Sunday, October 27, 2019

Shubh Deepavali and Prosperous New Year - 2019 - [An Article on Raja Yoga]

Shubh Deepavali and New Year 2019


On the Auspicious Occasion of Dhanteras, Deepavali, and New Year we pray to
The Supreme God for Holistic Progress
Dhanvantari Deva for better health
Maa Laxmi for Prosperity and
Kuber Deva for sufficient wealth
Hanuman ji to Protect & Grant us courage & Faith
May Bhagavan Krsna & holy Govardhan Parvat and Bhagavan Rama Bless us with uprooting of ego and grant us protection

|| Hari OM ||



Both Dhanvantari and Maa Laxmi manifested during Samudra manthan.


Dhanvantari is the God of medicines. He is worshipped for good health. Maa Laxmi represents prosperity. Prosperity does not mean only having money. It can be our spiritual qualities. Prosperity may also mean ‘saruddhi’. There is difference between being ‘dhanvaan’ (rich) has samruddha. A dhanvaan may not be samruddha but samruddha is always dhanvaan. He has spiritual qualities like satisfaction, faith, devotion, etc as his assets.

Kalash is also worshipped. Kalash puja is done as during saumdra manthan, the amrut that was churned out was poured into kalash by Bhagavan Vishnu. It is said that after amrut was consumed by devas, they refused to accept kalash. This made kalash unhappy. So Bhagavan Blessed Kalash and gave him important place in puja. The water kept in Kalash, Sriphala i.e. cconut and Asolpalav leaves (leave of Ashoka tree) are all blessed. Water kept in kalash is highly potent full of divine energy with blessings of Ishvara or devi (during Navaratri).

Kubera deva is also worshipped during Dhanteras and on New Year before resuming business.

Hanuman Puja is on 28-Oct-2019. It is done to ward off the influence of negative elements like bhutas and pishachas and to remove negative energy from our selves and our home.

On 28-Oct-2019 Govardhan Puja is done. It symbolizes uprooting of ego and protection offered by Krishna Bhagavan to his devotees.

Deepavali or Diwali is connected with Bhagavan Rama. It marks his return to his kingdom Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana. A-yuddha means place where there is no ‘yudda’ i.e. war. This peaceful place is nothing but Bhagavan’s own kingdom or simply Bhagavad himself. This is known as Paramdham or Parampada.    



On this holy occasion, let us understand Raja Yoga as said by shastras.


Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga often translated as the ‘Royal Path’ is a misleading translation. This is due to the literal translation of the word ‘Raja’ meaning ‘Royal’ and ‘Yoga’ is taken in generic sense. Let us try to understand in brief, Raja Yoga as described in shastras. The word ‘Raja Yoga’ is found in Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

In Bhagavad Gita, an entire chapter #9 is dedicated to the teaching of Raja Yoga. It titled ‘Raja Vidya Raja Guhya Yoga. Hatha Yoga Pradipika also mentions the word ‘Raja Yoga’more than once in almost all four chapters. In Chapter 4 titled ‘Samadhi’sloka 4, it is implied that Raja yoga just another name for Samadhi, Turya Avastha, Sahaj, Param pada, Jivan Mukti, etc. It means that if these words are to be used interchangeability, then their meaning has to be same. Other words are mentioned and these states are described in shastras. Jivan mukti is not just entering into Samadhi, but it is complete destruction of mind and permanently staying in the state of communion with God Consciousness.

It conveys that Raja Yoga is the highest spiritual state. It explains this state to seeker as –

As salt being dissolved in water becomes one with it, so when Âtmâ and mind become one, it is called Samâdhi.

When the Prâa becomes lean (vigourless) and the mind becomes absorbed, then their becoming equal is called Samâdhi.

Note: Prana becomes slow due to shallow and slow breathing. It’s force decreases and losing mobility, it becomes steady.

This equality and oneness of the jivatman and the Paramatman, when all Sakalpas (thoughts and desires i.e. vasanas) cease to exist, is called Samâdhi.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika thus describes three paths in these sloka-s. First one is dissolving of jiva into Ishvara (bhakti), second one is attaining this state by pranarodh i.e. breath control and stopping of Prana flow (Yoga). And the third one is destruction of desires (Jnana)

It further says, Nada is the best and easiest way to achieve Raja Yoga. Here, Nada means Anahat Nada, which is heard as a sound in right ear. Anahat means ‘heart’. Here it means ‘source’. So Anahat Nada means ‘Sound originating from Source’ It also means that this sound also terminates in it’s source which is heart which is Paramatman. Since Nada originates from Paramatman, it is not to be chanted or uttered but has to be listened.

The method of achieving Raja Yoga through Anahat Nada described in this text is as described by the great Natha Yogi Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanath. Raja Yoga is the laya of mind. Mind is absorbed in Turya through nada. Again, laya has to be taken as destruction and not temporary state of thoughtlessness as Raja Yoga is another name for Jivan Mukti. So this laya has to be natural and permanent and not temporary.

For proper understanding chapter 4 has to be read fully. In brief, the method is to control mind through breath and prana. Sloka 4.29 says, ‘Mind is the master of the senses, and the breath is the master of the mind. The breath in its turn is subordinate to the laya (absorption of mind in Paramatman), and that laya depends on the nâda’.
Mind, which is master of senses is controlled by breath. By controlling breath, prana is controlled. When Prana flow is slow and mind is still and focused, there is heightened sense of awareness. In this state, a yogi hears anahat nada. Seeking the origin of anahat nada results into the laya of mind in the source of nada. This is samadhi.

To explain further, by controlling breath, prana is also controlled. Prana is then channelled through Sushunma Nadi which activates Kundalini and it rises upto Sahasrara chakra. Nada is heard by concentrated, focused and alert mind. When nada merges in mind and mind is absorbed in Bliss, it transcends duality. This is laya. This is Raja Yoga. To achieve this blissful state, mudras are often used. Bandhas are also used.


Different Texts on Yoga

Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Geranda Samhita are the two Classical texts that give details about asanas, bandhas and mudras. Siva SamhitA can also be referred.

Yoga Yajnavalkya also describes certain mudras, but focuses more on Pranayama then bandhas. It explains position of different nadis and vayus (both major and minor). It was revived by Sri T. Krishnamacharya who is called as 'father of modern Yoga' who taught vinyoga i.e. yogic practices like asanas and Pranayama are different for different people. He was the of Popular Yogis like A G Mohan (his disciple for 18 years) and Rukmi devi and B. K. S Iyengar, his brother-in-Law. 

T Krishnamacharya in his work Yoga Makaranda for Yoga mentions various Yogic Text he studied.

(For convenience, texts are not presented in the Original Order as given in Yoga Makaranda)


Classic Hatha Yoga Texts

1. Hathayoga Pradipika - by a Nath Yogi Muktatma
2. Siva Samhita
3. Gheranda Samhita by geraNDa munI

Classical Yoga Texts
4. Patanjala Yogadarshanam (Patanjali Yoga Sutras)
5. Yogayajnavalkyam (Yoga Yajnavalkya)

Yoga Upanishads
6. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad
7. Chandilya Upanishad (Sandilya Upanishad)
8. Yoga Shika Upanishad
9. Yoga Kundalya Upanishad (Yoga Kundalini Upanishad)
10. Nada Bindu Upanishad
11. Amrita Bindu Upanishad
12. Garbha Upanishad



Other Texts
13. Rajayoga Ratnakaram
14. Yoga Taravalli of Adi Shankaracharya ji (Gloss on Patanjali Yoga Sutra)
15. Yoga Balaprathipikai
16. Ravana Nadi (Nadi Pariksa of Ravana)
17. Bhairava Kalpam
18. Sri Tattvanidhi
19. Yoga Ratnakarandam
20. Mano Narayaneeyam
21. Rudrayameelam (Rudrayamalam)
22. Brahmayameelam
23. Atharvana Rahasyam
24. Kapilasutram
25. Narada Pancharatra Samhita - Sri Vaishnava Text
26. Satvata Samhita
27. Ahir Buddhniya Samhita


Patanjali Yoga sutras along with Vyasa’s commentary is highly revered Classical text on Yoga.

Siva Sutras too are important for a yogi giving concise way to reach Shiva-tatva or the formless Siva.

Since the knowledge and awareness of kundalini, chakras, nadis and prana is necessary to walk on this path, it is very important to practice Yoga under the strict guidance and grace of guru.


Raja Yoga as explained in Bhagavad Gita

Raja Yoga is explained in Chapter 9 of Bhagavad Gita. It does not mention, nada, chakras or kundalini. Gita describes the qualities of Brahman, its nature and Supreme Authority and detachment from it’s own creation. It then describes various paths to reach it. These paths are Vedic Karma Kand (rights, rituals and Yajnas), devotion to Lord Krishna (form of God, Saguna Brahman) or through jnana. While those performing karma kand do return back, his devotees and those whipping him as formless Brahman, do not return back.  Bhagavan says one should always surrender whatever one is doing to him which in turn will free one from the bondage of samsara.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an important text. It is also known as Ashtanga Yoga as it lists the path of yogi into eight parts (asta-anga). The word ‘8 limbs of Yoga’ does not give clear picture, as it is literal translation of word ‘ashtanga’. Eight parts are practices, disciplines and mental states. They are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances, disciplines, following rules and regulations), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption of mind into Paramatman or Union of Jiva and Paramatman). Patanjali Yoga Sutras talk about Samadhi and way to reach it, but, the path described is like a general guideline presented in the form of sutra meaning in concise form with no specific mention of any asana, mudra, bandha, kriya, kundalini or any mantra or devotion to any form of Ishvara. For example it does not prescribe any mudra or any breathing pattern or a mantra to control mind. It only states that pranayama helps control mind. Hence Vyasa’s Bhashya is often referred to for proper understanding. On the other hand, Hatha Yoga does describe a path of Kundalini awakening through controlling of Prana and directing it in sushumna. It also describes that purified yogis hear sound i.e. nada in right ear which results in merging of mind is supreme consciousness which is beyond prakriti and so is above duality. Thirumandirum is devoted to Bhagavad Siva is another important Yogic text.


Control of Mind and the three paths

All shastras give high importance on control of Mind, as mind controls senses and it is the senses that distract a yogi and makes it extrovert. For layman, five senses drag the mind and keeps it extrovert which is not desirable for a yogi. Senses needs to be controlled and they can be controlled by mind only. Mind can be controlled by three ways –


Jnana Yoga

Easiest way to control mind is through Breath control or prana control. Jnana Yogis control mind directly, however, it is very difficult process, as acknowledged by Arjuna in Gita to which Bhagavad replies, it is indeed difficult, but with ‘abhyAsa’ and ‘vairAgya’ (Practice of meditation and dispassion) it is possible to control mind. ‘Direct control of mind’ means controlling it via thoughts that direct one’s mind’s energy and focus on Brahman i.e. turn it introvert and be aware of thought. This process of logical reasoning and being witness to the origin of thoughts is known as ‘Nidhidhysana’, the path of neti-neti i.e. negation of all that is Anatman i.e. Detachment from all which is not Self or Atman or Brahman or ‘I’. One can also turn mind towards it’s source through Sri Ramana Maharshi’s ‘Self Enquiry’ which is also mentioned in ‘Ribhu Gita’ of ‘Siva Rahsya Purana’. By searching for the source of thoughts, even thoughts about Self Enquiry dissolve leaving behind pure consciousness, which is fullness, indescribable, where there is no second thing to be experienced as a separate identity.  Detachment comes from dispassion, one of the pillars of Advaita Vedantin’s chitta.

Often chanting of ‘OM’ is done by Advait Vedantins as it is easier to take help of a mantra then practising neti-neti. Source of OM is Brahman or Paramantman.


Bhakti Yoga

Another way in which mind gets controlled by itself is through bhakti. Strong devotion and unconditional surrender to one’s IshTa devatA makes mind naturally focused on Ishvara leaving behind samsAra.  However, developing dispassion towards samsAra is considered as foundational teaching. Developing strong devotion and dedicating entire life to his/her Ishtadeva is also difficult for layman.


Mantra Yoga

Mantra chanting is often done to progress on the path of bhakti. Any bija mantra dedicated to any form of Ishvara is considered as very potent. ‘OM Sri rAma rAmAy namaH’ and ‘OM namo bhagavate vAsudevAya’ are bija mantras. Puranic mantra like ‘Sri Rama Jai Rama, Jai Jai Rama’ or ‘Sri Krishna Sharanam mama’ is often used. Chanting mantra is sometimes referred as ‘mantra yoga’. A separate path which focusses only on mantra chanting and not any ritualistic worship or going to pilgrimage. Japa, when devoutly done, helps control mind. This upAsanA is called as pratika upAsanA as mantra is ‘pratika’ or symbol or representative of Ishvara. OM chanting is also Pratik upAsanA as OM in it’s fourth state ‘turiya’ represents Brahman.


Yoga, Mental Conditioning and Goal of Life

Third way to make mind steady and stay focussed is known as path of Yoga, which Maharshi Patanjali gives high importance as he opens his sutras with the sutra ‘Yoga is Chitta Vritti Nirodha’ meaning ‘Yoga is to negate the tendencies that arise in mind’. Tendencies are any thoughts, emotions, feelings or vibrations that one may feel. These let one astray from the path. Even the feeling of Bliss might astray a yogi from his / her path, as one may get attached to this bliss and will wish to feel it again and again each time one sits for meditation. All that arises in mind is of temporary nature and so changes with the change in mental state. Mind cannot stay in one state for long time.

Coming back to mind control, by directly controlling mind (which is done by advanced yogis), one regulates the flow of breath by one’s will and later being aware of it (breath). This in turn will automatically regulate the flow of prana within one’s body. Breath, prana and mind are all connected. Controlling one helps control the other with mind being at the top of both breath and prana meaning when mind is controlled, breath automatically slows down and so does Prana (due to slowing of breath). Prana can also be controlled directly. For beginners, controlling breath is easier than controlling prana. Slowing mind by slowing breath, helps one become aware of Prana which is present in subtle bodies like prANamaya kosha and manomaya kosha and later vigyAna and Ananadamaya kosha-s. In the beginning days, most yogic practitioners are aware of prANamaya kosha.

However, controlling breath does not mean one can direct prANa where one wants it to be. Yogic or tAntrIka practice is to willingly direct Prana in nADI-s like IdA (moon, soma, hot) and pingalA (sun, surya, hot) and later in suShumNA nADI. Certain mUdra-s have been listed in haTha yoga and geraNDa samhitA and are known to alter the flow of prANa. Various bandha-s also help control prANa. Asana-s help strengthen internal  muscles and are helpful practising bandha-s and sitting in one posture for a long period of time. They also help discipline the mind which is helpful in meditation.

So, it is the combination of Breath, Prana, Mudras and Bandha that help one progress on the path of Yoga. But this is not enough. One must change the perception of this samsAra. All these processes are done to control the mind and purify it. Any kriya or process indicates that it has to be done willingly as it is a kind of ‘action that needs to be performed’, whereas samAdhi is not due to any Kriya, it should be a natural state of mind for which one does not need to meditate to achieve it.

Here, conditioning of mind comes into play. That is why Maharshi Patanjali describes Yoga as negation of tendencies that originate in mind. Without devotion to Ishvara, be it sAkAra or nirAkAra, one cannot progress spiritually. Maharshi Patanjali also gives importance to devotion to Ishvara but does not specify Ishvara’s form. Maharshi Patanjali also gives importance to making mind introvert by changing perception towards samsAra.  To begin with, anything you do must have a goal. Here it is Yoga meaning ‘Union with Paramatman’. Without purifying mind, one cannot stay on this path.

Without goal, one has no destination, without devotion, there is no attraction and urge to move ahead to merge in Ishvara, the source of everything. All activities and kriya-s become mechanical and meaningless without devotion. Without discipline, and controlling of mind, mind cannot meditate on Ishvara. Knowing how to meditate and knowledge of the highest spiritual state through shastras and by experiences is also important to keep one on track and move in right direction. Hence all are needed to be practised. Yogi practises them all, keeps the body fit to stay in one position in meditation, strengthens internal muscles to increase effectivity of bandh-s, controls Prana-s directly or through Breath, conditions mind and turn it introvert, surrenders to Ishvara or Paramatman.

Repeatedly listening to discourses and following instructions of Guru are of utmost importance. Guru has the force to uplift vibrations of his disciple immediately. Without the grace and guidance of guru, one cannot progress on spiritual path, especially path of yoga and jnana. By practising all these together, a Yogi proceeds step by step towards Paramatman. Later, Kundalini reaches sahasrAra and stays there, one has to move beyond it leading into absorption of mind (and so individuality) into totality.  If character building is not done and introvert mindset is not retained, then mind does not remain purified and kundalini falls down again. Yogi falls from the great height s/he had earlier walked after years of practice and hits the ground hard.

From various ways or teachings following which one can attain Samadhi, Raja Yoga by the hearing nada and it’s union with mind and absorption of mind in Paramatman is prescribed by Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanatha.

The nada can only be heard by quiet, focused, aware and purified mind. In the beginning, by closing ears, one can hear sound or nada.


Laya

Laya here means constant absorption of mind naturally in Patamatman. This happens by repeated absorption of mind and repeatedly entering samadhi that karmas of past lives are destroyed. Finally mind is destroyed and the state of samadhi becomes natural. However, some think that attaining laya once is enough. Hence Ramana Maharshi has differentiated ‘mano-laya’ and ‘mano-nasha’ i.e. absorption of mind and destruction of mind. Manonasha results in Atmasthiti as sahaj sthiti.

Yoga also has an element of service.  So in the beginning, one must also serve the society without expectations. Later on when mind becomes steady and introvert, then leave samsAra to Ishvara and continue spiritual practice in isolation.

To control Prana, one can take help of breath, mudras and bandhas. Yoga Yajnavalkya does not put great emphasis on bandhas but on regulation on prana.

Sant Gyaneshwar and Sri Madhusudan Saraswati have written commentary on Bhagavad Gita. In chapter six, which is atma-sayyam yoga meaning, Self-control or control of mind (here self implies mind) have extensively quoted Patanjali Yoga sutras and the commentary on it by Bhagavan Veda Vyasa. They too put great importance of yogic practices to achieve control of mind.


To conclude,

Raja Yoga, as described by Mahasiddha Guru Gorakshanath is a path in which nada and mind becomes one in their source, which is Paramatman.

To attain this state, regulation and control of breath is done to control prana until prana can be directly controlled. Various mudras and bandhas are also used by Yogis. Mudras are common, some yogis may not practice bandhas. A Yogi also conditions his / her mind by listening and contemplating on shastras, following instructions of Guru, practicing control of mind by various means as described in shastras, surrendering to Ishvara or Paramatman and keeping moksha or Yoga as the only goal of life.

Raja Yoga as described by Bhagavan Krishna in Bhagavad Gita chapter 9 is the best and the secret teachings i.e. It is the essence of shastras. Bhagavan describes his nature, his all-powerful attribute, and teaches us to always remain surrendered to him and offer all work done or any kriya done to him. Such a devotional person without any selfish motive, whether one surrenders to a form of Ishvara or to Nirakara Brahman or Paramatman, never takes rebirth in this world and attain moksha.

May we all progress on the spiritual path from this Diwali which indicates the celebration (Joy of Jnana) over Ego (individuality). The lamps that we light indicate the flame of knowledge i.e. Atmajyoti or simply Atmagyana or Brahmagyana also indicated by the symbolic returning of Rama and Sita back to their home Ayodhya.

Rama is Paramatman who rescued Sita, the jiva. But before Rama, came Hanuman, symbolising devotion, courage and faith. It is Sri Rama’s ring given by Hanuman to Sita that helps strengthen her faith in Sri Rama that he (Ishvara) will surely come to her rescue (the devoted soul who went astray against the instruction of Lakshmana due to compassion and due to sense of duty to help a Brahmana and give alms not sensing danger).

Hanuman is also known a Pavankumara. Pavan is Vayu. He is the Prana and with the help of only him, one can attain Paramatman. Hence Hanuman PujA is also performed after dhanteras. Dhanteras is the beginning of celebration of festival. It indicates blessings of Maa Lakshmi for prosperity which is chitta shuddi or purification of mind. Kubera deva can be worshipped as one is not completely detached from the world and needs money sufficient enough to sustain oneself and family.

Krishna Bhagavad too removed ego of Indradeva by lifting Govardhan parvat on his little finger and sheltering entire village indicating Ishvara will always protect us and will uproot ego of his devotees so that his devotees can surrender to him and attain moksha. Hence Govardhan Puja is also done in remembrance of this incident and that this mountain was blessed by Krishna as Bhagavad had lifted it for more than a week.
So after inner purification and devotion towards Ishvara and dedicating one’s life for him, ego gets destroyed and Jnana shines by itself.

I humbly and wholeheartedly pray to Ishvara from the core of my heart that, we may all have this blissful, blessed day in this lifetime.

Shubh Deepavali

॥ हरि ॐ ॥

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

micchami dukkadam - મિચ્ચામી દૂકડમ - ક્ષમા પ્રાર્થના - Gujarati - English

|| Shri Ganeshay NamaH ||

|| Hari OM ||

Micchami dukkadam, is one of the important spiritual practice of Jain Dharma. It is a result of inner reflection of a truth seeker in which one is able to recall if s/he has done any harm in any form be it verbal, physical or even mentally cursing anyone. 

It can be closely related to another important practice of Self Reflection or introspection known as pratikramaNa. pratikramaNa would generally be understood as to negate or do pratikramaNa of those issues that one has done ati-kramaNa i.e. done in excess. ati means 'excess', here it means 'that which is done in excess'. It is a daily practice. So when one introspects about the past actions of yesterday, one realises that one might be obsessed with some result or has wrongly hurt someone, or is hurt by someone's behaviour, then one neutralises the negative emotions in one's heart and mind by a spiritual process like forgiveness or begging for forgiveness or by blessing someone i.e. wishing for good or those being hurt or those who have hurt or by simply being witness of thoughts and emotions and let them pass by thereby releasing them and making one feel light in heart, as if a burden is removed. This also helps one retain physical health as mind is healthy and in sound condition. Another spiritual meaning of pratikramaNa can be 'to attack (oneself) without attacking'. Here the word 'attack' means to be aware and alert by being witness. It means the one should not be absent minded and let emotions control one's actions. As explained earlier, by being witness, one's thoughts and emotions can be released. It also does make one's heart soft and fills it with deep peace and retains a sense of awareness throughout the day (if done properly and diligently everyday).

Coming back to Micchami Dikkadam, if in such daily spiritual practice, even if little residue is left or that one needs to physically apologize for any kind of wrong doing, then once a year, a day is reserved. This day is the last day of paryushana in which Jains fast for inner purity. So after getting purified (inwardly), one meets or calls up friends and relatives and with deep respect of all living beings, one begins the conversation with the self explanatory words 'Micchami Dukkadam' and gets reciprocated with same words. Micchami dukkadam is also helpful to those who do not do pratikramaNa or regular basis. 

While there are mistakes which one know to have committed, there are mistakes and sins which one does not realise and so one's heart does not feel guilty or them. Hence Micchami Dukkadam can be extended to all living being including nature and anything that has jiva in it.

However, most important person to whom we can never repay his debts is sadguru. Hence we must also ask for forgiveness to him too, as it is the guru who protects his disciples from unseen forces,  covers our errors and protects us from getting sidetracked. Guru's grace is incomparable and we often do not recognise it. When one does, one is left speechless, as words are too little to describe guru's grace. 

Tirthankara's hold special place in Jain's heart, hence Micchami Dukkadam has to be done to them too.

The ideal way of life is to rise above likes and dislikes. It helps one not to do ati-kramaNa (doing excess). Here, ati-kramaNa does not mean excess expression of negative emotions, but also positive emotions like love, etc, as one has to rise above emotions. Divine emotions help one transcend beyond mind easily. So the ultimate aim, in my humble opinion, is to not let anything enter into our mind so that there will not be any need to practice pratikramaNa and reach the ideal state as taught by the great tirthankara-s and be a 'Jina' in a true sense. 

There are many sects and sub-sects within Jainism. Each one has their own day of practising paryushan and for saying micchAmi Dukkadam.

With prayers and gratitude of this beautiful spiritual practice aimed as inner purification, let us do 'Micchami Dukkadam'. Please find a prayer which one may find helpful in one's spiritual progress. 




મિચ્ચામી દૂકડમ - ક્ષમા પ્રાર્થના


|| શ્રી સદગુરુ શરણમ ||


હે પ્રભુ, જેમની કૃપાથી અંતઃકરણની શુદ્ધિ થાયા છે, જેમની કૃપાથી જ્ઞાન પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે એવા જ્ઞાનસ્વરૂપ શ્રી સદગુરુદેવનું જો મે કોઈ કોઈપણ કારણવશ એમની આજ્ઞા ન માનવાનું ઈત્યાદી દુષ્કર્મ થયું હોય તો હે ગુરુદેવ મને ક્ષમા કરવાની કૃપા કરો. 


મારા દ્વારા જો કોઈ ફણા અપરાધ – કાયિક, વાચિક કે માનસિક અપરાધ થયો હોય તો મારી હૃદયપૂર્વક ક્ષમા યાચના સ્વીકાર કરો


નવકાર મંત્રમાં વર્ણવેલા સરવા દિવ્ય આત્માઓ, તીર્થંકરો, દેવો, માતા-પિતા, મિત્ર, સગા-સ્નેહીઓ, સ્થાવર-જંગમ યોની, સર્વ કોઈને મારી હૃદયપૂર્વક ક્ષમા યાચના અર્પણ પરુ છું. 


હે પ્રભુ, સ્થૂળ અને સૂક્ષ્મ, સર્વ પ્રકારના, દોષોથી મુક્ત કરો. મારૂ અને સર્વ કોઈનું હૃદય વિશાળ કરો અને શુદ્ધ, પરિત્ર અને દિવ્ય ભાવરૂપી ઐશ્વર્યથી અલંકૃત કરવાની કૃપા કરો


|| નામો જીણાનામ || 


Micchami Dikkadam – English


|| Shri Sadguru Sharanam ||


Oh Prabhu!, with whose grace antaHkaraNa is purified, with whose grace, GYAna (knowledge of Self realisation) is attained, to him, the embodiment of knowledge itself, the sadguru, I pray with the bottom of my heart that if I have incurred sin due to any wrong doing (like not following your orders / advices), I beg for forgiveness. Please be kind enough to forgive my sins


If I have incurred any sins by any kind of wrong doing either from mind, body or speech, I pray to all those to whom I have caused harm to forgive my sins 

To all the divine Jivas mentioned to the great navakAra mantra, to the tirthankara-s, Gods and Goddesses, father-mother, friends, relatives and well wishers, to sthAvara and jangam yoni-s (moving and immovable Jiva-s) and to everybody else, I pray for forgiveness 

OH Prabhu! Please release me from any kind of wrong doings be it from gross or subtle level. Please purifiy my heart and make me big hearted and kindly fill my heart with divine qualities. 

|| Namo JiNAnam ||

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Blog dedicated to Sri Anandagiri Maharaj Alias Tanjore Swamigal

Namaste, 

Dear Divine Atman, 

Our land is blessed with the descend of many avatars and saints who have uplifted vibrations of consciousness and upheld dharma. Our country, Bharat, is revered as Maa or the holy mother who has nurtured great saints and civilisation which teaches one to respect everything and rise above it into the untouched, pure Brahman. Among many great saints, one of them is Sri Anandagiri Maharaj (1898-1942) also known as Tanjore Swamigal. A book accounting the holy saint’s life was compiled and published in 1956 by Late Shri Shri H S Narasiah titled “Anandagiri’. The author’s son, Shri H N Ananda Giri has dedicated a blog to the Life and Teachings of holy saint extracted from his father’s book. 

As per the book, Sri Anandagiri Maharaj was one of the rare saints who had shown the world bhakti, Jnana and Yoga and remained in exalted state or at times beyond them. Many of the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna’s order were attracted towards him for his holiness. 

There are few saints whose subtle bodies would transform into their Ishtadevata while they leave their physical body. Some saints have ability to manifest the energies of other saints so that their devotes can feel their guru’s presence in the saint’s body. There are many miracles that are associated with saints which cannot be explained. They can only be experienced.

It would be worth reading his biography and teachings. Please find the link below to the blog 


Pranams 

INDIASPIRITUALITY Blog

Monday, May 13, 2019

Why do Gods Pray?

Why does avatAra show human emotions like anger, grief, faith, surrender or pray to somebody or meditate on sombody?

Some may have a doubt as to why avatArs like RAma, kRSNa or even Gods like trimUrtis (brahma, viShNu and mahesha) show emotions. They are also seen praying to somebody or meditating on someone or something.

The question arises, if they are Gods, who by definition is perfect, complete and eternal, then why does a God need to pray or meditate or show any human emotion like anger, grief, etc. Afterall emotions arise from ego and attachment. The very Gods teach us of detachment then why do they show the same weakness that we pray to God to remove from us?

There are many reasons for this behaviour. Our shAstra-s teach us dharma, artha, kAma and moksha. They also teach us various other arts and disciplines. In general, each incident has it’s own teaching and it’s own ‘moral of the story’. There is a way to interpret and understand any incident. Any incident has to be understood by either ‘vidhi’ (positive) or ‘nishedha’ (negative) says Puri SankarAchArya SrI nishchalAnanda sarasvatI ji. Either by positive learning or negaive learning it should be understood. So either you emaluate or you do not i.e. not to repeat the mistake or do evil karma.

Let us first consider the case of avatars like bhagavAna rAma. We have seen him Praying to sUryadeva, the Sun God. When rAma was tired of fighting rAvaNa, he saw rAvaNa full of vigour ready of next session of face-to-face fight. In the midst of fierce battle, losing hope and confidence and so losing inner strength to fight rAvaNa. In this state of mind, rAma was taught the famous Adityahridayam by Rishi agastya. 

Lord rAma, who though being supreme brahman himself, has, by his own wish, endowned himself with mAyA and restricted himself to act within human limits, as he is maryAdA puruSottama, and engages himself in some deep thoughts. He cannot vanquish rAvaNa acting as All powerful invincible God, as rAmA must respect the boon given by Lord brahmA jI that rAvaNa cannot be killed by anyone except humans including Gods except humans. He didn’t cared to include protection from Humans in the boon as he considered them as weak.

rAma had to behave in a human way and show emotions of tiredness, dejection, loss of faith and confidence. Then his guru shows him the path to remove negative emotions like tiredness, dejection, loss of faith, etc and replace them and reinstate energy, strength, confidence and faith. Finally rAma manages to kill rAvaNa and so the victory of dharma is established. 

We all pass through these emotions in some phase of our life. Even a spiritual person who is walking on the path of moksha also experiences such emotions when his / her sAdhanA does not seem to bear fruit or one may feel s/he is stuck up in a mental frame and not able to progress. Slowly enthusiasm decreases and so does faith in God. At such a time, guru approaches such sAdhaka and offer advice similar to what rishi agasthya did to his disciple rAma and our spiritual progress resumes again. If we continue to walk on this path, one day surely we will also become jivan mukta.

So, such incidents are pointers which have to be understood correctly. 

Now let us understand why any avatAra like SrI rAma prays. The doubt here is why Ishvara who is perfect, complete and above guNa-s need to pray and to whom does Ishvara pray? Are there many Ishvara-s? Can there be many Gods? How is it possible?

The answer to this is, in sanAtana dharma, there is only one supreme Godhead. Hinduism, if it can be roughly classified, is Henotheistic. The supreme Godhead, which is formless, when acts for creation, preservation and destruction, takes the help of mAyA. Ishvara, which is ‘it’ not ‘he’ or ‘she’ (neuter gender) assumes the role of masculine force which acts as an anvil and mAyA becomes feminine force shapes the world on that anvil. Same Ishvara or paramAtmA or Brahman as mentioned in upanishads, can take as many forms, male or female, as per his wish and each form is equally powerful.  Our mind is habituated of seeing shapes and forms. It is difficult to comprehend formless infinite tatva (essence). It is easy for mind to be emotionally attached to a form. We get attached to our loved ones. Same is the case with a form of Ishavara like kRSNa or rAma. They also do have a unique character which helps us get attached to that form of Ishvara. For devotional purpose, a form of Ishvara like rAma or kRSNa or Siva or devI is established in our shAstra-s. For a partcular devotee his / her form of Ishvara, known as IshTa devatA (the chosen deity) is the supreme Godhead. For hanumAna, rAma is the supreme Godhead. No one is above him, all Gods and Goddesses are under his sway. He was not satisfied with the form of kRSNa and so prayed to him to give him darshan in the form of ‘rAma’. HanumAna ji very well knew both are same, still he was devotionally attached to the form of rAma. When a character is created, there will be incidences in his / her life and from that, as said earlier, we have to understand those incidences in a right way – i.e by ‘vidhi’ or ‘nshedha’. 

Let us return to the case of rAma praying to sUrya deva. The doubt arises, why does he need to pray? Let us understand it from another angle. In case of avatAra, from day one of birth, an avatAra has great clarity of thoughts. He is technically not attached to anything, so his mind is very pure. His emotions are highly purified. The words that come from their mouth have deep meaning, highly purifed emotions said from the bottom of the heart. Sri Ramakrshna says, that mind of avatAra or jivan mukta is such that it can easily enter samAdhi, just like there is a big window from which one can jump to outdoor i.e. from finite to infinite. Their heart is always rooted in Brahman. This is the reason why their prayers or eulogising any form of Ishvara, will touch our hearts. Their words have great strength and devotion. Their bhAva, i.e. spiritual emotion, is highly purified and it touches the heart of a sincere devotee. Such a prayer is very helpful for spiritual progress. In order to make the prayer more effective a pUrvabhUmikA, i.e. a prima faci environment, is created which leads to an incident and then a prayer is composed. This pUrvabhUmikA helps devotee too as a story is easy to remember. One can easily construct whole scene mentally and enjoy the bliss of divine play of Ishvara. Same is the case with the stutis and prayers composed by great devotees like prahlAda and dhruva. They are spiritually highly matured and their prayers come from intense longing for Ishvara. They sing glory of Ishvara in estacy which touches us all, cleanses our heart, purifies it and helps one progress spiritually.

Similarly, there may be a doubt as why rAma or Siva meditates and what is the need for them to meditate, as a perfect Ishvaa never meditates, he does not need to. Technically this is correct. Ishvara does not need to meditate for himself, but for the sake of devotees, avatAra meditates. If an avatAra meditates on a particular place, that place gets purified. It vibrates with spiritual energy. If rAma prays to Siva, the thoughts, emotions, faith, surrender and love for Siva is so strong that the entire atmosphere vibrates with such lofty spiritual emotions. Such amtosphere is highly pure. Meditating on that spot or even in it’s vicinity will greatly benefit a devotee. Thoughts will calm down, speed of thoughts will decreases and inner peace and bliss will increase, there will be natural attraction for Siva. sAdhanA will happen effortlessly. Same is the case of a place where avatAra of a siddha or even a devotee who had darshan of his / her IshTa devatA (chosen, or had experienced Self Realization is very pure and vibrates with spiritual energy.

Another reason for avatAra to undergo penance or do sAdhanA is to establish a benchmark for devotees. An avatAra undergoes rigorous austerities, does penance for long time, faces harsh conditions that a common man many not be able to withstand. He will mentally collapse. In order to push up our efforts to progress spiritually and increase the longing and intensity of sAdhanA or to intensity the longing for IshTa devatA such accounts of intense sAdhanA and austerity gives a sAdhaka much needed moral and spiritual boosting, giving hope, increasing surrender and love for Ishvara.

To sum up, 

1. There is a way to interpret any incident mentioned in our shAstra-s. Understand it by ‘vidhi’ (positive learnng) or ‘nishedha’ (negative learning)

2. avatAra acts or shows human emotions or prays for the benefit of devotees. We need to understand it correctly. An incident leads to the composition of heart touching, spiritually uplifting poems, hymns, and stuti-s. It gives us inner strength to overcome our negative feelings and progress spiritually.

3. Story that leads to composition of poem helps devotee to stay immersed in the bliss of divine play of his / her IshTa devatA

4. sAdhanA or tapa (penance) by an avatAra or a siddha purifies a place and fills that place with uplifting spiritual vibrations. If one meditates on such a place or even in it’s vicinity, one’s spiritual progress is greatly accelarated. 

All that is mentioned in our shAstra-s is for our own good. We need to understand it in a correct way with a positive approach. As time passes, one becomes spiritually mature. At a proper time, secrets will unfold. There are certain things that one may not be able to find in shAstra-s, but can find only from guru, there are certain things which one experiences during sAdhanA. Till then one needs to keep the faith in our guru and our shAstra-s and continue to walk on the path that leads one to immortality.

Hari OM

Featured Post

Introduction of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a unique commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Update: 01/08/2016. Verses 8 a nd 9 are corrected. 'Thou' is correctly translated to 'tvam' and 't hat...