Attaining Yoga or Union:

Attaining Yoga or Union:
Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

13 Speakers: Swami Rama Yoga Meditation Intensive, India, 10/29/07 - 11/16/07

Following is an announcement about the Swami Rama Intensive in India Oct 29 - Nov 16. This will truly be an exciting and insightful time for sincere practitioners of Yoga Meditation, Vedanta and Tantra in the context of the teachings and tradition of Swami Rama. I personally very much look forward to participating, to helping with the presentations, and to hearing the perspecives of the other 12 speakers (biodata below). This is a rare opportunity for those who attend.

In loving service,

Swami Jnaneshvara


Sadhana Mandir Ashram (Swami Rama’s Ashram) of Rishikesh, India is happy to announce the SWAMI RAMA INTENSIVE program, October 29 – November 16, 2007 at the Himalayan Institute Hospital campus and Swami Rama Center, between Rishikesh and Dehradun, India. Monday through Friday programs will be at the hospital campus and weekend retreats will be at the ashram on the Ganges in Rishikesh.

The SWAMI RAMA INTENSIVE will be a flexible program adapting to the wishes and needs of the participants. However, each daily program will include classes drawing directly on a specific chapter from one of the books by Swami Rama. These presentations will be give by 13
different speakers, who are listed below. There will also be group meditations and self-awareness practices in alignment with the practices taught by Swami Rama.



Dr Achala M. Singhal, MD, DM, FACC, is a Professor & Head of Cardiology Department at Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences. Personally trained by Sri Swami Rama in holistic approaches to medicine, Dr. Achala has conducted research on the effects of
meditation and breath control on hypertension and heart disease. Holistic approaches with cardiac patients have helped avoid invasive procedures in many cases, along with complete healing.

Dr. Anil Singhal is Professor of Neurology at HIHT. He received his M.D. in Medicine at AIIMS and did his residency in Neurology in USA. He is Head of the Departments of Holistic Medicine and Neurosciences. He worked closely with Swamiji from the very inception of HIHT.

Dr. M. Ganasan, MBBS, a disciple of Swami Rama since 1990, Dr. Ganasan had a flourishing private medical practice in Malaysia. Currently Director of the Combined Therapy Program at HIHT, Dr. Ganasan focuses on Yoga Therapy based on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Swami Rama’s teachings. This highly individualized program takes the participant through physical postures, breathing exercises, cleansing practices, mind/ energy/body integration, leading to Self Awareness and ultimately to living in the universe itself.

Dandi Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, MA, a disciple of Swami Rama, provides spiritual counseling and teaches practical aspects of Meditation, Yoga, Vedanta, and internal Tantra. Swami J is widely known for his passionate dedication to the teachings of Swami Rama,
which he expounds in a simple, efficient, and easy-to-understand manner.

Dr. John Clarke, M.D. is former Chairman of the Himalayan Institute of the USA, Dr. Clarke received his M.D. degree from Harvard University in Family Practice, Internal Medicine and Cardiology. He is also an Emergency Room physician and resides in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Dr. Kathleen McKeehan is a Nursing Advisor at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust. She received her Ph.D in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University, USA. She is a certified Hatha Yoga teacher and worked with Swamiji in USA before coming to India in 1992.

Ms. B. Maithili, a disciple of Swami Rama, is serving the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust in the capacity of Director of Rural Development Institute.

Dr. Prakash Keshaviah is Director of Nephrology and an Honorary Professor of Physiology at HIHT. He received Post-Graduate Degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology from the University of Minnesota, USA. His training with Swamiji dates back to the late 1960s.

Dr. Ravindra Kumar Mamgain, experienced in Ayurveda for over 20 years, is an Associate Professor of Ayurvedic Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, and consultant physician at the Department of Ayurveda,

Dr. Sunil Saini M.B.B.S., M.S. ( Surgery), Fellow UICC, Senior Consultant Surgical Oncology , Professor of Surgery. Dedicated to the service of cancer patients, Dr. Saini was inspired and trained by Swami Rama to focus on holistic approaches, quality of life issues and stress management in cancer control and research.

Mr. Vijay Dhasmana, member Presidential Body, is respected for his dynamic leadership and management abilities. Having recently translated several of Swami Rama’s books from English into Hindi, Vijay is very conversant with Swamiji’s teachings.

Dr. Vijendra Chauhan is a Professor and an eminent Surgeon of Orthopaedics in HIHT. He is also a member of the Presidential Body. He received his MS in Orthopaedics from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences. Hehas been associated with Swamiji since 1994.

Dr. Vishnudas K. is an Ayurvedic physician with over 15 years of experience in Ayurveda. He currently runs the Ashtavaidhya Parampara Ayurvedic center in Rishikesh, and has an Ayurvedic clinic at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Rishikesh Extension branch.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mandukya Upanishad on Om Mantra: Yoga Meditation (VIDEO 9:30)

Mandukya Upanishad on Om Mantra: Yoga Meditation (VIDEO 9:30)

This video is on the Om Mantra as outlined in the Mandukya Upanishad. The pinnacle of the wisdom of the ancient sages is contained in these terse twelve verses, which outline the philosophy and practices of the Om mantra (written as either AUM or OM). The three stages plus the fourth of Om mantra are central to Yoga Meditation, Advaita Vedanta, and Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra.

VIDEO (9:30 minutes):

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Can a Christian Practice Yoga? (VIDEO: 5:45 minutes)

VIDEO (5:45 minutes):

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Can a Christian Practice Yoga? It depends on the individual Christian and the extent of his or her deep longing for union or Yoga that may lie deeply in the mind and heart. If one practices physical posture without the higher goals, it can hardly be called Yoga. It may be physical fitness, but it is no more Yoga than drinking wine and eating bread alone are Christianity.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Spirituality and When it Dawns - Swami Rama
From The Essence of Spiritual Life
By Swami Rama
ISBN 8188157015
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Swami Rama Foundation

Swami Rama

It is not necessary to retire to a monastery to lead a spiritual life. We cannot escape from our inherent longings or postpone our utmost needs. In addition to the primitive urges for food, sex, sleep, and self-preservation, there is a higher urge to merge with God. We cannot be at peace unless that inherent divine urge is fulfilled.

We all want to experience the all-pervading, omnipresent God from which the entire universe, as well as each individual, has evolved. Direct experience of the truth that each of us originates from God, and ultimately will return to God, makes us secure, happy, and strong.

Today millions of educated men and women are suffering from a lack of purpose. Lacking also in self-confidence, young girls and boys have become victims of dissatisfaction and frustration. Along with a worldly education, we must provide some spiritual education.

Human beings have done research on three levels so far on mind, energy, and matter. Yet we have not found out a way to live in peace, to attain happiness that is free from all problems, pains, and miseries. We study this “ism,” and that “ism.” We go to this church and that temple. We seek advice from this swami and that other yogi. Yet, we have not found the way.

The whole confusion lies in the fact that we do not understand ourselves, and yet we introduce ourselves to others. We are strangers to ourselves yet we get married, have children, have homes, and claim to love others.

That training that helps us to attain a state of happiness free from pains and miseries, is missing from our daily life. Nobody teaches us how to look within, how to find within, how to verify within.

We are taught to know and see things in the external world, but this inner training and knowledge is missing. When we graduate with flying colors from colleges and universities, we find that we are still unsatisfied. The big questions about life still remain questions:

Who am I? From where have I come? What is the purpose of life? Where will I go from here?

Modern education helps us to understand and to be successful in the external world, the world of means. It doesn’t help us to know ourselves.

To know yourself, you don’t have to go anywhere. If you want to know yourself, you have to follow the path from the grossest to the subtle, then to the subtler, and finally, to the subtlest aspects of your life. You have to search for yourself, because religions do not fulfill this need.

I am not telling you not to follow your religion, or not to believe and trust in your religion. Often religions do not answer certain vital questions of life. Religions tell you what to do and what not to do, but religions do not tell you how to be.

No matter how many temples and churches we build, nothing is going to happen unless we accept one principle—that the greatest of all churches and temples is the living human being.

The scriptures say:

"The greatest of shrines is the human body. Look within and find within. There His Majesty dwells in the inner recesses, in the inner chamber of your being."

The day you come to know this, you will be happy. To believe in God is not a bad thing. It is a very good thing, because at least you have faith; but you should not forget that God is within you.

As a part of our educational training, we must define spirituality in its most precise and universal terms. Spirituality means that which helps us discipline our thoughts, speech, and actions, that which leads us toward the center of consciousness, and thereby unfolds our inner potentials.

Education based on such spiritual guidelines will help humanity to become self-reliant, confident, and active in the external world. At the same time, it will enable humanity to broaden its world view, and to become inward to search for the perennial Truth. Only a spiritually based education can bring harmonious balance to our external and inner lives.

Knowledge of theories that prove the existence of God is not as important as learning to discipline oneself, so that God can be experienced directly. Children should be taught how to sit quietly and make their minds one-pointed. Through their calm and one-pointed minds, children can obtain a glimpse of true peace and happiness. We need not force them to believe that there is a God; however, we should provide them with the opportunity to unfold their inner potentials, gain confidence, and become inspired to search for God, according to their own inner tendencies and backgrounds. Children need to cultivate divine virtues within themselves.

That which is purely physical has its limits, like the shell of an egg. Spirituality has infinite horizons and limitless freedom. It is full of knowledge and perennial light, life, and delight. When one is completely detached, one realizes oneself in a wider and deeper relationship with the Universal Being.

When ego becomes aware of something that is higher than ego—the individual spirit, or soul—then spirituality dawns.

Spirituality dawns when individuality vanishes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

VIDEO Tribute to Swami Rama - Master of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra

This video is a tribute to Swami Rama of the Himalayas, one of the greatest teachers of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra of the twentieth century. Swami Rama was a master of the Himalayan tradition who taught throughout the world and founded the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust and Swami Rama University near Dehradun, India, as well as Sadhana Mandir Ashram in Rishikesh, India.

VIDEO (3:53 minutes):

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Does Yogi Bear have anything to do with Yoga? (VIDEO; 50 seconds)

Does Yogi Bear have anything to do with Yoga?

Have you ever seen the cartoon character Yogi Bear? Did you ever wonder how he got his name? Does it have anything to do with Yoga? Here is the answer!

VIDEO answer to the question (50 seconds):

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Wisdom to live by in Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and Tantra

Wisdom to live by in Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and Tantra
Click here for VIDEO (1 minute, 18 seconds):

Swami Jnaneshvara

• There is only one highest reality and many teachers.
• All humans and life arise from the same one source.
• All countries, religions and institutions arise from that.
• There are many books of wisdom from many ages.
• Thinking there is only one way comes from ignorance.
• Coercive conversion is violence against other peoples.
• The goal of life is found within, not in institutions.
• Wisdom, joy and freedom come from inner stillness.
• Love all, as we are all waves of the one ocean.

Love all and exclude none.

Click here for VIDEO (1 minute, 18 seconds):

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Nondualism (Advaita) in Vedanta and Yoga Meditation

Nondualism (Advaita) in Vedanta and Yoga Meditation

VIDEO (3 minutes):

Nondualism is central to Advaita Vedanta and Yoga Meditation. Seek to know that by which knowing, The nature of all things is known, Seek to love that by which loving, That love beyond all forms is known. That by which knowing, loving, holding Comes Absolute Joy, The One Joy that is unbounded, unconditioned, Limitless.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Brief Hindu Timeline for Practitioners of Yoga Meditation

Brief Hindu Timeline for Practitioners of Yoga Meditation

(10 minutes)

The dates for the Brief Hindu Timeline are drawn from a significantly more extensive timeline assembled by Hinduism Today in 1994. It should be self evident that the choice of items on the timelines and the dates themselves may not align with the opinions of all people. This video is presented as general information, not as a scholarly stance. Dates preceded by "ca" are approximate. The notation "bce" means "before common era" in the year zero of the Western or Gregorian calendar. The notation "ce" means "common era" and is after the year zero.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Advanced Yoga Nidra



The form of Yoga Nidra being described in this article can be called Advanced Yoga Nidra. In recent years Yoga Nidra has been distorted in ways similar to Yoga itself. Unfortunately, almost any guided practice that brings a modicum of relaxation is now called Yoga Nidra. Therefore, it is now virtually essential that we use another term, such as Authentic Yoga Nidra, Traditional Yoga Nidra, or Advanced Yoga Nidra. I've opted for the term Advanced Yoga Nidra in this article.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra VIDEO (6:45 minutes): Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, Tantra

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra
VIDEO (6:45 minutes)
By Swami Jnaneshvara and Swami Nardanand


Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is one of the more potent of the ancient
Sanskrit mantras. It is a call for enlightenment and is a practice of
purifying the karmas of the soul at a deep level. It can also be
quite beneficial for mental, emotional, and physical health. This
video has forty audio recitations of the mantra, as well as
explanations of its meaning. Mahamrityunjaya is a useful practice in
Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and Tantra.

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

We meditate on the three-eyed reality
Which permeates, sustains and nourishes all like a fragrance.
May we be free from the powerful disease-like bondage,
And receive the nectar that removes ignorance and brings liberation.

See also this link for more info on the mantra:

Spiritual Untouchables

(Reprinted here with permission)

Shambhavi Sarasvati

A certain highly accomplished Guru traveled to a new city where some
students had formed a group. Now, it so happened that, in the absence
of Guru, one fellow had assumed the "top dog" leadership position in
this group. He was enjoying his self-appointed role as the director
of everything and everyone. In fact, he fancied himself quite an
advanced practitioner capable of giving teachings to students even
though he had no permission from the Guru.

This fellow was so attached to the ego enjoyment he derived from this
role playing, he was like a heroin addict–compulsive and controlled
by fantasy fixes. Far from being capable of leadership or conveying
teachings to others, he was possessed by an automaton: a totally
programmed, robot slave. The robot slave acted confident and
knowlegable. Others were impressed and followed along. They didn't
know that acting "confident" and "knowlegable" was just a part of the
robot slave's programming.

So there this fellow was, playing the role of preceptor, when the
real Guru showed up. The robot slave really didn't like the idea of
being shut down. So it went into overdrive. It threw a tantrum and
physically threw the real teacher out of the teaching hall and onto
the street.

It was late at night. The Guru had no place to sleep, and it was
wintertime. But he was resourceful and luckily did not freeze to
death! The next day, the Guru called a meeting. To everyone's
surprise, he extended a kind invitation to the student who had thrown
him out the previous evening. During that meeting, the clear seeing
and compassion of the teacher acted like a reverse poison–a remedy.
The student was freed of being possessed by the robot slave.

Without that compulsive programming, the real situation of the
student could manifest. Far from being confident, he was terribly
afraid that others might find out how unworthy he really felt. Far
from wanting to to be the Guru, he longed with the grief of a little
abandoned child for the Guru's love. But he felt so cut off from true
love, he had tried to manipulate others into looking up to him, and
even fearing him.

The spiritual literature of India, Tibet, and many other places is
filled with stories of accomplished teachers who encounter thieves,
rapists, those possessed by greed, and even demons. With great
insight and compassion, these teachers free other beings from
fixation so that they too can continue on the path to Self-

The greatest teachers neither seek nor reject students. All are
welcome, without exception. However, this does not apply to every
teacher. It only applies to those teachers who are Self-realized and
can be of true benefit to the incredibly diverse beings they meet.
Less accomplished teachers must be keenly aware of their own
limitations, and/or follow the directions of their own teachers in
the matter of who and what they are equipped to teach.

This being said, it is never the fault of the student if a student is
unteachable by a certain Guru. This situation is a reflection of the
limitation of the Guru. So-called "bad" students should never be
vilified by teachers or communities. We are all "bad" students until
we are Self-realized. It is only a matter of degree. And this world,
composed of nothing but intelligence and compassion, teaches everyone
without exception. This is cosmic law. No one is unteachable. Only
individuated teachers with their own limitations are not yet fit to
encompass everyone who comes their way.

Spiritual communities are famous for clannishness, infighting, and
for harshly ex-communicating those who trouble other members of the
group. In some instances, it is teachers who set the tone for this
kind of activity. In other cases, the teacher is not around, and the
fixations of the students are free to mask themselves with egoic
misapplications of the teachings.

Students, all students, come to spiritual communities and teachers
with their fixations, compulsions, and attachments on full display.
This is true without exception. The student who is obviously
disruptive is no more in the wrong or right than a student who tries
to win the favor of the teacher with acts of false devotion and
obedience. Or one who uses "the teachings" as a weapon against other
students. If people didn't have fixations, there would be no need for
teachers. In fact, Tantrik teachers are well-known for purposely
inflaming the fixations of their students so that these may be
recognized and resolved. Going on a retreat with a Tantrik Guru and
community is usually anything but restful for this reason.

There are three golden rules for working with difficult situations
within spiritual communities.

1. Any reaction you have to another person or situation is your
reaction. It is not the fault of the other person; it is your
fixations at play. In order to confirm this, you need only think of
the accomplished beings who do not have "issues" with any person; all
people are held in the crucible of their intelligence and compassion.
This is your beacon. Your fixations are your real situation; they are
what you have to take responsibility for and work with. The member of
your community who really, really irritates you is your Guru in that
this person makes sure that all of your attachments are available to
be recognized and worked with. In fact, this person is none other
than an aspect of World Self communicating with you.

2. Teachers and students must recognize their limitations. We all
have limitations. Being blind to these, or trying to rise above them
with applications of spiritual View that you have not yet embodied,
will slow your unfoldment. All students and most teachers, cannot
encompass every situation. Sometimes we have to leave another person,
or ask them to leave, or take some other measure to protect our
ability to continue our practice individually or as a group. The
Buddha Yeshe Tsogyal once asked her Guru, Padmasambhava, what to do
about disturbances to her practice arising in her environment. He
answered that these disturbances should be brought into one's
practice, "onto the path" as is said. But if this is not possible,
his advice was: "Run for the hills! Protect your practice!" Notice
that the emphasis is on what you should do to take responsibility for
your sadhana, not on punishing, denigrating, criticizing, or
ostracizing another person.

3. The teacher is the teacher. In the matter of the conduct of
spiritual communities and a student's individual choices with respect
to sadhana, the teacher is the guide and the arbiter. Students should
ask the teacher what to do in difficult situations. Some students, in
a moment when the watchful eye of the teacher is not on them, like to
play the role of gatekeeper or even Guru. They try to wield power
over other students, and this is the source of a lot of the bad
reputation of spiritual communities. An accomplished Guru will know
how to work with this situation so that everyone can grow. Put
everything in the Guru's hands. Don't take on the karma of
prematurely guiding other people, whether by giving them practices to
do, criticizing them, or showing them the door.

Sometimes the most difficult student is transformed by interaction
with the Guru into the most sincere disciple, an example to everyone.
And students generally are in a fog of fixation and compulsion, but
even so, they recognize the primordial light of insight and
compassion shining from their teacher. We can still recognize and
follow despite our situation of limitation. This is Guru Kripa, or
Guru's grace.

In Matriseva,

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Truth is in Every Heart - Yoga Meditation teachings of Swami Rama

From: The Essence of Spiritual Life
By Swami Rama
ISBN 8190100491
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust

Swami Rama

Truth is that Divine Force that dwells in every individual’s heart. It is the all-pervading, eternal Reality, uniting all individuals, and finally, linking all of existence in one divine awareness. That Divine Force is called God.

Belief in the existence of God indicates that one is searching for the Truth. The Truth is that which remains unchanged in the past, present, and future. The Truth is unborn and immortal. To know Truth, one needs to purify one’s thoughts, speech and actions. Purification is of utmost importance, because only through a purified mind can an aspirant think clearly and contemplate.

Once we are determined to search for the Truth through purified thoughts, speech, and actions, we are certain to find the way and reach the goal. Truth itself becomes our guide, and without making a mistake we will find ourselves on the right path.

One who believes in God and surrenders to God attains freedom here and now. He knows that he belongs to God, and that God belongs to him. His awareness shifts from the world to God, and he lives a life free from insecurity and fear. He has an unshakable faith in divine protection.

The scriptures constantly remind us that as the ocean accepts a river and makes it its own, God accepts seekers. It does not matter which path they follow or from which background they come. The only requirement is the desire to know the Truth. Once that desire is awakened, all means and resources come together. Water finds its own level. Likewise, a true lover of God finds God.

The highest philosophy is to know that the Truth and God are one and the same, and the highest practice is to search for Truth through one’s thoughts, speech, and actions.

There is something beyond religion. Though essential in the preliminary stage, it does not allow one to be one with the whole. It is like a moth that eats Kashmir wool, trying to prove to other moths that Kashmir exists. Everywhere in the realm of religion I encountered locked doors. If ever one door should chance to open, I was ultimately disappointed by what lay behind it.

God’s existence does not depend on our proofs. There is something wrong with the philosophers and the theologians, for they have the curious notion that God is a kind of hypothesis that can be analyzed and discussed.

I have seen people struggling with death because they do not admit its existence. God to me is a real annihilating fire and indescribable grace. I accept both.

It is easy to believe in God, and to believe in God is definitely better than not believing, however, that is only half way. It is something great when you come to know that:

God is in me. The Lord dwells in me. I am a finite vessel, and Infinity dwells within this finite vessel.

The human being is great, not because he can speak and narrate things, and not because he can feel. He is great because wherever he goes, the Lord travels with him.

No one has seen God. Highest of all, love without object, is God. How to know him? How to enjoy?

Seeing God in everyone and working for others is one way of enjoyment, but that is not so easy. You will have to practice. Remember the Lord all the time and sooner or later, you will be transformed.

The day you come to know that the Lord is within you, you will be free from fears. Then where are you? Where do you exist? If you have that consciousness that you exist separately from the Lord of the Universe, then it means you deny the existence of the Lord of the Universe.

God is all—a personal God, a universal God, and that which is beyond. Start from a personal God, go to the God within, then to the universal God, and finally beyond.

To love beloved God in any object is knowledge, yet to understand God in the heart is real Truth. It is a vain attempt to search for God. Who can there be more wonderful than myself—that is the Self of all.

Those who crave to see God are foolish. When I see him smiling through the face of man and child, and highest of all in myself, I am born a million times, and die a million times, too.

No God is greater than thyself.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Book Review: Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism in America

Book title:
Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America
ISBN: 978-8129111821

The quotes below are from a book review at this site:

Site about the book from the authors:


... Just consider this. In 2005, roughly 18 million Americans are practicing Yoga. In multiple polls of American religious beliefs and attitudes, up to 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation. Tens of millions of Americans meditate. Over 20 million are vegetarian. Almost half the population has turned to alternative health systems, such as Ayurveda, herbal medicine and massage.

What may be happening, at least according to one American Hindu Frank Gaetano Morales, is that Americans are interested in Yoga asanas, but are not as interested in become self-realized Yogis. They are interested in meditation for its calming effects, but not necessarily as a means to achieve samadhi. Americans are keen to incorporate Ayurvedic medicine - but only as a complementary or alternative system - mostly for controlling obesity or for the rejuvenative aspect of Panchakarma. They are primarily interested in the many goodies that Hinduism has to offer, but without taking the next logical step of becoming Hindus, or in many cases without even acknowledging the purely Hindu origins of the many practices that they have derived so much benefit from.

Morales says that while elements of Hinduism such as Yoga, ayurveda and meditation become more popular in America, Hinduism itself is in danger of being assimilated into the greater cultural milieu, just another ingredient – albeit a nicely spicy one – of the great American melting-pot. "We face the very real possibility of authentic Sanatana Dharma becoming co-opted into the greater American cultural matrix as nothing more than a menagerie of disparate elements used to market New Age spirituality" writes Morales in an essay entitled ‘Does Hinduism Have a Future in America?’ ...


Book Counters Academic Distortions of Hinduism In America
By Francis C. Assisi

Americans have been engaged in Hindu-bashing for more than a hundred years. (I have dwelt on this aspect previously: And it’s not just writers like Katherine Mayo or films like ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom;’ the web too has a surfeit of anti-Hindu propaganda.

In recent years Indian Americans have been concerned about the stereotypes about India and Hinduism that are taught as fact in American classrooms. They know it will negatively impact students of Indian or South Asian origin who are struggling to work out their identity in a multicultural, predominately Anglo-Christian environment.

Moreover, some academicians too are engaged in Hindu-bashing. For instance, scholars have disparaged the Bhagavad Gita as “a dishonest book”; declared Ganesha's trunk a “limp phallus”; classified Devi as the “mother with a penis” and Shiva as “a notorious womanizer” who incites violence in India; pronounced Sri Ramakrishna a pedophile who sexually molested the young Swami Vivekananda; condemned Indian mothers as being less loving of their children than white women; and interpreted the bindi as a drop of menstrual fluid and the “ha” in sacred mantras as a woman's sound during orgasm.

This depiction of Hinduism in a manner perceived as provocatively demeaning by the Hindus themselves is the subject of a recent book: ‘Invading the Sacred- An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America.’ It is a serious and significant response to the challenge posed by Hinduphobia in America. And it now calls upon all fair minded Americans and Hindus to read the book, and take steps to bring the vilification of India and of Hinduism to an end.

The first person within the Indian-American community to bring Hinduphobia, or distortions and negative portrayals of the Hindu religion out into the open was Rajiv Malhotra. Since at least 2002, his single minded campaigning, his scholarly criticisms, and his courageous stance has brought the issue into focus – thanks to the world-wide-web. In many of these articles, Malhotra argues that misinterpretations of Indian culture, especially philosophy and religion have created a Hinduism for American society that is very different from the religious philosophy as practiced by its followers.

The core complaint that Malhotra asserts is that the current education system and media in the USA and India are deeply and unconsciously Eurocentric – a system that is breeding the next generation of Eurocentric Americans, and that many Indians have adopted this Eurocentric trend also. Malhotra, who studied physics at India’s St. Stephens College and computer science at Syracuse University, now works full time at the Infinity Foundation, a nonprofit he founded in 1995 to “upgrade the quality of understanding of Indian civilization in the American media and educational system, as well as among the English language educated Indian elite.”

In September 2002, Malhotra wrote an article criticizing the representation of Hindu religion in the North American discipline of Religious Studies on, a web portal popular among the Indian diaspora. The article, named "Wendy's Child Syndrome," identified a number of American scholars in Religious Studies working on Hinduism, arguing against their suitability to write or teach about Hindu religion, instigating debate within the academe. Malhotra's summaries of the concerned writings and his evaluations of the scholars involved, caused an indignant uproar on the Internet amongst Hindus, primarily Indian Hindus, all over the world and particularly in North America. In follow-up columns, Malhotra continued with his argument about the necessity of the Indian diaspora to wake up to such misrepresentations. These portrayals, he asserts, are responsible for the negative image of Indians and Hindus, leading to their racist treatment in American society. His articles garnered some of the highest number of readers and drew the largest number of comments.

Malhotra condemned “the eroticisation of Hinduism by Wendy Doniger, who is undoubtedly the most powerful person in academic Hinduism Studies today,” and “her large cult of students, who glorify her in exchange for her mentorship.” He noted that religious studies—a field that teaches about a religion without preaching its beliefs—is rare in India, making academic discussions of Hinduism a mostly Western conversation. “Under Western control,” he argued, “Hinduism studies has produced ridiculous caricatures that could easily be turned into a Bollywood movie or a TV serial.”

Indeed, Malhotra was the first to voice his concerns regarding the misrepresentation of Hinduism in America, when he noted: • Hindu kids and even adults in America are apologetic about their religion, generally preferring to distance themselves from it and keep quiet about it. • Educational material used to teach about Hinduism focuses on caste, idol worship, lack of social values among Hindus, and other negative portrayals. • A major academic web site examines the Bhagavad Gita in negative terms of Arjuna killing his relatives because of his Hindu outlook. • Teaching grants to train secondary school teachers on religious pluralism have been used to develop material that portrays Rama as 'oppressing' women and lower castes. • There is minimal coverage given to the positive contributions by India's civilization to mathematics, science, medicine, metallurgy, linguistics, logic, and other 'rational' areas; and when pointed out, such avoidance is sometimes defended. • Most of the educational material on Indic religions is written very authoritatively by Americans who have advanced degrees in Sanskrit and/or Religious Studies, who have spent years researching in India, and would easily impress anyone with their scriptural knowledge about India. • Very few Indians have gone for academic careers in Religion or Philosophy, and those in such careers must be very cautious not to step out of line in complaining about the above matters.

V. V. Raman, Emeritus Professor Rochester Institute of Technology says: “Mr. Malhotra is a serious and well-grounded scholar. He did not come to this field via the standard academic route, but his writings reflect more erudition and a greater grasp of important issues than many Ph.D.'s I know. …Because of his firm stand and sometimes angry style, he has angered the Western academic establishment on Indology, and alienated a great many, including some Hindu scholars…But he has also shaken many to look deeper into the assumptions and unrecognized prejudices which shape their interpretations. And he has served as a bold and well-informed voice for many Hindus in the West as well as in India who have often felt hurt and insulted by some of the psychoanalytic interpretations of their culture and divinities. Personally, I don't agree with Mr. Malhotra's style and mode, and I don't always resonate with his demarcation lines between the East and the West, but I have great respect for his scholarship, much sympathy for the core of his theses, and I applaud his long-range goal. One more thing: To my knowledge, he is not affiliated with any Hindu ‘fundamentalist’ group.

Anant Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Saint Olaf College in Minnesota writes: “Rajiv Malhotra is a prominent and insistent voice questioning and inviting dialogue with the scholarly community, on the content and methodology of studying and teaching Hinduism at institutions of higher education in North America. This initial collection offers a salient summary of his critique and concerns, and is a valuable historical resource for those who want to understand better this debate, and those who wish to become participants in the conversation that he has passionately initiated and sustained. Scholars should welcome a critical voice from the community that is the focus of their study, for a mutually enriching dialogue.”

In his preface to the book, Arvind Sharma, Professor of Religion at McGill University, writes: ‘The book singes with the sparks that flew as the psychoanalytic approach to the study of religion became the lightning rod of the grievances of the Hindu Americans against a cross-section of the academic community in North America devoted to the study of Hinduism. It goes on to document the way these grievances were articulated and ventilated, as well as the response from the world of the Western academia and, to a certain extent, from the media, as the issue came to a head. Most importantly, the book is a pointer to the fact that the Hindu community in North America has now reached the demographic critical mass, when its reactions can no longer be disregarded.’

The book, edited by Aditi Banerjee, Antonio T. de Nicolas …………probes the invisible networks behind biased approaches to Hinduism and the questionable scholarship of the American experts on Hinduism. Furthermore it goes on to narrate the Indian Diaspora's recent challenges to such scholarship, and documents how those who dared to speak up - including academic scholars critical of such scholarship - have been branded as “dangerous”.

The authors of this study say that today Hinduism is under siege by forces who have found their playing fields in a section of the American Academy of Religion and the Departments of South Asia Studies. Their game plan is to denigrate Hinduism by focusing narrowly on its social ills, misinterpreting its texts and in the process overlooking the substantial content of Hinduism, its unequalled intellectual wealth, the fact that India has, by virtue of Hinduism and Sanskrit, ‘a place in the history of the human mind’ as Max Mueller once noted.

Kapil Kapur, Former Chair of Department of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, opines: “The intellectuals featured in this book, with their bold decision to take on this scholarship, have entered into a serious dialogue about motives, methodology and substance and, using their own tools, have reversed the gaze back on to the scholarly establishment to their understandable discomfort. This book is important because it records the background, the issues and the arguments in this debate, and the debate is not over. This has been a historic intervention. The record of this enterprise is a lesson for a large number of young Hindus who must learn to combat adverse western scholarship by using the weapons of the enemy.”

Bal Ram Singh, Director, Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, points out: “The Indian diaspora of over 20 million around the world faces the acute problem that much of its civilizational portrayal has been controlled by outsiders for many centuries. However, a sharp increase in the prominence of Indians in the global scene has forced a showdown between the old guard’s established ideas and the young, vibrant community. "Invading the Sacred" is a first serious, albeit provocative, effort to challenge the parochial characterization of Hindus by western and/or westernized scholars. The book is path-breaking and takes to task those scholars who have been falsely stereotyping Indian culture, and shows the importance of challenging such biases. It will hopefully lead to more balanced and respectful discourse, debate, and discussion on many issues facing humanity as a whole, for which Indic civilization is an important resource.”

To the question as to why Indian scholars acquiesce to and even imitate mistakes committed by Euro-American Indologists, in spite of the fact that they could and should know better, one academic says it is partly due to India's colonization and a widespread overestimation of western culture and the blind belief that anything of western or European origin cannot but be superior to the corresponding element of Indic culture. The resulting "inferiority complex" has had a shattering and traumatic effect upon Indic scholarship and academic output. Unfortunately, this trend continues even in post-independent India and among Indians living in the diaspora today, the authors of Invading the Sacred point out.

The irony is that this denigration of Hinduism is happening at a time when the widespread acceptance of many elements of Sanatana Dharma seems to point to a “Hinduization” of the American cultural milieu.

Just consider this. In 2005, roughly 18 million Americans are practicing Yoga. In multiple polls of American religious beliefs and attitudes, up to 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation. Tens of millions of Americans meditate. Over 20 million are vegetarian. Almost half the population has turned to alternative health systems, such as Ayurveda, herbal medicine and massage.

What may be happening, at least according to one American Hindu Frank Gaetano Morales, is that Americans are interested in Yoga asanas, but are not as interested in become self-realized Yogis. They are interested in meditation for its calming effects, but not necessarily as a means to achieve samadhi. Americans are keen to incorporate Ayurvedic medicine - but only as a complementary or alternative system - mostly for controlling obesity or for the rejuvenative aspect of Panchakarma. They are primarily interested in the many goodies that Hinduism has to offer, but without taking the next logical step of becoming Hindus, or in many cases without even acknowledging the purely Hindu origins of the many practices that they have derived so much benefit from.

Morales says that while elements of Hinduism such as Yoga, ayurveda and meditation become more popular in America, Hinduism itself is in danger of being assimilated into the greater cultural milieu, just another ingredient – albeit a nicely spicy one – of the great American melting-pot. "We face the very real possibility of authentic Sanatana Dharma becoming co-opted into the greater American cultural matrix as nothing more than a menagerie of disparate elements used to market New Age spirituality" writes Morales in an essay entitled ‘Does Hinduism Have a Future in America?’

As a practicing Hindu, Morales is concerned about the academic/media/education/government matrix in America that fosters anti-Hindu stereotypes. “Rather than standing up and fighting against such anti-Hindu portrayals, the Hindu community has been so slow to respond to these attacks in the past that many of the anti-Hindu bigots in academia feel they have a free reign to propagate any lies about Sanatana Dharma they wish. They also know that if the Hindu community ever even responds at all, it is usually too little, too late, and in a purely reactionary manner. We need to counter any and all attacks against Sanatana Dharma immediately, forcefully and professionally.”

This book is the first attempt at talking back to the academicians and is a must read for all people of Indian origin, especially Hindu Americans. As one perceptive observer noted: “in these jehadi times, when Islamists run around the globe killing innocent people to prove that their Prophet and their book are the best, now and forever, the Hindu idea becomes even more relevant - What grander idea of faith can there be than that everyone is entitled to their own truth?”

The contributors to the book, which is published by Rupa, are Aditi Banerjee, Antonio T. de Nicolas, Alan Roland, Arvind Sharma, S.N. Balagangadhara, Pandita Indrani Rampersad, Kalavai Venkat, Krishnan Ramaswamy, Vishal Agarwal, Ramesh N. Rao, Sankrant Sanu, Yuvraj Krishan, Yvette C. Rosser.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

YOGA UNCOILED: From East to West (Re: Yoga in America)

For those in America wishing to practice authentic, traditional Yoga,
it is useful to be aware of the state of Yoga in the country, and the
controversy surrounding it. It continues to be true that most of the
Yoga teachers in America incorrectly promote Yoga as being a mere
physical fitness program, while its spiritual roots are mostly
forgotten. It also continues to be true that some of the most
outspoken people about the true nature of Yoga as a spiritual
practice are Christians opposed to Yoga. While their specific
opinions and interpretations about Yoga may be quite inaccurate, they
are definitely right about Yoga being a spiritual practice.

Following is a link to a new anti-Yoga dvd that characterizes this:

DESCRIPTION: Here is a description from the link above:

YOGA UNCOILED: From East to West
A look into the practice of Yoga in the Church

Many believe they can practice yoga postures, breathing, and focusing
techniques devoid of yoga's spirituality, not realizing that yoga is
an inherent part of Hindu philosophy which teaches MAN AND NATURE ARE ONE WITH DIVINITY. [All caps added; they are right; this is a core
perspective of Yoga, Sankhya, Vedanta, and Tantra]

Today, yoga is experiencing a worldwide renaissance and in America
has more than 70,000 yoga teachers working in 20,000 locations.
Although viewed primarily as fitness instructors, these trainers are
in reality the leading missionaries of eastern religion in the west.
The twenty-seven billion dollar a year yoga industry is marketed to
students, athletes, businessmen, pregnant women and senior citizens
promising solutions for stress reduction, concentration problems, and
issues of self confidence.

Once viewed by Christians as a pagan import from the East, yoga has
now become mainstream in the church through "Christ-centered yoga
classes" designed to help improve spirituality and experience "the
presence of God". But is yoga's mysticism compatible with historic

Video-journalist Caryl Matrisciana, who was born and raised in India,
returns to her native land to search for truth among India's leading
experts and examines what Christian Yoga practitioners in the West
are saying about their Yoga participation.

With critical discernment, this hard-hitting and informative DVD
explores the ramifications of dismissing yoga's core spirituality,
and blending Biblical terminology and precepts with eastern
meditative techniques and practices.

Maranatha Mantra Christian Yoga Meditation - VIDEO (7:00 minutes)

Video (7:00 minutes)
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Click here:

Maranatha is Aramaic for "Come Lord," and is a prayer or mantra of
Christian tradition. Breathe with inhalation and exhalation of Ma-Ra-Na-
Tha. The mantra can be very useful for those practicing Yoga meditation.

Bad News and Good News in Yoga Meditation

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

There is bad news and good news in the inner journey of enlightenment
through Yoga Meditation. The bad news is that some unpleasant
obstacles naturally come. The good news is that there are ways to
deal with those obstacles. However, two things are needed:

1) We need to understand those methods.
2) We need to actually practice them!! :)

With gentle, loving persistence those practices become easier and easier. We need to be ever mindful of these principles and allow them to become a part of our daily lives. Admitedly, this is much easier to say than to do. Still, it is true that gently, lovingly, patiently, and persistently practicing brings the fruits, along with remembering that, in a sense, there is nothing at all to do other than let go of our attachments and aversions, and allow the pure consciousness, truth, purusha, atman, or light to come shining through.

(Yoga Sutras 1.30-1.32)

The "bad" news:

Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally
encountered on the path:

1) physical illness
2) tendency of the mind to not work efficiently
3) doubt or indecision
4) lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi
5) laziness in mind and body
6) failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects
7) incorrect assumptions or thinking
8) failing to attain stages of the practice
9) instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

More "bad" news:

From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also
arise, and these are:

1) mental or physical pain,
2) sadness or dejection,
3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and
4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.

The "good" news:

To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four
consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed,
training it how to focus on a single principle or object.

(Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39)

More "good" news:

In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings
of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who
are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and
indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or

The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath, particularly
attending to exhalation and the natural stilling of breath that comes
from such practice.

The inner concentration on the process of sensory experiencing, done
in a way that leads towards higher, subtle sense perception; this
also leads to stability and tranquility of the mind.

Or concentration on a painless inner state of lucidness and
luminosity also brings stability and tranquility.

Or contemplating on having a mind that is free from desires, the mind
gets stabilized and tranquil.

Or by focusing on the nature of the stream in the dream state or the
nature of the state of dreamless sleep, the mind becomes stabilized
and tranquil.

Or by contemplating or concentrating on whatever object or principle
one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind
becomes stable and tranquil.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Soham Mantra Yoga Meditation - Video (8:00 minutes)

Video (8:00 minutes)
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Click here:

Soham is a universal mantra of Yoga meditation, as it relates to the
breath, and everybody breaths. It is a Sanskrit word that means "I am
that," or "I am that I am."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In Your Meditation Today (Video)

VIDEO (55 seconds):

In your meditation today...
May your body be still and comfortable....
May your head, neck and trunk be aligned....
May your breath be smooth, slow, serene,
and with no pauses....
May the flow of thoughts in your mind
not disturb you....
May your meditation today bring you peace,
happiness and bliss....

Swami Rama University - Dehradun, India


June 7, 2007

We are happy to share this good news with you that the Government of India has granted us deemed university status. Now we will be known as Swami Rama University.

Vijay Dhasmana
Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Dehradun, India

"I have a great fire within me to build this great hospital which will serve people, particularly poor people. The people of the mountains of Kumaon and Garhwal regions are very poor. Hospitals are far away and people die before they reach the hospital. I want to give them all the modern amenities and facilities so that they don't have to rush to Bombay, Delhi, or Chandigarh." ---- H.H.Dr.Swami Rama

The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust opened in 1994 with 250 beds and currently has 750 beds with plans for further expansion upto 2,000 beds.The hospital is serving approximately 10 million poor and needy people of Garhwal, Kumaon and adjoining areas. The Himalayan Institute Hospital offers various services previously not locally available in this entire region of Garhwal Himalayas.

The site of the HIHT Medical City is in Uttaranchal. The state has scattered villages in the mountains where facilities of Health, Education, Water, Transport & Electricity are not available. It is also among the poorest regions in terms of medical resources and among the most needy in terms of high infant mortality and shortened lifespan. It also has the largest number of people living in poverty. The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust was created to help address these serious needs.


The mission of the Institute is to develop integrated and cost- effective approaches to health care and development that address the local population, and which can serve as a model for the country as a whole, and for the under served population worldwide. A combined approach in which traditional systems of health care complement modern medicine and advanced technology is the prime focus of clinical care, medical education, and research at HIHT.

The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust has been conceived, designed, and orchestrated by Sri Swami Rama, a yogi, scientist, researcher, writer, and humanitarian, who was born in northern India. Throughout his entire life, whether with individual students or entire communities, Swamiji gave and gave without expecting anything in return. He worked day and night teaching students, writing books, and building institutions. In his writings and personal teachings, he always encouraged readers and listeners to develop their capacity for selfless service and to devote themselves to the well - being of their communities, nations, and all of humanity.

Now, Then, and Therefore Yoga is Explained - Swami Rama
From Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom
Volume One of Yoga the Sacred Science
(Lectures on the Yoga Sutras)
By Swami Rama
ISBN 8188157015
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Swami Rama Foundation

Now, then, and therefore yoga discipline is being expounded. Atha yoganushasanam. The first word that has been used is now. Nowhere else has this word been used in quite the way it is used here. Now is very important. Now means, “Now, then, and therefore.” This means that there are preliminaries before you practice yoga science. The word now indicates that you have already completed the preliminaries. Now you want to attain more; you want to learn more; you want to understand more; you want to practice more.

When a teacher says, “Now do this,” it means you have done something previously and you are ready to do something else now. A student should first be prepared and then choose the path of attainment. The first sutra explains indirectly, in a very subtle way, the role of the student. Yoga is a discipline and those who want to discipline themselves, who understand the importance of this discipline, should prepare themselves to learn, study, and practice yoga with mind, action, and speech. The qualification of a student is to prepare himself or herself not only to study and memorize the sutras, but also to practice.

Patanjali studied the mind on all levels and he describes several varieties of students: some are prepared, some are preparing, some are not at all prepared, and some are totally confused. These are not fit enough for preparation, so they are out of the question. Patanjali has put all levels of mind into five categories: kshipta, vikshipta, mudha, ekagra, and niruddha. Kshipta is a completely distracted mind. Vikshipta applies to those who have no control over their mind. They do not have a concentrated mind, but if they make effort, they can learn. Sometimes they understand and sometimes they do not understand because of their lack of attention. Their minds are not yet properly trained, but they are capable of being trained and accepted. That mind which remains in a state of stupor is called mudha. Ekagra refers to those who have a concentrated mind and can concentrate well. Niruddha describes those whose mind is completely under their control. They have trained their mind perfectly and can use it as they wish.

It is easy for a competent teacher to assess the mental condition of the student. When the student comes, the teacher can know what the problem is by the way the student walks. The teacher should know what type of mind the student has, whether the student is capable of studying this science or not, and if he is prepared. When the student comes, the teacher puts him in one of the categories. Has he got vikshipta mind? Is he mudha? Has he got ekagra or one-pointed mind? Has he got a completely controlled mind—niruddha? On this basis, the teacher immediately knows how to approach the student. This is like giving a prescription to a patient. If the teacher is wise and understands, he knows this.

When you are prepared, when you have completed the preliminaries, then the teacher tells you to do something else. The preliminaries are not described here. What the teacher said before now, only the student and teacher know. To study and practice and apply the sutras in your daily life, you have to prepare yourself. Now means you are prepared to study the sutras, to practice the sutras. Now you come to me. The word now indicates that you are fully prepared and it is a good time for you to start the next step. Now it is good that you are becoming aware of Reality. It is good that you want to know more. Whatever you have done so far is accepted. Now, here begins the exposition of yoga science. That has not been done yet. So far you have not learned it.

So the teacher says, “Now.” You use this word from morning until evening but you do not understand what it means. Anyone who does not meditate cannot understand the word now. When you start examining your mind, you discover that mind is conditioned by three things—time, space, and causation. Time is a filter. Anything that happens goes through the filter of time. Today you may be sad and very worried and you may even be thinking of committing suicide. The next day, if I ask you if you are going to commit suicide, you will say no. If you give yourself time, later you will find that you do not feel that thing so much. The mind is conditioned by past, present, and future. The mind functions on the experiences of the past, or, on the basis of those experiences, on the imaginations of the future. Either you brood on the past, or you think of the future, but where is now? Now is missing. You do not know how to live here and now. What is the best period of a person’s life? It is not that which you have spent already or the aspect of time you are going to utilize in the future. It is now. Utilize the best period of your life today and now. Can you really explain where that now is? You can spell the word, but you can never taste it. The moment you talk of now, it slips to the valley of the past. When you say now, then there is no now. It is not there. How many of you enjoy now? You plan for your vacation next year, you plan for going out for dinner and dancing, but what happens now? You know the word, you know the meaning, but you do not know how to enjoy it. Your mind either goes into the grooves of past experiences or future imagination. It has never realized now. But if there is no now, then where is the link between past and future? In your daily life you postpone your happiness because you do not know how to be in the present. Now is missing in your life. If you can get freedom from past experiences and you can stop your mind from imagining the future, you will enjoy now. If you learn how to make your mind free from time, you will be beyond all this. Fortunate are those who meditate and live in the now. Through meditation you can enjoy now. It is in now that there is enjoyment, or part of eternity. The moment you come to know now you will know past, present, and future; you will be free.

The other conditions of mind are space and causation. If I hold up my hand and show you two separate fingers, what is the “cause” of these two fingers? The hand is the cause that creates the awareness of fingers. When I hold my fingers apart, they seem separate. If the hand were not there, then it would not create the space between the two fingers. This is called causation—that which creates effect. If I hold the two fingers together, there is no space between them and there will be no sense of time. Then it is one with causation. My fingers are still part of one whole. Mind can be freed from these three conditionings. So many thoughts come and you call it the thinking process. There is a space between two thoughts. But if there is no space between two thoughts, then what will happen to time? Time will not exist. If there is only one thought, what will be the condition of space? There will be no space at all. Time and space are variations of the same thing. If there is only one thought in the mind, then time cannot affect the mind. One cannot attain the highest state of samadhi without gaining freedom from the conditionings of the mind. When mind can fathom the boundaries of time, then mind can realize the subtler levels of consciousness and transform itself. Then, it can lead you to a state of peace, happiness, and joy. If mind is free from imagination—I am not talking about creative imagination—and from the memories of the past, then mind can be brought to a state of now. If you learn to train your mind to be here and now, you will know everything. There is nothing to be known beyond that. Now is part of eternity. When a teacher teaches you, first learn how to be here and now, for you have completed the preliminaries. Now, learn to understand the word now.

Patanjali leads you to an inward journey. His first lesson is, You have to discipline yourself. Now, then, therefore, go aspire. Before you study yoga science, you should be fully prepared, because it requires discipline.

Yoga Nidra Meditation: Extreme Relaxation of Conscious Deep Sleep
ISBN 0972471901
One of the deepest and most popular meditation CDs in the world today.

Yoga Nidra Article at

Yoga Nidra CD at


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kundalini Awakening in Yoga Meditation (46 second video)

(46 second video)
Swami Jnaneshvara

This 46 second video is simple animation of the process: "Prana flows
in Ida and Pingala, the left and right energies. Prana is trained to
flow in Sushumna, the central channel of subtle energy. Kundalini
awakens at the first chakra, and rises to Sahasrara, the crown. The
Self, the Atman or Brahman is realized; the union of Shiva and
Shakti, the Absolute, one without a second."

Watch via YouTube:

Watch via Google video:

Watch via

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shakti, Kundalini, and the River of Tantra Yoga Meditation

Shakti, Kundalini, and the River of Tantra Yoga Meditation
Swami Jnaneshvara
Recorded May 15, 2007
6 Minutes, 45 Seconds

Click here to listen to the audio Podcast:

Brief description (this is NOT a transcript of the recording):

There is one energy flowing in a river, a hydroelectric power plant, electricity, and the many forms of energy such as recorded music, television, and microwaves. Similarly, there is one energy in the universe, Shakti, that manifests as many forms, which have many names, such as kundalini, prana, chakras, and the physical body.

See also this article:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What God Is - (Yoga Meditation teachings of Swami Rama)

Swami Rama

All the religions of the world have been promising the vision of God, mental peace, salvation, and many kinds of temptations to their followers, but so far nothing has come true. The more that people are involved in sectarian religious activities, the more likely they are to become disappointed because of frustrated expectations of God and religion. Many preachers claim that if their teachings are followed without question, believers will find salvation. But after they return from their church or temple, they are frequently more stressed, frustrated, and worried about their problems than are “non-believers.”

Mere belief in God alone does not satisfy the students of life who are searching for Ultimate Truth. Suppose a student believes in the existence of God but is not emotionally mature and does not have a peaceful mind. Such a student does not have tranquility and equanimity, which are the main prerequisites for enlightenment. On the path of enlightenment, it is necessary to have control over the senses and mind, but it is not necessary to have belief in God. Enlightenment is a state of freedom from the ignorance that causes suffering, and attaining this is the prime necessity of every human life. There is no necessity to attain mere belief in God, but it is necessary to have profound knowledge of the truth which lies behind the concept of the word God.

The word G-O-D is not God. The religionists, because they superimpose their own limited fantasies upon the truth and call it God, suffer more than the people who do not believe in the concept of God. If Ultimate Truth is called God, then there is no difficulty. Then it can be practiced with mind, action, and speech, and once the truth is known with mind, action, and speech, knowledge is complete. But having faith in the fantasies of the religionists creates limited boundaries for the human intellect and leads to a religious atmosphere in which the poor followers must suffer until the last breaths of their lives.

Though religious dogma tempts the human mind with promises of the vision of God, it does not clarify and define the concept of God. The way religious books present the picture of God is injurious to human growth, for one who believes in God without understanding what God really is, closes the door to further knowledge and learning and cannot experience the inner dimensions of life. Such false promises are strongly discouraged in the Upanishads, which warn, “Neti, neti—not this, not this.” The student is made aware of the need to understand the reality and is encouraged to search for truth within. The Upanishads inspire one first to know oneself and then to know the Self of all. Upanishadic literature makes one aware that every being embodied in a physical sheath is a moving shrine of Supreme Consciousness. It also provides methods for entering the inner shrine, wherein shines the infinite light of knowledge, peace, and happiness.

Prayer is a major technique used by religionists to seek satisfaction of their desires and comfort in spite of their frustrations. Many people who are not acquainted with the basic principles of Vedantic philosophy think that there are prayers in the Upanishadic literature. For example: "Lead me from the unreal to the Real; lead me from darkness to Light; lead me from mortality to Immortality" may bethought to be a prayer. But it is actually an expression of the aspirant's spiritual desires that remind him of his goal of life constantly. It is not a prayer but a way of maintaining constant awareness of Supreme Consciousness. It is not asking God or any supernatural being to help one or to lead one to the higher states. The idea is not to know God as a different being, but to know one's own real Self and its essential nature, which is the Self of all. One is not attaining something that is not already there but is realizing that which is self-existent. This Upanishadic verse is not a prayer asking for anything but a way of strengthening constant awareness of Supreme Consciousness which is the goal of the Upanishads.

Dualism is the preliminary experience of a contemplative mind. All religions suffer on account of dualistic concepts, such as "Human beings are a creation of God; the universe is a creation of God; human beings have no choice but to suffer and should delight in their sufferings at the mercy of God." These concepts are illogical when they are analyzed with clarity of mind and pure reason. In the course of study, a student first experiences dualism—the reality that he exists and the Supreme Consciousness also exists. Then a state comes when he experiences "Thou art That." These two fields of experience appear to be different, but they are essentially one and the same. These are the progressive states that aspirants experience, but as far as Absolute Reality is concerned, there is only one without second.

Religionists say the ultimate goal of human life is to know God, and materialists say it is to eat, drink, and be merry. But the philosophy of the Upanishads asserts that the ultimate goal is to be free from all pain and misery whatsoever. This state of freedom from anxieties, misery, and ignorance is called enlightenment. It is the union of the individual with Universal Consciousness. Religionists say that one has to have faith in the sayings of the scriptures and in the way they are preached. But in Upanishadic philosophy; the mind is released from all religious prejudices so then one can think and reason freely. The Upanishads declare that even the best of intellects is incapable of fathoming the unfathomable, and that learning the scriptures is not the ultimate way of realization. On the path of enlightenment, even the lust for learning must eventually be abandoned.

In some of the Upanishads, the word Īśa or Īśvara, which is roughly translated as God, appears. But the concept of God as preached by religion is not found in the Upanishads. In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one's individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe.

Knowledge of Brahmavidyā, the direct experience of Supreme Consciousness, is the common theme of all Upanishadic literature. "I am Brahman; the whole universe is Brahman; Thou art That"—such statements are the foundations for all its theories, principles, and practices. All philosophical and psychological discussions are meant to make students aware of their true nature—Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness. For a realized one, there is perennial joy in the universe, but for the ignorant there is only misery everywhere. The moment a student realizes his essential nature, the darkness of ignorance is dispelled, but before that the individual mind travels to the groove of self-created misery and thus projects the belief that there is misery everywhere. In reality, this universe is like a great poem of joy, a beautiful song, and a unique work of art. The moment one unfolds and realizes one's human capacity and ability, one becomes aware that, "Thou art that—Brahman."

Here lies the difference between a Self-realized person and a religionist. The religionist does not know and yet believes in God, but the realized person is directly aware of the self-existent Ultimate Reality of life and the universe. First, he knows the truth, and then he believes it. If God is the Ultimate Truth hidden behind many forms and names, then it should be realized, and, for realizing the Truth with mind, action, and speech, one needs to practice truth rather than being a hypocrite and a fanatic. It is not necessary to believe in God to attain self-enlightenment, but it is very necessary to know the various levels of consciousness and finally to realize the ultimate source. The manifest aspect and the unmanifest aspect of consciousness (Brahman) should be realized, for that alone can enlighten aspirants.

Yoga Meditation, Electricity and Computers

Yoga Meditation, Electricity and Electricity

Swami Jnaneshvara

I am not the picture on my computer monitor;
I am electricity.

I am not the processing in my microchip;
I am electricity.

I am not the data on my hard drive;
I am electricity.

I am electricity;
I am the life in all of these others.


The computer can be used as a modern metaphor for understanding the
process of Yoga meditation and the levels of consciousness through
which one journeys. By understanding these levels or stages, it is
much easier to understand how meditation is not used merely as a
means of relaxation or psychic experience, but as the means for the
realization of the ever pure, ever joyful core of our being, by
whatever name you choose to call that center.


The ten senses and means of expression (indriyas), along with the
conscious mind, allow the inner person to communicate and act in the
external world, like the peripherals of a computer system, including
monitor, keyboard, speakers, and microphone.

Four functions of mind: Throughout the conscious, unconscious, and
subconscious levels, the four functions of mind operate ever subtler,
until even they are transcended in the fourth stage, noted below.


The active unconscious mind processes mostly out of view, with only a small part of its functioning normally coming to the surface of the conscious mind, like the microchip of the computer, which does a tremendous amount of processing, yet presents only a tiny amount of
that to the peripherals.


It is consciousness flowing in or through the deep impressions of the
latent subconscious, which causes them to stir, just like the
otherwise inert binary numbers resident on a hard-drive, which do
nothing until they are energetically brought to life and spring forth
into the microchip.


The conscious, unconscious, and subconscious levels of mind all
function because of the flow of consciousness, energy, or life force,
just as the peripherals, microchip, and hard-drive all operate
because of the electricity. Both the consciousness and the
electricity are uniform, regardless of what programs might be running
in the moment.

I am not the peripherals!: One explores the peripherals, the waking
state, the conscious mind, and the gross world, moving through them
in meditation.

I am not the microprocessor!: One explores the microprocessor, the
dreaming state, the unconscious mind, and the subtle plane, moving
through them in meditation.

I am not the hard-drive!: One explores the hard-drive, the deep sleep
state, the subconscious mind, and the causal plane, moving through
them in meditation.

I am the electricity!: Through deep meditation, one pierces the three
layers described above. Ultimately, one comes to resolve the
question, "Who am I?" in direct experience, with the realization of
being the pure consciousness, energy, or life force that is beyond,
higher, or underneath each of the other three levels, stages, or
states, which is the core of our being.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bindu of Sri Vidya Tantra, Yoga Meditation, and Vedanta (19 sec video)

Here is a link to a 19-second animation of the chakras of Sri Yantra,
the yantra of Sri Vidya Tantra.


BINDU ARTICLE (about 40 pages):


Bindu means Point or Dot, is sometimes likened to a Pearl, and is
often related to the principle of a Seed. This is not just a poetic
choice of words or philosophy. There literally is a stage of Yoga
Meditation in which all experiences collapse, so to speak, into a
point from which all experiences arose in the first place. The Bindu
is near the end of the subtlest aspect of mind itself, after which
one travels beyond or transcends the mind and its contents. It is
near the end of time, space, and causation, and is the doorway to the
Absolute. To understand this principle is extremely useful, if not
essential to Advanced Meditation.

Awareness of the nature of Bindu helps tremendously in seeing how all
of the various practices are complementary, not contradictory, with
each, in its own way, leading in the direction of the Bindu. The
Bindu is the convergence point of Meditation, Contemplation, Prayer,
and Mantra, and is part of the mystical, esoteric aspect of many, if
not most religions and meditative traditions. The experience of Bindu
is an actual, internally experienced reality, which is the
convergence point of the highest principles and practices of Yoga,
Vedanta, and Tantra. Seeking to experience and then transcend the
Bindu serves as an organizing principle and focal point for all of
those spiritual or yogic practices that are intended to lead one to
direct experience.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Satellites, Surrender, Self-Realization, and Yoga

Excerpted from:

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

A satellite in a geostationary orbit (remaining over one location on the Earth) is held in place because of the perfect balance between gravity (centripetal force) and its inertia (centrifugal force). Imagine that the satellite stopped its forward motion of about 17,000 miles per hour. The satellite would immediately start falling toward Earth at a very fast speed.

Imagine for a moment a human stopping his or her outward momentum into the external world, as well as ceasing motion of awareness "outward" into the stuff of the mind and body. Instantly, she or he would move "inward" towards the center of consciousness, the true Self, or whatever you wish to call that. This is one way of viewing the Yoga process of surrender. It is not a matter of defining to whom or what you surrender, but the letting go process itself.

Thus, Yoga Sutras 1.2-1.3 describes Yoga as a process of setting aside or letting go, etc. (nirodhah), which results in the seer or witness resting in its own true nature. This is one way of explaining the meaning of the phrase Self-Realization and the word Yoga.

YOGA SUTRAS 1.2-1.3:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga (Video)

VIDEO (2 min, 33 sec)
At Google Video:
At YouTube:

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, sweet Yoga.
The word dances on the lips of the mind.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
The wave that is one with the ocean of bliss.
The union of the illusory "I" with the "I" of all,
That was never divided in the first place.
Ah, sweet Yoga.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
How the word flows through the field of mind.
The consciousness as Purusha,
Never one with, but playing with all the layers of being,
All the levels of the finest soil of matter called Prakriti.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
One without a second.
One absolute reality,
With the appearance of soul called Atman,
As a breeze thinking itself separate from the wind
Of the absolute called Brahman.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, so utterly, incomparably, sweet is the word.
The essence that is both the beauty
And creative force called feminine or Shakti,
And her companion of masculine, Shiva.
The two which are one in Yoga.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, passionate, loving, driving, quieting,
Fulfilling, emptying, full filling Yoga.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Ah, so sweet;
No sweeter word to ring in the canyons of mind,
Than the word of Yoga,
That arises from, and returns to the silence.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
You and I are one.
Only one. Only Yoga.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga

Yoga Nidra Meditation: Extreme Relaxation of Conscious Deep Sleep
ISBN 0972471901
One of the deepest and most popular meditation CDs in the world today.

Yoga Nidra Article at

Yoga Nidra CD at


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yoga Meditation Visualized (7-minute video)

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

VIDEO (7 minutes):


The goal of Yoga is Yoga itself, union itself, of the little self and the True Self, a process of awakening to the preexisting union that is called Yoga. Yoga has to do with the realization through direct experience of the center of consciousness, the preexisting union between Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, and Shiva and Shakti, or the realization of Purusha standing alone as separate from Prakriti.


Yoga, Sankhya, Vedanta, and Tantra view the human as manifesting outward step-by-step, where the subtler consciousness projects evermore outward, and then gradually forgets those subtler levels. Genesis also explains this outward movement when seen through the eye of the Yogi or mystic.


Yoga is complete unto itself. In Yoga, each level of our being is trained independently, while also being trained to flow together. The systematic processes deal one-by-one with our actions in the world, senses, body, breath, and both the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind.


Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.


The Yoga practices with Body and Breath bring health benefits and balance in life. However, many people stop at the Breath, and are unwilling to explore or train the Mind. It is like building a wall between the Yogic stages of Breath and Mind. Some sincere seekers delay out of fear. Others incorrectly believe that Yoga is only about physical fitness. The key for the sincere seeker of the highest joy of Yoga is to be gentle and loving towards yourself, and persist with all levels of Yoga, including directly dealing with the Mind itself.


Mindfulness of the emotional and mental processes of the Conscious mind is very stabilizing. In Yoga, this includes meditation and contemplation on attitudes of friendliness, lovingness, compassion, and acceptance. It means cultivating non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, remembering of truth, and non-possessiveness. However, many stop at this level of mind, and effectively build a wall between the Conscious and Unconscious, not willing to explore the depths of the Unconscious. Many get stuck here by thinking the goal of meditation is only a calm mind. For Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya, the streams of thoughts in the Active Unconscious mind need to be encountered, explored, and only then transcended.


By allowing the Active Unconscious to come forward and be witnessed in a neutral way, the thought patterns colored with intense attraction and aversion gradually weaken, allowing a greater peace and freedom of mind. This is one of the most direct ways to deal with the purifying, centering, or balancing of troublesome thoughts. However, few go beyond the boundary between the Active Unconscious and the Latent Unconscious. The Active Unconscious has alluring visions and sounds. Only the most dedicated Yogis and Yoginis are willing to completely transcend sensory experience of both external and internal objects, and to pursue the formless Latent level out of which the Active arises.


To be fully aware of the Latent Unconscious is a very deep state, and an aspect of advanced meditation. Authentic Yoga Nidra reaches this Latent Unconscious level with practice. It is underneath, beyond, or prior to the pictures and words of the Active Unconscious. It is the ground out of which those emerge. All sensory experiences such as sights and sounds have been left behind, whether of external worldly objects or inner images. To consciously rest in the awareness of the Latent Unconscious is to be filled with bliss. However, there comes a point where individuation itself is the final wall, and even the bliss needs to be transcended. Even for the experienced practitioner this can be a great obstacle. It is beyond the mind in the conventional sense of mind, so the mind can no longer be an aid. Body and breath cannot help. It is only surrender that finally helps.


Whether you call it Grace, God, Guru, Shaktipat, or some other name, the greatest help of all finally comes from within to remove the final barrier of ignorance (Avidya). This final stage is a process that has been called piercing the pearl of wisdom or Bindu. A Yogi or Yogini does not debate whether the Realization is called Yoga, Self, Atman, Soul, or God, etc., but rather, lives "in" the world while not being "of" the world.

The Realized Yogini or Yogi lives like a lotus flower. The lotus is both "in" the world, yet not "of" the world. It grows in the soil and water of the world, yet rises above it at the same time. It goes outward, called Adhyasa, but it is not blinded by Avidya or Ignorance of its true nature.

Om, shanti, shanti, shanti
Om, peace, peace, peace

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Practice Means to Awaken the Conscience
From Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom
Volume One of Yoga the Sacred Science
(Lectures on the Yoga Sutras)
By Swami Rama
ISBN 8188157015
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Swami Rama Foundation

Swami Rama

You will have to practice for a long time. "Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah." Practice means repetition of the same thing again and again and again to form a strong habit. Habits are motivation in life. If you do not have determination to attain that which should be attained, if you are not constantly aware of the Reality, how can you practice? You will feel lazy and you will not be able to sit in meditation.

There is one alarm in your system, something coming from within that guides all the time. There is one teacher within that you call your conscience. Whenever you want to do something that should not be done, immediately from inside something says, "Don't do that." It silently says "no." It is not a part of mind. Rather it is your conscience that is telling your mind, whispering to your mind. You have been avoiding that. Habit patterns are so strong that the voice of silence, the voice of the conscience, is not heard. You do not need anyone from outside to tell you what not to do. You know that you should not lie; yet you lie. Once mind listens to these secret whispers, then you are introduced to the real teacher within, your own conscience. All teachings are meant for that day when you start listening to your conscience. It does not mean that you should not listen to the external teacher who is teaching you. Your teacher is trying to make you aware that there is something within you, a teacher within, who is a great friend. No matter who you are, your conscience is always there. If you learn to listen to the voice of the conscience, you can transform your whole personality. That conscience knows everything. No book can teach you; no teacher can teach you. Conscience knows and knows that it knows. Even when you go to a teacher to ask something, you draw your own conclusions and follow your conscience.

But you do not always listen to the teachings of your conscience. In fact, you are constantly killing your conscience. According to the great books of wisdom, the greatest sin of all is to kill your conscience. After some time your conscience stops talking to you because you do not listen to it. You have ignored your conscience so much that it has become silent. It continues to witness your actions but does not say anything. Learn to listen to your conscience. Most of the time you are confused by your mind. Sometimes your mind plays tricks on you and pretends to be your conscience. Mind says, "I can steal some of his money. Nobody is watching me. Why does he need to have millions of dollars? If I steal only one hundred thousand dollars, so what?"

Mind is different from conscience. Your conscience always wants to help you to improve yourself and unfold your inner being. Mind always tries to persuade you not to practice. You know that it is not good for you to avoid your practice, and yet the mind says, "Come on. Postpone it until tomorrow." Postponement is the nature of the mind. Some students do their practice for some time and then they leave it. After some time, they start doing it again. Then they say, "Okay. Let us vacation for some time, honey. Let us not do any practice." Again they start practicing. I call those who postpone enlightenment indefinitely fourth-class students.

Mind always leads you toward your habits, your senses, and sense objects. Perhaps you like to eat fish, but the doctor has said not to take it. The doctor's advice has been heard by your conscience. Your mind does not want to hear it and does not care for doctors. "There are many doctors. Why should I listen to them? Let me have some fish today. Nothing is going to happen to me." Your conscience speaks to you all the time. Conscience is like a mirror that shows you your face exactly as it is. When you look at yourself in the mirror, the mirror does not create anything for you. It is like a thermometer that registers heat and cold. It tells you who you are, what you are, and what you should be. Whenever you want to do something, your conscience says, "Do not do this. It is not good. But your mind says, No. Let me do it."

Conscience cannot be false. It never misguides from the very beginning. Even a bad man who is considered to be the worst person in society is not misguided by his conscience. But you fail to listen to your conscience, and ignore your conscience because of bad habits. When your conscience becomes dim, your reason does not function properly and it misguides you. When reason misguides, the mind cannot function and becomes crazy. All your actions and speech are disoriented and you cannot function properly. Perhaps you are doing something and suddenly a distressing thought intrudes. You are temporarily distracted and then you come back. Then, another thought comes and you go another way. You misuse the time and opportunity you have of being a human being. You have all the potentials and all the means but you misuse them. I always ask my students to listen to their conscience when they feel weak in the beginning. The first few days they start to condemn themselves. I say, "This is not the way. There is a wonderful part of you; there is something beautiful in you; there is something very special in you. Why do you not try to see that thing?" Practice means to awaken the conscience, to allow the conscience to speak to you. When your conscience awakens it says, "Look, do not repeat that again and again and again." By repetition you have formed a strong habit. Your conscience and that habit fight constantly. Your habit wins and conscience loses. After some time, conscience stops talking to you. Conscience tells you things all the time and conscience knows, but you do not know your conscience. The voice of your mind is very loud. The voice of the conscience comes from silence. The first step of enlightenment is to follow the conscience and not the mind. At the highest level of consciousness, conscience becomes brilliant.

Anybody who has started listening to the conscience is very close to the Reality. Your conscience is within you. It is not an external friend. All your external friends amuse you. A friend within is real company. You say, "Two's company and three's a crowd." When you and your conscience are there, there are two and they are real company. When the mind, the third, comes, then it becomes a crowd.

When you start practicing you will stumble many times. I have stumbled many times, even despite having a great force behind me—my master, several other sages, and the grace of God. I had a fire within so that no matter how many times I stumbled I would get up again. I did not give up. You give up too soon. You close your eyes and if you do not see anything in meditation, you say, "My method is not good. My mantra is not good." You go on collecting mantras. You do not do meditation but you have a long collection of mantras. You have wasted so much money, and you have not done any real meditation. In abhyasa and meditation, on this path of enlightenment, you have to be very patient and strong and persistent. When a child stumbles, she gets up again because she wants to walk. It is her right to walk. It is your right to walk on the path and finally reach the goal. Do not postpone it for the next lifetime. Do it here and now, in this lifetime. You do not attain anything overnight; you will stumble many times like a child stumbles when she starts learning to walk. When you practice you will experience, and when you experience you will find that conscience is strengthened and guides you again and again.

Out of curiosity you always want to learn something new. When you learn something that you did not know you say, "This is a wonderful thing that I have learned." You do not want to practice what you already know. The truth is you will not acquire any knowledge in your life that you have not already acquired in your childhood. You already have the basic principles, the guidelines, and the foundation of your knowledge, but you do not practice. To practice it is not necessary to create a rigid discipline. You should just observe and understand how to use the knowledge that you have.

Gradually you can practice. Technique alone does not help. The basic principles needed are sincerity, faithfulness, truthfulness, and punctuality. Even if you know the technique of throwing something at the target, if you do not practice, it will hit somewhere else. Practice is necessary and practice makes perfect. Slowly increase your limit. Do not force yourself to sit for two hours one day, and then do no practice at all for a week. That should not be the way. It is said that a first-class student can attain this state of mind in three months' time, while conducting all his duties, a second-class student in six months, and a third-class student in three years. A fourth-class student can never attain. If you regularly practice and watch your practice and the condition of your mind, you can do it. The question is how much importance you give to your practice. How much anxiety do you have for your practice or for other things? What is important in your life? Do you really want to transform your personality and improve yourself, or do you only want to improve your conditions? If you do not improve yourself, your conditions and your environment will never be improved. It is better to improve yourself so that your conditions and environment do not become malignant to you. To improve your conditions, first learn to understand your essential nature by understanding the various levels of your being and by developing control over mind and its modifications.

There are various paths to the same mountaintop, but there is only one realization. There are various ways and methods to attain that. The path of action or the path of the world is as perfect as the path of renunciation. In the path of action you learn not to be attached and perform your duties. In the path of renunciation you learn to renounce all that you think is yours and to devote all your time and energy toward Self-realization with a one-pointed mind. It is a very difficult path. It is rare to be a renunciate. Only a fortunate few can truly walk on the razor's edge of the path of renunciation. It is a very sharp and very narrow path. It is easier and more common to be in the world, to live in the world, and yet remain above. There is no difference at all. Do not condemn yourself because you are in the world, or think that you cannot do anything. Learn to discipline yourself; learn to organize yourself; learn to understand your resources; learn to know your inner potentials; and learn to make a schedule for life. "This is my aim and I have to attain this. All my resources should be applied for attaining the aim of life."

The way of adjustment leads you to contentment. The way of adjustment is the way of the world—the way of action, the way of karma. You learn how to function in the external world. You understand that you are a citizen of two worlds—the world within yourself and the world outside, and you learn to create a bridge between these two worlds. You have not to be lost in the world, yet you have to unfold yourself to that extent where you can realize your real Self. You no longer identify with the objects of the world or with your mind. You learn to understand life as it is with all its currents and cross currents. You understand how to live in the external world and how to compose yourself so that you remain with your center all the time.

Most people follow the path of action. They live in the world, which is full of charms, temptations, and attractions, and they are constantly blasted by the opinions of others. Someone says you are good and someone else says you are bad. There are two extremes. To constantly be tossed by the suggestions of the world so that you spend all your time executing the opinions of others is dangerous. Likewise, you can isolate yourself and say, "Now I don't want to listen to the world because my whole life I have listened to the world. I am not going to listen anymore." This might lead toward egocentricity or cripple your process of growth. You have to evaluate the opinions of all if you live in the world. Are you being selfish when you are not listening to others? Is the other person selfish? If he is not selfish, listen to him. If someone is selfless and loves you and says, "These days you seem to be isolating yourself," listen to that person. If you say you don't want to listen to anybody, it is not possible. How can you live in this world? You can do it not through the help of samnyasa, but with the help of vairagya.