April 19, 1983

Shri Gurubhyo Namaha!

The path today known as Heartfulness was once only known as Sahaj Marg. Going back many years and even tracing back to sage Patanjali, the modern expression of this path has seen more gurus. Known as Masters because the mastery they possess over their selves and their ability to point seekers toward the one Self within us all, these four have each brought a new phase of evolution to our marg. The first of the four gurus was named Ram Chandra (of Fatehgarh). He is now known more simply as Lalaji. His successor had the same name, although he was from Shajahanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and came to be known as Babuji.

Lalaji laid the foundation for our path’s modern structure. Lalaji seems to have resurrected a hybrid – part Sufi, part Hindu. He is know to have taught our simple form of heart-centered meditation but also would give seekers mantras and ayurvedic advice – whatever the seeker was in most need of, Lalaji helped them obtain. Our next guru, Babuji built upon the foundation laid by Lalaji and in his own way streamlined our practice. It was during his guidance that the primary focus of the path became our way of meditation and usage of things like mantras declined significantly.

Born in 1899, Babuji’s form was seen by Lalaji while he was in a super-conscious state and it was then known that the man we call Babuji would be the marg’s successor. One major thing taken from Babuji’s example is that one need not renounce a responsible worldly life to retreat into the Himalayas in order to see vital personal evolution. In fact, Babuji taught us through word and his living example that the householder life can be the very best proving ground for one’s spirituality. To be found among all his other teachings, he taught that we should not give too much attention to our weaknesses but instead focus on progressing and to always push forward and that not only is God simple, but also that the means to reach God are equally simple.

On April 19th, 1983, Babuji left and entered a loka we know as the Brighter World and from there he has sent (and continues to send) many messages through a French female medium. These Messages from the Brighter World now form a significant corpus of literature and always convey his essence to us while at the same time advising and gently prodding us onward as a community. Very late last night / very early this morning (USA, EST) there were global sittings to commemorate the samadhi of Heartfulness’s second gurudev. Tonight, I’m reciting the gurupadukastotram and doing other puja to honor Babuji. Below you will see an assortment of images take from various places online. I’m sharing them with you now to get a better sense of Babuji and what he means to abhyasis around the world.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Shri Gurubhyo Namaha | Aum Shanti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Dwindle

swami_s_pronam__cut_out

One of the first non-Indian Hindus I knew was a big fan of Paramahansa Yogananda. And, aside from a number of indecent things, one of the first things he did was give me a copy of Yogananda’s autobiography. I’ve read it only once in full, and it was a full decade ago, and I can even now surely recommend any person wanting a taste of Hinduism to read that work. Shortly after reading that, and looking into Yogananda’s western “church,” The Self-Realization Fellowship, I came to know about Swami Kriyananda – the one pictured at the heading of this post.

Initially, I’d hoped (quite fervently) to one day meet Swami Kriyananda – this was a hope that died not long after even just hearing about him and the rift within Self-Realization Fellowship. Since that time, I’ve collected numerous books associated with Yogananda, Kriyananda, or other parts of the Self-Realization Fellowship. Suffice to say, my interest in all of this has remained novel, at best, and my path has only occasionally meandered across it all since finishing The Autobiography.

As a related aside, I was recently catching up on posts from www.hindu-blog.com when I discovered that Swami Kriyananda had very recently left his body. The full link to that post follows: http://www.hindu-blog.com/2013/04/swami-kriyananda-dies-at-86-direct.html

Another link, as mentioned in the one just above can be found here, and offers a little more about Swami Kriyananda and his other involvements.

As unconnected as I am to Kriyananda, Yogananda, or The Self-Realization Fellowship, I was still struck by this. Although none of this ever amounted (for me) to a real “life chapter,” I do place some kind of connection between SRF/Yogananda and coming to Hinduism. Obviously, because the two rather coincided. I suppose I should admit a touch of melancholy at the news of Swami Kriyananda’s passing, only a little mind you, but simultaneously there was within me a small, very subtle, smile.

Kriyananda had many troubled years after the passing of his guru and struggle with his guru-bhais and guru-bahins. I’m sure his spirit feels wonderful release right now. On a much more superficial and shallow level, mine does to. Progression. Just as his soul has put a chapter of existence behind it and closed that door, I feel like I’m able to also more fully do that now that the last quasi-connection remaining in connection to my early Hindu years has left.

Progress is indeed so precious.

At my local temple, when news of one’s passing reaches the congregation, we collectively chant the Mahamrtunjaya Mantra a number of times on their behalf: Om Tyambakamyajamahe, Sugandhimpushtivaradhanam, Urvarukamivabhandhanam, Mrtyormukshiyamamritat

My heart and thoughts go to all within the SRF and Ananda Sangha who looked to Swami Kriyananda for light and a reflection of the Light.

Om Shanti

Sivayogi

meditation-as-medicine

The mind is in itself the cause for one’s happiness and misery. That mind which is possessed of wisdom, manliness and cheer is a friend, while that which is otherwise is a foe.

The mind that is sullied by the passions of attachment and hatred gives rise to misery and several other painful experiences. Hence one should wash off these impurities of the mind with one’s own wisdom and manliness and make it crystal pure.

To get rid of human misery, it is the mind and not God that is to be pleased. Without purity of mind no salvation is possible.

Motionlessness of the mind is itself salvation, while its motion is worldly bondage. Get the mind absorbed in itself and it will then merge in ecstatic Bliss. That is indeed the cessation of all misery and the attainment of final beatitude.

Brahmananda Swami Sivayogi (1852-1929)
-As taken from Hindu Blog