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Friday, December 8, 2017

Illusion! For whom? (Upanishads...)

The Advaitic concept of Maya or illusion is often taken for granted and projected as the obvious conclusion of the Upanishads. But is it really that obvious?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The rope that appears like a snake! (Upanishads...)

In the previous post we saw a very interesting allegory used by a Swami to explain the concept of Turïya – the ultimate reality as per the Advaita philosophy. The original allegory used by the well known Advaita philosopher Šankara is what I am going to explain now.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Where is the silver screen? (Upanishads...)

There is an interesting allegory given by one Swami of Rämakrishna order (successors of Swami Vivekananda). The allegory tries to explain how Turïya is the substrate of the entire world we see around, but still it is not apparent. The allegory goes as follows.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Podcast on Meditation: The science behind it

I just added a podcast (at the moment it is Youtube -audio, more will be added later) on "Meditation : The science behind it" discussing various aspects of meditation and scientific basis for them.
Please listen and give your feedback.


This podcast can also be found in 'podcasts' section on the right of my blog. In due course keep checking for newer podcasts. Or you can subscribe to get notified.

 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is Turïya a state or reality? (Upanishads...)

In the previous posts I talked about Turiya as a state – one of the four states of cognition. That is my understanding of the Mändükya Upanishad in which it is described. But Advaita philosophers don’t agree. What do they say?

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Turïya or The state of universal consciousness (Upanishads...)

We were discussing about a ‘state’ in which we can cognize things that are beyond our limited Mind. This is the Turïya state described by the Upanishads. How is this state described?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Cognition beyond the Mind (Upanishads...)

We generally associate cognition with the activity of the mind. But as we discussed in the case of Yoga, (Refer to my book “How and Why of Yoga and Meditation”, Chapter “Shutting off the unruly Ghost”) the mind stops when one attains the ultimate states of meditation. In that case does it make any sense to talk about cognition when the mind is not even working? Sounds more like an oxymoron!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Have you seen this horse that spits out noodles?

I saw this antique horse made of Jack fruit wood in a farmer's house in a remote Indian village.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Four states of cognition (Upanishads...)

In the previous post, we were talking about how we can ascertain the truths enunciated by the Upanishads. As we said, the only way is either to accept whatever the Upanishads say or ‘realize’ it ourselves. How do we do the latter?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How are we sure that Upanishadic concept of God is valid? (Upanishads...)

In the previous posts we saw how the Upanishads ‘define’ God or Ätma.  And also, how this ‘definition’ does not lead to endless regress. But how are we sure that such a definition is valid and it is not just some clever play of words?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Does the concept of God lead to endless regress? (Upanishads...)

Many modern intellectuals opine that since the concept of God as the prime cause leads to endless regress, God does not exist! They ask what caused God... and so on.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Some questions just can’t be answered by direct perception or reasoning (Upanishads...)

Many people quote their religious scriptures to answer fundamental questions, God being one of them. In most religions, it is the God who revealed these scriptures.

Friday, November 3, 2017

God!... What is that? (Upanishads...)

Different religions have different definitions for God. Each one claims its definition to be the right one and all others to be wrong.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Upanishads – A journey into the unknown, nay, unknowable


Upanishads are ancient Indian texts that are supposed to be visions of sages when they were in a deep state of meditation, well preserved for more than 3000 years.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A unified view of various forms of practices

In the last several weeks we discussed 3 different types of practices – Patanjali Yoga, Buddhist Meditation as well as Hata yoga. Can we unify all these three practices? This is something I always wondered.

Friday, October 20, 2017

HATA YOGA MEDITATION – Nadopäsana

This technique is supposedly by Gorakshanath – a prominent Hatayoga Guru (believed to belong to sometime between 11th  to 14th century). Basically, it is back to Hata yoga’s usual concept of Kundalini and its awakening.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HATA YOGA MEDITATION – Shämbhavi Mudra

Shämbhavi mudra or a name with some variation is the hot stuff propagated by some modern Gurus. I have read about some Gurus suing their ex-disciples just because these disciples dared to disclose this ‘technique’ to others without their consent.

Actually, it is a well known Hata Yoga technique, which I am going to explain.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BUDDHIST MEDITATION – How does it actually work?

It is very common that a young girl or a boy gets physically attracted to another person of the opposite sex. Most of this attraction could have been developed due to environmental factors – what they read, what they see, what they hear and so on. But surely there is something that is inherent in our brains that puts one in that state, no matter how much one may try to avoid.

Friday, October 6, 2017

BUDDHIST MEDITATION – The way to go about

All of us know how difficult it is to free ourselves from craving. But to attain the goal of Nirvana, Buddhists say that one has to put an end to all craving. How does one do that?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

BUDDHIST MEDITATION - Its goal

Meditation is the main tool of Buddhism. It is so elaborate a process, that it will not be possible for me to go into its details in short blog posts. I will defer it to my book to be published. Here, I will only touch upon some salient aspects.

Patanjali’s goal for meditation was ‘self’ realization. But the Buddhists reject the very idea of ‘self’ or soul. So, why do they meditate?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MEDITATION - Summary

In the previous posts we discussed several aspects of meditation. Let me summarize these discussions as below.

Friday, September 22, 2017

MEDITATION - Does it really happen in the brain?

Many of you may be wondering whether ‘mind’ and ‘brain’ are one and the same. For one thing, most modern scientists believe that to be so. But that raises other questions, some of which I have discussed in my book “Important Missing dimensions in our current understanding of the Mind”.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MEDITATION - Does it cause harm?

If you look around on the net or read some research papers, it seems that some forms of meditation can be harmful. Some of my doctor friends have confirmed the harmful effects of some meditative practices. Is that really the case?

Friday, September 15, 2017

MEDITATION - Do I get psychic powers?

I sometimes get irritated when people ask me whether I have attained any psychic powers since I write books on Yoga and Meditation ;-) In my view, that is the most stupid question to ask.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MEDITATION - What is the role of God if any?

Nowadays it has become fashionable to declare ourselves as a non believer. Many people think that that is the same as saying that they are rational. I have commented on this misconception in some of my posts.

Friday, September 8, 2017

MEDITATION – What is the best time?

Ancient Indians always emphasized on the need to meditate during early morning hours just before sunrise. Not just the Hindus, even Muslims start their day’s Namäz, at that time. Apart from religious reasons, are there any scientific reasons for choosing this time for meditation? 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MEDITATION – Are all forms same?

In the previous post I discussed some forms of meditation. Do all these lead one to the same destination? The answer is both yes, and no. Why? 

Friday, September 1, 2017

MEDITATION - The real act

By definition, meditation is ‘keeping the focus on some chosen object for a prolonged duration’. This is a too general definition. I have played with this loose definition in one of my blog posts “Do you meditate?”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MEDITATION - Why is regularity essential?

Let me once again go back to learning to drive a vehicle. You probably remember how you had to practice it every day over a period of time before you could drive almost unconsciously. Since meditation too starts with training your attention system, regularity is a must – at least in the beginning. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

MEDITATION - You need to practice before

Whether it is driving a car or learning to play a musical instrument, you need to practice before you do the actual act. Any learning is a cyclical process of successive corrections till you achieve perfection. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

MEDITATION - The science behind it

I have always strived to explain Yoga or Meditation in a scientific manner rather than cloak it in mystical terms. In many ways, it is important that we know the science behind meditation not only to avoid confusion but also to practice it in a more effective manner. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Do you want to be a God?

The word God means different things to different people. In this post I am referring to the word God as an ultimate destination in our evolutionary journey. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Commonsense is not so common!

Many of us make the mistake of accepting things while being fully aware of what common sense dictates. It is as if our intellect and faith are two disjoint domains!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Paperback edition of "Think and be Enlightened" is now available


Inspirational, informative thoughts on Yoga, Spirituality and Indian Philosophy.


 
ISBN : 978-1974384303
Pages 132
For details click

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Son of a barren woman!

Quite an oxymoron, isn’t it? If a woman is barren, how come she has a son? And if she has a son then she cannot be barren!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Don’t’ talk when you are alone!

I have an elderly friend who says that after several years of meditative practice, he has attained the realization that “world does not exist!” 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Faith and Science can coexist!

There are these so called ‘rationalists’ who say that science is the only way and faith should always be rejected. And there are those majority who thrive on faith alone with utter disregard to scientific approach. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Paperback edition of Hata Yoga – Myths shattered is now available

I just released the paperback international edition of the book “Hata Yoga – Myths shattered”. This book will soon be available through most online book retailers as well as some brick and mortar book stores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so on.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

You can 'audio preview' my books now

You can now do an Audio preview of my books. For example click the link below the book cover




This is an audio preview for my recent book "Hata Yoga - Myths shattered".

When you visit my page "Some of my recent books" on the right column of this blog, look for "Audio preview" below the book description.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New book: Hata Yoga – Myths shattered

This is my new book that busts some of the ‘myths in’ and ‘myths about’ Hata Yoga – the popular Yoga that is practiced and propagated widely today. There are some startling observations that may shake the very base of commonly held  beliefs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mind modulation – Modern open ended techniques

Mind modulation is not deplorable per se, as long as - one knows what one is doing, and there are no commercial motives behind them. But unfortunately, both these criteria are lacking in some of today’s open ended mind modulation techniques that are widely being propagated.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mind modulation – The Mystic way

I have no intention to denigrate anyone. My use of the word ‘mystic’ is only to emphasize the departure these techniques have taken from the path of logic and reasoning that has all along been the hallmark of various ancient mind modulation techniques, whether it  is in the Upanishads, Sänkhya, Buddhists or even Patanjali. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mind modulation – The Yogic style

When I talk of Yogis, I am implying people like Patanjali and other Upanishadic sages. I am not talking about modern Yogis, about whom I will talk later.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mind modulation – The Buddhist kind

Mind modulation has been there in subtle form in almost every religion, in every part of the world, and for ages. But, probably it is in India that one finds recorded forms of direct, explicit, and well thought of modulation techniques that are being practiced for thousands of years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mind modulation – Know before you Do

Once, someone asked me an interesting question. The question pertained to death rituals observed in various religious faiths. Each religion claims that its death ritual is the only one that guarantees the departed soul a ‘rest in peace’. Does that mean that the souls in other religions roam around restlessly? ;-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Does soul exist? <---- That is the question that can liberate you

Though there were disagreements among Indian philosophers about the ‘real’ nature of the soul and whether it is one or many, they seem to be unanimous on one issue.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Does soul exist? <---- Only the soul exists and nothing else!

The Upanishads declare that it was only the soul that existed in the very beginning. And this soul ‘became many’.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Does soul exist? <---- Of course it does.

The ancient Sänkhya philosophers adopted a purely dialectical approach to everything. They even went to the extent of rejecting the idea of God since,(according to them) the concept of God is not essential to explain the world as it exists. But they were very firm on the existence of soul.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Does soul exist? <---- Useless question to ask!

Buddhists, while they believe firmly in re-birth, at the same time insist that the soul does not exist – anatta* (no atta – no soul) as they declare!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Does soul exist? <---- There is no proof that it does

That is what a true scientist would say. He won’t say – “soul does not exist” since he does not have a proof for that either.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Watch out, you are reaching the limits!

The CEO of one US company used to annually post ‘April fool’ prank on his social media site just to confound his clients. But this year he refused to do so, since he felt that the way the social media has been used nowadays to spread all kinds of misinformation has made him sick.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Know your strength

Sometimes we tend to overlook our strengths and brood over our weak points. It is not arrogance to be aware of our strengths, but it is necessary at times.

It was a hot summer afternoon. I wanted to dispose off some vegetable and fruit peels. Normally, I feed some stray cattle that happen to come that way. I went out of the house looking for some prospective needy. Found a big stray bull standing under a tree. It was quite big and scary. I did not dare go anywhere near it. If it so wished, it could toss me around just by a slight movement of its hefty body. 

But I did not want to waste the peels either. So, I hesitatingly moved towards the bull. Surprisingly, the bull started running away from me! It was quite scared of me, though I was no match for its strength!. After a bit of enticing and cajoling. it stopped and looked at me. Only then I could throw the things at it. 

The bull was quite strong and I was no match for it. But it did not know that!

Think and be Enlightened- a new book just published


Just published a new book titled Think and be Enlightened. This is a compilation of some of my most popular posts in the area of Yoga, Indian philosophy and other inspirational thoughts. 

If you are a member of 'kindle unlimited', you can read this book free. At the moment this book is available only on amazon. 

Click the following link to view the product page on amazon.com

ASIN : B071LR5WN4
Pages : 160 approx (on kindle) 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Don’t discourage questions

When we are too small, our elders often restricted us from doing several things without giving any valid reasons. Probably, that was the only way since we were too young to understand reason.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The most dangerous creature on the planet!

While strolling in my friend’s farm, I have often noticed that the red ants that flock the dry leaves, and inflict a rather painful sting, stop stinging once they get used to you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

“Let all positive things come to us from everywhere”

So goes one ancient Vedic saying (Rgveda 1.89.1). That is the epitome of openness. On the other extreme, we have people who are closed to anything outside their limited boundaries and prefer to live in an imaginary world.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

What you experience and what actually IS, need not be the same!

Nowadays, I see some popular Gurus making their supposedly  ‘mysterious experiences’ as their USP. They urge their prospective disciples to believe what they experience as the ultimate reality.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to be an achiever?

Rather than getting into philosophical discussion on “Who is an achiever?”, let me get down straight into a simple method that almost always works.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Why Yoga? Why not just enjoy life?

There are people who wonder why one has to undergo all kinds of restrictions – restrain desires, be honest, don’t hurt anyone, live a simple life, practice consistently, and so on, in the name of Yoga. Why not just enjoy life?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Higher is your qualification, more you are gullible?

Though very strange, I have often observed this happening. Many a highly qualified intellectuals get easily fooled by pseudo Gurus. I have always wondered why? 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

More is not always better

Some modern ‘Yoga’ teachers advise their students to perform Yoga postures at a faster pace and do it for a longer duration – more is always better! In fact one of the research papers on Yoga benefits even compares Yoga with some African tribal dance that is supposed to be very strenuous!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Perplexing ‘Yoga’ breathing claims

I have heard many ‘Yoga’ Gurus making claims on how ‘Yoga’ breathing works. I am not sure whether their claims are medically sound.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tail wagging the dog!

One of my readers recently complained to me that I give too much emphasis on ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyama’ of Yoga. The reader felt that ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyama’ are not at all necessary! And laying emphasis on them discourages people from practicing Yoga!
 
Well, he is not the only one who makes such statements.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yogic hair splitting

Some of my readers have pointed out my ‘wrong’ usage of the word ‘steps’ while referring to Patanjali’s Ashtänga Yoga  as ‘Patanjali’s 8 step Yoga process’.

Yes. The word Ashtänga literally means 8 limbs and not 8 steps. But if you have carefully observed these 8

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Yogic Law of Exponentials


Many people have asked me – “How long does it take to experience the effectiveness of Yoga?” The simple answer is “it depends!”
 
For most people effectiveness means stress reduction which is one of the prominent effects of Yoga if practiced properly. Less stress means better health, better performance, peace of mind, and so on. Now, how long does it take?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Which is the best Yoga?

Nowadays, people have wide options even for Yoga – something like a menu card in a restaurant! Of course, each item comes tagged with a price 😉 How does one decide?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Yoga timeline (over 3000 years)

One keeps hearing/reading different things being called Yoga. Most people have various notions about Yoga that are quite confusing. So I thought of giving a brief timeline of Yoga (set of practices that apparently resemble the system propounded by Patanjali – a generally accepted source) spanning over 3000 years.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

‘that’ which one needs to know

We started this series of posts with a question whether there is anything after knowing which we know everything; after hearing which we have heard everything. Or in other words, what is the essence of all the diversity we see around us as the world and our individual existences?

Friday, April 7, 2017

More ways to sink in the fundamental truth

In the previous posts we saw the origin and final destiny of the universe that we see around. But Swetaketu was still not convinced in spite of his father reasoning it out the way we did in previous posts. So, father gives more analogies to sink in the truth.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Forward trace instead of back tracing

In the previous post we back traced to infer the fundamental cause for this universe. There is one more way that can lead you to the same conclusion. Instead of back tracing, trace forward.

Supposing you have a dying man. Observe him carefully. Gradually, his ability to see, hear, feel and so on cease. And finally he dies. His body is still there but he is dead. Why? Because the soul has left the body. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Trace the cause from the effect

If you want to know the origin of the universe, keep tracing back the cause, starting from the effect. You will eventually reach the starting point.

For example, you see a huge tree with hundreds of branches, thousands of leaves and so on. How did this tree come into existence?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Something can’t come from nothing

No matter what science says, ancient Indians were clear that something cannot come from nothing. What was that ‘thing’ which this world came from? 
 
For want of a better word, ancient Indians called that thing as Sath – which literally means existence. This world came from Sath and not from nothing. So ‘in the beginning’ there was this Sath that created or took the form of ‘everything’ that we see around – the world, the beings in it, and so on.

How does one infer that?

We will see that in the next post.

Start              Next           Previous
This is a series of posts based on the well known discussion in Chändogya Upanishad (part of Säma Veda, believed to have been recorded more than 3000 years ago) regarding ultimate truths.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Matter is not everything

Science says that everything is material. There is nothing else. Now the question is - "why is a living person living and a corpse a dead body? A living body as well as a dead body are both made up of the same set of basic elements. But one is alive and the other is dead. Why?"

Friday, March 17, 2017

Understand the fundamentals

There are probably infinitely many things in this world. Each is different in its own way. Each has a different use. Each has a different property. But all these infinitely many things are made of 3 fundamental particles – electrons, protons and neutrons. These 3 particles in different combinations and different configurations form all that that exists in this world.

You can spend your entire lifetime to understand each of the things in this world. Or if you understand these three fundamental particles and their properties, you almost know everything in this world. Rest are just the details!

Ancient Indians also talked about three fundamental things that formed everything in this material world. These three things are sathwa, rajas and tamas. Sathwa has no mass but it only has potential energy. It is like the proton. Rajas also has no mass but it has kinetic energy. It is like an electron.  And finally, the tamas is all mass and nothing else. It is like the neutron. 

The ancient Indians believed that once you know these three fundamental elements that form the entire material world, you know everything. 

Well, almost.  What is it that we left out?

We will see that in the next post.

Start              Next           Previous

This is a series of posts based on the well known discussion in Chändogya Upanishad (part of Säma Veda, believed to have been recorded more than 3000 years ago) regarding ultimate truths.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Do you know ‘that’?

What is it ‘that’ I am talking about? It is ‘that’ after knowing which you know everything; it is ‘that’ after hearing which you have heard all; it is that after understanding which there is nothing more to understand. 

Does any such thing exist?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Truth of truth



I came across a self claimed rationalist blogger vociferously declaring that belief in God is just a superstition since no such God exists. In response, another self claimed Guru counseled that the existence of God cannot be argued upon, but should be just experienced.

Which of these conclusions are correct? Actually, as far as truth is concerned, it is always relative. There is no absolute truth. If you are a person who can see the world, the entire world is colorful. But, for a born blind person, it could be sound full or even touch full but never colorful.

Most of the time, what is true is not that important but in what way it affects us is important. All truths have an associated weight. If two truths have the same weight, you can accept either of them.

If a Baba says that by breathing in a particular way, blockage in your arteries, even if it is 90%, can be cleared, there may be some truth with non zero weight in his statement. But there is high risk of having heart attack if you accept his truth as against the counsel of a cardiologist who has recommended angioplasty. You may still die of heart attack even after angioplasty but the chances are less. The reason is that the weight of Baba’s truth is much less than that of the Cardiologist’s truth. So, it is the weight which is important when it matters.

In rest of the cases, you are free to accept any truth depending on your choice.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

One chapter of my next book dispatched to reviewers

I have dispatched one of the chapters ("Yoga of the wandering mystics") to all those who have opted for voluntary review of my next book. In case any more people want to join, they can still do it by filling up the contact form on the right of this blog.

Thanks.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Psychic powers


A few decades ago, the US government spent Billions of dollars into the research pertaining to Psychic powers. The research was carried out in top US universities by eminent scientists. At the end of the research, the scientists involved in it declared that existence of Psychic powers was beyond any doubt. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

I invite read-along volunteers

I am currently writing a book covering wide range of topics- tantric practices, various forms of Yoga, and  Buddhist meditation techniques. I will be happy if anyone of you would like to join me as a read-along volunteer. As and when I complete a chapter, I will be making that available to you and you need to give your feedback within a specified time. So, you will get a chance to be a part of the writing process and access to the book even before it is published.

Interested? Please fill in the contact form on the right of my blog with details about you. You don't need to be an expert, but should be willing to read thoroughly and give prompt objective comments about how you find the chapter. Where necessary we can interact to discuss about your  views and how I intend to address them.

Please write something about you so that it will help me in deciding to take you along. Your details will not be used for any other purpose, nor would it be published.

From Eden Gardens to God’s dining table! 😄



When I visited one of the Indian Hindu temples in California, I was given a ‘prasad’ (a portion of the food offered to the God), which was a bit of surprise to me. Normally the prasad distributed in India are sweets. But this prasad was spicy/sour and made of rice! It is called tamarind rice (called Puliogare in South India).
 
I wondered how the Hindu Gods developed a taste for this spicy rice! Actually, tamarind is such an essential ingredient in South Indian cuisine that a typical South Indian cannot think of cooking without tamarind!

But plant historians say that tamarind is not from India, but from Africa. They say that tamarind was known even before 500 B.C. in Egypt. 

It is believed that humans evolved from Africa. So is tamarind from Eden gardens where the Gods are supposed to have created Adam and Eve?! Probably that explains why it is God's favorite 😄

Do you know something? The very name tamarind comes from the Arab word ‘tamar hindi’ meaning Indian dates! The flesh resembles dates and there is even a sweet variety that tastes almost like dates. Even the botanical name Tamarindus indica suggests that the fruit is from India! Does it mean that the fruit moved straight from Eden Gardens to God’s dining table in India???  😄 😄