Jan 26, 2008

Lord Subramanium, Kartikeya, Shanmukha, Muruhan, Murugan, Skanda

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Aum Namo Skandaya NamaH
Aum Namo Shanmukhaya NamaH


O Subrahmanya!
O General of Devas’ forces!
O Destroyer of evil,
O Karttikeya, Siva’s son!
Six Sparks from Sankara’s fire!
O God of War!
Salutations unto Thee.
Thou art the Power of Wisdom,
Truth, Good, and Grace.
All powers of manhood
Are Thy power.
Saravanabhava Pahimam.
Karttikeya Rakshamam.

THE Asura Taraka oppressed the Devas very much. He drove them out of the heavens. All the Devas went to Brahma. Brahma said to the Devas: "O Devas, I cannot destroy Taraka, as he has obtained my grace through his severe Tapas. But I shall give you a suggestion. Get the help of Cupid or Kama Deva. Induce him to tempt Lord Siva, who is now absorbed in His Yoga-Samadhi, to marry Parvati. A powerful son, Lord Subrahmanya or Karttikeya, will then be born to them. This son alone can destroy the Asura.

Indra asked Kama to go with his wife Rati and his companion Vasanta (the Spring) to Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva. Kama at once proceeded to Mount Kailas along with Rati and Vasanta. Spring season came in immediately. Standing behind a tree, Kama shot his flowery arrows of passion at Lord Siva just when Parvati was putting flowers into His hand. As soon as Parvati’s hands came in contact with those of Lord Siva, He experienced a thrill of feeling. Siva wondered what it was that disturbed His Yoga. He looked around and saw Kama behind a tree.

Siva opened His third eye and Cupid was burnt to ashes by the fire that emanated from it. That is how Kama Deva came to be Ananga—the bodiless.

After burning Kama Deva, Lord Siva found out in His Yogic vision that the birth of Lord Subrahmanya was absolutely necessary to destroy the powerful Taraka. He had His Retas (semen) thrown into the hands of Fire, who, unable to retain it, threw it into Ganga. In Her turn, She threw it into a reed forest where Karttikeya (Lord Subrahmanya), the Reed-born (Shara-Janma), was born. He became the leader of the celestial hosts and the destroyer of Tarakasura, exactly as Brahma intended.

An Avatara of Lord Siva

Lord Subrahmanya is an Avatara of Lord Siva. All Incarnations are manifestations of the one Supreme Lord. Lord Subrahmanya and Lord Krishna are one. Lord Krishna says in the Gita, "Senaninam Aham Skandah: Of the generals, I am Skanda." The Lord manifests Himself from time to time in various names and forms for establishing Dharma and punishing the wicked.

Lord Subrahmanya is a ray born of the Chaitanya of Lord Siva. He is the energy of Lord Siva. Valli and Deivayanai are His two wives. They represent the Ichcha Sakti and the Kriya Sakti of the Lord. He is a Pratyaksha Devata in this Kali Yuga, like Hanuman. He bestows on His devotees material and spiritual prosperity and success in all their undertakings even at the slightest devotion shown to Him. Guha, Muruha, Kumaresa, Karttikeya, Shanmukha (He who has six faces), Subrahmanya, Velayudha (He who wears the spear) are synonymous terms.

The Lord of Nature

Lord Shanmukha, the Light of lights and the innermost Self of all, is worshipped in the form of God having six faces and twelve hands. The worship of Subrahmanya is more or less confined to South India though He is not unknown to the Hindus of the rest of India as Karttikeya. The Tamilians have a living faith in Subrahmanya and are as fond of His Leelas as the North Indians and the South Indian Vaishnavites are of Krishna’s sports.
The worship of Lord Skanda is most prevalent in South India and Ceylon. Almost every town in the South has its temple dedicated to Lord Shanmukha. The Tamils have named Shanmukha as Muruhan. Just as the God of Wind is Vayu, the God of Water is Varuna, the Tamil term for the Lord of Nature is Muruha.

Temples of Lord Subrahmanya can be seen throughout South India. Places of natural beauty that soothes the soul enshrine the Almighty in the form of Lord Subrahmanya. Of the places where the temples of Lord Skanda are to be seen, a few are very famous. Each of these temples has a legend and history of its own. The famous temples of Lord Subrahmanya in South India are Tiruchendur, Palani, Thirupparankundram, Swamimalai, Thiruthanigai, Thirupporur, Udipi and Alagar Koil; and almost all hillocks in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, shine with a temple of Lord Subrahmanya on the top.

Lord Subrahmanya showed His Bala Leelas in Tiruchendur, If anyone goes to Kathirgamam with faith, devotion and piety and stays in the temple for two or three days, Lord Subrahmanya gives His Vibhuti to the devotees in the shape of instructions. The devotee gets mystical experiences. A big festival is held in this temple every year on Skanda Shashti. Mountains of camphor are burnt on this occasion. Thousands of people gather there for the occasion.

During Skanda Shashti, the day on which Lord Subrahmanya killed the demon Taraka, grand festivals are held with great pomp and grandeur at various places in South India. Devotees do worship, Bhajan and Kirtan on this day on an almost extravagant scale. Thousands are fed sumptuously. Many incurable diseases are cured if one visits Palani and worships the Lord there. In South India, Lord Subrahmanya’s Leelas are dramatised and performed in open-air theatres.

Scriptures That Extol Lord Skanda

Of the eighteen Puranas, Skanda Purana deals with the Avatara and Leelas of Lord Skanda and His victory over the Asura king, Soorapadman. It also narrates the story of His marriage with Valli and Deivayanai. It extols the glory of Lord Skanda and His greatness and brings out the various attributes and functions of the Lord. Every episode narrated in the story has got an esoteric significance. Devotees and Bhaktas of Lord Subrahmanya have this text for their constant Svadhyaya.

Scriptures relating to Lord Skanda can be had in abundance in Tamil literature. In fact, Lord Subrahmanya was worshipped not only as the Lord of Nature, but also as the Lord who gave the Tamil Language to Agastya Rishi. Amongst the oldest extant Tamil works is Thirumurugatrupadai (guidance for an aspirant to the worship of Lord Skanda). 

The author of this book was Nakkeerar, a famous poet of the olden days. One who studies this book daily and does Puja of the Lord gets purged of all sins and he attains everything both in this world and in the next.

Saint Arunagirinathar has left us more than a thousand songs in praise of Lord Shanmukha. These songs are known as Thiruppugazh (praise of the Lord). Every song is elevating and soul-stiffing. The same saint has given to the world other books, namely, Kandar Anubhooti (Grace of the Lord and how to obtain it) and Kandar Alankaram. The former has so much efficacy that its constant repetition with faith and love bestows every blessing that one can ask for.

In a later period, another saint, Kumaragurupara Swamigal, composed a long poem in praise of Lord Shanmukha. This is known as Kandar Kali Venba. There are also other poems known as Pillai Tamizh.

The Form of Shanmukha

In common with all Hindu mythological accounts and stories, the descriptions and the legends about Subrahmanya also embody various esoteric truths. Lord Subrahmanya has six faces. He holds a spear or Vel, and He rides on a peacock. The peacock stands upon a black serpent. A cock is the Lord’s banner. He has two wives, Valli and Deivayanai. He is the son of Parama Siva. He came out of Siva’s third eye, in the form of fire or light Jyotis. 

His achievements consisted of the destruction of the great Asura Soorapadma who, with his assistants, was enslaving Indra and other Devas. He married Deivayanai, the daughter of Indra. On the advice of Narada, He married also Valli, the foster-daughter of the hunter-king Nambi, after testing her devotion pretty severely. Even as a boy, Lord Subrahmanya imprisoned Brahma for his ignorance of the meaning of the Pranava Mantra and released him only at the request of Lord Siva. Incidentally, He also expounded to Lord Siva the meaning of the same Mantra. All these accounts are the interesting details greatly appreciated and cherished by deeply devoted Subrahmanya Bhaktas.

From the esoteric point of view, Subrahmanya is the Lord who incarnated Himself to illumine the intelligence of human beings and liberate them from ignorance of various kinds which hides the truth from them. That Subrahmanya came out of Siva’s third eye is symbolic of His being the incarnation of Pure Intelligence, for Siva’s third eye is known to be the Eye of Knowledge.

The six heads of Lord Subrahmanya represent the six Chakras. They also represent the five senses and the mind. They represent the six attributes of Bhagavan: Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (dispassion), Bala (strength), Kirti (fame), Sree (wealth) and Aisvarya (divine powers). They indicate that He is the source for the four Vedas, Vedangas, and the six schools of philosophy; that He has controlled the five Jnana Indriyas and the mind. They denote that He is the Virat Purusha with countless heads. They signify that His head is turned everywhere (Viswathomukha); He is all-pervading. They indicate that He is omnipotent and that He can multiply and assume forms at His will. The six faces indicate that His presence shines on the four sides and also above and below.

The twelve arms show that He alone creates, preserves, destroys, hides and blesses—in fact, does everything in the world.

Valli, Deivayanai and the Vel mean respectively Ichcha Sakti, Kriya Sakti and Jnana Sakti, i.e., the force of desire, the force of action, and the force of knowledge. It is indicated that all these three abide in Subrahmanya, who is Para Brahman Himself. The fact that desire and action forces are kept on either side of Him and that Jnana Sakti or the force of knowledge alone is kept in His breast point out that Knowledge is the most important of them all and that it never gets separated from Him.

Valli and Deivayanai

Subrahmanya married Valli according to the Gandharva mode. He did not obtain the permission of her parents for doing so. That also shows that Valli is His desire-force.
On the other hand, His marriage of Deivayanai was after His victory over the Asuras. Out of gratitude, Indra gave Subrahmanya his own daughter Deivayanai in marriage. This was done according to Vedic rites. These events point to the fact that Deivayanai is His action-force.

The two wives Deivayanai and Valli also symbolise the two types of devotees among those who strive for Moksha or Liberation through union or oneness with the Supreme. One type consists of those who rigidly and sincerely observe the injunctions and follow the teachings of the Vedic scriptures and are thus the followers of Vaidik Karmas. That type is represented by Deivayanai, whom Subrahmanya married in the regular orthodox way. 

The other type consists of the ardent Bhaktas who attach more importance to right mental feeling and emotion than to rules and regulations. This type is symbolised by Valli, who grows as the foster-daughter of the hunter-king Nambi. Subrahmanya marries her in the combined Gandharva and Paisacha modes of marriage. He manifests love in wooing her and uses force in fighting against her relations who try to obstruct Him.

The Vel

In the picture, Lord Subrahmanya holds the Vel or Spear in His hand, just as Lord Siva holds the Trident or Trisula. This is an emblem of power and indicates that He is the ruler of this universe. The devotees of Lord Subrahmanya do obeisance to the Vel.
The Vel or Spear was given to Subrahmanya by Parvati, the embodiment of Siva-Sakti. It, therefore, indicates that the Spear was the symbol of true Knowledge as coming out of Parvati, the Para Sakti. 

The shape of the Vel also shows that Knowledge in the form of Jyotis will start from Muladhara, which is the bottom of the Vel, pass through the intermediate Nadis (which are represented by the body of the Vel), and pierce through the thousand-petalled Brahmarandhra, which is represented by the sharp, leaf-shaped end of the Vel.

The Spear or Vel is the weapon which pierces through the demon of Ignorance. This is Ekagra Chitta or the one-pointed mind so much insisted upon in Raja Yoga without which progress is impossible for the Yogi. It is the preliminary for concentration, meditation and absorption—all of which together constitute the Yogic Samyama. In the legend, it is Soorapadma, the Asura, who is slain by the Vel. That Asura is none other than Ignorance.

The Peacock, the Snake and the Cock

Shanmukha’s Vahana, the peacock, shows the shape of the Pranava letter OM. It is the shape of the Bindu. When the peacock has spread out its tail, it has the round shape of the Pranava. Within it is the Parabrahma Jyoti which is the form of Muruha or Subrahmanya. The subordinated serpent kept in check by the peacock’s feet shows the Maya impurity completely overpowered by the power of Pranava.

The peacock is the most beautiful of all birds. It is the one bird which can reveal its inner joy by dancing and displaying its gorgeous plumage. When it does so, it evidences its perfect balance, for it is a very heavy bird and it has to keep its balance on its two very slender feet. 

Thus we can also interpret the peacock as symbolising mental equipoise, the predominance of the Sattva over the Rajas and Tamas qualities. Such a mental condition reveals itself in a superior sort of self-satisfaction, a state similar to that of the peacock which spreads out its beautiful plumage. It is this predominating Sattva that is the pre-requisite for the acquisition of True Knowledge, the Knowledge symbolised by Lord Subrahmanya Himself.

The Vahana peacock is also by way of representation that the Lord has entirely conquered pride, egoism, vanity. The cobra under His Feet is to indicate that He is absolutely fearless, immortal and wise.

The cock in the banner signifies the Pranava, the Nada-Brahman, the sound-form of God. Subrahmanya’s cock-banner symbolises the approach or dawn of Knowledge. It is the cock that proclaims the coming of the sun in the eastern horizon. The sun is the heavenly body that dispels darkness. Likewise, the cock on Subrahmanya’s banner announces the approach of Knowledge which will destroy all ignorance.

Danda Pani

There is another form of Subrahmanya which is known as Danda Pani. When He is represented in that form, He stands alone with the Vel, but without Valli or Deivayanai. This represents His Nirguna aspect which is free from Maya. This also shows that He can be without the forces of desire and action, but cannot be without the force of Knowledge.

The Esoteric Significance of the Skanda Stories

Let us now examine the meaning of the legend about Soorapadma who was killed by Subrahmanya. The Asuras Taraka, Simhamukha and Soorapadma were the sons of Maya. They persecuted the Devas and imprisoned Devakumara. Muruha heeded the prayers of the Devas, killed the three Asuras with His spear, and liberated Devakumara from the prison. Later, according to the request of the victorious Devas, Muruha married Deivayanai, the daughter of Indra. The inner significance of this account is as follows. The three sons of Maya are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the three Gunas. Jiva is ever under the influence of these three Gunas and is subjugated by them. God Subrahmanya listens to the prayers of the Jiva and liberates him from the clutches of the three foes, the three Gunas. Not only does He liberate the Jiva, but He also, by marrying, unites the Jiva with Himself.

The Wedding of Valli

Take, again, the wedding of Valli. In the dark forest of the mountain, Valli frowns in the midst of the cruel hunters, her relations, and spends her time throwing stones to drive away birds which peck the grains in the fields. But her mind is always in love with Lord Muruha. In right time, Muruha comes in different guises, tests her, frightens her with the elephant through the help of Vinayaka, and in the end, reveals His real form, takes her away to marry. At that time, He encounters the opposition of Valli’s foster-parents and kills them. But, in response to Valli’s request, He brings them back to life and celebrates the marriage with her.

The dark forest is Tamas. The cruel hunters are Rajas. Valli is the Jiva who is in the grasp of these two. Her guarding the grains in the field is her earnest Sadhana to realise the Paramatman. The birds that come to peck the grains are the obstacles to her rigid Sadhana. To save herself, she keeps in her hand the catapult which is Viveka (discrimination), and uses the pebbles which represent Vairagya (dispassion). Thus she drives away the obstacles. To test the strength of her Sadhana, Muruha appears before her in disguises, and in the end, shows her the meaning of Pranava in the form of the elephant. Then the forces of Rajas which envelop the Jiva (symbolised by the hunters who surround Valli) are vanquished and transformed into Suddha Sattva Guna. After that the Jiva is released and given the supreme status of identification with Para Brahman.

Pratyaksha Devata of This Kali Yuga

Lord Shanmukha is the Pratyaksha Devata (visible God) of this Kali Yuga. He is readily pleased with His devotees to whom He grants both Bhukti and Mukti (enjoyments here and Moksha hereafter). Millions are still living who can narrate instances in their own life to show the miracles brought about by propitiation of Lord Shanmukha.

The Kavadi

Perhaps the most potent propitiatory rite that a devotee of Shanmukha undertakes to perform is what is known as the Kavadi. The benefits that the devotee gains from offering a Kavadi to the Lord are a millionfold greater than the little bit of pain that the devotee inflicts upon himself.

Generally, people take a vow to offer the Lord a Kavadi for the purpose of tiding over, or averting, a great calamity. For instance, if the devotee’s only son is laid up with a fatal disease, he would pray to Shanmukha to grant the boy a lease of life in return for which the devotee would take a vow to dedicate a Kavadi to the Lord.

Though this might, on the face of it, appear materialistic, a moment’s reflection will reveal that it contains in it the seed for the Supreme God-Love. The worldly object is achieved; and the devotee takes the Kavadi. After the ceremony, he gets so much intoxicated with the love of God that his spiritual inner chamber is opened now. This, too, ultimately leads to Para Bhakti.

O Lord Subrahmanya! O All-merciful Lord! We have neither faith nor devotion. We do not know how to worship Thee in the proper manner or to meditate upon Thee. We are Thy children who have lost the way, forgotten the Goal and Thy Name. Is it not Thy duty, O compassionate Father, to take back these lost children under Thy shelter, to caress and protect, and to shower Thy grace and benedictions on them?

O Mother Valli, will You not intercede for us with Thy Lord? Mother’s love for her children is mightier than any other emotion in this world. Though we have become worthless and undutiful children, O beloved Mother! pardon us. Make us dutiful and faithful. We are Thine from this very second. Always Thine. All is Thine. It is the Mother’s duty to correct, educate, rectify and mould Her reckless children when they are straying from the right path. Remove the gulf that separates us, the veil that hides us, from Thee. Bless us. Enlighten us. Take us back to Thy lotus feet. We have nothing more to say. This is our fervent prayer to Thee and Thy Lord, our beloved and eternal parents.

Article by Shri Swami Sivananda Maharaj...

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Sianala, Montreal, Jan 2008

Jan 15, 2008

Sun :The Eye Of The World

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

In Sanskrit, Makara Sankranti means the time when the sun crosses the tropic of Capricorn. The day is of special significance to all those leading a spiritual life and mention has been made of the commencement of this new period in such scriptures as the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita. 

The sun comes to the North, energising and invigorating all life wherever it is, and on whatever he sheds his light. In esoteric parlance, in mystic terminology, the sun is regarded as the presiding deity over the self of man, while the moon is the presiding deity over the mind of man. 

The self or the soul is different from the mind; the Atman and the Manas are differentiated by their metaphysical and psychological characteristics, respectively. The self of man is presided over by the sun or Surya. 

The sun is designated as natural Atmakaraka. "Surya atma jagatas tasthushascha," says the Veda. The Rig Veda proclaims the spiritual presiding principle in the sun as the invigorator, energiser of the self of all created beings. 

That is the meaning of the Vedic prayer mentioned above, of all the things that move and do not move, of all that is organic or inorganic, of everything in creation, the solar principle is the self, as it were, the pivot around which all individual energies revolve. 

We live by the sun and die if the sun is not to be. spiritually envisaged, esoterically conceived, the sun is not merely a huge orb of atomic energy as the physicists would tell us, but a radiant mass of life-giving vitality to everyone. 

The sun is not merely a heating principle, like an electric heater or a fire-like burning mass, or a huge conflagration of fire, because these cannot give you that energy which the sun supplies to you. I shall give a small analogy to give you an idea as to what the sun can contain and does contain.

Do you know what the earth contains? 

Can you imagine what energy, what vitality, what abundance, what resources are contained in the earth? You have the gold, you have diamonds, you have mineral resources lying under different parts and bowels of the earth, you have gas and petrol and what not; and where do you get this energy from, for the sake of the living beings on earth? 

The trees vigorously rise from the earth, sucking energy from the bottom of the earth, and they seek energy from above - from the rays of the sun, when we geologically and physically look into the structure of this earth, and chemically examine its contents, biologically investigate into its resources, as a pure scientific mind, we will realise that the earth is not dead matter, it is energy-embodiment, on whose bounties we are alive here. 

The food that we eat is not dead matter, otherwise it cannot give us energy. From where do we get energy? from the food that we eat, from where do we get the food? from the earth, If energy is to come from food, naturally the source of it must be full of energy, the earth cannot be inanimate, as we generally dub it to be, it is not inorganic; there is something organic and living, meaningful and significant in it, and even many millions of years ago the earth had been declared to be a part of the solar constitution. 

As our wise men tell us, once upon a time a mighty gigantic star happened to rush by the side of the electromagnetic field of the sun - some light years away from the sun, of course, not merely a few miles, the impact of this upon the orb of the sun was such that it broke off a little piece of the sun. That little piece, being a flaming, diverging, powerful energy-block, rushing from the sun, boiling with the flame of what the sun is, is supposed to have come down after thousands of years, cooling down gradually from the flaming condition in which it was to a cooler condition, and from the cooler condition to a still cooler condition, then from that condition into the gaseous condition, from the gaseous to the liquid condition, and from the liquid condition to the solid condition that we see today.

 So, all this wonderful earth is nothing but a part of the sun, and its greatness can be traced back to the greatness of the sun which cannot be, by logical deduction, a mere physical or inorganic form as uninformed science may tell us.

There is something wonderful and mysterious in the sun and there is some great significance in connecting the principle of the sun with the self of man, as there is also equal significance in connecting of the moon with the mind of man, you may know that during the full moon and the new moon days the mind gets affected. 

Those who are weaklings and who are not mentally strong will feel this impact more than normal persons, normal persons do not feel it, but those who are not normal in their minds will feel the effect strongly, the moon, the stars, the sun and all the stellar system exert a mutual influence amongst themselves, you may know that during the full moon the ocean rises up, swells up as if to greet the rising moon and, naturally, the pull must be felt everywhere on earth, but you cannot see it.

Such is the invisible impact of the higher forces of nature, whose father is the sun, when the sun's influence is felt more and more, the self is supposed to also exert influence in its activity, operation. So, this particular day, we call Makara Sankranti, is holy.

The Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita tell us that those who die during these six months of the northern course of the sun, rise from the earthly entanglements to the higher regions presided over by noble deities, finally piercing through the orb of the sun, crossing the barrier of the sun, the soul crosses still higher regions of resplendence and spiritual magnificence.

The Upanishads and such scriptures describe that while the passage of the moon during the six months of the southern course of the sun is the passage of return to the earth, the passage through the sun is the passage to salvation, liberation of the spirit.

Those who cross the barrier of the sun come not to this mortal world again, they go to higher regions until the soul reaches universal salvation, until the soul becomes everything, enters into everything everywhere, as the Mundaka Upanishad tells us. Seekers of Truth, aspirants on the path of Yoga, devotees of God, lovers of mankind - all these have to pay tribute to the supreme father of energy, vitality, deathlessness, which is Surya. "Suryah pratyaksha devata": The sun is the visible God.

If you have any visible God, it is the sun before you. You cannot see God in His pristine excellence, but you can see God through the operation of his powers in nature. In the Purusha Sukta, the sun is compared to the eyes of the Virat Purusha, the Cosmic Person. These are true comparisons and symbols which give us an idea of the magnitude and the importance of the sun in our life. People pray that their death should take place during the six-month period of the northern movement of the sun. 

In the Mahabharata we are told that Bhishma waited for his departure until the sun moved to the north. So there is not merely an astronomical or physical significance to our lives in the movement of the sun towards the north, but there is also a biological, vital and psychological as well as spiritual meaning in this northern sojourn of the sun. 

Devotees and seekers of Yoga have, therefore, to bring to their minds this internal world and its significance which is beyond and farther than the physical world. The inner world is deeper than the outer.

In some of the scriptures we are told that there are twelve suns. 

Where are the twelve suns? We see only one sun in the sky. 

We can regard these twelve suns as the principle inherent within the physical sun, one behind the other. Just as we have the vital body behind the physical body, the mental body behind the vital body, the intellectual body behind the mental body, and the spiritual principle in us behind the intellectual body, so also there are energies behind energies, powers within powers, one transcending the other, until the twelfth sun is reached. 

It is identified with Maha-Vishnu or the Supreme Benefactor of Creation, the Ruler of the Cosmos. The twelfth sun is Vishnu Himself. He cannot be seen with the physical eyes because these esoteric suns are internal to the physical sun. You cannot see the vital body or the mental body, intellectual body or the spiritual principle in yourself. You cannot see anything inside the body. In as much as we live in the physical body and see a physical world, we see also a physical sun. When we enter the vital body, we will enter the vital world and see a vital sun, and so on and so forth, and when we reach the ultimate principle within us by the practice of Yoga, we will see the hidden essence behind the world. It is not a country; it is not a realm, a village or a city, or any locality populated by people. 

A marvellous ocean of light and energy is presided over by the twelfth sun, says the scripture.
There is much behind these great observances such as the Makara Sankranti and many others of a similar nature, in the spiritual destiny of man. We live a material life, not knowing what we really are, what the world is. 

We seem to be so ignorant of the values that are inherent and within us that we are dashed hither and thither by the winds of fate, controlling the physical world and the physical body of people. The more you move inward into yourself, the more you will also see the inner mystery of the world. When you go to the vital body within you, you can see the vital body of other people seated here. Because you are now in the physical body, you see the physical body of others. When you enter your mental body, you can see the minds of other people, and when you enter your intellectual body, you can see the intellects of other people seated here. And when you enter your spiritual principle within, you can see the spirituality in the world and the spiritual principle in the whole cosmos.

The twelve suns described in the Srimad Bhagavata and other scriptures are not twelve physical suns hanging in the sky, but twelve layers of principle, one behind the other, culminating in the spiritual reality as the sun, wherein the individual, the world and God become one. In the physical realm you are different, the world is different and God is different. There is no connection apparently between one and the other. When you go deeper, the three principles come nearer and nearer to one another. The world is absolutely isolated now. You have no control over it; it threatens you every moment. You are afraid of the world. Why? Because it is physically isolated from your physical body. And so God is also a transcendent something of which you have no concept today. 

But when you go inwardly by a power of concentration and meditation, you simultaneously, as a parallel movement, also enter into the subtler realms of the world outside, so much so that the outsidedness of the world becomes less in proportion to the internal experience that you have in your own self. The more you are physically conscious, the more the world also is external to you. The more you are inwardly conscious, the nearer is the world to you. 

The inimical world, the so-called unfriendly world, becomes friendly when you enter into the subtler and subtler realms of your own being. And when you reach the divine principle within you, the world does not merely remain as a friend but becomes an inseparable experience of your own. The world ceases to be an outer phenomenon. 

There will be no world as such. The thing called the world ceases to be the moment you enter into the spiritual principle within you, which is the same as the spiritual principle within the world, which is also the same as the spiritual principle of the universe. It is only here that God, world and the soul become united. This is the liberation that we are ultimately seeking.

So there is much of a message in this religious observance of Makara Sankranti and we shall all, as humble seekers of Truth, do well to contemplate this inner divinity presiding over the solar symbol in our creation and endeavour to be more and more spiritual in our life - which is not to change to a different order or kind of life from the one in which we are, but to enter into a new meaning of life in this very life. To be spiritual, to enter the realm spiritual, is not to enter into an order of life as people mistakenly imagine. It is not shifting from place to place, moving from one corner of the earth to another corner of the earth, or changing the mode of living in this world. 

This is not spirituality. What is really meant is to enter one step inward into your life rather than move outwardly, diametrically. It is not a horizontal movement but an inward gesture of the soul towards its own centre.

It is difficult to understand what spirituality is, however much you may read philosophy. Spirituality is not a kind of life that you lead. It is the inner meaning of all kinds of life in the world. It is not isolated from other types of life. It is the meaning and significance behind every kind of life, whatever be your profession or the duties you perform in the world. There are people who imagine that spirituality is for the later period of one's life. It has nothing to do with 'doing'. 

As I mentioned to you, it is the significance behind what you are and what you do. So you cannot fix it for a period of time - tomorrow or the day after. No such thing is possible in spirituality, because the spiritual is the meaning behind things. How can you fix the meaning to a distant future, as if you do not want to live today? The meaning behind existence and activity is what is meant by the spiritual. If there is any worth in what you are and what you do, that is spirituality.

This is what the Upanishads and other scriptures like the Bhagavadgita speak of. They speak of the interpretation of God in the world - such as the sun whose northern movement commences today, and on account of which we regard this day as auspicious Makara Sankranti. So, you should take all this seriously to your heart on this auspicious day and contemplate for a moment the deeper truths of your own personal lives, the deeper truths of nature outside and the deeper truths implied in the relationship between yourselves and the nature outside. 

 There are three implications, three meanings, three significances or three hidden realities - the one within ourselves, the second in nature outside, and the third which is implied in the relation between ourselves and the nature outside, which is called God, invisible to our physical perception.

Those who are Brahmacharis may do more Gayatri Mantra Japa, which is presided over by the sun, from today onwards. Those who have other Mantras as their Ishta-Mantra may do more Japa of that Mantra from today onwards. Those who are advanced enough to take to pure contemplation and meditation will do well to bring the true God into their lives - not the visible God or the imagined God, but the real God in the sense of what spirituality is - into their own lives as the meaning and the significance behind what anything is and what anything can be in this world. 

The spiritual reality, finally, is the significance behind what anything is and what anything does, whatever we are and whatever we do - which means to say, there is no life without spirituality because life without spirituality is a misnomer; it is meaningless; it is absurd. This is the kind of life that every individual being has to endeavour to live, and we should utilise this opportunity as another happy occasion to contemplate God in His real nature, thus accelerating the speed of our movement towards Him, approximating ourselves more and more nearer to that Supreme Absolute and making our life blessed by living it practically in our day-to-day existence, and thus also to assist the atmosphere around so that we and all people in the world may become fit for the supreme union with that ideal Godhead, the Absolute. 

We pray that by this influence which we exert in the world, love, solidarity and peace may prevail everywhere.

An Article by Swami Krishnananda ji- on eve of Makar Shankranti Jan 14, 1972.

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Sianala, Montreal, Jan 2008

Makara Shankranti

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

SALUTATIONS and adorations to the Supreme Lord, the primordial power that divided the year into the four seasons. Salutations to Surya, the Sun-God, who on this great day embarks on his northward journey.

The Sanskrit term "Shankramana" means "to begin to move". The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makara Shankranti. It usually falls in the middle of January.

Among the Tamil's in South India this festival is called the Pongal, and Telugu people call it just Shankranti.

To many people, especially the Tamil's, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year. The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. Servants, farmers and the poor are fed and clothed and given presents of money. On the next day, the cow, which is regarded as the symbol of the Holy Mother, is worshipped. Then there is the feeding of birds and animals.

In this manner the devotee's heart expands slowly during the course of the celebrations, first embracing with its long arms of love the entire household and neighbours, then the servants and the poor, then the cow, and then all other living creatures. Without even being aware of it, one develops the heart and expands it to such proportions that the whole universe finds a place in it.

As Shankranti is also the beginning of the month, Brahmin's offer oblations to departed ancestors. Thus, all the great sacrifices enjoined upon man find their due place in this grand celebration. The worship of the Cosmic Form of the Lord is so well introduced into this, that every man and woman in India is delightfully led to partake of it without even being aware of it.

To the spiritual aspirants this day has a special significance. The six-month period during which the sun travels northwards is highly favourable to them in their march towards the goal of life. It is as though they are flowing easily with the current towards the Lord. Paramahamsa Sannyasins roam about freely during this period, dispelling gloom from the hearts of all. The Devas and Rishis rejoice at the advent of the new season, and readily come to the aid of the aspirant.

When the renowned Bhishma, the grandfather of the Pandavas, was fatally wounded during the war of the Mahabharata, he waited on his deathbed of arrows for the onset of this season, before finally departing from the earth-plane. Let us on this great day pay our homage to him and strive to become men of firm resolve ourselves.

As already mentioned, this is the Pongal festival in South India. It is closely connected with agriculture. To the agriculturalist, it is a day of triumph. He would have by then brought home the fruits of his patient toil. Symbolically, the first harvest is offered to the Almighty—and that is Pongal. To toil was his task, his duty, but the fruit is now offered to the Lord. This is the spirit of Karma Yoga.

The master is not allowed to grab all the harvest for himself either. Pongal is the festival during which the landlord distributes food, clothes and money among the labourers who work for him. What a noble act! It is an ideal you should constantly keep before you, not only ceremoniously on the Pongal day, but at all times.

Be charitable. Be generous. Treat your servants as your bosom-friends and brother workers. This is the keynote of the Pongal festival. You will then earn their loyalty and enduring love.

The day prior to the Makara Shankranti is called the Bhogi festival. On this day, old, worn-out and dirty things are discarded and burnt. Homes are cleaned and white-washed and lovely designs are drawn with rice-flour on the door front. The roads are swept clean.
These practices have their own significance from the point of view of health. But, here I remind you that it will not do to attend to these external things alone. Cleaning the mind of its old dirty habits of thought and feeling is more urgently needed. Burn them up, with a wise and firm resolve to tread the path of truth, love and purity from this holy day onwards. This is the significance of Pongal in the life of the spiritual aspirant.

If you do this, then the Makara Shankranti has a special significance for you. The sun, symbolising wisdom, divine knowledge and spiritual light, which receded from you when you revelled in the darkness of ignorance, delusion and sensuality, now joyously turns on its northward course and moves towards you to shed its light and warmth in greater abundance, and to infuse into you more life and energy.

In fact, the sun itself symbolises all that the Pongal festival stands for. The message of the sun is the message of light, the message of unity, of impartiality, of true selflessness, of the perfection of the elements of Karma Yoga. The sun shines on all equally. It is the true benefactor of all beings. Without the sun, life would perish on earth. It is extremely regular and punctual in its duties, and never claims a reward or craves for recognition. If you imbibe these virtues of the sun, what doubt is there that you will shine with equal divine lustre!

He who dwells in the sun, whom the sun does not know, whose body the sun is, and by whose power the sun shines—He is the Supreme Self, the in dweller, the immortal Essence. Tat Twam Asi—"That thou art". Realise this and be free here and now on this holy Pongal or Makara Shankranti day. This is my humble Pongal prayer to you all.

During Shankranti, puddings, sweet rice and other delicacies are prepared in every home, especially in South India. The pot in which the rice is cooked is beautifully adorned with turmeric leaves and roots, the symbols of auspiciousness. The cooking is done by the women of the household with great faith and devotion. They feel from the bottom of their hearts that it is an offering unto the Lord. When the milk in which the rice is being cooked boils over, the ladies and the children assemble round the pot and shout with great joy and devotion, "Pongalo Pongal!"

Special prayers are offered in temples and homes. Then the people of the household gather together and partake of the offerings in an atmosphere of love and festivity.
There is family re-union in all homes. Brothers renew their contacts with their married sisters by giving them presents.

The landlord greets the farmer lovingly and gives him gifts of grain, clothes and money.
On the following day, the cows are worshipped and fed. They are beautifully adorned. In some villages the youth demonstrate their valour by taking "the bull by the horn"—and often win their brides thereby! It is a great day for the cattle.

Young girls prepare various special dishes, like sweet rice, sour rice, rice with coconut, etc., and take them to the bank of a river or tank. They feed the birds, fish and other creatures with the various items. It is a very colourful ceremony. Crows appear in large numbers and partake of the food. They call their mates before beginning to eat. All the time a valuable lesson is driven into our minds—"Share what you have with all".

Both these days, which are family re-union days, are regarded as being inauspicious for travel. This is to prevent us from going away from home on such days.

When you celebrate the Shankranti or Pongal in this manner, your sense of value changes. You begin to understand that your real wealth is the goodwill and friendship of your relatives, friends, neighbours and servants. Your wealth is the land on which your food grows, the cattle which help you in agriculture, and the cow which gives you milk. You begin to have greater love and respect for them and for all living beings—the crows, the fish and all other creatures.

In Maharashtra and in North India, devotees of the Lord attach great importance to Makara Shankranti. It is the season chosen by the Guru for bestowing his Grace on the disciple. In the South, too, it should be noted that it was about this time that Mahadeva favoured several of the Rishis by blessing them with His beatific vision.

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Sianala, Montreal, Jan 2008

Jan 11, 2008

A discussion with Vedic Guru Swami Ramswarup Jee's Answers

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Vedic Guru Swami Ramswarup Ji took some of his precious time to answer my questions in 2006, 2007.

S P Ianala:
I am a scientist in chemistry and I have intense interest and faith in our Vedas, shastras and other scriptures, I am trying to learn and practise them now. I understand the creation of universe is by God and also as you have explained Vedas were rendered automatically to four rishis by God. It all explains "how" it was done by God, but since a long time I have been curious to know, "Why" God did this, I mean creation of everything and then destruction of everything, I believe initially God separated a part of him as souls to take birth on this earth, but for that soul to re-assimilate into paramatma, it takes a great deal based on karma etc. but again "Why God took this exercise, what was the divine purpose. In a way did invisible prakriti existed before creation of visible universe from it, or it was created just before to create universe, swami jee I hope my question is clear.

Swami Ramswarup:
Your interest in Vedas is appreciated please. This is actually a true worship to formless, almighty, immortal God. As regards creation it is automatic. Actually God has no desire. Like a potter who builds pots from mud, the power of God works in prakriti (non-alive matter) and universe is created. This all has been mentioned in Rigveda mandal 10 sukta 129. I shall try to send you about creation by post being lengthy if you please send your postal address. 

Shwetashwaropnishad shlok 6/8 states - "swabhaviki gyan- bal-kriya", i.e., the knowledge, power and deeds of God are automatic i.e., God has no desire for the same. If someone sits alone then it is also automatic that his mind starts thinking etc. The creation is eternal and automatic/everlasting. In the above Rigveda mantra 10/129/7, it is clearly mentioned that God is creator, "sah yadi waa dadhe yadi waa na", i.e., He creates, nurses and destroy the universe. Suppose God does not create the universe then souls of all human beings will remain in shushupati awastha (like a comma stage), the souls will not get body to act. This will be like a lazy man who is not after hard working etc., and remains on bed for continue sleep. Definitely there will be then no sorrow, no happiness, no struggle, no working etc., etc., and the stage will be of a lazy man as stated above. Actually soul resides in body and as many as bodies are there, the number of souls are same. Souls are also immortal and not made by God even. God is lord of souls and universe. It is mercy of God on souls that he gives bodies to souls according to deeds of souls not to be remained in shushupati where there is no feeling but to work hard from the bodies to see family and get salvation. However, creation is eternal and automatic. It is beyond control of our feelings and imagination, please. You know that God is immortal and formless, unchangeable, etc., so how a change in God (to separate a part) is possible. Even nobody can imagine to break sky to convert into pieces. There are uncountable names of God in Vedas according to his divine qualities. One name of God is also, "Aditya", from "do awakhandne" dhatu, the word 'aditi' (immortal/unbreakable) is made and by doing taddith from it, the word Aditya is made, which is a name of immortal God, its meaning is, he who cannot be broken into pieces. So it is not possible that God will separate any piece from him to form souls or universe. God (alive), souls (alive) and third is prakriti which is non-alive, from which creation is made. All three are immortal, eternal and are separate from each other based on the qualities also. If we consider souls and world is a part of God (which is impossible), then naturally both will be having qualities equal to God but it is not there. Souls is bound to face the result of his good or bad deeds in the shape of happiness or sorrows respectively whereas God never faces. And the worldly articles are non-alive and also cannot be a part of God. God is lord of universe if universe is God (being a part thereof) then there will be no question of being lord. Even there will be no question of omnipresent in respect of God.

Prakriti is also never created by God. It is eternal. The creation is from prakriti. I will send the details by post please. I have written a book about Vedanta in English which can be sent on receipt of your postal address, please.

S P Ianala: Why we should not worship for one year. When someone from our family (paternal line) passes away? Is there any Vedic explanation for this?

Swami Ramswarup: There is no Vedic explanation for such thing. It could have been made a custom by human beings. When a body is cremated, Vedic rituals are made by mantras being one of the Vedic sanskaar amongst sixteen sanskaars.

S P Ianala:
Regarding, God, Souls, Prakriti, Universe, I am sure you are the master no doubt about it. The bhakt in me will not listen, argue, discuss anything about God, because He is eternal and is above everything like mercy and punishment etc. but for the sake of understanding, the scientist in me, which always wants to go deeper and deeper. I hope you will not mind if I write few lines.

Swami Ramswarup: Yaskacharya's Nirukta Granth sutras 1/20 and 13/12 clearly state that discussion/arguments are hundred percent needed to come to the truth. That is why Upanishad and especially in Bhagwat Geeta there is great discussion/argument between disciple and acharya, Shri Krishna and Arjuna. As regards listening, Vedas are not book. It is a knowledge which always resides within God being eternal. At the beginning of every universe the Vedas (knowledge) emanates from God and is originated in the heart of four rishis. Yajurveda mantra 31/7 also refers. Thereafter the rishi starts preaching and normal public listens and wiser/learned of Vedas. So first of all listening of Vedas is necessary being eternal process. Then the Vedas are now a days to be studied. So i appreciate your and others questions always. The knowledge is not required to be shouldered stating religious point of view. Otherwise it will be a blind faith which is mostly in practice now a days.

S P Ianala: God is eternal and present everywhere, in you, in me, in earth, in plants, in trees, in elements, in oceans, in fire, in ether, in wind, in flowers, in animals, in pain, in happiness, because he is formless, tasteless, shapeless, nothing can create it or destroy it and we can find him/her deep within us, who is present as a silence (Prashant), we meditate to reach this silence which is him/her.

Swami Ramswarup:
Yes please, God has unlimited qualities whereas a man is in limitations. So God is beyond description, beyond calculation and imagination and can not be observed by five senses even, he is only realized during Asampragyat Samadhi. So one has to listen from an acharya about God and the real path to realize Him (God).

S P Ianala: God responds when called for and also knows everything. We don't have to explain but before all this he asks us to purify ourselves in mind (physical self follows mind) and thought.

Swami Ramswarup:
Knowledge is attained when it is given by anybody. So we have to think how he will listen our prayers? And how he will be able to purify us? What is the real path for the same?

S P Ianala: God wants us to love him/her unconditionally. We are given this body with distractions, in the form of senses, he wants us to overcome the sensual distractions and reach him in purity.

Swami Ramswarup: God states in Vedas to pray and produce pious demands before 'him' to fulfill. In this way at last we start worship and one day we become desire less. And we too become able to control our senses, our mind etc.

S P Ianala: The puja, havans, dhyanam etc are few ways to appease him, or call him or reach him, which I think is his only desire or expectation from all the souls to whom he has given bodies or chance to take birth in this arena called earth, where we are challenged by cosmos (God) not only to overcome but also to learn or purify ourselves so that the soul can move upwards, towards him for ultimate assimilation into him, which is by means of good action and karma, based on which we will get what we deserve.

Swami Ramswarup: Pooja etc., is our necessity as told in Vedas. But it is not a desire of God, otherwise he could make all human beings wise within a second. As per Yajurveda mantra 7/48 too, we are free to do pious deeds or sins but result is awarded by God in the shape of happiness and sorrows respectively. But he has given us the knowledge of Vedas and has showered his mercy on us to follow the Vedic path to kill the sins/deeds of our previous and present lives and thus to get salvation. And yes you're very much right that the human body is blessed by God giving us a chance to follow the Vedic path to realize God. Upwards mean to get progress day by day to purify the soul etc.

S P Ianala: One thing swami jee, every soul that leaves this earth, already pays for the bad karma accumulated on this earth itself but will it assimilate or not assimilate in to paramatma depends on its level of purity.

Swami Ramswarup: And level of purity comes by real worship according to Vedas. So one must listen the Vedas and then study the Vedas to follow the preaches.

S P Ianala: My experience is in initial stages when a person tries to purify himself he faces hoards of challenge, sleep is one of them, but slowly as he gains control on his indriya or senses, the challenge he faces, appears soothing and sukhadayi. Then at this stage money, power, friends, enemies, pain, sorrow, happiness, hunger, becomes meaningless, because these are related with the body and its senses, the soul does not know anything about these.

Swami Ramswarup: Yes there are five vrittis i.e., pramaann, vipraya, vikalp, nidra and smriti. In Yoga shastra pt I these problems have been mentioned and way to rectify the same. The book is in Hindi please. So amongst five the nidra i.e., sleep/laziness is also to be controlled. Soul actually knows about the above said matters. Actually by real worship when soul becomes able to realize himself then he know the difference between him and the materialistic articles i.e., difference between alive and non alive matters, truth and illusion etc. Otherwise soul does not know himself. This matter is also stated in pt I of above Yog shastra. Comment on which have been written by me in detail.

S P Ianala: The soul again which is also formless, tasteless, shapeless, cannot be destroyed by fire, water, wind, etc. neither it can be created or nor it can be destroyed. Now in a way soul is similar to God, but why separate? Well adivaita or dvaita discussion is never ending.

Swami Ramswarup: That is why Yajurveda mantra 2/26 states that soul is "swyambhu" i.e., eternal. Soul is alive always away from illusion, immortal, and is really shape of merriment. But has forgotten himself due to indulgement with prakriti. But soul is never similar to God, but has very few, even limited qualities equivalent to God and not full. For example--- soul comes in body to face his karmas whereas God not etc., etc. Please read Yog Shastra sutra1/26 in this connection. Adwait matter in the new Vedanta is totally against the eternal knowledge of Vedas which emanates direct form God. I am sending also my book on Vedanta which will clarify the matter in questions.

S P Ianala: This universe which is created automatically by eternal God or cosmos or cosmic power, or cosmic energy, is mithya a big lie because it sooths or seduces our senses, again a big distraction for all the souls with bodies. The one which is invisible i.e. God, souls, prakriti (for me it is the sky or space which I can hold in my closed palm) are the only truth and eternal.

Swami Ramswarup: God is not cosmos but is omnipresent, please. God is separate, soul is separate and prakriti made universe is separate from each other. Yes, jagat is mithya which means it is made from prakriti and is destroyed but turned again into the shape of prakriti. It means the matter is never destroyed but changes its shape. So universe is not mithiya and too is not lie. In this connection Rigved mantra 10/190/3 also refers. Each article of the universe is non-alive and therefore can not sooth or seduce the soul. This is only alive soul who attracts towards materialistic article of universe being indulged in illusion due to his own previous sins. God and soul as i have told above are alive matter and prakriti is non-alive. God is one whereas souls are countless but constant in number. If one will try to bind the God within closed palm it will be quite impossible and beyond calculation even. Because God will reside not only within palm but he is everywhere i.e., out of palm even. As regards soul the matter is same. No remains prakriti. For prakriti it is also not possible. Why? Prakriti always remains in a stage of pralaya, i.e., final destruction of universe and who will keep the prakriti in palm.

S P Ianala: Universe and everything that is visible can be destroyed by man also.

Swami Ramswarup: Nobody can destroy the visible article. Who will destroy the sky and air please? And if a house, stone can be destroyed then too the same will change its shape only, please.

S P Ianala: If Soul was a separate entity, why would it be bothered about bad Karma etc.? It is good for the soul to stay on this earth and keep coming again and again, and enjoy or satisfy their senses to the full and be sensually happy. Why even bother about God (May God forgive me)? Don't you think it is the attraction between the God and the soul, which pulls it apart from all the sensory distractions to return to paramatma once for all, for its complete assimilation?

Swami Ramswarup: Soul will have to bother about bad karmas because she has to face the result of thereof in the shape of sorrows etc. Enjoyment and sorrows are based on pious and bad karmas and not in the power of soul. Therefore soul has a power only to kill the deeds by doing pious deeds according to Vedas to get permanent merriment/salvation. God is almighty and gives merriment based on karmas. So naturally soul must attract towards God because originally soul is also a shape of merriment but has forgotten his shape being indulged in illusion. Atharvaveda says a word--- "parishwangdharmi", i.e., soul has a quality which is natural one, to get attracted towards anywhere. But being in human body she has two way to adopt due to his said quality either towards God i.e., pious path or towards materialistic articles of the world i.e., illusion. Now a days due to lack of knowledge of spiritualism mostly the children are attracted towards illusion. So it is not necessary that soul is attracted towards God only. An acharya who knows the Vedic philosophy is needed to guide the soul properly which is an eternal need for soul as mentioned in four Vedas.

S P Ianala: Take your case you have worked in Indian Army and must have fought a war or two but what kept you pulling towards God? Vedas and spirituality, is it not your already purified soul probably in your previous births?

Swami Ramswarup: I can tell you a fundamental. Such souls have been doing tapsya duly related with previous births, please. This is not the result of present birth only.

(My father was in Indian Airforce too) same thing with my father, he was a staunch devotee, and me, I am born and brought up in defense environment and I stayed for almost 23 years in defense camps till I completed my education. Now I am in Canada, but why this pull towards God? It has been there since I was 10. My father had to search for me during janmastami and other jagratas, who told me to go there and stay awake till the puja is over, not my parents (Though the atmosphere existed in my home) but is it not the soul's constant quest to attain moksha from this cycle of birth and death, and this pull is triggered by the purity of soul. 

Swami Ramswarup:
I am glad to listen about your respected father and you too. You are having the spiritual affects within you from your father and that is why you're taking keen interest in spiritualism. Sorrows/suffering matter is mentioned in sutra 2/3 of Yoga shastra pt I in which death is also a great sorrow amongst five. Soul does not happy with death etc., so naturally attracted towards God to get salvation, but specially those who have good affect of spiritualism traditionally.

S P Ianala: Don't you think The soul is a part of God (Please do not take it as a physical part broken from main part) we are talking about something which is similar and invisible like prakriti.

Swami Ramswarup:
No please soul can never be part of God as I already explained in my previous e-mail and has explained above too quoting Yog shastra 1/26. Secondly soul is never similar to God. Soul has limited qualities whereas God has unlimited qualities, for example-God is omnipresent but soul is not etc., etc.

S P Ianala: So again prakriti is live which makes prakriti, God and soul all alike and same.

Swami Ramswarup: Prakriti is not live please. Otherwise every materialistic article which is made of prakriti would have been doing deeds like us and could not be destroyed.

S P Ianala: The air we breath is a part of prakriti, is God again, without which the body cannot live more than few minutes. So the soul needs constant unconditional support from the God in form of air, water, etc. all this to finish the task on earth. So again when are we separate as a soul, Never!

Swami Ramswarup: Body can not live, air and body both being non-alive made of prakriti. But soul needs no air, food, water etc., to live upon, being alive and immortal and not created like air, body etc. Therefore soul needs no such unconditional support please. It is body which requires. So we, the soul are always separate from almighty God as soul is not almighty.

S P Ianala: You said creation is eternal and beyond our imagination, I am sorry I differ from your view: If universe (Prakruti) is eternal, there should not be any talk about "God creates and destroys universe".

Swami Ramswarup: Eternal means creation, nursing, and destruction is eternal and automatic, please. This fact is mentioned in mandal 10 sukta 129 and 190 of Rigveda and chapter 31 of Yajurveda, though it is in all four Vedas. It is also in Bhagwat Geeta chapter tenth.

S P Ianala: Another visible manifestation of God is Sun, aditya, which is the sole reason why we are active(living) in the day and loose our consciousness (in form of sleep-dead)in the night. That also means soul does not have power to keep the body alive it simply resides in it. It is the Sun which is connecting, the deep unconscious (invisible, God) with the conscious (body, prakruti or that which is visible) so that it can live, which again means God is needed for a body to live, which also resides in the body along with the soul in form of air. So again soul needs God to get things done.

Swami Ramswarup: God needs nothing please. But after creation, he enters the universe and that is why is called omnipresent. Soul is self sufficient, body needs energy for which every facility has been made by God. Soul being master of the body while residing in it utilize the body and every article of the universe either for spiritualism to get salvation or for worldly enjoyment to get rebirth to be indulged in sorrows.

S P Ianala: You said God alive, soul alive, prakriti not alive. I do not see any difference between God and prakriti, both are same. Swami Ramswarup: If both are same then why prakriti is under control of God? So both are not same please.

S P Ianala: In chemistry we have something called inter molecular spaces, even that space is occupied by God, which correctly defines Vishnu as sarva bhuta vyapecha (please correct me, I left sanskrit 25 years back).

Swami Ramswarup: Vishnu word is made from dhatu vishlri which means omnipresent. So there is no other Vishnu. In Yajurveda mantra 40/17 it is stated, "Om Kham Brahm", i.e., God is everywhere, even the name of God is Kham i.e., space.

S P Ianala: I also differ with your view that souls come to earth to work hard, meet their families, etc, working hard, earning money, meeting families all this depends on the direction the soul had taken, in this industrial modern world, every person has to work to earn money and survive, but all this has nothing to do with soul and God and their purpose.

Swami Ramswarup: Can dead body do any task please? It is soul which was using the body and its organs. Work hard for establishing body and to live in house etc., which will give soul to worship with concentration, otherwise a beggar can not perform yaj, can not study Vedas etc. And it is stated clearly by God in Vedas like rigveda mantra 10/121/10 to become rich by earning. Misuse means freeship, please. Otherwise God can not tell us to misuse his power.

S P Ianala: Finally, God is something above give and take, it is the soul which chooses to come back on this earth, so that it can purify itself but poor thing it looses its memory and objectivity of moksha or emancipation and gets lost in this maya.

Swami Ramswarup: If soul choose to come back she will never come back in the body of snake, lizard, and intestinal worms etc. Soul is originally purified please as stated above.

S P Ianala: God is unconditional, he even have mercy for people like hitler, but one thing is for sure God will not respond, if not called for, even after one response, we have to continue calling him to sustain the response. Hope you will forgive me for contradicting your view, it is my experience with God, and has nothing to do with Vedas, because I am new to Vedas. I am looking forward to read your precious books and literature. Thanks!

Next set of questions...
S P Ianala: Soul has similar properties like god, yes soul has limited presence and god is omnipresent, soul chooses to come back to this earth plane, to get rid of karma or load, but in which body, it is decided by god based on the load of karma. When I say god extends unconditional support to soul, body and mind, I mean, god is not weighing every minute to see if soul is doing good or bad.

Swami Ramswarup: God is Omnipresent and Almighty please. Which means he looks everybody at every moment and Yajurveda mantra 32/10 too says that God knows everybody, every atom, everything, every soul, every deeds of everybody personally. He needs no evidence/witness etc., to decide justice. So he is seeing not for every minute but for more than million part of a minute.

S P Ianala: It is soul's free will to accumulate good or bad karma, the body is nourished by soul's intention, using facilities extended by God, so God has provided all these facilities without any condition attached, good or bad all use it.

Swami Ramswarup: Yes please. But we must think deeply that God has provided us with mind to use and think that what is true and what is false, what is pious and what is sin, what is sorrows/sadness etc., and what is pleasure/merriment etc. One thing more nobody wants sorrows. So mind has to think to decide only these pious deeds by which God gives us merriment, happiness etc. So one should follow Vedic eternal path, otherwise sorrows, sadness, tensions, problems, diseases, restlessness, etc., etc. Are sure to be faced in this birth as well as in following births.

S P Ianala: If soul is separate and exists as a separate entity always, who created it and why? But if it is a part of God used by God to make a human, but due to maya, it accumulates karma and becomes impure, not suitable for assimilating back into God, unless untill it gets rid of its load of karma, it can not assimilate into Paramatma - God.

Swami Ramswarup: Soul is eternal and immortal please. Nobody has created soul. And also can never be a part of god, because god can not be divided in parts like stone, iron, water etc. I have clarified several times on this web site that god is the purest and formless.

S P Ianala: One last point: There is a belief in my home that, if any paternal uncle or aunt passes away, it is not good to perform pooja, specially, breaking coconuts, arti, offerings, it is believed, it will cause bad to the family, what is your thoughts on this.

Swami Ramswarup: No please this is all against the Vedas please. Do not believe because God will give award to you on your worship and pious deeds and not on passing uncle or aunt.

S P Ianala: In Srimad Bhagwadgeeta-Part One-Page 20-21, ",Galat kathaone ne sri krishna ki chavi ko brahmit kiya hai", swami jee, I totally agree with you, as you said initially there were just 10,000 slokas and now there are around 1,10,000 slokas, so definitely a lot had been added by many kings and other contributors, some out of too much love, and some because they felt they had a right to add, but as you said the main context of Vedic knowledge has been overlooked. I think in the later years there should have been another Sri Krishna (not the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) an ordinary king or a popular figure, so followers of this character must have added all the remaining slokas, combining the two, in a way giving distorted image of Lord Krishna. The one point by Lord Krishna that only a bramacharya can lift my chakra is enough to contradict all the illusions. I would like to suggest: since swami jee you know the Vedic truth about lord Krishna, why not a book about Lord Krishna limiting it only to the initial 10,000 slokas and circulate it in India and abroad, this will clear all the cobwebs.

Swami Ramswarup:
Thanking you, please. I shall try to issue the book suggested by you. Now my second book upto sixth chapter of Bhagwad Geeta is under printing and will be completed within a month or so. The same will be sent to you on its completion. Some preach delivered by me on Vedic philosophy has been captured in CDs with spiritual songs too, please.

S P Ianala: Many CD's, Audio MP3, and many more versions of Gyatri Mantra are available in the market and in the internet, and each one of them is distinct and unique in its own way when it comes to chanting it, but I understand that mantra has a very deep connection with the vibration it creates while it is being chanted, as this vibration has to resonate with the presiding deity, so there should be a definite way of saying this Mantra and also the time one should take to say the mantra. Kindly clarify this point swami jee, what does the Vedas’ say about this. Thanks for all the answers and the knowledge you share with us.

Swami Ramswarup: Gayatri Mantra is in three Vedas please i.e., in Rigveda, Samveda and Yajurveda. Samveda when is chanted, other than while performing Yajyen is sung. So Gayatri Mantra may also be sung. Singing can be on any time because God knows the pious ideas of anyone and he awards the result accordingly. But without singing too, Gayatri mantra can be chanted because it is in Rigveda and Yajurveda also which are not sung. Secondly, Gayatri Mantra must be chanted by heart for getting more benefit i.e., it should be chanted by way of pranayaam. When we inhale and stop breathing within us then such time, till we have stopped breathing, the Gayatri Mantra must be chanted. Then we must release the breath slowly, slowly outside, and after releasing the full breath, we must stop the breath outside the body and during such period we must recite in heart the Gayatri Mantra by heart and the action must be repeated. However, I would suggest that such practice must be learnt personally from an Acharya first. Secondly, when we sit on meditation on any suitable aasan then we must concentrate on Agya chakra i.e., between the eyebrows and then we must repeat the Gayatri Mantra with the meaning of each word. This is the best way of meditation. I have written detailed comments on Patanjal Yog Darshan- Part I and II and have also described meditation there in, especially in sutra 3/1. I will advise you to study the book please.

S P Ianala: All my life I have been doing self study, but now I understand I need a Guru to grasp the great knowledge of Vedas, I am a very fast and good learner, lot of information and knowledge reaches me when I am in deep meditation after my regular pooja, I have your books and as you said yagya sarvasrestha pooja, I tried to do in my home but, since I am in Canada, and the climate outside is very cold or very humid and the homes are connected with smoke detectors, little smoke cause these detectors to go beeping. I learned yoga and pranayama from a yogic guru in Hyderabad and I had also been to meditation classes, I have been regular in pranayama since then, but now I am not satisfied with my routine pooja. How can I do yagya pooja with out smoke? What is the best material to start a fire and how do you extinguish the fire and what do you do with the burnt materials etc.

Swami Ramswarup:
My blessings to you please. Yes, please. All Vedas state that without a learned Acharya no one can get right path to worship God etc. Yes, Yajyen/agnihotra must be perform daily as said by God in Vedas. If possible you may perform havan out side the house in open sky please, which is even more beneficial.

I have been to U.S.A in winter too where we used to do havan outside the house in open air, within the premises of house i.e., open space surrounded by boundary wall. Tips to do havan are also there on the website.

S P Ianala:
I totally agree with your explanation about GOD, that GOD is the supreme energy which can manifest itself in any living or non living thing, it is already known in physics that every particle in this universe is in continuous vibration and they all are interconnected and the sole cause of this vibrations and connection is the supreme energy- GOD, Devi-Devata/Yogi etc. are supreme souls which have attained maximum level of purity so they can manifest themselves as one with the universe, they are very much like GOD- the supreme energy but they are not the supreme energy themselves, again the probability of supreme energy manifesting itself through them is very high given their purity compared to an ordinary human being, this does not limit the human being from achieving that level, but it might take many many cycles of purification (Births), Guruji, what does the Vedas say about the highest achievment in bhakti, I think it is when a soul is accepted as associate of Lord Vishnu and it is higher than assimilation of soul in Lord Vishnu. I know the scientist and the bhakt in me are in conflict here.

Swami Ramswarup:
Yes please. God is the Supreme power/energy and is therefore called Almighty, omnipresent, omniscient, etc. Devi -devta and Yogi are supreme souls amongst ignorant souls but God is supreme amongst ignorant souls and devi-devta/Yogis. However God is also not called soul. Soul is separate, prakriti is separate and God is separate and thus God is supreme commander of non-alive prakriti (by which universe is created) and alive souls. Soul resides within human body. A person who becomes aspirant and desires to realize the God, then he goes to the experienced acharya who knows Vedas and who has performed an atma-Yajyen like hard practice of ashtang yoga then the aspirant becomes a Dev i.e., devta. Dev means who is philosopher of Vedas and yoga philosophy. Dev thus attains Asampragyat Samadhi where he realizes God and therefore is called Yogi/Rishi. At this the highest stage of the Yogi he has nothing to go beyond and has nothing to do more. He is never indulged in illusion because he has attained salvation. Now he is equivalent to God but not God. He can not create the universe as is created by God. So, He ever remains soul but is called supreme amongst ignorant souls of the universe. The rules and regulations of rajo gunn, tamo gunn, sato gunn and Almighty God do not apply for the supreme soul then because the soul has attained final liberation.

God is one but as per Rig-Veda mantra 1/164/46 His names are numerous based on His unlimited divine qualities. So Vishnu is also a name of Almighty God who is Supreme. The study of the ancient holy books reveals that our ancient Rishis were the best scientists. In Vedas, all matters of science exist along with spiritualism that is why Yajurveda mantra 40/14 states that we must attain progress in worldly matters i.e., education, science, politics, business etc., as well as in spiritualism. So the ancient Rishis were of the same category. I think your conflict is totally pure and appreciable. May God bless you to be a real scientist as stated above.


S P Ianala:
Sato, Rajo and Tamo Guna, are three forms, when it is applied to a human it is mere mentalities, Sato is superior, Rajo is "medium, and Tamo is inferior, when it is applied to universe it is best explained by the trinity, three forms of the same God, which we call Lord Vishnu, who maintains the universe, Lord Brahma who creates and Lord Shiva who destroys, basically it is one God performing various functions, but for our understanding they have been given three different names and their mentalities best explained by the story where Bhrigu Maharaj visits them as if they were human. One creates, One maintains and One destroys, then again we know that God created human in his own form, does it mean physical form or astral form, you have to tell. There is only one energy which occupies all the space of this universe, and we call this energy as GOD, and this energy is not just some electrical current, it is alive beyond our imagination and when all its charges exist together, then things are normal and we can say are being maintained, but when the charges separate, they either create or destroy, so to maintain one has to be balanced in all traits, and we call it Sato Guna, and the one which creates needs lots activity and sensual appreciation also, and we call it rajo guna and the one which destroys needs lots of anger and negative force and we call this as tamo guna, again creation, maintenance and destruction all happens almost at the same time at the minute level, but when we apply these three properties to other things, like food etc. The definitions change but yet Sato guna remains the superior one, Rajo in the middle and Tamo inferior. We have discussed earlier, but few more points in this regard, when we ask, why God did this? i.e. Creation and destruction again and again, no one has answered this question, probably because this is beyond our knowledge. Now the question comes of Soul and God are they separate or one, you said they are separate-advaitwad.

Q- From where the souls came and who created them and why? again why only limited no. We can answer this question by saying, God did, but again the question raised mostly is why separate? It does not look Ok? Now if we say God and Souls are not separate, just for the sake of understanding, imagine in the beginning there is only one energy, then elements came from it, then the universe is created from five elements, then living beings from a small portion of that vast energy to sustain it or to make it alive, imagine it is like flame, you take a straw and lit it with already burning flame, and this is the first soul separated from the God, it got body from five elements, it became lost and got loaded with Karma, now it cannot mix with the original flame, because it is impure with bad Karma, so the cycle of births and deaths begin, more souls created, but once a soul gains enough Good Karma to neutralize all the Bad Karma, it becomes suitable to returns to the original energy, which we normally call that a soul got assimilated in to paramatma due to its bhakti. Paramatma is just a word to glorify the God, it is not limited like a human soul or atma, but it is the only source for every creation and destruction, even five elements. I know we have already discussed that God, Soul and Prakriti are different, I am trying to understand it in terms of just energy, which is alive and self sustaining, we call it "God" If we take this whole thing only at the physical level, it is just energy, but when we take it at all its levels, spiritual and levels beyond our imagination, it is Omnipresent, caring, self sustaining and sustaining others, alive, conscious, interactive, assimilative most powerful energy, it is better to call it just "GOD".

Swami Ramswarup:

Meaning:- (VISHNNUHU) omnipresent God (MANUSHE) for man i.e. human beings (KSHETRAYE) abhyuden i.e., to give all kinds of benefit in long, happy life (DASHASYAN) to give Abhyuden to give all kinds of benefits, comforts, assets, wealth in long, happy life etc., to the human beings. Omnipresent God (VICHAKRAMEY) has made (PRITHIVEEM, ETAAM) this earth. (JANAASAHA) devotees (ASYA) of the God (DHRUVAASAHA) have become firm to worship. Because (URUKSHITIM) this wide spread, huge earth (CHAKAAR) is made by (SUJANIMA) God that is wonderful creator.

IDEA- The word Vishnu made from Sanskrit root word "VISHLARI". The meaning of which is omnipresent and there is only one Almighty God who is omnipresent God. Yajurveda states - "DYAVA PRITHIVI JANYAN DEV EKAHA" i.e., there is only one unchangeable, eternal God who creates the universe. So the meaning of Vishnu is omnipresent God and not prophet. In other Ved mantras like in Rigveda Mandal 10, sukta 129 it is clarified that Almighty God who is formless and omnipresent creates, nurses and destroys and again creates the universe alone. Yajurveda mantra 40/8 states He is Shukram i.e., Almighty, akaya i.e., formless. Almighty means He has all unlimited powers and therefore does not need any assistance, for fulfilling any purpose of universe. He alone does all his supreme deeds like creation, nursing etc. Therefore he too does not need any prophet (saint, yogi etc.,) to take care of the universe. Prophet can never be God. God was one, is one and shall ever remain one.

Rigveda mantra 1/164/46 and Yajurveda mantra 32/1 states that there is only one God but he has unlimited divine qualities and therefore His names are unlimited based on His qualities but God remains always one. So His names are Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Varunn, Agni, Surya, Chandrama etc. So we have to worship only one Almighty, formless God who creates, nurses and destroys the universe.

Yajurveda mantra 7/48 states that human beings are free to do pious deeds or sins but result is awarded in the shape of pleasure and sorrows respectively by God.

No saint, yogi etc., is required by God to help Him to control the worldly situation etc. Suppose the world i.e., human beings become sinful and noble behaviours vanish away etc., as written by you then naturally the same situation occurs due to sinful deeds of humans and God under His natural administration would punish human-beings. Then nobody on the earth either saint or yogi etc., is able to save the situation.

Therefore question of taking birth of Vishnu does not arise. Otherwise Vedas tell that creation, nursing and destruction is eternal and takes place automatically at a stipulated time under the control of Almighty God. As said in Shwetashwaropnishad shloka 6/8, "Swabhaviki Gyan bal Kriya Cha" i.e., knowledge, power and divine actions of God take place automatically. Please read the article on creation and prakriti.

S P Ianala: What is the source of these thoughts. Lord Vishnu or Narayana says, I like those bhakts who worship my disciples, like Lord Shiva, Ganesha and others more then those who worship me directly, so basically he tells that it is not necessary that you worship me directly, if you worship any of his followers, his blessings would automatically come to the bhakt. Now there are numerous stories written by many saints, that God appeared like Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha, Durga etc. or like Paramhamsa said that a bright light emanated from the Idol of Durga. What is your understanding on this issue? Is it possible that God will interact in any way with the bhakt, to guide him or to pacify him, is it possible as per Vedas or what does Vedas say in this regard. Did you have any such interaction with the divine power, if yes, what was it like.

Swami Ramswarup:
Such worships are not mentioned in Vedas please. The learned of Vedas do not believe the same. Though direct worship of God is not authentic. Vedas tell that the aspirants must first make contact with a learned acharya of Vedas to take his eternal guidance of Vedas. Then the aspirant starts worship.

God being formless cannot appear before anyone but He is realised by a yogi. Vedas tell only to worship a formless, omnipresent, Almighty God who creates, nurses and destroys the universe. God guides the universe through the eternal knowledge of Vedas once in the beginning of earth. At that time, knowledge of Vedas emanates from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis in the shape of four Vedas. Thereafter only a learned acharya of Vedas has been preaching the knowledge of Vedas for their benefit.

Divine power is eternal and realised by a yogi in the shape of divine light and the yogi experiences divine pleasure.

ॐ श्री गुरावे नमः !
ॐ नमः शिवाय!

Sianala, Montreal, Jan 2008.