The Nature and Location of Consciousness – Swami Krishnananda

The principle maintained in the philosophy of Yoga is that consciousness is unlimited… This is a very important point that we have to remember at the very beginning. Here, when we encounter the definition or meaning of consciousness, we are likely to face several difficulties: What is consciousness? Where is it situated? What is its origin? How is it related to us? And what is its final importance?

The history of philosophy has been a long record of varieties of definitions and answers to this great question. Endless definitions have been provided by various thinkers and philosophers throughout the history of thought. One of the insurmountable difficulties faced in this connection is the habituated feeling that consciousness is inside the body. We can never forget that this is the fact. Where is your consciousness? “It is inside me; it cannot be anywhere else.” Of course, we are prepared to concede that consciousness is inside everybody else also, but that does not help the matter. Though we do agree that consciousness is inside every person, that it is inside a person is very important to remember.

When we say it is inside, what do we actually mean? Water is inside a bucket; fruits are inside a basket; we are all inside a room. Do we mean that consciousness is inside us in this sense? That which is inside in the examples cited is totally different from that within which it is located. The fruits are not the basket; the people are not the room, and so on.

Going along this analogy, it would mean that consciousness is not the body, because we say it is inside the body. Or, are you prepared to say that it is the body itself? If you say that perhaps consciousness is not inside in the sense explained, that it is inseparable from the body, then inseparableness also involves a kind of relation. Two brothers in a family may be inseparables, as partners in a business. Husband and wife may be inseparables, socially. But, in spite of the fact that they are inseparables, they are not one person; they are not identical.

So, in view of this problem, you will find that you cannot easily decipher the location of consciousness. When you think, you will agree that it is consciousness that is responsible for thinking. Who is thinking? Is it your body that is thinking, or is there something else that you think is thinking? You, as an intelligent, educated person, may not agree that the body is thinking, because when you say a person is coming, you do not mean that a body is coming. You mean something else in the concept of a person coming, for instance.

“I shall speak to you.” When you make statements like this, who exactly is making this statement? Is this body speaking? Any application of common sense will not permit the idea that the body is speaking. Who is speaking when you speak? “I am speaking.” What do you mean by this “I am speaking”? Who are you? You may scratch your head one hundred times without coming to a definite conclusion.

It has been held by certain thinkers who are affiliated to a materialist doctrine that there is a certain unavoidable relationship between body and consciousness, because the body, also, is conscious. When you prick the body with a needle, you will know that the body is pricked. If the consciousness is not vitally related to the body, organically, so to speak, consciousness cannot feel the prick.

Here, one may feel that one cannot separate consciousness from the body. The doctrine known as epiphenomenalism, or the theory that consciousness is a function of the organism of a person, has led to the conclusion that consciousness is perhaps an emanation from the bodily individuality, as fire emanates from a matchstick. It is an exudation, an emanation, a kind of product arising as an effect of the physical organism, and this is the reason why no one can feel that oneself is a consciousness; there is always an insistent feeling that one is a body only. Any kind of theoretical argument against this assumption does not cut ice. There is an intense fondness for the body. It is taken care of as identical with one’s own self: It is me, and I cannot be different from what I appear to be.

If, on this assumption, we go back to our question of where consciousness is located, we would not be able to give a correct and final answer. If it is true that consciousness, for the purpose of our present argument, is accepted to be inside the body only, whatever be its relation to the body, then it cannot be outside the body.

It was pointed out last time that if the consciousness is only inside the body, there would be no means of knowing that there are things outside the body. It is this peculiar situation of it being necessary for consciousness to know that there are things outside it also, that takes us beyond the original concept of the inwardness of consciousness, as located in the body. There seems to be something very strange about this operation, not as it appears to be for all ordinary commonsense thinking.

How do we know that there is an object outside us? There have been various theories – realistic, and idealistic, and various other approaches – which tell us how we come to know that there is an object outside us. Often, it is said that the objects, as they really are, are never known by us. The objects are known by us only as they appear to our mind or consciousness. This is to say that we have a descriptive knowledge of the behaviour of objects, but we do not come directly in contact with the objects as they are in themselves.

A difference has been noticed between what people call the primary qualities of an object and its secondary qualities. The secondary qualities are the descriptive characteristics by which we apprehend the nature of an object. That is to say, the way in which an object reacts to the sense organs is the secondary quality. But the reaction of an object upon the senses cannot necessarily be considered as the nature of the object itself. Something may produce a reaction for reasons other than what the thing itself is. So, the nature of a reaction cannot be the definition of the object as it is.

The true nature of the object is supposed to be constituted of what are known as primary qualities. Here we have another problem which has been pointed out vigorously by idealistic thinkers. If only the secondary qualities are available for cognition to the sense organs, and the mind and the intellect only play second fiddle to the operations of the senses, how will we come to know that there are things called primary qualities? In other words, how do we know that things exist at all, except in the sense of a reaction produced by them in a representative manner, not as a direct contact with the object? There is no means, it is said, of really coming in contact with the essence of an object.

Here we come to the great prescription of a sutra in the system of Patanjali, who accepts this distinction of the primary qualities or essence of an object as it is, and the object as it appears to us. In deep meditation, which is the principal subject of Yoga, we seem to be coming in contact with the object of meditation in some way. But, in what way do we come in contact with the object of meditation? The sutra of Patanjali is very definite in its conclusion that what we know as an object is only a mixture of certain characteristics foisted upon the object by our perceptual or cognitional faculties.

What does this mean? We cannot decipher a particular object unless it has a nomenclature, a name. Only if an object is designated by a particular description called name, we can know what that object is. This is one point.

The second point is, apart from the name or the verbal description of an object that is necessary in order that we may locate the object, there is also, in our mind, an idea of what the object is. We cannot know the object, except in the manner in which we are able to entertain an idea about the object. We have an idea that a tree is tall. We cannot conceive the tree as flat, or as only a stub. In a similar manner, we have a particular idea of every other thing in the world.

The Yoga System points out that our idea of the object cannot be regarded as an ultimately correct description of the object, because it is already stated that the so-called object, of which we have an idea, is known only through descriptive characteristics according to the capacity of the sense organs to cognise or perceive the object.

There is, therefore, the mental quality foisted upon the object on one hand, and the name or verbal designation is also another aspect which is foisted upon the object. But, what is the object by itself?

Here, we go to the fundamental metaphysics of Yoga. For all practical purposes, we may take it for granted that the philosophy of the Samkhya, with much of which the Vedanta also agrees, is the basis of the Yoga doctrine. Yoga is the practical application of the deduction arrived at through the philosophical investigations of the Samkhya, which in basic principles does not differ much from the Vedanta. The Samkhya is a word which means, actually, a method of enumeration of the categories of reality. To understand what these categories are, we can use an illustration by common example.

There is an object called a hard stone or granite. We take for granted that this granite is exactly as it appears to the sense organs. But, by investigation we can know that this hard, impenetrable object called granite is constituted of little particles. We can break the stone into minute elements so small that we may not be able to visualise them with our naked eyes. Such invisible constituents we call the particles of matter seem to constitute the visible object we call the solid stone. Invisible constituents become visible objects. These particles can be divided further into more and more minute components until they become indistinguishable from the basic components of all things in the world. Material or non-material, things in general have basically a uniform characteristic of material constitution, and they tend to become ubiquitous in their nature at the end, so that the fundamental essence of these objects seems to be a uniformly distributed essence. This essence, being the basic reality of the so-called varieties of things, makes us conclude that there is a unity at the back of the apprehended duality and multiplicity of objects.

The stages by which we dissect an object and enter into its basic components are actually the categories of the Samkhya, which leads finally to a principle which is not capable of further dissection. We can dissect or reduce to basic components a thing that is distinguishable from another object. That which is indistinguishable cannot be so subjected to dissection or further analysis.

There is a point where all analyses cease. That point is the all-pervading nature of the fundamental essence of the objects. The Samkhya calls this fundamental ubiquitous material essence as Prakriti. The word ‘Prakriti’, though it appears very vigorously in the Samkhya philosophy, appears also in Vedantic scriptures like the Bhagavadgita, Mahabharata, Manusmritti, etc. They differ in certain matters which are not our concern at the present moment.

This all-pervading universal basic indistinguishable essence of material existence is Prakriti. It is the ultimate objectivity of all things. It is best described as objectivity, and not an object. Objectivity is a characteristic and an object is a thing, as we conceive it. Inasmuch as our body, which is material in its nature, also is subject to reduction to its fundamentals in the manner we do other objects, it may mean that we, as physical existences, so-called, are also inseparable in our basic material essence from this ubiquitous Prakriti, so that we cannot stand outside Prakriti as physical embodiments.

Now, inasmuch as this all-pervading physical essence, which is called Prakriti or the matrix of all things, includes even the individualising physical part of even the observer of all things, we may have to concede here that an observer of this material content is not so individualised as it appears in common sense perception of objects by our so-called individuality, because here in the reduction of all materials into this fundamental, material, all-pervading essence, our so-called individual bodily essence necessary for perception externally also gets melted down into this all-pervading material essence.

Then, who becomes conscious that there is a Prakriti? It is not possible that any individualised centre of consciousness can apprehend this all-pervasive material content. That which apprehends an all-pervading thing cannot be finitely located somewhere, because finitude contradicts the all-pervadingness of the object. Hence, the Samkhya concludes by the very force of logic that the knower of this ubiquitous material essence should also be ubiquitous. That is to say, the knowing consciousness cannot be located in any particular centre, because if that had been the case, there would be nobody to know that there is a universal material content.

Today in modern physics, for instance, we are told that everything is cosmic universal energy, space-time continuum, etc. How does anyone comprehend this all-pervading, ubiquitous space-time complex? That comprehending principle, which is the consciousness, cannot be located in one place only, and then conclude that the thing that is known is all-pervading. That would be a logical contradiction. So, the Samkhya is forced to accept a knower who is equal in its capacity to the nature of the object known as Prakriti. That is to say, the consciousness that knows this fundamental, material, all-pervading substance should also be all-pervading. This consciousness that apprehends this universal material essence is called Purusha, which should not be identified with man or a human essence. It is a metaphysical definition given to the consciousness which is supposed to know that there is a universally distributed material essence. Consciousness cannot be identified with matter because there is a total dissimilarity between consciousness and matter. Matter does not know itself. Consciousness knows itself. This is the distinction between objectivity and pure subjectivity. This subjectivity, so-called, is also, as we have to remember, a universally spread-out unlimited consciousness; so, according to the Samkhya, Purusha is infinite, all-pervading, and the Prakriti that is known by it also is all-pervading.

Though this position is very helpful to us in our practice of meditation, on a final logical analysis of the situation, we will observe a contradiction because two infinites cannot exist. We cannot have one infinite of consciousness knowing, and another infinite of material ubiquitousness. This is, as the Vedanta would point out, a defect of the Samkhya doctrine. If we are able to overlook this metaphysical defect of the basic deductions of the Samkhya as pointed out, and are not concerned with this problem metaphysically, we will have a practical guidance from this system of the categorisation of the evolution of this Prakriti into material form, which will be described gradually.

This all-pervading Purusha comes in contact with this ubiquitous material substance in some way, and we can only say “some way”, because exactly in what way it comes in contact, we cannot know. The usual example given by the Samkhya philosophy is that consciousness does not really come in contact with this material object, because they are dissimilar in nature. What happens is that the consciousness reflects within itself the presence of this ubiquitous material substance, as a crystal which is pure in itself, and has no colour by itself, can reflect the colour of an object such as a rose flower brought near it, and because of the proximity of this coloured object, the whole crystal may also look red.

In this manner, the Samkhya explains that consciousness – wrongly, we must say – begins to associate itself with the objects in the world and the basic Prakriti, universal matrix of things originally, and creates a wondrous universal situation. That objectified consciousness, which has arisen on account of this reflection of the ubiquitous material substance on the all-pervading consciousness, is the ultimate metaphysical reality of the Samkhya, called Cosmic Being, which knows Itself as all-pervading.

It knows Itself as all-pervading by coming in contact with this all-pervading ubiquitous substance of material essence, by getting reflected in Itself. Otherwise, the omnipotence or omnipresence or omniscience of this all-knowing consciousness cannot be explained, because in order that something may be omnipresent, there must be a field of ubiquitousness in which it operates as all-pervading. Or, to put it crudely, unless there is space, there cannot be the question of omnipresence. Presence everywhere – that is the meaning of omnipresence. The idea of everywhereness arises on account of the presence of space, because there is no such thing as everywhere, minus the idea of space. All-knowing means it is omniscient. Knowing all things means all things must exist in order that this omniscience may be possible. So is omnipotence, all power – all power means the capacity to exert its authority on things which are other than itself. It cannot exert authority on itself only.

This is a conceptual categorisation of the original manifestation of objectivity, according to the Samkhya philosophy. It calls this condition Mahat-tattva, the great knowing Logos, as religions would say. It is the original intelligence which knows all things. This idea of all things, omniscience, omnipotence arises on account of this so-called association of the otherwise infinitude of consciousness with this material ubiquitous substance.

The Samkhya goes down further, to the point where we are living now, by bringing into its operation another principle – namely, the self-assertive character of this omniscient, omnipotent Being. It is to be known clearly that there is a distinction between just that featureless all-pervadingness of the principle of omniscience, and the self-consciousness associated with this all-pervading essence. The omnipresent Being should know that it is omnipresent; otherwise, it would be just Being-as-such. This is a particular descent from the original stage of pure omnipresence or omniscience, wherein there is a universal self-consciousness of the fact of being omnipresent. “I am” is the feeling of this omnipresent Being. It is not the “I” of myself or yourself. It is a universal omnipotence and omnipresence asserting Itself, “I am”.

Religions tell us that God is the great “I am,” “I am what I am”, or “I am that I am”. God cannot be described by any other way than “He is”; and God can regard Himself as “I am”. There is no other possible definition available to this great “I”, which includes every other conceivable little dot of “I’s”, like ourselves.

This self-consciousness attributed to this otherwise all-pervading omnipresence suddenly manifests itself in a threefold form. That threefold form is known in Vedantic language as the objective reality called adhibhuta, the subjective reality called adhyatma, and the divine superintending connection between the subjective side and the objective side known as adhidaiva. Here we are coming into certain very important practical issues in our daily attempt to enter into Yoga meditation. The world appears to be external to the knowing consciousness, and the knowing consciousness places itself as a subjective knower of this world that is outside, and for reasons well known, as has already been explained, this connection between the subjective knower and the objective world cannot be established unless there is a link between the subjective side and the objective side.

This is the reason why you cannot know what is happening between you and the object when perception takes place. Some invisible operation which is consciousness by itself seems to be operating, because the link between the knowing subject and the object cannot but be conscious. We need not go further into this subject because I have already touched upon it the other day.

Now, something happens by way of a further evolution from the adhibhuta or the objective side, from the adhyatma or the subjective side, and the adhidaiva or this superintending conscious principle. This is a very important subject which requires a detailed explanation so that you may understand what it means and how it is relevant to your Yoga practice. This matter I shall take up another time.

The Nature and Location of Consciousness

Swamiji discusses the nature of consciousness according to the Sankhya and Yoga philosophies.

Source: Swami Krishnananda

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Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara | Medicine Buddha Mantra

Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara | Medicine Buddha Mantra, Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara, Mantra of Avalokiteshvara Tibetan..
Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara Lyrics:
……………………………………………
Namo Ratna Trayaya,
Namo Arya Jnana
Sagara, Vairochana,
Byuhara Jara Tathagataya,
Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya,
Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay,
Arhata Bhyah,
Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah,
Namo Arya Avalokite
shoraya Bodhisattvaya,
Maha Sattvaya,
Maha Karunikaya,
Tadyata, Om Dara Dara,
Diri Diri, Duru Duru
Itte We, Itte Chale Chale,
Purachale Purachale,
Kusume Kusuma Wa Re,
Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha.

The Journey Within: Exploring the Path of Bhakti by Radhanath Swami (Author)


With illuminating references to Western religions and ideologies, The Journey Within invites readers from all backgrounds to discover the simple truths that unite us.

The mysteries of the soul have evaded mystics, sages, and gurus for centuries. Humanity has long yearned to discover the answer to our existence, and many spiritual traditions have evolved to provide those answers through sacred texts that facilitate journeys of transformation and discovery. Yet, never before have all of the spiritual traditions been distilled so simply into one easy-to-follow path—a path of love and devotion.

In this long-awaited follow-up to The Journey Home, The Journey Within guides readers through the essential teachings of bhakti yoga. World-renowned spiritual leader Radhanath Swami draws from his personal experiences to demystify the ancient devotional path of bhakti, capturing its essence and explaining its simple principles for balancing our lives.

His down-to-earth writing simplifies spiritual concepts and answers timeless questions in a heartfelt narrative that brings this sacred philosophy beautifully to life. What is love? What is the soul? Who is God? How can we live in the physical world without losing touch with the spiritual?

In concise and approachable language, Radhanath Swami sheds light on how to answer these vital questions and offers solutions to life’s challenges with the simplest of resources. Reach beyond the material world and journey within to discover the beauty of the true self.
Born in Chicago in 1950, Radhanath Swami, sets out to wander the world on a spiritual quest. Arriving in India in 1970, he lives the life of a wandering mendicant, travelling both outwardly and inwardly. Within months, his young world is augmented by experience, realization, soul-stirring revelations and near death experiences. He imbibes the teachings of great yogis, monks, and gurus including Swami Sivananda, Swami Rama, Swami Satchitananda, Swami Chidananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ananda Mayi Ma, Neem Karoli Baba, Muktananda, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa. He meets lepers and Naga Babas, contemplative Buddhists and mystic yogis. Living in Himalayan caves, forests and under trees, he moves through the subcontinent with a thirst for “the truth” that is rarely seen. Fasting and meditating for a month on the Banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, he hears the celestial sound of mantras emerging from the Holy River.

Each experience brings him closer to the core of India’s mystic teachings and to the divine love he has been seeking. He reveals all in “The Journey Home”, a penetrating account into the heart of a seeker, filled with humor, adventure, wisdom, and inspiration. Perhaps not since, Autobiography of A Yogi, has such a lucid and intricate tale of one man’s revelation of the soul been so wonderfully recounted. As a man of infinite depth and grace, his life story offers all who hear it, an infinite wisdom.

LOOK INSIDE

Radhanath Swami – The Journey Within: Unleashing the Power of the Soul

Radhanath Swami, born as Richard Slavin in Chicago, came to confront a deep sense of alienation from the materialism and the civil injustices of mid-20th century America. Near-death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrim’s path led him to the inner sanctum of India’s mystic culture. Now a monk in a Krishna-bhakti lineage and teacher of the devotional path of Bhakti Yoga, he is the author of “The Journey Home,” a memoir of his search for spiritual truth.

The Perennial Way: New English Versions of Yoga Sutras, Dhammapada, Heart Sutra, Ashtavakra Gita, Faith Mind Sutra, and Tao Te Ching by Bart Marshall

VIEW THE UPDATED VERSION HERE

Ganesh Chaturthi 2014: Celebrating Lord Ganesha’s Birthday -August 29, 2014 to September 8, 2014

Ganesh Gayatri Mantra by Om Voices

A great meditation track for us to pray on to our Beloved Lord Ganesha. May He shower us with His blessings, Ganapati Bappa Morya!
Singer – OM voices

Vedantic Meditation: Lighting the Flame of Awareness by David Frawley

As yoga gains popularity across the U.S., many people are becoming interested in its traditional Vedic roots. While Buddhist meditation is well represented on bookshelves, there has been little Vedantic philosophy written in lay terms until now. Author David Frawley guides readers through the challenges of cultivating awareness, calming the mind, and practicing meditation according to Vedanta and Hinduism.

He examines how cultural knowledge systems in the West lead individuals to disillusionment, and speaks about how meditation can aid in understanding the true nature of one’s thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. Frawley explores meditation support practices such as yoga, mantras, kundalini, and pranayama, as well as the role of gurus, and concludes with a short, more technical essay on self-inquiry.
David Frawley (or Pandit Vāmadeva Śāstrī वामदेव शास्त्री) is a Vedic teacher and educator with numerous books in several Vedic and Yogic fields published worldwide over the past thirty years. He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico (www.vedanet.com), which offers courses and publications on Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga and meditation, and Vedic astrology. He is also involved in important research into ancient Vedic texts and is a well known modern exponent of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma. His work is high respected in traditional circles in India, where he has received many awards, as well as influential in the West, where he is involved in many Vedic and Yogic schools, ashrams and associations.

Click here to browse inside.

Vedic Knowledge Integration with David Frawley

1. Art of Living Vedic Wisdom 2. How to be successful by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Management Mantras

Encrich your life with Vedic Wisdom at Banglore Ashram.

How to be successful by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Management Mantras interview with Alok Kejriwal

Watch Sri Sri share his journey with Alok Kejriwal, CEO, Games2Win.

As the founder of the world’s largest volunteer based NGO, Sri Sri’s insights serve as valuable guide to any budding start-up entrepreneur.

These management mantras are worth learning for anyone looking for the secrets to success while managing a start-up.

David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) Interview on Aaj Savere Morning Show of Doordarshan


David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) interviewed by India’s National Channel Doordarshan. In this candid interview he speaks intensely about his understanding of vedas, shastras and upanishads, he even explains his love for India and it’s enviable culture and history. a MUST WATCH. Posted with expressed permission from DOORDARSHAN and American Institute of Vedic Studies (www.vedanet.com).

Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya


In yoga practice, mantra and kirtan (call-and-response devotional chanting) get short shrift in the West because they aren’t well understood, though they are an integral part of almost every Eastern spiritual practice. They are designed to provide access into the psyche while their underlying mythology helps us understand how our psychology affects daily life. Sacred Sound shares the myths behind the mantras and kirtans, illuminating their meaning and putting their power and practicality within reach of every reader.

Each of the twenty-one mantras and kirtans presented includes the Sanskrit version, the transliteration, the translation, suggestions for chanting, the underlying myth, and its modern-day implications. Based on Alanna Kaivalya’s years of teaching and studying the myths and sacred texts, this book offers a way into one of the most life-changing aspects of yoga practice.

Alanna Kaivalya, coauthor of Myths of the Asanas, is the founder of The Kaivalya Yoga Method and an internationally known teacher, author, and mythologist. In 2008 Yoga Journal recognized Alanna as one of the Top 21 Teachers Under 40. She travels the world teaching at conferences, workshops, and teacher trainings in The Kaivalya Yoga Method. She lives in New York City.

Click here to browse inside.

Alanna Kaivalya talks about SACRED SOUND

Published on Apr 1, 2014
Celebrated yoga teacher Alanna Kaivalya talks about her book SACRED SOUND: Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan.

Mantra to improve and fix the finances

End financial worries Chanting Om Brzee namah

End your financial worries by chanting this mantra “OM BRZEE NAMAH” 108 times or listen to the chanting.

Vedic Astrology: Is your Money Karma Bad?

Divine Injustice: Why are 97% of the people in the world poor and only 3% wealthy. Vedic Astrology has remedies that will help people with difficult planets. There are good and bad influences coming from the planets.
Mantras and meditation can also help:

Deva Premal – The Gayatri Mantra Around The World


Deva Premal sings the Gayatri Mantra in 32 different countries around the world.

Gayatri Mantra words:
Om bhur bhuvah svaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yonah prachodayat
Translation:
Praise to the source of all things.
It is due to you that we attain true happiness on all planes.
It is due to your transcendent nature that you are being worshipped and adored.
Ignite us with your all pervading light.

View more musical performances of Premal and Miten HERE

Sri Ramana Maharshi ~ Guru is the Self


Original quotations from the wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Music: OM Bhagavan by Omkara
Photographs of Ramana Maharshi: Public Domain
Original flower photographs from the gardens of Safe Harbor Center for Spiritual Healing
Photograph and video editing: Cathy Ginter, Devotee ~ August 2012

“The Mystic Spiral: Journey of the Soul” by Jill Purce

The spiral is the natural form of growth, and has become, in every culture and in every age, man’s symbol of the progress of the soul towards eternal life.

As the inward-winding labyrinth, it constitutes the hero’s journey to the still center where the secret of life is found. As the spherical vortex, spiraling through its own center, it combines the inward and outward directions of movement.

In this original and engrossing book, Jill Purce traces the significance of one man’s central symbols from the double spirals of Stone Age art and the interlocking spirals of the Chinese Yin Yang symbol to the whorls of Celtic crosses, Maori tattoos and the Islamic arabesque. Many of the superb images here were intended as objects of contemplation; for the spiral is a cosmic symbol.

Art and Imagination series: These large-format, gloriously-illustrated paperbacks cover Eastern and Western religion and philosophy, including myth and magic, alchemy and astrology. The distinguished authors bring a wealth of knowledge, visionary thinking and accessible writing to each intriguing subject. 174 Illustrations, 32 in color

A Brief Description of Jill :

JILL PURCE pioneered the international sound healing movement through her rediscovery of ancient vocal techniques, the power of group chant, and the spiritual potential of the voice as a magical instrument for healing and meditation, and introduced Overtone Chanting and other Healing Voice Workshops into Europe, North America and Japan.

More Ways Than One – The Mystic Spiral (BBC) – Jill Purce

Published on Dec 16, 2012

A BBC documentary about the early pioneering work of Jill Purce on the spiral, showing her interdisciplinary explorations into nature, consciousness, science, art and religion. German composer Karlheniz Stockhausen, physicist Fritjof Capra and biologist Maurice Wilkins, who with Watson and Crick, received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA, were all influenced by her work, and appear in the film to discuss her ideas.

Pioneer of voice, family and ancestral healing, a musician and artist, Jill is a former fellow of Kings College, London, Biophysics Department, General Editor of the Thames and Hudson “Art and Imagination” series, and author of “The Mystic Spiral, Journey of the Soul”. For more information on Jill and her “Healing Voice” and “Healing the Family and Ancestors” workshops, visit http://www.healingvoice.com

Sound and Healing – Jill Purce

Published on Dec 16, 2012

Jill Purce discusses the vibratory universe, sound as a bridge between the worlds, how voice is used as a spiritual practice and its connection with the nature of mind itself; voice as a sonorous yoga of presence; the nature of mantra and resonant fields; her groundbreaking work with Alzheimer’s patients; a discussion and demonstration of overtone chanting, its importance and her pioneering role in bringing it to the west.

Jill Purce Overtone Chanting St.Paul’s Cathedral

Jill Purce and friends invited to overtone chant in St.Paul’s Cathedral London

Shiva Stories and Teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana By Vanamali

The traditional understanding of Shiva told through stories and teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana

• Explains Shiva’s contradictory forms, such as destroyer or benefactor, and how his form depends on the needs of the devotee

• Reveals how Shiva’s teachings allow one to see through the illusions at the root of all grief and alienation in human life

• Explores Shiva’s relationships with Durga, Shakti, Sati, and Parvati and with his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya

Shiva, the most ancient and complex deity of the Hindu pantheon, has been portrayed in many contrasting lights: destroyer and benefactor, ascetic and householder, wild demon slayer and calm yogi atop Mount Kailash. Drawing from the Hindu sacred text the Shiva Mahapurana–said to be written by Shiva himself–Vanamali selects the essential stories of Shiva, both those from his dark wild side and those from his benevolent peaceful side.

Vanamali discusses Shiva’s many avatars such as Shambunatha and Bhola, as well as Dakshinamurti who taught the shastras and tantras to the rishis. She explores Shiva’s relationships with Durga, Shakti, Sati, and Parvati and with his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya. Examining Shiva’s acceptance of outsiders, Vanamali explains why ghosts and ghouls are his attendants and why his greatest devotees are demon kings, like Ravana. She includes famous Shiva stories such as the Descent of the River Ganga and Churning the Milky Ocean as well as those that reveal the origin of the festival of lights, Diwali; his creation of the cosmic couple, or hierogamos; and how Shiva and Parvati taught the world the secrets of Kundalini Shakti. The author also draws upon Shaivite teachings to illustrate the differences between Western science and Vedic science and their explanations for the origins of consciousness.

Integrating Shiva’s two sides, the fierce and the peaceful, Vanamali reveals that Shiva’s form depends on the needs of the devotee. Understanding his teachings allows one to see through the illusions at the root of all grief and alienation in human life, for Shiva is the wielder of maya who does not fall under its spell. While Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles, Shiva is the remover of tears.

Mataji Devi Vanamali has written 7 books on the gods of the Hindu pantheon, including Shakti, Hanuman, and The Complete Life of Krishna, as well as translating the Bhagavad Gita. She is the founder and president of Vanamali Gita Yoga Ashram Trust, dedicated to sharing the wisdom of Sanatana Dharma and charitable service to children. She lives at the Vanamali ashram in Rishikesh, northern India.

Mataji Devi Vanamali

Rig Veda Full Purusha Suktam Devanagari Sanskrit English translations.wmv


This meditatively soft authentic rendering is by the Omkar Vedic Sadhana Center and is from the album Vedic Hindu Chants. It contains entire hymn slokas in Devanagari Sanskrit lyrics with English translations.

About Purusha Suktam:
This Suktam is found in Rig Veda (10.90) and is considered most commonly as a Rig Vedic Hymn.

But this Suktam in exact same verses is also contained in the Taittiriya Aranyaka (Krishna Yajur Veda, Taittiriya Samhita: Aranyaka Shakha, Third Prashna — 3.12 and 3.13) as used for this video.

This audio rendition is as per the Krishna Yajur Veda svaras (musical intonations).

The Purusha Suktam exact same Hymn also is contained in the Atharvaveda (19.6), Samaveda (6.4) and Yajurveda (VS 31.1-6). The Purusha Suktam has been commented upon in the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Taittiriya Brahmana, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Mudgala Upanishad and the Vajasaneyi Samhita (31.1-6). Among Puranic texts, the Sukta has been elaborated upon in the Bhagavata Purana (2.5.35 to 2.6.1-29) and in the Mahabharata (Mokshadharma Parva 351 and 352).

The Purusha Suktam is one of the few Rig Vedic hymns still in current daily usage in contemporary Hinduism like the Gayatri mantra.

The Purusha Suktam is considered by the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya (tradition) as one of the Pancha (five key) Suktams. The other four are the Narayana Suktam (all verses uploaded in another video – also containing Devanagari Sanskrit text with English translations), Sri Suktam (also uploaded), Bhu Suktam (uploaded) and the Nila Suktam.

A Theological Reflection on Shiva on the Occasion of Mahashivaratri ~ Dr. Anantanand Rambachan

On March 10, Hindus around the world will celebrate Shivaratri (The Night of Shiva). I share these theological reflections on the occasion of this sacred festival.

For centuries, Hindus have worshiped and described God through the name and form of Shiva. The name Shiva connotes kindness, benevolence and grace. Shiva is also commonly known as Shankara, meaning one who acts unceasingly for the good of all. The many names and forms of God available in the Hindu tradition are not just expressions of India’s religious and cultural diversity. These also express profound insights about the nature of God and human existence that enrich our theological understanding. I want to suggest four ways in which the name and form of Shiva speak relevantly to us about divinity and the meaning of human life.

The first insight arises from the contrast between the iconic representations of Shiva and those of God as Vishnu. Although, both may be seen as forms of the one God, there are unmistakable differences. Icons of Vishnu typically represent him in the symbols of royalty, power and affluence. He wears a crown on his head, jewels around his neck, golden earning on both ears, and resplendent robes. Shiva, on the other hand, wears nothing but a loincloth; his only “jewels,” are snakes and rosaries. The icon of Shiva attracts us by its stark simplicity, asceticism and lack of adornment. The eyes of Vishnu are open, looking out to the world; the eyes of Shiva are half-closed in meditation.

The representation of Vishnu with the symbols of kingship and splendor properly emphasizes the nature of God as the omnipotent source, lord and sustainer of creation. The icon of Shiva, empty of all trappings of power and wealth, reminds us that the meaning of human life is be found in who we are and not in what we own. Although wealth and power are important for human wellbeing, these are impermanent, unpredictable and ultimately fail to satisfy the thoughtful person. Our human worth is an intrinsic one that has its source in the divine that exists at the heart of everyone. Shiva’s half-closed eyes point to the condition of being awake to this divine reality.

The second insight about Shiva arises from his association with time and change. As a form of God, Vishnu is associated with preservation and stability, the familiar and the predictable that afford us constancy and continuity. Shiva reminds us that even as we value and seek stability, change is inevitable. On his flowing hair, Shiva wears the crescent moon, the symbol of time, reminding us that there is no creation without movement and motion and that there can be no peace without our acceptance of impermanence. Shiva invites us to see the positive possibilities in change. Without change, our sons and daughters will not grow into beautiful young men and women, the seeds that we plant will not blossom into plants and winter will not come to an end.

The third insight about Shiva is a challenge to our own expectations of where and in what forms we may discover divinity. The city of Varanasi (Banaras) is one of the most sacred locations in Hindu geography. It is famous for its cremation grounds. Elderly and terminally ill Hindus travel to Varanasi in the hope of dying within its sacred precincts. Traditionally, death is an event of in-auspiciousness and ritual impurity; cremation grounds are avoided, as well as contact with a deceased body. Varanasi, however, is the holy city of Shiva and the location of one of the most famous Shiva temples. Shiva is described as frequenting the cremation grounds, dressed in beggarly attire and smearing himself with the ash of the cremation sites. The point seems to be that we must be careful not to associate God only with beautiful temples and richly adorned icons. Although we teach God’s omnipresence, we are more reluctant to discern God in places associated with death and suffering. Shiva reminds us not to place limits on divine reality. Our boundaries, our notions of purity and impurity, are not Shiva’s own. His association with the place of death dramatically states this fact.

The fourth insight about Shiva is concerned with our consciousness of our environment and our need to be good stewards of the earth and its resources. The most popular representation of God as Shiva depicts him as residing in a Himalayan abode in the midst of lush and verdant vegetation. The bull, Nandi, sitting happily next to Shiva and the snakes playfully adorning his neck and arms present us with a portrait of natural harmony. The Ganges River is shown as flowing from and through Shiva’s luxuriant hair, suggesting that nature’s bounties are divine gifts. We are more likely to abuse nature when we disconnect the natural world from its divine origin and strip it of sanctity. The icon of Shiva, placed firmly in the midst of nature speaks, of our interdependence with and our inseparability from the natural world.

One of the compelling forms of Shiva represents him as Dakshinamurti, the teacher of wisdom. He is seated under a banyan tree, surrounded by eager students, As a teacher, Shiva is eternally young, suggesting that his teaching is a continuous process for those of us who are open to learning. As we worship Shiva on Shivaratri, let Shiva also become our teacher. May we learn from him the value of detachment, the positive possibilities in change, the ability to see divinity where we least expect, and a renewed value for nature as a sacred gift.

Dr. Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA, where he has been teaching since 1985.

Prof. Rambachan is the author of several books including, “Accomplishing the Accomplished,” “The Limits of Scripture,” “The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity,” and “Not-Two: A Hindu Theology of Liberation” (forthcoming). The British Broadcasting Corporation transmitted a series of 25 lectures by Prof. Rambachan around the world.

Prof. Rambachan has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years, as a Hindu participant and analyst. In April 2008, Professor Rambachan, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the distinguished Lambeth Lecture at Lambeth Palace, London.

Gauri Shankar Rudraksha – Lord Shiva Parvati Mantra For Family

The 108 Names of Lord Shiva or Shiv.

Gayatri Mantra ~ Deva Premal & Miten with Manose [updated Oct 20, 2012]

AUM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA, TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

Mahamantra Yoga: Chanting to Anchor the Mind and Access the Divine [With CD (Audio)] by Richard Whitehurst

A guide to mantra recitation for ecstatic states, spiritual liberation, and higher consciousness

• Ideal for those looking to deepen the spirituality of their physical yoga practice

• Offers detailed instruction on the practice of mahamantra yoga and exercises to improve one’s practice and move beyond rote chanting

• Includes a CD of mahamantra yoga chants

Based on a rich and ancient tradition revived more than five hundred years ago by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in India, mahamantra yoga involves repeated recitation of a sacred phrase, such as the name of a deity, to anchor the mind and access ecstatic states, higher consciousness, and, ultimately, as you vibrate the holy names, the Divine presence in sound. Part of the bhakti devotional tradition, mahamantra yoga is considered the best path to self-realization in the current age, offering a doorway into the hidden recesses of our innermost being–the internal forest of the heart.

Citing ancient Vedic texts and the insights of perfected mahamantra yogis, Richard Whitehurst reveals the methods of mahamantra yoga and his own profound experiences based on more than 20 years of intense practice. Using the core principles of this ancient tradition, he offers mental and physical exercises–such as how to coordinate the breath, vocal cords, and mouth–to move beyond rote chanting and pursue the practice consciously and joyfully. He explains how to overcome common obstacles to successful chanting as well as purification practices to intensify your efforts. Including a CD of mahamantra yoga chants, this book is the perfect guide for those looking to deepen the spirituality of their physical yoga practice and attain the goals of spiritual life in the midst of the modern world.
Click Here To Preview

Richard Whitehurst
Richard Whitehurst (Sridhara Das) is an initiated disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He began his practice of mahamantra yoga in 1970 while a student of psychology at the University of Florida. For 10 years he lived as a wandering monk and traveled extensively throughout the Indian subcontinent. He has lectured about the tradition of bhakti yoga and mahamantra yoga at colleges and universities in India, England, the United States, and Australia and has appeared on radio and TV. An accomplished facilitator of kirtan and bhajan, he lives in New Farm, Queensland, Australia.

By God’s Grace: The Life And Teachings of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Dalai Lama (Foreword by), Rabbi David Rosen (Preface by)

Overview

In this absorbing portrait, American-born author Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati weaves a breathtaking tapestry of exotic journeys, meetings with remarkable people, and practical wisdom from the extraordinary life of a renowned Indian spiritual leader, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati.

The prodigal variety of stories ranges from evocations in a glass of milk to impossible constructions at the mountainous summit of the world, from cacophonous urban battlefields to silent forest retreats—an impassioned life, a one-man civilization drawn in bold strokes and bright colors. Here is a journey of the enlightened life to be cherished again and again.

Practical wisdom, a connection to the Divine, and global action—these are the traits of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati that have made him one of India’s most renowned and beloved spiritual teachers. This commemorative volume celebrates his sixty years of devotional service to humanity, the environment, and the Supreme.

The book traces Pujya Swami’s journey from childhood in the jungles of India to the company of world leaders, from Himalayan villages to the podiums of the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and other venues of global change. His projects are unprecedented, including a cleanup of the 1,560-mile-long Ganges River and a six-million-word encyclopedia of Hinduism. Swamiji’s teachings are profoundly simple, frequently wrapped in humor and applicable to all. Elaborately illustrated, this is a fascinating portrait of the life, achievements, and teachings of an acclaimed spiritual pioneer.

Meet the Author

American-born Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, moved to India in 1996. She was officially ordained by Pujya Swamiji into the tradition of sanyas and lives at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, where she serves Pujya Swamiji’s humanitarian projects, teaches meditation, gives discourses, and counsels individuals and families. She lives in Rishikesh, India.

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, was born on July 6, 1935, in the small village of Taktser in northeastern Tibet. By age two he was recognized as the fourteenth incarnation of the Dalai Lama. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet, a Buddhist monk, and a prolific scholar. He is respected internationally as an environmentalist and as an advocate of compassion and universal responsibility. He inspires people worldwide with his grace, compassion, and ability to embrace the integrity of other faith traditions. He is the most traveled Dalai Lama in history and in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. He lives in Dharamshala, India.

Rabbi David Rosen is international director of interreligious affairs of the American Jewish Committee, former chief rabbi of Ireland, and copresident of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He lives in New York City.

A Light In The Day- Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati Muni Ji 1.mp4

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