2007 November

Editorial + Message from the Master + Swami Says: Needham yoga + Swami Replies + Boys Compete, Girls Co-operate + Ashwa Sanchalasana + Healing Papaya + Expanding Understanding + Iolite + Where there's life there's hope + the Art of Leadership + FEATURE: Reflections of Jnanaguru Gayathri Siddha Swami Murugesu Maharishi and a brief history of the Nuwara Eliya Temple + Secret of Cosmic Mind Part 3 + Off the Shelf + The Meaning of Hindu Rituals + O is for Oppression + The Inner Meaning of Diwali + Inspiration + Letters from Heaven + Gitascendence + Great Science and Power of Gayathri + Truth 4 Youth

Cover: Swami Shankarananda at Lakshmi Pooja, 25 August 2007

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Namasté all.
As 2007 draws to a close, Swami Shankarananda leaves for India and Sri Lanka again but will be back in time to bless devotees with His usual special Christmas Service on the 24th of December at the Verulam Gayathri Peedam. Swami will also conduct a special New Year prayer on the 31 December during which the Gayathri Mantra is usually recited into the new year. So, those who are able to attend these two functions, do yourselves a spiritual favour and make a plan to spend this valuable time in Swami’s Divine presence.

Your second-to-last edition of Transcendence for 2007 is packed with lots of interesting stuff and includes short articles by Babaji, Ramana Maharishi and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Part Three of Swami Murugesu’s article on The Secret of Cosmic Mind is extremely interesting and should give everyone something to work towards. As promised, our November feature offers more insight into Swami Murugesu Maharishi by Swami Shankarananda and includes a brief but insightful history on the temple in Nuwara Eliya. Plus we include an extra MasterCard of a much-loved photo of Swami Murugesu.

We learn about the healing properties of Papaya and the Iolite stone. Yvonne Jarvis gives an inspiring commentary on Hope, and we discover why food is offered to God before eating in The Meaning of Hindu Rituals. Rod Briggs explains how we all subject ourselves and others to Oppression daily and Suren enlightens us on the Inner Meaning of Diwali, which, incidentally, also applies to the Christmas Celebration.

A rather significant event occurred at service on Friday the 16th of November. Swami Shankarananda was freed of His Jada - which He has assured us will grow again within the next six months. Although Swami did explain the reason for this, we are hoping that Swami will supply an article on the significance of this for inclusion in the next issue of Transcendence. Those who were not present on this occasion missed out on an incredible experience! We will try and include a photograph of this on the cover of the December edition.

Please also take note of the great offers available in the front and back cover of this month’s edition. We have some great new ‘gifty’ products in Swami’s crystal shop, or you could own a stunning life-size print of Swami Murugesu or Swami Shankarananda. All funds go towards promoting spiritual awareness through organising interactive discourses and producing printed matter - like Transcendence and the books of Swami Murugesu which are in the process of being reproduced for distribution on a wider scale. Watch this space and keep an eye on Swami’s website.

In Love and Service always.
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Will Swami Murugesu be born again?
Swami Shankarananda: Yes, but after many years. Swamiji has indicated to me that after 250 years he will return, but under different circumstances.

Devotee: Guru always mentions that Swami Murugesu left His body because of devotees or followers. What does this mean? Who are these devotees or followers?
Swami Shankarananda: A lady by the name of Sita assisted Swami with 35 000 rupees the very first time Swami started the foundation, some twenty or more years ago. In the recent past she nagged and literally fought with Swami to be equal to Swami in the Gayathri Peedam. She did not want me to be a part of the organisation either. Swami’s last words to me were, ‘You are my spiritual son. I cannot push you out of my life. It was after this that Swami’s condition worsened.

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Yvonne Jarvis

Where there’s life, there’s hope
Hope is one of the most treasured of our natural birthrights. The French author, Victor Hugo, describes it as “the word which God has written on the brow of every man”. In Corinthians in the New Testament, hope is considered one of the three primary traits of Christian character “…faith, hope, love, these three …”. A beautiful story about hope is the Greek myth of Pandora’s box, which, when opened, released a swarm of all the miseries that afflict earth, leaving only hope remaining in the box.

Society is facing many challenges – there is evidence of increasing pressure on world economies, instabilities in our weather patterns causing widespread destruction, and warring factions to name but a few. All these, not to mention personal challenges, are causing people to feel fearful, despairing and overwhelmed.

There is a human need for hope, the eternal antidote to confusion, chaos and adversity, and which is a heavenly gift to help us maintain our faith and positive attitude. We need to learn how to awaken hope and its associated emotions of joy and gladness. Hope is essentially optimism, a lightness of heart combined with faith in the inherent goodness of life. It may manifest as hope about a particular situation, but the hope we strive for is deeper and more significant, that which spontaneously arises independent of our circumstances and external environment. Hope is characterized by the free flow of energy in the etheric body; lightness, expansion and flexibility in the emotional body; and stability and openness in the mental body.

With sufficient spiritual development, everyone ultimately manifests the quality of hope, just as everyone manifests unconditional love. Hope is essential for the individual and humanity for the following reasons. We can accomplish more when we are energized by hope; and hope has a clearing effect on our subtle bodies, particularly the mental body, which in turn accelerates our ability to absorb higher level spiritual frequencies. Hope also livens up the lungs, oxygenates the body and increases our capacity to absorb energy. There are many negative sentiments about the future of the earth and humanity. The truth is the future of humanity is increasingly bright! It is essential for those seriously on the spiritual path not to succumb to negative thought forms, as they will inhibit progress. There is no magic formula to turn you into a joyful, hopeful person. We need to learn to recognize and resist negative thoughts and our habitual emotional responses. This is conscious work that we have to do, although spiritual energy will support us in our efforts. On a practical level, think about your responses each time you are in discussion with other people about the bad state of affairs, the horrific crime rate, the bleak future. Do not simply agree with the sentiments, rather inject some buoyancy into the situation, inspire hope and let your positive attitude rub off onto others. Pray for help to keep hope and optimism alive.

It is said that hope springs eternal. Let us focus on seeing the world through different eyes, and cultivating hope, to build a network of light and love around the world.

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

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Why do we offer food to the Lord first, before eating?

Indians make an offering of food to the Lord and later partake of it as prasaada - a holy gift from the Lord. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam (food) to the Lord.

The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient. Man is a part, while the Lord is the totality. All that we do is by His strength and knowledge alone. Hence what we receive in life as a result of our actions is really His alone. We acknowledge this through the act of offering food to Him. This is exemplified by the Hindi words “tera tujko arpan” I offer what is Yours to You. Thereafter it is akin to His gift to us, graced by His divine touch.

Knowing this, our entire attitude to food and the act of eating changes. The food offered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others before consuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticise the quality of the food we get. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (prasaada buddhi).

Before we partake of our daily meals we first sprinkle water around the plate as an act of purification. Five morsels of food are placed on the side of the plate acknowledging the debt owed by us to the Divine forces (devta runa) for their benign grace and protection, our ancestors (pitru runa) for giving us their lineage and a family culture, the sages (rishi runa) as our religion and culture have been “realised”, maintained and handed down to us by them, our fellow beings (manushya runa) who constitute society without the support of which we could not live as we do and other living beings (bhuta runa) for serving us selflessly.

Thereafter the Lord, the life force, who is also within us as the five life-giving physiological functions, is offered the food. This is done with the chant praanaaya swaahaa, apaanaaya swaahaa, vyaanaaya swaahaa,udaanaaya swaahaa, samaanaaya swaahaa, brahmane swaahaa
After offering the food thus, it is eaten as prasaada - blessed food.
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Rod Briggs

O is for Oppression
When we think of oppression many of us conjure up images of Martin Luther-King’s I have a Dream speech, Ghandi’s passive resistance or Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.

Most of us would agree that oppression is wrong. No argument, simple and straight forward, it’s just wrong. But if we know that why do we continue to practice oppression in our daily lives? Before you deny that you are a practitioner let’s pause for a moment and look at the Oxford Dictionary definition:

Oppression - “to weigh down with cares and unhappiness” – oops! Seems most of us have been oppressors after all. There are two categories we need to become aware of; the first is internal oppression, in other words our habit of mentally “weighing ourselves down….”

Every philosophical and religious system has within it, whether implicit or not, injunctions against oppressive thought; from the biblical “lilies and birds” to your granny’s wisdom to “not trouble trouble ‘till trouble troubles you” and yet we all repeatedly find ourselves in the trap of becoming “what if” experts; you lay awake at night thinking about an important event the next day and start…. What if he says that? What if that goes wrong? What if I can’t manage…? The list is endless and sleep-depriving. Once we teach ourselves that the glass is always half empty we will always find it so. We programme our reticular activating system to find the negatives and end up missing a plethora of better opportunities. When enough of us think this way the ethos becomes part of the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the times) and leads to the second category – external oppression.

The number of oppressive or negative expressions we use in daily social intercourse is frightening. Think of all the ones you commonly hear and use: “the rich get rich, the poor get babies”, “and who does she think she is?” “I’m no good at this”, “you’ll never amount to anything”, “this government can’t do anything right”, “you can’t do this”, “it’ll never work”, the list is endless, just like our conditioning. In addition artificial separation is created by oppression of groups, churches, supporters clubs, sexes, race, income and language groups and even nationalities. The difference between national identities is beautifully illustrated by a story I heard on a recent American lecture tour. Bono of the Irish supergroup U2 was expounding on the difference between the national psyches of the US and Ireland and said that in America people would look at someone living in a mansion on a hill and say “one day I will get that” whereas in the Emerald Isle they are more likely to say “one day I will get that B**st*rd”

Look closely at how you oppress yourself, and those around you; make a conscious effort and the difference will be tangible.
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Suren Pillay

The Inner Meaning of Diwali
This month saw many celebrating Deepavali or the ‘festival of lights’ as it is commonly known. To most people outside Hinduism, this usually means a lot of fireworks and noise. However, to those who follow the Vedic tradition, Diwali is more than just colourful lights and costumes. It represents the succession of good over evil. The tales of the Ramayan are embedded deeply in every devout Hindu’s consciousness, yet why is it that people can only experience such states of divinity during this period and not everyday? Are we only meant to experience supernal bliss during religious periods, or is God more lenient as to allow us to experience ecstasy every day?

The testimony of the saints is that ecstasy is not for any select group of people but for every man who sincerely seeks it. Neither is ecstasy limited by time or space. It can be experienced anywhere and at any time. So, the question that now becomes evident is if ecstasy is not limited by time or space, then what is the spiritual meaning of Diwali?

Spiritual festivals have been prevalent in amongst Hindus since the days of yore. Each festival is an effective reminder of who we truly are, and that the divine potential in every individual is meant to be awakened by spiritual practices. Diwali, from a spiritual perspective, represents the overcoming of our own negative or evil qualities of hatred, anger, fear, lust and brutality with the good or divine qualities of selflessness, compassion, love, humility and divine calmness.

The question is: how do we awaken to these qualities that the scriptures revere so deeply? For many the task is an impossible one; they have simply given up the mission of even attempting to transform themselves as they see it as too much of an effort, for a reward far too abstract to perceive. Little do they realize that the task of spiritual awakening only requires intention as a starting point in the journey of spirituality and that the rewards are immeasurable on the material plane of existence.

The divine qualities only begin to become naturally expressive when one is able to calm his own mind, contemplate on the bliss of God, and act sincerely from his heart. By the scientific art of meditation, the yogi or meditation practitioner slows down the speed of his conscious thinking processes, allowing for a deep inner silence to purify his entire being, It is this process that neutralizes our harmful habits stored in the recesses of our minds and destroys negative subconscious impressions from both our current and past lives.
Unbeknown to his fellow human being, the yogi, by continuous practice of his meditation technique, is able to transcend ordinary awareness and live in perpetual state of bliss. He lives freely and in ecstasy, harmful habits and negative subconscious impressions do not affect him because of pure nature continually reinforced by his ecstatic meditation.

Such an individual truly expresses the message of Diwali for light has conquered darkness in his mind and good has overcome evil in his heart.

Divine brothers and sisters may we all become ambassadors of light and wisdom and live in the spirit of Diwali everyday!
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Everyday Enlightenment by Vish

What do you think about most? Your world is a reflection of your thoughts. You have the ability to direct your life. If your life isn’t going in the direction you want it to, then its time to change your thought processes. By changing your thinking, you can change your world. Lord Buddha said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

Human beings tend to place more value on the objects that cost them something. The converse is ironically true. The best things in life are indeed free. Our families, friends and children didn’t cost a dime, yet they mean so much to us. Precisely the same applies to the mind. It comes as standard equipment at birth – a priceless possession capable of making one a lunatic in as much the same way a philosopher is born. The mind is not tangible – we cannot touch and feel it, yet we cannot deny its existence. Even science has acknowledged its presence and effects, hence the field of mind-study known as psychology.

Throughout the day, the mind emits countless thoughts, and to think has become as autonomic as it is to breathe. We assume we have no control over what we think, since it has become such an involuntary process. Even when we are asleep, thoughts influence our dreams. What is a thought? It is difficult to define, in much the same way the taste of an orange cannot be described. Simply put, a thought is energy. It you have good thoughts you are indeed creating good energy. Negative energy arises from negative thoughts. The thoughts we project onto people affect them for better or worse. Famous among Indian belief is the concept of “bad eyes”. More importantly, the thoughts you have affect you. You become what you think about most. A miser thinks about money all the time. Thus he gets richer. Successful people think of ways to better themselves – they obtain more success. Even Lord Krishna proclaims in the Bhagavad Gita, “O Partha (Arjuna)! I am easily reached by that yogi who is single-hearted, who remembers Me daily, continually, his mind intensely focussed only on Me.”

The reverse is absolutely true. If you think about failure and despair, you will be melancholy and desperate. How do we eliminate these thoughts? Fix your mind on Krishna. This isn’t novice, since the mind is like fire. The same fire that cooks your food can burn your house down. Calm your mind with yoga and pranayam. Daily chant the name of God in whichever form you fancy. As soon as you experience a bout of negativism, force yourself to eliminate these thoughts by thinking of something good. Think of the vast ocean, of Krishna engaged in the cosmic dance with Radha, or of the good in your personal life.

Casey Grant uttered the following, “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.” If you want to become a better person, you need to start thinking of yourself as being better. An arrogant person who says that it is his nature to be arrogant and that he cannot change that, will remain arrogant, for he has set the energy in his mind that he can be no better than arrogance.
If you desire to be successful, first establish in your mind that you are successful. I must admit that though thinking and success are connected, they are not exclusive. Success, like anything in life, is a tripod. Besides thinking of yourself as being successful, you need to feel successful. Your entire being must resonate success. Lastly, you need to act in order to obtain success. There is no point in thinking of success, feeling it, but doing nothing to get it. It would be as though you are married to a person in a picture. From thinking, feeling and acting, the thought is pivotal. If you can assert in your mind the goal you seek, feeling and acting become simple. Aristotle declared, “Success is not an event. It’s a habit.” Truly successful people do not measure their worth on a single occurrence. They seek success in all that they do.