Light of the Spirit Blog

The Four Qualities Necessary for Samadhi

yogi-silhouette in samadhiSutra 20 of Book One of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

20. [In the case] of others [upaya-pratyaya yogis] it is preceded by faith [shraddha], energy [virya], memory [smriti] and high intelligence [samadhi-prajña] necessary for Samadhi.

Upaya-pratyaya yogis are those that have followed the traditional sequence of yogic practices and disciplines. Their attainments are directly related to–a result of–specific methods. They have not arisen “out of the blue” but have a firm, known basis.

Blavatsky often warned her students to not put faith in “natural” psychics who had either been born psychic or had suddenly, spontaneously become psychic. She explained that such persons have no real control over and understanding of their abilities. Further, their abilities could lessen or disappear as mysteriously as they appeared. Instead she advised them to only consult and have faith in “developed” psychics–those who had become psychic by following specific disciplines and who could keep themselves up to the optimum level through those practices.

The superconscious experience of authentic yogis is preceded and produced by:

  1. Shraddha–the faith, confidence, or assurance that arises from personal experience. It can also be based on developed intuition. It may even be faith in a teacher who has been perceived to be trustworthy–faith that stimulates the yogis to practice faithfully. Shraddha can be a factor behind perseverance in yoga practice.
  2. Virya is strength, power, energy, and courage. Obviously all are needed to initiate and maintain yoga sadhana unto its fruition.
  3. Smriti is memory or recollection. In this context it means a constant awareness of divine realities, a continual keeping in mind the principles of spiritual life and especially remembering to maintain constant mental practices such as mantra japa.
  4. Samadhi-prajna is an interesting hybrid term. Prajna is basically consciousness, but it is also intelligent awareness or wisdom, and even intelligence itself. Samadhi-prajna is all this, but it has been produced by samadhi–including the basic spiritual opening states that lead up to full-blown samadhi. Ordinary prajna can be possessed by anyone who has a developed brain and nervous system, but samadhi-prajna is rooted in spirit-consciousness–spirit-intelligence.

Becoming special people

I think we can conclude that samadhi is only attained by special people possessing markedly special qualities and abilities. Fortunately, we can all be such special persons, for that is our potential and our destiny. But we must work at it untiringly and constantly. Yogis do not go on vacations any more than God does. “Full steam ahead” is the way.

Vyasa encapsulates it perfectly: “The samadhi resulting from a means [i.e., practice] is for yogis. Faith is a settled clarity of the mind: like a good mother, it protects a yogi. When he has that faith, and is seeking knowledge, there arises in him energy. When energy has arisen in him, his memory stands firm. When memory stands firm, his mind is undisturbed and becomes concentrated in samadhi. To the mind in samadhi comes knowledge by which he knows things as they really are. From practice of these means, and from detachment from the whole field of mental process, arises asamprajñata samadhi.”

Then Vyasa writes a kind of preface or introduction for the next sutra:

“Yogis are of nine kinds, according to the methods which they follow, either mild or moderate or intense, and then subdivided according to the energy–mild, moderate or intense–with which they practice these respective methods. A mild method may be practiced with mild or moderate or ardent energy, and so with the moderate method. Of those who practice intense methods,…”

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Signs of an Awakened Kundalini

kundaliniQ: Can you please tell me about signs of awaking of Kundalini? How is a sadhaka supposed to detect it?

Here are the words of Sri Ramakrishna on the subject:

“The mind of a worldly man generally moves among the three lower centres: those at the navel, at the sexual organ, and at the organ of evacuation. After great effort and spiritual practice the Kundalini is awakened. According to the yogis there are three nerves in the spinal column: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Along the Sushumna are six lotuses, or centres, the lowest being known as the Muladhara. Then come successively Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the six centres. The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: ‘What is this? What is this?’

“After passing through the six centres, the Kundalini reaches the thousand petalled lotus known as the Sahasrara, and the aspirant goes into samadhi.

“According to the Vedas these centres are called ‘bhumi’, ‘planes’. There are seven such planes. The centre at the heart conesponds to the fourth plane of the Vedas. According to the Tantra there is in this centre a lotus called Anahata, with twelve petals.

“The centre known as Visuddha is the fifth plane. This centre is at the throat and has a lotus with sixteen petals. When the Kundalini reaches this plane, the devotee longs to talk and hear only about God. Conversation on worldly subjects, on ‘woman and gold’, causes him great pain. He leaves a place where people talk of these matters.

“Then comes the sixth plane, corresponding to the centre known as Ajna. This centre is located between the eyebrows and it has a lotus with two petals. When the Kundalini reaches it, the aspirant sees the form of God. But still there remains a slight barrier between the devotee and God. It is like a light inside a lantern. You may think you have touched the light, but in reality you cannot because of the barrier of glass.

“And last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti.

And also:

“Can one attain knowledge of God by merely repeating the word ‘God’? There are two indications of such knowledge. First, longing, that is to say, love for God. You may indulge in reasoning or discussion, but if you feel no longing or love, it is all futile. Second, the awakening of the Kundalini. As long as the Kundalini remains asleep, you have not attained knowledge of God. You may be spending hours poring over books or discussing philosophy, but if you have no inner restlessness for God, you have no knowledge of Him.

“When the Kundalini is awakened, one attains bhava, bhakti, prema, and so on. This is the path of devotion.”

Remember, The Dhammapada for Awakening is now available in print at Amazon.com. Of course, it is and always has been available as a free PDF download here at OCOY.org. But many people prefer owning a print version, and we plan on printing more of the writings available on this site.

And a special notice for members of the book lovers social media site Goodreads.com: we are offering this week a free giveaway of two copies of The Dhammapada for Awakening by Abbot George. The contest lasts a week, which gives you plenty of time to register to win.

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The Dhammapada for Awakening by Abbot George Burke

The Dhammapada for Awakening

by Abbot George Burke

Giveaway ends July 23, 2014.

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The Second Coming of Christ, by Paramhansa Yogananda

Yogananda and Jesus - The Second Coming of ChristWe are now posting on this website a most valuable–indeed invaluable–writing of the great Master Paramhansa Yogananda: The Second Coming of Christ, his commentary on passages from the four Gospels.

At his first speech given in America at the Congress of Religious Liberals in 1920, the Master announced that he would be giving weekly classes in Boston that would consist of three parts:

  1. a half-hour exposition of the Bhagavad Gita,
  2. a half-hour exposition of the Gospels, and
  3. a half-hour discourse demonstrating their fundamental unity. In the thirty-nine years after that first speech, he never deviated from his intention, and often stated that his purpose in coming to America was to present Original Yoga and Original Christianity.

After establishing a magazine, he began publishing a series of articles on the Gita and another series on the Gospels, which latter even then he called The Second Coming of Christ. Toward the end of his life he wanted them collected and printed in a book, but found that a tremendous amount of editing was needed, so that was not done.

Various editions

In 1979 the Amrita Foundation of Dallas Texas printed a three-volume set of the magazine articles that had been edited. That text is being posted here.

Much later, Self-Realization Fellowship published a two-volume edition of The Second Coming of Christ, that had been greatly augmented by the addition of much material on the Gospels that had been gathered from many of the Master’s other talks and writings. It was compiled and also extensively edited by Mrinalini Mata, the present President of SRF and has a value all its own.

We hope that interested readers will give this spiritual masterwork the careful study it certainly merits since it presents for the first time in the two-thousand-year history of Christianity the complete authentic teachings of Jesus.

In the introductory material of the Amrita printing the following is given:

A Sacred Remembrance

When Paramhansa Yogananda began writing his intuitively-perceived interpretations of the sayings of Jesus, he prayed for Christ to guide him in divining the true meaning in his words.

Paramhansaji was blessed with the presence and vision of Jesus Christ many times during his life. On one such occasion, in later years, he asked a question of Jesus pertaining to these writings.

It was a time of silent prayer and his room became filled with an opal- blue light, and Christ appeared–radiant and about him a glow of golden light. Looking into his wondrously beautiful eyes, he asked Christ if he had pleased him in the way he had interpreted his teachings.

At once a Chalice appeared at Christ’s lips, and then came over to touch his own, and Christ answered:

“Your lips have quaffed the same LIVING WATERS from which I drink.”

Words of matchless assurance! This holy response was sacredly cherished within his heart.

Download The Second Coming of Christ

Christians or Hindus?

Jesus and Krishna - Messiah vs. AvatarsQ: Are you Saint Thomas Christians or Hindus?

To us they are the same thing. Jesus lived in India from the age of fourteen until he returned to Israel when he was thirty. There he taught the dharma he had learned in India and incurred the wrath of the religious authorities who eventually brought about his death by the Romans who were occupying Israel.

His guru, Chetan Nath, a leading figure of the Nath Yogi Sampradaya, revived Jesus by his yoga powers and they returned to India where Jesus lived the rest of his life mostly in the Himalayas in Kashmir.

Saint Thomas

A short time after Jesus returned to India Thomas, one of his twelve apostles, also went to live in India, first in Kashmir and then in what is the present-day state of Kerala. He had many disciples who were called Ishannis (“of Isha”–Isha Nath being the Sanskrit name of Jesus as a Nath Yogi). The Ishanni Sampradaya was fully a part of Sanatana Dharma as were the sampradayas of other acharyas such as Shankara, Ramanuja, etc. All of the Ishannis were Brahmins who adhered strictly to Sanatana Dharma. Only after the coming of the Portuguese and other Europeans did the Ishannis become known as Saint Thomas Christians.

Unique outlook

It is important to understand several distinctive characteristics of the Saint Thomas Christians who adhere to the original principles of Jesus and Saint Thomas:

  1. They consider Jesus of Nazareth to be a perfected yoga siddha, a jivanmukta like the great acharyas such as Shankara. They honor him greatly as all sampradayas honor their founders, but they do not believe him to be God the creator or somehow the only savior of the world in whom people must believe to be “saved.”
  2. Their beliefs are completely those of Sanatana Dharma, the religion of the ancient rishis of India as found in the eleven major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures.
  3. Just as each sampradaya in India has distinctive features, mostly ritualistic, in the same way the Saint Thomas Christians are distinguished by the rituals instituted by Jesus and known as sacraments. However these rituals reflect and express the principles of Sanatana Dharma such as karma, rebirth and the divine nature of the Self in all human beings.

To understand the Saint Thomas Christians fully we recommend that you read both The Christ of India and The Apostle of India which you can find on our website, ocoy.org.

How to Develop Sattwa Guna

Sattwa GunaQ: Can you please guide me as to how to increase the predominance of sattwa guna so as to move steadily in the path of devotion while continence is being practiced?

Two things are necessary to help the sadhaka increase in sattwa, and both are very simple and easy.

First: Carefully study and apply all the passages in the Gita which outline sattwa guna as it manifests in various aspects of the spiritual life, including diet.

Second: Meditate regularly and for an adequate amount of time each day.

Success will be assured.

 

Dhammapada for Awakening coverBringing a refreshing and timely perspective to ancient wisdom and showing seekers of inner peace how they can effectively lead a spiritual life in the modern world, The Dhammapada for Awakening: A Commentary on the Buddha’s Practical Wisdom by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri) is the first of a series of new books from Light of the Spirit Monastery in Cedar Crest, New Mexico.

The Dhammapada for Awakening explores the Buddha’s answers to the urgent questions, such as “How can I find find lasting peace, happiness and fulfillment that seems so elusive?” and “What can I do to avoid many of the miseries big and small that afflict all of us?”.

In The Dhammapada for Awakening you will learn:

1. An esoteric understanding of the mind and how to deal with it.
2. How we create our destinies by our thoughts and actions, and how we can use that knowledge to shape a better present and future for ourselves.
3. What are the obstacles to reaching our full potential, and how we can avoid them.

Whether a person is Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, simply spiritual, or merely discontent with the status quo of their lives, the universal spiritual principles in The Dhammapada for Awakening will prove helpful in empowering seekers to tread the path to Freedom, that they may become finders.

Now Available at Amazon.com in print and Kindle formats. Also available at Authorhouse, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Indiebound, and other online bookstores.

Get it Now!

 

Is Exoteric Religion Necessary?

exoteric religious traditionQ: Is an exoteric religious tradition necessary?

Though it may not be easy to see how or why, everything in this world is necessary and has a purpose.

There are two classes of human beings:

  1. those that are mostly aware of external existence and therefore think and act with an almost total degree of outer awareness, motivation and response, and
  2. those that are also aware of internal existence to such a degree that it effects their thinking and behavior to a marked degree. These people are mostly affected by psychological and even psychic awareness. Though living side by side, they live in two different–even contradictory–worlds. Origen called the first type Somas–Bodies, and the second kind Pneumas–Spirit.

Exoteric

For the externally-oriented people, exoteric religion is a necessity, for by continually bringing God and spiritual principles to bear on their outer material life they very slowly begin to spiritualize their thinking and living. This can take a lot of lives, but it does inevitably happen.

Esoteric

For the internally and psychically aware people, esoteric religion is a necessity for it furthers their growth into progressively higher awareness until they transcend this purely material life and and become capable of passing into higher, subtler worlds where their evolution will be greatly accelerated. Until then, yoga can be the major factor for their development, not mere religiosity even if extremely “spiritual.”

So for some exoteric religion is necessary and for others esoteric religion is necessary and some need both together. It is all a matter of intuition and must be determined by the individual, not some external person, factor or authority.

The prime necessity is that each person figure this out for himself while respecting the needs of others, however different they may be.

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