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Archive for December 25th, 2011

Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2011 21:57:23 -0000
To: am-global@earthlink.net
From:
Subject: Even Small Things Help in Sadhana

Baba

“Bha’loba’si toma’y a’mi, keno ta’ ja’ni na’…” P.S. 2329

Purport:

Baba, I love You but I do not know why I love You. You go on pulling my heart– but what is the mystery behind this, that I do not understand. Baba, You are the divine effulgence of my dark heart. By Your grace I will never allow that effulgence to get extinguished. Baba, I will always keep Your love in my heart.

All the love I have in the deep core of my heart, and all the hopes and longings I have in my mind, all my desires and aspirations are revolving around You. And they get expressed through Your songs, dance, melody, and rhythms. Baba, You are my everything. Where I am, where I will go, and from where I have come, all these types of useless questions never come in my mind, by Your grace. Baba, I do not even want to know these things. Just I am fully depending on You– that You know
everything and that everything is in Your control.

Baba, You are always ever gracious on me. I love You; my whole existence is Yours…

== EVEN SMALL THINGS HELP IN SADHANA ==

Namaskar,
In recent times I have been struggling– more than usual– in sadhana. I did not know which way to turn for help. Life was busy and it seemed like sadhana was getting away from me.

Certainly there are so many high ideals to inspire us to move ahead, but those all seemed quite elusive to me at the time.

After talking with one acarya, I thought I should try and work from the ground up. So I took renewed interest in my asana practice as way to get back into a proper sadhana flow. Here I do not mean asanas as in all those postures that are currently part of the new yoga craze. Rather I am referring to the three or four sadhana oriented asanas as given by Beloved Baba.

By His grace, it has been these postures which have revived my sadhana practice. Of course there are many things that create a good sadhana flow including kiirtan, svadhyaya, satsaunga, second lesson, diet, intermittent dhyana etc. All these contribute significantly to our meditative state and success in sadhana.

At the same time, we should also not forget how seemingly small(er) practices like asanas also play an important, if not invaluable, role.

WHAT ARE THOSE ASANAS

In a nutshell, we are talking about shashaungasana, viirasana, padmasana, and siddhasana, all of which are featured and described in Caryacaraya III as well as in the Acarya Diary.

* Shashaunga’sana (Hare Pose): The real beauty and spiritual use of this asana is doing it before one’s sadhana practice. It helps calm the mind and breath and awakens and stimulates the pineal gland. So doing 8 rounds of this asana just before starting one’s sadhana practice is extremely useful.

Personally, I found this asana to be quite beneficial in focusing the mind on my sadhana endeavour. Without that, I find that my mind runs hither and thither.

* Viira’sana (Hero Pose): As we all know this is our 3rd lesson asana. In the past I always used to kneel on my knees without curling the toes underneath, because that was easier and more comfortable. But now I sit in the posture correctly. My acarya told me that without doing so, then 3rd lesson will not be strong. And without a pointed approach in 3rd lesson, then dhyana is basically a waste of time. So this viira’sana is essential for sadhana.

In the beginning, curling my toes underneath caused me great pain. But in just a short amount of time, the position became quite comfortable for me and I can better understand how it enhances concentration. Now, by Baba’s grace, when I am in this posture, my mind easily gets more focused and I feel strong energy swirl through my entire body.

* Padma’sana (Lotus Posture): Baba has placed great emphasis on this posture, especially in our practice of first lesson. In particular, it is helpful for doing our shuddhis. Because the whole import of doing our bhutashuddhi, asanashuddhi, and cittashuddhi is to withdraw the mind from worldly things and situate our mental feeling at our Ista cakra. And padma’sana helps goad the mind away from the physical realm. By first placing the right foot on the left thigh and then bringing the left foot over onto the right thigh, then that enhances concentration. To complete the pose, we then place the right hand on top of the left. Plus the tongue should be rolled back towards the roof of the mouth.

This we have all learned and know. Even then it is not easy. I was having trouble with this, and my entire sadhana program was falling to pieces.

By Baba’s grace, my acarya noticed that I was merely sitting in a lazy, cross-legged position in sadhana, so he gently guided me to take up the practice of sitting in padma’sana. In the beginning I could just barely get into the position, but I could not remain there long. Within five minutes, or even two minutes, I thought that my knees would explode. Over time, my endurance in this pose has increased such that now by Baba’s grace I can complete my entire first lesson in padmas’ana. And yes, it has been helpful for controlling the mind and allowing me to go deeper into my sadhana & mantra japa.

* Siddha’sana (Siddha posture): This asana looks relatively easy but is extremely difficult. Sometimes people refer to this as half-lotus so they think it is easier than padmasana. But in truth many find it much more difficult.

As my acarya told me, siddha’sana is to be used primarily for dhyana. That is the specialty of this pose because the heels are pressed in towards the muladhara and svadishthana cakras, thereby controlling & even numbing those lower points and their associated vrttis.

Once that area is suspended through this special process of siddhasana, then it is quite certain that at the very least the mind will not degrade, and with proper thought and psychic approach the mind will move from its home at ajina cakra and rise up to sahasrara cakra.

Although a difficult pose, this one has also been extremely helpful for me in getting back into a better sadhana flow.

Note: Due to the nature of this pose, it is not proper– due to anatomical reasons– for sisters to sit in this posture. Rather they should use a modified version thereof, or padmas’ana. Best will be to talk to their Didi about this.

ONE IMPORTANT POINT ABOUT DHYA’NA

One other interesting thing is this.

My acarya told me that in trying to do dhyana many people in fact have their mind in ajina cakra– not sahasrara cakra. Unbeknownst to them, some sadhakas do like this. My acarya says this becomes quite evident when he and other acaryas do lesson reviews– both of Dadas and margiis. And in that case, one cannot do true dhyana.

To help ensure the mind reaches up to the sahasrara cakra, one can lightly touch the very crown of the head as that will help goad the mind in that direction. Of course, without strong spiritual ideation and deep devotion, then the mind will not reach up to that pinnacled point. So touching alone will not suffice, but it can help if the other factors are alright.

TRY TO BECOME SIDDHA IN OUR SADHANA ASANA PRACTICE

Siddha means ‘accomplished’, ‘practiced’, ‘comfortable’, ‘established’ etc. We should become siddha in each of the four mentioned sadhana asanas. Of course we are not hatha yogis who practice thousands of asanas all day long. But these four above asanas are integral to a spiritually-vibrated sadhana practice. Specifically, siddha means being able to sit in postures like padmasana for 1, 2, or even 3 hours at a time without feeling any discomfort. Once the physical body is established in this pose, then the mental realm can truly delve deeper into the practice and sanctity of sadhana.

So we should all try to achieve a state of ‘siddha’ in our spiritual asana practice.

MANY FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO PROPER SADHANA

There are many factors that contribute to a vibrant sadhana practice. By Baba’s grace, that is why He has given us Sixteen Points and countless other teachings and guidelines. All these enhance our sadhana practice.

That said, when I was really struggling, then I found the aspect of our seated, meditative poses to be a helpful tool of rejuvenating my sadhana career. It may be a small piece to the puzzle, but maybe others will also find it helpful. That is why I decided to write this letter.

Others should also write in with their thoughts and reflections.

BABA’S BLESSING

Baba says, “The relation between the physical body and the mind is very close. Mental expression is brought about through the vrttis, and the predominance of the vrttis depends on different glands of the body. There are many glands in the body and from each there is a secretion of a particular hormone. If there is any defect in the secretion of hormones or any defect in a gland, certain vrttis become excited. For this reason, we find that in spite of having a sincere desire to follow the moral code, many persons cannot do so; they understand that they should do meditation, but they cannot concentrate their minds because their minds become extroverted due to the external excitement of this or that propensity. If a person wants to control the excitement of these propensities, he or she must rectify the defects of the glands. Ásanas
help the sádhaka to a large extent in this task, so ásanas are an important part of sádhaná.” (CC-3)

Namaskar,
Mukunda

Note 1: A’SANA PICTURES ARE NOT ALWAYS PROPER

Everyone should be careful when studying or learning any new asana. Because many of the drawings and displays of our asanas are not depicted properly or accurately in our AM Publications. This is something that will have to be fixed. Till then, always be sure to consult with an appropriate acarya or senior margii regarding the practice of asanas– i.e. consult with someone who himself is strict and established in their asana practice.

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