H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Segments of Life: Looking at Death Under Another Prospective

By Matsya Avatara Dasa


Nowadays the great innovations of medical and scientific science can maintain patients alive, even those that in the past were given no hope to survive. These innovations can prolong the patient’s existence artificially even knowing that they will never regain acceptable health and life conditions. This situation is commonly called over-medication. The definition of cerebral death, since the end of the sixties has allowed for the development of transplant surgery. Before that time, the extraction of organs from a patient with a heartbeat was deemed a felony. Among this scientific and social debate there are ever more crucial questions. Up to which point is it right to keep alive a body that is worn out and unable to grant a minimum of dignity to the psycho-physical entity called person? What is the line that marks the decisive boundary between the unavoidable medical assistance and the over-medication?
The recent story of Eluana Englaro and other similar stories such as those of Piergiorgio Welby and Terry Schiavo, made the whole world think by highlighting the urgency of a serious thinking.
The incomparable value of freedom and of the sacredness and dignity of life and respect to all creatures should be a common patrimony in every social body regardless of its scientific or individual religious orientation. This should be true not only toward human beings but also toward every living being. Life must be protected in each of its manifestation. In the complex human, social and scientific context, it is becoming ever more important and urgent to offer information and teaching on the process of dying and also on the post-mortem phenomena in accordance to medical-scientific prospective but also in accordance to spiritual, humanistic and existential prospective. It should be done by sensibly operating with sincerity so that each person can build, without intrusion or cultural prejudices a clear vision of his will and give and explicit and clear indication through a biological testament and other useful instruments that society indicates and uses for this purpose. We can have better opportunities to self-determine our present and our future if we open ourselves to a deeper comprehension of the death phenomena by taking a distance from various taboos and from the many things removed by the collective imagination that usually hamper a mature elaboration. In fact, only by growing in consciousness we can grow in responsibility and freedom.
For this purpose who is writing has been personally taking care of those so called “incurable” patients and of those medical personnel involved with the taking care and assistance of these patients. He does this by offering instruments of reflection based on the sociological, psychological, philosophical and spiritual Hindu-Vedic tradition. This tradition can significantly extend our perception and conception of the individual and of the death event. We can understand how to extend our perception, through a continuous string of considerations intimately connected among each other and we can also find them in the text: Psychology of the cycle of life – Experience beyond birth and death” (edizioni Centro Studi Bhaktivedante www.c-s-b.org). Let’s not only wonder what to do with the organs of a body that has reached the end of this life. Let’s also think of the future of that person that lived in it and that in accordance with the Hindu-Vedic prospective will continue his existence even after he has left that physical body. How can we help that person still imprisoned in that suit that is now worn-out? How can we stimulate him to prepare himself to abandon it? How can we orient the evolutionary journey that will begin after his clinical death is confirmed?
The answer to these questions is important not only for those that work in the medical field but also for every individual. Welcome, assistance and accompanying are three key concepts in this area.
The meaning of welcoming is meeting the other person, opening not only our arms but also our heart and our mind. The meaning of assisting is intervening with sensitiveness by becoming emphatic and listening to the modalities and the needs of others. The meaning of accompanying is being by the side of a person, without preceding him, but staying almost behind him, being a humble and affectionate person and stimulate him to proceed. Accompanying means staying sensibly alongside and helping him to reach his destination by providing warmth, goodness, empathy, compassion and mercy.
The Hindu-Vedic tradition doesn’t use psychotherapeutic techniques, but offers teachings toward the development of a cosmic vision of life, man and the world that doesn’t concentrate on the resolution of psychological discomfort but on the elevation of a global consciousness. This allows those who apply it to re-discover the entirety of their nature on the bio-physical-spiritual level and express all of their most noble potentialities and aspirations by facing even death in an inner-peace state.
Why does death exist? Who or what dies? How can we prepare ourselves? What does dying consists of? How can we assist a terminally ill person? How can we interact with his family and with medical personnel? By asking ourselves these questions we can reach surprising intuitions, sometimes they make us feel beyond the changing flow of this shining and deceiving world (Veda define it maya which means illusory).
The first question to ask ourselves is: when the objective cure-doctor-medication is no longer reachable, what can we do to take care of the person? Can we transform a traumatic even such as death into an evolutionary experience? The answer is Yes!
The phenomena of death is usually lived as the end of everything, dissolution, disappearance, with tonalities that go from resigned to dramatic all the way to desperate. However, according to the Hindu-Vedic philosophical-spiritual tradition death doesn’t exist as an entity, but only as a concept or a moment of transaction from a segment of life to another. Through a consciousness journey, every human being can learn to “live” it by perceiving that his identity is different from the one of the body and discovering in front of him a new phase of his eternal existence to be projected constructively.
Bhagavad-Gita (II.20) says: “The living being is not born, nor will die. He is eternal. He doesn’t die when the body is destroyed. Tagore writes: we walk when we lift our foot just as much as when we put it down. Like daybreak prepares the new day that will later reaches the sunset, the sunset, through the night, will lead to a new daybreak. Life goes on incessantly and if we understand its evolutionary sense and finally its arcane transcendental meaning, we can overcome even the greatest fear, the fear of death and realize the immortality of our essence, and give a new hope to the deep aspirations of every living being toward authentic freedom and happiness, beyond the limits of space and time.
Readings
Renate Greinert, Cerebral Death and Donation of the Organs, the doubts and inquires of a mother that has donated her son’s organs. Macro Editions 2009.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

SHANTA (serene, peaceful)



By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings:

satisfied
having control over the mind impulses

This is a special, universally valid virtue. Shanti means "serenity, peace, quiet" and one who possesses such characteristics is called shanta. The effects of this virtue are very relevant on the physiological, psychic and spiritual levels. This state of mind is rather easy to attain but it is almost impossible to maintain unless in presence of the condition called yukta, that is to say unless the individual is situated in Yoga, a state of consciousness that enables him to be and remain connected to the Reality.

Several times we have mentioned a higher level of reality that we call Spiritual Reality; the connection with this level enables us to remain shanta. We have already seen, while analyzing some of these qualities, that around such qualities there is a constellation of pseudo-qualities. A person who has satisfied a material desire, for example, can appear to be shanta but he actually is not, because when the same desire returns stronger than before because it was not satisfied in the proper way, it will produce greater agitation and anxiety.

The dictionary gives different meanings for the two terms, anxiety and anguish; the different is not in quality but in quantity: a growing anxiety becomes anguish. The intensity defines if a state is anxiety or anguish. Some events are capable of generating anxiety in themselves.

Now let's try to separate the wheat from the chaff, the serenity and inner calmness that is a pearl of the character from pseudo-virtues that are the result of fatigue or satisfaction of a material desire but that disappear when the ego returns to its original strength and the need shows up again and even greater than before, causing anxiety due to the impossibility of fulfillment.

It is not easy to tell the difference between real virtues and pseudo-virtues. Unfortunately today we see an even worse phenomenon, because while the inability to see the spiritual qualities of an individual is perfectly normal, in our society people even mistake defects for virtues. For example some parents do not want to have a generous child, they want him cunning, and this end up to be a disaster for the parents themselves, who will have to suffer because of their selfish son. They do not say so explicitly but they have been the ones who wanted the son to become what he is now; they did not want him to grow and progress, but to remain a slave, and they encourage him to become tied to money, impressing the anxiety of profit on him. The "Money God" has many worshipers, because this is part of the mainstream mentality. Today those who are not trained to know a higher reality have problems in seeing the inner qualities, but even renunciation to the objects of the world is seen as abnormality, almost as a disease; one who is not attracted by sex, does not dress in a particular way, does not go on holidays in the typical way, does not run here and there madly, is considered sick. The need for God is seen as a neurosis even by a pseudo-scientific section of literature; Freud stated that religion is a form of neurosis, probably because this was his experience - anyway in the world there are many examples of neurotic religionists, just think about 11th September 2001.

Let's go back to the need of satisfying our desires. Think about the night roaming of youngsters on Saturday evenings, so many people die on the roads, looking for what? For the satisfaction of their needs; they are running in the wrong direction, but the desire is the same - to satisfy a need. Very often the problem is due to loneliness, usually with a strong implication: the fear of remaining alone with oneself.

When a person looks for company and finds it or he believes he has found it he becomes quiet, but it is a temporary situation and has nothing to do with shanti, that implies enjoying the good company of one's self. According to our level we may be in the company of ourselves or in the company of God; we are connected to a higher reality. When a person is afraid to remain with himself, he desperately looks for company and if he does not find it, or if he is not satisfied by the company he finds, he keeps going around without a solution and without a hope to obtain what he needs, because the does not know where it is, or how to find it.

Anguish is a more intense emotional charge than anxiety. Anxiety is caused by the fear of not being able to satisfy a need, but when this is satisfied only in an artificial way it returns, with the two possibilities of being fulfilled or not; if there is no fulfillment, anxiety grows into anguish. If on the other hand it is truly and genuinely fulfilled, it will not return, or better, it will return weaker and weaker. Thus through direct experience the individual understands that a need that is fulfilled in the correct way will become weaker and will not cause anxiety, because we know we can satisfy it in the correct way. Shanta is the result of satisfied needs. What is their nature? Psychology comes to our help indicating that affections are the most complete and widest field of human needs, therefore shanta is primarily the result of satisfied affection. Affection is the sum total of all the psychic processes or the entire living experience. Shanta is a healthy person with a healthy mind.

In our course on comparative Indo-Christian studies (the compared texts were specifically Bhagavad-gita and New Testament) we have seen that this virtue is present in both Traditions, and is precisely possessed by persons who have developed the same qualities in spite of belonging to cultures that are so distant from each other.

In Bhagavad-gita V.29 it is said that by recognizing the Lord as the supreme Enjoyer of all sacrifices, as the Lord of all the worlds and Friend of all creatures, one attains shanti, peace. When we are harmoniously connected to the cosmic project and its supreme planner, the effect is that nothing is worrisome or cause of agitation any more.

Child psychology describes this state of tranquility in the relationship between father and son; when the child keeps his father's hand he is not afraid of anything; even if around him he sees apparently dangerous things happening, his father's hand is sufficient to give a sense of security and peacefulness. Another example is given about the calming effect of mother's voice on the child, irrespective of what the mother is saying; similar results can be obtained by stroking or hugging.

Any trace of identification with the body or the mind modifies our state of consciousness and the structured sense of the distorted ego, or ahamkara, prevents us from accessing the complete development of shanta. In some measure, everybody can develop a certain measure of serenity, but it is always something transitory, connected to temporary situations. On the other hand, shanti has a special character: it is stable and does not depend on external circumstances.

Bhagavata Purana (X.1.2-8) confirms that when a need is satisfied in an artificial way, it will come back even stronger, like a fire that seems to be extinguishing when we throw more wood on it, but then rises stronger and higher than before. The connection with performing devotional activities and hearing stories about the divine plays represents the royal path to extinguish the fire of the desires that can never be truly fulfilled in this dimension of existence, because what we are pursuing here is almost always a form of hallucination. This is affirmed by great sages and by the Sacred Scriptures of all times and cultures.

Only through sadhana, discipline, we can decontaminate the mind from conditionings. By decontaminating our deep mind we also purify the feelings that vastly condition our lives from their deep seat. Because of the material influence, the embodied being is naturally conditioned; being conditioned is normal. What is not ordinary is to overcome conditionings, and in fact in order to do that we need a transcendent action - this is also Jung's opinion.

Although shanti or inner peace is a valuable attainment, it corresponds to the first step in the staircase towards spiritual realization; it is the beginning of the journey. We could say that it is a point of arrival and departure at the same time, a coincidence, a turning point. It is a state of mind that corresponds to the first of the rasas and favors the further and more mature development of the personality.

In all lives we find attachments that disrupt the levels of serenity. This is not a planet suitable to live serenely; it is not possible to become happy with the mundane ingredients. We can attain bliss in this life too, but not with the physical or mental objects of this world. I perfectly realize that this statement is a heavy blow for those who have greatly invested into matter; on the other hand it is better not to generate false hopes. Living and experimenting divine virtues is possible and desirable, but the necessary condition is to be connected to a Higher Reality.

A great Master said: "You are in the world but you are not of the World". If we are connected to the spiritual platform we can live states of mind that are not characteristic of Maya's energy even while we live in this world. Maya promises happiness but then does not give it. Each pleasure we catch with great effort is followed by a painful consequence. As Gita1 explains, intelligent people take their distance from some so-called pleasures because they know that soon they will transform into pain, acute sufferings and conditionings; rather they taste the pleasure that is created by the development of virtues, which is closely connected to reality.

Matter is illusory in the sense that it generates illusion, not because it is non-existing. It is a mirror that produces many distorted images, but the mirror exists. To attain the state of shanta we need to understand matter as divine energy and "live" it in connection to the Supreme, without wanting to enjoy it selfishly and delusionally.


1 Bg, V.22.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

SARVOPAKARAKA (who does good to everyone)



By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings:

working for the benefit of everyone

doing good to all living entities

putting the good of others before one's own

well-wisher to everyone


A genuine spiritual researcher works for the good of everyone because he is aware of his own spiritual nature that he shares with all the beings, of the eternal relationship that the jiva, the spiritual being, has with God, and of the ultimate purpose of human life that consists in Yoga, or the reconnection of the individual soul with the cosmic Soul.

Through this deep awareness the evolved spiritual researcher is able, with his every action, to bring about the good for all creatures and to make all situations auspicious. Shrimad Bhagavatam states: "Every living being has the duty to engage in activities that are beneficial for others, with his life, his wealth, his intelligence and his words”1.

A person who is able to be sarva-upakaraka does not see friends or enemies any more, his vision is not influenced by the ego any more and is therefore free from dualism. He sees each being, evolved or unevolved, as a radiant spiritual soul, complete with the ontological qualities of sat, cit, ananda (eternity, consciousness and bliss) and close to him he sees the Supreme Soul, the Supreme sarva-upakaraka. With this spiritual vision, the advanced devotee can work for the benefit of all, because he has understood that the good of others is not different from his own good. In Bhagavad-gita we read:

One who sees the Supreme Soul in each being, everywhere the same, does not let his mind be dragged into degradation. Thus he comes closer to the transcendental destination2.

Only by possessing this vision that goes beyond the bodies and appearances, beyond the superficial layers of the personality, it is possible to establish genuine relationships from soul to soul, and to do something concrete to help the people around us: real help consists in favoring the understanding of one's own spiritual nature, encouraging life within the respect of dharma to rediscover our eternal relationship with God and all creatures.

1 SB. X.22.35

2 Bg. XIII.29

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dante's Journey and the Bhagavad-gita



The psychological experience of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise for contemporary man




Saturday, 26 September, in Florence Palazzo Vecchio, Bhagavad-Gita from the Vedic-Vaishnava Tradition translated and spread by Shrila Prabhupada, and the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri met in such a suggestive location which inspired and charmed about six hundred people from all over Italy.


This Historical-Artistic context has hosted this event conducted by Matsyavatara Prabhu in a superb fashion. It was held in the De' Cinquecento Room and projected in the De' Dugento Room. The battle scenes of Vasari’s paintings, the Victory Genius of Michelangelo and the statues of Vincenzo De Rossi, representing Hercules fatigues seemed to evocate the crucial moments of the existential journey of Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita and Dante's in the Divine Comedy. The anguishing crisis that they both live, which seems to them worse than death, takes them through a hard battle (la Guerra si del cammino e si de la pietade) from which they both come out victorious.


At first, Matsyavatara Prabhu, drew a cultural and social-historical-political contextualization of both works. He described the peculiar traits of the ancient Hindu-Vedic tradition and the medieval civilization of Dante’s times with reference to their respective sources. The speaker offered a widespread cultural prospective through a stimulating comparison-dialogue between East and West, tracing the connections between cultures that are only apparently far from each other: the great Greek and Classic Latin works, the ancient Vedic Rishi, the alchemic medieval tradition and the Dolce Stil Novo, the Islamic literature and the mystical sufi, Christianity and the tradition of the Vaishnava Bhakti.


On two big screens there were images that showed the contents of both works. Meanwhile Ferrini explained the psychological profiles of Arjuna and Dante’s characters in their surprising convergences. Two great political individuals, a prince and a prior who, in their existential and social drama, passionately undertake the search for an evolutionary path which will take them from the dark forest to the light of high consciousness, which are the nice intellect for Dante and the buddhi-yukta from Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita.


Through Matsyavatara Prabhu's explanations, the voices of Arjuna and Dante seemed to talk to each other and express the same existential problems of which we can experience the surprising reality. These crucial questions were answered by Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita and Virgilio and Beatrice’s teachings in the Divine Comedy and offered convergent solutions and values of reference. In both cases, the crisis experience shows to be the greatest stimulus for ones evolution which passes through the recognition and the overcome of one’s limits all the way to his illumination and his meeting with God. Dante re-conquers light through his descent into hell where he recognizes his vices and human mean actions and Arjuna finds his peace by fighting in spirit of offer to God, a battle that each individual is called to face in his life.


By answering questions from the public the characteristics of the levels of conscience of inferno, purgatory and paradise emerged vividly. They correspond to bhur, bhuvah, svahah in the Hindu-Vedic psycho-cosmogony.

The protagonists of Bhagavad-Gita and of the Divine Comedy were identified and represented in their deepest meaning. By exiting the halo of a merely literal and academic interpretation, they have strongly and clearly expressed their instances. The spectators were able to see themselves in their vicissitudes, they have met them in their lives, they have found them inside themselves because they are a surprising expression of weakness and virtues and of different tendencies and levels of consciousness.


Following are some subjects discussed during the comparison between Bhagavad-gita and the Divine Comedy. The archetypical image of the teacher, the obstacles found in a journey, the individual-society relationship, the alchemic ways of purification of the hearth and mainly, love as the top of the realization experience in both initiative paths. Bhakti in Hindu-Vedic tradition and the divine love of the Divine Comedy represent in both works the common goal to reach and, at the same time, the common way that leads to that supreme goal. In this goal is the sense of life before death and beyond death.

The journey between Earth and Heaven, between death and immortality, darkness and light, man and God, and egoistical passions and immortal love is the adventurous journey undertaken by Arjuna and Dante in parallel fashion and it is the same journey that each individual had the chance to undertake to regain his harmonic position in the universe and realize himself beyond the conditioners of ego, time and space.


Bhagavad-Gita and the Divine Comedy, Matsyavatara Prabhu concluded, are operas of never ending value and their extraordinary convergences remove the contrapositions between Orient and the West. They destroy lay and religious fanaticisms and teach to integrate the human being with the Divine and realize the Divine without neglecting the human being. Bhagavad-Gita and the Divine Comedy cannot only profitably talk between each other, but also enable the dialogue between today’s people, the individual and society, the creatures, the create and the Creator, by leading, with their highest expressions, to the realization of the divine wisdom and immortal love. “L’amor che move il sole e le altre stelle. “


Bhakti is such a supreme purifying strenght and transcendes time and space and constitutes the peak of any authentic spiritual journey.

We can provide a video of this event to those that are interested.

For more informations please contact us at csbinternational@c-s-b.org.

Friday, 9 October 2009

PREDISPOSITION

From a lecture of Matsyavatara das held at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram on 25 September 2009

In every endeavor, good predisposition pays a decisive role. If there is no good predisposition, there is no success. Real success is spiritual success. All the rest has no consistence, it doesn’t last and has no value.

Since the Shastra undoubtedly explain that power, energy and strength come from purity, we deduct that the most important aspect to prepare ourselves for action is purification of the mind and of the heart. We could read and study many books but from this we would not draw strength for acting good and the capability of inspire others.

Strength comes from purity and purity couples with transparency. As it is possible to see an object through clear water, it is not possible to see it if the water is murky. The same is for a veiled mind, a mind that is dimmed, darkened by conditioners and doesn’t allow for the vision and discernment of reality. To see reality we need a state of transparency and inner purity.

The necessity of a good predisposition to act, funded on purity, must be understood well beyond its merely literal meaning because superficial or dogmatic interpretations cannot help us in times of need.

Even in communication, to be successful it is indispensible to have a good attitude for both who is talking and who is listening. When one of the interlocutor misses this sensibility and of this engagement, the dialogue inevitably is interrupted and doesn’t lead to the expected results. The intense desire of communicate of one of them is not sufficient. It is necessary for both to have the same desire.

The Lord talks to us through our heart, but if we do not have a good predisposition to listen we could not understand what He is saying to us. Shri Krishna is the highest Goodness, the Immortal Love, the Clemente, the Merciful, the Lord of Grace and Mercy toward every creature. The Lord loves us and the love that we can experience is nothing else than a reflection of His Supreme Love. It is His Love that makes us falling in love with Him, with life, with every creature and gives joy to our heart. So that we don’t disperse or contaminate our sentiments we must feel them only for what has value, without contaminate them with lasiviousness, greed, egoism and greedy. By cultivating purity we can reconstruct our whole reservoir of love and invest it all in our relationship with God and with His creatures. When this happens, visible signs will manifest in the person. This signs are: peacefulness, serenity, inner satisfaction and faith in the Divine providence.

He who is satisfied within his soul doesn’t need gold, silver or brilliants, doesn’t need recognition or honors because he has already found everything that satisfy him within himself. As Krishna explains in Bhagavad-Gita (XVIII.54), this person as no regrets, nor craving. He is deeply humble because he has realized that the illusory power of the energy of the matter is insuperable and that only by letting ourselves go to God we can overcome the borders of appearance and enter into reality (ref. Bhagavad-Gita VII.14). In its higher teaching, Yoga is that renewed vision, it is the reintegration of the Inner Self into the universal reality, the reconnection of love with God and with all of His creatures.

Inner freedom, the inalienable patrimony of each living being, must be utilized to turn to purification and pursue the supreme wellbeing. Even though many dynamics can escape our control, we always have the chance to modulate and choose our response to events and our inner attitude. If there are disturbing thoughts that hamper the correct acting, we can evoke exactly their opposite, as Patanjali rishi teaches in Sadhan a Pada (II 33): vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam. For example, proudly thinking of being the center of the attention and aspiring only to our egoistical selfishness is lethal for our conscience. If we get such though, we must move to the opposite such as: “I act not for me but for the wellbeing of all creatures. I offer my actions to God with all my love. I hope God likes my sincerity and my humble offer, despite my limitations, and that He, in His endless mercy would give it real value.”

If Shri Krishna sees our humbleness and the sincerity of our efforts, He will give us the necessary intelligence and strength to act in any circumstance in a constructive way for our and other’s evolution. The secret of success is pure spirit of offering, predisposition to humility, tolerance, faith and joy, being ready to recognize other’s value and act for common wellbeing. With this attitude we can positively face any endeavor or event, even an illness, a serious loss or a betrayal.

When we face obstacle we must be determined and tenacious. Never get disheartened but rather face difficulties with serenity and trust, like an athlete that practices with enthusiasm for the hurdle race knowing that the hurdles spur him to improve his performance and overcome his limits.

Every event must be accepted as an important chance to grow and learn in the great school of life to realize a harmonic integration between body, psyche and soul, between varna and ashram, between individual and society, between immanence and transcendence.

On the worlds stage we see a game of opposed forces. Sometimes negative weaves submerge us and hamper the realization of our projects. By maintaining our goal fixed, we must learn to swim in the great sea of the being to find our safe harbor, our center, our balance, no matter how many continuous sollecitations that we are exposed to. In this hard but charming endeavor, good predisposition is essential.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

THE VALUE OF RELATIONSHIPS - Part II


By Matsyavatara Dasa




Undertaking a project for our life and following it with coherence means funding ourselves and our existence on solid basis, which will resist to the many crisis that after all we all must face and that only in this fashion they can be transformed into chances to elevate ourselves through the recognition and overcoming of our limits by accelerating ever more our work toward objectives that value our journey in the world. We have a year, a life, an eternity in front of us.

Undertaking a life project and working on it with continuity will stimulate us to know ourselves deeply. It will help us discerning between our historical ego and the true Self, between illusory objectives and valuable ones, between ephemeral relationships and relationship propaedeutical to the awakening of the conscience. This would favor the great journey of every human being toward the most elevated consciousness and the realization of the inner and outer Divine. With every thought, desire, word and action we can express with intensity and every day with renewed freshness our deep instance to know and love ourselves, others and God, by loving God in every being and every being in God. In this way, inside ourselves and in every person that we meet we will put the seeds of pure love, that pure and universal sentiment that can satisfy the soul completely.

To develop this supreme love we must develop the qualities of the soul such as fidelity, loyalty, chastity, transparence, cleanliness, truthfulness, sense of responsibility, reliability, compassion, courage, friendship, determination and perseverance, by impressing them in our mind and mainly in our heart. We must not use a sterile willpower and cold rationale which will risk to makes stubborn or harsh. We must use the vital impetus of the soul, which makes us even stronger but flexible, determinate, however sweet, enthusiastic and patient at the same time thanks to the faith realized in the infinite potentialities of the inner Self and to that developed capability of dynamic balance that holds us straight even when we are pushed or when someone provokes us or disturbs us with an offensive behavior.

If we would follow the impulses of our mind we would reach with rage, with anger by using the worse part of ourselves, but, thanks to the practice of a lifetime discipline, we can transform these drives, by channeling them in a constructive fashion their energetic potential. Rage is then transformed into words that shake people from illusion without hurting them or making them lose their hopes, but giving them the vision instead.

This dynamic balance is indispensable to be developed all the way to the highest spiritual realization. The Indo Vedic tradition recommends the sadhana-bhakti method, which has been tested for millennia and its effectiveness has been experimented by countless people. It is a great level of inner discipline for the achievement of the highest endeavor in human life, self-realization. This necessitates of all of our commitment and a sure orientation because every great deed must undergo great challenges. If we desire valued relationships, many people will try us, with temptations and provocations. However, if we maintain our mind focused, the ephemeral pleasures will gradually lose any attraction, received offenses will seem to us as great chances to overcome our limits. The Lord of our heart, Shri Kamadeva, Who speaks to us from His heart to ours, will satisfy every most intimate desire of our soul, every aspiration, every joy that we wish to offer to the service of God.

He who desires to become ascetic, will become a true ascetic, he who desires to be a good head of the family, will become a good head of the family, he who will want to produce wealth for the benefit of all will develop the intelligence and the resourcefulness to do so if he behaves in accordance with the cosmos-ethical order of divine origin who sustains every being of the whole universe. However, he who grabs for himself will never produce anything, nor for himself, nor for others. He cannot be happy if he is not in a stable evolutionary trend.

To undertake this evolutionary trend we must commit ourselves to overcome our limits. Those limits that are genetically structured and are the consequences of the environment in which we lived and those that are the result of mistakes that we have made.

We can be successful if we invest in faith in ourselves, in our intrinsic qualities and in the qualities of others by rediscovering that treasure that hides in each one of us and that matches our deep essence. The defects, the conditioners and the limitations that we are suffering for are layers that cover our true identity.

Do not get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. In reality these results are already structuring themselves at a subtle level even if you don’t perceive them with physical eyes. However, who is expert and knows how to look inside his heart, can see them.

Since everything in this world is inseparably connected and due to the universal law of reciprocity all that is done is returned, to value ourselves we must value others and we can do it if we put trust in their qualities by expressing the persuasion that they can do much more than what they believe they can. We must be always ready to offer words of comfort in time of need, so that the memory of us will help even when we are no longer with them and they are no longer with us. We need to ensure that our words and our life example help them facing the hardest moments, the toughest trials, by offering that energy and faith that is needed to proceed even when the road is uphill, to maybe later discover that, after the curve, the uphill road ends and la downhill one begins. Many of us may already have had this comforting experience.

Every individual can realize himself if he undertakes constructive activities toward spiritual realization, the only ones that deeply satisfy us by allowing us to express our creativity for the best. He can realize himself if he entertains relationships that have evolutionary purposes, those that fill the heart with joy and can be shared by all because true love is not exclusive. Most of all we should privilege our relationship with God, however, since every creature is an expression of the Divine, respect, attention, appreciation and affection should be given to every being.

The destiny of the body is uncertain, we could die suddenly for a serious illness, an accident or who know what. We don’t know what could happen to this structure of the matter in which we live, but we have a great certainty. If here and know we undertake an evolutionary journey it will continue even after we depart this physical body and what we have sow here will bloom elsewhere and will make our progress happy and fast.

We will come back in a favorable environment, from parents that will educate us with love and we will meet special people who will orient our journey.

Let’s try to live in the most humble way possible by engaging our energies that the Lord has given us to serve Him for the wellness of all. Let’s not complain if we are called to sit on a throne or on the floor. If usefulness is the principle and usefulness is functional to an evolutionary purpose, we must be available to do anything that we are asked to do, beyond our egoistical preferences. The Katha Upanishad explains that true pleasure that lasts and satisfies completely comes from duty.

Talking of subjects like these with those that are dear to our heart and those that are mostly receptive, means exchanging love gestures. These are the true effusions of true love, the expressions of the most noble among the sentiments.

Love, act with your heart, with playful spirit to favor the great evolution project of life. This attitude will give you every joy and will allow you to develop all perfections.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

THE VALUE OF RELATIONSHIPS - Part I


By Matsyavatara dasa




The quality of any relationship is guaranteed only if we know how to appreciate the qualities of others and the quality of realization per se. The lack of such appreciation produces lack of relationships. To overcome this, the first indispensable step is learning how to recognize the value of others.

What to say, when and to who is not always easy to understand or guess. Human relationships are a complex universe. Sometimes we put our hearts into a relationship; we try to develop it at the best of our capability; however we are not successful in building with the counterpart what was within our intentions. We should commit ourselves to do the maximum with the intention to evolve, with joy and desire to grow together, however without expectations. We should always be open to answer to the other person in respect to his freedom. If we really want to learn to love others, we should not lay passively on them by developing unhealthy relationships, depending on others by loading them with our expectations and egoistical claims thus suffocating the chances for interaction and operate favorably for the well-being of all. He who cannot practice this basic principle falls with the falling of the relationship. He loses height and falls on the ground without having the chance to realize it.


Let’s invest our best energies, all of our intelligence and our heart into our relationships. Let’s do it however without falling into perfectionism, thus being humbly conscious of human limitations (ours and others’). Even this will help us appreciated the value of what we are building.

To build a relationship, whether a love one or a friendship, with relatives or between Guru and disciple, you must consider three fundamental principles that were established by Vitruvio as priority:

  1. stability

  2. functionality

  3. beauty


A building must be stable, sturdy and strong enough to withstand the collision of time and of natural events. The same is for a relationship. We cannot build on a frail soil that doesn’t hold. We must necessarily choose solid grounds. If we deal with frail grounds, we must first of all begin with solidifying the ground itself before we initiate the construction. We cannot solidify the ground and at the same time begin the construction. It won’t work. Certainly the building will not stand, just like a relationship will not withstand the collision with time and trials of life if it is not well based, well prepared, cultivated, enforced and matured.


To enable the manifestation of our and other’s talents and qualities, develop the siddhi, or perfection in relationships, and make them ever shiner, in all their expressed potentiality, we must build on solid basis. To do this we must operate with continuity, without intermittence, distractions or dispersion of energy. Vice versa, our chances for development and realization will remain unaccomplished and feeble like little fireflies that turn on and off in the darkness of the night. Discontinuity and consequent mood swings ruin relationships and everything that we do. They are the Minotaur that must be dealt with and overcome if we want to pursue our goals.


Other than operating with continuity to favor the vigor, the uphold and the stability of our relationships, we must set up our relationships based on what is most functional. Functional to what? To our and other’s evolution.


The relationship could be stable and beautiful per se, but if it is not functional for the high purpose that we have pre-defined, what would be its value?

To learn to set up our relationships in accordance to the principle of functionality, it is important to develop the qualities of flexibility, ductility and elasticity that allow us to choose, in accordance with the situation that we find ourselves in, the proper behavior for that time (kala), place (desha) and circumstance (patra) in relation to the values that we have undertaken and that we intend to pursue.


Lastly, other than being stable and functional, a building, in accordance with Vitruvio must be also beautiful and the same is for a relationship.

As much man has made all kind of efforts in establishing aesthetical standards, the sense of beauty has always remained outside of strict schemes or pre-defined categories. Beauty is proportion, harmony, perfection of the form, but also that certain “don’t know what” that represents the charm of a certain thing, person or relationship, its uniqueness. Therefore if we sharpen our look, elevate our conscience and purify our hearing, we can discover charm and beauty in every being and relationship by realizing that beauty is beyond mere appearance. It corresponds to the intimate essence of what it is. In the tradition, in fact, beauty was inseparable from goodness and from the qualities of the soul. Engaging in affective relationships based on superficial aesthetical criteria, the deceitful criteria of the forms, means settings ourselves up for sure failure. “Don’t be fouled by the width of the entrance”, said Minosse to Dante and also “Pay attention to who you trust”. This is important so we do not get into relationships that come from sudden choices which only result in frustration, suffering and many times depression and desperation.

Let’s commit ourselves to interact with others with the constant and unique desire to benefit them, to pursue their success, the true one, which is of spiritual nature. This would represent the best protection for our life, ourself and our relationships. It would be the powerful principle, even though invisible, that will lead in the evolutionary way every choice that we make and will orient us always toward the right direction at every crucial intersection of our life. Let’s learn to relate always by leaving to others the chance to accept or refuse our offer of love, because love lives of freedom.

Let’s listen to our inner voice when we act and operate in the world and we entertain relationships. If this voice gives us advice, if it urges us to be cautious, let’s pay attention to it and let’s act carefully. Let’s not jump into situations or relationships that could be dangerous and that could harm us or others more than what our little intellect could understand. The gradualness in establishing and entertaining relationships is essential. Once you have made your decision with reflection and farsightedness, do not change plans suddenly, by following indiscriminately the impulses of your mind or senses and letting instinct take over and overcome the basic principles of stability and coherence. Unfortunately the predominant setting of modern society leads to act in superficial and sudden mode, regardless of times and relationships. However, if we want to build valuable relationships, we must invest in time and attention, sensibility, maturity, care, preoccupation, sense of responsibility, coziness, tolerance, capability of open ourselves to others to communicate and listen deeply.

Lets avoid to entertain those relationships or actions that are not coherent with our life project that we intend to realize because, without a project and without following with continuity the method that will lead us to its realization, we would only start every time from scratch, wasting time and energies and showing to ourselves and to others the worst side of our personality.


Friday, 11 September 2009

La India del Auto-Conocimiento



Inauguracion Viernes 11 de Septiembre de 2009 20:30 hrs.
hasta el domingo 20 de Septiembre de 2009 Casa de Cultura de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico.

ENTRADA LIBRE

Logos: Conarte - Casa de Cultura - Artes Visuales

NL Estado de Progreso

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

AKINCANA (devoid of material possessions)



By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: The 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings: not searching for material objectives, simple, non-possessive

We find this principle in an important passage of Patanjali's Yogasutras1, where it is said that in order to attain perfection or samadhi, the yogi must renounce two attitudes: asteya and aparigraha, respectively misappropriating things we do not own and cultivating a sense of possession towards things or persons.

Many psycho-pathologies are not very explicit; in the name of affection some people morbidly control others, something that is absolutely not favorable to anyone's growth, development or maturity, including one's children, spouse, patient or disciple. When there is a sense of possession, the carrier of this sensation is unable to grow and remains on a childish stage for the rest of his life, frivolous and incapable to cope with the needs and problems of everyday life, unable to think with his own brain.

We should never desire to deprive others of their ability to reason and decide, of their intellectual faculties, by blocking and inhibiting them. On the contrary, we should favor the development of such abilities and potential.

Someone could think that if we seriously consider Krishna's words in Bhagavad-gita we could remain conditioned by them, but this would be an excellent conditioning: it would be an honor to depend on the words spoken by Krishna or by the Spiritual Master; only when the Master is blocking us in our development we need to understand that we are not facing a Guru but something else.

The Guru is a friend and facilitates the expression of all potentials, virtues, qualities and talents. He rather tries to offer some orientation and to purify the qualities that are often covered by innumerable anarthas.

A person who is culturally and spiritually immature will think he needs to keep a distance from everything and everyone lest he compromises the principle of akincana; actually we need to keep our distance from the sense of possession, not from the utilization of what is useful. The money that we need to live in a healthy, honest, sattvic way is called lakshmi and is a blessing, while the extra money, that serves vice and mere sense gratification generate attachment, and we should be wary against it. To own warm clothes for the winter does not break the virtue of akincana; possessing a collection of overcoats does. Having a pair of sandals to walk and spread the glories of the Lord is very good, while having wardrobes filled with shoes produces confusion in the mind.

In order to be in harmony not only with the principle of akincana but also with the principle of ahimsa, we should avoid purchasing leather clothes or shoes: they are not required to protect ourselves from cold and rain. Fur coats are much better suited to the animals: killing animals to get clothes or food belongs to a barbarous and unevolved mentality.

If for some reason we had to live at the North Pole and there was no other way, then eating fish or meat would be acceptable, but in the place where we live there is no need to inflict violence to other beings.

The sense of possession blocks, inhibits, dulls our consciousness. Even persons who have serious personality disturbances still have intact talents deep in their consciousness, but they do not know how to activate them any more, because they are not even aware they have them. Our intention is to operate in such a way that our interlocutor rediscovers it and reclaims his natural talents.

Akincana is an important virtue; one who possesses it does not desire anything for himself, he only wants to have the instruments to benefit others and be useful. He finds satisfaction in awakening others and because he is not interested in their body, their possessions or their minds, he can be trusted. Such a person sees others as traveling companions, helpers to spread his mission. Abstention from material and psychic possessiveness helps us to unblock our complexes.

This is why dhana (donating) has a crucial importance in the culture of classic India. One can donate things and eventually oneself; we must remember that if we are not trained to donate objects, we will never come to the level of donating ourselves.

The beautiful prayer called "Gurudev" asks the Master to liberate us from the desire for personal honors: this is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most important acts of renunciation. In fact, as stated in Isha Upanishad, we are not owners of anything, nothing belongs to us in this world and the proof is that at the time of death we must leave everything. So for what reason should we desire honors? The radiant path of bhakti rather asks us to respect and honor all creatures, not to feed our thirst for personal honors.

Some people make important choices for the life of others, thinking that in this way they will be possessing them; this is a very widespread phenomenon. Instead, we should start from the concept that our interlocutor has his own personality and the right to decide. We can offer some perspective but we cannot demand anything from anyone. In some relationships, such as between parent and child, Guru and disciple or therapist and patient, there is naturally a pact or we make a pact by which the one who is responsible for the other can have a justified measure of authority, but he should always use it very cautiously. There is also a pact between parents and children, by which parents have the duty to educate the children, but we need to make a distinction between educating and controlling choices.

A head of State in a dictatorial regime decides by himself also for the others, disregarding the will and wishes of innumerable persons, creating discomfort, dissatisfaction, fear and resentment.

Some foolish and ignorant people read the stories of the Puranas, Mahabharata2 and Ramayana3, and confuse the Vedic kings with the modern kings, but the monarchs of the classical Indian times used to take care of their subject as their own children. Kings of this type have disappeared long ago, and considering the trends of the present kings, the disappearance of monarchy has been a blessing.

Nobody can have dominion or possession on the lives of others. We must teach people to think with their own head, to take care of their own needs, to respect others and to express genuine sentiments. This is the purpose of a master, a therapist, a parent. Being surrounded by capable and self-sufficient persons is a great satisfaction; on the other hand it is very painful to be around people who move like robots, without any creative ability.

If we do not re-establish our spiritual health we will simply chase mirages, because it is precisely this loss of connection that caused the pathology. The disconnection on the ontological level where we belong is the origin of alienation. When we say we care about someone we should demonstrate it with what we do to wake him up spiritually. Even those who will not listen to deeper, metaphysical discussions can be offered unlimited information and be greatly influenced by our personal behavior. A person can pretend he is not watching, he may act as if he is not interested, but in time the model will become ingrained because it is already engraved into the heart, because it is Truth, Reality. For example, everybody knows that animals have the right to live; simply they pretend they do not know.

The model has an archetypal function. We can make good sculptures only when the model has penetrated deep within ourselves, thus we first need to absorb it. This is why it is important to have a relationship with the Guru, to work with him and perform activities that enable us to be corrected; this helps us proceed towards perfection.

Akincana is the practice of detachment, a sort of vairagya, it means renouncing what is unfavorable to spiritual realization and immediately utilizing all that is favorable.

1 Author of the famous aphorisms on Yoga (Yoga-sutras) and codifier of the Yoga Darshana. Tradition also ascribes to him a study on Panini's Sanskrit grammar and an authoritative treatise on medicine.

2 Famous epic poem of ancient India, the greatest ever written by mankind, constituted by more than one hundred thousand stanzas in classical Sanskrit, a vast catalogue of divine and human personalities, an encyclopedic poem expressing the spiritual, ethical and social values of Indo-Vedic society. Also called "the fifth Veda", Mahabharata is traditionally ascribed to the great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.

3 Literally, 'Rama's journey'. Epic story (Itihasa) composed by Valmiki in 24.000 stanzas in splendid classical Sanskrit. It narrates the descent and the divine deeds of Rama in the role of the perfect monarch.