2006 March

Editorial + Set Spiritual Goals Now + War. Is it right? + Swami Replies + Poorna Nauka Prana Linga + Mudra Asana + Rose Essence + Crystal Facts + Increasing Longevity part 2 + Paramahansa Yogananda + Ageless Body, Timeless Mind + Wicca + The Power of a Guru + Inspiration + Be my Valentine

Selected Articles


Namaste all.
It is with disappointment that I put together the March 2006 issue of Transcendence. There are always so many devotees at Pournami every month and almost all of the seventy-odd issues of Transcendence mags are taken. Yet it is always the same people (only about four, actually - bless your souls) who contribute regularly to the read.

Perhaps someone can help me understand why, out of the seventy-something apparently interested readers of Transcendence, only 5.2% actually take the time to show their interest and enthusiasm by their active involvement in the contents of this newsletter. I guarantee that if we decided to give away free advertising space next month, there would be a stupendously rapid response. Sad.

By your lack of response, you are essentially telling Guruji that you couldn’t really be bothered about your own Spiritual evolution and that it is actually too much effort to show your appreciation by sending in your experience (good or bad) of an important prayer, event, instruction class, or workshop held by the Peedam, or by Guru Himself. There are weekly and monthly prayers, free Yoga classes and other happenings for the sole purpose of your benefit. The dates of all these are always included on page 5 of this newsletter and most happenings are fairly well-attended. But I am completely baffled as to what actually happens afterwards. Do you all go home and just forget about the Centre and Guru? Do you just throw away your copy of Transcendence and pretend that your visit to the Peedam was all a dream? Perhaps devotees don’t have opinions on Spirituality. ‘How can this be?’, I ask, because everything in existence has to do with Spirit. It’s funny that if there is gossip going around then everyone has an opinion - especially if it concerns Guru or His family members. What’s going on? Help me here . . . please.

By such lack of response, it is blatantly clear that you don’t all know everything about God and your own Self-realization. You must have some questions about the many, many things mentioned by Guru (or perhaps only few actually listen during His talks). Wouldn’t you like those questions answered? We are not asking you for articles, and you don’t even have to let us know who you are (if you are having a problem with your ego), just write the question/s down and fax, email or sms us. You all use this ‘advanced’ technology every single day, so there is actually no excuse for such lazy lack of participation in your own Spiritual development.

We have tried to put together an interesting newsletter this month, but, like the full-moon after Pournami, our enthusiasm is waning. Nevertheless, there is a new article based on Swami Murugesu’s Gayathri teachings, and also a new inclusion of a monthly health tip. We have removed the crossword, but may produce a complete book of Yoga crosswords at a later stage. In addition, there is an article on Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi (including the coroner’s report 20 days after His departure); and The Jewel Box offers some interesting and little-known facts on Crystals and their properties.

Some of you may notice (and complain) that this issue is four pages short of the usual length. This is because our effort now works in equal measure to the amount of interest shown by yourselves in your own Spiritual progress. (A more accurate reflection of this would be if we reduced the newsletter to four pages only.) Remember that we go to print three working days before Pournami each month so, please, let us know that you want us to continue distributing the newsletter at the Peedam, by becoming more actively involved.

In Love and Service always,

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Message from the Master
Set Spiritual Goals Now

It is already the third month of 2006! What have you achieved so far in your spiritual quest or journey? Have you set out your spiritual goals for the year, or is your life going to continue as it did in previous years - boring and unnecessarily tiring?

It is never too late to set your spiritual goals. Set yours today. Now. No time is more appropriate than the present. Set them now. The power of the present needs to be understood. Do not waste your 2006 like you wasted 2005. Look back to 2005. What have you achieved? Nothing. Really, nothing.

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War. Is it Right?
by Swami Shankarananda

No. War is wrong. Not only morally, but it is also wrong of the giants of politics and religion to play ethically disastrous games of such a dangerous nature, the purpose of which has become increasingly unclear in my life’s experiences.

War seems to have no positive gain, the achievement results in nothing more than misery, pain and great material and spiritual loss. If wars were meant to bring peace, then the whole world, and every individual in it, should be at war all the time, but it is not this way. Look at the recent attacks on the Middle East countries and at the long drawn-out civil war in Sri Lanka. These are signs of the failures of war as merely a futile means to a material end.

The First World War was waged with the purpose of ending all wars, but a few years later, the Second World War arrived. Now we are on the brink of a Third World War, which will end the existence of humanity as we know it. The reason for my last statement is simple: government equips its armies with highly advanced technology in their reinforcement procedures. These weapons are highly destructive and yet successful in bringing about a settlement or an end to all destruction. The cost of man’s wars run into millions of dollars.

Instead of war, why don’t Governments of the world spend their (and our) money on victims of starvation in Africa, America and Asia. In a recent interview, it was revealed that the South African government intends to set up a peace force in the Middle East. Is this necessary? Everybody has tried, yet right here in our own country we have millions of homeless and starving people. Why?

Reading Hindu Scriptures, like the Bhagavad Gita, war is depicted differently. Destruction is limited to the fields. Common people continued their daily routines, while the political or financial powers fought. In the present times, it is different. Thousands have died because of wars and, sadly, the differences and conflicts between countries, even after wars have ended, continue, sparking further wars. Wars are “episodes of violence in a long process of confrontation, rather than definite struggles”.

To conclude, from a spiritual viewpoint - anything that suggests conflict, hatred and instigation to both of these, is spiritually wrong and will be detrimental to all human progress. War eventually prevents awareness of the purpose of this unique life. I end with a poem by William Wordsworth.

Not love not war, nor the tumultuous swell of civil conflict,
nor the wreaks of change;
Nor duty struggling with afflictions change -
Not these ‘alone’ inspire the tuneful shell;
But where untroubled and concord swell,
There also is the music not loth to range,
Watching the twilight smoke of cot or grange,
Skyward ascending from a woody dell.

War is wrong.
Endless Blessings and God Bless.

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Feature: Paramahansa Yogananda
A Yogi in Life and Death

Paramahansa Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi anniversary was recently celebrated by many, including the Gayathri Peedam. To honour His life and teachings, this feature article gives a brief outline of Yogananda, the living saint and Yogi in life and also in death.

Daya Mata, spiritual head and president of Self-Realization Fellowship, described her first meeting with Yogananda as follows:

“The first time I beheld Paramahansa Yogananda, he was speaking before a vast, enraptured audience in Salt Lake City. The year was 1931. As I stood at the back of the crowded auditorium, I became transfixed, unaware of anything around me except the speaker and his words. My whole being was absorbed in the wisdom and divine love that were pouring into my soul and flooding my heart and mind. I could only think, ‘This man loves God as I have always longed to love Him. He knows God. Him I shall follow’. And from that moment on, I did.”

Paramahansa Yogananda entered mahasamadhi (a yogi’s conscious final exit from the body) in Los Angeles, California, on March 7, 1952, after concluding his speech at a banquet held in honour of H.E. Binary R. Sen, Ambassador of India. The great world teacher demonstrated the value of yoga (scientific techniques of God-realization) not only in life but in death. Weeks after his departure, his unchanged face shone with the divine lustre of uncorruptibility.

Mr Harry T. Rowe, Los Angeles Mortuary Director of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park (in which the body of the great master was temporarily placed), sent Self-Realization Fellowship a notarized letter from which the following extracts are taken:

“ ... The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramahansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience . . . No physical disinte-gration was visible in his body, even twenty days after death ...

No indication of mould was visible on his skin, and no visible desiccation (drying up) took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one ... At the time of receiving Yogananda’s body, the Mortuary personnel expected to observe, through the glass lid of the casket, the usual progressive signs of bodily decay. Our astonishment increased as day followed day without bringing any visible change in the body under observation. Yogananda’s body was apparently in a phenomenal state of immutability ... No odour of decay emanated from his body at any time ... The physical appearance of Yogananda on March 27th, just before the bronze cover of the casket was put into position, was the same as it had been on March 7th. He looked on March 27th as fresh and as unravaged by decay as he had looked on the night of his death. On March 27th there was no reason to say that his body had suffered any visible physical disintegration at all. For these reasons we state again that the case of Parama-hansa Yogananda is unique in our experience.”

Joyfully, we should realise that each of us can learn these same Yoga techniques in this lifetime. All it takes is some effort, dedication and regular practise, but sadly, so few are willing to sacrifice so little in order to gain something so great.

Reprinted from: Divine Romance

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Maya or Cosmic Illusion
by Paramahansa Yogananda

The phenomenal world operates under maya, the law of duality or oppositional states; it is thus an unreal world that veils the truth of the Divine Oneness and Unchangeableness. Man, in his mortal aspect, dreams of dualities and contrasts - life and death, health and disease, happiness and sorrow; but when he awakens in soul consciousness, all dualities disappear and he knows himself as the eternal and blissful Spirit. For erring humanity, both medical and mental help are important. My master, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, never spoke of the uselessness of drugs; yet he so trained and expanded the consciousness of many of his students that they used only mental power to cure themselves when ill. He often said: ‘Wisdom is the greatest cleanser.’ The state of realization in which body and mind, death and life, disease and health all appear equally delusive is the only state in which we can truly say that we do not believe in the existence of matter.
Excerpt from Scientific Healing Meditations

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The Power of a Guru
by Suren Pillay

They say Rome wasn't built in a day. Similarly self- realization, God-realization and samadhi don’t come easily either. Followers of The Path know that a great deal of effort and dedication is required to experience positive results. With sincere effort and sustained practices, the spiritual aspirant feels a sense of inner peace, greater than any sense-object could ever offer him. This is the primary difference between the wealthy, satisfied materialist and the spiritual devotee. The devotee feels a sense of peace that comes from within and that is subtle, as oppose to the materialist who constantly needs his desires to be satisfied. The devotee’s sense of inner peace, something that the materialist can never comprehend, is based on an unwavering faith in the Infinite and a strong belief that all of life is an emanation of the Supreme; and that to live in denial of that supreme power that orchestrates the entire workings of the cosmos, would be to deny themselves their highest privilege.

It is our privilege and birthright to be God-realized. Man is a walking universe and he is unaware that within himself galaxies of information and intelligence are working in a divine symphony to produce the experience of the phenomenal world. When he withdraws from the outer world in deep meditation he begins to investigate the vast realms within himself and starts to know who he really is. Being cosmic, man is divine at the core of his being ,but the dream of maya keeps him only partially aware of his true identity. However, when the time is right, and he starts to seriously contemplate the meaning of his own existence, the spiritual search begins and the appearance of a Guru preceptor is an indication of the seriousness of his search. The Guru is there to clear the dark clouds of maya, and to assist the devotee in his noble spiritual ambition of God realization.

Without a Guru, or enlightened Master it is practically impossible for the neophyte devotee to make serious progress. The Guru silently transforms the devotee in a positive way, enhancing his good qualities and weakening his bad qualities. The benefit of having a Guru on the path is limitless and, as a guide, his words should be adhered to strictly. His words of wisdom are extremely relevant to the aspirant. By sheer example the Guru incites latent spiritual qualities within the individual. The devotee who thus follows his master by His example and instructions is truly blessed and surely on the path of spiritual success. Even if one has a Guru however, success is not necessarily guaranteed. There must be a deep yearning for spiritual awakening within the aspirant. Without this thirst, the chances are slim that the devotee will go the full way on his spiritual journey.

Distractions are always present to take us away from the goal. God tests us to see if we really want to be with him. For some, the temptation becomes all to alluring. Even the advanced disciple - after reaching deep levels of peace - can fall spiritually and give in to sense desires if he is not careful. God’s tests are demanding and only complete devotion and faith will suffice for complete success on the path. The fruits of spiritual success, however, outweigh any material success imaginable to the human mind. Jesus said in the Bible that the harvest is truly plentiful but the labourers are few. That statement is extremely relevant today. Today, I pray that all whom I see, experience the wholeness of God and life, and that we may all live up to our heavenly Father’s wish, to be in the world but above it.

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Email Deepak.Folly@uec.co.za