2005 December


Man’s Self-made Prison
Swami Replies
Baddakhona Prana Maan Mudra Asana
Origins of the Christmas Tree
Gifts of the Magi
Saint Nicholas
Efforts for a Great Life
Touched by Jesus
The Deeper meaning of Christmas
Christ-consciousness every day
Letters from Heaven

Selected Articles

Message from the Master
Man’s Self-made Prison

Your walls have become too high. Brothers, you are greatly divided. You have built walls of caste, wealth and status. Your hearts are divided. This has made you prisoners and you sit behind prison walls of your own making, lost and without the sight of togetherness, love and joy. This has caused you your own destruction and the destruction of the great altar of Oneness.

The time has come for you to now pulverise those walls of dogmatism and start to build the Universal Temple of Oneness. This is your paradise, buried by your own fancies. Stand up and look at how you have destroyed yourselves. Only you can change this.

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Feature: St Nicholas

In Myra you proved yourself to be a priest, a servant of divine things, O Saint, for you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, O holy one. You gave up your life for your people and saved the innocent from death. You have been sanctified for you were a great guide towards the things of God. (St Nicholas, Wonderworker: from Kontakion of St Nicholas)

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in Patara, a village in modern Turkey. His wealthy parents raised him to be a devout Christian but they died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to ‘sell what you own and give the money to the poor,’ Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Under the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. Nevertheless, he became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children and his concern for sailors and ships.

Saint Nicholas was most famous for providing dowries for young women whose fathers could not afford them. In medieval times, without a dowry a woman was unlikely to marry and the daughters of a poor man were destined to be sold into slavery. On many occasions, a bag of gold would appear on the doorstep of such a family, or a bag of coins would be thrown into a window, providing a family with the necessary dowry for its daughters. It was Saint Nicholas who provided these gifts, leading to his fame as a gift-giver and the custom of children leaving stockings out in expectation of gifts from him.

The first story, and one of the oldest, showing Saint Nicholas as a protector of children, takes place long after his death when the townspeople of Myra were celebrating the saint on the eave of his feast day. A group of Arab pirates from Crete stole treasures from the church of Saint Nicholas and, as they were leaving the town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios to make into a slave.

Basilios’ parents were devastated and his mother would not join in the festivity of Saint Nicholas Feast day, but instead observed a simple prayer at home, pleading with God for the safe return of her son. Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his task as servant to the chief pirate, he was suddenly whisked up and away. Saint Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him and returned him to his home in Myra. Hence the saint has become the Patron Saint of Children.

Saint Nicholas is well-known for his many miracles and secretive generous deeds. He expected nothing in return and within a century of his death was celebrated as a saint. Today he is venerated in the East as a wonder, or miracle worker and in the West as a patron of a great variety of persons including maidens, students, mariners and children. He died on 6 December, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance was said to have healing powers which fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death is celebrated as St Nicholas Day.

But how did the kindly Christian saint, good Bishop Nicholas, become a roly-poly red-suited symbol for merry holiday festivity and commercial activity? The festival of Saint Nicholas was widely celebrated on Europe and the first Europeans to arrive in the United States brought Saint Nicholas, after which he was enthusiastically promoted by the New York Historical Society, resulting in the over-advertised Father Christmas of today.

Through the centuries, St Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and the Orthodox and is honoured by Protestants. By his example of gene-rosity to those in need, especially children, Saint Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.

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Efforts for a Greater Life
by Swami Murugesu

All things seen in the world are particles of the same subtlety and type of basic matter but in different measures, shapes and compressions. As stated by scientists, it is the combination of ninety-six types of atoms from which all things are created.

The atoms pervade the universe are not man-made. How do these atoms of different shapes and sizes join with each other? This happens because it is the property of atoms to unite with one another. Water atoms join together on their own and result in water. In space, these atoms are not found severally. In other areas of the universe, beyond the reach of human knowledge, they have surely also become joined. Some atoms are found all by themselves. This characteristic was observed by scientists who have concluded that to enable atoms to unite at a particular place and time, there must be an intelligent factor in them similar to the mind of man. The same idea is expressed in the Upanishads.

God thought about the creation, as man thinks about an action. As the thought of creation arose in the mind of the Supreme Being, so the creation manifested. Mind is also a force that acts like electricity, magnetism and atoms. This has been proven through may scientific experiments conducted by spiritual scientists. If a microphone is placed at the Ajna Chakra of a man, and he thinks strongly about a thing, the thoughts can be heard over the microphone. This is called ‘mental telephone’ and is in use today. We cannot accomplish great things with a low voltage of electricity. Electrical voltage can be boosted using certain transformers. The mental energy of common man is not strong at all but its power is of a very low order.

Man can boost his mental power by undertaking certain practises. His mental power can then be inducted in things by mental creation. Some have seen a person showing an empty tin and then after a short time, the tin is miraculously filled with sweets. This is usually done by sleight of hand but there are those who really do it by manifestation. Mention of this can be found in Swami Vivekananda’s book, Raja Yoga. Many scientists have tested this directly. By inducting mental energy in atoms and compressing them, these kinds of Siddhis are possible.

A person who is always happy even though they do not take in nutritious food, is able to keep a good, healthy physique. The reason behind this is that fresh atoms are created in the body continually. A sad person, ridden by worries, will find his body losing weight even if he eats healthily. The reason for this is that such a person is worn down by negative mental energy.

Lord Krishna was once seen in many places at one time. A certain Sadhu was also seen in several towns at a particular time. We have come across these incidents which are all due to mental power. Mental energy is inducted in atoms, creating figures thereby. This is the philosophy behind it. The illusory appearance of Sita narrated in the Ramayana is based on this principle.

From the explanations given so far, one should understand that atoms can be gathered and compressed by mental power and can thereby create things. Generally, mental creation refers to the above art, but in practice it is used to obtain the desired things that are available in the world by using mental energy. This is done by not allowing such energy to scatter, but to channel it in a one-pointed manner and focus it on creating things mentally.

If one practises pranayama, meditation and concentration properly and regularly, mental energy will increase and converge and use can be made of it for achieving any need. This method is briefly explained as follows: If an object is needed, keep the object’s shape firmly in the mind and wherever the object is, the mental energy will flow there and create suitable conditions to reach the practitioner. In an actual incident, a person strongly felt that an object in Japan should be made available to him. An officer visiting from Japan shortly brought it and handed the object over to someone who then gave it to the person practising the mental exercise. If one wants to mentally create a new object, the object should be kept firmly in the mind. This will cause the atoms to compress and create the desired object.

So do not waste your mental energy. Increase it, control it and acquire what you need in the world and lead a great life!

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Christ Consciousness Everyday
by Suren Pillay

When I contemplate the meaning of my life, I often consider what I will be thinking at the point of my death. I am curious most about what my mental state will be at that point. My hope is that it will be peaceful and blissful. Indeed, we have been given all the knowledge and the teaching of what is required for a peaceful and blissful transition into the afterlife.

I think that a major factor in contributing to one’s state of mind at the point of death, is one’s desires in life. Unfinished desires are a major stumbling block to passing away in total peace. The relative nature of the desire which is either good or bad, is not as important as absolute nature of the desire which is either material or spiritual. Spiritual desires often lead to higher levels of peace and love in our lives, and death, which is a part of life, is no exception. I believe this philosophy of death can be taken even further and applied to life at every moment. Our mental states at every moment determine our reality. You really are the cause of everything in your life. When a person insults you, you can choose to act either in retribution or in love. To act in love is to be Christlike in example. The universal Christ-consciousness innate in every human being is waiting to be released into the world. And when your actions express that consciousness, you become more in line with the teachings of masters, sages and saints of all the traditions of the world. It is easy to slap or react angrily in return but it requires tremendous will, patience and compassion to love under adverse circumstances.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, you can choose to be attentively aware of your thoughts and feelings. This is true mindfulness, as it requires a high degree of inner attention and introspection. When you react in a Christlike manner, a tremendous feeling of love and goodness will come over you. You are overcoming the narrow confines of your ego and expanding your love into the realms of Spirit. Every moment, watch your thoughts. Are they holy, constructive and beautiful? If they become manifest, will they increase joy in your life and in the lives of others? How are you choosing to react to hostile people and circumstances? These are the true tests of spirituality and how you answer them will be indicative of your own evolution.

I pray that every human being will use his reason and intellect to his highest good. That he shall use every situation as an opportunity to grow spiritually and improve himself, and that his Christlike nature which is temporarily dormant, will become expressive in thought, word and deed!

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by Mahavishnu

We are all engaged in a mortal existence, bound to life by material ties that sometimes hoodwink our power of reasoning. We encounter many people, some more spiritual than others, and acquaintances grow. But a relationship is bound to be riddled with problems that makes one wish such a contact was never made. All negative emotions may be counteracted by the one thing that is lacking in a world full of corruption and deception - forgiveness.

The mention of the word ‘forgiveness’ leads me to the Christian prayer which states, ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us’. It is strange that a prayer so widely recited is taken as a mere poem. The subtle, yet apparent meaning that one can apply to one’s life is evident. We have all heard the cliche, ‘forgive and forget’, yet it is so hard to translate these words into action. Forgiveness is more than just the act of saying, ‘I’m sorry’. Today we utter these words meaning-lessly. Asking for forgiveness must be accompanied by total remorse for the wrong that was committed.

Forgiveness isn’t about having the upper hand against the offender in future dealings. On the contrary, forgiveness is like giving your consent not to bring up the topic again. Mona Affinito, author of The Power of Forgiveness, states that ‘tit for tat’ doesn’t work well in the long run. In fact, it works to one’s detriment, causing total isolation. But how is it possible to forgive a murderer, rapist or arsonist? Think firstly of all the wrongs we commit each day. Put pen to paper and an examination pad may not suffice! Now analyse how we pray to god to forgive us our sins. Ana, indeed, She does, holding no grudges, by simply accepting that Her children are shaping a character which matches their personality. If God forgives us for all that we do, surely we can forgive humanity for all that they have done. Sometimes crimes are committed in ignorance.

At the time of his crucifixion, Jesus Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’. Therefore, the greatest act of sacrifice is forgiving the offender and enlightening him so that his further actions will not be such. There comes a time when situations reach a ‘no return’ level. You cannot forgive one who incessantly commits faults. Take Mother Earth, for example. She has reverted from an eternally gentle to an eternally suffering ‘object’. But now she is rebelling because she can take no more. It is not a subject of revenge, but rather a process of enlightenment. The tsunamis, earthquakes and droughts are mere reflections of a morally degenerating world. In Shakespeare’s time anything unnatural in nature meant unnatural deeds were being committed. Much truth is found in this, if you consider the fact that mangoes are currently growing out of season.

Many would dismiss this article as being idealistic and lacking entirely in realism, but what do you expect from a world that has bartered realism for idealism? Nothing in this world is real. It is simply maya, an illusion. Forgive within - it makes dealing with situations easier. Friendships and relationships are built on love, but broken because forgive-ness cannot be introduced.