Ganesha - Anushthana

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Dear Sadhakas,

Boundless blessings from the Guru Parampara and best wishes on Ganesha Chaturthi festival to you and your family. May Lord Ganesha and dedicated Mother Godess Parvati shower lots of Grace, happiness, health, wealth in this crucial hour of economic crisis.

On this auspicious occasion, I would like to share a message that I received from the Masters of the Himalayan Tradition and how to celebrate this years Ganesha Chaturthi festival.

The word Ganesha is from the words ‘Gana’ (group) and ‘Isha’ (Lord). ‘Chatur’ means ‘four’.

In anybody’s life, there are 4 important dimensions to be understood. They are called the ‘Purushaartha Sadhana’. They are – Dharma, Artha, Kaama, and Moksha.

Dharma means righteous living.

Artha means mobilizing the resources to build up righteous life for oneself, family and the community.

Kaama means the desires and aspirations to lead a complete life with all joys, health, happiness, harmony at all levels.

Moksha is the purpose of life to liberate oneself from all the misery and to experience the boundless joy of freedom.

Our Artha and Kaama, i.e., the resource making and the desires, should be guided by the other two – Dharma on the one side and Moksha on the other side. So life has to travel from Dharma, pass through Artha and Kaama and reach the Moksha. So these 4 groups are very important and Ganesha is the Lord of these 4.

On this Ganesha Chaturthi day, let us remember the purpose of life, the aspirations of life and the dynamics of life. Let us create a broad base and righteousness with virtues and values and vision and build a beautiful abode with the right desires and well-earned resources and rejoice in the inner most space of freedom blessed to every soul which does not know the suffering, the agony and other negative emotions or colours. Let us make Sankalpa on this day to build such a holistic, purposeful life for oneself and for others.

To create such a life, we need the blessings of Lord Ganesha who removes the obstacles and Goddess Parvati who gives us indomitable strength and confidence to go through the challenges of life in creating such a visionful life.

This is the message of the Himalayan Masters to contemplate on this very auspicious day which is nothing but the beginning of our new life with new vision and new message. Remember, this day onwards, to receive the blessings and inspirations from the Masters and you can do the mantra anushtana for 21 days. The mantra for the anushtana is

OM-HREEM-SHREEM-GAM GANESHA-ANTARGATA-SHAKTI-ROOPINYAI NAMAH

In South India, the tradition goes like –

(a) first day, it is Gowri festival where one worships Divine Mother Parvati and seek her blessings;

(b) second day is the Ganesha Chaturti where on worships Lord Ganesha (after seeking the blessings from the Divine Mother) who is the remover of all obstacles, impediments in life and lead us to reach our destination – complete freedom from misery through 4 groups of Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha.

With yogic pranams,
Sri Pattabhiram.


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Hello! How are you..?

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Religion & Spirtuality

A man is quite restless and seeks a path for inner poise. He may choose either the path of religion or of spirituality. On a mundane plane, there may not appear much difference between religion and spirituality - people use either path for inner poise. If you look closely you will find while religion is a directed path to achieve the truth, spirituality leaves a seeker to explore his own path. A spiritual seeker after attaining the highest wisdom preaches the people certain path to follow for their benefit and this directed path based on the experiences of one or a few individuals takes shape of a religion. Thus a religion is bound by customs, traditions, culture, formalities, practices, etc. With elapse of time the real essence or message of the religion gets overshadowed by mere rituals of customary and traditional formalities and practices.

The present day generation is the generation of enquiring nature and so is its mind explorative. It wants to have first hand experience before following and accepting anything and seeks reasons for all actions. Religion is too inadequate to answer all the queries of this enquiring mind. It is only the spirituality which has the capacity and potentiality to answer all the questions of the enquiring mind and take the person to his true nature. Spirituality addresses human being directly and tries to take him to his true nature through self transformation processes and self enquiring methods. In his great work of Yogasutra, Maharshi Patanjali starts with the sentence,

Atha yógánushásanam, the word, atha generally is used as an auspicious beginning of a function or puja or any ritual. The real meaning of this word is ‘open’, ‘let us open out’. Maharashi Patanjali when starting his lessons on Yoagashastra, says ‘let us open out’ the discipline of yoga and have the first hand experience. He never restricts you to follow any strict path. He asks the seeker to realise what he is seeing in the external world is not true. He asks the seeker to look within and enquire about himself: who I am? Dear Sadhakas, this self enquiry about yourself will bring in transformation in you and will answer all questions that were bothering you and keeping you restless.

With love and best wishes,
Pattabhi and Jyothi


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Nachiketa's Choice

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Nachiketa’s story in the Kathopanishad begins when his wealthy father, Vajashravas, is to perform a special sacrifice. The sacrifice required Vajashravas to give all his wealth, all his possessions, and distribute them to the great seers and Brahmins. It was a rare sacrifice performed only by the most highly advanced aspirants. One who could give up all transitory things would have the knowledge of Brahman, the knowledge of Reality.

The story is not unlike the New Testament meeting of Jesus with the rich, young ruler who asks what it will take to have eternal life. After the rich man assures Jesus that he has obeyed the commandments against murder, stealing, adultery, and lying all his life, and has honored his mother and father, and loved his neighbor, Jesus gives him a single instruction. He tells the rich man he must give away all that he has to the poor, and come with him.

The rich man cannot. Although virtuous in every respect, he is too attached to his worldly possessions and wealth. The scriptures tell us that the rich man went away sorrowful.

Nachiketa’s father also could not part with his wealth, despite the assurance that the knowledge of Brahman would follow the sacrifice.

The Kathopanishad tells us he brought cows for giving away as part of the sacrifice, but only those cows that were old, dry, blind, diseased, and of little or no use to anybody. Vajashravas kept the good cows for himself.

Nachiketa saw the old and useless cows his father brought for the sacrifice and knew such an unworthy gift would bring misery to his father. Eager to help his father, Nachiketa reminded his father that as his son he was also his property and should be included in the sacrifice for distribution.

“Father, to whom will you give me?” asked Nachiketa.

Vajashravas, haunted by the knowledge of his halfhearted sacrifice, focused his negative emotion on his son and chose to interpret Nachiketa’s offer as impudence.

Three times Nachiketa asked his father to whom he would be given. After the third time, Vajashravas angrily retorted. “You I shall give to the Ruler of Death, Yama.”

Nachiketa, with a pure heart and an abundance of faith, cheerfully took his father at his word.

“There is nothing in death,” said Nachiketa. “All beings flourish like grain and die again. Now I shall be the first one to discover truth and reveal the mystery of death.”

When Nachiketa went to Yama’s abode, the Ruler of Death was not at home. Three nights passed before Yama returned. To make amends for not being there to welcome his guest, Yama gave Nachiketa three boons, one for each night he had waited alone without proper hospitality.

Nachiketa’s first boon, demonstrating again the respect he had for his father, asked Yama to soothe Vajashravas’ heart, to allay his father’s anger, and to remove any worry Vajashravas might have because Nachiketa was now away from home.

Yama granted the wish and said, “Oh, Nachi-keta, your father will happily recognize you and treat you with the greatest love and kindness. “For his second boon, Nachiketa asked Yama to show him the fire sacrifice and all the rituals and ceremonies that went with it.

“In heaven,” said Nachiketa in his request for the second boon, “there is neither fear nor death, neither age nor decay, neither hunger nor thirst, neither pain nor suffering. There is perpetual bliss. Ruler of Death, you alone know how, by performing sacrifice, mortals can attain this blissful heaven. This is my second boon that I ask. I want to know the nature of the sacrifice which leads a mortal to heaven.”

Yama granted it, and taught Nachiketa the fire sacrifice. Yama then told Nachiketa to choose his third boon. After going within himself and quieting himself, Nachiketa said to Yama:

“There is a belief that after a man departs from the world he is gone forever. There is another viewpoint that he is born again, that even after death man does not die in the real sense but remains on a subtle plane with his subtle body, and only the outer physical garment is discarded; and that is called death. There is yet another belief that one who dies, lives. Which of these is true? What exists after death? Explain it to me. This is my third request—the truth relating to the mystery of death.”

Yama did not want to explain the mystery of death to Nachiketa without testing the eagerness and sincerity of his young disciple. Yama told Nachiketa that even the gods had difficulty understanding this mystery.

“It is very difficult for anyone to grasp,” said Yama. “Ask any other boon and I shall grant it to you with great pleasure.”

Nachiketa was steadfast. He told Yama that even though the gods were once puzzled by the mystery of death, and even though the subject was difficult to understand, there was no better teacher than Yama to explain it.

“Oh King of Death,” said Nachiketa, “I shall not make any other request. There is no boon equal to this and I must know the secret.”

Yama tried another route and tested Nachiketa with the temptations all human beings face, the choice between God and mammon, between passing material pleasures and eternal joy, between illusion and reality.

Yama offered Nachiketa a life span of as many years as he might wish, with all the pleasures there are in heaven. Yama said he would grant Nachiketa children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, fine horses and elephants, gold, jewels, and rare gems. He said he would give Nachiketa the kingdom of earth to rule. He did not want to grant the third boon requested by Nachiketa.

“Take all of this wealth and power instead of the third boon that is asked for,” said Yama to Nachiketa. “I shall fulfill all your desires,” Yama continued, “except this, for it is the greatest secret of life. All the maidens in the celestial regions, such as cannot be had by ordinary mortals, shall be yours if you want them. Do not ask me that question again. I do not wish to divulge the secret of life and death.”

Nachiketa then showed the depth of his faith and resolve to know the purpose of life and the relationship between life and death. He was not interested in the temptations Yama offered him. He did not hesitate in answering Yama. He told the Ruler of Death.

“What shall I do with all these transitory and perishable objects? Everything that is perceived by the senses is momentary, and life on this plane is subject to change by death and decay. Even life in heaven is not worth living without acquiring the knowledge of liberation. All your dancing maidens and worldly attractions are merely sensual pleasures. Oh King of Death, keep them with you. No one can acquire happiness by worldly wealth. All the material enjoyments of this world and even heavenly life are subject to change. After knowing the fleeting nature of this world, who will long for mere longevity? I don’t care to live for a thousand years. What shall I do with such a long life if I cannot acquire the highest wisdom and attain the supreme knowledge?”

When Yama saw the clarity and determination of Nachiketa, he gladly offered to grant the third boon.

Now the Kathopanishad begins in earnest to reveal the secret of immortality, the meaning of death and life.

Worldly, transitory life, with all of its charms, is not the purpose of human existence. The world is full of objects and temptations. People want them, choose them, and organize their lives around getting them, lifetime after lifetime.

Today a person develops a pattern of identifying with the world, with its objects, and with the emotions that go with having those objects or with the possibility of losing them. He begins to think that joy will come with having glamorous possessions, a new car, a new suit, or a new spouse. With each new acquisition there is a flash of satisfaction followed by a prolonged sense of dissatisfaction.

A person identifies with the emotions that go with the objects and relationships. He thinks he loves someone, that he must have her to be happy. When he has her, so often the relationship settles into something else that is not very loving. He may hurt the person he said he needed. Then he says he is sorry. A month passes and he does the same hurtful thing again. Finally, they separate. So he finds another person he thinks he needs for his happiness, and the process begins all over again.

There are many variations of this theme. The point is that a human being becomes attached to things and relationships, and the thoughts and emotions attendant to the attachments. That creates suffering because none of those things or relationships lasts. Nonetheless, human beings keep trying to find peace in this way, lifetime after lifetime.

“Those who are dwelling in the darkness of ignorance and are deluded by wealth and possessions are like children playing with toys,” says Yama to Nachiketa. “Such foolish children are caught in the snares of death and come again and again under my sway. They remain in the snares of death. They cannot get beyond the limits of the dark realm. They travel back and forth.”

Fortunately, this condition is not permanent. Eventually a time comes when the desire for all of those objects—what the nineteenth century Bengali saint Ramakrishna repeatedly referred to as lust and greed—begins to appear as empty and pointless.

Growth and expansion are the nature of the soul, so inevitably what happens is: a person comes to recognize the pattern that behind every pleasure is pain, behind every expectation is disappointment, and following every fulfilled desire is yet another desire. For all the world’s charms, the bottom line and the sum of it all adds up to an inordinate amount of suffering, loneliness, and emptiness.

That arithmetic is instructive. The bottom line awakens the human soul. Suffering teaches and trains a person in the necessary art of discrimination.

The Kathopanishad outlines a pure, unequivocal choice. Yama tells Nachiketa that there are two alternative paths before us in the world. One is good and the other is pleasant. One, though difficult, leads to the knowledge of the highest Truth. The other, though appearing very pleasant, is ephemeral and when an apparently pleasurable experience passes, as it inevitably will, there is pain. The wise choose that which is good, and the ignorant rely on that which is pleasant.

That is the nature of life. The purpose of life is to grow, expand, and completely realize one’s own true identity. If the path toward that goal is not taken, then the world will bring one around toward it. Blow after blow, one misfortune will follow another, one disappointment, then another, until the person begins to understand. The choice between good and pleasant becomes clear.

The theme of Kathopanishad is that the treasure of human life, the real Self, is to be found within. Within is immortality. Within is where Atman or Reality resides. The journey to the discovery of the real Self is the goal or the purpose of life. One who has realized one’s own real Self can then realize the cosmic Self who encompasses the entire universe.

The dualists believe that the individual, the universe, and the cosmic Self are entirely separate units, having their independent existence. According to this belief, by knowing one’s own Self one acquires only a partial knowledge. A wide gulf separates this school of thought from Vedanta. The most valuable and elevating contribution of Vedantic literature is that the Self, or God, is not separate or far away from us, but dwells within the inner chamber of our being. This is the central tenet in the philosophy of Vedanta.

- Swami Rama

(Extracted from sites.google.com/site/swamiramateachings)


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Point to Ponder

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Buddha, one day, was on deep thought about the worldly activities and the way of instilling goodness in human. The following is the text of conversation between him and his disciple.

One of his disciples approached him and said humbly “Oh my teacher! While you are so much concerned about the world and others, why don’t you look in to the welfare and needs of your disciples also?”

Buddha: “OK... Tell me how I can help you.”

Disciple: “Master! My attire is worn out and is beyond the decency to wear the same. Can I get a new one, please.”

Buddha found the robe indeed was in a bad condition which needed replacement. He asked the store keeper to give the disciple a new robe to wear on. The disciple thanked Buddha and retired to his room. Though he met his disciple’s requirement, Buddha was not all that contended on his decision. He realized he missed out some point. A while after, he realized what he should have asked the disciple. He went to this disciple’s place and asked him “Is your new attire comfortable? Do you need anything more?”

Disciple: “Thank you Master. The attire is indeed very comfortable. I need nothing more”

Buddha: “Having got the new one, what did you do with your old attire?”

Disciple: “I am using it as my bed spread”

Buddha: “Then… hope you have disposed off your old bed spread”

Disciple: “No... no.. master. I am using my old bedspread as my window curtain”

Buddha: “What about your old Curtain?”

Disciple: “Being used to handle hot utensils in the kitchen”

Buddha: “Oh.. I see.. Can you tell me what did they do with the old cloth they used in Kitchen?”

Disciple: “They are being used to wash the floor.”

Buddha: “Then, the old rug being used to wash the floor…???”

Disciple: “Master, since they were torn off so much, we could not find any better use, but to use as a twig in the oil lamp, which is right now lit in your study room…”

Buddha smiled in contentment and left for his room.

If not to this degree of utilization, can we atleast attempt to find the best use of all our resources – at home and at office.. It becomes imperative in the critical time of Recession…

(Received this piece of Article from one of the Sadhakas)


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Antardarshana

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“tapah svadhyaye svara pranidhanani kriya yogah”
Many people think tapas means austerity and torturing one’s own self. People also imagine, tapas means that which people did in ancient ages – standing on one leg for years, immersing oneself in water, standing on thorny foot-rest etc. They were, in a way, tapas in the early ages. But, in the Kali Yuga, such kind of tapas is not helpful. For sadhakas like us, tapas means to close one’s eyes, look within oneself and find out what comes in the way of experiencing the bliss within. After identifying the obstacles, one has to create a dynamic counter energy within oneself to overcome such identified obstacles.. For example, if one is more talkative, the tapas would be to observe silence. If one is in the habit of bossing over, the tapas would be to not to boss over, but to become accommodative. If one overeats as a habit, the tapas is to eat in moderation.

If you sit with a bent back, the tapas here is sitting straight and standing straight. Every minute should become tapas for you. Don’t be under the impression that fasting is tapas. You just watch the kind of fasting people do. If you are in the habit of withdrawing from challenges with a feeling of “what to do” in helplessness, explore the possibilities of doing something positive. Once you create this kind of a positive attitude, you would really be happy. That is the effect of tapas.

The literal meaning of tapas is taapa, heat. That is, one should generate the requisite heat in him so that it burns away one’s negative tendencies, karmas, and vasanas. It is wise to attend to the habit patterns that are coming in the way of Sadhana and to continuously work on it. When you slowly, but consistently, work on them, the conditioned habit patterns would lose their power to dominate you and, in turn, you grow stronger. Such tapas would lead you to svaadhyaaya. Sva stands for self, adhyaaya for study. Many people mistake svaadhyaaya to studying scriptures. It really means that when one puts oneself in tapas, many reactions start coming up. As they come up, it gives an opportunity for one to study one’s reactions, as to wherefrom they come and why do they come. Let me tell you of my own experience. Sometime ago, I suddenly decided to observe silence. I asked the volunteers not to disturb me during my silence. I confined myself to a room, and the volunteers started discussing what to do next, because things were to be organized in my absence. Then, I heard them deciding to contact a particular set of people, whom I knew to be non-cooperating. There was an urge to tell them the truth by breaking the silence. The urge would come up to the lips, but my inner personality would remind me of my vow. I would keep quiet. After sometimes, again the urge would come with a vengeance, and again I would keep quiet.

This happened for nearly ten days and it was a terrible struggle. My mind started questioning the very purpose of my observing silence. My ego would say, “I am running the organization, and if I don’t work, the organization would die, and with its death my existence too would disappear.” The run of thoughts was like this. I began to study all these reactions. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that it is not because of me the things are moving, but they are moving as they would . I also understood that I am merely an instrument in the hands of divinity, and I should not have any attachment to the organization. In such a self-study, the Ishvara Pranidhaana happens. As I experienced a turmoil in me, I understood that I am merely an instrument of my Master who said “Bete, I am with you. You simply stay with your sadhana and I would do the rest.” This is the way of Kriya Yoga. Give importance to tapas and svaadhyaaya; then surrender happens on its own accord. You would start experiencing glimpses of the divinity. This would strengthen your faith in the divinity; this would also build a tremendous confidence in you.

May you succeed in your tapas.
Sri Pattabhiram


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"Saa Vidya ya Vimuktaye"

"That which liberates you is true knowledge", declare the Upanishads.

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