Tag Archives: Sri Bhagavath

Meditation and Distractions ~ Are they mutually inclusive, by design!

20 Jul

Meditation and Distractions ~ Are they mutually inclusive, by design!

~a Swamusings post by @PrakashSwamy

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Recently someone pinged Swamy and asked… 

Swamy have you written a blog on when people give trouble to you how can you keep meditating without reaction?” 

The honest response is “No” since Swamy isn’t a qualified Yoga / Meditation teacher and Swamy’s Guru has been very particular about his disciples not speaking / sharing about anything that’s not in their own experience, especially when it comes to teaching something to others. That’s why there has been no Swamystery or உயிர்மெய் blog post on yoga or meditation methods, techniques, etc. They may happen eventually (or not!), as and when Swamy is experientially qualified to share them.

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In that case, it’s quite natural for anyone to instantly question, “then how come you write so much about death, enlightenment, etc?” A valid question indeed, since neither has been directly experienced by Swamy, certainly not in this lifetime, so far! But there’s a logical explanation for that, even though logic isn’t necessarily as popular (or essential, for that matter) in spirituality as it is in social existence.

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As a seeker, particularly one who is blessed with the guidance of a living Guru (Realised Master), one is privileged to know about the intricacies and nuances of ‘Life, the way it is,’ aka Reality, which aren’t in the intellectual knowledge realm of those immersed in the survival plane of existence. This includes experiences such as death, enlightenment, etc., which are obviously not in the seeker’s own experience, but aren’t incredulous or alien to the seeker either, since the knowing happens through the sharing of Realised Beings and Masters, including one’s own Guru. 

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In the info-centric existence of the present day, those seekers who are digital migrants (there are quite a few ‘digital natives’ seekers as well, of course) and are endowed with the ability to communicate ideas and insights, feel comfortable sharing whatever little they know, primarily on social media, based on their learning from the many Masters that have graced this tiny planet, though they aren’t under any compulsion to do so. Swamy just happens to be a seeker whose thirst to know from many a Master remains unquenchable and is also willing and capable (hopefully!) of sharing such wisdom (acquired, mostly) that’s usually beyond the sensory perception based intellectual comprehension. With that context, we can certainly talk about meditation as well. 

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Here’s a revelation that may be a surprise to long term Swamy readers – Swamy doesn’t really practice any kind of formal meditation process, at least not on a regular basis! There can be many logical explanations for this, but they’ll all be irrelevant to you, the reader, since everyone’s quest for the Truth (about Creator, creation, existence, et al) is unique, though all seekers are seeking to realise the same Truth. But be assured that some additional light shall be shined on this later in this post itself. 

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In the yogic tradition, meditation isn’t considered as a process or method to follow but as a state of being. That means, one can become meditative but not really do meditation. While a seeker, over a period of time, may perform various kinds of sadhana (spiritual practices), including but not limited to meditation, which may continue as-is for long or change after a while, the objective is never to achieve perfection in a particular sadhana itself, but to use all of them effectively to attain a state of equanimity or balance, aka SamAdhi (சமாதி). This is a state of tranquil stillness, which isn’t affected in any way by anything happening around them. This is the non-expressive state of ShivA, whenever he’s not doing the other extreme, i.e. the ThANdava, which is nothing but exuberant motion / movement, an expression of the ecstatic state of eternal bliss (which, in essence, is Shakthi).

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All Realised Masters (Guru) remain in the state of Sahaja Samadhi (சஹஜ சமாதி) inward, all the time, though they may still be involved in worldly activities just like the rest of us, either actively or passively. This is the self-realised state, where the Master perceives everything in creation or the entire creation as a singular presence*, which is normally referred to as the Divine or God. Attaining this state is essential for a seeker to progress towards Mukti (ultimate liberation from the repetitive birth-death lifecycle). Hence, most of the sadhana offered by a Guru to a(ny) disciple will be to make this happen. Each sadhana by itself may result in one or many outcomes (such as Siddhis or activation of a Chakra), but none of them are the ultimate destination by themselves.

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*This is the essence of the famous saying by BhagavAn RamaNa Maharishi, “There are no others!“, which was his response to a questioner who asked him, “When everyone in the Ashram is busy doing something or other, why are you always simply sitting or lying down (without seemingly doing anything)?” Since BhagavAn always remained in the state of Sahaja SamAdhi, there was no differentiation between himself and everyone else around him, at least not in his experience of oneness (with the Creator). 

Having said that, there are various dimensions of yoga, which include meditation techniques as well, which are useful to attain a sense of stable or still mind, leading to clarity in thinking, resulting in purposeful action. But all meditation techniques are essentially aimed at enabling the seeker to be a mere observer, of oneself, i.e. the amalgam of the body (physical dimension) and the mind (psychological dimension) that’s attached to many identities, such as name, religion, educational qualifications, wealth, social status, etc. The ultimate state of realisation is experiencing  the oneness of oneself and the supreme Self, when all the identities drop and there is no more duality (caused by ignorance, arising out of the limited intellect).

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When one becomes meditative, i.e. learns how to remain in a state of stillness*, the flow of thoughts in / from the mind may still happen, but one won’t do anything to either resist, stop or change them. Instead thoughts will simply flow** at will, as it is their nature, uninterrupted, like a stream. If and when deemed necessary, one can pick and choose from the flow of thoughts, any that are useful for purposeful action. Otherwise, one can simply observe their flow, without any re/action. 

*Attaining this state of stillness is the actual purpose of Asanas in yoga. “Sukham Sthiram Asanam” stated by Patanjali Maharishi in his Yoga SutrAs indicates this.

**This free flow of thoughts is what is referred to as PravAham (பிரவாகம்) by Sri Bhagavath (ஸ்ரீ பகவத்). 

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So, in summary, the answer to the question is, a seeker (or ‘meditator’ as per the question) should focus on the meditation itself, i.e. the process of meditation (technique can be any, as they differ from teacher to teacher) instead of getting distracted by any kind of interruption. Since human nature is to be easily distracted by the environment and its various components, distraction-free meditation needs a tremendous amount of practice. That’s why pretty much all the Masters emphasise the need for daily practices. Also, humans inherently believe that they are so unique, even though in reality they aren’t. That’s why there are four distinct paths in yoga known as Karma, Bakthi, Kriya and Gnana, though they are used as a blend, complementing each other. Only a Guru (Realised Master) knows and prescribes the right blend of the four paths*, to each seeker, based on one’s karmic structure and individual characteristics in the present lifetime.

*One of the best examples of this is Swami ChinmayAnanda, who is a renowned Master. The Chinmaya Foundation founded by him is a thriving global organisation, guiding thousands of seekers, even now. When he, who was an avowed atheist (in his youth), reached out to Swami SivAnanda at RishikEsh (he had been in the presence of BhagavAn RamaNa Maharshi as well, before this happened), he was directed by Swami SivAnanda to Swami TapOvan at UttarKAshi. It was Swami SiVAnanda, a Realised Master with his own vast yoga organisation and many ordained monks, who initiated Swami ChinmayAnanda into the ascetic monk order (including giving his new name). But he right away knew that the new disciple isn’t cut out for his path of Karma Yoga (selfless service) and directed him to Swami TapOvan, who is a Master on the path of GnAna Yoga. The rest, as they say, is history. Such is the power of perception of Realised Masters.

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An important thing to keep in mind (pun obviously intended) is “Meditation isn’t meant for control of mind.” At all. On the contrary, meditation is an aid to remain dissociated from the mind and letting it go about its own business. In a way, it’s about one not minding the mind minding it’s own business, however convoluted it may sound. As a result, the mind will either quieten and become still or won’t be a distraction anymore, even if it continues its nature of churning out wave after ceaseless wave of thoughts. This isn’t too different from the state of an ocean, which is still deep within, but perceived as restless with ceaseless waves on its surface.

Also, when a seeker is in meditation, the focus must be inward. So, even if there’s an obvious distraction outward*, sensed by one or more of the five senses, it’s limited to the external environment only and has no bearing on the inner nature of the being. Without this conscious detachment, no amount of meditation, nor any number of techniques, will help one attain stillness, ever.

*Sadhguru used to tell his disciples that they should be able to do the “ShoonyA meditation,” uninterrupted, even when they are in a crowded bus terminus with all kinds of distractions including loud noises. That’s essentially the state of total detachment from external influences to remain steadily focused inward.

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As you may recall (if not, you can certainly go back to the top of the post and start re-reading, heh.. heh..), Swamy doesn’t do any kind of meditation per se’ in particular, at least not regularly. The reason for this is the practical realisation of his Guru’s teaching that any activity one performs can be a sadhana (and a meditation technique). So right from drying clothes on a clothesline to mopping the floor to preparing food (occasionally, of course) to reading books and articles (often, needless to say) to relishing the hot morning cuppa to decorating Devi in the puja room to writing and publishing content such as ArutkuRaL ~ GnAnappAl or DhinamOruPadhigam hymns or SwamyQuote or even blog posts such as this one, every single action performed during the day by itself can be meditative. And they actually are, if one learns to remain alert and aware*, while performing them with absolute involvement but remaining consciously detached from the outcome (and benefits, if any). That is nothing but Karma yoga in practice.

*As an example, there were – at least – three interruptions, while writing this post, in response to a question by an acquaintance. Despite the interruptions causing some distraction and delay (and irritable interruption to the ‘flow’), this post did get written in full, as intended, within the same day. And as soon as this gets published, it’s a thing of the past and it’s time to move on to be in the present moment, again and again. This is the experiential reality of this writer, time and time again.

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As Swamy’s Master Sadhguru‘s vibrant voice guides the meditator with the chant “I’m not the body; I’m not even the mind” during the simple guided meditation practice of Isha KriyA (available free online), the stage is set for the being within to become still, i.e. to attain a state of meditativeness, aka Sahaja SamAdhi. The location, environment, people, noise, etc. that are always present during the process are all immaterial and exist only externally, while meditation is the state of being attained internally. That’s the objective, for a serious seeker. Everything else is simply a distraction. Shambho! 

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Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

Swamystery | SwamyQuote | உயிர்மெய் | Swamy on Facebook & Twitter

Why is JK’s Teaching So Hard To Comprehend!

1 Nov

Why is JK’s teaching so hard to comprehend!

Recently a pal lamented “But to be honest i am not able to understand JK as much as Sadhguru.” Another acquaintance too has mentioned something similar. These two are part of a tiny distribution list that Swamy communicates to on WhatsApp, members of which receive regular (not daily, as Swamy is known to simply keep quiet for a few days, occasionally) posts on Spirituality – including those by Swamy – and rare ones on survival (valuable insights that Swamy comes across during his media grazing). This DL* is the remnant of what used to be the SwamyPals WhatsApp group (disbanded a while ago) and only those who have personally requested Swamy for inclusion have been added to this. Interestingly, the latest potential inclusion to the SwamyShare DL could be an auto driver, who over a half-an-hour ride ended up requesting Swamy for worthy things to know in and about Life, for which he has dedicated time late at night, after completing his auto rides for the day!
Now, back to the pal’s lament… 
I am not able to understand JK as much as Sadhguru.” 
This leads to the question, which happens to be the title of this Swamystery blog post.

Why is JK’s teaching so hard to comprehend!

It’s not just this individual seeker (the respondent certainly is one, but not as overtly as Swamy, for obvious survival reasons ;), but a lot of people, who may or may not be seekers, who find it really hard to understand / comprehend JK’s teaching. 😂 Simply because they’re doing what they are always known to do – try to comprehend whatever information one has access to, using one’s senses – at least some of the six, so that the information makes sense. But spirituality was never about making sense – especially through the senses!
JK is Jiddu Krishnamurti, who had taught – primarily through public speeches, worldwide – the way to realise the self, i.e. true nature of a being, for almost 3/4th of the 20th century. He continues to remain a popular teacher of self-realisation through direct perception of reality, with ardent followers present globally, till date, a few decades after he left his physical form. The Krishnamurti Foundation continues to spread his – almost agnostic – message to seekers of truth by publishing books (of excellent quality), audio and video (plenty are available on YouTube). They also run the famous Rishi Valley school.
8bf4a6706656fa4177aceda3e74b517aJ. Krishnamurti is essentially a teacher of Advaita Vedanta, though he himself would not like to be associated with any kind of existing method/model/process (though direct perception of reality” is an ancient method for realising the Truth and there had been many practitioners – and possibly Masters as well – for several centuries before him) and refrained from being identified with a religion (though he was born a Hindu), possibly even nationality (he was obviously Indian, by birth, but lived in Ojai, California and travelled extensively, worldwide) and wasn’t known to quote or refer to any particular scripture (though he must’ve been quite knowledgeable in many, due to his ‘preparation’ by the Theosophical Society – to be a new Messiah, no less, which he eventually dissociated from) during the multitude of speeches and interactions, for getting his message across.
With JK, the method / process of self-realisation is through “direct perception of reality”, which is a hard way because one must use one’s mind itself to transcend the mind. 🤔 It’s like knowing what a knife is for, i.e. the dual purpose of it, and consciously using it only to cut things and not beings, not because someone told so but because of one’s own knowing. And with JK, there’s no masala or drama at all, i.e. no worship, no bhajans, no meditation, nothing at all. He speaks about Truth & Reality from his direct experience and persistently requests the listeners to experience it along with him, instead of just listening to him and trying to comprehend whatever he is saying. There have been many instances when he actually laughs (very subtly, of course) at the listeners’ inability to ‘experience’ whatever he was communicating and even tells them so. In essence, he actually discourages anyone from trying to understand / comprehend what he is saying, because reality / truth can only be experienced by the individual being and not comprehended, since that experience is beyond the limitations of the subjective human intellect. 
Let’s take this one for example, to understand (ha.. ha..) how futile it is to comprehend, but how easier it would be to experience and simply know!
This is nothing but the mahavakya “Aham Brahmasmi,” i.e. “I’m the Brahman.” It’s the realisation that the individual being (you, me, anyone…) is in reality the supreme truth/reality/consciousness or creator/God. The Creator is indeed the Creation. The unmanifest Brahman is the manifest Being. He is essentially stating the ancient Truth and emphasising that one must experience this Truth oneself and no one – not even one’s Guru – can offer that experience. 
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi once told a questioner “There are no others.” 
Sadhguru consistently reminds seekers that “the creator is within each and every creation.” 
Jesus told followers “the kingdom of God is within you.” 
JK told “In oneself lies the whole world…”
They we/are all essentially saying the same. A Master can only point the Seeker in the right direction and offer guidance and tools to reach the destination. It’s only the seeker who has to strive and reach the destination. That’s why the ultimate experience is known as self-realisation aka enlightenment.
Let’s take another example to understand (ha.. ha.. again) this.
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We usually presume that fear arises out of not knowing something. One is afraid of ghosts because one doesn’t know anything about them – not in one’s own experience. All that one knows about ghosts is from horror fiction and films. If and when one actually experiences a ghostly presence, and realises that it doesn’t (or couldn’t) really harm anyone (because the ghost or a being without physical form is left only with tendencies / vasanas and can’t translate them into action – at least not by themselves), then one will be at peace with the idea of ghost, because now one knows what it is. Unfortunately, pretty much all human beings in existence only know the book and film ghosts. That’s the known, not the unknown. When one actually gets to know a ghost, then the known idea of a ghost inevitably crumbles. So, the human challenge is not really ‘not knowing’ something but the acceptance of ‘not knowing,’ from one’s own experience. 
Sadhguru prepares his followers for this acceptance by saying, “What you know you know; what you don’t know, you simply don’t know!”
Ramana Maharshi questions those who lament to him about their suffering, “Who is suffering?”
Now ponder the same thing, by replacing ghost with God. Try it – it’ll be fun 🙂
Alright, let’s do one last analysis before concluding this post. This is essential to know how all the Masters are essentially communicating the same thing, but differently.
 
Humans willingly adhere to what can be termed as ‘template living.’ They prefer to ‘fit in’ rather than ‘stand out,’ in a society that is built with rules. It makes them feel comfortable and offers some kind of assurance that they are part of something bigger than themselves, i.e. the society, which accepts them as a part of it, when they comply with the living guidelines to be part of it. It’s the society that decides what one knows and what one need not. Education, which is a primary criteria to be part of the society, is designed to teach students only what the society wants them to know. Tests are created to ensure the students don’t lose focus on the content and stick only to that. Education is limited to only studying and has no room of learning, because learning will lead to knowing. And knowing will liberate a human being from the clutches of the society, which obviously the society doesn’t like. Put succinctly, society is the ocean that expects the water drops to believe and behave as a part of the ocean and not know that they are indeed the ocean.
That’s why the ancient sages stayed as far away as possible from the society that thrives on survival – in forests and mountains, in order to pursue various paths to know the Truth. They were alone, but weren’t lonely, because they were already one with The One or striving to be. They consciously remained untainted by the writ of the society, remaining free – by choice, of course – of the comforts that ‘template living’ offered. That’s exactly why even the emperor had to seek their counsel, by inviting them to their kingdom to guide and teach. Modern day sages such as Sadhguru have created such an environment in the form of tremendous spaces of energy, for serious spiritual seekers to be free from the boundaries of the societal template, at least for some period of time, to experience “Life, the way it is.” 
Be it the ancient sages or teachers such as JK or Masters such as Sadhguru, they are saying and doing exactly the same things, for exactly the same purpose – liberation of an individual being from the chain of the known to experience the unknown Truth. They persist in pointing out that what one thinks as truth is merely the known, i.e. some version of the truth as told by someone possibly based on their experience, and the Truth one truly needs to seek can only be known by the individual.
If one really delves deeper into JK’s teaching, it’s nothing but the path of GnAna yoga 😇. And there haven’t been many Gurus (Realised Masters) for this path, except for a few such as BhagavAn RamaNa Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Papaji, Ramesh Balsekar (Nisargadatta Maharaj’s disciple), Alan Watts (all in the past) and even fewer like Mooji (disciple of Papaji), Eckhart Tolle (he quotes JK in detail, but isn’t a disciple, since JK discouraged the Guru-SishyA model itself) and Sri Bhagavath (who is offering an even simpler approach to realisation).
Best of without communication quotes 38 best Ramana Maharshi Quotes images on PinterestGnAna yoga too is an ancient path to the Truth (alongside Bakthi yoga, Karma yoga & Kriya/Raja yoga) but without many Gurus to guide, the number of practitioners has always been minuscule. In Buddhism, the Zen Masters are considered true Masters of this path, but this isn’t that active – or even widely known, for that matter – in MeraBharatMahan. Since Osho aka Bhagavan Rajaneesh has spoken / written extensively on Zen, he too can be considered as a Master of this path, though he wrapped it up in a more colourful way (which ended up enticing scores of western disciples, who were obviously enthralled by the eclectic mix of his teaching).
Incidentally Adi Shankaracharya has written extensively about GnAna yoga 🙏 in books such as Atma BodhA, Tathva BodhA, Aparokshanhuboothi, VivEka ChoodaamaNi, etc.📚 and Masters such as Swami Chinmayananda have spoken and written interpretations for these, and also taught them to seekers, during their time. It would be of interest to some of you to know that Adi Shankaracharya, who is revered as an avatar of the Adi Guru Lord Shiva himself, has done extensive work on all the four paths to realise the Truth. He also gave an effective course-correction for Sanatana Dharma (aka Hinduism) and rejuvenated its practices (creation of 6 ways of worship, establishment of 4 mutts for spiritual guidance to seekers, etc), which is one of the reasons it is prevalent and active even today.
SQ-4Sadhguru (Founder of Isha Foundation; Padma Vibhushan awardee; Bestselling Author; extremely popular SocialMedia personality; Living Master / Mystic / Yogi of the ancient kind, and also Swamy’s Guru) refers to the same as experiencing and living “Life, the way it is,” i.e. acceptance of Reality as it is, without applying our intellect (which is text-bookish and very limited, anyway) to comprehend it. 😌 Since, as a contemporary Master, he’s fully aware of the nature of the present generation of humans (watch his YouTube videos right away, if you haven’t experienced his magnificent presence yet), he’s crafted several Methods (Kriyas & meditations), Tools (Dhyanalinga, Lingabhairavi, Yantra) and Initiatives (Isha Vidhya, Project GreenHands, Rural Rejuvenation, Gramotsavam, Rally For Rivers, etc) to prepare millions of global followers to a level where they may actually be ready to perceive Reality, as it is. 😇 He is also working simultaneously to create a group of monks and teachers – of both genders, of course – and establishing energy spaces that are conducive to the spiritual practices, to ensure this path to Truth remains active even after his physical existence is done with.
SQ-SpiritualityIrrespective of whether you’re a seeker or not, if you’re enticed by JK but find it hard to comprehend, don’t despair. You should actually be glad that the seeking within is becoming an unquenchable thirst, which is necessary for a Guru to happen to guide you in this lifetime itself (Guru shopping just doesn’t work, period). Instead of worrying, try watching / listening to Mooji or Ekhart Tolle, (who are both westerners btw – in case you’re wary of Indian Masters) who are Living Masters of GnAna yoga path, who get JK’s message across to the listener differently. Or, there’s Sadhguru himself, who has spoken at length about pretty much everything in existence, which is available to anyone interested on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podomatic, etc. You don’t even have to be a seeker or Isha meditator to know – it’s all free! 🙌😌🙏
*DL aka Distribution List is different from a Group (in apps like WhatsApp). It’s a one-way communication tool, which a group of people belonging to a DL will receive the message simultaneously but can respond to the sender only individually. A Group is more of a forum where everyone can share and respond.
Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy
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