Monthly Archives: May 2017

Five Cosmic Actions

By Mati Gilbert

The One Reality existed before this world existed, brought it into existence, pervades it, being it and exists beyond it.  Yoga calls the One by the name, Shiva.  Shiva performs five cosmic actions:

  1. creation
  2. maintenance
  3. destruction
  4. concealment
  5. revelation.

You perform all these same actions in more limited ways, for you are Shiva, though you don’t fully know your own Divinity.  Not yet, anyway.

I can see this at work in my life.  For most of my adult life, I lived in apartments or condominiums where outside work was handled by others.  I did not have to do anything.  It was just done.   Then I bought a stand-alone house.  Something always needed to be done outside.

I had to maintain the garden area.  I created it by planting flowers; maintained it by applying fertilizer and mulch; destroyed the weeds that were continually trying to take over; and concealed any of my failures by planting new flowers.  I was so pleased with my garden.  It was not the biggest nor the best, but it was mine.  What an accomplishment!  I was proud.

You may have created a child, nurtured it, had the baby vaccinated to destroy diseases, and concealed any human imperfections from others.  And you take credit in your child’s accomplishments.  How often have you heard a parent say “My son/daughter did this/earned that,” all the while patting themselves on the back.

In both these examples, the revelation is missing.  Yet it is the important part in the mystical science of yoga.  Who takes credit for all those things?  The I, the individual, took credit.  It is human nature for individuals to take credit because your mind is firmly settled in the “me-me-me” scenario.

Pratyabhijnahrdayam 13:  Tat parij~nyaane chittam antarmukhee-bhaavena cetana padaa-dhyaarohaat citi.h

Acquiring full knowledge of the five actions, the mind turns within, rises to the plane of pure consciousness and becomes consciousness.  — rendered by Swami Nirmalananda

Your mind is important; how you use it is of paramount importance.  While you are an individual, you are so much more.  Your inner essence is pure consciousness.  Shiva becomes everything, including you and including your mind.

  1. Shiva created the world, including you.
  2. Shiva sustains you by making your heart beat, your breath move and propelling you through your life.
  3. Shiva dissolves your limitations by ending what limits you, whether you’re ready or resisting.
  4. Shiva conceals your Divinity within you.
  5. Shiva reveals who you really are.

I thought “I” was creating my garden.  The mother thinks she made her child.  Both are true.  However, where was that impulse coming from, to propel you into the creation of the garden or the child?  Shiva!  Shiva is working through you all the time, the deeper dimension of your own Self, hidden within, yet making it all work.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “Shiva is the source of your creativity.  Shiva gives you the love and stamina to raise a child or do anything else of importance.  Shiva propels you to end what has outlived its time.  Shiva hides in you by being you, and Shiva is revealed within you — as you.  This is the Guru’s task, showing you who you really are.”

How?  Through Grace. Yoga specializes in Grace, the great gift of yoga’s Masters, the revelation of your own Divinity.  Grace gives you the Self-Knowingness, your own Shiva-ness, so you can leave the “me-me-me” behind.  While you are still an individual, simultaneously you are so much more.  You are Shiva!

Mantra Gives You Your Self

By Niranjan Matanich

Normally, where does your mind lead you? Does your mind lead you to identify with your inherent divinity? Most people find their mind keeps them spinning in the mundane world, sometimes giving pleasure and sometimes creating misery and pain.

When you focus your mind on mantra, you experience something else. What you experience isn’t fleeting and it doesn’t end in misery. You experience your Self, your own never-ending and unchanging essence. Your Self is the inner source from which joy, love and bliss arise. Mantra gives you that experience quickly.

I received a mantra from my Guru almost 20 years ago. I wasn’t really sure what a Guru is or what a mantra is, but I recognized the power of the mantra quickly because I couldn’t stop thinking of it. I was drawn to it.

The mantra given by a Shaktipat Guru is the direct route to experiencing your Self. Your real Self, not the self you normally identify with. Like thinking you are your body, or you are your thoughts, or you are your job and any of the other multitudes of selves that you identify yourself as being. Your real Self is beyond all of those roles you play in this world. The mantra that given by a Shaktipat Guru will give you an experience of your Self.

I forget about this from time to time. I am typically overly serious, tending towards dark moods. Sometimes I get so far into those moods that I forget about mantra. Recently I had not been focusing on mantra, and had begun to slip into my darker state of mind.  It was making me really depressed and withdrawn.

Then I remembered my mantra. I made a decision to repeat it out loud for 15 minutes and see what happens. Immediately I could feel a deeper sense of Self coming from a deeper dimension of my being. It was powerful and tangible, the difference I felt right away.  It was still powerful the next morning — I was present, I was cheerful and I was even smiling! It’s truly miraculous. The mantra is the super highway to the Self. But you have to repeat the mantra to find what is hidden in it.

This is explained in the yoga texts:

Cittam mantra.h — Shiva Sutras 2:1

By intensive awareness of one’s identity with the Highest Reality enshrined in a mantra and thus becoming identical with that Reality, the mind itself becomes mantra. — Jaidev Singh

The sutra spells it out.  The highest Reality (the Self, your Self) is enshrined in the mantra given by a Master.  After receiving the mantra, you find what’s enshrined by repeating it; it’s like unwrapping a gift to see what’s inside. Once you find what’s enshrined in the mantra, you know yourself as the Self.  Beyond that, the sutra promises your mind itself will become mantra, a major upgrade.

Swami Nirmalananda says, “To gain yoga’s promise, simply do what the sages tell you to do.  For your mind to become mantra, simply repeat mantra enough times that your mind vibrates at a higher frequency.  How many times is enough?  It is different for every person, but it exceeds the number of times you review your worries.  Which will serve you better, repeating your worries or repeating mantra?”

The average person thinks around 65,000 thoughts a day, with most of those thoughts creating your worldly identities. Yet you can repeat mantra silently for the classical 108 times in only 1 minute. How many repetitions before you become identified with the Self that is enshrined in the mantra? I don’t have the answer for you but I can guarantee you won’t regret finding it out for yourself.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati is a Shaktipat Guru, who can give you a mantra that reveals your Self to you.  It works because of the blessings of the Masters in her lineage, each of whom found the Self by using the mantra.  The experience of Self is enshrined in the mantra.  Because of that, you will also be able to find what’s inside you, deeper within, beyond your mind.  You are more than you think you are.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

To support the students of Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, please contribute to our scholarship fund.

The Four States of Awareness

by Mati (Sandy) Gilbert

I love waking up in the morning, before the alarm goes off, wanting to lie still and stay quiet.  To luxuriate in that cozy experience, not wanting it to end, not fully awake but not asleep either…  I always called it my “La La Land” time, when I experience inner contentment and bliss.

This is beyond the three states of awareness that everyone recognizes, which are waking, dreaming, and deep sleep.

When you are awake, you are thinking, moving, talking, and doing things.  Even when you are just sitting there or doing nothing and are aware of it, you are awake.

You dream every night.  Some you remember.  I used to write mystery novels in my dreams and I was the all the characters.  All the while, I was aware that I was dreaming the story.  Mystery novels were what I liked to read at that time.

In deep sleep, your body and mind are inactive and relaxed. You are unconscious.

However, there is a 4th state.  It is called “turiya,” which is translated as “the fourth state.”  A sutra explains: “Turiya should fill all three states, not just the beginning and the end of each.”   — Shiva Sutra 3.23 (translated by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati)

It’s easy to find turiya — when you wake up and then fall back asleep, but are not fully asleep, as well as at the beginning and end of every dream.  Even when you are awake, this deeper state of consciousness is just below the surface of your awareness, just behind the part of your mind that you usually look at.

Turiya is pure bliss, the bliss of the Self, which is your own Divine Essence.  Meditation is the direct route to this bliss; the purpose of meditation is to find your own Self and keep you there, even with your eyes open.

Swami Nirmalananda describes it this way, “While in Turiya, your mind can be busy or quiet.  Your normal thoughts and worries don’t disturb your inner depths.   The sages describe it like the waves on the surface of the ocean, that don’t affect the mountains, valleys and creatures that live in the depths.  Meditation is your opportunity to dive deep for an inner experience, but its true goal is that you live from that deep and centered level of your own Beingness .”

This sutra promises you can live in the constant experience of consciousness, the transcendental bliss of your own Divine Essence, whether waking, dreaming or sleeping.  You attain this goal through meditation, through manta repetition, and through cultivating consciousness while in the midst of life.

Currently, I read fewer mystery novels and read more works of the yogic masters.  Since I started meditating regularly, I write fewer novels in my dreams as well.

Turiya, to me, is all encompassing.  The inner depth is there, when I am dreaming and in deep sleep.  I appreciate it most during my waking hours.  Turiya hovers in the background of my mind and being, and keeps me on an even keel during my day-to-day activities.  What a way to live!

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.


Wanting What the World Cannot Give

By Niranjan Matanich

Why do I feel such a deep sense of dissatisfaction? My life is great, my needs are met. I have extra resources so I can do the things I want. I have many people that I care about in my life. Yet, I have an underlying dissatisfaction.

This feeling keeps me looking for something to make me feel satisfied, usually it’s some material thing. But you know what, that new Judas Priest record didn’t do it. Neither did the new seat on my motorcycle. Turns out binging on donuts isn’t it either.

On some level, I know that material items aren’t going to fill the void I feel. Having just the right kind of relationship isn’t going to do it either. In fact, nothing in this whole world is going to fill that inner void. Maybe you’ve experienced some of this dissatisfaction, too.

This underlying dissatisfaction is a deep yearning. A deep yearning to know who you are. The yearning is there to direct you to look inward to find that you are the Self.  You are the one Consciousness that has manifested this whole universe and beyond but, through the process of creation, you have forgotten your Self. The yearning is Consciousness, your own Self arising within, calling you to your Self. Without this yearning, you never have any impulse to look beyond the outer world.  You don’t discover your own Divinity.

This yearning will lead you to a Guru who can awaken your Kundalini, the dormant energy coiled at the base of your spine. This energy animates your body; it’s the energy that has manifested this entire world. When Kundalini is awakened, you turn within and become aware of your inner Self. The goal of this awakening is to become established in the knowing of your own Self.  This is described in a pivotal sutra:

Udyamo bhairava.h — Shiva Sutras 1.5

Swami Muktananda defines it this way. “When the Guru’s Grace is received, one’s Shakti is unfolded… meditation comes spontaneously… The seeker turns within. Awareness of the inner Self begins to throb all the time within him. To stay in this awareness is the right effort for the seeker.”

Once your receive this awakening, the right effort is to stay in this awareness — of your own Self. When you are feeling that yearning, rather than trying to avoid it by indulging in material things, you choose to meditate or repeat the mantra your Guru gave you.

Making that choice becomes easier after you’ve received the Guru’s Grace because you know what the yearning is. And you know what to do to when you are feeling it. It’s true, sometimes I still forget and think the answer is in the new thing. Sometimes you’ll forget, but the Guru’s Grace ALWAYS leads you back to your own Self!

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.

I Want That Difference

By Yogeshwari Fountain

Every day has a predictable rhythm to it. In the morning, you wake up and stay awake until bedtime. Then you drift off to sleep and alternate between dreaming and dreamless sleep. Most people never give this a second thought, even though there is a more profound level of experience underlying this cycle. The ancient yogis called this the fourth state of being: deeper than your thoughts, eternal, ever-present and all sustaining.  Shankaracharya’s Vivekachudamani  describes this:

“You are pure consciousness, clearly manifest as underlying the states of waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep.”

Consciousness, the One Ultimate Realty that manifested everything into existence, is being you. The substratum of your existence is concealed under your waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep. There’s more to you, a level that is always aware.  Your awareness is deeper than you usually recognize.  Consider, who reports your dreams to you in the morning? A level of your mind may have been in a deep sleep, but your awareness is always aware, and knows.

While this subtle knowing of your Self is most directly accessed in meditation, you are still you, even when you’re not turning your attention inward.  Your own existence pervades your every waking moment, as well as your dreams and dreamless sleep.   This is the same for a living Guru, but they live in the inner knowing of this. Unlike most of us, who dip in and out, the Guru consciously abides in this fourth state of awareness all the time, while simultaneously enjoying the Divine play of the other three.

I discovered this watching my teacher, Swami Nirmalananda, butter her toast. At the breakfast bar, other yogis were in a hurry to grab their food and move on. But Swami was fully present to what she was doing. It was as if the toast, the knife and butter, the movements of her body and the air around her, had a density to it. As I watched her, it seemed like time stood still. I was pulled in, as if in a trance. It was then I realized that Great Beings may look like us on the outside, but on the inside they are quite different. And as unattainable as it seemed, I want that difference! Not just the understanding of it, but to experience it. This is why I practice yoga.

Only the Guru can awaken you to such a Divine way of living. It is by the Guru’s grace, not my efforts alone, that I am being propelled past my limited sense of time and space, into my capital-S Self.  Shaktipat is what initiates this process, “growing you” like a seedling into your fullest potentiality: the knowing of your own Self.  I experienced this depth one day in meditation.  When the timer went off, I just couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes. Later when I told this to a friend, she asked “Well, why do you need to come out, why would you ever want to leave your Self?”

The truth is, I never want to lose my Self, even though I still do! My mind gets busy, and I forget how it felt to rest in my Self.  To submerge myself again, I repeat mantra, while in the midst of my mundane activities and just before I go to sleep. And I think of my Guru.  I try to remember her living example of the fourth state, of timeless beingness, as if it were my own. When I do this, I become more present in my own Presence.

These are just a few of yoga’s many tools for spiritual integration. In these small and potent ways, life for me is gradually becoming wholly divine.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.