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Category Archives: Spiritual Practices

Penance & Duty

What is Penance (or meditaton)?

What is duty?

These questions are often asked to me during my 20 years in meditation..I had given different answers to different people and at different times!

Behold, when I came across this “Thirukkural”, the answer was in the front of eyes

What is penance or meditation? – That which you do to “Realize oneself” or “Attain Moksha”

What is duty?

There are lot of duties

Duties to Self (This should be on top states Thirukural)

Duties to Spouse & Children

Duties to Parents & In-laws

Duties to Family, Relations and friends

Duties to the Society

Duties to Office etc

All the duties are not avoidable..and I don’t wish any one to abandon their duties.

But “Prioritize your duties” – First always must be “Duty to Self” – Because we are born to “Realize ourself” or “Attain Moksha”.

This thirukural is a first step in the direction..Meditate or do penance (without compromising other duties) Daily.

If you find it difficult, it is not so, it is just a balance

குறள் 266

தவஞ்செய்வார் தங்கருமஞ் செய்வார்மற் றல்லார்
அவஞ்செய்வார் ஆசையுட் பட்டு

மு.வ உரை:
தவம் செய்கின்றவரே தமக்குரிய கடமையைச் செய்கின்றவர் ஆவர், அவர் அல்லாத மற்றவர் ஆசை வலையில் அகப்பட்டு வீண் முயற்சி செய்கின்றவரே.
சாலமன் பாப்பையா உரை:
தவத்தைச் செய்பவரே தமக்குரிய செயலைச் செய்தவர்; மற்றவர்களோ ஆசை வலைப்பட்டு வீணானவற்றைச் செய்தவர் ஆவர்.
கலைஞர் உரை:
அடக்கமும், அன்பு நெறியும், துன்பங்களைத் தாங்கும் பொறுமையும் வாய்ந்த தவம் மேற்கொண்டவர்கள் மட்டுமே தமது கடமையைச் செய்பவர்கள்; அதற்கு மாறானவர்கள், ஆசையால் அலைக்கழிக்கப்பட்டு வீணான செயல்களில் ஈடுபடுபவர்கள்
Couplet 266
Who works of ‘penance’ do, their end attain,
Others in passion’s net enshared, toil but in vain

Courtesy: http://www.gokulnath.com/

The Art of Listening – Technique give by Guru Nanak to realize self

I have picked up SOME from the verses of Guru Nanak’s Japji Sahib – V (8-11) which roughly transalates as

By listening Meditation transpires spontaneously
By listening one rises to become perfect and venerable
By listening the ignorant finds the way
By listening, the earth and sky above revolve
By Listening, exists the trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Indra
By listening even the ignorant praise the name of God
By listening Truth and contentment are attained
By listening sages, saints and Kings come into being
By listening one becomes virtuous like deep oceans
By listening one learns the mysteries of Yoga and the bodily humors
By listening all the scriptural knowledge is known
By listening, Death does not strike
By listening the Unfathomable is close at hand

Says Nanak,
Through listening the devotee is always blissful
thus, all miseries and sins are annihilated

Sounds very simple! Just listen and everything is attained! To a layman this appears to be impossible. We have been listening throughout but nothing is happening to us! So to us, Nanak appears to be 100% wrong!

Just hold on..

Anything that synchronizes with our understanding cannot change us. It can only help to reinforce that understanding. Rather than transform us it gives yet more stones and cement to strengthen our foundation.

Consider this statement carefully:

We hear only that which we want to and not what is being said. With great effort we hear what lets us remain as we are; nothing goes in which may cause a change in us. We only hear that which fits into our understanding. That which does not fit our understanding, passes by.

Right now we think and think, and then listen. By Listening, the listener attains the knowledge of the witness. The day we listen without thinking we will become the witness.

With Listening, we become a witness..Then the witness crystallizes..At last, only witness remains

For those who have mastered the Art of Listening, there is nothing more to know. All existence comes into being through listening.

Technique given by Krishna to realize self in Bhagavad Gita

Commentary of Saint Ramanuja’s Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6 Verses 13 & 14:

The word saman means straight this denotes that the back, neck and body should be erect and balanced in a straight posture. By sitting with legs crossed in the lotus position or half lotus position assists in keeping this straight position. The word sthira means firm this denotes that the seat while being comfortable should not be overly soft. The eyes should not be allowed to flit hither and thither in different directions on objects near or far but should fix their focus either on the tip of the nose or on the space between the eyebrows. That was the discipline for the body now Lord Krishna gives the discipline for the mind. The mind being tranquil connotes contentment along with freedom from all fears. The compound word brahmacari-vrate means total celibacy and is an indispensable component insuring the containment and preservation of the vital energy of the physical body which is so essential for development. Keeping the mind attentive and fixed internally one should meditate on the Supreme Lord. Courtesy: www.bhagavad-gita.org

Summing Up
a. Neck, Back and Body should be straight and in balance
b. Focus should be in the tip of the nose or on the space between the eyebrows (Ajna Chakra in Kundalini meditation)
c. Mind fixed on Supreme Lord

My experience here is that “Start with your gaze on the tip of the nose or space between the eyebrows”.

Slowly you will able to fix your mind on Supreme Lord. There after you will get your posture correct automatically.

Caution: Practice always with Guidance..

What is Silence? How do we imbibe Silence?

Trying to explain Silence through words is a paradox by itself. However sometimes we have to use words as well to convey though technically it can’t be.

Silence of the words is not Silence
Silence of the mind IS “SILENCE”.

When there is no thought, there is ONLY “Silence”.. It is also called as Stillness.

In general, silencing the mind is the toughest one. But to me, No..

Start with stopping the mind voluntarily by using stop techniques (Vigyan Bhairav Tantra by Lord Shiva). Alternatively you can use the one I had posted earlier “Attack release technique or Statue release technique”.

Stop the mind for atleast 10-15 times everyday. Once we practice this for 2 months, you will be able to silence your mind at your will. Utlimately with this technique you will “Realize yourself”.

We practice our whole life “To use our mind effectively”.

Should we not practice “Stillness”?

Can we practise both Gnana Marga and Bhakthi Marga together?

Mostly people travel either in Gnana Marga or Bhakthi Marga.

Gnana marga i.e Meditating in Chakras – is the one where in the seeker opens the eye and walks the path. Hence he knows where he goes and what he does. The process is slow.

Bhakthi Marga is the one where in the seeker closes the eye and walks the path of Bhakthi. Hence the process is very fast but the way they have travelled is not known.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to both the marga’s. The question here is can we practise both the marga’s together?

I humbly feel that they can be practised together. But there should be right balance. The right balance can be found by experience or by guru’s guidance. Suggest that the seeker takes the help of guru who has travelled in both the paths rather than experience path.

I would like to quote an example how we can travel together. In Gnana Marga while meditating in Chakras, we can chant mantra’s i.e Gayathri Mantra in each of these chakras.

Meditating in Chakras would be in the Gnana Marga category while chanting Gayatri Mantra is in Bakthi Marga. By mixing both, we get the advantage of both these marga’s. By this, the disadvantages of both the marga’s are eliminated.

This will speed up the whole process!.

Music & Meditation

1. Music is an art created by God.
2. The base sound of music is OM or the cosmic sound that pervades through stillness or silence.
3. The very essence of Music is to reach God through Music. Hence music without meditative quality is like missing the basic strings in music.
4. Music is composed or learnt or sung. All these three arts will glitter if the base is meditation.
5. To meditatively compose or learn or sing, learn meditation in Vishudhi Chakra.
6. Learn in other basic chakras as well i.e Ajna, Anahata, Sahasradara & Mooladhar. These chakras will help you in dire need.
7. Meditate in Vishudhi Chakra for at least 1 hour every day and in other four chakras whenever time permits.
8. Whenever we practice Music, sing/compose/learn with your attention focused on Vishudhi chakra. i.e 1 part of us should always be conscious about Vishudhi Chakra.
9. Seek the help of a meditator or spiritual guide who has travelled in the path already.
10.Whenever you face obstacles, pray to God/Family Deities/Forefathers.
11.Every day, once you get up and before you sleep, pray God/Family Deities/Forefathers that you should not lose focus in both meditation and music.
12.When a player is totally involved in music, the player disappears and then only the music remains. In other words God will be playing/composing/singing music through a hollow bamboo known as you.
13.This is the first step towards realization of God with respect to music.
14.Ultimately, this will help you realize yourself i.e the very purpose of you taking birth.

Yatra / Pilgrimage

1. Objective

In the longer run, to realize self

2. How to begin

With utmost love and devotion.

3. How to end

Remember where all you have went and what all you have learnt and seen.

4. How to visit temples

Step inside with total awareness.
5. What to do in temples

After the regular darshan and pradakshinam, meditate (irrespective of whatever path you follow)

6. What we should not do in temples.

Waste your time in speaking. Observe the silence around you..Thereafter, it will come into you.

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