Thaipusam today!

on Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thaipusam which falls in the month of Thai (January - February) is celebrated with intense devotion by a very large section of the people throughout Malaysia. It is celebrated on the full moon when the constellation Pusam is on the ascend. Lord Skanda is the spiritual son of Lord Siva. On this day the Lance (vel) was given to him by His mother.

The origin of Lord Skanda, the purpose of His avatara and its significance are of much importance to all seekers after Truth. During the battle between the Asuras and the Devas, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asuric forces. In despair, they approached Lord Siva and entreated to give them an able leader under whose heroic leadership they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Siva sincerely. The gracious Lord granted their request by creating mighty divine warrior, Lord Skanda, out of his own power or Achintya Sakti. This great son of Lord Siva at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, originated them, inspired them and attacked the asuric forces. The asuras were routed and a glorious victory was gained by the Devas.

Lakhs of devotees from various parts of the country and abroad converged at the ancients 'Lord Murugan Temples' at Tiruchendur, Palani, Tirupparankundram, Pazhamudircholai, Swamimalai and Thiruthani - the six sacred abodes and other temples of the God in the State on the occasion of 'Thai Poosam' festival, today. Special prayers and worship were offered in these temples, since early morning. The devotees bearing several kinds of 'Kavadis' Decorated central shaft of a semi-circular wooden structure) flocked the temple to fulfill their vows.

Several devotees, including women and children, came on a padayatra, carrying milk pots as offerings and piercing their body with spikes.

The festival is celebrated in a grand manner on the full moon day in he Tamil month of 'Thai' every year.

Make a whole hearted surrender at the feet of the Divine even as the Devas surrendered to Lord Siva. And like them, pray earnestly with Bhava and sincerity. The Divine help will surely come, and in your heart will spring up the routing torrent of Divine Sakti. The Lord's grace will become manifest to you in the form of inner soul force. This is the Divine power of Jnana symbolised by the Vel which vanquishes all undivine forces that attack you on the spiritual path and emerge triumphant and victorious.

Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary

on Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lets all remember a great soul on this  day!

"Like the gentle dew that falls unheard & unseen and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses should be the contribution of yourself to the thought of the world.Silent, unperceived but omnipotent in it’s effect. It should revolutionize the thought of the world yet nobody should know when it did so.

"I am the thread that runs through all these pearls," and each pearl is a religion or even a sect thereof. Such are the different pearls, and God is the thread that runs through all of them; most people, however, are entirely unconscious of it.

I do not want to get material life, do not want the sense-life, but something higher." That is renunciation. Then, by the power of meditation, undo the mischief that has been done.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything shall be added unto you." This is the one great duty, this is renunciation. Live for an ideal, and leave no place in the mind for anything else. Let us put forth all our energies to acquire that which never fails--our spiritual perfection. If we have true yearning for realization, we must struggle, and through struggle growth will come. We shall make mistakes, but they may be angels unawares.

After every happiness comes misery; they may be far apart or near. The more advanced the soul, the more quickly does one follow the other. What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are chains--one iron, one gold; behind both is the Atman, who knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states, and states must ever change; but the nature of the Atman is bliss, peace, unchanging. We have not to get it, we have it; only wash away the dross and see it.

All is the Self or Brahman. The saint, the sinner, the lamb, the tiger, even the murderer, as far as they have any reality, can be nothing else, because there is nothing else.
All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.

All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you.

All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I. The gulf between God and human beings is thus bridged. Thus we find how, by knowing God, we find the kingdom of heaven within us.

 - Swami Vivekananda

Sri Ramana Maharishi's Self Realisation

on Tuesday, January 08, 2013

My fear of death was some six weeks before I left Madurai for good. That was only on one day and for a short time. At the time there was a flash of excitement; it may roughly be described as ‘heat’, but it was not clear that there was a higher temperature in the body, nor was there perspiration. It appeared to be like some avesam or some spirit possessing me.

That changed my mental attitude and habits. I had formerly [had] a preference for some foods and an aversion to others. This tendency dropped off and all foods were swallowed with equal indifference, good or rotten, tasty or tasteless. Studies and duties became matters of utter indifference to me, and I went through my studies turning over pages mechanically just to make others who were looking on think that I was reading. In fact, my attention was never directed towards the books, and consequently I never understood their contents.

Similarly, I went through other social duties, possessed all the time by this avesam, i.e., my mind was absent from them, being fascinated and charmed by my own Self. I would put up with every burden imposed on me at home, tolerating every slight with humility and forbearance. Periodically, interest in and introspection on the Self would swallow up all other feelings and interests.

That fear was only on the first day, that is, the day of the awakening. It was a sudden fear of death which developed, not merely indifference to external things. It also started two new habits. First, the habit of introspection, that is, having attention perpetually turned on my Self, and second, the habit of emotional tears when visiting the Madurai Temple. The actual enquiry and discovery of ‘Who I am’ was over on the very first day of the change. That time, instinctively, I held my breath and began to think or dive inward with my enquiry into my own nature.

This body is going to die,’ I said to myself, referring to the gross physical body. I had no idea that there was any sukshma sarira [subtle body] in human beings. I did not even think of the mind. I thought of the gross physical body when I used the term body, and I came to the conclusion that when it was dead and rigid (then it seemed to me that my body had actually become rigid as I stretched myself like a corpse with rigor mortis upstairs, thinking this out) I was not dead. I was, on the other hand, conscious of being alive, in existence. So the question arose in me, ‘What was this “I”? Is it the body? Who called himself the “I”?’

So I held my mouth shut, determined not to allow it to pronounce ‘I’ or any other syllable. Still I felt within myself, the ‘I’ was there, and the thing calling or feeling itself to be ‘I’ was there. What was that? I felt that there was a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or centre that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it.

I had no idea of my Self before that. From that time on, I was spending my time absorbed in contemplation of that current.

Once I reached that conclusion (as I said, on the first day of the six weeks, the day of my awakening into my new life) the fear of death dropped off. It had no place in my thoughts. ‘I’, being a subtle current, it had no death to fear.

So, further development or activity was issuing from the new life and not from any fear. I had no idea at that time of the identity of that current with the personal God, or Iswara as I used to call him. As for Brahman, the impersonal absolute, I had no idea then. I had not even heard the name then. I had not read the Bhagavad Gita or any other religious works except the Periyapuranam and in Bible class the four Gospels and the Psalms from the Bible.

I had seen a copy of Vivekananda’s Chicago lecture, but I had not read it. I could not even pronounce his name correctly. I pronounced it ‘Vyvekananda’, giving the ‘i’ the ‘y’ sound. I had no notions of religious philosophy except the current notions of God, that He is an infinitely powerful person, present everywhere, though worshipped in special places in the images representing Him. This I knew in addition to a few other similar ideas which I picked up from the Bible and the Periyapuranam.

Later, when I was in the Arunachala Temple, I learned of the identity of myself with Brahman, which I had heard in the Ribhu Gita as underlying all. I was only feeling that everything was being done by the current and not by me, a feeling I had had ever since I wrote my parting note and left home. I had ceased to regard the current as my narrow ‘I’. This current, or avesam, now felt as if it was my Self, not a superimposition.

While, on the one hand, the awakening gave me a continuous idea or feeling that my Self was a current or force in which I was perpetually absorbed whatever I did, on the other hand the possession led me frequently to the Meenakshi Sundaresa Temple [in Madurai]. Formerly I would visit it occasionally with friends, but at that time [it] produced no noticeable emotional effect, much less a change in my habits. But after the awakening I would go there almost every evening, and in that obsession I would go and stand there for a long time alone before Siva, Nataraja, Meenakshi and the sixty-three saints. I would sob and shed tears, and would tremble with emotion. I would not generally pray for anything in particular, although I often wished and prayed that…

 It was not fear of death that took me to the Madurai Temple during those six weeks in 1896. The fear seized me for a short while when I was upstairs in my uncle’s house, and it gave rise to that avesam or current. That obsession made me introspective and made me look perpetually into my own nature, and took me also to temples, made me sob and weep without pain or joy or other explanation, and also it made me wish that I should become like the sixty-three saints and that I should obtain the blessings or grace of Iswara – general blessings, specifying and expecting nothing in particular.

I had no thought or fear of death then, and I did not pray for release from death. I had no idea before those six weeks or during those six weeks that life on earth was full of pain, and I had no longing or prayer to be released from samsara, or human life or lives. All that idea and talk of samsara and bandha [bondage] I learnt only after coming to this place and reading books. I never entertained either the idea that life was full of woe or that life was undesirable.

That avesam continues right up to now. After reading the language of the sacred books, I see it may be termed suddha manas [pure mind], akhandakara vritti [unbroken experience], prajna [true knowledge] etc.; that is, the state of mind of Iswara or the jnani."

Question: How is it that there was a perception of difference and prayer that ‘I should become like the sixty-three saints and get Iswara’s grace?'

Bhagavan: "The akhandakara [unbroken] current was sporting with these and still remained despite that desire."

Sources: Google and a Facebook  group

How to Eliminate ' i '

on Sunday, January 06, 2013

Q: How is the mind to be eliminated or relative consciousness transcended?

Ramana Maharishi: The mind is by nature restless. Begin liberating it from its restlessness; give it peace; make it free from distractions; train it to look inward; make this a habit. This is done by ignoring the external world and removing the obstacles to peace of mind.

D.: How is restlessness removed from the mind?

Ramana Maharishi: External contacts - contacts with objects other than itself - make the mind restless. Loss of interest in non-Self, (vairagya) is the first step. Then the habits of introspection and concentration follow. They are characterised by control of external senses, internal faculties, etc. (sama, dama, etc.) ending in samadhi (undistracted mind).

D.: How are they practised?

Ramana Maharishi: An examination of the ephemeral nature of external phenomena leads to vairagya. Hence enquiry (vichara) is the first and foremost step to be taken. When vichara continues automatically, it results in a contempt for wealth, fame, ease, pleasure, etc. The ‘I’ thought becomes clearer for inspection. The source of ‘I’ is the Heart - the final goal. If, however, the aspirant is not temperamentally suited to Vichara Marga (to the introspective analytical method), he must develop bhakti (devotion) to an ideal - may be God, Guru, humanity in general, ethical laws, or even the idea of beauty. When one of these takes possession of the individual, other attachments grow weaker, i.e., dispassion (vairagya) develops. Attachment for the ideal simultaneously grows and finally holds the field. Thus ekagrata (concentration) grows simultaneously and imperceptibly - with or without visions and direct aids. 

Ramana Maharishi: If an aspirant be unsuited temperamentally for the first two methods and circumstantially (on account of age) for the third method, he must try the Karma Marga (doing good deeds, for example, social service). His nobler instincts become more evident and he derives impersonal pleasure. His smaller self is less assertive and has a chance of expanding its good side. The man becomes duly equipped for one of the three aforesaid paths. His intuition may also develop directly by this single method.

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