The word 'science' is derived from Latin verb root 'scire', to know. So, all knowledge is 'science' and God the Omniscient, from the same verb root, can be translated into modern English as God the All-scientist!!
Up to 1840, what we now call science was a part of philosophy, known as Natural Philosophy. The scientists like Isaac Newton were philosophers seeking answers to the mysteries of the universe. No wonder Newton wrote a 300000-word commentary on the Bible's Book of Revelation. Einstein spent his entire life searching for the answers to the question "How does God run the universe".
Yoga's twin, Veda, may be translated as science. It is from the verb root 'vid', to know. In fact, in many European languages words derived from the cognates of 'vid' are used for science, so, the German Wissenschaft and the Dutch Wetenschap, so also 'wisdom' and 'wise'.
In the traditions of India we often speak of the twins Yoga and Veda. Veda, the science, is the intuitive knowledge derived through the buddhi -- whether in meditation or empirically in Nyaya-Vaisheshika-Ayurveda type of experimental procedures. In the traditions of India, the intuitive and the empirical are inseparable because one must enter the state of meditation to receive the intuitions that will then be experimentally tested and proved. Thus, without yoga, there is no Veda, no science.
As the yogi passes through all the different layers, from grossest to subtlest, of the constituents of personality s/he unearths the secret of each element of nature at the cosmic level. By seeing the workings of muladhara-chakra s/he learns the secrets of gravity. [The word 'gravity' is derived from 'gurutva' as it is referred to in 6th century BC Vaisheshika texts. Where did Newton get it from? - I wonder.]. The yoga-sutra (YS.3.26) says : One obtains the knowledge of cosmology by concentrating on the sun. The sun here is an internal concentration, the cosmic counterpart of which are the external suns. It is thus that the Vedic rishis (?c.3000 BC) sang of a heliocentric solar system and numerous texts composed by the rishis speak in wonderment about 'uncountable trillion universes' (ananta-koTi-brahmaaNDa).
It is on this basis that, I, a disciple in yoga, have lectured on SCIENCE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPIRITUAL POEM EVER COMPOSED.
That Vedic poetic beauty of science, with all its rhymes and rhythms and cadences can be enjoyed only by a yogi. Yoga grants the ultimate, the Transcendental Joy, Ānanda. Along the way the yogi and the yogi alone enjoys the poetic secrets of the cosmos through his internal scientific revelations.
Much more is to be said on this topic, for example how we are confirming the findings of the ancient yogis in the Meditation Research Institute Laboratory in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh to which all are invited. But here we take short cut and cease.
A Vedic rishi is a scientific poet, a poetic scientist.
Enjoy science; it is something to enjoy, like poetry.
There is no need to condemn yourself by thinking, “I am bad, I am bad, I cannot do anything.” You waste so much time in condemning yourself. Who are you to condemn yourself? You don’t belong to yourself. Your body is made of five elements. You cannot create the body again, so your body does not belong to you. Your pranas do not belong to you; your mind does not belong to you; your soul does not belong to you. Who are you to claim that this is bad and that is good? Both claims are not helpful. One feeds the ego, the other cripples your creativity.
Do not condemn yourself. You have no right to do that. You are created by Providence and you should learn to respect its creation. When you stumble against yourself you will also stumble in the external world. Don’t hurt yourself. Be strong.
How come you are picking up the habit of having an inferiority complex? It means you feel you are a lump of flesh, a bag of bones, and a tumbler of blood with a mechanical brain inside your skull. You are more than that. You are a luminous soul, a spark of the eternal fire of Atman. You are the way you think and you become the way you think. Stop having that inferiority complex. What you eat, do, and think is limited to the body, breath, and mind.
The Buddhist scriptures say that if you hate others, nothing happens to the hated person, something happens to you, to your mind, to your heart. You can learn to love somebody, even one whom you hate, by understanding that he is a human being like you. Who am I to hate that person? Stop hurting and hating others, for it injures you. If you constantly injure yourself, it can lead you to an action that can never be forgiven by your own mind, by your own conscience. You are constantly killing your conscience. Stop doing that.
The Ishopanishad tells you not to kill your conscience. When you kill your conscience, how can you love others? You should learn to appreciate, admire, and love yourself, and then emanate that love to others.
If someone else injures you it can be treated, but if you go on injuring yourself, who will treat you? The greatest sinner is he or she who constantly kills his or her own conscience. The Upanishads declare it.
Remember that fifty percent is my job and fifty percent is your job. I do my job and you do yours. Suppose you don’t do your job; I will still continue my efforts to help you grow.
A human being commits many mistakes because he is not perfect. When you sit down in meditation, have a little dialogue with yourself. What did I do today that was not right? What did I say that was injurious and harmful? This way of keeping track of ideas, thoughts, action, and speech is called housekeeping.
A human being is like a multistoried mansion. In this mansion there are many subtle and finer forces of life. To manage such a magnificent mansion, you have to supervise all the levels of the mansion, not only the primitive fountains of food, sex, sleep, and self-preservation.
Those who are ignorant get lost in gross objects that are subject to change, death, and decay. They are not aware of the finer forces of life that are the real interior functionaries of this mansion of life. Body is only a gross tool. Breath is finer, and finest is the mind.
Actions are actions, and you should not identify yourself with your actions. You should learn to build a personal philosophy and remain free from any guilt.
When you have a dialogue with yourself and find that you have committed a mistake, do not repeat it. Why brood on mistakes and create a deeper feeling of guilt for yourself?
If actions that you consider to be injurious or obstacles to the path are not repeated, then you are free. A guilt feeling comes because you are creating a law for yourself, or society is creating laws for you. If you follow the law of life, there is no reason for you to have a guilt feeling.
You are your own judge, but don’t be obsessed by don’ts. Life was not meant for don’ts. The more you make your life calm, the more it becomes purified, and the whole philosophy changes. This is a process of self-transformation that actually helps you to grow, unfold, and attain.
Those who know all about their mind and its various aspects, enjoy and attain the beauty of life. Life should be appreciated. No one has the right to condemn it.
What is good and what is right, thinking makes it so. Surrender the mind for a while to God consciousness, and you will find peace.
A Brief Introduction to Raja Yoga
by Shri Swami Rama of the Himalayas
"There are seven schools of Indian philosophy, ranging from extreme materialism, where nothing but matter fills the universe, to extreme spiritualism, where matter is a mere shadow of spirit. The Samkhya and Yoga schools are midway be
tween these. Interestingly, these two are complementary: the Yoga school deals with the practical steps of achieving liberation from all human imperfections and suffering, while the Samkhya school provides the philosophical doctrines within which the existence of these imperfections and suffering are to be understood.
"The Samkhya school was founded by the sage Kapila around 600 BCE and admits of two realities: Purusha, or Ultimate Consciousness. and Prakrti, or Elemental Matter. The manifest universe is an evolution of Prakrti resulting from the melding of Purusha and Prakrti, that is, Matter being permeated by Consciousness. This evolution occurs both in the macrocosm -- the universe as a whole -- and the microcosm -- mankind. Yoga bases its teachings on this evolution of mankind. It concerns itself with the practical aspects not of reversing this evolution but instead of bringing about an involution: how mankind can be led by an inner path from manifest body and mind to Ultimate Consciousness.
"The principal teaching of Yoga is that mankind's True Nature is Divine. Man is unaware of this True Nature and, instead, falsely identifies with his body and his intellect - both of which are comprised of Prakrti and hence are subject to death and decay. All of mankind's misery is therefore a consequence of this false identification. Yoga leads to realization of the True Self, and with such realization comes liberation from all human imperfection.
There are many paths to realization of the True Self, just as there are many spokes from the rim of a wheel to its center. "Yoga" is used here in a generic sense for all of these different paths, of which the four principal are
• Karma Yoga -- the yoga of action
• Bhakti Yoga -- the yoga of devotion
• Jnana Yoga -- the yoga of knowledge or discrimination
• Raja Yoga -- the Royal Path
"Raja Yoga encompasses the teachings of all the different paths. Raja Yoga concerns itself with three dimensions or realms: the physical, the mental and the spiritual. Through practicing Raja Yoga methods, one achieves mastery of all three realms and is thus led to the full realization of the Self.
"The teachings of Raja Yoga go back many thousands of years, and little is known of their origin. They are considered to be Revealed Teachings of Divine Origin. The sage Patanjali, who lived somewhere between 200 BCE and the 4th century CE, systemized and codified these teachings into 196 Sutras or aphorisms which were made as brief as possible to facilitate their memorization and oral transmission. The first commentaries on the Sutras date from the 4th century CE.
"Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras" are organized into four padas or chapters. The first deals with Samadhi, the blissful state of Self-realization; the second with the practical means of achieving this goal; the third with the Siddhis, or powers, that manifest in the successful practitioner of Raja Yoga; and the last with Kaivalya, or liberation. It is the practical means of achieving Samadhi through Raja Yoga that is called Astanga_Yoga, the Eight-fold (or Eight-limbed) Path.
"The eight angas, or limbs, are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhrana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The first five of these limbs are considered the "external" limbs; the last three, "internal". We will consider each of these briefly.
"The Yamas, or prescriptions ("what you should do"), and the Niyamas, or proscriptions ("what you should not do"), constitute the moral code of Yoga and help one cultivate the right mental attitudes.
"The Asanas, or postures, aim at physical well-being and control over the body. A healthy body is a prerequisite for a healthy and controlled mind.
"Pranayama is control of Prana, or the Life Force. Such control is achieved through control of the most crude manifestation of Prana: the breath. One can control the mind only if s/he can control her/his breathing.
"Pratyahara is withdrawal of the senses and is necessary if one is to achieve tranquility of the mind.
"Dhrana is attention and concentration which brings the diffuse mind to a single point of focus. Prolonged Dhrana leads to a state of . . .
"Dhyana, or meditation, characterized by a one-pointedness of mind. Prolonged Dhyana leads to . . ."Samadhi, the state of Self-realization. The mind is transcended, and one becomes aware of the Self and is united with It.
This state is characterized by Sat-Chit-Ananda, or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss: one has merged with Ultimate Consciousness which is Ultimate Reality.
"Raja Yoga is, therefore, a systematic and scientific discipline that leads to Ultimate Truth. Most religions teach one what to do, but Raja Yoga teaches one how to be. Unlike most religions, it does not require unquestioning faith. Instead it encourages healthy discrimination leading to liberation.
"By following the path prescribed by Raja Yoga, one can verify for himself its central hypothesis that mankind's True Nature is Divine. It is not merely an ancient, esoteric philosophy but also a practical, systematic and scientific quest for the Infinite which is relevant and necessary in our modern times, both in the East and the West. If incorporated into modern education, it would equip mankind to deal with the conflicts, frustrations and turmoil which seem inevitable in all modern societies. Through Raja Yoga, mankind can realize its full potential for creative thought and action, transcending all human limitations and realizing its True Nature."
Human mind has always searched the Truth- the true meaning of life and the universe in which we live. The most ancient of this search and understanding is that of the Himalayan Tradition. It dates back to over 15,000 years in the region of the Indo-Gangetic Plains hemmed by the Himalaya mountain ranges. The Himalayas became the refuge and the muse of several thousand seers, monksand renunciates who deeply inquired and intensely practiced the path of Truth. This ancient wisdom was passed down verbally for several thousand years before being recorded about 3500 years ago. This collective wisdom is known as the Vedas which simply means “knowledge”.
The fundamental Truth of all enquiry is- “I am Consciousness, so are you”! We are each and all, the same Consciousness called Brahman, Shiva, God, Self, or simply, Pure Potential. This Consciousness is eternal, hence It is never born or dies. It is changeless and never transforms, withers or decays. Hence It is known as the Truth. By a spur in this Consciousness, the process of creation is initiated. This creative Spur is also called the Shakti, the Devi, the Goddess, the Female Energy etc. This creation or the Universe, is permeated completely by the Pure Consciousness. At the same It is also distinct from the Universe. The material Universe is therefore “born” and it also “dies”. This Universe is ever changing and is never constant. Hence, this Universe is also referred as Maya or the Great Illusion. Modern Quantum Physics now proves that there is nothing “material” in the Universe, only energy at different levels of density and transformation.
The basic awareness of the Self or Consciousness or Divinity has to be developed in oneself and in all around us. The awareness that “God lives in me, as me” is an important practice till it becomes our natural state of being. Breath awareness helps in this process. Repetition of special sound syllables known as mantras help in silencing the mind and deepening the awareness. With practice, the mind, breath and the mantra flows as a rhythmic unified stream, like a song of fragrance dancing on a gentle breeze. A deep inner peace and tranquility gives rise to a perennial fountain of joy and well-being. In this in-journey, one becomes still in the Self. Such a inner joy and peace then brings joy and peace in the world around, by induction or like a ripple in a lake.
The Path and Practice
The Consciousness which is outwardly tuned, accepts the world as real and identifies Itself with the human body with a name and social identity. Human beings are thus an expression of this Consciousness, dreaming on the cul-de-sac of material universe. To awaken this Self and unite the dream with the Dreamer, is the Path of Yoga. (Yoga means to yoke, to unite). The Himalayan Tradition is based on both practice and inner awareness. The Gita refers to it as the path of abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (conscious disengagement of the mind from the conditioned habit of knowing the material world as real). Of the many Himalayan Masters that have given us a wealth of rich heritage, Maharishi Patanjali stands out as an angel who simplified the complex body of knowledge and practice for a common man and seeker of Truth. His notes are still preserved as the Yoga Sutras – The Simple Threads of Yoga. In this work, Yoga is expressed in a simple way as an eight-limbed path. Based on a deep understanding of human psychology and behavior, it is truly the easiest way to the Truth. The application of the Yoga Sutras can be self-learned with a help of a teacher. A suitable mantra initiation could be received from a qualified initiator of the tradition. And the practice of Self awareness through breath awareness can be deepened with sincere efforts and intention. Enlightenment is the right of each of us human beings. Let us live our lives, enlightened.
Innumerable jewels of seers have adorned the lineage thread of The Himalayan Tradition. Beginning with Hiranyagarbham leading on to Sanata Kumara, Vashishtha, Dattatreyei, Parashuram, Patanjali and Vyas, this thread weaves through Adi Shankkaracharya, Vidyaranya Yati and Madhu Sudhan Saraswati. In modern times, this thread was illuminated and carried forward, amongst others, Swami Rama Bharati. Presently his disciple, Swami Veda Bharati is tirelessly bearing the torch of this knowledge forward. He offers jewels of the teachings of The Himalayan Tradition in most simple form. This enables even common people to take the first steps on the in-journey to the core-peak of Self Realization.
HOW IS YOUR SILENCE GOING? by Swami Veda Bharati
Many of my friends and initiates in all continents write me asking, “Swamiji, how is your silence going?” I am tempted to answer, “How is your talking going?”
Majority have a not five-year but life-long vow of talking. To many, silence is something not so natural. To others, seekers after truth and serenity, silence is the nature from which we have emerged and into which we will dissolve. Through all our externalised sense operations, an inner substratum of a silent stream continues to flow. Some of us have chosen to take a dip into that stream.
Some treat my five year vow as ‘heroic’ or something I have done; perhaps an act of tremendous self-denial! The fact is that I have chosen to indulge into this pleasure.
Yes, my indulgence in this pleasure is going very well but it is not accomplishing all that I had meant to accomplish through it. My hope was to be free of all involvements in matters of the organization and the Ashram. Few leaders have taken over certain areas of these and freed me to a certain extent, but not yet fully, and there are still hundred e-mails a day, all needing attention. So also matters relating to the Ashram. I manage to give thoughts and suggestions in writing but I would rather write my Vedic poetry instead that flows in moments of silent contemplations.
One thing I find unpleasant is anyone talking in my presence. I want total silence but people around me go on chattering and do not always even realize when I am inwardly tuned and my solitude needs to be accepted.
I do speak sometimes (a) giving guided meditation or initiation to a very select rare few and (b) in blessing children under 8. I find hugging a child a great experience in silence and it enriches me and enhances my silence. There is no better lesson in mind’s silence than hugging a child.
Silence has helped conserve the shakti in many ways. It has helped improve the physical strength of this 80 years old body and when I do give the rare initiations and guided meditations, the energy manifests itself. This is because my Guru has taught me how to absorb the shakti and assimilate it and not waste it all the time in talking, chattering and idle pursuits. Instead of ex-pressing, I have chosen to im-press this energy into myself and it grants a subtle joy and serenity.
Swamiji, how did this idea of a five year silence come to you?—people ask. It came when I was perhaps six years old. My father and I had gone for an evening walk on Rajpur Road in Dehradun where I was born. We were going uphill. From the opposite side was walking down our neighbour Pandit Dharmadeva Shastri, a philosophy teacher at the Gurukula where we lived. Later he established one of the most important relief Ashrams for lepers under Gandhiji’s guidance (another inspiration that remained waiting to be realized until KHEL was established).
He, coming downhill, was accompanied by a Swami in saffron robes with a brilliantly shining face. Pandit Dharmadeva knew of my father’s interest in yogis. He introduced us to the Swami and told us that he met him sitting by the roadside. He was a silent swami and had not spoken a word for 25 years while living in the mountains doing sadhana. I cannot remember his name. There is more to this story but here this much suffices. That was my first inspiration. I knew then that it was something to aspire for and that some day I would take a 25 year vow of silence. My ambition remains unfulfilled.
Since then I have met a few silent swamis and each one has left a spark of inspiration, strengthening my ambition. My friend Swami Chandra who has an Ashram at the bank of the river Yamuna in Domet village near the mountains has not spoken a word for over 27 years. I often send our ashram members and visitors to visit his Ashram.
Majority cannot imagine for those who are inwardly attuned, how difficult and unnatural it is to have that attunement interrupted and to fulfil the world’s demands that you become outwardly tuned.
I wish these five years are never over but I know they will end. 138 days are already gone, too fast. When five years pass, it will be painful to speak again, a major effort of will.
I wish for the people of the whole world to learn to enter the profundity that is silence.
You Needn’t Be Lonely
by Swami Veda Bharati
The Times of India - Speaking Tree publication published “You Needn’t Be Lonely” by Swami Veda Bharati on 7th April 2013. The text reads as follows.
SWAMI VEDA BHARAT takes up a question from seekers that he is frequently asked at satsangs.
I was rejected as a child. I want to feel loved but I do not know how to find love and end my loneliness.
I am often asked many variations of this question. I tell them that there are others who have set an example with their lives; that they had felt rejected, lonely, unloved, and are today the most widely loved individuals with tremendous satisfaction in their lives. How did they do it?
Here are some basic but effective principles:
1. Learn to give love, instead of asking for it.
2. For this, cease to be self-centred, no longer crying inside all the time ‘I was rejected’, ‘I am unloved’, ‘I am lonely’. When you do this, you are reinforcing the same psychology in yourself over and over. People see you and move away because they are afraid about what you might demand.
3. Have no fear in giving; trust in yourself.
Ask yourself, when last have you been in a potluck dinner or a party and filled a plate and gave to someone?
When was the last time you stood in line for food and volunteered your place in line to another?
When was the last time you saw someone feeling cold and put your shawl around her shoulder?
When was the last time you saw someone feeling lonely and gave him a genuine, spontaneous and truly loving smile?
When was the last time you have known that someone is sick and alone and you have gone to take care of him, without expecting thanks?
Loving and not expecting a return is the secret of being loved. However, avoid clinging and save yourself from the temptation of wanting to pour out your own story for hours. If you do this, you lose it. Think of similar selfless ways of loving, without fear of rejection.
Just do it.
Even before you begin to feel that you are being loved, you will begin to feel a sense of satisfaction simply out of the fact that you have been selfless. Also, there are special heart-center meditations that will help you; but you need to learn these from an experienced, genuine and selfless guide. Go ahead, change your life.
How to Bring Spirituality into Family Life by Swami Veda Bharati
This is a transcription of a talk given by Swami Veda Bharati on 22nd February 2013 at the Nurturing Spirituality in the Family Conference.
Bring your mind to your asana where you are sitting.
Relax your forehead.
Feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils, with your personal mantra.
Breathing slowly, gently, smoothly.
No break in your breathing cycle, no break in your mantra cycle.
Observe how the mind, mantra and breath are flowing together
as a single stream.
Without breaking the stream of consciousness gently open your eyes.
May God and Guru bless us all.
I plan to keep it short. I will not cover everything that I am bubbling with. You can do your own research, and more than research, your own contemplations.
There are two books by Swami Rama on the subject that are available: Love and Family Life and Let the Bud of Life Bloom: A Guide to Raising Healthy and Happy Children.
Whatever you do in life,
Whatever actions you undertake,
Whatever gestures you make,
Whatever words you speak,
Whatever glances you throw,
Whatever thoughts you think,
Whatever emotions you feel,
Establish each one’s connection with the cosmic scheme.
That is called – sacrament; living sacredly. That alone is a lifelong sadhana.
This universe is an ocean, a multilayer ocean of energies. Some energies the scientists deal with. Some energies the spiritual seekers experience and find. And many mysteries in the scientific field cannot be resolved without understanding these intangible energies called ‘atindriya’ – the ones beyond senses.
One universal energy is ‘samashti chitta’ – the universal mind.
Just one of many in the multilayer ocean of energies called the universe -as there are streams and currents, waves, ripples, and bubbles in the ocean at each layer, at each level, so in this universal mind there are streams and currents.
The yogis experience these streams, currents, waves, ripples, bubbles.
When we are in harmony with these energies we have a happy, peaceful and fulfilled life. So learn to connect every event of your individual mind. Learn to connect every event of your individual mind with this universal mind, with this ‘samashti chitta’. Only then you will understand the mysteries of life and the purpose of life.
These currents, these streams, in this energy field of the universe are the pathways that our times take. Our past, present, and future. These streams and energies cross each other, they merge with each other, they separate from each other. The mergers of certain streams occur because of the special karmic forces inherent in them.
We are participants in this universal energy,
By our actions.
By our actions called thoughts.
By our actions called? Thoughts.
By our actions called words.
By our actions called movement.
We give certain impelling direction to these currents, these streams, in the universal mind energy field. Please understand this principle if you want the meaning of life. These are called karmic forces. Where these energies impelled by these karmic forces meet each other, they are the confluences of many lives, confluences of currents. What are those confluences in this energy, confluences of currents called? They are called the family. Now understand this. What family is. The currents that have met, also separate, and go their way, with new karmic forces. So what you make of the family is up to you.
Where is the family made? What is the core? The central point?
It is the consciousness of the fetus. That is where the mother energy, the father energy, and the energy of this soul are meeting together. And yet we pay no attention to the training of the fetus.
Now please understand that these confluences, called the fetuses, are the ones where these energies meet.
Now, from here I can take many directions to this argument. To make life sacred is to live understanding that this entire universe is what we call a ‘yagna’. The word ‘yoga’ has become very popular, but actually they are twin words that have been used in Indian spirituality - ‘yoga’ and ‘yagna’ - The inner union and the sacraments of life.
The essence of ‘yagna” is ‘na mama’ - not mine. That everything I am doing is an offering in a sacred fire. When I am feeding a child I am performing a yagna. I am putting an offering into that prana fire. When I am eating, also I am performing the same yagna. Without understanding the word yagna, you will not understand the applied spirituality.
So, that is where all the sacraments come from. Understanding the karmic principles and living with the mental attitude of ‘namaḥ’, not mine.
There is a tradition in a few, very rare, families in India, where one child of the family is given to an ashram or a temple and is raised to take care of the spiritual needs of the people. There are still some families that do that. Rare ones. Less in North India. More in the East and in the South. Or if an astrologer predicts that a child will not live long, they give the child to a Guru. Because if you live for others you will live. It’s a nice trick on fate, and on karmic processes.
Or someone goes to Swami Rama and says, my astrologer has predicted that tomorrow I am going to die. He said no, tomorrow you will take vows of Sannyasa. Called him over and gave him the vows of Sannyasa.
What is the mystery behind these acts of yagna? These acts of sacraments? These acts of sacrifice? The word ‘sacrifice’ means making sacred.
Then there is the possessive way of living. The other way, as I said, is the way of possessive life. ‘My’ son. ‘My’ daughter. ‘My’ house. ‘My’ family. ‘My’ future.
You want to understand these words, understand how these cosmic currents that I have described are flowing and how their confluences have occurred.
To appreciate and recognize these confluences special rituals have been developed, in all parts of the world. Nowadays, in the modern life, there is a negligent attitude towards ritual. “Oh, that’s only a ritual.” Because you perform your rituals only with the body. Ritual is when you pray with the whole body. With all the limbs of your body. When you pray with all the senses. There is something of smell and something of sight. Something blooming, something blazing, something flowing and a sense that in the moment of that ritual, in the moment of that sacrament, in that yagna moment, these energies are more alive and awake and you take an immersion into them.
I find in the modern world for example, even before people start planning for a child – the planning they should do, they don’t do.
The spiritual planning. What is the spiritual place of this child in this confluence of energies called the family? Nobody thinks about that. When they start planning, they think of the name. They think of the room. They think of the crib or the cradle. In the traditions of India, nobody ever, well, nowadays I don’t know what the traditions of India are, because so much of India right in front of my eyes, has vanished in the last 50 years, in the last 80 years. It’s no longer there.
But I still speak of India because it is from the essences of the tradition that I draw my inspiration and my information. In that tradition nobody thinks of giving a name to a child until quite a little time after the birth. Because the consciousness of the fetus at present is in a boat. In a boat, in a stream between two shores. Those who are standing on this shore, they are only thinking of someone arriving. They are not thinking of someone who has departed from the other shore. Where has he or she departed from? Nobody thinks of that.
This consciousness of a fetus is half linked to the past life and half to what is to come. In fact, that fetus is hardly aware of what is to come.
He is aware of the loud sounds that the mother hears. He is aware of the emotions that the mother is feeling. And feels those emotions because his body and mind and prana are so intricately and deeply linked with the mother’s body, mind and prana.With that umbilical cord, you’re not only feeding or nourishing the body of the child, you are also sending your prana there;
By every thought
By every thought
By every emotion
By every emotion
By every movement you make,
you are educating that fetus.
But it’s not your child yet. The consciousness, this unit of consciousness is still in a boat, mid stream, crossing over.
Even when the child has come out of the birth cannel, he or she is not yet yours. The samskaras of the past are still very strong.
Don’t start claiming them too early. So nobody in India ever buys, well, no again, I am talking of old India, I don’t know what’s happening nowadays. Nobody in India ever buys clothes for a child until after he or she is born.
Because we know that we cannot yet claim the child. That soul is not ours yet. These processes have stations; these stations are called sacraments, samskaras. These are performed in many cultures.
I am so deeply impressed by the culture of spiritual Africa, for example, to which hardly anybody pays attention. There are a few books now about the way in which the children are welcomed into the world and the way in which they are planned to be brought into the world.
But I want to tell you something. You will not like it. What you read in English and French is diluted soup. Diluted juice. 10 parts real juice and 90 parts water. To learn about spirituality you need to go to the other languages. Korean poetry cannot be translated into English. Chinese poetry cannot be translated into English. Sanskrit poetry cannot be translated into English; people read it in English. That is why the mantra recitations in the rituals here – they cannot be translated.
So you have these stations, before you plan for, when you plan for a child, what do you plan spiritually? I was a householder, married man, Mrs. Arya is here. To welcome a son in my life, my Master gave me a special Shri Vidya practice which I had to do for 40 days in the attic of my house in USA. That is called planning for a child. You don’t do any planning. My mother did three years of Gayatri. Good for her, because then I never had to go to school. I was teaching from the Vedas at the age of nine. And my mother did all the Gayatri and it was done. So the preparations you make before birth, before conception, the sacraments you have during pregnancy.
You may not follow nowadays all of the attitudes from the times that these sacraments were developed. But you take the essence and learn of the sacraments of different cultures. Do not reject them as mere rituals because as I have explained, ritual means praying with all your senses. Ritual means praying with your whole body. Some recitation with the mouth. Some movement of the hand. How your eyes are fixed, how you are seated.
I have seen this sense of the sacred in many cultures. I watch the facial expression of the people when they receive Prasad among the Hindus. I’ve seen the same expression in the Catholics and the Greek Orthodox when they are receiving the sacrament. I’ve seen the same expression of face. I watch. And I say, the spirit is present. At that moment, the spirit, the Holy Spirit descends into you.
The Jewish rituals; the Yajno paveeta the sacred thread ceremony of India; the Bar Mitzva, the day a child is introduced to the Scriptures. Dr. Shirin Venkat, please tell about ‘Navjot’ in the Zoroastrian community.
Dr. Shirin: “Navjot is done for both girls and boys. And it’s usually done at the same age as the ‘Upanayana.’ It is an induction into the religious tradition of Zarathustra. It’s also lighting a new lamp within you to bring you into the Zarathustrian faith, and we are taught the prayers. And we are given ‘gomutra’ to purify ourselves. We are supposed to prepare a few days before, when we receive our Navjot. And it is done just like Yagna, in front of a fire and offering sandalwood and sour curd to the fire.”
So Navjot is like the Bar Mitzva, like the sacred thread ceremony, ntroducing the child to the sacred responsibility, to open the scriptures.
Now, for a community of meditators who are above the idea of confinement to specific religions, you can learn something from each culture.
You can learn from Bar Mitzva.
You can learn from Navjot.
You can learn from the sacred thread ceremony.
You can learn from the purificatory ordeals that a child has to go through to be made worthy of receiving the sacred lore in the cultures of Africa. Or of New Zealand.
But you cannot do them as rituals. They must be internalized.
There must come a sense of the feeling of the sacred. Yes, indeed. Let the spirit descend. That is, let that confluence of a family event, such as a wedding, such as a conception, such as a sacred thread, such as Bar Mitzva, such as Baptism, such as Navjot.
It’s not two people uniting. It’s not father and mother bringing the child to be baptized. There is a secret presence. And you forget that secret presence. And that is the presence of the total field of the universal consciousness. Call it GOD. Don’t call it GOD.
We have here a Chinese Buddhist Monk who is waiting also for receiving Swami vows. He can tell us about the Buddhist tradition. How the purification of the child’s spirit...
What I am saying to you: please take the essence, take the spirit, and make your life sacred and make your family sacred.
When the ancient Greeks sat down to eat they took out little bits of food, “This is unto Apollo”; “This is unto Zeus”. So also those who are brought up in the orthodox traditions, they take out a little bit of the food, place it as a ‘bali’ offering for the beings. I have seen in India, at least that was so 60, 70 years ago when I was living in this country, a father will take the child for a walk with some sugar. Finding an ants’ nest, he teaches the child to feed the ants. That is called ‘bali’. There are five daily sacraments - pancha maha yagnas.
Sometime, someday I’ll tell you about it. Well, I will be in silence, but every now and then I will teach on a computer screen.
As I told you, in the beginning of this session I am not going to give you everything I am bubbling with. But I have given you the essence. Think about it, discuss it. And see how to implement it. How to make your life sacred. And how to make the family a sacred event. And understand every thought you think, every thought you think, every emotion you feel, every emotion you feel, every glance, every movement of the finger, the clothing you wear, the clothing you wear, the food you prepare. Connect it to the cosmic reality as an experience; as a personal experience.
When we have special feasts for the monks, for the sadhus here, they recite the 15th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita before eating. And I’ve looked at that chapter, because I recite it also by heart.
The Lord says: I become the Vaishvanaro, the universal fire, dwelling in the living beings, living in the bodies of all the living beings, praninam deha masritah. I, Vaishvanaro, become the universal fire dwelling in the bodies of all the living beings, and joined by the forces of prana and apana, I take the nourishment and digest it for their continuity. How many of you eat that way?
That the divine fire is eating, and you are making it an offering.
So I wish you success in your deliberations and your internalizing how your perceptions of life will change, and how you will internalize and become a walking, sacred fire.
God Bless you All.