Jailed Jivan?

Image take from Google Image search

Image take from Google Image search

Recently a friend asked me about the difference I understood there to be between the term “enlightened” and “Self-Realized.” I answered him that I understand enlightenment to be something progressive and not automatically final, whereas I’ve never heard of someone being Self-Realized and still having more realization to attain. His understanding seemed to be similar.

A day or so ago, as I neared the completion of a book I’ve been reading, I came to a passage that seemed to fit into the aforementioned conversation, although … with a twist. The book is called “My Master – The Essence of Pure Love” and was written by the current and living (although that may change shortly) guru and Master of the Sahaj Marg, Shri Parathasarathi Rajagopalachari, affectionately known as Chariji. He wrote this book upon a “divine commandment” received by him from his own guru, Sri Ram Chandra – also known as Babuji within the Sahaj Marg. What follows is an excerpt from the chapter called “The Gift of Liberation.”

“The ultimate aim of sadhana under the Sahaj Marg system of raja yoga is rather loosely designated as being liberation or realization. These two terms are generally used interchangeably, as if they were synonymous, and represented the same condition of state of Being. Those closer to Master who have had more experience with Master’s use of the terminology of his system, appreciate that there is not merely a difference between the two words, but the difference is indeed a large and significant one. Sometimes a third term is used, this being ‘the perfect human condition’ or the ‘condition of the perfect human being.’ Thus the goal is generally described in these terms, the exact term used depending on the person’s degree of intimacy with Master, and his own growth and experience in the system.

“As far as I have been able to understand the subject, is appears to me that liberation is a lesser order of attainment when compared to realization. In Sahaj Marg terms, liberation is indeed a far higher level than the traditional religious emancipation labeled mukti or moksha, both of which generally refer to a state of salvation from which there is no return to the physical plane of existence. They, however, do not preclude rebirth in higher non-physical realms of existence, of which Master says there are many. So mukti and moksha are limited concepts, whereas the liberation of Sahaj Marg yoga offers a permanent release from the chain of births and deaths.

“There is a more significant difference. Traditional religion seems to provide, by and large, for release only after death. This is called videha mukti, that is mukti after one has vacated the body. The jivan mukta state, that is the state of release in this life itself, while one is yet alive, is stated to be a very high order of mukti, possible only to a very few. Under Sahaj Marg the emphasis is on the attainment of liberation in this life itself, here and now, while one is living a normal life as a householder.

“When I requested Master to give a short definition of liberation, Master said, ‘In one who has been liberated what is first broken down is time. Time is destroyed first.’ This is clear enough as far as it goes, implying that one who is liberated is no longer subject to the sway of time. For such a person all temporality ceases to exist and one steps into eternity. I have long tried to understand this concept of eternity. The only clear understanding I have arrived at is that eternity does not mean unlimited extension of time. It seems to be of a different order of existence.”

I found this section of the chapter intriguing. It provides many answers if one decides to accept them, and it also certainly can be said that this section and chapter opens many questions as well. I also wonder where a term like “samadhi” fits into the Sahaj Marg understanding of liberation and realization – I’ve yet to encounter much, if anything, relating directly to that term. For now, if nothing else, this serves as an example of another perspective that might not be very prominent, but is no less valid.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti


Yantra Yatra

Everyone who reads Sthapati knows already that I don’t consider myself much of a “bhakt,” although I readily acknowledge the value it brings to one’s spirituality and I can often recognize the influence of the bhakti marg in my life.

Sporadically, I’ll feel creative AND devotional and will attempt to marry the two modes until they are sufficed in my system. What you see below is a progression of this kind of expression. I located some images online of the yantra ( sacred geometry ) associated with my ishtadevata and then began sketching. I took photos with my phone along the way and of the final product.

I hope you enjoy!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti














στην καρδιά σας ( stin kardia sas )


I recently received the current issue of Hinduism Today, and it wasn’t until this gem arrived in the mail that I realized that I hadn’t yet made my way through the last issue. Tragedy! In all fairness, though, the last 3 months have literally been too much. So there.

As I began progressing through the last issue, anxious to dig into the newest one, I came upon some things that instantly caught my attention. The first is in the quotes section and comes from a Sri Lankan mystic of the founding lineage of those responsible for Hinduism Today magazine, Satguru Siva Yogaswami. He apparently once said, “Karma is movement in the mind. When the mind remains motionless there is no karma.” Sat! This instantly brought to mind bits of Patanjali’s Yoga Stura that I have studied – one in particular that details the stilling of the mind’s waves bringing peace and leading to moksha. My experience with the religion of Yoga so far has confirmed this and I love it. Much of Sahaj Marg is built on the foundation of the Yoga Sutras and it was nice to see another, well-established, parampara / sampradaya iterate the same.

The second thing that jumped out at me occurs later in the magazine (around page 40) in a section containing 14 “Daily Enlightenment Lessons.” The fifth of these lessons was the first to really stand out to me. It’s titled, “Superconscious Mind of Light” and like each of the other lessons in this part of the magazine it wraps up with a challenge for the reader to engage in so as to incorporate that lesson into daily life. The challenge for lesson five is to sit quietly in meditation, with a relaxed body and regulated breathing. We’re instructed to “…seek the light within your head. This light which lights your thoughts is the light of superconssciousness. Aum.”

I’m certain 99.9% of the readers glossed over that and kept plowing through the lessons and the rest of the publication. This caught me, though, because it’s strikingly similar to the meditative practice employed by the Sahaj Marg, only we focus on the heart instead of the head. Although there’s that one big difference between the two paths, I still think either of these methods (head or heart) is super beneficial.

Most of us have trouble thinking of stuff that isn’t obvious. It requires more work than we have interest investing into our labors. I’ve written before about how much of a disservice it is to be lazy in this way. It invariably spills over into other areas of life, bringing undesirable results.

The two practices mentioned above – the one from Sahaj Marg which is to see-but-not-see the sublte light in your heart and the one advised by the saiva Satguru which is to see the Light that lights your thoughts – are great, but they require “effortless effort” on the part of the seeker, which is the trickiest kind of effort. Think about it: We are familiar with our thoughts. We generally know what they feel like and with a little more attention we can even discern patterns in them. But what enables us to observe something so closely interwoven to how we function? There’s a Light, as if from some kind of often-overlooked backdrop, and It allows us to see our own thoughts and emotions – it lights them for us.

When we engage ourselves with that “backdrop” and become increasingly familiar with it, we begin the realization that This is our true self. This, in the Hindu religion, is known as Self Realization. And whether you approach your Self from the heart or the head, you can’t help but reach truth, your Self, and become that subtlest Light.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti