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Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita
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Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, also known simply as the Gita, is a book of God. It is a small section of the worlds longest epic poem: "The Mahabharata". The Mahabharata is a book about a conflict of an ancient Indian royal family. The sons of a blind king are fighting over a kingdom with their cousins who are the sons of Pandu, the true heirs of the kingdom.

In the moment that the war is about to begin, one of the sons of Pandu, Prince Arjuna asks his charioteer Sri Bhagavan Krishna, who happens to be not only a prince, but also an Avatar (Incarnation) of God, to take him to a place where he can see both armies. Arjuna is an experienced warrior. He knows the suffering that every war brings not just to the warriors, but to those who survive, the widows, and orphans. Arjuna sees in this war a great evil that should not happen.

I see that first chapter of the Gita as a criticism of war. Mankind has always been in some sort of war. Many of the great spiritual leaders of mankind have spoken against war. Lord Buddha, like Prince Arjuna, started out as a prince and a warrior. Even though the official biography of Buddha never mentions his participation in battles, Lord Buddha was a member of the Kshatriya or warrior caste of ancient India. Their training started early in childhood and by the age of sixteen had already participated in at least one battle. Most probable Lord Buddha saw the suffering of war and searched for a path that would turn its back on violence. Nirvana is a state of Peace.

Arjuna refuses to fight. But Arjuna is not a coward, he has fought many times and has proven his might in war. Nevertheless he now sees this war against his cousins as a great evil. The first chapter of the Gita ends with Arjuna's refusal.

(to be continues..)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

At the beginning of the second chapter of the Gita, Sri Bhagavan Krishna asks Arjuna, "How has this infatuation overtaken you at this hour?" (Gita 2:2).

The Mahabharat is the story of a physical conflict, but now we realize that the Gita is a guidebook that deals with a spiritual battle. Sri Krishna understands that He must give Arjuna a different kind of lesson.
Is Arjuna facing the fear of death after having fought so many battles? Sri Krishna reminds Arjuna that Life is immortal: "Wise men do not sorrow over the dead or the living. In fact, there was never a time when I was not, or when you or these warriiors were not. Nor is it a fact that hereafter we shall all cease to be" (Git 2:11-12). The essence of the Sanatana Veda Dharma (Hinduism) is that is eternal. Sir Edwin Arnold expresses this Hindu doctrine in his poetic translation of the Bhagavad Gita:

"Never the spirit was born, the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth spirit forever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!"
(Gita 2:20...Sir Edwin Arnold translation)

Our bodies die, but Life continues. This doctrine is at the heart of the Sanatana Dharma. Sri Krishna reminds Arjuna of this ancient doctrine.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

As we read the second chapter of the Gita, we realize that we are dealing with an inner spiritual battle. Sri Krishna has already told us that our true natue is the Spirit (Atman), and that It is eternal. If this physical body dies, the Spirit continues.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that when this physical body dies, the Spirit takes on a new form. Like Plato, Sri Bhagavan Krishna speaks of reincarnation. One of the essential doctrines of the Sanatana Veda Dharma. But the true goal of the teachings of the Gita is to liberate oneself from this continuous cycles of birth-death-rebirth. The goal then is to recognize our true nature as Spirit.

At one moment, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna, "I am the Spirit (Atman) seated deep in every creature's heart" (Gita 10:20). Sri Krishna (God) is the Ocean, we are the waves. True salvation or enlightenment is to realize that I am a living part of that Ocean of Life called God. The purpose of the Gita is to show us the different paths that lead to spiritual liberation or God.

"They are forever free -- says Lord Krishna (God)-- who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of 'I, me, and mine' to be united with the Lord" (Gita 2:71). That is true salvation or spiritual enlightenment according to the ancient teachings of the Vedic sages.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

When people think or talk about Hinduism, they immeditely think about a religion with thousands of Gods and Goddesses, and very exotic rituals with many priests waiving lights and chanting ancient chants. They are not mistaken, but sadly to say that is the external appearance of Hinduism or Sanatana Veda Dharma.

What a lot of people do not understand is that the great mystery of Hinduism is that behind that elaborate manifestation of Deities and rituals, profound Hinduism has always taught that there is only One Supreme Truth. The Rig Veda is the oldest of the Hindu-Vedic sacred texts. It is stated in the Rig Veda: "They call Him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and He is heavenly-winged Garutman. To what is One sages have given many Names: they call It Agni, Yama, Matarishvan" (Rig Veda I:164.46). In other words "God is One, the sages have called It by different Names." Through the centuries artists have given the Divine One different forms.

The author of the Gita, Sri Veda Vyasa, is aware of the oneness of God. He has God repeat this in a very poetic way: "Arjuna, howsoever men seek Me; even so do I approach them; for all men follow my path in every way" (Gita 4:11). No matter who is the God or Goddess one worships, in reality one is worshipping the One God called by different Names. The name Bhagavan Krishna (Lord Krishna) is one of the many Names used by the One God; the image of Bhagavan Krishna is one of the different Forms in which the Lord hides Its True Form. The Beloved Lord is the Ocean of Life that is beyond all Names and all Forms.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Sri Shyamachara Lahiri (1828-1895), the founding Guru of my spiritual traditions, used to say: "God loves us all." One of the ways that God expresses His/Her Love for mankind is expressed in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita: "Whenever virtue declines and the spiritual purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest Myself on Earth. I am born in different agesto protect the good, to destroy evil, and restore the spiritual teachings" (Gita 4:7-8).

That is the doctrine of the Avatars or Incarnations of the Divine. Hindus believe that God has taken human forms many times in order to restore the spiritual teachings. Liberal Hindus believe that both Lord Buddha and Jesus Christ are Avatars of God.

We may take that doctrine in a literal form or in a symbolic way. The truth is that in every generation there have been enlightened teachers that have restored or expanded the teachings or dharma. The nineteenth century saw a very strong revival of Hindu religion and culture. One of the outstanding teachers of that time was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886). Considered by many as an Avatar of God, this enlightened teacher considered all religions path that lead to God or spiritual enlightenment.

Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of nonviolence, was also one of those teachers who was seen as having the spirit of God guiding him. His teachings and actions have inspired many people around the world to follow his stile of nonviolence.

The Avatar is more than just a good person. The Avatars are those extraordinary persons who live their mark in the world even centuries after they have died. They become living inspirations in the life of many for generations. Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Sri Bhagavan Krishna are in my eyes true Avatars or manifestations of the Divine in human forms.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita says: "I am the Sustainer and Ruler of this universe, its Father, Mother, and Grandfather..." (Gita 9:17).

Unlike many other religions, Hinduism has many ways of understanding God. At one moment the author puts the following words in the mouth of Arjuna directed to Sri Bhagavan Krishna (God): "Oh Supreme Being,...God of gods..You alone know what You are by Yourself" (Gita 10:15). In other words, only God knows what God really is.

Nevertheless, Hinduism describes God in three basic forms: the Impersonal, Brahman, Supreme Soul, Ocean of Life; Ishwar, the Lord, Heavenly Father; and Heavenly Mother, the Goddess, Shakti. Each description has at least 1,008 Names and as many Forms or manifestations.

The Impersonal is known as Brahman, Mahapurusha, Paramatman, etc. The Lord or Heavenly Father is known as Rama, Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, Gopala, Govinda, etc. The Goddess is known as Shakti, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parwati, Devi, etc. The Names can go on and on... But let us never forget that all those Names and their corresponding Forms refer to the One Supreme God or Whatever you want to call IT.

People have the freedom to select the Deity they want to worship. No matter what the Deity you select, you will find a temple and a priesthood dedicated to IT. Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita is dedicated to a series of manifestations that Sri Krishna adopts for the sake of Arjuna.

Let us never forget what Sri Bhagavan Krishna tells Arjuna: "Arjuna, howsoever men seek Me; even so di I approach them; for all men follow My path in every way" (Gita 4:11). Call IT Allah, call IT YHVH, call IT Jehovah, call IT Adonai... It is the One and only God... One Truth, many Names.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Every religion has a goal. It might the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven like in Christianity or the Muslim Paradise with God (Allah) or the Nirvana (a state free from suffering) of the Buddhists, etc. In the Sanatana Veda Dharma (Hinduism) it is Moksha (Liberation). Moksha is an inner state of awareness where one finds one's True Nature. One spiritual master has called it the "state of ever-new-joy". In Sanskrit it is called Ananda.

How does one reach Moksha? There are many ways one can reach Moksha. There is a saying in Hinduism: "One Goal, many paths". The Srimad Bhagavad Gita speaks to us of many paths that lead to Moksha. It also offers us those paths that lead to Moksha. We have to understand that Moksha can only be reached by the individual. One does not have to be a Hindu in order to reach Moksha, but one must have the desire to reach that state.

I have mentioned that Sri Krishna (God) says in a verse of the Gita: "I am the soul seated in the heart of all beings..." (Gita 10:20). Our True Nature is divine, and Moksha is nothing else but awakening to our Divine Nature. Hindu Vedanta insists that we are not this body, we are Atman the Divine Soul. But we believe to be this body and this mind with the senses. As long as we believe this, we ignore our True Nature and are forced to reincarnate over and over in this world of suffering.

There are many ways to find Moksha. One interesting way is to ask ourselves in profoound silence "Who am I?" The deeper we go into the question we will discover that we are neither this body, this mind or these senses. The question will change in different ways until a profound silence and stillness takes hold of us. In that silence and stillness, joy will appear and take hold of us. Our mind will be clear, and it will fill itself with profoud love and compassion. That state is Moksha. The Enlightened Ones say that once we reach that state, we will need no spiritual books, no rituals, no prayers, for we shall live in the presense of the Beloved One.

(to be continued)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Sri Bhagavan Krishna (God) says in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita: "Arjuna the person who performs all his/her duties for My sake, depends on Me; who has no attachments, who is free from malice toward all beings, reaches Me" (Gita 11:55).

What Sri Krishna (God) is presenting in this verse is the Path of Love or Bhakti Yoga. This is one of the most popular spiritual paths in India. In the previous post we mentioned the Path of Wisdom or J├▒ana Yoga that could also be called the Gnostic Path. But know lets talk about the Path of Love or Devotion.

It has already been mentioned that the Sanatana Veda Dharma (a.k.a Hinduism) recognizes that there are many paths that lead to Moksha. To reach Moksha is to reach God (let us never forget that in Hinduism, God has many faces or forms). The path of love is taking one of the apparent "Deities" and making It the object of your devotion. If you are a Christian you may use Jesus Christ. The practice consists is concentrating on the image of you chosen Deity and repeating the Deity's Name or simply talking to the Deity as if It were with you. Many devotees have reached Moksha by following this path.

Let us use the example of Jesus Christ. Take your favorite picture of Jesus Christ, look at it, and place it in your mind. You might then want to repeat a Jesus Mantra (prayer); for example, "Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy!" You repeat this prayer with love in your heart and mind, with serenity not mechanically. The Gurus (spiritual teachers) have said that as your devotion matures, the image become clearer, and soon it will enter your heart in the for of pure bliss. As you submerge in the Bliss (Ananda) you will feel that you are free from your material existence (your are not dead)... you are swiming in the Ocean of Spirit that is called by different Names. It is said that when you reach this state (Samadhi), you have reached Moksha.

I will be covering other paths. You can also create your own path.

(to be continued...)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita does not attack any religion. On the contrary, it represents many different relgious path. I had mentioned that in chapter 10, God says: "I am the Spirit in the heart of all beings" (Gita 10:20). In other words, life is Divine.

Let us never forget that the true goal of the Bhagavad Gita is showing that there are different paths that lead to spiritual enlightenment or salvation. One of those paths is known as the Path of Serenity. It is the path to strives to awaken our inner Divine Being by looking within. It is an ancient path that was walked by the ancient Rishis (sages) of India. It is the path that Lord Buddha walked in order to find Nirvana (liberation from suffering).

Sit firmly in a confortable shair, feet flat on the floor, hands on your lap. Take a few deep breaths. Now let us simply observe our breathing. Breath in... breth out... Do not force your breathing, simply observe it in its natural flow. Breath in (count one)... breath out (count two)..breath in (three).. breath out (four).. continue like this until you reach ten and start again. Simply observe and count the breathing movement... do not force it. If you get distracted, go back to observing the breathing and counting. Do not let our thoughts to distract the observing and counting of breath. Try it.. it calms our whole physical and mental system.

As we continue to obwerve and count the breaths, the mind slows down. Thoughts become slower; one feels an inner calmness... a beingness that has no beginning or end. Just follow it!

(there is more to come...)

Author:  Hermano Luis [ Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Meditating with the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

If I were to say that the Srimad Bhagavad Gita is the "True Word of God", I would be mistaken. I understand the Gita to be the "Word of God" in a allegorical manner. I do not believe that there is any book that can be called the "True Word of God": not the Bible, not the Qur'an, not the Avesta... not any of the spiritual books of mankind.

Nevertheless I believe that in all the spiritual books of mankind we can find spiritual teachings of great value. But it is important that we read those books with discernment... we must always understand that all those books were written by fallible human beings.

According to many Hindu Gurus (spiritual teachers) one can find God by going deep into one's inner self. Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri (1828-1895), the finding Guru of my spiritual tradition, used to say: "In his soul man possesses all the qualities of God in their potential form. But God has endowed man with the power to unfold the qualities of his soul to their divine perfection" ("Sayings of Shyamacharan Lahiri").

Not just Hindu Gurus have found the Face of God in their teachings, but many Christian saints, Muslim sages, Buddhist enlightened souls, and saints of many religions, have made intimate contact with that Supreme Reality called by different names. God is not just the God of one religion, but the God of all. I see God as the Ocean of Life, and I am just a wave in that Ocean. Spiritual Enlightenment is our divine heritage.

OM Peace Amen!

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