Monday, June 29, 2020

Meditative Perceptions That Can Be Useful to Explore and Transcend, and What to Disregard

by Roy Eugene Davis

When the waves of consciousness cease or are transcended by concentrated meditation, consciousness is one with the supreme Self.

— Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895)

Samadhi [oneness] is realized [experienced and known for what it is] when fluctuations in the meditator’s awareness are stilled. The seer [the perceiver] then abides in its essence of being. When not established in awareness of being, the seer is inclined to identify with changes and transformations that occur in the mind and awareness [and with objective events and circumstances].

— Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras 1:2,3,4

The way to be Self-realized is to remove attention from conditions which confine your awareness. You can do this by using your powers of discernment to know the difference between you as the observer and what is observed, and by meditating until your mind is completely calm and your awareness is clear. Until thoughts and subconscious inclinations are no longer forceful when you are meditating, their influences may cause you to have a variety of subjective perceptions: of light; mildly pleasant or ecstatic sensations; subtle sound frequencies heard; expansion of consciousness; identification with what you are contemplating; or a sense of relating to or communing with a Larger Reality.

1) Light may be inwardly seen because of activation of brain centers or stimulation of optic nerves. Let your attention be attracted to it; then go beyond it. If you see a tunnel of light, go through it to the field of pure awareness beyond it.

2) Mild or extremely pleasurable sensations may be felt when you are mentally peaceful and emotionally calm. Ecstatic sensations may be caused by flows of prana (life force) in the body. Joyousness unrelated to the senses or to movements of life force may be present when you are Self-aware. Experience pleasurable sensations without allowing them to preoccupy your attention or considering them to be the ultimate stage of meditation practice.

3) Subtle sound frequencies that may be heard may be environmental sounds that are amplified in your ear canals or emanations of sounds from the chakras in the spine and head. You can use sounds that are heard as mantras to focus your attention. Listen for very subtle sounds behind the first sounds that are heard. Continue until the sound is pure and constant. Somewhat merge with the sound, then go beyond it while contemplating pure consciousness as the aim.

4) If you are aware that your consciousness is expanding, let it occur while observing the experience.

5) If you become so absorbed in contemplating light, sound, or another object of perception that you feel that you are identified with it, explore the experience while aspiring to awaken to the stage where you are Self-knowing without being identified with an object of perception.

6) If you have a sense of communion with a Larger Reality, explore that experience while aspiring to comprehend the allness of that Reality and your relationship to it.

When meditating, disregard dream-like visual perceptions that are obviously produced by subconscious influences, moods, or random mental processes. Devoid of significance, they are distractions that interfere with contemplation of higher realities.

If, during or after meditation practice, you have what seem to be insights or a sense of inner guidance, after your practice session examine them in the light of reason and common sense to discern if they are of real value. Don’t presume them to be valid just because “they came to you while you meditated.”

If it seems that you hear voices that impart information, know that they originate in your own mind or are fantasies. Music that may seem to be heard is also mind-produced. Your meditative aim should be to transcend subjective phenomena and be Self- and God-realized.

-Roy Eugene Davis


Monday, June 22, 2020

Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God – Swami Mukundananda

Includes beautiful audio of each verse, along with Sanskrit, transliteration, word for word translation, and verse translation - great source to learn/practice correct pronunciation.

Find it here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Souris, daughter of Chalam

Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Souris, daughter of Chalam
from this website

Souris, daughter of Chalam (preceding entry), bore a Westernised name and her family’s way of living was also Westernised. Her father had rejected Indian systems and traditions.

When I saw Bhagavan’s [Ramana Maharshi's] photo for the first time in The Sunday Times, I wondered who that ugly person could be. I thought, ‘not only does he get himself photographed half-naked, he also gets the picture printed in newspapers’. At the same time I loathed him and what he stood for. I discovered that his name was Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, which sounded harsh and artificial to my ears. Bhagavan, Ramana and Maharshi: I did not see any relation between these names. I felt that he had added these titles merely for the sake of self–advertisement, to show himself off.

My aesthetic feelings were so hurt that if I ever saw the Maharshi’s photo in a newspaper I used to turn the page as quickly as possible. At that time, when I was fourteen years old, I couldn’t stand the sight of him. But now, today, I know no other beauty is comparable to the beauty of the Maharshi. It is not merely a feeling; it is a conviction, a sure knowledge. His enchanting smile, his melodious voice, the nod of his head, his wonderful look that splits through the maya of the world, these are found nowhere else in the world.

When my father returned from his first visit to the Ashram in 1936, I was lying down with a headache. Everyone except me crowded round father to listen to his account of the visit. I initially ignored him, but when I heard him say the name of Arunachala my heart got filled with joy. I got up from my bed and sat near father because his story had begun to fascinate me. As I joined him, father was describing Bhagavan’s philosophy of Self-knowledge. He was explaining that Bhagavan teaches that the mind, the intellect, the five sensory organs and the body are not real, and we should know the real ‘I’.

Everyone was listening, but except for me, none of us could grasp or understand the ideas that father was trying to explain. Since my childhood I had wondered: Is the world real or is it a dream? I had known since childhood that behind my mind there is an ‘I’ that has no connection with the mind. I had tried unsuccessfully to reach and know this ‘I’ many times. I knew that the mind was a barrier that prevented the goal from being reached, but I had no idea how to bypass it. When I heard Bhagavan’s teachings, I felt that they were pointing me in the direction of the truth I was seeking.

I went to bed and stretched myself out. Father came and sat near me. He applied some vibhuti he had brought from the Ashram to my forehead and uttered Bhagavan’s name twice. I felt a cool power flowing from my father’s fingers into my forehead. Immediately my headache disappeared. Later I read the booklet Who am I? and started to practise the technique.

At the beginning, each time I tried to banish thoughts one by one, ten thoughts would arise in place of each one I banished. This made me feel depressed. But about ten days after I started my practice, the figure of Bhagavan appeared before me. Till then I had never seen him, except in photos. Immediately all the thoughts in my mind subsided of their own accord, filling my heart with joy and love. I would have stopped such a difficult sadhana on account of my young age, but I soon discovered that the headache that had troubled me since childhood vanished if I meditated.

Ever since I read Brunton’s A Search in Secret India [No.1], the desire to see Bhagavan became intense. His name constantly filled my mind. I spent a whole year yearning to go to Bhagavan before I got a chance to see him. I went along with my parents. We entered Bhagavan’s hall at 8 a.m. As soon as he saw me, Bhagavan smiled as if I were an old acquaintance. It seemed to me that he had been expecting me for a long time. I sat before him and almost immediately fell into a trance. It was so natural; it was like a fish being put into water.

I went to see Bhagavan again with my father in the late 1930s. Though I was often in ecstasy in Bhagavan’s presence, I could not escape from some difficulties. The behaviour, traditions and methods of worship at the Ashram continually grated on me. One evening, while I was sitting in a trance, the person distributing prasad came up to me and said loudly, “Take it.” I stretched out my left-hand because by birth I am left-handed. He responded by rebuking me. I was unhappy since I did not like being shouted at by the attendants.

I did not see meaning in many of the rituals. Whenever the priest brought arati after puja, Bhagavan would stretch out his hand to the flame and then apply vibhuti and kumkum to the forehead. I never understood why Bhagavan behaved in this way like an orthodox Brahmin. I thought that since he was a jnani who always saw the whole world as a foolish game, he should not behave like this. There were many other occasions when I saw him behaving in a way that seemed opposite to his teachings, as I then understood them. I was confused. This confusion was so great that I felt my love for him would diminish. But then I began to correct my attitude.

I said to myself, “What are we before him? If Bhagavan takes arati very devoutly, why should I have any objection?” Because of all these thoughts about Bhagavan and arati, my meditation used to get disturbed. Then, one day, I saw Major Chadwick [No.42] take arati very devoutly and apply vibhuti and kumkum to his forehead. It moved me very much. If, for a Hindu by birth like me, there does not appear much meaning or rationale in the arati, it should appear even more meaningless to a foreigner such as him. From that day on I saw beauty in whatever Bhagavan did.

For me, being in Bhagavan’s presence was like being in heaven. If I am to write how Bhagavan has impressed me, all the vocabulary I can command in the three languages I know would not suffice. When a word issued forth from his lips – generally he did not speak much at all – it was just as astonishing as it would be if words had come forth from an inanimate idol. Above all else I noticed his sparkling eyes; even in the dark one could see them sparkle. And when he looked at us, his sight, like an arrow, pierced right into the deepest recesses of the heart.

At the Ashram I felt that apart from this place the entire world is non-existent. I didn’t like to go away, leaving Bhagavan. I only wanted to stay there.When I came Backfrom the Ashram in 1939, home seemed like a jail to me. But whenever I thought strongly of going Backto Arunachala, Bhagavan would appear in a dream and counsel me, “Why do you worry? I am always with you.“

In one of my dreams Bhagavan appeared and asked me, “Will you choose a writing career or Self-realisation?” I replied in the dream that I would choose Self-realisation. After this dream, people who had read my published stories used to ask, “What are you writing nowadays?” When I answered, “Bhagavan told me to stop,” they would look at me in disbelief.

I continued my sadhana at home. If Bhagavan had not guided me through my dreams during that long period (before I moved to Arunachala permanently in 1950), I would have gone astray many times and would have been deceived by many.

In January 1950, when Bhagavan was in the last stages of his life, I, along with my father, packed up all our belongings and moved to Arunachala, our only refuge, to take up permanent residence there. Within a few weeks of our arrival, Bhagavan gave up the body. We had come to die in his presence, but instead he passed away before our very eyes. We stayed on near his samadhi. For us, there was nowhere else to go.

read more at this website

Monday, June 08, 2020

Q&A with Roy Eugene Davis

Q: What is the most beneficial way to integrate spiritual practices with everyday life?

Roy Eugene Davis: Consider everything you do as spiritual practice. Attend to your daily duties skillfully and efficiently. Wisely manage your material resources. Adhere to wholesome lifestyle regimens. Be cheerfully optimistic. Nurture wholesomeness, harmonious relationships. Improve your intellectual powers. Meditate on a regular schedule. Be mentally calm and emotionally stable at all times. Grow to emotional and spiritual maturity. Nurture your awareness of your relationship with the Infinite.

Q: In light of recent world events I find that I am often anxious and worried about the future.

Roy Eugene Davis: It is best to practice replacing thoughts of worry and fear about an unknown, imaginary future with an appreciation for life as it is now. If we learn to focus on what we have, even if it is meager, instead of what we think we lack, we open our mind and consciousness to the flow of supportive grace that is always with us. In this way we can become positive and optimistic which will result in better health and increased happiness.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Mangala Mantra

Mangala (Auspicous) Mantra
for inner peace and world peace

Svasti prajabhyah paripalayantam
Nyayena margena mahim mahishaha
Go brahmanebhyah shubhamastu nityam
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

May all be harmonious with mankind.
May the leaders of the earth protect us in every way.
May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred.
May all the realms be at peace and be happy.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Razor's Edge

"We find that are mind does not want to undergo the discipline of discrimination, nor does it have the capacity of consistent logical thinking. It has been allowed its willful ways and indulgences and gross pleasures for many births. It cannot be blamed for its follies. It has not known subtler joys. When the mind is made to inquire and is turned towards its source, it fears its own death and protests. The devious mind find various ways to prevent this inquiry. Initially it does not allow the person to attend discourses of Vedanta. Even if he attends, the mind puts him to sleep or distracts him, not allowing the words to register. If heard, the mind refuses to understand. If understood and accepted as logical, the mind calls it 'impractical for this day and age.' This play of the mind is called Maya. We should not yield to its tricks. By consistent and guided inquiry, all our doubts will disappear and we would come to experience the Truth."

-Swami Tejomayananda, introduction to Drig Drshya Viveka (An Inquiry Into the Nature of the Seer and the Seen)

Our course on this wonderful Jnana Yoga text starts Tuesday


Monday, May 18, 2020

What is the Self?

“I am that which knows or is aware of all experience, but I am not myself an experience. I am aware of thoughts but am not myself a thought; I am aware of feelings and sensations but am not myself a feeling or sensation; I am aware of perceptions but am not myself a perception. Whatever the content of experience, I know or am aware of it. Thus, knowing or being aware is the essential element in all knowledge, the common factor in all experience.”

― Rupert Spira

Monday, May 11, 2020

Time to Be Silent

"The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabdha karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent."

-Ramana Maharshi

Read more about Ramana-ashram and containment/sheltering as ways to get quiet and go within here.


Monday, May 04, 2020

Abiding in the Self

"Normally, knowledge is not something to practice. Your mind is open, you perceive something and the knowledge arises in the mind effortlessly. It is object-dependent, assuming your senses are working properly. Self-knowledge, however, is unique because self-ignorance is famously stubborn. It not only persists, it resists. Self-Ignorance -- 'I am small, inadequate and incomplete' -- has been masquerading as self-knowledge for one's whole lifetime and is not usually removed permanently the first time you hear Vedanta. After the initial euphoria the ignorance returns. You hear the truth 'I am whole and completely adequate to deal with anything life has to offer' -- and you recognize it and are uplifted by it. If you want the knowledge to stick you need to practice it. Practicing it means continuously keeping it in mind and applying it diligently to every self-ignorance-inspired projection that arises until all the projections have been negated."

-James Swartz


Monday, April 20, 2020

Valuing the Present Situation

From How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships
By HH the Dalai Lama

"By being born a human, you have taken on a physical support system through which you can easily achieve both your temporary and your larger aims. Now that you have attained this auspicious life form so unique among the myriad forms born into this world, it is important that you do not waste it. If in this situation you practice merely to attain a good life in future rebirths for yourself, you would not be using your potential fully. Or, if you merely aim to liberate yourself from the tangles of suffering, this would also fall short of your inherent potential. With your humanity you should do whatever you can to attain perfect, complete spiritual development."


Monday, April 13, 2020

The Story of Sage Valmiki

'Rishis are Puppet Masters; We Are Merely Puppets"
From Dr. Robert E. Svoboda's Aghora II: Kundalini (‘The Esoteric Ramayana')

“We would never have had the Ramayana at all had it not been for the Rishi Valmiki and his concern over how to spread out the karmas he had incurred through his chosen profession. Valmiki was not born a Rishi; in fact he was a bandit. His job was waylaying people and robbing them or even kill them. Occasionally he would let them go. One day Valmiki caught the celestial troublemaker Narada, and told him he would have to die because he had nothing of value to steal.

“Narada told him, ‘All right I am ready to die, but please tell me why you rob people.’

“Valmiki replied ‘Because I have to feed my family.’

“Narada then asked him ‘Do you think that they are as willing to share in your karmas as they are to share in your income?’

“Valmiki said, ‘Of course they are! But deep inside his mind doubt suddenly took root. Narada told him ‘Before you kill me and add to the weight of your karmas, why don’t you make sure that your family is willing to share them with you?’

“Valmiki returned to his home to inquire and got the shock of his lifetime when one after another his family members refused to have anything to do with his bad karmas. His parents told him, ‘We raised you and supported you while you were growing up; now you have to pay us back. We don’t care where the money comes from; that is your problem,’

“His wife said, ‘I have borne your children and run your household. You owe me a living, and I am not interested in how you provide it. All your karmas are your responsibility.’ His children informed him, ‘We never asked to be born here. You have created us, and now you have to look after us at your own expense. You will have to worry about your karmas yourself.’

“A shaken Valmiki returned to Narada, who had of course foreseen what would happen. Narada then taught Valmiki about how devotion to Vishnu can eliminate bad karmas. Because Valmiki could not pronounce Sanskrit properly he could not repeat ‘Rama, Rama,’ so Narada ordered him to repeat ‘mara, mara,’ instead. Mara means ‘killer,’ which was something Valmiki could relate to.

“Both ‘mara’ and ‘Rama’ have the same letters, the same Bija mantras, which means there must be a definite connection between them. There is also a definite difference in effect between them, due to the order in which the letters are pronounced, in the same way that there is both a connection and a difference between ‘Hara’ (Shiva) and ‘raha’ (secret).

“Valmiki sat down and began to recite. He sat in one position for sixty thousand years without moving. Ant hills grew over him…”

“By repeating ‘mara’, mara’ at top speed Valmiki actually started to repeat ‘Rama, Rama.’ When he emerged he was a Rishi.

“The Ramayana was composed long before it ever happened. First the Rishis got together and decided they wanted a certain type of Lila. Then they commissioned Valmiki to write the script. It was just like writing the script of a drama or a movie for him. Actually it was simpler; he simply opened himself up, and senior Rishis wrote the Ramayana through him.”

“This is what I mean when I say the Rishis are the puppet masters and we are merely puppets. They decide what is to happen and then arrange for it to happen.”


Monday, April 06, 2020

Matter Doesn't Matter

Matter is Nothing More than the Extrinsic Appearance of Inner Experience
By Bernardo Kastrup

"....let us immediately acknowledge the empirically obvious: there is a world beyond and independent of our individual consciousness; a world that we all inhabit. And, alas, we clearly can’t change how this world works by a mere act of individual conscious volition. But to acknowledge this does not require the bankrupt notion of matter outside consciousness. It only requires a transpersonal consciousness within which our individual consciousnesses are immersed.

"Indeed, I maintain that the external world is itself constituted by transpersonal experiential states that simply present themselves to us in the form we call ‘matter.’ As such, ‘matter’ is merely the extrinsic appearance—the image—of inner experience; there’s nothing more to it. In the case of living beings, the ‘matter’ constituting their body is the extrinsic appearance of their individual experiential states (this being the reason why measurable patterns of brain activity correlate with inner experience). In the case of the inanimate universe, on the other hand, ‘matter’ is the extrinsic appearance of transpersonal experiential states.

"‘Matter’ is merely the extrinsic appearance—the image—of inner experience; there’s nothing more to it."

Read the full piece here.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Self-Inquiry (Vichara)

Definition of Self-Inquiry (Vichara)
by James Swartz

"If you think inquiry is closing your eyes and looking within, you are sadly mistaken. You cannot see your face with your eyes open or closed unless you have a mirror. To see yourself you need the mirror of Vedanta, a word-mirror that reveals your self. When you look into a mirror you do not see the mirror, you see yourself. Self-inquiry is Vedanta. It is a lifelong practice of inquiry into the world, the Jiva and the self. Inquiry negates Jiva and the world, leaving only the self."

More here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Finding Peace During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Rupert Spira on Finding Peace During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Way We Live Now

"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless way, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to love and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."

- Kitty O'Meara

sent to me by 200-hr teacher trainee Agatha DeFranco
photo snapped by me last night, courtesy of Mother Earth (Ma Shakti)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Tips for Weathering the Storm

Tips from Parvati Om

-Do not succumb to fear and doubt. If you become overwhelmed, go outside and gaze at the sky. Don’t look for something to focus on, rather let the image of the sky move towards you.

-Remember that love and peace the sustain it all. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says, “With a single fragment of Myself, I stand supporting the whole universe.”

-Be grateful for every moment of health.

-Minimize your time on electronics and watching the news.

-Create a daily routine of self-care. Get up at the same time you normally would.

-Spend time in nature. Stand barefoot on the grass and release stress into the earth.

-Spring is here! Open the windows.

-Breathe deep and with the mouth closed!

-Start a home yoga practice. (sun salutations, headstand, shoulderstand, fish, a few backbends and forward folds, spinal twist and end with deep relaxation)

-Practice yoga nidra

-Meditate on color or the moon or mantra (like Om) or space

-Observe silence – Stop talking and listening for a little while each day.

-Eat Healthily. Sleep well. Laugh. Laugh a lot!

More tips here.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Free Multilevel Yoga Classes on Facebook Live

Join us for free, multilevel yoga classes on Facebook Live!

Yoga at Home with Kali Om

Tuesdays 6pm Central Time
Thursdays 6pm Central Time
Sundays 10am Central Time

Join us here.

Facebook account not necessary.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Essential Practice

“Don’t teach too many postures; just the main ones, and hold them for a long time.”

~Sri Dharma Mittra

Home Practice – Essential Poses


7 Surya Namaskar (sun salutations)
Sirsasana/Balasana (headstand/child's pose)
Sarvangasana/Matsyasana (shoudlerstand/fish)
Bhujangasana (cobra [or any backbend])
Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half Lord of the Fishes seated twist)
Savasana (corpse) - at least 7 minutes

Om shanti shanti shantih

This may be followed by pranayama and meditation.

More info on developing a home practice here.

Jai Guru!

Monday, March 09, 2020

The Essence of Self Knowledge: Limitless Consciousness Is the Ever-Evident "I"

The Essence of Self Knowledge: Limitless Consciousness Is the Ever-Evident "I"
By James Swartz

"If you are enlightened, there are four things you will know when you use the word 'I.'

"1. I am the consciousness that is not a part, product or property of the body.

"2. I am the independent consciousness which pervades and enlivens the body.

"3. I am not limited by the boundaries of the body and I continue to live when the body dies.

"4. I am the space-like consciousness in which all bodies appear, including the one I say is 'mine.'

"If you understand these words, you do not require more proof for your enlightenment. If you continually require proof of this statement, your knowledge is not steady and you cannot said to be enlightened."

from James Swartz's Inquiry Into Existence: The Lamp of Knowledge

Monday, March 02, 2020

Sharing the Lap

"When Bhagavan [Ramana Maharshi] was living on the hill, this incident took place. Bhagavan loved children and was charmed by their innocence. He admired their lack of hypocrisy. Vajreswari, the four-year-old daughter of Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, had full liberty with Bhagavan and would insist on sitting on his lap whenever she came. Bhagavan would often call her near him, and show her affection by putting her on his lap and talking to her.

"Once Vajreswari came to Skandasramam and as usual sat on Bhagavan’s lap. As Bhagavan was holding her and talking to her lovingly, a young monkey came up to them. The young monkey apparently got jealous of Vajreswari, pushed her off Bhagavan’s lap and took her place.

"Vajreswari, started to cry, and she pleaded with Bhagavan, “Send this monkey out; I want to sit on your lap.” But the young monkey would not give up his privileged place and continued to sit there. This rivalry between the child and the young monkey thoroughly amused Bhagavan but at the same time he wanted to appease both of them.

"He turned to the young monkey and said, “Look, Vajreswari is your sister, is she not? Let her also sit on my lap with you. Give her some room.” Then he looked at Vajreswari who was standing near him and said, “Is he not your young brother? Come on, both of you sit on my lap!”

"Finally, both the child and the monkey sat together on Bhagavan’s lap fully satisfied and enjoyed each other’s company. Is this not a practical demonstration of Bhagavan’s great love for all beings irrespective of their forms? It is a lesson to all devotees!" 🐒🕉

-Arunachala’s Grace (7-volume set), Volume 1

More stories here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


What are you putting off that would deepen your yoga practice?

Is it to clean up your diet? To devote ten minutes a day to meditation? To stop bed-texting and devote time to reflecting upon the day’s events? To work on a certain pose on a regular basis?

Rather than putting it off indefinitely, consider committing to a new level of practice for a 40-day period, starting on Lent, which starts tomorrow.

Whether you are Catholic or not, Lent gives yogis a wonderful opportunity to recommit to their spiritual practice, knowing that others around the world are doing the same thing. This collective consciousness is a powerful aid.

For Lent, you can make a commitment to take on a new practice or give up an unhelpful habit for 40 days.

This practice is part of the yogic observance of tapas ,or purifying austerities. Tapas falls into three categories: austerity, worship, and charity. It can include practices to be taken up or habits to be given up.

What you choose to do for Lent should be something that is reasonable given your particular circumstances. It should also be somewhat challenging. Usually, we have an idea floating around the back of our minds. If that is the case, write it down and visualize how it could be put into action.

Remember, it should be appropriate for your particular stage of spiritual practice, and that yoga is, ultimately, about authentically wanting to clean up your act.

Once you figure out what your commitment will be, write it down, sign it, and put it into practice for your own spiritual unfoldment.


It is best to write down the vow that you wish to keep for Lent. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to follow through. Include the steps you will take to accomplish it. Sign it and give it to someone you believe in. (If you skip this last part, you are likely to fail.) Then, keep quiet about it and do the work.

If you do not have any ideas, here are a few places to start:

. Give up a bad habit that is not serving you, such as bed-texting, having a glass of wine before bed, eating junk food, gossiping, or spending time with people who bring out the worst in you.

. Spend five minutes a day reading the Yoga Sutras or other scripture

. Keep a daily spiritual diary, and write down your practices and how well you kept (or didn’t keep) yama , yoga’s ethical foundation. For more ideas, read Swami Radha’s 1996 book, Time To Be Holy.

. Repeat a certain number of rounds of mantra each day, using a mala (a 108-bead rosary used for meditation). “A rosary is a whip to goad the mind towards God,” said Swami Sivananda in his book Japa Yoga.

. Develop a home practice. Resolve to do 20 minutes of asana, 12 rounds of pranayama , asana , and/or 10 minutes meditation each day. Or promise yourself that you’ll go to class a certain number of times each week. Learn more here.

. Give up eating meat. If this seems too drastic, consider going vegetarian once a week (for more info, visit or

. If you are not yet ready to deepen your yoga practice, perhaps there is something in your life that needs to be resolved first. Consider diving into that project you’ve been avoiding, such as putting your finances or house in order, or clearing out a practice space in a bedroom or corner of the living room.

. Consider volunteering once a week or through selfless service or Karma yoga, which should be performed without attachment to results. For example, resist the urge to brag about it or put it on your r é sum é . For ideas, visit or and read Ram Dass’s 1985 book, How Can I Help?

. Take a weekly smartphone fast, or practice silence once a week. Or vow to eat a meal in silence–no TV, no talking, no texting or reading–once a day or once a week.

. Give away one object you no longer use each day or week. Give the items to charity, or post them on

. If you have a tendency to run behind schedule (i.e., you are always late), vow to arrive five minutes early to each of your appointments.

. Put the Yoga Sutras into practice. Read Yogi Cameron Alborzian’s book The One Plan: A Week-by-Week Guide to Restoring Your Natural Health and Happiness . And do the exercises.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Happy Maha Shivaratri!

ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020


The Power That Knows the Way will take care of you. The one who makes the sun shine, the grass grow, the apples grow perfectly on apple trees. The food that sustains us, nourishes us, everything has been lovingly provided for us. Have faith. Trust The Power That Knows the Way. This is a first step. To have total faith, and total trust in the infinity, the one. You may call this God, if you want to. Makes no difference what you call it. It is within you. It is without you. It is everywhere. Always turn within. That is where all the answers are.

Without is a dream. Within is the Self. In reality, there is no real without, there is no within. It is a figure of explaining this. You have to turn within because you think you are living without. When you turn within, the within will eventually disappear, and the without will eventually disappear. Everything will disappear when you begin to turn within. Yet, when you awaken, everything will appear the same as it is now, except you will not be a part of it. You will see things that you do now, but you will no longer be fooled. The world will no longer fool you by telling you this is right and this is wrong, this is good and this is bad. You will be finished with all this. You introvert the mind upon itself. When the mind is introverted upon itself, it disappears, for it never existed. But, when the mind is extroverted, then you are alive and well in the world. It comes with all types of experiences. In school, they taught you to be extroverted, to have an outgoing personality. Well, what has it done for you? It made us all into a bunch of idiots. Look at the world in which we are living. See what is going on. Look at our figureheads, government officials, state officials. These are all extroverted people. We have been told that to be introverted is to be a loner, and never get anywhere. Where do you want to get? If these people only realized that the world in which they are playing is all karmic. In other words, everybody is in their right place, where they are supposed to be. There are no mistakes.

So these people do not believe they are not the body and the world does not exist. But they believe there are bodies and there is a world and a universe. They should accept the fact that karma is the ruler of the universe. And everything that appears to be is karmic in effect. This is why I always say there are no mistakes. For you are where you are supposed to be in accordance with the law of karma. But do not keep thinking about getting rid of karma, for you will have a battle on your hands. You have to grow out of this, and see that karma never existed and does not really exist. So, just wake up. Awaken.

-Robert Adams 🕉

Monday, February 03, 2020

Maya Story

from Robert Adams' Silence of the Heart

One day Buddha and his chief disciple, Narada, were walking along a country road. Buddha was discussing maya. He explained that the tree, the river, the mountains, the beauty, all of the bugs and the mosquitoes, animals all were maya. And Narada said, "But Master, how can this be? It sounds virtually impossible. I can grab the tree. I can grab your arm. I am stung by a mosquito. I feel this thing, there is a bump on my arm. How can this all be illusion? I do not understand” And Buddha said, "I am thirsty. Go get me a glass of water.”

There was a town nearby, so Narada went to the town and knocked at the door of the first house he saw. An old lady opened the door. She said, "What do you want?” Narada said, "My Master would like a glass of water.” She looked him over and saw that he was handsome, well built, healthy, and she said, "Come in.” He went into her house and there was a beautiful lady sitting on a chair. The woman said, "This is my daughter. Isn’t she beautiful?” Narada was astounded at her beauty. He said "She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.” The old lady said, "How would you like to marry her?” And Narada said, “Why not?” So he married the girl. They had a big wedding, and all of the people in the village came. The next day, he got a job. He was a potter by trade, and he made beautiful pots out of clay. He did this for a living.

After the first year, they had a child, and he was able to afford a beautiful house. He had a mortgage payment, and had to pay taxes. So he had to work harder and hire people to help him. He had employees. He had to pay them salaries, take out taxes, workers compensation, and everything else. Then, after two years passed, another child. He was completely enmeshed in family life. Some days were good. Some days were bad.

A couple more years went by, three years, four years, five years. One day there was a big hurricane, a very powerful hurricane that came into town. The place was getting flooded. Narada said, "What are we going to do?” All of his furniture was being ruined. Everything that he believed he owned was getting wet, totally ruined. He took his family up on to the roof. There was a clothes line on the roof. All hung onto the clothes line. The hurricane became stronger and stronger and stronger. His mother in law was washed away by the flood. Narada said, "I guess we did not need her anyway for she was old.” But the hurricane was still very strong, and his wife and two children were holding on. One of the children was washed away and Narada became very distraught. But he was holding on with his wife. Then the other child was washed away. He became very upset. But he said to himself, “At least I have my wife. We can have more children.” Then his wife was washed away and he said, "What happened to my family?! They are all gone! Everything I worked for is all gone!

Everything I strived for is all gone! I am going to end it all, commit suicide!” So he let go of the rope. The next moment, he found himself sitting next to Buddha, with a glass of water. He looked at Buddha and Buddha said, "It’s about time you brought me my water!” So Narada looked at him and said, "Now I understand what maya is!”

More on Robert Adams here.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Redefinition of Yoga

Redefinition of [Raja] Yoga
(Shankaracharya's Aparokshanubhuti, verses 104 to 144)

The steps in order are: control of the senses, control of the mind, renunciation, silence, space, time, posture, restraining the root (mulabandha), bodily equipoise, firmness of vision, control of the vital forces, withdrawal of the mind, concentration, self-contemplation and complete absorption in the self.

(1) Restraining the senses with the knowledge “Everything is the self” is properly called yama. It should be practiced continually.

(2) The continuous flow of the self-thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts is called niyama. When regularly practiced it causes great bliss.

(3) Renunciation is abandoning the belief in the reality of the phenomenal universe by seeing that it is the ever-conscious self. It is immediate liberation.

(4) Known only to sages, congenital silence is that from which speech and the mind rebound. Observing silence by restraining speech is recommended for those who do not know who they are.

(5). The true posture is the spontaneous and continuous meditation on the self and not the meditation on objects that destroys one’s happiness.

(6). That perfect merger of the mind into the self, the support of the universe and the origin of all beings is known as “the accomplished posture.”

(7) That limitless awareness in which all existence is rooted should be the basis of a yogin’s restraint of mind.

(8) Absorption of the limbs of the Subtle Body in limitless awareness is true equipoise, not the mere balancing of the physical limbs.

(9) The noblest vision is the conversion of the samsaric way of seeing into non-dual vision, not gazing at the tip of the nose with the physical eyes.

(10) Direct your attention to the place where the seer, sight and the seen are non-different, not to the tip of the nose.

(11) Pranayama is the restraint of modifications of the mind brought about by understanding that the mind is the self alone

(12) Rechaka, breathing out, is the negation of the phenomenal world, and the thought “I am the self” is puraka, breathing in. The steadiness of mind that comes from this practice is called kumbhaka, restraint of breath. This is the true pranayama, not the yogic torture of the nose.

(13) Seekers of liberation should practice pratyahara, the withdrawal of the mind. It is complete absorption in the self, brought about by the understanding that the self is in all objects.

(14) Dharana, concentration, is a steady mind brought about by the realization of the self in every thought.

(15) Dhyana, meditation, is the independence from objects brought about by complete confidence in the thought, “I am limitless awareness.” It produces supreme bliss.

(16) Samadhi, also known as self-knowledge, is the non-attachment to thought brought about by complete identification with the thought, “I am the self, limitless awareness.”

(17) This samadhi reveals one’s natural bliss, which arises spontaneously as one clings to the thought, “I am limitless awareness.”

(18) While practicing samadhi many unavoidable obstacles occur: lack of inquiry, idleness, desire for sense-pleasure, sleep, dullness, distraction, tasting of joy and the sense of blankness. One desiring liberation should patiently remove these obstacles.

(19) As one thinks of an object the mind tends to identify with it. When thinking of the void it becomes void, whereas by the thought of the self it becomes perfect because the self is perfect. Therefore one should always think of the self if one wants freedom.

(20) Those who abandon the purifying thought, “I am the self,” will not succeed.

(21) By continual contemplation of the clay and the pot or the ring and gold or a similar metaphor illustrating the relationship between the self and the world one should understand that when the effect is dismissed only the pure self–which is beyond speech–remains.

(22) As a result of this meditation a state of continual awareness of the self arises in the pure-minded. Eventually, this awareness of the self brings about the hard and fast understanding,“ I am the self.”

(23) The inquirer should first look for the self, the cause, by dismissing all objects as “not-self,” and then look for self by seeing it in the objects.

(24) Once the cause is seen in the effect–the self in the objects–the objects should be dismissed. You are what remains.

(25) The mind becomes what it meditates on with diligence and conviction.

(26) A wise person always understands that the visible and the invisible, including himself, is only awareness.

(27) When the objects are reduced to nothing by inquiry the universe appears as awareness. This understanding fills the mind with endless bliss.

(28) This process of inquiry is called Raja Yoga. For those whose worldly desires are only partially attenuated it is to be combined with Hatha Yoga.

(29) Those whose minds are purified by Raja Yoga will gain self-realization. Purity of mind is quickly attained by devotion to the teacher and the self.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Devotee's Experience: Robert Adams

Robert Adams tells a story about calmness that Ramana Maharshi told to him personally in 1948:

… also there is another incident that Ramana told me personally.

In 1948, I was at Arthur Osborne's home near Ramana ashram.

And Ramana used to walk in there every once in a while.

He came in one day, sat down and he started to talk about not reacting to things.

He said,


And he smiled and he told me this interesting story, that happened to him.

Back in the 1930s some pundits who lived in Madras decided that Ramana should not remain at Arunachala, that he should come to Madras, where many people can see him and be with him.

Twelve of them approached Ramana and said,

"Ramana, we would like you to come to Madras. We're going to take you to Madras where you can be with more people. You are left in the jungle here where hardly anybody knows where you are. Most people do not know about you. We will take you to Madras in two days time."



His devotees became very worried, very upset because they knew he would never answer, he never does and yet they were going to come in two days and take him away.

These were scholarly people.

When they left they asked Ramana,

"What have you done.

By not answering you've agreed to go to Madras with these people?"

He just smiled and said,


Two days passed, the devotees were biting their fingernails they wanted to lock the doors of the ashram.

Some of them wanted to take physical action against these people.

For the people from Madras said a group of twenty of us will come in a bus to take him to Madras.

They were supposed to be there at 4 o'clock but they never showed up.

Ramana called the cook and he said,

"Prepare a meal for twenty people, they will come soon."

And all the devotees said,

"What are you talking about? Are you going with them? You can't leave us."

They were crying and screaming and doing all kinds of things.

Ramana said,


And they did.

At about 6 o clock the group from Madras entered the hall.

They were disheveled. Some of them were bleeding.

They sat down in front of Ramana and just looked at him and didn't say a word and he didn't say a word.

What had happened when they were on the bus two miles from the ashram, the bus turned over three times.

Nobody was seriously hurt but they were in bad shape.

They sat on the ashram floor looking at Ramana.

After about an hour he said come let's go to the kitchen and eat.

He took them into the kitchen, they ate then they came back into the hall and sat down again.

After two hours of sitting they got up and went home and nobody ever heard of them again.

Ramana ended the story by telling me that:




This is something you must remember.

When you are perfectly calm, time stops.

There is no time, karma stops, samskaras stop.

Everything becomes null and void.

For, when you are calm you are one with the entire energy of the universe and everything will go well with you.

To be calm means you are in control.

You're not worried about the situation, the outcome.

What is going to happen tomorrow.

To be calm means everything is alright.

There is nothing to worry about, nothing to fret over.

This is also the meaning of the biblical saying,


To be calm is to be still.

If you have a problem right now, think about this problem for a moment. If there is anything wrong with your life, think about this for a moment.

As you become calm, peaceful the problem will dissolve of its own nature.

There cannot be a problem with a person who is calm.

It makes no difference how strong your problem may be if you remain calm throughout it, you will come out smiling, laughing, at peace.

To be perfectly calm is the same as self-inquiry.

When you ask the question, "Who is upset? Who feels discouraged? Who feels disillusioned?"

(Robert asks student)

Did you raise your hand Bob? I thought you felt disillusioned.

(Robert continues)

When you inquire within,

"Who feels this?"

The feelings begin to disappear, just from the inquiry, which is really interesting.

This is why self-inquiry is the best psychotherapy around.

Cheapest, because you can do it yourself.

Whatever happens in your life it makes no difference what it is, how serious it may be, merely inquire,

"To whom does this come? Who is going through this? Who is feeling this?"


But once you inquire and ask this question something happens within yourself.

There is a shuffling that goes on within yourself.

The nervousness, the stress that has been annoying you most of this time starts to back off and you feel good.

So even though some of you are not using self - inquiry for liberation or realization.

You can use it in your everyday life to become calm, peaceful and happy.

-Robert Adams

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Morning Assertion

The Morning Assertion
By Robert Adams

"As soon as you open your eyes, what do you think about? You think about food, you think about your day, you think about work, you think about money, you think about friends, relationships, but you do not think about your mind being a projection of all the things that happen. Therefore, you have to think about the right things in the morning, as soon as you awaken. Don’t wait.

"As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, you have to say to yourself, "I feel and realize and understand that everything, everything (say ‘everything’ twice) is a projection of my mind.” Think about what that means. "I feel that, I understand that everything is a projection of my mind.” Then you may think about any problems, if you have any and you say to yourself, "If everything is a projection of my mind, where do these problems come from?” You then realize, “Why, they came from me. I projected them, I created them.” Then you say, “Who is this I that created them?” Now you are getting to the meaty part, to the substance. “Who is the I that created all this illusion in my life? Where did the I come from? Who gave it birth? My mind. Where did my mind came from? The I? They are both the same. The I and my mind, are the same.” It’s a revelation. You think along these lines. "Where did the mind-I come from?”and "To whom does it come?” You follow it deep, deep, within yourself, and if you do it correctly, you will realize there is no I. There is no mind, so there are no problems. It will be over, and you will start laughing. You will actually start laughing at yourself. Once you get in that consciousness, something will happen to actually physically relieve you of that problem, or what you think is a problem.

"As long as you believe in your mind that there is a problem, whether it is little or big does not matter, they are both the same, as long as you believe you have a problem, you will have a problem and it will grow and you cannot change it. It may appear that you change it, but it turns into something else of a worse nature when you try to work with the problem itself. You never try to work with the problem, but ask where the problem came from? That’s the problem. The birth is the problem. Because you believe you were born, you have the problem, and you can go on and on and on.

"That’s how you work with it. “I feel, I understand, that everything, everything, is a projection, a manifestation of my mind. Whose mind? My mind. Whose mind? My mind. Who am I? Who has this problem?” And as you ask yourself this question, you will begin to feel better and better and better. You will actually begin to feel better, and as you begin to feel better, the problem becomes less and less important, and it will vanish. This is great psychotherapy. It works. If psychiatrists gave this to patients, they would not have to give them any drugs."

from The Silence of the Heart

Monday, January 06, 2020

Keep Me Fully Glad with Nothing

Keep Me Fully Glad with Nothing
From "The Gardener" by Rabindranath Tagore

Keep me fully glad with nothing.

Only take my hand in your hand.

In the gloom of the deepening night take up my heart and play with it as you wish.

Bind me close to you with nothing.

I will spread myself out at your feet and lie still.

Under this clouded sky I will meet silence with silence.

I will become one with the night clasping the earth in my breast.

Make my life glad with nothing.

The rains sweep the sky from end to end.

Jasmines in the wet untamable wind revel in their own perfume.

The cloud-hidden stars thrill in secret.

Let me fill to the full of my heart with nothing but my own depth of joy.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year

"You should start the day with good things. When you start, it’s always with remembering the Almighty One. We then have to clean the mouth and wash the hands. Then, with the mouth clean, you can do your prayers. In order to have the energy to start the day like this, the evening before you must be firm in your promise (intention). You can even sign a paper: I will start the day like this. We should also try and start a New Year with good things — good intentions — the best that there is that is available to you. We have to make a promise. If you believe in a saint or there is a deity in whom you believe, if you promise to him or her to do this or that act as an offering, maybe then you have the power to keep it. And then you will start the year doing good things. In reality, everything depends upon your decisions.

"Everybody has lots of plans always. A New Year is a good time to put them into practice because there are infinite numbers of people making new commitments for the New Year. By making and keeping New Years’ resolutions, we will be able to merge in that ocean of decision. So, do it not only for you, but imagine that all beings are sharing those benefits through you and through your actions. And, you have to have faith. If you don’t start the year doing good, it is a natural tendency: you are going to end the year just the way you started, and that will be a disaster! So, make your decision, sign a paper if you can and, the best offering: offer everything to the Almighty One because whatever you offer to Him, you cannot break that promise."

– Sri Dharma Mittra