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Archive for February, 2010

When emotions are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In knowledge, emotions add colour

Holi is a festival of colours. This whole world is so colourful. Just like nature there are different colours associated with our feelings and emotions: anger with red, jealousy with green, vibrancy and happiness with yellow, love with pink, vastness with blue, peace with white, sacrifice with saffron and knowledge with violet. Each person is a fountain of colours which keep changing.

Puranas are full of colourful illustrations and stories and there is a story related to Holi. An asura king, Hiranyakashyap, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the kings sworn enemy. Angry, the king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad on her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, Prahlad came out unharmed.

Hiranyakashyap symbolises one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss. Hiranyakashyap wanted all joy to come from the material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. Its natural to eventually move towards Narayana, ones higher Self.

Holika symbolises past burdens that try to burn Prahlads innocence. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana bhakti (devotion), could burn all past impressions (sanskaras).

For one who is deep in bhakti, joy springs up with new colours and life becomes a celebration. Burning the past, you gear up for a new beginning. Your emotions, like fire, burn you. But when they are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In ignorance, emotions are a bother; in knowledge, the same emotions add colour.

Like Holi, life should be colourful, not boring. When each colour is seen clearly, it is colourful. When all the colours get mixed, you end up with black. So also in life, we play different roles. Each role and emotion needs to be clearly defined. Emotional confusion creates problems. When you are a father, you have to play the part of a father. You cant be a father at office. When you mix the roles in your life, you start making mistakes. Whatever role you play in life, give yourself fully to it. Harmony in diversity makes life vibrant, joyful and more colourful.

Celebration is the nature of the spirit and the celebration that comes out from within is real. If sacredness is attached to a celebration, it becomes total, complete. Then, its not just body and mind but also the spirit that celebrates.

In a state of celebration, the mind often forgets the divine. We should experience the divines presence, the divines light around us. You should have a desire to experience something by which the whole world is running. To experience this, you should be in a total prayerful state of mind, there should be total involvement. If the mind is preoccupied elsewhere, then that is no prayer at all. The feeling that “I am blessed” can help you overcome any crisis in life. Once you realise that you are blessed, then all the complaints disappear, all the grumbling disappears, all the insecurities disappear.

Only then you will be able to understand the uplifted state of the being and see that the whole world is all spirit or consciousness. And in that state of being, celebration dawns spontaneously and life becomes colourful.

By Gurudev His Holiness  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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On the spiritual path there are three factors: Buddha – the Master or the presence of the Enlightened, Sangha – the commune or the group and Dharma – your true nature. Life blossoms naturally when there is a balance between these three.

The Buddha or Master is a doorway. When you are out in the street in hot sun or if you are stuck in rain and thunder, you feel the need for a shelter or a doorway.

Have you noticed that then the doorway is so inviting and charming? It is more joyful than anything else in the world? Similarly, the closer you go to the master, the more charm, more newness and more love you feel. Nothing in the world could give that peace, joy and pleasure. You will never be tired of the Enlightened. It’s like a depth without a bottom. This is a sign that you have come to the Master.

Once you come to the doorway and enter the door, the world looks so much more beautiful; it is a place filled with love, joy, co-operation, compassion and all virtues. Looking through the doorway there is no fear. From inside your home, you can look at the thunder, you can look at the storm and the bright sun too; yet be relaxed as you are in the shelter. Such a sense of security, fullness and joy comes. That is the purpose of having a Master.

The second factor is Sangha, the group. The group is very charming from a distance, but the closer you get, it brings out all the unwanted elements from within you. If you think a group is very good or very bad then that means you are not yet completely with the group. When you are totally part of that group, you will find that some bickering will come up. But you are the one who makes the group – so if you are good, your group will also be good.

Sangha has a reverse nature to Buddha. Buddha makes your mind one-pointed; Sangha, because it is of so many people, can scatter your mind, fragment it. Once you are used to it, it loses its charm. This is the nature of Sangha.

Still it is very supportive. If it were repulsive all the time, then nobody would be part of the Sangha. Do not crave or be averse. Often you crave for Buddha and are averse to the Sangha, and you try to change; but Sangha or Buddha, you are not going to change.

The main purpose is to come to the centre deep within you, which means to find your Dharma. This is the third factor. What is Dharma? The Dharma is to be in the middle. Not going to the extremes is your nature.

Your nature is to be in balance,to smile from the depth of your heart, to accept this entire existence totally as it is. Knowing that this moment is what has been offered to me, and that is how I take it. A sense of deep acceptance for this moment, for every moment, is Dharma.

(H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Art of Living)

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Shivaratri

Shivaratri is the day of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the lord of meditation and therefore the lord of awakening. Shiva Tatva means to be awakened. Shivratri is thus an occasion to awaken one’s self from all sorts of slumber. Shivaratri is not a night to be slept over. One should try and be up through the night. It signifies being aware of everything you have and being grateful about it. Be grateful for the happiness which leads to growth, and also for sadness which gives a depth to life. This is the right way of observing Shivaratri.
For the pious, the following method of Shiva worship is advisable  sit down in lotus posture, do some Pranayam to stabilize your breath, then indulge in Dhyana, followed by chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. It is the greatest mantra and the devout should drown himself in its Kirtan.
Shivaratri worship leads to fulfillment of a devotee’s wishes. There are certain days and time frames in a year that enhance one’s mental and spiritual faculties. In such times, whatever one wishes, materializes. Shivaratri is one such day. All this is very scientific.
Going to temples on this day is ok but you should remember that Shiva is everywhere. The meaning of Kailasa (legendary abode of Shiva in Himalayas) is celebration. So where there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present.
Whether in Sanyasa or Sansara, you can’t escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivaratri. That is the real Sanyasa.
No worship is complete without offering something to the deity. Shiva is a very simple lord, he is innocent Bholanath. One just needs to offer bel-patra (bilva leaves) to him. But in this simplicity is a deep message. Bel-patra offerings signify the surrender of all three aspects of one’s nature Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.
You have to surrender the positives and negatives of your life to Shiva and become carefree! The greatest offering is your self. To offer one’s self is the key to happiness in life.
After all, why do you get sad? It is mainly because you are not able to achieve something in life. At such times you should surrender everything to the all knowing God. The greatest power is in surrender to the divine. It’s like a drop owning the ocean. If a drop remains separate, it will perish. But when it becomes the ocean, it is eternal!

Shivaratri is the day of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the lord of meditation and therefore the lord of awakening. Shiva Tatva means to be awakened. Shivratri is thus an occasion to awaken one’s self from all sorts of slumber. Shivaratri is not a night to be slept over. One should try and be up through the night. It signifies being aware of everything you have and being grateful about it. Be grateful for the happiness which leads to growth, and also for sadness which gives a depth to life. This is the right way of observing Shivaratri.

For the pious, the following method of Shiva worship is advisable  sit down in lotus posture, do some Pranayam to stabilize your breath, then indulge in Dhyana, followed by chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. It is the greatest mantra and the devout should drown himself in its Kirtan.

Shivaratri worship leads to fulfillment of a devotee’s wishes. There are certain days and time frames in a year that enhance one’s mental and spiritual faculties. In such times, whatever one wishes, materializes. Shivaratri is one such day. All this is very scientific.

Going to temples on this day is ok but you should remember that Shiva is everywhere. The meaning of Kailasa (legendary abode of Shiva in Himalayas) is celebration. So where there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present. Whether in Sanyasa or Sansara, you can’t escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivaratri. That is the real Sanyasa.

No worship is complete without offering something to the deity. Shiva is a very simple lord, he is innocent Bholanath. One just needs to offer bel-patra (bilva leaves) to him. But in this simplicity is a deep message. Bel-patra offerings signify the surrender of all three aspects of one’s nature Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.

You have to surrender the positives and negatives of your life to Shiva and become carefree! The greatest offering is your self. To offer one’s self is the key to happiness in life.

After all, why do you get sad? It is mainly because you are not able to achieve something in life. At such times you should surrender everything to the all knowing God. The greatest power is in surrender to the divine. It’s like a drop owning the ocean. If a drop remains separate, it will perish. But when it becomes the ocean, it is eternal!

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By H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

This whole creation is a play of Shiva, the dance of one consciousness, one seed, which has manifested into a million species in the world. The whole world moving in an auspicious rhythm of innocence and intelligence is Shiva. Shiva is the permanent and eternal source of energy, the only eternal state of Being.

Shivratri is when the Shiva tatva and Shakti become one.

There is a story related to Shivratri, about the union of Shiva and Shakti. The primordial and dynamic energy is wedded to the transcendental. Shiva is the silent witness, the chidakasha and Shakti is chitti or chidvilasa, the energy that plays and displays in the infinite space. Shiva is the formless Being; Shakti is the manifestation in the field. This is the recognition of the dual aspect of matter and energy, prakriti and purusha, the dravya and guna – substance and its qualities. Recognising the underlying non-dual nature of Brahman is Shivratri.

Shivratri is the night to celebrate the wakefulness of one universal consciousness without falling into the unconscious sleep state. It is an occasion to awaken the self from all sorts of slumber. The jagran in Shivratri is not just forcing oneself to be awake or singing bhajans aloud. It is about keeping awake and being inward and being consciously aware of the inner rest that sleep anyway brings everyday. When you surpass a certain layer of sleep, the rest in samadhi or Shiva sayujya happens.

Shiva is symbolically represented by the linga. The Divine is beyond any gender, so the Divine is called Ekalinga, or one gender. That one gender is the Self, the Atma. Beyond the body, mind and intellect, and beyond likes and dislikes, that Self is only one, it is Ekalinga.

Shiva has been associated with destruction. Transformation can only happen after destruction. Shiva is that factor of transformation.

Shiva is a very simple lord, he is innocent – Bholanath. One just needs to offer bel-patra to him. But in this simplicity is a deep message. Bel-patra offerings signify the surrender of all three aspects of ones nature – Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. You have to surrender the positives and negatives of your life to Shiva and become free. The greatest offering is yourself. To offer ones self is the key to happiness in life.

Kailasa is the legendary abode of Shiva. Kailasa means where there is celebration. So wherever there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present. Whether in sanyasa or sansara, you cant escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivratri. Lord Shiva is always depicted with eyes closed with a snake around his neck. He may appear to be sleeping but this indicates his inner state which is fully awake, like a snake.

He is always painted blue in pictures. Blue signifies the vastness of the sky. The moon on his head depicts everything within him. So all the ghosts, dead, devil, everything is included in his gana. In Shivas procession all types of people are present. So also in this world, all belong to that supreme soul. Its said “Sarvam shivamayam jagat”. This whole world is Shivamaya.

Shivratri signifies being aware of everything you have and being grateful about it. Be grateful for the happiness which leads to growth, and also for sadness which gives depth to life. This is the right way of observing Shivratri.

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