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Πέμπτη, 28 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Tantra - Link for Modern Life

Tantra - Link for Modern Life

Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Given at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Antwerp, Belgium on 29th Aug.

The modern world is a culture of great variety and diversity. Everywhere we see changes; new developments. On all levels man is broadening his concepts and views, accepting new and more efficient ways of living and achieving his multidimensional goals. The modern mind is completely different to the mind of other cultures and times. It is very practical and aggressive. It works with terrific speed and is always discovering things. The modern mind greatly admires the idealism and the tenets of Christianity, Vedanta and Buddhism, but is unable to assimilate or practise them because they do not fit into its pattern. With this understanding, people today must seek another way of spiritual life which fits the changing patterns of their life and which their minds can accept.
I have pondered this problem for over thirty years, and I have found that the modern mind, the modern society, needs a spiritual way in accordance with its nature. A tiger cannot eat grass; it can only eat meat. It would prefer to die than to graze. The modern mind is a tantric mind. It is not a mind that can assimilate puritanism. It likes flowers, aggressive music, beautiful girls and boys, dance, meat, fish, wine, cigarettes. These are just a few specialties of the modern culture. Many of my disciples are conditioned to this way of life, so I know what happens to them when they cannot get these things. They develop all kinds of physical, emotional and psychic problems.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the way of spiritual life for modern man is not Vedanta or puritanism. Spiritual life has to be taught without creating discord in the life pattern. According to my experience, tantra is the correct system for the people of today. Other yogas may be necessary from time to time, but for spiritual illumination, every man has to follow his own path.
When you suppress the mind, you suppress spiritual advancement. You suppress the mind on account of guilt. This guilt is present in everyone, and it is the greatest barrier in spiritual life. Tantra is the middle way, and its principle is: 'Do not interfere with the pattern of your life.'

Mending the split

Many people take up yoga and try to become saints overnight. They talk about beautiful ethics, idealism and purity, and denounce everything else. This is criticising life. How can you say that only purity or idealism is life and nothing else? You have to accept the whole life in totality and not in parts, otherwise you are making a religion out of yoga. What is important is spiritual illumination, but have you become spiritually illumined?
The mind is limited by its conditioning, and you have created these conditions for yourself. You have created definitions, but these definitions are not absolute. They are man made definitions, created by socio-political thinkers for the community, for the nation. These things have nothing to do with man's spiritual progress. If the light is covered by a veil, you have to remove the veil, and that is why I request you to give a thought to this tantric system of yoga.
Now you are slaves of your philosophy and principles. The whole world is making the same mistake. Teachers are behaving like priests or clergymen, preaching something very high. They are asking you to break your minds, to create a split personality. In one corner of the room you practise yoga, and in another corner you read Freud. That is a split; that is a conflict. What spiritual illumination can you expect then? What do you believe in: the puritanism of yoga or the psychology of Freud? You have to put this question to yourself, and I am sure that you will prefer the left corner, because that is your culture and it is more attuned with your patterns of mind.
Traditional Hindus are religious by nature; they believe because that is their culture. In the modern world, however, you have a completely different culture, and therefore spiritual life has to be discovered on the basis of your own culture. Whether it is yoga or Vedanta, Bible or Koran, Gita or Mahabharata, please remember that there should be a uniformity in your life and your spiritual practice. To be very clear, if you drink whisky, your religion should not say it is bad. If you lead a life of sexual interactions, your spiritual faith should not contradict and criticise that. If you take non-vegetarian diet, your spiritual faith should not condemn it. Only when spiritual life is in accord with daily life can you balance your conflicts. This is the path of tantra.
The principle of tantra is very simple. You can practise Christianity, yoga or Vedanta, but please do not criticise your life. In tantra, everything becomes a stepping stone to evolution. The mind stuff, which is constantly evolving, is not clogged or blocked. The mind is like a child. If you pester it constantly saying: 'Oh, you are bad!' it soon becomes neurotic and weak. That is why tantra says to treat the mind with respect. Never denigrate the mind, never speak of the mind as bad, evil, devil, full of desires, or the cause of your downfall.
You try to control the mind, but you can never do it. In the name of control, you kill the mind. It is like slapping your child left to right, for everything. If he laughs, you slap; if he weeps, you slap; if he plays games, you slap. What will happen to your child? What is going to happen to your mind? This mind is your best secretary, and it is sick and tired of slapping and control.
Have you ever thought about whom you are controlling, and who is controlling whom? Are you not trying to control yourself? This means that one tendency of the mind is punishing another tendency of the mind. One tendency is the controller and another tendency is the controlled one. Thus you create two divisions in your mind. You are inimical to yourself, you oppose yourself, you are fighting with yourself. Is this the way to spiritual life? This is why you are stranded in spiritual life. In fact, the whole of humanity stands stranded somewhere in between external life and spiritual life, and no one knows which way to go.

Expansion of consciousness

In the history of mankind, spiritual life began with tantra. The cosmic nature taught man to live in a particular way and thereby evolve. Tantra literally means the expansion of mind and liberation of energy, and all the practices of tantra are aimed at this.
The idea of expansion is very important. The human mind functions in limited situations and is dependent on the sensory channels. The senses supply information and then the mind knows. It has a limited field. It is important for the spiritual aspirant to understand how to expand the mind. This process occurs when the mind is able to know without the sensory channels. When you sit for meditation, the mind expands, it is able to experience things without the medium of the senses.
Tantra has a different definition of meditation. Unconsciousness is not meditation. In the state of meditation, both the internal and external dimension of consciousness are combined. In the beginning we try to become aware of the internal consciousness. When you have become a master of inner consciousness, then you should try to combine the inner and the outer consciousness at the same time. For example, if you are inside, you can see the room very well, but you are unable to see outside. If you stand at the threshold, you can see both inside and outside. Then there is no 'outside' and 'inside'; both are the same.
You must remember that in order to have an experience, you need the help of the senses, but you can also have an experience without the senses. This means that there are two kinds of awareness: one is through the senses, the other is without the senses. When you are able to experience through the senses, that is called the worldly experience. But when you are able to be aware without the senses, that is called the inner experience, the transcendental experience. Who is experiencing both of these? One and the same self; the seer is one and not two. This is an important point that you have to remember in tantra. External experience is one type of spiritual experience and inner experience is another type of spiritual experience. The right hand is inner experience and the left hand is outer experience. If you have one hand, you are limited. You need both. Similarly, you should have both awarenesses functioning at the same time, which is the total, homogeneous, complete experience.
Most people think that in the states of dhyana and samadhi, the external experience is finished. In fact it is not. This is one mistake that we have to correct. In meditation and samadhi you are able to have both internal and external experience at the same time, because you are the seer. When you are able to experience inner and outer awareness at the same time, this is known as the expansion of consciousness. When the expansion of consciousness takes place, the energy is automatically liberated.

The middle path

In tantra we have the two eternal realities known as Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is consciousness and Shakti is energy. When the union between consciousness and energy takes place, kundalini wakes up. Similarly, mankind must combine material life with spiritual life, for evolution to take place. Usually, however, this does not happen. People do not try to synthesise them. Instead, they create two separate compartments, the material and the spiritual. When you only care for the material compartment, you become psychotic, neurotic, frustrated. But if you ignore the material and only take an interest in the spiritual compartment, then your spiritual life will be blocked. Therefore you should practise spiritual life in accordance with your nature and your external life.
The science of tantra is very broad. It has accepted the wholeness of life, and this is the future direction of spiritual life in modern society. Otherwise people will become very unnatural, creating extremes in society. You can see that when the emphasis is on puritanism, the other extreme- pornography, arises. There must be a middle path, and that will improve the condition of society and the family as well.
Tantra should be practised on the level of family life. In tantra, the sexual interaction between Shiva and Shakti is considered necessary for spiritual growth. Up to now you have been involved in sexual interactions, but you have always felt guilty about it. You have had a very low opinion of it. Yet this is a natural part of life. Everybody is doing it. Your mother and father have done it; your grandfather and grandmother have done it; yet you feel so bad about it.
According to tantra, the sexual drive is one of mankind's most powerful urges and no man is able to abstain. It is in his body, mind and subconscious. It is expressed in his behaviour, and if not in his behaviour, then in his dreams; if not in his dreams, then in abnormal psychotic behaviour. It is always there; you can't get rid of it, whether you are a sannyasi, saint, devotee, bishop, clergyman, boy, girl, man or woman.
So how are you going to manage this indispensable element of your life? It will take some time for you to learn to respect your own urges. You are compelled by your urges, yet you don't respect them. You don't believe that there is any way to fulfil them and still progress in the spiritual life. For centuries it has been taught that sexual life is bad, it is dirty, you must give it up. But tantra tells you it is perfect, and for spiritual life it is most important. You don't have to give it up; you have to continue it. Most people say that sexual life is for progeny and pleasure, but tantra says that the purpose of sexual life is samadhi.

Practical tantra

Tantra helps to sublimate the sexual process so that what you are already doing can be used for higher spiritual evolution. In hatha yoga there are certain practices which should be learned for this purpose from a qualified teacher who knows the science and can tell you how to practise it. These include vajroli, sahajoli, amaroli, uddiyana, kumbhaka and concentration at bhrumadhya (eyebrow centre).
With this system, you don't have to abandon your family life. Your married life becomes spiritual life; you don't have to abstain from it or consider it un-yogic or un-spiritual. Then from the time you start to live with your partner, every day is a yogic day. This is one of the most important aspects of tantra.


In tantra, mantra is as important as the sexual sacrifice. Sound has three different stages, but we only hear the middle one. When sound vibrates above or below a certain range, it is imperceptible, and when it vibrates within a certain range, it is perceptible. Mantra is the imperceptible sound.
Go to a quiet lake, take a small pebble in your hand and throw it into the water. What happens? Circular motions keep on expanding. Take a bigger pebble and throw it; the circles will be more expanded. Throw a still bigger pebble and you can see the ripples traveling far and wide. That is the effect of mantra on the homogeneity of consciousness.
Mind is like an ocean. Thoughts and memories are not the mind; they are formations of the mind. Waves and bubbles are not the ocean; the totality of water is the ocean. In the same way, the totality of consciousness is the mind. What you know about the mind is very little. You know you have a mind because you think and feel, but to see the mind in its totality is a fantastic experience.
Through mantra, this homogeneity of the mind is affected; when you practise mantra, the sound waves are internalised. They pierce through the conscious mind to the subconscious mind, up to the unconscious mind. The purpose of the mantra is to pierce the totality of the mind, and that is the concept of mantra in tantra yoga. Many people think that mantra is the name of a particular deity. As such it has become a symbol of polytheism, but actually mantra has nothing to do with any religion or sect. It is just a sound, a form of mental energy, which has the capacity to influence and restructure the totality of the mind.


Yantras are wonderful figures which symbolise the structure of your psychic body. These yantras have evolved from a point in tantra called bindu. According to tantra, the whole of creation has evolved from bindu, the ultimate point. From this first point you get a triangle; this is one manifestation. Then from the triangle you get a quadrangle; this is another manifestation. Then you get a circle. The point manifests further and further. This is the symbol of external consciousness, of all that you perceive with your senses. Yantra is the symbol of creation, and when you withdraw your mind to that point, you are going back to the point of creativity. The point is a mandala. In tantra the most important thing to concentrate on is the point at the eyebrow centre. When you concentrate on this point, it enlarges and manifests itself in so many forms. That is the process which we know as the expansion of consciousness.

Stepping stones to spiritual life

In order to progress in spiritual life, the practices that you do must not create any further conflicts in your external life, rather they should clear up all the existing conflicts and doubts. Therefore, you must practise in such a way that the movement is smooth. Once you have made a thorough study of tantra you will agree that this is your way, because it is practical. You don't need to do very much intellectually, but it is important to know how to prepare yourself, what to practise and how to practise it.
Whether one is young or old, the path of tantra is for all. It is not only for those who have control over themselves, but also for those who have terribly restless minds, due to passion, ambition, desire, anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety, frustration, disappointment. All these become stepping stones for those who want spiritual illumination. You don't have to try to eliminate them, but catch hold of them and go further.
The way is so simple, yet nobody understands it. This is the reason why millions of people are practising spiritual life, but they can't get anywhere. Everybody's spiritual life remains stranded, because they do not know the right way to progress. When you sit in an asana you should be able to switch off your mind without any effort. The mind should become your friend, and there should be total uniformity, unity and understanding between one part of yourself and the other part.

Satsang on Tantra and Married Life

Can I accelerate my evolution while living an active family life?

In tantra they talk about acceptance, about living life fully as it should be lived, without negating or rejecting anything.
If a person is destined or determined to reach the highest point of life, whatever he does is a part of yoga. A person who does not want to discover the essence of soul, to experience self-realization or to know the truth, does not progress, even if he goes to the temple or church regularly and lives an ethical and moral life. It is the purpose or aim of life which is important. If I go from here to Rome, the road I take, what I eat or who I talk to on the way matters little, as long as my aim is to get there. The old scriptures talk about the background and birth of some of the great rishis. What made them great? It was not the moral, ethical or social situation in which they were born, but the purpose for which they lived.
One must have an aim, a way, and the courage to follow it consistently. With this, you can evolve wherever you are, whether you live in an ashram or with your family and children.

What happens when the practice of yoga reveals that marriage is just a social institution?

It is because we have forgotten the spiritual purpose of this union that the relationship between man and woman has become socialised into the marital roles of husband and wife. In yoga and in tantra, man and woman are brought together for the fulfillment of something very great.
In the creation of nature, man and woman are complimentary to each other's spiritual evolution. Anything that transpires between them is a necessary corollary to spiritual life. The process of coming together, living together, working together, sexually interacting together and meditating together, is so important for the evolution of human life. Therefore, the sooner you replace the terms 'husband' and 'wife' the better, because these words merely represent a legal situation. You may continue to use them if you like, but the spiritual situation is far more important.
Where does a man stand in relation to a woman? The relationship is purely spiritual, not for progeny or pleasure alone. Progeny is the by product of an accident, and you can avoid that accident if you like. Pleasure is a very limited aspect of their coming together. The awakening of kundalini and the higher vision which results from this awakening, is the ultimate purpose for man and woman coming, living, working and striving together. You use the word 'couple'. The exact translation for this in Sanskrit is maithuna. When two are together, it is called maithuna. From the word maithuna the word maithuna has been derived.

Often jealousy of yoga arises in the case of married couples when one partner practises and the other does not. What is the most practical solution to this problem?

In order to realise the vision of yoga, one does not have to step out of the threshold of married life. If the two partners are not able to understand each other, there is still a way. In the path of tantra, the husband and wife are considered as Shiva and Shakti. Therefore, keeping this relationship in view, the two partners can definitely continue their spiritual life while living at home.
In our modern culture, there is a peculiar tendency. If the husband is yoga-minded, he wants his wife also to be yoga-minded, and vice versa. But if one of them practises and the other one is not able to participate, then they have problems. In family life, the' relationship between the two partners is paramount. If it is not possible for the wife to convince her husband in terms of hatha yoga or raja yoga, then it is much better that she finds another way of practising yoga with him. It is mainly for this purpose that the science of tantra was founded.
Tantra is not new or difficult. Ultimately you will find it is a part of your culture. It is only tantra that accepts all aspects of life as a part of your great pilgrimage. Tantra alone sees a spiritual purpose and a great meaning in all these things. Therefore it is very suitable for people of the modern age. You have been living the life of a tantric without knowing it. You just have to realise it, accept it, and perhaps give it a little bit of cutting, pruning and modifying. You don't have to destroy the present structure of your life, you can build up your spiritual life around it.

How can I carry out my family duties with detachment?

The answer lies in the path of tantra, which accepts man's most natural urge, the sexual action, as a way to spiritual illumination. In tantra, the two partners are known as Shiva and Shakti. Shiva means consciousness, purusha; Shakti means energy, prakriti. In the scheme of creation, Shakti is the main executive; Shiva is detached. He is a silent witness to the whole game of creation. In the same manner, in the interaction between Shiva and Shakti, it is much wiser and more scientific that Shakti becomes the active participant. Then Shiva remains a silent witness and spectator of the whole game. If Shiva becomes active in this game, then he is the loser; and likewise, if Shakti is suppressed and becomes passive, then both are at a loss. Therefore, in maithuna, Shakti is the active partner and Shiva is the passive partner.
In the path of progeny, man, the male member, is the active participant, and woman is only the tool. In the path of pleasure, Shiva is the enjoyer and Shakti is the tool. In both of these, Shakti takes the inferior position and Shiva becomes superior. However, this is an unnatural way, because the whole creation is a miracle of Shakti, not of Shiva. Shiva never participates in creation. Shakti holds the superior position in the scheme of creation. Similarly, in the path of tantra, Shakti should hold the superior position and Shiva should only participate. That is the natural way. If this tantra is properly practised, family life will improve and the rate of separation will come down.

What are the tantric practices for married couples?

Vajroli and sahajoli are practised by householders to improve and spiritualise the marital relationship. Vajroli is the practice for males which gives control over vajra nadi, the nerve centre responsible for sexual passion. Vajra nadi is the conductor of semen. It is comprised of two nerves which pass from the genital organ, down both sides of the groin into the testicles, where they stimulate production of testosterone. Testosterone maintains male sexual function and also stimulates the heart. So, by controlling the vajra nadi, you can control the semen and the heart also.
Vajroli is practised in padmasana or siddhasana. While retaining the breath in jalandhara bandha, you contract the genital area, including the testicles, genital organ and vajra nadi. During this practice the bladder and kidneys are also contracted.
When ejaculation takes place during the normal sexual act, the vajra nadi is filled with blood and vajroli mudra takes place spontaneously, just for a few moments, even if you are not aware of it. But those who have mastered vajroli can control the ejaculation so that it only occurs when they choose, or does not occur at all.
After ejaculation there is a drop in the energy level and depression in the nervous system. But if there is no ejaculation, the energy level remains high, nervous depression does not occur, and the blood pressure level remains steady. At the same time, you will be free from the sense of loss, depression, frustration and guilt. Sexual life is not a cause of weakness. If practised correctly, it brings about a great awakening of energy.
In the tantric process, the experience of energy explosion at the sexual peak has to be controlled. As long as the experience continues, you can direct it to the higher centres. In vajroli the experience takes place in the brain, not in the lower organs. The purpose of vajroli is to maintain this experience for as long as possible without ejaculation. At the peak of sexual interaction, kundalini is awakened.
Sahajoli is the parallel practice for females. Sahajoli is performed in siddha yoni asana. While retaining the breath, the vaginal muscles and urethra are contracted and drawn up. The contraction is the same as when you are trying to hold back from urinating. At this time the uterus, bladder and kidneys are also contracted.
It is most important for those who utilise these practices to maintain the correct attitude towards them. In yoga, sexual life is not practised for any other purpose except samadhi. If that purpose is kept in mind, then samadhi becomes the goal, sexual life the act, and yoga the technique.

Are any preparatory practices necessary?

In my opinion, vajroli and sahajoli should not be practised directly. First you must master kumbhaka, uddiyana bandha and siddhasana. A few asanas like vajrasana, supta vajrasana, shalabhasana and paschimottanasana should also be practised, because they place an automatic contraction on the genital region. When you practise paschimottanasana and hold it for several minutes, you prepare the body for uddiyana bandha. In siddhasana you press the perineum with the heel so that a slight contraction of mooladhara and vajra nadi takes place automatically. Sirshasana is most important because it circulates the blood in the brain.
Please remember that all these practices take time to develop and perfect. You cannot expect results for several years.

How can we overcome feelings of guilt?

You cannot get rid of guilt just through self-analysis. Unless your mind has undergone a change, freedom from guilt is not possible. Guilt is at the root of most human beings. Our behaviour, relationships and ambitions, are guided by the sense of guilt in us. Just because you practise yoga does not mean that you will become free from guilt. When you come to yoga, you still have the notion of good and bad, pure and impure. Those who come to yoga with a free mind, without any notion of duality, of good and evil, perhaps they may be able to eliminate this guilt.

According to tradition, how does the yogi combine family life with spiritual life?

I can give you some examples in history, of yogis who have combined both these aspects, and of others who have renounced.
Lord Krishna, who is supposed to be the Lord of Yoga, was married, not only once, but eight times. Rama, the great disciplinarian, was also married and had children. Lord Shiva, who presides over the yogic consciousness in the east and west today, was married. Tantra itself is the offshoot of Lord Shiva's true story. There have been many great yogis who led a complete married life. In India today, many householders with a wife and children live the life of a yogi in their own homes.
But there are also many examples of people like Lord Buddha, who renounced his wife, family and kingdom to become a yogi. There is one well known story about Shankaracharya, who renounced and became a sannyasin at the age of seven. He never married. Once during his discussions with a great scholar and exponent of Vedanta philosophy in India, he was confronted with some questions concerning the science of sexual life. Shankaracharya was able to reply to all questions, and the great scholar was not able to match him.
So Bharati, the wife of this great scholar, came and said to Shankaracharya: 'You have defeated my husband, now you have to tackle the problem with me.' She put some questions to him about sexual life which he did not seem to know about. So Shankaracharya asked her for a little time to prepare himself.
The story goes that he went to his disciples and through his yogic powers left his body and entered the body of a dead king. On the same day, the 'king' came back to life and they brought him from the cremation ground to the palace where he lived a perfect life with his wife. Soon however, the people noticed that his behaviour was different. After all, he was really a saint and a yogi.
The body of Shankaracharya was lying all this time in a cave with his disciples, but Shankaracharya became so engrossed in his life with the queen that he forgot to return to his own body. Ultimately, the soldiers of that state came so close to discovering the dead body that his disciples invoked the mantra which he had taught them in case of any delay, and brought him back to life.
After this he held discussions with Bharati and defeated her also on all matters relating to sexual topics. Both Bharati and her husband became two of the four chief disciples of Shankaracharya.
From the lives of yogis in the past and those who are living in the present, we can conclude that sexual life, or a life of sexual abstention, should be decided only by an overwhelming desire for an experience of higher consciousness. Otherwise it is no use talking about either abstaining or indulging. If you indulge in sex like an ordinary man, then there will be no difference between yourself and him in relation to spiritual progress. At the same time, if you refrain, it is like pulling the tail of an elephant.
You need a great passion to divert your mind from the lesser one. For example, suppose you are fighting a great battle, with guns and cannons shooting forth. In the midst of the fray, you meet a lady. Will you take an interest in her, or will you ignore her and go on fighting? At this historic and overwhelming moment when the passions are high in battle, you are not going to take an interest in anything except the fight. Likewise, there must come a time in your life when you experience passions higher than sex, and only then should you try for abstention- otherwise don't do it. Instead, finish it off, transcend it, and become a good swami.
Unless you have a greater passion, how can you transcend this lower passion? Until you have realised and discovered this greater energy or passion within you and within everyone, don't talk about it; it is better to lead a normal married life.

What if you have a higher passion, but you still have an animal body?

If you have higher passions, you will never think about the body. It is like a man who is occupied with a greater mission. He may take some bread and butter or chapatti, but he doesn't even think about it. He is not aware of what clothes he puts on in the morning or where he sleeps at night. A man with a mission, or a higher passion is not at all aware of the lower fulfilments. It is only this man who can think about abstention. Otherwise, all yoga practitioners should lead a life according to the laws of nature, without resistance. If you have to live in a river, don't create enmity with the crocodile.

Πέμπτη, 21 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Χρυσά Έπη ονομάζονται οι 72 στίχοι των Πυθαγορείων

Χρυσά Έπη ονομάζονται οι 72 στίχοι (τίτλος + 71 στίχοι) που απαγγέλλονταν από μνήμης καθημερινά από τους Πυθαγόρειους σπουδαστές και οι εντολές/προτροπές των στίχων αυτών ακολουθούνταν ευλαβικά προκειμένου να οδηγήσουν εαυτούς στην καθαρότητα της ψυχής. Βασίζονται στο δακτυλικό εξάμετρο, το μέτρο της ποίησης του Ομήρου, καθώς και άλλων νεώτερων ποιητών/φιλοσόφων. Οι στίχοι αυτοί ήσαν η βάση της ηθικής και εξαγνιστικής προσεγγίσεως του μεγάλου δασκάλου προς την αθανασία, οι οποίοι διασώθηκαν και μας μεταδόθηκαν από τον Ιάμβλιχο, του τέλους του +τρίτου αιώνα. Επικρατεί η άποψη ότι ο Πυθαγόρας δεν άφησε γραπτό έργο, προέτρεπε τους σπουδαστές του στην εξάσκηση της μνήμης.

Γίνεται αμέσως αντιληπτό το υψηλό επίπεδο αρετής στο οποίο συνήθιζε τους μαθητές του ο μεγάλος μαθηματικός και φυσικός φιλόσοφος της αρχαιότητας.

Ποιος θα μπορούσε να ισχυρισθεί ότι κάποια απ’ αυτά τα παραγγέλματα έχουν απωλέσει την διαχρονική τους αξία;

Τα των Πυθαγορείων Χρυσά Έπη

᾿Αθανάτους μὲν πρῶτα θεούς, νόμῳ ὡς διάκεινται,
Τίμα καὶ σέβου ὅρκον, ἔπειθ᾿ ἥρωας ἀγαυούς,
Τούς τε καταχθονίoυς σέβε δαίμονας, ἔννομα ῥέζων.
Τούς τε γονεῖς τίμα, τούς τ᾿ ἄγχιστ’ ἐκγεγαῶτας.
Τῶν δ᾿ ἄλλων ἀρετῇ ποιεῦ φίλον ὅστις ἄριστος.
Πραέσι εἶκε λόγοις, ἔργοισί τ᾿ ἐπωφελίμοισι,
Μηδ᾿ ἔχθαιρε φίλον σὸν ἀμαρτάδος εἴνεκα μικρῆς,
῎Οφρα δύνῃ. Δύναμις γὰρ ἀνάγκης ἐγγύθι ναίει.
Ταῦτα μὲν οὕτως ἴσθι· κρατεῖν δ᾿ εἰθίζεο τῶνδε
Γαστρὸς μέν πρώτιστα, καὶ ὕπνου λαγνείης τε
Καὶ θυμοῦ. πρήξης δ᾿ αἰσχρόν ποτε μήτε μετ᾿ ἄλλου,
Μήτ᾿ ἰδίῃ· πάντων δὲ μάλιστ᾿ αἰσχύνεο σαυτόν.
Εἶτα δικαιοσύνην ἄσκει ἔργῳ τε λόγῳ τε.
Μηδ᾿ ἀλογίστως σαυτὸν ἔχειν περὶ μηδὲν ἔθιζε.
Ἀλλὰ γνῶθι μὲν ὡς θανέειν πέπρωται ἅπασι.
Χρήματα δ᾿ ἄλλοτε μὲν κτᾶσθαι φίλει, ἄλλοτ᾿ ὀλέσσαι.
Ὅσσα τε δαιμονίῃσι τύχαις βροτοὶ ἄλγἐ ἔχουσιν,
Ὧν ἂν μοῖραν ἔχῃς, ταύτην φέρε μηδ᾿ ἀγανάκτει.
Ἰᾶσθαι δὲ πρέπει, καθόσον δύνῃ.Ὧδε δὲ φράζευ·
Οὐ πάνυ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς τούτων πολὺ μοῖρα δίδωσι.
Πολλοὶ δ᾿ ἀνθρώποισι λόγοι δειλοί τε καὶ ἐσθλοὶ
Προσπίπτουσ᾿, ὧν μήτ᾿ ἐκπλήσσεο, μήτ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ἐάσῃς
Εἴργεσθαι σαυτόν. Ψεῦδος δ᾿ ἥνπερ τι λέγηται
Πράως εἶχ᾿. ῞Ο δέ τοι ἐρέω, ἐπὶ παντὶ τελείσθω.
Μηδεὶς μήτε λόγῳ σε παρείπῃ μήτε τι ἔργῳ,
Πρῆξαι, μηδ᾿ εἰπεῖν, ὅ τι τοι μὴ βέλτερόν ἐστι.
Βουλεύου δὲ πρὸ ἔργου, ὅπως μὴ μῶρα πέληται
Δειλοῦ τοι πρήσσειν τε λέγειν τ᾿ ἀνόητα πρὸς ἀνδρός.
᾿Αλλὰ τάδ᾿ ἐκτελέειν, ἅ σε μὴ μετέπειτ ἀνιήσῃ.
Πρῆσσε δὲ μηδὲν τῶν μὴ ᾿πίστασαι, ἀλλὰ διδάσκευ
῞Οσσα χρεών, καὶ τερπνότατον βίον ὧδε διάξεις.
Οὐδ᾿ ὑγιείης τῆς περὶ σῶμ᾿ ἀμέλειαν ἔχειν χρή.
᾿Αλλὰ ποτοῦ τε μέτρον καὶ σίτου γυμναστίων τε
Ποιεῖσθαι· μέτρον δὲ λέγω τόδ᾿ ὃ μή σ᾿ ἀνιήσει.
Ειθιζου δε διαιταν εχειν καθαρειον αθρυπτον.
Καὶ πεφύλαξό γε ταῦτα ποιεῖν, ὁπόσα φθόνον ἴσχει.
Μὴ δαπανᾶν παρὰ καιρόν, ὁποῖα καλῶν ἀδαήμων·
Μηδ᾿ ἀνελεύθερος ἴσθι. Μέτρον δ᾿ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἄριστον.
Πρῆσσε δὲ ταῦθ᾿ ἅ σε μὴ βλάψει· λόγισαι δὲ πρὸ ἔργου.
Μηδ᾿ ὕπνον μαλακοῖσιν ἐπ᾿ ὄμμασι προδέξασθαι
Πρὶν τῶν ἡμερινῶν ἔργων λογίσασθαι ἕκαστον.
Πῇ παρέβην; τί δ᾿ ἔρεξα; τί μοι δέον οὐκ ἐτελέσθη;
Ἀρξάμενος δ᾿ ἀπὸ πρώτου ἐπέξιθι· καὶ μετέπειτα
δειλὰ μὲν ἐκπρήξας ἐπιπλήσσεο, χρηστὰ δέ, τέρπου.
Ταῦτα πόνει, ταῦτ᾿ ἐκμελέτα· τουτῶν χρὴ ἐρᾶν σε,
Ταῦτά σε τῆς θείης ἀρετῆς εἰς ἴχνια θήσει·
Ναὶ μὰ τὸν ἀματέρᾳ ψυχᾷ παραδόντα τετρακτύν,
Παγὰν ἀενάου φύσεως. Ἀλλ᾿ ἔργευ ἐπ᾿ ἔργον,
Θεοῖσι ἐπευξάμενος τελέσαι. Τούτων δὲ κρατήσας
Γνώσῇ ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν θνητῶν τ᾿ ἀνθρώπων
Σύστασιν, ᾗ τε ἕκαστα διέρχεται ᾗ τε κρατεῖται·
Γνώσῃ δ᾿ ᾗ θέμις ἐστι, φύσιν περὶ παντὸς ὁμοίην,
Ὡστέ σε μήτε ἄελπτ᾿ ἐλπίζειν, μήτε τι λήθειν.
Γνώσῃ δ᾿ ἀνθρώπους αὐθαιρετα πήματ᾿ ἔχοντας
Τλήμονας, οἵ τ᾿ ἀγαθῶν πέλας ὄντων οὔτ᾿ ἐσορῶσιν
Οὔτε κλύουσιν· λύσιν δὲ κακῶν παῦροι συνίσασι.
Τοίη μοῖρα βροτών βλάπτει φρένας· ὡς δὲ κύλινδροι
Ἄλλοτ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἄλλα φέρονται, ἀπείρονα πήματ᾿ ἔχοντες.
Λυγρὴ γὰρ συνοπαδὸς ἔρις βλάπτουσα λέληθεν,
Σύμφυτος, ἣν οὐ δεῖ προάγειν εἴκοντα δὲ φεύγειν.
Ζεῦ πάτερ ἧ πολλῶν κε κακῶν λύσειας ἅπαντας,
Εἰ πᾶσιν δείξαις, οἵῳ τῷ δαίμονι χρῶνται.
Ἀλλὰ σὺ θάρσει, ἐπεῖ θεῖον γένος ἐστὶ βροτοῖσιν,
Οἷς ἱερὰ προφέρουσα φύσις δείκνυσιν ἕκαστα.
Ὧν εἴ σοί τι μέτεστι, κρατήσεις ὧν σε κελεύω,
Ἐξακέσας, ψυχὴν δὲ πόνων ἀπὸ τῶνδε σαώσεις.
Ἀλλ᾿ εἴργου βρωτῶν, ὧν εἴπομεν, ἔν τε καθαρμοῖς,
Ἔν τε λύσει ψυχῆς κρίνων, καὶ φράζευ ἕκαστα,
ἡνίοχον γνώμην στήσας καθύπερθεν ἀρίστην.
Ἢν δ᾿ ἀπολείψας σῶμα ἐς αἰθέρ᾿ ἐλεύθερον ἔλθης,
Ἔσσεαι ἀθάνατος θεὸς ἄμβροτος, οὐκέτι θνητός.


Πρώτα να τιμάς τους αθάνατους Θεούς, όπως νόμος ορίζει, και να σέβεσαι τον όρκο. Έπειτα τους ένδοξους ήρωες να σέβεσαι και τις χθόνιες θεότητες, πράττοντας τα νόμιμα. Να τιμάς τους γονείς σου και τους κοντινούς συγγενείς σου. Ανάμεσα στους άλλους, να κάνεις φίλο, όποιον είναι άριστος στην αρετή. Να υπακούς στα λόγια της πραότητας και στα έργα τα επωφελή. Να μην εχθρεύεσαι τον φίλο σου εξ αιτίας μικρού σφάλματος, όσο μπορείς, διότι η δύναμη κοντά στην ανάγκη κατοικεί.

Αυτά μεν έτσι να γνωρίζης, να συνηθίζης δε να κυριαρχής στα παρακάτω: Πρώτα στην κοιλιά και στον ύπνο, στην λαγνεία και στον θυμό. Ποτέ να μην πράξης κάτι αισχρό, ούτε με άλλον ούτε μόνος σου, προπαντός δε, να ντρέπεσαι τον εαυτό σου. Έπειτα να ασκής την δικαιοσύνη με έργα και με λόγια, ούτε να συνηθίζης να είσαι ασυλλόγιστος για τίποτε, αλλά να γνωρίζης, ότι είναι πεπρωμένο όλοι να πεθάνουν και τα χρήματα άλλοτε αποκτούνται κι άλλοτε χάνονται. Όσα δε βάσανα έχουν οι θνητοί, από θεϊκή τύχη, όποια κι αν είναι η μοίρα σου, να την υποφέρης χωρίς να αγανακτής, αλλά πρέπει να θεραπεύης όσα μπορείς. Τούτο δε σκέψου: δεν δίνει η μοίρα στους αγαθούς μεγάλο μέρος απ’ αυτά.

Πολλά θ’ ακούσεις να λέγονται λόγια, ευγενικά και ανάξια, για τα οποία να μην εκπλήττεσαι, ούτε να τα απορρίπτης απερίσκεπτα. Αν ψέματα για κάτι λέγεται, να είσαι πράος. Ό,τι θα σου πω, να το εκτελής απαρέγκλιτα: κανείς να μην σε πείση, ούτε με λόγια ούτε με έργα, να πράξης ή να πεις κάτι που δεν σου είναι ωφέλιμο. Να σκέπτεσαι πριν από κάθε σου έργο ώστε να μην φανείς ανόητος, ο άνθρωπος που κάνει και λέει ανόητα, άφρονας χαρακτηρίζεται. Εκείνα να εκτελής για τα οποία δεν θα μετανιώσεις μετέπειτα. Να μην κάνης τίποτε από ‘κείνα που δεν γνωρίζεις, αλλά να διδάσκεσαι όσα υπολείπεσαι και έτσι θα ζήσεις τον πιο ευχάριστο βίο.

∆εν πρέπει να αμελής την υγεία του σώματος, αλλά με μέτρο να πίνης, να τρως και να γυμνάζεσαι, ως μέτρο ονομάζω εκείνο το οποίο δεν σε καταπονεί. Να συνηθίζης να έχεις καθαρό κι άφθαρτο βίο και να φυλάγεσαι να κάνεις όσα προκαλούν τον φθόνο, ούτε να σπαταλάς άκαιρα τα καλά όπως οι αδαείς, μήτε να στερείσαι, γιατί το μέτρο είναι το άριστο σε όλα. Πράξε όμως εκείνα που δεν θα σε βλάψουν και να σκέπτεσαι πριν τα έργα. Μήτε να επιτρέπεις τον απαλό ύπνο στα μάτια σου, πριν εξετάσης τρεις φορές τις πράξεις εκείνης της ημέρας: «τι παρέβην; τι έπραξα; τι απ’ ό,τι έπρεπε δεν ολοκλήρωσα;» αρχίζοντας δε από το πρώτο να επεκτείνεσαι στα μετέπειτα, για τα ανάξια μεν που έπραξες να επιπλήττης τον εαυτό σου και για τα χρηστά ευχαριστήσου. Αυτά να προσπαθής, αυτά να μελετάς, αυτά πρέπει ν’ αγαπάς, αυτά θα σε βάλουν στα ίχνη της θεϊκής Αρετής. Ναι, μα τον παραδώσαντα στην ψυχή μας την Τετρακτύν, την πηγή της αέναης φύσεως. Άρχιζε λοιπόν το έργον προσευχόμενος στους θεούς για να το ολοκληρώσης.

Εφόσον τα τηρείς αυτά, θα γνωρίσεις την σύσταση των αθανάτων Θεών και των θνητών ανθρώπων, είτε αυτή τα διεισδύει ή παραμένει σ’ αυτά. Θα γνωρίσεις δε, αν αυτό είναι δίκαιο, ότι η φύση όλων είναι όμοια, ώστε μήτε τ’ ανέλπιστα να ελπίζης, ούτε κάτι να σου ξεφεύγη. Θα γνωρίσεις ακόμη ταλαίπωρους ανθρώπους από συμφορές που ίδιοι προκάλεσαν, οι οποίοι ενώ τα αγαθά βρίσκονται κοντά τους ούτε τα βλέπουν ούτε τ’ ακούν. Λίγοι γνωρίζουν πώς να λύσουν τα κακά. Η μοίρα αυτή τους βλάπτει το μυαλό, σαν κύλινδροι περιφέρονται εδώ κι εκεί, υποφέροντας ατελείωτες συμφορές, γιατί τους διαφεύγει ότι η Έριδα που τους είναι σύμφυτη, είναι μια ολέθρια συνοδός που τους βλάπτει, και δεν πρέπει να την προάγουν, αλλά να την αποφεύγουν.

Δία πατέρα, αναμφίβολα μπορείς ν’ απαλλάξης όλους από πολλά κακά, εάν δείξης ποιον δαίμονα έχουν μέσα τους. Αλλά να είσαι θαρραλέος, επειδή οι θνητοί είναι από θείο γένος, στους οποίους η φύση δείχνει τα ιερά, αποκαλύπτοντας αυτά. Αν εσύ συμμετέχοντας σε αυτά, κρατήσεις ό,τι σε διατάσσω, απαλλάσσοντας την ψυχή σου από τους κόπους αυτούς, θα την σώσεις. Αλλά, να απέχεις από τις τροφές που είπαμε στους Καθαρμούς και στην Λύτρωση της ψυχής, κρίνοντας και σκεπτόμενος το κάθε τι, θέτοντας ως ηνίοχο πάνω απ’ όλα την άριστη γνώμη. Όταν λοιπόν εγκαταλείψης το σώμα και έλθης στον ελεύθερον αιθέρα, θα γίνεις αθάνατος, θεός άφθαρτος, όχι πλέον θνητός.

Παρασκευή, 8 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Normal Sex and Tantric Sex

OSHO : Your sex act and the tantric sex act are basically different. Your sex act is to relieve; it is just like sneezing out a good sneeze. The energy is thrown out and you are unburdened. It is destructive, it is not creative. It is good — therapeutic. It helps you to be relaxed, but nothing more. The tantric sex act is basically, diametrically opposite and different. It is not to relieve, it is not to throw energy out. It is to remain in the act without ejaculation, without throwing energy out; to remain in the act merged — just at the beginning part of the act, not the end part.

This changes the quality; the complete quality is different then. Try to understand two things. There are two types of climaxes, two types of orgasm. One type of orgasm is known. You reach to a peak of excitement, then you cannot go further: the end has come. The excitement reaches to a point where it becomes non-voluntary. The energy jumps into you and goes out. You are relieved of it, unburdened. The load is thrown; you can relax and sleep. You are using it like a tranquilizer.

It is a natural tranquilizer: a good sleep will follow — if your mind is not burdened by religion. Otherwise even the tranquilizer is destroyed. If your mind is not burdened by religion, only then can sex be a tranquilizing thing. If you feel guilt, even your sleep will be disturbed. You will feel depression, you will start condemning yourself and you will begin to take oaths that now you won’t indulge anymore. Then your sleep will become a nightmare afterwards.

If you are a natural being not too much burdened by religion and morality, only then can sex be used as a tranquilizer. This is one type of orgasm — coming to the peak of excitement. Tantra is centered on another type of orgasm. If we call the first kind a peak orgasm, you can call the tantric orgasm a valley orgasm. In it you are not coming to the peak of excitement, but to the very deepest valley of relaxation. Excitement has to be used for both in the beginning. That is why I say that in the beginning both are the same, but the ends are totally different.

Excitement has to be used for both: either you are going toward the peak of excitement or to the valley of relaxation. For the first, excitement has to be intense — more and more intense. You have to grow in it; you have to help it to grow towards the peak. In the second, excitement is just a beginning. And once the man has entered, both lover and beloved can relax. No movement is needed. They can relax in a loving embrace.

When the man feels or the woman feels that the erection is going to be lost, only then is a little movement and excitement required. But then again relax. You can prolong this deep embrace for hours with no ejaculation, and then both can fall into deep sleep together. This — THIS — is a valley orgasm. Both are relaxed, and they meet as two relaxed beings. In the ordinary sexual orgasm you meet as two excited beings — tense, full of excitement, trying to unburden yourselves. The ordinary sexual orgasm looks like madness; the tantric orgasm is a deep, relaxing meditation.

You may not be aware of it, but this is a fact of biology, of bio-energy, that man and woman are opposite forces. Negative-positive, yin-yang, or whatsoever you call them, they are challenging to each other. And when they both meet in a deep relaxation, they revitalize each other. They both revitalize each other, they both become generators, they both feel livelier, they both become radiant with new energy, and nothing is lost. Just by meeting with the opposite pole energy is renewed.

The tantric love act can be done as much as you like. The ordinary sex act cannot be done as much as you like because you are losing energy in it, and your body will have to wait to regain it. And when you regain it, you will only lose it again. This looks absurd. The whole life is spent in gaining and losing, regaining and losing: it is just like an obsession. The second thing to be remembered: you may or may not have observed that when you look at animals you can never see them enjoying sex. In intercourse, they are not enjoying themselves.

Look at baboons, monkeys, dogs or any kind of animals. In their sex act you cannot see that they are feeling blissful or enjoying it — you cannot! It seems to be just a mechanical act, a natural force pushing them towards it. If you have seen monkeys in intercourse, after the intercourse they will separate. Look at their faces: there is no ecstasy in them, it is as if nothing has happened. When the energy forces itself, when the energy is too much, they throw it. The ordinary sex act is just like this, but moralists have been saying quite the contrary.

They say, “Do not indulge, do not ‘enjoy’.” They say, “This is as animals do.” This is wrong! Animals never enjoy; only man can enjoy. And the deeper you can enjoy, the higher is the kind of humanity that is born. And if your sex act can become meditative, ecstatic, the highest is touched. But remember tantra: it is a valley orgasm, it is not a peak experience. It is a valley experience!

In the West, Abraham Maslow has made this term “peak experience” very famous. You go into excitement towards the peak, and then you fall. That is why, after every sex act, you feel a fall. And it is natural: you are falling from a peak. You will never feel that after a tantric sex experience. Then you are not falling. You cannot fall any further because you have been in the valley. Rather, you are rising.

When you come back after a tantric sex act, you have risen, not fallen. You feel filled with energy, more vital, more alive, radiant. And that ecstasy will last for hours, even for days. It depends on how deeply you were in it. If you move into it, sooner or later you will realize that ejaculation is wastage of energy. No need of it — unless you need children. And with a tantric sex experience, you will feel a deep relaxation the whole day.

One tantric sex experience, and even for days you will feel relaxed — at ease, at home, non-violent, non-angry, non-depressed. And this type of person is never a danger to others. If he can, he will help others to be happy. If he cannot, at least he will not make anyone unhappy. Only tantra can create a new man, and this man who can know timelessness, egolessness and deep non-duality with existence will grow.


Δευτέρα, 4 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra – Door into Eternal Life

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra – Door into Eternal Life

Swami Vibhooti Saraswati

The healing power of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra was invoked in Ganga Darshan, Munger, by Swami Satyananda in 1986, and in Rikhia in 2000. It is currently being chanted in the Satyananda ashrams and yoga centres throughout India and the world at the same time every week. People who are facing illness, obstacles, tragedy or crisis in their lives, and who cannot be physically present during the chanting, can give their names for inclusion in the chanting by phone or letter. Many people have been helped through difficult times in this way, even though they are not physically present, the power of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is so great.
The chanting takes place on Saturday evenings, around six o’clock (with a slight time change according to the time of year). It can also be chanted by the family and friends at home, or in any other place where you wish to create a positive, protective and high energy. This mantra is also chanted during auspicious occasions such as initiation ceremonies and havans. You are welcome to join us wherever you may be in the world. If you chant at the same time as the mantra is being chanted in the ashrams and centres, you can ‘tune in’ with us and become part of the collective force created.

The meaning of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra

The Sanskrit word maha means ‘great’, mrityu means ‘death’ and jaya means ‘victory’. Mantra is a word of great power that can give protection against negative forces and, according to Swami Satyananda, can even change one’s destiny. The Mahamrityunjaya mantra consists of 34 akshara (literally ‘imperishable’) or eternal sounds, and is as follows:
Om tryambakam yajaamahe
sugandhim pushthivardhanam;
Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan
Mrityormuksheeya maamritaat.
The literal meaning of the mantra is as follows: “We worship the three-eyed one (Lord Shiva) who is fragrant (in a state of supreme bliss), and who sustains all living beings. May he liberate us from (the eternal cycle of birth and) death. May he lead us to immortality, just as the cucumber is released from its bondage (the vine to which it is attached).”

Benefits of chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra

The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is a potent combination of sounds that, if repeated with faith, dedication and perseverance over a period of time, leads, not only to victory over the fear of death, but eventually to victory over death itself or moksha (liberation). It is therefore known as a ‘moksha mantra’. It is stimulating and heating (unlike the Gayatri mantra, which is soothing and cooling). It bestows longevity, and is designed to cure illness. It wards off evil or negative forces by creating a protective psychic shield around the practitioner. It is said to destroy sorrow and poverty, and to fulfil all of one’s desires. Anyone who wishes to remove obstacles in life and overcome difficult situations or illness should repeat this mantra regularly. If chanted a minimum of eleven times, last thing at night, it will ensure a better sleep and more positive dreams.

Background to Mahamrityunjaya mantra

The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is from the Krishna Yajur Veda. Mrityunjaya is another name for Lord Shiva, the great yogi who is actually said to have existed and to have conquered death. Shiva is also the prateek or symbol of consciousness, and has three aspects: shanta roopa or ‘peaceful form’, Raudra roopa or ‘fierce form’, and dhyaanastha roopa or ‘form engrossed in meditation’. The devata of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is Rudra or Raudra, who represents Lord Shiva in his fierce and destructive aspect.
This mantra was revealed to the great Rishi Vashishtha (who is said to have been born from a pitcher) while he was in a state of deep meditation. It is to be found in Shree Rudra Prashnaha (Rudra’s Question), from the fifth chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad, which belongs to the Yajur Veda. It is mentioned in many places in the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas. The mantra itself is actually comprised from mantras which are found in the three Vedas: The Rig Veda (7th mandal, 59th chapter, 12th mantra), the Yajur Veda (3rd chapter, 60th mantra), and the Atharva Veda (14th mandal, 1st chapter, 17th mantra).
The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is also to be found in the ayurvedic scriptures. In the Prakriti Khanda of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it has been said that Lord Shri Krishna gave the knowledge of Mrityunjaya to the wife of Sage Angira. In the Sati Khand of the Shiva Purana, Shukracharya (guru of the demons) himself has called it Mrita Sanjeevani Vidya (the knowledge which leads to eternal life). Shukracharya expounded it to Sage Dadhichi.

How to chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra

The mantra can be chanted alone, individually. It can also be chanted in small groups sitting in a circle. However, it is most powerful when chanted in large groups sitting in even, orderly rows. It is most beneficial when performed on an empty, or at least half-empty stomach. A mala (rosary) of 108 beads can be held in the right hand, just level with the heart, in the centre of the chest (the kshetram or trigger point for anahata chakra, the heart centre). It is best to use your japa mala, but any other mala of your choice can also be used. The mantra is chanted 108 times in a constant fixed rhythm.
One person should lead the chanting by repeating the mantra once (or even twice to set the speed and swara), then the others may join in for the remaining 107 (or six) japas. In this way the group will be able to chant together in chorus as one voice, and the effect and build-up of energy will thus be greater. The person guiding the chanting should make sure the speed is kept constant.
Pronunciation: The pronunciation should be correct for the mantra to be really effective. Many people chant ‘bandhanaat’ instead of ‘bandhanaan’. This is not incorrect, but ‘bandhanaan’ is the more perfect pronunciation.
Breath: The Mahamrityunjaya mantra is usually chanted in two parts, with a breath in between for ease of chanting and beauty of flow. This breath is taken at the end of the first line, after ‘pushthivardhanam’. Of course, there is nothing to prevent the practitioner chanting it in one breath if he so wishes, but this will not be possible for everyone. The mantra can also be divided into four and used during the practice of simple nadi shodhana pranayama (psychic network purification). The process is as follows. Breathing in through the left nostril, repeat mentally, “Om tryambakam yajaamahe”; breathing out through the left nostril repeat mentally, “sugandhim pushthivardhanam”; breathing in through the right nostril repeat mentally, “urvaarukamiva bandhanaan”; breathing out through the left nostril repeat mentally “mrityormuksheeya maamritaat”.
Speed and sound: When chanted dynamically, at a fast speed, the Mahamrityunjaya mantra generates a very powerful energy, and is at its most effective potency. One remains alert, stimulated and energized. It can also be chanted slowly in a relaxed way, but the energy tends to drop and drag if it is done too slowly. Also, people tend to become too introverted and even sleep or lose interest. The body also begins to complain because it has to sit for too long. A medium speed is most comfortable for the majority of people, and provides a nice balance (the middle path being the yogic way). However, whichever speed you decide to adopt, remember that it should be constant from beginning to end, creating a synchronized and melodious sound, to uplift the mind and spirit.
All those taking part in the chanting should blend their voices together, so the overall effect is like the gentle and soothing hum of bees. No voice should predominate, except of course the voice of the person who is guiding the chanting. Everyone should try to remain aware throughout the chanting of the speed and the swara (notes), and harmonize their chanting with the voices of those around them. There is a tendency, as the chanting progresses, for people to become introverted (or tired) and for the chanting to slow down. Just one person in a large group, who has a loud or discordant voice, can bring down the energy level of the whole group and disturb the harmony. The leader is there to see that this does not happen. So, a very important element in the chanting is awareness! The secret is that one should be neither too introverted nor too extroverted but poised somewhere in between on the threshold that divides the two states.
Tune: The most common and simple way of chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is with just three notes. In Rikhia four notes are used to add to the beauty of the sound. However, there are many styles and beautiful ways of chanting, from classical vedic chanting to the modern classical singer, Pandit Jasraj and others who have set the mantra to ragas. Many tapes are readily available. You can choose the one which suits you best, or even create your own!

Preparing to chant

Imagine that you are in the Himalayas, sitting alone beside the crystal clear, dark blue Manasarovar lake. Before you, in the distance, is the snow-capped peak of Mount Kailash, the presence of which is overpowering. (Pause) Surrender to it and feel that you are in the home of the gods, the abode of Lord Shiva. (Pause) There is no sound, no vibration. All around you is the open blue sky, the vast space of pure consciousness. You have nothing to do there but sit down quiet and still, like one of the gods, peaceful within and without, and close your eyes. (Pause) Become aware of the presence of Lord Shiva (supreme consciousness) all around you and penetrating you, as you sit in your chosen asana, ready to chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. (Pause)
Your head and spine are upright and straight and your hands are resting on the knees in chin or jnana mudra. You are watching the breath coming and going in the nostrils as the mind becomes more and more calm and steady and relaxed. (Pause) In your right hand you are holding a mala with which to count the 108 Shiva mantras, and your awareness is fixed at bhrumadhya (the eyebrow centre) where it will remain throughout the chanting. (Pause) Before commencing, you will chant the mantra Om, long and deeply, three times. Then you will start chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, visualizing Lord Shiva (or your ishta devata/symbol) throughout, at the eyebrow centre.

Ending the chanting

When you have finished chanting, sit for a few minutes in the profound stillness and silence of the Himalayas, which lies within your own self. (Pause) Now become aware of the protective psychic energy field which you have created around yourself with the chanting of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. (Pause) Know that you will carry that protection with you wherever you go until you chant again next week. Think of anyone whom you would like to include within this field, someone sick or in need of help. Project the energy out to them. (Pause) Feel that Lord Shiva or the power of pure consciousness is sitting in your heart, radiating his blessings and energy out to you, and to them also. (Pause) Mentally, bow to him and feel the power of his mantra pervading your entire being. (Pause) May the Mahamrityunjaya mantra uplift your life and help you (and others) overcome all the difficulties that may lay before you.