26-11-12

Gita Society of Belgium (Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi)

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)started his spiritual journey after an inner experience which he described many times lately. He was just a young boy named Venkataraman and son of a lawyer from Tiruchuli. He met spontaneously with the fear of imminent bodily death and he discovered thus his inner Self. Then he felt attracted without any apparent reason by Arunachala and followed this attraction by quitting everything worldly in his life. Soon enough, he became the Maharshi.

 

Throughout the history of mankind spiritual world saviours have appeared on very rare occasions to exemplify the Highest Truth. Guiding followers by their conduct in every moment of their lives; Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was such a giant and saint. Unique for our time, He perfectly embodied the ultimate truth of Self-realisation, or complete absorption in the Supreme Itself.

 

Drawn from His home by the power of Arunachala at the age of sixteen, he remained at Its feet throughout the rest of His life and became known as the Sage of Arunachala.

 

He wrote very little, but is known to have translated and corrected a number of important works for the benefit of devotees. He preferred to communicate through the power of overwhelming Silence, a silence so deep and powerful that it stilled the minds of ardent seekers who were attracted to Him from all over the world.

 

Silence is preparation for the Supreme’s examination. Man comes to know the Supreme’s Hour only when he observes silence, only when he dives deep within. Sri Ramana Maharshi practised silence every moment of his life, and perfectly knew when the Supreme’s Hour was going to strike. Indeed, the victory that one achieves in the universe of silence is eternal.

 

Although preferring silence, He was always willing to answer the questions of sincere aspirants and never failed to guide them in the right direction. He always looked deep within, and just answered the questions.

 

His highest teaching of “Self-enquiry” (vichara) was understood in the infinite silence of his presence. Through this silence, countless numbers of devotees and visitors experienced the pure bliss of True Being. That same experience of perfect peace is still available to sincere souls who turn to him and practice his teachings with devotion.

 

In the silence, the liberation of the will follows on the liberation in knowledge and is its dynamic consequence; it is the knowledge that purifies, it is the truth that liberates: evil is the fruit of spiritual ignorance and it will disappear only by the growth of a spiritual consciousness and the light of spiritual knowledge. This is the first step to self-realisation, to enthrone the Higher Self Within (the Soul), the divine psychic individual in the place of the ego. The next step is to become aware of the eternal self in each of us, unborn and one with the self of all beings.

 

The act of silence and perfect grace can be experienced anywhere, but it is especially palpable at the foot of the holy Arunachala Hill, a hill that has attracted saints and sages for thousands of years. The Maharshi's teaching of “Self-enquiry” (Pure Advaita) is simplicity itself, requiring no outward formalities, no outer change of life, only a simple change in “point of view” and a sustained effort on the part of the seeker and devotee. The goal is no heaven or hell after death or a faraway ideal, but rather the removal of the ignorance that prevents us from knowing that we are eternally One with our Source, the Supreme Self, or the Absolute. It is an experience that happens NOW! All that is required is a sincere effort, which earns us the necessary grace.

 

On his deathbed the Maharshi told his grieving devotees, "You say I am going away, but where can I go? I am always here. You give too much importance to the body." His promise of a “continued presence” is daily being experienced by numerous devotees around the world, and it is that experience of “continued presence” that has inspired many to devote themselves to the path of peace and love.

 

 

The Sage of Arunachala

 

http://vimeo.com/album/1560868/video/20950775

 

The Essential Teachings of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

 

http://vimeo.com/album/1560868/video/20976553

 

Reminiscences

 

By Rajapalayam Ramani Ammal

 

Guru Ramana – His Living Presence

 

http://vimeo.com/22104190

 

All complete DVD's to be viewed here, or downloaded at Vimeo without subscription, and free of charge. 

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi at 21 years of age 

 

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi at 42 years of age

 

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The Portrait of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi for Meditatio

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Meditating on the Picture of

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi 

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“Who Am I?” (Nan Yar?)

 

You are the one sowing a seed. After some time, weeks or months depending it germinates. It grows and grows, and maybe it grows in a huge tree. It is the same in the spiritual life; you may have sown the seed today, while you may not see the results immediately, though some results are already present.  It takes time, as also spiritual development takes time.

 

You have to start with intend, faith and courage (perseverance), sincerity, genuineness, and above all great faith in yourself that you can make the achievement.

 

You have to pray and meditate, before you will feel “Who Am I”, the divinity within you. If you cannot possibly feel it right away, do not quite, nor be sad or discouraged. Everything takes time, also inner growth and awareness of your true state.

 

Persevere in prayer and meditation and through your goodwill and faith, your real state (Who Am I?, the Self, your real Self, Higher Self, Soul the way you know it best) will one day emerge large in your life. If you do not have higher experience or realisations in your spiritual endeavours right now or within days or weeks, never give up. Right now, at this very moment, if you do not feel anything in the very depth of your heart, as a radical change, do not give up. It takes time to acquire free access to the inner world, but bit by bit you will see that your inner life first is flooded with light and supreme delight. Refer to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching, and you will be greatly assisted.

 

© Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th.,D.D., Gita Satsang, Ghent, Belgium (Non-commercial video, for Satsang purposes only).

 


 

“Who Am I?” (Nan Yar?) E_Book

 

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Life-Time Line on Video

First Part - Place of Birth

 


 

Arunachala, Abode of Lord Shiva and Guru Ramana


 

 Unique Sanctity of Arunachala

 

 

In India there are countless holy places (kshetras) that are sacred to Lord Shiva or to some other name and form of God, and many of them are more well-known and popular than Arunachala. Yet there is a verse in the Arunachala Mahatmyam, which has been selected and translated into Tamil by Sri Bhagavan, that says:

 

Arunachala is truly the holy place. Of all holy places it is the most sacred! Know that it is the heart of the world. It is truly Shiva himself! It is his heart-abode, a secret kshetra. In that place the Lord ever abides the hill of light named Arunachala.

 

Whenever Sri Bhagavan asked about the special sanctity of Arunachala, he used to explain that other holy places such as Kailas, Kasi and Chidambaram are sacred because they are the abodes of Lord Shiva whereas Arunachala is Lord Shiva himself However, as the above verse of Arunachala Mahatmyam says, Arunachala is a secret kshetra. Because it is this place that bestows jnana and because most people have so many other desires and do not truly want jnana, Arunachala has always remained comparatively little known. But to those few who seek jnana, Arunachala always makes itself known through some means or other.

 

The unique sanctity and power of Arunachala-kshetra was once confirmed by an incident that happened in the life of Sri Bhagavan. Because of his great love for Sri Bhagavan, a certain devotee wanted to take him to his native place, Chidambaram. But rather than directly ask Sri Bhagavan to come to Chidambaram, he began to ask him if he had ever been to see Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram Temple. When Sri Bhagavan replied that he had not, the devotee began to describe the greatness of Chidambaram, saying that it was the most sacred Shiva-kshetra in South India, that so many saints and sages had lived there and had sung in praise of Lord Nataraja, and so on and so forth. Sri Bhagavan listened to all he said with patient interest, but showed no signs of wanting to visit Chidambaram.

 

 

Seeing this, the devotee at last said, 'Chidambaram is even greater than Arunachala, because among the panchabuta lingams [the lingams representing the five elements] Chidambaram is the space-lingam while Arunachala is only the fire-lingam. Since the four elements, earth, water, air and fire, finally have to merge in space, space is the principal element.'

 

Hearing this, Sri Bhagavan smiled and said, 'All the five elements come into existence only when Sakti seemingly forsakes her identify with Lord Shiva, the Supreme Self (Paramatman). Since the five elements are thus only the creations of Sakti, she is superior to all of them. Therefore, more important than the place where the elements merge, is the place where Sakti herself merges. Because Sakti is dancing in Chidambaram, Lord Shiva has to dance before her and thereby make her become motionless. But in Arunachala Lord Shiva remains ever motionless (achala), and hence Sakti automatically and effortlessly merges in him through great love. Therefore, Arunachala shines as the foremost and most powerful kshetra, because here Sakti, who has seemingly created all this manifold appearance, herself merges into the Lord. So for those mature aspirants who seek to put an end to the false appearance of duality, the most powerful help is to be found only in Arunachala-kshetra.'

 

Subsequently, on 24th June 1928, Sri Bhagavan summarized this reply of his in the form of a verse, which later became the first verse of Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai. In this verse he says:

 

 Though he is truly motionless by nature, in the court [of Chidambaram] Lord Shiva dances before Sakti, thereby making her motionless. But know that [in Tiruvannamalai] Lord Arunachala shines triumphant, that Sakti having merged in his motionless form.

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Here is some portions from one of the precious literature called “Periya Puranam”. If one wants to know what is devotion, what will be the actions and state of devotees, and want to dwell in the great nectar of love, the best place to go is “Periya Puranam”. If you want to feel the great heights that love for the Lord, who is the pure form of love, can take then read the “Periya Puranam” not just for the sake of reading, but by putting yourself in the state of the “Nayanar” whose life is described as you read. Feel it. Even for a person who never ever tasted the honey of devotion, it should give a great experience. If a person does not get “bhakthi” even after reading “Periya Puranam” you can say for sure that involvement was missing from his/her part.

 

The Sixty-Three Nayanmar on E_book here

 

 

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17-11-12

Gita Society of Belgium (Dutch, French, English)

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The Sacred Word “AUM” (OM)

 

All that exist is based on sound or the Word. Differentiation is the result of sound. On each plan or sphere of existence, the Word has a different effect. According to the note of the Word, or the vibration of the sound, will the work of building-in or casting-out be accomplished. The three fold Sacred Word “AUM” (OM) has seven keys, with their own subtones.

On these basic facts lay hid much light on the use of the Sacred Word in meditation. During meditation the seeker or devotee hear the sound “AUM” (OM), although they have not said it out loud and nobody in the meditation room or Satsang has chanted it loud. This means that inwardly in the brain the Divine has chanted “Aum” (OM) or is chanting, and the meditation location has preserved the sound.

In the great original sounding forth of the Sacred Word “AUM”, the three original “Breaths”(notes), with their seven sounds, is the note different, and the sounds pitched to a different key.

The use of the “Sacred Word” or “Sound” in the formation of “AUM” (OOOM), help come on the use of the “Sacred Word” as the Gayatri Mantra does in the building of the intuitional vehicle of ours, and the purification of the personality.

Having said all this, we will divide what we have to say under four heads, taking each one separately:

 

1.     The Sacred Word has a creative effect.

2.     The Sacred Word has also a destructive effect (destruction and restoration).

3.     Its pronunciation and use, (a) in individual meditation before and after; (b) in group and Satsang work; (c) for certain specific ends, and its efficacy in effecting egoic alignment.

4.     Its effect on the physical body and its centers.

“AUM” is a single, but indivisible sound; it is the vibration of the Cosmic Supreme, and the Seed Sound in the Universe, for with this sound the Cosmic Supreme is set in motion and continually sustaining and renewing the creation. The most powerful of all mantras is “AUM, AUM, AUM”, the mother of all mantras, following by the “Gayatri Mantra” is my daily experience. At every second creation is refreshed inside AUM. Without birth is AUM, and without death is AUM. Nothing else but AUM existed, exists and will forever exist.

“AUM” is a single Sanskrit character represented in the English language and other languages by these three letters, but pronounced as one syllable. Each portion of it represents a different aspect of the Cosmic Supreme or Absolute. Let us say, that “A” represents and embodies the consciousness of the Cosmic Supreme as the creating Energy. The “U” embodies the consciousness of the Cosmic Supreme as Preserver, and the “M” embodies the consciousness of the Cosmic Supreme, as the Transformer. Taken together, “AUM” is the spontaneous cosmic rhythm with which the universe is embraced. This should be enough for today.

Today, we continue with the subject we were considering previously. We divided the Sacred Word “AUM” (Om) into four divisions, and we will now consider rapidly the first two, the destroying and the creative (restoring) effects of the “Word”, not only the “Sacred Word” but every word. It is good to remember here that the Lord Shiva is known as the Destroyer as well as the Restorer or Rebuilder.

First of all, let us repeat the truism that all the worlds are the effect of sound. First life, followed by matter; and, later the attraction of matter to the life for purposes of its manifestation and expression, and the orderly arrangement of matter into the necessary forms.

Sound is the formation of the allying factor, the propelling impulse, as well as the attractive medium. “Sound” in spirituality or occultism, and in the deeply metaphysical sense, stands for that which is termed, “the relation between”; the “creating intermediary”, and the linking third and last factor in the process of manifestation. In direct relation sound” manifests itself as electricity, prana and magnetic fluid. Sound is the agent of the law of attraction and repulsion or vice versa.

In sounding the Sacred Word “AUM” (OM) the seeker or the devotee seeks daily a quiet spot where he can be free from any interference and interruption. It is wise, to seek always the same spot, for he or she will build there a shell around it that will serve as a protection and make the desired higher contact easier The matter of that chosen spot, the matter of what one may term the surrounding space, becomes then attuned into a certain vibration, which makes it easier each time to start at one’s highest, and so eliminate a long preliminary keying up. The one meditating composes him or herself to a position in which one can be unconscious of the physical body, as described in the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 6, verses 10 to 23 as explained in another chapter, “Thoughts on Meditation”.

The chanting of “AUM” (OM) on the three following levels: Mental, Emotional and Physical Planes/

On the Mental Level:

The contacting of the head centre (the Third-Eye), causing it to vibrate, and as such stilling the lower mind, as does the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra as I do three times before and after meditation.

On the Emotional Level:

The definite stabilization of the emotional body through the contacting and setting in motion of the heart centre.

On the Physical plane(s):

Here the effect is very similar; however, the primary effect is on the etheric (astral, psychic) side, it stimulates the divine flow. It passes beyond the periphery of the physical body, creating a shell that serves as a protection. It drives away discordant factors in the near environment.

In group work as in Satsang, the effect of the Sacred Word “AUM” (OM) chanted is intensified, provided the group is correctly constitutes as equality among the members.

The sound “AUM” (OM) is unique. Generally, we hear a sound when two things are struck together. But, “AUM” needs no such action. “AUM” is “anahata” as the soundless sound. A yogi or spiritual master can hear the “AUM” self-generated in the inmost recesses of his heart and mind.

There are many ways to chant “AUM”, loudly or softly, even silently within yourself. The universal “AUM” put forth by the Cosmic Supreme is an infinite ocean. The individual “AUM” chanted by the human is a drop in that ocean, but it cannot be separated from the ocean because it is its very own.

“AUM” has infinite power; and, just by repeating “AUM” one can come to God-realisation.

"The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is Om. This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma."  - Katha Upanishad I –

© November 2012 – Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D., Gita Satsang, Ghent, Belgium.

 

 


 

Thoughts on Meditation 



 

 Some Great Rishis of India

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Namaskara (I greet the divinity in you)

The Science of Service and Blessing

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03-11-12

Gita Society of Belgium

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Cosmic Dance of Lord Shiva

 

Written and also arranged from various manuscripts and articles by

Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.

Download Here

 

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Balancing Eroticism with Meditation

 

Shiva has always been one of the most fascinating characters of Indian mythology and religious thought. He is mysterious, difficult to pin down and seemingly full of contradictions. He is both the creator – the source of life, appropriately represented as a phallic symbol — as well as the much-celebrated destroyer, stark and severe. He is an alienating and overwhelming ascetic but also the embodiment of the erotic sentiment. In fact, he is a householder par excellence, second perhaps only to Rama, as a worthy husband to first Sati and then Parvati, and a loving father to Kumara.There are two primary myths in the narrative tradition on Shiva that epitomise this dual aspect of his nature. The first concerns the seduction of the great ascetic by Parvati.Engrossed in tapas, Shiva paid no regard to the young maiden visiting his mountain hermitage. The gods watched with interest and concern because, at this time, the demon Taraka had usurped their power and could only be slain by a son born of Shiva. Observing Shiva’s obstinacy, Indra sent Kama to excite him and break his tapas. But Shiva burnt the love God to ashes with a flame emanating from his third eye, thus proving his power over sexual passions. It was only when Parvati embarked on equally rigorous tapas that Shiva relented and allowed himself to be seduced.In the second myth, Shiva appears in disguise before a group of sages who were practising intense asceticism with their wives. Accusing Shiva of seducing their wives, the sages castrate the god. At that point, Shiva reveals himself and teaches the sages to worship his fallen linga.In both these myths, asceticism and eroticism confront each other head-on. While one concept seemingly defeats the other, in reality the two exist side-by-side. These myths seem to mock any attempt to construe them as opposing forces.
This idea is quite common in Sanskrit literature, where tapas is often considered a powerful creative force. The Vedas describe how the One and the world were created through tapas. Similarly, the Kamasutra states that great passion is not born of untamed desire. A successful lover is one who has gained control of his senses and obtains his powers by study and meditation.
In fact, the importance that Hinduism gives to descendants makes it impossible to hold up asceticism as an ideal or, at least, as the sole ideal. While tapas can lead to freedom from rebirth, procreation is essential in order to have one’s last rites performed correctly. Shiva represents the coexistence of the two roles society expected of men — to marry and beget sons but also to seek a union with God. Shiva stands for the idea that it is possible — in fact, necessary — to have both.

 

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Shiva, the Female Symbol

 

The female symbol is a symbol for the Mother Goddess; she is the life giver (Hebrew: chavvah = EVA) like the female earth, who gives life. Shiva and the Mother Goddess are still present until today in the Kaaba and mostly men (!) worship the black stone inside the female Goddess symbol on a corner on the Kaaba in Mecca, and after a precise washing procedure, they kiss and touch devote the female symbol. Like the Hindus at Mt. Kailash, they turn around seven times the Kaaba. The female part of Shiva is the black Kali, the destroyer of life.

 

The white Mt. Kailash is a symbol for Shiva, because Shiva is the creator, AND the black destroyer of live. His main symbol is the phallus. He is sitting there on the white Mt. Kailash in timeless meditation with his wife Parvati. As a symbol of lingam and yoni this was not only be worshipped in India, but also by the people in Arabia (Sanskrit: 'Arbab_stahn' - 'Land of horses') long before Mohammed has had his spiritual visions. Now the yoni/lingam symbol in Mina is a place where pilgrims throw little stones to it. But they do no really know, why they do that.

 

The Shiva male symbol is present in the towers of the Mosques, but was also distributed all over Europe, as the tree in spring, when life begins again in nature, as p.e. in Bavaria in Germany. There wearing then nine year old girl's candles with a serpent, which is also a symbol of Shiva on the 'White Sunday'.

The flying white horse Kalki from the Veda's of India, which is also present in the old stories told about Mohammed, and also in the Nordic myths of Scandinavia as the horse of Odin.

 

SHIVA TATTVA

 

In Me the universe had its origin,

In Me alone the whole subsists;

In Me it is lost-Siva,

The Timeless, it is I Myself,

Sivoham! Sivoham! Sivoham!

 

Salutations to Lord Shiva , the vanquisher of Cupid, the bestower of eternal bliss and Immortality, the protector of all beings, destroyer of sins, the Lord of the gods, who wears a tiger-skin, the best among objects of worship, through whose matted hair the Ganga flows.

 

Lord Shiva is the pure, changeless, attributeless, all-pervading transcendental consciousness. He is the inactive (Nishkriya) Purusha (Man). Prakriti is dancing on His breast and performing the creative, preservative and destructive processes.

 

When there is neither light nor darkness, neither form nor energy, neither sound nor matter, when there is no manifestation of phenomenal existence, Shiva alone exists in Himself. He is timeless, spaceless, birthless, deathless, decayless. He is beyond the pairs of opposites. He is the Impersonal Absolute Brahman. He is untouched by pleasure and pain, good and evil. He cannot be seen by the eyes but He can be realised within the heart through devotion and meditation.

 

Shiva is also the Supreme personal God when He is identified with His power. He is then omnipotent, omniscient active God. He dances in supreme joy and creates, sustains and destroys with the rhythm of His dancing movements.

 

He destroys all bondage, limitation and sorrow of His devotees. He is the giver of Mukti or the final emancipation. He is the universal Self. He is the true Self of all creatures. He is the dweller in the cremation-ground, in the region of the dead, those who are dead to the world.

 

The Jivas and the world originate from Him, exist in Him, are sustained and rejected by Him and are ultimately merged in Him. He is the support, source and substratum of the whole world. He is an embodiment of Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Bliss. He is Satyam, Sivam, Subham, Sundaram, Kantam.

 

He is the God of gods, Deva-Deva. He is the Great Deity-Mahadeva. He is the God of manes (Prajapati). He is the most awe-inspiring and terrifying deity, Rudra, with Trisul or trident in His hand. He is the most easily pleased (Asutosha). He is accessible to all. Even the untouchable Chandalas and the illiterate rustics can approach Him.

 

He is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. He is an ideal Yogi and Muni. He is the ideal head of an ideal family with Uma as his devoted wife, Lord Subrahmanya, the brave general of strength and courage, Lord Ganesa, the remover of all obstacles.

 

© November 2012 Gita Society of Belgium – Satsang, Ghent, Belgium

 

 

 Meditation - The Way to Happiness

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