Turning THE KARMIC TIDE

The meaning of Self and how karmic law comes into play

I would like to ask you: What is meant by Self? Is it the body we have left? Are not the samskaras carried forward? Whether Self includes them? When we die, do we transform through births or we leave a self at death and become a fresh new self when we are reborn?

Answer : In the vedic tradition there seem to be two kinds of Self, which is why you and many others find the word Self confusing. One kind of self is very familiar. It is the ego, the ‘I’ who is born, lives in the world, and eventually passes away. Under the name of jiva, this ‘I’ is said to survive death and reincarnate over and over. It carries a person’s personal karma as it moves through the cycle of this life and all other lives.

But what is the jiva made from? Is it just a bundle of karma, meaning past, present, and future actions? That wouldn’t satisfy the question, because even when there is no action, there are two things that require no individual self. One is existence, or Being. The other is consciousness, which is awareness of existence. On the basis of this fact, the vedic tradition says that there is a Self that consists purely of being and consciousness, known as Atman.

We should not, however, let tradition dictate to us. Any self, however you define it, must be tested against experience; otherwise, it remains merely a theory whose truth is abstract. Vedic seers were aware of this, and they suggested that by going within, the jiva can meet the Atman. When this happens, a new perspective starts to develop.

At first, the jiva or ego is vaguely interested in going inward; it experiences a touch of being and greater Self-awareness. But as time passes, if you keep going inward, the balance begins to shift. Being and consciousness become more and more interesting. Why? There are two reasons. First, they are appealing in themselves. To be comfortable with your own Being and to have Self-awareness, adds to one’s wellbeing, at first in a subtle way but later with increasing satisfaction.

Second, the exposure to Being and consciousness changes the jiva. Vedic sages indicate that pure Being contains three elements — sat chit ananda — or eternal bliss consciousness that uphold life and make it more creative, evolutionary, and enjoyable. As exposure to these qualities intensifies, the person undergoes a profound transformation, nothing less than a new identity. Instead of saying ‘I am SK’ or ‘I am Deepak,’ the jiva says, ‘I am That,’ where ‘That’ means eternal bliss consciousness.

There are countless other ways to describe the spiritual path, but the brief outline just provided is a description in terms of the Self. I hope this helps.

Om Namah Shivay

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Importance of Spiritual Practice

When prana level is low – you feel upset, angry, dejected and not so good. When prana level is even lower – you feel life is not worth living. When prana level is normal – you feel yourself, like a normal human being. When prana is a little higher than normal – you feel more creative, enthusiastic, and joyful. And if it is even higher, you realize something much deeper.

Sadhana, the spiritual practice, is meant to increase this prana level in you. If your prana level is constantly high – then you don’t need to do sadhana – that is what is enlightenment; your optimum prana.

I remember an elderly gentleman, some 40 years back, asked me, “Are you tired? You must be tired!” There was an 86 years old gentleman with me, he pounced on the person, suddenly saying, “Come on! A yogi will not get tired!” That is true! Tiredness is when our senses go outward; the moment the senses start turning inward, we are tapping into the eternal source of energy.

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By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

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Each one of us is a source of energy, love & peace. If we tap into our inner Self & draw strength, we can face any challenge.

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Q: Vedas are said to be of non-human origin. What does that mean?

Guruji: Vedas are simply downloaded information. The Rishis went into deep meditation and what they saw and heard they started sharing. There is a beautiful story that I would like to share with you — Vedavyasa went to the creator and asked him to please give him knowledge. The creator pointed to a shining mountain and said, “That is knowledge, whatever you can grab you can take”. So what he could grab with his hands, that is what the Vedas are today.

More than one thousand saints went into deep meditation and whatever they cognized are the Vedas. Ayurveda has a similar story. There were 88,000 saints gathered in a place. They wanted to bring health to the society and so they all gathered to meditate. They needed someone to write down what they cognized and so one of the Rishis, Rishi Bharatwaja volunteered to not meditate and write down what the other saints downloaded while meditating. Today, it is a perfect science – which herb will affect what part of the body. It is a material medica of an entire species not just human beings. It is amazing. The more you go into it, the more you will find the knowledge amazing.

Om Namah Shivay

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किसे कहते हैं सृष्टि?

”सृष्टि के आदिकाल में न सत् था न असत्, न वायु था न आकाश, न मृत्यु थी और न अमरता, न रात थी न दिन, उस समय केवल वही एक था जो वायुरहित स्थिति में भी अपनी शक्ति से साँस ले रहा था। उसके अतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं था।”- ऋग्वेद (नासदीयसूक्त) 10-129
विश् धातु से बना है विश्व। इसी धातु से विष्णु बनता है। ब्रह्मांड समूचे विश्व का दूसरा नाम है। इसमें जीव और निर्जीव दोनों सम्मिलित हैं। संसार जन्म और मृत्यु के क्रम को कहते हैं। जगत का अर्थ होता है संसार। यही सब कुछ सृष्टि है, जो बनती-बिगड़ती रहती है।
सृष्टि मूलतः संस्कृत का शब्द है। इसे संसार, विश्व, जगत या ब्रह्मांड भी कह सकते हैं। हिंदू धर्म के स्मृति के अंतर्गत आने वाले इतिहास ग्रंथ पुराणों अनुसार इस सृष्टि के सृष्टा ब्रह्मा हैं। इस सृष्टि का सृष्टिकाल पूर्ण होने पर यह अंतिम ‘प्राकृत प्रलय’ काल में ब्रह्मलीन हो जाएगी। फिर कुछ कल्प के बाद पुन: सृष्टि चक्र शुरू होगा।

सृष्टि चक्र
इस सृष्टि में मनु के पुत्र मानव बसते हैं। सूर्य को सम्पूर्ण सृष्टि की आत्मा कहा गया है। सूर्य अनेक हैं। प्रलय के बाद सृष्टि और सृष्टि के बाद प्रलय प्रकृति का नियम है।
ब्रह्मांड को प्रकृति या जड़ जगत कहा जा सकता है। इसे यहाँ हम समझने की दृष्टि से सृष्टि भी कह सकते हैं। इस ब्रह्मांड या सृष्टि में उत्पत्ति, पालन और प्रलय लगातार चलती रही है और अभी भी जारी है और जारी रहेगी। चार तरह की प्रलय है, नित्य, नैमित्तिक, द्विपार्ध और प्राकृत। प्राकृत में प्रकृति हो जाती है भस्मरूप। भस्मरूप बिखरकर अणुरूप हो जाता है।
श्रु‍ति के अंतर्गत आने वाले हिंदू धर्मग्रंथ वेद सृष्‍टि को प्रकृति, अविद्या या माया कहते हैं- इसका अर्थ अज्ञान या कल्पना नहीं। उपनिषद् कहते हैं कि ऐंद्रिक अनुभव एक प्रकार का भ्रम है। इसके समस्त विषय मिथ्या हैं।
जगत मिथ्‍या है: इसका अर्थ यह है कि जैसा हम देख रहे हैं जगत वैसा नहीं है इसीलिए इसे माया या मिथ्‍या कहते हैं अर्थात भ्रमपूर्ण। जब तक इस जगत को हम अपनी इंद्रियों से जानने का प्रयास करेंगे हमारे हाथ में कोई एक परिपूर्ण सत्य नहीं होगा।
जगत संबंधी सत्य को जानने के लिए ऐंद्रिक ज्ञान से उपजी भ्रांति को दूर करना जरूरी है। जैसा कि विज्ञान कहता है कि कुछ पशुओं को काला और सफेद रंग ही दिखाई देता है- वह जगत को काला और सफेद ही मानते होंगे। तब मनुष्य को जो दिखाई दे रहा है उसके सत्य होने का क्या प्रमाण?
यही कारण है कि प्रत्येक विचारक या धार्मिक व्यक्ति इस जगत को अपनी बुद्धि की को‍टियों के अनुसार परिभाषित करता है जो कि मिथ्याज्ञान है, क्योंकि जगत को विचार से नहीं जाना जा सकता।
हमारे ऋषियों ने विचार और चिंतन की शक्ति से ऊपर उठकर इस जगत को जाना और देखा। उन्होंने उसे वैसा ही कहा जैसा देखा और उन ऋषि-मुनियों में मतभेद नहीं था, क्योंकि मतभेद तो सिर्फ विचारवानों में ही होता है-अंतरज्ञानियों में नहीं।
इस जगत को अविद्या कहा गया है। अविद्या को ही वेदांती माया कहते हैं और माया को ही गीता में अपरा कहा गया है। इसे ही प्रकृति और सृष्‍टि कहते हैं। इस प्रकृति का स्थूल और तरल रूप ही जड़ और जल है। प्रकृति के सूक्ष्म रूप भी हैं- जैसे वायु, अग्नि और आकाश।
वेदांत के अनुसार जड़ और चेतन दो तत्व होते हैं। इसे ही गीता में अपरा और परा कहा गया है। इसे ही सांख्य योगी प्रकृति और पुरुष कहते हैं, यही जगत और आत्मा कहलाता है। दार्शनिक इन दो तत्वों को भिन्न-भिन्न नाम से परिभाषित करते हैं और इसी के अनेक भेद करते हैं।
वेद इस ब्रह्मांड को पंच कोषों वाला जानकर इसकी महिमा का वर्णन करते हैं। गीता इन्हीं पंच कोशों को आठ भागों में विभक्त कर इसकी महिमा का वर्णन करती है। स्मृति में वेदों की स्पष्ट व्याख्‍या है। पुराणों में वेदों की बातों को मिथकीय ‍विस्तार मिला। इस मिथकीय विस्तार से कहीं-कहीं भ्रम की उत्पत्ति होती है। पुराणकार वेदव्यास कहते हैं कि वेदों को ही प्रमाण मानना चाहिए।
सृष्टि को ब्रह्मांड कहा जाता है ब्रह्मांड अर्थात ब्रह्म के प्रभाव से उत्पन्न अंडाकार सृष्टि। पुराणों में ब्रह्मा को ब्रह्म (ईश्वर) का पुत्र माना जाता है इसीलिए उनके अनुसार ब्रह्मा द्वारा ही इस ब्रह्मांड की रचना मानी जाती है। समूचे ब्रह्मांड या सृष्टि में उत्पत्ति, पालन और प्रलय होता रहता है। ब्रह्मांड में इस वक्त भी कहीं न कहीं सृष्टि और प्रलय चल ही रहा है।

Om Namah Shivay

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Do You Want People to Change?

Why do you want to change their nature? You change. When you change they may also change, or they may not change! We need to learn to see life from a broader perspective. Then things make much more sense to us.

Why do we try to change people? It is because they are hurting us. And the more we want to change someone because they are hurting us, they are not going to change, I tell you.

If you really want them to change, you have to wish for their welfare, because what they are doing is not good for them. And if that is your intention, with that wish they will change. I tell you they will change. Your every prayer will make them see things differently and behave differently. So that’s the power of your intention.

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All relationships are for a few days, few months, few years, but life is much bigger, so instead of trying to detach yourself from relationships, what is best for you to do is expand your awareness

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The dawn and dusk are the best time to relieve ourselves from the mundane and to get a foothold in ethereal, in the subtle, and in the most beautiful realm of the creation.

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Q: Could you talk about the Vedas and the aspects that they give this creation?

Guruji: You know, the story about the Vedas is very interesting, it’s a mythological story. Once a Rishi did a lot of penance, and so the Lord of creation appeared before him and he asked him, ‘My dear, what do you want?’ The Rishi said, ‘Give me knowledge’. So Brahma showed him a huge mountain and said, ‘This is knowledge, take as much as you can’.

So this sage went and he grabbed as much as he could, but he could grab only four handfuls of that mountain, and they say, that became the Vedas. So Vedas are infinite. It is said Ananthavai Veda (infinite is the knowledge). So Rishi Veda Vyasa took a few handfuls of knowledge and organized it as four different aspects:

Rig Veda: Pure knowledge

Yajur Veda: The applied science, all action oriented. It is all about karma (ritualistic aspect)

Sama Veda: All about love, devotion, music and singing

Atharva Veda: Material sciences like Ayurveda, and about the knowledge of the stars, moon, planets and galaxies. All of this is present there.

So one is pure spiritual knowledge, another is action-oriented knowledge, another is music, and the fourth is material science.

Om Namah Shivay

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Vedic Wisdom behind eating with your hands

Eating food with the hands in today’s Western society can sometimes be perceived as being unhygienic, bad mannered and primitive. However within Indian culture there is an old saying that, “eating food with your hands feeds not only the body but also the mind and the spirit”.

In the Big Brother series some years back, an English participant complained about a Indian participant’s use of her hands during food preparations and her eating habits, “They eat with their hands in India, don’t they? Or is that China? You don’t know where those hands have been.” Within many Indian households nowadays, the practice of eating food with the hands has been replaced with the use of cutlery.

Have you ever thought of why previous generations in India ate with the hands? There is a reason for their this. The practice of eating with the hands originated within Ayurvedic teachings. The Vedic people knew the power held in the hand.

The ancient native tradition of eating food with the hands is derived from the mudra practice, which is prevalent in many aspects within Hinduism. Mudras are used during mediation and are very prominent within the many classical forms of dance, such as Bharatnatyam.

The hands are considered the most precious organ of action. This is linked to the Vedic prayer of

“Karagre vasate Laksmih karamule Sarasvati Karamadhye tu Govindah prabhate karadarsanam”

(On the tip of your fingers is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of your fingers is Goddess Saraswati; in the middle of your fingers is Lord Govinda), which we recite whilst looking at our palms. Thus, this shloka suggests that all the divinity lies in human effort.

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.”

Om Namah Shivay

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Mind Expansion Vedanta Since Millennia

Vedic thought placed great value on expanding in the brah-mana, mind, to appreciate an-anta, infinity and so established a rather expansive framework that enabled Indians to accommodate ideas that came in with Indo-Greek soldiers, Chinese pilgrims, Arab traders, Central Asian warlords, including the Mughals, and later, European colonisers.

When we try and study vedic thought or vedanta — that includes wisdom of the vedas, upanishads, puranas and epics — we realise that we have to dig through layers of literature and ideas that defy dating.

The oldest part of the vedas, Rig Samhita, involved only chanting mantras. The earliest hymns of the Rig Veda could date back to 6000 BCE, because verses refer to autumn equinox in Orion constellation, much before the rise of cities of the Indus and Saraswati valleys. Most hymns emerged after 2000 BCE. They refer to River Saraswati, that flowed parallel to the Indus, that we now know dried up around this time, indicating migration to the Gangetic plains.

The second part of the vedas, Sama Samhita, involved singing mantras using melodies.

The third, Yajur Samhita extending into brahmana texts, promoted chanting mantras during rituals known as yagnas. These two portions emerged perhaps after 1500 BCE.

The fourth, the aranyakas, inspired private contemplation on mantras by isolating oneself alone in aranya, the forest, with the aim of discovering its secrets.

The fifth, the upanishads, emerged from discussions on the nature of reality as revealed by the vedas. This later came to be known as vedanta, or final phase of vedic thought. This could have begun around 1000 BCE.

The sixth, the puranas, came following the rise of monastic orders like Buddhism and Jainism in 500 BCE. Their stories sought to convey vedic ideas, made even more accessible by connecting them to pilgrim spots across the subcontinent. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata introduce us to gods such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and goddesses. The focus gradually shifted from karma, ritual, and gyan, speculation, to bhakti, devotion.

The seventh aspect, tantras and agamas, codified temple rituals that acknowledged and incorporated puranic characters. Writen accounts began from around 500 CE.

The eighth aspect of vedanta, bhakti kavya or devotional literature, came into being after 1000 CE, and brought vedic ideas to the common man in popular language. In this phase, ideas that were restricted to Brahmins burst forth and reached the people through the poetry of saints. It saw the rise of regional literature as well as regional scripts.

When the British in India translated the vedas into the English language for the first time, it forced Hinduism to reframe and re-imagine itself. Reactions ranged from the defensive and apologetic to the hostile, for more often than not, the commentary had to fit into the monotheistic European template. Today, this is changing. Thanks to the rise of postmodern studies, people are seeking alternate frameworks to explain vedanta that does not depend on western framework or validation.

Om Namah Shivay

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Vedic Wisdom and the Ayurveda

Q: Please tell us more about “Vedic Wisdom” and the ‘Ayurveda”.

Guruji: See, nobody knows when the Vedas were written, but the historians of the world say that the oldest scripture that is written is the Rig Veda, there is nothing older than this. So what are the Vedas? It is called ‘shruti’ which means ‘we heard’. Many ancient Rishis in the past when they went into deep meditation heard something and then recited it. People who heard them repeated it and started recording it. So that which ‘was heard’ in deep meditation is called ‘shruti’. In computer terms we can say they downloaded it. So those who downloaded the mantras are called Rishis. So the Rishis downloaded many of these mantras including Ayurveda.

The birth of Ayurveda is an interesting one. In the central part of India, in the forest, some thousands of sages or scientists of those days gathered together and said, ‘We need to go into deep meditation and find out what is good for human beings; how can they be healthy and how to treat sick people’. There was no Materia-Medica or any material before that. Then they thought that if everyone goes into meditation, who will record? So one Rishi Bhardwaja said, ‘I will not meditate, you all go into samadhi and you keep saying what you hear and I will record it’. So in a state of deep meditation they said which herb is for which part of the body, what is the shape of the herb and everything was described; the entire herbology and how to prepare different medicines and how to treat different parts of the body.

If you find one Materia Medica in the world which is in the form of a poem, it is Ayurveda. Ayurveda is not in prose, it is all in poetry. The whole medical science (of Ayurveda) was downloaded and even today it stands good. It has stood the test of time and stands good in today’s scientific age, and it has proven to be very useful. Now even Allopathy is turning towards herbal and Ayurvedic medicines. They have started recognizing it one by one.

One of the best examples of this is turmeric. In 1980, we had a conference in New Delhi and we had invited Allopathic as well as Ayurvedic doctors and they had a debate.

Ayurvedic doctors said that turmeric is very essential. It is good for anti-ageing and stops decay of the cells in the body. The Allopathic doctors just smiled at each other and said it is only a pigment and has no food value. They completely dismissed it. Today, the same Allopathic doctors say that turmeric has 19 important functions and does the work of 19 life-saving drugs. It also arrests Alzheimer, is an anti-oxidant, a blood thinner and does the job of aspirin. Aspirin affects your stomach; turmeric does not affect your body in any adverse way. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer. All these benefits of turmeric have now been discovered.

Om Namah Shivay

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