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Posts Tagged ‘prana’

A window to your soul

In Knowledge digest on 11/11/2008 at 01:03

A window to your soul

by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

We lead life through three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming and sleeping. In the waking state of consciousness, we experience the world through the five senses, be it sight, smell, touch, hearing or taste. We seek elevation and joy from these senses. 

For instance, we only want to look at something that is a source of joy, not at something likely to sadden us. If any one of the senses is missing, the entire dimension of that sense is lost. One who can’t hear is bereft of the whole arena of sound. Similarly, he who can’t see is deprived of all the beautiful sights and colours. So the sense is more important and much bigger than the object of the sense.

Each sense has a limited capacity to enjoy – after all, how much can one see or hear or touch? However beautiful a sight, one cannot keep looking at it.  The senses get tired after a short period of time. The eyes close and we want to go back into ourselves because every experience is an expense of energy.

Rated higher than the sense is the ‘mind’. The mind is infinite; its desires are many. But the capacity of the senses to enjoy is small. This imbalance in the system will remain. Greed is wanting more and more sensory objects – even though a person can eat only so much, he wants all the chocolates in the world; though the amount (of money) that can be spent by an individual during a lifetime is limited, he wants all the wealth in the world. This is greed. This is what is prevalent in the world today.

Giving too much importance to sensory objects leads to greed, giving too much importance to the senses leads to lust and giving too much importance to the mind and its desires leads to delusion. We hold on to the concepts of the mind and want things to happen in a certain way. Thus, the concepts in our mind impede us from perceiving the infinite consciousness that’s a part of us.

I’m not saying that the senses or the mind are bad. But we must learn to discriminate between things and be aware of what is happening at all times; that is when clarity dawns on us. This is the first step towards the higher state of consciousness.

Then fourth (or the higher) state of consciousness is somewhere in between the waking, sleeping and dreaming states; wherein we know ‘‘we are’’ but we don’t know ‘‘where’’ we are. This knowledge that I ‘‘am’’ but I don’t know “where” I am or “what” I am is called “Shiva”.  This state gives the deepest possible rest that one can experience. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful.

In the waking state, one is constantly engaged in looking, smelling, eating, etc. The other extreme is the sleeping state where one is completely cut off and dull. The dullness and heaviness linger even after waking up. The more one sleeps, the duller one feels since a lot of energy is expended in sleep.  Hence, the fourth state, where we are awake and yet at complete rest, is worth knowing. And we enter this state only during meditation.

Holding on to infinity Every cell in the body has the capacity to hold infinity. While a worm also eats and sleeps and wakes and performs its daily activities, there is no point in living like that. We must tap the full potential that nature has bestowed on us, the potential to hold infinity in every cell of the body. For that we must practise meditation regularly. It only takes few minutes every day. And once imbibed into the daily routine, meditation is no more a burden or a chore.

Meditation is like a seed. The better a seed is cultivated, the more it flourishes. Similarly, the more we practise meditation, the better it cultures the entire nervous system and the body. Our physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with ‘‘prana’’. And as the level of ‘‘prana’’ in the body rises, we bubble with joy.

The culturing of meditation into our system is normal. Some people call it the higher state of consciousness, I call it the normal state of consciousness since we are endowed with the ability to live in that state. Meditation helps in two ways-it prevents stress from getting into the system and simultaneously helps release already accumulated stress.  Regular meditation also leads to happiness and fulfillment; to sensitisation of the sensory organs (thereby intensifying the experiences of seeing, tasting, feeling, etc.); and to greater intuitiveness.

With the assimilation of meditation into daily life, the fifth state of consciousness, called cosmic consciousness, dawns. Cosmic consciousness is perceiving the whole cosmos as part of oneself. When we perceive the world as a part of us, love flows strongly between the world and us. (Love again is not an emotion but a state of being. It is not a melodrama expressed by endearments but our very existence.) This love empowers us to bear with the opposing forces and the disturbances in our lives. Anger and disappointments become fleeting emotions that occur momentarily and then vanish.

Usually we tend to let go of pleasant emotions and cling to the unpleasant ones; 99 percent of the world population is prone to doing this.  But when the consciousness becomes free and cultured with meditation, this tendency of holding onto negative emotions is the first thing to disappear.  We start living in ‘‘the moment’’ and let go of ‘‘the past’’. This is important because no matter how good the people we interact with, there are bound to be misunderstandings in any relationship.  Once a little misunderstanding crops up, our emotions get distorted and a host of negativities follow.  But if we are able to let go and focus on the ability of consciousness to revel in the glory of every moment, we are shielded from all the above.  The truth that every moment is supportive and complimentary to our growth dawns on us.  Thus, attaining higher states of consciousness does not require any complicated strategisation; one just needs to learn to let go.

A person in a higher state of consciousness is expected to know everything.  But while the mind and the consciousness possess the ability to know everything, do they really need to know everything?  “All knowing” simply means being conscious of the essence of all you know. In this state, both knowledge and ignorance co-exist and complement each other.  For instance, while playing a game, it is not knowing the result beforehand that makes the game sincere and fun. If one knew the result even while playing, the players (and the game) would lose their intensity. 

Similarly, if you know that a friend is going to let you down in ten years’ time, it will affect your relationship with that person today. If everything in life progresses smoothly and as per plan, life won’t be fun. After all, the fun of a story is in its suspense. And anyway, what is the big deal about this one life?  Just 60-80 years? It is nothing. You have had many such comings into this world, inhabited many bodies, done many things. One life is negligible.

When you realise this, little things will cease to bother you. Every up and down in life makes this play of life more interesting. When you open yourself to the consciousness in any particular moment, you perceive the innumerable activities taking place in the universe in that very moment-people are waking, sleeping, preparing for bed, driving, working; chicken are hatching, frogs croaking, virus and bacteria are infecting people — zillions of things are happening in that one moment in this infinite creation and yet the consciousness knows everything.

Deep inside, each person knows about everything in this world. This knowledge is present in every person. You are a part of this whole phenomenon. As your consciousness opens and the whole system gets physically, mentally and spiritually elevated, your life becomes worth living.  A higher state of consciousness will not drop on your head from heaven one fine morning. The sapling of consciousness is within you – it needs to be nurtured with simple techniques of meditation. Some palm trees yield in three years, some in ten years. And those that are not nurtured never yield! They simply exist…

The confluence of knowledge, understanding and practise makes life complete. When you grow into higher states of consciousness, you find that you are no longer thrown off balance by different situations and disturbances.  You become beautiful yet strong – a soft, delicate and beautiful blossom capable of accommodating different values in life without any conditions.

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Love Divine

In Knowledge digest on 29/05/2008 at 10:05

Love Divine

H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Love is incomplete. And it will have to remain incomplete. If something is complete, it means that you have marked the boundaries; found its limitations. For love to be infinite, it has to be incomplete. Love is infinite and it finds expression in infinite ways. They can be categorised as eleven ways of expressing love, or eleven ways in which love finds its _expression.

1. The first one is guna mahatmyasakti, imbibing the qualities of the Divine, appreciating the qualities of the Divine. When you love somebody, what is that in him or her that you love? You’ll find some qualities. So-and-so is kind, so-and-so is caring… Qualities do not have form. Loving God in this sense means imbibing all the qualities that God represents. Normally one picks all the negative qualities in a person. Even in God, you will pick some negativity! The moment your mind is not in love, it behaves thus. When you are living Divine love, you will enhance and rejoice in Divine qualities wherever you find them.

2. The second is rupasakti. Some may not be able to appreciate the qualities, because they don’t see the qualities as qualities. And qualities cannot be seen without a form. When you’re unable to appreciate the subtle qualities, you can definitely appreciate the form that is in the form of you. And forms are everywhere! When you appreciate a flower, you appreciate the form. When you see truth in the form as a quality and glorify it, it takes you beyond the qualities. In the same way, if you love a flower, and deeply appreciate it, you will see that it dissolves into the formless. You will see the space which is hiding deep inside that flower.

3. The third is pujasakti, the interest in worshipping, honouring. Love can find its expression in the form of puja, form of honouring. And one who has done this will know the taste of it. As the state of your wholeness, your mind says, ‘‘I want nothing. I just want to be worshipping like this all my life.’’ Pujasakti is a sign of love. If you love someone, something, and whenever there is love you’ll see that you start worshipping that which you love.

4. The fourth is smaranasakti, which means remembering. That something which stays constantly on your mind. Have you noticed that when you love something, and have a desire, that desire lingers on in your mind? Sometimes, as soon as you get up, the same thing rolls on in your mind. When there is strong desire for something, that thought pours in all the time. In the same way, when you hate something, it runs through your mind all the time. This is called smarana. How wonderful it will be if the Divine just rolls in your mind like that?

5. Dasyaskati is the fifth. It means being a servant of God. It means saying, ‘‘I am just the servant of the Divine; He’s taking care of me. I do whatever I have been asked to do. My life is here not to get something out of here — I have come to this world to serve Him. Service is expecting nothing in return. Whatever service He wants from me, I’ll do it. Whomsoever He will send in front of me, I will be useful to them, I’ll help them.’’ This is dasyasakti.

6. The sixth is sakhyasakti, companion of God. A feeling of companionship with the Divine. Many may not like being a servant. Sakhyasakti is a feeling that I am the beloved of my Lord. He is my beloved. I’ll do whatever I can to please Him. It is wherein you are able to share fearlessly with the Divine. And this will have to come from you. It’s not that one is superior to the other. Gita was taught to Arjuna, and Arjuna made Krishna his friend, sakha, companion. That’s why Krishna was called Jagad-guru, the teacher of the whole universe. He was both a master and a companion.

7. The seventh is vatsalyasakti. Vastsalya means affection, being affectionate. Can we treat the Divine as a child, as a naughty person? In vatsalyasakti, devotion can take the form of the care you have for a child, or mothering the Divine. The devotee then orders God. There’s such a sweet feeling behind it. The devotee tells God, ‘‘See, if You do like that, I’ll be angry with you. If You don’t make Your presence felt today, I’m not going to talk to You tomorrow.’’ So just like a mother deals with a child, a devotee deals with God. Feeling that closeness is vatsalyasakti.

8. Kantasakti is the eighth form. It is the beloved husband-wife, relationship. Feeling that the Divine is part of you, and, ‘‘He cares for me so much that He cannot exist without me! How can He exist without me?’’

9. The ninth form is atmanivedanasakti, offering one’s very self. That is a great form of love that, ‘‘my very breath, my very existence is Yours. Every particle of my existence is offered to You. Every breath I breathe in is Yours. I am Yours.’’. That total surrender, letting go. ‘‘You do whatever You want with this life! It is Yours!’’. This flavour, of not even keeping any bit of ‘‘me, I’’ inside, is atmanivedanasakti.

10. Tanmayatasakt is the tenth form. This is seeing everything as You. That everything belongs to You. The totality of prana, the flow of prana, finding itself everywhere is tanmayatasakti. Being soaked in the Divine love is called tanmaya, tanmayatasakti. Anyway, everything is already soaked in Him! It only has to be recognised!

11. Paramavirahasakti is the eleventh form. Viraha means extreme agony and the pain of longing, of separation. This also a sign of Divine love. Love can never be complete because there is longing. It’s the longing that makes love incomplete and infinite! So the pain of longing itself is Divine love. In that painful longing, prayer dawns. Blessed are those who go through that pain.

Usually, when people love something and there is a longing for it, they try to get rid of it because it’s painful. The more you try to run away from it, you are destroying not only the longing but also the love. But if you can accept the pain of longing, that brings you the recognition of infinity.