A Camera teaches about Higher Awareness

A camera shutter allows a camera to capture a fresh view each time it opens for a moment. A registered image is not clear if the ambient lighting is poor. A camera flash assures sharp and clear images even in such conditions.

All human beings experience moments of expanded consciousness for brief periods from time to time. These brief moments are like the camera shutter being open. This can happen during a long run to some, while painting a beautiful picture to some and during a pleasant social interation to some. Higher awareness comes as a ligtening according to ancient texts on consciousness. Human nervous system must be trained to retain the memory of these brief experiences. The memory of such events otherwise becomes useless like a picture captured by a camera in poor lighting conditions.

Ancient Seers named the nervous energy which brings flashes of higher awareness as "Bhairavi". Expanded state of consciousness is "Bhairav" consciousness. The Sanskrit text Vigyan Bharaiv records 112 differennt methods by which a human brain is made to experience Bhairav consciousness by bringing esoteric knowledge or Vigyan to the brain.

Group settings and the presence of a Meditation Master act like a camera flash. The brain is able to retain the memory of expanded awareness in a special way in the presence of a Guru whose consciousness is already expanded. Understanding these techniques from a book is like taking a picture in poor lighting conditions. Vigyan Bhairav and other texts present methods in a  cryptic manner to prevent these methods from becoming like a poorly shot picture. An expert like Sri Sri Ravishankar decodes these texts in the "Unveiling Infinity - Meditation Immersion sessions".

One Mantra 3 Purposes

Vyasa collected a subset of Mantras which were in vogue at the end of the last Yuga or Era. He created four compilations. Several mantras are common between the Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda compilations. Almost all Sama Veda mantras is in the Rig Veda compilation. Not all mantras of Rig Veda are in the Yajur Veda compilation. Yajur Veda contains manrtas which are not in the Rig Veda compilation. The reason behind this as follows

The first act in the Yagya is to invite appropriate Devas to the Yagya which is being conducted. Rig mantras are chanted to invoke the energies of Devas in the Yagya fire alter. Offerings to Devas is the second major aspect of a Yagya. Yajur Veda priests sanctify the offerings using mantras and place them into the Yagya fire also while chanting the mantras of appropriate Devas. Sama Veda priests seek blessings from the Devas towards the end of these offering by chanting Sama Veda mantras. Saman chants touch the heart of Devas. They in turn grant the fruits of the Yagya to the performer.

A mantra unsually addressed one Devas and sometimes a group of Devas. All three classes of priests may use a common mantra to address the same Deva. The intotations distinguish the purpose for which the Mantra is being chanted. Musical notes characterise Sama Veda chants. Sama Veda is the precursor to classical Indian music. There is a distinct style of chanting for the Rig Veda and the Yajur Veda. A casual listener can also begin to distinguish this when the same Mantra is chanted one following the other in the Rig and the Yajur chanting styles. The following is a beautiful rendering of a few popular mantras in the Rig and Yajur style of chanting.

Mouseover, Sapling, Consciousness

A computer user discovers a new piece of information through a "Mouseover" action. The associated action area is setup in such a way as to grab the attention of a user when a mouse hovers within it. A gardner, on the contrary, helps a sapling grow by voluntarily keeping his attention within a piece of land. A sapling grows on its own. The gardner removes weeds from the vicinity and waters and fertilizes the ground below.

Ancient experts studied the movement of human consciousness. A target is involved when consciousness is focussed. A Sanskrit word for Focus is Dhaanam (धानम्). Consciousness hovers in a general area instead of being focused in the case of Avadhaanam (अव + धानम्).

Experts developed ways to tap into different skills of the human brain such as focus and hovered mode of attention. They trained students to catch questions posed simultaneously by number of people in the audience. Trainees could remember the sequence in which the questions (upto 100) were presented and could also provide appropriate answers. One skilled in this art is called an Avadhani. Kings periodically organized competition among Avadhaanis in the past.

The consciousness of a gardner is a special case of Avadhaanam. A gardner's goal is the growth of a sapling. A gardner's focus and actions in the vicinity supports that goal. This mode of consciousness is बीजावधानम् (बीज + अव + धानम्). The word बीज refers to a seed or a sapling. Developing higher states of consciousness begins with this kind of attention. Sri Sri Ravishankar explains this in his commentaries on the Shiva Sutras.

A May 13 Ardra Trailblazer

Today is the birthday of the spiritual master Sri Sri Ravishankar who was born on May 13, 1956. He was born under the Asterism or the Nakshtra Ardra per Panchang, the Hindu Calendar, From that angle he shares the characteristics of renowned social reformers of the Vedic tradition, namely, Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya. Both Ramanujacharya and Shankaracharya were

Nakshatra Ardra is ruled by Rudra Devata. Rudra acts like a somic boom. Rudra shakes up status-quo by creating a type of turbulance which always rings in a benevolent change. SriSri is a mover and a shaker. He is a jetset traveler. The list of ways by which humanity has benefited from his travels is long. As a peace maker he is dear to folk from all religeous backgrounds. As a spiritual teacher he infuses a spirit of service in the minds of youngsters.

The sages of Yore gifted humanity with pearls of wisdom which they had cognized in deep meditations. The land of the Rishis faced several challenges in the past centuries preserving the Vedas. Younger generation of Indias are eager to learn Vedic mantras once again after knowing the scientific basis for the knowledge in the Vedas per SriSri's talks and lectures, SriSri has played a big role in establishing Ayurveda, the science of Health, as complement to modern medicine. He has started educational institutions to bring out the best blend of the East and the West. Sri Sri Ravishankar is a jetset Rishi, the Happiness Guru to millions around the world.

Santa Clara Valley and Kavery River Aquifers

Santa Clara Valley water resources have something common with rivers in south India.
The Santa Clara Valley basin allows very little rain water to percolate into the huge underground aquifer. There is hard clay right beneath the basin surface. Water engineers have therefore built most of the recharge ponds and dams around the edge of the valley which has sandy gravel.
The surface in catchment areas of rivers like Kaveri in India turned hard after the trees there were cut. Rain water has not reached the aquifers for the past 2-3 decades. This causes rivers to dry up quicker after the moonsoon rains.
Smart geologists have now designed recharge wells with the help of satellite images in river catchment areas. Hardworking volunteers have built thousands of recharge ponds with the help of villagers in the catchment areas of 33 rivers in south India over the past few months. This is smart work!
Support River Rejuvination work! Sponsor a recharge pond and bring back the water into the aquifers. Join the fund raiser for River Rejuvination work on May 19th at ICC, Milpitas, CA. The fund raiser event is being organized by OVBI.

Pathological Altruism VS Sadhana-Seva Combo

"This can't be real" was my first reaction when I heard the phrase "Pathological Altruism". Altruism is all about compassion and other goody stuff. I discovered a book which was published in 2012 with this title when I started looking into this topic. This book contains over 30 research papers. I soon concluded that there is some truth behind the phrase "Pathological Altruism".
Aspects of the wisdom traditions of the East seem to acknowledge the existence of pathological altruism. Eastern traditions often emphasize the importance of recharging one's Prana or life force energy before engaging in social service. Pranayama and meditation are age old tools to recharge oneself. Service must be an expression of the feeling of fullness within. The wall of pathological altruism remains afar when service and meditation go together.
Many in society shy away from engaging in service when meditation practices go out of fashion. This has been the case in history, for example before Buddha was born. Buddha revived meditation practices in India. His followers were totally charged up to serve society. The connection between service and meditation is not well known today. Those who force themselves into social work are likley to experience burn out if they don't look into the necessity of recharging their Prana through practices such as Sudarshan Kriya

Monsoon without Gangadhara

Can you identify the Missing Entity?
King Bhagirath did penance for thousands of years to get the celestial Ganga to agree to come down to the earth. He had to do penance again to please Shiva. Shiva alone could  bear the power of Ganga pouring down on Earth. Shiva spread out his matted hairs and received the down pour on it. He tied up his hair immeditaely and not a drop could come out. He came to be called Gangadhara for channeling the mighty flow of river Ganga.

Today, we see the plight of Earth as Ganga pours down without Shiva being there to receive it. The scenario plays out every monsoon season in India. More than 500,000 trees have been felled in the catchment of area of river Kaveri alone. These trees used to keep the soil below their canopy soft. That allowed the rain water to percolate efficiently into the ground. Water stayed in rivers for many months when the roots of trees in the catechment areas used to act like the matted hair of Shiva. Soft soil have turned hard when the trees disappeared. Rivers now seasonally flood the plains and then run dry soon after the monsoon. Several tributaries of Kaveri have been dry for the past 2-3 decades.

Trees are being re-planted, surely. But they are being felled equally fast. Taking Ganga to the subterrain world is a monumental task of Bhagirath proportion. Some smart geologists have introduced technology into the Bhagirath story. They identfy areas which had soft soil previously using satellite images of the catchment areas. Volunteers and villagers have built percolation bits and wells at these identified spots. This allows the rain waters to seep underground. The Herculean or rather the "Bhagirathan" task now is to inspire villagers to help build and to take care of these structures.

I am impressed with the vision behind and the on-going word on reviving 33 rivers, includiing the Kaveri and its tributaries. https://www.water.artofliving.org/river-projects/