Do not be Scared of Death

What will happen to a seeker travelling in the path of Self Realisation, in case death interrupts her/ him before reaching the goal? It is quite possible that our practices and learning will not complete in say 150 years. But, we do not live for 150 years. It takes a lot of good karma to start our practices in childhood. Often the induction of spirituality happens quite late in life. We do not have the luxury of time. This is one of the tragedies in the route of Self Realisation – the sheer lack of time.

veil

(Image Credit: Sara Biljana Gaon)

It is also possible that life circumstances may distract us from our vision of the Self Realisation goal. We may come across criticism of the Scriptures or Religion itself. We may get convinced that all this effort is rather a waste of time. In such case, what happens to all our efforts so far? Do “God get angry with us”?

Everlasting Path of Yoga

The being travelling in the path of Yoga has no destruction in this world or the next. Even small investments done in this path is valid towards the realisation of our final life goals. Karmas are always adding up. Good Karma will not go unyielded. There may not be immediate results which becomes visible soon after actions are performed. Yet, there will be union with the absolute for actions performed with the right intention. This union is Yoga.  

Life has no end. The perishing of our physical bodies with death does not end life as it is. A close understanding of the laws of life and system of universe shows that our individual lives in our delicate bodies is rather a blip in the endless stream of infinity called life itself. Yet, this simple blip is so powerful and potent that its significance cannot be ignored. Life presents us numerous such blips as several births, some in human form, to realise ourselves – to wake up from the constant distractions that the world provides us and look at life itself. This life has not changed from the beginning.

Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Prophet Mohammed and all our Masters had access to this pure life form. Even we are living in this life form. It is all around us. But, we do not know how to look at this life. In fact, all of us are looking at this life. But, we have to remove the cloth covering our eyes to really perceive it. Our conditioning and thought pattern gathered over lifetimes manifest itself as a veil of ignorance over our eyes. A Master can easily see this cloth that we wear over our eyes and take this blind off us.  

Movement of Time

The Present is a child of Past. Our present day knowledge and intentions shape our Future. It is common experience that a change in our attitudes and perceptions can change our future. This forms the basis of Law of Attraction. Think good thoughts and see those thoughts materialising as our experience. An attraction for quest of truth and subtlety of life will reveal the secrets of life. An attraction for money, power and lust fuels greed and dissatisfaction in us. Look at the beings who have manifested the maximum power and money among us. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are working to raise the frequency of the world by sharing knowledge, insights and wealth with us. Probably they have worked out the good karmas of their past lives and are working their good karmas right now. Yogis may appear among us as rich and powerful people as well.

Even if Sadhana breaks or death interrupts, life does not get destroyed. We continue our work from where we left and carry on with our tasks. This law is so simple and direct. Some of us are so attracted to truth and wisdom from a very young age itself. Some of us come in touch with Yogis and Gurus as part of our family culture in our formative years. This is due to our associations with lofty beings in our previous lifetimes. It may so happen that we only sow our seeds of spirituality this birth. But, we will come across our Gurus in the future.

May we carry on with our work this life. We will have our grand party soon. 🙂

What causes our Spiritual Inclination or lack of it?

We have heard people blame their life circumstances for not reaching high goals. We have heard excuses for not becoming rich, for not inclined to study culture, for not feeling like being spiritual, for not inclined to listen to great teaching and so on. Probably we are also part of this group that is not inclined to learn truth that helps understand the meaning of life. What could be the reason behind this?

 

meditation

(Image Credit: Kah Wai Sin)

Our past and future births

Bhagavad Gita claims our present life circumstances is a result of deeds of our past life. Also, our future births (if any) is dependent on our present deeds. If we are naturally attracted to objects of desire, means of quick entertainment, celebrity gossip and such material, it is due to the conditioning of many past lives. There are children who are prone to listen to Vedas and deal with Philosophy with ease in certain families. They must have dealt with learning and philosophy in past lives. We have seen very talented children in the field of music, arts and sports. Very few years of coaching and practice may not produce such great results quickly. There must be some seeds sown from their past lives that lead to such excellence.   

Two Kinds of Karma

There are two kinds of Karma (Actions) – “Sakama Karma” and “Nishkama Karma”. Sakama Karma are those actions done with a result in mind. Many of us perform actions with an intention to get rich and enjoy pleasures. Present day culture emphasises on hard work that produce riches and comforts in the future. Those who work with the intention of reaching these comforts take birth in rich families of good culture in their future lives. Richness and Abundance is seen as a Blessing in Indian Culture. Learned beings acknowledge this blessing and live accordingly.

Nishkama Karma is that kind of actions done with no special future intentions. This action is based on living in the present moment with no expectations or thoughts. The result of such actions is peace of mind and blissfulness of life at present. People who perform Nishkama Karma in this life is born into families that value knowledge, insight, meditation and learning in the future. You may even finish the Samsara of Life and Death with Nishkama Karma, as the meaning of life is understood and the challenge of life is solved.   

Naturally Spiritual Beings

The beings who have learned scriptures and realised the secrets of spirituality in the past life need not relearn the entire truth again. There are many among us who need not spend too much time with books or teachers to realise the essence of truth. It comes naturally to us, as if we had known this truth before. Such beings are attracted to silence, meditation, chanting and soothing music. They may have dealt with more aggressive lifestyle in the past, following the trends of the world. But, once the discovery of spirituality dawns on them, the old habits and tendencies are easily left behind.

The naturally spiritual being is attracted to texts that talk about the meaning of life and techniques to attain complete perfection in this very birth. They may not be too bothered about the concept of past and future lives, as they are content and satisfied with the peace they have achieved in this very birth. They may be rich and prosperous, but detached from all the riches. Money is a tool in their hands rather than a means of defining who they are. We have often heard of people as “He is Mr. X and he drives a Mercedes”. The car here defines that person. But, such definitions are shallow.

Brave and Optimistic

The naturally spiritual being tends to see the positive aspect of life and are not blind to the negatives. They tend to see that life will eventually turn out to be good. But, they also acknowledge areas that need improvement. It is rather unintelligent to not recognise broken parts of life such as sickness, debt, failures etc. and then work upon these areas. Such beings are brave to follow a disciplined life when the whole world screams sensory enjoyment of wealth. It requires a lot of bravery to walk a path of principles and ethics when it is easy to enjoy life otherwise.

Are you a naturally spiritual being?

The Relevance of a Middle Path with regards to Daily Habits

Indian Wisdom is not just philosophy and mental gymnastics. It also talks about habits and procedures for a happy and healthy life such as Food and Sleep as well.

right food

(Image Credit: Michael Caroe Andersen)

One of the most important achievements for an Indian is to silence her/ his mind to a complete standstill. At this point, thoughts do not flow into the mental landscape and flutter about to disturb us. Here, we start to live in the present moment and not get carried around by Past or Future. Silence of the mind is achieved through meditation and good living. Discipline with regards to food and sleep are key to meditation.

Why do I not progress spiritually?

This is a common question among many meditators. Even after years of practice, there is often no progress with regards to mental faculties or quality of life in these people. The spiritual aspect of life is often restricted to the few minutes of crossed leg meditation and other religious practices such as temple visits. However, there needs to be an inspection in our habits to start seeing progress.

Too much food or too little food

Bhagavad Gita says that one who eats too much and one who eats too little will find it difficult to experience “Yoga” (union with the Atman). We can all accept the fact that life energy is vital in our daily living. Too much food will take up too much life energy just to digest and assimilate that matter within ourselves. Add food which is difficult to digest and it will result in sickness such as lethargy, uneasiness, restlessness etc., which even modern medicine find difficult to combat. It is natural for us to feel sleepy and gloomy through the day and not consider it as a medical situation. A look at the nature and quantity of food taken would throw some light to such observations. On the other hand, too little food will make you too weak to sustain yourself. The Life Energy that we talk about comes from food we have. Without enough fuel, where would the body get the energy to carry on?

Food is not just the substances that we put into our digestive system. Even the things we see, hear and feel can also be considered food for the energy body. The content of our thoughts, intellect and emotions are also considered food in one way or the other. Our hunger and motivation levels are usually matched with one another. Maybe there is a connection between watching meaningless content on TV and taking junk food at the same time. The food for the mind and for the body have many similarities, when thought about in a “spiritual” way.

The scriptures talk about the nature of food that is best for human consumption as well. The kind of food that is prepared without bothering a lot of people, killing another animal, without too much concern for taste (too much spices, too much sweetness etc.) is considered healthy. Such food can be prepared quite easily as well. Too much work that is needed to soften the food or harden material is not recommended. Our stomach should be half full with food, one fourth full with water and a fourth should be left empty for air circulation.

Sleep Patterns

One who sleeps a lot will be under the influence of Tamasic qualities. A person who is heavily tamasic will not be able to carry on with meditation for long. In a minute or two of starting to meditate, she/ he may easily slip into sleep. In fact, these Tamasic qualities will come in from the food or sensory experiences that you subject yourself to. It can be assumed that the very nature of music we listen to and that we are drawn to can influence the nature of our being. Again, someone who does not sleep or sleeps too little may not have the right energies to go about with work.

A Middle Path

The Rishis in India proposed a middle path for life. This is also seen in Buddhism. So, severe practices such as restricting yourself the comforts of food and sleep is not prescribed as per the scriptures. This can be even seen in the nature of work we do. It is commonly seen that some of us get too tangled up with work and start acting with such intensity, claiming we are not desiring any results from work. We may prescribe to a tendency that “Work is Worship” and start working too hard. Such practices may often bind us in attachment to the idea of our detachment itself. Such an attachment would cause us to fall into new traps that we never expected for ourselves.

It is said that more than emotions, it should be intelligence and discrimination of good and not so good that should lead us. We have often seen many who come to the “spiritual path” who resort to such emotional actions in the name of Self Realisation acting without discrimination or intelligence. We have already discussed the concept of Attachment to the idea of Detachment itself.

The Ancient Indian Rishis already saw the traps that were already set up with incomplete and faulty understanding of Scriptures among us. Even the author here may be guilty of interpreting the scriptures wrongly. Only time will show where the mistakes have crept us as well.

Sense of Duty and Detachment in Everyday Life

Renunciation and Career (Duty) are seen as two ends of a spectrum. Indian Wisdom has pointed to the fact that they need not be so. There is work involved in renunciation and also renunciation involved in duty.

Consider the following words. Sanyasi. Yogi.

Do these bring a colourless image in our minds about people who lead very boring lives?

sanyasi

(Image Credit: Moosa Khan)

Who is a Sanyasi?

So, we may ask who really is a Sanyasi? The image of the monk in the himalayas in India or one who has left home, family and work in search of God is usually interpreted as a Sanyasi. However, Shastras in India do not really paint such a picture. Even a person living in supreme riches with all comforts of material life can also be a Sanyasi. The only criterion is not to attach the actions performed towards expecting results in the way we want.

Look at certain examples. A student who works hard in order to be a topper in class, and not to appreciate and understand the subject matter, is actually attached to the glory of a rank rather than the learning offered. A publication or a brand that works towards an award, by tweaking its offering in particular ways to please a jury, rather than sticking to its own nature is again looking at a certain result. This result focussed action is not the best kind of action.

On the other hand, we also find people who have faced certain failure giving up on their potential. Instead of coming back with more preparation and wisdom, they retire into a “Sanyasa” wherein all hope is lost and religion is stitched onto themselves as a protection against the world. This is wrong too.

Bhagavad Gita says that Those who perform prescribed duties without desiring the results of their action are actual sanyasis and yogis. Those who cease to do their duties (yajnas) are not sanyasis and those who abandon all bodily activities are not yogis (Chapter 6, Sloka 1).

A Yogi is not necessarily a super flexible acrobat!

In the West, Yogi is a person who is an expert in Yoga, the exercise routine. In fact the exercise is only one part of Yoga, which is called “Hatha Yoga”. Yoga really means “union”. There are several ways of union with the truth and duty is one of them.

We have heard about terms Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga, the way of duty and the way of knowledge. These are not in fact watertight compartments. A being cannot perform duty without knowledge and also she/he cannot reach knowledge without action. One who understand that Knowledge and Action are intermingled with one another really becomes a “Yogi”.

Sanyasa or Renunciation is actually a search for knowledge – call it Self Knowledge or God. Action is what the world runs by, in the form of technology, business, education, politics, economics and what not. Why should knowledge be sought by forgetting other routes? Even Christ has said “All roads lead to God”. So why should the wisdom that is obtained from performing duty of choice not lead to “God”?

We feel it is necessary for man to understand sense of duty and sense of renunciation in everyday life. This will actually make work and life a lot more enjoyable and meaningful in many ways. Indian Wisdom is a great place to look out for such insights.