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Swami Harinanda

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 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- ... replace -a-t- with @ to send me an email.

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We are all fascinated by magic. The conjurer has enjoyed attention since the beginning of time, till today we have the flashiest artists man could hope to see. It fairly puts to shame some of the stories of the Yogis who perform their bag of tricks for the unsuspecting neophyte. When Patanjali speaks about the siddhi powers, are we to believe it? We shall see.


This chapter will no doubt be quite unsettling to some readers, since most people have become so conditioned to yogic lore that they lose sight of Absolute Reality, falling prey to the tempting charms and enchantments of the world of illusion.

Mired in the labyrinth of folklore, one quickly loses orientation and cannot discern between the Real and the Unreal. What is Magic? What is a Vision? Can a vision ever be real, as some religions so devoutly believe?

In the throes of his hallucinations, the alcoholic has no doubt that he actually sees rats and other creepy-crawlies scrambling all over him, devouring him alive. Terrified, he screams and thrashes around violently trying to throw them off, to no avail. Similarly, hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, are known to induce visions of reality, covering the entire gamut of experience, from the sublime to the sinister and downright dangerous. Throughout the ages, people have reported sighting extraterrestrial beings and their fantastic spaceships. Excavations have revealed prehistoric cave drawings featuring men in what appear to be modern day spacesuits.

More down to earth, the notebooks of colonial travellers in India contain fascinating accounts of the Great Indian Rope trick performed by mystic fakirs who "charm" a rope, generally to the sound of a flute, so that it uncoils, quite like a snake from a basket, until it is vertically hovering above the ground without any discernable support. The fakir would then get a young lad to climb to the top of the now rigid rope and down again, before causing the rope to resettle neatly back in its basket, once more, to the wailing sound of his magic flute.

When it comes to visions, we know that an African Christian will most probably see a black Jesus in his "apparition" while a Westerner will see a brown-haired blue-eyed Jesus and in the case of the Coptic Christian, Jesus would be dark-skinned and brown-eyed. Visions are not a purely Christian phenomenon however, since Hinduism abounds with reports of different people seeing the same god or guru in different places at the same time. Then there is Magic or the materialization of objects in seemingly empty hands or the production of ashes (vibhuti) from thin air.

All these hallucinations, visions, feats of magic and supernatural sightings keep people literally spellbound and inextricably chained to the mystic side of illusion. The Real can only be known and experienced, when, as Patanjali teaches us, "one totally annihilates ALL mental fluctuation (chitta vritti nirhoda)". We shall now look into the reasons underlying this truth.

All of us know that while asleep our dreams appear very real to us (as a result of the concomitant laws of the dream state), but upon awaking, we fully understand that the dream was merely an illusion.

Similarly, when we awaken into the fourth state of pure consciousness known as truriya, we realise that the world we call "objective reality" in our normal state of living, is as much an illusion as our dreams were when we awakened. Objective reality appears real to us as a result of the concomitant laws that govern our normal waking state, but in fact while seemingly "awake" we are only dreaming in an awakened state, instead of in a sleep state.

In addition to our normal waking state and our dream state while asleep, every night we also experience a deep sleep state devoid of dreams. It is in this state of deep sleep that we become fully ourselves and swim in the consciousness of self, but we are not aware of this happening since we have no awareness of the deep sleep state. When we step beyond this state of deep sleep to awaken in the world of truriya, we experience what is known as Sat-chit-ananda, a state of pure consciousness without external attributes. This is a state of inexpressible Supreme Eternal Existence, Eternal Pure Consciousness, Eternal Bliss, a state of true and perfect union with the self. The difference between the deep sleep state and the truriya state is that while experiencing sat-chit-ananda in the truriya state, we are fully aware and conscious, not deadened into the coma-like unconsciousness of deep sleep. Just what are we conscious of, if it is without attributes? We are conscious of an experience. A true experience can never be known in the sense that we can explain it. What we can do and want to do is repeat it though.

Coming back to the issue of visions, magic and the supernatural, theologians, psychologists and scientists of all kinds have tried to understand how these mental images are produced. Why do all severe alcoholics have the same theme-based hallucinations featuring rats, snakes and other creepy-crawlies? Why do the deeply religious who see visions, tend to see the apparition of God that is closest to their cultural background? If Jesus were real, would he not appear the same to them all? Or is it that he appears to people as they envision him in their culture, so as to be more accessible and understandable to them?

The explanation one chooses for this phenomenon is of little importance (and will probably be the result of one's own particular theological or scientific mindset). It has however been established that when certain tiny brain nodules are activated by stimuli (hormonal secretions or chemical compounds), they induce the same apparent vision in all subjects. The particular effect, vision or feeling, that a stimulated nodule produces, depends on the concomitant laws that govern that specific nodule.

LSD changes the chemical balance of the brain, causing the stimulation of certain nodules that generate similar types of experiences in all LSD users. These types of experiences are specific to the particular nodules stimulated by the drug and cannot be compared to what is experienced in any other realm or by stimulating other nodules. The nodules sensitive to LSD provide access to the Astral Plane and when these nodules are stimulated, using the drug or through other means, the result could cover the full range from a super transformational experience to euphoria that could result in death (if one, believing one can fly, jumps out of the window, for instance) to terror or horror.

As the mind approaches a transcendental state, it is quite common for a nodule to be inadvertently triggered, resulting in visions of aliens or of being abducted and detained aboard an extraterrestrial spaceship. For the person undergoing the experience, it is as real as "objective reality". Upon returning to "objective reality" the person may even find scars on the body, further fuelling his deep-seated conviction that the aliens performed some inexplicable surgical procedure on him. All this however only appears real because of the concomitant laws governing that particular space-time nodule in the brain.

Transferring wounds from one realm of consciousness to another is quite common and is medically explained as a somatic manifestation of a mental state. All of us have, at some time or the other, experienced the immense power of the mind in producing somatic projections of "objectively" inexistent stimuli. How many times have we not awakened bathed in a cold sweat, trembling and even screaming from a terrifying nightmare? This type of sweat, that is almost always a reaction of tremendous fear in the "objective" world, was induced by purely mental stimuli, while we were, in fact, sound asleep in the security of our own homes, not even remotely exposed to any cause for fear.

A strong case has been recently made in medical circles, for considering psycho-somatic mechanisms as the probable cause for the appearance of the stigmata. While this theory is strongly supported by what we now know of the power of the mind, the immense religious fervour, sincere compassion and obvious spiritual development of some of those bearing the stigmata, would make any rational explanation for the phenomenon seem like heresy.

It is important to understand that anyone who opens certain nodules of consciousness will go through the same types of experiences as anyone else who as done the same. These experiences are, therefore, purely induced by the mind and only appear to be real because of the concomitant laws of those particular nodules. In other words, all these experiences are nothing but mind constructs, all created by the magic of Maya, illusion. This cunning, infinitely seductive enchantress traps us at each and every turn by making good use of her ability to create concomitant laws that make our experiences seem real to us, as they unfold. It is only when we awaken from one state to another that we realize, "It was only a dream."

Maya's most successful ploy was in tricking us into becoming so attached to the objective reality we call waking life, that its concomitant laws have become ingrained in us to such an extent, that they seem almost impossible to shake off. Gravity holds us all firmly in place. Time, while it may change pace depending on our moods, nevertheless has us fully convinced that life is sequential in nature and together with space, easily fools us into believing in birth and death, beginnings and endings. None of these laws apply in the dream state, where we can talk to long-dead relatives and consider them as naturally alive and as fully present in the dream as we, ourselves, are.

The magic feats and materializations so prodigiously performed by some yogi masters and religious gurus, are in fact nothing more than so many illusions within the context of the greater illusion of "objective reality". A skilful cabaret performer can actually do more with sleight of hand, but even as we gleefully succumb to the wiles of both because of their tricks, the spiritual magician gets away with a great deal more. Having surrendered totally to that particular guru or teacher and given him their total allegiance and cooperation, his disciples fully and sincerely believe in his divine powers, because to do otherwise would be most disconcerting to them and would indeed leave them empty and totally disillusioned. People will subscribe to the most absurd and fanciful notions rather than leave the comfort of the warm embrace of Maya, to set out to seek the unknown shores of the Absolute Truth that may, perhaps, prove less snug and cozy.

Just ask yourself, have you ever seen levitation? Have you ever seen a performing magician at work? Do you not ever question your own self as to why you are seeing that man floating, or how come you are seeing some Alien, or for that matter seeing the rats crawl over your body? We know when the drunk sobers up, he says, "Oh God that was awful, I will never drink again." Of course the illness seduces him time and time again. Spiritual blindness is even stronger than alcohol and constantly seduces us, through the master illusionist, Maya, who keeps us from discovering the real Truth, the Absolute Reality, The one without a second.

Maya prevents us from becoming self realized. One can only approach the real Truth when one finally gives up all the ceremony of robe wearing, getting engrossed in one mantra or the other. Mantras, furthermore, only serve to bind us even more strongly to Maya, since they can become a groove in the mind or Chit, which can be damnably hard to get rid of. They are designed to be self starting, and we finally have to pull ourselves together and take the stick of ego to stir the fire of longing for the Absolute alone, so determinedly and willfully, that the ego stick itself becomes consumed in our fire of truth seeking passion.

Patanjali claims that siddhi powers are automatically acquired as one advances in yoga, but because a true yogi is only interested in union with the self, he will relinquish these siddhi powers one by one as he acquires them. Visions of lights, ascended masters, other illusory worlds like the Astral and some Causal planets, are all anathema to a serious yogi. Students who are allowed to be captivated by the powers that they may acquire, are being led astray.

Maya, the world, the heavens and all the nether worlds are nothing more than a shadow picture generated by the mind when the first personal pronoun, the "I" awakens from the deepest of sleeps. Having accepted this pseudo reality so totally, it is very difficult for anyone to dive deep enough to attain the fourth state of Turiya Satchitananda, that brings with it the realization of the experience of eternal Bliss and that all else is illusion.

All that is, except the Turiya itself, that cannot be illusion because it is totally devoid of attributes. No shadows are cast by the light of truriya, since one becomes the light itself, which is the illuminator of consciousness.. Ego, the attribute that may be seen as a part of God or Self, is also dissolved within the Self, just as a spider's thread is drawn back up into the belly of the spider. Ego itself being dissolved, all that remains is the true self, but unlike the state of deep sleep, in truriya, one remains awake even as one sleeps. This is the state of the true Sahaj, he who resides in the Bliss of Being Ever Consciously Existent, without attributes. In this state of bliss, the only attributes that one can have are those conferred on them by the others, who still live in the world of the illusory web, spun by the wily enchantress, Maya.


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