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Spiritually Speaking


Arun Malhotra



Life is a celebration. The celebration of the world meeting the God. It is the meeting point of that-which-is (God) in that-which-is-not (matter). A meeting point of consciousness with the matter. It is most magical event on earth. Certainly worthy of celebration. But, contrarily, man wants to live in dreams and creates illusions that make him vulnerable, miserable. Man thinks when he will get something he will celebrate. You keep on waiting for the celebration that does not come. In fact, every incoming breath is life and every outgoing breath is death. Celebrate life and death together in the moment. Just be in your being. Man’s misery is between what one is and what one should be. In wanting to become that which you are not, a whole life is wasted. The earth, the moon, the stars, the sun, the trees, the birds, the animals, every blade of grass is in celebration. But man is not here and now. Man is looking to be somebody else. You already have become what nature wanted you to be and now is the time to celebrate your being-ness because you are. But you are living in hopes and desires of the world. Your being on earth is the natural state of celebration and if you just drop your ideas you can come back to your source immediately.

You have created poisonous surroundings around you. In Astavakra Samhita, which is the ancient dialogue between sage Astavakra and his disciple king Janaka on ‘doctrines of sudden enlightenment’, Astavakra tells Janaka: “Vishyaan Vish Vatyaja” (if you want liberation then shun the subjects and objects of the world as poison (Vish) and seek forgiveness, gratefulness, kindness, contentment and truth).

If you simply be in the being, you meet contentment; and when you are in the being, gratefulness dawns on you and celebration rains on you. Rejoicing in your being is the step to kick-start celebration of the being.

Buddha says, “Abandon poisoned food.” All that has appeared on earth that is known to you is food—like body and mind both are made of food. Buddha calls that which is made of no-self-ness (Anatta) that is not part of food which is content-less consciousness is you. Till the content is there food is there. Till then you are not there. Content is poison.

Food means that which has been taken from outside into your body and mind. Both your body and your mind take food from outside. Not just body, mind does take contents, thoughts, ideas, ideologies which is food. What you eat affects your mind. If you are non-vegetarian, obviously you are eating poisoned food because when an animal is killed it releases poisons out of fear or out of last-bid-survival and his flesh becomes toxic. Your society poisons you with all kinds of neurosis and hallucinations. You assume yourself belonging to a particular religion, region, society, tribe etc. Religion is always personal and religion is the outer manifestation of the inner being. J. Krishnamurthy says, “Organised religion is a sin.” Organised religion is an illusion of religion. Therefore it bleeds. Men have fought thousands of wars in the history of mankind in the name of ‘organised religion’. Religion is a flowering that cannot happen to two individuals together but it is an inner flowering of the being. When the seed of being blooms to become the tree of being, religion is born.

Sufis know the trick to be in the being-ness of being. In being they celebrate every moment. They call it Ziqr’ (remembering that-which-is). Sufis say Faqr and Ziqr. By being in Faqr which means being in nobody-ness one remains in Ziqr. To be in the remembrance of being is to be in the remembrance of God.

Celebration is not entertainment. Entertainment means that you are looking at something that is presented to you as entertainment and you are lost in the act of entertainment like you are lost into a movie or in clubs with friends or partying, etc. You forget yourself. But celebration is simply in the being—an uninterrupted remembrance of the being. Celebration of your being that you are.

Society has given ideas, ideologies and you are enslaved yourself to them. The moment you break-free, celebration begins. The ideologies are of the old, there is nothing new in them. In ideologies we are lost, in entertainment we are lost. We get lost because we do not go to our innermost. Turn inward to our being to rejoice in it. To be one with it.

In the Rig Veda it is asked: What came before creation itself? The gods have made many things but they did not make creation itself. Creation is in the deep state of celebration; in celebration the creation began into being.

Remain in your being. Make celebration part of your being. Celebration is meditation. Let it be your unbroken understanding. Listen to the birdsongs they are deep in celebration. Let the cool breezes thrill you. Let the sun rays lull your skin. Let the silence dawn on you, taking you on a journey unknown where you are one with yourself. Silence rains on you that moment you are in deep ecstasy. God has gifted you this life, this flute of life to play, this ektara (one-string instrument) which you should play with all your energies so that the song that you have come here with is sung. That is Sat-Chit-Anand (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss), which together is the deep state of celebration. 

The author is a spiritual coach and an independent advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at arunavlokitta@gmail.com.

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Spiritually Speaking


There are seven stages of transcendental purification and elevation that take place when we chant the holy names of Krishna. Let’s understand the significance and relevance of these stages.



T here are seven stages of transcendental purification and elevation that takes place when we chant the Holy Names of Krishna. Those who are sincere to make progress in Krishna consciousness should carefully understand this.


 Ceto darpanam marjanam Lord Caitanya begins by chanting Ceto darpanam marjanam. The congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord cleanses the mirror of our consciousness. Originally we are all pure Krishna conscious entities. Mamai vamsa jiva loke, jiva bhuta sanatana. Jiva soul is part and parcel of the supreme soul, Krishna. As it is said, nithya, siddha, krsna, prema, sadhya, kabhu and naya. The pure love of Krishna is within the heart of every living being. Ecstatic bliss is waithin the heart of every living being. But somehow the consciousness, which is compared to the mirror, has been covered with layers and layers of dust. Why is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu comparing consciousness to the mirror? It is because the function of the mirror is to reflect the true identity and the nature of our own self. When we look in the mirror, we do not expect to see someone else. It is reflecting the real beauty of our self. The soul is unlimitedly beautiful because it is qualitatively one with Krishna, Who is the supreme beauty. Krishna explains one spark of His beauty is creating all the intoxication for pleasure within this entire material existence. Far greater than the perverted reflection of the spark within this material universe is the soul. Factually the beauty of one infinitesimal jivatma within any species of life has more qualitative beauty and enchantment than all the things within this entire cosmic manifestation, all the way up to the Brahma loka. What is the beauty of a soul that we cannot even imagine? It is part and parcel of Krishna, the all beautiful. When we look into the mirror, we are supposed to see the reflection of our self. The nature of our consciousness is to be the mirror of the very nature of our soul. Our soul is meant to love Krishna and to feel the ecstasy of loving Krishna. But it is covered by layers and layers of dust that has been accumulated birth after birth. And so we cannot see who we are or what we are meant to be. All we see is that dust. Lord Caitanya explains what that dust is — it is all of our selfish, egoistic desires to want to enjoy this material existence. It is the dust of lust. We have so many ambitions, aspirations of how we will enjoy. We are intoxicated by the illusory phantasmagoria of so-called beautiful things of this world, which are compared to mirages. We are chasing after these mirages birth after birth looking for happiness but finding no real satisfaction. When that is unfulfilled, we often become very angry and frustrated. Our selfish desires are not satisfied, so we want to blame someone else or something. And we make so many offences. And if somehow or other we get a little bit of pleasure in this material world, we are not satisfied. We want more and more. So we become greedy which is another species of dust. Krishna explains, just like fire, what will satisfy a fire? The more fuel you put in, the hungrier it becomes. The more you have, the more you become greedy for more and more. And if somehow or another someone has something you want or something more than what you want, then the dust of envy manifests. You become hateful of that person. You are wishing and praying that this person will lose everything and suffer. You become envious. Why does he have? Why not me? I deserve. And through all of this — lust, anger, envy we become very proud of whatever little we have. Even the pauper is proud of his penny. We think we are very great and illusion we become mad by all this illusion. So this false ego, this desire to enjoy and all the by-products that come along with it and the reactions are the types of dust are that cover the mirror of the soul. Sometimes less intelligent people, frustrated in so many ways with the dissatisfaction of all the pursuits in the material life, take to a process of religion where they want to be liberated, by becoming God, which is another type of dust, bhukti, and mukti. Material enjoyment and the desire to be God are the dust that covers our heart and obscures the true blissful nature of the soul. So the first stage of chanting the holy names of the Lord removes all the dust from the mirror of the mind.


Bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam which means the chanting of the Holy Names extinguishes the forest fire of material suffering. This world is, Krishna says, dukhalayam asasvatam. It is a place of suffering. We are trying to be happy in a place of suffering.  It is just like trying to be dry when you are submerged in the ocean. Is it possible? Can you get dry when you are in the ocean? If you want to get dry, you have to get out of the ocean. So if you want to enjoy, you need to get out of this material existence. We can have only little pleasure in this material world. That pleasure is actually not meant for happiness. That pleasure is meant to keep us suffering. It is maya’s trick. She gives you enough pleasure to make you never want to leave and then you never stop suffering. Because all you want to do is to get out of material existence. Chant the names of God and go back to Godhead. So why are we staying in this material existence? Maya’s great power is The only thing that keeps us here is our desire to stay here. And she gives us these few tokens of happiness just so that we can feel oh! I like it here. It’s worth all these miseries and sufferings death after death. Just to get some nice food, touch some soft object or just watch some television. It is worth it! In this way, she keeps us in this miserable situation. But actually, this material existence is compared to a burning forest fire. What can extinguish a burning forest fire? No fire brigade has any hope. Only by the power of God, when He sends rain showers it is possible. So the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna is like that rainstorm. What is impossible for us to do individually or what is impossible for the whole collective human society and earth to do, extinguish forest fire, can be done by Krishna’s mercy alone. Sometimes there are big forest fires. America is a very prominent country. Just a few years ago there was such a big forest fire. Thousands of acres just burned and burned. The US Army, the Navy, and all the politicians in Washington DC and the whole population of so many hundreds of millions of people in America yoga collectively and individually — there was nothing they could do about the forest fire. It was out of control. A fire that is millions of times greater is burning within our hearts. And the flames of that fire implicate us in the threefold miseries of material existence: Adhiatmika — miseries of our own body. Which has so many inconveniences, and discomforts. Like the trains in Bombay — It is Adhyatmika express. People are not happy. Rarely do you see smiling blissful faces? Everyone is hoping to get out. There is the disease. One little creature enters your body and can cause so much misery. And then there are the miseries of the mind — mental anxiety and distress and lamentation and disappointment. So many tears flow from tour eyes due to these miseries of adhyatmika. Then there are the miseries caused by others — may be our brothers and sisters, our families. Oftentimes — husbands and wives. Sometimes politicians and insects, there are so many other living beings that create suffering to the conditioned soul. Then there is adhybhautika — the miseries caused by natural disturbances be it too much heat, too much cold, too much rain or too little rain. In this material world, too much or too little of anything and you suffer. Everything has to be just right in the middle for there to be any relief or happiness. When there is a drought we pray for rain; when there is a flood we pray for drought. Let the rain come, no I changed my mind, let the rain stop. When it is too hot we are praying let there be a nice breeze. And then a frigid cyclone comes and no I changed my mind, I don’t want this breeze, let it be hot. The dualities of material existence are always there. Earthquakes, cyclones, tornados, floods etc. These are all the miseries of material nature. No one can control the infliction of the threefold misery upon us. And therefore birth after birth after birth there is so much pain, miseries. So the second stage of chanting of the Holy Name is bhava maha davagni nirvapanam. Krishna’s mercy flows as reciprocation to the chanting of the holy name, just like a rainstorm that completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence and we achieve mukti in the truest sense — in the sense, we are alleviated from all suffering forever from material existence.

This is part 1 of the three-part series.

  Gauranga Sundar Das is Iskconinc Communication Director and SM IT Head.

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Spiritually Speaking


Arun Malhotra



Man is born as an organic individual. Individual means that who cannot be divided by divisible. Science says man is a colony of 90 trillion cells and each cell engaged in a pre-programmed code embedded and has its life cycle and death. Together these trillions of cells form the human body and it has a singularity-individuality which religions call soul. Religion says that man carries the whole universe inside. Mesmerised by the results of quantum physics, science agrees that it could be one way of looking at it.

Life is not a division but everything in life seems to be divided. Popular belief says that man is body and soul, a combination of the two. Science calls man crafted of matter and that also formed the mind but it rejects the existence of the soul incarnating consciousness in beings. Both religion and science agree that body and consciousness are one and not two because science considers consciousness as part of the mind which is made of body matter. But religion says that the body is a visibly manifested soul and the soul is an invisible un-manifested body. Therefore, the world is the extended body of the visibly manifested That-Which-Is and God is extended consciousness of the invisible un-manifested infinitely extended consciousness in which creation and destruction happen. Science calls it dark matter, Hindus say Shiva is the dark matter. But how’s that even possible, one may argue?

When a chromosome is conceived in the womb, that moment ‘the being’ arrives in the womb and the fetus is formed. How does that happen? The chromosome is matter but ‘the being’ incarnates the matter to shape a form. The matter comes from the body but ‘the being’ comes from nothingness, the emptiness that creates the entire world, creates invisible consciousness. Marriage of matter and being is the most amazing occurrence that forms life. Understand it like this when a light is lit by a matchstick, suddenly the light is lit. From where does it come from, it comes from nothingness. A mystic once saw a small boy carrying a candle in the dark night. Mystic doused the light and asked the boy to tell where did light disappear and into what? It was a dark night. The little boy replied by lighting up the light again and said it goes to the same place from where it comes from. When a child is seeded in the womb it comes from nothingness and when a man dies he goes to nothingness. After conception in the womb, the body of a child is embodied with things of matter. On death, the body is disembodied into the matter and becomes a mystery beyond the comprehension of science.

A child in the womb is simply an embodiment of a mother. When a child is born into this world his lifeline begins by ending his existence on the umbilical cord that embraced him with the mother. That embracing umbilical cord is the love. A child breathes his first only when the umbilical cord is severed. Once removed, a child comes to this life to fend for himself. Doctor pats him a cruel occurrence of violence but that is a trick to begin breathing. To cry, a child has to take the first breath. A child becomes an individual and a part of the human civilisation which will train him to be a civil being.

A child is an individual pulsating being. Science trains his mind by school, behaviour, education, language, and ego. Not that he has to live but he is burdened with an overwhelming sense of learning artificiality of human beings. That takes him away from the reality of his being. In the name of being human, the real being is lost and an artificial civil being is born. Civilisation is training to make you unreal what you are never ought to be.

The human mind has been trained to speak languages. But languages breed thoughts. If one remains silent or speaks as much as is needed to communicate that will also be done by your senses, after all, we the sapiens have survived with it and lived in society being real.

We train the child to be a scholar of languages a master of sciences and mathematics. He is tricked to learn information learnt by comprehension and logic. He learns all that with his intelligence that breeds his intellect to grow and there grows his logical thinking and an ability to communicate in complex languages breeding complexities to make the world a more complex complicated place.

In a bid to understand what remains unknown to humans, humans have bred a complex mind that gives them a false sense of being the centre of the world. This false sense forms ego. The ego is fortified by the civilisation which is the refined model for training the ego. Ego and intellect divide life into body mind and soul. Mind that is part of the body assumes itself to be the soul. The mind creates a wedge between body and soul. In the name of religion, politics, society, civilisation, ethnicity, race, country, castes, city, and class, the mind has wrought mindless divisions on man. That has caused war, devastation, violence and holocaust. This has made humans schizophrenic.

 The body that is part of nature and existence is separated from the mind that lives the ego and thoughts. Body senses are natural. Hunger, thirst, sleep, love, and seeking are needed by an individual. But mind that is immersed in the artificiality of humans life abodes at the outer periphery of life and senses remain deeply embedded in the centre where the being resides. That creates division and man is not able to be one with his body and soul. For example, love is non-logical but the mind deals with it with logic and reasoning. Senses keep demanding the basics but the mind keeps controlling them, bipolarity is bred.

Matt Ridley has written a book ‘The Rational Optimist’. He argues that from stone-age to the internet age, life has prospered and prosperity buys survival. A man may be an optimist but not rational. What do all men do is rationalisation. Man rationalises everything that he does to fortify his ego. Whatever right or wrong man only rationalises. Even Hitler rationalises like Gandhi does no matter the consequences, rationalisation should be perfect even to sanctify the most irrational acts the rational way.

Our face becomes distorted. Buddha’s intelligence flowers when you are one with your senses and be there in the being. Buddha the most intelligent disentangled himself from the bane of human artificial life and went in search of life. After six years, That-Which-Is that is the existence that is the one who is the creator of all becomes one with Buddha that endowed on him greatest sense of being and spring of compassion sprouted out of him. A compassion that brings the ability to heal all wounds of the earth.   

Buddha’s intelligence springs when you begin understanding the mystic nature of life and when you become sensitive to your senses. If you are walking just become the walk. If you are hearing just become the ears. If you are seeing just become the eyes.

To become one with the oneness of That-Which-Is who resides in your being, begin to feel him not by words but feeling your own presence in the being-ness of the being. To do that inhale your breath right till your navel which is the source of life. Two inches below your navel is the Centre that Zen masters in Japan call Hara. Attain your Hara.

The author is a spiritual teacher and advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at arunavlokitta@gmail.com

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Spiritually Speaking


Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi




Children, yogais a precious boon given to humankind by the ancient rishis of Bharat. Today, crores of people from all over the globe are regularly practising yoga in their daily lives. However, we should remember that yoga is like other forms of physical. To gain yoga’s complete benefits, we have to cultivate mental purity as well as mental and sensory discipline. Just as someone who is chronically ill not only has to take the prescribed medicine but also must follow the doctor’s dietary regiment to get better, so if one’s yoga asanas are to bear the desired fruit, we must follow a disciplined and value-based lifestyle. 

One of the primary causes of modern society’s physical and mental problems is their lifestyle. Today, all physical comforts are always within our reach. Lying in bed, one can switch on the television, flip on and off the AC, buy train and plane tickets, and order food from hotels. As such comforts increase, our body fails to get the exercise it needs to remain in shape. Moreover, what is the state of the people’s minds? They are constantly racing back and forth, fixated on worries about the future and regrets about the past. The mind is saturated with thousands of such thoughts. Be it at home or work, people don’t have a single moment devoid of stress. Just as our body requires exercise, our mind requires stillness if it is to remain fit and healthy. For some time every day, we have to be able to completely still our mind — at least for a few moments. But typically people do just the opposite: they give their body plenty of rest and they allow their mind to constantly race all over the place. 

Thus, yoga is a tremendous blessing. It rejuvenates and tones our physical body. At the same time, it reduces tension and helps the mind to become calmer and more efficient. 

Moreover, yoga  helps us develop a healthier outlook about life. It teaches us that the ultimate wellspring of peace and bliss is within. Yoga helps us to bring about positive changes in our diet and lifestyle, as well as in our behaviour and relationships. The food we eat not only impacts our physical health but also our mental health as well. This is why we should eat a healthy, nutritiously balanced diet, without overeating. Those who wish to progress in yoga should strictly try to adhere to a sattvic diet, eating pure and wholesome foods. 

Practising such a comprehensive lifestyle can bring about astonishing mental and physical transformations. Thus, yoga is a tremendous blessing, especially for those suffering from chronic diseases arising from a sedentary lifestyle. yoga opens the gates to a healthy, tension-free life, full of joy and equanimity. 

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) is a spiritual leader, guru and humanitarian who is revered as the hugging saint by her followers.

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Spiritually Speaking


B.K. Surya



An easy-going nature and living life in a relaxed manner bring several benefits. One who is equable is free and light in their behaviour, and this is reflected in their relationships; their physical ailments are easily managed; their problems are not complicated; and since they are not much distracted or stressed, they have better mental focus.

Living life easily is an art. Some people become flustered every time they have an important task on hand, and their mind goes into overdrive. Being relaxed means being patient. This makes our speech and actions more mature and wise. It slows down the speed of our thoughts from the normal level of 25 a minute to 15-20 a minute, which increases our efficiency, enabling us to finish tasks faster.

Those who are relaxed enjoy their work as they do not feel burdened by it. In the absence of stress created by worry and overthinking, they also make fewer mistakes.

How does a laid-back attitude help during illness? Some people are alarmed by a minor ailment: they keep thinking and talking about it and end up feeling worse. Our state of mind affects the body — fear, anxiety and agitation sap our energy and reduce our immunity, making us more susceptible to disease and slowing our recovery. Remaining calm and positive, on the other hand, provides a psychological boost that moderates the force of the illness.

The same happens when we are faced with a difficulty. Instead of getting disturbed, if we quietly consider our situation, focusing on the possible solutions rather than the problem, we will find a way out of it.

Being easy and light makes for harmonious relationships. Such a person readily cooperates and adjusts to different kinds of people and circumstances. Because of their accommodativeness they make fewer demands, which also helps them get along with others. Even in a difficult relationship, a relaxed attitude helps us take harsh words or behaviour from others in our stride. Otherwise we can react immediately and make matters worse.

An easy-going nature, thus, makes our whole life easy, and brings success without any seeming effort.

B.K. Surya is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

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Spiritually Speaking


Aruna Ladva



Yoga and meditation have many principles in common. Yoga tends to deal with exercises that stretch and strengthen the body, and meditation focuses more on the spiritual aspects of life, and strengthening the soul. For each modality to be successful, one has to learn how to control the mind.


We talk about the breath of life… and yes, this works on a physical level… without breathing there is no life! But what is the breath of mind? At a spiritual level the breath of mind relates to the quality of our thoughts and therefore our experience of life. Inhale positive and powerful energy, and breathe in love and peace. As we generate those high-vibration thoughts, we are more easily able to exhale and expel negative and stressful thoughts and emotions. We definitely do not want those toxins to linger in our body or mind in any form.

Breathing is a recognition of the presence of the life force… the soul…the being… and that ‘I am the soul’, the one who is experiencing life through matter, through this body. But what does it mean to breathe spiritually? It means to take in every moment that we spend with quality thoughts like love, appreciation and gratitude as these will be both powerful and energising for the soul.

Only that which we take in with love will be nourishing for the soul, just as with the food that we eat. Both the body and soul can more easily digest that which is both wholesome and healthy; this enables us to grow and flourish.

Anything toxic that we take into ourselves will only damage us. It is very important for us to spiritually breathe with our soul lungs, just as we breathe with the physical lungs. Therefore, we have to be very mindful to maintain our good health in body, mind and spirit.


The poses of hatha yoga are there to make the body physically flexible and adaptable… malleable…. These postures help us to build up our muscles; to tone the body and increase our overall stamina. Likewise, meditation makes the mind strong and healthy and makes us tolerant and adjustable. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to both, our diet for the body and our mind.

The power of silence enables the soul to take time out; to re-adjust and become re-centred; and to find our natural poise and balance. Just as with physical yoga, many postures require the soul to have great focus, and to concentrate the mind with determination. These are admirable qualities used to balance the body and mind.


This is the inner eye of understanding, where we are looking from deep within, from the dimension of spirit. As we become familiar with our inner wisdom, then we will begin to live more naturally from this spiritual place.

When we appreciate and value the practice of meditation, the yoga of the mind, it means that we will be careful to pay attention to the nature and quality of our thoughts throughout the day. We will check and change those thoughts when necessary, because our aim in life is to maintain clarity and balance. Ultimately, we have a desire to be peaceful, healthy and happy.

From a spiritual perspective, and as a spiritual being, I know that innate virtues and specialities form the foundation of ‘who I am’. When I practice affirmations, it is like I am breathing life back into these virtues. When I remember my original nature of the ‘self’ as a spiritual being, as pure energy and light, then I can experience some of these eternal truths.

I am love…. I am light… I am peace… I am happy… I am joy… I am wise… I am strong… and eternally… I am…. Om Shanti… I am a peaceful soul….

Courtesy of itstimetomeditate.org

Aruna Ladva is an author and the director of Rajyoga meditation centres in Kuwait and Egypt.

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Spiritually Speaking


Dadi Janki



We leave our original home (the soul world), come into the drama of life and eventually we forget the plot. God never comes into the drama, and therefore does not ever forget the plot. Thus, it is He alone who can give us an understanding of the whole play.

Only God possesses such knowledge; only He can come and give it. This is why He is the Supreme Soul. He is beyond, He is different; He is unique. He is the Father, and He gives us new life.

God is wonderful, you know. Even though He is not in the drama, He has the complete knowledge of the drama. He does not have to experience it to know it. He does not have eyes, but He sees our experiences. He gives us recognition so that we can ‘see’ and know Him.

Just as a generator sits in one place, continuously sending out an electric current, so the Almighty Father keeps sending us spiritual power. And we receive it — if, that is, we are linked properly and have taken care that no part has blown its fuse.

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