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Monday, March 7, 2016

Harvard Researchers in the Himalayas -- Buddhist Monks Demonstrate Human Potentials in Subtler Realms

Human potential is a broad spectrum of evolutionary excellence, of which are imperceptible to dogmatic minds, petrified by the inanimacy produced by regressive dogmas such as that Newtonian physics is the final determinant of all reality.  

Human history is full of grander scales than contemporary beliefs of prevailing cultures presume exist, capabilities extant today and demonstrated among Buddhist monks, Taoist practitioners, shamans around the world, and others alive today.  The excellence is not in cultivating such capabilities, the excellence is in transpersonal, psycho-spiritual evolutionary development of which such extraordinary capabilities are symptoms, not goals.  

As such symptoms of human evolution result from greater portions of humanity taking up progressive transpersonal and spiritual practices as part of their daily life, many of the burdensome problems plaguing humanity today will also find remediation as subtle realms of mind more readily understand the scope of such dilemmas and fathom the wisdom to solve such disparities in human life, including those deemed unsolvable today.  

Such thresholds of excellence in human evolution, reflected in society at large will rent asunder the constipatory petrificities of prevailing dogmas intellectually, morally, and socially retarding humanity today.  

Guest article  

 by .

It’s fascinating to consider just how many ancient teachings tell us that humans have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through various techniques.  Some of these techniques, known as siddhis in the yoga tradition (from the Sanskrit, meaning “perfection”), include meditation, static dancing, drumming, praying, fasting, psychedelics, and more.
In Buddhism, for example, the existence of advanced powers is readily acknowledged; in fact, Buddha expected his disciples to be able to attain these abilities, but also to not become distracted by them.
A Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, Donald Lopez Jr., describes the many abilities ascribed to Buddha:  
With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body. . . . Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)
Levitating yogi Yogananda referred to
in his book "AutoBiography of a Yogi"
Again, there are numerous historical anecdotes of people with, as the Institute of Noetic  Sciences calls them, ‘extended human capacities.”  Since this article is focused on Buddhist monks, here is another example from the lore as written by Swami Rama in Living with the Himalayan Masters:  
I had never before seen a man who could sit still without blinking his eyelids for eight to ten hours, but this adept was very unusual.  He levitated two and a half feet during his meditations.  We measured this with a string, which was later measured by a foot rule.  I would like to make it clear, though, as I have already told you, that I don’t consider levitation to be a spiritual practice.  It is an advanced practice of pranayama with application of bandeaus (locks).  One who knows about the relationship between mass and weight understands that it is possible to levitate, but only after long practice. . .
He (also) had the power to transform matter into different forms, like changing a rock into a sugar cube.  One after another the next morning he did many such things.  He told me to touch the sand – and the grains of sand turned into almonds and cashews.  I had heard of this science before and knew its basic principles, but I had hardly believed such stories.  I did not explore this field, but I am fully acquainted with the governing laws of science. (source)
A lot of these stories exist within the literature and lore, but they are just stories, up to the readers to decide if they hold any actually credibility.  Of course, one who subscribes to various ancient teachings would be more inclined to believe that these are more than just stories and tales.  With science shedding light on the possible truths of ancient mysticism, it’s not implausible to think that, at one time, these abilities were more common knowledge.
Today, there have been a number of studies within the realms of parapsychology that have yielded statistically significant results, especially when examining the findings that’ve come from quantum physics.  This is why Max Planck, the theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, stated that he “regards consciousness as fundamental” and that he regarded “matter as derivative from consciousness.”  He also wrote that “we cannot get behind consciousness” and that “everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing postulates consciousness.”  And the Dalai Lama has supported this viewpoint:  


Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world.  We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking.  Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are. (source)
R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at John Hopkins University, explains things further:  
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality.  As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality.  Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction.  Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote:  “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.  Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.  Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion.  The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual. (source)
For a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click HERE.  

Harvard And The Himalayan Monks

During a visit to remote monasteries in the 1980s, Harvard Professor of Medicine Herbert Benson and his team of researchers studied monks living in the Himalayan Mountains who could, by g Tum-mo (a yoga technique), raise the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees.  It is still unknown how the monks are able to generate such heat. (source)
And it doesn’t stop there — the researchers also studied advanced meditators in Sikkim, India, where they were astonished to find that these monks could lower their metabolism by 64 percent.(source)
In 1985, the Harvard research team made a video of monks drying cold, wet sheets with body heat alone.  Monks spending winter nights 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas is also not uncommon.
These are truly remarkable feats, and not the first time science has examined humans who can do extraordinary things.  We published an article a couple of months ago showing that factors associated with consciousness can influence our autonomic nervous system.  You can read more about that in the article linked below, as it is heavily sourced and provides links to several papers that clearly indicate how factors associated with consciousness can influence our biology.
If you’re further interested in this subject, I recommend reading Supernormal:  Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities by Dr. Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Another related CE Article that might be of interest:  6 Humans With Real “Superpowers” That Science Can’t Explain
This article was originally published here March 2016.  
Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Maturation in Science Acknowledging Our Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

Guest article


What Science Is Telling Us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence


by 



heart


The wonderful and brilliant scientists over at the Institute of HeartMath have done some amazing work in shedding a light on the science of the heart.  
The Institute of HeartMath is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives.  HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play.  
A large portion of their research has investigated heart and brain interaction.  Researchers have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world.  For example, when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a certain message.  Because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, researchers are able to gather significant data from it.  According to Rolin McCratey, Ph.D, and director of research at the Institute:
Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields.  By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us.  We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.  
This is very important work, as again, it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known.  Did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields which change according to your emotions?  Did you know that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body?  Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body?  Did you know that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions?  Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite?  Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons which have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences?  Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed?  Did you know that a mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats?  Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?  
All of these facts, published researched papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.  
Below is a video from the Institute about the intuitive intelligence of the heart.  Definitely worth a look.  

This Is Why It’s Important For The Human Race To Change The Way We Feel Inside

The Institute of HeartMath does a wonderful job at emphasizing why it’s critical for many of us to change the way we feel inside.  Not much can be accomplished from a place of sadness, angst, or anger.  Our current human experience, the everyday life we all seem willing to participate in, does indeed take its toll on many.  A lot of people are feeling that living the lifestyles we do, struggling to pay bills and constantly working, is not a natural way of life for the human race.  It’s an experience which makes it hard to maintain a “high frequency” or positive state for some.  What makes this unfortunate reality even more perplexing is the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way, we are capable of so much more.  
At the same time, many people around the world are struggling to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves.  The Earth is being destroyed and our time to turn things around seems to be limited.  This is a hard truth that we very much need to address, and we have a number of options to choose from which could alleviate these problems.  It can be difficult to maintain a positive state of mind when we see so many terrible things happening in the world, but we cannot create the kind of change we’re looking for unless we do so from a positive, peaceful state.  
Despite all of the negativity in the world and our individual struggles, many people do manage to find inner peace and moments of joy, and that’s pretty remarkable.  It’s all about perspective – it’s seeing the bigger picture and changing the way you look at things.
Happiness is no doubt an inside job, but with a human experience that is not resonating with many it can be hard to maintain.  This is evident in a variety of different areas where people are starting to stand up and demand change.  More and more people are wanting something different, wanting a life where everybody can thrive and feel good about themselves and their place in the world.  If one is suffering, we all suffer – that’s the way we feel here at CE and it’s clear that many are resonating with that message.  
The funny thing about our feelings is that, for the most part, they are a result of our own choices.  We can choose to change the way we feel just by changing our thoughts.  Negative emotions are usually a result of the thoughts we have about the people, things, or events in our lives.  At the end of the day, it’s just a human experience, and all experiences are opportunities for learning and growth.  
Bottom line, feelings of love, gratitude, and compassion – any positive feelings whatsoever – have a larger impact than we could have ever imagined.  These are all characteristics of consciousness, and as quantum physics is showing us, consciousness plays a definite role in the creation of our reality.  If this is true, then how we feel about things must too, and with the research coming out from the Institute of HeartMath, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that feeling good might very well be fundamental to creating global change.
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality.  As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality.  Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a ‘mental’ construction.  Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: ‘The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.  Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.  Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion.  The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.’ ” –  (R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29, 2005, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University)
This article was originally published here November 2014.  
Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Can Mindfulness Teach You About Being A Better Manager?

Guest article

What Can Mindfulness Teach You About Being More Present — and a Better Manager?



As anyone working at a high-growth startup can tell you, things get very hectic and stressful very easily.  Motivating a ten person team and also having a life of my own presents itself as a single gigantic challenge.  Until recently, an acquaintance or social media follower would view my life as successful, but there was one huge problem: I was anxious, stressed out and not all that happy.  Thankfully, over the past year I’ve taken a new approach to life that involves being mindfully aware, or “present,” that has made me a better manager and partner in quantifiable ways.  
First, I should make a slightly embarrassing admission: much of my anxiety boiled down to FOMO (fear of missing out).  I felt anxious on a daily basis about missing out on, well, everything that it seemed others were doing that I wasn’t.  Faster revenue growth (because 150% isn’t enough).  Boozy brunches.  Unicorn valuations.  Skyrocketing personal wealth with minimal work experience.  Bottle service.  Personal training sessions.  One Direction hair.  
I looked at the world and saw what I didn’t have and felt bummed out and a little bitter.  And how did I overcome that feeling?  I got intense, took control and lived on the edge of a stress-induced breakdown, which resulted in the occasional snippy comment, the short-term desire for a “quick win” in an argument with my wife, or a passive aggressive comment to a subordinate.
Basically, I was taking my unhappiness out on those around me and being a lot less of the person that I wanted to be.
So I started searching to see if there was anyone else in the world who was wrestling with the guilt of being someone with so much yet fighting bouts of unhappiness that came in waves every few months.
And it turns out that a TON of people have felt this way—not just startup VPs, or Americans, or millennials, but human beings for hundreds of years.  The introduction in the book Mindfulness in Plain English crystalizes this common anxiety and convinced me that I could do something about it.
To combat my anxiety and unhappiness, I started meditating.  It has worked by making me be more “in the present” (more on that phrase a bit later).
I was an economics major in college, so the way that I measure the success of mindfulness is by the increase in positive feelings (feeling happy more often) and decrease of negative emotions (feeling anxious less often).  

Let’s tackle the biggest problem first: the anxiety that makes you feel unhappy.  Every single time that I feel anxious I am thinking about something in the future, meaning that I am not in the present.  Things like hiring faster (we MUST go FASTER!), what our go-to-market strategy will look like in 6 months and getting industry recognition are all thoughts about the future.  By meditating, I’m able to steer myself away from dwelling on those thoughts so that when they enter my mind, I gently push them aside.  The result: so much less anxiety about the future!
Another big contributor to unhappiness is feeling annoyed by something difficult to avoid: other people.  This is a life lesson and also a practical management one: it’s worth it to try to see things through someone else’s perspective.  By practicing empathy you have a much better chance of going through life feeling happy rather than crushed by the boredom of standing in lines or dealing with a coworker’s nagging cough.  David Foster Wallace’s This is Water captures the necessity of this mentality perfectly: be present and take a second to see the good in a situation or else you’ll be mired in petty annoyances and the feeling of everyone being in your way (especially during the holiday season!).  
Seeing the good in others rather than getting annoyed by them has been the biggest boon to me experiencing more positive moments.  Ellen Langer notes this in her podcast interview on the Science of Mindfulness as seeing someone not as gullible but rather as trusting, not as impulsive but as spontaneous.  Sitting in an open work environment near others and managing different personalities has its inherent challenges, so why make it more difficult by not finding things to enjoy about those around you?  And in case you think that the idea of mindfulness and being present is only a Buddhist philosophy that requires time spent meditating, Langer’s research shows that being mindful is more about actively focusing on the here and now (rather than meditating to get you ready to be present).  
The irony of FOMO is that by worrying so much about missing out you actually miss out.  You miss the joy in seeing a new hire grow and gain their own recognition, the value in not knowing where your company will be in 2 years but knowing that today, in this place, is a ton of fun.  You also miss the beauty that can be found in watching leaves fall from the trees, or the colors in a sunset or the way your kid’s voice sounds when they sing Doc McStuffins songs.  This is the first year of my life that hasn’t flown by—it’s been rich with work and life moments because I’ve been here, in the present, much more often.
It’s a happier place and I hope that those that I get to meet enjoy it with me.
This post was originally published here December 2015.  
Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

Making a difference for the psychic, moral and physical development of youth, make a difference through and for our Youth Intuitional Development Program
 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Is Your Yoga Practice a Colonialistic Misrendering?

Guest article

Is Your Yoga Practice an Imperialist Appropriation of Indian Culture?


By 

Arguments are simmering in America that when Westerners practice yoga and meditation they are engaged in a neo-colonialist appropriation of an ancient heritage.  Proponents of this argument will tell you that the statue of the Buddha or Shiva on your mantelpiece constitutes the imperialist theft of another culture's sacred imagery.  Is this what you are doing when you bend in surya namaskar or chant OM before yoga class--exploiting another culture?
I've been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation most of my life and want to respond to this argument.
It's an important question.  We Americans are wildly privileged.  If you have traveled in India or to other developing countries, you know how rich and privileged we are.  It's important to be mindful about situations in which our actions might derive from or be taking advantage of that privilege.
Ugly Colonialist:
"I've got your spiritual trinket right here!
I paid cold hard cash for this item.'
The West has a history of colonizing other countries and then romanticizing and appropriating aspects of their heritage.  So an American sports team calls itself the "Washington Redskins." Madonna is blasted by cultural critic bell hooks for appropriating hip-hop music.  A white rancher, a descendent of those who "won the West," hangs a Native-American dream-catcher from his rear-view mirror.    
We've all encountered people who decorate their homes with symbols and artifacts from cultures they know little or nothing about.  And how many Western "teachers" have taken ancient Eastern techniques and turned them into money-making gimmicks?  I'm thinking of expensive seminars and retreats by self-help gurus and corporate trainers who charge a mint for sharing practices passed down for centuries in India or Tibet free of charge.  In Salt Lake City, there was a teacher who ran a "very special retreat" called the "5-5-50." Five days.  Five people.  Fifty-thousand dollars.
"Hey there, handsome.
I'm making a fortune off these posture classes,
wanna have some fun?"
Complicating the problem is the fact that many yoga teachers begin teaching yoga without really understanding the heart of the yogic path.  You can see Hindu symbols displayed backwards in yoga studios or find that what you thought was going to be yoga is really aerobics with stretching.  A majority of Americans sill may not realize that "yoga" is an ancient physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual way of life, of which asanas, the physical postures, are only one part.  In Ashtanga, or Raja Yoga, asanas are one limb of an eight-limb system.  The other limbs are directed toward spiritual liberation.
In addition, the very heart of yoga will get lost if we stereotype the American yogi as a svelte, young, upper-middle class white woman doing Warrior II on the cover of Yoga Journal.  A fascinating website, "De-Colonizing Yoga," focuses on this latter issue and on making yoga more available to people of color.  An Atlantic Monthly essay, "Why Is Your Yoga Class So White," makes the same point.  
But here are some of the reasons I think the argument about imperialist appropriation is misplaced and an overreaction.
I was trained as a yoga teacher in the 1970s by sanyassis (monks) sent to the United States by a tantric yoga guru in Bengal.  Usually, we think of the colonial power being the one sending missionaries to the colonized country to convert the heathens.  But the twentieth century saw a huge number of Hindu and yogic teachers coming to the US.  Vivekananda was the first--arriving in 1893 for the Chicago World Parliament of Religions.  The great yoga teacher Paramahansa Yogananda was next.  He arrived in the US in the 1920s and became a national sensation.  His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, transformed many lives, including my own.  Later came Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Satchidananda, Swami Muktananda, Meher Baba, B. K. S. Iyengar, Yogi Bhajan.  And Amma, Amritanandamayi Ma, still visits regularly to share her life-changing darsan, hugging thousands of Americans. 

None of them worried about their teachings being "appropriated" by Westerners.  They shared them freely.   Because the teachings transform lives, lead to liberation, and can change the world.
"Hey!  I'm a kitty, not a peacock!"
Hatha yoga, the physical side of yoga practiced in most American yoga studios, is already a multicultural phenomenon.  A yogi named Krishnamacharya in Mysore, the teacher of famous B. K. S. Iyengar, developed modern hatha yoga by combining ancient yogic traditions with late 19th-century Western gymnastic and body-building systems.  Many of the most popular yoga series like sun salutations are relatively recent inventions, existing nowhere in the ancient yogic texts like Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.  The ancient texts are primarily concerned with spiritual liberation.  Asanas are just one part of a complete holistic system.  
Many, many people in the West are hungry for spiritual transformation.  Yoga and meditation are priceless gifts India has given the world, gifts that are transforming global human consciousness.  Just this year Indian Prime Minister Modi sponsored the United Nations' adoption of "International Yoga Day."
A true guru will tell you that yoga transcends nations, borders, and boundaries.  Brahman, the term in yoga philosophy for Absolute Reality, the Divine Consciousness, encompasses the entire universe.  It exists for all.  No one owns it.  No one can "appropriate" it.  Brahman is not in danger of being limited or tarnished by the ignorant West. 

When traditions migrate to other cultures, they evolve.  When Buddhism went to China, it met Taoism.  From this meeting, Zen was born--hardly something to lament.  When Indian Tantra went to Tibet, Vajrarana, or Tibetan Buddhism, was born.  This new tradition gave the world the Dalai Lama.  Yoga will be transformed by coming to the West.  It already has been.  The important thing is to be part of its flowering, not its degradation.
If your goal is to offer the "5-5-50," become a rich New Age guru, you may be betraying the spirit of yoga.  But if you approach this great tradition with humility and reverence and a desire to share what you have discovered, then you'll honor the heart of the path.
A recent post on a Kundalini Yoga Facebook page said that the first requirement of being a yoga teacher is to realize that you are nothing.  Why?  Because in the openness of that humility and emptiness of self, something priceless can be born.
So let's all of us yogis bow to this ancient spiritual tradition of India, learn and teach all the limbs of yoga, and in our practice and in our hearts hold a deep sense of gratitude for this gift that our spiritual Mother, Mata India, has bestowed upon the world.
Jai Guru!
Michael  

This post was originally published on huffingtonpost.com November 2015.  
Do the mysteries of and about shamanism, meditation, tantra, yoga, mindfulness, intuition, and consciousness seem, at times, to be more confusing than you can grasp?  http://bit.ly/MysticalPresentations3

Sparkling Minds Expanding with the Universe
Instructor in Tantra Psychology, presenting rational articulation of intuitional science with cogent practical exercises bringing greater personal awareness and cultivation of subtler realms, imbuing new and meaningful talents into participants' lives.  Explore further bringing such capabilities into your realm, both personal and at work.  Contact HERE

Making a difference for the psychic, moral and physical development of youth, make a difference through and for our Youth Intuitional Development Program
 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Criteria of a Guru

You've heard the term "guru", and perhaps read or heard of some rendering of what a guru is, what gurus are about.  As one trims away the humorous, the ridiculous, the bimbonic, and the bigoted, truth and fact remain for describing the experiential paradigm of true gurus.  

Here we describe the essence and fortitude of what a worthy guru is about.  


The Criteria of a Guru
Redacted from Dharshan by Mahasambhuti



Perhaps you know that the word guru is a very old Vedic word. It means "one who dispels darkness".  This expression "one who dispels darkness" is often used without deeper understanding.  This darkness actually belongs not only to the psychic stratum or the spiritual stratum, but to all strata of human existence.  That is, darkness prevails in all the three strata – in the crude physical sphere, in the psychic sphere, and in the spiritual sphere.  So a guru will necessarily have to be able to remove darkness from all three strata.  If a guru teaches the alphabet or some academic matter to students, they would be called a teacher – teacher in the academic sense.  That will not do.  If, again, the guru removes darkness from the psychic world, they impart intellectual knowledge to their followers, that will not be enough either.  And if, finally, they dispel darkness only from the spiritual stratum of their disciples, that will not do either.  The fact is that a guru – if one is to be accepted as a real guru – shall have to remove darkness from all the strata of the physical world, all the strata of the psychic world, and also all the strata of the spiritual world.  

Now let us look at the spiritual world.  In the spiritual world, they alone can be a guru who can lift downtrodden humanity to a high spiritual level, who can illumine humanity with spiritual effulgence.  That is, only a Mahákaola has the requisite qualification to be a guru, others cannot be gurus.  

In order to be an ideal guru in the spiritual sphere, one must be thoroughly conversant with the minutest details of sádhaná, every aspect of sádhaná, important or unimportant.  The guru must not only learn those things, but must also possess the capacity to teach those practices to others.  Otherwise he should not be treated as a guru.  The Mahákaola alone has this capacity, no one else.  Kaolas are those who by dint of sádhaná have successfully elevated their microcosmic stance and established it in the Macrocosmic one; but a Mahákaola is one who is a kaola, certainly, but at the same time possesses the capacity to help others as well to get to that exalted kaola position. In the past Lord Shiva was one such Mahákaola.  Lord Krśńa was another.  To be a guru one must be a Mahákaola.  [note: A kaola can raise their own kundalini to, and perhaps beyond, the seventh cakra, sahasrara; a Mahákaola can raise, not only their own kundalini to such heights, they can also raise the kundalinis of others to such heights as well.  Raising one's kundalini is demonstrative of progressively escalating intimacy with the Universe.]  

One must possess knowledge regarding sádhaná, not only thorough knowledge of the shástras [scriptures].  And in order to gain thorough scriptural knowledge, one must know as many important languages as are necessary for the purpose.  That is to say, it is not enough that a guru acquire the necessary qualifications to be able to teach sádhaná (that is, impart lessons on the practical cult); they must possess adequate knowledge of theory also.  That is, in order to know the inner secret of sádhaná, they must possess thorough and authentic scriptural knowledge; then only should they be accepted as a perfect guru in the spiritual sphere.  One who has a fairly good knowledge of sádhaná and can also help others in that realm, but is completely devoid of intellect, or knowledge of languages and scriptures, cannot be a perfectly competent guru in the spiritual sphere; for, being a guru, they will have to explain the theoretical side also.  If, suppose, I say to someone, "Do this," I should also explain why he or she should do that, and at the same time I should be able to support it in the light of the shástras.  

You may raise the question, "What is a shástra?"  You might point to a voluminous book and call it a shástra, but that would be misleading.  Shástra in the true sense means, Shásanát tárayet yastu sah shástrah parikiirtitah – that is, "Shástra is that which disciplines and liberates humans."  So a guru must be well versed in shástra, otherwise they cannot show the right path to humanity.  The term guru would be a misleading misnomer – which is never desirable.  Shástra does not necessarily mean the Vedas; it means the way to emancipation through inculcation of rigorous discipline; it is something that prevents one from taking license in the name of liberty.  It means clear instructions that guide everyone along the path, that lead to attainment of prosperity and welfare -- that degree of rectificatory punishment which will be conducive to one’s well-being."

A spiritual guru must be well-acquainted with all the processes of sádhaná, must have the capacity to convince others, must possess complete knowledge of the scriptures, must know many languages, and must have comprehensive knowledge and intellect, plus some extra qualifications.  What are those qualifications?  Nigrahánugrahe shakto gururityabhidhiiyate – "the guru must possess the capacity both to punish, and to love, or bless, their disciples."  Punishment alone, without love, is not good.  Love and punishment should go together, and the degree of punishment should never exceed the degree of love. Then only can one be called a real spiritual guru.  


A guru must be an authority on all subjects in all the three strata:  

As a spiritual guru, they must be thoroughly versed in spiritual science – both the theory and the practice.  They must know how Parama Puruśa associates Itself with jiivas [unit beings]; and they must know how jiivas associate themselves with Parama Puruśa (they associate themselves just as the Ganges merges into the Bay of Bengal).  Otherwise, how can they teach this science to others?  

And who knows this science?  Only Parama Puruśa knows it, because It Itself has created everything.  It has created our sense organs, and It has created the tanmátras(1) that our sense organs detect.  It can create anything It likes.  But remember, It does not do anything.  Its "doing" means Its thinking.  Things will take shape as It thinks.  No one but Parama Puruśa knows how It does it. So how can people know Parama Puruśa if It does not teach to others the science of knowing It? Only Parama Puruśa knows the science and the method to realize It, to know It; because It has created both human beings and the path that they must move along.  So people can know the method by Its grace only.  Hence it has been said in Ánanda Sútram,(2) Brahmaeva Gururekah náparah – that is, "Brahma alone is the Guru."  Through Its physical structure, It teaches the actual science to the spiritual aspirants.  People should clearly understand this.

There are many people who are prone to think that in the spiritual realm there is no need to acquire intellectual knowledge for God-realization; and in support of their thesis they mention the names of some great men.  Now it is true that for God-realization, academic qualification may not be necessary at all: there is no differentiation between a learned person and a foolish one.  But in order to be a guru, one must be a learned person.  God-realization is not enough for a guru, they must possess other qualifications as well.  So a person who is devoid of learning and scriptural knowledge and the capacity to teach others, and the twin capacities to punish and reward Its disciples, should never be accepted as a spiritual guru.  A guru does not mean only a spiritual guru, he must be a guru for the intellectual and physical worlds also.

After the spiritual sphere comes the psychic sphere, which is cruder than the former.  That is, the guru must be aware of the nature of the human mind – what it is made of, how it should be elevated step by step from crude to subtle, how all the unit minds can march together in unison towards the goal – in a word, he must know both the theoretical and the applied sides of psychology.  He must know a thousand times more than is written in books. He must assimilate everything through Its own refined intellect.  And then only can he teach others perfectly.  That shows that he must be not only a spiritual guru, but also a guru in the psychic world.  There is a sense of want in the human mind.  One who can remove the sense of want is a guru.  In order to qualify as a guru, one must have the power to remove psychic wants.

As in the spiritual sphere, so also in the psychic sphere, a guru must be learned.  He should be well-versed in the humanities; in fact, in all branches of human knowledge.  In order to be a spiritual guru, it will be sufficient that he have mastery over scriptural treatises; but to be a guru in the psychic sphere, he must be well-versed in all branches of human knowledge.  A limited knowledge of a few scriptures will not do.  And simultaneously, he must be conversant with the style in which the human mind functions, as also in the method to control and guide it properly.

Next comes the physical world.  The followers, the disciples, of the guru, are men and women of flesh and blood having physical structures.  They have their sorrows and miseries, their tears and smiles.  This is their life.  They have their problem of food and clothing; they have their pleasures and pains, their tears of pain and tears of joy; they become elated in happy circumstances and depressed when things go wrong.  It is the duty of a guru to provide Its followers with the wherewithal for their progress.  This is what an ideal guru is to do in the physical sphere.  As a guru in the physical world, he will have to teach mankind such techniques as will solve their wordly problems – problems of food, clothing, education and medical treatment.  A guru must see to it that their mundane problems are solved.

So in order to be a guru, one must come onto this earth with the highest qualifications in the spiritual field, and with the greatest capacity to face the mountainous obstacles in the physical world.  To shoulder the responsibility of a guru is not child’s play.



Footnotes

(1) Literally, "minutest fraction of that", i.e., of a given rudimental factor of matter. The various types of tanmátras convey the senses of hearing, touch, form (vision), taste, and smell. –Eds.

(2) Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti, Ánanda Sútram, 1962. –Eds.

15 March 1981 DMS, Ramrajatala


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