Monday, May 25, 2020

What is Reality (part 1)

God or Divine or Computer programmer or whosoever started the game of Leela and Reality, as we understand began:

The universe stirred (around 13 billion years ago), with every speck of its energy jammed into a very tiny point (in the Vedas called Hiranyagarbha or the creative egg). This extremely dense point exploded with unimaginable force, creating matter and propelling it outward to make the billions of galaxies of our vast universe. Astrophysicists dubbed this titanic explosion the Big Bang. While an explosion of a man- made bomb expands through air, the Big Bang did not expand through anything. That's because there was no space to expand through at the beginning of time. Rather, physicists believe the Big Bang created and stretched space itself, ever - expanding the universe.

Cosmologists believe the Big Bang flung energy in all directions at the speed of light (300,000,000 meters per second, a hundred thousand times faster than the H-bomb) and estimate that the temperature of the entire universe was 1000 trillion degrees Celsius at just a tiny fraction of a second after the explosion. Even the cores of the hottest stars in today's universe are much cooler than that.

But as the universe quickly expanded, the energy of the Big Bang became more and more "diluted" in space, causing the universe to cool. Rapid cooling allowed for matter as we know it to form in the universe and about one ten-thousandth of a second after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons formed, and within a few minutes these particles stuck together to form atomic nuclei, mostly hydrogen and helium. Hundreds of thousands of years later, electrons stuck to the nuclei to make complete atoms.

About a billion years after the Big Bang, gravity caused these atoms to gather in huge clouds of gas, forming collections of stars known as galaxies. Gravity is the force that pulls any objects with mass towards one another -- the same force, for example, that causes a ball thrown in the air to fall to the earth. Where do planets like earth come from? Over billions of years, stars "cook" hydrogen and helium atoms in their hot cores to make heavier elements like carbon and oxygen. Large stars explode over time, blasting these elements into space. This matter then condenses into the stars, planets, and satellites that make up solar systems like our own.

While the Big Bang explains the process of creation of the Universe, is this the complete process or part of a cycle? Everything in existence is cyclic and impermanent passing through phases of creation, maintenance and obliteration. Some of the cycles we regularly encounter are the day and night cycles, the seasonal cycles, the tides, the waning and waxing of the moon, the creation and destruction of cells in the body etc.

In 1949, Richard Feymann, a physicist, proved the process of creation and destruction whereby an electron from the left collide with a positron coming from the right to mutually annihilate each other, while two photons are created which depart in opposite directions at the speed of light, thereby emitting a photon and went out of existence at that point. Or simply, that the original particle was destroyed and a new one created. Thereby proving that "every subatomic event is marked by the annihilation of the initial particle and the creation of a new one". Some of the subatomic collisions with the creation and destruction dance last less than a billionth of a second, which is its cyclical process.

The Infinite, out of which all existing things arise, has neither beginning nor end, the Universe is eternal. Carl Sagan, one of the greatest astronomers of the world has observed and acknowledged the fact that the Cosmos undergoes an immense, infinite number of deaths and rebirths through the cycle of creation, perpetuation and dissolution in a rhythmical pattern. Baffled by the immense intensity of the entire Cosmos, which he thought, was beyond the reach of any human mind, he said in his book “Cosmos" - "the size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home."

The universe is expanding now, but in its life span of billions of years, it will slow down, contract and annihilate to create one more time. There is nothing in this universe that is not cyclic and does not participate in this wonderful dance of destruction and creation. Hindu mythology points to a large scale projection of microcosmic scientific discoveries with symbolic deities like Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh denoting the continuous cyclic dance of creation, sustenance and destruction and the Buddhist wheel of life symbolizing the unending process of birth, death and rebirth.

A model of the expanding universe opening up from the viewer's left, facing the viewer in a 3/4 pose.

History of the Universe Illustration

Big Bang Theory: Evolution of Our Universe - Universe Today

Creation of Reality

Nitin wanted to know the answers to these questions
  1. Who am I ?
  2. What is the nature of reality ?
  3. What is my role in this reality ?
  4. How do I play my role in the best manner possible ?

My response

Let me try and answer this in phases. Prior to addressing the four critical questions, would like to write about the possible Creator of the Reality as well as its overarching architecture.

I look at Reality of existence as a highly sophisticated game with rigid and complex rules that are cyclic in all aspects – from ‘multiple breaths every minute’ to ‘cyclic day and night’ to ‘annual seasons’ to ‘cycle of yugas’ to ‘creation and destruction of Reality (Big Bang to Dark holes) – laya and pralay’

I like to call this game “Lila – the game of life”.
Hymn of Creation (Nasadiya Sukta, Rigveda X.129) - An Old and Rare ... 
Who has created this Lila? Two options

A.   The “Nasadiya Sukta” of the Rig Veda says that

“There was neither non-existence nor existence then; there was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What stirred? Where?”

So, there was nothing and from that nothing something stirred and the game of existence began with the Big Bang 13.2 billion years ago. Where was that nothing? In the mind of what we call “God” or “Divine”?

B.    God is a “Computer Programmer”

Computer games were extremely basic like the pacman etc. Now, in the last few decades, games are being created that are photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it is getting better. Soon, we will have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality. Imagine 10000 years from now,  with the same speed of improvement of computing speed and new technology – the games will become indistinguishable from reality, just indistinguishable.

Elon Musk says, “There is only a “one in billions” chance that we’re not living in a computer simulation. Our lives are almost certainly being conducted within an artificial world powered by AI and highly-powered computers”

Next will start writing about your four questions starting with the “Nature of Reality”.

One question “Did existence begin with the Big Bang? Or is it part of a cycle?”

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Formula for living life

Is there a single second in our lives, that there is nothing happening within us? There is action even in inaction. Breathing, thinking, working, motor activity everything is going on all the time. Activity cannot cease, for if it does, we shall cease to exist.

Therefore, considering that action is inevitable, the question before us is twofold–
1.     What should be the purpose and intent of the actions and consequently,
2.     What the nature of activity is.

People generally work for the satisfaction of the five senses, and getting some comfort from it, one gets attached and binding increases, wishing for repeat performances of that act. Not being successful, one grieves. This constant striving for fruits of action creates the unending cycle of happiness and sadness, pleasure and pain.  We increase our load of work mostly due to attachment and greed, and till the end of life the burden makes us over-worked and over exhausted.

The mind is the ruler of the senses. Wherever the mind goes, the senses follow it. If the mind runs towards sense gratification, then all senses will get activated for want or greed of various sounds, touch, beauty, taste and smell.

As the army becomes victorious when the king is captured, similarly, if the mind is controlled, all indriyas will follow suit. As the sun is invisible if covered by clouds, but can be visible as soon as the clouds have passed, similarly the mind which is covered by passions, become clear as soon as passion has left. As the light of the sun is always present in spite of the clouds, similarly the true knowledge in the mind is always present, one just needs to unveil the curtains of “false concepts or knowledge” that has sullied the mind.

So what is true knowledge and how does one act ?

The mind generally runs towards sense gratification increasing attachment and greed. How can we make it work for service to others?

Existence is the unfolding of the Divine plan. This process or flow is fuelled by Divine intelligence and energy. From the vast Universe to the cell, from the material world to the human race, from the smallest unit to the infinite, from the Big Bang to the present, the flow of the Divine Plan is intelligent, evolutionary and cyclic. This flow is not independent of us; we are a part of it, as participant not just observer.

The Divine plan, flowing from millenniums, seeks to enhance the lives of those in existence. Being a part of the Divine, we need to plug into this plan, and thus it becomes our function and duty to work for the betterment of others. An analogy would be that the Divine flow is like a river and we are the small fish in that river. It is our choice to go with the flow or against. It is our choice to work for service to others or use our narrow, sense-driven false concepts and ego to swim against the direction. Life would be much happier when going with the flow than against.

Therefore, I have made a small formula to live my life – C2S3.

C ~ Clarity on the purpose of existence (reading and reflecting– The Gita and the Vedanta thought process leads from ignorance to knowledge. A knowledge that teaches escape from the cycles of births. Understanding of a journey that starts from the lower consciousness but leads to the highest consciousness and beyond for salvation.

C ~ Cleansing of body to prepare to accept the Divine energy (various practices, food, diet, pranayama, meditation)

S ~ Sadhana to access the Divine energy (kriya yoga - intellectual understanding while extremely important, would still be only speculative; it could not have any spiritual value. Like reading a recipe without experiencing food. Thus, it is not by “thinking out” the entire reality, but by a change of consciousness that one can pass from the ignorance to the Knowledge. For direct experiencing of Reality, this knowledge will have to be converted into spiritual experience by intensive sadhana of Kriya Yoga. Deep and intensive practice can lead to opening of chakras or inner consciousness. And on opening of chakras, the journey from lower consciousness to higher to supreme consciousness begins.)

S ~ Surrender to allow the Divine energy to flow through me. (Access the working of the Divine intelligence and energy and become a part of the same)

S ~ Sewa or service that is selfless using this Divine energy (accessing the supreme consciousness or the Divine energy cannot be the final destination. This should never lead to an individual achievement of the Divine realization for the sake of an individual, but something to be gained for humanity. This Divine energy needs to be brought down to Earth-consciousness and should be used for betterment of humanity and existence. And this work should be done without desire of name, fame, power or any selfish motive, but as a surrender to the Divine.)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pranayam - science of breath

Pranayama is one of the finest process to open blockage and energise the human mind-life-body complex.

Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels, which is common and shared by all animate and inanimate beings. All vibrating energies are prana, including electromagnetic energies like heat, light, gravity, magnetism and electricity. Vigour, power, vitality, life and spirit are all forms of prana. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual and cosmic energy. Most importantly, prana is the breath and life of all beings in the universe. Our bodies come into existence with prana and die with the exit of prana.

The human body is a complex energy system with surging prana moving through the complex 72000 nadis (total length of over 750 kilometres in an adult human), being pumped by the various chakras interspersing with the marma junctions. Prana energy, in form of breath of air (made up of oxygen, nitrogen etc) is being exchanged every second by the human body with the atmosphere, using the respiratory system.

In the Indian knowledge system, life was a period of a certain number of breaths (inhalation and exhalation). For example, it was thought that each human being had a lifespan of an average of 55 crore breaths (assuming 21600 breaths per day or 15 breaths per minute and an average age of 70 years). Now, logically, if one breathed slowly - let us say 14 breaths per minute instead of 15- it would elongate one's life, allow the body parts to function better and improve health.

Important : Therefore, Indian knowledge system, stressed on hatha yoga for exercise, with its slow breathing pattern against the aerobic system of the west. Anger, stress and a faulty life style create rapid, shallow breathing which leads to illnesses.

Therefore Rishis and Yogis have designed techniques to take in prana slowly to move and expand intentionally and rhythmically called Pranayama (ayama means to stretch, extend, expand). While, it is not the purpose of this blog to describe nor teach the various pranayamas - let me just explain the principles, concepts and most importantly CAUTION regarding the dangers of wrongly practicing pranayama.

Most of us breath in a short and shallow manner (average 500 cubic centimetres of air), instead of deep inhalation (around 3000 cc ). thus the lungs are not filled completely, leading to reduced purification of blood. Good pranayama practice, consisting of inhalation (purak), retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (rechaka) should enable us to take deep breaths and stretch the same. It also needs to use the air by internal pranayama, to cleanse the nadis, create positive chemical changes in the body, throw out vitiated air and toxins, distribute the energy throughout the body and stimulate all systems. By extensive practice, breathing can become more efficient by manipulating its rate, depth and quality.

Various kriyas, including the Sudarshan Kriya of the Art of Living, Ramdevbaba's pranayams, kriyas and pranayams by various teachers and yogis - most focus on the patterns of inhalation, retention and exhalation to oxidise and energise the body. But the real techniques used by ancient Masters were based on the internal pranayama of movement of air within the body and techniques and science to purify and energise oneself.

Humans have 59 kinds of vayus (force of air), which operate within the entire body. The major five vayus that operate our major systems are being described in the chart below

Other subsidiary five or upa-pranas are naga (belching), kurma (fluttering and control of eyelids), krkara (sneezing and coughing), devadatta (yawning) and dhanarhjaya (produces phlegm).

Expert yogis exercise tremendous control over these vayus or pranas and manipulate the vayus to achieve meditation and control over their bodies. Some of the methods are bandhas (closing the apertures of the body - like the nose, anus etc and circulating the air trapped within the body to energise. Some popular bandhas are jallander, uddiyan and mulabandha ), mudras (hundreds of position of parts of the body to give direction to energy to tremendously impact the body-mind - some of the powerful ones are khechari mudra, maha mudra and the yoni mudra) and yogic asanas (hundreds of physical as well as vayu healing positions).

Example :

The Bhagwad Gita says " "In the beings I become the fire and stay in the body. United with prana and apana I digest the four kinds of food." [Chapter 15 verse 14].

Under guidance, this is one of the most powerful internal pranayama, that can be practiced. The vayu below the centre, i.e. Apana vayu with its direction of moving lower and the Prana vayu which is travelling upwards are brought to the centre of the body and along with the vayu in the centre i.e samana vayu, all vayus gets balanced and the mind and body becomes goes into an automatic state of meditation. This is extremely pleasant and natural.

Pranayama is a very powerful process and one should only do pranayama under guidance from real yogis. Hence this knowledge can never be acquired in exchange of money from mathas, missions and commercial teachers. Because everyone is unique, doing a general pranayama just by watching others or seeing on TV, to my mind, has great element of danger. I tried to do the same with terrible repercussions. The sastras have forbidden to practice of pulling in air forcefully by constricting the nose. Sankara in the Rigveda expresses that more harm than health can result due to faulty practices like the above, because anything unnatural and unscientific will create trouble. The pranayama that happens naturally, is pleasant and improves external and internal energy is the correct one.

A good teacher would teach you the correct pranayama practice. A master would automatically transform you, by making your body do automatic, natural pranayama. My breathing pattern has automatically slowed down substantially, leading to calmness and a cool composure.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Tantra - a powerful tool

Sir John Woodroffe
Sir John Woodroffe (1865-1936), studied at Oxford University, England and became a judge of the High Court of Calcutta and Professor of Law at the University of Calcutta. One day he had great difficulty concentrating on the case before him, and one of his servants informed him that a tantric sadhu had been employed by the defendant to sit outside the courthouse and chant mantras to cloud his thoughts. Outside, Woodroffe found an ash-covered sadhu chanting a Sanskrit litany. The Indian Police drove the sadhu away and Woodroffe instantly felt his mind clear, and moreover, instilled in him a desire to find out more about Tantric practices. He started on a life long journey of knowledge of Tantra and wrote some of the finest books on Tantra, including the Serpent Power.

Most spiritual traditions state that worldly pleasures are incompatible to spiritual quest. We, humans, are always swinging like a pendulum between Brahma (Divinity) and Maya (Worldly entanglements). This either/or approach sets off endless internal struggles within us, making it difficult to reconcile these integral impulses.

The tantric approach to life avoids this painful dilemma by taking the entire human into account, with both approaches - religious and sensual- reconciled and resolved. "Bhog ko bhogte hue, bhog ka parityag karo" (Forgo the fruits of sensual enjoyments, whilst enjoying them).

Tantra (tool, instrument) is an extremely potent tool to increase energy frequency. It can be acquired by anyone having access to the knowledge and willing to do the necessary sadhana. Practitioners use these for various reasons - some beneficial and some a mean to harm others. It is like using a knife - for cooking or for killing, depending on the intent of the user. The main six categories of harmful practices are to hurt, injure or kill (marana), to confuse and delude (mohana), to dominate, manipulate and subjugate (Bashikarana), to disrupt concentration (Ucchatana), to create hatred and animosity (Vidveshana) and to immobilize and render inert (Stambhana). The two major categories of beneficial practices are those leading to peace and harmony (Shanti) and those leading to health and healing (Paushtika).

Tantra uses the profound practices of yoga, pranayama, mudras, rituals, mantra, yantra, mandala, visualization of deities, alchemy, ayurveda, astrology and hundreds of esoteric techniques for opening blockages and increasing energy (some of these, I have touched upon in earlier blogs).

Tantra is divided into three major schools of learning - Samaya (sattvic or higher impulse), Mishra (rajasic or middle impulse) and Kaula (tamasic or base impulse).

Samaya (highest): Practitioners who have devoted their entire life to spiritual search. Performs only internal meditation. Meditates only in Sahasrara (crown chakra). Views the body as a temple and worships the body by the method of creation. Aims only to attain moksha. Uses energy for good of others.

Mishra (mixed): Serious practitioners. Performs both external rituals and mental worship. Worships Anahata (heart chakra). Simply visualize yantra in their heart centre and worship it by method of maintenance. Aims to attain worldly enjoyment (bhoga) as well as spiritual freedom (moksha).

Kaula (lower or basal): Mostly householders. Uses objects in external practices - rituals, recitation of scriptures, pilgrimage to holy shrines, fire offerings. Worships muladhar (base chakra). Use liquor, meat, fish, mudras and sexual union in their rituals. Aims to attain worldly enjoyment (bhoga) as well as spiritual freedom (moksha).

Within the kaula school of thoughts, there are two divisions - the right hand path and the left hand path.

The right hand path stresses on purity, ethics and self-restrain. Hence the right handed path have developed a complex system of rituals, using the principles of asceticism. Their practices of fasting or eating very little, renunciation, observing silence, observing brahmacharya (sexual continence) and staying away from sensual pleasures, are designed to subdue the primitive urges. They perform external rituals while using "pure" objects, hold puritan views and stay on the right side of the conventional morality.

And it is the left hand path, which uses tantra to drive their actions with scarce thought to conventional standards of morality, ethics and purity, whenever these standards have been found to be obstacles to gaining higher energy. Which is why tantra is much-misunderstood and reviled by the general public. They maintain that the primitive urge is intrinsic to human nature and that restraining them cripples our mind, body and senses. Their idea is to channelize these powerful sensual drives in a spiritual direction. They make no distinction between pure and impure, hold unorthodox views, strive to achieve siddhis (miraculous powers) by any means, dare to undertake practices of any kind, including forbidden ones. They employ the five "m" in select rituals - Liquor (Madya), meat (Mamsa), fish (Matsya), parched cereal (Mudra) and sexual union (Maithuna).

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sanskrit, sound and manifestation

Today was reading Dr Maria Syldan on kashmiri shaivism and found this article

Sanskrit, Sound and Manifestation:

The origins of Sanskrit are lost in time, and it is said to be the oldest language. Rick Briggs, a scientist for NASA working on artificial intelligence (AI), analyzed the Sanskrit language. He found that, although it had been a living spoken language for almost 1000 years, unlike modern languages, its logical construction was essentially that of computer machine language, very applicable to AI. Briggs concluded that: “much of the work in the field of AI is reinventing a wheel millennia old” (Briggs, 1985).

Physics and cosmology are based in large part on mathematical theory and equations, as many of the phenomena that they describe and understand are not usually easily physically observable. One major contemporary theory even puts forth the notion that our external physical reality is a mathematical structure (Tegmark, 2008). Interestingly, a number of early scholars of Sanskrit and the History of Mathematics indicate that Sanskrit is algebraic – to the point of suggesting that Sanskrit is the original basis of algebra, with linear, simultaneous and indeterminate equations (Joseph, 2011).

The literal ‘vibration’ of the Sanskrit phonemes (speech sounds reflected in spoken utterance) and its impact upon all the levels of consciousness of those who use (speak, hear, read) Sanskrit – are said to be more important and more powerful than the meaning of the words that are conveyed to the mind and intellect. Results of investigations by Western science methods in this area seem to corroborate this notion by demonstrating that the sounds of Sanskrit phonemes have a literal, physical effect upon an object exposed to them.

Ernst Chladni was probably the first to make sound visible. Later work by Dr. Hans Jenny, Albert Tomatis and others explored the possible interactions between sound and form, or matter. Some of the research involved the use of Sanskrit phonemes.

One of their findings is illustrated with the example of an image made on a plate covered with a thin layer of sand. Vibrating this sand-covered plate with the sound of the audible Sanskrit syllable, OM, resulted in the creation of a sri yantra – a sacred mandala figure – in the thin layer of sand on top of the plate. Such a demonstration of the creative ability of sound is a microcosmic manifestation of what Kashmir Shaivism describes as the macrocosmic, Universal Manifestation.

In one sense, then, the physical Universe can be seen as manifesting through vibrational phenomena dependent upon a mathematically-based set ofsounds (Sanskrit alphabet) that come together to form a particular language (Sanskrit) – language being inherent in speech. Therefore, the model of Manifestation of the Universe is depicted in terms not only of vibrational principles, or a “that-ness” (called ‘tattva’ in Sanskrit), but also in terms of levels of speech (vak).

The relationship between manifestation and speech can also be seen from a somewhat different perspective, as put forth by the great sage of Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta: The Divine Consciousness is identical with the Supreme Word (Para-vak) and hence every letter or word is derived from, and ultimately inseparable from, this Consciousness. “She (the Supreme Vak) is, in the most initial stage, stationed in the Divine I-consciousness (Ultimate Reality) which is the highest mantra and which is not limited by space and time.” … Therefore the analysis of language is inseparable from that of consciousness (Singh, 2002).

- See more at:

One more article on same subject

Shiva Sutra 2.7 – Matrikacakra

The Theory of Letters that Expand the Universe & Quantum Reality

It is said that enlightenment will dawn on those who understand the mechanics of the Matrikacakra. Therefore we may be motivated to study elemental powers and their correlations to the Sanskrit letters, which produce the splendid sacred waveforms that create our universe.
Matrikacakra theory precisely explains how the Sanskrit alphabet as root-vibration brings about the expansion of the entire universe, the temporal illusory hologram. Matrika is the hidden mother - the creative energy that generates the external world from subtle to gross. She is ‘hidden’ because she remains unknown to us when we are lost in our desires, forgetting who we are.

“Matrika Shakti is the power of sound that is the matrix of the cosmos, and manifests as the letters of the alphabet. Matrika is the subtle force behind thought and speech. [Chetanananda].”

Swami Lakshmanjoo says that this knowledge can only be attained by the grace of the master. I agree, as the Matrikacakra theory is profoundly elaborate, encompassing the entire process of manifestation - and in reverse, the dissolution of the external holographic universe. A trusted teacher who has mastered this knowledge would be infinitely valuable. 

For those who wish to pursue this knowledge with more diligence, beyond the explanation in the Shiva Sutras:  

1. Abhinavagupta also assures us that the process of learning the theory of Matrikacakra will bring enlightenment and liberation from our self-deluded state of repeating births & deaths. In the introduction to his superlative treatise, the Para-Trishika-Vivarana, Abhinavagupta says:

“The aim or purpose of the Shastra (teaching) is liberation of all experients…who have become entitled for the unsurpassable (anuttara)…and unification with perfect I-consciousness [the Oneness], which is the delightful flash of one’s own essential Self and is the achievement of one who by realization of his essential nature regards the entire multitude of categories of existence, supposed to be bondage, as mere different aspects of his sportfulness which is the expression of the abundance of his delight.”

I will not go through the entire theory, but here is a short introduction with some beginning thoughts. The existence of the entire universe is encoded within the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. 

The universe is made up of 36 elements known as TATTVAS in Sanskrit. The universe begins with the Shiva tattva. The fact that Shiva is here identified as an element/tattva, in my view, points to Shiva - who is often personified for the purpose of communicating timeless wisdom - as a metaphysical principle, the element/tattva that contains all the other elements. The 50 (Devanagari) letters in Sanskrit represent these 36 elements.

The Tantraloka and Paratrisika, elucidates the Shiva tattva: “The first movement of supreme I-consciousness is unparalleled undifferentiated totality. And when it moves forward with the intention of creating His glory in the external world, it takes the formation of Bliss (ananda).”

Tattva means ‘thatness’ or principle, reality; it is the very being of a thing. Shiva represents the Oneness, the element (tattva) that contains all the other elements within it. There is only the One.

A vision for eradicating coronavirus - Article by Tarun Agarwal

Terror furthers no religion, virus does not empower any nation
When Wuhan resumed normal life, we came to know that we have hope in hand. There is a certainty now because of their experience that this will come to an end. Even if we want to be cautious, we can assume with reasonable certainty that there will be a complete pause sometime soon even if no relapse cannot be assured. Countries across the world learn from each other very quickly nowadays as information reaches from one corner of the world to another at the blink of an eye. There is little doubt that China will help other countries from their learnings as individually and collectively, coronavirus is a big blot on China’s overall position in the world and they would want to make an all-out effort to reverse the damage to their acceptance. Thus, there is optimism on that front.
However, to ensure that the complete pause is reached, we need to bear a few things in mind. The pandemic has been contained in China in the good, old-fashioned ways. The entire city has been disinfected thoroughly just the way we clean a house to stop the spread of several diseases. Like for all contagious diseases like chickenpox or conjunctivitis, the contagion has been absorbed by imposing limits on human interactions.  Just as we try home remedies when a person falls sick unexpectedly, so too all available treatments were tried and, the Wuhan experience shows, some available things do work in the end.  After a disease or an illness hits a person, he adopts a new lifestyle to deal with the ravages and to prevent a relapse. In much the same way, Wuhan has put several checks and balances and a new set of behavioural patterns will get normalized which won’t be too different from the existing ones but a little modified. The restrictions on the movement of people that was applied achieved the goal of building a healthcare ecosystem that can deal with it. We can see that this ecosystem requires a large army of well-trained people of various capabilities. Equipment and medicines need to reach critical mass. One of the underlying principles of making this a success is making prevention, testing and treatment available to every single individual irrespective of religion, strata or domicile status.
The western nations, who have deep roots in research and development, are likely to come up with the treatment and, if it exists, the cure. The vaccine also will be delivered following the due process of innovation. The western countries as well as some new economic superpowers like China are the countries most likely to come up with conclusive research and development processes.
After this achieved, a new problem will throw itself to the world. This was not an expected crisis. Bill Gates had put his credibility in line predicting this would happen a few years ago. ‘Contagion’, a mainstream Hollywood film was made on this – which means several luminary writers, directors and producers saw this as a plausible scenario. An astrologer in India is going viral for having predicted this too! This means that we should look at the other facets of these predictions and especially by those who have that kind of access to knowledge and wisdom.
The predictions of top experts point to bioterrorism as the new threat. In a way, it is a continuation of the terrorism that dominated one decade of the world starting from 9/11. This terrorism got taught us the importance of protecting our cities besides forcing the political class to not encourage building of such terror camps howsoever strategic it may be. Our malls, five-star hotels, big housing complexes did not have a security guard to check anyone who comes in then. Intelligence agencies also realized that trouble at the border, while not completely a thing of the past, was much less significant than the war that was being waged through terrorism. The intelligence agencies too play their part in nipping in the bud anyone trying to setup a terror camp.
In much the same as terror arising from Islamic fundamentalism has been eradicated very significantly, this threat of bioterrorism needs to be overcome. This means that our malls, hotels, residences, airports, cinema halls, offices will also check you for fever and anyone having cough and cold will be advised not to come but to be at rest. Happily, this checking has already started in some places. It needs to be scaled as soon as possible. The public and media must put pressure on political leaders to not build clinics where such viruses are being made. The public must put pressure on political leadership to not roll out such attacks deliberately. Just as we have terror task forces, we need task forces that will do uncomfortable investigations on these epidemics lest anyone in the seat of power thinks that he will get away with it.
Even if coronavirus was not a bioterror attack this time, in the future, there is a likelihood that this will become a preferred route of some states to wage wars. It will, perhaps, open the pandora’s box. Political leadership often has a thirst to lord it over other countries as well as their own citizens. Political classes have everything to gain when freedoms of the people are curtailed. They very well understand that the economic loss also means ease of handling any threats to their seats of power. To completely eradicate coronavirus and other such similar pandemics, we need to unequivocally expose the fact that just as terrorism is not a well-wisher of any religion, viruses have no affinity for any nationality, and everyone suffers when these get created. The can of worms that has opened, will require a new consciousness to deal with. Countries like India have a chance to reshape their role in this science driven world. People of the country need to become conscious of the impact that research teams in corporates, universities and government agencies have on the fortune of the country. Scientist Shi Zhengli, who is referred to as ‘bat woman’ for her many conquests in the field of bat related diseases including having decisive role in SARS and the current pandemic, has entered in minds of the common man in China. Similar celebrations must be made for researchers in India.  India needs to come to the forefront in the world affairs in this matter as it is the only country where power and morality has co-existed since ages. The power of great research needs to rest in the hands of the morally disciplined else the discovery made in the areas of bioterrorism will be very expensive for mankind. Discovery in the field of science and biology are very potent and we need to build a public consensus that its misuse will not be tolerated.
A fresh vision is necessary to prohibit anyone in the world from treating this coronavirus terror being wreaked on the world as an opportunity to be replicated.

Coronavirus in India: People suspected with the virus, people ...

Saguna and Nirguna

Dear Sanjay,

I shall go into much more complex discussions, once you have some questions. Let me try and explain the basic understanding and what is my question

In the Advaita mode that I believe in, we are shakti(electromagnetic scalar energy). And during birth, that high frequency shakti converts from a shapeless energy into an energy with shape. So, we call that transformation: from nirguna to saguna. Saguna has three operating gunas - the subtle (sattva), less subtle (rajas) and gross (tamas). I call this process of transformation from very subtle to gross (nirguna to sattva to rajas to tamas) - an involution process or slowing down of frequency.

For the reverse to take place is a process which is the opposite of involution called evolution. Meaning that one transforms from the gross to the most subtle. So we decide to do actions that are more of sattva nature (purity, meditation, honesty, seva, integrity, helping mankind etc) instead of tamas (laziness, apathy, cynicism) or even rajas (action, anger, passion). The lower two chakra actions are tamasic, the middle two chakra ones are essentially rajasic, while the visuddha chakra (5th chakra) oriented action is sattvic. 

But the top two chakra actions - ajna and sahasrara are beyond these three gunas. They are nirguna - more subtle than sattva. 

So, I have been consciously trying to strive to work towards maximum sattva action. Example : Work for others, change diet, read and think of all these things, satsanga, try and reduce material needs and greed, meditate etc. 

But, my desire or iccha is to go beyond sattva to nirguna state. Swamiji told me that I must wait for more time, as I have family and other responsibilities. Many times I rebel in my mind and am impatient and want to start working for the nirguna state. 

(in case, you are interested - we can discuss about process to reach nirguna state and the role of kriya in that)

In the spiritual gita (an interpretation of the Bhagwat Gita in the kriya yog tradition by Swamiji's guru - Bhupendranath Sanyal (father of Daddu)), I read an interpretation of the 1st shloka of Chapter 14 on Gunas that made me think of a way to circumvent Swamiji's advice. It says " Yet, how does the daily life of such a person go on? By the grace of God, such beings somehow get their daily needs. This stage is of the highly perfected one and the best part is that if anything is needed or wished for, then that thing gets fulfilled".

Now, like we keep on moving every second between the three gunas, do we also move between nirguna and saguna? If we have a wish of say "taking care of the family" in the saguna avastha, can it get fulfilled when we are in the nirguna state? I know that words are making this sounds complex and complicated - but in my mind I am clear that through kriya, stithpragnata and bhakti, nirguna state can be achieved, even by me (by the grace of our Guru).

But is this the right time? and if not, how do i speed the interim period, is my quest.

अब रहा नहीं जाता - my poem

अब रहा नहीं जाता 

एक तरफ़

कोई ध्रुव का तारा बन कर मार्ग दिखा रहा है मुझे,
कोई अंदर प्रवेश कर आत्मबल दे रहा है मुझे,
कोई दूर के समुन्द्र की आवाज़ सुना रहा है मुझे,
कोई चेतना प्रगट कर हवा दे रहा है मुझे,
कोई अपात्र में से पात्र बना रहा है मुझे,

दूसरी और ....दूर दूर से ....

मनमोहक किनारे लुभा रहे है मुझे,
पक्षिओं की कलरव बुला रही है मुझे,
और रौशनी की जममगाहट आंख मिचका रही है मुझे

लेकिन ....

प्रेयसी के मिलन में पाग़ल बन, पहले धारा, फिर नदी और अब झरना बन दौड़ रहा हूँ मैं,
काँप जाए ऐसा गहरा और विशाल समुन्द्र को आलिंगन देने तड़प रहा हूँ मैं ,

क्या होगा? कब होगा? कैसे होगा? इसकी परवा नहीं।
अस्तित्व विलय हो जायेगा? इसकी परवा नहीं।

अब रहा नहीं जाता है, गुरुमहाराज ,
नदी से समुन्द्र बना दो मुझे।

Dillman's Creative Art Workshops - 2014 - Julie Gilbert Pollard ...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

How will the COVID-19 global pandemic end? Can we see any good outcomes? - by Chittaranjan Dubey

How will the COVID-19 global pandemic end? Can we see any good outcomes?

Essay by Chittaranjan Dubey

This global pandemic won’t end unless we find a vaccine, which in the best-case scenario could take approx. 18 months. Recently, Bill Gates said if everything goes well, we will see a vaccine in 18 months. This is the best-case scenario. But there may be surprises, and we could find a solution earlier-maybe in 6 months.

Considering on-going facts where 1.8 million people are infected, and more than 100 thousand are dead so far, Covid19 will change the world the way World Wars did. I see many possible outcomes for good and bad reasons, and a few are below:

Looming Depression: Many will be in a severe depression for a very long period. These unprecedented times have brought unprecedented emotional traumas. Many have already lost their near and dear ones, which happened in a concise period. Many will be in depression due to financial and personal losses. Millions are already unemployed, and how long they will remain, none knows. The emotional traumas will last for many generations. The looming poverty, personal losses and diseases will aggravate this. The scars and wounds left will be on the scale of World Wars or maybe higher. This will linger.

Changes in Lifestyle: People should question their lifestyle. They should question what they eat and consume in everyday life. This incessant desire to consume more and more each day has led to this destruction. The Chinese wet markets were the epicentre of viruses for many years. But the Chinese government, under the influence of few wealthy elites, let wet markets continue and kept selling meat of highly infectious animals which could have been avoided. Looking at human history, it has been proven many times that animal viruses infected humans time and again. It seems we never learned. We need to question our eating habits. The meat industry has destroyed our ecosystem and many species. Out of total agricultural land, 77 percent is used for livestock, either as land for grazing or land to grow animal feed.

 Let’s take another example of the use of toilet rolls.

How ridiculous is it to destroy trees for the sake of toilet papers? To wipe the back, we are killing billions of trees. Only 30% of the population are using toilet rolls, and these countries are rich. These rich countries show poor habits. They need to change it soon. Why not people in the West use hose pipe which is widely used in developing countries.

It is ridiculous to see humans wipe out about 270,000 trees a day with toilet paper. The US earns $ 200 billion annually through the export of toilet papers. This is one of the examples of the senseless lifestyle and economy. Unless this senseless economic model isn’t challenged, we will see 1% people controlling 99% of the wealth.

 Climate and Ecological Crisis:  The Covid19 pandemic is an outcome of the exploitation of living species and ecosystem, which was going on for decades. We humans need to pause and reflect on what we consume in our daily lives and where it comes from. The fossil fuel dependency must end. The air pollution-related diseases and contaminated water kill millions each year but none talks about this. The world leaders should pay heed to the climate scientists and environmentalists if they want to save this planet. In 2018, the World Bank projected that there will be more than 143 million internal climate migrants by 2050, in just three regions of the world (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America), if no climate action is taken.

So far there is no system in place to safeguard our lives against increasing droughts and floods led by climate and ecological crisis. We see more climate refugees than war refugees. But, we have a rapid mechanism to act in case of military wars.

  E.g. NATO Response force is capable of deploying military at any geographical location within 5 days, but they are not competent in providing testing kits, ventilators and vaccines. The annual world defence budget is more than $ 2 trillion, which is insanely high. Why not we cut this budget and spend more on healthcare? It is time to set up universal healthcare and set our priorities right.

 Climate change could kill millions by the end of this century if we don’t take drastic measures. I hope business and political leaders will take drastic measures to stop climate and ecological catastrophe the way they have acted to stop Covid19 pandemic.

 Health and Wealth: So far, every country is running for GDP growth by destroying its ecology. In this pandemic, billions of people are locked down and almost all factories, refineries, trains, aeroplanes, businesses have come to a standstill. Ask why? Only to save health. We must realize that now there is nothing more important than health.

 There are possibilities to see more focus on healthcare and well-being than on stock markets and oil. It’s a tough ask in this economic model which is driven by greed. But I think at least a few governments after going through this bitter experience will spend more on hospitals, nurses, doctors and medicines than on fossil fuels and military. I hope we will come out of this pandemic with robust learning and as a winner.

 Spirituality: In this time of crisis, it is time to seek a deeper meaning of life. It is time to explore how to make ourselves a better human. It is time to question our existence and this mundane world. While a logical mind seeks in the matter, spiritual being seeks inside soul. Being spiritual means accepting self, nature, our surroundings and co-exist with peace. Being spiritual means thinking out of the box, celebrate openness, practice solidarity and bring transformation inside out. The emphasis on spiritual values will lead us to question religious fanaticism.

Today no matter you come from which faith, the only person who is going to help in this pandemic is a Doctor or Nurse. All temples, mosques, churches and synagogues are locked down. The mullahs and priests are also hiding. The ones who were working as an agent between God and you are in the refuge. This proves that religions are human-made. This demonstrates that we need to seek inside to find a balance. Once we find peace and balance inside, this outside world will fall into place.

 This pandemic is the right time to question your beliefs and practices. And spiritual path makes you a seeker and let you to dive deeper and understand Atman and this Samsara. It’s a bridge between mind (logic) and heart (love) and helps to transcend beyond. This will also help us to move beyond the hierarchies of nationality, caste, race and class system and connect with this world and universe. I have already observed in my friend circle that people are moving towards spirituality, which is a healthy sign.

 I am wishing my readers good health.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

SOON (21) - Power of mantras

In 2004, I had tremendous heat in my body due to some spiritual sadhana that I had done. My eyes were bloodshot red and I used to apply ice all over my body to try and keep cool. Every method - be it acupressure, medicines, food, keeping feet dipped in water etc was in vain. Desperate to find a solution, me and my friends contacted various ayurvedic, allopathic and homeopathic doctors, yogis and searched for gurus, but to no avail.

One day, out of the blue, someone known to someone who knew my state, phoned me. He gave me a mantra to cool me down. He dictated the mantra which I had to recite and the written copy to be kept below my pillow while I slept. Always under the impression that mantra is a negligible energy, I was not too enthused. But, being in a state of desperation, I recited the mantra a few times on the phone and got the rhythm and phonetics correct. After putting down the phone, I closed my eyes and started saying the mantra repeatedly. And suddenly, I started feeling cold and in control of my body. Minal, my wife came and touched the bed where I was sitting and found it to be ice-cold. That started my process of recovery from the 4 months of intense heat experience. That was my first experience of the power of mantra.

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, took water samples and subjected it to simple words like love, thank you, war and hate. These water samples were then examined under the microscope. The samples subjected to love and thank you formed into brilliant crystal shapes. The hate and war samples formed ugly, amorphous shapes. This brought out the impact of words on water, as it would be on other elements. One can imagine the impact of words on humans who are made of 70% water.

There have been a lot of experiments on the influence of music, sounds, mantras and words on plants, animals, people and water. And for every one sensitive to the influence of music, sounds mantras and words it will be no surprise that harmonious classical music like that of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Mozart and Beethoven or of harmonious new-age music, words like “I love you” and natural sounds of the sea, whales etc have a benevolent influence. And the opposite has been the case with disharmonious music like heavy metal, sounds like traffic noise and words like “I hate you”. The entire Indian classical music with its different ragas is based on the understanding of mantras on the psyche. The recent discovery of scientific and medical potency of ultrasound and ultrasonic devices is a pointer towards the impact that sound has on us.

Every element of the universe is in a constant state of vibration manifested to us as light, sound, and energy. This energy is neither created nor destroyed - but transformed. Thus the universe is a web of vibrations or sounds, in which the elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) is represented by a set of sound combinations. Man is part of the system of vibrations and each of the letter of the sanskrit language resonates with different components of a human. The sanskrit language has been created by accessing energy dynamics and knowledge through the subjective process of meditation. Each sanskrit alphabet vibrates and stimulates various parts of the body and brain cortex.

Indian ancient seers and Rishis with their deep science and knowledge used sounds, syllable, word, or group of words called "mantra" to create transformation in mind, body and spirit. Mantras are essentially vibrations which help to intensify the purification and energization of the human mind-body-consciousness.

Mantras start a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.

At this point, a change of state occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. Just as a laser is light which is coherent in a new way, the person who becomes one with the state produced by the mantra is also coherent in a way which did not exist prior to the conscious undertaking of repetition of the mantra.

More powerful than individual alphabets are the atomised combinations of alphabets to create a powerful seed or primary mantras (Bija mantras) such as Hrim, Krim, Aung, Phat, Klim etc. While, these bija mantras do not convey any meaning, the unleashing of their energy by repetition can act on various parts of the human consciousness to create powerful impact.

Bhajans, kirtans, prayer, healing mantras are some other forms of word manipulation to impact us. Vibrations can be audible or inaudible. The mantra is internalized in five stages (each stage being equally powerful): through writing, through speaking, through whispering, through thinking and through uninterrupted inner repetition (japa).

It is important to understand that as much as the exact word, it is the Chhanda (rhythm, enunciation, chanting, combination of musical accents and the speed) that is critical. The specific pattern of sonic waveforms generated by the mantra–japa depends upon the syllables of the mantra and the type of chhanda used. The assignment of appropriate chhanda for the spiritual evolution processes (sadhana) of practicing a mantra is decided with reference to the purpose of the sadhana, the configuration of the mantra-syllables and the mental and spiritual level of the sadhaka. For example, the chhanda or rhythm of the mantra that I repeat is such that with the gaps to breath in the rhythm, I breath only 12 times a minute instead of 15. That slows down my breathing speed and improves my health.

The japa of the bija generates the ‘energy’ essential for initiating the activation of the shakti (sonic power) of the associated mantra. The impact of sound on this system results in corresponding vibrations in the molecular, cellular (e.g., an enzyme in a cell or a membrane, or a hormone...) or organ (e.g., the liver, uterus or ears.....), brain cortex (visual, thinking, memory....) and generates isolated or cascade effects (positive or negative, depending on the type of sound) on the interconnected subsystems.

Several instances of the negative physical effects of the impact of sound on the gross body have been scientifically verified. Examples of the positive physical effects (on the gross bodies of any living being) include – increase in the immunity of human beings under specific therapies based on sound; acceleration of the growth rate of vegetation by special music; increase in milk production of cows and bulls; increase in the reproduction rates of some varieties of fish and hens under certain music-based treatments.

The mantras become much more powerful and effective when it is used in collaboration with the visual yantra. Yantras are abstract geometrical audio -visual designs used as tools for increasing the inner energies to travel towards unity with the highest energy.

The main Bija mantra is Aum or Om. This is an all-encompassing chanting that is not just healing, but can energize humans and accelerate their spiritual growth. 

There are various mantras that activate different parts of the body and mind. The Ganesha mantra "Aum gam ganapataye namah" works on the muladhar (root) chakra, its connected organs and brain cortex and the earth element. The Saraswati mantra " Om Aim Kleeng Saum Saraswatiya Namaha" works on the vishuddha chakra (throat chakra), its connected organs and brain cortex and the ether element. There are thousands of similar mantras that energize, open blockages and strengthen different chakras, organs, brain cortex etc.

Mahamrutunjaya Mantra has great healing quality and is chanted when one is seriously ill. But, the most powerful and complete mantra is the Gayatri mantra. It is the most holistic and integrated mantra, which is very potent and powerful. It energizes many parts of the body and is recited when one wants overall and general well being and shakti.