Friday, January 24, 2014

From ‘On the Road to Freedom. A Pilgrimage in India’ by Swami Paramatmananda

“I have read that many people on the spiritual path get what may be called a glimpse of Cosmic Consciousness…….what, exactly, such an experience is like?” I asked.
Ratnamji, a little known by great mystic of India, unhesitatingly replied …… “When, on a dark night, there is suddenly a flash of lightning, if you are on a hill like this, all the surrounding area which had been quite invisible just a moment ago, becomes clear and lit up just for a few seconds. The very next moment, however, all is dark again.”

….all the people in India eat with their hands, not with a spoon or fork. They say that using silverware to eat is like using an interpreter in a love affair,

According to Ratnamji, food once cooked, becomes sensitive to those who handle it. Like a magnet, it picks up and retains vibrations. If those who handle the food are full of negative or worldly thoughts, some of those thoughts will find their way into our mind after ingesting the food.
…..By cooking for oneself, one gradually becomes able to ascertain which are one’s thoughts and which are the thoughts of others. ….He also said that one should not hesitate to accept food from someone who has attained a higher level of spiritual realization than oneself as that can help one spiritually...

….By bathing like this [with cold water] one becomes indifferent to the pleasures and pains of the body. …Attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain are the two main obstacles to meditation. If one simply waits for pleasure and pain to come in order to practice indifference, one will have to wait a long time. The scriptures say that we should start the day with a cold bath, preferably with well water. The dullness of sleep pervades the nervous system will be removed and the mind will feel fresh and alert.

He said that although ritualistic worship may be just a ritual for a priest, it is a practice for concentrating the mind for an aspirant. He gave the example of the needle on a meter. The movement at the upper end is easily visible but not so at the lower end where it is attached to the machine. Likewise, our mind is very subtle and its movements are not easily detectable. However, our actions and senses are a projection or extension of our mind and can be more easily watched and evaluated.

The scriptures aver that one’s next birth is largely determined by the nature of one’s last thought while dying. For this reason, the Divine Name is loudly chanted near a dying man. If he can think of God at that moment, he will merge in Him and attain the Highest Bliss.

According to the Hindu scriptures, the soul does not immediately proceed to the other world after death. It requires some sort of body with which to make the journey. Usually a small stone is placed on the corpse at the time of cremation. After the fire has subsided, this stone and some of the remaining bone chips are recovered. For ten days, food is cooked and offered with appropriate mantras to the deceased, using the stone as a medium. It is believed that each day the food is offered, a part of the body needed for travel in the subtle realm is formed. ….The offering is called a pinda and the body which is formed from the subtle essence of the food is called pinda sariram…. On the tenth day, the soul becomes conscious of its surroundings and the existence of the pinda sariram. It comes to a place where its well-wishers are gathered for the ceremonies and sees who has come. Afterwards it starts on its journey to the next world.

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