Art of Giving – How, When and How much Should I Give?

|| A teacher never stops surprising you… ||

This time, it was during one of his Satsangs when Acharya ji spotted me having an “Aha Moment” as a story was being narrated by our beloved Master Ji. Smilingly, he asked me to write about it. Hopefully, by the time I reach the end of this writing, I would understand the motive of his nudge😊.

Master Ji, a regular in Acharya ji’s Satsang discourses is truly a living example of “Love, Compassion and Giving”. During one Satsang he recently narrated a  family incident on the topic of ‘Giving’. It goes thus –

A newly-wed girl was very disappointed with her father-in-law’s refusal to part with any money for a needy person at the door. Angry and disappointed, she turned towards the stranger and said, “whatever my father-in-law has, it is from his past lives, he hasn’t earned anything in this lifetime, so he does not want to give away anything.” This didn’t go too well with her father-in-law and he threatened to annul his son’s marriage with her. The girl was not only spiritually aware but also had the wisdom and strength to handle a tough situation like this. She agreed to comply with her father-in-law’s wish provided the family declared it in the presence of all the guests who attended their wedding. Her stance caught everyone by surprise and they mellowed down. Perhaps the father-in-law realized his folly and chose to let the incident pass. Now almost a decade has passed and the family is not only together but truly charitable. To bring about such a change in the family’s attitude is definitely the power of being on the path of Truth coupled with self-conviction rooted in true understanding of Laws of Karma for sure.

This story triggered a series of thoughts in my mind. I had a very comfortable childhood, but I guess I did not imbibe ‘the giving’ virtue in true sense as I grew up. I had to deal with my own insecurities when I saw my husband in the ‘giving-mode’ all the time despite his less privileged upbringing. I decided to take an inspiration from his story. Quite honestly, it has not been easy, but the real growth happened gradually alongside my spiritual journey. It is not hard to find people around us worth emulating but we seldom take notice.

Speaking of Master Ji, his is an exemplary story in itself. A former high school Math teacher in a tough neighborhood in the US, he personifies the virtue of ‘giving’. I vividly remember an incident when I had once invited him to attend a Pranayama workshop by a senior Yoga Teacher from upstate NY. After the workshop, he offered to buy a few Yoga books from the teacher. I did not want him to spend and tried telling him that he could borrow those books from me instead of buying them. With his characteristic smile, he said, “it is okay, let me buy these books. We should try to help such good endeavors in every way”. I was astonished by his capacity to share and give.

I now innately understand that the opportunities for giving that come our way usually commensurate with our capacity to give and vice-versa.

This little note will be incomplete without the mention of Kahlil Gibran’s wisdom on ‘Giving’ (from “The Prophet”)…his words can guide us to the true essence of ‘Giving’…

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

Please do read the rest of the poem here…

http://www.katsandogz.com/ongiving.html

Shivoham!

This article has been contributed by Ms. Alpana, a Yoga Teacher, a dedicated Tattva Shakti Vigyaan practitioner and founding member of Divine Path Yoga - NJ (USA), an establishment dedicated to promote Yoga and offer path for discovering divinity within. She has been gracefully evolving under the discipleship of her masters, Guruma Shakti Devpriya ji & Acharya Shri Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath ji.

 

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My Actions Beyond Me & Mine

“I bow at the lotus feet of my guru who guides me through it all. This is dedicated to my guru.”

I once asked a Wall Street business man known for his ruthlessness with his staff, why he donated his time to girls scout and money to institutions for terminally ill?  He said he was doing his bit to give back.

When I noticed that one of my ex-bosses was extremely generous during the holiday season with the cafeteria staff who served us, I asked her the reason behind her generosity. She told me to watch the events during after hour business receptions and dinner parties hosted in the office. Sure enough, the staff would be all around her, favoring her with best seating arrangement, asking her even before her drink in hand was over what she would have next and so on. At least she was honest and was clear about her motives.

I say it because so many of us don’t even know ourselves enough and do not wish to acknowledge our roots of selfishness. As Acharyaji says it, we as humans innately tend to serve the “I” more easily. So what if we don’t know or do not acknowledge our selfishness? Well then be prepared to be fooled again and again….. Here is a story

One of our very own special sadhaka, Krishnadasji, who has been a high school teacher in the US narrated this story. He taught at a public high school, which was once visited by a senior supervisor. After checking out several classes and teachers in action, he requested Krishnadasji and one of his young colleague teachers, Ms. Anna, to provide him with names of 5 underprivileged students from each of their classes. He said he believed in and practiced the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means that whole world is my family. He took these kids on a tour of Manhattan city and the kids came back very happy, raving about the supervisor. Ms Anna was smitten by this act of kindness and discussed with Krishnadasji how she was truly impressed by his generosity. She eventually started dating the supervisor and then came the day when they decided to tie the knot. She once again shared her joy with Krishnadasji who advised her to see things as they were before making life’s critical decision. She shared that he had showered all his kindness and love on her through plenty of nice gifts and she was quite sure about her decision. After 2 years of marital bliss, Ms. Anna shared the news of her pregnancy with her husband. She was distressed to hear that he did want the child and asked her to go for an abortion. She pleaded to no avail. Finally she shared her sorrow with Krishnadasji. He agreed to meet with her husband along with her parents for an open conversation. Krishnadasji our true angel was simply point blank and asked her husband what happened to his philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, when it came to his own child? It eventually came to light that he did not want his wife to have kids lest she lost her beauty!!

Most of us are no different from the Wall Street business man, the ex-boss or Anna and her husband. We tend to live in silos; doing our “good” for the society, allocating time for bhakti, etc. In our everyday lives, however, we continue to be driven by our flawed perceptions; marred by fear, attachment, pride, and our endless desires. We may not even be aware of our own sub-conscious drivers for our behaviors and actions! It is only when we start breaking down this silo mentality and begin applying the principles of kindness, generosity, and sacrifice to our everyday ordinary actions and interactions with our family, friends, colleagues, teams and partners alike that we would have taken the first step to knowing ourselves.

So why do I need to know myself? Its only when we really know ourselves will we start seeing the shades of black, grey and white in the fabric of our own lives. We may struggle to accept ourselves for who we are in the beginning but it’s a struggle worth undertaking. Once we are able to dive into it, we will eventually see the definition of “I” expanding because the same shades are present within and without just in varying patterns.

Well if we can only easily cater to the “I”, can we really go beyond it? Acharyaji says there is no need to go beyond the I! We just need to slowly start expanding our definition of “I”. Lets start small by including our loved ones and anyone else we have called “my” or “mine”.

I thank my guru, Acharyaji for his blessings and guidance through whom I am able to see a new day everyday! The daunting failures in my attempt to practice his divine teachings only drive me each day to start all over again.

Shivoham!

This article has been contributed by Jhankhna Verma, a dedicated Tattva Shakti Vigyaan practitioner from New Jersey US under the guidance of Guruma Shakti Devpriya & Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath ji. Jhankhna is a Yoga enthusiast & has deep interest in the field of ancient Healing Systems.

Mantra Vigyaan and Shakti Worship-Part III

Mantra Sadhana is an integral part of Shakti Sadhana. We have so far discussed, why is it necessary to get deeksha for a Mantra from an able Guru, various forms of Mantras and also the experience of various results with various Mantras. But there is a common issue faced by many of the Sadhak’s that is the feeling of being stagnated or stuck. It so happens that initially a Sadhak feels some progress but after sometime, there are virtually no experiences and this is when a Sadhak starts to question. Am I doing the right way? Am I doing the right Mantra? and Should I seek somewhere else?

Be Clear of Your Goals : Don’t Settle for Less

In this fast moving world such questions coming to mind are obvious. Many believe that once they have started doing Mantra Sadhana, enlightenment or siddhi is just around the corner. Sadly this is not the case with spiritual practices.

I always ask a person during initiation, “What do you want to happen in your life? I get various responses and those responses mostly decide their journey. One category of people who are absolutely clear about their material goals and say i want good happy life, i want financial stability, I want my children to be well settled and so on. And other set of people who say, I just want peace and want to be happy. The moment I ask what you keeps you from being happy, there are all worldly and material matters coming up. Sometimes it is health, sometimes wealth and sometimes relationships. Even if they do not open up at that very moment after few days will surely share all various matters that are bothering them and that they are trying to find solutions there. And there is one special category who actually does not know what they want. Although they are trying to search for something but are clueless.

The responses to such question actually determine the “Bhava” the emotion, feeling, undercurrent or thought with which Sadhana or practice is approached. The actual result of the Sadhana/ practice predominantly depends on this ‘bhava’. If you feel stalled or stagnated in your sadhana it is advisable to review your “Bhava”.

You are Divinity Incarnate, Not a Sinner

Mantra is embodiment of the pure divine energy or a particular form of Shakti. Mantra is divine bhava of your Guru. Therefore it requires purity and divinity in you to work. Your own perception about ‘self’ is vital to your progress in sadhana. Sadhana is to be approached with ‘Divya Bhava or Deva Bhava’.

So, to progress in Shakti Sadhana a sadhak/sadhika has to stay confident of his/her status as a legitimate son/daughter of the divine Mother. You must drop your material/social identity when you approach your practices or japa. In fact it is not only limited to treating yourself pure but goes even further. It is said देवो भूत्वा देवं यजेत …. meaning one should become a Divine being oneself before approaching a Divine sadhana.

A very common problem among Sadhakas is – If I have not taken bath, changed by clothes.. etc. etc. therefore I am impure. And how can I engage in the worship / sadhana of Devi without ‘snaanam‘ (bathing) and wearing clean clothes. This is called ‘Pashu Bhava’.  You must come out of this ‘bhava’. Know this – ‘The moment I remember divine Mother, I become free of all my impurities’. (I am not suggesting that you should not try to follow external shuchita.. that you MUST but if that is not possible you shouldn’t deny yourself that right to connect with divinity) निर्द्वन्‍द is the exact bhava here that you should aspire for.

So next time you are sitting for mantra japa, become aware of your bhava drop all your apprehensions of being limited or impure. See yourself as a radiant source of love, light and purity. It will remove many roadblocks of your progress.

Report Your Progress to Your Teacher

Staying in touch with your Guru is another must do. It is said that one should stay with one’s Guru while one is engaged in Shakti Sadhana. When that is not possible one should visit one’s Guru personally every day. If even that is not possible one should spend time with one’s Guru once every fortnight i.e. on Poornima & Amavasya. If that is also not possible you must visit your Guru at least on three important occasions and receive his/her blessings- the occasions are Guru Poornima, Anniversary of Guru’s deeksha or Birthday, Anniversary of your own Deeksha or Birthday.

Sitting in the company of your Guru is the best means of reducing the burdens of your previous sins. Both, Kabir and Tulsi say that such is the power of divine-contact with holy souls that it destroys off millions of your karmic defects in just few minutes.

एक घड़ी आधी घड़ी ,आधी की पुनि आध ,
तुलसी संगत साधु की ,कटे कोटि अपराध|

These meetings should be for the purpose of clarification of doubts, receiving more knowledge, offering service and absorbing the grace of Guru. If you have nothing to share its better to sit silently rather than engaging in absurd discussions on people, politics or parivaar-samsaara jaala.

Never think You are Indispensable

Ego is the biggest hurdle in spiritual progress. Beware the reasons for a disciple’s Ego inflation are created by Guru as well. Not because they want to harm us but only because they want the disciples to stay rooted in humility.

If your teacher asks for something from you or gives you some work it is actually a sheer matter of joy and not burden because true Gurus generally don’t ask for ANYTHING from us. Also it is true that it is being an instrument in the divine cause or service is a great privilege. What to talk of saying NO, I feel a disciple should never ever create a situation by one’s inaction that Guru is required to remind or follow up.  I can tell you only from my own experience and the truth is that whatever I have achieved till today it is only because I didn’t ever question any of my Guru’s commands whether they were against my personal, family’s or even social beliefs and norms.

If Guru chooses you for his work it is great personal fortune but beware there’s a  catch (Gurus are truly masters of their domain i.e. ‘keep testing the disciple’ ) – sometimes you may be driven to think that Guru is dependent on you. At times a disciple may feel as if he or she is the ‘chosen or favoured’ one. So much so that sometimes a disciple starts feeling ‘I am doing favour to my Guru’ or that ‘I am the only one who can do that’. Lo behold! A journey you started for the Heavenly kingdom of Mother divine… that started with surrender & humility reaches the ‘Ancient rocky Inn of Stagnation’ just because you could not keep the bhava of service (seva) and humility (vinamrataa) together.

Drop Your Expectations from Sadhana

When a teacher says drop your expectations from Sadhana most of people are unable to understand this statement. How can that happen when every mantra sadhana fact begins with a sankalpa i.e. an intent. This needs little explanation.

If I say that every karma you do starts with an intention I won’t be wrong. This intention should definitely be there in the beginning but then comes the phase of action. It is during this phase of action one should be completely free of expectations. Shakti Sadhana or mantra sadhana is a technique to create divine vibrations in your core of being therefore if during your mantra japa your mind splits in two entities – one that is engaged in creating the divine pulsations and another that is engaged in ‘expecting’ then the results of your sadhana can not be 100%.

It is sad though but even in Tattva Shakti Vigyaan some people, who are in the initial phases of their sadhana, seem to have taken this path up as a remedial tool  for alleviation of their physical or mental sufferings. These are the people that are NEVER 100% present in their practices. They are not only wasting their time but also becoming a case for scepticism and doubt about the Sadhana itself.

The efficacy of Spiritual practices need not be judged with the worse case scenarios. Sceptics should understand that all the surgeons in the world have the same tools available to them but what makes one ‘the best’ in their field is their 100% dedication during learning and 100% attention during their ‘action’. So, if you are stagnated look at your bhava with which you approach the sadhana. If a ‘sceptic’,  ‘doubting’ or ‘expecting’ fraction of mind is still there you should get back to training once again. Get back to basics – learn breathing, relaxation, detachment, service and discipline to calm your mind and finally bring your mind under control. Some learners aren’t self-driven. They need guidance during their practice as well. Such people should openly reach out to available guides around.. these can be your seniors, therapists, motivators and even good books that can bring in some light of enthusiasm and hope to you.

If you are stagnated in Sadhana… watch for your thoughts. Discuss your personal issues with your teacher. Shut your mind’s chatter and stop whining and complaining about self, people and situations. Look at people around you who are not as lucky as you, not as affluent as you, not as healthy as you. Learn to count your blessings and stay in the attitude of gratitude for what you have or own today is not what you ‘deserved’ but what you have been ‘blessed’ with. Sadhana is not a 30 minutes TDS prescription – it is your choice to live your life in perfect harmony without succumbing to virtual sufferings.

A sadhaka should be courageous enough to place the fruit of his/her sadhana in the hands of Mother Goddess with a request “Yathaa Yogyam Tathaa Kuru”. This is correct bhava in your expectations.

Stay Awake : Remember Your Vows

In the Shakti Sadhana – we are told by our teachers that the Mantra needs to be kept secret and that experiences of Sadhana need not be discussed with anyone. Mostly these instructions are one time ritual and not repeated.

Many times I have seen people failing to keep their Mantras secret. If you are still thinking that ‘my mantra’ is the same mantra that is written in so and so book – you missed the whole concept of Initiation or deeksha. Mantra is the Guru’s energy with you – It is not in the words of mantra. Mantra is just an envelope in which your Guru has packed his personal intent and the collective energy of his lineage to work for you. Once a mantra is revealed – it becomes merely bundle of words; The power of it is lost. If you have wrongly or by mistake revealed your mantra to someone – this need to be reported to your Guru immediately for it is only Guru who can limit (even he can not undo it fully) your personal spiritual loss now. Follow your Guru’s advice on repentance/penance that is typically known as ‘prayashchitta’ in the spiritual circles.

When a Sadhaka/Sadhika experiences something mysterious during their sadhana it is so overwhelming and joyous. But always remember – howsoever beautiful or out of the world that experience might be – never fall prey to your temptation. Instead keep a journal, record your experiences on daily basis. DO NOT share your experiences with ANYONE except your teacher. If you share your experiences even once it dampens your progress to the extent that it may get completely stalled.

Watch out : How do you Serve your Guru

Most of sadhakas in shakti sadhana do not understand what ‘bhava’ actually means it comes to Guru. I can not elaborate too much on it but let me say the essentials. The primary foundation of ‘bhava’ is about your attitude towards your ‘teacher or Guru, and the Deity.  Some seekers/sadhaks think they rightfully ‘deserve’ the success in sadhana through their ‘karmas’ (following the prescribed processes of mantra chanting). Such sadhaks/sadhikas apart from being rooted in ‘i deserve’ attitude also think deeksha to be a kind of barter or transaction.  This attitude takes a student nowhere!

If a person has found an able teacher it is sheer grace of Mother Divine because we can NEVER ever pay for Guru’s benevolent deeds. Kabir says..

यह तन विषय की बेलरी, गुरु अमृत की खान।
सीस दिये जो गुरु मिलै, तो भी सस्ता जान॥

Second grave mistake sadhaks/sadhikas commit is that they treat their teachers as ordinary human beings. I have seen people who treat their Gurus as one of their friends or the worse ‘a servant of a kind’ who should be ready to ‘serve’ the needs and demands of theirs. If you see this dohaa of Kabir you would know that a student should rather be at the service of Guru.

गुरू मूर्ती गती चंद्रमा, सेवक नैन चकोर |
आठ पहर निरखता रहे, गुरू मूर्ती की ओर ||

Guru is a divine incarnate one must keep in mind and therefore receive his blessings with ‘divya bhava’.  One should not ever criticize one’s Guru. It is told in Shakti Sadhana lineages and also finds mention in scriptures that Mother never smiles upon such people. And upon leaving this human body they are pushed into the cycle of 84 Lakh inferior yonis.

A protocol – That reflects your Bhava

Whenever you visit a temple or your Guru you should never go empty-handed. Always offer something at the deity and your Guru’s feet. It is not for the purpose of pleasing them but only to offload our karmic baggage. Offering money, clothes, flowers etc. is mandated in scriptures but this is in essence ‘cultivation of bhava’.

The secret in Shakti Sadhana is – If your Guru is not happy with you or even just indifferent of you, your mantras do not take you beyond a point!

I have still not given whole lot of things you should do in order to succeed but only preliminaries. I suspect even this much is much more than what you can currently prepare yourself for!

Shivoham!

-Ma Shakti

Mantra Vigyaan and Shakti Worship- Part II

Mantra is a significant aspect of Shakti Sadhana. Utmost importance is given to proper pronunciation of a mantra. Because the manner in which the mantra is pronounced decides its results. The most important thing in mantra sadhana as discussed earlier is deeksha into a mantra. For Shakti Sadhana there are thousands of mantras right from saabar to beeja to stotras, dhyaana mantras, moola mantra, mala mantras, sahasranama etc.  Shakti upasana, in particular MahaVidya upasanas requires proper deeksha from a Guru.

RECEIVE MANTRA ONLY FROM AN ABLE GURU

Mantra has to be received properly from a qualified Guru. Here we are less concerned about the personal attributes and academic qualification of the Guru rather focused on the fact that Guru himself should have done the desired number of recitation of mantra and should have experienced ‘Mantra Veerya‘ or essence of mantra. Mantra Veerya can not be defined in specific terms but generally speaking a particular mantra gives the practitioner a specific experience upon blooming. When mantra blooms it brings about two outcomes – first one is ‘specific inner experience’ in the practitioner and the second one is some modification in the energy-matrix of outer world (if it is a mantra belonging to that category). Mantra Veerya is that inner experience of particular mantra.

WHY THAT MANTRA DIDN’T WORK FOR ME?

Sadhaka engaged in Shakti Sadhana mostly receives standard mantric forms from the teachers. For example if someone has received Kamakhya Mantra from one teacher of course the other teacher shall also give the same mantra (verbatim).  But then it is also very commonly felt that mantras (though they are the same) from different teachers work differently. While disciples of one teacher start having enriching experiences, inner transformation and spiritual ascension quite easily and early and other practitioners reciting the same mantra (exact pronunciation and exact same words) received from some other teacher do not progress at all!

Now this sounds ridiculous but it is not. Tantric texts have clearly given out reasons for the same. It is written that mantras are like living entities and thus the same mantra can have different emotional and energy states like – Supta Mantra, Jaagrat Mantra, Keelit mantra, Krodhit Mantra etc. Now an innocent seeker would probably never know if that particular mantra which he/she received has been abused by his teacher or lineage. In case a mantra has been indiscriminately used/given out to undeserving people the mantra loses its power. Not only this! Mantra in its first phase becomes baadhit (withdraws its power) and if the abuse still continues it becomes angered. So much so that it can now cause harm to the practitioner!!

This is the most important aspect of mantra which most of the spiritual seekers don’t understand about Shakti Sadhana through Mantra yoga.  Most of people ask how to rule out the possibility of receiving a defective/angered or dead mantra and the answer lies in identifying whether Teacher is indiscriminately giving mantra to anyone & everyone who approaches him or he/she chooses the disciples. If a teacher is seen distributing mantras indiscriminately there is quite a danger in receiving mantra from such a teacher.

EACH SYLLABLE OF MANTRA WORKS ON YOUR TATTVIC COMPOSITION IN DIFFERENT WAYS

Now let us understand what are the results when an energized mantra is received and chanted properly. The letter that make a word are pronounced by five places. The five places are lips, tongue, teeth, palate and throat. Every point corresponds to a tattva or element. The lips correspond to Earth Element, the tongue to Water element, the teeth to Fire element, the palate to air element and throat to Space element. The Mantras or letters that use lips for pronunciation develop and strengthen the Earth element within the Sadhak. In the same way words or letters that use tongue for pronunciation develop and strengthen Water element, words and letter using Teeth, strengthen Fire Element, words and letter using palate, strengthen Air element and words and letters using throat strengthen Space element.

MANTRAS MANIFEST SWAROOPA TO SADHAKA

This human body is miniaturized universe – The Microcosm. It is personal universe of the individual. However within this Microcosm or personal Universe there are three discrete universes situated
in the middle, top and bottom parts of the body. The three universes are also related to three distinct energies. The middle portion of body is related to Kaaran Shaktis or Causal powers. The lower part of body is related to Sthoola Shaktis or Gross powers. The upper portion of the body is related to Sookshma Shaktis or subtle powers.  Knowledge about self, transcendental knowledge and also material knowledge is bestowed upon the Sadhaka when various Shaktis are activated. Various mantras activate various shaktis, For example the mantra “राम” activates Subtle energies. The mantra “ह्रीं” activates Causal energies and mantra “ध्रीं” activates Gross energies.
When these energies are activated completely, they manifest into a particular form depending upon the emotion and desire of the Sadhak. The Sadhak is blessed by the that particular form and his/her desires fulfilled and manifested. Mantra jap certainly gives its results but to attain the Siddhi where manifested form of God/Goddess are invoked and blessings are received, requires the Sadhak to go through complete Tattva shuddhi, Nadi Shuddhi and most importantly he/she should have control over his senses this also referred to as Dharana Siddhi. When the Shakti manifests in a form, there is no rule that she will be in Devi Swaroop only she can manifest in Dev roop also, it depends on the Sadhana of the Sadhak.
AVOID KAAMYA PRAYOGA & REFRAIN FROM WRONG MANTRAS
There is one more crucial aspect that should be discussed here. The Mantra’s are of two types- दैविक (godly and divine) पैशाचिक  (demonic and satanic). The result of the daivik mantra is explained above but when a Sadhak does a Sadhana of Paishachik mantras the Shakti is not manifested in front of him.  But a Sadhak himself enters into the region of Pishach and brings him under his control. The pishach in control can do any sort of work for the Sadhak, but the end result is painful and grievous, as the Sadhak enters into Pishach-yoni after death. The other secret is that the boon and results gained through Daivik Sadhana can be enjoyed freely without incurring any debt. Whereas the results gained through Pishachik Sadhana have to be re-compensated.
A Sadhak can gain anything through Shakti Sadhana. The Supreme goddess blesses with boons when is pleased and joyous.
देव्या यया ततमिदं जगदात्मशक्त्या
निश्शेषदेवगणशक्तिसमूहमूत्र्या।
तामम्बिकामखिलदेवमहर्षिपूज्यां
भकत्या नता: स्म विदधातु शुभानि सा न: ।।
Many at times practitioners feel their progress in Mantra Yoga gets stalled after few quick experiences. Why this happens, what are the causes and what should be done if such a thing happens, I shall deal with all such questions in my next post.
Shivoham!
– Ma Shakti Devpriya

Mantra Vigyaan and Shakti Worship- Part I

Shakti Upasana or ‘Worshiping Shakti’ is a very ancient tradition in the Indian subcontinent. The Shakti or Devi (as she is referred to in this region) upasana finds mention in Vedas as well. The followers and adherents of Shakti have been great Rishis, Tantra adepts, sages and Mahatmas but in present times we see that most of the people are not fully aware of even the basics of what Shakti Upasana is.

Goal of Shakti Upasana

Upasana (Upa = Near, Asana = To sit or Seat) essentially means to “sit nearby on being in vicinity”. So it can be said that the Sadhana is the way or the means by which one gets to sit near the “One who is worshiped or revered.” But the question would be where is that Shakti? The Shakti is a Tattva within us through which one can control and transcend the Maya (illusion). Thus, Shakti Upasana is the means or method by which one can control Maya and when Maya is subdued one gets freed from attachments leading to Moksha (Salvation).

So Shakti Upasana becomes the means to achieve Moksha or liberation from the clutches of illusory suffering that this worldly experience is all about.  However mostly we find that Shakti Upasana is done for various worldly achievements and success instead of its true goal. So here it becomes important for us to understand various forms of Shakti Upasana.

Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande

Human body is a small universe in itself. All the components of the universe are present within the human body, most of them in their subtle forms and some in grosser manifestations. Through Sadhana a Sadhak/Sadhika (practitioner) essentially tries to connect with the various tones and hues of energies within him/her only.. thus gradually acquires control over some or all of them to achieve success. Success is a subjective matter and shakti is capable of whatever your desire.. yet in Srividya tradition of Tantra a practitioner is primarily desirous of Salvation. Therefore connecting with the Shakti Tattva within and strengthening it to allow one’s passage to Shiva-Shakti consciousness is THE success in this case.

Shakti Upasana : Not means to an end 

Going by the principle of ‘Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande’ even if we are trying to connect to Shakti in “a form” outside us (as many at times in ritualistic methods done), we are essentially connecting to Shakti within us. Because the seemingly different Pramaataa-Prameya and Pramaan is unbroken continuum of Shakti only. The common thread always remains the same – the awareness of highest kind (Turya). So there should not be any doubt whatsoever in one’s mind  whether one is engaged in ‘antar-upasana’ (inner esoteric means) or ‘bahya upasana’ (ritualistic means).. both lead to the same experience at the end. The only superficial difference lies in the beginning.. later it leads to the similar experience of unified Shakti. The Shakti which is in ‘form’ is transmuted to ‘formless’ and vice versa. This ultimate experience is liberating in the sense that it destroys sadhaka’s all preconceived notions about the direction cognition of this world and most importantly about The Shakti herself.

Now comes the question what are the various means through which we can connect and experience communion with different overtones, hues and attributes of the Shakti.

Mantra Yoga : The Essence of Tantra

There are two means one is Yog Sadhana and other is Mantra Sadhana. Yog Sadhana has many branches like Ashtang Yog, Layayog, Rajyog, Surat shabdayog, and even Mantra Jap is one of them. So we can say there is only one means to the end and it is the end in itself too; connecting with Shakti is Yog. Remember in every spiritual system the means has to merge in the end. Therefore Tantra is that Yog where sadhaka merges in Shakti through use of mantra. Mantra Sadhana seems to be the most easy means in today’s time, as we see most of the people seeking Gurus do not want to be inducted in some Sadhana, but to get some Mantra that can be beneficial to them on all the levels.

Receive and use Mantra carefully

But there are rules and regulations under Mantra yog which are important to be known for all the seekers and concerned. The success of Mantra Sadhana depends on three things, one is pronunciation of the Mantra. In Chandogya Upanishad, importance is exerted on pronunciation of Mantras. It is said even a little mispronunciation destroys the effects of the Mantra. The other is method of Mantra jap. Wrong and incomplete methods also fail to bring desired results. We have seen people keep doing mantra jap without getting any results and finally lose hope and stop it. They further say that this is all fake and waste of time. But the reality is that they do not know the right way to do Mantra Jap. The third and most important thing is the emotional connect and Trust on Guru’s intent while accepting the transmission of the mantra.

Above all this – in Tantra, before starting any Sadhana, Tattva Shuddhi is an essential part without which a Sadhak cannot move further in his/her Sadhana. When Mantra received from a capable Guru is taken up and done properly (using complete method and correct pronunciation) after Bhuta Shuddhi it shall never fail to give its results to the practitioner.

Some people have doubt on the efficacy of Mantra but we all know that every spoken words releases a vibration in the universe. Majority of your personal life if not all is sum-total of words expressed by you. When words are spoken loudly, outer universe reverberates and when spoken mentally, the inner universe reverberates. The words spoken mentally are more effective. The vibration produced by the word forms a symbol and this symbol stays in the universe till it is absorbed by matter or till it becomes dull and inactive. Varying pronunciations of the same word form various symbols. Also regulated and determined articulation of sounds produces continuous symbols. By understanding the above principles we can say that every Mantra jap has to produce some result. And when Mantra jap is done the right way its results are also reproducible.

In the next post we shall talk about various forms of mantra jap and how do they produce their results…

Shivoham!

– Ma Shakti Devpriya

Judge-Mentalism : A perspective

“It’s easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Friends & fellow travellers,

As I read this quote by Gandhiji, I get a deeper insight into what made Gandhiji undefeatable and unstoppable by the most sophisticated army and artillery the then leading nation of the world, Britain, could afford.

How can we live by this mantra? The first thing that comes to mind is we would have to drop the very notion of being judgmental!

Mankind today is lost in judging people and situations alike around them. Consciously or subconsciously we are constantly making judgments about people by color, caste, creed, religion, age, good/bad, financial status, values, strengths, weaknesses so on and so forth, the list is simply endless.  Of course, since we are in the twenty first century and have been taught to become aware of our intolerances, we now allow our senses and worldly experiences of pleasant and unpleasant drive this age-old addiction. Our loved ones are also not spared as our preference for “pleasing to the mind and senses” over “what is right” starts taking topmost priority

The question that comes up is how is judge-mentalism different from discernment or knowing when not to play with fire. One would easily argue, I cannot leave my jewelry collection with someone who has been labeled as thief. Which means, now I have to also drop my own attachments, fears and ego so that I can discern without feeding the fire? Exactly, and it worked for Gandhiji. His non-judgmental demeanor supported by fearlessness, humility and little attachment to the outcome of his endeavors is what gave us the most unimaginable outcome. He proved to the world that by being judgmental we are limiting our own choices, capabilities and unfathomable victories for self.

So far, the world has been focusing on how by judging others we are unleashing an unfair disadvantage to those we judge. While that is the obvious truth, in order to really adopt this non-judgmental demeanor, we need to get a bit selfish first. What’s in it for me to not be judgmental? If we try to understand just one example of Gandhiji’s life and his achievements it will be obvious that by being judgmental we are first hurting ourselves in the process. By letting our judge mentalism drive our actions we choose to deal with the familiar terrain that is oh so pleasantly comforting and we also choose to go in circles in the same place forever! We build a boundary around ourselves- “a circle of trust” and choose to live within our self-imposed prison of limits. Anyone who does not abide by my rules, definitions, expectations, etc etc shall be judged! But that’s when start losing out on opportunities along with self growth that our ego, in fear of being hurt and defeated, cannot even fathom.

Let’s break the invisible shackles and step out of that comfort zone sacrificing our attachment to “pleasantness” and embrace simply being there!!!

Judgmentally yours

Jhankhna

This article has been contributed by Jhankhna Verma, a dedicated Tattva Shakti Vigyaan practitioner from New Jersey USA. Jhankhna is a Yoga enthusiast & has deep interest in the field of ancient Healing Systems.

Can chakras be awakened through Meditation

– Anonymous question at Quora

 

Lovely Soul,

Your question is not framed correctly. I guess you mean ‘activation/balancing & opening’ of chakra through this word ‘enlightening’. Assuming so your question becomes ‘Is chakra opening/balancing is practically possible through meditation?’

The brief answer to this : The manifestation of ‘expressed’ Kundalini is your being! The current state you are in, your body, mind, attitude, capacities.. virtually every aspect which you categorised as ‘my or mine’ is that expressed portion of kundalini. Individual kundalini is an infinitely miniscule stream deriving its qualities from the oceanic ‘Mahashakti’ – the Creative principle. As per Shaakta tantric principles the Mahashakti – divine creative principle manifests itself as energy and consciousness in its playful state. This creative principle in your body is always functioning despite you.

The so called illumination of activation of chakra means creating a capacity (through the use of expressed part of Kundalini in your body and being) and awareness to experience this divine dance of manifested active Energy in your body and being. The moment you become capable of experiencing one chakra you have taken a lean from the material to ethereal experience. Of course as your awareness and capacity increases you can experience and exploit the inherent capacities that exist within the framework of your body and mind. They are referred to as siddhis.

There are various ways of creating that awareness and sensitivity to experience the nodal centers of energies (chakras) but every method requires consistent and intense effort. The general principle is – move from outer to inner. Move from desires to desirelessness. Move from thoughts to thoughtlessness. Move away from expectations to witnessing. Move from Tamas to Sattva.

Tantric system has many ways (each one of them needs to be given out by a qualified/realized teacher) for facilitating this journey from impurity to purity. Purity means balance and minimal agitation in the system of body and mind. The highest and sureshot system of awakening/activating chakras (there is much more to it than just purifying and illuminating chakras) in Tantra is known as Sri Vidya Sadhana. In the Samaya and Mishra system of Sri Vidya sadhana one naturally works through various processes that awaken, purify and balance the chakras. This is a meditation system that beautifully utilizes the power of expressed kundalini shakti through use of Mantras. Yoga also works in this way but most of the times without much of reference to chakras.

Yet to be able to meditate effectively whether it is in the Tantric System or Yogic one needs to go through the various purification processes. In system of Yoga this purification is achieved by Yama-Niyamas, Shat-karmas and Nadi-shuddi. In the system of Tantra you have Nadi-Shuddhi, Bhuta-Shuddhi, Shaktipaata by Guru and taking use of processes like Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya and Mantras. So, whatever system you follow – you shall be directly or indirectly working through your chakras and to be able to activate and illuminate higher chakra you would need more purity and higher awareness.

So, do meditate but remember meditation begins with Dharana. And Dharana is capacity to focus and concentrate. Which means the movement of money mind must stop. Yet to be able to activate chakras through meditation you will have to use Dharana i.e. localized focus on certain points in the body-Energy matrix of yours rather than a non-local meditation which aims at relaxation of mind and a state of thoughtlessness.

Only thoughtlessness doesn’t lead to illumination of chakras.

Hope this clarifies.

Shivoham!

The above answer was given on Quora by Acharya ji on the question of a seeker. To read more of him you can visit Master’s blog

Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya – New Jersey, USA

Recently Divine Path Yoga in association with Sacred Association organized a  Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya LIVE programme for the benefit of seekers, learners, tantra enthusiasts and Tattva Shakti Vigyaan practitioners in New Jersey, USA. The workshop concluded on 7th of November 2017.

The participants thoroughly enjoyed learning under the guidance of Gurumandala represented by our beloved master Acharya Shri Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath ji. Every participant was endowed with the blissful state of Kriya that ensued much after the practice session. Here’s a group photograph taken on just after the concluding session of this programme.

        || Blissful participants after LIVE Session of Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya workshop ||

The Divine Path Yoga founders and representative of Gurumandala in USA, Ms. Shuchi & Alpana coordinated and assisted in organizing and delivery of this whole programme. May the blessings of our Gurumandala and grace of Ma Shakti be upon every participant of Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya and its organizers.

Shivoham!

Panch-Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya – Mumbai

Revered Tantric Masters and propagator of Tattva Shakti Vigyaan, Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath and Ma Shakti offer the secret Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya that belongs to ancient Tantric lineage and is one of its kind. Acharya ji shares that this is the only one Kriya that despite being extremely powerful can be given to everyone and through the regular practice of Panch Mahabhoot Shakti Kriya every person can gain the immense benefits. He says “Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya takes the practitioner to a deep meditative state where healing and rejuvenation is accelerated five times as compared to what happens in deep dreamless sleep.”

CLEANSES AND BALANCES TATTVAS

Our whole being resonates with the rhythm of the universe. This unique amazing rhythm of the universe is created by the play of five elements also known as Panch Mahabhuta. The Five Great elements are not only supporting us on the gross level, but they are the foundation and basis of who and what we are. Our every thought and action arises from the play of these five elements and further affects them too. Working with the five elements simply means tending to the roots. Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya is an ancient Tantric Kriya that purifies and balances the five elements.

The Five Great elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. The Chakras in our body are the abode of the five elements. The Earth element (Prithvi) resides in Root Chakra (Muladhara). The Water element (Jal) resides in Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana). The Fire element (Agni) resides in Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra). The Air Element (Vayu) resides in Heart Chakra (Anahat) and Space element (Akasha) resides in Throat Chakra (Vishudh).

BALANCES & HEALS CHAKRAS

Health of the chakras determine our physical, mental and spiritual well being. Although the Chakras are a part of our energy body, but they are also connected to the various endocrine glands in the body. The endocrine glands release hormones directly into the blood influencing and controlling various aspects of growth, development and daily activities. When we start to work on the five elements with Panch Mahabhoot Shakti Kriya, the chakras are also cleansed and balanced. In turn they affect the related endocrine glands leading to better well being of the physical body. The physical body feels light and is completely de-stressed after practicing the Kriya.

 

PROMOTES HOLISTIC GROWTH

Almost all physical and mental disturbances are caused due to blocks in our energy bg-healthsystem. Our energy system is made up of Chakras and Nadis. If you feel sad, angry, irritated and depressed most of the times, it is because of blocked energy channels leading to sluggish chakras. The breathing techniques done during Panch Mahabhoot Shakti kriya cleanse the nadi system and free you from negative emotions like anger, worry, anxiety and depression. Practicing the Kriya just once makes you feel happy and relaxed. Having a perfect emotional well being leads to more creative and prolific life.

 

KRIYA FACILITATES MEDITATION

If you have been meditating for a long time or have just started to meditate, you must have certainly confronted the biggest hurdle that is of achieving a thoughtless state of mind. Every person who has practiced Panch Mahabhoot Shakti Kriya, have said to achieve that state. In exact words of a practitioner after practicing Kriya just once First time in life I have felt so calm and focussed both at the same time while doing a practice. Although it was just for a few moments, but I know now what I am capable of Achieving a state of thoughtlessness is dream of every meditator and by practicing Panch Mahabhoot Kriya you can surely achieve it.

 

WITH KRIYA – GROW SPIRITUALLY

Revered Tantrika and Tattva Shakti Vigyaan propagator Ma Shakti says If you really want to change things in your life do something about it. Through Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya it is so possible only by giving few minutes daily to yourself. This Tantric Kriya starts re-wiring your life-energies by harnessing the power of Five great Elements. The positive impact of this restructuring becomes visible in all life situations, health, relationships in less than 3 months itself. Pancha Mahabhuta Shakti kriya** opens the further growth avenues for spiritual growth.

KRIYA – A 24 MINUTES WONDER

By giving just few minutes to Panch Mahabhoot Kriya daily you change your life forever. The effects are incredible and benefits are immense.

To know more you can write to us at saral.org@gmail.com or info@sacredassociation.org

To directly register ONLINE you may follow below link..

https://www.eventshigh.com/detail/Mumbai/f96f4977d590fe65510bcddbdd257e83

Shivoham!

From #MeToo to #iam – You can do it Girl!

Everyday there are new hashtags invented, that make way to the social media headlines. Some are serious, some are for fun, some go trending and some are just to make noise. But this particular hashtag #metoo…. It came as surprise for many, dismay for some and distressing for all, concerned or not but more importantly it brought more awareness and feeling of connectedness among fellow sufferers. One thing every woman felt that she is not alone.

This particular campaign is not to be ignored. Everyone who has been affected even minutely by this staggering reality, feels something should be done.  But sadly, all feel that ‘someone’ has to do something about the predicament of women in the society. The government has to make stricter rules. Police should listen to the victims and take action. Courts should have empathetic view and should pronounce harsher punishments to the criminals. The biggest change maker however can be the woman herself. Only she has the power to change this grave reality.

Shakti is the word for the feminine energy pervading the universe. It is the power that is forming the whole universe. The woman (embodiment of Shakti) has to understand her role in the network of society. There is no man who is not at all related to any woman. This very woman is fulcrum of bringing about desired change. It is where from the biggest change can start. A male can be and should be taught to respect a female, only by a female. And it is the mother here who has to play the most crucial role. But most of the times we see that mothers fail in teaching their dear sons anything about clean conduct and morality.

Alas! Even mothers have fallen prey to the belief that just being a male means you can be/do whatever you want… a casual dater, an exploiter, a molester or worst a rapist.  The basic issue in the country like India is that Feminine energy is worshiped in form of idols and the Males are worshiped in form of humans. ‘Deviji’ has been reduced to ‘bivi or wife’ but ‘Patidev’ still lives on (at least in the hearts of fairer sex). This thought is so deeply ingrained even in women, that when a woman gives birth to a male child, she thinks she has achieved a higher status and her child is a special blessing. The fact remains every child is a blessing but who cares. A boy is after all a human, probably more restless and arrogant creature than a girl in the same place.. It needs to be understood by all mothers especially the ones who have mothered a male child. So mothers out there who write #metoo, please do change to #Iam.

“I am a responsible mother who teaches my son to respect all females. I am a mother who lets her boy know that not all mistakes are forgivable. I am a mother who treats my daughters and sons equally. I am a mother who tells her son to be a good human being, a gentleman before anything else.”

Why does a man see a female as an object and not as a human? Who will you blame for this mindset of a male. The open projection of the beauty of a female has made her more vulnerable. The poets, the painters, the sculptors all the have tried to express this beauty in the form of art. The whole world appreciates this beauty. Some in a subtle graceful manner and some through really crass means. It is the beauty of a woman which becomes the selling strategy for many products. This is the X-factor. This is given so much importance in the society, that a woman is seen only as an object of beauty. It is thought that, the God has made the woman beautiful only for man to enjoy her. And man by his primal nature, and blindly driven by biology instinctively gets attracted to this beauty for progeny. Is this the only truth posed as an excuse? Probably not!

#Iam responsible. Have I ever focused on  anything else than looking beautiful in this world where.. All other wonderful attributes and virtues of being a woman are not highlighted. Albeit today’s woman is struggling and striving to prove that “We are not only objects of beauty to be enjoyed, but humans who have many wonderful attributes.” But it is a paradoxical situation. How is it possible, that as we see around we find the exact opposite scenario. Turn on the TV, flip magazine pages, go through the internet, or just walk down the street, you will find women objectifying their own beauty. I do not say all of them are doing so, but yes there is a dominantly large percentage of women who try to influence the minds of the society only through their physical beauty. So before you write #MeToo, write #Iam

“I am a woman who respects her body. I am a woman who knows her body is not an object of exhibition. I am a woman who is not just the body, but is also having brains, talent, intellect, skills and many hidden capacities. I am strong and empowered to protect my dignity.”

For all those women who have gone through such horrible experiences in life. Know that your body may be violated, but your soul is untouched.  Your body is capable of giving you experiences related to the outer world, but your mind and heart can lead you to a inner world where  you meet with your pure, unsullied and perfect real Self.

“I am strong and have all the powers to protect my dignity but Alas! offenders and these criminals can sometimes be dangerously powerful and mean.”

I am really not able to stop quoting this to all my fellow sister lionesses and tigresses that you must fight till your last breath. Knowing the fact that world is cruel and has no place for mercy. You may lose a battle that is perfectly ok because ‘Yun to kutte bhi gher lete hain gardish me sher ko’.. never give up wait for your turn to give back!

You are the most valuable creation of the Supreme being. Each and everyone of you has the light of Mother Bhagwati (mother of the universe) hidden within you. Now, is the time you realize the light and find the way towards the Self. Initially it will be difficult to experience the Self in its entirety, but the journey itself from being a victim to a free soul is exhilarating. Worth giving a try. Change from a victimized #metoo to a free #Iam

“I am not the mind, Intelligence, sense of ‘I’  (Conditioned consciousness). I am not the sense organs  I am not the five elements. I am Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness”

I am neither the vital energy nor pancha vayu. I am not the seven fundamental principles of bodily constituents . I am not the Panchakosha. I am not the five action organs.   I am Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness

I am all pervasive, and without any form, pervade all senses and world. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to the liberation (mukti). I am Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness.”

 

O woman you are not the weaker of the sexes, If all come together and wish to change the world for better and forever, the change we are dreaming of is not very far away.

For all the gentlemen I would like to say..

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः ।
यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः ॥

The divine are extremely happy where women are respected where they are not, all actions (projects) are fruitless.

Shivoham!

– Ma Shakti Devpriya

TSV- A Sadhana to bring fulfillment at all the three levels- material, physical and spiritual

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