Dhyana Yoga

The International Yoga Day is celebrated worldwide on 21st June.

I will be posting a series of asanas to help get you started! The first of the series is Dhyana – also called meditation. An integral part of the Ashtanga Yoga ( 8 steps) of Patanjali, Dhyana brings a calmness to the mind, and helps one look inward, seeking the Atman, or Self. Try this for at least 10 minutes each day to begin with.

Preferable before sunrise, but if you can’t wake so early, anytime on an empty stomach is fine.




Breaking free of our karma

“Why have you followed the spiritual path for your whole life ?”  There are many answers to this question, but a big one is, “It brings me freedom”.  Freedom to change negative patterns that have kept me in their clutches, freedom to respond with calmness and kindness even when others are angry or challenging, freedom to enjoy whatever life brings.

Swami Kriyananda says, ” When you see a fault within yourself, don’t despair, but rejoice.  It has been there all along, but now that you have seen it, you can start working to change it.”  What are some spiritual tools that help us to break free of our Karmic patterns ?  Karma is simply energy generated by past thoughts or actions that we have steered in a certain direction.

Karma chakra

With conscious awareness and determination, replace a negative pattern with a positive one.  Use affirmations repeatedly with deep concentration to change chronic patterns of thinking.  Be patient.  The deeper the Karma, the longer the time required to change it.  Don’t constantly dig up the spiritual seeds you are sowing to see if they have taken root.  Let them grow in their own time to become mighty plants.

Bring the problem to God in meditation and prayer.  Our sincere efforts and desire to be free draw the grace that brings release.  We have to do our little part, and then God steps in and unties the knots of Karma that have kept us bound.

—————– Nayaswami Devi.  

What is ego?


We can expand the term EGO as “EDGES GOD OUT “.  EGO is nothing but I-ness inflated to the point of occupying one’s entire inner space and the consequent exclusion of everything other than the self.  It connotes vanity, pride and stupidity.  The same ‘i’ without vanity and arrogance is called ASMITHA in Sanskrit, meaning innocent or the very personification of innocence.  Everything is created by God.  There is logically nothing that justifies our pride.

EMPTINESS is the absence of ego, a willingness to be hollow on the inside, so as to be able to be filled with Divine Music.  If you have draw love from the Lord or music from His lips, empty yourself of all your self-centredness.  No AHANKAR or I-ness, no vanity, just remaining in a state of SHUNYA.

All of us are conscious.  The conscious mind can be considered as functioning like a filter.  When certain memories and experiences in the conscious mind pass through this filter, they become part of the subconscious.  We cannot directly access the subconscious.  Hypnosis is one way through which the subconscious becomes accessible to us.  Dreams are the other means.

Dreams are the mind’s way of reconciling with unfulfilled expectations, signals sent by the subconscious to the conscious mind.  The best way to deal with a dream is to live that dream in the waking state.

 There is a traditional way to prepare your mind before going to sleep to receive dreams and signals during sleep.  Try to recollect all that had happened from the morning till then, go over your experiences of the day in detail and reframe them with heightened awareness with deep positivity.  Then go over the previous days as best as you can.  Your mind is now in a spiritual level, and this is SADHNA that takes your mind to a greater degree of sharpness.

———— Swami Sukhabodhananda.  

We are custodians, not possessors

Lord Krishna : Everything which we possess today was possessed by somebody else yesterday and will be possessed by others tomorrow and somebody else day after tomorrow.

Everything which we possess —— money, house, car, jewellery, property, etc., — was possessed by somebody else in the past, which means they got transferred to us.  We might have either earned it, or inherited it, or won it in a lottery, but the fact remains that they were possessed by somebody else, and in the present we possess them.

Will these possessions remain with us permanently ?  Will they not go to somebody else tomorrow, the way they came to us ?  They will definitely go to someone else after our death.

The land on which our house is built belonged to somebody else before our house was constructed, and maybe after 100years belong to somebody else with another house built over it.  Is it not our ignorance that the house in which we live is felt to be ours, the wealth which we own today is felt to be ours ?  All these things are temporary.

Krishna painting

Our body is not  permanently ours, as we will leave it after our death.  Our thoughts that emanate from our mind are not ours.  They have been received from other people and since our mind liked them, it possessed them.  We change our thought pattern too when we grow in age  or get influenced by others’ thoughts (of more intelligent, successful or spiritual people).

Everything in this creation is passing through from person to another, from one hand to another and from one place to another.  Everything is in a transmigratory state be it wealth, property, relationship or physical body.  We can at the most feel custodianship of all that which we possess.  A custodian is never attached to anything, has no ego of ownership, as he knows full well that all that which he possesses belongs to somebody else.

The laws of creation do not permit anything to remain permanently with anybody.

———-  Sadguru Rameshji.   

Practice forgiveness


Practise forgiveness instead of revenge.  Almost every day of our lives, we face some kind of bad experience, and that is inescapable.  One has two options : either ignore it or try to take some counter measure.  The first option is a form of forgiveness, while the other amounts to seeking revenge.  WHICH IS THE BETTER OPTION ?

FORGIVENESS is the better option, for it is based on a proven formula for saving yourself from even worse experiences.  It is an instant solution to any problem.  On the contrary, TAKING REVENGE is bound to complicate the problem.  While forgiveness can buy time, taking revenge only wastes time without any benefit.

In such a situation, people are generally prone to place the onus for the predicament entirely upon others.  The better plan is to examine one’s own rule in the affair.  At many times in our lives we are faced with two kinds of choices —– ANTI-OTHER thinking and PRO-SELF thinking.  Anti-other thinking makes you descend  to the brute level, whereas pro-level thinking elevates you to a higher plane of human behaviour.

If ‘forgiveness’ is a ‘full stop’, ‘revenge’ is punctuated by ‘commas’.  Forgiveness maintains ‘positive thinking’ while revenge fosters ‘negative thinking’.

Some would argue that forgiveness does not always work, and that it is better to adopt the ‘tit-for-tat’ policy.  Forgiveness puts an end to the problem once and for all, whereas the tit-for-tat policy only aggravates the problem.  Psychological studies show that every being is born with an ego and an conscience..  The tit-for-tat policy arouses the EGO of the other party, whereas if you follow the policy of forgiveness, it will activate the other person’s CONSCIENCE.  And it is a fact that in controversial matters, the CONSCIENCE ALWAYS PLAYS A POSITIVE ROLE.

Forgiveness and revenge are two different moral cultures.  The culture of ‘forgiveness’ helps in the building of a healthy society, whereas a ‘revenge’ culture rules out the growth of a healthy society.

——- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. 

The whole business of happiness

smart and happyRaj Raghunathan, the author of : If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy ?, was asked why smart people aren’t happy.  His free online course, A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment was rated the best MOOC of 2015.

His answer to the above query : First, some of the very things that make one smart and successful —— a tendency to over-think, to want the best out of  any situation, to e driven —— come in the way of happiness.  Second, because we aren’t educated on what it takes to lead a happy and fulfilling life, everyone, including the smart-and-the-successful ——— commit many of the same “happiness sins” (like not giving happiness a high enough priority) that the not-so-smart-or-successful commit.

The next question : Some smart people still manage to lead lives that are fulfilling and meaningful.  Isn’t it ?  —-  He said, the question is, What are these people doing that’s different ????  They do two things that are different.  First, they seem to pursue a different set of goals : goals that are more conducive to enhancing happiness ——– like prioritising relationships over status, or experiences over material possessions.  Second, you discover that their attitude to life is different.  They are somehow better able to roll with the punches.  This attitude is rooted in an implicit belief that life is good, and that good thins are going to happen to you  ——— what is called  an “abundance mind-set”.  Both the above-mentioned things can be learned.  And the better news is that adopting these tings will actually not just make you happier, it will also make you a better human being and more successful at work, particularly if your work involves creativity and managing people.

He says further : Unhappiness, or more accurately, a sense of dissatisfaction, has long been acknowledged as being fundamental to the human experience.  That is why we have always had a very deep interest in the topic of happiness, all the way back from the Buddha to Aristotle down to the modern-day scientist.  Being an unhappy person is far more difficult than it is to deal with one.  An unhappy person has to live with himself / herself 24-7, you only have to do it for a few hours a day.  So, an attempt at understanding why someone is unhappy, and if you can help them, may be worthy of consideration.

So, it is important to take the time to be nice to yourself.  Charity begins at home, and if you are not happy with yourself, you won’t deal so well with unhappy others.

So, check out this free online course

Satva, Rajas, Tama

When PURUSH (soul) combines with PRAKRITI (creation), in the form of three gunas ——– Satva, Rajas and Tama —– a being takes birth in creation..
Light, Happiness and Gyan are properties of SATVA, RAJAS pertains to desires, attachments and resultant actions, and TAMA is darkness, ignorance and sleep.  At all times, all the three gunas are present in a human being, one dominating the other, depending on the desire and state of evolution of being.
Ordinary beings are ruled by TAMA, which is also the guna dominant in animals and other lower beings.  When a being leaves the body with the dominance of TAMA GUNA, se/he gets the animal yonis and enters into the netherworlds, says the Bhagvad Gita.  So the TAMA GUNA needs to be reduced and SATVA and RAJAS increased.
As the RAJAS GUNA increases, one is guided towards action (KARMA) driven by passion, material desires and attachment.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, every BHOG has a ROG attached to it.  So under this guna, a being indulges in pleasures of the senses and experiences the pains that come with it.  This ties the person to the downward spiral of birth and death —- each birth being lower and more painful than the previous.  Therefore, excess of the RAJAS GUNA is bad.  Abundance of the SATVA GUNA, makes us practise DHYAN & SADHNA and initiates cleansing through service and charity.  Gyan and bliss follow.  When a being leaves the body with dominance of SATVA, she/he takes birth in subtler dimensions and LOKAS, in the yonis of Devas and Rishis.

Three gunas

All the three gunas pertain to physical creation.  We can exit the painful cycle of birth and death to merge with the ultimate reality i.e. GOD by rising above these gunas.  When we go beyond the influence of TAMA, RAJAS & SATVA, we become GUNA ATEET ——– a state that can only be achieved through a guru’s help.  When a guru transfers his Gyan (Shakti) to the disciple, the latter becomes GUNA ATEET.  But Gyan can only exist in a SATVIK environment.  So, it is imperative for us to engage in charity and service, to change the negative karmas accumulated over so many births.  Only then can we move towards gaining Gyan and Liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

————– Yogi Ashwini