Summer Camp 2013 - Series 2

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Pranams to all the readers. While we are contemplating on the "Shiva Shaktya Yuktho" that Guruji was talking about on the first day of the Summer Camp at Sadhana Dhama, let us today dwell upon Jyothi Ma's intro session.

Jyothi Ma has chosen a very interesting and dynamic topic - "Dhaarana" as taught in Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra text for this year Summer Camp. Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is a classical tantric text, which offers 112 varieties of dhaaranas or techniques of concentration, a subject most relevant to modern times, which also can easily be blended into personal life style. These dhaaranas, interestingly enough, can be practiced even by a beginner, aspiring for qualitative concentration and gradually deepen one’s meditation.
What is Dhaarana? Dhaarana is a power of the mind to hold on to something singularly, to the exclusive of everything in a state of complete absorption

Jyothi Ma's in her session, first took the blessings from the Guru Paramapara to make her self and the channel to receive the divine knowledge and trend the path of self enlightenment . She then welcomed all the aspirants to her session on Dhaarana. She shared her sincere intention to give us lot of practice sessions along with little theoretical background. She stressed that, without theoretical background, whatever one try to learn as practice is going to be without proper foundation. The 'why' and the 'how' and 'what' of what we are doing, doesn't get the answer which would then become a blind approach.


Following is the brief synopsis of what Ma spoke on her first sesssion which itself is a wonderful reference for each aspirant in the path of Sadhana to read, contemplate and practice. She explains beautifully, what Dhaarana is, why one need Dharana and how to practice Dhaarana.

Strength of Sankalpa:

Actually it is not how much we learn or how long I speak or how much I teach, the important factor is it has to be the qualitative learning. Those who are very eager to learn sometimes, they feel they are given very less time in the camp as there is so much of thirst to get everything in one swallow / one gulp. And there are some who come to the camp, with the casual approach without any real intention with no Sankalpa in attending the camp. In both the cases, probably they don’t really get much.

When there is so much of thirst to get more and more, a person's dhaarana will be on the thirst and not on the knowledge and When one doesn't have the sankalpa with precise orientation, then the mind cannot maintain the dhaarana of receiving. Then also the listener is the loser. The recipient gets less because the absorption becomes very weak. So it is very important to know first these obstacles in the concept of Dhaarana.

What should be one's approach to practice Dhaarana?

Jyothi Ma then shared one interesting conversation that transpired with her Guru "Shri Srividya swaguru Sri Satyanandanatha of  Sri Vidyaranya Tradition" wherein He in the course of some discussion had made one striking point that, “I have been teaching this Srividya to many many disciplines, the group is growing very big and there are disciplines who are much much senior who might teach so much about srividya. However if a disciple has a conventional mind, then the very convention of the mind becomes an obstacle, an impediment in the process of receiving the knowledge".

Mind's conventional approach - Block in the path of Sadhana

Many of us, have this conventional mind because, it is the nature of the mind to  hold on to one convention or the other. Precisely because, mind cannot stay comfortable without a support. It needs a support.  Convention is a very easy support for the mind to stay and then nourish and then enjoy those conventions. It can be understood through one's habit patterns, it can be as simple as drinking coffee everyday, to a complicated process of doing puja, rituals and all your's spiritual practices. So called, the greatest spiritual practice can also turn into a convention and the mind becomes habituated to that convention, a pattern of living, a pattern of feeling, a pattern of one's own very existence.

Jyothi Ma then emphasized that:

Coming to camp like this annually, can become a convention too. Without any orientation, without any purpose one may attend this camp because he/she needs a change. So your reception gets limited to that convention. See the beauty of this concept of convention. It is very sad that the very convention blocks even a senior disciple's in the path of spiritual sadhana. So the guru tries very hard in different ways to break those conventions created by Himself in the disciple. But some are hardcore disciples and they never want to change. 

In their initial acquaintances with their Guru, these hardcore disciples formulate certain ideas, concepts and conventions as far as his/her sadhana, their relationship with the Guru and all the spiritual knowledge is concerned. Once it gets crystallized, it is finished, one can't go beyond that. These are the difficulties you find in your path of sadhana

So a sadhaka has to be very very open minded, and follow the 'Neti' principle, neti in samskrata means not this...,not this.... Keep yourself open like the open space but be sincere to what you are doing. Don’t you ever become a hardcore disciple in the process of doing your sadhana because you never know when you are going to reach your destination. 

For e.g. if you don’t know if your destination is Bangalore, you may get down in any point of the station, thinking that station itself is Bangalore. Is it not? In same way, in spiritual path you really don’t know the destination, only when you have reached the destination, you would know. But until such time, you really have to guard yourself against this hard core discipleship. Otherwise, what happens is, this conventions of disciplines, conventions of sadhana, will make the conventional mind to think, "oh whatever I am doing is perfectly fine, I am the most dedicated disciple, I am the most diligent practitioner...etc.", these are all the aspects of this spiritual ego.

You are bound to get wonderful experiences in the path of your sadhana and those experiences should never become your destination and you should not think that you have reached the goal. This is the toughest part in the path of sadhana. Therefore when I am talking about dhaarana’s also, I want you to keep your mind very open and not get struck with these conventions. Even the greatest of the puja’s, the greatest of the yantra’s i.e. 'Srichakra', that itself can become a stumbling block if I don't know how to open out myself to all the nuances and the beautiful energy dynamics that the Sri yantra or the Srividya practice can offer.

Dive with open arms

Even if I go to the vast sea, the ocean, and if I only carry a small cup, then who is at fault? The ocean is not at fault, the problem is with me, because I decided to carry a small cup. So I would only get a small amount of water. But here is the ocean with open arms to give you everything, if you are ready to dive deep into the ocean then you get the precious stones. But if I don’t want to touch even the water with my hand at the seashore, carefully I would take the cup and then just take the water in the cup and go away. So the problem is with the conventional mind. So when you do the practices of the dhaarana, please see if you can maintain an unconventional mind, not getting struck with any of the experiences, any of the methodology that I am going to give you, but keep flying high without any hesitations reservations and be ready, prepared to come down to the reality when it is needed.

It may not make any sense to you now, because we are yet to begin the practice, but keep this word of caution in your mind. Keep examining and exploring, if your mind is a conventional mind or not. This would help you not only in your sadhana, but in all walks of life. Otherwise your own mind can deceive you with your spiritual practices. 

(to be contd..)

Friends, let us dwell upon on the profound message of Jyothi Ma on Dhaarana before we move further into other wonderful dynamics of Love & Family Life and Dhaarana.

Till we meet next time, Happy Sadhana & Vande Guru Paramparam...

- 'Bansuri'
(a messenger)



1 comment

June 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM

Very well said. The French Mother of Pondicherry stated similarly that if you get hardenned in your spiritual path then there is no further progress. You are good to be kept in a museum. hat,s all-- From Sunlit Path.

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