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Why I Cannot Concentrate in Sadhana

Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 23:53:46 -0000 To: AM-GLOBAL Subject: Why I Cannot Concentrate in Sadhana From: "Ishvara" Baba PS Intro: Devotees always like to sing the glory of Parama Purusa-- either through kiirtan & chanting His name, singing bhajans, or by raising the 'Jai' slogan etc. So when Parama Purusa has made His advent on this earth or when He manifests Himself in the mind of devotees, then naturally those devotees will call everyone close and tell others that the magnificent Parama Purusa has come. Depending on their realisation, some devotees feel that Parama Purusa has come physically onto to the planet while other sadhakas or more oriented towards His coming in Guru Cakra. If one only uses their external senses then they will not be aware the existence of Parama Purusa in their mind. True realisation of Parama Purusa comes in the realm of spirituality. This following song expresses the idea that devotees should spread the glory of Parama Purusa throughout each and every nook and corner of this earth. "Shon'o go, shon'o go, shon'o go dhara'va'sii..." (PS 227) Purport: O' inhabitants of the earth, please listen, please listen, please listen [1], the Aja'na' Pathik [2] has come. His eyes are full of boundless love and He is graciously calling everyone to come close, near Him. That Divine Entity has fathomless love, attraction, and charm. By His grace He is guiding all regarding our physical, psychic, and spiritual upliftment. The Love-Personified Parama Purusa has come. He is moving exquisitely-- synchronized with the rhythm of dance & song. With His divine melody He is attracting all with the bond of His spiritual love [3]. O' devotees, behold, everyone look, Parama Purusa has come and He is expressing Himself in such a charming and magnificent way. The Ajana Pathik has made His grand arrival. The divine sound of His omnkara is resonating in everyone's heart. With the magical display of His divine effulgence He has taken His place & made His abode deep inside everyone. With His boundless grace, He is revealing that, 'I have brought a basketful of nectar to distribute to all My loving children'. O' the Parama Purusa Himself has come. His every movement is very graceful and He is showering His infinite love to all. This is His ahetuki krpa'... NOTES FOR PRABHAT SAMGIITA #227: [1] It is the basic human psychology that when anyone experiences anything great then they always like to share the beauty of their experience with others. Similarly if they undergo any disappointment or hardship, then that also they will tell that to others. But if life is just moving along in a normal way, then most of the time they will not say much. Thus when devotees are fully charged and enamoured by the divine advent of Parama Purusa, then in that blissful mood those devotees are surely going to call everyone to come close and experience the darshan of Parama Purusa. [2] Aja'na' Pathik= Aja'na' means 'unknown' and Pathik means 'divine traveler'. This is the word by word, literal translation. But the inner sense is that Parama Purusa is always moving throughout this vast cosmos and by His special grace He is constantly present with everyone all the time. He is in the Cosmic Nucleus yet at the same time through His ota and prota yoga He is everywhere-- carefully watching & lovingly guiding everyone. This unique aspect of His grand Personality is treated as Aja'na' Pathik. Because He is constantly traveling yet present everywhere. He is in the nucleus as well as throughout this entire expressed universe. As the Ajana Pathik, Parama Purusa Baba moves and moves and moves. Thus in their devotional approach devotees feel that wherever they go then the Divine Aja'na' Pathik will always be there to shower His blessing. By His grace, devotees can always get His intimate company & companionship. With this devotional link, by His grace sadhakas understand that Parama Purusa is present everywhere, yet side by side He travels on and on throughout this entire cosmos. Thus He is Aja'na' Pathik. Overall the name Aja'na' Pathik has one special and unique meaning that goes far beyond its literal translation. And in our hearts we A'nanda Ma'rgiis know and feel that Baba is that Aja'na' Pathik. Indeed in His discourses, in Dharma Samiiksa, and in reporting, in DMC, and in numerous ways Baba has revealed this very fact that He is ever-present and always along with us. Hence He is always moving and wherever we go then He will also be there. Parama Purusa has infinite attributions and one of them is this special quality where He is known as -- Aja'na' Pathik. [3] Love: When reviewing Prabhat Samgiita, invariably the term 'love' is used. And in this devotional setting, the English word 'love' means 'prema' in Sanskrit. Baba says, "Regarding prema or selfless love, it is said:"
Samyaung masrn'ito sha'nto mamatva'tishaya'unkitah Bha'va sa' eva sa'ndra'tma' budhaeh prema nigadyate
"The attitude which makes the mind smooth and placid, and radiant with the deepest love for the Lord, is called 'bha'va'. Wise people call this 'prema' or 'divine love'." "Prema is the attraction for Parama Purus'a overcoming the attraction for all other finite objects. Those who are endowed with such divine love are bound to receive the grace of Parama Purus'a -- they need not worry about it." (SS-18) Of course most margiis understand that the use of the word 'love' in Prabhat Samgiita does not have anything to do with general worldly love. As we know the word 'love' is commonly misused these days. In various English speaking countries like the US etc, you may often hear people say, 'I love eating candy', or 'I love going to the movies', or 'I love fishing', or even 'I love to read the newspaper' etc. In such circumstances instead of using the term 'like' they use 'love'. This has become the custom. So in western / European countries this type of dogma regarding the use of 'love' is present. And in various other countries & languages their word for 'love' is used primarily to express crude attraction in the general society. Indeed, 99.9% of the time it is misused in this way. They wrongly use 'love' in crude romance films. And in day to day life they often employ the term love when speaking about their laokik family relations also. The point being that there are a very limited number of terms to express 'love' in the English language. So the word 'love' gets used in various ways-- usually in the mundane sphere. That is why this entire explanation and clarification was needed.
Namaskar, We all know that the main reason for our coming on this earth is to do sadhana-- that is the essence of this human life. Baba says, "Human life is for higher pursuits, for something subtle, something higher, something more elevated...What is a person to do? A person is to do only spiritual practice, only sa'dhana'." (AV-30) That is why when I am unable to concentrate in sadhana then I become extremely concerned and I wonder why my mind was unable to manage my meditation today.
To find the answer to this problem of poor sadhana, which seemed to be getting more and more prevalent, I looked under every rock and in every nook and corner, but it was not at all apparent to me what was wrong until one acarya said, 'Maybe unknowingly you are eating tamasik food-- perhaps that is the reason why on some days you are unable to concentrate in sadhana.' Initially when he said this I thought he was crazy because I thought, 'I never eat any tamasik food.' But then-- upon closer examination of Baba's teachings and my own diet-- the sad fact came to light that I was indeed eating tamasik food, unknowingly so. I came to know how things that I was regularly eating like strawberries, yogurt, tomato sauce, broccoli, potatoes, and other seemingly sentient items were indeed tamasik. So I write this letter to alert everyone about how certain tamasik foods might unknowingly creep into your diet and, in result, disturb if not ruin your sadhana.
In one very special discourse, Baba warns us to be very careful about the food we eat. Baba says, "The nature of food and drink has its effect upon the cells, and consequently also influences the human mind. Obviously each and every sa'dhaka, or spiritual aspirant, should be very cautious in selecting food. Suppose a person takes ta'masika, or static, food. The result will be that after a certain period, static cells will grow and exercise a static influence on the aspirant’s mind." (YP) Of course we all think we are being cautious; none of us think that we are eating tamasik food; we all know the rules etc; but in this modern era we must be extra, extra cautious. Because various capitalist food corporations do things which can fool even the best of us. Just as I thought I was not ingesting any tamasik food, only to find out that in fact I was. Similarly, this may be happening to you as well, though I hope not. But we should be sure, because as Baba describes above, it is this very tamasik food which cripples our sadhana practice.
And actually here Baba points out how people have the tendency to eat foods without being entirely sure of the nature of that food, i.e. whether it is sattvika, rajasik, or tamasik. Baba says, "Very often people eat food without knowing its intrinsic qualities. For example, the milk of a cow which has just given birth. Or white eggplant, khesa'rii pulse [horse gram], red puni [Basella rubra Linn.], or mustard leaves, all of which often grew out of rotten matter." (YP) So all these things come into play when taking food and that is how I got caught up eating tamasik food, which was adversely affecting my sadhana. Consider this: 1. I was using all kinds of milk and dairy products only to find out that capitalist corporations, and even many small to mid-size farms use milk from cows which have recently given birth. And according to Baba that makes the milk tamasik. Even some organic farms fall into this negative category. So all the organic yogurt, milk, and cheese I was purchasing turned out to be totally tamasik. Indeed, in this modern era of agro-business, one can never be sure that any particular glass of milk is not tamasik. Because they mix the milk of hundreds of animals into huge vats. So chances are tamasik milk is laced throughout their entire stock. Because to maximise their profit, they use the milk of all their cows, even those which recently gave birth. So that is one way that I was unknowingly eating tamasik food. 2. Another problem that got exposed is that I was buying various frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. On these packages, the ingredients are only listed 'broccoli', or 'peas', or 'blueberries', or 'pears' etc. And I was opening and quickly devouring these items thinking that they were sentient. But one day when I began examining these foods more carefully, I found that 10% - 25% of the food in the package was rotten. That means when I let the frozen food defrost or when I separated canned items, it was clearly visible that much of the food was rotten. It was spoiled food that I would never knowingly eat if I was preparing a fresh meal. But due to lack of time, I was buying and quickly preparing these packaged fruits and vegetables-- obliviously thinking that they were totally fine. Then on closer examination I saw first-hand how all, not some, but all the packages were littered with stale or rotten food. By this way, many of the fruits and vegetables I was eating were actually tamasik. 2b. As an addendum to the above, all the canned and frozen items are meant to be used "as they are". So we pour them into our cook pots and eat that food. But upon inspecting the bags, I also often found dirt, bugs, and insects in those products. Yet another unsavory tamasik food item that was slipping into my diet. 2c. Likewise, I used to purchase an organic eggplant (brinjal) sauce only to find out that it was made out of a mixture of both purple and white eggplants. And as we know, white brinjal is tamasik. 3. Even then, the problem was not limited to frozen and canned items only-- on multiple occasions I bought bags of fresh potatoes only to cook them and find out that they tasted just like onions. Obviously those agro-businesses were intermixing their onion and potato crops. The problem was often times, before I realised that this was an issue, I was putting those potatoes directly into my curry dishes, in which case I was not aware of the onion after-taste or smell of the potatoes. So this tamasik item proved to be another drawback in my sadhana program. 4. One other issue was bottled products. I was buying 'all natural' things like tomato sauce, hummus, and various organic salad dressings, only to discover months later that one of the ingredient was 'spices'. Upon calling the company I found out that 'spices' often means tamasik items like onions and garlic etc. 5. It also dawned on me that all of the restaurants (i.e. hotels in India) that I was frequenting were using the very same pots, frypans, and utensils for cooking meat as they were for preparing vegetarian dishes. So when I ate Chinese food, the Chow Mein Beef was often cooked in the very same pan as my vegetable fried rice. Not to mention that often the vegetable fried rice and the wonton soup often contain a broth based in chicken stock. Of course, at least I was aware about this one ahead of time as I had asked the waiter. But the point about mixing and using frypans for meat and vegetable dishes was my undoing every time. Any Italian restaurants lace garlic and onions in every dish, whether they admit it openly or not. Here the point is not Chinese or Italian, but rather all restaurants have cooking and food preparing practices that contravene our rules of sentient food. 6. One other issue that used to catch me off guard was attending 'pot luck' dinners or lunches. This would happen at work or even at community vegetarian events. With the best of intentions, people would prepare "sentient" food for me, only to later mention things like, 'how did you like the scallions in the soup', or 'the cake I made contained only organic eggs', or 'I know you don't eat red-meat so I used a fish-based sauce on the steamed vegetables'. 7. Then when traveling by bus or airplane, I was eating salty snacks & sweets that sometimes contained milk solids, whey, 'spices', and gelatin, or other things that we now know are tamasik. 8. Or, even trickier, the snack item or company food may be all-vegetarian on the ingredient list, but then in fine print it may say, 'Made on machines or in factories used for processing eggs, dairy, or fish ingredients etc'. Thus it was by all the above ways that I was unknowingly ingesting tamasik foods on a regular basis. I thought I was taking a 100% sattvik diet, but little did I know what was really going on. I hope the same is not happening with you. Because I found out how detrimental it has been for my sadhana, as well as for my physical health.
Here Baba issues His grave warning how eating foods "indiscriminately" will lead to the degeneration of mind. Baba says, "If cells are affected by food and water, and if the nature of the cells affects the nature of the human mind, obviously human beings should eat the correct diet, because food and mind are closely related to each other. Any food item, whether good or bad, must not be taken indiscriminately because it may lead to mental degeneration." (YP) Of course we all try and be careful, and we believe we are careful, and when preparing our own foods from scratch with no pre-made ingredients, then everything is usually fine. But often when traveling, or when attending staff meetings, or when we are in a rush and depending on company-made foods, then that is when all the problems start to occur. Crude things which we could never imagine eating get mixed into our food, unknowingly so. So we have to be extremely alert in this fast-paced modern era. We must think twice before purchasing or ingesting any company food-- and best is not to purchase it at all. After all, the food we eat affects all our cells-- hence the body mind link. We should not let tamasik items cloud and poison our mental sphere. Yet that is what happens most of the time when we eat company-made foods or agro-industry foods. This is a vast topic and there are many other points such as using beef by products to grow tomatoes. So everyone should research more and share their findings.
By Baba's grace He has given us the recipe for a sentient way of living so that we can grow in sadhana and reach our cherished goal. So we should all be vigilant to prep and cook our own foods and only share meals with other Ananda Margiis. Baba says, "Human beings must select sa'ttvika, or sentient, or ra'jasika, or mutative, food according to time, place and person. This will lead to the birth of sentient cells, which in turn will produce a love for spiritual practice and help in attaining psychic equilibrium and equipoise, leading to immense spiritual elevation." (YP) Namaskar, Ishvara

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