ATMA BODHA - THE EPILOGUE

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Śaṃkarācārya who had authored many works on dvaita or dualism such as Saundaryalaharī, etc. had also authored Supreme Advaita Scriptures or non-dualistic Scriptures like Ātmabodhaḥ, Tattvabodhaḥ, Vivekacūḍamaṇi, etc. What is the need for Śaṃkarācārya to author both dualistic and non-dualistic Scriptures? He was a loka Guru (Guru for the world) and he had the dual responsibility of developing bhakti (devotion) and at the same time, leading elevated souls to the path of Liberation. The path of bhakti leads to the path of moksha. We cannot get master’s degree without going to school and graduation. These are prerequisites for post-graduation. We begin our education in an elementary school and gradually progress to middle school, high school, graduation and finally post-graduation and research. Similarly, spiritual path, which is full of subtleties and negations can be pursued only after experiencing bhakti. What is bhakti? In bhakti, we worship a form which is mostly loved by us. Here, God and we are not on the same plane; god is always kept on a pedestal and we adore that form with clothes, flowers, ornaments, offer food for god to eat. Though god does not eat, we get satisfaction and happiness when innumerable food items are offered to god. When bhakti is intense, we also shed tears in front of this god. But, we don’t get tears in the beginning, but over a period of time, when we consider that form as our own, we become emotional. A strong relationship is established between god and us. This is the infantile step in the path of moksha. Many of us continue our lives by pursuing only the path of bhakti, without seeking the ultimate goal of our life. Human birth is God’s gift and we should not waste this without attaining Liberation. Both birth and death are always painful. Hence, it is important that we should get relief from transmigration. Śaṃkarācārya in simple terms laid the path to Liberation, which is easier to follow than the ritualistic path.

Nowadays, ritualistic path is commercialised and turned out to be crowd pulling events. Some may argue that ritualistic path is prescribed by Vedas. But, they are not aware that Vedas have subtle conveyances too. Aurobindo was the first one to give subtle interpretation to Vedas. He said yajña-s refer to inner oblations, burning ego, anger, greed, pride, attachment, desires, etc. These are the impediments in spiritual path, which is always internal. We should not be lured by crowd pullers in spiritual life. Spiritual life is always in seclusion. Nothing is needed for spiritual life; no wastage of money and no physical strain. All we need is only a pure mind. Spiritual path cannot be pursued where pomp and vanity are predominant; even bhakti takes a beating in this scenario. Now, we can understand why sages and saints went to forest to meditate. There are several instances about this in Upanishads. Kṛṣṇa also speaks of meditating in seclusion. Dualism or ritualistic path cannot be denounced. However, they are like pre-graduation period. Goal of our life is to attain moksha, for which Śaṃkarācārya clearly laid down instructions for us to follow. This path is simple and inexpensive and is the only path for Liberation.

After remaining in spiritual path for some time, the next move is towards mantra sādhana. Mantras are meant to protect and purify our mind. Mantras are to be initiated by a Guru. There are two types of Gurus. Some Gurus go deeper and deeper into mantra sādhana and barrages his disciples with scores of mantras. Other Gurus take us to the path of Liberation through the path of mantra sādhana and meditation. It is always better to approach the second type of Gurus, who guides us properly in our ultimate goal, step by step. But these types of Gurus are rare to find. No purpose would be served if we practice more than one mantra at a time. Mantras, as such, do not lead to Liberation. They only prepare our mind for the ultimate goal of realizing the Self, as Self-realization happens only in the mind. While pursuing mantra sādhana, again step by step approach should be pursued. In the initial days, we can use rosary beads for counting. After sometime, when we become conversant with the mantra, we have to discard beads and chant the mantra mentally. Then mantra should be meditated upon, which results in the mantra percolating into our subconscious mind. Thus, we unconsciously chant the mantra throughout the day. At this stage, we are ready to begin our spiritual journey. The mind needs to be cleansed with ritualistic path and mantra sādhana. Only in a fully cleansed mind, true spiritual path can be pursued. Without strong foundation, a tall building will always be unstable and similarly, without a pure mind, proper meditation cannot be pursued.

We need the help of our Guru from this point onwards and the Guru should be capable of leading us to the path of enlightenment. Spiritual path begins with three things. They are spiritual knowledge, prāṇāyama and meditation, exactly in the similar order. There is no point in reading books after books. The ultimate teaching of all the books is “you are That”. After acquiring the requisite knowledge, we have to unlearn what we have learnt, after grasping the essence and revelations of these spiritual texts such as Upaniṣad-s and non-dualistic texts authored by Śaṃkarācārya. Why unlearning? Otherwise, we will continue to dwell in doubts and there will be no end to such doubts. While acquiring knowledge, we should have absolute concentration. If we are not able to understand, we have to clarify our doubts with our Guru.

Before proceeding to the final path viz. meditation, we have to practice prāṇāyama, as advised by Guru. Prāṇāyama helps to cleanse the mind of all impurities and develop our concentration, which is important in meditation. Along with prāṇāyama, we have to learn to slow down our breathing rate, which helps to increase our awareness during meditation. To begin with, twenty minutes of meditation (which excludes prāṇāyama) twice a day. Nothing will happen in the first few minutes. After approximately 10 to 20 days, the first signs of silent mind can be observed. Under the guidance of Guru, one has to increase the duration of meditation over a period of time. Those who have responsibilities should not practice meditation for longer duration, as long duration meditation will lead to samādhi or trance. Remaining in samādhi for long time, will lead to detachment from the family. Hence, age factor should be taken into account while practicing higher meditations. Guru will properly guide us in this regard.

Once we have completed our responsibilities, we can meditate for longer duration, which will make us to remain first in savikalpa samādhi and later on in nirvikalpa samādhi, where we become one with the Self. We continue to exist in this world as long as the last trace of karma remains. Once, all our karmas are exhausted, we cease to transmigrate and merge into Brahman forever. This is the right path to Liberation. There is no short cut method to Liberation. Without a proper Guru, Liberation is not possible.

Further Readings:

ATMA BODHA - 9

ATMA BODHA - 10

ATMA BODHA - 11

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ATMA BODHA - 11

Sunday, August 13, 2017

When a jīvanmukta exhausts all his karmas, he is liberated. When pot is broken, the clay becomes one with the clay and the water in it becomes one with the water. They have gone to the place from which they have originated. A pot originated only from clay. Though there may be pots of different shapes and sizes, the cause is the clay. When the pot is broken, the clay of the pot becomes one with the source, the heap of clay. Similarly, when a jīvanmukta, dies, he becomes one with Brahman, from whom he originated (everybody originates only from Brahman). In other words, his individual soul merges with Brahman, not to be born again. It is like a drop of water mixing in an ocean. We can never segregate that drop water from the ocean. There are two types of Liberation that are spoken of in Advaita. One is jīvanmukti and another is videhamukti. Jīvanmukti is liberation while remaining in his physical body and videhamukti is liberation after death. A jīvanmukta continues to live undergoing his final traces of karma. Once all his karmas are exhausted, he merges with Brahman. A jīvanmukta is considered superior than videhamukta for the simple reason, that a jīvanmukta continues to live in this material world, devoid of māyā and its associated afflictions such as desires, attachments and all other allurements. Such a jīvanmukta lives only as Brahman and in fact, he is nothing but Brahman with a shape and form. He always remains as a witness and unattached till his death. (53)

After realising the Self, there is nothing more to be attained. Such a jīvanmukta always remains in the state of Bliss. He requires nothing, not even food and shelter. For him, there is no need for further knowledge. (Knowledge beyond a point is not useful. When there is a strong connection between him and the Self, knowledge is of no use. Beyond a point, unlearning is important in spiritual path.) After realizing Brahman, nothing needs to be attained. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (brihadaranyaka upanishad) says, “This is the supreme attainment; this is the supreme glory; this is the highest world and this is the supreme bliss.” Now he becomes Brahman himself. He who knows Brahman, becomes Brahman itself. He is all done in this life and he has no more births. (54)

Brahman can be attained through knowledge and practice. After attaining Brahman, there is nothing more to do. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā, “Those who are free from pride and delusion, having won over the miseries of attachment, perpetually connected with the Lord, whose desires have ceased to exist, totally freed from dyads reach the supreme state of immortality. That Supreme Abode of mine is not illuminated by sun, moon or fire and those who reach here, never go back to the material world.” What else one needs out of this precious human birth? Release from transmigration is the biggest gift of all. (55)

Understand that Brahman is Saccidānanda. A jīvanmukta remains in perpetual bliss and he is devoid of all types of dualities. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad beautifully explains this. “The blissful Brahman is in front of you; it is behind you; it is in the south and north as well. It is above and below. It is omnipresent and the whole universe is Brahman only.” A jīvanmukta truly understand this and continues to live till his last traces of karmas are experienced by him. (No mantra nor remedial measures will eradicate our karmas. We have to undergo both pleasure and pain of karmas.) (56)

Upaniṣad-s reveal Brahman only through negations. Identity is duality. Unless two objects are present, identity cannot be established, as the other object needs to be identified by one object. This is duality. The one that cannot be identified is Brahman. That is why Upaniṣad-s negate everything and finally say that Brahman is beyond comprehension (only those with shapes and forms can be comprehended) and can only be realized. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (brihadaranyaka upanishad) beautifully explains the final stages of liberation. “The man who does not have desires is Brahman and being Brahman, he is merged into Brahman.” This also subtly conveys that desires and attachments are the cause for transmigration. (57)

Gods like Brahmā, Indra, etc. enjoy only a miniscule of Bliss of Brahman (we have to always remember that Brahman is Saccidānanda). Such gods enjoy Bliss of Brahman to the extent of their hierarchy. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (brihadaranyaka upanishad) says, “Brahman is Supreme Bliss and only on a speck of it, other beings live (which includes gods like Brahmā, Indra, etc.” (58)

Without Brahman no object or no being can exist. Brahman exists across length and breadth of the universe, like a threads crisscrossing in a woven cloth. Brahman is like butter permeating milk (butter is present in milk originally. But it can be separated after milk is made into curd; only by curdling curd, we get butter). In the milk, we don’t realize the presence of butter, though inherent in it. Similarly, Brahman is already present in us, but we are not able to realize It, as It is veiled by māyā. Unless, we sharpen our knowledge from a spiritual teacher, it is difficult to understand the presence of Brahman within, as It is subtlest of all. (59)

Brahman is immutable. He is neither this nor that; neither here nor there. That is why, Brahman is called Omnipresent. (60)

In the presence of Brahman, the sun does not shine, nor do the moon and stars, nor does lightning, let alone this fire. When Brahman shines, everything follows. By Its Light, all these are lighted. There are many Upaniṣad-s which say this. (61)

Brahman pervades the universe both inwardly and outwardly, shining all the time. As previously discussed, It interpenetrates the universe. (62)

Universe is not Brahman (but universe is part of Brahman). Only Brahman exists everywhere. If anyone thinks that any object exists other than Brahman, then it is only a mirage. As we are attached to shapes and forms, we are not able to realize the presence of Brahman in everything. This attachment is called māyā. When māyā is shed, we realize Brahman. (63)

Only spiritual knowledge alone can make us to realize Brahman who is Saccidānanda. All that we see are only Brahman. But due to lack of highest spiritual knowledge, we are deluded by the shapes and forms or sound or light. Brahman is all of these and not all of these. Though It permeates the universe, still It is different. It is Saccidānanda. We exist in dualism because of innate ignorance, called māyā. Unless the veil of māyā is removed, we cannot realize Brahman, though It is omnipresent. To understand what māyā is, we need spiritual knowledge and with this knowledge and by negating everything (shedding all kinds of duality), we realize Brahman. This path is called sādhana, which involves several steps. (64)

Brahman is Absolute Consciousness and omnipresent and can be realized only through true knowledge. The one, whose vision is obscured cannot see the sun; similarly, the one, whose knowledge is obscured cannot realize Brahman. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad beautifully explains this. “The Self is formless, yet you cannot see It by the eyes. It is beyond speech, so you cannot express It with words. You cannot perceive It by other organs either. You cannot realize It even by austerities and sacrifices. If your mind becomes pure by tuning away from sense pleasures and if you meditate, you can “see” the formless Self. (“see” here means find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort. It is called seeing because, the pleasure of being with It is something that cannot be explained and has to be experienced.) (65)

A human being freed from impurities attains pure knowledge that is free of any doubts. Spiritual path cannot be pursued with doubts in mind. The mind has to be pure like a crystal. He has attained this pure knowledge through hearing (one to one interaction with his Guru), reasoning it with the knowledge imparted by his Guru and finally meditating or contemplating. Reasoning and contemplations are more or less one and the same. The effects of such a pure knowledge can be experienced only during quality meditation. When gold is heated in the fire, though it has impurities of ashes in it, finally when cleansed, reveals its true nature of shining. Similarly, when the mind becomes devoid of impurities, Brahman reveals Itself there. It is almost a spontaneous revelation. It has to be experienced. (66)

Brahman, which is ever illuminating and self-effulgent reveals Itself in buddhi (buddhi cannot be simply explained as intellect here. It is ascertaining intelligence and the intuitive aspect of consciousness, by which the essential Self awakens to truth). When Brahman reveals Itself in buddhi, all innate ignorance along with bondage (jñānaṁ bandhaḥ - limited knowledge is bondage, says Śivasūtra). Therefore, it is imperative that only with pure knowledge, that is devoid of all dyads and triads, Brahman can be realized). (67)

The one who renounces all his activities such as attachment, anger, ego, desire, etc. and remains in perpetual bliss understands that Brahman is beyond space, distance and time. Brahman is omnipresent and hence, he shuns all types of differentiations – rich and poor, heat and cold and other types of contraries. He is aware that Brahman alone can give perpetual inexplicable happiness (bliss) and leads to Liberation. Having learnt thus, he is liberated, not to be reborn again. (68)

With this, Śaṃkarācārya’s Ātmabodhaḥ is concluded and epilogue follows.

Further Readings:

ATMA BODHA - 8

ATMA BODHA - 9

ATMA BODHA - 10

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Ashwatthama – The Saptarishi of 8th Manvantara

Sunday, July 30, 2017

(This article is published by Santosh Kumar Raja)

In Indian mythology, I think there is no other name that evokes more curiosity, mystery and mixed feelings than that of Ashwatthama. If you punch in “Ashwatthama” in google or any other search engine, you will get umpteen sites, videos, TV channel programs and legends about Ashwatthama each describing a different aspect. But why so much of curiosity, is this because he is called a chiranjeevi or because he is still alive and many people have claimed to have seen him?

Most of us look at Ashwatthama with a negative trait, mainly because of the popular story of Krishna cursing Ashwatthama, when he has deviated the Brahmashirsha astra towards the womb of Uttara, killing the baby in the womb. They say that Krishna has ordered Bhima to pluck the Gem stone from his forehead and then cursed Ashwatthama for 3000+ years that he will roam in the forests with blood and puss oozing out of his injuries and cry for death. He will have neither any hospitality nor any accommodation; he will be in total isolation without any contact of physical communication from mankind and society. The wound caused by the removal of this gem on his forehead will not heal and his body will suffer from a host of incurable diseases forming sores and ulcers that would never heal for 3000 years.

While the above story depicts the gloomier side, let us also look at many other prominent positive beliefs associated with Ashwatthama.

It is quite a popular belief, that in order to get long life, luck, fame, health and prosperity following mantra should be recited every day in the morning

“Ashwathaama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptatah Chirjeevanam”

Key thing to observe here is that the mantra starts with Ashwatthama and then followed by the names of other chiranjeevi’s.

Another legend is about Kumara Vyasa (original name Narayanappa), who is considered as a one of the greatest poets of Karnataka and has written Mahabharata epic in Kannada also known as “Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari”. There are many popular stories in rural Karnataka, that Kumara Vyasa has written Mahabharata, while Ashwatthama narrated the entire story to him. This version of Mahabharata slightly differs from that of Vyasa Mahabharata.

when Ashwatthama was very young, his parents did not had enough money to buy either a cow or cow milk. Youn Ashwatthama was so clever that he understood the predicament of his parents and prayed to Lord Shiva for milk. Lord Shiva was so happy with Ashwatthama’s prayer that he provided with milk that dripped  on the shiva linga in the cave where they lived. This temple is called Tapkeshwar Temple and located near Dehradun.

Ashwatthama is also quoted as one of Saptarishis of the 8th Manvantara. Reference Wikipedia. The following are quoted as Saptarishis of next Manvantara (Surya’s son Savarnya will the Manu of 8th Manvantara):

Ashwatthama, Rishyashringa, Kripacharya, Galav, Shatanand, Kaashyapa and Parashurama

The following question always intrigued me that on one side they say the Ashwatthama was cursed by Lord himself for 3,000 years and on the other side they say that uttering his very name every day in the morning will bestow, good luck, health prosperity and few have gone to the extent of claiming that he will be the Saptarishi of the next Manvantara. Are these two not contradictory? So how did someone who was cursed by Lord himself could raise to this stature? Did he suffer the impact of the curse or was he able to find sapa vimochana?

Let us look at the lineage of Ashwatthama:

Paternal side: Ashwatthama’s father was Guru Drona who is son of Great Sage Bharadhwaja. (Bharadhwaja is one of the Saptarishi’s of our current Manvantara). Bharadhwaja himself was grandson of Great Sage Angirasa (Angirasa is quoted to be Saptarishi of first Manvantara).

Maternal Side: Ashwatthama mother is Kripi, who is daughter of Rishi Shardwan. Rishi Shardwan was son of Gautama Maharishi. (Gautam Maharishi is Saptarishi of this Manvantara)

Ashwatthama hails from a very strong lineage and from a family of Saptarishis both on Paternal and Maternal side.

Some other important Facts to consider about him are, both his parents were ayonij, as they were not born out of human womb. Guru Drona was born in a vessel made of leaves and hence the name Drona. Similarly, Kripi is born out of the Vitality of Sage Shardwan. Guru Drona meditated and did a severe penance to Lord Shiva to have a son who should be an avatar of Lord Shiva himself. Hence, Ashwatthama is considered as 12th Rudra by many as he is a Shivamsh. (Amsha of Shiva). When Ashwatthama was born he made a loud cry like Indra’s horses, he was named as Ashwatthama by an akashvani. He was born with a gem stone on his head, which gives him power over all living beings lower than humans; it protects him from hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Guru Drona and Kripi loved their son very much and Ashwatthama also had tremendous love for his parents. In his childhood Ashwatthama suffered severe poverty and his parents did not have enough money to buy milk for him. Though he fought on the Kaurava side, he was never been part of the wicked four (Duryodhana, Karna, Shakuni, Dusshasana) and he always advised Duryodhana to make friendship with Pandavas. He was one of the Maharathis’s in Mahabharata on the likes of Karna, Arjuna, Bhishma, Drona etc and was made the commander in chief on the last day of the war. Ashwatthama was the only warrior in Mahabharata, after Drona, who had knowledge of Narayana Astra. Ashwatthama lost his mental balance when his father was killed by his enemies by uttering a lie and when he was in a meditative posture, dropping all the arms. He could not bear this tragic event and thought Pandavas killed his father in an unfair way. After the end of the Mahabharata war he killed most of the Pandava army including upa-pandavas in the darkness of the night.

Legends on how did Ashwatthama bypass the Curse:  

Legend says that Ashwatthama has approached his Parama Guru ie Parashurama (who is also incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a great Shakta and Guru of his father, Drona) for help after being cursed by Lord Krishna. Parashurama along with Durvasa Maharishi, have initiated him into Shakti Worship. Divine Mother Lalitha Devi is pure consciousness and is Śiva-śakty-aikya-rūpiṇī. She is mother of Trinity and by praying to Divine Mother, Ashwatthama was able to bypass the curse of Lord Krishna. This in line with the statement that if “God is angry with you, Guru can help but if Guru gets angry with you then even God cannot help”. SriVidya Sadhana, his dedication, Guru’s grace has helped him raise to the stature of a Great Sage.

Guru Parampara:

In our Guru Parampara, Ashwatthama is considered as Maharishi who was initiated in Shakti worship by Mahasrishi Durvasa, though many people and even many lineages which traditionally practice SriVidya, do not associate or give reference of Ashwatthama with Shakti worship. Ashwatthama Guruji, has initiated our Parama Guru in Shakti worship in Himalayas and taught secrets of Mahashodasi and Sri Vidya Sadhana. He has given the divine secret of Atma Bija, replacing the 2nd Om in Mahashodasi with Atma Bija of Sadhaka for faster progress.

It is my own experience that when I invoke my Guru Mandala and do Sri Vidya Sadhana, could feel the presence of Ashwatthama Guruji and his energy many times. Another disciple had the experience of seeing his astral body clearly during meditation and hear Guruji hum “Om”.

There is a large photo of Ashwatthama Guruji at our Parama Guruji’s house, from which sacred Ash (Vibhuti) gushes out on his birthday star every year. I myself collected the sacred ash from that photo and it has a very divine fragrance and unique colour (not the regular colour of Ash). It is humanly not possible to create such a Divine Fragrance.

We invoke Ashwatthama Guruji through the following mantra and could immediately feel his presence.

               ब्रह्मपुत्रोज्वलभुजः क्षिरकृष्णा अजिनांभरः।

               अश्वत्थामा चिरजीवी रक्षमाम् मेंप्रभु॥

               brahmaputrojvalabhujaḥ kṣirakṛṣṇā ajināṁbharaḥ |

               aśvatthāmā cirajīvī rakṣamām meṁprabhu ||

Purpose: The main purpose of this article is to inspire readers to think about, what it would have taken for a man, who has been cursed by Lord himself to grow to a stature of Maharishi. It requires more than mettle, determination and Divine & Guru’s Grace. It also provides a glimpse of how powerful and supreme, SriVidya Sadhana is and how one can overcome all their difficulties.

I feel all our hurdles, problems we face (with respect to health, wealth, relations) is nothing compared to what Ashwattham Maharishi has gone through and we should also be inspired to practice surrender to our Guru and Divine mother and attain Her.

    Image of Ashwatthama, from which Sacred ash gushes               Ashwathama meditating for Lord Shiva (Tapakeshwar Temple)

 Ashwathama Maharshi ashwathama temple

Further Readings:

Sapta Rishis In Bhagavad Gita

Sri Durga Saptashloki

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SHIVA IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKTI - AN OVERVIEW

Friday, June 23, 2017

Shakti: My Lord! You have taught me 64 tantras several yugas ago. The universe that you have created billions of years ago is undergoing constant changes. Is there anything you would like to teach me, which is more relevant to the present time period, I mean kālapuruṣa ………..

Shakti: Then what is the difference between mind and intellect?

Shiva: Mind is explained as “saṁkalpa-vikalpātmākaṁ manaḥ संकल्प-विकल्पात्माकं मनः” Saṃkalpa means decision and vikalpa means indecision……….

Shakti: Is there any difference between spirituality and devotion?

Shiva: Plenty of differences and these differences are very significant. We are deviating from the subject you wanted to know. However, I will explain the differences in a nutshell……

Shakti: You say everything is my own energy and all such energies function under me. Then why people worship different shapes and forms? Is it not a mistake?

Shiva: It is not a mistake because they have not evolved to understand the truth. You may ask why. Again it is due to your act of causing illusion. You confuse them with the power of your māyā. Typically speaking, māyā is related to law of karma. You rule the entire universe with the law of karma and hence it is known as “Law of the Lord”………

Shakti: You mean to say that I can’t liberate anyone?

Shiva: Of course, you can’t and you know that. You job ends when you remove the veil of māyā. From birth till unveiling of māyā, everything is done by you. I am responsible in energizing you, annihilating the universe and offering liberation to those who are approved by you. As you know, I have never offered liberation to anyone without your approval.

You asked me what happens to the soul after its exit from a dead body. I told you in the beginning that both of us unite to form zygote and similarly both of us exit together at the time of death of a person. Once we exit, we move apart. As long as we stay united, a man lives and once we decide to part from that man’s body, he dies. Every sentient and insentient being has to die at some point of time. When we join together, we take different shapes and forms. I have already told you how we join together. Now I will tell you how we separate at the time of death……..

Shakti: What happens after the soul exited from the body? Many people perform ceremonies to the departed ones.

Shiva: You mean people offering tarpaṇa (water oblations) and performing śrāddha (annual ancestral rites) which is different from antyeṣṭi (last rites or funeral ceremonies)? Please do not ask any questions on this. I can explain antyeṣṭi, but not śrāddha. I do not want to say something that pleases someone. Please do not ask anything related to śrāddha, as this is only a mythical belief. 

Shiva: It is very important that everyone takes care of his parents, wife and children with utmost care, compassion and love. When one fails on this, he takes several births to get rid of this karma. It is better to worship their parents, rather than worshiping us. After death, no elaborate karmas are needed except paying respects to the gross body that is going to be buried or burnt. It is a mark of respect to the body and not to the soul.

Shakti: Can you now tell me what will happen to these two souls?

Shiva: What is mantra? Mantra is explained as (मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥) mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ || This means that a mantra is meant to protect the mind. Manana does not simply mean mind; it also means thinking, reflection, meditation, thought, intelligence and understanding; trāyate (trāyamāṇa) means protection; iti mantraḥ means this is mantra………..

Shiva: There are two om-s in Gāyatri mantra. One is for three vyāhṛti-s and another is for the three pāda-s. Vyāhṛti-s are separate and the three pāda-s of the mantra are separate. Therefore, the correct way to pronounce Gāyatri mantra is this.

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः॥ om bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ  ||

ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं। om tatsaviturvareṇyaṁ |

भर्गो देवस्य धीमही। bhargo devasya dhīmahī |

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥ dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||

Shiva: I exit a body through brahmarandhra (an orifice at the top of the skull) and this point is known as athipati marma point (also known as varma point). As you know atipati (अतिपति) means, transcending everything or supreme. Both are apt interpretations. Transcending everything means transcending all types of bodies a man possesses…….

Shakti: I have two quick questions. How do I become one with Prakṛti and what exactly you mean by ‘I move to higher planes’?

Shiva: As you know we become soul or puruṣa and prakṛti. When both of us remain as one, I am known as an individual soul and you are known as prakṛti. As Prakṛti you encompass both antaḥkaraṇa and bāhyakaraṇa (organs of perception and action)………..

Shakti: Then, as a soul, where do you go?

Shiva: Where I go depends upon the weight of the karmic bag I carry. My journey depends upon the gravitational force………..

Shakti: Does every soul go to heaven?

Shiva: No, not every soul. Only few souls reach sūryaloka. In other words, those karmic bags that have only traces of karmic imprints reach sūryaloka and in their next birth they are liberated. But they stay in sūryaloka for a longer time. Sūryaloka is full of purity and light. There are no traces of any darkness or impurity here. But their stay in sūryaloka, do not in any way affect the remnants of the karmic imprints. Karmas have to be experienced and there is no other go.

Shakti: What about other souls?

Shakti: When are these individual souls reborn?

Shiva: From death to rebirth, there is a time gap and the duration of time gap depends upon the quality of the karmic bag. If they are heavy, they are born immediately, as they are not far away from the earth’s sphere. When the time is ripe for its rebirth, you as prakṛti pull that soul down and both of us unite to form yet another body. This also explains how interdependent we are. This is also known as law of nature or law of prakṛti, which is in no way different from the eternal law of karma.

Shakti: What is mahāśūnya?

Shiva: It is Parabrahman, the origin of the universe………

Shakti: Do you mean to say that there is no difference between your macrocosmic and microcosmic forms?

Shiva: Yes, there is no difference at all. How can there be difference and if the difference is there, how can I become omnipresent...................

Shakti: But these two bindus are interpreted differently.

Shiva: Yes, though they are interpreted differently, there is truth in that. My expansion happens like this. Mahābindu is the point of origin of creation………….

Shakti: Can you explain further on ‘well defined and perfected spiritual path’?

Shiva: I will come to that later. First, one should understand what spiritual foundation is. It is not just yoga and meditation………….

Shakti: Many people are asking me to explain how to realize you fast. Many of them feel that they have not reaped the benefits of their sādhana even after many years of performing pūjā and japa. Can you kindly guide them please?

Shiva: I have explained this already. Now I will teach a small exercise on breathing. As I have already said, only through prāṇa, mind can be controlled………………

Shakti: Are you going to conclude your teachings now?

Shiva: Yes, I am now concluding. I have covered every aspect of realization and liberation. There is nothing more I can reveal. It all depends upon one’s capacity to practice. Divine grace does not come that easily. One has to work through his mind………

The entire conversation can be read here à SHIVA IN COVERSATION WITH SHAKTI

Further Readings:

Shiva In Conversation With Shakti - Introduction

Shiva In Conversation With Shakti - Part 1

Shiva Sutras

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Importance of Doragranthi Puja in Varalakshmi Puja

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Doraka means a yellow thread that will be tied onto the right hand of the one who performs the Pūjā. Granthi means knot. Take one yellow coloured thread and make nine knots in equidistance from each other. After making knots, the thread is called doragranthi (knotted thread). Place this in pūjā by reciting the following mantra. This is known as dorasthāpanam (establishing doragranthi).

बालभानुप्रतीकाशे पूर्णचन्द्रनिभानने। सूत्रेऽस्मिन् सुस्थिता भूत्व प्रयच्छ बहुलान् वरान्॥

bālabhānupratīkāśe pūrṇacandranibhānane | ...Read More

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GURUJI SPEAKS - AN OVERVIEW

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Guru Pūrṇimā this year (2017) falls on July 08/09. Full moon tithi begins at 07.31 hours Indian Standard Time on July 08 and ends at 09.20 hours IST on July 09. Therefore, Guru pūrṇimā can be celebrated either on July 08th evening or July 09th morning before 09.20 hours IST.

A series of articles titled GURUJI SPEAKS have been published in the year 2013. Some snippets ...Read More

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SRI SUKTAM - Part 12 (Concluding Part)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the original Khilasūkta, there are 29 verses, out of which we have discussed 16 verses so far. These 16 verses are the main part of Śrī Sūktam. Now the balance of 13 verses are being discussed. These verses do not form part of homa procedure of Śrī Sūktam.

पद्मानने पद्मविपद्मपत्रे पद्मदलायदाक्षि।

विश्वप्रिये विष्णुमनोनुकूले ...Read More

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AVADHŪTA GĪTĀ - 7

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bhagavān Dattātreya continues:  

Upaniṣad-s explain how māyā projects objects as different things from Brahman (It is the māyā that makes us to think that the objects we see are real and different from Brahman; the fact is that everything is Brahman, hence It is called Omnipresent or all pervasive). Brahman is not divisible (hence omnipresent) and hence, there cannot be any comparison for a non-dual Brahman (comparison is possible only if more than one object is present). It is free from actions ...Read More

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PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS - 10

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Samādhi is attained through the mind that is free from all kinds of thought processes or desires. If the mind has traces of thought processes or desires, they will disturb samādhi after sometime. First ten or fifteen minutes of samādhi is important. Thoughts, if any, compromise the quality of samādhi during this time. (Different types of samādhi-s are discussed in GURUJI SPEAKS). Patañjali speaks about dharmamegha samādhi ...Read More

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DAKSHINA KALI MANTRA JAPA

Friday, December 23, 2016

Śrī Dakṣiṇakālī Mahā Mantraḥ || श्री दक्षिणकाली महा मन्त्रः॥

1. Ṛṣyādi nyāsaḥ ऋष्यादि न्यासः

अस्य श्री दक्षिणकाली महामन्त्रस्य। भैरव ऋषिः। उष्णिक् छन्दः। दक्षिणकालिका देवता॥

asya śrī dakṣiṇakālī mahāmantrasya | bhairava ṛṣiḥ । (open the right palm and touch the top of the forehead | uṣṇik chandaḥ (right palm on the mouth) । dakṣiṇakālikā devatā || (right palm on the heart ...Read More

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Theory And Practice of Kundalini Meditation - Introduction

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kuṇḍalinī is not just a force, but Parāśakti Herself in Her subtlest form. It is one of the quickest methods to liberation. Even without practicing kuṇḍalinī, She ascends to higher chakras depending upon one’s level of love (the highest form of devotion) for Her. Ascension of kuṇḍalinī is directly related to the purity level of one’s mind. Yoga Cūḍāmaṇi Upaniṣad talks abou90t the importance of kuṇḍalinī. Verse 37 says, “Kuṇḍalinī rests in the passage of Brahman. If one goes through this passage, Brahman is attained.” Passage of Brahman that is referred here ...Read More

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SHIVA PANCHAKSHARI MANTRA JAPA

Saturday, December 17, 2016

श्री शिवपञ्चाक्षरी महामन्त्रः Śrī Śivapañcākṣarī Mahāmantraḥ

 1. Ṛṣyādi nyāsaḥ ऋष्यादि न्यासः 

अस्य श्री शिवपञ्चाक्षरी महामन्त्रस्य। वामेदेव ऋषिः। पङ्क्तिछन्दः। सांबपरमेश्वरो देवता॥

asya śrī śivapañcākṣarī mahāmantrasya । Vāmedeva ṛṣiḥ|(open the right palm and touch the top of the forehead)| paṅktichandaḥ (right palm on the mouth)| sāṁbaparameśvaro ...Read More

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Spiritual Journey - 20

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Avadhūta and Paramahaṁsa are essentially jīvanmukta-s. After evolving into a jīvanmukta, one decides how he or she pursues his or her life, till he or she becomes videhamukta (mokṣa – after death). Only a yogi can evolve into a jīvanmukta. A perfect yogi is the one, who has realized the Self within. He is shaped into a yogi by his Guru, without whom, imparting higher spiritual knowledge and practice is not possible. All Advaita Scriptures ultimately convey that Brahman is within and what is within, pervades the entire universe. This essence is conveyed to his disciples by a Guru. There are hundreds of Scriptures in Advaita such as Upaniṣad-s, Bhagavad Gītā, Yoga Vāsiṣṭha, Pañcadaśi, etc. Each of these Scriptures reveal Brahman ...Read More

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ŚRĪ DURGĀ SAPTAŚLOKĪ

Saturday, December 03, 2016

श्री दुर्गा सप्तश्लोकी Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī

Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī consist of seven verses, which is considered as the essence of Śrī Durgā Saptaśatī, also known as Śrī Devī Māhātmyam consisting of 700 verses. It is said that Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī should be chanted daily, three times. It is also said that proper recitation of this removes, poverty, ailments, fear and mental afflictions.

ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवति हि सा।

बलादाकृष्य मोहाय ...Read More

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MANTRA RĀJA PADA STOTRAM

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

श्री मन्त्रराज पद स्तोत्रम्॥ Śrī Mantrarāja Pada Stotram ||

Śrī Mantrarāja Pada Stotram is one of the powerful mantras. It cures serious diseases and ailments. It also gives knowledge, wealth and all types of auspiciousness. It is said that this hymn should be recited, first with mantra rāja mantra which is given below (commencing with om ugraṁ vīraṁ mahāviṣṇuṁ).  There are highlighted words in each of the first ten verses. If we place these words one after another, we will get mantra rāja mantra. There are eleven verses in this hymn and one verse for phalaśruti. There is a YouTube clipping at the end of this article for correct ...Read More

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Kundalini Meditation - Video (for Turiya and Turyatita Stages of Meditation)

Friday, August 01, 2014

This audio is on kundalini meditation for turiya and turyātīta stages. Duration of this audio is 30 minutes. 

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Mahaganpati Mantra Japa

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mahaganapati Mantra Japa

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Chakra Cleansing and Energisation

Monday, June 13, 2016

This is another audio in YouTube for cleansing and energising psychic chakras. Duration of this audio is 15 minutes. This is different from YouTube audio uploaded for kundalini meditation which includes turya and turyātītā stages. This audio is meant for practicing cleansing and energizing chakras.

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