Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to ward off negative thoughts?

Wishing you Happy Gudi Padwa


To ward off negative thoughts, there are two solutions which I can recall:

1. Short term
2. Long term

1. Short term:

Devotional method:

Do what is right at that time. Suppose if there is bursting of anger, then you cant control it. But after the incident is over, forget and forgive all those involved. Pray to God, 'Oh God please take away my anger'. Pray to God to forgive you and and also pray to God to give you strength to forgive those who hurt you. Say, " Oh God, take away all the negative energies, all negative emotions and fill me with divine qualities. Where there is hatred, let there be love, where there is violence, let there be peace.

If you stay too much with negative emotions, you will feel that God is far far away from you. Can you afford it? What do you want, God or world?

Yogic method:

Sit on chair, relax. Have couple of deep breaths. Relax. Be aware of breathing. and let go, just let go. Let yourself loose, you jaws may drop. Recall the person with whom you had a quarrel, 'visualize his face in front of you. Raise your hands to chest level with palms facing outwards (in blessings posture). The face is say 1 ft away from your palms. Visualize divine white light (brilliant white light) coming from above your head (into sahasrahAra chakra) passing through neck, shoulders, hands, palms and then reaching the face of person. Also be aware of anAhata chakra if possible. Let the energy flow for 1 minute. Repeat for other persons involved.

Repeat it 2-3 times in the beginning. If you sincerely surrender to God with full force, then you will immediately feel peace in your heart. You will immediately feel light.

Note:
It is necessary to activate anAhat chakra. If it is not activated. Touch the centre of chest with fingers, recall any good incident in your life. For spiritual person, recall name of God, chant it a few times.

Always remember that what has happened, has happened. One cannot continue to live in guilt. So the best is to surrender to ISTa-devatA.

GYAni's approach:

Let the negative thoughts come, do not entertain, be aware of them, soon, thoughts will loose their power. Always remember that you are different from thoughts and mind. Mind gets it's power from Soul, Atman, Brahman. So you, i.e. 'I' can exist without thoughts, but thoughts cannot exist independently without the power of Brahman.

Be aware, stay de-focused (thats what is awareness), do not let yourself get dragged into the incident. Right now you are not fighting with anyone, but you are sitting in your room. What has happened is past, just let go. Right everything is happening in your own mind, so it is entirely your own mental construct. It is like a person shouting on mountain peak hears his own voice as echo. Right now, everything is happening in mind. So be aware. Soon, OM will pop up automatically (or start chanting it) and silently and smoothly shift the focus on OM, surrender to OM, be aware of origin of the sound 'OM'. If you can manage to be aware from where OM originates (and terminates), then thoughts will look to have little power. Brahman is all peaceful, SAntam Sivam advaitam, OM

Honestly, everything is just a construct of mind, it is not what it looks like

2. Long term method

Prevention is better than cure

Daily practice japa. Give more importance to God then world. Always be ready to sacrifice world for God. It is in japa that mind becomes still, one pointed. For sAkAra upAsanA, it gets fixed in one form of God. Later when you can be aware of full form of God, be aware of a part. bhAgavat purANa says, be aware of face (as face has all 5 senses). I am more comfortable with gazing at the holy feet. For advaitins, one can be aware of Guru's feet or even any form of God to felicitate the mind to turn introvert and dive deep within.

After your mind is absorbed in the lotus feet of Lord, the little 'I' does not remain. It is only God. This is bhAva samAdhi. One can feel the image of the Lord in the heart, but at times, the image can disappear and one begins to feel the lord as antaryAmI. Sri Abhinava vidyAtirtha (shringeri SankarAcArya and guru of current SankarAcArya Sri bhArti tirtha ) had this experience when he was meditating on narasimh bhagavAn.

So, when you daily practice japa, you realize that thoughts disturb you and the incident pops up breaking your meditation (japa). This is because you have given too much importance to the incidence. But now you have awareness that you should not have engaged in futile verbal fighting. after regular practice, japa mantra continues even when you are working, you are always aware that a part of mind is always chanting it. As soon as you stop your work, immediately, without any effort to recall God, the mantra pops-up automatically.

This awareness of mantra increases the 6th sense. When any incident happen, a inner voice will whisper, 'Do not hit back, Do not reply'. Just trust it. Or japa mantra will pop up. For a moment there will be no thoughts and you will become conscious and still. This is an indication that should be aware of mantra and only have faint awareness of the incidence (i.e. someone shouting at you) . If you manage to have this experience, then you will stay aloof and after react only that is necessary, else you will have the strength to gulp down the humiliation, as mind is more concerned with staying with God then keep pondering over worldly issue.

Once a person has awareness of japa mantra or the image of God in heart, then such a person will not much care about what the world thinks. s/he can easily reboot and caste away lower emotions. This can happen if one gives less importance to world and more importance to God.

Staying more and more with God like chanting mantra, stutis, bhajans, etc is very effective or do atma chintan (self enquiry). Plese do not be awre of a chakra specially AGYA (ajna) chakra, it may cause headache. Being aware of anAhat for some time is fine, sometimes, one feels too heavy if one is aware of sahasrahAra chakra. You may even have a headache.

Always begin any spiritual procedure with prayer. Pray to God to accept you as his refuge. You can even pray to AmbA or kundalini devi (for yogi-s). Always pray to guide you and show you the correct path. Always end any spiritual procedure with a thanks giving prayer and with a feeling of gratitude for God. There is no harm in accepting that there is a higher authority and that you do not feel ashamed to surrender to almighty.

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Also note that since we live in this society, hence you cannot live like a saint. There are times and situations in which you got to react, as it is necessary. Do not worry too much, just do what is necessary. But dont just keep living with negative mindset and move on with life.
Hari OM

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Can a Doer be a Witness at the same time?


Can a Doer be a Witness at the same time?

If one is a doer, then one cannot be a witness. A witness cannot act, as s/he is a witness. In Gita, we are taught to be the witness. Laws of karma are for those who are doers. Hence to break free from the law of karma, one has to disassociate oneself with doership by being a witness of the karma that one does. Atman is a witness and bhagavAn in gItA BG 10.20 says 'aham AtmA ghuDhAkeSa' meaning, 'Oh Arjuna I am the Atman'. bhagavAn in gItA teaches us to be a sthita praGYa. In chapter 13, Atman is called as 'kshetraGYa', the knower of kshetra and is a witness to everything.


The law of karma is only for doer and not for non-doer (witness). bhagavAn in gITa BG 3.28 says ‘गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त … ।।3.28।।’ ‘guNA guNeShu vartante …’ which means guNa-s play among themselves.

guNa-s as senses move amidst the guNa-s as the sense-objects, and the GYAnI is is not attached, as he is the knower of guNa and karma vibhAga and is separate from gunas [by being their witness].

Guna-vibhaga means the products of Prakrti which consists of the three gunas.They are the five subtle elements, mind, intellect, ego, five sensory organs, five motor organs and five objects (sound etc.) of the senses.

Karma-vibhaga means the varieties of inter-actions among these.

The verse means:

He who knows the truth that the Self is entirely distinct from the three Gunas and actions does not become attached to the actions. He who knows the truth about the classification of the Gunas and their respective functions understands that the alities as sense organs move amidst the alities as sense objects. Therefore he is not attached to the actions. He knows? I am Akarta -- I am not the doer. (Cf.XIV.23).

In brief, Atman is the witness of everything that is happening and is separate from everything. Atman is akartA, the non-doer. Atman does not do anything.

Friday, March 6, 2015

How can we experience the one who does not change?

Question: How can we experience the one who does not change?

Swami Ramsukhdas ji: Do you ever doubt that you exist? Have you ever asked anyone whether you exist? It is your own experience that you exist. There is a difference between understanding and experience. I have said these things, you have heard them and agreed with me. You have understood what I have said but have not accepted it from within. To experience you have to accept it from within. To experience be situate in your existence. It is different from understanding. Nowadays people study Vedanta and think that they know God - they know the essence. It is mere knowledge - there is no experience. You cannot realize God through reading and learning only. The essence is beyond all means (mind and intellect). One can only understand the world by the means (instruments) that you have, not God.

The knowledge that you gain is always the same. You get information of the birth of a grandson and the death of a son (two extremes). The information is totally different but the knowledge of the information is same. You get happy and sad when you mix yourself with the information - when you have 'my-ness' with the information. The situation changes, your position changes (childhood, youth, old age) - but you remain the same.

Question: Why does the feeling of being situated in the Self (existence) not stay?

Swami Ramsukhdas ji: I ask you why do you not keep it? You have assumed yourself to be flawless

- I am perfect but the feeling does not stay. Well to answer your question – it is because the hunger for the feeling is not there within you. If there is no hunger you cannot digest the food. It is not interesting. You have to have the hunger/desire for this knowledge. You must have the want to know the Self.

Source: "Maanav Jivan Maatre Kalyaan ke Liye Hai" in Hindi pg 80 by Swami Ramsukhdasji

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sri Ramakrishna on Bound Soul, Renunciation and way to achieve Liberation

"The bound creatures, entangled in worldliness, will not come to their senses at all. They suffer so much misery and agony, they face so many dangers, and yet they will not wake up.

"The camel loves to eat thorny bushes. The more it eats the thorns, the more the blood gushes from its mouth. Still it must eat thorny plants and will never give them up. The man of worldly nature suffers so much sorrow and affliction, but he forgets it all in a few days and begins his old life over again. Suppose a man has lost his wife or she has turned unfaithful. Lo! He marries again.

"Or take the instance of a mother: her son dies and she suffers bitter grief; but after a few days she forgets all about it. The mother, so overwhelmed with sorrow a few days before, now attends to her toilet and puts on her jewelry. A father becomes bankrupt through the marriage of his daughters, yet he goes on having children year after year. People are ruined by litigation, yet they go to court all the same. There are men who cannot feed the children they have, who cannot clothe them or provide decent shelter for them; yet they have more children every year.

"Again, the worldly man is like a snake trying to swallow a mole. The snake can neither swallow the mole nor give it up. The bound soul may have realized that there is no substance to the world — that the world is like a hog plum, only stone and skin — but still he cannot give it up and turn his mind to God.

"I once met a relative of Keshab Sen, fifty years old. He was playing cards. As if the time had not yet come for him to think of God!

"There is another characteristic of the bound soul. If you remove him from his worldly surroundings to a spiritual environment, he will pine awav. The worm that grows in filth feels very happy there. It thrives in filth. It will die if you put it in a pot of rice."

All remained silent.

Vijay: "What must the bound soul's condition of mind be in order to achieve liberation?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "He can free himself from attachment to 'woman and gold' if, by the grace of God, he cultivates a spirit of strong renunciation. What is this strong renunciation? One who has only a mild spirit of renunciation says, 'Well, all will happen in the course of time; let me now simply repeat the name of God.' But a man possessed of a strong spirit of renunciation feels restless for God, as the mother feels for her own child. A man of strong renunciation seeks nothing but God. He regards the world as a deep well and feels as if he were going to be drowned in it. He looks on his relatives as venomous snakes; he wants to fly away from them. And he does go away. He never thinks, 'Let me first make some arrangement for my family and then I shall think of God.' He has great inward resolution.

"Let me tell you a story about strong renunciation. At one time there was a drought in a certain part of the country. The farmers began to cut long channels to bring water to their fields. One farmer was stubbornly determined. He took a vow that he would not stop digging until the channel connected his field with the river. He set to work. The time came for his bath, and his wife sent their daughter to him with oil. 'Father,' said the girl, 'it is already late. Rub your body with oil and take your bath.' 'Go away!' thundered the farmer. 'I have too much to do now.' It was past midday, and the farmer was still at work in his field. He didn't even think of his bath. Then his wife came and said: 'Why haven't you taken your bath? The food is getting cold. You overdo everything. You can finish the rest tomorrow or even today after dinner.' The farmer scolded her furiously and ran at her, spade in hand, crying: 'What? Have you no sense? There's no rain. The crops are dying. What will the children eat? You'll all starve to death. I have taken a vow not to think of bath and food today before I bring water to my field.' The wife saw his state of mind and ran away in fear. Through a whole day's back-breaking labour the farmer managed by evening to connect his field with the river. Then he sat down and watched the water flowing into his field with a murmuring sound. His mind was filled with peace and joy. He went home, called his wife, and said to her, 'Now give me some oil and prepare me a smoke.' With serene mind he finished his bath and meal, and retired to bed, where he snored to his heart's content. The determination he showed is an example of strong renunciation.

"Now, there was another farmer who was also digging a channel to bring water to his field. His wife, too, came to the field and said to him: 'It's very late. Come home. It isn't necessary to overdo things.' The farmer didn't protest much, but put aside his spade and said to his wife, 'Well, I'll go home since you ask me to.' (All laugh.) That man never succeeded in irrigating his field. This is a case of mild renunciation.

"As without strong determination the farmer cannot bring water to his field, so also without intense yearning a man cannot realize God.

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna