Monday, February 28, 2005

Mahavatar Babaji


There is one interesting incident I read about Yukteshwar (Guru of Yogananda) and Babaji:

SWAMI Sri Yukteswar recounts, "I visited Lahiri Mahasaya in Varanasi. My guru smiled in greeting. "Welcome, Yukteswar," he said. "Did you just meet Babaji at the threshold of my room?" "Why, no," I answered in surprise. "Come here." Lahiri Mahasaya touched me gently on the forehead; at once I beheld, near the door, the form of Babaji ..." Babaji patted Yukteswar on his shoulder. "Child, you must meditate more—you couldn't see me hiding behind the sunlight."

I am reminded about a wonderful song written by Rajaji (yes, Rajagopalachari) on Lord Krishna in Tamil. It begins "Kurai Ondrum Illai Maraimurthy Kanna" (I dont have any wanting/requirement, Oh Krishna, The essense of Vedas).

The second stanza reads:
Tamil: "Thirayin pin nirkindrai Kanna. Unnai Marai Odum Gnaaniyar Mattumae Kanbaar"

English translation - "Oh Krishna, you are standing just behind the screen (in our rooms). But, only Yogis and perfected Siddas who have realized the meaning of Vedas can see you!"

Babaji is standing just besides us. Only we do not have the eyes to see or have ears to listen to Him.

May we medidate on Babaji and by His Grace, may we realize Babaji. (By His Grace, we bow to Him - On Lord Shiva )

Sri Subrahmanyoham

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Five (Pancha) Koshas


In this posting, I would like to share what I learnt about Nirvikalpa Samadhi from Sri Ujrimbhar. This was actually posted elsewhere initially. This turned out to be a very interesting description of the five koshas our body is made of. The details of koshas and nirvikalpa samadhi follows:

Vikalpam means difference, divide etc. 'Nir' means without. Nirvikalpa hence means without any difference.

In savikalpa samdhi, though the soul unites with the God, it still feels its identity. In nirvikalpa, it senses nonduality. Hence this is supposed to be highest stage in Ashtanga Yoga (as propounded by
Sri Patanjali).

This state is indeed extremely challenging to obtain. But even this is not the final state.

We are built of five 'koshas' or sheaths (or layers). (maya is not maya / delusion.)

  1. 'Anna'maya kosha
  2. 'Praana'maya kosha
  3. 'Manon'maya kosha
  4. 'Gnana'maya kosha
  5. 'Ananda'maya kosha

'Annam' means rice / food. So, our physical body is referred to as 'anna'maya kosham. This sheath can be contained by Yogic postures / asanas / Hatha yoga kriyas.

'Praana' implies the 'praana'shakthi. Praana is usually mistaken for air. Air can be compared to a horse and 'praana' to be the rider. In India, when people die, it is normal to hear the quote 'praana' has left. It is 'praana' that sustains life. This sheath is obiously subtler than 'anna'maya kosha. This can be conditioned by pranayama (Kriya Kundalini Pranayama).

Manas implies mind. So, the sheath subtler than praana is the mind. So, 'manon'maya kosha imlies our mind. You would have noticed that when we are tense we breath fast and when we are relaxed, we breath deep and slow. Thus, the mind has effect on Praana. So, the reverse is also true. When we breath slow and easy, the mind gets controlled. This is the principle of pranayama. This sheath can be conditioned by Dhyana (meditation) Kriyas.

Gnaana implies intellect. The sheath subtler than mind is intellect. Intelligence usually should control the mind. But, mind is usually not controlled and is driven by the senses. When the intellect governs the mind, only good things happen. This sheath can be conditioned by Kriya Mantra Yoga by repeating mantras and by contemplating on vedic truths.

The subtlest of all is the 'ananda'maya kosha or the bliss sheath. This is indeed the soul. This can be conditioned / realised by Kriya Bhati yoga.

For people wondering why I took these topics while discussing nirvikalpa samadhi, the explanation follows :-)

With intense kriyas and proactices, great saints finally reach the state of nirvikalpa samadhi. That is they surrender/unite the soul to/with the Brahman (Shiva). But only the fifth sheath is surrendered. So, you can find some yogi's getting angry or speaking something stupid.

After surrendering athma, (the beginning, reached after nirvikalpa samadhi), one should reverse the direction and successively surrender the rest of the sheaths. Namely intelect, mind, breath and body. When we surrender the intellect, God's intellect will be one with us. When we surrender our mind also, whatever God thinks, so shall we. When we finally surrender our body also, what ever God (Shiva) wants to do our body will do. Our body will be the SAME as God, because it is totally surrendered to the divine.

This is the state reached by Babaji / Vallar.

  • How the Koshas are interdependent? - How controlling one affects others?
  • A description of Koshas as in Taittriya Upanishad
  • A description of Prarabdham and Karma and how it will affect us reaching the final state
  • 4. Problems as one might advance in these stages - i.e. why we might need something as a Kayakalpam. etc.

But I think there is onething we can do - Pray fervently for liberation to Sadguru Babaji.

Deathlessness means birthlessness. Only a God who is birthless can liberate us. Saint Arunagirinathar in Kandar Anubhuti says 'Pemman Murugan Piravaan Iravaan'

Lord Murugan (or Karthikeyan or Skandan) was neither born nor will be subject to Death. He is the only Lord who can be called a 'Siva Guru'. (One who was Guru of Lord Shiva as Subrahmanya Swaami). He alone can grant the deathless state as Babaji. It is He who gave Babaji this state when he was with Bhoganathar in Kadirgama. It was Him who gave this state to Vallalar (Ramalinga Adigalar) (a recent as 1876).

Pray to Babaji - Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum
Pray to Shiva - Om Namah Shivaya - Shivoham
Pray to Muruga - Om Saravanabhava - Subrahmanyoham Subrahmanyoham Subrahmanyoham

Sri Subrahmanyoham

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Markandeya, Yama and Dharma

Namaskarams. You all know about the deadly tsunami that struck S.E. Asia recently. I am lucky to have escaped without any problem despite being scaringly close to where all the problems happened. (3 - 4 kms) from here.

When nature gets rough, man indeed has to be a meek spectator. But, we must get clues that things are not going right somewhere. Let us all use this as a warning to correct us and move closer to God.

This new year, use the opportunity to make resolutions and stick to them. This is called 'Sankalpam' in Tamil (Sankalpa in Sanskrit). To will a thing to happen is to half do the thing. Sankalpam means we say something like this - 'By the Grace of Lord, Sri Parameshwara (Lord Shiva), I propose to ..... (from `do my morning prayers' to `get married')'. It could be anything. But it all starts with the will to do stuff. With the Grace of the Lord, things will go on well. So, resolve to do something great this year, every year.

I was thinking about basic codes of conduct of the follower of Kriya Yoga. I have listed a few of them below.

I'll go over each of them in detail later.

1. Always stick to one's dharma.
2. Be honest, always
3. Be Fearless. Devotee of Sri Subrahmanya or Babaji knows no fear
4. Be kind & helpful
5. Never bode ill for others - In thought, speech or action
6. Trust in God.

Whenever I raise the first point people question me about the story of Markandeya, the eternal youth. For people who do not know his story I'll describe it in brief. When a pious couple prayed to Lord Shiva for a offspring, Lord came in their dreams and gave an option between 100 dumb children or one extremely bright and pious kid. The only problem being the pious and bright one will love only for 16 years. The couple chose the latter. A kid was born soon and was named Markandeyan. He was a gem in character and was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. When he was about to turn 16, his parents became worried. When he asked his parents for the reason of their sorrow, they told him that his end was near.

Markandeya then went to a riverbed, installed a Shiva Ling and started praying to it. When his time was over, Yama (Lord of Death) personally came to take away his life. This young boy hugged the Shiva Ling. Yama struggled to pull the boy but when the boy with his whole soul, heart and mind called out for Shiva, the Lord was immensely moved and came out of the Ling. He then ordered Yama to leave the boy alone. But Yama told Shiva that to take the boy's life was his duty and tried to pull the boy away from the Lord. Lord Shiva immediately burnt Lord Yama to death. After requests of all the Devas, Lord Yama was brought back to life by Shiva. Markandeya is still supposed to be praying to Shiva as a boy of 16 in Himalayas. (More on physics of immutability of time later - I have some very exciting ideas about string theory and Lord Nataraja too - Wait till I clear some ambiguities :-) )

The question people ask me is that why was Yama killed despite trying to do his duty - his Dharma?

(This is my answer. I request viewers to endorse or contest them and I love constructive arguments).

The answer is that Yama misunderstood his Dharma because he was blinded by the ego. Suppose you go to a hotel daily. You tell the bearer to get you some orange juice at the end of the meal. To make things easier for you, you tell him one day to bring him orange juice at the end of the meal even if you do not explicitly ask for it. So, the waiter does this regularly for you. One day you want to have grape juice. So you him to get grape juice instead of orange juice. But to your surprise he says you have told me to bring orange juice at the end of the meals he cannot bring grape juice. What will you do? You are the boss and it was you who asked him to bring orange juice daily. Since you pay him you have the right to choose whatever YOU want. His dharma is to get you what you want.

Similarly, Yama was created and set up by Lord Shiva to execute some His tasks. When Shiva asks him not to do something, Yama has to stop. But, he was blinded by ego and mistook his Dharma. His ego forced him to think that his duty was to claim lives. This was the reason why had to die. (Yama had to die :-) Funny. Isn't it? )

To do one's duty ALWAYS without being affected by its result is the path of Karma Yoga.

I wish you a very very Happy 2005.

Arunachala Shiva! Arunachala Shiva!
Shri Gurubhyo Namah! Harih Om!

Sri Subrahmanyoham