What is Bhakti Yoga?
Bhakti Yoga is feeling everything, emotion, it is attachment to your beloved whether that be Krishna, Kali, Ganesha, Durga, Radha it is talking to Devata as a friend, lover, father, mother... it is not about being indifferent to what is going on in the world. You get to choose, it is about Loving so dearly that you express everything inside of yourself without holding back. There is a certain amount of insanity in Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is not about suppression, repression, or playing pretend when really inside something else is going on, yes Bhakti is pure Love and Devotion and Love has different expressions it is not all fluffy, Mother Theresa Loved but if you have read about her, she was tough and spoke her mind.
Have you ever been to a Mandir in India and there is someone standing up at the front talking to Krishna or Maa, talking, crying holding there hands up arguing. This is Bhakti, be human is Bhakti praying, confiding, chanting, singing the stories of Devata.
Bhakti is about relationship. Yes I have seen people even talk angrily at Devata, that does not mean one does not have love and compassion, if you saw a child crossing the road about to be hit by a car... what would you do stand there and say, this is God's will... NO any mother that loves her child would scream and run to save her child and after she saved him LOL most mothers would say or scold don't you ever do that again... and cry OMG.
Bhakti Yoga Love, Compassion and Devotion does not mean to loose your head or be perfect all the time, Jnana Yoga the Yoga of the intellect go hand and hand with Bhakti and if someone tried to run your kid down with a car I know this mother would not stand there and say. Oh Well I love you and have compassion for you driver, this is life, Bhakti means you are actively involved in Your LOVE and Compassion and you still have discernment, intellect Jnana Yoga.
Goddess Kali will destroy what is not right, what does she want.. (KALI WANTS THE TRUTH)...
I am a Kali Bhakta her Love is not simple or easy.. it is the Love of a Mother that burns...it is the Love of a Warrioress the not speaking up, the not turning your back when you see something not right, the fearless Goddess and yes she the Goddess of Sacred Rage.
BHAKTI YOGA is often associated with chanting or praising the benevolence of gods. It is communing with God through devotional acts, prayer, offerings, music, praise, and or dance with the aim of awakening love in the heart and opening oneself to God’s grace. It is the path of spiritual or divine love and devotion. In this, the arms, legs, voice and body movements act as the hands of love. Bhakti may be directed towards God or Goddesses or even one’s spiritual preceptor.
Bhakti practice focuses on the faculty of feeling. It addresses the emotion of selflessness and dedicated service to all living beings. It is showing one’s love by worship and by subordinating oneself. In the words of Sri Swami Sivananda “Bhakti is not mere emotionalism, but is the turning of the will as well as the intellect towards the Divine. It is supreme love of God. It leads to immortality or God-realization”
Bhakti margha is the path of devotion leading to Yoga with God. It is Union through Devotion. Bhakti yoga is a major branch of the yoga tradition, utilizing the feeling capacity to connect with the ultimate Reality conceived as a supreme Person – Uttama –Purusha. Bhakti margha is embodied in Patanjali's Yoga Darshana in the second limb, niyama -observances, as devotion - Ishvarapranidhana. Bhaktivada is the gospel of bhakti. Bhakti Sutra are Aphorisms on Devotion by the Sage Narada. The collective discipline of love and devotion is extolled in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bhagavata-Purana. Both Vaishnavas and Shaiva scriptures are replete with bhakti margas. The entire Chapter 12 of the Gita is dedicated to the Yoga of Devotion; the worship of Saguna and Nirguna Brahman.
Bhakti is a word derived from the verbal root bhaj. In connection with yoga and as being one of the recognized forms of it, the general signification of bhakti yoga is devotion, affectionate attachment.
Basically Bhakti means Bhakti means, “love of God” or “love of Truth.” The first manifestation of this is desire for something more in life, for an ideal or Ishta. In Tamil ‘ishtam’ means something you like or have passion or desire. Just as it is available in the Jnana path, bhakti yoga practice also systematically channels desire and emotion towards highest ideals. Over time, one movers beyond Murtis and images to begin asking “Who am I”, “Why am I here” and with grace end with ecstatic Yoga with the Divine.
Bhakti yogi is one who practices bhakti yoga; bhaktim is devotional service. He is the Cosmic Magnet of the all-embracing heart. Bhatyaa means in full devotion. Bhaktiyogena means ‘by devotional service.’ Bhaktimaan is a devotee. ‘Bhaktiman me priyah’ in Gita 12.17 means ‘the God-lover, the one who has love of God, is dear to Me.’ ‘By bhakti he comes to know Me: ‘bhaktya mam abhijanati’ – Gita 18.55.
Jnana-knowledge and bhakti are not two separate things but viewed as different aspects, as the power of the sun is one thing, though viewed separately as two separate things as heat and light. They are interdependent; there cannot be knowledge of God’s true nature through mere intellectual reasoning without embracing the spirit of devotion. This is because Divinity is seated in the heart of all creatures and the Self is that which is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, closer than anything else. There cannot also be bhakti without knowledge. In the Gita, Sri Krishna states that among the devotees, He is the Jnani. The bhakti marga is there the preparatory stage. But it is also an end in itself.
Those who pursue action receive the fruits of action through Me, and those who pursue knowledge receive the fruits of knowledge from Me. Hence even those who serve Me through the Yoga of Devotion (bhakti yoga) pass through stages to acquire spiritual knowledge and are eventually liberated through My grace. If
liberation come to those who perform the Yoga of Devotion, how much more certainly does it come to those who acquire a correct intuitive knowledge of the nature of the Self in this very life: Shankara, Gita Bhasya XI.1.
Generally Bhakti is of two kinds: Vaidika bhakti and Prema bhakti. Vaidika bhakti conforms to the injunctions in the scriptures to chant God’s name, to perform rituals, to pray, make pilgrimages worship with the aid of enjoined materials etc. Prema bhakti is the earnest pursuance of these means leading to ultimate Yoga with Divinity.
In Prema bhakti, there is no place for any kind of earthly attachment. One gives the body and soul to God in entirety. It is unconditional love of and for the Supreme. In Prema the Jiva merges with the Paramatma. The bhaktas wholehearted offering is graciously accepted by the Lord and absorbs the devotee to become His own. Prem means highest form of love; Prema means Divine Love. Prema Yoga is Yoga of Love. Prema samarthya is the power or capacity for love. In the Shaivite tradition, ‘Premamayi’ is a reference to virgin Gauri aspiring Lord Shiva while he was in deep meditation. Premamayi Radha means ‘O Radha, full of Love.’ Radharani is the sum-total of prema-bhakti.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(draft Bhakti Yoga – Premam ©) by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi
The dictionary meaning given to this word is ‘body, envelope or sheath of the body. It also takes a meaning of something that is easily dissolved or worn away to bring forth an idea being something transitory. So, it is foam-like, full of holes.
The general meaning is a composite body, the physical self or vehicle of impermanent character in and through which an ethereal entity lives and works. ‘Sariram khalu dharmasaddhanam’ means the body is the means of fulfillment of dharma. Sarirananda means ananda in the body.
In Gita 4.21, ‘sariram kevalam karma’ means purely physical action. Even the maintenance of physical life cannot be effected without action – asrirayatrapi ….akarmanah: Gita 3.8.
This is the Vedantic doctrine of three bodies, namely Sthula sarira - the physical or gross body; Suksma sarira - the subtle body and Karana Sarira – the causal body.
Also sthoola sarira. ‘Sthula’ means type of attribute, gross or physical. ‘Sthula bhutani’ refers to the gross elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. Sthula sarira refers to the body of the soul in the waking state or Jagra avastha. So, sthula sarira means coarse or gross, not refined, conditioned and differentiated matter. Here sarira implies a form, generally speaking. It is the lowest substance-principle of which man is composed of. Strictly speaking, the physical body is not a principle at all, it is merely a house which follows a course of natural decay. It is man’s expression of his constitution on the physical plane. It is needed for evolution and active work.
The Sthula-sarira or physical hierarchy of the human body is built up of cosmic elements, themselves formed of living atomic entities. It is the sarira that eats, breathes and moves or acts. It is produced by one’s past karmas and now composed of many diverse components which have undergone panchikarana.
In Vedanta, panchikarana is the theory how matter came into existence from the five primordial subtle elements. Sthula sarira is the instrument of Jiva attached to the body and dominated by Ahamkara or ego, the I-ness in which Atman is reflected. Its main features are: Sambava – birth; Jara – ageing and Maranam – death, all happening in the Waking State. What garments this temporary casing?
This takes the meaning, sheath, vessel or layer. In Vedanta philosophically, koshas are the five sheaths through which the soul functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence.
(1) Annamaya kosha:
Annam means food implying ‘sheath composed of food’ or the gross physical body sustained by food.
(2) Pranamaya kosha:
Prana means vital force implying ‘sheath composed of prana or vital force,’ It is also known as the pranic or health body, or the etheric body.
(3) Manomaya kosha:
Manas means mind, thought, will, wish implying ‘mind-formed sheath’. It is the lower astral body; the instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion.
(4) Vijnanamaya kosha:
Is the ‘sheath of cognition’ or intelligence. It is the mental or cognitive-intuitive sheath.
(5) Anandamaya kosha:
Is the ‘body or sheath of bliss; the intuitive-superconscious sheath or actinic-causal body. Anandamaya kosha is not a sheath in the same sense as the four outer koshas. It is the soul itself, a body of light, also called karana sharira, causal body, and karmashaya, holder of karmas of this and all past lives. Anandamaya kosha is that which evolves through all incarnations and beyond until the soul's ultimate, fulfilled merger, vishvagrasa, in the Primal Soul, Parameshvara. Then anandamaya kosha becomes Sivamayakosha, the body of God Siva.
SUKSAMA SARIRA: ‘
Sukshma’ means fine, subtle or belonging to a subtler order of existence than the solid physical. It also means the subtle dimension. This is the subtle body, the psychomental aspect of the human body that exists independent of the physical or gross body. This is the layer responsible for life energy, wanting and reasoning. It is made up of a combination of Kama, Higher Manas, Buddhi and Karma In the spiritually developed man constitutes his or her Spiritual Soul. It is often considered to survive the death of the physical body and is involved in the process of rebirth and eternal life.
Suksma sarira is also called Lingasarira. Linga means characteristic mark and sarira being form, implies impermanence. It is so called because it puts one in the mind of atman and reminds one of atman; the beginingless limitation of atman. The Dream State is a distinct state of suksma sarira where the buddhi shines due to memories of deeds done in the waking state. At death, the linga sarira remains in the astral realms and finally fades out. The linga sarira is formed before the sthula sarira is formed and thus serves as a model or pattern around which the physical body is molded and grows into maturity.
KARANA SARIRA: ‘
Karana’ means instrument, cause; the efficient or instrumental cause of something. Karana sarira is the causal body where the individual rests during sound, deep, dreamless sleep where the intellect, mind and senses being reduced to an unmanifested potential condition. Basically it means buddhi becoming dormant and all concepts of time fail. It is also known as Anandamaya kosha, the sheath of bliss. This is the state of Ishvara or the stage of consummation of atman and Paramatman. It is the search of the transcendent Brahman.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(draft The Human Body)
By Yogi Ananda Saraswathi
FLOWERS IN THE HINDU WAY OF LIFE.
Nature itself is the first and foremost sacred scripture – the external is a symbolic marker for the internal divine law and principle. Fragrance, color and beauty are attributes of the essence of the Self source. “The flower” said Jean Giraudoux in The Enchanted, ‘is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.’ Nearly all religions and faiths, irrespective of being organized or not are associated with flowers in more ways than one. All Hindu festivals, celebrations and auspicious days are ‘flower acts’ as they form an integral essence of the event portraying the divine.
Hindu’s infatuation knows no bounds and omission of flowers during puja and auspicious events are deemed to be a defect. Flowers are used during puja at home, temples and at sacred places. Deities are decorated with loose flowers or garlands made of flowers and leaves. Flowers are also offered and placed at the feet of deities. Flower ‘showers’ brighten Hindu prayers and the feet of holy men.
PUSHPAM: In bhakti yoga, puja is an essential stage. The word puja has two root word. ‘Pu’ refers to ‘pushpam’ or flowers. ‘Ja’ refers to japa or japam. ‘Ja’ can also mean water. Jalam’ or water. Water sipped during puja is anchamanam. It is hence said that puja may be a process during which flowers and water is offered to God as prasada along with recitation of His name.
During puja rituals, pushpam have their own significance along with kumkum, gandam -sandalwood paste, phalam – fruits, akshata, naivedyam –food, jalam - water and milk. It is said that subtle frequencies of Deities which are active in the atmosphere are attracted towards certain flowers. This is known as ‘pavitrak’. There is a distinction between ‘negative energy’ and ‘black energy’. These energies are subtle and troubles us because it is tama predominant. It can affect a person’s well being, character and conduct. It may manifest at a physical level in many forms of negative behavior.
In bhakti one approaches the Deity for peace, harmony and well being. The positive energy in Deities is sattva predominant and is called ‘chaitanya’ - divine consciousness, ‘ananda’ – bliss or even ‘shanti’ – peace. Sattvik flowers form part of this positive energy. Flowers attract and emit energy. The attracted energy gets converted to chaitanya or Shakti. It reduces negative effects. During prayers there is a formation of chaitanya in the heart of the devotee.
GUNAS and PRAKRITI: Pushpanjali is the offering of flowers in ritualistic worship. Flowers are part of prakriti and it is classified into sattva, rajas and tamas. This classification is based on color, fragrance, shape and origin. Tamas flowers are avoided in prayers. Sattva flowers are used in puja and for all auspicious events. To a certain extent rajas flowers are also used in puja. Generally flowers with strong odor, stale or those without fragrance are not used. Mutilated flowers and those eaten by insects are also avoided. Home grown flowers are considered to the most suitable while forest flowers are not rejected as well. Types of puja flowers are also found in the scriptures.
Flowers are representative of nature or prakriti. The sage Narada, in Devi Bhagavatam, fragments the word ‘prakriti’ wherein ‘Pra’ means ‘exalted or superior’ and Kriti denotes Creation. So, Mother Goddess Devi whose material energy moves creation is referred as Devi Prakriti. ‘Pra’ is symbolic of sattva guna and the most exalted quality. ‘Ti’ denotes tamo guna. Offering sattva guna flowers is the highest as they do not contain impurities. Offering sattva guna flowers is also symbolic of bhaktas giving up tamo and rajo guna and give blessings of sattva guna. This is conducive to flowering of consciousness. Offering flowers is a way to transmit devotional bhava-emotion and requesting blessings. Yad Bhava is the bhava of saranagati or surrender and faith.
Flowers such as arka, nandyavartham ,drone, white lotus, jasmine, coral tree flowers are considered satvix. The rajas flowers include red lotus, trumpet flowers, white thorn apple flowers. Ketaki, china rose, cottant plant and kasa grass are tamas flowers.
TEMPLES: Most temple compounds house a Nandavanam meaning flower parks. In house compounds they take the shape of mini-nandavanam to produce sufficient flowers for puja use. ‘Pushpa Pallakku’ is a vahana adorned was flowers in which the deity is brough around the temple. If this is done to circumambulate the inner sactorum, it sia called ‘ull veethi urvalam’. The vahanam is called a Pallakku. In the Nandavanams, one finds Thulasi, Vilvam, Virukshikam and other flowers dedicated to specific deities. Normally bhaktas going to temple bring their own flowers and offer with full bhakti. One feels complete this war rather than pinching flowers from the temple Nandavanam.
SYMBOLISM: Flowers are also symbolic of what human conduct should be. Flowers do not discriminate. They are a thing of beauty for all. They provide fragrance to one and all. Similarly one should conduct life with full of love and compassion towards all living beings. Deities have their connection with flowers. The most quoted one is the lotus, which albeit, is the symbol of detachment, eternity, purity and divinity. Its metaphysical analogy is its perennial rise to faultless beauty from a muddy environment – symbolic of the evolution of man’s consciousness. In Hatha Yoga, the padmasana pose is adopted by those striving to reach the highest level of consciousness. In Kundalini each chakra is described as lotus and petals.
COSMETICS: The Indian women and flowers are a inseparable lot. Flowers in the hair is a pleasant ornamental sight throughout human evolution. They double up as fragrance and beauty enhancing the appearance of the wearer. Jasmine for instance announces from far. Its smell is feminine. The human body is a temple and flowers add nature and divinity to it. This is deitification of body and sharing rituals owed to any deity.
‘Flowers’ it is often said ‘is the way to a woman’s heart’ and there you have the social element. Stringed flowers and bridal corsage is a must in Indian weddings. In the Southern tradition, hair is said to be an erotic part of a woman. The Thiruvilayadal Purana has a debate on fragrance from Mother’s Parvati’s hair. In the South, decorating the hair is indeed ritualistic. It uplifts the wearer’s spirit and inner beauty.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FLOWERS
Aparaajita – Goddess Durga
Arka flower – Milkweed flower used in all prayers
Ashok – Associated with Sita
Atasi or flax – Sri Krihna’s complexion
Bandhook or Midday flower – Sun God
Banyan flower – Lord Siva prayers
Bilva flower – Lord Siva prayers
Blue butterfly pea flower – Goddess Durga
Chameli flowers – offered to Lord Hanuman
Champaka – Sri Krishna, Lord Kamadeva, Goddess Lalitambika
Champaka (yellow) – Goddess Saraswati
Dhatura flowers – Lord Shiva worship
Erukkan flower – used in all prayers
Fragrant Screw Pine – Lakshmi puja
Hibiscus – Goddess Durga and Kali
Indian coral red: -Used in the worship of Visnu and Siva
Japa kusum – Sun God, Surya worship
Jasmine – Used in all Deity worship and Durga Puja
Kadamba – Associated with Lord Krishna and Goddess Durga
Kovidar or purple orchid – Symbol in Bharata’s flag
Krishna Kamal flowers – offered to Sri Krishna
Kumud or white water lily – divine flower
Kund or Star jasmine – known for whitensss
Lotus – Goddesses, especially Lakshmi
Madhavi Lata – Associated with Vrindavan
Malati – Well known for fragrance
Marigold flowers – Lord Ganesha worship
Mandarai or Purple orchids – Lord Shiva
Milkweed flower – Lord Ganesha
Mogra flowers – Lord Vishnu prayers
Mullai flower – Lord Dakshinamurthy
Nandhyavattai – Lord Krishna worship
Neel Kamal – Goddess Durga worship
Parijat – Brought to earth by Lord Krishna
Patal or paral – adorns the hair of Goddesses
Pomegranate flowers – Lord Ganesha
Punnag – Lord Vishnu worship
Tajnigandha flowers – offered to Lord Shiva
Tulsi flowers – Vishnu and Krishna worship
Red coloured flowers – Lord Ganesha
Red Jasmine flowers – Goddess Lakshmi prayers
Sanku Pushpam or Conch flower – Lord Ganesha
Sev arali – Lord Subramaniya worship
Tamal or Himalayan Garcina – Lord Rama, Baby Krishna
Thazhampoo or ketaki – Cursed by Lord Shiva, not used in worship but offered to Goddess Lakshmi.
Thumba poo – avoided in Lakshmi puja
Vakul or Maulasari – Sri Krishna
White Lotus – Goddess Saraswati
Yuthika or jasmine – Sri Krishna
AYURVEDA: Lotus raw seeds used for strength and vigor; Kewda oil is for respiratory problems, provides vitality; Rose reduces heat in intestines and stomach; Champa kills germs in the blood; Aniseed flowers reduces stomach; Marigold flower is beneficial in liver diseases; Jasmine flower reduces burning sensation; Sunflower contains Vitamin A and D; Chameli oil used for skin diseases; Saffron reduces anxiety and stress; Ashok flower is used to cure diseases related to women; Palash or forest flame flower cures stomach problems; China rose flower cures mouth ulcers; Shankhpushi is good for refreshing the mind; Acacia helps in ringword problem; Need flower isn anticeptic and purifies the blood; Clove destroys bacteria; Juhi Jasmine treats mouth ulcers; Madhawi helps arthritis; Swallo-wart removes phlegm; Kadamba flowers helps cattle diseases; Kachnar controls loose bowel movements; Shrishflower eases the mind; Naagkesar destroys itching sensations; Bakul flower oil is applied to the skin; Pomegranate cures conjunctivitis and mouth ulcers.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(second draft Flowers and Garlands Nature in the Hindu Way of Life, cf The Hindu Person)
The great mother plays with her children the game of ‘hide and seek’ and her children enjoy the game to the core. Sitting on mother Kali’s lap her children wait to see when the great mother opens her eyes. In such anticipation the children close their eyes and go to sleep and then the great mother opens her eyes and lovingly looks at her children.
Though the eyes shut the children feel a lightning jolt in their consciousness when the divine mother looks at them with such intensity. Immediately the children open their eyes but only find mother Kali with closed eyes.
Wide range of emotions encompasses ‘the beloved children of the mother’ as they beg to mother Kali to look at them again. The mother smiles but keeps her eyes shut. Then suddenly without any forewarning the mother looks straight into her children’s eyes just for a second.
The great Kali - the momentary glance and the eternal truth:
Sri Ramakrishna Parahamsa.
|| The Four-Fold Spiritual Wealth: A Prerequisite for Vedanta ||
To avail full benefit from any branch of knowledge, one has to have the prerequisite qualifications to ensure complete fulfillment in that particular field. This is known in Sanskrit as ‘Adhikara.’ For example, the part of Vedic literature dealing with rituals (Mimamsa) states that only a person with the following four qualifications is eligible for performing Vedic Karmas (sacrifices etc) and their fruits thereof:
1). They have the desire to perform the Vedic Karma (in order to obtain the desired fruits).
2). They be competent to perform the Karma.
3). They understand the secret behind the Karma (Karma Rahasya).
4). They not be prohibited by the scriptures against performing that particular Karma.
Going further, the science of ‘Moksha’, or liberation, better known as Vedanta too requires a qualified seeker to attain full benefit from it. Only the one who is qualified for it can attain Moksha. However, only a very few people are interested in Moksha, because the majority of us live under the illusion that happiness is the result of fulfilling worldly desires, while Moksha is something which has no trace of ‘wordliness’ in it, and this is what frightens us, making us believe that Moksha is not our cup of tea at all.
What is needed for preparing the requisite ground entitling us to the study of Vedanta? Is it necessary to have performed Vedic rituals, or to have made an enquiry into the nature of Dharma (Dharma Jijnansa)? To all these questions Bhagavan Shankaracharya answers an unequivocal ‘No’. However, another set of qualifications is emphasized by him, which is both sufficient and necessary. This is known as ‘Sadhan Chatushtaya’, or the four-fold wealth of Sadhana (spiritual practice). It must be remembered here that acquiring this four fold wealth is extremely difficult because it depends upon the continuity of purifying Karmas performed by the seeker in his past lives. The Bhagavad Gita says: ‘One cannot transcend Karma, without performing Karma’ (3.4).
The Four-Food Spiritual Wealth consists of the following:
1). The ability to discriminate between that which is permanent and that which is impermanent (Nitya-Anitya-Vastu-Viveka).
2). Non-Attachment to the fruits of actions, in this world and the next (Iha-Amutra-Phala-Bhoga-Vairagya).
3). The Six Virtues like control of mind etc (Shata-Sampatti).
4). A sustained desire to achieve Moksha (Mumukshutva).
1). The Ability to Discriminate:
Viveka is the human ability to accept what is conclusively decided to be right, rejecting that which is identified as wrong after a proper analysis. What exactly is the nature of the Viveka which is required for pursuing (attaining) Moksha?
Indeed Moksha is a state of permanent, untainted, and unparalleled Ananda-Happiness. But the happiness derived from this world is not so. It is in fact the exact opposite, being momentary, tainted with many faults, meager and limited. This is obvious because this happiness is dependent on worldly objects which are by nature non-permanent. How can a permanent state of happiness be derived from a non-permanent object? Not only this, we all know that to derive pleasure, there needs to be a contact between the sense organs and the object in question. Therefore, there is an amount of effort required in this engagement which eventually leads to exhaustion and hence the joy gained is not long lasting.
Further, the pleasure does not persist all the time even when such a contact is in place. Only God knows His own Lila that the pleasure gained from the contact between a sense organ and an object sustains only for a limited period of time. Indeed, desire for an object seems to disappear when it is fulfilled and the fulfillment also disappears before long. Even then, the fulfilled desire does not reappear for a long time.
Therefore, the seeker of Moksha comes to the firm conclusion that everything in this world is non-permanent. Keeping this always in mind, the seeker drops the craving for anything which is fleeting. The Vedas state that only Brahman is permanent.
One should always remember this. Gradually then there takes place a detachment from the impermanent and attachment towards that which is permanent. This is the discriminative understanding known as Nitya-Anitya-Vastu-Viveka. Such a discrimination can never surface in one who is sinful in thought and deed.
The Gita says: ‘Only those whose sins have been terminated by virtuous deeds are able to worship and pursue me firmly’ (7.28). This is Krishna’s own voice. Hence it is clear that such a discriminating faculty is found only in those who have obtained the grace (Kripa) of God through virtuous deeds (Punya Karma). Therefore, an aspirant should invoke the grace of God through Punya-Karma and through direct contact with saints and sages, Mahatmas who are already blessed with such a grace.
2). Non Attachment to the Fruits of Action:
As Viveka gets more and more rooted, detachment towards momentary pleasures becomes prominent and perpetual. According to the Viveka Chudamani:
The deer meets death through its attachment to sound. The elephant is caught by its desire for touch. The moth meets death due to its fascination for a sight. The fish dies due to its relationship with taste. The black bee meets death due to its fascination for smell. (Verse 78)
A deer can be caught by enticing it with sweet sounds like those of a flute. Upon hearing the flute, the deer stands motionless, entranced; an elephant, during the mating season, is easily lured by the touch of a female elephant; a moth is attracted to the light of a flame not knowing that if it falls into it it will burn; a fisherman baits a hook, and a bee is attracted to the odor of a flower.
Each of these creatures gets into a death trap due to attachment to a single sense object. What then can be said about humans who hanker after not one but five sense objects? Without the ability to discriminate between what is permanent and what is transient, believing sensory pleasures to be paramount, man has become a beast.
Compared to these extremely short-lived worldly physical pleasures, the heavens gained by performing Vedic Yajnas (sacrifices) are indeed lavish and lasting. However, they too are time-bound and hence impermanent. The Gita says:
‘After the Punya is exhausted they fall again from the heavens into the world of mortals’ (9.21).
Therefore, the seeker of Moksha should not strive for more than what is sufficient to sustain his life. Vairāgya matures to this state only when one lives with minimum possessions. This is the true meaning of detachment, which is defined as the mental state of giving up everything by one’s own choice.
3). The Six Virtues:
The Six Virtues (Shata Sampatti) are:
a). Controlling the Mind (Shama):
To achieve any aim in life, it is very important to remove the mind from its objects of desire and fix it unmovingly on the aim. This firmness of the mind is Shama.
b). Control of the Senses (Dama):
Controlling the outer senses is known as Dama. The seeker of Moksha should, while increasing his sense perception of God, constantly and forcefully prevent his organs of knowledge like the eyes (Jnana Indriyas) and organs of action like speech (Karma Indriyas) from indulging in their objects of desire. This is what constitutes Dama. It is only after Dama is perfected that Shama can be attained.
c). Satiety in the Enjoyment of Sense-Objects (Uparati):
It is through the sense organs that we enjoy an object. It is by Karma that we are able to acquire the desired sense objects. Therefore, the one who always hankers after sensory enjoyment is constantly involved only in performing actions (Gita 2.70). Contrary to this, the aspirant of Moksha withdraws from Karma and revels in God. This is knows as Uparati. On account of this feeling in his mind, the aspirant of Moksha ultimately becomes a Sannayasi (ascetic).
d). Endurance (Titiksha):
Man suffers from three types of pains. This is called ‘Tapa-traya’ (three-fold pain). On account of the body there is the ‘Adhyatmika-tapa’ in the mind. Natural causes like rain, sun etc. cause ‘Adhidaivika-tapa’. Scorpions, tigers etc. are the source of ‘Adhibhautika–tapa’. These all happen according to one’s previous actions (Prarabdha Karma). Commonly man tries to escape from them. When he is unable to do so, he begins to hate them. This is but natural. However the aspirant of Moksha does not view them with hatred. He endures them while progressing in the direction of his spiritual practice towards Moksha. This type of endurance is known as Titiksha.
e). Faith (Shraddha):
To understand this we need to keep two things in mind. Firstly, the nature of Moksha cannot be inferred using our own minds because it is beyond our mental faculties. Therefore it has to be known through the Vedas only. Secondly,no one, no matter how talented or qualified he or she may be, it is impossible to study the Vedas on one’s own.
The Vedas can be understood only with the help of a Guru. Hence, for the seeker of Moksha, there is no way other than the Guru and the Vedas. Keeping this in mind, we should have complete faith in the words of both the Vedas and our Guru. This faith is known as Shraddha. The word itself is made of two components: Shrat mean truth, and Dha, means bearing it. Therefore, the faith necessary for bearing the truth is known as Shraddha. The Gita says: ‘shraddhavan labhate jnanam’ (4.39) - A man of faith can attain knowledge.
f). Proper Concentration (Samadhana):
Samadhana means keeping the mind in balanced concentration (sama-dhana). In what? In God and Guru. Generally it is seen that people behave only in such a manner that vitiates the mind. But contact with God or the Guru is of the opposite nature. These kinds of contacts divert the mind from the passions occupying it and the resulting concentration provides him peace. The equanimity of the mind obtained from fixing it on God and Guru is known as Samadhana.
4). An Intense Desire for Salvation (Mumukshutva)
Generally human existence is plagued with miseries only. Unable to face them, some unwise people commit suicide. They think that by doing so they will gain eternal freedom from miseries. Nothing could be far from the truth. Their suicide rather than ending their miseries becomes a source of even more grief.
This is because our present suffering is a result of our misdeeds either in this birth or the previous ones. Ending our body without first annihilating our sins by undergoing the miseries confronting us, is to act like the prisoner who escapes from prison without first completing his full term. His sentence is increased even more. Thus suicide leads to even more miseries.
Hence the fulfillment of human life lies in maintaining faith in Dharma while facing life’s miseries. Keeping this in his mind, the seeker with an intense desire for salvation (Mumukshu), realizing that in essence this world is but misery only, transfers his attention from the world to Moksha. Moksha is nothing but complete freedom from all bondages and miseries. This is not like the heavens (Swarga) we gain after death.
Nor is it impermanent like Swarga. Moksha is attainable while living itself. It is permanent, and should be obtained by discriminating between the permanent and the transient, detachment, control of the mind etc. and listening to Vedanta from the mouth of an authorized Guru.
From Veda Vijnan Risikulam on Facebook
YAJNA OF SEX.
Sex is not compatible with spiritual life – often one finds this statement posted irresponsibly and ludicrously. This is far from the truth. God cannot be asking you to enjoy life and at the same time denying the instruments of enjoyment. But this has some qualification. ‘Tena tyaktena bhunjitha’ in Isoupanishad means - remembering the Lord, surrendering to Him, enjoy all the gotten objects of pleasure. One is to remember Him and enjoy the objects received as His divine gifts. Understand the nature of the objects of enjoyment and maintain conscious awareness with regard to their Creator and Master. This is realised with mind and self control as shown by many jnanis who were perfect house-holders.
In Gita Verse 4.26 ‘samyamagnisu’ means ‘in the fire of restraint.’ Juhvati means sacrifice and ‘indriyag-nisu’ means in the fire of the senses. The fire of restraint carried to its extreme becomes total sense control. The performer of this form of yajna eats eats merely for nourishment of the body and taste enjoyement are all eliminated. The other senses are suspended except for bare maintenance of the body. The mind is thus completely withdrawn from the senses and made introvertive. The physical life goes on mechanically while the mind revels in the Self.
Intoxication and meat eating are general tendencies of human society. This has become a major part of material life. So too is sex life. The scriptures do not ask that sex be given up totally. All forms of enjoyment are Iswara himself and seen that way it is strength that becomes one with certain control and sacrifice. Failing this it becomes lust. It is given to the regulated householder that he or she does not indulge in unrestricted sex life.
The same is also said of all forms of sense gratifications, sex in partnerships or marriages. What is postulated is not total giving up, as in ‘hang it up’ but to be based on principles of religious life. This restriction or unattached sex life is also a kind of yajna because the restricted enjoyer sacrifices his general tendency toward sense gratification for higher transcendental life. When one is asked to burn desires, do so to the extent of mind purification. Not that you burn down your vital limbs.One need also be the hypocritic boast, the village rooster, but at the same time, sex cannot and should not be the subject matter that fills up the entire brain till your eyes pop out….!
‘In all beings, I am desire, not contrary to dharma, O Chief of the Baratas’ – ‘Dharma-aviruddhah bhutesu kamosmi bharatasabha’. It is wrong to say that desires should be removed. ‘aham kamah asmi’ I am desire says the Lord. I am the very desire, because kama is a Shakti, a power and strength. Without desire there is no creation. Therefore, I am that very form of desire, kamo’sami bharatarsabha. There is a further qualification – dharma aviruddhah meaning it should be unopposed to dharma. It is then that one sees Isvara. Even if a person has no more ahankara but he does not have desires, then he or she stays on as dead wood. He would be wasting his talents, skills and wisdom because he has no kama to get moving. Gita 7.11
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi
KAMA RAGA VIVARJITAM.
'Kama-raga' means desire and attachment. The phrase ‘kama-raga vivarjitam’ in Gita 7.11 means Devoid of desire and attachment; free from kama, desire and raga-attachments. Raga and dvesa are imputed in the word kama. Kama and krodha are unholy partners. Krodha or anger, to a large extent is based on insecurity and fear.
In this verse kama and raga are mentioned separately. One is to take note of the fine distinction between kama and raga. Kama is the desire to accomplish; raga is attachment to what one has. In other words, kama is the longing for objects which are not right now possessed. Maybe they are far away but still longed for. Raga is the attachment to the objects already in possession and near. Obsession over possession already acquired is raga.
In the earlier verses in Chapter 7, the Lord said he is buddhi of the buddhiman; the tejas of the tejasvi; tapas of the tapasvi. These are different strands of strength surely with an element of abuse. Kama-ragas signify ahankara; therefore it is also strength free from ahankara. One having brilliance should also be kama-raga vivarjitam. Kama and raga are centred on ego, ahankara so what is naturally without the misappropriation of the ahankara is naturally Iswara.
The analogy is this: if Isvara is not appreciated, strength becomes the source of fear; if one has strength and also kama-raga, then he or she ends up as ruffian as he is no longer Isvara; one having the strength and does not have kama raga sees only Isvara. He has no more fear. He has Isvara anugraham, symbolized by abhaya mudra, and the strength of Isvara.
“I am strength of the strong devoid of desire and passion. In beings, I am desire, not contrary to dharma, O chief of the Baratas.’
(draft Gitayamutham Essays)
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi
|| Aspects of Lord Siva ||
Lord Vishnu said (to Lord Brahma)
शिवः सर्वस्वकर्ता हि भर्ता हर्ता परात्परः |
परब्रह्म परेशश्च निर्गुणो नित्य एव च ||
Shiva is really the creator of everything, maintainer and destroyer, above the highest, the supreme element, the highest God, as well as without form and eternal.
Lord Siva has four aspects corresponding to the four main functions and principles he represents. These are:
* Parameswar or Paramasiva
* Maheswar or Mahasiva
* Iswar or Lord Siva
* Minor Incarnations and Emanations
At the highest level, Lord Siva is Parameswar, or Paramasiva. As Paramasiva he is the transcendental Reality, the highest and the most unknown. He is Brahman Himself, the Supreme Lord, the Eternal Truth, the Absolute Principle, without a beginning and without an end, indivisible, beyond the senses and mind, without a form and without division, the end of all devotional and spiritual practice, by knowing whom everything is known and realized. In this aspect he is the eternal mystery, pure consciousness and bliss, whom Uma Haimavathi refers in the Kena Upanishad as the "Spirit Supreme", by knowing whom Indra excelled all other gods and became the ruler of the heavens.
At the next lower level he is Maheswar or Mahasiva, the Lord of the manifest universe. As the awakened Supreme Self he is the Cosmic Lord, who combines within himself the roles of creation, maintenance and destruction and projects out of himself all that we know as material universe. The creation is but his conscious dream, a set of vibrations that emanate from his cosmic dance and makes possible all that we experience and enjoy as conscious beings. He is the Purusha of the vedas, the cosmic male, who creates Prakriti the cosmic female and then establishes himself in it in order to manifest the wonders of creative forms and sustains life and consciousness in them.
At the next lower level he is Iswar, representing an aspect of the Trinity. Till this level the whole creation is one and indistinguishable. But at this level, the dual nature of creation becomes apparent and the Highest aspect of Brahman manifests itself into each of its cosmic roles. While Brahma is the Creator and Vishnu is the sustainer, in this plane Lord Siva is the destroyer. He is hara and Shankara, the lord with a thousand names, the lord of Kailash, the partner of Parvathi and the object of veneration of all the siddhas, siva ganas and myriad yogis and devotees. In this role he facilitates the spiritual progress of humanity. He destroys things and elements in order to facilitate the renewal and regeneration of the manifest material universe. He destroys all the undesirable movements and emotions, desires and thoughts in our consciousness to facilitate our spiritual evolution. Finally at the end of current creative cycle, he destroys the worlds to prepare the ground for yet another cosmic renewal. In this role he is also responsible for the flow of divine consciousness into our earth consciousness and our transformation into spiritual beings.
At the next lower level we see many of his incarnations. As a part of his cosmic role, in this plane he assumes many forms and roles for one reason or the other. Hanuman, Dakshinamurthy, Tandavamurthy, Bhairava, Virabhadra, Chandakesvara, Mahakaleswar, Ardhanariswara, Bhikshtanamurthy, Tandavamurthy are some of his well known minor aspects or incarnations.
It is important to know that Lord Siva is not a mere idol or sivalinga whom people worship in the temples or in open for temporary boons. He is the eternal Brahman himself who descends into lower planes to manifest an alternate reality which we experience as the immediate reality. It is only by transcending this physical reality through devotion and spiritual practice and through the grace of ones personal divinity we will be able to overcome our limitations and become one with the Highest Truth.
Note: The aspects of Siva are such that this subject can be approached from many perspectives. Here I have approached this subject from a cosmic perspective and dealt with the four highest aspects. I have excluded any reference to the Panchanana aspect of Lord Siva as well as his peaceful and terrific aspects. You may find reference to these aspects in my other articles available on this website. Followers of Lord Vishnu may argue that the first two levels are also represented by Vishnu. This is very much true because at these highest levels there is no clear distinction and demarcation of roles among the trinity of gods. We can ascribe these roles to any of the Trinity Gods equally. The confusion is well explained in the story relating to eternal nature of Lord Siva where both Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu set out to find the beginning and end of a Sivaling and fail.
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