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Blessings from the Parampara,

I would like to share a great secret with you all which would lead you to peace and eternal happiness i.e., your source. Of course, it depends on how you are going to assimilate it and make use of it.

All of us, deep within our hearts, have an opinion about ourselves that “we are good and are not capable of hurting or harming others”. We try to behave in such a manner as to reflect the above feelings. But still, we feel helpless, we undergo crisis, find it difficult to cope with life, not able to meet our commitments and perform our duties. We are puzzled by this. Friends, this is nothing but Praapti. Praapti means one gets what one deserves only. There is nothing wrong with our actions or intentions. Nor our method of action is improper. It is because of Praapti we get set backs, undergo crisis. Whatever actions we have done consciously or unconsciously, in our previous manifestations, when the fruit of these becomes mature and ripe, it enters our lives in the form of Praapti. We can't interfere with it, as the action has already taken place. No reverse gear is possible. This Praapti dictates our present life. But don't lose heart.

If that is the case, what are we struggling for? Where would the fruits of our present actions go? The efforts that we make here and now are called Purusha Prayatna (human effort or human endevour). It is certainly not to do away with Praapti or influence it. Then what is the use of this Prayatna? Prayatna is very important. Prayatna made in this life becomes Praapti in the next life or lives. This is well within our control… In other words we can influence our future Praapti by present Prayatna. Prayatna is the foundation stone for Praapti. We do Prayatna here and now expect it to nullify the Praapti that has already begun. This is where we go wrong. That's why we feel life is a burden! The moment we correct this attitude, half of the life‟s burden would get dissolved naturally.

There is one more thing that affects our life-Anugraha. This means Grace. Is it possible to invoke this Grace by human effort? Yes. In fact, our Prayatna in this life should be to invoke that Grace. What is Prayatna? It is self-purification, which means nothing but moving from 'I' consciousness to 'we' consciousness and from there to 'universal / cosmic' consciousness. When one reaches this cosmic consciousness, one experiences Grace. Prayatna should not be directed towards acquiring only material comforts. Of course, there is nothing wrong in it. Rather, it is a must. But the primary objective of our Prayatna should be to tap the Grace. Search for material gains through Prayatna should be subsidiary of our efforts to gain Grace.

Life = Prayatna + Praapti + Anugraha

Is life complete then? Yes. With a word of caution, I conclude here. Grace should not be hoarded. Nor should it be delivered for selfish gains. This marks the downfall of a Sadhaka. Grace should be allowed to flow gently like breeze touching each and every object of God‟s creation. Grace should flow through us and not into us.

In the service of Guru Parampara

Sri Pattabhiram

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One Pointedness

Merely knowing what to do without one-pointedness of mind will not lead one to perform his duty accurately. Therefore the desired results will not be attained. Just as profound knowledge of what to do is essential, so having a onepointed mind is equally essential. The modern student tends to know intellectually but does not make sincere efforts to develop onepointedness of mind. Thus his mind remains scattered and all his actions result in disappoint-ment.

For lack of a onepointed mind, the modern student jumps from one path to another because he does not understand that it is his scattered mind that is creating barriers for him. He things that the barriers are outside. Assuming that another path or goal will be better is trickery played by the mind. One already knows what is right, but he does not know how to put it into practice. In childhood the fundamentals of all great truths are taught to us. Then we spend energy in trying to apply those truths, but we fail. We do not realize that with systematic practice we can succeed. The key point of practice as well as of success lies in onepointedness of mind.

Attention is the first step on the ladder to develop onepointedness of mind. One must pay wholehearted atten-tion to all of the things he does from morning until evening. The aspirant should also understand why he is acting in a particular way. Actions should not be performed as a reaction without understanding why one does them. The human mind is prone to be reactionary if it is not trained, and an untrained mind creates disorder, disease, and confusion. If one does something with full attention, he will increase his awareness and ability to perform his duty. If one forms the habit of attending fully to whatever he is doing, the mind will become trained, and eventually concentration will become effortless. It is a great quality for one to be able to express his knowledge through his speech and action with a onepointed mind. Thousands of thoughts remain waiting to be entertained. The purpose of Sadhana is to attend to those thoughts in a systematic manner so that they do not create unrest in the inner world.

Swami Rama

(Excerpts from Perennial Psychology of Bhagavad Gita)

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Yogasutras of Patanjali

When yoga shastra started evolving, it started branching out into many ways--kundalini yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga… Hundreds of methodologies started coming out. About 3,000 years ago, a Maharshi called Patanjali collected all the knowledge on yoga, studied them and experimented them on himself and on his disciples. After experiencing and experimenting on them, he codified them in the Sutra form. A Sutra is a formula.

We talk a lot, yet we don't convey anything. But sage Patanjali, though he uses only few words, conveys a lot. One experiences it if he practices the sutra. There are 196formulas and they are divided into four chapters--Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya Pada. Patanjala Yoga Shastra is also called Patanjala Yoga Darshan. What is darshan? It is to see things as they are. We all wear different glasses for different situations and persons. Patanjali suggests us not to see things according to the colours that one has within, but to see the things as they are by taking out the colours of one's mind. We shall see what is darshan in the resolution before beginning the study of this Yoga Shastra. It begins with atha yoga-anushasanam.

In the Indian tradition, if you want to perform any religious practice, it starts with a resolve. The beginning word would be atha or asya. If you study the Patanjala Yoga Shastra, you will realize that the sage has been very miser in using even syllables, leave alone words. He has not used even half a syllable extra. That being the case, why did he use atha before anushaasanam?

Before beginning to understand about God, the sage talks about discipline (or anushasana). His initial emphasis is on the discipline. Only after the discipline does he talk about God. Only after going through the discipline can you contemplate on God. Just look at the systematic way of learning pattern our ancestors have laid down. Our tendency is just the opposite. We would like to see the result first and only when we are satisfied, would we venture to take up discipline. One must allow himself to be on some discipline for a specified time. Now the question is: Why discipline? Only to realize oneself so that one lives in tranquility and bliss. With a mind full of turmoil, you can't even sit quiet, leave alone enjoying the life that one spends. For that, it is essential to go through a discipline which is compatible with our life. Look at the way one is living. Everyone either lives in the past or in the future, but never in the present. When I look at my wife/husband, I look at him/her through the screen of the past.

Let me take you to an example to drive home the importance of atha. You got married recently. In the beginning of the new married life, one day you shout at your wife for some reason. Your anger created an impression in your wife's mind, but she didn't mind it. After a few days, again you shouted at her. Even then she didn't mind much. You continued to shout at her at regular intervals. When the impression of your anger got imprinted more and more in your wife's mind, she formed an opinion, an image, about you, "My hubby is a short-tempered one." How did she form this opinion? Through her own experience. Gradually, she starts looking at you through the screen of your image in her mind--"short-tempered one".

Once you listened to a sage and you realized that shouting that way would not be in your interest and you resolved to stop it forever. When you go home, you are received as usual, with the image of 'short-tempered one'. You are expected to be a long-faced, reserved person. But, strangely, you are all smile on your face and people get a shock. This is because people have the screen of 'short-temperedness' in their mind about you. When you start smiling, people would react in a different way; they would think something to be wrong with you. When you go on making your efforts to smile in your expectation that people would recognize your improved behaviour, you are mistaken. Finally, you lose your control and you come back to your 'short-tempered' behaviour.

That is why, sage Patanjali asks you to stay in atha, in the present and not in the past or future. The expectation relates to 'future'. Find out whether you can look at people or things around you as if you are looking at them for the first time. Give a fresh look to each and everything, at each and every moment. If you are consistent in your efforts, it is not impossible for you. Don't look at people or things around you with a pre-conceived or concluded future saying, "I know him or her". Can you allow the past a goodbye and be in a zone where you accept anything and everything with a relaxed outlook, without forming any opinion about anything? Simply experience everything as if it is a first experience.

Try to see: whatever you have experienced in the past has no life in the present. It is dead and gone. Present is full of life. Try to live it, without seeing it from the images of the past. Can you realize that you are keeping the past alive in order to hurt people or get hurt by events? If you stay in the present, atha, then your life will be a beautiful one.

The future is nothing but an extension of the past. Just see this a bit carefully. Question your behaviour. Actually behaviour is a pattern by which I act and that has become a block in my free interaction with others. I am not able to share my love with others because of so many such blocks. That means, I must correct myself. In order to correct yourself, please see whether you can look at the complications created in your mind. See how they work on you. See them dispassionately, as a witness without associating yourself with the contents of the mind.

If you say that living in atha is impractical, that means you have already created a future. You have already named this as 'impractical' without even giving it a try. Be like a scientist. Even to say this impractical, you must experiment it for a period of time.

Can I ask you to practice it without saying no? Friends, kindly try it.

In the service of Guru Parampara

Sri Pattabhiram

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