Archive for the ‘SPIRITUALITY’ Category



Read Full Post »

In this supremely sacred land of Bharat,
forbearance is the highest wealth.
Of all forms of rituals, the most important
one is adherence to truth and integrity.
The sweetest of feelings in this country is
love for mother and the motherland.
In this land, character is more important
than the life itself.
Such sacred principles have been totally forgotten,
and in the name of freedom
People lead a perverted life imitating
western culture.
Just as the mighty elephant is not aware
of its own strength,
Bharatiyas are not aware of the greatness
of their own culture.

Embodiments of Love! All festivals of Bharat (India) have
an inner divine significance. In Bharat, the festivals are celebrated
to prove the immanent divinity in humanity. Festival of Deepavali, teaches a sacred inner meaning to humanity.
No other element in this world is as significant as light. It
is the light that shows us the way by dispelling the darkness. It
is because of the light that man is able to attend to his daily
The flame of a lamp has two significant qualities. One is to
banish darkness; the other is a continuous upward movement.
Even if a lamp is kept in a pit, the flame is directed upward.
The ancients have taught that the upward movement of the
flame denotes the path to wisdom and the path to divinity.
However, the external light can dispel only the external darkness,
but not the darkness of ignorance in man.
When Hanuman set Lanka ablaze, though there was light
all around, Ravana’s heart was filled with darkness. Ravana
was no ordinary person; he belonged to the lineage of Brahma.
He was the brother of Kubera, the god of wealth. He had a
brother, Kumbhakarna, who was very powerful. He had a son
by name Indrajit, who conquered the mighty Indra, the king of
gods. He was a master of four Vedas and six Sastras. Such a
powerful and highly educated Ravana could not get rid of the
darkness of ignorance.
Dispel inner darkness
Ignorance is the cause of birth and death. One with ignorance
is born again and again (punarapi jananam punarapi
maranam). But one with wisdom has neither birth nor death.
God has neither birth nor death.
He is eternal; he has no beginning, no end.
He is in the form of Atma.
That is jnana jyothi (light of wisdom). If you want to light a lamp, you need a container. You have
to fill it with oil and place a wick in it. You need a matchbox to
light the wick. Only when you have all four accessories can
you light the lamp. This lamp dispels the external darkness.
Similarly, to dispel the darkness of ignorance, you need to
have vairagya (renunciation), the container; love, the oil; one
pointed concentration, the wick; and tatwajnana (spiritual wisdom),
the matchbox. Only when you have all these four can
you light the lamp of wisdom.

Read Full Post »

ImageThere are some temples where God is worshipped as Mother. In one of these, in the state of Bengal,in India, She is represented by a large stone image. The sculptor has carved in stone his idea of the Mother of the Universe, and many pious people, finding it attractive and inspiring, go there to pay their respects or make offerings.
One day an old monk who used a cane came into the temple. Approaching the altar he said, speaking aloud to God, “Mother, you are said to be God; tell me the truth: are you solid like stone — this image? Or are you formless, indescribable and impossible to touch?”
“Take your cane,” the monk heard a soft voice saying, “and strike my body on the left side.” He did, and the cane hit the stone with a clack. “Now strike me from the other side,” She said. When the cane reached the sculpture it passed right through it as if it were air.
Then the monk understood that God can be both — tangible and intangible — at the same time

A long time ago, someone told me the story of a very serious sadhak(devotee) who was sitting at a shrine, trying to win a vision of Devi(Goddess). He was very deeply involved in this great ritual, carefully keeping track to ensure he did the proper amount of japa on the proper mantras, that he made all the right offerings of the right items in the right order.

But he kept getting bothering by some old stray dog who was nosing about, disturbing him. Again and again, he slapped the dog away, finally chasing it off with a stick so that he could return to the serious work of seeking his vision of Devi.

And when finally DEVI appeared to him, She too was beaten about the face and marked with angry welts from the sticks. Every blow to the dog’s body was a blow to Devi. 

Any violence done to our fellow souls in this world is violence done to Devi(Goddess) “Devi is Everywhere!” Because She is everywhere.



Read Full Post »

Hindu scriptures prescribe three different but intertwining paths to attain liberation and these are: karma(ACTION), Bhakti(DEVOTION) and Jnana(KNOWLEDGE)
Of these, karma directs the individual to perform faithfully all the duties, actions and procedures prescribed by the Vedas and Shastras as befitting a man’s Varna and Ashrama.The Bhakti path is where the individual is given the choice of a form of the Divine Entity to contemplate, worship,meditate, and perform Pooja etc. The Absolute that is formless, is allowed to be conceived of as having a form to enable the human mind to hold on to something
and make progress in the Bhakti route. This Bhakti also consists of three distinct groups of activities: a. Activities by the mind like Japa and Dhyana; b. Activities of the organs like Pooja; c. Activities of the word of mouth like chanting prayers. Depending on one’s preference or inclination, one can stick to only one of the three or more of one and less of the others.The practice of Bhakti in all its three forms constitutes Upasana. There the form Devatas to be adopted as the object of devotion is also a matter of choice. Indeed, Bhagavan Krishna assures us that he confers on the sincere devotee, unwavering devotion to the chosen form. There are six Upasana paths known as the Shanmatas, properly codified and
defined by the great Acharya, Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada. They are: Ganapatya,Saura, Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta and Kaumara. As the name of each indicates, each one has a different form of deity as the object of worship; the other paths of Japa, Dhyana and the ritual of puja are all the same. Of these, Shakta is the one where the form of Shakti is worshipped as Mother. Interestingly, of the six, this is the only Upasana (i.e.
Srividya Upasana) that is always reverentially referred to with the attribute ‘Sri’. The principal form of worship here is that of Shakti or energy. That way, this can also be viewed as worship of the energy aspect of the remaining five forms and therefore, this integrates al the six methods into one. While for the sake of conceptualizing, the power or energy is viewed as a distinct entity, it is needless to say that it cannot be physically
separated from that of which this is the power. Hence the dictum, ‘ShaktiH shaktimatorabhedaH’. The substratum on which this Shakti inheres is referred to as ‘Shaktiman’, which is Shiva or Kameshwara himself. In other words, we try to conceive of the single entity Shiva as basic or residual Shiva and its Shakti separately. It is only logical that if one can conceive of such a dichotomy of a single individual being, when
Shakti is taken out, what remains must be something inert (jada). That is the profound principle with which Acharya’s Saundaryalahari starts.
Consistent with the physical science, this Shakti can be of two forms again: potential and kinetic. In this system, the potential form is refereed to as Prakasha (effulgence) and the kinetic as Vimarsha (illuminating). The effulgence is the inherent characteristic of the first by which the seen world is illuminated, enabling us to see. This is the explanation of the Shakta system for the universe and the power that makes it to
be seen by all of us. In a higher plane, the concept of Guru also is conceived as made up of the same principles of Prakasha and Vimarsha. The Guru as the torch, remains the source of light and simultaneously the seen world. Guru Padukas are always referred to as Prakasha and Vimarsha. Another way of explaining this is by saying Prakasha is the absolute Brahman and Vimarsha is the individual Jivatman, the guru representing the
state of Advaita, where the distinction of Jiva and Brahman ceases to exist.As mentioned earlier, there are three paths to liberation. However, these are not mutually exclusive but have among themselves some amount of overlapping. Interestingly, in the path of Jnana itself, Adi Shankara stresses the Bhakti aspect.
Acharya has cleverly reconciled these two in his Vedantic definition of Bhakti as the individual meditating upon or worshipping himself. Bhakti or Upasana is of two kinds:
Gowni and Para. This first is also known as Sagunopasana. The human mind which finds it impossible to visualize the Absolute, is provided with a form of deity with face, hands,legs etc., so that the mind has something to hold on to, rather than a formless Brahman.All worships generally are with respect to a form of the Absolute. This form would be ofindividual’s choice or as indicated to him by his Guru. The fundamental principle here is
one of visualizing or conceptualizing, which is called Bhavana. From this point of view, it would appear that Bhakti is a process of reducing the adult mind to that of a child. For example, if a child gets a doll, then it sees that as a real baby in flesh and blood and tries
to do all acts of affection and love to that doll, adopting the role of a mother. This means that an imaginary baby wholly replaces the concept of the doll. A serious bhakta never perceives the idol or the picture or a Chakra that he worships as anything different from
the Divine form of God. This is the essential requirement for Bhakti. Having started to believe that the form he worships is his beloved deity, the other activities or rituals cover the various tasks to be performed such as seating, bathing etc. This whole process is commonly referred to as performing a Pooja. Physically, there are sixteen such acts known as Upacharas.
1. Asana – offering a seat to the deity
2. Padya – offering water for washing the feet
3. Arghya – offering water for internal purification
4. Achamana – offering water to be taken in
5. Snana – offering a bath
6. Vastra – offering a dress
7. Abharana – offering ornaments
8. Gandha – offering sandal paste
9. Pushpa – offering flowers
10. Dhoopa – offering incense
11. Deepa – offering light
12. Naivedya – offering eatables
13. Tamboola – offering betel leaves and nut
14. Stotra – offering prayers
15. Pradakshina – going round the deity
16. Pranama – prostrating before the deity
These sixteen are the commonly offered Upacharas in any from of Pooja, always firmly believing in the form that is being worshipped.
These very sixteen Upacharas also have a deeper or inner significance, which could be related as the offerings to the Absolute without any form. Another method of offering these rites reckons these as a group of five and not sixteen. These are Gandha, Pushpa,Dhoopa, Deepa and Naivedya. This is called the Pancha Upachara Pooja. the basic objective is bringing out the Divine principle that inheres in every one of us out and
visualizing it in the external picture, idol etc., and carrying the above mentioned sixteen or five Upacharas as one would do unto himself.
Performing these very rituals as part of the Pooja or Upasana in the Srividya sampradaaya is a little more elaborate with a number of special sets of tasks peculiar to this cult. To begin with, we have to understand the actual form that is accepted for worship in this Pooja. The generally accepted form for worship as Devi is an idol and a Chakra. Srichakra represents the creation and dissolution of the universe starting from
the Brahman, which itself is depicted as the Bindu in the center of the Chakra.
The second requisite is what is known as a mantra. Any mantra is considered as a zealously guarded secret. A mantra is a collection of letters, which on its face may not convey any meaning. By definition, mantra means that by repeatedly meditating upon which one is saved. It is the duty of every devotee of Srividya to constantly meditate upon his mantra and chant it repeatedly so that there result repeated vibrations in the astral centers of the individual. These are never to be uttered aloud and therefore even the Vedas hint at these mantras in a coded language only. The prescribed mantra for Srividya worship is what is known as the Panchadashi. Literally translated, it means a fifteen-lettered mantra. Different seers have explained the meaning of this mantra in different ways. Nitya Shodashikarnava gives six different interpretations. SriBhaskararaya, in his magnum opus VarivasyaRahasya, gives fifteen interpretations. A Keralite scholar of this century, Perunkulam Veeraraghava Shastrigal has given more
than 60 interpretations, which have received the approval of Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, the 33rd distinguished occupant of the Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sarada Peetham, who was universally recognized as the foremost scholar of his times. In essence, this mantra is considered as equal to the Vedic Mahavakyas, which clearly indicate the true nature of Brahman and the true nature of
the individual self.
The first qualification for a Upasaka to perform Pooja is obtaining Diksha from a competent Guru. the rite called Diksha is supposed to be destroying all the limiting factors of the individual self and facilitate his union with Shiva.
aIyate shivasAyujyaM kShIyate pAshabandhanam. atha dIkSheti kathitaM budhaiH sacChAstravedibhiH ..
It is the Guru who, after testing the disciple’s competence, initiates him into the Upasana by teaching him the mantra, the Devata Swaroopa and the methods of performing the rituals. Though the Sadhaka begins initially with external rituals, he should rise to the level of performing Antaryaga as set out in Bhavanopanishad. The first step in Bahiryaga is the method of entering the room of worship. Next follows Tatva Achamana. This is a cleansing process carried out by ingesting drops of water four times or seven times, praying each time for the cleansing of the Anava, Mayika and Karmika Malas, which is accomplished by the usage of Bija mantras. This prepares the Sadhaka’s mental frame and sets it ready for the Jnana swaroopa to shine.
The next and the most important step is performing GuruPaduka Vandana. This involves paying one’s respect to the lotus feet of the Guru. There is a special prescribed procedure for performing this. Guru’s feet are supposed to be on the head of the pasaka. Therefore, he has to worship with his hands locked in Mrigi Mudra, the sandals of the preceptor. This procedure calls for worshipping his own master (Guru), the Guru’s
Guru (Parama Guru) and his Guru (Parameshthi Guru). There are three separate mantras for each of these. The GuruPaduka mantras collectively connote the same concept as that of the Mahavakya – Tatvamasi. Actually, these syllables are represented one each by the three Paduka mantras.
The next step is ringing the bell. This is symbolic of referring to the evolution of the universe from Nada. By ringing the bell, the Devas are invited to the Pooja simultaneously warding off the evil thoughts and forces present in the vicinity. The actual part of the Pooja starts now with a declaration i.e. Sankalpa. This is done by doing Pranayama – breathing in, holding the breath and breathing out, using the Panchadashi
or Shodashi mantra, as taught by the Guru. Then, the time and place in which the Upasaka is performing the Pooja are narrated with the prescribed necessary time and space components. Accomplished Upasakas traditionally adopt the Ashtanga method of narrating the time, which is distinctive and unique to Srividya Upasana. Next in the order comes the seat on which one should sit and perform the Pooja. The directions
pronounced by Lord Krishna in Gita – ‘Having firmly fixed in a clean place, his seat, neither too high nor too low, and having spread over it the Kusha grass, a deer skin and a cloth one over the other’, is adopted. One addition to this is the repetition of a certain mantra along with which water is sprinkled on the seat before being seated. Then follows a procedure for guarding oneself against external influences by a process known as
Deharaksha. Then follows a Pushpanjali collectively to all the Devatas in the Srichakra and also obtaining from Sri Dakshinamurthy, the foremost guru in Dakshinachara and Samayachara, permission to proceed with Srichakra Navavarana Pooja. Before actually invoking Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari into the Srichakra, a minor rite called Prana Pratishtha is performed. This is actually fixing firmly the Yantra or Meru and energizing it before inviting the Devata to come and occupy it. The purport is an expression of the fact that the power that is present in our heart is brought out and
conceived to be installed in the Chakra. Now, a series of small tasks, which are intended to bring into the Chakra the complete abode of Devi with all its components by naming each one and imagining its being made to be present in its appropriate position n the Srichakra. In reality, Sridevi’s abode which is called as Srinagara contains a large number of oceans, islands, copses, gardens, surrounding spaces, moats and a central
splendorous palace, as set out in sage Durvasa’s Arya Dwishati. All these are, item by item, visualized in the Srichakra by referring to their individual names. Thus, in effect, we have kind of reconstructed mentally the Srinagara before us to worship the occupant
thereof. We then have to light and install two lamps on either side of the Pooja mandala. Next step is to get the individual ready to stand before this divine presence and perform the Pooja. This in turn involves five tasks: 1. Bhuta Shuddhi which is a process of cleansing all the effects of the physical elements of the individual’s body by a series of Pranayama steps, chanting special Bija mantras simultaneously.
2. The way we fix firmly the deity being worshipped by a prana Pratishtha, the individual must also fix himself firmly by performing Atma Prana Pratishtha.
3. The next step is to perform Pranayama to ensure concentration.
4. The fourth ingredient is a ritual to ward off all evil tendencies around us by a process called Vighnotsarana.
5. The last in this category is known as the Shikha Bandha, which tying up one’s hair into a knot to take care to prevent the hair from getting loose frequently and interfering with the rituals connected with the Pooja. Today it is indeed rare to find a male individual with uncropped hair; hence the ritual, though a real one, has become imaginary.
The second major part of the Pooja rituals is what is known as Nyasa. In Upasana, Nyasa refers to touching the various parts of our body, chanting a mantra and visualizing the presiding Shakti of that mantra to be present in that part of the body being touched.
There is a whole lot of different Nyasas with different mantras being used in varying orders. In the Navavarana Pooja, the following main Nyasas are generally performed:
1. Matrika Nyasa (Antarmatrika and Bahirmatrika Nyasa). Actually there are 14 types of Matrika Nyasas prescribed namely, Bindumatrika, Visargamatrika,
Binduvisargamatrika, Hrillekhadimatrika, Bijadimatrika, Kamadimatrika,Tribijadimatrika, Balasamputitamatrika, Parasamputitamatrika,
Srividyayuktamatrika, Hamsamatrika, Paramahamsamatrika, Pranavakalamatrika and Ashtatrimshatkala Matrika Nyasas. In addition to these, if the Sadhaka is also initiated into the Vaishnava angas of Srividya, he should perform Keshava Matrika Nyasa, Srikantha Matrika Nyasa if initiated into the Shaiva angas and Prapanchayaga Matrika Nyasa if initiated into Maha Ganapathi mantra. Bhutilipi Nyasa gives raip Siddhi of the mantra.
2. Karashuddhi Nyasa
3. Atmaraksha and Balashadanga Nyasa
4. Chaturasana (or Shadasana) Nyasa
5. Antashchakra and Bahishchakra Nyasas
6. Mahakameshwaryadi Nyasa
7. Moola Vidya Varna Nyasa
8. Laghu Shoda Nyasa (which involves Ganesha, Graha, Nakshatra, Yogini, Rashi and Pitha Nyasas)
9. Maha Shodha Nyasa (which involves Prapancha, Bhuvana, Murti, Mantra, Daivata
and Matrika Bhairava Nyasas)
10. Srichakra Nyasa (again of three types: Srishti, Sthiti and Samhara)
Only Upasakas who have been initiated into Maha Shodashi mantra can perform Maha shodha Nyasa. Special Nyasas like Kama Rati Nyasa, MathaNyasa, Shodashakshari Nyasa, NavasanaNyasa etc. are to be performed only by people having poorna Diksha.
Certain Nyasas like Navayoni Nyasa, Yogapitha Nyasa etc are optional. There are also Nyasas like Guhya Shodha Nyasa, Para Shodha Nyasa, Kamakala MahaNyasa (involvingParamparya, AntarbahiH, Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, Vaikhari, Ayudha and Bhushana Nyasas), Mahashakti Nyasa, NavakashaNyasa, Shambhvadi Charana Nyasa, Urdhwamnaya Nyasas, Aghorika, Panchavaktra, Pancharatna, Divyaughadi, Shabdarshi etc, and Shadanvaya Mahashambhava Nyasa (Rashmi Shatka Nyasa), MahaPaduka Nyasa, Maha Maha Paduka Ashtottarashata kala Maha Nyasa, which require various
higher initiations (even after the poorna Diksha) like Diksha of Para Shodashi, Para Paduka, guhya Shodashi, Guhya Paduka, the five secret Padukas and Mahashambhava Diksha.

Before moving on to the next set of rites in this Pooja procedure, one will have to study and understand the implications of these various Nyasas, which are very
important. Some similar kinds of Nyasas are also performed even when one is not performing Pooja but only does Japa. Every mantra to be chanted will have to be along
with some elements of the Japa process and these are Rishi, Chandas, Devata, Karanyasa and Anganyasa.
We now move on to the fourth part of the Pooja procedure which is known as Patrasadanam, which literally means spreading out vessels between the devotee and the
Srichakra in a prescribed manner and a ceremonious manner. The following vessels are recognized as obligatory in this regard:
1. Kalasha or Vardhani for keeping water for various sundry purposes
2. Shankha or conch also known as Samanya Arghya Patra to contain water for
certain special uses
3. Vishesha Arghya Patra to contain a special liquid prepared for the Pooja
4. Shuddhi Patra
5. Guru Patra
6. Atma Patra
7. Bali patra intended for offering Bali to the forces present around us as a reward fornot interfering with the Pooja.
For each one of these Patras, there are fixed positions in the layout, a mandala of a particular design, a method of filling the patra with the appropriate content and a sequence of performing certain rites on each of them, chanting the relevant mantras.
This part of the Pooja is a very elaborate one. There is a set of apparent and esoteric meanings for each of these, which have to be fully understood. The contents of each of these vessels have specific application and disposal in the Pooja process. Yet another aspect of this is that these vessels and their contents symbolically represent the very same type of corresponding vessels with connected rituals in performing a Yagna or a sacrifice. It is this aspect that establishes a connection between this particular Pooja with the rituals connected with a Yagna, thereby bringing about integration between the karma and Bhakti paths. This is a very important and special feature of Srividya. Hence Srichakra Navavarana Pooja is also referred to as Yagna. At the end of the Pooja, there is a prayer, which says, “Jagat Yagnena Tripyatu”. At the end of these rites, the Kundalini Shakti, which is supposed to be Sridevi herself, is addressed with certain mantras and offerings. Ultimately to a person who
keeps on performing this Pooja with great care and attention, the Kundalini which is normally dormant, gets kindled and starts moving upward along the Sushumna path towards the upper part of the head which houses the Sahasrara. After this commences
the Pooja to all the deities who reside in the Srichakra. Another difference to be recognized at this stage is that while other Poojas are done with flower alone, in this Pooja, offerings are made by both hands – flowers in the right and a piece of ginger held
in a clasp in the left which is dipped in Vishesha Arghya and droplets thereof being offered simultaneously with the flowers. The utterance is thus ‘Pujayami and Tarpayami’.
The Pooja in this part begins with requesting Sridevi to present Herself in the Srichakra to enable us to perform the Pooja. This is called Avahana. The concept is to bring out the Devi present in your heart and install her in the Srichakra before you. This
is not only done mentally but also physically using a mantra and Trikhanda Mudra. Now, we have the divine element present in us installed securely in the external Srichakra.
Then the 64 Upacharas are offered to Devi to please her and make her extremely happy. The detailed Aavarana Pooja starts with worshipping the Chaturayatana deities. These are Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu and Shiva. These four occupy the four corners of the square, which contains the Srichakra. First, the fifteen Nitya Devis are worshipped as the powers that rule the fifteen days in a fortnight. In the bright half of the fortnight, they are worshipped starting from
Kameshwari whereas the Pooja begins with Chitra Nitya in the dark half. There is a sixteenth Nitya known as Maha Nitya, who is none other than Sridevi herself from whom these fifteen emerge. The purpose of this part of the Pooja is to comprehend that time itself has emanated from, and is subordinate to Sridevi. Then Pooja is offered to the Guru Parampara or the lineage of gurus. The Gurus are conceived as belonging to four separate groups: first is Paraugha and the rest are Divya, Siddha and Manavaugha. The first offering is to the highest Guru ruling over the present cycle of time known as Sri Charyanandanatha. Next in priority is Sri Dakshinamurthy. After that, the full lineage of Gurus is offered Pooja. Thirty-one Gurus are mentioned by name with Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada’s as the thirty-second. These are then followed by the devotee’s Parameshti, Parama and Swagurus.
The Pooja then moves over to the worship of the deities in the nine enclosures of Srichakra. Pooja is offered next to five groups of Devis who are conceived to be located over the Bindu in Srichakra in a five-fold Peetha. These goddesses represent the stages
through which the Sadhaka has to pass, in moving from Savikalpa Samadhi to Nirvikalpa state. After this, Pooja is offered to the deities of the Shanmatas and six Chakras. There are four amnayas (six for Maha Shodashi Upasakas), each one containing a sizable
number of individual Devatas. These can be offered Pooja and Tarpana individually or in groups. After this, depending on the availability of time, archana is performed with Sahasranama, Trishati or Ashtottara. Trishati archana is always performed with
Kumkuma. The concluding part of the Pooja includes Dhoopa, Deepa, Naivedya,Tamboola, Karpura Nirajana and Mantra Pushpa. At this point, it becomes necessary to mention two additional features, which are peculiar to Srividya Upasana. They are the
Arartikam and Kuladipam. These are one set of nine lamps and a single lamp made out of wheat flour, sugar and ghee and lit. After this, Suvasini Pooja and Tatvashodhana are performed. Yet another special feature of this Pooja is that it is not only the main devotee who performs the Pooja but after he has finished, others also partake in the ritual byeach one performing what is known as Samayika Pooja. it is practically a very short form of the principal Pooja so that everybody present also gets the satisfaction of having himself performed the Pooja. it is also a means of training the aspirant to acquire the competence to himself perform the Pooja in due course.
In the context of Srividya Upasana, two more aspects remain to be explained. One of them is what is collectively known as Pancha Makara. These are five things representing the five physical elements, which are denoted through Madya, Mamsa,
Matsya, Mudra and Maithuna. Of these, Madya refers to the principle of fire, Matsya to water, Mamsa to earth, Mudra to Vayu and Maithuna to ether. The use of these five in their real physical forms, though used by certain cults, is not prescribed for a Satvika Upasaka. Adi Shankara has actually condemned the use of these and has practically banned Pooja performance with these things in their normal form. These articles are to be used by those at the lowest level of evolution. The intention is to curb and channel their natural propensity to use these, by prescribing elaborate rituals and procedures and sanctifying them. For the evolved Sadhakas, these five connote the five Tanmatras, which are the five arrow of Mahatripurasundari. Madya is the ambrosia flowing from the Chit Chandra mandala, Mamsa means the control of tongue, the two Matsyas are the Ida and Pingala, Mudra refers to the center of Sahasrara and Maithuna is the union of Jivatman and Paramatman. The Shastras have pointed out that the use of these articles in their literal form is like walking on the edge of a sword, embracing a tiger and wearing a snake. As referred to earlier, every area of Srichakra contains a variety of Devatas. There are separately described procedures for performing Pooja for each of them. Each of these Devis is ruling over one or the other aspects of secular life like health, wealth, happiness, education, winning over rivals or competitors, achieving particular special powers etc.
While the total worship pf Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari through the Aavarana Pooja will grant everything in this world and the other and lead one to total liberation at the end, these particular literally lesser powers have the way of granting whatever is
specifically asked for separately. Besides, there are separate Aavarana Pooja procedures in regard to some of the Anga Devatas of Devi in Srichakra such as Maha Ganesha, Varahi, Shyamala, Chandi, Subrahmanya, Dakshinamurthy, and Swarnakarshana
Bhairava etc. In addition, there is one Pooja addressed to a particular form known as Shadanvaya Shambhavi which is in fact, a Pooja addressed to Devi in her form completely one with Kameshwara. This worship is considered to be ultimate because it
even transcends the gender and takes one on to a single principle. A complete description of this together with all the necessary concepts is provided in the fourteenth Shloka of Saundaryalahari and in the detailed commentary thereon by several learned
commentators. The six principles referred to in these are of the five gross, physical elements, earth, water etc., together with the mind as the sixth element. Hence this to be the ultimate to be pursued by the devotee who aspires for liberation
from all the worldly attractions. Although the detailed procedures are set out in this compendium, only the Adhikari should undertake this form of worship for this. The prerequisite is not only poorna Diksha with initiation into Maha Shodashi but also the
higher initiation of Maha Shaambhava Diksha and the initiation into Shaambhava Maha Padukas and other secret mantras. The three higher Saparyas – Shadanvaya Shambhavi, Dakshinamurthy Aavarana or Brahmavidya Mandala Pooja and the Guru mandala
Pooja, these have to be performed only on Pancha Parvas by the above said Adhikari. These five occasions are the birthday of Guru, Diksha day of Guru, Chitra Pournami, Guru Pournami and the Guru Kaivalya parva. Without complete guidance from the
Guru, these procedures bring grave results to the Sadhaka. Saubhagya Hridaya Stava gives more details about these procedures. Independent of all the above, there is in practice a procedure called Chandi or Durga paddhati. This is also considered as one of the Devi’s forms that inhere in the Srichakra. However, there is not much mentioned about this in the popular Srichakra Pooja procedures. There is a Smriti which says: Kalau chaNDI vinAyakau. This means in
the age of kali, the two Devatas to be worshipped are Chandi and Ganapathi. The worship of these two will itself give the benefit of other forms of worship. The basis for this Chandi Upasana is found in Devi Bhagavata as well as the Markandeya Purana,
which contains the well-known Saptashati. This narrates the three tales of Sridevi fighting and destroying the evil forces in the forms of Madhu, Kaithabha, Mahishasura and Shumbha – Nishumbha. These stories are narrated in thirteen chapters in the form
of seven hundred stanzas or half stanzas. Each of these is considered as an independent mantra by repeating which one attains profound benefits. In addition, the mantra prescribed for this is what is known as Navakshari, the nine-lettered mantra that has its basis in the Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, known as the Devi Upanishad. The reader who has read so far would have got an idea of the fundamental concepts of Srividya and the external Navavarana Pooja. The oft-quoted saying,
YatrAsti bhogo na tatra mokShaH yatrAsti mokShaH na tu tatra bhogaG .
ShrIsundarI sAdhakapuMgavAnAM bhogashcha mokshashcha karastha eva ..
‘Where there is worldly enjoyment, there is no salvation; where there is salvation, there is no worldly enjoyment. For the great worshippers of Sri Sundari, both worldly enjoyment and salvation are at hand’ – will come alive with a new significance.
The foremost of Srividya Upasakas have been Vasishta, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Shuka, who wrote the manuals of Samayachara known as the Shubhagama Panchaka. Sage Durvasas, also known as Krodha Bhattaraka, who Lalita
Stavaratna or Arya Dwishati and Shakti Mahimna Stotra are read with devotion by pious people even today, formulated the Chintamani Pooja Kalpa, which is observed at the Sri Kamakshi temple at Kanchipuram. Sage Agastya, to whom Lord Maha Vishnu appearing as Hayagriva, taught Srividya including the Sahasranamas of Shyamala, Varahi and Sri Lalita, as well as the esoteric Trishati, is a well known Srividya Upasaka. Lopamudra, the wife of Agastya is the Rishi of the Hadi Vidya. Kalidasa, who’s Chidgagana Chandrika contains the esoteric subtleties of this Upasana, is known as Laghu Bhattaraka orSringara Bhattaraka. Sri Gaudapaadaachaarya, who is famously known as the author of Mandukya Karika, Subhagodaya Stuti and Srividya Ratna sutra, and as the guru of Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada, is the foremost of the gurus of Srividya Samayachara sampradaaya. Sri Adi Shankaracharya is widely regarded as the Avatara of Lord Mahadeva Dakshinamurthy himself and is famous for his Bhashya on the Prasthana
Trayas, various Prakarana Granthas and Stotras, including the Saundaryalahari, the first 41 verses of which are a treasure house of mantra Shastra. His Prapanchasara is a compendium of the Upasana procedures of different deities. In all the monasteries
established by Acharyal, the worship of Lord Chandramouleshwara and Sri Mahatripurasundari continues even today. Lakshmidhara, also known as Lolla, is a great Upasaka of incomparable brilliance, whose commentary on Saundaryalahari is the best
of the various versions available today. Sri Bhaskaracharya is an outstanding Upasaka and scholar of Srividya who has written definitive commentaries on Lalita Sahasranama, Saptashati, and Nityashodashikarnava etc. He has also written extensively on Srividya, the notable work being his Varivasya Rahasya. Sri Appayya Dikshita, well known as the author of Parimala, a commentary on the Brahma Sutras, and over 100 other works, has contributed to the world, the Ratnatraya Pariksha and Durga Chandrakalastuti dealing with Devi Upasana. Even Bhaskaracharya refers to Dikshita in the honorific plural.
Other well known Upasakas include Muttuswamy Dikshitar and Sri Shyama Shastry, two of the trinity of Carnatic classical music. Their lyrics disclose an intimate and deep knowledge of the Upasana Krama.
The famous and great personalities mentioned above would not have followed the Srividya path if it were contrary to the Vedas. This thought itself would be of comfort, but some readers may still wish to have some reassurance by way of references to
relevant Vedic texts. Some such proofs are given below:
1. The srisukta, as its very name indicates, hymns the Goddess, invoking her as Sri. The Kamakala Bija is explicitly stated in this Sukta. Other texts also describe the great Bija as follows: YaH praNIti ya IM shruNoti yadIM shruNotyakalaM
shruNoti etc.
2. The Durga Sukta hymns the Goddess as Sri Durga.
3. The Kenopanishad states that Uma revealed herself to Indra and dispelled his vanity and ignorance.
4. Parameshwara is worshipped as Ambikapati and Umapati in the Rigveda – namo hiranyab ahave hiranyavarnaya hiranyarupaya hiranyapataye ambik apataye umapataye pashupataye namo namah.
5. The presiding deity to whom oblations are offered in the Avahanti Homa is Sri Annapurana, a manifestation of Sri Mahatripurasundari.
6. There are also the following Upanishads dealing with Srividya – Sundari Tapini Pancjakam, Bhavanopanishad, Ratrisukta, Devisukta, Devyupanishad, Tripuropanishad, Bahvrchopanishad, Kaulopanishad, Guhyopanishad, Mahopanishad, Saraswati Rahasyopanishad, Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad,Srichakropanishad etc.
A modern writer Sri Panchanana Tarkaratna Bhattacharya has written a commentary on the Brahma sutras interpreting them from the standpoint of Shakta philosophy. The same author appears to have interpreted the Bhagavad Gita similarly.
There are three interesting thoughts while observing the India map, which appears approximately as a triangle. Hence the country itself is of the form of Kamakala. From Kanyakumari at the tip of the peninsula, where there is a shrine for Bala Tripurasundari,
right up to the Himalayas, there are many holy shrines where Devi is worshipped in different forms, providing a unifying thread. At the Vaishnavi shrine in Jammu, we see only three stones representing the three Bindus of Kamakala. The Tamil script contains a vowel of the three Bindu form. Sage Agastya is a well-known Srividya Upasaka. Lord Subrahmanya is the son of Shiva and Shakti, sprung to annihilate evil or Avidya and is represented by two intersecting triangles, signifying the concept of Kamakala. All these add credence to the traditional belief that Lord Subrahmanya gifted the Tamil language to the southerners, through sage Agastya. The Shabda Brahman, an aspect of chit, is the Kundalini Shakti. The Shakti is subtle and in the form of mere light and not audible. From Moolaadhaara, her breath goes upward and becomes Pashyanti (associated with Manas), Madhyama (associated with Buddhi) and Vaikhari. Thence it is generated as the letters a to ksha. These letters
combine to form words and mantras. The Sadhaka has to realize that the Devata is not merely a syllable or a word and its meaning, but as a great power of which the mantra is a notation. The letters have specific meanings in the mantra Shastra and hence a mantra can be viewed as a coded form of conveying a long message or prayer. The Sadhaka must realize that he, his Guru, the mantra, the Chakra and the Devata are all one. The Kundalini Shakti is coiled like a serpent around a Karnika in the
Moolaadhaara and is normally dormant, with its head on top of the Karnika. The Sadhaka’s aim is to awaken the Kundalini, lead her through the six Chakras, and unite her with Sadashiva in the Sahasrara. Nectar flows from such union and drenches all the
Nadis, and the Sadhaka experiences great bliss. Kundalini at first does not stay very long in the Sahasrara. The length of the stay depends on the strength of the Sadhaka’s practice. There is a natural tendency to return to Moolaadhaara but the Sadhaka will use his efforts to retain her at the Sahasrara. Liberation is got only when she takes up her permanent abode at the Sahasrara. The unknown can be explained only through the known. An example that readily comes to mind is the Ananda Mimamsa in the Taittariya Upanishad. Arousing the Kundalini can be done through either Hatha Yoga or through meditation and Japa, done over many years. This should not be forced or hurried. The grace of the Guru is absolutely necessary. The latter method i.e. by meditation and Japa is safer. While taking Kundalini through the Chakras, the Sadhaka should mentally offer worship at each of the Chakras.
Arousing the Kundalini by mantra Japa should be done only in the Shukla paksha.It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that arousing the Kundalini should be attempted only by a person with total self-control, through sincere and constant Japa done with
devotion over many years and with the specific approval of the Guru. to do otherwise may cause dangerous consequences and lead to several physical and mental ailments. The advice of the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham should be carefully heeded in this respect.As this Vidya is the means of both Bhoga and Moksha, it is taught secretly only to eligible persons. The practitioner is also enjoined to keep this Upasana secret. The Sruti says:
AntaH shAktaH bahiH shaivaH loke vaiShNavaH.
The Shakti Upasana should be known only to the mind and not broadcast. Even while wearing on the forehead the Sindura Prasadam of Devi, the Upasaka should cover it with bhasma. As Shiva and Shakti are one, this can be done. Likewise, in view of
statements such as ‘mAmeva paurushaM rUpaM gopikAnayanAmR^itam’, ‘kadAchit
laliteshAnI pumrUpA kR^iShNavigrahA’ etc., indicating Abheda between Ambika and Narayana, discoursing at gatherings on Bhagavan’s greatness amounts to discoursing on Devi’s greatness. It has been said that all Dvijas are Shaktas since they chant the Gayathri mantra.
The Tripura Tapini Upanishad establishes the equivalence of each Koota of Panchadashi mantra with the Gayathri mantra. Chanting the Panchadashi mantra once is equivalent to chanting the Gayathri mantra thrice. The aspirant who decides to take up this
Upasana must be sincere, devoted, of good character, hailing from a good family, pure in mind, keen on attaining the Purusharthas. A good shishya is one who has studied the Vedas and the Upanishads, but is unable to retain their true import in this mind, and wishes to practice this Upasana as a means of attaining Brahma Jnana. Such a shishya must seek a Guru. The importance of Guru has been stressed in all Shastras. Upadesha becomes effective only if it is learnt from a Guru; merely reading from books will be unproductive, and will even cause misery. The shishya should surrender to a Guru and pray for enlightenment. The relationship between the Guru and the shishya is a sacred one. The Guru will also test the shishya, put him through a probationary period, and if he is convinced that the shishya is a fit and proper person, will instruct him. Unfortunately, nowadays we find that imparting Srividya mantra Upadesha has become a matter of commerce. Srividya is being taught as an year’s crash course! This is to deplored. In fact,the learned commentator Rameshwara Suri, in the course of his commentary on the Parashurama Kalpasutras, quotes this verse:
guravo bahavaH santi shishyavittApahArakAH .
durlabhoyaM gurudevi shishyasantApahArakaH.
One should look for Guru who rids shishya of his ignorance, not wealth. Due to the grace of a proper Guru, all the obstacles and inconveniences of the shishya in acquiring Brahma Jnana are destroyed. By constantly chanting the mantra taught to
him, the shishya overcomes all misery and enjoys supreme bliss. The Shishya’s duties include serving the Guru to the best of his ability, having total faith in the Guru and chanting the mantra taught to him constantly. In Srividya, the guru shishya lineage has
come as an unbroken chain, starting from the first guru, Paramashiva. At the time of Diksha, the Guru will teach the Guru Paduka mantra. The shishya is taught about his immediate Guru, his Guru’s Guru and his Guru. The Shishya should develop the attitude
that the Guru’s feet rest on his head, the Paramaguru’s feet on the Guru’s head and so on. The Guru Paduka mantra contains the letters Ham saH, which represents the breathing in and breathing out, happening subconsciously all the time. This is known as
the Ajapa Gayathri. Ha denotes Paramashiva and sa denotes Parashakti. This mantra therefore teaches the identity of Shiva and Shakti. The Paduka mantra also has the words ShivaH and Soham. It will be readily seen that Soham is the same as HamsaH, read in reverse order. These three words occur in all the three Guru Paduka mantras, in different permutations and serve to confirm the identity of Shiva and Shakti. Further, their relevance as regarding the Mahavakyas has been already explained. The mantras also include Tritari or the Vimarsha Pranava, Bala, and 12 Bijas in two groups of four and eight. The four are known as Khechari and the eight as Ananda Bhairava or Navanatha Bijas. Their meanings are highly esoteric and should be learnt from a Guru. The two
other Rahasya Bijas in these mantras denote the Turiya Pranava, connoting the effulgence of the Supreme Being. A very exacting daily routine has been prescribed for the sincere and committed Srividya Upasaka, covering all activities from the time of waking up early in the morning until retiring to bed at night. Their purpose is to make the Sadhaka constantly meditate on the Shiva swaroopa even while engaged in other actions. The routines prescribed for the Sadhaka include Dhyana of the Guru, Pranayama, Divyamangala Dhyana, Rashmi Mala, Ajapa Samarpanam, Ablutions, Sandhya Vandana and different kinds of Parayanams such as Natha, Ghatika, Tatva, Tithi Nitya, Nama and Mantra Parayanas. Devi Upasakas narrate the time according to the ashtanga system. As regards to Japa, it should be noted that the mantra of each Devata can be chanted only at the time prescribed for it. For example, the mantra of Maha Ganapathi has to be chanted early in the morning, that of Shyamala in the afternoon and that of Varahi at night. A question may arise, why are there so many Devatas? These are only aspects of the Parashakti and, to adopt the contemporary management jargon, have jurisdiction over certain areas. Within these, the Devatas have been delegated authority and responsibility and have been empowered to deal with the prayers of the devotees. When the occasion arises, Parashakti can withdraw these aspects into Herself. The Sadhaka must also clearly appreciate that Japa corresponds to the Manana and Nidhidhyasana prescribed in regard to the Upanishads. While chanting Srividya Maha mantra, for greater efficacy, the Sadhaka should try to keep in mind the meanings of the mantra, and pronounce the letters in the manner explained by Sri Bhaskaracharya in Varivasya Rahasya. The Sadhaka may also contemplate on the Shakti in each of the Adharas while doing the Japa, and gradually move her upwards over a period of time.
The Sadhaka will experience, as his Japa and Upasana progress, that he is able to get some supernatural powers, Siddhis as they are known. His mind will also be distracted by various material pleasures thrusting themselves upon him. He must be
careful, remembering parokShapriya hi devaH and these are directed at preventing him from attaining his goal of Brahma Jnana. As we started with Maha Ganapathi, we should also end with another manifestation known as ucchishta Ganapathi. It has been suggested that the name should be Utkrishta Ganapathi instead.. In the secret Sahasranama of this form of Ganapathi, various important aspects of Srividya Upasana are mentioned.
As the Phala Sruti of Sri Lalita Sahasranama says, only the person who in crores of births and deaths has sung the names of other deities will develop sincerity and interest in singing the names of Mahatripurasundari. Only in the last Janma, one becomes a
Srividya Upasaka. Those who have earned this through their Tapas in many Janmas, will enter this Upasana Marga.

Read Full Post »

When you have the notion that you love everything, this overcomes your limitations. You realize that the notion of love does not mean trying to possess the thing you are wanting to hold onto but in letting go of the very thing. Love is not imposing your will on others. It is trying to find out what others want and trying to give it to them to the best of your ability.

Love takes different forms according to the object of your love. It is not the same mode in every case. You love fire by not touching it. Embracing a friend is an expression of love. Both are expressions of love. Because I love my child I don’t want to give it too many chocolates because I know it is bad for the stomach. Chocolates taste nice, but too much is bad. I know this but the child does not know. So the parent’s expression of love to the child includes denying sometimes what the child wants, knowing that it is not good for the child. Similarly Gods love includes denying what the devotee asks for unless it Is good for devotee.

Love is usually confused with sensuality or sex. But it really means all types of interactions where you are trying to give your best to others, where giving is giving what the partner needs, not what you want to; where letting go is letting go of the fruits of your action. Sometimes, your giving may yield your expected result, sometimes no. Love means detachment to the expectation and result both, not detachment to action.

Let me tell you a story. Supposing there is a man-eating tiger roaming around in a village. There is a woman who hears the roar of the tiger and she is trying to protect herself by running into all the closed doors and somehow finds a little door where she can enter to hide. The next day she is carrying her child and the same tiger comes along. All the doors are closed. There is no way she can escape. What does she do? She keeps the child somewhere else and goes and offers herself as prey to the tiger. This is an expression of her love towards her child. Love overcomes the fear of death. So she goes and offers herself and makes the supreme sacrifice to protect her child. Love has the power overcome fear. Let me give you another example.

Recently I saw a video of a young woman in the midst of 7 wild cheetahs. Any one was enough to rip her apart. She loved and understood wild animals. She knew that cheetahs were just cats, they were just big. She walks into them bare handed, playfully teases them, playfully alternately attacking and withdrawing. After a while, she just squats down. One cheetah approaches her cautiously, and starts playing with her, purring peacefully like a cat. How understanding, love and play overcomes fear!

Fear is the worst possible enemy that you have got. Your worst enemies are all inside of you, not outside. The enemies of any country are not the other countries, but the fears that the governments have about them. If people could only understand that our enemies are all inside ourselves, we would not need all these weapons, guns, shootings. The words we speak to each other are worse than guns!

Read Full Post »

Spirituality & Wisdom

A very learned professor went to a Zen master to find out about the nature of the mind. They sat down and the professor just talked and talked and talked about what he already knew. Tea was brought in and the Zen master started to pour out tea for the professor, but when the cup was filled the Zen master just kept pouring, the tea spilling over the table. The professor cried out, “excuse me the,but the cup is full.” The Zen master replied, “yes just like your mind is and there is no room for anything new.”

Read Full Post »

Around 4000 years back there was deterioration in the morality and the interpretation of the Sutras resulting in other kind of thought patterns emerging and a complete break down of the fabric of the Vedic Society.

Sage Patanjali, who was also the incarnation of Shesha Nag (the companion of Lord Vishnu), took birth as a small serpent during the prayers of his mother in her hand (Anjali), hence, the name Patanjali. As there is a purpose to every birth, the purpose of the incarnation of the Shesha Nag was to the beings of Kal-Yuga (the last of the four Yugas) thus ending the Mahayuga.

A summary of what the Vedas were. This summary is considered as the path of salvation and is as powerful with the present day beings as was the knowledge of the Vedas for the people of Satya – Yuga (the first Yuga).

Yoga normally is understood as complicated postures and breathing exercises, on the contrary, Yoga is a union with your true self which as per the Yoga Sutras is attained by removing the hyper activity of the body and breath. In other words, “stilling” the breath naturally (Keval kumbak); and “stilling” the body in one posture (Sukham sthiram asanam).
The reader will be surprised to know that in the Yoga Sutras, no asanas are described.

The Patanjali Yoga Sutras is a scientific way which goes much beyond even the ambit of the modern day psychology and para-psychology. The techniques prescribed for example, “stilling the mind” are phenomenally effective and could teach a lot to the modern day psychologists.

For example, Verse 33 suggests a positive attitude to outward entities and Verse 34 suggests the restrain of breath. The modern day psychologist understands the disturbances caused in the body by regular breathing. Deep and rhythmic breathing induces mental tranquility.

Verse 37 suggests focusing your faculties on someone who has achieved a higher state of awareness like a Yogi. This is a fundamental of modern psychiatry as it is also based on the complete patient-doctor trust.
Verse 39 suggests meditation and it only very recently that modern medical science has understood this form of therapy.

Swami Satyananda translates certain Yoga Sutras as:

2.3 – The basic tensions of the mind are basic ignorance of truth, ego, attachment, aversion and fear of death. Thus, summing up the entire cause of human unhappiness

2.4 – Defines the implications behind the basic tension. Ignorance of reality is the root tension from which all other tensions arise. The tensions can be “dormant”, “slight”, “scattered” or “manifest”. Ignorance of one’s real nature is the basic cause of tension and unhappiness as per the Yoga Sutras.Tensions act at different levels. They are either:

Dormant (Prasupta) rooted deep in the subconscious mind which you are not yet aware of. They will be confronted as perceptions become deeper through Yoga.

And then, Slight (Tanu), means insignificant tensions.

Scattered (Vichhina), tension that bring neurotic problems- phobias and depressions in life. Yoga will eventually resolve them by allowing you to accept yourself and be in harmony with yourself.

Manifest (Udara), these are conscious. Tensions which one easily recognizes in daily life and the affect of which mostly is born as stomach disease.
As we have seen these tensions on the spectrum as the most gross to most subtle.

In 2.5, Patanjali gave ignorance as the basic tension. Ignorance can be caused by taking imperishable as perishable, contaminated as the pure and pristine, unhappiness as happiness and your- self as the real -self. Hence, the basic cause of unhappiness is lack of knowledge of one’s real self.

As one’s limited mind is the source of ignorance. Ignorance is dispelled by gaining more knowledge of the mind and eventually transcending the mind.
Ignorance also leads to egoism which Verse 2.6 gives. Egoism can be defined as wrong identification of the Purusha with the instrument of the mind and body. Identification with your mind and body leads to isolation as an individual. The penalty is frustration and unhappiness, since ego is always in relation to somebody else and is impossible to satisfy.

Attachment with the pleasures of the world (Raga) and repulsion with the things of what others possess (Dwesha). Raga and Dwesha leads to conflict and unhappiness and these lead to further fear of death.

In says the fear of death is the basic and dominating force even for the learned.

In 2.10 and 2.11, Patanjali says that the causes of unhappiness can be got rid by resolving them at the source. And removing the associated mental states through meditation. Thus, meditative techniques prescribed in the Yoga Sutras become a very powerful source of understanding mind and body and going beyond both.

Patanjali says that without the insight and experiences of the insight, unhappiness cannot be cured; so, the Sutras gave causes of unhappiness and the ways to remove them. It is mind-boggling to think that four and a half thousand years back when the entire world was supposedly ruled and controlled by barbarians, there in the Himalayas was a Saint who gave such words of wisdom and who understood the human mind and body with such great accuracy.

And the effects of practicing these techniques is so profound that one has to wonder and accept the supremacy of these beings who lived at that time.

The Yoga Sutras are to the point, words have been very sparingly used for the wealth of knowledge which one finds in them has not been understood. The hidden meanings have not been understood even by the master brains of today.

The Yoga Sutras consist of four parts:

1 :The first is the Samadhi part, a total of 51 Sutras. In this chapter, Patanjali describes the purpose of Yoga, the mental modifications, the path of practicing and Vairagya, the Samprajnata and Asamprajnata, defines Ishvara, subtlest of the subtle, talks about the obstacles to progress and how to harmonize the mind and finally the Sabija and the Nirbija Samadhi.

2 :The second part, the Sadhana part which is basically the practice consists of 55 Sutras. It discusses the various kind of Kleshas (tensions, problems and conflicts). And how to remove them and why to remove them. Awareness and path to intuitive knowledge and finally the five limbs of Ashtanga Yoga : Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara.

3 : The next chapter, the Vibhuti part consists of 56 Sutras basically deals with the psychic part which a sadhak develops on practicing the final three limbs of Ashtanga yoga which are : Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.

The development of the psychic powers of the practitioner is the main focus of this chapter.

4 : The final chapter, the Kaivalya part consists of 36 Sutras and deals with the differentiation of the individual and the cosmic mind, the theory of karma, the theory of unity of collective consciousness of all things. Various kinds of perceptions of the mind and the path to Kaivalya.

It is amazing to find that the logic given by Patanjali is faultless and the description precise. This entire system is what is “Yoga”.

It has been observed that now-a-days various aspects of this Yoga have been
mis represented and has been commercialized with have led to the subject loosing its efficacy and into a business from pure Sadhana – says Yogi Ashwin ji,

Let’s leave business to company boardrooms, shops, and market places, Yoga is a sadhna(practice) not a business.

Forty Types of Yoga

The Sanskrit word yoga stems from the verbal root yuj meaning “to yoke” or “to unite.” Thus, in a spiritual context, yoga stands for “training” or “unitive discipline.” The Sanskrit literature contains numerous compound terms ending in -yoga. These stand for various yogic approaches or features of the path. The following is a descriptive list of forty such terms. Not all of these form full-fledged branches or types of Yoga, but they represent at least emphases in diverse contexts. All of them are instructive in so far as they demonstrate the vast scope of Hindu Yoga.

1.Abhâva-Yoga: The unitive discipline of nonbeing, meaning the higher yogic practice of immersion into the Self without objective support such as mantras; a concept found in the Purânas; cf. Bhâva-Yoga

2.Adhyâtma-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the inner self; sometimes said to be the Yoga characteristic of the Upanishads

3.Agni-Yoga: The unitive discipline of fire, causing the awakening of the serpent power (kundalinî-shakti) through the joint action of mind (manas) and life force (prâna)

4.Ashtânga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the eight limbs, i.e., Râja-Yoga or Pâtanjala-Yoga

5.Asparsha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of “noncontact,” which is the nondualist Yoga propounded by Gaudapâda in his Mândûkya-Kârikâ; cf. Sparsha-Yoga

6.Bhakti-Yoga: The unitive discipline of love/devotion, as expounded, for instance, in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, the Bhâgavata-Purâna, and numerous other scriptures of Shaivism and Vaishnavism

7.Buddhi-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the higher mind, first mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ

8.Dhyâna-Yoga: The unitive discipline of meditation

9.Ghatastha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “pot” (ghata), meaning the body; a synonym for Hatha-Yoga mentioned in the Gheranda-Samhitâ

10.Guru-Yoga: The unitive discipline relative to one’s teacher

11.Hatha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the force (meaning the serpent power or kundalinî-shakti); or forceful unitive discipline

12Hiranyagarbha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of Hiranyagarbha (“Golden Germ”), who is considered the original founder of the Yoga tradition

13.Japa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of mantra recitation

14.Jnâna-Yoga: The unitive discipline of discriminating wisdom, which is the approach of the Upanishads

15.Karma-Yoga: The unitive discipline of self-transcending action, as first explicitly taught in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ

16.Kaula-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Kaula school, a Tantric Yoga

17.Kriyâ-Yoga: The unitive discipline of ritual; also the combined practice of asceticism (tapas), study (svâdhyâya), and worship of the Lord (îshvara-pranidhâna) mentioned in the Yoga-Sûtra of Patanjali

18.Kundalinî-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the serpent power (kundalinî-shakti), which is fundamental to the Tantric tradition, including Hatha-Yoga

19.Lambikâ-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “hanger,” meaning the uvula, which is deliberately stimulated in this yogic approach to increase the flow of “nectar” (amrita) whose external aspect is saliva

20.Laya-Yoga: The unitive discipline of absorption or dissolution of the elements prior to their natural dissolution at death

21.Mahâ-Yoga: The great unitive discipline, a concept found in the Yoga-Shikhâ-Upanishad where it refers to the combined practice of Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, and Râja-Yoga

22.Mantra-Yoga: The unitive discipline of numinous sounds that help protect the mind, which has been a part of the Yoga tradition ever since Vedic times

23.Nâda-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the inner sound, a practice closely associated with original Hatha-Yoga

24.Pancadashânga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the fifteen limbs (pancadasha-anga): (1) moral discipline (yama), (2) restraint (niyama), (3) renunciation (tyâga), (4) silence (mauna), (5) right place (desha), (6) right time (kâla), (7) posture (âsana), (8) root lock (mûla-bandha), (9) bodily equilibrium (deha-samya), (10) stability of vision (dhrik-sthiti), (11) control of the life force (prâna-samrodha), (12) sensory inhibition (pratyâhâra), (13) concentration (dhâranâ), (14) meditation upon the Self (âtma-dhyâna), and (15) ecstasy (samâdhi)

25.Pâshupata-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Pâshupata sect, as expounded in some of the Purânas

26.Pâtanjala-Yoga: The unitive discipline of Patanjali, better known as Râja-Yoga or Yoga-Darshana

27.Pûrna-Yoga: The unitive discipline of wholeness or integration, which is the name of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga

28.Râja-Yoga: The royal unitive discipline, also called Pâtanjala-Yoga, Ashtânga-Yoga, or Râja-Yoga

29Samâdhi-Yoga: The unitive discipline of ecstasy

30.Sâmkhya-Yoga: The unitive discipline of insight, which is the name of certain liberation teachings and schools referred to in the Mahâbhârata

31.Samnyâsa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of renunciation, which is contrasted against Karma-Yoga in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ
32.Samputa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of sexual congress (maithunâ) in Tantra-Yoga

33.Samrambha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of hatred, as mentioned in the Vishnu-Purâna, which illustrates the profound yogic principle that one becomes what one constantly contemplates (even if charged with negative emotions)

34.Saptânga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the seven limbs (sapta-anga), also known as Sapta-Sâdhana in the Gheranda-Samhitâ: (1) six purificatory practices (shat-karma), (2) posture (âsana), (3) seal (mudrâ), (4) sensory inhibition (pratyâhâra), (5) breath control (prânâyâma), (6) meditation (dhyâna), and (7) ecstasy (samâdhi)

35.Shadanga-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the six limbs (shad-anga), as expounded in the Maitrâyanîya-Upanishad: (1) breath control (prânâyâma), (2) sensory inhibition (pratyâhâra), (3) meditation (dhyâna), (4) concentration (dhâranâ), (5) examination (tarka), and (6) ecstasy (samâdhi)

36.Siddha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the adepts, a concept found in some of the Tantras

37.Sparsha-Yoga: The unitive discipline of contact; a Vedantic Yoga mentioned in the Shiva-Purâna, which combines mantra recitation with breath control; cf. Asparsha-Yoga

38.Tantra-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the Tantras, a kundalinî-based Yoga

39.Târaka-Yoga: The unitive discipline of the “deliverer” (târaka); a medieval Yoga based on light phenomena

40.Yantra-Yoga: The unitive discipline of focusing the mind upon geometric representations (yantra) of the cosmos.

According to the scriptures, Yoga is mainly classified in various systems of branches. They are:

•Jnana Yoga – Union by Knowledge

•Bhakthi Yoga – Union by Love and Devotion

•Karma Yoga – Union by Action and Service

•Raja Yoga – Union by Mental Mastery – the path of will

•Hatha Yoga Union by Bodily Mastery (Principally of breath)

•Mantra Yoga – Union by Voice and Sound

•Yantra Yoga – Vision and Form

•Laya and Kundalini – Union by Arousal of Latent Psychic Yoga

•Tantric Yoga – A general form for the Physiological discipline. Also
union by harnessing sexual energy.

Hindu Yoga Paths

Bhakti Yoga

The Yoga of transcendent love, Divine Grace, and one pointed devotion to an ideal conception of divinity with the Hinduism devotee choosing to venerate deity as beloved, master, friend, parent/child. The Hindu Bhakti tradition disregarded caste systems and focused on genuine inner feelings and personal viewpoints to foster emotional well being, fulfillment, and the perceptual awareness of divinity pervading all aspects of Creation. Doing heartfelt service, Karma Yoga, was also integral to this path.

Hatha Yoga

The goal of the Hatha Yoga practitioner was health and vitality through rigorous training that involves many practices including breathing exercises (pranayama) and physical postures (asanas). When the postures and breathing exercises were mastered and the will trained to consciously control the vital energies of the physical and etheric bodies, the kundalini force was awakened at the base of the spine and used to open, purify, and vitalize the seven energy centers in the appropriate order.

Jnana Yoga

A difficult but profound path where the thinking philosopher sought union, peace, and liberation through information and discernment. Knowledge and wisdom were achieved by patiently releasing delusional thoughts and feelings until the meditator was attuned with the reality of Spirit. As the mind and heart blossomed with the illuminating realization that divinity was the inherent nature of the individual soul essence – first transformation and then eventual enlightenment occurred.
Karma Yoga

Linked to the fourth center, the Anahata or heart center, this yogic path centered on the universal karmic law of cause and effect. Transformation occurred when one learns to act out of love without attachment to immediately apparent results. By developing more responsible habits and attitudes, “new actions”, the practitioner changed his feeling and thought patterns through right action and service resulting in “new reactions”, realization and union with divinity.

Kriya Yoga

A yoga of transformation, Kriya combined the practices and disciplines of Bhakti,
Jnana, and Raja Yoga. Over 5,000 years old, the technique was traditionally conveyed from the Guru directly to the spiritually mature initiate. The goal of the meditator was to achieve self realization by raising the serpent force of kundalini to the ninth center, the thousand petaled lotus, at the top of the head by following a daily program of devotion to divinity, introspection, and self-discipline.

Laya Yoga

The goal of the meditator was to transcend the lower levels of egoic, sensual, and material consciousness by awakening the seven energy centers (five were along the spine in the tailbone, in the sacrum, navel, heart, and throat areas; two were in the head in the third eye and crown areas). By concentrating on each of these energy centers in turn under the guidance of a qualified teacher, the meditator opened doorways to higher states of consciousness.

Mantra Yoga

Mantrams like AUM (spirit or word of God) were seed sounds that had been revealed to adepts which had the power to bring into being the actualities they represent. There were thousands of them in the Sanskrit language. As a meditator chanted these syllables, words, and phrases, mindfully, with increasing spiritual focus, the music, meaning, and cadence of the mantras repeatedly brought one to a transcendent state beyond intellect and emotions, resulting in a higher state of consciousness.

Raja Yoga

Yoga Sutras were used to move the kundalini lifeforce from the base of the spine to the throat center where the meditator transmuted the lesser passions into a desire to speak only of divinity and to seek serenity. By focusing attention on the objects of meditation, the practitioner then restored equilibrium to the mind and the emotions. Afterwards, the energy of this balanced awareness was usually directed to the third eye area called Ajna, in the middle of the lower forehead. This then resulted in the achievement of a state of sublime tranquility.

Tantra Yoga

The devotee strove to break through barriers of personal limitation and cross higher consciousness thresholds by using the fire of a masculine/feminine harmonized kundalini to transform negative habit patterns, obsessions, and subconscious blocks into the transmutative energy of the creative force as an universal expression of Spirit. When the spiritually awakened kundalini ascended and opened each energy center in turn, samadhi (direct experience of the Supreme Reality) was attained.

The Energetic Map Of The Brain
• The Ancient Teachings Reveals The Energetic Map Of The Brain

Yoga describes the human subtle structure, based on the system of the nadis, that allows a deep understanding of the integral human existence and gives us the techniques we need in order to transform, become balanced, and healthy in all aspects.


The nadis are the fine subtle channels through which the energy flows to each part of our subtle body. They are often the subtle “counterpart” of the blood or nervous systems.

From the point of view of the energy circulating through the body, all the nadi extract their energy from Ida and Pingala. They represent the two functional modules that lie at the foundation of all mental, psychic and physical processes.

Sushumna nadi, the central channel around which the two other nadi “revolve” is the royal path that may lead us to the experience of the ultimate state of consciousness and may even lead to our transformation.

Each cell of our body, each organ, the brain and the mind, all the “elements” of our being are interconnected at a physical and subtle level, which allows us to think, talk, act and exist in a balanced, coherent, and synchronic manner, when each part acts for the benefit of the other parts.

Inside our body, there are two energetic systems that control this process. They develop around Ida and Pingala nadi, and if we stimulate one element of this system, through the process of resonance, we will activate the whole system.

The researcher Arthur Deikman, form the psychiatric department of the Colorado Medical Center University, USA, presents the two main existential ways of a human being, who has activated their yin or the yang aspect, from the perspective of modern psychology.

He practically describes the Ida and the Pingala in the terms of modern psychology. Here are his words: “if we consider the human being as an “organization” made of several components of different sizes or “biological and psychological coordinates”, we may discuss an active and a repetitive way of manifestation.

The active, dynamic way represents a state organized precisely upon acting on the environment. The muscular system and the nervous sympathetic system are the main physiological formations that operate in this way.

The main traits of this way are: focused attention, logic based on analysis, the space perception and the dominant of the formal characteristics over the sensorial ones.

The active way expresses a state of desire oriented towards the fulfillment of some personal needs, such as food, shelter, tendency to protect, need for safety, as well as towards obtaining social accomplishments, to which we can add a whole variety of symbolic or sensual pleasures, and the tendency to avoid disturbances and pain.

Deikman describes the “Ida” state, the receptive trait, as a state oriented towards the contemplation of the environment rather than on operating upon it.

The perceptive sensorial system and the parasympathetic function are predominant in this state.

The electroencephalogram tends to indicate alpha waves, which express a state of relaxation, a decrease in muscular tension, a diffusion in attention and forms losing their shapes.

The most suited definition for this state is the non-action state. Although Ida and Pingala and their ways of energetic functioning may appear as opposed, they are in fact complementary and therefore these two tendencies have to reach a balance so that you enjoy perfect health and deep mental health.

Furthermore, inner balance opens the gate to transcendence and to a manner of functioning in which the opposing “contraries” reach a state of harmony and union.


Recent and revealing studies in the field of neuroscience have proved that the brain functions according to the “dual” system of the nadis, as the yogi described it thousands of years ago.

In a radical attempt to treat some severe forms of epilepsy, Roger Sperry and his assistants have performed brain surgeries on the median line that connects the two brain hemispheres, where the so-called corpus callosum is found.

To their great surprise, not only did the epileptic crises stop, but they also made some great discoveries that radically modify the neuropsychological understanding of the way the brain functions, and thus they brought about a revolution in the medical and scientific view of man.

It is a fact of common knowledge that the right part of the brain controls the left side of the body, and the left part of the brain controls the right side of the body.

Although in an incipient stage, Sperry’s studies have proved that each part of the brain controls and coordinates a different behavioral pattern, opposed yet complementary to each other. This is a highly important discovery and also confirms the yogic views.

Although the yogis make use of a different conceptual apparatus and different experimental methods, the scientist reached the same conclusions as the yogis.

According to these, a person is characterized by two main ways of manifesting him/herself. The energies that pass through Ida and Pingala coordinate the brain circuits, which have been associated with the knowledge or consciousness, and respectively with the energy of action (or physical force).

The subtle influences of these two types of energy are to be found on all three main levels of the nervous system.
1. The sensorial motor nervous system: the whole electrical activity of the body is directed towards one or the other of the two possible directions to the brain: afferent (associated to Ida nadi), and efferent (associated to Pingala nadi).

These subtle nadis and the corresponding nerves on a physical level control the human perception of the world and respectively the capacity to act in the outer world.

2. The autonomous nervous system is divided in the sympathetic nervous system, oriented towards the exterior, operating in conditions of stress, that consume and uses our energy and is consequently a manifestation of yang energy, and the parasympathetic nervous system, oriented towards the inner activities, operating in conditions of rest, preserving and accumulating the energy and is consequently a manifestation of yin energy.

These two systems control and regulate all automatic processes of the body: heartbeat, blood pressure, breath, digestion, kidney and liver activity, etc.

3. The central nervous system involves the brain and the spine and controls the two previously mentioned systems. The brain activities are complex, is like a giant computer, that stores and integrates information, making decisions in a perfectly synchronized way.

However, its synergic functioning means more than the simple functioning of its parts. The brain circuits have more potential energy than a human being might use during an entire lifetime.

The yogic techniques have the role of purifying these energetic circuits associated to some precise functions.

In accordance with the yogic tradition, science has discovered that the pathways of the central nervous system and of the brain control the subtle circuits of the nadis and charkas.

If through the practice of pranayama we succeed in purifying and reconnecting these subtle circuits, our entire being will be deeply transformed. The efficiency of the yogic techniques is based on the fact that this subtle system of nadis exists.

The body-mind complex “functions” due to three types of energy: the receptive, yin energy, corresponding to Ida nadi, the yang, active type of energy, corresponding to Pingala nadi, and the “neutral” energy that flows through Sushumna nadi.

This latter observation may cast more light on the importance of the balance between the two types of energy.

The scientific studies have revealed the fact that the left side of the brain usually controls logic, analysis, talking, and temporal function, while the right side has an intuitive, sensitive, spatial and holistic side, which does not use a linear type of knowledge, although the way one obtains this type of knowledge remains a mystery.

Thomas Hoover a researcher who compared the latest discoveries in neurology and the terms of the Japanese Zen, has synthesized this relationship in a highly suggestive way: “the hemisphere that knows, does not speak, and the hemisphere that speaks does not know”.

Although the two hemispheres work in an integrated manner, their functional ways have been defined according to a series of key words:

The left hemisphere (Coordinated at a subtle level by Pingala nadi)

The right hemisphere (Coordinated at a subtle level by Ida nadi)

Analysis…………………………….. Comprehension

The left hemisphere The right hemisphere

Partial ………………………. Holistic
Explicit ………………………. Implicit
Argument ………………………. EXperience
Intellect………………………. Intuition
Logic ………………………. Emotion
Thought ………………………. Feeling
Active………………………. Passive
Solar ………………………. Lunar
Rational ………………………. Mystic
Objective ………………………. Subjective
Aware………………………. Subconscious
Optimism ………………………. Pessimism

The neurobiologist and neurophysicist Marcel Kinsbourne, director of the Department of Behaviorist Neurology from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center of Waltham, Massachusetts proved that there are two types of emotional activity that are characteristic to the function of the brain.

He discovered that the two halves of the brain control quite different emotional states. Thus, the left hemisphere is responsible mainly for happiness and positive feelings, while the right hemisphere controls sadness, nostalgia and melancholy.

However, there are abnormal states of mind, in which case people with unbalanced hemisphere activity are highly merry, exalted and totally indifferent to their situation, or in the other case, they have a gloomy view of life, they are full of anger, guilt or despair.

Most people fluctuate between these two states, even in normal situations, but without reaching the extremes manifested by the subjects with their brain affected. This fluctuation is tiresome if we are not balanced and healthy.

According to one of Kinsbourne’s theories, the association of the left hemisphere with the optimistic and merry thoughts and of the right hemisphere with the sad, pessimistic thoughts leads us to the conclusion that this dualistic action of the brain was conceived in order to control our preferences (Pingala nadi) and aversions (Ida nadi).

The left hemisphere coordinates the things that we like, and it first focuses on the object or situation that is the cause – this corresponds to the active pattern that belongs to Pingala nadi.

In exchange, we try to avoid or get out of the situations that we cannot control or that we dislike, a situation in which we have the tendency to consider the picture in its whole (without focusing on the unpleasant thing itself).

This function is under the control of the right hemisphere and corresponds to the receptive, introverted way of perceiving things, all characteristic to Ida nadi.

Most men fluctuate according to the biological rhythms between the right and the left hemispheres, between the breath on the left nostril and that on the right nostril, between the receptive and the emissive manner of acting and thinking.

Contemporary science studied these biological rhythms, although it does not completely comprehend their roles and significance.

From a yogic perspective, this rhythmical (or non-rhythmical) alternation indicates that there are disequilibria and that each of the two manners of acting rules over the other.

The state in which both sides are equal and balanced is quite unfamiliar to most people.

According to the yogic tradition, when the two aspects are balanced, the person reaches a new level of experience that unifies logic and intuition, transforms our emotions and allows our neuronal activity to increase.

All men should properly understand this need for balance, because the state that comes along with this balance is in fact a stronger and more pleasant experience.

Einstein proved that this use of both hemispheres in a balanced manner is possible, and furthermore, quite imperative.

Once when he was meditating on an imaginative experience, he had a sudden intuition, that allowed him to penetrate the mysteries of the universe, a fact which indicates the use of the right hemisphere, but he also used his left side in order to construct a theory of the conversion of energy, a theory which brought about a revolution in science, replacing Newton’s old paradigm.

Einstein said: “truth is intuition. First comes the thought, and I try to express it in words.”

Another example of creative, non-analytical thought is Leonardo da Vinci, who invented in 1490 a helicopter, and many other things that could be used on a large scale only centuries later.

He did not limit his accomplishments to one domain, but he reached several fields. As it seems, he used his intuition in order to visualize those apparatus because most of his works appear as drawings and visual images rather than descriptions in words.

As we have seen so far, most people fluctuate from one state to another, according to the predominant activation of one hemisphere or another.

A study performed by Raymond Klein and Roseanne Armitage from the Dalhousie University, Department of Psychology proved that the performance of those tasks characteristic to the left, respectively the right hemisphere oscillate at intervals of appreciatively 90 minutes.

These intervals correspond entirely to the fluctuations of breath, confirming thus the yogic theory according to which there is a tight relationship between the breath and the cyclic activity of the brain.

In the cases of disease, these cycles may become abnormal, and irregular from the points of view of rhythm, duration, and quality. Our whole life is dependant on these rhythms, to a degree that we do not even envisage.

The yogis have diagnosed the malfunctions of the brain rhythm through the direct examination of the respiratory rhythms through the two nostrils.

They sustain the idea that all the body parts are intimately interconnected – theory confirmed also by the recent studies in this area.

During their meditations, the yogis have the flow of energy circulating through different parts of our body, and they also perceived the more subtle levels of a human being, developing special techniques that develop a greater sensitivity and power of perception.

Consequently, these techniques allow the control over the nadis, brain, and all physiological processes.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: