Our mind is always in a state of flux and not in a state of abiding’. The goal set in future is a pre-requisite for achievement. Since the mind is serving the achievement oriented ambitions it is habituated to scatter all over. But happiness is not an achievement in the future but it is in the “now”. So an “abiding mind” is needed.
When there is an “abiding (calm) mind, it can discover the presence of the present. Such a mind can see goodness in oneself and others. Studies have shown that happy people are “good finders”. Just being rich, popular or talented does not make one happy but one should be a good finder.
There are infinite things one has while infinite things one does not have. Surest way to unhappiness is to focus on what one does not have.
Rejoice on what you have. Out of that joy, work on getting what you don’t have, and thus allow another sensible dimension to open up.
This is called the “missing tile syndrome”. In the ceiling of a room if one tile is missing one tends to see only that. So too in life one sees only what is missing and get trapped. Hence, one does not discover one’s blessings.
My song of joy is………
Humanity can be divided under two categories of conscious and unconscious people. Unconscious people are those who consider pleasure to be happiness. Pleasure is sensation and if one brings sense to one’s sensation, then a deep insight would occur. Such insights will reveal that pleasure is only a sensation and not happiness. If people bring sense and be sensible to their sensations, then such people come under the category of conscious people. In that state of consciousness, one discovers happiness.
Pleasure for most of us is a relief from pain… pain of boredom, hurt etc., but pleasure is not happiness. Happiness is the “Fullness” that one brings to the moment. Fullness is not object oriented but a context of bringing the “whole” to the moment. Life happens in moments and these moments are crushed by one’s expectations, greed or desires.
Happiness is discovered through a search and not through expectation. When one expects to be happy, that expectation messes up in discovering happiness. Expectation makes you go forward into the future; whereas happiness happens in the present. One has to see the “presence of the present.” To see the presence of the present “desiring mind” is not the answer. An “abiding mind” is required.
The story goes that the Devas (demi-gods) were slowly losing their strength because of a curse by a great rishi. Their archrivals the Asuaras (demons) took advantage of this opportunity and threatened to wage war against the Devas. Fearful of what may come to pass, the demi-gods approached Lord Vishnu (known as the Preserver in the Trinity of Hinduism) for a solution. The great Lord told them to churn the primordial ‘Ocean of Milk’ or Ksheera Sagara to receive Amrita, the nectar of immortality, through which they may regain their strength.
This churning, however, was not so easy a task that it could be conducted by the demi-gods alone. So they forged a temporary peace with the demons to attain their goal, after which the nectar would be distributed equally between the demons and the demi-gods. Using the King of Serpents as a churning rope and Mount Mandara as a churning stick, the demi-gods and demons began a task that would take 1000 years to complete. Lord Vishnu, incarnated as his Kurma avatar of a tortoise, held Mount Mandara on His back, so that it would not sink into the ocean during this time.
Working tirelessly for centuries, the reward they sought was not so easy to attain. The first thing to come out was not nectar, but poison. The Halahalam, as it was called, was so potent that it enveloped the universe and threatened to destroy all. Lord Shiva (known as the Destroyer in the Trinity of Hinduism) stepped forward to take this poison. His wife, Parvathi, stopped it from spreading to the whole body by constricting His throat. Lord Shiva’s name Neelakanta or ‘blue-throated one’ is derived from this incident, the poison having turned His neck blue due to its potency.
Amrita, the nectar of immortality, was almost the last thing to come out of the ocean. When it did, it was held in a kumbh (pot) by Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods. Fearful of the consequences of what could transpire, the demi-gods tricked the demons out of drinking from the pot. Lord Vishnu incarnates again in the form of Mohini, the irresistible temptress, and tricks the demons into giving her the pot. What ensued was a dozen days and nights of fighting between the two groups.
During this time, as Lord Vishnu fled with the kumbh from earth to heaven, a few drops of the nectar fell in four places in India: Haridwara, Prayag (Allahabad), Nashik and Ujjain. It is in these places that the Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious festivals in the world, takes place on a rotational basis every 3 years. The one-and-a-half month festival is taking place in Nashik this year, on the banks of the Godavari River. By the time it has rotated to the other three sites and returned to Nashik, 12 years (representing 12 days and nights of fighting) will have passed by. It is scheduled to finish on 25th September 2015, during which time millions upon millions of devotees will have paid homage at the holy site. Even today, bathing in the rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Shipra, where the nectar drops fell is considered sacred and is said to wash away sins.
Swami Sukhabodhanada visited Nashik in July for the Kumbh Mela. Watching the ocean of humanity that churns in and out of the sacred place is not unlike the ocean’s churning in the story. In fact, it is not unlike the turmoil that takes place continually inside many of us.
The mind is constantly being churned by the positive (represented by demi-gods) and negative (represented by demons) aspects within us. For the spiritual seeker, one part will yearn to pursue the spiritual path, another will oppose it. Both these aspects must be in harmony. Keep in mind that both the Devas and the Asuras worked together for the churning. This painful churning brings out first suffering and unhappiness before it gives any rewards. It is the Halahalam that threatens to destroy. Lord Shiva, who drinks that poison, represents the ascetic principle. He represents simplicity, pure love, discipline, courage and detachment. The poisonous instability of our minds can only be stopped by cultivating these principles within us.
The Serpent King represents desire. Mount Mandara stands for concentration. The name ‘Mandara’ contains two words: ‘man’ meaning ‘the mind’ and ‘dara’ meaning ‘straight line’. Therefore the name itself stands for concentration of the mind. The mind, like Mount Mandara during the churning, must rest itself upon divinity (Lord Vishnu’s incarnation of the tortoise) and give itself up to that divinity, if it is not to sink into the ocean.
Therefore, desire must be held in firm hands and controlled, the mind focused on a single aim, rested upon divinity, with all our negative and positive aspects harmonized if spiritual enlightenment is to be attained. What keeps us from this enlightenment and the immortality that it represents? Lord Vishnu in the form of Mohini represents the delusion of the mind. It is the delusion of pride and ego; they are the last hurdles one has to overcome.
The bodily postures or asanas we call yoga today has its roots in a history that is more than 15,000 years old. While in modern times it is more often than not looked on as a form of exercise, yoga is, in fact, a sacred knowledge that lights the path of spiritual progress. It is one of the 6 major schools of Hinduism and is itself constituted of a variety of practices and methods, namely, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga, laya yoga, hatha yoga.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ meaning ‘to bind, join, attach and yoke’; it denotes the true union of the will of God with that of our own. The practitioner of yoga is a yogi or yogin. The Bhagavad Gita describes such a person as one who has mastered his mind. ‘A lamp does not flicker in a place where no wind blows; so it is with a yogi who controls his mind, intellect and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of yoga, the yogi by the grace of the eternal Spirit within himself finds fulfilment.’
As with many sacred practices, it is a knowledge passed down from divinity itself, with Lord Shiva being termed the very first yogi, known as Adi Yogi. He passed on his knowledge to 7 disciples known as the Saptarishis. These Saptarishis took yoga to many parts of the world.
Passed down in the guru-shishya tradition, from teacher to disciple, it is a practice that has survived thousands of years. Today, it is practised by hundreds of thousands across the world.
In December of 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21st June as International Yoga Day, in a way acknowledging yoga for the global acceptance it has gained for its secular approach to spirituality and self-improvement.
"Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
- - Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
Under the guidance of Poojya Swamiji, all the chapters organised yoga camp on International Yoga Day.
The Existential Laboratory is in essence a journey of self-exploration guided by Swami Sukhabodhananda. Surrounded by nature and far removed from the stress of ever-day life, it facilitates a process to understand oneself and grow. Through that understanding, one can find a purpose and a meaningful life.
There is much we have to unlearn and forget in order to reach that level of understanding. A return to nature and innocence, a diligent effort at simplifying and 'letting go' instead of 'holding on', are just some of the things that Swamiji explains and explores.
This May, we conducted another successful workshop in Bangalore.
Life is a journey to be explored Management through the Mahabharatha
Applying tales of antiquity to the modern management paradigm, the Management Through Mahabharatha workshop took place in Lucknow on the 21st and 22nd of May 2015.