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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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How to get the results you want from chanting

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As you may know, chanting mantras reduces karma via the chakras by sound. We should not approach japa/chanting with the impatience of the modern age.

If you have a particular goal, choose the mantra that will assist you, write out your intention and put it on your personal altar, then begin chanting it at least 108 repetitions daily for 40 days. If you skip a day, that is a signal of your inner resistance to change. Start again at day one and complete the 40 days, even if you have to do that several times.

Depending on your level of karma in the area of your intention, you may get what you are chanting for in one 40-day sadhana or have to do it more times.

One of my late husband’s students wanted material success in his business. He decided to do a sadhana/discipline of 125,000 repetitions of Lakshmi’s moola mantra. When he did not get prosperity on completion, he did another 125,000 repetitions. He still did not reach his goal. He knew it was his karma, so he did a third 125,000 repetitions and then reported to Namadeva Acharya (Thomas Ashley-Farrand) that he had so much success that he did not know what to do with it all.

To succeed in chanting mantra for any goal we need to have patience and tenacity.

How To Reduce Our Karma For A Happier Life and Better Future Life

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We acquire karma by our actions, therefore we must perform good actions towards others in every possible way, including service to others, to reduce it. Mother Teresa is a great role model for devoting a whole life to service to the Divine by serving other people. In our own lives, the small actions of loving kindness by smiling at others genuinely, encouraging others, helping strangers in small ways help both us and the strangers. One of those ways more thought related is to pray for others.

It is an odd habit in humanity that so often the people we are meanest to are our family members, whom we purport to love. Loving kindness definitely begins at home.

Karma is like a clump of negative matter in us. The great sages and seers have given us mantras to chant. Mantras work to ameliorate our karma by breaking up those clumps of negative karma within our Chakras 1–6. Each of the 50 sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet, the Matrika, stimulates a coordinating petal on a particular chakra, thus sanding off a minute bit of karma. A lot of chanting = a lot of sanding, so to speak.

Different mantras work differently in their sound vibration pattern to help us. Some, especially Rama mantras, work to heal us in body and mind. Some mantras are liberation mantras, meaning they are so potent that they reduce our negative karma quickly. Mantras for each of the 9 Planets of Jyotish astrology work to reduce our parabdha karma, that which we are born to work out as expressed in our natal chart. Each planet has different parts of the body that it rules, so if there is illness or planetary conflicts in our natal chart and progressed chart, chanting the planetary mantra to alleviate those conditions is very beneficial.

The Gayatri Mantra is the master mantra, the one that contains all the vibrations of the entire universe.

“Of all mantras, the supreme and the most potent power of powers is the great, glorious Gayatri mantra. It is the support of every seeker after Truth who believes in its efficacy, power and glory, be s/he of any caste, creed, clime or sect. Gayatri is an impregnable spiritual armor, a veritable fortress, that guards and protects her votary, that transforms one into the divine and blesses one with the brilliant light of the highest spiritual illumination.” Sadguru Sant Keshavadas writes in his book, Gayatri, The Highest Meditation.

Wesak – Buddha’s Day and Tara

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Wesak is the full moon in Taurus every year, despite some other dates that are used in May by various countries.  This year, it is May 8th.

The Buddha, Gautama, was born in a Hindu family. He came to teach a better way, at a time when the priests had become very corrupt. So the basis of his teachings is Hindu. The Buddha’s teaching spread through out India and the northern area which includes Tibet, as well as to the east through China and Japan and south to Sri Lanka.

The earlier religion of Tibet was Bon Po. After some time, the Bon Po priests drove out Buddhism. A later ruler of Tibet, believing that Buddhists were more peaceful and easier to govern, sent to India for someone to come and teach the people Buddhism. No teacher was willing to come, but finally Atisha, one of the disciples of the Great Tantric Master Agastya volunteered. The Buddhism he taught was influenced by his tantric mastery, which includes worship of the Divine Feminine. As that is expressed in Tibetan Buddhism, She is Tara, rather than several named Devis. Tara is worshiped as White Tara, Green Tara and more, as ways to approach the Divine Feminine.

The Tara revered in Hindusim is different from the Hindu versions.  Hindu Tara is She Who Takes Us Over the Ocean of Samsaras (accumulation of karma from all previous and the present life.)

The Secret of How Mantras Work

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Sanskrit mantras are NOT about meaning.  It is a vibrational energy technique to ameliorate karma.  It works, because each of the 50 Sanskrit letters/sounds vibrate a particular one of the 50 petals/spokes of Chakras 1-6.

Mantra patterns are composed by high beings who are able to literally see how the pattern works and whether it is beneficial.  This is why it is so critical to be sure that any mantra you may use comes from these ancient authorities.

What are mantras and how do they work?

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The nature of all creation is sound vibrations. “And God said let there be light” in Genesis. Thus the smallest units of our own body-mind-spirit are sound vibrations. When we chant mantras (which are scientifically designed patterns of vibrations by great sages who knew their effects,) we attune our whole being to the divine vibrations.

Mantras are based on the Matrika, the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, each of which has a different sound. There are fifty petals/spokes on Chakras one through six. The pattern of the sounds made by chanting the mantras stimulate the different petals in different ways to ameliorate the karma of the chanter.

The mantras taught by true gurus and passed down over the millennia were first seen by ancient sages, those who had the ability to see how the patterns of energy going from one petal/spoke to another on the same or different chakras and if/how it was beneficial.

Just changing the order of the bijas on mantras can change the energy enough to become ill rather than benefited. Making up one’s own mantras is quite dangerous. As Thomas Ashley-Farrand/Namadeva Acharya often said, “Mantras are like fire. They can cook your lunch or burn down the forest.”

Seva as a Way of Life

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Looking at the lives of gurus, both sadgurus and junior gurus, it is clear that they are great examples of Emerson’s principles.  Namadeva Acharya’s motivations in all his endeavors in life, both spiritual and mundane, were based on these principles.

I was born in the 1940s. We were raised in the Forties and Fifties in a culture that was based on the principles in the Emerson quote. Those principles are are very grounding and were part of our generational impetus to rebel against the obvious abuse of a war with no purpose and an effort to make the USA live up to its claimed purpose in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. This led to our response to injustice and participation in the Civil Rights movement, supporting Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta in the farm workers union, and later the Second Wave of Feminism. During that time, I never heard people question why they were on the planet in the way younger people do. The Sixties and Seventies were also a time of spiritual questing, and many explored different ways of life and beliefs to satisfy the perennial inner spiritual drive of all humans.

One of the major reasons that younger people think differently is that major media, particularly television, deliberately in the late Seventies morphed into All Propaganda All The Time. I was working at WCBS-TV in NYC in 1977 and saw a huge change at that station, which got rid of all the investigative journalists and those who would not read exactly what was on the prompter and also changed their public service programs to be less inclusive of non establishment ideas and people. Later, stations dropped those programs entirely. The principles of advertising were used to persuade viewers that protesting, resisting were useless. Newscasters did not chit-chat but read the prompters, which said literally, “Oh, you can’t fight city hall” and other phrases to discourage protest and create the impression that resisters are wierdos. Shortly afterward in the Reagan era, the intensive propaganda plus advertising urged everyone to find their happiness in stuff. Everyone was urged to become Yuppies. Kids who saw this in nearly every tv show, grew up not with Emerson but with extreme materialism.

I am very happy as an old activist to see the engagement and activity of the Millennials and others more recently to make positive changes in America and the world.

I hope lots of people see this essay and re-think why they are so unhappy, then reject the pop culture all around us.

A good life is a life in balance.  If we nurture our souls and have devotion to the Divine, seek knowledge, and serve others, which is Raja Yoga, the highest path to mukti (liberation from the rounds of rebirth) then we will be fulfilled and know we have lived life to the best of our abilities.

Happy New Year!