Knowledge Center

Sri Ganesha in Vedic Astrology

  Most traditional birth charts drawn up in India have drawings of Sri Ganesha at the top of the documents, honoring him and seeking his guidance and blessings. Ganesha rules over knowledge, mathematics and karma, so his place there is quite appropriate, as Jyotish involves all of these. Yet Ganesha has specific astrological correlations.   SRI GANESHA AS THE LORD OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE GREAT GURU      Ganesha is one of the main Hindu deities, first son of Shiva and Parvati, with one of the five traditional Hindu deity lines belonging to him. He is invoked and worshipped first in all Hindu rituals. Murtis of Ganesha can be found in Hindu homes and temples, particularly towards the entrances but with special

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Discovering the Secret Power of Hanuman

  Hanuman endows us with the Atma-Shakti or self-power to realize our highest potential and accomplish what is magical. Hanuman is the great hero of the Ramayana, the wonderful story’s most fascinating character. Though having the form of a monkey, he is said to be the greatest sage, yogi and devotee. What is the inner meaning of this magical figure and his relevance for everyone? Hanuman is portrayed as the son of Vayu, the wind God. This explains his speed of movement, his power to become as small or large as he likes, and his incredible strength. But there are many other yogic secrets hidden behind his symbolism. Hanuman and cosmic energy   Today our world prides itself in a

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Lord Vishnu and Vedic Astrology

Vishnu is the primary Devata for the Sun in Vedic thought, notably in the form of Surya-Narayana.  Narayana is the cosmic form of Vishnu who rules over the entire universe. The mantra – OM Namo Narayanaya! – is a mantra of sadhus and connects us with the supreme Consciousness. It can be used to draw in the Vishnu energy overall and harmonize all astrological and karmic influences.   The Sun is Vishnu as the supreme Purusha, which is said to dwell in the Sun in the Upanishads (Aditye Purusha). Yet Vishnu and Narayana are also related to the planet Mercury (Budha), particularly in its role as governing the Buddhi or higher intelligence and Dharma in general. Mercury is often regarded

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Yogic Quest: Test your understanding of Vedic Knowledge

How well do you know the greater Yoga tradition and the deeper Vedic knowledge? This test created by noted Vedic teacher Dr David Frawley (Acharya Vamadeva Shastri) can help you to confirm your assessment on this topic yourself. What is more? You can even share your test results with to the world through the social media.

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Psychological Immunity and How to Measure it

We all know the importance of physical immunity. This is our ability to resist disease, ward off pathogens, endure the dualities of heat and cold and seasonal changes, have physical strength and stamina, slow down the aging process and heal our bodies from within relative to injuries or chronic diseases. It is indicated by positive health and wellness. But what is psychological immunity? It is similarly the ability of the mind to resist disease, ward off emotional toxins, endure the dualities of gain and loss, joy and sorrow, attraction and repulsion. It means to have enduring mental strength and stamina, slowing down the aging process for the mind and memory, steady concentration and balanced emotions, without agitation and sorrow. It

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Releasing the Knots of the Heart: Hridaya Granthi

Yogic literature, starting with the Upanishads, speak of the knots of the heart and the necessity to release, cut or break these in order to free ourselves from ignorance, death and sorrow. This is necessary to realize our true Self that is one with all, which dwells at the core of the spiritual heart. It is not a matter of emotional healing but of the highest Self-realization. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi emphasizes Hridaya as the seat of the Self. In this article we will explore how to release the knots of the heart and all the implications involved.   Hridaya, the Spiritual Heart   Hridaya starting from the ancient Upanishads, which refers to it many times, is not the heart as

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Yogic Pratyahara and Psychological Immunity

Pratyahara Yoga   What is the main Yoga practice we can do for developing our psychological immunity, emotional calm, and inner equipoise in these difficult times? First, we must note that the principles and practices of Yoga overall are about mastery over the mind, so they all aid in psychological immunity, resilience, and the ability keep the mind from being dominated by external influences. Yoga in its deeper sense is a way to gain psychological wellbeing, without which any higher consciousness is not possible.   Yet one Yoga practice stands out as most important for improving psychological immunity and calming the senses and emotions. This is the practice of Pratyahara, the fifth of the eight limbs of Yoga that allows

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Consciousness and Immunity

Consciousness and Immunity Strong immunity is the basis for physical and mental health. It has ramifications outwardly relative to our social order and natural environment, and inwardly for our own deeper awareness. This includes karmic factors at individual and collective levels. A good immune system requires an expansive connection to Prana as the healing force of nature, and Consciousness at a universal level for integrating us with the creative energies of all existence. Learn to look at your immune system from a yogic and Vedic perspective.   Immunity and Nature   Our first foundational level of immunity is ecological. This consists of the integrity of our biosphere and the quality of our food, herbs, water and air, from our soils to

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Lord Shiva in Vedic Astrology

Lord Shiva has a central yet complex role in Vedic astrology, associated with a number of planetary energies, though he has specific planetary associations. We will explore these from my years of research in Vedic texts and Shaivite Yoga.   Shiva and the Sun and Moon   Shiva’s connections to the Sun are powerful and profound. He is the Pratyadhi-Devata, the third level or ultimate Devata of the Sun, afterSurya as the Devata and Agni as the Adhidevata. Shiva represents the pure transcendent light or Prakasha behind all other forms of light in the universe, manifest and unmanifest, which is discussed in detail in Shaivite philosophy. The Sun as the Self (Atman, Purusha) indicates our transcendent Shiva nature, the supreme

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Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

  The Covid-19 Pandemic has caused a massive loss of life, particularly for the elderly, and many millions worldwide have tested positive for the virus. Yet the psychological suffering the pandemic causes may be as difficult as the physical suffering, particularly as it lingers on well into 2021.   First is the psychological suffering that goes with the danger of the disease itself,  its symptoms, and the loss of life involved. The psychological stress of the health care workers treating  it is also be enormous. In addition is the suffering of the relatives whose loved ones suffer or are taken away by the disease.   Second is the widespread fear, sometimes panic, among people that they or someone close to

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Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

We follow an ancient tradition of Shiva Ayurveda connected to the Himalayan domain of Shiva and the great Yogis, including Yoga traditions from Kashmir to Uttar Khand and Nepal, but with connections throughout India. Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor. Certainly that is an important tradition worthy of following on many levels, based on profound Puranic stories and symbolism.       Yet in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, and Shruti or book of mantric vision of the Rishis, the primary doctor and healer is Rudra, the main Vedic name for Shiva. Rudra is lauded in the Rigveda as the supreme doctor  (bhishaktamam tva bhishajam

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Ojas: The Power of Immunity in Yoga and Ayurveda

Ojas is the ultimate resort of strength, patience and endurance for body and mind. Ojas is cultivated in Ayurveda for disease prevention, deep healing, rejuvenation and longevity. It is cultivated in Yoga for inner strength, determination and vitality, steadiness and focus of mind and prana.   Ojas is the essence of all seven bodily tissues of plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve and reproductive. As such, Ojas is the ultimate product of the long term nutritional process and holds the seed energy of the entire body. It is most connected to the subtle tissues of nerve and reproductive, indicating its influence on the mind and its creative force and its ability to hold Prana. Yet is gives muscular strength and

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Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda: The Meaning of Chikitsa

YOGA THERAPY OR YOGA CHIKITSA   The Sanskrit term for therapy throughout its medical literature is Chikitsa, which literally refers to the application of consciousness (chit) or caring. Yoga Therapy is called Yoga Chikitsa. Yet chikitsa as a specific term occurs rarely in traditional yogic texts. Yoga texts do mention disease as one of the main obstacles in Yoga practice, but do not make addressing disease in the ordinary sense of a medical system as the purpose of Yoga practice, which aims more at spiritual development and Self-realization.   CHIKITSA RELATIVE TO THE YOGA SUTRAS   Yoga Sutras is divided into four sections or padas, which each has a name. These are Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya

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The Non-Dual Reality of Lord Shiva

Shiva Mahadeva represents the non-dualistic Absolute beyond all the contraries and oppositions of this dualistic world of time, space, and karma. He is the force of transcendent unity that is more than the combination of opposites and holds simultaneously the power of both sides of all dualities. Shiva transcends duality in his very nature, appearance and manifestation – which requires that he embraces all dualities and resolves them back into himself. This makes Shiva difficult to understand for the dualistic mind caught in outer differences and distinctions, names, forms and contraries. Lord Shiva reflects the supreme truth that dwells beyond both relative truth and relative falsehood. He is the Supreme Being beyond both relative being and non-being. He is the

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Everyone Should Learn Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a science and yoga of right living that can be widely used by everyone. Everyone can benefit from learning the basics of Ayurveda as part of understanding one’s body and mind, how nature works and the deeper Consciousness behind the universe.   Ayurveda has always been an integral part of Vedic education and taught along with Yoga, Vedanta and the other Vedic sciences. Anyone who studies these yogic and Vedic disciplines should know at least the basics of Ayurveda, though this is not always the case today.   You don’t have to be a medical practitioner to study Ayurveda or use it for your individual well-being. The main issue is that the treatment of serious diseases should be

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The Space Within the Heart

  There is a space within ourselves, the space within the heart. It is not a physical space but the space of consciousness itself, the very presence of the Divine. We seldom dwell in this inner space, except in deep sleep, when we return to it unconsciously for rest and renewal.   If we look inside our minds we see emptiness. Most of us fear this emptiness within. We do not like to be alone because we must face this internal emptiness that brings into question our entire existence. We are used to looking and relating externally. We find that to be alone is to be no one, to be unrelated, to have no stimulation and no importance. We flee

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Sanskrit and the Science of Consciousness

  Sanskrit is to experiential spirituality what mathematics is to science. Sanskrit can unlock the mysteries of universal Consciousness just as mathematics is decoding the structure of the universe. This means that for a genuine science of Consciousness to be credible we should learn the mantric language of Sanskrit and its cosmic implications, not simply at an academic level but at a level of meditation.   Sanskrit provides the precise terminology for understanding the workings of cosmic law, karma and all forces in the universe. The Sanskrit alphabet is used as a blueprint for universal forces from the stars and the planets to the chakras of the subtle body. Sanskrit reflects the vibratory patterns that govern the universe as a

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Ayurvedic Astrology: Hinduism Today

Ayurvedic Astrology: Hinduism Today   With the Covid-19 era focusing humanity on wellness more than ever before, we present a little-known branch of knowledge—medical astrology. By Vamadeva Shastri Seeking knowledge: A mother holds a lamp aloft to illumine the cosmic darkness, to find answers for her life and her daughter’s among the distant stars. (Inset) Ayurvedic practitioner massages marma points to stimulate a patient’s vitality OUR HUMAN LIVES ARE GOVERNED BY the same cosmic forces that rule over the universe as a whole. Hindu thought teaches us that the individual human being is a reflection of the universal Being and explains how we can link the two together for overall well-being and for ultimate Self-realization. This connection is mirrored in

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Ayurveda and Vedic Counseling: What is the Relationship?

In this article we will discuss the relationship between Ayurvedic Counseling and Vedic Counseling. Our goal is to make it clear what Vedic Counseling is and how it relates to other Vedic disciplines and cannot simply be equated with Ayurvedic Counseling.   First we will examine the relationship between Clinical Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Counseling. There are two primary models of Ayurvedic practice available today for those who are looking to work in the Ayurvedic field. The first is a clinical model aimed at the treatment of disease, much like other primary health care practices and the work of doctors of various types. The second is a counseling model aimed at teaching the principles and practices of right living, wellness and

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Pranayama and Immunity

  Prana upholds the immunity of both body and mind. This power of prana is not simply the breath, with which it is related, but the deeper vital energy that sustains our entire embodied existence. Prana forms the subtle or energy body of the chakras, which gives life to the physical body, but also transcends it.    Prana Shakti is the key to health, wellbeing and the development of higher awareness on all levels. Today particularly in this pandemic era in which we must wear masks to protect our health, we should also practice more Pranayama at home or in nature to improve our circulation and keep our outer and inner Prana flowing.   Most important for our wellbeing and

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From Ego to Atman: Vedic View of Association

Ego as the Basis of the Human Mind    Each human being is a unique individual with his or her own angle of vision, point of view, or determination of reality. Yet unless we are able to recognize the different points of view of others or the diverse orientation of life as a whole, we can get trapped in the limitations of our own bodies and minds.   Each human being has an ego, and the human ego, even at an intellectual level, can be strong, even when it is sophisticated. Ego is the basis of the mind, so we often use our minds to justify the biases of the ego, whether personal or collective. Unless we learn how to

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Ananda: What is its True Meaning?

Ananda is one of the key terms of Yoga and Vedanta, and like many of the others often misunderstood. Ananda is translated as bliss though it has no real equivalent in the English language. Bliss is at best a helpful approximation but can be misleading.   Ananda is composed of the prefix ‘aa’ indicating superlative nature, and nanda meaning joy, happiness, contentment or delight. In other words, Ananda refer to the deeper and timeless dimension of happiness, not just a higher degree of the joys that we normally experience in life.   The first thing to understand is that Ananda is not a dualistic emotion. It is not a high that is connected to a low. Ananda is a non-dualistic

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The Healing Power of Shakti

Shakti, the intrinsic grace of the Divine Mother Goddess, holds the supreme power of spiritual, psychosomatic and bodily well-being. Connecting to Shakti we can unravel all the energies of healing – both for healing ourselves and healing others. These begin with the very air through which we live.   Drawing from the sacred source of the universal Shakti, one can move beyond the limitations of all outer therapies, medications and even psychoanalysis. The force and benevolence of the Goddess in her manifestations as Bhu Devi or Mother Earth, and Maha Prakriti or Great Nature, allow us to restore our health and rejuvenate through the flow of divine grace. Mother Earth and Mother Nature carry the Shakti essence of all healing

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Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Asana

Raja Yoga commonly refers to the royal or higher Yoga of meditation. While the term is not specifically mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, the Yoga Sutra tradition has been commonly called Raja Yoga over time. Raja Yoga is an ancient term found in the works of Adi Shankara. It aims directly at a change of consciousness, and relates to the control of the mind and the cultivation of Samadhi, the state of unitary awareness.  Hatha Yoga as a term is also mentioned as early as Shankara, though its components like Pranayama and its examination of the subtle energy body are as old as the Vedas. It is mainly studied through Shaivite texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Shiva Samhita

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The Yoga of Consciousness: The Supreme Yoga

Traditional Yoga, as defined in key Yoga texts like the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, is first of all a “Yoga of Consciousness”, requiring a deepening and expansion of an inner awareness. It is not a mere Yoga of outer action or bodily movements, but a Yoga of meditative inquiry. Its primary approach is to develop a direct change of consciousness within us, not simply to adjust the body, senses or mind externally.   The ancient Yoga teaches us to use the inner to change the inner, and does not depend upon external factors to change our awareness. Even the external factors it may employ consist of various methods of internalizing and slowing down our senses, prana and mind.

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Transforming Emotions through Pranayama and Meditation

Which aspects of our nature are emotions rooted in and how can we best understand them? Emotions are most connected to Prana in yogic thought and have their roots in pranamaya kosha, the Pranic sheath or covering that mediates between body and mind.   Emotions are based in instincts, notably hunger, thirst, survival and reproduction, which are inherent in the physical body (annamaya kosha) down to a cellular level. These are the basis of our primary fears and desires.   Yet emotions also function at personal and social level of the prana, extending instinctual reactions into our self-expression, including how we use our sense and motor organs and the very functioning of the ego.   Emotions occur at a mental

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Uncovering the Secrets of Time and Space, Beyond all Dimensions

Space-time in Modern Physics and in Vedic Thought Modern physics speaks of three dimensions of space with time as the fourth dimension. Vedic thought speaks of space as the ultimate reality with time as a movement in space.   Akasha or Space is the most subtle of the Vedic five elements, which indicate all the levels of manifestation from the immaterial to the material. Time is related to Vayu or the air/gaseous/energy element. Vayu is connected to life or Prana and Vidyut as the electrical energy that manifests from space. Space is related to mind or at a higher level to pure consciousness.   Space/Akasha in motion is said to be air/Vayu, which means that space in movement is time.

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Satya and the Eternal Truth

Satya is one of the most common principles of Vedic thought, extending throughout Yoga and Vedanta, mentioned in texts from Vedas and Upanishads. Yet like many Vedic terms it is misunderstood and hard to translate. Satya is usually rendered as “truth”, which is its closest equivalent, but Satya is not what is ordinarily called truth in western thought. Perhaps the clearest translation of Satya is “eternal truth”, relative to the ultimate truths of Consciousness and the Absolute, Brahman, Atman and Purusha of Vedic thought.    Transcendent or Mundane Truth   Satya is not the pursuit of truth in a mundane or scientific sense, which can be proved by outer experiments. Vedanta recognizes a higher or supreme truth (Paramarthika Satya) beyond

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The Flow of Soma

By David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) In the following article we will discuss the Vedic principle of Soma and its related principle of Agni in order to help us understand the internal alchemy behind the deeper practices of Yoga and Ayurveda. *****Article Reflects our upcoming Webinar on Soma Dec. 6, 2020, note Registration Information*****   Soma and Ananda The Vedic ritual reaches its climax in the Soma offering, in which specially prepared plant juices are offered into the sacred fire (Agni) as the drink of the Devas. But this ancient ritual reflects a deeper internal ritual or alchemy of awareness that is its real import. In exploring this process, we will discover many secrets of the practice of Yoga. Soma

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Yoga Nidra according to Adi Shankara

Yoga Nidra is a popular topic today but seldom taken to the depth that it is presented with in the Vedantic teachings. Here we will examine it according to the views of the great teacher, Shankara.   Adi Shankara or Shankaracharya is the most lauded exponent of Advaita or non-dualistic Vedanta. Most Advaita taught looks back to his influence, including the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. Yet Shankara wrote on all aspects of Yoga starting with his focus in Jnana or Knowledge, but also Bhakti or Devotion, Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga in various stotras and shorter works, as well as in his longer commentaries.   Shankara discusses the key factors in Yoga of the nature of Atman, Purusha, Brahman and

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Diwali and Rama Rajya

Diwali celebrates the return of Sri Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. This follows immediately after Rama’s great victory over Ravana and his recovery of his beloved wife Sita. As such, Rama’s return indicates the triumph of light over darkness and dharma over adharma. It marks the establishment of Rama Rajya, the rule of dharma that allows the flowering of our highest human and spiritual potentials. Yet, metaphorically speaking, Sri Rama’s exile from India lasted for centuries – including the first seventy years of India’s independence – though the wish for Rama’s return always remained. India’s independence did not bring about the long sought for return of Rama Rajya and the light of dharma that the independence movement

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Yoga-Vedanta: The Highest Teaching of Yoga

Yoga is defined as the unity of the individual Self or reincarnating consciousness, Jivatman, with the universal or transcendent Self, Paramatman. The nature of this unity is best explained in Vedantic texts like Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata, as well as in later Vedanta Shastras.   To truly understand Yoga and what it means by unity with the higher Self one should study Vedanta.   Yoga-Vedanta Comes to the West   Yoga first came to the western world in the context of Yoga-Vedanta through the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the great disciple of Paramahansa Ramakrishna, who visited the West at the turn of the twentieth century. Swami Rama Tirtha, who followed shortly after Vivekananda, emphasized Vedanta. Paramahansa Yoganananda, who settled

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Vedic Astrology as a Way of Self-knowledge

Vedic Astrology and Self-knowledge   Vedic astrology or Jyotish  is an integral part of all Vedic teachings as it is one of the most important aspects of Vedic knowledge. Yet we approach Vedic astrology in a way that may be different from what many groups do, which is to use Jyotish to simply tell a person’s fortune or predict events in their outer lives. We approach Vedic astrology as a way of Self-knowledge, Self-healing and Self-realization through Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta – providing insight on how to understand our karmas, work with them and transcend them. Vedic astrology is an important, if not essential tool of Vedic counseling ,as it helps us understand our karmas in life and how to

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Yoga and Ayurveda Practices to Protect our Nervous Systems in the High Tech Era

Today we are spending large amounts of time daily in front of computer screens, cell phones, other electrical items or an electrified urban environment. In the process we are exposing ourselves to powerful artificial electrical energies on many levels. This may be a necessary hazard in the information technology era, heightened by the pandemic lockdown. But it has significant physical and psychological side-effects.           How do we compensate for these higher tech electrical energies that can disturb our nervous systems as well as our mind and emotions? Here Yoga and Ayurveda have much to offer. Ayurveda helps protect our bodily energies through right care of the body and appropriate daily life style, balancing our doshas, improving

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WEBINAR RECORDING: The Vedic View on CRITICISM

Why is criticism important as part of the learning process? Why can it lead to conflict and enmity? How can we use it as a tool for self-improvement, social harmony and higher awareness? Differences of opinion are natural occurrences in life. After all, each person has his or her own mind and particular point of view. But disagreements need not result in conflict or enmity. For thousands of years Vedic Rishis have used critical analysis and debate, not for discrediting others, but as a means to understand and realize the broader truths of life for achieving wisdom, wellbeing and prosperity for all. No two Rishis agreed upon everything and yet they admired a variety of paths and honored the right of each person

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Vedic Counseling and Ayurvedic Psychology

  Vedic Counseling Several Vedic fields of education, counseling and therapy are gaining recognition throughout the world, including in countries where these disciplines are new and easy to confuse. As related Vedic fields, they cross over in different ways. Vedic counseling forms the background field for any education, guidance or therapy in the Vedic field. This includes Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta, Jyotish (Vedic astrology), Vastu and Sanskrit, along with the principles of Vedic living that are part of Hindu traditions overall. It extends to mantra and meditation practices rooted in the Vedic tradition. In other words, Vedic counseling is the primary background discipline in terms of Vedic values and practices, and their integration for all Vedic disciplines which have traditionally applied

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The Meaning of Durga

No country in the world demonstrates such enduring reverence for the Great Mother Goddess, as does India. The Goddess is celebrated in every form, aspect and quality, through music, art, ritual, mantra and meditation. She is honored in women, the Earth, nature and the transcendent beyond all expression. Her worship is full of splendor, delight, mystery and wonder. The Goddess is Shakti, meaning power, the resort of all transformative energy and cataclysmic force that mere human logic cannot comprehend. She possesses martial and regal forms that all must bow down before in awe. During the Navaratri – India’s famous festival of the Goddess celebrated not only in the autumn but also in the spring– she is worshipped as Durga, the

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Mind and Consciousness

What is the nature of the mind? How is it related to our deeper consciousness? And, above all, who are we in our real being? What is our true identity or true Self behind the endless stream of thoughts going on inside us? These have always been the prime questions that we must ask in order to discover the ultimate meaning and purpose of our existence. They are the basis of the seeking of liberation and Self-realization in the Yoga tradition. In Yoga, the Divine is defined mainly as the essence of consciousness. The yogic spiritual quest is a practice of meditation in order to discover that.   Looking at the Mind Today, we look at the mind according to

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Our True Self as the Space of Consciousness (Chidakasha)

In Vedanta the Self or Atman is commonly defined as space (kham, akasha). That space (akasha) is further defined as bliss (Ananda). What is the nature of this space that is the Self? Clearly it is not what we ordinarily know of as space or experience as ourselves.   Our inner Self holds the entire universe in the small space within the spiritual heart (Hridaya). This is a space of Consciousness (Chidakasha) behind all manifestation in the time-space world.   Levels of Space and Consciousness   Vedanta recognizes the existence several types and levels of space. First is the material space of our physical world that is the matrix of the other elements of earth, water, fire and air. It

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The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi: An Integral View

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, perhaps modern India’s greatest sage, recommended Atma-Vichara or Self-inquiry as the best and most direct approach for Self-realization. However, a careful examination of his teachings reveals that he recommended yogic approaches of devotion, mantra or raja yoga – in fact, he encouraged whatever might aid a person in their sadhana. The Maharshi emphasized a pure vegetarian diet as a crucial aid for clarity of mind. He noted the importance of satsangha or communion with spiritual teachers and aspirants. Pilgrimage to holy sites like the Arunachala mountain was very significant to him as well. He did spent several years of his early life at the Tiruvannamalai Shiva temple. Daily Vedic chanting goes on in his ashram to create

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Mahatma Gandhi at 150 Years

  Mahatma Gandhi remains the most well known and respected figure of modern India and its Independence Movement. His spiritual approach to political activism has influenced the entire world, including the civil rights movement in the United States through Dr. Martin Luther King. Yet while many people know about Gandhi, few understand what he represented or the traditions he reflected.   Mahatma Gandhi was not a political leader and never held any political post. He was primarily a spiritual and religious teacher. He shaved his head and wore the white loincloth of a sadhu or Hindu holy man. He was called a Mahatma or great soul, a term for great gurus and spiritual leaders. His favorite book was the Bhagavad

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Mind as Your Best Friend or Worst Enemy

  Your own mind is your best friend or worst enemy, depending upon how you relate to it. The mind is the part of your nature closest to your inner Self, but also connected to the external world and its influences, which usually rule over it. Much of what we call our minds is not ours but the opinions and emotions of others. We must learn to go back to our core awareness, for which the mind is but an instrument of expression.   What is Your Mind Breeding?   The mind easily accumulates negative thoughts, conflicting emotions and disturbed sensations down to a subconscious level, often compulsively and without our direct awareness. There rajasic and tamasic based agitated and

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Yoga and Ayurveda to Help Counter the Drug Epidemic

  The drug addiction problem is perhaps the greatest challenge today for mental health and psychological wellbeing, with the excessive use of both recreational and pharmaceutical drugs. Dependency on drugs is connected with many other issues like depression, anxiety, insomnia, peer pressure, the need to perform, physical or emotional pain and so on. Yet it has assumed a magnitude of its own.   The opiate epidemic is well known and growing, arising in part from over prescription, along with dangerous addictive artificial opiates like fentanyl now becoming easily available. The use of cocaine is popular among the rich and famous and has become a status symbol. Addictions to pain relievers and sleeping pills are common particularly among the elderly. Alcohol

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Meditation in Yoga and Ayurveda

Meditation is the key practice of traditional Yoga and the prime factor behind an authentic Ayurvedic lifestyle. Meditation goes to the root of our consciousness and prana, connecting us to our higher Self and aligning us with the healing and transformational forces of the greater Self-aware universe. If we don’t meditate daily we lose our ability to relate to the whole of life or to our true nature.   Meditation in the Yoga Sutras Yoga in the Yoga Sutras is defined as mastery or silencing (nirodha) of the mind (chitta), which allows us to return to our true nature as the Seer or Purusha beyond the mind. This is also a definition of Samadhi or unity consciousness that is the

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The hidden truth behind Sri Ganesha’s mystic image

Ganesha is said to be the remover of obstacles, which he is most energized to accomplish on Ganesh Chaturthi. Sri Ganesha is one of the oldest and most revered Hindu deities, as well as the most distinctive. His head of an elephant, enigmatic stories and rich symbolism make him recognised worldwide. But what is the hidden truth behind his mystic image? Few seem to know. Psychologists project their neuroses on Ganesha, turning him into repressed sexuality, missing his power of transcendence altogether. Mythologists turn him into a quaint folklore image of tribal people, failing to discern his universal and yogic connections. Great yogis know Sri Ganesha as the lord of the universe, the underlying cosmic intelligence that links us to

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Prana

The meaning of Prana from the breath to the Universal Life Energy and their interconnection

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Wishes Granted through Each of the 27 Nakshatras or Lunar Mansions

  This is one of several articles by Dr. David Frawley on the Vedas, Vedic Astrology and the Nakshatras. It reflects his special Vedic research. This particular information is not available in any other astrological text and is part of special Vedic knowledge on astrology from a very ancient period prior to the existing compilations like the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Each Nakshatra reflects certain wishes or desires that those born under them are inclined to have. In the Vedas each Nakshatra deity reflects the wishes that those who worship this deity can gain. The following material comes from the Taittiriya Brahmana III.1.4. It affords additional insight on the Shaktis of Nakshatras and their meaning, which derives from the same

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We need to embrace Shri Krishna now more than ever

If there is any single figure who represents India, its yogic spirituality, vibrant culture and great history, it is Shri Krishna. This is not any easy choice as India is also the land of Buddha, Rama, Shankara and other sages of the highest order.

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Why Sri Krishna is the Avatar of Yoga

Sri Krishna is the only human guru and incarnation of Vishnu called Yogavatara or the Avatar of Yoga, and Yogeshvara or the Lord of Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita remains the most important and foundational Yoga Shastra or definitive Yoga text. To understand Yoga one must understand Sri Krishna, his life, teachings and the Bhagavad Gita. Otherwise one has only touched the surface of the profound yogic science of consciousness. The Gita is the essence of the Upanishads, which in turn are the essence of the Vedas. As such, the Gita is the key teaching of the Vedic Sanatana Dharma. It remains the most accessible Vedic text both in language and context. Sri Krishna is the ultimate Yoga guru as the

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Rama and Sita through a Yogic Vision

  “The real question behind the Ramayana is not whether monkeys could speak or if Rama and Sita are politically correct by today’s opinions, but how we can live a higher truth.” Lord Rama is much more than an historical person. He represents an inner connection of all humanity to the universal Self. Sita Devi is not only a human woman but a profound cosmic aspiration. Without understanding such deeper associations, we will misunderstand the magnificent story of the Ramayana. Human life, though karmically bound to physical reality, is part of an infinite consciousness working through all of the nature. Developing that unbounded awareness and its complementary compassion is the real teaching behind such sacred depictions as Rama and Sita.

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The Three Gunas: How to Balance Your Consciousness

Ayurveda provides a special language for understanding the primal forces of Nature and shows us how to work with them on all levels. According to Yoga and Ayurveda, Nature consists of three primal qualities, which are the main powers of Cosmic Intelligence that determine our spiritual growth. These are called gunas in Sanskrit, meaning “what binds” because wrongly understood they keep us in bondage to the external world.   1) Sattva – intelligence, imparts balance 2) Rajas – energy, causes imbalance 3) Tamas – substance, creates inertia The three gunas are the most subtle qualities of Nature that underlie matter, life and mind. They are the energies through which not only the surface mind, but our deeper consciousness functions. They

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Knowing the Unknown and Unknowing the Known

What is the known? It is name, form and number, which are the main determinative factors or coordinates of the mind. The known is the mind and is held as memory in the mind down to a subconscious level.   Apart from the mind’s concepts what we call the known does not exist. Yet the known is not static. It continues to evolve as more information and ideas occur in the mind. The known is the conditioned mind and its development. We can expand the field of the known, but we will not get beyond the inherent limitations of the mind. What is knowable to the mind remains name, form or number just to various degrees. This can lead to

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Audio: What is Soma and its Botanical Implications in Yoga and Ayurveda?

Soma is an ancient Vedic deity opposite Agni or fire in nature. Soma refers to water and the receptive principle on all levels, including the cosmic ocean of space and bliss. Agni indicates fire and light, including the illuminating principle on all levels to the highest transcendent awareness. As Agni is the Sun, Soma is the Moon. As Agni the the perceptual aspect of consciousness, Soma is the receptive aspect, including the mind and senses at an outer level. Traditional Yoga, extending to Kundalini Yoga, is a process of balancing the different forms of Agni and Soma within us, notably the Agni of the Muladhara, the earth or root chakra, the ascending Kundalini Fire, with the nectar or amrit, the

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Freedom of Debate: Is It Allowed Today?

The dharmic traditions of India have always valued a tradition of open debate in which everything is questioned and every point of view explored, however contrary. That is why India’s philosophical systems have such a great variety and never excluded any opinion, accepting also an atheist materialistic school of Charvaka as one point of view.   Students trained in debate traditions had to know the point of view of their opponents and be able to articulate it. They had to be capable of arguing their opponent’s point of view as well as their own. They had to show how their opponents views were wrong at the level of knowledge, not simply emotion, and how their own differing views better represented

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Guru Purnima: Spreading the Message of India’s gurus

The Guru has been one of India’s main exports to the world, with many traveling to teach and inspire millions around the globe. Now it is time for India as a country to take a more conscious role as the world Guru spreading its dharmic traditions. India is perhaps the only country in the world that has a special day celebrating the guru as the spiritual guide, yogi and sage. In many cultures we find teachers honored in various ways with special events. Some would make Guru Purnima into a similar occurrence. While there is a connection, the Indian idea of Guru Purnima goes much further. The idea of the guru or the Self-realized seer and yogi is the dominant

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Why Guru Purnima is unique to Hindu Dharma

Many religions honour their founder or great teacher in various ways. Hindu dharma is perhaps unique in honouring the guru or spiritual master as a principle in itself beyond any particular personality, philosophy or revelation.The true guru is a position of spiritual guidance, the illuminating presence of a higher awareness. The guru is not limited to any physical person, however exalted he or she may be.

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What is Your Real Identity? Going Beyond All Outer Identity to Universal Awareness

The Pursuit of Identity Identity and belonging have always been an important part of human life, but are becoming yet more significant today. We live in an era dominated by the pursuit of identity through our new information technology on various levels. We can easily observe this in the power of famous people, brand names, logos and labels. On top of this is a greater emphasis on collective forms of identification through gender, ethnicity, vocation, religion, country or political affiliation. We are compelled to develop a recognized name or unique identity for ourselves so that we can be successful in the marketplace, particularly in the social media where business and friendship depends upon having a known name and face or

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Chidagni: the Goddess as the Fire of Consciousness

Ma Kali gently tended the coals of my inner fires, stirring the flames of Agni to manifest every magical colour, permeating the very spanda or creative pulsation resonating throughout my being. At an innermost level, Agni is the fire of consciousness, Chidagni, the awareness of the supreme Brahman, the ultimate Existence in itself. Chidjyoti, the ‘light of consciousness’, is the power behind the mind that illumines both sensory objects and our thought patterns, bathing them in the beauty of its eternal radiance. The universe weaves a divine tapestry of light and energy, which has been tapped by our ancient Rishis and by Native Guides all over the world resonating with nature’s beatitude. The Seers perceived the subtle vibrations, the ‘aliveness’

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The Ancient Solar Yoga

What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is, that it is. The Sun, properly understood is not merely an outer but an inner energy source, reflecting the supreme light of Yoga both in our own hearts and in the world of nature around us. The Sun is the most powerful influence in nature, responsible for the light through which all life on earth functions, and sustaining the force of gravity through which the earth revolves. The Sun is the ruler of our solar system and all that occurs within it. Yet though we all may welcome the sunlight every day, we seldom consider the spiritual reality

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The Fifteenfold Non-dualistic Raja Yoga of Shankaracharya

Shankara, the Great Yogi Shankaracharya, or Adi Shankara the teacher, is one of the greatest spiritual masters in the history of India. Shankara has often been called the greatest philosopher of India, if not of all time and of the entire world. His teaching is highly rational, clear and concise, as well deeply mystical, unfolding all the mysteries of Self, God, the universe, the Absolute and immortality, with subtle meditative examinations of mind and consciousness. Most of what today is called Advaita (non-dualistic) Vedanta reflects the mark of his insights or even follows his language of discourse. He is the main classical teacher of the Advaita Vedanta tradition that derives from the Vedas. Shankara’s greatness has been hailed by such

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Why Ayurvedic Students Should Study Vedanta

All Vedic knowledge, which Ayurveda is part of, aims at Self-realization – the recognition of our true nature (Atman or Purusha) as pure consciousness beyond body and mind. This is the highest goal of human life and grants us liberation from the cycle of rebirth, and gaining ultimate bliss and immortality. The  higher knowledge that grants Self-realization is called Vedanta, which is the essence of Vedic knowledge. This is the way of Self-knowledge or Atma Vidya taught in the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.   Ayurveda is an Upaveda, a branch of the Vedas aiming at wellbeing of body and mind. It addresses the treatment of disease and the principles of right living on all levels.Yet while Ayurveda accepts the

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Prana Beyond the Breath and Life Beyond Death

Prana is not the breath, though it is closely related to it at a physical level. Many people define prana as the breath or call it the breath. This can help us approach the vast subject of prana but can be misleading if we take it literally. In this article we will examine what prana is on different levels, its connection with the breath and its energy behind and beyond the breath, including various pranayama practices. Pranayama breathing practices can help us connect to the prana not only outwardly but inwardly, including leading us to the higher prana of the breathless state. Prana broadly speaking is our vital energy that operates body and mind and has not only physical but

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Vedic Light and Tantric Energy Yogas

  By Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) Tantra and Veda: One Tradition   A number of writers and teachers, particularly in Western academia, have tried to divide the two great traditions of India of Veda and Tantra as different or even contrary. Some Yoga teachers have uncritically taken up this view as well. Vedic and Tantric traditions are one, though with different orientations. The Vedic tradition is earlier and Tantra is one of its developments, mainly through the Puranas. Tantric teachings abound in the use of Vedic mantras and the mysticism of the Sanskrit alphabet. They use Vedic fire altars and practices and honor Vedic deities at an inner level. Inner Tantric Yoga reflects the four main Vedic deities

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The Purusha, the Real Person within You

The Complexity of our Physical Existence   If you carefully examine your life, you can easily observe that our human existence is complicated, many sided, with numerous subtle connections both within us and around us, extending widely into time and space,. We spend most of our time trying to manage the bewildering challenges of our lives in terms of health, work, relationship, creativity or spirituality, and our interaction with different fenvironments and shifting social circumstances. The new information technology adds yet more demands and expectations that put pressure and stress on our nervous systems. Sometimes we fail and end up in disease, suffering, conflict or illusion. Some people lose control of their lives and come under the domination of others.

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Shakti Sadhana and Divine Grace

Shakti Sadhana    All of our lives should be a Shakti Sadhana, a cultivation of the Yoga Shakti on all levels outwardly and inwardly. For this we are always supported by Mother Nature who is the very embodiment of Shakti for us. Shakti sadhana is not about making efforts to fulfill our personal desires. It is about being receptive to the ever-changing flow of Shakti’s transformational grace that surrounds us on every side! The art of truly being present in a sacred space is to be aware of nature around us and embrace it as the very ground of our own being, our own true nature. Most of the time we busy ourselves with the shifting affairs of the outer

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Susceptibility to COVID-19: an Ayurvedic Perspective

COVID-19 is a selective pandemic. It does not target all segments of the population like many pandemics. It is very dangerous for certain groups, but not for all, as the majority will only have mild symptoms. It mainly effects those with weak immunity or what is called low Ojas in Ayurveda. Covid-19 is a pandemic that targets three main groups: The elderly, particularly above the age of 70, which has the highest rates of infection and death, but also those above 50 are at a greater risk. Those with preexistent health problems, mainly cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity. Those repeatedly exposed to the virus like doctors and nurses working around it. These three groups cross over. The elderly are more likely

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Yoga and Ayurveda’s View of Depression and How to Overcome It

Depression is becoming epidemic, particularly in the affluent Western world. It is afflicting young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated alike. To counter it special anti-depressant drugs are being prescribed in ever increasing amounts, with new varieties regularly introduced into the market. Yet the problem of depression continues to increase.   The question arises: What is the cause of depression and how can we effectively treat it? There are many explanations, some very informative or insightful. However, let us look  beyond complicated theories or chemical analysis. To put it simply, the cause of depression is stimulation. The more we depend upon external stimulation, the more depressed we will likely become over time. There are several reasons for this.

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Wellbeing and the Wellness of Being

  We are all striving for wellbeing within and around us. It may be wellbeing of body or mind, wellbeing of our family, friends or society. The search for wellness is the foundation of all healing and the treatment of all diseases. The pursuit of wellbeing is the basis of our work, communication and all our striving in life. In yogic thought the supreme reality is defined as Sat-Chit-Ananda, Being-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute. By this account Being is by nature bliss and unqualified wellness. This means that Being is wellbeing. If we can return to the ground of our Being, the core of who we are, we can find wellness everywhere.   Why then is there so much sorrow in our world?

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Anxiety and its Treatment through Yoga and Ayurveda

Anxiety is almost epidemic in the modern higher tech world, though it is a long standing human problem. It is increasing globally during this coronavirus pandemic. Anxiety is largely Vata Dosha disorder in Ayurvedic medicine, a problem that arises from an excess of the air and space elements and lack of earth, water and fire, not just in the body but also in the mind.  This is the foundation of the Yoga and Ayurveda approach to anxiety that has many aspects outwardly and inwardly. It more commonly strikes Vata dosha types or those in whom Vata dosha is increased either at physical and psychological levels.   When Vata Dosha increases, in which the element of air predominates, the mind, emotions

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The Shiva-Kali Axis in Vedic Astrology and its Alignment in 2020

The Shiva-Kali Axis in Vedic astrology is the important axis between the Galactic Center in early Sagittarius (Kali) and the point opposite to it or the Anti-Galactic Center in early Gemini (Shiva). It marks the two sides of the zodiac from looking inwards from our solar system towards the center of the galaxy in Sagittarius to looking outwards from the center of the galaxy from Gemini (Orion). It contains many secrets of creation and destruction, karma and transcendence.   The Galactic Center falls in Mula Nakshatra, which marks the first 13 degrees 20 minutes of the sign of Sagittarius. Mula is ruled by Ketu as a planetary influence, the south node of the Moon, also called Dragon’s tail or tail

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The Ayurvedic View of the Human Body – Audio by Dr. David Frawley

Ayurveda views the human  body in terms of consciousness, intelligence, information and energy as held in a physical field of organs, tissues and channels. As such the body is not simply physical but is merely a physical point focus for forces that extend to the entire universe. Though the physical body itself is mortal, it is connected to wider energies and powers of immortality and eternity. Though it is limited in size, its connections extend out into the infinite. The physical brain similarly is not just a material or chemical structure or system but a physical focus for thoughts, insights and states of consciousness that can ultimately go far beyond any physical or personal reality, time and space. The physical

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Yoga and Ayurveda View of the Mind: Audio

Yoga and Ayurveda View of the Mind Audio In modern medicine brain, mind and consciousness are equated, with the mind regarded as only a function of the brain, and consciousness merely a function of the mind.  Mind and consciousness are reduced to brain chemistry, as if there were no real intelligence or real person there. In Yoga and Ayurveda brain, mind and consciousness are regarded as related but different and can be clearly discriminated from each other at physical and subtle levels, extending into higher dimensions of awareness and Self-realization. The brain is purely physical and reflects primarily the life and urges of the physical body and social personality. However, higher energies and thoughts can move through the brain  according

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Ayurvedic Astrology

All great ancient civilizations centered their cultures on profound systems of astrology, connecting conditions and events on the Earth with cosmic influences deriving from the stars. Whether it is India or China, Egypt or Babylonia, or the Mayas and Incas of America, we find in each case an astrological foundation for their spiritual cultures. Astrology and its measure of sacred time formed the basis of their calendars which, looking to the heavens, sought to organize human life according to celestial forces more certain than our personal desires and calculations. Even the ancient cultures of Europe like the Greeks, Romans, Celts and Germans, had detailed systems of astrology, as have all communities that recognize the sacred nature of the universe. Similarly,

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Ketu: The Most Mysterious and Powerful of Planetary Influences

Ketu represents the subtle energies that allow us to either transcend our karma or have to face the most powerful and dangerous karmas within us, either individually or collectively. We are facing a new astrological confrontation with Ketu today.   From September 2020 to April 2022 Ketu will be transiting the sign of Scorpio, often regarded as its place of exaltation. Ketu is said to have a subtle and occult Mars like influence which reflects the qualities of this secretive Mars-ruled signs. Expect Ketu to continue to engage our minds from the subconscious level to possible superconscious potentials.   Ketu is the Sanskrit name for the south node of the Moon, called the Dragon’s Tail in western astrology or the

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Mauna: The Yoga of Silence

Mauna as the Secret Silent Limb of Yoga Mauna refers to the practice of not-speaking, and one who does this regularly is called a Muni, a sign of great respect in Hindu and yogic thought. While not-speaking is an important part of Mauna, it is much more than that. Certainly, most of us would be better off speaking less and not responding quickly at a verbal level to anything that arouses or irritates our emotions. The voice is the foremost of our motor organs. It relates to the element of ether that governs all the other elements and their respective motor organs. Yet an inner speech is also the main expressive factor of the mind and governs all mental activity.

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Corona Virus, Immunity and Ojas

  The Coronavirus Pandemic shows a breakdown in our collective immunity at both physical and psychological levels, what relates to Ojas in Yoga and Ayurveda.  Below we examine the role of Ojas as our primary energy in sustaining immunity and holding a deeper Prana, along with related factors of Yoga and Ayurveda. This is not to substitute for taking necessary medicines to curb the coronavirus and mainstream medical recommendations.   Note we are not proclaiming some doomsday here, but looking at the long term side-effects of our current rapidly developing technological civilization. The ability of viruses to spread is increased by the interconnectedness and vulnerability that links the world by way of travel and communication. What happens in one part

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Collective Karma and Vedic Astrology

  We are all affected by collective karma, which has powerful trends that strongly impact us at personal and psychological levels as well as in our outer lives. Collective karmic disturbances affect all of us. There are major collective disruptions including wars, recessions, political divisions, riots, and natural calamities like plagues, floods, droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes. In addition, technological changes in our human world can change the balance of planetary energies overall.   The particular time in which we live has its own powerful collective karmic dangers, notably 2020 with the coronavirus and extensive political, economic and religious unrest, including environmental disruptions owing to climate change. Rapid changes in the information/technology, media and education fields are also disturbing our minds

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2020 and its Dangers for Humanity

We are all looking with deep concern about the current state of the world and what is happening today, which continues to surprise, confound and agitate us. The division and conflict on every continent is easy to see, but how to resolve it remains bewildering. While we should not give in to doomsday feelings, we must take the situation seriously and counter it on both inner and outer levels.   We are entering globally into what I have called “A New Time of Troubles”, which I predicted in 2009 would begin in 2020. Yet spiritual benefits and a deeper civilizational growth may eventually emerge after this difficult and trying period of uncertainty and turbulence that forces us to restore our

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The Milky Way and the Cosmic Soma

An indepth study of the Vedic Understanding of the Milky Way and the Zodiac Soma and the Orientation of the Zodiac The key to the meaning of the signs of the zodiac should be evident from the orientation of the zodiac itself. The most dramatic factor in stellar observation for any person is the Milky Way. The meaning of the signs of the zodiac, if stellar based, should be centered on their relationship to the Milky Way. The Milky Way intersects the zodiac around two main points, 0 Gemini and 0 Sagittarius. In Vedic thought, the area of the Milky Way, and the surrounding signs of Taurus and Gemini, was regarded as the most auspicious portion of the zodiac, particularly

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Modern Science and Vedic Science

Vedic Science and the Pursuit of Truth Real science consists of an objective pursuit of truth through observation and experimentation. It occurs apart from any beliefs or preconceptions about what it is going to find. It is based upon reason and direct perception, in which the reality is allowed to reveal itself to the unbiased observer. However, the universe we live in is a multidimensional reality from the subatomic to the supragalactic in the realm of physics alone. Biology, medicine, psychology and the social sciences require different perspectives and approaches to deal with appropriately. On top of these are subtle forces and influences, extrasensory, occult and spiritual that many people claim to experience as well and have developed special methods

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Practice Pranayama to Access Higher Energies

Pranayama is a very deep but often misunderstood aspect of Yoga. From ordinary breathing practices to yogic mastery of the vital force and promoting the higher energy of consciousness, it is all pranayama at various levels. In the following article, we will explore the deeper aspects of Prana and Pranayama, including how to achieve a unitary prana beyond the fluctuations of the ordinary breath, senses and mind. In many classical Sanskrit texts, the term Yoga is used primarily for Pranic practices, while the term Jnana or knowledge is used for meditation. This is reflected in the teachings of the great modern sage Ramana Maharshi, who uses these terms in this manner. Many Yoga Shastras and Yoga Upanishads explain Prana and

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Ayurvedic Implications of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In the following article, we will explore the extensive relationship and vast interconnections between Yoga and Ayurveda, focusing on the Yoga Sutras. This examination extends to important issues of Yoga sadhana, Yoga therapy and Ayurvedic healing for body, mind and consciousness. I have been working in the fields of Yoga, Ayurveda and related Vedic disciplines for several decades, and found that the connections between these systems are much greater than usually acknowledged, particularly in the West. We cannot separate them or understand one of these systems without the others. All are part of an integrated stream of higher knowledge that we can refer to as Vedic knowledge or the Vedic sciences. Most important of these is the integration of Yoga

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What is Self-realization? – Audio

Self-realization is the realization of our true nature as Pure Consciousness beyond body and mind, not simply some enhancement of the physical self or the mental self. This is its meaning in Yoga-Vedanta traditions. It is imperative that we know our true Self that is the same Self in all beings and pervades the entire universe. This is the highest teaching of Yoga and Vedanta, the ultimate state of Non-duality or Advaita.   Note audio by Dr. David Frawley:

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Marma Points and the Practice of Yoga

Marmas and Pratyahara: Marmas as Control Points Marmas are prime energy points on the body, in sensitive regions, like joints or around the sensory orifices. They connect to the pranic flows, energy systems and chakras. They have many applications and usages. Here we will consider one of their prime applications in Yoga. The main aspect of Yoga practice that actively considers the use of marmas is the practice of Pratyahara, which is the fifth branch of Yoga. Pratyahara mediates between the outer factors of Yoga, which include Asana and Pranayama, and the inner factors of Yoga, which mainly consist of meditation. Pratyahara is the door between the outer and inner factors of Yoga that allows us to turn our energy

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The Ayurvedic Effects of Asana Practice

According to the philosophy of Yoga, the physical body is a manifestation of consciousness. It is a crystallization of karmic (behavioral) patterns created by the mind. The key to working with the body, therefore, is to understand the consciousness behind it, much of which lies outside our ordinary awareness. This requires that we practice asanas aware not only of the technicalities of the postures but also of the mental and emotional states that they create within us. Ayurveda shares this Yoga theory. It views the body as a manifestation of the doshas, which are not merely physical but also pranic and psychological energies-factors of consciousness. We cannot look into the doshic impact of asanas purely on a physical level but

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Karma, DNA of Our Soul

By Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) Karma, meaning action, is a Vedic term for explaining the reincarnating soul’s evolution from life to life. Karma is portrayed as the effect of our individual actions, extending from past lives to present and future lives. It is often regarded as a force of determination, like fate or destiny. We speak of a person’s karma catching up with them, ‘what goes around comes around’ or ‘as you sow so shall you reap’, indicating this inescapable result of what we have done. Yet if we look deeper, we see that karma reflects the fact that we create our own reality. We fashion ourselves and our environment according to all that we do in life.

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The Profound Relevance of Vedic Knowledge Today

The ultimate technology is not that of external machines and computers but arises through mastering the powers of our own awareness and prana, such as the great Yogis and Rishis have been able to achieve. When people today learn about India’s ancient Vedas they discover a tradition over 5,000 years old guided by illumined seers living in harmony with nature, chanting arcane mantras, and performing mysterious fire rituals. This modern image of the Vedic world appears fascinating but is also difficult to understand, suggesting a mystical fantasy more than any deeper reality. Yet this poignant image of the Vedic living is an introduction into a radically different worldview than our current high-tech society, invoking a cosmic vision that takes us

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Vedic Counseling and Karmic Counseling

Karmic Reckoning: Taking Control of Your Life   Counseling revolves around examining what we are doing in life and learning to make our actions more effective. To improve our efficiency we may observe what other people are doing according to current trends in society, and see how to take advantage of these. Yet for any action to succeed at a deeper level, we must understand the forces that we are working with, including those that we have already set in motion. We cannot just look to the outside, we must look within. The first thing Vedic counseling teaches us is that our lives are a product of our own action or karma. Who we are and what we experience, both individually

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Yoga and Buddhism: Similarities and Differences

Hindu Yoga and Buddhism are sister traditions which evolved in the same dharmic culture of ancient India. The Dalai Lama calls them “twin brothers”. They use many of the same terms and follow many of the same principles and practices. For this reason it is not surprising that many people, particularly after an initial exposure, are apt to regard Yoga and Buddhist teachings as almost identical. As a Vedic teacher who has interacted with important Buddhist teachers in India, I share my thoughts in this detailed study below.   Some people may want to combine Hindu Yoga and Buddhist teachings or practices, as if there were no real differences between them. The differences that have existed between the two systems

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Veda and Yoga are One: Veda is knowledge and Yoga is its practice

Veda is knowledge and Yoga is its practice. It is that simple. They are two sides of the same truth. Yoga not only leads us to Veda, but also expresses it. Veda embodies itself through Yoga as its manifestation. Veda, from the root “vid” to know, refers to Knowledge in the highest sense as direct perception of the Eternal and Infinite Consciousness called Brahman. Brahman is present as the Atman or inner Self of all beings at an individual level. The practice of Vedic knowledge is Yoga, meaning integration and unification of our individual being with the Supreme Self. Vedic knowledge of our true nature as pure consciousness beyond all limitations of time and space naturally brings us Yoga or

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What is Samadhi and How to Achieve It?

Samadhi is one of the key words of deeper Yoga practice, if not the most important. Yet few Yoga teachers or practitioners know what Samadhi is, how to define it or how to approach it. But without understanding Samadhi it is difficult to understand Yoga in the true sense of the term. Samadhi literally means holding together or complete coherence (sam-aadhi), implying the mind fully united with its object of perception so that the mind disappears and merges into pure consciousness and bliss. It is the highest aspect of Yoga practice as complete meditative absorption that takes us beyond body and mind.   Samadhi in Yoga Sutras The Yoga Sutras defines Yoga as Samadhi. Indeed, the first of the four

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Vedantic Meditation

From darkness lead us to light, from non-being lead us to being, from death lead us to immortality. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I.3.28 I laud the flame of awareness that is placed before all things, the deity of the sacred ritual, who manifests by the seasons, the invoker of the Gods, best to grant the treasure. The flame is the invoker, the seer-will, the manifold knowledge of truth, Divine may he come with all the Divine powers. Rig Veda I.1.1, 5 Not what one knows with the mind, but that by which the seers declare the mind is known. This is the reality that you should know, not what people regard as an object in this world. Kena Upanishad I.5 Introduction to

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The Ancient Yoga of the Sun

 Let us Honor Surya, the Solar Godhead at the Winter Solstice and for the Entire Year What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is that it is. The Sun, properly understood not merely as an outer but as an inner energy source, reflects the supreme light of Yoga both in our own hearts and in the world of nature around us. If we look at traditional and ancient cultures from throughout world, we discover a strong awareness of the Sun as a spiritual force, and as great symbol and a secret doorway to a higher reality. We note extensive religious, spiritual, yogic, astrological and shamanic traditions

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Secrets of the Five Pranas

While the subject of Prana is common in Yogic thought and while different forms of Prana may be introduced, the subject of Prana and its different subtypes is seldom examined in depth. For this reason the entire science of Prana, which is vast and profound, is rarely understood. In this article we will look into this vast subject, that we might be awakened to the great expanse of Prana in all of its manifestations. Many Meanings of Prana Prana has many levels of meaning from the breath to the energy of consciousness itself. Prana is not only the basic life-force, it is the master form of all energy working on the level of mind, life and body. Indeed the entire

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What is Vedic Counseling? Primary Questions and Answers

Vedic counseling is life guidance based upon the Vedic tradition of Self- knowledge and cosmic knowledge. Vedic counseling helps us determine our Dharma along with the laws of nature and consciousness that work behind the visible universe. It enables us to access the unlimited wisdom, energy and vitality inherent in the cosmos.  We can define Vedic counseling as dharmic guidance on right living, right action, right relationship, and right awareness. Its basis is self-understanding and bringing us to a direct perception of the truth, not imposing a belief system, formula, or set of preconceptions upon anyone. It addresses all the goals of life from a background of physical and psychological well-being. A Vedic counselor is a teacher of Vedic ways

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The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac and the Vedic Fire Ritual

The following article proposes a Vedic rationale for the nature and sequence of the twelve signs of the zodiac. It shows how the zodiac could have been invented as a form of Vedic sacrifice (Yajna) following the Vedic view of the Gods, the worlds and the elements. While the complete logic may not be worked out, enough has been revealed to show the probable main aspects of the system. Using this model many secrets of the zodiac are uncovered.

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Shiva and Prana Yoga

  Shiva and Prana Yoga  Prana Yoga is one of the most important Yoga traditions and an integral part of the worship of Lord Shiva, who represents the highest immortal Prana of pure consciousness beyond time, space and karma.   Shiva and the Unitary Prana Shiva is the unitary prana behind the dualistic movements of the breath as inhalation and exhalation or the dualistic movements of the mind through attraction and repulsion. To reach the higher Prana of Shiva we must first balance the ordinary dualities of prana, energy and emotion within ourselves. This is not an easy task and requires that we develop a power of concentration, attention and detachment relative to the body, senses and mind. This unitary

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Addiction and the Digital Age – The Need for Higher Consciousness

There has been a strong natural healing movement in the world over recent decades. The many natural health practitioners and easy availability of herbs and natural foods indicate this. However, we see an increasing tendency for people to look to drugs to deal with their health problems.   Interest in natural healing appears to be declining rather than increasing with the new high tech influences. This is perhaps inevitable as high levels of media stimulation and the use of drugs easily go together, following the same demand for instant entertainment and immediate relief.   Our high tech culture today is becoming progressively trapped in growing addictions. These derive from three areas.   First is the growing dependency on pharmaceutical drugs.

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