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.'