Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Lower Nature / Part I ~ Swami Sivananda

Divine Mother Kali Kills the ego
The Lower Nature  /  Part I
by Swami Sivananda   

The petty, obstinate egoism which actuates the human personality is a serious obstacle in meditation or the path of Self-realisation. This little self-arrogating principle supports its surface-thoughts and dominates its habitual ways of feeling, character and action. This is Rajasic and Tamasic egoism which conceals or covers the higher, divine, Sattvic nature. It veils the self-luminous, Immortal Soul or Atman.

You may have aspiration for the Truth. You may be endowed with devotion. You may possess a will to overcome the obstacles and hostile forces. If the little ego asserts or persists, if the external personality has not consented to change or transformation, you cannot have rapid progress in the spiritual path. It will have its own ways and inclinations.

The lower nature must be thoroughly regenerated. The habitual lower personality of the Sadhaka must be entirely changed. If this is not done, any spiritual experience or power is of no value. If this little ego or human personality persists in retaining its petty, limited, selfish, ignoble, false and stupid human consciousness, any amount of Tapas or Sadhana will bear no fruit. This means that you do not really thirst for God-realisation. It is nothing more than idle curiosity. The aspirant says to the preceptor, "I want to practise Yoga; I want to enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi; I want to sit at your feet," but he does not want to change his lower nature and old habits. He wants to have his own ways and old habits, old character, behaviour and conduct.

If the aspirant or Yogic student declines to change his petty, lower nature or if he refuses even to admit the need for any change of his lower, habitual personality, he can never make even an iota of real spiritual advancement. Any partial or temporary elevation, slight occasional aspiration during some exalted moments, any momentary spiritual opening within, without any true or radical transformation of the lower nature or habitual little personality, is of no practical value.

This change of the lower nature is not easy. The force of habit is ever strong and inveterate. It demands great strength of will. The aspirant often feels helpless against the force of old habits. He will have to develop his Sattva and will to a considerable degree by regular Japa, Kirtan, meditation, untiring selfless service, Satsanga. He must introspect and find out his own defects and weaknesses.

He must live under the guidance of his Guru. The Guru finds out his defects and points out suitable ways to eradicate them.

Friday, July 29, 2016

MEDITATION ON OM ~ Swami Sivanada


MEDITATION ON OM 

INTRODUCTION

Japa , chanting , and meditation on OM are the most important portions of the Vedantic Sadhana . . .

The state of turiya , Brahman , the atman and OM are one . OM is an embodiment of the essence of the whole of the Vedas . . .

The whole essence of the Vedas is compressed in the symbol of OM . This symbol is endowed with occult powers of the highest character . Aspirants who tread the path of Vedanta always repeat OM mentally and enjoy supreme bliss from this mystic practice . . .

Live and move in OM . . .

Utter OM in each and every breath . Be ever wakeful in the bliss of OM . Melt the dream of this illusive world in the wakefulness of OM . Sink the pains and miseries of samsara in the bliss of OM , the bliss of the Eternal , the abode of peace , bliss , and joy . . .

Meditation on OM leads to the realization of Brahma Jnana . . .

Think of nothing other than OM . May OM be the solace of your life . May OM be the solace of your past , present , and future . May you ever live immersed in the ecstasy of the Pranava .

OM is the Name of Brahman . Through proper understanding of OM and its right significance , you can find out the way to approach and realize Brahman .

May you all enter the soundless OM by transcending the sounds of the letters . May you all meditate on OM and attain the goal of life , the Ultimate Reality , Satchitananda Parabrahman . May the OM guide you . May this OM be your center , ideal , and goal .
THE PHILOSOPHY OF OM : SYMBOL OF BRAHMAN

Parabrahman , that Eternal Highest Being , the abiding place of all that lives and moves , is beyond name and definition . The Vedas have ventured to give a name to It , in order that the human may recognize and call It . A new-born child has no name , but on receiving one , will answer to it . People who are troubled by the afflictions of this world run to the Deity for refuge , and call It by the name . When Brahman is invoked through the name , that which is hidden is revealed to the aspirant .

Brahman is the highest of all . OM is Its name . So OM is to be adored . OM is everything . OM is the name or symbol of GOD , Ishwara , or Brahman . OM is your real name .

OM covers all the threefold experience of the human . OM stands for all phenomenal words . From OM this sense-universe has been projected . The world exists in OM and dissolves in OM . OM is formed by combining the letters A , U , and M .

A represents the physical plane , U represents the mental and the astral planes , the world of spirits , all heavens , and M represents all the deep sleep state and all that is unknown and beyond the reach of the intellect even in your waking .

OM therefore represents all . OM is the basis of your life , thought and intelligence . All words that denote objects are centered in OM . Hence the whole world has come from OM , rests in OM and dissolves in OM . . . All the letters of the alphabets of all languages are contained in this mysterious , sacred monosyllable OM . Therefore , it is quite proper to regard OM as the symbol or name of Brahman . . . OM only is the solid reality . OM is the soul of your breath .

OM gives peace , calmness , tranquility and serenity . This symbol brings the entire universe and all it contains in its span . . . OM includes everything we can imagine and something more , too . As such it is a fit symbol to be meditated upon . No other symbol can span so much in its embrace .

The sound produced in the flowing Ganga , the sound that is heard at a distance and that which proceeds from the bustle of a market , the sound that is produced when the fly wheel of an engine is set in motion , the sound that is caused when it rains , the sound that is produced when there is a conflagration of fire , when there is thunder , it is all OM only . You split any word , you find OM is there . OM is all-pervading like akasha ( ether ) , like Brahman .

OM is the symbol of Brahman . It is the word of power . It is the sacred monosyllable . It is the essence of all the Vedas . It is the boat to take you to the other shore of fearlessness and immortality . Meditate on OM with bhava and meaning . When you think or meditate on OM , you will have to think of Brahman , the thing signified by the symbol .

The word OM is the most appropriate name of Brahman , the Supreme Spirit . It is emblematic of Brahman , as images are of material objects . When You hear the sound " tree " , you at once understand that it has a root , stem , branches , leaves , flowers , fruits , etc .

Similarly when you hear the sound OM it denotes Satchidananda Brahman , Existence Absolute , Knowledge Absolute , Bliss Absolute . All collections of speech or words terminate in one sound : OM . All objects are denoted by sound and all sounds merge in Omkara . The whole universe comes out of OM and is absorbed in OM . Hence OM is very important . It should be worshipped . It should be chanted loudly . It should be repeated mentally with meaning and feeling . It should be meditated upon .

Why is OM taken as the symbol of Brahman ? Can we not have any other word besides OM to represent Brahman , the solid Reality , the living Truth ? OM is a mysterious and sacred syllable .

Chant OM for one hour . Chant any other word also for one hour . You will yourself feel the difference .

There is a real connection between OM , the symbol and Brahman , the thing signified by the symbol OM . Thought and word are inseparable . OM and Brahman are inseparable . When you think of the image of OM , the image will bring to your memory Brahman the thing signified . There is intimate relationship between the symbol OM and Brahman the thing signified .

OM is the common symbol . It will represent all the symbols of GOD . The common symbol OM , the basis of all sounds and all languages , represents all names and becomes the head of all names of GOD . . . Therefore worship OM . Live in OM . Meditate on OM . Merge in OM . Rejoice in OM .

IMPORTANCE OF OM

The vibration produced by chanting OM in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that first arose from the mouth of Hiranyagarbha , the Creator . Hence OM is very important .

You will find in the Bible : " In the beginning was the word , and the word was with GOD and the word was GOD " .

This is OM , the word of power . No one can exhaust the subject of this sacred Mantra OM even if they have the water of the oceans as ink and all the trees of the world as pens . Volumes have been written in the Sanskrit language on the significance of OM , the sacred and the mysterious monosyllable . . . All Vedas , all Vedanta , all the sacred scriptures of the Hindus are contained in OM.

OM is the womb for everything . This world has come out of OM , exists in OM , and dissolves in OM during the cosmic Pralaya . The creation itself is set in motion by the vibration of OM .

All colors are centered in the eye ; all tastes are centered in the tongue ; all touches are centered in the skin ; all sounds are centered in the ear ; all scents are centered in the nose ; all senses are centered in the mind ; all minds are centered in OM or Brahman , the Supreme Self , the Support for everything .

One who chants or repeats OM really repeats the sacred books of the whole world . OM is the source or the womb for all religions and scriptures of different parts of the world . OM represents the Truth , Brahman , the one Existence .

There is no worship without OM . OM is both Saguna and Nirguna ( with attributes and without attributes ) , Sakara and Nirakara ( with form and without form ) .

Pranava or OM is the greatest of all mantras . It bestows liberation directly . . . The greatness of the Omkara cannot be described by anybody . Even great sages have failed to fully describe the greatness of Pranava . There is OM in every sound .

OM is an auspicious trademark of sannyasins and Vedantins who deal with the trade of dissemination of spiritual knowledge to the world at large . It is written on the front wall of every ashram of a sannyasin . OM is used in the form of invocation or addressing in prayer or supplication . OM is the formula of imperative prayer which transmits a certain grace or virtue to the person over whom it is pronounced . Votaries of OM write OM first before they begin a letter .

BENEFITS OF OM

Rishis and sages of yore who have attained self-realization have experienced the mysterious effects of repetition or chanting of OM . Having made long researches and experiments on OM and its vibrations , they meditated on OM for a considerable period and then gave to the world OM as the right symbol of Brahman . This is not a hocus-pocus work or a juggler's trick . This is authoritative assertion of the seers . OM served as a beacon light or light-house or a safe boat for them when they sailed in the turbulent and deep unnavigable waters of this ocean of Samsara . Through OM they ascended safely to the summit of the hill of nirvikalpa samadhi , the knowledge of the Self , Brahma Jnana . You can safely rely on their teachings .

There is a mysterious inscrutable force in OM . This force tears the veils , destroys desires , cravings , and egoism and takes the aspirant to Brahman . It raises the Brahmakara Vritti ( the thought of Brahman that excludes all other thoughts ) within the sattwic mind , annihilates the mula-ajnana ( root ignorance ) and helps the meditator to rest in one's own Satchidananda swarupa ( form ) .

OM or Pranava is a sparkling ferryboat for those who have fallen into the neverending ocean of mundane life . Many have crossed this ocean of Samsara with the help of this ferryboat . You can also do so if you will . Meditate constantly on OM with bhava and meaning and realize the Self .

OM is the ladder which takes the aspirant to the loftier levels of superconsciousness and spiritual heights of splendor and glory . Meditation on OM will reveal to you the laws of the higher planes and the spiritual laws . Meditation on OM will give you liberation , immortality , courage , inner spiritual strength , supreme peace , penetrative insight , and change your very being .

You already know that in a single second radio waves travel seven times around the whole world . Mysterious indeed ! Have you ever thought of this ? Have you ever thought of the efficacy of this mysterious chanting of OM vibrations ? If this scientific fact be true , what I believe is , that the vibrations of OM chanting have travelled throughout the world .

What does Lord Krishna teach by holding the flute in Krishna's hands ? What is the symbolic philosophy of the flute ? The flute is the symbol of OM . Krishna says :

" Empty your egoism . I will play in your body-flute . You will become one with My will . Take refuge in OM . Meditate on OM . You will enter into My Being . Hear the inner soul-stirring music of the soul , music of OM , and rest in everlasting peace " .

An adept in Yoga who contemplates on OM is not affected by karmic influences or even by tens of crores ( hundreds of millions ) of sins . Whoever does japa of this mantra destroys sins . Whosoever recites OM becomes free from all sins , however sinful one may be , derives the good effects of the recitation of all the Vedas , and is freed from all the five great sins also . Such is the greatness and glory of OM , the name or symbol of Brahman . If you put unshakable faith in the glory of the name you will be freed from the bondage . If you perform any action with the utterance of OM in the beginning , middle , and end , you will attain perfection and success in the action .

WHAT IS OM ?

OM is the all-pervading sound that has come out of GOD . OM sound is the beginning of creation . OM has emanated from the cosmic vibration . OM is all in all . OM is the mystic word of power . OM is the magic word of marvellous potency . OM is the comforter and prop of all .

OM represents all names of GOD , because OM is the substratum or the matrix or the basis of all sounds or names . In OM all names or sounds or words are included . OM is the greatest of all sounds or words . OM is the ocean into which all rivers of sounds , names , and words flow .

OM is the voice of all creation . OM is guru's voice . OM is the voice of Hiranyagarbha . OM is the voice of the Vedas . OM is the basis of all sounds . OM is the cosmic sound . OM is the primal sound of the universe . OM is the priceless treasure of a student in the path of jnana yoga . OM is the password of Vedantins . OM is the passport of those who are sailing in the boat of knowledge of the Self to reach the other shore of fearlessness and immortality , Brahman .

OM is the Soul of souls . OM is the Light of lights . OM is the panacea for the destruction of sins and the dire disease of death . OM is the celestial ambrosia that confers immortality . OM is the sacred Triveni in the Trikuti . Meditate on OM . Plunge in OM . Have a dip in OM . This is the most sacred bath that will quench the fire of samsara .

OM represents the canvas or the background . The forms of this universe represent the pictures in the canvas . The canvas is real , but the picture in the canvas is unreal , because fire in the canvas cannot bum your fingers , the knife in the canvas cannot cut your fingers , the tiger in the canvas cannot bite you .

Even so , OM or Brahman is the only solid reality . The names and forms are unreal like the pictures in the canvas .

OM , the real atman , is the substratum for all the sounds , languages , body , mind , prana and senses , the karana-sharira ( subtle causal body ) and the five sheaths ( bodies ) , and this universe . Just as the substratum is an under-stratum or layer , a fundamental element , the substance in which qualities exist , so also OM is the substratum or the underlying reality in which all objects appear as waves in the ocean ( of existence ) . The waves are mere appearances . So also the forms are mere appearances . The forms are unreal . Forms are unreal in the sense that they are only relatively real , that they are changing and impermanent . In the example of the ocean and wave , the ocean alone is real .

Even so , OM or Brahman alone is real .

OM is a single syllable and of the nature of the atman . All words are simplified ( reduced or distilled ) into the one Pranava , the OM , to describe Brahman . OM is Taraka Mantra — the mantra that helps the human to cross the ocean of samsara , the mundane existence . Taraka is Brahman alone . Taraka or OM alone should be worshipped .

OM is the essence of Vedanta . OM is the highest flower of the tree of the Upanishads . OM is the root of the entire universe . OM is Akshara-Brahman . OM is the source of all words , articulations , and languages . OM is the real name of Brahman . OM is the symbolic representation of Brahman , the Immortal Self . OM is the Word of Power . OM is the Pranava . OM is the sacred monosyllable of the Vedas . OM is Udgitha . Each of the component letters of OM is a symbol of each of the aspects in which Brahman is known .

OM is the spirit , substratum , or essence . OM is the immortal Soul ( of souls ) . OM is the Holy Ghost . OM is the inner music of the Soul . OM is the music of the Silence . OM is the cream of the Upanishads . OM is the supreme pinnacle of the magnificent peak of Vedanta .

That wherein there is neither hunger nor thirst , neither sorrow nor pain , neither " you " nor " me " , neither " this " nor " that " , neither " here " nor " there " , neither yesterday nor tomorrow , neither east nor west , neither sound nor colour , neither light nor darkness , neither seer nor seen , is OM .

That imperishable Brahmic seat or ineffable splendor , that indefinable , inexhaustible , illimitable Essence which pervades the whole universe , that which is called the continuum or the residuum or the noumenon by the Western philosophers , that place where all speech stops , all thoughts cease , where the function of the intellect and all organs stop , is OM .

" OM is This " ;

" OM is the Support " ;

" One of pure desires should concentrate one's mind upon the atman through OM which is the atman " ;

" OM is Brahman " ;

" The word OM is All "

— these and a number of other texts of the Srutis ( scriptures ) clearly point out the usefulness of OM in the process of realizing Brahman , the Immortal Self . They declare that OM , Brahman , and the Atman are one and the same .

OM is the symbol and natural name of Brahman . Chanting of OM , japa of OM , singing of OM and meditation on OM , purify the mind , remove the tossing of the mind , destroy the veil of ignorance and help the aspirant to merge in Brahman .

All mantras begin with OM . All Upanishads begin with OM . All religious ideas are centered in OM . The breath sings always OM , the song of infinity and immortality . Thought of OM elevates the minds of all . The Christians and the Hebrews end their prayers with " Amen " which is a modification of OM . The Muslims end their prayers with " Amin " , also a modification of OM . The Mandukya Upanishad , Mundaka Upanishad , Chandogya Upanishad , Prashna Upanishad , Katha Upanishad , the Gita and Brahma Sutras sing the glory of OM .

OM is your very life . OM is your very breath . OM is the life of the Vedas . OM is the life of all mantras . OM is the basis of this world . OM is everything . OM is a common ( ie , universal ) mantra . OM is the common property of all . All the various significances are centered in OM . OM represents the Deity or the Soul of all religions and faiths , cults and schools . It should be accepted by everyone .

Just as the rope is the substratum of the snake and just as Brahman is the substratum of prana , mind , senses , and the body , so also OM is the substratum or cause of the whole . Therefore all is OM .

COMPOSITION of OM

OM is called Pranava , because it runs through Prana or the vital force and pervades life .

The rhythm of repetition of OM causes stillness in the mind . Chanting of OM , silent Japa of OM and meditation on OM set up harmonious vibrations in the mind or subtle body , elevate the mind to magnanimous heights of divine splendor and eventually raise the consciousness to the state of turiya wherein the meditator loses one's individual consciousness and merges oneself into the Supreme Soul , the all-pervading Brahmic Consciousness .

That which is OM is the imperishable , immutable noumenon , the Supreme Brahman . OM includes the experiences of the human in the three states , viz , waking state , dreaming state and deep sleep state . OM stands for all the manifested and unmanifested planes .

It signifies the one Self beyond names and forms , That which is , was and will be for ever .

The primary meaning of Pranava is the Supreme One which is known to be of the nature of undivided Existence-knowledge-bliss Absolute ( Satchidananda ) . This enables now to get over to the other shore of the ocean of Samsara . . . Meditation on this Pranava in the form of muttered prayer ( japa ) is useful for attaining krama-mukti ( progressive emancipation ) . This is subordinate . But the abstract meditation on this is the best . The meanings of other names used by devotees are included in the meaning of Pranava .

MEDITATION ON OM 1

OM is your best companion in life because it gives you immortality and eternal Bliss . OM is your Sadguru . OM is your guide and preceptor . Therefore , keep company or constant satsanga with OM by practising japa of OM , chanting of OM , smarana ( remembrance ) of OM , chintana ( reflection ) of OM , manana ( continual thinking ) of OM , vichara ( inquiry into the nature ) of OM , and meditation of OM .

Japa of OM is constant repetition of OM either verbally , mentally , or in a humming manner . Chanting of OM is loud repetition . Smarana of OM is remembrance of OM or Brahman . Chintana of OM is thinking of OM . Manana is reflection on OM . Vichara of OM is enquiry into the nature of Brahman . Meditation of OM is nididhyasana ( profound and deep meditation ) on the invisible , immortal Self with advaita ( non-dual ) bhava or feeling :

" I am pure consciousness " .

This feeling should go deep into the very core of your heart . Every cell , every pore of your body , every atom , every molecule , every nerve , every fibre , every drop of blood , every artery , every vein should powerfully vibrate or pulsate with this sacred , soul-elevating , sublime feeling . When you chant OM or meditate on OM or sing OM , feel that you are one with the supreme Self . Transcend the world of names and forms and identify yourself with the all-pervading pure Consciousness .

CHANTING OF OM

Chant OM from the very bottom of your heart with profound feeling . When chanting OM , knowing its omniscience , omnipotence and omnipresence , feel that OM gushes forth with its true colour , from every nerve , every vein , every cell , every atom , every molecule , every electron and the very blood corpuscles of your body . Pour forth OM vibrations into the world with mighty vigor , speed , force and strength . Get ready now for recharging . Now roar like a lion of Vedanta and chant OM .

The mysterious vibrations produced by the chanting of OM will produce one-pointedness of mind and harmony in the annamaya , pranamaya and manomaya Koshas ( food sheath , vital sheath , and mental sheath ) and make the mind in tune with the Infinite .

Drive away evil thoughts by chanting OM . Draw inspiration , power , and strength by singing OM . Get one-pointedness of mind by doing japa of OM . Melt the mind in Brahman by meditating on OM and rest in your own Satchidananda Swarupa . May that OM guide you , protect you , elevate you , take you to the goal , and free you .

Whenever you feel depressed , whenever you get a little headache , take a brisk walk and chant OM while walking . While chanting OM feel that your entire being is filled with divine energy . Chanting of OM is a potent , easily available tonic and specific for all diseases . OM is a panacea or sovereign remedy for all ailments . Try this prescription yourself and feel the miraculous effects of this divine medicine . Just as you take medicine , take recourse to the chanting of OM . Brahman , the Atman , is one with OM . Chanting of OM means going near to the source and tapping the cosmic energy which is inexhaustible .

When you chant OM feel : " All health I am " . All pathogenic or disease-causing germs are destroyed or burnt by the vibrations of OM . You can chant OM while sitting on any comfortable asana in your room for the purpose of regaining , maintaining or improving your health .

|MEDITATION ON OM 2

Meditation on OM with feeling and meaning leads to realization of Self . This is the Vedantic Sadhana . This is Jnana Yoga .

Meditation is the keeping up of the continuous flow of one idea of Brahman in the mind like the flow of oil from one vessel to another vessel .

When you chant or sing OM , melt the mind in the Immortal Self .

One who meditates on OM becomes a spiritual dynamo . One radiates joy , peace , and power to those who come in contact . One fills the world with spiritual vibrations ; becomes a channel for the inflow of spiritual force or divine energy ; knows the relationship between the universe and the human , between humans , between the human and Brahman ; and beholds the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self eventually . The whole mystery of creation and the riddle of this universe are revealed unto one , like amalaka fruit in the hand . One becomes a spiritual hero in the adhyatmic battlefield who has won the laurels of knowledge of Self by gaining victory over the mind and senses, the enemies of knowledge and peace .

The goal can only be attained through meditation on this mystic symbol , OM . Meditation on OM is the only real , royal road to the attainment of salvation . Meditation kills all pains , sufferings and sorrows . Meditation destroys all causes of sorrow . Meditation give vision of unity . Meditation induces sense of oneness . Meditation is a balloon or parachute or the airplane that helps the aspirant to soar high into the realms of eternal bliss , everlasting peace and undying joy .

It is to attain the different samadhis that this Pranava is useful . . . The Sannyasins , are ordained to meditate on the Pranava for this very reason . They have already reached a high stage and meditation on OM raises them further and ultimately they become Paramahansas .

Thou art OM . Rest in OM . Live in OM . Become that OM . OM is thy sweet immortal abode , the original home of indescribable effulgence or lustre .

Meditate on OM as silence , an embodiment of peace . This is abstract or subtle meditation ( sukshma dhyana ) .

Meditate on OM with the feeling : " I am an embodiment of silence or peace " .

This is Vedantic Nirguna meditation or Ahamgraha Upasana ( meditation on identity with the Self ) . Meditate on OM as an embodiment of bliss or ananda . This is also abstract meditation .

Meditate on OM with the bhava : " I am an embodiment of bliss " . This is Ahamgraha Upasana .

May the Divine Flame ( of OM ) grow brighter in you all ! May the Divine Light ( of OM ) lighten the spiritual path . May ( the ) Divine Glory ( of OM ) shine on you for ever . May peace and harmony fill your hearts , minds and the cells of your very being !

|COMMENTS ON THE MANDUKYOPANISHAD

OM , the Pranava , the Omkara , is the only symbol of Brahman , the Absolute .

The sacred monosyllable OM is the only name of Brahman , the Supreme Soul . Brahman is nameless but in the relative plane a name is necessary for giving instructions to the aspirants . Even the highest Brahman is realized by means of a name only .

" OM is this " ;

" OM is the support " ;

" OM is Brahman " ;

" OM is the Akshara , the Immortal " ;

" OM is the Atman " ;

" OM is pure Chaitanya Consciousness " ;

" The word OM is all "

" One should , with purity of heart , fix one's mind on the Atman through OM which is the Atman "

— these texts of the Upanishads declare that OM and Brahma are one and the same .

The famous Mantra of Sri Guru Nanak begins with :

" Sat Nam Ek Omkar " , ie , " The True Name is the One : OM " .

Brahman willed . There was Brahma-sankalpa : " May I become many " .

There was a spanda, vibration. Then creation began . This original vibration or sound-symbol is OM. This OM is the most universal , all-inclusive sound . All names are not different from OM , because OM is the basis or matrix for all sounds , words and names . Therefore , it is proper to say that all this is indeed OM .

OM is the right symbol of Brahman . Through OM alone you will have to approach Brahman . Just as heat is inseparable from fire , just as fragrance is inseparable from the flower , so also OM is inseparable from Brahman . OM is a means to the knowledge of Brahman . OM is the means by which the Immortal Self , denoted by OM , is realized . OM is very intimately related to Brahman . OM is very near to Brahman . OM is in the vicinity of Brahman . If you know OM , you know Brahman also .

Therefore it is very necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of OM . A clear explanation of OM is very essential . A very lucid and elaborate explanation is given in this Upanishad . The method of approach to Brahman through the sacred monosyllable OM is very clearly enunciated in this remarkable Upanishad which is an abridgment or a short summary of all the one hundred and eight Upanishads .

Just as an object is known through its names , so also Brahman , the Supreme Self , is known through OM alone . If anyone utters the words , " that is a mango tree " , you at once know all about the mango tree , its leaves , flowers , fruits , nature of the fruits , benefits of the fruits , etc , through the name " mango tree " . Just as you know all about mango through the name " mango " , so also you can know all about Brahman through OM alone . Therefore , Brahman is indeed OM . Brahman , the Atman , Chaitanya , Purushottama , Swarupa , Supreme Self , and OM are identical .

The sacred monosyllable OM denotes the all-pervading immortal , indivisible , self-luminous , unchanging Brahman , the Supreme Self of which it is a name .

All that is subject to the threefold time such as past , present and future ( manifold ) is verily OM or Brahman . All that is beyond the triple conceptions of time and yet present in Consciousness through its effects , is also verily OM , is not apart from OM . Brahman is denoted by the word OM . Brahman is above the three periods of time . Therefore , OM also is beyond the three periods of time . That which is beyond three periods of time , is OM alone . OM means literally that by which everything is pervaded . This word OM is woven in Brahman like warp and woof and , therefore , denotes Brahman . That which enters into everything is OM .

Brahman is one with OM . The Atman is one with OM .

OM is of the same nature as the higher Brahman without attributes as well as the lower Brahman with attributes .

This Atman called OM is Para ( higher ) Brahman as well as Apara ( lower ) Brahman .

In this first mantra ( verse of the Upanishad ) , it is said that OM the word is all this . In this mantra it is said " All this is verily Brahman " . This clearly denotes that OM is Brahman .

All this is verily Brahman : All — the manifested and the unmanifested world comprised in the word " All " — is Brahman . All that has been declared to consist of OM in the above mantra is Brahman . In the previous text the whole of the objective manifestation has been said to be of the form of OM or Brahman .

Meditation on OM helps the aspirant in the attainment of self-realization or the final realization of Brahman . Just as the rope is realized when the illusion of snake vanishes , so also Brahman Who is OM is realized when the illusion of duality or avidya ( ignorance ) disappears through the attainment of knowledge of the Self .

 OMKARA PRANAM MANTRA

" The Yogis always meditate upon Omkara which has an anusvara ( bindu ) on it ( and is therefore pronounced OM ) . This Omkara is the bestower of all desires and salvation . We bow down to the Supreme Omkara . "
 OMKARA SMARANA STOTRA

1 . The Supreme Brahman is attained by the devoted contemplation , hearing , japa , and sankirtan of OM at all times .

2 . By the mere thought ( smaran , remembrance ) of OM one attains the highest Brahma Jnana ( Knowledge of GOD ) , the state of final Liberation and Immortality .

3 . One who meditates on the Pranava in a continuous stream of thought like that of oil poured from one vessel to another or the continuous sound ( resonance ) of a bell , such a person should be considered as the knower of the Vedas .

4 . By the long repetition of OM the knower of the Supreme Reality , whose refuge is solitude , overcomes the wandering of the mind due to the taint in the intellect .

5 . Concentrating on the tip of the nose with hands and feet controlled , the mind withdrawn from all activities , one should meditate on Omkara , the Pranava .

6 . By the meditation on the monosyllable OM , Vishnu attains the status of Vishnu ; Brahma attains Brahmanhood and Shiva becomes Shiva.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Discrimination of the Mahavakyas by Swami Krishananda

Discrimination of the Mahavakyas 
(the great statements of Upanishads)

extract from the book The Philosophy of the Panchadasi
by Swami Krishnananda

Swami Krishnananda
There are four Mahavakyas, or great statements in the Upanishads, which have a profound significance as pointers to Reality. They are: (1) Prajnanam Brahma – Consciousness is Brahman; (2) Aham Brahmasmi – I am Brahman: (3) Tat Tvam Asi – That Thou Art; (4) Ayam Atma Brahma – This Self is Brahman.
These Mahavakyas convey the essential teaching of the Upanishads, namely, Reality is one, and the individual is essentially identical with it.
  

‘ Prajnanam Brahma’  / ‘Consciousness is Brahman’  /Aitareya Upanishad

In the sentence, ‘ Prajnanam Brahma’ or Consciousness is Brahman, a definition of Reality is given. The best definition of Brahman would be to give expression to its supra-essential essence, and not to describe it with reference to accidental attributes, such as creatorship etc. That which is ultimately responsible for all our sensory activities, as seeing, hearing, etc., is Consciousness. Though Consciousness does not directly see or hear, it is impossible to have these sensory operations without it. Hence it should be considered as the final meaning of our mental and physical activities. Brahman is that which is Absolute, fills all space, is complete in itself, to which there is no second, and which is continuously present in everything, from the creator down to the lowest of matter. It, being everywhere, is also in each and every individual. This is the meaning of Prajnanam Brahma occurring in the Aitareya Upanishad. 

‘Aham Brahmasmi,’ /  ‘I Am Brahman’Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

In the sentence, ‘Aham Brahmasmi,’ or I am Brahman, the ‘I’ is that which is the One Witnessing Consciousness, standing apart form even the intellect, different from the ego-principle, and shining through every act of thinking, feeling, etc. This Witness-Consciousness, being the same in all, is universal, and cannot be distinguished from Brahman, which is the Absolute. Hence the essential ‘I’ which is full, super-rational and resplendent, should be the same as Brahman. This is not the identification of the limited individual ‘I’ with Brahman, but it is the Universal Substratum of individuality that is asserted to be what it is. The copula ‘am’ does not signify any empirical relation between two entities, but affirms the non-duality of essence. This dictum is from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

‘ Tat Tvam Asi’  / ‘That Thou Art’Chhandogya Upanishad

In the Chhandogya Upanishad occurs the Mahavakya, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ or ‘That thou art’. Sage Uddalaka mentions this nine times, while instructing his disciple Svetaketu in the nature of Reality. That which is one alone without a second, without name and form, and which existed before creation, as well as after creation, as pure Existence alone, is what is referred to as Tat or That, in this sentence. The term Tvam stands for that which is in the innermost recesses of the student or the aspirant, but which is transcendent to the intellect, mind, senses, etc., and is the real ‘I’ of the student addressed in the teaching. The union of Tat and Tvam is by the term Asi or are. That Reality is remote is a misconception, which is removed by the instruction that it is within one’s own self. The erroneous notion that the Self is limited is dispelled by the instruction that it is the same as Reality. 

‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ /  ‘This Self is Brahman’ / Mandukya Upanishad

The Mahavakya, ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ or ‘This Self is Brahman’, occurs in the Mandukya Upanishad. ‘ Ayam’ means ‘this’, and here ‘thisness’ refers to the self-luminous and non-mediate nature of the Self, which is internal to everything, from the Ahamkara or ego down to the physical body. This Self is Brahman, which is the substance out of which all things are really made. That which is everywhere, is also within us, and what is within us is everywhere. This is called ‘Brahman’, because it is plenum, fills all space, expands into all existence, and is vast beyond all measure of perception or knowledge. On account of self-luminosity, non-relativity and universality, Atman and Brahman are the same. This identification of the Self with Absolute is not any act of bringing together two differing natures, but is an affirmation that absoluteness or universality includes everything, and there is nothing outside it.

SOURCE: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/panch/panch_05.html

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TAT TVAM ASI / 'That you are' ~ Atman Nityananda

 TAT TVAM ASI  /  'That you are'

TAT* TVAM ASI is one of the great Mahavakyas or great statements in the Upanishads, which have a profound significance as pointers to Reality. It is used for advaita meditation without form.

Note: The word 'Tat’* translated as 'That' is referred to Brahman, the ultimate absolute reality which the essence and the source of all universe.

'Tat Tvam Asi’ means ‘That thou art’ or 'That you are'. or 'That I am'.

Attention! Tat Tvam Asi’ doesn't mean 'you are That' but 'That you are'!

What is the difference? You, the small egocentric personality, you are not the Brahman, but Brahman is what you really are. Brahman is what you really are and this person that you think you are is a manifestation of Brahman.

Thus if you want to meditate on this Mahavakya don’t make the mistake to consider yourself (the egocentric body-mind entity) as Brahman. You have to discard this small self and identify with your essence, the ever present silence within which is eternal existence, pure consciousness or awareness and bliss.

Everything you perceive you are not! This includes your body, vital energy, emotions, feelings, sensations, thoughts, perceptions, imaginations. What you are is not perceivable, it is pure subjectivity. You only can Be this, you cannot perceive it.

What you think you are which appears to be a subject is also an object in consciousness or Brahman. Your ego, the ‘Iness or this sense ‘I am the body, ‘I perceive, ‘I see, ‘I hear, ‘I feel etc. which appears to be a subject perceiving the objects through senses it is also an object in consciousness.

Your body is an object, your energy is an object, your mind is an object, your intellect is an object and your egoity or the sense I am the body, or I am a person is an object. What you are is the permanent substratum of all these appearanses, the eternal subject that all these appear. This substratum is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, ever present, self-existent, self-luminous, ever peaceful and blissful and is what the Upanishads call as Atman or Brahman, and religions as Shiva, God, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah etc.

Realize this and live the peace, bliss and freedom of your eternal divine nature!


Monday, July 25, 2016

MEDITATION ON THE MAHAVAKYA Aham brahmasmi (I am Brahman)


MEDITATION ON THE MAHAVAKYA Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman)
  from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Yajur Veda

AHAM BRAHMASMI means I am Brahman, What I really am, is that absolute reality
~~~~
Meditation on Aham Brahma Asmi: Constantly feel that you are the Suddha Sat-Chit-Ananda Vyapaka Brahman (Pure, Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute, All-Pervading Brahman), when you repeat mentally: "Aham Brahma Asmi." Lip repetition will not produce much benefit. You must intensely feel from the subjective heart. Gradually, you will be taken to superconscious state through deep feeling.

Sit in your Asana on a fourfold blanket. Face North or East and constantly feel:

1. Infinity I am.

2. Eternity I am.

3. Immortality I am.

~ Swami Sivananda

~~~~~~

LISTEN THE MANTRA 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A COMMENTARY FROM SWAMI KRISHNANANDA

Aham brahmāsmi. Who is this aham? The deepest Consciousness in us, which is more internal than any of the sheaths that we have—Consciousness which is aware of the five sheaths, the nature of which we have studied in the First Chapter of the Panchadasi—verily is aham, ‘I’. “I am coming.” “I am here.” “It is I.” When we make statements like this, to what ‘I’ do we actually refer? Not this body, as the First Chapter and the Third Chapter have clarified this subject very well.

The physical body, the vital body, the mental body, the intellectual body and the causal body cannot be Consciousness; therefore, they cannot be ‘I’. The body is not the ‘I’; the breath, the mind, the sense organs, the intellect, and the causal sheath are also not the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is that which is aware of an absence of all things in the state of deep sleep. That awareness which knows nothing external to itself but still is, in the state of deep sleep, is our real nature.

Our real nature is not to be seen in the waking state, in which we identify with the five sheaths. Our real nature is seen only in deep sleep, in which we are dissociated from all objects. That real Consciousness which is uncontaminated by association with the bodies, and therefore incapable of division into parts, and therefore everywhere—that is aham. “I am coming.” This ‘I’ is actually the Universal Being asserting itself, not the body.

Aham brahmāsmi—the meaning of ‘I’, or Brahman, in the individual has been explained. What is this ‘I’? What is aham? Aham brahmāsmi: I am Brahman. Now, what is Brahman? How can we be Brahman unless Brahman itself is in us? Here is a great danger in immature students chanting this mantra: aham brahmāsmi. It should not be like an ant saying “I am an elephant”. Even if an ant always says it is an elephant, it cannot become an elephant merely because it chants that.

“I am Rockefeller.” If we go on saying that, we do not become rich. What is the good of chanting mantras? We must be able to understand their meaning. This verse in the Panchadasi takes pains to explain that this aham, ‘I’, is not Mr. so-and-so. It is not the ‘I’ which is visible here. So do not say that “I am Brahman” means “I, this person sitting here, is Brahman”. This is not the meaning of the mantra. We are not to be identified with the Universal Being as an individual. The Universal alone can be identified with the Universal. The Universal in us is identical with the Universal that is everywhere. That is the meaning of aham brahmāsmi. It does not mean that one person is equal to Brahman. Such mistakes should not be committed; it is an immaturity and enthusiasm of thought. Otherwise, we will have suffering afterwards.

That which is self-sufficient, svataḥ pūrṇaḥ, the Supreme Self, all-pervading in nature, which is called Brahman, is identified with this very same Universal present in the individuals also. The identity-consciousness of these two is called asmi, “I am”. This verb, this copula as we call it, I-am-ness, is only a conjunction, a link that is there between the Universality appearing to be in us and the Universality that is everywhere. The space in the pot is identical with the space that is everywhere. Inasmuch as there is no such thing as space inside the pot, there is also no personality of the individual. So we should not say that “I am Brahman” means this person is Brahman. It is the Universal getting identified with the Universal, God being conscious of God. That is aham brahmāsmi. Be careful in knowing its true meaning. Otherwise, you will run into trouble.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Yoga is merging in the Self / LOVE-BLISS

Yoga is merging in the Self

 The warding off is to break the identifications and thus disperse ignorance. This is the kaivalya of the seer. (II, 25)

“Kaivalya” literally means “aloneness”; it is a metaphor for pure being, for residing in the Self. It also refers to the Self as pure awareness and the Selfs ability to be aware of fluctuations of the mind without becoming identified with them. This is what is called witnessing. Later Patanjali describes the situation where kaivalya arrises:

Kaivalya (is attained) when the principle of sattva is as pure as the Self. (III, 56)


Sattva is one of the the basic forces of nature, known as gunas (Sattva-Rajas-Tamas). Sattva is characterized as being “stainless, lucid and healthy” (Bhagavad Gitā, XIV, 6). The same verse of Bhagavad Gitā continues: “Sattva binds by attachment to happiness and attachment to knowledge”. What is meant in Patanjali’s sutra is that the mind should not only be sattvic, but that it should be as pure as the Self and permeated with the Self. Simply making the mind sattvic is not enough.

This all leads to a deeper understanding of Patanajali’s initial definition of yoga as “removal of the fluctuations of the mind”. We have now learned that yoga is to ward off identifications between the pure awareness of the Self and the objects of this awareness. We have also learned that yoga is to purify the mind so it becomes sattvic and then purify the sattvic mind by permeating it with the Self.  
We can thus understand that the removal of the fluctuations of the mind is not accomplished by will and subtle force. It is ultimately accomplished by removing identifications and by dissolving the mind into the Self, but in order to accomplish this dissolution, the mind must first be sattvic. What, then, is a sattvic mind? It is a mind longing for wisdom, and is happy, lucid and healthy. But also it is a mind without fluctuations; thus we come full circle back to Patanjali’s initial definition of yoga as removal of the fluctuations of the mind. We therefore arrive at:

Yoga is merging in the Self, removal of identifications and removal of fluctuations of the mind.

SOURCE: http://lovebliss.eu/patanjali-s-definition-of-yoga.html

Friday, July 22, 2016

Aham and Aham-Vritti / Sri Ramana Maharshi


Aham and Aham-Vritti  /  Ego and ego Vritti*
In fourteen chapters of the Maharshi's Gospel, Sri Ramana Maharshi answers the full range of doubts that could arise in any seeker that aspires to tread this royal path to eternal freedom. These pointed and well articulated questions are said to be primarily the work of Maurice Frydman. The Maharshi had once commented that Maurice did not ask the questions of the Maharshi's Gospel for his own benefit, implying that these recorded dialogues have an inher value of benefit for generations of earnest seekers the world over. The book, which covers relevant topics and explanations not found elsewhere, was first published in 1939, on Sri Ramana's 60th Birth Anniversary.

Bhagavan Ramana did not just resuscitate the ancient path of Self-enquiry, he, from his own experience, expounded on every aspect of it, clarifying and molding it into an undisputable rational formula that any deep thinking mind can easily grasp and follow. In addition to this, he infused it with his grace and his guiding personality to assist those who follow his path and take refuge in him.

One chapter of particular interest in Maharshi's Gospel (Download pdf  here) is Chapter 6 of Book II, titled "Aham and Aham-Vritti" In it, twenty questions are put to the Maharshi in which he says at one point, the mind becomes introverted through enquiry into the source of aham-vritti (the 'I-thought'), the vasanas become extinct, and in the absence of the reflecting medium, the phenomenon of reflection, namely, the mind, also disappears being absorbed into the light of the one Reality, the Heart. This is the sum and substance of all that an aspirant needs to know.

In spite of this unassailable statement, the questioner continues to dissect the process of how an enquiry into the "I-thought", which is inherently unreal, can reveal the Reality. The Master patiently answers him, eloquently covering every point of doubt. Contemplating these sublime answers, imbibing their innate truth and experiencing the Essence is certainly the foremost duty of every devotee of the Master. 

Aham and Aham-Vritti

D. How can any enquiry initiated by the ego reveal its own unreality?

Maharshi. The ego's phenomenal existence is transcended when you dive into the Source wherefrom arises the aham-vritti.

D. But is not the aham-vritti only one of the three forms in which the ego manifests itself? Yoga Vasishtha and other ancient texts describe the ego as having a threefold form.

Maharshi. It is so. The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, the subtle and the causal, but that is only for the purposes of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on the ego's form, you might take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for purposes of jnana-vichara, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of aham-vritti.

D. But it may prove inadequate for realizing jnana.

Maharshi. Self-enquiry, by following the clue of aham-vritti is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant, unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master's scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears or his build and stature, etc., counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.

D. The question still remains why the quest for the source of aham-vritti, as distinguished from other vrittis, should be considered the direct means to Self-realization.

Maharshi. The word "aham" is itself very suggestive. The two letters of the word, namely A (A) and H (HA), are the first and the last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The suggestion intended to be conveyed by the word is that it comprises all. How? Because aham signifies existence itself.

Although the concept of "I"-ness or "I-am"-ness is by usage known as aham-vritti, it is not really a vritti like the other vrittis of the mind. Because unlike the other vrittis which have no essential interrelation, the aham-vritti is equally and essentially related to each and every vritti of the mind. Without the aham-vritti there can be no other vritti, but the aham-vritti can subsist by itself without depending on any other vritti of the mind. The aham-vritti is therefore fundamentally different from other vrittis.

So then, the search for the source of the aham-vritti is not merely the search for the basis of one of the forms of the ego but for the very Source itself from which arises the "I-am"-ness. In other words, the quest for and the realization of the source of the ego in the form of aham-vritti necessarily implies the transcendence of the ego in every one of its possible forms.

D. Conceding that the aham-vritti essentially comprises all the forms of the ego, why should that vritti alone be chosen as the means for Self-enquiry?

Maharshi. Because it is the one irreducible datum of your experience; because seeking its source is the only practicable course you can adopt to realize the Self. The ego is said to have a causal body, but how can you make it the subject of your investigation? When the ego adopts that form, you are immersed in the darkness of sleep.

D. But is not the ego in its subtle and causal forms too intangible to be tackled through the enquiry into the source of aham-vritti conducted while the mind is awake?

Maharshi. No. The enquiry into the source of aham-vritti touches the very existence of the ego. Therefore the subtlety of the ego's form is not a material consideration.

D. While the one aim is to realize the unconditioned, pure Being of the Self, which is in no way dependent on the ego, how can enquiry pertaining to the ego in the form of aham-vritti be of any use?

Maharshi. From the functional point of view, the form of the ego or its activity (whatever you may call it is immaterial, since it is evanescent), has one and only one characteristic. The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called the chit-jada granthi. In your investigation into the source of aham-vritti, you take the essential chit aspect of the ego: and for this reason the enquiry must lead to the realization of the pure consciousness of the Self.

D. What is the relation between the pure consciousness realized by the jnani and the "I-am"-ness which is accepted as the primary datum of experience?

Maharshi. The undifferentiated consciousness of pure Being is the heart or hridayam which you really are, as signified by the word itself (hrit + ayam = heart am I). From the heart arises the 'I am'-ness as the primary datum of one's experience. By itself it is suddha-sattva in character. It is in this suddha-sattva svarupa (that is, uncontaminated by rajas and tamas), that the 'I' appears to subsist in the jnani".

D. In the jnani the ego subsists in the sattvic form and therefore it appears as something real. Am I right?

Maharshi. No. The existence of the ego in any form, either in the jnani or ajnani, is itself an appearance. But to the ajnani who is deluded into thinking that the waking state and the world are real, the ego also appears to be real. Since he sees the jnani act like other individuals, he feels constrained to posit some notion of individuality with reference to the jnani also.

D. How then does the aham-vritti function in the jnani?

Maharshi. It does not function in him at all. The jnani's lakshya is the heart itself, because he is one and identical with that undifferentiated, pure consciousness referred to by the Upanishads as the Prajnana. Prajnana is verily Brahman, the Absolute, and there is no Brahman other than Prajnana.

D. How then does ignorance of this one and only Reality unhappily arise in the case of the ajnani?

Maharshi. The ajnani sees only the mind which is a mere reflection of the light of pure Consciousness arising from the heart. Of the heart itself he is ignorant. Why? Because his mind is extroverted and has never sought its Source.

D. What prevents the infinite, undifferentiated light of Consciousness arising from the heart from revealing itself to the ajnani?

Maharshi. Just as water in the pot reflects the enormous sun within the narrow limits of the pot, even so the vasanas or latent tendencies of the mind of the individual, acting as the reflecting medium, catch the all-pervading, infinite light of Consciousness arising from the heart and present in the form of a reflection the phenomenon called the mind. Seeing only this reflection, the ajnani is deluded into the belief that he is a finite being, the jiva.

If the mind becomes introverted through enquiry into the source of aham-vritti, the vasanas become extinct, and in the absence of the reflecting medium the phenomenon of reflection, namely, the mind, also disappears being absorbed into the light of the one Reality, the Heart.

This is the sum and substance of all that an aspirant needs know. What is imperatively required of him is an earnest and one-pointed enquiry into the source of aham-vritti.

D. But any endeavor he may make is limited to the mind in the waking state. How can such enquiry conducted in only one of the three states of the mind destroy the mind itself?

Maharshi. Enquiry into the source of aham-vritti is, no doubt, initiated by the sadhaka in the waking state of the mind. It cannot be said that in him the mind has been destroyed. But the process of Self-enquiry will itself reveal that the alter-nation or transmutation of the three states of the mind, as well as the three states themselves, belongs to the world of phenomena which cannot affect his intense, inward enquiry. Self-enquiry is really possible only through intense introversion of the mind. What is finally realized as a result of such enquiry into the source of aham-vritti, is verily the heart as the undifferentiated light of pure Consciousness, into which the reflected light of the mind is completely absorbed.

D. For the jnani, then, there is no distinction between the three states of mind?

Maharshi. How can there be, when the mind itself is dissolved and lost in the light of Consciousness?

For the jnani all the three states are equally unreal. But the ajnani is unable to comprehend this, because for him the standard of reality is the waking state, whereas for the jnani the standard of Reality is Reality itself. This Reality of pure Consciousness is eternal by its nature and therefore subsists equally during what you call waking, dreaming and sleep. To him who is one with that Reality, there is neither the mind nor its three states, and therefore, neither introversion nor extroversion.

His is the ever-waking state, because he is awake to the eternal Self; his is the ever dreaming state, because to him the world is no better than a repeatedly presented phenomenon of dream; his is the ever-sleeping state, because he is at all times without the "body-am-I" consciousness.

D. Should I then consider Sri Bhagavan as talking to me in a waking-dreaming-sleeping state?

Maharshi. Because your conscious experience is now limited to the duration of the extroversion of the mind, you call the present moment the waking state, whereas all the while your mind has been asleep to the Self, and therefore you are now really fast asleep.

D. To me sleep is a mere blankness.

Maharshi. That is so, because your waking state is a mere effervescence of the restless mind.

D. What I mean by blankness is that I am hardly aware of anything in my sleep; it is for me the same as non- existence.

Maharshi. But you did exist during sleep.

D. If I did, I was not aware of it.

Maharshi. You do not mean to say in all seriousness you ceased to exist during your sleep! (Laughing). If you went to sleep as Mr. X, did you get up from it as Mr. Y?

D. I know my identity, perhaps, by an act of memory.

Maharshi. Granting that, how is it possible unless there is a continuity of awareness?

D. But I was unaware of that awareness.

Maharshi. No. Who says you are unaware in sleep? It is your mind. But there was no mind in your sleep? Of what value is the testimony of the mind about your existence or experience during sleep? Seeking the testimony of the mind to disprove your existence or awareness during sleep is just like calling your son's evidence to disprove your birth!

Do you remember, I told you once previously that existence and awareness are not two different things but one and the same? Well, if for any reason you feel constrained to admit the fact that you existed in sleep be sure you were also aware of that existence.

What you were really unaware of in sleep is your bodily existence. You are confounding this bodily awareness with the true Awareness of the Self which is eternal. Prajnana, which is the Source of "I-am"-ness, ever subsists unaffected by the three transitory states of the mind, thus enabling you to retain your identity unimpaired.

Prajnana is also beyond the three states, because it can subsist without them and in spite of them. It is that Reality that you should seek during your so-called waking state by tracing the aham-vritti to its Source. Intense practice in this enquiry will reveal that the mind and its three states are unreal and that you are the eternal, infinite consciousness of pure Being, the Self or the Heart. 

SOURCE:  http://www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2009/jul-aug

NOTE:

Vritti* : Vritti means a whirl-pool. Vrittis are modifications of the mind. It is a wave of thought that arises in the Antahkarana (the fourfold inner instrument/ manas, chitta, buddhi, Ahamkara). ~ Swami Sivananda

The vritti is not referred only to thought but aslo to emotion. feeling and imagination, because all these are modifications of the mind.
Thus when Ramana Maharshi is referred to Aham-vritti this doesn't reffer only to the thought I' but also to the emotional part of I'. The ego is not functioning only when we think the thought I' but almost continuosly creating the sense of I-ness which we identify with the body.

Thus when we perceive we have the sense I' perceive', I' see', I' hear', I' taste' etc.. When thoughts arise in the mind we sense I' think, when emotions, feelings or sensations arise I' feel', when the body acts I' do' etc.

The ego is almost always present in us as a strong sense that we are the body, the perceiver, the enjoyer and the feeler of the various experiences. In self-enquiry we must introvert our mind and our attention in order to trace this strong sense of I-ness to its source. How to do this?  Ramana Maharshi gives his own way, Nisargadatta suggests his own way which is to stay aware of the I am. Each one must do the enquiry based on their instructions but what is most important is to find finally his own way to apply it.






Sunday, July 17, 2016

Enlightenment or Liberation (Moksha) . Sri Ramana Maharshi


Enlightenment or Liberation (Moksha)

Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri:
Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri: For Moksha (release from the bondage of samsara) sadhana (i.e., means to be adopted for practice) has to be considered. Some seem to opine that all that is necessary is Satyaa-satya viveka, the (careful) discrimination between what is ultimate truth or reality and what is not such truth or reality. Is that sufficient? Or is it necessary to adopt other means also? Maharshi: Moksha is release from bondage; bondage is really ignorance; and ignorance can only be expelled by enlightenment. If the expulsion is to be complete and permanent, the enlightenment also must be complete and permanent. That is, one must always remain realizing That. Remaining in the realization of That is termed Atmanishta. This alone removes all bondage, that is, secures Moksha.

K.G.S.: But is not viveka the means to secure Atmanishta?

Maharshi: Viveka is the discrimination of the (eternal) Real from the unreal. It helps to secure vairagya, dispassion or freedom from emotions such as joy, sorrow, etc., which disturb the placidity and equanimity of one's mind, and thus viveka proves to be a useful and a necessary preparation for attaining Atmanishta, i.e. firmness in Jnana (Enlightenment.) The knowledge of Satya or the Real secured by viveka (discrimination) is not the same as (but only the basis of) Jnana (Enlightenment) or Atmanishta (i.e., firm self-realization). The former is still in the stage of chitta-vritti, an intellectual process, while the latter is not that at all, but is intuition, something in which the chitta (mind or intellect) has ceased its activities. The former state still retains the duality of reality and unreality, and the contrast between the two. In the latter, i.e., the state of the Jnani, all contrasts and duality are swallowed up and there is only ineffable Realization. The intellectual viveki knows and reasons mediately (paroksha). The intuitive Jnani feels the truth, the Real, directly and immediately (aparoksha). The Jnani is not like the intellectual viveki. He regards the Jagat (Visvam), i.e., the phenomenal universe, as unreal, or as in no way different from himself, the Self.

K.G.S.: Is sastra charcha, the study and exploration of scripture, sufficient to attain Moksha, or should one seek the aid of a Guru and practice meditation (i.e., upasana) to attain Jnana (realization)?

Maharshi: Mere scriptural learning is insufficient. Certainly, practice of meditation and concentration is needed for realization. But what does that term upasana (practice) imply? It means that the aspirant is still conscious of his separate individuality and fancies himself to be making efforts to attain something — some Jnana not yet known to be himself. He ultimately arrives at the truth, the realization that all the time (including the time of practice) he has been (as he is and will be) himself the Self — beyond the concept of time. Though it is that state of realization (Sahaja Sthithi), or natural state of the Self that has been throughout all the time of practice (as nothing else exist), he calls it "upasana" or practice of meditation, because his realization is not yet perfected; he, the thinker, or the subject, fancies he is going through a process of thinking or meditation upon an object, viz. Ishwara. When perfected, his state is termed Jnana, or Sahaja Sthithi, or the Atman, or Swabhava Samsthithi, or Sthitha Prajnatvam. It may be described further as the state when vishaya jnanam, i.e., knowledge of the objective world, the non-self, has been entirely effaced and nothing remains but a blaze of consciousness of the Self as the Self (Swabhava Samsthithi).

K.G.S.: Does the aspirant after he attains firm Enlightenment (Sthitha Prajnatvam) retain a sense of his personality (self-consciousness)? Is he aware then that he has attained perfectly firm Enlightenment; and does he perceive that (1) from the entire effacement of his knowledge of the objective world or non-self, or (2) from perfection of his Enlightenment (Prajnatvam)?

Maharshi: Yes, the perfectly Enlightened, the fully attained Jnani, the Self-realized, certainly realizes himself as such. There can be no doubt there. Doubt or uncertainty is for the mind or intellect, and has no place in that perfection of Realization or Enlightenment. Perfection is seen (1) by a negative sign, the cessation of all vasanas, i.e., tendencies of the mind to act in consequence of previous "attached karma" (action), and (2) by the positive sign of his incessant consciousness (Chidatmakaratha), which is also termed "Mownam". As for perfection of Jnana, the distinction is often drawn between Jnana and Vijnana, the latter referring to realization. The Jnani is said to be not merely Jnana-Swarupa, i.e., of the nature of Enlightenment, but also Swatmarama or Anandamurti, which means that he is experiencing and enjoying the Self as Jnanam or Anandam. But this is a dualistic metaphor. In point of fact, that which is (Sat), is but one. There is no separate thing as its enjoyment, or an object, or a quality for it to enjoy. But thought has to be expressed to others "in matter-moulded forms of speech" and so we proceed into finer and finer analysis by means of similes, metaphors, etc., even as the Reality defies expression. On account of the use of such figurative language, however, the question is raised whether the Jnani experiences or realizes his Jnanam. What remains after all elimination is best described as Sat, that which is, Chit, consciousness or illumination, and Anandam or happiness — all three terms referring to one and the same substance. That is really not existence, nor illumination, nor happiness, nor substance, nor personality as we conceive them now. But these are the expressions or ideas which suggest to us that Supreme State, that goal, "Sa kashtha sa para gatih," That is Supreme, That the highest goal. (Katha Upanishad I-3-11)

K.G.S.: Well, the Jnani knows himself as such, i.e., as the fully attained. But can others know him to be such, and if so, by what indication?

Maharshi: Yes, it can be known. The mark by which perfect realization is indicated is Sarvabhuta Samattva, which means equality or sameness toward all. When one finds the same Atma or Self in all the various moveable and immoveable objects and his behaviour indicates the sense of equality, that constitutes the hallmark of the Jnani, Gunatita, Brahman, etc., as he is variously called. Equality means here, in practice, the accordance of treatment appropriate to each, without undue preference or undue avoidance as described in the Bhagavad Gita:

32. He who, through the likeness of the Self, O Arjuna, sees equality everywhere, be it pleasure or pain, he is regarded as the highest yogi. (Chap. VI)

24 & 25. Who is the same in pleasure and pain, who dwells in the Self, to whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike, who is the same to the dear and the unfriendly, who is firm, and to whom censure and praise are as one, who is the same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings — he is said to have transcended the qualities. (Chap. XIV)

K.G.S.: Does the practice of yoga culminating in samadhi (absorbed concentration or ecstasy) serve only the purpose of Self-realization or can it be utilized to secure also other and lower objects, such as the attainment of temporal ends?

Maharshi: Why, samadhi (i.e., the Yogi's perfect concentration) serves both purposes — Self-realization and the securing of lower objects.

K.G.S.: If one starts his practice of yoga and develops samadhi (absorbed concentration) to secure lesser objects, and before attaining these attains the greater object of Self-realization, what happens about the lesser objects? Does he attain these also or does he not?

Maharshi: He does. The karma (or effort) to reach lesser objects does not cease to produce its result and he may succeed in achieving these even after securing Self-realization. Of course, on account of such realization, there will be no exultation or joy at the lesser successes. For that which feels emotion, the mind, has ceased to exist in him as such, and has been transmuted into Prajna, Cosmic Consciousness.

SOURCE: http://www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2009/jul-aug

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ADVAITA AND DEVOTION ~ Robert Adams


ADVAITA AND DEVOTION
~ Robert Adams


Think of some of the teachers that you know or heard about.
Nisargadatta, he always prayed.
He realized that he was consciousness.
He was self-realized, but at the same time he chanted, he prayed, he had devotion.
It sounds like a contradiction.
For you may say,
"If someone is self-realized and knows himself or herself to be all there is, to whom do they pray?"

Try to remember that all spiritual life is a contradiction.
It's a contradiction because words cannot explain it.
Even when you are the Self,
you can pray to the Self, which is you.

Ramana Maharshi always had chanting at the ashram,
prayers, devotional hymns.
These things are very important.
Many westerners, who profess to be atheists, come to listen to lectures on Advaita Vedanta,
and yet nothing ever happens in their lives.
As long as you do not have devotion, faith, love, discrimination, dispassion, it will be very difficult to awaken.

Therefore those of you who become bored with practicing self-inquiry may become very devotional.
Surrender everything.
Give up your body, your thoughts, all the things that bind you,
whatever problems you may believe you have.
Surrender them to your favorite deity.
You are emptying yourself out as you do this.
Do a lot of it.
Become humble.
Have a tremendous humility.

If you can just do that you will become a favorite of God
and you'll not have to search any longer.
But of course the choice is always yours.
What are you chasing in life?
What are you going after?
What are the things that interest you?
Whatever you put first in your life, that's where your heart is.
All of the things that have transpired in your life up to now,
forget them.

Be aware all of the time that there are no mistakes.
There is nothing from the past that can interfere with your life if
you become devotional and have faith in God.
You'll be automatically protected from anything.

And if you have enough faith, you can totally remove all karmic aspects of your life.
You can transcend all of karma.
You can make life easier for yourself, if you have faith.

There are many people who practice Advaita Vedanta,
and some people are here tonight
who really do not like to hear these things.
They just want to hear me say that you are consciousness.
All is well.
You are absolute reality.
You are really not your body or your mind-phenomena.
Yet once they leave this room they turn back into their rotten selves, with all the negatives and all the anger, and all the hurts, and all the suspicions,
and all the things that they've had inside of them for years.

~ From Robert Adams Satsangs bookADVAITA

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There is no ignorance other than the ego II / Atman NItyananda

There is no ignorance other than the ego II

The ego creates the illusion that we are the body and the sense of separateness from God, people and other beings.

The ego of which the nature is desire, constantly moves the mind to objects and obstructs our capacity to discern the real from the unreal.

Thus we fail to recognize that we are consciousness beyond the body and mind, always free, peaceful and blissful.

The result is the total identification with the egoic mind that causes misery, pain and suffering.
We need right knowledge and to practice with sincerity, regularity and diligence in order to to dissolve the pluralized ego and realize our divine nature and to express it in this world!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION / Atman Nityananda

Swami Sivananda meditating
 OBSTACLES IN MEDITATION

Meditation and Samadhi are the higher steps in the spiritual process. We do meditation to overcome the sense of separation, restlessness, discontent, anxiety, distress and dissatisfaction created by the ego, and realize the fullness, peace and bliss of our essence or true Self (Atman).

According to the teachings of the great masters and sacred texts, in order to discover and realize our true nature we must direct our attention within ourselves. The spiritual masters have given us several ways to meditate and focus the mind in the inner silence. But due to the habit and the power of desire, the ego has a great ability to dominate our mind and direct the attention outwards to the world of objects.

Thus we want to direct our attention inwards to the source of our existence that is pure consciousness, peace and eternal bliss and the ego compulsively directs it outwards and thus prevents us concentrate and meditate deeply. We want to direct our mind and attention in the inner silence, our essence, but the ego wants to enjoy the pleasure of sense objects and thus by a mysterious way ´steals´ our attention and directs it outwards through the senses.

Therefore we need a rigorous, regular Sadhana to purify the mind of the selfish tendencies (desires, fear, anger, impatience, greed, jealousy etc.) and the Rajas and Tamas gunas. All spiritual practices aim to prepare our mind to be able to meditate and in this process there are many obstacles that we have to overcome in order to develop the ability to meditate deeply.

I present here a list of the various obstacles in relation to meditation:
· All egoic mental and emotional tendencies (desires, fear, anger, impatience, greed, jealousy etc.),

· The predominanance of Rajas and Tamas gunas in the mind
 - Lack of knowledge about the practice of meditation or wrong knowledge
· Restless of Body, no mastering of maditative asana
· Fear
· Laziness,
· Inconsistency, negligence
· Weak Will
· Undisciplined and irregular life
 - The extroversion of mind due to the predominance of Rajas Guna.
· The turmoil and distraction of mind due to desires, worries, anxiety, anger and fear and Rajas guna.
· Mental emotional restlessness and worries. Strong emotions or emotional frustration
· Drowsiness (cannot remain alert and vigilant) because of the predominance of Tamas guna.
· Planning and calculations
· Tiredness due to mental or physical exertion.
· Low Energy
· Talk a lot, argue a lot
· The imbalanced Vata dosha (this causes incessant movement of the mind, impatience, mental agitation, we cannot control the mind).
· Overuse of the senses. Many sensory stimuli
· Food (-tamásica inappropriate food / too much rajasic food) or bad digestion.
· Poor health or illness.
· Lack of motivation and interest due to not having concrete results in meditation (not experiencing peace and serenity).
· Resistance of the egoic mind which can take the form of: boredom, disgust, discomfort, discouragement, delay (using justifications as, first I have to do my homework, this or that, I'll start when I have more free time, I'm tired, conditions are not favorable etc ...), low self-confidense or weakness (I cannot meditate, I don't know to meditate, I am not able, meditation is not for me etc.).

The impulse of egoic mind of desiring to get or achieve something (in this case the concentration and meditation) that compels us to strive, to have expectations and to be impatient. These four aspects: I want to get it or achieve it, the striving, the impatience and the expectations that are forms or expressions of the mechanism of the ego-desire, cause mental stress that impede us relax and maintain the attention identified with the body and the ego. So we cannot enter in the inner silence since the attention remains on the surface, identified with the ego and body. Moreover impatience and striving make the ego vibrate and this vibration of the egoic energy like a fog covers the inner silence.

If we release the I want or desire to get something, any exertion and every expectation then inadvertently we will find ourselves in the meditative state.

Everyone has to find out one by one the various obstacles that prevent him meditate and find methods, techniques and appropriate means to overcome these obstacles. Every time we overcome an obstacle we can calm and focus the mind more easy and thus gradually we can enjoy the peace and fullness that are always present in us behind the  mental and emotional waves.

Peace,  love and light