Monthly Archives: March 2017

Bhakti Song 79 – Coward

Several times when I was praying, my defeats and fears dominated my mind. When I thought about it, I wrote this song.

பல சமயம் பிரார்த்தனை செய்யும் சமயங்களில், என் தோல்வி, பயம் போன்றவையே பெரிதாகத் தோன்ற, அதைக்குறித்து எழுதிய பாடல்:

கோழை

எல்லாம் இழந்திட்ட ஏழை

என்னில் பயம்கொண்ட கோழை

சொல்ல ஒண்ணாத் துன்பங்கள்

சோதனைகள் எனைத்தாக்க

வாழ்வில் சோர்ந்திட்ட மோழை!

சொல்லிடத் தேவையோ உனக்கு

என்துன்பத்தின் மொத்தக் கணக்கு

சோதனை வேதனை அத்தனையும்

வென்ற முக்தேசனே உனக்கு

என்னுடன் உனக்கென்ன பிணக்கு

அடித்தாலும் அணைத்தாலும் நீயே

ஆறுதல் கூறிடும் தாயே!

இணைத்தாலும் பிரித்தாலும் என்றும்

என்நிலைக்கானாலும் நானும்

என்றும் உன்னடி நாடும் சேயே!

09-12-1995. லக்னோ (உ.பி)

 

English Translation

I am a poor one who lost everything

I am a coward who has inner fear

When unutterable sorrows

And temptations attack me

I become depressed in life

Is it necessary for me to tell this to you?

The entire record of my sorrows

O Muktesa who won

All sorrows and pains?

Why have you this indifference towards me?

Either you spank me or hug me

You are my comforting mother

Whether I join with you or get separated

Or to whichever condition I am pushed

I am the child seeking your feet

 

09-12-1995. Lucknow, (U.P.)

 

Comments

Bhakti seeks nothing from God but God Himself. This is reiterated in the Hindu bhakti tradition. ‘Either you do good or evil (bad) to me; I don’t know anything. Already I surrendered all mine to you’, says Abirami Bhutter in Abirami Andadi.1

As no mother can hate her own child, God won’t do that either. But feeling a sense of rejection is part of our emotion, as we, like a child demand things not realizing their effect on us. God never rejects us though He withdraws His grace to train us (Wurmbrand). And true bhakti will accept it as part of God’s grace.

 

25-7-14

1. நன்றே வரினும் தீதேசெயினும் நானறிவது ஒன்றுமில்லை

அன்றே எனக்குள்ள தெல்லாம் உனக்கென்று அளித்துவிட்டேன்–அபிராமி அந்தாதி,

Kundalini

That boy who was a staunch Sihiv bhakta often talked about awakening kundalini and seven chakras. For this I said that I have never done proper studies on Tantrism. But in general I know that in Tantrism the human body is considered the vehicle to achieve that bliss by awakening the (so called) kundali from the muladhara.

There might be some truth in it about which I don’t know much. But without a proper person to teach and guide, and without having strong willpower to do that sadhana continuously without much of a break, one should not try to do such dangerous sadhanas. Without proper guidance and personal discipline if one ventures out in such an area out of curiosity or an adventurous spirit, that may bring lots of damage both to the body and mind. And then recovery from that damage could be very painful and slow.

We should understand the role played by a guru in Indian tradition. A guru is not merely to teach, but to correct when you make mistakes while you follow the teaching. For example, today, one can learn Carnatic music or some asana exercises by watching some videos. But the person who demonstrates in the video won’t come out from the screen to correct you when you make mistakes. So when learning certain fine arts (like music, dance, etc.) and some physical and mental disciplines, one should not do it without the proper guidance of an able preceptor or guru.

I told that boy that if he strongly believes in it, he should spend at least one year sincerely and honestly and then come and share his experience with others. He often punctuated his statements “This I heard.” When I questioned from where, again he said, “I heard …. said that it is in Shiva Purana.”

In response I said, “I read the entire Shiva Purana in English and I never remembered reading anything about Kundalini, etc. Maybe I should refer to it again. But you should not merely quote another person as an authority for a long time. You should begin to read it by yourself to know more about it.”

When I said that this Kundalini awakening is part of Tantra, that boy said that it is not Tantra. Then I said that I have never done a proper study on Tantra, though I have read a few books about it.

Let me give some quotes from those books which will substantiate my point. I will share just a few not to show that I’m better than him, but to remind him that mere ‘hearsay’ (sunsuniki baat in Hindi) viz., ‘I heard other saying’, is not enough when one wants to launch such unknown and very dangerous territory.

 

 

…The techniques of yoga have their source in tantra and the two cannot be separated, just as consciousness, Shiva, cannot be separated from energy, Shakti.

Tantra is a combination of two words, tanoti and trayati, which mean ‘expansion’ and ‘liberation’ respectively. Therefore, it is the science of expanding the consciousness and liberating the energy. Tantra is the way to attain freedom from the bondage of the world while still living in it. The first step in tantra is to know the limitations and capacities of the body and mind. Next it prescribes techniques for the expansion of consciousness and the liberation of energy whereby individual limitations are transcended and a higher reality experienced. — Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Munger, Bihar, Yoga Publications Trust, (1996), 2002 p.3

 

…in the Kularnava, Siva says to Devi,`I churned the great ocean of Vedas and Agamas with the churning handle of (correct) knowledge. I knew the essence of these and took out the Kuladharma, that the Kaulasastras are authoritative (p.1051) like Vedic texts and should not be nullified by ratiocination’. The same Tantra further asserts `one who has studied the four Vedas but is ignorant of Kuladharma is inferior to a candala, while a candala who knows Kuladharmas is superior to a brahmana. If all dharmas such as sacrifices, pilgrimages and vratas are put on one side and Kuladharma on another side, Kaula (dharma) is superior.’ It is, therefore, necessary to understand what is meant by Kula or Kauladharma. The Guhya-samaja states that Guhya means the three viz. body, speech and mind and `samaaja’ means `coming together’, that Kula may comprehend five matters or three or 101 and that Guhya (as defined) is trikula.’ God Sankara declared five tattvas, viz. wine, flesh, fish, mudra (hand and finger poses or the woman helper of a yogin) and sexual intercourse, that are acts that become the means for the attainment of the position of a viira and that the mantra of Sakti does not confer perfection unless one follows the practices of Kula; therefore a person (p.1052) should be devoted to the Kula practices whereby he would attain to the sadhana of Sakti; wine, flesh, fish, mudra and sexual intercourse–these are declared to be the five tattvas in the procedure of the worship of Sakti….– P.V.Kane, History of Dharmasastra, Vol. V, Part II, pp. 1051-53

 

…One of the most important factors in Tanticism is the yantra…The yantra is a symbol of the Goddess and upon it the letters of the alphabet, or short monosyllabic mantras are inscribed which constitute the mantra-or sabda-body of the Goddess. By the letters of the alphabet the body of the Goddess is constituted. The worshipper will identify certain parts of his own body with certain letters and thus will identify himself with the goddess.—Klaus K. Klostermaier, MYTHOLOGIES AND PHILOSOPHIES OF SALVATION IN THE THEISTIC TRADITIONS OF INDIA, Published for the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion/Corporation Canadienne des Sciences Religieuses by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1984, p.222

…In most forms of Tantric worship the awakening of the kundalini Sakti in the body plays a great role: …The aim of the Tantrika is always the union of Sakti and Siva, he himself merging into Sakti. The details of Tantrasastra are very complex and obscure. It does not have any specific mythology of its own and only develops the idea of the Goddess as the ground of everything.—ibid. pp.222-23

 

…Much of Tantra hymnology is written in the samdhya style, that is, with a double meaning: one gross and sensual, the other sublime and spiritual. Only the initiated will discover the true sense.—ibid. p.226

…Especially important was the oral ingestion of sexual fluids thought to give the devotee access to the goddess’s supernatural powers. In this way Tantric sex was used to awaken latent energies from the base of the body and bring them to the fore, so using the physical body with its blood and semen, desires and energies, as a way of accessing the spiritual, and the divine….—8. THE LADY TWILIGHT, in William Dalrymple, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, London, Blooms Bury, (2009), Paperback, 2010, p. 214

 

…Moreover, the sexual aspect of medieval Indian Tantra is quite different both in aim and practice from the ‘Tantric sex’ marketed in illustrated manuals published in the contemporary West. Early Tantric texts make no reference to pleasure, bliss or ecstasy: the sexual intercourse involved in the rites was not an end itself so much as a means of generating the semen whose consumption lay at the heart of these Tantric fertility rituals—a sort of inverted Tantric version of the offerings made in Vedic fire sacrifices. This original Devi-propitiating Tantric sex stands at an unimaginable distance away from the sort of (p.214) faddish Tantra cults embraced by Western rock stars, with their celebration of aromatherapy and coitus reservatus, a movement well described by the French writer Miche Houllebecq as ‘a combination of bumping and grinding, fuzzy spirituality and extreme egotism’.—ibid. 8. THE LADY TWILIGHT, in pp. 214-15

 

…According to laya yoga, apart from the physical body (sthula sarira) with all its parts such as flesh, bones, blood, nerves, etc., there is a subtle body (suksma sarira) in each one of us. Nadis and Cakras form the subtle body. The Siddha yoga practice is primarily based on the cakra organization and nadi system.

Kundalini power is the individual bodily representation of the great cosmic power. The term is derived from kundala meaning a ring or coil. The Tamil word ‘kudambai’ also stands for the coiled kundalini….—p. 83

…A better translation of diksa is ‘empowerment’, because in it the teacher carried the pupil in himself, as it were, as the mother bears the embryo in her body and ‘empowers’ the disciple with all his jnana-energy. The term ‘diksa’ is a compound of two ideas—diyate and ksiyate—giving and weakening, that is, giving or endowing knowledge and weakening or destroying (removing) lower impulses and desires which stand as obstructions, thereby freeing the individual from phenomenal fetters….—p. 105

In tantra philosophy the human body has acquired an importance it had never before attained in the spiritual history of India….All the tantric doctrines are based on the maxim Sariramadyam khalu dharmasadanam, which forms the essence of the Tamil Siddha philosophy as well….—p. 115

according to the Tamil Siddhas, the body contains in itself an immortal essence….Eternity is within the body; it is not the body itself; but it is in the body….—p.115

…The Siddha view of body as a moksa sadhana is a very old one with its emphasis on apsycho-chemical process of yoga, known as kaya sadhana, with a view to making the body perfect and immutable and thereby attaining an immortal spiritual life….The attitude of the Siddhas toward the human body is entirely positive. This attitude is in contrast to other religious teachings which decry the body as evil and full of defects.—p. 116

The term ‘kaaya’ used by the Siddhas is translated as ‘body’, but not in the sense of the purely physical abstraction….—p. 121

Kaya saddhna is to be distinguished from physical culture. Physical culture aims at developing the athlete’s powers; but kaya sadhana aims at developing the spiritual power, a power which electrifies the body and its consciousness. It is an attempt to bring about the transubstantiation of the body, the attainment of what is called siddha deha. This attainment is not an end in itself but a means to achieve a divya deha, an immutable spiritual body or ‘Sivahood’. Kaya (p.123) sadhana implies a change of perspective where the physical existence is not denied but replaced by a permanent spiritual existence, where the gulf between the physical and the ontological (non-physical) is bridged over in a blissful existence.—pp.123-24

…In Tamil Siddha poems we come across the term kaya karpam, which means the process of making the body immutable and stone-like. This process consists of three methods known as mani, mantiram, and avildam. Mani is rasaayana, chemical process. Mantiram is the process of kundalini yoga and aviltham is the process of medicine, i.e., outsada. When a body is hardened by yogic techniques we get what is called the yoga deha. That is, the ordinary physical body has first to be ‘burnt out’ through the continual application of the fire of yoga. Hatha yoga tells us the methods by which one can prepare the body for attaining the yoga deha….—p. 124

…After the attainment of the siddhi, the siddha deha is turned into a mantra deha called pranava tanu. This pranava tanu is free from all gross matter and all impurities. It is a body consisting of the sacred formula ‘Om’. This body is a refined, transphysical, incorruptible, transfigured body of glory and power. The pranava tanu is transfigured into an eternal spiritual body called the jnana deha or (p.124) the divya tanu. When a Siddha attains this spiritual body he becomes a paramukta; he attains Sivahood….—pp. 124-25

…the Siddhas say that a human body is a spiritual treasure and should not be squandered in vain. According to them, liberation means a transformation of a body with limitations into a body without limitations. In Siddha literature this transformation is called dehaveda….—p. 125.

Formula for Success

One boy quoted a Telugu film star who said something like, “If your success is not envied by others, then it is not success at all.”

In response I said, “For me this is another kind of sadism. A truly successful person wants to inspire and challenge others to strive like him, rather than making others jealous. This is poor leadership. But here true spirituality can come to help a person. With all humility, he will encourage others to work hard like him to become successful and even challenge them to press forward, but never will brag that his success becomes real or great only if it creates jealousy in another person.

Here I would like to add more. That boy asked me whether I knew that film star, I said “No.” This shows that the film star’s success is limited only within a certain territory. So his success is not successful enough to make others envy beyond his territory. So for me, he is successful only in creating such envy in a limited area but never truly achieving much in his life.

In this context another person asked about following the model of so-called successful people. For this I said, “We should take the principle of those successful person but should never try to imitate them. Their success depends upon so many other factors, which may not work for you. Suppose a person becomes a successful business person in one area, if another person does the same business in another area, there is no guarantee that he too will be successful. We should take and learn from their principle but should never try to imitate their model.

Everlasting Peace

When the question came about doing some sadhana or kundalini yoga to get permanent peace, I said: That is impossible. The world is full of suffering and as Kabir Das said, we all took birth to suffer1. But like lightning which flashes only for few seconds, joy or peace that we get will come and remain only for few seconds or minutes. But if it is genuine, then it will give much mental, moral and spiritual energy or strengthen to cope with the stress and problems in life. It is like charging a mobile phone. We need not charge it the whole day. But once it is charged for sometime the battery will remain for several hours.

But we should guard ourselves and not get cheated or get trapped if someone promises permanent bliss or everlasting joy or peace while we still live on this earth. That is not possible. There is no ready-made and instant solution for any problem in life. No amount of spoon-feeding will help us solve many problems in life, particularly those that we have created for ourselves. For everything there is a price to pay. And even to receive that fraction of joy or peace we need to pay a heavy price by searching for the right kind of sadhana or guru who can guide us step by step.

If anyone promises any instant spiritual solution by attending few days or few weeks of any sadhana, it is nothing but a business and they are cheating others to make a nice living.

Most of the problems and stresses in life come because of strained relationship with others. The best solution for that is forgiveness and reconciliation. Even if we are innocent it is better take that initiative. That will give that joy or peace which will sustain us for a long time to give spiritual, moral and mental strength to cope with stress and problems particularly that come because of interpersonal relationships.

Above all happiness in life depends upon many factors and circumstances. But true joy is something which will remain even though one need not feel it in every situation in life. To become happy or remain happy depends upon others co-operation. But once one finds true joy or bliss she does not require others cooperation, support or circumstances.

To explain this I used one example: each person keeps herself at the centre of her life and views others from that point of view. For example for a woman, it is her husband, her friend, her siblings, her children, her parents, etc. There is nothing wrong in having such notion in life as she owns them as her own. But while owning her duty and responsibility towards them, due to her self-centeredness, she unconsciously expects others to dance according to her tune. This is quite natural for every human being.

But she often forgets one fact that others do the same and they have the right to do so. And quite naturally, keeping themselves at the centre of their life they too would expect others to dance to their tune. And in such a scenario tension is unavoidable.

 

Endnotes

1.

9-Of all that wear this flesh, are none found happy; all that thou seest are wretched.

Rulers and ruled, the poor, the rich; the lowest of the low, the headman of the village.

In greater or in less degree the whole would is in grief; the house –holder and the hermit alike.

Happy in this world is no father of sons; happy no lonely recluse.

The Jogi is troubled, the Jangam is troubled; to him who seeks out penances is two-fold

trouble.

The thirst of desire sparings up in all; there is no palace but contains it.

I speak thruth, yet no one heeds; lies I may not utter.

Brahma, Visnu, Mahesa are troubled, who have traced out this path.

The solitary is troubled, the king is troubled; the poor is troubled for his crippled lot.

Kabir says, hear, O brother Sadhus, that man wins happiness who over comes his mind. –Kabir das.

[When I took this poem, I failed to take the bibliography and other reference—db]

Rupa, Svarupa, Arupa

Another boy who claims himself a staunch Shiv bhakta asked one question about ‘rupa, svarupa and arupa’. Rupa means that which has form; svarupa is like having a physical human form; arupa is without form. For example ‘linga’ is rupa; but ardhanareeshwara or Somaskantha, etc. with arms, leg, head etc is known as svarupa and Shiva as a column of fire (at Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu) is known as ‘arupa’.

In response I said: For a typical Hindu the moment you give a ‘name’ and ‘form’ to God then it is also becomes ‘svarupa’ or ‘rupa’ and never remains ‘arupa’. When Muslims criticise us about idol worship, I used to say, I respect your view on this subject. But according to my understanding, turning towards a particular direction to pray or going to pilgrimage and stoning the so called ‘Satan’ or kissing a ‘stone’ is also considered by us to be idol worship. As a Hindu I respect your view about these religious symbols that you keep and never consider them as idols. But as you have your view about our symbols, you should also respect our view about others’ religious symbols. But we never condemn or condescend other’s views about their faith. Similarly we are the least bothered about others lack of understanding about our religious traditions, symbols and faith.

I can explain this by giving another example. Some people after tasting some food complain that it is tasteless or tastes like mud, but my response is that there is nothing called ‘tasteless’. The food tasted differently and you weren’t familiar with it or didn’t like it. Even mud has its own taste which you don’t like. So there is no concept called ‘tastelessness’ as ‘tastelessness’ is also a taste. For example, rain water is considered pure and without taste. But it has a taste that is different. But we can never claim that rain water is tasteless because it is pure. Suppose if you enter in a room which has no painting or picture on the wall; we cannot say that it is empty. Not having a painting and picture on the wall also a kind of decoration.

So those who call an idol as ‘rupa’ or ‘svarupa’ and other forms which has not name or form as ‘arupa’ is a wrong conception about the very concept of name and form. They are just a play on words and nothing else or some method to condescend others.

New Mandali

I met few youths at Hyderabad when I went there for a one day program. They all came with so many questions and issues related to their struggle in life, spirituality, religion, social and cultural issues. Some are interested to learn more about Muktinath and others are staunch followers of their own sampradaya in Hinduism, but want to know and learn more about it also. At least three of them were more convinced and said that many of their doubts are now cleared but want to know more about other issues.

Over the next few posts, I will share some of their questions and my answers.

 

One among them told me that due to his responsibility towards his mother, who lost her father recently and become very much disturbed, he cannot give much time for other kind of spiritual activities like participating with other bhaktas.

In response I said: What you are doing is the exactly what God also expects from you. Your dharma as a son towards your parents, particularly to your mother should be your priority (not at the cost of your studies). And I consider this is true spirituality and also a sadhana. God never expects us to worship Him or come to Him to spend more time at the cost of our respective dharma. Amidst worldly responsibility one should learn to the truth about spirituality.

Spirituality is not keeping away from mundane activities and needs. But doing them all as per the respective dharma is the mark of true spirituality.