November 2008

Swami Says + Healing Watermelon + Healing with the Sun + Laughter is the best medicine + Selenite + Breaking Coconut + FEATURE: Bhagavad Gita and Bible +Understanding Paurnami + Choosing your journey + Journey to Katirgama + Meenasanam + much more ...

Cover image: Navarathri Chariot Procession, 4 October 2008, Verulam SA

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Namasté all.

Welcome to the second-to-last Transcendence of 2008. We hope you’ve enjoyed all the issues during the year. If not, we will have some sets of selected overrun back-issues for purchase, or as a gift for someone who you think might enjoy a good spiritual read.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up their monthly contributions to the Gayathri Peedam. Please be reminded that these funds are not a salary for Swami Shankarananda or any of those who help at the temple, but are used to pay for necessities at the peedam, like lights, water, upkeep of the garden, cleaning materials and daily maintenance. Whatever is left is used to upgrade the temple, as you will see by the changes that have taken place.

Please remember that a Birthday Prayer will be held in honour of Mahavatar Babaji on the 15th November, and that the last Maha Navagraha Prayer will take place on the 22nd November. If you haven’t yet taken part in this prayer during 2008, now is the time.

An invitation is extended to all who would like to take part in the Supta Rishi Linga Temple Consecration to be held over the 18th to the 20th December. There will be guests present from Sri Lank who will be accommodated by the Verulam Gayathri Peedam. Details of this ceremony can be obtained from Swami Shankarananda or from Ashok Kassie.

This month Transcendence features a number of interesting articles including Laughter, the best medicine by Yvonne Jarvis, Healing with the Sun by Swami Murugesu Maharishi, Parunami by Brother Haridas, Choosing your Journey by Suren Pillay and Journey to Katrigama by Vish. Our feature article draws some interesting comparisons between two well-known holy scriptures: The Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. A booklet comparing the basic elements of both these texts by Swami Shankarananda, entitled Bhagavad Gita Essentials is available from the Jadatharaya Institute. Please contact me (Jo) if you would like a copy.

Finally, Ashok and Dean would like to arrange regular work-parties for projects that need to be completed at the Gayathri Peedam in Verulam. These dates will be announced as they are decided upon. If you would like to help, please give your name and contact details to Ashok, or email with your details.

In Love and Service always, Ed.

Swami Shankarananda

Devotee: Guru you tell us that all these great spiritual books and stories come from God. Aren’t these written by man? Does this also includes the ten commandments?

Swami Shankarananda: All such teachings are given by the Lord to these saints. The Ten Commandments are no different. All are the work of the lord through the Masters. There were different ones during different times. The very Ten Commandments you mention are in the Old Testament, accordingly given by Moses, but understand that although Moses received these commandments from some higher being, whom we lovingly refer to has God or Lord, he has interpreted them according to his own understanding.

Rod Briggs

Have you ever been jostled in a crowd, disrespected by a drunken teenager, had the truth stretched by someone who’s trying to sell you something or been treated poorly by minor officialdom? We live in a world where old fashioned values such as good manners, patience, respect and truth are in danger of extinction. Whatever happened to dressing for dinner, standing when a lady walked into a room, opening doors for your better half or respecting your elders? We see these attributes as largely anachronistic but fail to realise that they are indicators of a greater malaise.

Crime today tends to be more violent than in previous years; assaults tend to be aggravated, hijacks are brutal and robberies mostly leave the victims physically injured or worse. The sanctity of life seems to be an alien concept to a large part of a society which we often imagine on the verge of sliding into anarchy. The root cause of this is a lack of respect for others, which stems from a lack of self respect. This poor self image is the foundation of virtually all failures of humanity from abuse to genocide.

We all bemoan the state of our society but do precious little about it, we say “when are they going to do something?” failing to realise that “they” is us. Solving the problem starts with making changes within our selves first. Rudi Giuliani , the ex mayor of New York, initially became famous through his policy of zero tolerance towards petty crime which led to a massive reduction in general crime as well as a social renaissance in the seedier precincts of his city. I think we all need to borrow his approach as far as moral values are concerned. If we bring more attention to respecting ourselves and others at the level of social interface we will be dropping pebbles in the pond of life which others will respond to.

So here’s the challenge, carry the shopping for the lady; allow the other car to go before you at the intersection, extend common courtesy. We change the world one mind at a time, starting with our own.

Gloria Wendroff

Anything that lifts your heart heals it. You heart needs to be healed of having been pulled down. Your heart wants to be at its best. It wants to be light-hearted so it can soar and fly with the angels. When your heart is happy, it is light-filled. When your heart is light-filled, it is invincible. You already have a hint of this. One day something bothers you very much. You may not be able to get it out of your mind. The next day you are happy, and what bothered you yesterday, today is nothing at all. When you are really happy, everything palls next to happiness. Unhappiness cannot intrude at the moment. This is what I mean by invincible.

Furthermore, I have told you that all healing is of the heart. Healing, beloveds, doesn't have to mean curing, you understand. Healing doesn't mean that what is commonly seen as illness will be obliterated. Nor does it mean that someone without a diagnosed illness somehow has to be happier than someone who is ill. There are many many factors, most of which are indiscernible to you. Even in the world, it is known that illness reaches the innocent as well as it reaches those the world calls guilty. Illness is not a label on a person attesting to their goodness. Yet in the world as it is, there is a tendency to fault those who are ill and say they are the cause of their illness. The world seeks to find causes. I have said there is no cause. This is the same as releasing you from need. A mother tells a child not to go out with his hat, and the child catches a cold. It is too unilateral to say the child got a cold because he didn't wear his hat. It is even too unilateral to say that the child caught a cold because the child believed the mother's words and so caught a cold. It is too unilateral to say a germ caused the cold. All you really know is that the child has symptoms of a cold.

In a different world than the one you exist in, an illness could possibly be seen as a badge of honor. When a person with an illness receives all honor, he can get up from his bed and no longer be ill. Do not think that what I say is too far-fetched. This is quite like the healing that Christ and other Great Ones did.

When Christ's eyes looked into the heart of the person considered sick, his eyes placed a gold medal on the person's heart. Christ's eyes were like a healing laser. His vision and purity were so great that the person got up from his bed with a new sense of his value and could no longer tote around an illness. Ultimately, the person healed himself. Christ's consciousness was so great that the consciousness of anyone before him had to go higher. This is why everyone wanted to touch the hem of his robe. At the same time, Beloveds, I do not mean to imply that everyone who has throngs around him has a higher consciousness anymore than I mean to say that someone who doesn't have throngs is less. Beloveds, nothing is either/or. Only in the world is it thought so. The point I make is that illness, like everything else in the world, serves a higher purpose than the world presently sees. Everything serves a higher purpose. Everything is greater than you know.

Mahavishnu Moodley

At the tender age of eleven, Babaji Nagaraj made a distant pilgrimage on foot to Katirgama, a place south of Sri Lanka. It is at this very spot that the Guru of Babaji, Bogarnath, initiated the young lad into the secrets of Kriya Yoga. In intense depths of Samadhi, Babaji attained the divine vision of Lord Muruga, the deity of Katirgama, and realised that he (Babaji) was the manifestation of Muruga consciousness, that he was no different from the Lord of Katirgama.

Situated in south-eastern Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Katirgama displays rare and necessary religious tolerance. To Hindus, particularly Tamilians, the warrior god Skanda (Muruga) is especially dear. A striking example of youthful beauty and intoxicating energy, Muruga has been hailed by the Saptarishis (the seven original seers) as Kaliyuga Varadha, which translates into the redeemer in the present age of Kali. To the Singhalese, who are predominantly Buddhist, Katirgama serves as a site of encounter between the Buddha and Lord Muruga. They also believe that the Buddha Sakyamuni transported himself telepathically to Katirgama. To the Sufis of Sri Lanka, Muruga is no other than the teacher of Moses, al-Kadhir. To them, “Khadir-gama” is a spiritual haven, a sanctuary where the Elixir of Deathlessness, the ma-ul hayat, can be found and internalized. To the Jews, the yantra or geometrical association of Lord Muruga, is the same as the Star of David.

Unlike other Hindu places of worship, Katirgama has no murthi (idol) of the Lord Muruga. Instead, there is a yantra, a geometrical analogy. It can be thought of as the signature of a particular deity. Katirgama was set up as a seat of Murugan energy by Bogarnath, who is also reputed to have drawn the mystical yantra. It is the highest possible manifestation of Muruga, and cannot be comprehended except through the arul (grace) of Lord Skanda. When one enters the shrine, there is a screen blocking the sanctum sanctorum. On this screen, Muruga and his two consorts, Valli and Devasena, are painted. Behind the screen lies the yantra, said to be carved onto a gold plate. No one is allowed to see the yantra, besides the two high-priests. Worship is offered to the yantra, as is with any other temple, with the major exception that there is no statue present. The yantra, housed in a small box, is taken on elephant back every evening to the surrounding temples, eventually reaching the shrine of Goddess Valli, the jungle princess wedded to Muruga. The yantra is then left inside the Valli-Amman temple for fifteen minutes, representing the union of Muruga with his Shakti, Valli. (to be continued)