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Guruji's Column

Blessings from the Parampara. Of late, during the programmes, many people ask me as to why one should take to meditation? What’s wrong with the present life style? With so many advancements, especially, in communication and medicine, does meditation stand a chance at all? It is an interesting question which I would like to address.

Man needs both medication and meditation because both come from the root ‘medi’ which means ‘to attend’. Medication attends to our physical problems and meditation to the emotional, psychological and mental problems. Medication has a very, very limited role to playing our lives. I am not ignoring its importance, its utility and its widespread use. What I mean to say is that it can diagnose and treat only the symptoms and not the cause. So long as the cause remains in us, the problems (effects) cannot be suppressed for long; it is common sense. So one has to deal directly with the cause and not with the effects only. If you learn to get hold of the cause, you can influence and control the effects. Wisdom lies here.

One many wonder how come meditation has any relevance in the conduct of our day-to-day affairs and to our problems and physical ailments. Take it from me, it has. It works like this. Many of our physical ailments are psycho-somatic in nature. So if you want to come out of them, you have to treat the cause, viz., the mind. If the mind is disciplined through the techniques of Pranayama, Japa and meditation, one can experience significant change in the quality of life. It is the abstract things that are within us-such as our feelings, emotions, attitudes etc. –that cause problem to us. Medication is useless here. It is only MEDITATION that plays a significant role here. If we see carefully, its meditation alone that makes life complete. If you want to be rich in life, to enjoy life, to understand life, then take to meditation and see for yourself the results.

Also medication will not be effective without meditation. Why so? Because it is so. That’s why. You ask any physician that if he advocates the same medicine, for the same problem, with equal amount of potency to two person, whose body constituents are exactly the same, will the recovery also be the same? The answer will be a definite “NO”. This means that our physical body has a direct relation with the mind. Now the question comes as to what we actually do in mediation and how it is different and higher as compared to medication. A compassionate nurse attends to the patient without any partiality whether he is a Muslim, Hindu or Christian. A nurse’s entire focus will be only on treating the disease and nothing else. In the same manner, during meditation, we start nursing all our feelings, sentiments, attitudes etc., with a view to refine them and bring the best out of ourselves and share the completeness that is within us with our near and dear ones. If you vow to do meditations regularly with this insight, let me assure that you regain your purity, innocence and wisdom. Meditation guarantees your communication with the Centre within you.

I would like to reiterate the assurance given to me by my Parampara: You do your meditation regularly; we’ll organize your entire life. Till today, I’m fulfilling my promise to the Parampara and so do they. Hope you will also continue in the same way as we do.

In the service of Parampara,
Sri Pattabhiram


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Faith & Strength

Swami Vivekananda

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within. You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power. As soon as a man or a nation loses faith, death comes.

Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God, this is the secret of greatness. If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and in all the gods which foreigners have now and again introduced into your midst, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you.

Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin-to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.

Be free; hope for nothing from any one. I am sure if you look back upon you lives, you will find that you were always vainly trying to get help from others, which never came. All the help that has come was from within yourselves.

Never say, ‘No’; never say, ‘I Cannot’, for you are infinite. Even time and space are as nothing compared with your nature. You can do anything and everything, you are almighty.

Ye are the children of God, the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye divinities on earth-sinners! It is a sin to call a man so; it is a standing libel on human nature. Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion, that you are sheep; you are soul’s immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal.

Never mind the struggles, the mistakes. I never heard a cow tell a lie, but it is only a cow-never a man. So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times; and if you fail a thousand times make the attempt once more.

The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength. Teach men of the strength that is already within them.

If there is one word that you find coming like a bomb from the Upanisads, bursting like a bomb-shell upon masses of ignorance, it is the world, fearlessness.

If you look, you will find that I have never quoted anything but the Upanisads. And of the Upanisads, it is only that one idea strength. The quintessence of the Vedas and Vedanta and all lies in that one world.

Be strong, my young friends, that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of Gita. These are bold words, but I have to say them, for I love you. I know where the shoe pinches. I have gained a little experience. You will understand the Gita better with you biceps, your muscles, a little stronger.

This is one question I put to every man … Are you strong? Do you feel strength? - For I know it is truth alone that gives strength … Strength is the medicine for the world’s disease

This is the great face: Strength is life; weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery, weakness is death.

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(Patanjali Yoga Sutra)

The beauty of Patanjali Maharshi’s Yoga Shastra is: You contemplate on any Sutra for a continuous period, it would reveal you the subtle meanings by taking you through the subtle experiences.

In this sutra, Chitta means mind; it is not only mind but something more than that, but for the time being, let us take it as mind; vritti means reactions; nirodha means stopping. Vaguely, the meaning of the sutra is – stopping all the reactions of the mind is called yoga. You may wonder how would I live without reacting to the situations around me. You would appreciate it as you read further.

I am talking to someone; it is a season of insects and mosquitoes. As I talk, some mosquitoe sits on my hand and starts sucking the blood. Even without looking at it, my other hand would lift up on its own, and bulldoze the mosquitoe. I don’t even hear it death cry. As if nothing has happened, I continue my talk with added ease. Just see the sequence of events a bit carefully here. A moquitoe sat on my hand, I was not aware of it, when it started sucking blood from my veins, it did not attract my awareness; but only when it was painful did I react as a robot, without realizing what it is. I am not saying whether hitting like that is good or bad.

Look at it the other way. When it sat on me, I should have been aware of its sitting; leave it, we may not be that sensitive. Atleast, when it started sucking the blood, I should have noticed. Leave even this, as we were too busy talking. When it was painful, atleast then, I should have waited for a while, thought as to what the course of action should be. There is another possibility also. I could have driven it away by giving a love puff.

This is merely an example. In our daily lives, there are hundreds of situations when we act reactionarily, like a robot, with standard commands to the sense organs, and to the reactionary mechanisms. Here when sager Patanjali talks of chitta vritti nirodha, he talks of let go of the reactionary mechanism, like hitting that which troubles you. Instead, wait for a while, bring all the events under the scanner of awareness and become aware of the whole situation without depending on the reactions of the mortised system; and, decide the course of action independent of all the influence of memories, vasana, anger, frustration, etc.

Let me take you to another example. We have named people as good or bad. Say, you have a high opinion about me. You glorify me and my image. You say that Guruji is godly. It is okay, as far as mere opinion is concerned. But see a bit closely. See how it can damage you when you really add value to this opinion. You hold on to the opinion that Guruji is godly, and the moment you see something human-making mistakes here and there-that is the day when your image about Guruji is shattered. You start avoiding that person. That way you go on making friends and breaking that partnership. This type of behavior goes on and on.

See here, what is it doing to you? Likewise, we form opinion about wife, children, officer, subordinates, relatives, about a place of living… Try to see each and every image or every opinion that you hold on to. The more dispassionately you see these opinions/image, the more free you would be. This is the precise reason why one should practice meditation. Before meditation, you must watch your mind, the contents of the mind. If an opinion about a person comes, let go. If hatred towards a form comes before you, let go. You say to yourself that you are different and the form/opinion is different. Stop supplying the energy-either for or against-to any form or opinion you hold on to.

In this way, you would become light and light. Slowly, you would get stability in sadhana. This stability would take you to the next subtle layer of your personality. The process is the same again: let go of all the forms, images, opinion. The load of chitta becomes further light. The process continues, till you are clear of all the images in the chitta, all the worries that are stored in the chitta. When all the layers become transparent, at that time you stay in atha; the infinite personality you realize, the sat-chit-ananda-svaroopa that you are; That Shiva you are. What else? You are God.

Practicing mediation and pondering over the sutras of Patanjali, would give you a base where when you react to the external world, it would not be a ‘reaction’; it would be a response. You would slowly shift from reacting to responding. That is the zone of non-stress. That way, you would not creae stress around you. So, slowly, people would recognize you, people would respect you, because the base you are operating is Truth, nothing else.

I want you to understand yoga practically, applying it to your own life, and experimenting it on every aspect of your life. Thus, finding the truth from your own point of view. Yoga is a way of life. Each and every minute, you have to experience the touch of divinity that is within you. If you want to experience that, you must live in chitta vritti nirodha. If somebody does something to you, when you get into some uneasy situations, don’t react immediately. Observe, from where the reaction is coming; what is it that is forcing you to act in a particular way? Is it because you are hurt? Is the hurt because of your ‘conditioned’ mind? Is the reaction coming from your authority? Is it because you are frustrated?

There is nothing wrong in reacting. But react after understanding the source. If you know that you are reacting because of your hurt, realize what this hurt is. That is the beginning of a new life. Otherwise, it wouldn’t help you in bringing harmony in your relationship. The same reaction would come back to you in some form or the other, today or tomorrow.

In the service of Parampara,
Sri Pattabhiram

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Rewards & Motivation

In Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to become aware of that which is his and that which is not his. He explains that one has the right to perform his duty, but he has no right to expect the fruits received therein. Neither duty performed with the motivation to acquire the fruits of one’s action nor attachment towards inaction is helpful. Both tendencies are harmful if the law of karma is not properly understood, one becomes helpless and inactive, or he performs actions with attachment to the results and thus becomes disappointed. Disappointment is a great enemy of self-reliance. It obstructs the faculty of discrimination, judgment, and decisiveness-the guiding factors within us.

There are two main principles to be followed when doing one’s actions: one should to act impulsively but should counsel within before acting, and one should not perform any action motivated by selfishness. Right action is superior to inaction. Inaction makes one lethargic, and one who becomes lethargic postpones his duties and joy’s placing them in the hands of his fate and future. Students are always warned by their teachers not to become victims of sloth and inactivity, for human beings cannot live without thinking and acting.

Because of the lack of real guidance, some people today take drugs. If one takes drugs, he cannot practice sadhana and make his mind one-pointed and inward. The use of drugs leads to inactivity and then to inertia, and one’s acts are then prompted by the motivation of tamas. A tamasic person deludes himself: he things that he already knows everything, that he has no need to learn and to transform himself, and that he therefore does not have to do his sadhana. He should understand that it is the tamasic quality of mind that disturbs his motivation for sadhana.

Motivation needs proper organization with the help of steady sadhana and the guidance of a competent preceptor. Motivation is action in a subtle form. It is what motivates one that is important because one’s motivation is responsible for molding his thought patterns and for prompting him to do actions. It is a guiding force, which if properly used can make one victorious in the external words as well as in the unfoldment of his inner potentials.

There are two kinds of motivation: one prompts the aspirant to perform actions in the external world, and the other helps him to make his mind one-pointed and inward. The motivation that prompts one to perform action with a desire for reward is predominant in the animal kingdom, so reward and punishment are two methods applied in training animals. The human being, though a higher species, is also motivated by reward and punishment. Yet he can go beyond that. Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to go beyond all expectations, for expectation is the cause of despair and disappointment.

The human being alone has the gift of judgment, discrimination, and decisions, every action has its consequent effect, and the fruition of the action is ordinarily perceived as either a reward or a punishment. But one can choose to make a loving offering of the fruits of his actions for the benefit of others. Then one performs his actions skillfully, selflessly, and lovingly, offering the fruits of his actions for the sake of humanity. Thus he is constantly praying. Such prayer is actual prayer; it is not at all like the prayer of egotistical people.

Most people are motivated to do actions for the sake of receiving rewards. Attachment to rewards is a deep-rooted habit. Most people do not understand how to be selfless. Such human beings are Rajasic. Reward-oriented people are very selfish. They suffer and they make others suffer. Perhaps that is one reason that the best of men have retreated to forest dwellings wondering, “why do human beings still behave like animals?” after intensive self-study those great ones devised practical methods for transforming humanity, and they gave us their wisdom through the scriptures.

Suffering comes when one is interested in reward. If one performs actions expecting rewards, he is bound to receive the fruits of his actions. The fruits then motivate him to do more actions, and in this way he finds himself caught in the whirlpool of life, never content, always seeking more and more for himself and ignoring or using others for his own gain. Actions done for reward thus create bondage. One becomes a slave to rewards in much the same way that the rat in scientific experiments becomes a slave to the pellet box, performing only those actions that bring him a token reinforcement. But there is a way to attain release from such enslavement: perform your duties skillfully and selflessly without attachment to reward. Then you will be free, a mukta travelling and singing the songs of joy without cares or fears.

(Excerpts from Perennial Psychology of Bhagavad Gita)


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