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Monday, December 29, 2008

Radio talk: Yogic perspective of happiness and its meaning

Dear all,

Below please find the link of Sri NV Raghuramji's radio talk on "yogic perspective of Happiness and its meaning" at KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM radio show / USA on December 10, 2008.

Part 1 :

Part 2:

OR you can find the radio show in the below videos;

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -4-


/ *Finally the idea of this presentation is to show that whenever a person suffers psychological problems due to the bad actions she or he does, a simple solution can be to convince him to do right action etc। but when a person suffers from psychological problems in spite of being good and right and sensitive then the solution can not be to do good and not to do wrong. The dimension Krishna shows us in Bhagavad-Gita is to go beyond. Which is the life journey or purushartha. If doing right and not doing wrong is the social requirement and if it is one dimension of our life then spiritual dimension of life is to go beyond both in once deep inner core and equipped by this state deep within, at the action level one does good and right */



Friday, December 12, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -3-

presented at a conference NIMHANS
By Sri NV Raghuram

* Wise person is one who knows that it is temporary he sees that things are going to change and will not be the same. Therefore though he is in this world he does not get caught by this world. He has no attachment and no axe to grind. Good happens to him does not excite him overwhelmingly and the sorrow that comes does not disturb him so that he will eb crippled!*

* Now let us see how Krishna shows to Arjuna the pairs of things and going beyond to beyond!*

* What ever that is born has to die. That is the rule of the creation. We can observe the same truth every where around us. But the greatest wonder is that even though man sees all around himself death occurring he thinks he will not die. Therefore he will be paying homage and soft words for any one dies. This Krishna shows as if they are not competitive but they are complimentary. Accept the death as much as you accepted life and birth and death belong to body and things which are having coming and going qualities. Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘you are eternal and untouched by this death and birth. Like the way you have travelled through the childhood adulthood and old age in the same way you pass through this body and then through another body and so on. You can not be cut by sword or burnt by fire or killed by water. Just like you are not touched by these things, all others also are not touched by the death and birth. Krishna says, ‘therefore oh Arjuna, don’t think that you are causing death for them. You uphold dharma’. *

* In the scene of Maha Bharata war Arjuna appears to be mentally sick but he is truly not. He appears to be sick because of confusion in his mind. Bhagavad-Gita suggests that even an ordinary sane person who has practiced righteousness has also reason to get into confusion unless he gets the higher dimension. He will not find solution in ordinary realms of right and wrong! *

* Krishna says to Arjuna that action and non action are two ways of involving in any situation both of them are alright and they are complimentary. Both of them are acceptable but the third thing he says the vikarma is not good and poisonous. Karma is doing and Akarma is not doing (a+Karma). Krishna says both of them are alright but he says vikarma is bad. Vikarma is normally translated as bad action or forbidden action! Some of the translators or interpreters even present it as torturing, killing or physically or mentally abusing is bad. I was having reservations about this way of interpreting because of the fact that there was no reason for Krishna to say this to Arjuna. One reason is that Arjuna always followed right actions and never took to wrong actions even though there were opportunities. Therefore when Krishna says don’t do Vikarma it can not be bad actions or forbidden actions. Another important aspect is that Arjuna does not even want to fight the war and instead he wants to run away from the battle. If it was right then Krishna does not have to give any philosophy. Suffice it to say to Arjuna that what you are thinking is right. *

*But that is not Krishna’s intention. The philosophical background he has given, helped Arjuna to take to fight the war in a yoga way. (Yogasthaha Kurukarmani!). The transformation that happened is that the action has no more the element of Vikarma! The question we need to understand therefore is what is meant by vikarma?*

*Let us take a simple household example to understand the concept of Vikarma:*

*You are watching the news program on TV and wife is busy in the kitchen preparing food. The kid two years old comes and says, ‘dad, can you help me?’. You are not in a mood to attend to him and say, ‘don’t disturb me now. Go to your mom I am busy,’ the mom from kitchen says, ‘take care of him please, what is busy work you are doing watching the news on tv you can watch it later.’ Even then you want to find an excuse, ‘no, taking care of the kid is mother’s responsibility and I am tired working in the office. She is surprised at the answer and says, ‘ok I shall take care and you will not have dinner.’ It is like veto. You can not do any thing, with great rejection in side you say in harsh tone to the child, ‘ok, tell me what it is?’ again the order comes from kitchen, ‘take care of him properly’. You can not even say loud. *

*If you observe what went on now you will see that you have created a split personality with in you. One part says take care of him as it is needed but on the other hand another part strongly says, ‘don’t take care let wife take care of the child’. Thus when we create a duel personality with in and do any activity this is called ‘Vikarma’. Vikarma according to Krishna is bad. We can also feel the same. Any activity we do in the form of Vikarma we do not enjoy and it becomes like a big burden. Your mind takes completely the posture of fighting. Your min is filled with anger and negativity towards wife and kid. Such an activity becomes a big stress on you. Similarly when ever we do not do an activity not peacefully but with repulsion within that non activity is also Vikarma and that activity also can not give us peace and relaxation. *

*By looking at this example we can see every activity we do or every non activity we prefer, almost ninety percent of the times we are only doing vikarma and not doing karma or a karma. We get up in the morning with an idea of going to the office, but once we get up we start complaining about getting up so early. This is vikarma. We have to go in the traffic and once we are there we just don’t go easily we continuously complain about the traffic getting irritated and upset at every step. This is vikarma. This vikarma is reaction and doing by creating a split personality within. Once we know that we need to do the activities why not take a position to do it whole heartedly. That belongs to inner understanding and inner correction. Any activity where we remove the vikarma aspect it becomes karma yoga. This helps us to rise above the third position vikarma. *

*Another important dimension Krishna gives to Arjuna is the concept that the creation can be divided into three divisions called satva rajas and tamas depending on their properties and actions etc. A simple observation of the creation can give us this aspect more clearly. If you look at a tree it can be divided into three aspects the root is tamas, the trunk is rajas and the flowers and foliage is the satva. We need all the three things for the tree to be alive. Similarly if we look at the human being we also have similarly three aspects, namely the feet is the tamas the middle portion of the body is rajas and the upper portion of the body is satva. All the three are necessary and what is the health of a system whether you take a tree or a human being is the harmony between all the three aspects. *

*There is nothing like one is good and one is bad. They all are required according to their activities. That is how the activities they do are also named as satva and rajas and tamas activities. The roots are in the soil and darkness all the times, therefore darkness is also tamas and they feed on slush and putrefied food so the putrefied food is tamas, similarly feet always carry the weight of the body and walks in dirty rough terrain. Therefore the activities of that nature are called as tamas activities. On the other hand our head things and plans etc. such an activity therefore is called as satva activity. Strictly speaking these are not in separate water tight compartments but they are in degrees of subtleties. Krishna gives further that these three gunas are there in the nature but you have to go beyond these three gunas so that you can easily without any reaction switch from one guna to other guna where ever it is necessary. Therefore Krishna gives the idea of the fourth state called the gunateetha which is the actual spiritual practice. You can reach guna teetha level only by developing non attachment with all the tree gunas. Thus in t his case also Krishna suggests the state beyond, and that is the purpose of life!*

*I have mentioned here only some ideas of how the world is made up of and it has different divisions such as good and bad, right and wrong etc and the purpose of teaching of Bhagavad-Gita is to take you beyond which is the purpose of life and purushartha,*

- to be continued...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -2-

presented at a conference NIMHANS
By Sri NV Raghuram

-Full Paper-

* Human being has the freedom which the other species do not have. Freedom does not come with only one side of the coin it has both the good and bad which means human being can improve himself and can destroy himself. That is the reason human being also has a purpose rather responsibility for living. When we say he has responsibility it does not mean in the sense of pressure or burden but like a joyful play. He is not an isolated creature but he is part of the creation and the best part of it therefore he has the responsibility of the other creatures on the earth. This in Vedanta is called as ‘purushartha’, ‘/arthate iti purushah’/. Once this purushartha is understood then one can see that the society around him is for this purushartha the nature around him is for the sake of this purushartha and the whole development we see around can be for the sake of this purushartha.
** One may raise the question in what way is it different form the concept of good and bad, right and wrong, and sin and virtue. The concept of these pairs of opposites can not take us above the level of selfishness of a human being. Once this selfishness one can use his intelligence to take care of this selfishness and say that why should I care for others, they have to take care of themselves. You can be right and yet you can damage the other by your behavior. This is when two categories of people arise. One category is of those who think let other suffer, that is not my problem and let me enjoy and take what I can get. These are not bad people and they do also not have any bad intention. There is another category of people who say that I may be right through out but how can I enjoy when so many are suffering! If this category of people were not there, there is no question of higher wisdom. Many other thinkers stopped at this level where they defined what is good and what is bad. What is right and what is wrong in the name of spirituality. If Bhagavad-Gita is addressing this issue then Arjuna to whom Krishna is giving the message would have easily asked this question that whole life he has been good and has never done any thing intentionally or unintentionally also bad. But he is suffering in the battle field with agony which he expressed. On the other hand Duryodhana who has been all through his life has been bad and even when a chance is given to him to be good or even neutral he has been by self commitment bad. That shows the freedom of a human being has the possibility to become good or to become bad. Though there were elders and people of wisdom telling him that he should do otherwise he has continued to be bad. At the war Duryodhana did not suffer with mental agony and he was happy and ready to fight war. Now Arjuna required remedy for his problems and Duryodhana did not require any thing!
** This gives us several ideas about Gita. One is that, the person who is bad is happy but person whose behavior for whole life was good, he is unhappy. The person who did wicked namely Duryodhana, did not suffer mental agony and good person namely Arjuna appears that he is suffering mental agony!** It is not due to the god deeds and good behavior he suffers but because he is sensitive and this sensitivity is a growth and being insensitive is not growth. Therefore the discussion that goes on in Bhagavad-Gita is not about good and evil but it is about life far beyond right and wrong, good and evil etc. a moralistic life is not the final purpose of life. Moral can be subjected to questioning! If the life is limited to the educating or improving oneself from evil ways of living to good ways of life, it is not sufficient and in order to go from evil to good a spiritual text is not necessary, a moral code of conduct is good. The situation of Bhagavad-Gita shows that the sufferings of life do not stop by being good. We need to go beyond both and this is the higher dimension of life.
** Bhagavad-Gita is a text which gives this higher dimension of life which is called as Purushartha. With out this Purushartha for human being, self or ‘me’ becomes more important and he will try to work for fulfilling this. *
* Life or the creation is made up of variety which can be divided into two or more than two aspects, like day and night, good and bad, right and wrong mine and not mine etc. we always go for one and reject the other. The reality of life is that every thing here is short lived. Even our experiences are also short lived. The happiness that we think an object is giving us, is short lived and soon we start experiencing sorrow too. The day will convert slowly into night before you realize. Before we enjoy some one’s birth, a case of death is waiting for us round the corner. When the Upanishad sage says that life is like a droplet of water or the soap bubble, he does not mean that the life is short lived and therefore it is unreal or unimportant! The life becomes all the more important if we know that life is short lived. There is a more powerful logic to take life seriously and indulge more seriously if the life is short lived. Like the flower is short lived where as thorns are for ever. Live flower is short lived where as the plastic flower is there for ever. Therefore the plastic flower is no match for the real flower. The purpose of a sage to say that life is short lived is to indicate that even if you are seeking happiness here it will soon change and will become sorrow. They are only helping us to understand that soon you will loose and what you really do not want will come into your hands. There is no possibility that you can choose one and not have the other! Even if you are having comfort all the time soon you get used to the life of comfort and then the same comfort can not give you any happiness and you are now looking for some thing different and if that some thing different can to be there you will be miserable.
** Due to ignorance we always try to switch from one object to the other one situation to the other. The whole material world gives us so many alternatives and constant ideas that go for this or that so that it is happy or it is eternal!*

- to be continued...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -1-

By Sri NV Raghuram
Conference at NIMHANS
September / 2008

*Paper abstract*
* *
*In case of all the species in the creation, other than human being, their activities are all pre programmed the life is a simple journey ‘from womb to tomb’ and they never think about why do they have to live. But for a human being life is a very complex process.*
*Various spiritual and religious leaders tried to give some answers or the others which may be convincing for some people and for some others the question is always a puzzle as to why do we live or what is the purpose of life. Some said the living is in accordance with divine grace or purpose of life is to seek the pleasure of ‘Allah’ or to maintain a moral life etc. *
*Sanatana dharma which is often known as Hindu philosophy, whose essence is given in Bhagavad-Gita, gives a four fold path called Purushartha, where in dharma forms an important step. Arjuna’s problem though appears to be about war it is not just so and there is fundamentally a spiritual dimension to it which is connected with the purpose of life and living. *
*Krishna by his explanations slowly steers Arjuna into understanding life and its purpose from this spiritual dimension, thus removes the psychological barrier, there is no need for giving Arjuna a simple ‘moral code of conduct’ which is explaining that this is good and this is evil!*
*Arjuna is a fundamentally a person who practiced goodness all his life. But surprisingly he has the suffering in the battle field as against the wicked king Duryodhana who never did any right thing through out his life and here also he is happily standing there to fight war, where as Arjuna developed the confusion. Sri Krishna raises his perception to higher dimension of life and takes him to the purpose of life. *
*Krishna manages this with such profound logic and takes away his confusion and through Gita teachings shows a higher purpose and dimension to the life. *
*Good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure, birth and death, and etc are all in the region of normal transactions in life like the day and night. There is a higher realm of transaction available for us where we go beyond the pair of opposites. That is a state which is fee from all tensions confusions. When we go beyond these pairs of opposites final point is where even the birth and death do not disturb us. That state which is not affected by happiness or sorrow is the state of inner peace and harmony. *
*Modern psychology is trying to make a sick person to come to normal level. According to Gita if we can motivate a normal man into higher dimension of life then there wall be a chance for him to go beyond so that the chances of falling in to the trap of mental sickness can be totally eliminated! This is the practical psychology according to the Gita. This state which is beyond the pairs of opposite is given several names like gunateeta which is beyond three gunas namely sattva, rajas and tamas, purushottama which is beyond prakruti and purusha, and as Naishkarma siddhi in the language karma. *
*According to Gita we can not have one and leave other as they are pairs of opposite like in a magnet we can not have only south pole or north pole or in the nature only day or only night. We can rise above the influence of the pairs of opposite. Those who are beyond pairs of opposite can handle the disturbances more efficiently. Recommendations of Krishna is to consciously practice good in the manifest world and deep inside go beyond both pairs of opposites. This is the spiritual journey and yogic psychology.*

- to be continued...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pictures from Gaylord Retreat / USA

Raghuramji's visit in USA is still going on, you may get a glimpse of his Gaylord Retreat Program organised by Yoga Bharati by the below pictures.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tour program USA

Sri NV Raghuramji's tour continues in USA. Below please find the coming events.

Contact: Raghavram 1 (317) 846 6751

Contact: Prakash JSS 1 (301) 414 0144

Sun Jun 29 ORLANDO
Contact: Brahma Agarwal 1 (407) 529 7736

Contact: Sudheer Parikh 1 (603) 523 1930

Contact: Ramarao 1 (281) 352 8145

Contact: Radhika 1 (661) 257 4781

You may reach Sri NV Raghuramji during his visit to USA from his mobile, 1 (713) 591 3817.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spiritual Retreat 2008 / June 13 – 15 - Detroit/USA

Yoga Bharati Detroit Chapter is pleased to announce
Spiritual Retreat 2008

Date: June 13 – 15, 2008

Location: Song of the Morning, Gaylord, MI ( )
Audience: All are welcome (Please bring a Yoga mat/blanket)
Instructors: Sri N.V. Raghuram and Yoga Bharati Volunteers

Our Spiritual retreat in a serene environment will renew, heal and refresh your body, heart and soul You will enjoy our workshops, lectures and activities throughout the day, all led by our spiritual & yoga guru, Sri Raghuram and certified yoga teachers. Both kids & adult sessions/activities will run concurrently. Join us for this wonderful experience that will nourish your soul and enrich your spirit!

For more information please click on:

For registration, please contact us at

All lectures by N.V. Raghuram are dedicated to the memory of his guru, Prof. Sastry

June 13th – Friday
7:00 PM - 7:30 PM Welcome, Introduction
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM "Narada Bhakti Sutras"
8:30 PM - 9:30 PM Dinner
9:30 PM - 10:30 PM Star gazing/Free time

June 14th - Saturday
5:00 - 6:00 AM Freshen up
6:00 - 7:00 AM Sun Salutations and Aasanas
7:00 - 8:00 AM Bath
8:00 - 9:00 AM Shlokas and Meditation
9:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 - 11:30 AM "Patanjali Yoga Sutras"
11:30 - 12:30 PM Pranayama
12:30 – 1:30 PM Lunch Break
1:30 – 2:00 PM Free time ( relaxation, walk, etc)
2:00 – 4:00 PM "Patanjali Yoga Sutras"
4:00 – 5:30 PM Yoga Aasanas and Cyclic Meditation
5:30 – 6:30 PM Free time ( relaxation, walk, etc)
6:30 – 7:30 PM Bhajans, songs and stories
7:30 - 8:30 PM Dinner
8:30 – 9:30 PM "Ask Raghuram" Time

June 16th - Sunday
5:00 - 6:00 AM Freshen up
6:00 - 7:00 AM Sun Salutations and Aasanas
7:00 - 8:00 AM Bath
8:00 - 9:00 AM Shlokas and Meditation
9:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 - 11:30 AM "Patanjali Yoga Sutras"
11:30 - 1:00 PM Cyclic Meditation and Pranayama
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Grand Gala Banquet

Program contacts:
RSVP only via email at
Saravanan Chockalingam : 248-888-9541 email
Mahalakshmi Honasoge : 248-855-8161 email
Aruna Narayana : 248-539-9744 email
Gayathri Koray : 734-525-0304

Yoga Bharati
c/o Mahesh Balike
39201 Polo Club Dr, Apt 202
Farmington Hills, MI 48335

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yoga Bharati is recognised by HCCC

Human Services Committee in USA recognized the social and voluntary services of Yoga Bharati and selected this year for Grant-in-Aid. Please find below the messages of Anil Surpur and Sri NV Raghuramji.

Dear Sri Anand Gundu and Human Services Committee,
We volunteers of Yoga Bharati, thank HCCC for recognizing the social and voluntary services of Yoga Bharati and selecting this year also for Grant-in-Aid.We are very thankful for your support and financial aid. This will definitely help us to serve better and come up with many more public programs.We, volunteers of Yoga Bharati will be present to receive the award and thank you and HS committee in person for this award.
Thanks and Regards,
Anil Surpur
President, Yoga Bharati

My dear Anil and others,
Congratulations to the members of Yoga Bharati for the recognition received for the dedicated service from HCCC. I am sure Yoga Bharati deserves this honor and will inspire the members for giving to the community in turn with greater dedication and will bring credibility to the culture of yoga. Thanks to HCCC for honoring Yoga Bharati which is a young organization for this grant in aid.
This i am sure will inspire all of us to dedicate with greater enthusiasm and involvement.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Padma Sastry passed away

Dear all,
Padma Sastry, beloved member of Yoga Bharati, left us for her heavenly abode today at 1:00am EST ( 10:30 am> IST). We pray for her peace and offer our condolence to the family. Below you may also find the message of Raghuramji.

My dear Saastryji,
After putting such a brave posture Dear Padma Sastry has decided to leave her unforgettable memories to us this way.
Her life is a wonderful example of dedication and virtues by choice andwith bliss all the time in her soul and prana. The meaning of spiritual journey, which were in my talks on yoga if one wants to see in living; Padma was an obvious example.
A dedicated life of service is the Karma yoga she personified.An unwavering discipline in doing pranayama and yoga is her nature called Rajayoga.
What ever is the philosophical thoughts she has to do continuous Sravanaand manana and bring into her life is her commitment for Jnanayogaand Finally she is a personification of love supreme by which she hasearned hearts of every one who ever came across her once in life time, For Yogabharati her loss is unbearable. and Sastryji, Personally we are with you and we share your grief at this time and pray from heart forher soul in other worlds. Pranams to both of you for the dedication.let us all in yogabharati have coming Sunday as prayerday for Dear Padma's soul to be in peace.

Love supreme

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Holi !!!

regarding Holi on 21st-22nd march 2008...

Hiranya Kashipa had the arrogance to think that there is no powerful person than him because he has the boon from the Lord. he thought he has tricked Lord into giving him boon and got what he wanted. He first asked Lord that he should not have death. Lord said, 'that is not possible because in the creation, birth and death are two sides of the same coin. Therefore if we have accepted birth we need to accept death too'. Therefore Lord asked him to choose any other boon. At this time Hiranya Kashipu asked for the boon that he can not be killed by man or beast, inside the house or outside, in the day or in the night like that he intelligently thought for relief from all possible pairs of opposite. Lord happily granted. This has leaded him to think that he has tricked Lord because he thought how can there be any thing apart from these opposites. But then the Lord Nrusimha the Lord of Man-beast appeared to him in the 'sandhi' or the middle of all, which is middle of day and night middle of house and outside the threshold etc and neither on earth nor in the sky on his lap, the Lord eliminated him without any weapons as lion does not naturally use any weapons.
Lot of these puranik stories has philosophical significance.
Pair of opposites is the way intellect always works. For intellect, if one is good the other must be bad. Intellect is based on the world outside. For the intellect only yes or no. There is nothing like the middle way. This is one aspect. the other aspect is best of the material world is gold which is known as Hiranya and one who has covered himself with gold in other words one who is only seeing the material world is known as Hiranya Kashipa. His son is Prahlada, which suggests one who is extremely happy naturally. Father could not understand son how he can be happy without any attachment to money. Another important thing is where there is intellect there is no emotions and the harder the intellect the lesser the relation ship, there is nothing like father and son. Therefore blinded by the intellect Hiranya Kashipa does not see it is his own son who is happy. Due to the ego of intellect the father is now jealousy of his own son's happiness. Son told father that the cause for his happiness is the devotion or surrender to Lord. How can an arrogant person think there can another person who is Lord higher than himself? Especially when he has been successful even to misguide god in getting his boon. He tries to give problems to his son thinking that his son will be frightened and will come round to accept him as the Lord out of fear and there is no other lord who is greater than him. Intellect always compares and wants to be the best. Intellect never thinks of conquering out of love. Hiranya kashipas sister is Holika, who is kind to Prahlada. Hiranya Kashipa wants to take advantage of her nearness to Prahlada too.
Holika is the manifested form of god for the purpose of preserving the harmony of the creation with joy and festivity. That Holika has to go with Gold, so cutting the long story short Holika sacrifices herself for the sake of saving Prahlada. Prahlada is saved from the raging fire due to harmony or Holika. The philosophy behind this story is Harmony is the secret of creation the Lord and not the arrogance of intellect. Lord does not exist in extremities. He is an experience beyond all forms of pairs of opposites. He is the principle of Samanvaya or Harmony. Therefore he eliminated Hiranya Kashipa in the sandhi Kala or the time between day and night, by the form which be in between Man and animal at the entrance of the building neither in nor out side.
In the context of Hiranya Kashipa who has power and its arrogance and there is no emotions, even son is not important then how can he care for sister Holika. Holika is only a person useful to him for taking care of his interests.
We must learn a lesson that if we use our sadhana for the sake of power and not for the sake of peace and humility like the way Hiranya Kashipa wasted, the power corrupts us and destroys us. Hiranayna Kashipa was a great spiritual sadhaka but unfortunately his direction has been on Power and not on peace and harmony. A person who sees power can not see God's presence but a person who sees peace finds god every where. That is how the conversation goes on between father and son.
Father says show me where is your god. Son smiles and says why do you say show me he is every where and there is nothing which is not Him. Father asks can you show me the god in this pillar. Son says, 'when I said every where it also means this pillar too but if you have the eyes to see god, then only you can see him there'. Then he prays to god saying show His form in this pillar. At that time all the objects around there were eagerly waiting let the king ask for showing god in them so that they are too eager to manifest god in them. The chance came to Pillar and from there he manifests. Why is it pillar and why not any thing else? It is because pillar also means that which is absolutely stable and which is the support for the whole building. Lord showed therefore he is the support of all the creation by manifesting and eliminating Hiranya Kashipa. Holi therefore indicated a festival of joy for the victory of heart over head. Especially this comes at the time of exams for the youngsters so that they should for a day give rest to the hard intellectual work and enjoys mixing with all the people.

Wish you all a very Happy Holi!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Aham brahmasmi: I am wonderful and I bow at my feet!

Don’t get terrified looking at the heavy Vedantic title of this writing.It is only to share and explain about an incident I remember from past.When I was reading the Astavakra gita where King Janaka says, “Oh I am wonderful, and I bow at my feet”, I recollect from my memory, an incident that I, happened to witness several years ago. It was a very amusing incident when you see at it superficially but it also has a very deep philosophical significance.

One very big Swamiji heading a very important religious sect in India was visiting Bangalore and the whole street he is supposed to pass was completely decorated with mango leaves tied all along the streets and decorated with /kolums/ or /rangolis/ and oil lamps every where, to receive him and the traffic is diverted from that street so that thousands of devotees, followers and scholars and philosophers could go in procession behind the Swamiji. On either side, the ladies dressed in sacred gorgeous silk dresses standing with lighted lamps in their hands. Men in sacred dress were standing, ringing bells to greet Swamiji.

Amidst chanting of Vedic hymns, sounds of cymbals and the melody of Nadaswaram Swamiji appeared, walking in slow steps receiving the Pranams of the people with his eyes, and in turn showering his blessings with a serene smile.

One more, important, ritual was anybody who paid an amount of offering of some big money some thing like a five thousand and one rupees or so, will have the privilege to wash his feet. Several ladies were washing his feet with the water specially brought in golden or silver vassal depending upon their status! After washing his feet, they would sprinkle the water from the feet on their heads as a mark of respect and devotion.

In front of one house, a lady in sacred dress came with a silver pot of water and a silver plate in her hand to wash his holy feet. A small little girl around five year’s age must be the daughter of the lady also came out with a brass (supposed to be equally sacred) pot of water. The organizers stopped her allowed her mother only (obviously, the money paid is only for one person!) The mother tried to convince the organizers but they did not agree. Then the mother left the girl behind at her door steps of the house, and went ahead to wash the feet of the holy man.

I was standing there seeing all the things happening and now I am curious as to what the girl is going to do! The little girl saw her mother washing the feet of the holy man and sprinkling the water on her head, the little girl looked around and found all the people around were big and busy. Then she quietly bend forward pushed her long skirt to the side and with the pot of water in her hand, she washed her own feet, sprinkled that water on her head and touched the water to her eyes with total devotion. I was filled with immense joy looking at the rare sight!

I felt in my heart that the tender feet of the innocent girl were much holier and divine compared to the costly feet of the holy man!

Those are very innocent! Where there is innocence, manipulation is not there. It is priceless! In innocence, ego is not born. When ego is not there, even if you wash your own feet it is washing divine feet only. Where ‘I’ is not there only devotion is there. Washing ones own feet, is like Krishna referring to ‘I’ in Bhagavad-Gita. When Krishna says ‘I’ he is not saying out of ego. It is not like ordinary people saying ‘I’

Krishna says in Gita, ‘give up all Dharmas and surrender to me. ‘I’ shall liberate you from all sins. This ‘I’ of Krishna is like the innocent ‘I’ or the tender feet of the child.

Many take it unfortunately literally, and say how egoistic is the statement of Krishna asking Arjuna, who is a trained and courageous warrior, to surrender just because he came to him for advice and words of wisdom to clarify his confusion. Why should Krishna ask him to surrender and be a slave! Arjuna is not a kid, who does not understand. Why should he not try to convince logically? This is how some take stand. It appears like Krishna is not using intellect but is playing emotional trick.

Some others take the sentence literally and try to propagate the idea that Krishna is the only lord and therefore he said so. Krishna is the only lord and neither Rama nor Shiva nor any other god assured anybody any time but Krishna did and he did give salvation. You can do any amount of sins he will clean all that up and makes you fresh! This is another type of fanatics!

When you are looking at them logically these arguments, appear right and convincing!

First of all, let us see, whether we can limit our understanding to logic and science only or do we have a reason to go beyond!

Science lives on logic and develops on logic and it appears very convincing because you see it is man’s logic, which has developed all this science. Thinkers like Aristotle said, man is a thinking or rational animal. In other words, animals have no rational mind but man has. It is only this rational mind identifies man over animals. But with the technology development, we are in a difficult situation. With the birth of computers, man has invented machines which can think like man. In fact, the present computers, both in speed and volume, can handle thinking much better than human being. Many times human being may falter but computers do not. They also can not afford to make mistakes. The computers have greater facility to think than human being. If only thinking is the criteria for superiority of human being over other things as Aristotle mentioned, lifeless computers prove better than human beings.

We need to understand thinking little more deeply. We have hands and legs as our instruments and we have invented substitute implements to take care of them. These implements are much better than the hands and legs. Similarly, we have an instrument which thinks and we have invented substitute implements which can do their function. That is called as computer.

This only proves the process called thinking does not belong to consciousness. It belongs to an implement or an instrument. It is a mechanical process and consciousness is not mechanical, matter is mechanical. Logic belongs to mind and brain. Superior to logic and thinking we have another activity going on within which is ‘feeling’. Machine does not feel but man feels. The feeling that I am limited, this belongs to me, this I feel no good all such things only man can feel and no machine can feel. This forms ego of man too and we are familiar with this ego. Ego limits us and isolates us from the rest of the creation.

We are so familiar with this ego. Therefore, even when Krishna says, surrender to ‘me’; we look at with an idea of limited ego. We start questioning as how can a person like Krishna who gave such an extra ordinary message talk from the platform of ego. There are two reasons for this question to rise.

The whole training in this world is to give importance to ‘me and mine’ which is this limited and limiting ego. We tend to look at every thing with this limited ego. Limiting is putting boundary and is called as ego. When there is no boundary, we feel insecure. We feel highly insecure if we do not see it with the view of ego.

The second reason is our ego exists based on material world which is again derived from our senses. Even if we are thinking of the sun which has so much power or the galaxies or Milky Way that contains so many stars and expand to so many light years etc, the knowledge of them all belongs to thinking which is again based on senses and their mathematics. This knowledge is also our ego. More and more knowledge becomes further decoration of our ego. Though the magnitude of these objects may humble us for a second the knowledge of these objects will become our ego and we feel we are grater than all of them.

Apart from this knowledge, there is another aspect with in us, which is feeling and it appears to be much closer to us than the knowledge. Feelings are of two types one is gross like the feeling of hot and cold, and the other is subtle that feel god’s presence, a feeling of compassion for the animals, feeling of wonder, etc.

One fear the intellectual always has, is that if it does not fit in logic or thinking then it becomes a myth and it goes far away from reality. It is then a blind faith.

Vedanta holds the view that even to think that every thing has to be explained by intellect or logic itself is a blind faith. There are several experiences, which are spontaneous and which are not bound by the senses but the moment you have them all our impressions change. We feel elevated. But if you bring in intellect the whole experience is lost, the whole innocence is lost. The spontaneity is not there any more.

A similar experience is given in the case of Janaka.

In the second chapter of ‘Astavakra geeta’, Janaka, the king of Mithila,says, “Oh I am wonderful I bow to me out of full respect. This sentence, he repeats several times. Each time wondering at one or the other aspect and the aspect is not logical and not related to any particular sense organ.

Aho, aham namo myaham, … oh I am wonderful and I bow at my feet…

Spirituality is experience and not logic. Logic can not even be a shadow of spirituality like a live experience. Same way god is an experience which only a person who can go beyond logic can have!

Aristotle said, man is a thinking animal, but we need to change this statement today after all this technological development. Man’s growth is in the experience is much profounder than the thinking. It reaches in to all his pores of the body all his cells of the body. Even a simple experience like you tasted ice cream you whole body feels the coolness. You take liquor; it reaches every part of your body, immediately your legs show your eyes show the influence of the liquor. Your talk can not hide the influence. Karl Marx said spirituality is like intoxication. He is true because spirituality is an experience and not just intellectual. in spirituality unlike in inteelctual every cell willl be filled with expereince!

For Krishna the expression of ‘me’ or ‘my’ is only symbolic and nothing more than that. No ego is attached in that. This ‘me’ is the expression of god it is not solid ‘my’ like our ‘my’. But we take the symbolic ‘my’ very seriously like the flag of the nation which is nothing but the symbol. If one spits on the land of the nation, nobody bothers but if one spits on the flag there will be total violence. You go to the best of government offices you see every where the marks of the spitting in every corner.

If you look into Krishna, there is no ‘I’ at all. How can there be ego. How can you think that Krishna would have ego. Before the war, when there was a need for a messenger to negotiate with Kauravas, he went without any hesitation or any ego, that he is so great.

A very sweet incident happened in the life of Sri Ramakrishna. When the person who took the photo of Sri Ramakrishna in sitting posture, which is now the main picture, being worshipped in the Ramakrishna maths, he started offering his Pranams again and again and started saying how wonderful and how spiritual it is! Some one then pointed to him, “Thakur, what are you doing; why are you bowing to you it is your picture”. Thakur very innocently replied, “where is my picture, I am not offering my respects to the person in the picture I am seeing the Samadhi and I am offering my prayers to this Samadhi and not the person”!

We are all Brahman the divinity when we are not there in other words our ego is not there. That is the real state of Samadhi and that is the state of every child. With spiritual Sadhana, we have to become once again child like. That is the reason Jesus said in bible only a child like can reach the kingdom of god!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A question on Hiranyagarbha

"I would like to get your feedback on an article that I read recently. I receive Dr. David Frawley's online newsletter from the American Institute of Vedic Studies. This past month there was an article about the founder of the system of Yoga. I found this article a bit confusing and was wondering if the Hiranyagarbha that he refers to could have been a Sage or does he really mean that Hiranyagarbha, the Cosmic Egg, is the founder? I understand that Patanjali was the compiler of the sutras, but as Dr. Frawley points out, many have not given much thought to the founder. You are very knowledgeable about such things and would very much like to get your opinion on this article.
With humble regards"

Vedas contain all the knowledge in some form or the other. many times the idea may be ther for a person of insight to elaborate. it is not only yoga but all the possible knowledges such as dance music, art and architecture, social structure and what not every thing is availble in Vedas.
Certainly Patanjali existed only after Mahabharata etc, he was little before Adi Shankaracharya. But the credit goes to Patanjali for codifying in aphorisms. Sutras are to be undestood by one in the way he is convinced and he gets help in his personal sadhana. This is true not only to Yoga sutras but also to Brahma sutras and Bhakti sutras. Therefore you can find many different ways they are being interpreted.
As far as I read Gita Hiranya garbha the golden or treasure womb is the treasure of all, which is essentially divided as knowledge and and expression. in this knowledge we have this yoga sastra too. Therefore krishna refers to Hiranyagarbha as the unmanifest form of all the creation.
in my view there is no one person with a name of Hiranya garbha. It only means that the knowledge comes form silence abd bliss absolute. When krishna says few things in Gita he always uses the expression as he is one with that unmanifest brahman.
Summing up the thoughts, knowledge of yoga comes from the silence therefore it has the potential to silence and peace, this knowledge in parts is available in Ramayana Mahabharata and upanishads. Patanjali compiled and not given all this knowledge in the form of sutras. this is not only the approach of patanjali but even other saiges like Jaimin or Kapila etc have given us other sastras like Sankhya and Purva meemasa.
In my next visit I can clarify you by giving a talk about the histry of indian spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
Please dont hesitate to rise your question. I assure you next time I will not take this long to reply!!