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Watch Out For This

To: Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 12:19:48 -0800 From: "Hank Tomasson" Subject: Watch Out For This Baba "Adrira ma'jhe tumi himagiri, pus'per ma'jhe pa'rija'ta..." (P.S. 1685) Purport: Baba, You are the Greatest among the great, the Sweetest among the sweet. Amongst all the mountains, Your status is like the towering Himalayas. Amongst all the flowers, You are like the most brilliant parijata flower. Baba, with Your own hand You are touching and playing the strings of the viina of my inner core-- which is situated in the depths of my heart. With Your soft, loving touch You are arousing the divine ecstasy in my mind. Baba, You have brought me on this earth again and again. And You have inspired me to love You in infinite ways. My whole existence has always revolved around You; but even then I could never be satiated to my heart's full content. Now You have brought me again on this earth. And by Your grace I have brought a basketful of love for You. It is in my heart. O' my Lord, please remain along with me always-- day and night, always. Among all the things which are dear, You are the Dearest. You are my Priyatama, the innermost One of my heart. Of all the things which I love, You are the most dear. You always reside inside my heart. Baba, what way You are, it is impossible to explain through language. I do not have any words to express Your glory. So I do sastaunga pranam to You-- thousands of times, infinite times, again and again. Baba, please keep me at Your lotus feet..
Namaskar, In each and every age the ruling class imposes its values on the entire society such that the common people chase madly after those things. That's why in this present era of extreme capitalism the whole society is blindly running after money and other materialistic prizes. Because the vaeshyans are in power so crude things like money and automobiles etc spell "success". No doubt we Ananda Margiis are aware about the theory behind all this, even then in our personal day to day affarirs we should be careful not to get dragged into that flow. That means as sadhakas we have to exercise great caution when comparing ourselves with others. Or more precisely we must not fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others exclusively on the point of materialistic gain. Because our human personality is three-fold: physical, psychic, and spiritual. But because the common mass is primarily submerged in degenerated materialistic life, so naturally then they only chase after crude physical wealth. But as Ananda Margiis we know the special secret that we should gain strength in the psycho-spiritual realm. So we should not compare ourselves with others on the point of money, material gain, etc. Because that invites the beginning of an inferiority complex, especially when comparing oneself with a rich person. For example, if we compare our own financial level with others' economic status then the tendency is to invite problems. One may even fall into the depths that "except me, all others have a very successful life". Because they have better material gains such as their property, house, cars, clothes, luxury items etc.
But if we compare ourselves on the point of human potentialities -- that is all one's physical, psychic and spiritual development-- then surely as an Ananda Margii our lives are far better than those engaged in the ways of general society, i.e. those eating tamasik foods etc, etc. As Ananda Margiis we have far more mental purity than materialistic-minded, crude people. Because our basic aim in life is service-- service to Parama Purusa and service to the society. And we always try to keep away from dogma. So surely we are not lower than those common citizens in the mental sphere. And of course when comparing in the spiritual realm, then there is no comparison. We are moving on the divine path of Tantra sadhana. Our Guru is Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji, the Taraka Brahma. When He graces anyone then He accepts them as a disciple and He teaches them sadhana, in which case moksa is guaranteed. So the spiritual life of each and every disciple of Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji is guaranteed success. The sense is that common society is basically crude and dogmatic. Here I am not boasting about our greatness-- we should not develop a superiority complex. Both superiority and inferiority complexes are bad.
My sole point is that as Margiis we have all sorts of noble qualities, then why should we feel inferior with others by seeing their money and property? And why should we throw ourselves into their flow by competing with them in the crude mundane sphere only? Rather one should train the mind to think that 'my path is not only in the physical sphere, but all round, in the physical, psychic, and spiritual spheres'. Then surely, one will not suffer from inferiority complex. Because in the spiritual sphere, surely being Ananda Margiis we are more developed than those materialistic, dogmatic people -- those living in the general society.
We also know that in so many discourses Baba says that Western society is completely imbalanced. So much attention is placed exclusively on the physical sphere while the psychic and spiritual spheres are completely neglected. That's why countless psychic diseases are there. What to say about aged people, even small new-born babies start suffering from psychic diseases. These days doctors are administering tranquilizing medicines even to young children. The sense is that in Western society, psychic diseases are rampant. And it is occupying childrens' minds also. From small babies to senior citizens, a higher percentage of people in the materially developed than among poor countries are in big tension, terrible condition. But the condition of margiis all around the globe is far better. Our duty is to show others the right path. Not to fall into their pit. If mindlessly we throw ourselves in the competition with crude society in mundane sphere, then the consequences and resultant will be completely negative-- drowned in the desperate ocean of materialism. Which is why common society is suffering from all kinds of psychic diseases. So by throwing ourselves into that degenerated approach we will invite that disaster.
It is just like when some crude film star heroes use certain things like a particular pseudo-culture dress style. Or, smoking in a special style. Like those film heroes who release the smoke from their cigarette, and they throw the smoke with their mouth toward the sky in such a round circled way. Then teenagers get attracted towards that thinking it as a grand idea. So without considering the matter, teenagers in their innocence blindly follow those pseudoculture fashions. And those who are rational minded people, think that what is this nonsense. In consequence good people never engage in competing with others in pseudo-fashions. Thus engaging oneself in comparing oneself with others only in the material sphere is a sort of blindness. Because it is commonly known that those who place too much importance on the physical sphere, one or another way in their practical life, they neglect or lag far behind in psychic or spiritual enhancement. And we know that human life devoid of spirituality is just animal life. So the basic idea is, that there should be competition but not only in physical sphere. For healthy competition there should be physical, psychic, and spiritual competition all together in a balanced way.
If we follow the life of a true Ananda Margii, then there will not be any need of incurring unnecessary loan for mundane requirements. Rather, strictness on santosa will solve the problem. So if any margii or WT, if anyone is incurring loan for their regular worldly needs, that should not be appreciated. This type of action should be discouraged. Because according to AM teachings, all margiis belong to one family. So it is our duty to help others. We should not allow anyone to fall into the bottomless pit of debt. And by that way we will save them from unnecessary hardship and a tension filled life.
In His Shabda Cayanika discours Baba further guides us:
Divasasya's't'ame bha'ge sha'kam' pacati yo narah Anrn'ii aprava'sii ca sa va'ricarah modate
Baba says, "The person who is able to get some vegetables to eat at least once a day, who incurs no debt and who has no need to leave home to earn a living, is really happy." (Shabda Cayanika - 1, Disc. 1) The above teaching describes three causes for happiness. All are important and among these three, one point is "Not remaining in debt". So this gives the idea that remaining in debt is highly detrimental. Incurring debt means inviting negativity, restlessness of mind. So the sense is that we should not blindly compare ourselves with the common people on the point of material gain. Those who do so, many of them end up taking loan-- thus inviting terrible problems. Please write your own experiences and advice on this topic. Namaskar, Hitendra Note 1: If we see other Ananda Margiis taking loan and going into debt then we should not remain passive. Rather out duty is to come forward and address the issue. Taking loan unnecessarily and incurring debt is very bad. So here Baba guides us not to allow such things to happen to other Margiis. Baba says, "Every Ananda Margi, when he sees any other Margii acting against the principles of Yama-Niyama, will have to make him shun this habit either by sweet words or by harsh words or by dealing even more strictly; and thus will have to make the society strong." (Guide to Human Conduct, p.27) Note 2: Some margiis in various units, are facing terrible economic conditions. Mostly they were working in the Prout department. And some senior Prout Dadas inspired them that "Take loan. The banks are all going to collapse." So without thinking deeply, some margiis did take a loan. And now those margiis are facing a very critical conditions. The interest has multiplied exponentially, and now those who took those loans are feeling serious economic crisis and tension. Means tension has permeated into every aspect of their life. So taking loan and developing anxiety on the point of economic debt, ultimately this leads to the destruction of the entire personality.
In the west, running after materialistc values and forgetting one's inner self is one of the main causes of mental depression. This is the central underlying factor. And all other factors are revolving around this main cause. Hence they are subsidiary factors while the main cause is falling prey to the materialistic way of living and comparing oneself with others primarily on this negative basis. This externalised and defective outlook leads to all kinds of complexes and psychic disorders including mental depression.
Those who follow a devotional approach-- i.e. who follow the path of Ananda Marga-- never fall prey to psychic diseases, and certainly not depression. Because a devotional outlook wipes out all complexes and brings bliss into the life.
************************************** Capacity of A'tma
Baba says, "Till you have a human body go on doing great work. After death in absence of the brain the mind cannot function in which case one cannot do anything. But the unit consciousness (atma) can still work. It has the capacity to work in subtle form." (Delhi DMC 1984 Discourse)

Harmful Art

From: "Will Chaucey" To: Subject: Harmful Art Date: Thu, 04 Feb 2010 16:51:08 +1000 Baba "Jyoti-ujjval pra'n'occhal tumi priyo..." (P.S. 2229) Purport: Baba, O' Parama Purusa, You are the Divine Controller of this vast universe. You are the brilliant effulgence-- full of vitality & saturated & with the love. Baba, You are my dearmost. By Your own glory You are glorified. O' Parama Purusa You are ever-adorable. Baba, I do not have the strength to catch hold of You. With my little strength and with whatever means I have, I try to catch You-- but it is impossible for me. Instead I remain engrossed in my own self-- unit "I". This 'unit I' is preventing me from coming close to You. Baba, please transform my 'I-feeling', make it Yours. Baba, with my own strength I will not be able to get You. With the thread of the spider's net I will not be able to bind You and hold You. Because of this, please by Your causeless grace, allow Yourself to get held. This is my only request to You. Please keep this open for Your consideration. Baba, in my mind & in my heart, I have deep longing for You-- to have You close. Please grant me this by Your causeless grace. Baba please come in my shravan, manan, niddidhyasan, & dhyana and make me Yours...
Namaskar, One of the great guiding forces in society is artistic expression. If used properly it can uplift an entire people. Unfortunately, it can also work in the opposite direction. Seeing the degraded state of humanity these days, one can easily infer that the art is also of a lowly nature - spinning society awry. To truly serve humanity means the field of art must be addressed.
As we all know, Baba Himself gives tremendous value to the role of artists - setting mandates in both Caryacarya and Human Society to ensure artists are properly compensated for their contributions. At the same time, Baba adamantly defines what is art and who can be an artist.
Tragically, today, much of what appears as art is nothing but an open sore for humanity - dragging our society toward depravity. Certainly what is happening outside AM is worse, but artistic expression within our Marga is - sometimes - also sub-standard. Within our human family, there has to be a call for a true renaissance in the realm of artistic expression - certainly AM should lead the way.
Before getting into the standards of good and bad art, let's take a moment to review the gamut of artistic expression. Because art does not just mean painting a picture. Art encompasses: Drawing, sculpture, poetry, short stories, lullabies, drama, dance, narration, film, humor, digital art, novels, tragedy, magazines, comedy, sketches, sound, pantomime, oration, television, advertising, interviews, biographies, body painting, music, voice, graphics, computer art, graffiti, street acts, podcasts, direction, speeches, design, and much, much more. Thus we come in contact with art throughout the day in so many ways and forms; art nearly represents the totality of human expression.
The main problem is that today's art is not leading people toward service and blessedness - per Baba's guideline - but rather toward sensual degradation and crude materialism. Baba says, "[Art] is that which moves together with the society, which leads society towards true fulfilment and welfare by providing the inspiration for service. The statement “Art for art’s sake” is not acceptable; rather it is better to say, “Art for service and blessedness.” " (AFPS-1) Unfortunately, nowadays in the west, the slogan art for art's sake is in vogue. In the name of art, all kinds of vulgar acts are done. And the east has mostly fallen into that trap as well. When the mind is devoid of ideological understanding, then it will be led by instinct and drawn toward the crude material plane. That is why art and art history in the west is dominated by nudity, crudity, sensuality, and the ways of the 5 senses and 5 motor organs. Art has been limited to lowly expression motivated by baser propensities. We see this everywhere: Billboards by the roadside, images on the computer, bodies on the silver screen, even so-called classical art in the museums, and in so many forms in our daily life. Tragically, this pulls humanity down and still further down. All businesses use lewd images in order to promote their products. "Artists" then become purchased slaves for the capitalist enterprise. In this way and more, art just becomes nothing but a tool to entrap one in all the lower tendencies of mind - such that art merely ensnares one in the sadripus (six enemies) and astapashas (eight bondages). And in our Marga, we certainly see some signs of this happening as well - wherein AM has been adversely influence by trends in the general society. Thus inside and outside AM, we often see that art is but a degrading tool. There are evidences of this in so many realms - I think we need not review them all here. Suffice to say that such art does nothing for the welfare of humanity. Baba says, " It is such [artists] who indulge in such utterances as “Art for art’s sake.” A little examination will reveal the harmful influence of this idea on human society." (PNS-10) So many of the crimes against humanity - rape, killing, theft, female suppression etc - are present or even magnified in daily life by so-called art forms that goad the human mind toward crudity. When human beings get fed that idea they carry out those nefarious acts - it happens. The more sex that is on TV and in films, the worse the problems arise in society surrounding sexuality transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, extra-marital affairs, the objectification of females etc. There is a direct relationship between crudity in art and harm in society. Just as when you see a grossly obese person you can understand what their diet is, similarly, when you see the status of society, you can understand the nature of their art. Society is a reflection of the art.
Baba's declaration is the art should be for service and blessedness. So we have to ask ourselves what does that mean and what will that art look like. With regards to "art for service", we can say art that depicts social welfare and spiritual inclination. And "art for blessedness" refers to guiding one towards supreme benevolence and divinity. Thus, art might depict: Narayan seva' (feeding the poor); someone doing asanas or meditation or tandava; svadhyaya; or people rising up against dogma and injustices such as slavery, economic exploitation or otherwise; bhaktas singing kiirtan. And there are so many ways that the varied expressions of art can lead people toward the subtle and the sublime. In essence, proper art should bring the good works of good people to life. Some years ago in NYC, there was a brave gentleman who jumped down onto the subway track in front of a running train in order to save someone who had fallen. The train ran over both of them, yet they were saved because the hero kept them beneath the level of the train. That scene would also make for excellent art as it represents the spirit of human sacrifice. In the many lands there is a history of racism or casteism, whether it be white-black or brahmin-harijan. Our art should not just highlight the tortures done as that only incites further violence in society; that just creates rifts and tension between people. Art should also highlight the struggle, unity, and perseverance of the exploited group as they rise up and reclaim their dignity. Art should also depict those whites and brahmins who helped in that cause. It should inspire, unite, as well as reveal the pain. So art cannot be relegated to displaying the bleak or the impoverished. The hope and struggle for victory is also a necessary element. Art as a medium of history should inspire human to move forward in a unified fashion and not incite people toward further rioting and bloodshed. Merely recounting old wounds is not helpful. The message should also project brotherhood and universal welfare. In sum, our plays, music, speeches, and all art forms should reflect the more benevolent side of humanity that goads one toward welfare activities and spiritual realisation. There are artists in AM who depicted those who sacrificed their lives for great cause of dharma. One photographer or painter captured those who performed self-immolation in order to uphold AM ideals. Others have made pictures of srsti cakra (cycle of creation). And many more have captured the essence of neo-humanism in their art. Those are wonderful expressions of art. And of course, Baba's lengthy enterprise wherein He guided artists of Bengal to create dioramas are ideal examples of artistic expression.
We must remember that art is a most powerful tool. Artists are most often dynamic people who are highlighted in society. Naturally then our youths are drawn to them. Yet if their art forms are degrading then that will lead an entire generation of young people astray. We see that happening now with many adolescents and youths in our society. They are rushing headlong toward degradation and sensuality because that is what their (pseudo) cultural heroes are doing. Baba says, "The youth of a country are attracted to artists; it is therefore the duty of society and the state to monitor these artists’ ideals and character. Otherwise they may exert a harmful influence on young men and women who are the future hope of society. For this reason it is essential for artists to have impeccable conduct, a healthy lifestyle and strength of character. If those whom youths respect as ideal men and women possess an ideal character, the characters of those whom they influence will no doubt also be positively affected. In addition, ideal artists and actors who have a strong character will be able to express their artistic brilliance more sweetly and completely. Characterless, drunken or greedy artists will be considered liabilities by their fans and society." (HS-1) Thus artists cannot just be given the distinguished title based on their artistic endeavour - they must also be proper in their all-round behaviour as well.
By Baba's grace He has blessed us with clear-cut guidelines in the realm of art. Without that society cannot progress. By propagating AM ideals, all aspects of life - including art - will reflect great social consciousness more more sublime realisation. Baba says, "The only way to save oneself from this kind of psychological degradation is to keep one’s mind constantly engaged in the thought of the Great and to always look upon the world with sweet, benevolent sentiments. Artists and actors must never forget this even for a moment because they have a great responsibility to society and an immeasurable influence over it." (HS-1) Namaskar, Vinay
*************************************** Proper Method of Sas't'aunga Pranam
Baba says, "Prostration is called sas't'aunga pranama...Of the five sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin), one, the skin, can be omitted, and of the five motor organs (vocal chord, hands, legs, excretory and genital organ), one, the vocal chord can be omitted. This leaves the eight constituent parts. And the prostration made with these eight body-parts is called sas't'aunga pranama." (APH-6, p. 398) Note 1: As we all know, sas't'aunga pranam is only done to Guru, not to anyone else. Note 2: Here following is the etymological meaning of the term sas't'aunga. sa + as't'a + unga = sas't'aunga (with) (eight) (parts) = with eight parts Thus, as Baba tells us in the above quote, "the prostration made with these eight body-parts is called sas't'aunga pranama." Note 3: In Baba's small encyclopedia book known as Laghu Nirukta, on pages 337-38 Baba clearly defines that sastaunga pranam means to lie down in front of Guru like a stick, completely straight. Specifically, when in the lying posture, both the arms get extended straight over the head with the palms together. Thus from the very tip of the middle finger down to the bottom of the feet, one's entire body will be one perfectly straight line. Note 4: As a general rule, the amount of floor spaced needed to do sas't'aunga pranam is 2-3 feet more than the actual height of the person. Note 5: In Laghu Nirukta, Baba also clarifies that the Personality to whom you do sas't'aung pranam does not derive any benefit per se. Rather those doing this practice get 100% of the benefit in the psychic and spiritual spheres. Hence this practice of sastaunga pranam is a scientific process for acquiring greatness. Note 6: For biological reasons, women should not do the mudra aspect of this practice.

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