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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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How we enjoy the false sense of superiority by setting ourselves apart from nature.


Isn't it strange that throughout human history, a large number of very diverse cultures refer to a "Holy Trinity"? Although familiar in modern times in its Christian version of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, the concept of a triune deity is the backbone of Hinduism in the Trimurthy of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva and was worshipped in Egypt in Osiris-Isis-Horus and in Mesopotamia as Shamash-Sin-Ishtar. The concept is so widespread that many scholars feel it plays some role in all religions.

The Christian and Hindu concepts of the trinity are however mirror images of each other. The Christian worldview externalizes the concept with God the Father being outside or "above" the self, the Son being apart or "besides" the self and the Holy Ghost being a spirit unknown to most of those who invoke it. This is a very mystical view and is reflected in a more down-to-earth manner in the Hindu Trimurthy of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver and Shiva, the destroyer, that are easily identified with the forces of nature. While these concepts may seem vague and impenetrable to most, Yoga offers insight, at least at the personal level, into their underlying mysteries.

At the individual level, it is easy to equate the Yogic concept of the Paramatman (God, or, literally translated, the Supreme Soul or Self) with Carl Jung's Over-Self, the Atman (Soul or Self) with the seer of consciousness (Christ), and the Ego with one's attributable sense of identity. Without the Ego we would cease to exist and yet that same existence is something we cannot deny even when the ego has ceased, such as in deep sleep.

We cannot deny ourselves our own existence, and this is where the secret of the triune divinity lies - right within our very selves! As a mirror reflects outwards, the great thinkers of the past projected outwards what was within, so as to recreate the inner self in an external representation that was most often religious in form, and obscure in concept. The New Testament quotes Jesus as saying, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

This has been widely interpreted to mean that man must in someway do something to become perfect like the Father. However, the Christ did not say "Try to be…" or "Strive to be…", His simple admonition "be" indicates that man does not need to do anything at all, man only has to "be" what he is, since man is already perfect.

It is however not easy to accept the "idea" that we are already perfect, since so much in nature seems perfectly balanced to us, while in man we seem to see nothing but imperfection that is in dire need of improvement. Although we recognize perfection in nature, we seem unable to recognize it in ourselves. This inability arises from the fact that we consider ourselves somehow "apart" or separated from nature rather than as "a part" or one with nature. This (literally) man-made concept of our separateness (and by that, we generally mean "superiority") with regard to nature is difficult to understand rationally, until one also considers man's colossal ego. After all, it doesn't take much for us to slip quite "naturally" into our instinctive "animalistic" or "natural" behavioural patterns of self-preservation, triggering flight or fight mechanisms created by nature for the preservation of the species. Our ego makes us think that we are somehow above these "base" instincts that abound in nature.

The most civilized, highly cultured and spiritual type of man placed in circumstances that war has engendered, will commit acts of brutality that would otherwise have been thought impossible. That we should, in some cases gleefully, torture people with horrendous inventions of pain is unthinkable in more stable times. Secure in the cozy comfort of our homes, protected by a complex web of societal laws (that on deeper thought, for all their lofty ideals, still reflect the concept of the survival of the fittest), we so self-righteously and indignantly comment on the "barbaric" moral codes of other cultures. In our eagerness to raise the moral and "living" standards of these "savages", we impose upon them our judgments and values, and in this way, instead of changing them, we severely damage, if not entirely wipe out their cultures. This has happened all too often, time and again throughout history, and most recently with the Aborigines in Australia and the Native American tribes of North America.

To get a better understanding of the extent of our haughty and holier-than-thou attitude towards everyone and everything we consider "different", let us delve a little deeper into the reality of this physical or "kosha" land. Man is nature. We are nature as much as the lion is nature. Our differences are in the complexity of our intelligence, and while things are going well with us, we may even feel that we are superior to the other species that people the natural world. One of the competitors in today's rat-race for the title of "Best-selling Guru" recently claimed that we are the only species that can lay claim both to compassion and tears. This sort of attitude only serves to further denigrate, rather than uplift the human species, since it underlines his ignorance of the rest of nature and clearly shows just how out of touch he is, even with ourselves. It is not my intention here to shape nature into the image of man (a contradiction in terms, since it presumes that nature somehow needs to be "morphed" into man!). I merely point out what has been long established through studies undertaken by very authoritative anthropologists and sociologists.

The fact is, although all species experience compassion, not all of them express it in our terms or using our ways. Despite this, however, any serious scientist or even an ordinary layman who observes the wild with a compassionate heart, will have no trouble at all recognizing at least some of the many faces of compassion in nature.

While we are all compassionate, just like in nature, we also reflect a somber, dark streak. Oh, we can be self-righteously disgusted at the very thought, let alone the sight, of wild dogs ripping at the testicles of bulls while on the run and eating at their bellies even as the hapless victims kick and bellow in frantic agony. Few of us, however, relate this behaviour to what occurs in our own societies. Quite apart from wildly violent entertainment productions, our news reports abound with instances of brutal violence, not only by criminals and delinquents but by the very law enforcement agencies placed in charge of containing the mayhem. Then, there are the more refined predators, the robber barons, who by smart deals and speculation, sometimes destabilize the economies of entire nations. All this, in the name of power, excitement or pure greed. In fact, we could distinguish ourselves more from nature, not because of our superior standards, but because we are so base as to prey upon our own species to a degree of perversion almost unheard of in nature, where a species rarely, if ever, attacks its own. It is not without reason that the Romantic Wordsworth complained, over two centuries ago, in his "Lines written in Early Spring":

"If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?"

And that applies only to what we do to our own, without even considering how we have sanitized the slaughter of cattle by hiding the abattoirs away from the public gaze. Despite the trumpeting by the meat industry of the humane methods used in such slaughter, most of us, on deeper thought, know within ourselves that this is simply not the true story. The Far Eastern practice of keeping dogs in small cages after their front legs have been broken, depriving the animals of movement, only so that they may fatten, to make even tastier morsels for keen consumers, is at least out in the open. This is a cultural practice and will take a long time to eradicate. But at least these cultures do not hide from their practices, and face them frankly, without the Western hypocrisy of hiding the cruelty.

The Chinese practice of draining body fluids from the gall bladders of live bears for their exceedingly dubious medical and aphrodisiacal properties, is another example of inhuman torture devised purely from human superstition, and ranks but a few notches ahead on the scale of barbarity, when compared to the fattened dogs and even the way we so-called "civilized" Westerners raise young veal. Therefore, trying to alter the consciousness of whole nations is a Herculean task and on reflection may not be the right thing to endeavor at all. I say that because, knowing human nature, the more you tell someone they are wrong about something, the more they dig in their heels.

We, as individuals, however, can change the world. Not all of us may aspire to become so-called Enlightened Masters or Yogis. On the other hand, we can all focus on, and express our "naturally" gentle, kind and compassionate "nature", so that by the very weight of our consciousness, we may illuminate the path for our fellowmen, who, stranded in the deepest night of Ego, consider themselves above nature and therefore, entitled to treat their fellow-creatures with the utmost cruelty.

Step gently, however, along this delicate path towards the discovery of the inner trinity. If you still eat meat, for instance, do not generate guilt within yourself about it, since this guilt will only be transformed into an even greater poison for you. Focus gradually on withdrawing from the taking life in order to sustain yourself or merely to indulge your taste buds. At the present state of technology and opulence, meat is no longer necessary to sustain human life. Even in your abstinence from meat, beware of becoming self-righteous. Do not rush to judge those who continue to eat meat, and remember what I mentioned earlier about reverting to the wild. Should things turn against us, we may be only too pleased to find a morsel of meat in order to survive. Never feel too smug in yourself that you will never eat meat again, for given the right circumstances you will eat anything to survive. It is nature.

The point here is that here we are judging the cruelties of others in their treatment of animals even as we indulge in exactly the same practices, albeit in an elegantly disguised fashion. Most people don't want to think about it. They turn their heads. They refuse to look at the picture proof of such torture.

In one sense, Yogis are not most people and will face up to the responsibility of practicing a Sattvic life featuring high energy foods without the need of meat. We have also come a long way in realizing that we need no medication or sexual stimulation from the juices of a bear's gall bladder. These are cultural superstitions.

Some Jains perhaps go to extremes by wearing masks so that they will not kill insects in their mouths, but most actually care for and nurse sick and abused animals. They will not wear leather of any sort. An animal has to die for that leather jacket, those shoes and leather belt. Although this may be viewed as overly austere by most, these Jains make up one of the few religious groups that sincerely attempt to practice the ideal of Ahimsa or non-violence. Although we my not be as devout in our endeavors, such ideals are well worth pursuing.


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