This aloneness is worth more than a thousand lives
This freedom is worth more than all the lands on earth
To be one with the truth for just a moment,
Is worth more than the world and life itself

– Jalaluddin Rumi

  • All the books you have read, lectures you have heard, notes you have taken have finally brought you to a place where you need to drop everything
  • Stop listening to the hundreds of people describing the taste of honey to you. Pick up the spoon of honey in front of you and put it in your mouth. It is time to experience and not just to know concepts
  • Just for 30 seconds. Just for 30 seconds drop everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Even drop the voice that is telling you Rajan is wrong because Vivekananda said something else or Vivekachudamani says something else. Actually every Vedantic teacher and book is saying the same thing. It is only the mind trapped in maya that is creating these chitta vrittis of rejection and analysis. Just DROP DROP DROP EVERYTHING. Just for 30 seconds
  • Drop everything till there is only silence. Not a physical silence. Don’t look for a physical silence otherwise the mind will say, ‘I still hear the sound of the fan’. This silence is the silence of no thought. That place where you cannot drop anything any more. You can drop everything except your feeling of existence.
  • The Chandogya Upanishad declares ‘Sat Eva Soumya Idam Agra Aseet’. ‘In the beginning, my dear son, there was only existence’. Can you drop everything till you reach the core of your existence? You will not be able to drop this. Try as you may you cannot drop it. Because how can you drop your true nature. The ONLY truth that really exists. How can you drop it? It is impossible.
  • You can only abide in it or rather abide as it. This is your turtle shell under which nothing can bother you because there is so much power and freedom in this abidance
  • This that you experience after dropping everything is older than the hills.
  • Try it now and tell me if tears do not come to your eyes because you are now lying in the lap of Mother Durga herself and she is running her fingers through your hair. In this state of abidance nothing can touch you because nothing else exists. This is the true experience of Advaita.

Om Namah Shivayah

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Explanation of Yoga Sutras verse 2 – yogah chitta vritti nirodhaha

If you want to really understand the process of meditation, it is worth spending some time trying to understand Patanjali’s definition of yoga as yoga chitta vritti nirodhaha. See my posted video below and move the cursor to the 28:10 mins mark.

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My introduction to what Yoga is *really* about

Yoga means ‘union’, but union with what? The answer could be the greatest discovery you will ever make!

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The importance of spiritual practice


The purpose of efforts is to get rid of all efforts

                      – Sri Ramana Maharshi (conversations with Shri D. C. Desai)

Many modern spiritual teachers have said that no practice is needed to realize our true nature. This is an absolutely true statement. But, in YOUR spiritual path this may or may not be true. Many seekers take this ‘no practice’ approach quite litearlly and jump into the ‘do nothing’ practice (yes that is a ‘practice’ too) and after several years get frustrated. Ramana Maharshi explained it beautifully in his words quoted above. In answer to another question about the purpose of the many practices, Ramana Maharshi said that these practices are like an eraser that is used to rub out all the writings on a piece of paper.

The uniqueness of the spiritual path, as opposed to other learning paths e.g. learning to swim, is that it could be drastically different for each person. There is no cookie-cutter approach to spirituality. Papaji, the famous disciple of Ramana Maharshi, used to say that there are ‘camphor, paper, wood and stone devotees’. The ‘camphor’ devotee just needs a little spark and he ignites in the fire of spiritual passion. And the ‘stone’ person – you know the kind perhaps – they dilly-dally, try different paths, buy many CDs and DVDs, attend many retreats and sometimes end their journey in complete frustration and cynicism. A good guru just watches and understands that such is the nature of the spiritual search. He gently nudges the ‘stone’ people again and again.

The approach taught by the Upanishadic and Yogic paths is rigorous and is based on the assumption that the aspirant may be a ‘stone’ devotee. Many ‘non-traditional’ teachers criticise the ‘practices’ saying that ‘nothing is needed’ because ‘I went through all this for nothing’, but do they know where they would be if they had not gone through these practices? Maybe ‘these practices’ acted as their ‘eraser’ by showing them the futility of the practices. Such is the power of maya that it can make even a realized guru forget his or her own path of progress and tell the disciples that ‘nothing is needed’. When someone like Papaji or Ramana Maharshi says ‘nothing is needed’ it is quite different because they had the powerful grace which caused aspirants who came in their presence to somehow realize the Truth.

So, my friends, surely you can try the path of ‘no practice’ if you REALLY understand what it means. Remember that even the greatest guru can be mesmerized by maya. Such is the power of shakti. Approach spirituality with the innocence and humility with which a baby approaches a brightly colored toy. One day you will graduate to the position of ‘no practice’. Maybe you are a ‘camphor devotee’ but don’t risk finding out you are not. This is the crux of the systems of sadhana like Ashtanga Yoga, bhakti, karma yoga and mantra japa. The Sadguru is waiting for your next move.

Om Shanti

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Can you see God in the flowers and trees?


Where is the fountain that throws up these flowers in a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy? 

                                                    – Rabindranath Tagore in Stray Birds

Nature is mostly self-sustaining. The mighty Amazon forest does not require Miracle Gro!! The beauty of God’s creation is eminently appreciated by going into a forest. Look around at the innumerable species of plants, flowers, insects and scurrying animals. See how they all live in the present moment without worrying much about the past or future. A squirrel looking around for nuts is doing just that ‘looking for nuts’ – he is not worried that his female mate may leave him for another mate. If that does happen then, guess what, the next day he is still nonchalantly continuing his search for nuts. Observation of nature in a quiet unobtrusive manner, without mental commentary is a great sadhana for spiritual growth. Sit on the bank of a stream in the forest and silently observe how the miracle of life operates. Watch the twig of a tree float past you in the stream, gently colliding with a jutting rock or another twig and disappear from view downstream. Observe the crane that arrives in a graceful swoop and lands in the shallow water, pecks around the water for sometime and then takes off. Hear the many sounds around you – the chirp of a robin or cawing of a crow. Notice the tiny waves raised by a swift swimming insect as it skims the water. Deeply understand and appreciate the ease with which these creatures live. Don’t you wish you could be so carefree and liberated as these creatures of the forest? Do you think it is difficult to be free of suffering? If you answered ‘yes’ then your very belief is the obstacle to your freedom.

To be free, ask the question that the Nobel Prize winning poet Tagore asks in the quote above. Yes, where is that fountain? Ashtanga Yoga lays out the roadmap for getting the answer to this question through the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana. Where is the ‘fountain’ that throws up your emotions and feelings. Look for it and KEEP LOOKING. When you drop all concepts and ideas, what remains is Chaitanya – the faculty of consciousness. The consciousness cannot be dropped because even the attempt to drop it is noticed by the very consciousness that you are trying to drop. As it has been said ‘consciousness is required even to deny the existence of consciousness’. Consciousness is not a faculty that we HAVE but rather what we ARE. Our very nature is consciousness. Patanjali outlined the path of Ashtanga Yoga to take us step by step to Samadhi – the state of realization of our true nature of Chaitanya. The chaitanya has taken up the identity of the body-mind-intellect (BMI) and is pretending to be the BMI, and in the process of pretending, has forgotten its true nature. The path to samadhi or self-realization consists of abiding in the nature of chaitanya which is ‘knowingness’. Chaitanya ‘knows’. Just be the ‘knowing presence’ without adding the interpretation and analysis which is the domain of the mind and intellect. Just ‘look’ as Eckhart Tolle advises. Can you look at a flower without giving it a name or specifying its color and categorizing it in anyway – much like what a small baby does when it sees a flower for the first time? In its fervent excitement to possess the flower, the baby looks at it as pure creation or presence. When we take that same viewpoint toward everything we slowly start to experience the ‘fountain that throws up these flowers in a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy’. The supreme message of the Upanishads ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ will then arise spontaneously.
May you find the peace within
Om Shanti

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Rupert Spira

I recently discovered an exceptionally gifted speaker and writer on Advaita Vedanta called Rupert Spira. His way of expressing the inexpressible blew my mind away. I am attaching a link below of Rupert Spira’s interview on Conscious TV (conscious.tv). For more details on Rupert Spira please visit rupertspira.com.

For now when you have a quiet half-an-hour just watch this exquisite interview with great attention if you REALLY want to understand the utter simplicity of what the great sages have been telling us since millenia. In this simple Truth lies your freedom from all suffering.

Rupert Spira interview on Conscious TV

Om Shanti and much Peace

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Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn

If you are still breathing there is more right with you than wrong with you; no matter what is wrong with you

– Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. In his quiet, gentle voice he tries to open up your wisdom to something much higher and nobler than the mundane issues we deal with daily. One of his famous statements, that is quoted above is so on the dot if you really think about it. The precision of the chemical and physiological processes that keep us alive , whether it be the level of blood sugar, pH value, cytoplasmic constitution, blood circulation, is astounding. But Dr. Kabat-Zinn always tries to point to a much higher truth, that which is incomprehensible to the human intellect but that which can transform lives and not just make one feel better or relaxed. As he himself says “mindfullness is not a dime store relaxation technique”. I would like to pay my tribute to Dr. Kabat-Zinn by featuring one his brilliant expositions of the absolute truth. In this brief 2 minute video he lays out the whole message of Vedanta, Buddha, Jesus Christ and all the other ancient sages in the breathtaking fashion that only he can expound in. Thank you Dr. Kabat-Zinn for being a spiritual mentor to me. Hope I get to meet you one day. Namaste.

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We are just a speck but we make our problems monumental

Entire universes are imploding and exploding every moment — am I to cry over them? One thing is quite clear to me: all that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness and I am in and beyond that consciousness. I am in it as the witness. I am beyond it as Being

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in I am That

COLLIDING GALAXIES : Billions of years from now, only one of these two galaxies will remain. Until then, spiral galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163 will slowly pull each other apart, creating tides of matter, sheets of shocked gas, lanes of dark dust, bursts of star formation, and streams of cast-away stars. Astronomers predict that NGC 2207, the larger galaxy on the left, will eventually incorporate IC 2163, the smaller galaxy on the right. In the most recent encounter that peaked 40 million years ago, the smaller galaxy is swinging around counter-clockwise, and is now slightly behind the larger galaxy. The space between stars is so vast that when galaxies collide, the stars in them usually do not collide.

Photo courtesy NASA. Please visit http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/lib/aptree.html for more spectacular pictures.

Just look at this picture and read the caption. Is your paltry mundane problem anything compared to the immensity of this cosmic spectacle happening right now in front of our very eyes. You may say, “So what if these galaxies are colliding – this does not make my problem any lesser”. Relax, my friend. Let me assure you that in this very picture lies your salvation from your mundane problems. Our very existence is at the mercy of the unimaginable forces that dominate our own galaxy. One event of astronomical magnitude can make all life just get pulverized into gas in a split second. Then where is your problem gone? Did it become gas also? No of course not, because the ‘problem’ never existed in the first place. It was all just a thought in your head. Just imagine, for a moment, all that you know has vaporized – your family, car, bike, house, clothes and lastly yourself. Nisargadatta Maharaj, in the quote above, is saying that you are already the ‘vaporized’ object and not the body you think you are. You are already what remains when your body gets vaporized so why not realize it now in your living life and therefore end your suffering. So look at this picture everyday for 1 minute and visualize the unimaginable, unprecendented, ultra powerful and immense nature of this spectacle in deep space. Then look at your tiny body and tell yourself, “My problems are nothing”. One day this exercise will result in raising your consciousness out of its reverie and will enable you to experience a deep inner peace. May you be as happy and peaceful as a puff of steam.

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Did the Bhagavad Gita go through you?

The great teacher of Vedanta, prolific writer and commentator on the scriptures and founder of the Chinmaya Mission Swami Chinmayananda would ask his listeners in his pravachans (lectures), “You went through the Bhagavad Gita but did the Bhagavad Gita go through you?”. A profound question indeed. Have you noticed how thirsty the human mind is for that exquisite proverb or pithy saying? When you read the Rumi poem, “Knocking on a door, it opens I have been knocking from the inside”, a chill goes through your spine and immediately you want to write it down in your ‘My documents/Personal/good quotes.doc’ file. People spend decades collecting this ‘mind stuff’ and ‘keep adding to the content of the mind’ as Eckhart Tolle likes to say. But did the Bhagavad Gita go through you? The Upanishads tell us to ‘stop seeking’ because seeking can only get you more knowledge or yet another guru. The real guru only points and lets you experience the truth yourself. In the Bhrigu Valli in the Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhrigu’s father and guru keeps sending him back to the meditation seat everytime Bhrigu comes back to him to relate what he discovered. As a great contemporary saint said, “The language of the body are words, the language of the mind are thoughts, the language of the self is silence”. Everyday just sit in silence for twenty minutes, whatever silence means to you. Sit quietly and watch like a witness everything that happens. The little sounds you hear, the small creak of the wood floor, the spontaneous twitch or move of your index finger, the little itch on your neck that appeared by itself. Realize that life is happening by itself without you doing anything. Tell yourself that everything is just fine (even if it is not). This will change your life as you take the path of least resistance like a leaf floating in a fast flowing stream, collides with one rock then another but moves on downstream till it disappears from view. Wish you much peace and silence.

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Is the state of self-realization a singularity?

Samadhi as defined in Raja Yoga of Patanjali is the state of union with the Infinite consciousness. But does that mean that nothing is achieved or happens before that state is reached? Does it mean that you continue to live your miserable existence till that ‘big gong’ moment when you ‘merge into union’. The good news is ‘NO’. During all my years of teaching Yoga and Vedanta, I have noticed one reality about human beings – they may listen to ‘samadhi talk’ but deep inside most just hope that they could find a way out of their existing misery. Their misery could be a broken marriage, a troubling teenager, sheer loneliness, an underlying disease or any one of the other great samsara humblers. When I talk about Ashtanga Yoga in a class and get to the topic of Samadhi I can see the unasked question “Do you really believe I can achieve Samadhi in this lifetime?” in the faces of the audience. It is a genuine question, an honest question. It is like asking “Can I become as good as Itzhak Perlman with practice?”. While the answer to that question is affirmative, it comes with the caveat of a daily practice of several hours. So I started modifying my instructions to point out the ‘immediate’ benefits of meditation. Yes and their faces do light up when they hear that!!!

Just sitting in silence is nothing but the practice of Ishwara Pranidhanam or surrender, one of the niyamas of Yoga. Like a blotting paper that gets soaked in ink, your constitution gets soaked in the nature of the Infinite consciousness which is ‘bliss’. Little leakages of bliss occur that bring unexplained peace in the midst of your problems. Synchronic events (co-incidences in common parlance) start occurring which take you closer to a solution of your problems. If you have a health problem you may suddenly meet someone who may have a solution or get a forwarded e-mail which may be the ‘real thing’. That’s how the super-consciousness works. Drop your intellect with the faith that there is a much higher intellect – the one that created you, the one that designed your eye, heart and peristaltic motion in your intestine. Don’t analyse and don’t ask the question, “How is this possible?”. JUST SURRENDER like you do to the surgeon on the operating table. Take a vow today to practice sitting in silence for 20 minutes everyday. Let me know what happened after 3 months. May peace be with you.

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