Category Archives: Enlightenment

The Route to Enlightenment

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The Route to Enlightenment

Traditional Hindu practices are one very effective path to enlightenment.

Yoga means union (with the Divine.) Raja Yoga, the highest form for seeking enlightenment, is a threefold path: Jnana Yoga (seeking knowledge,) Bhakti Yoga (devotion to the Divine from the heart,) and Seva (service to the guru, service to others in the way Mother Theresa served God by serving others.)

Knowledge/jnana can be sought by reading, going to talks, and also by meditation. Relying on the left brain is not helpful, because rationalizing gets in the way. If you can sit and listen in meditation with your creative right brain you will gain knowledge. Paying attention to your intuition is also very important.

Devotion/bhakti is seeking the Divine through love.  Your devotion to the Divine and feeling the love and goodness of the Divine towards you (and all others.) is the path. If you can seek unity in understanding with your heart that all of creation is made up of the Divine energy, so all of your being is made up of the Divine loving energy, as are all other creatures, plants, etc., then you truly understand the nature of the Divine and our relationship with it.

Seva/service to others is not only good for the others but good for us, because it makes us think not only of ourselves. In the realm of ameliorating our negative karma, the good we do does put out good energy in the world, thus ameliorating the karma. When we serve God by serving others like Mother Theresa, our seva is also a form of Bhakti.

In terms of methodology, pranayama (breathing techniques) is good for both body and mind. Deep breathing helps with physical health. It is clearing and assists with meditation. Chanting mantras works to improve our lives and reduce our karma. Mantra meditation is easier than silent meditation, because concentrating on the mantra and its purpose keeps the mind from wandering.

Satsang (chanting and discussion with other spiritual people) is very helpful on several levels. On the most basic level, hanging out with other spiritual people leads us in the right direction rather than with those who are not spiritual, not interested or even hostile to spiritual pursuits. Chanting with others, whether spoken or in song, enhances the energy of the mantras chanted. Our progress helps others and vice versa through the vibrations of the Sanskrit mantras being chanted.

Enlightenment is a quest for a lifetime or many lifetimes. If we make progress internally, if we have more satisfaction in life, if we have more peace, then the quest is worth the effort.

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