Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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What Do You Want?

Hari OM

Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.

We have flown a little high, lately, as we've investigated some of the deeper meanings and practices of OM meditation.  Remember 'OM' is a mantra. Not the meditation itself.

This is a frequent and common misconception. Sitting in aasana, breathing rhythmically, chanting, pondering matters of a spiritual nature… none of these is meditation per se. They are physical discipline and mental discipline with intellectual contemplation. They are rungs on the ladder towards meditation. Meditation (ध्यानम्  /dhyaanam), in the purest sense is to be suspended from thought and to sit in full awareness.

That said, let us not become too 'precious'. As long as there is serious intent towards attaining a meditative state, then one can be said to be practicing meditation.

The main point in that sentence was 'serious intent'. It is imperative that you define what you want. This is important. Lots of people these days are attending 'meditation groups/classes/sessions' because the medical profession has now ratified the physical benefits - lower blood pressure, stress management, anger management etc etc etc. Valid enough. Then there is the peer group thing - "such and such is 'doing' meditation, I better make sure I am too"! It has become trendy.  Much of what is touted as 'yoga' is little more than an alternative exercise class. Some such are outright money rorts and hold dubious health benefit. It is as important to vet the credentials and 'parampara' (teaching lineage) of any yogaacharya as you would the mechanic of your car.

Assuming you do check out your mechanic's credentials! Sometimes we surrender our control and power in such matters simply because folk have letters after their name or make claims which jibe with our desires and we fall foul our own wish to be absolved of responsibility. However, there is a tendency to become lax in attendance when we have done this, when we have not established a commitment and understood there is a goal beyond our selfishness. Physical posturing without a deeper purpose, like a balloon, bursts. Then we blame the 'yoga' for not helping us, missing the point completely, that we ourselves must make efforts.

Genuine spiritual pursuit, and make no mistake, even physical (hatha) yoga is a spiritual pursuit if it is being genuinely presented, requires of us that we have, at the very least, some inkling of a goal. At first, that goal may simply be to improve our flexibility. If that is all we want, though, then we might as well attend swimming or pilates sessions. At yoga, we ought to find that not only our bodies, but our minds, are being exercised. Each posture has a physical value, yes, but there is a strong philosophy feeding each aasana also.

This is referred to as अष्तण्ग-योग /ashtanga-yoga, the eight-limbed path to union. If you are serious about 'yoga' in a physical sense, this is what to look for.

Here at Aatmaavraajanam, 'yoga' is jnaana (gyaan); the path of knowledge. Part of that path is to contemplate deeply on the teachings of the Upanishads and other shruti. To meditate.

The important thing, though, is to have a daily practice through which your focus is shifted away from the nonsense of the world and focused on the causative factors, the spiritual connection of everything and sorting out your rightful place within these contexts. One of the ways to do this is to have what might be termed as a keyword. If you go looking in a library index for a certain text, you require to know at least the title, but knowing also the author and perhaps the ISBN all help in locating that very text with minimum fuss. Locating Lord requires that we have decided how we are going to call Him; Yeshu, Rama, Bhagwan, Brahman… we all have names for that numinous power, make one of them your keyword. This is both your title and your author! What might the ISBN be?  The mantra. You have one already… OM.

Have you pondered why it is that OM is so readily accepted by so many, even who might otherwise be wary of Eastern practices? Intrinsically, we all, each and every human being, know at the very core of our being that we belong at [h]OM[e]. It calls us. Some search for that source in the material sciences. Others through the philosophies of the world. Some just know they are looking for 'something' but for all sorts of reasons resist the practices which will lead them there and seek it in materialism. All, though, are searching. OM is the very basis of existence. It is the deep and vibrant heart which pulses in our collective being.

If you are here, reading this, you are ready. Lock in your keywords!

As a little 'lightener' today, please enjoy this clip of the Legendary jazz musician Sunny Rollins. It was only discovered by accident here at AVblog that this great had actually attended Sandeepany Sadhanalaya under Gurudev himself in 1968! It was entertaining to hear him remark that there was little formal study - one suspects a level of freedom and privilege may have been afforded which the regular students did not have! Nevertheless, some very salient points are made here.

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Hari OM
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