Author Topic: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines  (Read 42040 times)

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« on: February 24, 2009, 08:32:23 PM »
Saints and sages have given several guidelines to guide a seeker during sadhana through direct instructions, metaphors, anecdotes etc.Thought of starting a thread to bring out their valuable guidelines.

Even though some of the instructions may be specific to certain types of persons (their temperaments, needs etc) and their spiritual practices, they should still be useful if interpreted in a broader perspective.

Kinds of Sadhana:

The course of Sadhana is of three kinds, viz,
(1) of the nature of birds,
(2) of the nature of monkeys and
(3) of the nature of ants.

(1) The bird comes and pecks a fruit which perhaps falls down at the jerk, and the bird cannot get it for eating.
So there are devotees who try to rush on with devotional practices with such violence that they often frustrate their attempts.

(2) It is the nature of the monkey to jump from branch to branch, holding a fruit in its mouth, and while jumping, the fruit often falls down from its mouth. Thus at times, distracted by the changing events in life the aspirants lose sight of the devotional path, if the grasp is not firm.

(3) The ant creeps gently and steadily towards a grain of food, and carries it back to its hole where it enjoys it comfortably.

The course of Sadhana like that of an ant is considered the best -- there is sureness of attaining and enjoying the fruit.

-- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 08:13:33 PM »
Self-Realization of Nisargadatta Maharaj

When Maruti was 34, a friend of his, Yashwantrao Baagkar, introduced him to his guru, Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, the head of the Inchegeri branch of the Navanath Sampradaya. The guru gave a mantra and some instructions to Maruti and died soon after. Sri Nisargadatta later recalled:


    My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am'. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked!   
    

Within three years, Maruti realized himself and took the new name Nisargadatta. He became a saddhu and walked barefoot to the Himalayas, but eventually returned to Mumbai where he lived for the rest of his life, working as a cigarette vendor and giving religious instruction in his home.

Om Namah Shivaya
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 08:24:38 PM »
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj frequently recommended the practice that had led to his own realization in less than three years:   
   
    Just keep in mind the feeling "I am," merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling "I am.

Om Namah Shivaya
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Ganesh_b01

  • Guest
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 10:20:51 PM »
Dear Silentgreen,

Very valuable posts indeed, I have also read about Nisargadatta Maharaj. Simple and constant meditation on the words of Guru made him a realised soul. We also need to stick with those valuable words of our Guru and not deviate into more and more teachings also...

Constantly thinking and meditating about simple teaching of Guru leads us to Jnana, it is clearly evident in the life of Nisargadatta Maharaj. After we attend to every thought and actions required by us to the world (karma) we should ponder each time about 'Who am I' or 'I am' I believe we can also attain realisation if we are able to sincerely really follow the teachings of our Guru.

Prostrations to Bhagawan



Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47720
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 08:32:29 AM »
Dear silentgreen, Ganesh_b01,

Guru's words are of immense importance.  The follower of his words and who maintain his Satsangh with him, get all his sins washed off
and in due course, he realizes the Self.  Bhagavan Ramana said:
Visiting holy temples, Bathing in Ganga, will remove only the Sanchaya karma sins, whereas Guru's words and being with him,
removes prarabdha karma sins also.

Arunachala Siva. 

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 07:13:34 PM »
Meditation
- J. Krishnamurthy

Meditation is one of the most important things in life; not how to meditate; not meditation according to a system; not the practice of meditation; but rather that which meditation is. If one can find out, very deeply, the significance, the necessity and the importance of it for oneself, then one puts aside all systems, methods, gurus, together with all the peculiar things that are involved in the Eastern type of meditation.

It is very important to uncover for oneself what one actually is; not according to the theories and the assertions and experiences of psychologists, philosophers and the gurus, but rather by investigating the whole nature and movement of oneself; by seeing what one actually is.

...

To see what one actually is, it is vital that there be freedom, freedom from the whole content of one's consciousness; the content of consciousness being all the things put together by thought. Freedom from the content of one's consciousness, from one's angers and brutalities, from one's vanities and arrogance, from all the things that one is caught up in, is meditation. The very seeing of what one is, is the beginning of the transformation. Meditation implies the ending of all strife, of all conflict, inwardly and therefore outwardly. Actually, there is no inward or outward, it is like the sea, there is the ebb and flow.

...

To find out what meditation is, all previous knowledge of what meditation is thought to be, blocks the exploration. Freedom from psychological authority is absolutely necessary. What is necessary in the investigation? Is it concentration; is it attention or is it awareness? When one concentrates, one's whole energy is focused on something particular, one resists and puts aside all interfering thoughts. In concentration one is resisting. But to be aware of one's thought there is no concentration; one does not choose in awareness which thought one would like; one is just aware. From that awareness comes attention. In attention there is no centre from which one is attending. This is really important to understand, it is the essence of meditation. In concentration there is a centre from which one is concentrating, on a picture or on an idea or on some image, etc; one is exercising energy in concentration, in resisting building a wall, so that no other thought comes in and there must be conflict. To totally eliminate that conflict become choicelessly aware of thought; then there is no contradiction, no resistance about any thought. From that arises awareness; awareness of all the movement of one's thought. Out of that awareness comes attention. When one is attending to something, really deeply, there is no centre; there is no me.

Om ...

Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 06:49:52 PM »
From Chidakasha Gita of Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri

#. Jnanis are mindless. To Jnanis, all are the same. They have no slumber, no dreams, nor sleep. They are always in sleep. The sun and the moon are the same to them. To them, it is always sunrise. The glass of a chimney lamp, when covered with carbon, is not transparent. Similarly, the carbon of the mind should be removed.

#. There are three nerves in the body: the sun or the Sushumna; the moon or the Ida; the star or the Pingala. The first is red in color, the second, blue, and the third, green.
- Where these three nerves meet is the heart space. As we go on practicing yoga, the Bindu-sound is heard in the head. This sound is one, indivisible.

#. Just as camphor is consumed by the flames of fire, so also, mind must be consumed by soul-fire.

#. Manas is Jiva; but their positions are different. Jivatman is Paramatman.
- A man or woman should be educated. What is education? Jiva should know the secret that He is the Paramatman.
- Paramatman is in Jivatman. The real Mukti is to know the subtle in the gross.

#. Just as we see the sky reflected in the water in an earthen pot, so also, to the internal vision, the sky of consciousness becomes visible.

#. A Guru (spiritual teacher) will lead any sort of man from a thorny path to the royal road. Such preceptors are of two kinds. One is the primary preceptor and the other, the secondary preceptor. Mind is the primary preceptor and the other, the secondary preceptor. One is not the preceptor of the other. He is only the secondary preceptor. The secondary preceptor is one who shows the water in the well. The guru who exists in the heart of all beings is the Jagad-Guru (universal preceptor).

#. One who has thoroughly wiped off the idea "I am the body" is fit to be called a guru. There is none higher than such a one. There is no god above such a guru. Such a guru is God, and God is such a guru.

#. It is not Bhakti to give a man some money or to give him a meal as charity. Bhakti is universal love. Seeing God, in all beings, without the least idea of duality, is Bhakti.

#. When SAT unites with CHIT, Ananda (bliss) is the result. This Ananda is Paramananda, Sri Satchitananda. Paramananda is experienced in the head. In the head is in the Brahma-nadi. Brahmananda is Paramananda. Jiva enjoys this bliss when he is one with Paramatman. This bliss is also called Shivananda. Paramananda is experienced in the head. This state is eternal joy. This state is Jivanmukti.

#. He is a Jnani who has given up worldly pleasures and, by practicing yoga, seen God. Ananda (bliss) is not in what you hear. Bliss is a matter of experience. Such a man is called a Mahatma. Those who have seen earthen and stone images do not become Mahatmas. He is a Mahatma who knows himself.

#. If you perform tapas for thousands of years with the desire for results, it is of no avail. But if you perform tapas for one ghatika (twenty-four minutes) without any desire for "fruits," you will see ALL in God and God in ALL.

Om ..
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47720
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2009, 08:48:00 AM »
Dear silentgreen,

Your descriptions of various paths are quite good.  But Bhagavan
Ramana has not advocated the breath-control, as prescribed by
the Yoga sastras.  He only advised watching the breath.  He said
mano laya, which is obtained through yoga marga.  He however,
recommended bhakti, devotion -- which should culminate as total
surrender. He stressed mano nasa, and not mano laya.

Arunachala Siva.   

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Self Enquiry - Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2009, 08:35:15 PM »
Self Enquiry
- Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

How is one to enquire :Who am I?

Actions such as 'going' and 'coming' belong only to the body. And so. when one says, 'I' went, 'I' came, it amounts to saying that the body is 'I'. But, can the body be said to be the consciousness 'I'. It cannot be, since it was not there before it was born, is made up of the five elements, is non-existent in the state of deep sleep, and becomes a corpse when dead? Can this body which is inert like a log of wood be said to shine as 'I-I'? Therefore, the 'I-consciousness' which at first arises in respect of the body is referred to variously as egoity, nescience, impurity, and individual soul. Can we remain without enquiring into this? Is it not for our redemption through enquiry that all the scriptures declare that the destruction of ego is release? Therefore, making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word 'I', one should enquire keenly thus: "Now, what is it that rises as "I"? Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form of 'I-I'. It is there and would shine of its own accord, as the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that experience, the individual sense of the form 'I am the body' will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, the 'I-form' also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release.

Om ..
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
God is like a magnet
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2009, 08:09:53 PM »
God is like a magnet

God is to man what a magnet is to iron.
Why does he not then attract the man?
As iron thickly imbedded in mud is not moved by the attraction of the magnet,
so the soul thickly imbedded in Maya does not feel the attraction of the Lord.
But when the mud is washed away with water, the iron is free to move.
Even so, when by the constant tears of prayer and repentance, the soul washes away the mud of Maya
that compels it to stick to the earth, it is soon attracted by the Lord to Himself.

- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Om ..
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

matthias

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 393
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2009, 09:23:37 PM »
the last post is wonderfull and very very true....I love Ramakrishna

I ave times when I think of Bhagawan I just have to cry...they just come, it is soimple gratitue for his presence..

also when I meditate upon Avalokiteshvara the same happens..also when I meditate about my true nature tears come to my eyes...they just want to go out....

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47720
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2009, 12:50:22 PM »
Dear silentgreen, matthias,

Yes. Just as the muddy iron is washed away by water, we have to
wash our dirty ego, with tears.  Saint Manikkavachagar says in
Tiruvachakam: "Can I not get you if I weep?"  Saint Arunagiri
Nathar says Seer Pada Vaguppu:  "O You shall come with a war
cry, "I am coming", when I weep and pray and melt..."  It is
indeed better to weep for our dirty ego, than to weep for the lack
of worldly comforts and pleasures!

Arunachala Siva. 

silentgreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
    • View Profile
Devotion
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2009, 09:38:30 PM »
Devotion

-Devotion to God increases in the same proportion as attachment to the objects of the senses decreases.

- A devotee: How can one know that one has attained Jnana, even while leading a family life?
The Master: By the tears and the thrill of the hair at the name of Hari. When at the very mention of the sweet "name" of the Lord, tears trickle down from the person's eyes and his hairs stand on end, truly he has attained Jnana.


- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Om ..
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Paul Croucher

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 02:19:47 AM »
Dear silentgreen et.al

Many thanks for this illuminating thread!

As a novice, I have a query I'd like to direct to Subramanian.R, who wrote:

... Bhagavan Ramana has not advocated the breath-control, as prescribed by
the Yoga sastras.  He only advised watching the breath.


My understanding (in scanning "pranayama" in the indexes to Talks and
Day by Day) is that the following passage would seem (at least)
to be representative of Bhagavan's teaching:

In the absence of enquiry and devotion, the natural sedative pranayama
(breath regulation) may be tried. This is known as Yoga Marga. If life is
imperilled the whole interest centres round the one point, the saving of life. If
the breath is held the mind cannot afford to (and does not) jump at its pets -
external objects. Thus there is rest for the mind so long as the breath is held.
All attention being turned on breath or its regulation, other interests are lost.
Again, passions are attended with irregular breathing, whereas calm and
happiness are attended with slow and regular breathing ...

- Talk 27

_____________________

As I say, I feel myself to be a novice ... Embarking on a not dissimilar practice ...
So would greatly appreciate some clarification on this point.

With many thanks to all who make this such a wonderful board,

Paul

Nagaraj

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5130
    • View Profile
Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 08:59:40 AM »
Dear Paul,

I feel Bhagawan's teachings, his advice to each devotees were different based on their level platforms. We should carefully analyze for which type of devotee Bhagawan advised something. We should also look into ourselves whether we are similar to the devotee in the reading.

I just glanced Day by Day with Bhagawan, I also happened to read the following words by Bhagawan -

“The aim is to make the mind one-pointed. For that pranayama is a help, a means. Not only for dhyana but in every case where we have to make the mind one-pointed, it may be even for a purely secular or material purpose, it is good to make pranayama and then start the other work. The mind and prana are the same, having the same source. If one is controlled, the other is also controlled at the same time. If one is able to make the mind one-pointed without the help of pranayama, he need not bother about pranayama. But one who cannot at once control the mind, may control the breath and that will lead to control of the mind. It is something like pulling a horse by the reins and making it go in one direction.”

for controlling breath, the regular pranayama is not better in which 1:4:2 proportion for breathing in, retaining, and breathing out is prescribed. Bhagavan replied, “All those proportions, sometimes regulated not by counting but by uttering mantras, etc., are aids for controlling the mind. That is all.

The thing is to kill the mind somehow. Those who cannot follow the enquiry method are advised pranayama as a help to control the mind. And pranayama is of two kinds, one of controlling and regulating the breath and the other of simply watching the breath.

Though the yogi may have his methods of breath-control, pranayama, mudras, etc., for this object, the jnani’s method is only that of enquiry. When by this method the mind is merged in the Self, the Self, its sakti or kundalini, rises automatically.


I have also learnt Pranayama from a qualified teacher and also practiced pranayama regularly. But now, I only do it as a part of my daily rituals. What I have come to understand is that Mind and Breath are interrelated. your state of mind is dependent of your breath. If your breath is regular, i.e. in and out is fine relaxed, then you also become clam. Look into this - they advocate everybody to exercise for a fit body, actually what happens - at the end of the exercise, you sweat, take long breath in and out, its so normal, you are very relaxed. More oxygen is fed into your body, hence you become fit.

Another fact is that about 90% of your breath directly is consumed by your brain, hence if there is not enough intake of air i.e. oxygen, the brain is irritable, you become irritable, next time you may just try this out, when you have headaches, when you are irritable, you would observe that your breath pattern is not ok. By Pranayama or by looking in to your breath, the breath in and out is normalized.

Nagaraj

॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta