Monday, November 21, 2011

Mantra for Beginners -- VII

Where does Philosophy fit into this? In Hinduism religion is philosophy and philosophy is religion. They cannot  be separated. When you are in your teens and look at the people doing Pooja, prayers and Japa and find that superstitious (we tend to call what we do not believe or understand as superstition), you are attracted by Philosophy. Later you realize that religion is the practice and philosophy the theory/principle behind the practice. Sanskrit terms like Karma, Klesha , Samsara etc. makes you wonder whether you can make any spiritual progress. Later when you do Sadhana and want to know the theory or the principle behind this you understand these terms.

In the 60s in the Hippie Era LSD was often used by young people who wanted a new experience. As anyone who has used LSD will tell you it is an unforgettable experience. But whether the experience was most pleasant or nerve shattering varied from person to person. We knew what precautions to take having learnt by experience. Even now drugs are used in Spiritual Sadhana. But smoking Hashish or pot is not the way to spiritual Sadhana. The risk is not worth it and the effect is only temporary.

All this heavy stuff is written because many of us seem to believe that there is a short cut or an instant way to spirituality. In the days of Instant coffee and Instant Tea we want Instant Nirvana, Instant Mukthi, Instant Brahman. Unfortunately this is not possible. (if one of my young and impetuous friends ask what about Bagavan Ramana Maharishi or Bagavan Sri Ramakrishna, my answer is such people one in a billion.) If  anyone claims about Instant Kundalini and you fall for it, you are surely in Instant trouble. Years back we used to know a professor of Psychology who was specializing in Parapsychology. He was doing a research on Tantra, various systems of meditation, prayers and other rituals. His comment on some of the forms of meditation was " pure torture". (Unfortunately like all nutty professors I do not think he ever published his findings).

So Pooja, Japa, Meditation, Kundalini Yoga, choose a path, which is suitable for you. Do not be led by the so-called superiority of one path over the other. Before deciding finally learn all about the path, its effects, advantages, disadvantages, risks involved etc. At the same time do not be unduly frightened by the risks. You should take a risk because the reward that you get by spiritual progress is worth it. But it should be a calculated and thought out risk.


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