Tuesday, December 14, 2010
These are the Questions and Answers with regards to my introspection about Sadhana.
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word Sādhanā (Sanskrit साधना, literally "a means of accomplishing something").
Why am I doing sadhana?
a) I do not know. Since I have not perfected in Sadhana I have not achieved the experience that it aims to be. Until I get the experience I do not know what it is for would be the right answer.
b) One part of my mind tells me that I need to do it. In the language of Transaction Analysis this is called as a Nurturing Parent. This attracts and with force I aspire to do Sadhana. Doing sadhana also gives mental peace that I have experienced.
Then why don't I do it more?
Mind is engrossed in the outer world. However mind's one plain likes to go in the inner world as well. There is always a conflict between the two. I need to decide which is my original need. When the mind goes in the outer world its issues starts affecting the mind. The affected mind cannot do any sadhana easily.
What are my needs then?
a) Due to the contact of my mind with the external world like any other ordinary person I like to realize my potentialities in the material world. I do not know whether these are my original needs though right now for the real person I am.
b) Due to the Nurturing Parental Script there is something beyond all material achievements. I do not know the actual truth beyond these material achievements since I am yet to experience that truth and thus the script remains there.
Then what are my actual material needs?
b) Material benefits derived out of money.
c) My sexual and other emotional needs.
d) Recognition and respect from my family and society.
Note: All these are the same material needs as quoted in the Abraham Maslow's theory of Hierarchy of Needs.
More Reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs.
Even if I achieve all the above needs do u feel that you will be satisfied?
Even if I receive all the above needs I will feel bored and at that point I might want some solitary or loneliness.
Then why do not I embrace solitary or loneliness right now itself?
Right now my mind feels that it's needs are there in the external material world.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time....and to enable the Dhyanapeetam to function with such amended agenda as may be necessary, I am resigning as the head of the Dhyanapeetam and from all the trusts associated with it," he said addressing his followers on his official website.
"In view of the developments in the last three weeks following the media reports about me as the head of Dhyanapeetam, (located at Bidadi near Bangalore), I had met some of the leading acharyas of Hindu Dharma at Haridwar Kumbh Mela," Nityananda, facing criminal cases, including that of rape, said.
He said he had briefed them about what was fact and what was fiction. "Candidly discussing what had happened, I had sought their spiritual and moral support, guidance for me, and their views on the future course of Dhyanapeetam."
"I had also undertaken that I would act entirely in accordance with their counsel," the swami, whose purported sleazy acts in company of a Tamil actress were aired by TV channels on March 3, said in the message, also telecast on Youtube.
"I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time, to which the acharyas have agreed in principle," said the swami, whose plea for anticipatory bail and quashing of the cases against him has been turned down by the Karnatka High Court.
"In view of this, and to enable the Dhyanapeetam to function with such amended agenda as may be necessary, I am resigning as the head of the Dhyanapeetam," the 32-year old Nityananda said.
"A board of trustees consisting of sadhakas of Dhyanapeetam who are non-controversial, will henceforth manage Dhyanapeetam," he said.
Urging his devotees to continue on the path of spiritualism, he said, "Whenever if required I will return and talk about all that had happened as an independent witness to my conduct with a clean heart and clean soul and also in a less prejudiced atmosphere."
The swami, whose whereabouts are not known, has claimed that the images in the video have been morphed and he had not done anything illegal.
In his petition in the high court, he alleged that one of his former disciples and driver Kurup Lenin (who he has claimed to have leaked the sleaze video) conspired to defame him and his ashram by levelling such charges against him.
The court termed as "unfounded" Nityananda's apprehension that he could be arrested and directed him to approach the proper forum to seek bail.
Karnataka CID police had on Monday sought information from "victims" of the godman against whom it has launched a probe.
Nityananda has been booked under various sections of IPC relating to deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs, rape, unnatural sex, cheating, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I also acknowledge one point which anyone might find strange, most of the people in life whom I have observed, who are against glamorous or exhibition are persons who have not achieved anything in life, I meant materially. Consumerism derives us to have something which will give us an edge over the next door neighbor. We will buy another car not just because we already do not have one, because the car which we think about is the most latest one and its a rare version. We all are behind rare things of life. Even our search for spirituality is because its rare. The truth is always rare. We search in the outer world to achieve the most rarest and precious item, the moment we find one thing we find that our next door neighbor has a better than this. We then go in search of something better than what he has. The list is endless. Even if we get all the women, wine and dine of this world we shall never be satisfied. All our search in the outer world is a gimmick and the best way to make a fool out of ourself. When we do this search within our own self to find the most the precious thing we find what I call as the beginning of the spirituality.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Why Swami Nithyananda Must Resign Now
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:40 Rajiv Malhotra
When the sex scandal of Swami Nithyananda suddenly erupted on March 2, 2010, I was already in Delhi as part of a group to go to Kumbh Mela. I was also finalizing my new book which deals specifically with Tamil Nadu religious politics, and in particular with the role of various nexuses based overseas. So I decided to jump into the eye of the storm of this scandal in order to investigate whether similar nexuses were at work in this case. Naturally, at one level I have seen this scandal through the framework of a civilization encounter in which Vedic culture is pitted against the Dravidian divisiveness that is being backed by Christian evangelism. At another level, I found that the sensationalized media reports were too one-sided, and none of them had a single statement to report from the swami himself. Furthermore, there was chaos and mismanagement of the crisis from Swami Nithyananda's inner circle. In hindsight, things might have turned out differently had they managed more sensibly and faster – which I will elaborate later in this article. Given this, another interest of mine has been to extrapolate important lessons from this episode for other Hindu organizations, which I predict will face similar scandals as and when their weaknesses become understood by those opposed to them. This article highlights my findings at these multiple levels and issues.
During this 2-week investigative period, I have been loyal to my pledge to give Swami Nithyananda's organization the benefit of doubt and to report their side of the story. Besides wanting to balance out the one-sided media depictions, I wanted access to the ashram's core group for my own research on the broader subject of civilization encounters. I respect the sensitivities of that organization consisting of many decent and dedicated devotees who have sacrificed a great deal and stand to lose a lot.
But I have concluded that the situation is now beyond repair for Swami Nithyananda and that his continued involvement can only damage the broader interests of dharma as well as jeopardize the ashramites. Along with two other sympathizers who are not ashramites, I have personally recommended to Swami Nithyananda that the best course at this stage would be for him to resign completely from his organization. He should turn it over to a small team of senior Hindu mahatmas, so that the assets can be used in the best interests of dharma. Further, under the guidance of these mahatmas he must live a quiet life as a sadhu devoid of any institutional responsibilities. Because the head of any organization must accept responsibility that "the buck stops here," only such a move can salvage the organization and the reputation of dharma at large. Over several years, this resignation would hopefully reduce the massive pressure that has built up against him personally, and enable him to live peacefully as a sadhu. It is up to him to accept or reject this advice. The basis for this conclusion becomes clearer once the reader has gone through the rest of this article.
I want to begin by examining some principles about the relationships between siddhis (extraordinary yogic powers), morality, Tantra and sex. This will provide the framework in which to interpret what has happened. Then I will turn to my initial interest in pursuing the challenges facing Hinduism in south India from a variety of forces.
Siddhis (Extraordinary Yogic Powers) and Morality
A few days ago, I had the honor of having a two-hour private conversation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at his ashram in Rishikesh. I introduced myself as an independent researcher who is writing a series of books on Indian civilization in the context of the global challenges and opportunities. One of my volumes will be specifically on the major global gurus since the 1960s – including Krishnamurti, Swami Muktananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Pabhupada, among others - as well as living global gurus such as Sri Sri himself. I have been investigating what happened to such gurus, in terms of the shifts in their Western followers over time, their scandals, their Indian followers and critics, and also how each guru negotiated his/her position sandwiched between Indian orthodoxy on one side and Western modernity on the other. The relevance of this in the context of Swami Nithyananda will become clear very soon.
The first provocative question I asked Sri Sri concerned the nature of yogic powers: What is the relationship between siddhis and morality? If siddhis are a scientific phenomena dealing with powers that can be harnessed by all humans then one must bear in mind that science deals with truths that are morally neutral. If Einstein was declared to have lived an immoral life it would not invalidate his scientific theories. A person who designs aircrafts or any other complex technological systems may or may not be moral in order to be effective in his technical work. In other words, rtam (the patterns of the cosmos), which we discover and call science, functions independently of human morality. This is why a scientific principle can be used either morally or immorally, because it is independent of morality. There are moral persons who lack any siddhis or even ordinary scientific competence. Conversely, there are great siddhas (like Ravana) who lack morality. Sri Sri's pranayama techniques would also produce results for an immoral person.
Sri Sri seemed impressed by this question, and agreed with my overall position on the independence between siddhis and morality. But he pointed out that the moral dimension, while not determining the siddhis, was also important because it led to receiving the grace of the divine. I agree with him.
So there are two separate phenomena involved: (i) spiritual technologies that are objective and that allow anyone to harness spiritual energies, and (ii) morality which is important in itself, not for attaining siddhis, but in order to have a positive relationship with the divine. Either one can be developed without the other; however, the dharma tradition encourages us to cultivate both. The reason that meditation systems prescribe things like vegetarian diet, ahimsa, etc. is because an inappropriate lifestyle interferes with the mental tranquility required to advance. This lifestyle change can be appreciated regardless of whether one believes in a personal God or not. This absence of a personal God is clear in Buddhist meditation. Different Hindu systems place different levels of emphasis upon a personal God for the yoga to function. This is why many secular and scientifically minded persons are also drawn towards meditation techniques. In other words, something cannot be a science if it depends upon morality, because science is objective and stands independent of morality.
The relevance of this question is as follows: Many persons who have learned advanced meditation from Swami Nithyananda want to know if any moral breaches by him would invalidate the whole Hindu claim of achieving higher states of consciousness. When a far worse sex scandal against the legendary Swami Muktananda emerged in the 1990s, involving charges by a large number of his Western female disciples, the Western academy rashly condemned not only one man's morality, but also the whole legitimacy of the Indian tradition itself. In that series of debates (with RISA scholars like Sarah Caldwell, etc.), I took the same position then as I am taking now: that Muktananda's capabilities in harnessing spiritual energies are separate and independent from whether or not he violated any code of morality.
Patanjali warns against getting lured by siddhis which appear along the way when one practices advanced meditation persistently. One is not supposed to indulge in them. This warning is found in various Hindu systems that deal with the body as a vehicle for spiritual evolution, because these energies are very powerful and can get out of control. Another point that is worth noting is that the techniques taught by Swami Nithyananda are not his original ones; he has made it clear repeatedly that they are from the Shiva Sutras which have a long history in our civilization. I feel that he does have the siddhi of being able to transmit these techniques very effectively to others. For instance, I have never before in my life been able to sit still and alert in meditation for the whole night, but he had a few hundred persons in a large hall achieving this. The point here is similar to saying that the mathematics and golf I have learned from someone is not invalidated when the teacher is found to be immoral.
Hence, the issue of his morality must be pursued separately and independently from whether his siddhis are genuine.
Is Tantra a Part of Hinduism?
The second question that I asked Sri Sri could not be completely dealt with in the time available for our meeting. I hope to pursue this some day with him and with various other acharyas for my own benefit. Its significance in the present scandal becomes clear soon. I asked whether the Shiva Sutras are valid, pointing out that among the 112 spiritual enlightenment techniques taught in them, about 6 deal with sexual contact between a male yogi and a female yogini. Kashmir Shaivism as well as the Tantra traditions have included exemplars that practiced these techniques. Recently, Osho tried to revive them and nowadays Deepak Chopra has brought some elements of these into his repertoire. Sunthar Visuvalingam, a US based scholar of Tantra and Kashmir Shaivism, is one of the voices who brings out the authenticity of these approaches in the tradition, despite the common rejections by society at large. The tradition considers itself not suitable for mainstream society and is meant only for a small subset of people.
Many popular Hindu rituals and symbols have emerged out of the Tantra traditions – such as Shiva lingam, etc. The Tantra and Vedic traditions were not separate until recent times. The Vedic-Tantric integration is found in Adi Shankara all the way to Jiva Goswami (the great integrator of Vaishnavism who took Ramanuja's ideas further), and even more recently in the life of Sri Ramakrishna. The Bihar School of Yoga has Tantra practitioners, but they do it privately and not publicly.
I have an unpublished monograph that shows the history of this shift in Indian consciousness concerning Tantra. It was under British rule that certain Indian leaders (such as Ram Mohan Roy) started to condemn (as part of their "reform" of Hinduism) those aspects of Hinduism that bothered puritan Christian values. It must be noted that Christianity has had a very negative posture towards the human body starting with the Biblical episode of Origin Sin. This is why female priests (called "witches") got demonized by the Church in its very official genocide of several million practitioners across Europe. This Church prosecution was called the Inquisition and was widespread for a few centuries. The use of shakti and anything concerning the body as a spiritual resource was considered not only immoral but also demonic, and was outlawed with draconian enforcement. The term "occult" was used to refer to a vast assortment of such practices and was heavily condemned by the Church as the work of the Devil.
This mentality entered India under the British. The Criminal Tribes Act of India was passed by the British in the late 1800s. It listed several dozen tribes that practiced such "evil" techniques, and they were officially persecuted into extinction. A middle-class "whitened" Hinduism evolved as the mark of being "civilized" on British terms. We could thus be proud of our identity, now that it was "cleansed" of "primitive" practices of our ancestors.
In this history of removing Tantra out of Hinduism, some people include Swami Vivekananda among those who undermined Tantra. I disagree with this charge. He was saying a separate set of things to his Western audiences than to Indians. In his Western lecture tours, he presented a Hinduism that Westerners could relate to and appreciate, but he did not ask Indians to shift their practice. It is unfortunate that after his death, the Ramakrishna Mission he started has diluted itself into a sort of pseudo-Christianity. Kali and other related Tantra deities, symbols and rituals that were dear to Ramakrishna himself, have become "hidden" for the "private" use by the monks, but are marginalized publicly and considered as an embarrassment. Their lead in this direction has spread across modern Hinduism to such an extent that Vedic Hinduism has become separated from Tantra, and Tantra is now widely condemned by many Hindu gurus. This is also a factor that worked against Swami Nithyananda's reputation among orthodox Hindu leaders, for he uses Tantric techniques that arouse body energies, such as kundalini.
My own feeling is that Tantra is making a big comeback. First there was Western popularity of distorted versions of Tantra; but this is now being followed by more clinical experimentation by psychologists and others. The whole issue of latent human energies and potentials (both positive and dangerous) is a hot topic of serious scientific investigation. Hindus should reclaim this aspect of their own tradition rather than waiting for U-Turned (appropriated) versions to get re-exported back to India, packaged as "Made in USA" spiritual science. This requires an attitude of experimentation under the appropriate controls to prevent abuses and quackery.
I just returned from Kumbh Mela where I walked amidst several tens of thousands of naga sadhus who were completely naked. I did not consider them as either vulgar or primitive. The old guard of Hindu orthodoxy rejects Tantra at least in public, and yet lives in contradictions because they do respect the naga sadhus and also the various symbols and rituals that have their foundations in Tantra. The vacuum left by avoiding the subject of Tantra has created opportunities for the likes of Wendy Doniger to formulate distorted interpretations. I feel that Hindu spiritual practitioners as well as intellectuals must take back control over Tantra as an intrinsic part of our tradition.
Sex and Morality
Against this backdrop, I will address the issue of Swami Nithyananda's morality. Just to recap:
My first point above has been that the morality issue about Swami Nithyananda does not impact the effectiveness of the meditation techniques he has taught very successfully. Their efficacy is best evaluated by the tens of thousands of practitioners for themselves.
My second point was that there is nothing inherent about sex that is rejected by Hinduism across the board, although certain strains of Hinduism do reject sex seeing it as harmful to spirituality.
Here it must be noted that brahmacharya (involving sexual abstinence) is just one of the spiritual paths of Hinduism. The first half of my recent stay in Haridwar was as a guest of the Gayatri Pariwar, one of the greatest and largest Hindu movements, that does not advocate being brahmachari. Its founder, its present head and its members at large, are householders and not brahmacharis. But for Swami Nithyananda to claim moral authenticity under this system, he would have to pronounce himself as a householder and not a sannyasin. He has never done that, so we must examine his morality by some other criteria.
Another approach for him could have been to announce himself as an experimenter of Tantra for modern times, thereby making himself transparent of any such charges. This would place him in the same category as Osho. Many times in his public discourses and teachings, he has praised Osho as his greatest teacher and enlightened exemplar. He even said that many of his own teachings were derived from Osho. But he failed to publicly clarify whether he was practicing those techniques that involve sex. Privately, he explained to me in recent days that Shiva Sutras have two categories of techniques. Most of the sutras do not involve physical contact with another person and only use the four senses of sight, sound, taste and smell as pathways to spiritual experiences. Hence an individual practices these techniques entirely on his/her own. This path is what he has taught thus far to the public. The best pursuit of this path is as a brahamachari according to him, and he has initiated many followers into it. But for a small number of persons, he feels that the 6 sutras involving sexual Tantra need to be tested and perfected for modern times, before they can be safely taught more widely. This he considers to be like any R & D done in a lab for developing a product.
My sense is that he did practice Tantra with a very small number of persons, and I believe that he even entered into written legal contracts with them to make sure that both parties were clear about the arrangement. The reason for this "Non-Disclosure Agreement" was to make sure that someone who willingly approaches him for Tantra does not later accuse him of inappropriate physical contact. On March 9 (about a week ago), I did a specific video interview with him dealing with this issue very specifically. But this video was blocked by his ashram leaders even though he personally felt that it was a good idea to show it. I gave up arguing in favor of showing it, because his ashram management took a firm stand against it. I still feel that this was a blunder they made. Swami Nithyananda is very forthright and clear in that interview – I felt that it was the best interview of all the ones I did with him, but it was never made public.
I surmise that Ranjitha, the Tamil actress in the scandalous videotape, was practicing Tantra with him. He taught her the self-control she had to achieve before any intimacy. I have tried to interview her in order to get her side of the story, but so far I have not succeeded in getting through to her. Based on third party reports from some persons who are in touch with her, and the media reports of her statements, her stance seems to be along the following lines: She took the sexual initiative with him on the occasion shown in the videotape, at a time when he was not fully alert. But this activity did not proceed to intercourse. It was terminated. She has also said that the videos being shown on TV are manipulated versions of what actually happened, because they exaggerate the situation. They do not show portions where he asked her to stop. Different clips from various videos seem to have been turned into a single video by editing. She has not filed any complaint against him. So in the worst case, this was consensual sex between adults, and that too backed by a formal written contract between the parties. Because she has refused to give any statement against Swami Nithyananda, she feels threatened by those who set her up and who did this sting operation. I hear that she has gone overseas to protect her safety from this mafia-like conspiracy. I have not been able to corroborate this thesis directly from her.
My concern about his morality is, therefore, not based on sex between consenting adults. Rather, my moral issue is about the lack of transparency before the public. He could have openly said that he wants to select a few yoginis to experiment Tantra under mutual consent. At worst this would have upset many followers and pushed them away. In response to my concern over his lack of transparency, he could offer the argument that this was a private activity between adults who are under no obligation to disclose it to the public. After all, people do not go about broadcasting their sexual lives. So long as this was under mutual consent, he might say, it cannot be an offense. And if it was done under the Tantra portions of the Shiva Sutra, it was also an act within the Hindu tradition despite the controversy surrounding Tantra today.
Having given this best case argument on his behalf, I must say that there could also be the alternative scenario, namely, that this was mere lust packaged as Tantric spirituality. David White, one of Wendy's Children, has written extensively making the claim that all Tantra is "hard core porn" that gets wrapped up before the public in metaphysical mumbo-jumbo to appear to be legitimate spirituality, which he calls "soft porn" coating. White's latest book takes this allegation to the extreme, and states that all major yogic exemplars in Indian history were basically not engaged in any kind of spirituality at all. Instead, he claims, they were developing personal power for the purpose of exploiting others. I am unqualified to comment on whether Swami Nithyananda's case fits this notion of "soft porn," or whether it was legitimate Tantra. Nor do I have adequate factual data of what happened to pass judgment either way.
This concludes what I have to say about his morality issue as shown in the sex tapes.
My Impressions of Swami Nithyananda Prior to this Scandal
I was introduced to Swami Nithyananda a couple of years ago, by a prominent Hindu leader based in California. This man was so impressed by the young swami that he frequently called me to speak about him in glowing terms. I told him that I had a guru already, and that my present interest in interacting with gurus was mainly as a part of my research for my book on global gurus. He arranged a private meeting for me with Swami Nithyananda, which I used mostly to explain the civilization threats facing Hinduism, citing numerous examples, and questioned him on his position in this regard. I found him to be very sharp, a great listener, and in agreement that we must engage social issues rather than pursuing the "world negating" or "escapist" paths that are typical of many gurus today.
Later on, I attended a weekend course in USA where he taught the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. I have read several translations of this great classical work, but I had never before seen it taught experientially. Swami Nithyananda gave the attendees their own personal inner experience of every one of the eight limbs of Patanjali's system, right up to and including samadhi. This was quite an achievement in two days.
Overall, my interactions with him remained centered largely on the geopolitics of religions. I saw him as a prominent swami who was not running away from troubling issues, such as Christian conversions and the Dravidianization of Tamil identity. Given that I have been writing a book for three years (now in the editing stage) on this very issue as it exists in Tamil Nadu, I was especially impressed by his experimental program of a Hindu temple on wheels traveling from village to village. In each village this mobile temple stops and offers chanting, a talk by one of the leaders, food, medicines, etc. So it combines religion with social service and thus competes directly against Christian evangelism. Rather than building a temple in every village and needing a purohit in each of the thousands of villages across Tamil Nadu, the strategy was to bring to each village this "temple on wheels." What I discovered by my own independent fact-finding was that wherever this temple on wheels went, the missionaries were upset because it blunted their conversion efforts.
I attended his 21-day meditation program in December 2009. The various techniques in it are very deep and transformative. The best evaluation of this can be done by the hundreds of attendees, who were divided roughly equally between Indians and whites from North America.
In several side conversations with him as well in the public forum, I pursued the point that I already have a guru since 1994, so I was not looking for a new guru. Since my guru had left the body a few years ago, I wanted to continue learning new techniques for my practice. I explained to him that I had previously learned and practiced meditation techniques from multiple sources for over 30 years, including: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yogi Amrit Desai (who certified me as a teacher), Deepak Chopra, Vipassana, and more. Additionally, I had practiced numerous bhakti traditions, as well as formal Vedanta education from Swami Chinmayananda and Ramakrishna Mission. I went through a serious study of the writings by Sri Aurobindo, various Madhyamika Buddhist systems, Kashmir Shaivism, Ramana Maharshi, etc. So I was not seeking a new guru like most others who took his courses.
I have to say that he never pressured me to adopt him as my new guru, and even said that one must remain loyal to one's guru. To be classified as a devotee/disciple of his, there are two criteria, neither of which applies to me. First, there is an optional program one can sign up for, to do "paada puja" at the guru's feet, in order to develop a special link with him. The second is that one can ask to be given an initiation with a new name, in which case his policy is that the person must legally change his/her name, and use this new name publicly. I did not do either of these steps. So my relationship is not as a devotee or disciple, but more arms-length.
It was a two-way street. While he taught me meditation, I brought to him my scholarship on the geopolitical positioning of Hinduism which I feel the gurus know only superficially. They do not adequately know things like: Western philosophy, neither of the religious nor the secular variety; or Western history; or Western institutions that have been set up explicitly to spread its civilization; or various global campaigns under way to invade Indian civilization through conversions, education, media, political policymaking and more.
He requested that I should present him my findings on such matters so that he and his senior acharyas could learn. I told him that most gurus have little time to listen attentively to a layperson like me, because the gurus like to do all the talking. He replied that he would sit and listen to me seriously. I made it clear that I was disinterested in giving a short talk of a few minutes, because my findings required considerable time to be examined seriously. I told him that I would need two full days of undivided attention, so that I could present 300 Powerpoint slides.
Swami Nithyananda sent me an invitation when I was in Delhi to visit his ashram and present my research. I was delighted to have such an important audience. I was very impressed by the fact that he sat through two long days of my talks, about 12 hours per day. He asked his 40 top acharyas and various thought leaders in his ashram to sit and listen to me for both the days. The interactions were intense, and I explained many points from my forthcoming books. I felt that he and I had a peer relationship, each side being an expert in his domain to teach the other. After my two days of talks were over, he asked me to help him incorporate my core ideas into his curriculum, so as to make sure that his teachings helped position the Vedic civilization properly.
No other guru in the world has invested so much time with me to try and learn these global issues so deeply. (The only other prominent guru I know personally who understands these issues about the external challenges is Swami Dayananda Saraswati.) Most gurus tend to either be dismissive by resorting to spiritual loftiness, or imagine that they already know whatever there is worth knowing. Thus, my primary interest in Swami Nithyananda was as a vehicle to spread greater awareness of the kinds of issues that I was researching. (For instance, he bought a couple of hundred copies of the book, "Invading the Sacred" at the full price, and made it required reading for all his ashram residents.)
I must balance this praise with criticism. In my 2-day talks, I had explicitly discussed that many gurus were falling prey to sex scandals, often with women planted as part of sting operations, or women in the inner circle who got too close and let things get out of control. Despite these warnings, it seems that nothing concrete was done to prevent or at least anticipate the crisis that was to follow.
My Approach to this Investigation
When the scandal broke out I was in Delhi. I called the Bangalore ashram management and found them confident but confused. Probably they felt that the matter would soon get forgotten if left alone. But exactly the opposite happened, as each day brought fresh allegations and sensational media coverage. After several days had passed I was invited to go to Bangalore to study the situation for myself. At that time I had no clue about his Tantra practice with any women. Whatever I knew was based on what his followers told me, because he was personally inaccessible for several days even after I reached Bangalore. I spent many hours daily with some of his ashram's top team.
What I wrote earlier in this article actually comes later in the chronology of my investigation. But I presented it up front because most readers are obsessed with getting my answer to only one single question: did he or did he not have sex? Nothing else seems to matter to them, whereas my investigation's emphasis has been about issues broader and more consequential than any one man's morality.
Until I concluded my fact-finding 2-week period recently, I was unable to discuss the sexual acts shown in the videotapes. I had to respect the policies of his people as part of the trust being placed in me to gain access. They also needed legal clearance on what can and cannot be said by them. Their policy on the sex tapes was that Swami Nithyananda would directly explain his acts. The Tamil actress' lawyer was also in contact with them and her sensitivities had to be respected. The sensitivities of the 140-strong ashramites had to be protected also. Given this set of circumstances facing me, I feel that it was unfair to demand that I should hound him with the one critical question. People have assumed that it was up to me to decide what would be within the scope of each interview. As I have mentioned earlier, even after certain interviews were recorded by me, the ashram leadership used its discretion not to air them.
In response to my critics on how I conducted my interviews, I would also like to explain why I chose to focus on the criminal charges being made against Swami Nithyananda. Besides the sex-tape being off limits as mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, the criminal charges became my focus for two reasons. These charges could be ascertained with objectivity – such as asking for documents on the land ownership, the medical reports on the death of one meditation participant 2 years ago, and so forth. The evidence was more clear-cut than the evidence on what exactly happened in the videotapes between two persons none of whom were willing to talk with me about it. Secondly, the consequences of criminality would be far more severe than mere moral fallibility. While immoral conduct is a big concern for the devotees, it is not enough grounds by itself for the state to confiscate the entire property that runs into very large sums of money. Also, as a matter of principle, regardless of whether or not he is guilty of the morality charge, I felt opposed to spurious criminal charges being piled up by the irresponsible media just to create sensationalism.
The Conspiracy against Swami Nithyananda
Since I had arrived at the scene while writing my book on the conspiracy in Tamil Nadu religious politics, it was natural to start with that as my emphasis for the investigation. But in this short article I have decided to focus on the matters surrounding his conduct and his organization's conduct, because these have assumed a more urgent nature. The details of the conspiracy belong in my book as corroborating evidence for my thesis there. The types of parties reported to be behind the conspiracy, both foreign and India based, were remarkably similar to the ones I have written about in the book. So for now I shall merely summarize some of the main points concerning this conspiracy.
First one must understand why Swami Nithyananda became such a target. He was virtually unknown 7 years ago, but once he appeared in public his popularity catapulted at a dramatic rate. For example, last year, YouTube wrote to him that he was the most watched of all Indian spiritual leaders on the Internet and proposed a closer collaboration for their viewers. This letter also stated that among all spiritual leaders worldwide (not just Indian) he was the second most popular one, the Vatican being first. His meditation programs have become very popular in USA and in certain Indian states. The main factors are that participants almost invariably report experiencing higher states of consciousness, and he has healed a large number of persons of a variety of diseases. His healing powers are what brought together his core inner group of devotees from around the world – doctors, businessmen, IT professionals, corporate executives. Many of them have explained their personal healings from terminal illnesses as the turning point in their lives. His meditation programs sometimes bring up to a few thousand attendees for periods ranging from a few days to several weeks.
While the funds come mostly from upper strata participants in India and USA, a large portion of the expenses have been allocated to develop grass-roots social and spiritual programs focusing primarily in Tamil Nadu, his native state. This is where he is seen as a threat by Dravidian as well as Christian forces. For instance, in December 2009, about 600 villages across Tamil Nadu sent their local "Nithyananda leaders" for a celebration and planning session in his main ashram near Bangalore. I happened to be present for the event. These common folks, mostly from the lower strata of Tamil society, had walked 300 kilometers for this journey, which they saw as a spiritual pilgrimage. The reason for the anger of Christian and Dravidian forces is that his activities have put a dampener to conversions in many districts, and several Christians have returned to Hinduism by getting initiated formally into his organization. The swami himself has spoken against conversions, and has also stated that the Dravidian movement had made Tamil people unspiritual in their lives, and that this had caused social decay. His Tamil language publications and courses have become his most popular ones, far exceeding the numbers in English. Also he is a very big threat because he is not a Brahmin. Because he cannot be targeted using the classic attack strategies used on Brahmins, and because the masses in Tamil Nadu were rising to swell his ranks, the threat he posed to the existing political power structure had to be stopped one way or another.
The attack against Swami Nithyananda has consisted of two prongs, destroying his image and alleging legal misdeeds. At first a highly sensational sexual charge was broadcast in order to devastate his credibility and create an atmosphere in which any and all kinds of outlandish allegations would be taken at face value. Once the media and popular sentiments had been turned against him, there was one amazing allegation after another in rapid sequence. It was clear that none of this was spontaneous but was being centrally orchestrated under a systematic plan.
What became evident to me was that there was "cooperation" in informal and unofficial ways among the media, police and lower level judiciary. In fact, many third parties were aware of the attack in advance and had warned his people before it happened with specific details of the plan. For instance, one of his top devotees got a phone call from someone based in New York describing the media and police attack that was to come. His predictions turned out to be accurate but at that time the ashramites did not take the threat literally. He said that for the right sum of money he could be helpful in preventing such an attack. He claimed that the planning for this attack had started a year ago. He mentioned that a budget of Rs 200 crores was allocated by some overseas groups to demolish Hindu gurus especially in south India, and named two south Indian churches as the nodal agencies to coordinate this strategic plan. (I am presently pursuing these leads as part of my book investigation.)
There was another concrete extortion effort about eleven or twelve days prior to the scandal breaking out. A lawyer contacted them and claimed that his client had compromising videos, and that the client was seeking money or else they would get released. The same intermediary later sent a letter containing a variety of unsubstantiated criminal allegations against Swami Nithyananda, and this letter's distribution list included India's Prime Minister, President, Sonya Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, various Chief Ministers and police heads, various national criminal investigation and security organizations. I have a copy of this letter, and it makes the Nithyananda organization seem like a terrorist outfit that needs to be attacked for the sake of public safety. This letter along with a DVD of the sex video was delivered to the Chief Minister of Karnataka state two hours before the videotape was first aired. Clearly, the attack was well planned and executed across many locations, and was persistently carried out over several days. This is not the work of some isolated individuals.
There were warnings given to individuals in the ashram that their phones were being tapped and that they better leave to save their own lives, because something horrible was about to happen. One friendly man based in Pune who runs a magazine and is a devotee of Swami Nithyananda, told the ashram a week in advance of the attack that some such catastrophe would happen. He named his source as a man in the Bangalore Press Club. Another publisher in Hyderabad who distributes Swami Nithyananda's books in Telugu, called three times to warn that a graphic video would be released and gave a precise time for this to happen. It was also reported that an American devotee who had fallen out of the ashram was working in association with one Jody Razdik who specializes in guru bashing at a prominent web site. He was being helped by an Indian based in San Diego, who was once very deeply involved inside the Nithyananda organization but had turned malicious. The only man who has openly come out as the main accuser was an ashramite who had a falling out when he got demoted due to his conduct. It was recently reported that he had a prior criminal record against him but nobody in the ashram had checked out his background before admitting him.
There were constant threats received to harass the ashramites and scare them away, with claims that "narcotics will be planted to cause arrest warrants." The actions by the police were being leaked to the media ahead of time and even to the opposing side, leading to numerous "tips" received by "friends" asking the ashram dwellers to run away before "the attack comes."
But even after a couple of weeks since the scandal has erupted, the lawyers for Swami Nithyananda's ashram have failed to get copies of any concrete charges filed with the police, except a few trivial ones. Each time they approach for specific details they are told that there is no formal charge, except relatively minor ones. So the intimidation has been carried out mainly through media reports, without any legal due process starting where facts and arguments could get cross-examined. This lack of formal charges has enabled an atmosphere of intimidation using rumors and threats that cannot be pinned down officially.
It is important to contrast this with the manner in which Indian media treats scandals facing Islamic or Christian groups. The numerous scandals occurring overseas often get blocked by Indian media entirely, or are given mild treatment with tremendous sensitivity, in order to be seen as "secular" and not "communal." By contrast every kind of allegation against any Hindu group gets clubbed in one homogeneous category and treated as a social scourge equivalent to terror groups.
The media's hounding mentality and mafia tactics deserve to be condemned. In the Swami Nithyananda case, they have used carrots and sticks to lure and threaten, using whatever would get them more sensational footage. Several TV stations and journalists camped out in Haridwar and sent me emails requesting my help in arranging an interview. When I failed to deliver (because it was not up to me to deliver any such thing), some of them turned nasty against me. One TV woman promised the swami's people "positive" coverage if she got an exclusive. But after the interview, she betrayed them and turned it into more distortion and smut. This led Swami Nithyananda's handlers to give interviews to more stations in order to counteract this distortion. But the more they said before TV cameras, the worse the scandal became. One station was blatant in its threat to the swami's assistant: "If you don't give us an interview right away, we will show you the power of the media to destroy you." At one point a major TV station also wanted to drag in Ramakrishna Mission with similar allegations, but someone was able to stop that.
Failures of Swami Nithyananda's Organization
Hindu tradition separates three kinds of Varna (skills), each representing a form of social capital, and these three were never supposed to be concentrated in a single person, thereby preventing too much concentration of power. I use the terms Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya not as birth based "caste," but as merit based social capital and areas of competence. The Brahmin job description focuses on spirituality and research; Kshatriya on governance, politics and leadership; and Vaishyas on commerce and financial capital. Swami Nithyananda had persons with Brahmin qualities performing duties that demand Kshatriya and Vaishya skills. This was counterproductive. The ashram leaders were selected and trained for skills and roles that are very different than this situation demands. Too often their bhakti and spiritual practice substituted for professional competence in managing a rapidly growing global enterprise. The sole emphasis was placed on traditional Brahmin qualities, and none on what would be considered Kshatriya qualities.
For example, there are a large number of white devotees who do have Kshatriyata - leadership expertise, courage and commitment. But even after this attack the ashram organization has blundered in its failure to leverage and deploy them. I met some of these Westerners at the Kumbh and found them remarkably willing to stand up for their guru, but nobody had bothered to organize them and take advantage of the fact that Swami Nithyananda has a global following. Instead of such initiatives to deal with the crisis, his organization was in utter chaos, reacting to each "hit" by the other side. Its leaders were running scared, driven by one rumor after another. Decisions were being made in desperation and panic. The group was cognitively disoriented and many of its members were psychologically breaking down.
The organization was too much of a one-man show with the leaders operating like children dependent on the swami for every decision. The swami had become the iconic object of the ashram's inner circle. Their proximity to him became their measure of personal power and identity. This is classical cult-like behavior that cannot survive the onslaughts that are inevitable nowadays. Such a concentration of all varnas into one man not only makes an enterprise incompetent, but it also can also get to the leader's head and make him power hungry. Especially when the guru has siddhis, this power can easily become co-opted by his ego into a dangerous mixture. The result is that he surrounds himself with sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear, and this feedback loop of self glorification turns into group delusion.
I noticed this in the form of the inner circle's inability to make common sense judgments, and their misrepresenting the facts to their leader by giving him too much "good news." The result was that the honest truth did not come out fast enough to allow pragmatic and realistic planning. I had a difficult time to get dependable information, and the stories kept changing not only over time but also between one person and another within the group. I could not tell if there was a cover up and if new lies were fabricated to cover prior lies. In such an atmosphere one cannot tell which individuals might have a separate stake and vested interest from the group. Lacking competent Kshatriyas, the swami had not anticipated that such a crisis was ever possible, despite the fact that outsiders (including myself in my 2-day talks at his ashram) had explained to them the threats facing every prominent Hindu mahatma today.
While on the one hand I blame those in positions of responsibility at the ashram, ultimately Swami Nithyananda bears the responsibility as he selected them, defined their roles, evaluated their performance, motivated and supervised them very closely. In this regard, his spiritual capabilities had failed to evaluate those very close to him as well as the external reality. An enlightened master must do better than this, or else he must not try to control everything so personally.
I acknowledge that being a global guru is very demanding today, given that one has to represent a very old tradition authentically and yet in a manner that appeals to modern people. This is why Hindu leaders need a crash course on matters that are well beyond the traditional education in their own sampradayas (lineages).
Swami Nithyananda's own support base in India has started to distance itself out of self preservation amidst all the rumors and slander. His closest supporters were not approached soon enough with his side of the story, and by the time they were approached the damage to his credibility was already irreversible. They did not want to risk being associated with a "fallen guru." Many Hindu gurus have started to publicly lash out against the "fallen godman"; others became silent or neutral publicly, while offering private sympathy but refusing to stick their necks out.
One factor is that the swami's approach was too conservative for some and too liberal for others. It is too filled with deities, symbols and rituals of a very orthodox kind for the aesthetic taste of modern global gurus who propagate a whitened, Westernized "clean" Hinduism that is abstract and metaphysical but devoid of imagery associated with "primitive paganism." At the other end of the spectrum are orthodox Hindu leaders who find his idea of youthful dancing, celebration, and liberal atmosphere to be not "real" Hinduism. A couple of shankaracharyas interviewed on NDTV lashed out against "false" gurus and claimed that only the shankaracharyas had the authority to certify who was qualified to be a guru. So Swami Nithyananda fits neither end of this spectrum.
Many of the gurus I met have told me in confidence that they fear that similar attacks are coming to more Hindu gurus, but that there is no central Hindu mechanism to deal with these episodes along the lines of various Church mechanisms that intervene when Christianity faces a scandal. I sent feelers to the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha as to whether it should offer to step in and take over the ashram and its related organizations, thereby bringing new management to clean up matters and bring stability to the enterprise. I was told that while this was a "good idea in principle," it was not practical because HDAS is simply not set up to deal with this.
The Way Forward
My overriding concern throughout this investigation has been to find a way to do damage control in order to protect the broader interests of dharma. This requires a pragmatic approach. Given the state of affairs, it seems that the mess cannot be created without the swami leaving the movement and going into a strictly private life of meditation and self inquiry. I worry for the young ashramites who I feel are amazing individuals but in need of proper mentoring. They have a solid commitment to the cause and their personal spiritual paths, but they lack the sophistication and maturity to deal with what they face today.
Swami Nithyananda should resign immediately and hand over all his organizations to senior spiritual masters, preferably Shaivites practicing the Shiva Sutras and related traditions. He told me in an interview hat I recorded on March 9th that he was willing to leave everything and become a wandering sadhu again. I wish that interview had been aired.
The new spiritual leaders would give the ashram a new life and chance to revive itself. It could either remain a place for spiritual training or turn itself into a Hindu social service organization. Either way it would be a better outcome than the likely alternative of the government stepping in to take over the ashram and turn it over to administrators who are not positively disposed to Hindu spirituality – as has happened in numerous similar cases of government takeovers of Hindu temples and organizations despite government claims of its actions being "secular".
Besides giving up the organization, Swami Nithyananda should return to his personal sadhana under the guidance of these spiritual leaders. Let them evaluate him and his organization, and issue their independent report to the public. Swami Nithyananda should fearlessly and humbly submit himself to their judgment of what happened and what the remedies ought to be.
Hinduism has survived for many millennia and faced many kinds of crises, just like all the other major religions of the world. It has its own internal resources and mechanisms to deal with such situations. These need to be put to use and they need to become modernized. This is not the last such scandal Hindu groups are going to face in the near future.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Hi I was hearing the news of riots in Bangalore and Karnataka following the publication of an article on Burkha by Taslima Nasreen and I was searching all over the internet to find a piece of the original article?
My first question to all the people who are doing all this mischief just because an article got published? Have you seen the original copy of the article before launching your protests? This shows how intolerant and inhuman our society has become, just because someone wrote an article in a daily we have people taking to the streets and disrupting the human life !
Anyways here is the copy of this article.
“My mother used purdah. She wore a burqa with a net cover in front of the face. It reminded me of the meatsafes in my grandmother's house. One had a net door made of cloth, the other of metal. But the objective was the same: keeping the meat safe. My mother was put under a burqa by her conservative family. They told her that wearing a burqa would mean obeying Allah.
Women too have sexual urges. So why didn't Allah start the purdah for men? Clearly, He treated them on unequal terms.
And if you obey Allah, He would be happy with you and not let you burn in hellfire. My mother was afraid of Allah and also of her own father. He would threaten her with grave consequences if she didn't wear the burqa. She was also afraid of the men in the neighbourhood, who could have shamed her. Even her husband was a source of fear, for he could do anything to her if she disobeyed him.
As a young girl, I used to nag her: Ma, don't you suffocate in this veil? Don't you feel all dark inside? Don't you feel breathless? Don't you feel angry? Don't you ever feel like throwing it off? My mother kept mum. She couldn't do anything about it. But I did. When I was sixteen, I was presented a burqa by one of my relatives. I threw it away.
The custom of purdah is not new. It dates back to 300 BC. The women of aristocratic Assyrian families used purdah. Ordinary women and prostitutes were not allowed purdah. In the middle ages, even Anglo-Saxon women used to cover their hair and chin and hide their faces behind a cloth or similar object. This purdah system was obviously not religious. The religious purdah is used by Catholic nuns and Mormons, though for the latter only during religious ceremonies and rituals. For Muslim women, however, such religious purdah is not limited to specific rituals but mandatory for their daily life outside the purview of religion.
A couple of months ago, at the height of the purdah controversy, Shabana Azmi asserted that the Quran doesn't say anything about wearing the burqa. She's mistaken. This is what the Quran says:
"Tell the faithful women that they must keep their gaze focused below/on the ground and cover their sexual organs. They must not put their beauty and their jewellery on display. They must hide their breasts behind a purdah. They must not exhibit their beauty to anybody except their husbands, brothers, nephews, womenfolk, servants, eunuch employees and children. They must not move their legs briskly while walking because then much of their bodies can get exposed." (Sura Al Noor 24:31)
"Oh nabi, please tell your wives and daughters and faithful women to wear a covering dress on their bodies. That would be good. Then nobody can recognise them and harrass them. Allah is merciful and kind." (Sura Al Hijaab 33: 59)
Even the Hadis --a collection of the words of Prophet Mohammed, his opinion on various subjects and also about his work, written by those close to him-- talks extensively of the purdah for women. Women must cover their whole body before going out, they should not go before unknown men, they should not go to the mosque to read the namaaz, they should not go for any funeral.
There are many views on why and how the Islamic purdah started. One view has it that Prophet Mohammed became very poor after spending all the wealth of his first wife. At that time, in Arabia, the poor had to go to the open desert and plains for relieving themselves and even their sexual needs. The Prophet's wives too had to do the same. He had told his wives that "I give you permission to go out and carry out your natural work". (Bukhari Hadis first volume book 4 No. 149). And this is what his wives started doing accordingly. One day, Prophet Mohammed's disciple Uman complained to him that these women were very uncomfortable because they were instantly recognisable while relieving themselves. Umar proposed a cover but Prophet Mohammed ignored it. Then the Prophet asked Allah for advice and he laid down the Ayat (33:59) (Bukhari Hadis Book 026 No. 5397).
This is the history of the purdah, according to the Hadis. But the question is: since Arab men too relieved themselves in the open, why didn't Allah start the purdah for men? Clearly, Allah doesn't treat men and women as equals, else there would be purdah for both! Men are higher than women. So women have to be made walking prisons and men can remain free birds.
Another view is that the purdah was introduced to separate women from servants. This originates from stories in the Hadis. One story in the Bukhari Hadis goes thus: After winning the Khyber War, Prophet Mohammed took over all the properties of the enemy, including their women. One of these women was called Safia. One of the Prophet's disciples sought to know her status. He replied: "If tomorrow you see that Safia is going around covered, under purdah, then she is going to be a wife. If you see her uncovered, that means I've decided to make her my servant."
The third view comes from this story. Prophet Mohammed's wife Ayesha was very beautiful. His friends were often found staring at her with fascination. This clearly upset the Prophet. So the Quran has an Ayat that says, "Oh friends of the prophet or holy men, never go to your friend's house without an invitation. And if you do go, don't go and ask anything of their wives". It is to resist the greedy eyes of friends, disciples or male guests that the purdah system came into being. First it was applicable to only the wives of the holy men, and later it was extended to all Muslim women. Purdah means covering the entire body except for the eyes, wrist and feet. Nowadays, some women practise the purdah by only covering their hair. That is not what is written in the Hadis Quran. Frankly, covering just the hair is not Islamic purdah in the strict sense.
In the early Islamic period, Prophet Mohammed started the practice of covering the feet of women. Within 100 years of his death, purdah spread across the entire Middle East. Women were covered by an extra layer of clothing. They were forbidden to go out of the house, or in front of unknown men. Their lives were hemmed into a tight regime: stay at home, cook, clean the house, bear children and bring them up. In this way, one section of the people was separated by purdah, quarantined and covered.
Why are women covered? Because they are sex objects. Because when men see them, they are roused. Why should women have to be penalised for men's sexual problems? Even women have sexual urges. But men are not covered for that. In no religion formulated by men are women considered to have a separate existence, or as human beings having desires and opinions separate from men's. The purdah rules humiliate not only women but men too. If women walk about without purdah, it's as if men will look at them with lustful eyes, or pounce on them, or rape them. Do they lose all their senses when they see any woman without burqa?
My question to Shabana and her supporters, who argue that the Quran says nothing about purdah is: If the Quran advises women to use purdah, should they do so? My answer is, No. Irrespective of which book says it, which person advises, whoever commands, women should not have purdah. No veil, no chador, no hijab, no burqa, no headscarf. Women should not use any of these things because all these are instruments of disrespect. These are symbols of women's oppression. Through them, women are told that they are but the property of men, objects for their use. These coverings are used to keep women passive and submissive. Women are told to wear them so that they cannot exist with their self-respect, honour, confidence, separate identity, own opinion and ideals intact. So that they cannot stand on their own two feet and live with their head held high and their spine strong and erect.
Some 1,500 years ago, it was decided for an individual's personal reasons that women should have purdah and since then millions of Muslim women all over the world have had to suffer it. So many old customs have died a natural death, but not purdah. Instead, of late, there has been a mad craze to revive it. Covering a woman's head means covering her brain and ensuring that it doesn't work. If women's brains worked properly, they'd have long ago thrown off these veils and burqas imposed on them by a religious and patriarchal regime.
What should women do? They should protest against this discrimination. They should proclaim a war against the wrongs and ill-treatment meted out to them for hundreds of years. They should snatch from the men their freedom and their rights. They should throw away this apparel of discrimination and burn their burqas.”
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I have got a good audience to this topic. I realized that when I looked at the statistics for this blog via Google analytics.
I was pondering over the reasons why people wanted to read about sublimation and it comes to my mind that worldwide there is an increased desire to curb lust. Lust has been man’s enemy since ages. Even in the story of Adam and Eve its the lust which brings them down from heaven to earth. Semen is nothing but the universal power of creation. When it is wasted through our futile exercises we lose that energy and sublimation is the way to redirect that highly potent energy to a different path. The path could art, philosophy, sculpture, anything any topic in the world and when it is done it produces wonders. All the great men of this world have channelized that energy.
Here are some of the important points to remember.
1. Remove the idea that sex is evil. In India we never had the theme or philosophy that sex is evil. But also remember that anything that is more than what is required is as equal as poison. Its like the venom of the snake. When the venom gets injected into ones body it acts as poison and same venom is used to remove it becomes a life saving tool.
2. Accept the reality that sex is not something that can be controlled in some countable days. It takes long amount of practice and dedication to control that energy as its the universal creative energy.
3. If you are not able to avoid doing it, do it with full heart. Spirituality is not the place for people who are sad its the place of joy. So do anything with joy and in the days to come you will notice that it disappears from you.
4. The root cause of this is desire. Desire can be removed only through 2 ways. Fulfilling it or using knowledge and reason removing it. The latter is suitable for people who are used to the knowledge and reasoning capabilities. The former class of people need to fulfill the desire to remove it. You will notice that any desire that you have once its fulfilled it does not exist in the mind.
I will be posting more and continuing. Do post your comments and feedbacks !!!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Today I am writing this piece of writing to start a new era in my life. To start fighting against lust. Lust has made a dominant area in my mind even without my knowledge. From a small denomination it has grown today like a full fledged tree.
Although its something natural and bound to happen I cannot lose in my struggle against it . Time has come for me to conquer it.
Following are the techniques for my practice.
Again these are my personal experiences and techniques. Like all medicines are not for all patients some of them are for some patients this is my medicine and extremely personalized.
1. Gayatri Japa and Sandhyavandana
Going to start with both for a period of 41 days and then going to check my progress. That is the first process to purify the mind and allow energy inflow into it.
This will help me in reduce loosing veerya or semen in the next 41 days and I will become more energized and take my struggle to a next level. Will post the results as soon as I find any !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Questions and Answers fro my Parama Guru Swami Sivananda on the topic.
Question: Observance of Brahmacharya [restraint and transformation of sexual energy] would appear to be meaningless, because scientists, through laboratory tests, have proved that semen cannot be reabsorbed into the system and that the brain has nothing to do with semen.
Swami Sivananda: Semen is a mysterious secretion that is able to create a living body. Semen itself is living substance. It is life itself. Therefore, when it leaves man, it takes a portion of his own life. A living thing cannot be put to laboratory tests, without first killing it. The scientist has no apparatus to test it. God has provided the only test to prove its precious nature, viz., the womb. The very fact that semen is able to create life is proof enough that it is life itself. I have thousands of letters from young men who have wasted this precious fluid and are in a miserable plight. Several young men even go to the point of committing suicide! Through reckless waste of semen, they lose all their physical, mental and intellectual faculties. Those who are perfect Brahmacharins have lustrous eyes, a healthy body and mind, and a keen, piercing intellect.
Scientists with their test tubes and balances cannot approach subtle things. No amount of dissection of the body will be able to tell you where the soul is, where life is, or where the mind is. Through the practice of Yoga, the seminal energy - not the gross physical semen - flows upwards and enriches the mind. This has been declared by the sages. You will have to experience it yourself.
Question: Would you kindly suggest some effective methods for conversion and sublimation of the sexual energy into spiritual energy or Ojas?
Swami Sivananda: Observe strict continence in thought, word and deed. Give up thinking useless and vain thoughts. Keep balance of mind in all conditions and circumstances, contemplating the Divine. Practice [the preliminary yogic postures of] Sirshasan, Sarvangasan and Oordhva Padmasan, besides Viparitakarani Mudra. Preserve the energy by constantly repeating the Name of the Lord, doing intense Japa [mantra repetition] and meditation, and study of the [scriptures] Gita, the Bhagavata, the Ramayana and the like. Develop Viveka [discrimination], Vairagya [dispassion] and Vichara [reflection]. As dispassion increases, so is the vital energy not allowed to leak out. The greater the Vairagya (non-attachment to worldly objects) the more secure will be the semen. The more the preservation of semen, the greater will be the transmutation into Ojas [spiritual energy] which means abundant physical, mental, moral and spiritual strength and quick evolution. Pranayam[breathing exercises] helps a lot in gaining control over the physical machinery and the mind. To have control over the mind means to have control over the Prana Sakti [energy] and prevent Veerya [semen] from being let out. To have control over this masculine power means to have abundant Ojas which enables the aspirant to glow spiritually. Intense Sadhana [practice], with the desires reduced to the barest minimum, will sublimate the sexual energy into spiritual energy. For further information, go through my book "Practice of Brahmacharya." It gives exhaustive details regarding the subject in question.
Question: Why has God created young beautiful women? There must be some sense in His creation. We should enjoy them and procreate as many as possible. We should keep up the progeny of the line. If all people become Sannyasins and go to forests, what will become of this world?
Swami Sivananda: These beautiful women and wealth are the instruments of Maya to delude you and entrap you into the nets. If you wish to remain always as a worldly man with low thoughts, debasing desires, you can by all means do so. You are at perfect liberty. You can marry three hundred and fifty wives and procreate as many children. Nobody can check you. But you will soon find that this world cannot give you the satisfaction you want, because all objects are conditioned in time, space and causation. There are death, disease, old age, cares, worries and anxieties, fear, loss, disappointment, failure, heat, cold, snake-bites, scorpion-stings, abuse, earthquakes, accidents, etc. You cannot at all find rest of mind even for a single second. As your mind is filled with passion and impurity, your understanding is clouded and your intellect is perverted now. You are not able to understand the illusory nature of the universe and the everlasting bliss of Atma [the Innermost Self].
Passion can be effectively checked. There are potent methods. After checking passion, you will enjoy real bliss from within— from Atma.
All men cannot become Sannyasins [serious spiritual practitioners]. They have various ties and attachments. They are passionate and cannot, therefore, leave the world. They are pinned to their wives, children and property. Your proposition is wholly wrong. It is Asambhava, impossible. Have you ever heard in the annals of the world’s history that this world had become vacant as all men had become Sannyasins? Then, why do you bring in this absurd proposition? This is an ingenious trick of your mind to support your foolish arguments and Satanic philosophy which has passion and sexual gratification as its important tenets. Do not talk like this in future. This exposes your foolishness and passion-nature. Do not bother yourself about this world. Mind your own business. God is all-powerful. Even if this world is completely evacuated when all people retire to forests, God will immediately create crores of people by mere willing, within the twinkling of an eye. This is not your look-out. Find out methods to eradicate your passion.
Question: Are the senses meant to be starved and destroyed? The ascetic ideal says so. The Greek ideal, however, is moderate enjoyment of life. Most of the Western thinkers of the rationalistic type accept this. Modern psychologists assert that by denying or refusing the needs of the body such as food and sex and suppressing emotions like attachment and love, people generally create mental problems for themselves. Is there any substance in this?
Swami Sivananda: No; the senses have not been given only to be starved or killed. Neither are they given for being indulged in and fattened. In truth, the senses are not given for any earthly purpose whatsoever. That is the highest view that the sages uphold for spiritual aspirants. The senses are given for being utilized consciously and deliberately for the attainment of something altogether above and beyond the farthest reach of the senses. To understand the right import and significance of self-restraint, one must take a more comprehensive view of the question.
In the human being, these senses are given together with the superior, directive faculty of intelligence with its aspects such as discrimination, selection, etc. The senses are to operate under its wise supervision. The aim is not the ultimate denial of the senses, but the achievement through restraint, of a pleasure a million fold greater than that achieved through gratification. When one realizes this fact, he will understand, how, with the Yogic aspirant, this self-restraint is not a matter of bitterness or reluctant, unwilling repression at all. Understood in its correct light, it is a joyous, voluntary discipline undertaken for the acquisition of an infinitely greater and more blissful experience. Does the angler ever grudge the loss of the worm cast for catching a big fish?
Moreover, the rationale of asceticism is not rightly understood by most people. The ideal of asceticism and penance is not based upon repression. Conservation and sublimation are the principles underlying asceticism rightly practiced. The true ascetic withholds, diverts, canalizes and finally transmutes his natural propensities. The untoward repercussions of forced repression such as complex, neurosis, etc., have no place here. No doubt, modern psychologists are correct in their view about repression, but one must know that it does not apply to religious asceticism, wherein the process is sublimation and not just repression; and it must always be remembered that asceticism is a part of Yoga which provides such a marvelous system of mental training and culture that most effectively counteracts and wards off any possibility of neurotic complexes or obsessions.
It is, however, true that asceticism is very much misunderstood by the majority of persons, and unfortunately by the ascetics themselves, as a result of which we hardly come across a real ascetic in the aspirant world.
Yoga recommends a proper utilization of the tremendous faculties of undissipated senses for higher purposes of inner culture, social welfare, inventions, scientific progress, and finally, intuition. The senses are to be sublimated through restraint applied through reason and intelligent judgement. Their unlimited potentialities are to be harnessed for the greater good and not allowed to be most shamelessly dissipated for a momentary pleasure, unintelligent and animalistic. Viewed from this angle, the aspirant is asked not to starve and destroy the senses, but really to strengthen them and utilize them for his good. Dissipation, on the contrary, actually causes destruction of the senses.
The Greek ideal was enunciated as a general philosophy of life for the average humanity. Asceticism, as understood by the sages, is a distinctive discipline specially incumbent upon that class which would walk the spiritual way, the aspirant class dedicated to the goal of Self-realization. This class is vividly aware that the conception of "moderate enjoyment of life" is a conception alone and is well-nigh impossible to put into actual practice. For, the very nature of enjoyment is such that it tends to progressively increase in force each time the senses are indulged in. The habit gets man in its grip and draws him down. This has been the uniform experience of the sages. Therefore, at one stage or the other, a rigid religious self-control and denial becomes imperative in the march to spiritual progress.
The rank materialist may not care for it, but the seeker does. The seeker is marked out for a special achievement. You know how an ultra-modern acrobat, a ballet dancer or an expert boxer willingly imposes a rigid regimen upon himself to keep perfectly trim and healthy for his professional success. Mark the denials and restrictions during the training period of any serious candidate trying for a championship in athletics! His keen zest and enthusiasm serve to keep his mind in a high mood of inspiration and anticipation. What, then, should be the interest and aspiration in true asceticism undertaken as a part of the training for an infinitely greater achievement in the spiritual path?
Question: How can I find out if I have got Chitta Suddhi [purity of the whole mind and heart] or not?
Swami Sivananda: Sexual thoughts, worldly desires, unholy ideas, sexual Vasanas, anger, vanity, hypocrisy, egoism, greed, jealousy, etc. will not arise in your mind if you have Chitta Suddhi. You will have no attraction for sensual objects. You will have sustained and lasting Vairagya. Even in dreams you will not entertain evil thoughts. You will possess all the virtuous divine qualities such as mercy, cosmic love, forgiveness, harmony and balance of mind. These are the signs to indicate that you have attained Chitta Suddhi.
Question: The Hindus worship the phallus or the sex organ. They are ignorant people. They have no philosophy.
Swami Sivananda: This is the sarcastic statement of a curious, passionate, impure foreigner of little understanding or intelligence. When a foreigner tries to learn the Tamil or the Hindustani language, he first tries to pick up some vulgar words. This is his curiosity nature. Even so, the curious foreigner tries to find out some defects in the worship of symbols. The Linga is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Siva.
Linga means ‘mark’ in Sanskrit. It is a symbol which points to an inference. When you see a big flood in a river, you infer that there must have been heavy rains the previous day. When you see smoke, you infer that there must be fire. This vast world of countless forms is a Linga of the omnipotent Lord. The Siva Linga is a symbol of Lord Siva. When you look at the Linga, your mind is at once elevated and you begin to think of the Lord.
There is a mysterious power or indescribable Sakti in the Linga to induce concentration of the mind. Just as the mind is focussed easily in crystal gazing, so also, it attains one-pointedness when it looks at the Lingam. That is the reason why the ancient Rishis of India have prescribed the Lingam for being installed in the temples of Lord Siva.
To a sincere devotee, the Linga is not a block of stone. It is all radiant Tejas or Chaitanya. The Linga talks to him, makes him shed profuse tears, produces horripilation and melting of the heart. It raises the devotee above body-consciousness and helps him to commune with the Lord and attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Lord Rama worshipped the Siva Linga at Rameswar. Ravana, the learned scholar, worshipped the golden Linga. What a lot of mystic Sakti there should be in the Linga!
The light of consciousness manifesting out of Sadasiva is, in reality, the Siva Linga. From Him all the moving and unmoving creations take their origin. He is the Linga or cause of everything. In Him the whole world merges itself finally. The Siva Purana says: "Pitham Ambamayam Sarvam Sivalingascha Chinmayam". The support or Pitham of all is Prakriti or Parvati; and the Linga is Chinmaya Purusha, the Effulgent Light which is self-luminous. The union of Prakriti and Purusha, of Parvati and Siva Linga, is the cause of the world.
The union of Linga with Yoni is a representation of the eternal union between the static and the dynamic aspects of the Absolute Reality. This represents the eternal spiritual communion of the paternal and the maternal principles from which all the phenomenal diversities have originated. This is an eternal communion of the changeless Being and the dynamic Power or Sakti from which all changes flow.
The lower sexual propensities in the aspirants are eradicated by this sublime conception. The spiritualization and divinization of Linga and Yoni help the aspirants to free themselves from sexual thoughts. All base thoughts gradually vanish by entertaining this lofty idea. All sexual relations in this world are spiritualized as the manifestations of the ultimate Creative Principle, of the eternal self-enjoyment and self-multiplication of Lord Siva in and through His Power or Sakti.
Question: In your book "Easy Steps to Yoga", you speak about the importance of Brahmacharya. I get tired after the day’s hard labour; is it a sin to look at my wife who gives me pleasure? Does Brahmacharya help one escape old age? The sexual act is necessary for renewing life. All man’s mental powers give him no chance of escaping the time-linked process of birth, life, aging and death. For the propagation of the species, man and woman have been provided with this creative power; and the sex act is a necessity.
Swami Sivananda: You have viewed the topic from a thoroughly wrong angle. The very premise for your theory is wrong. Immortality does not pertain to the physical body. Once born, a man has to die, i.e., cast off the physical body. That state in which you freely enjoy the continuity of life without entering the cycle of birth and death is immortality. Unless you identity yourself with that Cosmic Self which transcends all limitations of space and time, you cannot enjoy immortality. To identify and realize that Immortal Self, you should conserve and preserve every bit of energy within you. There is only one energy within us which is able to do the different functions under various forms. As you expect a long life to the machines you use by keeping them in a good condition and doing the minimum work without allowing them either to rust or to waste, you should maintain this body well-conditioned and have its life prolonged by conserving the energy within. Without the body, how can you probe into the higher planes?
Please go through my translation of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Practice the sort of renunciation advocated by it. It does not require you to renounce family life. You have to live in the world and learn through the world without becoming one of the world. Your duty is to maintain the household, but not to get attached to it. Then and then alone will you have that purity of mind which will enable you to progress on your path towards the attainment of perennial peace, joy and bliss.
Enough of your wrong notions. Awake and understand your true imperishable nature. Behold your true immortal, all-pervading Self and rest in it drinking the nectar of immortality. Follow my instructions. You will be a thoroughly changed personality with inner spiritual strength. Have faith and sincerity. Success is yours. Thou art That.
More research I am doing on the topic of mudras and their importance in the process of sublimation.