#2 – When Religion is the stepping stone to Spirituality!(12 mins)

OM!

Before getting started with spirituality, let’s discuss ‘Religion’, because of which I am where I am and love being today!

Religion to me is like that teacher who places a nut with its hard shell in the hand and tells us to “believe” that there is something in it. When the nut is shaken out of curiosity, there may not be anything immediately perceptible in the case of a very tightly packed nut. At such point, 1 of 4  reactions is possible:

  1. One rejects it because the inside is not immediately known/perceptible-atheists.
  2. One becomes so obsessed with the nut itself, its shape, colour, beauty and thus becomes “nut obsessed” that they even forget the possibility of something existing inside of the shell-extremely religious folks whose entire life is consumed by and ends at religion.
  3. The nut obsession itself is pushed so far that the obsessor himself turns into a nut (hehe sorry I simply couldn’t hold that back)-religious fanatics who won’t stop short of even killing.
  4. Holding the nut long enough in the hand based on some initial belief induces curiosity and questioning to the point where there is a frantic search for a tool to crack open the shell to look at what’s within it. Philosophy is that tool to crack open the nut and voila, the core is exposed-those driven into Philosophy through initial instillation of belief/faith by religion.

Points 2, 3 and 4 above clearly indicate a grounding in some belief without which the nut would have been discarded, as in 1.

It is only when that core of the nut is exposed that its very purpose is served! Similarly insist the wise, Religion has served its highest purpose only when it has led to the core of it, God!

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Vedanta the Solution – Part 17

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VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem by D. Venugopal

Part 17 addresses the changes in lifestyle needed to enable us to become successful seekers. These include fasting, silence, breath control, prayer, karma yoga and renunciation.

There is a complete Contents List, to which links are added as each new part appears.

Positive Thinking – Q. 341

Q: There are moments when I think I am the one that is creating my world with my specific positive thoughts – is that true?

Or is it the concsiouness bringing me those positive thoughts or negative thoughts? I know that I don’t have to ask for anything because in that way there is an infinite possibility of something fresh and new and totally different.

How do I pray?  In silence only doing meditation?

A (Sitara): Yes, it is true. Your experiences (positive as well as negative ones) are constructs of your mind. The question is, what do you do with this information?

 It seems that all of your questions are about, how to get a different life. For that you would like to know the mechanism of what in New Age (or Yoga, magic etc.) is called materialization of things, events, persons etc. Continue reading

Īśvara (The Lord), prayer and worship 2/2

worshipSee Part 1

In the previous extract from her talks to London students, Swāminī Ātmaprakāśānanda, laid out a more liberating vision of Íśvara – liberating in the sense that it gets away from the old man in the sky image or some force-field etc. From the perspective of traditional advaita vedānta Íśvara is seen as the sum total of the universal natural law and order.

“Every natural law is Īśvara. The law ordaining grace is Īśvara. Action is Īśvara. The results of actionis Īśvara. Merit is Īśvara. Demerit is Īśvara. Pain is Īśvara. Pleasure is Īśvara. Right and wrong action is Īśvara. Punishment for the wrong action is Īśvara. Good is Īśvara. Evil is Īśvara – don’t say that evil is not God. Everything is Īśvara.”

The universal law and order is what determines the fruits of actions. You can’t see this with physical eyes, but you can understand the laws being manifest. Anything done, knowingly, unknowingly, intentionally, unintentionally – however it is done – any action has to result in a reaction, has to cause some effect.

If this be the case, what is the role of prayer or worship? With simple logic and reason Swaminiji once more breaks down resistance to these activities… Continue reading

A popular mantra unfolded

Om sahanāvavatu sahanaubhunaktu sahavīryaṃ karavāvahai
Tejasvināvadhitamastu mā vidviśāvahai
Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śānti

This mantra, found in the Taittiriya Upanishad, is most propitious for recitation before study with the teacher.

Here is one translation:
May He protect us both together. May he nourish us both together. May we both acquire strength together. Let our study be brilliant. May we not cavil at each other. Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!
(Translated by Swami Gambhirananda).

Unfolded by a traditional teacher, these simple statements reveal their inner meaning. Continue reading