Friday, May 27, 2011

The Yoga of Life

Well, firstly let’s discuss the words yoga and life.

What is yoga? The Sanskrit word yoga translates to ‘union’ or ‘to yoke or harness’. Simply put, yoga is God-union. However, the word yoga also refers to the scientific spiritual method of physical and mental practices, originating in the land of Bharat (India) more than 3 000 years ago. The purpose of the system of yoga is to help you to achieve your highest potential and to experience good health and everlasting joy. The ultimate aim of yoga is to reach emancipation.

According to many great yogis, yoga was passed on from Lord Shiva to Parvathi. Parvathi then taught the technique to Muruga. Muruga imparted this knowledge to Agasthiar Muni and Boganathar Maharishi who then taught Babaji. Babaji is now passing this information on to all of humankind. Yoga is the scientific way, spiritually, for God and Self-Union. Yoga is made up of eight requirements or means to achieve this:

yama - universal moral commandments
niyama - self purification through discipline
asana - posture (exercises for the body)
pranayama - rhythmic control of the breath
pratyahara - withdrawal and a freeing of the mind from the senses and external world
dharana - concentration
dhyana - meditation
samadhi - ‘to bring together completely’ - a state of super-consciousness in which a person becomes one with God

Of all of the above eight stages, the yoga of life is pranayama.

What is pranayama? Pranayama is the scientific art of mastering breath control and is a very important part of yoga. Pranayama is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita and in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. We say that pranayama is breath control (‘prana’ means breath, life force, vitality or energy and ‘ayama’ means length, stretching or restraint). So pranayama entails a modification or regulation of the normal process of breathing.

Usually breathing is an automated act in which air is taken into the body, into the lungs, oxygen is absorbed from the air in the alveoli (the lungs’ microscopic air sacs) into the blood and carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood into the alveoli out to the atmosphere. This complete process or act of inhalation and exhalation repeats itself every four seconds. Each process takes about 500 ml of air into the lungs. So for every 60 seconds, 7 litres of air is taken into the lungs.

Prana has a double meaning, one is breath and the other is life. As long as breath is there, there is life. It is said that a yogi’s life is not measured by days but by the number of breaths. How you breathe determines how long you are going to live. For a yogi it is ideal to breathe about 15 times every minute. Here is a theory I put together: God gives you 788 400 000 breaths at the time of birth. How you use this breath determines how you will live. Breathing 15 times a minute or taking one breath every four seconds gives you a life span of 100 years. So, breathing 10 times a minute will give you a life span of approximately 150 years.

Prana is indispensible to life. Because of prana, every tissue, cell or atom has constant energy. Prana is the essence of all bio-chemical processes in the body. When a living being dies, he has no breath. The soul exits the body, but people don’t generally say the soul left at a certain time, they say “he took his last breath” … and call this the Time of Death. We breathe to live. Prana is thus the yoga of life.

(Excerpt from retreat discourse from 20th to 22st May 2011)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yoga with Q and A

We think we understand this term “Yoga”. Yoga is that union or yoga is that to unite with God, and there are many ways to unite with God. There’s Bhakthi Yoga, Jnana Yoga, there’s Karma Yoga, there’s Kriya Yoga. Together with that there is Guru Bhakthi Yoga, Agni Yoga, there’s Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga and Ananda Yoga. But if you look at it carefully the word bhakthi appears more than once, so because the word bhakthi appears more than once, it means it is one of the easiest ways to have union with God.

So we going to start with Karma Yoga first. Karma Yoga is yoga of action. So what is the meaning of the word action. In this sense the meaning of the word action is to do something in righteousness, that means something without harming anybody in mind, body or soul. So let’s identify Karma Yoga that relates to the Gayathri Peedam and Jadatharaya Institute of Right Living and Yoga. Abisegam to the murthi is Karma Yoga. Cleaning after the Abisegam is Karma Yoga.Washing the cloth that was used on the murthis is Karma Yoga.Dressing the murthi is Karma Yoga. Cleaning the hawan kund, be it portable or fixed is Karma Yoga. Cleaning around the hawan kund is Karma Yoga. Maintaining the grounds of the temple with regards to cleanliness is Karma Yoga. Feeding the poor is Karma Yoga. Clothing the poor is Karma Yoga. So anything related to goodness externally is Karma Yoga, but giving R1 at the robot is not Karma Yoga, don’t think that is goodness, that is just bad.

Q: (Devotee) Can you explain that Gurudev?
A: Generally those people at the robot are capable of working, they just damn lazy. For a moment I thought they just can’t get a job, I think they just selective in what job they want, they can do any job. So that which we discussed now is Karma Yoga.

So I am going to go now to Bhakthi Yoga. Bhakthi means devotion, dedication. Writing your Japa is Bhakthi Yoga. Clapping your hands in ecstasy during a bhajan is Bhakthi Yoga. Singing bhajan as a lead or chorus is Bhakthi Yoga. Giving 10% of your salary is Bhakthi Yoga. Only a devotee who is devoted will make that 10% available. So you got Bhakthi Yoga.

Q: (Devotee) Guru can I ask you on that point, about clapping your hands, could you explain?
A: First of all we need to understand I said in ecstasy, everybody can clap their hands, somebody is called for a nomination we clap our hands. Here when we clapping our hands we create an energy in your palm, by clapping continuously, and that energy is dissipated into the whole room, that’s Bhakthi Yoga, that is devotion. By clapping your hand in a function because the rockstar sang well is not Bhakthi at all, it just that you are in one of those states like everybody else. The state of clapping your hand in total ecstasy is Bhakthi Yoga.

Now we going to go to Jnana Yoga. The word Jnana means intellectual, knowledge, spiritual intellectual. Spiritual knowledge is Jnana. One who has bliss in spiritual knowledge is called Jnanananda. You can give him any question, he will give you an example in the material plane first and then from there he will take you into another realm. Jnana means reading the Bhagavad Gita, reading the Ramayan, not only reading, reading and absorbing and practicing. Jnana is a very powerful term in the Hindu scripts, as soon as you are referred to as a Jnana means you do not compare to anybody else, you are just beyond comparison of the normal individual. That is why it is a very, very important term Jnanananda, Jana Giri, Jnana Guru, Guru Jnanananda, all these come from that yoga, means full knowledge of all aspects without generally even reading the books.

We going to go now to Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga is yoga based on the eightfold of Patanjali. Kriya also means action or to do, but it is based on Patanjali. Everything we discussed now is Kriya. Karma, Bhakthi, Jnana all that is Kriya, because if you do not have Yama and Niyama, Yama and Niyama generally refers to Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana, then you can’t be called a Kriyaban. The most important aspect of Kriya Yoga is Samadhi. The most important aspects leading to samadhi in Kriya Yoga is Pranayama and Meditation.

Now we going to go to Ananda (Blissful) Yoga. What is Ananda Yoga? You are in Ananda Yoga when you practice Chapter 2 verse 48 - perfect Ananda Yoga, evenness of mind. Nothing bothers you, nothing, whether it is good or bad you just smile. Chapter 2 verse 47/48, very important chapter, with that is Chapter 12, the whole of chapter is very important. The questions are asked about man’s illumination, how is man illuminated? Illumination means a state of Ananda. Chapter 12 gives you a full description of 24 or 25 verses.

Let's look at Agni Yoga. Agni means fire. Agni Yoga means offering to the fire. Why do think it is called Agni Yoga, why I am not saying hawan? What we do here is hawan. What you do with devotion and love and not just throwing like that, when you offer it, you have this connection with the fire, God and yourself. It’s a triangle you create and when you making that offering that is Agni Yoga. Where you hold a mudra (Maan Mudra), so you take the samagri and you offer it like this (Gurudev demonstrates how to offer to the fire holding the mudra). That is Agni Yoga. When you throwing like this, is hawan. Maan means buck.

Q: (Devotee) Gurudev you taught us that it is very important to only offer only with the right hand, why is that?
A: Because the right hand is always the positive hand. Left hand is always the negative hand. I did that in Ida and Pingla. We need to offer with the positive hand only, but if you have a disability there is nothing wrong with your left hand, you can change it to positive by thought only. Negative is cool, positive is hot.

Now we going to where we all fall short. Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga. I am going to do both they just fall into each other, as much as they are two different yogas, you cannot separate them when you are talking about it. You can practice them separately, but when you talking somehow Karma comes into Bhakthi and Bhakthi comes into Karma. Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga and Guru Bhakthi. We defined earlier the meaning of the word Bhakthi. Bhakthi means devotion, dedication. Karma, action.

Action with devotion and dedication to the Guru is Bhakthi Karma Yoga. Yesterday we described, don’t know where it came from but it is a perfect definition of a Guru: “One who helps navigate the rapids and turbulences of the material ocean to enter the spiritual ocean”.

Q (Devotee): How can you accept that navigation If you do not have Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga?
A: Only with Bhakthi, only with devotion and dedication you can have the Guru Bhakthi. Without that you can’t. So if you do not have Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga, navigation for you is a very difficult one, absolutely, terribly, and all of you are now stuck there. You have come here and you looking at your Guru as an item, identifying as a body and working towards it as a body. You need to now take that out and work towards your Guru as an intangible being and then Guru Bhakthi Karma yoga will become very, very easy.

Q: (Devotee) Guru could you explain more along the lines of intangible being?
A: Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga, your Guru must become intangible. What that means is, you must see your Guru as a soul and not as a body, because when you look as the Guru as a body, the body relates to sex, the body relates to intake, the body relates to excretion, the body relates to arrogance, the body relates to hate, the body relates to jealously, the body relates to ego, the soul relates to none of those and the soul is not tangible at all.

Q: (Devotee) How do you do that?
A: Very easy to do that, when you sit in the presence of your Guru, when you stare at your Guru, you must be looking inside his body and not at his body. In Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga we have desires - that means 'I want to become like the Guru'. I’m striving in that way to become like the Guru. 'I want to be able to preach like the Guru' - and this is having desires. These desires are accepted in the spiritual journey.

Then you have people or devotees who want to have the Guru under their control, so what they do, I am showing you were Guru Bhakthi Yoga does not come in, what they do, during the Guru’s times of difficulty, when I say difficulty, for example let’s take Deepak: Tammy and I were in India and Mellisa phones me and said she needed to pay her fees at UDW first person I phoned was Deepak, remember Deepak, I don’t forget, I phoned Deepak and told him to do this for me, he said 'no problem', he got the details and paid it through the computer, when I came back, I said Deepak I owe the money, he said, 'don’t worry about it'.

Now that is the Guru Bhakthi in the beginning, now just say Deepak needs from me, now I am a commissioner, a justice of the peace, now Deepak needs to stamp a document by the justice of the peace, but the document he is giving me is not correct, but he wants me to stamp it, sign it to say it is correct, I saw the original and I saw the copy and then I tell him Deepak I can’t do it and then he reminds me of his favour to me. That is not Bhakthi at all. That is giving favours and waiting for the fruits some time when you need it.

In Chapter 2 verse 54/55: When one has put away the desires of the mind, what is the desires of the mind? The fruits of the action.Chapter 2 verse 56: That one who is without sentimental attachment, what is the attachment? I gave you money then, that is a sentimental attachment, I did the Guru a favour. Who does not rejoice because of present circumstances, why doesn’t he rejoice? He needs the present circumstances to fill the past action. So that it something you need to be aware of. Don’t do something for the Guru, with the Guru or the Guru does something for you, or with you and you use that to get the better of life. It will come back in a boomerang and you won’t be able to take it. I’m saying this to you now, not long from now you will recall these lines.

Q: (Devotee) Gurudev, if can just go to understanding Guru and the role when we undertake the journey to call a Guru, do we call a Guru into our lives or does the Guru come into our lives?
A: The Guru knows beforehand whether he is part of your life or not. There is no higher Guru and there is no lower Guru. Guru is Guru. Rain water is rain water, you can’t say in India they have better rain water, neither can you say in South Africa we have bad rain water. Guru is like that flow, Guru is like the Sun, he does not pick were he has to shine from. Whether you are a good person or a bad person, the sun is equal on you as well as the good person. Light will fall on everybody good or bad.

Q:(Devotee) Does the Guru pull the disciple into the ashram? Do we have a pledge , when we undertake the spiritual journey, do we undertake all the instructions that go with that particular path?
A: When you enter into an ashram, the fact that you entered and already accepted the ashram, you made a pledge. You don’t have to write out a pledge. “The Pledge is : I will follow this man, called Guru through thick and thin, through any speed whether he is going fast or slow, I will follow him”. That is the pledge. “We also make a pledge that at no time we will bring him down”. Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga is talking about your Guru, positively, that’s all.

Q: (Devotee) Gurudev, does that relationship grow, it does grow, but at what point is it a relationship, I’m not sure I quite found the right word?
A: At what point you find yourself connected? When the Guru starts to haunt you must know that point is there. When I say the Guru starts to haunt you, you cannot think of anything else, nothing else, you can only think of your Guru, you working you thinking of your Guru, you eating you thinking of your Guru, every person you meet you want to talk about your Guru, and you stop strangers and you talk about your Guru, that means your Guru is haunting you. That means this the time you need to make that connection.

Q: (Devotee) What is that connection, are we not connected?
A: You are connected, you didn’t pay subscription, but you connected.

Q: (Devotee) How does that work?
A: It means you did not acknowledge the connections always there. There’s a spiritual umbilical cord between us here, we all linked with that spiritual umbilical cord, but we have not used that cord to interact. Like if tomorrow Seelan doesn’t pay the DSTV, we are connected, but we won’t have DSTV. We need to make that payment and that payment is use that umbilical cord, the spiritual umbilical cord. Through the spiritual umbilical cord you need to absorb , you are not doing that.

Q: (Devotee) How? I don’t get that.
A: When you are in meditation, and if you meditate intensely, with the deepest desire to have this connection, deepest desire, you got to do it everyday, because everyday you will see slowly, slowly, slowly, from a dim light to a bright light, to a brightest light, then it will explode on you. The globe will burst on you. The connection is made. That is what you need to do. It is repeated practice. We had a settee, a long settee, somebody took it for storage and he took it for himself after that. On this settee, one day I was lying and meditating on my Guru, Tammy remembers the day I got a fright of my life. Inside my head something burst, loud, when it burst without voluntary movement I sat up, just that explosion in my head picked me up in a sitting position, it was a involuntary thing, the fear I had when it happened and I just looked, and I’m trying to say things, write, to see that everything was normal, went to the kitchen talking to Tammy, see if I am making sense because I thought I bust my brain. That’s the feeling I had, a strong, strong explosion in my head, and I just sat up in the settee, so what it means, that thing burst up here, that globe that I’m talking about and when it bursts on you it covers your whole body with this Divine nectar.

A Divine nectar is called Ambrosia. It covers your whole body, you feel it dripping inside your skin and your bones, you will feel it. It is like this gland, this organ just burst and the fluid is just dripping down. You will feel it like it is outside, but it is inside you, the world body. So coming back, the intangible Guru is beyond this physical body, he lies in the innermost self of this body. He is a pure unit of knowledgeable consciousness. One of the greatest things about the disciple- Guru relationship, many people have not had that, you must have a complete merger, a complete union with your Guru. If he thinks, you must be able to know what he is thinking.

Guru Bhakthi Karma Yoga is the easiest way to attain that state of Ananda Yoga.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What you want, wants you

Hari Om.

So this is a castle. It is old and has many stories attached: some good, some bad. Like each of you have many stories, some good and some bad. We are here to energise this castle. And while you are here you must energise your castle within. We are here to get rid of the negative energies of any demons and so must you remove your inner demons while we are chanting the mantras - your anger, jealousy and fears. All the healing energy will come from you and you alone. You have the power and the power you have has all the potency for you to heal anything you may be suffering. Some of you have exam fears, some relationship fears, marriage fears, past fears. And all of us seated here have one fear: death. We're all afraid of it. So here we are to try and heal you from those thoughts. Whether you like it or not, death will happen, if not now then tomorrow. But it will happen. We shouldn't have that fear because we don't know what it is to die, and as long as we don't know how it feels to die why should we fear it?

So here we will start to heal all those fears that you have within yourself. Even great personalities die sometimes. In recent times we've had some great personalities - in the last five years - who left their mortal bodies: Swami Murugesu, my spiritual master; Yogiar Ramaiah, my kriya master, Haridas Acharya, my guru and, in more recent times Satya Sai Baba. All have left their mortal bodies and they left their mortal bodies in a very pleasant way. What we saw was only for our karmic experience. They experienced nothing like that so we shouldn't have this fear.

You fear being born because when you were born they slapped you and you encountered your first pain and it stays with you forever. You know what it is when your mother or father raise their hand from the time you were born. Why I'm talking about fear is because some of you seated here want to go home without bad dreams. Because this is a castle and nothing must follow you home. That is a discussion that Warren and Sundrie were having - that nothing should follow them home from the castle. But Warren says, 'nothing can follow me because I'm with you'. So let us now start with chanting the mantras and we'll chant mantras to echo any evil energy around you, in you and in this castle.

The greatest healing for this body is meditation. What is meditation? No mind. So if you develop a habit of having no mind for as little as five minutes a day, you'll have a healthier life than what you have now. Imagine if you extend that to one hour a day how much more beatitude you'll enjoy in this life. Lock yourself in a room and contemplate. Make an affirmation in that room and, in that affirmation, enjoy. Enjoy whatever comes in that affirmation. All of us have desires in life - each of you seated here. Take that desire and give it total intensity and it will be fulfilled.

As I said to you yesterday and again today: what you want, wants you. Remember that. What you want, wants you. 'I want God'. Automatically God wants you. 'I want love', and automatically love wants you. 'I want brutality', and automatically brutality wants you too. He who lives by roses dies with roses. He who lives by guns dies with guns. What you want, wants you. So if I want to have a perfect meditation, that perfect meditation will want me. This 'want' and 'wants' is a boomerang effect. How you throw it is how it will come back to you. That's how a boomerang works. If you don't throw it properly, it's not going to come back. If you throw positive thoughts and wants then you'll get them back. 'I want to get married.' It will happen. It will come. But we need to set this mind in meditation and in breathing.

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha.

[Excerpt from a talk during sacred mantra healing on 2 May 2011 at The Castle in Hillcrest, KZN, South Africa]