Monday, April 17, 2017

Kriya Yoga by Baba Hairakhan, Babaji





The Himalayas have been a source of spiritual knowledge and inspiration since ancient times. It has been the abode or origin of numerous saints and mystics including the Great Buddha. Certainly if a divine location has to be chosen for that on the planet it has to be the Himalayas as the highest mountain chain of the world and also the most conducive to life and beauty. Earth is not paradise but bits of paradise lie scattered across the bosom of Mother Earth and some of these are in these sacred mountains.

In 1970, a youthful saint of around twenty, called Baba Hairakhan (also spelt Haidkhan) or Babaji lovingly by his disciples appeared in the Nainital District of Himalayas. He died in 1984 even as he had said while he lived that the body is meaningless and transient but the soul lives on. Through his public and early death, Baba Hairakhan also illustrated to his many disciples of Christian origin who had come to believe that Babaji would live forever in his present body that no physical body lives permanently. None has since the beginning of time. Many believe that he has appeared as a youthful saint in Central Himalayas since very ancient times repeatedly in new incarnations with different bodies. He himself mentioned some of these while he lived.

All are transient, but the soul survives and a soul dwelling in God may be called as a divine appearance or Avatar or Maha-Avatar in Himalayan parlance. It is something for disciples of Baba Hairakhan to  determine if Babaji was an Avatar or not but this author does believe that he was most certainly a divine appearance that has appeared repeatedly in the Himalayas since ancient times.

While Baba Hairakhan lived, he lovingly and joyously clarified certain myths about yoga that were spreading in the world. It was a time when there was a great interest in yoga in the developed West for while they had attained material prosperity, peace was still elusive. Certain popular sects were propagating myths about yoga and using his name perhaps for commercial reasons that were dispelled by Babaji who was not into accumulating wealth or publicity like many others spiritual teachers of modern times who try to make a business even out of spirituality.

Some popular myths that Babaji dispelled were, that a certain type of yoga (there are many such practices of spiritual development or different yoga) that was called Kriya yoga by some sects was neither due to Babaji nor the ancient Hindu Scripture – The Bhagvat Gita (also spelt Bhagvad Gita) and no yoga discipline should be a secret unless it is perhaps for making money as a business. In this respect it may be noted, although the Bhagvat Gita describes yoga such as karma yoga for all as well as well as the yoga of renunciation or sanyas yoga for advanced mystics. Nowhere in Bhagvat Gita is there a mention of kriya yoga.

The first recorded mention of Kriya Yoga seems to be in the highly regarded ancient text on yoga by Patanjali. Chapter 2 of his text begins with that description The Kriya Yoga as described by Patanjali is not the Kriya Yoga described or practiced by some modern sects and teachers. No part of Kriya Yoga has anything to do with breathing techniques. Those are other yoga techniques but not kriya yoga as per the original description as well as Baba Hairakhan. According to Patanjali, a seeker may take up breathing as a useful part of yoga but kriya yoga by itself if practiced well is sufficient to attain the highest possible state of evolution.

What was taught by Baba Hairakhan is not a secret and may be regarded as a modern version of Kriya Yoga as taught by Patanjali in his ancient and original text on Yoga. The essential elements of the Kriya Yoga as defined by Patanjali and also taught by Baba Hairakhan first require the prerequisites of Love, Truth and Simplicity termed yama by Patanjali. This was to be followed by selfless work and service, knowledge of self through prayer and chanting of holy mantras to focus the mind, loving and trusting God. The mantra that Babaji recommended most was – Om Namah Shivay.  He did say that this comes from his Hindu background and that others were free to choose any other sacred words they are familiar with from other religions if they like. That is Kriya Yoga by Babaji and also by Patanjali. It is as simple as that and no secret as far as Babaji was concerned.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Entropy Yoga of Ashok Babaji



A picture from Ashok Babaji's abode

Now we shall describe a simple yoga, simple yet profound in its inner meaning. The best of the laws of the universe are the simplest. Those who know even a little science and the law of gravity that holds planets and the stars together on their orbital paths know that the universe chose a simple number for that law - 2 - and not a complicated one.

This yoga is so general in nature that it is beneficial for all life, even energy producing inanimate matter and machines. It is called Entropy Yoga. The term Entropy Yoga was born some years ago as a result of study of both the physical and spiritual sciences by this author combining two words and ideas from modern human science and timeless mysticism.  This yoga is not something that is practiced for a few fixed minutes or hours daily but rather a matter of lifestyle. Let us consider the two words separately first.

Yoga:

The precise meaning of the term – yoga - is union. It is held in mysticism that individual consciousness, intelligence and soul has arisen from a unified Infinite Source (God) and continues to remain a part of it. We do not see this unity because of our own individual desires, ego, ignorance and exercise of our free will (along with consequences it brings in the shape of retribution or karma). However, if we reduce the very things that cause us to perceive ourselves as separate we come closer to the universal spirit that pervades the universe and thus also become more evolved. In the words of Einstein who revealed the secrets of nuclear energy, space and time to mankind,

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.” 

In the ultimate state, which though rare yet feasible, an individual soul looses its identity and merges in the infinite from whence it arose. Death of beings does not bring about this state because the soul survives and is born again as before. Yoga means union and a yogic practice is one that brings one closer to this reunion of the finite consciousness with the infinite consciousness. Yoga may also be regarded as a practice that speeds up our evolution to superior states. Yoga is not a religious thing but a religion may employ it along with its other rituals or prescriptions since religions too seek similar goals.

Entropy:

Now consider Entropy. It is not easy to understand fully without a deep knowledge of science but we do not need to here. It occurs in thermodynamics, a fundamental science that has been a specialization of this author during his professional and scientific career. It is something engineers study. Classical thermodynamics deals with laws of thermodynamics along with its implications and applications. Many modern machines such as the automobile and thermal plants are designed with the help of laws of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics deals with the principle of entropy. According to this law, every process that takes place in the universe serves to increase entropy of the universe. In general, when entropy increase is large, mechanical energy devices such as the automobile engine or a power plant are less efficient as compared to situations when entropy increase is small. Every thing that has happened in the physical universe ever since it began has increased its entropy. Entropy is also a measure of disorder. Higher entropies imply a higher degree of disorder.

One may ask what would happen to the universe if the entropy increases to beyond sustainable levels. It would lead to the destruction of the universe, as we know it. Only a being that is beyond the laws of the physical universe can reverse this change. God is such a being.

Entropy Yoga:


If all of us have a component of this Infinite power in ourselves, then we too have the capacity to decrease the entropy of the universe. However, limited to a confined body, a human may most times only decrease the entropy of his immediate surroundings while the entropy of the universe increases. In advanced mystic states a decrease in entropy is also possible and then to an observer physical laws would appear to be violated. This is the scientific basis of miracles that mystics and saints display at times as also prophecy. Some things are within the realms of prophecy and some are not because those latter can be changed by free will of beings as discussed elsewhere by this author.  Ordinary humans too may experience miraculous powers on rare occasions but when they do they usually explain it away as a coincidence or a trick of the mind.

Any systematic habit or practice that we adopt to increase order and reduce disorder leads to a reduction of entropy and in that sense is a form of yoga. Entropy yoga can be practiced with all our activities and even our thoughts. Entropy yoga or behavior leads to the same mystical energy that created the universe. Worldly objectives are easily obtained by persons and societies practicing entropy yoga, whereas nothing works properly when entropy yoga violations are widespread.

The sense of time stretches for a person on entropy yoga because there is an intimate connection between flow of time as perceived by the consciousness and entropy changes. However, entropy yoga is only the first step, albeit a necessary one. Not followed by other yoga such as kriya yoga it may drive a human to higher energy but stressful states rather than peace and happiness, a fate of many developed societies of the world today. Nevertheless entropy yoga is an essential step albeit not sufficient in itself. Presently we shall confine our attention to entropy yoga only and describe Kriya yoga later as the next step.

Intelligent beings like humans can practice entropy yoga consciously whereas animals cannot most times, although even they do for their essential needs and rearing their young for at such time divine motherly love flows through their souls.. Entropy yoga leads to spiritual evolution and increases abilities to achieve goals. However, even though individuals can play their role in reducing entropy, not all processes in the world are in their control. Overall, the entropy of the universe is always increasing. There is only one other quantity that moves in a single direction like that and it is time. To carry out a process where entropy does not increase is to hold time still and to carry out another that slows down the increase of entropy is to reduce the flow of time for the individual who does it. Thus, individuals who act in an orderly disciplined manner will achieve more than others who behave in a disorderly fashion even though they may spend a lot of time and energy in their endeavors.  

Entropy Yoga in its simplest form  may be understood as any practice that reduces disorder and promotes or enhances order in one's thoughts and actions or in one's surroundings because of one's actions. We shall now focus on five simple steps that may be employed to practice entropy yoga.  It must be pointed out that not just Sanskrit speaking persons but all cultures have practiced ways for developing mind, body and soul. Such practices are different types of yoga even though not recognized by that name. Therefore, when it comes to entropy yoga, it is something that has been practiced by the most efficient humans and cultures on the planet since ancient times. Countries where it is practiced much are the most well managed and progressive countries in the world; if its violation is widespread, the country as a whole is undeveloped and full of poverty, mess and strife.

Now let us consider five aspects of this yoga. They are so simple that on reading them you shall say that you already knew. However, it will serve to remind if you are lagging in any one aspect


1 Cleanliness
The first aspect of entropy yoga is cleanliness. This begins with a cleaning of the body and proceeding to clothes, living spaces and surroundings. This is something that has to be done daily and on a regular basis as far as one’s body is concerned at least. If you have been living in dirty surroundings, do not get worried and frantic about it. Just take a bit at a time. Over time, you will end up with clean clothes, bedding, rooms and surroundings. Dirt in the wrong places is a mark of a high level of disorder in placement of matter, leading to large entropy increases and thus huge loss of efficiencies. Cleanliness restores order.

2 Organizing Stuff
The second aspect of entropy yoga is to organize your stuff, from your clothes to everything that you possess. If you are having difficulty in that, perhaps you have collected more than you can handle. Get rid of some. Here again, if you have a lot of clutter around you, you shall not be able to fix it in a day. Just handle a bit at a time and within months your stuff will be organized. Once it becomes a habit, you shall begin to put away things where they belong right from the start. Just try and organize one corner or cupboard and see the amount of peace and clarity of mind that gives. It is not surprising then that those who keep their things organized at all times function with immense clarity of mind and efficiency as compared to those who do not. A profound sense of peace surrounds them. Organizing things is connected to a sense of order. To see if a nation is orderly by habit, check to see if its market places and traffic on roads is orderly or chaos

3 Organizing Time
Organizing time implies being punctual in appointments with others and also in ones activities such as meals, sleeping etc. Time has to be organized over days, weeks and months. It implies that you would schedule all your activities and appointed hours and minutes after due deliberation and once having done so stick to it precisely. Just check how the most developed cultures of the world such as the British, particularly during the Victorian era, Swiss and Germans are rigid about time and how they developed as a result of it.

A quick check of the daily punctuality of a nation is to go to the train or bus station and see if they arrived in time. A quick check of the annual punctuality of a nation is to check the school and university schedules of sessions and exams over the last ten years and see if it remained fixed or changed. This author did a doctorate from UBC; Canada where at his university the schedules remained substantially unchanged over thirty years. This country has been rated as one with one of the highest qualities of life. Compare this with countries that disregard punctuality and end up as undeveloped.

4 Organizing Speech
The fourth important aspect of entropy yoga is speech. A well ordered speech is a mark of evolution and development whereas a chaotic babble of sounds, excited arguments, speaking louder than required, quarreling etc. is a mark of an undeveloped soul. If a perceptive human was dropped into a strange culture, he would immediately know from the manner of speech in a group, as to how evolved the culture is. In an evolved culture speech would be calm and composed and will not include things like cross talking, shouting, getting angry or emotional, speaking simultaneously etc. In the modern world one does not have to visit a country physically to make that observation. Just visit the popular TV channels of that country while sitting at home and you can make a similar observation. This observation measures the current state of evolution of the nation not a past or future one since these things change with time often going up and down.

It goes without saying that talking too much involves the risk of violation just as speaking lies does, and it can easily be observed that the more evolved a culture the more profound is the silence. Conversely less developed societies and persons are constantly emitting a babble of sounds. Before you speak apply these four tests,

1. Is it true?
2. Is it necessary?
3. Is it kind?
4. Is it the right moment?

If it passes the four tests speak but in the correct tone and volume as required by the situation.

5 Organizing Thought
The last and most important aspect of entropy yoga is organizing thought. This last aspect implies that we do not let our thoughts wander without control but rather focus them on the task at hand. Reciting of mantra leads to a high degree of order and is a favorite technique of seekers. More advanced improvements in organizing thoughts involve specialized meditative and breathing techniques but these are something that require training under guidance and cannot be practiced by everyone without it. They can also harm if sufficient progress has not been made in the other four areas just mentioned and if practiced improperly. Therefore, we shall leave these aside for the time being. It will also help preserve the simplicity of the present note.

In the meantime as a step towards organizing thought, try and concentrate on whatever it is that you happen be doing. When taking a bath think of the bath and not a meal. When consuming a meal focus on the meal and when at work keep your mind at work and discourage others who start talking of the sports event instead during work hours, but when you return home from work, stop talking and thinking of work. If someone does, discourage them, if someone discusses plans for tomorrow, stop them and say it is not done in evenings. If done frequently, it shall first disturb your sleep and then your life. The British in the Victorian colonial era followed this strictly and went on to rule the world.

CONCLUSION:

It may be pointed out that although entropy yoga leads to high efficiency in anything that humans do and therefore success in life along with an environment for peace, it may not necessarily lead to happiness.  In fact not following up entropy yoga and the increased energy and empowerment it leads to by other things causes the increased efficiency to create stress, a fate of present day developed nations that are high on both order and stress, often with tragic consequences, so that one wonders which is better, the poor third world relaxed and laughing farmer who says maniana with a banana to it all or the stressed out and sulking developed world person, ready to snap at you at the first sign of provocation. But the poor farmer is not so empowered to deal with a situation when crisis strikes as they often do through life and therefore his way too is not the solution.

Entropy yoga creates the conditions for success in life and an environment for attaining peace in it. If the focus of attention is drawn towards love and service rather than ones own needs and greed happiness follows otherwise it leads to stress. Peace and happiness come when one enhances values of love, truth and simplicity in ones life and by reserving some of the increased energy that comes from entropy yoga not just for one’s own selfish needs but also to help others and the world around as well as the Universe and Mother Earth that gives us all we need. A systematic way to bring this next step into our life is through the equally simple practice of Kriya yoga as described by Baba Hairakhan, a modern Himalayan mystic. We shall describe it later.

However, entropy yoga called by that name or no name at all is a necessary first step to self improvement and improving lives. Happiness is not possible without peace, and the conditions to acquire peace not possible without a practice of entropy yoga. With entropy yoga, both happiness and success in worldly life comes within easy reach of individuals; without it both recede. When practiced widely in a nation, entropy yoga leads to the success of the nation as a whole.
 


Friday, April 14, 2017

About Yoga by Ashok Babaji


 
While some are interested in mystic knowledge many would like to know of simple practical practices derived from it that can lead to evolution of their souls towards greater peace and happiness. Such practices may be called yoga for that is what yoga is, the evolution of the soul to its original infinitely powerful and blissful state from which it arose.

Mind and body are temporary acquisitions of the soul that change from time to time within a life as also from life to life. They are assets acquired by a soul for its journey through space and time, each in accordance with its needs and desires under the supervision of the Universal Consciousness. When a soul has evolved to its highest possible state, it unites with the Infinite Eternal Soul. It then longer needs a finite mind and body that is a limited and small thing in our vast infinite universe.

Different yoga practices have some common elements but differ in emphasis and details. Each person is unique and requires a different path for progress. Thus while one human may suffer from violent tendencies and needs to work on that first and foremost another may suffer from a chronic physical ailment that needs to be dealt with before embarking further on a journey towards joy and bliss.

Many a mystic, including Meister Eckhart, has remarked that while theologians may argue, debate and quarrel, mystics of the world speak the same language. Sage Patanjali, regarded by many as the father of yoga, described quarrels between Hindu and Buddhist theologians of his time, some 2500 years ago, as quarrels between animals like snakes and mongoose. Thus while practices for development based on religions may differ because of their history and rituals, yoga is free of religion and any such encumbrances. It is free of religious dogma, ritual, mythology or practice. In fact practices such as chanting on rosary beads or otherwise common across major religions of the world have their basis in mysticism rather than religion. What differs is the chosen mantra that may be derived from terminology of different religions.

Patanjali, in his brief text – Yoga Darashan - or About Yoga, written with extreme brevity of words – has summarized many available yoga practices of his times. Incidentally the yoga of physical exercises and postures popular in the modern era is just an eighth part of yoga described by Patanjali, the ashtang yoga or eight parts of yoga. This eight-part yoga embraces within it many other forms of specific yoga practices adapted by seekers through the ages. We shall presently describe the first four parts of this eight part yoga. They are useful for the vast majority of humans while leaving the other four parts for advanced mystics to pursue.

The first part of yoga has been named yama by Patanjali. In includes overcoming animal like instincts that souls bring from their animal past into human bodies. These are violence, lying, stealing, greed and pure physical lust devoid not just of procreation but also love – an animal physical thing. Rapists who force sexual encounters on others belong to those worst afflicted by this last animal weakness. Things like violence and stealing are needs of lower animals necessary for their survival but not for evolved beings like humans. They prevent a soul from evolving to yet higher levels.

The second part of yoga has been termed as Niyama. It includes practices that help a human to become  civilized and worthy of the human mind and body. These include cleanliness, contentment and gratitude for what the universe provides all life, discipline and order, a continuous evaluation of self to remove weaknesses and to strengthen good qualities. Most important is trust in the Universal Soul that creates and oversees all life as well everything else in the universe. Discipline requires a human to formulate principles for all that he needs to do in order to survive and journey through life. It starts from basics such as what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, when to wash, sleep etc.  To conduct one’s life by whim and fancy is to be a wild like animals of the forest. Once a human has formulated rules for living, he must follow these to the extent possible. However, it does not mean that such rules cannot be changed. In fact they have to be changed from time to time based on circumstances and experience but as long as a rule exists the idea is to follow it until a new one replaces. Up until the time a soul becomes human, the Universe takes care of its development and evolution just as parents take care of the needs of an infant. However, once a soul reaches the level of an adult human some of this responsibility is left to the human to pursue if it wishes to evolve further.

The third part of yoga is Asana or the development of physical abilities so that one is not distracted in one’s journey from physical discomfort or ailments except for brief and temporary episodes of sickness that all must suffer. The various yoga postures and physical exercises popular in modern age are different forms and ways to achieve this goal.

The fourth part of yoga termed as Pranayama is to do with breathing practices. Various forms of these have been developed through the ages including mindful breathing by Buddha.

As mentioned we shall not presently go into details of the other four parts because they concern advanced mystics. These last four parts include being still in mind and body and returning the consciousness to its universal source. One simple yet powerful aspect of these latter four parts of yoga is however useful for all. It is the chanting of holy and sacred names, also known as Jap in common parlance of the Himalayas.

Some have viewed the eight part yoga as eight steps to be followed in succession. This is an erroneous understanding, for these eight parts and parts within it are holistic in nature and contain the entire yoga. Perfection in any one part leads to perfection in all other parts. Nevertheless, reasonable progress is required in all parts of this yoga in order to carry any one part to its final goal of perfection. For most humans, such perfection is not possible in a single life time or even several but the essential thing to understand is that any progress on this path of yoga leads to greater happiness and empowerment.

Many different types of yoga are combinations of one or more parts of yoga. Thus a powerful yoga termed Karma Yoga in the sacred Hindu text – The Bhagavad-Gita – is a combination of some aspects of the second part of yoga as described by Patanjali. It involves doing one’s duty, the right thing, while being contented with whatever outcome the universe grants. It is to focus on employing the right means in whatever one does and not bothering about the result as opposed to the path of evil where emphasis is placed on the result and not the means.

In subsequent posts this author shall describe two modern forms of yoga that emerge from different combinations of some parts of the eight part yoga. The first is Entropy Yoga by Ashok Babaji- this author - and the second is – Kriya Yoga by Babaji Hairakhan a modern mystic that appeared in the Himalayas between 1971 and 1984 and whom this author owes much and loves much. 

While entropy yoga sets up a person to become empowered and efficient in whatever one does it does not lead to bliss in itself. It is a necessary state but not a sufficient one. Adding kriya yoga of Baba Hairakhan to it completes the practice in order to attain the highest possible state of yoga in the simplest possible manner as suitable for modern times. These have been described by the author elsewhere earlier but shall be described in this blog again soon.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Blue Rose, Gift of Love for Divine


 




Roses are symbolic of love, different colors for different kinds of love. Of all the different colors if one had to be chosen as the symbol of love for the divine, it would perhaps be the light blue colored rose.

Theologians of the world may quarrel
But mystics of the world speak the same language
For God the Lord is one
It is only ignorance about Him that is diverse and many


Thursday, March 9, 2017

You shall find Bliss in Forests



https://twitter.com/PardueSuzanne/status/839705079900962816

My mind can go in a thousand directions,
But on this beautiful path,
I walk in peace...
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Delightful are the forests where worldlings find no pleasure, there the passionless will rejoice for they seek no sensual pleasures
Dhammapada ( Buddhist Scripture) Ch 7 vs 99

As worldly desires of one on spiritual paths reduce and things like ego, lust  greed, diminish then love of Mother Earth and Father Universe surfaces. This is similar to our remembering love of our earthly mother and father when we free ourselves from worldly concerns. Such a soul then craves for beautiful parts of Mother Earth such as forests, mountains, lakes and grasslands filled with wild flowers. Some then abandon worldly pursuits and head for forests and other places created by nature, not humans.

The results of worldly pursuits are mixed - joy and sorrow; the results of spiritual pursuits are bliss in huge or small measures. Paths filled with lies and corruption may end in a bottomless pit but on spiritual paths there is neither the need nor a place for lies and corruption. All one needs here is love. Therefore it is no surprise that such paths lead to bliss here in this life and the next, for how shall one who cannot find happiness in this life find it in the next (Bhagavat Gita) ?

When one lives a simple life in secluded areas with minimal interaction with the world of most humans, especially close to forests or mountains, remembers God daily through prayer, meditation or service, then over a period of time, spiritual growth takes place automatically and naturally.  Such growth is difficult when there is much interaction with other humans pursuing their ego, fears, greed and lust, for company has a strong influence. In the forests, in company of trees and wild flowers, one communes with nature and finds peace for trees exist in the main to serve life, not to pursue their own agenda like humans usually do. Since ancient times, sages and hermits have reached the highest levels of spiritual attainment in this manner.

Others still engaged heavily in the world, not yet ready for spiritual immersion, can also find much peace by going for walks alone in forests. You are fortunate if there is one near you, otherwise if you take holidays to near one, whenever you can, you shall find much peace. Perhaps then you might consider carrying a gift for the forest - some flower seeds, a sapling or two of a lovely flowering, fruit or nut tree to plant; and a picnic hamper for yourself with bits for the squirrels or the birds that shall sing to you as you enjoy your lunch. If you rest against an old tree trunk for a while, it shall share the wisdom of the ages with you, for old trees are wise souls and the guardian angels of the forest shall bless you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sketches from my Childhood - by Ashok Babaji





The image on top of this page is one of Nainital town in the Himalayas. My childhood home in Nainital was just around the center of this image, a little to the right, now behind the clouds on the hill.  This was an area where most army families like ours stayed because it was close to the Military Cantonment. As a child of four or five, I loved to climb up to window height and look at colorful sail boats in the lake at the bottom of the hill.. On rainy days there were no boats but it was nice to look at  patterns rain water made on window panes. The same hill is shown in clouds in a Picture snapped a few years ago from the opposite hillside.

I spent a lot of time in the spacious kitchen of our home, especially at times when mother was away to meet her friend by the name of Tunnu next door. My elder brother Deepak and sister Kiran were often off to play or school which they went to daily on horseback, fighting daily as to who shall sit in front on the saddle. In the kitchen our wonderful cook and family guide all rolled into one - Hira Lal - who belonged to a nearby town of Almora was often busy turning out his delicacies. He had learned his skills and English from a British Brigadier who had left for England after India became independent. He then joined our household. He would turn out delicious curries, mutton chops or minced meat cutlets wrapped in mashed potatoes that tasted a lot like shepherd’s pie but had a spicier filling. It was a time when the family ate much more meat than now. Nowadays I am a lovegan food eater (a diet that includes milk and eggs but not meat) for the most part although on some rare occasions, a few times a year, I get chicken to share with some cats who love it. The kitchen was in a separate section connected to the main house with an open passage. It contained a huge old fashioned wrought iron oven and stove from the previous century. During my childhood we had meat regularly but chicken was rare because it was far more expensive as compared to meat then and was reserved for special treats. Nowadays, it is the reverse and chicken is much cheaper but I have now discovered that Mother Earth has provided us with a variety of foods that do not require perpetuation of violence on life and they are much nicer. 

I still recall how Hira Lal would beat in bits of ginger, diced onions, garlic and herbs into the mutton chops with a little kitchen hammer to flatten them out, then dip in a batter of eggs and roll in bread crumbs before frying them golden brown in a pan. I tried the recipe in later life but they never turned out the same as with Hira Lal who stayed with the family for a near decade before retiring to his village in Almora. The cook- Hira Lal - in a novel I wrote once - Nude besides the Lake - is modeled on the real life Hira Lal and was given the same name.

My mother said Hira Lal had left the family because he never got along well with my dad, but then most of us did not with the exception of my younger brother Anoop born in Nainital who went on the become a Lt. General in the Army. Our family had arrived to India as refugees leaving home and all behind from the western most districts of undivided India. My father having lost his father earlier, much of his attention before my younger brother was born was taken up in trying to settle his younger brothers and sister as well as his mother. The task was a tense one and he was severely stressed because of it at that time. However, our mother made up for it all. She was one of the best in the world, not just for us but also for my father's family too. At one time when my father's sister needed an urgent expensive surgery, she rushed to market to sell off her gold jewellery to pay for it. He name was Nando (Nand Rani) and she left this world  in April 1999.

In summer relatives from the plains visited and an uncle( he was named apple, because his face looked like one in childhood, even in later life as as a brigadier in the army) has often told a story of early fifties that I myself have no memory of. He said he was in the flats and saw that a baby show was being organized to select the cutest baby of Nainital. He thought I was very cute and ran all the way home to other side of town and grabbed me for the show. There was no time to change dress, and rushing back in time for the competition to begin, he entered me in dirty clothes but he said I won the competition and became Baby Nainital that year. LOL, I am hardly that cute if you see me now.

By the edge of the lake at the bottom of the hill in an area called the flats was the only cinema hall in town. It is beside the lake in a flat portion of town. My Mother said that she took me for a show of the famous movie ‘King Kong’ there once and I recited incidents from the movie for a long time after. The hill on the opposite side had schools and a picnic spot called Tiffin Top. Our family and friends would walk up to it on holidays. Even at the age of four, I would walk up to it all the way briskly without feeling tired as I have been told many times by my mother. As a child, on long hill walks, I would fall into mindful breathing from practice of past lives and bending forward a bit as one must up a hill. I would also grab a stick from the forest on the sides to hold and lean on from time to time. A stick is an excellent asset on hill walks.  My adult experience too is that mindful breathing when done effectively makes the body light and swift as a cloud. Nainital was a lovely town in those days and still is but not as lovely as then because of over development in parts, especially where our home was.

A few years later, at the age of seven, most unlike other children,  I used to ask apple uncle  to bring me holy images and would sit in front of them to pray. This was something I delighted in due to habits of a past life I think. As a result the same uncle gave me a name Pandit ji (holy man) to tease and that name lasted with me through some of my childhood.

In this green lake town full of majestic oak and pine trees, wild flowers and mountain springs lay the seeds of my love for nature and thoughts on life and spirituality that stayed with me even as I moved to study, live and work in different parts of the globe. These thoughts are expressed in  my blogs and books. A blog covering many issues from life and spirituality, in an informal light style was launched in 2007, soon after receiving inspiration to do so from a guide and spiritual mentor Haidakhan (or Hairakhan) Babaji who taught at Haidakhan in the district of Nainital between 1970 and 1984. Essentially his teaching consisted of just around two sentences - love God, recite his name as a meditation (Jap);  promote love, truth and simplicity in your life while reserving some time to serve others - humans in need, animals and nature. 

Taken as a whole, the thoughts expressed in my various books and blogs present a system of thought for life and living, a system that is not rigid like religious systems tend to be because it is assumed they are God's words although they are spoken, written, described and interpreted by man, but instead they are open to revision and continuous improvements just as scientific thoughts are as are all thoughts born of an imperfect human mind. All have a bit of the infinite God in them and all contribute some  good to the world just as all have a bit of the devil in them too and contribute pee, defecation and stench, both metaphorically and literally. Life is an endless quest to evolve and increase the worthy, joyous and the beautiful in life while reducing the worthless, painful and ugly.

Although one may benefit from education in numerous aspects of life, spirituality and spiritual relationships are based in the highest and purest form of love and therefore do not require the intervention of guru or counselor unless such relationships are much damaged or one is undergoing an episode of difficulties in life, with a fair chance that an incompetent or fraudulent guru would damage it further. Many jump into the fray for profit as do many in others areas of life where human needs are urgent such as medicine, legal and financial professions. However, if one can find a worthy teacher, one may refer to a teacher for limited periods for learning or for help in resolving ethical and moral dilemmas, discuss the mysteries of the spiritual side etc. 

Genuine spiritual teachers do not latch on to you and often ask you to leave after some training unlike fraudulent ones who latch on like a leech and make a big fuss if you leave their fold even as many religions do. Those are the ones to run away from as fast as possible because the Lord gave freedom of belief and pursuit to all and those who deny that could be agents of the devil but not of God.. 

Aside from that, just as the love of a loving human parent or child is enough to re-establish a spoiled relationship between parents and children; just the love of God, the divine parent is sufficient to re-establish any spoiled relationship with Him, for His love exists eternally without change and his books illustrated with colorful wild flowers are all over the trees, forests, lakes and mountain streams, especially in lovely places like Nainital in the Himalayas. 

The first sixteen numbered post of the present blog summarizes the spiritual way for interested readers from any part of the world, with any religious background. Each post is complete and can be read independent of others, in any order, but for the most serious student, it would be best to read them in consecutive order beginning from 1 and then proceeding on to 16. If any questions emerge in your mind as you read them, enter them in comments. I shall respond soon as opportunity permits but more than anything else, my best wishes to you for delight in His eternal Love. It flows freely without charge, cost or labor merely because one is His loving child.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

About God, our Eternal Mother and Father



16


Many persons in the modern world do not believe in God because they say physical scientific evidence has not been found that can prove His existence. But evidence is all around you. Some evidence lies within each one of us. We know that we can feel love or hatred, joy or sorrow etc. Nothing that scientists and engineers have constructed so far possesses any such feelings. Moreover, we all believe that we possess free will i.e. the ability to make choices every moment of our lives (albeit within constraints). Machines cannot possess such freedom of choice. All actions of machines are based on their design, programming and inputs. Machines do not even possess a consciousness. They neither exhibit fear nor make any attempt to protect if you destroy them.

There is something far more glorious and supreme about you that is beyond the reach of any human creation. Life possesses something that goes beyond anything that has been found in purely material and physical constructions. What is this extra, mysterious thing that gives us the ability to possess feelings? We may rely on the collective wisdom of mankind from ancient times. Many have declared that humans possess a soul that is not subject to physical laws in the same way as physical things and things such as feelings and even consciousness of beings arises from this mystic source. They go on to declare that even though our physical bodies perish at death, the soul does not. It merely migrates to other existences. Many a mystics declare that a soul may be born again and again through reincarnation.

Once a human accepts the fact that he or she possesses an imperishable soul then the question arises as to where this soul came from. Our physical bodies are due to our physical parents. However the same parents cannot be the parents of our soul because our soul has existed before birth and will continue to do so after death. Everything comes from something, what is the source for our souls? Once again wise come to our aid. According to them the source of our soul is the universal source - God, One may view God as father or mother since our soul arises from this single source. To say that science can not detect these things is not enough to deny them. Science as yet knows little about dark matter or dark energy but deduces them from effects.

In reality, there is nothing but God. Everything, all of the universe and beyond is Him. We are all part of Him, that and a bit of ignorance that makes us unique and separates us from Him as long as that ignorance and its consequences last.

Most of us love our fathers and mothers and we know that they love us too. God is our eternal father therefore He too loves us. If we love Him as well then it can only enhance our relationship with Him. Not to believe in Him is to ignore Him.

Many question why there is sorrow and trouble in this world if we have an eternal, all powerful God as our parent. The answer to that can be found if we view our relationship with our physical parents. When we were young and at an age they could have imposed their wishes on us in all things, they often allowed us the freedom to have our own way. The consequence of exercising this freedom at times produced trouble and our parents permitted that willingly, though sadly, as a learning experience. God, too as the universal source, our eternal father, has provided us the freedom to choose and to suffer consequences from time to time. If we were to exercise our choices according to His advice then we can avoid suffering and sorrow. How are we to know what is God’s advice? This is where developing a relationship with our Eternal Father and understanding the fundamental workings of life comes in.

The scriptures or saintly persons can be our guides (if they are sincere ones and not frauds out to exploit human need for profit) since their aim, as messengers of the universal law, is to alleviate human suffering. They declare that conduct which involves violence, greed, lust, anger, lying; stealing, disorderly living etc. produces pain and sorrow. We indulge in such behavior at times because of a temporary gain or blinded by ignorance. In the long run evil consequences follow. In contrast, truthfulness and loving behavior produces happiness. Animals are not able to rise above basic instincts of lust and violence because they are unable to reason. They must then depend entirely on God’s mercy to evolve. However, with human birth comes the ability to reason and thus hasten our evolution through conscious effort and practice. It would be a pity if we miss this opportunity and continue to get tossed about in miserable existences.

God as a father of all life forms in this universe must maintain his family with not just a loving eye but also a just one. It is because of this we reap what we sow, through the principle of retribution, divine justice, karma or whatever you wish to call it depending upon your cultural background. This principle helps life to evolve and also maintains an overall balance in universe; otherwise, individual doings of beings could alter the destiny of the universe as a whole.

Good actions produce happiness in this life as well as subsequent ones and bad actions the reverse. I recall a saintly piece of prose, which went on to describe conversation between a saintly person and God. This person questioned God that whenever he walked on the sand he saw a second set of footprints and was assured that God was beside him. However in some of the most difficult moments of life was alone, he found that there was only one set of foot- prints and wanted to know from God why it was so. In this composition God answered, that was when He carried him. God ever protects those who love Him from grave harm even as the mother rushes to her child at play when she notices he might fall into a pit. Even though we may ignore God, he never ignores us, coming to our aid during the most distressful times in our lives just as a loving parent grabs the wheel from a child's hand when the car is headed for disaster. If we do the same and help others in times of distress whenever we have the opportunity and ability to do so then that must surely be pleasing to our eternal Father. When we do something nice for our human parents it expresses our gratitude to them. When we do something nice for other humans, animals or nature we express our love for Him.

In modern times many have turned away from God because they have been disappointed in man-made religions. It is all right to turn away from a religion that does not please us but that should not mean turning away from God. If one is turned off by the manner in which food is served in restaurants it should not imply that we should turn away from food, only from that restaurant. One may find many independent sources to learn more about Him besides His many delightfully illustrated books that are all over the forests, fields of wild flowers, trees and mountain streams.

He is ever engaged in sending forth security, warmth and love all around the universe. He is the provider of the water we drink, the air we breathe, sunshine and everything else besides. If we miss his presence at times it is because we now take Him for granted and because our attention is focused elsewhere. One need not conform to the practices of any religion if it does not please one to have a loving relationship with God who is present everywhere. God because of His infinite nature cannot have a defined and finite form such as those of living beings, therefore we have to feel Him rather than see him. However in certain religions they believe that if a disciple wishes to develop a relationship with God he may visualize God as possessing a definite form and attributes. This is all right as long as one does not forget that the chosen form and attribute is only a point of focus on infinity, a matter of convenience, just a facet of the Infinite. There is nothing else besides Him in all of the universe except the erroneous thoughts of the life forms that dwell within the universe and actions born of those thoughts. When our thoughts are in harmony with Him, our actions are marked by Love, Truth and Simplicity. 

Praise the Lord, Jai Mata ki (praise the Mother)