God’s unseen arm around us

There is an interesting story about a mother who wanted her young son to learn how to play the piano.  She had given him some lessons, and thought that if she took him to a live concert of a great pianist, he might gain inspiration to continue practising.
When they arrived at the concert, they took the front seats.  Suddenly the mother noticed that the boy had slipped away.  At eight o’clock, the stage was illumined by the spotlight as a sign that the concert was about to start.  When she looked up, she saw her son sitting at the grand piano, picking out the tune, TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR.  Then she saw the great musician enter the stage and move towards the piano.
boy-playing-piano
The musician whispered to the boy, “Don’t stop.  Keep playing”.  While the boy kept playing his simple tune, the musician leaned down behind him, and using his left hand played some notes on the left side of the piano to accompany the child with low. bass notes.  He then reached around the child’s back and put his right hand on the right side of the piano and accompanied the child with high notes.  Together, the musician and the child played and the crowd was thrilled.
This is how the unseen Hand of God helps us in our daily life.  Many times we try to do something knowing that we are incapable of succeeding, only to find out that we are mysteriously helped by some invisible force. We often think that we are all alone in the world.  We think that we have to face the challenges of life by ourselves.  But we do not realise that God’s help is always available to us.  At the right moment, we get a helping hand when we think all is lost.
As we walk through the byways of life, sometimes feeling discouraged that we are alone, we should recall how God is always with us.  His arms are always surrounding us, helping us with the high and low notes of life.  God’s arms are always around our back, surrounding us, loving us and protecting us.
—– Sant Rajinder Singhji  
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Nishkama Karma

Nishkama karma


NISHKAMA KARMA (State of No – Action) becomes possible only for a yogi at heart.  Meditating on what is unimaginable is considered to be the ultimate sadhana.  It is supposed to be beyond any conceptualisation.  If we imagine light, that is also a kind of form.  If the mind keeps thinking about the term ‘unthinkable’ to focus on, that is also limited in sphere.  So it is a challenge,  one has to overcome and the secret is that it can be attained by not pursuing anything with an intention to pursue, by becoming absolutely blank.

That is the state of ‘no – action’ in every sense (the state of Godhood) that supplies the energy for all action.  Why do we need sadhana of the unthinkable ?  We need the strength to pursue the most fruitful action.  Ramakrishna talks about three thieves, representing three gunas : RAJAS (can make you exhausted), TAMAS (can completely destroy you ) and SATTVA (the thief that has a lot of compassion)  SATTVA also guides you to the road that takes you safely home, the STATE OF NO – ACTION.

Kabir Das called this SAHAJA YOGA.  If we can become completely blank even for a moment, that is the real state of GOD – REALISATION.  In deep sleep, we may attain this stage.  But from a spiritual point of view, this state has to be experienced when we are awake.

It is very difficult to become completely thoughtless.  After remaining blank for a while, w may feel sleepy, but even then it is worth practising.  The effort to make ourselves thoughtless is also an action.  So, that action has to be discarded.  But as a beginner, we may take some form or light and remain blank, which may ultimately lead to the state of nothingness and thoughtlessness .

A sage suggested, you may think of God’s feet to begin with, but do not try to perform anything on the feet.  Just remain stable.  A state will come when the feet will disappear ——- what would remain is ‘nothingness’.  As one attains the state of ‘nothingness’ spontaneously, permanent peace prevails.

That is why it is said that BRAHMN is ‘unspeakable’.  Even one who realises cannot utter a word about it.  Buddha simply smiled and said nothing as He was asked to comment on NIRVANA.  It is for individuals to experience it.  Those who follow the path of sadhana and human welfare are able to perform this selflessly.  Thus, NISHKAMA KARMA becomes possible for a yogi at heart.

———– Arup Mitra. 

Lord Shiv – The absolute reality

Lord Shiva Absolute reality


In Hinduism, very God and Goddess can be understood from at least four standpoints : the absolute, the cosmic, the departmental and the incarnation who appears on earth to re-establish Dharma.

From the highest standpoint, lord Shiv is the formless absolute reality, the nature of pure consciousness.  Shiv’s name itself means “auspiciousness”.  It is Shiv that transforms an inert body, a SHAVA,(corpse) into a beautiful thing.  That Divine consciousness is one’s own true nature.
From the cosmic standpoint, Lord Shiv represents the Lord of the universe— the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world.  From the departmental standpoint, he is worshipped as the Deity in charge of the power of destruction.
Thus, we invoke the Lord to give us the capacity to destroy our attachments and ignoble thoughts.  In his fourth aspect as a particular form that manifested on earth, Lord Shiv is said to have appeared in numerous incarnations as a guru avatar, an enlightened master who teaches the knowledge of the self to his disciples.  Sri Adi Shankaracharya and Dakshinamurti Bhagwan are considered to be such avatars of Lord Shiv.
In his Ramayana, Tulsidas explains that lord Shiv is BRAHMAN, the absolute reality, and Parvati, his spouse, is ADI SHAKTI, the Lord’s primordial power.  Tulsidas also points out that the Lord embodies faith that is essential to realise the truth.  Yet, even if we have faith, we are unable to see the truth unless we have a teacher to guide us.
Thus, Lord Shiv is the supreme BRAHMAN, the faith by which we realise the truth and also the guru who guides us.
—— Swami Tejomayananda ( head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide) 

Great truths

Toys and trinkets are ‘easily won’, but the greatest things are ‘greatly bought’.  The top-most place of power is always bought with blood.  You may have the pinnacles, if you have enough blood to pay.  That is the conquest condition of the heights everywhere.  The  chief values in life and character are not blown across our way by vagrant winds.  Great souls have great sorrows.

truth road


Great Truths are dearly bought, the common truths,
Such as men give and take from day to day
Come in the common walk of easy life
Blown by the careless wind across our way.
——–
Great truths are greatly won, not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream,
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
———
But in the day of conflict, fear and grief
When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Rakes up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.
——–
Wrung from the troubled spirit, in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, perchance of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-raked field,
And the soul feels it has not wept in vain.
——–
The capacity for knowing God enlarges, as we are brought by Him into circumstances which oblige us to exercise faith ; so, when difficulties beset our path let us thank God that He is taking trouble with us, and LEAN HARD UPON HIM.
“On all bare heights shall be their pasture” (Isa. 49:9, R. V.)  

The God of all things

As GANESH CHATURTHI comes up, let us look into the many fascinating stories surrounding the Elephant-Headed God.
GANESH is among the Gods we know the most stories of —– and yet, the one we understand so little about.  GANESHA has so much to teach us.  What is the significance of Ganesha’s Symbol?  Why is an elephant head placed on Ganesha shoulders?  This is because only a rich, fertile eco-system can sustain an elephant.  So, the elephant’s head is a symbol of prosperity.  GaneshaGanesha’s rather rotund body represents not only affluence, but also repose —- in other words, success without too much work.  The rat that Ganesha rides symbolises the pestilence of problems in our lives that he keeps in check.  It is also a symbol of fertility.  The MODAK’S shape is like that of a money purse and its contents represent the sweetness of material pleasures.  At the same time, the triangular form (upward facing) is a symbol of spirituality.
Why is Ganesh’s name chanted before beginning any new endeavours ?  Before the Gods began churning the ocean of milk for AMRIT, they forgot to propitiate Ganesha. To teach them a lesson, Ganesha caused the serpent king Vasuki (which they were using as the churning rope) to vomit out venom.  Choking on the poison, the Gods called out to Ganesha to remove this obstacle to their success.  Pleased, Ganesha asked his father Shiva to drink the poison, thus clearing the air and enabling the Gods to restart churning till the AMRIT emerged.  Ever since, Ganesha’s blessing is always sought before any new task.
In his book 99 Thoughts On Ganesha, Pattanaik explains how our ancestors’ ideas of the “perfect life” are reflected in Ganesha’s unique physiology: “Our ancestors concluded that there are two ways to live life —– as a hermit who steps back and contemplates on the nature of the world and as a householder, who stays in the world and experiences it fearlessly.  They visualised the hermit as SHIVA……. and the householder as SHAKTI.  Shiva does not want to be a father and deal with the trials and tribulations of a worldly life.  Shakti wants to be a mother and engage with all things worldly, and she cannot do so without Shiva’s support.  From this tension between the hermit and the householder, is born GANESHA —– his animal head representing material joys and his human body representing spiritual bliss”.
For Ganesha’s “broken tusk”  too, there are several explanations.  The “tusks” of an elephant symbolises power and aggression.  The “broken tusk” implies that the elephant has been tamed.  The most popular story  about the purpose of the broken tusk is that Ganesha used it as a replacement for his quill while writing down the Mahabharata for Sage Vyas.
——————–  Rohini Nair.

Ganesh Chaturthi


Ganesh Chaturthi celebration


GANESHA is the Swami of RIDDI & SIDDHI.  RIDDHI is the force responsible for prosperity and abundance  —– all material riches and luxury pertaining to the five senses.  SIDDHI refers to spiritual powers, including extra-sensory perception (ESP), clairvoyance, premonition and thought manifestation.

Ganesha was born of the ‘dirt’ of ADI SHAKTI, as she bathed, indicating that all the RIDDHI & SIDDHI in creation is nothing but a speck of dirt of the phenomenal force of the Mother.. Ganesha is the Deity closest to the physical creation, the Swam of Riddhi and Siddhi, which are nothing but MAYA (unreality).  They are temporary and so are bound to leave.  Most people spend their lives chasing these, forgetting their temporary nature and oblivious to what lies beyond.

Ganesh Chaturthi immersion


Ganesha manifested at a time when impurities started creeping in to society.  In due course, as worldly desires took precedence over spiritual pursuits,mantras and sadhanas were prescribed to invoke the different aspects of Ganesha, to fulfil desires in the realm of the physical, the grossest layer of creation.

UCHCHHISHTA GANAPATI is invoked through specific mantras as a giver of boons, as protector and to develop master over the five senses.  HERAMBA is the five-headed form of Ganapati, golden in colour and riding a lion.  This ten-armed Deity is invoked for acquiring fearlessness and to overcome one’s enemies.  The MAHA GANAPATI form corresponds to wealth and pleasures, as He is the bestower of bliss.  The red-golden BALA GANAPATI is called upon for good health and a bright future.  HARIDRA GANAPATI with his turmeric complexion and yellow vestments is the harbinger of prosperity and protection.

Ganesh Chaturthi


The white-coloured SHWETARK GANAPATI is said to reside in the root of a rare variety of the MADAR plant, bearing white flowers instead of the common purple flowers.  SHWETARK GANAPATI brings vitality, vigour and strength when kept in the bedroom, intelligence and concentration when kept in the study, spiritual powers in the puja room, bringing luck and prosperity, freeing the house from negative influences.

Shwetark GanapatiThese potent sadhanas are given according to individual requirements and capacity by the SIDDHA guru, without charging you a fee.  When the Guru gives the mantra, blessings follow but then it is imperative to balance out that KARMA, since every action has an equal and opposite reaction and every pleasure has pain attached to it.
The Guru guides the practitioner on which mantra is to be practised, for how long, the correct pronunciation and the different practices to complement the sadhana.  One of the safest mantras for manifesting the SHAKTI of GANESHA is GAMA GANPATAYE NAMAH but this too can be channelized by the Guru for desired effects.

Ganesh Chaturthi


The success of the sadhana is indicated by the manifestation of the Deity in the YAJNA AGNI.  SADHAKAS or seekers who have been seriously practising the various mantra siddhis, have been known to have had physical manifestations of the Gods.  GANESH CHATURTHI is the auspicious night of SIDDHI mantra and mantra DIKSHA under the guidance of a Guru.  HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI !!!!!

 ——————— Yogi Ashwini.   

Janmashtmi

janmashtami1


JANMASHTMI marks the day of the birth of KRISHNA, an “avatar”.  AVATARS are agents of change from the negative to the positive, because the inherent nature of creation is destruction.  The “avatar” acts as a ” safety valve” or a “speed breaker.”.  The VARAHA avatar annihilated HIRANYAKSH, NARSINGH avatar came to end HIRANYAKASHIPU, VAMAN avatar protected creation from the ASUR BALI, PARSHURAMA saved humanity from KARTAVIRYA ARJUN, RAM destroyed RAVAN and KRISHNA steered the great war of dharma, the MAHABHARAT.  Krishna avatar was in DWAPAR YUG, we are now in KALIYUG, and therefore another birth of Krishna in this YUG is imperative.


radha_y_krishna


An “avatar” removes the forces responsible for destruction, thus delaying the onset of impending doom and restoring order to society.  The avatar protects.  The positive aspect of creation entails protecting the weak, saving animals from dying, feeding the poor or even the conservation of natural resources.  In this way, we become agents of change, albeit of a minor nature.  While an avatar is an agent of major change.

Krishna tells Arjun in BHAGWAD GITA, “Whenever  the positive is on a decline, and negative peaks, I am born.”  Nothing is constant in creation — it is either moving up or down.  If we look around, the devolution of mankind is apparent.  Pollution has plagued humanity in the form of greed, anger, jealousy, etc.  This manifest itself in our natural surroundings ——- rivers are drying, land and air are full of toxins, animals are suffering and so are humans.  But this also an ideal time for a major change i.e., the birth of an avatar is due.

janmashtami


We are all avatars in our small ways.  If we endorse the positive  side of creation and try to protect it, we are “mini-avatars”, effecting small positive changes at our own level.  If we go the opposite way, looking to destroy creation by killing animals and exploiting nature, then we behave like “asurs”  Then we unconsciously invite an avatar to annihilate us.  This choice lies with us this JANMASHTMI, to decide whether we want to be the agents of change (avatar) or destruction (asur).  A Very Happy JANMASHTMI to one and all.

——— Yogi Ashwini..