Something to Satisfy

Something.

There always has to be something.

Something going on in our over-active minds.

Something to fill up the emptiness that we all know is deep inside. We pour endless amounts of content into our consciousness trying to fill the void – movies, music, books, magazines, twitter feeds, celebrity news, world news, political news, celebrity gossip, our personal gossip – but it’s all just empty junk that we are trying to fill our souls with.

Everybody needs a moment of peace and quiet every now and then. But nowadays that moment is just getting harder and harder to find. Our minds become more and more conditioned to the increased pace, the stepped-up speed at which the stream of empty content comes rushing our way, and so instead of blocking some of it out, our minds start to let more of it in. I wonder at what point are people going to just freak out and realize “Whoah. I have WAY too much useless information filling up my life.”

At what point is society going to stop and look at the cliff towards which it is headed?

Probably not till we’re already half-way down in free-fall. And then it will be too late. We’re not in our early 20’s with budding career possibilities and so much potential anymore. Suddenly we’re in our early 40’s, up to our necks with debt, house payments, car payments, maybe kids, maybe a career that we’ve ended up caring about. Our life is starting to be over before it’s even begun.

And we’re still assimilating more information. More stuff to fill our minds and the incessant need for something to fill our hearts. Our minds want to be active; they need to be active – and we don’t know any better way than to feed them with the information provided to us by the very helpful media – masters of providing endless streams of useless information.

When was the last time anyone stopped to think “Wait a minute. Why do I need to know about what actor X is doing in his life? How does it actually help me to know where actress Y took her vacation?”

But no. Fame is a powerful and strange thing that we cannot resist – its’ definitely important enough to warrant a large chunk of our time being devoted to it.

What people need to understand that the mind is not something that is out of one’s control. The mind is not and independent entity that cannot be brought under reign. We are also not the mind. “Even the most precious possession i.e. the brain is also not the mind.” The mind is a tool, and if we don’t learn to control it, it will end up controlling us.

We are in fact the viewers of the mind, much like we go to the cinemas to view a movie screen. We are the soul residing within the machine of the body, and we are watching the mind, observing all the information it displays to us. If we feed it good information, we will be viewing relevant and helpful images. If we feed it garbage and irrelevant content, we’ll get garbage back from it.

So if you think about it, the mind is actually a very useful tool and is separate from the self. This important topic is made very clear by the teachings & explanations by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda. All perception takes place in the mind only.  The video from Science of Identity Foundation emphasizes the same in details. Watch it to know more..

 

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What is Kirtan?

Music has been around since who-knows-when. It’s safe to say that it’s been around forever. And it’s obviously important. Music affects us in a way that not much else can. It has its own emotional and psychological territory, as well as its very own place in history. The aspect of music that very few people hear however, is of how it can also be a useful tool for spiritual enlightenment and self realization. Music can be used in the most effective spiritual practice in existence known as sankirtan, or kirtan. 

The kirtan process began in India some 500 years ago, originating from Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. This process of kirtan was widespread by Lord Chaitanya and His disciples due to its powerful spiritually cleansing effect. Today kirtan is widely regarded as one of the easiest and most effective ways for one to make spiritual advancement and develop spiritual understanding.

The way in which the kirtan program works is simple: a leader sings or chants certain mantras to a congregation, ranging from as few as 3 people to as many as a concert, after which the congregation repeats it back in turn. 

In case you’re wondering what a mantra is, unlike what most modern new wave teachings propose, it is not some far out word or strange scriptural hymn. A mantra is a name or a combination of names of God, handed down from authentic spiritual masters or preceptors, that purifies the mind and consciousness, and brings us closer to God and to self realization.

Now you may be thinking this sounds like a pretty formal solemn kind of practice of singing together but this is what separates kirtan from most other spiritual practices: it’s loads of fun. 

There are no hard and fast rules to the performing of kirtan. It can be done with guitars, with an accordion, with violins, with drums, or with all of the above. It can be practiced in almost any style of music, with any number and variety of people and voices. The key is to receive a bona fide mantra from a bona fide source. You don’t want a made in China brand, you want the real thing. And unfortunately in today’s world the real thing by way of mantras is all too rare and uncommon.

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Real Religion

Today I wanted to talk about sectarianism and religion, objectively from a neutral standpoint. Religion undoubtedly plays a large part in human culture and civilization, and has been at the forefront of historical events. A large part of historical events have been directly or indirectly caused or influenced by religious belief. Christopher Columbus was inspired by his faith to set sail for the new world. Mahatma Gandhi secured India’s independence via messages inspired by spiritual teachings. Missionaries have always gone to new places and converted existing civilizations. The Crusades may be the biggest historical event tied to religion. The September 11, 2001 attacks and the war on terrorism are spurred by religion.

The problem is that religion as most people know it is an imperfect concept.

Religion is associated with different gods, different philosophies, different beliefs. But this is a contradiction.

Real religion by definition is the cultivation of one’s relationship with God, with the Supreme Being. It does not fall into categories like Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. It is not subject to any one faith.

And this points to a glaring contradiction in people’s belief of God. Accepting that there is a God means accepting the existence of a Supreme Being. Referring to this Supreme Being as God means that He is above all laws and limitations subject to everyone in this world. People cannot decide that the “real God” belongs to Christianity or Islam. Or Hinduism or Buddhism.

Accepting the reality of their being a God means that there can only be one. If there is a Supreme Being, there cannot be other supreme beings challenging Him. There is no devil that can oppose God, and there are not multiple gods fighting among each other for the most followers or the most power.

Suggesting that there is a God means that you have to accept that there is indeed only one God. And since God is all powerful, and Supreme, is it hard to understand that He can have many names?

If real religion is the development of our relationship with God, then it must be possible that there are different “religions” or different ways that people develop their relationship with God. And this is the reality. Different people worship God in different ways, under different names, and in different cultures. But all religions are different branches of the same tree. They are all different methods of relating to God. It is also important to know our position and relationship with the Supreme Being.

And the teachings of religion have nothing to do with sectarian violence or religious wars. The teachings of God are all the same, and they all promote the same ideals and values like honesty, tolerance, compassion and self realization.

Fighting in the name of religion, or declaring your religion the only true religion or God is not real worship of God, and is not real religion.

Real religion is the understanding that there is a Supreme Being, and that we are all His eternal servants. Once one understands this, where is there room for conflict?

If there is a God, a Supreme Being, then we have to understand and accept that He is unfathomable and that we cannot understand Him with our limited intelligence. A Supreme Being is supreme. That is what makes Him God. We cannot impose any rules or regulations on God. We cannot decide that we know God’s will. We cannot decide for ourselves what He looks like, or who His children are.

And this is where you can start to find bona fide religious teachings, that originate from God, or that come from His representatives who appear in this world as saintly persons. Also on the other hand, we know for a fact that Jesus Christ was a real person who really lived some two thousand years ago. We know that he really did the things that people say he did.

Some might say, “How do we know that his walking on water was not some form of illusion or trickery? How can you prove that it was divine?”

Good question. How can one prove anything? Many people obviously witnessed the acts of Jesus Christ and saw that they really happened. And if Jesus Christ has stated to those people that he is able to perform these miracles or wondrous acts by the hand of God, then how are we to prove it?

This is where faith comes in. Faith means surrendering to the fact that God is beyond us, and that we cannot scientifically prove everything about Him. We cannot understand Him or everything He does.

One could argue and say that maybe Jesus was a time traveler from the future and that he brought back the necessary technology in order to perform his feats. Or that maybe he was just a master magician and illusionist. But if this is the case then how could he bring a man back to life? Or change water instantly into wine? Or create enough food for his thousands of followers? Or indeed walk on water? And if they were not miracles, then why has no one been able to again repeat these things with all the modern technology in the world?

These are acts of God that we must simply have faith in as being acts of God. This is acknowledgement of God’s supremacy, of His position as God, and a step of surrender in accepting Him as God.

And in having some faith, we can start to understand the true meaning of religion.

Thank You!