Friday, March 28, 2008

Blissful Morning

Anywhere in the world, the first thing that comes on TV in the morning is news. The newspaper boy comes and delivers it early in the morning. Infact in many countries, some kind of abridged version of the newspaper is given free to people in public transport like buses and subways.

That is the first thing that we generally do.. get ourselves updated with news from around the world. And that is the reason why so many channels, whether they are news channels or entertainment channels, show news only during the morning time slots.

Now coming to the contents of what we receive during the morning hours... war in some country.. so many people killed.. petrol prices rising.. inflation rates rising.. economy slowing.. more unemployment.. so and so defeated someone to get rank 1.. etc. etc.

If we carefully analyze the news, most news if not all, continuously adds to our negative feelings. If there is an act of terrorism somewhere, we start feeling hatred to that group. If someone defeats someone else, we get angry about the defeat. If inflation rate, property prices, petrol prices are rising, there is an immediate sense of sadness, fear or anger in us. Whether or not our feeling like that affects the concerned party, I don't know but one thing is for certain - we are continuously feeding ourselves with negativities.

Let me tell you something really scientific. It has been proven scientifically that there is continuous electrical activity that happens in our brain and different kinds of brain waves are generated. Of particular interest are alpha and beta waves. Beta waves are generated when we are in a state of stress, tension or in more general terms when we are in a state of continuous activity. Alpha waves demonstrate the creativity aspect of ourselves. Our ability to learn and grasp things is affected by these waves. These are the soothing waves. They bring deep peace and calmness in us. The brain wave patterns of children shows alpha waves mainly and for adults, it is beta waves. That is the reason why children are more creative and pick up creative things like music, painting, arts, languages etc. faster than adults.

Now here is the most important point - in adults, the brain wave patterns are predominantly alpha waves during morning time. It simply means that in the morning, our natural tendency is to be calm and blissful. But what do we do? We continuously feed ourselves with junk.

This precisely the reason why in Vedic culture the morning starts with a chants called Suprabhaatam. In all temples in India, the first thing that they play are these chants. As discussed in our previous post on chants, the sounds that are generated while reciting chants have tremendous effects on us. In India, especially in villages, we see temples playing these chants on loudspeakers. This is done so that early in the morning when we wake up, at least for a few minutes we can experience the deep inner peace and silence. Same goes with why simple rituals and prayers or puja are done early in the morning. All these are tools for us to enter into a deep silence and experience that bliss.

Only now science is studying the brain wave patterns. The importance of 'Brahmi muhurtam' or morning time is very well researched and described in Vedic scriptures thousands of years ago by enlightened masters and there was lifestyle that evolved on these concepts. In many parts of India, especially in villages, people still follow them and live blissfully with whatever they have.

We so called 'modern' people have the tendency to ridicule ancient practices such as this, calling them baseless, illogical and unscientific. We boast of our sophisticated city lifestyle but all this lifestyle is doing is to keep us continuously in a state of tension, stress and surround us with negativities.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda describes how beautifully people live in Indian villages and describes Vedic lifestyle as way to infuse life into everything we do. There is a beautiful meditation Swamiji asks us to do early in the morning. As soon as you get up, touch every part of the part, from head to toe and express love and gratitude to each and every part. Touch and tell each part - thank you and I love you. You will simply see how your body reacts especially when we do it early in the morning.

So, enjoy the blissful morning sun with peace and calmness...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grown-up - Are we??

Last night, I saw this cute little girl, probably less than two years old, dressed up in a beautiful white frock, running around while her mom was standing nearby. I was watching her playfully running around enjoying the moonlight and after a few seconds, she cheerfully sat down and lied down completely on the road. I could clearly see that she was playing with a big grin on her face. Her mom on the other side was looking all around and started scolding her, 'you should not lie down like that here... get up .. get up ...' After a few seconds, the kid jumped up and started running all around...

Such incidents are a not new. They keep happening everywhere. The first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about or look at children is their innocence, playfulness and cheerfulness. They are full of energy (literally). They are not bothered about society. They jump, they whirl, they run, they laugh, they do everything and they are not bothered who is around, where they are, what people say.

We all were in that state and along the way of so-called 'growing-up' we have forgotten our true self. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, 'We have forgotten our true nature, that of innocence, that of bliss, as we grew up. Layers and layers of societal and parental conditionings have been built up on us and we forget our true nature.'

Our true nature is that of bliss. We expressed that bliss when we were kids but now if someone says one word against us, we are upset the whole day. We don't smile for weeks or don't talk to that person again for days or even years. If we look at children, they cry but just after a few minutes they start smiling.

We see a number of times how children effortlessly walk barefoot on surfaces where we can't even imagine to walk. I have seen kids running around barefoot in the ashram where some stretches have gravel and stones. When we walk, we think of the pain, the heat of sand, the piercing stones even before we walk. Children on the other hand, don't know what is pain unless you tell them what it is. You might have seen it many times; children fall but immediate get up and start running around. If they are hurt, they just point towards it but they don't cry immediately until we adults go and ask them, 'is it paining?'

We have been constantly bombarded with all kinds of negative ideas and conditionings and we do the same thing with our children. We were constantly bound by society and we bind the children also in the same way. The way we speak, the way we walk, the way we lead our life are completely dependent on how the society wants us to be but not on how we want to express ourselves. Just because we mold ourselves to fit into the society, we go through all our problems. The insecurities, fears, guilt, stress, worry and whatever emotion we can think of, even love, is because of our inability to express our true nature and our fear of being quarantined by the society.

Children on the other hand are centered. They are not bound by the society (atleast initially). They just express their energy and bliss. They can jump for hours together; can we adults do that? No! They can whirl continuously; can we adults do that? No! What is the difference? They simply do not associate themselves with the body. They don't see their body as an obstacle to express their bubbling energy. But we, so called adults, we have become more body conscious and society conscious. We simply do not know what we are. We define ourselves based on the society but they aren't like that. We so bound by society and its concepts like status, name, fame, money, caste, religion etc. ete. that most of the times we don't know who our neighbour is. Leave two children in a room; they start playing; they start interacting even if they are new to each other. Forget an unknown person, we sometimes don't even speak to our relatives and friends openly.

If you get a chance to go to the Swamiji's ashram in Bidadi, see the Gurukul kids there. They radiate bliss. They will come and serve you food, they help you get around the ashram etc. During one of the programs, I remember how beautifully they were helping us understand and do the guru puja. They simply radiate that bliss to everyone, wherever you are from.

All we have to do is break all these conditionings. All our so-called problems simply disappear with this one understanding and some of the meditation courses by Paramahamsa Nithyananda work exactly on this... Once we do that, all we are left with is nothing by eternal bliss - nithyananda. Enjoy this short 2-minute clipping on this subject by Paramahamsa Himself.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Inner Transformation - the Greatest Service

Last night one of our friends beaming with a grin was sharing with us about his parents' first meeting with Paramahamsa Nithyananda. They had just visited Bidadi to receive healing and blessings directly from Swamiji. He was telling us how touched they were by the healing presence of the Master. Now (during the month of March 2008), the Master Himself is giving free healing to thousands of people who are coming to the ashram. He is giving free discourses in the evening every day. Throughout this month, everyone morning, He sits there patiently, listening to the problems of people. He sits there without a break as long as there are people.

We keep hearing about social services by various NGOs etc. They might be doing great work but the compassion of an enlightened master cannot be matched by any person or any organization. I have heard people ask, 'all meditation programs are ok but what social service does the organization do?'

I feel compelled to tell about the social service part of the Paramahamsa Nithyananda's movement because these details never come out in the open. In the website, we see a tab 'Social Service' with one page write up but if we go slightly deeper, we see theres so much that is being done and Swamiji does not even mention about it. The fortnightly free health check up camps, free eye check up camps and free meditation programs to thousands (literally) of people for rural villages in India are just a few examples. There are one-year long courses being conducted in the ashram in India where few hundred people are undergoing spiritual training under Swamiji, completely free. They are learning the Vedic sciences without spending even a rupee on anything. There are many more ...

Anyways, one important thing, I want to highlight is Paramahamsa Nithyananda's expression of His enlightenment is like teaching a person how to fish rather than giving him fish for one meal. He is continuously on the mission of inner transformation of the individual through meditation. That is the biggest social service that someone can do. When this inner transformation happens, every individual starts to radiate that bliss and energy of the Master to everyone around; the socially perceived social service happens through each one of them. Like He says -

"Transformation of humanity and global peace happen through transformation of every individual."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shiva: Causeless Auspicious Energy!

For the first time in our lives, Shiva Raatri was really a raatri with Shiva! We started off the evening of Shiva Raatri, 6th March 2008 with a special satsang here, where we watched Swamiji talk about 'Shiva: the Causeless Auspicious Energy'. Truly, nothing could be more auspicious than being in His energy field. The beautiful energy play during the meditation and the energy darshan that followed!!!

Totally charged and rejuvenated after the satsang, four of us headed to our place with a resolve to do a jaagaran (night out). Initially none of us thought we could pull through a full night out physically, considering we had to be back in office/work/meetings/presentations the next day. But somehow, we decided strongly "today we will not allow our mind to cause us any fatigue, sleep or boredom"... after all, what better opportunity to soak into the causeless energy!

We selected and watched a few of our favorite videos of Swamiji, interspersed it with some Ananda Natana (blissful dance...yes, at about 3 am we were dancing away to the latest breathless Nithya dance beats!) and did a beautiful darkness meditation that converted whatever trace of sleep into fresh bursts of energy! There was simply so much energy everywhere, we thought to ourselves "its not just the four of us in that house.. Swamiji was definitely with us!!"

We then went for a 'Nithya Yoga walk' at about 5 am, every step with intensity, awareness, breathing in the cool fresh prana (life energy) of braahmi muhurtam (referred to wee hours of morning, ideal for meditation). It was such a fun packed day (night!).

At the end of it, something that proved to be an interesting learning experience for us. We could clearly see the liberation and energizing process that happens when we ignore the mind (in this case, the context of lethargy or tiredness). Swami in His latest talks on Nithya Dhyaan at Bangalore speaks about a wonderful concept, that of chronic fatigue. He gives an example. When we are running, after a while, the mind says "no no, I think you are tired.. I think you need some rest..etc". If at that point, we choose to ignore the ranting of the mind and continue running, He says we suddenly feel a tremendous burst of energy. This is because the samskara of chronic fatigue would have left our system for those moments and hence the liberation.. the energy rush happens. He goes on to say that if a seeker has crossed this layer of chronic fatigue, then 90% of his spiritual journey has been covered.

What a great opportunity to internalize so many truths! Truly, a night with Shiva, a night with the Truth, a night with Nithyaaaaananda!!

Here's Paramahamsa Nithyananda's video on Shiva:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Guru's Grace

About four years ago, when words like meditation or master or spirituality were just beginning to make sense to me, my cousin gave me this book called Play of Consciousness by Swami Muktananda, and said that it is worth reading it. Apparently he was very inspired by it. When I read the following message in the third chapter on 'The Greatness of the Guru', I just closed the book with a deep sense of helplessness and thought to myself 'This is not fair!!'.

The passage read: "Realization of God is possible only through a Guru...We should acquire the sublime grace of a Guru, for until the Kundalini Shakti is awakened by the Guru's grace, our inner light does not shine, our state of bondage cannot be lifted. Just as there can be no life without prana, so without the Guru there can be no knowledge, no unfolding and growth, no destruction of darkness, no opening of third eye. The Guru is more necessary than a friend, a son, a husband or a wife. He gives a new birth to man, he gives him the experience of knowledge..."

I felt, a person who has experienced the Guru's grace can easily express his gratitude and glorify the Guru. I felt these words did not make any sense to a person like me, who was so helpless, in the dark, all alone. 'Where do I now go in search of a Guru?' I thought. I was left with sadness, with nobody to share these emotions with. I just thought I should move on.

A few days after this incident happened, I was delighted when I read in 'The Autobiography of a Yogi' that when the disciple is ready, the Guru arrives at your doorstep. Somehow, I was consoled, but even those words didn't really sink deep. I was deeply touched seeing the beautiful guru-disciple relationship that Paramahamsa Yogananda shared with his master Sri Yukteshwar. Similarly, when I first read about the relationship that Swami Vivekananda shared with his Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, I thought to myself 'how lucky Swami Vivekananda is, to have the fortune of being a disciple of Ramakrishna'.

Now, as I sit back and recall the incidents that led me to me meeting my Guru, Paramahamsa Nithyananda, nothing remains except tears of joy and gratitude that flood my eyes. I can now understand what each of them meant by the grace of the Guru. The sheer compassion of the master for no reason, who showers his grace on anyone who seeks refuge in Him is hard to comprehend. The deep transformation, healing and experiences of higher consciousness would never ever have been possible but for the grace of my Guru, Swamiji. In eternal gratitude to Him...