Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sadhanas and Deeksha

A Sadhana is a spiritual practice such as yoga and meditation.  There is a sacred trinity in ancient enlightenment cultures made up of Sadhanas (spiritual practices), Maha Sutras, and Diksha (spiritual initiations-aka deeksha-for more info visit ).

Some have come to me week after week for deeksha.  Initially this was very  puzzling as I found myself wondering what was wrong with the last deeksha, that some were back so soon. Others would announce that it was their 6th deeksha circle that week-that they go from place to place getting as many deekshas as they could. This was all very new to me.

The early teachers, including Arthri, Ranji, Uttama. Leilaji, Raviji, Mohanaji and I conducted retreats and workshops for years, sometimes for very large groups of people after receiving just several deekshas-2-4 a year.  Many of the attendees grew in amazing ways. We relied very heavily on Grace, sadhanas and contemplation of sutras to enhance our states and our abilities to help others.

Deeksha was a small yet integral part of the early processes. Maybe 8-12 hours total out of 42 days were spent while the deeksha was given to the whole group. This transmission of spiritual energy (deeksha) was done as a very a sacred ritual where at the very least we showered first, definitely washed our hair, and put on clean clothing. Many prayed and fasted in preparation and remained in silence (another type of sadhana) before, during and after. The Dhyana Vihar (meditation center) was softly lit with candles and beautiful incense. A life-sized Sri Murthi surrounded by fruits and flowers was at the front and Acharya Ananda Giriji and the male monks sat to the right of the Sri Murthi. Ananyaji was to the left.

The monks chanted as we knelt in perfect silence as a group. No one moved, opened their eyes, left the Dhyana Vihar or spoke (with the exception of receiving  Deeksha for the State of the Laughing Buddha where is was almost impossible not to laugh) until the entire group had received deeksha. There was a tangible shift when all had received  deeksha- a sense of inter-connectedness-of being one great creature with many arms. Anything was possible, it seemed. There was a perception that each individual mind was part of a collective mind-no separation really and in this realization it was seen that each had the power to help any one or all. It became more of a group journey than an individual journey from then on to me.

If you think of the deeksha as a seed of enlightenment, the sadhanas as the rain, and the sutras as the sun and if you are missing the contemplation of the sutras (the sun), the sadhanas (the rain) how is the seed (deeksha) going to grow?  It is like you were given a paper cup with a seed in it and you stuck it in on a shelf. You killed your little seedling before it had even a chance to transform and flower (relating to flowering of the heart), then complained to the seed manufacturer that the seed was a dud and went out trying brand after brand after brand of seed to no avail. Still no flowering.  Those that work with and nurture the seed they have been given-even if it is one only, often grow in remarkable ways. 

Keep in mind just as when a plant grows it moves the earth (in this example the recipient of the deeksha can be likened to the soil), it is my experience  that the changes can be quite unsettling if you are not practicing some form of sadhana and contemplating sutras.  Both are wonderful preparations and a large degree transformation can occur.

As in the words of a local shaman called Coyote, "If you give enlightenment to a goat, it will still be a goat."  Some degree of transformation can be very beneficial before mukti (enlightenment or liberation) such as God Realization, Discovery of the Love, setting right relationships. Not all enlightened beings throughout history were God Realized or had good relationships.

If you try just practicing some sadhanas and contemplate a sutras measure your growth. As sadhanas are employed the body and its powers change.  There is an explanation of a sutra "Suffering is a Constant" in an early workshop format at The yin and yang symbol is an icon of a sutra. Can you see it?

New sadhanas are currently being given by the Oneness Movement. So you can see the evolution, following were the required prerequisite sadhanas for the participants before going to the first retreats at Satyaloka. More sadhanas were given at the yajnas that were also required. It will give you an idea of how the early teachers lived for many years.

When we did the sadhanas the intent was not only  for personal growth but it was something we did for the enlightenment of man. Many were given visions of the Golden Age early on and we were shown what it would be if man made it and what it would be if man did not make it.  There was a passion for a shift enmass and it seemed such a little thing to do. It was that and only that that made it possible to keep this type of lifestyle.

If sadhanas are something you decide do for yourself alone, soon many would stop. So if you decide to start practicing sadhanas, know in your heart that the microcosm impacts the macrocosm. Just as if you put a drop of yogurt in a glass of milk soon all of the milk is transformed. What you are doing-this sacrifice of time and energy to enhance your own state, you are ultimately doing for mankind.
These were the early preparatory sadhanas. Titled "Preparation for the Sadhakas (Spiritual Aspirants) Traveling to Satyaloka"  For most they started in January for a June-Aug Yajna (Retreat)-a 6 week minimum preparation practice:

No smoking
Strict vegetarian diet
No caffeinated drinks
Strict celibacy
Fruit Diet once a week-same day every week. (This cleanses mucus from the colon.)

Early morning meditation 5:30 AM-7:00AM or earlier for 1.5 hours
1 Take shower (cold)
2. Meditation should be done on an empty stomach
3. Chant the Moola Mantra 7 times
4. Pranayama 1, 2 and 3  15 minutes
5 Prana Kriya 1,2 and 3 9 minutes
6. Breath Awareness 5 Minutes
7. Deep Inhalation and Exhalation 5 minutes
8. Brumadhya Dhyana 10 minutes (the area between the eyebrows-the screen that you dream on)
9 Go into Savasan and meditation continues:
-Brumadhya Dhyana 5 minutes -move awareness from Bruhmadhya to Sahasrara (crown of the head)
-Sahasrara Dhyana 5 Minutes-Move Awareess from Sahasrara to Brumadhya
-Brumadhya Dhyana-5 Minutes-move awareness from Bruhmadhya to Anahata (Spiritual Heart)
-Anahata Dhyana 5 minutes

Meditation ends

10 Relax in Savasan 20 minutes
11 Chant the Moola Mantra 3 times

Evening Meditation 8:30-10:00 PM (or any other time but it must be the same time every day.
Same format as morning meditation...........

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Change and Unconditional Love

The ancient sages and mystics had a way of distilling simple truths into basic elements; of demystifying the mysterious. In ancient times, love was defined merely as acceptance, and hatred was defined as non-acceptance or wanting to change something or someone.

If you take a moment and honestly look at what it is you have been seeking your whole life you may find that your search is that one being who will accept you for all your faults and shortcomings-the One who will accept you totally in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, just as you are-the One who will forgive you and embrace you whole heartedly. This is what we are hoping for from early childhood to old age. It is man's oldest search.

The questions that trouble man at the very core are:

"Is there one being who could accept me unconditionally without any judgement whatsoever?"

"Is there one being that can be mine and mine alone?

"Is there one being who could embrace me with all his/her heart and trust me totally?"

So great is the quest for acceptance (love) that thousands of dollars are spent in attempting to be more beautiful, to make more money, to be more intelligent etc. The desire behind all of this is to gain acceptance.

On the other hand the ancient definition of Hate was merely non-acceptance or wanting to change something or someone.

For example a lady might say. "I want to change my hair style," She is in essence saying "I hate (do not accept) my hair as it is. Another may say, "I want to change the decorating" She is saying I hate this place so I want to change it. When the new bride says "I want to change some things about my new husband. He should cut his hair and get a better job and cook now and then." Can we say that she loves (accepts) him unconditionally?

If we look into our lives we can see this illustrated. Think of an example when you wanted to change something about yourelf. It is because you could not accept that part of yourself any longer. The constant struggle for perfection is deeply rooted in man's self-hatred.

How is it you feel in your heart when someone is trying to change you? A mother might say to her child, "Honey if only you were this way!" Or "I love you very much but you must change your sloppy ways and get better grades." The child realizes he will not find unconditional love in his mother. At times a child tries so hard to change and please that during his life he becomes what can only be called a "Love Beggar." He becomes like the dog who barks and wags his tail at the same time-he is confused and confusion always leads to conflict. He tries so hard to change to gain the acceptance of those who would want to change him-that cannot accept him- that he loses his inner integrity.

With the understanding of love as defined by the ancient enlightened ones as acceptance, and the ancient understanding of hatred as non-acceptance or desiring to change something, coupled with the seeing of this dynamic of acceptance and non-acceptance in my own life, it is with great interest that I watch the politicians and their followers with the cries, banners, and songs of Change.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poverty-The Micro and the Macro

At Satyaloka we learned that it is somewhat delusional to expect world peace when we cannot even get along with the people in our own households or our next door neighbors. The Americans were there with the Russians that first year and there was a cold war of sorts going on between us, so it was quite a good lesson with many day to date oppertunities to see this.

Great importance was placed on perfecting relationships and realizing and working on our own condition before attempting to expecting any change in the world affairs.

The following is from "The Dharma of Kalki-an introduction" published that year-1998

"When we operate a software package in a computer system and problem that is encountered has to be treated one step below the level of language in which the package has been developed. A problem that is encountered has to be referred to one step lower, that is to the assembly language level of the programme. An obstacle there can be cleared at the machine language level of the programme, while the next step is addressed at the hardware or circuit level. The circuit itself comprises components like Silicon and Germanium which have various attributes. We have no control over the attributes. We can only understand them.

Similarly it is with life. When we encounter limitations as regards various issues of the physical dimension, we try to revert the second dimension which is one step behind i.e the psychological dimension. A limitation there leads us to the moral dimension. But we stop at the spiritual dimension. This to address issues at the spiritual dimension effects solutions at every other level.

For instance we do know that poverty is a major problem in India with just about everybody seemingly expressing concern over it. There are a lot of efforts also being made to provider welfare for people afflicted by the situation. These welfare measures operarte in the physical dimension of existence. At the same time there are developmental and activist interventions in each situation. which are trying to create a mass awareness of the problem in light of the root cause involved. Thus, there is an immediate attempt at addressing the issue, and an attempt is also made to identify the root -cause of the issue, to address them through a psychological intervention at a political level.

There is a man standing on the banks of a river, Suddenly he hears a child screaming for help. The child is drowning. He jumps in and saves the child. But to his surprise he, he soon finds another child crying for help, then another and another and another and so on. While the saviour does need to get in and save the child immediately, it also becomes necessary for him to look around and see if somebody or something is making the children fall into the river. This will enable him to understand and tackle the situation at its root. This also happens to be the goal of spirituality with respect to any situation encountered.

In the situation explained earlier, by the impact of various developmental and welfare measures that are initiated, it is obvious that not enough people really believe they have a stake in the life of every child who is born on this planet; a stake which will make them responsible and accountable. For if a quantum of people were to operate at that level, it would ensure a transformation at the macro level. Consciousness is Creation with its Own Law...........

Another global problem that is currently being addressed in the psychological dimension is the "environmental" issue. But, how often have we observed that every single person has an opinion of his own, which seems to be clashing with that of everyone else. People hardly ever come to an agreement about anything, what is generally worked out is a compromise-a temporary pushing of the issue under the proverbial carpet until the next crisis beckons us.

It should be noted that while the above is true of community situations, things are no different at the individual level. The conflict at the individual level manifests itself as the conflict at the community level. The micro influences the macro and herein lies the key.

All of us are concerned (or at least pretend to be) about the world around us. But the fact is that the collective consciousness of humanity has not yet been influenced by the flow of these thought processes. Isn't it an obvious fact that if enough people were concerned about the state of children or the state of the environment, it would enable a change in the current status quo with more effective implementation of the strategy supported by the majority?

Every individual tuning in to a particular thought process will impact the overall efficacy with which the issue under consideration is tackled. The sad reality, however, is that most of us are only concerned with the issues that wee profess to address. We look at issues only at the macro-level interventions that impact macro issues.

As an anonymous poet observed years earlier;

A tiny pebble idly tossed,
Into the placid stream,
With gentle splash it sinks from sight

And never again is seen.

But, outward from that gentle splash,
The spreading impulse tends.......
Who knows
On what distant shore,
The spreading impulse ends.

Today we are ignorant as regards the power of the thought process.

If we adress issues within an immediate context and if an immediate perspective, not really bothering about the macro, the macro will sooner or later take care of itself. We are blind to the crisis signals we are receiving from the immediate circumstance, or rather we would prefer not to address it, for it has embarrassing connotations. It is convenient to address situations from a distance for it means that we can transfer our responsibility. An immediate situation demands our immediate attention, It demands our taking responsibility for the situation. We certainly are not ready for it.

The key to the macro lies in the micro......

How often is it that when we have halted at signals at road crossings, street urchins come to beg? Can you recollect the confusion and embarrassment that we encounter in such moments? All our attempts at handling the situation are only mechanisms to get away from a disconcerting reality. Some of us, in fact, have developed a strategy in terms of an intellectual perspective to handle this situation are only mechanisms to get away from a disconcerting reality. Some of us, in fact, have developed a strategy in terms of an intellectual perspective to handle this situation. But all the same, deep down these situations are gnawing at our beings, demanding answers. We just shove them under the carpet yet again.

And then in meetings and seminars, we will discuss the same issue demonstrating extreme concern. From a distance, it is alright, manageable. But not as a stark naked reality.

Thus every moment we are making efforts to distance ourselves from the reality of our life situations. Today due to a making of our own choice, we are hopelessly out of touch with reality. We are basking in the glory of a fool's paradise......"