Monthly Archives: February 2018

Choose Wisely

Choose Wisely

Choose Wisely

With so many spirituals paths, yoga centres and double the number of religious organizations it is understandable if a novice is confused about who is the right seer and which would be the right path to follow, for one’s spiritual/ personal growth. The plethora of options available trap the unaware fledgling and before he/ she can be any wiser about the path, purpose and goal, the journey would have already reached a stage where the person may feel like there is no turning back, or is afraid to restart elsewhere, or thinks they are all the same anyway, how different can the other paths be, let me continue where I am. This is not the case at all, because every path or any path one chooses to walk upon has to answer only one crucial question, which is: ‘what is it that you are seeking?’

Every path, spiritual or religious, offers only, and I reiterate, only what we ask for. So, I repeat, what is it that you want? For example: if it is purely physical fitness, the obvious choices will be, Ramdev Baba, of Pathanjali Yoga institute, or Guru B.K.S. Iyengar of Iyengar Yoga, from Mysore. I am mentioning only yoga with the surmise that we are going to get interested in the inner self too, someday in the future. Else, the world is over burdened with Gyms, Aerobics, Pilates, and many other only physical fitness centric institutions which I have deliberately refrained from mentioning. Yoga within itself has 8 steps (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) and somewhere at the top comes meditation, which is the first step towards self- awareness. Hence, only two renowned names are mentioned above, with the hope of veering in the direction of meditation.

Now, like I already said, the key question we should always ask ourselves and pretty much, reiteratively is, ‘what do I seek?’ ‘what is it that I am searching for or wanting to get out of any path or practice that I intend to follow or am currently practicing?’ The second question as per me would be, ‘Has the path/practice brought about any change in me?’

To answer the question, ‘what do I seek’? I started with peace of mind, and anger management. Coming from a very religious family and having entered an even more ritualistically religious family, post marriage; religion is where my education commenced. My personal experience reveals that religion has benefitted me to the extent that I knew where I was going wrong, and that I was still missing something. Thus, peace of mind remained elusive. This augmented my sense of failure and thus I progressively became an irate person.  What I was seeking; none of my ritualistic, religious practices could answer nor appease my curiosity.  Swami Vivekananda rightly said; It is very good to be born in a church (Religion), but it is very bad to die in a church (Religion). It is very good to be born within the limits of certain forms that help the little plant of spirituality, but if a man dies within the bounds of these forms, it shows that he has not grown, that there has been no development of the soul. – The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda: Volume_2: Bhakti or Devotion

If the seeker is happy within the purview of religion and ritualistic practices, then perfect. I guess the journey for that person ends here, whatever else any seer might have said differently. So, if we are not seeking anything beyond a regular happy life, basic comforts, and we don’t mind coming back again and yet again to lead the same life, with a few variations; our journey of the Self remains stagnant or dormant. We have no need nor the desire for self-enquiry; hence religion is what we identify ourselves with.

But, for me; Swami Vivekanand’s words have a veracity and appeal. I seek more than just the rigmarole life.  And for seekers like me I guess the next step is to seek a path which is more than ‘only religion’, or beyond religion. This search naturally led me to meditation and through meditation I understood spirituality a little better. Meditation enables change through repeated introspection. In meditation too, the important question remains the same, ‘what do I seek?’

Meditation helped me manage my anger, be at ease and at peace with myself.  My journey did not end with these changes though, change is continuous and the nature of questions changes, the questions themselves do not come to a halt. Life for a spiritual seeker is one which is constantly uncomfortably comfortable, if I can put it that way. Restlessly at peace is the key feeling. Today, I strive to emulate my Master and be/ live like Him, and someday become one with Him.

Which path we choose to walk on is very seeker dependant. Between us siblings, all of us are on a different path and attached to a different organization. Understandably, we are asking different questions, questions individually unique, and we are getting the answers wherever we presently are. For me, I practice Heartfulness Meditation (Sahaj Marg Meditation) because this path has the answers to my questions. I am a better person today; and I am inspired to improve myself with each passing day. Heartfulness Meditation enables me to make possible both my aspirations; a. I do not choose to be a disciple all my life, I somewhere along the line, with practice, learning and meditation aspire to be self- realised, like my teacher, the role model of my life. b. Serving without the feeling of servitude, being a master of Self and a servant only to the One, the creator, is the final goal. The Master teacher on this path leads a householder’s life, and yet is a realised soul. He, his way of life is balanced, suited to the present times and fills me with hope that if He can achieve it all in one lifetime, so can I. This path has a guru who encourages the aspirants’ world over to imbibe the craving to become a master of Self. My persona should reflect my inner Self, as is, simple and devoid of duplicity. I should transcend every barrier of the mind; learn to introspect and be discerning enough to aspire for spiritual Oneness. God created one world; and meditation enables us to acknowledge this Oneness, and accepting the many disparities.

With the hope that the above helps the reader choose wisely, thank you.

 

Mixed Signals

Mixed Signals

Mixed Signals

The more I pay heed to the many spiritual gurus in our nation, the more befuddled I become with what they preach and proclaim! Not just the spiritual gurus, guides, philosophers and yoga experts too.

Are you aware that Shri Shri Ravi Shankar commenced His spiritual journey under the aegis of Maharishi Mahesh yogi, the proponent of Transcendental meditation? Much later, Ravi Shankar started His own spiritual organisation with Sudarshan Kriya, His key finding, as a tool offered to enable a life of self- awareness and the joy. Was a separate organisation imperative though, I wonder? Transcendental Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya could be merged and taught to the millions of followers, cheaper and probably be more beneficial too, is it not?

That’s not all, out of the blue, He is seen sharing the political dais with the demagogues’ and again, I am bit flummoxed. I don’t know what exactly is the Spiritual leader trying to convey with this move.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has offered to mediate in the Ram Temple row for an out-of-court settlement, to which the Supreme Court is not averse.”

For a preacher of spirituality, the Shiva Ratri celebrations in His ashram remain unparalleled. A spiritual leader propagating ritualistic practice so elaborately, and on such a massive scale leave me muddled. If Spirituality is beyond religion, can celebrating one festival appease or work towards unifying the followers or believers of other religions and faiths?

Another household name today is, Jaggi Vasudev, spiritual leader with a difference, the modern-day yogi. But, many actions of this maverick mystic give rise to many questions within me. His voice is heard world over, millions follow Him and keenly hang on to every word He speaks. When so many are influenced, should not the speaker be more prudent, discerning in voicing his/her opinion and have an awareness of how his/her words may impact the lives of millions of followers?

Jaggi Vasudev addresses and speaks in front of a very erudite audience, most of the interviews I have seen have the elite Indian segment or foreigners. The bourgeois India today is very tech-savvy, ambitious and competitive. To such an audience He says something like, ‘Don’t produce children if you cannot raise them, you go on producing children irresponsibly and you don’t know what to do with them…’  I think the people who listen to Him are NOT in the business of ‘producing children’ as He put it, contrarily, the emerging urban middle class is facing the quandary of not wanting to have children! He flippantly throws comments in the face of a wrong audience! The more I listen to Him the more irresponsible He sounds. To a single mother who wanted a method to juggle her many duties and responsibilities; he suggests community cooking, community living (don’t know how that answers the lady’s query). To ‘Why women cannot be Spiritual Leaders?’ His response is; ‘women today are getting all the wrong training; the focus is more on modelling and external beautification rather than on inner spiritual evolution’. He laughingly makes such odious comments and the audience continues to revere Him, enraptured by his words. Like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, this maverick Yogi too believes in ritualistic practices, and seems to revere only Lord Shiva, as the Adi -yogi.

“It is essential that the next generations of people on this planet are seekers, not believers. As philosophies, ideology, belief systems that don’t stand the test of logic and the scientific verification will naturally collapse in coming decades, you will see the longing for liberation will rise. When that longing rises, Adiyogi and the science of Yoga will become very important,” Sadhguru said .The Prime Minister also took stock of the sprawling precincts of the Isha Foundation’s ashram, as he visited the 22-feet underground water body at the Suryakund that aims at the physical cleansing and balancing of the human body.He participated in the Pancha Bhuta Aradhana by Sadhguru – a yogic process of cleansing the five elements of the human system – at the Dhyanalinga, a multi religious meditation shrine, followed by a visit to the Linga Bhairavi, a feminine shrine for physical, material and spiritual wellbeing.” “A 6.4-metre (21 ft) statue of Adiyogi was unveiled in Tennessee, USA, in October 2015 by the Isha Foundation. The abode called “Adiyogi: The Abode of Yoga” in Tennessee is spread over a 2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) area and the project cost over $8 million.”

“He has once said that 3 things should never be commercialized…education, health care and spirituality. He is commercializing all the three as – a) isha home school charges around 6 lakh per annum, b) isha arogya (medicine) products are sold through isha stores and c) inner engineering and all other programs (spirituality) are also being sold to the masses.”

Similarly, Baba Ramdev, a yogi, a household name for Patanjali Yoga, panache for every malady! He shot to fame for practicing yoga, teaching yoga and successfully exhorts the world to practice yoga! So far so good, and hats off to the magnanimous person. He too began his career with bold declarations like, “We don’t make products to sell or earn money, our end game is not profits! We can easily make millions if we advertise and market our products, but that is never our intention.” Mixed signals started to come when there was a mismatch between his proclamations and actions! When this goal altered or took a deviation is unknown. Baba Ramdev has created an empire with his consumer goods, and now is expanding further, branching off into textiles and probably plans to start a political party in the hope of ‘clean politics’. He is, today, the 8th richest man in my country. Doesn’t all this reek of contradiction and seem far away from truth?

The three names I mentioned above have a very contradictory practice. If one asks oneself, spirituality is everyone’s birth right and cannot be bought at any price! How can one put a price on spirituality? Ramdev Baba teaches Yoga for free! He should be charging for that, he does not. Whereas Ravi Shankar and Jaggi Vasudev have put a price on Sudarshan kriya and Isha Yoga classes!

The whole purport of a spiritual organisation, for me, is to enable the aspirants to become like the leader, and I do not see myself wanting to become like them. Moreover, I am unsure how following these leaders will enable the followers to become their leader.

Spirituality or meditation is all about knowing one Self or knowing the Divine within. How can one put a price on God- knowing? Secondly, God created this world free of cost; He never charged anything for His creation, how can we put a price on any knowledge or method, or path which proclaims to help us know Him, or know one Self? I can go on, but I think this is enough food for thought…

Disclaimer: These spiritual leaders are seers who are unselfishly, tirelessly working for the upliftment of the world, unifying the world. None of the above undermines their good work.  I am ignorant and merely pondering over their contradictory actions/words which leave me confused.

 

Sources:
//economictimes.indiatimes.com/

//https://www.deccanchronicle.com/

//http://truthnlight9.blogspot.ie/