What is the spiritual life?

Here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Light and the eternal Truth. What does this mean? It means that we have accepted the spiritual life soulfully and consciously.

The paramount question is, “What is the spiritual life?” The spiritual life is something that is natural and normal. It is always natural and it is always normal, unlike other things that we come across in our day-to-day multifarious activities. The spiritual life is normal and natural precisely because it knows its Source. Its Source is God the infinite Light and God the eternal Truth.

When we follow the spiritual life, we come to feel that a life of peace need not always remain a far cry. We come to feel that a life of love, the love that expands, need not always remain a far cry. Everything that fulfils us divinely and supremely, we can achieve and claim as our very own if we follow the spiritual life. Right now Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure we do not have at our disposal. But when we practise spirituality, when our inner cry, which we call aspiration, climbs up high, higher, highest, at that time Peace, Light and Bliss we get not only in abundant measure but in infinite measure. And we can achieve and treasure these divine qualities in the inmost recesses of our hearts. When we practise the spiritual life soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally, we try to bring to the fore the divinity that we all have. And this divinity is nothing short of our perfection.

Here we are all seekers. Each seeker represents the ideal and the real. The ideal is self-transcendence and the real is God’s all-pervading Consciousness.

If we want to grow into the real and the ideal in us, we have to clean our mind thoroughly of the undivine thoughts that are constantly assailing us. And we have to empty our heart and fill it with infinite Light and Delight. Then God the Real and God the Ideal will be able to sing and dance in our aspiring being.

Here we are all seekers. We are all chosen instruments of the Supreme, our Beloved Supreme, the Eternal Pilot. We can prove this soulful statement of ours, not by words but by deeds, by our serving love and loving service.

Loving service. Our loving service can prove to the world at large that we are the chosen instruments of the Supreme, for the Supreme. When we love the Supreme soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally in our aspiring mind, we heighten our God-Height; and when we serve the Supreme soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally in our aspiring mind, we deepen our God-Depth.

Since we are the chosen instruments of the Supreme, our immediate necessity is God-realisation and our absolute duty is God-manifestation. In the fulfilment of our immediate necessity, we can become the torch-bearers of infinite Truth and the harbingers of God-Vision within us and without. In the fulfilment of our absolute duty, we discover that we are God-seeds and God-fruits. Let us offer our God-seed to the Supreme; let us place it at His Feet, so it may grow into a divine tree that can lift humanity to the highest transcendental Height. Let us also offer to the Supreme our God-fruit. Let us place our God-fruit at His Feet for His Manifestation, His total and complete Manifestation here on earth.

– Sri Chinmoy, Spirituality

Koshas – The Five Sheaths of Human Being

Koshas

Kosha, usually rendered “sheath”, is one of five coverings of the Atman, or Self according to Vedantic philosophy. According to Vedanta, the wise person being aware of the subtle influences of the five elements within each kosha, ever discerns the Self amidst appearances.

Physical – Annamaya Kosha

Anna means food. All of the physical aspects of life come and go, and are consumed by another aspect of external reality. Thus, the outermost of the koshas is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha. In Vedanta practice, we train this aspect of ourselves, take care of it, nurture it, so that we can both enjoy our external lives and go inward without it being an obstacle during meditation time. In meditation, we become aware of Annamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the other koshas.

Energy – Pranamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Pranamaya kosha. Prana means energy. It is the vital force that produces the subtle vibrations related to breath, and which are the driving force behind the physical aspect of the senses and the operation of the physical body. It allows the invisible indweller, our True Self to be able to animate in the external world. At the same time, however, it allows the eternally still, silent center of consciousness to be mistakenly identified as the moving, visible physical body. For both a healthy life and the practice of meditation, Vedanta says that it is very useful, or essential that this level of our being be trained, regulated, and directed, so that it flows smoothly. In meditation, we become aware of Pranamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the other koshas.

Mental – Manamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Manamaya kosha. Mana means mind. It is the level of processing thoughts and emotions. It is in direct control of the operation, through the prana, of the physical body and senses. It is like a supervisor in a factory, in that it gives instructions, but is not supposed to be the manager of the factory of life. Because of this, it naturally has doubts, and created illusions. When it receives clear instructions from the deeper level, it functions quite well. However, when it is clouded over by its illusions, the deeper wisdom is clouded over. After taking care of the physical body and training the energy flow of prana, the most important part to be trained in positive ways is this level of mind. In meditation, we become aware of Manamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the remaining koshas.

Wisdom – Vijnanamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Vijnanamaya kosha. Vijnana means knowing. It is the sheath of wisdom that is underneath the processing, thinking aspect of mind. It knows, decides, judges, and discriminates between this and that, between useful and not useful. It is also the level of ego consciousness, meaning the powerful wave of I-am-ness. This I-am-ness itself is a positive influence, but when it gets co-mingled with the memories, and is clouded over by the manas, it loses its positive strength. A major part of sadhana (spiritual practice) is gaining ever increasing access to this level of our being. It is the level that has the higher wisdom to seek Truth, to go within, in search of the eternal center of consciousness.

Bliss – Anandamaya Kosha

Anandamaya kosha is the most interior of the koshas, the first of the koshas surrounding the Atman, the eternal center of consciousness. Ananda means bliss. However, it is not bliss as a mere emotion experienced at the level of the sheath of mind. Ananda is a whole different order of reality from that of the mind. It is peace, joy, and love that is underneath, beyond the mind, independent of any reason or stimulus to cause a happy mental reaction. It is simply being, resting in bliss called ananda. Yet, even this bliss, however wonderful it is, is still a covering, a sheath, a lampshade covering the pure light of consciousness. It is the subtle most of the five koshas. In the silence of deep meditation, this too is let go of, so as to experience the center.

Atman – Self

Atman is the Self, the eternal center of consciousness, which was never born and never dies. In the metaphor of the lamp and the lampshades, Atman is the light itself, though to even describe it as that is incomplete and incorrect. The deepest light shines through the koshas, and takes on their colorings. Atman, the Self, has been best described as indescribable. The realization of that, in direct experience, is the goal of Yoga meditation, Advaita Vedanta, and Tantra practices.

Five koshas

We are all seekers…

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We are all seekers, and our goal is the same: to achieve inner peace, light, and joy, to become inseparably one with our Source, and to lead lives full of true satisfaction.

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To live in joy is to live the inner life. This is the life that leads to self-realisation. Self-realisation is God-realisation, for God is nothing other than the Divinity that is deep inside each one of us, waiting to be discovered and revealed. We may also refer to God as the Inner Pilot or the Supreme. But no matter which term we use, we mean the Highest within us, that which is the ultimate goal of our spiritual quest.

A spiritual person should be a normal person, a sound person. In order to reach God, a spiritual person has to be divinely practical in his day-to-day activities. In divine practicality, we share our inner wealth. We feel the divine motivation behind each action and share the result with others. Spirituality does not negate the outer life. The outer life should be the manifestation of the divine life within us.

Sri Chinmoy, The Wings of Joy

Our Path… Love and Acceptance…

How how can we bring the Truth out of its prison cell? Again, I have to say it is through love. Love for whom? Love for God. And who is God? God is the highest illumined part in us. God is nothing and nobody else. I have a head and two feet. Let us say that my head represents the highest in me and my feet represent the lowest in me, my ignorance. I know that the highest and the lowest are both mine. The lowest has to enter into the highest in order to be transformed, liberated and fulfilled. The highest has to enter into the lowest in order to be revealed and manifested.

In our path, the sense of identification is absolutely necessary. The highest has to feel its total oneness with the lowest. The lowest has to feel its total oneness with the highest. Needless to say, the highest always feels its oneness with the lowest. It is the lowest that finds it extremely difficult to be one with the highest because of its fear, doubt, jealousy and so forth.

What kind of commitment is necessary to follow our path? It is not the kind of commitment that you have to make in other spiritual or cultural organisations. For these organisations, you may have to give a regular fee. But when I ask you to make a commitment, it is different. I say that if you see something in me, if you see or feel light inside me, then if you want to follow our path, you can. There will be no monetary demands. You do not have to give me five dollars or ten dollars or anything like that. No! Here it is a matter of your own aspiration-how sincere and regular you can be in your spiritual life. If you are not sincere, then you will not be able to run fast. But if you are sincere and dedicated, then you will run very fast. The commitment I ask for in our path is regularity in your meditation and aspiration, a sincere inner cry. I ask nothing else from any student.

Our path, the path of the heart, is also the path of acceptance. We have to accept the world. If we enter into a Himalayan cave or sit on a mountain top and cry for our personal achievement and satisfaction, then we are not going to do anything for the world. It will be like this: I shall eat food to my heart’s content and let my brothers remain unfed and starving. That is not good. If I am a real human being, I have to see that my brothers also eat along with me. If we eat together, then only we shall get real satisfaction.

Similarly, in the spiritual life, real spiritual Masters feel that it is their bounden duty to eat in front of humanity and share the spiritual food with humanity. Now, if humanity as a whole does not want to eat as it should, if many are still sleeping and have not yet felt the spiritual hunger, then what can the spiritual Master do? But if there are a few sincerely hungry seekers, the spiritual Master tells them, “The meal is ready. Let us eat together.”

In our path of acceptance, we have to know that the earth is far from perfection. But unless we accept the earth consciousness, how are we going to perfect it? If someone has some pain, I have to massage him. Then only his pain will go. Similarly, if the earth is imperfect at a particular place, I have to touch it with my aspiration and concern. Then only can I transform it. As long as the earth consciousness is not fully realised, I will try to remain on earth to be of service to mankind with my inner consciousness.

– Sri Chinmoy, The Master and The Disciple 

Everyday Awakening… In This Very Moment…

everday awakening...

While you’ve been busy with your attention captured by feelings and thinking of yourself as separate and limited, you’ve missed the absolute truth: you have always been all that you ever wanted.

The self-help industry is fundamentally flawed. It perpetuates the myth that we are limited, damaged, inadequate selves who need to be fixed. Sadly, it keeps millions of people just like you hoping for a better future when they will finally be happy and fulfilled.

But what if this inadequate self isn’t who you are? What if it’s possible, at any moment, to be happy and free?

Discovering this possibility is a journey that leads you to the amazing fact that all you seek has always been here. What you discover won’t be new or unfamiliar. You’ve always been who you really are despite your distractions.

You’ve already delighted in the burst of joy that comes out of nowhere, if only for an instant;
You’ve felt the all-consuming feeling of love;
You know the wondrous sense of the unity of all;
You’ve experienced the spark of unexpected creative expression, and
You’ve dissolved into a bout of uncontrollable laughter.

You know in your heart of hearts that you’re bigger than your imagined limits.

Happiness isn’t nearly as elusive as we might think—if we know where to look for it. There’s a current alive in each of us that flows toward contentment, toward resting effortlessly in peace and ease. This current is so strong that every action we take is an attempt to find happiness.

When you seek approval, you’re trying to feel whole and relaxed. If you strive for money or material goods, you’re searching for the moment of ease when you finally fulfill your desire. If you overdo anything, you’re really looking for happiness, peace, and relief from inner turmoil.

You might think you want a relationship or the perfect job or even your mother’s love. But, your real desire is the inner longing to be free of conflict, satisfied and complete, with no sense of something missing.

This is the ease of being you’ve been searching for your whole life. And you absolutely can know it in your own direct experience.

But you won’t discover it in the objects, people, and situations in the world. You won’t even discover it in your own thoughts. These are changeable, unreliable forms you can’t trust to make or keep you happy. If this is where you’re looking, then you probably already know your search will fail.

The good news—the most amazing news—is that the peace you long for is available, here and now, in this very moment…and endlessly. You come to know it when you learn how to stop relying on ideas about how you wish things were—and say “Yes!” to the reality of how things actually are.

The path to realizing the unlimited potential for happiness in every moment is radical. It involves a shift in consciousness that invites you to question everything you take to be true—all the stories, beliefs, hopes, expectations, and feelings that make up who you think you are—and discover that they’re the very source of your dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and personal suffering.

Take an honest look at the thoughts and feelings that consume your attention. Are you:

Waiting for others to do something so you can be happy?
Obsessing over all the things you don’t like about yourself?
Recycling thoughts about what should or shouldn’t happen in your life?
Living in fear, shame, worry, or depression?

No wonder you’re not happy. These everyday problems set you up for frustration and disappointment. They make you think the present is unfulfilling, and they delude you into believing that the ease you seek will be available at some future time.

This “if only” thinking keeps you chasing happiness rather than living it. And while you’re distracted by these thoughts and feelings, the deepest peace and happiness—available right now—go unnoticed.

Let me be clear: we’re not just talking about that smile-on-your-face feeling we call happiness. It’s not even the satisfaction you feel when things are going well—these are expressions of it. When you deeply accept everything as it is, the inner war with your own experience ends, and you’re not only peaceful, but joyful and content, as well.

This is your natural state: what you knew before any conditioned habits or emotional pain concealed it. It’s the pure aliveness that remains—when the pressure to do, fix, try, and accomplish falls away. Fear subsides, and you feel intimately connected with everything.

This is the happiness that is always available, always ready to be discovered. Even though you may not consciously experience it, you and I both know that it’s here. Even if it’s hidden, this loving presence is alive in your true heart.

– Gail Brenner

Source: http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/everyday-awakening-in-this-very-moment/

3rd Anniversary…

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I am very glad to let you know that we are gracefully completing 3rd year of our learning journey today. “Known is a drop, Unknown is an Ocean” was started as knowledge sharing blog with the purpose to know our Self better, explore our Self further, listen our Self sharper, see our Self clearer and be our Self forever…

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Each and every post here is step towards that journey… keep inspiring us to learn more… grow more… share more… and ultimately remembering us who we are…

On this note to take our learning and sharing to next step, I have added eBooks section today with “Mind – Its Mysteries and Control”. Will be adding more interesting and thought-provoking eBooks soon…

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Concluding with Rumi’s words “We are not a drop in an Ocean, we are the entire Ocean in a drop” and Mamuni Mayans quote “As in Micro, so in Macro. The whole exists within the minutest particle and the minutest particle contains the whole. The atom contains the universe and the universe contains the atom, and neither exists without the other. Creator exists within creation, even as creation exists within creator.” :)