Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Master

Yesterday (23rd December) at Bidadi ashram, the 10-day celebrations leading to Swamiji's birthday started off with great energy and enthusiasm. Today morning when we opened the Dhyanapeetam website, the photos for the first day were put up. Just seeing the photos made me experience the bliss of Nithyananda :)

The Master's blissful smile, the joyous processions of Anandeswara-Anandaeswari, hundreds of people all dancing in bliss around the Master, the Master giving Aarati to the idols and the Banyan tree, the Master blessing each one present with His compassionate touch... everything, just seeing those photos brought a huge smile on my face.

It is hard to put down in words what many of us feel when we get a glimpse of the Master, be it in physical form or in just a photograph or sometimes even in a dream. It does not matter where we are but most of us feel connected directly to Him. There are no words, no emotions, no thoughts. We are. That's all!


I just wanted to pen down my thoughts ...

Even one glimpse of Yours,
whether you are here or there,
we crave to catch, my Master.
That one smile of Yours,
whether you see me or someone else,
we crave to catch, my Master.
One compassionate touch of Yours,
whether you give intentionally or not,
we always want from You, my Master.

Your every word, my Master,
Your every glimpse,
Your every touch, my Master,
Your every hug,
is a sword, my Master...
the only sword, I know
which can cut through my veil
and bring me out of my dream.

Master, whatever You want to do
You please do; I surrender.
But one request to you, my Master,
whatever You do,
merge me in Your dream.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do we love our nightmares too much?

Every time we conduct the Life Bliss Program, we know for certain that it is the Master who talks, we are just instruments. In one such recent LBP, it was a powerful session about the four states of consciousness that Swamiji conveys very beautifully through a diagram. To listen to the Master explain in His own words, click the video below.



I do not want to dilute what the Master has said about the four states of conscioussness by adding more words. But would like to share with you an interesting conversation that transpired after this session with one of the LBP participants. I was conveying the following point: when we are dreaming, we have no idea that we are dreaming. Only when we wake up do we realise it. Similarly till we wake up to higher consciousness, we do not know that this so-called waking state is yet another slumber. The entire room was silent as each one was intensely listening. Suddenly, one of them said to me straight "What you say is all great, perfect, sounds good.. but tell me this, I am a working father leading a stressful life in office, with deadlines to meet, bosses to please, a family to take care of.. now how does all this philosophy help me? To me, the life that I am leading is reality. How does all this help?"

The same person had melted by the end of the day and was shedding tears of gratitude to the Master for having shown some perspective on many things that lay hidden all his life till then. Anyway, the point I want to make is that we feel spirituality is a philosophy. We feel that it is something told by some Master, limited to some scripture that we place in an altar, or limited to the priests in temples. If we for a moment, believe that there is some truth about it which we can imbibe into our own lives, then we start to see miracles happening. If we are having a nightmare and are suffering as a result of that (by sweating, crying, beating the bed etc) and if someone who is watching us wakes us up out of compassion, what do we do? Ofcourse we would wake up, thank that person for getting us out of the suffering and then maybe even laugh that it was all just a dream that we took so seriously. Is it not?

In the same way, techniques given my enlightened masters are just "wake-up calls" out of compassion, to make us see reality and stop suffering in our 'dreams'. An enlightened master is blissful all the time, because He is not caught in the dream of 'samsara'. He has woken up and watching us go through the nightmare patiently. He wakes up all those who allow Him to. Some people do not want to be woken up. They love their nightmares too much. Then what to do?

A simple 'click' that whatever we see around is just another dream is something that all Masters have said in many different ways. If we trust that there is truth in this statement and contemplate on it, the deeper truths emerge to the surface on their own and show light. In a recent talk that Swamiji delivered at the Life Positive Expo @ New Delhi a few months ago, this is the only solid and crisp message He put forth - "Just constantly remind yourself that whatever you see around is a dream". When Swamiji says that this is a practical technique, not a philopshy, He means it. And we have all seen the power behind each of the techniques that He gives as - powerful weapons that we can use in our lives - and NOT just a fancy theory.

Below is a clip taken from the discourse at Life Positive Expo where this click is conveyed by the Master Himself. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spirit + Ritual = Spirituality

========================= THOUGHT PROCESS 1=========================

Lets go through this questionaire:

(1) What are our first thoughts when we wake up in the morning on a Monday morning?
(2) What are our first thoughts when we wake up in the morning on any weekday?
(3) How do we feel when it is Friday?


The answers are (for most of us...):

(1) Oh God! Its monday again...
(2) Let me sleep for some more time... or let me go a bit later.. or should I take the day off ...
(3) TGIF (thank God, its friday)


========================= THOUGHT PROCESS 2=========================


Each of us want to live happily. We work because we want to make money and we intend to live happily. We think that working hard or studying hard will give us the happiness that we are looking for. We think getting a promotion in job, getting a higher degree in university, getting a better post will help us live happily, will help us lead a successful life.


================================================================


Aren't the two thought processes that we go through totally contradictory? We want all the wealth in the world; we want to live happily; we want a big post, a big name in the society. We want everything but we are unwilling to put in what it needs to get those. Given an option, most of the times, we want to relax and enjoy but when we are given an option to relax, we are scared about our future, we get frightened to be left behind in the race to the top.


Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, "As a human being, we are gifted with two things - freedom and will. We exercise our freedom in every possible way but we do not exercise our will. We use our freedom to postpone things and relax but we do not have the will to actually sit and work towards what we want."

This is so true. We procrastinate and postpone even our sources of enjoyment. We want everything and we have all the freedom in the world to work towards getting those. But what is missing is our will to actually for it.

We are not intense in whatever we do, that is the problem. At work, which we believe brings us money, name and happiness, we are not intense. We are not enthused enough to really go and work. At the same time, when we are given an opportunity to take a break, we are not intense even to enjoy that. At work, when we go for coffee or tea, how many of us really enjoy that cup of tea and relax completely?

We do not have the will, the intensity and the enthusiasm for anything. Nithyananda says, "Your own lack of intensity and awareness is the main reason for all our stress, worry and all your emotional problems. We blame the external world for everything but the problem really lies inside us."

Nithyananda says beautifully,
"A ritual is a mechanical process till you add spirit to it; then it
becomes a meditation. Similarly, spirituality is all about adding spirit to
life. For most of us life is a mechanical process or a ritual. All we need to
add is spirit to life; then the ritual becomes spirituality."

The meditation and yoga programs like Life Bliss Program (LBP1) and Nithya Yoga, teach only this - adding intensity and awareness, just to enjoy every moment of life. They are not about some mystical stuff labeled as 'spirituality'. They are life solutions to explode in 360 degrees.

Come, enjoy life... enjoy spirituality...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kalpataru Darshan - His Desire is Our Enlightenment

About 35 people from Singapore had gone to Malaysia to attend a program called the Kalpataru Darshan by the Master Himself. This one day has been the most beautiful day of our lives. Each one of 600 odd people who were present in that hall were touched in one way or the other by the sheer compassion of the Master.

This is a boon-giving day, which the Master started recently. He says:

"I give you shakti, the energy and power to change what needs to be changed in you and for you.

I give you buddhi, the intelligence to accept what cannot be and what need not be changed in you and for you.

I give you yukti, the clarity to know that whatever changes in you and for you it is still a dream, you need to awake.

I give you mukti, the awakening into that Truth, the fulfillment, the purnatva, which is what you really are. "

At the end of the day, we go to Him and ask Him whatever we want. He sits there patiently listening to each and every one and grants what needs to be granted.

Most of us, we had made a laundry list before going on to the stage but when He looked at us like our Mother and asked, "What do you want?", everything dropped. Most of us broke down in His lap and when He hugged us, it felt as if we are back home. The few moments when He hugged us, we experienced never ending joy, eternal bliss, nithyananda.

The experiences that people shared after the program are far too many to quote. Each one had his or her unique experience but the base was the same - experiencing that nithyananda.

One thought bothered many of us while returning back. He came all the way to Malaysia for one single day. He had to go back immediately after so that He conducts the same program on the weekend (20 Nov. was a thursday; He came on wednesday and left on friday). Every weekend since October this year till March next year, He is doing this program.

Why is He is doing that?

He says in the program, "Every desire of ours is leading to fulfillment in one
way or the other, either by having more money, or name and fame. Every desire
has the same goal - fulfillment. Now instead of praying for these small desires
to get fulfilled, desire intensely for the Ultimate Fulfillment itself."
More than us, He is working towards our enlightenment. He wants more and more people to realize themselves. He wants more and more Nithyanandas out there. For us, if we travel from office to home, we get tired. He is travelling every day trying to lift as many people as He can. Speaking to one person tires us, even though we are not listening to him or her attentively; He is really listening, speaking and healing to thousands of people very weekend.

He doesn't have to do that. He can sit happily and enjoy His enlightenment. It is His compassion to help us, to aid us in our enlightenment.


All He wants from us is to be open but many of us are still stuck with our intellect. We see the profit and loss; we do the cost analysis. If a program is charged, why is it charged? If a program is free, why is it free? (He explained that also with a beautiful joke... may be later on this)

For all of us who are on the fence looking at all this with doubts and questions, one thing is certain: we are the losers if we miss this opportunity. We are at loss not He because He neither gains or loses. He will continue with His work of touching people. It is upto us to extend our hand out so that He can lift us. If we hold ourselves back, there is nothing He can do. Like He says, "the dharma chakra, the wheel of dharma, moves on. If you want, you can hold it and you too will move. If you are standing outside, you will stay where you are."

If you have an opportunity, please attend the Kalpataru Darshan. The dates are available at http://dhyanapeetam.org/Web/kalpataru_darshan1.asp.

Its a once in a life time opportunity...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boundless Joy!

This evening, in a few hours time, a group of 35 of us from Singapore will be traveling to Malaysia to attend a 1 day program tomorrow with Swamiji. The very thought of meeting the Master is something that floods the entire system with bliss, with energy, an unexplainable feeling. Not just for me, but for many people I know. Just talking about the Master is a favorite passtime for many of us and we can easily do night outs with no trace of sleep just talking about Him!

Enlightened Masters like Paramahamsa Nithyananda are embodiments of pure existential energy. When such is the case, talking about them or thinking about them becomes a meditation in itself. We see that our number of thoughts per second just drops and we are flooded with energy. Why does this happen? At the thought level, every word/thought is energy no doubt. And when we are bombarded with too many thoughts, we feel a drain in our energy. However, there is a difference when the thoughts are related to the Master.

This is because the Guru, who is established in existential energy, can straightaway take us to the deepest layer of our being. He is like a bridge between words and wordlessness, between thoughts and thoughtlessness. Especially if we are connected with the Master, then the very thought about the Guru just kills all other thoughts and this sudden drop of thoughts is what causes that flood of energy or bliss. Our deepest layers respond to the thoughts about the Guru, especially when we are connected.

This is the beautiful science behind the Guru Mantra initiation. Recently, Swamiji has started initiating people into Purascharana meditation, which involves repeated chanting of the Guru Mantra. When we constantly repeat the Guru's name, our whole being responds and we become alive. All the negative thought patterns are replaced by the sole thought of the Master. A total reprogramming of the inner chattering by thoughts related to the Master, bliss, energy etc, is like a preparation for the Master to do the ultimate surgery - when He takes us even beyond His name and form. Replacing our inner chattering with words of the Master reminds us more and more of our own core - of bliss.

This links me to what I started off saying - thoughts, words, form of the Master are all like instant energy boosters and those that flood one with boundless joy! That is the main trigger for books like Bhagavatam which sings the glory of Krishna through various incidents in His life. The Master's life is a leela, a drama which He plays so that He makes us connect with Him. And certainly in the whole process makes us have a lot of fun. Thank you Master!

Competition or Cutting Ourselves??

I was talking to a cousin who is just 10 years old. All along the conversation, he was talking about being ahead in his class, about competition in studies, sports and everything. This is not just with my cousin but we find this competition everywhere at every stage.

Right from our childhood, we are taught how to compete. The theory of "survival of the fittest" is engrained in us deeply right from when we start to walk. Sometimes, parents compare infants of same age as to who started walking first, who started talking first, who started crawling first. This comparison, this competition continues till the time we die. We compare and compete with our fellow students when we are young; then with our friends in college; then with our colleagues for position in the society and so and so forth.

What is interesting is that the idea of competition is actually not our true nature. If we leave children in a room, they actually make best of best friends. They play together. They share whatever they have. Only when they start getting condition either by parents or teachers or society, they start competing against each other.
In fact, biologically it has been proven by Dr. Bruce Lipton, an eminent biologist, that biological cells when put in a petridish, come closer and try to cooperate and collaborate to survive rather than competing against each other in isolation. The "survival of the fittest" theory is currently being verified if it still holds true.

When we compare and compete, we are detaching ourselves with the rest of the universe. We start living in a shell that we carve out for ourselves and shield it hard using our strong identity of name and status in the society. The very idea of competition makes us sepearte from the rest of the cosmos around us.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, "we are not a wave. We are the ocean itself. Whether the wave is rising or staying up there or falling down, we are a part of the same ocean." Each wave thinks it is different from the others and each wave is competing to rise highest, to be on top of one another. Each wave wants to remain as a wave for as long as it can. But it has to fall back in to the ocean...

The whole point of all meditation techniques that Nithyananda advocates is to help us realise that we are not separate waves but the ocean itself. These meditations help us to shed our competition to stay on top; they help us cut across the shield that we have created because of our own perceptions and merge with the bliss of Oneness that all enlightened Masters constantly experience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Super Manager

A person next to me was reading an article - "The Best Manager" from some magazine, which talked about managers of top companies and how they manage people for high productivity.

I was wondering, an enlightened Master like Paramahamsa Nithyananda can certainly give some management tips. He manages each one of his disciples to lead them toward enlightenment.
Each of the disciples is unique, atleast initially. And hence the management job of the Master becomes so much more difficult. He has to design and devise techniques for each one of them, to lead them to the same common goal of enlightenment. Just imagine; managing people to get a balance sheet done in an office takes lot of work from the manager's side. That is the reason there are so many books on "how to manage people." Here, in the master's case, we are talking about enlightenment.

We see that very clearly in Paramahamsa Nithyananda. On each one of His disciples, He works in a unique manner. Each disciple of His is very unique and special to Him. He designs techniques for each one of us uniquely. To intellectuals, He teaches pure advaitha (non-dualism) based on pure intellect. To emotional disciples, He asks to just connect with idols. To being level disciples, He just asks them to be in His presence.

To each one of us, He gives a different technique; either based on gnana (knowledge and intellectual understanding) or dhyana (meditation) or yoga or devotion. The spiritual names He gives are direct indications of each one of our paths. They are techniques He is asking us to follow.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa devised various techniques for different disciples amongst His monastic disciples. He gets furious at Vivekananda once when Vivekananda meddles with another fellow disciple's path. Similarly, Shiva gives 112 techniques for enlightenment in Vignana Bhairava Tantra and each one of them is catered for different people.

When Master descends on planet earth again, He comes with this sole purpose - to get as many of us enlightened as He can. It is His pure compassion to tolerate our petty desires from hundreds of thousands of disciples. He still extends His hand expecting us to extend our hands and hold His' so that He can lift us. We on the other hand question and doubt the Master just because of our fears, greed and inhibhitions. All we have to do is to be open and extend our hand, and there, on the other side, there is a super Manager who will manage the rest of the process.

And finally, the Master resorts to different managements techniques to each of His disciples only in the beginning, till we fall in tune with Him. Once we reach that state, He doesn't manage with words and techniques. He just Is and we are with Him, experiencing Him, with or without the form.

Friday, October 31, 2008

No more Charlie Chaplins - Why??




Over the years, we have become more and more sophisticated, not just in what we use in the external world but also in our mental setup and thinking. Even things which used to give us sensory pleasures like TVs have become more and more sophisticated now. Now we want dolby stereo effects, home theater effects, high-blast sound systems etc. etc. to please us.


The themes of movies which used to be modes of entertainment have completely changed. There were times when violence was not an integral part of the movies or the sitcoms. They were purely meant for entertainment and nothing else. There were movies dedicated to humor only and nothing else. Now, where are the Laurel and Hardys'; where are the Charlie Chaplins? Now if we want to laugh, we will get an old DVD of these people.

Now, the movies are based on violence or horror or terrorism or some negativity. I was surprised to see one particular week, all the movies that were being screened were horror movies. Once in a while, some comedy or musical pops up but even they have some kind of violence. Very rarely do some movies come with pure entertainment and nothing else. Even cartoon movies, they are getting sophisticated. Tom and Jerry used to potray an innocence. Even their violence was innocence. The cartoon characters now are more humanly. The innocence is completely lost. In fact the newer version of Tom and Jerry itself shows the loss of innocence. We can clearly make out the difference between new version of Tom and Jerry and the old one.


What does all this show? They are not something that we watch and leave. We think they are just some movies or sitcoms. But they clearly show, we have lost our innocence completely. Our innocence, our state of happiness is covered with layers of negativity, fears and greed. And it is our negativities that enjoy the movies or sitcoms or whatever external paraphernalia that we have around us.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, "We are embodiments of innocence and pure bliss and nothing else." And we see that in the Master Himself. Many of us have witnessed that child-like innocence in Him.
All we have to do is to hold on to that innocence. Our problems are because of our own sophistication of our mental setup. Our worries, tensions and depression are our own distancing away from our inner core - innocence. All we have to do it is express it and not suppress it in the name of growing up and societal conditioning.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sanatana Dharma - Perpetual Truths for Peaceful Society

Arvind Adiga, an Indian journalist, is the 2008 Booker Prize winner for his book - The White Tiger. This book basically talks about a servant-master relationship and how this servant goes on to become a successful entrepreneur. The author, Arvind Adiga, in one of his interviews narrates an incident which inspired him to write this novel. He says, 'I was buying furniture in New Delhi five years ago and the storeowner said, `Don't give me cash, give me a deposit of Rs 1,000, and give the rest to the man when he delivers it.' So when the man came to my house -- and he was a very poor man -- he put down the furniture and then I paid him the money. Then he asked for a Rs 10 tip which I gave it him. I was amazed that this man who made a maximum of Rs 1,000 a month or perhaps even less, was taking a bundle of money to give to his master.'

Another point in his interview which caught my attention was, 'And this led to the question why there was so little crime in India compared to that in New York, South Africa and Latin America, where poverty is the leading cause of the high rates of crime. In India, even if there is a phenomenal disparity in wealth there is very little crime due to poverty. The novel began as a kind of an experiment.'

These sounded familiar to me because in one of His talks, Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, "In the US, there is a police station at each every county. Every few miles, there is police check post. In India, forget few miles, sometimes a whole taluk (a block of villages) have one police check post. But statistics say that the crime rate in US is 100 times greater than in India."

That is true. According to statistics, even though there is no one watching each and every village of India, even though people are poorer than people in most developed countries, the crime rate is much lesser in India as compared to developed cities in countries like the US .

Nithyananda says, "The reason is our society is based on santana dharma. Our society is founded on these perpetual (santana) teachings (dharma). When we are internally conscious and aware, which is the basis of sanatana dharma, we do not need some external person or police to tell us what is right and wrong."

This explains why even if a person is in utter poverty in India, he does not take advantage of a situation as was seen by Arvind Adiga in the case of the poor labourer.

All enlightened masters of the Sanatana Dharma have taught one thing through meditation and yogic techniques - how to raise our consciousness. Masters like Patanjali and Buddha have talked about code of conduct, both personal and societal. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, "When Patanjali talked about yama (personal conduct) and niyama (conduct towards people around you), he talked about a much deeper topic. They were not rules to be followed. When He talked about ahimsa or non-violence, it was not a rule. It is an expression of the heightened awareness or consciousness. When we are conscious, we cannot be violent. We automatically become non-violent."

There are many villages in India where people live based on trust and nothing else. Whether it is money or food or whatever, they build the whole society around them with trust in each other. One person can trust the other only when both of them are ruled by something much deeper. And that string which connects people is Sanatana Dharma.

Nithyananda says, "Unlike police check posts every mile in the US, there is temple at very crossing in India villages and cities. Unlike a Mc Donald's or Burger King's tower at the entrace of every county in the west, there is a gopuram (temple entrance) that welcomes people in every village in India. These temples and ashrams (monasteries) have been the preservers and propagators of Sanatana Dharma, the perpetual truths, to the mankind."

Many people, and ironically mainly so-called modern Indians, either take these for granted or do not see the value behind these truths thinking them to be ancient and irrelevent to the modern world. The very fact that these truths are the basic foundation of a billion people in India shows their relevance in today's age. These truths are ageless, and certainly are not limited to the boundaries of India or Indian sub-continent. The Nithyananda Ashrams in the west are testimony to this where many Americans and Europeas are following and benefitting from these truths through personal transformation. The only pre-requisite is - being open. That's all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guru Puja - an Offering of Gratitude to Existence

Paramahamsa Nithyananda gifted Nithya Dhyaan (or Life Bliss Meditation) to the world a couple of years ago. This is a very powerful meditation that puts one in connection to our inner reservoir of bliss and energy. It generates tremendous healing energy apart from the general benefits of wellbeing at the physical, mental, emotional and being levels. There are too many testimonials from too many people if we want to put them down.

The last step of this meditation ends with an offering of gratitude to existence and to the Master, who is an embodiment of the existential energy - Guru Puja. It's a beautiful ritual which one can perform or one can choose to just sit closed eyes listening to the chants in a prayerful mood. To many, this step is the favorite and to many this is what repels them from coming close. This may specially not appeal to the intellectuals as the rationale of this is not apparent at the surface. This post is to throw some light on the science of the Guru Puja.

Unfortunately, although we are exposed to rituals since childhood (especially those of us brought up in traditional Indian families), the lack of awareness or understanding or depth usually is a put off, especially to the young questioning minds. Swamiji says beautifully:
When we infuse spirit to a ritual, it becomes spirit-uality. Without the spirit, even spirituality becomes just a ritual!
What this means to say is that every act of ours can become spirituality when we infuse the intensity and enthusiasm. It could be a small thing like having a cup of tea, if the spirit is there then it becomes a blissful act. Otherwise it becomes another ritual, another chore. Our life becomes monotonous and mechanical.

So, coming back to Guru Puja. What does this ritual do? It's to offer our gratitude to existence for all that we have. We are taught only societal "thank you"s, but when true gratitude oozes out from inside, its a natural expression of the being. This ritual creates the ambience and triggers that expression from within - ONLY if we are open to allow this to happen.

Let me explain to you briefly the meaning of the chants that accompany the Guru Puja. It basically says that we offer our entire mind-body system, part-by-part to existence in gratitude. Since Guru symbolises existences, we invite Him to our core, just like we would invite a guest and offer ourselves to Him. We make the Guru comfortable in the home of our inner space by offering Him water to drink, rinse His mouth, fresh clothes to wear, sandal perfume to adorn Him, food to eat etc.

Inviting the Guru to our inner space is equivalent to invoking the divinity/existential energy/God/cosmic energy that is within us.

Now, you may ask, 'if I have the feeling of gratitude, it's enough; why should I perform the ritual?'. Very valid question. But the problem is that our mind and inner space is so polluted that it easily wanders away here and there not allowing us to even feel the emotion of gratitude intensely. By doing the external ritual, it integrates our actions with our thoughts and emotions. It only adds intensity. This is the reason, we physically offer flowers, fruits, incense etc.

How beautiful! When we are connected to the external Guru, then the Guru Puja can becomes even more beautiful! We can literally experience the Master sitting in front of us accepting the puja. Guru Puja can become an intimate rendesvouz with the Master!

Nithyanandam!

P.S: If you are interested to learn how to perform the Guru Puja in Singapore, do mail in to lifebliss.singapore@gmail.com

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our mind - the true culprit


"Everything in Nature is in perfect harmony with each other, except we humans...", I came across this statement and I thought how true this statement is. It is because of us humans that the Nature has entered in an inequilibrium. Everywhere, people are talking about global warming, ice-sheets melting, sea-levels rising, glaciers receding etc. etc.
If there is anyone who is responsible for these things, it is us - humans. For over billions of years till the human being happened on planet earth, everything had a natural rate. If there was an ice-age, there was melt-down too. Even when man happened, he lived peacefully with the Nature and everything was green and rosy.

But the problem started when we humans started interfering with the natural state of stability. It is said that the rate of rise in global temperature over the last few decades has been higher than all the thousands of years put together before that.

Our greed and fear has led to this sad state. The Nature has always blessed us with whatever we wanted but the problem is our list of wants is so loooooooooooooooong that She has no answer now. Our greed has taken over so much that once we get something, we immediately look for the next thing and we call this modernization.

Earlier, man killed animals but for his livlihood only. He cut trees only to get enough space for him to grow crops and survive. He made machines and looked for comforts but only those that would ease his physical strain at the end of a hard day out.

Now, we are cutting trees to build resorts, casinos and shopping malls. Most of the times, a shopping mall is totally unwarranted given there are hundreds of malls around but still we are building them.

I have nothing against modernization. It is because of that I am writing this post. But what we are doing is not fulfilling our needs. All we are doing is pleasing our senses. It is a mental problem that we have. It is the negativity that we are constantly building which causes us that irritation, which make us live on greed and fear. Paramahamsa Nithyananda repeatedly says, "Fear and greed drive the modern man."

That is true. Our greed to get more and more, if not others will take it and our fear to hold on to what we have is the real problem. We are simply exploiting the Nature to fulfill our mental pleasures only. And the most important thing we miss in this whole process is, how much ever we try to fulfill our mental pleasures, they can never be fulfilled because they are non-existent in the first place.

Time and again, enlightened masters have said our mind is an illusion. Intellectual science also is slowly converging to this conclusion. When the mind itself is an illusion, our so-called problems created by our mind should also be a mirage.

We are constantly torturing Mother Nature in an attempt catch the mirage but is the mirage there?
The only solution to this question is for us to ask ourselves what we really want. All this running around is because of our belief in the quest for eternal joy in the outside world. All this running is doing is to stamp Mother Nature again and again. Once we realize that eternal bliss within us, our running stops, we fall in tune with Mother Nature; we fall in total harmony like everything else in Nature. Meditation is a way to realize that eternal bliss, that nithyananda.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Ego-Cutter and Shortcut to Bliss

Each and every person involved in any of the 1300 Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam or Life Bliss Foundation mission centers across the world is working for the mission as a volunteer. Whether it is an acharya or meditation program teacher, or ananda sevaks - people who come to serve food or set up the meditation hall and attend to the needs of the participants, or transcribers transcribing words of Nithyananda, or anyone else directly or indirectly related to Nithyananda Mission is a volunteer.

The sangha or the mission brings us all together and our Master says 33% of Me is in the Sangha or Mission. He quotes the famous lines from Buddha -

Buddham sharanam gachchaami!
Dhammam sharanam gachchaami!
Sangham sharanam gachchaami!

He says, "physically being with the Master's form (Buddha) is not always possible. But you can always hold on to the Truths (Dhamma) and the Mission (Sangha). The form is only 33%, rest of the 66% is in the Dhamma and the Sangha."

Of the Dhamma and Sangha, the Master says, Sangha directly works on each one of us.

This post just highlights how the Sangha or the Mission has changed my life and I am sure many of the Nithyananda volunteers would resonate with what I am writing here.

Firstly, the Sangha brings the best out of the people. Constantly the Master puts us on our toes so that we can give the best of our abilities. Outsiders think, why we are so stressed up? Actually, it is the other way round. When we work for the Mission, we are high on energy as if we have taken some steroids. Thats the beauty. We are all charged up, roaring to go and give the best.

If not for the Master's constant push, our mind will automatically relax into its comfort zone. Many a times, our mind plays a foul game and keeps us stick to whatever we know and we are comfortable with. The Sangha makes us push one step ahead. It constantly keeps us pushing and pushing till a point the mind drops. And that exactly is how the Master works...

Same thing when we are loaded with different things. Many of the volunteers work on multiple things at the same time for the Mission - writing books, organizing events, teaching etc. etc. etc. Again, the Master is working through the Sangha.

Our mind makes us believe that we can do only this much or this one or two things. But only we take up more that what we believe we can do, the energy flows through us and the mind again takes a back seat. The Master working on us again ...

The Sangha keeps us connected to the Truth or Dhamma. When we are in the company of like minded people, our thoughts and inner chattering is also about the Truth. The truths of the Master resonate in us and we are pulled into the low thoughts per second zone. Again, the Master ...

The most important thing that the Sangha does is to mould us continuously. The Master says, "The Sangha moulds you continuously. It chisels you." Our ego constantly takes a beating. There are many times we think, 'this should be the way; this is how one should teach; this is how the course should be; this is food that should be given to participants; this should be the course fees etc. etc. etc.' We come to our own conclusions, judgements and comments about how things should be.

Most of the times, these arise out of our ego and when someone in the Sangha says - do this and not that, our ego takes a beating. Our ego which projects out these questions and conclusions are shattered when the people around us don't give it the attention it craves for. The Sangha does exactly that - not give any attention at all to each individual's ego. The Sangha puts its finger right where the puss is.

In those situations, there are two things that we can do - either hold not to our ego and start complaining even more or understand that it is our ego that is playing the game and drop it. The latter is obviously the result the Master is making us work towards through the Sangha. That is what He means by - the Sangha moulds you.

The Sangha directly leads to our inner transformation. No wonder the Master gives so much importance to it. When we are connected to it, we are connected to the Master Himself. What a shortcut to be in eternal Bliss - Nithyananda ...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Conditionings or Crutches

During my piano class this week, I had an interesting discussion with my teacher. A brief history of my piano skills: I started a couple of years back and I find it reeeeeal hard to coordinate my left and right hand when it comes to some complicated compositions :)

Anyway, this week, I was trying one such composition. I was struggling hard to sustain certain notes on my left hand using one finger and then using the other fingers on the same hand, I had to play different notes. And then I had to play another set of notes with my right hand simultaneously. Don't bother if you did not understand it. All I can say is it was really difficult. I spent some 10 ten minutes trying to figure out how to move my hands and fingers to play just one bar; one bar basically has a set of notes, in this case just 8 notes :)

On seeing my struggle, my teacher told me, 'I can understand the problem you are facing. As adults we cannot play both hands together. Children can do that very easily. Our right brain and left brain find it real hard to coordinate with each other. The same is the case with reading notes in a increasing order and decreasing order. We can play increasing notes fluently but decreasing notes, our pace is reduced because our mind takes longer time to process the next note. Same is the case with telling the alphabet in the reverse order. For children this coordination is not a problem at all."

This sounds familiar, isn't it? Very scientifically, she applied the concept of conditioning to music. This is so true. We are conditioned so much from childhood that we cannot do many things which we were able to do before. I have seen some people who cannot hold a tumbler of water using their left hand because they are conditioned to be right handed.


Every little thing, we have been conditioned in one way or the other by parents, teachers, elders and society. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says 'these conditionings are the major obstacles in the path to realize your true potential.'


Many a time, we do not do things because we are conditioned to believe we are not capable of doing them. Volunteers from Nithyananda mission take up variety of jobs like transcriptions, editing, program management, website development, teaching etc. etc. Each one is loaded with different things, sometimes one needs skills that are diametrically opposite the other. But still we do; sometimes we make mistakes but we learn and move on.

This is possible because we all follow Paramahamsa Nithyananda's message, "Not to sit cozily in the comforts of our conditioning." We do not explode and explore our potential because we like to hold on to our conditionings. We do not want to break open from them. That is the reason why we keep on doing the same things again and again.

Our very belief that we are good at one or some specific things is a conditioning in itself. When the Master sees that we are holding on to something and sitting and relaxing in our comfort zones, He blasts us with a new challenge to break our conditioning and get us out of our crutches. That is the job of the Master and Paramahamsa Nithyananda is tooooo good at it :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stubborn frog in a well

What is your immediate reaction if you were to watch a documentary showing what happens in the distant space out there, far far away from Planet Earth? Galaxies dissolving into each other, the stars born as nebulae, expanding to become red giants and finally dimming and dying as black dwarfs, the multiverses spanning across infinite space, the big bangs and black holes, the light from the stars we see today are emitted by them thousands of years ago...

For most of us, it a sense of awe, wonder! at how much that goes on and we are not even aware of them. Or it could be a sense of feeling insignificant, again which makes us wonder. Today, scientists cannot barely point out where the Universe ends, simply because there is no end! In this massive infinite space, our earth looks tinier than a microbe. On that microbe-sized planet, we are one tinier than a speck, so you can imagine! We are practically nothing in the macro-cosmos.

Have we ever wondered why we feel that awe or another dimension open up inside us when we listen to these things? Simply because at that point in time, our ego drops. We suddenly realize we are part of that vast energy around us which is operating the entire Universe. The millions of planets, stars are moving in harmony without any traffic policeman. They know what to do, without us having to tell them.

The irony is we think we are the most important of all! Our problems, our worries are of the highest priority. Where did that feeling of awe disappear? We return to our solid identity that we have built for ourselves which makes us close our eyes to seeing the bigger picture of things.

The same holds with the microcosm. When we hear of scientists performing experiments using proton chambers, particle accelerators, theories that at the particle level we are energy, again we feel 'wow!'. Today science has clearly proven that matter is energy at the atomic level. And we are nothing but a big bunch of atoms together. So we are nothing but energy then! But why aren't we fluid then? Why are we rigid in the way we think, behave, expect others to behave etc? Once again, the same answer: the rigid shell we have build around ourselves called the 'ego' stops us from seeing things in perspective.

Now, what makes an enlightened Master different? Whatever awe, wonder we felt during those moments when we are exposed to truths about the microcosm and the macrocosm, the Master feels it all the time. He sees things the way they are. He knows that His body is nothing but an instrument which that vast energy uses to express itself. He knows that He is energy. He knows that His entire life is temporary, which is going to dissolve into that same energy one day. He has nothing to hold on to. He has nothing to fear. He has nothing to lose, because everything is His. He knows He is a wave in that ocean of energy, which will one day dissolve into itself. He has no barrier stopping Him from seeing the reality. He has no ego.

2 weeks ago, during our Life Bliss Program here, one of the participants told me 'Don't tell me about the cosmic intelligence, it has no relevance to me today. What is real to me is my family, my worries, my salary, my job'. Fair enough, we feel that way because we are seeing the narrow perspective. It's like a frog saying 'I know there is vast ocean out there, but to me my well is real. I don't want to jump out and explore that ocean because I am very comfortable inside my well. I have problems, worries in this well and you tell me that once I see the ocean the problems will disappear, but I am too used to my well, so I dare not venture out'.

Once we gather the courage to jump out and explore that ocean, it's a different game altogether. What is there to fear, the Master who has seen the ocean is calling us, giving us reassurance. Let us not waste this chance. Let us not waste our time in doubting the Master, because He doesn't lose anything. Only we lose out on the golden chance. Let us come out of our wells and experience the ocean. After all, the ocean is that of bliss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Exploring the Scientist in Us

Today, 10 September 2008, is going to be major day in the history of planet Earth for Science. At about 12.30 pm (IST), the historic 'Big Bang' experiment is going to be conducted at Geneva based CERN lab in a 27 km deep tunnel beneat the French-Swiss border. CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is the advanced lab in the world for nuclear physics which boasts of having the fastest and longest particle accelerator where matter smaller than protons and neutrons are made to collide with each other at speeds equal to light (the fastes possible speed that can be achieved).

What is the purpose of this experiment and why is it so special that the whole scientific community is talking about it? Because, top nuclear physicists for 80 countries all around the world have joined hands together to find out what actually happened after the Big Bang (the collision that happened billions of years ago, which is believed to have created the Universe as we see it today). The scientific community spent billions of dollars (6.4 billion euros more specifically) to develop the equipment required for the experiement today.

What they are going to do today is to simulate exactly the same thing (in a controlled manner) that happened billions of years ago. They want to find out what are the matter and energies that are generated in this process that eventually resulted in the Universe today. This experiment is going to last for years as atleast 100000 DVDs of results will be generated every year and scientists have to wait for atleast 5 to 10 years to see anything significant. It is believed that if this experiement fails, the scientific community has to change its understanding of matter and energy completely.

Why am I talking about all this? What I am going to say now is an objective understanding of science and intellect as I see it. This experiment shows that people around the world, top-notch scientists from different corners of the world are still trying to find the very basis of existence. They are experimenting now to find why and how this Universe came to into existence. The theories about matter and energy, which have been published in hundreds and thousands of books, which we intellectuals believe is the truth and nothing else is true, is still questionable.

Top scientists agree that science has its limitations and that they are expanding the reach of science into the unknown realms. The irony is that the 'unknown realms' are basic, fundamental questions of existence - how did the Universe start, who are we, what is mind etc. etc. If we see the basic research which gets published in top scientific journals is all about theories and hypothesis about these basic questions.

The problem is those of us who believe science is the Ultimate are fooling ourselves because the top scientists themselves are still questioning it. Most of the top scientists, if not all, atleast agree the limitation of science because they truly know about science. They are searching newer possiblities in their own way through science. But we, sitting in our house or office, only think we know everything about science and use that as a excuse not to extend ourselves to newer possibilities.

To us who can't be at CERN or any such lab, enlightened Masters have created various laboratories and experiments. Ashrams or monastaries are the laboratories; meditation techniques are the experiments. Let us not close the door to possibilities which are in our reach to seek the truth of our very existence. These laboratories and techniques are available to each one of us, a youtube click away, as Paramahamsa Nithyananda says :) Scientists are doing their bit to answer the same questions which have been answered by enlightened masters thousands of years ago. The Advaithic literature is pure science and this has been attested by Einstein, one of the greatest scientists the world has ever seen. He says, 'where science ends, spirituality begins.'

Nithyananda says, 'science eventually will tend to the great truths expounded by enlightened masters.' We can be the same scientists as those at CERN. They are daring enough to go behind what they have in hand. Let us also have to courage to experiment and see the truth for ourselves, especially when Masters are delivering the experiments at our doorsteps.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Intensity + Awareness + Enthusiasm = Beauty + Grace


Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'Beauty and grace happens in us because of three things - intensity, enthusiasm and awareness.'

And we can clearly see that in His body language. One thought that 99% of the people get when we see Him (either we are seeing Him for the first time or we have seen Him hundreds of times) is, 'What a beauty and grace?' Not just with Paramahamsa Nithyananda, the same happens with Masters like Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Vivekananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Sharada Devi, Lahiri Mahashaya. If you see the videos of Ramana Maharashi in youtube, you just fall in love with His silent grace. The pictures of Ramakrishna show that beauty of devotion; the pictures and words of Vivekananda show His strength; the potraits of Sharada Devi show that simplicity and the smile of Lahiri Mahashaya and Yogananda are worth thousands. In every movement of Paramahamsa Nithyananda who walks and talks to us in flesh and blood, we see that beauty and grace pouring out.

Why is that so? Simply because they are/were aware of every single movement, every single thought and every single breath that they used to take. We on the other hand are hardly aware of what we are doing. We move our hands, legs and body every where without even being aware of them. We would have done thousands of things in a day but in the darkness of unawareness (most of the times).

We do things, we speak, we move or rather we live not with intensity and enthusiasm but in the shackles of our engrave memories (engrams) or samskaras or past experiences and emotions. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'We keep doing the same things over and over again. We keep making the same mistakes again and again. In fact, we have the same thought patterns at specific times of the day even when the situations are different on different days.' This is simply because most of the times we operate mechanically.

Everything that we do is either because of our fears or because of our greed for wanting more and more. These two just take the beauty away from what we are doing. That awareness brings that beauty to our movements, thoughts and actions. If we see Paramahamsa Nithyananda in His discourses, every movement of His is hand is graceful. There is a sheer beauty that radiates from every movement of His. There is no unnecessary or violent movement or word.

He is blissful inside and hence the beauty, grace and bliss on the outside. The blissful smile of Lahiri Mahasaya and Yogananda is an expression of their bliss inside. The thousand watt gaze of Vivekananda is a manifestation of His strength of bliss inside. Meditation techniques and Nithya Yoga that Paramahamsa Nithyanada keeps talking about in all His discourses are meant for us to build that intensity, awareness and enthusiasm so as to realize and radiate our true nature - bliss.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ganesha Chaturthi: Towards the formless & eternal!

Yesterday was Ganesha Chaturthi - the birthday of the famous elephant God, Ganesha. Just for this day, hundreds of thousands of idols of Ganesha idols are made with clay, metal etc every year and worshipped with all grandeur. Apart from the Ganeshas in every home, huge Ganeshas would grace almost every street of India during this period for about a week. Ganesha, being the God of beginnings, is worshipped by all segments of the Indian society - starting from businessmen to farmers to householders; starting from the followers of Shiva to Vishnu, practically every home has a celebration for Ganesha Chaturthi.

There is a very interesting way in which this festival is celebrated. At the start of the festival, Ganesha is welcomed in a grand manner, taken very good care of, fed well, protected with utmost care, entertained with dances, shows and what not. After building this beautiful relationship with Ganesha for that period, on the last day, He is bid farewell and immersed into the neighborhood pond, lake, wells etc.

This may make us wonder for two reasons. One: about how deep idol worship has penetrated the masses of India, and two: what is the point of building that relationship for those days only to say good bye to the idol, that too by immersing it in water once and for all.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda very beautifully unveils the significance of idol worship. We, as humans have started associating our identities to our body-mind entities, so much so that we have forgotten that we are actually the vast universal existential energy. The solid identities we have carved for ourselves about ourselves, the world around us makes it difficult to connect to this energy directly.

Once a man goes to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and asks him how to get enlightened. Bhagavan says "just see the source of I, you will realise who you are". The man came back after a few days saying "that is too difficult for me, can I meditate instead?". Bhagavan said "sure". Again the man is back after a few days saying "this is also too difficult for me, can I chant the name of the Lord instead?". Bhagavan said "sure". Again he is back saying "this is also difficult for me, can I do puja/rituals instead?" Bhagavan said "sure"...

So, directly connecting with existence as energy is something that does not happen very easily. That is why the inner world scientists have hence created a system of idol worship where we first start by giving a form to that energy, a form that we relate to. Ganesha, whose very nature is that of bliss, joy, dance, prosperity is a form that is lovable and easy for most to connect to.

Now, as Swamiji says, when we intensely pray to a form that we feel deeply connected to, the form itself will take us beyond the form. The reason Ganapathy is put into the water is exactly for this reason. He shows that point of transition from the form to the formless. When Ganesha dissolves into the water, He becomes the formless. After building that beautiful relationship with Ganesha, if we able to still continue that relationship without the form, then we have grown.

Ganesha also reminds us that everything in this world is temporary. We came from the five elements (panchabhootas) and have to return to it some day or the other. He reminds us of the impermanence of everything in life. Our possessions, our so called career, family, friends.. everything has to go one day. This very remembrance can make us let go of our transient identity and merge with the permanent and eternal.

I would like to end this post by sharing a video in which Swamiji speaks about the significance of the form of Ganesha, including each of the weapons he holds in his hands. This was delivered on Ganesha Chaturthi 2007. EnjoY!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kolkata - the City with Intensity

Continuing on our Varanasi Trip series, let me talk about one of the oldest cities of India - Calcutta or Kolkata. This place was the capital city of British India before New Delhi. This is the place where our Master spent a long period meditating on the banks of Ganga. This is the place where He is used to connect with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sharada Devi at Dakshineswar. This is the place where He was first initiated.

Now, Calcutta is certainly one of the dirtiest places on this planet :) The very first day when we landed at the huge Howrah Railway station, it took us two hours to travel a 15-minute walk by bus from the station to our hotels. That place is so very crowded with both people and traffic. If it rains, like it did the day we landed, you can imagine. We see hoards of people moving everywhere busily. The red colored buses, yellow colored taxis, the old-British ages sub-way system, everything is filled with people. Not one house in the downtown area looks whitewashed. Everything looks age old. The streets still remind one of British age, with pavements made by Britishers still rocking. The traffic is so mad that it takes a good couple of hours to go from the city center to the outskirts.

The very first day the Master jovially said, "How many of you are irritated with crowd and traffic of this city? ... Even if you are irritated, nothing can be done. You can't do anything about the traffic and the crowd. There are only two things you can do - complain, complain, and keep on complaining or just flow with it and be happy."

All this said and done, we still found this place very beautiful. There was some charm to this city.
The Master then said immediately,

"This is an intense and a beautiful city. I spent a large part of my parivrajaka (wandering days) in this city. This is one city where I lived and which I love."

That is very true. Though there was so much of chaos, so much of hustle-bustle, there was still a layer of beauty and serenity to this city. From outside, this city may look dirty but it carries with it intensity of life. Just imagine, with millions of people living in those narrow streets, walking those crowded roads, there is not one person complaining about anything. They are happily carrying on with their work and daily life accepting whatever it is. That acceptance is genuine and not with a frown. Everyone is intensely leading their life in the midst of that chaos.

This city produced many enlightened Masters and highly elevated souls. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Sharada Devi, Ramakrishna's monastic disciples, Rabindranath Tagore etc. are just few names I can think of. For a long time, this city has been the seat of Indian art, poetry, theater and literature. Many schools of drama and theater can still be seen and people are more inclined towards them, which have an artistic touch and reality rather than going for fantasy filled movies.

In such city, people live like kings. They could have complained for what the city looks from outside but they are blissfully leading their lives. That is the intensity that we are talking about. Whatever happens outside, the core is still strong and standing blissfully. That is the beauty of this place and its people.

We stayed the maximum number of days (4 out of 12 days) in Kolkata visiting various places of enlightened Masters. We visited Ramakrishna and Sharada Devi's birth places, Dakshineswar where Ramakrishna did His sadhana, Vivekananda's birth place and Belur Math (samadhis of Ramakrishna, Sharada Devi and Vivekananda). More about these in the following posts ...

Photo courtesy: http://www.theage.com.au/news/south-asia/a-diamond-in-the-rough/2007/10/11/1191696064144.html

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The path of selfless service

Recently, Ayya, one of the first disciples of Swamiji was in Singapore and shared some beautiful truths about how working for the mission makes us grow in our own path. The previous post spoke about how when we set unreasonable targets and work, our mind-body entity has to drop. As Paramahamsa Nithyananda says "Don't think that depending on your energy you should take up responsibilities. I tell you, just take up more and more responsibilities; the energy to carry them forward will just gush through you".

This post throws light further about how seva or selfless service towards the master/mission is only for us to evolve spiritually. The Master understands the modern human mind only too well. In olden days, simple techniques like watching the breath or just witnessing thoughts could lead one to enlightenment. Today, life is so fast paced and filled with activity. A whole new layer has formed in the brain called the 'cerebral layer' to cope up with this fast lifestyle. The thousands of ad hoardings, TV commercials, magazines, newspapers etc are filled with junk information that the brain cannot even handle.

By and by, our whole mental set up has become that of 'restlessness'. Swamiji quotes Ramakrishna's simile about modern human mind as a drunk monkey which has been bitten by a thousand scorpions. This was hundred years ago that Ramakrishna uttered those words, you can imagine now! We need to add more qualifiers to that simile :)

Now for such a mental setup filled with 'rajas' (restlessness), if one prescribes meditation alone, then the restlessness takes over after some time. Or once the meditation is done, we revert to our usual stressful lifestyle. The same goes with Yoga or devotion or any other traditional path of silence/going inward. Working for the mission is a means to channelise that energy that is otherwise getting dissipated.

By working for the mission, there is an undercurrent intention of working towards enlightenment. Any action done with a strong intention only strengthens that intention further, there by adding intensity to the whole process. The best part is that with Paramahamsa Nithyananda, there are infinite options to choose from so that we do what we love doing and still can get the satisfaction of working for Him. Starting from transcribing, editing and writing books to organising/managing events to volunteering to composing/singing songs or painting to teaching...

When we do mission work with a deep feeling of connection with the Master, then that work is not work anymore. It's just a blissful expression from within. It becomes a celebration!

What a beautiful opportunity the Master is giving all of us to connect to Him even when His form is absent and to intensity our penance in a fun-way by doing what we love doing. That is the specialty about doing mission work - the master doesn't need us, we do not help anybody but ourselves in the process. His energy will do it's work anyway, with or without us being involved. It is for us to understand that when we immerse ourselves in seva or selfless service towards the master/mission, only we expand and connect more and more deeply to our core.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Breaking the limits ...

We could not update our blog during the last two weeks, the reason being one of the most anticipated events for Singapore - Paramahamsa Nithyananda's visit to Singapore. To say that a group of about twenty volunteers were super busy is an understatement. For the last two weeks, and more specifically during Swamiji's stay in Singapore from 8th to 11th August, each one of us were on our toes, running around publicizing the events, setting up Galleria stalls, registration desks, selling books, talking to people etc. etc. etc.

The most interesting part is not one of us felt exhausted or tiered at the end of the four days. Every day after every event, by the time we wound up the place, it used to be 11pm at the very least. And the next morning we were back at the next venue for setting up early in the morning by 7am. The days leading to the four days also had something similar - walking along streets of Singapore selling tickets, postering etc.

But one should see the energy of the volunteers to believe it. Each one of us seemed to have been fitted with a un-dischargable battery. None of us cared about any of us physical or mental limits. They simply did not exist.

What was happening to us? A senior ashramite of Paramahamsa Nithyananda talked to us about Karma Yoga just before the event and those words are so true. He says, 'The reason why Swamiji sets unthinkable goals or milestones for individuals is because He wants to take you beyond the two levels of energy that you know - the physical and mental energies. He wants you to look beyond the so-called physical and mental limits that you have set for yourself. Only when such an ambitious goal is set, you will see that you are operating not from body and not from your mind but from your being or the spirit. This is Karma Yoga - a selfless way of working to expand one's own horizons.'

We are strongly conditioned about our capabilities, both physical and mental. We believe that we can do only this much or we can take in only this much. That is the biggest conspiracy done to us by everyone around us. As a result, we never look beyond those limits. In fact we don't even consider them our limits. We think that is it. That is the end.

One should see the disciples in the monastery. They work on 100 different things. They sleep for hardly three-four hours but not one of them has a tiered face. They enjoy. They radiate energy to everyone around.

These few days, we experienced the third level of energy. If one looked at the amount of work that was done during the last few weeks, it is simply impossible for us to have worked with our physical or mental energies. We could clearly see breaking the limits and barriers that we had previously set for ourselves. And we could very well see that by breaking those boundaries, we were flooded with unfathomable energy in us, an inexhaustible energy that was always overflowing.

The Master works in mysterious ways to make us realize of our own true potential. He does not care whether there are 100 people or 200 people attending His discourse or how good or bad the venue is set and arranged. He sets the goal for us to go beyond our body and mind. That is His compassion!!

We express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our Master - Paramahamsa Nithyananda for His compassion and to have given us this wonderful opportunity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everything is Auspicious

Today when I opened the blog, I thought I will write something else but just before writing this post, I came across a beautiful article about a boy from a small village with illiterate parents, going to IIT (one of the most reputed engineering colleges around the world) and then joining Google. I immediately started writing this post on this guy. The above description of the boy does not seem very different from many of the IIT aspirants in India. But this boy, Naga Naresh Karuturi, is special because he does not have both his legs and moves in an electric wheel chair. What is so amazing about this guy is his spirit to live an amazing and high-energy life. He met with a freak accident when he was 7 years old and his legs were amputated till his hips.

What caught my attention was his statement, 'God has planned things for me and takes care of me at every step.' He says, 'I feel he plans everything for you. If not for the accident, we would not have moved from the village to Tanuku, a town. There I joined a missionary school, and my father built a house next to the school. Till the tenth standard, I studied in that school. If I had continued in Teeparu (the village), I may not have studied after the 10th. I may have started working as a farmer or someone like that after my studies. I am sure God had other plans for me.'

Even for little things going wrong or not going according to what we wanted/expected, many us get so worried and tensed up. But this dude saw everything that was happening to him as auspicious. Instead of attaching any kind of negativity, this guy took everything as a gift of God, even his physical ____ (the dash because I do not want to use any demeaning word for this guy. He is more physically and mentally fit than many of us).

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'Everything is magalatva, auspicious. When we see everything as auspicious, we start looking at life in a completely different way. When we see everything, whether good or bad, as auspicious, we just flow.'

The problem is we resist what is happening. We complain and crib because we resist what Existence is constantly giving us. It is our expectations that make us see things that happen to us as good or bad. If something goes according to what we wanted, it is good and God is great. When it happens otherwise, it is bad and we ask, 'Where is God?' This is what leads us to go on a roller coaster ride of happiness and sorrow. It is simply because we constantly resist the hand of Existence.

It is like a twig stuck partly on the river bank and dipped partly in a flowing river. It constantly feels the pain because the river is just flowing and trying to take the twig along but the twig holds on to the bank thinking it is safe. Only when the twig leaves the bank and flows with the river, the pain stops.

Our expectations are the bank we are holding on to and the Existence is the river that is constantly flowing. Existence is all-showering and gifting us every single moment. It is upto us to see the auspiciousness of everything that Existence is presenting to us. When we see that, we stop resisting and let go of the ground, we become one with the River Itself and flow along with It.

Once again, hats off to you Naresh. You are a dude.

I leave you with the following video by Paramahamsa Nithyananda on this subject.

(You can read the article about Naresh here.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's not about miracles!

At Dakshineshwar, the Master conveyed a beautiful and powerful message to the group traveling with Him on the 14 day parivrajaka. It's about miracles.. or rather not about miracles. Normally one would like to associate miracles, mysticism and out of the earth labels to God. They do the same with Masters also. It's our ego that stops us from accepting the fact that enlightened masters can also assume a human form like us, eat like us, walk like us and yet be in a space of higher consciousness. We cannot accept that because we want an "extra-ordinary" tag to be associated, something that our logic cannot comprehend. Only then we say "Yes, He is God!" It is almost like only miracles can prove to us about their divinity.

The Master warned us that by giving importance to miracles, the only thing we do is to create a gap between us and the Master. We create a distance by putting Him on a pedestal. He emphasized that the feeling of being deeply connected with the Master is what matters - building a connection that is based on simplicity and innocence. It should be that of love, not that of respect. The connection with the master He said is like a 'bridge' between us and the divine. And we don't have to do anything, just maintain, nourish and enjoy the deep connection, He will take care of the rest using that bridge!

He quoted two beautiful examples from the Mahabharata to illustrate this point. When the Bhagavat Geeta was being delivered to Arjuna by his best friend, Krishna, Arjuna was loaded with questions and skepticism. When Krishna declared "I am the Supreme, All Pervading, Indestructible etc", Arjuna only had more questions. There was a point when Krishna had to reveal His cosmic form, 'Vishwaroopa' to Arjuna in order to convince him. But immediately after that, Arjuna shuddered, he could not digest that his childhood friend standing in front on him was an embodiment of a vast energy that he couldn't comprehend. All along, he had only related with Krishna as his buddy, his close friend. When he saw His cosmic form, he collapsed. He begged Krishna to get back to His old jovial self, the friend he always knew. For Arjuna, it was only his simple, deep connection with Krishna as his best friend that eventually mattered for his spiritual growth.

Another example: There was once a sage who had attained all the possible spiritual knowledge and mastered all the deep spiritual techniques. But he still felt a void. He wanted to experience a loving relationship with God. He prayed to Vishnu and finally Vishnu blessed him saying that He will be born as his son in his next life. That sage was none other than Yashoda who take care of little Krishna as His mother. She enjoyed every little action as Krishna's mother, bathing Him, feeding Him, teasing Him, chasing Him and playing with Him blissfully.

Once, suddenly she thought "This child is like any other child. He throws tantrums, cries when he is hungry, giggles when you play with him... Is this really Vishnu or have I been fooled?" Krishna immediately understood Yashoda and wanted to reassure her. He showed her the cosmos in His mouth when Yashoda was feeding him. But the minute this happened, she was reminded of her past life and remembered the boon she was granted. She pleaded to Him to be back as that naughty little child of hers. Immediately Krishna covered the veil of Maya over her and she was back as the mother of Krishna.

The Master also told us that just like Krishna, the job of an enlightened master is to draw the veil of Maya on us. He just shrugs away the miracles by not attaching too much importance to them. This He does simply to make sure we do not get diverted to the miracles instead of the Truth. It is no doubt miracles happen with living enlightened masters every minute. But these are miracles to us because our tiny puny intellect cannot comprehend the mysteries of the macro and micro cosmos. Miracles can become an obstacle to our spiritual growth as our energy is dissipated and diverted away from the Truth.

Instead, if we just feel deeply connected with the Master, the very connection can take us to deeper and deeper realms of our own being. A deep connection with the master can be the most beautiful thing that can ever happen to anyone! It is a relationship that transcends all other relationship, a culmination of all our emotions. For all those of us who feel that deep connection with our Masters, let us cherish it and for the rest, taste it and see for yourself the sweetness of this relationship!

In Nithyananda!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The "City" of devotion

Jagannath Puri or just Puri was the first of the places we visited with the Master on our 14 day parivrajaka (wandering). Puri literally means - the City, which goes to say that at the time when this city existed, this was the only city the people knew. This City finds place in all great Masters' biographies like the Great Master (Ramakrishna Paramahamsa), Autobiography of a Yogi (Paramahamsa Yogananda), Lives of Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Chaitanya and Shankaracharya. This is the place of Krishna and the temple is world renowned for its Rath Yatra (the Chariot Festival) when three huge chariots carrying Krishna, His brother - Balarama and His sister - Subhadra, pass through the streets of this City.

This post is not about the city. It is about the beauty of the city which sings and dances like Sri Chaitanya did, in the name of Krishna. The Jagannath Temple that is the center of attraction of this city is a testifies what all masters have always been propagating - intense devotion leads to the Ultimate Truth. Whether it is devotional Masters like Sri Chaitanya and Ramakrishna or intellectual Masters like Shankara, all say - bhakti (devotion) and true love towards the Divine is the simplest way to connect to the Divine.

If you see the main deities of the temple (as shown in the picture), there are no features, i.e. no palms, no feet, no eyes, lips etc. They are just blocks of earth and the all the features have been painted on them. There is a beautiful story related to this. Let me narrate it followed by a very powerful message that the Master spoke about:

There was a king who made a beautiful temple and he wanted to installed the most beautifully sculpted deity of Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra in the temple. He announced it to the public and put a warning that if he is not pleased with the idols, the sculptor will be beheaded. Hearing this not many were willing to come forward. Once an old man came and took the job but he too had a condition, 'I will lock my self up in the sanctum sanctorum for next one month and no one should open the doors, whatever the case may be.' The kind agreed and the work started. People noticed that there were all kinds of loud sounds of rocks falling apart coming from the main room. The ministers patiently waited for 20 days but then they went and told the king that the old man might be destroying the temple. The king opened the door and saw that the old man stopped the sculpting work. He turned to the king and told him, you broke your promise and now I leave the idols in whatever state they are. Saying this the old man merged into the Krishna idol. It was then that the king realized that it was Krishna Himself who came down to break his ego.

The Master commented, 'Lets see the truth from this story. It was the king's ego to build the most beautiful temple with the most beautiful idols. It was not out of devotion or love that he was doing it. It was purely out of his ego, to show to the world; that's all. Later he understood his mistake and become a Krishna devotee himself. This temple stands now purely on true devotion. It is not the external beauty that matters but it is the intensity of devotion that is important. The three idols in the sanctum sanctorum are unfinished and they may not be as "beautiful" as other Krishna idols in other temples but this temple gets thousands of devotees. It is based on pure devotion and love to God, not the external looks. That is what we have to assimilate from this place.'

Friday, July 11, 2008

Forgiveness - a Golden Quality

Today it is July 11 or 7/11, as it is called in India. On this fateful day, the bustling city of Mumbai was attacked with seven bombs and hundreds of people died. I was reading an article related to the aftermaths of these bombings and the last few statements of the article moved me. This article tells the story of a son who went searching for his father's body after the bombings. After some investigations, he found that a poor construction laborer had falsely claimed the body hoping that he will get the compensation. The laborer even cremated the body according to Hindu rites. The son was heartbroken that he couldn't see his father's body but he was happy that he atleast got to perform the last rites with his father's ashes. What was most touching was, when police wanted to arrest the laborer for false claims, the son refused to lodge any complaint and forgave the poor laborer.

Forgiveness is beautiful quality, which is rarely found. We are not talking about forgiveness with ego; we are talking about forgiving completely without any ego at all. Most of the times, if somebody does something, we do forgive but with ego. We put ourselves at a higher pedestal and look down upon the other person as a wrong-doer and then forgive him. And why do we do that? Just to instill guilt in the other person and hence, boost our ego.

Here we are talking about forgiving completely and freeing the other person of any guilt. When something happens to us, the first thing we do is to either accuse others around us or blame the situation. We constantly build negativity inside us about other people who have hurt us. Forgiving wholeheartedly only relieves us from that negativity. It just removes any kind of negative energy blocks that we may have accumulated in us.

Another important point is whenever such incident happens where we think we are hurt, we think the person is at fault for our suffering. Most of the times, it is not the person who has hurt but it our own expectations as to how the other person should have acted or behaved, bring us that suffering. So who are we to throw our anger on others or spew out negative words and blame others? We see people keep that anger and negativity towards the other person for years together, sometimes even till their death.

During the first level meditation courses, Life Bliss Program 1, our Master takes us through a beautiful gratitude meditation where we offer gratitude to everyone, even our enemies and forgive if anyone has done any thing to us. I have seen people breaking down during this meditation. People find it the most relieving meditation. All the built-in negativities towards others which we have suppressed overtime just evaporate with these two - forgiveness and gratitude.

When we forgive whole heartedly and replace that it with love and gratitude, we are transforming and our transformation transform people around us. That is Paramahamsa Nithyananda's message - transformation of humanity through personal transformation.

(You can read the article here.)