Function Disabled

Σάββατο, 31 Μαρτίου 2012

Mantra Yoga

Mantra Yoga

Satsang by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Today I want to explain to you a little about the science of mantra yoga. The mantra shastra is a very deep and great science which, if understood correctly, can give you victory over your lower nature. Mantra shastra is very ancient, and in previous ages people knew this science well. Recently, however, the people's faith in mantra shastra has lessened and gradually this knowledge has become hidden to such an extent that nowadays anything is said in the name of mantra.

Mankind's most ancient scriptures are the tantra shastras and after the tantras, the Vedas took birth. From the tantras, the mantra shastra has come. The mantra shastra was not written like any ordinary type of book. There were ancient rishis, munis and sages, who had the actual realization of mantra. In meditation, when the rishis were able to transcend the material consciousness, rising to a very high level, those sounds heard by them in that highest state were called mantra. This does not mean that if you make up some syllables in your mind and repeat them, it is mantra. Those whose souls are purified and through meditation established their consciousness at a very high level beyond the mind, the sounds perceived by them, in that state, are called mantra.

The rishis had the experience of mantra at three different levels or planes of consciousness. When the consciousness passes from the gross body into the subtle body, the sound per­ceived at that time makes one collection. The mantras heard in the subtle body form another group, and when the conscious­ness enters from the subtle or second body into the third body, certain mantras realized at that time form a third group.

First, I want you to understand what is meant here by first body, second body and third body. When I say body, I do not mean only the body form, rather I mean body consciousness, that body through which your consciousness if functioning. When the body consciousness is realized through the medium of five gross senses, that is called the gross body consciousness, the first body where your mind, intellect and memory are working.

What is the second body? When you practise meditation, your awareness travels deep inside, and in that inner meditation you begin to see beautiful visions and dreams. That which is called the second body is, therefore, not something tangible. It is the subtle or astral body, the sukshma sharira, the psychic consciousness, or the subconscious body. That is the second plane of consciousness.

What is known as the third body? When meditation becomes deeper and deeper, the state of void or shoonya comes. There is no awareness of external, or internal. It is the experience of the dark night of the soul, like midnight, formless, sightless, where there is no awareness of 'I'. That is called the third body, the causal body, the karana sharira, or the unconscious body. In the Vedas it has been called hiranyagarbha, the golden womb.

There is also a fourth level of consciousness which is transcendental. In the third and fourth levels of consciousness, the awareness of the external world is absent. There is no awareness of my oId name, my oId form, but there is the experience of the eternal self, akhanda swaroop. This is the fourth level of consciousness called samadhi or turiya.

All these different levels of consciousness have been indicated in the Gayatri mantra: Om Bhur, Om Bhuvaha, Om Swaha, Om Maha, Om Janaha, Om Tapaha, Om Satyam, Om Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat. Om Bhur that is the first body, bhur loka or the material plane; Om Bhuvaha, the second body, the intermediate or astral plane; Om Swaha, the third body, the heavenly or divine plane. After this the following mantras come in the fourth body - maha loka, jano loka, tapo loka and satya loka. I do not mean material worlds, but rather the planes of consciousness.

As the rishis sat in meditation, at higher levels, they received these sounds, mantra. For this reason, mantras are not a creation of the human mind, not made by any man; rather they were received from higher sources. Just as in the religion of Islam, it is said that the Koran was revealed by God. This means that whoever received the Koran had attained a very high yogic state.

In the same way the Christians speak of the Bible as a revealed scripture. Our own Sanatana dharma, the eternal system of the vedic civilization, is understood as having been revealed to mankind. The Vedas were not written by man. This does not mean that the pen which wrote them was held in God's hand, it only means that they were revealed to the rishis in the transcendental state.

Of all the types of mantra, the first and the highest is Om. Om is the seed or bija mantra of all mantras. The rishis realized this cosmic Om in the very highest planes of consciousness, in the state of self-realization. All the mantras in existence have come from Om. It is composed of three sounds, A, U and M. This Om is found in all societies and in all religions, in one form of another, whether Christian or Muslim. Om is the foremost of mantras.

First comes Om and after it the mantras of Gayatri. The twenty-four syllables of Gayatri plus Om should be known as the original Gayatri mantra. The vedic rishis who received this mantra were also established at a very high level of consciousness.

Following this are the mantras pertaining to the third body, the unconscious body, which are also known as bija mantras. We call them potential mantras, because they contain dormant, potential energy of different forces. Each of the powers or forces in the world has its own bija mantra, such as Aim for Saraswati, Shreem for Laxmi, Kleem, Kreem, Hreem and so on. All the short, seemingly meaningless mantras which you might have heard, are called bija mantras.

Those bija mantras are just like little bombs, the type of time bomb which explodes just at the right moment. Just as you plant a seed in the earth and from that a giant tree grows up, giving thousands of fruits, such is the power of the bija mantra. With the practice of anushthana, prolonged mantra repetition for a fixed period of time and number of malas, and regular sadhana, the power of the mantra is awakened. When that power is awakened, the consciousness takes the form of the mantra and then the real work of the mantra begins.

Please, remember one thing. Shakti, energy, is not only of one type. It has innumerable forms. Although the primal shakti, the root shakti, is one, its manifestations are endless. That is why we worship Devi in so many different forms. The same principle is also found in science. When electricity is flowing from one central circuit, the amplifier, tape recorder and all the appliances are working. The same energy which gives heat from the heater, gives coolness from the fan. These are the varied manifestations of one energy. The truth is that shakti is not just of one kind. Intellect is one shakti, memory is another shakti. Speech, prana, knowledge, are all shaktis, without which we cannot exist. So there are different bija mantras for the awakening of these different powers.

For example, take vidya shakti, the power of knowledge. It is in the form of Saraswati. I am not talking of the goddess Saraswati whose idol is worshipped in the temple, but I mean that energy, that shakti which is within us in the form of vidya or Saraswati. What is the way to awaken this energy? Of all the methods given, the best is to take the bija mantra of that shakti and to awaken its sleeping potential.

There are many other types of shaktis pertaining to the body, to disease, even to snake poison, and so on. In many diseases, if japa anushthana of Mrityunjaya mantra is perfomed, the power of the mantra is awakened internally, giving the desired result. By the practice of mantra japa, the aspirant's conscious will is awakened and through the willpower everything is accomplished.
All the bija mantras must be practised strictly according to certain rules and regulations. They should not be practised just by reading them out of a book. Anushthana should only be undertaken after understanding the purpose and necessity of the bija mantras well. On this subject, it is explained in the tantra shastras that firstly a yantra or mystic diagram, should be made and within that yantra the bija mantra should be written. For example, the mantra Sri, the mantra of Laxmi, you will often find carved on crystal or on copper. This is called Sri chakra.

Next comes the group of mantras pertaining to the second body, like Om Namah Shivaya, Sri Ram, Hari Krishna. Anyone with faith may practise japa of these mantras.

Different mantras have different benefits. All those who practise japa of Gayatri mantra will find it very beneficial for the health and intellect. For skin diseases or iron deficiency, anushthana of the Surya or Sun mantras is beneficial if practised properly. Through mantra one can remove disease, sorrow and restlessness. Mantra is so powerful that within a moment one can change bad habits also. It is important for people to study and understand this science in the correct way.

In my childhood I had an experience which I will tell you about. It was in Allahabad, when I was very young, only seven or eight years old. I happened to see two Muslims playing with a snake. Just as I was passing, I saw one man make a circle on the ground with a stick. In that circle was a first class snake, a big cobra. The cobra belonged to the snake charmer and there was some kind of argument between him and the other man.

Being young I could not follow their words completely. It was all mantra-tantra business. The other man said, "Now I will see how your snake will get out!" And taking a stick he drew one or two more lines, then the snake just sat there. It came up just to the line then turned back again. I was just watching all this, not understanding anything, so I asked him what was happening. He told me, I have thrown mantras on all four sides of the snake, so now it cannot come out." I saw them fighting together. One wanted to throw grains of rice or dal on the other, but he didn't throw them for fear the other man would also throw some rice on him. Rice is one medium through which mantra is thrown. So they circled each other trying to throw the rice for about ten or fifteen minutes. At last a big crowd gathered bringing their tantric battle to an end. This incident stuck in my mind for many days.

Many years later I came to my guru's ashram in Rishikesh. I am speaking about the Rishikesh ashram of many years ago in 1942-43 on the banks of the Ganga River, surrounded on all sides by dense jungle, where at night your step might fall on a scorpion. An American family came to stay at the ashram. One day, the small girl was stung so severely by a scorpion that it seemed she would be dead within ten minutes.

Just next to the ashram was a police station and from there somebody brought a constable. He brought a small knife with him and with that knife he removed the poison within five minutes. In another five minutes the girl was completely normal. I asked, "What mantra have you used?" He said, "Kali Calcutta wali". The goddess Kali is the patron deity of Calcutta. I was amazed. I was raised by Arya Samajis, a sect which does not accept the concept of personal gods and goddesses. I was educated at a convent school with Christians and many close relatives at home were Muslims. When I heard the name of Kali Calcutta wali, my entire faith was shaken. I said, "Oh, I know Kali Calcutta wali. Kali is just a name and Calcutta is a place, so how could poison be removed just by repeating those words?"

Gradually my attention was caught. I asked many people and started to read books about tantra and to practise mantra anushthana myself. Since then, I have had so many experi­ences, so many wonderful benefits, that it is not even possible to relate them. What I want to explain is that those words, Kali Calcutta wali, may seem completely simple and ordinary to us, but for the man who has realized them, they are not ordinary at all. Those sounds which the rishis realized are not only simple words but syllables full of power. That is why we say shabda, sound, is Brahma, supreme consciousness. There is power in the mantra and to awaken this power, everyone should find a method within himself.

Everyone should have his own mantra and practise japa ­with complete regularity for fifteen minutes or half an hour daily. Concentration is not necessary for japa. Understand this properly. At the time of mantra japa, concentration of the mind is not important, but what is important is faith and belief. If your faith is weak and your concentration is strong, you will not attain the power of the mantra. If your concentration is weak, your mind running here and there, but your faith and devotion unshakeable, the mantra will awaken soon within you. For this reason, a lot of emphasis is placed on faith and devotion in mantra shastra.

There are two forces, two powers in the mantra. One is the power of consciousness, Shiva or what is called purusha. The other is the force of nature, matter or prakriti. Through sadhana, these two forces are awakened and after awakening they will continue to help you for the whole of your life.


Παρασκευή, 30 Μαρτίου 2012

Glory of sankirtan

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Satsang during Rama Nama Aradhana,
Sri Panchdashnam Paramahamsa Alakh Bara, Rikhia,
December 21, 1996.

Lalita Sahasra Nama, the thousand names of the Goddess Lalita, was chanted here yesterday and today. The thousand names are chanted as salutations to the Goddess. Worship of the Goddess is part of Tantra shastra. This tradition comprises a diversity of methods that lead one towards God, including Devi worship and yantras of tremendous potency, such as Sri Yantra. When this Akhara was being built, we had Sri Yantra placed in its foundations at nine locations. These yantras were made from a combination of metals, such as silver and gold. In the sadhana shastras, Sri Yantra is considered very significant and is highly glorified.

The Goddess or Devi has hundreds of names and forms. She is known as Sundari, Ambika, Anandi and so on. She is an auspicious power, destroyer of evil, remover of obstacles, gratifier of wishes and desires. She also lies dormant at mooladhara chakra in the form of kundalini shakti. From that point she ascends through all the other chakras: swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi, ajna, and reaches sahasrara. Some of the mantras in Lalita Sahasra Nama describe this process and also refer to the explosion of the granthis, or psychic knots, in sushumna passage.

That shakti, which is universal, exists as energy or power. She does not have her own fixed, visible form. She is manifest in a myriad of forms and vibrations as well as in the formless state. Whatever can be seen in this world: trees, animals, human beings, beasts, birds, earth, soil, stones, rocks, gold, silver, water, air, sun, moon and stars – all these are the manifest forms of shakti. We are all the manifest forms of our Supreme Mother, just as we are the manifest forms of our own biological mother.

That same shakti is also represented in different cultures and traditions. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, she is Astuti Bhavani. During my trips to Japan I saw many ancient temples which showed Vedic and Buddhist influence. In these temples there were a number of images of Devi in different forms. Such temples are still found in traditional Japanese towns and villages.

Concept of dualism

This concept of Devi or Goddess is part of a universal principle, known as Shiva and Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti, yin and yang, ida and pingala, consciousness and energy. Just as electrical wiring must have two poles, positive and negative, in the human body there are also two channels of energy, ida and pingala, and two corresponding nervous systems, sympathetic and parasympathetic. The substance you call mind can also be divided into two parts: one is time and the other is space, so mind is compounded of time and space. You will find this duality everywhere; even in bhakti you have Bhagavan and bhakta, God and devotee. They are complementary to each other; they exist and relate mutually.

In the Shaiva sect this duality is known as Parvati and Parameshvara. When we celebrate weddings the bride sits on the left side of the groom. The left side belongs to the female partner, the right to the male partner. The left side belongs to Parvati, the right side to Shankara. The left side is ida, the right side is pingala, the left side is sympathetic, the right is parasympathetic. The left is minus, the right is plus, the left is space, the right is time. This is the concept of duality which was propounded by the rishis and munis, but as it became difficult for lay people to understand, they used different symbols, deities and myths to explain it.

First they explained theoretically what ida, pingala, time, space, matter and energy are, but ultimately you have to experience this theory within yourself. You have to try a practical experiment for yourself. There are many methods for trying this experiment and many ways of understanding and realizing it within yourself. In the same way, there are many routes by which you can come to Deoghar – from Calcutta, Delhi, Madras, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. Different people come by their respective routes, which differ one from another. The route from Benares will not be the same as from Gwalior, Jhansi, Calcutta or Tata Nagar. The route depends upon the starting point, although the destination of Deoghar is common to all.

It is wrong to assert that there is only one way for everybody. We are all are standing at different positions in this world created by God. We have different characters and come from different levels, grades and classes. Some are standing at Rampur, others at Benares, Tata Nagar, Kanpur and Allahabad, so all will have to catch different trains to reach Deoghar. Therefore, there are as many paths as there are persons. All these paths, all these routes are termed as sadhana. There are many different paths of sadhana to suit the needs of each individual.

Glory of sankirtan

The simplest, easiest and surest sadhana, which involves the least risk and expense, is the path of sankirtan. It is the easiest and yet the hardest to obtain because it is always out of stock. It is manufactured in India, yet never available in ample quantity because it is being exported to America, Europe and other overseas countries. This is the path of sankirtan. I am not talking about bhakti because this is such a profound subject that it cannot be explained in a few words. Bhakti, like the terms technology or medical science, is very difficult to define with a synonym. Bhakti bhava is a vast, deep subject that comprises a number of aspects. So, at the moment I am talking about sankirtan.

Kirtan means chanting the name of God. The name can be selected from a number of names by which God is called. It can be Allah, Rama, Govinda or Guru. Whatever name you choose, go on singing it. Start slowly and go on building up the crescendo. As the rhythm increases you become more and more immersed. In the beginning the mind stays outside, but slowly it starts going within. You can sit for kirtan with your family at home. There is no need to make any special arrangements or to have a harmonium or drum. If you have manjira, cymbals, that is fine.

If you start kirtan in your own home, the most enthusiastic members will be the children. They will forget the TV and video. Children enjoy kirtan so much that they forget about everything else. Old people do not enjoy kirtan the way children do because they have already formed the bad habit of 'total, bottle and hotel'. Adults are already contaminated, but children are still fresh and pure. Their minds are clean slates, not yet conditioned by maya. In our case, however, the mind is completely brainwashed by maya.

Sankirtan is the greatest sadhana of India. Nowhere else in the world is it practised, East or West. This tradition is not found anywhere in Russia, Rumania, Czechoslavakia or Bulgaria. Sankirtan, Hari bhajanam, singing the Lord's name, is a discovery of Indian people. Our rishis and munis discovered this unique path. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told people to sing “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”, as the Lord's name alone can redeem the people of the Kali Yuga, the present age. There is no other path, no other way out, no other panacea in the present era. There is no other path, no other path, no other path.

Whenever a kirtan is happening and you get wind of it, go and join in. Today the tape recorder is also available. Go and tape the kirtan on the spot, bring it home and play it to the children and other family members. You can sing kirtan anywhere, at home, in a social gathering or at any auspicious get together. This is a very good way to inculcate good habits in children. You should start slowly by devoting ten to fifteen minutes daily to kirtan. This new routine will help to make kirtan your second nature.

In Kali Yuga you are free to do all types of sadhana. The saints, sages and mahatmas have told us there are hundreds of paths of sadhana. Lord Krishna mentions eighteen types of yoga in the Bhagavad Gita. The Yoga Vashistha gives yet one more, jnana yoga. The Ramacharitamanas gives bhakti yoga. The Guru Granth Sahib teaches Guru Vani yoga. The Vedas and Puranas offer their own paths. Ultimately, however, it is one and the same.

Purification through name

All traditions have emphasized that by taking the Lord's name, man's mouth becomes purified. When you abuse someone, people say, “Why are you polluting your tongue?” Thus it is said that if you abuse someone, your tongue sins, and by chanting the name of Rama it is cleansed and purified. The ears also become purified by hearing the name of the Lord. Just as gossip and abuse contaminates the ears, listening to God's name cleanses them.

We are also influenced by the atmospheric vibration. When Purushottam Jalota sang here, the whole atmosphere was ringing with the joy of music. When a person steeped in faith and devotion to God sings and reaches the intensity of complete self-oblivion, then even Prakriti, the entire, visible creation, sings with him. If that is so, won't your house be purified? If your wife is in the family way, even her unborn child will sing from the womb when exposed to devotional music of this rare depth. All the gross and subtle aspects of creation are influenced by the vibration of God's name.

"God is never seen immaterially;
and the vision of Him in woman
is the most perfect of all.~Sufi Master"

Παρασκευή, 23 Μαρτίου 2012

Yogasadhanas in the Gita 1

Yogasadhanas in the Gita

Part One

The complete satsang will be presented here in four parts and will be updated fortnightly.

I will talk about the system of yogic sadhana and the cultivation of yogic ideas as they have been defined and taught by Sri Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. The Gita was narrated to Arjuna on the battlefield of the Mahabharata war which took place about 5, 500 years ago. Yet if we look at our own lives today, we find we are going through the same experiences in the journey of life that Arjuna experienced and discussed with Sri Krishna on the battlefield.

The story is about two groups of brothers, five brothers known as the Pandavas, and one hundred brothers who are the Kauravas. The Kauravas developed an intense dislike of the five Pandavas.

Over time dislike turned into hatred and ultimately the outcome was a war between the two parties. On one side of the battlefield are the five brothers, along with their allies, supporters and armies and on the other side are the hundred Kaurava brothers along with their friends, allies and armies, all ready to kill each other.

One of the Pandavas is a great archer, known as Arjuna and in the war Sri Krishna became his charioteer. Arjuna tells Sri Krishna to take the chariot in between the two armies so he can see the people who have come ready to fight and kill each other. Sri Krishna places the chariot in the middle of the two armies and Arjuna sees his own brothers with their allies arrayed before him in army formations and on the other side he sees everyone else. The hundred Kaurava brothers, their allies, supporters, family members, uncles, grandparents, parents, nephews, sons, and daughters, anybody who is able to fight is there.

Seeing this, Arjuna suddenly experiences deep pangs of grief and falls into a state of dejection and depression. The cause of Arjuna's grief is the sight of his own family members preparing to fight and kill each other. As a warrior Arjuna has fought in many wars and never felt grief. The only difference is that on this battlefield he sees people not as enemies but as his own relations - uncles, sons, nephews, parents, grandparents, and friends. These people have been part of the Pandava's life since the time of their birth, and Arjuna feels a natural attachment to them. This attachment became the cause of his deepening grief. Every memory of the relationship, all the physical, intellectual, emotional, and playful memories, every impression or pratyaya came to the surface of his mind and Arjuna could not handle it.

He sat down dejected and said, "Why to fight? What for? Maybe we will win and gain the kingdom but it will be empty, devoid of everybody that we know. What kind of happiness, pleasure or enjoyment will be derived without anyone whom we can call our own? For whom are we going to win this kingdom? All our friends and supporters are going to die. We call ourselves intellectuals; we formulate religions and laws, yet for the sake of greed and desire we are ready to destroy each other completely, knowing fully well that this civil war will lead to death and destruction of all social norms, structures, and values of the individual, family and society. There will be total chaos, death, destruction, and poverty. We are the leaders of the society yet we are gathered to commit the biggest crime of all times, knowingly, wilfully, consciously taking away another person's life. There is no greater sinful act than killing somebody."

Thinking thus, Arjuna sunk into a state of dejection and depression. He lost the clarity of his mind and the will to fight; he forgot his duties and obligations and sat down in the chariot.

Sri Krishna has to intervene to lift Arjuna out of this state of despondency and he tries to make him see the bright side of life and not the dark side. Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the method, process, and sadhana to bring him out of his state of despondency. The instructions that Sri Krishna gives to Arjuna are actually yogic instructions and yogic sadhanas. Sri Krishna emphasizes adherence to yoga in life and the perfection of yoga to such a degree that he is recognized and known as the master or lord of yoga, Yogeshwara. There are only two people who have been given the title of yogeshwara in history - one is Siva, the first exponent of yoga and the hero of all the aspiring yogis, so he is called Yogishwara, lord of yogis. Sri Krishna is known as Yogeshwara, meaning he is the lord or master of yoga as a practice, lifestyle, philosophy and understanding.

To enable Arjuna to work through his state of dejection, depression, despondency and grief, Sri Krishna formulated a specific structure of information and practice and these instructions are given in the Bhagavad-Gita. Bhagavad-Gita is not a book of religion or philosophy; rather it is a book which dispels doubts about the dharma that one has to live in life. According to the founding thoughts of Gita, the process of managing life and the cultivation of better qualities becomes the focus, dharma and journey of life. Yoga becomes the medium through which one is able to complete this journey.

As human beings we all go through states of grief, anxiety, dejection, frustration and we also experience states of elation, joy, contentment, and security. Sometimes we are able to accept situations, yet other times we find ourselves unable to adapt and adjust to a situation or an environment. Our life swings from one extreme of experience on the plus side to the other extreme of experience on the minus side. The pendulum swing of moods, perceptions, thoughts, and ideas is something which everyone experiences every day, but everything is centred on relationship with others. Each person cultivates a relationship with other people in different degrees of intensity and this relationship creates a world of its own. In a household, the family of parents and children is the world. Relatives are added to their world as the second level, grandparents, aunts, uncles and their families. The third level of family interaction is at the level of friends in society - my friends, my supporters, people who think like me. But the primary group is still family. For friends, there is not the same feeling as you have for your own.

The feeling which makes you feel someone as your own is the feeling of attachment. Attachment is the power, the agent through which we recognise somebody as "my relation, my supporter, my friend, my family, my well-wisher." We are affected by those with whom we are connected. We are not affected by the happiness, pain, suffering, elation or achievements of people who are unknown. But when we identify with people, and we are aware of and influenced by the grief and elation of people who are close to us, then we become affected. We are affected because of that deep connection which is attachment. Everything that happens, all our headaches and heartaches in the course of life, whether family, social, professional or personal life revolves around family, friends, society and known people.

The deep entanglement of attachment with such people and the environment leads to a deluded state of mind which is known as moha - I begin to feel I belong to them, they belong to me, I have rights over them, they have rights over me. That is moha. Trying to insert and enforce that connection and relationship is moha. The inherent desire which is part of life naturally further fuels attachments, because desires are for the continuation of the lineage, procreation. The inherent desire is to find wellness and prosperity, social and financial security, to be recognised and to have friends and supporters.

Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna, "You are experiencing grief, depression and this deluded state of mind, because you are not thinking straight. If you can think straight, then these mental conditions will not affect you." Arjuna says, "What do you mean I am not thinking straight?" Sri Krishna replied, "You are primarily forgetting what your commitment and duty as a part of the society is. In war a warrior has to fight, in a hospital a doctor has to heal, in ashram the sadhu has to work for the upliftment of others. In each place there is a defined role, known as dharma. You are forgetting the role which is defined for you in this situation.

You cannot negate your karmas. Keep in mind what your obligations, duties and karmas are and where they lie at present. Do not renounce karma, do not say I am not going to do this or I am not going to do that." Do as the situation demands. Just as when the weather changes, you wear your clothes accordingly. In winter you put on sweater, muffler, hat, socks, and gloves. As the winter cold increases the layer of clothing also increases. And as summer comes, the layers of clothing decrease. One does not wear hat, coat, sweater, muffler, socks and gloves in the summer or walk around bare-bodied in winter. There is a natural inclination to do the right thing in the right manner at the right time.

Restraint of the senses
Yet when intellect plays a role, many times the right thing is not done at the right time, and the realisation dawns later. When attachment is there, intelligence is clouded, and therefore awareness of dharma is lost. At that time, one must remember their responsibilities, commitment and duty and engage the senses in the appropriate action. The senses must be engaged under control within defined limits and parameters. Right now the senses are running amok with nothing controlling them, they are guiding your attention, attraction and you are simply following their line of sight.

The senses are attracting you because you believe that following the senses will lead towards pleasure. Sensorial pleasure is what everyone is looking for. Mental, physical and emotional pleasure is what everybody is craving. Social pleasure is what somebody will cherish. The senses are pulling our attention towards pleasure, but the experience of pleasure is impermanent. The experience of happiness is impermanent because desires do not allow that experience to remain permanent. If you have one, you want two, if you have two you want three, if you have three you want four. An increase of desire, expectation and dependency will always take place. So engage yourself in physical karma, and by engaging the senses restrain them from running wild on imaginative trips and not allowing you to fulfil the demands of the situation.

Sri Krishna says, "There is no question of avoiding the karma, engage yourself in karma and at the same time try to stabilise your mind." There are three things which disturb the mental behaviour, attachment, fear, and anger. Attachment represents connection, association, relationship. Fear represents insecurity, whether financial, personal, family, or social. "Society is not safe, my family is not safe, I don't have financial resources to buy my food tomorrow or maybe after a month, but I don't have enough to pay the bills this month." Such thoughts indicate fear and insecurity. Anger is the third disturbance of mind - aggression and high anxiety. Anything that stimulates and brings in the state of high anxiety in your nature and character, in include in the word anger. The instruction that Sri Krishna gives in order to manage the mind is to reduce of desire and restrain anger, fear and attraction. Practise these four things and the mind will become stable.

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati
Bihar Yoga Bharati 
The complete satsang will be presented here in four parts and will be updated fortnightly. 


Σάββατο, 17 Μαρτίου 2012

The Interrelationship of Mind, Prana and Body

The Interrelationship of Mind, Prana and Body

Satsang by Swami Sivananda

Prana, vital energy, and mind stand to one another in the relationship of the supporter and the supported. They are like the flower and its odour or a sesame seed and its oil. If one ceases to be, then the other will also become non-existent. If the mind and prana both cease to exist, then thoughts will not arise at all. The destruction of both will confer moksha on the being.

Prana, mind and body
Prana is grosser than the mind, but subtler than the body. Mind is formed out of the conglomerate sattwic essence of the five tanmatras, whereas prana is formed out of the sum total of rajasic essence of the five tanmatras. Pranamaya kosha (energy or vital body) is more subtle than annamaya kosha, the physical body. It overlaps annamaya kosha and is more extensive than it. Manomaya kosha, the mental body, is more subtle than pranamaya kosha and more extensive than the vital sheath.

You have to touch the body of another person to have a physical influence over him, whereas you can stand at a distance and by mere 'passes' impart your prana to him, because prana is more subtle than the body. You can influence a person mentally through thought even, if he is living a thousand miles away, because mental force is more subtle than prana.

There are two principal tattwas in the universe: mind and prana. Wherever there is prana, there is mind also. Even in the external movement of the breath beyond the nose, the mind is mixed with the external breath. Prana is like an overcoat for the mind. Prana digests the food, turns it into chyle and blood, and sends it to the brain and mind. The mind is then able to think. The life of the mind is kept up through the vibration of the subtle psychic prana which gives rise to the formation of thought.

Ekagrata (one-pointedness) and nirodha (controlled state) are two avasthas, states, of the mind. Spanda (vibration) and nirodha are two avasthas of prana. When the mind becomes one-pointed, the spanda avastha of prana comes by itself. If the mind is purified with true sattwa guna or purity, prana will be distributed freely throughout the body.

Body, the mould for mind's enjoyment
The physical body is the outward manifestation of the mind. Mind is the subtle form of this physical body. The mind, contemplating upon the body, becomes the body itself and then, enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it. The body has its seat in the mind only. Should the mind be paralyzed, then the body will not evince intelligence. Without water, can a garden exist? It is the mind which transacts all business and is the highest of the bodies. Mental actions are real actions.

The mind performs all actions very speedily in the linga sharira (psychic body) and fluctuates thereby. However, the gross body knows not anything and is inert. Should this gross body be dissolved, the mind will assume a fresh body to its liking very quickly. The physical body is the mould, as it were, made by the mind for its own enjoyment, for the outpouring of its energy and thereby gaining different experiences of this world through the five avenues or channels of knowledge, the five jnanendriyas, organs of knowledge or perception.

Thoughts make the body
The actions of the mind alone are indeed actions, not so much those of the body. The body is really our thoughts, moods, convictions and emotions objectified, made visible to the naked eyes. It is a point worth noting that every cell in the body suffers or grows, receives a life impulse or death impulse from every thought that enters the mind, for we tend to grow into the image of that which we think about most.

When the mind is turned to a particular thought and dwells on it, a definite vibration of matter is set up. The more of this vibration, the more it tends to repeat itself, to become a habit, to become automatic. The body follows the mind and imitates its changes. If you concentrate your thought, the eyes become fixed. Every change in thought makes a vibration in the mental body and this, when transmitted to the physical body, causes activity in the nervous matter of the brain. This activity in the nervous cells causes many electrical and chemical changes in them. It is thought-activity which causes these changes.

Face, an index of the mind
The mind very conspicuously reflects on the face its various states which a person of intelligence can easily read. The face is an index of the mind just as the tongue is an index of the stomach. Fear, anxiety, grief, cheerfulness, hilarity, anger all produce their various impressions on the face. The eyes, windows of the soul, bespeak of the condition and state of the mind. There is a telegraphic instrument in the eyes to transmit the messages or thoughts of treachery, cunningness, fraud, pure love, compassion, devotion, depression, gloom, hatred, cheerfulness, peace, harmony, health, power, strength and beauty. If you have the faculty to read the eyes of others, you can read their minds at once. You can read the upper-most thought or dominant thought of a person if you are careful to mark the signs on his face, conversation and behaviour.

The face is like an advertisement board for what is going on inside the mind. You can hardly hide your thoughts from your face. Thoughts of lust, greed, jealousy, anger, revenge, hatred, etc. at once produce deep impressions on the face, which is a faithful recorder and a sensitive registering apparatus for all that is running in the mind. The face is a polished mirror that indicates the nature of the mind and its contents at any given time. He who thinks that he can hide his thoughts is a dunce of the first order. He is like an ostrich that hides its head in sand when chased by hunters, imagining that it cannot be seen by anyone.

Mutual influence between mind and body
The mind is intimately connected with the body. The mind acts upon the body and the body reacts upon the mind. A pure, healthy mind means a healthy body. Grief in the mind weakens the body. The body influences the mind also in its turn. If the body is strong and healthy, the mind also becomes healthy and strong. If the body is sick, the mind also becomes sick. An ache in the stomach causes depression in the mind.

The primary cause of the diseases that afflict the body is negative thoughts. Whatever you hold in your mind will be produced in the physical body. Any ill feeling or bitterness towards another person will at once affect the body and produce some kind of disease in the body. Intense passion, hatred, longstanding bitter jealousy, corroding anxiety and fits of hot temper actually destroy the cells of the body and induce diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen and stomach. Violent fits of temper do serious damage to the brain cells, throw poisonous chemicals into the blood, produce general shock and depression, and suppress the secretion of gastric juice, bile and other digestive juices in the alimentary canal, drain away energy, vitality, induce premature old age and shorten life.

When the mind is agitated, the body also is agitated. Wherever the body goes, the mind follows. When both body and mind are agitated, the prana flows in the unwanted direction. Instead of pervading the whole body steadily and equally, it vibrates at an uneven rate.

The pains that afflict the physical body are called secondary diseases, while the vasanas or desires that affect the mind are termed mental or primary diseases. If the primary cause is removed, then all diseases will disappear. If negative thoughts are destroyed, all bodily diseases will vanish. Purity of mind means a healthy body. Therefore, be careful in the selection of your thoughts. Always entertain noble, sublime, loving and kind thoughts. You will have harmony, health and beauty.

Conquer the mind to control the body
With the majority of people, the mind is greatly under the control of the body. Their minds are very little developed, and therefore they mostly live on annamaya kosha, the body of matter. Develop the vijnanamaya kosha, the psychic body, and through vijnanamaya kosha, control the manomaya kosha, the mental body. Vijnanamaya kosha is developed by abstract thinking and reasoning; by systematic meditation, Brahma-chintan (contemplation of the Supreme Spirit) and study of the scriptures. When you have controlled the mind, you will have perfect control over the body. The body is only a shadow of the mind. The body becomes your slave when you have conquered the mind.