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.

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

CLICK HERE:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=F0f2Pn_n8ks

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:
http://www.swamij.com/mahamrityunjaya.htm

Spiritual Untouchables

From:
http://www.livingtantra.net/2007/07/spiritual-clannishness/
(Reprinted here with permission)

SPIRITUAL UNTOUCHABLES
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-
realization.

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,
Shambhavi

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
http://hihtindia.org/


TRUTH IS IN EVERY HEART
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.


http://swamij.com/

Monday, July 16, 2007

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

BOOK REVIEW
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:
http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=071507061921

Site about the book from the authors:
http://www.invadingthesacred.com/

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK REVIEW:

... 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?’ ...


COMPLETE BOOK REVIEW:

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

http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=071507061921

Americans have been engaged in Hindu-bashing for more than a hundred years. (I have dwelt on this aspect previously: http://www.modelminority.com/article1017.html). 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 Sulekha.com, 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:

http://www.carylmatrisciana.com/shop/catalog/Yoga-Uncoiled-From-East-
to-West-p-16188.html

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
Christianity?

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)

CHRISTIAN YOGA MEDITATION
Video (7:00 minutes)
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Click here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Brwr6UxLda4

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.

http://www.swamij.com/

Bad News and Good News in 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.

OBSTACLES AND SOLUTIONS
(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.

STABILIZING AND CLEARING THE MIND
(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
evil.

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.

http:www.swamij.com
http:www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras.htm

Thursday, July 05, 2007

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

SOHAM MANTRA YOGA MEDITATION
Video (8:00 minutes)
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati

Click here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JKNzaWGm0o8

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."

http://www.swamij.com