellectual nature). Then, simply, one becomes consciously conscious in the soul. This is an experience to be experienced, and for the Hindu it is personal experience of God, which is essential for liberation. The Hindu strives to be consciously conscious of his soul. When those soulful qualities are unfolded, he is filled with a divine love and would not hurt a flea if he could help it. The Yajur Veda exclaims, "May all beings regard me with friendly eyes! May I look upon all creatures with friendly eyes! With a friend's eye may we regard each other!" (36.18. ve, p. 342)

     

     

    The Meaning Of Renunciation

     

    Having stepped out of his ego shell, the sannyasin is a free soul. Nothing binds him. Nothing claims him. Nothing involves him. Without exclusive territory, without limiting relationships, he is free to be himself totally. If he has problems within himself, he keeps them silently within and works them out there. If he speaks, it is only to say what is true, kind, helpful or necessary. He never argues, debates, complains. His words and his life always affirm, never negate. He finds points of agreement, forsaking contention and difference. No man is his enemy. No man is his friend. All men are his teachers. Some teach him what to do; others teach him what not to do. He has no one to rely upon except God, Gods, guru and the power within his own spine. He is strong, yet gentle. He is aloof, yet present. He is enlightened, yet ordinary. He teaches the basic philosophy of monistic theism, or nondual Reality. He speaks wisely of the Vedic scriptures and ancient shastras and lives them in his own example. Yet, he consciously remains inconspicuous, transparent. 

     

    He is a man on the path of enlightenment who has arrived at a certain subsuperconscious state and wishes to stay there. Therefore, he automatically has released various interactions with the world, physically and emotionally, and remains poised in a contemplative, monastic lifestyle. The basic thought behind the philosophy of being a sannyasin is to put oneself in a hot-house condition of self-imposed discipline, where unfoldment of the spirit can be catalyzed at a greater intensity than in family life, where the exterior concerns and overt responsibilities of the world predominate. 

     

    The sannyasin is the homeless one who remains detached from all forms of involvement--friends, family, personal ambition--finding security in his own being rather than attaching himself to outward manifestations of security, warmth and companionship. He is alone, but never lonely. He lives as though on the eve of his departure, often abiding no more than three nights in the same place. He may be a pilgrim, a wandering sadhu. He may be a monastic contemplative living in a cloistered monastery or semi-cloistered ashram. In preparation for sannyasa, the aspirant leaves behind family, former friends and old acquaintances and steps out into a new pattern of subsuperconscious living. He strives to be all spine-power, all light. When we see him trying, although he may not be too successful at it if he is going through some inner turmoil or challenge, we know he is striving, and that is an inspiration to us. His very existence is his mission in life. He has dedicated himself to live a life of total commitment to the path of yoga, and by doing so he sustains the spiritual vibration for the householders. It is the renunciate who keeps the Vedic religions alive on the Earth. He keeps the philosophy vibrant and lucid, presenting it dynamically to the householders. 

     

     

     

    The Ida and Pingala Currents

     

    In the esoterics of unfoldment on the path of enlightenment, there are some mechanics about what happens inside of the human body, its nerve system, that you should know about. There are two basic forces working within the body, as I have explained, the instinctive area of the mind and the intellectual area of the mind. Within these are two forces working that flow out from the central source of energy through their respective currents. They are called the ida and the pingala forces. 

     

    The ida current is pink in color. It is the vibration of the physical body. It is the Earth current. When the energy is flowing through that current, or nadi, we are more conscious of the physical body, or more in physical consciousness. We are not in the world of thought but in the world of feeling. We feel very strongly and experience very strong emotions when the energy is flowing through the ida current. 

     

    In some people the energy flows through the ida current constantly. They have very strong emotions and deep sentiments. They live in their emotion most of the time, emoting over one thing or another. They emotionally and deeply feel through this ida current how other people feel. They take other people's feeling onto themselves and have a preoccupation with their physical bodies. This is the current that can produce another human being in a woman, or develop athletic abilities in a man. 

     

    When the vibratory force of energy flows through the ida current, the entire physical body responds. It is physically active. We like to work. We like to move. We like to exercise. We like to do things. We enjoy equally the base emotions and the movements of the physical body. 

     

    When the energy flows through ida in some people, they actually enjoy suffering. There are people deep in this current who if they did not have something to suffer over would not feel whole. They would feel they were not living fully enough on this planet. They would not feel human, for the ida current is the current of being human. It is very base. It is very earthy. Still, those living in this current are intuitive. They do have intuition, but their intuition conflicts with their heavy emotion, so intuition comes through periodically, in intuitive flashes. They may even become superstitious because of this. The ida current flows most strongly through the left side of the physical body. 

     

    The pingala current is quite different. Blue in color, it is the current of the intellect, flowing mostly through the right side of the body. When the pure life energy is flowing through the pingala current, we are not as conscious that we have a physical body. We are aware in the mind. We are inquisitive. We like to talk a lot. We like to argue. We like to reason. We enjoy discussion. It is the intellectual current. We like to read. We like to memorize the opinions of other people. We like to memorize our own opinions and tell them to other people. We like to do business. When the energy is flowing through the pingala, we do not emote much. We think over our emotions. We analyze our feelings and thoughts. This is the aggressive human current. 

     

    People living in this current do not pay much attention to the physical body. They let it take care of itself. They also are inclined to let other people do the emoting. They become powerfully strong in that aggressive type of intellectual force. When we are in the pingala current, we are headstrong, somewhat pushy, pushing ideas across to other people, and inclined to be argumentative. We have a strong facility of reasoning. It is a very positive and powerful current. 

     

    The Spine's Central Energy

     

    Once in either current for a long time, it is difficult to flow awareness out of it. There are some people who are predominantly pingala, aggressive in nature and strong in their human elements in that area. There are some people who are predominantly ida, human, physical and earthy, and full of feeling. And there are some who switch from one to the other. These are the more rounded and well-adjusted type of people, who can move awareness through the pingala current and through the ida current and adjust the energies almost at will. 

     

    We have still another basic strong current that you should know about. It is called sushumna. Within this massive current are fourteen other smaller currents which govern the instinctive, intellectual, conscious, subconscious, sub of the subconscious, subsuperconscious and superconscious areas of the mind. The ida and the pingala are two of these fourteen, so this leaves twelve more within the sushumna. 

     

    When we begin a religious pilgrimage or retreat into sadhana and we want awareness to dive deep within, we have to withdraw the energy of the vibrating ida and the vibrating pingala current into sushumna. This is quite a chore, because these currents have had energy flowing in them for a number of years. So, to rechannel that energy is to rechannel the entire circumference of awareness into the sushumna current. This takes a lot of practice. 

     

    Breathing, of course, is a major function of control here. Hatha yoga is a major function, too. Sitting in the lotus position conquers a great deal of the ida current. The practices of concentration and observation conquer a great deal of the pingala current. Some good, solid study that disciplines awareness, such as the study of math, music or a skill, moves awareness into the pingala and helps balance these two currents. 

     

    Then the next step is to bring awareness into sushumna. This is the path. However, if awareness is flowing through the pingala current already and is extremely aggressive, that means the entire nature of the individual is extremely aggressive, intellectual, and it is extremely difficult for him to withdraw those energies into the sushumna current. Why? Because he will argue within himself mentally and reason himself out of it. He will simply go to another book, or have a different intellectual look at it, or go to another teacher, or watch television instead, or go to another lecture. He will never quite get around to bringing in this aggressive pingala energy from the intellect back to its source, sushumna, so that he can go within and experience superconscious realms of the inner mind consciously. 

     

    These two forces, the ida and the pingala, are the big challenges. They are what makes a person "human" in the popular sense of the word. It is the degree of energy that flows through the areas of the ida and pingala that forms one's nature, his actions, reactions and responses. The areas of his external personality are governed by these two currents. 

     

    Withdrawing Into Sushumna

     

    How do you bring about a balance? It is done by regular practice of the five steps. Choose a time to withdraw deliberately the energies from both the ida and pingala currents and to move awareness into sushumna in a very positive way. In the morning when you awaken and at night before you sleep are the best times. Breathe regularly, the same number of counts in and out. Sit in the lotus posture. When you sit in the lotus posture, you are actually short-circuiting the ida current to a certain extent. When you are breathing regularly, through the control of the breath, you are short-circuiting the pingala current to a certain extent. Then, when awareness flows into the core of energy within the spine, you soon become consciously conscious of the sushumna current. At that point, awareness is within and begins immediately to draw upon all the externalized energies of the body, and these two psychic currents are drawn within to their source. 

     

    When we chant the mantra Aum, and do it correctly, we pronounce the AA so that it vibrates the physical body. The OO has to vibrate through the throat area, and the MM, the head. In doing this, we are deliberately moving awareness out of the muladhara and svadhishthana chakras, deliberately harmonizing all the forces of the instinct and physical body, and of the ida and the pingala currents. Chanting the AA and the OO and the MM brings the sushumna into power. We are transmuting and changing the flows of all the energies through the physical and astral body and blending them as much as possible into the body of the soul. 

     

    The mantra Aum can be chanted at any time. It can be chanted silently and cause the same vibration through the body. When you chant Aum, the ida and the pingala blend back into the sushumna. 

     

    You will actually see this happening. You will see the pink ida current begin to blend back into the golden center of the spine. At other times it is seen winding through the body. The same happens with the pingala force. It, too, moves back into the spine, until you are all spine when you are centered in the sushumna. This is how it feels, like being all spine. This beautiful, pure energy flows out through the sushumna and the ida and the pingala and then on out through the body. This energy becomes changed as it flows through the first three or four chakras. It makes what is called prana. This energy runs in and through the body. It is a great mind energy which is in the world of thought. All the stratas of thought are prana. The human aura is prana. 

     

    Prana, or odic force, is transferred from one person to another through touch, as in a handshake, or through a look. It is the basic force of the universe, and the most predominate force found within the body. You have to really study prana to get a good understanding of what it is. It runs in and through the skin, through the bone structure, through the physical body and around the body. 

     

    Breath controls prana. This practice is called pranayama. It is the control of prana, the regulation of prana, or the withdrawal of prana from the external world back to its primal source. That is why pranayama is so important to practice systematically, regularly, day after day, so we get all the prana into a rhythm. In this way we get a rhythm of the pure life force flowing through ida, pingala and sushumna and out through the aura. We gain a rhythm of awareness soaring inward, into refined states of the ajna chakra and sahasrara chakra, the perspective areas from which we are looking out at life as if we were the center of the universe. This is how we feel when we are in these chakras. 

     

    The High "eee" Sound

     

    Within the quantum level of consciousness there originates a vibration, a steady vibration, that can be heard with the inner ear as a high-pitched "eeeee," as if a thousand vinas were playing, as if all the nerve currents in the astral body, physical body and the body of the soul were singing in harmony. It is a divine combination of the ida and pingala tones blended together in the sushumna. Each lineage of gurus has embedded within the psyche of tradition a certain combination of sounds, and that listening to this mystic sound holds all devotees close to their satguru and all those who preceded him. It is also said that when one is in another birth, the sound is the same, and this will eventually lead the aspirant back to his spiritual lineage. Listening to the nada, as it is called in Sanskrit, or nada-nadi shakti, brings the threshold of bliss and shows that the balance of all karmas has been attained. Listening to the nada and tracing it into its source carries the seeker's awareness to the brink of the Absolute. There are today mystical orders that do nothing but listen to the nada while looking at and enjoying the darshan of their guru's picture. 

     

    Many sincere seekers wonder why they cannot hear "eeeeee," the nada, during their meditation, whereas others not only hear it during meditation but during the day when talking, shopping or just meandering through the garden. This is to say, it is there when awareness enters that area of the mind. The mind has to be made empty. That means resolving all unresolved conflicts within the subconscious. The striving to hear the nada will bring up unresolved issues. They may plague the conscious mind until resolved. At first you might disregard them and feel they will go away as abruptly as they came. But later, when they persist, and the major one is deception--yes, we can even deceive ourselves--we are inwardly forced to face up to, admit our secrets and make amends. When deception goes, the nada comes. When the subconscious is heavy, the nada and the brilliant colors it radiates fade. Failure on the path puts the nada out of range of the inner ear of the soul. 

     

    The mystical nada, it's a medley of sounds, and each sound which is there has a color, but may be covered, as is the light of the mind of the soul, the clear white light. It is covered, but not permanently. Admittance of the mistakes, the experience of repentance and the performance of penance, called prayashchitta, lay the foundation for a reconciliation that will release the force of lower nature into the higher and uncloud the veil that hid the inner light, that hid the nada--that incomprehensible high-pitched "eee," sounding within the head, that incomparable source of inner security, contentment and outpouring of love. When you hear the nada, endeavor to project it in love's outpouring to all those who are in your orbit of communication. They will feel the blessings when your divine love is projected through your nada into their nada. This is the height of selfless consciousness, universal love, a constant mystically outpouring and experience of oneness. The sushumna is nada and more. Nada shakti is. It just is. 

     

    Kundalini, the Spiritual Force

     

    Hatha yoga (ha-pingala and tha-ida) balances the two forces, the ida and the pingala. The straight, erect spine releases the actinodic flow of the sushumna current. The mind centered in the contemplative atmosphere, cognizing timelessness, causelessness, spacelessness while sitting in the lotus position, awakens the pineal and pituitary centers, and the door of Brahman at the top of the head. 

     

    The force of the actinodic causal body, the sheath of cognition, vijnanamaya kosha, a pure actinic force running through the sushumna current, is called the kundalini. As this kundalini force becomes activated, the sushumna power begins to grow, or the actinodic causal body begins to grow, and the higher chakras of cognition and universal love begin to spin faster. Once kundalini power has been activated, its force expands or contracts consciousness. As man's consciousness expands into actinic spheres, more kundalini power is used. This power is lessened as his consciousness emerges into the limited fields of the odic world. 

     

    Often known as the serpent power, the kundalini is coiled at the base of the spine in the instinctive man who resides mostly in the force fields of memory and fear. When this power becomes uncoiled, the serpent, or kundalini, luminously raises its head, and finally, after nirvikalpa samadhi, it lifts its power to the top of the head. 

     

    When nirvikalpa samadhi has been practiced daily for many, many years--according to the classical yoga teachings, for twelve years--and the golden body has been built, the kundalini force coils itself in the sahasrara chakra of the yogi, at the top of the head. This is known as the manas chakra, located about where the hairline begins at the forehead. This chakra eventually becomes the muladhara chakra, or the memory-pattern chakra, of the golden body. The manas chakra is fully activated when the golden body is fully unfolded. This is known in Hindu and Egyptian mystic schools as the golden body of light, for it registers in the minds of those who look upon it, to their soul body, as a golden ball of light or a golden body.

     

    When the kundalini rises into the realms of pure actinicity, the pineal gland and pituitary center are activated. When these two centers are activated simultaneously, the forces of both of them merge, bringing man into nirvikalpa samadhi. Therefore, the aggressive odic force merges with the passive odic force, in perfect balance, and the actinodic power of the sushumna current comes into perfect balance, poised with the kundalini force. The yoga adept finds himself on the brink of the Absolute, cognizing That which he cannot explain, knowing there is something beyond which the mind does not know, conceiving That which cannot be conceived, because form, which is mind, cannot conceive formlessness. Then the yogi touches into the Self and becomes a knower of the Self, merges with Siva. 

     

    When the ida, pingala and sushumna forces merge and reside in perfect balance, the third eye awakens. When the pituitary, pineal glands and the sushumna source are in perfect balance, man is able to perceive consciously into other worlds of the mind. The golden body, as it begins to grow after the renunciate, or sannyasin, attains nirvikalpa samadhi, is built by man's service to his fellow man.

     

     

    The Intuitive Nature

     

    Observe the intellect as it is manifested in the world around you. You can see its limits. You can also see when it becomes a tool for the intuitive mind. When you discover great truths in the books you read, when creative ideas come to you, observe, with affectionate detachment, the people around you, the situations in life through which you pass. As you have learned, observations give birth to understanding, and understanding comes from your superconscious mind. Thus, the intellect must be developed to a certain extent and then controlled, through the control of thought. 

     

    Thought forms are manifestations of astral matter, or odic force, and travel through astral space, or odic force fields, from one destination to another. They can build, preserve and destroy. Thought forms can also protect, and they can create. Thought forms can also be seen, just as auras can be seen. 

     

    The intellect is the external ego, but it is only the external ego when it is in control and has cut itself off sufficiently from superconsciousness by becoming opinionated. When the intellect represents the ego, we say a person is unable to change his mind, no matter how much you try to convince or talk with him. He is stubborn, unyielding, even unfriendly if he becomes agitated or disturbed in his effort to hold the intellect together. 

     

    Should the intellectual nature become disturbed, the astral body then takes over and the instinctive mind or the instinctive qualities are prevalent at that time. This is quite apparent in undisciplined people, because the intellectual nature is undisciplined. When the astral body and the intellect work hand in hand, they create an instinctive-intellectual individual filled with opinionated knowledge, undisciplined instinctive drives, and emotions of hate and fear that have not been transmuted into the realms of reason and controlled through allowing a gridwork of positive memory patterns to build. 

     

    Within man, and functioning at a different rate of vibration than the intellect is found the power or the motivating force of the mind, the chakras, or force centers. There are seven of these basic force centers, which are stimulated into action and unfoldment by the ida, pingala and sushumna currents. The ida and pingala are odic psychic currents (the Chinese yin and yang) interwoven around the spinal cord. Directly through the spinal cord runs the sushumna current, which is actinodic. The ida current is passive odic force; the pingala current is aggressive odic force. The sushumna is an actinodic current. These currents govern the sixth aspect of man, the chakras. These currents are like the reins which will guide a horse as we ride in one direction or another. 

     

    The intuitive nature, man's seventh aspect, is composed of a greater amount of actinic energy than odic. It is formed by the sushumna current that runs between the ida and pingala currents up through the spinal cord. However, it is the state of mind that a yoga student must learn to identify as his own, so to speak. Until this time, he usually identifies with the intuitive mind of his guru. This identification serves as a constant reminder of the existence of his own intuitive nature. Many students seem to know when the guru is in a higher state of intuitive awareness, but they may fail to realize that the knowing or recognition of that state is their own higher state of intuitive awareness, occurring simultaneously with that of the guru. This is one of the great benefits awarded a yoga student working in the guru system: his opportunity to identify with the intuitive mind of the guru. 

     

    When the yoga student learns to control his own odic force field to the point where he no longer identifies with his physical body, his astral body or his intellect, he can then identify his external ego with his intuitive nature, or subsuperconscious mind. This new and humble identity is a sporadic sense in the initial stages on the yoga path, for only when the student is really actinic does he utilize the intuitive mind consciously, perceiving it through the faculties of cognizantability. One does not entertain thoughts when in this state of full awareness. In this consciousness, one views and perceives through the anahata chakra of direct cognition. The intuitive nature is the most refined aspect of the astral body. Although the intuitive aspect is made primarily of actinic force, there is enough odic force within it to enable man to enter into the realm of creation in the material world. This seventh aspect of man is a plateau, a leveling off of one cycle of evolution and the beginning, at the same time, of another. 

    Lesson 263 from Merging with Siva

    An Exercise in Energy Balance

     

    Control of the prana is also guided through nutrition. Food and air contain a great deal of prana. Prana is transferred from one person to another, from a person to a plant, from a plant to a person. It is the life of the world of form. We should eat types of food that contain a great deal of prana so that we are making prana ourselves. Consider the physical body as a temple, with plumbing and electricity. To maintain this temple, watch what you eat and be conscious of the areas where you flow awareness in the world of thought. The vibration of certain thoughts upsets the nerve system of this physical-body temple. Also, be careful of the people that you mix with, so that their awareness and vibrations do not pull your awareness into unwholesome areas and the vibrations of their aura do not affect your temple. This is extremely important to observe, especially during the first few years of unfoldment. 

     

    When we are in ideal surroundings, in the shrine room of our own home, we can balance the passive and active currents of the body--the ida and pingala forces. First, do this simple pranayama. Breathe easily, in and out, in an even rhythm, say, four heartbeats to the inhalation and four heartbeats to the exhalation. This steady rhythm will soon begin to balance the ida and pingala. 

     

    As the pingala force becomes quieted and regulated, you will hear a ringing about an inch above the right ear. This is the sound of the nerve current of the pingala nadi. And as the ida force becomes quieted and regulated, you will hear a ringing about an inch above the left ear. This is the nerve sound of the ida nadi, slightly different from the tone of the pingala nadi. The direction of energy flow in the pingala nadi is up, whereas the ida nadi flows downward. When the energy in the two nadis is balanced, a circle is formed, creating a force field in which the sushumna nadi is regulated. 

     

    Now, to bring the sushumna force into power, listen to both tones simultaneously. It may take you about five minutes to hear both tones at the same time. Next, follow both tonal vibrations from the ears into the center of the cranium, where they will meet and blend into a slightly different sound, as two notes, say, a "C" and an "E," blend into a chord. The energy of the nadis is then flowing in a circle, and you will enter the golden yellow light of the sushumna current. Play with this light and bask in its radiance, for in it is your bloom. The unfoldment progresses from a golden yellow to a clear white light. Should you see a blue light, know that you are in the pingala current. If you see a pink light, that is the color of the ida. Just disregard them and seek for the white light in the tone of the combined currents until finally you do not hear the tone anymore and you burst into the clear white light. Thus you enter savikalpa samadhi--samadhi with seed, or consciousness, which is the culmination of this particular practice of contemplation. 

     

    After doing this for a period of time, you will find that you lose interest in the exterior world. It will seem transparent and unreal to you. When this happens, you have to learn to bring your consciousness back through meditation, deliberately into the processes of inner knowing and thought, and back into the exterior world through concentration. It requires a deliberate concentration then to make the exterior world seem real again to you. 

     

    Now is the time for devotees who have worked diligently in concentration and meditation and in clearing up personal problems to enjoy their yoga and be happy in their attainments, to enjoy the bliss that is their heritage on Earth.

     

     

     

     

    What Is the Nature of the Causal Plane?

    The causal plane, or Sivaloka, pulsates at the core of being, deep within the subtle plane. It is the superconscious world where the Gods and highly evolved souls live and can be accessed through yoga and temple worship. Aum.

     

    The causal plane is the world of light and blessedness, the highest of heavenly regions, extolled in the scriptures of all faiths. It is the foundation of existence, the source of visions, the point of conception, the apex of creation. The causal plane is the abode of Lord Siva and His entourage of Mahadevas and other highly evolved souls who exist in their own self-effulgent form--radiant bodies of centillions of quantum light particles. Even for embodied souls, this refined realm is not distant, but exists within man. It is ever-present, ever-available as the clear white light that illumines the mind, accessed within the throat and cranial chakras--vishuddha, ajna and sahasrara--in the sublime practices of yoga and temple worship. It is in the causal plane that the mature soul, unshrouded of the physical body's strong instinctive pulls and astral body's harsh intellectual stranglehold, resides fully conscious in its self-effulgent form. The Sivaloka is the natural refuge of all souls. The Vedas intone, "Where men move at will, in the threefold sphere, in the third heaven of heavens, where are realms full of light, in that radiant world make me immortal." Aum Namah SivÔya.

     

    Soul Body, The Real You

     

    Within all seven aspects of man lies the body of the soul, the actinic causal body, anandamaya kosha, the real you. The soul body has a form just as the astral body has a form, but it is more refined and is of a more permanent nature. It is this body which reincarnates, creating around itself new physical and astral bodies, life after life after life. This process matures and develops the body of the soul. Hence we have old souls and young souls, depending on the maturity and unfoldment of the soul body, or depending upon the number of lives or the intensity of maturing experience which the individual has passed through. 

     

    The body of the soul is pure light, made of quantums. It is indestructable. It cannot be hurt or damaged in any way. It is a pure being, created by Lord Siva, maturing its way to Him in final merger. The body of the soul is constant radiance. Its mind is superconsciousness, containing all intelligence, and is constantly aware, does not sleep and is expanding awareness as the soul body matures. For the soul-realized person, awareness travels through the mind as a traveler travels from city to city, country to country, never caught in any one area for longer than necessary, always consciously conscious of awareness in consciousness at every moment. The body of the soul lives in the eternity of the moment, simultaneously conscious of past and future as a one cycle. The true nature, everlasting secure personal identity, is realizing oneself as the soul body. This is truly finding our roots, our source, our indestructable, ever-maturing soul. 

     

    In the years that follow complete illumination, or realization of the Self, in obtaining a stabilized nirvikalpa samadhi, a body of pure actinic golden energy, the svarnasharira, begins to form. I experienced this beginning to happen in me in 1955. At that time there was only enough odic force to hold the physical body together in material activity. This new actinic body is built through the consecutive practice of nirvikalpa samadhi on a daily basis, which forms one of the highest disciplines of siddha yoga. 

     

    However, it should be mentioned that the first great attainment to be striven for by the aspirant is the experiencing of inner light, which is taught to family people and renunciates alike, implying that he has enough inner dominion and control over the intellect that the radiance within the head or body is actually seen. This implies also a working control of the manipura chakra and a conscious awareness of the working of the anahata chakra of cognition, allowing a burst of actinic energy to the vishuddha chakra of love. 

     

    The next step for aspirants is what is known as "touching into the Self." When this occurs, the soul body is released, made completely autonomous, so that they can then be trained in its conscious use and control. It is in this body that they attend higher plane schools and communicate through vibration with others in the soul body. From then on, it is for them to train with the guru personally so that they learn to use and control the body of the soul. With this control and altered consciousness, they eventually come into a sustained realization of the Self, nirvikalpa samadhi, in this or a future life, for the next phase on the path to merger is to make ready and then sustain renunciate life in the truest sense by becoming a Natha sannyasin. 

     

    It must be said that many frustrate themselves by seeking realizations beyond their abilities, while not accomplishing the realizations that are within their abilities. We must remember that savikalpa samadhi relates to the anahata and vishuddha chakras, sustained by a purified intellect and a dynamic will. Whereas nirvikalpa samadhi is of the ajna and sahasrara chakras and those above and is sustained by complete renunciation of the world to the point where the world renounces the renunciate. These are the venerable sannyasins. 

     

    Control of the mind builds the intuitive nature. By directing the flow of thought, perceptively discriminating between actions, aware of attending reactions, the yoga student soon learns the use of his actinic power. In order to hold an expanded consciousness, this power must be brought into use, and when it flows through the intellect, it automatically changes the chemistry of the intellect while it begins to build the intuitive nature. 

     

    Reverse your thinking about yourself. Feel that you come out of timelessness, causelessness, spacelessness. Visualize the pure radiant body of light, the being of the soul, the "I Am," the "Watcher." Then around that is formed the intuitive mind, and around that is formed the intellect. Then the chakras come into view, governing the highest to the lowest states of mind, and the ida, pingala and sushumna currents. The instinctive nature is formed around this, then the human aura, through which thought forms are created, then the vital health body, and then the physical body. 

     

    Chakras And Nadis

     

    There are seven great force centers of psychic nerve ganglia, called chakras, within in the physical body, the astral body and the body of the soul. Each chakra is a spinning vortex of mind power, a vast collective area of many, many different thought strata of odic and actinic energy. When awareness flows through any one or more of these areas, certain functions happen, such as the function of memory, the function of reason and the function of willpower. As the chakras spin, releasing energies into the body, these energies permeate the physical cells with life and vitality and radiate out through the force fields that surround the body. The forces are cloud-like or fog-like in consistency and reflect these energies in much the same way as a cloud reflects the rays of the sun. You have watched clouds in the sky at sunset. They appear to change color from white to pink to orange and then to darker shades. Of course, the clouds do not change. The light waves change. The clouds faithfully reflect the color of the light. In a similar way, the human aura is a reflection of the wave length of energies generated in our mind by our emotions and from our body. The basic odic and actinic energy of the aura itself does not change. It is the energies emanating from the chakras that change. The aura simply mirrors those energies as color vibration. 

     

    Within the aura are psychic nerve currents called nadis. It is through these nadis that you feel someone standing next to you without turning your head to look at him. Also, by standing next to a person, two or three feet away, you can feel how he is feeling. Feelings are transferable, for feelings are vibrations which can be felt through the subtle nerve system. You feel them with these astral nadis that extend out from the body into and through the aura. Oftentimes you may identify with the feelings that you pick up from others and begin to feel that way yourself, while actually you are just picking up the vibration from someone near you. As we have learned, through the clairvoyant vision these feelings can be seen as colors in the astral atmosphere surrounding your acquaintance. As feelings are transferable, the colors within our aura are transferable, too. We now know that our aura, and the thoughts and feelings which give rise to it, affects and influences those around us. In a sense, we "rub off on one another." A positive example is the way in which the pure and healthy aura of the faithful and devoted Hindu wife enhances the aura of her husband. His mental state is generally more positive as a result, and his business prospers.

     

     

     

    The Remarkable Human Aura

     

    The human aura extends out around the body from three to four feet, even from five to six feet in the case of more evolved souls. It is made up of a variety of vibratory rates or colors. Each area of the mind that awareness flows through reflects a change in these vibratory rates of colors in the human aura. When you have developed a certain psychic sight, by seeing through the eyes of the soul, you will be able to look at a person, see the aura around him and know immediately the area of the instinctive, intellectual or superconscious mind he is aware in at that particular time. 

     

    For instance, if someone's awareness was flowing through the realms of depression, that is, the area within the vast mind substance that contains the vibratory rate of depression, his aura would look rather gray, dim and dismal. If he was aware in the feeling of a genuine love for all humanity, his aura would look light blue, fringed and tinged with yellow. However, if his love for humanity was of a superficial, emotional nature, being more idle talk and emotion than sub-superconscious compassion, his aura would be pink or reddish, telling you there was still a lot of instinctive fire, and should an upsetting circumstance occur, he could easily forget about universal love and become quite angry. Then the pink would turn to flaming red streaked with black. After this, if he were to feel remorseful about the emotional upheaval, the aura would turn to dark blue, and you could hardly see his face for the deep blue mist that would form around his body. If awareness was flowing through the area of the mind of inferiority and jealousy, the aura would be dark grayish-green in color. Someone with healing inclinations would have a pale green aura. A student increasing his intellectual knowledge would have an aura of brilliant yellow. The combinations are almost endless. 

     

    Several colors often appear in the aura at the same time. For example, the red of suppressed desire and seething anger might appear along with the yellow of intellectual involvement. This person's head would be surrounded in yellow, and the lower part of his body streaked in red. Even a touch of very dark green might appear, showing that jealousy caused his anger. It becomes easy to diagnose emotional problems simply by looking at the vibratory rate of the aura's colors and judging the area of the mind awareness is flowing through. 

     

     

     

     

    The Intellect, Or Outer Ego

     

    The fifth aspect of the soul is the odic causal sheath, or intellectual mind, known in Sanskrit as buddhi chitta. It functions on the odic causal plane within the Second World of existence, Antarloka, the creative realm of the intellect. Here the individual organizes information, gains new ideas or new ways of looking at old projects, and uses this knowledge to move vast magnetic force fields around on the Earth's surface. This plane is primarily subconscious, with occasional influences from the superconscious. It is basically a mental plane where odic forces are manipulated. The intellect is the aspect of the soul you use when you sit and think, memorize or reason. The intellect can also be projected to distant places without leaving the physical body. Through this aspect, the adept can perceive what is there and accumulate knowledge or information. 

     

    The first shining forth of man's individuality comes when he has the conscious control of the intellectual mind. After the practice of internal and external concentration has been perfected and the subconscious processes of meditation have taken hold, the thought forms of the yoga student become distinct and clear. A thought form is made of astral matter. It is odic force and has a color and is created within the consciousness of man. The intellectual mind works through the mechanism of creating, preserving and destroying thought forms. The intellect is the manifestation of a series of well-constructed thought forms. Therefore, the better a person is educated, the more distinctly and clearly does the intellect function. 

     

    There are people all over the world today who have only unfolded to the fourth and fifth aspect of man and are guided simply by the habit patterns of the instinctive-intellectual mind. But the governing of the odic force fields in the world as it is today is done through the conscious control of the intellect or the odic causal sheath. 

     

    Diplomacy, a kind of love--one not wanting to hurt one's fellow man, suppression of the emotions of hate and anger--brings about a kind of harmony. These are products of the intellect which when developed into a strong intellectual sheath is able to control the baser emotions through controlled memory, controlled reason and controlled willpower, the three faculties of our ability to govern forces of nature. 

     

    Neither overrate nor underrate the intellect, for it fills several important functions in life, the great experience. But remember, the intellect is not the totality of man, it is only, figuratively speaking, the fifth aspect. The intellect is not the full mind, it is only one part, about one-tenth of the mind. The subconscious and the superconscious make up the other nine-tenths. 

     

    Opinionated knowledge is a faculty of memory. We study, we listen, we hear and we quote the opinions of others. Opinionated knowledge is stored up in the memory gridwork of the subconscious mind. This provides security, or a platform, for the intellect, making it strong, developing an ego. Therefore, intellect is our ego. The ego separates people from people, nations from nations and the soul from realization of the Self. 

     

    "Your real education is the innerversity." Perhaps you have been thinking that this statement is anti-intellectual, against education. Let's examine the real meaning, function and purpose of education. Education is not worn. It does not stick to you. It is not your collection of someone else's opinions. Through education, you stimulate your intellect. Education is that which you bring out from within yourself as a result of your personal interest in the fulfillment of your birth karmas, or prarabdha karmas. Education means exposure to new ideas and old opinions, giving you the tools to explore your own opinions freely, make decisions, research and review them and advance your understanding of God, soul and world. This is education. It is not static. It is as fluid as a river. Or it should be. You have the choice, the ability, to remold your intellect any way you want. The great truths of life are a part of your being. They are within you. They unfold to you slowly as you evolve your comprehension of them. Yet, they are always there within you, waiting to be realized. 

     

    The only real, permanent education is your unfoldment into the building of the intuitive mind through the control of the intellect. 

     

    Since the intellect is made fundamentally of thoughts which are ever creating, preserving and destroying themselves, the control of thoughts builds the seventh aspect of man, the intuitive mind, or actinodic causal sheath, known in Sanskrit as vijnanamaya kosha. Intuition, knowing, awareness and understanding--these are products not of the intellect, but of the intuitive mind. The dedicated student who has applied himself seriously leaves college not with a "know it all" feeling but with an awareness of the limits of the intellect, and profound respect for the vast amount of knowledge that he has yet to discover or unfold. Conceit is a sure sign of insecurity; humility denotes awareness. 

     

    Creating on The Astral Plane

    The astral plane is within this world as its etheric counterpart, and when you drop off the physical body, you are in it. You are in it now but are not aware of it as yet. It is a world just like this one. You can travel from country to country on the astral plane. While I was studying in Sri Lanka in 1948, my teacher living in America used to come and visit me in the astral body. When I returned to America, people from Sri Lanka used to come on the astral plane and visit me in America, and I would see them in their astral bodies. While I was in Sri Lanka, I introduced a yogi from the Himalayas to my teacher in America, and they met on the astral plane. The next day, the yogi came back and described my teacher perfectly and told me of their conversation. After I returned to America, one day my teacher asked, "Who was that yogi that I met on the astral plane?" and then described him perfectly, and told of the same conversation as well. 

     

    If we did not use the astral body on a daily basis, we could not move the physical body. It is not the physical body that moves; it is the astral body that moves within it. When we step out of the physical body in the astral body, we cannot move the physical body until we get back inside it. While conscious in the astral body, we are more on the astral plane than on the physical plane. Only when the astral body and the physical body are connected do we seem to be in a physical world. 

     

    Because the astral plane is of a higher rate of vibration, or a more intense rate of vibration, prana flows within it a little freer and faster. We have everything there that we have on the physical plane. However, things there are manifested by the mind quickly, whereas on the physical plane they are created more slowly. This is because the physical body needs the muladhara chakra in order to function, and this brings us into a different dimension of time. The first chakra is not so dominant on the astral plane. Therefore, we are in reason and in will. If we want to build a house, we just think about it, and a house becomes constructed within a matter of minutes; whereas it takes a matter of months on the physical plane. 

     

    On the astral plane, we see other people--other people that have died and do not have a physical body and people that do have a physical body but have just left it for a time. They have left their physical body sleeping and they are traveling on the astral plane. Therefore, it is a more populated plane than this Earth, but there is more room in it, being of a lighter substance. Then, too, uninhabited land on Earth and the oceans are used on the astral plane. 

     

    Why do we sleep? The mental body, which we dream in, is within the astral body and functions through the astral brain of that body. Through certain hours of the day during the waking state, the astral body uses the physical body, and the mental body works through the astral-body brain and the brain of the physical body. There is also another body to be considered, and that is the soul body. This body is what we touch into at least once through the sleeping state, and that gives not only a release of the karmas, often karmas that have been concluded, but also a new flush of energy into the astral, mental and physical bodies. So, we touch into the Divine through sleep. We must remember that the astral body doesn't need sleep; nor would the physical body need as much sleep if the Divine hookup were always perpetuating or flooding through the energy. 

     

    It is a twenty-four-hour cycle of consciousness. Our individual awareness simply moves from physical consciousness into mental, emotional or astral body consciousness, or soul consciousness in the case of deep sleep, where nothing is ever remembered. People wonder why they don't recall their dreams. It is as difficult to recall a dream that happened last night as it is to recall what you were thinking about between 12 noon and 4pm three days ago. Now, should the dream last night have been a fantastic departure from your personal reality, you would recall it. If your thoughts three days ago between 12 noon and 4pm were a fantastic departure from your personal reality, you would certainly recall that. It is the process of recall that is being challenged, not the connection between the sleep state and the waking state. 

     

    We do not usually remember our astral experiences, because the astral brain and the physical brain are of two different rates of vibration. Therefore, when we return to the physical body after being in the astral body during sleep, any knowledge that we have gained on the astral plane begins to seep through into the physical plane during a period of four days afterwards. This knowledge accumulates, and we call it an inner knowing. Ideas seem to come to us from within, but actually we did learn and discuss them previously on the astral plane. 

     

    Your Astral Counterpart

     

    You will recall from last week the first aspect of man, the physical body, and the second aspect, the vital health body. The third aspect is the astral body. 

     

    The astral body is almost an exact duplicate of the physical body. However, changes that appear upon the physical body, such as aging, first occur within the structure of the astral body. The astral body is of the subconscious mind, at the level of the memory and reason chakras. It can be easily disturbed and is sometimes called the emotional body. It is made of odic prana and kept intact by the general life flow of actinic prana bursting constantly forth from its atomic structure. Being the exact counterpart of the physical body, the astral body appears like the physical body in size, shape, in every sense except weight. It differs in weight because it is composed of astral odic matter. This matter vibrates at a higher rate of vibration than what we might call physical matter. 

     

    Try to picture for yourself the fact that the physical body and astral body are of different vibrations and fit one inside the other, connected by the energy factor, which is the odic pranic energy of the vital health body. The astral world vibrates just inside the physical world that we see through our physical eyes and feel with our physical hands. Therefore, it is an exact duplication of everything that exists materially to our physical senses. This is logical to us, knowing and having identified the states of mind, for each state of mind is a form of vibration working together with all the others. The "one mind" is in different forms of vibration, all working together, one aspect within the other. 

     

    As we can walk and talk using our conscious mind and our physical body as a vehicle during our waking hours, so can we walk and talk using the duplicate of the physical body, our astral body of the subconscious mind, during the hours we are asleep. When we are in the astral body in the subconscious world, other people are also in that world, and forms of communication take place, as in the physical world. 

     

    There is a cord of odic and actinic force which connects the two bodies. It is called the silver cord. Should someone travel too far from his physical body astrally, or have an intense astral experience, an extra supply of energy would be drawn from the vital health body and the physical body, and he would be tired on awakening. 

     

    The inner study of you can be complicated, for you are a most complex being of many dimensions. As we embark on this week's study of the inner you, it may be helpful to have a list which you can refer to now and then to put together the pieces in the right order. The age-old teachings which are captured in this book boldly claim "man" to be more than is usually understood, that being a mortal body with an intellect, small or large. Man, as the mystics understand him, is the immortal soul surrounded by seven aspects. Here follows a summary of the "seven aspects of man" established around the actinic causal body of the soul, anandamaya kosha, "sheath of bliss:" 1) the physical body, annamaya kosha, "food-made sheath;" 2) the vital health body, pranic sheath, pranamaya kosha; 3) the astral body, instinctive aspect of manomaya kosha; 4) the human aura and instinctive mind, prabhamandala and manas chitta; 5) the intellect, odic causal sheath, buddhi chitta; 6) the subtle nerve system, nadis and chakras; 7) the intuitive mind, actinodic causal sheath, vijnanamaya kosha, "sheath of cognition." 

     

    Just as we have school, entertainment, discussions and meetings with friends in the conscious mind on the physical plane, so do we go to school, enjoy entertainment, discuss problems and meet and talk with friends on the astral plane. And as the subconscious mind receives impressions from the conscious mind during our waking hours, so does the conscious mind receive impressions from the subconscious mind as we go through experience during our sleeping hours. 

     

    In the same way, people have seen with the eyes of their astral body, while simultaneously conscious through their physical eyes, people on the astral plane. Similarly, those who are traveling on the astral plane can see people on the physical plane, as they look out through the odic astral force field into the gross conscious-mind world. Travel is much faster on the astral plane, as it is done through desire, and the astral body is a much more refined rate of vibration than is the physical body, which functions close to the time sequence as we know it. 

     

    The Aura and Instinctive Mind

     

    As we begin the study of the fourth aspect of man, let us hold in mind the first three: the physical body as the first aspect, the vital health body as the second aspect and the astral body as the third aspect. The fourth aspect is the instinctive mind and the human aura, the colorful spectrum that registers whatever state of mind the person passes through. The human aura is the reflection of specific evolution. But it registers most clearly the basic reactionary patterns of the instinctive mind. 

     

    Within the instinctive mind there are both aggressive and passive odic forces. Some of these are fear, anger, jealousy, deceit, pride, greed--and then there is that form of attachment sometimes called odic or magnetic love, as well as happiness and affection. These emotions are either aggressive or passive, depending upon the motivating factors involved. The motivating factors are desire, a lack of control of odic force, or a type of actinic, superconscious flow which motivates from within to the externals of human consciousness. When this actinic flow is in action, the more refined emotions of compassion, benevolence and joy are experienced. Basically, all of these qualities may be defined as being either odic or actinic. The actinic forces flow from the core of the soul out through the odic force field, and when the actinic forces become diminished, odic forces congeal and rush in to fill the gap. 

     

    Fear is passive odic force. Anger is aggressive odic force. The two basic colors of the odic aura are gray and red. Gray is the color of fear, which when it leads to depression or intense fear, becomes black. Red is the aura's registration of anger. In a suppressed state of the instinctive mind, when desire has not been met, the aura registers a reddish black to portray the emotion of lust. 

     

    Fear dominates the lives of many people, even when they have no reason for being afraid. It is a protective mechanism of the lower, instinctive nature inherent in every human being; animals, too. The fear of the darkness, for instance, was born in primitive man's lack of a shelter. Long before he discovered the use of fire or even learned to live in caves, he trembled in the darkness when the sun went down each day, for he knew he was at the mercy of wild animals and other dangers of the night. Even today, the ability of men to fear endows them with a natural caution in the face of the unknown. The gray cast permeates the aura during protective investigation until it is proven that a condition of safety exists. 

     

    Today man still retains fear of the darkness. But now he surrounds himself with electric light, symbolizing the new golden age in which his actinic force has begun to penetrate through the instinctive mind, refining this mind just as the glow of electricity refines the vibration of the Earth at night. Among other forms of fear are fear of death, fear of poverty, fear of water and fear of high places. 

     

    Anger is also, like fear, an instinctive control, and at one time served its purpose. The onrush of anger served to protect man's private interests in critical situations by injecting adrenaline into his blood and thus preparing him for defense. But as man evolves closer to his real, actinic being, he discovers that actinic love, understanding, compassion and wisdom are higher qualities than anger. Two more instinctive emotions that motivate the passive and aggressive odic forces into action are jealousy and deceit. 

     

    The actinic age is bursting forth upon this planet. Its signposts heralding the spiritual mind of man are portrayed in symbolic happenings upon the Earth, such as the electric light, atomic energy, probes into space, probes into the subconscious, probes into prior lives and dangerously expanding states of awareness stimulated by chemicals. All this and more show us that man has outgrown the lower, instinctive emotions such as jealousy, portrayed in the odic aura around and through the body in the color of dark green, and deceit, portrayed as green-gray. 

     

     

     

    Working with The Dream State

     

    We really should have another word for this dream reality, as the word dream has taken on connotations of something that only exists in one's imagination. These kinds of dreams--when a person is in his astral body and can feel what he touches, emote to his experiences, think and talk--are not what is known as the dream state. This is an astral experience, similar to the death experience, but the astral body is still connected to the physical body. Dreams and death are brothers, with the exception that the silver cord is not broken, which is the psychic cord of actinodic energy, or the umbilical cord between the astral body and its physical duplicate, or of the physical body and its astral duplicate. Therefore, when one begins the regular practice of sadhana, meditation, mantras, correcting behavioral patterns in daily life, the astral body is able to disconnect from the physical body and an astral reality is experienced, which is not a dream when remembered, in the sense that dreams are usually denoted to be. 

     

    The English-language concepts of dreams--such as "when I wake up," "when I was dreaming" or "I tried to remember my dream"--set the pattern for the psychology behind dreams in the Western context. We could say, "I realized I was consciously active as I reentered my physical body and tried to impress in my physical brain the creative work, activity, thoughts, feelings and experiences that happened throughout the night." This would be affirming twenty-four-hour consciousness, of which the physical body plays a very small part in its apparent reality. 

     

    Because they are experienced, because they affect our waking life and because many of them are portents of the future: these are reasons Adi Shankara gave in saying that dreams are real in many respects. In the West, dreams are thought of as more or less unreal. In the East they are thought of as both real and unreal. The Sanskrit word for dream, svapna, is etymologically related to the Greek word hypnos and includes the content of dream and the form or process of dreaming. It is one of four avasthas, or states of consciousness, given in the Upanishads: jagrat, the waking state; svapna, the sleeping or dreaming state; sushupti, deep sleep; and turiya, the fourth state, also called samadhi. 

     

    We have spoken earlier about the twenty-four-hour consciousness of the mind and how even in the waking state an uncontrolled mind is dreaming and fantasizing, and we made the point that it is only the physical body that experiences the phenomenon of sleep. The astral body does not have to. It can remain awake and active twenty-four hours a day, because it is always functioning within the physical body during the physical body's waking hours as well. We actually live in our astral body twenty-four hours a day. That is the true home of the soul, mind, emotions, seed karmas. The astral body, when fortunate enough to have a physical body, uses it at least half a day every day, when that body is not sleeping. 

     

    More and more subtle dimensions of consciousness are dealt with in sadhana. Ultimately, perhaps, one even begins to work with dreams in subtle ways. The Hindu idea that one would not steal or injure even in a dream seems to reinforce this subtlety. A dream that might not mean anything to an ordinary person, say an incident of stealing, might be thought important to an adept. Often religious people suppress their natural feelings in order to live up to religious concepts of virtue and ethics that they have not naturally worked into and earned by clearing up their past behavioral patterns through daily sadhana, self-inquiry and change in belief through belief therapy. This means totally eradicating one belief and replacing it with a new one that is more in line with the religious principles they have decided to mold into their life than were the older ones. Because of this suppression, the expression of the desires is released and experienced during dreams. Many people who have accomplished these repressions exceedingly well have repetitive dreams. Here the guru would take note of the dreams that were occurring to see if they were actually suppressed desires, feelings and emotions that had to be talked about in the light of day and changed, especially if they are recurring. The recurrence of the same or similar dream experience indicates that work needs to be done within the seeker, who has set for himself too high a standard during the waking state and is not performing enough sadhana and tapas to maintain that standard. Therefore, the letdown comes when no one is watching. During dreams he can do what he really wants to do. 

     

    The key here for the seeker is not to carry the dream into daily life and then start to do what he did in the dream in the physical world. This would only make more karmas and compound the situation, stop the sadhanas and open a door for perhaps endless other karmas or a complete life change, change of personality. The remedy is, if possible under the guidance of a guru, to perform certain sadhanas, tapas, penance, self-inquiry, even a penance for having the dream, while remembering the high standards of virtue and good conduct that should have been maintained during that sleep cycle. This explains the Hindu point of view that one should not steal even during dreams, commit adultery, harm anyone or act against dharma, the yamas and niyamas, in any way. 

     

    Experiences on The Astral Plane

     

    When we are in a dream, it seems so real to us. When we wake up, we reflect on it as a dream, which is usually thought of as unreal. Similarly, Indian philosophers enjoy saying that we are in this life and it seems real until we wake up, through spiritual enlightenment, to a greater reality. If we postulate that dreams are real, we must then acknowledge that what we remember of them is our uninhibited states of consciousness, experience, unencumbered by society, local and national customs or inhibitions planted into the mind by parents at a young age. Knowing this will let us know who we really are, underneath the facade, encumbered by society, suppressed by beliefs and attitudes of the waking state. We are free in our dreams. No one is looking at us. Society, family and friends are not judging us. 

     

    Ayurveda physicians state that those of the kapha dosha, which is water and earth, often dream of water. One who is of the pitta dosha, fire nature, dreams of fire. A vata, or air nature, dreams of air. But they also say that it may be best to forget your dreams because they might be produced by indigestion or constipation. And these may be dreams you would not want to remember. Nevertheless, if dreams depict who we really are, it may be beneficial for those under the guidance of a satguru to write them down each morning upon arising and put them at his holy feet at the end of each month. This would be strictly a guru-shishya training relationship and for a specified period of time, not more than four months. It might be scary, even disheartening, for you to do this for yourself. And satgurus would recommend that you forget your dreams upon awakening, for if remembered they may bring that reality into the awakened reality and produce experiences you would not want to experience. 

     

    One more thing comes to mind--this is that occasionally I have experienced being absolutely aware, fully conscious of the physical body, eyes closed, while simultaneously seeing through the eyes of the inner body and communicating through thought with astral people in my room. Sometimes when the mathavasis have been late to feed me because I was napping but fully conscious, the guardian devas would come before me with delicious food, nicely prepared, and with their astral hands spoon it into my mouth, and I actually smell and taste it. When the astral meal is over, I am not physically hungry anymore. During the height of the Sri Lanka civil war crisis, when thousands of my devotees there were being killed day after day, several times during the day I deliberately took naps off and on. Just before these sleeps and just before awakening in the morning, I would meet with those who had been killed and bless them one at a time as they came before me. I was totally conscious as my astral hand would put the blessing, the mark of vibhuti, Siva's sacred ash, upon their forehead. Then they would go on into the Sivaloka. This type of physical-astral experience is definitely not a dream, nor is it a superconscious vision. It is an actual, intense human happening involving this world and its astral double, coexisting in communicative activity. Unlike dreams, which are quickly forgotten, these physical-astral experiences, not unlike superconscious visions, leave an indelible mark in the physical brain and are more vivid months and even years later than when they were experienced. 

     

    For three or four years in the late fifties, I researched the death experience and its astral interface with this apparent reality. The dream world was explored, and the astral interface with waking consciousness within it. We discovered that there are many thousands of astral lovers who regularly visit women to satisfy their sexual desires. These women are single, either not married yet, or divorced, or married, but their husbands were not able to satisfy them. It was also discovered that because of this psychic phenomenon, women who have had unhappy marriages are more attracted than men to spiritualism, as it was called in those days. Such astral male lovers are called gandharvas in the Vedas, and their female counterparts are the apsaras. These are definitely experiences, astral-physical-plane interface experiences, as real as happenings during the waking day. 

     

     

     

    The Five States of Mind

     

    Observing the great vastness of the mind, we can draw another conclusion and say that there are five states of mind: conscious, subconscious, subsubconscious, subsuperconscious and superconscious. The first state is the conscious mind, in which we perform our daily routines. When awareness is in the conscious mind, we are externalized. This means we take our direction mainly from memory of past experiences, from other people, from newspapers, magazines, radio, television or our emotions. The average man is aware in the conscious mind from the time he awakens in the morning until he falls asleep at night. That's what makes him average. Only when he becomes mystically inclined does he become consciously aware of some of the other four states. 

     

    The second state is the subconscious mind, the grand storehouse and computer of man. It faithfully registers all thoughts and feelings that pass through the conscious state, whether correct or incorrect, whether positive or negative. It registers them and acts or reacts accordingly. 

     

    The subsubconscious, the third state of mind, is a conglomeration of various actions and reactions that we have experienced in daily life. It is a subtle state composed of two or more vibrations of experience which mingle and form a third vibration. We have an experience. We react to it. Later we have a similar experience. We react to that. These two reactions merge in the subsubconscious, causing a hybrid reaction that lives with us many, many years. 

     

    The fourth state is the subsuperconscious mind. Deep, refined and powerful, it filters intuitive flashes from the superconscious mind through the subconscious gridwork. There are times when you want very much to find a clear answer from within yourself. However, being aware in the conscious mind predominantly, awareness is cut off from direct contact with the superconscious. So, you begin to ask questions of yourself. These questions are registered in the subconscious. The subconscious, like a well-programmed computer, begins to search for the right answer from the superconscious mind. Then, all of a sudden, you know the answer from the inside out. Finding solutions through insight or intuition is one of the functions of the subsuperconscious. It also is the source of all true creativity, inspiration, understanding and perfect timing in daily events. 

     

    The superconscious is the fifth state of the mind. Within it is one world within another world and yet another. All mystical phenomena and deep religious experiences come from the superconscious. It is the mind of light, beautiful and vast. When one is superconsciously alive, he feels joyously alive throughout the totality of his being--physically, emotionally and mentally--for new energies are working through his nerve system. This state of the mind is available to everyone to be aware in. The superconscious is the mind of bliss. It is vast, pure intelligence. The subsuperconscious mind is that aspect of the superconscious functioning through established subconscious patterns. 

     

    As we learn to identify these states, one from another, we also become more sensitive, like the artist who learns to observe depth, color and dimension within a beautiful painting. His sense of enjoyment is far superior to that of the average man who simply sees the painting as a nice picture, having no appreciation of the intricacies of color, depth, movement and technique. 

     

    The World Of Dreams

     

    Dreams have been a mystery and a puzzle to people of all ages throughout time. The wonderment of dreams has been apparent in history, philosophy and now even in science. This leads us to assume that the dream state is not unlike the waking state, for especially in this technological age of communication, we live more in our mind than in our physical body. Millions are computer-literate and deal in concepts far beyond the normal state anyone would have found himself in one hundred years ago. The mind never sleeps--only the physical body experiences this indulgence--and the physical brain perceives and records what passes through the mind, but the astral brain perceives and recordsƒ oh-so-much more! Therefore, keeping this in mind, there is a continuity of consciousness twenty-four hours a day, but not all of it is perceived or recorded by the physical brain, either through the day or through the night. This is why it is difficult to remember all the details of one's life and experience, even as short a time as forty-eight hours ago. It is only the important things, those which make the strongest impression within the physical brain's memory patterns, that are remembered. 

     

    In the inner worlds, inner universe, there is a life not unlike this one that we experience as a jiva, but far more complete, intricate, logical and much more advanced. Within this world, the Antarloka, there are great schools where students gather to learn of a more productive future that they can participate in creating when they incarnate. Here, they mix and mingle with other souls whose physical bodies are sleeping and whom they will work and cooperate with during their next cycle of birth. It is a well-planned-out universe, both the outer universe and the inner universe. The value of sleep for the person on the path is to gain the ability to bypass the lower dream state and soar deeper within to these inner-plane schools. This is done by the repetition of mantras, japa yoga, just before sleep, after relaxing the body through hatha yoga and diaphragmatic breathing. 

     

    It is almost traditional in many cultures to try to remember one's dreams, and dreamologists will even interpret them for you. This all borders close to the realm of superstition and is far less desirable for spiritual growth than other more pragmatic types of practices. A beginner on the path, or even one in the intermediate phase, should endeavor to forget dreams and strengthen the fibers of the mind and psyche through daily sadhana. There is actually a time, on the yoga marga, after the charya and kriya margas have been well mastered and passed through, that the remembrance of one's dreams is beneficial and fruitful, but this would only be between the guru and the shishya. 

     

    When japa is well performed and the sincere desire is maintained to transcend the forces of the physical body and enter into the astral schools of learning, the aspirant would have dreamless nights. A deep sleep would prevail. There may be a few seconds of dreaming just before awakening, to which one should not pay any attention, as the astral body quickly reenters the physical. But a deep, dreamless sleep is in itself an indicator that the purusha is totally detached from the physical forces and totally intact and functioning in the Devaloka. Himalayan Academy is an academy in the Devaloka in which rishis of the Nandinatha Sampradaya teach, help and guide tens of thousands of devotees of God Siva who have been influenced by the words and teachings of our sampradaya. 

     

    We want to forget bad dreams as quickly as possible, lest by remembering them through the conscious mind we impress them in the immediate subconscious and make them manifest in daily life. Thinking about a bad dream is to create. Forgetting it is to avoid creating. Therefore, if you have the slightest worry about dreams and are not directly under a guru's guidance on a daily basis, it is best to let them slide by and consider them unimportant and not a part of you, as you would consider a television program to be. 

     

    Really bad nightmare kinds of dreams are not natural to the sleeper's mind. Therefore, we must assume that they are produced by outside influences, such as what the neighbors are going through in the next apartment, the apartment above or the apartment below, or what a dear friend or relative may be experiencing in daily life. Subjective as they are, the frustrated, confused, even threatening, dreams of this nature are taken to be one's creation or one's own problem. However, this is more than often not true. A child may be tormented by nightmares and wake up screaming, and the solution would be to have it sleep in another room, away from the next-door apartment where the husband and wife are battling, entertaining hateful thoughts. These kinds of quarrels permeate the inner atmosphere one hundred yards around, as far as the loudest voice could be heard if there were no walls. This is why those on the path seek the quiet of a forest, a life away from the city, in order to perform sadhana in their spiritual pursuit. Dreams of capture and chase are not products of one's own mind. They are definitely outside influences. 

     

     

     

     Terms for Holy Ones

     

    Many terms name Hindu masters, teachers and aspirants including: jivanmukta, rishi, muni, siddha, mahatma, guru, swami, sannyasin, tapasvin, yogi, sadhu, sadhaka, pandita, acharya, shastri, pujari, shishya and brahmachari.

     

    A jivanmukta is a liberated soul. Rishi refers to a venerated sage or seer. A muni is an ecstatic mystic, especially one living in seclusion or vowed to silence. Siddha refers to a perfected being or one who has attained magical powers. Mahatma denotes a great soul or renowned guru. The term guru usually describes a spiritual master, but can connote a teacher of any subject. A sannyasin, or swami, is a formally ordained renunciate monk. A tapasvin is an ascetic seeking purification through rigorous disciplines. The yogi is dedicated to intense meditation for inner attainment. Sadhu is a general term for a holy man or wandering mendicant. A sadhaka is a serious seeker of the Self, and is often a monk. The acharya, like the pandita, is a respected teacher and advisor. Shastri refers to an expert in scripture. A pujari is a temple priest. A shishya is a formal disciple. A brahmachari is a celibate student, often under simple vows. Some titles have feminine equivalents, such as sadhvi, yogini and brahmacharini. The Vedas explain, "The brahmachari moves, strengthening both the worlds. In him the devas meet in concord; he upholds earth and heaven."

     

    The Hindu Way: To Do No Harm

    Hindu wisdom, which inspires humans to live the ideals of compassion and nonviolence, is captured in one word, ahimsa. In Sanskrit himsa is doing harm or causing injury. The "a" placed before the word negates it. Very simply, ahimsa is abstaining from causing harm or injury. It is gentleness and noninjury, whether physical, mental or emotional. It is good to know that nonviolence speaks only to the most extreme forms of forceful wrongdoing, while ahimsa goes much deeper to prohibit even the subtle abuse and the simple hurt. 

     

    In his commentary on the Yoga Sutras, Sage Vyasa defines ahimsa as "the absence of injuriousness (anabhidroha) toward all living beings (sarvabhuta) in all respects (sarvatha) and for all times (sarvada)." He noted that a person who draws near one engaged in the true practice of ahimsa would be freed from all enmity. Similarly, Patanjali (ca 200 bce) regards ahimsa as the yogi's mahavrata, the great vow and foremost spiritual discipline, which those seeking Truth must follow strictly and without fail. This was not meant merely to condemn killing, but extended to harm caused by one's thoughts, words and deeds of all kinds--including injury to the natural environment. Even the intent to injure, even violence committed in a dream, is a violation of the principle of ahimsa. 

     

    Every belief creates certain attitudes. Those attitudes govern all of our actions. Man's actions can thus be traced to his inmost beliefs about himself and about the world around him. If those beliefs are erroneous, his actions will not be in tune with the universal dharma. For instance, the belief in the existence of an all-pervasive Divinity throughout the universe creates an attitude of reverence, benevolence and compassion for all animate and inanimate beings. The natural consequence of this belief is ahimsa, nonhurtfulness. The belief in the duality of heaven and hell, the light forces and the dark forces, creates the attitude that we must be on our guard, and that we are justified in inflicting injury, physically and emotionally, on others whom we judge to be bad, pagan or unworthy for other reasons. Such thinking leads to rationalizing so-called righteous wars and conflicts. We can sum this up from the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions: ahimsa is higher consciousness, and himsa, hurtfulness, is lower consciousness. 

     

    Devout Hindus oppose killing for several reasons. Belief in karma and reincarnation are strong forces at work in the Hindu mind. They full well know that any thought, feeling or action sent out from themself to another will return to them through yet another in equal or amplified intensity. What we have done to others will be done to us, if not in this life then in another. The Hindu is thoroughly convinced that violence which he commits will return to him by a cosmic process that is unerring. Two thousand years ago South India's weaver saint Tiruvalluvar said it so simply, "All suffering recoils on the wrongdoer himself. Thus, those desiring not to suffer refrain from causing others pain" (Tirukural 320). A similar view can be found in the Jain Acharanga Sutra: "To do harm to others is to do harm to oneself. You are he whom you intend to kill. You are he whom you intend to dominate. We corrupt ourselves as soon as we intend to corrupt others. We kill ourselves as soon as we intend to kill others." 

     

     

     

    The Caste System

    I am often asked about varna dharma--the social structure of four classes and hundreds of subgroups--commonly known as the caste system, established in India in ancient times. Is the caste system still valid today? Caste--or at least discrimination on the basis of caste--has been thrown out of the culture of India, but people still hang on to it as an ego structure. The high caste people love to hurt the low caste people, so to speak, by ignoring them, treating them roughly. That's not the way it should be. In many areas of the world the caste system is distorted, and also very strong. If you find the high caste people in your society ignoring and not wanting to speak with and associate with the lower castes, those are nasty people, and those are people you should avoid. Spiritual people, even ordinary kindly people, would never think of behaving that way. 

     

    The original caste system was based on behavior, as it is now in countries where there is no overt caste system in effect. Those who beat their children, those who become angry and jealous, those who live in fear and those who feign humility are all of the lowest caste. Those who value memory and reason and use their willpower to benefit others--who control themselves and run an orderly home, support the temples and are respected by the lowest castes--are of the business caste. Those who protect the dharma and preserve the scriptures--who protect the temples and all the people, those who are respected by the other castes--are of the princely caste. Those who commune with the Gods and are priests in the temples--who are the disseminators of the highest knowledge and respected by all the other castes--are the priestly caste. These four groups make up a complete society anywhere in the world and at anytime in history. 

     

    The original caste system had these four divisions. The divisions were all based on the ability of the individual to manage his body, his mind and his emotions properly. If he stopped fulfilling the dharma of his caste, society would recognize that he had moved from one caste and was now in another. The original caste system was based on self-discipline through education and through personal sadhana. The original caste system was based on the unfoldment of the consciousness within each individual through the fourteen chakras. 

     

    People everywhere naturally divide themselves up into castes. We have the workers. You go to work, you work under somebody else--that happens all over the world--that's the shudra caste. We have the merchants, who are self-motivated. That's the vaishya caste. We have the politicians and the lawmakers and the law-enforcement people. That's the kshatriya caste. And then you have the priests, the ministers, the missionaries. That's the brahmin caste. Every society has these four castes working within it in one way or another. In today's world, if one is not fulfilling the dharma of his born caste, then he changes castes. For instance, if a brahmin husband and wife are working eight to fifteen hours a day in a hospital under others, they are no longer of the brahmin caste, because they are not performing the duties of the dharma of that caste. They are workers, in the shudra caste. 

     

    We can see around us the deterioration of the system which has been abused beyond the point of recognition. Members of the brahmin caste are now beating their children, abusing their wives. Members of the kshatriya caste disrespect the laws of the land. Members of the business caste are deceptive and dishonest. All are confused, living in anger and in jealousy. No wonder their families break apart and their businesses fail. In the eyes of the Gods, most of those who adhere to the caste system that exists today are low caste. This is because they live in lower consciousness. They look at the world through the windows of the chakras below the muladhara. These undeveloped humans are struggling through the lower chakras, trying to get out of the dark worlds of the mind. Let us not be deluded about what the sapta rishis had in mind when they casted humans according to the soul's unfoldment in one or more of the fourteen chakras. We should totally ignore the Hindu caste system as lived in India today and, through example, show a better and more wholesome path for modern society.

     

     

     

     

     

    Brahma/Shiva/Vishnu    Id/ego/superego  father/son/holy ghost  Kane/Kana/ (Ku) /Lono

     

    Jagannatha means “Lord of the universe.” Many Vedic books mention that Jagannatha is Krishna. Baladeva is His brother, and Subhadra is His sister.

    Although Krishna is absolute and transcendental to material nature, to accept the loving service of His devotees He appears before us as the deity in the temple, in the form of stone, metal, wood, or paint. Jagannatha is a wooden form of Krishna.

    Because Jagannatha does not look like Krishna, people may wonder how He can be Krishna. Scriptures tell the story behind Jagannatha’s peculiar form.

    Initiated devotees vow to follow four regulative principles

    These are : (i) No Eating of Meat, Fish or Eggs, (ii) No Gambling, (iii) No Intoxication, and (ii) No Illicit Sex

    These regulative principles are based on the four pillars of religion: Truth (satyam or honesty); Austerity (tapah or self-discipline); cleanliness (saucam or purity) and mercy (daya or compassion). These regulative principles are an elementary concern in preparation for the pursuit of Bhakti Yoga. The more we learn about yoga, the more we will understand the importance of these four regulative principles.

     

    Examining Your Total Diet 

    Each day that we live, we are striving for the middle path, the balanced life, the existence which finds its strength beyond joy and sorrow, beyond pleasure and pain, beyond light and darkness. But in order to arrive at this state of contemplative awareness, we must begin at the beginning, and this week our study is diet: physical, mental and emotional foods. According to the ancient science of ayurveda, nature is a primordial force of life composed in three modes, qualities or principles of manifestation called gunas, meaning "strands" or "qualities." The three gunas are: sattva, "beingness;" rajas, "dynamism;" and tamas, "darkness." Sattva is tranquil energy, rajas is active energy and tamas is energy that is inert. The nature of sattva is quiescent, rarefied, translucent, pervasive. The nature of rajas is movement, action, emotion. The nature of tamas is inertia, denseness, contraction, resistance and dissolution. The tamasic tendency is descending, odic and instinctive. The rajasic tendency is expanding, actinodic, intellectual. The sattvic tendency is ascending, actinic, superconscious. The three gunas are not separate entities, but varied dimensions or frequencies of the single, essential life force. 

    The food we eat has one or more of these qualities of energy and affects our mind, body and emotions accordingly. Hence, what we eat is important. Sattvic food is especially good for a contemplative life. 

    Tamasic foods include heavy meats, and foods that are spoiled, treated, processed or refined to the point where the natural values are no longer present. Tamasic foods make the mind dull; they tend to build up the basic odic energies of the body and the instinctive subconscious mind. Tamasic foods also imbue the astral body with heavy, odic force. 

    Rajasic foods include hot or spicy foods, spices and stimulants. These increase the odic heat of the physical and astral bodies and stimulate physical and mental activity. Sattvic foods include whole grains and legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground. These foods help refine the astral and physical bodies, allowing the actinic, superconscious flow to permeate and invigorate the entire being. 

    People who are unfolding on the yoga path manifest the sattvic nature. Their path is one of peace and serenity. The rajasic nature is restless and manifests itself in physical and intellectual activities. It is predominant in the spirit of nationalism, sports and business competition, law enforcement and armed forces and other forms of aggressive activity. The tamasic nature is dull, fearful and heavy. It is the instinctive mind in its negative state and leads to laziness, habitual living, physical and mental inertia. As it is by cultivating the rajasic nature that tamas is overcome, so it is by evolving into the pure sattvic nature that the continual ramification of rajas is transcended. It is important to maintain a balance of our several natures, but to attain toward the expression of the rajasic and sattvic natures in as great a degree as possible. 

    As you examine a menu closely, you will find that you may allow your inner guidance to tell you what is most appropriate to eat. The desire body of the conscious mind may want one type of food, but the inner body of the subsuperconscious may realize another is better for you. It is up to you to make the decision that will allow a creative balance in your diet. This awakens the inner willpower, that strength from within that gives the capacity for discrimination. 

     

    Om Swasti Astu

     

    In Bali, they say, Om swasti astu. Swasti means health, may health be upon you. Swasti really means the one who is established in spiritual health. Like your liver should function normally, heart should beat properly. Brain should perceive things related to this reality. When all the organs are doing their job, then you are healthy. Similarly, Swasti means being established in the Self. The greeting of Om swasti astu means ‘May you be in yourself! May you be in the best of health: spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.’

     

    WHAT ARE THE TEN CLASSICAL RESTRAINTS?

    Hinduism's ethical restraints are contained in ten simple precepts called yamas. They define the codes of conduct by which we harness our instinctive forces and cultivate the innate, pristine qualities of our soul. Aum.

     

    The yamas and niyamas are scriptural injunctions for all aspects of thought and behavior. They are advice and simple guidelines, not commandments. The ten yamas, defining the ideals of charya, are: 1) ahimsa, "noninjury," do not harm others by thought, word or deed; 2) satya, "truthfulness," refrain from lying and betraying promises; 3) asteya, "nonstealing," neither steal nor covet nor enter into debt; 4) brahmacharya, "divine conduct," control lust by remaining celibate when single, leading to faithfulness in marriage; 5) kshama, "patience," restrain intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances; 6) dhriti, "steadfastness," overcome nonperseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness; 7) daya, "compassion," conquer callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings; 8) arjava, "honesty," renounce deception and wrongdoing; 9) mitahara, "moderate appetite," neither eat too much, nor consume meat, fish, fowl or eggs; 10) shaucha, "purity," avoid impurity in body, mind and speech. The Vedas proclaim, "To them belongs yon stainless Brahma world in whom there is no crookedness and falsehood, nor trickery."

     

    What Are the Ten Classical Observances? Hinduism's religious tenets are contained in ten terse precepts called niyamas. They summarize the essential practices that we observe and the soulful virtues and qualities we strive daily to perfect. Aum Namah Sivaya. Bhashya Good conduct is a combination of avoiding unethical behavior and performing virtuous, spiritualizing acts. The accumulated wisdom of thousands of years of Hindu culture has evolved ten niyamas, or religious observances. These precepts defining the ideals of kriya are: 1) hri, "remorse," be modest and show shame for misdeeds; 2) santosha, "contentment," seek joy and serenity in life; 3) dana, "giving," tithe and give creatively without thought of reward; 4) astikya, "faith," believe firmly in God, Gods, guru and the path to enlightenment; 5) Ishvarapujana, "worship," cultivate devotion through daily puja and meditation; 6) siddhanta shravana, "scriptural listening," study the teachings and listen to the wise of one's lineage; 7) mati, "cognition," develop a spiritual will and intellect with a guru's guidance; 8) vrata, "sacred vows," fulfill religious vows, rules and observances faithfully; 9) japa, "recitation," chant holy mantras daily; 10) tapas, "austerity," perform sadhana, penance, tapas and sacrifice. The Vedas state, "They indeed possess that Brahma world who possess austerity and chastity, and in whom the truth is established."

     

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    The sixteen Sanskrit words Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare form a mantra, a transcendental sound formula. In Sanskrit "mind" manah means, and tra means "deliverance". Thus, a mantra is a transcendental sound vibration, which frees the mind from illusion and fears in the material world. This powerful mantra, known as maha-mantra , was recommended by great spiritual authorities as the simplest and most effective means to achieve self-realization in the present age.

     

    Hari Om Tat Sat (Sanskritहरी ओम् तत् सत्Hari Aum Tat Sat)

    Om Tat Sat can be translated to mean the ‘Supreme Absolute Truth’, or more literally ‘all that is’.

    • Om refers to the Supreme Infinite Spirit or Person.
    • Tat refers to ‘that’, or ‘all that is’.
    • Sat refers to ‘truth’, that which is not evanescent or ephemeral, the underlying basis, which is most fundamental and universal.

    Etymologically "Om Tat Sat" is related to the English "Him That is" with the note that "Sat" is the Indo-European root for "to be" (rather than to sit).

    Om tat sat is the mantra for salvation (getting true god who frees you from repeated birth and death in different life forms).

     

    The concept of the Malas comes from Tantric yoga scriptures. These scriptures provide us with an explanation of the nature of the Universe, a chart of principles of existence. This chart is called “The 36 Tattvas” and describes how “the One” (the source) becomes “the Many” (all that exists). In other words; What is the Universe and how do I fit in?

    It is one thing to read and learn about “everything being one,” it is quite another to experience this at all times.  We all have moments in our life where we feel that we are connected,  that we have an insight into deeper parts of ourselves and we percieve oneness.  More often though, we feel separate and different. This experience of differentiation comes from a power called Maya.  Maya has three ways in which it operates; the three Malas. They are:

    Anava Mala - creating feelings of unworthiness, the source of incompleteness we experience. It gives rise to feelings of insecurity and sadness. (connected to the heart)

    Mayiya Mala - perception of difference, separateness between us and the world. Creates comparison to others.  It gives rise to feelings of jealousy and anger (connected to the mind)

    Karma Mala - the capacity for limited activity, the feeling of inability to act, not doing enough. It gives rise to feelings of worry and fear (connected to the body)

    These Malas are part of our existence, part of the fabric of who we are.  As such, there is no need to get upset about it or even trying to “rid” ourselves from these perceptions.  Yoga can teach us to become observant when these Malas come up.  We cultivate the power of discernment to help us see that even though we feel a certain way, it is not who we are. With this increased awareness, we work with the Malas and not against them and we will be able to see ourselves as we truly are: Pure Consciousness.

     

     

    Complete Mantra:

    Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung

    Language: Sanskrit

    Translation:

    Sa Ta Na Ma: The five primal sounds representing the complete cycle of life.

    Ra: Sun

    Ma: Moon

    Da: Earth

    Sa: Impersonal Infinity

    Sa Say: Totality of Infinity

    So: personal sense of merger and infinity

    Hung: Infinity vibrating and real. (So Hung: I am Thou)

     

     

     

     

     

    This mantra taps into the energies of the sun, moon, earth, and the Infinite Spirit to bring deep healing. It is important to pull the navel point powerfully on the word Hung. Note that the word Hung is not long and drawn out. Rather, it is clipped off forcefully as you pull in the navel. Chant one complete cycle of the entire mantra with each breath. Then deeply inhale and repeat. Remember to move the mouth precisely with each sound. Try to feel the resonance in the mouth and in the sinus area.

     

                             

     

         Twenty Keys for Spiritual Living in Contemporary Times

     

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      The yamas and niyamas are a common-sense code recorded in the final section of the Vedas, called Upanishads, namely the Shandilya and the Varuha. They are also found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life’s highest aim in the pursuit called yoga.

    Sage Patanjali (ca 200 BCE), raja yoga’s foremost propounder, told us, “These yamas are not limited by class, country, time (past, present or future) or situation. Hence they are called the universal great vows.” Yogic scholar Swami Brahmananda Saraswati revealed the inner science of yama and niyama. They are the means, he said, to control the vitarkas, the cruel mental waves or thoughts, that when acted upon result in injury to others, untruthfulness, hoarding, discontent, indolence or selfishness. He stated, “For each vitarka you have, you can create its opposite through yama and niyama, and make your life successful.”

     

      The following paragraphs elucidate the yamas and niyamas. Presented first are the ten yamas, the do not’s, which harness the instinctive nature, with its governing impulses of fear, anger, jealousy, selfishness, greed and lust. Second are illustrated the ten niyamas, the do’s, the religious observances that cultivate and bring forth the refined soul qualities, lifting awareness into the consciousness of the higher chakras of love, compassion, selflessness, intelligence and bliss. Together the yamas and niyamas provide the foundation to support our yoga practice so that attainments in higher consciousness can be sustained.

     

    The Joy of Mysticism

    Then there is the joy of the mysticism of Hinduism. It is the world's most magical religion, offering worlds within worlds of esoteric discovery and perception. The inner worlds are what Hindu mystics tell of in the greatest richness and freedom of expression that exists on the planet. Mysticism in Hinduism is more out-front than in all the other religions of the world. As a result, it is enjoyed by more of the people in our religion. Mysticism is discussed more broadly and not limited to a few great souls or a handful of pandits. The mysticism of Hinduism is for all the people; yet, too, in its esoteric aspect it is protected at its core and kept sacred by being kept secret. How grand is the Hindu mystical tradition, with its sadhanas and yogas, with its wealth of understanding of the etheric bodies, of the nadis and the chakras, of the aura and the pranas, of the various states of consciousness and levels of existence, and so much more. No other religion on the Earth can ever begin to equal Hinduism's mystical teachings; all that wealth is the rightful inheritance of each Hindu. 

     

    The Hindu enjoys all the facets of life as transmuted into a religious expression in art. The Hindu's art is a religious art--drawing, painting and sculpture of the Gods, the devas, and the saints of our religion. The music is devotional and depicts the tones of the higher chakras, echoes the voices of the Gods; and the dance emulates the movements of the Gods. We are never far away from sights, sounds and symbols of our religion. A mountaintop represents Lord Siva; a hill represents Lord Murugan, Karttikeya; and sugar cane fields represent Lord Ganesha. Everything that one sees on the planet represents something religious. Art is not merely for egotistical and existential self-expression, but for spiritual expression, done consciously in service to the Divine. That is why one seldom sees or even knows the name of the artist of the great Hindu artistic creations. The artist is not creating in order to become famous or rich. He is surrendering his talents, serving his Gods and his religion through his art, and his art takes on a certain sacredness. 

     

    One great joy that the Hindu has is the appreciation for all other religions. Hinduism is theocentric, that means God-centric, whereas most other religions are prophet-centric, revolving around the personality of some living person or some person who once lived in history and interpreted religion to his culture in his time. Hinduism has no founder. It was never founded. It has neither a beginning nor an end. It is coexistent with man himself. That is why it is called the Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Path. It is not one man's teaching or interpretation. It is not limited to a single facet of religion, but consists of the entire spectrum, seen in its various components as if through a prism. It does not say that this religion is wrong and this one right. It sees God everywhere, manifesting all the great religions. The Hindu can appreciate Buddha without becoming a Buddhist. He can understand Jesus without becoming a Christian. Therefore, the joys of all the religions of the world become the joys of the Hindu. 

     

    But as Hindus, we must first think of the joys and happiness within our own religion. Consider our blessings. Come closer to the Gods of our religion. The many Gods are in the Western world now and have circumferenced the planet with their shakti of radiant rays that penetrate with spiritual power, bringing harmony and culture, balancing out the dharma of the planet. 

     

    Hinduism is such a great religion. All practicing Hindus are very proud of their religion. Unfortunately, these days too many born into the religion are not all that proud to be Hindus, but this is slowly changing. Hindus are now welcoming into their religion others who are, of their own volition, adopting or converting into the Sanatana Dharma. They are proud enough of their faith to want others to share its wisdom, its mysticism, its scriptures, its broadmindedness, its magnificent temples and its final conclusions for all mankind. To all Hindus, who today are found in every country on the Earth, I say: Courage! Courage! Courage! Have the courage to know beyond a doubt that Hinduism is the greatest religion in the world. We must be proud of this. 

     

     

    The State Of Resolve

     

    When you hear the high-pitched sound "eee" in your head, your karma and your dharma are at that moment well balanced in this life. This is reassuring to know, as is the fact that if you persist in this state for an exceedingly long period of time, you would come into the realization of the experience of God. However, as you doubtless have already experienced, distractions you have set into motion teasingly bring awareness into another area, and almost without your knowing it, the high-pitched "eee" sound has faded and a thought has taken its place. 

     

    When you are in a state of resolve--and resolve is the key word here; this means you have resolved the major karmas of conflict--good fortune and all the emotions arise, both generated through understanding the awakened philosophies by the practice of yoga and the results obtained. Then the karmas of the head chakras begin to unfold, resulting in these sublime feelings. These karmas are only experienced after many Parasiva experiences, but they are felt before as a blissful impending future. It is from these karmas the word bliss derives. Only beyond the beyond the beyond--within the vastness within the heart and core of the universes, when space turns to spacelessness, time stops and maya's endless cycles are no more--are there no more karmas. Maya's endless cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution are karmas in the manifold creations of this process. 

     

     


    The Ten Vedic Restraints, Yama

     

    1. Noninjury, Ahimsa

     

    Practice noninjury, not harming others by thought, word or deed, even in your dreams. Live a kindly life, revering all beings as expressions of the One Divine energy. Let go of fear and insecurity, the sources of abuse. Knowing that harm caused to others unfailingly returns to oneself, live peacefully with God’s creation. Never be a source of dread, pain or injury. Follow a vegetarian diet.

     

    2. Truthfulness, Satya

     

    Adhere to truthfulness, refraining from lying and betraying promises. Speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Knowing that deception creates distance, don’t keep secrets from family or loved ones. Be fair, accurate and frank in discussions, a stranger to deceit. Admit your failings. Do not engage in slander, gossip or backbiting. Do not bear false witness against another.

     

    3. Nonstealing, Asteya

     

    Uphold the virtue of nonstealing, neither thieving, coveting nor failing to repay debt. Control your desires and live within your means. Do not use borrowed resources for unintended purposes or keep them past due. Do not gamble or defraud others. Do not renege on promises. Do not use others’ names, words, resources or rights without permission and acknowledgement.

     

    4. Divine Conduct, Brahmacharya

     

    Practice divine conduct, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single and faithful in marriage. Before marriage, use vital energies in study, and after marriage in creating family success. Don’t waste the sacred force by promiscuity in thought, word or deed. Be restrained with the opposite sex. Seek holy company. Dress and speak modestly. Shun pornography, sexual humor and violence.

     

    5. Patience, Kshama

     

    Exercise patience, restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Be agreeable. Let others behave according to their nature, without adjusting to you. Don’t argue, dominate conversations or interrupt others. Don’t be in a hurry. Be patient with children and the elderly. Minimize stress by keeping worries at bay. Remain poised in good times and bad.

     

    6. Steadfastness, Dhriti

     

    Foster steadfastness, overcoming nonperseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness. Achieve your goals with a prayer, purpose, plan, persistence and push. Be firm in your decisions. Avoid sloth and procrastination. Develop willpower, courage and industriousness. Overcome obstacles. Never carp or complain. Do not let opposition or fear of failure result in changing strategies.

     

    7. Compassion, Daya

     

    Practice compassion, conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. See God everywhere. Be kind to people, animals, plants and the Earth itself. Forgive those who apologize and show true remorse. Foster sympathy for others’ needs and suffering. Honor and assist those who are weak, impoverished, aged or in pain. Oppose family abuse and other cruelties.

     

    8. Honesty, Arjava

     

    Maintain honesty, renouncing deception and wrongdoing. Act honorably even in hard times. Obey the laws of your nation and locale. Pay your taxes. Be straightforward in business. Do an honest day’s work. Do not bribe or accept bribes. Do not cheat, deceive or circumvent to achieve an end. Be frank with yourself. Face and accept your faults without blaming them on others.

     

    9. Moderate Appetite, Mitahara

     

    Be moderate in appetite, neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. Enjoy fresh, wholesome vegetarian foods that vitalize the body. Avoid junk food. Drink in moderation. Eat at regular times, only when hungry, at a moderate pace, never between meals, in a disturbed atmosphere or when upset. Follow a simple diet, avoiding rich or fancy fare.

     

    10. Purity, Saucha

     

    Uphold the ethic of purity, avoiding impurity in mind, body and speech. Maintain a clean, healthy body. Keep a pure, uncluttered home and workplace. Act virtuously. Keep good company, never mixing with adulterers, thieves or other impure people. Keep away from pornography and violence. Never use harsh, angered or indecent language. Worship devoutly. Meditate daily.

     

    The Ten Vedic Practices, Niyama 

     

    1. Remorse, Hri

     

    Allow yourself the expression of remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds. Recognize your errors, confess and make amends. Sincerely apologize to those hurt by your words or deeds. Resolve all contention before sleep. Seek out and correct your faults and bad habits. Welcome correction as a means to bettering yourself. Do not boast. Shun pride and pretension.

     

    2. Contentment, Santosha

     

    Nurture contentment, seeking joy and serenity in life. Be happy, smile and uplift others. Live in constant gratitude for your health, your friends and your belongings, Don’t complain about what you don’t possess. Identify with the eternal You, rather than mind, body or emotions. Keep the mountaintop view that life is an opportunity for spiritual progress. Live in the eternal now.

     

    3. Giving, Dana

     

    Be generous to a fault, giving liberally without thought of reward. Tithe, offering one-tenth of your gross income (dashamamsha), as God’s money, to temples, ashrams and spiritual organizations. Approach the temple with offerings. Visit gurus with gifts in hand. Donate religious literature. Feed and give to those in need. Bestow your time and talents without seeking praise. Treat guests as God.

     

    4. Faith, Astikya

     

    Cultivate an unshakable faith. Believe firmly in God, Gods, guru and your path to enlightenment. Trust in the words of the masters, the scriptures and traditions. Practice devotion and sadhana to inspire experiences that build advanced faith. Be loyal to your lineage, one with your satguru. Shun those who try to break your faith by argument and accusation. Avoid doubt and despair.

     

    5. Worship, Ishvara-Pujana

     

    Cultivate devotion through daily worship and meditation. Set aside one room of your home as God’s shrine. Offer fruit, flowers or food daily. Learn a simple puja and the chants. Meditate after each puja. Visit your shrine before and after leaving the house. Worship in heartfelt devotion, clearing the inner channels to God, Gods and guru so their grace flows toward you and loved ones.

     

    6. Scriptural Listening, Siddhanta Shravana

     

    Eagerly hear the scriptures, study the teachings and listen to the wise of your lineage. Choose a guru, follow his path and don’t waste time exploring other ways. Read, study and, above all, listen to readings and dissertations by which wisdom flows from knower to seeker. Avoid secondary texts that preach violence. Revere and study the revealed scriptures, the Vedas and Agamas.

     

    7. Cognition, Mati

     

    Develop a spiritual will and intellect with your satguru’s guidance. Strive for knowledge of God, to awaken the light within. Discover the hidden lesson in each experience to develop a profound understanding of life and yourself. Through meditation, cultivate intuition by listening to the still, small voice within, by understanding the subtle sciences, inner worlds and mystical texts.

     

    8. Sacred Vows, Vrata

     

    Embrace religious vows, rules and observances and never waver in fulfilling them. Honor vows as spiritual contracts with your soul, your community, with God, Gods and guru. Take vows to harness the instinctive nature. Fast periodically. Pilgrimage yearly. Uphold your vows strictly, be they marriage, monasticism, nonaddiction, tithing, loyalty to a lineage, vegetarianism or nonsmoking.

     

    9. Recitation, Japa

     

    Chant your holy mantra daily, reciting the sacred sound, word or phrase given by your guru. Bathe first, quiet the mind and concentrate fully to let japa harmonize, purify and uplift you. Heed your instructions and chant the prescribed repetitions without fail. Live free of anger so that japa strengthens your higher nature. Let japa quell emotions and quiet the rivers of thought.

     

    10. Austerity, Tapas

     

    Practice austerity, serious disciplines, penance and sacrifice. Be ardent in worship, meditation and pilgrimage. Atone for misdeeds through penance (prayashchitta), such as 108 prostrations or fasting. Perform self-denial, giving up cherished possessions, money or time. Fulfill severe austerities at special times, under a satguru’s guidance, to ignite the inner fires of self-transformation.

     

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                                                         || Hring Shring Hung Svaha ||

     

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                                The Sanskrit word ‘Lingam’ means symbol. Thus the literal meaning of Shiva Lingam is the symbol of Shiva. The Supreme Shiva doesn’t have a form and every form is his form. The Shiva Lingam represents him, the Supreme Shiva¸ who is formless. The way when we see a smoke, we infer the presence of fire, the moment we see Shiva Lingam we immediately visualize the existence of the Supreme Shiva.

     

    Symbolisms of the Linga

    The Shiva linga represents the ascending energy of consciousness and life in nature. We see this in such forms as the mountain, the thunder cloud, the tree, and the upright human being. Many lingas like that at Kedarnath – the most important Shiva site in the Himalayas – are rocks in the shape of small mountains. Many other lingas are associated with light, the lingas of the Sun, the Moon and Fire. There are the twelve famous Jyotirlingas or light forms of Shiva at twelve special temples throughout India.

    The state of Tamil Nadu has special Shiva linga forms for the five elements with lingas of earth, water, fire, air and ether at special temples in the region. In this regard, each element has its Shiva linga or determinative force. The famous hill of Arunachala, where the great enlightened sage Ramana Maharshi stayed, is said to be the fire linga of lord Shiva.

    Other Shiva lingas are associated with gold or crystal, the light powers in the metal kingdom. The Shiva linga is often described in terms of light, crystal or transparency. Shiva himself is said to be pure light or light in its primal undifferentiated state, Prakasha matra.

    The Shiva linga is connected to the upward pointed triangle, which is also the symbol of fire. The linga is present in the male sexual organ both in plants and in animals. But we should not ignore its other forms in recognizing that. The worship of the linga is connected more generally to a worship of pillars, obelisks, standing stones and pyramids. Tantric linga worship is connected to Vedic pillar worship (the Vedic stambha, skambha, dharuna), which has parallels throughout the ancient world and in indigenous cultures in general who can still perceive the spiritual powers behind the formations of nature.

    The Shiva linga is often a pillar of light. In special Vedic fire rituals, the fire could be made to rise in the shape of a pillar which could also then take the shape of a man! In fact, the term Dharma originally refers to what upholds things and can be symbolized by a pillar. The Shiva linga is the universal pillar of Dharma. The pillar is also an inner symbol indicating the erect spine and concentrated mind.

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    In terms of our human nature, there are several lingas or characteristic marks. The force of Prana is the linga or pillar force upholding the physical body according to the currents that emanate from it. This is the inner ‘Prana Linga’. Our deeper intelligence or Buddhi provides us the power of insight to discern higher realities, the ‘Buddhi Linga’. The Atman or higher Self is the ultimate linga or determinative force of our nature that remains steady and elevated (transcendent) throughout all of our life experience, the ‘Atma Linga’.

    The linga and the yoni always go together, first of all on the level of opposites, as the upward and downward pointed triangles. The linga with the yoni below it, the standing stone and the ring base, show the union of male and female energies, not just in sexuality, but also as electro-magnetic forces.

    In addition, the linga in its movement creates a yoni, just as a point in its movement can create a circle. We can see this in the circular movement of the stars, planets and nebulae, as well as many other diverse phenomena in the world of nature. The central luminary is the linga and its field of revolution is the yoni. The planets form a yoni or circle as they revolve around the Sun as the linga, of the solar system, its central principle or axis. Yet the Sun itself is revolving around other stars and creating a yoni or circle of its own.

    Stonehenge, and other similar sacred sites that have standing stones formed into great circles, show the union of the linga and the yoni, the cosmic male and female or Shiva-Shakti principles. The linga and the yoni are also united in the chakra or the wheel, with the linga as the axis and the yoni as the circumference. The Hindu usage of chakras in ritual and in art also reflects these two powers. Each chakra of the subtle body shows the union of the Shiva and Shakti energies operative at its particular level of manifestation.

    The Shiva energy is the upward current running through the spine or Sushumna and the Shakti energy is the horizontal current through which it travels, forming the various lotuses of the chakras. Together they form a spiral of forces. Both forces are necessary to create this dynamic motion.

    The experience of the Shiva linga in Yogic meditation is an experience of a pillar of light, energy, peace and eternity, expanding the mind, opening the inner eye and bringing deep peace and steadiness to the heart. From it radiate waves, currents, circles and whirlpools of Shakti spreading this grace, love and wisdom to all. To concentrate our awareness in the linga is one of the best ways of meditation, calming the mind and putting us in touch with our inner Being and Witness beyond all the agitation and sorrow of the world.

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    In Ayurvedic healing, the creation of the Prana linga or concentration of Prana at a subtle level is what allows deep healing and rejuvenation to occur. In Vedic astrology, the Shiva linga represents the power of light behind the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. In Vastu Shastra, the Shiva linga is used to stabilize the spiritual and vital energy in a house, as a conduit of cosmic forces.

    To understand the ultimate secrets of life we must be able to look at the primal powers of existence, including the needs for sex and food, according to their broader connections and universal implications. Human sexuality is only one of the many manifestations of the cosmic forces of duality, of a greater Divine sexuality as it were, which transcends all creaturely existence.

    We must learn to see the cosmic energy behind human sexuality rather than try to reduce spiritual polarities to our own physical and emotional inclinations. This is another aspect of Yoga in which we must look beyond human psychology to the universal consciousness.

     

    The Lingam Purana states:

    प्रधानं प्रकृतिर यदाहुर्लिगंउत्तम 

    गंध-वर्ण-रसहिंनं शब्द-स्पर्शादिवर्जितं 

    meaning:

     the foremost Lingam which is devoid of colour, taste, hearing, touch etc is spoken of as Prakriti or nature.

     

    The nature itself is a Lingam (or symbol) of Shiva. When we see nature, we infer the presence of its creator – Shiva. Shiva Lingam is the mark of Shiva the creator, Shiva the sustainer and Shiva the destructor. It also dispels another myth in which Shiva is considered only as a destructor.

     

    Another authentic reference comes from Skanda Purana where lingam is clearly indicated as the supreme Shiva from where the whole universe is created and where it finally submerge.

    आकाशं लिंगमित्याहुपृथ्वी तस्य पीठिका।

    आलयसर्व देवानां लयनार्लिंगमुच्यते 

    (स्कन्द पुराण)

    The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base. At the end of time the entire universe and all the Gods finally emerge in the Linga itself. 

     

    Now this should clarify the settle the doubts once and forever.

     

    Forms of Shiva Lingam

    Shiva Lingam is worshiped in two common forms – Chala (Moveable) Lingam and Achala (Non-Moveable or Fixed) Lingam.

     

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    Chala Lingam (Moveable Lingam) 

    The Chala Lingams may be kept in the shrine of one’s own home for worship or prepared temporarily with materials like sand, clay, dough or rice for worship and dispensed with after the worship. Another form of the Chala Lingams can also be worn on the body as a pendent in the necklace etc. Chala Lingams are often made of quartz, mercury or metals.

     

    Achala Lingam (Fixed Lingam) 

    Achala Lingams (or fixed Lingams) are installed in temples and are un-moveable once they are installed. There are rigid rules for achala Lingams which must be followed. Achala Lingams must be offered prayers at fixed times and without failed and greater sanctity is maintained. Usually Lingams are made of black stones.

     

    The Appearance and significance of Shiva Lingam

    A Shiva Lingam is generally made up of black or white stones, marbles or metals or Quartz. A Shiva Lingam has three distinct parts which are considered as portions of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The Lower part represents Brahma, the middle Vishnu and the upper and the most prominent represents Shiva. Thus Shiva Lingam represents all the three powers in one- as the Param Braham or Supreme Shiva.

     

    Another interpretation considers Shiva Lingam to be divided in two parts – Shiva and Shakti. Thus Shiva Lingam are symbols to represent the aspects of the Supreme Shiva. From one view Shiva is Shiva and Shakti; from another view point Shiva is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva himself). Shiva Lingams made up of quartz have special significance. Such Lingams have no colour of its own but it takes the colour of any object that comes in its contact. The ling as such represents the attribute-less and formless supreme Shiva.

     

                        There is mysterious and indescribable power in Shiva Lingam to induce the concentration of mind. It is like the crystal glazing, mind easily attains one- pointedness by looking at the Shiva Lingam. This is the reason why ancient scholars and sages advocated the worship of Shiva Lingam and its installations in temples.

    Listen to the message of Shiva Lingam and it will say:

                                                    “I am one without a second”.

     

               Panchbhut Lingams: The whole world consists of 5 basic elements – air, water, fire, earth and sky. The Panchbhut Lingam of Shiva represents these five elements. These Lingams are:

     

    4. Ekambaresvar 5. Natraja  

     

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    12 Jyotirlingas

      Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam or "Lingam of Light". There are said to be twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India although their location is not consistently identified. The Jyotirlingas look like any other Shiva Linga. However, it is believed that a person who has attained a certain degree of spirituality sees these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth.Jyotirlinga are the 12 special shrines dedicated to Shiva since ancient times .

    Significance of greatness of the Jyotirlingas. It goes on to say that by reciting the name of 12 Jyotirlinga a devotee can eliminate all the sins. Besides, the devotee becomes calm, chaste and pure as he becomes illuminated and enlightened with supreme and divine knowledge.

     

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    Legend of Jyotirlinga
                  
     According to a legend of Lingodbhavamurthy narrated in Linga Purana, once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma were fighting to prove who was the Supreme Being. At this point, Lord Shiva appeared as a flaming Linga and challenged the duo to measure the gigantic Linga (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva). Brahma and Vishnu decided to find one end each and declared that whoever returned first would be acknowledged as supreme. Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and went down. Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards. They searched for days but in vain and returned to the starting point exhausted and bewildered. At that moment, the central part of the pillar split open and Shiva revealed himself in his full glory. Brahma and Vishnu realized their mistake and acknowledged Shiva as the Supreme Being.Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity. Hindus believe that a sincere devotee who recites these 12 names regularly in the morning and evening washes all the sins committed in the previous seven births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.

               It is believed that Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to distinguish the appearance, but it is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth after he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment.

     

    Significance of Jyotirlinga: The Puranas vociferously sing the praises of the greatness of the Jyotirlingas. By reciting the name of this, one can eliminate all the sins. The Sadhaka becomes calm, chaste and pure. He becomes illuminated and enlightened with supreme and divine knowledge. The names mentioned for the benefits of all:

    Saurashtra Somnatham Cha Shrishaile Mallikarjunam ||

    Ujjainyam Mahakalomkare Mammaleshwaram ||

    Parlyam Vaijnatham Cha Dakinyam Bheem Shankaram ||

    Setu Bandhe Tu Ramesham Nagesham Daruka Vane ||

    Varanasya Tu Vishwesham Tribakam Gautamitate || 

    Himalaye Tu Kedaram Ghurmesham Cha Shivalaye ||

    Aetani Jyotirlingani Sayam Prataha Pathennaraha ||

    Sapta Janma Kritam Papam Smaranen Vinashyati ||

    One who recites these 12 names regularly in the morning and evening he washes all the sins committed in the previous 7 births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.

    Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra

     

    Sourashtre Somanadham, cha Sri Shaile Mallikarjunam || Ujjayinyam Maha Kalam, Omkaram, Amaleshwaram || Paralyam Vaidyanatham, cha Dakinyam Bhimasankaram || Sethubandhe thu Ramesam, Nagesam thu Darukavane || Varanasyam thu Viswesam, Trayambakam Gouthami thate || Himalaye thu Kedaram, Ghushmesam cha Shivalaye || Ethani Jyothirlingani Sayam Pratha Paden Nara || Saptha Janma Krutham Papam Smaranena Vinasyathi

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    Worshipping a Shivlingam at home 

    Shivling or Shiva lingam connects a devotee with the Supreme Being – Lord Shiva. The lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva and the lingam puja helps the devotee in understanding Lord Shiva. The Lord cannot be described but still we say he is without a beginning and an end and is without a form. It is difficult for a devotee to understand this formless nature. Therefore Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga before Brahma and Vishnu. The Lingam thus is a symbol of Lord Shiva. Each Lingam puja, step by step, takes the devotee to the eternal truth – that he/she is part of the Supreme Being. 

     

    Before starting the Puja, the devotee takes a bath and wear freshly washed clothes. Hymns praising Lord Shiva or the mantra ‘om namaha shivayaa’ are repeated to create a mood for worship. Then, the devotee sits in front of the lingam and blows conch or ring bells. This indicates the beginning of the Puja.

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    First it is the panchamrit abhishek - the libation of five holy liquids over the lingam. The libation can consist of any five of the following – water from river Ganga, honey, sugarcane juice, milk, yogurt, ghee, seawater, coconut water or milk, fragrant oils, rose water or other precious liquids. Usually, only milk of cow is used. While pouring the liquid, om namah shivaya is uttered. Some devotees utter the Lord’s name 108 times and some 1008 times. There is no fixed rule.

     

    After the panchamrit abhishek, the lingam is cleaned with water from Ganga. (This is might not be possible always so just normal water.) After this the lingam is smeared with sandalwood paste and is decked with flowers. Water and sandalwood paste is used to keep the lingam cool, as Lord Shiva is always in a highly inflammable state. In some Shiva temples, cooling liquid constantly drops from pot hung above the Lingam.

     

    Next, sweets, coconut and fruits are offered to the Lord. Camphor and incense are lit and ‘arati’ is conducted. Some devotees fan the lingam and sing praises of the lord. 

     

    Finally, ringing of bells or blowing of conch indicates the end of Puja. White ash (vibhuti) is rubbed on the forehead and it is also distributed. Fruits, sweets and coconut are distributed as ‘prasad.’ Devotee Should take some amount of money , touch this money to his forehead and should ask for wish. After puja this money should be dropped in donation box of any temple.

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    The Story of Arjuna

    “The entire universe appears in the one ocean of cosmic consciousness; in that universe dwell fourteen types of beings. This universe has already had Yama and others as its presiding deities. They have established the tenets of right conduct. However, when the people become predominately sinful, Yama, the god of death, sometimes engages himself in meditation for some years, during which the population increases and explodes.

    The gods, frightened by this population explosion, resort to various devices to reduce it. All this has happened again countless times. The present ruler (Yama) is Vaivasvata. He, too, will have to perform meditation for some time. When, on account of that, the population of the earth will multiply very fast, all the gods will appear to lord Visnu to come to their aid. He will incarnate as lord Krsna, along with his alter ego named Arjuna. His elder brother will be Yudhisthira or the son of Dharma, who will be the embodiment of righteousness. His cousin Duryodhana will fight a duel with Bhima, Arjuna's brother. In this battle between cousins eighteen divisions of armed forces will be killed; and thus will Visnu dispose of the burden on the earth.

    Krsna and Arjuna will play the roles of simple human beings. When Arjuna sees that the armies on both sides are composed of his own kinsmen, he will become despondent and will refuse to fight. At that time, lord Krsna will instruct him on the highest wisdom and bring about a spiritual awakening in him. He will tell Arjuna: “this (self) is neither born nor does it die; it is eternal and is not killed when this body is killed. He who thinks that it kills or that it is killed, he is ignorant. How, why and by whom is this infinite being, which is one without a second and which is subtler than space, destroyed? Arjuna, behold the self which is infinite, unmanifest, eternal and which is of the nature of pure consciousness and untainted. You are unborn and eternal!”

    When the lord will thus instruct Arjuna, the latter will say: “Lord, my delusion is gone. I have attained an awakening of intelligence through your grace.” Arjuna will then engage himself in the conduct of the war, as if in a play.

    Equip yourself with such an attitude. O Rama, and remain unattached, endowed with the spirit of renunciation and with the realization that whatever you do or you experience is an offering to the omnipresent being, Brahman. Then you will realize the truth, and that is the end of all doubts,

    That is the supreme state, it is the guru of all guru,, it is the self, it is the light that illumines the world from within. It is the reality in all substances, that which endows the substances with their essential characteristic. The notion of 'world' arises only when the spirit of inquiry is absent. But, 'I' am before the world was. How then do the notions of world, etc., bind me? He who has thus realized the truth is free from all beginnings and all endings. He who is thus equipped with the spirit of non-duality (as if he is in deep sleep, though awake) is not disturbed though actively engaged in life. Such a person is liberated here and now.

    What appears to be the world here is truly the magic (the work) of the infinite consciousness. There is no unity here, nor is there duality. My instructions, too, are of the same nature! The words, their meaning, the disciple, the wish (or the effort of the disciple) and the guru's ability in the use of the words – all these are also the play of energy of the infinite consciousness! In the peace of one's own inner being, consciousness vibrates and the world-vision arises. If that consciousness does not vibrate, there will be no world-vision.

    The mind is but the movement in consciousness. The non-realization of this truth is world-vision! Non-realization of this truth intensifies and aggravates the movement of thought in consciousness. Thus a cycle is formed. Ignorance and mental activity are perpetuated by each other.

    When the inner intelligence is awakened, the craving for pleasure ceases: this is the nature of the wise. In him this cessation of craving for pleasure is therefore natural and effortless. He knows that it is the energy of the self that experiences the experiences. He who, in order to please the public, refuses to experience what is to be experienced, he indeed beats the air with a stick! One attains self-knowledge by sometimes using appropriate means.

    Desire for liberation interferes with the fullness of the self; absence of such desire promotes bondage! Hence, constant awareness is to be preferred. The sole cause for bondage and liberation is the movement in consciousness. Awareness of this ends this movement. The ego-sense ceases the very moment one observes it, for it has no support any longer. Then who is bound by whom, or who is liberated by whom?

    Such is the nature of the supreme being, which is infinite consciousness. They who are endowed with macrocomsic forms like Brahma the creator, Visnu and Siva, are established in that supreme being; and they function here as the lords or the kings of the world. Established in it, the perfected ones roam the heavens, Having attained it, one does not die nor does one grieve, The sage who dwells even for the twinkling of an eye in that one being, which is of the nature of illimitable and infinite consciousness and which is also known as the supreme self, is not again afflicted, even though he continues to engage himself in the activities of the world.”

     

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    Remolding the Subconscious

    Externalization of awareness results in one layer upon another layer of misunderstanding void of an inner point of reference. We have to reprogram the subconscious to change it, and not worry over the old impressions. We have to make this change in a very dynamic way by always remaining positive. You have heard many people say, "It can't be done," and then go right ahead and prove it by failing. 

     

    Never use the word can't, as it becomes very restrictive to the subconscious. If often used, it becomes almost an incantation. This is not good. As soon as we say, "I can't," all positive doors subconsciously close for us. The flow of pure life force is diminished, the subconscious is confused and we know we are going to fail, so we don't even try. The solution to subconscious confusion is to set a goal for ourselves in the external world and to have a positive plan incorporating meditation daily as a lifestyle within that goal. Through this positive initiative and daily effort in meditation, awareness is centered within. We learn how to disentangle and unexternalize awareness. 

     

    As soon as strong initiative is taken to change our nature toward refinement, a new inner process begins to take place. The forces of positive accomplishment from each of our past lives begin to manifest in this one. The high points of a past life, when something great has happened, become strung together. These merits or good deeds are vibrations in the ether substance of our memory patterns, because each one of us, right now, is a sum total of all previous experience. All of the distractions of the external area of the mind begin to fade, and positive meditation becomes easily attainable. It is not difficult to move our individual awareness quickly within when distractions occur. 

     

    This new pattern of setting goals and meeting them strengthens the will. One such goal is to perform sadhana every day without fail during a morning vigil period of worship, japa, scriptural study and meditation. Daily meditation has to become part of our lifestyle, not just a new something we do or study about. It must become a definite part of us. We have to live to meditate. This is the only way to reach the eventual goal on the path--the realization of the all-pervasive Sivam. Deep meditation takes the power of our spiritual will, which is cultivated through doing everything we do to perfection, through meeting the challenges of our goals, and through its constant expression as we seek to do more than we think we can each day. So, set your spiritual goals according to where you are on the path. Set goals for deeper, more superconscious meditation, for a change of your personality or outer nature, for better service to your fellow man, and for a totally religious lifestyle. 

     

    Goals are generally not used in spiritual life, because the inner mechanism of goal setting is not clearly understood. Dynamic, successful people who go into business for themselves have to have a positive, aggressive plan and keep their lives in a good routine to achieve success. The most prominent among them begin and end each day at a certain time in order to sustain the pressure of the business world. We can and should approach the practice of meditation in a similar way. Like the businessman, we want to succeed in our quest, the only difference being the choice of an inner goal as opposed to the choice of an outer goal, the fulfillment of which entangles us and further externalizes awareness. 

     

    Seeking for Understanding

     

    There is a state of mind in which the sifting-out process of action and reaction is not possible. This is when the subconscious mind is confused. Too many experiences have gone into the subconscious that have not been resolved through understanding. Balancing the subconscious mind is like keeping accounts or balancing books. 

     

    Suppose you have hurriedly put many figures on your ledger. Some of them are correct but a few are not, and others do not belong, so, the books don't balance. You may spend hours over these ledgers, but they won't balance because it is human nature that we do not see our own mistakes. It takes someone else to gently point them out to you. As you quietly sit in concentration over your books, trying to balance them with a deeper understanding, your guru, teacher or friend may walk in the door and in five minutes find the error. You correct it and, like magic, the darkness lifts, the books balance perfectly and you inwardly see your clear white light. The ledger is your subconscious mind, the figures are your experiences, and until you understand them you will remain in darkness, in a state of imbalance. You will not only feel this disharmony, you will be able to see it portrayed as darkness within your body. 

     

    For just as it is your experience which makes up your subconscious state of mind, so it is your subconscious which creates the physical body and makes it look as it does. There are some people skilled enough to look at your face and your body and thereby read what is in your subconscious mind. My spiritual master, Jnanaguru Yogaswami, could look at another's mind, see and understand the nature and intensity of the darkness or light. It is a science only a few are trained in accurately. He knew that the physical body is really created by the sum total of the conflicts and tranquilities within the subconscious state of mind. As man becomes enlightened through cognition, the conflict lessens, giving birth to the dawn after the darker hours. Hence the statement about the third eye, "When the eye becomes single, the whole body shall be filled with light." 

     

     

                          


         Twenty Keys for Spiritual Living in Contemporary Times

     

     

     

      The yamas and niyamas are a common-sense code recorded in the final section of the Vedas, called Upanishads, namely the Shandilya and the Varuha. They are also found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life’s highest aim in the pursuit called yoga.

    Sage Patanjali (ca 200 BCE), raja yoga’s foremost propounder, told us, “These yamas are not limited by class, country, time (past, present or future) or situation. Hence they are called the universal great vows.” Yogic scholar Swami Brahmananda Saraswati revealed the inner science of yama and niyama. They are the means, he said, to control the vitarkas, the cruel mental waves or thoughts, that when acted upon result in injury to others, untruthfulness, hoarding, discontent, indolence or selfishness. He stated, “For each vitarka you have, you can create its opposite through yama and niyama, and make your life successful.”

     

     

      The following paragraphs elucidate the yamas and niyamas. Presented first are the ten yamas, the do not’s, which harness the instinctive nature, with its governing impulses of fear, anger, jealousy, selfishness, greed and lust. Second are illustrated the ten niyamas, the do’s, the religious observances that cultivate and bring forth the refined soul qualities, lifting awareness into the consciousness of the higher chakras of love, compassion, selflessness, intelligence and bliss. Together the yamas and niyamas provide the foundation to support our yoga practice so that attainments in higher consciousness can be sustained.


    The Ten Vedic Restraints, Yama

     

    1. Noninjury, Ahimsa

     

    Practice noninjury, not harming others by thought, word or deed, even in your dreams. Live a kindly life, revering all beings as expressions of the One Divine energy. Let go of fear and insecurity, the sources of abuse. Knowing that harm caused to others unfailingly returns to oneself, live peacefully with God’s creation. Never be a source of dread, pain or injury. Follow a vegetarian diet.

     

    2. Truthfulness, Satya

     

    Adhere to truthfulness, refraining from lying and betraying promises. Speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Knowing that deception creates distance, don’t keep secrets from family or loved ones. Be fair, accurate and frank in discussions, a stranger to deceit. Admit your failings. Do not engage in slander, gossip or backbiting. Do not bear false witness against another.

     

    3. Nonstealing, Asteya

     

    Uphold the virtue of nonstealing, neither thieving, coveting nor failing to repay debt. Control your desires and live within your means. Do not use borrowed resources for unintended purposes or keep them past due. Do not gamble or defraud others. Do not renege on promises. Do not use others’ names, words, resources or rights without permission and acknowledgement.

     

    4. Divine Conduct, Brahmacharya

     

    Practice divine conduct, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single and faithful in marriage. Before marriage, use vital energies in study, and after marriage in creating family success. Don’t waste the sacred force by promiscuity in thought, word or deed. Be restrained with the opposite sex. Seek holy company. Dress and speak modestly. Shun pornography, sexual humor and violence.

     

    5. Patience, Kshama

     

    Exercise patience, restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Be agreeable. Let others behave according to their nature, without adjusting to you. Don’t argue, dominate conversations or interrupt others. Don’t be in a hurry. Be patient with children and the elderly. Minimize stress by keeping worries at bay. Remain poised in good times and bad.

     

    6. Steadfastness, Dhriti

     

    Foster steadfastness, overcoming nonperseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness. Achieve your goals with a prayer, purpose, plan, persistence and push. Be firm in your decisions. Avoid sloth and procrastination. Develop willpower, courage and industriousness. Overcome obstacles. Never carp or complain. Do not let opposition or fear of failure result in changing strategies.

     

    7. Compassion, Daya

     

    Practice compassion, conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. See God everywhere. Be kind to people, animals, plants and the Earth itself. Forgive those who apologize and show true remorse. Foster sympathy for others’ needs and suffering. Honor and assist those who are weak, impoverished, aged or in pain. Oppose family abuse and other cruelties.

     

    8. Honesty, Arjava

     

    Maintain honesty, renouncing deception and wrongdoing. Act honorably even in hard times. Obey the laws of your nation and locale. Pay your taxes. Be straightforward in business. Do an honest day’s work. Do not bribe or accept bribes. Do not cheat, deceive or circumvent to achieve an end. Be frank with yourself. Face and accept your faults without blaming them on others.

     

     


    9. Moderate Appetite, Mitahara

     

    Be moderate in appetite, neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. Enjoy fresh, wholesome vegetarian foods that vitalize the body. Avoid junk food. Drink in moderation. Eat at regular times, only when hungry, at a moderate pace, never between meals, in a disturbed atmosphere or when upset. Follow a simple diet, avoiding rich or fancy fare.

     

    10. Purity, Saucha

     

    Uphold the ethic of purity, avoiding impurity in mind, body and speech. Maintain a clean, healthy body. Keep a pure, uncluttered home and workplace. Act virtuously. Keep good company, never mixing with adulterers, thieves or other impure people. Keep away from pornography and violence. Never use harsh, angered or indecent language. Worship devoutly. Meditate daily.

     

    The Ten Vedic Practices, Niyama 

     

    1. Remorse, Hri

     

    Allow yourself the expression of remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds. Recognize your errors, confess and make amends. Sincerely apologize to those hurt by your words or deeds. Resolve all contention before sleep. Seek out and correct your faults and bad habits. Welcome correction as a means to bettering yourself. Do not boast. Shun pride and pretension.

     

    2. Contentment, Santosha

     

    Nurture contentment, seeking joy and serenity in life. Be happy, smile and uplift others. Live in constant gratitude for your health, your friends and your belongings, Don’t complain about what you don’t possess. Identify with the eternal You, rather than mind, body or emotions. Keep the mountaintop view that life is an opportunity for spiritual progress. Live in the eternal now.

     

    3. Giving, Dana

     

    Be generous to a fault, giving liberally without thought of reward. Tithe, offering one-tenth of your gross income (dashamamsha), as God’s money, to temples, ashrams and spiritual organizations. Approach the temple with offerings. Visit gurus with gifts in hand. Donate religious literature. Feed and give to those in need. Bestow your time and talents without seeking praise. Treat guests as God.

     

    4. Faith, Astikya

     

    Cultivate an unshakable faith. Believe firmly in God, Gods, guru and your path to enlightenment. Trust in the words of the masters, the scriptures and traditions. Practice devotion and sadhana to inspire experiences that build advanced faith. Be loyal to your lineage, one with your satguru. Shun those who try to break your faith by argument and accusation. Avoid doubt and despair.

     

    5. Worship, Ishvara-Pujana

     

    Cultivate devotion through daily worship and meditation. Set aside one room of your home as God’s shrine. Offer fruit, flowers or food daily. Learn a simple puja and the chants. Meditate after each puja. Visit your shrine before and after leaving the house. Worship in heartfelt devotion, clearing the inner channels to God, Gods and guru so their grace flows toward you and loved ones.

     

    6. Scriptural Listening, Siddhanta Shravana

     

    Eagerly hear the scriptures, study the teachings and listen to the wise of your lineage. Choose a guru, follow his path and don’t waste time exploring other ways. Read, study and, above all, listen to readings and dissertations by which wisdom flows from knower to seeker. Avoid secondary texts that preach violence. Revere and study the revealed scriptures, the Vedas and Agamas.

     

    7. Cognition, Mati

     

    Develop a spiritual will and intellect with your satguru’s guidance. Strive for knowledge of God, to awaken the light within. Discover the hidden lesson in each experience to develop a profound understanding of life and yourself. Through meditation, cultivate intuition by listening to the still, small voice within, by understanding the subtle sciences, inner worlds and mystical texts.

     

    8. Sacred Vows, Vrata

     

    Embrace religious vows, rules and observances and never waver in fulfilling them. Honor vows as spiritual contracts with your soul, your community, with God, Gods and guru. Take vows to harness the instinctive nature. Fast periodically. Pilgrimage yearly. Uphold your vows strictly, be they marriage, monasticism, nonaddiction, tithing, loyalty to a lineage, vegetarianism or nonsmoking.

     

    9. Recitation, Japa

     

    Chant your holy mantra daily, reciting the sacred sound, word or phrase given by your guru. Bathe first, quiet the mind and concentrate fully to let japa harmonize, purify and uplift you. Heed your instructions and chant the prescribed repetitions without fail. Live free of anger so that japa strengthens your higher nature. Let japa quell emotions and quiet the rivers of thought.

     

    10. Austerity, Tapas

     

    Practice austerity, serious disciplines, penance and sacrifice. Be ardent in worship, meditation and pilgrimage. Atone for misdeeds through penance (prayashchitta), such as 108 prostrations or fasting. Perform self-denial, giving up cherished possessions, money or time. Fulfill severe austerities at special times, under a satguru’s guidance, to ignite the inner fires of self-transformation.

     

     

    All prayers, to be of any value, must have this horizon-widening effect. The Lord's Prayer, for instance, is a series of mantras all of which, properly expressed, would be trisyllables, the triads inte-penetrating to form a design relating the microcosm to the macrocosm. The first triad, "Father in Heaven," establishes this relationship, stating, in effect, that man's consciousness is linked to the universal consciousness (the Father in Heaven). The second, "Hallowed be Thy Name," introduces the wish that the goal of attainment of higher consciousness might be regarded by men as a lofty and holy one. The third and fourth are further developments of this wish. The fifth, "Give us bread," relates to the generation in the body of the high energy-substances on which the development of higher levels of consciousness depends. It is "daily bread" because it must be renewed daily. The sixth and seventh triads, "Lead us not into Temptation," and "Deliver us from Evil," have so many meanings that it would be out of place to go into them here. They refer to certain traps or catches which divert the inner work from its proper ends.

    So the Lord's Prayer, correctly uttered and understood, is a mantra of great power and can be used as such for the purposes of quietening destructive thought processes that have taken hold of the mind. It will be effective only if the significance of each of its component triads is borne in mind so that energies employed in negative imagination, self-pity, self-reproach or self-justification are diverted from these useless activities into creative channels.

    The Buddhist mantra, "AUM MANE PADME HUM," can also be used as a basis for repetition by those who prefer "Buddhist" forms to "Christian" ones. (These religious tags are meaningless to one who thinks in terms of Creative Psychology.) The mantra is harmonized with the breathing, the outbreath corresponding to the "AUM," the inbreath to the "HUM." The significance of the mantric syllables is held in the mind. The "AUM," on the cosmic scale, symbolizes the process of outflowing, differentiation, the octave of becoming, progress from one to many, the Dancing Shiva, the Day of Brahma. The "HUM" on the cosmic scale stands for the octave of reunification, the indrawing, progress from many to one, the Meditating Shiva, the "Night of Brahma." The two words, "MANE" and "PADME" (generally translated as "the jewel in the lotus"), symbolize two states of being, nirvana and samsara, and enshrine the principle that, to the fourth state of consciousness, which is beyond dualism and the pairs of opposites, nirvana and samsara are one. 

     

     

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