Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

‘Soham’, when formally ‘given’ to you by a Jivan-Mukt Sat-Guru is ‘Sushumna Yog.

A Jivan-mukt has understood the real meaning of the Maha-vakya, ‘tat tvam asi’. Maha-vakya महावाक्य means the great saying, assertion, declaration, rule. ‘Tat tvam asi’ loosely means ‘you are that’, but understanding this and experiencing this means you have achieved Sadyo-mukti. ‘Tat tvam asi’ is called the Brahmaakara Vritti, ie the state of the mind which takes you towards the Eternal Intelligence. Only such a Jivan mukt Guru can ‘give’ you Soham in all its grandness. eg your friend calls you by your full name and then your Mom calls you by your full name. When your Mom calls you with your full name, you get all alert and awake, her voice and your name trigger something within you.

Soham is the right of every living being. You keep doing it regularly in some small way with intention and it will slowly reset your energy. (Like that friend calling you by your name.) And then at some point of time, you will meet your Sat-Guru who will formally ‘give’ it to you. (This would be like your Mom calling you). When you hear this mantra from a Jivan-mukt, you hear it from the Nirvishesh Brahma itself. The mantra then goes deep inside and resets your energy in a fast forward mode. This now becomes Sushumna Yog, the route to Moksh. It opens access to the Sushumna nadi and the Brahma-nadi within it.

Soham has the power to take you into Kevala-Kumbhak spontaneously. Kumbhak is commonly considered to be the pause between the act of breathing in-Purak and breathing out-Rechak. But actually ‘Kumbhak’ means a pause in breathing. The breathing stops. Kevala Kumbhak means the stoppage of breath when the mind is silenced, completely motionless. In your Dhyan when you reach a point where the mind is utterly calm, the breathing stops. This stoppage can be in mid-inward breath, in mid-outward breath or between the Rechak/ Purak, anytime. This is called the state of Kevala Kumbhak.

When the breath stops, your pran are in your conscious control, the mind/Manas is still. Soham dissolves the individual ego/ Ahamkara completely. Grants you perfect memory/ Chitta of yourself. Perfect intelligence/ Buddhi dawns on you. You gain the knowledge/ Vijnyan of the Eternal. 

Initially this kumbhak will be for short time, later it can extend to hours as a Samadhi. Kevala Kumbhak is the highest form of Kumbhak. For those who attempt reaching this Kevala Kumbhak by consciously manipulating pran, the entire and very complicated process is given in the Yog-shikha Upanishad. But attempt this only under the guidance of a real Guru who knows what he is doing. Do not experiment here. Else you can burn up your Nadi-s, if this happens you have to discard your current body and take another body/life. (I have heard examples where aspirants burnt their nadi-s and then physically died a few months later.)

For attaining Moksh, both practice and philosophy is necessary. One trains the pran/ vital energy and the other trains the mind. Mind can be controlled by only if you control Pran and the easiest way to control Pran is to focus on your breath. The spiritual path can be very dangerous if you do not follow a Sat-Guru. You are manipulating the energies enveloping your soul, it is risky without the proper guide. All the books in Sanatan Dharma, Brahma-sutra, Bhagvat Gita, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Devi Mahatmya, Ved, Vedang, Upanishad, etc emphasise the supreme importance of the Sat-guru in attaining Sadyo-mukti, Advaitya.

Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

I have seen my own Sat-Guru  in his physical shell as a Jivan-mukt and his full Advaita form after the shell dissolved.

A Jivan-mukt is innocence, untouched by physical/ emotional distress. Every word uttered by him is deepest philosophy. Every sentence when pondered upon, means only the Advaita. He cannot ever talk on any materialistic topic, he has transcended all this dross. He will not do moorti-pujas, pilgrimages, rituals, yadnas, homa or any other outer forms of worship connected to this illusory worlds, nor will he tell his disciples to do so. (My Guru would pointedly say no to all this as this. But he would tell us to increase our Dhyan.) He will give the same final mantra (Om/ Soham/ Hamsa) to all his disciples. To him, each one is the same Parabrahma. He does not discriminate among his disciples. He looks fresh and always welcoming. There are no bindings on how one has to be before coming before him. (Some Yogi-s are particular about women in their 5 days cycle. Or do not allow others to touch, have strict conditions on food etc). A Sat-guru has no requirements, no hang-ups, nothing. I have seen my Sat-guru eating out of silver plates and with the same innocence having simple food in the house of a poor disciple. Not finicky about habits, nothing. And this doesn’t mean that you can take him lightly. His aura is tremendous, you can not do anything but bow before him. All thoughts flee your mind in his presence. (I could never ask him for anything in words. Yet he always answered the questions I used to ask him in my mind). You feel the immenseness of him. Only those few people who have actually seen a Jivan-Mukt can understand what I have written here.

(Eg. Once he stopped his car in front of a Mumbai slum. My Mom was travelling with him. He asked her to go into the slum and call a woman, he told her the name. A elderly beggar woman came out. He asked her if she would like to go and live in his Math in Kolhapur district. She thought it over and said yes. He gave her money to buy some clothes and tickets. She lived in the Math and helped out in the kitchens. After some 25yrs, by his blessings, she left her body sitting in Dhyan. There are numerous such examples with my Guru.)

A Jivan-mukt’s body is linked to the Prarabdha-karma linked to the body at birth. So the body will play out its karmic activities. But the Soul is the pure Advaita. The pain/ pleasure of the body does not exist for the Soul. It has entered the Unmani-avastha, ‘beyond the mind’. The only purpose of the body is to enjoy/ endure karma. The soul has nothing to do with karma. You are not the body, you are the Soul, so its karmic pain/ pleasure has nothing to do with you. If you understand and experience this, you are Mukt.

Now whenever I see him he is in his full Advaita form, just the conscious Nirvishesh Brahma. It is very different and more intense.

So the point is, in this world, there are very rare Jivan-mukt available, maybe one in a hundred million. If you have the all-consuming desire to Know yourself, you will meet one, like the beggar woman whom my Sat-guru picked out of the slums. But until this happens, it is best that you do your Soham-Dhyan. Better trust your own higher self rather than putting your trust in some dubious ‘guru’. There are so many frauds in this world who are more than ready to take advantage of your fire and your energy. A Yogi who is higher up on the route can help you but only a Sat-Guru can really guide you home.

Do your Soham-Dhyan as per your conscience. This will prepare you for the moment when you will meet your Sat-guru. ‘Soham’ is not secret, everyone knows it. But when you hear it from your Sat-guru as a Naam-mantra, ie with the intention that ‘Soham’ is your name, it changes your energies completely. The Advaita itself tells you your name and directs you to focus on this now onwards. I was very young when my Sat-guru ‘gave’ it to me, but I remember every second of that experience.

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There was a question for references on Soham. For me the biggest reference is that my Sat-Guru gave it to me. But you can go through the following if you are so inclined,

  • Brahma vidya upanishad mentions that Soham is the mantra.
  • Yog shikha upanishad mentions that the Ajapa mantra under the guidance of a Sat-guru and for Sushumna yog is ‘Soham’. This is a part of mantra yog. The only route to liberation is the Sushumna yog and the ones who follow this route are the Jivan-mukt. Liberation is possible in one life itself if you slowly, little by little but regularly perform Soham.
  • Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, my Sat-guru’s Guru-brother writes in his books that if one follows one’s Sat-guru’s direction and Soham-Dhyan, it takes two years to attain Moksh.
  • Isha upanishad mentions that Soham is the illumination, the highest blessing.
  • Brihad aranyak upanishad says that when the Advaita first took the form of the Purush, the first words said by this conscious intelligence were ‘Soham asmi’, ‘I am That’. The Purush is aware that he is the Non-dual, no one but him existed nor exists nor will exist. (For details on what the Purush is you will need to read the Sankhya philosophy.)
  • Hamsa upanishad, says that ‘Soham’ is the ‘kilak’, ie it is the pin, wedge, pillar, bolt, to which the entire ‘Hamsa soham’ mantra is fastened to. If you use this ‘Soham’ as a kilak, ie make it the sharp cutting edge of your spiritual practice you attain Moksh.
  • Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra mentions ‘Soham’ and ‘Hamsa’.
  • In the phalashruti of Vishnu sahastra nama, the highest One says that these 1000 names of Vishnu are equivalent to one Soham mantra.
  • There are several tantra books, philosophy commentaries and stotras which mention Soham.

If you think that ’Soham’ is very simple, try doing it for one hour with your breath as you do your daily commute sitting in the bus or train. See how many times you forgot to keep track of your breath. See how many times your attention was diverted from your breath and your mantra by what you saw/ heard in the train. Keeping track of breath is not so easy! But as you train your mind, direct it again and again to focus on your breathing pattern, you will notice changes in yourself. Your mind will become calmer, recovery from emotional outbursts will be faster, your health indicators will improve, you will look younger, fresher, your aura will become more intense etc. 

Sohams’s greatest power is that everyone can do it. All the time, in all conditions of the body/ mind. There is no binding of any sort on doing it. You can do it on your asan, in the bus, while you are having a bath, while walking in the park, at all times. Every breath you take should be converted to Soham, in every state. This means that you will be doing 21,600 Soham jaap every day! But then your breathing will also slow down. eg I have observed that when I am just sitting, reading or typing it goes to 2-3 per minute and sometimes stops. Slowed breathing increases your body’s life-span and health. The life of a person is measured in breaths, the more you sit in Samadhi or in Dhyan, the slower you breathe, the longer your body will sustain. 

Soham is the gem among the mantras, it gives the highest benefit, Sushumna Yog, and ultimately Moksh, Sadyo-mukti in the most easiest, safest, gentlest and kindest ways and in this one life-time itself.

 

Karma action fruits of action, Bhagwat Gita style

There were several questions, I have sort of combined them in this post. 

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

“Could you please write something on how meditation helps on karmic levels.” There was this question, so writing it as a post.

The short answer. If you do regular Dhyan, you will realise that Karma is an illusion. You will actually experience this fact. Then you remain in eternal happiness, Param-anand.

Now the longer discussion.

There are three types of karma,

Sanchit karma – the entire accumulated load from several lives which you have to rebalance at some point of time, either in this life or the next ones.

Prarabdha karma – that part from the above load which you have decided to rebalance in this current life. This is chosen by you at the time of birth and lasts till the moment of physical death. This can be seen from your horoscope. As long as your soul animates this current 5-layered body, its linked Prarabdha karma will run its course. It is like an arrow released and will continue its motion till it exhausts its energy. In case you attain Realisation, ie Sadyo-Mukti and become a Jivan-mukt, the body will continue to be animated and operate as per the chosen prarabha karma till the time of physical death. (Do read the posts on on Sadyo-mukti/ Krama-mukti and on Jivan-mukti/ Videha mukti.)

Agaami karma – The  karma which you will possibly create in this current life. If this is of a smaller magnitude, you will be able to rebalance it in this current life itself. But if it is of a larger magnitude, it will be added to your Sanchit karma and you will rebalance it in your future lives.

When you achieve Sadyo-mukti, ie experience yourself as the Parabrahma, the Advaita, the Nirvishesh brahma, all the stored karma Sanchit karma is burnt at that very instant. And now you are a realised soul, so creation of new karma will be impossible too.

Karma is linked to the 5-layered body which is animated by your soul. No karma can touch the Soul/ Atma. The Soul is beyond all concepts of karma. But when a Soul resides in the body it mistakenly believes that it is linked to karma, now this is called an individual soul or Jiv-atma. Eg there is the Sun in the sky and clouds over it. The clouds are nothing to the Sun and neither are linked to him. But we think that the Sun is covered by the clouds. The Soul is similarly covered by the clouds of karma. When you do Dhyan, these clouds are shown to be immaterial and you experience the Soul.

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Meditation is a very misunderstood word. Modern people think that listening to relaxing music or not thinking of anything or sitting motionless in a dark room is mediation. All this is good to relax your mind, but it won’t do anything for your spiritual progress.

The correct word is Dhyan. There is no translation possible of this Sanskrit word ‘Dhyan’. Here you are required to elevate your limited awareness to the level of the Parabrahma by thinking of yourself as the Parabrahma itself. This continued thought is called Dhyan. You concentrate on this one thought exclusively. No other thoughts are allowed to enter your mind except this. You give all your attention to this thought, you appreciate its non-duality, its existence within yourself.

Dhyan means ‘motionlessness’. This ‘absence of movement’ has very deep connotations. The continuous motion of the three-Gun, the Satva-Raja-Tama is stilled. Prakruti stops her performance, ie the illusion of manifested creation stops. You observe oneself, you become a witness. And you identify with the catalyst who remains still rather than the puppet who is in motion.

You are required to sit (post here). Not lie down, as you will go to sleep. Neither can you stand or do any actions while doing Dhyan, because your mind will also think on how to do these actions or how to keep standing without falling. Dhyan needs continuity of the physical state so that your mind can concentrate only on the non-dual subtlest intelligence within you. So you have to sit. If the body is at rest the mind also rests. It becomes easier to focus.

But there really are no rules on how to sit or where to sit or how to sit at what time etc. But to begin with, you have to fix your place (asan) and also a time, eg daily at 7am or whatever is possible on a regular basis. This will help your mind get used to the idea of Dhyan. Later, with practice, as the mind gets trained, there are no rules as this becomes a constant thought. Even later this goes deep that every instant is a Dhyan. This will continue non-stop till physical death. If you are able to strongly hold on to this thought at the instant of death you will attain the highest Sadyo-mukti of the Videha kind when you exit the body.

The life you are living is actually a preparation for the instant of physical death. If you concentrate on something for a life time, you will easily be able to concentrate on it at the moment of your exit thus achieve it. The moment of exit is the most powerful moment of your life. Eg if you concentrate on the idea that you are a devotee of Vishnu, you will go to Vaikunth. If you concentrate that you are a devotee of Shiv, you will go to Kailas. These states are called the lower Krama-mukti. The moment of physical exit is the critical point. If at this moment you are fixed in the idea that you are the Parabrahma, you will attain the highest possible Sadyo-mukti of the Videha kind. You will be able to do this only if you have trained your mind for a life-time, so we are all required to do Dhyan.

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

There are just the three possible mantras which are possible for Dhyan, Om, Soham and Hamsa.

Om is generally used by people who have renounced all forms of material bindings and are totally focussed on the Eternal. There is are specific ways of using Om, this will be taught to you by your own Guru. I know someone very senior who does Om Dhyan. Aged, now in his 70’s, his wife too in her 70’s. He was initiated when he was in his 20-s, after which his family got him married. His wife once told me that he used to beg for her permission to become a formal ascetic, but she refused. If you practice Om-dhyan in all its intensity, it is equivalent to formal asceticism. Even if you feel attracted to material life from time to time, it will be superficial because Om will always strongly pull you inward. Om is is Sanyas. Sanyas सम्यक् न्यास means that you are putting the Conscious energy perfectly within yourself. Once you start it in real earnest, you cannot get interested in or remain much in the material illusory world, the Eternal will pull you very strongly.

Then Hamsa and Soham are the two Ajapa mantras. Every living being unconsciously recites these mantras with every breath. If you adopt them as your Mantra, now onwards, you will use them consciously. Hamsa is the Ajapa mantra when you first exhale and mentally recite ‘hmm’ and then inhale and mentally recite ’saaa’. Together it makes ‘hamsa’. The details of this are given in detail in the Hamsa upanishad. But this upanishad is so utterly high level that even if you understand what it means, you won’t be able to perform the process. Possibly it involves Hatha yog too as complicated movements of pran and bandha etc are described in it. Hamsa vidya is when this mantra gains power with regular practice. I have not been taught it so do not know more. But it is a very powerful means of attaining the Self.

Soham is the second Ajapa mantra. My Sat-Guru taught all his disciples the ‘Soham’ mantra. Here you breathe in with the internal sound ‘sooo’ and exhale with the internal sound of ‘hmmm’. Together it makes ‘soham’. It is called the Ajapa-Gayatri by some people. It enlightens you to your real nature. The only thing you have to do is to internally recite the ‘soo’ and ‘hmm’ with your every breath. All the time, every breath. This is all you need to do. Soon it will become so intense that even if you deep sleep or dream, you will consciously recite it continuously. Never force your breathing, always breathe normally gently as you do. No sound should be created by your breathing. Some people breathe heavily and a sound is created by the air moving in your nose. Avoid this, it cause damage to your Nadi-s. The breathing should be noiseless, only then you will ‘hear’ the associated ‘soo’ and ‘hmm’ sounds. If you can sit down in a formal Dhyan even 1-2 times a day then it becomes even more intense.

Everyone can do Soham-jaap. Some people have this misconception that higher level mantras can be given only to the higher aspirants. This is incorrect. A genuine Sat-Guru will give you the full and final Mantra in the first step itself. You and me both are the Advaita, the Eternal. We are all capable of focussing on our real name. Maybe someone has lesser power of concentration to begin with, but the Mantra is so powerful that it does its own work.

Now the thing is with the householder’s life, Gruhast-ashram, we are required to perform all activities related to society, family, spouse/children etc. So doing Dhyan thrice a day 1hr each session may not be possible. So the best option is to do Soham jaap whenever you can, 1-2 mins whenever you are free, during the day/night, when you are travelling etc. This will ensure that your mind is gradually trained to think of itself. ‘Soham’ is Sushuma Yog, you will pull you towards yourself with its power. And if you get time, if you can sit in formal Dhyan, your progress towards yourself will be faster.

Karma and Dhyan Meditation

Now when you sit for Dhyan, each breath is considered to be one life time. Each breath is used to burn the karma of a life-time. It is a very intense exercise. Can you imagine the focus needed to consciously convert the energies of say five hundred million breaths, which is about a 65yrs life span, into one breath? But this does happen when you are very highly focussed on your mantra, not otherwise. If you practice daily, it will eventually happen with you too.

Even if you cannot reach this intensity in this lifetime, whatever you did will be carried over into your next life. So it is an asset you are generating. Dhyan makes the Mind still. And then the benefits of a relatively calm mind are obvious. You will look younger, more healthier, live longer, more mentally stable, more rational, less perturbed by events around you. Even if a karmic event occurs in your life, you are more easily able to navigate through it. And the chances of creating deep-rooted Agaami karma are also reduced as you do not react to situations from your deepest core. You are more in tune with your conscience. You go through events without disturbing your innermost self. The intensity of your desires will reduce with time. Frustrations disappointments reduce in intensity as your mind fluctuates less.

Then when you continually contemplate on your Reality, you force your mind to think of Yourself repeatedly. You realise, dimly at first and then very strongly that the creation which surrounds you is an illusion. As you remove the bindings laid on you, your experiences in Dhyan become more profound. You enter even deeper into yourself, you realise that Karma itself is an illusion. You are the Soul, this intention becomes stronger and stronger. You finally realise that there is no difference in the states of happiness/sadness. Every instant is filled with the awareness of non-duality.

So the short answer is again that if you do regular Dhyan, you will realise that Karma is an illusion, you experience this reality. You will always be in eternal happiness, Param-anand.

This post is basically from the Brahma-sutra, from what I was taught by my Sat-Guru and what I personally practice.

 

Your conscience and your soul

This really old Hindi song to me is beautifully meaningful. A rough translation, “I walked together with Life. I blew away every worry into smoke and went on. Grieving about past tragedies was meaningless. I celebrated every tragedy and walked on. What was given to me, I accepted it as destined. What was lost, I forgot it all and went on. There is one point where there is no difference between happiness and sorrow. I consciously brought my heart to this final destination and went on.”

Length and Rate of your breathing

We are breath, or more more correctly we are linked to this manifested creation primarily by the movement of air through our nostrils. To go beyond the limits imposed by the manifested, the first step is control of the breath. If you control your breath, you naturally control the pran moving within you. If you can control your pran, you automatically control your mind. Your mind is like a ball in your hand, it jumps up and down with the movement of pran. If you still the movement of pran, you also still your mind. The pran’s movement stills when you still your breathing, ie achieve Keval Kumbhak state, where there is no breathing in nor breathing out. If your Mind goes still, you achieve the ‘unmani-state’, beyond-Mind. After you reach this Unmani state, you hear the continuous ‘Nada’, the sound of the unmanifested. If you can dissolve your limited consciousness in the sound of the Nada, you achieve the Eternal.

Length and Rate of your breath

Our regular breathing is very turbulent. It depends on the physical movement of the body but it also depends significantly on your emotions and your thoughts. Check your breathing pattern when you are happy, sad, angry, upset, relaxed, focussed, etc and observe for yourself how it varies.

All texts on breathing and Dhyan will talk about the length of the breath and the rate of breathing.

  • This is how you determine the length of your breathing in comparison to your own finger-widths, a measure called angula. Switch off the fan in your room first, it should not be windy inside. Place some cotton fibres or a very thin thread on the back of your hand and keep it at some distance from your nose. Be at rest, relax and breathe normally. As you exhale on the cotton fibres they will move with the force of the exhaled air. Try to find out till what distance from your nose, the cotton fibres visibly move with your exhaled breath. Measure this distance from your nostrils to the fibres with a piece of thread. Now count how many finger-widths long is your breath when you are at rest.
  • Now to measure your breathing rate. Sit in a relaxed position. Set a timer for 5 mins. Count your breathing, ie one inhale and one exhale is one breath. eg If you count 52 breaths in 5 mins, then it is average at about 10 breaths per minute. eg If it is 68 breaths in 5 mins it is approximately 14 breaths per minute. As per science, the average human breathing rate at rest is 12 per minute.

Your life span is measured in breaths, not years. If you breathe slowly, you will live longer, look younger and be more healthy. But you should not force yourself to stop/slow breathe, if you do so, you will damage your body and your nadi-s. This should happen spontaneously and it will happen gradually as you do your spiritual practice.

(This photograph of my Sat-guru was taken in 1990, he was physically 85yrs old then.)

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If your breathing is fast, forced, laboured, intense etc the air will be displaced for a longer distance from your nose. ie the length of the breath will increase. As per the texts, this is how the activities affect your breath, eg eating increases the length to 18 angula, walking increases it to 20 angula, run­ning to 24 angula, sexual activity to 60 angula etc. If the length of the exhaled breath is longer, it reduces your life-span. The reason is that with every exhaled breath, you are also exhaling pran from your system. Generally you lose more pran than you pull in from the universe as your exhaled breath is always longer than your inhaled breath. And if the exhaled breath is made longer by engaging in strenuous activities or mental turbulence, even more pran goes out. (So over-indulgence in sexual activity is not advisable for spiritual aspirants, 60 angula long-breath!)

When you breathe slowly, without any jerks, the exhaled air moves out with less force, ie it’s length in angula becomes shorter. As the breathing becomes slow, it also becomes less turbulent, the flow of the pran in the nadi-s becomes smoother, more subtle, thinner? It actually becomes a fine needle of pure gold/ silver shimmer. In Dhyan, you are supposed to actively open your central Sushumna and close the Ida and Pingala. When such smooth subtle flow of pran moves through the Sushumna it effectively ‘cleans’ it out. Once the Sushumna is ‘clean’, all karmic impurities/ blockages are removed, it becomes very easy for the kundalini to rise up through it in one continuous smooth flow. It is always better for the spiritual aspirant if the Kundalini moves only after the Sushumna is clean from the Mooladhar to the Brahmarandhra.

So the point is that if you reduce the breathing rate and reduce the length of breath which actually happens simultaneously, you will increase the length and quality of your life and also gain control over your pran, Mind and also on the people around you and the environment you live in. Here is what the texts say,

  • If it is 10 angula, you gain peace of mind which lasts for a long time.
  • If it is 9 angula, you can spontaneously write, prose, music etc which have deep impacts on others.
  • If it is 8 angula, you will be able to speak spontaneously without hesitation. Your words will cause deep impact on those who hear you.
  • If it is 7angula, your vision will change, seeing into the past, present, future, parallel is possible now.
  • If it is 6 angula, you can move your body through air.
  • If it has gone to 5 angula, now onwards, your progress in your spiritual practice becomes very fast.
  • If it goes to 4 angula, you will attain the eight major siddhis (anima, mahima, garima, laghima, prakamya, ishitva, vashitva, kamavashayitva) and the several minor siddhis.
  • If it goes down to 3 angula, you gain the nava nidhi vidya the 9 types of consciousnesses. These are said to be under the control of Yaksharaj Kuber.
  • If it goes upto 2 angu­la, then the body is not longer a binding, you can change the shape of your 5-layered body.
  • If it reduces to 1 angula, you can become invisible and exist in just the subtle or causal body. Time, space and other dimensions lose their dominion on you.
  • Finally when the breathing stops, ie there is no exhalation or inhalation, Keval Kumbhak is attained, now the further process of Self realization starts in real earnest.

So as you do your spiritual practice, with time, your breathing will slow down and stop intermittently and then fully. It is nothing to be scared of. You don’t need air to remain alive in this created world. You need only pran, and it can be pulled in not just through the nostrils but also via the skin and majorly through the top of the head. This ability to consciously pull in pran increases, as you do your spiritual practice. So as an aspirant, your only job is to breathe with Soham, the rest of it will happen spontaneously and naturally.

 

Length and Rate of your breath

Sounds heard during meditation

There was a question on this, so a quick post. As you do your regular spiritual practice using the mantras Soham or Hamsa or Om, you will see signs of your progress. These are not achievements in any sense of the word, just signs that you are following your route. As per the Hamsa upanishad this is the sequence of the sounds,

  1. Chinni – a single sound heard occasionally, like a single chirrup of a cricket
  2. Chinni- chinni – a sound like crickets, but tinkling-like and pleasant.
  3. Bells ‘Ghanta’ ringing – a deep tolling bell
  4. Conch ‘Shankh’ being blown
  5. A musical instrument’s string being plucked ‘Tantri’
  6. Cymbals ‘taal’ 
  7. Flute ‘Venu’
  8. Drums ‘Mridanga’
  9. War drum ‘Bheri’ 
  10. Thundering ‘Megh-naad’ 

When you do your practice and do it for sometime, you first hear the single ‘chini’ type of sound occasionally. Then when you start hearing the second sound and till the last thundering sound, these sounds are on all the time, a muted continuous background sound. You can hear them all the time if you are in a silent room. In fact you can feel their vibrations in your body if you are sitting quietly in a silent room. Sometimes one sound will predominate and at other times some other sound. Some of the sounds are on high pitch and some are very low bass notes. Each is a constant sound, eg you will not hear varying pitches in the stringed instrument, it will be like someone picked just one string and its sound is heard constantly. It not like someone is playing your chakras like a guitar! You have to sit in a silent room as they cannot be heard properly in a noisy environment. If you use ear plugs, you might miss out the lowest pitched ones. Also do not plug your fingers in your ears, as you will then ‘hear’ the muscles in your fingers snapping, this will interfere with your ‘listening’ to your inner sounds. A silent room is best. 

You will also hear other sounds as your Ajnya chakra gets more charged up. Eg sounds of bumble bees, birds twittering, frogs croaking, wind rushing, the constant flow of a river, white noise etc. You will also hear single sharp cracks and thudding sounds as if a wood has snapped or a huge weight has fallen next to you. You will hear so many sounds in your Dhyan. But these are one-off sounds, you don’t hear them always on.

And don’t worry if you don’t hear them all or all in sequence or if you do not remember hearing them. In deep Dhyan, the Mind, both conscious and unconscious, is switched off. So whatever visions appear before you or sounds you hear, you might not be able to clearly remember them after you get up.

Sounds heard during mediation

Then while you are ‘hearing’ all this you will also have these effects on your body. These really happen so do not feel scared when they start. Pran moves along your body in waves, so the hair on your skin all stand up for minutes (very common). You feel coolness on your skin. You feel wind rushing on your skin. Your throat constricts and your sound box moves upwards. The body muscles contract and tremble spasmodically. You might feel pain and then again it gets soothed. There may be cycles of these sensations. You might feel pressure in your third eye area, or on the top of your head at specific points, you might feel coldness trickling down your head. You might feel your third eye ‘pop’, ie something like ‘air’ popped out from there. Your backbone might stiffen, your neck posture can rearrange itself. Eyes will get sealed shut, you will not be able to open them even if you want to. 

But in Dhyan, you are not supposed to get involved in observing these things. Your only job is to sit comfortably, breathe slowly, focus on the third eye and recite your mantra in your mind.

Then these things initially happen only when you are actively sitting on your Asan and focussing intently. The Mind has to be still. These generally won’t happen when you are in office and doing your official stuff. (But if you take a 5min break and do a quick mini-Dhyan in office you can experience all this there too.) And as this happens when you are doing your Dhyan you might not really be aware of these separate processes. I really wasn’t aware of much of these things until I read the Hansa Upanishad. As I read the descriptions I realised that this stuff had happened but I was so immersed that it did not register nor did I remember it when I got up.

The Upanishad says these following are the effects on the body as you progress, body feels pins and needles, hair stand up. Then there is pain as the pran pierces through the Sushumna nadi. (Or you might feel an oily dense liquid thing which would be the Kundalini moving) You might feel that things are snapping and breaking inside you. Shivering and trembling of muscles occurs. Saliva collects in your mouth. Then nectar collects in your throat, ie the secretions of the pineal gland are now available for your conscious use. You will be made aware of the secret knowledge ie things which you had read earlier will now give different secret meanings, you will spontaneously ‘know’ so many things about yourself and others around you. Then you will know the secret of mantras also you will hear mantras being spoken in your ears as you do your Dhyan, or even when you are sitting silently anywhere. The 9th step is that you gain control over your body, ie you can dissolve it to pure energy and reform it again wherever you want. You will also gain complete control over your Ajnya chakra, you will be able to ‘see’ energies which cannot be described. The last step is the realisation of the Parabrahma at the Brahma-randhra ie at the very top of your head, at the very ‘center’ of the Sahasrara chakra complex. 

Your 5-layered body is the vehicle with which your Soul will cross the geometry created by Prakruti and your Soul will finally realise itself. These signs are very clearly mentioned in several texts and they do happen. For some aspirants they may merge into one single event and they may not even realise that these have happened. These are not achievements, they are merely signposts that you are on the right route and progressing. However interesting these on-the-way things may seem to be. You as a spiritual aspirant should never relax your focus on the ultimate prize, Moksh

 

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Your conscience and your soul

Someone asked me, ‘What does the soul contain? Where is the mind in our body? How do I know it is my higher self taking decisions in my day to day life happenings?’. Here are some points which you can think over if they make sense to you. Some of this is from standard books and some from my personal experiences and understanding.

‘What does the soul contain?’

Your Soul is your awareness, a spark of divine energy. There is an energy inside you which is aware, conscious, alert, intelligent. It is because of this awareness that you animate this ‘body’ (your ‘body’ has 5 layers, detailed post here). When the Soul’s aware energy exits the body, the body loses awareness ie dies. Your Soul is constant, unchangeable, eternal, indestructible. The body is obviously destructible. The body exists only for the sake of creating and enjoying/enduring karma and its repercussions. The horoscope can analyse just this 5-layered body. The horoscope cannot be used to analyse the Soul. The enveloping layers of the body are sometimes called ‘Maya’ ie the undefinable or ‘Deha-buddhi’ ie the intellect limited by the enveloping body. This geometric envelope obscures the light of the Soul. Thus your awareness is obscured, lowered and limited to only the body, you cannot perceive or experience your real nature. You are made to forget that you are pure awareness, pure Soul. It is like a fog drawn over your real Awareness. As you forget that you are the Soul, you start believing that you are the body.

Most of your clients will be in this category, they fully believe that they are the 5 layers of the body. Thus they create more karma, the impulses of their past karmas affect them deeply, they deeply laugh/cry and enjoy/endure Maya. You can chart out their life reasonably accurately using their own horoscope’s patterns. Your horoscope shows your Prarabdha karma ie how much karma have you have decided to go through in this life. The body will continue till this target is achieved then dissolve. And the horoscope also shows the possibility of Agami karma, ie how new karma will be created in this life. (Sanchita karma is your total karmic backlog)

Some people who have done practices to increase their ‘awareness’ understand that they are not the body but are the pure Soul. These people know this as a concept but they have not experienced this in the real sense as yet. They are working on it, doing their regular spiritual practice with intention. These people are somewhat immune to the ravages of karma on the body, but they are still influenced by it. You might see this happening to yourself if you are a spiritual aspirant. eg you are committed to your spiritual practice and in one critical transit of Saturn or Rahu/Ketu or Jupiter (slow planets), you lose all your focus. The material beckons you again, you want to go out with your girlfriend/ boyfriend or you suddenly feel that spiritual path is going well so now it is time to enjoy some material comforts. Your Deha-buddhi or Maya tries to assert itself and to pull you away from your pursuit of Awareness. These are testing times, if you lose focus now, you slip very badly.

As you advance deeper into your spiritual practice, as you increase your awareness levels, you get nearer to the pure Soul Experience. As you reach closer to your destination, the karmic impacts lessen but the karmic tests become even more subtle. If you cross all these and Realise the Soul, you are called a Jivan-mukt. At this stage, you are pure Soul, your awareness, consciousness, intelligence has reached the highest possible position, this is called the Advaita state. You experience yourself continually. You are aware of yourself all the time, in every state, in every condition of the body, you remain immersed in Intelligence, you Know you are the Soul. At this state your Soul has removed the envelope Maya, dissolved the Deha-buddhi and Seen itself forever. The fog has cleared and the light shines through. Now the Soul may remain in the body till its prarabdha karma is exhausted, ie till the physical dissolution of the body. But during this period its Awareness is Eternal. During this period from Realisation to the death of the physical body, the Soul is completely dissociated from the karma of the body. Whatever may happen to the body, You are not concerned in any way whatsoever. And you are Pure Awareness now, you do not create any more karma, ie no Agami karma is created and Sanchita karma is burnt the instant you See yourself.

So in short, Soul is Awareness. When you experience yourself as the Pure Awareness, the Nirvishesh Brahma, you attain Nirgun Moksh.

Your conscience and your soul

The soul is located ‘behind’ the Ajnya chakra in a dedicated ‘ashta-padma-dala-chakra, ‘eight-petalled Lotus’ chakra. This is a specialised chakra, ie the Brahmanadi within the Sushumna nadi loops around itself here and creates this specific energy vertex. These loops are in all possible dimensions. The Hamsa Upanishad describes this chakra in detail. The Soul resides here in an energy form called ‘Hamsa‘. (This Hamsa is composed of the energies of Agni, Soma Rudra, Rudrani, Kaal, Om and Bindu.)

The possible eight tendencies of this chakra are – 1. doing virtuous actions, 2. sleep, laziness etc, 3. doing cruel actions, 4. doing inauspicious deeds, 5. sensual gratification, 6. doing movement type of activities, 7. indulging in lust/sexual desires and 8. desire for accumulating material stuff. These eight tendencies are linked to the eight loops of the chakra. ie when Soul/awareness is linked to a particular loop, tendencies linked to it are activated in the body. When awareness exists ‘between’ these loops, there is indifference to material pleasures, an ascetic mindset. The three states of existence, waking state, dreaming state, deep sleep state are linked to the central axis of this ‘lotus’, at the ‘stamen’, ‘basal sepals’ and ‘innermost seed’ of this ‘lotus’. The fourth state, Turiya is possible when the Awareness leaves this chakra. And the final Turiya-teet, the beyond Turiya, ie Moksh is possible when this Awareness merges itself in the Eternal Non-dual. The Upanishad says that 1crore jaap/ repeats of the Hamsa mantra lead to Moksh.

Your conscience and your soul

Where is the mind in our body?

There are 5 layers of the body. Physical body is anna-mai-kosh. Subtle body is the three layers of pran-mai-kosh, mano-mai-kosh and vidnyan-mai-kosh. Causal body is the anand-mai-kosh. Then is the Soul within these multiple layers. This complex is called a Jiv-atma, the individual soul, as it is enveloped in this body/karmic baggage.

Mind is the Mano-mai-kosh, which is concerned with mental processes and emotions. Here emotions are on a relatively low level as the power of discrimination does not exist in this layer. ie all living animals who can understand pain have this layer active in their bodies. This layer is a part of the subtle body, sookshma sharir, controlled by the Moon in your horoscope. When you physically die, the outermost layer, physical body, anna-mai-kosh is discarded. So when you exist in the Pitr-lok, the dimension of the spirits, your soul is enveloped by a 4-layered body. Imprints stored in these 4 layers require several life-times to be rebalanced. This is why you can gauge your past lives from your horoscope especially in the Sudarshan chakra format.

Its between you and your conscience

‘How do I know it is my higher self taking decisions in my day to day life happenings?’

A personal example. Quite a few years ago, I was suffering because of an intense black ritual done by someone to damage me. A very deep damage on all levels. So I was doing healings, taking help from genuinely kind tantriks, ie using ‘white magic’. The pain was very intense, recovery was slow and I was really very scared. Someone I trusted, almost a brother, offered to do a secret ritual to help me, he did not give me the details. I asked my brother for his opinion. He in good faith said to give it a shot. So despite not being very convinced myself, I agreed and that person did the ritual. My conscience was in doubt but in the temptation of hastening my recovery, I agreed to get it done. But this was not the correct way, I actually got scolded badly by a very high level divinity. Then I suffered through these additional karmic repercussions. And it was a burden on my conscience. I had asked my brother for his opinion, the person who did it was genuine, they both wanted the best for me. But the final decision was mine, I had agreed despite the doubt raised by my conscience. Thus I suffered through the karma, I had regrets and felt very ashamed. So whoever might suggest something to you, however tempting it maybe, if your higher self/ Antaratma/ conscience is in doubt, it will come to a bad end. And it is your decision, so you alone are responsible for what happens to you.

The inner light of your Soul is your conscience, the Antar-atma. If you are doing spiritual practice, stilling your mind and emotions, the voice of your conscience is all the more audible.

Suppose you are in a situation and you have to choose between options. Naturally you will have evaluated the material aspects of both the options in depth. You know what will give you your desired material results. Now you put it to your conscience. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus between your eyebrows, look in your third eye. Recite Soham (or any other mantra you prefer) a few times with your breath. Still your emotions and your scattered thoughts. Then gently think about the option you propose to take. Do you feel right about it? What kind of visions are triggered by this thought? Do you see a flash of bright happy colors, bright lights or depressed dark colors, blackness? Does your heart feel lighter or heavier. You might have physical signs like hair standing on end or feeling cold or a constriction at your throat or something. Your conscience will find some way and give you a sign that the action you chose is appropriate or not. And it will give you very clear signals. Once you have your answer do not ask your question again and again. And once you are clear about your decision, do not listen to others who might try to sway or convince you to go against your conscience. However tempting it may be do not go against your inner voice. This voice comes from your Soul itself.

I do not advocate using horoscope, runes, cards or any divination tools for these conscience related decisions. These divination tools are more linked to the sub-conscious mind. Sometimes cards show you what you consciously want to see, I have seen this happen several times. Or you choose to see those meanings in them which you desire on the material front. So you deceive yourself, attracted by the temporary gains you think you see.

(Classic example, you get 4 of Cups ‘Luxury’ in the Thoth tarot, for a relationship question. This card can show a potentially emotionally nurturing relationship but there is a very deep imbalance in it. This card indicates that you desire deep emotional fulfilment, but this relationship under question is the wrong way to go about it. This card represents temporary superficial attractiveness with an undercurrent of deep stagnation. You have deep emotional needs but you are aggravating the imbalance by desiring things which you don’t really need! This relationship in question is a dead end and you need to focus on something else which gives you real and deep emotional satisfaction. Now which Tarot reader has read so much into the energies of the cards to give this sort of interpretation? And the name ‘Luxury’ can tempt you to get into the relationship and then into emotional trouble later.)

Your conscience goes deeper than the conscious or the sub-conscious mind. It is your actual Soul showing you its Light. For a brief moment the Light of the Soul pierces through the enveloping fog and shows you the direction most appropriate for you. And finally you are responsible for your decisions, whatever happens to you, happens by your choice.

So Choose well.

Its between you and your conscience

 

 

Aleister Crowley and philosophy

Someone asked me why I use Aleister Crowley’s birth details as my blog’s sample chart. The reason is, one he is dead, I don’t like using living peoples charts as study material on a public forum. Then his birth data is reasonably accurate and his life-events match the chart. His chart has so very many significant positions which can be used in discussions. He had a very happening life, the events are documented. How he was first involved with the material and then evolved into the spiritual is also clear. And I love using his Thoth tarot deck. You know a man by his work and this deck is his crowning achievement. It is a work of art, philosophy, magic, the cards are brimming with so much energy. I have used this deck for my personal development, as a quick fix, for setting energies right, as a tool in magics, divination, to make events move faster etc in so many ways.

But what really made me appreciate him the most, is his this quote, “The mind of man is obsessed and blinded by geometry which blocks his spiritual vision”. The most significant sentence ever which cemented my opinion that Crowley was very highly aware of the material and the highest spiritual. He must have studied Vedanta in depth and experienced the deepest stuff to have made such a profound statement. This philosophy is very clear in the Star Trump card of his Thoth deck.

Aleister Crowley and philosophy

This is a very beautiful card made using Egyptian philosophy. But here is the Vedic part of this card. The Prakruti creates the manifested universe. If you observe the cups in her hands. The upper cup represents the divine spiritual, the energy has wavy and straight lines, no crystalline geometry. The cup is golden in color, it represents the inner Sun, the Eternal Divine. She is pouring this energy on her own body. The lower cup has crystals coming out of it which are settling around her feet, ie geometry has taken form. The lower cup is silver colored, it represents the Moon, the illusion, a mere reflection of the divine Eternal. The crystals indicate the creation of the manifested world. Divine energy flows over her and as it flows down and out, it crystallises and becomes a fixed geometry of the universe. (This same thing is clearly mentioned in Sankhya philosophy.) At the right lower corner of the card are butterflies, which represent realised Souls who have come out of the geometry bound worlds.

This fixed geometry is our Shri-chakra. The Shri-chakra pervades the manifested universe in its several dimensions. (I have experienced this hyper-dimensional form of Shri Chakra in Dhyan, so will you if you focus on your own self) The Shri-chakra is the rule by which the worlds are created, exist, evolve and finally end. The body/ mind of your current incarnation is a part of the geometry of the universes. But your soul is the Divine, it is beyond geometry. That is why this quote “The mind of man is obsessed and blinded by geometry which blocks his spiritual vision” is so beautiful. As long as you are obsessed by your mind/ body and the things of the material worlds you will always remain blind to the splendour of the pure Soul. If you believe that you are the mind/ body you will never realise that you are the Soul. The Soul is not a part of this world’s geometry, it is pure Advaita. The body/ mind has been created for one single purpose, that is to go through karma. The body /mind is this crystalline geometry! The Soul is not linked to any karma or anything of the manifested universe in any way. The Soul is beyond geometry. The Soul is beyond Prakruti. It is the Advaita, the Nirvishesh Brahma itself.

Who is a Guru?

Now we are astrologers, we read charts. The chart is also this same fundamental geometry. If you have read my earlier posts, the planets and the signs are all inside your Sushumna nadi. Each chakra is linked to one planet and the signs ruled by it. And obviously each chakra in your body is a part of the Shri-chakra itself. So these planets and signs are also a part of the geometry of the universe and under the rule of Prakruti. When you read the horoscope you are reading geometry ie only the mind/ body. You cannot read the Soul from the chart. But you can gauge how deeply is the Soul’s light is veiled by the geometry of the mind/ body. ie is the chart’s energy directed towards enjoyment of the material or is the chart’s energy more directed towards tearing the veil of illusion around the Soul. A chart can do only one of these two things at a time. It cannot be spiritual as well as materialistic at the same time!

When the mind get obsessed with desires linked to the chakras, ie geometry, the energy flow in this part of the Sushumna is distorted. This distortion can be ‘seen’ as actual snakes hissing at you from within your chakras while you do Dhyan. Or microscopic bits of floating black energy in your Sushumna. Unless this distortion is cleared out the Kundalini cannot rise up in the Sushumna. This is what Crowley indicates by ‘spiritual vision’. You ‘see’ all this when you focus on your third eye chakra.

If you study charts where the spiritual potential is very high, you will see that the karma of the body/ mind do not affect this person. He goes through all the karmic events (prarabdha karma) but he is completely disconnected from all this happening. He has understood that he is not the body/ mind, he understands that he is the Soul and is actively working towards his actual Realisation. Such a person will never ask you any materialistic question like, ‘when will I get married’ or worry about things of the material worlds. Every act he does will be for spiritual progress. If he does a puja it will be for gaining Himself not for making his marriage work! He knows that all this is an illusion and his objective is to go beyond it. He will know very clearly what his goal is and he will not waver in the least from it. He will not create new bindings of marriage or business which have the potential to create trouble in his chosen path. Materialistic stuff is meaningless for him. A serious aspirant knows that given the least bit of scope, material life can easily overpower spiritual energy. (Read the Vivekchudamani by Adi-Shankaracharya). Prakruti does not let the aspirant pass upwards through her until she has tested him to the limit. For such high level aspirants, the horoscope is generally meaningless as the joy/ sadness represented by it does not affect him deeply. The physical events will occur as per the horoscope but they will not affect him in the least. But he will remain alert about creating new karmic tangles, will avoid such situations assiduously

So as per Crowley, you are blind to the Divine as long as the mind is enchanted by the illusory geometry. The crystalline geometry hides and distorts the light of the Self. The mind itself is a product of the geometry! So no wonder it is enmeshed in the crystalline Prakruti. To dissolve the Mind is the goal of all spiritual practice. Only when the mind dissolves does the veil of the crystalline geometry dissolve. This is called the Unmani-avastha. After this, your progress towards Yourself is faster.

But for your general clients, who are quite fascinated by the geometry of the universes, the horoscope’s events will affect them on all levels. They will be happy/ sad and create more karma etc as per the chart. The divine spark exists but it is hidden behind the geometry. So for your routine clients all this spiritual stuff is meaningless. And the material stuff is paramount. So if they ask you, ‘when will I get married?’, do tell them the correct time, match their charts and also tell them to do pujas and remedies for having a happy married life. This is their life goal, counsel them and help them complete it.

Leo ascendant Integration

Once while in Dhyan I had an extraordinary vision, as if my Sat-guru had offered my Shri-yantra to the flames of ’Soham’. That was the day I experienced the power of the Advaita in freeing the soul from the blinding veils of geometry. A genuine Sat-guru is very rare. There are several Guru-s, yogi-s, high level aspirants, in this world who can be generally respected, but give your faith and your trust only to a Sat-guru else you may get into trouble in your practice.

For clients who have very material desires, I do recommend the Shri-chakra/ Shri-sukta as a first step. They are obsessed with experiencing the material, so what better than to make them focus on its fundamental geometry itself. It works for general auspiciousness and beneficial things and will give you every material thing you desire, but also slowly make you desire the spiritual too, maybe now or a few lives later. When you are sated with your experience, obviously you transcend. The Shri-Chakra geometry can be a part of your spiritual school syllabus in the initial stages but it is not the ultimate goal. Once you feel the burning desire to know yourself, ‘Soham’ is the only mantra which will take you onwards. The ultimate goal is your Soul, the Advaita.

My Sat-guru did puja of the Shiv-lingam in his initial practice, did complicated Hatha Yog and seriously very high level stuff. But after he realised Himself, he stopped doing all sorts of worship. (Maximum I have seen my Sat-guru do Soham-jaap using a jap-mala, very rarely, only when he had no other engagements. Then he would give this mala to some disciple. He was always on the move, giving discourses, meeting and blessing his lakhs of disciples, from the age of 29yrs – 96yrs). He always ‘gave’ the easiest Soham mantra for all his disciples. This, after he himself had performed the most complicated stuff for his own realisation! He would say that Soham is the easiest and the best way for attaining that Ultimate state. Soham mantra is essentially Sushumna Yog. Only a Sat-guru can ‘give’ it in the real sense. Performing it is also very simple. It will spontaneously take you to Kevala Kumbhak, Samadhi and Advaita in this life-time itself.

A Sat-Guru who has Seen the ultimate Self cannot worship the Shri-chakra or the Shiv-lingam or any moorthi! How can the Advaita, the Eternal Divine worship a mere geometry for hours and in seclusion as a practice! A Sat-guru is a Jivan-mukt, he is Eternally Aware. A genuine Sat-guru will not put his disciples into very complicated rituals. These are all a part of the geometry of this manifested worlds, these have no place where the Self exists. (Krishna has said the same thing in his Bhagvat Gita 18-66, ‘dissociate from the geometry of this manifested worlds and realise that you are the Advaita yourself’)

If your Guru whom you follow, still worships a yantra, linga, moorthi etc for hours, secludes himself for his ‘practice’, follows strict rules on things, prescribes complicated rituals, still goes on pilgrimages, feels emotional about events around him, eg death of someone or a handicapped child being born to someone, if he is still affected by the things of this geometric universe, then judge for yourself if he has Realised Himself or not. Best would be to ask him directly and see what kind of reply he gives. Does he say ‘yes’ with the power of the Advaita in his words or baffle you with empty words? (Someone I know was searching for a Sat-guru, about 50yrs ago. He met several Gurus and actually asked them if they had realised the Eternal. They were genuine at heart so clearly said that they were also aspirants, albeit very high level ones. So he searched some more and finally met my Sat-guru, all his questions were answered here.)

Back to Aleister Crowley, if he could comprehend this existential complexity and yet it’s essential simplicity he must have been much more spiritually than what his contemporaries report about him. So this is the real reason I use the Thoth tarot as my go-to deck and use his birth chart as a sample chart in my blog!

 

Leo ascendant Integration

Assurance of Moksh 18-66 Bhagvat Gita Part-2

This is a continued post from part 1 here.

This shlok is from the 18th chapter of the Bhagvat Gita, the 66th verse. These verses from 63 to 72 are the gist of the entire Gita. The Sanskrit Bhagvat Gita is a sutra. Each line needs a thousand more to make its meaning somewhat clear. (Compare what I have written in my earlier post and translations like these available on-line “abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear”.)

  • सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
  • अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: ||
  • Sarva-dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja
  • Aham tvaam sarva-paapebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyaami maa shuchah

(To know what a Sutra means in the philosophical sense, this is a link to a ok English translation of the Adi-Shankaracharya’s Sanskrit commentary of Badarayan’s Brahma Sutra. If it makes sense to you, do buy it, a paper copy is necessary for learning anything well.)

Advaita 18-66 Bhagvat Gita Part-2

I was born in a family which had a Sat-guru by tradition. He taught Dhyan with the Soham mantra, gave discourses and also told us to read books. The Dasbodh (Marathi), The Jyaneshwari (Marathi), Yog-Vashishth (Sanskrit), various Upanishads (Sanskrit), the Mahabharat (Sanskrit), Bhagvat Gita is a part of the Mahabharat, Ramayan (Sanskrit) etc. So the practice of the Pran and the practice of the Mind both was simultaneously on. Both together are essential for progress. Doing just one of the two will not give its full results. (I would recommend these books published by Gita Press as they are very affordable, adequately translated into other languages and easily available.)

A personal incident. Once the Devi told me to perform an Anushthan (a count) of the Nav-avaran mantra. My Sat-guru allowed it for some reason. This I did alongside my Dhyan. Then exactly one year later to the day, while doing Dhyan, I clearly heard the first half of this Bhagvat Gita shlok 18-66 ‘Sarva-dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja’, repeated three times.

I pulled out the commentaries on the Gita, thought deeply on it, dissected the words, pored over its intention. It was a clear cut direction. I had repaid my energy debts to everyone including the Devi. (Will write a post sometime on the real nature of the ‘gods’ and ‘deities’ of Sanatan Dharma). That day I stopped doing all other forms of puja/ mantra jaap and focussed just on ‘Soham’. My Dhyan had expanded, beyond the formal asan, Soham was on at every waking/ sleeping/ dreaming breath. This 18-66 verse which my Sat-guru had specifically pointed out brought everything into perfect focus. I was to get rid of the binding that I had put on my practice. Now it was to progress beyond the 3 times a day Dhyan and go beyond the Asan. Now onwards every breath had to be Soham with awareness, 24 hrs a day as a continuous process.

Advaita 18-66 Bhagvat Gita Part-2

Spiritual practice is like school. You complete one grade, toss out the old text books and learn new ones. From your playschool till your Ph.D. you learn deeper things. Every activity/ mantra can take you upto a certain level. Once you cross this level, it changes its form ie you stop doing that specific activity and do something else more intense. You will get clear signals when you pass the grade, so the transition is quite natural.

If you continue doing the old mantra/ activity out of habit or obstinacy or your failure to understand or your fear to change. Or your obsession with the illusion called creation. If you do not change and adapt to your new energy levels, you will harm yourself.

  • Eg you begin going to a Sat-sang where like-minded people sit together, sing bhajans, listen to discourses, a group activity. You do this once a week or so.
  • Next step, you set up a personal puja-ghar/ altar and do moorthi-puja, put flowers etc and focus on this moorthi. Now your group activities reduce, eventually stop, you enjoy your personal pujas more.
  • Then you start a formal mantra jaap eg Gayatri, Navavarna or any other mantra given to you, generally three times a day in sets of 108 repeats.
  • Or if you are directly given your Dhyan-mantra, the mantra is now Soham. (Some people use OM or Hamsa. I have no personal experience with either of these, my Guru taught me Soham, but these too are said to be powerful).
  • Then you start doing Dhyan, focus on your third eye, start internalising. You sit for 2-3 times a day on your Asan. Your Dhyan-mantra generates more power.
  • When Soham gains power, all the outer pujas, mantras, even Gayatri or the Navavarna mantra-jaap etc eventually stop.
  • And finally Soham is on 24hours in all your waking/ dreaming/ sleeping states.
  • Then the Bhagvat Gita shlok 18-66 starts operating.

Soham-Dhyan might seem insignificant to begin with but it has immense power as it is linked to your very breath, it is an ajapa-mantra. The Ajapa-mantra (Soham or Hamsa) are the only way to realise the Eternal. You want to realise yourself as you naturally are. You desire to experience your basic natural condition. And the most natural thing you do is to breathe, but you are actually unaware of your breath. Your breathing is not natural as it is linked to your emotional states, ie your mind. If you are upset, happy, angry, tense, etc your breathing changes its pattern. Ever wondered how it would be if your mind were plain, calm, still and immersed in its Own Self? The mantra linked to your breath are always on whether you are aware or not, the Ajapa-mantra. And the Breath is nothing but Pran. If you destroy the effect of the Mind on the movement of your Breath/Pran or if you bring your Mind to its perfect pristine state, you can experience your basic natural state. So the Ajapa-mantra, Pran, Mind and Breathing are all interlinked. Focus on one of these, control one of these consciously and you control them all. So it is logical that these Ajapa mantras are the only ones powerful to take you to your essential natural state.

Advaita 18-66 Bhagvat Gita Part-2

The verse 18-66 is in two parts.

‘Sarva-dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja’.

  • This is what the spiritual aspirant is directed to do. “Leave all concepts of your limited self, your limited understanding, duality, illusion of creation, artificial conditions you have imposed on yourself, needless complications arising out of the artificial bindings you have created on yourself. Experience the Eternal within yourself, hold on to this realization that you yourself are the Advaita.”
  • This the spiritual aspirant has to do. And the Gita’s teachings as a Yog-shastra for controlling the Pran and the Tatva-jnyan for taming the Mind will be used.
  • This is an order from the Advaita to the aspirant. If the aspirant succeeds in doing this, only then does the second part of the shlok come into operation.
  • This half verse 18.66 was a clear order from my Sat-guru. “To now search for the Eternal within. To follow only what he had taught ie Soham. To use only the Soham with all my strength, this one single route.

“Aham tvaam sarva-paapebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyaami maa shuchah”.

  • The Nirvishesh Brahma assures you, the spiritual aspirant, that It will bless you with the highest liberation. But you cannot claim Moksh unless you actually do what you have been directed in the first part.
  • If you keep desiring a husband/wife, children, money, etc stuff linked to the material and not intensely focus on your single route on your single Sat-Guru on your single mantra, you will not reach that non-dual Truth. Your very existence should burn with this deepest intention of seeing Yourself. This is the deepest Illumination you are asking for, your very soul wants to light up with the intensity of a million Sun’s! 
  • The instant your intelligence casts away all forms of duality, all connection with the illusion of creation is severed by the conscious awareness. All material desires are extinguished, you see your pristine self, this is Moksh.
  • There is no coming or going anywhere, just the magnificence of Existence.
  • The Advaita gives this blessing but only if you perform your part first.

On the practical side, this means that the pattern of breath in and breath out also changes. ie Kumbhak increases, expands. This stillness in between finally leads to the state of Avaitya. This is the exact thing which Bhairav repeatedly says in his Vignyan Bhairav Tantra. Whichever book you read, they all say the same thing.

This verse also means that ultimately there can be only one Sat-Guru. If you are following 5 different religious leaders/ spiritual teachings, discard all but the one who really inspires your confidence. There can be only one spiritual practice, especially so when you are so near your goal. So if you are observing 10 different types of practices, discard all but the one which gives you the maximum intensity. If at this point you refuse to obey the clear directions coming from your higher self/ Sat-guru, and still continue with your several activities or listen to several Guru-s, you will harm yourself.

If you are at the initial experimental stages of your practice you can definitely try out several systems, or listen to several Guru-s discourses, but when you are in the last 100m lap, this cannot be. You will focus on one mantra, follow one Sat-guru and reach the Advaita. You are now committed to your destination. No desires linked to the material will be entertained by your higher self even if superficial desires pop up once in a while they will be quashed. You will discard the material by its very roots, rid yourself of the very foundations of duality and focus on the Maam Ekam. And the very clear assurance of the Nirvishesh Brahma powers you.

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The point being that to finally Realise, you have to give up every vestige of the manifested creation. You cannot have both at the same time.

Eg A story of Ramkrishna Parmahans. He was a devotee of Devi Kali and she would appear before him in his spiritual practice. His Guru Totapuri, a Naga Sadhu, was a realised Soul. He would get angry when Ramkrishna would talk about the Devi Kali in his visions. He would tell him to take a sword and cut her down only then would he Realise the Self. This Ramkrishna was unable to do. So, Totapuri made Ramkrishna sit in front of him and told him to meditate. As Devi Kali appeared in his vision, Totapuri took a piece of glass and made an actual cut on Ramkrishna’s forehead. This action of the Guru removed Ramkrishna’s last link to the creation ie Devi Kali and triggered his Self-realisation, at that instant he became a ‘Paramhans’.

Now finally, the real beauty of this shlok. This is the only one in the entire Gita, where the Advaita uses the word ‘mokshayishyaami’. This is a very rare word (I have written about its grammar in the previous post). It is used only once in the entire Gita and in this one shlok. The intention of the Advaita, the assurance! This shlok is the most unique, the most special one in the entire Gita as It is giving you Its blessing! What more does the jiv-atma/ individual soul need?

I could write an entire book on this one shlok, it is so profound, both for the practice part and also the philosophy part. This is the gist of the entire Gita. The highest Intelligence is specifically telling you what to do, there is no ambiguity at all, no baffle with fluff. And if you do it, then It is guaranteeing you that It will grant you the highest illumination! You will realise Your own Self as the Nirvishesh Brahma.

 

Advaita 18-66 Bhagvat Gita Part-2

(This is my last post on deep spiritual practice. Nothing needs to be said more on this topic after this 18:66 Bhagvat Gita. I will not write more on this unless there is a specific question from my readers)