St. Valentine was a pastor in the church during the Roman period. The king of Rome announced that if the soldiers are married, they are not productive – therefore, the king motivated those who were not married and did not show attachment to any relatives or family members. St. Valentine opposed this and he was imprisoned by the king. St. Valentine was recognised as a “friend of Love” and as a remembrance of his sacrifices, St. Valentine’s Day is generally celebrated on the 14th of February.
Dates are only a reason to get people to remember the true purpose. The true purpose of St. Valentine’s Day is to understand the importance of and increase the following qualities in our lives:
- Starting and finishing things on time (Well in time)
- Timely service
- Seeing and loving the world as one family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam)
Love is the only thing that you get when you give – not when you take. To receive love you should be receptive i.e. ‘well tuned’. A radio that is tuned catches the frequency right when it is turned on so you do not have to keep tuning it and lose time in doing so. Similarly, we should not waste too much time in tuning ourselves to receive the final truth of life. We must understand and fulfil the true purpose of human life. When you receive a call on your cell phone, you try to reach a place where the reception is clear. Similarly you should tune yourself to go within to listen and receive truth clearly.
Always use your ‘understanding’ to interpret the meaning of rituals and do not go by what the majority of people say. St. Valentine’s Day should help us understand the meaning and importance of “Oneness”. Whatever you are in Love with you become receptive and sensitive towards that. If your level of consciousness is low, you will love lower things.
Receptivity is catching the signal or the channel you want among many different signals. If you are less receptive, then the sounds will be less and other channels will also show. But you will choose to see the channel you want even though the sound is less. Sensitivity is catching even the slightest signal. Ideally you should have both qualities of sensitivity and receptivity, but if you have to choose, you should choose receptivity. When you are receptive, you are more tuned to what you want to see. Therefore, decide what you want to see, what you want to choose.
The higher your consciousness level is, the better are things you will love. Do not fall in Love, “Rise in Love”. If your love for someone easily turns to hatred, jealousy or ill-will due to a simple event or a misunderstanding then you must realize that there was no love at all. When your level of consciousness is low, then you will be influenced by the company you keep. Tough events in your life are a means to test the existence or persistence of love amidst an environment of low consciousness.
With time, the word saint vanished and the meaning and real essence of the word Valentine disappeared too. In order to maintain the sanctity of this day, we should wish each other as “Happy St. Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day should be addressed as St. Valentine so the meaning is not lost with time. It should serve as a reminder for us to contemplate on the real purpose, to become sensitive and receptive to “Bright Love”. Once you experience and become one with such Love, you will be able to express the best qualities and achieve your full potential.
As per the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama went on a 14 year exile. The year of 2014 can be a reminder for you to go on an exile too. Not a 14 year exile. But in the entire year of 2014, go on a mini exile for your spiritual growth.
Going on an exile does not mean going away to the jungle. It is an exile into your own mind. Going on a mini exile in 2014 means deciding to make 2014 a year during which you practice meditation in the marketplace, spirituality in the stock exchange, bhakti in the boardroom, tranquility in the theatre.
The way to practice this mini exile is to send your senses into an exile every time you get an opportunity The concept of going on an exile is just a reminder. Let us now examine how this concept can become a medium for your spiritual growth:
Exile for your eyes: Reduce watching some television serials or unwanted entertainment. You are not being asked to eliminate this entirely. But do send into exile some unwanted entertainment. Ask yourself, “Will I really lose anything if I send some serials into exile?”
Exile for your tongue: Reduce harsh words and hankering after taste. Decide which words shall you banish from your vocabulary and which foods shall you send to exile.
Exile for your ears: This year, expel hearing gossip or hearing the criticisms of others into exile. Reduce this to whatever extent you can. If you used to listen to gossip for 20 minutes in a day, reduce by 10 minutes.
Exile for your nose: Every time you smell a fragrance, take a deep breath. Thus, you are not sending the fragrance into exile, but you are using this as an opportunity to send your breath into exile. One long breath could be equal to two short breaths. So, you have sent these short breaths into exile. This practice will help in improved health too.
Exile for your skin: Reduce make-up or anything you do to beautify yourself to a small extent. There is no harm in grooming or looking presentable. There is no harm in doing make-up. But wake up before you make up. Check what do you believe yourself to be before you do any make-up. Make-up done considering yourself to be the body does not help in spiritual growth. If you consider yourself to be the body, then it gives rise to further desires such as: ‘I should look good’, ‘Others should admire me’. Analyze why you want to look good. Is it constantly required to look into the mirror? Remind yourself of your true nature and banish some unnecessary time spent in adorning yourself into exile. At minimum, consider being without any make-up one day in a month.
Exile for your gadgets: Dependency on gadgets is giving rise to habits that hamper your spiritual growth. These include constantly checking for email or SMS, updates on social media, etc. Remember that being on the Self (consciousness) is more important than uploading your Selfie (a self portrait). Once a month relegate all your devices. Live without gadgets for a day to begin reducing your reliance on them.
These are some ideas to welcome 2014. Practice these ideas whenever you can. Remember, we are trying to fit an exile of fourteen years into a capsule of one year in 2014. Therefore, take on a strong intention to find time throughout the day to send your senses or gadgets into exile. Be inspired by Lord Rama and Ramayana for this purpose. Lord Rama had Lakshmana and Sita accompanying him and was later joined by Hanuman. Lakshmana embodies ‘clarity of purpose’ (lakshya), Sita embodies ‘purity in action’ and Hanuman exemplifies ‘devotion to the almighty’. May these powers of clarity of purpose, purity in action and devotion to the Higher Self help you in your mini exile this year.
“When your Being remains, then the question, ‘Who am I?’ automatically dissolves. The questioner vanishes together with the mind. Only the truth remains. This happens through Self-inquiry.”
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Old Story, Golden Moral By Sirshree
A saint was going to a village with his disciples. His disciples said, “It’s getting late and it will be dark by the time we reach the village. Let us stay here for the night.” The saint said, “No, we will go.” The disciples could not oppose him and they set off for that village. It was indeed nighttime when they reached there. In that village, majority of the people were those belonging to a different sect. They were quite unwelcoming and did not provide any food or accommodation to them. All the disciples got angry as they had not wished to come there in the first place.
They started complaining, “We shouldn’t have come now. Where will we go at this hour?”
The saint said, “Don’t jump to conclusions.” Whatever was happening, if only the disciples had known the mantra, they would have said, ‘This is that what we need.’ But they couldn’t say that.
They found a ramshackle hut outside the village to spend the night. They had to sleep with all kind of hardships in that rundown place where half the roof was broken. When night set in… what a night it was! A lovely full moon was shining in the sky with all its glory. When the saint opened his eyes after midnight, he witnessed that wonderful sight in the sky and felt so elated that he woke up his disciples to show them too. When the disciples saw it, such feelings stirred within them, such bliss arose in them, which otherwise they would never have experienced. It was then that the disciples realized and agreed that no matter what the situation, it always is: ‘This is that what we need.’
Points to Contemplate:
- What do we understand from this story?
A few moments back it appeared that whatever was happening was wrong. They felt we certainly don’t need this, we did not need to be thrown out of the village. But from the scene that came next, it was evident as to: What was the reality? What were we being prepared for?
- What kind of experience was to be got?
- What was the next scene on account of which this scene was created?
The one (Guru) who sees from the helicopter view (higher level of consciousness) knows this. Surrender Completely to your True Guru.
More such stories with golden moral by Sirshree:
Q/A with Sirshree
Seeker: Why does a truth-seeker need a guru for self-transformation or for attaining the Absolute, the Self?
Sirshree: To attain the Self, you have to first understand the real self (who am I?), the purpose of life (why am I?), and my state/position in the journey of life (where am I?). You have to undergo the process of self-transformation and have to understand that when it comes to complete self-transformation*, you have to transcend the various levels of happiness to achieve the supreme state**. You have to open up and blossom. To do that, there are levels of questions. You have to single-mindedly convert every incident of your life to turn inward and shatter the frame with which you see the world. You have to understand various steps and various states of the Self to attain the Self.
Self-transformation is the transformation of the Self. It does not mean transformation by an individual all alone by himself. Only someone at a higher state can show you the path. Only someone who has walked the steps can guide you. And the journey is such that though there are steps and states, there is not really “somewhere” to go. It is a journey that begins at the destination and ends at the destination.
Hence the importance of a guide on this journey cannot be overemphasized. Self-transformation is a journey where a GURU is very much required. Not any guide, but a guide who has walked the path and is very much alive giving you feedback and guiding your transformation process.
Seeker: How to find the true Guru?
Sirshree: Pray for a true Guru. It is the easiest way to total transformation. Pray from the bottom of your heart for a bright spiritual guide… a true guru. There is immense strength and power in prayer. When you have found a bright spiritual guide, then have unconditional and unbroken faith in Him and listen wholeheartedly to what He says.
* Read ‘Self Encounter: Complete Aim of Life – Self Development to Self Realisation’ written by Sirshree to know more about the 12 steps and 12 states that are progressively experienced in spiritual transformation.
** Read ‘Secret of Happiness’ written by Sirshree
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“Sleep is a short death that happens every day.
Death is a long sleep that happens once.”
.. Tejguru Sirshree Tejparkhiji
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The Magic of Awakening Retreat
A journey from experiencing the ‘Self’ (Self-Realization)
to getting established in ‘Self-Experience’ (Self-Stabilization)
in the City of Santa Clara, California, USA
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Participation during entire duration of the retreat is required and recommended for experiential results.
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