2007 October

Editorial + Seek Eternal happiness + Our Different Perceptions + Healing mangoes + Howlite + Parvatasana + N is for Negativity + Inner Reflectinos + Feature: The Spiritual Teachings of Swami Murugesu + Seek Eternal Happiness + Sprint Health + Maha Navarathri + A Master Guide to Meditation + Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Cover: Mahasamadhi Shrine of Sri Swami Murugesu Maharishi

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Namasté all.

As we rush towards the end of the year, the pace of everyday life seems to speed up as invitations to business year-end functions arise, the rush to finish projects before the big shut-down increases stress-levels, and we prepare ourselves for the big bank-account drain that results from holiday spending sprees. All this activity can cause many distractions in our spiritual lives and we should remember to take the time to stop for a moment to catch our breath, still the mind and dedicate some time every day to our communication with God.

Transcendence has been requested by Swami Shankarananda to run two consecutive articles on Sri Swami Murugesu Maharishi in the Feature slot this month and next month, as well as to include Swamiji in both months as our MasterCard feature. Swami Shankarananda is in the process of compiling the biography of Swami Murugesu so both articles will include information from these notes. The picture of Swami Murugesu of this month’s MasterCard was commissioned specifically by Swami Himself with the instruction that it be made available to all devotees so that they may receive Swami’s personal blessing.

Our poll on the Transcendence webiste shows that 85% of readers would prefer to continue with the monthly edition of the mini-mag at R15.00 instead of a quarterly edition at R10.00. These changes will take effect from the first 2008 edition of Transcendence.

As usual, we have tried to include as many interesting, informative and inspirational articles as we can jam into one small mag. This month includes an article on Seeking Eternal Happiness by Swami Shankarananda, the continuation of Swami Murugesu’s article on the Secret of Cosmic Mind, Why Holy Ash is Applied in Hindu Rituals, and Inner Reflections by Suren, among others. There is a write-up by Mahavishnu on the Maha Navarathri Chariot procession that was held on the 20th October at the Verulam Gayathri Peedam, with lots of pictures inside the cover. A big thank you goes to all who worked so hard to make everything come together for this wonderful day and to those who played a part in co-ordinating the evening prayers over the foregoing nine days of Navarathri,

A divine Maha Samadhi shrine of Swami Murugesu Maharishi has been installed at the Verulam Gayathri Peedam on Swami’s instruction. A picture of it is included on the front cover. Finally, it needs to be announced that Swami Shankarananda has been designated international head of the Gayathri Peedam, including the two Sri Lankan ashrams, which means that He will be spending less time in South Africa and more time in Sri Lanka. Please bear in mind that unless funds are made available for Swami to make short, frequent trips to Sri Lanka instead of one or two prolonged visits, finances will dictate that Swami be away from South African devotees for up to four months at a time to attend to ashram matters in Sri Lanka. This is a wake-up call to all devotees to take advantage of the little time that Swami Shankarananda is available to us.

In Love and Service always,

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Message from the Master
Develop Respect

Make the best of life. Let go of ego.
Instead of stretching you hands out to the sky and worshipping God, place your hands close to your chest and respect your parents and elders. Your world is falling apart.

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Swami Says: Seek Eternal Happiness

The human race of today is always in a hurry, or rather, literally, in a race. This is true especially regarding modern day youth. First they hurry to grow up, then to acquire an education; from there to earn money and get married; then to buy a motor vehicle, a house and finally stop. Stop where? Most of today’s youngsters don’t know the answer to this. When you ask them what their ultimate goal in life is, they say, ‘well, I have not decided as yet’. Others say, ‘I’m trying to make the best of life,’ but when asked what they mean by this the answer goes something like ... ‘well, you know, I’m not really sure, but I think it’s happiness’.

To the youth and all humans of this age, happiness is being attained by the many desirable comforts available in this modern society. What people don’t know is that this happiness is not real. It will not be the same tomorrow and will never again be the same as it was yesterday as the interest in the object fades away. What does this mean? That the human race is driven by both positive and negative feelings and desires. We do not stop when one desire is achieved, but always look for another. This game is never-ending and this temporary achievement will continue. Every one of these achievements brings about only a short-lived happiness, yet every failure achieves frustration and hurt that can last forever. This is the prize received by chasing temporary happiness through the desire and ego of the body, mind and intellect.

Look around you, you will see millions of other living creatures; all of them are functioning by instinct. But the most prized and precious life given by God is that of a human being. Do you think that humans were given their form so that they could chase their material desires endlessly? Or did God grant a purpose to your life? The good news is that this eternal dharma referred to in Hinduism, tells us that God granted you this life-form as a gift to enable you to perform your duties righteously so that your soul could return Home and reunite with that Supreme Intelligence we call God. How is this possible? By your inner human beliefs, you think, reason and choose a spiritual path to achieve this. Even this faculty of thinking, reasoning and choice has created pain for the human being because he has become lazy and when confronted with different and difficult situations, tends to choose that which is easy and pleasure-giving, and which satisfies the emotions, rather than seeking that eternal happiness which lies within the inner altar of every being. Rather make this eternal happiness part of your life.

Email: sivabalayogi@mweb.co.za

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Swami Replies

Devotee: Can collective prayer heal ailments?

Swami Shankarananda: This has been the belief for ages. The Gayathri Peedam performs a mass-healing pooja on the first of May every year and every time it has been a success. The patient receives a certain vibration from the prayer which leads to healing. Collective prayer also has some element of psychological treatment.

Devotee: Will meditation give rise to liberation?

Swami Shankarananda: Yes, liberation from the miseries, pains and sorrows of life. Meditation helps control the restless mind. Eventually salvation will be attained.

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Understanding Energy: Part 12
by Yvonne Jarvis

Spring Health

We all look forward to the warmer, longer days of spring, with birdsong and colourful flowering bulbs. The body’s immunity is sometimes at a low ebb after long evenings spent indoors and a winter diet of stodgy carbohydrates.

Spring ailments abound for a variety of reasons. Germs multiply as temperatures rise, resulting in spring colds and a risk of food poisoning. Pollen is released into the air and is carried in the breeze, triggering hay fever. And warm sunny days combined with air pollution result in high levels of ozone, which exacerbate respiratory troubles.

Now is the time to spring clean your body. Brush away the cobwebs and enjoy the fresh outdoor air. Get into shape by exercising, refresh your senses with the sights and sound of spring and detox with garlic, onions and spring greens to prepare for increased activity. Refresh your complexion with a gentle, natural oatmeal scrub.

Spring flowers: Boost your mood and energy with a bowl of fresh spring flowers in your home or on your desk. Select vibrant yellows and reds to stimulate your mind, and gentle blues and violets for peace. Grow your own blooms in flower boxes or in your garden and take delight as you watch them grow and blossom.

Exercise:Take some exercise to stimulate the circulation, keep your heart healthy and tone muscles. Exercise in fresh air relieves stress and allows your skin to absorb sunshine, but do remember to protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using sun screen. Exercise releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone, to give you a more positive outlook and make you feel more energetic. Select activities you enjoy, so that they are not a chore. Take a walk and set your worries aside – concentrate on the beauty of nature and listen to the sounds. Explore your local park. Take a ride on a bicycle. Take the family on a picnic, and play ball. Run with your dog – he will benefit from this activity too, and love you all the more for it.

Hay fever remedies:To ease the symptoms of hay fever, drink chamomile tea a couple of times a day. Save the tea bags after use and place over closed eyelids to soothe itchy eyes. Alternatively, prepare an infusion of herbs with anti-histamine properties such as chamomile, elderflower, golden seal and eyebright. The effect is cumulative, so take them throughout spring to benefit fully. To relieve sinus, inhale essential oils such as chamomile, lavender, rose or lemon. Add 3-4 drops of your favourite oil or a blend of 2-3 drops to a bowl of hot water. Cover your head and bowl with a towel and inhale the vapours.

Spring food: Boost your immunity with Echinacea and foods rich in anti-oxidants. Eat fresh seasonal vegetables. Select foods rich in vitamin C such as strawberries, orange juice and new potatoes. Zinc found in nuts and wholegrain cereals defend against colds. Spicy foods containing ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper will boost circulation and protect against infections. Iron-rich food such as red meat, chicken and pulses will maintain vitality. Salad greens are rich in vitamins and nutrients, and bean sprouts will add protein. Complement your meals with wholemeal bread, especially those containing nutrient-rich seed and grains.

By trying some of these simple tips, you will boost your health and well-being.

Reference: Enhancing your mind, body, spirit - Natural healing

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Inner Reflections
Suren Pillay

When we look at the world’s scriptures we see so many different philosophies covering a single subject. The average man who seeks God through books is bound to find confusion if he seeks that universal intelligence through book knowledge alone. Philosophical systems attempt to explain universal principles in a particular context and in many respects only represent the truth partially. For one to truly know the truth of God one has to consciously practice and experience spirituality.

Patanjali has mentioned in his Yoga Sutras that one of the keys to success is repeated practices. Whatever your path to God, whether it be by love, wisdom, meditation or action, ones practices should be steady and consistent. To achieve consistency in practice requires will force and an honest appreciation of what you are trying to achieve, for it is that goal of spiritual perfection that should inspire you to greater heights in your practices.

The consequences of spiritual perfection are almost too overwhelming for many to even imagine. One who has attained such perfection no longer lives in fear but in total love, his bliss is unending and his joy is contagious. The beauty of the spiritual path is that even if you do not achieve complete perfection in this life your good actions remain with you in the afterlife. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita that even a little of this spiritual practice in this life can save people from the worst types of fear.

Even of one does not attain perfection in this life, the peace and inner joy that one experiences without any interaction with the outer world should be enough to convince one of the benefit of this practice. When one considers the plight of many in South Africa ,in particular, of how many live below the breadline, we can consider ourselves lucky that we have a roof over our head, food on the table and clothes to keep us warm in winter. How much more fortunate are we to be given the opportunity to know our creator through the science of yoga.

Always count your blessings and always make the most of what you have for time and tide wait for no man. Time is fleeting, even as I write these words, precious moments are passing away. No one enjoys regret, so live by the ideals that you have always considered the highest of your self. One of the most powerful laws of greatness is as follows:

“When you always do what you know you should be doing success will always be forthcoming.” Remind yourself that you are capable of the greatest heights and of how fortunate you already are. Live in that truth and possibility will open its doors for you in every aspect of your life.

Aum, Shanti, Shalom, Amen!

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Everyday Enlightenment by Vish

Maha Navarathri
The sacred nine-night festival culminated at the Gayathri Peedam with a vibrant chariot procession. Processions of these nature are not unique to Hindus. Catholics carry the cross bearing Jesus through the town over the Good Friday weekend.

The prayer officially began at 9.00 am, though preparations began long before that. The unique prayer was perhaps not understood by all. Homage was first paid to the Saptarishis, the seven original saints to whom the Vedas were revealed. These Saptarishis were invoked in seven lingams, iconic representations of Shiva containing both male and female energies. Two lingams placed at the side of the Saptarishis represented Ishwara and Ishwari - also male and female aspects of energy and light. As is standard, prayer to the first Guru, Ganesha must be done.

The kumba-abishegam of Mother Gayathri was conducted this year. It was therefore decided that the last day of Navarathri would be appropriate to tie the Thali for the Mother. The thali is a yellow string containing a gold piece at the bottom known as the Bottu. The thali is a symbol of marriage. We know that Lakshmi is Vishnu’s consort, Saraswathi is Bramha’s consort and Durga is Shiva’s consort. Mother Gayathri is the mother of the entire universe - She is Jagadhambe. She is the Mother of the Vedas, and it is said that the trinity drank of Her milk. So why then do we tie a thali for Mother Gayathri? Because she is Durga, lakshmi and saraswathi. It is in these manifestations that the mother has consorts. Many devotees were emotional watching the thali being tied. It is a rare sight, and the Mother indeed looked like a bride!

The renovated chariot was decorated with beautiful marigolds and lights. At each pillar of the chariot, a copper dome was placed. At the rear, a life-sized poster of Swami Murugesu giving blessings was hoisted. A larger than life size picture of Mother Gayathri paraded in a van in front of the chariot.

The procession started at 2.00pm. Mother Durga, Ganesha, Swami’s sandals and a lamp were placed on the chariot and pulled first to the Ganesha Temple, where a warm welcome awaited us. After a short service in the temple and a sumptuous lunch, we proceeded to the Shri Emperumal Temple before returning to the Gayatrhi Peedam. Along the way, residents stopped and prayed to the Mother to bless and protect them.

At the Gayathri center, an electrifying service was held. The Divine energies present were indeed at a peak, and none that were present could deny that. And, as they say, “If you missed it, you missed out! - Big time!”