July 2009

Swami Says: Learning to know the now consciousness? + Healing Bananas + Tourmaline + The Law of Detachment + Living a Whole Life + FEATURE: Sri Adi Shankaracharyaa + Simple Truths + Marudamalai + Sakthi Worship 2 + Value of Tolerance + Gayathri in the Scriptures + much more ...

Cover image: Science of Silence Retreat Group, Drakensberg, 14 June 2009

* * * * * * *


Namasté all.
Guru has just arrived back with a group of very fortunate devotees from a special India journey to the Himalayas to receive the blessings of Mahavatar Babaji.

This month is the beautiful celebration of Guru Pournima. It is a time to renew our connection with our Higher Self and our spiritual teachers; a time to appreciate the learning and energy we have received and to give something back to our teachers and masters. Although we could never return the same kind of unconditional love and compassion received from our Guru, we should at least at this time make an extra effort to initiate some kind of offering in exchange for the divine gifts we have received. The relationship with one’s spiritual master is personal and a unique experience for everyone, and so too should be our special heartfelt gift of thanks.

Guru’s Science of Silence meditation retreat in the Drakensberg was held from the 12th to the 14th June. A great time was had by all and we extend thanks to everyone who attended and all those who helped make the weekend possible, especially Guruji who gave up His valuable time to spend with students teaching, laughing, praying and singing.

July is a busy month at the Gayathri Peedam with our second Ardha Akhanda Bhajan on the 11th, the Mahasamadhi prayer of Yogiar Ramaiah on the 13th, Swami Shankarananda’s birthday on the 15th, a possible yoga workshop from the 20th to the 24th and Lakshmi Pooja on the 31st.

We would like to ‘upgrade’ the Peedam Chariot in time for the procession in September and so appeal to members to bare in mind that help is needed in this project. Anyone who is able to offer help in this endeavour please contact Dean or Ashok.

Gita Week starts on the 7th of August during which time Guru will give evening discourses until the 13th of August. Those who are able to participate, please mark these dates in your diary so that you don’t lose out on a rare opportunity of quality time with Guru.

Have a blessed month.

In Love and Service always, Ed.

Swami Shankarananda

Dearest children of Gayathri.
Remember every one of us only exists in the Supreme Consciousness. This actually means we have eternal life and great potential to boundless happiness and joy with limitless creativity.

Knowing the Now Consciousness may occur in stages, you firstly need to do some introspection. This is to begin to seek and to know the meaning of this life and how to live this life in the Now Consciousness, living life in the highest way possible. Ask the question Who Am I? Mentally answer the question in the best possible divine way. You must feel as though you are impelled by a supreme curiosity. Only after discovery of who we really are, do we go on to the stage of self-discipline.

Practice self-discipline. Catch your self in the Now Consciousness. Why I say this is that you may know what the now consciousness is and how to practice it, but you may be forgetful sometimes. Do not at any time in your practice let doubt override your innate wisdom. Self-discipline is the way to bring our thoughts, speech and actions to work together in an amicable way.

To the one who may think this is not possible to attain, and that the attainment of Now Consciousness is only for the spiritually awake, I have just this final statement: “God is every way. The only reason it easy for me is that I made that effort. Nothing special about that.”

Always catch yourself in the now, the present. Worry not about yesterday, for yesterday is gone. Worry not about tomorrow, for tomorrow has not come. Worry about now, for yesterday has been and no longer exists, and tomorrow will not be 'now' until tomorrow. Now is all that exists.


Swami Murugesu

The word ‘man’ is generally taken to represent the visible, gross physical body only. This is the opinion held by most, but this is also far from the truth for, within the body, there should exist an energy which causes movement and function of the various bodily organs. It is this energy that animates the body. In addition, man also possesses a mind which absorbs worldly knowledge It is now well-known and scientifically accepted that man has not only a thinking, reasoning mind, but also possesses an inner mind known as the subconscious mind, which is the storehouse of past occurrences and experiences not only of his current birth but also of previous births. These subconscious memories are stored in the form of impressions and when a person is hypnotised, the subconscious mind is brought to the surface while the conscious mind is held in suspense. Under this state, many so-called miracles are performed which are usually impossible to carry out in a normal state.

I would like to emphasise that man should endeavour to strengthen and use his subtle inner aspects such as his Pranic energy and subconscious mind, as he does with his physical body. Many take good care of their body only: they eat nourishing food, take all kinds of tonics, perform exercises to strengthen the body, embalm themselves in cosmetics and costly outfits. In spite of all these efforts, people still find themselves in the clutches of various diseases. As man fails to store up reserves of vital pranic energy, he soon becomes old. As man has not learned to control his mind, he ends up tortured by worry and grief. Karmic effects also take hold of him as he has not learned to alter the karmic impressions lying within his subconscious mind. Finally, man has never cared to understand who he really is, and the purpose of his current lifetime. He knows well that he will one day leave his body but has not cared to find out what death is and what will happen to him after death. Alas, he does not know that even after the death of his physical body ‘he’ will not perish but will continue to live after the state of so-called death.

Why do I elaborate on these things? Merely to highlight the fact that nobody today lives as a whole person because most are not aware of and do not bother to strengthen and use their subtle organs, instead remaining fixated on the physical only. Man only connects with part of his whole Self, leaving major aspects to function uncontrolled and cause him endless trouble and suffering.

In ancient days there were persons who not only nourished, strengthened and used their physical bodies, but also made use of their inner organs. They could therefore, live a happy, healthy and peaceful life right up to their last breath. In short, they could overcome their fate; they could lead a masterly life, not as slaves of circumstances, but rather as masters of their circumstances. Not even external happenings and obstacles like accidents and natural calamities could harm them. They escaped from such dangers in a seemingly miraculous manner. Even today, there are those who are careful in nourishing, strengthening and using their subtle inner organs and it is from such individuals that we should make an effort to learn the same methods.

There are many institutions, yogashrams and spiritual centres which teach ways of mastering one’s subtle being. Many learn from such places and undertake their studies and practises for a long time. But from their many reports, it is seen that they have not experienced any change in their lives; nor have they acquired the ability to control the movements of their inner organs.

The Gayathri Peedam, which was founded on the pedigree of ancient rishis and siddhas, teaches the ways and means of nourishing, developing and using one’s inner organs, applying the same methods adopted and taught by the ancient seers. The proof for this is that the students in Sri Lanka and many foreign countries who have undergone training by this yogashram, hae witnessed within themselves many transformations. They have become masters of their life and experienced immense joy and bliss - ananda - which cannot be experienced by worldly riches or any other means.

Our yogashram has discovered a new method of teaching and coaching which combines ancient techniques with modern investigations about man and his inner powers so that the student may understand the human science behind his existence and ascend, step by step, towards the higher goal without any difficulty or doubt. Our students all over the world are living a happy and peaceful life, encountering few or no obstacles or worries and avoiding disease. At the same time they are enjoying the highest bliss appreciated by the soul.

Suren Pillay

Today as we dive deeper into a world of multiplicity and diversity, an appreciation of the different religions and cultures becomes necessary if one wishes to obtain a complete understanding of oneself and one’s relationship with God. Unity in diversity is a concept that many propose but, alas, do not follow. Religious wars and differences have separated man instead of uniting them. Today millions in the world die from religious intolerance and militants who kill in the name of God.

All religions propose a unique understanding of the same universal truth. The saints have repeatedly said that when one’s understanding of comparative religion is used to inspire one in his own daily spiritual practices , then that comparative understanding has a positive value on his sadhana. However, when the study of comparative religion leads to more intellectual confusion, and weakens the faith of an individual then this study should not be adopted.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, faith is seen as an important requirement for self-realisation; the lack of faith has been identified as an obstacle on the spiritual path. And any activity which undermines this important attribute of an aspirant should be immediately relinquished. So, the real issue is: why do some so-called religious people engage in activities that bring more pain to the world than love? And, furthermore, why do many sadhakas engage in reading philosophy that ultimately confuses rather then strengthens their faith.

Religious wars arise from ego-based cravings to fulfil a material desire. Many so-called religious leaders use God as front to obtain more land, wealth and power. These leaders have no sincere desire to be spiritually enlightened or God-realised. All their followers are equally confused and do not clearly understand or appreciate their relationship with God.

A spiritual aspirant’s thirst for knowledge is often extremely strong, especially in the beginning stages. As his intuitive insight has not been properly developed through meditation and spiritual practices he is consequently unable to discern the truth from dogma and ideology. The result is intellectual confusion and a weakening of faith. It is for this reason, that the need for a Guru preceptor is invaluable. The Guru, in many instances, clears the sadhaka’s doubts about God and re-instills his faith in the divine. The Guru also guides the sadhaka’s spiritual progress so that the sadhaka may be able to be guided by his intuitive perception rather than mental conjecture. In this way the sadhaka is able to successfully discern between truth and dogma by his own inner wisdom.

My message to you this month, dear readers, is to always keep an open mind when reading spiritual literature, especially when reading about a tradition outside your own. Instead of asking: ‘how is this different from my own religion?’, ask: ‘How does this validate the principle of my own tradition?’ Meditate deeply every day, and the universal truths of every religion will become immediately apparent in your everyday living.

Swami Narayani

My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity, My mind is confused as to duty. I ask Thee – tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me who has taken refuge in Thee. (Gita, Chap.2,v.7.)

This is the crux of the entire Yoga philosophy. Only when the disciple surrenders can the master give his teachings. “Show me the way,” Arjuna now says. He is ready to receive the teachings of wisdom. Likewise, when we are able to utter these words, whether to the Guru or to the a higher Self, we are ready - and with this surrender, growing happens without our realizing it.

Lord Krishna has brought his disciple Arjuna into a state of receptivity by being stern with him. We must accept the Guru's words and be stern with ourselves – watching...admitting, as Arjuna did, our weaknesses, and dropping at the Guru's feet to ask for help. Taking refuge in Him is our only hope.

At some stage of our lives, in the midst of all our misery, confusion, (and through it) a door opens within and suddenly there is a knowing that we cannot carry on alone, endeavouring to work through the little ego. At that time surrender takes place... and whether it happens through the Guru or the teacher or directly, life moves onto another highway and the flower of sacredness and purity that you are begins to blossom.

Stop resisting life. Life is and always will be, just surrender. Flow down the river of life, being guided and controlled by that Beloved Presence that we are all seeking to find.

Vishnu Moodley

Kavadies around South Africa were in awe after hearing a transcendental song at an acoustic high. This song sent vibrations through the core, piercing the shell of doubt, leaving one in a rapture of bliss and beauty – all this amid the arched structures of flower and peacock feathers. The song was a film hit Marudamalai sung by Madurai Somu in the film Deivam, and it tells of the greatness of Marudamalai, and of the Lord of Marudamalai, Lord Muruga. Marudamalai is a well-known Muruga shrine situated fifteen kilometres north-west of the metropolitan of Coimbatore, south India. So revered is this spot that many consider it the unofficial seventh temple of the Aarupadai Veedu. Characteristic of a hill-setting, lush greenery beautify the place with an amber of solace. The temple is likely to be older than 1200 years, since inscriptions describing it can be found in the Thirumuruganpoondi temple, a temple in the near proximity rooted in legends and dating back to the ninth century.

The hill itself has many herbs and shrubs of medicinal value, hence the name Marudamalai, meaning Mountain of Medicine. These herbs can cure physical ailments and aid in calming the mind. Ancient rishis used to obtain herbs from Marudamalai to perform Kayakalpam, a specialized field of practice revered in both Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine as the perfect anecdote for longevity, vitality, health and higher consciousness. Even the celestial cow, Kamadhenu is said to have grazed in the vegetation at Marudamalai.

As with every temple, Marudamalai is associated with many legends. In the Perur Puranam, it states that the devas (gods) were perturbed by the tyranny of Surapadman and his brothers Singhamukha and Taraka, and prayed for Shiva to save them. Shiva told them to proceed to Marudamalai and wait for the coming of Lord Muruga. Another tale tells of a siddha who, after much travel, came to rest at Marudamalai. He prayed to Muruga to quench his thirst, and a steady stream of water emanated from the tree at once. The siddha was ecstatic, and called Muruga Marudajalapathi (he took rest under a Maruda tree, and jalam translates into water).

The temple is classically on a hill, and is reached by bus, all provided by the temple at minimal costs. Before embarking on the uphill journey, it is custom to pay respects to the Remover of all Obstacles, Lord Ganesha. This temple, situated a slight distance away from the foothills, houses an idol that is Swayambhu in nature. Known as Thanthoondri Ganapathi (meaning self-born), this idol is said to have been found in the form that it is in. No intervention was necessary to carve or chisel the image.

Thereafter, devotees climb a flight of eighteen steps, known as Pathinettam Padi. Midway up the steps is a shrine dedicated to Idumban, carved onto a rock and depicted performing the Kavadi penance. Along the way, footprints of a horse can be found, known as Kudhirai Kulambu. These are believed to be the very footprints of the horse carrying the Lord when he defeated the demon Surapadman. The idol in the sanctum sanctorum reminds one of Palani Andavar. Made of granite, it shows Muruga as Dhandhayuthapani, with staff in his hand.

The distinguishing feature of Muruga at Marudamalai is that he wears a turban. The beauty is beyond words, as stated by sage Kachiyappar, “Tens of thousands of Maras (love gods) cannot match the beauty of Lord Muruga at Marudamalai.” There are also shrines for Valli and Devasena in close proximity. A Shiva lingam is present with his consort Mother Ambigai. In front of the temple is the Navagrahas. Visitors and devotees may purchase lamps which can be lit and placed in front of the planetary personifications. A distance from the inner shrine is an altar dedicated to Ganapathi, the Ucchipillaiyar Kovil. Recently inaugurated, the presiding deity Ganesha is adorned and adored especially on Ganesha Chaturti. The tree of the temple is the Marudam tree, and the theerthams are Maruda and Skanda.

A trip to Marudamalai to the undiscerning may be considered complete after visiting the main shrine. The unknowing may not even know there exists a marvel on its own, so close, yet invisible. Enquiring from temple officials, one is guided to the cave of Siddha Paambati, one of the eighteen siddhas who contributed to Kriya Yoga. Paambati Siddha was a snake charmer. He reveled in bringing to life dead snakes and making them dance to his melody. This cave was his sanctuary for meditation, and is said to be directly connected to the sanctum sanctorum via an underground passage, making the siddha’s access to the temple for daily worship easier. What can be seen there today is a cave in the natural form of a snake, under which Paambati siddha used to meditate and consequently attained liberation through the grace of Lord Muruga. Idols of snakes have been installed, and there is a picture of Paambati Siddha, presumably painted from vegetable paints, that looks aged and accurate. Daily offerings of fruit and milk are made inside the cave, and a snake comes to eat the offering every day. Paambati Siddha is reputed to have written Siddharudam. He wrote in a characteristic style, and ended each poem with the words Aadu Paambe, which means “Dance, snake.” His Samadhi is at Harisankaran Kovil in Thirunelveli and not at Marudamalai.

The Thirumuruganathaswamy temple in Thirumuruganpoondi, Coimbatore is a Shiva shrine. After defeating Surpadman, Muruga installed and worshipped a Shiva Lingam at this spot, hence the name of the temple which translates into ‘the Lord of Muruga.’ Sundaramurthi, a heralded Saivite poet and one of four composers of Thevaram, hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, made a pilgrimage to this temple. In his divine leela, Lord Shiva wanted to hear the poet sing, and disguised himself as a hunter and stole all the pious man’s belongings. Sundaramurthi, beset with sorrow, sang to the Lord with heart and soul. The Lord then manifested and Sundaramurthi, knowing the reason behind the episode, filled with joy. This saga is celebrated as a festival called Vedupari. Other sages to have performed worship here include Agasthiar, Markandheya (who is reputed to have brought a tree from heaven and placed it here), and Dhurvasa.