Saturday, October 22, 2016

Victor Kannan
(Heartfulness Trainer)

Sincerity, Humility, Courage, Responsibility, Love and Freedom may be considered as the six core values. They are progressive in nature. Sincerity leads to humility; Courage leads to responsibility, and true love shall lead to freedom. One value leading us to the other, making our life holistic and integrated with attitudes and behaviors taking us through goals, accomplishments, and finally, a state of being.

These three pairs of values are also a transformational set – sincerity leading to humility, courage leading to responsibility, and love leading to freedom. It is a simple formula to cultivate humility, responsibility and freedom – a sort of proxy to Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Gnana Yoga, in that respective order. It feels like a big jump, but careful thinking would make this parallel clear. We have a similar formula introduced by Daaji; for example, through refined and expanded consciousness, existence becomes bliss.

We also identify the evolution of consciousness in the progressive transformation of its four aspects, viz, mind (Manas), deeper consciousness (Chit), cognition (Budhi), and ego (Ahankar), where Manas or the mind, an instrument of thinking, becomes an instrument of feeling; where Chit or deeper consciousness, an instrument of intuition and awareness, becomes an instrument of wisdom and understanding; where Budhi or cognition, an instrument of reason, becomes an instrument of direct perception of the transcendental truth or knowledge; and the Ahankar, or Ego, which gives power to evolve, embraces humility and creates restlessness towards Self-realization or a state of bliss and whatever comes beyond. Thus, through evolution of consciousness existence becomes a state of pure being, free of all possible holds to a lower level of existence.   

Thus, in this progression, the goal or final state of fulfillment is Freedom. So, what is freedom?

Why is it so valuable? And, what is it we are free to do?

Normally when we think of freedom, we think of freedom from wants, freedom from desires and freedom from suffering.

One may wonder if it is all really possible. One may ask “Why not freedom from disease?” Disease of the body is outside of our mental sphere. While a stronger mind can mitigate the suffering of the body, what is inevitable can only be postponed at best. A physical, mechanical thing is subject to strict physical laws. Hence, expecting freedom from the operations of physical laws is futile.

Freedom of the mind is to think and worship as one chooses. This is quite a freedom. Yet, what we choose may not make us evolve towards a happy state of being. So, this freedom is also limited. On the one hand, mind is a habit-forming machine, and it is possible that we become slaves of our negative habits, and suffer. On the other hand, if we are born into a good family or circumstances and, most importantly, acquire the right knowledge or support, we could form good habits, and these then shape our destiny positively.

Freedom of the spirit is the ultimate freedom we should aim to achieve. A person who is able to experience and enjoy this freedom is the person who is truly living. So, the real freedom is the freedom of the spirit. Hence we call people ‘free-spirited.’ There is a sense of innocence, nobility and beauty in free-spirited people. They are positive people, too. They can be called free-spirited saints living on earth. They are real beings of bliss and beyond. As Babuji says, freedom from freedom is real freedom: freedom from the preoccupations of the body and the mind and achieve the freedom the spirit yearns for.

This state of being is achieved after acquisition of an inner wisdom, which we call gnana or real knowledge. In the post “The Choices We Make” I wrote, “Freedom presupposes knowledge.” To be free, one needs to have the right, or real, knowledge. Such a real knowledge leads one to real and lasting freedom of the soul. This knowledge is acquired while pursuing a practice of meditation for achieving such a goal. In the process of achieving such a goal, we experience inner transformation and expansion of consciousness.

So, let us fly away in that freedom! Let us be free at last.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What is beyond Love?

What is beyond Love?
Victor Kannan

Once Daaji asked this question to a few people. What is beyond love?

I have written on love and care, for love expresses itself in care. Love is what love does.  Love cannot be just empty words or insecure expressions or daily reminders to the family and friends. Love too must evolve.

The answer to this question came as I was looking at Babuji Maharaj in one of the pictures where he seems give everything away happily and attentively.

Love takes different shapes for different situations. For children it is in attention and time spent by the parents. For spouses it is support, partnership and companionship. Over time, ideal spouses grow and progress not only in worldly ways, with possessions and accomplishments, but also intellectually and emotionally.  They complement each other with their strengths, making a bigger whole than what is possible by the sum of two. It should be a synergistic way of living that creates much better future for all in their circle of influence.

For students, it is the love of education that makes them take interest, observe, learn and persevere.  We know that a true teacher produces students who take what they have learnt beyond the teachers grasp. The real teacher is proud of such students. When a teacher makes it possible for a student to an extraordinary accomplishment how do the students relate to their teachers and guides?

I still remember the high school teacher and college professor who made a profound impact on my self confidence when they believed in my ability to perform better than I thought was possible. This has permanently elevated my respect for these two teachers. I respect them in a manner it has the characteristic of adoration and admiration of them as a teacher, in fact more than a teacher to a guide.

This is truer in a spiritual system where the Guru is simple beyond measure, as significant as God Himself, totally unseen and unfathomable, yet whose actions are palpably visible. In such a system the spiritual aspirant begins to benefit and then to appreciate the system. Then they look for who is behind such an effective system, and then develop gratitude to the Guide. When the gratitude overflows, it begets love and devotion.

The proximity and freedom that come with love and devotion must now transform into reverence. An awe inspired connection to the Guide, Guru or the Master is the state of piety, which is filled with adoration, admiration, cooperation and interiorization.

We must give ourselves such an opportunity. Let us ponder over this, as Daaji would say! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Transmission - Two Historical Examples

By Radheshyam Miryala MD (Sahaj Marg Abhyasi, SRCM Preceptor)

As abhyasis of the Sahaj Marg mission, we are very fortunate to receive this nurturing transmission from our Guru. Although Transmission is unique to the mission, it is not a new phenomenon. Transmission has existed for many centuries, and there are two examples that are very important for us to learn from.

The first example is that of the exchange between Arjuna and Lord Krishna. On the battlefield of the Kurukshetra, Arjuna has a dialogue with Lord Krishna. Arjuna beseeches Krishna to withdraw from the battle.  Lord Krishna then educates Arjuna on the laws of duty and expounds on Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana Yoga in the form of the Bhagavad Gita. How was it practical for Lord Krishna to stand in the middle of the battle field and ‘reveal’ His True Personality to Arjuna and elucidate the voluminous virtues of the Bhagavad Gita?  The answer is Transmission. Lord Krishna transmitted the knowledge of the Gita to Arjuna in a matter of seconds. It is Lord Krishna’s greatness in having the capacity to transmit, but it is equally remarkable that Arjuna was able to receive the transmission. What made Arjuna deserving of this Grace? Arjuna had surrendered his will to Lord Krishna. Arjuna loved Lord Krishna. When given the choice between Lord Krishna’s armies or the opportunity to have Lord Krishna as his charioteer, Krishna chose the latter. This is the essence of the Guru-Disciple relationship. Arjuna is the consummate disciple as he had love for the Guru, faith in the Guru, and had surrendered to the Guru. This is a great example of how a disciple can prepare himself to receive Transmission.

The second example is that of the exchange between Swami Vivekananda and his Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. When Vivekananda came to get the Dharshan of Ramakrishna for the first time, Ramakrishna took his great toe and placed it on Vivekananda’s chest.  At that instant Vivekananda felt a complete transformation take over him. This is another great example of transmission. From that day onwards, Swami Vivekananda spent his time spreading the message of his Guru. This is another great example of the Guru Disciple relationship. Here, the disciple receives the transmission and works hard to ensure that he was deserving of the gift. This work entails service to the Guru, the Mission, and the World. Swami Vivekananda worked tirelessly till the end of his days to spread the message of love from his Guru.

In Sahaj Marg, we are fortunate to be able to constantly partake in both examples from above. We work on ourselves with our sadhana and character formation to prepare ourselves for the transmission that we receive. In the sitting, the generosity of our Guru takes over and showers us with more transmission than we deserve. We should make use of this gift and live in service to the Master, Mission and Method. May the Great Masters Blessings always be upon us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Egregore: Working together

By Victor Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)

A movement accelerates a lot of things. It may appear chaotic. But like never before people are empowered and encouraged to move towards the same goal. If you are in the middle of the movement, you are also moved automatically.  It creates a dynamism of its own and fresh waves push everyone ahead.

So, joyfully participating in the movement itself would seem like an egregore.

In this Sahaj Marg movement if we quickly learn how to work together, the movement will move towards the escape velocity.

Working together is not difficult. It is like knowing your neighbours and having a relationship with them. Being known to them they feel secure and confident. This promotes the feeling of trust and comradery. This promotes giving, receiving and sharing. The level of nobility rises as a result. Everything is smooth. What needs to get done, happens faster and efficiently. Everyone benefits.

The tendency to create noise to feel one’s existence is external. The sound or vibration of the communication of an egregore is internal. Hence Master is saying “mediate, learn to listen to the heart”. Inspiration comes out of deep silence. In the past year more than ever before no one can claim monopoly to any idea. The minute it pops in one person’s head, it is in many hearts simultaneously. The 100th monkey story is a humorous proof.

So, what is there in an idea? Everything is in finding the quiet joy and beautiful inner harmony in working together.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sadhana and Service in Sahaj Marg

By Victor Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)

Sadhana (Spiritual Practice) and Service are the two pillars of one’s existence. Practice and Service are integral parts of one’s duty and purpose of life here on earth.  Service without Sadhana cannot be sustained in quality or maturity and sadhana without service will lack the depth and perspective of universal brotherhood, one of the cornerstones of Sahaj Marg.

A balanced existence in Sadhana and Service, is essential. Once the goal is determined, direction is set, flight has to take place to reach that destination in the shortest period of time. No amount of service will benefit if it is not supported by dedicated sadhana.

We are given unprecedented opportunity to serve at various levels. Service gives us recognition and satisfaction.  Unless such service is performed devoid of ego and the need for recognition, these opportunities could pose a challenge to overcome, if we are to continue our march on spiritual path.

So, how to develop a depth in us that we not only serve but also produce lasting and desired results. This is possible only if we meditate and meditate more. On weekends and holidays we should meditate more often. After retirement we should meditate often. If we are teenagers, we should meditate more during vacations. Home Makers can meditate at noon and Heartfulness participants can meditate in the meditation rooms provided during break times.

Babuji Maharaj says the heart region is important to traverse as fast as one can. Then one can enjoy the spiritual practice even more.  So, we double up our efforts and by his grace, traverse the heart region faster, the Sahaj Marg system becomes a lot more enjoyable. Our bhogs reduce and we are slowly released from the clutches of duality.

So, let us make this very important habit to start the day with meditation, begin the evening after cleaning and end the day with night prayer. We are living in unprecedented times for spiritual growth and our efforts will bear exponential benefits.

Many of us are churning a lot in Heartfulness, totally inspired and empowered to participate in the movement. The initial enthusiasm wanes due to lack of results. This feeling of disillusionment will be substantially less if we practiced thoroughly and regularly, and it would also in some way help us to produce superior results, as our better condition due to more sincere sadhana could engender better outcomes as we do work.

So, Service and Sadhana will have to go hand in hand.

At times, we lack time to do justice to both. To gain time, there is absolutely no other way but to increase simplicity of our lives and circumstances by desiring less. In this too, Sadhana will help

So, focusing on Sadhana begins a virtuous cycle possible. Sadhana gives more time for Sadhana! Sadhana also gives better results in service.