Tilak, applying it on the forehead

A ‘Tilak’ is a mark that a Hindu/a follower of the Sanatan Dharma wears on the his/her body. A average householder wears a tilak on his forehead first thing after having a bath.

When we sleep at night, our consciousness is drawn away from the physical body, ie the anna-mai-kosh. This physical body sheath is given just the basic minimum pran required to run the basic life processes. The individual soul/ Jivatma withdraws to the subtle body, the sookshma sharir during the dream state and deep sleep states. When you wake up in the morning, the consciousness again reanimates the physical body, but the sleep/ dream states have interfered with the body’s nadi/ pran wiring, it is seen in the aura, it is somewhat ‘blotchy’. When we have a bath and the body is made wet, the aura is withdrawn into the body. Now when we dry ourselves, the aura fans out again, you feel it’s warmth. Now this new refreshed body /aura /mind /soul needs to be reminded of its divine connection. So you put a tilak on your forehead at your ajnya chakra. The Ajnya chakra is the seat of the individual soul, this chakra controls the intake of the pran from the Universe and also the allocation of pran for the activities of the body/mind. This is the place where you have to concentrate on when you do your spiritual practice. So when you put a red tilak here you are literally energising your entire self.

Listing out these several types of Tilak-s used commonly,

 

A red dot between the eyebrows at the point of the third eye, ajnya chakra.

This red powder is called Kumkum. It is generally made by mixing ground turmeric powder and slaked lime with a drop of lemon juice. But this mark is really made by rubbing a strand of saffron/kesar in a drop of water. ‘Kumkum’ is a Sanskrit word which means saffron, Crocus sativa. This is the most potent Tilak, if you can afford the saffron strands, you should wear this on your forehead.

This red tilak is used by any person who wishes to acknowledge his higher spiritual self within himself or herself. It is used by both men and women who do puja of Devi, the feminine force who animates this creation. Married women compulsorily wear this on their forehead to indicate prosperity, ‘Shri’. A married woman is the Gruh-Laxmi, the sign of prosperity of the household. She wears this red tilak in recognition of her own divinity. There is variation of the red dot, the red crescent, with or without a round dot. This now represents the crescent moon that the Devi wears on her forehead and increases self-confidence, strength and aggression too.

Then there is a form of this saffron tilak which starts at the third eye Ajnya chakra and continues into the hair, till the top of the head, Brahmarandhra. It is a red line from the center of the eyebrows to the top of the head. It connects the seat of the individual soul, the third eye to the seat of the Ultimate, the Brahmarandhra, it links the two. If you use Kesar/saffron charged with mantra to draw this tilak your spiritual progress speeds up.

(For women the 5 days of the monthly cycle will again pop up.You cannot do pujas or anything on these days, so the modern world has the short cut of the sticker bindi! You can also use the red turmeric mix on these 5days)

The tilak is made even more potent by putting a few grains of raw unbroken rice on it. These rice grains are placed before the deity you worship and they absorb the energy of your puja mantra etc. When you wear the rice grains also on your tilak the energy here becomes magnified exponentially.

The Tripundra. Three parallel lines of Vibhuti/ Bhasma/ sacred ash, horizontally across the forehead.

Vibhuti is the greyish ash which remains when you do a homam. A homam is a small version of a yadnya. All Hindus are supposed to do the Agnihotra Homa every sunrise and sunset so there is ample Vibhuti always available. (A simple Homam does not need much. A small inverted pyramidal copper homa-kund, desi Indian cow’s cowdung cakes and its milk’s Ghee. The cowdung cakes and ghee is burnt in the homa-kund with accompanying mantras. The energy of the mantra enters the ash, the Vibhuti. This Vibhuti can be used in several ways. Often the vibhuti is applied as a simple dot at the third eye chakra.)

  • The three fingers, middle, ring and little finger of the right hand are used to draw the tripundra in a sweeping motion across the forehead. Those who worship Shiv will wear the Tripundra. The tripundra is also drawn on the body, the neck, the biceps, forearms, chest, navel etc.
  • A Tripundra across the forehead with a red dot at the third eye chakra. The red dot is of Kesar/Saffron and the Tripundra drawn using the Vibhuti. This is worn by those who do pujas of the Ugra (dangerous and terrifying) forms of the Devi Shakti. And for those who do puja of Shiv and Shakti together. It’s other variation is the Tripundra with the red vertical line connecting the third eye chakra and the top of the head.

Wearing a Tripundra is a a level-up. You have invited a specific type of energy into yourself. Shiv is the potential energy of the Tama-gun and Devi Shakti is the kinetic active form of Tama-gun. When you put their marks on your forehead you are clearly intending that you desire Moksh. The three lines are the three Gun, Satva Raja and Tama, the building blocks of the creation and red dot represents the combined energy of creation. (A red line represents your real self or connection to your real self.) You are using Vibhuti, burnt ash as to draw the Tripundra. This indicates that you want to destroy the three building blocks of creation and progress onwards. You want to dissolve creation and the creator both and go beyond them to your own Reality. The red dot is made with saffron charged with mantras. It is a big commitment. If you wear these marks on your forehead, you should be aware of your own actions and your conscience at all times. 

The Urdhvapundra. This mark is made by three vertical lines on the forehead. These three lines meet at the third eye chakra. This mark is to be made with sandalwood paste. Sandalwood has the effect of calming down the mind, it is easier to concentrate. The movement of the pran in the nadis becomes less turbulent and you can work better with it. Worshippers of Vishnu draw this on their foreheads. It can be drawn with the fingers or using a stick of the Tulasi plant (Ocimum sanctum). These three lines represent the three main nadis, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna which are connected at the Ajnya chakra. Sometimes the central line of the Urdhvapundra is drawn with red powder or more correctly with saffron. If the Urdhvapundra design is too complicated, a sandalwood dot at the third eye chakra can be applied instead.

Vishnu is the conscious potential of the Satva-gun, it increases the inclination of the aspirant towards the Ultimate reality. The red color is representative of Agni/ pran. Same as the Tripundra, the Urdhvapundra indicates that the three building blocks Satva-Raja-Tama have to be channelised, balanced by the active use of pran/Agni and one they are balanced the central dot of your internal geometry can be accessed. (Everything ultimately comes down to Shrichakra!)

So if you wear either of these marks linked to Vishnu or Shiv the seriousness remains the same. Satva and Tama are by themselves incapable of movement, it is only Raja-gun which moves them so that you can use their potential to move onwards on your spiritual path. You are reminding yourself of your commitment when you wear these special tilak marks.

 

Now how to put a tilak? The right hand is used always,

Ring finger – The best option for putting a tilak on everyone. This finger is called Anamika and is ruled by the Sun. It represents the Prithvi mahabhoot (solidity). It increases prosperity confidence, creativity and brings you closer to your internal divinity.

Middle finger – This finger is called the Madhyama, ruled by Saturn, represents ether, Akash Mahabhoot (ether).  It increases endurance and the capacity to work. It is rarely used alone, generally will be used together with the ring finger to draw an elongated type of tilak.

Thumb – this is called Angushtha and is ruled by Venus and represents the Agni mahabhoot. A tilak applied with the thumb increases valour, courage and mental strength.

Forefinger – The index finger is called Tarjani and represents the Vayu mahabhoot (air), it is also linked to the planet Jupiter. It is never used to apply tilak-s to a living person. Is used to apply tilak-s to a dead body at the time of cremation. A dead body is the discarded vessel, the spirit is now in the body created by only Vayu and Akash mahabhoot. So you are really intending that the energies of the tilak reach the spirit’s body by using this finger.

Little finger – this is called kanishthika and is linked to Mercury and the Aap mahabhoot (fluid). This finger is never used to apply tilak-s. It is highly inauspicious as it increases mental turmoil. If you know how, you can make someone go insane just by putting a tilak with this finger on his third eye chakra.

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In all Indian festivals and pujas, people put tilaks on each other. eg in Raksha bhandhan the sister puts a tilak on her brother. On the new year day, the wife puts it on her husband. If my women relatives come to my house, I will put a tilak on them. If they are men relatives, my husband will put a tilak on them. If you go to a temple the priest will put a tilak on you. It is all very usual and necessary.

But the point of the third eye chakra is very sensitive, so here are a few things. Do not let random people put a tilak on you. Do not put random stuff on here, eg vibhuti from unknown places can be dangerous. Do not put a black colored tilak on your third eye chakra ever. This will attract negativity into your energy system. Avoid chemicals. Most red powders sold as ‘kumkum’ are dangerous dyes, they will not do anything for your spiritual growth and you might develop skin allergy. The turmeric-slaked limestone (a very small pinch of choona) mix is safer, if you cannot afford saffron.

So do wear a tilak on your forehead. If you feel shy about wearing it throughout the day at least wear it for some time after you have your bath till you do your puja. It will energise you from the inside out.

 

What was Soma-ras exactly, alcohol?

One of my friends asked me this question. I know that there are ‘modern’ (in my view, ignorant) scholars who claim that ancient Indian Rishi-Seers ate non-vegetarian food and drank alcohol! Now I really don’t bother about random people saying things but my friend! So this post.

What is tantra? It is complete control on your mind as you attempt practices for gaining complete control on your own vital energy/ pran. You accept the experience with full awareness. And you desire to transcend this experience because you really to experience is your own self ie Moksh. And what is Yog? Here also you control your mind, attempt practices, gain complete control over the pran in your body. But you consciously deny yourself the experience of the manifested as you search for the Ultimate. You are determined to experience nothing but the Ultimate. Both routes are different but require control over the mind and the direction of the pran movement. The genuine practitioners are very different, if you sit near them you feel the ‘grace’, blessings, peace and strength.

Tantra or Yog, are the only possible ways for attaining Moksh. If you invoke the tantric aspect of your deity, you can move very fast on your path. But the pitfalls are extraordinarily dangerous and if you make mistakes, the repercussions are unimaginable. You are required to have complete control over your mind, emotions and actions. You cannot lose your focus in what you are doing, else you will be so badly damaged on the spiritual levels, that it will take innumerable lives to recover. There are several ancient tantriks who made mistakes and are stuck on earth (if ever you visit the ‘burning ghats’/ Smashan in Kashi/Varanasi, you will know what I mean)

All deities have their Tantric ‘variants’. The Ganapati who is considered the most ‘cute’, adorable deity has an extremely terrifying aspect called ‘Uddanda’. This form is with innumerable hands holding multiple weapons, all three eyes open, red with rage, wearing red garments, red aura, lots of ornaments, trumpeting the sound of ‘Om’, dancing the dance of destruction as he systematically destroys everything holding you back in your spiritual progress. If you do his Sadhana, it is like he is intently standing in front of you holding all his weapons, ready to decimate you if you make one single fraction of an error. If you manage to complete his Sadhana he will grant you endless energy, open your Kundalini locks, allow you Moksh and everything.

There are very few genuine tantriks who do pujas of such forms of deities. This is a very arduous method of spiritual practice. This Sadhana is not a ‘short-cut’. The deity grants you energy which energises you from the depths of your soul to the aura which projects outside you. You are first made capable of holding the energy then the energy is given to you and the path will be difficult. But the fundamental premise of Tantra is experience without any sort of engagement. Your deity is an aspect of the Ultimate Reality. As you follow the path shown to you, you will see that not only you, but your deity also evolves. Hereto unknown aspects of his energy will be shown to you, you will experience. Everything essentially is the Parabrahma, the ‘beyond intelligence’. You are the Para, your deity is the Para. Your deity will finally show you this Para form of himself and yourself too. Here is when the deity, the aspirant and the Real all merge. Moksh.

Depression, what does the horoscope say?

But the point comes to this, a genuine aspirant will not do anything which will dampen/distort his energy, or make him lose control over his energy. It takes so much effort to gain one smidgen of control over your energy, you don’t fritter this away! By ‘energy’, I mean the movement of Satva-Raja-Tama, the three- Gun the basic building blocks. You use your pran consciously to control them. This is the goal of all spiritual practice.

In movies and in life, you will see ‘tantriks’, practitioners to be typically creepy individuals. Wearing weird clothing, lots of malas, beads, black tilak on the forehead and general creepiness. I have met some of these practitioners and there was a miasma of negative energy, dark-auras in their rooms and surrounding them. Very suffocating. You feel suppressed, scared and want to get up and run away. (This is not what a real knower of Tantra looks or feels like, I have met some of these too.) These ‘tantriks’ are those degraded individuals who indulge in the lowest forms of energy manipulations and and will do anything the client asks for as long as their payment is right. Mostly these have spirits bound to them who they use as slaves to perform their work. These are the ones who drink alcohol, eat non-veg food etc.

These practicioners have spoilt the reputation of Tantra. Looking for short-cuts and with very material wishes. If you know how, you can go to a cemetery where dead bodies are buried and capture yourself a spirit. A slave you can use. Such slaves are always ready to turn on their masters. Or if you know more (or foolhardy or over-confident), you can visit the aforementioned ‘burning ghats’ of Kashi and bind an ancient tantrik’s spirit. Here your slave is a skilled one (pishachya, brahmarakshas, vetal etc) and can do more. And if it gets a chance it will happily turn on you and cause even more damage. Or there is another option, to go to some place where there is no inhabitation and natural forests. Here you will find spirits linked to the other dimensions who visit these areas, especially on eclipses, twilights, no-moon days and full-moon days. You can strike your bargains and get them to fulfil your wishes. None of this is advisable, but those who are blind in their desire for material gains and power will do it. And later suffer, badly.

And this is not what Tantra really means.

These short-cut tantriks use some other spirit or being as their source of energy. They are not internally that spiritually evolved themselves. Their only ability is to control the spirits using ‘procedures’, rituals and mantra. These spirits desire base/ tamasic gifts, like alcohol, meat, drugs, or sexual contacts, which the tantrik will procure for them so that they will work for him. And one becomes what one associates with, so such a practitioner also eventually becomes such a degraded creature himself. Then while this spirit is associated with them, they experience the higher energy levels which cannot be sustained when their association is broken. So the energy flow has to be consciously brought down in his body too.

Eg you have wire which can carry a current of 50volts. Now you temporarily link it to a second wire so that now it can carry 5000volts current. But this linkage is not possible all the time, the second wire needs a break, say for 12 hours/day (spirits need this, else they go insane). So as the first wire is delinked, there is damage as the wire is not in itself capable of 5000volt. This damage is to be suppressed (it can be repaired only be personal spiritual practice, which these short-cut tantriks will not do). Also at the instant of delinking the residual 5000volts has to be brought down in an instant else it will fry this first wire. So these tantriks drink alcohol.

Alcohol in large quantities lowers down the movement of pran and also your ability to control it. (In the past, my office group had a couple of guys who really liked drinking hard alcohol. During office parties it was very educational to watch them. As they drank progressively larger quantities of alcohol, their auras would progressively get murky and shrink.) Alcohol brings down your energy immediately and this ‘downer’ lasts for a day or so. Non-veg food also acts in the same way and its effect is sustained for a longer time, for a few days. And sexual contact also does the same thing, intimately sharing energy, such tantriks will divert all the extra load into their partner, now both will suffer. If even some normal person does these activities as a habit, you can easily see the effects. His energy body loses its vitality. Alcohol and non-veg are tamasic in nature, the person’s energy will become still, dull, difficult to move etc. (I never advocate avoidance, once in a while, for social reasons, for emotional reasons, for medicinal reasons, for health reasons etc is ok. But mindless over-indulgence will harm. In meats, only fish meat is comparatively safe.)

Depression, what does the horoscope say?

‘Soma-ras’ needs to be explained now. Modern scholars opine that Soma is alcohol which our ancient Seers drank, which is the stupidest thing. Soma-ras is defined by the two great Seers/Rishi of Ayurved, Patanjali and Sushrut, they have written about it.

Soma is another name for Anna, the ‘essence of food’. Anna is the material things of this universe which you use to sustain your mind/ body. This stuff is capable of being disintegrated by Fire/ Agni/ Pran and converted to Pran. In modern terminology, Soma would be something like matter and Pran is somewhat like energy. They are conscious, intelligent, inseparable and inter-convertible. Soma is considered to be a form of Shakti (the energies are ‘with Uma’) and Pran is considered to be a form of Shiv. Soma is dispersed, it cannot be focussed on. Pran is the concentrated energy, this can be focussed with intention pushed into the thinnest nadi of the body. Soma needs to be converted into Pran for it to be of real use. Now there is one typical nature of Soma powered Pran, it rises up with relatively little effort.

When you eat food, it enters your digestive system where the conscious fire of digestion transforms it. Some of this is absorbed and some part is ejected out. This absorbed essence of food is used in different ways, to sustain the Sapta-dhatu, to sustain the mind/Manas and some is converted to pran/vital energy. The ancient Rishi-s ate specific food which could be converted completely to Pran. This food is called the Soma. Ras means the essence. And Ras also means the infinite intelligent scalar field of unlimited energy. So ‘Soma-ras’ is the subtlest energy of the essence of food. If such a food is eaten, there would be nothing ejected and a big boost of pure pran. This food was eaten before entering into the deepest states of Dhyan-Sadhana. These states would be maintained for long periods of time, even years. Rishi Patanjai clearly says that there are herbs-Oushadhi, which can be used to deepen the Dhyan states and achieve Moksh. But we do not have the details with us (continuous onslaughts of invaders targeted our temples, which were our institutions of learning and the teacher, the Brahmins who knew. No wonder this age is called the Kali-yug, all real knowledge is lost to us.)

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If you find this difficult to believe, try this small experiment. The hypothesis is, if you eat food which has higher spiritual energy, it is more easily and completely converted to Pran. There would be very little matter ejected and your aura/ energy will improve. So eat a dal/rice for 3 days. The dal should be only mung bean dal (Vigna radiata). And the rice should be unpolished. Add one spoon ghee (made from Indian desi humped cow milk) and some sea-salt/ rock-salt and turmeric as per your taste. If you find it tasteless, put some jira/Cumin seeds or 1pod of elaichi/ Cardamom or a bit of ground ginger in it as it cooks. This is the most Satvic-energy combination, where you have protein, carbohydrates, fats, mineral, turmeric in one dish. See what effect it has on your energy.

So, to conclude, Soma-ras is the purest essence of food, which is not available to us now. It is definitely not alcohol. Alcohol downs your energy instantly. Our ancient Rishi-s did not eat tamasic foods. They were Seers, realised souls, or aspirants who were actively working towards realization. Some of us are also actively pursuing this goal. So if you can, try to reduce your non-veg/ alcohol intake and sexual activity to reasonable limits. Mindlessly indulging in these will reduce the quantum of your pran and also affect your ability to manipulate it.

 

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The Four Navratri and Devi puja

A quick post today on the Devi.

At present, this is the Hindu Ashwin month and the bright fortnight, Shukla paksh. The first 9 days of this month from the first day, Pratipada to the ninth day, Navami are dedicated to the worship of the Devi Shakti. She is the active energy of the Tamo-gun the wife of Mahadev-Shiv.

On each day, one of her forms is worshipped and on the tenth day, Dasera/ Vijayadashmi the puja comes to a conclusion. This puja is called the Nav-ratri, the nine-nights and also called Durga-puja. The theme is that Devi fought against the armies of the demons, killing their army-generals on each day and killed their King, Mahishasur on the tenth day. This story is described in the book Durga Saptashati/ Devi Mahatmya.

These nine day/nights are full of joy and power as everyone worships the Devi in whatever form they feel drawn to. If you are drawn to the Saumya forms you will worship these, Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri forms of the Devi. Regular people should do pujas of only these forms of the Devi.

(The Ugra forms of the Devi are the 10 Mahavidya-s, Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Matangi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi (Valagamukhi) and Kamala. Normal people should not worship these as these are quite Ugra, very strict and terrifying. Make one mistake in their pujas and you will be in serious trouble. There are some astrologers who give mantras of these Devi’s as remedies to clients. Avoid. It can backfire quite spectacularly.)

In West India, people play Garbha, it is a dance to songs in praise of the Devi. This is performed at night for the Devi. In North India people do puja of Vishnu in his Ram form at night and celebrate by enacting his Ramayan story in public performances called Ram-Lila. Which to my mind makes no sense as this period should be utilized to the max for personal spiritual growth. But then Garbha and even the Ram-Lila is good for the general public.

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Now a secret, there are actually 4 Nav-ratri in a year. All four of them have a different energy character. The real aspirant of the Devi will know how to use each one of them differently. The first 9 nights, Nav-ratri of the bright half, Shukla-paksha of the four months named Chaitra, Ashadh, Ashwin and Magh are brimming with energy. One should use them actively, not waste even one single night.

The navratri in Chaitra month (March-April) is full of solar energies. The energies go outward, radiate. You can feel the lightness and the golden radiance during these days/nights. Most people worship Ram/ Vishnu and some worship the Devi during this period. The Indian new year also starts with Chaitra, the first day of this navratri. (This was the day Shri Ram was crowned the King of Ayodhya as per the original Sanskrit Ramayan). This Navratri ends with Ram-navmi, dedicated to worship of Ram/Vishnu. The Devi is in a mature and happy form here. So any pujas you perform with her in mind are very successful.

Then the Ashadh month is the monsoon (June-July). The Navratri which falls in this month is called the secret/ Gupt navratri, ordinary people do not even know about this. This period is highly conducive for all types of energy manipulations, tantra and secret pujas. The Devi is in her contemplative form here, rather serious and silent. Here her pujas are also secret and serious. If you worship a Ugra/terrifying form of the Devi this navratri would give you the best results. This is just for information, do not attempt these things without a proper Guru.

The Ashwin navrati is full of lunar energies so is the best for Devi puja. So if you really want to get that push, do not waste even one night of these nine nights. The Devi is in her benevolent form, ready to be pleased. So whatever simple pujas you perform with intention, she will accept as a doting mother does. This is going on at present and everyone is doing something special for Her.

Then is the Magh navratri (January-February). This is a highly auspicious period. On the fourth day/chaturthi of this navratri, Ganapati is worshipped. This is one of the best days in the year for any puja of Ganapati. (The other is the Bhadrapad Shukla chaturthi). Ganapati is the energy who allows the aspirant entry into the Brahmanadi. He is the pratham-pujya, the one who is worshipped first. Then on the fifth day-panchami of this Nav-ratri, the Devi in her Saraswati form is worshipped. This day is called Vasant-panchami and is exclusive for Gayatri mantra sadhana. The seventh day-Saptami of this navratri, is for worshipping the Sun, it is called Rath-saptami. These three days of this navratri are very powerful in themselves, all Hindus will do pujas on these days. But if you are performing some Devi puja in the background for the nine days, your power will be enhanced even more.

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So what Devi puja should you do? Most families/cultures have their own system for worshipping the Devi, so follow whatever your culture, home-tradition does. Some set up a kalash for the pujas, some will bring an idol of the Devi and then immerse it in the sea on the tenth day, some people fast etc. It is all very joyful and full of energy. Keep your intention clear and your faith pure.

But for the more serious aspirant, read the Devi Mahatmya /Durga Saptashati. Read it in Sanskrit, not some translated version. Even if you do not understand what you are reading the mantra-s will do their work. There are some rules on how to read it, in which order the chapters should be recited and the use of the Nav-avarna mantra etc. There are typical ways of reading it and also for doing other types of rituals using mantras from it, but these things are not for general people. So do not over-think and get confused. You should read the Devi Mahatmya just as you would read a book, from page one to the last page with full intention and faith. (Use the Gita press version of the book, pdf link here.) Or if you cannot read it (most of us have forgotten our real mother tongue Devbhasha Samskrutam), this is a very beautiful rendition by Premprakash Dubey, perfect pronunciation and voice, it is for 2hrs 20mins. Listen to it in its entirety, everyday of the Navratri if you can. Or if you cannot spare the time, listen to one chapter per day (something is always better than nothing).

Now again for the serious aspirant. The real Devi puja is always performed at night, from 9-pm to 3-am. This period is very useful for doing any sort of practice where you need to still your mind and focus. The dominating gun during this period is called the Vishuddha-Tama-gun. It is enveloping, still and very dense, so the mind cannot wander much. So when you give your mind a mantra and focus it will follow your Will more easily. Try it for yourself.

There was a question in the Contact form on using the mantras from the Devi Mahatmya book. Do understand that these are quite powerful and their detailed use cannot be described through a blog. But if you do even this much with intention, the Devi will give you what you desire and if you need to do more complicated pujas, She will arrange it for you.

Indian festivals are full of joy and happiness. There is energy radiating everywhere, whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Even if you offer Her one single flower with your full intention she will accept it. She is not outside of you, She is your own conscience. If you are satisfied with what you have done, so will She. So enjoy the Navratri and may the blessings of the Devi be on you.

(Edit: The names of the names of the 4 Nav-ratris are Kaal-ratri, Maha-ratri Moha-ratri and Darun-ratri. These are described in the Tantrokta Ratri sukta from the Devi Mahatmya. This is my favourite sukta, have listened to this rendition for hours on a loop and also performed its homa.)

 

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Karma of giving away energy

Our energy is always in movement as the universe does not allow stillness. You always move, your thoughts, your body parts, your mind, your vital energy/pran. If you are a part of the Universe, you have to be a part of the movement. You are always exchanging energy, when you speak to others, when you listen, when you eat food cooked by others, when others eat food cooked by you, when you sit next to someone in the bus, all the time. In our lives, we are required to interact with a lot of people, either directly in person or indirectly. When we touch other, eg hug, shake hands, or brush against each other in the train, ie the body touches, the intensity of energy exchange is higher. The heaviest energy exchange occurs when people are physically intimate with each other.

Combust and caizimi planets

A small experiment which you can try out. If you know to see auras, try seeing your and your loved one’s (husband/wife/child) auras interacting. Both sit about 2 feet away from each other and relax. Now in 5 mins or so, on your side where he is sitting, you will feel warmth on your bare skin. Your cheek and neck areas are more sensitive to this. If you focus on the 2 ft space between you two, will see tiny glittery bits separating from your aura, very gently swirling and being absorbed in his aura and likewise. These are very beautiful glitter, their movement is almost hypnotic. Auras of two people never mix, there remains clear boundary always. (I have seen the auras of two people mixing completely just like water-colors do, only once in my life.) The energy exchange is through these glittery particles. If you both are feeling exceptionally peaceful, ask your child to come and sit between you, he will fall asleep in 5 mins! This is the exchange of energy. You and your loved one are very comfortable with each other, so the aura exchange is beautiful, gentle, soothing. Aura exchange between 2 people on similar energy levels is always pleasant. But if this were some random stranger sitting next to you in a train the quality of the exchange would be different. And if it were someone tired, depressed and unhappy it would be even worse for you.

Some of us have an extra load on us, we are bound by karma to give out more energy than we perhaps receive from others. Eg a doctor has to touch people in pain, suffering from diseases. He not only diagnoses them but also gives a part of his energy to them. The higher self of the patient requests relief and the higher self of the doctor spontaneously gives. A psychiatrist has to listen to others suffering from unbalanced energies of the mind. A lawyer has to always argue, and listen to arguments, lie himself and listen to lies. All involve energy.

Everyone is bound by karma to serve. This ‘service’ you perform for others is the domain of the 6th house. If these others are on a lower energy level than you, oppressed in trouble, in pain, disturbed, then you give of your energy. Look at the horoscopes of professionals who are required to interact with the public in a big way eg doctors, astrologers, lawyers, teachers, counsellors, politicians, police-officers etc, you will note certain similarities. In the birth chart, where the rising sign/ascendant is the first house you will see,

  • A loaded 6th house, occupied or aspected by several planets. These planets determine your ‘partner’ in this energy service.
  • Or the lord of the 6th occupying important houses which define the personality and environment.
  • Or the Virgo sign occupying such important houses.
  • Or heavy duty planets influencing Virgo sign, wherever it may be placed in the horoscope.
  • Or Mercury being very prominent in the horoscope and under the influence of powerful planets.

And even in the birth Moon chart where the sign occupied by the Moon is counted as the first house, you will see these same combinations. In this Moon chart, the 6th house counted from the Moon represents the sufferings of the astral body and the service required of you in the astral planes.

I know a horoscope where the Moon himself is placed in the 6th house from the ascendant, so the physical environment of the person, especially during the childhood from 3.5yrs to 22yrs was spent travelling in trains everyday, causing a loss of energy by brushing against adults travelling. This person used to fall ill a lot in childhood, diseases related to ‘coldness’, as the energy of the body was being drained. Also his mother was a continual source of energy loss. Then Saturn was in the 12th house counted from the ascendant, ie placed in the 6th house counted from the Moon. This person was plagued by spirits and other dimensional beings always after him demanding, he could not deep sleep, was always roaming in the astral. This used to scare him, he lost a lot of energy this way too and also fell seriously ill.

So losing energy is a part of life and is also connected to your horoscope placements. But the thing is that you should be aware of what is happening and take corrective action asap.

Karma of giving away energy

I always emphasise grounding cleansing and shielding, wrote a full post on this.

  • Grounding is giving away the negativity to the earth, sort of ‘earthing’ oneself. This is very easy, walk barefoot on the ground for a few minutes once a day and its done.
  • Cleansing is like using energy directly or through tools like, lemons, sea-salt etc. Here you are actively removing the deep seated negative energies, evil eye etc using these tools, ideally once a week is necessary but you can do these cleansing methods daily too if you want to. (Peacock feathers, sprinkling Ganga water, sea salt, rice, pendulums, can be used daily.)
  • Every culture has a system of removing the ‘evil eye ie deep-cleansing. In India the most popular one is this. It is done on a Tuesday or Saturday evening. The oldest person in the house does it for everyone in the family and also for himself if required. He makes paper packets, a separate one for each person. Each packet has 3 dry red chillis, 3 pinches of sea-salt, 3 pinches of black mustard seeds and 3 drops of mustard oil. The intention is to remove the negative energy adhering to the person. This packet is waved over the head of the person 3 times in the clockwise direction and put in a fire. As it burns the evil eye is removed. I have seen that if the negativity was more, the packet burns up strangely and very fast. But this method is a bit harsh on the energy body, sort of scrubs it out!, so it is best performed just once a week.
  • Shielding is essential, you can use a chi-ball to create your energy shield or as I have described in this post on astral defense. This is a daily affair, will take maybe 30seconds in the morning and you can refresh it during the day if you feel like it. Then jewellery, if you can afford gold, silver or copper, you can infuse the metal with the intention to shield and wear it. Amulets are also a good way of combining shielding with fashion. Black threads are worn on the wrist or ankle etc. There are several ways to go about shielding yourself, choose one or a few which appeal to you.

People in high-contact activities should take more care of themselves. They should do activities which increase pran, I have listed these out in my earlier posts, eg sitting in the early morning sunlight, surya-namaskar, visiting high-pran, sea-shore, pine-forests, mountains, etc areas in their holidays, using oil for massage, eat fresh food, fresh vegetable and fruits are very good, keeping tulasi plants in the house. There are so many ways you can do this, just go through my earlier posts for several very easy ways. It is not very complicated either, try to remember/find-out what your grand-parents used to do, what kind of life-style they used to follow. Try to follow that as far as possible. This will be more connected to nature/vital energy and also appropriate to your home-culture also.

And the most important thing is to do your spiritual practice where you sit on your Asan, focus on your third eye chakra, count your breath, 108 breaths, use a mantra Om/ Soham or Hamsa with every breath (will take 20mins) and then sit in the same attitude for at least 10 more mins. Give yourself these 30mins at least once a day, it will replenish your pran from the inside out!

No one is exempted from this binding of the 6th house, serve / suffer, this is the way you have chosen to complete your karmic binding. The only people exempted and that too to some extent are those who choose to leave the society ie take Sanyas and are never seen in habitations again. The very very rare few. These Sanyasi’s choose to dedicate their energies to ‘stillness’. They still the movement of vital energy in their bodies, create a huge potential and then move. They, then, shoot up this pran and then the Kundalini through their Sushumna right to to the top and attain Moksh.

 

Quality of Life

(This post is a response to this comment from the contact form. ‘I often find myself in a dilemma when I read your posts because you stress upon not touching others and rightfully. I am a therapist by profession and live in a city. I work with children and adolescents and naturally offer handshakes and hugs. I also travel in public buses. I wonder if we are required by karma to share our energy with others? Especially the children in my case? How does one protect then, since certain circumstances cannot be avoided. Thank you for your sound advice’)

Reiki attunement, about the risks

I read a post on fb, where an expecting lady wrote that she got a Reiki attunement done during her pregnancy. Most of the responses were congratulating her, saying that its super that the child will be born psychic! One response was from someone, writing that she got her 6yr old initiated into Reiki and saying that the child is beautifully attuned to seeing emotions.

So utterly clueless.

I am a Reiki teacher so are 3 of my brothers/cousins. So I know quite well what it is and how the initiation process happens.

This is what happens during a Reiki initiation, very briefly. The teacher first cleans out his own aura and stills his mind. Then he clears the room/space by whichever cleansing method he prefers. He calls on the Reiki teachers of the past and requests help from his own source of faith also. Next is to clean out the aura of the student. Then the energy level of the student is brought to the level of the teacher. The aura of the student is ‘opened’ using specific Reiki symbols. The Reiki symbols give access to the energy system of the student. The chakras are accessed and the symbols to be given in the initiation are inserted inside them. The energy body of the student now changes, the flow of vital energy changes its ‘flavour’. The chakras of the hands are opened so that the symbols get connected here too. The entire thing is now sealed. Then the aura is closed and the initiation is done.

After initiation, the energy flow in the body alters significantly and this change is permanent. Even if there is some problem with the teacher, the space or the student, the symbols always work. The initiation will be successful but the overall experience will become uneasy and this will have a subtle impact on the student’s energy self. And then after the initiation is complete, the teacher gives his blessings to the student. During initiation the teacher generally gets a message from the Universe/Reiki which he tells the student. This message is very important and brings about a deep change in the mind-set of the student. This is generally linked to some significant event/issue from the student’s past lives.

The Gayatri mantra

There are a few important points which have to be understood here. It is assumed that the teacher knows these things. But the problem is with such a proliferation of energy-teachers and healers you cannot be sure if the teacher really knows what he is doing. And it is important that the student understands these things.

First of all the teacher.

The teacher should be someone who is doing his own spiritual practice and is able to still his mind. He should be of a higher energy level that the student. If your personal energy is higher than that of the teacher it will be quite an uneasy experience for you.(Long ago, one of my Dad’s friends was insisting he learn Reiki from him. Dad was not interested but as I was sitting in the room, he casually asked me if he should learn energy-healing from him. I was in school and didn’t know what ‘learning Reiki’ meant. But it was obvious that Dad was huge on the energy levels and his friend was nothing. I said no! so strongly that I still remember that incident till now.)

Then getting a really knowledgeable teacher who understands what he is doing can be quite difficult. I would never do initiation for someone who is not 18yrs of age. During initiation, I am manipulating someone’s aura in a very deep way. Actually inserting intentions ie the symbols inside the chakras! The aura is protection, its job is to filter everything from the physical universe before letting it within. Opening someone’s aura is making him so deeply vulnerable, I cannot describe it in words. The direct access to the chakras is another extremely sensitive step. So the student should be an adult, he should understand what is being done and then he should agree. The mental state of the teacher is very important. If he is personally upset, the process will be affected, eg if he is unwell or has had an argument with someone etc. Also if by ill-luck you meet an unscrupulous teacher, he can implant suggestions inside your aura in your chakras. So do a through check on the Reiki teacher first.

Second is the space.

Initiation is to be avoided when the atmosphere is heavy with energy. Eg a rainy day with thunder and lightning. Or on full-moon or no-moon nights or the dark fortnight of the Bhadrapad month (pitru-paksh) when the spirits are more active. Or twilights and eclipses. Avoid such days of dense energies. This is the teacher’s duty to check if the environment is conducive.

Third is you, the student.

This is attunement, you are getting a new type of energy to resonate in your energy body, so you should prepare your body, mind and soul for this new energy modality. This means asking the teacher all that you want to know, in addition to what the teacher is teaching. Ask questions. Learn about the process and how you can use this energy later. At least for a week before you have your initiation scheduled, do some mediation, deep breathing exercises, eat light food, avoid alcohol and stimulants. This will ensure that you will be able to make the most of the initiation process.

For women.

There is a constraint, no initiation on the 5 days of the monthly cycle. The chakras are moving in the anti-clockwise direction at this time. No initiation when expecting. A pregnant lady should not do anything to her energy body while she is expecting and at least for 3 months after the baby is born. She should not be sitting on her Asan, no Dhyan, no manipulation of pran, no attunements of any healing modality or anything that causes any change to her energy body. During pregnancy the baby-soul moves into the astral body of the mother and is aware of everything that is happening to the mother on every level, physical, astral, psychic, energy etc. Being made in the womb is a rather painful process, the body of the baby is being formed/ broken/ re-formed and it causes pain. However the baby-soul links itself to the mother and draws support from her in every way. The mother should not give the baby-soul any energy shocks. When her aura, her chakras and her energies are get manipulated the unborn child is also affected.

The Gayatri mantra

Then children.

A child should never be exposed to any sort of energy surges or any intentional modification in his energy channels/chakras. A child is still in the process of development. Till the age of 14 – 16yrs, ie till the child attains physical maturity he/she is still being formed, the energy channels are still delicate and fragile. (18yrs onwards is best, full growth is done with and he is an adult now). Anything out of the ordinary in the childhood will cause energy fluctuations in his body which will have effects on his pran-mai-kosh/ subtle body and can carry on to the next life too. A child till the age of 7yrs is on the border-line, he has not yet completely forgotten his past life and neither has he begun to fully identify himself with his present personality. He still retains the ability to sense the psychic, the astral realms. If in this unformed state you push an attunement on his energy body it can cause very deep seated problems.

Children can see auras, energy, spirits and ‘other’ things, but as a non-intentional ability, mainly for self protection. (eg I have a pleasant, high energy aura, random babies look at me, smile at me and come to me without a murmur. One of my past driver had a grey-streaked aura, my son never could sit in the car when he was driving.) This ability to sense the astral dimensions disappears naturally at 3-6yrs of age. Now if you make the child aware about these things, he can start using it consciously and eventually attract predatory entities etc.

Children give their energy very easily. (eg I have a 1.5yr old baby nephew whom I love dearly and he too adores me. I was talking to my brother on the phone. He was playing with the baby as he talked to me. I was telling him that I had a very busy day and was exhausted. And in 2 mins I got hit with a huge ball of healing energy, felt better instantly! Energy of a new ‘flavour’. I asked him who had sent it, it was not his ‘flavour’. He gave a surprising answer, that the baby had sent it. Baby must have sensed my brother’s aura/feelings about me being exhausted and as he loves me deeply he immediately sent the healing!) If you initiate your child into any energy healing modality, he can give without being aware of it. This can be very dangerous.

Then we, in our cities, are surrounded by negative energies, sick depressed people, unsavoury thoughts in the mind, in addition to the regular spirits, ghosts etc. Why make your child see these things consciously? The child cannot stop seeing now. he will see it all the time! There is a reason why this ability to see the psychic is lost at age 3-6yrs, it is not for everyone. If you work with energy realise that you are required by karma to do so. It is nothing very exciting or special. It is just work, like anything else. Sometimes it is quite helpful, but sometimes it becomes a burden. Intentionally modifying the energy channels of a child and an unborn baby when he has no say in the matter and does not understand what is happening is a crime. 

(One of my brothers never lost the ability to see the astral and its energies. In his 20’s, something cryptic happened which took away his ability to see energy. Now he could still sense but not see the psychic energy with his eyes. He saw me then, he took my hands in his and looked very intently saying all the time in wonder, ‘this is how you look physically!’. Till that day he used to just see my aura enveloping me and not my physical self clearly. That was the day I really understood how difficult these extra-abilities can be.)

The pregnant lady went and got herself attuned and so did the 6yr old child, presumably they did not really understand the process. And the teacher too allowed and participated in this highly unethical Reiki initiation.

Working with energy is not for everyone. It does sound very exciting but it is quite serious. There are several healing modalities like Reiki, magnified healing etc. So if you do choose to take up energy work and get initiated into something do think twice about why you are doing it. What is your objective. Then do research about the credentials of the teacher. And then prepare yourself so that you can make the most of the experience.

 

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

When it comes to exercise, motivation is a must. You might have thought of trying out the Surya-namaskar from my pervious post. When you do the Surya-namaskar regularly and faithfully with intention the entire body/mind benefits. Ideally you should do enough sets so that the body has a light perspiration. But right now begin slow.

(I searched the internet videos for the correct version of the Surya namaskar, it is this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt9eeXo5YPk  From 4:41 sec to 5:25 sec is the ideal Surya-namaskar sequence of the 10 postures. Except do not hold the ‘downward dog’ position for 5 deep breaths as he mentions.)

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

The set of 10 yogic postures is the classical Surya-namaskar. A breathing pattern has to be followed of inhaling (purak), exhaling (rechak) and holding the breath (kumbhak). And an associated mantra has to be recited mentally as you perform each posture of the set. Each posture works to set your body and mind in its perfect alignment. I am not using the names of the individual Yog-asan, just writing what will happen as you perform them,Starting posture – To begin with, you will stand straight, facing the east, palms folded in the Namaskar position, looking at the rising Sun and recite the Mantras which are to be said out aloud.

First posture – The palms in the namaskar position are raised vertically upwards and your eyesight follows them. The neck and waist has to be stiffened as the entire body has to be vertical and in a straight line. If you have round shoulders or a stoop in your back, you will feel these areas straining and stretching. The entire body stretches out. Deep breathing is required so if you are not used to deep conscious breathing you will feel your lungs and diaphragm work. The palms have to be pressed against each other slightly so a slight pressure on your entire arm till tip of fingers will be felt. Hold yourself erect and inhale deeply, hold the breath.

Second posture – Bending down with the knees straight. The palms touch the ground on both sides of the feet and the head touches the knees. The muscles of the calves, thighs, buttocks, hips, waist, back and spine are stretched out. You will feel the strain. Go very slow, if you are unfit you might black-out as all the air in your lungs is forced out. The muscles joining your shoulders and back will feel the strain. The muscles of the abdomen and waist will be pulled in. The kidneys are activated here. The solar plexus is stimulated. You won’t be able to do it perfectly at the first attempt so bend as much as you can comfortably, do not strain.

Third posture – Touching the tips of the fingers to the ground and moving the neck to look straight in the front. This activates in addition the neck, throat muscles and the shoulders. If you are suffering from stiff neck or cervical area problems, go slow here. Here you inhale. Do as much as you can without straining, this exercise will build up strength and also reduce neck/chin fat.

Fourth posture – As you jump backwards you are exhaling. And the rest of this posture is done in the ‘kumbhak’, you ‘hold’ breath. You have exhaled and there is no air in your lungs. You are pulling your abdomen in. The weight of the whole body is on your palms and toes. The wrists arms and feet/ankles bear the maximum pressure here. Also the abdomen and waist, the buttocks and the thighs. This reduces abdominal fat. This is the real ‘plank exercise’. You might not be able to do it perfectly so you can touch your body to the ground in the initial stages.

Fifth posture – Now you inhale. this is the classical snake posture. The back is curved and look up at the sky. The weight of the whole body is on the arms. Here the neck, arms and the chest benefit. The size of the abdomen will decrease and that of the chest will increase till the perfect proportion is achieved. All liver, spleen and intestinal complaints will disappear.

Sixth posture – Here you are exhale. Your body makes a triangle with your buttocks as the highest upward point. You exhale. The palms and the feet are placed flat on the ground. The muscles of the feet, calves, waist, abdomen, back, neck and upper arms are exercised. This will reduce abdominal fat. Abdominal fat is the root cause of ill-health in majority of humans.

Seventh posture – As you jump forwards you inhale and you touch your finger-tips to the sides of your feet, look straight forwards. Same as the third posture.

Eighth posture – Same as the second posture. You exhale.

Ninth posture – same as the first posture. You inhale.

Tenth posture – Same as the starting posture. You mentally recite the last posture mantra. “Om Bhaskaraya Namah”

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

This is a full body workout. The entire musculature of the body benefits. The neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, back, chest muscles, abdomen, thighs, calves and ankles. The body skeleton, the joints all benefit. Most important the fluid movement of the 10 postures, fully stretch and compress the spine. This frees you from back-ache forever. Rheumatic tendencies are arrested. The ligaments and tendons of the entire body are overhauled and made to work properly.

The entire digestive system benefits, the stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines. Better digestion and absorption of food and regular bowel movements are the first step to a healthier life. As the back strengthens, the kidneys also benefit. The nervous system is invigorated. The brain, spinal cord and the functional parts of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Fogginess, mental fatigue, forgetfulness and other forms of mental stress are gradually removed. The intellect and the mind shine with energy. The sense organs also seem more sharp.

The circulatory system undergoes a systematic overhaul. The pumping of the heart improves. The blood circulation improves, this is very important as blood brings nutrients and flushes toxins from every part of the body. Deep breathing improves the lungs, the lung capacity and the stamina. The throat muscles are energised by the continuous compression and extension movements. Thyroid function improves. Similarly the other endocrine glands in the body are stimulated increasing health. This movement of the neck improves the circulation to the head so the hair and scalp health improves. The senses of hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting remain sharp till old age.

You are supposed to work out till you lightly perspire. This removes toxins, more important in higher altitudes where people do-not sweat naturally. A healthy skin absorbs more pran/vital energy directly from the Universe and it also glows with health.

In women, if she has been doing Surya-namaskar regularly it helps in all problems related to menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum recovery. During pregnancy it will reduce nausea and similar uncomfortable problems. Feminine charm, bust, body shape etc remains attractive, as the entire body muscles develop in a proportionate way. In men, masculine attractiveness is enhanced. Excess fat is dislodged from those difficult areas of abdomen, thighs, chin, saggy arms are corrected. Obesity will reduce. Posture related problems are corrected. In growing children the height of the body will be increased. Immunity increases. Gradually you feel more energetic and youthful. More confident, you feel capable and poised, ready for life!

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

Healthy old age is a blessing which very few people in this modern age enjoy. The Surya-namaskar is the best way of postponing age as it rids the body/ mind of the products of decay/ damage/ degeneration of the body. It links you to the Sun, the source of all life. If you do Surya-namaskar with a combination of satvik food your food intake will reduce. This means vegetarian food, vegetables, rice, millets, pulses, desi cow milk and ghee made from desi cow milk. No heavy spices, no oily food, no stimulants.

By now you must be thinking that I am exaggerating. But I am not! You are using the power of the Sun, your mantra and your intention and reforging your body, breath and mind. Do your Surya-namskar for a few months regularly and then see the change in yourself. And others will also notice the healthier you. You are in control. You decide. If you practice you will gain.I wrote this ‘biology’ post on purpose, so that you read the health benefits and they register in your mind. If you are still in your teens, adopt the Surya-namaskar for a life-time of health. You will never suffer even the minor complaints of fever and cold. If you have children, make sure that they perform it, you are gifting them a life-time of health and vitality. And even if you are older or unwell, try some of the postures in whatever slow imperfect way you can. Never strain the body, if you have been unwell/ lazy for 10yrs you can’t expect the perfect set on the first day. It will take 6 months of slow committed practice, it is ok. Congratulate yourself that you have started at least.

You can start at any age. It requires no kit, no expense, not much space. Even if you make mistakes initially it is ok. The Asans will self-correct gradually. Just remember to not strain, if you feel strain/pain stop immediately, Go slow. If you cannot do it at sunrise, do it at anytime of the day (2hrs after meals, as empty stomach is essential). But do it. Secure your health, effectiveness and longevity.

 

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

My brother goes to a Yog-asan class. There is a very over-weight lady too there. The trainer is really good and wanted to get this lady started on Surya-namaskar. The poor lady could not bend, forget anything else. But the trainer was like, ‘do how much every tiny movement you can from the set, the body will loosen up with time’. It was a struggle for her, but she and the trainer persevered, a tiny bit every-day. By the end of 2 months, the lady did manage to bend enough to touch her own feet, and also shed a few kgs, an amazing achievement! So however physically unfit you actually are or believe yourself to be, all you need a good teacher to guide/ motivate and the Surya-namaskar. Reclaim your health!

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Everyone knows about the Surya-namaskar sequence. This is a Yog-Asan, yogic posture which we all should perform everyday from the age of 6yrs onwards regularly. It is the right of every human to be healthy and this Yogasan is the foundation of your life-time health. Here I list out things which will add energy to your practice.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

Use the power of the rising Sun. Do your Surya-namaskar in the early morning, facing the east. Looking at the rising sun is ideal. If your house has a balcony do it there, where fresh air can touch your body. Or in a park? Or at least open the windows of your room so that fresh air can touch your body/mind. Now we live in cities so seeing the rising sun may not be possible. So on the East wall of your room, put a nice photo of the rising Sun, your favourite deity, source of faith, Shri yantra? or at least paint that wall in light yellowish-orangish, the color of the radiant rising Sun. This will give your mind an object to concentrate on. Gradually will give you the ability to silence the mind’s continuous chattering and increase your mental strength/ability.

You will need a flat horizontal non slippery surface. A cotton mat is traditionally used, but you should use whatever you are comfortable with. Wear minimum possible cotton clothing. Ensure that the clothes do not interfere with the body’s freedom of movement. Do not eat, empty stomach is necessary.

A set of 10 yogic postures = 1 Suryanamaskar. Start with 3 sets daily and increase 1 set per week. Maximum is 108 sets, do not increase beyond that. Doing 108 sets will take about 1hr 15 mins which is not realistic in today’s life. So fix some figure in your mind, as a maximum of 27 or 54, but do it everyday.

This is a complete physical exercise, a spiritual exercise and a pranic exercise. You strengthen your entire body from the head to the feet and the tips of your fingers. You improve your sensory organs. You make all the fluids in your body move. You will increase the volume, quality and regular flow of pran in your nadis. And finally you strengthen your mind and will power.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are doing 3 things here.

  1. Exercising your physical body in a series of 10 interconnected yogic postures. You are using the muscles of your entire body. As the muscles work effectively they positively influence the other organs near them. So muscular health is essential for complete body health.
  2. Exercising your pran/vital energy movements in your naadi strucutre by a fixed sequence of breath in and breath out sequence. Each of the 10 postures is linked to either exhale or inhale, and the entire sequence goes fluidly. Simple logic is when you extend the body you inhale and when you contract the body you exhale. Always breathe through your nose, never open the mouth. First focus on getting the muscular movement perfectly, the breath will automatically sync later. The sync comes slowly with practice. (Ideally the 10 postures of the Surya namaskar are performed in 3 complete breaths!)
  3. Adding the power of Surya mantra to all this. There are a set of 10 mantra-s, one for each yogic posture in the sequence. This is the real power of the Yog-asan. Breathing without a mantra makes the whole thing tamasic. You will get excellent physical body but no spiritual benefit. Something like musclebound gym-crazy young men who do not ‘sparkle’ with ‘inner light’. You should add the mantras to the postures after you have got the muscle movement and the breath sync. Maybe after 1-2 months.

 

I searched the internet videos for the correct version of the Surya namaskar, it is this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt9eeXo5YPk  From 4:41 sec to 5:25 sec is the ideal Suryanamaskar sequence of the 10 postures. Except that there is no requirement to hold the ‘downward dog’ position for 5 deep breaths as he mentions. The entire Suryanamaskar continues in a fluid sequence of 10 postures, no ‘holding’ any pose. In the video the young man is in superb physical condition and is a teacher himself so don’t feel disheartened!

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

You are exercising for yourself and not competing with the young man in the video. I have seen people get enthusiastic about exercise and then in a few days they get demotivated and never exercise again. The fault is with the trainers.

  • Always remember, exercise should be in proportion to one’s own strength.
  • It should be regular and continuous to be of benefit. You do only 3 sets per day, but do them. They will not be perfect, it is ok.
  • Exercise should be within your physical limit, ie after doing it you should feel refreshed and energetic not tired out. If you are feeling tired, reduce the intensity or the duration.
  • Don’t compare yourself to your younger self. (I used to go to the gym for 2 hrs everyday in my 20s. At the age of 29yrs I looked like a 17yrs old often confusing people. Now I can’t do that much exercise. Accepted!)
  • You are not perfect in your practice now, but you are doing it regularly that is most important.
  • At the beginning of this ‘body/mind reconstruction exercise’, there is bound to be some discouragement and pain as unused muscles are forced to move. But this has to be gone through.

So practice slowly at your own pace, regularly, don’t get lazy after all this, it is just for 5 mins! Suryanamaskar are done quite slowly at first. First you have to get the physical movements correct. When you practice slowly, you will know which part of your body is under strain. When you change posture which bones creak. And slow movements will help this straining creaking body parts gradually build strength. You are doing this for yourself.

Then the mind. While doing the sets, do not let your mind wander. Your mind as well as body need discipline. You have to focus on the Sun and on your own body. Look at the Sun with your eyes. Intend that the energy of the Sun enters your body parts which are moving. We want increased pran moving in the body, this is possible only by the power of the focussed mind. As you breathe in visualise gold/silver energy entering you, energising you, making you one with the Sun. This is also an exercise for the mind.

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy

 

Now the mantra. Before beginning your practice you are required to recite this, ‘Om Hraang Hreeng Hroung sah Suryaya namah”. Or as the second option, “Om Mitra Ravi Surya Bhanu Khaga Pushna Hiranyagarbha Marich Aditya Bhaskarya namah Om”. Speaking aloud, voice is very important. When you speak these words you are exercising your vocal cords and setting the tone for your entire exercise. Breathe deeply a few times. This you can do from the first day itself. Then ten basic mantra are to be recited in your mind, once per posture, these are

  1. Om Mitraya namah
  2. Om Ravaye namah
  3. Om Suryaya namah
  4. Om Bhanave namah
  5. Om Khagaya namah
  6. Om Pushnaye namah
  7. Om Hiranyagarbhaya namah
  8. Om Marichaye namah
  9. Om Adityaya namah
  10. Om Bhaskarya namah

Add these mantras to your posture and breath only after you have gained confidence, maybe 1-2 months later. Don’t complicate things for yourself at the start. If you have no faith in Sanskrit and Mantra, do not recite them. But a Yog-asan done without a mantra remains tamasic, it gives only physical strength no inner fire. So you will have to at least intentionally recite So-ham. ‘So’ mentally as you breathe in and ‘hum’ mentally as you breathe out. So-ham is also a mantra.

So start in whatever slow imperfect way you can, it will take only 5 mins of your time initially. Evaluate yourself after 21days. After this self-motivation will come in. And in a few months you won’t believe the change this will bring in you. Perfection comes with regular practice. (If you are already physically damaged or ill, do consult your healthcare professional before doing them. These are quite strenuous and vigorous movements.)

 

Now for women. Women must perform Surya namaskar. In Indian cities, you see young women in severely unhealthy states. If the woman is physically/ mentally /spiritually ill, the entire house suffers. She is the centre around which our families and our societies both revolve. If she is healthy the nation will be healthy. Surya namaskar is the ideal three-in-one way to remain forever fit. Women go through two physically challenging events in their lives, one at the age of 12yrs as the monthly cycle starts and then at the age of 51yrs when it stops. Also the monthly 5day cycle is physically exhausting. As the girl-child starts Surya-namaskar at the age of 6yrs and continues for a life-time she will never face any problems related to this aspect of the female life ever. It is a guarantee.

Women are exempted for the 5 days of their monthly cycle, they should rest. During pregnancy the practice has to be stopped. But she should not break her habit of standing before the rising Sun. Mantra-s can be recited. Some light warm-up stretching types of movements recommended for pregnant women can be done. After delivery do not perform Surya-namaskars for 3 months. After this, if the medical professional agrees, can start with 3 sets and gradually increase.

Suryanamaskar are the complete exercise for your mind body and soul. You will discipline your body, your breath and your mind over time. Give yourself these 5-10 mins daily and see the change in yourself as you draw in the energy of the Rising Sun into yourself.

Part 2 continued here.

 

Surya namaskar is an all-in-one remedy