Ganesha: The Sweetheart of Hindu Children

I can say, the largest worshipped deity in India is Ganesha. Almost every street will have a Ganesha temple. You don’t need a big ritualistic pooja from him. A village lady after her bath, comes, offers water to the Ganesha deity on the banks of the river, worships and goes. You cannot worship any other God like this without much ritual. His very form is a powerful representation of the cosmos.

Ganesha is still the sweetheart of Hindu children, especially the exam-going children! He is pleased just by a coconut. From the time I remember myself all the examinations are written by Ganesha only! He is a powerful divine being.

Ganesha is also the lord of the Muladhara Chakra the basic energy center at the bottom of the spine. He is a very powerful expression of the cosmic intelligence. He has four hands – the upper right hand holds the ankusha – the elephant goad, the left upper hand holds the pasha – noose, the lower right hand holds his own tusk and the lower left hand holds a sweet.

The ankusha – is a very small instrument which can goad a huge elephant. It actually represents unclutching (simply dropping the shaft of thoughts continuously being formed by the mind). It means that an elephant-sized mind can be controlled by a small key – unclutching! The mind which is a wild elephant can be controlled with just a small ankusha, a small tool like unclutching.

Pasha or the noose signifies ‘attachment’. When you add attachment to thoughts, they become engrams (engraved memories). It means that because attachment is under his control he does not allow the thoughts to become engrams. So on the one side, thoughts never become engrams because the pasha is under his control, and on the other side, because of the ankusha, even with thoughts, unclutching happens! So his inner space is completely under his control.

The lower right hand holds his own tusk. You need to know the history of the tusk. Once, Vyasa wanted somebody to pen down the Mahabharata, the longest Hindu epic. Vyasa is a genius. He was not able to find anyone for his speed. He finally requested Ganesha to pen it down. The Mahabharata is the largest and longest poem written on planet earth even now. Nobody is able to cross Vyasa’s achievement till now. We have so much technology, computers but Vyasa still stands! His record is unbroken.

He asks Ganesha, ‘Can you pen it down?’ Ganesha replies, ‘Sure, I will pen it down. But the speed with which I write will be too much. If you cannot cope with my speed, I will stop writing and go away.’ Vyasa replies with a condition, ‘Alright, I agree, but you should also write only after you have understood every word.’ Ganesha agrees. The agreement was ready. Vyasa was supposed to match the speed of Ganesha and Ganesha was supposed to understand and only then pen down.

It started and went on and on and on. Neither Vyasa nor Ganesha got up for anything. Whenever Ganesha finished quickly, Vyasa put in some complicated words, so that Ganesha would have to understand it, catch up and then pen down. It was a big game going on.

Suddenly, Ganesha’s pen broke. Now, this clause was not there in the agreement: what to do when the pen breaks? Whose responsibility is it? Naturally not Vayasa’s because Ganesha is the one penning down. But Ganesha cannot miss even one word. Vyasa’s expression was happening in full speed. The whole thing happened in Badri – the source of the sacred river Saraswati, the place where she emerges out. She is the source of Ganga, Yamuna and all the other Himalayan rivers. Saraswati here is not Lord Brahma’s consort. No! Here, she is the feminine consciousness. I had darshan of Saraswati in Badri – such beauty and grace! The enchanting grace….I made our Anandeshwari (presiding female deity of the mission) exactly in the same mould and jewels as her! Anandeshwari is made out of my darshan of Saraswati in Badri. The face, structure, jewels, especially the shoulder jewels….you will never find them anywhere else.

So, on the banks of Saraswati the writing is going on, and suddenly the pen broke. What to do now? Ganesha has to complete, he cannot miss; and he cannot run for a pen also! If he runs for one more pen, he may miss a few words. He cannot ask Vyasa to stop either. Ganesha immediately breaks his own tusk and starts writing!

Understand, this shows two things: one, his spontaneous decision making, and two, his courage to sacrifice for the cause. He does not tell Vyasa, ‘Stop, I will run and get a pen.’ No! It is just spontaneous decision making and courage to sacrifice – his own tusk. See, this writing is a small part of his life. He could have asked Vyasa to wait. But the courage to sacrifice! Therefore the tusk symbolizes the courage to sacrifice and the spontaneous decision making power.

So his two upper hands represent his pure blissful inner space while the lower right hand represents his courage and spontaneous decision making. When these three are there, life is sweet which is represented by the sweet in his lower left hand!

His elephant face represents the extraordinary awareness and sensitivity. It is also the symbol of Omkara. The elephant’s eye sight or its ability to smell, is extraordinary. His big pot belly represents the whole cosmos. The whole cosmos is inside him! He is the cosmic intelligence. His mouse represents the playfulness! With the mouse, even though you have a little fear of it, it always creates playfulness in you! Whenever you see it, you start laughing! The mouse can create a playful feeling inside you. That is why Tom and Jerry is so popular. SO Ganesha is doing this whole thing so playfully. That is what it means.

When you tune into Ganesha, you can imbibe these three things: unclutching from the mind, not being attached to thoughts and allowing them to become engraved memories, and having spontaneous decision making and courage to sacrifice. Then the whole cosmos will be in you and you will have extraordinary sensitivity to live life in the inner and outer world. And naturally your life will be sweet like Ganesha’s modaka (name of the sweet he holds).

Ganesha means Ganapati, the Vigneshwara. He represents extraordinary power of achievement, the pure efficiency. When you understand the sacred truth of pure efficiency…Please understand pure efficiency without obstacles is Ganesha. If you imbibe the idea which I expressed now, pure efficiency with no obstacles, just pure efficiency, means life, you will experience Ganesha in you. When you meditate on this sacred truth of pure efficiency, the non-mechanical parts of your brain will be awakened which will look exactly in the form of Ganesha. You may think what mystery it is? It is mystery but truth.

I can say, that in Hinduism, the largest celebrated festival is Ganesh Chaturthi, the celebration of the happening of Ganesha. Ganesha is the only god worshipped by Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas, and his own group – the Ganapatyas. Even the Kaumaras, followers of Subrahmanya worship Ganapati!

There is only one god who is worshipped by all these seven sampradayas – traditions, and that is Ganesha! Usually, the Shaivites don’t even look at the Vishnu temple! By mistake they may look! But Vaishnavites, even by mistake they won’t look at a Shiva temple! If they look at a Shiva temple, they will do completion!

So understand, Ganesha is the only god worshipped by all the seven sampradayas. Even in Vishnu temples Ganesha has a place with the name ‘Tumbikkai Alvar’. That is why I say, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most celebrated festival in Hinduism, or I can say, in the whole world!

Ganesha outlives all philosophies. He feels all philosophies are boredom. He is like a modern day teenage kid who eats left and right, and sits with the Facebook all the time and does not bother about any serious philosophy, but who has all the powers!

Ganesha doesn’t come under any rule or regulation but he has all the powers and he is the embodiment of Satchitananda – the auspiciousness, intelligence, and energy. Above all, he is a close being to our heart. There cannot be any philosophical explanation about him. He is just a part of us, that’s all.

Why Do We Worship Deities ?

2016-6june-30th-nithyananda-diary_IMG_5970_varanasi-aadheenam-ia-shiva-deeksha-swamiji

In Hinduism, we have over three crore deities that have a history and following of their own. They are worshipped in temples all over India on a daily basis. Every family has a separate deity that is worshipped by their ancestral community. Every concept, every theory, every energy has a deity. For example, each of the nine planets have deities, as well as each of the constellations. Hinduism is a religion where we are eager to make deities out of everything living on planet Earth. Even milestones placed by the British in 1800’s are worshipped as Shiva Lingas. If you travel the rural highways, you all find the even the cylindrical shaped stones placed to mark every mile decorated with traditional garment.

Hinduism is an inclusive religion, open to all who walk in; there is no exclusivity of beliefs in the Hindu philosophy. It is a journey of inclusive acceptance, not a destination of exclusive belief. We have a plethora of deities but if you don’t find one you connect with, you are welcome to create your own. Whatever you feel as God, you can build a temple for it. 

The concepts of Jeeva, Jagat and Ishvara play a role in the deity worshipping as well. While Jeeva remains you, “the self”, Ishvara is the what you want to become.  Jagat is how you will make what you want into reality. These concepts recognize the natural inner ambition that we feel to expand, grow and become our higher reality. When we worship Sadashiva, we accept that he is our higher reality. He is what we want to become. Since the beginning, in order to fulfill this ambition, we created temples and temple-communities. As Bhagavan describes, for the Arunachaleshwara temple, to maintain the temple and environment, the civilians formed 16 communities. In the same way, people gravitated toward temples all over India and created a beautiful civilization that was engineered right from the beginning for enlightenment. 

Deities, therefore, are integrated into Hindu lifestyle. Our enlightened gurus and the Avatars that continue to happen in India energize deities in a process called “prana prathishta”. While pujacharyas are  authorized to conduct the “mantra prathishta” only enlightened beings can conduct prana prathishta, which literally means the life breath. In the biggest temples all over India, it was an enlightened being that installed the energy in that temple. They are monuments of spiritual liberation and the ultimate achievements Hindus attained as a result of eons of journeying within.

2016-8aug-27th-nithyananda-diary_IMG_6502_bengaluru-aadheenam-ganesh-brahmotsava-flag-hoisting-swamijiOne the prana prathishta is done, the deity is considered living. Not stone, 5-metal, or marble ; living like human being if not more so. Therefore, when we do puja, abhisheskam or conduct marriages for deities, we are not worshipping stone, we are worshipping through the stone to the cosmic energy that exists beyond that. The deity is a beautiful way to connect to that energy and create a sweet divine space inside of us called “bhaava samadhi”. Devotion erupts from the space created between you and the deity. 

There are thousands of miracles that show this process is not simply a sacred sentiment. It is real. Dieties are living entities who can talk, eat, sleep just like we do. Ganesha drinks milk in temples all over the world. Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain accepts your offering of alcohol by drinking it when you keep it near his mouth. Vishnu turns his entire body in order to give darshan for a sincere devotee. Devi reduces her height so that she will fit through wooden doors when the pujacharyas take her out of the garba mandir. You can hear the anklets of Devi Meenakshi in Madhurai and the salangai of Nataraja in Chidambharam.

As Bhagavan Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, puja is ultimate shaktipada process. Shaktipada is an energy filled space of oneness you have with the cosmos through a physical form, either your guru or a deity. Ultimately, our prayers and worship are not a bargaining method with the divine. Even when we pray, we recognize and celebrate the fact that we are divine.

We are all divine. We are all part of the universal energy.

Whether or not you accept Hinduism as your faith, the fact is that divinity is in us. We manifest our reality out of the cognitions that we have about ourselves, the world around us and life in general. No matter if you manifest a lower reality or the ultimate reality of being Sadashiva, you are the ultimate because you manifest not because of what you manifested.

In Agama, as revealed by Sadashiva himself, the practice is key. As we saw before, Bhagavan compares the veda-agamas to an electric circuit. You cannot understand the electric circuit just by the on-off switch, or the Mahavakya. It is convenient when the on-off switch is working. But when it is not?

You must know the entire electric circuit. In the same way, we must practice everything prescribed by Sadashiva in the agama so that we can experience oneness and shaktipada with Him. Puja and worship is that entire circuit. Following yogic practice, puja, listening to great truths in Hindu scripture and practice- all of these are daily practices that Sadashiva necessitates for enlightenment.

This, in the end, is why we do deity worship.

The devotion that is a result of this is the perfect bonus. Devotion emerges like a blooming flower from within, and from the flower a nectar oozes. It is sweetness multifold.  By chanting the words that make up Sadashiva and becoming Sadashiva ourselves, puja is offered to Divine. It is the ultimate process that starts our whole day off in bliss. 

It is with this foundation, in His very blood and ancestry, that Paramahamsa Nithyananda began his life on Earth. Puja, deity worship and devotion to Sadashiva, made the pillars on which Bhagavan built his whole life, setting an example for an entire civilization of Nithyananda Yogis that comes after Him.

Advent of the Avatar:

The advent of the Avatar is the greatest happening in the Universe. Every single being, every single individual consciousness which is in the body while He is in the body is blessed because each have the possibility of meeting Him. Every single being which is even only able to get glimpse of Him is even more blessed because upon death, just that glimpse of might be possible to push them passed all their current suffering to choose the life of seeking in the next birth. In the next birth, you will remember the goal which Bhagavan represents and gear yourself for that goal. Above all, if you are able to interact with The Avatar, live with him and imbibe him, you are truly the most blessed being all of the life on Planet Earth because it is possible you will realize the ultimate and become enlightened in this very life. In this three fold, the possibility of enlightenment draws nearer and more powerful. That is why throughout the however many years The Avatar stays within the body, every moment of his life is a benefit to humanity. Every single life that crosses the life of the Avatar is benefitted.

Bhagavan reveals, “Even in my autobiography, when I say I became enlightened, it is only for you to understand. Otherwise I am very clear, I was like this from birth. The moment I entered the body, I can see very clearly – how I entered the body, and how I started moving the body, the whole thing is written on me. Like a screen can see anything written on the screen. See, if that screen is alive, it can see anything projected on it. This was my birth, and this is the time, now. The screen very clearly feels even while birth the whole thing is known to me.

See, at this point, I became screen. I realized I am a screen on which the whole thing is being projected. So for you to understand, I say I took birth, I became enlightened all that but now I very clearly feel when I took birth also if I had the body which can talk, I would have spoken this what I am speaking now very clearly the same way. Not evolved knowledge, avimukta vijnana.

When I took body 1978 Jan 1 night, if you would have come and I would have used that body to talk English, I would have spoken this same clarity, this same depth, this same truth.”

He is a blessing to all those who cross his ways even before what he calls his enlightenment experience. Even before the age of 12 during that experience, all the beings whom he interacted with were very clear that He was the Avatar and though he may be a child, he was a divine entity, a guru. They were only grateful to be in his presence as long as they could.

Throughout Bhagavan’s childhood in the pilgrimage town of Tiruvannamalai, he met innumerable enlightened masters. As a young child, to these intense souls who found themselves under the gaze of Arunachala Hill while its energy dwelled in a human form as well in the town, he was a enthusiastic and pious boy. He loved meeting these enlightened gurus. Though none of them were his gurus, who gave him enlightenment, Bhagavan says that each one did influence him very deeply. While in the outside perspective, the people of the town knew that young Rajashekaran was always around one sadhu or another, always at their feet listening to their discusses, having their darshan and  ready to receive their initiations, to these beings their whole life’s seeking and tapas was finally culminating in the peak of ecstasy and completion. They all recognized that they were just too lucky to be in the presence of such a being as The Avatar, though they might not have named his origin.

You will come to understand that many enlightened beings that came across Bhagavan Nithyananda underwent tremendous tapas throughout their own lifetimes. Without the help of The Avatar, they achieved the expression of yogic powers and went on expressing them in and around Thiruvannamalai. They went on parivrajaka all over India in search for enlightenment. Most of the time, it is their intense seeking led them to the spiritual incubator, Arunachala. It was in their time in Tiruvannamalai, The Avatar happened in their life much like he happened in the life of us devotees. The beautiful leela that Sadashiva decided to play with these special beings was the same guru-disciple, but they were the ones who played the guru. Like Sadashiva himself learned from his first disciples, his consort Devi and son Subhramanya, the Avatar was trained and taught by these blessed beings. Even in this bhaava, or relationship, it was still very clear who was the Avatar and who was still seeking enlightenment. In the end, for the beings that practiced hard and long for the ultimate experience, The Avatar happened in their life as the bringer of immense fulfillment and inspiration to continue in their path.

Paper Toys

Like a paper toy children make to play with, I made this body: just to play with.

Varanasi skies were pouring down rain but we were safe inside the hotel room. Swamiji was laying down on a beige lounge chair, one hand cupping his cheek while the other stretched out on his side. His eyes were closed. Myself, Ma Nithya Priyathamananda and Ma Nithya Priyatattvananda were seated on the floor, gazing up at him. The rain pattered against the windows, wind blew through trees but this close to the source of cosmos itself, a type of serene silence reverberated in the air between all of us while the storm continued to brew outside.

A few meters away, the River Ganga was swelling as Sadashiva entered into her abode. This was Varanasi, where Ganga Matha was celebrated the most. Now it was her turn to celebrate~ for her divine lover was here.  

When Swamiji first entered his hotel room and looked out to the cloudy skies of his city, he declared, “Ganga, my love”. In his words, you could hear the great ethereal romance that was between Sadashiva and Ganga Matha. He called out to her as if she was about to rise up to meet him in a loving embrace.

And indeed she did. In the month that Swamiji spent in Varanasi in 2016, the Ganga’s water rose four times as much as it normally averages in June. Flood warnings were given out. Ghats were closed because of unexpected high water levels. The surface of the water was swollen, like the skin of a pregnant woman, stretched and full rather than empty with deep ripples.

But all this was still some time away while he rested in front of the three of us for no reason. He entertained us just by laying there. He fulfilled us just by existing.

He smiled first. Then, he woke up. His eyes found mine.

“You know” he began speaking. “If you just see me with your third eye right now, you won’t be able to see me. You will just see this empty chair”

In my inner space, the empty chair formed itself. Swamiji smiled knowingly, knowing that of course we knew what he said was true and also knowing that we had no idea what he meant. Then he said those words. “Like a paper toy kids make to play with, I made this body to play with”

He held his hand in front of him in a gesture: two fingers out creating his legs, his palm creating a body, his whole hand becoming a body in the microcosm of this conversation. And he played with the hand, twisting it front and back.

With all the ambition in his life- the temples he’s promised to rebuild, the ancient scripture he will bring back to life-in the end, he’s still very clear: the purpose of his life is purely playful. The idea was foreign to me. Here, I had the heaviest perception of life that burdened my shoulders while he lived just to play. 

 

My being was intrigued. What would it be like? To live life just to play. 

His smile grew wider as the plates within me shifted places. Like a banyan tree penetrating the Earth and growing exponentially in a matter of a few years, Swamiji was taking root within me and filling himself in between the lines of the sentences that made up my life until he became the story itself, like a new tree growing from a old and rotten one.

6 February 2017: Maha Kumbhabhishekam

Maha Kumbhabhishekam happens in order to inaugurate a temple or reconsecrate it after its initial inauguration.  This celebration and ritual happens every 12 years. This time around, The Avatar,  Paramahamsa Nithyananda, attended the Maha Kumbhabhishekam!

The Arunagiri Yogeshwara mandapam, where his samadhi is located in the Arunachaleshwara Temple

 

In the quiet, stone corners of the Arunachaleshwara Temple, the wandering devotee will suddenly see a glowing form. Everything will disappear around them, as if a spell was cast on the people witnessing.  In some ways, this was true- for when Sadashiva decides to give darshan, he’ll only appear to those he allows.  He will have long jattas, a lean muscular build and a young body.

Arunagiri Yogeshwara, a recognized incarnation of Sadashiva,  roamed the physical plane about 3,000 years ago.  For a few hundred years he taught the enlightenment science. An ongoing festival in the temple nowadays commemorates  when he went  around the hill giving final enlightenment to the seventeen rishis. In these places, seventeen small temples were built for those rishis. Millions of beings owe their liberation to his grace.  
The Arunachaleshwara Temple rose around the mandapam over his final samadhi. It is now the second biggest shiva temple in all of India. With nine towering gopurams, and divine hill Arunachala as the backdrop, the Aruchaleshwara Temple is among the most beautiful temples. 

In 1988, when Paramahamsa Nithyananda was around 10 years old, the ethereal form Arunagiri Yogeshwara suddenly walked into this life. For 11 months, Arunagiri Yogeshwara and the young Avatar spendt their time in the most intimate and powerful guru-disciple relationships- the most important kind of relationship a human and a being can have.

The Arunachaleshwara Temple, therefore, has the utmost signifance to Paramahamsa Nithyananda not only because it was the temple he grew up in but the temple that hosted this beautiful relationship.  The Maha Kumbhabhishekam this time around happen with thousands of people present- no free space on the ground of the temple available.  On top of that, this temple carries greater spiritual significance in his life.

As an incarnation, upon taking the body that he has now in a conscious birth, he can pick up any bio-memory, or any quality from any past incarnation in order to conduct his mission in this birth. These are what we call past lives of incarnation. Arunagiri Yogeshwara is one of the past lives of Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

On Arunagiri Yogeshwara himself,  The Avatar describes,  “I have taken certain bio memory from Arunagiri Yogishwara. I can say he — forms the base material. My body language, my verbal language. If Arunagiri Yoghishwara spoke English, he will speak exactly the way I am speaking and he is speaking! The body language and verbal language that is the base material. That is Arunagiri Yogishwara.”

A question posed to The Avatar during one  when he gave the unclutching iniation. They asked, “How can Arunagiri Yogeshwara be your past life and give you darshan at the same time,”

Grinning, as if he was waiting to for someone to ask this question,  Paramahamsa Nithyananda answered beautifully. “To  enjoy the fantasies of all fantasies when it comes to the guru and disciple relationship Sadashiva decided to experience himself as a disciple”

Out of this will, this story of he and Arunagiri Yogeshwara manifested. 

Though he runs an international organization in almost 140 cities across the globe, Paramahamsa Nithyananda will always be rooted in his culture and tradition- in the temples that made him who  he is and he dedicated his life to.

 

Every Kind of Question

 A kind smile and scruffy, teddy bear looking beard adorns Rohit Mistry’s face nowadays matching the one of his guru, Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

Rohit was the first one who approached me with his own addition to the autobiography.

“I’d love to hear it” I told him and then we sat down in the cool shade of ananda puri courtyard while the sun shone down on the earth around us.

“Actually a few months back during Kumbh Mela, Bhavya and I were wondering why Swamiji forgets names a lot. One time he mixed my name and Neel’s. The other day he said Ma Baladhara and Sri Nirbheda, instead of Sri Baladhara and Ma Nirbedha. We thought that it might be because Swamiji sees us as our past life so he is trying to figure our names of this life”

He continued to tell me, “I asked Swamiji this in the car the other day. He told me, ‘No actually when I see you I see your past, present, future. Everything! It takes me a little time to recognise which form of you is relating with me at that moment'”

“Then Swamiji said, ‘Oh so this is what you all talk about behind my back? You guys are getting your answers straight from the horses mouth'”

“Even I had this kind of relationship with my guru, Rohit” Swamiji continued to explain. “The nine months that I lived around him”

“You asked questions like this?” Rohit asked, his curiosity piqued.

“Oh, I was much worse!” He said with a wide smile. “You don’t know the kind of silly questions I asked!”

Rohit couldn’t help but ask, “What is worse Swamiji?”

With a radiating smile he began, “You don’t know how naughty I was with him. One day, we were sitting outside of his cave as we usually sit. One lady in a green sari was walking by. We both looked at her. I told him then, ‘Change her sari’. Arunagiri Yogeshwara just laid his eyes on her and suddenly her sari was red”

The entire car erupted in laughter and unbelievable reactions. Swamiji’s own laughter rung like temple bells in the air.

“The lady was so shocked! She couldn’t handle herself so she just ran away!” Swamiji said through fits of laughter. “Can you imagine? Just changing the whole color of the sari like that…”

Rohit told Swamiji then, “Swamiji, you’re giving me ideas”

“No, no, no. Relax, relax” Swamiji responded quickly.

Rohit and I laughed together in the present, his eyes playing out the scene for me see. His connection with Swamiji was my gateway into Swamiji’s own connection to Arunagiri Yogeshwara. Like this, it was as if just hearing these words fixes the chain link between me and Sadashiva himself. I understood, immediately, that this was the purpose of sharing other people’s stories of their connection to Swamiji. Entanglement with the guru is such that when you share the open ends of your connection with him to someone else, they will also become one with the most ultimate metaphysical net that there ever was.

The Gift of Tamil

Kamalatmananda on the right, receiving the books
Kamalatmananda on the right, receiving the books

I tell you please understand all of you if you look back you will have some best moments of your life and worst moments of your life. The best moments of your life only make you feel you as you. Whatever be your action in the best moments you will be established in renunciation. This is the secret of life I tell you. See in Ramakrishna mission, when I joined I was the Bramhachari who used to speak in Tamil fluently. I had the great fortune of sitting at the feet of Swami Kamalatmananda. He is now the head of the Madurai Ramakrishna mutt. He is a great sadhu. I wanted to meet him and have his Darshan. See, nobody will stop me from entering the place but he may have trouble. I studied Tamil at his feet. My whole knowledge of Tamil I put it at his feet. It was his gift. He was the editor of Sri Ramakrishna magazine. Person with so much of love and patience and responsibility of training the next generation. Every time when he is invited to large gatherings and meetings, he will prepare the discourse and make me memorize, talk, talk and repeat to him. After going to the function he will say you repeat and I will sit below. 

I tell you it is his gift whether my writing Tamil or speaking Tamil it is gift from him. All this is at least training ok. But after many years when I became enlightened and started the mission, first time I came to Madurai for Satsang where 10,000 15,000 people have come for my Darshan. He is head of Madurai Ramakrishna mutt. I did not invite him because of all these protocol problems. He came silently and sat in the audience like a visitor. When I started the satsang I saw him and I was shocked and I called him and made him sit in my throne and sat in another small chair.

Then I said, “Swamiji why did you do this? Even if you would have told I would have arranged a proper welcome”

Pic29He said it is a ten year habit. I make you talk on the stage and I sit down and watch! I came just to see how you are repeating whatever I taught to you  So he was my mentor. And all the public functions wherever the Tamil program has to happen I only will be sent. And I used to receive huge gifts. Oh. one more rule in Ramakrishna mission anything you receive from devotees is yours. It is your personal property. It does not belong to sangha. Sometimes devotees give money or gifts or jewelry, even property. When devotees come and handover in ashram office and take receipt it belong s to sangha. Anything given to you personally is yours. So I am the richest Brahmachari because I go around attending all the Tamil programs. But I tell you this Swami taught me how to practice. He is a great Shiva bhakti and really lives like a Shiva gana. Sometimes he will go to some function people will give momentos, gold, silver, watches, pen. He will give everything next day morning in a bag put it on a table.  Morning people will come and l will come and do namaskar, even public. He will put everything on table and not even look at them and say “take whatever you want” The fellows who are street walkers will go with 2 lakh worth of things. One day I asked him “why don’t you give with your own hand.?”

He will say “no”. He will not even give with his hand. End of day he will be back to his small pillow, one mat not even mattress, his old water jug. That’s all. I can be 100% sure even now he lives like that only. One water jug, one pillow and the mat. Hats off to the renunciation and the grace he taught me. 

Nithyananda Yogam: The Beginning

Guru Gita Verse 34
Ajnana timirandasya jnanaanjana chalakaya 
chakshuroon militam yena tasmai sri guruve namah 

yogam day one3On Shiva’s thigh, Devi sat, where his muscle memory and bio-memory meet. Shiva mixed the cow ghee with dark grey ash that reverberated with the bio-memory of his own third eye. He drew circles in the silver plate that held the ingredients he gathered until it was a thick black paste. This was the jnanaanjana- the eyeliner that liberates. Shiva made this for Devi to awaken her third eye, to bring her from ignorance to light. 

“Keep this on all three of your eyes” Shiva told her, kindly while handing her the plate. She took it carefully and with her ring finger applied it between her eyebrows. She then traced the waterline of her eyes gently so that the paste would frame her eyes. Finally, with the paste left on her finger, she wiped it on the back of her head where her third eye organ expanded. 

Devi looked up at Shiva at that moment with a new face. The white of her eyes suddenly shone brighter. Taken by adoration for this change in her face, Shiva told her, “wear this every day from now on” 

For ages, this secret inside the guru gita was hidden from even the greatest scholars. The jnanaanjana was an
initiation given from guru to disciple, Shiva to Devi, to achieve enlightenment. Shiva himself clearly dictates how to make this later on in the agama. The hint was the word “chakshuroon”, the plural form of the word. In Sanskrit there are three conjugations, the singular, dual and plural. If Shiva had meant only two eyes, he would have used the dual form of the word. But here, he uses the plural form which indicates that he means all three eyes. From this auspicious beginning, eyeliner grew wings and evolved into the cosmetic that it is today. Unfortunately, the liberating aspects of eyeliner were lost and only the bones of this body are left.

Two days ago, Swamiji blew life into the corpse of this ritual. The night of Guru Poornima, under the gaze of the full moon in Ananda Puri courtyard, Swamiji brought this tradition back. We watched him bleyogam day one2ss another silver plate once again as he did ages ago. He passed it around to each of us to wear on our eyes. Swamiji told us about the incredible power of this paste.

He told us that Kupammal used to give this to him for an exam.

“You don’t need to take any exam. Just take this and put it on the four corners of your paper. It will look like a complete paper to your teacher” she would say and then send him. Swamiji would go and return in a matter of half hour for a two hour exam.

Jnanaanjana is painted on beatle leaves, stone slabs and even mirrors to make them incredible spiritual machines. If you put it on a stone slab, you can see galaxies and planets that are beyond the capacity of our modern telescopes. As Swamiji described this to us, we began to see the highly advanced society that we used to have on Earth. And slowly, we began to hope that with Swamiji, we can raise our civilization to that state once again.

An Interview by Rajiv Malhotra

Thunderous drums signaled the curtain opening. The grand maroon drapes opened to reveal an unfamiliar stage setting. Swamiji sat on his simhasan, or throne, at a slight angle, and on his right, an older man was seated on a white couch. Jnanathma Swami introduced him as Hindu intellectual kshatriya, a warrior. His name is Rajiv Malhotra. Based in New Jersey, United States, he is a proud defender of Hinduism through his written and spoken word. Rajiv Malhotra visited us today in Varanasi during satsang to conduct a live interview with Swamiji.

After sincerely expressing how happy he was to be here, Rajivji began the interview by asking about the Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela is the largest and longest standing celebration of Hinduism. Recently, Swamiji set up a campus and gathered over 5,000 people for Simhasth Kumbh Mela that took place in Ujjain. His grandiose presence made him the face of the festival all over India.

Rajivji first requested Swamiji to explain its history. In response, he explained that the festival predates history. There is no known beginning of the Kumbh Mela because the scriptures always speak about it as a tradition. Swamiji confirmed that Kumbh Mela was never disconnected even during the Moghul or British invasion, thanks to our sadhus who protected it.

Knowing this made my own experience at Kumbh Mela even more sacred than it was before. I attended the oldest festival on the planet. Even through brutal attacks against us, this tradition withstood. At that moment, an indescribable pride settled in me. The DNA that formed the building blocks of those who protected this religion with their life was running through my own veins.rajiv and swamiji2

The interview continued. Rajivji brought up the attacks against Kumbh Mela and the efforts to dismantle it under the guise of human rights and social work. In response to this, Swamiji called out the unawareness that pervades gurus about the kurukshetra, or world war,  against Hinduism that is going on currently. As he sat on his throne, hands stretched out on the sculpted golden lions on either side of his seat, Swamiji wore his leadership like armor in this war. After living in the west for most of my life with my parents, I understood the drastic extremes that the world has come to. Where I went to school, every student knew at least one person who committed suicide. Nearly everyone lived under a guise of happiness that covered festering wound inside of them. On top of that, Hinduism- the only way we can save this world- was under attack. Swamiji explained that documentaries and books were being produced to defame naga sadhus, the epitome of Kumbh Mela. These sadhus have the audacity to give every social law for the sake of their spiritual seeking but now they are given a bad name for it. Instead of admiring their courage, we belittle what they are doing.

A call to action was made. To protect the secularization of the Kumbh Mela and maintain the sanctity of  it, there should be laws made to ban non-vegetarian food, alcohol and unnecessary commercializing. We cannot tolerate anyone diminishing our tradition. Swamiji insisted, once again, that the teachings gurus share with the world must be acid washed by the sashtras. If they don’t, it will cause severe, unanticipated side effects in the practice that they share with the world. The sashtras cannot be pushed aside as “cultural frills”. Swamiji gave the example of yoga where the parts of yoga are organized into “angas”. The eight parts of yoga are called “ashtaanga yoga”. This is commonly misinterpreted as steps of yoga instead of parts of yoga. One part cannot be without the other. “Sadashiva” Swamiji said, ” is brilliant enough to make a system which keeps itself pure forever-which has self-purification method. Even Ganga is able to purify herself”

From there, the conversation moved to siddhis and the powers that Swamiji’s devotees are able to express. Rajivji explained that to him, siddhis are a science that people have not discovered or acknowledged yet. Swamiji expanded on this idea. He illuminated on another yogic science, the Yoga Padha by Sadashiva, where powers manifest out of a space of oneness. This differs from Patanjali’s aashtanga yoga structure where on the way to enlightenment, siddhis manifest. The powers described by Sadashiva are “shaktis” organized in sashtaanga, or six part, yoga. Swamiji declared that what he is initiating his disciples into are shaktis not siddhis. Shaktis are a sign that the seeker is in rooted in oneness.

For this revelation, the audience applauded loudly and drums rumbled once again. This explanation broke through our understanding of the powers that were expressing among us. I recalled my own practice of third eye reading. I realized that the way I approached powers was wrong. I have always been thinking that on my way to enlightenment, I can manifest powers but, as Swamiji said, for me to manifest powers I have to be in the state of oneness already.

Swamiji confirmed this by telling us, “You do not need to have the worries generated by Patanjalas, the followers of Patanjali. You are Adi Shaivas [followers of Shiva]”.

The crowd roared once more. A reminder of our identity, of our loyalty to Mahadeva, is all it takes for us cheer loudly.  In conclusion, Swamiji promised that he is responsible for the enlightenment of his disciples. He would never do anything to jeopardize that. With that, the intoxication of being Shiva, shiva bodha, awakened within all of us once again. Like a beautiful perfume, we inhaled it through our noses and it seeped into our the cells of our body, exciting each one. This was the feeling we were left with as the interview between these two powerful figures of the world


Watch the video of the interview here!

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

kasivispic1 More than two people and one cow cannot walk side by side on the streets of Varanasi. The walls of buildings rise up on either side of you, small shops line the way and traffic is pumped through the narrow alleys like blood through your arteries. Within these streets, you can breathe in the truths of the universe. They integrate into your cells like oxygen does to keep you alive. That is why this city responds to the arrival of Mahadeva, the one true source of these secrets.

Three weeks ago, upon his arrival, Swamiji declared that the Ganga’s water levels would rise. That day marked the beginning of my work with Swamiji’s autobiography. Now, we have confirmed that Ganga is rising 16 centimeters every day. The mud beneath us has constantly been damp because of the heavy rain that has been showering. We live the reality that Swamiji’s words created. Today, we all went to have darshan of the Kashi Viswanath temple where miracles continued to happen.

As he entered the crowded walkways, you can hear the people say, “It’s Nithyananda Swami” in raised whispers as if they are trying to confirm that the guru they have all heard of is here. The whole street knew who was coming behind them in a matter of seconds.

He wore the color of Earth. Rudraksh shelled in a gold coat wrapped around his wrists and biceps. A thick rudraksh necklace decorates his torso complemented by another gold mala. Jattas were wrapped in a braided knot out top of his head while others descended down his back. If people did not know before, now they know that Shiva himself walks the Earth as Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the most famous Shiva temples universally. It has survived attack after attack from Muslim and British invasions. Today, it is Hinduism’s most visited temple. Swamiji sat in front of the Linga that was installed there once again. No matter how many times he has been here, the joy on his face never ceases, never fades. We, devotees of Swamiji, stood around him and watched as he touched the linga with his right hand as if we were watching two intimate souls unite. I took a moment to look around, around the mandir and outside at the tall structures. I wondered, briefly yet lovingly, about the times that Swamiji has been here before. How many times has he walked the same narrow corridors and touched the same sculpted pillars in this body and others? What was it like for him to come here during his wandering years?

The beginning of the abhishekam snapped me back to the present. Swamiji poured vessel after vessel of milk onto the linga as he was handed them from the pujaris of the temple. Then, he offered yogurt, ghee and honey. Each of them slid down the smooth linga stone, as if they celebrated behind used to bathe Shiva. All this time, participants of the Inner Awakening program had darshan of Swamiji as he conducted the abhishekam. Pujaris chanted mantras of Shiva, brightening the vibrations that hummed in our ears. They bent down touched the linga and paid their deepest respects to both the achala murthy, stone deity, and the sachala murthy, living deity. Swamiji offered overflowing handfuls of vibhuti that piled on top of the linga. At last, the deity was cleaned with kalashas (pots) of water. Swamiji dressed the linga traditionally and offered chandan and kumkum. Then, he layered the deity with garland after garland of blue and red flowers and then bilva leaf garlands. The whole ritual celebrated abundance and the overflowing bliss that follows it. The linga itself is called Nithyananda, eternal bliss, by the pujaris when they chant mantras for Shiva.

After Swamiji offered food for the deity, the pujaris revealed the linga once more by removing the layers of dressing around it. Once more, he poured milk over the linga until the top was covered completely. In conclusion, Swamiji lifted himself and reached for the linga. He smiled gently, completely and utterly full of grace.

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The Mahant of Annapurani Temple welcoming Swamiji

The smile remained on his face as he bowed down one last time and left the mandir for the Annapurneshwari Temple. He sat down in front her too and clasped his hands together in front of his chest. As we stood around him, it was impossible to be unaffected by the pure devotion he felt for the deities. It permeated in all of us,until we all mirrored Swamiji- with our eyes closed and hands clasped in front of our chests.

On the way to the Sri Yantreshwara Linga, The Mahant of the Annapurani temple welcomed Swamiji by wrapping an orange cloth around his shoulders. Swamiji spoke with himwith humble friendliness and invited him to satsang. His smiled widened and charm bloomed~ he could win anyone’s heart.

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Finally, Swamiji sat in front of the Sri Yantreshwara Linga this time. All of us could not fit in the small mandir so we waited outside as Swamiji had a private moment with the linga, the mula vigraha for all our atma lingas. We all remembered how this morning during satsang Swamiji declared that we live by three things: guru, linga and sangha. Here, we celebrated all three.

kasivispic6The temple darshan was coming to a conclusion. We followed Swamiji closely as he led us out. Near the exit, a light colored bull stood on all four of its legs. It waited diligently as Swamiji approached. Its tail did not move side to side like other bulls. Its skin was not stained by the dust of the street. The bull was not at all earthly. It was as if it arrived here from the celestial realm of Shiva loka itself. Swamiji reached out as he walked past this divine taurus and placed his hand firmly behind the bull’s horns, on the crown of its head. The minute he did that, the bull’s identity was confirmed. I touched him lightly as I walked past and held it to the top of my forehead in deep devotion.

 

Later on that night, Swamiji confirmed that Nandi came for Mahadeva’s darshan. I recalled touching him and relished the blessing that we were all given. Walking through the ancient city of Varanasi pushes you to realize the grandiosity of Hinduism. You cannot accept any notion that Hinduism is a dying religion. Even in the most estranged corner of this city, our faith lives and breathes. The whole evening felt as if it was a dream but not in the sense that it was lower than reality but in the sense that it transcended reality. Two universes, the ethereal and the reality, converged and rejoiced together and I was witness to it.