Saturday, 2 August 2014

You Need Shock Treatment

When Isaac Newton was sitting beneath a tree, it is said that an apple hit him on the head, and through pondering over this phenomenon he discovered the Universal Law of Gravitation. This was like a shock treatment administered by nature. This event triggered a train of thought in Newton's mind. He started thinking about why , when an apple fell, it came down and did not go up. This thought led to the discovery of the Law of Gravitation. This law had always been there, but no one had discovered it before. Then, after a long time, nature hit man on the head and told him in the language of hammering: O Man, discover the law that has remained undiscovered till this date.

This was like shock treatment.Shock treatment is a law of nature. This shock treatment can be called a challenge. Every human being faces this kind of challenge in some way or the other. This shock treatment is a blessing in disguise, for it always acts for the betterment of the person in question. And perhaps for all others as well.

If you are facing some problem in your life, in your job, business or family , don't be negative. Take it as a positive phenomenon. If you turn negative, you cannot avail of the opportunity it presents. But if you are positive, you will try to understand the real message behind the challenge and very soon you will find that the challenge was nothing but a stepping stone in your life to better things.
Shock treatment is the language of nature. Nature always tries to give you a lesson, shows you the right direction and tries to unfold your potential. It tries to make you aware of opportunities which present themselves all around you. Don't ignore such warnings, take them seriously . They will give you right guidance and turn your failure into success.

Nature is the best guide. But nature always speaks in the language of hammering, that is, challenge. A challenge is not an accidental event. Challenge always comes from nature.
In this way nature tries to awaken your mind, it tries to initiate a process of rethinking.
At first nature tries to give advice in simple language, but when you fail to take that advice, it uses the method of shock treatment. This is like awakening a person who is not ready to wake up with a simple call. All the challenges in life are positive challenges.

When you face any challenge, take it in a positive manner; try to understand the lesson hidden in it.
"The falling of an apple" on one's head is a very common phenomenon. Every person faces this experience, although not in the form of an "apple", but in the form of shock. These experiences are not accidental; they are part of divine planning. They act as booster. If you have this kind of experience, don't let your mind get disturbed. Take it as a positive sign. Try to find out the message behind this event, and very soon you will find that it was just like the fall of an apple, the sole purpose of which was to enable you to discover a great law of life.

There are numerous people in history who failed in the first chance. But then they thought about their problem afresh and consequently achieved great success.

Sometimes people make a wrong choice; then nature hits them with an apple and gives them a silent lesson: Those who listen to this silent voice of nature are destined to emerge as super-achievers.

First Published in By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Nine Stages of Attaining Bliss

The nine stages of samadhi are beautifully illustrated in this Mahamudra scroll.

The nine stages of mahamudra are identical to the nine states of attention elucidated in my last post. The more I meet aspiring yogis or serious meditators, the more I realize how great the misconceptions are about meditation. What really pains my heart is that, most of the time, the seeker is not at fault. It's the teacher, the guru.

Most aspirants are often being guided by teachers who can't demonstrate anything. These teachers never went into the depths of meditation themselves but simply mastered some theoretical material and are now guiding others based on second-hand knowledge. Today, I'll briefly touch upon the nine stages of tranquility and also answer the question we raised two weeks ago: "How great an effort is required to reach the final state?"

If you carefully examine the picture in the post today, you'll find three key artifacts, namely, a monk, an elephant and a monkey. Additionally, the monk is holding a noose and a goad. The monk represents the meditator treading the windy path of meditation, where, until it's mastered, no two days are alike. Some days you experience good meditation and other times, it's the opposite. The elephant represents dullness and the monkey restlessness. The goad and noose represent vigilance and attentiveness in meditation.

In the first stage, the meditator is like a rocky boat in a turbulent ocean. There's virtually no control on the mind. The concentration at this stage ends up wherever the drift of thoughts take it. The monkey and the elephant constantly disrupt the meditation and the meditator is struggling to tame them.

In the second stage, there's a small white patch on the elephant and monkey. It shows progress. It means the meditator is able to have short periods of quality meditation when the mind is devoid of thoughts. Think of a flag that flutters whenever the wind blows. No wind no fluttering. Similarly, the mind at this stage is stable for a short period before the winds of thoughts start to blow again causing waves in the stillness of consciousness.

The persistent meditator gets to the third stage and this is a significant progress in its own right. Now, they are able to detect their dullness arising in meditation. In the scroll, it is shown by a bigger white patch on the elephant and a noose leashing it. Restlessness or stray thoughts are still a great challenge at this stage.

In the fourth and the fifth stages, while the meditator makes a giant leap by even greater taming of restlessness and dullness, a new challenge presents itself. You'll see a rabbit riding the elephant now. This signifies a state of calmness which makes the meditator go into a sort of torpor or laxity. Often, most meditators who get even a tiny glimpse of this calmness, mistake this as the ultimate state of bliss.

In the sixth stage, the monk can be seen leading both the monkey and the elephant, but the animals are not fully white yet. It means the meditator has mostly tamed them, he's able to lead them, but, there are still subtle elements of excitement or stupor that can distract the meditator.

The elephant is completely white and the monkey sits by the feet of the practitioner in the seventh stage. It shows that the meditator has nearly perfected the art of attention. They experience lucid awareness during the meditation but the presence of monkey shows there's still a chance of feeling excited or restless. Think of a still pond where dropping even a tiny pebble causes ripples.

In the eighth stage, there's no monkey. Restlessness has completely disappeared for this meditator and a constant state of bliss always leave them calm. But, sometimes in this state of bliss, the lucidity of their awareness is adversely affected. Think of someone under the influence of a mild intoxicant. At this stage, the meditator hasn't yet learned to rise above the bliss.

In the ninth stage, the monk is sitting down with the white elephant. Bliss has becomes a close companion and it no longer interferes in any worldly activity. All mental and emotional battles cease, the war of thoughts stop and there's virtually no effort in meditation now. The meditator has become the meditation.

The stages beyond show the monk riding the elephant. These indicate other dimensions of existence. The meditator is ever calm, abiding in bliss. Any inner struggle or stress completely disappears. The meditator has gone beyond the meditation. Buddha once said, "The one who knows the reality of one thing knows the reality of everything." It applies to this meditator.

Can anyone reach this state? Yes. What's required? Willingness, persistence, and time; undying willingness, unrelenting persistence and a lot of time. Let me give you a broad guideline: 1500 hours of quality meditation is required to cross each stage.

With discipline and a quality effort, you can bring it down to about 1200 hours and with right initiation and guidance it can be brought down to 800 hours for each stage.

So, who can initiate and who can guide you? How to know the person across the table is not just a smooth talker or even a charlatan but a genuine practitioner? For another time.


Original Post: Nine Stages of Attaining Bliss

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Consciousness and Energy


Shiva and Shakti

Consciousness and Energy

Amongst the attributes of the Chakras we meet two important symbols: Shiva and Shakti.

SHIVA symbolizes consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolizes the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.

Whenever a power becomes active, and wherever energy exists, Shakti is working. Other terms for these primal principles are PURUSHA and PRAKRITI; Purusha is consciousness and Prakriti is nature.

Lord Shiva is generally portrayed holding a trident, which represents the trinity of Īshwara, Purusha and Prakriti .

Īshwara is the omnipresent, eternal, formless divine principle; Purusha is the Ātmā and Prakriti is the manifestation, nature. An electric light can be used to explain their relationship. The electric current, which is the source of the light, is Īshwara; the light is Purusha, and the object that is illuminated is Prakriti.

SHAKTI (or Prakriti) means energy, power, movement, change, nature. It is the maternal principle – the provider, abundance. In the human as well as in the animal kingdom the mother offers nourishment, warmth and security. There is no greater love than the love of a mother. The mother carries and nourishes the child in her own body. When it is born she provides it with mother's milk and raises it at the sacrifice of her own self until it becomes self-reliant.

SHIVA (or Purusha), on the other hand, is pure consciousness – the unchanging, unlimited and unswayable observer. Purusha has no desires whatsoever; these are inherent only in Prakriti. Purusha is the empty, clear screen onto which Prakriti projects her colorful film.

Shiva and Shakti are manifestations of the all-in-one divine consciousness - different sides of the same coin. In many pictures these two primal powers are each depicted as being one half of the same image; one side female and one side male. The left side is the Divine Mother, Pārvatī, the "feminine" energy, and the right side represents Shiva, the "masculine" consciousness.

Through the splitting of the primordial principle at the advent of creation the duality within our lives came into being, together with a strong force that is constantly striving to re-unite with the other part.

Only when Shiva and Shakti combine can action, movement and creation arise. Until energy is impregnated with consciousness it is ignorant, disordered, aimless and "blind". Energy alone can produce nothing; consciousness bestows upon it content, form and direction. Conversely, consciousness without energy is dormant power, sleeping energy, and on its own is unable to be the cause of anything. Just as Prakriti without Purusha is unable to act, and vice versa, Purusha without Prakriti is also incapable of creating anything.

The meaning of Shiva and Shakti is occasionally misunderstood when Shiva and Shakti are looked upon as "man" and "woman" and their union is regarded as a sexual relationship. Sexuality is something completely natural, and misunderstanding arises only when sexuality and spirituality are mixed.

Sexuality is the union of man and woman
Spirituality is the union of the human and the divine consciousness.

Shiva and Shakti exist within each of us as the masculine and feminine principles. This has an effect on the physical level – it is the cause of sexual attraction. Within man there exists a tendency towards the feminine qualities, and within woman a tendency towards the masculine. Through this the masculine consciousness is attracted by the feminine and vice versa. If both are in balance there is no sexual attraction. But if a tendency for the masculine predominates in man, or the feminine in woman, this results in a preference for a homosexual partner.

Shiva resides in the Sahasrāra Chakra and Shakti in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. When Prakriti and Purusha unite in the Sahasrāra Chakra, knowledge, know-er and the object of knowledge become one. Once we have experienced this no desires remain within us because we realize unequivocally that everything we have ever yearned for is carried within us. In this state of absolute consciousness there are no polarities and therefore no more sorrows; there is only everlasting joy, unconditional love, unlimited compassion and total understanding for all living beings.

For as long as consciousness is connected to the physical body it is unable to remain constantly in the Sahasrāra Chakra and so returns to the residence of the Ātmā in the Heart Center (Anāhata Chakra). A realized person always thinks, feels and acts from the heart. Embedded in eternal love and eternal happiness, that person is always conscious of the immortal Ātmā, the ocean of bliss, and their consciousness is forever connected to the divine consciousness.

Shakti is the motherly love of God that surrounds us with warmth, caring and protection.
Shiva is the paternal love of God that gives us consciousness, clarity and knowledge.
I wish for you the blessing of the Divine Mother who lives within you as energy and vitality, and the blessing of the Divine Father who resides within you as consciousness and knowledge. May they always take care of you, protect you and guide you, and in their infinite love lead you to the cosmic consciousness.

Artist: George Atherton
Source: spiritualevolution1111

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Communication Mythos: Should the burden of understanding be on the message giver or receiver?

Management Mythos: Should the burden of understanding be on the message giver or receiver? - The Economic Times on Mobile

The message-giver thanks the message-receiver for enabling him to better understand human desire and capability. 
A friend told me something very interesting. She said, "I have noticed that during a conference Americans and Japanese behave very differently . If an American does not understand anything, he blames the communication skills of the message-giver. If a Japanese is under stress he blames himself, placing the burden of understanding on the message-receiver . Objectively speaking, who has the burden of understanding — the message-giver or the message-receiver ?

In the Western world, currently dominated by Greek mythology, where individuals are constantly suspicious of authority, the burden of understanding falls on the authority that seeks to govern. However, in the Eastern part of the world, dominated by Confucian mythology, where everyone respects authority, who has the Mandate of Heaven or legitimate power, the burden of understanding falls on the people who are being governed.

This divide is evident in communication techniques taught in training programs of modern management. The first being keep it short and simple, for people's attention span is low as is their capacity to comprehend . Another technique is repetition: "Say what you have to say, say it, and say what you have said." This we are told will get the message across. Here the burden is always on the speaker. Hence the obsession with over-clarifying and over-communicating .

We see this in the long documents and numerous posters that repeatedly seek to explain values and behaviours that the company endorses. There is anxiety that communication has not been clear or comprehensive enough. The message-giver has to constantly bring himself down to the level of the message-receiver.

This is influenced by the shift from the Imperial British system of communication to the more egalitarian American system of communication . It is not uncommon in many Indian family owned companies for owners to not bother with clear communication. Often innuendoes and signals are used to get messages across. For example: the person who is being repeatedly called for a meeting becomes the authority or the favoured one of the moment, irrespective of his designation.

It is assumed that the people who understand the leader get the message. Those who don't get the message don't matter in the scheme of things. On a more manipulative note, if the directive does not work, the leader simply gets a chance of escape. This puts great pressure on professionals who are not trained to deal with family businesses in B-schools.

Such practices are frowned in modern management as it is unclear, inefficient and adds to the burden of anxiety amongst employees. They are qualified as feudal, befitting an oriental despot. In other words, the criticism is rooted in Western prejudices about the East.

Though many business families in India tilt Eastwards, traditional Indian methods of communication actually stands between the East and the West. Who bears the burden of understanding is a function of context. It depends on who has more to lose: the message-giver or message-receiver ? This is demonstrated in the following story from the Upanishads.

A young boy called Satyakama wanted to understand the 'brahman' from his teacher, Gautama. So his teacher gave him some cows and told him to take them out to the pastures and to return only after the number of cows had doubled. While the cows grazed, Satyakama had nothing to do. He kept observing the world around him. As he watched the bull, the sun, the fire, the swan, and the fowl, his mind was filled with insight. When he returned his thanked his guru for revealing to him the 'brahman' .

In modern understanding of communication , the guru had done nothing to facilitate understanding. But in the traditional understanding of communication, the guru had created an ecosystem based on the desire and capability of Satyakama. Thus the message-giver understands the best way to communicate to the message receiver. Sometimes it may be instructive and directive, sometimes it may be full of innuendoes and symbols, depending on what the message-receiver can handle.

Here, the guru is not obliged to transmit the message but does so in order to improve his own understanding of human nature. Here, the student is not obliged to listen to the guru but does, because he wants knowledge. The teacher is merely a facilitator.

The message receiver thanks the message-giver for facilitating his understanding of the subject. The message-giver thanks the message-receiver for enabling him to better understand human desire and capability, hence his communication skills. Both win. There is no authority or rules. It is cyclical, not linear. This is what the guru-shishya parampara was actually about.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Wipe out my memories, please - News

Wipe out my memories, please - News
In a European court, a modern battle is raging: the right to be forgotten. With all the data about our existence being captured by digital technology, by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, besides government-sponsored and privately owned CCTVs at every street corner, and satellite cameras zooming into our homes, citizens are now asking that they want the right to be forgotten.

This conversation draws attention to Shiva who is called smara-harta, or one who destroys memories. His ability to wipe out memories is what makes him Yoga-eshwara, lord of yoga.

In the yogic tradition, our mind or chitta is like a big database. Every experience that we have, consciously or unconsciously, gets captured, mapped and tagged in our chitta. Thus, we retain memories of everything we have experienced, not just in this life but also our previous lives. This twists and knots our mind and distorts our understanding of reality. Makes us see the world in a particular way. As long as our chitta is twisted and knotted in this way, we will always be unhappy.

So how can we be happy?

Illustration/ Devdutt Pattanaik

The easy method is to take drugs just as Shiva does when he inhales from his pipe, but Shiva chuckles for such chemically-induced happiness is unsustainable. Parties are a great place to see this form of happiness. So is shopping.

Another method is to distract our mind with repetitive meaningless activities that stop us from thinking and make us forget time, like video games or rituals. This is like the damaru or rattle-drum that Shiva holds in a hand used to spellbind a monkey as a rattle spellbinds a baby. It works for some time but not for long. Bollywood and television shows are the fountainhead of this form of happiness.

This twisting of chitta often makes us feel that we are victims and so we often engage with the world as victims do. Sometimes we engage with the world as martyrs. At other times as heroes, striving to create a better world. A twisted chitta prevents us from appreciating that in the world even the most certified of villain imagines himself or herself as a victim/martyr/hero. A law firm or a psychologist's chair is a great place to see such justified and rationalised (mis)understandings of the world.

It all comes down to memories, buried deep in our being, that shape our view of the world. Can we wipe it out? Yes, says yoga, when it recommends the eight-fold path. Yoga is defined as 'chitta vriddhi nirodha', removing the twists and knots of our mind, using the eight-fold path.

This includes: revisiting our relationship with others (yama), revisiting our own behaviour (niyama), reorienting our postures (asana), reorienting our breath (pranayama), introspection without external distraction (pratyahara), awareness (dharana), attention (dhyana) and finally cleaning up of all those memories that create divisions, gaps and hierarchies in our mind, making us feel trapped, alone, isolated and abandoned (samadhi). This cleaning up makes us chaitanya, one whose mind has been purified of all kinds of old data. We see the world afresh, with a rebooted mind free of prejudice.

Will the European court achieve that?

The author is Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, and can be reached at


Saturday, 28 June 2014

When Your House Is On Fire | Truth is, What we say by experience

When Your House Is On Fire | Truth is, What we say by experience
Talk: Osho

If you feel negative, that means somehow or other, knowingly or unknowingly, you have invested much in your negativity. Now you want to cling to it; you don't want to drop it. See the point. If you want to drop it, i say to you, ''Immediately, this very moment!'' Nobody is blocking the path. But you don't want to drop it; and you won't admit it.

Don't play these games. You are responsible. If others are responsible, how can you be free? But i tell you: you are free. Your nature is freedom. That's why the word 'moksha' does not exist in western languages. There is no equivalent to it, it means absolute freedom.

Eastern concept of moksha is absolute freedom. You can be free, because you are free. Realise this, this moment, and nobody is blocking the way – there is no barrier, no wall.

But if you don't want to become free, don't think that you want to become free. People talk about freedom, but they want to remain in bondage, because bondage has its own comforts, securities, conveniences. Freedom is risky.

Miserliness has its own conveniences; otherwise nobody would be a miser. If you are not a miser, you become more insecure. If you cling to money, to things, you feel a certain security: at least there is something to cling to; you don't feel empty. Maybe you are full of rubbish; but at least something is there, you are not empty.

You go on clinging. With negativity you feel powerful. Whenever you say 'no', you feel powerful; the ego is enhanced. Whenever you say 'yes', you feel humble; the ego is destroyed. When you love, you become humble; when you are angry, you feel powerful. When you are angry, you have four times more energy than you ordinarily have. In anger, in rage, you can throw a big rock. Ordinarily, you cannot even push it, not even move it.

So whenever you are negative, you feel powerful. And if you still want to feel powerful, you will cling to your negativity. Don't throw the responsibility on to your poor mother – because that is absurd. Take the responsibility on yourself, because that is the only chance of your transformation.

I am not saying, ''Drop your negativity.'' I am simply saying, ''Understand.'' If you want to carry it, it is up to you. Be blessed in your negativity. But then don't go on saying that you would like to drop it. Don't play this game. If you want to be negative, be negative.

Jesus said 'truth liberates'; nothing else. Jesus cannot liberate you, neither can i. Truth liberates. Just see the truth. If you are honest, you will see that through your negativity you are creating a hell. Only you are suffering, nobody else.

Let the suffering come to such a point where you cannot suffer any more; where you have to come out, as if your house is on fire. Then you don't cling to it, you simply run out; and you don't ask for the right way to get out.

You don't ask for a master: that you will have to learn the right way and the right technique. Nobody bothers. You jump out of the window; you run out of the back door. You find a way out yourself, once you realise that the house is on fire.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation,

Saturday, 21 June 2014

What is Sakshi Bhava?

Question: Amma, what is sakshi bhava [witness attitude]? 

Amma: When you become sugar, then there is nothing but sweetness. Likewise, in true sakshi bhava, there is bliss alone.
It's not that emotions don't come, they will be there, but you see them, as if from a distance, and they don't affect you. So, when anger begins rising up in you, you are able to see it very clearly. You witness it and this helps you to remain calm and not translate that emotion into action. Reflecting on the truth that we are not the body or the mind but are the atma [the true self]we can use our viveka[discrimination] to reject that emotion as baseless.
Witnessing like this and keeping our distance from our emotions, is for our own safety. Visiting a zoo and seeing the animals in their cages is a blissful experience. But if you open the door the cage and let the animals out their cages it will be disastrous. It is the same with the mind.

When you understand the nature of the world and its objects, you will see things and remain detached, like a witness, and accept them. For example, a crow may evacuate upon us, but we don't get angry at the crow. You just go wash your dress and move forward.
In sakshi bhava, it is not that there are no thoughts or emotions. Just as there are waves in the ocean, there will be thoughts in the mind. But since you know how to swim, you are able to get in the water and blissfully move about them.
From - 
Friday, 18 April 2014 – Amritapuri Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer
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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Discover Your Sweet Spot

An entire spectrum of existence is possible between self-belief and faith in the universal energy, between confidence in free will and destiny and between taking charge and letting go. With reflection, meditation, and pursuit of a clear life purpose, you can identify the fine balance that's optimal for you. It's the place of equilibrium where you willingly engage in meaningful action and yet are detached from the bipolar evaluation of results, connected equally with inner stillness and external activity; where the physical and spiritual meet.

It's about living with the understanding of how several hundred thousand actions of the mind, body, and the universe are happening involuntarily; yet appreciating the need for voluntary actions that bring to life our conscious intentions with the help of our body and its nervous system. For example, what we decide to eat is our choice, however, how the stomach digests that food is through the universal intelligence present in each cell of our digestive system.

This sweet spot is the special place in this journey where we are fully present in the moment; feel centred within ourselves and let our actions emanate from this deeper space. We are aware and focussed in our actions and yet have a relaxed and open mind; we are engaged in the task, but simultaneously in touch with that subtle place inside us that makes us totally open, strong, tender, loving and trusting.

Through praying, we connect with our deeper subconscious and higher Self and that makes us feel stronger, clearer and peaceful. All the masters of their craft, from artists and writers to sportsmen and spiritual gurus, consistently experience this sweet spot. In those special moments, their actions flow from somewhere other than the conscious mind. They all have this ability to shut out the rest of the world as well as their inner thoughts and connect with the stillness and the silence within.

The sweet spot can also be understood as the zone where things fall into place effortlessly and in complete harmony between our inner being and the external universe. It is the place when we feel balanced in every way – between, work and family, physical and emotional wellbeing, mental and spiritual growth, personal progress and supporting others, giving and receiving, and loving and being loved. It's the zone where we feel challenged but in control, where we are learning and growing but are not overwhelmed, where we are open to new experiences but have the wisdom to assimilate them into our understanding.

Experiencing and living connected to this sweet spot impacts every minutest bit of our existence. At work, operating in the sweet zone translates to being engaged in a profession or vocation that we love, enjoy, and find meaningful and rewarding.

In our relationships, this sweet spot implies being neither too aggressive nor too submissive in our interactions but just being our honest authentic self; being assertive such that we are firm but polite, confident but respectful; being willing to be vulnerable and yet self-assured; have healthy self-respect but not strong ego; are deeply caring but not possessive.

Finally, the deeper impact of discovering our sweet spot is the overflow of empathy and compassion for others. Embarking on the journey of personal mastery can help you discover your own sweet spot, where you experience deeper happiness, fulfilment, peace, effortlessness and balance across all dimensions of your life.

~ Rajiv Vij 

First Published in

Saturday, 7 June 2014

When Did “The Present” Begin?

It's a harder question than it sounds. Does the present refer to right this second?
Today? This year? The past few years? Fortunately, science has the answer.

The Present

Different scientific disciplines, cultures, and religions base their calendars on different "zero" moments. In geology, as well as other scientific disciplines, the epoch of time referred to as "the present" began on January 1, 1950. It's a somewhat arbitrary, compromise of a date, but a fixed moment in the study of things that takes a really, really long time to change or move.

Here's how that date was selected. In the earth's atmosphere, there are carbon isotopes in relatively equal proportion to each other, including the stable carbon-12 and the unstable carbon-14. Plants absorb both kinds, in the form of carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere. When a living thing dies, it dies with inherent carbon-12 and carbon-14, but the carbon-14 immediately begins decaying at a known, constant rate. Scientists can then measure the amount of carbon-14 left in the dead thing to determine its approximate age. This is called "radiocarbon dating," and it's been used to determine the age of naturally occurring materials, like plants, rocks, and human remains, as well as things made from naturally occurring materials, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.

Radiocarbon dating was introduced in the 1940s, but it became workable, with standardized methods and widely adopted in the 1950s. Around that same time, governments began widespread atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Scientists soon realized that radiocarbon dating could no longer be relied upon to accurate date objects. Why? Nuclear weapons so massively alter an environment, and an atmosphere, that they threw off the ratio of carbon-14 and carbon-12, even turning a lot of carbon-14 into carbon-12.

Basically, any radiocarbon testing done after January 1, 1950—a date agreed upon because it fell in the midst of the beginnings of nuclear testing—is somewhat unreliable. The period after is called "the present." Any time before may be referred to, scientifically, as "B.P." or "before present."

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Sensual Love Is Sacred, Too

One of the most misunderstood words in spiritual lexicon is ‘desire’. Can Self-realisation only be attained in a state of perfect, unmoving desirelessness, as many believe? In the conflict between spirit and flesh, we are led to ask: does one necessarily preclude the other?
Kama or desire has a place in Hindu philosophy. Desire is that glorious spark of energy that ignites dormant dreams, fanning them into existence. Indeed, the world itself was born of desire. In the Rig Vedic Hymn of Creation, we learn how the great Unknown, Unborn, Mysterious One felt the first impulse of desire. Thus was born the first seed of the mind and Creation sprang forth.

Nothing wrong with desire

To be desireless implies a state where there is no movement towards growth or realisation. Desire per se is not wrong. It is acquisitive desire coupled with greed and selfishness that is bad. Conversely, the refinement and cultivation of pure desire is the seed of all artistic and creative endeavour.

If all movement born of desire is snuffed out, then we are no better than automatons living a robotic life. What needs to be overcome is acquisitive desire, lustful desire and the selfish desire for self-aggrandisement at the cost of another’s wellbeing. What we need to embrace are pure desires of creative impulses and spiritual refinement – for these are the very fuel which propel us further on the path of inner perfection.

Moreover, even in our worship of the Divine there exists the path of love and devotion to a personal God that does not eschew the sensual, but celebrates it. In viewing God as the ‘Beloved’ and in worshipping God with our senses we sanctify our emotions and impulses. Desire is elevated and transformed into yearning and longing for the Divine. Mystics down the ages, from all religious traditions have felt a deep and abiding passion for their chosen deity – and have poured forth their longing in some of the most sensual, erotically charged poetry. Rabia, Rumi, Mirabai, Hafez, St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, Andal and Jayadeva have all penned verses that are full of a voluptuous ecstasy. They have attained transcendental bliss even while acknowledging and embracing the sensual.

Cosmology of tantra

Taking the concept of desire even further is the cosmology of tantra. In this stream of thought desire is the pulse of the universe and all creation vibrates to this beat. Creation is understood in explicitly sexual terms as the attraction between the male and female polarities – the union of Shiva and Shakti. In the way of tantra even everyday activities are opportunities to experience the Divine. It is a deeply personal path wherein even the mundane is subsumed in the mystical. To be spiritual then is to be constantly aroused by the wonder and mystery of life.

The sensual is sacred, too. Love is the highest energy in the emotional spectrum, and lovemaking is merely a physical outpouring of that energy. In approaching desire with reverence, even physical lovemaking is nothing short of god and goddess coming together in joyous union. It is not in the quelling and suppression of desire, but rather in the refinement and elevation of desire that our salvation lies. For as Deepak Chopra states: “Spirit and flesh are not separate. They keep apart just to flirt.”

First Published by Tunisha Mehrotra on

Saturday, 24 May 2014

A Childlike Approach To Life

Most of us are caught in the trivial parts of life and miss seeing the whole. Without leaving our room we want to see the vastness of sky. We live a part of the whole and that part is our pattern, our position and our ego. Thus, we limit our brain to limited paradigms. To see the whole is part of managing our life effectively. To take that leap, one has to have a childlike perceptive and not a childish perceptive.

Life is a great mystery; it is vast and limitless. It cannot be limited by shallow thinking. We have not learnt to observe life and hence we are lost in limitations. To be childish is to be ignorant like a child and to be childlike is to be innocent like a child.

One has to learn how to perceive, how to look, how to see. A child sees innocently. To be innocent is to be open. When we look at a flower, we don't actually see the flower. The perceiver pollutes the perception. With strong likes and dislikes one looks at a flower. When that happens, the emphasis is on one's likes and dislikes and not actually on the flower. As you grow old, your mind encounters rigid frames of like and dislike, opinions, dogmas, fears, conflicts, greed etc.
Hence your "seeing" is influenced by your background. So your experience of the external world is a product of your mind.

We learn through books, school and college. We collect lot of concepts, words and we get imprisoned by what we know. When we "see and know" something in the outer world there is a struggle. The struggle is to see and know in the light of what you know from your past. The present should fit into your past. So what you know from your past is more important than what you see in the present. You are bound by what you know.

Thus our perception is not free. What we know and learn is dictated by the background of our knowledge, our past. A childlike perception is freeing oneself from that background and be free inwardly.

Apply this in the field of relationships, at office or at home. You have an image of your spouse or boss. This image is a product of your conclusions, opinions and with that mental image you relate to your spouse and work. So your struggle is to see that the other fits into your image of your partner or boss. This is a complicated way of living. A childlike perception has no image and its innocence comes in touch with the object. It does not hanker for validation; hence there is no struggle for such validation. By this one can relate better without bitterness.

A childlike perception is pure sensitivity and not sentimental. To be sensitive is experiencing "what is" and sentimental is reacting to "what is" from one's past. Most of us are sentimental. Let us enter into the state of childlike perception and experience the delight of the now. Then you will transform the ruins of your heart with the "childlike" perception of life. Drain the cup of sentimentality and fill it with sensitivity. Thus walk on the path of being sensitive to "what is". Then you will relate better in your office and home. You will build a better rapport with people. You will nourish people by your warmth of being sensitive.

Published 1st by Swami Sukhabodhananda on

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Desert Retreat House: The Practice of Equanimity

"Buddha in the Garden"

At the store yesterday I heard a shopper say to the cashier, "I am so stressed out," and without batting an eye, the cashier responded, "Aren't we all?"

When I got home from the store yesterday, I put the word "stress" into a Google search - over one million responses were instantly returned. Imagine that, there are over a million online sites I can access to read about the causes of stress, the symptoms of stress, the ways to cope with stress.

Interestingly enough, people today are not only anxious and stressed out in the places and at the times when you might expect stress to be manifested - before a big exam, when the work report is due, when a relationship is tearing apart, when finances are tight. But people today also find themselves in a state of anxiety even when they are on vacation, or when they are spending time with their families, or when they are at church.

 As I think abut it, it seems as if stress and anxiety have infected the culture in epic proportions.

While the word "equanimity" is not used all that often in popular culture, it is a concept that is frequently found in the Buddhist literature. In fact "the practice of equanimity" lies at the heart of the teaching of the Buddha.

In an age when stress has become such a dominant force, I believe we would all do well to learn something about the "practice of equanimity." I recently came across this definition:

Equanimity is the taming of excesses of thought and emotion

Buddhists often use the term "monkey mind" to describe anxiety, restlessness, being easily distracted.  Like a monkey who can't ever sit still, quickly and chaotically jumping from place to place without a pause, people who are restless or stressed out suffer from "monkey mind."

A "monkey mind" is always filled up with constant ideas, strategies and plans about how to control everyday living. In a "monkey mind" emotions rage- anger, fear, doubt, despair, obsessive attachment to another - they pull a person from place to place chaotically and without a pause.

Maybe "monkey mind" is a better way of describing that national epidemic of stress and anxiety that so inflicts our culture nowadays.

 The way to cope with "monkey mind" is to "practice equanimity" - to trade "monkey mind" for "mindfulness."

When I sit in my garden for my daily period of mindful meditation, I am essentially practicing the discipline of equanimity. I clear my cluttered mind of all my ideas, all my plans, all my goals and aspirations. I open my heart to whatever comes my way, no matter how wonderful or how terrible it all may be, realizing that I can control none of it, only embrace it, because "it is what it is."

In mindful awareness I am indeed "taming excesses of thought and emotion" - I am practicing equanimity. And, of course my "practice of equanimity" in my garden meditation is practice for the way I try to live life every day.

As I sit in the silence of yet another beautiful desert day, the thought comes to me that the wisdom of Jesus is much like the wisdom of the Buddha. Jesus also taught his disciples to practice equanimity:

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 
But seek first the Presence of God.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

With a clear mind and open heart I breathe it all in - what a glorious day.


Aseem Seth

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Overcome Your Soft Addictions

Many 'harmless' habits that we overindulge in like nail-biting, shopping, web-surfing, continuous texting or checking for messages, overworking, procrastinating, gossiping, watching too much television, and too many cups of tea or coffee, can become what are called "soft addictions" that limit our potential, ultimately draining us of both energy and self-respect.

Unlike hard addictions, which are usually related to a chemical substance, you don't die from soft addictions. ''But you don't really live, either,'' said Judith Wright, author of The Soft Addiction Solution, who labelled this phenomenon.

Soft addictions begin as normal, everyday, soothing activities, but can end up numbing your feelings and leaving you drained of energy. Some addictions like television zone you out; others like shopping bring temporary ease. Overeating or overusing gadgets are the adult equivalent of thumb-sucking. Though these feel like solutions to a problem, they can get in the way of leading a more fulfilling life.

They can also often have long-term consequences. Stress snacking can cause you to be constantly unhappy about how you look, how your clothes don't fit, and worse, get you to an unhealthy weight. A runaway shopping addiction can destroy your finances, or at least cause you to lie about it. Excessive caffeine intake can cause headaches, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. Too much TV on a regular basis, especially at night, makes it both hard to sleep and hard to wake up.

Thought to be patterns that begin innocuously in early life, Nathalie Anderson's fairytale take-off poem on the subject humorously yet painfully reveals the truth about soft addictions:
"…And so it's been. The prim princess royal, gifted with itty-bitty knitted booties, now acquires shoes – so many, she'll never go slipshod or round-heeled, a pair for every coloured thread in every Persian carpet…

"There's a prince who bets on ponies. There's a prince who marries showgirls. There's a princess who reads twelve mysteries whenever she's down…"

Because they seem so benign, and we even sheepishly admit them or laugh them off, often it's friends, family or colleagues who point out when this gets in the way of our work, relationships or other aspects of our lives.

If people tease you about always being late, your friends get mad when you are texting while seeming to engage with them, your husband complains that you spend more time with your online friends than him, if your wife points out you are becoming a couch potato – these are warnings of a soft addiction. Also pay attention to those little feelings of discomfort that softly but persistently nag you when you're off track.

You have to recognise that there is a deeper need or hunger under the soft addiction. You need to make the distinction between what you want and what you hunger for. As Wright said, ''You might want a new designer dress, but you're really hungry to feel good about yourself.''

The first step to beating a soft addiction requires making a commitment to higher quality of life. When we pay attention to where our soft addictions are getting in the way of our wellbeing, daily functioning, our intimacy, and ultimately our dreams, we can regain hours of wasted time, choose health-supporting options, save money wasted on comfort-shopping, and restore a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.

First Published by Marguerite Theophil on

Saturday, 19 April 2014

We are Alive - Yet Dead

The Truth is: Renunciation is Supreme Enjoyment

Greek thinker Diogenes gave up everything. Like Mahavira, he lived naked. All he kept was a begging bowl, for begging and drinking water. One day, he saw a villager drinking water by cupping his hands, so he immediately threw away his begging bowl.

The villager asked him, “What have you done?” He replied, “I never knew that one could drink water by cupping one’s hands – now why should i be deprived of such a joy? The begging bowl is only a dead thing, and when i fill it with water i feel nothing from it. When i fill my hands with water, they feel the connection with water, its coolness, its life-giving energy. My love also enters the water through my hands, and it becomes alive. So i will be drinking that too.”

The first time Diogenes cupped his hands and drank water from them, he started dancing! He said, “What a fool i was to use a dead vessel to drink water from, because it made the water dead, too. The energy from my hands, the heat, could not pass through to the water. And this was also insulting to the water.”

Our senses have become numb like his bowl. Whatever we receive through them becomes dead. Food on the plate looks beautiful; the minute it enters your mouth it becomes ordinary. Music becomes mundane when it enters your ears. Flowers lose their beauty when seen through your eyes.

We make everything ordinary – whereas everything in the world is extraordinary. The flower you see on a tree has never blossomed before. It is absolutely new. It is impossible to find another flower like it on this earth. It has never existed before, and it will never exist again in the future. Our eyes turn the existence of a unique flower into something mundane when we say, “It’s okay – we’ve seen thousands of roses like this before.” Because of the thousands you have seen, your eyes have become blind and you cannot see what is there, present, in front of you. What have those thousands of flowers got to do with this one?

Emerson has written that upon seeing a rose it came to his mind that the flower has no idea of the existence of thousands of other flowers – neither of the flowers still to come, nor of those which have gone before. This rose is present, here and now, offering itself to the divine. It is joyful because it does not compare itself with any other. But when he sees it, the thousands of others which he has seen get in the way. His vision is blurred, and the unique experience of this flower goes to waste. He doesn’t perceive its beauty; the strings of his heart are not moved, nor are his senses stirred. We live in a unique world. The divine is manifested here in so many ways all around us. But we’ve made a grave of our senses. We are only passing through life – nothing touches us. We ask, “Where is bliss, where is godliness?” – and it is present all around us! Inside, outside, there is nothing other than godliness. By abusing our senses, we kill the one who could experience it.

Renunciation is the science of supreme enjoyment. Only someone who knows how to let go is able to experience. Let go of the meaningless so that you can realise the meaningful; let go of sensations so that you can perceive the subtle.

Voice Of Silence, Osho International Foundation,

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bursting The Narcissistic Bubble

Pulkit Sharma

So many people put in huge efforts, pushing their mind and body to staggering limits to achieve success. They want boundless success in every sphere – unrivalled position at work, overflowing admiration and respect, abundant sexual pleasure, unshakable power, enormous amount of money, prolonged youth and entertainment to continuously pamper them. But they are unaware that all this success is ephemeral. Despite the best of efforts to secure such success, happiness remains elusive. Stress, depression and aggression however always threaten to burst this narcissistic bubble.

The desire for success has turned everyone into a narcissist and so they are only focussed on fulfilling their own needs and desires. Other people are seen not as fellow human beings but as targets to be persuaded and exploited. Everyone is busy thinking how they can use others to further their own agenda. Relationships are becoming full of exploitation, oppression and manoeuvring.

Desire for this kind of success stems from either low self-esteem or an experience of deprivation. People who feel weak, undesirable and insignificant within chase success in a hope to feel valued. They feel that once they become successful, the world will shower them with undivided attention. They hope that this in turn will transform the way they feel about themselves. Others want success to ensure that they will always get whatever they want and there will be no deprivation.

However, no matter how much a person achieves, these feelings of low self-esteem and deprivation persist because the person has wrongly identified these painful experiences as part of self. Until and unless the person breaks away these identifications, there is no respite.

Accomplishments can bring only a temporary relief. In my work as a clinical psychologist, i often get to see clients who seem to feel like a nobody despite doing and having a lot. They see themselves as separate from the world, a discrete entity that wants the best for itself. They live in constant dread of losing the success they have achieved. They try to deny this fear by immersing themselves once again in the web of their goals but one fine day the denial breaks down. They realise that they need a new psychology of life, something that goes beyond ephemeral success.

Everyone wishes to be happy. But we have started confusing excitement with happiness. The more you base your happiness on external feedbacks such as outstripping others, admiration, material rewards, possessions and impression management, the unhappier you become. Ephemeral success can only create excitement. Excitement is like a drug, you need a daily dose of it
to satisfy your craving. Else there is turmoil.

Real success is what brings happiness instead of just excitement. To achieve it, one needs to turn within and introspect deeply. Try to see that you have been part of a socially and culturally constructed rat race. This has led to creation of a false self. There is no escape from it until you consciously and fearlessly opt out. Once you take this crucial step new opportunities will unfold.

Different people find value and bliss in different activities. Once you find your area of liking devote yourself completely to it with one-pointed attention. Find joy in the activity itself rather than wanting the world to admire you for it. Real success always leads to real happiness, a state full of bliss, peace and permanence. This state is characterised by self-reliance, renunciation of ego needs, acceptance and expression of one's true Self.

First Published on
Aseem Seth

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Devi As Avidya And Vidya Maya

The Mother Goddess is the dynamic aspect of the supreme, transcendent Being which is infinity, eternity and ineffable peace, beyond cognizance of senses and mind. Invocation of the universal Mother leads to attainment of knowledge of Self or Atman as supported by the Yaksha Prasna in Kenopanishada. Navratri celebrates these aspects of Devi Ma and its conclusion is celebration of learning and knowledge.

The Navratri veneration of Devi is shakta worship, one among five divisions, the others being Shaivite, Vaishnava, Ganpatya and Saurya that invoke respectively Shakti, Shiva, Vishnu, Ganpati and Surya deities. Devi Mahatmya, Durga Saptashati or Chandi Patha describe the glory of the Supreme Mother in 700 verses by Rishi Medha to King Suratha and a merchant named Samadhi who were deeply intrigued and puzzled that their mind was seized of the very people who deprived and ousted them and were in fact the cause of their sorrow and grief. This reflects the attraction we feel for illusionary worldly pleasure. Devi Tattva explains that whatever we see or perceive as the phenomenal world is the outcome of supreme power of Parabrahmn, the primal force called Adi Shakti, also known as transcendental power, Parashakti and superlative power, Mahashakti. Sages say that Parabrahmn and His supreme mysterious power of world illusion that we called Maya or Devi are one and the same, like heat and fire, milk and its whiteness, snake and its zigzag motion.

The devout invoke Devi in twofold form, Avidya Maya and Vidya Maya, cause of cosmic delusion as well as cosmic deliverance! As Avidya Maya she binds down all to this illusory appearance, world play, and as Vidya Maya she releases them from bondage. Hence artists see her as a radiant goddess with a noose in one hand that binds and a sharp knife in the other hand that snaps the bondage. Being a mysterious combination of Avidya Maya and Vidya Maya, she is called imponderable and indescribable.

Durga Mahakali
As Durga Mahakali, she destroys, but to save. Mahakali is not fearful or terrible but loving and compassionate as she destroys all evils, just as a broad spectrum antibiotic kills all pathogenic microbes. This concept is found in other religions too in terms of God and Satan in Christian theology, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman in Zoroastrianism – like Mara in Buddhism, we call it ignorance, asuric forces or Avidya Maya in Hinduism. It is called Anatman or non-self in Vedantic parlance that can be overcome by knowledge of Atman.
In Saptashati we find victory over three demons – Madhu Kaitabha, gross form of lower nature of man, Mahishasura of rajo guna and Shumbha-Nishumbha representing vikshepa and avarana shakti equipped with a host of warriors including Raktabeeja symbolising human egoism.

Mother in three aspects Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati,

Venerating Mother in three aspects, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, is significant. As a play of Avidya Maya there is involution of spirit into matter, absolute into relative, one into many. The creative power of Brahma in the form of Mahasaraswati comes first, followed by the protective aspect of Vishnu as Mahalakshmi and the dissolving power of Rudra as Mahakali or Durga. A devotee seeks the Mother first as Mahakali for destroying grossness and nescience, then as Mahalakshmi for sustaining and prospering in yogic and spiritual life and finally as Mahasaraswati, the first emanation and bestower of knowledge for uniting individual jiva with Paramatma or Parabrahmn and attain universal cosmic consciousness.

Mahagauri Parvati

Inspired by teachings of Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Divine Life Society.
First published by Jayant B Dave in

The NAVARATRI's Finish Tonight - She goes back tomorrow to Her Husband - Om Namah Shivaya!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Goddess embraces Life


A prince abandons his wife and infant son to become a sage who discovers the path of liberation from suffering. The prince came to be known as the Buddha and his path came to be known as Buddhism.

The very opposite story is found in Hinduism: a sage is coaxed to marry and produce sons who provide for and protect humanity, while his wife encourages him through conversation to reveal the secret of outgrowing the human fear of invalidation. This sage is called Shiva and he is called the destroyer in Hinduism. He destroys by embracing the Goddess, addressing her as his Shakti, strength, rather than as Maya, delusion.

The opposing structure of the two stories reveals the fundamental tension in Indian thought: must we give up worldly life to be truly happy or can happiness emerge within the household itself? Despite the hold of monastic orders, it is the latter thought that finds greater favour in Indian society. Ultimately, even God has to marry. Without the Goddess he is stripped of divinity.

The Goddess plays a key role in Indic thought, most in Hinduism, quite a bit in Buddhism and to some degree in Jainism.

In the Hindu Puranas, it is the Goddess who challenges ritualism and hierarchies and notions of purification that shape Indian society, when as Sati she defies her father’s ritualistic excesses by choosing to marry a man/god, Shiva, who disregards all rituals.

Buddhism of the Buddha transforms as the centuries pass from the old Thervada school (Sri Lanka) to the later Mahayana (China/Japan) and Vajrayana (Tibet) schools. In narratives and imagery, he becomes less intellectual and more affectionate, less withdrawn and more compassionate, sprouting many hands that comfort and guide, as the concept of Bodhisattva gains ground. And this transformation is also associated with a Goddess, Tara. She softens the stern world-renouncing Buddha and makes him a savior who helps those who are unable to help themselves. Tara is a mysterious goddess who can transcend the divide of Buddhism and Hinduism. Her temples are found across Bengal, Orissa and Assam but here she is identified with Kali: very different from the Blue and Yellow and White and Green Taras of Tibetan Buddhism who are associated with Lakshmi and Saraswati as well as Durga and Kali.

In Jainism, she is Padmavati, a demi-goddess, having not quite the stature of the ascetics such as the Tirthankaras but one very popular amongst the common folk who seek material pleasures in this life, hoping to eventually outgrow their karmic hunger for wealth and power and fame, and walk the path of the Jina. Though her name associates her with a lotus and hence with Lakshmi, she is also a fighter and guardian goddess like Durga, who along with her husband, Dhararendra (Indra of the earth), protects Parshva, the 23rd supreme sage of this era. Padmavati is more popular with the Digambara Jain tradition, not the Shvetambara tradition.

Goddess is central to Tantra, a body of texts (not just Hindu) that emerged alongside Agamas and Puranas in medieval times. These texts gave great value to imagery and all things tangible over the abstract philosophies of the sages. They spoke less about delusions and more about power. They spoke less about purification and more about pollution. Tranquillity was abandoned in favour of sensory agitation.

In other words, the Goddess demands that life be affirmed, not denied.

Source: Click Here

Monday, 31 March 2014

Navrarti begin Tonight!


Navratri:  31 March - 08 April 2014

Navratri, the festival of nine nights is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. According to the Hindu calendar, Navratri begins from the first day of the bright fortnight of Ashwin which usually coincides with the end of the rainy season.  The nine days have great religious significance as Goddess Durga, the divine mother, had destroyed the evil force (in the form of the demon Mahisashura) during this period.

Navratri's each night is dedicated to one form of Goddess Durga. That is every ratri of the Navratri corresponds to worship of different forms of Maa Durga. This embraces -

Maa Shailputri, who was the daughter of Parvatraj Himalaya (King of the Mountain), wife of Lord Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya;

Maa Brahmachaarini-, who gives the message of pure love to the world;

Maa Chandraghanta, who establishes Justice and wears crescent moon on Her head;

Maa Kushmaanda, who provides the basic necessities to the world;

Skand Maa, who gives the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world;

Maa Kaatyayini, who persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities;

Maa Kaalratri, who killed Raktabeej ( a demon who produce a demon from every drop of blood that fell from his body. Goddess eventually licked the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered him);
Maa Chaamunda, who killed two demons—Chanda and Munda and restored tranquility;
Maa MahaGauri who also liberate the world of evil forces;
Mata Sidhidaarti, who is a treasure house of Mystic Powers (Yantra Tantra) and Knowledge (Gyaan).

Some may also say that the nine days are divided and devoted to the Trinity of God worshipped in a female form in which for three days Maa Durga (Goddess of valor) is worshipped, for three days Maa Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and three days for Maa Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Art). On the fifth day, that is, Lalita Panchami books are gathered, lamp is lighted to invoke Saraswati. The eighth and ninth day, Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire) is performed to honour heavenly Goddess and bid her farewell.

Jai Maa!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Appeal To The Mother’s Kind Heart

Some years ago, it came to me in meditation that what the world needs today is more consciousness of the mother aspect of God, to balance the overly masculine, intellectual approach to life that is so dominant nowadays.

With all our great mental insights, we fail to realise that this world is not real. In our essence, we are a part of the Infinite, and it is God who is playing our particular role in life. God is uniquely present in each of us. He has His own song to sing through everyone. The whole purpose of this great drama is to realise that you are God.

Now, the saints tell us that the easiest way to know God is by venerating Him as Divine Mother.

Paramhansa Yogananda said that the Mother is closer than the Father, and that we can appeal to her heart as a child appeals to its earthly mother.

What part does the Divine Mother play in our worship? She gives us a form toward which we can direct our love. It's helpful to think of God as something outside and separate from ourselves. Divine love is without limit or form, but human love wants to take the Infinite and condense it into one person. This tendency is good, in the sense that it gives us a focus for our love, without which it would be vague. Having a concrete image of God is like having stepping stones that bring us to the point where suddenly we see that it's all One.

To feel devotion for the Divine Mother, in the beginning we often need to think in terms of a human form. When i came to Paramhansa Yogananda, i was tired of being intellectual, and i wanted to develop devotion. I began praying to Divine Mother, and i would visualise the face of my godmother. That may seem ridiculous, but she had a loving nature that reminded me of the innocence and sweetness that i was trying to develop. In this way, i gradually tuned in to the consciousness of the Mother, so that when i think of Her now, i don't think of any form.

The trouble with worshiping God only as Father is that He tends to present the image of a judge – somewhat stern and aloof. But Divine Mother is filled with compassion. The Mother will always forgive you, even if you've done wrong.

We need the limited to remind us of the Infinite. But even if God should come to you as Divine Mother, friend, or a beloved, always remember to see Infinite Consciousness behind those eyes i'll never forget a time when i was sitting at Yogananda's feet while he was editing a manuscript. I was thinking how fortunate it was that i had found him, and when he finished his editing, he asked me to help him stand. He looked into my eyes with so much joy and love, and said, "Just a bulge of the ocean!" It was as if the Infinite was looking at me through those eyes.

I was loving the form, but it was the ocean that produced that form. It's the ocean that sustains all our forms. Ultimately, love for the Divine Mother is only love of your own true Self. You need to bring it back to that reality, not in self-love, but in knowing that God is everywhere, and that you, too, are everywhere.

This  Talk by: Swami Kriyananda was First Published on

Navratri Begin tomorrow - Read relevant other posts here -