Dhar­ma and Yoga

San­skrit has many deep and beau­ti­ful words. One of them is ‘Dhar­ma’.

Dhar­ma is not an ide­ol­o­gy of a group, a par­tic­u­lar reli­gion or a phi­los­o­phy. It is not any ‘ism’. Dhar­ma is the intrin­sic, orig­i­nal nature or qual­i­ty. On a per­son­al lev­el, it could also be trans­lat­ed as duty, but infact dhar­ma is not duty. Dhar­ma is the intrin­sic qual­i­ty, the essen­tial prop­er­ty. For instance, fire burns because its dhar­ma is hot­ness; that is its essen­tial quality.

Now what is the essen­tial nature, what is the dhar­ma of human beings? Human dhar­ma is Truth. It is Satchi­danan­da: Exis­tence, Con­scious­ness, Bliss. It is Sathyam, Shiv­am, Sun­daram, Truth, Aus­pi­cious­ness, Beau­ty. Yes indeed, these qual­i­ties make up our dhar­ma; they make up our True Nature. But we live in obliv­ion of our True Nature; we for­get the innate bliss and peace that we are. Instead, we expe­ri­ence our­selves full of stress, attach­ment, greed, jeal­ousy. It even looks as if these things are our true nature.

But this can­not be. Why not? These things are addi­tions; they are not iden­ti­cal with our True Nature.

Our True Nature can­not be apart from what we are. Our True Nature is always with us. Our True Nature is us. The bad things are just like dust on a mir­ror — they are cov­er­ings. The mir­ror always has the capac­i­ty to reflect, but some­times it is com­plete­ly cov­ered by dust. In a way, it then ‘for­gets’ to reflect. It is the same with us: we can­not lose our True Nature, but we can for­get what we are.

Why is this? Since birth, we are trained to con­tin­u­ous­ly look out­side, so we get a lot of out­side infor­ma­tion and impres­sions
that stick to us.

Look at a spi­der. The spi­der makes a web. She hangs in it; she some­times even enjoys it by using it as a swing. But if she con­tin­ues to cre­ate a thick­er and thick­er web, she her­self will get entan­gled in it and then, just like the flies she catch­es, she will die. It is the same with us. We are direct­ed out­wards. We enjoy out­er things and activ­i­ties. But more and more, we become entan­gled in them. We get stuck. We suffocate.

But our Real Nature, our dhar­ma, is not lost.

It is still there. Our inner free­dom is still there. It is us; it can nev­er be apart from us. Impu­ri­ties came, so they can also go. But dhar­ma is our nature; it nev­er came, so it will nev­er go away. Sup­pose we fol­low a cer­tain spir­i­tu­al prac­tise. If dur­ing this prac­tise we focus deeply on the prayer we are recit­ing or on the mantra we are repeat­ing, to a cer­tain extent our mind will get divert­ed from our impu­ri­ties. That’s why there are many ways to become pure, to become free. Many sid­dhan­tas, or tra­di­tion­al teach­ings, empha­size Nishka­ma Kar­ma yoga. Nishka­ma Kar­ma yoga is act­ing with­out self-inter­est. Act­ing, per­form­ing kar­ma with self-inter­est makes us greedy.

For this rea­son, Lord Krish­na said: ‘While act­ing, don’t focus on the fruit, don’t han­ker after the result. Give impor­tance to kar­ma, to action itself; don’t give impor­tance to the out­come, to the result.’

Sup­pose the fruit doesn’t come, then you are not upset because you are focused on the kar­ma, on the activ­i­ty. But most peo­ple are focused on the out­come. They even say: we like to do less but expect even more pos­i­tive results from our actions! Nishka­ma kar­ma is the anti­dote to this. It is the method­ol­o­gy to become free from attach­ments. Then you will have less anger, less fear, less jeal­ousy. So Nishka­ma Kar­ma yoga sets you free from impu­ri­ties and bad things.

Anoth­er gen­uine approach to spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is Bhak­ti yoga, the yoga of devo­tion. Sup­pose you receive a mantra from your guru. Then repeat or chant it with devo­tion. Take Sri Chai­tanya (1486–1533) as your exam­ple. He was always chant­i­ng Hare Krish­na, Hare Rama,… the mantra he received from his mas­ter. Then one day
he dis­cov­ered that he was not chant­i­ng him­self, but the mantra auto­mat­i­cal­ly was going on inside con­tin­u­ous­ly. When this hap­pens, you cross the bor­der of impu­ri­ties. In this way,

Bhak­ti yoga leads you to the goal.

Jnana yoga, the path of knowl­edge, is a dif­fi­cult path. Gen­er­al­ly the teacher will give you one of the ‘mahavakya’’s, the ‘great say­ings’ from the Upan­ishads like ‘Aham Brah­mas­mi’ mean­ing : ‘I am the Total­i­ty, the Ulti­mate Real­i­ty or Brah­man’. In the begin­ning you have to use the intel­lect to get the process going. Pro­gres­sive­ly,
you will go deep­er and deep­er into this mahavakya.

At a cer­tain moment you may have the real­iza­tion that is expressedin the fol­low­ing verse:

Pur­na­madah Pur­nami­dam
Pur­nat Pur­na­mu­dachy­ate
Pur­nasya Pur­na­ma­daya
Pur­name­va Vashishy­ate
Om shan­ti, shan­ti, shanti

The mean­ing of this slo­ka, which is the peace invo­ca­tion at the begin­ning of the Isha Upanisad, is: ‘OM. “That” is “Full”. “This” is “Full”. Full­ness aris­es from Full­ness. Tak­ing away the Full from the Full, Full­ness will still remain.’ So when you are suc­cess­ful, you will merge into that absolute Full­ness. How­ev­er, the prob­lem is that for many aspi­rants, the real­iza­tion only remains on the lev­el of the intel­lect. Gen­er­al­ly, Jnana Yoga only gath­ers infor­ma­tion in the mind.



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The realization is expressed
in the following verse

Pur­na­madah Pur­nami­dam
Pur­nat Pur­na­mu­dachy­ate
Pur­nasya Pur­na­ma­daya
Pur­name­va Vashishy­ate
Om shan­ti, shan­ti, shanti

It is like the drunk­ard who knows that he should not be drink­ing. On an intel­lec­tu­al lev­el, he has this under­stand­ing, this real­iza­tion; still he can­not quit his bad habit. He can­not become free from it.

Like­wise, many jna­nis know free­dom only intel­lec­tu­al­ly, but they are not free.

Jnana should be on the lev­el of ‘rita­mb­hara pragya’, the Truth-bear­ing Wis­dom about which Patan­jali and oth­ers speak. This means that your Heart, your Essence, should con­tain this jnana, not your mind. Now we come to clas­si­cal yoga, the yoga of eight limbs, or ash­tan­ga yoga, as explained by Rishi Patan­jali in the Yoga-sutras. The eight limbs stand for eight steps, begin­ning with the do’s and don’ts of yama and niya­ma. Then comes sta­bil­i­ty and ease in pos­ture and sit­ting (asana). The next step deals with the reg­u­la­tion and exten­sion of prana by means of the breath (pranaya­ma), and then we come to the with­draw­al of the sens­es from out­side objects (pratya­hara), to con­cen­tra­tion (dha­rana) and to med­i­ta­tion (dhyana) lead­ing up to samad­hi. It is not an easy path.

One needs a prop­er Mas­ter and the right con­ducive atmos­phere to progress step by step. There must be guid­ance at every stage.

Nowa­days, these nec­es­sary require­ments are dif­fi­cult to find. More­over, a core prac­tise is ‘Ish­vara pranid­hana’. You have to trust ful­ly in God and sur­ren­der to Him. In our mod­ern world, many peo­ple only prac­tise yoga to become health­i­er. The yoga in most yoga stu­dios is a sham. It has no spir­i­tu­al dimen­sion any­more. With such an approach to yoga, you can­not go deeply. Many peo­ple say they don’t need spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. They say they find much plea­sure in the world. But every plea­sure car­ries with it the seed of desire to have that plea­sure again and the fear of los­ing it. They also claim they find free­dom in the world. But as the plea­sure doesn’t bring last­ing hap­pi­ness, like­wise the free­dom they think to have is the free­dom that is felt by a dog that is on a long rope.

The ani­mal thinks: ‘I can go here; I can go there. I can go from this cor­ner to that cor­ner’. But this isn’t real free­dom. Peo­ple fight for free­dom, but they don’t know what real free­dom is. In fact, we think we are free, but we are not free. We don’t tru­ly feel free and hap­py. As long as we are entan­gled in our own impu­ri­ties we can­not be free, it is only an illu­sion of free­dom. We think as long as we don’t have to fol­low any rule or any dis­ci­pline we can do what we want.

We think that free­dom means always mak­ing our own choices.

But we can only be real­ly free when we are free from illu­sion. From that time only we are able to real­ize our dhar­ma. Also we, the yogis, fol­low rules and reg­u­la­tions. The entire uni­verse fol­lows some kind of dis­ci­pline. Nature fol­lows a cer­tain dis­ci­pline
and feels hap­py. There is no jeal­ousy among plants! So reg­u­la­tions should be there.

Most peo­ple live in a greedy atmos­phere full of jeal­ousy. This makes the prac­tise of Jnana yoga, Hatha yoga, Ash­tan­ga yoga very dif­fi­cult because our minds are infect­ed. They become nar­row. I myself did a lot of yoga prac­tise. I fol­lowed the prac­tise of Vedan­ta as well. But shak­ti­pat is unique. With shak­ti­pat, one gets imme­di­ate­ly a glimpse of the Self, of our Divine Nature. When one has received shak­ti­pat, and when one has cul­ti­vat­ed a deep insight into the illu­sion of this world, one can get free easily.

My guru­ji, Swa­mi Shiv­om Tirth Maharaj, used to say that quick results depend on the fol­low­ing:
- A deep inter­est in the High­est Truth, a true sense of miss­ing God. This inter­est, this long­ing for Truth is real­ly impor­tant. For that, shak­ti­pat will real­ly help deep seek­ers.
- A prop­er lin­eage and a true Mas­ter belong­ing to this lin­eage.
- Devo­tion to the lin­eage of Mas­ters. How­ev­er, when one gets glimpses of high­er con­scious­ness, the devo­tion will come automatically.

Then shak­ti­pat will give very fast results. All oth­er meth­ods give results as well, but with shak­ti­pat one will get glimpses very soon. Then curios­i­ty and aspi­ra­tion will grow very strong.

I saw many aspi­rants who became enlight­ened in a short time.

With shak­ti­pat, jivan­muk­ti, the state of Lib­er­a­tion while still liv­ing in a phys­i­cal body, becomes possible.

Bad kar­ma, sins have no meaning.

Why not? We have no idea about the pow­er of Shak­ti. This tremen­dous Shak­ti runs the uni­verse! Com­pared to this, our bad kar­ma is total­ly insignif­i­cant. At least dur­ing med­i­ta­tion, become free! All our bod­ies: the phys­i­cal body, the prana body, the body of the mind,…they mean nothing.

Only Shak­ti exists.

Shak­ti is dancing!

That should be our tar­get, our focus! There is a nice sto­ry in the Mahab­hara­ta on the pow­er of focus­ing on the right tar­get. Dronacharya was a teacher of archery. At one time, he orga­nized a com­pe­ti­tion. For this he invit­ed the best archers of his time. He hung up a fish on a pole. He gave the instruc­tion to aim at the eye of the fish. Many archers came, but they all missed. Then it was the turn of Arju­na. He aimed his arrow and pierced the fish­eye! The onlook­ers con­grat­u­lat­ed him saying:‘What a won­der­ful con­cen­tra­tion you have, you are able to put your atten­tion exclu­sive­ly on the fish.’ ‘Not at all’, Arju­na replied: ‘I didn’t see a fish at all, I only saw an eye!’ Then Dronacharya exclaimed that, due to his intense abil­i­ty to focus, Arju­na was his best dis­ci­ple. So focus or one-point­ed con­cen­tra­tion is the way to spir­i­tu­al accom­plish­ment. Dur­ing med­i­ta­tion, just focus on Shak­ti. Shak­ti is danc­ing! Don’t feel the body; don’t see the mind, the prana, the environment.

Just focus on Shak­ti. Some say to me that they are too shy to allow the Shak­ti to work in pub­lic. Don’t be shy! MERGE IN SHAKTI! Don’t both­er about what oth­er peo­ple might think. If you com­plain that some peo­ple are noisy, then you are not prop­er­ly focused on your tar­get. Then you are not total­ly sur­ren­dered to Shakti.

With shak­ti­pat med­i­ta­tion, you just have to enjoy, no need to con­cen­trate on the Heart chakra or any oth­er chakra. Then you will see very fast progress hap­pen­ing. Shak­ti­pat works mul­ti-dimen­sion­al! I saw many mir­a­cles hap­pen­ing with people.

So this is my final advice: Involve your­self ful­ly in Shakti’s play!
Hari Om.

Sign up and get informed when the next cours­es start PLUS receive access to the talk “Kun­dali­ni — The Source Of Divine Love” 
We host from time to time free zoom talks on dif­fer­ent top­ics. By sign­ing up you also receive the link to the Kun­dali­ni Sup­port Telegram Group 

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