2005 November


The Time is Now
My Meeting with God
Ask Swami
Meditating with Crystals
Stress Part 2
BKS Iyengar
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra
Control Your Dreams
Understanding Eid
Life Choices
Yogathon Reportback

Selected Articles

Message from the Master
The Time is Now

By the time Christmas arrives, many lives will have been destroyed. The uprise of evil is on the increase in all aspects of the human race. Man has attained the great ability to self-destruct. Every change in the world today is an intellectual one. Bombs are not made by unintellectual beings. The time is NOW for all to join hands together and walk this journey of spiritual revolution. Let it be a revolution, a Spiritual one. Gather together in groups, stand together and recite the great Gayathri Mantra. Prayer is the only answer.

You choose whatever you want in life, including your thoughts, behaviours, environmental situations and people. So choose circumstances that enhance your life and purify your ideas and awareness. As a divine rule, set your mental attitude and habits so that they enhance your aspiration to live divinely and positively. Do not wait and hope for a situation to change. You need to make the change by improving your attitude, thinking and behaviour. With well-ordered and Divinely-chosen thoughts, together with Divinely skilful actions, the results of your desire to attain Spiritual growth can be quickly and easily realised.
Swami Shankarananda

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Feature: BKS Iyengar
BKS IyengarIyengar was born in 1918 into a large, poor family in the village of Bellur in Karnataka state in India under very difficult circumstances. His mother gave birth to him during an influenza epidemic leaving him sickly and weak and his father died when he was only 9 years old. As a result he went to live with his brother in Bangalore. His childhood was further marked by a variety of serious illnesses including malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid together with malnutrition.

At the age of 15 Iyengar was invited to Mysore to stay with his eldest sister by her husband, the scholar and yogi Sri T. Krishnamacharya, who was visiting. Krishnamacharya ran a yoga school in the palace of his patron, the Raja of Mysore, where Iyengar eventually received some basic instruction in asana practice to improve his health. His guru however, was an erratic and terrifying personality who drove him hard and so at first Iyengar had to struggle from day to day. This diligence in practice gradually paid off as he mastered some of the postures and improved his health. Then in 1937 he was asked by his Guru to go to Pune to teach yoga. In Pune life was still very difficult as he was a stranger there with weak language skills, speaking only a little English and the local language, Marathi. As he had left school before he could complete his examinations and had no skills, he was left with little choice but to continue to make his living through teaching yoga. Moreover as he felt he had little experience or theoretical knowledge, he decided to practice with determination and learn by trial and error. In the beginning his students were better than him so he would dedicate many hours a day to practice, sometimes surviving for days on only water and perhaps some bread or rice. This was also a difficult time in his yoga and he would suffer great pains through incorrect technique, often having to place heavy weights on his body to relieve the aches.

However, through determination and a refusal to give up, he gradually began to understand the techniques of each posture and their effects. The number of his students also began to increase, though financially times were still incredibly hard as yoga was not greatly respected or understood, even in India.Then In 1943, his brothers arranged his marriage to Ramamani. Iyengar had avoided marriage for some time as he felt he could not support a family, but on meeting her consented. Initially life continued to be very hard for them but slowly they worked their way out of poverty. They agreed that Ramamani would take care of their family while he would provide the income. Strangely, it also fell upon her to introduce the subject of yoga to her children for some time.Gradually Iyengar’s recognition as a yoga teacher grew but it was a meeting with the violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1952 which led to Iyengar’s eventual international recognition. It was Yehudi Menuhin who arranged for Iyengar to teach abroad in London, Switzerland, Paris and elsewhere and so meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Events continued to develop and grow, leading up to the publication of Light on Yoga in 1966 after many years of development. This book turned out to be an international best seller which continues to be reprinted in several languages all over the world and succeeded in making Yoga truly universal. This was later followed by titles covering Pranayama and various aspects of Yoga philosophy. His latest work Yoga: The path to Holistic Health, was published in 2001.Finally in 1975 Iyengar was able to open the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, in memory of his recently departed wife, where he still resides and teaches. By this time his eldest daughter, Geeta, and son Prashant had also started teaching yoga under his guidance.

In 1984 Iyengar officially retired from teaching though he continues to take medical classes and teaches at special events as well as being fully active in promoting yoga world wide and being involved in the institute and its charitable foundation. Though physi-cally quite capable of continuing, he felt it was time to ‘let the next generation come through’, and did not want to become attached to his position there. Classes still run regularly. They are hugely popular and oversubscribed and are conducted by Geeta, Prashant or senior teachers.It can be said that Iyengar is therefore one of the premier Yogis responsible for introducing yoga to the West and Iyengar style of yoga is probably the most widely practised form of yoga in Europe and America today. B.K.S. Iyengar is now over 80 years old and still remains unsurpassed in his practice and teaching.

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Control Your Dreams
by Swami Murugesu

There are many people all over the world who have found solutions to their problems through dreams. Some have found lost things, some have received blessings from their Ishta Deva. Even new medicines have been discovered in dreams and many poets and artists have composed poems and painted images through inspiration received from dreams. Dreams have been of great help to many and will continue to do so.

We are aware that dreams can occur when one is ill. Often these dreams are less meaningful than dreams experienced when health is good. Some receive warning of impending illness through their dreams and are able to be treated before the illness becomes chronic. If a person can learn to dream whenever he wishes, great benefits can be derived.

This is how dreams occur: If a man goes to bed in awareness that he needs to know about an important event, for example, he will dream about it. Those who go to bed with worries and anxieties will also dream. If one thinks deeply about a specific thing before going to sleep, he will dream about it. A person who is constantly worrying about certain things will not sleep properly until they are solved or realised. For such a person, peace of mind is not easy but to sleep properly, one must have peace of mind. Man’s awareness wants to lose itself in deep sleep, but the mind is placed in-between the two states of sleep and awakening so he suffers from an unwanted wakeful state. If one can release the mind from this continual noise, then through the senses can be manifested events of choice. Just before man’s conscious awareness dims, right before sleep, if a deep thought is imprinted in the mind, the thought will be expressed in the mind during the dream-state. These types of dreams will be meaningful and can portend future events. For some, such dreams will be in terms of meaningful signs. If one knows how to interpret dreams properly, he can solve all his complications through his dreams. But first the ability of interpreting the dream must be learned. Each person has their own mental dream symbology that they first need to understand. This can be learned by writing down your dreams and analysing them.

As mentioned above, if you go to sleep with the firm thought of a challenge for which you wish to find a solution, then you will dream without fail. Below are some hints.

(1) Go to bed as usual. When you feel sleepy, think about what you would like to dream. Retain the thought in your mind and go to sleep. You will dream of what you were thinking. (2) If you find that, after a number of attempts, this is not working, then ask someone to wake you up when you are in deep sleep. As soon as you are awake, think of the subject of your dream and go back to sleep. The desired dream will be dreamed. If there is no one to wake you up, set the alarm and, on waking, follow the same procedure.

The following are some practices that will help you to manifest dreams.
(1) Lie flat on your back, facing upwards.(2) Go to sleep on a full stomach.(3) Go to sleep with wet feet.

Dreams induced in this way may not necessarily give answers to your problems, but will enable you to remember your dreams. So many forget their dreams when they wake up. It is a good idea to keep a notepad and a pen at your bedside and make a note of everything you saw in your dreams. Later on they can be analysed for your benefit.

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Man’s Experiences in the Dream State
by Paramahansa Yogananda

All the experiences of man’s waking state can be duplicated in his dream state of consciousness. In the dream state a man may find himself walking joyously in a lovely garden and then seeing the dead body of a friend. He is grief-stricken, sheds a tear, sufferers from headache, and feels his heart throb painfully. Perhaps a rainstorm blows up suddenly and he becomes wet and cold. Then he wakes up and laughs at his illusory dream experiences.What is the difference between the experiences of a dreaming man (experiences of matter as displayed in the bodies of himself and his friend, the garden, and so on; and the experiences of consciousness as displayed in his feelings of joy and grief) and the experiences of the same man in the waking state? Awareness of matter and of consciousness is present in both cases.Man is able to create both matter and consciousness in an illusory dream world; therefore it should not be difficult for him to realise that Spirit, utilising the power of maya, has created for man a dream world of ‘life’ or conscious existence that in essence is as false (because ephemeral, ever changing) as are man’s experiences in the dream state.

Excerpt from Scientific Healing Affirmations