Archive for March 2008

Who is a Guru?

March 10, 2008
Having a teacher to guide us in any field is invaluable. This is true in Spirituality as well. As Spirituality is subtle or intangible in nature, it is difficult to identify with certainty, who a spiritually evolved guide or Guru is. A Guru is very different to a teacher or a preacher. He is a beacon of spiritual light in our world and teaches us the universal spiritual principles that underlie all religions and cultures.

Introduction
What if children were told to educate themselves in modern sciences without any teacher or any access to prior knowledge gained over centuries? In the same way, a guide is very much required in our spiritual journey. It stands to reason that a guide in any field needs to be an authority in that particular field. According to Spiritual science a person who is an authority in the field of Spirituality is known as a Guru.

Definition of a Guru or an evolved spiritual guide
There are various aspects to the Supreme God Principle. These various aspects of God perform specific functions in the Universe. This is pretty much akin to the government of any country which has various departments to facilitate the smooth governing and functioning of the country as a whole.

The aspect of God that looks after spiritual teaching and spiritual growth in the Universe is known as the Guru. This is known as the unseen or unmanifest Guru or the Teaching Principle of God. The unmanifest Guru pervades the entire Universe and is with us at all times during our life and even after we die. The salient and highlighting feature is that the unmanifest Guru stands by us throughout our life and slowly lifts us from our worldly life into a spiritual way of life. The Guru guides us according to our spiritual level, i.e. our capacity to imbibe knowledge.

Out of the entire population of the world, few take up spiritual practice that is universal and beyond the confines of formal, organised religion. Among these, very few people through their spiritual practice (regardless of religion of birth) attain a spiritual level of over 70% (on a scale where 0% is the spiritual level of inanimate objects and 100% of God Realised Soul). The unmanifest Guru then works completely through some of these evolved individuals who are then known as the manifest Guru or the Guru in the human form. In other words, a person has to be at least of the 70% spiritual level, to qualify as a spiritual guide or a Guru. The Guru in human form acts as a beacon of spiritual knowledge for humanity and is in total alignment with the Universal Mind and Intellect of God.

What is the importance of the Guru in the human form?
Each one of us seeks guidance from teachers, doctors, lawyers etc. in their respective fields. If a guide is needed even in these comparatively simple fields, then imagine the importance of the Guru, who releases one from the bondage of life and death and takes one closer to the Source, i.e. God Principle.

How do we recognize and acquire an evolved spiritual guide?
The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) recommends that one should not go searching for a Guru. In almost all cases, one will not have the spiritual maturity to be able to discern as to who to choose as a spiritual guide.

When one achieves a spiritual level of around 55%, a Guru in the human form comes into one’s life. (The mode spiritual level of present day people is 20%).

In summary
The following are the key takeaway points from this article.

  • A Guru is a spiritual guide beyond the 70% spiritual level.
  • Do not go searching for a Guru, as in all likelihood you will not be able to discern for sure if the person one is looking up to is a Guru.
  • Instead do spiritual practice and ensure that it is aligned with the five basic laws of spiritual practice .
  • One cannot reach Sainthood i.e. a spiritual level of 70% without the grace of the Guru.
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The Benefits of Yoga – Healthy Body and Mind

March 9, 2008
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. The word yoga actually comes from the Sanskirt word yuj which is interpreted to mean union or a method of practice.Today, yoga is an extremely popular activity for both men and women. Although yoga was once practiced mainly in the East, there are now many Western practitioners. People are attracted to yoga for its health benefits, especially its capacity to create a relaxed mind and body.

Asana yoga is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the west. Asana yoga is designed to cultivate the mind and body in a manner that is conducive to long periods of meditation. Physical strength, flexibility and stamina are key components of asana yoga.

Hatha yoga is the term used to mean a set of physical exercises. The exercises of hatha yoga are meant to align skin, muscles and bones. In addition, hatha seeks to open the channels of the body so that energy can flow freely.

Many people feel that practicing yoga on a continual basis helps not only physical well-being, but also mental and psychological well-being. Yoga helps to calm the mind, allowing practitioners to feel a sense of inner peace and balance.

There are multiple branches of yoga. In Raja yoga the focus is on meditation. Karma yoga states that what we experience today is a result of past actions. Bhakti yoga is focused on channeling emotions in a positive manner. The various branches of yoga offer something for every taste and style.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen your mind and body and get in shape as well as a great way to unwind after a long day. Whatever your male and female yoga wear needs, we have the information and resources to point you in the right direction. We have yoga music, mats, clothes, pants, videos and journals as well as information on the different styles of yoga, postures and the history of yoga. If you are interested in becoming a yoga teacher learn more about yoga instructor certification courses in your city or state.

Yoga and Children

March 8, 2008
Yoga has many benefits for children. Helping their bodies build muscle and retain flexibility as they grow can give them better health going into adulthood. Yoga can also benefit a growing child’s brain by allowing them to learn to control their stress and emotions. Yoga and children is a great avenue for any child that needs help in any of these areas.

If you are planning to become a certified yoga instructor, consider getting your yoga for kids certification. Working with yoga and children will give you the satisfaction of knowing you are impacting a child in a real way. Teaching yoga to kids will be fun and interesting, and you will find it very rewarding.

Health and fitness is very important for children. Many kids today are showing signs of health problems due to a lack of exercise. A yoga and children program can combat and prevent these problems. Yoga is a fun activity, making it a great choice for children who are not much into exercise. The low impact nature of yoga gives kids the chance to get physical fitness in their routine without causing them any injury.

Children with disabilities will find yoga to be a fun and exciting activity. And the parents can take comfort in the fact that they are helping their differently challenged child improve their motor skills and overall health. Parents and children can both benefit from a class that allows kids and their parents to learn yoga together. A yoga and children program is a great choice for your child.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen your mind and body and get in shape as well as a great way to unwind after a long day. Whatever your yoga apparel and equipment needs, we have the information and resources to point you in the right direction. We have yoga music, mats, clothes, pants, videos and journals as well as information on the different yoga poses, postures and the history of yoga. If you are interested in becoming a yoga instructor learn more about yoga teacher certifications in your city or state.

Yoga Mats Guide – Feel Comfortable With Yoga Mats

March 7, 2008
Yoga mats are essential to perform all yoga activities. It is the basic requirement for the people who love yoga very much. Nowadays these are very much popular because mats give the best practice at the time of doing yoga exercises. It enables you to do certain yoga practices properly and efficiently.Yoga usually requires a lot of space but it can limit your space and enables you to stay in one place. Yoga mats are the best for yoga beginners. There are different type of yoga mats are available in the market such as sticky mat, meditation mat, deluxe yoga mat, and universal style yoga mat etc. Different types of yoga mats are designed for different purposes.

Some yoga activities create chances of sleeping or sliding so in this case deluxe mats are good because these texture mats can easily prevent from these chances. Universal style yoga mat is made up of light texture that is helpful in executing different poses. Don’t forget to take a pillow whenever you’re going to buy meditation yoga mat. Meditation yoga mat along with a pillow enables you to sit comfortably in meditation postures.

Beginner yoga mat is necessary for the people who are new to yoga. You should know your requirements before buying a yoga mat. You should prefer a yoga mat that suits your taste as well as convenience. You can also ask a yoga expert about what type of yoga mat is good for you.

About Author: Author presents a website on Yoga Mats. Website offers all information about yoga mats, best yoga mats, yoga exercise mats, gym yoga mats, extra long yoga mats, and some tips on how to buy yoga mats. You can get more info about yoga exercise mats from his site.

Be Successful! Eklavya – Hard Work and Persistence

March 6, 2008
This is a story from the Indian epic Mahabharat telling the story of the Great War between Pandavas and Kauravas. Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers, is the hero of Mahabharat. Lord Krishna delivered the message of Gita to Arjuna just before the Great War when seeing his own cousin brothers (Kauravas), guru, elders, and other relatives, he said that killing all these was not worth fighting and winning.Arjuna was the favorite disciple of his guru Dronacharya. Dronacharya had promised Arjuna that out of all of his disciples none will excel Arjuna.

One day, Eklavya, son of the chieftain of the forest clan came to Dronacharya to learn the art of archery. Dronacharya refused to teach him on the ground that Eklavya was not fit to be trained with the princes. Eklavya returned to the forest. He made an idol of Dronacharya out of the mud and considering it his teacher began to practice archery. In time he became a fine archer.

One day, Dronacharya and his disciples went to the same forest. Their dog went ahead and reached where Eklavya was practicing. His barking disturbed Eklavya and he adroitly shot seven arrows in the mouth of the dog so that he could not bark further but not hurt as well. The dog ran back to its masters. Seeing the condition of the dog they immediately understood that it was the doing of a master archer. Arjuna asked his guru that how come there was a better archer in the world when Dronacharya was the best guru.

They went to the place where Eklavya was practicing. They could not recognize him. But he recognized them and bowed to Dronacharya addressing him as guru. He then told them what he had done and that Dronacharya was his guru. Arjuna whispered to his guru how come one of his disciple had excelled him when Dronacharya had promised him that out of his disciples none would excel Arjuna.

Let us pause for a moment here and find out how Eklavya became the best archer in the world of his time.

Hard work and persistence. He loved archery and wanted to do nothing else than learn and master the art and science of archery. It was his sole aim. He worked hard at it for many years and persisted with his efforts. He had the initial setback that he could not have a guru. Still he persisted. It is rightly said that genius is 10% of inspiration (meaning born talent) and 90% of perspiration. Nothing beats hard work and persistence. This is one of the greatest secrets of success.

In Indian mythology and epics there are numerous stories where the heroes go to the forest and pray to God for years to acquire some goal and at the end of the hard penance, God grants them the boon of their desire. I interpret all these stories as hard work and persistence.

The Eklavya story has a sad end. In those days, on completion of the study, usually students used to ask, or guru demanded, for any thing or service which they could offer the guru. Most of the time it was symbolic also. But in this story, keeping his promise to Arjuna in view (perhaps there were other political reasons as well as Dronacharya was the guru of princes), he asked for his gift form Eklavya. Eklavya told him to ask him anything which he would give him as a disciple gladly. Dronacharya asked him his right hand thumb which he gave gladly but was later not able to practice archery as deftly as before.

It is hard for me to say that Eklavya should not have given his thumb as the morals of that time of like that. However, to adapt this to modern time, I would like to say that after achieving our goal we should also be careful that we don’t lose our hard earned position. There are numerous instances in history where great men and women made silly mistakes and lost all there position name and fame, and, even life.

BE SUCCESSFUL!

The writer has written an ebook Be Happy! The Guide comes with an Action Plan. The Guide, divided into three parts of Body, Mind and Heart, and Soul, deals with various sources of happiness and how to be happy. The Action Plan gives To-Do lists, Happiness Quotations, Affirmations and Meditations, etc. He has also written an ebook Be Successful! His website is dedicated to happiness, success, and health. Please visit it now: http://www.thelifebeautiful.com

Introduction to Indian Classical Music 101

March 5, 2008
The system of Indian classical music known as Raga Sangeet can be traced back nearly two thousand years to its origin in the Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples. Unlike Western classical music which has written scores, an Indian classical performance is based on improvisation, and anywhere from 10% to 90% of the performance could be extempore, depending on the creative imagination of the artist. The music is rendered orally to the disciple by his guru, popularly known as guru-shishya (teacher-student) parampara (tradition).The very heart of Indian music is the raga, the melodic form upon which the artist improvises his performance. A raga is a scientific, precise, subtle and aesthetic melodic form with its own ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven-note octave or a series of six or five notes.

Every raga is characterized by its own particular mood. The acknowledged order of these nine sentiments, or emotions, is as follows: romantic and erotic, humorous, pathetic, anger, heroic, fearful, disgust, amazement and peaceful. Each raga, in addition to being associated with a particular mood, is also closely connected to a particular time of day or a season of the year. Thus through the rich melodies and rhythm of Indian music, every human emotion, every subtle feeling in man and nature, can be musically expressed and experienced.

In terms of aesthetics, a raga is the projection of the artist’s inner spirit: a manifestation of his most profound feelings and sensibilities. The musician breathes life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it so that each note shimmers and pulsates with life and the raga is revealed vibrant and incandescent with beauty.

The tala, or rhythmic cycle of a raga, plays an equally important role in expressing the mood. There is a unique relationship between melody and rhythm. The intricacies depict the complexities and sophistication with which they are woven together. The division in a taal and the stress on the first beat, called sum, are the most important feature. The most exciting moment for a seasoned listener is when both the musicians, after their individual improvisations, come back together on the sum.

Today, Indian classical music is a permanent part of Western culture. Many composers and musicians have been influenced by our music. The openness, will to learn, and sincere enthusiasm of Western audiences are a continuing source of inspiration and delight. Indian music is one of the highest forms of music existing and nourished through its rich cultural heritage.

Shilpa Rao is a professional Indian Classical Music artist. Learn basics of Indian Classical Music system at http://www.articlestonurture.com/Category/Music/109

Understanding Gurus Of India

March 3, 2008
Most people do not know who is a Guru? They think of Guru as a human being. That is not so and that is why there are very few Gurus in the world. Hinduism defines Guru thus- If God in all his glory appears as a human being to give his grace he is called Guru. The body is only to manifest the words. It has no other meaning whatsoever. Hundreds of Indians act as Gurus in India and abroad. They are all not Gurus. They know how to speak well.All Gurus are same. No Guru is higher or lower. All are enlightened beings, at the same level. Only A Guru can make you a Guru. That takes lot of time and not everyone can become a Guru. Most of the people get lost with bogus gurus. It is the past and present karma that determines whether one will meet a true Guru. Gurus have no levels. There is no official body to recognize Gurus. Some of them may be in the Himalayas unknown to all of us. Even otherwise a Guru never says that he/she is the Guru. We get signals that we are with somebody who is all-powerful.

Brahamn is inside you. According to Hinduism, you are also Brahman. You have to recognize that and Guru helps you do that. Brahman is both visible and invisible. Helping others is one of the most important ways to reach Guru. Those who help others, get Guru’s blessings. There are many other ways. But this is one of the easiest. The other is chanting. Chanting your mantra. If Guru has yet not given you mantra, think of him and begin chanting Om Namah Shivay. Let the chant take your whole being. Slowly Guru’s grace will enter your life.

Buddha, Lord Dattatreya, Ramakrishna, Baba Nityananda and Baba Muktananda, Saibaba of Shirdi and Gurumai are some of the Gurus of India.

C.D.Mohatta writes content for wishafriend.com. Wishafriend offers hundreds of myspace graphics and myspace comments. Wishafriend also offers free layouts, contact tables, backgrounds. If you are interested in quizzes you may want to try some quizzes on funquizcards.

 

Tenth Sikh Guru – Guru Govind Singh Ji

March 3, 2008
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, is an unparalleled hero not in the history of India but in the world history too. A brave man of firm convictions he stood for the secularism, democratic principles and pleaded for man’s rights. He lived and worked for the upliftment of poor, needy, and down-trodden people of our country irrespective of their caste, religion or sect.Apart from being a great virtuous and pious man, Guru Govind Singh Ji Maharaj was a well-read person too. He took lessons in Sanskrit and Hindi at the tender age of seven. He also started learning Persian from Qazi Pir Mohd. during the same year. Guru Ji acquired wide knowledge in different languages. He was a linguist and well-versed in Indian classical languages and Persian, Puranic literature, Hindi poetics, Arabic, Punjabi and other martial arts. Besides, shooting and hunting, the writing of verses was also a passion of young Gobind. He realized that it is the cultural and heroic outlook which can make a nation strong. He learned Sri Guru Granth Sahib by heart.Guru Govind Singh was a great warrior also. He fought many battles against tyranny, suppression, oppression and in-tolerance. He did not fight for any territory or worldly power, nor did he fight against any religion or sect or for his personal gains. His war was mainly against oppression,inequality and tyranny. He was a fine blend of a saint, soldier and a scholar whose mission was to eradicate evil and spread good.

Guru Govind Singh was a true humanist who said, ”Sach Kahu Sun Leho Sabhai, Jin Prem Kiyo Tin Hi Prab Piyo”. (I am telling the truth and let this truth be known to all, only he who loves mankind attains Prabhu/Almighty). He was a great psychologist and he felt the pulse of humanity. He was a nationalist and a realist both. He showed path of peace and salvation to the suffering humanity.

Prepared and submitted by Dr.S.K.Raina, Formerly Fellow IIAs, Shimla (India) 09414216124

No Shortcuts to Spiritual Enlightenment

March 3, 2008
A single Shakyamuni Buddha, a Lord Jesus Christ, a Saint Mahavira, a Lord Krishna, a Mahayogi Pantanjali, a Guru Nanak have a massive lasting impact on the whole of humanity, so tell me something, if there was a school, institute, program or person with a short cut solution for pumping out enlightened folks by the dozens would not humanity be in better shape than it is? Would not the message of love and peace spread and penetrate society at least to a larger extent than today, where it seems to be almost non-existent?OK, forget that argument, think about this, would not this saint-producing factory have a line twenty miles long outside of aspirants and be all over the news? This is the Internet age, the age of information, a time where multiple 24/7 news channels thrive, where small news in a remote corner of the world shows up at your doorstep almost instantly. So given that, would not this incredible nirvana factory be the talk of the town? Wouldn’t all the spiritual junkies be flocking to it? But the last time I tuned into CNN, the news was still who just died, alas, I might have missed the grand opening.OK, forget that argument, think about this, the monks and yogis of old retreated to the mountains and forests for decades to practice meditation. Were they mad, incompetent, or masochistic? Were they just plain dumb and clueless to the fact that there was a quick fix available? Could it be that these potent, massive human beings just all kept missing the short cut? These fellows have practiced meditation for thousands of years and all of them never discovered the short cut! No, sorry my friend there is no short cut, but if you are still not convinced I will continue with some more reasons below.

Let’s look at life. Getting in shape takes hard work, mastering an art can take a lifetime, learning a science, skill or language can take years, but you figured that the greatest art of all, the highest accomplishment possible to man, would be made possible via a 20 minute CD! Sorry, it will not be handed to you on a silver platter no matter what the salesman says.

And speaking of salesman, that is probably the best clue of all that something is amiss. The one trait that is common across all the definitions of enlightenment is compassion. Does it really make sense that a fully awakened enlightened person, who is supposed to be completely free, full of joy, bliss and compassion, decides he would rather be a businessman and only help you if you pay him? He decides to rake in the cash to buy his third BMW since he is just not quite satisfied with having a Buddha Mind? If the source feels more like a business than a genuine place to help guide you, be warned – you are about to be conned. No, my friend, don’t waste your money, there are no short cuts and I will tell you something else, it is not ever possible to have one.

Enlightenment cannot be brought about through any act of will. It comes on its own and goes on its own. No formula can produce it, no method can create it, and no path can take you to it. Any effort on your part to bring about enlightenment only strengthens the noose of desire and perpetuates self-centered activity, so no outside solution can possibly work for this condition. To illuminate this point the following traditional example is often used.

Think of your life as a movie. Reality is what is happening on the screen, everything that takes place is in the movie; the Truth is the screen itself. It is forever hidden by the images moving on it. It only becomes visible when the movie stops playing. Any willful attempt to stop the movie just adds another theme, another story line and the show goes on. Any angle you undertake is another scene in your movie. This movie has to stop itself and when it does the Truth becomes visible.

All you can do is watch the movie. As you watch and study the movie you start to see its monotony and meaninglessness. You start to see the pettiness of being endlessly drawn into your self-centered drama. This is the beginning of the end. Keep watching carefully, meticulously, and diligently. This watching leads to the movie ending itself. Then you may be blessed with the Truth. So next time someone comes up to you and tries to sell you magic beads of enlightenment, politely show them the garbage can.

Add Meditation to Your Life & Be The Master of Your Mind

March 3, 2008

Meditation reins the Mind
Our mind is a wanderer by nature. At one moment it is thinking about this, and at other moment about something else, and at times even in one single moment mind can think about diverse matters. May be this is what we call unity in diversity! Well jokes apart but this mind is a true wizard. And how amazing it would be to use this tool of mind as per our directions? When it no longer directs our actions but is directed by us to give us the solutions whenever required.

One may ask that is it really possible to tame and utilize mind at our convenience. Then the answer is a resounding yes. And the key is MEDITATION. It is through meditation that one can understand the functionality of mind. This very understanding becomes the door to go beyond the clutches of mind. When one crosses this threshold, mind looses control over actions rather becomes a meek follower.

Mind looses all its robustness in the vastness of conscious presence which is nothing but harvest of persistent Meditation. So, one must be sincere in the practice of meditation to elevate the consciousness to that level when mind would cease to exist. It is not a mirage but a reality; not a deception but clear perception that meditation is the way.

Right Meditation Posture plays a vital role in the practice of any meditation technique. As once the seeker is able to conquer the wandering of body which is directly related to the ever changing nature of mind, it becomes very easy to sit in meditation for a longer period.

For a yoga enthusiast who has been practicing the yoga poses, sitting in the correct meditation posture with erect spine should not be a problem. The most advanced yoga schools do teach kundalini yoga and ashtanga yoga but then for the beginners learning the basic yoga poses is enough.

When we talk about the benefits of meditation, besides the spiritual growth, there are numerous other benefits of meditation. One of them is that it relieves from stress as it is a permanent stress relief antidote. But who creates this mountain of stress? It’s none other than your closest one i.e. your mind. Now when you know who the stress creator is and you also know how to befriend it then what are you waiting for. Just meditate!

The enlightened woman mystic, Anandmurti Gurumaa, is using a lot of ancient meditation techniques and moulding them artistically for today’s minds. Gurumaa’s guided meditation techniques are working wonders for people from all the corners of the world. Do visit the gurumaa site and explore it yourself!Mystica Music has also got a few soothing relaxation meditation music cds which can be used for stress relief and mind relaxation.