Soul Culture Journal - Summer 2010

Contents

GuruDev

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Scriptures

Kriya Yoga News

Greetings to all:

Invocation To The Guru


sasvatam santam nirakaram niranjanam nadabindu tasmai sri gurave namah

He is pure awareness, ever existing, ever calm, formless, without blemish. He is beyond sound, light and qualities. Salutations to that Shri Guru.

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Message from the Master

Facets of the Divine

tad ejati tan naijati 
tad dure tad vadantike 
tad antarasya sarvasya 
tadu sarvasyasya bhyatah

Translation

It moves and It moves not; It is far and It is near; It is within all this and It is also outside all this.

The cross has many meanings. In mathematics there are two very similar symbols: on e in an “X” sign, and one is a “plus” (+) sign. A cross is the mathematical symbol of the “plus” sign. When a horizontal and vertical line meet each other, and the vertical line is perpendicular to the ground, this forms a “plus” sign. But when the lines are not in a vertical and horizontal position, then it becomes an “X,” a multiplication sign.

An “X” is the mathematical symbol for multiplying. When two numbers are multiplied, a larger number results. So, multiplication symbolizes many. We should multiply the divine qualities.

In addition, two or more numbers are added together to get a new number. So, the meaning of “plus” is “to be united with” or “union.” In spiritual life we all want to be united. But to be united with whom? When we see a friend, we are united with that person in love. When we come t our house we are united with the house. When we sit in the car we are united with the car. When we love ou

Metaphorical Interpretation

The Isha Upanishad is given to us only for God-realization. What is God? How does God remain in the material world as both animate and inanimate objects? Why are there so many forms in the universe? How is Isha, in the form of matter, merging in a human being and giving energy, life, and oneness? How do human beings evolve after having experienced good meditation? How will they be highly realized and feel God is in the front, God is in the back, God is on the left, God is on the right, God is above, God is below? Having perceived this, people will feel both savikalpa and nirvikalpastates of samashi. So this Upanishad is one of the most beautiful Upanishads.

In this mantra, the rishi says, tad ejati tan naijati, which means the Soul, God, is formless, static, and perceptive, constantly abiding everywhere. Again in a different form, we see God is restless, active, constantly in motion, and perceptive. God is nearer that the near and still remains very far. God abides in every human being as the indwelling Self, taking inhalation. In the external forms we experience God as people, beasts, plants, trees, and the five gross elements (sky, or vacuum, air, fires, water, and earth.) Undoubtedly, it is perceived as a combination of opposites. In the whole external world God is the soul abiding in every human being, and enjoys the world.

As a power, you are the divine current in the body; as a soul, you are static. As a power, you are very far; as a soul, you are very near. Without the soul there is nothing, and after the soul there is nothing. The soul is the source of all dispositions and all perceptions. Every perception comes from the soul.

        Ocean of Divine Bliss, Volume 9; pg 471 - 472

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The Theory of Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga in Ancient Scriptures
The Bhagavatum

The Bhagavatam is another holy scripture (Mahapurana) in India, consisting of eleven books; it explains in a subtle sense the essence of Kriya Yoga and spirituality. A few references will clearly explain the secret of Kriya practice:

jitasano jitasvasi jitasango jitendriya (2:1:23)

        jitasano: The ordinary meaning is perfection in asana, but its real connotation is to be free from body-consciousness.

        jitasavsa: Through mastery over the breath.

        jitasango: Getting detached from body, mind, senses, thoughts, and even the external world.

        jitendriya: Control over the restless senses.

All these stages are easily achieved by the practice of Kriya Yoga. It also explains how to meditate:

sthiram sukham casanam asrita (2:2:15)

Physically sitting in a comfortable posture, and metaphorically sitting at the place of concentration (to be learned from the master).

ruddhva guha (2:2:5)

By closing the cave, which means controlling all doors of thoughts and emotions arising from the cave of the cranium.

In every book of this scripture there is explanation of this supreme meditation technique, in many ways.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are not the original exposition of philosophy, but a work of compilation and reformulation. Although the practice of yoga in general and Kriya Yoga in particular is the most ancient technique, what Patanjali did was to restore yoga philosophy in a systematic manner.

In the second part of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Sadhana Pada (yoga and its practice) Kriya Yoga is mentioned twice.

tapah svadhyaya isvarapranidhanani kriyayogah 
samadhi bhavanarthah 
klesa tanukaranarthasca (Sutra 1 and 2)

These two aphorisms explain the essence of Kriya Yoga in a nutshell. The literal meaning of the above two sutras (aphorisms) are:

“Austerity, study and the dedication of the fruits of one’s own action to God is Kriya Yoga.”

“That is Kriya Yoga by which one cultivates the power of concentration and removes the obstacles of enlightenment which cause all suffering.”

In the first sutra, the three words in Sanskrit tapah, svadhyaya, ishvarapranidhana need more elaborate explanation than just literal translation.

The ordinary meaning of tapas is penance or austerity. However the real meaning of tapas is that practice by which tapas, the temperature, or heat, that burns all the negative qualities of the body and the mind is maintained in the body. The soul, the power of God, is the cause of breath, which keeps the body alive and regulates body temperature. If one keeps attention on the top, in the soul, then all sins and negative qualities are burned.

The second word is svadhyaya, which means study. Svadhyaya consists of two words sva (self) andadhyaya (self): the study of one’s own Self. Kriya Yoga enables one to study one’s own Self constantly and continuously.

The third word is ishvarapranidhana, which means to love God, to perceive God, to realize God as the real actor in every action.

All these three words symbolically explain different aspects of Kriya Yoga. Not only that, through breath control, the disciple, the student attains concentration and is enabled to remove all the obstacles from the path of meditation and God-realization and becomes constantly engrossed and merged in God-consciousness.

Other Yogic Scriptures

Hatha Yoga Pradipika is an important and classical text on yoga. In this book it is mentioned (1:52):

kriyayuktasya siddhih syad akriyasya katham bhavet na sastrapatha matrena yogasiddhih prajayate

Kriya yukta (those who practice Kriya Yoga) get perfection in their life, not others.

Only by reading the book one cannot expect realization. By changing the outward dress one cannot get God-realization. Kriya is the cause of all-round development, there is no doubt about it.

Another ancient yogic text, Shiva Shamhita (5:270) says:

grhasthanam bhavet siddhi Isvaranam jaoenavai 
yogakriyabhiyuktanam tasmat samyatate grhi

Even the householder can achieve realization by the practice of Kriya Yoga by through control of all sense organs.

It is also said in many scriptures: “The fools only read a lot of books, but he is wise who practices Kriya Yoga and gets realization. Even though one gets a prescription from a very good doctor, by chanting the names of the medicine or reading it repeatedly, one cannot expect to be disease free and healthy.”

When people practiced Kriya Yoga in the period of Truth, at that time, there was no religion, no –ism, no narrowness, no dogmatic views, no fanatic ideas. All people were established in Truth. In course of time, when different religions came, different forms and formalities arose. In spite of all these, Kriya Yoga remained the essence of all religions, the strong foundation of all spiritual buildings.

If one reads the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, even other holy scriptures of different religions and meditates, it becomes clear that all the saints, sages, and prophets were meditation; they were highly realized. Their teachings carry the essence of spiritual practice and meditation.

The Torah and the Bible repeatedly mention inner transformation through meditation. Although the word ‘Kriya’ is not found there, one can perceive and realize the practical implication of their teachings. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jacob, and Jesus all were meditation, which is evident from their lives and teachings. (For details, one can refer to the book The Torah, the Bible and Kriya Yoga.)

— Kriya Yoga The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture and the Essence of All Religions; pg 138-141

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"The Divine Mission"

Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me:
Nevertheless not my will, but your will be done.
   -- Luke (22:42)

Ashrams Worldwide

Through the years, Paramahamsa Hariharananda toured many more European countries, and even the former USSR. Because of his tireless efforts, more than seventy centers were established in the Western Hemisphere. Although many temporary ashrams were set up in different countries, the first permanent ashram in the West to carry out his work is a systematic manner was is Sterksel, Holland. On the 5th of August, 1993, it was inaugurated in his holy presence while several hundred disciples gathered to participate in the divine celebration. The beautiful ashram was situated on ten acres in natural surroundings far from the city, and included a meditation hall and several guest rooms.

In the same year a new ashram was inaugurated in San Antonio, Texas. During the time of the inauguration ceremony, Paramahamsa Hariharananda entered into the state of samadhi in the presence of hundreds of devotees. This was the last time he publicly entered the state of samadhi, for over the years, many instructors instructed him not to go into this state at his advanced age because it posed some physical risks.

With the generous help of his beloved disciple, Christine Jacobsen, in 1994, he started an ashram in a rented house in Vienna, where he spent the summers guiding disciples. On the 22nd of September, 1997, the day of the autumnal equinox, yet another beautiful ashram was founded in Homestead, Florida, in a beautiful tropical flower and fruit garden reminiscent of India, and today it functions as the Mother Center for the USA. On the 7th of September, 1998, the permanent ashram in the suburbs of Vienna was inaugurated to serve as the European headquarters. From 1995 – 1998, Paramahamsaji’s birthday was joyfully celebrated in Europe, mostly in Vienna, where several hundred disciples congregated from all over the world to participate in the inspiring, spiritually vibrant programs.

Metaphorical Interpretations of Scriptures (The Divine Message)

tasmat shastram pramanam te 
karyakarya vyavasthitau
         —Bhagavad Gita, 16:24

In the concluding verse of the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says to Arjuna that the scriptures are guidelines in times of confusion. The Vedic spiritual tradition describes four types of grace: the grace of God (ishwara kripa), the grace of the scriptures (shastra kripa), the grace of the guru preceptor (guru kripa), and the grace of the indwelling Self (atma kripa). The scriptures are spiritual guidebooks on the journey of life. To comprehend the significance of the scriptures, the help of a master is necessary. The guru, who is Self-realized, has the deep insight into their inner meaning. That is why Shri Shankarachaya said, guru-vedanta-vakyeshi shraddha: “To have deep love and faith in the words of the scriptures and of the master is a prerequisite for a spiritual seeker.”

In the spiritual history of mankind in general, and of Vedic tradition in particular, Shri Lahiri Mahasaya’s metaphorical approach to the scriptures ushered in the beginning of a new era. His disciples, such as Pandit Panchanan Bhattacharya, Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri, Pranavananda Giri, and Shri Sanyal Mahasaya were not only established in a high state of spiritual enlightenment, but were also propagators of the metaphorical interpretations of all the holy scriptures based on their master’s teaching and experience.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda, a true successor of this beautiful Kriya lineage, followed the footsteps of his forerunners and was a rare exponent of Kriya. His metaphorical interpretations gave disciples deep insight into scriptural knowledge, which helps them apply it in daily life. Indian mythology and the biblical narratives are not mere stories of imagination, but tales of the soul on its spiritual journey. the lives of characters in mythology are beautifully analogous to every individual’s virtues, and to merge into God consciousness.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda was an author of several books of high spiritual value and international repute. His first book in Oriya, titles Kriya Yoga Darshan: Philosophy of Kriya Yoga, was published several decades ago. His first English book, Kriya Yoga: The Scientific Process of Soul Culture and the Essence of All Religions, was published first in 1977, and several editions were printed. It has been translated into Dutch, German, French, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. Along with his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in three volumes, Isha Upanishad, Secret and Significance of Hindu Worship, and Each Body is a Bhagavad Gita are some of his important works. Among other books in Oriya, Kriya Yoga Sadhana Tattva and Vaijnanika Paddhati are of immortal value.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda’s every speech, and even his informal teachings reveal deep spiritual insights, with both metaphorical value and practical application. His lectures were always guided by the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras, the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Torah, and other scriptures of various religions. His metaphorical interpretations of the Holy Bible and the Torah are unique and valuable.

            River of Compassion; pg 186 - 189

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Obstacles in the Path of Love

“I will be your friend from now until eternity, no matter whether you are on the lowest mental plane or the highest plane of wisdom, I will be your friend if ever you should err, for then you will need my friendship more than at any other time.”
      Swami Shriyukteshwarji

INFLUENCE OF FOOD HABITS

An ayurvedic doctor treats a person looking at the three doshasVatapitta, and kaphaVata means the wind aspect, pitta means bile, and kapha phlegm or cough. People with the dosha of vata are more restless and have wind trouble. People with the trouble of pitta are angry and aggressive, and suffer digestive troubles as a consequence. People with kapha are idle, slow, and prone to cold and cough. One who has balance in all these three doshas, enjoys an internal blessing of health and well-being.

The food we take can contain also these three types of doshas; some food causes wind while others produce cough and some clearly produce indigestion. So one should be careful in selecting food that will be conducive to one’s health and sense of comfort.

Similarly, in spiritual life, there are defects due to the three gunas. These are the tamasicrajasic, and the sattvic tendencies. The tamasic nature brings excessive sleep, lethargy, doubt and confusion; therajasic nature brings extreme activity and restlessness; the satvic nature brings calmness and balance.

The type of food we eat has a great influence on our tendencies. Food can be classified as tamasic,rajasic, and satvic.

The Chandogya Upanishad declares:

ahara suddhau sattva suddhi, sattva suddhau dhruva smrti

Dhruva smruti is good memory. Memory power should increase in both material and spiritual life. What type of food is good?

Taittriya Upanashad says:

adyate’tti ca bhutani, tasmat annam taducyate

We eat food and food eats us.

Therefore, the food we eat has a strong influence on our tranquility. Food is used in three ways. The majority is excreted, while some is used to nourish the body. A subtle part influences the mind. If we eat a lot of yoghurt, for example, or meat, our mind becomes dull and lethargic, since most of our energy is used in digesting these heavy proteins. On the other hand, if we drink too much caffeine, our minds will become nervous and agitated.

Another way of looking at food is not only what we eat, but also what enters our bodies through our sense organs. What we look at and what we listen to can be considered as “food” and has an influence on our thoughts and on our mind. Food should be given to the senses in a positive way, with the purpose of uplifting and enhancing our love and devotion for God.

A true lover of God, who walks the Path of Love, believes that all the beauty he sees is a reflection of God. This awareness makes him appreciate life more and more. As often as you can, praise God for all the gifts he has given you. Listen to good music that is both inspiring and uplifting. Anything you eat, offer it first to God. Use every sense organ, immersed in love for God.

LAZINESS OR IDLENESS (Styana)

We have to be strong in order to overcome laziness. To go to work on time, you should get up on time. When the alarm goes off, if your body and mind do not cooperate, then you are late and have to rush at the last minute. Morning hours should be used to get as much done as possible, in a calm, organized, and collected manner. There is no guarantee of what happens tomorrow. Manage your workload and do not procrastinate. To postpone a duty is a sign of weakness. Do not put off your meditation. Do it regularly, every day, in a systematic and disciplined manner.

        Path of Love; pg 94 - 95

The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 14)

adhisthanam tatha karta 
karanam ca prthagvidham 
vividhasca prthakcesta 
daivam caivatra pancamam

Translation

[The five causes (five instruments) are] the seat of action (the body), the agent of action (the do-er), the various organs, the various different activities, and destiny, or providence.

Metaphorical Interpretation

Here the Lord continues His sermon on the causes of activity and the secret to success in any human endeavor or effort. He categorically classifies these factors to be only five:

  1. Adhishthana: the seat of action - especially the human body.
  2. Karta: the agent of action - the cause that activates the body. Ordinarily, due to ignorance, the egocentric personality thinks, “I am the do-er.”
  3. Karana: organs of action (speech, hands, arms, legs, and sex organ); five organs of perception (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing); the mind and the intellect.
  4. Vividha chesta: efforts, endeavors, and activities.
  5. Daiva: destiny or providence.

Here the Lord systematically lists the five factors responsible for carrying out any activity. The principle factor is the human body -- the basic principle of all activities. If the body is kept in perfectly healthy condition, you can quickly achieve a goal. A healthy body is one of the basics for success in material as well as spiritual life. The body is the house in which the soul lives.

The second factor is the do-er. In ordinary people, the ego thinks that it is the do-er, not the body or the senses. This belief stems from ignorance.

The third factor is the instruments: the indriyaas (the sense organs), with manas (the mental factor) and buddhi (the intellectual factor) as additional vital components. Pure mind and intellect in the regulated sense organs can work, enjoy, and reach any goal easily.To achieve success in any area of life, effort is necessary. Without sufficient effort human endeavor cannot create the necessary result.

The last factor is human destiny, which is nothing but the accumulated effect of all past actions -- daivain Sanskrit. Daiva is derived from div, the state of emptiness, formlessness. In other aspects, it is divine love. When you depend on God, love God, and perceive oneness with God, you will have success in life.

Suppose an artist wants to paint a picture on a piece of canvass. Canvass represents the first factor, the base of activity (adhishthana). The artist is the actor (karta); the paints and brush are the material instruments (karana). The process of painting is the human endeavor (vividha chesta). The skill and knowledge of painting stored in the brain is the destiny (daiva). These five factors are the basic requirements of painting or any action in the world.

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Let the Dead Bury the Dead

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, 
he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 
Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, 
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, 
but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 
Another disciple said to him, 
“Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 
But Jesus told him. 
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
        —Matthew 8:18-22

The lake of life has two shores: mortality and immortality; death and liberation. Most people live in the world of the dead, busy in extrovert activities and God-forgetfulness. Fear of death plays a big role in their lives. But they are already the living dead; they have died before their time. To taste immortality, the seeker must cross the lake of life. A guide is needed to point the way.

Many disciples want to be very close to the master, thinking they can advance spiritually through physical closeness. They want to follow the master physically, but this is not the way. True proximity to the master is reflected in disciples’ thinking, speech, and behavior. When disciples translate the teachings of the master into their lives, they are true followers. When they have made themselves clean and pure, the master is clearly reflected in them. When a teacher of the law offered to follow Jesus, Jesus explained the meaning of “to follow.” “The foxes have holes to go to and birds have the nest. But where is the place of the Son of Man to lay his head?”

“Follow me” is this dictum of the master. The master will guide the disciple on the path of spiritual life. Darkness, doubts, delusions, and downfall are obstacles found on the spiritual path. The path is extremely slippery, so the seeker must be cautious. Those who do not follow the master in spirit and love are unable to progress in spiritual life.

Spiritual life is not an outward show; it is the art of inner transformation. Spirituality is a holy pilgrimage from the lower centers to the fontanel, and even beyond. Spirituality is the journey from a body-conscious, sinful, restless life to a soul-conscious, divine life. Inner transformation is manifest in thought, word, and deed. By thoroughly controlling the sense organs and the mind, we can proceed along the spiritual path. In spiritual life, we must give up everything, including body consciousness.

Human beings constantly fear death. When Jesus addressed the disciple, he was saying, “Why do you want to waste your time burying your dead father; follow me, let the dead bury the dead.” Many followers of Jesus could not understand the subtle teachings behind this statement. They thought Jesus was rejecting a fundamental social and religious rite.

Jesus was often misunderstood, even by his closest disciples. It is very easy to misunderstand, but difficult to understand. Until the disciples’ minds are tuned to pure, continuous, God-conscious awareness, they cannot follow the teachings of an enlightened master.

Death has three aspects: Physical death comes normally to every living being; spiritual death happens to body-conscious people because they constantly ignore the soul; and real death--the death of the body-conscious, egocentric life. Ultimately, the death of the individual ego and the perception of the divine nature is realization; the spiritual seeker is liberated from earthly bondage and becomes awakened in the soul. When Jesus said, “Follow me, let the dead bury the dead,” he was describing the three kinds of death.

Every day people die. The dead are buried by their relatives, who cry and mourn for their departed. They are “the living dead” who do not perceive that death is waiting for them. They fail to realize the true purpose of life and death.

Every human body constantly faces decay and death. Every moment, millions of cells die and new cells are created. Every exhalation is death, and every inhalation is life. Every moment has the taste of death and, at the same time, it is an opportunity for experiencing immortality. Sincere spiritual seekers try to free themselves from body-consciousness by remaining in soul awareness. The soul is immortal. Jesus said:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body 
but cannot kill the soul. 
Rather, be afraid of the One 
who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
        —Matthew 10:28

Every holy book reveals the immortality of the soul. The Bhagavad Gita teaches:

ajo nityah shasvatoyam puranah

“The soul is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.” Bhagavad Gita 2:20

dehi nityam avadhyoyam 
dehe sarvasya bharata

“The dweller in the body of everyone, O Bharata, is eternal and cannot be slain.” Bhagavad Gita 2:30

True followers of Jesus welcome real death - the end of body-consciousness! They constantly perceive the soul, during every moment, during every activity. They are free from sin. Sin is death. The worst sin is to ignore the existence of the soul within.

        The Torah, the Bible, and Kriya Yoga, pg. 353 - 355

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