Delusion

September 30, 2010

The Kailash Mansarovar yatra commences from Kathmandu, Nepal. Irrespective of  where we came from, we all assemble at Kathmandu. We stayed in a palace converted into a hotel named Shanker hotel and the stay was very comfortable. Ours was a large group and all of us looked forward to what lay ahead of us.

Behind the buzz and excitement when I looked at the people a few questions raced my mind and I wondered to myself if they really knew why they were here. Were they really prepared physically and mentally to cover the distance, brave the unpredictable climate and the other hardships that one is expected to on a pilgrimage like this? Many of them looked out of focus to me to be honest. I introspected the situation for some time and then I consoled myself by deciding to  let them all be and to let them get a grip of the situation on their own. I focused attention on myself and put my mind completely on attaining what I had come there for.

Now let’s move away from this thought for a while so that I may be able to explain the main point of the post and elaborate on a  few thoughts more explicitly.

 

On a  recent trip to Delhi for personal reasons, I chose to stay in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I usually like to stay there not for the convenience it offers but primarily for spiritual gains one makes there. The meditation hall which had become old and weak had been reconstructed with a very strong building keeping the French style of architecture in mind. Irrespective of the condition of the building, the soul of the place has always been the same- very dynamic and powerful. I take advantage of this and it is no secret that it enhances my spiritual efforts to a great extent. It always adds something. I wish to share with you some pictures of the place so that if you are in Delhi, you may spend a few quiet moments of silence in the Ashram.

The hectic stay in Delhi gave me very little time to think or write anything.  And most of the time I encountered people who I thought were so deluded that it made my life impossible. The only refuge was my inner sanctuary. I was holding a conversation with Shri Mahavatar Babaji mutely in my mind to stay calm and live in truth and reality. I prayed to him many a times during the day and night. One of the prayers made was that I should be able to commune with him all the time irrespective of the disorder and absurdity that I saw around me.

On the return journey home, I reached the airport many hours early so that I could do my prayers, meditation and contemplation in order to wipe out the disorderly and inharmonious movements of the people’s thought -vibrations that had been surrounding me for days. A startling episode took place the time I settled down in a chair with my luggage as I contentedly closed my eyes. As though Babaji was waiting for this opportune moment, he showered me with a cascade of thirst-quenching knowledge of self- realization. We had a very long communiqué between us over a period of a few hours . It comprised of everything that was going on in my mind and much more. All I could say to him was this- “You are the answer to all my prayers”.

A great deal of that exchange is written here for all of us to read and discern from the ocean of spiritual knowledge of salvation. It is for us to consider this, mull over the profound knowledge and then apply it in our lives. At this hour, as I finish my last words to complete this enlightening post, I pray to God to give us light and keen understanding and to eradicate our deep seated ignorance of many, many lives.

Cryptic questions and answers that took place between Shri Mahavatar Babaji and me mentally at the airport while I waited to catch the plane.

Q- “Who gets enlightenment?”

A- “Those whose heart is pure.”

Q- “When and how can one clean and purify the heart?”

A- “When the intellect is pure. The intellect should be purified of ego, ignorance, jealousy, fear and all other insecurities.”

Q- “What is delusion?”

A- “Doubt, skepticism and confusion. When they cover the mind, the soul is in delusion.”

Q- “How do we eradicate delusion?”

A- “By cleaning the heart.”

Q- “How can the heart and mind/buddhi be purified?”

A- “By awareness, meditation, selfless activities, kindness and charitable actions.”

Q- “Why must we eradicate delusion?”

A- “Because it gives us chains and recycles of birth and death.”

Q- “What happens in delusion?”

A- “When we are in delusion, a sort of mirage is created in the mind which in reality is a reflection of the true self-that is yatharth or reality. There is distortion of the vision. When we are covered with distorted perceptions, our actions are distorted. Our judgment goes wrong, we create wrong actions. The consequences of our actions are ours and hence we suffer adversely.”

Q- “How does one know that he or she is in delusion?”

A- “There will be bouts of confusion, temptations, frustration for having lack of control over things and most of all, one is uncertain.”

Q- “What are the correctional methods?”

A- “Introspection, reflection, contemplation, study of scriptures, listening to the ancient wisdom of the sages and realized entities. And most important of all- correcting your present actions to redesign the future life.”

Q- “How does one know that he or she is getting the wisdom from the right person?”

A- “If what you read or hear can be identified with and you are convinced, if your mind accepts the mentor or guru’s wisdom and advice and counsel. If your mind does not oppose or contradict his or her knowledge and if you are applying the spiritual philosophy with positive results, then you have found your mentor or spiritual adviser.”

 Q- “If there is a contradiction in mind, what does it apply?”

A- “It applies that it is the ego which is acting as a wall between the teacher and the learner.”

To sum up, delusion is created when the dark clouds of the dark world cover the mind in the form of self-doubt, confusion and skepticism. To annihilate delusion, regular practice is required in the form of meditation. In meditation is involved- concentration, contemplation, reflection and thinking upon the idea and concept of God.

At an advanced stage, the yogi is able to receive solutions to all his problems, advice, plans for future and also thoughts about the nature of God effortlessly. The yogi at this stage does not require any special technique or method to bring his mind to a central point. His mind is completely absorbed and immersed in the Universal Spirit which is the guiding Voice and Light.

Delusion can never again cover the mind of an accomplished yogi because the darkness has been completely eradicated once and for all by divine wisdom. His nature is spiritual and not worldly at this stage. After this stage, the yogi has only one thing to practice- remembering God in every moment of wakeful state, with or without meditation. He reaches a stage where there is no effort as the layers of darkness and ignorance are wiped out completely. God in the form of knowledge, wisdom, love, peace and pure bliss manifests all the time.

Our nature is spiritual and divine. Our motto and aim in life is to discover this nature, achieve a higher state of divine consciousness and rid ourselves of all the consequences of ignorance and delusion. There are mental and physical suffering and pain in acts done with delusion. As we sow today, so we reap tomorrow. If we make an attempt today to uncover the spiritual nature and beget divine wisdom, we shall experience permanent peace and joy, a worriless state where we have God’s fountain of lasting peace and silence.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti Om.


How to go on a pilgrimage?

September 20, 2010
Those three white dots are our vehicles

Before anyone embarks on a spiritual journey, one important question for the future yatri-the pilgrim must know beforehand  and be very clear in his mind regarding this aim. And that is-why he wishes to go on this pilgrimage?

As Kailash Mansarovar yatra is a difficult one, mental preparedness is most crucial. Be extremely sure that you really want to go there and discover for yourself  for which specific reasons would you like to go . Ask yourself if you are ready to devote a few months in rigorous physical training, willing to spare a few hours everyday in its homework, groundwork and training.

Find out and prepare yourself well in advance which mental and spiritual activities you wish to perform out there. For example, if you think you must do self assessment or review your life, heal a relationship or a broken heart, then become aware of your goal. If you feel that your life has become dull and stagnant, then go in the wilderness and nature to absorb the energies of creativity and come back fully re-energized. If you have a vision and  are planning your future, then too take God’s help in deciding which way you should head for. God’s directions are always right. And the most significant of all, if you want to escalate your sadhana by cleansing or washing the past sins as our religions suggest, then too one must never hesitate to accomplish that by making a trip or a yatra . Once your mind is geared up, set & firm, then get ready for-

Physical training– As the pilgrimages are mostly on the hills or mountains far away from city, the future pilgrim must devote sufficient time for physical fitness. Though our ultimate goal is other than just physical fitness, but nonetheless it is a great opportunity to give strict attention to our health which will help us all our lives. Once we return we must maintain those good health habits. Physical fitness is extremely important on this yatra and it cannot be substituted with anything else.

Assign about an hour on an average for physical exercise daily and in between about one and a half hour for building stamina and physical endurance. Towards the end of my training session, I used to walk with my bagpack before my departure which was filled up with items weighing about 3-4 kgs. On the high altitude, we walk wearing heavy woollens and carry articles like camera, medicines and water bottle. The total weight comprises about 5kgs. So one should practice walking with  some weight according to his endurance and physical fitness. Go for long walks, climb small hills or mountains in your areas and walk on the treadmill with elevation. Walk up your stairs first without weight then with weight  as much as you can. Make your body fit to withstand extra work, mental and physical fatigue and for walking on high altitudes above sea levels. Go with a clear mind that we must enjoy every moment of our stay and travel. The most  essential thing  to keep in mind- do all the general medical tests and also special tests for your physical ailments to avoid  complications and dangers while travelling. Visit your physician and physiotherapist and ask for essential precautions.

Do’s and dont’s for this very special yatra

Don’t compare this pilgrimage with other trips or pilgrimages that you may have undertaken before. This one is really different. And what makes it different? The very low amount of oxygen in the air. This one is the hardest, roughest, and most challenging of all pilgrimages. Doing the parikrama is literally ‘the mother of all treks.”

The high altitude areas in Tibet and China have very thin layer of oxygen. It can become extremely difficult to breathe in some areas and the climate changes drastically throughout the day. And the nights are very cold.Initially be very patient with yourself as the body gets accustomed to the cold and dry climate.  Before you leave for the scheduled departure, do some breathing exercises at least for a month to expand your lung capacities. Go with sufficient preparation for the atmosphere by consulting the family physician and the physiotherapist.

Don’t take excess luggage like too many clothes,  food, medicines etc. Instead take more innerwears, woollen socks etc.

Don’t take ordinary shoes like walking or tennis shoes. Buy shoes which will protect you from rainwater, cold and wind. Start surveying at least 2-3 months beforehand so that you can try them out, wear them and practice walking before your departure.

Don’t talk too much in mountainous areas. It is far better to contemplate, enjoy the beauty of the place, observe the varied cultures, languages and people on your journey. Conserve energy in every way possible.

Pack your clothes in plastic bags and plastic sheets because of unexpected rains anytime.

Eat a lot of fruits and multi- vitamins capsules before you leave for at least a month because the body is under a lot of stress and one may have poor immunity. It is a very good idea to consume vitamin C in some form during our whole journey to maintain body’s natural immunity.

Avoid beverages, caffeine and junk food as our body is unable to process and digest food quickly there.

When you calculate the total cost, take into account the yuans also as only Chinese yuans (CY) are allowed once you cross Nepal. You will need CY once you enter China. Also refer to this blog of Anil Mavin Kurve.

Do not carry heavy purses, fancy clothes and unnecessary articles, carry just the basics. Some important  things that you must buy are – a good quality waist money bag, a good quality  bag pack, a good quality camera with enough rechargeable batteries, , torch, thermos, travelling mug with a cover (to keep tea, water hot )jacket to protect from windy air and cold weather. Good all weather shoes, leather gloves, cotton and woollen socks and one extra shoelace in case one gives way. Imagine that you are trekking and the shoelace breaks at some point!! So please carry this very small but useful thing. Wet wipes, sanitizer, paper soap, sunscreen is a must for all. The higher one reaches, the lesser shops you will find .The list of things to carry is phenomenal, these are just the important ones without which you cannot do at all.

Take bangles, bindis, watches, hats & old jackets to give to sherpas and locals. The children everywhere  whether boys or girls are fascinated with this beautiful Indian thing They  always ask us to give them these small articlfor it and are very delighted if you give them I saw many small shops selling glass and plastic bangles at Kodari  in Nepal, the last stop before we enter China.

Last but not the least- mentally start living in the Himalayan mountains and the abode of God  Mt Kailash so that you begin to absorb those vibrations even before you physically leave your house. Before you set off, purify yourself of all the impure thoughts. Pray to all those divine souls to call you, to make your journey safe, to bless you and help you to walk up the ladder of spiritual evolution rapidly. There are many Buddhist and Hindu souls who after leaving their bodies, still reside there in a formless state to help the pilgrims to move upwards and make swift spiritual progress.

 Before I left I was blessed and initiated by one Buddhist lama who are  called Rinpoche in Tibetan language during a session of meditation one day. He said to me that he is from Serlung monastery. At that time, I could not imagine anything about a Buddhist monastery as I had seen none in the Himalayas. I was really, really surprised and I also discovered that when we go for such hard and testing trips, we require help from the astral world also. While I was making the final preparations, many a times he has told me telepathically what things to take and what all I should do to make my journey a success. Many things I have shared with you on this post to assist you in your preparation and training if you decide to go there sometime.

 I was very disheartened when our troupe did not show any interest in visiting the famous Serlung monastery located next to Ashtapada, the south face of Mt. Kailash. I couldn’t do much.I wish I had paid my respects and gratitude to that lama whose soul is so fervently present there and who occasionally guided me. Anyway, I dedicate this post in his honour and pray to him that he call me once more to holy Kailash with my dear ones and  that I come with much better preparedness  so that I can bow at his feet personally.

As we finish reading this post let’s chant this sacred and powerful mantra in his honour – Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum…

 Om Mani Padme Hum literally means Aum, to the jewel in the Lotus. It is widely used by the Mahayan Buddhists and is recited by the Tibetan Buddhist to invoke the Boddhisattva of compassion. It is a healing mantra and is commonly found inscribed on rocks, stupas, prayer wheels, loose stones heaped as mani or jewels on roads, mountain passes and exits and entries of villages during the journey. It is invoked to protect one from all sorts of danger in this and the next life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The importance of going on a pilgrimage.

September 10, 2010

 A pilgrimage  to sacred Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar in the  impressive Himalayas was a journey of a life time. It was a wonderful journey and will always be treasured and remembered with fondness and sweet memories.  From today, we begin our holy journey once again. As I move along with you  recounting my trip, I will share some of my experiences and realizations along with a few visual memories through photographs. In case there is no appropriate photo for the topic that is being dealt with, I will attach just a photo or two of the beautiful panaroma of the landscapes of Tibet, China or Nepal for that matter. Tibet has one of the most scenic views of mountains and sky that one can encounter. When I saw these eye catchy vistas, I very seriously regretted not being a painter!! It was all a play of rain clouds, white fluffy clouds, clear blue sky and mountains of myriad shapes and colours. The landscape out there is an inspiration for poets, painters and philosophers alike.

Instead of a photo gallery, I have decided to attach  one  photo in the beginning and one in the end  in every post. If I am too tempted, then there can be three pictures also as it has become very difficult to select and choose. Every frame has something to offer, each one speaks a story of its own.

I warmly invite everyone to participate in viewing the photo album with me.  Those of you who cannot go there due to acclimatization problems on those high altitudes, kindly see the photos and worship God in abstract a well as visual form!! The photos will also provide a vivid description of the scenic beauty of the Mother earth not explored yet.

And those of you who are interested in making this pilgrimage a reality in near future, I would like to suggest you Anil’s blog . It is a  travelogue which is a must read for you. The blog is a very well written, informative and encouraging one. I had taken this blog’s help as my preparation tool. Anil Mavinkurve’s encouraging words were a great help to me when I required some FAQ’s answers.  

Let’s begin –My dear friends, we all take a trip and travel once in a while with our friends and family members. We travel for education, adventure or just for the sake of  fun.

 To accelerate their development,  the seekers perform deeds  like worshipping, charity, fasting, chanting, reading, meditating, maintaining silence, contemplation and so on.  These  activities help the seekers to take leaps on their passageway. There should be one more reason to travel and that is necessary for the earnest spiritual seekers. They must travel some times to develop themselves further in Spirit and to further expand their minds to have a wider horizon. Going on a pilgrimage is a combination of all these kriyas or karmas. Pilgrimage provides us  a chance to do all these activities. It is a great opportunity to get away from mundane activities of daily life and focus  entirely on one’s inner self during the time of the pilgrimage.

We live in a noisy, chaotic &  agitated world where we lose so much energy. The holy places are dynamically charged with divine vibrations. So we must travel to holy places where we can also recharge and rejuvenate our mind, body and soul.The pilgrim gets an impetus by travelling far and wide by visiting places which are spiritually charged.

Endurance is a great quality of a sadhak. To increase endurance of  both physical and mental capacities, one must leave their homes and go on pilgrimages. To complete the journey, one must have endurance. On my trip, we were exposed to harsh climate, lack of healthy food, lack of sleep, lack of basic amenities and many other  discomforts. But I soon got used to it, and realized that a man’s basic needs are very few. The rest is only for mental comfort more than physical comfort. So we must practice spartan living during the pilgrimage tenure to break the habit of compulsive comfortable living. It was a great experience for me to live in those frugal and basic accommodation and food, to overpower the mind’s compulsive habits and to practice austerity.

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More posts !?

September 6, 2010

A note- A few readers have written to me expressing their wish that instead of entering 2 posts every month I must post 3 as they look forward to them with yearning.

Dear friends, at the start I myself had thought that I must post 3 short and concise posts so that there is continuity and link is maintained. But then a thought erupted from somewhere and I wondered how can I think and write at such short intervals with something or the other always waiting to be done and something asking so much of my attention every day? But after reading a very sincere devotee’s mail in the morning today, I have decided to post 3 articles every month as it is revd. Babaji who will eventually guide me through his mental powers for me to write in a flow & complete his assigned job.

In the first segment categorized as ‘A’, I did enter 3 posts every month. It will be the same now. One post on 10th, 20th & 30th day of each month.

Looking forward to meet you on these dates and also hear from you more often!!


A journey that was truly… sacred and beautiful-Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

September 1, 2010

Dear friends, today is Krishna Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Those of you who are not aware   may know that I took a long break from writing regular posts on this blog in order to go to Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar  in the Himalayas. I today resume posting new articles in a new segment titled’ LIFE SACRED’ on this auspicious day. Like before, I humbly dedicate all my posts to His Holiness Shri Mahavatar Babaji in this segment ‘C’ and ask Him to bless all those people who are striving and also for those who wish to be initiated in spirituality with a serious mind and intention. The following topics are going to be grave in nature and one should reflect and ponder on the underlying  philosophy and thought to make his life beautiful and sacred. Whatever is sacred is beautiful. If we make our life sacred, it is beautiful. Hence Babaji gave me this title so that we make our lives sacred.

To make it sacred, we must strive to do penance or tapasya by which we are prepared and happily agree to undergo hardships and discomforts in order to gain spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. More on this in future articles.

There are many people in this world who do not know why they are born and why they have come here. When such questions are never asked in moments of silence and stillness, the purpose of living  is lost. We all, barring a few, live in a fool’s paradise because we believe or understand that we are going to live here permanently and that life is never going to be different from what it is at present. If one understands that there is a purpose, a mission in living this life, the clarity about why are we living is born in our psyche. So the first basic question  now should be-Is there any mission in my life? Do I have a vision for my future? If not then please have one.

A memorable journey to holy Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar in the Himalayas was undertaken with a deep sense of purpose and mission by me recently. It was to accomplish something that was never imagined by me even once before- to climb, trek and live in the Himalayas at altitudes much above 16,000 feet above sea level.  And also to climb such impossible heights, roam in wilderness and no man’s land and to meditate in solitude. Though I could not meditate there because most of the time we were either traveling or I was all the time surrounded by people. But nonetheless from time to time I either took some time off from people or switched off my mind to enable me to connect with my inner source of Light.

Just a few fleeting moments were enough to fill up my body, mind and senses with immense enchantment and fruitful realizations. It is impossible to blog the entire spiritual voyage with personal experiences but I can surely jot down some of the everlasting, vivid recollections and sweet memoirs of the blessed moments that I had there. But before we really begin on a new journey called’ life sacred’,  let me first give you an idea and a glimpse of the most sacred mountain and the most mystic, serene and vast lake that I have ever seen.

Holy Mountain Kailash. Sacred and beautiful. Does it not remind you of Lord Shiva with his third eye?

They say that even if you look at the picture of the Kailash mountain with reverence, your sins are washed away. I have been quite close to the revered mountain and felt the vibrations of its sanctity  and purity. This is what gives it the power and magic to pull so many people to risk their lives by coming to the land of the most difficult pilgrimage on the earth.

Lake mansarovar, so enchanting and beautiful. Take a dip in the sacred waters of purity and sanctity!!

The following posts are not going to be a travelogue in the true sense but I wish to document my spiritual journey or yatra in a different manner. I will draw parallels between my travel on the physical plane with that of my trip to spiritual plane. I wish to make this comparison very simple in nature and explanation as it is related to our life. I will put down my sacred and metaphysical learning for other devotees and spiritual learners so that they can make a journey inside- a journey deep inside the cave of the heart.

I will enter 3 posts every month on 10th, 20th & 30th. Feel free to send me your queries or responses  through e- mails or as comments on the blog.