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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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Sex is such a wonderful expression of so many of our passions and emotions, yet for the life of me I find it hard to believe that there are so many people who are uptight about it, and even some who think sex is "bad."

If there are some Yogis out there who have a problem with this subject relating to the study of Yoga, then I wrote this for them.


Draped around the eternal and pure monad, the Atman or Soul, are the five Sheaths or Koshas. These are made up of the Physical body together with the Mental, the Astral, the Causal and the Ideational casings.

These five koshas have their beginning in the awakening of the first personal pronoun, the "I" or ego, which arises out of the Pure Atman consciousness. Although one may visualize them all as arising out of our body state or mind state, they, in fact, originate from the Pure state of consciousness of the Atman. Each one of them is different in nature and follows the concomitant laws that govern each of them specifically. Springing from the pristine source of the Atman, pure consciousness accumulated impurities that, upon reaching the state of the "I", becomes manifest as consciousness with attributes or the ego.

It is important to bear this in mind as we go through the morass of ignorance regarding sex and spirituality, or sex and religion, or even sex and the Yogi.

Especially in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the very earliest scriptural writers made no attempt to hide their view that the genitals of both men and women were in some way shameful and had to be hidden. The ensuing social and moral conditioning has now given rise to a whole "quasi" industry of psychiatrists and psychologists, amongst others, who focus all their efforts and knowledge towards unravelling the Gordian knot tied so tightly by those early moralists and controllers. These were the ones who cunningly recognized the great political advantage to be gained from setting up a social and religious framework based on reining in human sexuality. Their modern day versions, in the form of purists, moralists and fundamentalists of every stripe and colour, are not about to let go of their wonderful control of the human psyche, that quite apart from swelling the numbers of their faithful, also adds rhythm to the jolly jingle of the wages of guilt resounding in their coffers. Most of these devout congregations, however, fail to understand that much of the Bible and early scriptures were written to alleviate the social and health problems of their ages in a societal climate of moral and ethical chaos.

Despite the seemingly impassioned prose, it is not my intention here to lay blame or judge any of the various interpretations of the ancient scriptures of any religion or, God forbid, the writings themselves. There is no doubt that these scriptures did much in moulding the civilizations of today, that, to a great extent, are based on so called "divinely" inspired writings. However, it would be irresponsible to turn a blind eye to the damage wreaked by these very same books. One must take into account the general tendency to cling unreasonably to these constructed crutches, even in the face of modern advances in Science. We do not let go of the old lore since we fear that this will inevitably lead us to be cursed to endure hellfire and brimstone… Several centuries ago, Shakespeare, in his attempt to teach, wrote Hamlet's famous monologue to tell us that the "dread of something after death […] makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of".

One of these ills that is very effective against the Spiritually Inquisitive is the admonition by certain Gurus, priests and various leaders regarding the fact that celibacy is a pre-requisite to the attainment of Moksha or Liberation. Some contend that even the use of the vital forces of man should be used internally instead of "losing the seed", so as to sort of accelerate the path towards liberation.

At this juncture, one must understand the Sheaths of the various Koshas. The physical energies, including the sexual energies, have nothing whatsoever to do with the "uplifting" of the vital spiritual currents known as Kundalini and Shakti. These have to do with the ethereal forces from the Causal plane.

So in practicing certain techniques such as Kriya or Tantra, one does not use anything other than these ethereal energies. These ancient sciences have been so contorted in so many ways that Tantric Yogis, today, sincerely believe that by manipulating their sexual energies, they will speed up their journey on the seminal train to heaven. Sadly, in most cases, they only create additional psychological problems for themselves. The poor celibate, alas, suffers pitiably insofar that he has relinquished his youth for a misnomer in spiritual jargon.

Most Tantrics are taught to repress and preserve their sexual energies even after stimulating them to such a degree that the testes become filled with semen. This seed never sees the light of day, or more appropriately, never ventures into the blind race towards the ovum. This practice is most unhealthy since the semen may not always be absorbed back into the body and may, in fact, rot in the testes and cause later damage, including testicular cancer, in the poor unsuspecting practitioner. More profound damage can, in fact, be wrought as a result of the ensuing frustration, not only at the physical level but in more refined psychic terms.

These wildly prescriptive (and rather speculative paths) towards the infinite should be taken with a pinch of the proverbial salt and a large does of common sense. The enjoyment of sex is natural to humanity and any deviation from this perfectly normal activity should be regarded with suspicion. The Yogi must understand that all these deviations from nature have arisen because some ancient priest or guru prescribed a particular method or path. In Western culture, at least, sex has always been regarded as something demeaning and shameful. In the Protestant Ethic, as recently as the late 19th century, when the glorious Empire and Victorian England was at its heyday, piano and table legs were draped with cloth since they too closely resembled feminine curves. Women daring enough to allow a man's glance to settle, even inadvertently, on their bare ankles, were considered to be of "easy virtue".

Most women in Western cultures today would find it difficult to envisage that their 19th century forebears were held in not much greater regard than mere chattels to be owned and possessed by men. In these not so remote times, women were, in most cases, considered equivalent to a piece of furniture. Fortunately, at the dawn of 20th century, women's movements pressured hard, at least in the West, for their emancipation, resulting in some major successes in several, but not all, West European and North American nations, especially with regard to their right to vote. It suffices to point out that in Italy, one of the 7 most industrialized nations in the world, rape was "promoted" from being classified as a "crime against morality" to a "crime against the person", only in the 1990s. If such is the path followed by so-called "progressive" nations, one can hardly imagine the plight of women in such socially backward or religiously blind nations such as Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and rural Africa.

Despite the apparent encircling gloom however, some rare Yogis attained Moksha or Liberation, even as they lived in a normal family context, beset with all the problems of child-rearing, working to maintain their families and the like until, at retirement they started teaching so as to divulge their hard-earned knowledge freely to all, through the basic common sense practices involved in Yoga.

Naturally, as in all situations, there will always be those who abuse either others or even themselves. Some yoga teachers may try to impress upon the young and undisciplined minds of their followers, that their natural tendencies and passions will inevitably lead to their own unhappiness. In ancient times, austerity and the control of the body to attain a balanced state of health and joy was a natural part of any teacher's task. Today, much of this has been sadly abused.

Very recently, for instance, a famous Guru in North India who taught for 40 years no less, that celibacy was a pathway to heaven, was discovered to have been enjoying those same 40 years indulging in the pleasures of the flesh with some of his female and young male youths, "initiating" them to the joys of the Yoni and the Lingam in his private quarters. There is nothing at all wrong with the fact that this Guru desired and actively sought the sexual embrace. What was wrong was that he constantly preached against sex, declaiming that it was harmful to his gullible disciples, convincing them that their divine quest would be perverted by sex, all the while depicting himself as the perfect celibate. The shame and guilt unleashed by the disenchantment felt by most of his students generated very negative feelings. One student was so badly affected by it that she is in such total denial that she will not hear of anyone even mentioning the issue and naturally, refuses to address it herself.

Regardless of their Guru's deceptive methods, however, many students, unaware of this teacher's sexual escapades, did, in fact, acquire some fundamental knowledge of yoga, or at least, I hope so. After all, they sang songs with their Guru, chanted with him and a large number of them found that their lives were altered in some spiritual way, even if it were only pseudo-spiritual. The fact remains that they were quite happy with their Guru, until the whole horrible deception was made public, revealing, further, that the Guru made off with millions of dollars cleverly siphoned off and away into a fat Swiss bank account. By any account, this Guru would surely qualify as a first-rate con artist, only too eager to exploit the simplistic gullibility of his "students", some of whom had even ended up believing that he was God incarnate. How does this kind of thing happen? Why is it allowed?

I, too, have had a similar experience. In my group of 67 eager-beaver yoga seekers there was one in particular who, having met me through the ethereal medium of cyberspace, considered me some kind of "holier-than-thou" master who required adoration, adulation, the works. No sooner than I kicked him back to reality to get him to go on to more serious things for his own real spiritual progress, he disappeared back into the unfathomable depths of the cyberspace whence he appeared. He simply could not accept the jolt of a verbal re-positioning, even if all I did was answer him in cyberspace!

Zen Buddhists, for instance, never allow adulation. Each Zen teacher has his own personal way of kicking the air out of his students. It is the heresy of adulation that has led so many of the Western Gurus (and even Eastern Gurus emigrating to the green pastures of the West) to collect Rolls Royce cars in their extensive garages while watching their bank balances surpass the annual budgets of small nations and indulging their sexual whims with their gullible students.

Sex must be maintained healthy within the koshas or sheaths of the physical body. Sex is good and joyous and contributes to helping us sail through the pleasures and knowledge systems of all our sheaths so that we can reach up to the door that opens to the all.

As we lift the energies dormant in our other sheaths, we may perhaps get a taste of what these energies can do and feel first-hand what acupuncture practitioners had to recently endure under the merciless scrutiny of skeptical modern medicine. Blind Western science derided the Oriental wisdom of healing through the alignment of the innumerable electrical meridians that run through the body from head to toe, until someone came up with an optometer that proved the existence of these meridians, humbling the doubters and affording acupuncture the respect with which it is regarded by "modern" science today.

The ethereal pathways of the Kundalini and Shakti energies are the Ida and the Pingala nerves running down either side of the spine. These are however not in the body and cannot be detected. When both these currents are neutralized, they can be mentally lifted up through the Shushumna channel located at the center of the spine. It is this channel that is used by both koshas. While modern medicine uses this channel to draw spinal fluid, the great mentalist Yogis use it to lift the Kundalini force up to the thousand-petalled lotus under the top of the brain casing.

There is, however, another nerve, the pancreatic nerve which runs from the brain down to the third center just behind the navel. The ancient sages teach us that this is the true conjunction of the Jordan and the Ganges, the holy rivers of this earth plane, but they are only representatives of the true Spiritual river, because this nerve transports energy from the land of milk and honey, the pituitary and pineal glands.

At death, as the last breath leaves the body and it expires, the body unwinds, releasing retained urine, semen in men, and the bowels. This does not necessarily occur in all cases but it does happen with most people. It is an outward sign that the physical sheaths mark their release from their attachment to this reality.

Ample reports of Near Death or Out of Body Experiences have revealed that people who narrowly skim this intermediate area also visit the other sheath, comprising the mental Astral plane of our existence. It is at this point that they "see" the long tube of deep rich blue with the light at the end of the "tunnel". They hear heavenly voices, meet departed members of the family and perhaps even their guru who will guide them over, with rose petals strewn along the path for them, but then, as in the case of all NDEs, they hear a voice telling them to go back. Their experience, therefore, ends up with their return to the physical sheath.

If in looking for a guru, you are shown some ethereal being or magician with a big bag of tricks, instead of an ordinary man don't fall into the trap. A real guru should show you who you really are and lead you by the hand into that deep stillness of the inner self. He will generally not be pretentious and may even enjoy sex!

When questioned about his sex life a Zen Buddhist answered, "When I am hungry I eat, and when I am tired I sleep." This sheath, this physical Kosha is a wonderful instrument to feed and rest and work and enjoy. I have often wondered when pondering the words of the Christ "Render unto to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God", whether the same principle should also apply to the koshas in the sense that one must render the physical body its due while not depriving the other koshas their fair share.

Those who believe that when the God of the Bible spoke about tithing, he meant contributions in cash or in kind are way off the mark. What the God of the Bible was referring to in that Old Testament passage, was time! All one has to do is to devote 2.4 hours a day for the rest of one's life towards attaining spiritual awakening. This makes perfect sense, for it is in this way that one can fairly nourish all the koshas. In this day and age, as people clamour after material well-being and the often mindless accumulation of wealth and intellectual knowledge, there seems to be little time left to devote to all the five sheaths.

Some time ago, one of students asked me why we are so materialistic. The answer to this is no secret to anyone who has studied Yantra Yoga. Those who have followed my recent course on Yantra Yoga will be able to figure it out for themselves. It is, in fact, crystal clear. All one needs to understand is that the vibratory element that influences each one of us almost as much as our name, is G-O-D. If you are able to figure out the word God in all the languages of the earth, you will become truly omniscient in understanding his question and if you can do it just for one culture, you will have understood all the secrets of that culture. Consider the Jewish tradition. Orthodox Jews traditionally do not utter or write the word God in Hebrew. When they see the sacred "Tetragrammaton", the four Hebrew letters YHVH (yod hé vav hé) they will usually pronounce it as "Adonai" or "Elohim" meaning "the Lord". Even when writing in English, ultra-Orthordox Jews will use G-d instead of God, basically removing the vowel "soul" sound of the word.

These are but a few thoughts on how so much confusion came to be. I invite one and all to contemplate the mischief that has resulted, and still continues to be produced, because of gullibility and the confusion over the natural joys of this physical kosha.


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