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What is destiny?

In Sanskrit, the word Karma means both action and reaction. In the Western world, I’ve come across many people who believe that Karma only means consequence(s) of an action. Little do they know that the consequence(s) are a result of some action, which is also called Karma.There are three types of Karma. Subtotal of Karma from all our lifetimes is called Sanchita karma; the Karma that we bring in our current birth, that is, the consequences of our actions from a previous life or lives, which have already started to give results, is called Prarabhdha karma (known as destiny) and karma that we perform now, which will give their results in the future, is called Agami karma. Imagine a quiver full of arrows; this entire bunch is Sanchita. The arrow that we pick to release for this birth becomes our Prarabhdha and the arrows left from which we will choose one for our future birth is Agami.Out of all these three, Prarabhdha is what is most important because, it is something that is the most relevant to our current birth. In other words, our destiny is what affects us the most in this lifetime. Have you ever wondered why there are so many beggars on the street? And why are there so many millionaires? Why is someone well educated while some don’t even get a chance to education? Some suffer from health problems and some don’t. What is the spiritual meaning behind our social disparities and problems? Our Karma! All our actions from our previous lives are stored in our subtle body, which we carry with us at the time of our death. It is just like storing data on cloud system. The space is unlimited. Even according to the laws of physics, no information is ever lost from this universe except for the case of black hole where everything reaches a single point known as singularity. And whether information survives beyond this point is something that has baffled great scientists for ages. Spiritually, there is an explanation for this. If one realizes their Supreme Self, whichis called ‘enlightenment’, one’s total Sanchita karma (information of the mental ripples from the past) is totally wiped out from the storage of the subtle body.

In fact, there is no subtle body after liberation, because the entire mind and its components have all merged with the Self, which is why even remembering Karma will not make the body bear its consequences. With Sanchita wiped out even the Agami has no scope. If all arrows are lost then what can you pick for a future birth? However, Prarabhdha can only be gotten rid of by experiencing and exhausting the destiny. Great Yogis do not try to change their own Prarabhdha even though they have the spiritual powers to change their own destiny. In stead, they use these powers to help humanity and to impart Self-knowledge to everyone.The experience of the singularity is the cosmic oneness in spiritual terms. So, in scientific terms, information is lost but not lost. It is not lost because an enlightened soul can still remember all its Karma as well as the Karma of other beings. But information is lost in a sense that it no longer bears any consequences or relevance to the enlightened one. The process of entering and merging into the black hole of the supreme consciousness is an interesting one. All this happens while the Jiva (the individual ego or ‘I’ consciousness) is in a state of Samadhi (deep meditative absorption). When anyone looks at the Yogi’s body externally, they will declare him/her clinically dead, as the Yogi will have no breath, no heartbeat, no brain function and possibly no other sign of life in his/her body from a scientific viewpoint). But the Yogi (one who has entered the Samadhi) can keep his/her body intact, i.e. he/she can ensure that others won’t touch the body and cremate it by mistakenly thinking that it is dead. This state is achieved by the Yogi using a special Siddhi (supernatural power). Time stops for the Yogi in Samadhi, as he/she enters a black hole. The Yogi may have even spent several years in Samadhi but when his consciousness re-enters his earthly body, the time seems to be stagnant and the year, date and hour is the same as it was just before the Yogi entered Samadhi. The Yogic absorption allows him to access any spiritual realm located anywhere in the cosmos. Whatever object or location the Yogi focuses on before his Samadhi, he can enter that realm or merge with that object more easily. He can go through the cosmic consciousness hole and come out in a realm of his choice. He can choose to remain there for however long he wants, as this will not affect his time on earth. The core of the black hole of consciousness is a dense white light (the Supreme Self). This is the general process before Kundalini Shakti awakens (enlightenment occurs). The Yogi’s consciousness is ejected back into his body like current passing through his body. When this happens, each cell in the Yogi’s body is reborn. All diseases physical, mental and spiritual of the being he one was are wiped out and the supreme consciousness shines forth without any hindrance. Everything about the cosmos becomes clear to the enlightened one.

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What is death and what does it feel like?

The final moment

(A poem by Yogamaya 9)

When death knocks at your door and says “Hello! I am here!”
Your mind loses its sanity and your body trembles with fear,
Yet you cannot say to death:
“O Death! Please wait a second”
“Dear death, I’m not yet ready”
Death, the owner of your body, marks your end 
And his decision to take away your life is steady!
 
You can gaze at the clock all you want
But you cannot stop it from ticking away 
You can call your father, mother son or your aunt
But they can’t stop the night from becoming day
 
Each breath becomes hard
Each memory becomes soft 
Death is here sitting at the corner of your bed, waiting for you to close your eyes
While you lament thinking of the mistakes you committed and your innumerable lies.
Death laughs at your inability to move 
Your silly ego has absolutely nothing to prove 
Good and bad forces await your soul’s journey
There is no more use of kinsmen and money 
 
This is the time to focus on the light in your heart
Death, my friend, just like life, is a piece of art
Forgive yourself, thank yourself, know yourself and then death itself will die 
Put your past behind you, O Seeker! When you seek the Self, you will surely know the ‘I’

The essence of the poem

It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown. Death takes away everything from us – our pleasures, our pain, our kith and kin. We cannot eat, sleep, drink, talk or walk anymore. And that is a scary place for almost everyone. But death is also a golden opportunity to liberate us from the cycle of births and deaths (Samsara). Mind is very lucid at the time of death. We may not remember many things in our daily life. Suppose I ask you what did you have for dinner on Thursday, a fortnight ago, you may not remember it. But when death arrives, your memory expands and you start recollecting things from your entire lifetime, even your childhood and some even get glimpses of their past lives. As the consciousness separates itself from the mental functioning, there is more vivid reasoning and thinking than ever before. Death is the door to liberation. You can perform any penance or righteous deed while you’re alive and hope that this will liberate you, but at the time of death all you need is to be aware of death itself, be aware of your ego and be aware of your Supreme Self and surrender your ego to this Supreme Self. This will let you witness reality in no time. Instead of focusing on the luminous Self, those on deathbed are busy bidding farewell to their relatives or crying in agony and pain. They are ignorant and do not know that this will only cause more attachment and fear. This forces them to exit one body and enter another womb somewhere for another birth. Death of the ego is the only permanent solution to the ongoing problem of Karmic wheel.

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What is Samadhi?

(A poem by Yogamaya 9)

Unexpectedly it comes
Unexpectedly it goes
Yet no one really knows
What it is…
 
It comes not to all
Not to the ones who from the yogic grace fall,
Only the sages and the wise
Can experience it and realize
This eternal truth that is absolute
Which is realized when the mind is mute.
 
This mystical reality of the cosmos is a luminous bright light that incessantly glows,
Like a river merging into the ocean it freely flows
Giving unimaginable bliss that cannot be expressed by prose
 
Upon knowing it, you wander no more
From birth to death, from shore to shore,
You are awake and without any fear,
Only by knowing the Self, who is bright and clear
 
There is nothing left to be known,
There is nothing left to be said,
No more illusions to be sown,
No more thoughts to be fed
 
It comes not by holding your breath,
It comes not by inhaling deep,
It comes only upon ego’s death,
When the mind is forever put to sleep.
 


– Yogamaya 9

The essence of the poem

Samadhi is the highest state of meditation. It is a conscious trance or absorption into the Supreme Self. It is attained by extreme penance and concentration (Dhyana), which is one-pointed focus on the Self. It is the final limb of Yoga in the Ashtanga Yoga practice (the other limbs are in this order: Yama (ethical standards and integrity); Niyama (self-discipline and spiritual observances); Asana (maintaining the right postures); Pranayama (breath control); Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses); Dharana (concentration devoid of external distractions); Dhyana (meditation with an uninterrupted flow of concentration).

Samadhi is the final stage when the meditator merges with whatever he/she focuses on during Dhyana. At this point there is no distinction between the subject and object of meditation. The ego or ‘I’ consciousness is forever lost and you become identified with the Supreme Self (Paramatma). Samadhi is not something you can desire to have and neither can it be experienced by putting voluntary effort into your breath control, or by deliberately forcing your mind not to think of anything etc. It can only be experienced. It is not deep sleep but the stage beyond deep sleep when all the senses are lost except for the Self-awareness. You become the witness of your own divine consciousness at that time. There are four stages of consciousness: while you are awake, while you are dreaming when sleeping, while you are in deep sleep without dreams and lastly, a state of pure awareness beyond the state of deep sleep. This fourth state is also known as Turiya. After Samadhi, one is said to be enlightened and is called a ‘Seer’ or Rishi (sage). Thereafter, whatever scriptures the enlightened one reads, he/she will understand everything, because the highest wisdom has already dawned within him/her – the wisdom of the Supreme Self. Thereafter, it is only about exhausting the Prarabhdha karma, as an enlightened one does not have Sanchita or Agami, the fire of knowledge engulfs all the karma except the Prarabhdha.

What is interesting to note here is that Prarabhdha will only exist for the enlightened one from another person’s point of view, because the enlightened one will not feel any sorrow or pain of any Karma. Furthermore, there are two types of Samadhi – Nirvikalpa and Savikalpa. Nirvikalpa is the highest state of Samadhi, where the meditator and Self merge to a point of no return of the individual consciousness, such a Samadhi can last for days, weeks or even years together, when we think that the person is dead but actually they are not dead but are in deep trance. However, such Yogis do not always stay in the cities to help people. They retire to forest or mountain to meditate and initiate true spiritual aspirants if the need arises. Savikalpa is the state of Samadhi where the meditator has identified his own identity as the object of meditation, this could be an IshtaDevata (chosen deity or Kaula Guru based on your astrological chart. In this Samadhi the individual consciousness returns but is under the guidance of the object of meditation. Yogis who attain this type of Samadhi can work in normal situations and interact with everyone without anyone even knowing that this person is a Yogi. Such Yogis can choose to enter Nirvikalpa at any point in their life.

Another difference in the type of Samadhi is that Yogis who have attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi show no specific qualities or Gunas (Nirguna), e.g. they’ll eat anything you give them, survive on anything etc.), whereas after a Savikalpa Samadhi, Yogis may still retain certain likes and dislikes (Saguna) but these are not to be compared with the likes and dislikes of a common man.

Upon enlightenment, a being attains Siddhis (special powers owing to spiritual perfection). However, that being never misuses these powers. Powers include these:the ability to become big or small, ability to appear or disappear at any place, ability to control death and time and all situations, ability to control other beings, ability to make any dream come true etc.  Whatever object a Yogi meditates on during Samyama (control of elements through yogic absorption), he merges with that object and attains powers associated with the object. For example, meditating on the sun, the Yogi attains radiance (Tejas), vigour, heat, light and supreme wisdom as qualities. Sage Patajanjali has elaborated these powers in detail in the Yoga Sutras.