Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'The Divine Worker' by SRI AUROBINDO

I face earth's happenings with an equal soul;
In all are heard Thy steps: Thy unseen feet
Tread Destiny's pathways in my front. Life's whole
Tremendous theorem is Thou complete.

No danger can perturb my spirit's calm:
My acts are Thine; I do Thy works and pass;
Failure is cradled on Thy deathless arm,
Victory is Thy passage mirrored in Fortune's glass.

In this rude combat with the fate of man
Thy smile within my heart makes all my strength;
Thy Force in me labours at its grandiose plan,
Indifferent to the Time-snake's crawling length.

No power can slay my soul; it lives in Thee.
Thy presence is my immortality.

Monday, January 30, 2006

JUST ONE
Rama was a prince in every sense
Second to none in virtue and wealth
Beauty and Grace
The best of everything
Came to him
Love beyond expectation
From all

Yet---
He did suffer trials and tribulations too

Just to show
That sorrow and joy come to even God
Should he step in as man on earth
This birth is but unique

For its in the land of opposites can one seek

That One without opposites
The Truth that is

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kitchen...



....Zen

Cutting vegetables
Reducing them from
Whole to tiny parts
Has always been
A meditation of sorts
Teaching the most
Valuable lessons in Zen
What was nowhere
Were sown as seeds
On a carefully tilled soil
They were nurtured
And grown with care
By different faculties
Of the Cosmic force
And from within
Thin stems came forth
Gentle flowers
Which contained within
Fruits and then the same seeds
The fruits and leaves
Travelled through many a hand
And here they are so beautiful
Of different colours on my kitchen counter
Ready to go for yet another process
Of transformation in heat
Until they get ready for the dining table
The Changeless Essence
Yields itself to such
Apparent changes
In name and form.

- Swahilya

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A prayer...


...to Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi

Vidyavantham Yashasvantham
Lakshmivantham Janamkuru
Roopam dehi Jayam dehi
Yasho dehi dwisho jahi.
Dehi Sowbhagyam Arogyam
Dehi me Paramam Sukham
Roopam dehi Jayam dehi
Yasho dehi dwisho jahi.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

An apology..




...and a post

I begin with an apology, for not posting so long on this blog. It was for no other reason, but just that I wanted to contribute uniquely here and not just copy what I post on Aksharoham. But now, the divine has blessed me with more technology, a laptop with internet on my mobile phone, a digital camera to click and transfer to the laptop and just the mind to make good use of the technology. I resolve to make good use of them, with gratitude. So from here I go:


Offerings

Patram Pushpam Phalam Thoyam
Yo Me Bhaktya Prayachati
A leaf, a flower, a fruit or just water
Is all that I ask of you
A leaf is one each day
Out of the tree of life
A flower an expression of your soul
A fruit is that which you yield
The essence of your being
And water is all that you can take
Of me and give back unto me.
The greatest offering
Yourself unto Yourself.
Nothing more, nothing less.

- Swahilya.


Monday, January 23, 2006

A circle of Constants...

This is not about temples, but about the Self. I went back to Google search, to refresh my decaying knowledge in Math and went through circles again. There was something about it, not about solving the toughest problems, not about the complexity it can take you into but that one simple thing that we call a Constant, often taken for granted but never explained. This time i chose to make a connect.

There is a constant in everything, including our lives, the concept of circles just being another such example of how varied their behavior is and yet there is a Constant that seems to give character to them.

Its very similar with us. The thirst for truth brings a variety of opportunities into our lives at various stages which need not be socially acceptable. There are many moments when people comes face to face with themselves wondering whether they should make that move towards the truth or continue in their routines. Its a choice you make based on the trust you have in yourself to look for this Truth or Constant, and the courage you have to disconnect with your familiar world.

Yes, the familiar world that you define as home, and all the people and components that go into its making. You might have made it yourself during the hunt for your Constant, that which largely is a subconcious search surfacing on and off while it remotely connects with events in your life. Those are your moments of absolute excitement, excitement you cannot explain but just emote. There is a Constant within you, not necessarily defined with a formula, or given a form(religion tries to do that for you). I grew to realize this in a warped sort of way.

My first definition of a Constant as i saw it was with family, but it brought in its own share of problems/ instability and didnt seem to follow the definition i had laid out for it either in reality or conceptually or in subtle reality. I realized somewhere that family was not where the Constant was, as it was more of an external element and not entirely my own. I moved my Constant away from people and home, realizing pretty fast that they were incapable of such position purely on the grounds of expectation and rule sets laid down by role play- family, marriage, etc.

Somewhere down the line it dawned on me that my work, which i possible considered as my Constant for a while, was not the right place either. I ended up getting into more of people management since actual performace was being taken as a given. I also realized that my Constant doesn't depend on whimsical people around me for my Constant is way too important to be tossed around.

So here I am, redefining my Constant to myself, its something that is purely mine, and does not call for outside interference, that is anyone beyond me. My Constant is that which stays with me and i derive my energy from it to define myself, to live, to understand, to perform, to survive and make myself concious of it every moment in the day. My Constant is not for me to share, but for me to help anyone look for their own.

My Constant is formless, and i have chosen to define as Shiva, nothing more, nothing less. My Constant is visible in the Beauty of Lord Shiva, its defined in his dance, its felt in his fury, its awakened in his third eye.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Inner Light


“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cosmic Consciousness - A poem by Sri Aurobindo

I have wrapped the wide world in my wider self
And Time and Space my spirit's seeing are.
I am the god and demon, ghost and elf,
I am the wind's speed and the blazing star.

All Nature is the nursling of my care,
I am struggle and the eternal rest;
The world's joy thrilling runs through me, I bear
The sorrow of millions in my lonely breast.

I have learned a close identity with all,
Yet am by nothing bound that I become;
Carrying in me the universe's call
I mount to my perishable home.

I pass beyond Time and life on measureless wings,
Yet still am one with born and unborn things.

Monday, January 16, 2006

‘Pain and pleasure
Spur and obstacle
In the quest of One
Pain spurs on
Pleasure deludes;
Bliss eludes’
Some do perceive such
Acceptance of both
Reject none
Awareness of both
Is to transcend both
For they are One

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Our Home

I think that this post is sort of relevant with reference to my previous post on pain. So here goes -

When I hold a flower in my hand and just look at it, a sense of expansive peace fills me.

In this world of constant movement and never ending setting up of goals, working towards them, reaching and achieving these targets, whether in our chosen work or in our personal pursuits or personal relationships, we need a reinforcement from a sustaining source of quietude, from a peace that passeth all understanding, from a calm like a block of ice.

All the infinite activity is built on a foundation of an unshakeable stillness.

Somehow in spite of the immeasureable energy that is an innate component of Nature, anything of Nature - be it the never-still oceans, the never-moving mountains, the beautiful star like flowers, the sky scraping trees, the sweet innocence of all animals big or small, ferocious or gentle - smoothens our care-worn anxious brows, calms our nerves, makes us go back to our still depths.

Communing with Nature and becoming one with it is not something that is tangential to our human personality, foreign to our true selves.

Nature is our identity and our origin.

Going back to Nature is like going back home.

I feel complete and content.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Spirituality and Art : Healers of Pain?

How does an artist have the capacity to reach those depths, where you keep your pain secure?

How does an artist soothe your pain without any effort? Is it because through the plumbing of his own depths for inspiration, the artist has now become a healer?

Or does an artist pervertedly see just the pleasure even in extreme agony? Probably that's why he is able to reach it and heal it?

Not at all.

An antidote for pain is not pleasure. Mainly because pleasure always only skims the surface of the being, it doesn’t reach far enough anywhere to handle any serious psychological negatives.

Pleasure's effect is always intense maybe, but very temporary, more an anesthetic than a surgery removing the root of the cancer and the cancer itself.

Pain may be superficial, but mostly it is unbearable and very deep. I am speaking about psychological or emotional pain. All of us of course know about the absoluteness of our bodies' pain.

On the contrary, I think that they (pleasure and pain) are unconnected to each other except in perhaps the fact that chasing after the object of pleasure more often than not, whether you obtain it or lose it, gives you pain.

An antidote for pain is simply the removal of the pain itself, removing the cause of pain is dicey, because an object can be both a source of pain and pleasure at different times.

Here, in what I have written, I speak about two depths, which might not necessarily have the same coordinates.
One is that of the observer of the art - the depths where his pain is hiding, or where he has successfully hidden his pain.The other depth is in the artist. The depth from where his inspiration comes. It is a positive creative level. At least where his work is concerned.

But if it is not the depth of his soul that he has sought to convert the vibration into an object of creation, but only his vital / life force level (traditionally between the Naabhi and the Moolasthaanam), then that level has the capacity to stretch the artist to the opposite effect of extreme agony too.

Whereas, if the source of the artist's creative genius is his soul, not his mind, not his emotions, nor his vitality - the latter mentioned only act as instruments to convert his soul inspiration to three dimensional art - then he is not the usual dangerously unbalanced creator that we see, but is harmonious in his own person, and in what he projects in his work.


Now to the pain in us and the artist being a healer.

Pain is often healed by the understanding of the pain by another person who himself has experienced it.

In spirituality, it is a fact that the higher you go, the more your capacity/power to handle the darker and the darkest regions in us. Like the mind per se because it is higher level of consciousness has a much greater power than the emotions to handle the problems of the body.The higher you get your inspiration from , the greater your light, your power and this tackles the deepest embedded pain, ignorance, dark emotions like anger, jealousy etc.

There are the depths and the heights. Height gives us power and knowledge, depths give us love and understanding, a sympathy, an identification, a compassion - all of which again leads to knowledge of the pain and the knowledge to remove it.

The Rig Veda says "As it climbs from height to height, there becomes clear to its view all the much that is yet to be done.”

The view is better, the insight grows and grows and we see then "Oh this pain here in the subconscious has to be nullified." Then you bring the knowledge of the heights down here to the low levels and transform them.

As to the artist, he is just slightly internalised. Nothing like a yogi or our gurus.
But even that helps in healing.

I had a concrete experience of this some time back. I was in a place inside where it was the period of agony before the calm of resignation. I was in quite a horrible condition. At that moment I just inadvertantly looked at a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh on the wall. It was a calender that had all the prints of his works.

You won’t believe it, just the split second look and my pain was removed without a trace. And it did not return at all.

That is exactly what I have written in this post - my personal experience of my pain (whose cause had nothing to do with anything that Van Gogh might know), and his painting, nothing spectacular, but just a portrait - it healed me completely.

From that day onwards it was as though an inner eye opened in me regarding paintings. I can see and know how deep the artist went to gather his motivation for the work. I don’t see the technical excellence I just see the paintings vibration and more importantly their effect on me. And then I stun myself by throwing my free judgement here and there "This is an excellent one", "This is rotten", "This is bad; that is good".

To open one's inner perception enough is to truly know...

We were looking at a lot of paintings for our renovated house. That started my already deep interest in painting as an art. I can stand and look at paintings for years together...

My explanation of pain and how it can be healed, is my opinion of what I think the process is.
There might be other explanations too.

But the ultimate solution to me is once again that of surrendering at the feet of the One Supreme Divine. This brilliant strategy works for everything and anything in this world!

It removes pain too - Totally. Completely. Efficiently.

And all these words melt away like snow in the sun...
These things happen in life...

Thanks are

due to Arjuna for inviting me to be a contributor to this immensely important and inspiring blog Cosmic Consciousness. I do hope that I will be a worthy member, deserving the honour of being here.
Thanks again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Phenomenon Of Death

vàyuranilamamçtamathedaü bhasmàntaü ÷arãram
OM krato smara kçtaü smara krato smara kçtaü smara


(May my) Prana melt into the all-pervading Air, the eternal Sutratman, and may this body be burnt by fire to ashes. OM! O mind! remember my deeds! O mind! remember, remember my deeds! - Isavasya Upanishad

Before I get deeply into the concept of death, astral world and reincarnation, lets see the definition of Death.

According to Swami Sivananada, death is separation of the soul from the physical body. Death becomes the starting point of a new and better life. Death does not end your personality and self-consciousness. It merely opens the door to a higher form of life. Death is only the gateway to a fuller life.

Birth and death are jugglery of Maya. He who is born begins to die. He who dies begins to live. Life is death and death is life. Birth and death are merely doors of entry and exist on the stage of this world. In reality no one comes, no one goes. Brahman or the Eternal alone exists.

Just as you move from one house to another house, the soul passes from one body to another to gain experience. Just as a man casting off worn-out garments, takes new ones, so the dweller in this body, casting off worn-out bodies, enters into others which are new.

Death is not the end of life. Life is one continuous never-ending process. Death is only a passing and necessary phenomenon, which every soul has to pass to gain experience for its further evolution.

Dissolution of the body is no more than sleep. Just as man sleeps and wakes up, so is death and birth. Death is like sleep. Birth is like waking up. Death brings promotion to a new and better life. A man of discrimination and wisdom is not afraid of death. He knows that death is the gate of life. Death to him is no longer a skeleton bearing a sword to cut the thread of life, but rather an angel who has a golden key to unlock for him the door to a wider, fuller and happier existence.

Every soul is a circle. The circumference of this circle is nowhere but its centre is in the body. Death means the change of this centre from body to body. Why, then, should you be afraid of death?

The Supreme Soul or Paramatman is deathless, decayless, timeless, causeless and spaceless. It is the source and substratum for this body, mind and the whole world. There is death for the physical body only, which is a compound of five elements. How can there be death for the Eternal Soul which is beyond time, space and causation?

If you wish to free yourself from birth and death, you must become bodiless. Body is the result of Karmas or actions. You must not do any action with expectation of fruits. If you free yourself from Raga-Dvesha, or likes and dislikes, you will be free from Karma. If you kill egoism only, you can free yourself from Raga and Dvesha. If you annihilate ignorance through knowledge of the Imperishable, you can annihilate egoism. The root-cause for this body is therefore ignorance.

He who realises the Eternal Soul, which is beyond all sound, all sight, all taste, all touch, which is formless and attributeless, which is beyond Nature, which is beyond three bodies and five sheaths, which is infinite and unchanging, self-luminous, frees himself from the jaws of death.

To be contd..

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Birth, Death and God

‘God’ is a presence
Not a person
Felt not seen
An experience of Love and warmth
Simply,
Ever-present, all around
Waiting to engulf,
Should you but allow

An awareness of this every moment,
Is Bliss here and now
Not in the distant future
Or in an unknown heaven

Why bother about birth and death
If this life is a dream
All the ‘lives’
Before and those to come are dreams too
The One Truth that encases all is ever-present
This birth or the next shall ever be in the arms of
The One.

Yet one more opportunity to experience that Love
Yet one more opportunity to merge
IN THE TRUTH THAT IS

Thursday, January 05, 2006

DEATH - An Introduction

AUM
DEDICATED
TO
LORD YAMA, MARKANDEYA, NACHIKETAS,
SAVITRI AND NANDI, THE ETERNAL
ATTENDANT OF LORD SIVA, WHO HAVE
ALL UNRAVELLED THE MYSTERIES
OF THE LIFE BEYOND DEATH
AUM



I have been always fascinated by DEATH. Its something that I contemplate every night on my bed. There were times, when I have imagined myself to be a corpse lying on my bed without any breath!I may sound abnormal - but that's the truth. I guess I am abnormal anyway - lol!I have decide to write about the most fascinating concept called DEATH. What is DEATH? What happens after DEATH? What is the astral world?What is reincarnation? I will be taking pointers from great spiritual teachers like Swami Sivananda, Swami Vivekananda and Sadhu Vasawani, who have written about "Life After Death".

Swami Sivananda states in his famous book "What Becomes Of The Soul After Death", that the concept of Paraloka-Vidya or the science about the departed souls and their planes of living is a subject of absorbing interest. It is a Mysterious Science which contains many secrets or hidden wonders. It has intimate connection with Panchagni-Vidya or the science of transmigration propounded in the Chandogya Upanishad. The doctrine of reincarnation or metempsychosis, transmigration of the soul and spiritualism come under the Paraloka-Vidya. Everybody is curious and anxious to know this science.

Great scientists, the inventors of many marvellous things, mighty Emperors who have done stupendous works, inspired poets, wonderful artists, many Brahmins, Rishis, Yogis have come and gone. You are all extremely anxious to know what has become to them. Do they still exist? What is there at the other side of death? Have they become non-existent or have they dwindled into an airy nothing? Such questions do arise spontaneously in the hearts of all. The same question arises today as it arose thousands of years ago. No one can stop it, because it is inseparably connected with our nature.

Death is a subject which is of the deepest interest to everyone. One day or other all must die. The terror of death overshadows the lives of all human beings. It brings considerably unnecessary sorrow, suffering and anxiety to the survivors who are anxious to know about the fate of the departed souls.

In the West also this question has aroused a great deal of interest and attention in certain scientific circles. Much investigation has been made. But the researches have, however, been confined more or less to find out whether or not the individuality survives and persists after the dissolution of the physical body. This has been proved in the affirmative by actual communication with the spirit world through science, mediumship etc.

A knowledge of this science will rob death of all its terror and sorrow and enable you to see it in the proper light and to understand its place in the scheme of your evolution. It will certainly goad you to find out suitable methods to conquer death and attain immortality. It will forcibly urge you to take to the study of Brahma-Vidya in right earnest and find out the true Master or illumined sage who can put you in the right path of Truth and explain to you the mysteries of Kaivalya or Brahma-Jnana.

You have suffered very much simply out of ignorance and superstition concerning this most important matter. If you go through this book carefully the veil of ignorance will be removed. You will be freed from the horrors of death.

The one aim of all Yoga Sadhanas is to face death fearlessly and joyfully. A Yogi or a Sage or even a real aspirant has no fear of death. Death is terribly afraid of those who do Japa, meditation and Kirtanam. He and his messengers dare not approach them. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, “Having come to Me, these Mahatmas come not again to birth, the place of pain and non-eternity; they have gone to the highest bliss” (Chapter VIII-15).

Death is painful to a worldly man. A desireless man never weeps when he dies. A full-blown Jnani never dies. His Prana never departs. Your highest duty is to prepare for a peaceful life hereafter. Conquer the fear of death. Conquest of fear of death, conquest of death is the highest utility of all Spiritual Sadhana. Pray to the Lord to enable you to worship Him in every birth of yours. End the cycle of birth if you want everlasting bliss. Live in the eternal Atman and be happy for ever.

Bhishma had death at his command (Iccha-Mrityu). Savitri brought back Satyavan, her husband, to life through her power of chastity. Markandeya conquered death through worship of Lord Siva. You also can conquer death through devotion, knowledge and power of Brahmacharya.

(To be contd...)

Sri Shanmugha Chakram - An Explanation



I was introduced to the wonderful concept of the Sri Chakram of Lord Murugan by my best friend Sriram. I would like to share this concept with you all.

Basically, there are two things involved for reaching the state of Samadhi:

1. Ascent of Spirit
2. Descent of Grace

Spirit is our soul. We can try to reach God by its ascent. This can be done systematically by Ashtanga Yoga, Kriya Yoga (The Right hand path). Or by Tantric practices (Vama Marga - The Left hand path).

The ascent of spirit can be represented by an 'upward-facing' equilateral triangle. The process of making the soul move higher is called Sadhana.

Once the soul has done its part thorough and NOTHING MUCH can be done by it, only then the Grace descends. When we become helpless and we are desperate to go higher, then the Grace descends. This is not under our control. The three Graces are:

1. Grace of Scriptures - Knowledge from the scriptures.
2. Grace of the Guru - By following his instructions
3. Grace of the Self - Surprising this is the Grace obtained by self effort.

Needless to say the last one is probably the most important one and will naturally invite the other two.

This can be represented by an equilateral triangle that faces downwards. When both of them merge we get the Chakram of Lord Murgan. (Notice two triangles - one upward facing and another downward facing). In that merging point - there is a bindu or a dot (In the above picture - the bindu is represented as Lord Murugan). This bindu signifies the Silence into which the sound of Aum leads.

Once when Ramakrishna Paramahansa was standing in a river along with a disciple. The disciple told that he wanted to see God immediately. Ramakrishna then pushed the head of the disciple inside the river. The disciple could not hold it for long. But Ramakrishna did not relax his grip. But finally, the disciple gave a mighty push and emerged out of water. He asked why Ramakirshna did that to him. Ramakrishna then told that, if he had a desire to see God equal to that of him to emerge from water he had before, then God would immediately come before him. :)

So, when we give up EVERYTHING, and with all our hope and power pray to God, then the union (Yoga, Anubhuti etc) is possible. Yoga, Kriya, Bhakti etc are means and not the end. God alone is true and He alone is important. Everthing else is trivial.

Thanks Sriram for this wonderful explanation you gave me in ur car :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A moment longer at Elephanta caves, Mumbai.

Elephanta caves, Mumbai: A moment longer at Elephanta caves can give a life time of happiness. Sounds strange, but when you discover the value of such an amazing monument, your mind rests on it forever. You know, these monuments scattered around our country side do not just stop with being tourist attractions but have greater value when we try to understand them a little more.

Art historians like George Michell, scanned the entire caves and brought out a book the beautifully represents Elephanta pictorially to the average reader. It has a few very interesting things about it that triggered my thoughts further on Elephanta, and it just blew my mind when i realized what i possibly found. I might be wrong, but i dont feel so.

Elephanta's main cave hosts a four doored chamber which contains an incomplete Shiva Linga. In front of it stands a hall of pillars rather unassuming to start with. I think the cave faces east and on the south wall is our very famous Trimurti. Is all this leading somewhere, maybe... Lets walk a step back, what is Elephanta caves all about?

Elephanta caves hosts a complete cave dedicated to Shiva, with 11 iconographic representations from his various mythologies, 11 out of 25 forms of Shiva have been depicted here. Ok, if you though Vishnu was 10 and Shiva was 1, let me correct this, Vishnu is 10 but Shiva is about 25 forms.
This does not end here, i do not know the reason for picking these particular sculptures, am yet to figure that out, but what i know is that, what George Michell tried to conclude in these caves was that the ground plan represented some sort of a mandala that looks like this.



The square on the left is the shrine chamber that hosts the Shiva linga within it. The point i am trying to make is that much as he hit the nail on the head and said it represented a mandala, i think he got it wrong diagramatically. Why do i say this?

For this we need to move away from pure are history and architecture towards ritual. The worship of Lord Shiva brings in the use of mystical diagrams like yantras to perform fulfilling worship of the Lord. The most auspicious yantra that represents Lord Shiva looks like this.



Now, counting the number of squares within this yantra we come to 25 (5x5) squares. Superimpose this on the ground plan of the cave, but not diagonally. The floor of elephanta now represents a living yantra, each square marked by a pillar at the corners, with the shrine chamber at the first square of row three, meaning square 11. (i hope you got the square) I think this number 11 is coincidental and may not symbolically represent the number of Shiva scultpures inside these caves. What remains a mystery to me right now is whether there was a lot more to this ritualistically or was this purely a representation to carry the tradition forward.

Now this might look normal and matter of fact to you. Well it does not look normal or matter of fact to me. I have woken up to this after 2 years of breaking my head on it, and man! this enlightenment makes a difference to me and makes me want to value these sculptures more than just beautiful depictions on stone. This is a hint of the potency that evolves when architecture and ritual combine which our ancestors have left behind for us, to take note of and pursue ( i dont mean to preach).

The more we soak ourselves in it, the more we dig deeper, the clearer it gets, and we are brought face to face with this potency. I cant explain this.. but i can only say its worth all the study i did, its worth all the frustration i have been through, its worth all the belief and faith i bank on! There IS something here to be looked at, cherished and valued.