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If you have faith, you will see

September 28, 2012 2 comments

Difference between the mind and no-mind states

Every world has its own rules. The mind’s world is the scientific world. In the laboratory the mind examines everything to see, “What is this thing. How does it work?” This is the world of the mind. On the table of the mind’s laboratory are all things of this world and the mind is their examiner. The mind is a scientist and the rule of science is: First see and then believe. This is why the mind is not able to believe in the Truth without seeing it.

This is not the case in the world of no-mind. The rule here is: If you have faith, you will see. In this world, the mind itself is on the laboratory table.

If you have faith, you will see

The mind does not realise that it was due to its absence that the Experience of Self was witnessed. 

Understand this further. Whenever you experience something good or bad, the mind that says ‘I am experiencing this’ is absent. After the experience has taken place, the mind comes in and says, “I experienced this.” Imagine that you have gone to an amusement park and are taking a joy ride in a giant wheel. When you come down from a height speedily, you experience something. At this moment, your mind does not come and say, “This experience is happening with me.” This is because at that moment the mind is not there. There were no thoughts too at that moment which comments on the experience. But later, the mind which has not experienced anything comes in and says, “Today, I had such and such an experience.” In this manner, the mind retrieves the memory of the experience from the memory bank and associates itself with it. Everyone has been given the power of memory. The mind remembers this memory and says, “I had this experience.” If the mind were to be told that it was not there at that time, it would not believe it.

The mind does not realise that it was due to its absence that the Experience of Self was witnessed. The mind itself is an obstacle in the Experience occurring. The mind must attain the understanding that the Self-Experience happens only in its absence. If the mind has faith in this understanding, it will agree to go unto Silence (moun).

Faith is extremely important in the process of attaining the Self-Experience, because the mind lives in the illusion that it experienced the Self. The mind refuses to understand that it was absent when the Experience happened. Until it has strong faith, it will keep saying, “How can this be?”  When the mind has faith on one who has hinted to you (the Guru), the mind surrenders, bows down and falls. The Self-Experience then begins to reveal on its own.

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Is there anything beyond self-realization?

July 17, 2012 4 comments

Seeker: Is self-realization the ultimate goal of life or is there anything beyond?

Sirshree: Before answering the question, it is important to know your understanding of self-realization. One day a seeker experiences a deeply profound meditative state. He is in a no-mind state for quite some time. It is an experience of self-realization. Somebody experiences oneness with the universe when he is on a nature trail. He experiences that he is no longer a separate entity. It is an experience of self-realization. It can be said that self-realization is just the beginning. Self-stabilization is the goal.

Self-realization is experienced only when the interfering and comparing mind (termed as the contrast mind) disappears. But what happens after that experience? The mind emerges again and takes credit for the experience saying, ‘I performed meditation, I attained this deeply profound state and experienced realization.’ The mind does not have the understanding that it is not the one that has experienced that state. On the contrary, it was when the mind was not there that the Self experienced itself. Self-stabilization is when the mind does not emerge later. Self-stabilization means remaining stabilized in the experience of Self or Being, or constantly abiding in the truth. It is not just a one-time experience. That is why it is said that self-realization without understanding is futile. The importance of guru is that he ensures that you progress from self-realization to self-stabilization, which is the ultimate goal. Self-stabilization is the basic purpose of life and the prerequisite is the surrendering of the contrast mind.

It can be said that self-realization is just the beginning. Self-stabilization is the goal.

It can be said that self-realization is just the beginning. Self-stabilization is the goal.

Seeker: What happens after self-stabilization? I am a little confused between self-realization and self-stabilization.

Sirshree:  Along with self-stabilization occurs self-expression. It is expression of the Self through the body-mind mechanism to fulfil its true potential. On attaining self-stabilization at the age of 35, the Buddha continued to spread the message of truth till the ripe age of 80. This is self-expression where his body was used by the Self to express itself after attaining self-stabilization. This self-stabilization and self-expression are the ultimate goals.

If you are confused with the word self-stabilization, then you can call experiences on the path as self-realizing experiences and the goal as self-stabilization. Hence the understanding of self-realization is most important. If self-realization is seen as self-stabilization, then it is the goal. If you see it as a one-time experience, then it is just the beginning.

Seeker: After self-realization, what changes take place in our lives?

Sirshree:  After self-realization, what happens is not change, but transformation. Transformation is a total, paradigm shift. For example, when a person begins to climb a ladder to reach the terrace, he moves from the first step to the second. This is a change. But he is still on the ladder. When he moves from the second step to the third, he is probably able to get a better view of the terrace. However, he still continues to be on the ladder. This is what is called ‘change’.

When the person moves from the ladder to the terrace, it is a shift or transformation. When there is only a change, ignorance continues to exist, because you are still at the level of the mind. In the case of transformation, it is not change or alteration, but the whole frame or structure of the programmed mind is shattered and you are directly on the terrace (the Self).

Let us try to understand this further. Suppose you are sitting in a room and there is a pillar blocking your view. Changing your view means getting up and sitting at another place within the same room. Moving out of the room and getting into the helicopter to get the complete view of the room is called a shift or transformation. Self-realization is this shift or transformation, and not merely change.

Fathers’ day is not just for fathers (Sirshree on parenting)

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Q. What is the significance of Fathers’ day? Is it a day only for all fathers?

Sirshree: There are two main significances – one for you and one for your child. One  whether you are a parent or not, and the other for parents. One from a spiritual perspective and other from a parental perspective.  Understand the first one. For your spiritual growth, it is important that you give yourself the tough love of a father, the unconditional love of a mother and the wisdom-love of a guru. For you to grow spiritually, giving yourself the tough love of a father means making your body disciplined. Giving yourself the unconditional love of a mother means making your mind surrendered in devotion. Giving yourself the wisdom of a master gives discrimination to your intellect. Thus celebrate fathers’ day, whether you are a father or not, as a day that signifies training and discipline. Use this day to contemplate whether you are giving your body the tough love of a discipline it requires.

Fathers' day is not just for fathers

Fathers’ day is not just for fathers

The second significance is for all parents – not just fathers. A father gives a child the hardware (hard training), a mother gives the child software (soft love) and the guru gives a child heartware (shifting from head to heart).  On fathers’ day, every father and mother could contemplate on whether they are making their child disciplined. And mothers’ day can be used as an opportunity to contemplate on the love you are giving to your children. All these days are just opportunities. You may not be able to contemplate on everything together, so these days are opportunities to focus on specific qualities. Both father and mother have ‘ther’ in common.  Both tough love and soft love is required to tether children with wisdom to take them further.

The word father is also a good reminder of what every parent should give to their children. Examine these qualities on this fathers’ day

F : Forgiving and giving (soft love)

A: Accountability and discipline (tough love)

T: Time (quality time)

H: Health (needs of the body)

E: Education (education of self development)

R: Realization (insight of spiritual growth)

Q.Who is an ideal father? How to be an ideal father?

Sirshree: An ideal father is one who becomes the right ideal for his children.  The mother is the first teacher. The father is the first ideal. When kids are asked who their super hero is, it seems most children answer it is their dad.  We have seen that fatherhood signifies the tough love of discipline and training.  So, be an ideal of discipline yourself. Let your child see that you accomplish boring things first and then take up interesting things. Your child too will then become similarly disciplined.  The more you progress towards Self Stabilization (permanently stabilizing on the experience of Self), the more you become the best ideal for your children.

Q. How should I make my child spiritual. How to spiritually instruct children?

Sirshree:  Don’t teach spirituality to your children – show spirituality to them. The best thing you can give to your children is the gift of happiness and peace. Let your children see how you take decisions with inner peace and how you act with inner poise.  This will be transferred to them.  Giving children spiritual instruction at an young age may confuse them.

If you want to instruct children, do instruct them on self development.  Teach them concentration, will power, focus, communication, etc. Talk to them about strength, stamina and taking initiative.  Verbalize skills for your children, but let them internalize spiritual wisdom by observing you.

 Source : Excerpt of Questions & Answers with Sirshree on 17 June 2012

Also read:

  1. Real Happiness
  2. The Quality of your Life is Governed by the Quality of your Questions
  3. Role of friends in your life
  4. 1st April : The most spiritual day of the year

Truth cannot be told in words

April 11, 2012 2 comments

Seeker: If Truth cannot be told in words, then how can one attain it and embody it in one’s life?

Sirshree: The answer to this is that even though it cannot be said in words, it can be pointed out to. All great saints have done so, be it the Buddha, or Guru Nanak or Jesus Christ or Ramakrishna Paramhansa or Ramana Maharishi or Kabir or Gyaneshwar. All these saints knew that “the truth cannot be expressed in words, it can only be indicated to… signalled out… pointers can be given.” This is UNTOLD TRUTH.

Be it the Gita, the Bible or the Koran, all books mean the same and talk of the same truth.

Be it the Gita, the Bible or the Koran, all books mean the same and talk of the same truth.

If the truth is pointed out to the one who is “thirsty”, who is a seeker, who has the desire, who wants to be spiritual, who is free of deceit, who is ready to listen, who has the eligibility, then that indication would be enough for such a person and he will experience the bliss of truth. It is only for such people that indications were made. But others misunderstood and they made meanings of their own. Be it the Gita, the Bible or the Koran, all books mean the same and talk of the same truth. A saint who has lived this experience of the truth has pointed out – “Whether you read the Gita or the Koran – liberation from ‘you’ and ‘me’ is the truth in all these sacred books.

When the indication has been made, and if the seeker is still mired in his own imagination, then he will not grasp what is indicated, because many a time even the unreal appears real. Fake jewellery shines more than real jewellery, the photograph of a child seems better in comparison to the real child itself. “Reality” is there right in front of your eyes, yet, what is fake attracts us more because we are used to giving importance to the fake rather than the reality. If the seeker does not have the real understanding, then he would give more importance to the false things. When the truth is being pointed out, what is erroneously being grasped is the pointing finger, rather than the truth.

A father is writing in red ink. Some ink spills over his fingers. His son, just then, asks him, “Daddy, how does green colour look like?” The father runs his eyes around the room and his eyes locate a green object. “Look at that,” the father says pointing out with his finger, “that is green colour.” But the son looks at the red colour staining the pointing finger and says, “I got it.” You know what he has actually understood.

What am I?

December 6, 2011 4 comments

Number five has a special significance in spirituality the five elements (Panchmahabhoota), the five bodies (Panchsharir), the five rules of the Buddha (Panchsheel), the five precepts of Aurveda (Panchkarma),  etc.

However there is one set of fives that denotes a unique spiritual phenomenon that very few are aware of the five qualities of the Self. Lot of significance has been attached to the questions Who am I and Why am I? But the question What am I? is oft ignored. What is my inner core made up of? What are the qualities of the Self? What is at the essence of my being? What are the five core values of a human being? And the answer will be five qualities or values. These are creation, realization, satisfaction, devotion and discrimination. To make it simpler, you can substitute these five qualities with the verbs Expressing, Being, Enjoying, Loving and Knowing.

 The five qualities of the Self

The five qualities of the Self

Why only these? You can use an micro or macro approach and will arrive at the same set of five whatever approach you take. Macrocosmically, examine what is being human all about. What differentiates us from animals? Man is considered to be the highest manifestation. What makes him highly evolved are five things that only humans are capable of, not any other animal. Only man is endowed with higher abilities to create and express as manifested in art, to meditate and inquire as manifested in self realization, to love and devote as opposed to merely lust, to be happy and blissful as manifested in laughter, to discriminate and know the difference between what is real and unreal as manifested in developed cognition and conscience.  Microcosmically, when you meditate on Who am I and are established on the inner Self, you are left with only these five values. You experience creativity, peace, happiness, love and truth emanating from your inner core and reverberating in the universe. You do not even require enlightenment to experience it. Ask yourself whether at your core, arent the values of creativity, peace, happiness, love and truth that exist? Take any list of values in a value education class and you can distill them to these fiveno more or no less.

Thus both from a macro and micro point of view, you are left with these five essences. Let us examine each of them to understand the qualities of Self or the nature of Godhead:

Creation (Abhivyakti) : Creation is the physical manifestation of ideas and thoughts. At the core of the universe is creation. The Self in Rest created the universe, the Self in Action to know itself. Shiva created Shakti. Creation also denotes self expression.

Realization (Mouna): Why did creation take place? So that the Self can realize itself.  So that the silence can be realized. At the core of everything created is silence, peace. The purpose of human birth is to realize oneself. The body-mind has been given for the Self to realize itself. The body-mind can never realize the Self. Self realizes itself through the body-mind

Enjoyment (Anand) : The Self realizes itself to be established in bliss. A mere body-mind is enough for the Self to realize itself. But what is unique about humans is that the individual someone who thinks of himself as separate also gets created. And when the individual surrenders to the Self, bliss manifests. God created individuality to experience the happiness of coming back (realizing) to Himself. This happiness is possible only when there is forgetfulness, when there is separation. Thus the significance of the individual. Realization leads to bliss.

Love (Prem): To realize oneself and be established in the Self, the body-mind has to surrender to the Self. You can call this as devotion (bhakti). Devotion arises out of duality. I am separate from God. The individual is separate from the Self. So now the individual surrenders to the Self through bhakti a higher form of love. Where the body-mind appreciates and is in amazement of the Self.  Bhakti leads to realization. On realization, a higher form of love manifests. Love of the Self for its creation. Pure love. Love of the Truth for the Truth.

Discrimination (Satya): On realization, you are stabilized on the truth. There is a clear distinction between what is real and what is unreal.  Only knowing remains. Knowing of the truth. To attain realization too, discrimination of what is the truth and what is not the truth is critical. Only human beings can discriminate between real and unreal. There are only two paths to realization one is that of Surrendering (bhakti). The other is that of discrimination (vivek) where there is a constant enquiry of what is real, what is unreal.

These five qualities shall emanate effortlessly from the one who is realized. Others can practice some simple steps that can enhance these five qualities in their life. Take up a vocation or a hobby where you are fully self expressed where you do not have a sense of time as you create. Mediate to have glimpses of realization. Carry happy thoughts and take time to smell the flowers as you enjoy the process of whatever you do. Be open to the love that exists in relationships. And practice self enquiry to discriminate between what is real and what is unreal.

Open your eyes and watch how all nature, how all that you do is a manifestation of these qualities. How these are the core values. Marvel at the question, What am I?

Spiritual Transformation and beyond 12 steps

February 6, 2011 3 comments

The road to spiritual transformation is a 12 step path and there are 12 states that are progressively experienced. We will learn 12 steps in this article and 12 states in the next one.

The 12 steps

Illustration: "Stairway to Heaven" by Jim Warren

The mind of the seeker can aid or can abort his spiritual progress. There are 12 steps that a seeker progresses through. The mind can get stuck at any 1 step. The mind ought to be given the understanding that it has to keep progressing up the steps.

Step 1 : What?

As a child grows, the child starts asking the question, What?. What is this? What is that? It wants to explore everything. So, the first step is the question that the child poses to the world what?

Step 2 : How?

As the child starts to learn new words and starts to make meaning, then the word what slowly starts losing significance. The second step enfolds. The child starts to ask the question, How?. How does this work? How does that work? He asks everyone the question how. Children nowadays know the answer to the question how fairly early. They can operate computers and mobile phones at a very early age.

Step 3 : Why?

The third question is a critical junction. The child starts asking, why? Parents are now in a fix. The child asks, why did someone die? Parents can at most explain that he died out of sickness. The child then asks, but why do human beings die at all? Parents may be dumbstruck. They tell the child not to ask a why for everything. The child asks why shouldn’t I?

Step 4 : I know

When the answer to why is suppressed, many children erroneously form conclusions and stop at Step 4. They have got a few readymade answers to the question why. They have received some basic kindergarten answers to the most profound questions of life. The child, now a youth, starts to imagine that he knows it all.

Step 5 : I dont know

At this step, the youth listens to a discourse. Maybe reads a book. And then it hits him (or her) that I don’t know. However, many do not even progress to this step. Now at least he knows that he doesn’t know. This is very fortunate that he has received the first gem of wisdom that he is not wise at all.

Step 6 : I am in KG

The youth then starts understanding various concepts of spirituality. He starts understanding about concepts such as karma, heaven and hell, liberation, etc. He assimilates all answers, but there is a vacuum somewhere. He wants to know more. He wants the final answer. He realizes that all that he knows is either GK or KG. General Knowledge or mere knowledge of KinderGarten spirituality. Now he is a bit wiser. The answers he has received are not wrong. They have their own place. But they are still correct to the extent of Kindergarten spirituality only. The thirst for the final answer begins to arise.

Step 7 : I want to know.

In this step, he has become a seeker. Now the thirst to know the final answer deepens. He yearns to know the truth. A thought occurs that I want to be liberated from all thoughts. This is a happy thought. He has now progressed through steps such as, I don’t know, I may not know and is now at I must know.

Step 8 : I have knowledge

At this step, he now understands the truth intellectually. He intellectually knows what is the meaning of duality, non duality, Self at Rest, Self in Action, etc. At this transformational step, he derives happiness by intellectually knowing and understanding the truth.

Step 9 : I am knowledge

At this step, the seeker understands that what he is, is nothing but knowledge itself. Now he has progressed from intellectually knowing and saying that I have knowledge to I am knowledge. He understands that there is no one else to know. There is no individual who will be left to know the knowledge. Knowledge is. Experience is. Experience is experiencing experience through experience in experience. At this step in the transformation of the seeker, the seeker and the sought are no longer separate. The knowledge seeker and the knowledge sought are no longer different.

Step 10 : I am is knowledge.

At step 10, he transcends even further. Now even I am knowledge is transcended. Only I am remains. This is the bright wisdom (Tejgyan) that is brought forth. However isness continues to exist. With the experience and existence of I am, the knowledge is complete.

Step 11: Am is.

At Step 11, the I also does not exist. There is no knowledge either. What remains is just amamness. isness. Beingness in truest sense begins. Just being. Just presence.

Step 12 : Bright silence

At this step, there are no words. Just bright silence (tranquillity). After the 12th step, the expression (demonstration) of the bright silence occurs. Only after all 12 steps have been ascended, does life in its truest sense begin.

Awakening to Religion

September 21, 2010 3 comments

The poem below based on Sirshree’s teachings highlights that ‘consciousness’ is the underlying thread of all religions. One of Sirshree’s key teachings is that the world does not need a new religion, it needs a new string that binds all religions together. And the existential experience of consciousness is that string. Hindus worship the sun. Muslims consider the moon auspicious, while Christians refer to the star of Bethlehem. But the hidden idea behind these reflections is to prod the humans to take a deeper look at the sky. The sun, the moon and the stars are symbolic pointers for gazing at the  vast nothingness of the sky – the all encompassing consciousness.

Instead of arguing whether it is ‘Aham Brahma’ of the Hindus, ‘Allah’ of the Muslims, ‘Wahe Guru’ of the Sikhs, ‘Yaweh’ of the Jews, ‘Bodhisattva’ of the Buddhists, or ‘God’ of the Christians that is more meaningful and relevant, then, it must be known that ‘consciousness’ is the most appropriate and the true reference to the Self. The whole world needs to understand the nature of the Self; it is the same pervading consciousness that is referred to in all religions. This consciousness can only be experienced. Words are only a medium to understand just, the existence of this Consciousness. Words can never surpass its meaning or explain it entirely. The experience of the Self is beyond description of the material words. This feeling of the Self or consciousness can be experienced through various methods suggested in every religion. The ‘understanding’ of how this can be made possible is the only thing the world requires. With this experiential understanding, you get led to the divine, silent, stillness – the tranquil point of consciousness. Rest in the celestial stillness and know that you are God, that consciousness is your true nature.  The poem below only serves as a pointer:

The word ‘Buddha’ means the awakened one,
Aren’t we all Buddhists if awakening in us is done?

A true ‘Christian’ is one who has awakened to Christ consciousness,
Aren’t we all Christians if we are established in this oneness?

The word ‘Islam’ means being surrendered to God’s will,
Aren’t we all Muslims if we are surrendered and still?

A ‘Hindu’ is one who follows the vedas – the essence of wisdom,                                                                                                                                             Aren’t we all Hindus if we have access to knowledge’s kingdom?

The word ‘Sikh’ means one who is a disciple – a learner,
Aren’t we all Sikhs if we are a seeker?

A ‘Jew’ is one who believes in Yaweh – the inexpressible name of God
Aren’t we all Jews if the inexpressible yet accessible consciousness is our Lord?

Awaken to the Self – whatever be your religion,
When you begin to awaken, you belong to all faiths or belong to none.

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