2006 June


Editorial + Everyone is in a Hurry + Discovering the creative Self + Swami Replies + Understanding each other + Ardha Nauka Prana Swadhistana Mudra Asana + Clove Essence + Blue Lace Agate + The Art of Leadership + Shirdi Baba + Science of Omens Part 1 + Essence of the Bhagavad Gita + Elementals + Pranayama + Inspiration + Gitascendence + Science and Power of Gayathri + Truth 4 Youth

Selected Articles


Namaste all.
Winter is officially here, giving us the time to reflect on what we have sown and harvested over the first six months of 2006. Along with this, we have a sightly thicker Transcendence this month so that you can have more to read when snuggling underneath your warm blankets before going to sleep at night.

Swami Shankarananda explains how we can discover our creative selves in Swami Says; Part 3 of Colour Therapy gives simple methods to help us improve our everyday lives with colour, and Swami Murugesu helps us to better understand the Science of Omens and also gives us more information on the Secrets of Gayathri. Our feature covers the fascinating Saint, Shirdi Baba, and includes some of his enlightening words. Suren’s article summarises Pranayama and emphasises how important it is in attaining longevity and elevating spiritual growth.

Elemental beings (commonly known as fairies in Western society) are discussed in Faith, and we review Swami Kriyananda’s Essesnce of the Bhagavad Gita.

We also have two new additions that, hopefully, will continue in future issues. The first is entitled Understanding Each Other (page 8) and will include short articles on the differences between men and women in order to help each build better relationships based on mutual understanding of the other. Our second addition is long overdue: a section for kids and teenagers to help the develop balanced morals in today’s outrageous peer-pressured society (page 29). We have called it Truth 4 Youth and it starts off with a regular column on Everyday Enlightenment by Mahavishnu, followed by a humorous ongoing rhyming bedtime story called My Great-uncle Guru and Me, as well as some funnies and interesting bits of relevant information. We welcome input from all kids who read this so let us know what you want to see in Transcendence and maybe, eventually, we can produce another separate magazine just for you!

Finally, we have included another mantra card for you to stick onto your fridge, dashboard or computer screen. Good luck to all those writing exams. Keep warm and enjoy!

In Love and Service always,

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Message from the Master
Everyone is in a Hurry

Hurrying is actually the ‘custom’ of our present society. Just look around you. What do you see? Everyone is in a hurry. A slight delay in your forward movement at a red light changing to green, and the sound of horns is heard. When you proceed - and if you are slow and cannot be overtaken - what happens? You are overtaken on the left. When you look in you mirror you see a monster, ‘the taxi’, right behind you, almost pushing your car’s bumper. Why? Because all of those people are on a non-spiritual path. On the spiritual path no-one can push you off the road. They can only follow you - or you could follow them. Nobody is in a hurry. The limitations of anger and frustration can obstruct the way of any individual in the emergence of the Ulitmate Reality - Truth. Once this is realised, you will never be in a hurry again.

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Discovering the Creative Self
by Swami Shankarananda

“Only when the mind is simple, purged of all self-deception and cunning, cleansed of all accumulation, is there the Real ... if we are aware of our conditioning, then the truth of this would bring about creative being.” Krishnamurthi

Children generally have experiences of creative energy flowing continuously and in abundance. Why is this so? Because a child’s mind is pure, uncluttered and divinely innocent. Therefore it is easier for children to have the Creative Being within them emerge. As adults, we have lost experiences. Why? This is so because when we grow older our minds become cluttered with impure thoughts and an abundance of non-innocent ideals and habits.

To become more creative, we need to go back to that state of innocence by giving ourselves permission to clear our minds and ideas. Also, it is important to overcome our personal blocks, emotional blocks and ideas. This can be done easily by regular practice of yoga and meditation. (I have spoken to all of you about yoga and meditation, you have usually just ignored what I have said. Yoga is important and healthy for the mind.) We need to also know what our Creative Self means to us. To a few of us it might be embarrassment; to others it might cause you to say, “I am different”, and still others may be self-aware and confident that it is easy to overcome their few inhibitions.

This state of self-creativity is not to be thought of as a gift, but think of it as your personal state of being; discovering your creative self in discovering your True Self. Remember the obstacles are few and can be overcome: fear of criticism; lack of confidence; states of mind; states of body; stress; routines; beliefs; ego.

Although ego appears last on the list, it is the greatest cause of our problems.

“Once we eliminate the blocks and inhibitions that hold us captive, the Self will naturally unfold.”

Based on a topic by R. Sankaradubramanyana

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Feature: Shirdi Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba, a personification of spiritual perfection and an epitome of compassion, lived in the little village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra (India) for sixty years. Like most of the perfect saints, he left no authentic record of his birth and early life before arriving at Shirdi. In fact, in the face of His spiritual brilliance, such queries do not have much relevance.

Shirdi Sai Baba reached Shirdi as a nameless entity. One of the persons who first came in contact with him at Shirdi addressed him spontaneously as ‘Sai’, which means Saviour, Master, or Saint. ‘Baba’ means ‘father’ as an expression of reverence. In the Divine play, it was designed as such: that He subtly inspired this person to call him by this name, which was mos appropriate for his self-allotted mission.

All that we definitely do know of Sai Baba, is that his arrival at Shirdi was anonymous. He was first noticed on the outskirts of the village, Shirdi, seated under a neem (margosa) tree, in about the year 1854. However, even this date is not definitely noted. Sai Baba of these younger days remained a stranger, staying under theneem tree for some time, and then suddenly he left Shirdi to come back again, some time in 1958, and stayed on there until he left his gross body in the year 1918.

He begged for alms and shared what he was given with His devotees and all the creatures around him. He never kept any food in reserve for the next meal. He maintained the ‘dhune’ the perpetual sacred fire, and distributed its ash (udi) as a token of his divine grace to all who came to him for help.

He had a body of athletic build and, in his earlier days, was fond of wrestling. Another aspect of Shirdi Baba’s personality was his love for song and dance. In the early days of his life, he used to go to the ‘takia’, the public night shelter for Moslem visitors to the village. There, in the company of sojourning devotees and fakirs, he used to dance and sing in Divine Bliss, with small bells tied around his ankles. The songs he sang were mostly in Persian or Arabic, and sometimes he sang some popular songs fo Kabir.

This fountainhead of unsurpassed spiritual glory shed his gross body on the 15th October 1918. Every limb, every bone and pore of his body was permeated with Divine Essence. Baba claimed that, though one day his physical body would not exist, his remains will communicate with all those who seek him with inner yearning. His self-allotted labour of love in his physical body was, perhaps, over, but today he continues to work ever-vigorously as the ‘Sai Spirit’.

In the words of Shirdi Baba
I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me. Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi soil, his sufferings will come to an end. The wretched and miserable will rise into plenty of joy and happiness as soon as they climb the steps of my samadhi. If you look to me I look to you. If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it. If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once. I shall be ever-active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.

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Pranayama: The Scientific Art of Mastering the breath
by Suren Pillay

When are born in the world the first act that binds us to the world is the breath. Indeed if there was no breath, physical life would not be a possibility. Life is therefore dependant on the breath, this fact is ever apparent to all men, what many people ignore however is that mastery of breath is also mastery of life. Pranayama is the scientific art of mastering the breath. I remember Yogi SAA Ramaiah telling us that we start practising pranayama as soon as we are born, and that is the truth.

But why exactly is mastery of breath also mastery of life. Scientist have observed an intimate relationship between the number of breaths per minute and the life span of organisms. There is a definite correlation which supports the theory that the slower you breathe the longer and more healthily you live. A human being may breathe around 15 times per minute which corresponds to about 21600 times per day. Organisms usually live for a time span equal to five times the time period required for them to reach maturity. Therefore human beings should live for at least 100 years given the fact that we stop growing around the age of 20 years. Animals such as crocodiles whose breathing is much slower than man , far outlive mans optimal duration of 100 years.

Pranayama is ,in its simplest definition it could be simply described as control of the breath. There are many benefits to pranayama, and each type of pranayama does offer specific benefits which can be used to treat specific ailments of the body, for example hastha pranayam, can be specifically used to treat asthma. At Yogiar’s hospital in India, pranayama is actually used as part of an integrated therapy to heal patients.

The first benefit of pranayama is of a spirtual nature. Paramahansa Yogananda has mentioned in his commentary of the Bhagavad Gita that for an effective meditation ,four conditions must be met. Proper asana or posture must be maintained,there must be a single pointed mind, there must be vitality, and there must be control of breath. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra one of the additional disturbances to yoga attainment is also inability to control the breath. Thus if we want to improve our meditation and realize God ,we must master the breath.

A second benefit is a moral and spiritual benefit. Pranayama also assists in bramacharya or celibacy. To those who wish to live the celibate life pranayama is a great weapon in countering lust. Swami Sivananda says in his book of bramacharya that mind and prana are closely related and if one is controlled the other will also be controlled. A third benefit is improved health, various health conditions may be treated by the practice of pranayama, it can thus not only improve the quality of life but also the quantity of life as explained earlier. Pranayama brings vitality to the body, refreshes the mind and energizes your entire being, bringing youthfulness and luster to the face to those who seriously practice it. My dear brothers and sisters your days of using cosmetics are now over. There is a new cosmetic on the market and it is called pranayama. Practice it daily and reap the benefits fully. Start today and feel your soul nature begin to emerge more strongly than ever before.

The scientific results of pranayam are also astounding. In particular, the himalyan master known as Swami Rama, has shown the world the power of pranayama. In the early 1970s this Swami submitted himself for scientific experimentation at the Menninger foundation in America. The Swami demonstrated extraordinary control over his heart, nervous system and circulatory system under strict laboratory conditions. Specifically, he was able to produce a ten degree differential in different parts of his palm by controlling the dilation and constriction of arteries in his heart. The master was able to voluntarily increase his heart rate by as much a 5 times its normal pace without moving any of the skeletal muscles and was also able to produce theta and delta waves from his brain on command. When asked by scientists how he was able to manifest such a level of bodily control he simply replied “Through the power of breath”. On many occasions the Swami explained that mastery over the autonomic nervous system lies in breathing, and he also said this was the secret to longevity and rejuvenation.

Dear friends, wait no more, practice pranayama today and reap its benefits. Do not engage in meaningless and fruitless activities, pranayam, will give you health, youth, beauty, purity and spiritual evolution. I pray that all men shall practice the divine art of pranayama and be freed from the cycles of birth and death which has haunted man from time immemorial!

To subscribe to a set of 2006 Transcendence issues, email Deepak.Folly@uec.co.za