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Upavasa and Cemetery Sadhana

Date: 3 Oct 2009 04:27:02 -0000 From: "Gurucharan Yadav" To: Subject: Upavasa and Cemetery Sadhana Baba "Eso eso bandhu eso jiivaner prati nishva'se..." (PS 213) Purport: O' my dear most Baba, O my Bandhu, please come in my life. Please come in my each and every breath. I want to remember Your name as my Ista mantra always. When You come in my mind and sit on the white lotus, then Your sweet fragrance permeates my whole being. Baba except You I have no one. You are the only one with whom I can open my inner heart. And that time I tell You all those things which I never share with anyone. I express to You all my inner feelings. With no one else can I do like this, only do I share these things with You, secretly. O' my dear most Baba, O' Bandhu, please grace me and come in my life. I am waiting in longing. Baba, I do not have anyone other than You...
Namaskar, As you may be aware, in some of His discourses Baba has clearly described the distinct difference between these two words: fasting and upavasa. Literally fasting means not taking food, remaining hungry. Starving then is also one kind of fasting. So in doing fasting in the literal sense, one may or may not have the ideation of God, Brahma bhava. That is why we Ananda Margiis need not to practice austerities for 1 day of starvation, but we have to do upavasa. The basic picture is that if fasting is done along with the constant feeling of God-hood, then in that case only can it be accepted as upavasa. So if the whole day a person is busy doing different mundane things--job, household activities, business, shopping-- and he could not maintain the close proximity of God, and he is not taking food and is remaining hungry whole day, then that cannot be treated as upavasa.
Here one thing is very remarkable. Baba Himself does not tell us to do fasting. But He guides us to do upavasa. BABA says, "'Upa' means proximity. And va'sa means to live, to reside. So the upava'sa word means to live near the Lord. In these days of fasting, what the aspirants are to do? Mentally they should live near their Lord. On all other days there remains a balance between external objective adjustment, and subjective approach. An adjustment between objective adjustment and subjective approach. But on these fasting, or upava'sa, the aspirant remains more in proximity to the Lord than in other mundane duties. That's why these days are known as "upava'sa". The word 'fasting' doesn't carry the proper sense or the proper spirit of the term 'upava'sa'. To go without food, for this the proper word is anasan. 'An' means not, 'asan' means eating. And not upava'sa. So these ekadashii, amava'sya, and purnima they are, upava'sa. Do you follow?" (BABA) So about Upavasa in this above transcribed discourse, Baba has given us a unique guideline which is unusual and unique unto itself. Because we know that our system in AM is subjective approach with objective adjustment. That means our fixed goal is Parama Purusa and in our day to day lives we have to adjust with this material world. So while adjusting with our worldly duties, the flow of sadhana should be maintained. Naturally on regular days we have more freedom to do worldly works. Generally speaking the quantum and time of worldly work is greater than the amount we give for sadhana. That is our standard practice. And that is what our AM ideology teaches us. But on the day of upavasa we have to do the exact opposite. Most of our time should be utilised in spiritual observances, and the least amount of time should be used for mundane duties. So upavasa should be spent doing various kinds of spiritual things, like singing Prabhat Samgiita, chanting kiirtan, listening His discourses, doing sadhana, practicing the various lessons, reading His books, Shravan, Manan, Niddhidhyasan, dhyana, etc. Indeed, from small to big, all sorts of spiritual practices should be done. By this way the whole day's routine should be managed. And that is Baba's explicit guideline for upavasa.
Given this, the best thing is to keep this day off from worldly duties. No shopping, not being engaged in any mundane objects, or in any type of serious family obligations. That is the way which Baba is teaching us in the above special discourse. Means maximum importance and emphasis is given to sadhana; and less importance is placed on worldly things during days of upavasa. Of course the opposite is the case for general days. Because in general it is accepted that one can give more time for their mundane job and comparatively less time for their sadhana. But even then we should always beware that the time of sadhana should never be squeezed down to something meaningless. That also has its own importance. So the overall sense is that Upavasa means on the day of ekadashii, amavasya or purniima one should not eat food nor drink water and they should carry on upavasa with more spiritual activities like manan, shravan, niddydhyasana, japa, dhyan, kiirtan, svadhyaya etc. And the mind should not be involved in crude worldly activities. Then that is upavasa.
Here are more of Baba's teaching on this special point of upavasa. Baba says, "The scriptural meaning of uspavasa is-- by derivation-- upa which means "near", and va'sa, which means "to stay". Upa'vasa therefore means "to make the mind stay near Parama'tma'". In other words, it means to withdraw the mind from thoughts of physicalities and keep it near Parama'tama'." (AVM 23, p. 36-7) Baba says, "These fixed days are called upavasa since during these days people keeping their minds engaged in spiritual matters 'live closer' to God, and any possibility of mental degradation is averted: their humanity is not endangered by the lengthening shadows of annihilation." (NSS, p.188) BABA says, "On certain special days (the days should be fixed according to the almanac lest people forget them), people should give greater importance to spiritual practice than to mundane responsibilities; that is, their time and energy during those few days should be devoted more to spiritual practice than to worldly activities. These fixed days are called upava'sa since during these days people, keeping their minds engaged in spiritual matters, "live closer to God". (NSS, Shivapodesha-3)
When one of the best places to do spiritual practice is in the cemetery then that is one top-most place for the following upavasa. Because here following is Baba's unique guideline about the importance of cemetery sadhana and how it should be practiced by one and all. About this no one should have any complex or worry. Indeed at the Manila DMC occasion when Baba went for field walk back in 1969, in the Philippines. That time Baba asked the question to the Margiis - "From here, how far is the American cemetery?" And then Margiis replied, 'Around one kilometer'. Then, talking about the cemeteries, Baba told clearly that "Cemetery sadhana is very encouraging for beginners." All this talk was going on while Baba was walking fast on the road. And many Margiis and WTs they were following Him. as part of His entourage. And there everything was recorded. Baba is clearly speaking "Cemetery sadhana is very encouraging for beginners." (This entire audio file is on the above blog, just scroll down on the left side.) Naturally then Baba is giving the guideline to one and all to engage in doing meditation in the cemetery.
The Propounder of Tantra, Lord Shiva, most of the time He was passing His nights in the cemetery along with His disciples. And also His own son Bhaerav and His daughter Bhaeravii were also accompanying Him and practicing sadhana there. Indeed Lord Shiva passed many of His nights in the cemeteries. Baba says, "Shiva used to live in cemeteries, cremation grounds, lonesome plains and on the different peaks of the Himalayas." (VV, Disc 17)
As we all know the famous story. The first disciple Kalicharan got initiation in the cemetery. This was blessing the special blessing of Baba. And the place was none other than the wild cemetery of Kalighat, Calcutta where so many antisocial elements were hiding. So see, when the birth of Ananda Marga happened in the cemetery, then there should not be any complex or doubt that cemetery sadhana is only for some but not for others. Rather as Baba guides us it is beneficial for all-- including new people. So we should all wholeheartedly take up the practice of regular cemetery sadhana, especially on days of upavasa. And according to one's limitations and strengths one should do. So if going at night is not possible due to various reasons then at least one should try to go during daytime. That also is beneficial. And that will inculcate more and more devotion into one's life.
Here below is Baba's well-known guideline about devotion-- bhakti, love for God. Baba says, "The devotional sentiment is the highest and most valuable treasure of humanity...the brightest jewel of the human heart. This element of devotion the most precious treasure of humanity must be preserved most carefully. Because it is such a tender inner asset to preserve it from the onslaughts of materialism, one must build a protective fence around it...we must not permit this highest human treasure to be destroyed." (NH-LOI) Namaskar, Gurucharan
******************************************** What Every Intelligent Person Should Do
Baba says, "Each and every intelligent person of the world, everyone who has an iota of intelligence, should try to goad all their energies, all their propensities unto Him. He is the Supreme Shelter. There is no alternative." (AVM-3, p.33)

Should Caryacarya Be Changed?

From: "Satiish K Bhatia" To: Subject: Should Caryacarya Be Changed? Date: Fri, 02 Oct 2009 13:24:52 +0530 BABA "Tava path dhare, tava na'm kare, toma'r pa'nei cale thaki..." (P.S. 2180) Purport: Baba, by Your grace I am treading on Your path by singing Your name and moving towards You. You are my Goal. By Your grace I am moving closer and closer towards You-- to reach You. Baba, except You, in this universe who else is mine-- no one. Because of this I am always calling You for Your shelter. O' Lord, in this decorated universe of Yours, You have provided me a special place according to Your liking. You have bestowed everything; and, You do not desire anything from anyone. Just You go on pouring Your divine grace eternally. The demerits such as lethargy only come from my side. Plus all kinds of lame excuses I give in self-justification. Hence all the lacuna belong to me; whereas, You Yourself are ever-gracious. Baba, You have situated my mind in the corner of Your vast cosmic mind. And from that corner it receives Your divine vibration. With the attraction and resonance of Your divine vibration, the lotus of the love, which has blossomed in my heart, is looking towards You with deep yearning. Baba, singing Your Name, I am moving on Your path. For me, Your grace is everything...
Namaskar, Right now, in certain circles, the question of the day is, "Should Caryacarya be changed?" In particular, they want to change the rules regarding the selection and duration of the PP post. So we all have to think if this is a good idea. Let's examine the facts and use our critical thinking skills.
First off, we all must recognise that Caryacarya is our social treatise (smrti shastra or samaj shastra). Unlike our philosophical treatise (ie Ananda Sutram) and our spiritual treatise (Subhasita Samgraha etc), our social treatise is subject to change. According to the social needs of the day, Caryacarya can be changed. Under certain conditions then, it is indeed possible to change our social code and regulations. We should, however, probably think of this more as the exception than the norm. After all, Baba is the Sadguru - His teachings are perfect - and we should have maximum respect for what He was given. Just because it is possible for Caryacarya to be changed, does not mean we should change it based on human whim or inclination. There must be a dire social need. In addition, those involved in any change to Caryacarya should probably be - nay must be - proven sadvipras of only the highest standard.
Having acknowledged that Caryacarya can - under certain select conditions - be changed, the next question is this: Is now the time to change certain regulations regarding the election / selection of the next Purodha Pramukha. That is the section that some desire to change. This is the critical point we all must consider. So let's step back and take a look. As we know, right now, our Marga is riddled with groupism, lust for post and power, and rampant division. It took Buddhism 500+ years to divide, and in the short span of 19 years, our Marga has been mutilated. There is chaos in all aspects of our AM political life. Everyone -- all the groups - are fighting to get the upper hand. The mark of groupism and factionalism is everywhere. Thus, under such conditions, who can think that this is the ideal time to start changing Baba's given edicts regarding the PP post. The various groups are fighting tooth and nail for power, and the chair of Purodha Pramukha is the most powerful political post in our Marga. All the major players are intoxicated by the notion of owning / controlling that seat. So we have to think: When the groupists are in fast pursuit of getting the chair of PP within their control, would this be a conducive moment to allow opportunistic groupists the ability to meddle with the guidelines in Caryacarya regarding the selection and election of Purodha Pramukha. The clear-cut answer by any rational thinking margii is: "Certainly not." Given the power hungry ways of those factional heads, this is not the proper moment to allow any such persons to get within 10 feet of Carycarya, let alone grant them permission to change it. Invariably they will distort and change Caryacarya according to their own power schema. They will absolutely ruin the guidelines regarding Purodha Pramukha.
The situation can be likened to a sensitive family issue. Yes, it is true that families should get together and work out difficult problems. But the time to do that is not when everyone is in a drunken and debauched state. That will only cause further harm and destruction - not solution. Similarly, when our Marga is being ravaged by groupist leaders, that is far from the ideal time to allow changes to Sadguru's teachings about the top leadership post in the Marga. Sunk in their own greed and lust, such groupist forces will ruin those guidelines. It will set a very negative precedent for further meddling. Now they may be talking about placing Kinshukjii as PP for two years, and then tomorrow who knows what they will be asking to change. They may propose putting Lalu Yadav or some Congressional Party leader or some filmy hero as PP, as if that would be the way to generate more public interest in AM. Or they might propose to change Carayacarya's guidelines about diet: Allowing meat to be eaten so that we can get more followers in those countries where meat and alcohol are popular. All hell will break loose if we allow those power hungry groupists to change Baba's sacred words. Now is not the time to allow them to "update" our samaja shastra.
Rather than think that Caryacarya needs to be changed, our attitude should be that Sadguru has given us all the dharmic guidelines necessary to succeed in building a healthy human society. His teachings about the post of Purodha Pramukha are also perfect. No person should foolishly lament that why Baba made the post of PP to be lifelong. That is a silly and short-sighted complaint. What Baba has done is perfect. If the post of PP were not lifelong, its power would be greatly compromised. Then it would be like the US politicians who do nothing except work on their re-election campaigns. They are slaves to public opinion - period. Our PP post is for dharmic engagements and the person sitting in the chair should not be shackled by having to please the public to keep their post. Rather, they should stand on the path of righteousness, unrivaled and untouched by voters and private interest groups. Here it has to noted that the first PP was not a dharmic person. Rather his selection was a result of groupist manipulation. Sarvatmananda staged that selection. So none should look at the first PP and think, "Oh, Baba's system is not working, we should change it." Since 1990, our Marga has been drowned in groupism, to some or more degree. Our first and foremost aim should be rid our Marga of groupism. Then we will have proper leaders in the top posts. Till that time, till groupism is still in vogue, all the so-called leaders will be mere tools of the vying camps. Claiming that Baba's system of Purodha Pramukha is not working since 1990 is the same as someone doing lots of drugs and alcohol and then taking initiation and complaining that the system of sadhana is not working properly because they cannot get samadhi. In the same way, when the organisation is troubled by groupism, that is neither the time to evaluate Baba's systems nor the time to allow factional heads to change Caryacarya.
By His grace He has made Ananda Marga. That is what our Marga is -- Ananda Marga. Not any other Marga. It is the path of bliss. And He has given all the needed guidelines. To date, since 1990, our AM has been marred by groupism. Rather than think Guru's guidelines need to be changed, we should aim to follow His teachings and then watch how beautiful dharma gets expressed within our AMPS organisation. The answer is not to abandon or tweak what He has given in Caryacarya. Rather now, more than ever, is the time to adhere to His each and every teaching. Then groupism will be gone and our Marga will shine. Then we will have a true Purodha Pramukha who will be able to lead our Marga fearlessly into the era of sentient peace and prosperity. Namaskar, Satiish
****************************************** Marriage and Problem
Baba says, "At the time of marriage the bridge and bridegroom should not have any direct relationship three generations above and three generations below. If this condition is not met, the marriage should not be solemnised." (AV-7, p.57) Note 1: In the above quotation Baba has given strict guidelines for members of the general society regarding marriage. The idea of no direct relation three generations up means that there must not be any blood relation between the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of the bride and the groom. That is the meaning of three generations up. And three generations down means no blood relation between the families of the bride and groom from their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. For instance, suppose the young boy of one family wants to marry the grand-daughter of his uncle then such a marriage could not be condoned. Similarly if the bride and bridegroom are planning to marry but if the great grandfather of the groom was the cousin of the great grandfather of the bride then such a marriage must not be permitted. So in AM for a marriage to be approved one of the distinct conditions is no direct relation three generations up and three generations down. Note 2: Around the globe there are various clans, countries and religions which do not follow the above mentioned rule. Instead they arrange marriages where the bridge and bridegroom have direct blood relation and that outcome of this is disastrous. It causes brain disorders, genetic abnormalities, onset of chronic diseases like cancer, and so many other problems and difficulties. This the well-documented fact. Everyone knows that Baba's guidelines are deeply meaningful, whether He has opted to give a full explanation or not. On this point of marriage, these serious health issues are the main reason why this rule has been given. As margiis our duty is to convince members of the general society not to commit such blunder because that will only invited disastrous diseases into their family. On this point everyone should cooperate to make this a happy and healthy universe. Note 3: In the dogmatic religion of Islam their only restriction on the point of marriage is that the mother's milk must be different between the bridge and the bridegroom. If this requirement is met then they can marry. But this creates huge problems. Because many Muslim men have 4 wives. In this way the male and female offspring of the same father often marry each other. In such marriages birth defects and diseases like cerebral palsy are rampant. This is not only the case with Muslims but also with orthodox Jews, Mormons, indigenous people, tribal communities, Bible believers, and various other sections of the population around the globe.

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