Saturday, August 31, 2013

1 September

Meditation 

If you want to get rid of the pains and afflictions of this samsara (worldly life) you must practise meditation. Meditation is the pathway to divinity. It is the royal road to the kingdom of Brahman. It is a mysterious ladder which reaches from error to truth, from darkness to light, from pain to bliss, from restlessness to abiding peace, from ignorance to wisdom, from mortality to immortality. Meditation leads to knowledge of the self, to eternal peace, supreme bliss. Meditation prepares you for direct intuitive knowledge.
Truth is Brahman. Truth is self. You cannot realise the truth without reflection and meditation. Be silent. Know thyself. Melt the mind in that. Without meditation you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality.  Tear the veils that cover the soul. Rend asunder the five sheaths that screen the Atman (Self) by constant meditation. You will find final beatitude.
Meditation is a powerful tonic. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells of the body and cure all its diseases. The powerful soothing waves that arise during meditation exercise a benign influence over the mind and the nerves. If you meditate for half hour you will be able to engage yourself with peace and spiritual strength in the daily battle of life, for a week. You do this just through the force of this one meditation.
A yogi who meditates regularly has a magnetic, charming personality. Those who come in contact with him are much influenced by his sweet voice, his powerful speech, his lustrous eyes, his brilliant complexion, his strong healthy body, his good behaviour, his virtuous qualities and divine nature. People draw peace and joy and strength from him.
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Close your lips. Shut the doors of the senses. Meditate on Atman (Self). You will enjoy peace and bliss. The more you grow in aspiration and meditation, the more you grow God-like. For in meditation is the light of the Lord.
Meditate and charge your battery by contact with God. Dive deep in the chambers of your heart through profound and silent meditation, and bring up the pearl of truth.

Friday, August 30, 2013

31 August

Hearticulture

You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the self. Unless the mind is set free, unless the mind casts away all desire, craving, worry, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter the domain of supreme peace.
Mind is compared to a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden, by ploughing and manuring the land, by removing the weeds and thorns, and by watering the plants and trees - so too you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind, by removing the impurities of the mind (such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, etc.), and watering it with divine thoughts.
Weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season and then disappear in summer. But their seeds remain underneath the ground and as soon as there is a shower, the seeds germinate and sprout. Even so, the vrttis (modifications of the mind), manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed-state in the form of samskaras or impressions. The samskaras again become vrttis, either through internal or external stimuli.
If you want to keep the garden clean you will have to remove not only the weeds but also the seeds that lie underneath the ground, which will eventually germinate otherwise. Even so, you have to destroy not only the big waves of the mind, but also the impressions which are the seeds for birth and death, if you want to enter the super-conscious state.
Those who have removed the impurities of their minds by japa (repetition of God's name), service, charity, pranayama (yoga breathing), etc., will enter into meditation as soon as they sit for meditation. The pure, ripe mind at once burns with the fire of meditation.
Without the help of meditation you cannot obtain knowledge of the self. Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine state. Without it you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality. Tear the veil that covers the soul, by practising regular meditation.
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Self-realisation is the aim of life. The means to it are living an ethical life and ceaseless meditation. Spiritual duty is far more important than worldly duty. Live to seek God. Live to serve humanity. Fulfil God's will. You will be blessed. You will be happy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

30 August

Develop Your Perception

Organs deteriorate if you do not use them properly - just as hands and legs are atrophied by disuse and are developed by muscular exercise, etc. There is intimate connection between sight and memory, and between hearing and memory.
He who has acute sight, keen perception, good powers of observation and hearing - he will have a good memory. In the internal astral body there are counterparts of these. They are called astral senses. A yogi hears through astral ears and sees through astral eyes. Thus he can hear sounds from distant lands, he can see objects in distant localities. This is called clairvoyance and clairaudience.
Generally people are very careless. They have no wish to learn higher things and have a fund of knowledge. Keep a watch very close to the ear; hear the sound attentively. On the second day put the watch a little further away. Listen to the tick-tick sound. Every day increase the distance, training yourself to hear the sound. Then plug one ear with the index finger of your hand. Train the ears alternately.
Here is another exercise. Close both ears through yonimudra; try to hear the anahata sounds that emanate from the heart lotus. You will hear ten varieties of sounds, such as: flute, mridanga, veena, conch, bells, thunder, humming of a bee, drum, etc. Allow the organ of hearing (ear) to shift from one sound to another and carefully differentiate the various sounds.  Eventually fix the ear on one sound. Try the gross sounds first and then go to the subtle sounds.
There is another exercise. Fix the ears on the pranava dhvani (Om sound) that emanates from a river, ocean or wind. It will be heard like 'bhum' or a long 'Om'. Train your ears to hear this sound. Do this exercise at 4 a.m. or at 9 p.m. when the noise of the town has died down.
Keep your ears keen. Differentiate the sounds of various kinds of birds, beasts, children, factories, motor cars, aeroplanes, cycles, shrieks, yells, snores, sobbing, crying, laughing, mocking, joking, etc.
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The mind may be there, the instrument may be perfect, but if the mind is not functioning perfectly, you cannot see or hear properly. Perception is possible only when the mind is linked with the external instrument (ear, eye, etc.).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

29 August

Trataka

Trataka is steady gazing. Write the word Om in black on the wall.  Concentrate on it with open eyes till tears come in the eyes. Then close the eyes; visualise the picture of Om. Then open the eyes and again gaze till lachrymation manifests. Gradually increase the period. There are students who can gaze for one hour. Trataka is one of the sad kriyas (six exercises) in hatha yoga. Trataka steadies the wandering mind and removes viksepa (tossing of the mind). Instead of gazing at Om you may gaze at a big black dot on the wall. The walls will present a golden colour during trataka.
You can do trataka on any picture of the Lord, either of Krishna, Rama, or Siva or on Saligrama. You can sit on the chair also. Fix the picture on the wall in front of your eyes. Trataka is the alpha-beta of concentration. It is the first exercise for yogic students in concentration.
Trataka with open eyes is followed by visualisation. Visualisation is calling up of a clear mental image of anything.
Practise trataka for one minute on the first day. Then gradually increase the period every week. Do it gently with ease and comfort, as long as you can. Repeat your mantra during trataka. In some people who have weak capillaries, the eyes may become red. They need not be alarmed unnecessarily. The redness of the eyes will pass quickly.
Practise trataka for six months - then you can take up advanced lessons in concentration and meditation. Be regular and systematic in your sadhana (practice). If there is a break, make up the deficiency or loss on the next day. Trataka removes many eye diseases and ultimately brings in siddhis (psychic powers).
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Place a picture of Lord Jesus in front of you. Sit in your favourite meditative pose. Concentrate gently with open eyes on the picture till tears trickle down the cheeks. Rotate the mind on the cross, on the chest, long hair, beautiful beard, round eyes, and the various other limbs of his body, and fine spiritual aura emanating from his head, and so on. Think of his divine attributes, various phases of his interesting life and the 'miracles' he performed and the various extraordinary powers he possessed. Then close the eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.

28 August

The Power of Concentration

If you focus the rays of the sun through a lens, they can burn cotton or a piece of paper; but the scattered rays cannot do this. If you want to talk to a man at a distance, you make a funnel of your hand and speak; the sound waves are collected at one point and then directed towards the man. He can hear your speech very clearly. When water is converted into steam and the steam is concentrated at a point, the railway engine moves. The steam in the cooking vessels moves the lid and produces a put-put sound. All these are instances of concentrated waves. Even so, if you collect the dissipated rays of the mind and focus them at a point, you will have wonderful concentration. The concentrated mind will serve is a potent search-light to find out the treasures of the soul and attain the supreme wealth of Atman, eternal bliss, immortality and perennial joy. Therefore practise concentration and meditation regularly.
Kumbhaka (retention of breath) helps concentration. It checks the velocity of the mind and makes it move in smaller circles and ultimately curbs all its wanderings. Trataka (gazing) is a potent aid to concentration. Fix the mind on the candle flame, or a black dot, or sivalinga (symbol of Siva), or saligrama (symbol of Vishnu). Brahmacarya (celibacy) helps concentration.  Without brahmacarya you cannot have definite progress. Satvic (pure) food is another aid to concentration. Seclusion, mouna (silence), satsanga (holy company), asana (yoga posture), japa (repetition of God's name), practice of yama, niyama, fasting, moderation in diet, non-mixing with persons, little talking, little walking, little exertion - are all aids to concentration.
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The mind can be controlled by continuous practice. You must always keep it occupied in divine contemplation. If you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once occur. Continuous practice only can bring the mind under control.
If you wish to attain success in yoga you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments. You will have to practise brahmacarya and tapas (austerity). These will help you in the attainment of concentration and samadhi (super-consciousness).

27 August

The Fruits of Concentration

Now hear about the fruits that one gains from this practice. Supreme joy is for the yogi whose mind is peaceful, whose passionate nature is calmed, who is sinless and of the nature of the eternal.
When one advances in the practice of concentration, when one takes a real interest in it and when one has realised some benefits, then he cannot leave the practice. Concentration brings supreme joy, spiritual inner strength, unalloyed felicity and infinite, eternal peace. It brings profound knowledge and deep inner sight, intuition and communion with God.
The vital point in concentration is to bring the mind to the same point or object, again and again, by limiting its movements. Limit it to a small circle to begin with - that is the main aim. A time will come when the mind will stick to one point alone. This is the fruit of protracted sadhana (practice). Now your joy will be indescribable.
If you decide to meditate on the form of a chair, bring all thoughts connected with that chair together and dwell on these ideas. Do not allow thoughts of other objects to enter your mind. Thought should flow steadily, like oil flowing steadily from one vessel to another. Gradually reduce the number of ideas related to the object of concentration. When all these ideas die, you get the super-conscious state (samadhi).
When this last idea dies out and when there is not even a single idea, the mind becomes blank or void. There is mental vacuity. This is the stage of thoughtlessness referred to by Patanjali in his Raja Yoga philosophy. You must rise above this blank vrtti (thought-form) and identify yourself with the Supreme Purusha or Brahman, the silent witness of the mind who gives power and light to the mind. Then and then alone you will reach the highest goal of life.
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Prolonged meditation on the Absolute leads to perfection. One of the greatest needs in spiritual life is meditation. Meditate and listen to the voice of God. This will give you strength and power and peace.

26 August

The Power of Concentration

If you focus the rays of the sun through a lens, they can burn cotton or a piece of paper; but the scattered rays cannot do this. If you want to talk to a man at a distance, you make a funnel of your hand and speak; the sound waves are collected at one point and then directed towards the man. He can hear your speech very clearly. When water is converted into steam and the steam is concentrated at a point, the railway engine moves. The steam in the cooking vessels moves the lid and produces a put-put sound. All these are instances of concentrated waves. Even so, if you collect the dissipated rays of the mind and focus them at a point, you will have wonderful concentration. The concentrated mind will serve is a potent search-light to find out the treasures of the soul and attain the supreme wealth of Atman, eternal bliss, immortality and perennial joy. Therefore practise concentration and meditation regularly.
Kumbhaka (retention of breath) helps concentration. It checks the velocity of the mind and makes it move in smaller circles and ultimately curbs all its wanderings. Trataka (gazing) is a potent aid to concentration. Fix the mind on the candle flame, or a black dot, or sivalinga (symbol of Siva), or saligrama (symbol of Vishnu). Brahmacarya (celibacy) helps concentration.  Without brahmacarya you cannot have definite progress. Satvic (pure) food is another aid to concentration. Seclusion, mouna (silence), satsanga (holy company), asana (yoga posture), japa (repetition of God's name), practice of yama, niyama, fasting, moderation in diet, non-mixing with persons, little talking, little walking, little exertion - are all aids to concentration.
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The mind can be controlled by continuous practice. You must always keep it occupied in divine contemplation. If you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once occur. Continuous practice only can bring the mind under control.
If you wish to attain success in yoga you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments. You will have to practise brahmacarya and tapas (austerity). These will help you in the attainment of concentration and samadhi (super-consciousness).