“The dark side of spiritual path??!!!” (not really) – The erroneous subjugation of human behavioral flaws with Yoga & Spiritual progress.

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I remember during one of the many experiences being shared at Sivananda Ashram at Bahamas, one person was narrating a story; of a follower/student who had a spiritual guru based in the Himalayas. Intrigued by his quest and fascinated by the wisdom of his Guru, the disciple returned to this master every year for new learning and experiences. Master, impressed by the dedication and efforts to visit and spend time with him by this young student for over one decade, offered him the doorway to what he called sacred knowledge. The disciple was unquestionably happy and already in seventh heaven to have qualified to gain this trust and ability. When the master demonstrated a Yoga technique which seemed quiet easy the disciple was surprised and couldn’t hold his inquisition to comment – “this is such a common and simple posture, every studio back in my country teaches this !!!! Tears rolled down from the cheeks of the master followed by long silence. (I shall not be narrating rest of the story but the abstract of the same below)

The above story might sound silly but the emotions of the master associated with the path and its prerequisites were “sacred”. The profound understanding of the subject matter of Yoga for several millions Yogis across the globe even today is their path of self discovery which is their Spiritual journey (do not confuse with Religious affairs). For this master (from the above narrated story), one had to really walk the path and practice the 10 commandments of Yamas & Niyamas before the person was ready for the third aspect of Yoga known as Asana – holding of postures. “WE now live in a different world – where one can access any information and can be easily mislead to assume that as attained wisdom

Often in most of my workshops I always comment that Yoga is not about twisting or performing acrobatics with your body, asanas is just one aspect of it. Not surprising, the way Yoga today is perceived, most of the people I encounter during the workshops often introduce themselves (mostly men) with their inability to practice Yoga (since Yoga is perceived only as asanas). This shortsightedness of understanding what Yoga is? is leading to & may continue to mislead & confuse the aspirants on this path.

Even the first aphorism of Yoga Sutra by Sage Patanjali starts with – atha yoga anushasanam – which means NOW THE JOURNEY OF YOGA BEGINS. The journey to this “NOW” is the most difficult one (in today’s world) and what takes years of self restraint from indulgence and practice austerity.

As long the perception of what Yoga is? Is not understood well, trying to acquire knowledge and mastering it is a distant fruit. Yet many people practice it and are in the business, and reap the benefits. This is indeed the root cause and most of the problems have originated from. It sounds similar to the experience and scenario of a medical student, learning all but anatomy and assuming it to be the complete knowledge of medical science – starts prescribing drugs. I am certain, there could be such cases in isolation but in reality this does not happen, for the simple reason and fact that a student knows what being a doctor is? and that it takes much beyond the study and understanding of anatomy (which is just a part of the overall subject and his journey) of being a successful doctor. Such understanding has to be “in”-culminated in a Yoga aspirant who wishes to be a teacher or master for teaching and conducting Yoga classes/workshops or camps.

In all the worldly experiences and haunting tales of “Dark side of Spiritual path”, a simple introspection helps. One doesn’t have to be (and cannot be) a perfectionist to start this journey. In-fact, it is accepted that one needs to purify and must have a zeal to overcome his shortcomings and hence the ten commandments talk about non-violence, truth and Bramhcharya (Celibacy) (to name a few amongst them).

It is unfortunate, that as aspirants young people and especially women face challenges and are getting bitter experience, but do not paint the picture as “Dark side of Spiritual path”. It is the inability of the person (the wrong doer) who has chosen to satisfy his hideous intentions with a path and journey, which is (and should) ideally help one to move out of it.

There will be instances of fraud, sexual assaults, venting out of emotions, people shaming and other heinous and deformed intentions practiced and perceived in Yoga (like in any other field). This is for the simple fact, that there is no screening mechanism that really exists and defines who is truly qualified to deliver knowledge and teachings of Yoga. For all we know, we live in a free world, with little restriction and rules about who can and should practice Yoga (or any other form of spiritual growth), which just requires a nominal investment of time and recognition with the help of TTC.

If one has to outgrow or avoid such experiences, keeping your conscience (and subconscious) and senses open and aware. One has to fend for one’s own self and search for a true master, whose thoughts and vision aligns with your path of spiritual progress and development.

Shripad“The dark side of spiritual path??!!!” (not really) – The erroneous subjugation of human behavioral flaws with Yoga & Spiritual progress.
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The way to success is to accept & move towards elimination of…?

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STOP!!!! Accept, Introspect (Self Study, Analyze), Adapt → PROGRESS

[While this article was compiled little over 72 hours before 9th November 2016 (the historic day for UsofA), little was expected who would be the correct readers or whom it would be intended to. After being bombarded for several months with various political campaign and often unwanted social media attention the results were finally out. While one side flamboyantly celebrated the decision, the other side would have also done so if the results were otherwise. While elections is nothing but a promise to the voters about what one can do if he/she is elected, people eventually choose what they have been conditioned to like and whose promises seems more truthful and associative. Let us be honest – at some point, it was not about who is a better candidate for the nation, it became a blind game of mine vs yours. I wish it was rather on my ideology over yours.

And in this hoarding among the debates and attenuated facts was the ignorance of – whether it is in the betterment of my personal interests by the candidate or the betterment for the larger cause – nation and its society.]

The first most important and critical point (can be considered as the root-cause) of affliction is IGNORANCE (Avidya, or lack of knowledge). Yoga philosophy as described and defined by Sage Patanjali (the father of Yoga who made Yoga and its philosophy available with his divine knowledge more than a 1000 years ago).

Denial is the subtle element of our Ego and fear, which prohibits us from acknowledging a particular situation and look through a holistic view point. Once we wipe this element of denial, only then there can be space for wisdom and ability to see the possibilities.

While, it is quiet easy to be misinterpreted that the intention is to let go and accept, but it is not correct. The objective is to accept; acceptance only makes it practical to think and opens the possibility to think further, to rectify and taking corrective steps. Ignorance adds fuel to the fiery will of denial.

Stand for your rights, fight for what is not right and willfully accept the damage due in the process which could have been avoided with little efforts and awareness, if it was acted on time.

Often several times, life is all about choices. It is not about right or wrong decisions, it is about having the ability to stand by your choice and working towards making it right. And, for this, one of the most important tool one should have by his side is called KNOWLEDGE which has to transcend into WISDOM.

Everyone has the knowledge and the foresight of possibilities which are culturally destructive, though may be in the interest of the few. But that is also just a possibility and not a certainty. Though the very same people who opposed the decision are among the one who are witnessing a surge in their wealth with rising stock prices every day. What action you take further from the knowledge – is wisdom. Whether you choose to live in denial and form a cocoon around yourself, or keep whining or work from today to ensure the same mistake is not repeated or be a part of it and ensure nothing really goes wrong. The choice is still yours, but only after you – STOP – Accept, Introspect, Adapt…

ShripadThe way to success is to accept & move towards elimination of…?
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Austerity (“TAPAS”) is not a form of Compromise!!!

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Often TAPAS, a commonly known “Niyama” is encountered and found to be a fascinating word, but is gravely misunderstood by the young enthusiasts on their path of learning Yoga. It is not the perception of the understanding but the appropriate knowledge one needs to have before moving further in the understanding of the basic principles of well-being and spiritual growth, as defined in numerous texts and Patanjali Sutras for Yoga.

Often, we come across people who have developed skills and talent in certain aspects (which could be common or very unique). For ease, let us consider the common ones, such as singing, dancing and sports. It is quiet obvious that it takes certainly a great deal of effort and patience to excel in these fields. Some inherited skill and ability does exist in all of us, BUT the one’s who stand apart in these fields are also the ones who have employed greater amount of time and focused energy. Those who excel or possess extraordinary skills are the ones who must have certainly put more efforts and increased their endurance in their respective fields.

So what factor or ‘base element’ helps or has been instrumental towards this? One can say – Practice, focus, luck, ability to adapt, desire etc… The number of factors may just continue. Aren’t these all factors available in all of us and at some point? Weren’t we all at the same point where a person with extraordinary skill also started and we all must have been on the same platform?

At what point the defining moment changed is the factor of austerity. It can be a considered as a kind of discipline (or severity) towards the practice of every aspect mentioned above. Discipline by force and compromise may not be permanent, and will look for options to vent out, austerity on the other hand is the result from desire – to achieve or be at a level where you discover yourself at peace.

This article was first published here:

ShripadAusterity (“TAPAS”) is not a form of Compromise!!!
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Relieve Stress – Be Yourself

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Stress has different meaning for different people, depending greatly on every individuals capacity to deal with unwarranted situations and outcomes. Our mind is a complex structure and sub-conscious mind plays a vital role in a extremely preemptive (predetermined) manner. Before any action, the outcome is determined and expected. This difference in the outcome and expectation is a leading cause of stress.  What exactly happens when the outcome not fall in line with expectation?

ShripadRelieve Stress – Be Yourself
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