August 2009

Swami Says: Essentials of Right Living + Chairman's Message + Healing Figs + Turquoise + The Law of Dharma + Miraculous Power in Man +History of Hinduism + FEATURE: Message from Gurudeva + Krishna Janasthami + Understand Love + Authentic Spirituality + Gayathri in the Scriptures + much more ...

Cover image: Trip to India – Swami Shankarananda en Route to Badrinath 31 May 2009

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Namaste all,
Our editorial this month will be in the form of a letter from the Gayathri Peedam Chairman, Dean Petzer who has an important message for all devotees regarding our commitment to Guru. We hope you enjoy this issue of Transcendence.

Loyalty and commitment to the guru.
Guru and I have been through many things together: tough times, terrible times, fun times, but most of all divine times. The following question was once posed to a master: Is it possible to follow two masters at the same time? The master's quick response was “It's not possible to ride two bicycles at the same time. You can only follow one master at a time.” In the little bit of traveling that I've done, I've been fortunate enough to meet many swamis and masters. Whilst living in California, I was fortunate enough to meet Swami Kriyananda on a few occasions and was able to have a personal discussion with him; a very divine individual and devotional individual, no doubt. But I realised quickly that he was not my Guru. I was graced with occasion to meet Yogiar Ramaiah when he visited South Africa; certainly a very practical sage in his ways, but he was not my Guru. Whilst travelling to India, I was blessed to hear a discourse and devotional chanting by Mataji the hugging saint, a truly divine soul with indescribable divine love to share with one and all. But, neither is she my guru. On visiting Sri Lanka I was fortunate enough to spend time with Swami Murugesu, certainly the most divine, loving, caring and sweet soul I've ever met with abundant love to share with each and every soul that crossed his path. But, he was not my guru. I was also given the opportunity of meeting Brother Haridas on a few occasions. He, too was a divine, articulate and well-versed master, but was not my guru.

Just ten short years ago I was granted the divine experience of meeting, interacting with and touching the feet of Swami Shankarananda, almost by chance - although i know this was not the case. When you have a deep yearning to know and experience the Divine, the master appears. From the moment I touched my guru's feet, I felt a sweet, divine nectar flowing from them into my body, mind and soul, reawakening past lives, past relationships, many past lifetimes spent together. Bowing at the feet of another being is viewed by many westerners as subservience and enslavement of sorts. I can honestly say that since I've had Guru in my life, he has orchestrated and assisted in every high and low time. In the few years that I have known Guru, I've had my fair share of ups and downs. By this I mean financial problems, spiritual problems, relationship problems and many others. Without a moment's hesitation, Guru has intervened and assisted on a subtle level to resolve each and every obstacle on my path. What many westerners do not realise is that submitting to the guru is placing your ego at the feet of the guru. Only then can he actually take charge of your life. If you do not consciously do this, progress on your spiritual path will certainly be at the pace of a very slow snail. By no means do I consider myself to be any one or anything special. I simply know and realise that my guru is a living master. Why do I follow my guru so unconditionally, without question? The answer is simple. To me my guru is a living, tangible being. What do I mean by this? Guru is real to me and I say this because he has a bond, university fees, water and lights, food and other householder expenses to pay just like we do. Guru is not some distant saint who lives in the Himalayas and comes down to bless devotees once every nine years. Guru is tangible, living, responsive and approachable to each and every one of us.

It is absolutely imperative for one's spiritual progress to find the guru in one's life. Once you have found a guru you need to commit 100%. You need to cling to the feet of your guru with everything that you have. As long as a devotee eagerly attends talks and discourses by many other spiritual teachers, he or she will become confused, deluded and lost. Why is this the case? If there are three candle flames burning a moth will choose one flame, focusing all of its attention and energy on that flame, growing closer and closer to attain oneness with the flame. This is akin to focusing on the divine. If there are three different flames of knowledge and wisdom that the devotee is drawn to, the devotee needs to consciously choose one of those three flames. Jumping from one flame to the next is confusing to the devotee and has a negative effect on his or her spiritual progress. The terminology that is appropriate here is 'spiritual promiscuity'. The devotee has to be a highly advanced individual to be unaffected by the different energies and teachings of different spiritual teachers. Of these there are few.

Every devotee is looking for a quick-fix, a short cut. Let me assure you, there is no short cut. The path to experiencing oneness with the Divine is a long and arduous journey. However, having a spiritual master in your life certainly accelerates your spiritual progress in a profound manner. This does not mean that you'll have a perfectly smooth-sailing lifetime. If anything, being on a spiritual path ensures that you'll have an interesting life. You'll have ups and downs but, certainly, if you are open to the energy, you will have a truly divine life.

How many of us can truly call ourselves devotees at the Gayathri Peedam. How many of us follow Guru's teachings, wisdom and advice to the letter? Very few of us, no doubt. After each and every Friday night service, Guru asks us if we have any questions. Do you know and realise how fortunate we are to have that question posed to us by a living master? Here is an individual who knows the secrets of the universe; an individual who can intervene in the divine goings-on of the universe to assist each and every one of us. My suggestion is that devotees make a list of two or three sincere, worthwhile questions. What do I mean by this? The following question was posed one Friday evening: “Guruji, why is the path of a spiritual householder so difficult?” All Guru could do was confirm that the path of a spiritual householder was difficult. Would it not have been better to pose the following question: “Guruji, what techniques, mantras or prayers can a householder do to improve or accelerate his or her spiritual progress?” The reason for my communication of this to devotees is that I want each and every one of us to appreciate, experience and grow in the energy that emanates at the feet of our guru.

Two weeks ago while in Johannesburg with Guru, Guru became extremely ill. And the look in Guru's eyes minutes before Guru was overcome with illness, was a look of 'I think I'm leaving...' When I saw that look, you cannot imagine the flood of emotions and feelings that I experienced in that moment. A short while thereafter Guru was overcome by the illness. I sat next to Guru and went into deep meditation, my emotions getting the better of me, my conversation with the Divine Mother went something like this: “How can you allow our guru to be so sick? How can you allow our guru to be suffering so?” The mother's sweet, divine response was so simple, so practical. She said: “Your guru is suffering due to the negative tendencies and energies of his devotees”. Again, I asked the mother if she could assist in healing Guru and she simply said: “You need to ask the devotees, 'does Guru want to be healed?' The life of the guru is a life of suffering,” She said to me “Your guru is suffering. Your guru is dying. The devotees are responsible for making guru ill. The devotees need to be responsible for Guru's healing”. The healing energies of the mother are available already. Devotees need to utilise and access them and consciously change the way they think to assist in Guru's healing.” Do you understand what I'm saying? Pause for a moment. What I'm saying is that we are consciously, actively responsible, each and every one of us, for how much longer Guru is with us. Each and every devotee needs to make a conscious effort to think and act positively, pray for Guru each and every day., send Guru positive energy and stop being negatively and immaturely towards each other. If anybody is offended by this, that's good, look in the mirror – that means you!

I know I am not perfect. I realise this and actively make a promise to God and Guru to work at being a more loving spiritual being every day. Please may I ask that each and every devotee do the same. Welcome God into every aspect of your life and She will take charge of your life. I will tell you some of the experiences i have had with the divine. Recently I was delivering a print job to one of my customers. My staff had printed the job and, as the customer was unwrapping, the job I saw from the corner of my eye the wrong job had been printed. In that moment I prayed to the Mother with devotion and detachment and, lo and behold, when I looked the job again she had corrected the print job right before my eyes. Recently i had to cut down a part of a tree in my garden, I really bad but i knew it had to be done . I prayed to the Mother as to what I should do and, immediately, she told me where to cut the tree. I had no time to cut the tree on the same day. A week later when I was planning to cut the large branch the mother told me the time was appropriate to cut the branch off as she had withdrawn the life force from the branch . A few weeks ago my family and I were returning home from the ashram at about midnight. As we turned into our road, I saw a very suspicious-looking bakkie with black occupants blocking the entrance to our road. Realizing that the ploy was a well-know hijacking technique, I immediately prayed to the Mother and, within seconds, a police vehicle pulled up behind the bakkie which quickly sped off. This is what I mean when I say invite the Beloved into your day to day life and step back and allow her to take charge of your life!!!

In Divine Love

Message from the Master

Love means expansion of self. It is the sacred light of the soul. It is the true insight with which we see the All in all we perceive. It is the outgrowing of our limited life of body worship, reaching out for the realisation of the all-pervasive Self. It is thus, where individuality is forgotten and universality is gained. It is the source of wisdom that comes into play, when we consciously or unconsciously love our neighbour as our brother. It is ever the sacrifice of self. Furthermore, real love is selfless, knows no fear, knows no jealousy and knows no bargain.

Swami Shankarananda

Dearest children of Gayathri.

Illusion is born of ignorance. From illusion springs separation, differences, duality, manifoldness and variety. Man is the product of the sum total of his thoughts. Therefore destroy the ignorance with the sword of the knowledge of the Self and become free. “The basis of lasting unity among all humanity,” says H.H. Mandalashvar Sri Sri Sivanandaji Maharaj of Ananda Kutir, Rishikesh, “is the religion of the heart”. The religion of the heart is the religion of love. Men can be united only if they are free from hatred and petty-mindedness, and if they are perfectly established in ethical culture. Peace is the most covetable possession on earth. It is the greatest treasure in all the universe. Peace is the most important and indispensable factor for all growth and development. Peace is the fourth condition of superconsciousness.

The essentials of a moral life are: straightforwardness, honesty, mercy, humility, respect for life or tender regard for every creature that breathes, absolute unselfishness, truthfulness, celibacy, non-injury, non-covetousness, absence of vanity and hypocrisy and cosmic love. To live in perfect goodness is to dissolve into the Infinite.

Prarabdha and purushartha are identical. Prarabdha is, indeed, the purushartha of the previous life. It is an unending chain. Right exertion always gives you a good harvest of happy results. Mere resignation to prarabdha produces fatalism in man, which is by far the worst enemy of spiritual growth. Such a resignation weakens him considerably for will-power takes leave of him. Men who have an insight into the true nature of the world, who have truly discerned the truth about the world, who are endowed with discrimination, lift up their self and free themselves from evil inclinations and cravings for worldly objects by their own self-effort and exertion. Urdhvareta Atman - the self is raised by the self.

The elimination of egoism is the sole condition of Self-realization. One’s individual ego, pre-cnceived notions, pet ideas, prejudices and selfish interests should be given up. All these stand in the way of spiritual progress. Unless this lower egoism and obstinate selfish nature is eradicated, it is difficult to be benefited by satsanga.

Roy Eugene Davis

Mastery of attention is the key to Self-discovery. When sitting quietly and contemplating your real nature and your relationship to the one field of Consciousness, or when meditating, endeavour to discern the truth of your real nature and infinite Consciousness. Remain alert. Notice the subtle or obvious shifts of viewpoint and adjustments of states of awareness that occur. When experiencing constructive changes in states of awareness there may be occasions of confusion or emotional unrest because former states of awareness, feelings, and concepts with which you were familiar are being replaced by new states. Your sense of Self and your understanding of yourself and all that you see around you is changing because you are awakening from conditional states of awareness. Your mind is being illumined and your awareness is being clarified. Some of the activities you formerly enjoyed and personal habits and relationship you thought were meaningful may no longer be of interest to you. You may have to learn to appropriately adapt to circumstances and to family members, friends, and others while maintaining your inner awareness and privately attending to spiritual practices to allow your innate capacities to unfold. Observe your state of awareness immediately after awakening from sleep, before thoughts and feelings become influential. Notice that you are peaceful, desireless, and problem free. At the core of your being you are always like this. Train yourself to maintain this state at all times. You will then be serene, make wise choices, and accomplish purposes more easily. By attentive practice, regardless of what you are doing or what is occurring around you, you will always be Self-and God-aware. (Extract from The Science of God-Realization)

Meditation is to control your own mind. Through meditation you can get peace of mind. Your blood pressure comes down so your health improves. Whatever you do in life is done better. you come to know your own mind. Through such understanding everyone can function and work better. Meditation reduces the tension in you. The practice of meditation makes it easier for you to understand the people with whom you interact. Meditation makes you more aware and sensitive to your surroundings and will even give you the power to change circumstances. With progress, meditation helps you to attain God realisation. When you start meditation your mind will remain busy for the first twenty minutes. Then you will start getting aches and pains in your legs and your body. Only after forty minutes will you get real meditation. Meditation requires will. You should not be distracted by whatever is going on around you. You should keep your mind between the eyebrows and not anywhere else. Will power is very strong. Continued meditation increases will power. Since ancient times a lot of people have talked about concentrating at the bhrikuti and doing meditation. This technique concentrates the mind and sight at the bhrikuti. The point of concentration, the ajna chakra, is the same one that all yogis have used to attain God realisation. It’s very easy to meditate on that chakra. The technique is different. It is a new technique taught by Shiva. Just concentrate at the point between the eyebrows and everything will happen by itself. All the rest comes i meditation. You just need to practice meditation. If you practice meditation you will automatically get samadhi. One day you will get samadhi and you will not be aware of how long you have been sitting in meditation. If you practise daily then you an reach samadhi in this lifetime.

Rod Briggs

No matter how insular we feel our lives are we have all, at some time or other, stopped to lend a hand. It may be that we assisted at an accident scene or breakdown, helped someone frail with their parcels, comforted a lost child or looked after distressed animals…

There are also times when we have not stopped; telling ourselves that we are too busy and that someone else will be along shortly, or that it’s not safe to stop – shades of the parable of the Good Samaritan - In these instances, if we listen carefully, we hear an inner voice telling us that maybe we should have stopped. The associated guilt makes us vow that next time we will respond better.

What is it that drives us to help others, and feel warm and fuzzy while doing so; or niggles in disappointment when we miss a chance to aid? It is an echo of an old program, which we have had all our lives and which has to compete with other patterns of thought as we get older. Bio- physics tells us that it is a genetic encoding designed to aid the survival of the species by responding to any threat against the whole but… Metaphysics has a more complete answer.

At birth we have very little awareness of our individual physical self, which only develops fully into our twenty first year, but we are aware of being part of the Grand Organised Design (or GOD). Until we are about eighteen months old our sense of interconnection is so strong that we cannot isolate strong emotion to ourselves, we feel the pain of others – when one baby cries in a nursery, all the others cry too.

This ability doesn’t get switched off but rather gradually fades into the background as we are taught that we are individual and therefore separate from others; we see an echo of it when two five year olds are together and when one gets hurt the other one cries.

The still small voice that encourages us to help, not just humanity but nature as well, is a trace memory of Truth, of an understanding that we all, at a deep psychological level, recognise our common divinity.

As we develop as human beings one of the indicators of a raised consciousness is our growing sensitivity. It shows in the level of empathy we bring to our interactions and leads to Bhaktiyoga – seeing the divinity in all things.


Krishna Janmasthami is also known as Krishna Jayanthi. It is the anniversary of the appearance of Lord Krishna. Jayanthi is a Sanskrit word describing the constellation of stars that was in place when Lord Krishna appeared. Lord Krishna is the 8th Avath-thaar of GOD as the protector. Lord Krishna appeared at midnight on the 8th day of the dark half of the moon of Aavani.

It is believed that Lord Krishna was born through human intervention, to destroy demonic forces that were dominating the world. The worst of the demon kings was Kamsan whose sister, Devaki, was married to Vaasideva, a member of the Yaadhu clan. At the wedding ceremony a voice in the air informed Kamsan that he would be destroyed by the eighth child of Devaki and Vaasudeva, who would be a boy. To avoid meeting this fate, Kamsan forced Devaki and Vaasudeva to live under prison-like conditions, and for the guards to kill each male child as soon as it was born.

When Lord Krishna was born, Vaasudeva got a message to take the child away and exchange it for another. Vaasudeva, with Divine direction, went to the house of Yasordha and Nandha Maharaj, in Gorkulam, where Lord Krishna was exchanged for their baby daughter. Vaasudeva returned to the prison in Mathura. The guards who had been asleep throughout, awoke, and discovered a baby had been born. When they tried to kill the child, she turned into the Goddess Durga.

Lord Krishna's greatest contribution on Earth are His teachings, which have been recorded for posterity by Sage Vyasa. The eighteen discourses given to Arjuna on the battle fields of Kurukshetra constitute the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. The eight days before Krishna Janmasthami are used for in-depth discussions of the messages given in the Gita. Festivals gatherings called Melas are held to celebrate Janmasthami on a grand scale.

Gloria Wendroff

Hail the sun that rises this morning. Hail yourself who also rises from the night. Hail the glory of the Universe that is yours to partake of. Hail that which is called life on Earth. Hail the Earth and all life on it. Hail the galaxies and all that which you dream of in the vast galaxies of your mind. Hail your mind that thinks, and think of the undeniable love in your heart.

Hail to the fullness of love that exists in your heart. The fullness of love in your heart waits for your signal to it. The fullness of love is not bashful. The love in your heart simply waits for you to say: "Okay, love, come out. Extend from me. Be a rainbow of love and arc yourself across the horizon."

The fullness of love in your heart talks to itself just as you sometimes talk to yourself. Here is what the fullness of love in your heart says to itself: "Love, you are a circle. From the center of this heart in which you find yourself, you wait like a runner waiting for a signal to run. You wait for the mind that directs you to say: 'Go!' Then, on signal, Love, you who are my very self, you encircle the Earth, and enter the Earth, and you transcend Earth, and you travel the galaxies and return. Love, you send yourself out without leaving the heartbase in which you ever abide. Love, God never leaves the heart in which you abide. God is Love, and so you and God never leave and yet you travel everywhere. You are love that has its foot on the starting line and yet runs through the finish line even though there is no finish line when it comes to you, my very Self of Love."

As love waits for a sign from you to release itself, it reclines, watchful in your heart. It is not idle. It scans the Vastness of the Universe, near and far, and points out the sights to you. The love in your heart says to you, you, the human being in whom the heart dwells, "How about sending the love that I am to this person and that? To this aspect of the Universe and that?" The love in your heart repeats this many times.

Perhaps the mind of you responds by saying that you're not sure about it. Your mind may say things like: "What if I am not loved back? What if I am thought a fool? I'm sorry. It's just too big an investment for me to make right now. I must give more thought to letting you, my love, go. You can't go everywhere, so I shall hold you to me tight until I make a decision or until I am unable to hold you back any longer."

And the love in your heart says to you: "How about just sending me out? Never mind a target. Just send me out, and let me fall where I may. Let me water the world, as it were. Let me shower the world with this love in your heart that I am. Let me out. Why not let me out now? There is no danger. There is nothing for you to risk but that silly non-existent ego that continually bombards you and that you too often listen to and allow to hamper you. Let ego go, and never let it come back. Release me, the love in your heart, and I will soar, and, at the same time, I will stay with you. Release me, and I will encompass All That Is, and I will encompass you." Beloveds, say Yes to the fullness of love in your heart. Say Yes once and for all. Say Yes now.

By Paramahansa Yogananda

The world as a whole has forgotten the real meaning of the word love. Love has been so abused and crucified by man that very few people know what true love is. Just as oil is present in every part of the olive, so love permeates every part of creation. But to define love is very difficult, for the same reason that words cannot fully describe the flavour of an orange. You have to taste the fruit to know its flavour. So with love.

In the universal sense, love is the divine power of attraction in creation that harmonizes, unites, binds together ... Those who live in tune with the attractive force of love achieve harmony with nature and their fellow beings, and are attracted to blissful reunion with God. “Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions,” (Sri Yukteswar). “Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.”

Choose Your Life

The choices you make are responsible for every one of your life’s experiences. You are the creator of you. For example, if you choose to think of yourself as being ugly, then guess what? That will be your experience. You will always see the ways that you are ugly and not the ways that you are beautiful. It is strange but if you do some research you will find that often the most beautiful people think of themselves as being ugly. If you think of yourself as being stupid, then your subconscious mind will look for all the ways that you are stupid and not notice the times when you are smart. It is your choice.

If you want to have a joyful life, you first need to choose joy. Choose to see yourself as a joyful, loving person and focus on all the times that you are in joy. For example, if you want to be a successful dancer, then you need to think of yourself as a success. Imagine how it feels, imagine yourself moving effortlessly as a great dancer and then celebrate each one of your experiences that reinforces that vision of yourself. When you practise your dancing, don’t focus on the times that you don’t feel like you are dancing well, put all of your attention on those moments when you are dancing like a great dancer. Perhaps you want to be the best fireman in the world, well, the same thing is true. Imagine how it feels to be the best fireman in the world. How he or she would act at a fire or around friends. Then reinforce over and over that version of you. It is simple isn’t it? Your choices, your thoughts and intentions shape every experience of yours in life.

Aim high. Look at the best. Don’t choose the lowest, choose the highest version of yourself. To be responsible for your choices, for your happiness, takes real bravery. Many people find it easier to blame others and other things, and many times they just don’t know that it is all up to them. The simplest thing to remember is that God is within us all. And God is a creator. We create heaven or hell. So it is for us to choose. We create heaven or hell every moment, our universe is that perfect. Our perfect universe will be whatever we choose.

We'll start like before. Close your eyes and relax. Try not to think of other things but just for a moment watch your breath. Feel the air flowing in and out of your body. If you get really good at this all you will be able to notice is the air flowing in and out. Then I would like you to imagine that you are like a genie, a wizard that can make any wish come true. Imagine that you are a special genie that does not deal with physical things but just feelings.

Take a moment and then be really wise about what you wish for. You can wish for any feeling you like. It might be more peace, or more joy or more love. To make your wish come true you have to imagine the feeling inside your heart. Imagine it like a ball of light like the sun and then feel the light is shining that feeling through every part of you. See if you can sit in silence for a few minutes like this watching the light shining through your entire body.

When you are ready, relax a little but keep your eyes closed. Just for a few moments think about the feelings that you can expand in your life to make you happier. Remember that it is you that is in control. It is you that makes you happy. No one else can make you be happy. You are the creator.

When you are ready take a couple of deep breaths and relax – your meditation is finished.