Friday, February 22, 2008

Vedic Chants... Useless? Think Again.

For most so-called modern people, especially youth, when we are told the word, "chants", thats it. We immediately call it religious and useless. We dismiss the chants instantly. We do not even want to listen to them. We feel our so-called modern image does not go well with the chants. Ironically, this syndrome is seen more in Indians.

To those of us who reject chants in the name of religion or tradition, a simple question, 'have we ever wondered why so many Sanskrit chants were written in the first place? Why were they written in a particular way? Why do they sound in a particular way? Why one comes after the other? What is their significance?'
No! we do not even want to think about these questions, simply because we want to be modern, we want to be non-religious, we want to be scientific. Let me tell you, the sounds of these chants, the structure of these chants are more scientific than modern day quantum physics. Modern day scientists are currently working on the power of these chants, the effects of these chants on human mind-body system.

The people, who designed and wrote these chants, developed them in high states of consciousness. The mere sounds of these chants create vibrations, which have healing and cleansing properties; there are enough scientific evidences to prove this. Many emotional disorders and depression can be healed by the vibrations of these chants. Lifestyle diseases like diabetics, blood pressure, ulcers etc. are being tackled with these vibrations. Experiments have shown that plants that grow better amidst chants. If all this is not modern then I doubt what is?

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'Every language tires us when we speak in that language. Sanskrit is the only language which creates sounds, which creates vibrations that energizes us when we speak it. Sanskrit language is not just linguistic which was created for the sake of transmitting an idea or concept. It has phonetic importance also. The very vibrations that are generated have power on you. And being in the sound of the Vedic chants is an easy way to experience the power these vibrations.'

And we reject them just because our fast paced modern lifestyle does not think them to be cool enough for us. We are ready to listen to music in Arabic or Spanish or Chinese, languages which we don't even understand. Even worse we listen to songs with heavy music, songs where we can't even make out whether it is a music or noise, sounds which create terrible effects in our system but we cannot sit down and listen few minutes of Sanskrit chants. Simply because these chants are not modern enough; we think they are not scientific enough.

Just being in the vibrations generated by the chants can do wonders in our system. The only thing that is stopping us modern people from even trying this is our mind and ego. Drop that mind, drop our so called modern image for a few minutes, so that we can allow these sounds to work on us. Let me leave you with a beautiful video on this topic in our Master's own words.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feeding our senses - a favorite passtime

Yesterday I went for an Indian movie titled Jodha Akbar, which shows the life of a famous Moghul emperor - Akbar and his wife Jodha. Just a few lines about Akbar and Jodha before entering the subject :) Akbar is considered one of the greatest Moghul emperors to rule India in the sixteenth century. He consolidated most of India under one administration and came up with innovative styles of governance. Akbar was a Muslim but his wife Jodha was a Hindu by religion who was a devout Krishna follower.

Now let me come to the point... Let me describe peoples' reactions to different scences in the movie theater.

Scene 1 - Battle of Panipat: There were armies fighting, clashing against each other, bloody fights, swords, sounds, screams, blood, death ...
Audience Reaction: Pin-drop silence, glued to the screen ...

Scene 2 - Sufi saints singing: Akbar was a follower of a great enlightened Sufi saint called Moinuddin Christi. Sufi saints sing a song and enter into a whirling meditation.
Audience Reaction: Loud laughter at the people dancing, mockery at the way they look, they dress up and dance...

Scene 3 - Another fight: A close aid of Akbar attacks him... a short sword fight
Audience Reaction: Pin-drop silence, glued to the screen ...

Scene 4 - Devotion of Jodha: Jodha goes and kneels down before the idol of Krishna and prays for recovery of Akbar when he gets wounded.
Audience Reaction: Loud laughter and mockery...

Scene 5 - Final battle between Akbar and his rival, shot almost like the final fight sequence in the Hollywood movie Troy.
Audience Reaction: Pin-drop silence, glued to the screen, not even blinking their eyes...

This is the state of human consciousness. We are thrilled to see a bloody battle, a fight sequence but we cannot sit for five minutes to watch heart touching devotional scene. Believe me, the Sufi song especially is heart touching rendering.

When we watch a fight sequence, our adrenaline levels start rising. We are glued when either an action scene or a lustful scene comes up on screen. These are the commercial elements of a movie or a program and we enjoy such commercial scenes. Such scenes give us sensory pleasure. When we watch an action scene, we actually start feeling so much for the protagonist that we ourselves sometimes feel like getting up and hitting the bad guy :) ... Such is the way we get involved in such scenes.

On the other hand, heartful rendition of a beautiful Sufi song or a scene showing the power of devotion, we dismiss it immediately. Simply because such scenes most often than not do not give the kind of kick that an action scene gives. Since we do not get the sensory pleasure, we do not appreciate something which comes from a deeper layer.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'we are continuously bombarded with violence and negativities throughout the day that we can now relate to such kinds of things only.'

This is true. Be it movies or television serials, everything is based on violence. If humans are not enough people invent robots, aliens, predators, big sharks, crocodiles and even cockroaches to show violence, blood and death. What is even more dangerous is how children, hardly 5 or 6 years old are glued to their playstations, X-boxes or hand held gaming consoles killing the bad guys, bombing the enemies etc.

We are simply filling ourselves with garbage. If we really see, we do not need all that. We do not need that violence. But our senses crave for it and we feed our senses obediently.

Our Master says, 'all the mass calamities like tsunamis etc. are a result of collective negativities.' Our own negativities are accumulating to an extent that such incidents occur.

Its a pity that we are becoming the cause of our own destruction. We can decide now to pull ourselves out of it, only if we wish to...

P.S: One of the meditations in the programs conducted by Paramahamsa Nithyananda includes the Sufi whirling meditation for 42 minutes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Judging the mind or judging the master?

Last week, there were a couple of new members at our weekly wellness meet (satsang) here in Singapore. They have been in the so-called spiritual path for many years, have been with many masters. Apparently they were very touched and inspired by Swamiji's discourses on youtube; that's how they found their way to our center.

In the course of my conversation with them, one of them started remarking 'this master is like this, that master is like that, that other master should be more...' etc. Although he said great things about Swamiji, I felt uncomfortable when this kind of analysis about masters started.

As Swamiji says, one of the favorite pastimes of people who are so-called spiritual seekers is to constantly evaluate and judge various masters. Swamiji says "these professional seekers, their profession is to seek!" Not thinking about how one can benefit from the master, they are ready with their evaluation report about him, whether good or bad!

It is time we stop the evaluation outside and start the internal evaluation of ourselves. Many people ask Swamiji "With the track record of so many fake sadhus, isn't it essential we judge and evaluate first to be convinced about whom we are following?"

To that, His beautiful answer: The only test for you to follow a master is to see if you feel a deep connection, from the heart and being. If this happens, then even if the master is not enlightened, it's ok. Just follow him, you will become enlightened. If that connection does not happen, then even if he is enlightened, he cannot help you!

Many times we miss the master simply because we give more power to the mind. I cannot help but quoting Swamiji again on this. He says, "it is never a battle between you and your mind. It is a battle between me and your mind. Just decide which side you want to support". So, if we decide to be on the mind's side, even by mistake, then we know where we are headed!

A related video where Swamiji answers this issue in His own words:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Simple it sounds, yet so powerful it is!!

Yesterday during a coffee break with my colleagues, my feet accidentally touched my colleague and my immediate reaction was to say sorry (of course in an Indian style). We might have seen, especially with Indians, when something/someone comes in their way and if accidentally their legs/feet touch the person or things like books, vessels, etc. we bow down, touch the person/thing and do a little prayer.

Of course, this might seem stupid to outsiders. Why should someone pray if his/her legs touch a book or a person? Socially, our legs touching an elder shows disrespect. Again society instills fear in children saying if your legs touch books, you will not study well.

These are surely social reasons. But I was thinking there should be some deeper meaning to all this. It seems to have been present in Vedic lifestyle for a long time. Society cannot come up with a new concept. It can only twist an existing concept to suit its needs. So there should be some deeper meaning to it. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says Vedas are true knowledge and following Vedic lifestyle leads one to enlightenment. If that is the case, how does this seemingly social practice fit in the path enlightenment?

Paramahamsa Nithyananda recalling His first enlightenment experience says, 'when the experience happened, I found myself in everything around me. I was not able to eat food because in that food also I saw myself. How can I eat myself?' He says that an enlightened being sees the Divine, the Self, Himself or Herself in everything and everyone.

And this is precisely what is inculcated in children in the practice that I described above but with a twisted meaning to it :) If we remove the societal reasons to the practice, we can unearth a beautiful meaning to the whole practice of seeing God or Divine or our own Self in each and everything around. By touching them and praying we are respecting our own Self or the Divinity in them. Beautiful isn't it?

Now, people who do not understand call this stupid but once we understand what and why behind it, we see that everything that was a part Vedic lifestyle leads one to enlightenment. The whole Vedic lifestyle was such that every little action would turn the thoughts and energy towards the divine, and realizing It. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says Veda means true knowledge, that knowledge with has not been corrupted by the mind. He says, 'when we don't interfere and let the mind rest, true knowledge or Veda happens.'

Such simple things, yet so powerful and deep; our intellect does not allow us to believe that people actually get enlightened by following something as simple as that. Infact this is a powerful Shiva Sutra in which one goes beyond the limits of the body and sees everything and everyone around as the one. Let me leave you with a beautiful video where Paramahamsa Nithyananda talks about a mystical experience that He witnessed during His wandering days...