H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Help Everyone Needs

The path of spiritual evolution is marked by different phases, breakthroughs,  deviations and stagnations, falls, imprisonments and  progressive liberations.
Even the man who has testified the important improvements on the path of spiritual realization and is sincere in his intention to evolve, is still bound to make mistakes and therefore is subject to karmic conseguences due to the remaining unsolved conditionings. 
However it is at the time of crisis that a person needs our affection more than ever, needs our help through comprehension  and forgiveness in order to try once again and overcome the limits, that had been structured in the numerous past lives.
As I have been observing for decades, the persons meet a lot of difficulties along the path of evolution, and it is rare that one proceeds steadily and coherently, rather everyone makes steps backwards and forwards according to one's peculiar characteristics: the individuals most advanced in the inner growth are those who make more steps forwards than backwards.
Through their walking towards spiritual love and perfection all these souls in the prakriti world need encouragement, most of all when they are in the process of rolling back. A sincere help received at the most crucial moments of life is the best call in order to carry on along the right path.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Abysses of the Mind and the Highest Peaks of Consciousness (part 2/2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

Although at times it seems to have no reasons to fall into a crevasse, we can witness that the gap is real for whom can perceive it. The same goes for the ecstatic experience which is usually ignored to the majority of people, but for the great personalities who has realized themselves, it may become a permanent reality, which in a single brush erases all the world attachments together with the taste for the sense gratification. One doesn't reach that experience by mere comprehension or due to the limited human efforts; it thus manifests thanks to the divine mercy and it is the divine mercy that helps us to get out of the crevasse: combined to our our personal effort, it brings clearness within us and start  to make the river of life flow again. In this way our happiness will also start to flow again freely, with no more obstacles of the past choices.   We cannot live lofty experiences at present if in the past we failed to recognize the existence of the crevasse with its characteristics, consciously choosing the way that takes us to the enlightened Hill, to the highest Sky, just like Virgilio explains  to Dante at the beginning of the Divine Commedy and like Krishna  says to Arjuna oppressed by a deep existential crisis at the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita. One does not fall into the crevasse at once, nor he reaches the peak in an instance. Such high ascent is the result of a constant work turned to avoid and correct the mistakes promptly, to coordinate all the efforts with the purpose to evolve and animated by the honest desire of spiritual self-realization.
Enviousness,  jealousy, lust, greed, anger, craving for fame – these are all the ropes that make one drift down the crevasse. On the other hand, mercy, compassion, humility, patience, forgiveness help to ascend. Those spiritual qualities, typical of authentic brahmanas, are the most elevated qualities to develop;  that is why the brahmanas who coherently practice and live them should not be submitted to power because these qualities represent the highest target. In Bhagavad-gita XVIII. 42 Krishna describes the main qualities from which many others originate; those who wish to reach the highest peaks of consciousness  do not have to learn them just by heart, but to catch the essence, how they are lived and taught.
Those qualities should become our nature, should enter each part of our being, in order to transfer ourselves gradually  from tamas to rajas, from rajas to sattva guna; only then we will avoid the risk of falling down the crevasse and our journey will be an evolution in progress towards the highest peaks of Bhakti, empowered with faithful and devoted love for Krishna. The practice of Bhakti is the most powerful instrument of evolution that allows us to develop the qualities described before and, in its greatest expansion, it is the highest  spiritual peak to reach. In the journey towards supreme Bhakti, authentic love and happiness increase step by step.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Abysses of the Mind and the Highest Peaks of Consciousness (part 1/2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

Sometimes in life human beings make rather difficult, painful experiences, in which people seem to fall into a crevasse, an abyss, very close to annihilation; there are then, most seldom, other people who touch brightening peaks, with an extraordinary expansion of consciousness in which they experience – even though for a few moments – an irrepressible happiness. In the middle, between these two positions, stand the great majority of humanity that carry on an ordinary mediocrity.

Very often I witnessed the experience of the abyss among many people I met, who had asked me for help. A couple of times, between the age of 10 and 30, I found myself on the brink of the abyss, I was at risk, but thanks to the divine mercy I was supported and saved from that devastating experience. Such experience doesn't manifest itself in one's life out of conscious intention but because of a series of factors that have been produced by one's own thoughts, deeds and motivations. We can learn to foresee and recognize it from a series of features, symbols, signs and warnings, related to its original causes. I feel very much sympathetic towards people who happen to face this experience of the abyss, the black whole, a total disorientation; the person feels like drifting downward and there is no end to the crevasse. In that condition of consciousness there is no way to get any better, but only to get worse. Who wishes to do so, may accept my reflection to question oneself and try to understand if and how often, one has found oneself in life on the brink of the abyss, or close to it, when and how he managed to avoid the collapse.
By describing this state of consciousness, I would use the following metaphor: the river of life that suddenly stops flowing. Water remains still and runs no longer. There seems to be real obstacles to cause the obstruction, but they are mainly produced by the doer of that experience. It is the person itself that creates its crevasse and falls into it. Can the elevating experience be also the result of inner projections? I would be inclined to confirm and approve both statements because there is a strong logic link to it, but thinking on this delicate theme, through praying and meditating, I could deepen my comprehension as follows. We are to decide which direction to take, either into the crevasse or towards the peak, however the crevasse and the pike exist, they represent a possibility, it is up to us to decide whether to accept or refuse either one or the other. According to my comprehension, the Shastra and the Sadhu teach that abysses and peaks exist independently from us, but we make them happen in our life by everyday choices. Either a period of mourning, or the death of a child which is a desolating loss for a mother, or for the sake of our ego, any person may fall into an abyss, but the same person can also choose to transform that event in a precious and saving opportunity in order to reach the highest peaks of consciousness.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Action or Renunciation (part 2/2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The perfection of renunciation

In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains that the perfection of renunciation is not a simple physical detachment from the objects of the senses, but rather an emotional detachment from them (vayragya).
Tyaga is a first phase which must necessarily be exceeded in order to mature the real detachment, the emotional one, because an artificial detachment from things and people while going on longing for them, is a behavior that Krishna defines with the term “hypocrite.” (Bhagavad-gita III.6)
Therefore a true success in renunciation can only be achieved by getting rid of the egoistic desires and regarding this point there is an important teaching of Krishna:  “Both parting with action and the devotional action lead to the path of liberation but, of the two, devotional action is better”. (Bhagavad-gita V.2)  
The mere avoiding of the objects of the senses is a hard way that is not sufficient to achieve perfection (Bhagavad-gita III.4); transformation and sublimation of desire is possible by undertaking  the evolutionary path that starts from tyaga (physical detachment), passes through vairagya (emotional detachment) and reaches Bhakti (a devotional action offered to God).
The final teaching of Bhagavad-gita describes the best form of renunciation, that is, the action performed without egoistic motivation or attachment to its results, but in a pure spirit of love and service to the Supreme Lord. This highest form of renunciation is defined yukta-vairagya, the renunciation of the one who, having purified one's consciousness, offers everything to God. 
Such a devotional action performed in Bhakti spirit leads to transformation and sublimation of all the energies of the being, and thus it is considered even superior to renunciation, as it allows the human being to taste the complete and blissful relationship with God that can not be experienced due to a simple renunciation. 
Krishna exhorts Arjuna: “Perform your duty in order to satisfy Vishnu and you will stay forever free from the conditionings of the matter” (Bhagavad-gita III.9).
Bhagavad-gita teaches an attitude far both from an illusory identification with the immanence (the “world” and the  “flesh” of the Gospel), and from some abstract spirituality that denies the matter and neglects the physical body. 
Krishna urges to act efficiently, fully and with detachment, but without a desire for power and possession, a sacred action offered to God with joyful devotion.
In Taoist terms, it suggests a dynamic balance of opposites, action and inaction, obtained due to the superior knowledge that allows to live fully in the material world fulfilling one's duties without pseudo-meditative evasions and, at the same time, to be open to a real meditative dimension, that is meta-historical and meta-temporal one, of communion with the Divine.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Action or Renunciation. (part 1/2) By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Art of Perfect Action

In the third and fifth chapters of Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains to his disciple Arjuna the art of  perfect action.
The perfection of action – karma yoga – can not be reached unless one obtains a clear understanding and a proper discernment of what is beneficial and what is harmful for the spiritual evolution of the individual, that is why the right behavior, or acara, can be achieved only if the right knowledge, jnana, has already been acquired. Jnana can be completed and improved only with a proper practice that leads to vijnana, realized knowledge, the wisdom: the knowledge transformed in action and applied with creativity in the right time, in the right place and under the right circumstances. 
Bhagavad-gita answers to a complex question raised by Arjuna to Krishna: what is better - action or renunciation?
Krishna, in an admirable way, explains that it is impossible to give up acting completely: in reality the so-called inaction does not exist. Everyone in the world is inevitably obliged to act, there is no life without action, even a single breath implies some movement, by a rhythm which is integral to life (B.g. III.5). As Krishna states everybody acts according to the tendencies acquired during the previous life experiences; even the wise cannot refrain from action, not even for a moment, but his way of acting is completely different in nature compared to the one who is unaware of true knowledge and whose motivation is impure.
Krishna urges Arjuna with the following words: “Carry out your duty as action is better than inaction. Without acting the man is unable even to maintain his body” (B.g. III.8).
Therefore renunciation should be understood not just as a complete abstention from acting – that would be impossible – but as an abstention from the impure activities, that implies avoiding the objects of the senses (tyaga), people and experiences that can lead us astray from our spiritual path.
Once Arjuna has understood this important teaching, Krishna reveals higher truth and, in the fifth chapter, declares that both renunciation from action and devotional action lead to liberation but, of the two, the devotional action is better.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Ruler of the castle of nine gates. By Matsyavatara das (Marco Ferrini)

An evolutionary journey requires a conscious use of our senses, at the risk of being trapped by the illusory nature of our perception of reality: our energy may thus be absorbed by that of the objects around us and the psychological pressure they exert on the mind (vritti). Every action we enact produces a tendency that is enforced through repetition: these repetitions develop into habits that ingrain attachments that are difficult to dismiss. Hence the relevance of carefully selecting our experiences.
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna  (V.5/13) encourages Arjuna to become the ruler of the castle of nine gates: the body is the castle and the nine gates are represented by the orifices that connect him to the outer world.
Body and mind are a laboratory where we can experiment elevating our goals: “you where not meant to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge” (Dante’s Inferno Canto XXVI).
Nature (alias prakriti) is actually an expression of the spirit and should be a tool for evolution rather than quagmire that absorbs us in its quicksands.
Spirit and matter are not oppository within the conscience of those who have attained spiritual realization. Thus all that is created, all creatures and the Creator represent an undivided triad. It is a single entity that splinters and diffuses itself in infinite expressions. We must experience our knowledge of reality with a proviso: that reality may not become a tomb for our soul. 
If we are unconnected to superior values we are consumed by vices or by whatever we have come to depend upon simply because it conditions us.
The Bhagavad-gita teaches the art of being rigorous, self controlled, wilful and determined: to what avail?
The aim is to rediscover our primeval condition of knowledge, eternity and bliss. Yet even this understanding alone is inadequate because we need to put these qualities into daily practice so as to prevent them from becoming an abstract and purely theoretical knowledge that alienates us from society and the human adventure. 
Deep-rooted and authentic wisdom leads to compassion, solidarity with all creatures and to the extraordinary experience of sharing and Love.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 6). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The principles of liberty, justice and love are irrepressible and everyone tends to realize them, hence, insofar we dedicate ourselves to developing our idealities, we act ecologically for our environment; it means that we do not just help people who live with us, but the environment in general and we integrate ourselves into Humanity and with all Creatures. This ideality can be initially experienced in a sporadic way with the practice of occasional meditation, but it should become a whole life modality daily constant, in order to reach the perfection of meditation.
Perfection does not exist from a human perspective, but what exists is a tending toward, moving toward, nevertheless there is no need to fear for taking action and to think that, since we are not perfect, our action will be imperfect. Anyway, it will be imperfect, but if we take first steps in the right direction and move toward perfection, each step will carry us back into the essential, inner happiness with full satisfaction, santosha, and contentment, tushti, that make the person extremely tolerant and humble. Regardless of social position, heralds or uniform and colors we wear, what determines the level of realization we can reach are our humbleness and tolerance. For this reason, awareness and wisdom should be transformed in emotional detachment, detaching ourselves not just from what is aimless, but from what is harmful and is an obstacle on the path to evolution. The first level of detachment to be realized is to retract senses from their objects (pratyahara), in order to avoid that senses become like wild horses, without any violent opposition or repression, but converting them into an evolutionary path, useful for our inner growth. This renunciation is not a brutal deprivation dictated by dogmatism or prejudice, on the contrary, it is an appealing and effective abstention we practice naturally when we have been given something superior: the incarnated soul can abstain from sense enjoyment, although the craving (for sense enjoyment) remains. But if the soul becomes detached by experiencing the superior pleasure, it will remain steady in the spiritual consciousness.
Translated literally from Sanskrit param means “superior” and drishtva “having seen”: when we will develop a superior vision, we can renounce an inferior one. We do not have to fear inhibition: some cerebral areas, as well as some organs in the body, are inhibited when we do something requiring to focus our attention. It is certainly not such kind of inhibition that may block our evolutionary path, on the contrary it is something we can dominate by ourselves, so we can deal with it in a sensible and expert way when we give up something inferior for a superior benefit. This act can be called asceticism, in Sanskrit tapas, that is our capability to renounce with a volitional act, with deliberated intention, something inferior for something better. It involves an extraordinary coherence and a plan to achieve liberation from conditioning, thus to dissolve virulent samskara that affect the individual behavior. The resulting benefit is extended to all those feelings of guilt and complexes that populate our unconscious, which stemmed at some point in our lives and in our existential history, thus dissolving negative effects and setting the individual free from the imprisonment suffered till then. Although meditation does not exhaust itself in the meaning of ascetism, the latter constitutes a detail that cannot be overlooked; it is associated both to prayers an right acts for the benefit of all creatures, harming as little as possible (ahimsa), for example by living on natural and wholesome food, that involves minimum of violence: cereals, vegetables and legumes. So, our aim should be to provide an ongoing way to structure our lives, focusing on the highest evolutionary level in this segment of existence, consequently striving for a more evolved physical body in our successive live. The Vishnu Purana explains there are 400.000 varieties of evolutionary human species, like human, subhuman, superhuman, saints and brigands, various types as much as there are various psychic structures and related chthonic impulses arising from the unconscious. These drives can affect individual behavior, they can dominate a person inexorably and, when destructive and antisocial, lead him or her to commit horrible crimes. To know that some of these forces could be irrepressible and beyond an individual’s own control, has made possible in the Jurisprudence context that similar cases are not be condemned to prison but treated in Judiciary Psychiatric Hospitals. Anyhow, before arriving to such extreme and severely compromised situations, there are prophylaxis and preventive treatments focused on resolving, that can be applied. Meditation practice is associated to them and represents a concrete example.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 5). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

In the VedaVac” is the root-word that creates the Worlds. It is so, as we reveal our mood with the use of words and they must be as true as possible, since before deceiving others we deceive ourselves. The word, as the action, is however just an exterior manifestation of an inside process, the process of reflection, vicara, of thought and before it of desire. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is explained that “Man is nothing else but desire”. Thus, it is essential to select one’s desires, since quite a few reside in the unconscious: “an entire herd of pawing horses” quoting Plato. We are supposed to orientate and direct these unconscious drives, as soon as they are crossing the threshold to consciousness or conscious thought, becoming thus aware. Our temperament is the result of a concatenation of desires, thoughts, reflections, words, actions, repeated actions that involve an interaction of more or less emotional factors, becoming tendencies, salient features of our character that incites the actions to take, if we do not funnel it in the right way. In order to act upon these quasi-unconscious phases, it is necessary to accede the dimension that resides beyond the threshold of awareness; there are different ways to do it as meditation, prayer and dreams that Freud indicates as “the royal road to the unconscious”. All these ways can help us in exploring our internal dimension and expanding the lightness of our consciousness, thus restricting the darkness of the unconscious, as well as of the unknown, leading us to a deeper acquaintance with ourselves. The application of these techniques requires different theoretical and practical areas of knowledge, that can be experienced in daily life. Meditation experience can endure while talking, walking, eating, sleeping: we do not meditate just when we sit in a crossed-leg posture. But to reach a constant meditative state and to be always aware about our deep nature and its interaction with the phenomenal exterior, we need to consider some aspects: first that our psyche is like an arena, where titanic oposing forces are continually raging and struggling. 
Sometimes these are entropic tendencies, sometimes they are syntropic, evolutive or devolutive ones, good or bad for health. Through the potency of the mythical language, it can be defined as the ceaseless fight between Good and Evil. There are several obstacles to meditation; Patanjali outlines these obstacles, like distraction, vikshipta, obfuscation and blunting of consciousness, the lowering of attention, mudha, whereas a selective attention is fundamental to succeed in meditative practice.
Another central aspect we have to consider about meditation concerns the individuality. Every individual is peculiar to himself, everybody is an individual with his own path, there is no sameness within these terms, since everyone has a human story and personal experiences.
According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.
When the subject, the spiritual being, leaves his physical body he travels incorporated in a psychic bubble constituted by samskara and vasana; the strongest tendencies will particularly determine the nature of next birth, consequently the place, the belonging to a certain species and other factors related to a new material body designed to be inhabited by that particular jiva.
The psychic structure differs by the experiences we carry forward from our previous lives and, life after life, it determines different births also for monozygotic twins, what about “simple” brothers, fellow countrymen, compatriots or people who shares the same culture. The influence of the three archetypal forces, guna, that compose the material nature, prakriti, and the background of recent or less recent past actions, karma, are individually different, therefore, when a person wishes to start a meditation practice it is suggestible to get acquainted with him/her personally, since they should be assisted and introduced in a special manner, peculiar to them and according to their guna and karma. If the individuality, the specificity of that particular model of personality, is unique, then liberty should be conceived as its natural corollary. No practice can deprive individuals of their liberty and no Master shall deny liberty to his disciples. There shall not be any induced suggestion, but obedience related to free will to accept an offer from a model considered pre-eminent by the individual. In this relationship the liberty of the meditator must always be respected, because the person will be able to meditate to the extent that he or she will be free. Certainly, he will make mistakes, he will not avoid to be subject to mental automatism typical of who knows how many past lives, he will not immediately succeed to renounce and get beyond all obstacles, like mind conditioning, a certain habit, food or beverage, a relationship etc… but if we know the positive sense of liberty and recognize the specificity of that pattern of transitory personality, then the individual will be free to express himself accordingly to his or her consciousness level, without any destructive imposition, but rather by offers infused with the pure spirit of bhakti, loving relationship, prema, with an affective investment, as Love by definition does not need any counterpart, it is self-sufficient. Another important factor in meditation is the social integration, not with a corporatist meaning, much less of caste. Social integration means the capability of harmonic interaction, constructive, evolutive and with all creatures, the attitude to valorize any creature, whether they are birds, reptiles, fishes and what about men, potential travel companions from whom we may learn, in order to grow and develop spiritually. In a certain sense, all that can fall within one of the most important abstentions Patanjali indicates: Nonviolence, ahimsa. Finally, one fundamental element for an effective meditation practice is the spiritual tension, that irrepressible need every human being has to apply and orientate towards ideality. Meditation cannot prescind from the necessity we have to realize our Inner Identity.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 4). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Collective Unconscious represents the World of Archetypes, of Symbols where an American, an Indios, a citizen of Cape of Good Hope, an Eskimo or a Chinese have same essential systems of reference: actually, this is the universal nature of symbols.

The concept of memory or remembrance, in Sanskrit smritaya, becomes crucial as what can be remembered on conscious or unconscious level. Memories are all the more conditioning when deeply situated in the unconscious mind; if a conscious memory or thought can be temporarily and voluntarily put aside by the person who is trying to concentrate and focus on something else, an unconscious memory, just because of its nature, cannot be directly and consciously dealt and it will affect and act upon the person. Such experiences, registered in the deep unconscious (karmashaya), are known as samskara, where sam means “together” and kara derives from the Sanskrit root kr and means “to do”; these experiences are neither positive nor negative per se, but their importance is due to the powerful influence on the individual, who, generally speaking, wrongly thinks to be the sole author of all his actions. Similar experiences attract themselves and produce deep grooves in the unconscious psyche, authentic paths along which the individual retrace same steps. These psychic grooves represent the individual inclinations, vasana, that also are neither positive nor negative. Hence, unconscious often acts upon us without knowing, driven by our inclinations that can be for Art, Science, Harmonization or Abuse, Peacefulness or Bellicosity; obviously, in order to really master ourselves, we have to clean up our minds thoroughly and to sweep away especially the negative inclinations. There are very precise and effective techniques, that enable a voluntary transformation of the unconscious elements; this willing action is fundamental to start the meditative process. Just so, we can free our intuitive capacity, “the way of the heart”, that will be cleared only if the heart will be adequately purified. Actually, in order to bring to light the reality of ourselves, we cannot base our knowledge on sensory perception that represent just 0,1% of the external and internal reality, and it cannot even be based on the information circulating within the society, especially in this society where we live, highly technological, completely extroverted, aimed at exterior projects and where opinions are often prejudices. The critical capacity is properly represented by the practice of Socratic dictum “I know that I do not know” that invites questioning, to not accept something as a priori just because observable through the senses or logical reasoning, to doubt in a constructive manner one’s own deepest convictions. So it is possible to transcend the concept of reality anchored in the material and psychic world, to overcome the mere rational function and the intellect that has “short wings” as Dante says, rediscovering our pure intuitive faculties that are typical of childish psyche, that underlie modern scientific research processes. From this perspective, we do not refuse the intellect in general - “the good of intellect” still paraphrasing Dante - since it is a precious means of investigation if not abused at the expense of other cognitive channels , but it must be properly used to get as free as a pole vaulter who, after having made the swing faster, puts off and releases the pole to fly away. All great discoveries are made by brilliant intuition, just later Positive Sciences as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry will verify them experimentally, in order to make them clear to everybody, besides who conceived them. To explain, to share with others one’s own discoveries or realizations are feelings relevant to compassion, karuna, and to transmit them in a persuasive manner and with typical respect in the spirit of offering  is fundamental for collective and individual growth, since what is offered to others will be given back to us. The best way to do ourselves good is to be doing good to others by offering what is most precious to us.
The actions we have taken affect us in an extraordinary way , releasing a photocopy in our minds that is embedded  in our psychic structure; whatever we do, whatever we say, think, desire leaves a trace. Hence, in reference to  Great Teachers and Connoisseurs of the Psyche, of Human Soul and Human Being, but above all of Man’s Divine Nature and Prison (quoting Plato and not despising  the physical body), we can affirm that we are where we are since we desired, thought, said and acted in a certain way. This vision is apparently deterministic, whilst in constant evolution: in the very moment we are talking or that you are reading, the change of our comprehension and samskara has already begun. Every desire, thought and word give birth to relevant and corresponding material manifestations.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 3). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Science of Health or Ayurveda (the Sanskrit term “ayur” means life, force, health) studies in a detailed manner the Nature of Human Being and his relationship with a full range of energies. Ayurveda extends the interaction overview of body, psyche and consciousness from an intra-individual level into an inter-individual one. Hence, behavior and single actions are considered not only as a result of one’s own apparatus, but as an interaction with other bodies, psyches and consciousness. This point is very important, making us able to reconduct to this phenomenon many of present conflicts, both on an individual and collective level. As a matter of fact, conflicts that cannot  be solved inwardly are extrojected onto people around us, no matter if close or distant. The connection between different elements of the Created cannot be reduced exclusively to relationships, but permeates the entire Universe: just think about Bell’s Theorem, that enunciates the correlation between two particles entering into contact, sharing same experience, synchronizing and endure in resonant state also when separated or one of them is modified; this variation is instantly extended to the other particle in no time.
There is nothing in the Universe that is separate from everything else. Everything is connected and as we can identify micro-networks and neural circuits, it is possible to identify much larger macro-networks beyond any one single individual. In the Veda, in the Gita, in the Upanishad, in the Yogasutra and other scripts of the Indo-Vedic Tradition, it is possible to find these principles clearly described with an incredible specificity of language and in general the vision of man as a creature composed of different subtle bodies or layers, going from the more gross to the more subtle and that are not limited just to the material and psychic elements. From the above scheme it is possible to notice that the material body is just the most external layer of the human being; this grossly visible layer is called “annamaya kosha”. Annamaya means food energy, since the physical body is nourished by food. At more subtle level it is possible to identify the energy called prana, that each human being has and that is individualized and specific for every living being: this level is defined “pranayama kosha”. The physical body does not have an own energy, it would not even stand without the vital energy that provides force for it, that makes it able to move and makes it so precious: all this is possible thanks to the energetic layer composed of “prana”. For example, Acupuncture practice is based on this energetic support. Actually, if the energy provided to the body is not fluidly distributed some energy blocks may occur. 
At a deeper and more subtle level after “pranayama kosha”, there is the mental layer, “manomaya kosha”, hence the energy layer depends upon the mind. Pranayama kosha is directly dependent upon mind, upon our mental state, thus it is not possible to develop ecologic energies to sustain our body without having first reeducated our mind. 
This message is given by the Rishi, the Spiritual Masters belonging to the Indo-Vedic Tradition, and it is a fundamental teaching to be immediately considered, as Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita: the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy, it could be the way of healing or cause of death, disease, paralysis. The mind has priority in health research, even before the physical body, since the body depends on it. In this scenario we can write out Juvenal’s statement: “mens sana in corpore sano”. In general, body and mind are so interdependent and interactive that any failure would be transmitted immediately each other, therefore they have to be treated simultaneously.
For this reason Patanjali indicates as basic step in the path of Spiritual Self- Realization, codified in the Yoga Sutras, some ethics fundamentals (yama and niyama) for the harmonization of the psycho-physical health. The support of the mental layer is the intellective layer “vijnanamaya kosha”. On a level of psychic dimension the intellect is constituted by deep convictions, which represent conscious or unconscious conditioning for people who base their lives on them. These deep convictions, stored by the intellect, sustain the mental structure. 
Ananda” means inexhaustible happiness, bliss. It cannot be compared to the pleasure of the senses, that does not even represent the shade of such happiness. Euphoria, excitement, orgasm, they all have a beginning and an ending, therefore sages consider them illusory result of the human life. When the creature is completely satisfied in himself, he does not have any other aspiration. The one who experiences “ananda” feels a sense of community with all creatures, he wishes to be a friend to everyone and actually he becomes benevolent to all living beings. In fact, conflicts are signs of dissatisfaction and suffering. Ananda is essential to stay in healthy, a popular Neapolitan proverb says: “To a cheerful heart, God will provide”. Hence, the intellective layer is sustained by a layer of bliss or constitutive happiness, “anandamaya kosha”, essential for the physical well-being. Actually, interior gratification assures harmonization and balance of all physical, energetic and psychic structures, whilst a depressed mood or negative emotions, as explained by Prof. Genovesi previously, affect badly the immune system and suppress it throug hormonal desynchronization. 
Ananda pertains to atman: the real source of energy has a spiritual nature, it is neither physical nor psychic energy, but a spiritual enery; besides ananda, atman is characterized by eternity, sat, and consciousness, cit
We are spiritual entities, we are atman and it is impossible for us to lose features like sat, cit, ananada, whatever happens, since they are intrinsic and inseparable from what we objectively and intimately are, although they may be more or less clouded by ignorance, neglected or atrophied. Through an introspective path, one undergoes a reservoir of unconscious experiences, almost unknown, but he or she has to interact daily with. These unconscious experiences can be individual or in common with other creatures and represent an integrant part of the universe as a whole. This last case was coined as “Collective Unconscious” by Carl Gustav Jung.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 2). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, one of the most well-known and loved scripts shared among different Schools of Thought in the Indian Continent, says that Knowledge means to distinguish the field (body) from the knower of the field (Self). To detach oneself from the body does not mean to refuse or despise it, in this wise there would not be real detachment since, as Heraclitus said, what attracts will disgust and vice versa.
In order to overcome the opposites of attraction and disgust, in Sanskrit called raga and dvesha, it is necessary to balance the opposites, to find the conjunction and to harmonize them. In this research of balance and harmonization, yoga, points out the importance of mediation. The term yoga derives from the Sanskrit root yuj, literally meaning “to unify, to connect”. As a matter of fact, yoga is the science for the Reintegration of the individual self with the Supreme Self, of infinitesimal consciousness with the Cosmic Consciousness. In the Bhagavad-Gita are described different types of yoga and Patanjali, in his famous treatise on Yogasutra that is one of the first and most relevant Schools of Mankind Psychology, describes eight phases to develop the Yogic Discipline (ashtanga yoga) where meditation is placed just as penultimate phase. Before entering a meditative state, the aspirant yogi has to purify his mind and heart by abstaining from activities that are against the spiritual evolution, yama, and engaging himself in favorable ones , niyama. Then, one has to become an expert in postures, asana, that enable to perceive the body as little as possible and afterward to learn the art of breathing, pranayama. By turning inside himself and detaching sense-organs from objects, pratyahara, trying to concentrate on his attentional resources towards an unique direction, dharana, the yogi predisposes himself to the very meditation, dyhana, where the flow of attention is not anymore called away by exterior interferences and thanks to which he will reach a stage of complete interior absorption, defined samadhi. The Pre-samadhi stages are necessary to resolve conflicts between the different psychic structures and functions, through the harmonization of personality and before aspiring to the complete absorption of the meditative seed, bija, all the more so the Self. The approach to meditation must be gradual, since first it is necessary to develop a certain knowledge arising from awareness of small realnesses, without the presumption from time to time to have conquered Reality and Truth thinking to be definitely illuminated. What happens by meditating is a continuous and progressive realization of Reality, that reveals itself slowly until it is clear, evident, bright and natural, so natural that it would be impossible to conceive it differently.
For example, the awareness of being different than the body can arise suddenly, as in the case of diagnosis of terminal illness, of irreversible and degenerative pathology, boosting the patient not to concentrate just on the physical structure that is subject to such a devastation, but on himself. From this perspective, as explained through different MCE works for several Italian Hospitals and Health Care Institutions, death must not be seen as a physical event, something concrete, but more as an abstract concept, since there is not concrete end of something, but the transformation in something else. On the other hand, the aim of disidentification may be progressively reached through an introspective process that enables to understand that the body is our external means, we must not identify ourselves in it, but consider it precious, useful and dear to us serving to future experiences and acquaintances. The human body and personality do not represent exhaustly the entirety of the person, but are simple aspects. The eminent divine part of us considers these aspects, as in general the human dimension, like reduction and constraint, a sort of prison.
Nevertheless, in Plato’s Metaphor the soul cage must not be considered obsessively as an oppression, since it is evolved material structure equal to the elevation degree of the consciousness housed in it. Therefore, everyone inhabits a certain body and consequently takes with it determined pathologies or a healthy state.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Science of Meditation (part 1). By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

20th December 2008,
Naples, Castello Angioino

First of all, I’d like to draw the attention on some cosmogonical aspects, in order to facilitate the comprehension of Men context. The Modern Man does not know anymore where he comes from, where he is going, above all he does not know who he is, being fully identified with an external and transitory identity. His decontextualization is one of the most serious problems afflicting today’s society and cannot be simply solved through erudition. The search of oneself is the substrate of meditation and it is confirmed by the great Indovedic tradition works as Samhita, Upanishad, Itihasa and Purana, that can lead a very interesting dialogue with modern Western Tradition. Among numerous authors and Thought Masters which have drawn resources, cues and concepts from the very extensive Vedic culture for their doctrines and theories, we should mention Carl Gustav Jung and his “individuation process”. To individuate oneself means to get acquainted with one’s deepest nature, instead of restricting oneself just on the superficial and fallacious level of sensory perception. The signs and information reaching our consciousness from the external environment, through our sense organs and next elaboration at cortical level, are just a fraction of reality, even less than 10% as indicated by Prof. Genovesi during his speech. Knowledge of reality through the senses is a null result, as well as our capability to understand, since it is conditioned and subject to sensory perception. Hence, not only senses (indriya) are misleading, but also the perceptive information fields related to the mind (manas), being based on sensory perception.
The tendency (vasana) of the mind to depend on sensory information brings to a preconceived, rigid and generally structure perception of the world, that when not integrated and enriched is useless to define the individual identity.
The issue about the nature of personal identity is crucial for meditation. Indovedic psychology identifies human being in its entirety: as well as the universe involves three interacting worlds, being constituted from earth, in-between dimensions and heaven, the incarnated human being has a triple nature: physical, psychic and spiritual. The solid, earthy and physical constitution is the material body that includes a complex structure – the most complex structure known today – called nervous system, but also an apparatus that is more subtle, although of material nature, not definable neither graphically nor spatially, not even temporally: the psychic structure. In the end, there is the inmost nature of man, the first cause of life, his essence and real identity: the spiritual one. According to Vedic wisdom every human being is ontologically “atman”, a spiritual and eternal sparkle. To simplify even further, we can say that man’s identity is split into two different aspects: one is related to the psycho-physical conditions that the individual historically experienced during his different life’s cycles, that is called historical self or false ego, the sum of the psychic contents, defined in sanskrit as “ahamkara”. The other one is real, eternal and immutable, beyond time and space and is the spiritual nature. The basic faculty to reach the meditative dimension is attentiveness, that is not controlled by the nervous system, contrary to what is stated by the extreme positivism embraced by the modern western psychology, but in the first instance is promoted by “atman”, the unifying center that holds and gives an unique and unrepeatable characterization to the personality. The spiritual self makes use just of the physiological and biological part of the so called “human being” and feeds and moves his energies. All the Indian classic tradition schools (sampradaya), all the great Masters lines of disciplic succession, who practiced the Vedic teachings in their daily life, recognize that atman is the fundamental principle.