Kundalini and Visionary Leadership-1: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

According to yogic texts, Kundalini Shakti is the great power that is latent in all human beings. Nurturing this hidden intelligence allows one to develop insight into the nature of things and use more fully the powers inherent in the brain, the whole nervous system, and the mind.

Kundalini awakening invariably lead to a variety of  evolutionary mental and spiritual experiences in one’s consciousness. When care is taken in understanding this energy and harmonizing it, it makes the individual creative, imaginative, and bestows leadership and visionary qualities.

The main elements of yogic psychology  are found in religious texts of Hindus written thousands of years ago. These include the Upanishads (Vedas), Bhagavad-Gita, and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras among others. Jain, Buddhist, and Taoist works also emerge from the same roots and contain similar systems of thought. That is why many of the meditation and yogic methods as well as offering mantras as prayers tend to be common to these seemingly diverse religious thoughts.

No matter what the spiritual tradition, almost all classic yoga texts emphasize the energizing effect of proper food, yoga, mindful breathing (pranayama), and meditation to create the foundation of success for the awakening and development of the Kundalini. It is this power and mental energy which when used wisely propels one to achieve the goals one undertakes.

In this paper, based primarily on my own experiences, I discuss the factors associated with awakening and developing the Kundalini energy from the perspective of various yogic systems. Further, I explore the enhanced focus and sharp clarity in awareness that comes from the emergence of this power that allows one to exercise visionary leadership. Finally, I conclude with the importance of a moral framework to manage this power for the benefit of humanity.

First, I consider the role of food and drink. In Kundalini Yoga, optimal nutrition is important; especially in the initial stages of awakening and development of this power.

Continued in Part 2.

Saddarsanam- Seeing the Truth is Being the Truth

Saddarsanam - a Unique Presentation by Sadacharya

What a special privilege it was for me when i attended the Talk on Sri Ramana Bhagwan’s ‘Saddarsanam’ as presented by Dr. K. Sadananda at the Chinmaya Mission Washington DC center on the  Memorial day weekend.

Sadaji is one of the moderators of the a Yahoo group ‘advaitin’ where he has contributed many valuable posts on the finer nuances of Adi Shankara Bhagvadapada’s  Advaita philosophy.  My only regret was I could not attend the First day of the Talks wherin Sadaji gave a commentary on almost 26 verses of this wonderful scriptural text on forty verses of ‘Reality’  ( aka as Ulladu Narpadu) . But the last 24 verses are equally important as they direct us to  the ‘Ultimate Reality‘ by a process of Atma Vichara – a unique contribution of Sri Ramana Bhagwan to  Sanatana Dharma.

Sadaji kept the 90 member strong audience ( consisting of all age groups from teens to adults)  spellbound with his commentary on the Sanskrit   verses with his English commentary. Sadaji  never once referred to any notes while reciting the verses . His presentation was flawless and spontaneous and he made it all very interesting by narrating humorous anecdotes, parables and real life experiences. Sadaji adopted a simple and direct approach in unique Ramana style in an easy to understand layman terminology while stating the profound Truth of Non Dual reality (Advaita).

The verses that appealed to me most were the verses on ‘Ego’ – of all the heads the demon  Ravana had , his ‘ego head was the last to fall! When that ego head collapsed on the ground , Realization dawned and Ravana was liberated! The sanskrit word for head is ‘masta’ and anything associated with the head is ‘masthisk’ ( the synonym for intellect /mind).

Here is verse 32 :

gavesanat prapaya hrdantaram tat
pated-ahanta paribhugna-sirsa
athaham-anyat sphurati prakrstam
nahamkrtis-tat parameva purnam

Having reached within the heart , by the search , the ‘I’ Notion whose head is broken falls . Then another ‘I’ which is the main one shines forth. It is not the ego but the supreme ‘Fullness’ alone.

The ‘ego’ is the cloud that is covering the ever shining Self , the Sun!

And when one hears this next verse , then you find the ‘key’ that is unlocking your heart ! in Tamil , Heart is refereed to as ‘ullam’ ! The word ‘ul’ has profound meanings in Tamil . Depending on the context ‘ul’  could mean being , thinking , heart and inner space , all associated with indivisible Oneness. Here , it is important to recall the very first verse of Saddarsanam aka as Ulladu Narpadu –

sat-pratyayah kim nu vihaya santam?
hrdy-esa cinta -rahito hrdakhyah
katham smarmas-tam ameyam ekam ?
tasya smrtis-tatra drdhaiva nishta . ( verse 1 )

Can  there be thoughts of the existence of objects without the existence principle ? (No) . The existence named as hrt is in the heart itself , free from thought . How can we remember that one immeasurable existence ? Its remembrance is in the form of firm abidance in it .

This is the first verse and that is the True vision of Truth ( Saddarsanam)

” Seeing the Truth is being the Truth”

The Washingtonians are indeed indebted to Sadaji for bringing the best ‘stimulus’ package in these troubled times.We would like to thank Sadaji for bringing the eternal message of  ‘Vedanta’ into the hearts of everyone,young and old , rich or poor . That is Sadaji’s gift to our community via the Platform of Chinmaya Mission.

It is rare to see Selfless Teachers like Sadaji spending two full days explaining and commenting on these Forty – all in the interest of ‘loka Sangraham’ ! ( the greater good for the community)!

A verse from Srimad Bhagwat gita comes to mind!

saktah karmany avidvamso
yatha kurvanti bharata
kuryad vidvams tathasaktas
cikirsur loka-sangraham ( 3:25)

As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path

I am glad I did attend this camp and i wish all of you were there too ! What a wonderful ‘treat’ this retreat was ! Can you imagine learning the entire Vedanta within 40 verses ? Each verse is a gem and we thank Sadaji for placing this ‘treasure’ within our reach.

For those of you , who would like to read ‘Saddarsanam ‘ , you can order your own copy from Chinmaya mission . The commentary by Swami Tejomayananda is Divine.

May I now end this small tribute to the eternal Truth called ‘sanatana dharma ‘ with this immortal verse from upanishads ?

“OM Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaad Poornamudachyate; Poornasya Poornamaadaaya Poornamevaavashisyate”.

Om Shanti ! Shanti ! Shantihi!

Love Embracing the Beloved: By Swami Sadasivananda

By Swami Sadasivananda

“In Thy Presence is fullness of joy,
The simplicity that is Christ.”
Brother Lawrence

This article contains the Spiritual Maxims of one Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, a lowly born and unlearned man; who, after having been a soldier and a footman, was admitted a lay brother among the Carmelites Deschausses (bare-footed) at Paris in 1666, where he served in the kitchen of the community. He was afterwards known by the name of Brother Lawrence. He died in February 1691, at the advanced age of eighty, after a life the true saintliness of which can be well realized from his words of guidance. ( Almost the entirety of this article is paraphrased or directly quoted from The Practice of the Presence of God, The Complete Book, by Brother Lawrence. )

“Herein you will not find set out a devotion which is merely speculative, or which can only be practiced in a cloister. No, there is an obligation laid on every man to worship God and to love Him, and we cannot carry out this solemn duty as we ought, unless our heart is knit in love to God, and our communion is so close as to constrain us to run to Him at every moment, just like little children, who cannot stand upright without their mother’s arms of love.”

Brother Lawrence, an earnest seeker of God, had a transforming experience at the age of 18. He was a changed person since then and till the last day of his life he was in commune with God to whom he surrendered himself entirely. His experience, and thus his guidance has a special significance as the theme is universal, and so is the endeavor to practice the Presence of God. The practice or sadhana explained herein is referred to thus in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; (I-23): “Isvarapranidhanadva”.

Brother Lawrence thus sought “Goodness”, in the highest sense of the word proclaimed by his Lord Jesus: “Only God is Good.” It is necessary to be good, but the good must then progress on to become godlike, to be a deva, a “shining one” filled with the Divine Light. Fixing their mind on God they make themselves living offerings. That is why the Manu Smriti (Laws of Manu) says that the greatest sacrifice is the offering of ourselves (purushamedha). And Patanjali says: “Samadhi is attained by offering our lives to God  (Isvarapranidhana).”

God is the essence and the apex of Consciousness, so Patanjali further says: “In Him is the highest limit of omniscience.” (Yoga Sutras 1:25) In seeking constant abidance with this highest limit of omniscience, Brother Lawrence eventually abandoned all previously set devotions except those prescribed to his station within the Carmelite Society. Often he said: “All that he had heard others say, all that he had found in books, all that he had himself written, seemed savorless, dull and heavy, when compared with what faith had unfolded to him of the unspeakable riches of God and of Jesus Christ. He alone can reveal Himself to us; we toil and exercise our mind in reason and in science, forgetting that therein we can see only a copy, whilst we neglect to gaze on the Incomparable Original. In the depths of our soul, God reveals Himself, could we but realize it, yet we will not look there for Him. We leave Him to spend our time in fooleries, and affect disdain at commune with Him, Who is ever present, Who is our King.”

Not only did Brother Lawrence perceive God as present in his soul by faith, but also in all events of life, whensoever they befell, instantly he could arise and seek the Presence of God. Yet he confessed that it was hard at first, that many a time he had been unmindful of this practice, but that, after humble prayer and confession to God of his failure, he had betaken himself to it again without trouble.

Of his life within God, his failures and attainments, he left a legacy of direction for those who would likewise seek “The Way, the Truth, and the Light (Life) in the Presence of God.” Thus his declaration most central to this undertaking was: “That the Presence of God can be reached rather by the heart and by love than by understanding. In the way of God thoughts count for little, love is everything.” mira30

“We search for stated ways and methods of learning how to love God, and to come to that love we disquiet our minds by I know not how many devices; we give ourselves a world of trouble and pursue a multitude of practices to attain to a sense of the Presence of God. And yet it is so simple. How very much shorter it is and easier to do our common business purely for the love of God, to set His consecrating mark on all we lay our hands to, and thereby to foster the sense of His abiding Presence by communion of our heart with His! There is no need either of art or science; just as we are, we can go to Him, simply and with a single heart.”

He no longer perplexed himself with thoughts of virtue, or of his salvation. He entirely forgot self; he never any longer thought of heaven or hell or his past sins or his deeds of striving for goodness and compassion. In the Presence of God he entered upon a perfect peace; after which he commended himself to God, as he used to say: “For life and for death, for time and for eternity – For we are made for God, and for Him alone.”

His one method of going to God and abiding in His Presence was to do all for the love of Him.


When we enter upon spiritual life, we ought to consider thoroughly what we are, probing to the very depth. Though creatures made for God, we are prone to all manner of maladies and subject to countless infirmities, which distress us and impair the soul’s health, rendering us wavering and unstable in our humors and dispositions. We must believe steadfastly, never once doubting, that all such is from God and for our good; that it is God’s will to visit us therein.

“Good when He gives, supremely good;
Nor less when He denies.
Afflictions, from His sovereign hand,
Are blessings in disguise.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi, also declared this truth in conversation with Paramahansa Yogananda, evidenced in Talks #107:

Swami Yogananda: “Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realisation of God?”

Maharshi: “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

Swami Yogananda: “Should He not ordain differently?”

Maharshi: “It is the way.”

Brother Lawrence entreats us that we: “Must do all things thoughtfully and soberly, without impetuosity or precipitancy, with denotes a mind undisciplined. We must go about our labors quietly, calmly, and lovingly, entreating Him to prosper the works of our hands; thus keeping heart and mind fixed on God.

Sri Ramana Maharshi echoed this same truth when saying in Talks #91:

“The nature of the mind to wander. One must bring one’s thoughts to bear on God. By long practice the mind is controlled and made steady.”

“That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to be diligent to reject them as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter at hand, or to our salvation; and return to our communion with God. When we are busied, as well as while meditating on spiritual things, even in our time of set devotion, whilst our voice is rising in prayer, we ought to cease for one brief moment, as often as we can, to worship God in the depths of our being, to taste Him though it be in passing, to touch Him though as it were by stealth. Since you cannot but know that God is with you in all you undertake, that He is at the very depth and center of your soul, why should you not thus pause an instant from time to time in your outward business, and even in the act of prayer, to worship Him with your soul, to praise Him, to entreat His aid, to offer Him the service of your heart, and give Him thanks for all His loving-kindness and tender-mercies?”

Brother Lawrence emphasizes that necessity is laid upon us to examine ourselves with diligence and to find out what are the virtues, which we chiefly lack, and which are the hardest for us to acquire. We should seek to learn the failures in virtue that most easily beset us, and the times and occasions, and through which associations we do most often fall. For the world, and association within it, is fraught with danger. So much so that reliance upon God’s grace is paramount.

“A soul is more dependant on grace, the higher the perfection to which it aspires; and the grace of God is the more needful for each moment, as without it the soul can do nothing. The world, the flesh and the association with evil join forces and assault the soul so straitly and so untiringly that, without humble reliance on the ever-present aid of God, they drag the soul down in spite of all resistance. Thus to rely seems hard to nature, but grace makes it become easy, and brings with it joy.”

In this same regard, Sanatana Dharma entreats us to “Seek satsanga…while abandoning dussanga.” (Narada Bhakti Sutras II: 42,43)

A proper understanding of the Sanskrit words satsanga (good association) and dussanga (evil association) is essential. Especially when applying them not only in the context of worldly associations, but as is more precisely scripturally intended, to associations within the mind. Here the spiritual maxim: “As above, so below… As without, so within” is applicable.

Copy (2) of radha-and-gopis-at-night

The gopis in satsangha with Radha, yearning for the Lord

While good association with others enables one to develop purity (sattwa) and is the gateway to Liberation, evil association intensifies distraction and inertia (rajas and tamas), and is the gateway to hellish conditions in life. But even more harmful to the soul is the effect of evil association. There is nothing so disastrous in an aspirant’s life as when evil association nourishes the mental impurities of anger, hate, greed, pride, egoism, selfishness, hypocrisy and passion. Once these mental impurities become strong through external nourishment, they become formidable enemies of the soul in and of themselves. They then no longer need to rely on external sustenance, for through mainly memory, imagination and fantasy they, as Brother Lawrence warns us, “assault the soul untiringly.”

+ + + + + + +

The Spiritual Maxims of Brother Lawrence systematically guides us through the means for attaining unto the Presence of God.

1. The first is a great purity of life; in guarding ourselves with care lest we should do or say or think on anything, which might be displeasing to God.

2. Second is a great faithfulness in the practice of His Presence, and in keeping the soul’s gaze fixed on God in faith, calmly, humbly, lovingly, without allowing an entrance to anxious cares and disquietude.

3. Make it your study, before taking up any task to look to God, be it only for a moment, as also when you are engaged thereon, and lastly when you have performed the same. And forasmuch as without time and patience this practice cannot be attained, be not disheartened at your many falls; truly this habit can only be formed with difficulty, yet when it is so formed, how great will be your joy therein.
4. Let us mark well, however, that this intercourse with God is held in the depth of our being; there it is that the soul speaks to God, heart to heart, and over the soul thus holding converse there steals a great and profound peace. All that passes without concerns the soul no more than a fire of straw, which the more it flares, the sooner burns itself out; and rarely indeed do the cares of the world ever intrude to trouble the peace that is within.

5. It is here therefore, in the heart, that we ought to strive to make a habit of this gaze on God; but that which is needful to bring the heart to this obedience we must do, as has been said, quite simply, without strain or study.

6. When the mind, for lack of discipline when first engaged in this practice, has contracted bad habits of wandering and dissipation, such habits are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our will, to things of earth. One remedy for this is to humbly offer prayer to God. A multiplicity of words in prayer is not advised; discursive forms of prayer are often an occasion for wandering.

7. One way to recall easily the mind in time of prayer, and to preserve it more in rest, is not to let it wander too far at other times.

8. This practice of the Presence of God is somewhat hard at the outset, yet, pursued faithfully, it works imperceptibly within the soul most marvelous effects; it draws down God’s grace abundantly, and leads the soul insensibly to the ever-present vision of God, loving and beloved, which is the most spiritual and most real, the most free and most life-giving manner of prayer.

9. Remember that to attain this state, we must control the senses, inasmuch as no soul, which takes delight in earthly things above those in their Creator, can find full joy in the Presence of God; to be with Him we must leave behind the creature.

Thus, Brother Lawrence compassionately entreats us to ‘seek and find’, to ‘knock and the door will be opened unto us’, for his final guidance is:
“All things are possible to him who believes, they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are easier to him who loves, and still more easy to him who practices and perseveres in these three virtues…

Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”
Just prior to the final moment when this lover of the Beloved passed away in the embrace of His Lord, a brother asked him if he was at ease and what his mind was busied with? He said:

“I am doing what I shall do, through all eternity – blessing God, praising God, adoring God, giving him the love of my whole heart. It is our one business, my brethren, to worship Him and love Him, without thought of anything else.”

The brethren then begged him to entreat of God for them to possess the true spirit of prayer. Brother Lawrence, without pain or struggle, without losing in the slightest the use of any of his faculties, in perfect peace and calm replied:

“There was need of labor on his part also
to make himself worthy of such a gift.”

These were his last words.  untitle

You can access Swami Sadasivananda’s website at   http://www.ramanateaching.org/

Krishna Pattabhi Jois Passes Away At 93

Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Krishna Pattabhi Jois at 90 helping a student

Well known Indian Yogi, Krishna Pattabhi Jois, died on Monday, May 18 at the age of 93.

Pattabhi Jois is known for popularizing the ancient system of ashtanga yoga.  He was born in 1915 and studied with the famous Yogi T. Krishnamacharya from the age of 12.

Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Pattabhi Jois visited the United States in 1975 and built up a large following of students in the west including celebrities such as pop star Madonna and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is a student of Ashtanga Yoga

Pattabhi jois was completely dedicated to the practice of  Yoga and continued teaching until his death.

Sources for this article are given below.





Kundalini Shakti and Spirituality: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

The awakening of Kundalini Shakti is one aspect of spiritual life on many of the yogic paths. It allows for the exploration of  manifesting consciousness at different levels of existence.

What yogis refer to as Kundalini Shakti in the East has different names in various religious traditions. I believe that in Christianity, this power is referred to as the Holy Spirit.

All these practices such as centering prayer, meditation, concentration, devotion, praying to the Lord with heart felt intensity over a period of time can evoke a powerful response from the fundamental primordial divine intelligence that sits at the base of all life and in our heart.

In Yoga (see Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras), the first principle is Ahimsa or nonviolence. That should be the proper foundation on which to build one’s life and to experience the manifestations of the divine intelligence which we refer to as the Kundalini Shakti.

Normal awakening of Kundalini Shakti allows one to balance the spiritual and the worldly aspects of life. Through Kundalini Shakti, one can come to understand the role of conditioned consciousness  in desiring, creating, and consuming various types of experiences, both of the spirit and of the world.

The spiritual life may integrate visions of angels, saints, the divine feminine as the Goddess, and other forms of  super conscious experiences.

However, the ultimate aim of a life that is lived well is to attain the “peace that passeth all understanding”. That perfect peace comes from knowing our original and pure nature and abiding effortlessly in that.

On the path of Kundalini Yoga, there are many gimmicks and also charlatans who pretend to be Kundalini masters and so forth. If your spiritual search is sincere and free from the greed to obtain various psychic and mental experiences, you can easily avoid such things.

Some people are attracted to telepathy, mind reading, fortune telling, astrology, and such phenomena. There is nothing wrong with such desires but where can these really lead us in the long run?

By remaining pure to the ideal of knowing deeply the truth of your being and existence, gradually you will lose your attraction to small and superficial things which dance in the mind and cause ripples.

Whatever religion or spiritual path you follow with Ahimsa (nonviolence) as the foundation of your life and gentle and kind awareness as your support, it will bring you to the destination which is here and now. The kingdom of heaven  exists in this very moment.

Mother of the World

Maha Lakshmi

raga: Shivaranjani
thalam:  Adi 


Mahalakshmi jaganmatha
madhusudhana priya manamohini (jaganmohini)
Adilakshmi dhana dhaanya lakshmi
sowbhagya lakshmi santaana lakshmi
veera lakshmi dhairya lakshmi
shree varalakshmi paahimaam
sancala sumangala vasundara vasuprada
padmini sunandini niranjani bhargavi
amala kamala vimale harivallabhe shubhe
mandhahaasa chandravadana
shreedharaam namaamyaham 

HD Videos00156 07

Click here to listen to video of this bhajan


On this Mother’s Day, let us honor the Mother of the World.   The very first bhajan I learned in carnatic singing class was Maha Lakshmi. I can still remember being intrigued by it and the unusual sound of the raga, and the fact that the bhajan did not start on the Sa of the raga but on the Da, up the raga or scale, and a challenge to find at first.  I have done my best below to provide some translation of the lyrics and the source of the bhajan, which honors the Goddess Lakshmi in Her manifestations as Ashta Lakshmi.  I have also provided some excerpts from a lovely article written by Swami Adyhatananda below. 

From Wikipedia, I found the following explanations for some of the names given to Her in various manifestations included in the bhajan…


Maha Lakshmi , “The Great Lakshmi”) jaganmatha, mother of the world
Priya or loved one  of Madhusudhana Krishna, one who killed demon madhu 
mohini to bewitch; beautiful one; a female ioncarnation of vishnu which became a consort of Lord Shiva

Adi Lakshmi, “Premeval Lakshmi”)
Dhaana (wealth) Dhanya Lakshmi, “Money Lakshmi”): for money and gold or bounty in spirituality
Sowbhagya:  Giver of good Fortune”) : Giver of prosperity in general
Santāana Lakshmi, “Progeny Lakshmi”): Bestower of offspring
Veera  “Valourous Lakshmi”)
Dhairya Lakshmi,  “Courage Lakshmi”): Bestower of valour in battles and courage and strength for overcoming difficulties in life.
Vara Lakshmi,  “Boon Lakshmi”): “The lady who bestows Beautiful Boons

sumangala auspicious
vasundara profound relief 
vasuprada bestower of wealth

padmini full of lotusses
sunandini happy
kamala lakshmi lotus 

Excerpts from Sri Asta Lakshmi-God as the Mother of Prosperity by Swami Adhyatananda:

“Almighty Lord Sri Narayana or Mahavishnu is known for looking after the welfare and well being of the phenomenal world or the creation. The power or energy of Sri Narayana is Sri Lakshmi. Mother Lakshmi is always identified with the Lord, and hence they are known as Sri Lakshmi Narayana. Mother Lakshmi is a mother of prosperity, peace and illumination. Without Her grace one can’t have inner peace or perennial joy…

…Thus all these eightfold Sri Lakshmi is ultimately one single power only. That is Adishakti.
The perennial and unchangeable, ever lasting, eternal truth or the absolute is this Supreme blessedness, the mother Adishakti. She is the origin. She is the light. She is the power, the wisdom and the strength. She is the Supreme Joy, peace, bliss and illumination.
May Mother Adishakti’s and Sri Ashta Lakshmi’s grace be ever upon we all, to receive Her divine grace for being befitting servant of the mankind in Her cosmic kingdom. Om Shanti

Adi Lakshmi: Mother Lakshmi resides with Lord Narayana in the Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Narayana. She is known as Ramaa, means bringing happiness to the mankind. She is also known as Indira (who holds lotus or purity in the hands or heart.) Divine Mother’s this form is normally seen serving Sri Narayana. Lord Narayana is omnipresent. Adi Lakshmi or Ramaa Lakshmi serves Sri Narayana is symbolic of her serving the whole creation. Though Sri Narayana is attended by innumerable devotees, still she personally loves to serve the Lord. Actually mother Adi Lakshmi and Narayana are not two different entities but one only. Many a place we see her form sitting in the lap of Sri Narayana. “


 You can find this article and  more information at the following link:


Authenticity and Freedom: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Authenticity and FreedomMost of us have had the experience where someone tells us, “You are two faced” or “you are speaking from both sides of your mouth”. I recall from watching the old western movies that there was a saying among American Indians in America. Something like, “one should not speak with a forked tongue”.

Being two faced, speaking with a forked tongue, speaking from both sides of the mouth, etc., essentially mean the same thing. It means that the person saying this to us feels we are being tricky  and sneaky in some way. The suggestions to act with integrity and honor exist in all cultures.

Interestingly, we perceive much wider gaps between the words and actions of others than ourselves. There is generally a tendency to view our own behavior in a more favorable light than that of others. That is not good or bad but simply one manifestation of the root instinct to survive by avoiding cognitive dissonance.

Psychologists tell us that our perceptions about the world and others in some way are meant to be self-serving. Given the ambiguity present in the world of politics, business, organizations, and our personal life, multiple interpretations of events, situations, and people are possible. We tend to pick those views and outlooks which in some way satisfy or confirm our biases. That is just how it is.

Philosophically, when we accuse others of being duplicitous, two faced,  wearing a mask, and lacking integrity in their actions, we are essentially trying to say something meaningful about our perceptions. The assumption that our perceptions are objective, free from error, and right on mark is always taken for granted.

If we reflect carefully, we find that we can only see the masks of others through our own mask. Just as others are prisoners of their conditioning which affects their outlook, the same is true of us. Even with the most minimum observation and basic analysis, we can conclude that the illusion of freedom only covers up the puppet like and predictable behavior that is common to human beings.

Having said all that, my observation is that there are indeed tangible differences between human beings that are inherent in their nature. According to ancient yogic psychology, people’s behaviors are influenced by the three mental forces that act on them. These three forces are known as “Gunas” in Sanskrit. The theory of Gunas is part of classical Hindu literature and embedded in texts on yogic psychology. Sri Krishna mentions to Arjuna the nature of Gunas and how the combination of various Gunas affect human behavior.

When Sattva Guna predominates in a person, the individual tends to be honest, straightforward, rational, calm, and thinks of the good of others. When Raj Guna (Rajas) dominates, the person tends to be passionate, hard working, goal oriented, excitable, quick of temper, and eager to confront opponents and fight. When Tamo Guna (Tamas) predominates, the person’s behavior tends to be thoughtless, uncaring of others, and there is avoidance of personal responsibility, and the inability to think rationally and logically.

Yogic psychology explains why some some people are more cunning, deceitful, and violent than others. One can infer the nature of persons from their actions and behaviors. So although we are all conditioned in some way to perceive reality through our own special personality lenses, the refinement of our conditioning certainly differs according to the mental forces or gunas that are influencing us.

We do not have to look far in the world of business, politics, and world affairs to find suitable examples of grossly unethical, immoral, and violent actions and decisions. In face of such things, how should a person act or react?

How should we deal with individuals who we perceive as crooked, deceptive, dishonest, cunning, scheming, and bent on causing harm to us or others. This is the most difficult question that  perpetually faces us at a personal and national level.

I believe the answer to that is that we face such people or situations by being authentic and true to our nature. When we are grounded in certain basic principles firmly, these influence our actions and bring stability in our life.

In the beginning of the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna refuses to fight in the Mahabharata war. Krishna tells Arjuna that his very nature would compel him to fight.  Given the circumstances, once the arrows started flying,  the warrior in Arjuna would come alive.

So Krishna’s advice to Arjuna was to engage in action but without anger or fear or expectations. Simply do the right thing and leave the rest to the higher power.

Self-Realization makes our actions spontaneous and straight forward. After all, who are we trying to impress? And what will we get if someone is temporarily impressed with us? Surely, the admiration and even adoration of others, like all things, is transient with a beginning and an end.

That is why it is best to ground oneself in the Truth of Being and abide in the authenticity of one’s own self. That is all we can do.

Truth is utterly simple.  Sometimes it is difficult to see what is so close, what one actually is. That is why we call Self-Realization a Radical Understanding. Seeing the obvious clearly as the obvious as one’s own Self is the way. Abiding in That, one is consumed by That, and becomes That, and sees One has always been That.

To be totally and utterly free is possible, because Freedom is our very nature.

Love and light to all


Misspelled Sanskrit Tattoos on Rihanna and David Beckham?


In recent years Sanskrit tattoos have become more prevalent among Western celebrities like Grammy winner Rihanna and footballer (soccer) player David Beckham. According to some Sanskrit experts, unless Western celebrities get advice on the  Sanskrit script, they run the risk of carrying misspelled Sanskrit tattoos on their bodies. In fact, this may be happening more often that we realize. According to some, both Rihanna and David Beckham may be carrying on them misspelled Sanskrit tattoos.

As someone born in India and steeped into that ancient culture, I am fascinated by this trend. I do not have any Sanskrit tattoos on me but I see these on my Indian friends quite often.  OM, the mystic syllable, is the most common tattoo.

In addition to Rihanna who also has a Sanskrit prayer tattoo from the Bhagavad- Gita, MTV winner actress Jessica Alba (Sin City), musician Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), dancer-singer Kimberly Wyatt (Pussycat Dolls), actress-singer Alyssa Milano (Who’s the Boss), Golden Globe winner actress Gillian Anderson (The X Files), etc.,  have felt an attraction to the ancient sacred language of India and gotten Sanskrit tattoos on them.

According to some experts, Rihanna’s latest tattoo inspired by the holy text of Bhagavad- Gita is “incorrectly written”.  Similarly, David Beckham has his wife’s name Victoria on his forearm in the Devanagri script and it appears to read, if literally read, as “Vihctoria”.

I am no Sanskrit expert. But it is quite possible that a different combination of letters in the Devanagri script are needed to create the same sound and effect in English. The so called “experts” could differ on whether it is an actual misspelling or not. The way I look at it, it is the sentiment that counts.  We should not be too critical of other people’s Sanskrit tattoos.  The sources for this article are given below David Beckham’s picture. Note the Sanskrit tattoo on his forearm with his wife’s name in the Devanagri script.

David Beckham




(Reality in Forty Verses)

The famous Vedantic poem in Tamil by Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi
(consisting of two preliminary verses called Mangalam,
40 verses which form the main text ,
and another 40 verses called the Appendix)
Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk

(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.18

Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.19

Anoter dual pair that constitutes an extension of the Ego is called Fate and Free Will. When man accomplishes something by the exercise of his intelligence he says it is the success of his will; when the accomplishment is not satisfactory he blames it on fate. He thinks the two are distinct opposites of each other. The truth of this is explained by Bhagavan in this verse.

Verse #19

Vithi mathi mUla vivekam ilArkkE
vithi mathi vellum vivAtham; vithi-mathikaTku
Or muthal Am thannai uNarnthAr avai thaNandAr.
cArvarO pinnum avai cARRu.

Sanskrit Version

Madhye devadhiyor-jayaM pratibhavet teshhAM vivAde ratiH
dhI-daiva-dvitayasya mUlam-aham-ity-ekaM na jAnanti ye /
anveshhAd-avagatya tatvam-ahamas-tAbhyAM vimukto muniH
samsakto bhavitA tayoH kimu punaH svajnAna-hIno yathA //

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

Only those love to dispute which of the two, fate and the will, will prevail, who have no experience of (the truth of) him, named ‘I’, who is the one root of both. Can that Sage that has become free of both, knowing the truth of the Ego by the Quest, ever again be entangled in these, like one that knows not the Self?

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

The debate, `Does free will prevail or fate?’ is only for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have known the Self, the common source of freewill and of fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

Translation (Osborne)

Only those who have no knowledge of the Source of destiny and free-will dispute as to which of them prevails. They that know the Self as the one Source of destiny and free-will are free from both. Will they again get entangled in them?

Word-by-word of the Tamil verse

vivAtham The debate (about)
vithi mathi vellum whether it is Fate or Freewill (vithi = Fate; mathi = Intelligence or Will)
ilArkkE is only for those who do not have
mUla vivekam Discriminatory knowledge of the root of
Vithi mathi Fate and Freewill.
uNarnthAr (For) those who have realised
tannai (their) Ego
Or muthal Am as the common source
vithimathikaTku of both Fate and Freewill
avai thaNanthAr and have renouced them,
cArvarO Would they get entangled
pinnum again
avai cARRu with them?

Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma

It is the ajnAni, who has the I-am-the-body feeling, who thinks there is an apposition between Fate and Freewill. By that ignorance, he aims at a fruit of the action and does actions on that basis. Only when the expected result fails him, he thinks that Fate has been the obstacle. Note that if there were no Ego, one would not conceive of a result or reward for one’s action. And then there would be no distinction between Fate and Freewill. Those who think of this distinction as real are those who are overpowered by Ego. It is only they who enter into the debate of whether it is Fate or Freewill that prevails.
It is the Ego-mind which imagines a difference between Fate and Freewill. If one starts enquiring “For whom is this difference?” one will end up finding that the root of both is the ‘I’. Pursuing the truth of that, one discards the Ego and consequently all such differences. This is one of the main teachings of this work by Bhagavan.
The jnAni has neither any determination (sankalpa) to do something nor any indetermination (vikalpa) about doing or not doing something and so whatever he does he does not do it in anticipation of any kind of finish to it. Thus there is no place in his thinking for either Fate or Freewill. So this whole debate is meaningless for him.

(To be continued in Verse 20)

Yoga Instructor Dominates Cupcake Contest

Nancy Cummings

Nancy Cummings

It is stated in the classic yogic texts that through the power of yoga and pranayama, the digestive fires grow bright. This enables the yogi to eat massive quantities of food and burn it up quickly.  Is there truth to that?

Nancy Cummings, a yoga instructor,  recently won a chocolate cupcake eating contest by eating 17 cupcakes in 5 minutes. She claims that her yoga practice has given her what it takes to eat and win.

“I am disciplined and focused and I can digest them faster,” said the slender 31-year-old brunette from Bay Ridge, who dipped each little chocolate cake into a glass of water before shoving it whole into her mouth.

Folks do not try this at home!! Failed competitors in such eating contests often feel sick afterwards.

Regardless of the special power to eat cupcakes that Nancy Cummings has, the yogic texts are very clear on the matter of food.

Sattvic food in moderate quantities only is recommended for yogis.  Cupcakes are not considered Sattvic. Eating 17 cupcakes cannot be considered moderate unless you are King Kong.

What is Sattvic food according to the Bhagavad-Gita? See the following article.

For the source of this story see the link below.