Tuesday, 30 August 2011

four principal kingdoms


Practical steps to spirituality- section 1 part 32
Gnana yoga- path of knowledge - part 5

Vedanta   goes  from  the known  to the unknown  to  explain  the  concept  of  God.. It  approaches  God  in  a  methodical  and  systematic  way.. It   tries  to  bridge  the  difference  between  man  and God.  Vedanta  gives   you  the  material  to study  and contemplate  and  experience  the  truths  contained   in  the  sastras.  Vedanta  gives  you  the knowledge  to  discover  your  real   Self.  Vedanta  starts  with  the  study  of  the  world.

The  world  consists  of  four  principal   kingdoms  : :the  mineral , the  plant ,  the  animal  and  human  being. .The  mineral   is  inert  matter  with  no  life  in  it..  Though  matter  also  undergoes  changes  and  claims  to  have  traces  of  life  in  it  ,it  is  very  negligible  and  hence  taken  to be lifeless. .The  plant  kingdom  shows  signs  of  life  and  activity. but  its  movement  is  restricted  to  one  place..  The  animals  are more  developed   than  plants.  . They  can  move  from  one  place  to another.

Human  beings  are  the most  evolved .  One  unique  characteristic  of  human  beings  and  that  which  also  differentiates    human  beings  from  the other   three,  is  the  faculty  of  reasoning  . Human  beings  are  given  the  power  to  discriminate  and  only  they  have  the  power  to  choose.  Animals  are  programmed    to  act  in  an  instinctive  way.  A  tiger  cannot  become  a  vegetarian  nor  a cow  a  non- vegetarian.. Only  humans  can   have  goals  .Only  they  have  the  faculty  of  self  effort  and  can  think  of  God 

We  have  already  seen  the  five  types  of  humans  namely:     the  mineral  person,  the vegetable  person  , the  animal  person  ,the human  person  and  the  God  person.  It  is  the God  person   who  shifts  his  focus  from  the  terrestrial  world  to  the  transcendental   Reality.. As  he  evolves  spiritually  he  recognises  the  divinity  everywhere.  Wherever  he  is , he  radiates  peace, harmony    love  and  happiness.

to be continued......

Monday, 29 August 2011

the passive and aggressive


Practical steps to spirituality- section 1 - part  31

Gnana yoga- path of knowledge - part 4

The  study  of   and  reflection  on   the  truths of   vedanta    give some more  benefits.  .It  makes  your  intellect  sharp and strong. . You  are  no  longer  governed  by the mind. The  ignorant  complain  that  there is  injustice  and inequity  in  the  world. and  that  the  dishonest    prosper   while  the honest  suffer. This is  because  the intellect   is   weak  and   so   you   suffer. The  solution  lies  in  strengthening  the  intellect   so that  you can  deal with  the  vicious  persons.

The  nature  of  human beings  can  be  classified  into  two, the  passive  and  aggressive. Both  can  yet again   be   divided  into   the good  and  the  bad.  So you have  the  passive  good  and  passive  bad, and  the  aggressive  good  and  aggressive  bad. . The  aggressive  uses    his  intellect  and  power  of  discrimination , whereas  the passive  work  from  the level  of  the mind  and does   everything  mechanically.

A  passive   bad person  lives  an  immoral  life  . He  does  not  care  to  examine  why  he is  so. . A  passive  good  person  is  just  habituated  to  do  good   and  to lead a moral  life  and does  not examine  why he is  so.  An  aggressive  bad  person  uses  his  intellect  to  plan  and  execute   his  actions.  So he  is  more  powerful  than  the  passive  good and  bad . He  uses them  for  his  personal  gains.. Duryodhana  was  a perfect  example  of  aggressive  badness. . The  aggressive  good   person's  intentions  are always  good  and  he  leads  a virtuous  life.. Just  one  aggressive  good  person , who  is  selfless  , can  bring  about  a  great  change  in  society.  Arjuna  was  an example  of    aggressive  goodness. In  modern  times   Mahatma  Gandhi   and  in  recent  times  Anna  Hazare   can  be  taken  as  examples  of  aggressive  goodness.

The  knowledge  of  vedanta  will    make  you  an  aggressive  good  person.  This  knowledge  helps  you  to develop   a  powerful   intellect  , see   the difference  between  the good  and  the  bad  and    to  face  the  aggressive  bad  elements  in  society.  Some  think  vedanta  is  abstract   and   not   connected  to  the  real  facts  of  life.  This  subject  like  all other  sciences  has  to  be  studied   systematically.  using  logic  and  reasoning.  With  this knowledge  one  deals  with  life  from  the  level  of  the  intellect  and  not  from  the  level  of  the  mind.

to be continued......

Sunday, 28 August 2011

bebefits of Self knowledge


Practical steps to spirituality- section 1 part 30

Gnana yoga- path of knowledge- part 3

Let us see the  purpose  of gaining  this  knowledge.. This  knowledge helps  you   realize  your   highest   goal in life., the  highest  goal   is  Self  realization. .This  knowledge  gives you  Moksha.. It can be defined  as  freedom  from   dependence  or  bondage.  Anything  in  creation  can create  bondage  in two  ways. . When  an object or  being    is present   in  your life , its presence  in your life  can create  stress and strain  .The absence  of  an object  or being  in your life  creates  emptiness , a void,, loneliness.. The  presence  or absence  creates  problems in your life.

The knowledge  of   vedanta   solves  this  problem.  This knowledge  takes  you    to  a state  where the  presence  or absence  of objects  or people  does  not  affect  you  at all  . This  is the  freedom  we are talking  about. . This  inner  freedom  gives  you  the  serenity    to accept   the  things  you  cannot  change in  your  life.  You  accept   cheerfully  the choiceless  situations  in  your  life. You  have  the  courage  to  change  the  things  you  can  and  you    have  the wisdom  to know  the  difference  between   what  can  be  changed  and   what   cannot  be  changed.. You  remain  peaceful   under all situations.

Some  other  benefits  from this knowledge..are  , you   realise   that  pain   and   pleasure  are not  per se   in the  object or beings  .It  is  a subjective  feeling  depending  on how  you  relate  to the  world.  So  you  are  neither   disturbed  or  excited  by  the  events  in  your  life.  You  also  understand  that  you  donot  derive  happiness  from  the  world    but   that,  happiness    happens  to be  within  you.  .You  become  objective  and you   develop   the  quality  of  being  a witness  , a  sakshi,  to   all   that    happens   in and  around  your  life.

to  be  continued......

Saturday, 27 August 2011

sravana, manana and nidhidhyasana

                HARI OM  

Practical steps to spirituality -  section - 1 part 29

Gnana yoga- path of knowledge  part -2

As a spiritual  seeker , you  have to keep two things  in  mind  before  you  acquire  knowledge. You  must  be  aware  of  your ignorance  regarding  the   spiritual  aspects  of  life. You  must  be ready  to receive  knowledge  with an  open  mind.. The  next  important  thing   is  to understand  the importance  of using  your  reasoning  faculty.

The  ancient  sages  gained  this knowledge   through  their  own  efforts, through  their  own reflection  and  contemplation. You  have  to study  the scriptures, analyse  the  teachings   logically  and  see  how  these can be applied  in your  life. You    must  accept  only  those  that  are reasonable   and  logical.. Only  then  you can  make  this  knowledge  your own  by  experiencing  the  truth, otherwise  it will remain  only  a belief.

The  scriptures  say  you  have  to get  a knowledge  of  your  Self.   You  already  have some  knowledge  of  yourself.  You  have  a bio-data ,your  date of  birth,  your  parents ' names  , your  educational  qualifications  etc. These  are  only  details  of  your  superficial  personality.  There  is an  I  beyond  your  body , mind and  intellect, beyond  the superficial  personality.  The  essential  nature  of  the I  has  to  be  studied-the  essential  nature  of  the I  is  Atman/Self.. Its  nature  is  sat  ,chit  ,ananda  swaroopa-meaning  ,existence, knowledge  and  bliss.

You  have  to go  deeper  into  your  personality  layers  and  discover  the Self  within. Even  as  you  are  in this  path  of  knowledge, you  gain  freedom, peace  and happiness.  You  realise  that  the  real  source  of happiness lies within you.  You  stop  indulging  in  material  pursuits. You  stop  searching  for  happiness  in the external  world . The  knowledge  of the  Self   becomes  very   important  for you.   You can  gain  this  knowledge  through  sravana-listening to ,manana- reflecting  on , and  nidhidhyasana-meditating  on the  eternal  truths.

to be continued.....

Friday, 26 August 2011

gnana yoga - path of knowledge


 Practical  steps  to spirituality- section 1 part 28

 Gnana yoga - the path of knowledge - part - 1

The path of knowledge is for the intellectually inclined who wants to find an answer to 'who is god', 'is there a causeless cause', 'who created this world', 'what is the relationship between the world and god', 'who am I' and 'what is my relationship with god' etc

God is introduced as the first cause of everything, he is believed to be the creator of the world. Some believe him to be a personal God with a form, some others believe him to be an impersonal God without form. The concept of God is just taken for granted and everything else being explained based on this.

Vedanta's approach is different. It tries to explain everything from the known to the unknown.God is an unknown factor and the origin of the world is another unknown factor. So the unknown factor of the origin of the world cannot be explained by God - another unknown factor. Vedanta only serves as a pointer to indicate God, the knowledge of this world cannot take you to the knowledge of God. But one can reach this knowledge of God only through the knowledge of the world. It takes you to the subtlest terrestrial experience. It is still not accepted as the final truth. One has to experience it subjectively to accept that as the truth. Vedantic knowledege helps one to go beyond this knowledge, purify the mind, make the mind contemplative and meditative. In meditation one realizes the self.

So one starts with the study of the world which is a known factor. The human species my be classified under five heads: the mineral man who is extremely selfish, vegetable man who extends his love to his own family only, animal man who includes his own people from his own caste creed and community, the human man who is far less selfish and the God man who has absolute peace bliss and universal love. The only mission in your life is to rise to the level of the God man and spread love, peace and happiness everywhere and to every being and to realize your divine nature.

A man with spiritual knowledge rises from being a mere physical sensual person to an emotional person, to a intellectual person and finally to a spiritual person. Man is steeped in ignorance regarding his own self. He is only interested in gaining material wealth and indulgences in the senses. As he starts acquiring spiritual knowledge, he moves from his limited goal of acquiring wealth and gratification of his senses to the joys of the  mind. As he acquires more spiritual knowledge, he moves from the emotional level to the intellectual level wherein he develops intellectual awareness and clarity of thought. When his doubts are cleared in his spiritual quest and his knowledge is clear, this takes him to the knowledge of the Supreme Self.

To be continued ...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 27

Bhakti  Yoga- path  of  devotion. -part  11

The  last  verse , of chapter 9 of  the  Bhagavad Gita ,  gives  a practical  advice  to  spiritual  seekers  to unite  the  individual  Self  with  the  Supreme  Self. 1. Fix  your  mind on  ". Me". Your  mind is  either  in the past or the future , never in the present. The  intellect  must control  the mind and direct it  to the thought of the Self.and  it  must be busy studying  the scriptures.This  is  a discipline  at  the intellectual level..

2. Be  devoted to "Me". Instead  of wasting your  energy  in indulging  in the pleasures of the  world, develop  devotion  to God. This  is  a discipline  at the  emotional level. . The  mind becomes  compassionate  and charitable.

3. Sacrifice. - . surrender  all actions to " Me " and  do them  for My  sake. a discipline  at the physical level.. A seeker  performs  all  his  obligatory  duties for His sake

4.Bow  down  to" Me. ". You  surrender your  ego also  to  the  lord and  your  surrender  is  complete. . There  will be  no more  thought of  i,me or mine., instead  you will say  "thy will be  done" This  is a discipline  at the ego level.. Continue  practicing  your  spiritual  disciplines  at  all  levels  and realise  your  divine  nature.
The  three disciplines  will  help  you  to free your  mind  from its  attachments. When  you  attach yourself  to  a higher  goal ,  simultaneously   a  detachment   from the lower  takes  place. . That  seeker  will  have  love  for all  and will have  no hatred  for anyone.

All  through the Gita ,   Krishna   uses  the  word "Me". It refers  to the  Supreme  Self within.  If it  were  to refer  to  the  avatara  purusha  Krishna only,  the  Gita  would  lose  its  universal  message.

Hanuman , the greatest  bhakta  of  Lord  Rama, even   today  stands  as the  symbol  of  the ultimate  in devotion. Hanuman  gave  an explanation of  his  devotion  to Rama and  his  relationship to  Him  thus:
From  the  stand point  of  my  body,  I am Your  servant.
From  the standpoint  of my  mind  ,I am  a part  of  You
From  the  stand point  of  my  Self  , You  and I  are  one!!!.

With this  we  have  concluded  the  path of  bhakti   and  the  coming  pages  will deal  with  gnana  yoga.

to be  continued......

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 26

Bhakti Yoga-path of  devotion-part 10

In  the  Bhagavad  Gita,  chapter  9  verse  ,Lord  Krishna  promises  that  those  who worship  Him  thinking of  nothing else, that those  who  seek  union  with  God,  He  grants  them  yoga and kshema.   Those who  worship  Him  , who  have given  up  all   other  thoughts  and attachments  to the world  and  surrendered  to Him,   those  whose  constant  thought  is  that of  the  lord,  those  whose  only  goal  is  to  merge  with  God,  to them  Krishna  promises  that  He  will  take  care  of them  and  bless them  with  yoga  and kshema.

Everyone  in  this  world  is  running  after  wealth  and  enjoyment  from  the  external  world.  Only  two  things  motivate  him  -to  acquire  wealth  and  preserve  what  he has  acquired.   Krishna  promises  to  his  sincere  devotees   that  He  will provide  them   with  what  they  want  and  also  preserve  what  they  have  gained. Yoga  from  a higher  point  of  view  may  also  mean  a commitment  to  the  highest  goal  and  be  established  in  yoga   -union  with  the  Self  and  while   they  are   on  this  path   to reach  kshema-  the  bliss  of  realisation.

In  the  most  important  verse  of  the  entire  Gita  verse  66  of  chapter 18 , Lord  Krishna  says  surrender  all  your  dharmas  to  God,  take  refuge  in  Him  , He  will  liberate  you  from  all  sins  and  grief. . The  word  dharma  in  this  context  may  mean  giving  up  your  individuality.  Each  individual has  an  individuality  of  his  own.. You  are  what  your  vasanas  ,your  thoughts ,your  desires and  actions  are. . Krishna  tells  you  to  give  up  all   your  attachments  to your  perceptions  and  actions,  your  feelings and  emotions,  your  thoughts  and  ideas.  . Give  up these  attachments  and  meditate  on  the supreme  Self  with  a single  pointed  devotion  and  He  will  destroy  all your  sins  and  vasanas.  He  advises  you  not  to grieve .  Give  up  the  anxiety  over  the  fruits  of  your  actions  and  give  up  even  the  anxiety  over  the  final  merger  with  God.  Surrender  to  Him  totally.  He will  take  care  of  you.  . That  is  a promise  from  the  Lord.

to be continued......

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 25

Bhakti  Yoga-path of  devotion -part 9

The  topic  on  vishvaroopa  darshan  of   the   lord  is  being  continued. 
The  crown , on  Lord  Vishnu's  head , shows  His  lordship  over  the  world. He is  described  as  having  four  hands.  In them  He has  a conch(sankha), a disc-sword(cakra), a mace (gada), and  the  lotus(padma). The  lotus  stands  for  peace  and  bliss  which  one  attains  on self  realisation. The  conch  calls   each  human  being  to go  forward  to attain  that  goal. It  is  a wake  up  call  to  everyone  to  hear  to  one's  inner  conscience,  to  one's  own  higher  nature  and values. If  he  fails  to  hear  to  that  higher  call , he  gets  knocks  and shocks  from  the  world. This  is  represented  by  the mace. If a person  still fails  to  heed  the  warning , which  comes  in  the   form of  pain  and  suffering , but    continues  to indulge  in  sensual  pleasures,  he  brings  about  his  own  destruction.  This  is  represented  by  the  the  lord's  disc-sword..

Arjuna  is  terrified  by  the  lord's  fierce  form  and  wants  to know  who  He  really  is.. Krishna  says  He  is  time , which  consumes  everything. , that  everything  is  destroyed  in  time. The  whole  world  is  created  by  causation,  maintained  in  space  and  destroyed  in  time.

Arjuna  was  given   a special  privilege  to see  God  in  this  form . Arjuna's  single  pointed   devotion   to Krishna   made  it  possible  for  him  to  get  the  lord's  grace  and see His cosmic  form.. .Lord Krishna  tells  Arjuna  that  none  has  seen  this  form.. krishna  through  His  yogic  powers  made  it  possible  for  Arjuna  to  see  His  cosmic  form.

to be continued......

Monday, 22 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 24

Bhakti Yoga-path of  devotion-part -8

In  the 10th  chapter  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita,  Krishna  showed  His  omnipresence , His  immanence in the  world.  and  His  divine  glories.  In the 11th chapter  , the  yoga  of the vision  of  the  cosmic  form- vishvaroopa  darshan,  Arjuna  wants  to  see  the  various  manifestations   of  the  lord  in  one  form.

Arjuna  bows  down  in  reverence  to the  form  of  Krishna  with  joined  palms. The  act  of  joining  the palms  together   and  bowing  down  in  reverence  is  called  namskara. . The individual  is  represented  by  the  palms.  the base  of  the  palms  stand  for  atman  the  Self  and  the  five  fingers  stand  for  the five  sheaths(coverings) in a human body. (The five  sheaths  will be  discussed in later  pages. )

Joining  the  palms  symbolises   the  underlying  divinity  in  each  individual. So  this  act   of  namaskara, is done  to greet  one another with  respect.  It  is  not  in  our  tradition  to greet  by  shaking  hands  and  saying  hello. The  next  time  you  answer  a call  or  meet  someone  say  namaste  or  Hari  om

In  the  vishvaroopa  of  the  lord  , Arjuna  sees  Brhama  , the  creator  and His  creations .  This shows  that Brhaman  , the  absolute  ,is  all pervading.  Arjuna  sees  an  endless form  everywhere  without  beginning  middle  or end. Lord  Krishna , is  an  incarnation  of  Lord  Vishnu, who  is  one  of  the  trinities,  the other  two  being  Brhama  and  Shiva.   Brhama  is  the  god  of  creation,  Vishnu  the god  of  maintenance and Shiva  that  of  destruction. They  represent  the   three powers  present  in the  world , that  of  creation, maintenance  and  destruction.

Arjuna   also  sees  the  terrifying   form  of  the  lord.  He   is  terrified  and  loses  his  courage  and  peace.  Arjuna  wants  to  know   the  nature  of    this  primeval  Being .

to be  continued......

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 23

Bhakti Yoga -path  of  devotion-part 7

Lord  Krishna  declares , in verse  no 26 of  chapter 9  of the Bhagavad  Gita , that  whosoever  with devotion  offers Him  a leaf, a flower, a  fruit or  water  He accepts  these  offerings . A true  bhakta approaches  God with  devotion  and  puts  forth  all  his  efforts  to reach  Him.   The  offerings  of  a leaf, a flower,  a fruit  or water  signify  that   everything  belongs to  Him and  all our  offerings  are actually  His  only. This  helps  develop an  attitude  of surrender  and  devotion..

A  leaf  represents action, a flower  some  of  your  vasanas  and  desires, a fruit  represents  all your  vasanas and desires  put  together. ,water  represents    the    offering  of  the. physical  body .In  the spiritual  path you  have  to  put in  your  own  efforts  at  the  physical , mental   and  intellectual  levels  along  with  devotion. This  is  what  is meant   when  He  says  He accepts  our  offerings.

Whatever  you  eat, offer  it  mentally  to  the lord  before  you  eat, whatever  you do , whatever spiritual  practices  you  undertake , do them  as  offerings to  the  lord. Doing  daily  puja at  home, visiting  temples  , going  on  pilgrimages, chanting  the  Lord's  names, doing  japa  , joining  satsangs , performing  yajnas, daana-giving  away gifts  , tapa - taking  to austerities  are all not  end  in themselves. They  help  purify  your  heart and mind  and to grow  spiritually  and  prepare  you  for  the final  merger  with God. Do them  all as  offerings  to the Lord. .

Devotion  is  not  a part-time affair. It is  a constant  awareness  of  the  divinity . Today  is  Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's  birthday. Whatever  you  offer  today  to the Lord  , offer that  with shraddha  and  devotion. Festivals  are  reminders  of  the  divinity   within  you..Krishna's  message  is  love. Even  the  slightest  hatred  for  any being   give up that,  fill your  heart with  love  for  all beings.  Spread  the message  of  love  and  goodwill  to  all.

to be continued......

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 22

Bhakti  Yoga  - path of  devotion  -part 6

In  the  tenth  chapter  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita, the  yoga  of    supreme  manifestation , Arjuna wants  Lord  Krishna  to  give  a list  of  his  manifestations, His divine  glories, His  manifestations, and  in what  all aspects one  should  meditate  upon  Him.  Krishna  says He  is  the  best, the  highest, and  the greatest  in everything.  He is  everywhere  and  is in  everything.  He is  the  Self  in  all.. God  is  the  substratum of  all beings  even  as  gold  is  the  substratum  of  ornaments.

Arjuna  needed  the  spectacular  expressions  of  God's glories  to  visualise God. The  list  of  His  divine  glories  help  the  ordinary  devotee  to  understand  His  greatness. Though  God  is  omnipresent, few  are  able  to see him   in the  ordinary  things  of  life. The  extraordinary  expressions of  His  manifestations easily  attract  the human  mind. Generally  a devotee is  aroused  spiritually   only  by  visiting  temples  for  a darshan  at  Tirupati  or Vaishno devi.  Some advanced  seekers  need  only   to see the  Nayagara  water falls or  the  snow  capped  mountains  of  Switzerland  to  visualise God.  A very  advanced   spiritual  seeker ,  that   Wordsworth   was , could  go  into  raptures  by  the  mere  sight  of the  daffodils.

Here  are  a few  from  the long  list  of  His  glories  as  given  out  by  Krishna. " of  Adityas  I am  Vishnu ,of  all bright  things   I  am  the Sun  , I am  moon  among  all  stars . I am  the  Sama  veda  among  the  four  vedas.  Among  rudras  I am  Sankara., Of  speech   I am  OM , Of  yajnas  I  am  japa  yajna . I am  the   everlasting  time . I am  the  Gayathri  of  metres. I  am  the  silence  of  secrets . Of  creations  I am  the  beginning , the  middle  and the end.  Of  knowledge  I  am  knowledge  of  Self."

Lord  Krishna  says  there  is no  end  to His  manifestations . The  universe  is just a  small  expression   of  His  glories. One  has  to go  beyond  and  know  the  transcendental  Being  and  His  infinitude.

to be  continued.....

Friday, 19 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 21

Bhakti Yoga- path of devotion- part  5

In  the 7th  chapter of  the  Bhagavad  Gita , Lord  Krishna tells  Arjuna  that  there  are  four kinds  of  people  who  worship Him. They  are 1. the  arta , who is  in  sorrow   and  has a disturbed mind and  who wants to be free  from  distress .2.The  artharthi, one  who  is a seeker  of  wealth  and  who wants  to fulfill all his  physical  desires.3. The  jignasu, a seeker  of  knowledge  and  who  wants  to  fulfill  his  intellectual  desires. 4. jnani ,the wise.

The  first  three  worship  God  as a means . They  have  no  desires  to  change  themselves  for  the  better nor  to grow  spiritually.They are extroverts and  they  pray  to God for  mundane things . They  pursue  happiness  through  wealth,  mental  solace  and  knowledge and  so worship limited  gods / goals. Krishna  says whatever  they  worship, He  makes their  faith  steadfast  to attain  their   limited  goals / gods.

The jnani, the  fourth, is  different  from the  other  three  in  as much  as, for  him  god  is his  goal . His goal  is  to  merge  with   God.  He  has  two  qualities, he  is  ever  steadfast , which  is  an  intellectual  discipline  and  he  has  a single  pointed  devotion  ,which  is  a mental  discipline. Both  the intellect  and  the mind  must  come  together  in  the pursuit  of  God  realization.   God  realization  is  like  the  river  losing  its  individuality and merging  with the ocean. The  lord  says  that  He  is  dear  to the  jnani  and  the jnani  is  dear  to  Him.

A  very  small number  of  people ,  who turn  to God  and  become  spiritual, have  the  goal   to become  one  with Him. Even  among  the  few  who  have  this  goal,  a rare  one  finally  merges  with God  at  the  end  of  many   lives. Krishna  refers  to  them  as  His  devotees and  they  only  qualify  as  true  devotees  of   God.

to be continued.....

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 20

Bhakti  Yoga - path of  devotion  -part 4

Bhakti  is  devotion to God . What  is God  who is  the  object  of  your  devotion?  Sastras  give    three  definitions  of  God  depending  upon  the  maturity  of  the  seeker.

For  a beginner  - this   well  designed  wonderful   and  purposeful  world  must  have  an intelligent  being  behind it. So you  visualise  Him  as a  personal  God  with  a name  and  form  as  Rama  and Krishna  etc. You  visualise  Him  as  eka  roopa   Iswara  with  a specific  form .

 As  you  mature , you  are  given   the  second  definition. God  is  the  creator  of  this  world.  In that  case  what  is  the  raw  material  he  uses  to create  this  world?  Scientists  say  before  Big  bang  not  even  space or  time was there. God  Himself  happens  to  be  the  very  raw  material  out  of  which  the  world  is  created.

The  analogy  sastras   give  is that  of  a spider.  The  spider  creates  a web  out  of  itself  and  dissolves  it unto  itself . Similarly  God  creates  the world  out  of  Himself  and  becomes  the  world.. This  is viswa  roopa  Iswara . God  is  everywhere. To  have  his  darshan  you  don't  have  to go  searching  for him  in particular  places

Once  you grow  more  mature ,  you are  ready  for  the  third  definition.  God  did not  become  the  world  ,He  appears  as  the  world. If  He  has  become  the  world   you cannot  explain  the  presence  of  evil  in  the  world. God  appears  as the  world  with  different  forms  but  not  affected  by  the  forms  in  which He   appears. He  is  the  substratum  of  all forms  which  He  transcends.  He  is  formless, that  God  is  aroopa  Iswara.

So  one  graduates  from  a personal  God  to  a  universal  God  and  finally  to  a  formless  God . One  who  accepts  a formless God , continues  to  worship  God  as  personal  or  universal. Adi  sankara  , the  greatest  advaitin , could  happily  worship  God  in  any  form. 
to be  continued.....

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 19

Bhakti  Yoga - path  of  devotion - part 3

1.Lord  Krishna enumerates  four  steps  for a bhakta  to reach  his final  destination.   The highest  sadhana  or path  is  meditation.  Meditation  is  a single  pointed concentration  upon  a mantra  to the  exclusion of  any  other thought  and after  a while  the mantra  is  chanted  in whispers,  which also  stops   finally  and there  is   only  silence  , there are no thoughts. In  the silence  one becomes  one with  the self.

2. The above  practice  can be  successful  only  if  the mind  is  peaceful and calm. The  mind  can  be made  peaceful  and calm  only  if    you   have   reduced    your  desires  and  reducing  desires  is  possible  only   if  you  have  gone  through  all the three   spiritual   disciplines  of  karma  yoga, bakti yoga  , and gnana  yoga. .  So for  those  who are  not  able  to concentrate  and  meditate, Lord Krishna  gives  an easier  step , that  of   continuing   the  practice  of    meditation and  go back  to the spiritual  practices  of  the three yogas  mentioned above..

3. A much   more  easier  step  is  given , for those  who are not  able  to do  even  the  2 nd step ,  that  of  surrendering  all your  actions  to  the Lord.  .You  function   according   to  the will   of  God.

4. If  you  are  not  able  to do even  the above  , the easiest  step  is given, that  of  giving up  all expectations  of  the  fruit  of  your  actions. Keeping  in  mind   self  realisation  as  your  goal., you  may  fulfill all your  desires  but  give  up  the  expectations  of  the  fruits  of  your  actions.. In due  course  of  time  a bhakta  moves  from the  4th step  to the  3rd step  and onto  the  second  and finally    meditate  on the  formless  Reality  and  realise  God.

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 18

Bhakti  Yoga , the path of  devotion - part  2
 Love  and devotion  fall under  the same  emotion.. When  you direct  your  feelings  of  affection  to  your equals or  to  lower beings    it is called  love. Bhakti  as  devotion  towards  God  is love  directed  to a  higher  principle  specially  towards  God . Reverential  love  is devotion . You will  also  show devotion  to your parents  teachers  and to your  country.

In    the  12 th chapter  of  the Gita  ,   Arjuna  raises a doubt  as to  whether  one  should  worship  God with  a form  or  a God  without  forms , without  any  attributes , the  Absolute  Reality.  There  are two  types  of  people  the active  and the  contemplative. Arjuna  was  a  man of  action,  so  krishna's  advice  to him  was  that   he  should  worship  a God with a form . One  gradually   grows  from worshiping  a God  with a form   to   a formless  Reality  wherein  he no longer  needs  an   idol   to conceive  of  that  Reality.

The Bhagavad  Gita , in the  same  chapter , enumerates  35  qualities  that  one  should  have  to  call oneself  a devotee. It starts  with  adveshta , one  who hates  none.  Even  if one  loves  a lot  number  of  people  but  carries   the slightest   hatred   in his  mind  for  just  one person , then  he  cannot  qualify  as a devotee.  Some  other qualities  of a devotee  are , one who is  friendly  towards  all, shows  compassion,  who  is  not  possessive ,  who is  free from egoistic  feelings,  who  is  equanimous , who accepts  all  situations  in life,  who  cannot  be  agitated  by  others  nor  who  agitates  others, who has  an  enduring  faith  in  God  and  who also  regards  the Self / Atman  as  supreme. These are  just  a few  of  the 35 qualities  given  out  by  Lord  Krishna..Start  developing  one quality  and in due  course  of time  you  will find  that   you also  develop  other qualities  to call yourself  a devotee.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 17

Bhakti  Yoga-the path of devotion  -part 1

The  path of  devotion  is  given  to those  who are  predominantly  emotional.  Bhakti  is  not  blind   faith  in  God  or  superstitions  or  performing  rituals  mechanically.. People  restrict  themselves to a particular  idol.  The  idol  represents   an  ideal. It  is  a  symbolic  representation  of a higher ideal  , the unmanifest  formless  Reality. Idols  represent   a personal God  with a name  and form.

So what  is  devotion?  Devotion  arises  when  the  intellect  fails  to understand  the unknown and  the  mind  surrenders  to  that  unknown. Devotion  is  a state  of  mind  which  involves  two  things. 1. your  mind  is  full of gratitude  to  the  immense  abundance  you  experience in  your life.  2.  You  surrender  to  that  unknown Hand  in  gratitude . You  see Divinity  everywhere. You  then   realise   that  unseen  power  as  the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent  Reality. A true   devotee  will think  of  himself  as a spoke  in the wheel  of  life  and  he  contributes  happily  to  the general  plan  of  nature.

A doubt  may  arise  in  the  mind  of  the  readers. Does  Hinduism  believe in  many  gods? The  general  belief  is that  there  are 300  million  gods  and  goddesses  The. truth  is , the  different  gods  are  only  manifestations  of  the  different  powers   of   the  one  and  only  Supreme  God /Absolute  Reality. .There is
only  one power  and  to  that power  you  surrender  with  devotion

to  be  continued.....

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 16

Karma  Yoga -path  of action-part  7

Some  more  ways  in which  you can  help  others. Sastras  speak  of  four  types  of  yajnas. Yajnas  signify actions , dedicated to  a  higher  ideal , done  with  a spirit  of  service  and  sacrifice.

1. Dravya  yajna-  gift  of  material  wealth. You  may start  with  spending  money  on  the education  of  poor  and deserving  students. You  may  gift  away , all the  things  which  you  will not  need  ,which  you have just  piled up in your homes,  to  orphanages  and  oldage  homes.

2. Tapo  yajna. - a physical  sacrifice . You  help  another  by  your  physical  presence, giving  emotional  support.   You may visit  terminally  ill patients  in  hospitals and spend  time with  them.

3. Yoga  yajna  -spiritual  help. This  is  greater  than  the above  two. You  may  help  others  to grow  spiritually  by  sharing   your  knowledge  of  the  sastras. You  may  start   classes  in  your  locality  for children  and  teach  them  the eternal  values  of  honesty, punctuality,  ahimsa  , peace etc

4.Svadyaya  gnana  yagna.  It  is  the yajna  of  self knowledge  wherein  one  sacrifices his  ignorance to  gain  self  knowledge. Sastras  say that  your  highest  duty  is  what  you  owe  to  yourself.  Your only  mission  in  life  is  to  realise  your  Self..  To remove  ignorance,  which  is  shielding  you  from  knowing  yourself,  you have  to study  , reflect  and  assimilate  the  teachings  given  out by  the  sastras  and  make  this  knowledge  your  own  , a truth  for  yourself   ,when  you  will declare  that   you  are that  Brahman .

You may  be  wondering how  a  realised  person  can  give  the  highest  service  to  others . He is  a fountain  of  bliss and  wisdom.  He  radiates  peace  and  bliss  wherever  he goes  and  helps  others  to  evolve  and  gain  this  wisdom  and  become  free from  bondage.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 15

Karma  Yoga- path  of  action  -part  6

Let  us  now  see  what  right attitude  you  should  have  while performing  an action. Right  attitude  is born  out  of  right  understanding. When you. do an  action  it  becomes  part  of the  universe.All  the universal  laws  will  act  upon  that  karma to bring  the result  back  to you.. All  the  universal  laws  are  tools  in  the  hands  of  the Lord  to maintain  harmony  in  creation  .So when  you  do an action   you do it  ,surrendering  to the  will of  God  .This  is  catted  Ishwara  Arpana  Bhavana.

When  you receive  the  results  of   your  action  you  donot  call  it  karma phalam ,  you call  it  Ishwara    Prasada.  It becomes  sacred , so  cannot  be  rejected . You receive  everything  with  fulfillment. You  then  enjoy  an  equanimous  mind.  All  your  actions  become  an  offering to  the lord  and  you accept  everything  as His prasada.  Right action  and  right  attitude  will together  purify  your mind  and you  will understand  that  it  is  not  the  world  that  is  the cause  of  your  problems,   they are  caused  by  your  ignorance  of  your  Self.
As  you   grow from  selfish  to  unselfish  to  selfless actions  you  realise  you  have  a mission  in life.  to fulfill.  Mahatma  Gandhi,  , Ramana  Maharishi,  Swami  Vivekananda,  Swami  Chinmayananda , Mother  Teresa  , Anna  Hazare   countless   great  men  and  women  were  not  born  as great  men.   They  made  their  lives  great  by  selfless  contribution  to  humanity  , to  greater  causes.  Each  one  of  us  has  the  potential  to  become  a Mother Teresa,  a  Anna  Hazare  etc. It  is  up to us to  unfold  our  higher  nature

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 14

Karma Yoga - path  of  action- part 5
4. Manushya  Yajna . All forms of  social  services ,opening  schools  for the poor,   hospitals  for the poor and  needy, running  orphanages  ,old age homes , treating  everyone  with respect ,  irrespective  of caste  ,creed,  color  or religion  or  financial  status   and  seeing  divinity in all beings  will come  under  this  Yajna..
5.  Bootha  Yajna . All kinds   of  contributions  to all   living beings  and protection  of  the  environment will  come under  this  Yajna.  Start  with  keeping  a bowl  of water  and  some grains   in your  window  sill  for  the  birds  ,feed  the stray  dogs  with  milk  and  biscuits., plant  trees  wherever  and whenever  possible. Go green. Take a pledge  that  you  will not  pollute  the  rivers , the beaches  or  throw  garbage  on the roads. .

The five Yajnas  described  above  will  fall under  sattvik  actions  and they  help  one  to  grow  spiritually. Rajasik  actions are those actions where  you  are selfish   and  are  indifferent  about  others' welfare . You may  benefit  materially  but  there is  spiritual  stagnation. .Tamasik   actions , in addition  to being  extremely  selfish , may  harm  others . It brings  about  spiritual  downfall..

The  whole  of  India  rose  in  one  voice  to support   Anna  Hazare's campaign  against  corruption. On  16th  Aug  join  his  campaign  against  corruption  and the spineless  lokpal bill. .Sign  up  to  join  this  campaign  in your own  locality  . Go  the extra  mile  and  take  to  the streets  to get  a strong and effective  jan  lokpal  bill.. This  is a  great  selfess  action  and  take part  in it  ,in the  best  possible way  you  can. .There  are  some  who  accept  things  as they  are  , there  are  some  others  who  will bring about  the change  that  is needed. and  which  will benefit  others

Friday, 12 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 13

Karma Yoga -path of  action  -part  4

karma  yoga  consists  of two  words-  karma  and action  ,karma  refers  to proper   action  and yoga  refers to  proper  attitude. All possible  actions  can  be  classified   as  satvik,  rajasik,and tamasik.  Satvik  actions  are  those  that have   maximum  positive  influence  on  spiritual  growth. . These  actions  beneifit  the   .maximum   number  of   beings..All noble  karmas  fall  under  this  group.  You  give  more  and  take  less,  greater  the  giving ,  greater  is    the  growth.

There  are  five  fold  Yajnas  -sacrifices  , which will come  under satvik  actions. 1.Deva Yajna-worship of and  prayer  to the lord.  The  most  noble  prayer  is   - Sarve  Bhavanthu   Sukinaha..  Loka  Samastha Sukhino  Bhavanthu..  .May  all be  happy.  This  prayer  goes  beyond  the  terrestrial  world..  The  whole  of  creation  gets  energised   by  your  prayer  which  generates  positive  energy.

 2.    Pithru  Yajna.   It  is  an  expression  of  gratitude   to your  parents , who were  instrumental  in   bringing  you  into  this  world  . You give  them  your  love  and  respect and  you  show  your  gratitude  for  all that  they  do  for  you  by  taking  care  of  them  in their  old age. You  also  express  your  gratitude  to  your  ancestors   by doing  some  charitable  works  on their  death  anniversaries

3. Brahma  Yajna - You express  your  gratitude  to  the  rishis,  who have  given   us  the vedas  and secondary  scriptures  .All they  want  from  us  is  to gain   and  preserve   this knowledge  and  in your own  life time  pass on this  knowledge  that  you  have  acquired  from  your  guru  to  some  genuinely  interested  seeker  .Swami  Chinmayananda  was  the first  in  modern  times  to  bring  this knowledge  in  a systematic  manner  to  the  general  public

to be continued.....

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 12

Karma Yoga-   path of action  -  part. 3
The third  chapter  of  the Gita  asks  everyone  to  perform  his  obligatory  duties , which may  be of two  types  - the  routine   and  the  special. These  cannot  be put  into  water tight  compartments , what  is routine duty  for one  need  not  be so  for another. 

In  India,  men and women  left  their  homes  to take  part  in the  freedom  struggle. What was  a special  duty got  converted  into  a routine  duty. To take  care  of  parents  in their  old age  is a routine  duty  but  when  there  is  a higher  calling , one joins  the armed  forces , then he  gives  up his  routine  duties  to take  up this special  duty. Then  that  becomes  his  routine duty.  One  must  be guided  by  his  inner  conscience  to determine what  his  duties  are.
 Lord  Krishna  says  it is  better  to do  one's own  duty, svadharma,  even  if  it is not  performed  well, than    to   do the duty  of another, paradharma,  even  if  performed  well.  You   must  choose a field  of activity  on  the basis  of    your  own  nature but   you  should  be guided  by    your  intellect  and   not  by   your mind  while   you  act  in   your  chosen  field  of  activity.
The  Gita  asks   everyone  to perform  an action  taking  it as an Yajna-   sacrifice,  wherein  you  convert  each  action  into  a worship. Yajnas  were  a  fire  ritual  wherein  people  brought some  grains  from their  homes  and  these  were  offered  to  the  fire  with  a  prayer. A selfless  action  is  comparable  to a Yajna  because  one  is offering  oneself  selflessly (like  the offerings  of  grains  in the  fire -sacrifice-Yajna).When  one  performs  a selfless  action , the   desires  get  reduced  and  mind  becomes  pure  and peaceful.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 11

karma yoga  -path of action  -   part2                         The third  chapter of the Bhagavad Gita  gives a  description  of an ideal  action. It has  two requirements.. A right action must  energise  the person  doing it  and he  should not waste his  energy  in unproductive  channels while  doing it.

A right action  must  help the performer become  energised  while  doing  that action. This  applies  to both  mundane and spiritual  goals. He exhibits  dynamic  action  by his body , which in turn energises his  body. His  mind  surrenders  to a higher  goal, beyond  his selfish desires. The mind gains mental  strength when  it pitches  a higher goal, the highest  being  self realisation. The intellect  focuses on thoughts   .of the Self  even when  performing  the action. This helps him  to develop  objectivity in life. He is not  disturbed  by  the ups and downs  he may face while  performing  that action. All the three together  give greater  strength  to attain his  goal.

The  second  requirement  is,  he does not  waste his energy  in any  unnecessary  things  while  performing  the action. There are three ways  through  which  he may   dissipate his energy  -by  worrying  over the   past , which  will affect  his present  action  or  by  anxiety over  the future  results  of the action  , by  which  his  present action  will lose its focus  or by  showing  excessive  excitement  over the present  action , which  may make him  lose  his self control. One must learn to be  focused  in the  present  action without  entertaining  any  thoughts  of the past  or future and  should  not  be over excited  about  the present  action
to be continued.....

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 10

Karma Yoga-the path of action.-part-1
Doing the right action with the right attitude is karma yoga. This is for the person   who is active,his emotions and intellect are equally balanced. His mind  surrenders  to a higher ideal  and his  intellect  helps towards achieving  that ideal. None can ever  remain inactive. His vasanas  (inherent nature) force him towards action. These vasanas  manifest as thoughts, desires and  actions.

 Only a human being  has the choice of  choosing  any kind of action , whether good or bad , or right  or wrong.Animals are programmed  by instinct  to behave in a particular way. A cow  cannot become  a non-vegetarian nor a lion  a vegetarian .It is  only human beings  who are gifted with an intellect  and the power to choose.

It is either  the mind or the intellect that  urges a man  to perform an action. The mind  is full of desires  , likes and dislikes. Sometimes the decisions made by the mind  could prove  to be wrong. It is the intellect that can guide  a person  to make the right choices .

A karma yogi  pitches  a higher  goal  in life  and works  with  commitment  to achieve that ideal. He will put in all his best efforts  for reaching the goal he has chosen. 

.to be continued.....

Monday, 8 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 9

Among the four yogas, let me take up the hatha yoga for discussion today. Hatha yoga is a path of compulsion. It is compulsorily given to the inactive, indolent and extremely lazy persons who cannot even emotionally feel that there is a higher power nor intellectually think of a higher power.

To such a person, sastras prescribe hatha yoga,a course of physical disciplines. He is compelled to go through asanas and pranayamas and some exercises that involve a lot of self torture - like fasting on particular days of the week, ,maintaining silence on some days of the week or some exercises that involve standing on one leg for a length of time.These exercises are given to build his endurance levels and also as spiritual disciplines.

After he continues these exercises for a long time, his mind starts feeling and the intellect starts thinking. Only then he becomes fit for the next three yogas - karma, bhakti and gnana.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 8

Shastras give four spiritual disciplines (yogas) to help you reach your ultimate desitnation, that of knowing who you really are. These yogas help you to destroy your vasanas which manifest as thoughts and desires. The union of the individual self with the supreme self is called yoga.

Your realize that you are not your body, mind, intellect. Due to a false identification with these equipments, you have imagined yourself to be in bondage, in samsara, you get affected by all the ups and downs of life. The four yogas will help remove this bondage and you will become eternally free. The four yogas are: hatha yoga (path of compulsion), karma yoga (path of action), bhakti yoga (path of devotion) and gnana yoga (path of knowledge).

A human being is a sum total of his emotional, intellectual, active and indolent nature. The different disciplines cater to the different natures of human beings. One who is predominantly emotional takes to bhakti yoga, one who is predominantly intellectual takes to gnana yoga, one who is both emotional and intellectual takes to karma yoga and one who has none of the above, no goal in life and is lazy and indolent will have to start with hatha yoga (a course of physical disciplines).

The human mind is full of selfish thoughts and desires. These yogas will help you to reduce such desires. By pitching higher goals in life the mind loses its grip over its selfish nature and the desires finally drop off. One who was an extrovert now becomes an introvert and his mind is now ready for meditation. In meditation he realizes who he really is after all!
To be continued ...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 7

Continuing the discussion on the proof  for Atman's ,God's existence........
When you are using your  equipments ,body ,mind and intellect,you refer to them  as my body , as my mind  my intellect. There are 2 factors here-the subject,the possessor and the object, the possessed . Remove these equipments from your personality, it looks as if there is nothing left. Yet you know that there is  a subject that claims these objects (the body, mind and intellect) as its own. That unknown subject is the Atman.

The body ,mind and intellect change. Change is the only common factor in your life but  you cannot  recognise  the change unless there is a changeless  substratum. That changeless substratum is  the Atman , the Supreme Being.

You go through three  states  of consciousness-the waking ,the dream and the deep sleep states.You are either a waker, a dreamer or a deep sleeper all your life.While you are in your waking state ,you as a waker say "I am Mary." While you are in the dream state, you are a different person  and you as a dreamer  say, "I am John". While in your deep sleep state you feel you are nothing. Now who is  the I  who slept well  last night and on waking says ,"I slept well last night".? Who is I who is the waker, who is the I who is the dreamer  and  who is the I Who is the deep sleeper?. The I is the constant  factor  among all the  three  states  of consciousness. That I  is the Atman.

 You say  you are a child , a married man , an old man , you say you are sad or happy , you say you are  clever  or dull. You find that the same I runs through all  the equipments -body , mind and intellect, and all its expressions.. The I is the Atman  that  perceives, acts , feels and thinks. It is  the Supreme Self  which  is beyond the  equipments ,  beyond  all the changes, and  beyond all the three  states  of consciousness.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 6

To the reader, it will look as if there is only logic and reasoning in life and that there is no room for faith.What is faith? It is not a blind faith. It is called SHRADDHA , a firm conviction in one's faith, wherein the intellect pursues it and turns    the faith into a truth. The belief in God is not a mere faith. It is to be supported by spiritual study, reflection and assimilation and in that process one gets transformed into a divine person. He sees God not only in temples, churches, mosques etc,he sees God everywhere. He sees himself in others and others in himself.

In the kenopanishad , a student asks a guru: What is the power that makes the ears hear, the eyes see,. by whom willed does the mind , the intellect, the organs of speech function?In short, he wants to know who or what is God?What is the spiritual core behind and beyond the material layers ,the body , mind and intellect?What is that transcendental Reality  beyond the terrestrial?

The   guru answers:  Atman , the Pure Consciousness, is the enlivening principal  that makes the  ears hear, the eyes see, the mind feel , the intellect think etc.Take the example of just one of them to see how it functions -the ear. One says one can hear even if the external ear is missing  due to some accident, or even if the tympanum , the inner membrane of the ear is damaged, he says he can still hear..You then trace back to the sense  centers where the hearing is registered and he becomes conscious of the sound. Go back one step to locate the real  source of hearing. You will arrive at the Supreme Consciousness that enlivens the  organ of hearing to  hear ,without this Consciousness it will not be possible for him to hear at all.. This enlivening principal makes the organs of perception ,the organs of action, the mind,  the intellect  ,everything to function

to be continued

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 5

The Atman is the core of one's personality. It is the Supreme Self  within that enables the body to perceive and act,the mind to feel, and the intellect to think.The type of actions ,perceptions , feelings  and thoughts will depend on one's own inherent   nature called vasanas.Vasanas manifest as thoughts and desires. It is the vasanas manifesting as thoughts and desires that stand between man and God.So sastras give some spiritual disciplines to destroy these vasanas and realise your highest  nature.The coming pages will deal with some yogas-disciplines.

Atman is the Pure Consciousness, the unconditioned Reality. It appears conditioned by the material equipments of the body mind and intellect..The Supreme  Self in you appears to be limited by these  through ,which the Self functions and becomes  the individual,the limited human being.When  a spiritual seeker rises above the equipments and  transcends the perceptions, actions ,feelings and thoughts , the conditioning stops . The individuaity is no more there It merges with the Absolute, the unconditioned  Reality.

.On these pages the emphasis has been  on using  logic and reason. The sceptics  may question the existence of  Atman, the Supreme Being.. Let us see if the Atman's existence can be proved.

 to be continued.....

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 4

 A few practical  exercises to make your intellect strong. The qualities of human nature can be classified in to Tamas, Rajas  and Satwa.The tamasic is inactive,is in inertia and ignorance.Rajasic is active,full of passions and agitations,. Satwik is transactive ,equanimous and serene. Everyone has these gunas in different proportions but they are distinct in different times of the day.Satwa is predominant for everyone between 4am and 6am., rajas between 6am and 6 pm and tamas between6 pm and 4am.

If one has to develop a strong intellect it would be best possible if one takes to scriptural studies,reflect and contemplate on the eternal  truths between 4am and 6am  everyday. In due course of time you will find that your intellect is becoming clearer and sharper and the mind no longer trapped in likes and dislikes.

 Another problem you face is that sometimes you do some actions which you know are wrong. Later on you repent for having done that .This is because the intellect was not available to you at the time of doing that action. You just acted impulsively.The mind is never in the present ,it is either worrying about the past or anxious about the future. So you carry on with life's activities in a mechanical way.

The solution to this problem is self observation.All you have to do is everynight before you go to bed spend five minutes trying to remember all the day's activities right from the time you get up , to brushing your teeth to  ...everything you do until you sit for this -  observation. Donot be judgemental. Just become aware  of all that you have done through the day. This constant recollection at the end of each day will in due course of time create a conscious awareness of each and every activity even while you are doing it.  You no longer do them mechanically or impulsively. This will help you strenthen your intellect.

From my own personal experience, the study of scriptures and  reflecting on them between 4am and 6 am  has improved my memory power and has sharpened my intellect .Being consciously aware of each and every activity  i do, it  has  also made me  aware of what is happening around me and i  have become more sensitive to other people's needs also. It has broadened my vision .

Monday, 1 August 2011

Practical steps to spirituality - Part 3

For a very long period of time in the history of mankind, there has been no awareness or endeavour by humans to develop a srong intellect-the art thinking.As a result, the lives of people are based on groundless beliefs, which rest on some absurd superstitions or mere assertions which bear no proof.And now they find it difficult to question their veracity.

People must wake up and realise the emergent need to develop and strengthen the intellect. The process of thinking should have started from an early age.Having failed  to do so, at least start the process now.Develop the are of thinking  and of questioning. Study  the eternal truths of life. Delve deep into these truths. Accept only those that appeal to logic and reason. Apply them in practical living. Adopt this procedure all through your life. This will help to build a strong  intellect.

One has to develop a strong intellect to make the right choices in life. At every point in your life let reasoning guide you. You donot have to accept anything just because it is passed onto you by tradition. Accept only that which admits of logic and reason . This will help you to think and be free.