MAHA SAMADHI…..The final merging

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Samadhi is the withdrawing of the mind from the created world INTO the uncreated void…..The body and mind become immaterial or irrelevant when the realisation of spirit dawns on the soul. During the start of meditation, there is an object of meditation – but in Samadhi, all have become one – merging takes place. The self does not distinguish between the object contemplated and the process of contemplation thereby the mind/intellect becomes immaterial in the experience of all pervading spirit consciousness. Thoughts do not arise, as the mind is stilled by the experience of expanding consciousness. That is why in the Bible it is said, “Be Still, and know that I am God”  (Psalms, 46:10)

In Tamil, the word Samadhi has a profound meaning. In Tamil, Samadhi is interpreted as Samam + Aadhi meaning equal to the original being of Spirit –and Maha Samadhi means to merge into the Infinite spirit……

All of us, have to leave this earth one day, but none of us know when or where or how – but great saints, and evolved souls, know when their time comes. They silently prepare their followers to carry on without them. Some saints leave the earth in simple fashion; Some saints leave the earth in a spectacular fashion. Whether they leave silently or spectacularly, they greatly inspire the countless devotees who follow them in their path.

They say that the great Shirdi Sai gave his own life to save the life of an ailing disciple. Some years before his Maha Samadhi, he had come back from Samadhi after three days, when his devout disciples refused to part with the body even after the doctors have come and said that there was no life in the body. Their faith stood steadfast and Shirdi Sai returned. But in 1918, he did not return as he attained Maha Samadhi – even as he saved the life of a beloved disciple.

At the end of his life, Sri Ramana Maharishi the great sage of Tiruvannamalai, was afflicted with a tumour –  he refused the usual treatment, and allowed the wound to take a toll on his body – he was unconcerned by the suffering of his body and urged his devotees to look at the spirit behind the body. He graced all those who visited him during his last days with his eyes full of light. When Sri Ramana attained Maha Samadhi in 1950, many witnessed a comet moving across the sky at the exact moment of his Maha Samadhi and disappearing behind the Arunachala mountain.

When Sri Aurobindo attained Maha Samadhi on 5th December 1950, The Mother had to announce thus : “The funeral of Sri Aurobindo has not taken place today. His body is charged with such a concentration of Supramental light that there is no sign of decomposition and the body will be kept lying on his bed so long as it remains intact.” The body of Sri Aurobindo was interred on 9th December 1950. The Pondicherry Mother too, exhibited similar symptoms during her Maha Samadhi in 1973. The interred Samadhis of these two great saints draw people from all over the world even today.

Sri Ramakrishna, the great saint of spiritual renaissance in India, attained Mahasamadhi in 1886, uttering the name of the Divine Mother. In his lifetime, Sri Ramakrishna had laid the foundation for a very vibrant spiritual order, and Swami Vivekananda spearheaded the organisation and its ideals as Sri Ramakrishna’s worthy disciple.

Swami Vivekananda himself had a quiet Maha Samadhi – but he truly aroused the world from its spiritual slumber with his call of “Arise and Awake” – before he passed away at a young age of only 39. He is even supposed to have studied the alamanac, trying to choose a date for his departure!

Meera Bai, the great devotee of Lord Krishna, was often seen in Samadhi – the final merging came one day when she went into the Krishna temple of Dwarka and simply disappeared in the year 1547.

Meera Bai’s merging with the Lord bears a striking resemblance to Sri Andal’s merging centuries before Meera Bai’s advent. Sri Andal of Sri Villiputtur, the famous and only lady ALWAR, who composed the immortal 30 part hymn Tiruppavai and the 143 hymn Nachiar Tirumozhi  disappeared into the temple of Sri Ranganatha when the blessed Lord appeared in the dream of the temple priest and asked that Sri Andal be brought in bridal finery to the temple – she entered the sanctum sanctorum and disappeared in front of the waiting crowd at the temple sometime in 3020 B.C – a miracle seen by the locals of that time.

Sri Akka Mahadevi of Karnataka, defied every authority of the ancient patriarchal society by going around totally naked – her body covered only by her long tresses – she too, disappeared in a flash of light at Sri Sailam (present Andhra Pradesh) at a very young age, around 1160 A.D.

Sri Ramalinga Adigalar, the proponent of “Arut perunjothi” also disappeared into thin air on 30th January 1874 ( attained Soruba Samadhi ) which was even investigated by the British collector of Cuddalore at that time. After the investigation, the collector was convinced of the divine disappearance of the great saint.

The places where the saints attained Mahasamadhi are generally well preserved in India. There are many interesting stories where the saints speak from their tomb after their samadhi….

Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral, the great Avaduta’s Jeeva Samadhi ( he attained Jeeva Samadhi in the 18th century at three places – Nerur, Manamadurai and Karachi) just a few decades back, a great saint from Sringeri had a doubt about an aspect of yoga that he was practicing. As directed by Lord Siva in a dream, he came to Nerur, and Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral spoke to him from his tomb, and cleared the doubt of the saint of Sringeri.

The story of Sri Raghavendra appearing in flesh and blood several years after his Maha Samadhi (The saint attained Mahasamadhi in 1671 A.D)  to the British officer Munroe to show him the documents of the land at Mantralaya, is well known.

Sri Trailanga Swami (his famous meeting with Sri Ramakrishna is well documented by Swami Chetanananda’s books in RK Math publications) one of India’s greatest saints, attained Jeeva Samadhi at 7 places, including Varanasi, Madurai and Tenkasi – He was born in 1601 and attained Mahasamadhi in 1887 – and his penances when he was alive, is well known – Sri Paramahansa Yogananda writes in his famous classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, thus : “If Christ returned to earth and walked the streets of New York, displaying his divine powers, it would cause the same excitement that was created by Trailanga decades ago as he passed through the crowded lanes of Benares”

There is an interesting episode of the guru of Swami Rama (author of Living with the Himalayan Masters) who comes back to life after attaining Maha Samadhi to guide his disciples.

Sri Akkolkot Maharaj, after he attained Maha Samadhi in 1878 also came back to life for a few minutes out of compassion, unable to bear the misery of his devotees who were crying for him. He also appeared in flesh and blood to a few of his devotees who did not know about his maha Samadhi, five days after his Maha Samadhi.

The exemplary Maha Samadhi and subsequent resurrections of two of India’s greatest saints, Sri Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswar Giri Maharaj, in Sri Paramahansa Yogoananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” is a well known inspiration to the devotees.

The Maha Samadhi of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda itself is a great inspiration to the countless devotees on the path of self realization…..many years before his Maha Samadhi the great yogi had predicted, “ I will not die in bed, but with my boots on, speaking of God and India” and on 7th March, 1952, the great Guru of SRF/YSS did exactly that, as he left his bodily temple, talking of God and India……

( Sri Paramahansa Yogananda’s last words on earth echoed his love for God in no uncertain terms: ”Where Ganges, Woods, Himalayan Caves, and Men DREAM God – I am hallowed; my body touched that sod”  As he finished those words he looked up and consciously exited the world…..Sri Paramahansa Yogananda’s body remained in a state of perfect preservation for nearly three weeks before the casket was finally sealed)

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The Japanese Earthquake and what it can teach us…..

(This is for all my friends who sent me mails asking as to HOW exactly to send peace vibrations to Japan)

Habits. How easily we form habits! We get up daily, brush our teeth, bathe, get ready for work, eat – and with what precision! – all these things, come out of habit. Similarly, our personal choices. Each and every moment of our lives, we are confronted by personal choice – of like or dislike, of love or hate, of embrace or wrestle, of smile or growl, of give or take, of patience or haste, of compassion or indifference, of virtue or vice   – in order to carry on in life, we have to CHOOSE. And once we start choosing a particular choice, it becomes a habit, over a period of time. So, why not DELIBERATELY choose happiness and joy and understanding for sometime, so that it becomes our habit to be happy, joyful, and understanding?

Sounds easy, but it is not so when it comes to practicing this. We take something like 1440 decisions a day if we calculate a decision a minute, in our everyday lives. And each of this choice, influences WHO WE ARE by the end of the day. We must be able to practice love, positivity, understanding, joy, happiness, compassion, etc, in all these decisions, to become a better person.

But what exactly has this to do with the earthquake?

What we think, influences our environment. There is a tribe in Africa, who do not cut trees. When they want a tree to be not there, they simply go and abuse it. The tree dies after a few days. Similarly, our great scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose proved that plants have feelings, with the help of instruments that recorded the plants emotions. Luther Burbank, a great American horticulturist, was able to produce cactus plants without the mandatory thorns, by suggesting to the plants daily that they are protected and that they don’t need the thorns for protection. When our thoughts can affect plants and trees, they certainly can affect the environment! All these only point out to the fact, that our environment, REACTS to our thoughts. In other words, our environment, REFLECTS our thoughts.

When individual thoughts of similar frequency gather in the ether, they become our collective thought, and when the collective thoughts become epidemic in nature, they effect a mass movement. Many examples are quoted in the book, “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. ( I am grateful to my ex.boss Shri V.Anand who suggested this book to me many years back)

Many are the movies that had hit the screens recently, on the possible end of this world, like 2012. Most of us who see these movies or hear such theories, harbor fears in our subconscious mind. These individual fears become our collective fears in times of such Natural calamities, resulting in more such events taking place.

If we continue to send out positive thoughts, loving thoughts, and peaceful thoughts, our collective thoughts can turn the tide in favour of Mother Earth. Our collective POSITIVE thoughts are needed by Mother Earth, more than ever now. Our earth appears huge to us, but seen from the universe, it is not even a speck.

In this ever expanding vast vast universe, earth appears to be just a dot from a distance of 6 billion km, when Voyager One took a photo and sent it to NASA as it exited the Solar System. And Carl Sagan says, “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

And it becomes our responsibility to protect this tiny speck called earth, in this vast universe, by fostering positive, loving, peaceful thoughts. The responsibility, amazingly, is LIMITED to just ourselves! If we think positive, loving, peaceful thoughts, without bothering about others, it will automatically affect our environment, and gradually, pave the way for a better world, is the analogy.

There is a video on youtube titled, “The revolution has begun” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvoRat-Tl_Q)  that shows how the earth’s geophysical statistics got altered drastically when nothing physical was actually happening. The video went on to say that the maximum disturbance that was seen from satellite imaging was during September 2001 when the entire world watched in horror the terror attack on the twin towers. The video was making a case that our collective thoughts altered the geophysical pattern and went on to focus on loving thoughts, asking the viewer to choose love over fear.

Even though we need to see the TV news to know what is happening, let us not get influenced by subconscious fears fanned by the frenzied TRP pitches. During Natural calamities like the Japanese earthquake, most of us sit glued to the television, sympathising with the victims but also at the same time, retaining the fear – the BEST THING THAT WE CAN DO at these times is to CALMLY send waves/vibrations of PEACE and LOVE sitting quietly for sometime. WHEN WE DO IT INDIVIDUALLY, EVEN FOR A FEW MINUTES, IT WILL BECOME A COLLECTIVE EFFORT EVENTUALLY – and ultimately affect the world in a more POSITIVE WAY.

There are many teachers/videos/books/lessons/websites/pages available that teach us the exact way to do it. I follow a simple way : I sit calmly in a chair, spine straight, close my eyes. Then I IMAGINE the globe/earth in space in between my open palms, and then imagine light emanating from my palms to envelope the world in the light of LOVE and PEACE. I hold onto that thought for sometime, and then leave it – it gives me a sense of peace as well.

For earthquake affected Japan, we can imagine the map of Japan or the outline of Japan, and also mentally affirm or say,”I send vibrations of peace and love to the people of Japan affected by the earthquake”

(Readers may kindly note that this technique is different from prayer. I pray too. But this is the technique I practice when I meditate.I am sure that there are more advanced and better ways to do this, and I am sure that there are many masters who teach this – but among many methods that I have come across, this has been the easiest for me for some years now)