Hello! How are you?...

Dear Sadhaka,

How are you? Hope you are pursuing your sadhana regularly. Mind always wants new, new sensations. At one point of time, taking up sadhana was a new sensation, and therefore you took lot of interest in understanding what sadhana is and how one can establish himself/herself in it. As you started doing it, slowly your mind began losing interest in it and went to sleep while doing meditation.

You must make all efforts so that you do your sadhana regularly. While doing sadhana, you must be very alert and wide awake. As you do sadhana, your whole personality should be into it. If you want to do mediation alone, without skillfully performing your duties, you would not enjoy much. Only when you take it up as a mission of your life, to do all things with involvement, without creating a division between mind and body, it would really help. Meditation would then become an adventure, an exploration into the deeper layers of your being.

Most of the sadhakas say that they don't see any change in them. If you are doing it regularly, even for a short time in a day, there would be a change; have no doubts about it. You should not worry when the Parampara is with you. It all depends on you alone: how committed you are or how honest you are to yourself.

Kindly deal with the external environment and internal personality with a relaxed mind. This relaxed (but not lazy) attitude will open up a new vista in your dealings. In relationship too, you would see a positive change; but be patient.

In service of Guru Parampara,
Sri Pattabhiram

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In the path of Sadhana

While following the path of dharma and truth, one can temporarily become confused and commit a mistake, but the quest for dharma and truth will in itself lead him back to right understanding. He will once more perform his duties according to his dharma. Following his dharma helps one to be one-pointed in this thoughts and actions, whereas dissipated and endless are the thoughts and actions of the irresolute. Furthermore the conscious effort one makes to follow his dharma has an enduring effect. It is motivation that is important here. Having a pure motive, one will perform his duty well.

In the path of Sadhana no effort is in vain; all sincere efforts bear their fruits in the unconscious mind according to the inevitable law of karma. Impressions live in the unconscious, in the storehouse of one's memory. Even a little sadhana practiced with sincere effort leaves deep imprints in the unconscious mind. Those impressions help and guide the Sadhaka whenever he goes off the path. The conscious part of the mind is but a small part of the whole. It is helpful in communicating with the external world but has very little use on the inward journey. If the conscious part of the mind is trained not to create further barriers, then sadhana is useful.

Yoga sadhana alone has explored all the unknown levels of life and is thus useful for knowing the levels of the unconscious and for training the totality of mind. Although modern psychology has come a long way in the last one hundred years in its recognition and exploration of a few of the layers of the unconscious mind, there is no training program in any of the educational and therapeutic systems of the worlds that can help one know the unconscious to the extent that yoga science can. If one does not know himself on all dimensions, how can he understand his relationships in the external world? Sadhana alone is the way of knowing, understanding, and analyzing the internal states and one's relationship to the external world.

While treading the path of the inner world, the sadhaka comes in touch with those potentialities that guide him unconsciously, or sometimes through dreams, and at other times consciously. Fearlessness thus increases, and self-reliance is strengthened. He is fully protected by the finer forces that exist, although he is not aware of them because of his extroverted nature. No danger can ever befall the sincere sadhaka in his exploration of the inner realms. The sadhaka is completely protected if he is fully dedicated to the goal of Self-realization.

Swami Rama

(Excerpts from Perennial Psychology of Bhagavad Gita)

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Devotee: I fear that Self-realisation is no easy thing to attain.

Master: Why impede yourself by anticipating failure? Push on. Self-realisation will come to an earnest seeker in a trice.

To illustrate this, Sri Bhagavan told the following story:

King Janaka was listening to a philosophical treatise read by the state pandit, wherein a passage occurred to the effect that a rider who had placed one foot in the stirrup, contemplating upon realisation could realise the Self before he lifted the other foot to place it in the other stirrup. That is, the passage taught, that when realisation comes, it comes in an instant. The king stopped the pandit from proceeding further, and ordered him to prove the statement.

The pandit admitted that he was only a book-worm and was unable to impart practical wisdom. Janaka suggested that the text was either false or exaggerated, but the pandit would not agree to this. Though he himself was unable to impart practical wisdom, he maintained that the text could not be false or exaggerated, since it contained the words of wise sages of the past. Janaka was annoyed with the pandit and in a fit of rage condemned him to prison. He then inflicted the same punishment on every pandit who passed for a wise man but was unable to prove this scriptural text.

For fear of being imprisoned, some of the pandits fled the country in voluntary exile. While two or three of them were running through a thick forest, a sage called Ashtavakra,* who though young in age was wise in learning, happened to cross their path. Having learnt their plight, Ashtavakra offered to prove the text true to the king and thereby have the imprisoned pandits released. Impressed by his bold assurance, they took him in a palanquin to the king. At the sight of the sage, the king stood up and saluted him with great reverence.

Ashtavakra then ordered the king to release all the pandits. Janaka thought that such an order could come only from one who had the capacity to set his doubts at rest, and hence he released all the pandits and asked the sage whether he could summon the horse.

The sage advised him not to be in a hurry and suggested that they should go to a solitary spot. Thereupon the king on his horse and the sage in a palanquin went out of the city towards the forest. When they reached the forest the sage asked the king to send back the retinue. The king did as he was asked, and then placing one of his feet in the stirrup, he requested the sage to prove the scriptural text. But the sage replied by asking whether the position in which they stood indicated a proper master-disciple relationship. The king then understood that he should show due reverence towards Ashtavakra, and prayed to him for grace.

The sage then addressed him as 'Janaka', since he was no longer a king and told him that before being taught Brahma jnana, a true disciple should surrender himself and all his possessions to his Master. “So be it”, said the king. “So be it” replied the sage and disappeared into the forest. From that moment Janaka stood transfixed with one foot in the stirrup and the other dangling in the air, as if he were a statue. (Saying this, Sri Bhagavan imitated the posture of King Janaka).

Time passed by, and the citizens, finding no sign of their king returning, grew anxious and began to search for him. They came to the place where Janaka was standing transfixed and were dismayed to find him unaware of their presence and indifferent to their earnest enquiries. They therefore began searching for Ashtavakra who, they thought, must be a charlatan that had cast a spell upon their king, and vowed vengeance upon him. At the same time, being concerned with the king's condition and wanting to minister to him, they brought him back to the city on a palanquin. The king, however, continued to remain in the same condition.

At last, having found Ashtavakra, the ministers entreated him to remove the alleged spell and bring the king back to his normal condition. At the same time they charged him with the responsibility for having cast the spell. Ashtavakra treated their ignorant remarks with contempt and called the name of Janaka, who immediately saluted him, and responded to his call. The ministers were surprised. Ashtavakra told the king that he was being maliciously accused by the people of having brought him to some sad plight and asked him to tell the truth.

On hearing this, the king angrily asked, 'Who said so'? The ministers were taken by surprise and pleaded for mercy. Thereupon, the sage advised the king to resume his normal functions, adding that Brahma jnana could be taught only to competent persons and that since the king had successfully passed the test, he would now impart it to him. Then the sage remained alone with the king during the night and taught him the ultimate Truth, saying “Brahman is not anything new or apart from oneself and no particular time or place is needed to realise It.” He finally concluded by saying, “That Thou Art” (tat tvam asi). That is the Self, eternal and infinite.

The next morning the ministers found that the king called the assembly and performed his functions as usual. In the assembled court Ashtavakra asked the king whether his former doubt about whether Brahma jnana could be attained as suddenly and as quickly as mentioned in the scriptures was cleared, and if so to bring the horse and demonstrate the truth of it.

The king was all humility now and said, “Lord! Because of my immaturity, I doubted the correctness of the scriptural text. I now realise every letter of it is true.” The ministers thanked the sage.

Ramana Maharshi

(Excerpts from Spiritual Stories as told by Ramana)

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Guruji Trip to West

In 2008, Guruji Pattabhiram traveled to USA, Canada and UK during the period August 08 to November 10. Here is a summary of his travels and details of various programs conducted as a humble offering at the feet of the masters.

There has been overwhelming response from all organizers spread around USA, UK and Canada to invite Guruji and host programs. This is the first time Guruji has visited UK. It was a joyous task to work together as a team in order to serve the guru parampara. Everyone showed exemplified zeal to selflessly serve rising above their individual limitations and being an instrument in the hands of the masters to serve humanity. All organizers had put-in untiring enthusiasm and efforts to explore opportunities to host programs, to negotiate schedule and place for the programs, to advertise the programs, to spread the message around the communities and to host the programs itself. In most of the places we had wonderful response from the people and audience were moved by Guruji‟s simple approach in presenting the most difficult ideas.

There were varieties of programs conducted. There were programs conducted in temples mostly on Gayatri Mantra, Mrityunjaya Mantra, Antar Darshana and Stress management. In all temple programs, Guruji emphasized people to cultivate devotion in a spiritual dimension of exploring one's own self and not to get stuck with mere emotional bakthi. He then presented the topics in this context and helped them systematically to learn the practices as well.

More programs were conducted in large community halls or auditoriums of various organizations such as Arya samaj or yoga studios. These programs were mostly on Patanjali yoga sutras and Chakra prana mantra aspects. Some of these programs such as the one at Royal Albert Hall, New Jersey and Arya Samaj Toronto attracted large number of people. These programs were aimed to reach people who are regularly practicing yoga. The key objective here had been to change the prevalent perspective in the west that yoga is merely an activity for the physical being. Guruji was blunt and relentless in condemning this attitude among people that has reduced yoga to mere physical exercises. He mesmerized his audience by presenting the profound wisdom of Patanjali yoga sutras in the simplest manner possible. Guruji was passionate for declaring to the whole world that yoga sutras present the human integral science and the foremost understanding on human psychology.

The public programs were complemented by the sought after programs of Guruji in the west. Those were the programs held at residences of sadhakas and many were on Dhyana Yoga. Unlike the public programs, these residence programs had an informal vibration and Guruji was full of compassion for families and their well being. He never missed an opportunity to gather and interact with all the family members helping them with any problems and emphasizing the need to lead a purpose-oriented life filled with selfless love, harmony and spiritual practices.

For families, hosting Guruji for a week was in itself a wonderful learning experience. Most of them were surprised by his humble, simple and down to earth personality and the ease with which he merges into the rhythm of any family and their living style. Many families felt that while they changed nothing external in their home to accommodate Guruji, but when he had left, they had a transforming change within. Guruji's love for sadhakas knew no limits and it manifested in every single casual interactions such as going for a walk with him, chatting with an evening tea, sharing a light moment with kids and youth or having fun learning to cook in the kitchen. He uses every single opportunity to make the family members live the teachings of the parampara.

Guruji's travel started from Minneapolis. After spending a week, he went to St.Louis and Chicago each for a week. He was in Canada for a month visiting cities like Calgary, Toronto, Cambridge and London. Then he began his second phase of USA visit from Pittsburgh. Subsequently he was in New Jersey for couple of weeks and visited Richmond for a weekend. He concluded his North American visit with Jacksonville. From there he went to UK for the first time and spent a week conducting programs at London, Manchester and Birmingham. He was given a very warm and cordial welcome during his first visit to UK. Having thus traveled tirelessly following a hectic schedule, Guruji returned to India. All our organizers in these places are continuing their sadhana while waiting to be with Guruji next year to experience the bliss of being with the GRACE.

- A Sadhaka

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Hello! How are you?...

Sadhana Capacity

Friends November 13 is the Mahasamadhi day of Gurudev Swami Rama (Baba). On this day we should meditate upon Baba to experience divine grace that is going to be showered in abundance without any discrimination. I would like to narrate a story that Baba shared with me as to what a grace is from Master. A Master called two of his disciples Bhaskar and Mahesh and told them that he would like to give them something precious. Both the students were very excited on hearing this and asked the Master when he will give them that. The Master said one week from now. Later in the day, he again called both Bhaskar and Mahesh and gave them some work.

A week passed by and the day came on which the Master had told to give both something precious. When both sat before the Master, the Master asked Bhaskar to leave and Mahesh to stay as they could not finish the work assigned a week back. This puzzled them because both of them could not complete the work. Bhaskar felt a bit embarrassed and asked the Master why this was so. To this, the Master said, “I know both of you attempted to do the work assigned to you. But, Mahesh, you did not put your effort. You tried for a day and left it because your mind was calculating anyhow you are going to get something precious from me and with the help of that you can finish the work assigned to you. But Bhaskar, on the other hand, was untiring in his efforts. Even though he could not get the results out of his efforts, every day he was sincerely trying to finish the work assigned by me. That’s the key. That key is universal and can unlock any lock. So he does not require anything from me but blessings. But Mahesh you are handicapped. You can’t function without power. That’s why, Bhaskar, I asked you to leave and asked Mahesh to stay.”

Friends, this is what our Masters precisely want to communicate to us. Don’t depend on anything for attending to our duties. God has given us all the faculties to attend to our duties and all our faculties are functioning properly. Then why the hypocrisy of handicap? Be it Spiritual Sadhana or anything in life; just put your utmost effort untiringly, till you reach a point of break down. When you reach that point, just break down and observe yourself, without any partiality and see the beauty. What I am trying to express is something to be experienced. So please attend to all your duties without any burdened mind and heart and just breakdown when you reach such a state. That surrender will bring success. The intention of all Masters is only to push us all to the ultimate of our effort and potential – again to guide and bless us so that we reach the pinnacle.

May Gurudev bless you all in this experiment.

In service of Guru Parampara,
Sri Pattabhiram

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Selfless Service

Selfless service is not to be done only for the sake of others or only to please others. It should be done because it liberates you, because it makes you happy. It’s a great joy – the highest of all joy in the world. Selfless service is more helpful to the person who performs it than to the person for whom it is performed. Not all service is selfless. People are charitable for three reasons. Some people give to charity so their name will be known all over and thus their business will flourish because others will think that they are very good – not only rich but generous. Other people give, thinking that if they give now, they will receive in the next world. But very few people give with the knowledge that holding onto anything only creates problems and so they should offer all they have in order to be free. This third kind of charity gives freedom, but the first two only create more bondage. The actions are the same, but the motivations are different.

If you do an action that is not helpful to you, it will give your fruits that are not helpful. When you understand this, you will realize that selfless service is the highest of all worships. No prayer can be compared with such action. Yet merely realizing this truth intellectually is not enough. Many people understand this truth, yet they do not worship through selfless service. We must practice this truth in our lives. In doing this, we should constantly be aware of the fact that other human beings are like shrines, and that the inner dweller in each of us in God. Thus by serving others we serve God. When we understand this, then instead of building temples, churches and mosques, we can use our time, energy and money to help others in practical ways. Selfless service is the finest of all prayers.

Swami Rama

(Excerpts from Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama)

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Questions on Spirtual Practice..

Q: A friend with whom I meditate bends forward and then jerks back into place from time to time. Is he falling asleep? Is he sitting incorrectly? Or his kundalini awakening? Should I touch his elbow and make him aware of this when it happens? It’s been going on for a year now.

A: Jerks and bending forward in meditation are signs of not having a steady mind and of not preparing yourself physically. Please encourage him to correct his dietary habits and learn to strengthen his desire for meditation. He will get over this problem. Keeping his head, neck, and trunk straight and sitting in an easy and steady posture are equally important. Falling asleep is because of inertia. Do not be misguided and think that this is a sign or symptom of Kundalini awakening. It is possible to awaken Kundalini, but steadiness, a one-pointed mind, and a strong desire to read the systematic path of this science are important.

Q: Is Samadhi attained or received? It seems the harder I try to mediate, the more it escapes me. But when I let go and just sit there, I go deeper. What technique is best to show an effort on my part but not be pushy?

A: Samadhi is neither attained nor received. It is the expansion of the individual mind to the realization of the cosmic mind. Do not struggle with your mind, and slowly learn to expand the consciousness. Do not overdo or miss your practices. They are to be done punctually, regularly, with firm faith.

Q: Can someone overdo karma yoga, or should some time be given for meditation as well?

A: Karma yoga is a must, and it should be performed selflessly and skillfully. Performing Karma yoga selflessly and skillfully is called meditation in action. Sometimes silences makes one aware of one’s own duty, and it is also essential.

Q: What should be done about intense feelings of jealously?

A: Jealousy is a poison one creates for oneself. It is a weakness that creates a barrier on the path of spirituality. Those who are self-centered and selfish are jealous of each others progress. This is an incompetency that should be removed by positive thinking and realizing one’s own weakness. Do not compare yourself with others. Watch your mind, action, and speech.

Q: How many incarnations must a person go through?

A: For an ignorant individual, reincarnation is the only way. One who is realized, however, obtains freedom from the chain of births and deaths. An enlightened one, if he choose to come to help others, can reincarnate, but this is his choice.

Q: why is it harmful to com-pare ourselves with others, especially in spiritual practice?

A: On the path of spirituality, there can be no such comparison. The path of self-enlightenment starts with self-analysis, then self-control, and finally self-enlightenment. Why do you want to compare yourself with others? Comparing yourself with the sages will positively inspire you, but comparing yourself with the mundane symbols of the world will mislead you.

Q: How can one build a trust that he is on the right spiritual path? What about fears that seem to hold one back?

A: Fear invites danger. Fear is the most important aspect of ignorance. It means non-trusting of the reality within. Self-reliance and constant awareness will help one in building trust.

Q: As one becomes aware of the negative tendencies in one’s thinking, how can these be changed into positive tendencies and cheerfulness?

A: Negative and positive tendencies exist in everyone. Those who practice spirituality and have some aim in life will focus on that aim and direct their resources to fulfilling it. For such a person, negativity becomes meaningless. Positive thinking helps one in all phases of life.

Q: Does a mantra link one with his or her chosen ideal

A: If a mantra is properly practiced, it becomes a staff of life and directs one at all times.

Swami Rama

(Excerpts from Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama)

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Swami Rama Message

If you learn to do human efforts sincerely, then that ascended power suddenly comes in touch with the descending power that is called kripa, blessings, as the grace of God, the grace of the highest, the grace of Absolute One. So human effort is sadhana; it needs the grace of God. When you are doing your Sadhana, you are bound to receive the grace from Providence, from the Highest Level.

A day will come when you can go beyond the mire of delusion created by your mind, and you will have control. Meditation, contemplation and prayer should go hand-in-hand. I pray to the mighty Lord to help you.

I pray that you will all be happy and enjoy, and let the flower of your life bloom so that you can serve one another and help others. Enjoy all the time. Be happy. Learn to be Happy.

I too have a Guru. The spiritual path can’t be tread without kripa, Guru’s graces. But if you want to have the Guru’s grace, you would have to have your own grace. You should make sincere efforts, and then the grace of God will come. Let you be graced today, the day which reminds you that you have to follow the path of enlightenment, loving all and excluding none. That is the way to the Divine.

Akhanda Mandalakaram
Vyaptam Yena Characharam
Tat Padam Darshitam Yena
Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah

To that glorious Guru my homage,
who has shown me that state which is identical
with the unbroken full orb of the sun,
which pervades all things, moving and unmoving.
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi. May God bless you.

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Hello! How are you?...

Where should the Mantra come from?

Mantra means - when we chant, when we repeat, when we contemplate, when we experience a mantra, then that mantra will release its energy and that energy protect us. That is called mantra. We all need protection in the external world. External world is full of different types of forces which are acting upon our psyche, acting upon our body and acting upon our systems continuously. If you see carefully, every minute different forces are acting upon us. There may be negative forces, there may be positive forces, there may be forces which are giving positive energy, and there may be forces which are draining away energy. So that prakrati, the nature, or the environment is continuously influencing our energy field either in a positive way or negative way. When we go to somebody, we experience that energy field.

In order to protect ourselves we chant mantra, say Gayatri Mantra. So from where the Gayatri mantra has to begin? From where? Smile! Then the Gayatri will express herself. So the Gayatri mantra starts with a beautiful smile, an innocent smile, the smile full of love, full of concern and full of feeling. If you smile like that, let me tell you it releases such powerful positive energy, that energy is going to cure all your diseases. You need not do anything. The smile itself will cure your mental, physical and spiritual problems. You need not chant Gayatri mantra or any other mantra. You find out whether you are really smiling from your heart and from your intellect. The receptionist will give that intellectual smile. Don’t get into that kind of smile. It has to come from within. Have you seen the great masters? When you go to a true master, he would never speak lengthy statements. He would ask only one or two questions, but will full of smile. A smile is enough to transform everything, only a smile nothing else.

I have seen families, on ordinary days they will be smiling but when a festival comes there is tension, anxiety, irritation and frustration – probably you will be expecting a lot of things from other people on these days and you will be under tension. On these days we require to perform puja and chant a number of mantra as taught by purohit. So on the festival days we are supposed to smile. Otherwise what are we celebrating the festival for? But only on that day, the smile disappears! Everybody is serious. We also start thinking why is this festival coming and bothering us? The mood of festivity disappears on the festival days. Of course now-a-days laughing clubs have come where people go in the morning and laugh for 10-15 minutes. When they come out of the field, they are again serious with everybody. It has become a ritual to them to go there, laugh, come back and be serious. Don’t be ritualistic in smiling, but smile from heart. Learn to smile, start smiling – this is the first lesson even before chanting any mantra.

With yogic fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram

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Can a child do yoga? (Part 2)

In last issue we discussed how Yoga can be taught to Children who belong to Standards I & II (i.e. for the age group of 5 –6). Now let’s see how to approach Children from Standards III to V.

Children in standards III to V are bit grown up, both physically and psychologically. We can slowly introduce yogic principles without directly imposing upon the young minds. Since yogic practices are very static in nature, children do not take to asanas with great enthusiasm in the beginning. They should be prepared first for it. The following sequence of gradual progress is found very effective:

(a) right attentive mood
(b) loosening up exercises
(c) moderate activities
(d) yogic practices.

Setting the mood: Right attentive mood is the ground for any deep learning. As the yoga class starts, the children either sit quietly in any meditative posture or lie down in Shavasana for some time. This slows down the activities of the children. This creates space in the mind. Then, as a second step, the children are asked to listen, without straining themselves, to all kinds of sound coming from outside. This indirectly improves the quality of attention. Then they are asked to watch, observe and feel what is going on within them. This makes them more observant about themselves.

Loosening up exercises: After the children settle down to an attentive mood, they are put through different loosening up exercises which involve all kinds of movements. The speed of movement is slowly increased to the maximum, maintained for some time and then decreased to the minimum. After each exercise, they stand in a very relaxed way, drop all the voluntary motor activities and watch the disturbed bio-rhythm and the raised metabolic activities like raised heart-beat, hard breathing, rapid blood circulation, increased temperature and so on. They not only observe but also experience how the dis-turbed rhythm comes back to normal homeostatic state. This observation and experience intensify their aspiration to know about their inner world more deeply – how they work, how the stamina can be improved etc.

Moderate exercises: After the brisk exercises, a medium speed exercise like Surya Namaskar is taken up. Here the children not only watch the lowered speed in the movement but also experience the rhythmic sequential movements of Surya Namaskar, staying in each position for some time. They see the difficulty of maintaining a position and how it creates a conflict between two aspects of the personality, viz. (1) desire to stay in the position; and (2) inability of the particular organs and various parts of the body to stay still. This observation develops in them an understanding about the shortcomings of various parts of the body, the subtle conflicts in new adaptations and how to cope with them. This intermediate stage is a stepping stone for asanas.

Yogic practices / Asanas: Usually asanas are misunderstood as exercises. There are distinctive differences between Asanas and exercises. We will see them in next issue.
With Yogic fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram.

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Questions on Spiritual Practice...

Q: I have heard that you should meditate facing the sun – East in the morning and West in the evening – but that facing North is the best. I feel unsure of the best direction to face for meditation. Can it be changed in the evening and morning, or should it always be the same?

A: While sitting in meditation in the morning and evening, facing East and West, respectively, is considered to be good, but for a true meditation, directions, do not mean much. Meditation is a technique that leads one beyond the sense of time, space, and causation, as well as the sense of direction. A comfortable and steady posture should be practiced regularly; it should not be changed again and again. Your seat should be a firm cushion or folded blanket. Sitting on a heard chair or the floor is not healthy in the long run.

Q: Is it helpful to have a mantra for meditation, and why? Can one use so ham or should he have his own mantra?

A: It is very helpful to have a mantra, for the mantra is a guide, and the mind spontaneously starts meditating on it. It is a necessary means in the journey that helps one to fathom the many subtle levels of consciousness. Breath awareness is important for making the mind one-pointed and inward, and you can coordinate so ham with your inhalation and exhalation if you want. Remembering your mantra according to the instructions given to you by your teacher is more helpful than any information you can gain through books.

Q: Can you explain how meditation is not just for Hindus? My family is very orthodox and thinks I have left the church. Are there passages in the Bible and in Jewish literature that refer to mediation as a sanctioned method of worship?

A: Meditation is for all human beings and not for Hindus only. It helps one gain control over the roving habits of the mind. For peace of mind and happiness, meditation is very beneficial. Meditation is not religious, and it does not op-pose any religion or church. In the Bible, it is said, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). To sit down in a calm and quiet place, steadily and comfortably, is called stilling the body. To calm down the breath is also necessary. These two preliminary steps help you to still the mind, and then center of consciousness will reveal itself to you.

Q: When one is stuck on a "blah plateau" in one’s practice and does not seem to be advancing, should he just wait it out, or are there methods he can use to progress further?

A: Sometimes it is natural for students to think that their progress is at a standstill. Patience and sincerity toward one’s practice are two essential and preliminary steps. Sometimes desires interfere and distract the mind. One should learn to watch one’s actions, speech, thoughts, emotions and desires; then there will be not obstacles.

Q: Is there such a thing as a healing prayer or a healing touch? What happens? Can anyone do it for anyone else? Is love all that is required? What is the "energy" they speak of as the healing power? How can we become healers, and can we heal ourselves? Are there special ways or should you just try your best and see?

A: All human beings are fully equipped with healing potential, and prayer definitely helps. With the help of prayer, one can heal oneself. If you are very selfless and have compassion for the people whom you want heal, they definitely will be benefited. Unconditional faith is one of the important qualities you should develop in your heart, and love is the mother of all energy and all healing powers. You are already healing yourselves, and when you become aware of this fact you become a self-healer. There are many methods of healing, but strong faith in God within is the highest of all.

Q: How can we repay our parents in terms of karma for all the good they have done for us?

A: Serving one’s parents is the only way to express one’s gratitude and repay our debts. Blessed are those who serve their parents and enjoy doing so.

(Excerpts from Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama)

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Hello! How are you?...

Thinking -> Feeling -> Habit -> Attitude -> Environment

We all complain that we are fine but the environment we live in is very bad for us to do desired things. The above is another piece of 'Plan of Action' for ordinary man, willing to do sadhana (as seen by me when I was contemplating in the Himalayas on what an ordinary man should do to lift himself up from the mess that he is in.)

Friends, everything develops at the thought-level. It may include what do we think, how do we think, the product of it, the subject of our thinking. If I am hurt, then my thinking will be on hurt only. Every thought is produced from the deep reservoir of your hurt. If you have a hatred feeling, then every thought springs from that hatred. It is desirable to find out what kind of 'thinking being' you are. Based on thinking, the feeling will emerge. If the thinking is on hurt, then the feelings related to hurt will come out. The feeling of self-pity, guilt, anger, venomous, animosity, etc, would spring up like ripples in a pond. The pattern of thinking has incited this feeling. Don't blame God or someone for this.

The feeling pattern creates habit patterns. Please watch carefully. Whatever you think and whatever feeling comes out of that thinking—the two are mixed up, and the product is a habit. Then the habit creates an attitude, because this habit has to relate to the external world. Your thinking is not relating, your feeling is not relating, your habit is not relating but the attitudes; attitude is an extension of a thought and then that becomes the vehicle through which one operates. When X comes, the attitude is different, when Y comes, the attitude is different and the man has become a puppet in the hands of these attitudes.

The attitude creates an environment or energy field and you are slowly surrounded by that environment and the environment slowly becomes very strong, very thick like a fog in winters. In winter mornings in North India, there will be a thick fog and you cannot see beyond 10 feet. Fog is there but it is not impossible to move in fog. If you continue to move on with alert mind and wide opened eyes, after some time, the vision becomes very clear and you can move further at a greater speed.

Friends, take stock of your environment; watch the way of your actions—by the tongue, by the body, by the mind. Become aware and move on, having faith in your sadhana. May the Lord bless you.

With yogic fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram

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Many students who meditate think that prayer is not needed, because they don't understand what prayer is. Why do you want to pray?

From Morning until evening you pray, “Lord, give me this; Lord, give me that.” What are you actually doing? You are feeding your ego, which is a bad habit. This is called ego-centric prayer. Human beings, tossed by desire and wants, have become victims of ego-centric prayer, which really makes them beggars. It is still prayer, and so it is better than not doing anything at all.

Pray in your own language to the Lord of Life, who is seated in the inner chamber of your being. He knows you better than anyone else. He guides you, protects you, and helps you.

Pray to the Lord of Life in your heart to give you strength and wisdom, so that you can understand life from all perspectives.

It is essential to pray twice a day, morning and evening. Prayer is a petition for extra energy for our success. To whom to pray? God is the source of all energies, the centre, the powerhouse of light, life and love. Through prayer, we can reach to that power-house and draw the energy for expanding the field of our mind and the horizon of our consciousness.

You are praying to someone who is not body, breath, and mind. He is seated beyond and behind this mortal frame, whose nucleus is within you and his expansion is the universe. There is only one absolute Reality that exists, and the same exists within you.

You want to reach and touch some higher force whom you call God. You make your mind one-pointed with a desire that motivates you to pray. Absorbed in your desire for prayer, the mind becomes calm, when the mind is calm, the Great Majesty reveals itself to the mind, and the purpose of prayer is accomplished.

There are many steps of prayer, and the first is to say a few mantras and then to mentally remember those mantras; then wait for the answer to be received. Every prayer is answered.

When you learn to meditate, making the body steady and still, the breath serene, and the mind free from turmoil, this will lead you to a state of inner experience. You come in touch with something higher and receive the knowledge that is not from the mind, but from beyond-from deep within.

You should learn to meditate with the feeling that the body is a shrine and the inner dweller, the Lord of Life, is God. Mind is a sadhaka and learns to surrender its manner, moods and weapons by saying, “I have no capacity. My abilities are limited. Help me Lord, give me power, so that I can solve all the problems boldly without getting flattened like a ball of clay, or crumble as a house of cards is crumbled by the touch of a finger.”

In this way the mind forms a habit of depending on the Lord of Life, instead of leaning on the 'mere I'. The 'mere I' is the ego, and the 'real I' is God within. This inward process is meditation-cum-prayer. All other prayers are futile, enveloped by wants and desires, fully colored by selfishness, and are just for the sake of pleasing the ego.

Never pray for anything selfish. Pray to the Lord so that your mind receives energy and the Lord motivates you to do what is right for you and for others. That which can‟t be accomplished through any other means can be accomplished through prayer. There is a beautiful verse in the Bible, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” It is not written how many times one has to knock!

Prayer and repentance are the greatest purifiers that purify the way of life and lead us to Self-realization. Prayer without repentance does not help much.

Prayers are always answered; therefore, pray with your mind and heart.

-Swami Rama
(Excerpt from the book 'Sadhana')

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Can a child do yoga? (Part 1)


By virtue of my experience as yoga teacher, I can confidently say that yoga can be taught to the children of any age. Svaathma rama the great exponent of yoga, in this text Hata Yoga Pradipika proclaims that yoga can be practiced by Bala-Yuva-Vrudha-Ativrudha i.e. children, youth. Even old people can do yoga.

If you watch consciously the development of a child into an adult, you realize that man, even as a child, is not unfamiliar to yogic practices. The child begins to be aware of its bodily movements by lying on its back, lifting the legs up and playing with it very naturally. It very much resembles Eka-padottanasana and Dwi-padottanasana. After some days, the child turns on its stomach and starts lifting the head, (Bhujangasana), legs (Shalabhasana) etc. This way, the child naturally does all spinal movements, simple stretches and some pressure variation principles.

Thus, a child's body has a natural flexibility with a good range of movements at the joints, soft muscles, very active organs and very sensitive nerves. The child's endocrine glands are actively developing. The spine which carries the network of nerves to the parts of the body is very flexible.

The child's mind is naturally attentive to the things that interest him. Yoga as an art of human integral science can play a very vital roles in developing these qualities and in ensuring that they do not decline with age.

Children of standards I and II belonging the age group of 5 + 6 are full of energy and tend to express their energy through brisk activities. They will never appreciate the static aspects of Yogasanas. So it is not desirable to introduce any static yogic postures to that age group. They can be prepared for yogic practices by introducing various activities which help them develop:

- Natural flexibility which is already there in them

- Various bodily co-ordination,

- Their capacity to visualize things; and

- Their capacity to experience various movements.

Here, I would like to explain how, for example, Vrikasana can be taught to the kids, in a creative way.

Example: Visualizing a tree. Tell the child to imagine that the child is a tree standing erect on the ground. Then start spreading out the hands on either side and imagine them as branches and fingers as leaves.

- The tree is standing very erect with its roots very firmly fixed deep into the earth. Nothing can shake it or uproot it. It is very stable.

- Again imagine that a strong wind is blowing. The tree cannot face the wind so it is slowly bending with its branches and leaves.

- Gradually the wind ceases to blow hard. Then the tree is once again coming back to its normal posture. The branches do not bend any longer.

- The wind is blowing in an irregular way, the tree is moving in all directions unsteadily and violently. Oh it is the height of unsteadiness yet, the roots are holding the tree, etc.

This way, we can help a child to experience:

- Balance

- Stability

- Unsteadiness

- Absolute stillness

- Musical movements of various parts of the body.

Thus, many yogic practices can be modified as joyful play, and can be taught to derive the desirable effects without directly introducing static yogic practices or the related principles.

Children in standards III to V are a bit grown up, both physically and psychologically. We will see how to approach them in next issue.

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Hello! How are you?...

"Saa Vidya ya VIMUKTAYE"

"Whatever liberates you is true knowledge", declare the Upanishads.

But what are we seeing today? Hatred, violence and rivalry everywhere around; mutual suspicion and wars are enmeshing the entire globe. The eternal human values like love, kindness, and generosity are being thrown to dust. "Myself first" has become the dictum of the day. Is it not an alarming image of life that we have carved on the canvas of peace, harmony and happy co-existence? Where is the way out?

Society is nothing but projection of man. If man could be transformed totally, society would automatically fall in line. Not superficial reformation but total transformation of man to bring him 'vimukti' (freedom) through Real Education is the only way out.

The sages of India were real educationists apart from being seers and philosophers. Their deep contempla-tion into human nature, his relationship with life and society in peace and harmony resulted in "Real Education of Man". They evolved various systematic comprehensive, humane educational approaches which we today know as "YOGA – MUSIC – DANCE – ART – AtmaVidya" and so on. Each system aimed at transforming the raw into the refined, and establish harmony within oneself and its influence on the external world.

"Charaiveti" i.e. "March Ahead" and explore into the unknown recesses of life is our aspiration. This Upanishadic proclamation is our inspiration towards holistic education. This e-Newsletter of Sadhana Sangama aims to spread and inculcate the eternal educational values to Mankind.

With yogic fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram

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Internal Dialogue

Uncontrolled thoughts lead to the asylum, but controlled internal dialogue leads to an understanding of the nature of the mind and helps in the path of meditation and contemplation. In a monastery novices do not begin with meditation. First students are taught to purify their minds. Modern man is too impatient and wants to master the art of meditation immediately. Learn to have a dialogue between the observer and that which is being observed. Follow the imagination in this dialogue, analyze and observe the train of mental objects, and slowly control will be gained over these things. We rise above them, and they disappear from the domain of mind.

One‘s conscience already knows what is right and wrong, good and bad, helpful and unhelpful. One simply has to tune into his inner conscience, which guides him all the time. The first and foremost duty of a true and selfless teacher is to introduce his student to that inner guide which leads one during the waking, dreaming, and sleeping states. When one takes time from his busy life and learns to sit calmly in a quiet place, the inner counselor begins counseling. It would be helpful if therapists and psychologists, as well as priests and spiritual teachers, would learn to listen to the inner counselor and then introduce that inner guide to their clients and students.

If you do not want to meditate, then do not meditate. You should not have a fight with your mind; you should have a gentle dialogue with your mind. You will learn many things when you enter into self-dialogue. You do not begin with meditation itself. First you learn to set a regular meditation time, and then to have a dialogue with yourself.

If you have a dialogue with yourself for a few minutes or a few hours before you do meditation, then your meditation will be good. If you do not do that, then you use your meditation time for self-dialogue, and then the 'meditation' is not really meditation. Be a close friend to your mind, a very close friend. Let the mind whisper those inner secrets to you, and put all things in front of you. You need to make the mind your friend because it is either a great friend or a great foe. That which is an enemy can be converted into a great friend. Today you cannot face yourself; you don‘t want to know yourself because you are afraid. Once you know how to have this kind of dialogue with yourself, it will help you enormously.

First, you need to understand what you are doing wrong. Next, you need to create new grooves, so that your mind does not automatically flow in its old grooves, but instead begins to flow in the new grooves. Learn to counsel yourself and have a self-dialogue. Learn to mentally talk to yourself. Ask yourself why you are doing an action. Many times you will say to yourself, "I don‘t want to do this, but I have been doing it, so now it‘s a routine," and then you‘ll understand the process of habit formation. With all your idealization of sadhana and gurus and teachers, you have neglected one thing: you need to know something practical. You need to know a practical method of gaining freedom from those weaknesses that you have formed in your child-hood, which have become part of your life, and are difficult for you to resolve. In this kind of training, books can‘t help you; nothing external will help you. You need to consider why you often do not do what you really want to do. Put these questions to yourself and you‘ll find the answers.

Swami Rama
(Excerpt from Teachings of Swami Rama)

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Secret of Successful living

Everyone of us wants to be successful in life. It would seem that the definition of success varies depending upon our circumstances or priorities. We want to be successful in our careers. We want to be successful in academics. We want to be healthy and strong. We want attention. We want love. We want to be successful even in not wanting anything. The definition of success, however, has to be singular. That is why there is only one word to describe it. What actually varies is the manner in which we seek success and the place or activity where we choose to seek it. Success is merely a state of mind that gives one the feeling of well being. This feeling of well being exists in all of us momentarily and in patches throughout life. It may exist for a while immediately after we complete an assignment to our satisfaction or whenever the memory of it takes hold of us. It is temporary and, therefore, a particular event or chain of events in our life cannot be construed to constitute successful living.

Life is continuous. If we live to the age of eighty, then we have lived every moment of those eighty years. We cannot choose to live five days a week and take the weekend off! Successful living, then, has to mean that the feeling of well being needs to exist in us every moment in life albeit the changing environment. In order to achieve this, we need to continually assess our situation and environment both internal and external and then respond to it. In order to respond, we must first accept the reality around us. We must accept our situation in life and our relationship to society and the environment. Acceptance is the first condition to response as opposed to reaction. Furthermore, our response needs to be such that it produces minimal disturbance. If we disturb the environment, we will only succeed in increasing the activities and adjustments that we need to make to preserve our own successful state of mind.

After understanding our situation and accepting it, we need to work on ourselves, cultivate the right attitude, and improve ourselves in order to convert reaction to response. We must leave no stone unturned in our efforts. When we speak of the environment we are normally referring to society, and that too, human society in the form of family, neighbours, country men, friends and enemies, the society needs to be dealt with appropriately. We must love unconditionally and serve dispassionately. If our best efforts do not bear fruit, then we must pray to divinity for intervention. We must pray to divinity to shower love and blessings on all those around us, the people we love, the people we hate and the people we have hurt in our attempts to improve the conditions in which we live. This is the secret to successful living. It is this that produces the state of mind that can be called success.

With Yogic Fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram.

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Sadhana Sangama Trust

The mission of Sadhana Sangama Trust is to create a healthy, harmonious and happy society through appropriate integration of Yoga, Naada, Nritya, Kala and Atmavidya. Guruji Shri Pattabhiram, the founder Director of Sadhana Sangama Trust views man as a multi-dimensional being with the co-existence of spiritual, physical, emotional, cultural and social dimensions. Although these aspects are addressed individually in various institutions, Sadhana Sangama seeks to integrate them in a practical manner to suit modern times and bring the ancient wisdom of Indian culture and heritage into the mainstream of day to day life.

Sadhana Sangama Trust is a registered charitable trust, dedicated to Swami Rama of the Himalayas and founded in 1986 by Guruji Shri Pattabhiram. The trust runs a center at Bangalore and an ashram, Sadhana Dhama, situated in the green valley near Kanva reservoir, 60 kms from Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore highway.

The land for the ashram was granted to the trust by the Karnataka State Government in recognition of the services being rendered by it to society. Contributions to the Trust are exempt under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. The Trust is also registered by the Government of India, under Section 6(1) of the Foreign Contribution regulation Act.

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About Blog

"Saa Vidya ya Vimuktaye"

"That which liberates you is true knowledge", declare the Upanishads.

"Charaiveti" i.e. "March Ahead" and explore into the unknown recesses of life is our aspiration. This Upanishadic proclamation is our inspiration towards holistic education. This e-Newsletter aims to spread and inculcate the eternal educational values to Mankind.

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