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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pictures from Ganesha Festival

Please visit to see Sri Raghuramji's tour program in September-October 2006.

Saturday, 26th of August was the festival of the goddess Parvati or popularly known as Gauri. This is the mother of the elephant god Ganesh. On this day women dress like goddesses and it is very spiritual and joyful atmosphere and the next day was the festival of elephant god Lord Ganesh. There was so much of festive mood in our center, below you may find a few photographs to have a glimpse of it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Question about enlightenment

Question: In Srimad Bhagavatam it says – ‘From nothing never comes a something, nor from something ever proceeds a nothing. And there is no difficulty whatever in removing what does not exist in nature’… It’s so funny, because then all should be enlightened. All these people on this Earth should be enlightened but it is not so, so it cannot be as simple as it says here. If this world is unreal and it’s so simple to move from unreal to real then, why are there so many people that are unrealized, that are in this consiousness.

It looks very simple, it’s not that simple. Not because it is not simple, but because people are not interested in that. See, you know people, they would like to have the path of least resistance. They don’t want to change, so let it go on. It’s fine. So this is basically how the whole mankind is. That is why Upanishads says –‘Only once in a while there will be somebody, a crazy fellow, who’d just like to come out of this routine. He does not want to go on the beaten path, he tries to fly and he sees that he has wings, and he can fly. All the others also have wings, but they say ‘Our feet are there, so let us walk’. So that’s what they do. They don’t, never attempted to fly. Not only that, but if someone attempts to fly, they say ‘Why don’t you walk, everybody’s walking, why don’t you walk’. So they go by majority, majority’s the safety path. You say, all right- that’s the democracy principle. Democracy can only bring about averages. It cannot produce the extraordinary. Extraordinary is only produced by crazy people!


Friday, August 18, 2006

KWA hospital Griesbach/Germany signing MOU

Dear All,

KWA hospital in Griesbach/Germany has signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on 17th of August, 2006 in Bangalore/India.

KWA has been the first hospital, that has been benefitting from Yoga Therapy outside of India.

Dr. Garner and Sri Raghuramji signing the contract

Sri Raghuramji, Dr. Garner and Dr. Nagendraji

Dr. Garner examining the MOU details...

We wish a productive partnership between these two institutions.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Questions about subconsciousness

Question: I have a doubt regarding -Sub consciousness. Sir, in psychology they say that subconscious carries the impressions of daily experiences, whether it carries the impressions after we leave the body?
Answer: It depends on how much we are attached with our daily experiences that we take those impressions into subconscious levels.

Question: You told that udana vayu carries the impressions after we leave the body. Can we correlate these concepts?
Answer: Yes, indeed this is the same. The impressions are carried in udana vayu in various layers, some are not so deep and some are very deep impressions.

Question: In yoga vashishtha -By Leela story what exactly vashishtha is trying to say?
Answer: Can you put it in much more specific so that I can answer what Vasista is trying to say to Leela


Special Note: VYASA web page is redesigned. You may see the changes by visiting

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mantra "Sahanavavatu" -part 5-

Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi

Hence, the last sentence translates to ‘peace, peace, peace.’ This peace is often translated as peace from the past, peace in the present, and peace for the future.

What is peace from the past? Basically it refers to our memories of the past. Past has already passed, but what remains from the past is our memory. When we review our memories we often have thoughts like, ‘this person is bad, this person cheated me, this person hurt me, etc’. This is all the content of our memory – full of violence, not peace. Hence we need to remove all such thoughts in order to consciously keep the memory good to promote peace. Let us forget those things that are bad and remember those that give us peace.

In this moment, let us do everything in peace. That is the second step. We eat for peace, we learn for peace, and every activity we perform is for the sake of peace. Our interaction with people has to give us and others peace. This is peace in the present.

The third peace is peace in the future. All of our planning we do now is for the future. Our activities are the seeds we sow not only for us but for future generations. We may not think of it so deeply but we should realize that with our selfishness, greed and jealousy, we may be sowing the seeds of violence in the future. This mantra reminds us that all such planning are not for any other purpose but for peace.

So peace is the path and the goal. When peace envelopes everything, it is the definition of Aum.

This is the full meaning of the mantra. We are not praying for anything or asking for any favors; it is simply a peace chant. In nature there is always peace, but as human beings we lose peace and destroy it. To preserve the peace of creation, man has immense responsibility. We have forgotten that responsibility. With this mantra we are trying to remember what we are doing and trying to achieve in yoga. We are on a journey where knowledge is nourishment. Let us be conscious that whatever we learn should become energy that we pass on to others without any ego. It is a reminder for us, our duty, and our mission. We are not praying for anything so it is not directed at any particular God. Hence, we start class everyday with this mantra to remind us of the journey we are creating.

Additional feature of this mantra is that it is said in dual number. In English language it is the same way in many other languages we have singular and plural number only. But in Sanskrit there are singular, plural and in between there is another number called dual number. This mantra is given in dual number. This is to indicate that the mantra is chanted between student and teacher and the relationship between student and the teacher is very intimate and one to one. It is always that way tat the student has a very sincere question and the teacher only addresses to student in total oneness in communication. It also does not mean that there were not many students with each teacher. Though there were many students the relationship between student and the teacher is always one to one. This is indicated in Upanishad that it is like a conduit where one end is the student and other end is the teacher. The flow between them is the knowledge and it is flowing from teacher to the student like the perennial river, called Saraswati. It is the gradient which facilitates the flow and neither the teacher gives and nor the student takes. Humble approach of the student can only create such gradient and flow happens if the teacher thinks he is one, such a teacher will then cease to be a spiritual teacher. In the Indian philosophy there is no other relationship is as intimate and as important as the relationship between teacher and the student. They are two sides of the same coin.

Let us try to maintain these ideas in all our classes where we attend and later on while we give the practices to others.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mantra "Sahanavavatu" -part 4-

Tejaswi Naava dheeta Visvishavahai

The sun has trillions of calories of energy. If the sun is not radiating that energy, what is the use of the sun? The sun’s usefulness does not lie in having the energy, but in radiating the energy as to energize others. Similarly, my energy should be able to make others energetic. I should be able to help others, so my energy should manifest outside, and that manifestation is called radiation.

For example, suppose I have a lot of energy and I can run extremely fast. If I am walking down a quiet road and hear a girl helplessly cry because she is in trouble and run the other way with all of my energy. What is the use of this energy? I should go and help the girl.

True energy in our hands is that energy which does not harm others, which does not become our ego but helps others. That is the idea of radiation. In that way, let this knowledge become strength and let this strength come out to help others.

With this energy and kindness we bestow on others, we begin to obtain compliments from others. These compliments start becoming my ego. The moment that I become egoistic and arrogant, I begin to develop hatred. In fact, one of the root causes for hatred is ego of knowledge. As we get more and more of an ego, we begin wanting others to sub-serve us. When people do not do as expected of them, we begin to dislike them, either because their knowledge is different from ours or they possess more knowledge than us.

Hence, we cannot let our knowledge become ego. How can we say that any knowledge belongs to us? We are not the creators or the inventors of this knowledge. Knowledge is passed on and on; it does not belong to anyone. Someone has given us knowledge and we pass it on. Hence, we have no reason to become egoistic of the knowledge. It is similar to being a tea pot. We put in the tea leaves, the hot water, and the spices. When we pour, tea pours out of the teapot. How ignorant is it if the teapot thinks that it is giving the tea? It is the same of knowledge. Someone else has given us the knowledge and we are like a tea pot. There are many kinds of ego; money, beauty, etc. However, of all the egos, the most difficult to overcome is the ego of knowledge. Within the various types of knowledge ego, the most difficult thing to come out is the ego of the knowledge of philosophy, yoga, and spirituality is the most difficult ego to come out of. Hence, we must be very careful with this type of ego.

We previously discussed the story of Drona replying to his son, Aswatthama, when the son asked Drona, ‘Why are you not teaching me the special knowledge which you are teaching Arjuna?’ Drona questions him, ‘Are you asking this question as my son or as my student?’ Aswatthama wonders, ‘What is the difference?’ Drona replies, ‘My dear child, it makes much difference. The conversation between a father and a son is very different from that of a student and teacher. Their relationships are completely different.’ Although Aswatthama realizes that, he still has his doubt and says, ‘I am both, your student and your son. I suppose I can ask in any way. Suppose I am asking as your son. As a son, I have the right to your possessions, correct? Don’t you think you should give me the knowledge before you give it to others? Do you not love me?’ Drona replies with tears in his eyes, ‘My dear child, I love you immensely, and there is nothing on this Earth that I am in love with as much as I love you. The moment I hear you are not there, my breath will come to a halt at once. But you should understand that you have the right to all my riches in this world except my knowledge. It is so, because this knowledge does not belong to me. On the other hand, I belong to the knowledge. Therefore, I cannot give this knowledge to anybody because of my relationship to them; I must give it to the deserving student.’ From this conversation, it is clear that we belong to the knowledge and knowledge does not belong to us. Hence, we must be humble to the knowledge.

There is a great teacher of philosophy in India who was a teacher of Vivekananda. His name is Ramakrishna. Each word he spoke was an extraordinary piece of wisdom. Every lecture he gave was compiled into a book called ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.’ Gospel means ‘god’s words spoken from direct experience.’ Each word in that Gospel is amazing knowledge. Even with all that knowledge, he is humble. He ends the book by saying ‘as long as I live, so long I learn.’ Meaning that even with all the knowledge he possesses, he still has much to learn. Hence, it is important to become yoga students without ego. Once you do not have an ego and consciously let it go, then you will see the whole journey is one of peace.


-to be continued...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mantra "Sahanavavatu" -part 3-

...Sahaveryam Karavavahai...

As we proceed to the next step of the mantra, we question, what is the nourishment for? For example, when you take in food, the food is nourishing and provides energy for your daily activities. Through the intake of food, a person should become more energetic. If he does not, then it is better not to take that food as it is not truly nourishing.

If the food itself makes us energetic, knowledge should make us much more energetic. Knowledge is that which makes you energetic for life, especially when you feel depressed and that life has no meaning. Knowledge should become your crutch and help you come out of depression. You should feel that you can also live life by giving you a positive outlook. It provides a new lease on life. That is the proper kind of knowledge and is the product of proper nourishment for the mind and soul.

This is why the next sutra says, ‘may we become energetic and let our activities become energetic.’ Such misuse of spiritual knowledge is exemplified in two extreme examples.

In the 1970s, there was a spiritual retreat in New York, NY, conducted by a leader named Jim Johns. He conducted a 10 day retreat where he spoke of spiritual knowledge. Nearly 1000 people assembled for these ten intense days of learning and they were convinced that life is so useless that they committed suicide together.

Similarly, in 1996, in Waco, TX there were a group of spiritual people who’s leader, David, gave them the message that at the end of their retreat, they should burn themselves to death.

Are either of these two, truly spiritual knowledge? Knowledge which makes one feel that life is so useless that they should commit suicide is not truly spiritual knowledge. Life is something positive; hence, ‘Sahaveeryam Karavahai.’

Thus far this mantra has paralleled the life of a human in that if they eat well and become nourished and perform some exercises, they will be energetic. He has all the necessary energy to run and perform well athletically, but what is this energy used for? If the person understands that he has all this energy but then says, “I do not want to lift,” then what is the use of this energy?


-to be continued...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mantra "Sahanavavatu" -part 2-

…Sahanau bunaktu…

Although we have protected the plant, we quickly realize that is not sufficient for its growth and prosperity into a tree. We have to enable its survival by providing adequate manure, water, and sunlight, so that it will grow. Hence, the second step is ‘to nourish.’ Nourishment has to be fully understood in the context of the mantra. Often we associate nourishment with external objects, such as the printed label on boxed food which indicates the amount of nourishment each serving provides. But the nourishment does not depend on the food that you give and its contents. The food may actually be very nourishing, but if it is not properly digested by the consumer, it will fail in its attempt to nourish. A food which is not digested properly is nothing more than a poison. A small plant needs some water no doubt but if you flood the plant with too much water and manure, the plant will drown and die. Similarly, if a small child is given highly nutritious food that is indigestible, how will s/he benefit? We have to give the child food that s/he can digest. Similarly, on our yogic path, the knowledge may be abundant but how we absorb and digest this knowledge is what determines our spiritual growth.

I am reminded of such an example when I visited a dear friend in Los Angeles, CA. My friend was excited to see me and she asked me, “Raghu, are you teaching any workshops now?” I said, “Yes, I am conducting a workshop for the next three days.” And she indicated that she would like to attend. She further added, “It is so nice that we recently had another series of lectures by another teacher. A great scholar from India came and gave a series of talks for one month on the Ishavasya Upanishad. We had a feast of those lectures and now you have come so that we can further discuss other Upanishads. We are so lucky!”

I asked, “A series of talks on the Ishavasya Upanishads? It must have been wonderful.” She replied, “Yes. They were wonderful.” So, I continued, “If he has conducted these lectures for one full month, there must be so much important information that you have taken away from the lectures. Can you share some of the important aspects of the lecture, so that I, too, may learn?”

She replied, “The Upanishads are a very tough subject. Everything that I heard went just over my head, but the talks were wonderful!”

How can knowledge that went above your head be wonderful? The Upanishads may be wonderful and nourishing, but how you present the information is as important as the information itself. So nourishment is not in the external object, but in the interplay of the presentation of knowledge and how we relate to it. If it can change my understanding, my intellect, then it is nourishing.

Swami Vivekananda was explaining some philosophical things once to his brother disciple, Abhedananda, who was also a great scholar. Swami adbhutananda, also known as Latoo, another brother disciple who is a total illiterate who was also listening to it sitting by his side said to Swami Vivekananda, “my dear brother can you please explain these things in simple language so that I can understand?” Swamiji replied, “my dear Latoo, please don’t worry about it this is some thing you can’t understand.” Latoo said to himself but loud, “Ok, if your knowledge is useful only to those who know and not for one who does not know then I don’t worry about it. Please go ahead”. Immediately Swami Vivekananda realized his mistake and apologetically told him, sorry dear brother, let me explain it in such a way that you can understand.” Therefore knowledge has to be presented in such simple way that an ignorant can understand it.

That is why in the mantra we say ‘may we both be nourished.’ This basically means that when we sit to learn this knowledge, let us not simply proceed, because we have to learn. Much like when we eat something that is indigestible, you may become sick; when you have knowledge that is not used; it becomes misused or is a burden on us.


-to be continued...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mantra "Sahanavavatu" -part 1-

Aum Sahanavavatu saha nau bhunaktu saha veeryam karavavahai
Tejaswi nava dheeta visvishavahai
Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shantihih

- Mantra from ‘Bhrugu Valli of Taittariya Upanishad” of the Krishna Yajur Veda

Although many mistakenly call this short, yet powerful, mantra a prayer, it is not one, because we do not actually pray for anything in it. In Sanskrit it is properly known as a ‘shanti mantra,’ or a peace chant.

There are five steps in this peace chant:
1. Sahanaavavatu means may we both be protected. The emphasis of this first word is protection.
2. Sahanau bunaktu means may we both be nourished. The emphasis continues to bunaktu, or nourishment.
3. Sahaveryam Karavavahai means may our activity become energetic. The key here is energy.
4. Tejaswi Naava dheeta mastu means let there be radiance.
5. Maa Vid Vishavahai means let there not be hatred.

When the mantra is translated the five major steps that are outlined are protection, nourishment, energy, radiance, and no hatred. Although these ideas fit well next to each other, it is difficult to see how they are truly integrated. Let us examine this integration and applicability to our lives through the example of the journey of a tree from a seed.

Aum Sahanaavatu

In every seed a tree is safely concealed, so every seed has a potential tree. As long as the tree is inside the seed, it is very safe. The tree resides in the seed, along with its fruits, in an unmanifested manner. As long as the tree is inside this seed, it is of no use. So, the tree must manifest its inner potential. This is what Swami Vivekananda expresses as the purpose of yoga in the epoch statement, “Each soul is potentially divine and the goal (of life) is to manifest divinity by controlling nature internal and external. When a tree starts its journey within the seed, it is imperative for the tree to have the proper direction and discipline.

Although every seed has a tree, how many seeds actually produce the trees? In most cases, the journey of the tree ends without any external manifestation. This is the law of life. Many seeds do not even get to the field, some do not get into the soil, and yet others are crushed. Very few have the fortune of making the journey possible, so they need to be taken care of.

When the tree starts its journey from the seed and the tree is very small, there are many dangers: an animal can eat away at the sapling or a person can step on it. It was safe when it was inside the seed but as it begins sprouting out, there are all kinds of difficulties awaiting it. Now the manifestation of the tree has begun externally. When we see small plant as such, we try to protect it by putting a fence around it. Hence, the first step in the journey is to protect the tree. First the seed provides this protection and then we do. This is parallel to the beginning of the journey of yoga and philosophy. In the beginning we are interested in learning about yoga and philosophy. Once we begin to manifest this internal desire into an external practice, we begin facing the hurdles and difficulties of nurturing such a new desire. We run into discouraging situations and obstacles on our path that require us to protect this desire and practice as it manifests. If somebody wants to sincerely learn something, we should not discourage the education, but, rather, encourage it. This is the first idea of the mantra, ‘may we (our interest) be protected.’


to be continued...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Questions on Vegetarianism

Question: "Who said a large brain indicated the highest manifestation of consciousness?
Answer: I dont know about the relation of brain size with highest manifestation of consciousness!

Question: This so called developed consciousness is presently guaranteeing the death of the planet and race perhaps within 100 years. No bodies of Moksha then!
Answer: It appears the friend is angry with human race! I can appreciate his concern and I think it is not sufficient to have higher freedom but we also have to have wisdom not to use this freedom for destructive purposes. So let us try to educate people about the need of other creation otherwise man is the most sensitive creature and he will be gone and other creatures will survive.

Question: An animal may be all the soul needs to become realised for 'Love is 'God' and 'God' is Love' and an animal has no developed ego to interfere with the free flow of Sakti. Firstly it is not proven that Jesus ate meat. The greek word in the gospels translates as food not meat. Secondly even today in some places like Scotland, meat can mean any kind of food, vegetarian or not. The particular Essenes whom Jesus was associated neither ate meat or drank alcohol. With regard to Vivekananda and Ramakrishna, I don't know whether they ate meat or not, Ammachi also ate fish when she was younger at least. I don't know whether any of these people were Jivanmuktas or not as I am not one, but if one is a Mukta it matters not what one eats, for Who is doing the eating? And what is eating?. However for the rest of us, vegetarianism represents a developed vijnanamayakosa to some extent and the feeling of Daya, without which there is no Moksha"
Answer: Good ideas Compassion and respecting fellow creatures are our very nature and threfore when we are under the influence of these things we feel very comfortable and it is not coming from outside. I dont even want to put moksha as an attaction for vegetarianism.