Real Yoga with Swami Harinanda - Free Yoga Lessons
December 25, 1928 to August 19, 2014
Sadly, I must inform you that Swami Harinanda passed away early in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. His death came quickly and without pain. As per his wishes there was no service nor memorial, although he would have appreciated donations to the SPCA or any animal shelter that you like. It goes without saying that this one–of–a–kind and great man will be greatly missed.
I first came to know Swami Harinanda around 1995. He was a customer of mine. One way or another, we got talking about spirituality and he mentioned to me that he was a swami. I must admit, I thought he was joking. But then I realized he was serious. We corresponded by email. Amazingly, I still have a printed copy of his early emails to this day.
Swami Harinanda was able to answer some of my basic questions about yoga and although I had started on the yogic path before I met him, talking to and knowing Swami Harinanda helped make my path more clear.
I was lucky enough to have met Swami Harinanda for the first time in April, 1996. I can remember the first time I met him as I drove up to his house. He came outside to greet me — I felt a great sense of joy and calm come over me.
The next day, Swami Harinanda personally taught me the science of yantra yoga at his dining table. I wrote down the principles of yantra yoga on both sides of a blank piece of paper as Swami Harinanda talked. It was a beautiful moment for me — finally my teacher had come. These lessons I still have to this day and still act as my foundation regarding yantra yoga.
Starting around late 1996 to 1997, I helped Swami Harinanda build an early web site. Later we expanded and moved his web site to this current location real-yoga.com. Swami Harinanda wanted people to see the words
real yoga — he wanted people to awaken to the truth of what real yoga is not. Swami Harinanda was not interested in yoga for health.
While building the
real yoga web site, Swami Harinanda didn't know what information we should add. So I suggested to him that we should add informaton that is not easily found elsewhere regarding real yoga. I told Swami Harinanda that myself and others want to know why we should practice yoga, what are the types of yoga, who are some famous yogis and a lesson in pure hatha yoga. So this is what we did. I asked the questions, Swami Harinanda wrote the content.
Swami Harinanda was a pure teacher. He would never accept money for teaching. Yoga or spirituality is part of universal knowledge that belongs to everyone. Therefore, one cannot charge for what already belongs to them. Swami Harinanda always said that a good teacher has a day job and then teaches on his or her own time for free. The teacher should pay for any room rental, etc — this is the sign of a pure teacher which Swami Harinanda was.
Swami Harinanda was taught or told personally by Ramana Marharshi to never accept payment and as Swami Harinanda would always say,
Ramana Maharshi is never wrong.
Swami Harinanda did not go to meet Ramana Maharshi in India, instead, they met on the astral plane. Ramana told Swami Harinanda that he did not need to be in a cave or anything like that to be a good student of yoga. Swami Harinanda took those words to heart and lived a normal life while being totally dedicated to self realization.
Swami Harinanda knew many little or lesser known things about yoga. He really studied the theory of yoga and put himself into a position to meet people that would impact him. Somewhere along the way he learned the
Master's Chant, as an example, and many more things. Swami Harinanda would openly teach kriya yoga as well. Swami Harinanda loved the yogic life and just absorbed every little detail.
In 1996, I was personally quite ill and possibly near death. Swami Harinanda gave me the book on Karma Yoga by Swami Vivekanda to read. It was the best medicine I've ever received. From that day onwards, I fell madly in love with karma yoga. Knowing this, Swami Harinanda bestowed the name
Karmananda to me. I thank him very much for this honour.
Swami Harinanda was a good teacher, a good person and a good friend.
- Yogi Karmananda
jaideemarketing-karmananda -a-t- yahoo.com ... replace
There are many scholastic books written on consciousness - huge tomes that leave many novitiates in the dark still, and none of them seem to touch on what the Yogis have known for millennia, that there is pure consciousness without attributes, and impure consciousness with attributes. It seems that most of the scholars have dealt with the latter.
I am going to start out this book with the first chapter on both these levels of consciousness and just what kind of awareness exists in each. From this beginning, the following chapters will elucidate many of the guessed at, hoped for and blindly accepted dictums of the so called spiritual world of thinking, and bring one back to the true and absolute source of one's being. It is here in this state, known as Satchitananda, that one can transcend the attributable state of consciousness and attain liberation by existing forever in the attributless state of consciousness known as the fourth state, Turiya."
Any attempt at explaining consciousness is presumptuous. It is one of the most difficult concepts for a non-yogi to even begin to grasp, let alone try to expound intellectually. The following might however provide some useful clues to those seeking to understand consciousness more fully.
Consider, for an instant, the human brain to be a sponge, totally dried out and shrunken in the foetus. At birth, this tightly compacted ball of brain sponge is suddenly cast into an ocean of consciousness, the elusive object of our study. And quite like fish swimming in the ocean, who ask each other, "What is this thing called water that everybody seems so excited about?". Consciousness can only be discovered by backtracking as we are too close to it. We are swimming in it.. Gradually, as the consciousness of "things" begins to penetrate the dried brain-sponge, the brain expands and sets out on its journey of unfoldment.
At birth, a child is totally devoid of objective consciousness. In the great scheme of things, the new born brain inherits instinctive consciousness (or the seeds of the dormant "I") and a whole set of genetic and chromosomal strings from its parents. This very basic operating system allows the newly born brain computer to receive data as input, setting in motion the unfolding that sets out on a perceptible journey of growth and self-awareness.
Millennia ago, ancient Seers realized that most of what we think we know, has in fact been conditioned into us, much like in the modern age, data is fed into a computer. By processing this data, the brain seems to have the wondrous ability to generate, as though out of thin air, revolutionary inventions and ideas that have heralded new ages and epochs throughout human history.
The saying in New Testament, "In my Father's house, there are many mansions", suggests that there are large areas of the brain waiting to unfold. And as one delves deeper into the miraculous adventure of opening these small brain nodules (the "mansions"), one acquires awareness of things previously undreamt of. Modern Science is only now discovering what the ancient Rishis always knew - as more and more of these nodules are opened up through the secretion of certain hormones, new aspects of consciousness are activated, opening new doors to other dimensions.
All this however, does not explain consciousness, since Pure Consciousness is the absence of "things and thoughts" and so far, we have only dealt with increasing the conditioning of the brain, in an on-going process of receiving in, opening up and unfolding, so as such we shall discuss Pure Consciousness later.
At some early period before the dawn of our history, some 50,000 years ago, our non-intellectual brain could conceivably use our other heightened senses to decipher the secrets of nature and discern which roots, leaves and berries were good for us and which were not. Reasoning was in its infancy, and our early ancestors simplistically reasoned that Thunder was the voice of some distant Power and Lightning was perhaps his consort. To appease these forces, that to them must have appeared unpredictable and inexplicable, our early ancestors developed a primitive belief system that much later culminated in the cutting out of Incan hearts and the casting of young Mayan virgins into the fiery craters of active volcanoes. One would have thought it would have ceased there, but the sponge has not fully unfolded all its powers as yet and the need to cling to belief and superstition persists to this day.
Ponder for a moment and try to figure out which of your thoughts are really yours and which have been sown in you by someone else. Unless you are an inventor and have had the superlative experience of opening the door to another "mansion" in the brain to access some "new" idea, there will not be much thinking that you can sincerely call your own. Not a very reassuring thought, but perseverance is a precious tool in the quest for the truth about Consciousness.
Preconceived ideas and notions that have been quietly planted into us, can do amazing things. Take for instance the fact that Catholics believe that the communion wafer and the wine at Holy Mass are transformed into the actual Body and Blood of Christ. For the Catholic, this is a mystical mystery of faith. A Hindu confronted with this idea, because of his ingrained vegetarianism, would probably conclude that the Catholic faith was based on cannibalistic beliefs and principles, since it involves the "mystical" consumption of human or worse, divine flesh and blood. Conversely, the Catholic would regard his Hindu neighbour who seemingly worships idols and prostrates himself before the Lingam, a stone depiction of the "penis of God", a childish pagan at best or an evil heathen at worst. While both religions profess a belief in God and the brotherhood of man, the history of both Christianity and Hinduism is awash with blood.
Why should the mere word "God" in different languages cause such discord? Whatever the word, Allah, God, Shiva, Qwan-yin, the substance remains the same, quite like water remains the same no matter what you call it, and will quench your thirst regardless of your culture or beliefs.
As you become increasingly aware of the conditioning involved in your thinking, you will begin to realize that you should immediately discard any belief or ideal, no matter how lofty and noble, that is considered more precious than another person's life. This requires great courage, for in most cases, people would start feeling empty without all the philosophies, ideals, religions and superstitions they so passionately embrace and cling to.
Krishnamurthi teaches that when one becomes aware of one's conditioning without making a conscious effort or choice, (He calls this Choiceless Awareness) a transformation takes place. What is this transformation? It varies from person to person, but it inevitably leads to an investigative process that is at once amazing and liberating.
Do you remember the carefree days of early childhood when honey-throated laughter bubbled and gurgled out of you in a continuous stream of joy and wonderment? Those were indeed happy times. Those very same happy times are your birthright, that the seeds of conditioning and beliefs have snatched away. Retracing your steps back to those joyful times is an admirable start. This is the real meaning of the word "to repent" - to return, to revisit. In modern usage, the word repentance has acquired a cloak of guilt. The only guilt-tinged feeling that is healthy, however, is the shame that one must surely feel for the attachment to the conditioning that others have sown in the fertile field of one's mind as a child.
Mind as time. In his special theory of relativity, Einstein tells us that as a space traveller approaches the speed of light, time will slow down so that all his physical functions are slowed down too. This means that on a round trip that would last 80 years in terms of earth time, our space traveller would require no food or provisions at all, and upon returning, he would have found everyone else he knew, had aged by 80 years, although he would have aged by just a few minutes.
The Srimat Bhagavata, one of the ancient Hindu scriptures, tells of a king who travelled with his daughter to Brahmaloka (the Consciousness of Brahma) to ask Brahma to give him the name of a suitable groom for his daughter. Brahma explained to him that though the king had spent but a few moments in His Loka, when he returned to earth, he would find that a few thousand years had passed. The story ends with Brahma providing the king with the name of the perfect groom for his daughter.
Even in those times, thousands of years ago, the ancient sages and composers of the scriptures were aware of other dimensions, the dynamics of the space-time continuum and the mathematics of time travel, and went so far as to try to describe the ages, the creation and the dissolution of universes.
The Srimat Bhagavata also talks about the divisions of time beginning with the smallest material particle known that cannot be divided, that has not evolved and that cannot be combined with any other particle. In the Hindu scriptures, this particle is known by the name of "paramanu", and the texts describe it all the way through to the "anu" or atom and on to the "traseranu" which is the size of a particle and indicates the time it takes for light to traverse that particle. These writings are all the more fascinating in light of the period in which they were composed. Where did all that knowledge come from? Nothing new under sun?
The Srimat Bhagavata also contains a very complicated system of calculation that provides precise earth year equivalents of Celestial time. To the astonishment of modern physicists who previously spurned these texts for their lack of scientific content, recent "discoveries" tend to confirm the ancient wisdom.
Having created time in the first place, the mind is now slave to concomitant laws of its creation. In common parlance, when one is happy, time flies, and when one is depressed, it drags. By raising his consciousness to other levels, by entering other "mansions" of the brain, the yogi speeds up his thought processes to such an extent that he enters and expresses himself in mental planes that extend far beyond the more common planes of the dream state and what we generally call "objective reality".
These other planes vibrate at different frequencies and follow a different set of concomitant laws. We often experience these differing vibratory frequencies in the dream state, where flying and floating are commonplace. Conversely, in the dream state, we may also feel that our feet are glued to the ground, even as we are being pursued by some assailant. As a direct result of the laws concomitant to the dream state (that all of us have experienced), the dream seems real while we dream it, although upon awakening we know it as an illusion - a creation of our mind.
But the dream state is only one of the levels of consciousness we experience in other dimensions. Most of us have, in one way or another, raised our minds into a state of super-consciousness. It is not uncommon for us to realize that we have driven a car quiet safely for a considerable distance, while being totally oblivious of time, speed or even the fact of "getting there". We were in fact on another dimensional level, while the "light" of consciousness guided our driving.
When consciousness is raised and enters one of the nine "mansions", other worlds become accessible. Are these hallucinations? Is the objective world we call our "reality", also an illusion? Most modern physicists have no doubt that it is.
So far, we have touched on a few states of mind that involve time and space, such as the subconscious world of dreams and the objective world of what we call reality. We shall now proceed to look into Pure and Impure consciousness, since we have not yet broached the state of deep sleep.
While awake, the "I" surveys the world around it as the objective world of reality with all its concomitant laws. In the dream state, the same "I" can also experience the dream world with its own concomitant laws that differ considerably from the laws that accompany the waking state. When the "I" is dissolved into very deep sleep however, not only does it cease to exist, but all the known worlds also vanish. This happens every night, yet we merely take it for granted that the objective world exists while we are sleeping.
Why, exactly, do we feel that a dream is real, while are dreaming it? The answer to this lies in the laws that govern the dream state. In the dream state, we find it natural to talk to a long dead family member, to float above the ocean, to totally disregard time since there is no virtual time in the dream state. This apparent reality is generated because we have become attached to the concomitant laws that make the dream experience appear real to us while we dream. Upon awakening, we step back into objective reality and realize that our dream experience was merely a dream, an illusion. It is quite common for people to awaken sufficiently to understand that they are dreaming without fully awakening and actually change the outcome of the dream.
Our deep attachment to the laws that accompany what we call "objective reality", however, is infinitely more difficult to shake off and we therefore find it incredibly difficult to even contemplate that it is also an illusion. Yet, as we shall soon see, some of us have awakened in other states of consciousness and are perfectly capable of altering objective reality at will, just as others can change the outcome of their dreams.
In the realm of deep sleep, the "I", the dream world and the objective world have ceased to exist. In deep sleep, a person resides in the true self. It is here where one gets revitalized, renewed and united with absolute and pure consciousness, but all this takes place without conscious awareness.
Upon awakening, others may assure you that while you were in deep sleep the world existed. While this may sound reassuring, one must bear in mind the very people who bear witness to the world's existence while you were asleep, are in turn trapped by the concomitant laws that determine objective reality. The testimony of "others" who are also dreaming their world, is of no comfort to anyone seeking the Ultimate Truth.
Sitting in a cinema hall, one can quite easily be fully engrossed in the action of the shadow pictures on the white screen, and so it is easy to understand that a shadow illusion can make one jump or scream, when the villain pops out from behind a curtain. One could therefore say that the cinema is another world with its own concomitant laws, made up of film, light, the darkness of the hall, the white screen and not least, the talent of the actors and director, all of which come together to produce a celluloid illusion that seldom fails in fooling us into believing that the shadow pictures on the screen are real. Cinema goers are rarely if ever, taken in by the light, the projector or the screen.
When the first personal pronoun, the "I", awakes from a deep sleep, it becomes the projector that allows the light of consciousness to filter through the film of illusory memory patterns and project them to cover the screen of Pure Consciousness. In this analogy, the projector is the illuminating quality of Pure Consciousness, the light itself is the illumination, while the screen is the ego consciousness which the shadow forms appear to cling to. Turn off the projector and nothing exists.
Everything on the screen of consciousness is an illusion. The only reality is Pure Consciousness itself. But you may ask, "Ah! but what about the pictures? Where do they come from?" The objective reality we see upon awakening is nothing more than the conditioned memory of the small ego "I", the first personal pronoun, which has been built into us, ever since as children we began this voyage into developing a personality.
There is a fourth state, a state beyond deep sleep. When one awakes in this realm, one realizes that the objective world is just as much of an illusion as the dream world. This realm is known as Turiya, the "waking sleep state". This has nothing to do with sleepwalking, although it may be a good analogy: a sleep walker, totally unaware of his actions, performs them just the same. The main difference between sleepwalking and the "waking sleep state" is that the sleepwalker is not aware of his actions.
A Yogi, as a result of the loving disciplines he has practiced during his life, can be awake in the deepest of sleep states, and is therefore able to realize that all the external expressions of the objective, subjective and supra-conscious states are nothing but illusions and not real at all.
The very first step in Yoga is known as Dharana or Concentration, exercises designed to develop the ability to restrain (Abhyasa) the mind by focusing one's full attention onto one thing alone. At this stage, the Seer and the Seen are still separate. This is no easy task, since most people today cannot focus for longer than about ten seconds.
Before the Yogi can hold onto his concentration for longer periods, he must enter into what is known as a state of Dhyana or Contemplation, in which the Seer and the object seen fuse together. In this state, concentration can be focused for extended periods of time. One would think that this would be enough, but in fact there are many more stages after this before one enters the fourth and ultimate state of consciousness known as Turiya.
The next step is to maintain that form of Dhyana or Contemplation until one actually unites to become totally one with the object. This is known as Samadhi. This state is also called "Satori" by practitioners of Zen and may take the form of a flash of enlightenment or if developed, can be sustained for short periods of time. The next stage is Sabikalpi Samadhi, where the self unites with pure consciousness for lengthy periods of time.
After attaining Sabikalpi Samadhi, one enters Nirvikalpi Samadhi, which is a state held for several days at a time while one seemingly moves and acts normally. This state actually incorporates two states of consciousness within it, Sampranata Samadhi and Asampranata Samadhi, which are the transition periods as one slides into and out of Nirvikalpi Samadhi.
The final supreme state of Samadhi is known as Sahaja Nirvikalpi Samadhi in which the Self, even as one seemingly lives and acts "normally", is at all times unified and fused with the Infinite and becomes one with pure consciousness. Some call this God union. This is the state that Jesus meant when he said "I and the Father are One".
So? So what? What does all this mean? Why try and attain these states at all? After attaining these states with pompous sounding names, after all, one still lives in the world like everybody else. The answer to this lies in the fact that when one has a true experience, a really true experience that is totally unaffected by fright or logic or any other quality or attribute, one loses one's identity to merge and become one with the "thing" experienced. This state simply defies explanation, because true experience surpasses the logic of language. One is only left with the longing to repeat the experience. While this state cannot be explained or defined in any way, a rather poor analogy of it may be seen in a couple in love. In this heightened state of being, the lovers at the climax of their embrace lose all sense of personal identity or "I" and merge to become one in a passionate ecstatic fusion. It is total bliss. While none of the partners can explain what it was exactly they experienced, they both know perfectly well that they want to do it again. And so they do.
In attaining any of the Samadhis, one experiences infinitely more than this - one enters a state known as Sat Chit Ananda. What exactly does this mean? In the present context, Sat means "being ever existent", Chit mean "being ever conscious" and Ananda means "being ever blissful". Ponder these words awhile and you may get a faint inkling of what Patanjali best describes as Sat Chit Ananda.
Unbeknownst to you, in the midst of your community, there may be a Sahaj, a person who lives constantly in the highest state of consciousness, consciousness without attributes, the consciousness of sheer bliss that defies definition, the state of oneness in which there is no "other" or "second", that is to say, a state without external qualities. Yet the Sahaj will apparently not behave differently than the rest of us. Hindu philosophy teaches us to treat every stranger that knocks on our door as God.
Ramana Maharshi was a Sahaj who lived in the early 1900s. He looked quite ordinary in that he behaved like everyone else. He taught in silence and left a few writings. Yet having his Darshan (the opportunity to gaze upon his person with devotion) changed the lives of millions of people. After all, all great religious teachers prescribe a set of dos and don'ts so as to improve the quality of life of their followers. In this case, Ramana's look or Darshan, in itself was intuitively prescriptive. It reached into the very soul of the person receiving it. There are and have always been great yoga masters who have, when necessary, changed the outcome of our so-called objective reality, by the force of their own will and by doing so uplift humanity in some small measure.
The attributable states of conscious we all know. We do experience the pure attributless state in our deepest sleep but without awareness. The Yogi who has attained Moksha (liberation) experiences pure consciousness whether awake or in deep sleep. It can be related in some measure to the act of a newborn suckling on it's Mother's breast, fully asleep, yet getting his work of feeding himself done. The liberated Yogi does his jobs, acts out his life's work (dharma) all the while being in a state of ever existent bliss.
The next chapters punctuate what is needed in order to "wake up."
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