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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!