Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nithyotsava - Eternal Celebration

December 25 is a holiday in all parts of the world. Just today, I came across an article which talks about Christmas around the world. The lightings, the festive atmosphere, cakes, chocolates, Christmas carols etc. etc., people in every corner of the world celebrate it.

People think there are so many Christians around the world, obviously it is celebrated by everyone. But even non-Christians celebrate it with the same excitement and enthusiasm. We (not Christians by religion) too celebrated it like many others whom we know. We set up a nice big Christmas tree, decorated it with shimmering colorful balls, bells and lights. The setting up itself was super exciting.

We went to Ramakrishna Ashram on Christmas eve and we were pleasantly surprised to see Christmas carols being sung in bhajan (Indian devotional music) style :) It was amazing to see celebrations in the Ashram.

There are many of us who restrict ourselves to our petite thinking. There are many Hindus who do not celebrate Christmas or Buddha Jayanti. There are Christians who do not celebrate Deepavali or Pongal and so on and so forth. In fact in Hindus itself there are Shaivaites (followers of Shiva) who do not celebrate festivals of Lord Vishnu like Ram Navami (birthday of Lord Rama) or Krishna Jayanti (birthday of Lord Krishna); and then there are Vaishnavites (followers of Vishnu) who do not celebrate festivals of Lord Shiva like Shiva Ratri or Ganesh Chaturti.

It is our ignorance to see Shiva, Vishnu, Jesus, Buddha etc. as different people. It is simply our stupidity to see it that way. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says beautifully,
When Jesus and Krishna meet, they will hug each other but when the sheep of Jesus and cows of Krishna meet, they fight against each other.
When we showed the Christmas tree at our place to some of our friends, they were shocked. They had a big question mark - why are you celebrating Christmas?

Christmas celebrates the birth of one of the greatest enlightened masters to have happened on planet Earth, one who fought all odds to preach nothing but the Truth. Instead of looking at it as a mere festival of one religion, it is an opportunity for us to connect to Jesus's Consciousness atleast on this one day.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'let our celebration not last for just one day. Let the whole life be a nithyotsava - eternal celebration. Let us not restrict ourselves to just select few days to celebrate our happening on earth. Let us enjoy every moment of our life and shed all our negativities and flow with nithyananda - eternal bliss.'

Finally, we leave with some pictures of our Master's on-going birthday celebrations where we see him dancing and singing with full grandeur. Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The problem is we think!

Yesterday, my friend said that one of our earlier posts quotes Swamiji in contradiction to what Swamiji Himself says elsewhere.

One of the titles of Swamiji's discourses is "Collective Consciousness" where He gives us detailed insights into how thoughts of every person affects and is affected by the rest of the cosmos. In another discourse, He says there is nothing called "Collective Consciouness"! He says in one of His discourses that rituals are meaningless. In another, He gives a detailed explanation on the significance and science of rituals! In yet another place He says we do not have to renounce what we have, but you would see the Sanyasis (monks) in His ashram literally renouncing everything they have!

As long as we try to intellectualise these things, our mind is left thoroughly confused. An enlightened master deliberately teases our ego and intellect. When Swamiji talks, it is not the words that work on us, but the energy behind them. If we catch only the words, then we have lost the game.

And one more thing, whatever an enlightened master talks is the Truth. So, it is not that He is lying in one of His contradictory statements. What He says, relevant to a particular point in time and space may not be relevant in another. But our puny intellect cannot comprehend the difference and starts to assess and complain.

When our intellect is questioned, the ego is at threat. The ego tries to make sense of everything based on what it knows. When it encounters something which it cannot place in the familiar frames of reference, it starts to lose its bearing. It is too much for the ego/intellect to handle.

When this layer drops, we suddenly start seeing that everything makes sense - INCLUDING those that appear as contradictions. That is the reason we think there are so many paths and so many enlightened masters. Because our ego differentiates one from another. At a point, what Jesus says may contradict what Buddha says, which may inturn contradict what Swamiji says. At another point, they are blend into each other. After all, they are all talking of the same thing and are just different manifestations of the same energy!

That is why Swamiji says - 'When Jesus and Krishna meet, they hug each other. But when the sheep of Jesus and cows of Krishna meet, there begins the war!'.

The message is that, we will never ever be able to comprehend enlightened masters if we use our puny scales and known templates. Simply because they are all beyond them - in a completely different dimension altogether. Our mind is our only obstruction to enlightenment and a master burns the mind away, if we allow him to.

That is why you see the famous Buddhist Zen Koans are one liners which the mind can never answer. Example: how did your face look like before you were born? or what is the sound of one hand clapping? The koans are teasers of the intellect and their concept is amazing! When we completely contemplate on them, fully, at one point, the intellect gives up. The mind drops and one achieves the no-mind state. Here is a video on Zen Koans by Swamiji:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

True love...

Yesterday, on the 12.12.2007, a close friend of ours came with envelopes. He didn't say anything. He started distributing the envelopes. On the envelope was written, "For Thalaivar's Birthday, Dec. 12" and inside it was a Dairy Milk bar. He was distributing these birthday sweets to each and everyone in our lab, Chinese, Malay, Burmese, Viets and Indians.

Thalaivar is what the popular Indian actor Rajnikanth is called by millions of his fans all over the world. For the first time in my life, I (and I am sure many others) had witnessed such an act. This friend of mine is a great fan of this actor. This is the first time I saw how much this actor means to him.

Now just imagine, if we were in a state to express and radiate such intense love and compassion to each and everyone around us. That is the state in which an enlightened master is always in. We have witnessed many such instances with Paramahamsa Nithyananda where He sits for hours together from morning all the way till the night, without a break, listening to people, blessing them and giving them a divine loving hug. He sits throughout the night through meditations without leaving the meditation hall. If one sees His program schedule, we will be surprised to see the amount of travel and the number of meditation programs he conducts back to back, sometimes almost without a break.

Why would an enlightened master do that? Why should He spend his time and energy for all this? Why should He pain Himself for others? Because, He is pure compassion; He is pure love. His love doesn't bargain; His love doesn't see time and boundaries.

We think that we love our closed ones. We believe that we love our parents, we love our siblings, we love our children. The problem is we think we love but do we really know the meaning of love?

Just think about it, how can love be restricted to just the people we know. If it is such a beautiful emotion that brings everyone close, how can we just love our closed relatives, parents and children? Don't you think this emotion should encompass everyone?

True love doesn't see arise inside us by looking outside, by looking who is infront of us. Swami Nithyananda says, "True love is an expression of your own self, your true nature. It is unconditional. An enlightened being is in constant touch with his own Self and hence he can truly express that love."

We show strong emotion of love to our closed ones or in my friend's case to his hero. In the process, we start binding ourselves and the other person. Swami Nithyananda says, 'When you intensely love an unenlightened being, the problem is it becomes an attachment. Truly loving should take you beyond attachments but if it binds you, then it is no more love. We start to possess the other person'.

Pouring that kind of devotion and love to an enlightened master will simply take us beyond everything. An enlightened master is beyond bonds and hence he does not bind us. All he wants is for us to experience the true love that he is always in. He makes sure that we do not get stuck in the process of loving him.

One last thing, it is not like we will stop loving our closed ones and heroes when we become enlightened; we will still love them but we will love everyone around us equally; we will simply drop all conditions.

Just as a small exercise, next time when you say you love someone, just think about the 100 different conditions you put yourself and the person in front of you, which you are considering to say that you love that person. And this video is a must to understand the true meaning of love.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let it be now... or it will be never

(1) When I started meditation and went to the ashram for the first time last July, my grandmother, who is nearly 70 now, told me, ' is it the age for someone to go to Ashram, do meditation etc? You are still young. You have life to see.. all these things can be done later in life.' If we look at old people, how many of them are really treading the spiritual path? How many of them really meditate everyday?

(2) I was talking about meditation and the quest for the inner Self to a relative of mine who is a highly placed professional (in his forties now). He is placed very well, earns well and well settled with family. So when I told him about meditation, his reply was, 'Hmm.. I understand all these but you know what, at this age it is very difficult. I understand your enthusiasm about it. These kind of things should be taken up early in life like in your twenties or teens or later in life. But now at this age of mine.. its very difficult. There is so much of work, managing people etc., you see? And what about my daughter! I have get her to go places, get her degrees from good universities and get her married etc.'

(3) In my University, I again keep talking about meditation, enlightenment etc. to my colleagues and peers of same age as mine, in twenties or early thirties. As soon as I talk about them, I get different kinds of responses like -
"Nah, its not my cup of tea..."
"Ya, I will think about it..."
"I am not mature enough for all these ..." (that's silly isn't it?)
"I am still thinking about my life .. may be I will think about this also ..."
Some just give me looks and go away :)

(4) We are trying to arrange a meditation program for kids in Singapore. So we often talk to parents about sending their kids for this program. As soon as we start, some parents get scared. Their immediate reply is, 'he's just a kid. Let him do stuff what kids of his age do. Why unnecessarily bother them about adult stuff.' And these kids that we are talking about are in their teens (hmm.. are they still kids??).

From these discussions, one thing is clear ...
AGE... is an easy excuse. At every point in our life we keep postponing, we keep giving excuses to do exactly what we need to do in this birth. We have time for everything and everyone except ourselves.

At every stage of life, we have an excuse for saying a NO. We give an appointment at a later date. In this process, we simple forget that we are simply forgetting ourselves till we reach our grave or funeral pyre.

A simple act like meditation can be integrated into everything that we do, while at office, while at home or outside. The problem is we see meditation as a different object from ourselves. Time and age become big issues. Each one at different stages in life believes that there is no time of meditation.

The truth is time and age are just excuses. We do everything else because we think they are adding value to our life but the truth is they are taking us away continuously from the reality, from our own selves. We are continuously being pulled away from realizing ourselves.

Mind you, spirituality or meditation not only unravels our true potential but can simply be a tool to grow in this materialistic world like job or studies or relationships or whatever.
Swami Nithyananda says, 'Why do you brush your teeth everyday? Why do you take a shower everyday? Why do you go to market every week? Why do you play everyday? You never forget to them promptly everyday because it has become a part of your lifestyle. Why should meditation be any different?'
Just think about it - at every stage of life, if we keep saying this is not the right time, then when is the right time?? Let it be now...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A puppet in the hands of Engrams!

My friend asked me a few days ago 'according to the law of karma, is it true that if I get an illness, then I have nullified something else? And then does this mean I can deliberately get ill and offset effects of things in the past?'

Swamiji throws a great clarity about karma in this video. If you haven't already watched it, then please do so:


In very simple terms, it is to be understood that what propels us in doing what we do is our unfulfilled desires. Some people interpret karma as if you do this, then that will happen. Although it is true that everything we do has a cause and effect, eventually it is our mental set up that counts. (Note: In this post, karma, samskara and its English counterpart engrams (for engraved memories) including desires are used interchangeably although there are subtle differences)

It is the mental attitude that decides the future actions and their outcome. That is why they say that even a so-called crime committed by an enlightened master can only do good to humanity. But even a so-called noble deed done with greed or fear can only harm the society.

In other words, it is our mindset that we carry with us attracts similar incidents and people and situations in our life.

Having said that, our actions also matter. Why? Because actions contribute in strengthening the mindset.

To answer my friend, if I have killed someone and expect that the 'sin' of killing is wiped off if I suffer with an illness, that is not the correct understanding. If I have a tendency to kill, then as long as this tendency remains, I only attract incidents that support this tendency. And the actions that follow only further strengthen the tendency.

This applies to anything that makes up our mindset. If we are lazy, we would attract only those people and situations that promote the laziness. Because mind you, when these engraved memories (samskara/karma) live though your body, they do not care about you. They just want to make sure they live well and grow well. So as long as the laziness is living through us, it only becomes stronger and stronger. We are sidelined.. survival of the fittest in a way! In other words, we are simply exploited by them.

That is why, Swamiji says, it is only when these samskara die, that we actually start living! Till then, they live through us.

The first step towards dissolving these samskara is to become a witness. Techniques like meditation allow this separation to happen. Till then, we do not realize that we could even exist without them.

An interesting thing to ponder: When our deepest true desires are fulfilled, why should we feel good, joyful, blissful etc? Because deep down that is our true nature. Fulfillment of a deep desire (samskara) causes the samskara to die. This liberation from the samskara exposes us to our true nature.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Its a pity!

During the weekend, we were volunteering for the third level meditation program (Atma Spurana Program). The participants were made to go through a series of meditations just to make one realize that we are more than what we think we are. The third level focuses on expanding one's dimensions, letting one realize that we are not islands. Each one of us connected to the other through deeper chords of energy.

It was interesting to note during the course that many of us have a certain ideology, certain way of thinking. We acknowledge that there is something more but our ideology, our logic and intellect does not allow us to go beyond it. We want a concrete objective proof. What is interesting is that we do not care if we ourselves have personally experienced or not but if a great scientist (who is logical and intellectual) attests to it, we gladly accept it. Many of us have no clue about Einstein's relativity theory; we have never and will never experience it but we accept it because a scientific logical and intellectual scientist named Einstein has said so. Similarly, we take great pride in understanding and accepting some complex scientific theories like Heisensberg's uncertainty principle, Quantum physics etc. etc.

Now to these intellectuals if someone says these truths and many more which scientists are still pondering over were written by thousands of enlightened beings in purely scientific books like Upanishads, the one thing that immediately comes up is suspicion. We reject immediately because our intellectual mind cannot take in the fact that something like that could have been proven thousands of years ago by some guy sitting under a Banyan tree or a Peepal tree.

But mind you, the latest in science is - what is all this Universe? When did it start? What was it before Big Bang? Who are we? I was watching this video where physicists, top scientists, are all asking these questions. They are coming up with theories like String Theory to explain the Universe. They say that everything that we see is energy. They claim that everything that we see can be described by 11 dimensions. Truly speaking they have no clue about the basic question - what is life and what is death?

Now if an enlightened master or being says that the Upanishads and other ancient scriptures written thousands of years ago actually talk about these eleven dimensions, about what we see as matter is nothing but energy, about the probability of occurrence etc., we cannot take it; our intellect just cannot accept it. Simply because we want a concrete proof.

An enlightened being has seen that space where everything unifies, where everything becomes one and this is what String theorists are trying to prove, which some physicists say will take long time. An enlightened master gives a straight solution for us to experience and we do not want to accept it; we do not even want to try it and see for ourselves. If we think for a moment, isn't it foolish to think that science can explain everything when science itself is a result of human mind? When science can't explain the phenomena of life and death, when science cannot explain what the Universe is, when science cannot explain where it all started, when science cannot explain the how we think, when science cannot explain lot of things, why cannot we accept that there is something beyond science as it exists today?

I have nothing against science, I am a researcher myself. But we must understand that there are limitations to science as we know today and in such a case we should explore what lies beyond it. If the entire science that we know today is a product of the human mind and intellect, then what about the space when the mind/intellect is dropped? A valid question, isn't it?

Its a pity that human intelligence itself has become a impediment to the evolution of the human being.
Isn't it intriguing that the evolution of life has stopped with humans? Life forms were continuously evolving from one life form to the other until the human being happened. Why should it suddenly stop? Why should the human not become a super human?
The intelligence in a human has become an obstacle for him to move forward. The very intelligence, which can show him his other dimensions, has become a road block.

Swami Nithyananda says, 'only when we drop the intellect, only when we drop our ego that we are supreme, we can see what really is the truth.'

Friday, November 30, 2007

Brand new or same old?

I was recently catching up with a good friend of mine in the US, after a long time. She was telling me - life is the same old, the same old PhD, the same old exams, nothing majorly exciting as such, to share. I am sure we have all heard this many times and surely many of us have said similar things before. Why is everything 'the same old' to us?

Remember the times you did something for the first time, the excitement within - be it your first time in an aircraft, your first outing with your spouse, the first day at office. After a few days, the same office or person becomes 'the same old'. Why? It is not really the aircraft or the office or the person causing the excitement, but the freshness of the experience.

The same excitement and energy flows in an artist, every time he paints or in a poet every time he composes a poem. During these moments, he/she is giving birth to something new and the creativity expresses. What stops us from feeling this all the time? The answer is simple.

After a while, we start taking things for granted.

Swamiji gives an example of how if we go to a beach, our heart longs to buy one of those beach side chalets. Once we own it and visit it a few times we start to think - 'the same old beach', 'the same old house'. Our mind has taken it for granted.

So how do we make sure this same creativity and energy bubbles through us all the time?

In this post, instead of stopping with an analysis of ourselves, let me share with you a practical technique from the Shiva Sutra that Swami Nithyananda gives in one of his discourses. It's a simple and beautiful technique.

For the next few days, just become a baby, an innocent child which is just put into this world and see everything for the first time, with freshness.

When we see anything only our eyes see it, but when a child sees it, its whole being sees it from deep within. Am sure you agree. If you watch a little child closely, you will observe a sparkle in its eyes, a smile of awe and deep joy.

Just try this for the next one week. When you see anything, be it a plant, a flower, your food, your books, whatever... Just treat it with freshness, curiosity and loving awe, as though it is the first time you are seeing it.

As Swamiji says, this will open up a new dimension within. When we take things for granted, we become dead and dull. When we open ourselves for the freshness and creativity to flow through, we become alive!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rubbish! Think Again...

Yesterday while I was traveling back home by bus, I came across this advertisement from the National Environmental Agency of Singapore. It asks people to throw coke cans, plastic bags, newspapers etc. in their respective recycle bins and the importance of reducing rubbish around.

Today while traveling by bus on my way to office, I was watching this interview on the mobile TV in the bus. As a part of Singapore Design Festival, an exhibition called Utterubbish is currently going on. The organizers of this exhibition were being interviewed. They were discussing about how the items thrown out as rubbish by a person can reveal the person himself. They did all kinds of stuff by collecting the rubbish thrown out by celebrities like Madonna and Tom Cruise.

I started wondering why did I register these two events - something as inconsequential as an advertisement and some silly exhibition where people are collecting some thrown overs of some celebrities. May be inspiration for a new post :) ... incidentally most of my recent posts are inspired by some program on TV mobile :)

Anyways, coming to the point, we see so many people, leaders, scientists etc. etc. talking about rubbish outside that is environmentally unfriendly leading to all kinds of diseases, global warming, climate changes, glacial depletion etc.

But what about the rubbish inside us? What about the continuous filling of negativities, fear, anger, frustration, irritation and lust inside us? Consciously or unconsciously we continuously feed our system with negativities. A simple thing like a movie trailer of a violent movie is enough for fill our mind-body system with huge volumes of rubbish. This is a scientifically proven fact that 80% whatever happens outside goes into our unconscious memory and we capture only 20% consciously. If we think we do not have any negativities inside us, we are most certainly wrong. When we see a violent or horror scene on TV or wherever, though we consciously believe that we are unaffected by such scenes, unconsciously we have already filled our system. This rubbish that we are collecting piles up so much that one day the body has to give way. There are so many cases of people dying out of fear, anger, frustration, depression; and these very people claimed to be completely happy.

We cannot sit silently for a second because of this inner irritation. We have to keep on doing something, either watch tv or talk to friends or go for party. If theres nothing to fiddle with, we start shaking our leg. All these are signs of inner disturbance, inner rubbish which is just waiting to be let out.

The problem is that we don't even know what we are feeding ourselves with, simply because an unconsciousness process is constantly going on due to our own ignorance. We are not aware of ourselves and our mind; hence we empower our unconscious mind to take over us.

Meditation is the key to flood ourselves with this awareness. Forget enlightenment; forget realizing the Ultimate Truth through meditation. Meditation can help us to lead a healthy lifestyle and help us flood awareness in the way we live. That's all!! The first two levels of meditation programs by Life Bliss Foundation is just about that - removing all negativities inside us through a conscious process; they help us flood awareness inside us.

You could either call this post as rubbish or you could throw the inner rubbish by giving meditation a chance. The choice is up to you...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Are you your name?

I came across this riddle when I was in primary school. I think it goes like this :)

"What is one thing that is yours, that you carry with yourself but you yourself hardly use it?"

Take a guess.

The answer is - your name. The name is yours but you hardly use it. It is used by others to address you.

Our name is such an integral part of our life. We are so much attached to it that there are people who get upset if you call their name in a different way or spell their name incorrectly.

On the same lines, if you have seen this movie named - the Namesake, the protagonist of the movie (Kal Penn) is named Gogol, after the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol who wrote some controversial books. So the hero of the movie changes his name because he couldn't face his peers with his original name.

There are thousands of such cases. Laskman Prasad Sharma becomes Lucky; Venkateswarulu gets converted to Venki; Krishna Reddy becomes Krish.

So whats with this name thing anyway? Why do we want some stylish names? Why are people sensitive about their names?

Simple reason! Our name is what we identify ourselves with. If someone asks you, 'Who are you?', what is your first reaction? Our immediate reply is - 'I am XXX.'

Our name is the first thing that we identify ourselves with. Next our name is also channel for others to identify us. It is way with which society recognizes us. This is what makes us very sensitive about our name.

We constantly seek attention from society and our name is a mode for society to recognize us. That is the reason why we want our name to stylish or modern. We equate our names to the real person inside us and hence we are concerned about our name.

In simple words, holding to our name is holding onto our ego. An enlightened master knows that our name is the first thing that we clutch to. He knows that our name is the crutch on which our entire ego stands, our complete identity stands.

Swami Nithyananda gives spiritual names to his disciples and asks them to legalize the spiritual names. When we tell this to people, you can imagine the reactions - how can you change your name? Why is that necessary for someone to follow a spiritual path? What is this whole thing about changing name?

The fact is people cannot digest the fact that someone who is 25 years old can actually change his or her name at that age. They are perfectly fine to change the name of a 2 year old kid if an astrologer says the kid has some defect due to the name but a young person of 25 years, in his or her prime, how can he/she?

This is because, we have built a solid identity by that time. We have a strong foundation called - NAME and the world knows us, addresses us by that name; our ego has already created the "name and fame" around that name. That is the reason we hold on to it and an enlightened master like Swami Nithyananda cuts exactly that - ego.

Going beyond ego, the spiritual name is not just any name. An enlightened master studies the energy of the person and gives a name that suits the energy of the person. It gives the path of the person which leads him/her to realize the Truth. We have personally seen people with spiritual names given by Swami Nithyananda and we can clearly see how apt the names are. Not only that, we have seen how they have progressed in the path unique to them, that the name contains. When we were given our spiritual names, we were flabbergasted to see how much it resonated with our beings. Swami Nithyananda meditates on each and every person and gives the spiritual name. It is a tool that keeps on reminding us about our path and about the Truth.

Even a spiritual name can bloat up our ego. Swami Nithyananda says, 'you should not hold on to your spiritual name either. Let it just be a reminder. That's all.'

The point is whatever the name may be, one thing is certain - we are more than our name.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Shaolin Kungfu, Yoga, Tai Chi ... 1000 Tools but Few Takers!!


When I say, 'Shaolin Kungfu', what is the first thing that strikes you? Jackie Chan and Jet Li fighting 10 bad guys! Kungfu Hustle! Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon! Monastery with a large ground and 1000 students lined up in files being taught Kungfu by a master for a competition!

Recently I was watching an interview on TV of a National Geographic photographer Justin Guariglia. He spent eight years of his life in Shaolin Monastery with the monks there trying to unravel the truths behind Shaolin Kungfu, their tradition, history and above all, the point of all the martial arts. He was given full access to the entire monastery after five years of his stay there.

By the way, anyone and everyone, especially photographers and film makers, is not allowed into the monastery. The reason is simple - the truth behind Shaolin school of Kungfu is replaced with the film makers' or photographers' own interpretation. The Shaolin monks do not trust them and they have a good reason to do so.

Justin Guariglia released a book of photographs of the Shaolin monastery and discussed the history in the interview. He says how Shaolin is misinterpreted as a school where people like Kungfu for fighting or for competitions. Shaolin monastery was founded by Bodhi Dharma (a disciple of Buddha about whom Swami Nithyananda talks very frequently) . He traveled from India to China and started Shaolin monastery for Zen monks as a place for meditation to get enlightened. It still is a place to realize one's true potential. Kungfu in addition to other meditations and yoga practices was introduced as a means for enlightenment. I saw the book having various mudras (hand gesture meditations) that are a part of Ashtanga Yoga by Patanjali, the father of Yoga.

Now the interesting point that he noticed (and I saw during the interview) is that the monks do not fight against each other when they are practicing Kungfu. Each one practices on his own. They select a secluded spot and practice. They consider it as a meditation to achieve the Ultimate Bliss. This is the underlying truth of the highest school of Kungfu.

What has happened all along is that these techniques for Self realization have been adulterated by people to suit their own needs. Martial arts like Kungfu started off to help people realize their true potential but now it is just another fight between 10 people. Thanks to Shaolin monastery, that the true spirit of Kungfu is still preserved.

The same is the case with Yoga. What started as a 360 degree approach to enlightenment has now become a mere physical exercise. Different meditation techniques, Yoga, Kungfu, Tai Chi etc., which work with mind-body system through breathing techniques and physical movements, are techniques developed by enlightened masters to help us experience the bliss that they were continuously in.

Enlightened masters have been continuously providing tools and techniques. It is our suspicion, our ignorance and our ego that blinds us from their compassion. All they want to do is to share that boundless joy and bliss, which has no reason, no cause, no ending. But we do not see them... the truth is we do not want to see them because we feel comfortable and secure with what we have. If someone/something removes that comfort zone, we panic; we feel dead; we feel we are no one.

Just think - if the absence of that comfort zone makes us feel we are no one, then what is point of holding on to it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Karma - what is it all about?

Thanks to Ramya for bringing up the topic of karma in her comment on the previous post.This is one topic greatly misunderstood and even hyped up.

Karma is commonly understood as "if you do good, you will be rewarded", "if you do bad, you will be punished". The main flaw in this kind of understanding is that "good" and "bad" are defined by society. But really, a prostitute thinking about God all the time is closer to God than a priest in a temple thinking about money. So this understanding of karma based on good and bad deeds is very shallow and interpreted by the "doing" rather than the "being".

Now, let us understand it in a way that we can directly relate to. This understanding of karma by Swami Nithyananda also gives us an insight into the relationship between karma and rebirth.

He puts it in simple words - karma are unfulfilled desires that drive us.

He explains this in great detail in many discourses and books. Here's an attempt to explain it in just one post :)

Firstly let us assume that there is something called rebirth. Now like Swami Nithyananda says, 'whether we accept it or not, believe it or not, understand it or not, this is the truth.' Enough scientific and psychological studies bear testimony to this fact.

Now let us analyze - Why have we taken this body? Our body is a mere tool for us to fulfill the unfulfilled desires. Now what are these unfulfilled desires and where do they come from?

In the process of rebirth, there is something that passes from one body to the other. Lets call it XYZ (some people also call it soul or spirit; some intellectuals don't like such words, so let me call it XYZ like in algebra).

This XYZ takes on a body because it was not able to realize its desires with its previous body. So XYZ takes a body with a certain set of desires. All that XYZ wants to do with this new body is to get the unfulfilled desires exhausted. After XYZ wants to be fulfilled, isn't it?

Now a twist in the journey of XYZ. There is a villain - the mind. Instead of exhausting the basket of desires by fulfilling them, the mind starts playing its games and starts to borrow desires from others in this world. Example, we might be rich but we want to be richer, then the richest. This is doing of the mind; the race to fulfill desires never ends. The basket initially had finite or fixed number of desires in it when XYZ took a new body but the mind added new desires by borrowing from others.

At the time of death, a big list of unfulfilled desires still exists because all that the person was doing was accumulating rather than dispensing. Can you see the play of mind through our greed and fear? We are greedy to get more and more and the list also keeps growing; we are afraid of losing what we have, so we accumulate desires or ways to keep what we have.

This baggage of unfulfilled desires is karma.

Now while dying, XYZ is burdened with an updated list of unfulfilled desires. So what will it do? It searches for a new body in a family that can help XYZ to get rid of karma.

Summarizing it in spiritual terminology, in Swami Nithyananda's brilliant explanation:
Referring to the case 1 in the figure, the circle binding the white space is the body, the white space inside the circle is Aatman (the Individual Consciousness or I) and the white space outside is Brahman (the Universal Consciousness or Energy etc. etc.) At the time of death, the circle or body disappears and Aatman would ideally want to merge with Brahman, i.e. white space into white space (See case 1 in the figure).

But what happens is due to the unfulfilled desires or karma, the white space no longer remains as white space at the time of death (See case 2). It gets a tinge. So in order to remove this tinge, Aatman takes up another body. This is how the cycle of birth and death continues.

Swami Nithyananda and many other enlightened masters say, 'the state when Aatman and Brahman merge is the state of enlightenment. The realization and experience of the realization that Aatman and Brahman are the same is enlightenment. And mind you! You don't have to wait till your death to realize it. You can experience it in this very lifetime.'

Now, the ball is in our court ...


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Are we just beggars?

Its been quite long that we posted anything... but well, we are back now right in time for Deepavali (the festival of lights).

In Singapore, and I am sure in many other places around the world, we can see people thronging the temples. There is a street in Singapore called Little India which literally becomes India during this time of the year. Most Indian temples are located in this area and we can see they become more crowded during this period of time.

This reminds me of something else in relation to temple visits. During my pre-university board exams, I along with my group of friends used to go a temple... only during the exam time :) I have seen people putting their engineering entrance exam admit cards at the feet of the Ganapati before going for exam. There are various other things people do - going to temple early in the morning on the day of the exam, putting the newspaper (containing the exam results) at the feet of god before opening it, etc. etc. etc.

What is the point of all this? We go to a temple out of sheer greed and fear. Whether we accept it or not, this is a fact. Out of those 10 emotions that come to our mind when we go to a temple, atleast 9 if not 10 are of fear and greed; that last one may be one of real devotion.

We have completely brainwashed and conditioned by all kinds of sources - parents, relatives, friends and ofcourse our dear society, that when we should go to a temple because that is good. Its a common sight to see a father or mother or grandparents telling young kids, 'ask Ganapati to help you get good rank in class.'

These are the two emotions that we grow up with right from when we were a kid and we associate god also with these emotions. We want something, so we go to god; we are scared that something may happen, so we go to god.

There are millions of people who donate large sums of money, clothes for gods, tube lights of temples etc. Most people believe by donating to a temple, they are getting rid of their karma, their sins, their guilts etc. In Tirupati, we can see millions of people everyday tonsuring their head, putting gold in the hundi (Tirupati god's piggy bank) and donating various things. Whats the point when the same person after the darshan allows the same emotions to engulf him again. The same greed, the same ego, the same jealousy, the same worry, everything is back to the same. People then come up with their annual trips to Tirupati. Every year they go and believe that they shed all their guilts etc. and then become eligible to accumulate more... Ridiculous isn't it??

Swami Nithyananda says, 'when someone donates money to My temples or ashrams, they think that I am going to give them a special pass to heaven. Be very clear, if you are thinking that, you are already in hell.'

A temple is a sacred place and like I said before, it is an energy hub that is meant to relieve us from our strong base emotions like greed, fear and guilt. But we do not allow it to do that because we do not understand the energy behind the idol in the temple. We see it as a boon giver and we beg and in the process we bring down that energy also to our level, a beggar.

If you think about it, there is no difference at all between us who go to the idol and beg in the temple, and the beggar sitting outside the temple and begging to us. Literally speaking, both are beggars.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A true Brahmana

Dhyanapeetam has been organizing mass fire rituals called Maha Saptayaagam in various cities of South India where 1008 individuals perform the homa, fire ritual. The group energy that such rituals create is amazing and cleanses the whole space. We will dedicate a post for more on this.

During our weekly group meeting we told a new devotee, 'Swamiji is performing 1008 homas...'. His immediate reply was, 'wow! that would need so many priests...'

For a long time, people have associated rituals like homa or abhisheka with priests. It is assumed that only they can perform these rituals. The so-called non-brahmins themselves assume that they are not qualified to do any of these. And an even more interesting fact is the so-called brahmins themselves believe that these rituals have to be performed by a smaller section of brahmins, i.e. the priests of the temples.

Today, the meaning of brahmana is limited to a dhoti clad man with a small pig tail on his tonsured head and either a namam (vertical lines drawn with vermillion paste to indicate he is a worshipper of Vishnu) or vibhooti smeared forehead (indicating he is a worshipper of Shiva). The italics in the previous statement are to highlight that the fact that the brahmana has to be a male. That is the general notion today.

This has become the meaning because that is what we see. In most major temples, we see only male priests. If we want to conduct a homa or some elaborate pooja, we immediately call a priest. Yes agreed that we do not know the ritual; so we call an experienced priest. But the point is we don't even want to know what the ritual is because most of the times, we believe it is not our job.

Swami Nithyananda says, 'This is one of the biggest conspiracies by the society on humankind.' The varnashrama as defined by the actual Vedic tradition has four classes or varna - brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. The first class - brahmana refers to the class of people who were inclined towards spiritual practices. And this had nothing to do with the person's lineage or ancestral profession.

Swami Nithyananda is bringing back the ancient true Vedic tradition. He says, 'Anyone who practices the spiritual practices is a brahmana. It does not matter what his parents are, what his grandparents are. As long as he is treading on the spiritual path to merge the aatman (individual consciousness) with brahman (the Cosmic consciousness), he is a brahmana. No questions about it.'

People irrespective of caste, religion, creed or sex are allowed and trained to perform the rituals by Swami Nithyananda. He does not care if one are male or a female. In fact, in the Dhyanapeetam ashram in India, it is females who perform the aarti (fire offering). When He initiates people as monastic disciples He does not even bother what his/her religion was, what his/her caste was, what his/her colour is.

Moreover, in places like Los Angeles ashram, He is training westerners to perform the homa themselves. He is not limiting the Vedic tradition to just to India. Vedic tradition is not related to just one religion or one particular race. It is a science, it is a life style.

The ancient science is being brought to the doorstep of every individual. He is providing various opportunities, various possibilities with just one goal: to guide as many has possible realize their true identity. If a click as happened in you, do not miss Him. You never know how many births you have to wait before you come across a living enlightened master who personally works on you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A possibility ...

This weekend, we went to Sri Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) in Singapore to witness the Navarathri celebrations. We reached there at about 7.20 pm, just in time for aarthi, and sat through the bhajans till about 8.30 pm. The meditation hall in RKM is simply awesome, so full of energy. As the bhajans were going on, we could enter into the no-thought zone very easily. The life size idol of Sri Ramakrishna, clad in white and surrounded by red flowers, was radiating the innocence, devotion and divine energy in the hall.

Everyone was participating in the bhajans; some of them were meditating; some were singing. As soon as the bhajans ended, it was a different scene altogether. Some ladies started discussing about their childrens' school, some finding out more about their friends' saree; some guys were back in their office or rather they got their office to RKM; and many were of course talking about the menu for dinner that was waiting downstairs.

If we think about it, this is a very common sight in a temple. We see people discussing all their work, daily activities etc. in a temple. While waiting for the darshan, all we do is to talk about our worries, stresses etc. In fact we see people complaining if the queue is too long in temples like Tirupati etc.

A temple is an energy hub. The main deities of the most prominent Indian temples were installed by enlightened masters. Swamiji says, 'the deities in temples in Rameswaram, Kedarnath, Palani, Tirupati etc. were all installed by enlightened masters. So these temples are a storehouse of energy. This is the reason why we feel calmness and peace when we enter these temples. The energy of the Master or the Cosmic energy still reverberates in the garbha gruha, sanctum sanctorum.'

Swami Nithyananda says, 'when we enter a temple, our thoughts per second (TPS) decreases.' But what do we do? We don't even allow this to happen. Instead of immersing in the silence and energy of the temple, all we try to do is pollute the temple also with our thoughts.

The whole purpose of going to a temple is to allow our Being to connect with the Cosmic Consciousness or the Divine Energy. It is probably one of the easiest possible ways to do so...

But only if we allow it to happen.

But no! We do not want to leave our identities. We take our identities, our name, our designation, our status, our money, our job, everything to the temple. We take our EGO along with us to the temple. We just cannot let go of these even for a few minutes.

Sometimes in places like Tirupati, we see people showing off their so-called high status right inside the sanctum sanctorum for a longer darshan. Whats the point of the longer darshan if we still are holding to our ego? How much ever we stay inside right in front of the statue, we go nowhere because our ego is still as solid as a rock.

Swamiji has been building temples all over the world, installing the deities with life energy. One devotee asked Him, 'Swamiji, what is the point of doing all this? Why so many temples and ashrams?'

Swamiji replied, 'One six-foot Kali idol gave one Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. One Ramakrishna again gave us so many enlightened beings. So there is nothing wrong if I spend time and money on temples. It is worth it. There is a possibility. Thats all.'

Each one of us have a possibility to taste the Divine Energy whenever we enter a temple or an ashram. Going one step further, we even have the possibility of becoming a Ramakrishna. Enlightened masters have created so many possibilities for us.

Now the ball is in our court.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Laugh it out!! (Nithya Yoga Series - 5)

2 days ago, I was having dinner with my friend and he said to me 'I don't know why, but I am feeling irritated for no reason nowadays. I know you will tell me to drop the irritation with awareness, but the problem here is I don't even know what's causing the irritation. So, I am trying my best to stop the irritation, but nothing is working'. That led us to a fruitful discussion on one of the things we do in Nithya Yoga - silent belly laughter. I will not be discussing the technique here but talking of the essence of it.

Before we get into it, let us analyse the case above. Firstly, my friend, being a meditator himself, had the awareness of the fact that there is irritation, which is very good in itself. If we don't even know what's controlling us, then we are literally a slave to a stranger. Now, putting in awareness does not mean resisting it or expecting the irritation to drop. It means 'just witnessing' the irritation in a relaxed manner, without judging it or without fighting it.

The problem here is that my friend took the irritation too seriously. Why is this wrong? Because when we take it seriously and start fighting with it, we have already given it power. Swamiji gives a beautiful analogy of how we give power to all our engraved memories controlling us - be it our fear, greed, guilt etc:

In Ramayana (Indian epic) there is character called Vaali. His specialty was that when anybody went to fight with him, half of the energy of the opponent would be sucked up by Vaali. Since Vaali already had some power of his own, he would invariably land up stronger than the opponent. Smart eh?

If we are smarter, we would never fight Vaali. But unfortunately, this is exactly what we do with our problems. We take them too seriously. Every time we think 'Oh this is troubling me', we are indeed allowing that to trouble us. So, what is the alternative you may ask.

Laughter! :)

This may sound absurd, but mind you, it's a very very powerful technique. An example: if our boss yells at us, we have a choice whether to get upset about it and ruin the rest of the day... or to just let go with a laughter. Who gains at the end of it? When I say laughter, it does not necessarily mean laughing loudly, it could just be a silent one. Think about it, it's your day that is precious.

Genuine laughter does two things: Firstly when you laugh from deep within, you do not think. And when the mind drops, you automatically enter a meditative state. Many of the meditation programs offered at Dhyanapeetam have long laughter sessions as meditations. 42 mins of belly laughter can transport you into a space you have never experienced, bringing with it a deep sense of calmness and joy.

Secondly, and more importantly, the very attitude with which you look at the problem changes. Really, nothing in life is worth taking too seriously. Just laugh at all your problems, and at yourself. Just don't even give the problem the status of a "problem" inside. If you do that, then you have already crowned the problem as "Vaali" and you know what happens next if you do that. When you laugh at it, you are not giving the problem any space inside. When you fight it, you have let it come in.

There are many Zen Buddhist monks who have gotten enlightened by just laughing! We don't have even one good reason to take life so seriously. So let's just laugh it out :)

Here is Swamiji's discourse on Laughter is Medicine. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The mystical triad


This morning, I was listening to a superb discourse by my Master where He speaks about triputi bheda. I would like to share it with you all. The concept is mindblowing. This is in a way related to one of the previous posts, which throws light on our basic way of operation, by first separating ourselves from the scene.

The triputi bheda refers to the separation of the triad - the see-er, the scene and the act of seeing. Let us see what this means. Because of our solid identity with this body-mind, we become a distinct see-er. We have cut ourselves out from the rest of the universe. Now, whatever else we perceive becomes the scene. This does not necessarily refer to seeing through our eyes, but could be applied to any other sense as well.

Now, the process of seeing happens because of a constant jumping that is happening from the see-er to the scene. The constant bridge that fills the see-er and the scene is the act of seeing. In other words, it is the distinction between the see-er and the scene that causes the act of seeing. When this separation stops, the act stops. For example, can we see our own eyes (without a mirror)?

Now, all spiritual practices are aimed at reducing the gap between the see-er and the scene. You may ask how. Let us take the path of knowledge (gnana). Here through sharp reasoning and analysis, you realize there is no scene at all, just the pure witnessing consciousness. The whole scene is only an illusion of the mind. Now when the scene is taken away, the bridge of seeing falls. The triputi unite and the Truth happens. All relativeness drops and absoluteness remains.

What about the path of devotion? Swamiji explains beautifully that in this case, the see-er dissolves in awe of the scene. How Mirabai melted at the glory of Krishna or how Ramakrishna melted at the mention of Kaali, completely killing the see-er. Once again, the bridge falls and the same uniting happens. I am sure many of us have experienced brief glimpses of this state with our close encounters with nature. When we have completely lost ourselves in its beauty - be it a breathtaking sunset, or in front of a vast ocean, or standing in front of mighty mountains.

So, whether we are becoming one with the see-er or the scene it doesn't matter. We just have to immerse ourselves completely in either or them, breaking the bridge and becoming one with the Truth, with Nithyananda!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Breathe in bliss, breathe out bliss (Nithya Yoga Series - 4)

Me: So how are your yoga classes going on.
He: Going good.. today we did a new pranayama (breathing technique)..
Me: Oh ok, so how do you do it?
He: After the asana practice, we enter into pranayama and feel breathing in all positivity and breathing out all negativity...
Me: Hmm.. that's interesting. Are you sure you know what you are doing.
He: Why? Isn't it right to fill ourselves with positivity...
Me: Ya, that part is fine; the second part is what is dangerous.
He: Didn't get you..
Me: You say that when you do pranayama, you feel breathing in all positivity and breathing out all negativity..
He (interrupts): Yup exactly... what's wrong in that?
Me: Hmmm.. you see, when we constantly tell ourselves breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity, though we are telling ourselves to fill positivity, we are also reminding ourselves that we are actually filled with negativity. Isn't it?
He: I see what you are getting at...
Me: Like I said before, words have power; our verbalization has power. Whatever we verbalize, whatever we think, either we speak out or speak in, has immense power. So when constantly tell breathe out negativity, we are actually telling ourselves, we are filled with garbage.

We are reinforcing the idea of us being filled with negativities. In other words, we are actually giving power to all negativities inside us.

And in this process, what we are also doing is filling our surroundings with negativities.. We are actually adding negative thoughts to the Universe. Imagine taking the garbage out of the thrash can and throwing it all around the house :)

He: Wow! Imagine sending out positive waves instead...

Me: Yes, you are absolutely right. Infact that's a beautiful technique for creating peaceful vibes all over the world, yes for world peace.
He: True, I agree...so the solution is ...?
Me: Swami Nithyananda in Nithya Yoga says, just feel the bliss while breathing in and breathing out.. Just say, breathe in bliss, breathe out bliss..
He: You keep telling about bliss. How do we feel bliss?
Me: Interesting question. Bliss is the joyful state which is our innate nature. As children we were always joyful, without a reason. We jumped and danced without a reason. We were continuously in the blissful state.. Now if I ask you to dance, you will have all kinds of thoughts, what will they think, what will my friends think etc.

We have been loaded with layers and layers of social conditioning and in the process, we have forgotten how to even smile without a reason. Thats the keyword - without a reason.

We are happy but with a reason. We are happy because we have a job, a house, a wife. When the same job becomes hectic or is lost, when the same house becomes old, when the same wife tells you are fat, we become sad.

There is a reason for our happiness, whereas bliss is always there; there are no reasons for us to be blissful.

Being alive is enough, for us to be blissful.

You can try a simple meditation. Sit comfortably with eyes closed. Think of all happy moments in your life. Just think and relive all your happy moments. Express the happiness on your face. Whatever may be reason, just relive the experience. Now, drop the reason. You will see that you do not actually need a reason to be happy. You will see that happiness automatically turns into bliss.. try it, you will see for yourself the difference. Just drop the reason.

He: Hmm.. ok let me try..

Me: If you get a chance watch the video on bliss and choicelessness by Swamiji. He gives a beautiful explanation of bliss..

He: Sure will do..

(Continued next post...)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So what if we are born Human ???

Let me start with this question,

How many times in your entire life have you thanked God, or whatever you want to call, for this human birth that you are leading?

In our previous post, we quoted Shankaracharya where He says one of the most difficult thing to happen is human birth. Having a human body is the greatest thing that can happen to the soul that our body is housing.

So, what is so great about this human birth anyway?

It is said that the soul takes up this human birth after going through some thousands of bodies. The concept of dasavatharam, ten incarnations of Vishnu is exactly this. Starting from matsyavatara, incarnation of fish, to koormavatara, incarnation of tortoise, to varahavatara, incarnation of the boar, to narsimhavatara, incarnation of half human, half lion, to vaamanavatara, pigmy and all the way to Krishna, the pure Consciousness in human form. Swami Nithyananda says, 'whether we believe it or not, whether we understand it or not, whether we accept it or not, this is the truth. We have gone through various cycles of birth and death through different bodies before this human birth. '

Now till we reach human birth, there is a continuous natural process of evolution that goes on. Animals act by instinct. They hunt when they are hungry, they mate when they have the urge and they sleep when they are sleepy. They do not have a choice.

When we reach human birth, the process of evolution is no more natural. Yes, you read it correct. Several enlightened masters have talked about it. Swami Nithyananda says, 'the natural process of evolution stops with human birth. Now it is in your hands.'

As a human, we are given complete freedom and will as to how we want to evolve. Here evolution is towards realization of the Ultimate. The whole journey of the soul is to merge with the Ultimate. As a human, we are entitled for the greatest gifts of all - freedom, will and the most important one - conscious choice.

Swami Nithyananda says, 'we have all the freedom but we do not have the will.' This is the truth. We have all the freedom in the world but we take it for granted. We take this human birth of granted. We do not even stop for a moment and look back and thank for this birth. All we do is keep complaining. Even if we thank God or whatever, it is with either in fear or in greed; fear of losing what we have or greed of wanting more and more.

The greatest gifts that we have have become the greatest obstacles towards our very own evolution. This is because we do not want to exercise our conscious choice. This is because we want to remain in the same state for ever and ever. Deep down, we do not want to evolve because we feel safe with this identity. It is like a scared ostrich burying its head into the ground and feeling safe from predators. This is what we do.

Now the bouncer; in this human birth, if and only if we make a conscious choice towards the Ultimate, will we ever be able to move towards it. Otherwise, we rot in this cycle of birth and death. And even worse, we might go a few steps back in the chain of evolution to take up an animal's body.

An enlightened master holds the master key to the Ultimate Consciousness. Only as a human, we have the greatest opportunity and freedom to consciously choose to get the key and open the door. And to top it all, the company of a living enlightened master makes the path even more easy because He keeps on reminding us, 'don't waste this human birth...' He works on us personally because He is pure compassion and wants us to experience exactly the same state in which He is living.

This human birth is an opportunity. Now its upto us to either remain deluded and stuck in the web of life and death or exercise our right to enlightenment.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Walking on the razor's edge

It is said that walking in this spiritual path is like walking on the edge of a razor. Why? Because, only the daring and the focussed ones survive the walk. If we are not strong enough, we wouldn't even try to venture out. Or even if we decide to walk on it, if we are not focussed, convinced and brave, it is very easy to fall off the razor, sometimes even causing hurt.

In our limited experience on this path, we have seen all three categories of people. One, who do not even bother to try, second, those who try but give up very soon and the third who are the 'spiritual warriors'. The first category are those who are scared deep down about transformation. Of course sometimes they give excuses about not being interested or not having the time. Trust me, these are just excuses. Because no excuse can stop the fire from burning, if it is ignited already. We just want to postpone the process as we are too caught up with our so called 'busy' lives.

Second category are those who feel 'why not give it a shot?'. Now after standing on the razor to walk on it, if our mind is elsewhere we will obviously fall. Normally whatever we do, whatever we talk, whatever we think etc. are all inspired by what is appreciated by society. But to walk on the spiritual razor, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks, only YOU have to be convinced 100% about it, else the fall is certain. We have encountered many who start off meditation and other spiritual practices with great enthusiasm, but then after a while the fizz wears off. There is no more push and the person just drops out, either feeling tired or bored.

This is because the conviction was never present. If we were to treat spirituality as something that would just add to the count of things in our showcase, then the fire was never ignited in the first place. Hence after a while, the boredom or fatigue kicks in. If the fire is really lit then nobody needs to push another for these things, something inside will keep pushing with great strength. Swami Nithyananda calls this igniting of fire as a 'click'. He says each time the words of the Master resonate deep down in our being saying 'Hey, that's so true'. It doesn't matter whether we are able to express to others or not, but we couldn't be more clear or convinced, then we have had that click, that spark. These clicks are what Swamiji calls 'Initiation'.

The third category are those in whom this spark is given the right conditions to burn into a flame, with vigor and valor. Gradually, the flame becomes so bright that it starts to radiate the light to others as well. We have had the fortune of interacting with many of such disciples of Swami Nithyananda who are absolutely clear and convinced. You should see them talk, the glow in their eyes, the bliss on their face, the depth of their conviction. Truly as our Master puts it, when His disciples inspire others towards the truth, it the Master talking through them.

Initiation from the Master is the greatest thing that can happen in one's life. Only those who have experienced it can attest it. To be honest, we have been with our Master physically only for a few minutes, but that touch of the Master has done so much deep down. We may not have seen anything phenomenal immediately after our brief interactions with our Master, but we know that the flame that He has ignited burns every day brighter and brighter, reminding us of the Truth. If we look back at who we were and the changes that have come about, we know clearly why.

I leave you with this video of Swamiji delivered during Guru Poornima this year, when He spoke about how to catch the clicks and allow them to work on us constantly.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Missing, again and again and again...

There is a verse from Bhagvat Gita which goes:

avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
mama bhuta-mahesvaram 9.11

In this verse Krishna tells Arjuna - Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.

Now I know how true the words of Krishna are! During the last one and a half year, when I talk about Swami Nithyananda to people or when I showed His videos, I have seen quite a few people who say, 'Nah, I don't get the idea of worshipping a human...'

There are people who are strong believers of God, who go to temples/church/mosque, who do all kinds of Vedic rituals at their place. They have strong faith in the power of the idols. But you say one word about a living enlightened master, they run away from you.

This has been happening from the time of Krishna, otherwise why would Krishna say that in Bhagvat Gita. As recently as the 19th/20th century, the world saw one of the greatest enlightened masters - Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. When He was alive, people thought He was a mad man; they said He was acting when Ramakrishna used to enter into ecstasy with the mention of the word Kali. Now, after a hundred years, people throng his ashrams around the world. Every Vijaya Dashami when Goddess Kali is worshipped, people go to the nearest Ramakrishna Ashram.

To these very same people if you talk about a living enlightened Master like Swami Nithyananda, I have seen how they started speculating - 'I can believe Ramakrishna is God; He is enlightened. How can this living person be enlightened?'

We are very comfortable with a stone idol being called as God; we are ready to bathe in the holy rivers; we are happy to see and worship a person physically not present. But, we just cannot accept another living person as God or some Supreme Soul or some Supreme Power... whatever you want to call it.

Why? Why can't we associate the word God with a living person? The answer is simple. Our ego! Our ego does not allow us to accept anything else as more supreme than itself. It is ready to accept a stone idol as God, a dead person as God because it thinks it can back off when the same idol asks it to surrender in return. That faith to an idol is not wrong. That devotion is not wrong at all. Ramakrishna became enlightened because of His strong devotion to a 6 feet Kali idol. But Ramakrishna surrendered Himself completely. He had such a craving for Kali that for a glimpse of Her, he was ready to behead himself.

In the name of rituals and pooja, whatever we are doing is just a farce because our ego is still solid. How many times have we completely immersed ourselves in ritual? We cannot accept a living person as God because of the same reason. When we surrender to a living enlightened person, our ego is scared that it will be killed.

Because it knows, that is precisely what a Master would do - Kill Ego...

Shankaracharya, an enlightened master who was exponent on Advaithic (non-duality) philosophy, says in his Vivekachudaamani,

Durlabham Trayamevaitat Daivanugraha-hetukam;
Manushyatvam Mumukshutvam Maha-purushasamsrayah.

which means, the three things that are most difficult to obtain are - a human birth, desire for liberation and the company of a living enlightened Master.

And when such an opportunity is placed right in front of us, we do not recognize it. Instead we think, 'how I wish I was born during the time of Krishna' People used to go and tell Ramakrishna exactly this. Ramakrishna used to tell them, that same Krishna is in front you. And today many tell our Master 'how nice it would have been if I could sit at the feet of Ramakrishna...'

Swami Nithyananda says jovially, 'the grandfather when alive was outside the house, in the out-house; when he died, he was brought inside the house, inside the God's room!'

Our ego is continuously finding different ways to escape from dissolving and in this process, we have been missing living enlightened masters all along. We have either missed them due to our ignorance or mistook them to be just humans.

Mind you, if you have a chance, better grab it; otherwise you never know how many more births you have to take before you find a living enlightened master again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why postpone enjoyment?

Let me start by sharing a small personal experience with you. Last year, I made a trip with a bunch of friends to Taman Nagara, a dense tropical jungle in Malaysia. 160 million years old, filled with gigantic trees, creepers, all kinds of colorful birds and large pretty insects with a mighty river cutting right across it, the vibes of the place was amazing! During those 3 days there, there was a strange peace and bliss that was overflowing within me and felt deeply connected with every tree, creeper and creature there. Honestly, a beautiful connection with nature, with existence happened within, I may not be able to put them in words. I couldn't be bothered about anything at that time, totally carefree.

Now, one of my friends A who wasn't quite the nature-loving types was bored and disappointed as he felt it wasn't as exciting as making a trip to a happening place like Sydney or Bangkok. Another friend B who is supposedly a nature lover was always glued to his new camera. Whatever he spoke when he took breaks from the camera was about the pictures he took and the pictures he planned to take.

This brings me to two important points, thanks to my friends A and B. First: Why did A find the place boring? and Second: Why was B so busy clicking photographs instead of enjoying the place?

To answer the first, as Swamiji says, we are always busy fueling our mind with external inputs, stimuli through our senses. The busy, fast-paced lifestyle wherein we are used to pumping so much data just through advertisements and other news keeps us going. We have completely forgotten how to enjoy the silence within. Our mind rapidly races from one thought to another and literally drives us. Sadly we think this is how things should be. That is why we like spicy food, enjoy fact-paced movies... almost anything that gives us a kick. We want the mind to be continuously at work and cannot imagine being otherwise. Swamiji gives simple and efficient techniques to break free from the clutches of the mind in his various programs.

Secondly, what is with our addiction to taking photos all the time? To put in plain words - We love to postpone our enjoyment. When a beautiful sunset is happening, we are busy adjusting the focal length and aperture size of the camera instead of soaking into the sunset. We feel we can always enjoy the same on a postcard sized photo later! And when that happens, it can never be as real and beautiful as the actual sunset.

The same goes with anything that we do in our lives. We are more worried about our savings accounts, insurance policies, retirement plans because we are paranoid and take steps that would help us enjoy later. Will that enjoying later ever happen??

In the process of postponing enjoyment, let us not miss the beautiful present moment!

Watch your Words!! (Nithya Yoga Series 3)

A lady comes home for healing regularly and every time we ask her, how are you feeling, the reply is this: I feel very weak. I am very tired. Its so miserable. What should I do?

Words, which we speak, which we write have immense power. One of the most powerful gift that we humans have is the ability to speak and communicate. We speak in different languages, we convey what we want to say to others using words.

When we speak to others, we take great care in selecting the words. We chose and pick words which do not offend others. There is a continuous check on what words we use to communicate with people around us, the society outside us.



Now lets see what we do inside us. We have continuous inner chatter, we constantly do something called speaking in. We verbalize our thoughts internally using words and what are these words - my life is miserable, its so pathetic, I am so lazy, it is useless.. and what not. We dump all kinds of negativities in our system. There is no check whatsoever when it comes to what we speak inside.

Now to top it up, the words we chose attract the same events in our life. Words are nothing but a way to express our thoughts. When we constantly feed ourselves with negative thoughts, we attract exactly the same kind of events. There is a very famous book/video called The Secret which talks about this in great detail. Our words, our thoughts have the power to attract similar kinds of events.

Swami Nithyananda talks about this beautifully. He says, 'Whatever we speak can become reality. Our words are like slides that can be put in front of a projector and can be projected onto a screen.' When we continuously feed ourselves with negative words, we are make ourselves more and more depressed. It has been scientifically proved that diseases like cancer are nothing a but a physical manifestation of our continuous negative inner chatter.

One of the many things that Nithya Yoga deals with is this inner chatter. Swami Nithyananda calls it - yoga for verbalization. In a Nithya Yoga session, we see the power of strong intention, the power of strong affirmation. People who have done Nithya Yoga have testified this. This is something that can be practiced anywhere, in each and every little act of ours.

Try this simple exercise next time when you feel tired or have headache in office. Just close your eyes. Set a strong intention of you being completely healthy; you are fit; your head is blissful; you are in complete ecstasy. Be very clear, do not use the word headache. When you say that you are actually feeding your system with 'ache' which is again negative. Set an intention without such contradictions. Believe me, you will feel rejuvenated.

For now, enjoy this video on yoga for verbalization.

-- Sri Nithya Arpanananda

Friday, September 21, 2007

Science of Rituals

A few days ago, we had the inauguration ceremony of our new Nithyananda Center in Singapore (Pictures of Event), for which we had some prayers and rituals done. The energy that day in the center was phenomenal. A few years ago, I used to wonder 'What is the point in all these rituals?'. Often we attach the tag of 'superstition', 'blind belief' etc. with rituals and idol worship.

Swami Nithyananda throws light on this subject beautifully. He says when a ritual is done with awareness it becomes meditation; but when even meditation is done without awareness, it becomes a mere ritual. Existence is made up of 5 elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Each of these rituals is an attempt to connect with Existence, with the Cosmic Energy that lies within us.

The five elements are in order of subtlety. The earth is the grossest element; one can feel it, see it, hold it, smell it. Water is more fluid; you can see it and feel it, but cannot hold it. Fire is more subtle; you can feel it, sometimes cannot even see it. Subtler than fire is air; you can feel it but can never see it. The last is ether; it is beyond the sense perceptions, you can only experience it. Let us now see how we connect with each of these elements through rituals and meditation.

Take the earth element. All our worship of idols made of stone or metal are means to connect with the earth element in us. When this is done with awareness, you will no longer be worshiping the stone. You will be worshiping through the stone. Next, the water element. Taking a bath in any of the holy rivers or bathing the dieties (abhishekam) helps us relate with cosmic energy through water. Next is the fire element and all fire rituals and offerings (homa) are ways to relate with this. The air element is us is responsible for the words that we speak. Prayers that involve chants invoke the air element in us. Lastly, ether can be experienced only through silence. Silence does not refer to absence of words, it is a vibrant silence that is experienced in deep moments of meditation.

Of course when we see priests at temples chant away mantra but counting money in their hands, you lose respect for these rituals. Awareness is the key. When we do these rituals with a deep understanding, they can transform our very being. Here is a video where Swamiji gives some amazing insights into rituals.

Those of us who do guru pooja (an offering of gratitude to existence) regularly invariably experience a deep joy and silence within, it is certainly a powerful meditation in itself. In Singapore, we will be starting to conduct classes to train people to do the guru pooja/guru homa on their own. Those interested can send an email to lifebliss.singapore@gmail.com.

-- Ma Nithyananda Arpana

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another New School?? (Nithya Yoga Series 2)

'Yeah, another school of yoga, what's new in this one?' - this is the obvious question that one would ask if someone reads my previous blog post in Nithya Yoga series. And I agree this is a valid question.

So lets go back in time, thousands of years ago to see how it all originated ...

Patanjali, an enlightened master and the father of Yoga, wrote Yoga Sutra thousands of years ago. He introduced to the world then, what is called Ashtanga Yoga. It was not like there were no yogis before Patanjali or there were no yogic practices before Him. Patanjali for the first time gave the world a complete 360 degree approach through Ashtanga Yoga. For the first time, someone made a proper documentation of what it takes to be enlightened, how to get enlightened. Swami Nithyananda says Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is one of the rare books, which gives a complete solution.

Over the years, there have been innumerable number of yoga schools and gurus with different chains of thought. Swami Nithyananda says, 'they were developed keeping the human consciousness in mind at that point in time.' Here we are not referring to the pseudo yoga schools with fancy names but the schools which were developed by enlightened masters. Each master saw a certain need for overall human consciousness at that time and accordingly designed yogic practices to elevate the human consciousness.

Now coming to the present, let me answer the obvious question...

Eminent cellular biologists and doctors, like Dr. Bruce Lipton and Dr. Deepak Chopra, agree that the human biological system has changed over the last hundred years both physically and mentally. New synaptic connections have been formed in our brain called cerebral layer which helps us cope with the fast paced lifestyle that has developed over the last century.

Swami Nithyananda says, 'we need something really really strong to remove the negativities which we continuously accumulate in our system due to our lifestyle.'

He says, 'Nithya Yoga is yoga for jet age generation...'

Swami Nithyananda understands both Patanjali and the modern man very well. Through Nithya Yoga, He brings Ashtanga Yoga as it was intended to be keeping in mind the state of current human consciousness.

In the next post, we will see what this is in greater detail. For now enjoy this short entertaining video, which we will show later is directly connected to Nithya Yoga.

-- Sri Nithya Arpanananda

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yoga - it's MORE than just fashion (Nithya Yoga Series 1)

A few days back, I bumped into a friend of mine early morning.

Me: Hi man, how come you are awake on a Sunday morning?

He: I went for my weekly yoga class...

Me: Wow, thats a nice way to begin a Sunday. So what exactly do you do in the class?

He: We start off with some warm up exercises, then do some asana (postures) and breathing techniques and at last we do shavasana (resting pose) which is my favorite (laughs) because all others are really complex. I simply can't do them. I don't know how people do it.

Me: Thats nice. So how does it feel?

He: Yup. Its a great work out. Theres no doubt about it. Then during that one hour of session, I feel nice, peaceful. But sometimes, it gets really depressing...

Me: Hmm.. I can understand. So whats the plan for today?

He: Man, there are so many things to do. My boss wants a report by tomorrow. So I have to go and work on it. And then a party in the evening.. Man I wish I had 48 hours..

Yoga is such a commonly used word now. The very first thing that comes to our mind when someone tells us about yoga is a slim lady posing in some complex posture. We hear about all kinds of yoga - power yoga, deluxe yoga, blue yoga, super deluxe yoga .. I can go on :)

Most people like my friend associate yoga session with a physical workout and at most with some mental peace during that one hour session. But yoga was meant to be much more than this. It was not a tool, as it has become now, to keep oneself slim. It was not meant to be a fashion statement.

Patanjali, the father of Yoga, developed what is called Ashtanga Yoga as a tool to look inward. It was called a darshana, literally meaning 'looking inward'. Swami Nithyananda says the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga were meant to prepare the mind-body-spirit for enlightenment. That was the depth at which Patanjali proposed the aphorisms on yoga called Yoga Sutra.

Yoga was meant to be a continuous process of being aware of one self but now it has been reduced to a one hour workout session with postures, breathing techniques and meditations. Yoga was meant to be a way of living, a lifestyle wherein one is aware of oneself throughout the 24 hours. From the above conversation, complex postures is not yoga; going back to worrying is not yoga; physical workout is not yoga.

Swami Nithyananda introduced what is called Nithya Yoga, literally meaning, Yoga of Eternity which He says captures the essence of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga for the jet age generation. Describing Nithya Yoga completely in one post is impossible but one thing that is common to each and everyone who has done Nithya Yoga is that, 'it is out of this world.' People who have been doing yoga for 25 years say, 'I have never seen anything like this before.'

In the next few posts, I will take you through some amazing insights into yoga as told by Swami Nithyananda. For now, I leave you with this short video on Nithya Yoga.

-- Sri Nithya Arpanananda