Our First Thought

YachnaYogaSunrise

YachnaYogaSunrise

The progress of our life in spirituality can be judged from the first thought that occurs to the mind in the early morning when we get up. What is the first thought that comes to our mind the moment we wake up from sleep? That will give us an idea as to what we have been thinking throughout the day. The conscious mind remains suppressed and the impulses alone work in the deep sleep state, and these impulses will thrust up certain ideas the moment we get up. It may be something which is connected with this world or something which is related to our sadhana. It may be a thought of anxiety or it may be a thought of freedom. It may be a thought of anything, depending upon the thoughts during the waking state. From this we can have an idea, an inkling as to how we have been conducting our thoughts.

Swami Krishnanda

“Hope is what keeps your spirit alive. Expectation weighs it down.”

“Hope is what keeps your spirit alive. Expectation weighs it down.

“Hope is what keeps your spirit alive. Expectation weighs it down.”

But how can you be positive when faced with disappointments?

By knowing that disappointments are part of the learning process.

Hope is a beautiful thing, and it must be kept alive, but expectation is a demand that comes from your ego. It is easy to be positive when things are going well.

The real test is to be positive when life is difficult, when things don’t go your way. That is how you evolve as a person”

~ Laws of the Spirit World

The Magical and Miraculous Sudarshan Kriya- Indispensable in Today’s Day and Age

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes

In today’s post I’ll be sharing something quite personal.  It is difficult, but the reason why I started this blog was not to just share articles that sound great in theory, but also to share personal stories of struggle and solutions I found that helped me overcome these challenges; to help anyone going through similar struggles.

Last September I read an article about a young woman who had suffered from a tumor. After 3 months of practicing the Sudrashan kriya as taught at the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Art of Living program, her tumor had disappeared.  You can read her full story here:

http://artoflivinglifestories.blogspot.com/2011/01/kamlesh-barwal-art-of-living-experience.html?m=1

At the time I had been suffering from severe depression, severe insomnia resulting from traumatized nerve cells, and horrible panic disorder for 7-8 months which started in early 2014. I had dealt with anxiety disorder in the past, 15 yrs ago and had overcome it with the help of Ayurvedic (Indian herbal) medicines.  This time around the problem was exacerbated due to the severe insomnia, leaving me with no respite or temporary escape.  I lost 13 pounds in 4 weeks.  I couldn’t swallow food and had to force food down by washing whatever little I could chew on with some juice or milk or water. Even prescription sleep meds failed to give me sound sleep. My own doctors didn’t handle my case properly.  They were just interested in putting me on a long term anxiety med, which did not address my severe sleep situation that needed immediate help. I had no energy and couldn’t function at all.  I was utterly confused and couldn’t understand what was even wrong with me from a medical stand point. I displayed symptoms that mimicked symptoms of other auto immune and neurological illnesses but all test came back normal. But it kept eating into my subconscious that something was wrong and doctors were taking it too lightly resulting in me spiraling into a deep depression.  Four months of this torment continued, until one of our family friends who is also a doctor prescribed me something to take at night to help with the sleep and anxiety.  For the first time in months I woke up feeling rested mentally and physically. I continued taking the medicine to get to a stabilizing point.  But after months of not being able to function normally I was in a hurry to get back to my normal self. I would get off the medicine and then find that I was back on again which is what (I believe) caused me to develop a tolerance to this medicine.  I had to increase the dosage and even that barely helped me with my sleep. I was still very depressed and hopeless about my condition and worried if it would ever really go away.  I spent a lot of money on things like acupuncture and other therapies hoping and praying they would help.

Two months into my health crisis I had attended an Art of Living Program upon my sister and brother in law’s behest. It was a very difficult period for me as I barely had the strength. A complete stranger (now a friend) who was also attending the program and lived close to me drove me to the center and back 40 minutes away for the 3-4 days. I learned the kriya/technique but wasn’t able to practice it as recommended at the time due to too much weakness.  In June I made a trip to India and sought Homeopathic and Ayurvedic treatment.  The herbal preparations helped pry me out of the deep well of darkness that I was in.  It strengthened my nerves, but the insomnia prevailed and I was still struggling with the decision of whether or not to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia. It was as if my nerves had snapped after being stretched to their maximum limit. I decided to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia and anxiety regularly, but I continued to feel hopeless that this waking hellish nightmare would never end.  The panic disorder symptoms had gone down considerably, but were still present. It was like after some steady improvement with the herbs, my progress plateaued and I was ‘stuck’.

After I read the article about the young woman mentioned above, I told myself I would do the kriya also for a period of 3 months and see if it made a difference. I religiously practiced the kriya without analyzing it or judging it. I noticed a subtle difference the very first time.  It was small but it was there.  For the first time I found myself laughing and cracking a joke in months. As time went by I found that I was returning to normal routines and day to day tasks, laughing, socializing.  Slowly the dosage of my sleep meds went down. After 3 months I stopped taking the meds completely and switched to over the counter milder forms. After a month I stopped even that and survived with just minimal, poor but natural sleep which left me feeling tired. But I continued with kriya.  My nerves are now almost back to their normal state.  I have been getting naturally drowsy and been sleeping at first just 4 hrs/night then 5-7 hrs/night.  Mentally I feel happy, strong, confident and positive like never before. This Sudrashan kriya has really been a blessing, miraculously improving my health.  It is the best gift for people in this time and age when there is so much stress and worry.

I have always been a health conscious person and strived to lead a healthy life, physically and spiritually. But sometime a problem creeps into our life and before we realize it takes over and devours us.  Everything that I had learned and that had helped me in the past just seemed to be having system failures. Meditations, mudras pranayams all just failed. I couldn’t understand why.  Looking back I realize my problem had become too big. I had also stopped my meditation process for several month prior to this, due to a bad job of prioritizing and at the same time I was taking on excessive worry and imagining fearful outcomes. So consumed was I that I didn’t even realizing the damage I was unleashing on myself.

Anxiety disorder and depression carry a lot of stigma in places like India even in this day and age, where people are quick to mock and judge attributing this illness to weakness. It is not considered a real problem by people who have never suffered from it. Sooner or later we all go through it but in varying degrees because sooner or later we all go through some tragic or traumatic life changing event, whether it is a job loss, loss of a loved one, loss of health or financial insecurity.  If the emotions associated with such loss persists for a few months it manifests as depression and panic disorder. No human being is immune to the lows of life.

This ordeal made me more spiritual, more empathetic and compassionate (not that I wasn’t before, but it took me farther and deeper). I leaned heavily for support on my family, parents, sisters and brothers-in-law, mother in law and select friends. They were my rock.  It brought me even closer to the Universal Spirit/God and my loved ones. I read the famous religious texts Ramayan and Bhagvad Puran (as translated by Kamala Subramaniyam) from which I derived immense strength. I am even more hungry for spiritual evolution than I’ve ever been).

If you are suffering from anxiety/panic disorder, depression, stress, excess worry, negative thought don’t be hopeless. There is CERTAIN help.  You will get better. You will laugh again. The dark clouds inside will disperse and the sun will shine again and your world will be a beautiful place once again. Please give this Sudrashan kriya a try.  It’s the BEST GIFT you can give yourself. It is not meditation. Just a technique which involves repeated sets of breathing at different rhythms. Very Simple; Even a child can do it.

Ayurveda ascribes anxiety disorder/depression etc. to three factors:

Poor diet/nutrition, poor lifestyle that increases the element of air/vayu and mental agitation and weakness and also astrological reasons.  In the past I have shared my experience with astrology (not your daily horoscope as printed in magazines and newspapers, but your customized horoscope based on your personal birth details). The shadowy planet called Rahu (the head/dragons head) is responsible for all sickness and disease above the neck which I know now. My horoscope shown to few astrologers by my dad in India and upon my request indicated a severely bad phase of mental stress due to Rahu.

You can read more about the Ayurvedic Approach to Anxiety at this link:

http://drrajeshshrotriya.com/anti-anxiety-drugs-in-ayurveda/

http://ayurveda.md/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126&Itemid=1

http://ayurveda.md/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126&Itemid=1

Please feel free to share your questions either in the comment box or privately through the Contact Me form. I’d be happy to help and answer your questions.

How Mental and Physical Diseases Arise and How They are Destroyed

How mental diseases arise and how they are destroyed?

Sage Vashishtha, spiritual seer instructing Lord Rama on the Methods to obtain Self Realization

In response to Rama’s inquiry about the cause of mental and physical diseases, Vashishtha responds:

“When the fixed Mind is agitated, then this body is agitated. Then there is no proper perception of things and Prana (life force) deviates from its  even path. It will stagger from its proper path like an animal hit by, and reeling from the wound of an arrow. Through such an agitation, Prana (life force) instead of pervading the whole body, steadily, equally and evenly, will vibrate everywhere at an unequal/ uneven rate.

Thereby the Nadis (subtle energy channels) will not maintain a steady position, but will quiver. Then to the body (which is the receptacle of food digested partially or completely), the Nadis are simply death, due to the imbalance/ fluctuation of the Pranas. The food which settles itself down in this body amidst such a commotion is transformed into incurable diseases. Thus through the primary cause (of the mind) is the disease of the body generated. If this primary cause be annihilated at its root then all diseases will be destroyed.

When the intense desires of a person begin to manifest themselves externally and the ignorance in him preponderates, he performs fearful karmas and these in their turn breed bodily diseases. Again, the body is further subject to diseases through such actions as the eating of unwholesome food, living in unhealthy countries, and doing things at unreasonable hours, injuries inflicted, association with the wicked, longing after improper things, evil desires, bad thoughts, the distention and contraction of the orifices of the Nadis in the joints, and the interrupted flow of the beneficial Pranas throughout the body, cause the body to shrink away.  Then these blossom in the form of diseases in the body, waxing and waning- like the floods in a river during the long seasons of autumn and winter. Thus do we see that diseases, primary and secondary arise through the five-fold Bhutas (elements-air, fire, earth, water, ether).

Like base gold, which when placed in the crucible is transmuted through alchemical processes into pure gold, the mind is unfailingly rendered pure through true, virtuous and pure actions and through dependence upon the wise. In the mind purified thus there will be unalloyed bliss. If the mind becomes purified with true Satwaguna (virtuous thoughts/actions), then Prana-Vayu (life force) will begin to circulate freely throughout the body, the food taken in will be digested properly and hence no diseases will arise. If the diseases which afflict this body return to their primal cause, then they are destroyed. Their primary cause being (bad) thoughts, if these thoughts are destroyed, all bodily diseases will vanish.”

An excerpt from Yoga Vashishth, The Art of Self-Realization written roughly around 7500 B.C.E

Some Practical Thoughts on Meditation

Meditation and its benefits have been known for centuries. Its revival also takes place from time to time. It has been a part of everyday life in many eastern cultures and is used for general purposes as well as for specific needs. For some it is a path to reach immortal bliss. For seekers of knowledge, meditative hours have provided sudden flashes of solutions. For many it is a key in unlocking the secrets of human nature as well as understanding the complex hidden secrets of Universe. No wonder it has been used by thinkers, writers, politicians, scientists, mathematicians and also by ancient eastern medicine.

Recently it has been in high light with western medicine, and has been accepted as a supplementary tool for added benefits. It is becoming a popular activity for everyday life with positive and satisfactory results for many. Many more are fascinated by its mystic appeal and seek some sort of magical, out-of-this-world mystic experience.

Meditation is also of two kinds: action and inaction. In one we actively engage in a process which elevates the consciousness to the point of liberating it. Guided meditation is one of the method for it.  In the other we do nothing at all but simply watch the flow of our thoughts in mindfulness and allow the consciousness to liberate and detach itself in silent inactivity.

Some meditation styles, such as mantra repetition, tend to train for focused or concentrated attention, while others, such as mindfulness meditation, tend to expand one’s attention capacities.

What one wants out of meditation is really as important as doing it. How deep one goes in his or her chosen path and with what goals is determined by your own capability and desire. Like anything else, having unrealistic expectations will bring only frustration and dissatisfaction.

I am also like millions of people who were fascinated and curious about it. Took Yoga and meditation classes and read about it as much as I could. I must admit reading and contemplating is my way of sorting out my confusions.

As I came to know more and more about meditation and other spiritual practices I realized that for people like me, choosing an active way of meditation is more suitable. To make it a way of life I have to structure it according to my own needs.

Our life is made up of small things, our problems are everyday life problems and we seek simple every day solutions that we can manage. So before setting up any lofty goals, why not use meditation for improving upon our weaknesses that prevent us from living our day to day satisfactory life.

For instant if I plan to do ten things in a day, but by the end of day only five things get done, with meditative awareness I realize my weakness of overestimating my capability. So as a small goal, I choose to meditate on a chore of my following day activity that either I wish to perform because it is really important to do or I wish to do simply because I like it. Next day I watch my routine to see if I have success. To my surprise at the end of the day I have done everything but the intended task! Since small things do not present matter of life and death choices or urgencies, no harm is done and very easily, without giving in to any sense of failure or frustration, I plan to finish the intended work the next day.  But the fact that I was able to notice my failure tells me that I can improve upon my performance with meditative skills where mind instead of wandering with scattered aims and desires focuses all its energies in accomplishing what I had set out to do previous night.

I still fail and I still work towards improving myself. If the goal is bigger than what I can handle I take time to pray and to seek for added strength until I am persistent and confident enough to finish whatever I have set out to accomplish.This is just a small example of living meditative life.

While sitting quietly with eyes closed to ward off outer distractions is considered the best way to practice meditation. One can use any activity for meditative exercise. Like doing a small sequence of yogic posture or cooking a dish with full attention without the interference of T.V. , phone or any other distraction. With regular practice of meditation in your chosen form, mind becomes calm and attentive and remains undisturbed at its inner core in failure or success.

Meditation is all about contemplating and focusing the attention of mind and guiding it to stay on desired course. More you practice more you can get attuned and balanced in your everyday life and your mind will not betray you in hour of your weakness or at the time of unexpected crises. You would be able to guide yourself with clear discernment in choosing what is important and letting go of the rest.

Kaivalya Upanishad talks about three great tools in realizing your greater self:

Faith, Devotion and Meditation.

Incorporating these in your everyday life is highest form of Yoga.

This Yoga cultivates skill in action and opens door for realizing your highest potential. This meditative yoga is a finest tool available for fruitful and productive living.

Yoga and meditation are not life-denying affairs. One doesn’t have to retire from active life, give up the world and go to hills or become a recluse. It is important to recognize your heart’s call. Though God realization is considered the highest goal of human life in meditation and yogic tradition, many steps need to be taken before to purify our hearts and minds. The discipline of Tapasya (sincere austerity) that one does for God realization starts with small efforts. As Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Geeta:  ‘There is no effort lost in that journey’. Any sincere practice can be used to train yourself successfully for larger goals. So take small steps and watch this ancient knowledge bring positive changes in your personal development and consequently in your life.

Today’s guest article is by Savita Tyagi, who is also my mother-in-law. Below is some information about her in her own words.

“I was born and raised in India and came to reside in U.S. after marriage. It wasn’t until my children grew up that I turned back to my love of reading and writing again. This time medium was a foreign language- English. Somewhere along the way I went back to my roots. Though I mostly write in English, I devote considerable time reading ancient Vedic literature and have come to love Sanskrit verses. To this day this ancient as well as new age poetry draws me with same passion. This fusion and enrichment some times reflects in whatever little I have been able to write and share with you.”

You an also visit her blog at :

http://whenthoughtsgetwings.blogspot.com/

And the Nobel Prize goes to….

Nils Wallerius (1 January 1706 – Funbo 16 August 1764) – a Swedish physicist, philosopher and theologian, one of the first scientists to study and document the characteristics of evaporation.

Adityam Hridayam, – A hymn composed in praise of the Sun God, by Rishi Agastya about 7500 B.C in which one of the verses attributes the process of evaporation to the sun.  The verse when translated states- Salutations to him who by his rays, consumes the waters, heats them up and sends them down as rain.

Astronomer John Herschel in his 1883 Treatise on Astronomy: The sun’s rays are the ultimate source of almost every motion which takes place on the surface of earth. By its heat are produced all winds. By their vivifying action vegetables are elaborated from organic matter, and become in their turn the support of animals and man….

Adityam Hridayam Hymn (7500 B. C.): He is self-luminous and sustains all with his rays. He nourishes and energizes the inhabitants of this world.

I Have An Energy Vampire in My Life

Yup-That’s me all drained and sad thinking-“You DEPLETE me.” Can’t you SEE?

Recently I have had the misfortune of having a very negative and cynical person make their way into my otherwise peaceful life.  I’m sure we all at one point or another have had people like that in our lives. I work hard every day doing things to help increase my pranic energies (positive life force) by making meditation, prayers, japa, kriyas, yoga, positive reading etc a part of my daily life. These practices really help uplift me and help me lead a life as ideal as possible. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. ~Oscar Wilde,Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1893 But with this person, what should be thirty minutes of frivolous and harmless social exchange always ends up with me ending up completely depleted and down and frustrated.  All this person does is pick on me, question every statement I make and pick it apart.  They question all my choices and any decision related to anything as simple as a meal I have cooked to, where I shop and what I buy to family related matters.  Extremely NOSY asks too many personal questions and then tries to give me parenting advice, housekeeping advice and financial advice. Negatively comments on everything.  Only sees negative things.  My house can be spic and span, but if I missed a crumb it will be sarcastically announced out loud.  This person has the talent of turning innocuous topics into a debate and argument and won’t stop until they’ve hammered me and fractured my spirit. They leave happy after feeding off of me while I am left to pick up the pieces again.  Based on this person’s gossip I infer I am just one of many in a trail of (this person’s) victims.  This person takes pleasure in another’s sorrow – keeps highlighting them, picking on them and tormenting them and blaming them- followed by LIFE ADVICE on what they should have done, or should be doing. There is always a better and correct way of doing something and its always THEIR WAY. My first line of defense is –IGNORE. Tried but failed. Second is to talk and make sense. Failed plus draining. Like talking to a wall. Third is AVOID.  This is what I am going to do now.  Just avoid one on one time with this person and continue doing things that bring positive energy and upliftment. When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ~Henri Nouwen It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out. ~Alexander Pope If it’s very painful for you to criticize your friends — you’re safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that’s the time to hold your tongue. ~Alice Duer Miller When you are in trouble, people who call to sympathize are really looking for the particulars. ~Edgar Watson Howe, Country Town Sayings, 1911 A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad. ~Arnold H. Glasgow  

“The Secret” revealed hundreds of thousands of years ago

In her book-“The Secret” author Rhonda Byrne shared the Law of Attraction according to which we can achieve all desires of health, wealth and happiness based on our thoughts and feelings.

This secret was revealed hundreds of thousands of years ago in the Rudra Gita by Lord Shiva.  Below is an excerpt:

Prayer is the most important medium of spiritual practices. Prayer is the petition asking of something for ourselves; and intercession for others.
To acquire his petition answered, a man need not have to know or to love God or even His image. All that he requires is a burning sense of fulfillment of his desires, coupled with firm conviction that there exists, out in the universe, something not himself, which can be dragooned into satisfying these desires. With the necessary degree of faith and persistence, the chances are that, sooner or later, somehow or other, he gets what he wants. It is the experience of human beings through ages that whatever is sought with firm faith and conviction that God delivers. Whether what he gets, in response to his petition, is morally or materially good or not, only time can say. It may, however, be legitimate for us to pray for anything, which is legitimate for us to desire.

Lord Shiva
Rudra Gita

Resource: astrojyoti.

Different Categories of People

People can be classified into different categories:

The first is the lowest type and is called Asadhu.  He will only see faults in another man.

The second is the mediocre type.  He sees good as well as bad in another person.

The third sees the difference between the good and bad qualities but treat the person in a sensible and proper manner.

The fourth class of people consists of those who ignore faults and take into account only what is good.

But the really great souls are the ones that won’t even look at faults.  They try to enhance even the smallest quality in another person and applaud them for it.

But there is another category  lower than the lowest.  They see faults which do not even exist.

From the Srimad Bhagvatam as translated by Kamala Subramaniam

Spoken by Sati to her father Daksha when he performed a Yagna (sacrifice/offerings)  called Brihaspati Sava and deliberately did not invite his son -in -law Lord Shiva. Daksha performed the yagya with the sole intention of insulting Mahadeva.

The Deluge: Drawing Parallels in Mythology

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Comparative mythology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah%27s_Ark) under Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

In one of our ancient scriptures called Matsya Purana (Matsya means fish) there is a story about how Manu (the son of the Sun God) saved Earth upon the instructions of Lord Vishnu.  Lord Vishnu came to him in the avataar of a fish and told him that soon the entire world would be flooded. He asked him to build a ship and instructed to place all living beings on the boat to save them during the deluge guided by the fish avatar. Once the waters receded he would populate the earth. Sound familiar?

Similar flood stories have been found in religious text of other cultures.

Matsya Vishnu Ravi Varma Press

Matsya Vishnu Ravi Varma Press

Resource: Comparative mythology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah%27s_Ark)

Main article: Flood myth

“The Genesis flood narrative is one of several similar flood myths. The earliest known written flood myth is the Sumerian flood myth found in the Epic of Ziusudra.[2] Later and very similar Mesopotamian flood stories appear in the Epic of Atrahasis and Epic of Gilgamesh texts. Many scholars believe that Noah and the biblical flood-story derive from the Mesopotamian versions, predominantly because biblical mythology that is today found in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Mandeanism shares overlapping consistency with far older written Mesopotamian stories of the Great Flood, and because the early Hebrews were known to have lived in Mesopotamia,[14] particularly during the Babylonian captivity.

The parallels – both similarities and differences – between Noah’s ship and that of the Babylonian flood-hero Atrahasis have often been noted. Noah’s ship is a rectangle, while Atrahasis was instructed to build his in the form of a cube; Atrahasis’s ship has seven decks with nine compartments on each level, while Noah’s has three decks, but he is not given any instructions on the number of compartments to build.[15] The word used for “pitch” (sealing tar or resin) is not the normal Hebrew word but is closely related to the word used in the Babylonian story.[16]

The causes for God/gods having sent the flood also differ: in the Hebrew narrative the flood comes as God’s judgment on a wicked humanity; in the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh the reasons are not given and the flood appears to be the result of the caprice of the gods;[17] whereas in the Atrahasis version of the Babylonian flood story the flood was sent by the gods to reduce human over-population, and after the flood other measures were introduced to prevent the problem recurring.”

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