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!


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

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 ...