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Knowledge, revelations, meditation and yoga

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: Knowledge, revelations, meditation and yoga
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-03-13 20:42:27


Some more questions came to my mind, thought I would ask you.

1. When people have 'diksha' or initiation, at least in some sects, they are whispered some mantras in their ears by their Gurus. Apparently, these mantras are secret. Is this the same with Vaishnavas? I.e. are there more mantras than are available to everyone openly irrespective of his diksha status? Are there useful knowledge given by Gurus only to their disciples after initiation? If that's the case, then why so? (I'm just curious)

2. Say person A was born on a particular date time & place and has an astronomic plan which I believe matches the vector sum of his past Karma. For this lifetime, is this plan unsurmountable? Or can it be changed by hard work? Or is the fact that he would change his fate (by hard work) also included in the 'plan'? Or the results of his good Karma starts to show up only in the next birth?

3. Chanting completely undisturbed - e.g. deep at night with total silence, alone, and with all of the 5 senses (see, hear, smell, taste, touch) shut down (except probably hearing one's own low-volume chanting) - is this a form of meditation? In practical terms, is this more beneficial than for example chanting while walking on the road?

4. Are there preparatory steps which when taken maximises the benefits of chanting/meditation or takes the Vaishnava Yogi (I mean a Vaishnava practicing bhakti yoga by chanting & meditating) faster on his track? I read somewhere that Raja Yoga suggests few preparatory steps like Ahimsa (non-violence, not harming or wanting to harm), Satya(truthfulness), Asteya(non stealing), Brahmacharya(continence), Aparigraha(simple life, not accumulating or accepting or getting used to too much material comfort), Souca(cleanliness), Santosh(contentment), Tapah(not sure about this - penitence? facing hardships without getting oevrwhelmed?), Swadhyay(self study of spiritual books etc), Ishwar-Pranidhan(surrender to God). Are these helpful/advised to the Vaishnava Yogi too?

5. Are there experiences which a Vaishnava Yogi experience while he is practicing, that gives him indication that he is progressing? If yes, what are they?

6. My understanding is : our actions changes our taste and our 'nature'. The more we do something, it gradually percolates down from our conscious to semi-conscious to subconscious and then deeper down, ultimately deep down to a 'layer' which is carried forward even after death. This 'layer' does have a unique 'finger-print' or 'tag' for an individual. This 'layer' must be part of the spiritual body, and the spiritual body of person X must be different from the spiritual body of person Y. What is the 'layer' then - 'Sat', 'Chit' or 'Ananda'? Assuming 'Sat' is not subjected to these changes, and 'Ananda' is happiness, is it 'Chit'?

7. Is 'Chit' same as 'Chitta' as in Patanjali's definition of Yoga : "Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah" - Yoga is the stopping of the tendencies/waves of Chitta?

8. People (e.g. Robert Tools, Tom Christerson) have lived for considerable time (years) with artificial non-biological hearts. Does it challange the idea that individual (Jiva) soul resides in heart? The only part of human body that has not been and can not be transplanted is the brain. So is the brain (rather than the heart) the real "driver's seat"?

9. Is there any stage at any time where an individual soul loses its individuality and goes back to GodHead i.e. merges completely like a drop of rain merges to the ocean and not to be found back again?

I'll look forward to your replies.


Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Rajib, sorry for the belated reply to your queries.

1. Namatmaka Vaishnava Mantras like the Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna Mahamantra are public and can be chanted and preached to anyone and everyone before and after initiation. The Bija and Gayatri Vaishnava Mantras are private and can only be chanted softly after received the second gayatri initiation. Spiritual Knowledge is given by the Guru openly to one and all like we are doing on this forum. The summum bonum of all knowledge is Naam which is given to the disciple at the time Naam Diksha.

2. Past karma and fate can only be changed by Bhakti Yoga specifically through the process of chanting Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna. No other material process or atonement can change or reverse the results of the past karmic reactions. By chanting, fate is changed for the better instantly and one does not have to wait for the next life to see the benefits.

3. Whatever helps one to focus and deeply meditate on the spiritual meanings of the Holy Name Mantras while chanting is recommended and more effective whether it be chanting in solitude or chanting while walking to avoid drowsiness.

4.Yes, just like your stomach becomes full while eating lunch and you know it similarly a devotee knows how much he or she is advancing in spiritual consciousness. Please read the book Madhurya Kadambini in the Vanibase for the realizations experienced by the devotee in the spiritual ladder.

5. Naam is so powerful that no purificatory ceremonies, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara etc. are required from Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna Naam Yoga Bhajana. This is the beauty of Naam. Infact chanting Naam will take you so quickly and rapidly surpassing these stages that you will reach the eight and final stage of ashtanga yoga Samadhi very quickly with the least effort of just constantly chanting Naam.

6. You are talking of the subtle astral body of mind, intelligence and false ego which accompanies the soul in all the material bodies and is a gigantic reservoir of all the impressions in all our lives. The spiritual soul is different and higher from this subtle material body and is full of sat (eternity), chit (knowledge) and ananda (happiness).

7. No, Chit means the eternal knowledge of the soul. Chit shakti is also the energy which makes the spiritual world. The material world is made of achit shakti or gross and subtle matter. Patanjali's chitta is different and related to prana vayus and the mind.

8. No, the soul resides in the region on the heart not actually in the heart and not in brain. The soul is spiritual and the heart is a material organ so even when the heart is transplanted or replaced, the soul continues to spiritually stay in that region unaffected by the gross transplant. The soul continues to stay in the body as long as the body is a fitting and capable vehicle for the soul. That is why the heart becomes the center of all devotion and spiritual realization.

9. This is a very important question and I have answered it many times. Please search for it. As Lord Krishna states in the Gita...mamaivamsho jiva loke, jiva bhutah sanatanah...the soul is eternally my infinitesimal part parcel, 1/10,000th the tip of the hair and will always remain so. The soul is one with the Lord in quality (sat-chid-ananda) and can become one with God in desire through Bhakti Yoga but never in quantity as the soul remains an infinitesimal particle even after merging in the impersonal brahmajyoti of the Lord.

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