Initiation on the Energetic Level

On the energetic level, initiation has two aspects. It provides us with a glimpse of our goal and helps us to start its practice. Normally it is seen that in the presence of a person who is experiencing strong emotions, the same emotions are aroused in us. For example, we might feel fear in the presence of one who is terrified and angry near the one who is enraged. This...

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Last Desires

It is said in the spiritual traditions of India, as they are commonly practiced that (1) Whatever one’s last thoughts at the hour of death in this life. They will manifest themselves in the next life. (2) One’s last thoughts are the sum total of all that one has desired, enjoyed and suffered during this life. It is therefore always advised that...

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Initiation on the Physical Level

On the physical level, initiation is a ritual marking a turning point in our life. With initiation, an individual becomes a student of a particular guru of yoga and places himself or herself under the direct tutelage of this spiritual master and other teachers practicing the same style of yoga. To some extent, being initiated is like becoming part of a family with the...

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Initiation

What is initiation? It is said that the practices of yoga yoke all levels of our being into a unity. Similarly, initiation affects all the levels of our lives – physical, mental and spiritual. Let’s see what initiation means on each of these levels.

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Raja Yoga and Its Divergent Paths

The great masters, the founders of the Himalayan tradition of yoga, were aware of the different pathways leading to self-conquest, to self-exploration, to the core of our highest consciousness. However, not every disciple is capable of mastering all the different areas of meditation. Some persons may decide to practice only physical yoga for a long time; others may...

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Gradual Change in Personality

Changes in the human personality do not take place overnight. Before going to bed, take a look in the mirror to observe your face. On waking up the next morning, observe keenly if your face has changed overnight. It has not. It is the same face. Look at it again the following evening. You will find that, from morning to evening, it is the same face. The next morning, next...

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Mantra as an Energy Force

We can proceed a little further. The entire universe is run no matter how small it is, some form of energy is transmitted from the disciple to the recipient. In the Brhadaranyak Upanishad, dated circa 14th century BC, we can read about a list of teachers of a particular lineage, giving details of each teacher having taught whom. Thus a list of 68 generations of teachers...

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Effect of a Repeated Sound

The theory of mantra is based on the principle that the sounds, letters and syllables of the alphabets carry within them the focus of certain psychic or mental vibrations. Each syllable has within it a particular ray of consciousness. When we think of a particular letter of the alphabet or combinations of these letters, each produces certain thoughts and vibrations. There...

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Christmas Message 2014 – SVB

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What is Mantra?

A mantra is a word or a series of words; or it can be a thought or a prayer, but not in the sense in which the word ‘prayer’ is used ordinarily. It is more like linking our lower consciousness with the higher consciousness, which we call Divine consciousness, or the divine life-force. A mantra is a sound-unit, a thought-unit. It is a sound or a series of sounds given...

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The Word ‘Mantra’

The word ‘mantra’ is related to the English words ‘man’, ‘mind’ and ‘mental’, which are derived from the Latin world mens (mind) and which in turn arises from the Greek word menos (mind).  Menos, mens, mental, mind, man and mantra – all are derived from the Sanskrit verb root man, meaning ‘to meditate’. Man is the living entity who can meditate as...

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SVB Diwali Message 2014

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Visualisations

Many different forms of visualisations with devotion and surrender are practised as part of contemplative and meditative systems base in various faiths. A Christian may visualise the suffering of Christ on Stations of the Cross; s/he may visualise His compassionate visage; or the Pieta figure; or the mental image of a saint. This may be accompanied with the contemplations...

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With the purpose & objectives to:

1. Advise all organs of the United Nations, and states and political entities, on questions of morality and ethics relating to sovereignty, human rights , human relationships, equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity, relationships among religions and ethics, environment and such other matters of interest to humanity;     2. Plan for education for...

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Bearing in mind the definition that:

Peace is a state of consciousness and mind that is free of internal conflict (s) within an individual as well as collectively within, and consequently among, groups of individuals known as families, nations, religions or ethnic units and such other terms,   And that; Education for ethical conduct and peace in a planet-wide system will consist...

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Be It Further Proposed That:

The methods adopted by various religions for proselytizing should be examined by an impartial, international, inter-religious commission, which would find and suggest ways in which the religions may propagate themselves without causing hurt and violence; without force, fraud, economic or political coercion, and yet preserves each religion’s freedom of speech and...

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Be It Proposed that:

The methodology so far adopted in teaching the role of religion and spirituality in history be thoroughly examined by a scholarly body of those well versed in religion. Thereafter, that the teaching concerning the role of religion in history be based on the premise that, more often than not, and at the level of the common people and spiritual teachers rather than at the...

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Components of Education

IN ALL systems of education there are three components, each emphasised and developed to varying degrees in different systems: Personality Development Helping the trainee develop a personal philosophy of and goal for life. Training for positive and harmonious emotions. Gaining Knowledge Giving/receiving information in the areas of sciences and humanities, although...

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Definitions

PEACE is not to be defined merely as an absence of war, or a period between two wars. So what exactly is peace? Peace, like love, is experiential. We know experientially when we are in love. So do we know when we are at peace. Both love and peace are indefinable but, for that sake of convenience, let us propose that: Peace is a state of consciousness: mind that is free of...

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Mind: The Locus of War and Peace

IT IS WELL recognised in the United Nations and elsewhere that it is in the minds of human beings that wars originate and only in minds that they can be prevented. At the time the United Nations was founded, humanity was just emerging from World War II. Naturally, prevention of war and not defining terms such as “peace” or “mind” was the primary concern for...

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Silence as Common Prayer

In inter-religious gatherings it has been a common practice for the guides of difficult faiths to lead a prayer, each according to his/her tradition. The true unity of prayer, however, occurs in silence. Even though it is customary to take a minute or two of silence to mark special events, the true meditative and contemplative silence of the mind is rare. Only mind at...

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Breathing

The meditative practice most commonly shared by various religions is that of prayer with breath. This takes many simple or progressively complex forms. Let each breath become a prayer – this is an exhortation to all devotees. The awareness of breath flow is the primary alphabet of meditation. It is part of the practice of mindfulness (satipatthana in Buddhism,...

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Identification

Yo yach-chraddhah sa eva sah Whatever one dwells upon that verily does s/he become:                                                                             (Bhagavadgita 17.3) When one visualizes one’s chosen form of divinity, together with the appropriate Name, mantra or prayer, and it becomes a constant baseline thought and a...

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Ambulatory Prayer

Prayer while walking is one of the common practices among the followers of many religions. A Christian, Buddhist or a Hindu monk keeps turning the beads of his rosary or mala while walking. It is an inspiring sight to see the Turkish lay people walking the streets of German cities while practicing their tasbeeh. In a recent meeting with a delegation of the World Council...

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Body Posture

Training oneself to assume a certain position for prayer, contemplation and self-conquest is a common method in all religions. The sequence of various body positions in the course of namaz or salat1 is an example of the same. In Christianity, to pray while sitting on a hard bench, kneeling, or standing, one becomes so absorbed in prayer and meditation that anybody...

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Riddles

Mutually contradictory or ‘impossible’ statements are used by numerous meditative traditions as passages for contemplation. The purpose is to take the mind beyond common logic, and bring opposite concepts to  a unification in transcendence. One may be required to unravel the riddle till a spiritual breakthrough and transformation of consciousness has occurred. This...

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Contemplation

The Vedantic manana,  means contemplating the meaning of a metaphysical phrase or a word from the scriptures till the meaning becomes a reality to oneself. In the Christian tradition one may choose, or be given by the spiritual director, a particular passage from the Holy Scripture, whether a line from a Psalm, or a saying of Jesus, to read, to ponder upon, to apply to...

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Contemplation and Meditation

Here are some of the many practices of contemplation and meditation that are common to the major religions. They can be listed here only briefly. The detailed practices may take decades to bear fruit, or they may fructify instantly, depending on the practitioner’s level of internal...

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Mutual Accommodation

Those seeking a way to find mutual accommodation among religions need to study in depth both the vedic vishwa-rupa  philosophy as well as the anekanta  doctrine and make it a part of personal realization. The schools of theology and comparative religion need to bring these principles into greater focus and make them the central point to teaching unity in diversity. This...

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Cultural Streams

The role of religious teachers has not been limited to matters of pure spirituality. They have often established guidance for behaviour of society in matters like environmental protection. In many lands sacred groves, preserved because of a religious belief system, constitute the only remaining forests. These are well protected, not because of a commercial attitude of...

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