Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Posted: 30 Dec 2008 04:41 AM CST
Read more about the seminar and musical evening, puja and marriages day, on the Nirmal Nagari website - photos and video are also available.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Blossom Times Volume 2 issue 6, for Nov-Dec'08. The same can be viewed and downloaded from www.blossomtimes.org/download.
We all know that today's world is facing many challenging problems, and in this latest issue of Blossom Times we have touched upon the aspect of currently existing problems, along with the offered solution of Sahaja Yoga meditation. Also this issue gives a bit more insight into an introspection angle of 'why meditation' and other topics such as evolution and transformation etc.
We thank all those who have conbtributed to this issue of BT.
Kindly note that henceforth this magazine will be available ONLY through internet and not in print, this is being done to keep the clear focus of it being an electronic media.
We hope that all of you will have a great reading. Also those who wish to contribute to next issues of BT, may kindly send mails to email@example.com.
Blossom Times Editorial Team
Friday, December 26, 2008
By Huntly Reid, a South African Sahaja Yogi.
A long time ago the Chinese sage Lao Tse said: -
There will always be the sound of war and thunder and death until man achieves God and enters into his tranquillity.
Anyone who listens to the news of the world everyday will agree that at the present time mankind is a long way from "achieving God" and nowhere near "entering into his tranquillity".
What we want to do in this small communication is to tell people about the teachings of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi and about Sahaja Yoga. It is only through self - realisation and inner transformation that man is going to achieve God and enter into the tranquillity that Lao Tse talked about.
It is necessary in the first instance to approach Sahaja Yoga with a completely open mind and to by pass all the accumulated conditionings in our minds. The reason is that Shri Mataji's teachings have tremendous implications for human beings and are difficult for ordinary people, particularly in the west to accept. It is our purpose in this leaflet to try to bridge this gap of incredulity.
We are all 'one' in a spiritual sense and the reason why there is so much conflict in the world is that we simply do not realise this. If there are divisions amongst human beings or countries then there are going to continue to be conflict on all levels of human interaction.
New comers to Sahaja Yoga realise this to be so once they have received their self- realisation.
What is Sahaja Yoga?
Sahaja Yoga represents the last step in the planned spiritual evolution of human kind. This is seemly a pretty presumptuous statement. All that we can ask of the reader at this stage is that they should keep their minds open as they read what follows and not to make any premature judgements.
Human beings are now able to receive self-realisation through the Grace of God without having to perfect themselves spiritually. Self-realisation is what has variously been referred to as nirvana, samadhi and being born again by the great religions of the world.
Sahaja Yoga is a meditative yoga. Meditating for ten to 15 minutes once or twice a day is all that is needed. In a state of thoughtless awareness all opposites such as happy/unhappy merge and one enters into a state of pure joy or bliss.
Humans are no longer isolated within their conditionings or egos but are able to spontaneously achieve a direct link with the infinite, the collective unconscious or God however one chooses to express it.
Yoga means the yoking or union with God and Sahaja means spontaneous. Sahaja Yoga thus means the spontaneous union with God.
One does not have to pay any money for self-realisation. It is your birthright. Does one pay mother earth anything for growing the flowers? The position is similar with the 'flowering' of your kundalini.
Who developed Sahaja Yoga ?
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, probably the greatest spiritual person alive today, developed Sahaja Yoga.
She was born on the 21st March1923 in Chindwara, India, into a Christian family. As a young girl she was associated with Mahatma Gandhi. Shri Mataji studied medicine in Lahore. She is married to Sir CP Shrivastava a retired former Secretary General of the United Nations Maritime Organisation in London.
Shri Mataji, now a grandmother, has been travelling the world since 1970 teaching the techniques of Sahaja Yoga.
Shri Mataji is a lady who has great spiritual powers and yet she has extraordinary humility, is a font of wisdom and common sense and is full of laughter and joy.
How does Sahaja Yoga work?
Everyone is born with a kundalini, which reflects the power or energy of the Divine. The kundalini resides at the base of the spine in the sacrum bone where it lies dormant.
Self-realisatiion consists of spontaneously awakening the kundalini from its resting-place and raising it through the various centres of the subtle energy system, which are called chakras and which are situated in the spine. When the kundalini penetrates the fontanel bone then one can feel a soft cool breeze coming out of the top of the head. This is the cool breeze of the Holy Spirit.
Self-realisation is done in a simple guided meditation, which takes only a few minutes.
It is stressed that one has to ask for self- realisation. The kundalini cannot be raised against ones will. Self-realisation is only granted by the grace of God.
Various qualities are associated with the different energy centres. For example wisdom and innocence are qualities of the Mooladara chakra.
What benefits does one get from Sahaja Yoga?
A general overall improvement in your health can be expected. If one has been struggling with damaging habits such as the various chemical additions, then one may find that these may suddenly just fall away as the power of the kundalini begins helping one.
Techniques of working with the energy centres are taught which bring them into harmony and balance. The improvement in health, which is experienced, is a direct result of the restoration of balance within the energy centres of the bodies subtle system. 'Miraculous cures' have also been reported. The prime purpose of Sahaja Yoga is however spiritual development - any health benefits that one receives are just by-products.
Personal relationships with friends, colleagues and loved ones can be expected to improve. One becomes calmer and better able to withstand the stress caused by the problems of modern day living. This is the direct result of regular meditation.
The spiritual growth achieved in practising Sahaja Yoga is of prime importance. The inner peace and joy, which one feels within oneself is quite indescribable - it has to be experienced.
How can one measure spiritual growth?
This is of course an impossible question to answer. One can perhaps get an indication if one introspects on how one is shaping up against the six enemies of the spirit, which are anger, lust, materialism, competitiveness, lack of detachment and vanity.
What does Sahaja Yoga teach?
Sahaja Yoga is a spiritual movement, which lays great emphasis on following the middle path. There should be no fanaticism about anything. Living a righteous life is a most important factor in growing spiritually. Guidelines for righteous living are those given by the great spiritual leaders of the past. Moses' Ten Commandments and Christ's teaching to forgive your enemies and to love your neighbour as thy self are examples.
Sahaja Yoga teaches that there is nothing wrong with sex in marriage, but that sex as exploited in the Western lifestyle is totally against the spirit.
Vegetarianism is not a requirement of Sahaja Yoga.
Sahaja Yoga does not encourage smoking or the drinking of alcohol. Both damage your subtle centres (chakras) and hence impede your spiritual growth. No one will however point a finger at you in Sahaja Yoga. Your own introspection coupled with the vibrations you feel in your hands and fingers will tell you what your problems are and you can thus take corrective action on your own. You become your own master or teacher.
Sahaja Yoga believes in reincarnation but it is not stressed. How you live your present life is the important thing.
Sahaja Yoga is not rational or logical in the sense that we could ever have worked it out with our limited brain. However now that we know how Sahaja Yoga works it is possible with hindsight to see a totally ordered structure and plan - God's total plan for the spiritual evolution of human beings.
What proof is there for the claims of Sahaja Yoga?
Shri Mataji says quite clearly that you should not believe any of the claims of Sahaja Yoga unless you can feel the cool breeze on your central nervous system after self-realisation. The cool breeze that you feel in your hands and on the top of your head is a subtle but definite feeling. You will not be able to mistake it.
No amount of speculation or intellectualisation will convince you of the truth. One has to have the courage to go ahead and ask for self-realisation after which one finds it much easier to comprehend the truth of Sahaja Yoga. Your brain becomes enlightened by the power of the kundalini.
The marvel is that self-realisation is possible before we have perfected ourselves spiritually. It is like a small pilot light being switched on in a dark room. We are given sufficient light in which to view or introspect ourselves and we can set to work to improve our spiritual standing.
The cool breeze is a definite physical sensation and not a meta physical speculation.
How does Sahaja Yoga compare with older established religions?
Sahaja Yoga is not a religion. It does not have any theologies, doctrines or ideologies. These all tend to come about once the spiritual leader who started the movement dies and his followers then start their interpretative activities, which normally lead to priestly castes, power bases and concepts of God.
In Sahaja Yoga all that exists are the teachings of Shri Mataji recorded on either video or audiotape. These are available to all Sahaja Yogis. As yet very little has been written about Sahaja Yoga it is all so new.
Sahaja Yoga teaches that all the major spiritual leaders such as Moses, Christ and Buddha were sent at specific times by God to teach specific lessons to humankind. It has all happened according to God's plan for our spiritual evolution. With the advent of Sahaja Yoga it can be said that all the religions of the past have now been integrated into a great new universal spiritual movement.
Christ said that one has to be born again. Self-realisation through the raising of the kundalini is the true meaning of what he said. This rebirth is something, which happens within and is not an external happening.
All the great teachers taught that one should 'Know thyself'. Knowing about the kundalini and the internal subtle system and its workings is 'Knowing thyself'.
You can find more information on Sahaja Yoga at www.sahajayoga.org
Well you are in for a big surprise. Key in the word meditation or yoga and you are going to be overwhelmed by a multiplicity of choice. Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, The Kabbalah, Tibetan Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, Krishnamurti's Choiceless Awareness, Zen, Vippasana meditation, the Ramana Maharshi meditation or perhaps Sahaja Yoga. There are many more.
Well help is at hand. Daniel Goleman has written a book called Meditative Mind in which he classifies all the different meditations in terms of the Vissudhimagga that was taught by the Lord Buddha. The Vissushimagga means the path of purification. There are two basic types of meditation the path of concentration and the path of insight.
Thoughts enter your mind in a random manner. There is no pattern to their entry. The path of concentration has you direct the flow of your thoughts fixing them onto the object chosen for the meditation. By forcing your wandering thoughts back on to the object your mind will eventually become absorbed in it and your awareness will experience a feeling of oneness with it. This is called the point of entry.
The start of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness. You are required to pay attention to your thoughts and senses as they arise and to merely register or note your observation of the thought or sense impression without further comment, reflection or judgement. You simply pay attention to what is happening in and to you. In the beginning as in the path of concentration your mind will wander until you reach the point of bare insight where your mind develops the ability to observe all that is registering in your mind without the interference of wandering thoughts. With the achievement of bare insight you realise that your awareness is different from the object of your awareness.
Once you have reached the point of entry or of bare insight you then continue to achieve higher and higher levels of awareness until eventually you reach the highest state possible which is variously called Nirvana, Nirodh, Moksha and various other names. This state indicates that you have achieved the point whereby you have acquired total self-knowledge and are freed from the perpetual cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
What actually happens here is that your kundalini awakens and rises up the central subtle spiritual channel called the Sushumna. The kundalini is the dormant spiritual power within each one of us, which resides in our pelvic bone. The disadvantage with either of the two paths of the Vissuddimagga is that normally it takes a very long time to get your self- realisation. More than one life time is not unusual. Remember that the Vissuddimagga means the 'Path of Purification'. This refers to the fact that in addition to meditation the seeker has to purify his spiritual centres called chakras one by one. This is why the Indian yogis go to the Himalayan Mountains or the forests. They isolate themselves in order to concentrate on their spirit and not be interrupted by mundane life.
In the modern world it is well nigh impossible for the ordinary seeker to achieve their self-realisation using the paths of the Vissuddhimagga. There has however been a change in the firmament and it is now possible to achieve your self-realisation through taking to Sahaja Yoga. As impossible as it seems you can now get your self-realisation simply by asking for it. Any Sahaja yogi can give self-realisation. It is like one candle lighting another. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi developed Sahaja Yoga. She is a very high spiritual personality and can be described as a messenger from God.
With the Vissuddimagga you have to be spiritually perfect before you can get your self-realisation. With the Sahaja Yoga you are not perfect but you can work on trying to become spiritually perfect. The point is that your kundalini does the work for you. All that you have to do is to introspect on your self during meditation. What's wrong with me? The path of Sahaja Yoga is a much faster method of achieving spiritual perfection than the two Vissuddimagga paths. It's like putting the roof on the house first and then building up the walls and windows etc rather than the conventional way around.
The methods of Vissuddimargga meditation works by trying to subdue the mind. Sahaja Yoga says that instead of trying to subdue or control the mind, which is almost impossible anyway, why not ignore it and simply go beyond it. The Sahaja Yoga meditation is described as thoughtless awareness. Normally it is virtually impossible to do this but in Sahaja Yoga your kundalini simply takes you straight into thoughtless awareness.
In their book 'From Here to Nirvana' Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones say that there are five types of yoga: Jhana, Bhakti, Karma, Raja and Hatha. Ramana Maharshi was a Jnana yogi who taught that thinking the thought 'Who am I' would eventually lead to self-realisation. This is the mind being used to distinguish between the real and the unreal. Bhakti yoga is the path of love, devotion, and worship. Karma yoga is the path of selfless service. The Karma yogi does not renounce the world but rather seeks to serve humanity in a detached, egoless manner. This leading to self-realisation. Raja yoga is the path taught by the saint Patanjali around the second and third centuries AD. It is a systematic eight-fold path, which works through the quietening of the mind. Raja yoga includes a moral code, positive breath control and a meditation akin to the ' path of concentration' talked about above. Hatha yoga is the classic 'exercise' yoga well known to people in the west. Raja and Hatha yoga are usually associated together. Sahaja Yoga includes elements of all the different types of yoga except Hatha Yoga.
From Here to Nirvana. 1998. Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones. Rider Books. London. ISBN 0712670610.
Meditative Mind. 1996. Daniel Goleman Harper Collins Publishers, London. ISBN 07225 347 2
Shri Mataji, now 79 years old, is a descendent of one of the Indian Royal Families. She is a grandmother and married to Sir C.P. Shri Shrivastava a retired Secretary of the United Nations Maritime Organisation.
As a young woman Shri Mataji was an activist against the British during India’s fight for independence. At that time she was a friend and confident Mahatma Gandhi.
Shri Mataji began her present work in 1970 after the marriage of her two daughters. Her main aim is to meet seekers of the Truth, wherever they are and acting as a catalyst, offer those who desire it their self-realisation.
26 Tulbagh Ave
As I have told you about His birth. And when He came on this Earth in a body like a human being He wanted to show another thing, that spirit has nothing to do with money, has nothing to do with power. It is all-powerful, all-pervading, but it is born in a stable, not in a palace or to a king. But He was born to a very ordinary person, a carpenter…. It means simply that nothing is higher than you; neither anything can decorate you because whatever you are, you are at the highest. All the worldly things, so-called, are just like dry grass … so He was kept in dry grass .…
He was happiness, He was joy. To make you all happy, to give you the light of happiness by enlightening your source of joy that is your spirit in your heart, that He came on this Earth. Not only to save you, first to give you happiness, to give you joy, because human beings in their ignorance and in this tomfoolery are unnecessarily beating themselves and destroying themselves…. He comes there like a morning flower to make you happy; first to make you happy, to give you joy ….
You see a child anywhere, any child, such a joy-giving thing it is, and this is the child of the Divine that comes on this Earth as a child, is the most joy-giving thing. And that’s why Christmas for all of us, for the whole universe should be a festival of great joy, for He brought light for us by which you could see that there is someone called as God, there is someone who is going to remove this ignorance; this was the first beginning.
So for us it is necessary to be first joyous and be happy and relaxed, and not to take anything that seriously as we take, because divine life doesn’t make you serious because it’s all a play; it’s a maya. I have seen in all the rituals that people follow, in all the so-called religious people, they are too serious to be religious. A religious person will be bubbling with laughter. He doesn’t know how to hide his joy. And he doesn’t know how to control his laughter when he sees people who are unnecessarily serious ….
So be joyous that here at the Agnya Chakra again Christ is born within you, and He is there, and you know how you can ask for His help, always.
Shri Mataji, Christmas Party Talk, 1983
Monday, December 22, 2008
I am not sure to what extent people all over the world were shocked, surprised, or even scandalised by the recent revelations that one person was accused of defrauding several investors of an estimated $50 billion US in December 2008.
The FBI was told the man confessed that his investment-advisory business was a "giant Ponzi scheme" and that investor losses exceeded at least about $50 billion, according to a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. That figure represents the collective amount that investors believed they had invested with the firm -- not the amount they initially invested, known as principal, according to people familiar with the investigation. This was just one of the symptons of a sick world economy, and the financial crisis which is the result. Greed and corruption in government and business, as well as in society is the rrot cause of the present world economic malaise, which is threateneing to close down companies and render millions of workers jobless. That is the situation in the United States where the election of Baraq Obama may herald welcome changes.
Meanwhile across the oceans, in South Africa, where a lot of hope was generated fourteen years ago with the accession to the presidency by Nelson Mandela in 1994, things are not looking so bright either. In an attempt to clean the country of massive corrution and fraud in public and private sectors, the former president Thabo Mbeki created an anti-corruption squad known as the Scorpions. However, their success in bringing to book even big names in the ruling party and elsewhere, may have led to their own demise. Last year at the ANC's conference in Polokwane the party resolved that the Scorpions must go. Now legislation has been passed to give effect to the resolution.
At the same meeting, at Polokwane, the ANC elected Jacob Zuma, whom the Scorpions had investigated for years and accused of corruption and fraud, as its new party president in place of the country's former State President, Thabo Mbeki. Zuma had been fired by Mbeki in 2005 for alleged corruption from the post of Deputy President in the government. This was followed, after the Polokwane conference, by the party firing Mbeki from the post of President of the country. An interim President, Kgalema Motlhantle, has been chosen by the part while waiting for the outcome of next year's election in March or April, when it is almost certain Jacob Zuma will become the country's President.
The unexpected result of all this has resulted in a breakaway part being created in December, called the Congress of the People, which has seen a sizable number of ANC leaders and members abandoning their party for this new one, and which promises clean government based on morals. The new part has gathered a huge following in a matter of weeks mainly from the middle classes of all races and age groups. Time will tell which way the wind will blow.
Why is the world gripped so much by greed? Is there a way out?
Wherever greed grows in people its twin is right there: the quest for power. And lust.
What can we learn from the Teachings of Shri Mataji on greed, to take but one problem?
Talking at the Shri Ganesha Puja in September 1997, Shri Mataji reminds us of how the Kundalini in us acts builds "primordial taboos" within us which if not followed or respected "something goes wrong"in our lives.
"The Kundalini leaves the Mother Earth as a reflection, and what does she do within us to build us up, in which way? So it is the primordial Power which is coming out of the Mother Earth. Mother Earth itself acts like a Mother. She looks after you, she gives you whatever you want; and another miracle thing is that the highest tree is a coconut tree, and a coconut will never fall on any creature or any human being. That means it’s all thinking, all understanding, all consciousness, all awareness is coming from the Mother Earth. But we never understand it. As it is we take for granted.
Now what does she do for us, for us human beings? She’s the primordial Power. What she does is to build in us a primordial – we can call “restrictions” or “primordial taboos” or “primordial dharmas.” For example, you see the steel is here. It has its own dharma, it cannot behave like wood. Wood has its own dharma, it cannot behave like silver. They all have their dharma and they are bound in that dharma. Everything that is in the nature has its own dharma. ...
We have in the same way primordial taboos built within us which are dharma. A human being has to be like that. If he tries to be something else, something goes wrong with his life. It’s like say if you have a glass, you drop it on the ground, it will break – that is the dharma. In the same way when human beings start deviating from the line of dharma, they get into trouble."
(Shri Ganesha Puja, September 1997)
And in another lecture She touches on the freedom from greed, lust and all the other "nonsense" that comes with Sahaj Dharma:
This is Sahaj Dharma. In the Sahaj Dharma, you get rid of all kinds of, as they say: kaama, krodha, mada, matsa, lobha, moha. Means - lust, anger, attractions, then [hindi words] – greed, greed; that’s very important, greed – greed. And attractions."
In his stunning book, "The Confessions of An Economic Hitman" on how the US corporate world colludes with the US government for the control of the resources and the leaders of Third World countries, John Perkins says some interesting and shocking things.
He says that we know in many countries economic growth benefits only a small portion and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority.
"This effect is reinforced by the corrolary belied that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems, and is also the reason why conspiracy theories abound" he points out.
"When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator" observes Perkins. He adds that when we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth's resurceswith a status appproaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who lived unbalanced lives, and when we ddefine huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, 'we ask for trouble' . And we get it, he observes.
But listen to the Sufi poet from 14th century Turkey, whom Shri Mataji describes as talking like Sahaja Yogis:
"I tie up greed, and release generosity.
I shackle anger, and liberate meekness.
I bind consumerism, and unbind piety.
I tie up ignorance, and unfetter respect for the Absolute.
I restrain passion, and release the love of the Absolute.
I tie up desire, and free fulfilment.
I bind commodification, and liberate awareness".
(Haji Bektash Veli, 1248-1337)
"Buddha had dharma. His body was clean, His mind the attention, did not find any joy in the worldly greed or desire. His cup was ready and it emptied when he was tired and surrendered and that was the moment: like torrential rain, the “Shakti” filled His cup and made Him the “Shakta”, the Enlightened One. So, when you are talking of virtue, you are warning them to keep the cup intact and clean".
Is the world ready to listen? Can we move back from the brink of self-destruction? Shri Mataji points us towarss Dharma and its essence:
"This is how I describe Dharma in short. Dharma is the sustenance of all things that are born or created. It is super nature that gives valences to atoms in an element. It is Dharma that is expressed as the quality of these elements. For instance, gold has a quality that it is untarnishable. The human beings are like perfected instruments, like computers. Of course, if their Dharma is in balance, they are the best receptors. You can understand that the divine awareness is like the main electrical current which starts the computer (Self-realization). If the Dharma in the instrument is lacking, self-realization does not give full results. It becomes like a second hand car. Dharma is the fulcrum and the one who is in Dharma never gets into imbalance. So the attention has to be on “ Dharma”, the point where the gravity of sin does not act.
"The information of Dharma comes from the Unconscious but the movement from the fulcrum can take the human attention so much in one dimension or so much like a sea saw that ultimately the beam of life tilts towards one side, either towards hell or towards destruction. Because, if the extreme movements are like a sea saw, the delicate flower of human awareness becomes confused and people suffer from all kind of diseases".
But She does not leave us empty without reference about what we can do here and now. And that is the practice of Sahaja Yoga. She says:
"Sahaja yoga is the proof of all the scriptures that are challenged. But I had to come to explain, to give realization and to tell you the “know how”.
H.H.Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, extract from a Letter to a follower, London, 1976
Perhaps as we move into a New Year with the world hesitating how to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ, it is appropriate to pause and consider how His whole life was to the epitome of compassion, generosity and concern about the well-being of others and for the plight of the poor. Qualities that should be the driving force for the creation of a new society in the world of today. Sahaja Yoga offers the way towards realising this potential for us to become the change we seek to see around us, as Ghandi once exhorted those who call for change.
When you think of the amount of money involved in fraudulent schemes and deals all over the world and the amount of children dying from hunger, preventable diseases, HIV-Aids, the lack of clean water and health facilities, of medicines, education and the ravages of war, producing millons of orphans and neglect, it sets one thinking. Yet there is a solution; and it is not greed for money and power. It is loving each other, as we love ourselves as Christ teaches; and Shri Mataji reinforces and makes possible through Self-Realisation and the pracice of Sahaja Yoga which restores human beings to their original state of sanctity through the healing Power of the Holy Spirit.
Wishing all people of the world a Blissful Christmas in 2008.