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30 August, 2011


       “Excuse me,” said an ocean fish,
       “You are older than I so can
       You tell me where to find this
       thing they call the Ocean?”
       “The ocean” said the older fish, “is the thing
       you are in now.”

       “Oh, this? But this is water. What I’m seeking
       is the Ocean,” said the disappointed fish
       as he swam away to search elsewhere.

He came to the Master in sanyyasi (saint) robes. And he spoke sannyasi language: “For years I have been seeking God. I have sought Him everywhere that He is said to be: on the mountain peaks, the vastness of the desert, the silence of the cloister and the dwellings of the poor.

“Have you found him? the Master asked.

“No. I have not. Have you?”

What could the Master say? The evening sun was sending shafts of golden light into the room. Hundreds of sparrows were twittering on a banyan tree. In the distance one could hear the sound of highway traffic. A mosquito droned a warning that it was going to strike…. And yet this man could sit there and say he had not found Him.

After a while he left, disappointed, to search elsewhere.

                                                                      * * * * * * * * *

Stop searching, little fish. There isn’t anything to look for. All you have to do is look.
                                                                   * * * * * *  *  * *

Source: Excerpts from the Book on “The Song of the Bird” written by Anthony de Mello S.J.

27 August, 2011


Water can be used as a symbol for the mind, which can flow uncontrolled and destructive, or be directed and beneficial. The kamandalu, which is a container, implies the control of water and thus the control of the mind. Therefore, it is advised to watch the mind, looking at the thoughts and images that appear, then reflecting on both the results of the exercises and the day’s events. Reasoning must be used to follow one thought to completion and to take action on whatever one has become aware of. There is no room for indulgence in emotions. This requires maturity.

What is the meaning of Water? What part does it play in my life?
     Water cleans and washes.
     Water quenches thirst and fire.
     Water is used for cooking—for diluting.
     Water has various tastes according to its source and flow.
     Water can give pleasure and joy, and excitement (boating).
     Water is refreshing on a hot day, offers a cool swim.
     Water is important to life—to growth and survival.
     Water carries—debris, boats and ships.
     Water can take many shapes and forms, filling spaces.
     Water is soft and gentle in small quantities.
     Water’s large waves can destroy valleys and towns.
     Water unchecked is dangerous.
     Water’s flow can be directed.
     Water is unpredictable.
     Water responds to the slightest breath.
     Water wears down the hardest stone by steady drops.
     Water can emerge from below.
     Water can come from above as rain, hail or snow.
     Water reflects the sky.
     Water receives, unresisting, my projections.

What other reflections on water would you have? What thought associations come to your mind, now that you have watched your mind and seen its play, its creativity.
     Is your mind like the water?
     Does a slight stimulation create ripples of endless thoughts?
     Are the waters of your mind murky?
     Is a lot of debris floating around?
     Can you direct your mind, or is it like unchecked waters, just gushing forth?

The steady dropping of water wears down the hardest rock.
     Can you apply this to yourself in regard to spiritual practice?
     Would you want to?

Still water reflects the sky.
     Can you keep your mind still to reflect Divine thoughts?

The mind is useful in many respects, but not in all. Sometimes it assumes a rulership without proper authority. Who gives this authority? As water can emerge from below, so many suppressed thoughts emerge from below within yourself. Let all that debris come to the surface so that you know what is there. Remove what you don’t want. Keep and deal with what you want.

     Can you stay above WATER?

By now it must have become obvious to the aspirant that there will be no “definite” directions, only pointers to stimulate thinking into new avenues. All depends on YOU. Remember to keep a daily diary. It will become your treasure chest.

Source: Excerpts from the Book “Kundalini Yoga” written by Swami Sivananda Radha.

13 August, 2011

Bhramari Pranayama or Humming bee Breath


The word "Bhramari" comes from the sanskrit name bhramar which is Humming black bee. The practice of bhramari breathing calms the mind, reduces the stress or fight - flight response. It reduces cerebral tensions, anger, anxiety, insomnia, The blood pressure is also lowered. This pranayama is very effective in speeding up the healing of body tissues and may be practiced after surgeries.

The purpose of the Bhramari breathing is to reduce throat ailments. This may have positive effect on the endocrine glands specially thyroids and nervous system. In ancient text of Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Swatmaram says that person becomes Lord of Yogis and mind gets absorbed in the supreme bliss. It has a calming effect on entire nervous system, especially it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces muscular relaxation and is very effective in stress management. So this pranayama is very effective for relaxation of body and mind.

In this pranayama one needs to create a sound while exhaling and inhaling in the throat. The sound is similar to chanting of Om, especially the long mmm.. in Omkar. The sound should be deep, steady and smooth


Stage 1: Preparation

Sit in a comfortable meditation asana. The spinal cord should be erect, the head straight and the hands resting on the knees in chin or jnana mudra.

The ideal posture for this practice is padmasana or siddha / siddha yoni asana.

The position of nadanusandhana asana, which is used in nada yoga, may also be utilized as follows.

Stage 2: Body Posture

Sit on a rolled blanket with the heels drawn up to the buttocks. Place the feet flat on the floor with knees raised and the elbows resting on the knees.

Close the eyes and relax the whole body for a short time. The lips should remain gently closed with the teeth slightly separated throughout the practice. This allows the sound vibration to be heard and felt more distinctly in the brain. Make sure the jaws are relaxed.

Raise the arms sideways and bend the elbows, bringing the hands to the ears. Use the index or middle finger to plug the ears. The flaps of the ears may be pressed without inserting the fingers.

If the position of nadanusandhana has been assumed, plug the ears with the thumbs, resting the other four fingers on the head.

Bring the awareness to the centre of the head, where ajna chakra is located, and keep the body absolutely still.

Stage 3: Breathe Awareness

Breathe in through the nose. Exhale slowly and in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound like that of the black bee.

The humming sound should be smooth, even and continuous for the duration of the exhalation.

The sound should be soft and mellow, making the front of the skull reverberate.

This is one round.

At the end of exhalation, breathe in deeply and repeat the process.

Perform 5 rounds.


Physical – on the humming sound within the head and on making the breath steady and even.
Spiritual – on ajna chakra.


5 to 10 rounds is sufficient in the beginning, then slowly increase to 10 to 15 minutes. In cases of extreme mental tension or anxiety, or when used to assist the healing process, practice for up to 30 minutes.


The best time to practice is late at night or in the early morning as there are fewer external noises to interfere with internal perception. Practising at this time awakens psychic sensitivity. However, bhramari may be practiced at any time to relieve mental tension, providing the surroundings are peaceful.


Bhramari should not be performed while lying down. People suffering from severe ear infections should not practice this pranayama until the infection has cleared up. Those with heart disease must practice without breath retention.


Bhramari relieves stress and cerebral tension, alleviating anger, anxiety and insomnia, and reducing blood pressure. It speeds up the healing of body tissue and may be practiced after operations. It strengthens and improves the voice and eliminates throat ailments.


Once the basic form of bhramari has been mastered, jalandhara and moola bandhas may be incorporated into the practice in conjunction with internal breath retention. Do not strain when performing kumbhaka, one or two seconds is sufficient at first. The duration may be increased gradually as the technique is mastered. When the head has returned to the upright position and the ears are plugged, slowly exhale producing the humming sound. As an alternative practice, only more strongly. In this way, a humming sound can be produced on inhalation as well as exhalation.


Bhramari pranayama induces a meditative state by harmonizing the mind and directing the awareness inwards. The vibrations of the sounds create a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system. It is also an important aspect of nada yoga which uses subtle sound vibrations to attune the practitioners with their true nature.

Note: The word bhramari means ‘bee’ and the practice is so called because a sound is produced which imitates that of the black bee.

Source: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

07 August, 2011


All our unhappiness comes from our our inability to be alone. The truth is, even if you can feel one with everybody, you are not a part of anybody. Truly happy is that person who is alone and yet feels complete by himself.

If you have to tread the unknown, you have to go alone. If you want to be a pathfinder, you have to walk alone. If you choose to be a trailblazer, you have to move alone. To be a rebel, a revolutionary, you have to stand alone. If you desire to be a Numero Uno, you have to run alone. If you want to reach where no one has reached, if you want to do what no one else has done, then you have to learn to walk alone in a crowd.

A million incomplete people can come together and they will still be incomplete. And those million incomplete people, in the presence of one complete person, will all feel complete. A million unlit candles and still darkness prevails. All that is needed is that one candle with light. Not only darkness will be dispelled, but also all the million candles will come to light.

It is not that half and half can come together to feel full. They will only make two halves. That’s why when two incomplete people get married believing that they can be each other’s better half, they continue to struggle with perpetual incompleteness in that marriage. That’s why when two incomplete people come together in business in partnership (part ownership) they soon part from ownership. As long as you need the other to complete you, there will be struggle. Only when you become one who can complete the other, there will be flow in your life.

Simply put, you have to rise from being dependent to becoming dependable.

Life is like an eternal train journey

In one of the stations, you get in. That’s your birth. You join the journey and start connecting with others in the compartment. They become your relatives. In some of the future stations a few will depart from the compartment, as well as the journey. You may mourn their exist. In certain other stations a few will join the compartment. You will celebrate their arrival. Some will go away from your compartment to other compartments, and some from the other compartments will come over to your compartment. Relationships will be lost and relationship will be gained. Addition and subtraction are inherent in this journey. And your time will come to leave the compartment, and thus the journey. That will be your death. But the train journey will continue. It was there before you joined the train. The journey is eternal and you being a part of it is ephemeral. You came alone. And, you will leave alone. And in between, you will want them all to be a part of you, and that will be your struggle.

A struggle because, no matter how many you surround yourself with, there is a part in you, which will always be alone. In that aloneness is your completeness. But you don’t want to accept that aloneness. You resist that aloneness. You try to avoid that aloneness. You want to run away from that aloneness and that’s your struggle. By detesting that aloneness you move away from that completeness and feel incomplete.

In the womb you were alone. No matter how loving your mother is, no matter how competent the gynecologist was, no matter how many participated in the process of your birth, still you fought the passage of your birth alone. Many may run to feed you, but in your hunger you are alone.

Everybody would have prompted you from outside and yet you were alone in attempting to articulate the first meaningful sound. Even though everybody around you kept saying, “We are there for you,” in your fears you were alone. When you had dared to face the situation, it didn’t matter who was there and who wasn’t, you were alone in your courage. Even if everybody surrounds you, right now, in reading and comprehending this ‘Awakening’ you are lone. Many would be a source of your joy, but your smile has to emanate from your aloneness. Many will come forward to wipe your tears, but your tears originate from your aloneness. In the womb, in the tomb, and in between you are alone. You resist it, you deny it, you try to avoid it, and you struggle with it; but nothing changes the truth. A part of you is, was and will always be alone.

Life should be a flow. It shouldn’t be a struggle. It needn’t be a struggle. But then, why so many struggle? There must be a way out. There is always a way out. What’s the way?

First step is acceptance.

The truths you resist are the battles you fight. In accepting the truth there is nothing to fight. Accept the truth. Accept the design. Accept the reality. Accept your aloneness. Whether you like it or not, the fact remains the skies are blue, the ocean is deep, there isdeath, there is no rewind to life, that’s your mother, and this is your body in this life time.

These are empirical realities and you cannot wish them to be otherwise. Deep within you are alone. That’s it. Accept it. To start with, it will not be an experiential acceptance, but to begin with, let it be intellectual acceptance.

Second Step is to practice conscious aloneness.

Dalai Lama suggests, “Spend sometime alone every day.” Blaise Pascal declared, “all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” And, Franz Kafka prophesied, “It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. Trusts these wise men.

Practice conscious aloneness every day. For some time on a daily basis, withdraw yourself from all external stimulations. Learn to be with yourself, just yourself. Listen to music. Practice gardening. Walk through nature. Gaze at the stars. Sit before the waves. Sit in a park and just observe the dynamics around. Essentially, practice activities, where reciprocation from the other end is not possible, which means you cannot do these activities expecting anything in return.

Third step is to go into relationships looking at what you can give, and not what you can receive.

Start with one relationship. Be an active giver in this one relationship. Do not develop any emotional dependency on this one relationship. Be aware. Never expect any reciprocation from this one relationship. In this one relationship alone, always strive to complete the other and never expect the other to complete you. Whatever be your emotional needs, satiate those needs from the other relationships. This relationship is your aloneness-laboratory. In you serving it, it is serving you a purpose. Eventually you will achieve a transcendental flow in this one relationship. Even instinctively, you will no more seek anything from this one relationship and yet you will find immense fulfiment in being a giver in this relationship. Now take up one more relationship, then another, after that one more. Our relationship at a time, build a small world around you that feels complete with your presence. Be dependable. And, yet, never need that world for you to feel complete. Do not become dependent.

Physically you are the crowd. That’s why you are always lost in the crowd, always feeling incomplete. Rise above that. Psychologically you are a part of the crowd. That’s why you always seek the crowd, craving to feel complete with other’s help. Rise above that. Spiritually you are apart from the crowd. You walk with the crowd, and yet you are above the crowd. Everybody needs the sun. The sun needs none.

And, when you completely get in touch with your aloneness and you are absolutely peaceful in that state of aloneness, for the first time you experientially realize the existential truth: You are never alone. You feel the presence. You have nothing else to atain, for, It has attained you.

Source: Excerpts from the article published in the magazine “FT”.