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  • Yoga of Sri Chinmoy

    Article by Richard Pettinger

    As a young child Sri Chinmoy was brought up in a Hindu family. The family was of Brahmin caste but they did not adhere to the rigid caste rules and often helped those of other castes. At the age of 12 Sri Chinmoy left his village in Chittagong, East Bengal and travelled with his 3 sisters and 2 brother to join his eldest brother Hriday Ghose in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo was a pioneer of “Integral Yoga”

    This was a modern form of yoga that did not renounce the world but sought to bring the divine into all aspects of life. For over 20 years Sri Chinmoy lived in the ashram spending many hours in meditation, achieving elevated states of spiritual consciousness. These states of self realization led to some of Sri Chinmoy’s most profound poetry. In poems such as Immortality and The Absolute we get a glimpse of the deathless state beyond mind and form.

    “My eternal days are found in speeding time;I play upon His Flute of rhapsody.Impossible deeds no more impossible seem;In birth chains now shines Immortality.”

    – From Immortality by Sri Chinmoy

    In 1964 Sri Chinmoy travelled to America to offer the ancient spiritual traditions of India in a modern and dynamic form to aspiring seekers in the West. He has lived in New York since 1964 and has been offering meditations at the United Nations for over 30 years. Sri Chinmoy has lectured on spirituality, yoga and meditation at many universities in both America, Europe and other parts of the World. He teaches that all religions lead to the same goal and fundamentally share common values.

    Sri Chinmoy’s path encompasses all 4 of the principle types of Yoga;

    Bhakti Yoga – yoga of devotionJnani Yoga – yoga of WisdomRaja Yoga – Yoga of PhilosophyKarma Yoga – Yoga of Divine Action.

    Sri Chinmoy teaches that love is the most direct way to approach God. Sri Chinmoy often says that his path is in essence the path of the heart. If we cry from the depths of our heart the Supreme will respond. If on the other hand, we try to meditate using the mind, we will achieve only very limited peace. An important element of Bhakti yoga is the use of devotional music. Soulful singing is a powerful way for a seeker to approach the divine. Great Bhakti yogi’s such as Sri Chaitanya and Mirabai spent many hours singing Bhajans (devotional songs), through this singing they were able to enter into the Divine Consciousness. Sri Chinmoy is one of the most prolific composers of devotional music. Since coming to the West he has composed over 12,000 songs in his native Bengali and over 5,000 in English. Most of these songs are devotional in nature; appealing to different aspects of the Supreme or identifying with different stages of a seekers spiritual journey.

    Sri Chinmoy writes on Bhakti Yoga

    “Ask a man to speak about God and he will speak endlessly. Ask a Bhakta to speak about God and he will say only two things: God is all Affection, God is all Sweetness. The Bhakta even goes one step further. He says, “I can try to live without bread, but never can I live without my Lord’s Grace.A Bhakta’s prayer is very simple: “O my Lord God, do enter into my life with Thine Eye of Protection and with Thy Heart of Compassion.” This prayer is the quickest way to knock at God’s Door and also the easiest way to see God open the Door.”

    As well as composing many songs Sri Chinmoy is also noted as a prolific writer and poet. He has published over 1,400 books which nearly all relate to some aspect of the spiritual life. Some books take the form of Question and Answer sessions. Sri Chinmoy is able to offer advice from the deepest spiritual perspective. Often these writings expound on common themes essential to genuine spirituality. These include disciplining the mind so that the seeker does not become beholden to negative ideas the mind can become attached to. This is a short extract from a talk entitled.

    “What is Yoga”

    “What is Yoga? Yoga is the language of God. If we wish to speak to God, we have to learn His language. What is Yoga? Yoga is that which discloses God’s secret. If we wish to know God’s secret, we have to launch into the path of Yoga. What is Yoga? Yoga is the Breath of God. If we wish to see through God’s Eye and feel through His Heart, if we wish to live in God’s Dream and know God’s Reality, if we wish to possess the Breath of God, and finally if we wish to become God Himself, Yoga will beckon us.”

    From: Yoga and the Spiritual Life by Sri Chinmoy

    Karma Yoga

    Sri Chinmoy leads an active life showing that an inner life of prayer and meditation can offer inspiration and help to increase our own capacities. Sri Chinmoy says that spirituality does not involve retreating from the world. Instead he advocates acceptance of the world and the inner fruits of meditation he says can be used to guide and illumine outer activities. At the age of 74 Sri Chinmoy is still very active demonstrating that age is not a barrier to continuing achievements. Sri Chinmoy is a noted weightlifter and continues to lift heavy weights saying that he does so to offer inspiration to others. Sri Chinmoy also travels extensively offering concerts of meditative music in different locations.

    About the Author

    Richard is a cyclist and economics Teacher. He is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Oxford UK

    Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
    whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

    Richard is a cyclist and economics Teacher. He is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Oxford UK

    Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
    whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

  • What is Yoga Vasistha? What is the Spiritual Significance of Yoga Vasista?

    Question by : What is Yoga Vasistha? What is the Spiritual Significance of Yoga Vasista?
    What is a good book to read Yoga Vasistha online?

    Best answer:

    Answer by Christ
    It is said that this book alone can lead to spiritual liberation. The conversation between Sage Vasistha and Prince Rama is of that between a great enlightened sage and a seeker who is about to reach completeness. This is amongst those rare conversations which directly leads to Truth.

    This scripture provides several understandings, scientific ideas, philosophies, and explains about consciousness, creation of the world, the multiple universes in this world, our perception of world, dissolution of the world and the liberation of this soul, the non-dual approach to this creation.

    Just as the blue sky is an optical illusion this entire world and the creation is but such an optical illusion. When the illusion ends in the mind, the world and its miseries too end. The self is the seer of all, the self is the perceiver of all and the self is the experiencer of all. And that self is only one.

    There is no two, there is no subject, seer and the object. It is all one.

    Another oft repeated verse in the text is that of Kakathaliya (coincidence). The story of how a crow alights on a palm tree and that very moment the ripe palm fruit falls on the ground. The two events are apparently related, yet the crow never intended the palm fruit to fall nor did the palm fruit fall because the crow sat on the tree. The intellect mistakes the two events as related, though in reality they are not.

    All of creation is the play of consciousness. As an unenlightened person may have a desire for action, and then perceives themselves doing action, the two are unrelated as the crow and the palm fruit. Consciousness is the actor, the action, the process and the witness of action.

    The book is divided into 6 parts:

    Dispassion
    Qualifications of a seeker
    Creation
    Existence
    Dissolution
    Liberation

    The Yoga Vasishta sums up the spiritual process in terms of the Seven Bhoomikas:

    1. Subecha. Longing for the Truth
    The yogi or sadhaka rightly distinguishes between permanent and impermanent; cultivates dislike for worldly pleasures; acquires mastery over organs, physical and mental; and feels a deep yearning to be free from Samsara.

    2. Vicharana. Right inquiry
    The yogi has pondered over what her/she has read and heard and has realized it in his/her life.

    3. Tanumanasa. Attenuation or thinning out of mental activities.
    The mind abandons the many and remains fixed on the ONE.

    4. Sattvapati. Attainment of Sattva
    The Yogi at this stage is called Brahmavid or Knower of Brahman.

    In the above 4 stages, the yogi is subject to Sanchita, Prabrabdha and Agami Karmas. He/she has been practicing Samprajnata Samadhi or contemplation in which consciousness of duality still exists.

    5. Asamsakti. Unaffected by anything
    The yogi, now called Brahmavidvara performs necessary duties of own will (that is, without a sense of involvement).

    6. Pararthabhavani. See Brahman everywhere
    External things do not appear to exist to the yogi, now called Brahmavidvariya, and functions are performed only at the prompting of others.
    Sanchit and Agami Karmas are now destroyed. Only a small amount of Prarabdha Karma remains.

    7. Turiya. Perpetual Samadhi
    The yogi is known as Brahmavidvaristha and does not perform his duties either by his will or the promptings of others. The body drops off after approximately three days of entering this stage.

    Yoga Vasistha was originally written in Sanskrit. It was translated to English by Swami Jyotirmayananda [1], Swami Venkatesananda, Vidvan Bulusu Venkateswaraulu, and Vihari Lal Mitra. K. Naryanaswami Aiyer translated the famous condensation Laghu-Yoga-Vasistha.

    Aum Namoh Narayanaya

    Add your own answer in the comments!

  • Any who are spiritual yoga practitioners, any words of wisdom?

    Question by Yogini: Any who are spiritual yoga practitioners, any words of wisdom?
    How do you get through times of physical inability to do asana practice? I have found it to be the key into my spiritual life and since suffering a shoulder injury find that I have to rest this aspect.
    I know yoga is not just asana practice but how have you overcome the frustration of not being able to practice the physical form? Any kind words would be great……Namaste
    Thanks sybil

    And Phoenix, that was an incredibly wise answer…thank you….I will do that today…..
    Thanks hot….the hard part for me is that my practice has been ashtanga so I’m used to a fast flow…. I guess I’ll be researching my options…..

    Best answer:

    sybil_the_soothsayer:

    I often have times of forced physical inactivity and I also find meditation to be helpful…and stretch what you can…just let the injured area heal…there are times of rest in life…

    Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

  • Have You Considered Yoga?

    Written By Jasmine

      I first experienced hatha yoga about 31 years ago. I took a course at my local college and continued practicing well into my first pregnancy. I am not athletic at all (alright, I was a bowler!) and I loved it. I know I reaped many benefits from it for the time I did it. Then, after baby came along, life happened, another baby then a car accident in 1986 messed me up royally for a good 15 years and left me feeling certain degrees of fragility after that.

    I came back to yoga over a year ago. I know now that had I realized at the time of my physical damage due to the accident, yoga would have shaved years off my suffering not to mention helped me in so many other ways I have experienced in my advancing middle age. No bother though, because I am appreciating the benefits today!

    I entered into it carefully with respect to my weakened back and neck. I poured over many video’s to find routines that would not send me back to short of traction. I really should have sought out another class but stubbornness for personal reasons ruled that one out. My physical problems over the years have allowed me a heightened consciousness of any activity that might threaten my condition. (I would highly recommend anyone else does just that, to learn the poses under the watchful eye of a trained yoga practitioner! If done wrong, you can really hurt yourself.) I entered yoga practice carefully and with conscious respect to what my body was telling me with each pose I tried. In the beginning I added another pose one at a time so I could feel how I felt the next morning.

    I am now structurally stronger, feeling more graceful and toned as well as finding myself more enabled to drop these pesky pounds. I have added Pilates for a more intense workout. I have more energy and my insomnia problems are all but gone. I am more aware of my body as I move through my days in that my posture awareness in standing, sitting and moving about has become a conscious effort to maintain in my shoulders, stomach tightness and lower back.

    I incorporate meditation into my workouts and the result is a calmness afterwards that I carry with me all the time and can call up at any time, when stress creeps in, by simply breathing deep and slow with a clearing of the mind that refreshes. Or, if time and place allows, by doing one or two poses to take me back to calmness. Five minutes can work wonders on the mind, body and soul.

    My first choice of videos was “Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains”. This program uses yoga to address and correct chronic injuries and illness. It is gentle yoga designed for all fitness levels helping to increase the range of motion to one’s spine and joints while promoting flexibility and fluid body movement. It was a wonderful place for me to start.

    My second choice of videos was “Just My Size: Yoga with Megan Garcia”. She is a plus-size model with a “real” body and presents an easy-to-follow, viewer friendly approach no matter what body size they carry. It’s also a great starting point for beginning yoga practitioners. I started out slow and carefully. I felt positive results almost immediately. She also has a book called “MegaYoga by Megan Garcia” that I found helpful for more in depth instruction.

    The third video I recommend is a dvd called “Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies”. Don’t let the “dummies” part put you off! It’s great for beginners and I found the instructor pleasant and real. Also there are extra instructions helpful for first timers.

    I used other sources but these three were the most helpful in starting out. After weeks of regular practice and feeling a need to add a more intense workout, I added “Crunch: Super SlimDown” which is a combination of Pilates and yoga. Rather than doing individual poses of yoga, this offers a flow of poses for a more intense workout. I find for myself, when I am finished, it’s the perfect time to go into meditation.

    The most important thing to know about yoga is it is not about knocking yourself out as much as going into each pose with body awareness and grace. Yoga combines body, mind and spirit. Slow even breathing, in and out thru the nose, at all times during the workout. If you feel pain at all at any time then you either stop or back off of intensity of that pose. I suggested yoga to a friend once who was very athletic. She tried it on her own and reported back to me that she was very sore the next day. She thought she had done a good workout. The problem was she had approached it as she had any other activity she had done in the past as in “no pain no gain”. When I explained to her about clearing the mind when doing the poses and becoming aware of what each and every muscle is doing and how it feels as well as how far to go she realized that her approach to yoga was wrong. Remember, yoga is as much a spiritual effort as a physical one; they intertwine when done with intent in the moment. The goal is not to do and look just like the yoga instructor. It is to learn the pose correctly and work at your own level and pace.

    When beginning yoga and looking for a good dvd, look for one that has modifications in it. They will show the instructor and also one or two others doing the same poses only modified for different levels of ability. (I have found some good ones thru my county library system.) I have found it good practice to view the whole dvd before doing them. A quiet place to practice with a good yoga mat is important. Check your stray thoughts outside the room and focus on listening to your body as you begin to work on the poses. Enjoy the feeling of awareness as individual muscles respond to them and blood flows thru your whole body.

    After sitting at my keyboard and typing this, I am feeling a bit tight in my shoulders and neck. I think I will go do some yoga now! I hope you will consider this brilliant activity and wish you well on your journey.

    (Written by Jasmine – webmistress The Majickal Garden )

     

  • How do I start spiritual Yoga?

    Question by : How do I start spiritual Yoga?
    I’ve really only experienced the modern-fad healthy yoga practices. But want I really want is to connect with Yoga on a more spiritual level. I want a teacher, a guru. I want help on my journey to spirituality but am completely ignorant how to start that journey. My yoga exercises are novice at best and I just don’t know where to start.

    Best answer:

    Answer by Lionel1020
    lay down and think about it

    Give your answer to this question below!

  • Yoga Swami’s Om: Hear Your Inner Song – Chanting Om

    thecenterforhealingarts.com Authentic Himalayan yoga Swami, Swami Sundaranand enlightens viewers on how chanting om, the inner music and sound, your yoga Om or an aum yoga mantra can transform your life. From the film “Personal Time with Swami-ji” Shot in the Indian Himalyas. Yoga meditation explained for advanced yoga practitioners and beginners.
    Video Rating: 4 / 5

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