2007 July

Editorial + Sharing + Seek within + Swami Replies + Understanding each other + Yoga: Parvatasana + Tending the Temple + Expanding Understanding + Fluorite + Water is Life + The Art of Leadership + Feature: Swami Shankarananda + The Secret Abode of the Maharishis + Why do we prostrate? + K is for Kindness + Yoga and the Art of Accomplishment + Inspiration + Letters from heaven + GitaScendence + Science and Power of Gayathri + Truth4Youth + Swami’s Sudoko

Selected Articles


Namasté all.
July brings us to Guru Pournami, giving us renewed opportunity to ask ourselves what the purpose of a Guru is, and to question our understanding of such a spiritual beacon. Swami Shankarananda is always there for us to offer spiritual counsel and guidance, but are we always there for Him?

Let us start during this time, a new habit of taking a few minutes each day to connect spiritually with Guru and send a small thank you for His unwavering support, and to acknowledge His influence in our material and spiritual successes.

This month we feature our own Swami Shankarananda. For the first time ever, Swami has allowed us (reluctantly) to write a little on His own life and experiences so that we can develop a greater understanding of His purpose in our lives. Also included in this issue is Guru’s long-overdue MasterCard.

In this issue, Swami Shankarananda writes about seeking within while from Swami Murugesu we learn about the secret abode of the Maharishis. Understanding Energy explains the importance of water in our lives, we discover the meanings behind the ritual of prostration, and Suren discusses Yoga and the Art of Accomplishment, while Rod Briggs teaches us about kindness.

Transcendence is now online so you can read selected articles as far back as the first edition in November 2004, order back-issue sets and apply for your yearly subscription - all from the comfort of your couch by visiting http://transcendence-mag.blogspot.com. You will also find links there to Swami Shankarananda’s own personal site, Swami Murugesu’s site, and sites of the Gayathri Peedam, Jadatharaya Yoga Institute and Kailash Crystals. All of these will be updated on a regular basis, so make sure you add them to your list of online favourites in order to keep track of all events, prayers, functions and useful spiritual information.

By subscribing to Transcendence, and paying for your issues a year in advance, you will receive your favourite monthly mag in the post, and also qualify to receive a free daily email inspiration from Swami. Please note that this is different from the daily SMS inspiration sent by Swami which costs R50.00 per month. If you don’t have email, we are not offering a free monthly SMS instead, as this incurs extra costs to Swami!

Please remember that the 9th of August is the annual Gayathri Maha Yajna and that the benefits one can attain from attending this prayer are too vast to mention here. This needs to be experienced in order to be realized. We hope to see all of you there.
In Love and Service always,

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Message from the Master
What is true happiness? Is it found in possessions, or is it found in attachment? No, it is found in sharing what one has with others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. Sharing expands your spiritual identity, making you live in joy and a greater reality - the Self. By always sharing willingly with others, you will find yourself continually blissful, and with a constant energy of happiness emanating from the inner altar of your being. Share, share share, and you will attain bliss, bliss, bliss.

Adapted from Healing Affirmations by Swami Kriyananda.

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Reader's Contribution

Secrets of the Beloved
In our daily experiences it is sometimes difficult to remember that we are Divine beings living this day-to-day life. I am going to share a Divine secret with you: the Beloved wants nothing more than for you to return the love and blessings that She showers upon you each day. We are all given free will by Divine Mother, free will to become murders, Saints, business men, plumbers, or anything we want to become. It requires a conscious effort to remember that we are Divine children of God. How can we do this? It is simple: practice the presence of God in everything you do. When things are not going well, we pray hard that the Divine comes to our aid. The secret is this: when things are going well it essential that we give thanks daily for what we have, for the cup of coffee you have, for the birds in the trees, for the fresh air you breath and yes, for the meal you are about to enjoy. If you practice the presence of God sincerely in all that you do during God’s time you will have everything you have ever wished for. This is a Divine promise from God.

from Deenadayalan

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The Guru’s Help
by Mrinalini Mata

The Guru helps the disciple in countless ways. Perhaps greatest of them all, he inspires the chela throughhis exemplification of divine attributes: he is the ‘speaking voice of silent God’ and the incarnation of highest wisdom and purest love; he embodies the soul-qualities that reflect God; he symbolises theway and the Goal. Christ Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The guru is the way; as a supreme example of the sadhana he gives to his disciples, he demonstrates divine laws of Truth and teaches how to apply them in order to realise God. He gives the chela spiritual inspiration and vitality to follow the path that leads to eternal life in God.

The novice disciple may rationalise that since the guru is divine, the chela cannot hope to emulate him. One such disciple, asked by his guru to perform a task he considered beyond his ability, protested that he could not do it. His guru’s response was quick and emphatic. “I can do it!” “But, Gurudeva, you are the Master. You are one with God.” THe disciple had expected him to say, “Yes, you are right. Just take your time. Eventually ou will succeed.” But Gurudeva replied: “There is only one difference between you and your Guru. I made the effort; now, you have to make the effort!”

Vedic scriptures state that the spiritual effort of the disciple constitutes only twenty-five percent of the spiritual forces required to bring his soul back to God. An additional twenty-five percent is given through the blessings of the guru. The remaining fifty percent is bestowed by the grace of God. Thus the devotee’s effort is equaled by the guru’s and God is doing as much as guru and disciple together. Although the disciple’s effort is but one quarter of the whole, he must go ahead and fully do his part, and not wait to receive, first, the blessings of God and guru. As the devotee puts forth his utmost effort to do his share, the guru’s blessings and Gods’ grace are automatically with him.

Excerpt from The Guru Disciple Relationship

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Understanding Energy
by Yvonne Jarvis

Water is Life
It is important to realize that the water in living cells is not like tap water – it is so highly structured that some have referred to it as a liquid crystal! Like a crystal, structured water can contain much energy and information. The role of water in our diet and body functions are underestimated. It is not merely a thirst-quencher – it is a macronutrient, and we need to drink large amounts of fresh natural water to stay alive and healthy. Many drinks containing caffeine dehydrate the body, so supplementary pure water is necessary. Our lungs expel 2-4 cups of water daily through normal breathing, and even more on cold days. Sweating loses water, and 6 trips to the bathroom loses another 6 cups. Pale urine is usually a good indicator of enough water intake.

The role of water
Many think of water as merely a solvent, a packaging material and transport of body substances - proteins, minerals and vitamins are given far more dietary emphasis. Water is vital to energy production in cells (by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen to produce ATP). It aids in digestion and absorption of food, regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and removes waste and toxins. It cushions joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, from shock and damage. Since water contains no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant. It metabolises stored fat, therefore plays a role in weight loss. It moistens skin, and cools it through perspiration.

The brain is 80% water, and many parts of the brain draw energy from water. Neurotrans-mission is heavily dependent on water - small waterways along the length of nerves float neurotransmitters to nerve endings. When the body is dehydrated, nerve transmission and brain function is diminished. Metabolism in dehydrated cells is impaired, affecting sugar metabolism, the immune system and detoxification. Nutrients are carried into cells by water. Many dehydrated people are malnourished despite excellent diets! Effective hydration removes free radicals faster than any other therapy, and taking supplements to reduce free radicals will not work if the body is dehydrated. Lung dehydration is a significant factor in respiratory diseases, and dramatic results can be achieved in asthma and chronic bronchitis with simple rehydration. Emotions are synthesized by water, and lack of water can result in emotional and mental disorders.

Dehydration is a major stress producer, and alters the amino acid balance, which allows DNA errors which can lead to cancer. Water is a vital conductor of energy, such as Reiki or meridian energy, and energy therapies cannot work efficiently in dehydrated bodies. The lymph system clogs up and malfunctions in dehydration. Children, including hyperactive children, are prone to dehydration because they are tempted to drink juices and caffeine and sugar laden fizzy drinks rather than plain water.

What happens when we do not drink enough water? Simply put, the body stops functioning properly. Most folk drink when they get thirsty, however the body is already dehydrated by this time. Common symptoms are headaches, constipation, poor co-ordination, arthritic and gastro-intestinal pain, general amplification of pain, malnourishment, nerve pain and emotional or mental disorders. And we resort to popping pills instead of taking a few glasses of water.

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Feature Article
Swami Shankarananda

Swami Shankarananda was named Shankarananda Mogandasa Moodley at birth, which was at nine o’ clock on the morning of July 15th, 1953, and during the Nakshatsha of Pooram. Swami was born in Stanger, a small town on the North Coast of kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. At birth, his hair was long and thick, almost the length of his 1.3kg body and which, for convenience sake, was cut short just half an hour after he had been born.

Today swami describes the occurrence of his first real experience of God while attending a Kavady Procession in Tinley Manor during 1962, as follows: “We arrived at the temple, having walked since 4.30 in the morning from my grandparent’s house in Shakaskraal, all the way to Tinley Manor along the railway line, playing various games along the way. When we reached the temple area, I became transfixed at the gates and the only colour I could see was yellow. The whole area was divinely bathed in yellow. Amongst the Kavadies were chariots, all beautifully decorated. What a beautiful sight! Even the clothes the devotees wore were yellow. Bhajans started and the entire temple was charged with divinity. Everywhere devotees were jumping, running and dancing in total transcendence. I remember watching in amazement as, for the first time, I witnessed hooks being pushed through the skin of some of the devotees, waiting in anticipation to see if there would be any blood, but there was none.” Intrigued by this spectacle, young Mogan decided to try the same thing at home later that day, by using office pins, which he pushed through the skin of his hand, hurting himself. He suffered for four days afterwards, but was certain deep within that he would one day perform the same feat (which he did later for a number of years).

At the age of fourteen, Mogan experienced and spoke to God, during which time he would manifest convulsions. This strange behaviour incited his parents to take him to hospital, where he was admitted and diagnosed as having a mental disorder. Although his parents had wanted Mogan to become a doctor, he adamantly insisted on following a spiritual path. On two occasions Mogan had to undergo electroconvulsive mental therapy, which was unsuccessful, but he was forced to continue his schooling nevertheless, having to deal with his ‘condition’ as best as he could.

After matriculating, Mogan went to the United States to study at the Hearald Engineering College in San Francisco, U.C.S.F. Returning to South Africa after graduating, he worked for a local paper mill company monitoring the paper weight . During 1982 Mogan married Tammy Govender and over the following ten years, four new souls were introduced to the world, two sons and two daughters.

During the period that followed, our Swami was employed by a number of companies and promoted to supervisor, opened and closed two businesses, and excelled in his position at a large retail firm. Despite all of this, Mogan was increasingly aware that something was lacking in his life, but couldn’t quite establish exactly what it was until something happened to change his life.

During 1994, Guru received some books by a living saint he had never met, Swami Murugesu Maharishi, and two years later, in 1996 found himself travelling to Sri Lanka to meet his master who initiated him into the Swami order. Later during 1999, Swami Shankarananda was also initiated into Kriya Yoga by Yogiar SAA Ramaiah during his visit to South Africa. Since then Swami Shankarananda has founded the Gayathri Peedam in South Africa under the direction of Swami Murugesu and has also formed the Jadatharaya Institute of Right Living and Yoga to create awareness of the spiritual importance and correct practise of the ancient science of Yoga. Today Swami Shankarananda works as a channel and a mediator between aspirants and the Infinite by holding spiritual talks, workshops and yoga classes, and by distribution of His inspirational writing.

It is little known (as Swami in his humility seldom mentions it) that Swami Shankarananda also holds an honorary doctorate in Vedic Astrology, is a Reiki Master and a Lighterian Master, a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of Oaths. He is known by devotees and students for His infinite patience, infectious sense of humour, haunting voice and, most of all, Divine Presence and unconditional love that can be felt just by sitting at His feet, all of which Swami attributes to the presence of Swami Murugesu in his heart. Seldom do devotees get to experience the presence of such a Master as Swami Shankarananda, and it is sad that so few who have the opportunity to be close to Him are aware of His Spiritual magnitude.

Excerpt from the full article

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Reader's Contribution

Dear God,
Please bless my Guru with enough patience and tolerance to teach us how to reach you. Your messengers have been sent to us in the form of our Gurus to guide us because we are not yet attuned to receive instructions directly from you, so I ask that you grant us wisdom to understand and follow our Guru's teachings. Hari Om.

Accept divine bliss showered upon you in the form of sunlight and use this tremendously powerful energy positively. In this journey called Life, people are continuously searching for their purpose. I believe that people are messengers of God,sent to His beautiful playground to teach each other. If you want to know your purpose, make an active effort to make a positive difference to others, be it stranger or kin, friend or enemy. See God in all, because on Earth God resides in people. Make yourself appear to be what you were meant to be - a pure, serene abode for your soul. Keep that shine that you had when you first entered this earth by dispelling negatives from your life and by thinking positive thoughts, speaking positive words and committing to positive actions. Good deeds are an indication of a person's character. A positive character is a sign of God's grace. God sends us his merciful blessings in countless ways: in a child's innocent smile, in a sweet scent of a flower or even in a brush of cool breeze on a hot day. Open your heart and be receptive and you will undoubtedly feel the serenity and peace residing within each one of us. Om

from Chandika Hooblal

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K is for Kindness
by Rod Briggs

The root of the word kindness is kin which, in turn refers to likeness, similarity, family or species. When we are involved in kindness we are, quite literally, making a statement that says “I recognise you as akin to me”. We are practicing the first Universal principles of unity and love. But let’s look a little closer at the kindnesses that we experience in our daily lives.

An act of kindness, like an act of charity, should have no egocentric component. If you give your old, unwanted clothes to the poor it is not charity, neither is it a kindness. This may seem at first glance, to be confusing but think about what would happen if you did not give your old clothes away; you would have to dump them, or pay someone to take them away. In this instance the person who you give your clothes to is actually doing you a kindness by taking them off your hands. This is not to say that you should not give your clothes away; certainly keep doing so, but stop fooling yourself into thinking that it is an act of kindness to do so.

Another ego involvement in acts of kindness is guilt. If by giving anything, or doing anything, for or to someone you help alleviate your sense of guilt it is not an act of kindness. If you get an ego boost by giving publicly – even if it is an audience of one – it is not an act of kindness. If your act of kindness is motivated, in any manner by thinking what you may get in return it is false. If it is done because of fear, or because your priest, guru or minister says you should it is not an act of kindness.

The bottom line is that the only time we can perform acts of kindness is when we do them with no thought for ourselves, or any repercussions, positive or negative. Even the act of thinking that you have done a kind deed is enough to loose you all your brownie points.

The true character of a man is shown in the way he treats those who can do him neither favours nor harm. Be kind to one another.

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Yoga and the Art of Accomplishment
by Suren Pillay

In life we find so many different fields of accomplishment, and in every field we find many outstanding human beings always raising the standard of accomplishment. Yet there is one field of accomplishment which will directly result in improved performance in all other fields of accomplishment. This field is the field of spirituality and yoga. Yoga is central to all other fields of activity since one of its tenets lies in the harmonious integration of mind and body and soul for the purpose of experiencing higher levels of reality.

In the field of business, we find that the businessman would lose track of time and energy if he were not attentive to his environment and the state of his physical body. Mastering the science of attention is essential in the practice of yoga, various concentration routines may be used to allow the spiritual practitioner to heighten his powers of attention. In meditation the practitioner might achieve one pointedness such that he may feel a wonderful silence and calmness within. His concentration can be improved greatly if he can maintain this one pointedness all day long. Thus the businessman may also benefit by achieving tasks with greater quality ,less effort and shorter time spans, than the ordinary man by the practice of yoga.

For students accomplishment lies in the ability to retain maximum information in minimal periods of time and concentrating effectively to produce high quality solutions in minimal time spans. High quality solutions would include those that are succinct, relevant and fluently written. In this field, yoga is, undoubtedly, of great advantage. The learner, by practising concentration meditation in his spiritual practices, starts to retain more information in his studies in a shorter time. He is able to grasp the relevant issues in various questions more rapidly than his ordinary counterparts. His solutions are inevitably more relevant, concise and intelligent. By breathing correctly the learner may also retain and assimilate volumes of information in relatively short periods of time.

For the sportsman on the field, accomplishment lies in his ability, to utilize minimal amounts of energy to achieve maximum physical results. To a large degree much of his success will lie in the harmonious integration of mind body activity. Mind and body activity can be in integrated effectively by the performance of yoga postures and breathing exercises. Such activities involve the mind to a deep extent and help the athlete synchronise his entire nervous system and body effortlessly.

For the socialite or public speaker accomplishment lies in speaking effectively, with little effort such that the point of his speaking may be readily understood and retained in the hearts of his listeners. It is not so much whether the listeners actually listen but more, how they listen. Everyone listens to a certain extent, but the speaker must aim to produce a deep impression in the minds of his listeners. This can be done by speaking from his heart, truthfully and with deep belief and conviction in his own words. To speak truthfully and sincerely is an extremely important tenet of yogic practice and essential if one wishes to be successful in yoga and meditation.

Dear friends, we can now see that whether you are a businessman, student, athlete, sportsman, public speaker or socialite, yoga remains central to the art of accomplishment. May all children of Gayathri practice yoga and experience the benefits of such practice in every field of activity.

Expressions of Truth
by Suren

Where the fields of gold tempt and vanity reigns, you reign not;
For your glory is infinitely greater.
To the triumphant I salute, to the aspiring I encourage;
To the Masters I bow in reverence and humility
All are mere expressions of thee, as I am, was and will be!

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