Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Gnana route-2

That star belongs to the Orion constellation. It is approximately 800 light years to 1340 light years away.
You were talking about distance and now talk about years.
Yes, that expression is used while talking of very great distances. The sun is far away but it takes its light only 8 minutes and 18 seconds. That is a mean distance of 1.496×108 km from Earth. When we say the star in Orion is 800 light years away it means that the light that started from that star 800 years back has reached us only now!
So that star that you insisted emphatically exists there now, was there really 800 years back only!
So much for what we see and what the truth is. But to say that the star exists is an illusion but that is generally accepted as true. Similarly that this universe exists is generally true but not really. It is an illusion.
Suppose you are handed over a paper with something written on it in pencil. What do you see? If you see the paper you are ok. If you see the words only then something is wrong.
Yes, wrong. The paper is the base on which something is written. What is written may be erased tomorrow and something else may be written. What is unchanging is the paper not the words on it.
See the pot here? What was it before? It was mud. What will happen once it breaks? It will be thrown away and mix with mud. It might again become a pot later. Mud always existed, exists and will exist. For a while it had a particular shape and name and was called pot. That did not last long.
The one who sees the pot does not see pot before its creation or after its destruction. But a person seeing the mud sees the mud before the pot was made, while the pot existed and after the pot breaks too. He would be called a viveki.
This world as we see is constantly changing. It exists now but tomorrow it won’t exist as it is now. It would have changed. That is why it is called anitya or ephemeral.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gnana route.

So what next?
The Gnana route.
First a quiz!
Have you come across the following lines in a movie?
“What is real? How do you define real? If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see they are simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain!”
Wait for the answer.

To clean up the mind and start inquiring with it, seeking the answer to the question “who am I?” Start discarding what you perceive that “I am not” after deep analysis. Finally what remains is what you are. This is what gnana route is.
In short such an analysis will lead to the concept “Only Brahman exists, all this universe is maya.”
Now the word maya can be interpreted variously.
It does not mean untruth or falsehood. It may be taken as illusory. But perhaps a closer meaning could be ephemeral (transient, short lived, fleeting, passing, brief, momentary, temporary) .
In the laboratories scientists experiment with isotopes that have a very short span of life. One might say they are irrelevant as they are so short lived. Stop to think for a minute. So are we! Compared to the age of the universe our life span is so short like that of an isotope compared to our life span.
Still I find it hard to accept that this is all illusory. How can I reject something that I can see as illusory?
Alright. Not all that you see is the truth though it appears to be true, can you accept that?
Look at that star. It is there, right?
Of course it is there.
Is it there now?
Yes of course!
I put it to you that it is not there now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More on Raja yoga route....

. Otherwise things may turn out to be very difficult as it happened to one of my acquaintances……
One person known to me was very active in social life handling something like 12 voluntary organisations. Naturally he went around meeting a lot of people. He used to find out what the other person’s interest is and try to talk about it or try to learn what it is. In due course he met a person who was practising Raja yoga and not knowing much about it, he started discussing it and later asked to be initiated. At first the master refused. Of course what is denied to us has a lot of attraction to us and we make extra efforts to get it. If something is easily available we don’t even give a second look. Our friend went to him repeatedly, pleaded so much and thus prevailed finally. He was asked to close his eyes and relax and the master put his hand on his head and did something. He was a mantra and asked to do japa for so many days, so many times. Of course our friend was satisfied having got what he thought he wanted and so was careless about the practice. A month passed and our friend was having a lot of uneasiness, mental confusion and restlessness. He could not carry out his day to day activities. Doctors could not fathom his problem. Then he suddenly remembered the master and went to him only to get the scolding of his life! The master again put his hand over his head did something and turned him out asking him never to show his face again in those parts!
I mentioned this only to drive home the point that these things are not to be taken lightly. No book can tell you exactly how to do it. Don’t ever get into practice without a proper guidance. This is like walking on the knife edge. A guru is a must for raja yoga.

So what next?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Raja Yoga path

This is the karma route. So what is next?
To Chennai via panurutti.
The Raja Yoga path:
Yoga means to join. Raja yoga is also referred to as ashtanga yoga. There are eight steps in it. Let us first list them though we may not understand them now.
* Yama – This is not the one responsible for taking us away when the time is up! It means - code of conduct, self-restraint
* Niyama –This is not opposite of yama. It means - religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
* Āsana – This is the world renowned yoga asanas. It is integration of mind and body through physical activity
* Pranayama – Also popular these days. It is regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body. It is not just filling your lungs fully to get air into all the alveoli to get good oxygenation but something more.
* Pratyahara – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. In simpler terms not allowing the senses to run after what they enjoy.
* Dharana – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
* Dhyana – meditation, letting the mind wander only around one object. (quiet activity that leads to samadhi)
* Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, superconscious state.

Re yogasana one might find it difficult to believe that mind and body can influence each other.
It is not really difficult to see that it can.
It is quite common to see people who undergo a lot of tension. Unless some measure is taken to relieve it, it will accumulate. This will manifest in several ways. Commonest is constipation. It can also manifest as lose motions, rashes all over body, changes in appetite etc. One goes to the doctor and he says there is nothing wrong with you. The sufferer gets angry because it is he who is suffering! The doctor meant that nothing is wrong with you physically. It is the work of mind. Find a way to release that tension and everything is alright!
Similarly when one is running a high fever, or has a very painful physical ailment the mind gets depressed.
We can use this fact to handle our stress. Here is an example. Harmless of course!
Just lie down comfortably. Then tighten all your muscle, the entire body hold for a few seconds and then let go. Start breathing deeply in and out, watch the breathing, watch the abdomen and chest moving with the breath. Start counting backwards from 32 with each breath. 32…31…30… and so on. When you reach zero it is most likely that you are well relaxed. Keep that state for a few minutes. You may repeat it as many times as needed taking into account how much time is available.
For a more detailed course look here:
I have used to do this with the help of a cassette long back and found it effective. Now they are charging Rs. 1500 for a two day course.
A word about pranayama too. Don’t ever take it lightly and start practicing on your own! It could be very dangerous. In fact none of the raja yoga components are to be taken lightly. One needs to practice under a guru who has had good training. Otherwise things may turn out to be very difficult as it happened to one of my acquaintances……