Halloween and Tharpanam – Why?

Halloween or Samhain

Halloween on October 31st is the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead. Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.The Celts believed the Souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all souls were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.

  • Halloween is the modern name for Samhain, an ancient Celtic holy day which many Neopagans — especially Wiccans, Druids and Celtic Reconstructionists — celebrate as a spiritual beginning of a new year.
  • Halloween is a time to confront our personal and cultural attitudes towards death and those who have passed on before us.
  • Halloween is a time to lift the veil between the many material and spiritual worlds in divination, so as to gain spiritual insight about our pasts and futures.
  • Halloween is a time to deepen our connection to the cycles of the seasons, to the generations that have come before us and those that will follow, and to the Gods and Goddesses we worship.

Tharpanam

Similar to Halloween, there a ceremony for Ancestors in India called as “Tharpanam”. Generally Pitru Tharpanam is done during “Pitru Paksha” or “Mahalaya Paksha” or “Shraadh Paksha” which means a period for ancestors and departed members of the family. It is 15 day during which we pay homage to pacify the departed souls of the ancestors and perform a Tharpanam to keep the souls of their ancestors at rest. Often it is a son performing the ceremony in honor of a father. The period starting from the day next to Full Moon day Sept 15th – Oct 15t and ending on the New Moon day is the most auspicious time for performing this ceremony.

This is very calm and peaceful, but no sorrow and cry, because death can take only the body but not the soul, the soul is immortal and our ancestor visit us every year. So this ceremony with a happy but peaceful mood.To gain happiness in our life we must have the blessings of our ancestors.

Relevant to this topic I found an interesting video on Soul Genetics…

Reference

1. http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/origin-of-halloween.htm
2. http://www.halloween-website.com/history.htm
3. http://www.neopagan.net/Halloween-Origins.html
4. http://hindupad.com/vratas-pujas/
5. http://visionnationals.org/halloween-in-india/

The Target!

Quote

““Pranavo dhanuh saro hyatma brahma tallakshyam uchyate;
Apramattena veddhavyam saravan tanmayo bhavet.””

“Om is the bow, mind is the arrow and Brahman/God/Soul is the mark to be aimed at. Brahman is to be hit or pierced by him whose thoughts are concentrated. Then he will be of the same nature as Brahman, as the arrow becomes one with the aim when it has pierced it.”

~ Mundakopanishad, II-ii-4

Meditation – Useful Hints…

In meditation, do not strain the eyes. Do not strain the brain. Do not struggle or wrestle with the mind. It is a serious mistake. Many neophytes commit this grave error. That is the reason why they get easily tired soon. They get headache and they have to get up very often to pass urine during the course of meditation owing to the irritation set up in the micturition center in the spinal cord.

Make no violent effort to control the mind. Do not wrestle with it with force. It is a mistake to do so. But, rather allow it for a while and let it run and exhaust its efforts. The mind will jump now like an untrained monkey first. Gradually, it will slow down. Then you can fix the mind on your Target either on a concrete form or on an abstract idea. Get up at early morning. Sit comfortably in the Padma, Siddha, Sukha or Svastika Asana. Keep the head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Relax the muscles, nerves and brain. Calm the objective mind. Close the eyes. Do not struggle with the mind. Do not voluntarily and violently drive away intruding thoughts. Gently allow the divine thoughts to flow. Steadily think of the point of meditation. Have sublime, Sattvic thoughts. Vicious thoughts will, by themselves, vanish.

Even if the mind runs outside during your practice in meditation, do not bother. Allow it to run. Slowly try to bring it to your center. By repeated practice, the mind will be finally focused in your heart, in the Soul, the Indweller of your hearts, and the final goal of life. In the beginning, the mind may run out 80 times. Within six months, it may run 70 times; within a year, it may run 50 times; within 2 years, it may run 30 times; within 5 years, it will be completely fixed in the Divine Consciousness. Then, it will not run out at all even if you try your level best to bring it out, like the wandering bull, which was in the habit of running to gardens of different landlords for eating grass, but which now eats fresh gram and extract of cotton seeds in its own resting place.

If there is much strain in meditation, reduce the number of hours for a few days. Do light meditation only. When you have regained the normal tone, again increase the period. Use your common-sense all throughout practice. I always reiterate on this point. Have the one all-pervading feeling. Deny the finite body as a mere appearance. Try to keep up the feelings always. Whatever elevates you, you can take it up for your advantage just to elevate the mind and then continue your prolonged meditation. You must daily increase your Vairagya (Dispassion), meditation and Sattvic(pure) virtues such as patience, perseverance, mercy, love, forgiveness, purity, etc. Vairagya and good qualities help meditation. Meditation increases the Sattvic qualities. Just as you conserve the energy by observing vow of silence, so also you will have to conserve the mental energy by stopping useless thinking. Then you will save abundant reserve energy for meditation.

Remember these three word-images: PURIFICATION, CONCENTRATION, ABSORPTION. Repeat them mentally during meditation. This is a triplet. Remember this triplet. Purify the mind. Get rid of impurities such as Lust, Anger, etc. Perform selfless, desire-less actions. This will purify the mind. Then practice constant and deep meditation. The mind will be absorbed eventually.

As a clever cook, in serving his master, notes the kind of food that he relishes and hence forward serves it and gets gain, so the aspirant too notes the conditions such as nourishment, etc., at the moment of attaining meditation and Samadhi and, in fulfilling them, gets ecstasy again and again.

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

How do we react?

Quote

When a person displeases you, what do you do? Curse him or her, become angry or violent? How do you handle it? How do you react? Be honest with yourself. It’s the only way. Start from where you are. No human being is perfect. We all make mistakes. Do not feel sorry for yourself, but start from where you are. Where are you? You are consciousness. This is your true nature. Learn to love everything. Learn to see only the good. Realize there’s a reason for everything. If a person displeases you, simply look the other way and forget it. Learn to stop your mind from thinking. You do this by immediately catching yourself when you react to a condition, and inquiring within yourself: “Who is becoming angry? Who feels out of sorts?” “I do”. ‘I’. Realize you’re dealing with the personal ‘I’, and that all the anger, all the frustration, all the karma, all the samskaras are all attached to that personal ‘I’. Consequently, when you get rid of the personal ‘I’, everything else will go with it. So, don’t try to solve your problems. Do not try to become a better person. Do not try to run away from your life. Simply see who it is who is running, who it is who needs to be a better person. Who has all these problems? ‘I’, ‘I’, always ‘I’. Hold onto that ‘I’ with all of your might.

~ Robert Adams

How To Meditate?

Sit in a lonely place on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana. Free yourself from all passions, emotions and impulses. Subjugate the senses. Withdraw the mind from objects. Now the mind will be calm, one-pointed, pure and subtle. With the help of this trained instrument, disciplined mind, contemplate on that one Infinite Self. Do not think of anything else. Do not allow any worldly thought to enter the mind. Do not allow the mind to think of any physical or mental enjoyment. When it indulges in these thoughts, give it a good hammering. Then it will move towards Lord. Just as the river flows continuously towards the sea, divine thoughts should flow continuously towards the Lord. Just as oil, when poured from one vessel to another, flows in an unbroken, continuous stream, just as the harmonious sound produced from the ringing of bells falls upon the ear in a continuous stream, so also the mind should flow towards Lord in one continuous stream.

There must be a continuous divine thought wave flow, from the Sattvic (Pure) mind towards Lord through continuous spiritual practice. You must have a mental image of Lord or Brahman (concrete or abstract) before you begin to meditate. When you are a neophyte in meditation, start repeating some sublime Slokas or Stotras (hymns) or Prayers for ten minutes as soon as you sit for meditation. This will elevate the mind. The mind can be easily withdrawn from the worldly objects. Then stop this kind of thinking also and fix the mind on one idea only by repeated and strenuous efforts.

In meditation, you will have to develop the divine flow of thought waves. Make the thoughts of Brahman or Divine Presence flow like inundation or flood. Renounce the thoughts of objects. Drive them away with the whip of Viveka (Discrimination) and Vichara (Self-Inquiry). There is struggle in the beginning. It is trying indeed. But, later on, as you will grow stronger and stronger and as you grow in purity and becomes easy. You rejoice in the life of unity. You get strength from Soul. Inner strength grows when all the materialistic thoughts are thinned out and the mind becomes one-pointed.

When you start a fire, you heap up some straw, pieces of paper, thin pieces of wood. The fire gets extinguished quickly. You blow it again several times through the mouth of the blow-pipe. After some time it becomes a small conflagration. You can hardly extinguish it now even with great efforts. Even so, in the beginning of meditation in neophytes, they fall down from meditation in their old grooves. They will have to lift up their minds again and again and fix on the Target.

When the meditation becomes deep and steady, they get established in Lord eventually. Then the meditation becomes natural. It becomes habitual. Use the blow-pipe of intense Vairagya and intense meditation to kindle the fire of meditation. During meditation, note how long you can shut out all worldly thoughts. Watch the mind very carefully. If it is for twenty minutes, try to increase the period to thirty or forty minutes and so on. Fill the mind with the thoughts of Lord again and again. Allow the one divine idea to flow gently and continuously. Constantly think of Lord. The mind should always move towards Lord. Fasten the mind with a fine silk thread to the lotus feet of Lord. Drive out foreign or extraneous (worldly) ideas gently. Try to keep up the divine thoughts by repeating OM or “”I am a Soul” mentally very often. The idea of infinity, the idea of an ocean of light, the idea of all-knowledge and all-Bliss should accompany the mental repetition of OM.

When you begin to sweep a room that was kept closed for six months, various kinds of dirt come out from the corners of the room. Similarly, during meditation, under pressure of Yoga, through the Grace of Lord, various kinds of impurities float about on the surface of the mind. Bravely remove them one by one by suitable methods and counter-virtues with patience and strenuous efforts. The old vicious Impressions revenge when you try to suppress them. Do not be afraid. They lose their strength after some time. You have to tame the mind just as you tame a wild elephant or a tiger. Do not indulge in vicious thoughts which serve as food for the mind. Make the mind self-introspective. Substitute good, virtuous, sublime thoughts. Feed the mind with ennobling aspirations and ideals. Old vicious Impressions will be gradually thinned out and eventually obliterated. Now the Divine thought will dawn. Coupled with Soul-Wisdom, this is the destroyer of Ignorance. Allow the Divine thoughts to flow steadily like continuous flow of oil. Now infinite bliss will flow. At this state, the whole universe will appear as Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth-Conscious-Bliss) only. This thought also will die. You will then enter thoughtless blissful state!

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

Vastu?

Quote

The word “vastu” is formed of the root “vas. “ “Vas” means to live or to exist. The precise meaning of “vastu” is “to live eternally.” (Dr. V. Ganapati, Sthapati, p.52 Temples of Space-Science, Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation, 1996). Thus, Vastu is that energy of force that lives eternally. It is never ending and omnipresent.

Yagya or Yajna or Yagam – Why?

I recently read an article that described the Shastric citations and scientific clinical trials of the benefits of something called “Yagya Therapy.” A yagya is a fire ceremony done for many reasons. It has ancient roots and has been done by various cultures all over the world – most notably in India. Yagya therapy is an herbal inhalation therapy described in the ancient medical science called Ayurveda.

It is said that the burning of special herbs in a fire creates smoke that purifies the atmosphere, adds fertilization to the soil as the herbalized smoke drops on the fields, and affects the individuals breathing in the smoke. This is not too far-fetched when you consider the modern practice of inhaling Vicks vapor rub, and the widely used practice of aromatherapy. It has been scientifically demonstrated that certain smells affect the amygdala the brain and bring a feeling of well-being. So, the concept of Yagya Therapy is not unreasonable.

One of the missing links in the use of yagyas is the special preparation of the fire pit. Mayan, the progenitor of Vaastu Shastras performed yagyas that were said to be so potent that even the wild animals of the jungle were peaceful. During a yagya and during Mayan’s yagya mantras or specific phrases are chanted along with a ritualistic building up of the fire in a fire pit. The combination of mantras and herbs bring about an amazing effect in the environment. However, there is something missing from modern day yagyas that was present in Mayan’s yagyas that special something – a missing link to the Divine – is the secret mathematics used to build the fire pit. In other words, people have the form of the fire pit in modern times but they don’t have the mathematics – the measure of the enclosed space of the fire pit that produces influences beyond material influences.

Use of mantras, herbs, and other elements produce subtle and gross effects on people and the environment. However the real change in humanity comes from altering the essential frequency of a person. There are all kinds of ways to change our material life but for lasting change, profound change, we have to change the frequency of individuals and the environment. Accessing the Divine rhythm or frequency can only do this. For a yagya to be deeply and profoundly beneficial it must be done in a fire pit that is mathematically calculated for the individual (when done for an individual) or for the community. When a fire pit is built properly per the Vaastu Shastras and Agamas, then the flame of the fire is literally holding the frequency of specific Divine qualities. It is not simply representing cosmic flame; it literally holds specific qualities of the cosmic flame. Like a Vaastu house, when exposed to these Cosmic frequencies, the individual’s own frequency in the cave of the heart is elevated. As the inner cosmic flame begins to vibrate with the external cosmic flame, positive qualities of the Divine begin to be out pictured as the life of the individual. Then health, peace, prosperity, and well-being emerge in one’s life. This is thoroughly explained in my book “Fabric of The Universe” which can be obtained through the bookstore at http://www.aumscience.com.

It is only through elevating the individual frequency that real and lasting change occurs. We are promoting the idea of properly constructed fire pits for yagyas with proper mathematics – it’s an advanced study topic taught as part of the AUM S&T Senior Graduate Program. I can hardly wait to have AUM S&T students building these fire pits in back yards all over the world.

- Dr. Jessie Mercay at http://aumscience.com/wordpress/