From Depression to Bliss – My Old Notes From School Days

I was going through a small bag that I have preserved since school days. I came across a few notes written by me when I was in school. I am sharing those notes with you to show you how depressed and helpless I was in school days. I have omitted certain parts of them. The practice of mindfulness was what cured me from depression and helped me realize my own nature and find my own true bliss.

Here are the pictures of those notes:

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The last picture is not very clear. I have mentioned there that sometimes I used to weep for no reason. It was a mystery for me and I didn’t know what caused my tears without reason.

My depression was very hard to bear and I thought of commiting suicide many times. But it was that suffering which made me to seek the ultimate liberation.

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Love and Greed – My Poem

This poem is based on an incident that happened in my school. The teacher mentioned in the poem is Mrs. Usha Raman who is the principal of the school I studied in Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli. If you join the first letters of all the lines, you will get the sentence, ‘Mrs. Usha Raman is my guru’.

Mrs. Usha Raman, Jayendra School

“Madam, kindly help me with your wisdom!

Restless is my mind, I am stupid and dumb!

Say something that will calm my greedy mind!

Unhappy I am”, I grumbled and whined.

She was aware that I was dumb and blind.

Her words were clear, supportive and kind!

And she knew that I had a high school crush.

Roasted by my greed, I was in a rush.

As I helplessly looked, with a soft voice

My teacher said, “True love never destroys

And never hurts; you have greed! It’s not love!

No one is spoiled because of true love!

It is greed which will destroy you indeed!

So pray and ask God to transform your greed!

May your greed transform into loving care!

You’ll find true joy in compassion, I swear!”

Growing up, I reflected on her words;

Until one day I became free like birds!

Real love doesn’t want to possess or own!

Undoubtedly, by pure love, God is known!

Bhagavad Gita 2.23 Explained with Ramana Maharshi’s Movie Screen Analogy

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The verse 23 of chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita says, “Weapons cannot cut the Self, nor can fire burn it. Water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it.”

What is this Self? Self is neither the body nor the mind but the knower of the both. It is the pure witness. So whatever that happens doesn’t happen to the Self.

This topic has been already covered by me in many of my previous posts. To get a clear idea, go through the following posts:

Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy

Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth, Consciousness & Bliss) : Advaita Vedanta in 3 Infographics

Kshetra Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga (Bhagavad Gita: 13.2) – With Animated Yin Yang Images

Here is an animated video that explains this sloka:

 

 

 

Goddess Gomathi Amman, Adi Thabasu and Religious Tolerance

I am always amazed by coincidences in life. As I scientist, I regard them as just coincidences but the poetic aspect of me rejoices in the beauty of the connections. Many such beautiful coincidences happened today; and today is also Adi Thabasu, a festival in Tamil month of Adi that celebrates religious tolerance.

There is a beautiful temple in a town close to my city. The town is Sankarankovil, in Tirunelveli district. This temple has a story behind it. It is not history, but a story. But the story comes with a good message which served to connect Shaivism and Vaishnavism, the two sects into one.

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I am including the story from Wikipedia as It will save me a lot of typing:

“The goddesses is a yogini who was performing her penance on the tip of the needle to please lord Shiva and merge with him. Two snake kings namely “sangan” and “padman”. Sangan was worshipping lord shiva and padman was worshipping lord narayana. One day they had a quarrel on who is great whether lord shiva, the destroyer or narayana, the protector. They were trying to prove their own power and finally went to the yogini and pleaded her to give them a proper judgement.

The yogini grew out of her grace pleaded the almighty to show his universality form so that not only the snake kings but also for every human being. By the intense penance lord shiva appears before the yogini in the form of half shiva and half vishnu showing the world that they are equal and it is with love and sacrifice they could reach them. Hence sangan and padman worshipped the lord and prayed to the yogini for showing them a way to attain the god and they stayed with her. the yogini was none other than goddesses gomathi. Gomathi means repository of wealth. Since the snakes stayed with the goddesses, this place is free from all venomous creatures and praying to this goddesses can eliminate the fear of venom.

One of the 18 siddhas, the great pambatti siddhar worshipped this goddesses as valai kumari and he regarded this goddesses to be the great serpent power which can make miracles in taking aspirant in yogic transformation. Pambatti siddhar samadhi is seen behind the temple.”

My long time readers would know that I am not happy with the hatred spread by RSS and other Hindutva organizations in India. This morning, before I knew that today is Adi Thabasu, I commented on an RSS group in Facebook. Their replies were in Tamil but you can guess what they are basically saying by reading my replies that are in English. Eventually, in between the comments I got to know that today is the festive day that reminds us about religious tolerance, as I was also checking Tamil calendar app in my mobile. And what I notice among RSS members is religious intolerance and hatred. Here are the screenshots:

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There was another coincidence too. Once I finished posting these comments, I saw this in my Facebook feed:

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A birthday of a Muslim friend and a Christian friend. Both are my good friends. And coincidentally, it made me recall a conversation that I had with one of them in a post that I posted a month before:

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The conversation itself was regarding religious tolerance. This is way too much of coincidences today. I am not sure if they have any other significance other than being coincidences but they are beautiful and poetic. They make me smile and I enjoy them!

 

Rami Sivan – A Sydney based Acharya, Hindu Priest, Mimamsaka, Vedanta teacher and Pancharatrika

Dear friends,

Today I am going to introduce one of my favorite Quora writers on Hinduism to you all. He is Rami Sivan, a Sydney based Acharya, Hindu Priest, Mimamsaka, Vedanta teacher and Pancharatrika. I enjoy reading his answers and I like his no-nonsense approach to Hinduism and interpreting Hindu texts. You can find a lot of honest, unbiased answers by him. He is well versed in Mimamsa, the Indian school of hermeneutics and  also in Tarka, the Indian school of logic. So, his interpretations for Vedic texts are excellent and logical.

Rami Sivan

Going forward, I will be republishing some useful answers written by him and he gave me the permission to do so with pleasure. So I think him for providing me an opportunity to introduce his content to my readers.

Here is his bio from http://www.srimatham.com/about.html:

“Sydney based Acharya Ram Sivan (ordained as Sri Rama Ramanuja Achari), was born in South Africa  of a Jewish mother and Christian father, and rai by Hindu nannies. He was baptised as a Christian and had a basic education in Christianity and Judaism  and underwent a barmitzvah. He formally converted to Hinduism at the age of 15. In 1969 he emigrated to Israel where he spent a decade studying  Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as training to be a registered nurse.  He also spent 3 years in India undertaking formal study in Yoga-Vedanta philosophy, Logic, Hermeneutics, Sanskrit, and Astrology, as well as specialising in Vedic and Tantric ritual. He studied in the traditional gurukula system in highly respected centres of spiritual and Scriptural learning in Rishikesh, Varanasi, Tirupati  and Chennai.

In 1982 he emigrated to Australia. He has practiced as a Hindu Priest and teacher of Yoga-Vedanta philosophy for over 40 years, and has travelled extensively to spread the Dharma, including in USA, South Africa and Bali. He was inducted as a preceptor (Acharya) into the South Indian Srivaishnava (Iyengar) lineage in 1990,  by the pontiff of Sriperumbudur; His Holiness Sriman Varada Yatiraja Jiyar Swamigal, with full rights of initiating others, teaching philosophy and Scripture, and conducting all the Hindu ceremonial and sacramental rites (pertaining to temples, and domestic life cycles).

Acharya Sivan is one of the founding members and the current public relations officer of the Australian Council of Hindu Clergy. He has participated in the consecration of a number of Australian and American Hindu temples, tutored other priests, and is the published author of a number of  books on Hindu subjects.

The acharya is much in demand as a domestic priest and as a Dharma teacher. He is involved in a number of Yoga schools conducting classes of philosophy as well as workshops in USA, Australia and Bali. He also  plays an active  pastoral role in counselling members of the Hindu community on their social and personal problems. He is also very active in conducting training sessions at various Sydney Hospitals in Hindu attitudes towards death and dying. Ram Sivan is fluent in English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Hebrew and conversational Arabic and Tamil.

Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – One Truth, Various Names

You are avyakta (impersonal); but you identify yourself with the image of a person (vyakta). It is like a wave imagining itself as an entity separate from the ocean. But how can a wave be separate from the ocean? We are all like waves, but forgot that we are not many, but the One reality that is without two. I think that must be the true meaning of the phrase ‘Lahilaha illalla’….

Many people do not know that Prophet Muhammad was the one who started the first Sufi order. Islam means surrender. And Holy Jihad symbolizes the war against one’s own ignorance. This is similar to the teachings and the context of Bhagavad Gita. Islam is a path of karma yoga. There is a way to read and interrupt Quran to get the right meaning. And only Sufis seem to know that.

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Also, many people do not know that Jesus was a gnostic teacher. Gnostic wisdom says that there is divine spark in every one. That is what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of God is within you. He also says that you can become free like birds, with no worries about tomorrow. In Sermon of Mount, by saying Blessed are the meek, he says that suffering is a blessing in disguise. It makes people to seek spiritual truth and bliss. By making statements like ‘I and the Father are one’ and ‘Before Abraham, I am’, he reveals his possible connections with Eastern traditions. His only two commandments are to love God and love human beings. His message was love and Christianity is a path of Bhakti yoga.

Also, while true Islam reflects the teachings of Gita, life of Jesus closely resembles the life of Krishna.

We are all connected. India is a land of unity in diversity. So, as a matter of fact, India is the only possibility for a world peace. Only India can show how people can live together. Do not listen to Sanghis like RSS people. Discourage them! Because they are the real anti- Indians and anti-Hindus.

This reminds me of a song that we used to sing in school. It starts as Govinda bolo, Gopala bolo. It proceeds to name Allah, Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mahavira and Guru nanak. Three more days for Independence day for India. Let us remind ourselves about unity in diversity..

Post dedicated to Usha Raman mam, my school principal….

 

Some quotes:

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Kshetra Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga (Bhagavad Gita: 13.2) – With Animated Yin Yang Images

You are going to read my commentary on a very important verse from Bhagavad Gita. If you have read my book, you may recall that I have talked about the discrimination between subject and object. The other terms for this include Purusha and Prakriti, Kshetrajna and Kshetra, Brahman and Maya, Shiva and Shakthi, Vishnu and Lakshmi, witness and the witnessed etc.  Rig Veda says that the truth is one in spite of being called by many names by wise people (ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti). You can apply it here. Even the concept of Yin and Yang of Taoism roughly translates to these two concepts. All these names that I just said point to two apparent realities that you see from the actual One reality. 

May be the last sentence requires further explanation. We can actually divide the reality into two: the subject or the witness and the object or the witnessed. Witness is just the pure awareness and the witnessed is the contents of consciousness, including the perception of the external world. But this doesn’t mean that there are two realities. There is only one. Witness is like a screen; the witnessed is like the contents of the screen. The contents of the screen do not have any reality separate from the screen. In other words, the contents of the screen is also screen. The contents are not real but the screen is real.

From this, we can derive three statements:

  1. The screen is real.
  2. The contents of the screen are unreal.
  3.  The contents of the screen is also the screen.

Adhi Shankara made the same statements but used different terminology.

  1. Brahman is real
  2. The world (contents) is unreal.
  3. The world is Brahman.

Let us now move on to the actual sloka in Gita (13.2):

(I am quoting from https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/13/verse/2 for the transliteration and translation)

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते |
एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहु: क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विद: || 2||
śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate
etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha—the Supreme Divine Lord said; idam—this; śharīram—body; kaunteya—Arjun, the son of Kunti; kṣhetram—the field of activities; iti—thus; abhidhīyate—is termed as; etat—this; yaḥ—one who; vetti—knows; tam—that person; prāhuḥ—is called; kṣhetra-jñaḥ—the knower of the field; iti—thus; tat-vidaḥ—those who discern the truth
The Supreme Divine Lord said: O Arjun, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.

In Gita, the Brahman,  (including the aspect of Maya, the witnessed), is personified as Lord Krishna. Krishna is talking to Arjuna in the battlefield. Here the words kshetra and kshetrajna are used instead of the subject and the object. It is very important to note that Kshetrajna is not only the knower of the body but the knower of everything. No, it doesn’t mean kshetrajna is omniscient!.. It simply means kshetrajna is the knower of everything that happens in the field of consciousness: five sense perceptions, organs of the body and the body, your likes and dislikes, your thoughts, memory and intellect.

There is another word called sarvajna. It is usually understood as omniscient. But sarvajna means all knower; this actually means that it is the all knower of the content of consciousness. One who is established as a witness or the one who has realized his true nature is also called as sarvajna.

The discrimination between kshetra and kshetrajna, or the subject and object is very important in the spiritual path. You may recall my previous posts regarding this topic:

Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy

Witnessing Meditation by Osho – A Technique of Everyday Mindfulness

I used the tools that technology has provided to make things colorful and appealing. I have been already trying to explain certain subtle things using images, infographics, comics etc. Such a variety will help you  to focus easily and remember about certain important things. This time I am trying my hands on some animated gifs. I was playing with an app today and it was really helpful for making these animations.

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A Bonus:

I have created a three level meditation by combining the concepts of classical conditioning, meditations in Vajrayana Buddhism and Dhyna, a yogic meditation. You can read the full instructions here: A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning. 

There is an image which is needed as a visual meditation aid for this meditation. I have included several copies of that image in the page itself. But I am including an animated one here. You can download and see it in your phone:

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By the way, do you mind if include a picture of mine? As I was playing with the app, I also tried editing one of my pictures and it was fun. This pic is just for my friends (for you, I mean ). I just wanted to say a ‘hi’ with a smile, standing before the falling waterfalls and moving clouds.

Shanmugam P