Mantra pujas the dos and don’ts

I wrote about practicing the Gayatri mantra daily and there were several questions, thus this generic post.

Everyone above the age of 6yrs should take up one mantra or stotra as a life time thing. ie Recite it every day during your daily puja routine. Choose this as per your convenience and inclination but dedicate yourself to this mantra, your life line for this lifetime. When you do a mantra jaap regularly, you are actually working very hard, focussing your mind, body and soul on this mantra daily for a few mins. This regular practice adds up over your lifetime. Eg exercising daily for 15mins is more sensible and useful than working out once a month for nonstop 24hrs. The mantra is pure Intelligence, it magnifies the work you have done on it and reflects it back at you.

The quantum of energy does not matter as much as your conscious control over your own Mind does. Read this line twice. 

Eg. someone I know, does intense jaap of Navavaran mantra but without the necessary lifestyle to be able to absorb such enormous amounts of energy. This has affected her negatively, her mind has become unstable. Generating power from intense mantras is dangerous if you cannot control it.

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Sadhana is something that genuine aspirants, Sadhaks or people with a genuine ascetic bent of mind do. They will invest time, energy and sacrifice several things in this process. For doing Sadhanas, you need combinations for asceticism in your chart. Intense Sadhana creates Nivrutti in the mind of the aspirant, ie detachment from the material, from the Game of Creation, from the Lila. This intensity is not for everyone. And, in fact, it is not even necessary for everyone.

So when it comes to spiritual practice, do only that much which you can easily do. You should feel happy when you do it. If you ever feel that it is a burden, review and reduce the practices. Rather than trying for ‘high power’ mantra which others recommend, do what you feel is the best for you even if it is for a few minutes, eg do it for 3 repeats if you feel 108 repeats is too much. But do something daily.

Generally gruhast ie householders do not do such Sadhana. What we do is, perform our daily puja and sometimes Anushthans, ie a targeted pujas. Daily puja would be something quite brief, 10mins max, generally lighting a deepak, putting tilak, putting flowers and doing Arti of the family gods. Daily pujas do not have many rules and are simple. Anushthans are more intense and last for a few days. eg I might intend to do a Gayatri Laghu Anushthan, ie 24000 repeats of the mantra in 9 days of the Ashwin Navratri. In these 9 days I will be bound by several restrictions. I will follow these rules to safely channelise the energy I generate with this mantra into my body. As a householder we are used to certain habits which we cannot continue when we take up targeted Anushthans. The rules vary in the different Anushthans but there are common themes. The first restriction will be on food, ie tamasic foods like non-veg, brinjal, heavy pulses like masoor, highly oily food, very spicy food, alcohol and other addictive substances, food cooked by others etc will stop. Eating ghee, milk from desi cows, eat food you cook yourself, keeping to yourself, not speaking much, not touching random people, shaking hands etc or travelling in crowded public transport will not be possible, physical intimacy with your spouse will stop for that time. Sticking to the schedules determined by your Anushthan will be necessary. You have to discipline your body first, this discipline will then more inwards as the mind gets disciplined. Thus you will get the results of the Anushthan.

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Common householders/ gruhast, cannot channelise much power, ie the entire ocean cannot be poured into a small cup. Householders are tiny cups, highly insufficient to hold the power of the mantras in their full-fledged form. So gruhast people are encouraged to slowly increase their capacity with all these festivals we have in the Sanatan Dharma. And we have a festival practically every fortnight. As you do the pujas associated with these festivals throughout the year, every year, you are actually training your mind. In Sanatan Dharma we have a plethora of options. You can choose your favourite deity, source of faith as per your wish. The beauty of Sanatan Dharma is that no one can compel you. You are responsible for your own actions and are required to follow your own Conscience at all times. We have the most beautiful life possible, genuinely happy from the inside. Our festivals are the backbone of our society. We worship pure nature, ie the Samudra Sea on Narali pournima, the Mountains on Govardhan puja, the Sun on Makar sankranti or Ratha saptami, Dawn and Dusk on Chatt puja, the Moon on Kojagiri pournima etc. We worship our Rivers, Sarasvati, Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada etc as our mother, we adore them. We worship animals with equal fervour eg Snakes on Naag Panchami, Bulls on Pola etc and plants eg Banyan tree on Vat Savitri. We worship human like deities ie the embodiments of the three Gun, Satva Vishnu-Laxmi, Raja Brahmadev- Sarasvati, Tama Shankar-Parvati with the rest of the pantheon. We even worship Mathematics with the same devotion, the Shri yantra and the other yantra are complex geometry. We revere sound, light, vibrations, energy. We recognise Divinity embedded in every aspect of creation. We worship Intelligence because we intend to recognise that same Consciousness inside us.

In my blog I have mentioned a few stotra, mantra, sukta which can be taken up as a regular practice. This practice helps still the mind. If the mind is still, you are more Aware, more focussed on the Real. I have written briefly about several including the Amrit sukta, Shri Sukta, Purush Sukta, Mahamrutyunjai mantra, Gayatri mantra, Guru stotra, Teekshna Damshtra Bhairavashtakam, Chakshushi mantra, Navavarna mantra etc. And referred to several books like the Ved, Upanishad, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Devi Mahatmya etc. All mantra (except the Ajapa mantra and Om) are generally linked to a ray from the Eternal, ie a deity, an Aware Intelligent Consciousness. Eventually all merge into the same Eternal Advaita. It is so elegant.

I have written on Soham, the Ajapa mantra which my Satguru ‘gave’ to all his disciples, the easiest option. It gives control over the Mind, slowly and steadily with every breath you take. You gently train your mind to become aware of the most natural rhythm in the world, the rhythm of your own breath.

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Now for some specific dos and don’ts for women in general life. Two events in life are very stressful for women, the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle and the pregnancy.

I wrote a detailed post here on the restrictions during the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle, do go through it.

Next, during pregnancy, there are mantras and stotras which you can recite or listen for your and your baby’s well being during this time. Here your body is doing enormous amount of work. The astral bodies of the mother and child are highly intertwined.

  • So doing any sort of practice where you channelise mantra with your breath while sitting on the asan is not advisable. ie you can recite the Gayatri 3 times with your daily puja routine but do not sit on your asan and do a 108 jaap of the mantra with the breath. Or you can mentally recite Soham to relax your mind, but do not sit on your Asan for targeted 108 Soham sadhana. 
  • Then eclipses. If there are any eclipses visible in your town when you are pregnant, you must be very alert. Best would be to sit in front of your puja ghar/ altar and read something eg the Bhagvat Gita or recite or listen to mantra and stotra while the eclipse is on.
  • The Sutak time. In case there is a physical death in your close family ie this is the paternal family or after marriage husband’s paternal side of the family for married women, then from the day of the death till the pindadana on the 13th day, the dimensions of the spirits and humans, ie the Pitrulok and Martyalok are interconnected. This affects everyone in the family. If this event occurs in the same house you live in, try to keep away from the Anteyshti related activities as much as possible. A pregnant woman should not go for condolence visits to relatives or friend’s families, her husband can go if it is necessary.
  • The Natak time. Similarly if a new baby is born in your close family, then from the birth to the name ceremony day, again the dimensions are interconnected as the soul gets settled in his new life. This too is an intense time on the energy levels. A pregnant woman can see this new baby born in her family on the day of its Naamkaran sanskar.

Ideally a woman should stick to the daily pujas till the baby is 6 months old at least. Do not attempt Anushthans or other targeted practice during this time. This is the time when the baby is still absorbing your energy, ie breast feeding, and you are also working hard. So first focus on what the baby needs and on rebuilding your strength. After you do the Annaprashan Sanskar for the baby, if you feel up to it you can increase the intensity of your spiritual practice.

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For men, the life is interconnected with the Gayatri, as every boy above the age of 6yrs is entitled to the Yajnopaveet Sanskar. This means wearing the Yajnopaveet sutra for a life time and doing Sandhya Vandanam, ie Gayatri puja three times a day. Ask your father or paternal relatives for any restrictions or dos and don’ts as this often varies from family to family. If your parents have not done the Yajnopaveet Sanskar for you but you really want to do the Gayatri mantra in a formal manner then you can do a simple intention on an auspicious Sunday, consider the rising Sun as your Guru and start. Do this only if you really feel and your conscience agrees with it. Never do anything against the Antaratma, the inner voice. At the very least you can recite this mantra even once a day when you do your daily puja.

Generally for major Anushthans, if there is a Sutak or Natak period in your close family then you will temporarily stop your Anushthans till this period is on.

Then there are several dos and dont’s which vary from family to family. This is mostly linked to the culture and the family deities. eg in my family we never wear black colored clothes, as the family deity does not like it. So you will have to ask the elders in your paternal family or husband’s paternal family for any such typical things.

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The only requirement for a follower of Sanatan Dharma is that you have faith/ Shraddha in something. This can be in an external source, there are so many options. Or if you prefer, you can put your faith in your own Divinity, ie directly focus on the Eternal, the Advaita that you yourself are. Do not compare yourself with other’s. Don’t ever think that someone is doing so much and you are doing so little. This concept does not exist in Sanatan Dharma. Each one of us is an unique individual, but all linked to the same eternal foundation. We, the followers of Sanatan Dharma, adore Pure Intelligence in every way possible. Every route is acceptable, it only depends on the practitioner’s inclination and conscience.

Focused spiritual practice and desire for Moksh

There was a question from someone, he was quite agitated because he was unable to focus when he was doing his spiritual practice. Random thoughts were popping up in his mind, then his mind was following these thoughts. Soham, focus at the 3rd eye chakra and the awareness of the breath was all lost.

First, always remember, you are not the mind/ Manas. You are the Soul, Awareness, Consciousness, Eternal, Parabrahma, Advaita. The mind is simply one of the 24 tattvas of creation in the dominion of Prakruti. You and me are far far above the reach of Prakruti, but right now we are unaware of our own Reality. This entire exercise, spiritual practice, is to increase our awareness level to the subtlest possible. When you sit for meditation, Dhyan, also called Sushumna Yog, the Prakruti will test you. This test is the flightiness of the Mind/ Manas. This Manas will jump around like a monkey. And it will happen. You have to continue your Dhyan with these flights of the mind in the background.

Try to understand this so that you can resolve this and reach the Unmani avastha, ‘absence of mind’. Using simplistic examples so that it is quite clear,

Focused spiritual practice and desire for Moksh

The first way of looking at this,

Imagine you are sitting crosslegged on a mountain top and your 3yr old child is sitting in your lap. The top is a small area, say 5mX5m. Beyond this, all around you, is a sheer drop. You are sitting still, you want to enjoy the experience. And you are expecting that your child also remains still. If your child runs about, he will disturb your experience or even fall down the mountain. And your child is unwilling to sit still, he wriggles, tries to jump out from your lap. A couple of times he does manage to run out from your lap. But you are very alert, you grab him before he gets near the edge and make him sit still with you again. Your child wriggles but you hold him firmly. Ultimately he gets tired and stops moving. Then you show him the views from the mountain-top and then the child too enjoys the experience. Now onwards he is still.

This child is your mind. You are sitting for your Sadhana, your Dhyan, it is a very delicate balance, your position is precarious. You have to understand the seriousness of your practice and keep your mind in control. You are very alert about your child, if your own baby would fall down the mountain, it would be horrible. You are doing everything possible to avoid this disaster. You grab your child and keep it firmly in your lap again and again. So in the same way, you should, with the same terrible intensity, hold your mind in. Know that if you let your mind loose it can fall again to the depths and cause you pain. If it tries to run away, bring it back by force and make it sit still. There will always be attempts by the mind to run away. And it is possible that a few times it may totally fall down the mountain. But every experience is a learning. The mind will learn with time that falling down the mountain is painful. And you too will learn to keep your mind more firmly under control. Eventually there comes a point in Dhyan where your mind starts ‘enjoying the view’, ie starts supporting you in your practice. This is the annihilation of the mind, the Unmani avastha.

The secret is daily regular practice, you must give yourself these 30mins. As you get more deeply with yourself, these 30mins will expand to maybe 1hr and then perhaps to twice a day sessions. Then it will convert into a continuous process which will happen throughout the day/ night. This regular practice is called ‘Abhyas’ in Sanskrit. अभ्यास is – use, drill, addition, repetition, exercise, effort, multiplication, study, discipline etc. It is a very intensive thing that you do, when you sit for these 30mins daily. The toughest thing. But you start slowly and buildup, add-on, multiply, pyramiding the energies generated. It will take time, a few years, till you reach your destination, but you will reach, provided you do your exercise regularly.

Focused spiritual practice and desire for Moksh

Now another way of looking at it.

Suppose your brother has a bad habit, eg he smokes in the garage, You do not like this, you try to reason with him, try to make him understand that it is harmful but he does not listen. So one day you put in a camera in the garage and secretly record him smoking. Then play the clip in front of the family. Everyone, from your grand dad to your sister, stare at him in shock. He feels conscious that his bad habit was observed, ashamed even. He apologises and stops smoking.

So what you have to do is, simply observe the mind. It is beyond reasoning, it wants to behave irresponsibly. So let it smoke or do whatever it wants, you just keep on observing it, dispassionately. You are not your mind, you are the Soul. Let it behave like the fool it is. Dhyan is a very serious activity. While in meditation, is it proper to misbehave? Let the mind do whatever it wants, you just observe it. Soon it will become conscious, perhaps ‘ashamed’ and slowly but surely, it will stop its antics. The Mind becomes silent, serious and cooperates with you. This is again the unmani avastha, mind-less-ness.

Train yourself consciously to be an observer. You are the pivot around which creation dances. Bring your Self out of the whirling creation and remain at the unmoving center. Whatever happens around you, let it, you remain still.

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There is yet another way of looking at this. This thought process will also destroy the mind’s movement completely.

Suppose you are in a party, there is dancing and you are the DJ. Your job is to play the music here and you are quite good at this. A pretty girl tries to attract you. She deliberately comes in front of you, dances seductively, looks at you, smiles suggestively. She does this again and again. You are attracted at first, you want to respond, go and dance with her, enjoy. But if you do so, the music will stop and you might lose your job. So wiser sense prevails. Your life’s objective flashes before your eyes, it is very clear, you are to focus on your job, you are the DJ. And you focus completely on the music you are playing. She tries a few more times, dancing even more beautifully. But you are so much into your music, your life purpose, that her presence is irrelevant. She vanishes.

When you do your Dhyan, focus on what you are supposed to do. Soham Mantra, awareness of breath and focus at the 3rd eye-chakra. This is your music, focus on this exclusively. Let the Mind/ Manas perform its dance of the seven veils around you. Why should you even bother about it? Let it jump around. This is just the background noise of Prakruti, the illusion of creation, ignore it. Focus on what you want. If you are clear on what you want, there is no fight, no struggle. Ignoring everything else but what you really want is actually very easy. Just that there should be clarity of the concept within you. In other words maintain your focus on your objective always. Everything else is essentially meaningless.

Initially it is possible that you ignore the seductive Mind for a just few seconds. This is simply great, one has to start somewhere! A few minutes, a few hours and finally you will be able to ignore the Illusion around you always. This is the annihilation of the Mind, unmani avastha.

Unmani avastha is absence of Mind. The Mind is the tattva which creates the illusion of creation, frantically working to hide the gaps (do read this post). The Mind is convinced that the world is real and tries to convince you too. As long as you remain convinced by the illusions your Mind weaves around you, you are trapped. Once the Mind is still, you realise that the world around you is Unreal. Once you understand that something is a mirage, you cannot believe that lie anymore.

(A Sat-guru will exist in this “Sahaj avastha’ or Jivan-Mukti or Sadyo-Mukti, self-realization always. The Sat-Guru is the Advaita, The Beyond. ‘Dhyan’ is considered a lower medium level ‘madhyama avastha’. The worship of moorthis/ yantra is even lower down. And the lowest form of spiritual practice is going for pilgrimages. “उत्तमा सहजावस्था मध्यमा ध्यानधारणा । अधमा मूर्तिपूजा च तीर्थयात्राSधमाSधमा ।” But we all have to start somewhere, so start with pilgrimages, do pujas of Moorti/ Yantra/ Mantra etc, later do Dhyan, evolve. You will reach Mukti eventually. In the highest Moksh, Sadhana, Dhyan, puja, mantra etc all vanish as these are parts of the creation. You cannot expect that you will get Moksh the first day or even the first year of your spiritual practice. It is a gradual process, just do it regularly.)

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And finally, should you desire Moksh? If desire has to be uprooted, should one even desire Self-realization? This too was a burning doubt from someone. Apparently he was thinking that one should not desire anything, not even self-realization!

There is one only one Desire of the soul, to realise itself. This is the deepest innermost Desire of every jiv-atma. Every soul linked residing in this 5-layered body Desires just this only one thing. This singular Desire is the real Kaam काम. When sages talk about “uprooting desires” they refer to the superficial desires of the created worlds. Only when the material illusory desires are uprooted does the innermost Desire become evident. Kaam काम means wish, desire, Will, longing, radiance, glory, love, object of desire etc.

Another simplistic example.

Suppose you are a 3yr old playing with your toys. Your Dad is sitting in the same room doing some work. And you do have a lot of toys to play with, fluffy bears, trains, cars, cute stuff and you are quite occupied. You are not paying attention to your Dad. Your Dad does have an eye on you, but as long as you are playing with your toys, he is not bothered. Suddenly you feel bored with your toys. You feel that what you really want is to be picked up and cuddled. So you call out to your Dad. Your Dad is doing his work so rather than picking you up, he gives you some new shiny crayons. You again get distracted with the crayons, till you again realise that you really wanted to be cuddled. So you cry again. Again your Dad tries to distract you by pulling out another new toy. But you are not interested in toys anymore. You cry louder. Your Dad is really into his work and tries to ignore you for a bit. But now you have lost all patience and you want the cuddles now! You wail incessantly. Now Dad has no option but to pick you up and give you what you really want, cuddles.

This is the same thing in spiritual practice.

You are playing with the illusions of creation. The Eternal is observing you play. You are so engrossed with your material toys that you ignore the Advaita which exists at the root of your consciousness. Sometimes you do feel that you want to realise yourself, but another toy pops up and diverts your Will. Your this deepest Desire recedes to the background again and again. You amuse yourself with these illusory stuff till once day you get absolutely bored. The limit is crossed. Now you start your spiritual practice. You pray with all your heart that your deepest Desire, your essential Desire be granted. You ‘cry’ for the ‘cuddles’ of Self-realisation, you desperately long for Moksh. You are in unbearable turmoil, a fish out of water. You are desperate for complete self-realization. This Desire is so intense, you actually burn with its intensity. You have to Desire Moksh with all the intensity you can. Only then will the Advaita pick you up.

What does your Soul Desire? What is your Will? I wish to Love my own Self, I am my own object of Desire. Express this wish, again and again, intensely. You cannot be really satisfied till you get this Desire. Intend it, reach for it, Practice!

 

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The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Every practice of Sanatan Dharm/ Hinduism, the ‘eternal right action’ requires that,

  • you remain in control of your breathing pattern,
  • focus at your third eye
  • and mentally recite a Mantra.

Unless these 3 conditions are satisfied you will not gain control over the pran/vital energy moving in your energy body. And if you do not control the pran, you will not be able to do anything else further.

If you do the breathing or the yogic posture/Asan without the accompanying Mantra, the Sadhana/practice becomes tamasic in nature. The energies invoked will be unmoving, dull and eventually discordant. You are working with your own personal energies, do not experiment. If you do make errors, you will suffer on the internal levels, you might gain physical health but spiritually you will remain nil.

Reciting the Mantra mentally is compulsory. Mantra is not ‘religious’. It is a form of the Universal energy, you are entraining your personal energy with it, so that you attain the Ultimate.

The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Now for doing Dhyan there are only 3 Mantra options,

  1. ‘Soham’- the best option if you want to experience Moksh – you mentally recite ‘So’ while breathing in and while breathing out ‘ham’ mentally. So together it is ‘Soham’. Anyone can do it without formal initiation from a living Guru.
  2. Or ‘OM’ – mentally recite one single OM as you breathe in and one single OM as you breathe out. This much can be done by anyone. (There is one another way of using the OM but you will need a proper enlightened Guru for its initiation)
  3. Or ‘Hamsa’ – mentally recite ‘Ham’ while breathing out and while breathing in ‘Sa’. Together it becomes ‘Hamsa’. This too can be done by anyone without any formal initiation.

‘So’ here is the Universal consciousness/ Param-atma and ‘ham’ is the narrow sense of self/ individual soul/ Jiv-atma.

  • So = Sa + O = success, knowledge, accomplishment + eternal Anahata/unstruck sound (there is sound but nothing was struck to create it)
  • Ham = Ha + M = Eternity + completion, endlessness, the Bindu – this is also a beej mantra when pronounced aloud as ‘hang’

When you breathe in, it is called Purak (filling). This is linked to ‘Sa’ (sa-kaar). When you hold your breath now it is called Antah Kumbhak (internal measure/base) this is linked to the vibration of ‘O’. When you breathe out it is called Rechak (emptying) this is linked to “ha’ (ha-kaar). And when you hold your lungs empty now this is called Bahya Kumbhak (external measure/base) linked to the ‘M’ vibration.

Kumbhak is the important part of breathing, here the inward and outward going breath are balanced perfectly and there is perfect stillness as described in the Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. This is also the limit/joint, the conscious energy of Sandhya which is also called the Devi Mahamaya. She creates, maintains then destroys and is all pervading.

In the deeper Dhyan phases, the ‘sa’ and ‘ha’ Akshar somehow get ‘deleted’ and only ‘OM’ the primordial Nada remains. This will take some time but it will happen. You keep practicing and witness it when it does happen.

The Ida naadi is linked to the ‘Sa’ and the Pingala naadi to the ‘Ha’. When the ‘Ha’ and the ‘Sa’ get ‘neutralized’ (can’t find a better word) the OM remains. After this the Ida/ Pingala shut down and Sushumna naadi gets active. The pran from the Universe which enters through your third eye chakra moves into the Sushumna. It starts the process of ‘cleaning’ it out. Only when it is completely ‘clean’ and ‘through’, can the energy of self-identification /kundalini enter it and move through it till it reaches the top-most chakra, Moksh.

‘Soham’ is the energy which pulls the Kundalini up towards its merger with the Ultimate. ‘Hamsa’ in this sense would be the energy of manifestation and ‘Soham’, the energy of dissolution. Both are interlinked and equal in the real sense. For creation you need to have a dissolution first, then only can something be created. And for dissolution to happen you need creation in the first place which will be then dissolved. These two are very powerful mantra, but they still are defined. Each is defined in relation to the other, thus are not the Ultimate on their own. They are the link to the Ultimate.

The Ultimate is pure OM.

(How would you describe a pearl? White, small, round, pearly, iridescent, from an oyster, etc. But these terms describe its properties in relation to something else. They do not describe the pearl as such, stand-alone, on its own. Thus a pearl cannot be really described, or can it?)

Now these two mantras are also called the ‘Ajapa Gayatri‘. Ajapa means ‘not counted/recited’. Jap means to count and recite. If you pay attention to the ‘sound’ of your breath, it does sound like ‘so’ when breathing in and ‘ham’ as you breathe out. You are always reciting Soham when you are breathing, unconsciously. See, you are always reciting a Mantra as you breathe. Breath without Mantra is not possible. You do not realise it, but you are doing a 21,600 times jaap of Soham every day. But the trick is to be aware of this continuous sound of Soham. This awareness is called ‘Soham Yog’ or ‘Hamsa Yog’. Your Dhyan is the means to this goal.

When you recite Soham mentally with your breath you are ‘churning’ the internal pran/vital air with your focussed breathing, in and out. You are attracting the Ultimate consciousness by repeatedly calling out its name ‘Soham’ (it becomes OM later, your real name). And you are applying force on the closed door of the Sushumna by focussing on the third eye chakra. The door will open!

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Samarth Satguru Shri Muppin Kadsiddheshwar Maharaj

My Guru taught me the Mantra ‘Soham’ in this life 37 yrs ago. It is the simplest and safest means to achieve your spiritual goal, Moksh.

But do you have the Intention? How long will you Play till you decide to come Home?

 

Vaat dosha can lead to addictions

As per Ayurved, there are three types of tendencies/ Tridosh of the body called Vaat, Kapha and Pitta. As long as these are in equilibrium, the body and mind remains healthy. You fall ill when these go out of balance with each other. These are also ultimately linked to the horoscope and planetary positions.

Addictive behaviour is quite common, most of us are addicted to something or the other, maybe as innocuous as cup of coffee, or a beer in the evening, an occasional cigarette, or then perhaps a bottle of alcohol. Depending on your chart again, these addictions can potentially result in severe problems. Compulsive behaviour is linked to the Mercury (mental processes and thinking patterns), Venus (desire and validation) and Moon (needy emotional behaviour requiring comforting, cyclic behaviour). If these are adversely placed or under malefic influences, they can lead to self damaging addictions.

Vaat dosha can lead to addictions

Of the tri-dosh of Ayurved, Vaat dosh in this context is more important than Pitta or Kapha. ‘Impulsive cyclic behaviour’ is the domain of Vaat. Vaat is a Sanskrit word which means movement in every way, it also means wind, the vital energy /pran, movements of the mind/wishes and desires. The planets contributing to Vaat in the body and mind are Moon, Mercury, Venus and Saturn. The main 3 planets leading to addictive behaviour with the disciplinary constraints of Saturn. People are quite scared of Saturn, but we need to appreciate his discipline. Saturn grants ‘control’. If you observe people with a strong Saturn in their charts, they might come across as dour, not fun, boring to be with, etc but they seem to always be in control of their body and emotions. A Saturn dominant person rarely gets into addictions.

Now back to the body/mind, if the Vaat dosh is severely unbalanced, the mind will generate impulses to drink or to smoke or do drugs etc and the body will have to obey it. The intelligence loses is control over the impulses of the body/mind and starts moving down a slippery slope. Along with this, the symptoms of Vaat imbalance start manifesting, ‘nervous, fast, alone, rough, dry, light’ will be the descriptions of the body, mind, behaviour, emotions, e.g. from a loss in body weight to loneliness. If corrective actions to stabilise Vaat are not taken in this stage then it will deteriorate further and be more difficult to cure.

  • Vaat, if just out of balance, will result in restlessness, scattered and looping thoughts, anxiety, inability to concentrate, memory loss, dullness etc.
  • Moderately imbalanced Vaat will lead to sleeplessness, tremors and tics, nervousness; loss of appetite, loneliness, physical weakness, little or no desire to look presentable, wears shabby clothes, opinions of loved ones stop mattering, does not clean the room etc.
  • Seriously affected Vaat will cause chronic insomnia, problems in perception, apathy to self, loved ones and the surroundings, delusions, hallucinations, simultaneous deterioration of the physical body, there are no positive desires in the mind. This often happens at the the very end of the substance addictions. This is either an alcoholic in delirium tremens or schizophrenic, the root cause is the same, the wildly out of balance Vaat.

Of the three tendencies, the first to go out of balance is Vaat, the next to follow is Pitta. The ‘conversion power’ of the body/mind which creates ‘heat’ and vitality is Pitta. Thus you can see the typical irrational moods, violence, flushed skin, abnormal sweating, thirst, digestive disorders, etc of the typical addict. Finally the Kapha is pushed out of balance, thus the structure of the body/mind and the fluidity which keeps them functioning is damaged. At this stage regaining equilibrium can be next to impossible.

When one crosses the milder levels of addiction, it can be difficult to stop because the habit and its withdrawal both start giving the same problem. Also guilt comes in. The person is aware that something is wrong, but does not know that it is Vaat out of balance. He does initially try to ditch the habit, maybe behaviour changes, chemical medicines perhaps, but Vaat cannot be balanced by these. So he gets caught in the cycle of guilt, he feels that he has failed to control himself, which aggravates the addictive behaviour.

Vaat is all the tens of hundreds of cycles and rhythms of the body which need to be coordinated. This is Intelligent Energy. If Vata loses its rhythm, no chemical medicine can stabilise it, Ayurvedic principles have to be applied. Ayruvedic cures are based on the living energy/pran of the plant kingdom. Concentrated vital energy from plants/Vanaspati is refined with other materials and turned into a complete medicine/Oushad. Medicinal plants are very potent and specific in their action and work on the deepest levels. And then if some simple spiritual practice can be introduced at this stage it will give faster results.

Thus additions need to be recognised primarily as a Vaat disorder and appropriate measures need to be taken on the astrological and ayurvedic fronts to enable the sufferer to come out of this imbalance. There is nothing called as a disease, it is all a reflection of the imbalance of the internal energies, which can be intelligently rebalanced to give perfect health again.

 

Vaat dosha can lead to addictions

The Gayatri mantra

Om, Bhuh Bhuvah Swah, Om Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat, Om.

ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥ ॐ

This is the form of Gayatri Mantra that I use for my jaap. The basic form of the mantra can be used in different ways for manifesting different things. This form is used by sadhaks/ aspirants of the spiritual path, who desire ultimate Illumination. Gayatri is like the Kalp-Vriksh/ the wish fulfilling tree, whatever you desire, it will manifest. You can add other specific beej mantras before and after it (samputit) if your Guru has told you to do so.

The Gayatri mantra

Gayatri Mantra is formally mentioned in the Rg ved 10:16:3. But it is embedded in the fabric of the Universe itself. In fact if you do your Dhyan long enough, you can hear it. (You first hear your chakras making their individual sounds, often mistaken as ‘ringing of the ears’).

I dont think most Hindus (Sanatan Dharma followers) even know the full form of the mantra which is this ॐ भूः ॐ भुवः ॐ स्वःॐ महः ॐ जनः ॐ तपः ॐ गुं सत्यम । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात ।ॐ आपोज्योति रसोमृतं ब्रह्म भूर्भुवः स्वरोम ॥ However this is not for those who live the householder’s life, it is used by sanyasis and genuine sadhaks, its effects are very intense and pull very strongly.

There are several ways in which this mantra can be understood. But the truest experience is when the energies get linked as below. As always Mantras depend on your Intention and Will. Just like using a hammer on a nail, if you swing it with full force and focus you will finish your work faster. Mantras are the tools, the hammers, it is now upto you, how you want to use them. Now,

  1. First all the energies of all the manifested planes of existences are linked to the energies of the Om-the ultimate. All the forms of ‘space/dimensions’ are linked to Om. ( ॐ भूः ॐ भुवः ॐ स्वःॐ महः ॐ जनः ॐ तपः ॐ गुं सत्यम  or ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः as per the form you are using)
    • The pranav mantra Om, is the real nature of reality and your true name.
    • The 7 Vyrhutis are the names and the purest descriptions of the planes of existence.
  2. Then the energies of the present Moment, the past/present/future/parallel existences are invoked and thus ‘time’ in all its ways is linked to Om. (ॐ तत्) In reality there is just this one Moment. All spiritual texts and philosophies always stress on the importance of being in the present Moment.
    • This Akshar grants Success.
  3. The conscious energies of the inner sun, the seed of the illumination, the ultimate which is seen at your third eye are described (सवितुः). When you utter this Mantra you can feel the Ultimate looking back at you.
    • The Akshar of this word grant bravery, balance and overall well-being.
  4. Then वरेण्यम, here you express your desire, your wish, for the experience, the intelligence and understanding of that Supreme Bliss. You want to experience It so deeply so as to become It.
    • The Akshar of this word grant union with yourself, deep love, all forms of prosperity and brilliance.
  5. The illumination seen during mediation is so beyond description that it is simply expressed as भर्गः, the splendour, radiance, effulgence and glory of the Self that can be only experienced. This experience is so powerful that all karma, all baggage, all doubts vanish as if they never existed in the first place.
    • These Akshar of this word protect, defend and confer intelligence.
  6. Now देवस्य , this means ‘of the Light’, and is of the light of the internal Sun. Here the intention is that, may the ‘one who grants wishes’ give skill, fortune, ability, solidarity, solitude etc so that the ultimate destination of the soul can be achieved.
    • These Akshar of देवस्य grant self-restraint and control along with devotion and the power to retain what will be granted.
  7. धीमहि is a verb in the present imperfect tense. धी/ Dhi is Intelligence. Here this word indicates that Intelligence is never a stagnant closed end, it is in continuous motion even if it is in the present Moment. You are asking the Supreme to grant you that ever-evolving Intelligence of the present Moment. You are asking for the pure essence of Intelligence.
    • These Akshar of this word grant the fortitude necessary to learn how to control pran, and later the power to control the vital energies/pran.
  8. धियो is related to the perfection of the thoughts and the mental processes. This word also refers to the purity and the highest levels of the flame of light.
    • This Akshar and this word’s energy is linked to the Jagruti state and also means awakening and sight, seeing everything.
  9. यो is most desirable and perfect action and also refers again to the present ‘This’.
    • This Akshar produces action.
  10. नः represents the ultimate creative energy and also the power to accept and receive Infinity. It allows the seeker to focus on the infinite, thus become infinite himself.
    • This Akshar is the ability to taste sweetness.
  11. प्रचोदयात is to incite, inspire, urge, demand, excite, summon, proclaim, request, impel. In short you are asking the Divine to by any means of action make all this as above experience.
    • The Akshar of this word indicate the ideal, the courage, the wisdom and gain/fruit.

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So with this very brief background of the Gayatri Mantra, here is the answer to a question I received on ‘Ojas’.

Our Sanskrit has layers of meanings. See, the human physical body is composed of 3 types of ‘tendencies’/prakriti, Kapha, Pitta and Vaat. These tendencies and their balance/imbalance lead to the physical health or illness in the body, all this is a part of Ayurved. Ayurved also discusses the food that we eat. (I would recommend books by Dr.Vasant Lad on this topic.) So when these 3 ‘tendencies’ of the body reach their perfect balance they get converted to their energy components called Ojas, Tejas and Varchas (brilliance, vigour and vitality). The easiest way to increase Ojas is to eat 10 almonds with milk with one spoon pure ghee made from desi cow milk everyday. If you feel like it do it for 21 days and see for yourself.

Now, the second part of the question, the body uses this Ojas to generate reproductive cells in both men and women. This requires tremendous amounts of Ojas. The ‘vitality’ of the food you eat is first allocated to this production. As you do your sadhana, Dhyan, pranayam etc regularly your physical body responds by shutting this down, it does not waste Ojas in building ova and sperm. If you have started your Sadhana early in life, (brahmins – boys start at the age of 6yrs, and women after the age of 16yrs), women will get menopause very early at 35-40yrs of age and in men too the sperm production will get suppressed. This is the meaning of converting ‘sexual’ energy to Ojas. I had mentioned earlier that there are a few on the fast-track to spirituality, they finish everything fast.

If you have read my other posts on astrology, I have repeatedly said that the 5th house represents creativity and divine intelligence, this can be in the gross form or in the subtle form. If you analyse the charts of the real spiritual Gurus (not the media-hungry fashion icon ‘gurus’), you will find an extraordinary 5th house. The energy of this house is being used to channelise the Divine not the mundane. If you use the power of the 5th to channelise your spiritual growth your physical reproductive creativity will soon shut down. If you start very early in life you might even take Sanyas and leave this materialistic world. If you start in your middle age, you might continue living a householders life outwardly but you will not indulge in physical relations anymore. And even if you have produced your children by then, your real children will be the children of your soul not of your DNA.

So what has this got to do with the Gayatri? The Gayatri has the potential to create how much ever Ojas, Tejas and Varchas you want. It balances everything, your body, your mind, your emotions and finally shows your your Soul.

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A bit on the practical side, the Gayatri mantra that I have mentioned at the start of the post, has 3 Om’s.

ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥ This much you will recite 1/3/27/54 or best would be 108 times and end the entire jaap with a final ॐ.

Every Jaap must start and end with Om. You are encasing the energy of the mantra in Om, making it samputit with Om, increasing its Satvik qualities. OM is the pranav-mantra, the king of all mantra, the origin of all creation and also the route to its dissolution, ie Moksh.

In this mantra the भूः भुवः स्वः is the three Vhyrutis, at the simplest these are the three planes of existence, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Swah.

ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् । is the body of the Gayatri. We add an Om here to make the mantra fit the Gayatri Chhand. As you know the Chhand, ie the meter of prosody are the key to reciting mantra. Gayatri chhand has 8 syllables in 3 rows. So the mantra has to have twenty-four akshar ie chaturvimshatyakshar, arranged in three lines ie tripaad and each paad having eight akshar ie ashtaaksharatmakapaad. So this is how the akshar would be written in the 8×3=24 format.

  • Om tat sa vi tuh va ren yam
  • bhar go de va sya dhi ma hi
  • dhi yo yo nah pra cho da yat
  • ॐ तत् स वि तुः व रेण् यं
  • भर् गो दे वस् य धी म हि
  • धि यः यो नः प्र चो द यात्

So in my personal experience, this form of Gayatri is most suitable for recitation. This is the adiomkarsahitashtakshar Gayatri mantra.

Gayatri mantra is very sublime and there are several ways of using it, ie an entire Gayatri tantra is written on its use, several reference books, several Rishis have written on it. It is the Ved-mata, the creator of the universe itself. The light of the internal Sun, it has the energy of the entire creation embedded in it.

And the best for the last, this is the Ghanapath and the full form of the Gayatri Mantra. Close your eyes and listen to it, let it’s rhythm enter your soul.

The Gayatri mantra

Essential spiritual practice

There are several spiritual practices, doing Yogasan/yogic postures, to doing mantra-jaap/reciting mantras, doing karma-kaand/rituals, to doing Dhyan etc. Every type of practice has its own importance, and throughout all our several lives we adopt one practice after the other, till we reach our objective. Now in the tangible sense all these spiritual practices do only one thing, silence the mind. The purpose of our spiritual life is to be able to consciously control the movement of pran/vital energy in the nadi/energy channel system of the body. This control is linked to the act of breathing. And the act of breathing is linked to the emotional state. And the emotional state depends on the the lens of perception, the mind.

Once you intend that you want to to Experience, there is no going back. This simple Intention releases tiny energies which coalesce to become bigger, you will sense your body getting lighter, brighter, the blockages getting loose, the attachments of the outer world getting fainter, your chakras moving ever faster, your kundalini energy getting active and blasting you out of this construct called Maya/Universe.

Essential spiritual practice

The mind is like a whirlwind, happy, sad, now flowing like a river, then flying off to the sky. Every sense organ, taste, smell, sight, touch and sound gives this mind even more objects to run behind. If you think, it is something like a monkey, restless. Observe a monkey in the park and you have your mind, it is so full of purpose but without a focus, sometimes this, sometimes that! Now the trick is to give this mind a focus, something it concentrates on and then force it to concentrate. Something like putting blinkers on a horse so that it can be put to work and productive. Your mind is the ocean of all the astral energies of all your existence, your past/present/future/parallel lives all at once. It also contains the memory of your Higher self, but unless it becomes still, you cannot access. It throws its waves and foam at you, distracting you.

Now what should you concentrate on? Very frankly there is only one thing in the universe, You! You are everything. You are unique, the one, You Are. So concentrate on yourself. But then you are not the flesh-body that you see staring back at you in the mirror. You are more, but right now quite unaware. So you read books written by enlightened Gurus, Teachers, Enlightened Souls, listen to their voices, feel their blessings. You read their experiences and desire the same experience for yourself. But remember you are not your Guru, his experience is his, your’s will be yours. The importance is always to the one who Experiences. You are ‘You’.

This ‘You’ resides within you, ‘behind’ the third eye chakra, this place is called the Kuthastha. (You are the unchangeable supreme essence located at the top Bindu of the Meru hyper dimensional geometry). So you concentrate at the pitch darkness that you see at your third eye. It takes a lot of strength of Will to stare at darkness, doing your practice, hoping that You will be kind to yourself and Show Yourself. This ‘You’ has a name too, it is ‘Om’. So while you are staring at the closed door of the Kutastha, you will keep knocking on it too, calling out to Yourself, by your name. This is the Mantra.

Now who is a Guru? Not everyone wearing a saffron or white dhoti/kurta is a Guru. There are several fakers out there. In this modern world someone with not so clear motives gets a bit of siddhi while doing sadhana, he immediately starts collecting disciples. And then uses the energies of faith that they willingly give over to him. Never give your faith to anyone so easily. Your faith is your energy, be very careful with your faith. For accepting any theory or anyone in spiritual matters, there are 3 criteria,

  1. This must be detailed in and examined in depth in an accepted authoritative book. (Granth prachiti) eg, the Vignyan Bhairav Tantra, the Bhagwad Gita, the Veds, Devi mahatmya, Upanishads, etc.
  2. Then this theory must be explained by an accepted authority, a Teacher who has experienced it himself first. (Guru prachiti)
  3. And this is the most important test, your inner you/Conscience/Antaratma should accept it as being correct. (Atma prachiti) You must examine things for yourself. You are the final judge. Sanatan Dharm ensures freedom. Choose what your intuition/sense understands to be correct, there are consequences both good and bad, so be very careful when you choose this spiritual path and the practice that you will now perform. The choice is ultimately yours alone.

Now concentrating is a very dull task, your mind runs away, dragging it back takes Conscious Will. So now we have to reinforce this will. This requires faith. Your first source of faith is the example of your Guru, or what you read in your accepted Book. You look at your Guru, you want the experience that he is existing in. You read the description of the Paramtattva in the Book and want to experience it for yourself. This faith works like a crutch, you lean on it for support. But once you start experiencing your own stuff, you should leave aside this crutch too. The job of a Guru is to hand-hold till the tipping point, once you start seeing the lightening flashing at your third eye the job of a Guru is over. Now your faith is in your own experience, it is very liberating. The essentials of a spiritual practice are very easy, in fact ridiculously so. It is breath and mantra. If you can be aware of these two things the rest of it will automatically fall into place. You do not have to do anything else at all. Is it really this simple? Yes it is, to read this line it seems quite easy, but you are up against your own Mind! See how strange it actually is.

You take efforts for maintaining your body, looks, house, place in society etc. You work, get tired, earn money to support your family. A smudged lipstick has the potential to ruin your day. You have told your mind, trained it, throughout your innumerable lives that these things are quite important. Now suddenly you turn around and tell the Mind, ‘no no this is not important, leave all this and come away to find the Real Self!’. I guess the Mind would roll its eyes and go rofl! It cannot come out of this training so easily. It fights back. So you too have to fight your Mind. This is the reason all Vedic gods/goddesses have countless weapons depicted in their hands. They give these powers to you, helping you fight your personal Kurukshetra. The 1000th name of Vishnu is, ‘Sarvapraharanayudha’, ‘the one who is equipped in every possible way at every possible time ready to fight’.

So the basic practice everyone has to start with is the Ajapa mantra, Soham or Hamsa. Try to be aware of your breathing pattern throughout the day. Make it a habit, train your mind. Whenever you are not – speaking or eating or doing some thinking work, you should be reciting your mantra in your mind, either Soham or Hamsa, consciously along with your breathing action. This means you do not let your mind wander, you are giving it a focus at all times. If you try to hear to your breathing sound, it sounds like ‘so’ when you inhale and it sounds like ‘hmm’ when you exhale. Thus Vignyan Bhairav Tantra has these 2 Ajapa mantras, ‘So-hum’ or ‘Ham-sa’. (Will put a separate post on these next.) This is the essential spiritual practice, the tiny pebble which initiates everything. As your mind starts entraining itself to this mantra, the Universe will also recognise your Intention and things will come in so beautifully, you will soon get time to do proper Dhyan regularly. And then you know the way to Your own Self.

Your Intention, the power of your Will and your Faith in yourself is the foundation of your spiritual path. Always be confident about yourself. After all you are the Ultimate yourself, the Creator of your Universe.

 

Essential spiritual practice

(Thank you to the kind soul who suggested this topic, I hope reading it triggers something good for you!)