Thursday, December 13, 2012

Free Online Meditation Session and discussion on Hindu scriptures every Saturday 2 PM EST. (NY)

With the blessings of Gurudev Shri Sivananda Maharaj, Free online conference with  ‘Guided Meditation Sessions’ and ‘Discussions on spiritual Topics based on Hindu Scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita’ is held every Saturday at 2.00 PM EST from NewYork.

The  Free online Meditation session and spiritual discussions are held under the guidance of Swamiji Shri Padmanabhanandaji, of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, to benefit spiritual seekers. 

The session starts with introduction and invocation prayers. Prior to silent meditation session, a recorded prayer by Swamiji Chidananda Maharaj is played. Then spiritual discussion starts.

Each week a topic for discussion is emailed to the spiritual seekers. This week's svadyaya for discussion is "THE INFINITE POWER WITHIN" by Swamiji Chidananda Maharaj.

For more information and to subscribe to the event, spiritual seekers please email your interest to

Liberation: What is Moksha?

 Excerpts from Swamiji Krishnanandaji Maharaj's speech
(Our relationship with the Cosmos)

We have gathered here to exercise our minds in the direction of our true blessedness.  These are days when people are intensely conscious of the environment of the world.  The vast atmosphere around us is the environment.  It not only influences us minute by minute every day, but on careful analysis we will realize that we are inseparable from this environment.  The environment spoken of is a kind of society external to us.

The world is our neighbor. The neighbor is a friendly being, and also a fearsome something.  So is nature.  Nothing can be more friendly to us than the vast nature, because it is the mother out of which we are born.  The very stuff of our body is made up of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether, if that is the case, how do we consider ourselves as outwardly existing, external to nature?

Space is extended, as it were and is causing a dimension of distance, all of which makes us believe that the stars are far, far away from us.  It is not so. Do you feel that your head is far away from your toe?

The integrating power, which is the I-ness abolishes the apparent distance measurable geometrically from the toe to the head.  Likewise, a cosmic cohesive force which may be called the Cosmic Mind, or the divinities operating everywhere, is actually the reason why we are existing as we are existing.

We live in this world, in this body, only so long as our assertive nature of our false independence continues.  When that is lifted up, we will not exist at all.

We say, “We want Moksha (liberation), Salvation, for which purpose we are practicing Sadhana”.  What is the kind of moksha that we are aspiring for? It is actually the longing for mumukshutva (means the desire) – to free ourselves from the shackles of individuality, from the limitations of particularized existence and from the false identification.

Moksha, liberation, is just a simple thing.  It is an enlargement of the consciousness into the dimension of the widest possible extent, until it reaches a point where it overcomes the ideas of even space and time.

What we require, is an intense training of our own mind, enabling the mind to think in terms of its vast potentiality.

Our minds are the droplets of the cosmic Mind just like the drops are the ocean only. To attain moksha, so much time is necessary as it is necessary for a drop in the ocean to sink into the ocean.  How much time does it require?  It has only to realize that it is inseparable from the Ocean.

We think of the individuality of ours is all in all, not knowing that we cannot even exist without contribution or support from nature outside and the vast atmosphere.

We have nothing in us except egoism (Ahamkara).  Every moment we assert it – subconsciously, consciously or otherwise. Like the poet who expressed, “ The egoism asserts that it is better to be a King in hell than a servant in heaven”.

“I am what I am” is the affirmation of your isolated individuality. Then there is no question of liberation. 

“Whoever thinks of me deeply, undividedly, for such a person I provide everything, and take care of what is so provided,” is a great promise that we read in one of the verses of the Bhagavad Gita.

“ananyascintayantomam yejanah paryupasate tesam nityabhiyuktanam yogakshemam vahamyahmam”.

It is not the son of Vasudeva or Devaki, Krishna, who is speaking.  Krishna is only a symbolic mouth piece of this whole universe speaking to you: “Come unto me and I shall give you what ever you need”.  That is what is called the Vishvarupa, which Bhagavan Sri Krishna showed.  But you are telling it, “You go away from here. I mind my business”. Then how will you get anything?

Unless you want liberation, it cannot come. Mumukshutva is the longing for it.  There is no other qualification necessary except for one:  you should want it. Your heart should want it. Mind is nothing but the object that we think of.  So Mumukshutva is longing for liberation, from this limited individual physical existence.

Please visit  and read the full discourse by Swamiji “The attainment of the infinite”. Chapter 1 – our relationship with the cosmos

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Self-Realization: Path of action or the Path of knowledge.

"The wise sees knowledge and power as one; they see truly" - Bhagavad Gita

The following excerpt from Shankaracharya’s discourse at Jnana Vapi shows how he created a bridge between the path of knowledge and the path of action.

“Jnana Vapi” means “well of knowledge”.  It is also the name of an area that lies behind the famous temple of Shiva in Banaras.  While Shankaracharya was in Banaras a spiritual conference was arranged to take advantage of his presence.

Some one from the audience started the discussion by saying, “According to you, sir, knowledge alone is the liberating force.  The individual soul becomes bound to the cycle of birth and death as a result of its actions, and therefore in order to attain liberation we must stop performing actions.  If that is the case, how are we to survive in the world?”

Shankaracharya replied, “It’s true that ultimately knowledge is the only liberating force.  But we cannot disregard our duties and follow the path of knowledge exclusively.  In fact, there is no contradiction between the path of knowledge and the path of action.  It is simply a matter of following aparticular path at a particular stage of life.  As long as we have not understood the nature of our internal world, the nature of our body, breath, mind and soul, as well as our relationship with the external world, we must adhere to the path of action”.

“But even though we are following the path of action, we must keep exploring its strengths and weaknesses.  We must also keep in mind the importance of discovering the inner essence of knowledge.  The path of knowledge leads directly to Self-realization.  But the path of action is in no way inferior to the path of knowledge, because it helps lead us to the path of knowledge.”

“No one can survive without performing actions. But if we perform them without paying attention to the process of action, to the fruits of action, and to our attitude toward the fruits of action, then it entangles us in the snare of birth and death, and to the experience that come between birth and death”.

“Therefore in the process of performing actions we must learn how to be skillful. Most of our actions are motivated either by the desire to gain something or by the fear that we will end up with something we do not want.  Thus from the beginning our mind is focused on the fruits of actions and when these fruits are achieved, we become attached to them.  If the fruits are not achieved, we are disappointed and dissatisfied because of our intense desire and high expectations.  In both cases, fear is the inevitable outcome.  Either we fear losing the objects we have achieved through our efforts, or we fear that we will not achieve those objects.”

“This fear cripples our creativity and destroys our peace of mind.  If we are successful in our actions we cannot rest, because either we want more or we are afraid of losing whatever we have attained so far.  If we are unsuccessful we are tortured by insecurity and fear of the future.  So we must learn how to perform actions without getting attached to their fruits.”

As Shankaracharya paused, someone from the audience interrupted: “Sir, even the most ignorant people have some idea of why they are tring to do something.  Before attempting to act on the physical level, they think about what they want to accomplish.  As the objective becomes clear, they decide on what means and resources to use to achieve that goal.  As a result, they perform an action.  Therefore, behind any action there is some degree of desire.  The stronger the desire, the more energy is devoted to the task.  Because of that desire, people place a value on the goal they want to achieve.  And depending on how valuable that goal is, they decide which other tasks should be postponed or disregarded.  Thus I do not understand how they can even begin to perform their actions without any desire or attachment to the fruits”.

Shankaracharya replied, “I did not mean that we should set a task at random and start performing it without having a goal.  There are three kinds of actions.  First, there are the compulsory actions we must perform for the sake of maintaining our existence: eating, bathing and cleaning our houses and clothes are examples.  These actions do not create karmic bonds”.

“The second kind of actions are obligatory.  We must perform them for the sake of maintaining healthy relationships with others.  For example, we have karmic bonds with our closest relatives that can be loosened only paying off our karmic debts to those who are connected with us.  We must discharge our obligations to our parents, our children, our spouse, and even to our community and society.  Although we are often tempted to underestimate the importance of these duties, deep in our heart we know that their call cannot be ignored without creating inner conflict and guilt.  Self-condemnation results.  Avoiding thisis reason enough to perform these obligatory actions.  They create karmic bonds only if they are not performed”.

“The third category includes actions we perform with the intention of achieving specific objects for either temporal or so called heavenly purposes.  These actions are binding.  It is the nature of the human mind not to be satisfied with performing only the first two kinds of actions – it takes them for granted.  The sense of purposefulness, satisfaction, and fulfillment comes when we perform actions that are not mandatory.  They are the challenge for us.”

“In this area we must learn to perform our actions selflessly, lovingly, and skillfully, and then we must surrender the fruits of these actions to the higher truth.  By doing so, we minimize the effect of previous karmic bonds.  In other words, attempting to attain freedom from the bondage of karma by performing actions is like using one thorn to extract another.  Sooner or later we reach the realm where there are no more thorns.  That is the realm of knowledge”.

“Understanding that the purpose of performing actions is to extract the roots of previously performed actions gives us the strength we need to perform our actions selflessly and lovingly without becoming attached to their fruits – which then become like extracted thorns.  Extract one thorn with another, and throw them both away.  In this way we attain freedom from the bondage of karma.”

“It is necessary to have the desire to extract the thorns of our previous action.  This is not an unhealthy desire – it motivates us to perform our actions.  It is the desire to keep the fruits that is binding.”

In this way Shankaracharya shared his knowledge and elevated the consciousness of those who studied and practiced under his guidance while he was in Banaras.

Excerpts from:

The Himalayan Masters: A living tradition by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meditation and Satsung - Free online on Saturday 2 pm EST

Free online conference on  ‘Guided Meditation Sessions’ and ‘Discussions on Topics of Vedanta, Philosophy and Science’
Every Saturday at 2.00 PM EST from New York through Skype
Send in ‘Add Request’ from your Skype account to ‘DLSNewYork’
Om Shri Gurave Namaha. Om Shri Sivanandaya Namah.
Om Shri Krishnanandaya Namah. Om Shri Chidanandaya Namah.
This Week's Svadyaya page
Spiritualise All Activity
Sadhana is the hallmark of a sadhaka, yoga-abhyasa of a yogi, prayer, worship
and devotion of a devotee. The hallmark of the dhyana-yogi is discipline, self-control,
ceaseless effort to ingather the mind and to check its wandering and to focus it towards
the great ideal. The hallmark of a karma-yogi is engaging in one’s duties and activities
worshipfully, remembering the Divine Being throughout the activity, and offering the
activity at the feet of the ever-present supreme Reality.
Thus, in the ultimate context, all spiritual life, all yoga, all sadhana is the devout
engaging in the right and appropriate kind of spiritual activity by the seeker. The Lord
says in the Gita that whether you wish it or not, the cosmic Nature with its outgoing
tendency of the mind will compel you to engage in numerous various activities. When
this is inevitable, why not be wise and spiritualise activity? Why not be wise and make it
a means of connecting yourself with the Divine?
Such wisdom in action is called Yoga. “Yogah karmasu kaushalam – Skill in action lies in
(the practice of this) Yoga.” [Gita 2.50] If I have to engage in action, let me be wise. Let
me have inner awareness, so that my activity is done with an attitude that makes it a
means of moving towards God.
Arjuna responded by “Karishye Vachanam Tava – Thy will be done, and let me have the
insight and the power to engage in action for the due fulfilment of Thy will.” [Gita 18.73]
Even so, the disciple should engage in spiritual sadhana, but without a sense of
abhiman, ego. “I am able to do this by Your supreme mercy and grace. “Naham Karta
Harih Karta Tatva Puja Karama chaa Khilam – I am not the doer, Lord Hari is the doer.
All work is Thy worship.” Thus acting, the actor becomes not merely a karma-yogi, he
also becomes a jnana-yogi. He desires to elevate his activity to such sublime heights
because of his desire, great love for attaining the Lord. There is bhakti. When bhakti and
jnana becomes the moving forces infilling all activity, it is filled with vairagya, dispassion.
It is a liberating activity, a God-oriented activity – activity at the centre of which there is
wakefulness. The inner svarupa of activity is purely spiritual.
May your life be such confluence of bhakti, janana and yoga, and may all your activity be
a sadhana for God-realisation! May it be God-oriented, and thus helping you to connect
yourself with God at every step, at every moment!
May your entire life be a divine life!
-Swami Chidananda

Non-dualism and rituals: from the life of Shankara

Non-dualism and rituals: from the life of Shankara
Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya
Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah"
Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal;
and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman.

Shankaracharya arrived at the holy city of Benares.  After bathing in the holy river Ganga, he announced to his followers that he would go to the Vishvanatha Temple and offer his worship to Lord Shiva.

No one could understand how an adherent of non-dualism could worship God in a temple and teach others about the absolute reality without name and form.  So people flocked to the temple to see if Shankaracharya would participate in the ritual.

The ritual itself passed without incident: learned priests recited the Vedic hymns and the devotees, including Shankaracharya offered the routine ritual oblations.  Then as the ritual ended, Shankara rose with folded hands and spoke:

“Forgive me, O Lord” he said, ”for three mistakes.  First, I know and feel that You are all pervading and omnipresent, and yet I have walked all the way here to worship You within the confines of this temple. Second, I know that there is only one non-dual truth, and thus there is no difference between You and me, yet I worship You as though You are different from me and outside of me.  Finally, I know that this ‘mistake’ is simply my own mind-created concept – and yet I’m asking You to forgive me”.

It was an astonishing performance – Shankara had managed to offer his worship in an exact, traditional manner, but the same time he had not strayed from his non-dualistic philosophy.  The entire city fell at his feet.  Some were impressed with his intellectual knowledge; others were enchanted with his spiritual wisdom and yogic powers; and some were simply overwhelmed by the fact that he had obtained so much wisdom at such an young age.


The Himalayan Masters: A living tradition by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
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