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From: “Gagan”
To: AM-GLOBAL
Subject: Desperately Searching For Love…
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 12:06:05 -0000

Baba

== DESPERATELY SEARCHING FOR LOVE WITH DOGS ==

Namaskar,
Here below are a few articles depicting the scene of pet care and, in
particular dog care, in the US nowadays. The rich and wealthy are
spending $43 billion annually catering to their pets accessing services
like pet resorts, spas, & personal trainers etc. Yet side by side, in
the US there remain 2 million homeless people, 15 million jobless and
unable to get the minimum requirements needed for life, and millions of
children go to bed every night hungry.

In addition people have become totally emotionally linked with their
pets such that they kiss their dogs and have their dogs sleep with them
in the same bed at night. Tragically in this materialistic, techno-age
society, people have become alienated from one another and from
spirituality and instead invest all their emotional attachments and love
unto their pet, i.e. dog. In a nutshell, that is the situation these
days in the US.

So on the one side dogs are treated lavishly and given top-grade care,
and on the other side there are millions of homeless people in the US
who have nowhere to live and no food to eat. Such is the growing dichotomy.

Our first and foremost duty is to take care of humans and then animals;
indeed when our fellow brothers and sisters are hungry and dogs are
treated like kings then what kind of society is that. Certainly we are
to love all beings, including dogs, but not at the expense of or instead
of human care. Such are the parameters of our AM ideology.

Baba says, “In many countries the cost of the monthly meat ration for
the dog of a rich person exceeds the salary of a teacher.” (HS-1)

Here the point is that we are to care for our fellow human beings first
– humans should not be second-class citizens in favour of dogs etc. We
should first ensure all humans are properly housed, fed, cared for,
clothed, and educated.

Unfortunately, nowadays, billions and billions of dollars are spent on
luxury items for dogs while around the globe there are at minimum 2
billion people living in ghettos, slums (jhuggi-jhopari), and shanty
towns etc. Such people live without clean running water while
innumerable dogs in the US drink filtered water out of silver bowls.

The situation has really become over the top. This is how capitalism
works: The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Those with
excess money become degraded.

Baba says, “Where there is over-accumulation people tend to misutilize
wealth by indulging in their baser propensities rather than their finer
ones.” (“Three Causes of Sin)

The wealthy in the US spend more on indulgences for themselves and
extravagances for their pets than helping the suffering humanity. Such
people are involved in sin, according to Baba.

Indeed, the amount of money ($43 billion) spent on pets in the US is
more than the gross domestic product of 110 nations around the globe,
including countries like Sri Lanka ($41 billion), Guatemala ($37
billion), Kenya (32 billion), El Salvador (21 billion), Iceland (12
billion), and Nepal ($12 billion). Or how about this: what the entire
country of Mongolia spends in ten years is equal to what rich pet owners
spend in a single year.

Please read below to learn how pampered dogs have become in the US,
whereas people shun other humans who are in need.

Namaskar,
Gagan

Michael Schaffer: America’s Going To The Dogs

“Pet fashion shows, Chihuahua social networking, veterinary
antidepressants [and] ambulance-chasing animal lawyers” are just the tip
of what Philadelphia-based journalist Michael Schaffer says is a kind of
pet-obsession iceberg in the lives of the American middle class.

When Philadelphia-based journalist Michael Schaffer’s dog started
messing the house and barking non-stop while he and his wife were at
work, he went to his veterinarian for help.

“It’s called separation anxiety,” his vet said. “There’s a drug for that.”

And while Schaffer and his wife had promised themselves they wouldn’t be
like those pet owners who spend a fortune on their pets, they sprung for
the antidepressants anyway — and then he wrote a book about it.

In //One Nation Under Dog,// Schaffer explores the $43 billion industry
that’s grown around our obsession with our pets and how that booming
market reflects our evolving ideas of consumerism, family, politics and
domesticity.

But One Nation Under Dog is no dry industry analysis: It’s a book, as
Schaffer explains on his Web site, that’s meant “to say as much about
how contemporary humans live as it does about the modern lives of dogs
and cats.”

Schaffer has worked as a writer and an editor at the Washington City
Paper, U.S. News and World Report and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

~ FROM DOGHOUSE TO OUR HOUSE ~

By the time we finally saw Murphy, we’d driven the two hours of highway
from our house in Philadelphia to what felt like the last rural place in
all of New Jersey. We’d nosed through the town— over a pair of railroad
tracks, past a warehouse, down a short road. And we’d gingerly tiptoed
past the chain-link fence that held Boss, the massive Saint Bernard at
the shotgun-style home opposite the town’s small-scale animal shelter.
My wife spotted him first, an oddly undersized example of the same breed
running around the muddy melting snow in the kennel’s yard: “It’s
Murphy!” she exclaimed.

We’d spotted the pup a few days earlier on Petfinder, the Web site that
lets prospective adopters eye hundreds of thousands of potential
adoptees from shelters all over the United States. For a long time, we’d
visited the site as a diversion, a way to kill time at work staring at
snapshots of wet noses and wagging tails and drooling jowls. We’d e-mail
links back and forth, each of them attached to a heartbreaking story of
how this particular dog was a sweetheart who really needed a place in
some family’s happy home. Eventually, we got to thinking that it was
about time we became that happy family.

And then we stumbled across the page that featured Murphy, his tongue
drooping, his watery eyes staring cluelessly from inside a cage that
turned out to be only two hours away. When we arrived that morning, we’d
been talking about him long enough to feel like he was already part of
our household. The woman who ran the shelter mashed a 100-length
cigarette into an old tin of dog food as she led him over. As they got
close enough for us to see the matted dreadlocks on Murphy’s back, Boss
began growling. “Don’t mind him,” the woman said, as the guard dog’s
growls turned to angry barks. “Boss don’t like other dogs.”

Murphy, though, was another story. He was sweet and cuddly and goofy,
exactly as we’d wanted. Of course, we tried to stay skeptical. Knowing
little about dogs when we started thinking about getting one, we’d
searched for wisdom in a book on how to adopt an animal. Don’t let those
heartbreaking shelter stories trick you into getting an animal you can’t
handle, it warned. Put them through the paces now, or suffer later. So
in the ensuing half hour, we tried the book’s suggested tests as best we
could. We put food in front of him and then snatched it away. No
growling. A good sign. We put more food in front of him and then pushed
his face away as he ate. No nipping. An even better sign. The shelter
manager gazed with dismay at this spectacle of anxious yuppiehood: one
of us reading reverently from the book, the other vaguely executing its
tests on the befuddled dog, neither of us quite sure what to do next.

Following the book’s instructions as if they were holy writ, we asked
how Murphy had wound up in the shelter— and then steeled ourselves
against what we’d been warned would be a maudlin spiel designed to
undercut doubts about a potentially troublesome pooch. The dog, we were
told, had been brought to her kennel twice. First he was turned in by
someone who the manager suspected hadn’t been able to unload this
especially runty runt of his litter: Murphy was eighteen months old and
63 pounds at the time; ordinary male Saint Bernards can weigh in at 180.
Next he was returned by a woman who couldn’t housebreak him.

“But she was some kind of backcountry hick,” said the shelter manager.
“She didn’t even know what she was doing.” Ever since, Murphy had been
waiting in a cage next to Boss’s yard, staring up at people like us.
“Look,” she said. “I don’t much care about you, but I do care about him.
And if he goes and bites someone, someone like you will put him down,
right? Since I don’t want that to happen, I’m telling you: He don’t bite.”

The logic was pretty good.

The dog was pretty sweet.

The time was pretty right.

And so we said yes, signing some not quite official-looking paperwork
the adoption document identified the dog as “Murfy”— before forking over
one hundred dollars and agreeing to take into our lives a Saint Bernard
with fleas and dreadlocks and a stench somewhere between warm bunion and
rotten tripe. The shelter manager whipped out a syringe, planted what
was purported to be a kennel cough shot into Murfy/Murphy’s snout, and
wished us well. We coaxed the dog into the backseat of our Honda, where
he promptly fell fast asleep.

As we began the drive home, we felt a bit proud of ourselves. Not for us
the fancy breeders sought out by so many in our sweetly gentrified
corner of upscale America. Not for us the genetically perfect beagles
and bassets and Bernese mountain dogs whose poop is sanctimoniously
plucked from city sidewalks in recycled blue New York Times
home-delivery bags. We’d gotten a dog, yeah, but we weren’t going to
become, like, those people— the ones who shell out for the spa days and
agility training and homeopathic medicine for their animals, the ones
who laugh it off when their puppies frighten children away from the
neighborhood playground, the ones who give up vacations and promotions
and transfers in order to save pooches with names like Sonoma and
Hamilton and Mordecai from having their lives disrupted. No, not us.

That’s what we were telling ourselves, anyway, when the PetSmart came
into view along the edge of the highway. “We should go in— get some food
and stuff,” said my wife. “It’ll just take a sec.” Thus began our
unwitting journey into the $41-billion-a-year world of the modern
American pet.

It didn’t take long to realize that the line between sober pet owner and
spendthrift overindulger wasn’t as clear as I’d imagined.

I started thinking about that very subject an hour or so after Murphy
nosed his way into the PetSmart— at around the time the
exhausted-looking staff at the in-store grooming salon told us there was
no way they could attend to our filthy new pet today; we ought to have
made reservations a couple of weeks in advance. My wife, who’d grown up
with a dog and had roughed out a budget when we started thinking about
adopting one of our own, hadn’t been aware that salon grooming was such
a standard piece of contemporary pet owning that chain stores had
weeks-long waiting lists. Still, without having to shell out for a wash,
we made it out of the store that day for under $200. Murphy had a new
bed, a pair of collars, an extend-o-leash that expands up to twenty-five
feet, a variety of chew toys— that he’s never used— and other goodies.
The spending seemed like basic, ordinary stuff.

But as anyone who’s read one of the dog-owner memoirs that seem to
occupy about half of the weekly New York Times best-seller list could
confirm, it was no onetime expense. It’s a basic law of pet
storytelling: Just as the romantic comedy vixen must wind up with the
guy she’d vowed not to marry if he were the last man on earth, so too
must the beloved dog stomp and scratch and poop on your very last nerve—
and chow down on your shrinking wallet— before weaseling his way into
your newly receptive heart. No surprise, then, that four years later
Murphy has gone through a variety of ever newer beds (he seemed not to
like the old ones) and redesigned collars and leashes (we wanted to try
the special ones that are said to keep dogs from pulling too hard) and
still more chew toys (we have a PetSmart discount card now and live in
the eternal hope of finding one he likes). He also owns Halloween
costumes (too adorable to resist), reindeer antlers (ditto), and a
picture of himself with Santa (alas, ditto once more).

He has been implanted with a LoJack-style microchip that will help us
find him if he gets lost.

His food— or should I say “foods”— comes from that burgeoning market
sector known as “superpremium.”

He’s stayed at an array of upscale local kennels— sorry, pet hotels—
when we’ve gone out of town.

On other trips, when we took him along, he got to stay in our hotel
room. One place left a doggie biscuit on his doggie bed and sent up a
babysitter when we went out.

Did I mention he’s on antidepressants? The vet diagnosed his anxious
howling when left alone as “separation anxiety,” and it turned out there
was a pill for it.

Or that he has a professional dog walker? In fact, the current one is
his second; the first dropped him because she had too many clients.

Or that when we tote up the numbers, he’s proven responsible for an
eerily large portion of our social life? Dragging us into the
neighborhood park on a daily basis, he’s introduced a wealth of new
neighborhood characters into our life. One of them was a cat whom
Murphy— to his lasting regret— found shivering in a hollow tree. We
brought her home and named her Amelia. And then there were two.

Then we decided to add a human baby to our flock. We’d known this would
mean prenatal treatments for my wife. It was a bit of a surprise,
though, when other prenatal attention focused on treating Murphy.
Worries about how the dog would react to that new child sent us
scurrying into the pricey orbit of one of our city’s best-known dog
trainers for six weeks of private lessons. Unfortunately, her take on
canine behavior was so different from that of the guy whose classes we’d
first taken upon adopting Murphy that we went scrambling to the massive
pet-care section of our local book superstore, where we have purchased a
veritable library of books about how better to raise pets.

In fact, both pets hover around all sorts of other spending decisions,
poking their snouts into our deliberations on things like furniture (“I
like it, but Amelia would rip it to shreds”) and— most painful of all—
our purchase of an SUV (between a new baby, a Saint Bernard, and a Honda
Civic, something had to give).

Despite all those early vows of pet frugality, I’ve not felt especially
strange about any of the choices we have made. At the time, each of them
seemed mundane and obvious: A dog needs walking when his owners stay
late at work; furniture and cars ought to match a household’s needs;
and, particularly with a baby in the mix, it makes eminent sense to work
on a large animal’s behavior. I would say that the story of Murphy and
us isn’t the story of a couple whose priorities were upended by a
heart-meltingly adorable animal but, rather, the tale of a household
engaged in what has become the normal way to raise a four-legged member
of the family. And yet when I tote it all up, the truth stares at me
with its own big, wet eyes: I’ve seen those people, and I’m one of ’em.
If you have pets in contemporary America, you probably are, too. Pleased
to meet you.

There are an awful lot of stories about pets in the media these days,
but nearly all of them fit into two basic categories.

Category number one is that old standard: the tearjerker, the tale of
the abused and the abandoned, the victims of indifferent owners or dire
shelters or youthful sociopaths or simply the cruel hand of fate. The
years I spent researching this book were a big period for such stories.
In Pennsylvania, a high-profile political campaign focused national
attention on puppy mills, the high-volume, low-standards facilities
where dogs are often kept in gruesome conditions as they churn out
litter after litter of merchandise for the nation’s pet stores. In
Virginia, the indictment and imprisonment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback
Michael Vick on federal dogfighting charges turned into a full-blown
media circus as reports detailed the dozens of pit bulls brutalized at
Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. And all across the country, the deaths of
hundreds of cats and dogs who ate tainted pet food pulled back the
curtain on an ill-regulated multibillion-dollar industry that happened
to feature some of the world’s biggest corporate names.

The sob stories stand in dramatic contrast to the second, and possibly
even bigger, category of pet reportage: the pampered pet tale, the
gape-jawed peek at the animal kingdom’s most coddled critters— and the
masseuses, chauffeurs, and pet-set fashionistas who cater to them.
Whether they take the form of a local newspaper detailing the opening
of, say, Duluth’s first luxury doggie spa, or of a sober national
magazine like BusinessWeek dedicating its cover story to the booming
U.S. pet industry, the pampered pet tales feature amazement— and hints
of disdain— at what many pet owners now see as ho-hum basics of life
with an animal. Yet while there’s a small army of activist groups, and
no shortage of scholars and reporters, who have dedicated themselves to
uncovering the root causes behind the sad and often criminal stories in
category one, there’s far less material examining the dramatic cultural
and economic changes that underlie the zany stories in category two.

This is a book about those changes. It’s a story about how America’s
housepets have worked their way into a new place in the hearts, homes,
and wallets of their owners. In a relatively short period of time, the
United States has become a land of doggie yoga and kitty acupuncture and
frequent-flier miles for traveling pets, a society where your inability
to find a pet sitter has become an acceptable excuse to beg off a dinner
invitation, a country where political candidates pander to pet owners
and dog show champions are feted like Oscar winners. Sure, some tales of
pampered pets still have the occasional ability to amaze us. Take
hotelier Leona Helmsley’s will, for instance, in which the “Queen of
Mean” left $12 million to a lapdog named Trouble while giving nothing to
several of her own grandchildren. Such far-fetched stories are part of
what scholar James Serpell calls the roi s’amuse tradition of pet tales:
The king amuses himself. But for the country’s 70 million non-Helmsley
pet-owning households, other examples of everyday luxury, once
unimaginable, seem de rigueur. Yesteryear’s table scraps have been
replaced by this year’s home-delivered doggie dinners.

What happened? It’s not like the animals have changed much. As any
nostalgic pet-owning memoir will illustrate, the party in the
relationship that changes is inevitably the human. Historians tell us
that we’ve always been suckers for that doggie in the window. But
exactly how that love manifests itself, and just who gets to go to the
barnyard dance, has evolved dramatically. Compared to our
subsistence-farming ancestors, we’re all kings now. So compared to their
ancestors, our pets live like princes.

Tales of pet keeping can be traced back to ancient societies. Tales of
animal pampering are nearly as old. In China, the Han emperor Ling was
so enamored of his pets that he elevated them to the rank of senior
officials in his court. Ling’s dogs got the best foods, slept on ornate
carpets, and were given personal bodyguards. For most of history,
though, ordinary people had to be spectators for such amusements. They
always had animals around, of course, like cows or chickens. But for the
most part, even the animals who weren’t there to be eaten had work to
do, herding sheep or pulling carts. Until recently, few people could
afford the variety of animal classified as a petthe one with no
productive job whatsoever.

And so it was up to the blue bloods. Members of the Athenian aristocracy
were said to pay twenty times the price of a human slave to buy
especially esteemed dogs. In Japan, the seventeenth-century shogun
Tsunayoshi so loved dogs that he made it illegal to speak of them in
impolite terms; he instituted unpopular new taxes to pay for his own
collection of one hundred thousand canine friends. In Uganda, the
despotic nineteenth-century king M’Tesa’s love for dogs prompted
courtiers to curry favor by keeping their own pets. In Britain, the
lapdogs in the entourage of Mary, Queen of Scots were clad in blue
velvet suits; she snuck one of her beloved brood to her own execution,
where it was discovered after Mary was beheaded. King Charles II, whose
passion for dogs was such that he once placed a newspaper ad after one
of his pets went missing, became the namesake of his own line of
Cavalier spaniels. After the Glorious Revolution placed William and Mary
on the throne, the couple sparked a new fancy for pugs from William’s
native Holland. The British Empire has waxed and waned over the
centuries, but Queen Elizabeth II still travels with her pack of corgis.

The connection between pet keeping and power remained true even as
royals gave way to tycoons atop society’s pecking order, and as pets
began to prowl the fault lines of class conflict. Nineteenth-century
Parisian pet-keeping fashions, with a proliferation of books, coats,
collars, bathing outfits, and the like, might have put even contemporary
Manhattan’s pet scene to shame: Could fancy doggie day cares compete
with wealthy flaneurs walking pet turtles through public arcades? But
even as Europe’s newly rich were embracing an ever-changing set of
pet-keeping fashions, there were great concerns over the supposedly
dangerous animals that belonged to the urban under-class. Moneyed types
worried that the blue-collar dogs had picked up what they saw as the
violent, unclean customs of their human companions. The solution to this
alleged problem: exorbitant animal taxes intended to put the squeeze on
proletarian pets. Only rich pet owners would do.

Well-tended animals also became standard upper-crust accoutrements in
the new nation across the Atlantic, where all people were supposed to be
able to reach the top, and to bring their animals with them. As early as
1899, Thorstein Veblen, the great student of American pageantry and
pomposity, sussed the secret meaning of pet ownership for the Gilded
Age’s elite: Pets were living emblems of conspicuous consumption. “As he
is also an item of expense, and commonly serves no industrial purpose,
he holds a well-assured place in men’s regard as a thing of good
repute,” Veblen wrote in his celebrated Theory of the Leisure Class, the
book that brought us the term conspicuous consumption. I’m so rich, the
industrial dandy’s logic went, that I can afford to feed— and house, and
bathe, and clean the tumbleweeds of shedding fur from— this totally
unproductive creature. In an age when many people still forced their
children to sing for their supper, or at least work in a factory for it,
this was quite a concept.

This is not to say that pet keeping was limited to such consumers, or
that it could always be ascribed to such cynical motivations. American
pet keeping existed, often in fairly elaborate forms and at spots up and
down the social ladder, well before Veblen took on the pet-owning
leisure class. The inhabitants of pre-Columbian America hunted or
domesticated a variety of animals, but what we now understand as pets
came across the Atlantic with the Spaniards. Diaries that predate the
Constitution tell of beloved family cats. In the mid-nineteenth century,
there was a craze for imported caged birds. By the twentieth century,
pets were a way for powerful politicians to make themselves look more
down-to-earth— the exact opposite of Veblen’s notion. President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt’s Scottie, Fala, was a national celebrity, traveling
with him to war conferences and visiting defense plants; the dog’s
breeder published his own book in 1942. Presidents ever since have
deployed pets the same way— although FDR was probably the only one
threatened with congressional investigation over pet pampering, the
result of false rumors that he had dispatched a destroyer to retrieve
the dog after Fala was accidentally left behind in the Aleutian Islands.

Pet keeping continued to evolve with the country, following each era’s
ideas about kindness, domesticity, and comfort. The lapdog in the
millionaire’s mansion became the golden retriever in the suburban
backyard; the kitten from the litter of your neighbor’s tabby became the
kitten you took straight from the SPCA adoption center to the
veterinarian’s spaying practice. Everyone knows dogs are supposed to
teach you about love and loyalty and fun. But I found something I had
never expected when I first glimpsed my dog’s sweet, dopey face: the
story of modern America. In the chapters that follow, I travel to
diverse corners of our pet kingdom to experience the often surprising
ways that pets like Murphy serve as a fun-house-mirror reflection of our
changing notions about such universal subjects as family, health, and
friendship— and more historically specific topics like bureaucracy,
justice, consumerism, and the culture wars.

Maybe the most telling change involved a very small piece of
architecture, once ubiquitous, which I saw very little of as I journeyed
around the new world of America’s pets, pet owners, and pet businesses:
the doghouse. Yes, one firm makes a $5,390 structure modeled after a
Swiss chalet. But for the most part, though we still talk of people
being sent to the doghouse, the physical structures have disappeared
from our landscape. Their occupants have moved indoors, to be with their
families, in far bigger doghouses: ours.

From ONE NATION UNDER DOG by Michael Schaffer. Copyright (c) 2009 by
Michael Schaffer. Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.

====

NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2007
The High Cost Of Pet Care

Pets may be wonderful companions, but owning one is a big responsibility
that includes a financial commitment.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association
(APPMA), Americans spent $38.4 billion on pets. The association says
that 63 percent of American households own at least one pet and there
are almost 74 million dogs and 90 million cats living in the country.

Food is one of the greatest expenses for dog owners, costing an average
of about $241 per year. The Early Show veterinary correspondent Dr.
Debbye Turner said people can also cut costs on food. Although premium
brands are usually more digestible for pets, if you can’t afford them,
no-name brands are fine.

Visits to the veterinarian are also pricey. A regular visit for a dog
costs about $211 and for a cat, it costs $179. Dr. Turner said you don’t
have to be rich to afford owning a pet.

The most efficient way to avoid extra costs is prevention. Having your
pet vaccinated, spayed, neutered and getting their teeth cleaned will
prevent a host of health-related problems down the road that will cost a
lot more than the cost of the preventative care.

“The first year is most expensive,” she said. “You have all those
full-time costs. You buy the food bowl. The litter pan, the leash, plus
initial vet visit for de-worming vaccinations. They are more extensive
the first year, they get better after that.”

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, the average cost
of neutering a cat in 2002 was $62 and $106 for a dog. The average cost
of spaying a cat was $99 and $142 for a dog.

Some veterinary clinics offer wellness or preventive care programs for a
monthly or yearly flat rate that covers the cost of a yearly exam,
vaccination boosters, maybe even test for intestinal parasites. For
example, The Banfield Hospitals at PetsMart offers a plan that ranges
from $15.95 to 34.95 a month and covers routine exams, vaccinations, and
heartworm test. A premium plan covers X-rays, blood work and teeth cleaning.

Comparing the cost of preventive care to the cost of treating a
preventable disease, it is clear that the upfront cost worth preventing
the pain and suffering to your pet, and your wallet.

Here Are Some Estimates:
# Cost of a kidney transplant: $7,000 or more
# Cost of canine cataract surgery: $2,000 – $3,000
# Cost of cancer treatment: $5,000 or more
# Cost of chemotherapy: $2,000
# Cost of surgery after animal is hit by a car: $3,000
# Cost of diabetes maintenance: $600 – $1,000 a year

Some companies provide pet insurance. Most policies cover accidents,
like being hit by a car, other injuries, diagnostics like MRI’s, CT
Scans, Ultrasound, plus radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Policies can cost anywhere from $9 to $200 a month, depending on the
coverage you’d like, the breed, age and health condition of the pet.

Most policies carry a deductible — usually $50 — and have maximum
amounts that the company will pay for particular procedures. Some
companies even require that you take your pet to one of the approved
veterinarians on their list. Many policies will not cover an old pet,
certain breeds, or a pet with a previous condition. Only 2 percent of
pet owners currently utilize pet insurance, but Dr. Turner said it is
worth exploring, especially if you have a new pet.

The APPMA says that boarding a dog usually costs about $202 and boarding
a cat costs $119. At least for dogs, miscellaneous costs for things like
toys, training, grooming and vitamins and nutritional supplements, are
the most costly, averages about $380. Miscellaneous costs for cats
average about $149.

“It’s going to be $1,000 a year for a dog, $700 a year for a cat,” Dr.
Turner said.

Read Full Post »

Date: 21 Mar 2010 14:49:01 -0000
From: “Chandramohan Jha”
To: AM-GLOBAL
Subject: What Every New Sadhaka Should Know: Part 1

Baba

“Toma’ri katha’ bheve ma’rmika anubhave…” (P.S. 3006)

Purport:

O’ Baba, by thinking of You with all the feelings of my heart, my
ba’ndha-bha’unga’ mana [1] is ensconced in bliss and floats towards
infinity. O’ Lord of the divine and mortal worlds, the Soul of the
soulless, even a wee-bit of Your great love is enough to fill my heart
with spiritual bliss and give me goose bumps, horripilation, throughout
my being. Baba, is it You who brings that devotional surge within me.
Baba, thinking about You, my mind is ensconced in bliss.

Baba, You are incomparable in rhythm and most pleasant in aroma. You
have no comparison. In all vibrations, in the quintessence, deep down,
You are the Dearest One to all; You are the nucleus of all the
vibrations. In the garland You are the flower. In the necklace You are
the jewel. In everything You are the best. Remaining in viitara’ga [2],
You smile with the beauty of divine love like flowers. Baba, thinking
about You, my is mind ensconced in bliss.

Baba, in the severe heat, You are those first, cool showers that bring
relief and respite. In the space between the monsoon clouds, You are the
effulgent pole star. In the darkness, You are the beauty of the moon’s
enchantment. Under the hot sun, You are cool shade beneath the trees. In
each and every circumstance, You are the Saviour. Baba, even staying
afar, You stay in my mind’s divine haven. Baba, thinking about You, is
my mind ensconced in bliss.

O’ Parama Purusa, keep me eternally at Your lotus feet…

NOTES FOR PRABHAT SAMGIITA #3006:

[1] Ba’ndha-bha’unga’ mana: This is when the mind is overwhelmed with
joy. Such as when one is extremely happy and bursts into tears or when
one jumps for joy or exclaims or dances. In actuality though it is more
than the joy experienced in worldly circumstances. It is that
inexpressible bliss from the spiritual flow. It happens in the spiritual
realm when one’s mind is totally ensconced in His bliss and one starts
crying uncontrollably. This is a state wherein one completely loses
their composure.

[2] Viitara’ga: This is the state of being beyond any worldly attachment
or attraction – i.e. perfect equanimity in all circumstances. One of the
qualities of Parama Purus’a is vaera’gya. Baba has demonstrated this on
countless occasions. Even when all kinds of serious and critical
problems came in the organisation, then He remained totally unaffected,
keeping perfect composure. For social reasons He may have showed
sympathy or concern, but internally He was totally unaffected. Those
bhaktas close to Baba understand this well.

For instance, before going to jail & whenever there was serious any
catastrophe going on in organisational life, Baba had the divine ability
to give discourses of eternal value. That can only happen when one’s
mind is in viitaraga.If anyone reads that discourse they will not get
any hint about the extreme upheaval going on in the organisation. Such
composure ise not possible by human beings. Being human means being
affected by the bondaage of maya.

Whereas in viitraga the mind remains 100% unassailed by any negativity,
and is just the embodiment of universal welfare. Viitara’ga does not
mean that the Entity in viitara’ga is unpetrubed by the suffering and
tears of human beings. Everyone knows that Parama Purusa loves and cares
so much.

== WHAT EVERY NEW SADHAKA SHOULD KNOW ==

Namsakar,
This letter, the first in a series, focuses on an array of important
points for new sadhakas to know. After all. AM pracar is one of our
first and foremost duties.

Baba says, “…It is the bounden duty of every Ananda Margiis to
endeavour to bring all to the path of bliss…” (Supreme Command)

To this end, a few senior margiis gathered and came up with a few points
– intellectual and devotional – that will be helpful for us to propagate
to new people as they come onto the path. These points will be presented
in an ongoing series of letters.

Please do share your experiences and thoughts as well – because we all
have taken the duty and responsibility under Guru to do pracar and
everyone has their own particular talents, skills and knowledge in this
important arena.

“AS YOU THINK, SO YOU BECOME”

Ya’drshii bha’vana’ yasya siddhirbhavati ta’drshii

Baba says, “As you think, so you become.” (AV-12)

Baba has given this seemingly simple guideline in a number of
discourses. Some new people may have heard or read this and think they
understand. Other new people may not have yet come across it.

We should ensure that every new sadhaka understands the full import of
this teaching because this is one of the very revolutionary aspects of
Ananda Marga.

These days, with the great popularity of yoga, most yoga groups solely
focus on the physical, or they may include their own interpretation of
pranayama as well.

Only AM offers the full system for transforming one’s person into
godhood. And the above guideline, “as you think so you become”, is
instrumental to our approach.

HOW IT WORKS: Part 1

When Baba says, “as you think so you become”, He is telling us that we
must have some control or restraint in our thinking.

If one thinks of something mundane or crude they will transform into
that object – step by step. That is one part of the equation.

Baba says, “It is the natural wont of the mind to take the shape of its
object of meditation. If the object of worship is crude, say money or
any crude thing, the mind takes the shape of that crude thing in the
course of time.” (Baba in Fiesch)

And not just money, in this materialistic era people’s minds are riddled
by all kinds of thoughts: name, fame, jealousy, stress, anger, sex,
fear, enemies, disease and so much more. And by thinking in this way,
part, or even all of their mind, gets consumed in that thing. By that
way, the problem festers and grows.

Wild or uncontrolled thinking is one of the main causes of both psychic
and physical diseases in materialistic societies.

Those new to the path of sadhana – and even those not yet on the path –
should be informed of the adverse effects of this equation, “As you
think so you become.”

HOW IT WORKS: Part 2

Then there is the other side of the equation: If we refine our thoughts
to focus in a spiritual manner we will move towards the Supreme.

This also we should preach and teach to every new sadhaka. By this way
they can not only free the mind of so many fetters and distractions, but
one can truly move ahead on the spiritual path.

In AM, that is exactly what our system of sadhana is – a methodical
manner of thinking wherein the mind focuses on the Ista.

Baba says, “Concentrated thinking is called “meditation”… In spiritual
parlance, when the mental flow is directed towards the goal, that is,
the Supreme Entity, it is called “concentration”, but in metaphysical
terms, it is a concept of dharma. Concentrated thinking leads to the
development of positive ideas…in the process of constant mental flow
towards the goal. In the process of meditation the following things are
involved – brain cells, apexed or pinnacled psychology, concentrated
thinking, Guru cakra and ultimate devotion.” (YP)

Thus concentrated thinking is a integral part of our approach. By this
way one can transform their entire existence. Even those who are
terribly depressed and anxiety ridden can become stellar sadhakas
through this method. And this is unique to AM. No one else other than
Baba highlights the sublime importance of thinking.

So those new to AM should understand that they will not get this
teaching nor this practice on other paths and they should clearly
understand and experience the dynamism of this practice.

Our mantra japa in first lesson or sixth lesson is the culminating
practice of, “as you think so you become.” By bringing the mind back
again and again to the idea of the mantra and training the mind to
maintain that flow, then one’s entire physical, psychic and spiritual
existence gets transformed. Then one veritably becomes divine. Then one
becomes Parama Purusa. That is Baba’s teaching for every sadhaka to
realise – new or old.

BABA’S MANDATE

Because this principle – as you think so you become – is such an
important guideline Baba reminds us of this again and again.

Baba says, “I told you, or I have been telling you, that a man takes the
form of his psychic object; that is, your very existence will be
converted into your psychic object. You should select your psychic
object very carefully.” (AV-12)

Really then, we should share the import of this concept with all new
sadhakas. By this way we too may become more aware of the use of our
mantra, either during and / or after sadhana.

As pracarakas, this equation – as you think so you become – is one
important point of our approach. So many in the world nowadays are
looking for something new. And our Marga has all the practices they need
to transform their life.

So those being introduced to na’ma mantra meditation or first lesson or
even just kiirtan, should be made aware of the profound effects of this
subtle science.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He has blessed us with the practical method of how to
ideate on Him. We should share this technique with one and all. We
should never allow others to settle for any lesser approach. It is
everyone’s birthright to get Him – by their thoughts alone, one can
attain His eternal shelter, by His grace.

Baba says, ‘It is also stated in Tantra that if a person wants only to
attain limited progress, one may practise on certain limited ideas. But
those who are genuine seekers of Brahma will never agree to worship any
finite idea. Those who want the Supreme Entity will have to ideate on
Parama Purus’a alone. People may attain limited achievement in terms of
occult power through the grace of the gods and goddesses, but they will
remain far away from the attainment of the Supreme Entity.” (DT-1)

Namaskar,
Chandramohan

Note 1: IDOL WORSHIP IS THE WORST

Here Baba points out the very negative effect of dogmatic idol worship.
But none should think this adverse reaction is limited to idol worship.
Any persistent engagement in crude thoughts (sex, money, greed,
jealousy, etc) will turn one into negative microvita.

Baba says, ““If idols made of wood, clay, iron or any other metal are
accepted as objects of meditation, then what will be the result?” It is
said, Ya’drshii bha’vana’ yasya siddhirbhavati ta’drshii [“As you think,
so you become”]. The aspirants’ own entitative existence will be turned
into clay, metal or wood – a state which in the scriptures is called
Prakrtiliina [negative microvita]. It is a dreadful state.” (SS-11)

Note 2: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Please write in with your thoughts regarding what you feel is very
important to impart to new people on the path.

Read Full Post »

Date: Mon 23 Nov 2009 11:46:24 +0530
To: am-global@earthlink.net
From: “Priyanath C Mittra”
Subject: Unique & Unknown Power of Human Beings

Baba

PS Intro: This following song was written in the Urdu language.

“Karata’ra ha’ma’re, tumhare liye yaha’n a’na’…” (P.S. 4165)

Purport:

Baba, O’ my lord, by Your grace I have come on this earth for You.
Baba, whether You love me or not is Your choice, but please do not
play hide and seek with me. Baba, please remain in my close proximity
so I can see and feel Your always. Baba, I also want that You should
love me always. Baba, You are the star of my eye– You are the charm
of my life. Baba, without You my existence is meaningless.

Baba, You are the most attractive and divine Entity– brilliant in Your
divine effulgence. Baba, Your infinite love is expressed in each and
everything of this world: In the flowers’ fragrance, the children’s
smiles, the beauty of the rainbow. All the sweetness comes from You. All
the beauty of the entire expressed world–including the flora and
fauna– everything expresses Your love. Baba, You have saturated this
entire creation with Your grace-compassion. Your love resonates within
each and every thing. The inherent beauty of every entity is the
expression of Your love, the reflection of Your love.

Baba, whether I like it or not, but I am residing in Your heart. I am
within You. Baba, You are the nucleus of this entire creation. My
everything is revolving around You. I do not know which form You are but
the entire universe is within You. Baba, You are surrounding everything.
You are within and without each and every created being. Baba, You are
my Lord; You are my everything. And my only duty is to serve You, to
please You– and do all those things which You like. Baba, You are my
ultimate Goal.

Baba, my Lord, You have brought me on this earth for You– to serve You…

Note: The Urdu language originally started around Delhi when outside or
overseas soldiers were not aware how to speak Hindi. But they were going
to the market and speaking in their broken version of the local
language. In this way they started interacting with the common people.
Subsequently, the Urdu language first sprang up and it became known as
the market language. So when Hindi and Arabic were mixed then this new
language took shape. And since this language was spoken by a group of
soldiers using a military uniform (wardi), that is why the name of the
language became known as ‘wardi’. Over time and due to a similarity in
pronunciation, ‘wardi’ became ‘Urdu’. This historical and linguistic
guideline Baba has given in His grammar book.

== UNIQUE & UNKNOWN POWER OF HUMAN BEINGS ==

Namaskar,
As Baba tells us, human beings are born with a very special capacity,
but most of the time that special capacity goes unnoticed or even misused.

This capacity allows us full control over our future, yet so often
things go awry.

All because this unique and unknown power which we have, we are not
aware about or unable to use properly.

Just imagine, the greatness all human beings can achieve – and how many
pains and troubles can be averted – if we become more aware about this
innate gift.

JUST ANIMALS, NOTHING MORE

In our western hemisphere, what to speak of not being aware of what
human capacity we have, all too often researchers and scientists are
keen on labeling human beings as beings just animals – nothing more than
a cousin of monkeys and chimpanzees. This only further diminishes our
stature and keeps our unknown capacity even more hidden.

WHAT IS OUR UNKNOWN POWER

Of course, in the eyes of Ananda Marga, human beings are completely
distinct from animals and what distinguishes us from animals is: Free will.

Parama Purusa has given us free will – the power to think, choose, and
decide.

Baba says, “Human beings have a fully-reflected consciousness which makes
them capable of independent action and also of distinguishing between good
and bad.” (AMEP)

And indeed it is our capacity of free will which is our unique and
unknown power. With our free will, we can control our destiny entirely.

Yet in one discourse, Baba has famously declared that 99% of human
beings misuse their free will and invite negative samskaras.

But it does not have to be like that. We can avert all these problems.
This free will can also lead us unto His divine lap.

Thus this concept of free will is like a double edged sword – it can
lead us to the heights of bliss or the depths of hell. It all depends
upon how it is used.

HOW IT WORKS

In so many discourses, Baba guides us that human beings get whatever
they desire. Being the Parama Purusa, He merely nods His approval and
grants our wish.

Of course He is goading us onto the path of beatitude, but ultimately He
give us whatever things we wish for. This in turn totally affects not
only our present but our future as well.

Baba says, “Suppose a person is obsessed with the thought of doing this
or that, to harm another person. They will receive the body of a pig or
a dog. One who desires to do something good and noble will receive a
good physical body accordingly. ” (AV-10, p.182)

Thus whatever good or bad things we desire in this life affect our next
birth also. Here below Baba gives even more examples of this phenomenon.

Baba says, “Suppose someone has a desire to eat delicious food. Parama
Purus’a will grant that wish, and the person may be reborn in the next
life as a wolf or wild boar, to eat to his or her heart’s content. A
woman who wishes to adorn herself with ornaments may be reborn as a
colourfully-marked peacock. One day, however, a hunter may shoot the
beautiful peacock with an arrow. As one desires, so one attains…So
before wishing to attain something, one must be extra-cautious. Suppose
a man wants to be a king. In the next life he may be born into the
household of a poor man whose surname is “Raja” [“King”]. He wanted to
be a Raja and he became one! One must be very cautious before wishing
for anything.” (AV-4)

Thus the blessing which Baba has bestowed upon us – i.e. the gift of
free will – is a double edged sword. If we desire Him we will get Him.
But tragically, all too often human beings are not aware how powerful
their desires are nor where those desires will lead them. In our
shortsighted manner, we humans long for so many things – house, car,
money, name, fame, job, prestige, opposite sex – which bind us more and
more to the crust of this earth.

Indeed, we think we want those things but when we undergo the reaction
to get those things, then our fickle minds have already flip-flopped and
we get stuck with something we no longer want. Such is the way it works.

NEGATIVE PRATISAINCARA ONLY HAPPENS TO HUMANS

Animals are animals and follow their nature – they never get degraded
and slowly move along the path of pratisaincara. In contrast, with our
free will, human beings may rocket ahead toward Him by His grace, or
fall back into the depths of animal life or even be reborn as inanimate
objects.

Baba says, “A human being in this life may well be reborn as an animal,
plant or even a rock in the next life.” (AFPS-8)

It is due to free will that we may get caught up in negative
pratisaincara. No other beings falls in this way – only humans. We get a
body according to our psychic tendency. Here below Baba explains that
quite graphically.

Baba says, “Which animal is the greediest among the animals with which
we are all very familiar? It does not like to give up greed in spite of
ill treatment and humiliations. It is the cat. Yes, after moving a few
steps ahead, the cat forgets that it was beaten. So that particular
person is reborn as a cat after death, because that body affords an
opportunity for the satiation of their greed. When the housewife looks
around inattentively, the cat sneaks into the kitchen through the small
opening in order to reach the milk or fish in the kitchen.” (AV-10, p.184)

So the progress of living beings is quite plotted until one attains the
human framework. Then, depending upon one’s use of their free will and
the nature of one’s desires, a person may bounce between human and
animal life hundreds and thousands of times, or more. As Baba tells
above, one may be reborn as a cat in order to fulfill their greed. All
because when in human form one does not exercise their free will
properly. They mental desires revolve around crude things. Yet, most of
the time people are not aware of the ramifications of this, nor are they
aware that they are fully in control of their own fate.

When in fact by their free will they are either (a) making an original
action or (b) undergoing the reaction of their past action. Every event
and incident in life is either one or the other. And both of
inextricably linked to our use of free will. There is no other outside
agency other than our free will that determines our fate in life. We
have our desire and Parama Purusa approves it. That is how it goes.

WHAT SHOULD ONE DO

At this point the whole escapade may seem like unwinable situation.
Human beings have so many desires and at the same time one is not aware
about how powerful free will is, so end over end one somersaults time
and again from one life to the next, suffering all the pains and agonies
of crude worldly life.

One rushes after wealth, sexual satisfaction, revenge, greed and so many
things and accordingly one gets another crude body or even worse
inanimate existence.

However it does not have to be like this.

By Baba’s grace, there is an easy exit. There is an easy escape route
from this harsh cycle of karma and karmaphala. He has blessed us with
human life and given us an aspiration for the divine. With our free will
then we should just think and ask for parama’rtha.

Baba says, “Parama’rtha is that factor which brings about the permanent
cessation of the triple afflictions. Here permanent cessation means
cessation of those afflictions which, once removed, will never return
again in the future. That artha which brings permanent relief from the
pangs of hunger, which is the instrument of permanent cessation, is
called “parama’rtha”.” (AV-4)

By desiring salvation, even a notorious sinner like the robber Valmiki
can become a great saint. So when ordinary human beings seek paramartha
then naturally they will be blessed and escape this horrible cycle of
birth, death, and rebirth, which leads to so much suffering and unrest.
By His grace, one will walk this earth as the divine embodiment of
Parama Purusa.

That is the proper use of free will – that is the proper use of our
unique and unknown power.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace, He has also given us one other remedy. There is one
other escape. Suppose one does not have any concept of parama’rtha or
anything like that. And suppose one does not know how to use their free
will correctly. Even then an ordinary person can achieve the highest
stance. The way is to simply tell Baba to do according to His wish. With
Him being the Sadguru, one should merely request, “Let your desire be
fulfilled.” That is the essence of His below blessing.

Baba says, “Created beings, will have to move according to the Cosmic
will; there is no other way. Learning, intellect and personal status
become meaningless [and will goad one into bondaage] unless they are
directed towards Parama Purus’a. After realizing the Supreme truth
intelligent people start moving according to Parama Purus’a’s desire,
saying, “Oh Parama Purus’a. I have nothing to ask of you. Let thy will
be fulfilled. I want nothing else.”” (AMIWL-10)

Namaskar,
Priyanath

Note 1: MORE POSTINGS ON TOPIC OF FREE WILL

 

**************************************
For Avadhutas/ikas and NE Indian Population

Baba says, “Married ladies may use vermilion in shape of decoration.
This does not constitute a kusam’ska’ra. This forms a part of the dress.
Vermilion, if one so desires may not be used at all. In ancient Shavara
and Kira’ta societies, the bridegroom’s party would first launch an
attack and abduct the bride. The bride also sustained injuries in the
turmoil that would ensue. They would handcuff the bride and snatch her
away. The iron bracelets (noya’) are their remnants and the vermilion
that of the blood. The sha’stras do not anywhere give any place to
vermilion.”

“Lead sindu’r is prepared with a mixture of lead and oxygen. This leaves
room for lead poisoning. Vermilion is mercuric sulphide. It is said that
mercury maintains blackness of the hair. This is incredible. At time
dermatitis of the scalp occurs on the vermilion applied areas. With the
advancement of science the use of vermilion shall gradually come to an
end.” (Tattvika Diipika – 5)

Note: Regarding the use of vermilion, everyone should be aware that it
is dangerous. If one must use that type of colour, then best is to find
a different type of red mark. Some avadhutas / avadhutikas might be
using vermilion in which case they should find some safe substitutes or
alternatives. One good options might be food colouring.

Secondly, for females although vermilion is not a kusamskar, that is not
something one should copntinue. It is better to give it up slowly.
Earlier it was a serious dogma and now it is used primarily for cosmetic
beauty or social needs etc. But according to logic and reasoning the use
of vermilion has lost its value.

**************************************

Read Full Post »

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 06:11:05 -0000
To: AM-GLOBAL
From: J. Erikkson
Subject: Disastrous Effect of Buddhist Meditation

Baba

“Toma’r pathe cali a’mi, kon ba’dha’y pechoba na’…” (P.S. 1390)

Purport:

Baba by Your infinite grace I am moving forward on Your divine path. By
Your grace I do not care about any types of obstacles. I will never look
behind in frustrated mood. You are my everything; You are my Goal; You
are my sadhana. Baba, fortified with the strength of Your divine name my
life is moving. Your name is like the lamp on my path of forward
movement. By Your grace You have made me realise that there is no
comparison to the strength which is residing in Your holy name.

Baba, by this way days and months are passing. Our closeness is getting
more and more intimate, by Your grace. In my heart I realise that You are my
everything. Baba because You are and I am. Except this I do not know
anyone. By Your grace I am moving on Your path without bothering about
any sorts of hindrances. It is Your grace…

== DISASTROUS EFFECT OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION ==

Namaskar,
As the title suggests, Buddhist meditation is more than a little
problematic. Here is the underlying logic.

Manaeva manus’ya’n’a’m’

Baba says, “This human mind is a peculiar entity. It is the cause of all
our sorrows and predicaments, and it is the cause of our supreme bliss.
It is the cause of bondage, and it is the cause of liberation.” (AV-30)

So our mind is the determining factor of our movement in life – either
towards liberation or bondage. Here is another way of thinking about it.

Ya’drshii bha’vana’ yasya’ siddhirbhavati ta’drshii
“As you think, so you become.” (DT-1)

In a nutshell, since Buddhist meditation focuses on “nothingness” or
“emptiness” then the practitioner will become one with nothingness. Or
in a phrase, they will get turned into microvita like vidhealiina.

Baba says, “A spiritual aspirant attains the state of videhaliina as a
result of shunya dhya’na or ideation on nothingness. Through such
ideation a sa’dhaka develops a psychic pabulum of nothingness. Yet even
in this state there remains the possibility of rebirth. Those who
embrace nothingness as their absolute goal develop a void in their citta
in the absence of Cognitive Faculty. As a result they are unable to
establish themselves in the Supreme Cognitive Stance and attain
salvation. The spiritual cult which encourages this practice is
certainly defective.” (AMIWL-9)

So the practitioner of Buddhist meditation is marching straight toward
the unfavourable destiny of becoming videhaliina – inviting all kinds of
pain and suffering.

Baba says, “People with this type of psychology attain the state of
videhaliina after their demise – an unbearable condition.” (MVNS)

The entire outcome of Buddhist meditation is not at all good.

WHY SUCH A CRITICAL POINT RIGHT NOW

The question then is why raise the point here and now. As Ananda
Margiis, in our sadhana, we channelise the mind toward the Supreme in
which case there is no question of falling into the trappings of
Buddhist meditation or becoming microvita.

However the point hold great relevance for us.

A growing phenomenon seems to be on the move these days. The world over
people are resorting to yoga to stretch and tone their bodies yet they
are turning toward Buddhist meditation to calm and steady their minds.

In the popular culture, many do not seem to equate yoga with meditation
– they see it only as a form of exercise and they then turn to Buddhist
and pseudo-Buddhist principles for their psychic thirst.

One clear cut proof of this is that a famous so-called yoga teacher
wrote a book titled, “Yoga Body – Buddha Mind.”

And indeed all over the contemporary yoga movement or fake yoga movement
that is attracting millions and millions of people around the world,
there is a fascination toward Buddhist meditation and its related themes
like watching the breath and “mindfulness” etc.

Thus, as ineffective and as harmful as it is, Buddhist meditation has
become the fashion these days. As quickly as the population is turning
towards yoga asanas, at a similar rate they are turning toward Buddhist
meditation.

As Ananda Margiis, we should be aware of this trend – have our logic
firmly in mind – and be ready to steer this hungry mass toward AM sadhana.

ONE OTHER POINT OF CONCERN

Here is one other point to keep in mind. Nowadays, so many margiis are
teaching yoga and meditation in the general society. This manifests in
all kinds of ways. Some do it openly under the banner of AM, some not.

Since much of the general population may not be ready for tantric
diiksa, then some may be teaching other techniques of meditation and
relaxation etc. What we’re getting at here is that some in AM, knowingly
or unknowingly, may be using the principles of Buddhist meditation in
their yoga classes with the general public.

Some margiis may be saying, ‘Become one with your breath’, or ‘Empty the
mind of all thoughts’, or ‘Still the mind’, or ‘Be mindful’ etc. These
are all related with the defective approach of Buddhist meditation.

Yet this is what is popular these days and some margiis might be doing
this as well in order to skirt the issue of mantra, or Parama Purusa, or
God.

Here then is just a reminder that no one in our Marga should resort to
the misguided ways of Buddhist meditation in their yoga preachings or
classes with the general public.

FREE WILL: PROS & CONS

We must remember that every human being has the freedom to do what they
will on this earth. All have the power to choose. Most live life in an
ordinary way and are subject to inchworm like progress along the path of
pratisaincara, staying far from the Cosmic hub.

Those who pointedly goad the mind in a particular direction, move in one
of two ways: Toward the Supreme or toward degradation.

As Ananda Margiis we are speeding toward Parama Purusa, but those
practicing Buddhists are not. With their practiced and pointed mind,
they are moving toward nothingness, nihilism, and degradation. They will
become microvita. That is Baba’s exact teaching.

In this regard, having free will becomes a liability if one acutely
guides the mind in the wrong direction. Of course we all know that
thievery is bad and that such bandits & hardened criminals will suffer
the consequences. But what people often fail to realise is that Buddhist
meditation will also lead one in the wrong direction. It is not a joke –
that is the reality.

Yet right now, hoards of people are innocently embarking on this dark
pathway thinking it will bring them into the light.

Once this point is crystal clear in our own minds, we will best be able
to help and serve the general populace. We must not watch idly as they
transform themselves into microvita – suffering endlessly in that way.

BEAUTY OF MANTRA MEDITATION

In Ananda Marga, our approach is to positively goad the mind toward
Parama Purusa and the main technique is the use of mantra.

Baba says, “You cannot call all the sounds of the world mantras. Why?
Because they do not possess the capacity to liberate a person from
bondage. There are so many sounds, so many syllables and so many words
in this universe…but only that sound whose acoustic expressions or
acoustic waves have the stamina to goad the subtlest portion of the
human mind unto the supreme stance can be a mantra.” (SS-24)

We do not subscribe to the theory of nothingness, rather we knowingly
fill the mind with a divine thought in the form of our ista mantra or
dhyana mantra.

And by His grace with that mantra we can become one with Ista. Buddhists
have no Supreme Ista. Their meditation leads to a total void. But in AM
we move towards our Ists with love and sincerity by His grace. That is
our Goal and that is what clearly separates AM sadhana from the
trappings of Buddhist meditation.

Baba says, “You are all spiritual aspirants. You are yogiis and you
should know that the only interpretation of yoga is “Samyoga yoga
Ityukto Jiiva’tma’ Parama’tmanah”. All other interpretations are
baseless. And you should also remember that for your movement toward
your Is’t’a, you have only to practise, your unification with your
Is’t’a is your only goal.” (SS-12)

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He has given us the correct approach in meditation and
He has also directed that “it is the bounden duty of every Ananda Margii
to being all onto the path of bliss.” Thus we should be cent per cent
involved in not allowing the general people to fall prey to the
nothingness of Buddhist meditation. We should guide and teach them to
move towards the Supreme, lest they become microvita.

Baba says, “As a yogic practice, pratya’ha’ra means “withdrawal of the
mind from external objectivity and goading the withdrawn mind toward
Parama Purus’a”.” (YP)

Namaskar,
Jayanta

*********************************************
Crow and Cuckoo

Baba says, “It is said that there is a particular species of the cuckoo
bird that is incapable of nesting and raising its own offspring. So to
protect and save her babies, the mother cukoo gently places her own eggs
in the crow’s nest, even though the crow is her dreaded enemy. But since
the eggs of both the birds looks the same, the crow carefully cares for
those cuckoo eggs which were placed in her nest– thinking them to be
her own. At the time of birth, the newborn birds of both species are
black; so seeing the baby cuckoos, the mother crow does not initially
realise that the baby cuckoos are not her own offspring. It is only when
the baby birds become a little bigger and start to call out and cry,
that the crow realises those are not her babies. Then and there the
mother crow becomes very angry, suddenly understanding that it has
gotten duped. But because of having given long-term care and developed
sincere love for the baby cuckoo, the mother crow gives up the idea of
attacking and killing the cuckoo. And instead the mother crow raises the
baby cuckoo as one of her own.” (SC-10)

*********************************************

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From: “Geoff Turnham”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Negative Dhya’na Unknowingly
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 07:09:18 +0000

Baba

“Diner pare din cale ja’y, toma’r path ceye a’ma’r yu’g ye ja’y…” (2640)

Purport:

Baba, my days after days are passing waiting for You. Since ages and
ages I have been looking anxiously towards the path of Your arrival. But
all that time has passed in vain. Baba, nobody is understanding my mental
anguish; I am completely helplessly in love with You. So many tears have
been shed waiting for You arrival, yet You are not coming.

Baba, in the daytime I imagine that in the night You will be coming
carrying the lantern of hope, thus fulfilling all my deepest desires. I
imagine that in my sleepless nights You will come and shower Your divine
grace and my troubled eyes will be completely satiated by having Your
blissful darshan.

Baba, when the night passes and You have not come then with deep hope I
go on ideating that You will be coming in the morning, with the advent of
the bright red crimson dawn. And like the effulgence of the rising sun You
will wipe away the cimmerian darkness.

Baba, since ages my days are passing in longing for You. Baba please
come…

== NEGATIVE DHYA’NA UNKNOWINGLY ==

Namaskar,
This is a topic that applies to everyone: margiis & non-margiis alike.

Because everyone – every human being – thinks. If one is not thinking
then the mind will essentially disintegrate and die. So, by definition,
we all think.

People think about their boss, their girlfriend, their enemy, their lost
love, their money, their house, their pet dog, their misdeeds etc.
People think about so many things. And when they think about that thing
they invariably apply various tanmatras or inferences: touch, form,
sound etc. In essence they are doing dhya’na, or more precisely negative
dhya’na.

But what people fail to understand is that their thinking – or negative
dhya’na – totally dictates their future to the degree that one will
actually become or be reborn as what they were thinking about.

This has an absolutely dramatic, if not disastrous, effect. Let’s take
this entire topic step by step.

“AS YOU THINK SO YOU BECOME”

In AM, we have all heard the proverb, “As you think so you become.” And
we all know that we should ideate on our is’t’a mantra cent-per-cent of
the time. All these things we know. This theory is not new to anyone in AM.

But how seriously we truly consider the consequences of not doing this
is another matter.

Baba says, “If the mental force is directed towards finite and crude
objects, then the person is ultimately converted into crudeness. As you
think so you become.” (AMIWL-1)

Even then some of us may be thinking that, “This cannot happen to me – I
will not be changed into crudity.”

Yet that is exactly what happens.

WHO BECOMES WHAT

As stated in the beginning everyone thinks; everyone holds an idea and
image in their mind. The irony is that often times – due to human
weakness – people do not hold their highest ideal in mind, but rather
something else.

For instance, many Muslims are often thinking day-long about their
hatred of Hindus. Likewise, many Jews think of their enemies in the
Muslim world. They think intensely in this manner, with vivid imagery
and with strong emotion.

And do you know what happens? Such Muslims actually are reborn as Hindus
and such Jews are verily reborn as Muslims. This is the way it works.

Same is the case with Ku Klux Klan members who despise black people as
well as with certain Frenchmen who hate Algerians etc.

Baba says, “It is the natural wont of the mind to take the shape of its
object of meditation. If the object of worship is crude, say money or
any crude thing, the mind takes the shape of that crude thing in the
course of time. Hence the proverb “As you think so you become.” For
instance, when someone constantly thinks of a ghost, he actually becomes
a ghost one day. One then starts behaving in an abnormal way. Again,
someone concentrates upon two hundred dollars, one day the person will
become an actual dollar. Hence human beings should be very, very
cautious in what they ideate upon, in their objects of contemplation.”
(AV-12)

Baba says, “One acquires a physical body according to the nature of
one’s sam’ska’ras [unmanifested mental reactions]. Hence it is not at
all impossible for a human being to be reborn as a hog, a worm, a tree,
or even a piece of stone.” (AMIWL-7)

So it is not just limited to a Muslim turning into a Hindu or a Jew
turning into a Muslim. A person will turn into whatever they ideate on –
and again everyone ideates. Indeed, at present so many people on this
earth are sunk in the practice of negative dhya’na. Yet they are totally
unaware of the severe ramifications.

In the above teachings, Baba pointedly warns us and categorically states
that a person will become a ghost or crude money, or verily anything,
even a hog, a worm, or a spittoon – if that is what they think about. So
everyone should be made aware of the horrors of doing negative dhya’na.

There are so who intently think about their pet dog will be reborn a
dog. Indeed whatever it is that we love or hate – or whatever we think
about – that is what we will become, either in this life or the next.

Those who mentally curse their boss and think about their boss when not
at the job will be transformed into that negative boss. They will be
that one day.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HOW IT WORKS

One other thing should be said. This entire phenomenon is not like one
magic show, as in “poof” all of a sudden one becomes a frog. It happens
gradually.

For instance, if one thinks about their boss and their boss is someone
who gets angry easily, then that negative vrtti of anger will soon take
shape in their mind as well. And then due to that continued thought, or
negative dhyana, in that very life or the next, they may become exactly
like that boss, in all the ways – physically, mentally, everything.

So little by little we acquire the samskaras or properties of whatever
we are thinking about.

Here is another example that people should be aware about.

In the west, people may not be afraid of ghosts, but they may be scared
of so many other imaginary things. They may be paranoid that nobody
loves them, and then sadly over time that becomes their living reality.
They truly think and feel that really nobody loves them. This becomes
their reality, even when others really do love them.

This approach or negative dhyana probably accounts for a huge number of
the cases of depression and related mental diseases in the more
so-called developed nations like the USA. People harbor a negative
thought in mind and ultimately they become a living representation of
that thought or fear.

As far as possible we should warn and teach those in the general society
about this entire process. They must know about it, lest they destroy
not only this life but the next one also.

ANANDA MARGIIS ARE NOT EXEMPT

All of the above applies to all Ananda Margiis as well. Just because we
have been initiated into tantra does not mean we cannot fall onto that
path of negative pratisaincara. Indeed so many sadhakas have fallen. We
must be cent-per-cent involved in our sadhana. We must ideate and do
dhyana on Him.

Unfortunately, by the looks of things, it seems that some Dadas may be
doing negative dhya’na on their “groupist enemies”. They may pass their
days planning and plotting against their rivals. In that case, they will
acquire those very samskaras and be reborn as a Bengali etc.

Then there are some Dadas who are so fascinated with their new car. Such
was the case of one Amurt worker in the USA. This Wt was enamoured with
his sports car. Hopefully by now he has given up that negative ideation.
If not, surely he will be reborn as a piece of metal or as a steering
wheel.

Whatever may be, if we just do our mantra japa for a few minutes during
sadhana, and then the entire rest of the 24hrs we are involved in all
kinds of mundane thoughts and longings, then that most certainly will
affect our future.

Because whatever direction in which the mind is colored is the direction
in which we will grow. Whether it be money, fame, prestige, land, etc,
whatever we ideate on will become our living reality, sooner or later.
This is the natural law.

Thus we also should not get caught in the trappings of doing negative
dhya’na.

WHAT IS THE WAY OUT

The question that invariably arises is how are we to proceed. Here Baba
gives the answer.

Baba says, “Whenever any thought arises in the mind, it should be
immediately channelled towards Parama Purus’a. You should say: “O Parama
Purus’a, Thy will be done“.” (NKS, Disc: 23)

The only way then is to direct all our thoughts and energies towards
Parama Purusa and serve Him in all respects, always. This demands strong
sadhana and proper use of Guru mantra. Then we will be cent-per-cent safe.

Even then, as human beings we have so many emotions running through the
mind. How are we to deal with all of these.

Here again, Baba has given us the answer and best tool: Prabhat Samgiita.

In His Prabhat Samgiita, the full range of human emotions are expressed
and in each song those emotions are goaded towards the Supreme. So
whenever we feel angry, then we should direct that anger towards Baba,
not to our spouse, or boss, or whomever we are angry with. When we
direct our anger towards Baba then we are thinking of Him and that is
proper dhyana.

And that is the way all our emotions are to be addressed. Our love, our
infatuation, our desires, our longings, our sadness, our loneliness etc.
Each and every emotion is to be goaded towards Baba. Then our success is
sure.

That is what Baba has taught us in Prabhat Samgiita.

BABA’S BLESSING

This entire topic of doing negative dhya’na is a slippery slope. People
the world over, non-margiis certainly and some margiis too, get verily
caught in this negative approach and it ruins their future. All should
be warned accordingly and all should then be extremely cautious and
careful about how they ideate in life. No one should allow mundane or
crude thinking – i.e. negative dhya’na – to be part of their mental
flow, lest they wish to destroy their future.

Here is Baba’s warning.

Baba says, “They say, “Why should I bother about such subtle things. I’m
quite happy as I am.” Such people, engrossed as they are in materialism,
are bound to be reborn in crude material bodies [like pigs, feces, and
wood etc].” (PNS-11)

Human life is rare and we have all been blessed with the power of
cognition. We are to utilise this in the best way possible and realise Him.

Baba says, “When one’s goal of ideation is Parama’tma’, one attains
absolute progress. As one’s psychic object is subtle and expansive,
one’s psychic body becomes subtle and expansive, too, and finally
becomes one with the Macrocosm.” (AMIWL-8)

Namaskar,
Gagan

Note 1: GURU MANTRA AND PROPER MEMORY

This below teaching of Baba is also related to this entire topic.

Baba says, “You should remember to use guru mantra regularly before
every action. One attains success in the field of action by the right
application of guru mantra. Some of you, I do not say all, often forget
to use guru mantra before starting an activity. If you do forget, repeat
it after completing the action. When one no longer makes such a mistake,
that is, when one always remembers to use guru mantra before starting
any activity, one is said to have attained “dhruva smrti” or “fixed
memory”. Dhruva means “fixed”, “stationary”. When, by dint of sa’dhana’,
one establishes oneself in dhruva smrti, one experiences an unbroken
flow of bliss in one’s mind. In the scriptures, this intense spiritual
bliss is termed “dharma megha’nanda”. Whenever you develop that sort of
fixed memory, you will experience dharma megha’nanda’.” (AV-7)

********************************************
WT Conduct Rules

“We are all the children of the same Father, we are all the members of the
same family. By fighting against all kinds of evil forces, we will
establish the glory of our Father and the glory of our family.” (Point #13
of ’14 Points’, WT Conduct Rules)

Note: A few so-called senior, degenerated and disgraceful Wts are going
astray from this fundamental rule by spreading the poison of groupism and
by creating division in the society– all of which is completely against
neo-humanism. This is all happening due to greed, lust of power, desire for
prestige etc. Unfortunately such persons are still in the uniform of Wts so
we have to recognise them. As they have tainted the glory of Lord Shrii
Shrii Anandamurtiji by their sinful, power-hungry ways. Indeed by all this
they have destroyed the sanctity & unity of the family.

Note 2: Those who are sincere margiis adhere to this above cited rule since
the spirit of this conduct rule is common to one and all.

********************************************

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