Saturday, May 31, 2008

Silent encounter with silence!

As most of our daily routines go, we would be interacting with friends, colleagues, clients, boss, family etc and for this we ofcourse use words. Otherwise, we are either hooked onto a book or a television or the internet, again a source of more words. We are so accustomed to feeding on words that we cannot even for a minute sit silently.

What prompted me to write this post is that the whole of today I have been alone with myself at home. And what normally is perceived as boring or lonely can be really a beautiful experience, a great opportunity to dive within and experience the silence within. Thanks to our Master, this is possible for me today.

If we see carefully, every word we utter is like a drain of energy. Mind you, even every word we listen to is a drain of energy. This is because, each of these words that are fed into us trigger long thought chains inside our system. These thoughts are usually external, towards the outer world and hence drain us. Now, imagine you were to just turn this entire energy inward, how energizing it would be!

In fact, Swamiji puts people into silence in ashram, sometimes for weeks. He once narrated this incident where one of His disciples was talking a lot, being overly jumpy about things, shouting and fighting with fellow disciples in the monastery. Swamiji asked him not to engage in any conversations henceforth with anyone. The dedicated disciple, without questioning a word to the master went into silence unconditionally. He didn't even question how long he had to practice this vow. After 18 months, the master says, this disciple had flowered into a new being and from then on was blessed by the master to carry the master's vak (energy behind speech/words).

Forget about being silent for 18 months! Let us at least consciously make use of the wonderful opportunities we get when we happen to be alone. If we are left by ourselves even for an hour, our mind would race all over the world and come up with ways to avoid this silence. We either switch on the TV, read some novel or find some friend to catch up with. Why? Because we are afraid of facing this silence.. because facing the silence means facing ourselves.

So how do we actually make use of these moments of being alone to experience the vibrant silence inside? First of all, let us not avoid these moments of silence. Let us treat the times when we are alone as an opportunity to introspect, contemplate and go within. Here's a beautiful technique that Paramahamsa Nithyananda gives:

When we sit alone and there is a thought or a stream of words that pops up. Our first reaction would be to give meaning to these words. We take the words too seriously and go after the meaning. Instead, if we just watch them in a relaxed and detached manner without bothering about what they mean, we would gradually be transported to the space from where words arise. Ironically words arise from silence!

As Swamiji says, words are a call from consciousness. They happen in us simply to remind ourselves to look into the source. They are just calling us to that space. Let us take the call seriously and not the words itself!

I leave you with a related video by Swamiji. N!joy!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Let us do our bit...

In the last couple of months, there have been two major natural disasters - a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China. Thousands of people perished, thousands were left homeless and thousands are still missing or unaccounted for in these disasters.

When such events or things like wars etc. occur, we who are sitting at home question - why this suffering? We don't stop at that question. We go on. We hold different people and even nature responsible for all the suffering. We curse the nature, we curse different people. We continuously abuse them.

We blame everyone and everything else for all these events in Universe. We sit in one corner of the world and comment on Existence. But we must understand one thing -

We are a part of the same Existence. Each of our thoughts, each of our words adds to the collective positivity or negativity.
All these natural disasters are nothing but the collective negativity of our own selves. All our negative thoughts, all our negativities come out as such natural disasters.

There have been experiments conducted in various places in the world where the crime rates decreased when people started group meditations. In U.S, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi's group performed group transcendental meditation (TM) and there are records which showed the crime rates decreased during those months. Recently, Vedic rituals called Mahasaptyagam were performed by disciples of Paramahamsa Nithyananda in various cities in India. This ritual involves 1008 people performing a fire ritual in a meditative state. It was found that again the crime rate reduced during those months in places like Chennai.

In one of our earlier post we discussed about Dr. Emoto's messages from water where thoughts like love and gratitude created wonderful crystals and thoughts like hatred generated ugly crystals. In our previous post on world peace, we also talked about a Hawaiin therapist who just with his thoughts filled with love cured criminally insane patients. That is the power of our own thoughts.

We think someone else is responsible for these natural disasters. We keep questioning, 'why God why? Why did you bring such calamity?' We simply don't realize that we are ones who are responsible for these events. We have been abusing the Nature not only with our actions but our thoughts also and now we blame someone else.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says beautifully, 'We think each one of us is an island. We think we are individuals. Once we realize that all of us related to each other in the Universal Consciousness, all our negativities drop.'
Now that is the powerful statement... Why do we have negativities? Our negative thoughts are a result of our ego, our belief that each one of us is at a superior position than others. Each one of us thinks that we are a separate entity from others. An enlightened master or being sees things in a different perspective. He sees everything, all living and non-living as one Universal Consciousness or Existential Energy. He sees everyone around as a part of Him. Our Master keeps telling us, 'try to see the other person in front of you as a part of your own self.' When we do that, we see that we cannot have anything negativity towards the other person because the other is also a part of us.

It is high time that we cleanse our inner space to cleanse our outer place. Constantly purifying and watching our own thoughts through meditation or other means can actually prevent a natural calamity that is waiting to happen. Let us do our bit... after all every drop makes an ocean...

Let me leave you with a video of our Master giving the significance of Kumbha Mela which is an event to create collective positivity at one place.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Fig Tree

Over the last few days I have been watching a fig tree in our University campus. It is a huge 'sea fig' tree with a huge trunk and long, bulky branches; with its roots criss-crossing the near-by area like snakes crawling all over :) It has a thick canopy with beautiful long, flat, green leaves. All these branches and the trunk are filled with figs (some biological specialty, I heard). During afternoons, I have to take my internal shuttle bus and the bus stop is right below this tree. Thanks to its thick canopy, it is amazingly cool standing below it though our dear Sun in Singapore has been pretty harsh to people over the last few weeks. Not only humans, other species of fauna like birds and squirrels also spend quite a bit of time under the cool shade of the tree. They have figs also to feed on, you see.

Anyways, over the last one week, I saw that more sun rays were hitting me and the ground below the tree was filled with more leaves. And to my surprise, last weekend, I saw the tree completely bald. I mean there were no leaves at all on the tree; no leaves, no figs, nothing!! And so no birds, no squirrels and no humans also...

But today morning, I saw a beautiful sight. There were tender, light green leaves smiling like small babies filling all the branches of the fig tree. It was awesome; just seeing the tree covered in a light green carpet was breathtaking. I saw that the birds and squirrels were returning back to the tree, slowly but steadily.

Now, why I am telling all this... firstly it was beautiful to see that almost dead looking tree turn into a lovely and lively model and I wanted to share it. Secondly, I wanted to share something which I observed while this whole episode was going on. Whatever was happening to the leaves, the figs etc. etc., the trunk of the tree was still and steady. Whether the outer periphery of the branches was active and alive with action from animals and birds or whether it was completely deserted, the trunk was least affected. It enjoyed the presence of the leaves, the animals, the birds, the nests etc. but it also enjoyed the silence when they were gone.

Now imagine happening this to us. We are in an amazing job, have an amazing family. Everything is going great for us. We are all happy. In anyone of these is taken away from us that's it, we enter in a depression. In fact nobody has to take anything away, the very fear of losing what we hold keeps us in a state of continuous depression even if nothing has really happened.

All this is because our state of being is governed by the outer periphery. Unlike the fig tree, we get upset if the outer periphery is deserted. We enter into such a state that it takes a long time to fully recover from it and sometimes we can't even come back out of it. The trunk of the fig tree is not affected because it is happy unto itself. Its happiness is not because of them but despite of them. It is rock solid.

However, in our case, our trunk or our core is not centered at all in the first place. If someone says something positive today, we feel happy; if something good according to our ideas happens today, we feel happy and God forbid, if something, even one thing goes against our plan, that's all our whole foundation of happiness is shaken.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'Meditation makes your core strong and steady. It teaches you to be blissful irrespective of what is happen around you and that is spirituality.' When the core is blissful, nothing, not even death can affect us (please watch this video by a professor from Carnegie Melon University who spoke about himself in Oprah).

That fig tree is living its life, it is living true spirituality and what about you...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Haven't we taken our toys too seriously?

Most of us have our lives centered around our family, career, money, house, friends, spouse, children, their education, our health, parents' health etc. If we just peek into a gathering of friends or relatives anywhere in the world, you will find them all talking about these same things with minor variations. Our inner space is like a tape recorder that continuously plays thoughts related to one of these in a fixed pattern, day in and day out.

But there are times when all this seems meaningless! This could happen when we enter into places with high spiritual energy like temples or quiet ashrams. Something deep down tells us that this deep peace which we experience in those places is where we actually came from, and where we should be. Suddenly the whole life seems to be a drama. We start to see the insignificance of our so called problems, our so called worries.

Recently my aunt after visiting the ashram at Bidadi said to me 'It was such an amazing experience! I have now realized how I have been wasting my time and energy all these years. From now I have decided I will put in my entire life into spiritual upliftment etc.' Then what happens after we go back home? We cling back to our old routine, old thought patterns, old sources of pleasure and what not.

Why does this happen? Ramakrishna says beautifully: When a child is engrossed in the toys given to it, the mother is relaxed doing her chores in the kitchen, because she knows the child is alright, enjoying. But after a while when the child gets bored of the toys, it starts to look this side and that side. It suddenly wants the mother beside it. Then it starts to cry - first softly. Then begins to wail. Now, the mother cannot bear to see the child crying. So she comes running to puts the child in her arms.

Does this sound familiar? This is exactly the game we play in our lives with our toys. Till such time we are busily playing with our toys, the cosmic mother Parashakti waits patiently. Only when we realize the futility of the whole thing and cry for her earnestly, she responds!

Swamiji quotes this beautiful story that will further throw light on this. There were two little boys building sand castles at the beach. In the process, one of them got into a quarrel with the other and kicked the sand castle of the other in anger. Now this other boy went and complained to the king, for which the king laughed and said "Why are you crying for such a trivial thing? After all they are just sand castles". For this the minister said "Dear king, how different is this from you crying over your stone castles?"

So, when we are young, we cry for toy cars. When we grow up we cry for bigger toy cars! That's all. No difference!

There is nothing wrong with playing with the toys as long as we know we are only playing with toys! The problem is that we start to take the toys too seriously and forget that we have our mother waiting for us. All we need to do is to cry for her, she will come running to embrace us!