June 2008

Swami Says + Healing Raspberries + W is for Worth + 18 Kriya Postures of Babaji + Science of Magnetism + FEATURE: Brother Haridas, founder of the Vedanta Society + Easing Suffering + Sacred Lotus + Spiritual Intelligence + Journey to Kanyakumari + Rhodochrosite

Cover Photo: Brother Haridas at Ardha Akhanda Bhajan, 24 May 2008


Namaste all.
The last month has been jam-packed with action both at the Gayathri Peedam and the Jadatharaya Institute. The Ardha Akhanda Bhajan that was held on the 24th of May was an incredible experience and anyone who was not there definitely missed out. Brother Haridas, who initiated Guruji as 'Shankarananda', attended for the last hour and gave a talk to those present. This months' Feature Article details the life and contribution of Bro. Haridas to the Spiritual Community. Thank you to everyone involved in this production of this event.

The Mountain Meditation retreat with Swami Shankarananda in Bergville at the beginning of June was a great success with thirty-eight participants. Although it was cold, everyone was awake in time to take part in the 6am yoga and meditation class. The weekend was filled with fun, love, laughter ... and food. A resounding vote of thanks must go to all those who helped make the weekend such a success. Thank you all.

Important dates to remember are the Mahanavagraha prayer on the 28 of June at the Gayathri Peedam, a talk by Swami Shankarananda on 'Circus of the Intellect' on 12 July at the Energy Centre, and another Fun Day at Midmar Dam on the 13th July in celebration of Swami Shankarananda's birthday. Please remember to purchase your tickets for the 9th August Gayathri Maha Yajna. These will be available at this month's pournami and from the Peedam.

Other interesting reads in this edition include The Science of Magnetism by Swami Murugesu Maharishi, Easing Our Suffering by Yvonne Jarvis, Spiritual Intelligence by Suren Pillay, Idol Worship by Bro. Haridas, and Journey to Kanyakumari by Vish. We find out about the healing powers of Raspberries and Rhodochrosite and Swami Shankarananda explains how we can use our energy productively.

Finally, the yoga students have started preparation for the annual Yogathon on the 28th September. Lucky Draw tickets will be available for purchase soon. This is an important annual event in which all the Jadatharaya Yoga Institute branches take part. It is a day of togetherness and sharing and is open to outside visitors for free. Anyone interested in participating in the raising of funds for this function or in attending, please contact Karl Ziesing on 083 533 9001.

In Love and Service always

* * * * * * *

Swami Shankarananda

Use Your Energy
Do not fear or be angry. Fear and anger collapse the prayer/energy field. Extend the energy field that emanates from you and goes out to the world. You can't have success until you do. You must master the force of your expectations. It is important to cultivate and stabilize your energy. If you wish to assess your energy field, look at your posture. Energy needs to flow easily up your body. The amount of strength of your energy feels like the degree of your presence in the room. The more energy you have, the more others feel your presence. This energy, if displayed without ego, is genuine and constant and remains reliable. Open yourself and you will experience the flow of divine energy and be imbued with unusual calm, euphoria and lightness and be in a transformative state that is peaceful and without fear. It is a feeling that move sup the spine and out the top of the head, lifting the body upwards allowing you to breathe in the beauty around you and remain euphoric. Breathe the energy in constantly and maintain it at a high level and keep it flowing fully. This must be done in a precise manner, taking care that your other actions do not erode your energy field once you have built it up.

The way you live the rest of your life must be supportive of your higher energy. You must be connected and live wisely. Maintaining higher energy within oneself is impossible if one consumes dead matter as food. If you are open and receptive, you could have a mystical experience, a sudden inflow of divine energy - a rush of peacefulness and disappearance of fear. The feeling goes up to the spine and out through the top of the head, lifting the body upwards. You feel as if you are floating, being pulled towards the top of your head. Learn how to rekindle that feeling by breathing in the beauty around you. It is important to breathe in the energy and then consciously maintain it at a higher level. You must keep this energy flowing in more fully. This must be done in a precise manner, taking care that your other actions do not erode your energy once you have built it up. The rest of your life must support your higher energy. You must live wisely. Survival could depend on this information and you need to put yourself out to learn it. You cannot live anyway you want and still do important things.

Excerpt from Secrets of Shambala by James Redfield

* * * * * * *

Yvonne Jarvis

Easing our suffering
What is the cause of suffering our pain, our frustration, our anger, our fear, our hopelessness? Ramana Maharishi, the 20th century sage, reduces this to one thing mistaken identity. The person you see in the mirror is not who you really are. When we start investigating who we really are, we find that 'I' is just the story of 'me'. The self that seeks to become realised is the substrate of the individual. To discover the self, you do not have to go anywhere or change anything. Just be still and surrender to the love inside. When we stop the ongoing mental chatter, we can experience the flow of loving awareness, which is who we really are. The eighth century Buddhist master Shantideva teaches that there is no externally existing place called heaven or hell. Rather, our reality is a perception of our state of mind.

There are three main strands of Buddhism, the first (Hinayana) teaching that we need to internalize the understanding of imper-manence and non-attachment. One effective image to teach this concept is of the mother fish demonstrating to her offspring the deception of a juicy worm on the end of a hook. In our own lives, we suffer when we allow ourselves to get hooked, either to our possessions or our precious stories of who we think we are, both of which are impermanent. Pema Chodron teaches that our ego lives in a world where we become hooked by our negative emotions, where we blame our adversaries as the source of our pain.

The second strand of Buddhism (Mahayana) assumes that we have quieted the mind and the grasping and attachment through meditation. It teaches that nothing is happening anywhere (sunyata), except for the meaning we give to it. Once we internalize this idea, we begin to see the tremendous amount of suffering that people experience, due to the meaning they attach to events. This hooks them on to a negative emotion, such as getting angry with an inconsiderate driver on the road. This insight enables one to walk the compassionate path of the bodhisattva, the person who devotes his life to being clear of mind and truly helpful, expressing altruism and love.

Finally, the third strand, Vajrayana Dzogchen of Buddhism is the fast track to freedom, liberation and spaciousness, once the first two have been practised successfully. It teaches that our experiences are clouded by our conditioning from early childhood, or even our past lives. Our experiences are all passed through our complex and twisted mental filters of fear, judgment and resentment. Once conditioning has been cleared, naked awareness is the result, and the great sage Padmasambhava taught that we can achieve self-liberation through naked awareness. As we begin to suspend our conditioned awareness and reside in spaciousness, we have the opportunity to experience healing. He wrote a book in the eighth century, describing this inspiring path. Our ego, or conscious mind, surrounding us like a shell, prevents us from experiencing spaciousness (filling all of space and time), which is our true nature.

Reference: The end of suffering by Russell Targ and JJ Hurtak

* * * * * * *


Brother Haridas: Founder of the Vedanta Society
Brother Haridas was born in Chatsworth, South Africa on 1 May 1963. He was raised in Tongaat and attended Tongaat primary and secondary schools after which he completed a teaching degree and higher diploma in education qualifying cum laude. During 1984 He was initiated into Vedanta by Dr Gurudewa, lecturer of Hindu Studies, and received his first training in Sanskrit and Vedic literature. He was given recognition by the Jihar Swami of Thricy as Sri Sadhak Haridas Acharya, but prefers to be known simply as Brother Haridas.

In 2000 Brother Haridas pursued an Honours degree in metaphysics and completed magna cum laude before undertaking a Master's Degree under the direction of the university, after which he was awarded a scholarship to complete his PhD in Metaphysics and Global Ethics. During April 1982, at the age of twenty, Brother Haridas was blessed with his first spiritual experience at the Tongaat Kavady festival while absorbed in a deep state of meditation and concentrating on the naanum symbol, when a flash of light resulted in his complete transformation and spiritual awakening. It was that spiritual experience which initiated certain siddhis allowing Brother Haridas to heal spiritually. In September of that same year, He commenced the foundation of the Shree Ram Bhajan Group with the help of his late uncle Subramoney, specializing in the rendering of Hanuman, Muruga and Rama bhajans as a service to devotees of the nearby communities. This institution grew into the Tongaat Vedanta society, now known as the Vedanta Society which is currently a teaching institution called the Sri Bhagavata Vedanta Gurukula.

Over the following years Brother Haridas initiated the formation of the Tongaat Hindu Forum in 1995, which aimed to bring all Hindu organizations together under one concern that could counter proselytisation of Hindus and also provide a forum for the education of Hindus. The Shri Bhagavata Vedanta Gurukula then set up a successful Bhramanical unit to teach Brahmins in the Vaikansi Vedic tradition, specializing in the Vedas. This unit has produced seven well-trained Brahmins not only familiar with the Vedic chants but also well-versed in the Agna prayer rules and their application in service to the community.

This institution also boasts a Devi Samaj, a Women's League which deals with various issues impacting on today's women, and using the ancient principles of the Veda and Upanishads to provide moral and ethical guidance in addressing the challenges faced by modern women. In addition, this organization has a sector which focuses on the study and scientific research of Vedanta and its relevance in post-modern times, and on ethical developments and dialogues in relation to the modern human rights culture, ensuring it is not in conflict with fundamental ethics. The youth wing of this institution is engaged in many social welfare, youth and anti-alcoholism programmes which network with other youth organizations to promote spiritual values. The institution also has its own printing press which has been used for the publishing of several articles on Hindu thought and culture as well as a magazine which documents courses given at various conferences.

Today Brother Haridas is the National Chairperson for Social Justice and Work for National organisations, addressing social issues of poverty, violence and AIDS through conferencing and workshops aimed at promoting spiritual values and philosophies. The seva projects run in conjunction with the Mahatma Ghandi Phoenix Settlement and takes care of sixty AIDS orphans, running a clinic in conjunction with the Department of Health, and an agricultural scheme in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture. The building of homes is being conducted through skills development by training locals in building skills to replace shacks with concrete homes, with all materials being produced and sponsored by the Phoenix settlement.

In addition to all this, Brother Haridas is also the co-ordinator, trustee and secretariat of a craft-development initiative in contract with the Indian government whereby crafted products are marketed and sold via the tourist trade. He has also participated in national and international conferences; in the World Parliament of Religions with Dr Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture; the All India Conference in Delhi during 2005; as well as many local university conferences on the issues of ethics, metaphysics, religion and social transformation.

In His aims and objectives as a spiritual master, Brother Haridas strives to take the ancient universal spiritual tradition of the Bharatia people and make it relevant to modern times in order to benefit the people in the sciences of yoga and towards a better way of life. He has found that the spiritual knowledge of the past has not been interpreted with this intention but needs a fresh interpretation without altering the core principles of Vedic text.

On His journey, Brother Haridas has witnessed much envy and marginalisation. Sadly, many find His ideas challenging and are unable to understand the spirituality He advocates. His greatest spiritual contribution has been to create a system that has brought together Hindi, Telegu and Tamil traditions, removing the sectarian elements of the Vedic tradition and allowing for multicultural development in the process. As a spiritual master, Brother Haridas has been widely accepted by different organisations. He has performed many Vedic rituals for the Satya Sai organisation of South Africa as well as having presented many talks at their centres and at those of other spiritual organisations.

Much of the religious development that took place in Tongaat was instituted by Brother Haridas' organization, though this is not commonly known. It is also not well known that he designed the framework for the ten-day chariot festivals along the lines of the Tirupathi temple. Brother Haridas' training centre is situated in Sunlark Drive, Suncrest, with satsang centres in Tongaat, Verulam and Phoenix. He is positive about the future of His organisation because His students are well-trained in Vedic chants and ritual.

Brother Haridas has the following message for today's society: "We must forget institutional thinking and behaviour. We have to go back to the fundamental spiritual laws that govern us. These laws are what bind the spiritual tradition. Everybody belongs to the family of God. These laws govern mental behaviour, the wholeness of being, therefore, giving to a person the fullness of life by which they can attain happiness and peace. So, instead of having belief, doctrine and dogma, we must go back to these fundamentals and apply them to our lives to transcend all institutional, racial and religious boundaries." He tells us that we must identify the current thinking trends of success, prosperity, health and happiness, and understand that religion is not a strain on these but a positive contributor to a better way of life.

Regarding our future Brother Haridas tells us that as long as humanity continues with its current religious trends, religion will become the source of the greatest wars the human mind can conceive and the greatest terrors the human condition will ever face. He warns us to prepare ourselves for the new age, the inevitable course that the world is going in a negative direction, predicted by every religion. In order to survive the decay in the world, people will have to become spiritually strong.

Swami Shankarananda was one of the first to be initiated by Brother Haridas some twenty years ago. This reminds us that Brother Haridas started His spiritual journey at a very young age. The Gayathri Peedam of South Africa., Murugesu Swami Dhanapeedam, The Centre for Spiritual Awakening, The Africa Kriya Babaji Sangum and The Jadatharaya Institute of Right Living and Yoga wish Brother Haridas divine good health and spiritual prosperity. Om.

Brother Haridas can be contacted at broharidas@gmail.com

* * * * * * *

Suren Pillay

Spiritual Intelligence
Today many in the world are studying towards degrees and diplomas and furthering their path in the field of intellectual knowledge. Intellectual knowledge is seen by most as a necessary part of growing and earning a living in the modern world. Given its high appraisal in modern society, many consider intellectual attainment as a symbol of success and mental power. This, however, cannot be equated to spiritual realisation. Spiritual intelligence is fundamentally distinguishable from intellectual attainment in that the knowledge is intuitive rather than intellectual.

Spiritual knowledge is unlimited whereas is intellectual knowledge is limited to a particular field. Spiritual knowledge is dynamic and uplifting whereas intellectual knowledge is static and objective. The two thus types of knowledge thus have different places in modern society. In general it may be said that intellectual knowledge is used to further our outer material propensities whereas spiritual knowledge is used to further our inner state of being and consciousness. In order to be prosperous both need to be developed to some degree. People who place all their energy and time in intellectual studies increase their mental capacity to some degree but are often just as confused about life as the layman who has no academic background whatsoever. The value of spiritual intelligence is that one's purpose is clearly established: all thoughts, actions and words are in tune with nature and bring positive results to the spiritual practitioner, nature and humanity. The issue is thus: how do we increase our spiritual intelligence?

Spiritual intelligence is increased through our spiritual practices, especially meditation. Intuitive knowledge is often the result of deep contemplation. During meditation one can receive intuitive answers to any difficulty in life. Wisdom is pervasive in the universe, and to tap into such wisdom requires only the attunement of one's mind to a different frequency that usual. The alteration of mental vibratory rates through superconscious meditation, results in the meditator attracting answers to all his questions in an efficient way. The answers may appear either in meditation or in the ordinary waking state. Whichever way the answers appear, it will be clear to the meditator that his question has been answered. This form of wisdom has been applied by sages, saints, philosophers and even some of the greatest businessman of our time. Dear readers, I invite you to improve your spiritual intelligence through the science of meditation and receive your solutions to every problem in life. At the deepest level, you know everything there is to know, all that is required for you is to tap into that storehouse of knowledge and to bring that knowledge to your conscious mind for the benefit of yourself and humanity.

Aum, Shanti, Shalom, Amen!

* * * * * * *

Vishnu Moodley

Journey to Kanyakumari
The Kanyakumari or Kumari Amman Temple is a shrine dedicated to the Goddess Parashakti in Her youthful form of Kanya Devi. The temple is located at the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, a confluence thought to be holy. Due to this meeting of three great water bodies, the sunrise and sunset here is breathtaking. It is the only place in India where the sun rises and sets in the same spot. Even more amazing is the fact that the sun and moon rise at the same time during Chitra Pournami. Kanyakumari which makes it a popular tourist destination, as well as a holy pilgrimage site, drawing a steady flow of visitors daily.

The temple is ancient, having been mentioned in famous Hindu epics, including the Ramayana and the Mahabaratha. According to the age-old tale, there existed a demon, Baanaasuran, who was creating chaos in the world. The situation reached the ears of Mahavishnu, who then asked of humans and gods alike to worship Parashakti, the eternal energy, to put the tyrant to rest. The Mother Parashakti, answering the pleas for help, incarnated as a young virgin girl at Kanyakumari. With only the desire to marry Shiva in mind, Kanya Devi began penance.

Sage Narada Muni had set the auspicious time, midnight, for the matrimony to occur. However, a rooster had crowed before Shiva and His wedding procession had reached Kanyakumari. Assuming that the time had passed, Shiva turned back and proceeded to Suchindram. Kanya Devi, who would wed no one but Shiva, remained at Kanyakumari, as the eternal virgin goddess. All the feasts prepared for the wedding assumed the coloured shore of the sea.

Baanaasuran thought that he could win over Kanyakumari. This however led to an aggressive fight between the cause and that which manifested to put an end to it. The evil demon was defeated by the hands of the Goddess.

According to another legend, Hanuman, the valiant servant of Rama, was sent to the Himalayas to obtain a special life-saving herb, sanjivi, which was needed to revive Lakshman, the younger brother of Rama. Lakshman had engaged in a duel with Meghnad, the son of Ravana, who had used sorcery to outwit Lakshman and consequently put him into a deep slumber. Whilst Hanuman was carrying the mountain from the Himalaya, a piece of it had fallen, which came to be Kanya-kumari. It is due to this tale that Kanyakumari is also called Marunthuvazh Malai, meaning the hill with medicine herbs, a reference to the unique native medicinal flora that flourish here. The Goddess Kanyakumari is worshiped as a black murthi housed in a small temple. The image, thought to be installed by Parasurama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) bears a sparkling diamond nose-ring, said to be visible way out at sea. When the light hits the nose-ring, it reflected onto the sea, leading sailors astray and causing them to crash. Hence, the door facing the sea is only opened five times a year. Adjacent to the shrine of Kanya Devi is those of Her playmates, Vijayasundari and Balasundari. Eleven theerthams are situated in the vicinity of the temple. Bathing in these theerthams confers blessings.

Festivals celebrated with grandeur include Vaisakha, Navarathri and Kalabham. During Vaisakha, an icon of the Goddess is paraded in chariots of various kinds. Kalabham, meaning sandal, is a festival of note in which the main image of the Mother is adorned with sandal paste and flowers. In Navarathri, the destruction of Baanaasuran is enacted.

Also worth visiting in Kanyakumari is the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. A ferry transports tourists to the temple dedicated to the ambassador of India's truest treasures, Swami Vivekananda, who meditated on this rock for many years. Pilgrims and tourists can meditate in the Dhyana Mandapam. Also on this large rock is Sri Padaparai, the footprint of Kanyakumari, who stood on a single foot to do penance in order to marry Shiva. On an adjacent rock, equally large, Thiruvallavar, the author of the Thirukural, a work in Tamil that lays down the rules of a righteous life, is honoured in a larger-than-life image, peaking at 133 feet! The boat ride is enjoyable, and the three attractions on these two rocks are worth seeing.

Many have suggested that pilgrimage is worthless if we believe that God dwells within. Whilst this is true, most of us are not in tune with the God within. Pilgrimage has the ability to set one firmly on the spiritual path, and from that, we may come to realize the God within. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "At first, the goal is far-off, outside nature to far beyond it, attracting us all to it. This has to be brought near, yet without being degraded or degenerated until, when it has come closer and closer, the God of Heaven becomes the God in Nature, 'till the God in Nature becomes the God who is Nature, and the God who is Nature becomes the God in the temple of this body, and the God dwelling in the temple of the body becomes the Temple itself, becomes the soul of man. He whom the sages have sought in all places is in our own hearts. Thou art He, O man! Thou art He!"