A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Dynamics of Spiritual Practices

Gurucharanam Saranam

The Dynamics of Spiritual Practices
Mukundan P.R.

There are spiritual hierarchies – animals, humans, spiritual planes of ancestors, celestials, rishis and sages which all exist in this universal egg as expressions of the Supreme Consciousness. The Hindus knew it more than any others. But it is the Hindus who are blind to this truth than any others in the world. The deities, gods and goddesses, angels, jinnis and so on exist in a spiritual plane much below in spiritual evolution.

Like in the human world, there is ignorance and sensual indulgence, competition and jealousy in the world of the celestials too, though in a different ethereal dimension. If a human being worships such deities and angels, by oneself or under the guidance of a guru, what the soul begets are the same qualities and level of spiritual growth the deity or angel has perfected in their embodiment. It is this truth, generally people forget while following such worship tradition.

There are thousands of Gurus who propitiate spirits and deities and attain certain spiritual powers, and exhibit it in front of the ignorant believers, who mistake it as the proof of divinity and get misguided in the path of spirituality. We objectify our faith in God by attaching ourselves to one or the other gods or gurus who follow the deity tradition. We have tribal gods; gods and gurus who are fenced into thousands of castes and sub castes. And we have Christian God, Muslim God. Do we require any further proof to understand our pathetic fall and the ridiculous ideologies we follow without ever bothering to think?

Worshippers of deities, angels and gods can never attain tranquility and spiritual fullness due to their bonding with the sensual, imperfect world of the spirits and deities. Initially, a man who worships the deities might gain worldly – wealth and enjoyment in life. In fact it would be the result of one’s own earnings in the soul, which they would have enjoyed otherwise too with the sole strength of their ‘punya’ - the soul-virtue. The virtue in the soul is the positivity, the radiance or the health of the soul, arising from right conduct and virtuous actions in life, which gets embedded in the soul and from which arises good luck in life in proportion. This earning of the soul is being ignorantly pawned with the deities by the unsuspecting devotee as a guarantee for continued joy in this life and life hereafter.

The deity sucks the virtue of the devotee and leaves him bankrupt of soul-virtue. It happens because the deity is unable to enhance the soul-virtue of the devotee due to its own spiritual confinement in a lower spiritual plane. However, initially, the deity may be able to bestow some small favors on the devotees, which is intended to cement the devotees’ faith. The devotees get misguided going by the small experiences and in return pawn their soul to such powers by way of prayers, vows and worship. This bonding with the spirits becomes a spiritual liability not only for the worshipers' soul but its grip goes deeper into the family lineage. When a person dies after worshiping such spirits his or her soul becomes extremely uncomfortable in the astral plane unable to get further spiritual elevation.

To get spiritual elevation, the souls in the astral plane should be able to take birth in the homes of parents who live a spiritually elevated life. Unfortunately, the progeny of the ancestral soul would be blindly following the worship tradition in the family, whatever the ancestors followed. So the way of escape becomes impossible for the ancestral souls. The tragedy gets accumulated and it works like a curse on the family concerned due to the desperation of the ancestral souls. The aforesaid disquiet of the ancestral souls affects the family genetically in various ways – poverty, disasters, family imbroglios, misfortunes, physical and mental debilities and unhappiness. The family slowly disintegrates losing all luck and prosperity. These ancestral souls are also born sometime with mental and physical debilities due to the blemishes accumulated in the soul through wrong worship, karma and dharma. In astrology, it is termed as ‘Pitru Dosha’ or ancestral demerits.

The life and work of Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru was to rescue the families from this predicament of ancestral curses and to give them a way of worship that will nourish their soul, not nullify its virtue. The performance of Guru Pooja in Santhigiri is for this spiritual cleansing and reorientation.

Our mistake is in the selection of medium towards God. We mistake the medium of spirits, gods and goddesses as the Almighty God. Our mistake is our ignorance in understanding the concept of Guru, the medium between God and man. Generally in India, people accept a Guru in their life. But the mistake lies not as much in the acceptance of Guru, but in the selection of Gurus. If you accept a Guru who is devoted to a god or goddess of aforesaid nature, that Guru can take you only to that level of spiritual truth. Most of the Gurus including the ones belonging to the monotheism of Sankara are deity worshipers, though they theorize about the formless Truth, the Brahman. The ashrams belonging to Sankara tradition do not entertain non-Brahmins in their ashrams, much less offer food to them. It is due to this lack of love, people do not give any heed or respect to such sanyasis and ashrams.

It is very disheartening to see that there are hundreds of ashrams and sanyasis today, who bother about caste and religion. This is equally true of other religions as well. A real sanyasi is beyond all sorts of human discriminations. In the ascetic tradition of India, one should not ask a Sanyasis about his previous stage in life - his name, family, caste, educational details etc. Because the sanyasi is one who has identified the oneness of his soul with the souls of all other living beings. There is only one vibration in the heart of a sanyasi - that is of joy and unconditional love. This unconditional love and joy can flow only when the heart is connected to the supreme source of that love - the Light of God. It cannot be gained from the lower planes of tamasic and rajasic spiritual powers, angels, deities and gods or from the gurus whose spirituality is based on deity worship or spirit worship not only of Hindu tradition but of any other religious traditions.

The first point in the checklist before accepting a Guru is this – whether the Guru is attached to a deity. Go ahead if he is not, and find out next whether he is experientially connected to the Supreme Light of God. If he is connected to the Supreme Light, he will be the one who receives words and visions from the Light. Go ahead still further and find out whether you are able to yourself experience the Divine through him, find out whether he is able to know your soul, its trajectory and make you aware of yourself. A supreme guru is like a mirror in which you see your own reflection; it reflects your own truth. These are the basic checklists one should follow while selecting a Guru. And Guru you must select in order to elevate yourself in the spiritual ladder. The difference between spirituality (of Guru-disciple order or Gurumargam) and religion lies in this experiential aspect.
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