Meditation by Swami Virajananda Part -3

on Monday, January 31, 2011

Asana is that posture in which one can sit for meditation steadily and with ease for a long time. But the spine has to be kept straight, and the chest, neck and head should be held erect, so that the entire weight of the upper part of the body may fall on the ribs and the chest may not sag. A stooping posture in any case is not healthy.



Japa, meditation, ritualistic worship, prayer, recollectedness, reading sacred books, association with holy men, godly conversation, retiring into solitude and thinking spiritual thoughts - whichever of these attracts you, according to mood and opportunity, and gives you joy, take advantage of that and do it. But meditation and japa are the main things. Never miss them for a single day however occupied you may be, or even in times of sickness or infirmity, in misfortune or calamity. In such circumstances, if you cannot or do not find it convenient to carry on your practice in full measure, make salutation, and pray and do japa for at least ten or fifteen minutes.






The sensible man does not try to diagnose his own disease and prescribe medicine for himself by reading medical books. In case of disease, a doctor's advice should be sought. In the same way, if after reading many books and scriptures one proceeds to choose for himself a particular spiritual discipline his mind may become confused, and troubled by doubts and misgivings. Progress may be interrupted, and waste of effort and even harm may result.


 The reason is that the various scriptures contain divergent or even contradictory directions and methods for aspirants of different temperaments and capacities, and different stages of life. It is therefore dangerous in many cases to decide for yourself what is exactly suitable for you. The Guru alone can direct you to the right path. That is why spiritual knowledge has to be acquired direct from the Guru. Know that the initiation and instructions given by him are the only path for you to follow. If you do the spiritual practices as enjoined by him unswervingly and with full faith in them and in him, you are sure to achieve success in course of time. In any event, never give up these practices and take to other methods under anybody else's advice. If you jump from one thing to another, the only result will be that you will lose your way and drift about without gaining anything.

 


When God in His boundless mercy has, through the Guru, imparted the Siddha-mantra (mystic formula of the particular name of the Deity) which is the key to the portal of His sanctuary - know that He has given Himself away freely. But it is necessary for you to have that firm conviction. If you lose that invaluable jewel through carelessness and negligence, know that you are unfit for His grace.
 

The right appreciation of this gift is the practice of the mantra and the instructions imparted by the Guru with your whole heart and soul until the Goal is reached. Only by so doing will you be able to repay a part of the debt to him. The more you realise that God is nearer and dearer to you than your near and dear ones, the more you will be the recipient of His grace. Through His grace you will be free and ever blissful even in this life.

Meditation by Swami Virajananda Part -2

on Thursday, January 27, 2011

When the mind is absolutely calm, breathing becomes steady and kumbhaka (suspension of breath) follows. When breathing is steady, the mind becomes one-pointed. Bhakti (love of God) also brings about kumbhaka and breathing becomes steady. Even without practising yoga, pranayama (control of breath) is attained automatically if one remembers, and thinks of, the Lord and does japa (repetition of the mantram) with a yearning heart. There is no other easy or convenient method to achieve onepointedness of mind except by abhyasa, or repeated and sustained efforts, and vairagya, or non-attachment to worldly objects.




Whatever be the time you devote to japa and meditation - even if it be only ten or fifteen minutes - do it with all your heart and soul. The Lord is the indweller, the inner guide. He sees your heart; His measure is not how long you meditate on Him nor how many times you do japa, but your inner longing.



Self-effort (purushakara) is necessary for spiritual attainment. Resolve firmly, "I will realise God through my own efforts by doing spiritual practices," and go on steadfastly practising japa and meditation, seated in proper posture, for at least two hours every morning and evening, for three or four years - and see if you succeed or not.



When by continued practice of japa and meditation the mind will have become calm and purified, then the mind itself will be your Guru or guide, and you will have proper understanding of everything, and find the solution of your spiritual doubts and questions within yourself. The mind will tell you what you should do, one thing after another, and how you should conduct yourself.


Japa, or mental repetition of the mantra, counting it on the fingers, using a rosary, or keeping the number of the repetitions - all these are only preliminary means to help withdraw the mind from other objects and fix it on the object of worship. Otherwise, you will not know when the mind may have run away in another direction; or you may even have dozed off. So, though these processes may appear to cause a little distraction at the outset, they will enable one to keep watch over the mind's vagaries and to detect them easily, and to draw the mind back and keep it on the object of meditation.



Never think yourself to be weak. Have firm faith in yourself. Think, "There is nothing that I cannot do; I can do everything if I want." Why should you acknowledge defeat to your mind? Know that if you can subdue it, the whole world will be under your feet. One who has no self-confidence does not have real faith in God. Swami Vivekananda has said that the real atheist is he who has no faith in himself. Nobody listens to the words of one who has no self-confidence; and God also does not listen to his prayers.

Meditation by Swami Virajananda Part -1

Meditation by Swami Virajananda
Article from Vedanta and the West, Jan-Feb 1949



To realise God an aspirant must have patience, perseverance, purity of body and mind, intense desire or yearning, the aggregate of the six attributes, namely shama (tranquillity of mind), dama (restraint of the senses), uparati (giving up attachment to objects), titiksha (remaining unaffected amidst all kinds of afflictions), shradha (faith in the words of the spiritual teacher and the scriptures) and samadhana (concentration of mind on the Chosen Ideal, or God).


Do not tell anybody else, except the Guru, the realisations and the visions, or similar experiences, that spiritual practices may bring you. Always keep your spiritual treasure – your inmost thoughts - hidden within you. These are not for vulgar gaze. These are your sacred possessions to be shared only between you and the Lord in secret. Likewise, do not talk of your defects and blemishes to others. You lose thereby your selfrespect and the respect of others for you. They are for you to confess to the Lord. Pray to Him for strength to overcome them.


When you begin meditation, first sit steadily for a while and watch the mind; let it wander wherever it pleases. Think that you are the witness, the seer. Sit watching how the mind floats and sinks, runs and skips; keep thinking, "I am not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind; I am altogether separate from the mind. The mind, too, is material; it is only a finer form of matter. I am the Atman (Self), the master; the mind is my servant." Whenever any idle thought arises in the mind try at once to put it down forcibly.


Ordinarily one breathes through the left nostril at the time of rest, through the right at the time of work, and through both at the time of meditation. The state most favorable to meditation is when the body and mind have become calm and there is an even flow of breath through both nostrils. But do not pay too much attention to watching your breath, nor make this a guide by which to regulate your activities.

A living embodiment of Vedanta: Swami Turiyananda

on Wednesday, January 19, 2011




When Swami Vivekananda was introducing him to people in America, he said, "I have lectured to you on Vedanta; in Turiyananda you will see Vedanta personified. He lives it every moment of his life. He is the ideal Hindu monk, and he will help you all to live pure and holy lives"


Swami Turiyananda said-


Swamiji asked me before he sent me here: Can you lecture like I have done? I said: Of course not, Swamiji, what are you saying? Well then, he said, do not trouble yourself about lecturing. You just live the life. Be an example to them. Let them see how Sannyasins live! So, you see, I am only obeying Swamiji.


When he first came to the United States, someone who met him commented that he seemed to have an inexhaustible storehouse of wisdom. In response he said very simply, "You see, I have lived this life from my youth; it has become part and parcel of me. And the Divine Mother keeps the supply filled up. Her store can never be exhausted. What goes out, she at once fills up again."


Swami Turiyananda was a knower of Brahman of the highest order, a jivanmuktaone who, according to Vedanta, having transcended body consciousness, is free while living and is immersed in the Atman. The swami was steeped in the study of Vedantic scriptures; from a young age he was drawn to study and meditation. To give an idea of the depth of his scholarship: he memorized the Durga Saptashati, which contains seven hundred mantras in praise of the Divine Mother, the entire Bhagavadgita, Shankara's Vivekachudamani, and many of the Upanishads, to name just a few texts, in addition to many of the teachings of Tulsidas, Surdas, Ramprasad, Hafiz, and Kabir. He also studied a great many devotional scriptures, like Bhakti Sutra, Bhagavata, and many of the other Puranas, as well as Yoga Sutra and Yogavasishtha Ramayana.




Short Life Of Swami Turiyananda

Born in a well-to-do family, Hari lost his parents in boyhood and grew up under the care of his eldest brother. After passing the school final examination he did not go to college. Instead, he devoted his time to meditation and the study of Sankara's Advaita Vedanta. When he was about 17 years old he visited Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar for the first time, and after that he started going to the Master frequently. The Master regarded him as a yogi. Hari was a member of the team of youngsters who served Sri Ramakrishna during his last illness at Cossipore. After the Master's passing, Hari joined Baranagar Math and underwent sannyasa ordination assuming the name Turiyananda. After three years he left the monastery and spent his time doing tapasya at different places, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of his brother monks. When Swami Vivekananda went to the West for the second time, he took Swami Turiyananda with him. When Swamiji went back to India, Turiyananda continued his work first in New York and Boston and later in California. However, his health deteriorated and he left America in June 1902. On his arrival in India, he was shocked to hear of the passing of Swami Vivekananda. Turiyananda spent the next several years practicing intense contemplation in Vrindavan, in different places in the Himalayas, in Dehra Dun, Kankhal, Almora, etc. He finally settled down in Varanasi in February 1919. During the last few years he suffered much from diabetes. He passed away on 21 July 1922 repeating Upanishadic Mantras.


Swami Turiyananda On Bhagvad Gita

These words are not a poet's imagination, nor a slogan, but the words of God


According to Swami Turiyananda, the heart of the Gita is : self-surrender and self-exertion. These encompass the main practices outlined in the Gita. such as renunciation, offering everything to God, the practice of svadharma with non-attachment, and effacement of egoall of which lead to real self-surrender. By leading a God-centred life, the small self is transformed into our true Self. This is the goal of spiritual life expressed variously in the Gita as Self-knowledge, God-realization, union with God, or attainment of peace.


Teachings of Swami Turiyananda

  • Never pride yourself in your having gained control over the passions. If you do, they will at once raise their heads. Ever pray to him, O Lord, save me from them.

  • Nothing short of complete self-surrender to Him will do. You call Him the Inner controller (Antaryamin), omniscient, omnipresent, and yet you are afraid to surrender yourself to Him!

  • Never expect anything from anyone. But always give. Otherwise a sense of dryness will overtake you. But you must not give your mind to anyone. That you must give only to God.

Guru is the physician



Swami Turiyananda never hesitated to correct the shortcomings of his students in a bold and straightforward way, for which he was sometimes very much misunderstood. Once, observing their discontent, the Swami said, " Yes, you people in the West always try to cover up and hide your mistakes. But how can the wound be treated unless the bandages are removed? You hide your real character behind a smooth and polite exterior, but the sore festers in the heart. The guru is the physician, and once the disease is diagnosed he must not fear to apply the lancet, if necessary. Sometimes a deep clean incision is the only remedy. You are so sensitive, always afraid of being scolded or exposed. When I flatter a little, you say, 'Swami is so wonderful,' but when I utter a harsh word you run away."

Swami Vivekananda's Childhood Memories:


Swami Vivekananda Said: As a boy I had some white mice. They were kept in a little box in which there were little wheels, and when the mice tried to cross the wheels, the wheels turned and turned, and the mice never got anywhere. So it is with the world and our helping it.


At one time my ideal was to drive a strong pair of horses; at another time I thought, if I could make a certain kind of sweetmeat, I should be perfectly happy; later I imagined that I should be entirely satisfied if I had a wife and children and plenty of money. Today I laugh at all these ideals as mere childish nonsense.


Just two or three days before the Entrance examination I found that I hardly knew anything of geometry. So I began to study the subject, keeping awake the whole night, and in twenty-four hours I mastered the four books of geometry.


I sat in the room, book in hand, with a pot of strong tea or coffee by my side to keep the brain from getting overtired. When I felt inclined to sleep at night, I would tie a rope to my foot. Then, if I fell asleep and moved to make myself more comfortable, the rope would jerk me, and I would awake with a start.


From my boyhood, whenever I came into contact with a particular object, man or place, it would sometimes seem as if I had been acquainted with it before. But all my efforts to recollect it were unsuccessful. Yet the impression persisted. I'll give you an instance: One day I was discussing various topics with some friends at a particular place. Suddenly something was said, which reminded me that in some time in the past in this very house I had talked with these same friends on that very subject and that the discussion had even taken the same turn. Later on I thought it might be due to the law of transmigration. But soon afterward I decided that such definite conclusions on the subject were not reasonable. Now I believe that before I was born I must have had visions somehow of those subjects and people with whom I would have to come in contact with in my present birth. Such memories have come to me every now and then throughout my life.


From my boyhood I have been a dare-devil; otherwise could I have attempted to make a tour round the world, almost without a penny in my pocket?

Swami Vivekananda's Childhood Memories:



Swami Vivekananda Said: My father and mother fasted and prayed, for years and years, so that i would be born.


I know that before i was born, my mother would fast and pray and do hundreds of things which i could not even do for five minutes. She did that for two years. I believe that whatever religious culture i have, i owe to that. It was consciously that my mother brought me into the world to be what i am. Whatever good impulse i have was given to me by my mother-and consciously, not unconsciously.















Bhuvaneshwari Devi (Mother of Swami Vivekananda)




The love which my mother gave to me has made me what i am, and i owe a debt to her that i can never repay.


How many times i have seen my mother going to take her first meal when it was two o'clock. We took ours at ten and she at two because she had so many things to attend to. [for example],someone knocks at the door and says,"Guest", and there is no food except what was for my mother. She would give that to him willingly and then wait for her own. That was her life and she liked it. And that is why we worship mothers as gods.


I have such a memory. When i was only two years old, i used to play with my myce at being Vairagi, clothed in ashes and Kaupina. And if a Sadhu came to beg, they would lock me in,upstairs,to prevent my giving too much away. I felt that i also was this ,and that for some mischief i had had to be sent away from shiva. No doubt my family increased this feeling,for when i was naughty they would say"Dear,dear!so many austerities, yet Shiva sent us this demon after all, instead of a good soul!" Or when i was very rebellious they would empty a can of water over me, saying"Shiva! Shiva!" And then i was all right,always. Even now, when i feel mischievous, that word keeps me straight.


When i was a little boy at school, i had a fight with another schoolfellow about some sweetmeats, and he being the stronger boy snatched them from my hand. I remember the feeling i had; I thought that boy was the most wicked boy ever born, and that as soon as i grew strong enough i would punish him; there was no punishment sufficient for his wickedness. We have both grown up now, and we are fast friends. This world is full of babies to whom eating and drinking,and all these little cakes are everything. They will dream of these cakes,and their idea of future life is where these cakes will be plentiful.


When[my teacher] came to our house, i brought my English and Bengali books to him, and showing the particular books and the portions in them that were to be learnt as lessons for the day, i laid myself down or sat quietly. The teacher repeated twice or thrice the spelling, pronunciation, meaning etc, of the words of those portions of those books, as if he was himself learning the lesson, and went away. That was sufficient for me to learn them.


Even while i was a student at calcutta, I was of a religious temperament. I was critical even at that time of my life, mere words would not satisfy me.

The 12 JyotirLingas

on Sunday, January 16, 2011



In the holy month of Shravan, It is a very great opportunity to take ‘darshan’ of the images of 12 Jyotirlingas which are most powerful and most sacred Shiva Lingams on this earth.
Lord Shiva is also known as the ‘BHOLASHANKARA’ , he gives whatever it may be for those who Believe in HIM.
 


 































 

Method Of Acquiring Knowledge

on Thursday, January 06, 2011


All the great prophets, saints, and the seers of the world what did they do? In one span of life, they lived the whole life of humanity, traversed the whole length of time that it takes the ordinary humanity to come to perfection. In one life, they perfect themselves; they have no thought for anything else, never live a moment for any other idea, and thus the way is shortened for them. This is what is meant by concentration, intensifying the power of assimilation, thus shortening the time.


The more this power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired, because this is the one and only method of acquiring knowledge. Even the lowest shoeblack, if he gives more concentration, will black shoes better; the cook with concentration will cook a meal all the better. In making money, or in worshipping God, or in doing anything, the better the power of concentration, the better will that thing be done. This is the one call, the one knock, which opens the gates of nature, and lets out the floods of light.

How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but the concentration of the powers of mind? The world is ready to give its secrets, if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentration it is, the more power is brought to bean on one point; that is the secret.
-Swami Vivekananda.

Kalpataru day

on Saturday, January 01, 2011

On January 1, 1886, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa experienced divine bliss. That day is celebrated as `Kalpataru Day by his followers. 


ON THE night of December 31, at the stroke of midnight, the world will be awake to ring in yet another New Year — 2011 while for the monks and members of the Ramakrishna Mission, January 1 holds a special significance. They celebrate this day as `Kalpataru Day', to commemorate an awe-inspiring moment in the life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. On this day, in 1886, the Master entered into divine ecstasy and touching several disciples, pronounced the words, `Ye be illumined'! Instantly, those he blessed experienced profound bliss. And one of Master's disciples, Ramachandra Dutta named January 1 as `Kalpataru Day'.

This is the day of the Self Realization of the great master, when he became, what is now popularly called the Kalpatru  'The wish full filling Tree' .

 Sri Ramakrishna said, " I have seen that (He) God and the one who dwells in my heart are one and same person.I shall make the whole thing public before I go,' the Master has said some time before. On January 1, 1886, he felt better and came down to the garden for a little stroll. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. Some thirty lay disciples were in the hall or sitting about under the trees. Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish (Ghosh), 'Well Girish, what have you seen in me, that you proclaim me before everybody as an Incarnation of God?' Girish was not the man to be taken by surprise. He knelt before the Master and said with folded hands, 'What can an insignificant person like myself say about the One whose glory even sages like Vyasa and Valmiki could not adequately measure?' The Master was profoundly moved. He said: 'What more shall I say? I bless you all. Be illumined!' He fell into a spiritual mood. Hearing these words the devotees, one and all, became overwhelmed with emotion. They rushed to him and fell at his feet. He touched them all, and each received an appropriate benediction. Each of them, at the touch of the Master, experienced ineffable bliss. Some laughed, some wept, some sat down to meditate, some began to pray. Some saw light, some had visions of their Chosen Ideals, and some felt within their bodies the rush of spiritual power


Swami Akhandananda writes, "It is an auspicious day for all of us. Our Master became the Kalpataru to bless his disciples at Cossipore (a Calcutta suburb). Kalpataru is one of the five trees of Heaven or Indra's Paradise that is supposed to fulfil desires. The other four are Mandaram, Santanam, Harichandanam and Parijatam.

It is interesting to note that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa shed his mortal coils in August, 1886, in the same house at Cossipore, where he attained divinity. He suffered his bad health (throat cancer) silently. After his mahasamadhi, his disciples took shelter with his holy `asthi' in a dilapidated house at Baranagar. This is the sacred place where Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) and a few others took up sanyasa and spent more than five years performing unprecedented spiritual austerities.

Later Swami Vivekananda realised that service to humanity was more important than spiritual penance. He advised his followers to spend some time in the morning and evening in japa and dhyana, but to occupy oneself during the rest of the day in spiritual study and to work for the good of the world.

This seed sown by the Swamiji bore fruit in the form of the worldwide organisation, Ramakrishna Mission, which is engaged in service to the poor and the needy.

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