2007 August


Editorial + Enlightenment + Readers Contributions + Happenings + Prayer + Swami Replies + Healing Grapes + Garnet + Subtle Energy & Shakti + FEATURE: Swami Sivananda + The Science of Kalpa + Why Hindus wear marks on the forehead + L is for Limiting Beliefs + Yoga and Nature + Money + Gitascendence + Science and the Power of Gayathri

Cover: Swami Shankarananda & Sanyassi Shraddhamurti

Selected Articles


Namasté all.
With three-quarters of the year already through, we will find ourselves beginning to think about our year-end celebrations and rest from work over the next few months. We should also begin at this time to take stock of our spiritual input during the year and ask ourselves what we have done so far this year to know God better.

To help you along, as always, we include articles to stimulate spiritual interest and devotion. Our feature article gives a brief look at the life of Swami Sivananda, a truly inspirational soul and the founder of the Divine Life Society.

Mahavishnu gives a reportback with fotos, on the Gayathri Maha Yajna held on the 9th August at the Gayathri Peedam, just so those who weren’t able to attend can find out what they missed. We also find out how grapes can be used in healing and the properties of the Garnet stone.

Swami Murugesu teaches us about the Science of Kalpa and our article on Faith explains why Hindus wear marks on their foreheads. Swami Shankarananda explains the meaning of prayer and from Yvonne Jarvis we learn about Subtle Energy and Shakti.

On the 12th August, Swami Shankarananda, devotees and students were invited by Sanyassi Shraddhamurthi to perform satsang at the Shraddha Yoga Centre in Manors. Shraddhama is a disciple of Paramahansa Niranjanananda (whose paramguru is Swami Sivananda), and we are honoured to have as our guest speaker at the Yogathon. She appears with Swami Shankarananda on the cover of this edition of Transcendence.

The Gayathri Peedam, Jadatharaya Institute and Kailash Crystals all attended the Mind Body Soul fair held in Westville on the 26th August and, as usual, the day was a great success with many interested in yoga, the temple and Swami’s crystals. Thank you to all who supported us on the day.

July has been an extremely busy month and September will be even more so with Swami presenting a talk on The Science of Hindu Prayer Rituals on the 1st, Navaghara in Verulam on the 8th, two talks in Joburg on the 15th, (one on the Law of Cause and Effect and another on the Science of Spirituality) with Ganesha Chaturi on the same weekend. The 22nd of September finds Swami a guest speaker at the Shraddha Yoga Centre and the 23rd brings us to the annual Yogathon of the Jadatharaya Institute. An interactive lecture on the Symbolism of the Lord Shiva Aspect of God and the Shiva Lingam will be given by Swami on Friday 28th September in Cowies Hill, another on Pranic Crystal Healing on the 29th at the Energy Centre and Swami will also be co-ordinating the Scottburgh Spirit Fair along with the Scottburgh Hindu Institute on Sunday the 30th.

We know that there are many functions and that most of you are very busy, but please try to support as many prayers and talks as possible - they are all for your spiritual benefit.
In Love and Service always,


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Message from the Masterji

Enlightenment is a fulfilling accomplishment to be celebrated in this life. It awakens you from deep slumber and takes you on a journey of deep exploration of the greater Self. Enlightenment simplifies your life with its practicality and gives you focus. Sit still, arouse your mind, enter the soul, and the Truth is attained.

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by Swami Shankarananda

Prayer is the spontaneous universal soul force behind every individual. From prayer emanates Divine Energy, Spiritual Energy and Divine Spiritual Inspirations. It must be done daily with commitment and total surrender to God. By enjoying this spontaneous soul force, it sustains the purity, ability and strength of an individual. Just as there is a spontaneous need to satisfy your hunger or thirst, so should it be with prayer. Prayer existed long before man even understood language simply because one does not need language to pray. Prayer is about feeling: joy, fear, insecurity or guilt. During his helplessness man invoked some supernatural force to help him. This is now referred to as prayer.

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Reader's Contributions

Start with Yourself
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me but, alas, they would have none of it. And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
Submitted by Sachu

The Light of Man
Today I see something great in you, something I haven’t seen before:
something that mirrors the wisdom of all the planets stars and galaxies of the universe; something that nurtures me and all the world around me;
something that blesses me and you in every day and in every way!
Someday, sometime, somewhere, it shall be revealed
and then there will be no longer you and me
but just us and we ,as it was meant to be!

Secrets of the Beloved
If you only pray to God when you are in dire states
and forget to pray to God when things are going well,
the challenges and obstacles will come fast and furious.
When you have God in your life obstacles will still come
but they will be minor and will only be small bumps on your highway.
Without God in your life the obstacles will seem cavernous,
larger than life and will threaten to swallow you up.

The Greatness of Our Guru
How many of us have paused to reflect on the greatness of our Guru? Those who seek salvation and attain it are blessed indeed. Those who aspire to heaven and attain it are blessed indeed. How much more blessed are our spiritual masters and, in particular, our Guru who, knowing full well that He is on the threshold of crossing over to the other side, chooses to remain with us instead. Our Guru has given us his word that as long as even a single one of us does not possess a blue aura, he will hobble into this congregation if need be, to lead us to the Divine Rapture. What selflessness! Just as our Guru is committed to protecting, nurturing and leading us to divinity, we must also have a single-minded desire to protect and nurture Him. How do we do this? By adhering strictly to His instructions and not engaging in any negative activities which will pull us down and thereby affect our Guru negatively. Maya’s illusory energy is indeed very attractive and the risk of falling is always there. Let us therefore grasp the feet of our Guru and not let go. Our Guru has told us in no uncertain terms that the responsibility for our own spiritual path rests on His shoulders.
Submitted by Logan

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Healing Stones: Garnet
Garnet is a powerfully energizing and regenerating stone. It cleanses and re-energizes the chakras. It revitalizes, purifies and balances energy, bringing serenity or passion as appropriate. It is said to be able to warn of approaching danger and was long ago carried as a protective talisman. Garnet inspires love and devotion. It balances the sex drive and alleviates emotional disharmony. Red Garnet in particular stimulates the controlled rise of kundalini energy and aids sexual potency. This is a stone of commitment and is a useful crystal to have in a crisis. It is particularly helpful in situations where there seems to be no way our or where life has fragmented or is traumatic. It fortifies, activates and strengthens the survival instinct, bringing courage and hope into seemingly hopeless situations. Crisis is turned into challenge under Garnet’s influence. It also promotes mutual assistance in times of trouble. Garnet has a strong link with the pituitary gland and can stimulate expanded awareness and past-life recall. Garnet activates other crystals, amplifying their effect. It clears negative chakra energy. Square-cut garnets are said to bring success in business matters. Psychologically, Garnets sharpen your perceptions of yourself and other people. It dissolves ingrained behaviour patterns that are no longer serving you and bypasses resistance or self-induced unconscious sabotage. Mentally, Garnet helps you to let go of useless or old or obsolete ideas. Emotionally, Garnet removes inhibitions and taboos. It opens up the heart and bestows self-confidence.

In Healing, Garnet regenerates the body and stimulates the metabolism. It treats spinal and cellular disorders, purifies and re-energizes the blood, heart, lungs and regenerates DNA. It assists assimilation of minerals and vitamins.

Extract from The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall.

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Subtle Energy and Shakti

by Yvonne Jarvis

Spiritual understandings about energy have been present in many cultures for thousands of years, and are in the process of becoming more widely known in the west. Subtle energy is not well understood, because it is non-physical and people cannot see how something non-physical can have tangible effects. ‘Subtle’ in ordinary language is defined as something difficult to detect, and similarly, subtle energy is not detectable by mainstream scientific instruments. An analogy can be drawn to the early days of research into electricity, and once standard instruments are available for measuring and quantifying it, subtle energy will be considered just as real as any other form.

Photons or light particles have no mass, yet they produce very real effects – consider solar-powered discs and photo-electric beams. Many subtle energies, like physical energy such as heat, light, electricity and gravity, have amplitude and frequency but no mass, and yet they can do “work”, the most important of which is to produce change or transformation in ourselves. Subtle energy can be transmitted over large distances (some readers may be familiar with studies on the distant healing effects of prayer). However, subtle energies can be transmitted at speeds unmatched by physical energies, ie faster than the speed of light. While this may be difficult to comprehend, it must be remembered that much of yesterday’s ‘magic’ has a scientific explanation today – consider radio and satellite transmissions.

Subtle energy responds much more readily to human consciousness than physical energy. Thought can be transformed into a bodily motion, for example kicking a ball. A related concept is that subtle energy can be programmed, much like a quartz crystal can be programmed. In reality, it is the subtle energy field associated with the crystal which is programmed. The fact that subtle energy can be programmed leads us to the concept of shakti.

A shakti is a subtle energy which has been programmed to behave intelligently, either by the Source (God) or by a spiritually evolved being which can act as a pipeline for the divine mind. Shakti expresses the concept of energy being God in action (shakti is a Hindu word; there is no English word to describe this concept). All shaktis are subtle energies, but not all subtle energies are shaktis. Although the concept may be new to us, we each experience these energies on a daily basis. They fill the universe, and their presence is the cause of the magnificent design and order we see throughout life. Shakti gives direction to physical evolution of the universe, to biological evolution, and to personal and spiritual evolution, and shakti is the everyday work tool of spirit.

One example is that many prayers are answered on God’s behalf by spiritual beings such as angels using shakti, to strengthen the person’s subtle body energy fields with inner strength to meet a challenge, for example. Although spirit has the power to answer prayers by changing external circumstances, it prefers to facilitate inner growth and empower us to change circumstances ourselves. Using shakti respects free will, where the person must still do their share of the work to shift their consciousness. Changes in the subtle realm, as in the physical realm, happen through energy exchange.

Reference: Energy Blessings from the Stars by Virginia Essene and Irving Feurst

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Why do Hindus Wear Marks on their Foreheads?

The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.

In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or colour) - Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races. The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three divisions.

Also Vishnu worshippers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of a ‘U,’ Shiva worshippers a tripundra of bhasma, Devi worshippers a red dot of kumkum and so on).

The tilak cover the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thinking. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The tilak is applied with the prayer - “May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds.” Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces.

The entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves - the forehead and the subtle spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The tilak and pottu cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma. Using plastic reusable ‘stick bindis’ is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration.

(Ref: http://www.chinmayapublications.org)

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Everyday Enlightenment
by Vish

Every person who met Yogiar Ramaiah has fond memories of him, whether it is the distinct fear they felt by his strict disciplines, or by the love he expressed for the Master. During his first visit to the Gayathri Peedam, Yogiar held a week long initiation program into Kriya Kundalini Pranayam and Dyanam. After the day’s program, he would touch his index finger and thumb on both hands into jnana or chin mudra, and raise it into the air and ask with a small smile distinguishable behind his lengthy beard, “Any questions?” Hardly ever were questions asked. Now that Yogiar has entered Mahasamadhi, we regret not taking the opportunity to learn from this exalted master through questions.

Our guru says that when a person does not ask questions, it can mean one of two things: either he knows everything, or he knows nothing. I highly doubt it’s the former, so I find myself wondering why we don’t ask more questions at satsanghs. Perhaps there is too much to ask, and we don’t know where to start. Maybe we are too shy or embarrassed. So I propose a screening method to help us question better. Firstly, you need to think about whether the question you are going to ask is going to make u grow as a person. Don’t waste time asking mundane trivial questions that don’t fuel your spiritual growth. I recall a lady asking me in the main temple why our lamps are turned sideways instead of facing straight. This is a stupid question. Some people say there isn’t such a thing as stupid questions, but since we find duality in everything else, I’m certain that there is at least a fine line between an intelligent and not-so-intelligent question! Are we going to climb one step higher on the spiritual ladder if we face the lamps straight? Always think before you ask. Try and resolve the question within yourself first. Remember that the greatest guru lies within you, but because we aren’t in tune with it, we don’t get the answers we need.

Secondly, bear in mind that the answer you get from the person you question may not always be the answer you expect. This does not mean that it is the wrong answer. If someone says that the only way to God is through Christ and another the easiest way to God through Buddha, they are both right. It just depends on which one you choose to accept. The driving force behind asking questions is intention. If your intention is to trap the guru, then I suggest you remain quiet. Some people ask questions for the benefit of others (and markedly state so!). This does not make one a good Samaritan, especially if it builds your ego.

What is evident today is that most of the questions we ask aim to defy the presence of God or degrade the religions of the world. Again, intention is so important. Life is beautiful. If u are receptive, all the questions you have resolve themselves in due time. This does not mean that you shouldn’t ask questions. A guru is there to teach you. What we tend to do is bombard him with our material issues without exerting his true purpose – to help us find God.

Dr. Michael Beckwith, a teacher of ‘The Secret’ said on Oprah recently, “Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have!” The problem with us is that we are never satisfied. We always want something more. That ‘something more’ that you need is God. Only once you have God will you be totally satisfied. Caroline Shola Arewa composed the following affirmation, “As I open to Spirit this day, show me a way to receive the abundant gifts and blessings that are bestowed upon me. As I open to Spirit this day, show me a way to be of service to the greater good of all beings!”

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