April 2008

Swami Says + Healing Prunes + Rutilated Quartz + T is for Truth + Chakras + 18 Kriya Postures of Babaji + Hindu Traditions + Science of Athma + SPECIAL FEATURE: Mahasamadhi of Swami Murugesu Maharishi + Environmental Effects on Spirituality + Journey to Rameshwaram + Truth 4 Youth

Cover Photo: Swami Shankarananda at Kavadi, 23 March 2008


Namasté all.

In this months’ edition of Transcendence we offer an extra-special feature on the Mahasamadhi of Swami Murugesu Maharishi, and also a divine dedication by Swami Shankarananda. The MasterCard is a unique collage made up of various rare photographs of Swami Murugesu with His signature and the Gayathri Manthra.

A really great Fun Day was held on Sunday the 13th of April at Midmar. This is a day for spiritual friends and family to spend ‘social’ time with Swami Shankarananda. The day consisted of bhajan under the trees, delicious shared meals, and outdoor games with Swami. Those who missed out on this really missed out!! The next Fun Day will be held on the 13th July in celebration of Swami’s birthday so mark the day in your diary.

There are a number of important events over the next few weeks that readers would benefit greatly from. The first is a charity dinner on the 27th March at Little India in Durban. The cost is only R120 per person and includes a delicious authentic Indian meal chosen by Swami Shankarananda, a beverage of your choice and, of course, an entire evening spent with Swami. There will also be an auction of some stunning and unusual crystal pieces, with funds going towards the Gayathri Peedam and funding of special prayers and events and improving your temple. (You will see that the area around the Babaji Hawan has been recently paved and the toilets tiled.)

On the 1st May, Guru’s annual Healing Prayer will be held at the Gayathri Peedam. All are welcome to attend. Then on the 5th May, Swami will leave for Sri Lanka and India again for two weeks.

On Saturday, the 24th May, a 12 hour Bhajan will be held at the Gayathri Peedam from 6am to 6pm, featuring a number of prominent bhajan groups. Meals will be served. If you are part of a bhajan group who would like to participate, please contact Roy on 082 784 4287 or Malo on 084 811 5878.

Please remember the once-in-a-lifetime Muruga Tour that will be conducted over July and August when you can have the opportunity to carry kavadi in Palani (see advert inside cover for details).

As always, we appreciate your positive response and enthusiasm - and contributions. Thank you to those dedicated individuals who regularly send us their articles for inclusion in Transcendence. You know who you are. Your time and effort is invaluable.

In Love and Service always,

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Use Your Power

Understand that inside you is a great power that can be cultivated and extended, a mental energy that has always been called prayer. A prayer-field is an energy of power that emanates out from us in all directions. It affects the whole world. It attracts everything we expect, good or bad, conscious or unconscious. In most people who think in ordinary ways, this power is weak and contradictory. But in others who seem to achieve a lot in life and who are creative and successful, this field of energy is strong enough although it is usually unconscious.

People who have strong energy fields expect success and take it for granted. Knowledge and understanding of this power enhances our ability to strengthen and extend this energy. There are precise ways to extend and expand your field so that you can become more creative and powerful. To achieve a wonderful way of being and living, living with strength and clarity, observations must be made and learnt from. To obtain this perfect state, we must systematically extend our energy and emanate sufficient creative strength to achieve this way of being. There are four steps required to attain this state of being. Ask your angels and guides to awaken you to your full potential. The force of prayer-energy can become strong enough to resolve obstacles posed by those who fear. We must use the power of our vision, and the expectations that flow out from us as a constant prayer. This power is stronger than anyone will ever know and we must master it and begin to use it before it is too late. There are signs that things are changing, opening and shifting.

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Yvonne Jarvis

Structure & Function of Chakras
The use of the term “energy centre” in referring to chakras has misled people into thinking that chakras are made up of pure energy. A chakra conducts energy, but the chakra itself is made up of subtle matter. The subtle matter of a chakra resembles a flower with parts, traditionally called “petals” in Eastern cultures because they look like the petals of a flower. Similar to flower’s petals, they are arranged in layers. Because a chakra is spinning, a useful way to visualize a chakra is as a spinning flower. The spinning rotation elongates the subtle matter of the chakra to give it a conical or funnel appearance.

A chakra also resembles a flower in the way it develops. The petals of the chakra open up as we evolve spiritually, in the way that the petals of a flower open up. There is a positive feedback loop between the growth of our consciousness and the opening of our chakras. As an example, as we become more loving the heart chakra opens and this openness in turn makes it easier to become more loving. There are four qualities of chakras which are often confused with one another in popular literature. These are the degree of openness of a chakra, the amount of energy in a chakra, the amount of energy in a chakra relative to another chakra or chakras, and the actual functioning of a chakra.

Using the analogy of the flower, both in structure and function, consider the amount of sunlight in several flowers on the same bush. With regard to one flower, we might consider how open the petals are, how much sunlight is in that flower, how much sunlight there is in that flower compared to other flowers on that bush, and the actual functioning of that flower.

Energising a chakra is not the same as opening a chakra. Energising or stimulating a chakra gives us more life energy and the result can feel pleasant. Chakras should not be over-stimulated as this may accentuate pre-existing patterns rather than help us develop new patterns. Opening the chakras helps us develop new patterns. Opening of the chakras is an evolutionary, organic process to change consciousness, and cannot be hurried, in the same way that you can’t make a flower grow more rapidly by forcing its petals open! The primary way we get our heart chakra to open is by practicing becoming a more loving person.

Chakras are very complex, and it is important that the amount of charge in each of the chakras is nearly equal. Having too much charge in the upper chakras relative to the lower can cause health problems. Everyone has some kind of imbalance in their chakra system, and if chakras are not worked on equally, imbalances will be perpetuated.

The chakras function together as a system, the ultimate purpose of which is to help us ascend to higher states of consciousness - and to God, to give our lives meaning. Meaning comes from connecting to something greater than ourselves, and that connection is forged by love. Although the spiritual life is its own reward, people who experience greater love for themselves and others usually also experience an improvement in their health.

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

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Rod Briggs

T is for Truth
Ever heard anyone say: “That’s the absolute truth” or, “the truth as I see it is…”, “the truth about that person is…?” Everyone is out there looking for the “truth”, whatever that is.

Truth has always been a subjective concept, fed by our belief systems and the quirks of quantum reality (an example of this is the perceived “truth” that the world we exist in is solid e.g. the chair you’re sat in, the cup you drink from appear solid yet science tells us that they are a mass of vibrating molecules made up predominantly of empty space, as you yourself are) but since the burgeoning of the international media a new slant has appeared to muddy the already murky waters of our perceptions. We are to an ever increasing degree “sheeple” who regurgitate the oft heard propaganda as the latest “truth”.

Dan Brown’s book “The Da Vinci Code” and the furore surrounding both it and the film of the same name is a case in point. For at least thirty five years I have read countless books and manuscripts dealing, some in meticulous detail, with the information contained in Mr Brown’s book. On a recent overseas lecture tour I was asked to read the said book and commented that it was just a re-hash of other peoples work over hundreds of years – the recent court case in London wherein Dan Brown was charged with plagiarism sums this up as he was acquitted as the information he had used was, in the words of the Judge’s summation, “in the public domain for a very substantial period of time”

The sole reason for all the clamour is the media and their need for the “feeding frenzy” of the masses; I first discovered this as a young, and fanatical, scuba diver and spear fisherman in the early seventies. My dive buddy and I endured an endless train trip into Johannesburg, from the far East Rand, as it was then, and a street by street search to find the obscure cinema that was showing a documentary about a particular fish. The film was “Blue Water, White Death” and was a study of the predation habits of what we now call the Great White Shark (it had always been known in South Africa as the Blue Pointer). We were the only two in the cinema! The film was taken off circuit the following day due to lack of interest. Two years later Peter Benchley wrote his hugely evocative work “Jaws”, from which the reputation of a wonderful creature will never recover, and which was made into a block buster movie. Following on this success “Blue Water, White Death” was re-released and sold to packed houses, all over the world, for months. The film hadn’t changed but the media hype around “the White Death” shark had.

Other examples of this kind of media led hype are the films: “Armageddon”, “Deep Impact” and “The Day After Tomorrow” all of which brought serious issues to light in extreme ways. With the vast array of available information at our disposal it is vital that we learn to sift the wheat from the chaff, the true from the “based on true-ish events”. Otherwise it becomes too easy to think that we are all going to freeze in a Super Ice Age (not in the next few years), get blasted into oblivion by an asteroid (not likely in our lifetime), be hunted by a super predator with a memory and inbuilt hate of humanity every time you go near an ocean (not in anyone’s lifetime – the fish hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t know he’s psycho), or be enslaved by the suppression of facts by those in Ecclesiastic power (oh well, three out o’ four ain’t bad).


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Suren Pillay

Environmental Effects on Spirituality
With the increase in global warming , worldwide pollution and energy resources declining one really wonders how long our precious planet will last. Whether our children and grand-children will have access to pure water, clean air and a pure energy source seems to be a question that people to day are not willing to address. Not understanding the full implications of pollution and global warming, the population masses have not changed their action towards the environment. In South Africa, the electricity problem is a first warning of possible effects of negligence towards the resources that we use everyday.

So the question becomes: ‘how is our spirituality affected by changes in our environment?’. According to the ancient sources of wisdom, man’s environment should be conducive to spiritual growth. Social evils such as unemployment, poverty and crime act as a hindrance to spiritual evolution as they take one’s individual attention away from the primary goal of life which is Self and God realisation. The more unemployment and poverty we create , the more inharmonious the environment will be for spiritual evolution. It thus becomes clear that environment has a clear effect on one’s spiritual growth. The environment within the house and the environment outside the house should be positive and conducive to spiritual awakening.

As citizens of the world we have the power to act as catalysts for positive changes in the world. If every individual on the planet acts in a positive way, the global effect will be one of improvement and not decay or decline. An example of one way we can start to implement positive change for the benefit of society as a whole in South Africa could be a change in the way we utilise electricity. Wastage and unnecessary use of this precious resource will only add to the shortage of this supply.

On the spiritual plane it is important to realise that all individuals on the planet are connected to each other. We cannot ignore the plight of many in this country. The attitude we adopt with regard to the disadvantaged speaks directly to our spiritual evolution. To have an attitude of unconditional love toward all beings in our country, and to express thoughts of kindness and generosity, will have a positive effect on the ether. Feeding programmes have done much to alleviate the suffering of the masses and, if we can contribute to such programmes and pray for the benefit of humanity, we would have acted righteously and in the way that God would want us to act.

My message to you, dear brothers and sisters, is to be aware of your every action and thought on the environment. Positive actions such as the wise use of electricity and participating in feeding programs for the benefit of the greater society will, no doubt, improve the environment as a whole. Your positive thoughts will also have a beneficial effect on others and the ether all around us.

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Sundrie Jones

Be like an Ant
The other day an ant caught my eye. It was dragging the leg of an insect at least six times longer than itself. While I was watching in fascination, the thought flashed through my mind that the burden the ant was carrying would be equivalent to me carrying a ten metre log. At this thought, my interest peaked. Would the tiny fellow achieve his goal or would it be too much for him? Would he give up, or would he endure?

I watched a party of three other ants arrive, stop and then scurry around. After a short while they regrouped and hurried on, knocking the first ant's prize off the step (must have been the 'advisory' committee!). Then, without a moment's hesitation, the little creature dashed down after his prize and, to my utter amazement and against gravity, managed to drag it back onto the step, in almost no time at all.

After having to endure a few more ‘advisors’, a few more helpers who assisted for a short while before journeyed on to more important tasks, a few inconsiderates who, twice more, knocked his prize of the step (all from the same colony as him, mind you!), he finally reached his destination, which was a hole in the wall and, obviously, where the ant colony was situated.

I could not help but cheer for the little fellow. Despite the many obstacles, most of them created by his own team, he reached his goal. Never once did he give up; never once did he hesitate in his quest. He was completely focussed on the task at hand – gathering food for the colony.

God give me the strength, tenacity and insight to toil on – to reach my goal, despite the many obstacles, most of them of my own creation. Teach me to be focused on the task at hand and not to be distracted by life's many hurdles. Impart within me patience, endurance and loving service – without want for recognition, so that I can reach my ultimate destiny.

“Go to the ant , you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6 : 6-8
Hari Om.

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Mahavishnu Moodley

Visiting Rameshwaram
In the Ramayana, the evil king Ravana captured the virtuous wife of Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. To restore righteousness on earth, Rama defeated Ravana, and ensured that people follow the dictums of religion and dharma. Though the killing of Ravana was the purpose of the Lord’s manifestation, there was sin involved in killing him. Ravana was the grandson of Pulastya, and therefore the great grandson of Brahma. According to dharma, killing Ravana would be classified as Brahmahatya, the murder of a Brahmin. To absolve himself from the sin, Rama was instructed by Agasthiya Muni to perform worship to Shiva.

In keeping with tradition, an auspicious time was set for the pooja. Rama sent Hanuman to Kailash to obtain a lingam (image of Shiva). According to the divine plan, Hanuman was delayed, and the propitious time would soon pass. Sita, Rama’s consort decided to mould a lingam out of sand, and the ritual continued as planned. When Hanuman returned with the lingam, he was disappointed. Rama pacified him, saying that his lingam would be installed next to the lingam Sita made, and worship will be to It first.

Affectionately known as the Banaras of the south, Rameshwaram is a revered place for both Saivites (worshippers of Shiva) and Vaishnavites (those who worshipVishnu) alike. The lingam Sita made, known as Ramanatha Swami, is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams. This lingam is housed in the main shrine, which boasts intricate artistry. To the right of the main shrine, Parvatha-vardini, the goddess of Ramanatha Swami, rests. Apart from Madurai, this is the only shrine in which the goddess is housed to the right of Her Lord.

A separate shrine to the north houses the Vishwanath lingam, the one that Hanuman had brought. Worship has to be performed here first before entering the main shrine, as per Rama’s promise. The consort of Vishwanath, Visalakshi, is also enshrined in the temple. Behind the main shrine is an alter dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Sethumadhava, deriving His name from the white marble from which He is carved. The vehicle of Shiva, the sacred bull Nandi, is embodied in a 6.7 meter long and 5 meter high murti.

Rameshwaram is famous for the 22 thirthas, or holy wells within the temple. Pilgrims first dip in Agni thirtha, the name given to the sea resting to the east of the temple. Thereafter, water from each of the other wells is collected in small buckets attached to ropes by temple officials, and poured over the pilgrim. Lastly, the pilgrim is sanctified with Kodi thirtha, the abishegam water from the main shrine. This has the same benefits as bathing in the Ganges. Tradition has it that Krishna Himself bathed in all the wells.

Near Ramashwaram is Devipattinam. At low tide, one can see nine stones, believed to be set up by Rama, to represent the nine planets, the Navagrahas. One has the option of performing the pooja, or letting a priest do it on your behalf. The latter is advised, since the water is quite polluted and there isn’t a hotel nearby where one can refresh. (the nine stones are situated in the water) It is asked of you to purchase a package, and then follow the instructions of the priests, which include repeating mantras, circumambulating the stones, and offering grain to each stone. One also has to sprinkle the water over the head, as though it was you who had done the prayer. Beware the priests who have a sly way of evading the actual price of the pooja. To get to Sri Lanka, the residence of Ravana and the place of Sita’s capture, Rama had to cross the sea together with His army. With the use of a special mantra, Rama conditioned many rocks to float when placed in the water. Hence a bridge to Lanka was built, known as Rama Sethu or Adam’s bridge. Ruins of the bridge are submerged under water as shot from Gemini 1 satellite of NASA in 2004.

Just to the west of the temple lies Gandhamadhana Parvata. Here, the footprints of Sri Rama are enshrined and worshipped. Also nearby is the temple of Sri Kondandarama, at the same spot where the noble brother of Ravana, Vibhishan, was crowned King of Lanka by Rama. A little further from the Ramanatha Swami temple is the shrine of Lord Mangal-eshwara and Goddess Mangaleshwari. This temple has been the inspiration for many works of devotion in Tamil, and was praised in songs by Manikkavasagar, a noted Saivite poet and one of the 4 saints credited for composing the Thevaram, sacred Tamil texts in praise of Lord Shiva.

A pilgrimage to Banaras is not complete with first paying respects to Ramanatha Swami, the Lord of Rama, a reference to Shiva. In the Puranas, it is said that Parvathi questioned Her Lord as to who He meditates on. And the Lord replied that He meditates on none other than Sri Rama. Who is Sri Rama? He is the ideal man, a man of His word, a man of honour and glory, a man of dharma and a man of virtue. Whoever can emulate Sri Rama will be none less than the apple of Shiva’s eye!