Published: 4 September 2012 | Written by Swami Veda Bharati
Dear Affectionate members of our spiritual family, and our leaders, teachers,
NEXT FIVE YEARS SADHANA: GUIDELINES
As the time is approaching fast for me to enter silence, also as the current life crosses the threshold of 80 years, it is time to give you all reminders of the principles by which you will continue the relationships within the family to make our mission of serving the Guru continuously more successful.
The attached papers [below] are sent with great concern that some of us may forget these ancient principles and their practical applications in making long term or day to day decisions about the Ashram and the spiritual family.
It is by neglecting these principles, after this self is silenced by meditation or by death, that divisions could occur and our service to the ancient Mission of the Gurus would suffer. It is to prevent such occurrence that the attached compositions are presented to you.
Sadhana of sitting down with eyes closed is easy to undertake. The sadhana of applying yamas, niyamas and chitta-prasadanam in daily practical life is a more difficult one.
They are now conferring among themselves and working on their progress in spiritual practices and knowledge of the Tradition.
The ancient Tradition requires that no king die on the throne; that a person of the world pass on his/her responsibilities to the younger generation and then renounce.
Just as I am renouncing my responsibilities to you, I ask you all that you please take the opportunity of the Feb-March 2013 event at SRSG to get to know these younger leaders and start sharing responsibilities with them. You may work out the details of these developments in meetings with them.
For those who are not managing to come to the satsanga of February-March 2013:
Please still study, contemplate and absorb the messages sent herewith, as your personal sadhana for the next five years – or life-long.
Please share this message with others in your community and the centre.
Do bear in mind that my forthcoming silence is not the end of the teaching but the beginning of the true teaching. Do plan to come to SRSG later for study, sadhana, silence.
Love and blessings—svb
SADHANA IN APPLIED SPIRITUALITY
(Applied in family, relationships, economics, management and within the organizations family of AHYMSIN and SRSG)
Reverently and with immense gratitude surrendered
at the feet of the Master of self-control
Swami Rama of the Himalayas
Who made me confront my darkest corners to
Illuminate and pacify them.
May his indelible footsteps continue to guide us all.
Swami Veda Bharati
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE HIMALAYAN TRADITION IN POLITY AND ECONOMY
MANAGEMENT AS SPIRITUAL SADHANA
PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION IN ADMINISTRATION
ABOUT HONEST COMMUNICATION
SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
WHEN FACED WITH A CONFLICT OF CHOICES BETWEEN TWO OPPOSITES, HAVE BOTH; YOU WILL BECOME A BI-POLAR MAGNET
ETHICS OF EMOTIONS AS YOGA THERAPY
Maha Mandaleshwara Swami Veda Bharati has drawn upon his vast experience of an outstanding lineage of Himalayan Masters who walk from the cave of the heart and move through to the cave of the Himalayas and travel to each corner of the world to spread a sacred knowledge of the Himalayan tradition. Swami Veda is an envoy of his Gurudev Swami Rama of the Himalayas from such a tradition.
He has written this pleasant, interesting and meaningful book with a brilliant blend of wit and wisdom. His wonderful work should unlock and unleash one’s innate purity and potential, and create exciting synergy.
Tapping into the rich heritage of ancient Indian Ethos (Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama…they are all here!) and the author’s extensive expertise, every chapter sparkles with gems for self management. It is evident that Swami Ji has played his role in the world drama with confidence and compassion. He inspires the reader to live with conviction and to discover the cosmos within…
The writing style is elegant and classy and the power packed pages offer valuable guidance for an enriching life. There are many highlights and master classes on the Himalayan tradition on sadhana, management, leadership, communication, even CEOs! In fact, thoughts are conveyed with lighthearted depth throughout. The result? We are on a spiritual odyssey of effectiveness and efficiency, of serenity and awareness. Simple and powerful; humble and great.
This short and sweet book will bring order into our lives. It is worth reading for all ages and offers a rich source of knowledge about life and its purpose – “who am I and why am I here?”. It is balanced and focused and seems to be the veteran Swami’s lasting gift and legacy where he has distilled his personal spiritual experience into words. The remarkable manual should make many a life more sublime.
If we only spend 1% of the time and effort we spend on tools and techniques, on us, the world would be a better place. If we are able to play our roles and responsibilities with soul consciousness and a clear appreciation of who we are, imagine the quality of our relationships and the richness of life…
Humbly in service,
Idriss Raoua Ouedraogo
Idriss, my spiritual son is the founder-director of the Himalayan Yoga Centre of Burkina Faso, West Africa. He also serves as his country’s ambassador to nine countries, based in New Delhi, India.
He has trained hundreds of African yoga teachers, and serves silently.
He is one of the very few who, along with his wife Aicha (pronounced Aysha), have actually put into their life and temperament the principles being presented in this document.
I asked him to write a foreword based on his personal experience as to how he has managed to apply these principles in his life and temperament while leading a busy and successful life of a diplomatic career but, in his usual humility, he has said nothing about himself; what to do!
I have great hopes that in spite of his very busy life he will be one of our leaders who will guide many in applying these principles into personal life and the life of our spiritual family. —
The suggestions made in this document will ensure peace, harmony in, and thereby the continuity of our world-wide family of AHYMSIN and in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. For this the members of our spiritual family need to train themselves from now.
There is excessive ungentleness in the world, and display of pride and arrogance. We speak looking down upon the ‘lesser ones’, sometimes gently but that also patronisingly. We do so towards ‘lower castes’ towards ‘have-nots’, towards children, towards ‘employees’, towards people of other nations, religions, skin colours, cultures, languages — but we expect these ‘lesser ones’ to practise humility towards us. This continues till they rebel and we quash the rebellions equally insensitively and arrogantly because, well, ‘we are the senior ones’!!
We shout slogans against nuclear wars without controlling and pacifying our personal angers in daily life – how would we then prevent wars without individual peace in each mind?
At the same time we are always in denial about our individual violence, ungentleness, harshness, personal anger, pride and arrogance. Let someone say, ‘you are being ungentle’, we immediately blurt our defensivenss: ‘What? I am so gentle! I am so humble!!’; ‘there is no ego in me!’; ‘angry? who? me? you are imagining!!’; ‘you are always unfairly criticising me!’– and so on.
A spiritual guide makes us confront our inner ‘demons’ and exorcise them.
In our spiritual family, remember that you are not running management or administration. You are practising sadhana of self-pacification, self-purification, and finally self-perfection. The acts of ‘management’ and ‘administration’ are steps on that spiritual path.
Are the suggestions being made in the attached documents impractical when one is working in and interacting with modern societies?
Nothing can be achieved in a day.
Change has to begin somewhere; even at a snail’s pace.
Just as one keeps one’s spirituality private when interacting with daily routines of business, government and employment situations, but maintains it as a well-guarded treasure, so also one may apply the principles suggested here slowly in the outside world, examining where they may be acceptable without excessive resistance from others.
If you made the experimentation, you would be surprised at the positive results you would obtain in your company, your offices, with your ‘employees’. And at home with your family.
It saddens me and aches me each day to see harshness, ungentlenss, arrogance in our own spiritual family. On the other hand, someone so deeply involved in solving world problems at such a high level in the very practical life, ex-secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan says:
Sometimes you don’t have to fight to get your way. You don’t have to pick a fight to get them to change their mind, or get them to see things your way. You really don’t.
—Interview with G2 Section of the Guardian of London, 1st Oct.2012, pp.6-8
This is from a person of such eminence who could not have reached his high station without being extremely practical. When I saw him speaking in the conference of the Wold Congress of Spiritual Leaders in the hall of the United Nations general Assembly, what impressed me was his inner stillness and stability derived from deep spiritual values of African traditions.
Kofi Annan’s statement confirms the results of my own experiments in daily life and communications in my own smaller sphere.
The principles suggested here, however, are very practical and easiest to apply in one’s family life, among one’s friends, and, for the most part, in the management and relationships within our AHYMSIN and SRSG families. Apply them with full force here.
I wish you success in
Chitta-pra-shamanam, chitta-prasaadanam (Mind-pacification, ‘Pleasanting’ the mind).
SPIRITUAL POLITY AND ECONOMY
THE HIMALAYAN TRADITION IN POLITY AND ECONOMY
In 4th century B.C. the Indian empire, then as large as the Roman Empire that came several centuries later, was ruled by the emperor Chandragupta, Sandrogottos, the Greek, chronicles. Chandragupta’s prime minister, named Chanakya lived in a small hermitage, following the tradition of the Brahmin philosophers. It was the emperor who would dismount from the chariot several miles away and walk to his mentor and minister’s hut to receive counsel and advice.
The major work of this prime minister, titled the artha-shastra (Science of Polity and Economy), is a classic in the science of polity. An appendix to this is titled Chanakya’s Niti-sutras, containing five hundred and seventy-one sutras, that is, maxims on the essential principles of polity. The first few sutras are as follows:
The root of comfort and happiness is dharma (virtue).
The root (support) for virtue is polity and economy (artha).
The root of artha is rulership.
The root of (successful) rulership is conquest of senses.
The root of the conquest over senses is humility and discipline (vinaya).
The root of humility and discipline is service to the elders.
Through service to the elders one obtains experiential knowledge and wisdom (vi-jnana).
Let one complete and fulfil oneself through experiential wisdom.
That one has cultivated and fulfilled the self, means that he has conquered the self.
One who has conquered the self finds all his purposes and goals being accomplished.
The word artha incorporates all the worldly affairs that provide the means for living, thus it includes polity and economy which are considered inseparable in ancient Indian political science.
However, we can see from the above maxims that the core of success is in conquest of senses, self-control, humility and discipline imbibed by serving the wise and the elders.
On the basis of this teaching we can examine the modern day approach to artha and determine where it fails in following these ancient ideals. One can write a very detailed thesis to discuss this approach to modern problems in the business and the political world. How much of (a) self-control and conquest of senses, (b) humility, (c) discipline at the feet of elders and the wise is practised to train ourselves for success? How much experiential wisdom actually serves to guide us in our business affairs? What exactly is meant by experiential wisdom? This word, vi-jnana, often occurs coupled with jnana (knowledge) in the texts like the Bhagavad-gita. The great Shankaracharya translates jnana as theoretical and textual knowledge, and vi-jnana as experiential wisdom. Here, however, “experiential” does not mean that which we gain from our daily life experiences. It means a spiritual experience which opens up our intuitive faculty.
This is where yoga and meditation become relevant.
It is not possible to learn to exercise self-control and to conquer one’s senses without the practice of meditation.
It is also not possible to reduce one’s ego, to practise humility, without meditation. It is through meditation that one learns that the elders who have gained intuitive wisdom may be honoured. Then, through meditation one gains access to one’s own inner gates of wisdom.
What does all this conquest of senses, humility, intuitive wisdom have to do with success in the business world where we always have to push, compete, assert, fight? The wisdom of the ages says that it is not necessary to take such aggressive stance in order to succeed.
Here is the story of a Moghul emperor, Akbar, and his wise minister named Virbal. All the courtiers were jealous of Virbal because he was obviously the emperor’s most favourite. They asked the emperor why? What is it that he has and we do not have? The emperor promised to answer the question on some other day.
One morning, as the courtiers arrived in the court, the emperor posed a question to them. He drew a line on a board and asked them to “make the line shorter”. Well, such a simple desire was easy to be fulfilled. Everyone tried to get up and rush to the blackboard, and one of them managed to erase a part of the line.
The emperor said: No, No. Do shorten the line but do not touch it! Well, that was indeed a puzzle. Nobody could solve the problem. The emperor finally beckoned Virbal, to come “make my line shorter without touching it”. Virbal quietly got up, took the chalk or whatever, and drew a longer parallel line.
____________ the emperor’s line
“Your line is shorter, your majesty!” – he declared.
In this there is no competition with another’s line. Only that one goes deep within oneself, and without looking at somebody else’s accomplishment, applies one’s total ability to the task at hand. If one is fully restrained, in possession of one’s senses and emotions, acts constructively in all humility, learns from the wise, there can be no doubt in his or her “success without competing”.
We can say much more about the topic but that will make a whole book. Here, we can come to the question about the right system of meditation for accomplishing such a personal self that can successfully guide itself on the path suggested above.
There are many systems of meditation. Which one should one choose? We propose and teach the Himalayan system.
None of the authentic traditions of meditation are excluded from the Himalayan system. All of the other major systems are parts that fit in the right spaces in the jigsaw puzzle of the Himalayan system. For example, Vipassana system teaches to concentrate on the breath flow and body awareness, to start with, but does not use a mantra for a focus. The Transcendental Meditation uses only the mantra and not the breath awareness. Zen has a certain way of dealing with random thoughts. In the Himalayan system we use all of these, and more, to make the complete picture. Someone trained in this tradition has been taught as to the right place for each technique and where it fits in the larger frame.
Even the first reading of these booklets will show that this is the most comprehensive and all-inclusive system. One of its major strengths is that a well-trained teacher is familiar with many other systems of meditation. Starting from the basic steps s/he may lead a student on a specialized path as needed according to the particular individual needs. For example, a person needing emotional strength will be advised to concentrate on the cardiac centre, whereas an intellectually inclined person may focus on the centre between the eyebrows.
It can be safely stated that the majority of the meditation systems are derived from this system. They may be called specialized paths within the single comprehensive system. For example, it is well known that the famous Shao Lin monastery was established as a midway stopping point for the Indian monks travelling on the silk road when they were bringing the meditation tradition to China.
The earliest word for meditation from the Vedic times (? 2000 BC) is dhyana. The Buddha pronounced this Sanskrit language word in his Pali language as jhana. Travelling to China, it became known as Ch’an. The Chinese teachers taught the system to the Koreans who pronounced it as son. The Chinese and the Korean teachers brought it to the Japanese who pronounced it as Zen. All of the elements of the Zen school, as also of the Vipassana or TM are known to the Himalayan dhyana school but not vice versa.
Who is the founder of the Himalayan system of meditation, historically we cannot say. However, there have been many great names in the last four thousand or more years. These names will not interest an average beginner in the West, so, no need to list these here. Suffice it to give one illustration of this system’s antiquity and of the long line of spiritual experience. The modern western scholars surmise that the ancient text, Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad is dated around 14th century BC. This text gives the names of sixty-nine generations of teachers up to that time as to who taught whom. The lineage has continued unbroken to this day. Whatever specialized developments have taken place in the tradition in all of these centuries have been given different names and then they further developed their lore and pedagogy independently. But the main stream still continues and nurtures and nourishes the schools, as well as each newly arisen civilization according to its need. It teaches in the language and terminology of any current century, and its contemporary civilization. Its universality makes it so resilient.
To give an example, let us take the most ancient method of breath awareness in the Himalayan dhyana tradition; it is the basic method in the Tibetan (Mahayana Buddhist) meditation, in the Chinese Ch’an, Japanese Zen, in Vipassana as taught in the thera-vada Buddhist meditation system in Southeast Asian countries. It is the Zikr of the Sufis, and the most important component of the Christian meditative tradition of hesychia, or the practice of stillness and prayer of the heart.
As we have said above, the teachers of the tradition have gathered enormous experience and expertise in the past forty or more centuries, and are able to guide people of all religions, of all civilizations, and of all meditative traditions.
If one has been practising meditation under a different guide using a different system, the teachers of the Himalayan dhyana-yoga tradition know how to include and incorporate that method into the larger set of practices. It is considered most important that a meditation guide should avoid creating conflict in a student’s mind, and should reconcile into one what on the surface might appear to be two different methods.
What does all this have to do with the maxims of Chanakya quoted earlier?
The Himalayan dhyana-yoga tradition works on a personality in all its different components,
(a) within the personality that is constituted of spirit-mind-prana-body and their interactive mechanisms, and
(b) within the relationship between personalities that constitutes family, society, nation and all smaller and larger interactive social units and their functions like polity and economy.
The meditation changes the way the mind looks at the world and interacts with it. For example, in the basic beginners exercise,
(a) the awareness of breath replaces the arising of the random sentiments and negative emotions, and
(b) the awareness of a word or sound flowing in the mind with the breath replaces the random thoughts.
The first of these, breath awareness, then helps one to interpret the world – whether in the form of one’s spouse or a business colleague or a different country – with a more positive sentiment. This, then, brings a positive response from the other and the marital life or a business deal goes ever more smoothly. After a while, with constant self-observation, it makes a person irresistible to others who, then, think of him/her in friendlier, more favourable terms.
In the original ancient terminology, we may say that this will help an establishment develop its business and organizational policies on the basis of the principles of:
(a) Ahimsa, non-violence, and
(b) Maitri (Buddhist metta), amity towards all beings, based on the principles of:
• Karuna, compassion, seeing the difficulties of others as one’s own and helping them out with that attitude,
• Mudita, joyfulness at others’ progress in virtue (such as developing positive sentiments that replace the negative ones),
• Upeksha, indifference to the weaknesses or failures of others, so that one encourages them to discover their own stronger areas of character, capacity and genius.
The second, the use of a single verbal thought flowing with the breath, helps with concentration, not only on a specific task at a given moment but in the overall patterns of life.
The breath awareness practice, coupled with methodical relaxation exercises, changes the common beta brain wave pattern into an alpha wave one; and the focus on a certain sound leads one to the theta brain wave. The dominance of alpha wave invokes in one a non-violent response to a possibly violence-producing situation; whether such violence is verbal or physical, or worse still mental. Mental violence leads a human being to malicious and conspiratorial attitudes and efforts which can destroy the harmony within a family as well as within a business establishment. Try to get even five per cent of the people meditating in a company and see the human resources invariably improve dramatically within three to six months.
The part of the practice leading to theta brain wave activity of the brain will help the members of an establishment to (a) concentrate deeply and clearly on a given task, and (b) improve imaginative, inventive creativity. Try to get even five per cent of the people meditating in a company and see the productivity of the entire establishment rise within three months. I call this: Succeeding without really competing. The improvements in the psychological profiles of the meditative members of an establishment will diminish the need for embittering, hurtful, frustrating, stress-producing over-assertiveness and negativity among negotiators and work partners.
It has been found that a twenty-minute siesta in the day-time helps with concentration and productivity of the workers. The Himalayan dhyana-yoga system teaches two other ways which can be even more effective:
(1) Conscious sleep. This can be taken for three to ten minutes even while sitting on an office chair.
(2) Frequent two-minute breath awareness breaks, even less time consuming than (1).
Here, an anecdote. Many years back in USA, my receptionist called me in my chamber saying that someone, NN, wanted to speak to me. I picked up the phone. The caller turned out to be a meditation student whom I had not seen for several years. He said that he had called to thank me. “For what?” I asked. He explained,
As you know, I am president of the trade union of …industry throughout the state. We were on the verge of a strike. For the last one week, the atmosphere was very hard, confrontational and angry. I remembered your advice from the meditation classes. In the meeting rooms filled with cigarette smoke, as everybody was tense, I used the technique. Every time we came to a deadlock in the negotiations, I counted my breaths for two to five minutes. Every time, I came out with a fresh proposal. Finally my proposals were accepted yesterday and we were able to avert the strike otherwise all the people of the state would have been adversely affected. So I have called you to thank you.
It is thus that comfort and happiness are rooted in virtue, in a virtue like peacefulness of mind generated through meditation. This virtue is further enhanced when one sees that it generates not merely some other-worldly mystical state but shows its effect in the greater success in economy and polity, artha, which is rooted in good governance, rajya. All of this requires channeling the energies of our senses, which we can accomplish through self-control and discipline. In a meditative society, greater regard will be paid to the elders not only in the family, but also in the society and in a business establishment. The role of a wise mentor will be emphasized, and younger members of the staff will feel happy being compassionately and affectionately guided by the elder ones.
Here, permit me to give an example from one segment of the economic history of the world. Up to the end of the 17th century one of the most successful economies of the world was that of India. That is why, when the Ottoman Empire blocked Europe’s trade routes to India there was such a concentrated endeavour to find new routes to that part of the world (initially leading to the discovery of America). Cicero the Roman senator, in one of his speeches, lamented the drain of twenty million (what was its value in that century?) Roman coins per year to India to dress the Roman ladies with Indian textiles. Nineteen centuries later, in the 17th century the prosperity continued and India was producing 24.5 per cent of all of the world’s goods. Its currency was the strongest in the world. India has no silver mines but Today’s India owns twenty-five per cent of the world’s silver – by earning it in the international trade for all of those thousands of years.
This success was rooted in its meditative tradition which imparted the qualities of personality that we have hinted at, above, and which, in addition, gave it the temperament that makes people amenable to seek to control the senses, to be humble and thereby seek the guidance of elders and the wise in any area. Today’s “guru” phenomenon, the idea of service to a spiritual guide, is only a small part of that tradition. This has led to the methods of training a business leader.
The family groups that had made India the millenniums-long success story in business still continue to train their business heirs in the same way as they did two thousand years ago, and three centuries ago, except that computers have been introduced and the MBA degrees are prized – but without losing the ancient time tested family traditions. These include not only the practice of daily meditative prayer but that the apprentice lives in the house of the business magnate as a family member (in what is known as the guru-kula system) and learns in humility, with self-restraint, the traditional art. Slowly he is given little responsibility, then some more, then supplied with capital and sent to run an existing establishment or to start a new one. Life long, the person maintains an attitude of humility towards his mentors. He may become more successful than them but in their presence he retains an attitude of reverence. It is a part of the general sentiment that the success has come to him not merely from what he has learnt as a method, but by the blessings of the wise elders.
If, after only sixty-five years of independence India is on the verge of recovering her ancient economic strength, it is because of the personality traits that a meditative inclination generates, leading to positive attitudes, behavior patterns free of frustrations and interpersonal stress, rooted in right relationships. (However, lately I notice a major loss of values in India in many public spheres but at the same time its continuity in other spheres.)
Japan became an economic giant also by the same route of merging the tradition with modernity, and India is well on her way. That is the Asian miracle.
In other words, we need not limit ourselves to examining the scientific studies done in research laboratories to prove the efficacy of meditation. We better look at the economic history of the world in which the last two centuries of the West’s economic dominance are a tiny fragment. History shows the effectiveness and success of the societies in which meditation, but more so the meditative attitudes leading to certain relationships, have been the basis of civilization.
The rate at which the Asian societies have taken to the computer, the internet and so forth from the West without losing their traditional values proves that the Western business has stiff competition coming in the forthcoming decades and centuries. Just as Asia has taken up the West’s computer, better that the West takes up Asia’s meditation. Taking it merely as a twenty minutes a day technique would not suffice. It is the attitudes generated by meditation that create relationships within the society and within a business establishment. The acceptance of this will ensure the survival of the West in a world where Asia has taken the best of the West and retained the best of the East. Let the West retain the best of the West and take up the best of the East to ensure the continuity of its success. It will help to prove Kaiserling and Oswald Spengler wrong.
• The root of comfort and happiness is virtue.
• The support of virtue is in economy and polity.
• The root of economy and polity is right governance.
• The root of right governance is channeling the energies of the senses in a contemplative and meditative way.
• The basis of relationships from which such a way emerges, and in turn supports the same, is control of ego in humility and discipline.
• It is the respect to mentors and elders that leads one to re-channel one’s ego and inculcates discipline.
• It is thus that one gains experiential knowledge.
• It is knowledge that leads one to cultivate oneself as a person.
• Cultivating oneself is synonymous with self-conquest, for, one who has not conquered and learnt to govern just one mind, his own, how would he govern a whole empire?
• Such a governance of oneself leads one, naturally and effortlessly, to success in all one’s undertakings and desired goals whether material or spiritual.
Meditation is the art and science of self-governance. The Himalayan tradition of dhyana-yoga does not merely provide the technique for meditation but teaches the methods whereby one’s meditation practice may be applied to cultivate, enhance, beautify one’s personality, leading to very practical benefits in personal, interpersonal and corporate life.
MANAGEMENT AS SPIRITUAL SADHANA
MANAGEMENT AS SPIRITUAL SADHANA
Here we use the term ‘management’ in a very wide perspective of all social, economic, political relationships and interactions. Point by point, as follows.
There is a fourfold definition of purushartha, purpose of the human. The four aspects are:
Dharma = virtuous duty Artha = polity, economy and social order Kama = desire Moksha = final spiritual liberation.
Artha and kama are sandwiched between dharma and moksha.
The purpose of artha and kama is thus to support dharma and moksha.
Thus, too, (a) all economic relationships (pay scales etc.) among various members of management order (b) all social relationships such ‘hiring’, ‘firing’. ‘management hierarchies and mutual expectations among them’ are to be based on this scheme.
Based on this concept of purushartha, now we come to general economic interactions.
Prakrti, all Matter, is a gift of God to the human to fulfil the purushartha. It does not have a price.
What is the price of a glass of water if one is sitting in a boat in a clear lake of drinkable water? What is the price of water in a desert hundred miles from an oasis?
Can you actually pay a suitable price for quenching your thirst?
Then there is the principle of nish-kama karma, altruistic action, all action performed without seeking a benefit. As we shall see below,
This is not an impossible principle to practice in daily life. It has to do with the mental value we place on our transactions, and not on the act itself.
On these principles of purushartha I present the following thoughts. The principles have to be applied to all our transactions.
How does nishkama karma work in our buying and selling potatoes in a market place?
In our altruistic mental system of economic relationships, the potato seller is making us a loving gift of the product of his labour. This is priceless. He is giving us this gift because we need it.
We are giving him some money altruistically because he needs it.
So, at mental level, it is not an exchange of ‘this much’ for ‘that much’.
The same applies in an organization (especially like ours). There are no paid employees. They are giving us service because it is needed for our Mission. We are fulfilling their needs, in a limited way, in order to enable them to give us that service. Elsewhere they could be receiving more, or less. But we are trying to balance between what they need and how much we have at our disposal to offer.
It is not an employer-employee relationship; it is an interpersonal love relationship.
All family leaders need to cultivate that mental attitude. This is the path of spiritual purity in economic relationships.
Thus, in the relationships within the organizational family of sadhakas,
• In a spiritual organizational family of sadhakas (A) authority does not proceed from above (except from the guru);(B) authority does not proceed from the title, position or designation one holds; (C) authority proceeds from below; (D) authority proceeds from one’s (a) selfless service, (b) personal temperament of taking care of all, and (c) one’s spiritual stature. Others then honour one and create his/her authority over them.
• Thus, in our organizational family no one hold ‘authority’, ‘power’ or ‘position’ in itself. All of us only serve and teach and in doing so must practice humility at all times. ‘Authority’ and ‘position’ or ‘title’ are only conveniences to facilitate the work in a legal world.
• Loyalty is not demanded; it is earned.
• Only a self-controlled leader maintains control.
• Only in the presence of self-disciplined leaders/guides the organizational family remains disciplined.
• Only in the presence of a humble leader/guide, others speak and behave humbly.
• The leader/guide shares with others all that can be shared safely; all work and all information.
• The leader/guide confers all honours that can be conferred on others, without seeking to be honoured.
• The leader/guide confers all love that can be conferred on others without demanding or expecting that s/he be loved. Be surprised when you are loved or honoured: ‘whatever am I being honoured for, I wonder? I have done nothing.’
• Humility towards ‘seniors’ and ‘equals’ is no humility at all. Humility and self-effacing manner towards the ‘lesser’ is the true humility.
• A sadhaka manager’s voice shows poise and mildness, measured tones and measured words, lovingly, even when using effectiveness and firmness.
• The Law Book of Manu, the first law-giver, lays the code of conduct that
Smita-poorvaabhi-baaShee syaat : one should be a person who always smiles before s/he speaks.
In Ramayana, one of the primary qualities of Rama is stated several times as Smita-poorvaabhi-baaShee always smiling before speaking.
• As part of one’s sadhana one constantly devises ways to implement these principles in practice. The ways devised by two sadhaka leaders/guides need not be identical; each is on his/her own spiritual journey.
• As the parents think of the progress of children in making all decisions, so the leaders/organisers in the organizational family of sadhakas think of the progress of all who are working as helpers.
• One ceases to think in terms of ‘I pay him’, ‘I am paid by him’. The leaders/organizers constantly keep in the mind, ‘how can s/he make progress both in artha and dharma’. This applies to all relationships from sweeper to swami. All ‘hiring,’ ‘firing’ and ‘correcting’ is done with this attitude, this concern, within oneself.
• The personal progress made by the so-called ‘dependents’ in the organizational family ensures the progress of the family.
• One trains oneself in communications based on my other paper titled ‘saintly CEOs’. That communication is preceded by self-purifications and self-pacifications.
• In a spiritual organizational family relationships are long term. One should seek to prolong them as much as possible. Even for generations.
• As heads of the family, the concern of the leaders/organizers is not only for the current ‘helpers’ and ‘dependents’ but also for their future generations. Thus, one thinks of the (a) family happiness and (b) progress of the children of the helpers.
• All relationships should be cultivated thus that they continue for generations. This used to be the tradition in the older societies of Asia but seems to have ceased for the most part.
• All ‘correcting’, by the guides is based following the principles of hitam, mitam and priyam. This is one’s own sadhana and is a help in the helper’s sadhana of self-improvement in dharma and artha.
• The leaders/guides thus not only remain conscious but try to keep finding ways and resources to help the progress of helper’s family and children.
• Thus, kindliness, self-observation and self-control on the part of the guides/leaders ensure the over-all controlled discipline in the organizational family.
• No communication is undertaken to impress on the ‘lower rank helper’ as to ‘I am the boss here’. Instead, ‘we are all together, trying to progress together and thereby helping the family’s progress.
• Whenever one’s self-observation tells us that the recent communication contained elements of showing ‘position’, one corrects oneself spiritually to reduce one’s pride.
• The thought of the sadhaka guides/leaders is not ‘what is the minimum I can pay’ but ‘what is the maximum within my capacity to pay’ because any work has no price and it has infinite value.
• The amount ‘paid’ for the same work and capabilities may vary according to receiver’s need and giver’s capacity.
• All work being given by the helper is selfless service, seva; all help being given by the family guides is selfless daana. There is no principle of equivalence between the two in spiritual economics.
• One does not ‘fire’ anyone; one changes their positions and spheres of service within the family, and it must be done while giving reassurances of love, continued relationship in a different format, and with utmost honour conferred on one whose relationship is being changed.
• When a person’s position is thus changed, we always need to be very deeply and personally concerned about his/her further progress, especially the spiritual progress. No one should be let go without a discussion and advice on further spiritual progress. Once we are in a relationship, it is not terminate with termination of a ‘salary’ and such; the personal spiritual connection within the family remains deep and eternal.
• One does not make decisions and impose them just because one has the authority to do so. The leader, head of a department or of the family is primus inter pares, first among equals. Thus s/he only informs, consults widely and lets the decision come from the consensus among the ‘others’.
• A sadhaka manager humbly consults the ‘juniors’ and listens to them.
• A sadhaka manager invites critique and considers and weighs deeply all points offered in the critique.
• A sadhaka manager does not impose his opinion; s/he only presents his/her views and information and lets the decision come by consensus so that all think it was their decision.
• As in life, so in the organizational family and in the Ashram, whatever will be forcibly taken away from you, renounce it beforehand from your own volition.
• Avoid using officious language like “please send a progress report to the headquarters”, or “show me the accounts!!”. Better to say; “Kindly share the information of your accomplishments with those serving in AHYMSIN office who need it to co-ordinate… etc.” – or some such phrases. You do not ask your younger sister at home to send you a report; why do it in the spiritual family?
• An excellent example: Right in the beginning of SRSG this self requested/advised (not ‘laid down rules’!) to avoid using the words like ‘NO’. Mrs. Kirti Dixit started beautifying the campus with all the plants and flowers. Dr. Prakash Dixit arranged for signs to be placed, not “do not pluck flowers” but “let the flowers bloom”. That is a beautiful example of applying the principles suggested here.
• A refined host(ess) does not ask, “when are you leaving ?”. One asks, “how long are you giving us the pleasure of your stay with us?”—or some such phrase.
• Do examine other commonly used ‘officious’ phraseologies that may be replaced with words within the principle of ‘maitri’, amity, sorority, fraternity.
• Once your mind-frame has trained itself with these exercises in self-observation and consequent self-pacification, you will find other areas for your refinement without needing guidance.
Here some more additional points to train oneself into.
(1) In all matters, see what excites, what agitates; avoid that. For example, red is not a good colour for communication in writing. (I do not use red pen even in editing but green).
(2) Avoid that which creates wrinkles (a) in others’ foreheads, and (b) in your forehead.
The moment you observe (a) wrinkle developing, (b) a negative shadow passing over someone’s face as you were communicating,
take remedial action by changing your (a) emotion and state of mind, and (b) thereby the tone of your voice, your gesture, your body-language till the wrinkles disappear.
(3) Remember that (a) wrinkles on the forehead are signs of wrinkles in the mind. (b) the lines of your forehead are the script in which the history of your emotions is inscribed.
(4) Keep your mind unwrinkled and thereby unwrinkle the minds of those who are in your presence.
(5) Do saumya-mantra often to pacify yourself and pacify others.
Saumyaa saumya-taraasheSha- saumyebhyas tvati-sundaree paraaparaaNaam paramaa tvam eva parameshvaree
(6) Our Gurudeva in his form as Madhusudan Saraswati has written in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita:
Vaktur evaayam doSho yad asyaabhipraayam shrotaa na budhyati.
It is but the speaker’s flaw that the listener has not understood his intent.
So, do not say: ‘you failed to understand me correctly’. Say ‘I am sorry I did not explain my thought to you correctly’.
(7) One of the words for compassion and empathy is anu-kampaa. Trembling with, vibrating with (someone). As the musician on a string instrument like sitar plays on the main strings, the sympathetic strings vibrate and tremble. This is the secret of sympathetic and empathic listening and communicating.
(8) When you note something in someone that is disagreeable to you, even in management and administration, through anu-kampa place your mind and heart in the place in his/her mind where s/he is coming from. That person’s society, culture, personal background, and how his/her psychology was/is formed. It is in this context that you first address his/her concerns and not condemn. Then explain your reasons, in a calm and loving voice, for the action you wish to take.
(9) A self-observant sadhaka will notice that quite often in a conversation or discussion even very minor wrinkles in the mind, emotion, vice and tone, and on face and in body language of the other party are picked up by ourselves and we also develop the same wrinkles, similar tones and responses. This, in modern neurology is an act of ‘mirror neurons’. What others do, we begin to do. When one laughs others laugh. When one yawns, others yawn.
Results of my self-experimentations in this regard are confirmed scientifically, for example, see under the column ASK THE BRAINS in Scientific American Mind, July/August2012, p. 72.
A question “is a bad mood contagious?” is answered by Prof. Gary W. Lewandoski,Jr., associate professor of psychology at Monmouth University and co-editor of www.ScienceOfRelationships.com . We paraphrase:
Scientists call this phenomenon emotional contagion, a three-step process through which one person’s feelings transfer to another person.
• The first stage involves nonconscious mimicry, during which individuals subtly copy one another’s nonverbal cues, including posture, facial expressions and movements. In effect, seeing my frown makes you more likely to frown.
• People may then experience a feedback stage – because you frowned, you now feel sad.
• During the final contagion stage, individuals share their experiences until their emotions and behaviours become synchronised.
• Thus when you encounter a co-worker on a bad day, you may unknowingly pick up your colleague’s nonverbal behaviour and begin to morph into an unhappy state.
• Mimicry is not all bad, however; a person can also adopt a friend or colleague’s good mood, which can help enhance their bond.
In my self-experiments there is a great difference between mimicry and empathy. I choose my feeling and emotion independently, and not as an act of my mirror-neurons. Any good meditator can learn to do that. These facts of life have been taught by the ancients for thousands of years, and being forgotten in the last century or two of our false ideas of ‘development’, ‘advancement’ and ‘success’.
So, I quote modern science just to convince the people who would not otherwise accept the ancient wisdom, the same reason that I maintain a research laboratory in our Ashram.
We are seekers of
This word has no exact English equivalent. It may roughly be translated as free volition and conscience coming from the laws and voice of one’s own atman, the spiritual self (not psychological conditionings nor as reactions to and from other factors external to us). True meaning of freedom.
This is the true non-dependence, independence, not arising as a reaction to external surroundings, situations or others’ reactions.
We are not reactive but independently active. So, as soon as others’ emotional states begin to reflect into us, we dive into our inner resources of relaxation and tranquillity and thereby change the tone of the conversation and discussion. The opposite party’s ‘mirror neurons’ then reflect our state of mind and we both become peaceful and not confrontational. Thus we arrive at harmonious consensus with others and spread peace.
(10) Solve the problem the other person has with you. Combined with the next point (No.11 below), that will help solve half of the problem you have with the other person.
(11) In all disagreements, first argue in your mind in a direction opposite to your view and in favour of the opposite person’s view. Present to your colleagues or participants in a meeting these two ends of the magnet: your justifications for the other person’s view and your own view. Then reconcile the two points of view and create a harmonious conclusion including the best elements of both.
Dissenters and disputants will learn the art of merger of diverse faces of truth, each one learning to stand where the opponent stood and shall espouse the other’s cause against one’s own.
(12) Do not challenge or condemn a view, situation, act, decision without presenting a well constructed alternative that also incorporates the positive points of what you have disagreed with.
(13) Hold nothing in your mind against anyone. The moment one issue is completed (such as one interview or a session of ‘correcting’ someone), let your mind go into ‘neutral’ with a few breaths, remember the good qualities of that person, and then move on to the next positive step – about that person or about whatever needs to engage you.
(14) Remember that you are not running management or administration. You are practising sadhana of self-pacification, self-purification, and finally self-perfection. The acts of ‘management’ and ‘administration’ are steps on that spiritual path; these are your self-tests.
(15) Do remember that a spiritual guide never breaks an internal connection with someone, even one with whom one has broken external connection. An inner contact within the Guru-field is maintained, waiting very patiently, even into next incarnation, for the time when the other person is again ready to progress.
(16) This one is an indirect statement to contemplate. In recent years a Tibetan lama escaped to India after having been incarcerated by the Chinese and then released. Asked about his experiences of the treatment in the prison he said:
A few times I was in great danger: the danger of developing enmity towards my captors and tormentors.
Are we working on ourselves to develop such self-observation about developing and assimilating the principle of universal amity, maitri, metta?
This is not the philosophy of polarities – which causes all conflicts in the families and organisations and wars among nations – all one and the same. It is the philosophy of unity in One.
I am not with Sun Tzu; I am with Lao Tzu.
One should take constant pains to explain to all in the spiritual family the principles by which the family is being run and the habitual thinking brought from the outside world must be slowly changed by communication and sharing of these and such principles.
These principles may not be possible to practice in the modern government structures or the habitual norms of the corporate world but
(1) They can definitely be maintained as one’s internal principles.
(2) They can definitely be implemented in an organizational family of sadhakas where every breath taken and every word spoken is part of sadhana. The principles that are habitual in the ‘outside’ world, and experiences gained from them, do not apply in such a family.
I have recently written a letter to some of our closest friends suggesting that perhaps a workshop is needed in which I can teach:
How to compose “business” documents that they show that they are coming from a loving ashram Head and not a company office; and
in the same context, how to write “business” letters so that they convey themselves to be the expression of very personal affection, (a) even to a complete stranger, and (b) even if they contain a rejection.
I recently read in Time magazine an article about the French temperament that always seeks the abstract. It started with a bit of humour, something like this:
A capable and experienced business planner prepared a plan and showed to a French CEO. The CEO looked at it and remarked, “this looks good in practical terms but is it good in theory?”
I will have to keep reminding my best friends who are indeed great business planners: “your plan is great in practical terms but is it in accordance with the philosophy?”.
The topic of the workshop I have suggested also extends to our normal day to day communication.
Some, just some, of our most hard working organisers and leaders have still not cultivated the quality of ‘saumyataa’ in oral communication as well as in writing.
When you communicate orally, do you remember
What is the tone of your voice? Does it express humility? A suggestion and request rather than an instruction and a command?
Do not underestimate the power of voice and tone.
• Please listen to svb’s two courses on Cultivating Meditative Voice (December 2011 and March 2012) given at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh.
• An example, I am told that Russia has voice monitors at airport control towers. When a pilot’s voice shows strain and stress beyond a certain level, s/he is considered not fit to fly until after some rest and is asked to take a break.
• In a recent discovery, medical doctors will monitor a person’s voice on the phone to detect early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. Normally to check for this disease it is the body movements that are checked. Well, the voice is a movement of vocal chords.
Did the other party in communication resist and resent? That means you were not speaking with humility and saumyataa. Make yourself effective by being a person, speaking (writing a letter or business document) in a manner, that no one can say “NO” to you.
For this, keep a journal nightly. “krtam smara” (Yajur-veda) : remember what you did during the day; to whom you spoke? To whom you wrote? Did that communication reflect
What was the response you received? What mood did you generate when you told someone that a room is needed in the gurukulam building…? Did the person resent? Resist? Got into a bad mood? Went away from the ashram feeling hurt? That means that in order to be effective you did not use the right tools of
Do not condemn yourself. In the next paragraphs write down : What tone of voice you could have used? What body language? What facial expression? No—no—no : What emotion you would have generated in yourself before communicating. Was that emotion impelled by
Write down as to next time which of these emotions you will generate in yourself before communicating and in the mode of communication.
Every now and then look though these journals and continue to renew your sankalpa.
Do not say it straight if it can be said curved. Curved by philosophy and poetry. Curved so as to reconcile differences. As in a circle beginning becomes the end as opposites merge, so also in a curved statement. [In some world cultures that is the norm – so as not to create conflict, not to create opposition.]
Use of words like ‘NO’ and ‘NOT’ is anti-spiritual. Instead of saying ‘I will not approve it’ or ‘I will not do it’, you may say it curved such as: “if there were a possibility that this could be done, I would have certainly done it but at this time the possibility looks very remote” or some such statement.
Do bear in mind, in (a) speaking, (b) writing (c) lectures and teaching, the three principles of communication:
speak only what is beneficial;
speak in a manner that would be beneficial;
– that it would be beneficial to (a) the listener (b) to your purpose and Mission.
measured in intensity of emotion;
measured in tone of voice;
measured in choice of words, number of words.
pleasant, so as to create pleasant-mindedness in yourself and in the listener(s).
I want to see in my family this new category of ‘Saintly CEO’.
That is what will ensure the continuity of Gurudeva’s Mission into the next century. Otherwise I expect dissensions that occur after the founder’s death – sorry but that is the reality.
Dissentions are generated not as often by differences on policies but more often by modes of communication and tones used.
habitually by the mode that is common worldwide. They think that is ‘normal’ because they have been presented with no other model.
Not having been raised in the current civilization, I wish to present to you a different model, not from Mars but from Venus.
How about a workshop titled : ‘saintly CEOs’? Or, shall we call it ‘CEOs from Venus’?
Whom and whom to invite?
Who is to do the inviting?
Swami Veda Bharati
COMMUNICATION IN ADMINISTRATION
PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION IN ADMINISTRATION
Be gentle in disagreements.
Make the unpleasant pleasant first, and only then communicate.
Round off the sharp corners, circle the word-squares, change tones to tunes.
Sharpen love, blunt the sharpnesses.
Evoke a YES response.
Let others FEEL that they are leading and you are merely suggesting; that is the way you naturally and easefully receive the honour of being a leader.
Lead without leading; command without commanding;
Wield authority without authority — that nobody detects that authority was wielded.
bhaava-sam-shuddhir ity etan maanasam tapa uchyate
We have been teaching on this verse and on Y S 1.33 in detail and so we are not presenting a translation here.
These are the basics of our administrative philosophy.
In 42 years of Meditation Centre we have never fired anyone. We only relocate the people after examining the best way (1) they would progress spiritually and (2) would serve our family better. We try to follow the same principles in our Rishikesh Ashram.
Please check how many paragraphs in your e-mail or other communications are beginning with the pronoun ‘I’. Reduce the incidence of ‘I’.
We avoid ordering and commanding by a tone like, ‘do it this way’. We prefer, ‘let us do it this way’, ‘what if we did it this way, what would be the difficulties from your point of view?’ – and such expressions.
We avoid expressions like, ‘this is all wrong’. Instead we prefer ‘for such and such reason (give background story if it is not confidential) it would be better if we did it this way instead’.
We avoid generating the moods like ‘why didn’t you do it on time?’. We prefer, ‘I am wondering what difficulties caused you not be able to finish this on time? You see, not getting it done could cause such and such harm and discomfort’.
Words like no, not, refuse, reject, forbid, deny, confront, challenge, terminate ‘fired’, ‘my view’, ‘my stand’ –etc. are not part of our administrative vocabulary. These words are never found in the letters this self dictates or writes. Nor are such words used in discussions where this self is instrumental.
Home work: the above sentence in blue could be rewritten to conform better to the philosophy stated above. It has a deficiency.
(A) State what is the shortage in that sentence in conforming to the philosophy.
(B) Rewrite the sentence to conform fully.
(C) Practice speaking and writing all sentences in daily life to be in conformity with the above philosophy and sentiments.
ABOUT HONEST COMMUNICATION
that is, sending in the cruise missiles
In the entire history of the teachings of philosophy and psychology the philosophers have admonished fellow human beings to conquer base emotions and seek to develop a personal self to be as close to the divine attributes as possible.
Certain contemporary dominant schools of psychology in the West, especially in USA, are an exception. They seek to justify human weaknesses, blocking human progress in refinement by teaching phrases like: this is the way I am; you have to accept me as I am (that is, I am not going to refine myself and I feel no need to do so). Justifying anger, harsh words and encouraging confrontational – rather than consensual – behaviour.
One of the buzzwords is ‘honest communication’. Hurt others with the belief that it will save you from being hurt. Look somebody hard in the eye and say a loud NO. I, however, come from the school of YESmen (Taoist, Upanishadic) that says: the best defence is non-defence. That is why hardly anyone says NO to me.
The philosophy of making a fast draw, sending in the marines –oops, that is old now – sending in the cruise missiles at everyone you have a disagreement with does not fit into any spiritual ideal.
The ideal of sensitive communication is diametrically opposite to the above confrontational view. The sensitive communication, (a) saving the other party’s honour and (b) yet having one’s position understood is the common way of many cultures even today. Here I give an example of a conversation in Asia.
At a hotel, I speak to the reception office manager who is from another Asian country: I am coming back to the hotel in a few days; may I pay all my bills at the end of the second stay, or should I settle the bill for this stay now?
Her reply: Yes, you may choose to pay now or you may choose to pay when you come back. Well, for us it would be easier if we can keep the bill for the next visit separate.
Having been brought up in the culture of ‘sensitive communication’ rather than so-called ‘honest communication’ I understand that she prefers me to pay now, and I do so.
A very common form of communication in Asia and Africa ( Hindu, Buddhist AND Muslim) goes like this:
You do not have any vegetables available today?
Answer: Yes, Sir.
Note that the answer is not “No, Sir”.
May we hold a meeting at your home?
Answer: my wife is away but it would be a great pleasure for me to try to arrange the meeting at home.
The listener brought up in the culture of ‘sensitive communication’ understands that the other person is asking to be relieved of the burden of organising a meeting at his home in his wife’s absence. Next day, you call him and tell him – so grateful for your kind offer to host us, you are always so generous. For this time, another member has asked to be given a chance. We hope it would be alright with you if we accept.
Everybody’s honour is kept in this way. But it requires humility and the ability to hear the unspoken word. The Master yogis train their disciples into much subtler levels of ‘sensitive hearing’.
Such communication is possible only in societies that do believe in non-violence at least to the extent they are able to practise it. It requires a sensitivity of the soul and the heart to communicate in this way.
Speaking of many cultures, examples: I love the Thailand culture where ‘anger’ is considered bad manners; Japanese culture where everyone apologises repeatedly all the time. And so also many other examples from cultures.
There is enough confrontation among nations, religions, communities – all part of ‘honest communication’, the main cause of the failures of diplomacy of many countries, because often there is failure in working with the people where ‘sensitive communication’ is the norm. Those brought up in these aggressive and arrogant societies do not know how much they show what is perceived by others as disrespect, insensitivity and an attempt to dishonour, or to obtain results by ‘barking orders’. But it is not just one country; we find the same phenomenon in many other lands and communities (to my great disappointment, more and more in India now). Some countries stand out because of their uncontrollable show-off of power.
Let us constantly remember that the universe will serve to us what we pour into the universe. We wish to oppose nuclear weapons but we pour into the collective mind of the planet the confrontational thoughts and words. We choose to consider the universe an adversary instead of ourselves as partners thereof.
Be not an adversary.
One thing I have said often: If you have a problem with someone, solve the problem s/he has with you.
Do not demand rights; do loving duties selflessly.
Many have the habit of
seeing conflict where there is no conflict;
seeing the possibility of a conflict when no such possibility exists.
the noble ones create a ‘resolving’.
When seeing a conflict among several parties, remain neutral and equally balanced. Do not become emotionally reactive in favour of one or the other.
Then find even the least little common ground between/among them and start there.
In talking each party let each one feel equal warmth, unconditional love and understanding from you.
‘Sensitive communication’ is a very fine art, rooted in deep spiritual philosophies. It cannot be learnt in a day. But please make start not by trying to write another chapter in the textbook of the theory of communication. This is not part of the theory of communication but of the principle of non-violence, non-anger, non-hurtfulness, humility, rejoicing at every opportunity one has to make oneself small.
May I request that all those who work in association in our organizational family learn such sensitivity and non-violence, please. I am deeply hurt when anyone of you hurts any other one of you.
“They know not that they are hurting Me who am in the ones whom they hurt”
– said Krishna.
May you develop the ambition to become the smallest, most minute of God’s creation and thereby become a sharer in His grandeur. Be ambitious!
SOME SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
SOME SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
Over a decade back I taught a course titled MARKS OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS at our Ashram in Rishikesh (CDs available).
Here is an addition.
One of the marks of spiritual progress is as follows:
Less problems arise in daily life.
If some problems do arise, they fail to create viShaada (sadness, depression) and kShobha (anguish) in one’s mind, as a result of which,
in a clearer, undisturbed mind, solutions arise and show shortcuts to one’s goals.
If you are facing problems, figure out where your spiritual progress is lacking.
The other extremely important part in our sadhana is the reverence towards women. Our tradition is different from ritual Hinduism and from other religions’ taboos in these matters.
According to the Law Book of Manu, the first law-giver in the Indian tradition, all parts and aspects of a woman’s body and being are pure and sacred at all times.
One of the rules of japa etc. observances in the tradition is:
mumukShooNaam sadaa kaalah streeNaam kaalsh cha sarvadaa.
For those seeking liberation (moksha) and for women there is no time restriction; they may do the practice at any time.
It is believed that prayers offered by women are heard more readily.
Women are considered incarnations of Mother Kundalini-shakti.
As we are followers of the right hand tantra path, reverence towards women is most important.
One or twice a year on days sacred to Divine Mother I wash the feet of nine ‘under-age’ forms of Maatri-shakti), nine kanyaa devees and worship them.
The tantric rule is that a man should appear in the presence of a woman, any woman, well-kempt, well-dressed, good-mannered. Also, that if a man is passing a group of women standing somewhere or casually chatting, he must pay them mental reverence as he is passing by.
Younger brother Lakshmana is sent by Rama to the cave of Sugreeva to arouse him from his slumber and do his promised duty. Lakshmana arrives at the entrance to the cave palace. The message is brought to Sugreeva that wrathful Lalkshmana is at the entrance.
Sugreeva asks his wife to go forward and receive Lakshmana and when he calms down, Sugreeva will welcome him;
You go, Tara, because Na hi streeShu mahaatmaanah Kva cit kurvanto daaruNam The noble ones do nothing harsh in the presence of women.
Since we are talking of creating a feminine organization, we must (1) inspire all boys and men to follow above principles, and (2) apply feminine temperaments in solving administrative problems;
—not be managers but be mothers.
What is to be women’s response to such reverence? That is for the incarnations of Kundalini-shakti to (a) contemplate and (b) implement. Who are men to teach them!!
All the principles being enunciated in this document are principles of a feminine organization.
In a spiritual economics or in a spiritual organizational family, therefore, the conveniences of women’s temperament and needs will be given priority as to such issues as working hours and so on.
Fortunately, at times this self has been called by women ‘our bearded mother’ – the greatest compliment I could aspire for.
Do not expect management from me, only motherhood.
WHEN FACED WITH A CONFLICT OF CHOICES BETWEEN TWO OPPOSITES, HAVE BOTH; YOU WILL BECOME A DUAL-POLAR MAGNET
Simply put, as in the Hindi proverb, have dono haathon me laddoo! (sweet balls in both hands!)
The statement as the title of this writing has a sound philosophical basis and practical applications thereof.
The truth of the matter is: there are no conflicting or contradictory forces in the universe. All is complementary. Quantum physics also proves this: (a) a force is both a photon particle or a light wave; (b) an atomic particle is in two places at the same time, and so forth.
There are only continua, only complementary forces.
I often trick my audiences. In the middle of a lecture, I ask what is the time? Someone in the audience kindly tells me the time. I then ask the same person to ask me what is the time? S/he asks me the same question, I counter-question: where?
Right now, is it night or is it day? Answer is both. Here it is day, in America it is night — or vice versa.
A philosopher is a planetary citizen; s/he cannot be partial to one hemisphere (of the earth or of the brain).
That is how you have it both ways.
I would go to my Master with a question like: “Maharaj ji, should I do such and such this way or that other way?”. He would look at me and reply in a deep voice coming from the heart, Yeeesss. That was often his only answer.
I had to contemplate deeply and resolve the apparent contradictions between the two choices and arrive at an answer in which the positive elements of both choices would be included.
That is how you have it both ways.
Yoga Masters (masters, not those who are declared to be masters by PR companies) often present the disciples with contradictory choices in daily and practical life and the disciple has to develop the spiritual skill to resolve the apparent contradictions, and reach samadhana, a resolving, bringing together the apparent conflicting factors and parts, and thereby arrive at a holistic reality, as I have said elsewhere:
May your questions not be answered; may they be resolved.1
1. to find the positive concealed in the negative,
2. to free the mind of the habit of being in conflict, by learning to resolve the conflicts,
3. to de-condition the mind of its conditioning, to lift it from habit patterns, to free it from running in set grooves, and thereby
4. to develop fresh insights of positive nature into relationships, communication and events as well as philosophical realities and truths, and
5. to liberate the mind and consciousness above what Vedanta calls upadhis, conditioning produced by our involvement in maya.
This device is only a small part of age old systems of wise sages. The riddles in the Vedas, ulat-baansiyaan of Kabir, all such, are part of the same liberating systems. So also is the vast repertoire of koans, in Japanese pronunciation of Chinese gong-an (pin-yin) 公案 as taught in the Chinese Ch’an school, Japanese Zen, Korean Son, Vietnamese Thien, (derived from Pali jhana which is derived from Sanskrit dhyana) schools of meditation, especially in the Soto and Rinzai Zen.
A koan forces one to come out of set grooves, mental habituations and dichotomous conditionings. For example, the well known koan:
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
The master forces the disciple not only to study the answers given by previous masters but to find his/her own answer in all-absorbing meditations.
The system is based, among others, on the principle that between two opposites there is a third option lurking, much like the way Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s thesis and antithesis produce a synthesis.
If you cannot decide in which of two companies you should invest your funds, take the best qualities of both and invest in a company that has those combined qualities. This is just a simplified answer. I know CEOs among my disciples who have followed such advice in making their business decisions and have succeeded.
Here a short story. Long ago I was learning American English by reading regularly the magazine Readers Digest while living in British Guiana in South America. There was an anecdote, based on common stereotyped perceptions, which I cannot produce exactly verbatim, but somewhat like this:
One woman and two men are stranded on an island. What happens? Well, if they are Spanish, the woman will kill one of the men and marry the other. If they are Italians, one man will kill the other man and marry the woman. If they are French, there is no problem. If they are British, well, they haven’t been introduced!!
My take on this has been: the anecdote writer did not ask as to what will happen if they are Indian? The answer is that the woman will adopt one of the men as dharma-bhai, ‘brother-in-virtue’ (how else does one translate this sentiment into English?), who will give her away as a bride to the other. So she receives different kind of affection from each.
That is how you have it both ways.2
Dono haathon me laddoo! Sweet balls in both hands!!
How is one to succeed in practising the principles suggested here?
1. Keep daily meditation. It will grant you insights and will verify the factualness of what is presented in these pages.
2. Keep your forehead relaxed in all situations, even when running from a fire or ire.
3. Every 2-3 hours, do 2-3 minutes of breath-awareness with mantra (even with eyes open when in a meeting where closing the eyes will be inappropriate) whether sitting, standing or wherever. Do keep doing it. It will change your temperament.
4. Self-observation. Observing, taking note, every time one has not quite managed to remain true to the principles (Was there a touch of unnecessary harshness in my tone of spoken/written word? Did I neglect the principle of non-anger, humility? Did I show off authority?)
5. Sankalpa. Resolve to do better next time. Not guilt, not self-condemnation, not ‘giving-up-on-oneself’. Just renewed sankalpa.
6. Select (A) one principle you find the easiest to practice, and (B) one principle you find most difficult to practice as totally against your habitual temperament. Start practising.
7. Devise your own methods to apply these principles.
8. Note your successes in these practices mentally; let the moments of those successes be remembered and serve as inspiration for the future. These successes will show their benefits to you.
9. Do not let these successes become source of pride in you (how much I have advanced! How high I am!! Oh, how humble I am!!!). Let them only inspire you for the future continuity of their applications.
10. When you have changed your temperament regarding the (A) and (B) in (6) above, move on to other principles; those will now become much easier.
These are the ways of all sadhana. Svasti panthaam anu-charema (Veda): may you walk on the path of svasti (su+asti= ‘all beautiful and harmonious’. ‘Is’).
Of the many religions indigenous to India, two stand out as the most ancient:
Of these the Jaina religion in the epitome of ahimsa, non-violence at all levels. It is the most pious and most ascetic. Its monks are still today masters of ascetic life.
The religion was established a succession of twenty-four founding Masters, tirthankaras (fjord-makers) dating back to lost periods of antiquity.
The monks of all three of the above religions wander and then take a period of sojourn at one place during the four months of the monsoons; it is called chaaturmaasya (simply, ‘four months’). This is a time for contemplation, meditation, deep study and other onservances. This is also the time when they take new initiates.
For Jaian religions, the start of this period is celebrated with great devotion by the laity. It is called paryusana (literally, fasting). It is eight days of fasting, sacred readings, select recitations, listening to the monks and so forth.
Ninth day is the day of seeking forgiveness. Kshamaapana or kshamaavani (other variations in various state languages of India). It occurs on 4th day of waxing moon in Bhadrapada month, approximately August-September.
On this day, everyone (a) grants forgiveness and (b) asks for forgiveness. This includes renunciation of condemnation, judgment of others, irritation, anger.
The word kshamaa is derived from Sanskrit verb root ksham. The verb root means to have capacity, to be capacious. This requires the ability to absorb and dissolve all assaults. The word kshamaa is one of 21 names of earth in the Vedas. It means for one to be as forgiving, as all-absorbing, as the earth that withstands and forgives all out trampling and digging into.
Here I may quote an oft-quoted Sanskrit proverb:
kShamaa veerasya bhooShanam forgiveness is the adornment of the brave.
This concept is re-enforced in other human experiences such as
• in India, holi festival celebrated as the day of forgiving the year’s aggressions and transgressions;
• in Thailand’s culture every child is taught that anger is bad manners and the adults follow that in daily practical life and interpersonal relations;
• in Africa, in the training and initiation of spiritual guides in traditional African religions it is essential for the guide to conquer anger – as per my personal investigations.
• there are many such examples in world cultures that we all need to emulate.
In the Jaina day of forgiveness, the kshamaapana-sutra is recited in the ancient Prakrit (sister of Sanskrit) language:
khAmemi savve jIvA savve jIvA khamantu me.
mittI me savvabhUesu veraM majjhaM Na keNa i
I forgive all living beings, may all of them forgive me, I have friendship with all, enmity with none.
Thus, I truly reflect, reproach, censure and abhor (my wrong doings) I atone threefold (for my acts of mind, speech and body) and pay obeisance to the 24 Jinas (Founding Masters of Jaina Tradition).
This festival should become part of the AHYMSIN community.
The other festival to which I would like to draw attention is the Nyepi Day of Bali.
It is celebrated as the last day of the year in a 210-day year according to the sacred and complex Balinese calendar known as Isaawarsa (Indian Saka era starting 78 A.D.). In 2012 it occurred on 23rd March.
It is a day of silence from 6a.m. to 6a.m. There is no traffic on the streets. The Ngurah Rai international airport of Den Pasar, the capital, is closed for the twenty-four hours. No fires may be lit and the lights must be kept dim. There is no self-entertainment, only contemplation and silence. Most people fast for the day.
The dharma-shanti, peace of dharma, rituals are performed in the form of listening to scriptures in kakawin (classical Sanskrit-related ancient language of the religion) and other contemplative or ritual observances.
Next day is celebrated as the first day of the year when people visit each other and grant and beg for forgiveness.
I would like the AHYMSIN community to include this as one of the sacred days of the year in a modified form.
Please think of ways of popularizing these sacred days.
ETHICS OF EMOTIONS AS YOGA THERAPY
ETHICS OF EMOTIONS AS YOGA THERAPY
Historically, in all systems of the Sino-Euro-Indian traditions, as also in the theologies of the three Abrahamic religions, principles of human conduct are universally viewed as emanating from and rooted in metaphysics. From the Vedas to the recent Acharyas, the Buddhist and Jaina and other guides of India, K’ung-Fu-Tzu and Lao Tzu in China, all teachers and saints of the three Semitic faiths, European philosophers from Pythagoras and Thales to Immanuel Kant have all reiterated the same view and have examined the interdependence between the spiritual and the ethical, the way of devotion and the way of conduct. They have all taught the principles of altruism, selfless conduct, and cultivating sublime emotions.
Yoga teaching of yamas and niyamas falls within the same unified system of metaphysical ethics. In this, according to sage Vyasa’s commentary on the Yoga-sutras, ahimsa, nonviolence, is the primary yama-niyama. The other nine are rooted in it, arise from it and are practiced to support the same. Thus the violent emotions are seen as part of the kleshas, afflictions, to be purified and burnt.
However, in common thinking emotions, (bhaavas) and sentiments (vi-bhaavas) are not viewed as coming within the realm of ethics, the principles of conduct. Neither the essay on anger by the Roman Stoic philosopher Lucio Anneo Seneca, nor the 6th chapter of Bodhi-charyavatara of Shantideva (on which, see H/H. Dalai Lama’s commentary) have much meaning in this view.
In European philosophy, the view of metaphysically based ethics remained as fundamental until about a century and half ago. There were many factors that led to the change of views:
• Survival of the fittest as part of the process of evolution (Darwin),
• Sexuality as the primary guiding urge of human personality (Freud),
• Utilitarianism to justify capitalism-imperialism (Mill, Bentham),
• Economics as the primary factor in the development of civilization (Marx as well as the western philosophers of capitalism) —
all created a new trend that rejected the philosophies of altruism, the purity of thought and the sanctity in emotions.
• Self-centeredness and individualism became the philosophy of life for the urban-industrial civilization worldwide. The principles of counseling underwent a change. The principles of dharma and nish-kama karma, of ariyo atthangiko saccho (the eightfold noble truth of the Buddha) became irrelevant. In the practice of American psychology and counseling, ‘I am I’, ‘you are you’, and ‘permission to be angry’ became common stock phrases. Instead of being counseled to undertake confession, pashchaat-taapa (penitence) and praayash-chitta (atonement), many patients have been taught to express hostility, instead of replacing it with self-calming internal devices of more ethical-transcendental nature.
Since there was no need to calm one’s negative attitudes, to practice equanimity, to divert the power of anger towards creativity in love, the entire humanity involved in the urban-industrial civilization became prone to a tendency towards an inadvertent self-destruction, a slow suicide. The level of stress rose, the discharge of stress hormones into the neuro-physiological systems reduced the strength of the immune system, weakening the resistance to disease.
A calm mind induces the brain to produce endorphins to cope with challenges from ‘adversaries’ without becoming overtly negative towards them. An angry and disturbed mind reduces the same sources of self-soothing. Infectious diseases, terminated through very welcome modern discoveries, thus gave way to more and more psychosomatic and autoimmune illnesses.
Those investigating the cardiac problems now know that much of the cardiac illness is a product of wrong diet. But wrong diet itself is caused by the destructive emotions of
• lack of a feeling of fulfillment and general inner satisfaction,
• an inner emptiness and loneliness that one tries to fill not by fulfilling the mind but by overfilling the stomach.
Combined with these
• inaccurately chosen emotional states,
• the general angers about life and people,
• the self-centredness leading to individualism to loneliness
and such, produce the heart ailments.
Further, it is not often recognized that during an episode of angina pectoris and heart attack, half is the actual physical condition but the other half is the anxiety factor. “I am having a heart attack”, “I am going to die”, such fears and anxieties double the strength of a heart attack. Thus, the strength of a heart attack could be reduced by half if the population were trained to calm their anxiety levels by self-monitoring (aatmaavalokana) and self-regulation, self-calming, which is the forte of yoga.
Nowadays some practitioners of yoga therapy think only in terms of physical postures, breathing exercises and such. Such postures and breathing exercises are often prescribed like medicines: this posture for this ailment, three times a day. The true therapy is in yama-niyama practices, and in oft ignored system of chitta-pra-saadana (Yoga-sutra 1.33), re-training the mind and emotions so that the mind becomes a pleasant, clear and stable place.
The directions that a society or a system takes with a particular end-goal in mind, science, replaced emotional purification with ‘survival of the fittest’, aggression, training to “NO”. Now the same science discovers that the ‘angry’ are more heart-attacked, co-operative communities with altruism have longer life span… meditation produces endorphins and holistic behaviour, less hostile and aggressive — so the new equation is objective study of symptoms of subjective states > self-preservation is better attained by not being so self-preserving > back to scientific altruism, merged with meditation > reunion of metaphysics and ethics = the preventive therapy…
Often a society sets certain goals for itself and starts on its journey but at the end finds itself entirely somewhere else. The modern science stands to support the values that have been established in the urban-industrial civilization – many of those values being destructive of human personality (while many others have been highly beneficial). While the psychologists and sociologists have been extolling the virtues of individualism, there come other findings in sociology and neurology.
Many of these findings support the “old” values. For example:
One may have some hidden volitional force available within oneself whereby one may delay the onset of a heart attack. A statistically significant number of heart attacks occur on Monday mornings. One explanation for this is that one did not want to spoil everybody’s weekend and waited.
We may have greater control over the timing of our deaths, postponing the same until a wedding, a festival, the birth of a grandchild, or whatever, has passed.
It is now known that the people in those communities are found to live longer on the average where people’s attitude is of trust towards other members of the community, and a shorter life span is seen where people have an attitude of hostility or suspicion.
It is also an established fact now that those with a highly angry temperament and attitudes of hostility suffer more frequent and more severe heart attacks than others.
The correlation of eating disorders and anxiety disorders is being fully emphasized in the scientific literature of today.
The role of stress producing hormones (better to say it more scientifically, the hormones that are correlates of the presence of stressful feelings), and of the endorphins in relaxation response and other meditative states, need not be elaborated here.
The good, nonviolent thoughts, the sentiments of amity, produce endorphins (as seen in the researches on Mindfulness meditations). These together reduce the anxiety and stress level, and cut the frequency and severity of cardiac or autoimmune disorders.
These, the new findings in endocrinology, neurology and in other sciences, bring us full circle to reject the “struggle for survival” “survival of the fittest” model and reinstate the “survival of the amicable and the loving” model.
Altruistic sentiments, the teachings of the brahma-viharas (maitri-metta, karuna, mudita, upeksha-upekkha), as in Yoga-sutras of Patanjali 1.33, though originally taught as principles of spiritual ethics, are now seen also as sources of health.
The use of “now” in the last sentence needs to be challenged. The one quarter of Charaka-samhita espouses the same philosophy. The aadhis, mental diseases like anger and greed etc. produce vy-aadhis (grammatically, variations of aadhis).
Non-anger, therefore, is not only an injunction in spiritual ethics but the present day scientific findings, supporting the ancient Charaka-samhita, show it to be the source of health and longevity.
This, the core of yoga therapy, is in the practice of chitta-pra-sadanam, making the mind a clear and pleasant place through the observance of the brahma-viharas listed above. Not just asanas and pranayamas but the yama-niyamas centred in ahimsa are the true therapy; they
• produce endorphins to help reduce our levels of hostility,
• cultivating amity (meditations of loving kindness and compassion) which in turn
• generate the same endorphins,
• slowing down our breaths (producing dirgha-sukshma state of breath without an effort) so that
• we expend less number of breaths, and because our life-span (ayur-daaya) is measured in the number of breaths,
• this cycle grants us a longer life span, ayuh, the first wish of every living being.
This is the ethics of emotions as yoga therapy.
For further study, inquire for the audio-recordings of a course titled Spirituality for Longevity by this writer.
Perhaps there should be a conference simply on bhaava-sam-shuddhi (purification of sentiments) (see Bhagavad-gita 17.16) as the first principle of yoga therapy.
May the present pursuits help and guide the seekers to that saumanasyam (beautiful-mindedness) and saam-manasyam (harmonious-mindedness) which is both the true source as well as the state of health.
UPAAYA-KAUSHALA: EXPERTISE IN THE MEANS OF LIBERATING ONESELF AND OTHERS. ONE OF THE TEN PAARAMITAAS, PERFECTIONS OF A BODHISATTVA3
I am constantly experimenting with upaaya-kaushala paaramitaa, one of the ten perfections required of an aspiring-to-be Bodhisattva. The perfection in the means and methods for liberating oneself and others.
All my teaching, organizational efforts, communications are part of that constant self-experimentation.
As part of that series of life-long experimentation I have reached these conclusions on the basis of which all my ‘policies’ (what a horrible word, better to say ‘approaches’) are developed. Some, only some of many, of the conclusions are:
There is no difference between teaching on one hand and running a family or organization or any relationships or communications even ‘business’ communications on the other. The latter becomes a part of the teaching. This must always reflect the
• level of realizations one has arrived at with regard to the principles of ahimsa, maitri,4 and so forth.
On the basis of that
• I began the difficult task of de-conditioning myself. This required sifting through all formative impressions, samsakaras, gathered from the day I can remember myself. De-value and discard those that were not conducive only (a) to the perennial goals and (b) to the principles like ahimsa and maitri and so forth.
Thus, in inter-relationships within the organizational family, fully aware of each participant’s shortcomings – as they (just like me) have not yet reached perfection – I must
• use the best of each person’s qualities, as far as they have reached the desired steps on the path to perfection;
• not keep looking at their shortcomings;
• continue to ‘make use’ of their strengths and valuing and appreciating the services they CAN perform; not judging them negatively;
• waiting for them to perfect themselves in the areas that still need improvement, and patiently wait, wait , wait, even into many future incarnations as my Master has so patiently waited on my perfection (not yet achieved, alas) for so many incarnations;
• keeping on trying to design and redesign the organizational family to help achieve these goals, and
• I must (we also must) continue the self-experiments in upaaya-kaushala paaramitaa.
This is the approach on which my decision making process is based.
I ask all my family to examine if the (i) principles, (ii) ways, (iii) approaches they choose seem (a) aligned to our spiritual goals, (b) conducive to our aspirations for perennial values and thereby (c) help and serve the Tradition and the Mission.
Do spend some time contemplating on this.
Many have succeeded but only to a certain extent, each according to his/her capacity, that is, the ability to free themselves of the force of samskaras and the consequent habits of emotion and temperament.
Do continue (making no separation between living personal life, teaching or running administration or organization) conquering and proceeding well on the path of becoming a jina5.
Swami Veda Bharati
The sadhanas in practical spirituality suggested in the previous sections cannot be accomplished without deep inner peace and tranquility.
For this tranquility to be maintained and further deepened, and made our permanent nature, continued meditations, contemplations and japa practices are essential.
All this also requires sankalpa-bala or sankalpa-shakti, power and intensity of resolve.
Before going on further with this, a few necessary hints (for those who are not already following the same:
• Before meditation, take a shower (at least for one main meditation of the day) and wear clean and loose clothes.
• The surroundings of your meditation seat should be neatly and beautifully arranged.
• The asana (blanket etc. seat) that you sit on should be unrumpled, neatly folded, unwrinkled, clean.
• You may burn some incense if you prefer. Light a candle or a ‘deepak’ if you prefer.
• Surrender all your spiritual practices, and expectations therefrom, to the Divine Guru Spirit and the Guru(s) of the Lineage.
(1)For developing and strengthening sankalpa-bala, I suggest two levels of mantras:
(2) Six mantras of shiva-sankalpa hymn with our translation (published by firstname.lastname@example.org . Being further expanded now. Recordings of the recitations to be available during the February-March-event-2013 in SRSG).
The texts we have quoted in our small book on shiva-sankalpa (forthcoming) state that the results of the japa of this hymn are:
• mind’s pacification
• samadhi of the mind [by this we understand samprajnata Samadhi]
• highest Samadhi.
Memorize these six mantras, or at least the first one of the six.
Study, understand, contemplate their inner meanings.
If even one mantra is too long, just recite many times:
tan me manah shiva-sankalpam astu. May that mind of mine be filled with shiva-sankalpa.
(The phrase shiva-sankalpa is explained in the translation recommended above)
This japa with contemplation is for developing general sankalpa-shakti.
(3) For making a resolve to undertake the suggestions (A) and (B) in paragraph (6) of Section 8 above, begin each resolve with this mantra, below, and recite the mantra daily even once, till the purpose of that resolve has been accomplished.
vrataanaam vrata-pate vratam chariShyaami tat te pra-braveemi, tach chhakeyam tena-rdhyaasam. idam aham anRtaat satyam upaimi.
Oh Lord, Guardian and Protector of Vows, I shall undertake the observance of this vow. This I declare to Thee. May I be granted the capacity to succeed in this observance. May I thereby grow and prosper. Here, now, I abandon all untruth and take refuge in truth.
(Recording of the recitation to be available during the February-March 2013 event at SRSG.)
(4) In our tradition, besides mantras, there are mahaa-vaakyas (literally, Great Sentences). These are short and succinct sentences even without a syntax structure. They are for contemplation and absorption.
Here I give you one of the highest mahaa-vaakyas. It is:
om kham (pronounced khum — as in ‘gum’) brahma.
The ‘meaning’ is very succinct:
om: for this, read Swami Rama’s two commentaries on Mandukya Upanishad (Enlightenment without God and Om theEternal Witness: Secrets of the Mandukya Upanishad). kham: space, shunya, transcendal Null. Brahma: Brahman, Supreme Transcendental All-expansive Absolute Reality.
Instead of dwelling on your daily mental occupations and conflicts, contemplate this mahaa-vaakya day and night — in addition to your mantra. It is not for repeated recitation like a mantra. It is for cultivating your own contemplative inquiry and internal discussion of personally applied philosophy.
(There will be special teaching on mahaa-vaakyas by svb in SRSG in October 2014 while he remains in silence. He will type on his computer and you will read on the wall screen. You may register from now).
(5) Deepen your practice of silence.
(A) Even half a day in the week, for total silence.
(B) Some days in the month.
(C) Undertake silence retreats by going away to a place of solitude and follow the guidelines we have about systematic silence.
(D) Undertake the same in SRSG from time to time.
(E) Organise silence retreats with other members of your centre or other like-minded friends
(F) If care of children can be managed, husbands and wives may undertake such retreats together – oh, what a great blessing that is.
But all of the above not to the detriment of your family.
(6) Master (actually master, by the definition of ‘mastery’ already taught) further steps on your relaxation, meditation and yoga-nidra practices by repeatedly listening to the recordings of guided meditations and the internal exercises.
(7) Ask what purash-charana you may do next. Please read svb’s booklet Special Mantras or the chapter of the same title in Night Birds before asking.
(8) Further popularize Full Moon meditations.
(9) During svb’s vow of silence, come and sit in meditation with svb, doing your japa and contemplation.
I wish you
jeevan-muktir asminn evaayuShi ‘living liberated’ (enlightenment) in this very life time.
2Please inquire for CDs of a lecture series by this writer titled “Contradictions and Conflicts”, given in Napa Valley, California, 1983. Ahymsinpublishers@gmail.com
3Future Buddha, one who has taken the vow: I shall not desist. I shall not step back. I shall not fear. Not till all living beings from a blade of grass to a Brahma (soul of a universe) are liberated, shall I enter nirvana. That is my vow. One bodhisattva, by the name Kshiti-garbha (Earth Womb) has taken the vow of dwelling in hell till all beings cease entering hell. 4Buddhist metta in Pali language; universal amity. 5Jina, term common as an epithet of the Buddha and even more common for the founders of the Jaina religion. Conqueror, in a spiritual sense. 6I like two ways of signing; these are very common among Sanskrit-speakers. A-kinchana, one who is a nothing. Daasaanudaasa, servant of the servants (of the Guru or the Lord). The ‘h’ at the end as in a-kinchanah or daasaanudaasah is a mark of nominative singular.