About the Stotram and the pilgrimage to the 12 Jyotirlingas: Is it true that if you chant the Stotram twice a day, you are relieved of your Karma for 7 lifetimes? Can visiting the 12 Jyotirlingas liberate a person?
To which I respond:
It is also said, something to the effect that, if you hold your hands over your head long enough, you gain supernatural powers. Some have done that to the point where their arms are no longer functional. Perhaps a correct technique, but not this Yuga.
The laws of nature change over time. Some Mantras are said to enable things to levitate, but not now—not this Yuga. Standing on one foot for 10,000 years (something like that) is supposed to work too, but I suggest you do not try it.
Certainly, the things you mention are very good influences. Just keep in mind that everything is in the Veda, but some things are Yuga dependent. I would go with what Adi Shankara, who was here this Yuga, suggested: discernment, proper meditation, etc.
As I said, the rest of what you mention is fine. I intend to visit all the Jyotirlingas myself. I go to the temple every day. However, techniques and results are Yuga dependent.
All my life, I pursued knowledge of the foundation of existence. Physics (which I totally love and respect) does the same, but I looked to Vedic Knowledge for a fuller and deeper understanding. I see physics and Vedic Knowledge ultimately, as seamlessly merged, but with very different approaches. We could say that physics is a subset of Veda. To even begin to understand Vedic Knowledge, it is essential to understand cognition. It is quite natural to identify with one paradigm (for example, physics) or another. However in a larger sense, I view Vedic Knowledge as the vessel that holds all paradigms, yet is dedicated (or lost) to none. Nature (the Tao) is not lost to any paradigm, but lies beyond the reach of them all. Its foundation is transcendental, Ishwara.
Everything exists transgradiently, including our intuitive abilities. More superficially, intuition is largely rooted in getting a feeling for the situation and some rational or commonsensical perspective as well. Then we come to a reasonable conclusion that could be called intuition or at least some degree of intuition. But what is intuition on the deepest level and how do we cultivate it?
On the deepest level of our being, we are one with God. Scientists might say it another way: We are in touch with the unified field at the depth of our being, that place where we are one with everything… that place that is beyond time and space… that place where you already know everything, because you are eternally one with everything.
BUT: that place within us is beyond experience. Which is why we call it the Transcendent. It transcends relative existence. It transcends experience. As we approach it, we sense and feel it more deeply, but it cannot be grasped. It is beyond thing-ness.
So let’s take a look at the structure of our awareness (the structure of existence) and see where Intuition (with a capital “I”) comes from. To really know this is to experience it. Otherwise, it is just a concept or idea. Oftentimes, Knowledge is thought of as a concept, but really it is much more than that. Actually, it is an experience.
The experience of the deepest level of Intuition begins with the experience of the relationship of the Transcendent with our relative existence. It is the distinction between the two. The distinction between Intellect (intellect here meaning “structure” or “relativity”) and the Transcendent (Oneness) – Patanjali discussed this in his Yoga Sutras. The distinction between Atman and Sattva (finest relative), or Atman and Buddhi. To Know that (to experience that) is to experience the gap or separation between the two – between the Transcendent (the Absolute) and the relative (what we think of as creation or existence).
The gap between the two is thought of in terms of SMRITI (memory). Within the relative is the ‘memory’ of the perfection of the Transcendent. That perfection is what gives the relative its structure. It is like the underlying matrix or pattern that is the foundation upon which all relativity is based. As our awareness becomes clear, this all becomes clear and our ‘memory’ of that Divine perfection becomes more clear and undistorted.
Everything (all past, present, and future) exists in the Transcendent. That is what it means to be beyond space and time. I have discussed in detail the nature of space and time in other blogs and lectures. That Knowledge is brought out to our minds in relative existence through the gap… through memory of the Transcendent. To cultivate Intuition (on the deepest level) is to enter the gap – to see within the gap, and bring what you see there into the conscious awareness undistorted.
Needless to say, that level is very delicate. So even after we cultivate the ability to ‘see’ the distinction between the Intellect and the Transcendent and then enter and see within the gap, our personality self has its bias… it’s wanting… it’s desire for things to be a certain way. That wanting is enough to distort what we see within that gap. That is why it is in some ways easier to ‘see’ (to have clear Intuition) regarding others rather than regarding ourselves. Our desires get in the way.
The beauty of Vedic Knowledge is that it provides a detailed account of the nature and structure of existence on profound levels. Yet that knowledge only becomes real Knowledge when it is experienced. Otherwise, it is just a concept. The concepts, of course, are very good. However, the real meaning lies in the direct and true Knowing. Understanding the nature of Intuition is just one example. It is within your grasp to become a person of true Knowledge. Yet, very few people reach for that height. Consider yourself to be most fortunate that you are reaching in that direction.
People often ask me what more than can do to evolve. The answer is simple: keep a steady hand on the rudder. Keep going. Don’t stop. There will be obstacles along the way. Most of the obstacles are in your heart and your mind. Remain committed to the highest. I offer you the path. But it is up to you to traverse it.
Do you believe in miracles? Do I? I guess that is a matter of what one means by miracles. In this world, everything functions through science. Miracles are mastery over laws of Nature (of science) not yet understood. Wouldn’t it be a bit presumptuous to think we know all the laws of science? In that case, any ‘miracle’ would be considered bogus or superstition.
The laws of Nature can be called “the gods.” The gods can be thought of as various aspects of the one God, what some in the field of modern physics would call “the unified field.”
Doesn’t it make sense that the one thing out of which all persons were born also has a personified aspect? And just as with all of us, the personified aspect is what gives us meaning.
“My master used to say that these names, as Hindu, Christian, etc., stand as great bars to all brotherly feelings between man and man. We must try to break them down first. They have lost all their good powers and now only stand as baneful influences under whose black magic even the best of us behave like demons. Well, we will have to work hard and must succeed.”
To which I respond:
As I am fond of saying, “When the Master speaks, it immediately ceases to be what the Master said and becomes what the listener heard. And therein lies the birth of religions.” That is, of course, a two-sided coin. On one hand, religions are based upon deep spiritual Truth. They are therefore precious and to be revered. On the other hand, distortions of that profound spiritual knowledge lead people astray.
As I like to say, “Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay.” All too often, religions become echoes of Truth.
I have been known to say: “Racism is cultural integrity gone insane.” When not understood deeply enough, religions can polarize in that same manner. Perhaps the most glaring example would be wars in the name of religion.