Acting With Surrender.

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Do what you must do and then leave the rest to Him or Guru. This is where faith and devotion comes in – just leave it to Him, may His will be done. In this way offer your work to Him.

Surrender is to be with no fear or anger. Once you surrender you should be at peace. Besides, fear and anger expend life-energy and bring ill health and when you surrender, you should see your physical health and energy improve as well. Working this way is not a defeatist approach. Inaction is not being advocated. On the contrary you must be unswerving in your effort in fulfilling your duties and doing what you must. Neither is indifference and apathy being advocated. Working this way you will automatically find yourself nearer to Him and to all life. Your every utterance and action will bring calm and do good to others and there can be nothing more fulfilling, says Sri Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita.

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Surrender!

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What would happen if the ego were to drop altogether? There will be no desire or ambition whatsoever, this is the first thing. With no egoistic urge, you’d speak sparingly. You’d become intuitive. You’d grow detached, simply doing as you must, valuing a new found tranquility of mind over everything else. There would be no fear of anything or feeling threatened. No anger concerning your situation. There would no longer be that emptiness or longing for companionship, and yet there would be this sense of closeness not to a specific person but to all of life. And you may possibly give up eating meat. All of this would happen by itself automatically and not the other way around. This can happen to anybody but is more likely at a point in one’s life when a belief in which you have put tremendous faith, on which you have constructed your whole existence, comes crashing down and there is a sense of total hopelessness and dejection and there is no more holding on and no more longing for anything. That period of surrender more than any other holds potential for great transformation towards clarity.

A Return To Simplicity.

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Complexity is the involvement of the personality – a bundle of amassed memories and social conditioning. A return to simplicity is about unburdening yourself of the nonessential and the unreal. It is about loosening the grip of persona and divesting yourself of ego, on the road to uncovering your true self. 

A return to simplicity is to once again have the sense of belonging, the carefree openness, and the unguarded playfulness and curiosity of a child. Only this time it is simplicity together with knowledge and with none of the weaknesses of mind associated with childhood.

But why a return to simplicity? Or why build up and then minimize, or learn and then unlearn? Is it better that way? In the story (in post “The Enemy Within”) Dama, Vyala and Kata were overpowered as they succumbed to the ego-sense. Sambara having realized this, then produces by way of mayavic powers demons with self-knowledge – Bhima, Bhasa and Drdha. Now every time the notions of “I” or “mine” would come to them, they would inquire as to its basis and such ideation would go away. On the battlefield the gods are defeated yet again. It eventually takes Vishnu’s intervention on the battlefield – Bhima, Bhasa and Drdha are killed and being desireless attain to liberation.

Hong-Sau Technique.

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(As given by Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji).

Precede the actual practice of the Hong-Sau technique with the following.  Sit erect, with spine straight and the body relaxed. Close your eyes. Inhale slowly, counting 1 to 20. Hold the breath, counting 1 to 20. Then exhale slowly, counting 1 to 20. Repeat this 6 to 12 times. (If you cannot hold the breath with comfort for a count of 1 to 20, reduce the number of the count accordingly. Hold the same count whatever may be comfortable for you during each of the three parts). Now take a deep breath and tense the whole body, clenching the fists. Relax the whole body, throwing the breath out in a double exhalation, i.e. “huh-huh”. Repeat 6 times. Then take another breath, and exhale quickly and remain without breath as long as it will stay out without discomfort. Mentally wait for the breath to come in.

Then begin the actual Hong-Sau technique. Close your eyes and focus their gaze upon the point between the eyebrows. Then feel your breath naturally coming in and going out. As the breath comes in, mentally say “Hong”. And as the breath goes out, mentally say, “Sau”. Do not concentrate on the movement of the chest or other movements caused by the breath; just be aware of the breath itself as it flows into and out of the body. Chant “Hong” and “Sau” mentally only. Don’t move the tongue, mouth or throat while practicing. Keep inwardly looking upward at the point between the eyebrows throughout the practice of the technique. The eyes have a tendency to lower their gaze after a time. Inattention during the practice of Hong-Sau produces sleep.

The mental chanting of each word of Hong-Sau should correspond to the length of the incoming and outgoing breath.  In other words, the beginning of the mental chant “Hong” should begin when the breath starts to flow in and end when that one inhalation ceases. The same procedure should be followed with “Sau”. In doing the Hong-Sau exercise do not force the breath in and out or try to control the breath. Breathe naturally, merely watching the course of the incoming and the outgoing breath, mentally chanting “Hong” and “Sau”. If the mind wanders bring it back to the practice of Hong-Sau.

Over time, when practiced correctly the breath will slow down and will even stop. Whether the breath remains in the lungs or flows out, always wait until it flows naturally again. Remember that the purpose of this practice is to increase naturally the intervals when the breath does not flow. If, as you mentally chant “Hong”, the breath comes in naturally and does not flow out immediately, wait and enjoy the state of breathlessness. When it goes out again, mentally chant “Sau”. If the breath goes out and stays out, wait and enjoy that state of breathlessness until the breath wants to flow in again. Don’t be concerned – the body will breathe when it needs to. Just relax and enjoy the deep state of stillness and feeling of peace when the breath is not flowing.

After practicing this technique deeply for ten minutes to half an hour, exhale slowly and completely. Blow out of the lungs all the breath that you possibly can and enjoy the breathless state as long as you can without discomfort. Repeat three times. Then forget the breath and sit in silence.

The Wings Of Desire.

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Hold a single desire and no other. Make this one desire your life’s purpose. Strive relentlessly, with determination and without wavering, with your heart and mind given to that desire. Think of that, dream of that, talk about that all the time. Allow that desire to permeate every part of your existence. This is a surefire way to achievement… only material success does not translate to lasting happiness. It does not resolve that inexplicable emptiness that we suffer.

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Even as separateness caused desire, you who are knowledge adorned the veil of ignorance. It was desire for union, to be once more as That. Only steeped in ignorance you could not tell wherefrom came this hunger or where it would find fulfillment. You hungered out through the senses. You made the illusion just as you created within yourself a phantom with which to indulge in it. Driven by hunger, nourished by the senses, the phantom grew ever stronger as did the illusion take ever deeper root within your being.

Every time you indulge a desire, you reinforce the illusion and you strengthen the phantom and you take a step away from reality. The same when you go to the temple with your wish-lists and perform elaborate rituals believing that you are benefiting. On the contrary it is desire-force being wasted. If instead desire is directed inwards to the exclusion of all else. Then limb by limb the phantom drops even as the illusion falls apart. Then the veil of ignorance is lifted and you are that which is forever blissful. The one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

The Enemy Within.

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A Vedic definition of good and evil would be – that is good which takes us to light of knowledge. That is bad which takes us further into darkness of delusion. The scriptures caution that conceit of wealth or success is fraught with danger. Besides are not the things that bring us the most joy also the selfsame that bring us the most pain? The following is an interesting story from the Yoga Vasistha.

Having been defeated in battle by the gods, the dark-lord Sambara produced by way of Mayavic powers three demons – Dama, Vyala and Kata. With no previous incarnations, they were devoid of ego or desires and free of any mental conditioning. They were fearless; they knew neither death nor life, nor joy or pain, neither success nor failure. In the battle that followed, the gods were defeated. Not knowing what to do, the gods went to Brahma for help.

Brahma advised them to once again gather their armies. He asked them to make pretence to battle only to retreat every time the enemy attacked. They must do this over and over again (for a hundred years). By doing this, Brahma said, the ego-sense and then desires will start to take root in the minds of the three demons. When this happens they will be in bondage (of attachments and predispositions) and like birds caught in a trap could be easily disposed-off.

The gods returned and followed Brahma’s instructions. In time the ego-sense arose in the three demons. After that all kinds of delusions took a firm hold of them – “this is mine” and “this is my body”. Attachment to consumption, enjoyment and possessions followed. Then came the fear – “we shall die in this war”. Being drowned in grief giving Maya, they were at a loss as to what to do. On the battlefield, anxious and desolate, they eventually fled away panic-stricken.

The Path Of Detachment.

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Some years back I visited a buddhist monastery, when holidaying in Tawang in the north-east of India. The monastery houses three to four hundred child-monks, some as young as six or seven. The children are from nearby villages, people of tremendous faith, where it is customary to send the second son (when a third is born to them) to the monastery. It is a way of continuing their culture and giving a child to the monastery is a huge sacrifice.

The children are given a new name and all ties with family are snapped. Their parents do not visit and nor do the children go stay with their folks once in a while. From now on they have very little contact with their families. This may well seem inhuman. The children are small and their minds are vulnerable at this age. They do not get to decide for themselves. Some could potentially be doctors or artists. Instead they have few possessions and are prepared for a life of nothingness?

But these things are not given much importance. They believe the children will be happier leading a monastic life. To them it is not brainwashing but not allowing any dirt to accumulate. Not allowing attachments and desires (that nourish and support the ego-self) to take root. Living with family they would become attached. Living in the world they would grow greedy and aggressive.

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