By Nandini Sarkar
No matter your age or situation, play out your role in this life with an unparalleled dynamism, and the very gods will applaud your performance, says Nandini Sarkar
Paramahansa Yogananda drew a simple but striking allegory: life is a beam of light on a giant movie screen and all the men and women are only actors, playing their parts. Once the movie is over, everyone comes out of the movie hall and goes home. So, life is not to be taken too seriously, except to be conscious that we need to be great actors, constantly working to hone our skills on the life-stage. In his book, The Path, Swami Kriyananda writes how Yoganandaji would always come bounding on the stage, his powerful voice demanding of his listeners whether they were awake and ready? He would refuse to speak, until everyone in the audience had shouted back that they were indeed awake and ready!
Shah Rukh Khan, the famous movie star too, exhibits this dynamism, which draws millions of fans to him. SRK’s sheer energy onscreen makes his performances riveting. His never-say-die spirit, that led him to overcome a chronic back problem with steel rod inserts, helped him to conquer knee problems and dance live onstage, the throbbing spirit that helps him champion his cricket team, KKR, are all instances of dynamic will, that makes his life outstanding.
Or think of the Big B and his consummate performances on KBC, unmatched by any other actor, even at age 70. We are told his mantra is a disciplined lifestyle, regular pranayama, yoga, and sheer hard work. Can we, for a moment, step aside as witnesses and compare our performance with that of the Big B’s and SRK’s? Imagine that the spirits in the other world are watching our performances; how interesting and dynamic would Big B and SRK seem to the audience in the other world, and how dull most of us would appear in comparison!
Awake and ready
Are we really awake and ready, then? Alas, many of us have fallen into a rut and we look it; prematurely aged and worn out. Some people even develop a slouch. Some are unmindful of their appearance, not taking any pains with their grooming and suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, migraine, constipation, and other diseases galore. Missing something, regretful, remorseful, listless; the bottom-line – not happy. Flitting from one event to another, one day to the next, like automatons, not really energised and not really alive. In short, failed actors.
No spa in the world can revitalise or recharge us. We need to go inwards and discover this gem. Paramahansa Yogananda called it dynamic will. Dr Brian Weiss has been a trendsetter in this age, nudging people to look at life from the grand perspective of Many Lives, Many Masters. In his book, Same Soul, Many Bodies,
|A dynamic will that is geared to love others and serve others can only bring happiness and fulfi llment to the giver.|
Dr Weiss reveals that he not only regressed his patients into the past, but also helped progress them into the future. Using dozens of case histories, he discovered that our futures are variable – the choices we make now will determine the quality of our life in the future. The tools recommended by all masters and researchers for awakening this latent dynamic will are meditation and powerful daily affirmations. It is up to us, so let’s give it a shot! The good news is that nothing is pre-determined, we have a choice and we can exercise free will.
According to Yoganandaji, will is the power that moves the cosmos and everything in it. It was God’s will that shot the stars into space. It is His will that holds the planets of the solar system in their orbits. And it is His will that directs the cycles of birth, growth, and decay of all animate and inanimate matter. The challenge of life is to learn to live and work from a sense of His strength and guidance within, and not from a defeating ego-consciousness.
Yoganandaji goes on to say that a strong will, by its own dynamic force, creates a way for its fulfillment. It sets into motion certain vibrations, and Nature responds by creating circumstances favourable to its accomplishment. But dynamic will power alone is not enough. It’s also necessary to use your will power constructively, for wholesome purposes.
There are three important rules for making your will power more dynamic:
• First, make up your mind to change and pull your self out of the rut, forcefully. Determine today, to do some of the things you thought you could not do. Attempt simple tasks first. Then, as your confidence strengthens and your will becomes more dynamic, you can undertake more challenging tasks.
• Second, be sure you have chosen some- thing constructive and feasible, and then refuse to consider failure. This means, work hard and keep trying till the goal is reached. Read other lives for inspiration. Watch inspiring movies. Attend work- shops. Just don’t stagnate.
• Third, devote your entire will power to accomplishing one thing at a time; do not scatter your energies or leave something half done to begin a new venture. It is very easy to get swayed once you start tasting success, so be grounded, humble, one goal at a time.
Paramahansa also spoke of the spiritual eye or the ajna chakra as the portal or gateway to the light world. He said that if we could but once pierce this spiritual eye at the mid-point between the two eyebrows, and gaze into the six-pointed star hidden therein, circumstances would never again have the power to make us unhappy. By keeping our concentration at the spiritual eye, it is possible to develop great will power. But this practice must be combined with, and supported by, the heart’s devotion. Otherwise, the development of strong will power can lead to fitful explosions of energy that serve no practical purpose or even worse, to harshness, cruelty, and the use of power to control or abuse others.
Yoganandaji taught the Hong Sau technique as a means to open the ajna chakra. He often referred to the Hong Sau technique as baby kriya. This is a dynamic pranayama technique that gives rest to the vital organs, keeps the appearance youthful, makes the practitioner live long and inculcates great dynamism and will power. He taught that fear is one of the greatest enemies of will power. Fear depletes the life force coursing through the veins, and paralyses the nerves. You must be cautious but never afraid. When the consciousness is kept on God, you will have no fears. Faith and courage will enable you to overcome every obstacle. Other enemies of will power include worry, indifference, timidity, restlessness, boredom, mental and physical laziness, pessimism as regards the future, and an unmethodical life.
I remember being very timid as a child. I was frequently bullied by others and very submissive in my behaviour. One day, at the age of 10, in school, I heard a distinct voice in my ear which said, “Why are you so timid?” I don’t know how or why but a great desire arose in me to change and I did. Later, in my school life, I was the head girl and held various leadership positions.
Always sit in silence and ask God for His guidance and blessing, especially before an important undertaking. Then use all the force of your will to accomplish your objective, while keeping your mind centred on the thought of God, the source of all power and accomplishment. “When you act in that way, behind your power will be God’s power; behind your mind, His mind; and behind your will, His will,” said Paramahansa.
People often demand to know why life is so challenging, and filled with so much tragedy and pain. The masters tell us that life was made purposely difficult for you, that you might develop your inner powers by directing will power and discrimination toward the solution of life’s mysteries. If the world were perfect,
|No spa in the world can revitalise or re-charge us. We need to go inwards and discover this gem|
there would be no struggle, no inner growth and, in the end, no worthwhile victory. Live more dynamically in the awareness of God’s presence, Paramahansa advises, attuning your will to His infinite will. The more you do so, the more you will find His power strengthening and guiding you in everything you do. Through soul attunement, you will be able to think correctly concerning life’s challenges and difficulties, and if your thoughts or actions go astray, you will know how to realign them.
In recent times, there has been a mass awakening of dynamic will that is fighting corruption in public life. Look at the events in Egypt and Libya. Dictators were overthrown because of a sudden upsurge of dynamic public will. Certain spiritual groups suggested that this was the resurrected Maitreya, encouraging the uprising. Anna Hazare’s current fight against corruption is an instance of dynamic will. Even at 70, Anna is challenging the stupor into which India had fallen, a society in which bribing had become an accepted way of life. The mass turnout and support for Anna suggests that India is ready and awake and people are ready for a dynamic, constructive change.
When the global dynamic consciousness has been aroused and the real pralaya or destruction of negative tendencies has started in all its fury, should we hide in our homes, fearful and trembling? Should we hold on to worn-out grooves? Should we not pledge to bring this pralaya into our lives and transform our selves? Here is the way suggested by Paramahansa Yogananda to fortify us in this battle:
It is most effective to practice affirmations first thing in the morning or just before going to sleep at night. Before beginning an affirmation, it is important to sit in a correct meditation posture, on a chair or firm surface. The spine should be erect, eyes closed, concentrating on the medulla oblongata at the back of the neck. Free the mind from restless thoughts and worries. Repeat the affirmation, first loudly,
|Nandini Sarkar is co-founder, C-Quel, |
a management services company.
She is a lover of the spiritual
masters and follower in the Kriya
then softly and more slowly, until your voice becomes a whisper. Then gradually affirm it mentally only until you feel that you have attained deep, unbroken concentration. As you experience an increasing peace, make the effort to deepen your concentration that you may enter into the superconscious realm and manifest your affirmations.
“I am submerged in eternal light. It permeates every particle of my being.
I am living in that light. The Divine Spirit fills me within and without.”
“God is within and around me, protecting me; so I will banish the fear that shuts out His guiding light.”
Yoganandaji developed a set of 43 exercises to energise all the body parts, making one fresh and energised. These exercises hardly take 20 minutes to finish and at the end of it one literally glows with health and happiness. Unlike many yoga postures which are not suitable for those over 40, these energisation exercises are easy to use and rest easy on all ages.
The mere technique has no meaning unless there is love or devotion in the practice. But cultivating love for a faraway God is not always easy. Chanting before meditation is recommended for opening up the heart chakra and making it a magnet for divine love. Swami Amarananda of YSS, whose enchanting singing voice can melt the stoniest of hearts, once mentioned that while praying or chanting, he visualises holding on to the hands of Yoganandaji. This fills his heart with love and makes his practice meaningful.
Just as it needs a switch to bring on the lights, meditation is the switch that draws cosmic prana into our bodies, through the medulla oblongata at the base of our brain. Kriya Yoga is an aid to meditation. The intensity of kriya yoga is emphasised more than the hours devoted to practice. As the saintly swami Shantananda of YSS once said, no matter how you do it, just do it! After all, the benefits of regular practice, even those of a shorter duration, have been well researched and documented.
Compassion In the Buddhist tradition, the Bodhisattva is the enlightened master who has won freedom or nirvana but keeps coming back to help others, out of a feeling of deep compassion. A dynamic will that is geared to love others and serve others can only bring happiness and fulfillment to the giver. It could be serving one’s parents and in-laws, being supportive parents of our children, supportive and helpful of our co-workers, an each-one-teach-one campaign, a campaign for the blind or physically challenged, a campaign for RTI, a campaign against corruption, a campaign for the girl child, a crusade against polluting and global warming. Whatever the form of service, it is dynamic and strong.
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