Finding Peace Within

Sri Ramana on Evil

Sri Ramana and other sages have advised that one should bring awareness to any feelings of anger, hatred, revenge and remove such emotions from one’s consciousness.

Agitation of the mind due to negativity will hinder one’s own natural peace and not allow the mind to surrender to the Lord who sits in the Heart.

The ancient teaching is to witness all fluctuations of the mind without identifying with them. In this way, the mind gradually becomes still.

Note from Editor: Photo art from on John  Wassenberg’s FB page.

Awakening: By Kheyala

My boy, who is nine, said to me, “Mom, I know it’s weird, but I don’t think I’m alive. I don’t think you’re alive either.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked, intrigued. “Do tell!”

“Well, I’m not me, and you’re not you; we’re just atoms.” Continue reading

The Gospel of Jesus Decoded: Christ and Kundalini, Part 1 by Michael Bowes

Although it is referred to in many different ways the Kundalini Shakti plays a key role in all spiritual traditions.  The principles are the same, the effects are the same; but the words and symbols used to express Kundalini differ.  In the Judeo/Christian tradition Kundalini is known as the Holy Spirit, Living Water, Christ, the Anointing, the Word and by other terms as well.

But before exploring the details of Kundalini in the Judeo/Christian scriptures, I would like to introduce the subject by examining the authentic and original message of Jesus.  Continue reading

Sita Sings The Blues — A phenomenal retelling of the epic Ramayana through animation, 1920s jazz songs, contemporary commentary and one woman’s inspiration

A few months ago, a friend of mine suggested I see an animated movie called Sita Sings The Blues — he even went so far as to bring a Netflix DVD over and leave it in the temple where I live.  “Just send it back once you’ve seen it,” he told me.

To be honest, I didn’t feel very attracted to watch the movie.  My friend had mumbled something about, “It’s really great, it’s the Ramayana with 1920s blues songs… and all the characters from the epic tale are there..!”  and somehow the description sounded lame, over all, so I passed on it.

I think we sent the DVD back to Netflix, unseen.

Sita, Rama, and Hanuman

A scene from Sita Sings The Blues

Continue reading

Gratitude and Divine Grace

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   To those who worship Me alone, thinking of no other,
of those ever united, I secure what is not already possessed
and preserve what they already possess. (BG 9.22)

The story below appeared months ago prompting some discussion in the Guruvayur yahoo group in which I am a member. Today is Thanksgiving here in America, and this week we also celebrate Gita Jayanti, or the observance of the gifting of the Bhagavad Gita to the world by Shri Krishna more than five thousand years ago.  As my thoughts turn to gratitude, I am reminded of this story below and the responses it produced in the Guruvayur group, and how important it is to always be grateful to the Lord for everything, knowing that He is our eternal well wisher and that everything happens for our highest good, even the things which which appear to be bad or are difficult to endure…everything means everything.

The focus of the discussion was on what should we ask of God. To what end do we pray, asking for this and pleading for that?  Success in this venture, a new job, a happy marriage, a grandchild, a son or a daughter, a husband, a wife, a handsome husband, a beautiful wife, a nice house, a beautiful house, a mansion, good grades in school, a child who is a doctor or the president of the US?  For what is it that we really seek, when all illusions are cast aside and maya’s veil is lifted?  None of the above!!!

What should I seek from the Lord but the Lord Himself? That by His grace, I should know Him as the very Self in my heart, casting aside the shackles of the body and the solitary confinement imposed by the mind. He promises us, in the Gita, that if we are utterly devoted to Him, thinking of Him only, asking only for Him rather than of Him, He will be ours, and as such, will take care of us as needed.  To understand this, to believe this, in full faith, can only be followed by complete surrender to His will, trusting that whatever happens is indeed His divine will operating to bring us out of bondage to birth and into reunion with Him.

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From http://idharudharkee.blogspot.com/2009/07/what-we-should-ask-god.html 

What should we ask of God?

This story from Mahabharata answers this question beautifully and categorically:

The Great War between the Pandavas and Kauravas was to begin. Arjuna, having pondered, decided to gita-101go to Lord Krishna and ask him for help.
He went to the Lord’s abode and found him asleep.

He stood respectfully at his lotus feet, with folded hands and head bowed in reverence. Duryodana, of the Kauravas, had the same idea of asking Sri Krishna’s help. He too came and, finding the Lord asleep, sat arrogantly in a chair placed at the head of Lord’s bed.

In due course, the Lord woke up. Arjuna, being at his feet, was the first person he naturally saw. As he turned to get up, the Lord’s eyes fell upon Duryodana.

The purpose of their visit was known to Him. However, he asked them what he could do for them.

Both answered that they had come to request his assistance in the ensuing war. The lord said that they had placed him in a difficult predicament by asking for the same thing. He said he could not deny either of them. He said he would offer himself, alone, without armies to one of them and to the other he would offer all his armed forces completely. He said that since his eyes had fallen on Arjuna first, he should have the first choice in the matter.

Arjuna promptly prayed to Sri Krishna that he alone should side the Pandavas.. Duryodana heaved a sigh of relief and requested Sri Krishna for all his forces. The Lord agreed to their requests.

We know who emerged victorious. The moral is “We should ask for HIM, not ask for things He can give us”

If the Lord gives us everything in the Universe but withholds Himself from us, we gain nothing. But if we seek HIM for Himself alone, we get not merely Him but all that is His, too!

abhyaasa yOga yuktEna cEtasaa naanyagaaminaa,
paramam pursham divyam yaati paarthaanucintayan

Meaning: 
He who with his mind disciplined through Yoga in the form of practice of meditation and thinking of nothing else, is constantly engaged in contemplation of God attains the supremely effulgent Divine Purusha (God)  (sloka 8 in chapter 8 of Gita)                                                                       Border_2

And what did Arjuna request?  The Lord Himself.  In his earnest bhakti, he intuited that this was the right choice and it was.  When you ask for the Lord Himself, with utter devotion and humility, how can He deny you?  In the Gita, He makes this promise to His devotees…

ananyaaScintayamtO maam yE janaah paryupaasatE
tEshaam nityaabhiyuktaanaam yOgakshEmam vahaamyaham. (BG 9.22)

To those who worship Me alone, thinking of no other, of those ever united, I secure what is not already possessed and preserve what they already possess.
https://luthar2.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/bgita.pdf

But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have. 
http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/categories/The-Gita%3A-Chapter-9/?Page=2

Those who desire My eternal association precluding all else meditate on me with exclusive devotion; those persons I insure the uniting of their individual consciousness with Ultimate Consciousness perpetually.  http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-09-22.html

Yoga-kesamam, means to provide what they lack and safeguard or preserve what they have. In this context, yoga is said to mean making available what one does not have, and ksema means the preservation of what one already has.  For some, the sloka is interpreted to mean those who recognize the nonduality of the Self, abiding in the Self at all times; for others, this is considered to be a promise from the Lord to take care of His devotees. If we go online, we can find countless articles claiming that the interpretation therein is the right one and that all others are missing the point, thus missing salvation itself!

For me, neither one has the right to claim the other is wrong…it can mean both, one at the level at which we exist as entities in this world of maya, or saguna,  another at the level of the formless nirguna.  The Lord, in His infinite mercy, prescribed numerous paths in the Gita. I am a bhakta. He is my Lord and while I know that philosophically speaking we are indeed nonseparate as it says so in the Gita and in the Vedas, as far as I am concerned, that can only be truly perceived through His Grace.  So, while I am nothing but Him, on another level of worldly perception, this is known and experienced only through the operation of Divine Grace. 

It is so stated in the Mukanda Upanishad 3.2.3:

nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo
na medhayā, na bahunā śrutena,
yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām.
(Mukanda Upanishad 3.2.3)

This Self cannot be realized by studying the scriptures, nor through the use of reason, nor from the words of others–no matter what they say. By the grace of the Self the Self is known; the Self reveals itself.   http://www.peterrussell.com/Upi/Mund.php

The Supreme Lord is not attained by reasonings or by vast intelligence, nor even by much hearing. He is attained only by one whom he Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form.  http://bvml.org/SBVPGM/sgt.html

And the Katha Upanishad 2.2.23:

The Self cannot be known through study of the scriptures, nor through the intellect, nor through hearing learned discourses. The Self can be attained only by those Whom the Self chooses. Verily unto them Does the Self reveal himself.  http://booksandphotos.blogspot.com/2009/05/upanishads-kena-and-katha.html

This Supreme Self cannot be reached by argumentation, or by applying one’s independent brain power, or by studying many scriptures. Rather, he alone can achieve the Self whom the Self chooses to favor. To that person the Self reveals His own true, personal form.  http://vedabase.net/sb/10/87/27/en1

The reason I have reproduced more than one translation of the Gita and Upanishad slokas above is that I wanted to read them in several formats for my own benefit and I also wanted to offer the reader the option of seeing it as such. So many ways of saying the same thing.  And so many schools of thought want to say that their interpretation is the correct one and all others false and faulty.  In the end, Divine Grace is the operational catalyst, whatever you deem its source.

So, what should we ask of God? Truly, there is no thing to be asked. There is no thing to be given. How can we give Him what is already His? All we can do is realize, through His grace alone, that we are already His, in every sense that we as mortals can conceptualize in our limited minds! Not only will He take care of everything and look after the welfare of the devotee, He will guide us if we listen. Thus, I do have a prayer…to fully surrender, to listen without fear of the consequences, no matter what He asks me to do. Where it will lead, I have no real idea and no plan of action! He is guiding the chariot now. May I sit quietly and not be a backseat driver. Chitta chora!!!

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Njanappaana by Poonthaanam Nambudiri-2

translation and commentary by Smt. Savitri Puram 

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Krishna! Krishna! Mukunda! Janaardana!
Krishna! Govinda! Naarayana! Hare!
Achyuthaananda! Govinda! Maadhava! 
Sachidaananda! Naarayana! Hare!

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Introduction

Njanappaana can be considered as the Bhagavad Gita of Malayalees. This is a Darshanika kaavyam or philosophical poem expressed in the most simple Malayalam language for ordinary people. Poonthanam Nambudiri, an ardent devotee of Shri Guruvayurappan, transformed his unbearable sorrow from his infant son’s death into a “yogavishesham”. He used this sad experience to build his Bhakthi soudham or house of devotion and opened it for all devotees for all time. Even though the language is very simple, this njaanappana, or song of wisdom deals with the essence of all vedas and upanishads. May Bhagavan Guruvayurappan, Bhagavathy Sarswathi Devi and Sri Poonthaanam Nambudiri bless us to become wiser by going through this great Song of Wisdom!!

This is continued from Part One… https://luthar.com/njanappaana-1

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 Chuzhannitunna samsaara chakratthil
Uzhannitum namukkarinjeetuvaan
Arivulla mahatthukkal undoru
Paramaartham arul cheythirikkunnu
Eluthaayittu mukthi labhippaanaay
Chevi thannithu kelppin ellaavarum

We are restlessly moving (uzhannitum) up and down in this rotating (chuzhannitunna) wheel of material world (samsaara chkratthil). For us to know (namukkarinjituvaan), great njaanis( arivulla mahatthukkal) have preached (arul chythirikkunnu) the paramaartham (Supreme truth). All of you listen to this (kelppin ellaavarum) because to attain salvation (mukthi labhipaanaay) easily (eluthaayittu) God has given you the sravanaedriyam or ears (chevi thannithu). The meaning of “chevi thannithu” can also be taken as “give your ears” or listen to what Mhaathmaas told us.

Getting human life is rare and even after getting human life, very few people are blessed to pursue the spiritual path. But great sages of the past realized this pitiable condition of ordinary souls and have prescribed easy ways to know the Supreme Truth. One of the easiest method for Kaliyuga suggested by them is Naamasankeerthanam. Since this is the opinion of self-realized bhakthaas, Bhagavan Himself approves this method and tells in Bhagavad Gita: “yajnaanaam japayajnosmi” or Among all the sacrifices, sadhanas, austerities or forms of tapas, I am represented by japa” and thus supporting the words of Mahaathmaas.

(Bhagavan always supports Bhakthaas. When Poothaanam once read Amaraprabhu as Maraprabhu while chanting Vishnusahasra naamam, a few Sanskrit scholars made fun of him. Bhagavan could not take his dear devotee’s grief and told from the sanctum sanctorum : “I am Amara prabhu as well as Maraprabhu, meaning I am also the lord of trees or in Malayalam maram”.)

We are all going up and down on the wheel of material world rotating with extreme speed and it is very difficult to escape from that. But once we know the Supreme Truth, we will be relieved from the samsaarachakra. This Brahma jnanam is possible by sincerely chanting the auspicious names of God because Naamam or names of Lord are even greater than Naami or Lord Himself.  Hanumanji had to just chant Raama naamam to cross the ocean where as Lord Raama had to construct the bridge to cross the ocean to Lanka!

Also as explained in the previous lines [https://luthar.com/njanappana-1 ], anybody can chant naamam anytime and anywhere. So Poonthaanam is asking us to listen carefully to what Mahaathmaas have told us about Supreme Truth. Like sravanedriyam or ears can be used for hearing the greatness of Lord, all other indriyaas should be used for the purpose of serving God. Sankarrachaaryar also gives this idea in a very beautiful sloka in Soundarya Lahari:

JapO jalpa: shilpam sakalam api mudraa-virachanaa
Gathi: praadakshiNya-kramanam ashanady aahuthi-vidhi:
PraNaama: samvesha: sukham akhilam aathmaarpaNa -drushaa
Saparyaa paryaya: thava bhavathu yan mae vilasitham

Let my spoken words become manthras, let all my hand gestures become mudraas, let all my steps become circumambulation or pradakhinam to you, let my lying down to sleep become prostration to you, let the food I consume be an offering to the sacred fire lit for you, let what ever I do become a worship to you. 

Nammeyokkeyum bandhicha saadahanam
Karmam ennariyendathu mumbinaal

First and foremost (mumbinaal), we should know (ariyendathu) that karmam is the thing (saadhanam) that binds (bandhiccha) all of us (naameyokkeyum) to this world.

Even before telling us more about the easiest path for salvation, poet starts with the big word : “Karma” and how we are all bound in the cycle of birth and death by karma. Both good and bad karmaas are binding and hence we have to know what is the root cause for making us do karmaas and eradicate the root cause. In this context, an example of a burning stick is appropriate. If we move a burning stick in a circle, a burning circle will seem to appear. In reality (understanding the reality is njaanam) the circular movement of the stick causes the illusion. Likewise the wheel of time is moving with very high speed dragging us along with it and forcing us to do good as well as bad karmaas with ego (or feeling of “I am the doer). This causes the illusion of bondage. So we have to have the njaanam or knowledge to go beyond this illusion or Maya to escape from the bondage. Also the famous example of seeing a rope and misunderstanding it as a snake is appropriate. Until we know that it is only a rope, we will be scared and stressed. What will lead us to this knowledge of Brahmam? Continuous remembrance of Lord through Naamasankeerthanam will help us to detach us from the karma-bound cycle and lead us to Njaanam and moksham. 

Law of Karma is a law of justice and it is straight forward, impartial and inescapable. The only thing that can nullify the effects of Karma is Bhagavan’s grace. Bhagavan’s blessings loosen the tightly bound law of Karma and makes the otherwise impossible escape possible for us. In Kaliyuga the easiest way to obtain Bhagavan’s blessings and grace is naamasnakeerthanam. 

In Mahabharatha, Sahadeva advises his elder elder brother Yudhishtira on the subject of Karma. He says that when ever we do Karmaas with the feeling of “I am the doer” or “mine (two letter sanskrit word “mama”) those karmaas lead us to the cycle of birth and death. But when we do karmaas thinking that we are not the doer, the results of the karmaas also will not be ours. This feeling is called “I am not the doer” or not mine (in Sanskrit, it is expressed in three letters “na mama”). Karmaas performed with this attitude are not binding and and free us from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Again, how can we develop this attitude in Kaliyuga? Poonthanam assures us along with Bhagavan that Nammasankeerthanam will eventually give us this “na mama” attitude and lead us to njaanam and moksham.

How can we forget to mention Shankaraachaaryar’s lines

punarapi jananam punarapi maranam
punarapi jananii jathare shayanam
iha samsaare bahudustaare
kripayaa apaare paahi muraare

Born again, death again, birth again to stay in the mother’s womb! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari! Save me through Thy mercy.

 

Munnam ikkanda viswam aseshavum
Onnaayulloru jyothi swaroopamaay
Onnum chennangu thannodu pattaathe
Onnilum chennu thaanum valayaathe
Onnonnaayi ninakkum janangalkku
Onnukondariyaavunna vasthuvaay
Onnilum urakkaattha janagalku
Onnu kondum thiriyaatha vasthuvaay
Onnu pole onnillaathe ullathil
Onnaayulloru jeeva swaroopamaay
Ninnavan thanne viswam chamachu pol,
Moonnum onnil adangunnu pinneyum

During pralaya or dissolution (word “munnam” refers to pralayam) this whole world (viswam asheshavaum) becomes the one and only one (onnayulloru) jyothi swaroopam or parama thejopunjam. This jyothiswaroopam is only a witness, this is neither attached to anything in this world (line four) nor let anything in the world get attached to this (line 3). Those Jnaanis and Bhakthaas (predominantly of saatwic and raajasic nature) who try to figure out one by one (onnonnaayi ninakkum janangalkku) using “nethi, nethi” process or “not this, not this” process, perceive “It” as one thing through which everything is known (onukondariyaavunna vasthuvaay). For those people whose minds are restless, fickle and out of control (onnilum urakkaattha janangalkku -predominantly of Thaamasic nature) “It” cannot be comprehended or understood by any means (onnukondum thiriyaattha vasthuvaay). Outwardly each and every being is different (oonu pole onnillaathe), but the spirit or jeeva swaroopam in all  beings are the same (ullatthil onnaayulloru jeevaswaroopamaay). The same jeeva swaroopam that exists in everything (ninnavan thanne) created the whole universe (viswam chamacchupol) and “It” again (pinneyum) contains all the three . (moonnum onnil adangunnu)

During pralaya or dissolution, everything is merged in Lord and nothing remains except the parama jyothi swaroopam or light of lights (or paramaathma chaithanyam). This is compared to the disappearance of stars and moon at sunrise. Likewise, the whole universe including the sun, moon, stars and all planets dissolve and become part of that great Jyothi swaroopam. One of the prayers we chant during aarathi or deepaaraadhana expresses the same idea:

Na thathra suryo bhathi, na chandratharakam
nema viddhutho bhanthi kuthoyamagni
Thameva bhantham anubhaathi sarvam,
thasya bhasa sarvamidham vibhathi.

“There the sun does not shine, nor the moon nor the stars; these lightnings also do not shine – how then (can) this earthly fire? Verily, everything shines after Him reflecting His glory. This whole world is illuminated with His light.”

But this light of lights is “Anaadimadhyaantham” or beginningless,middleless and endless. At the end of the dissolution phase, each individual soul again takes birth depending on the accumulated karmaas. These individual souls with accumulated karmaas do not get salvation during dissolution, but just remain hidden in Easwara Chaithanyam and then take birth again to experience the results of their good and bad karmaas.

These lines specifically explains how Bhagavan is not tainted by our karmaas. Even when we disappear into the jyothi swaroopam, that jyothi swaroopam remains unaffected. So our sorrows and happiness do not affect Bhagavan and Bhagavan is not responsible for our sorrows and happiness. Our experiences are the direct results of our own karmaas. Then how does Bhagavan help us? When we realize that the jyothi swaroopam with in all of us is the same as the paramaathmachaithanyam, all our actions become an offering to the Light of Lights, “mama or mine” attitude disappears, and “na mama or not mine” attitude arises. But only in a pure mind this realization happens and in Kaliyuga, Nammasnakeerthanam is the most practical method to attain purity of mind.

“Onnukondariyaavunna vasthu” indicates that for ordinary people like us, Brahmam can be known only through the path of Bhakthi. Bhakthi leads to Njaanam. Little Prahlaada believed that everything existing was Naarayana swaroopam and when he told his father that God is omnipresent, Lord did come out from the lifeless pillar to protect Him. Gopikaas were ordinary housewives and just because of their intense and blind devotion to the Lord of Vrindavan they attained Jnaanam and moksham. Fickle minded ordinary people who are distracted every moment with the the various temptations of life cannot comprehend the greatness of Bhagavan. First the aasuric or thaamasic or demonic characteristics of our mind has to be reduced by the constant remembrance of Lord and the power of Naamam will elevate ourselves to purer and purer levels.

Last line talks about the number three. This three can refer to several things: Prakrutthi, mahatthathvam, Ahamkaaram or  Satva Gunam, Rajo Gunam, Thamo Gunam or Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswaran or  three worlds. At the time of dissolution, everything merges into the paramachaithanyam and this explains the transient nature of everything we see or feel in this world. Poonthanam explains this to develop an attitude of detachment in our mind and hence perform Nishnkaama karmam and attain the Lotus Feet of Lord by chanting His names.

Onnu kondu chamachoru viswatthil
Moonnayittulla karmangalokkeyum
Punya karmangal paapa karmangalum
Punya paapangal misramaam karmavum
Moonu jaathi niroopichu kaanumbol
Moonnu kondum thalakkunna jeevane

In this universe (virtually) created (chamachoru viswatthil) by our own Avidya or ignorance (here “onnu kondu” means “due to avidya or ignorance”), all karmaas (karmangalokkeyum) can be divided into three categories ( moonnaayittulla). They are namely Punya karmaas, Paapa karmaas and Punya-Paapa-misra karmaas. (lines 2 and 3) When we think (niroopicchu kaanumbol) about the above three types of karmaas (moonnu jaathi), we can see that jeevaathma (jeevane) is bound (thalakkunnu) by all three types of karmaas (moonnu kondum)..

Just like the moon is lit by the reflected light of the Sun, we are alive by the chaithanyam or light lit by the Light of Lights, Paramachaithanyam. A person who is ignorant of the fact that sun’ light causes the moon-light, thinks that it is moon’s own light. Similarly, this whole universe is not different from the paramaathma chaithanyam itself and with our inability to comprehend this and internalize the truth, we do three types of karmaas with “ahambhaavam” or feeling of “I and mine” and these sakaama karmaas (result oriented actions) bind us to the eternal cycle of birth and death. It is difficult to exactly differentiate punya karmaas and paapa karmaas. Some of them can be labelled with out any doubt. But, some of the karmaas can be classified only according to the context.That is why Poonthaanam mentions about the third type called mixed karmaas.

There is a small story to illustrate this point. Once a very pious sage was resting in his hermitage in the forest. A just and righteous King followed by a group of robbers entered the forest. King was running about one mile ahead of the robbers and turned east near the sage’s hermitage. (Hermitage was in junction near a river and one can go in any direction from there). While running, he specifically told the sage not to disclose which way he ran to the robbers following him. As expected robbers came and asked the sage about the direction in which the King ran. This sage who had never spoken untruth in his life did not want to say a lie to the robbers. He could have either said “I do not know” or to save the King’s life he could have even said  “west or south or north”. Instead he told them “east” to save his sathyavratham or vow of truth. Later he had to experience the negative results of his paapa karma because in that particular context, saying the truth was not a punya karma or dharmam. By saying an untruth he would have saved the life of a righteous king and his country. But he cared more for his own vow of truth than saving the life of a just and righteous King. Because of his selfishness, even though he told the truth, it became a paapa karmam.

Since all the three types of karmaas binds us, only destruction of all karmaas can free us from bondage. But it is impossible for ordinary people to live with out doing any karmaas. There is not even a moment when we are not doing karma either by body, by words or by thoughts. So the only solution is to do karmaas with renunciation of the fruits action which is called Nishkaamakarmam. Bhagavan says in Bhagavad Gita;

yasya sarve samarambha:
kama-sankalpa varjitha:
jnanagni dagdha karmanam
tam ahu: panditham budha:

He, all whose undertakings in this world are free from the bondage of expectation, who has sacrificed all the results of his actions in the fire of knowledge is a pandithan or scholar -so says intelligent people or (great seers)

Even though all these philosophical concepts are mind boggling to ordinary people like us, Poonthanam assures that Naamasnakeerthanam will clear our mind and help us to develop an attitude of surrender and intense devotion. Then Bhagavan takes over and assures us : Na mae bhaktha pranashyathi- my devotees will never perish. Bhagavan’s grace will lead us from Rakthi —> Bhakthi—-> Mukthi.

Ponnin changala onnipparanjathil
onnirumbu kondennathre bhedangal
Randinaalumeduthu panichaiytha
Changalayallo misramaam karmavum

Bondage comes from three types of karmaas and one string (changala) formed as a result of satkarmaas or punyakarmaas or good deeds is made of Gold (ponnin), another one (onnu) formed as a result of paapa karmaas or negative karmaas or dushkarmaas is made of Iron (irumbu) and the third  string ( formed as a result of the mixture of the above two types of karmaas-misrakarmam) is made of a mixture of both Gold and Iron (randinaalumeduthu pani cheytha).

Even though Gold and Iron are different metals with entirely different properties, when they are used for tying or binding some one it hardly makes any difference for the bound victim. The word “changala” and “thalakkuka” are usually used for chaining elephants. By using these words, Poonthanam brings out the fact that breaking the strings of bondage is as difficult for us as it is for an elephant to break it’s thick Iron chain. But with lot of effort, sometimes elephants do break and run to freedom. So with continuous and sincere effort human beings blessed with the power of discrimination, can break all three binding chains. Even people with predominantly satva gunaas find it hard to break the bondage effortlessly. As long as their satkarmmas are result oriented, they will not be freed from the cycle of birth and death.  They live to enjoy the results of satkarmaas, again do satkarmaas to be born again and again. Only renunciation of the fruits of action can break the bondage for Punyaatmaas (great souls), Paapis (sinned souls) and those punyaathma-paapaathma combination souls . The only difference is that when we do Paapa karmaas we are subjected to negative experiences and punya karmaas yield positive experiences and mixture of both will give both positive and negative experiences. But eternal freedom from this cycle calls for Nishkaama karmam.

Even if a cage is made of Gold, a bird sees it only as a cage in which it is trapped. It does not enjoy the beauty of Gold. It only wants freedom. Likewise our souls crave for eternal freedom to join the Parmaathma. Because of the avidya or ignorance, jeevathma goes after transient pleasures and with egoistic actions accumulates all three types of karmaas. Poonthaanam advises us to do naamasnkeerthanam which  removes ignorance and makes us realize that we are trapped in this eternal cycle of birth and death. Naamam persuades us to strive with the determination and force of a “matthagajam” or mad elephant to break this chain of bondage. Poet assures that this force to break the chain can be derived from chanting Lord’s name. By the power of Naamajapam even an athiest (who does not believe in God or in prayers) goes through different stages of Bhakthi or devotion and reach the highest state of Uttama Bhaktha or perfect devotee. A Bhaagavatotthama ( the highest type of devotee ) is one who sees the glory of Bahgavan in all animate and inanimate beings, and also perceives all beings as dwelling in Him. So all his karmaas become an offering to God and practically becomes a Jeevanmuktha. Then he discards the body when the results of the accumulated karmaas are exhausted and merges with the Paramaathma.

Where does God live? Bhagavan says to Narada:

Naham vasami vaikunte na yogi hrudaye ravau
Mad bhaktha: yatra gayanti tatra thishtami narada.

“I dwell not in Vaikundha, not in the hearts of yogis, nor in the Sun, I live where my devotees sing my glory and divine names.” 

Brahmaavaadiyaay eecchayirumbolam
karmabaddhanmaar ennatharinjaalum
Bhuvanangale srishtikkayennathu
Bhuvanaantha pralayam kazhivolam
Karmapaasatthe lamkhikkayennathu
Brahmaavinnumeluthalla nirnayam
Dikpaalakanmaarum avvannam ororo
Dikku thorum thalachu kitakkunnu

Know the fact that (ennatharinjaalum) starting from Brahamadevan and other devaas (Brahmaavaadiyaay) to flies and ants (eeccha irumbolum), all of God’s creation are bound by Karma (karmabaddhanmaarr). Creation of universe (bhuvanangale srushtikkayennathu) continues until the dissolution or pralayam of the universe (bhuvanaantha pralayam) is completed (kazhivolam). That means it is definitely (nirnayam) not easy (eluthalla) even for Brahmadevan (Brahmaavinu) to break (lamkhikkayennathu) the binding thread of karma (karmapaashatthe). In the same way (avvannam) eight devaas ruling the eight zones or quarters of the universe also (dikpaalakanmaarum) are lying bound (thalacchu kitakkunnu) in their own directions (dikku thorum).

In these lines, poet says that there is no body (it literally means any jeevaathma dwelling in any type of body) in this world who is not bound by Karmaas. Even Brahmadevan dwelling in a body continuously does srushti or creation and then of course Vishnu Bhagavan has to maintain the universe and Mahadevan has to take care of annihilation. When Dharma declines, Vishnu Bhagavan incarnates in different forms, perform necessary karmaas with out attachment and goes back to Swadhaamam or home discarding the body used temporarily. Only the Nirguna Brahmam or Paramajyothi swaroopam, who is only a witness of all these, is free of this bondage of Karma. But thrimurthis (Brahma-Vishnu-Maheswara) know that they are none other than the Brahmam and they are neither attached to the karmaas or the fruits of their karmaas. Because of their knowledge of the essence of srushti-sthithi-samhaaram (creation, maintenance and annihilation) they do not experience the uncertainties of life like other demigods or mortal human beings. They just perform karmaas with out attachment. (Vaikundhavaasi, ananthashaayi Vishnu Bhagavan and Bhagavaan’s all incarnations are not Jeevathmaa occupying a body, but Paramaathma Himself. With apaara kaarunyam or ocean of mercy, that Paramachaithanyam is letting us worship in any form (sagunam) we prefer. Even though in incarnations, Bhagavaan discards the body after the purpose of incarnation, He would appear before us in any form we worship because He is eternal with form and with out form. In one of the stories, He even takes the form of a “male buffalo” to please his devotee. Bhagavaan appeared as the minister Mangaattacchan to save Poonthaanam from robbers!)

Even Thrimurhis (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) do not break the chain of Karmam. So where do we stand?  By their actions, Thrimurthis are demonstrating this truth to the world. The word “Nirnayam” indicates that to destroy the karmaas each and every individual should strive. In the spiritual world there is no proxy and each person should take responsibility for their own advancement. A Guru or satsangam can help to initiate one’s effort and the rest is in each inividual’s sincere effort.  Above all of these, we need Bhagavaan’s blessings every moment and Poonthaanam’s only solution in this Kaliyuga is chanting of naamam. It is interesting to note that Poonthaanam used the words “thalacchu kitakkunnu” for the eight devaas who rule the eight directions. Dikpaalakaas are not as detached to the karmaas as Brahmadevan or in other words they are not Brahmajnaanis and hence they are helplessly lying bound in the eight directions.  Ordinary human beings are far inferior to this dikpaalakaas. To elevate ourselves from the Maanava state to Maadhava stage, Poonthanam recommends Naamasankeerthanam. In Bhagavatam, Sri Shuka Maharshi tells King Parikshit:

Kalair dosha nidhe rajan astihyeko mahaan gunaan
Kirtanaad eva krishnasya mukta sanga: param vrajet

My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age:  Simply by chanting  Hari keerthana, one can become free from material bondage and attain salvation.

Shankarrachaaryar’s explanation on the importance of Naamajapam is very interesting. He says Naama japam gives us mukthi or salvation faster than any other form of worship or prayer because of two main reasons:

1. It is very simple and can be done by anybody, anywhere and anytime. No restrictions have to be followed.

2. Second one is the most important reason. We are not asking God for any favours or special blessings or anything in particular when we worship with naamasankeerthanam. We only glorify God with His auspicious names and try to continuously remember His divine form. Naamasankeerthanam promotes Nishkaama Bhakthi which leads us to salvation or mukthi. 

So let us chant along with Suka Muni, Shri Shankarrachaaryar, Poonthaanam Nambudiri and millions of devotees: 

Krishna! Krishna! Mukunda! Janaardana!
Krishna! Govinda! Naarayana! Hare!
Achyuthaananda! Govinda! Maadhava! 
Sachidaananda! Naarayana! Hare!

boarder

Samasthaaparaadham kshamaswa.

Sreekrishnaarpanamasthu.

I am not this, I am not that; who am I? – Gururaj Ananda Yogi Satsang

-This is an edited and unpublished satsang of Gururaj Ananda Yogi. If you want to watch the video of the whole satsang you can get it in Gururaj’s channel at Vimeo

Question: I am that which causes awareness to flow from the grossness of the lower mind to the un‑differentiated bliss of the superconscious.  I am not mind, but upon me the mind rests.  I do not move, yet through me all things move.  I am neither this nor that.  What am I?

Gururaj Ananda: That you are.

Who am I if I am not the mind?  Who am I if I am not the body?  What makes you presume that you are not the body and not the mind. What point of reference have you to tell you that I am not the mind and neither the body?  Show me that point of reference.

When I say to myself, “I am that I am,” who is this that I am that I am?  Who is this Brahmas mi‑‑I am Brahma?  Who is this that could say, “I and my Father are one?”  Who is this that could say that I, as the mind and body, is non‑existent?

Then what part of you is existent to make you cognize your non‑existence?  You don’t know, that is for sure.

Your mind is a reality, your body is a reality, and the spiritual self within you is a reality, but it is only the mind that could cognize its own realness which is also, at the same time, erroneous.

Gururaj Ananda and Cansita
Gururaj Ananda and Cansita

You say I am this body.  Now this body has been changing so much.  I was an infant, then l grew up into adolescence, became an old man…

So this body is the same body, but over a period of time ‑‑ which you regard to be time ‑‑ has gone through various changes.  Who is that which perceives this particular form of reality?

The spirit that is within you, the Divinity that is within you, is non‑cognizable and neither would it cognize anything besides itself in its own cognition.

The mind says this is a handkerchief.  Why does the mind say this is a handkerchief?  Because my mind, or a certain recollection or experiences that has gone through me in this lifetime or even in past lifetimes, perhaps, make me cognize this to be a cloth, a piece of cloth to be used on my nose.

Now, where does this come from?  What tells you that this is a nose and that’s a handkerchief?  So you go further back to realize that my mind is saying that, then you will ask yourself what perpetuates this mind in this mold of having this particular kind of cognition?

And like that you go on and on and on until you reach a point which is zero.  Then only can you say, “I’m not the body.”  Then only can you say, “I’m not the mind.”

Look, I can touch, feel, smell, taste, go to bed and make love, go to the toilet.  Is the body then not functional?  Of course  it is functional.  Then why do I deny the body?

I deny the body because I feel within myself‑‑or rather some force is feeling within myself‑‑that I am far beyond the body and the mind.  Now, the greatest mistake that has been made‑‑or is being made by various theologies‑‑is the denial of the body and mind.  Let’s look at it from a different angle.  Do not deny this body.  Do not deny this mind.  And do not deny that which cognizes the body and the mind.

So how are you dealing with yourself, then?  We’re still going to come to the cognitive factor.  But at this moment how do you stand?  You stand in the position of saying, my body exists, my mind exists, and the cognitive factor also exists, so therefore I am existence and being existing I can deny nothing.  For I am that I am.

There is no differentation between your body and your mind and your cognitive self.  The I that cognizes the very existence of this body and this mind is thought forms which we can call the ego self that is forever trying to preserve itself in the cognitive factors of saying I am this handsome guru [comments and laughs from audience].   Who’s saying that?  That stupid ego self.

Now, what is the ego worth?  The ego is worth nothing, because it is just a formation of patterns which you have superimposed upon yourself through the various experiences that you have gone through, and that has left impressions.  And those impressions is that which we call the ego.

Now, I put my hand on this table and I remove this hand.  But an imprint is there.  The hand is not there anymore, but an impression or an imprint of the hand is existing on this table.  Get out your magnifying glass and you will see it.  What reality is there in this imprint?  Nil!

This very imprint that cognizes me as a body, this very imprint that cognizes me as a mind.  So my body and mind is totally dependent upon that imprint.  And yet, what is the reality of this imprint? Nil.  It’s an impression created through patternings of experiences.

So now if I deny this imprint, or if I do not attach value to this imprint in bringing about the recognitions of the existence of this body and this mind, then I am basing the existence of this body and this mind with something that has no substance but which has just created an impression there, presuming that this mind and this body is real.

So now, what have we done so far?  We are accepting the reality of the mind and the body, and, at the same time, we are denying the mind and the body.  Because both are true. You are not the body, yet the body; you are not the mind, yet the mind.  Then what is your reality?  And how are you going to prove this reality?

You can only prove it by inference.  Or by the very factor that reality requires no proof.  It exists because of its own existence.  The only time you can prove reality is when you have a reference point.  And where can there be any reference point as as far as Divinity is concerned.

There is consciousness and non‑consciousness.  Non‑ consciousness means you are not aware.  And conscious means that you are aware.  Now, what proof is there of awareness.  Does awareness require any proof?  Does the light burning there require any proof that it is burning?  Its very act of giving light is its own proof.

You do not need to prove anything.  Because when it comes to the highest level, you need a point of reference, and the highest level being the one, without a second, cannot have a reference point.

I exist, I exist, because I exist.  That’s all.  And because I, the real me to which I have no reference point exists, I can only refer it back to a grosser level of the mind and the body, which finds its existence in that which I cannot prove is existing.Gururaj Ananda

I’m taking the highest factor in life and bringing it down to the grossest factor and that is what I could compare things with.  But when we reach the point beyond comparison ‑‑ Beautiful word.  You’re pairing up things in comparison.  There have to be two to compare.  But what if I want to exist as I am in my full totality, then will I not lose the idea of comparing myself to anything else?  And the very moment I lose the idea of comparing myself to any subject or object, that is the very moment when I will lose the ego self, that imprint that is existing in my experience.  Or the impression of the experience.  Then where will I be?  I shall be incomparable.

I shall be the source of existence itself, which I am.  Not in reality, but in actuality.  For reality changes from day to day.  What is real to you today might be unreal to you tomorrow. You see.  But when I become actual, when I become the source and recognize that source within me, or the source recognizes itself, then I will say, let me enjoy this body.  Let me enjoy this mind, for it is a product of a collection of impressions.  And if they are there, let me make the best use of it.

Here we are fusing two factors.  The fusion lies in the fact that that which is created by impressions‑‑or maya or illusion‑‑, is brought into reality, and reality is converted into illusion.  So I make the best of both worlds.

For example, let’s see what example we can use.  Say I loved a woman very much, I was deeply involved with that woman.  Fine. And she has left me.  She has jilted me or died or whatever or jumped in the lake.  Now, is she there or is she not there?  She’s dead, we know.  But is she there or is she not there?  She is there because you think she is there.  What makes you think she is there is because those impressions, those experiences, and you are reliving something so far in the past which has no reality today, which has become an illusion.  Because she is not there.  I have developed a dependency upon her when she was there.  So what am I living on now?  On dependencies.

I am existing with a reality, which is my body and my mind.  Though in essence it is unreal, but for the moment of three score years and ten, let me do the best with it I can.  Why not. Who would deny me that right?  And why should it be denied to me? You think all these organs we have are there just for the fun of it or for the show of it?  You think I have ears and I must not hear?  Or I have eyes and I must not see?  Or a nose and not smell?  Or any other organ of my body that has been there created through an evolutionary process and not to be used.  Why should I not use every organ in this body of mine to its fullest value? Honestly and sincerely.

So these monks  say become celibate, become this and that, become this and I don’t know what all.  I say, “become yourself!”  Be yourself!

Be yourself.  How can I make myself be myself?  Ahh!  How can I make myself be myself?  And the answer to that riddle is so simple.  Do you know that beautiful hymn which I like very much, lead thou me on, kindly light, one step at a time is enough for me.  Don’t you know that beautiful hymn?

Firstly, I must admit to myself that  I’m living a fragmented life.  Part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is floating up there in Chicago and another part somewhere in some heaven or some hell which has no existence in reality.

Admit to oneself that I’m fragmented.  Lead thou me on, kindly light to integration away from fragmentation.  Let me be whole.  Let me function in this life holistically.  Let me not find any more the discriminatory factors between body, mind, and spirit.  Let me regard it to be one continuum.  And this continuum, after finding through spiritual practices and meditation, when you find this continuum of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, this continuum will extend and extend and develop so much that the entire universe becomes you and you become the universe.

Existence and non‑existence, what am I going to do about it?  I’m both.  I am existing, and at the same time, the impressions which I’m existing upon is non‑existent.

So let me tell you this, that 99.999% of your problems in your mind are self‑created without any damn substance.  So that which you have created without substance… very easy way out of it‑‑pull the chain!

That is the secret of life.  Forget the past.  It is gone. Do not project yourself into the future, it might not be there. But live for this moment.  Live for this moment.  And then you’ll preserve your physical health, you’ll preserve your mental health, you’ll become integrated in mind, body and spirit, and you’ll enjoy life.  For life is joy.  So, as I always say, enjoy the joy.  Why deny yourself of that beautiful joy of this so‑ called existence when you can have fun.

What’s wrong with fun. Enjoy it.  But be honest and sincere, that’s important.

MEDITACION BARCELONA