T here are seven stages of transcendental purification and elevation that takes place when we chant the holy names of Lord Krishna.
“Anandam buddhi vardhanam.” When we surrender to Krishna and agree to live in harmony with Krishna, be the servant of His servants, then by the grace of Krishna, He places us in an unlimited ocean of transcendental ecstasy. The happiness of this world is like a drop of water in the desert. But the happiness that is achieved through the chanting of the Holy Names is like being submerged in an ocean of nectar, an ocean of ecstasy. The soul being naturally servant of Krishna is longing for the unlimited ecstatic joy of re-uniting with Krishna. Krishna is all beautiful. Then Krishna reveals to us in reciprocation to our desire and sincerity, what pleasure there is in Krishna; the beautiful form of His threefold bending Swarup. It is so intoxicating. Srila Rupa Goswami warns us, if you are attached to your home, if you are attached to the material aspects of your family, wealth, and society or anything of this world, then I warn you — do not go to the banks of Yamuna — Kesi ghat, where Govindaji, Krishna is standing in His beautiful threefold bending form. Once you see that beauty of Krishna then you are aware that the things of this world that are charming your heart are insignificant. Jamunacarya, the spiritual master of Ramanujacharya and many other great souls, prayed in this way. He was remembering back to the days when he was young and he was a king, and he had so much pleasure and facility for enjoyment. He said, now I am tasting the sweetness and pleasure of service to Krishna when I think of all the enjoyments of this world — and even the king of all enjoyments — sex pleasure, he says, my lips curl in distaste and I spit at that thought. There is no pleasure and no charm. When we realise that we are not this body, what is so great about material pleasure? It has nothing to do with the soul and nothing to do with reality. We see a beautiful thing and it is just some light entering into our eye, and it is making us mad. If it is dark, you cannot even see it. Some frequency entering our ear and we get mad. Something scraping our tongue but what is a tongue? It’s just a lump of flesh wiggling around. But when something touches its surface we go mad. That is what material enjoyment is and we take it so seriously. If we do not taste the pleasures of the soul, all that we have left is to try to enjoy through the senses, through the tongue, through the eyes and all these things. What a humiliating experience for a blissful spiritual soul, which is a part of Krishna that belongs in the spiritual world, to be trying to enjoy like this? It is very sad. It breaks our hearts. But the beauty of Krishna is how He is Hari — one little glimpse of beauty and charm of Krishna will completely take our minds, and steal our minds forever from this material existence. With the sound of Krishna’s flute, the river Yamuna would become paralysed. It couldn’t even flow. The little calves couldn’t even suck the milk from their mothers. The Gopis would leave all their household duties and run to see where Krishna is. The supreme power of Krishna is not in creating this material world, but in His all attractive beauty to attract and charm the hearts of all his living entities for all of eternity because that love can conquer everything. One drop of love for Krishna can conquer the entire 14 worlds in a second. Srila Rupa Goswami explains all that power, all that beauty, all the love, and all the opulence are within His name but we have to chant in the mood of sankirtan, that is chanting in such a way that Krishna completely manifests Himself in the sound of His Name. In one sense, the word Sankirtan means — when Krishna completely manifests Himself within the sound of His name. Rupa Goswami says, when I chant that name with my little tongue, the name dances on my tongue. Krishna is dancing on my tongue. What is this one tongue to taste the sweetness? That sweetness is so great, so unlimited, it is so intoxicatingly ecstatic, what is this little tongue that I have? I want millions and millions of tongues to taste the Holy Name. And when that Name enters into my ears — why has the creator cheated me, by giving me these two tiny little holes for these ears? I want millions and millions of ears to drink the nectar of this spiritually blissful sound of Krishna’s Name and when that Name enters into our heart, then all aspirations, desires, for anything but the service of that Name cease to exist. This is how Rupa Goswami chants the Holy Name of the Lord. This is his experience when he is chanting the Holy Name of the Lord. Anandam buddhi vardhanam. We are merged into the ocean of transcendental love – Bhakti rasamrta sindhu. In fact, Srila Rupa Goswami explains that the aspiration of the jnanis, the Salvationists is to receive mukti. They want to enter into Brahman. He said compared to the unlimited ocean of happiness that is derived from serving Krishna with pure love, the pleasure of mukti is like a particle of one tiny little drop.
“Sarvatma snapanam, param vijayate.” The next aspect of this great sankirtan movement is this — sarvatma snapanam. This pleasure is very different from the pleasures of the material world. The pleasures of the material world pollute us. The more pleasure we get, the more our hearts are polluted with the misconception that we are the enjoyer. But the pleasure of this anandam buddhi vardhanam, the pleasure of Krishna Consciousness purifies us. The more we are happy, in Krishna consciousness, the more we become purified. Sometimes devotees ask this question, we are not supposed to enjoy, we are supposed to be enjoyed by Krishna but when I am in kirtan, I am enjoying so much. Sometimes, when I am in kirtan, it is more enjoyable than a sense of gratification. So is it bad to be attachéd because I am enjoying it? It is good to enjoy in this way. This type of enjoying from the chanting and hearing the Names and Glories of the Lord completely purifies our heart and through this type of enjoyment, we become sarvatma — completely purified. No trace is left. Not even any seeds in your heart of the weeds of material enjoyment. Sometimes when we cut down the weeds, it appears that everything is safe. But the seeds are still in the ground and it is just a matter of time before they grow again. But the Holy Name has the power to completely purify us to the extent that even the seeds of material desires cease to exist as we are drowning in the ocean of Krishna bhakti and Krishna prema.
This is part 3 of the four-part series.
Gauranga Sundar Das is Iskcon Inc Communication Director and Social media IT Head.
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LAW OF KARMA
I was walking on the way once. Someone from a behind me hit “Futt!! Futt!!” to my head. Looking back, he’s a maniac (mad).There by holding him, the people surrounding there suggested to me that, “you don’t let him go sir, hit him sir”. But I immediately let him free from them, and he simply left there.
I have never seen that mad man before. And I didn’t have any information about him. What is the relation between me and that mad person? Without any reason I was beaten by that unknown man! So this is the law of karma. In this birth he and I have may no introduction, acquaintance, no contact or may no relationship. Perhaps it is the calculation of the karma of our pre-birth, which had been completed on this day.
Many such accidental events one of the most common experiences in all of our lives.
The theory of karma or law of karma is very subtle. As well as the exact too. The role of everyone in the theatre of this world drama creation is precisely. But we must be have able to view it from a meaningful standpoint. This vast world is full of inequality. The poor, the rich, the deprived, the sick, the healthy, the homeless, the wealthy, the dull fanatics, the intelligent, the employed, the unemployed like this there are many inequalities in this vast world that which are commonly visible. Cause for all these inequalities mainly considered as only that creator supreme God. Who get always all the blaming, abuses, dispraise from all of us. That may be with or without reason. But virtually abusing the Holy Spirit god is futile and inappropriate. Because our present situations are the foundation of our past deeds. We are only responsible for the inequalities and conditions of our lives. In this, it is unreasonable to curse the Lord and to curse fate. We are only responsible for our current conditions.
Newton’s third law states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The reality is that our karma is not the only have reward or re-action. It is true that there is a response to our words, our every resolve or a thought and (vocation) emotion also. Sometimes our karmic account has also grown with animal, birds. For example, for any person when a dog accidentally bites on the way, it is necessary to know that the dog is being bitten by him. That is, he has tortured the animal ever before.
Some are born rich some others are born healthy. For some, literature, art, and singing have a tendency to be with birth. Some are virtuous with good attitude. Some are born blind. Some people have a disability from birth. Some people have good wealth but no health. Some are not have children at all. Some parents will have more trouble from their children itself. Some people just can’t get any kind of happy ness from any relation. For nine months mother faces so many difficulties and problems, then give a birth for child. But sometimes a child dies only in three days after giving birth. Every day we see many examples of such life.
Being born wealthy at birth is the result of his gift of past birth donation to people. If he was healthy, he would have built a hospital or a hospital for the benefit of the former or May treated the patients previously. If born blind or disabled as any other organ failure His eyesight or his organ failure should have caused others to suffer from that organ or should have been did evil act by that. If some birth with art, literature, sports, or other activities, it is the prerequisite sanskar of past deeds for their birth. That means, in the pre-birth period, there is much interested in particular field or may have don lot of efforts in that. If we do not get pleasure from any relatives, then that means we would not have given any pleasure to any relatives before. If we have money but do not have physical health, we would have donated money to needy but would not had don any good physical acts. If there is no child luck or if there are children but the children and parents are not happy, then we need to understand it is the karmic account between parents and children. If an infant was born in a very wealthy family and if not healthy. In the (ICU) intensive care unit, it live only four days and then died, even with billions of dollars will not able to keep baby alive. So it is a short-term karmic account of that infant, by taking a birth will get settled in four days and dies.
Thus the law of karma is very subtle, exact, deep and very intense. Seeing many such examples will definitely make us to belief in rebirth or in past births. When a newborn child who has not yet opened his eyes and is diagnosed with any serious sufferings, it can be said to be the result of his past birth act only. Here this does not mean that we only reap the fruits of pre-natal karma or pre births, even in this birth and for each and every karma will have its fruit.
Our karmic account does not only grow solely from physical organs performed by these bodies’ activities. The words we talk and the (vocation) emotion, the resolutions (thoughts) which generated through our mind is also grew. If the word is spoken inappropriately, and to others are hurtfully spoken, there is certainly will become karmic account. Likewise, every bad thought about someone in mind is also grows karmic account. If these are excessive, they can become dumb and suffer from mental illness.
First of all, we should have knowledge of Karm, Vikarm, Sukarm. Karma is a simple, essential work. Vikarm is the work done by the five Vices – (kam, krodh, lobh, moh, ahankar). Such as the Lust, Angry, Greed, Attachment, Ego-based thoughts, speech, action, vision and vocation (emotion). Sukarm is a noble karma, a work based on virtues. It is good to self and for others too. And Godly knowledge based unselfish thoughts, speech, act, emotions will be considered as divine work. our resolve, speech and karma Influencing environment also. Thousands of victims were killed from the tidal wave of tsunami. To say this is the calculation (karmic account) of that nature and those people who died, of course is not a wrong.
We do wrong and right with or without reason. If we are happy and it is inappropriate, condemn and reprehensible to look down on others when they are in distress. When in a bus stop when someone sees two legged disable person, of course everyone feel merciful to him. This will grieve the mind of any kind of butcher. It is inhumane to lash out that he is paying for his karma. We are all brothers and sisters to each other as we are the children of the Universal Sovereign supreme God. It is humanity and our primary duty to extend our help to our brothers and sisters.
Dear all, we are not able to fix any past time or past karma. Presently we have only our present time and our future in our hand. Doing good in the present, we will reap the rewards. We should be willing to do good deeds, and need to repentance for our sins and bad deeds.
So let our mind be pure, the vision be holy, karma be great. Let’s wish the best for everyone, good feeling and good wishes from the mind, talk sweetly through words, and let karma excellence in karma. Let us comes only in Karma relation not in Detention (attachment) of karma. If we want good things for everyone, it happens goodness. If evil is desired, it will be bad. So law of karma says, “how the seed, so the tree” and “how the karma, so the fruit”.
ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS A PERSON
The impersonal realisation of the Brahman effulgence is the indirect process of understanding the Absolute Truth and is considered a difficult path according to Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
The Vedic literature points out that God is both personal and impersonal. God’s impersonal aspect is called different names by different people. Generally, the impersonal aspect is known as the Brahman effulgence or brahmajyoti. A description of the Brahman can be found in various portions of the Vedic literature, including the Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.10-12) where it says: “In the spiritual realm, beyond the material covering, is the unlimited Brahman effulgence, which is free from material contamination. That effulgent white light is understood by transcendentalists to be the light of all lights. In that realm there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity for illumination. Indeed, whatever illumination appears in the material world is only a reflection of that supreme illumination. That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies.”
To realize or attain entrance into the impersonal Brahman, one must practice yoga for many years without falling down from such strict practice. One must be celibate, chant the om mantra correctly, raise the life airs within the body to the top of the head, and leave the body while meditating on the Brahman. If one cannot void his mind of all sensual engagement and concentrate on the Brahman for hours at a time without agitation, one will not be successful. If one is successful, one can be liberated from material existence by merging into the Brahman, where there is eternity and knowledge. However, there is no real ananda or bliss there. The only pleasure in the brahmajyoti is the freedom from all material suffering. Some yogis think such pleasure, which may be felt on elementary levels of meditation, is a sign of reaching the final goal. But real ananda is found only in spiritual engagement. Without understanding this, one’s spiritual knowledge is incomplete.
The goal of the impersonalists is to merge into the Brahman effulgence, where they lose all of their individual characteristics. If they succeed, they remain there as an inactive spiritual spark, floating in the rays of the brahmajyoti. They do not develop a spiritual body that would give them the opportunity to engage in various spiritual activities because they do not know about such engagement that can be found on the spiritual Vaikuntha planets that exist within the Brahman effulgence. So, if they again have any yearning for engaging in activities, they cannot go upward to the spiritual planets because they are not qualified to do so. Thus, they are forced to seek shelter in the material world, where they start over again.
The problem is that it is our natural inclination to be active, always doing something. So if the soul is so active while within the material body, how can the impersonalist philosophers suggest that once we are liberated we will be completely inactive? This is not very logical. The Vedic literature states that once one has attained liberation and reaches the brahmajyoti, he will not stay there, but at some point he will again desire to return to the material world for engagement. Therefore, the brahmajyoti is not considered the highest form of spiritual liberation, although some so-called sages today speak of it as if it is.
Such impersonalist yogis or philosophers either do not know or simply reject the fact that beyond nirvana and the outskirts of the Brahman effulgence are the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky. Thus, due to their ignorance, or even rebelliousness against God, they concentrate only on the impersonal Brahman. One can enter that region by the difficult, mechanical yoga process for controlling the mind, but cannot go any higher. Just as a person cannot escape the material world if he still has material desires, he cannot enter the spiritual planets if he is still absorbed in thinking of the void. In this way, such people are unable to enter into the spiritual life of complete eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Therefore, the idea of achieving spiritual liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence is considered the process of a cheating religion. Why it is considered this is that it destroys the opportunity for people to reestablish their loving relationship with the Supreme. This is confirmed in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.1.92): “The foremost process of cheating is to desire to achieve liberation by merging in the Supreme, for this causes the permanent disappearance of loving service to Krishna.” Therefore, those who have reached mature spiritual realization look upon merging into the Brahman effulgence as a great mistake.
The impersonal realization of the Brahman effulgence is the indirect process of understanding the Absolute Truth and is considered a difficult path according to Bhagavad-gita. “But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed and immovable–the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth–by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed toward everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me. For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the supreme advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Bg.12.3-5)
By realizing this impersonal Brahman, one only realizes the bodily effulgence of the Absolute. In other words, the all-pervading spiritual force has a source. This is clearly described in the Caitanya-caritamrita, (Adi.2, 5 & 15):
“What the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him. The opulence’s of the impersonal Brahman spread throughout the millions and millions of universes. That Brahman is but the bodily effulgence of Govinda [another name of Krishna].”
The fifteenth and sixteenth mantras of the Isa Upanishad also acknowledge that from the personal body of God comes the rays of the Brahman effulgence: “O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Please remove that covering and exhibit yourself to your pure devotee. O my Lord, O primeval philosopher, maintainer of the universe, O regulating principle, destination of the pure devotees, well-wisher of the progenitors of mankind–please remove the effulgence of Your transcendental rays so that I can see Your form of bliss. You are the eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead, like unto the sun, as am I.”
From these verses it is clear that without going beyond the Brahman effulgence, one cannot see the real form of the Supreme. If one reaches the stage of realizing the Brahman and becomes convinced that he has attained the Ultimate, then he does not have complete understanding or full realization. He still must go further until he has reached the source of the Brahman, which, according to the Isa Upanishad, is the Supreme Personality.
Since the Brahman effulgence is considered to be but one of the opulences of the Supreme, it should be understood that whenever the Vedic texts speak of Brahman, they are indicating the Supreme Personality of God. In fact, it is stated that in the Vedic literature the word Brahman means, “in whom all the attributes reach to the infinity.” In this way, it is clear that Brahman primarily means the Supreme Person, of whom the Vedic literature is full of descriptions of various aspects of His infinite qualities and characteristics. The Caitanya-caritamrita clearly states: “The word ‘Brahman’ indicates the complete Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is Sri Krishna. That is the verdict of all Vedic literature.” (Cc.Madhya-lila, 6.147)
The Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.7.112) also explains that, “Everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, including His body, opulence and paraphernalia.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate: “Although He expands in many ways, He keeps His original personality. His original spiritual body remains as it is.” Thus, we can understand that God can expand His energies in many ways, but is not affected or diminished in His potency.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.6) also states: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original person, has multifarious energies. He is the origin of material creation, and it is due to Him only that everything changes. He is the protector of religion and annihilator of all sinful activities. He is the master of all opulences.” This verse specifically points out that only due to God’s multi-potencies does the world continue to change and be maintained. He also protects religion, which could not be done if He were impersonal. This is only logical since it takes a person to watch over, protect, or maintain anything.
In the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13), there is the important verse nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: “He is the supreme eternally conscious person who maintains all other living entities.” From these descriptions in the Vedic texts, we can clearly understand that God is the Supreme Person who is the source of everything and controller of all. This Supreme Person is the Absolute Truth, as confirmed in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.7.111): “According to direct understanding, the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has all spiritual opulences. No one can be equal to or greater than Him.”
Since it is established in the Vedic texts that the Absolute is a person, then meditating on the personal form of God rather than the impersonal feature is the highest form of meditation. This is verified in Bhagavad-gita (12.2): “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: ‘He whose mind is fixed on my personal form, always engaged in worshiping me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by me to be the most perfect.’”
Herein, we can understand that realizing the absolute truth in the form of the Supreme Person is much easier and much more attractive than struggling to merge into the great white light of the brahmajyoti. By understanding the Supreme Personality, all other aspects of the Absolute, such as the Brahman effulgence and Paramatma or Supersoul, are also understood. In fact, those who are absorbed in Brahman realization can easily become attracted to understanding the Supreme personality as did such sages as Sukadeva Gosvami and the Kumaras as noted in Srimad-Bhagavatam
Gaurangasundar das is IskconInc Communication Director and SM IT head
CONTENTMENT BRINGS MANY REWARDS
We see a lot of people who have everything they need or want. However, contentment eludes them!
Contentment is a virtue that is often misunderstood. It is erroneously assumed to be passivity, laziness or something meant for spiritual people or those with low levels of motivation or few skills to succeed in life. In reality, contentment is not passivity, complacency or a false sense of peace.
Contentment is being mentally or emotionally satisfied, both within and without, with circumstances as they are. It is a willingness to accept circumstances, whatever they might be.
This attitude creates positive feelings of peace, calm, and happiness. In everyday life, a contented person is focused on the work at hand, and is relaxed. A contented state of mind produces faith in the self and self-respect, and gives us the conviction that all will be well, no matter what. As a result, our efficiency improves. A discontented person tends to fret over trifles. They may reach their goals; however, given their unsettled state of mind, they end up expending more energy to achieve their results.
Developing contentment takes practice. There might be aspects of my life that are wanting. Instead of brooding on the perceived lacunae, I can reflect on, appreciate, and further develop what I have. In this way I can create and sustain feelings of contentment and joy. This will enhance the quality of my thoughts, relationships, and work, and help me recognise that contentment is independent of my circumstances.
We see a lot of people who have everything they need or want. However, contentment eludes them; they lack inner peace and happiness. Some of the factors that stop us from being content are:
Comparing myself with others: No matter how successful I am, there will always be someone who has more than me. It could be more wealth, a better personality, more friends, or a vibrant social life. Forgetting that there will always be someone better off than me in some respect gives rise to envy. Constant thoughts of ‘why does he have more’ or other versions of this generate subtle, negative feelings of jealousy, resentment or dislike. In some cases, lack of contentment can make me submissive to others, which can be quite damaging to my self-respect. Parents never experience discomfort over the successes and good fortune of their children. Why? Because of love. The more I appreciate others, the easier it is for me to avoid envy.
Complaining about the self: Pessimism about the self will not let me grow. We do not need to look far to find someone worse off than us. But we seldom give much thought to all that we are blessed with. Having gratitude for all the things I have, helps to foster within me love for God and the recognition that I need to be more considerate towards those who are less fortunate than me.
It is said that the poorest man in the world is the one who has more than he needs, but feels that it is not enough. Material attainments do not bring lasting satisfaction. As soon as one desire is fulfilled, another is on its way. Learning to be happy with my circumstances even, as I work towards something better, ensures that no matter how long it takes to reach my goals, I enjoy who I am and what I have. It also saves me from greed, which can tempt me to use the wrong means to get what I want.
Practising contentment brings many other virtues. I become more patient, tolerant, sweet, and graceful. I am also able to face challenges with fortitude, adjust to different kinds of people and situations, and accept failures.
Contented souls are also a source of subtle support for others. Such are their vibrations that they can lift the spirits of a gloomy person just by their presence.
Regular practice of meditation, wherein I look within and recognise what I, the soul, really need, enables me to find and hold my contentment as a precious possession.
B.K. Geeta is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.
KEEPING THE INNER LIGHT BRIGHT
We have to think about how we can focus on and be instrumental for our own transformation. To think about the transformation of others is a waste of time. Remember, “When I change, the world changes.”
Transformation comes from keeping God’s company. He is not only the Supreme Soul; He is my Father, Teacher, Friend, Guide. Keeping His company brings transformation in the self. I must not waste my time getting caught up in concerns about the body, other people or anything of the world. Let me be free from any kind of tension and pay attention to staying connected to God’s light. The inner strength and power I receive brings transformation within. Seeing my transformation, others will have love for me.
Well-being is a skill. It needs cultivating. Get into the habit of exercising your mind in order to keep it healthy. Everything, which means everything, in our life begins with our thoughts. Every thought creates vibrations. Vibrations are like sound waves; no obstacles can stop their radiation. To exercise the mind means creating a pure, positive thought and holding stable that feeling and thought. This means if I need peace, I can emerge and concentrate on that thought and feel the light of peace within for however long I want. This daily practice prepares one to deal with difficult times.
Get into the intermittent daily habit of simply closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths. Look within and increase your awareness the capacity to know what your mind is doing. Stop now and then for a moment to practise and become aware of the quality of your thoughts. Check and change them when necessary. Daily, consciously choose the quality of your thoughts accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and throw away the waste. As is my thinking, so are my actions and experiences in life. Value what you have regardless of how little it may seem to you. Count your blessings. Who knows how long you will have them!
Each day, create and nurture good vibrations within and silently touch everyone with your bright inner light. We have received a very clear path. I simply have to walk on this path I see in my mind and show it to others. When we do this, like the sun shining and diminishing the fog, the darkness of ignorance in the world will be dispelled.
Chirya Yvonne Risely is a Rajyoga meditation teacher based at the Brahma Kumaris Peace Village Retreat Center, USA.
Meditation that can transform the self and the world
Regular practice of meditation has been shown to have several health benefits, including a healthier heart rate, improved blood pressure, drop in cholesterol levels, and stronger immunity.
Meditation is practised by many people as a means of relaxation, an aid to developing mental focus, for experiencing peace of mind or getting relief from stress or pain.
Regular practice of meditation has been shown to have several health benefits, including a healthier heart rate, improved blood pressure, a drop in cholesterol levels, stronger immunity and a slowdown in the ageing process.
Scientists have not yet clearly understood how exactly meditation leads to better health, but stress reduction appears to be the key to this, since stress contributes to most of the modern killer diseases.
Apart from reducing anxiety and stress, meditation has been observed to have other psychological benefits. These include lower irritability and moodiness, better memory and learning ability, and greater emotional stability.
The above are the better-known effects of meditation. But its practice can bring greater rewards in the form of freedom from harmful habits and tendencies and spiritual empowerment that enables one to lead a happy life.
Many people inflict suffering on themselves, knowingly or otherwise, because of their shortcomings, peculiar ways of thinking, and behaviour. While some do not even realise that their habits are doing them harm, others, who are aware of their weaknesses, struggle to remove them.
The reason some negative traits seem difficult at times impossible to remove is that they are deeply entrenched in the soul.
The soul contains a complete record of all its experiences thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions. Experiences from past lives, stored in the unconscious mind, are often manifested in the form of dreams, feelings, phobias, desires or habits. These influence our thinking and behaviour without our knowing it.
When introspection reveals that the fault lies within, we start making effort to change. The change has to be very deep, within the soul, for it to be complete and lasting. If anger is deep-rooted in us, merely trying to be pleasant is not going to work. We may be able to camouflage anger and put on a smile, but inside we will not feel good. Anger suppressed for an extended period puts pressure on the mind and will force its way out in unexpected and unpleasant ways.
To be free from anger we have to remove its roots in the soul. The only way to do this is meditation, particularly Rajyoga meditation.
In Rajyoga, we first remember our true identity that we are an originally pure, peaceful, powerful soul and then connect with the Supreme Soul. The process of going within and experiencing oneself as a spiritual being or soul helps us rediscover and use our innate qualities of love, peace, purity and truth. The mental link with the Supreme Source of energy empowers us, as virtues and powers flow into the soul, making it richer and stronger.
Meditating in this way is akin to lighting a fire in the soul that gradually burns away the unwanted things that have accumulated there unhappy memories, bad feelings, and damaging habits. Some of these are strongly bonded to the soul, like alloy in gold. Just as one needs to put gold in fire to purify it, intense meditation is needed to remove deep-seated impurities from the soul.
Such meditation is often called volcanic meditation, in reference to volcanoes, whose heat and power can melt rocks. The power of a volcano lies within it. Similarly, volcanic meditation is all about internal awareness.
For practising volcanic yoga, we first need to become introspective and free the mind from negative and unnecessary thoughts. Being habitually critical of others, having an inflated ego, being oversensitive, inability to accept one’s weaknesses – all these lead to wasteful and negative thinking, which consume our time and mental energy.
Introspection and the practice of seeing oneself as a soul makes us focused. When we focus the mind on the positive qualities of the soul or on the Supreme Soul and immerse ourselves in experiencing that quality, be it peace, love, purity or power, the soul begins to fill with it. The intensity of the experience is often described as a fire. When the fire of love for God is ignited in the soul, it destroys all its weaknesses. This is how volcanic meditation brings about lasting self-transformation.
Practice of powerful meditation can be made easier by cultivating good thoughts. This makes the mind calmer, lighter, and stronger. The company of those who have a positive outlook also helps. It provides us support and shields us from negative influences that trigger thoughts and feelings which prevent us from having any deep, powerful and transformative experiences in meditation. Such company is needed until we become powerful enough to be unaffected by negativity.
Volcanic yoga brings power in many forms, such as purity, love, peace, and tolerance. Some souls are rich in a virtue or power but are unaware of it and therefore do not use it for their own good or to benefit others. They are like dormant volcanoes that do not show any sign of activity.
The really strong souls are like an active volcano that can transform its surroundings. These yogis uplift not only themselves but also those who come in contact with them. Peace, truth, purity, and love radiate from them, leaving a deep impression on others. They become instrumental in changing the lives of many. We can do the same by becoming embodiments of power and virtues through volcanic meditation.
B.K. Brijmohan is Additional Secretary General of the Brahma Kumaris.
Understanding greed of getting and fear of losing
Life is limitless. Life is infinite. Life is eternal. But we view life from our limited dimension of mind. Our dimension is abysmally limited and this life is limitlessly unlimited, infinitely infinite and eternal.
That which is existence always exists. It always existed as it is. And it will always exist as it is. There is no past no present no future. But an is-ness exists. Existence exists as is-ness. Our limited dimension of mind divides existence into past present and future. But the fact is that we call past that existed and that we call present is existing and that we call future will be existing. In fact, past present and future exist together in existence. Existence simply exists and it has never existed or will exist.
Our dimension of mind is like a peeping hole. What we see is seen within limits of view from the hole. What we are seeing we call present. And that we will see will become future and then what we saw becomes past. Therefore we have invented time and space which have become divisions to define past and future and the point where past is embracing future, we call it present. Therefore present is also part of the time.
Existence is beyond time and space. Existence always exists as one existence. In that oneness of existence, we all exist. That oneness of existence exists in us.
What we call life from our limited dimension is a life that is created on the canvas of existence. This world is created on the canvas of existence. Existence is unveiled in man. In fact, existence is revealed in mankind man is a part of that oneness of existence.
Existence is a great mystery. We cannot fathom or know this mystery by the limited dimension of mind. Our dimension our view cannot view the canvas on which we exist. Because we ourselves are that canvas on which the artwork of life is created. So obviously our ego has not created the artwork on the canvas. All we have is a limited dimension and a limited view of thinking that is thought by our minds. Ego does not exist beyond thoughts.
Obviously, a thought cannot be bigger than the thinker’s mind. Like an artwork cannot be bigger than the artist. Therefore, our view cannot be bigger than the canvas on which life is created.
Existence is that canvas on which this world this universe is created. And part of that existence is revealed in us. So we are that canvas on which our life is created. But the limited dimension of the mind cannot fathom an infinitely infinite existence that exists limitlessly and eternally.
To know life from the side of existence, life becomes a limitless existence of eternity beyond life and death. But from the side of our limited dimension, we meet a narrowed path subservient to limited thoughts and gripped with fear of beliefs.
In this life, we don’t lose anything. We only gain. But hopes and desires make us a beggar. We start thinking that we will be getting something. Like we will lose something. Hope to get something. The desire of having something that we don’t have.
Desires script future. Hopes extend future. Big hopes extend the future into the next lives and reincarnations. You never pay attention to what you have. But you are always full of dreams that have not come true. The greed of getting and fear of losing that life may not be lost. And what you have will not be taken away.
We don’t value or utilise or enjoy what we have. We worry about the future because in future we create bondage. The more the future worries you, the more you don’t live in present and life is lived in the present.
Between fear of losing and greed of getting, we don’t accept what we actually are. We don’t accept life. We are living life in denial mode. We want to be someone else. We want to be something else. Denial is our state of mind.
Once you have the money you want more. You have the power you want more. But this existence is a way to know that there is nothing in front of you or behind you. Seers say that there is nothing else but existence. Existence is the only reality. You will ultimately lose everything that you see from your limited dimension. You will die because you are pure ego. And only ego dies. Existence does not die. An existence that exists in you will continue to exist in everything else, but only your limited dimension will be lost.
We are eternal. Eternal because existence manifests in us and the body on which existence manifests breeds and it incarnates when existence sets in. So the body continues to make copies for eternity and existence keeps manifesting in the body for eternity.
That which has the sense of losing is the ego. All such fears have accumulated into the sense of losing. And this limited dimension is a mixture of your ego.
The ego wants to live life according to desires hopes and thoughts. Ego desires a life subject to conditions. In fact from the side of existence, if you look at life, you will meet life and you won’t meet the desire because desire is not there. Desire is a mere thought that breeds greed.
Because of your fear of losing you extend hopes into creating God. Fear of losing life sculpts your God. When God is lost and your faith and religion are lost, fearlessness of existence springs in you.
But you always wish to depend on others. You need someone else to live your life. You depend on others to recognize you. Others depend on you too. You follow others’ eyes to become all that what others praise about. Others will follow you. In fact, you follow others’ eyes so others follow you. You follow money, power, fame because others are also following that race. If there is no one on earth, you won’t follow money, power, and fame. You make religion and God part of your race.
Desires and hopes breed a future. Ego needs dependence because it is nothing but a thought and ego needs to depend on something to exist. We are here to be ourselves. Buddha has asked us to be Buddha, nothing less than that. Life is a song. You have to be one with your song. You are here to sing your own song. You are not here to follow the songs of others. You got to attain to your song. Let the lyrics and rhythm be strewn out of you, let the symphony burgeon and let the song of life that you are here to sing be sung out of you. And you rejoice in that eternal melodious melody that is created in this world.
The author is a spiritual teacher and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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