Thursday, April 21, 2011

From ‘Swami. Encounters with modern mystics’ by Doug Boyd

The Hindu idea is that all of us are responsible for our own actions and their results. That’s what karma is.

…… ultimately one can really master nothing other than one’s own self

“ …….. After three hours and thirty-six minutes one achieves perfect stillness of posture. If one is trained to sit in a particular posture without any movement, after three hours and thirty-six minutes one achieves that stillness. And that is one of the signs of samadhi”
- Swami Rama

Swami believed it the habit of all good yogis and aspirants to spring from their beds immediately upon awakening. He also believed that all sensible people are up and about when the sun comes up in order to benefit from some special ethereal quality of the sun’s first rays.

…… the proper execution of the lotus posture ……. “You see where my feet are? The heels should press in against the abdomen like this. In this manner you maintain the locks – the solar plexus and anal locks – and you achieve the best balance and stability, which is the purpose of this posture and the reason why it is superior to all the others ….. Any posture will suit for meditation so long as the head, neck and trunk are always straight ……… do the lotus asana …… properly ….. see my toes? The backs of the toes rest flatly against the outside of the legs. ……. Once you master it, it takes the least effort. You will see how easily you keep the proper alignment of the spine. In any other posture the back will bow, and you must attend to it again and again. But here you will see the backbone remains unbending without the constant effort of the muscles. ………First you will feel uneasy …… then the body adjusts …….. The body numbs, and all the sensations are forgotten. This body consciousness is gone and the body is transcended. ……… your left knee is resting on the floor, but your right knee must do the same.”
- Swami Rama

“…… you should have and keep a spiritual diary. You can develop yourself by writing in bold words what you have done each day. Your spiritual self will tell you what work is to be done that you have not done and what work is not to be done that you have done. In this way you will be disciplined. You will understand your major thoughts, and you will understand where you have committed mistakes”
- Swami Rama

“Your work starts with the lungs ……. By controlling the motion of the lungs, mind’s movements come under control …… by increasing the capacity of your lungs, by making the lungs strong, you make the respiratory system very regular …… you bring the vagus nerve under control ……. You gain control of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems …….. breath is the first link between the conscious and the unconscious …… if you control your breath … your attention develops and you are on your way toward gaining control of the unconscious processes or movements of your mind”
- Swami Rama

“When the balance between the flow of the right and the left nostril is upset, the “pranic” energy is affected by it and the result is some sort of physical ailment …. If we want to cure ourselves of disease and restore the balance of life, we should try to restore the balance between the flow of breath ……… breathing ….. stores up “pranic” energy”
- Swami Rama

‘Empty thyself and I shall fill thee.’ Discipline is a kind of emptying. The moment you have emptied yourself the real self is revealed in you – the master in you is able to come forward.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

From ‘The Four Agreements. A Toltec Wisdom book’ by Don Miguel Ruiz

We try to please Mom and Dad, we try to please the teachers at school, we try to please the church, and so we start acting. We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually we become someone that we are not.

The human being is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. ……. If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again. Is this fair?

Your whole mind is a fog which the Toltecs called a mitote (pronounced MIH-TOE’-TAY). Your mind is a dream where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other. This is the condition of the human mind – a big mitote, and with that big mitote you cannot see what you really are. In India they call the mitote, maya, which means illusion. It is the personality’s notion of “I am”. Everything you believe about yourself and the world, all the concepts and programming you have in your mind, all are the mitote. We cannot see who we truly are; we cannot see that we are not free.

That is why humans resist life. To be alive is the biggest fear humans have ……… Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else. ……. Trying to be good enough for them, we create an image of perfection, but we don’t fit this image ….. Not being perfect we reject ourselves ……. We try to hide ourselves, and we pretend to be what we are not. The result is that we feel unauthentic and wear social masks to keep others from noticing this. We are so afraid that somebody else will notice that we are not what we pretend to be.

In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself.

You need a very strong will in order to adopt The Four Agreements – but if you begin to live your life with these agreements, the transformation in your life will be amazing.

The First Agreement – Be Impeccable With Your Word

…… your intent manifests through the word. …… Impeccability means “without sin”. Impeccable comes from the Latin pecatus, which means “sin”. The im in impeccable means “without,” so impeccable means “without sin.” ……… Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate. ……. Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. …… Use the word in the correct way. Use the word to share your love.

The Second Agreement – Don’t Take Anything Personally

When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts ……. You also try hard to be right by giving them your own opinions. ……. by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. …… The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune.

The Third Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions
The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. ……. we believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong. ……. We only see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear ……. We literally dream things up in our imaginations.

The Fourth Agreement – Always Do Your Best

Friday, April 8, 2011

From ‘The Essential Swami Ramdas’

…….. whether an avatar and a God-realized soul possess the same power and vision and carry out the same mission ……. Surely, as far as the knowledge of God is concerned, both are on the same plane, but in the field of action the avatar brings down the light and power of the supreme Truth to a greater mass of humanity than a God-realized person does …. there is a clear assertion made by the avatar that he has descended on the earth with the special mission of liberating mankind from ignorance and bondage.

In the Bhagavad Gita there is a sloka which says:

Alike in pleasure and pain, who dwells in the self, to whom a clod of earth, stone, and gold are alike, to whom the dear and the undear are alike, who is firm, the same in censure and praise – (he is said to have crossed beyond the gunas)

This is the state which is held out as the highest in the Bhagavad Gita. You have to transcend the pairs of opposites. Otherwise you are like a scared animal at the sacrificial altar.

The Hindu religion is a universal religion. It accepts all the great Teachers and spiritual Masters of the world as equally great, because they are all representations or manifestations of the Divine. The Hindus offer equal reverence to Jesus, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna, or Rama …….. Hinduism …. It says: “All religions are true. You may follow any religion you like but be sincere and true. You may follow any religion you like but be sincere and look upon the Master, the supreme personality of your religion, as the very expression of Divinity, even as the Masters of other religions are. By having complete faith in your Master you will be saved……..” This is the thing you find peculiar in Hinduism.

If you want to take a leap into the Infinite and realize your oneness with It, you have to stop reasoning. Reason must give place to intuition. Intuition is born of a purified heart and an illumined intelligence. It is a spontaneous outflow of Divine Light. This can come only after elimination of the ego-sense.

Japa ………. Take the Name of Brahman Himself and using it as a ladder ascend the summit, the supreme Godhead with whom you are eternally one. ……. Fixing the mind on the sound of His Name is the easiest way for concentration ….. By gradual practice, the external repetition will lead to an automatic functioning of the Name in the mind. ….. By the sadhana the restless nature of the mind is curbed.

Japa ………. The easiest means to make the mind dwell in the idea of God is to constantly reiterate mentally or vocally in the Name of God. Such a recitation of the Name should of course be accompanied by implicit faith in the efficacy of the Name and intense love for the immortal ideal which the Name represents, viz. the supreme Reality who is absolute existence, consciousness, and bliss and who is seated in the hearts of us all. When thus the mind is completely absorbed in the Divine idea, a stage is reached when the mere individual or physical consciousness is transmuted into the universal and ever blissful consciousness.

Meditation at stated times and remembrance of God at all times is necessary in the case of all sadhakas.

What we have to do is to aspire for God. When this aspiration becomes intense, God helps in our progress and by His grace lifts us up and absorbs us into His all-inclusive, all transcendant Supreme Being.

… if they want to concentrate their mind on God, vegetarian food will be helpful. It is sattvic food. If one uses onions, garlic, or chillies, he will find great disturnance in the mind and it will become restless. Meat also should be totally eschewed as it is rajasic in nature and irritates the mind and proves a hindrance on the spiritual path.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

From ‘The Big Book Shelf’ - Sunil Sethi in conversation with 30 famous writers

‘The trouble with opportunities is not that they don’t come,’ the English writer E.M. Forster once observed. ‘It is that they are not punctual’

….. the poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz: ‘Lambi hai gham ki raat magar raat hi toh hai (Long is the sorrowful night, but a night is all it is).’

This is an English translation of Milosz, who says to a ruler:

You who wronged a simple man
Bursting into laughter at the crime,
And kept a pack of fools around you
To mix good and evil, to blur the line,

Though everyone bowed down before you,
Saying virtue and wisdom lit your way,
Striking gold medals in your honour,
Glad to have survived another day,

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the deed, the date

Salman Rushdie: There is a very beautiful passage in a novel of Saul Bellow’s that I have always taken as a kind of text. It is in The Dean’s December …… it is winter …… and he hears ………. In the distance: a dog barking. Bellow wonderfully has his character imagine that what the dog is doing is protesting about the limits of dog experience; he imagines that the dog is saying, ‘For God’s sake, open the universe a little more.’ A beautiful phrase, I have always thought that it is the artist’s job to open the universe a little more and that is what I tried to do.

Khushwant Singh: Ghalib is my favourite, and my favourite lines are about himself, Asadullah Khan, ageing and he joy of life ebbing from him. ……..

Woh badah-e-shabana ki sarmastiyan kahan
Uthiye, ke bas ab ki lazzat-e-khwab-e-sehar gayi
Maara zamaane ne Asadullah Khan tumhe
Woh walwale kahan, woh jawaani kidhar gayi?

(What happened to those nights of intoxicated ecstasy?
Arise, for the sweet dream of morning has gone.
Time and age have beaten you, Asadullah Khan,
Where has the effervescence of youth gone?)