A DOWNLOADABLE E-MAGAZINE Vol II * JULY 2009 * Issue VII

Meditation leads to Ultimate Flowering

Introducing various Masters & Dimensions of Spiritual Sojourn

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The Path of Inner Knowing
The Secrets of SARASWATI
www.taoshobuddhameditations.com

MEDITATION TIMES
A Downloadable Monthly E-Magazine
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A PRODUCTION OF www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Published by: www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Country of Origin: Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Chief Editor/Graphics Layout & Design: Swami Anand Neelambar
Editorial Team: Swami Anand Neelambar, Taoshobuddha International Contributors: Hadhrat Maulawi Jalaluddin Ahmad Ar-Rowi Assistant Contributors: Ma Prem Sutra, Swami Dhyan Yatri, Sufi Lakshmi Sahai

In This Issue
 Editorial  Three Divine aspects of Saraswati  Goddess Saraswati  Saraswati the Hindu Goddess of Learning  Adoration of the Divine Mother  Saraswati and Her Consorts  Saraswati in Hindu History and Culture  The Divine Mother – Aurobindo  The Divine Mother – Swami Vivekananda  My Cosmic Mother’s Face - Yogananda  Mirabai  Sutras on Beauty - Tagore  Hafiz  Paramahansa Yogananada  The Three Samadhis – Sri Chinmoy  The Role of the Guru – Sri Chinmoy  Reflections on Life – Swami Anand Neelambar

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In our Next Issue
Krishna and Rasa Lila

EDITORIAL

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his month we introduce Saraswati in her multifarious dimensions. We shall explode the Vedic symbolism and psychological aspects of Saraswati. As well as the historical perspective on the controversial River that bears her name. Saraswati is certainly much more than meets the eye. The importance in Veda of the Goddess of learning has been a perennial source of guidance and inspiration to all those seeking the deeper meaning of life and living. Saraswati is the deity of mysticism and her study unravels the mysteries of existence. One cannot hope to comprehend any dimension of life eternal without the intervention of the icon of intuition. Meditation Times is a document of inner life, mysticism and meditation. And Saraswati embodies all three aspects of our approach. So it was only appropriate that we dedicate an issue of this magazine to Her. It is important to understand the relation between the River Saraswati and the Goddess of Knowledge of the Veda. We have sought to present Saraswati in her multi dimensions and hope the earnest seekers along the sojourn can continue to unravel the secrets of life eternal. What we see as Saraswati is not what we as seekers should be looking at. The purpose of the icon is to point in an inner dimension. The worship of Saraswati is merely and only a ritualistic map. The codes to decipher this map are found by exploring into the inner mysteries of life eternal. The map itself contains the codes.

And when the codes are understood the lost secrets of the Vedic Goddess shall usher the dawn of a new era of knowledge that is not divisive and destructive but a knowledge that is uniting and used for Swami Anand Neelambar creative exploration. Then humanity shall enter the realm of the Gods. We also take this opportunity to celebrate Masters. And we have merely highlighted some of the Masters and their works. This is a continuing process. As every month we introduce various Masters and paths to spiritual dimensions. Each seeker along the sojourn has to uncover his own path. The Master can only share his experience of the journey. We hope you can find something in this issue that shall give you impetus to make your sojourn to life eternal a worthwhile and enriching pursuit. There are many places available where seekers can find solace and guidance. Ours is merely a tavern where one can rest for awhile and again continue his journey. We wish to promote our recent publication “The Secrets of Bhakti” by enlightened Master Taoshobuddha. This is a Sterling paperback publication. We urge seekers to obtain a copy – as it is of immense value in unravelling the mysteries of Bhakti – the mystical path of Devotion. Our other publications are also available online at www.ebookmall.com

Published by Taoshobuddha Meditations Trinidad, West indies

Saraswati:
Three Divine Aspects of Mahasaraswati

he Vedic concept of Saraswati was three-fold: First, she is like the sacred river which gave birth to the Aryan civilization. Second, she was vak or speech personified, as expressed in the Rig Veda’s Vak Sukta. 'Speech’ basically refers to the sacred-word or the Vedas themselves. The third and most important aspect is Saraswati’s identification with Gayatri, although the Gayatri mantra is worship of the Sun-god, Suryanarayana. The Sun-god symbolizes three female deities: Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati, to be invoked in the morning, noon and evening respectively. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom, learning, music and all other fine arts. Both Valmiki and Vyasa were her ardent devotees. In the Ramayana, when Brahma came to grant the three brothers Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana their wishes, the gods

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were anxious: What would Kumbhakarna do once his desires were granted? So, Saraswati confused Kumbhakarna so much that when Brahma asked him what he wanted, he replied that he wanted to sleep forever. The Vishnupurana declares that the name of our motherland is derived from the name of Saraswati: “Bharata is the country wherein resides goddess Bharati (Saraswati)”. There are various legends about her origin. The Kalika Purana says that Saraswati emerged out of Brahma. After her birth, she was circumambulating Brahma, who, in order to watch her do this, created three more heads for himself. When she moved upwards, Brahma created the fifth head. Angry with this behaviour, Lord Shiva severed Brahma’s fifth head, which stuck to Shiva’s hand - which is why Shiva is also called Kapali.

According to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Saraswati was created by Krishna from his tongue, symbolizing Saraswati as the speech-faculty of the Absolute. She wanted to marry Krishna, but Krishna sent her to Lord Vishnu, who is but Krishna’s fourhanded form. Lord Vishnu was already married to Lakshmi and Ganga. Once, after a quarrel, the three goddesses cursed each other Saraswati and Ganga turned into holy rivers and Lakshmi into the tulsi plant. Coming from the puranas to the yogic system, Saraswati again has a very prominent place. As in the physical world, there is a Triveni-Sangam (confluence of three) within our subtle-body (Sukshma-Sharira). There is a Triveni at the spot between our eyebrows, the ajna-chakra, which is the actual prayaga. He, whose mind passes through this Chakra, becomes one with the Absolute. The three vital Nadis concur at this point - Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Normally people breathe through Ida or Pingala, the left

or the right nostril but the perfect yogins breath through the Sushumna which cannot be perceived by others. Sushumna is Saraswati, who is antahSalila whereas the other two are Yamuna and Ganga respectively. Saraswati is the ninth Mahavidya and is the presiding goddess of the Sun. According to the Markandeyapurana, Saraswati is Chit, while Lakshmi and Kali represent the Sat and Ananda aspects respectively. The universe floats on a great ocean of divine consciousness, the Brahman. The Tantras say that by worshipping Saraswati, we can come closer to Brahman. She can give us worldly wisdom (apara vidya), but the wise pray to her for the supreme knowledge (para-vidya) . The Chandi says the 16-armed Mahasaraswati killed the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. But Saraswati is popularly worshipped in the four-handed form. Her colour is white, representing absolute purity of knowledge.

Goddess Saraswati
araswati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge and wisdom. The Sanskrit word sara means “essence” and swa means “self.” Thus Saraswati means “the essence of the self.” Saraswati is represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe. Since knowledge is necessary for creation, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists. In Her popular images and pictures, Goddess Saraswati is generally depicted with four arms (some pictures may show only two arms), wearing a white sari and seated on a white lotus. She holds a book and a rosary in Her rear two hands, while the front two hands are engaged in the playing of a lute (veena). Her right leg is shown slightly pushing against Her left leg. She uses a swan as Her vehicle. There is a peacock by Her side gazing at Her. This symbolism illustrates the following spiritual ideas:

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The lotus is a symbol of the Supreme Reality, and a white lotus also denotes supreme knowledge. By sitting on a lotus, Saraswati signifies that She is Herself rooted in the Supreme Reality, and symbolizes supreme knowledge. The white color symbolizes purity and knowledge. The white sari that the Goddess is wearing denotes that She is the embodiment of pure knowledge. The four arms denote Her omnipresence and omnipotence. The two front arms indicate Her activity in the physical world and the two back arms signify Her presence in the spiritual world. The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality. The mind (manas) is represented by the front right hand, the intellect (buddhi) by the front left hand, the conditioned consciousness (chitta) by the rear left hand, and the ego (ahankara) by the rear right hand.

The left side of the body symbolizes the qualities of the heart and the right side symbolizes activities of the mind and intellect. A book in the rear left hand signifies that knowledge acquired must be used with love and kindness to promote prosperity of mankind. The rosary signifies concentration, meditation, and contemplation, leading to samadhi, or union with God. A rosary in the rear right hand representing ego conveys that true knowledge acquired with love and devotion melts the ego and results in liberation (moksha) of the seeker from the bondage to the physical world. The Goddess is shown playing a musical instrument that is held in Her front hands, which denote mind and intellect. This symbol conveys that the seeker must tune his mind and intellect in order to live in perfect harmony with the world. Such harmonious living enables the individual to utilize acquired knowledge for the welfare of all mankind. Two swans are depicted on the left side of the Goddess. A swan is said to have a sensitive beak that enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. A swan, therefore, symbolizes the power of discrimination, or the ability to discriminate between right and wrong or good and bad. Saraswati uses the swan as Her carrier. This indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. Knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world. A peacock is sitting next to Saraswati and is anxiously waiting to serve as Her vehicle. A peacock depicts unpredictable behavior as its moods can be influenced by the changes in the weather. Saraswati is using a swan as a vehicle and not the peacock. This signifies that one should overcome fear, indecision, and fickleness in order to acquire true knowledge.

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araswati is a Hindu goddess of learning. She is the goddess of speech (Vac), the Flowing-One. She represents the union of power and intelligence from which organized creation arises. Saraswati posseses all the learnings of the the Vedas, scriptures, dancing, musical power and poetry. She revealed language and writing to man. Her origin is the lost Vedic river Saraswati. This is the source of her profound connection to fluidity in any aspect (water, speech, thought, etc.). She is wisdom, fortune, intelligence, nourishment, brilliance, contentment, splendour and devotion. This page is dedicated to this Beautiful Goddess of Intellect.

Origins of Saraswati
The Sarasvati river was one of the major water causeways in northwest India. The river was navigable in the third and fourth millennium, BCE, from the Gulf of Khambat (Lothal) throughout Surkotada and Kotda (Dholavira, close to Bet Dwaraka) and upward th rough Nara-Hakra-Ghaggar-Sarasvati channels, right through to Mathura. It flowed directly through the Marusthali desert, one of the largest deserts in the world. During the third and fourth millennium BCE, an extensive civilization lived along its banks . Although considered a part of the Indus Valley Civilization, these groups of people shared a different lifestyle and different religious practices. All of the sacrifices and worship practices were primarily done on the banks of the river; the river wa s considered the most pure and auspicious place to do these sacrifices. The river was described in the Vedas as the "Mother of all rivers." One such religious practice used the river directly. As each of us live and interact in this material world, where the majority of our action s are considered unclean and unhealthy, we accumulate residues of these actions inside and outside of our body. The practice entailed submerging the whole body into the river. As the waters engulf and surround, the purity of the waters wash away all the foulness from the body, leaving the body fresh and pure when emerged from the river. Like a clean slate. This practice is interesting to note when discussing the migration of the civilization and the migration of religious practices. In the fourth millennium, the Sarasvati River was drying up due to the dryness of the prevailing monsoon winds, which did not bring enough rain to keep the region moist. Consequently, the civilization migrated to the Kubha River, where they renamed the river to the Avestan Sarasvati. This drying up of the river was a turning point in many of the beliefs of the people, and is noted in the Upanishads. Here, this act is explained in a myth. The Gods wanted someone to transport "fire" or Agni to the sea. The gods entrusted the Sarasvati River to perform this task. After gaining permission from her father Brahma, Sarasvati gathered up all her waters,

and formed a body. She then carried the fire to the sea. The myth holds many symbolic meaning to the religious changes that were developing with the emergence of the Upanishads, as well as the physical changes of the river. The fire in reference, Agni, was the sacrificial fire and served as the link between hu mans and the gods. Sarasvati's mission was to take this fire and deliver it to the sea, which can be associated with the ocean of consciousness, an aspect of the absolute. In doing so, the fire would become extinguished, and at the same time, would be removed from the world of man (the relative). The gods choose the Sarasvati River as the only one able to perform this task. Due to the purity of her waters, and the fact that she is water, she is able to accomplish the task. In this event, Sarasvati has moved from a sacred river, to a goddess; she is a goddess of purity. She has also deposed of the sacrifice as the sole mode of reaching the gods and the absolute. As mentioned in the Upanishads, the sacrifice changes from fi re and rituals, to internalizing the process. In pursing knowledge, a sacrifice of the self is necessary to exit from the karmic world. In this knowledgeable state, the person becomes liberated through disciplines of the body, breathing, and mind. As a result, from removing the sacrificial fire and replacing it with a sacrifice of the self through obtaining knowledge, Sarasvati has now become the goddess of knowledge and learning. Also, the conventional modes of ritual movements as the concentration of the sacrifice was extinguished. In its place, sounds, such as the sound OM and mantras became the most important quality. Sarasvati was given the title of music and speech. Although the waters of the ancient Sarasvati River are all dried up, one can still ride on the currents and waves of Sarasvati to become pure. In the pursuit of knowledge and learning and through proper use of sound and speech, ultimate purity can now be achieved: moksa.

Saraswati and the Gods
The Puranas relate Saraswati to Brahma and Vishnu. Most frequently, she is associated with Brahma. Her connection with him dates earlier than to any other God. She is portrayed mostly as his wife and occasionally as his daughter. When Vishnu's popularity in India increased, myths relating Saraswati to him appeared. Saraswati and Brahma: When Saraswati is pictured as a wife of Brahma, she is usually portrayed as white complexioned, wearing white or yellow garments, and accompanied by a peacock or/and a swan (symbols of Brahma). Origin of Brahma's 5 heads due to Saraswati: Brahma created Satarupa (Saraswati) out of his own body, and became enamoured with her. He was looking at her amorously. In order to avoid his glances, Satarupa turned to the right side

from his gaze. In order to see her then, Brahma created a second head. As she passed to his left and his rear, in order to avoid his lustful glances, two other heads of the god successively appeared. At last she sprang to the sky, and following her, a fifth head of Brahma was also formed. (From the Matsya Purana) Brahma's Great Sacrifice:Brahma decided to perform a great sacrifice and for that purpose he and his wife Savitri (one of the names for Saraswati) went to Pushkara. When all the preparations were made with due rites and ceremonies for performing the sacrifice, Savitri, detained by some household affairs, was not in attendance. A priest was immediately advised to call her. But she replied that she had not yet completed her dress, nor arranged several affairs. Since without a wife no advantage could be derived by performing a sacrifice, Brahma advised Indra to bring a wife from wherever he could find one. Indra proceeded accordingly and, he found a milkmaid Gayatri (another name for Saraswati) who was young, beautiful . Indra seized her and brought to the assembly. Then Brahma told that he would espouse the mikmaid and she would be regarded as the mother of the Vedas. Thus Brahma was united with Gayatri. At this time Savitri, accompanied by the wives of Vishnu, Rudra and other gods, come to the place of sacrifice. Seeing the milkmaid in the bride's attire, Savitri became furious and cursed Brahma and all the other gods and left. But Gayatri repaired most of the curses by performing proper sacrifices.(From the Skanda Purana) Origin of Saraswati and Her Marriage to Vishnu: Once Krishna felt an inclination to create and thus sprang from him Radha, his shakti. Their union produced the mundane egg, which Radha threw into the numdane waters. Krishna was incensed at this unmotherly conduct of Radha and cursed her with everlasting youth and barrenness. At this point, suddently from the lip of Radha sprang forth a lovely daughter Saraswati of white complexion wearing yellow dress, bedecked with jewels and holding a Veena and a book in her hands. Radha again parted herself into two and her left half was transformed into Kamala or Lakshmi. At this, Krishna also parted into two and produced the four-armed Vishnu from the left side of his body. Krishna gave Sarasvati and Lakshmi to Vishnu as wives. (From the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana) Fight Between Saraswati and Ganga: Besides Saraswati, Vishnu married Ganga. One day Ganga was looking wistfully at her husband, and Vishnu was reciprocating the glances. This was too much for Saraswati who began to accuse Vishnu of partiality. Vishnu left the place to give Saraswati time to calm herself down. But this only served to anger Saraswati more. She advanced threatingly to Ganga when Lakshmi intervened. Lakshmi held Saraswati away from Ganga. Saraswati then cursed Lakshmi. Vishnu, having found out about what

happened, cursed both Saraswati and Ganga with transformation into rivers, and also gave both of them to other husbands. Saraswati was given to Brahma and Ganga to Shiva. (From the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana)

Saraswati: Iconographic Symbolism
The river imagery of Sarasvati represents a migration from a world of ignorance or bondage to a shore that represents enlightenment and freedom. This religious quest represents a state of transition or rebirth in which a spiritual pilgrim sloughs off his old self and is born again, free and enlightened. Sarasvati‟s female form demonstrates the great respect and recognition that women held in the Vedic tradition. She extols tolerance, as well as moral and spiritual strength. She can withstand roughness and bear pain. She is the consort of Brahma, so this shows that knowledge and creation are in harmony. Her white complexion and garments point to her absolute purity. Her four arms represent the four directions, giving the notion that Sarasvati is all-pervading. The front arms relate to the manifest world, and the back arms to the subjective world. She also demonstrates the four aspects of the personality-the mana, the buddhi, the chitta and the ahankara. The book symbolizes the totality of knowledge. Placing it in the left hand means that acquisition and application of knowledge should be controlled by the softer side of the human personality. The rosary symbolizes concentration or the meditative process involved in the acquisition of knowledge. The swan demonstrates the discriminatory power between right and wrong, as well as the real and unreal. It states,” live in the world, but do not be possessed by it. It symbolizes “jiva” and the “prana” which manifest through the inhaling and exhaling processes. The swan floats above the water in a state of samadhi. The peacock represents mundane knowledge that is unstable and leads to worldly desires. The peacock points to the chance of ignorant activity taking charge of the human personality- the dominates the head and the right side. Sarasvati as she is represented in the middle demonstrates a need for for a balance between both. The lotus represents supreme knowledge in activity. It is a symbol of evolution and detachment. It makes its way through the ocean of life by rising above its surface--it is the path from the outer being to the inner being. The Veena points to the collective sound of all our thoughts and actions as it is manifest as music in the cosmic universe; it marks the withdrawal of the senses and the focus needed to attain knowledge. Placing the left hand on top of the veena closer to the heart shows that knowledge should be used for the good of others. Placing the right hand on the bottom shows that negative knowledge should be kept under control. The veena points to the potential for the negative and positive

purposes of knowledge--the choice is left to the person as to which type of knowledge is used. There is a special type of Veena called Saraswati Veena. The Sarasvati Veena is one of the oldest instruments of the world. It is a fretted organ which can produce notes in four octaves. Four strings are attached to the main bridge and three extra strings are used to keep count of the „taala‟ or the cycle of beats. The drum to the right is the sound box, the drum to the left is used for support. The goal is to create a melodious, continuous sound or „taanam‟ which awakens the inner senses. The Veena imparts a vocalized quality, or „Gayaki‟ which creates the feeling that divinity itself is speaking through the flow of music. The Veena is considered the spinal cord, and the creation of music stirs the invocation of knowledge within the soul.

Saraswati: Connection to Yoga
Sarasvati gives the essence of one‟s self. She provides us with the mundane and spiritual knowledge of our lives. She is a representation of the science of life, or the Vedanta, which attempts to unravel the essentials of human existence and the universe concealed within. She points to the ultimate aim of human life which is to realize the true nature of the self even if it requires an enormous amount of determination, perseverance and patience. The knowledge that Sarasvati renders through continual worship, devotion and discipline is one of an integral vision in which both temporal and spiritual levels of study are meditated upon, practiced and developed. Therefore, she allows one to exist in the material world while striving for the plane of Brahman. The connection one forms with Sarasvati is one with words and music, which are the very source of the cosmos, the Brahman. She is the impeller of true, sweet speech, she is the creative process with the syllable, „OM.‟ She is the potent quality of sound. Sarasvati is the ocean of understanding, the consciousness which vibrates with different types of knowledge. She is the cause of all movements, the source of spiritual light, remover of all ignorance and promoter of knowledge. Students that are here to discover, invent and create a new world fall under Sarasvati'‟s grace, that is why we must be open and disciplined to acquire the knowledge which she can give to us. Sarasvati shows that human destiny involves the refinement of nature. Being fully human necessitates molding, enhancing and refining the natural world to make it habitable. Artistic creation as well as knowledge of the sciences epitomize human culture; integrated knowledge refines the world into something beautiful and special.

The idol is in white , symbolizing purity. The sari of the Deity is white or yellow dyed in the natural dye made from "Shiuli" flowers. The place where the idol is kept for the puja is decorated with Rangoli and the design of a fish is considered auspicious. A flat low stool made of wood is covered with yellow cloth and the idol is placed on it, facing East. Then, the face of the idol remains covered till the priest begins chanting the mantras at the commencement of the puja. A green coconut is placed on an earthen pot with a red checked cotton cloth called "Gamcha". For the actual puja, flowers are used but the most significant is the Palash or flame of the forest and marigold flowers. Students place their books in front of the goddess. The offerings to the goddess are mainly fruits: most significant are Berries from the wild plum tree. Other fruits include tapioca. Sweets must include puffed rice, jaggery and yogurt. Family members bathe early and dress in yellow attire and assemble in front of the Goddess. The earthen pot is tied with a string which will be untied only on the next day by the priest before Bisarjan. A havan puja is done by the priest using special wood, ghee, joss sticks and incense. There absence of a burnt smell signifies the success of the puja. A diya or lamp is also kept lit along with the prasad. A handful of flowers particularly marigolds and flame of the forest are given to each devotee to offer to the goddess as "pushpanjali"--Pushp, meaning flowers and Anjali meaning offering. The offering is done in batches of devotees who repeat mantras after the priest. Arati is performed by the priest in the morning and again in the evening. this is done while chanting sanskrit slokas and accompanied by the blowing of conch shells and the beating of drums. The lit lamp used during the Arati is passed around for each devotee to warm his/ her hand and touch their heads. Nobody touches books on that day. This signifies that the goddess is blessing the books placed in front of her that day. Basant Panchami: is celebrated on the fifth lunar day of the month of Magh, which is between the moths of January and February. It is also celebrated as Shikshapatri Jayanti. On this day, yellow is the predominant color as all are garbed in bright yellow clothes. This has to do with the onset of spring and the blooming of yellow mustard flowers in the fields. There is a great deal of festivity with the flying of colorful kites. It also happens to be the second most popular festival in Lahore, Pakistan and the incorporation of this traditionally hindu festival into modern Islamic culture has an interesting story behind it.

Temples Dedicated to Saraswati
There are Saraswati temples in Deupatan, Kamalakshi, Thimi, Bhadrakali and Swyambhu, Neel Saraswati at Gairidhara, among others in the Kathmandu Valley. Saraswati Temple in the University of Roorkee. Prthudakeshwara Temples in Pehowa, Haryana. They were built by the Marathas in honour of Saraswati. Saradamba Temple in Sringeri. Sarada Temple in

Saraswati: Rituals and Festivals
Ritual worship of Saraswati in the Bengali Tradition:

the Neelam Valley in Kashmir. Basar: Situated 50 Kms from Nizamabad at Basara ,on the banks of river Godavari, the Sri Gnana Saraswathi Temple is the only temple in South India dedicated to the Goddess of Learning.

Himalayan passes to Nepal, Tibet, Java, China and eventually Japan. In Tibet, she is known as Vajra-Sarasvati and is often depicted as wielding a Thunderbolt (vajra). In Japan, the goddess Benten is seen as a manifestation of Sarasvati. Her full name in Japanese is Dai-Ben-Zai-Ten or The Great Divinity of Reasoning Faculty. She is believed to confer power, happiness, riches, long life, fame and reasoning powers. In later times she came to be regarded as one of the seven deities of good fortune. A myth in Japan speaks of a hideous pond dwelling serpent that terrorized the villages and devoured the children for miles around. Benten could not bear to witness such destruction. Therefore she stirred up an earthquake and hovered above the serpent's lair in the dust clouds. Descending, she called it forth. At first Benten was filled with loathing. But the serpent king wooed her with soft and tender words until her heart was melted, and--making him promise to mend his savage ways--she married him. It is interesting to note that Ben-Ten, as goddess of speech was won by words.

Saraswati: Connection to Other Religions
Sarasvati is well known in a variety of other religions outside of Hinduism. She appears in Jainism and Buddhism, and has made her way from India to Japan as well as to other places around the world. In Jainism, Saravsvati has been given many titles, a few of these include: The Dispeller of Darkness & Ignorance, The Remover of Infatuations, The Destroyer of Miseries and The Bestower of Knowledge. As in Hinduism, she also stands as a symbol of purity. In the transition from early (Theravada) Buddhism to Mahayana Buddhism, may elements of Hinduism were transplanted into Buddhism. In early Buddhist mandalas, various divinities were depicted of Mahayana Buddhism. In those early Buddhist mandalas, Sarasvati is located in the south-west of the innermost circle, between Brahma and Vishnu, symbolizing her close connection with these two deities. In Buddhism, Sarasvati is the Bestower of Knowledge, Intelligence & Memory; and she confers wisdom and learning upon her worshippers. She possesses many forms within Buddhism, including VajraSarasvati, Vajrana-Sarasvati, Vajra-Sarada and Mahasarasvati. During a period of Tantric dominance within Buddhism, many of the Mahayana Buddhist texts were transmitted through the

Names of Saraswati
Bharati - eloquence; Mahavidya - transcendent knowledge; Vac - speech; Mahavani - transcendent word; Arya - the noble one; Brahmi - power of the immense being; Kamadhenu - the wish cow; Bijagarbha - womb of the seed or womb of the elements of speech; Dhanesvari - divinity of wealth; Vacdevi - divinity of speech; Vinapani - the one that holds the vina; Sarada - giver of essence; Vageshvari - mistress of speech; Brahmi - wife of Brahma and Gayatri.

ENLIGHTENMENT – according to Dogen, and I agree with him absolutely – IS JUST LIKE THE MOON REFLECTING ITSELF ON THE WATER. There is no effort on the part of the water, that the moon has to be reflected. There is no commandment that has to be followed, no doctrines that have to be practiced; no yoga postures ... so that the moon can reflect itself in the water. There is not even a desire, not even a longing ... not even a faint longing. And the same is the situation on the part of the moon – the moon has no desire to be reflected. Both are desireless, but the reflection happens on its own accord. So does enlightenment. Just in a silent, peaceful consciousness it suddenly reflects your buddhahood. Enlightenment is just your naturalness. This is the great contribution of Zen. All other religions are belief systems, Zen is not. All other religions will ask you to believe in God, in heaven, in hell. All other religions will have a thousand and one beliefs. Zen has no belief system. Its whole effort is to discover your natural self, which is covered with the dust of all kinds of good intentions, of beautiful thoughts, of great beliefs. All that dust has to be cleaned off. And then you are left alone in your naturalness.
OSHO – Zen Master - Dogen

The Adoration of the Divine Mother
A burning Love from white spiritual founts Annulled the sorrow of the ignorant depths; Suffering was lost in her immortal smile. A Life from beyond grew conqueror here of death; To err no more was natural to mind; Wrong could not come where all was light and love. The Formless and the Formed were joined in her: Immensity was exceeded by a look, A Face revealed the crowded Infinite. Incarnating inexpressibly in her limbs The boundless joy the blind world-forces seek, Her body of beauty mooned the seas of bliss. At the head she stands of birth and toil and fate, In their slow round the cycles turn to her call; Alone her hands can change Time's dragon base. Hers is the mystery the Night conceals; The spirit's alchemist energy is hers; She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire. The luminous heart of the Unknown is she, A power of silence in the depths of God; She is the Force, the inevitable Word, The magnet of our difficult ascent, The Sun from which we kindle all our suns, The Light that leans from the unrealised Vasts, The joy that beckons from the impossible, The Might of all that never yet came down. All Nature dumbly calls to her alone To heal with her feet the aching throb of life And break the seals on the dim soul of man And kindle her fire in the closed heart of things. All here shall be one day her sweetness' home, All contraries prepare her harmony; Towards her our knowledge climbs, our passion gropes; In her miraculous rapture we shall dwell, Her clasp shall turn to ecstasy our pain. Our self shall be one self with all through her. Book Three: The Book of the Divine Mother Canto II: The Adoration of the Divine Mother From: Savitri by Sri Aurobindo

Saraswati and Her Consorts
Extracted from Secret of the Veda by Aurobindo

THE SYMBOLISM of the Veda betrays itself with the greatest clearness in the figure of the goddess Saraswati. In many of the other gods the balance of the internal sense and the external figure is carefully preserved. The veil sometimes becomes transparent or its corners are lifted even for the ordinary hearer of the Word; but it is never entirely removed. One may doubt whether Agni is anything more than the personification of the sacrificial Fire or of the physical principle of Light and Heat in things, or Indra anything more than the god of the sky and the rain or of physical Light, or Vayu anything more than the divinity in the Wind and Air or at most of the physical Lifebreath. In the lesser gods the naturalistic interpretation has less ground for confidence; for it is obvious that Varuna is not merely a Vedic Uranus or Neptune, but a god with great and important moral functions; Mitra and Bhaga have the same psychological aspect; the Ribhus who form things by the mind and build up immortality by works can with difficulty be crushed into the Procrustean measure of a naturalistic mythology. Still by imputing a chaotic confusion of ideas to the poets of the Vedic hymns the difficulty can be trampled upon, if not overcome. But Saraswati will submit to no such treatment. She is, plainly and clearly, the goddess of the Word, the goddess of a divine Inspiration. If that were all, this would not carry us much farther than the obvious fact that the Vedic Rishis were not mere naturalistic barbarians, but had their psychological ideas and were capable of creating mythological symbols which represent not only those obvious operations of physical Nature that interested their agricultural, pastoral and open-air life,

but also the inner operations of the mind and soul. If we have to conceive the history of ancient religious thought as a progression from the physical to the spiritual, from a purely naturalistic to an increasingly ethical and psychological view of Nature and the world and the gods—and this, though by no means certain, is for the present the accepted view, we must suppose that the Vedic poets were at least already advancing from the physical and naturalistic conception of the Gods to the ethical and the spiritual. But Saraswati is not only the goddess of Inspiration; she is at one and the same time one of the seven rivers of the early Aryan world. The question at once arises, whence came this extraordinary identification? And how does the connection of the two ideas present itself in the Vedic hymns? And there is more; for Saraswati is important not only in herself but by her connections. Before proceeding farther let us cast a rapid and cursory glance at them to see what they can teach us. The association of a river with the poetical inspiration occurs also in the Greek mythology; but there the Muses are not conceived of as rivers; they are only connected in a not very intelligible fashion with a particular earthly stream. This stream is the river Hippocrene, the fountain of the Horse, and to account for its name we have a legend that it sprang from the hoof of the divine horse Pegasus; for he smote the rock with his hoof and the waters of inspiration gushed out where the mountain had been thus smitten. Was this legend merely a Greek fairy tale or had it any special meaning? And it is evident that if it had any meaning, it must, since it obviously refers to a psychological phenomenon, the birth of

the waters of inspiration, have had a psychological meaning; it must have been an attempt to put into concrete figures certain psychological facts. We may note that the word Pegasus, if we transliterate it into the original Aryan phonetics, becomes Pajasa and is obviously connected with the Sanskrit pajas, which meant originally force, movement, or sometimes footing. In Greek itself it is connected with pege, a stream. There is, therefore, in the terms of this legend a constant association with the image of a forceful movement of inspiration. If we turn to Vedic symbols we see that the Ashwa or Horse is an image of the great dynamic force of Life, of the vital and nervous energy, and is constantly coupled with other images that symbolise the consciousness. Adri, the hill or rock, is a symbol of formal existence and especially of the physical nature and it is out of this hill or rock that the herds of the Sun are released and the waters flow. The streams of the madhu, the honey, the Soma, are said also to be milked out of this Hill or Rock. The stroke of the Horse’s hoof on the rock releasing the waters of inspiration would thus become a very obvious psychological image. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the old Greeks and Indians were incapable either of such psychological observation or of putting it into the poetical and mystic imagery which was the very body of the ancient Mysteries. We might indeed go farther and inquire whether there was not some original connection between the hero Bellerophon, slayer of Bellerus, who rides on the divine Horse, and Indra Valahan, the Vedic slayer of Vala, the enemy who keeps for himself the Light. But this would take us beyond the limits of our subject. Nor does this interpretation of the Pegasus legend carry us any farther than to indicate the natural turn of imagination of the Ancients and the way in which they came to

figure the stream of inspiration as an actual stream of flowing water. Saraswati means, “she of the stream, the flowing movement”, and is therefore a natural name both for a river and for the goddess of inspiration. But by what process of thought or association does the general idea of the river of inspiration come to be associated with a particular earthly stream? And in the Vedait is not a question of one river which by its surroundings, natural and legendary, might seem more fitly associated with the idea of sacred inspiration than any other. For here it is a question not of one, but of seven rivers always associated together in the minds of the Rishis and all of them released together by the stroke of the God Indra when he smote the Python who coiled across their fountains and sealed up their outflow. It seems impossible to suppose that one river only in all this sevenfold out flowing acquired a psychological significance while the rest were associated only with the annual coming of the rains in the Punjab. The psychological significance of Saraswati carries with it a psychological significance for the whole symbol of the Vedic waters. Saraswati is not only connected with other rivers but with other goddesses who are plainly psychological symbols and especially with Bharati and Ila. In the later Puranic forms of worship Saraswati is the goddess of speech, of learning and of poetry and Bharati is one of her names, but in the Veda Bharati and Saraswati are different deities. Bharati is also called Mahi, the Large, Great or Vast. The three, Ila, Mahi or Bharati and Saraswati are associated together in a constant formula in those hymns of invocation in which the gods are called by Agni to the Sacrifice. Ila sarasvati mahi, tisro devir mayobhuvah Barhih sidantvasridhah “May Ila, Saraswati and Mahi, three goddesses who give birth to the bliss, take their place on

the sacrificial seat, they who stumble not,” or “who come not to hurt” or “do no hurt.” The epithet means, I think, they in whom there is no false movement with its evil consequences, duritam, no stumbling into pitfalls of sin and error. The formula is expanded in Hymn 110 of the tenth Mandala: Ano yajnam bharati tuyam etu, ila manusvad iha cetayanti Tisro devir barhir edam syonam, sarasvati svapasah sadantu. “May Bharati come speeding to our sacrifice and Ila hither awakening our consciousness (or, knowledge or perceptions) in human wise, and Saraswati, - three goddesses sit on this blissful seat, doing well the Work.” It is clear and will become yet clearer that these three goddesses have closely connected functions akin to the inspirational power of Saraswati. Saraswati is the Word, the inspiration, as I suggest, that comes from the Ritam, the Truth-consciousness. Bharati and Ila must also be different forms of the same Word or knowledge. In the eighth hymn of Madhuchchhandas we have a Rik in which Bharati is mentioned under the name of Mahi. Eva hyasya sunrita, virapshi gomati mahi pakva shakha na dashushe “Thus Mahi for Indra full of the rays, overflowing in her abundance, in her nature a happy truth, becomes as if a ripe branch for the giver of the sacrifice.” The rays in the Veda are the rays of Surya, the Sun. Are we to suppose that the goddess is a deity of the physical Light or are we to translate “go” by cow and suppose that Mahi is full of cows for the sacrifice? The psychological character of Saraswati comes to our rescue

against the last absurd supposition, but it negatives equally the naturalistic interpretation. This characterisation of Mahi, Saraswati’s companion in the sacrifice, the sister of the goddess of inspiration, entirely identified with her in the later mythology, is one proof among a hundred others that light in the Veda is a symbol of knowledge, of spiritual illumination. Surya is the Lord of the supreme Sight, the vast Light, brihaj jyotih or, as it is sometimes called, the true Light, ritam brihat. And the connection between the words ritam and brihat and is constant in the Veda. It seems to me impossible to see in these expressions anything else than the indication of a state of illumined consciousness the nature of which is that it is wide or large, brihat, full of the truth of being, satyam, and of the truth of knowledge and action, rtam. The gods have this consciousness. Agni, for instance, is termed ritacit, he who has the truth-consciousness. Mahi is full of the rays of this Surya; she carries in her this illumination. Moreover she is sunrita, she is the word of a blissful Truth, even as it has been said of Saraswati that she is the impeller of happy truths, codayitri sunritanam. Finally, she is virapshi, large or breaking out into abundance, a word which recalls to us that the Truth is also a Largeness, ritam brihat. And in another hymn, (I.22.10), she is described as varutri dhisana, a widely covering or embracing Thought-power. Mahi, then, is the luminous vastness of the Truth, she represents the Largeness, brihat, of the superconscient in us containing in itself the Truth, ritam. She is, therefore, for the sacrificer like a branch covered with ripe fruit. Ila is also the word of the truth; her name has become identical in a later confusion with the idea of speech. As Saraswati is an awakener of the consciousness to right thinkings or right

states of mind, cetanti sumatinam, so also Ila comes to the sacrifice awakening the consciousness to knowledge, cetayanti. She is full of energy, suvira, and brings knowledge. She also is connected with Surya,t heSun, as when Agni, the Will is invoked (V.4.4) to labour by the rays of the Sun, Lord of the true Light, being of one mind with Ila, ilaya sajosa yatamano rasmibhih suryasya. She is the mother of the Rays, the herds of the Sun. Her name means she who seeks and attains and it contains the same association of ideas as the words Ritam and Rishi. Ila may therefore well be the vision of the seer which attains the truth. As Saraswati represents the truth-audition, sruti, which gives the inspired word, so Ila represents drishti the vision. If so, since drishti and sruti are the two powers of the Rishi, the Kavi, the Seer of the Truth, we can understand the close connection of Ila and Saraswati. Bharati or Mahi is the largeness of the Truthconsciousness which, dawning on man’s limited mind, brings with it the two sister Puissances. We can also understand how these fine and living distinctions came afterwards to be neglected as the Vedic knowledge declined and Bharati, Saraswati, Ila melted into one. We may note also that these three goddesses are said to bring to birth for man the Bliss, Mayas. I have already insisted on the constant relation, as conceived by the Vedic seers, between the Truth and the Bliss or Ananda. It is by the dawning of the true or infinite consciousness in man that he arrives out of this evil dream of pain and suffering, this divided creation into the Bliss, the happy state variously described in Veda by the words bhadram, mayas (love and bliss), svasti (the good state of existence, right being) and by others less technically used such as varyam, rayih rayah. For the Vedic Rishi Truth is the passage and the antechamber, the Bliss of the divine

existence is the goal, or else Truth is the foundation, Bliss the supreme result. Such, then, is the character of Saraswati as a psychological principle, her peculiar function and her relation to her most immediate connections amongst he gods. How far do these shed any light on her relations as the Vedic river to her six sister streams? The number seven plays an exceedingly important part in the Vedic system, as in most very ancient schools of thought. We find it recurring constantly, - the seven delights, sapta ratnani; the seven flames, tongues or rays of Agni, sapta arcis, sapta jvalah. these seven forms of the Thought-principle, saptadhitayah, the seven Rays or Cows, forms of the Cow unslayable, Aditi, mother of the gods, sapta gavah; the seven rivers, the seven mothers or fostering cows, saptam atarah , sapta dhenavah, a term applied indifferently to the Rays and to the Rivers. All these sets of seven depend, it seems to me, upon the Vedic classification of the fundamental principles, the tattvas, of existence. The enquiry into the number of these tattvas greatly interested the speculative mind of the ancients and in Indian philosophy we find various answers ranging from the One upward and running into the twenties. In Vedic thought the basis chosen was the number of the psychological principles, because all existence was conceived by the Rishis as a movement of conscious being. However merely curious or barren these speculations and classifications may seem to the modern mind, they were no mere dry metaphysical distinctions, but closely connected with a living psychological practice of which they were to a great extent the thought-basis, and in any case we must understand them clearly if we wish to form with any accuracy an idea of this ancient and far-off system. In the Veda, then, we find the number of the principles variously stated. The One was

recognised as the basis and continent; in this One there were the two principles divine and human, mortal and immortal. The dual number is also otherwise applied in the two principles, Heaven and Earth, Mind and Body, Soul and Nature, who are regarded as the father and mother of all beings. It is significant, however, that Heaven and Earth, when they symbolise two forms of natural energy, the mental and the physical consciousness, are no longer the father and mother, but the two mothers. The triple principle was doubly recognised, first in the threefold divine principle answering tot he later Sachchidananda, the divine existence, consciousness and bliss, and secondly in the threefold mundane principle, Mind, Life, Body, upon which is built the triple world of the Veda and Puranas. But the full number ordinarily recognised is seven. This figure was arrived at by adding the three divine principles to the three mundane and interpolating a seventh or link-principle which is precisely that of the Truth-consciousness, Ritam Brihat, afterwards known as Vijnana or Mahas. The latter term means the Large and is therefore an equivalent of Brihat. There are other classifications of five, eight, nine and ten and even, as it would seem, twelve; but these do not immediately concern us. All these principles, be it noted, are supposed to be really inseparable and omnipresent and therefore apply themselves to each separate formation of Nature. The seven Thoughts, for instance, are Mind applying itself to each of the seven planes as we would now call them and formulating Matter-mind, if we may so call it, nervous mind, pure mind, truth-mind and so on to the highest summit, parama paravat. The seven rays or cows are Aditi the infinite Mother, the Cow unslayable, supreme Nature or infinite Consciousness, pristine source of the later idea of Prakriti or Shakti, - the

Purusha is in this early pastoral imagery the Bull, Vrishabha, - the Mother of things taking form on the seven planes of her world-action as energy of conscious being. So also, the seven rivers are conscious currents corresponding to the sevenfold substance of the ocean of being which appears to us formulated in the seven worlds enumerated by the Puranas. It is their full flow in the human consciousness which constitutes the entire activity of the being, his full treasure of substance, his full play of energy. In the Vedic image, his cows drink of the water of the seven rivers. Should this imagery be admitted, and it is evident that if once such conceptions are supposed to exist, this would be the natural imagery for a people living the life and placed in the surroundings of the ancient Aryans, quite as natural for them and inevitable as for us the image of the “planes” with which theosophical thought has familiarised us,—the place of Saraswati as one of the seven rivers becomes clear. She is the current which comes from the Truth-principle, from the Ritam or Mahas, and we actually find this principle spoken of in the Veda, - in the closing passage of our third hymn for instance, - as the Great Water, maho arnas, - an expression which gives us at once the origin of the later term, Mahas, or sometimes mahan arnavah. We see in the third hymn the close connection between Saraswati and this great water. Let us examine a little more closely this connection before we proceed to the consideration of the Vedic cows and their relation to the god Indra and Saraswati’s close cousin the goddess Sarama. For it is necessary to define these relations before we can progress with the scrutiny of Madhuchchhandas’ other hymns addressed without exception to the great Vedic deity, King of Heaven, who, according to our hypothesis, symbolises the Power of Mind and especially the divine or self-luminous Mind in the human being.

Re-discovery of River Sarasvati

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veryone agrees that Rigveda was perceived on the banks of River Sarasvati. In one rica, the Rigveda notes:

sarasvati saptathi sindhu maataa (sarasvati as the mother of seven rivers; sindhu means 'natural ocean frontier, river'.)

As Sarasvati connotes the roots of Hindu civilization, Coedes' (French epigraphist's) work on Hinduised states of southeast Asia, show that Hindu migrated eastwards along the Indian Ocean Rim to set up the largest Vishnu Mandiram of the world in Nagara Vatika (Angkor Wat). Hindumahaasagar is the only ocean so named after the Hindu Rashtra. This is an evocation of an extraordinary span of time from Vedic times to the early centuries of the Common Era when Hindu culture reached many shores along the Indian Ocean rim which extends over 63,000 miles. The story of the discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati

and a riverine, maritime civilization of ancestors of the present-day Hindus everywhere has been made possible by a remarkable coalition of scientists of a number of disciplines ranging from archaeology to glaciology. Rishi Gritsamada among Rigveda rishis, calls Sarasvati as mother, river and devi (ambitame, naditame, devitame sarasvati). This shows that Sarasvati had attained the stature of a devi, divinity even in Rigvedic times. Why was she, a river, called a mother? Because, she nurtured a civilization on her banks. A civilization evidenced by over 2,000 archaeological sites out of a total of 2,600 sites of the so-called Indus Valley Civilization, making it appropriate to call it Sarasvati Civilization. Archaeological excavations and a series of scientific discoveries have established beyond doubt that the evolution of Indian civilization was indigenous and that the Sarasvati was once an over-ground reality, flowing from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean.

Importance of the river
he river figures in the Mahabharata, and flows north of the Kurukshetra battlefield. The epic writers however, also noted it‟s drying up and the resultant desertification of the land, recording for posterity that the river was “disappearing into the desert” and was later “lost.” It is truly noteworthy that when in modern times British archaeologists mapped the Indus Valley sites, they found most were located round the dried-up Ghaggar-Hakra (Sarasvati), which is why modern Indian archaeologists feel it should be re-named the Sarasvati civilization. The Indus Valley civilization was so the first site discovered by Sir John 1920s, Mohenjo Daro or “mound happened to be situated in the named because Marshall in the of the dead,” Indus Valley.

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Thereafter, more discoveries were made and eventually as many as 2600 sites were unearthed between Iran in the west, Turkmenia, Bactria and the Pamirs in the north, beyond Delhi into western UP in the east, up to the Godavari in Maharashtra in the south, encompassing over one million square kilometers. The culture goes back to around 7000 BC in Mehrgarh (Pakistan), which shows evidence of a strong agricultural economy and the presence of granaries for storing surplus grain. In its mature phase, this culture spawned the great cities of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Lothal, around 2600 BC. To this day, Mohenjo Daro startles us with the quality of its urban planning, water supply and drainage systems. The more recently discovered Dholavira

created elaborate stone gateways and water harvesting structures, and is deservedly renowned for creating the world‟s first sign-board in the Harappan script. Lothal had a port with a dockyard and granaries. Yet by 1900 BC, the Indus-Sarasvati cities were being abandoned and an eastward shift in population took place. This is reflected in the Sanskrit literature, with increasing importance bestowed upon the Ganga and Yamuna. Saraswat Brahmins preserve a tradition of their southward migration, while Gaud Saraswat Brahmins say they came South via Gaud (Bengal) after the Sarasvati disappeared. There is no evidence of invasion, or even substantial inward migration, but a

population shift following the loss of a major water source. It seems reasonable to conclude that the Rig Veda was composed by people who called themselves „Arya‟ (noble) long before 2000 BC, when the Sarasvati was a mighty river, and that Harappa was one of their cities. One clinching evidence is the finding of the Vedic fire altar in several Harappan buildings (homes) and seals showing yogic meditation postures. The discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati sounds the death-knell of an indological myth called Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory.

How was River Sarasvati re-discovered?
he modern quest for the Sarasvati began in the 1970s when American satellite images showed traces of water channels in northern and western India that had disappeared long ago. Thereafter, Dr. Vakankar together with Moropant Pingle established the invisible river‟s route through satellite imagery and archaeological sites along its route. The Sarasvati project was vetted and cleared by eminent archaeologists and geologists, and an earnest search for the lost river launched in 1982. For instance, in 1995, scientists of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) found that water was available in the Rajasthan desert at depths of merely 50 to 60 metres, as a result of which agriculture was possible even in the extreme summer months. The Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur, mapped the defunct course of a river through satellite and aerial photographs and field studies. In fact, satellite imagery has given the river scientific teeth. It seems to have originated in Kailash Mansarovar and emerged on the plains from the Siwalik Hills at the foothills of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, flowed through the Ghaggar valley in Haryana and the Rajasthan desert, on to Hakra in

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the Cholistan desert (Sindh, Pakistan), before reaching the Rann of Kutch through the Nara Valley and falling off into the Arabian Sea. Since the Ghaggar Valley is eight to twelve kilometers wide at many places, it is obvious the Sarasvati was truly a great river. Earthquakes and floods changed the course of the Ghaggar and its tributaries frequently, and satellite imagery together with ground morphological studies confirm that it too originated in the Siwalik Himalayas before flowing into the Arabian Sea. This was the „lost‟ Sarasvati. Scientific studies suggest it dried up around 2000 BC, which makes it a contemporary of the Indus Valley civilization, and gives the Rig Veda a greater antiquity than previously suspected, as the Sarasvati was a powerful river when the seers composed the Vedic mantras. After Dr. Wakankar‟s demise in 1996, the Vedic Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Pratishthaan, Jodhpur (regd.) continued the project, by roping in the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), whose chairman Dr. Kasturi Rangan and Regional Remote Sensing Services Centre (RRSSC) director Dr. J.R. Sharma

displayed a gratifying interest in the project. The Jodhpur RRSSC conducted three major scientific seminars on the subject and analyzed satellite images of IRS 1-century, thus mapping the entire course from Kailash Mansarovar to Gujarat. Meanwhile, after the Pokharan blasts on 11 May 1998, the Isotope Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) led by Dr. S.L. Rao took water samples from 800 deep wells within a radius of 250 kms. of Pokharan. Their findings, published in Current Science, showed there was no nuclear contamination of the ground-waters. Normally, when a neutron or hydrogen bomb implodes (3 bombs were imploded), huge amounts of tritium (an isotope of hydrogen H3) are released. Yet the tests showed very small traces of tritium, which are normally found in any body of water together with H2O, a tribute to the meticulous care with which Indian scientists conducted the tests. BARC also made some amazing discoveries. First, the waters tested were potable; second, they derived from Himalayan glaciers; third, they were between 8000 to 14000 years old; and finally, the waters were being slowly recharged through aquifers from somewhere in the north despite the fact that records showed only very scanty rainfall in the semi-arid region of Marusthali. BARC thus confirmed ISRO findings about the river, and this was an unintended fallout of Pokharan! Archaeologists from the Shimla Circle did excellent work in 2003-2004, reporting three sites and a

Buddha vihara in Adi Badri alone. Dr. Vijay Mohan Kumar Puri, an expert on Himalayan glaciers, reported finds of metamorphic rocks on the terraces created by Himalayan glacial River Sarasvati and proved that Adi Badri was the site where the river entered the plains from its Himalayan home. Adi Badri is just 20 kms. from Jagadhri (Yamuna Nagar) and 70 kms. from Dehradun (Paonta Saheb) or Kurukshetra. Further, Dr. Puri proved the origins of Sarasvati from Rupin-Supin glaciers north of Paonta Saheb, where a Yamuna tear occurred on account of plate tectonics and caused a lateral shift of the Shiwalik ranges and consequent eastward migration of the Yamuna, a tributary of Sarasvati, taking the Sarasvati waters to join the Ganga at Prayag and create the Triveni Sangam. These excavations proved that Adi Badri was the spot where a Himalayan glacial river entered the plains. The Sarasvati originated from the Svargarohini glacier mountain. Already the revived river has reached upto Danan in Barmer, Rajasthan, and will reach the Rann of Kutch in a few years. Plans are already afoot to take it upto the Sabarmati with Sharada (Mahakali-Karnali) river glacial runoffs. Given the magnitude of the findings, scholars like Dr. Karan Singh and Dr. Kasturi Rangan suggested the Ministry for Culture examine the Vedic texts and the work done by ISRO to prove the course of the River Sarasvati. There is a case for expediting the project, through excavations to reveal the evolution of civilization on the banks of the river.

Re-birth of River Sarasvati and National Water Grid

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rojects related to the re-discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati have been transformed as projects to revive the great river to fulfill the water

supply needs of 20 crore people in Northwest India and to make the Thar desert fertile again. These projects have also led to the demand for a National

Water Grid to make every river of India a perennial river and provide water for everyone, for generations to come. Dr. D.K. Chaddha, Chairman, Central Groundwater Authority, Union Ministry of Water Resources, validated BARC findings of potable water 30 to 60 m below the ground, through ground morphological studies. A Rs. five crore Sarasvati Project was sanctioned to drill test tube wells along the identified course. ISRO located the test sites on the basis of a palaeochannel (old course) shown in satellite images; the existence of a tectonic fault line; and the proximity to an archaeological site. Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, director, Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, author of a seven-volume encyclopaedic study of the river, pointed out that there are over 2,000 archaeological sites along the banks of the Sarasvati as compared to only 600 on the banks of Sindhu. The sites identified by ISRO were drilled in 25 places, with special drilling equipment from Japan, in order to precisely position the drills based on latitude and longitude data provided on toposheets. Barring one drilling due to faulty positioning of the drill, all explorations were successful and yielded sustainable tube wells at a depth of merely 30 to 60 m, with potable water. Dr. K.R. Srinivasan, Director, Central Groundwater Board, explained in a detailed monograph that it was possible to create one million sustainable tube wells in central Rajasthan alone of the Sarasvati River basin, a project taken up by the state Government. Sustainability of these tube wells necessitates a recharge through the surface waters of the Rajasthan Canal, which is being extended into Gujarat. In turn, Gujarat will share some Narmada waters with Rajasthan. It is an irony that while Punjab and Haryana dispute over the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal (SYL), Punjab has been forced to release waters into the Sarasvati Mahaanadi Roopaa Nahar in order to save the dams which are located on fault-lines

crisscrossing the entire Sutlej-Beas river basin, on account of ongoing plate tectonic activity. Thus, waters are flowing in the 40 feet wide, 12 feet deep Sarasvati nahar, causing the sand dunes to disappear as the banks of the reborn Sarasvati are greened by forests! Nearly 10 lakh acres of land has already been brought under cultivation. At present, State Governments are showing more interest in the Sarasvati than the Centre. In October 2004, a Sarasvati Sarovar in Haryana was dedicated to the nation, and on Karthik Purnima the following month itself, more than two lakh pilgrims took a sacred dip in the waters of the 83 m. long, 83 m. wide and 11 ft. deep Sarovar. The waters were harvested through eleven check dams, an example of water-shed management and also ecological conservation of forests, apart from the development of a Vedic herbal garden. As of now, it will take about two years for the waters of the Sarasvati to reach Gujarat. The interlinking of rivers as part of the National Water Grid is also presently left mainly to the initiative of State Governments, as witnessed in the moves to start Kali-Parbati SindhChambal and Ken-Betwa link projects. A revivified Sarasvati has the power to magically transform the face of north-western India. The river will flow up to Sabarmati (Ahmedabad) river once the Mahakali-Karnali-Sharada waters are transported across an aqueduct over the Yamuna and linked with the Sarasvati. President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has expressed interest in the potential this heritage river has to revive the regions through which it will flow. After visiting the Sarasvati Darshan Exhibition at Jagadhri, Yamuna Nagar, on 20 April 2003, Dr. Abdul Kalam invited experts associated with the project to make a presentation regarding the archaeological artifacts recovered from various digs as well as the findings through satellite images. A delegation led by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman explained how scientific investigations

proved the historical existence of the river. The Sarasvati springs from Himalayan glaciers in Har-ki-dun in Uttaranchal and emerges at Adi Badri, a sacred spot 30 km. north of Jagadhri, through the foothills of the Shiwalik ranges. About 5000 years ago, the river traversed a distance of over 1600 km., through Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, to reach Sindhu Sagara at Prabhas Patan (Somnath), as asserted in the Mahabharata and other ancient texts. Then, around 3500 years ago, tectonic changes caused river-migration and the desiccation of the river, which has been convincingly established through satellite image analyses, geomorphological studies, BARC findings based on tritium analysis of ground-water resources in the Sarasvati River Basin in the Rajasthan Marusthali desert, which will support construction of over one million tube-wells for potable water after recharging the groundwater aquifers using surface channels of the reborn river.

This is a $120 billion project that is part of the proposed National Water Grid. Thus, what began as a historical quest for a supposedly mythical river has materialized as a reality with the potential to transform the lives of peoples along its route, once again, as in the past. The Sarasvati can make the water-starved north-west fertile and transform the desert into verdant pastures, as the Rajasthan Canal draws waters of the Sutlej and Beas from the Harike Reservoir and takes them up to Danan in Barmer district. The foundation tower at Mohangarh (55 km. west of Jaisalmer) calls the 40 feet wide channel Sarasvati Mahanadi Roopa Nahar, because the Sutlej was originally its tributary. The National Water Development Agency plans to extend this canal up to the Rann of Kutch and the Sabarmati by adding Sharada waters through an aqueduct across the Yamuna, thereby creating a National Water Grid. Thus, waters from Mansarovar can reach Sabarmati by constructing a 200 km. channel.

Sarasvati old and new: work to be done
aving inspired and facilitated the rich cultural and material civilization of the Vedic „Arya‟ people, the Sarasvati was immortalized by her grateful offspring as Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Given the tangible reality of the river, it is worth looking at the archaeological finds made in the Sarasvati Basin and contiguous areas, and see the connection between the ancient settlements and the river‟s course. During 2002-2003, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) decided to excavate major sites from over 2,000 sites identified after establishing the entire 1600 km. course of the river from the Himalayas to Gujarat. Some major

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sites thus identified included Adi Badri, Bilaspur, Sadhaoura, Mustafabad, Bhagawanpura, Thanesar, Raja-Karn-ka Qila, Mirzapur, Pehowa, Kalayat, Kaithal, besides ongoing excavations at Banawali, Rakhigarhi and Dholavira. These excavations are now establishing the cultural chronology of India‟s ancient past. Investigations by the Geological Society of India show that nearly 4000 years ago plate tectonics caused migration of Sarasvati‟s tributary rivers, the Sutlej and Yamuna. As a result, the Yamuna captured the waters of Sarasvati at Paonta Saheb in Himachal Pradesh (this is the origin of the story of Balarama changing the course of the Yamuna by pulling the river towards him with his plough!). Then, taking a

tear in the Shiwalik ranges, the Yamuna migrateeastwards to join Ganga at Prayag, forming the eternal Sangam of three rivers, one of which is „invisible.‟ As for the Sutlej (Sutudri of the Rig Veda), it took a 90-degree turn at Ropar, 50 km. north of Chandigarh, and migrated westwards to join the Sindhu. In our contemporary era, there is a real chance that the primordial river may be reborn and flow 1600 km. from Kailash Mansarovar to Somnath (Prabhas Patan). In May 2004, the ASI excavated an ancient terrace of the Sarasvati and found high-grade metamorphic rocks belonging to the palaeo-glaciated regions of the Central Himalayas. A terrace is a level shelf of land interrupting a declivity, i.e., steep slopes above and below. At Nausharo (Pakistan) two terracotta figurines of female figures were unearthed. The neck ornaments were painted golden-yellow, the hair black, while the parting of their hair was pigmented red (to simulate the sindoor of married women), and these powerfully indicate the sheer continuity of Indic culture from its origins 7000 years ago. At a conference of the World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES), 2003, Prof. B.B. Lal revealed that a journalist was tutored to ask him if the figurines could have been forged by interested parties seeking to prove the convergence of the Vedic and Sarasvati civilizations! Prof. Lal replied that the images were found by French archaeologist Jarrige, in Pakistan, so the question should be directed to them! S'ivalinga were also found at Harappa and terracotta models in Kalibangan. So was s'ankha wide bangle found at Nausharo dated to 6500 BCE. The s'ankha industry is a continuing industry for the last 8500 years. At Tiruchendur (Gulf of Mannar), the total turnover of West Bengal Handicraftd Dev. Corpn. is Rs. 50 crores acquiring s'ankha to make s'ankha bangles which are a must in every bengali marriage.

No wonder s'ankha adorns the hand of Narayana and is used as Panchajanya by Srikrishna. Today, Adi Badri in Haryana, where Sarasvati emerges on the plains, has been converted into a pilgrimage-heritage site with a 83 m x 83 m sarovar with bathing ghats, set in a scenic valley, under the benevolent gaze of the Adi Narayan, Kedarnath and Sakti Mantra Devi temples. Yet it is also a heritage site from the point of view of water-harvesting and watershed management. The Sarasvati waters, like those of the Ganga, are clear and pure and without any contaminants. President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam visited an exhibition near Jagadhri in April 2004, where satellite images, revenue records and other evidence was showcased to establish the reality of the river. Recording his impressions in the Visitors‟ Book, he wrote: “Delighted to see the hard work in realizing the reality of epic information.” Dr. R.S. Bisht, former director, ASI, who excavated Dholavira and supervised the search for the Sarasvati in 2001, emphasized that the Sarasvati was a reality: “The overwhelming archeological evidence of ancient settlements along the course of what was once the Sarasvati River proves that our earliest civilizations were not confined to the Indus river alone. Those who wrote the Vedas on the banks of the Sarasvati were the same as the Indus Valley people.” Work has begun to decipher the so-called Indus Script. Kalyanaraman has noted that the epigraphs are hieroglyphs in mleccha language (the same language used by Yudhishthira and Vidura in Mahabharata discussing about the shellac palace – laakshaa griha – to trap the pandavas). The hieroglyphs refer to the repertoire of metal smiths and smithy – furnaces, minerals, metals and alloys and continue to be used on Sohgaura copper plate and on punch marked coins all over Bharata.

The Divine Mother
Excerpt from The Dance Of The Cosmic Gods by Sri Chinmoy.

Mahasaraswati
Thy Heart of music-Fire consumes our drowse, Nowhere our journey ends. Thy patience unknown all souls must learn from Thee To march through immortal lands. We hurt Thy Heart's arabesque supreme of bliss. Ever unplumbed is thy Truth. Our sheaths' afflicted roots imbibe thy Grace; In Thee the tapestry of Truth. All worlds with ignorance blind immerse in Thy Light, O Queen of perfection-seal Thy birth of Lore supreme within us bursts And makes us eternal, free.

he fourth aspect of the Mother divine is Saraswati or Mahasaraswati. Maheshwari is the Mother of immensity, Mahakali is the Mother of aspiration and Mahalakshmi is the Mother of sweetness, beauty, fragrance and harmony. But Mahasaraswati is the Mother of perfection, knowledge and wisdom. When we walk along the mental paths when we start our journey in the mental world, the first thing we do is invoke this Mother, Mahasaraswati. With her blessing we commence our mental journey and in all our mental and intellectual life we carry her sweetest, highest blessing. Perfect perfection she demands from her devotees. This Mother is a cosmic musician, a supernal musician. She plays on the vina and, while playing, she offers transcendental Delight to Brahma. Brahma is the Creator and Saraswati is his consort.

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Each god and goddess has a secret, special name. This secret name we call the seed-sound. Each cosmic god and goddess has adopted one special sound in order to fulfil God's cosmic Play. God's soundless sound we know is anahata. The outer life is an open book; but the inner life is a secret life, a life of sweetness and divine enjoyment. We know that Lord Krishna has hundreds of names in the outer world: Krishna, Gopal and others. But in the inner world, for his devotees, he has a spiritual name or seed-sound. That seed-sound is Kling. If we can say Kling most powerfully and soulfully, from this seed-sound Krishna's divine Joy, divine Love and divine Beauty can be seen and felt inside our heart. The seed-sound of Kali is Kring. You can repeat "Kali, Kali, Kali," but sincere seekers who want to make the fastest progress should repeat Kring very

powerfully. Kali you can say softly, but if you say Kring softly, it will have no effect. You have to say Kring with tremendous power so that you feel that your whole being is vibrating with the sound that you are producing from your heart. At that time, Mother Kali will immediately stand in front of you with her boundless power, boundless compassion and fastest speed to help you reach the Goal. Of course, please try to bring to the fore your divine dynamic aspect as you chant. While you are using this mantra please do not have undivine qualities inside you. If the utterance is perfect, immediately the result will be most powerful, most soulful. Then, if you want to invoke the seed-sound of Maheshwari you can say Hring most soulfully. The seed-sound of Lakshmi is Sring. If you want divine beauty, cosmic beauty, inner beauty and harmony, then you have to invoke Mahalakshmi. If you want perfection, patience, inner wisdom and inner light for everything you do, for that you need to invoke Saraswati. Her seed-sound is Ohing. These four goddesses represent the four major aspects of the Mother Divine, her four transcendental forms. These four aspects are for all divine seekers, and if a seeker wants to, he can invoke all four aspects at the same time. But individual seekers usually approach just one particular aspect of the Divine Mother.

You can say that each individual has his own way of approaching the Goal or a certain connection with one of these aspects of God. If we worship the particular aspect that is meant for us, then we will be very successful in our life. But if we need perfection and we pray to the wrong goddess, then it will only take more time for us to achieve what we need. It is true that we can reach God through our aspiration and get perfection, power, knowledge and everything. But our capacity is very limited, and often we cannot or do not dare to get everything. If we feel that something will suit our nature and satisfy our soul or feed our inner hunger for the time being, then we should pray to a particular aspect of God. If we want immensity, then we have to pray to Maheshwari. If we want to go to the Highest with utmost speed, then we have to pray to Mahakali. If we want to bring beauty and harmony into our life, then we have to pray to Mahalakshmi. If we want perfection in minute detail in everything, then we have to pray to Mahasaraswati. But whichever path a seeker prefers, at the end of his journey, he will ultimately see that he has fulfilled all these four aspects of the Mother Divine.

Vivekananda - Divine Mother
"The calm sea is the Absolute; the same sea in waves is Divine Mother. She is time, space, and causation. God is Mother and has two natures, the conditioned and the unconditioned. As the former, She is God, nature, and soul (humanity). As the latter, She is unknown and unknowable. Out of the Unconditioned came the trinity god, nature, and soul, the triangle of existence... A bit of Mother, a drop, was Krishna, another was Buddha, another was Christ. The worship of even one spark of Mother in our earthly mother leads to greatness. Worship Her if you want love and wisdom." -- Swami Vivekananda, Inspired Talks, July, 1895. Manifestations of Her glory show in power of immeasurable might, Throughout the universe, powers that swell the sea of birth and death, Forces that change and break up the Unchanged and changed again. Lo! Where shall we seek refuge, save in Her? -- Swami Vivekananda, from "Hymn to the Divine Mother"

Sri Aurobindo on the Divine Mother

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n 1927 Sri Aurobindo wrote an essay about the Divine Mother; this can be found in Volume 25 of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, pp.1-41. Here is an excerpt from that work (p.24-25):

The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of the Ignorance, are herself in veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance. But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda. In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of the Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.

My Cosmic Mother’s Face
Paramahansa Yogananda Fairy dream faces, like fresh flowers, May bloom in the vase of my gaze for my soul to see; But the Face that vanished behind space Cannot be replaced by any of these. There are faces of transcendent beauty, Faces of exquisite charm, faces tender and true; There are faces of sweetness and wisdom, But there’s none like the face of You. There are faces tainted by fires of lust, Faces the wise cannot fathom, faces a child cannot trust. There are faces of beauty, steeped in glory through and through; But O Cosmic Mother, they are dim beside You. There’s the violet, the lily, the lotus, the rose; Fragrant flower-faces blooming under the snows;

There are faces of stars, and the moon and the sun. But for me there’s One Face evermore, only one. After my search through aeons unnumbered, The never-ceasing streamlets of my dreams Have melted in Thy silver ocean-face, Where smiling love forever softly gleams. Countless silver rays of living beauties Have melted into one transcendent grace – The beauties of a million, million ages – To make, at last, Thine omnipresent face. Without Thy face, there is no light for me In all the unplumbed depths of land or seal Thy beauty-rays are rainbowed over all Eternity, while planets rise and fall. On the lips of laughter, on roses in the dawn, It is Thy smile forever glowing thereAn immortelle of glory, heavenly sweet With fragrance of unceasing, selfless prayer. On the calm lake of my breathless bosom, Where ripplets of desire no more Play little games like children, The glimmer of Thy face is spreading o’er. In the cleansed mirror of my memory, In the deep crystal pool that is my heart, I see Thine omnipresence trapped for meOf my own self forevermore a part. As I, awakening, pass through gates of light, Thy wisdom-face is all my soul can see. Faded, the pale pleasure-stars of dream skies, In the omniscient light enfolding Thee. Auroras, lights squeezed from shimmering hives of atoms, Flashing feelings, burning vitalities, worlds of flame, Dumb stones and speaking minds – all melted together To form Thy one face and to spell Thy one name. My vision, withdrawn from viewing pulsating centuries, Throws its countless eyes within to search eternity; And all I seek, O Cosmic Mother, all I crave forever, Is the light of one face – the face of Thee!

Mirabai
Mirabai (also known as Meera) was born in 1504 A.D. at Chaukari village in Merta District of Rajasthan. As a young child Mirabai would spend her time playing with a small image of Krishna. Nobody understood her infatuation. But to Mirabai this doll was a living embodiment of Krishna. From an early age Mirabai dedicated her life to the worship and praise of her beloved Krishna. However, depsite her life of intense devotion, she faced great difficulties from her family who didn't respect the amount of time she would spend in devotion to Krishna. Her father, Ratan Singh, was the second son of Rao Dudaji, a descendent of Rao Jodhaji Rather, the founder of Jodhpur. Meera's mother died when she was ten year old. She then came to live with her grandfather who died in 1515. Her father's elder brother Vikram Deo who succeeded to the throne arranged her marriage with Prince Bho] Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chitter. This marriage raised Meera to a very high social status as the ruler of Chitter was considered to be the leader of the Hindu princes. But luck didn't favor Princess Meera. By 1527 A.D. she had lost her father, her husband and her fatherin-law as well. Meera, who dedicated her life to Lord Krishna, accepted these bereavements as a matter of course At the time Meera was born there was widespread political and social turmoil in India. Bloody conflicts for petty selfish gains, disrespect for human life and hatred for others was a norm. Meera was bewildered and at a loss to understand all that was going on all around. She was in search of peace which she found in Chaitanya's Vaishnav Panth and dedicated her life to the love of Lord Krishna. Mirabai began to devote most of her time in prayer and worship and did not pay any attention to the etiquettes of a royal household. This led her to be subjected to great hardships and punishments. These physical hardships became intolerable and after praying to Krishna, she left the palace for good and went to the pilgrimage of Mathura, Vrindavana and finally to Dwarika. Mirabai was a born poetess. She expressed in a beautiful style her intense and deep love of God. She composed hundreds of poems in a simple, unpretentious style. They are full of vivacity and feelings. No poetess in the history of India enjoys a greater respect than Meera. Her poems have gained a unique popularity and are sung by the rich and the poor alike, even to this day. She spent her life dancing In trance and singing the attributes of her Beloved Krishna. Mirabai left this mortal world in 1550 to be united with her beloved Krishna. She was a great Hindu woman saint and will always be remembered. "Mirabai was a devotee of the high, higher, highest order. Among the saints of India, she is absolutely unparalleled. She composed many, many bhajans, which are prayerful songs to God. Each song Mirabai wrote expressed her inspiration, aspiration and sleepless self-giving." - Sri Chinmoy

Sutras on Beauty
by Tagore

Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.

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Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.

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Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the universal being; truth the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.

Hafiz
Life of Hafiz
Hafiz is one of the world’s most beloved poets, he is affectionately known as the “Tongue of the Invisible” and the great Poet-Seer Ralph Waldo Emerson himself remarked that “Hafiz is a poet for poets.” The poems of Hafiz have a beautiful and musical quality, which also embody a great spontaneity. In a myriad of poetic ways, Hafiz expresses the spiritual experiences of a mystic, in love with his Beloved. Yet he achieves this in a playful and enchanting way, like other Sufi poets, Hafiz weaves themes of ambiguity into his poems. Often he will use secular images such as wine, drunkenness and human love, however these are just symbols for the divine experiences which Hafiz is alluding to. Hafiz was born in the beautiful city of Shiraz in Persia (now Iran ). As a young child he was called Shams –ud-din Mohammed. Hafiz proved to have a prodigious talent for literature. At an early age he successfully memorized the Qu’ran, and this is why he took the pen name of “Hafiz” – Hafiz means one who has memorized the entire Qu’ran by heart. As well as studying the Qu’ran Hafiz was also introduced to the other great Sufi poets such as Rumi, Farid –uddin Attar and Saadi, these Sufi poets would later have some influence on the poetry of Hafiz. A famous story about Hafiz tells how he fell in love with a beautiful woman. He saw her in his local area whilst delivering bread. He became so enchanted with love for this woman that he could think of nothing else. Hafiz started to write love poems dedicated to his sweetheart, and these became famous throughout Shiraz. Unable to live without his beloved, Hafiz resolved to undertake a 40 night vigil at the tomb of Baba Kuhi'. Babu Kuhi was a famous poet who promised to fulfil 3 desires of anyone who could stay awake for 40 nights at his tomb. On the first night Hafiz had a vision of the Angel Gabriel. He was so enchanted with her beauty, he resolved to seek only God who would by nature be infinitely more beautiful than any human form. Gabriel then revealed to him where he could find a spiritual master who would be able to lead him towards God. This master was Muhammed Attar, who lived a humble life in Shiraz. From this point Hafiz became a prodigious poet producing hundreds of poems which expressed a seekers longing for union with the divine. His poetry made Hafiz famous and he gained the respect and love of many local inhabitants. However his ecstatic and unorthodox poetry gained him the displeasure of the ruling Muslim orthodoxy. Because of this Hafiz twice had to flea the city of Shiraz, on many occasions he was only saved by his sharp wit. At the age of about 60, his Master Attar, finally granted Hafiz his life long desire - union with God. From this point Hafiz’s poems reflected a new consciousness, no longer was there any sense of separateness from God. Hafiz wrote about 5,000 poems, although unfortunately these were never written down and therefore there is some scholarly dispute about the authenticity of some poems. In the West Hafiz has only become famous in the last century. One of the most important early translations was by Gertrude Bell in 1897. Recently there have been new translations and versions by authors such as Daniel Ladinsky. These have helped Hafiz become a well renowned poet in the West. The poetry of Hafiz has a universal attraction. It is said Hafiz once stated, “No one could ever paint a too wonderful picture of my heart or God.” - Hafiz

Paramahansa Yogananda
aramahansa Yogananda is one of the greatest spiritual figures of the twentieth century, and also was one of the first Spiritual Masters to bring the Yoga of the East to the aspiring West. Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the greatest spiritual figures of the twentieth century, and also was one of the first Spiritual Masters to bring the Yoga of the East to the aspiring West. Yogananda was born in Gorakhpur, Bengal in 1893. Originally his name was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He was given the name of Yogananda after his initiation as an Indian Swami (monk). Yogananda means "Bliss" through yoga (divine union with God) The title "Paramahansa" was given by his Guru Sri Yukteswar . Paramahansa means literally "Supreme Swan". It is given to Swami's who have established constant communion with God. From an early age Yogananda was fascinated with meeting spiritual Saints and seekers. His autobiography recounts many riveting occasions of meetings with different Saints, (including Master Mahasaya, who was the author of "The Gospel of Ramakrishna." ) Even as a young child Yogananda spent many hours in meditation, aspiring to attain God - Consciousness. At the age of 17 Yogananda became a disciple of Swami Sri Yukteswar who expertly guided him along the spiritual path. Sri Yukteswar was a direct disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya Lahiri Mahasaya is credited with reintroducing the ancient art of Kriya yoga into modern society. After several years of strict spiritual training in his Masters hermitage, Yogananda was inspired to travel to America. With the blessings of his Guru Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda travelled to the

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West, in order to share the spiritual traditions of India and his own inner realisations. In America, Yogananda founded the Self Realization Fellowship, which served as the organisation committed to his teachings. Yogananda also gave many lectures on spiritual themes throughout the country. Yogananda taught that although outer customs of religion may be different, the underlying principles are the same. He also taught that the essence of any religion and spiritual practice was the Love of God and to realize the true nature of your own divine Self. Yogananda also did much to show the underlying unity between Hinduism and Christianity, in doing so he helped bridge the gap between East and West. Less well know perhaps is the poetry of Yogananda. However books such as “Songs of the Soul” and “Whispers from Eternity” reflect the poetic vision of this great Spiritual Master. During his life Yogananda was able to meet with many prominent spiritual, cultural and political figures. For example, during his period of running a school in India, he was able to meet the Bengali Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. In the mid 1930s he was able to meet Mahatma Gandhi at his ashram in Wardha. His autobiography also tells of fascinating meetings with spiritual illuminaries such as Sri Anandaymoyi Ma and Sri Ramana Maharshi. Yogananda was also the first Indian Swami to meet with a US President (C.Coolidge in 1927) On March 7, 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda entered mahasamadhi, leaving behind a profound spiritual legacy. His writings and life continue to give countless inspiration to many Truth - Seekers and God – Lovers.

The Three Samadhis
The following excerpt was taken from The Summits of God-Life: Samadhi and Siddhi by Sri Chinmoy. here are various minor samadhis, and among the minor samadhis, savikalpa samadhi happens to be the highest. Right after savikalpa comes nirvikalpa samadhi, but there is a great yawning gulf between savikalpa and nirvikalpa. However, even though savikalpa samadhi is one step below nirvikalpa, we do not use the term ‘lower’. We do not call savikalpa samadhi lower than nirvikalpa; they are two radically different samadhis. Again, there is something even beyond nirvikalpa samadhi called sahaja samadhi. But savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi are the most well-known samadhis. In savikalpa samadhi, for a short period of time you lose all human consciousness. In this state the conception of time and space is altogether different. With the human time you cannot judge; with the human way of looking at space you cannot judge. In that samadhi, for an hour or two hours you are completely in another world. You see there that almost everything is done. Here in this world there are many desires still unfulfilled in yourself and in others. Millions of desires are not fulfilled, and millions of things remain to be done. But when you are in savikalpa samadhi, you see that practically everything is done; you have nothing to do. You are only an instrument. If you are used, well and good; otherwise, things are all done. But from savikalpa samadhi everybody has to return to ordinary consciousness. Even in savikalpa samadhi there are grades. Just as there are brilliant students and poor students in the same class in school, so also in savikalpa samadhi some aspirants reach the highest grade,

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while less aspiring seekers reach a lower or a middle rung of the ladder, where everything is not so clear and vivid as on the highest level. In savikalpa samadhi there are thoughts and ideas coming from various angles, but they do not affect you. While you are meditating, you remain unperturbed, and your inner being functions in a dynamic and confident manner. But when you are a little higher, when you have become one with the soul in nirvikalpa samadhi, there will be no ideas or thoughts at all. Here nature’s dance stops. There is no nature, only infinite Peace and Bliss. The Knower and the Known have become one. Everything is tranquil. Here you enjoy a supremely divine, allpervading, self-amorous ecstasy. You become the object of enjoyment, you become the enjoyer and you become the enjoyment itself. Nirvikalpa samadhi is the highest samadhi that most spiritual Masters attain, and then only if they have achieved realisation. It lasts for a few hours or a few days, and then one has to come down. When one comes down, what happens? Very often one forgets his own name. One forgets his own age. He cannot speak properly. But through continued practice, gradually one becomes able to come down from nirvikalpa samadhi and immediately function in a normal way. There were spiritual Masters in the hoary past who attained nirvikalpa samadhi and did not come down. They maintained their highest samadhi and found it impossible to enter into the world atmosphere and work like human beings. One cannot operate in the world while in

that state of impossible.

consciousness;

it

is

simply

Generally, when one enters into nirvikalpa samadhi, one does not want to come back into the world again. If one stays there for eighteen or twenty-one days, there is every possibility that he will leave the body. But there is a divine dispensation. If the Supreme wants a particular soul to work here on earth, even after twentyone or twenty-two days, the Supreme takes the individual into another channel of dynamic, divine consciousness and has him return to the earth-plane to act. Sahaja samadhi is by far the highest type of samadhi. In this samadhi one is in the highest consciousness, but at the same time he is working in the gross physical world. One maintains the experience of nirvikalpa samadhi while simultaneously entering into earthly activities. One has become the soul and at the same time is utilising the body as a perfect instrument. In sahaja samadhi one walks like an

ordinary human being. One eats. One does the usual things that an ordinary human being does. But in the inmost recesses of his heart he is surcharged with divine illumination. When one has this sahaja samadhi, one becomes the Lord and Master of Reality. One can go at his sweet will to the Highest and then come down to the earth consciousness to manifest. After achieving the highest type of realisation, on very rare occasions one is blessed with sahaja samadhi. Very few spiritual Masters have achieved this state—only one or two. For sahaja samadhi, the Supreme’s infinite Grace is required, or one has to be very powerful and lucky. Sahaja samadhi comes only when one has established inseparable oneness with the Supreme, or when one wants to show, on rare occasions, that he is the Supreme. He who has achieved sahaja samadhi and remains in this samadhi, consciously and perfectly manifests God at every second, and is thus the greatest pride of the transcendental Supreme.

Spiritual Masters are those rare beings who have realised there oneness with the Supreme, - the highest transcendental Consciousness. Spiritual Masters have not only realised their true self but also work selflessly to inspire humanity to seek the divinity within themselves. A real spiritual Master is able to expedite the progress of his/her disciples through their close connection to God and the grace of God. Spiritual Masters have taught the timeless spiritual truths in a variety of ways, Their teachings reflecting the environment and period in which they live. Great Spiritual Masters like Krishna, Buddha and Jesus Christ have led to the formation of religions dedicated to following the teachings of these avatars. Each spiritual master has offered their own unique path towards the highest Truth. However although the outer forms may differ the ultimate realisation is the same.

Sri Chinmoy

The Role of the Guru
By: Sri Chinmoy

A real spiritual Master is one who has attained God-realisation. Everyone is one with God, but the real spiritual Master has established his conscious oneness with God. At any moment he can enter into a higher consciousness and bring down messages from God to those disciples who have faith in him. The Master, if he is genuine, represents God on earth for those seekers who have real aspiration and faith in him. He has been authorised or commissioned by God to help them. The real Teacher, the real Guru, is God Himself. But on earth He will often operate in and through a spiritual Master. The Master energises the seeker with inspiration and, in the course of time, through the infinite Grace of the Supreme, offers the seeker illumination.

1. You make a mistake when you take the Master as only a person, as the human body. You have to feel that the real Master is inside the physical. Why have my disciples come to me? It is because their real Master, the Supreme, is inside me. The Supreme is also inside them, but in them He is still sleeping whereas in me He is fully awake. The Master and the disciple are like two friends who have the same capacity, but one is sleeping and needs help in getting up before he can manifest his capacity. The Guru is somebody who will come and touch his brother's feet and caress his head and say, "Please get up. It is time for us to work for our Father." 2. When a Master accepts someone as a disciple, he accepts that person as part of himself. If the discipleis imperfect, then the Master also remains imperfect. In the disciple's perfection lies the Master's perfection. I always say that I have no individuality, no personality. It is my disciples' achievements that will take me either to Heaven or to hell. I have the capacity to remain all the time in Heaven, but they can easily drag me to hell at every moment because I have accepted them as my own. 3. A real spiritual Master tries to bring to the fore the inner divinity of the disciple from deep within the disciple's heart. He knocks at the disciple's heart-door and awakens the divine child in him, which we call the soul. He tells the soul, "You will look after the other members of the family—the physical, the mind and the vital—and take care of them. They are making mistakes constantly. Now give them new life, new meaning, new purpose." 4. It is the spiritual Master's job to make his disciples feel that without love, without truth and light, life is meaningless and fruitless. The most important thing a spiritual Master does for his spiritual children is to make them consciously aware of something vast and infinite within themselves, which is nothing other than God Himself.

5. The highest transcendental Truth is within our hearts, but unfortunately we have not yet discovered it. So I ask my disciples to go deep within and meditate on the heart, which houses the soul. Eventually they learn how to contact the soul and start listening to its dictates. At that time they have begun to make real progress toward discovering their highest and deepest Self. 6. If one is already developed, that is to say, if one has been practising the spiritual life in previous incarnations and is in a position to listen to the dictates of his own inner being, it is not absolutely necessary for him to have a spiritual Master. In that case he has only to go deep within and practise the spiritual life most sincerely. Since he doesn't want a Master's help, he has to depend entirely on himself and on the boundless Grace of God. But we have to know that the spiritual path is very arduous; only on rare occasions have people realised God without the help of a spiritual Master. Most spiritual Masters themselves took help from someone for a day or a month or a year or ten years before they realised God. 7. As we need teachers for our outer knowledge—to illumine our outer being—so also we need a spiritual Master to help and guide us in our inner life, especially in the beginning. Otherwise, our progress will be very slow and uncertain, and we may become terribly confused. We will get high, elevating experiences, but we will not give them adequate significance. Doubt may eclipse our mind and we will say, "I am just an ordinary person, so how can I have this kind of experience? Perhaps I am deluding myself." Or we will tell our friends, and they will say, "It is all mental hallucination. Forget about the spiritual life." But if there is someone who knows what the Reality is, he will say, "Don't act like a fool. The experiences which you have had are absolutely real." The Master will encourage and inspire the seeker and give him the proper explanations of his experiences. Again, if the seeker is doing something wrong in his meditation, the Master will be in a position to correct him.

Enlightenment cannot be anything else other than entertainment ... universal entertainment, a laughter that knows no bounds, no limits. You laugh, and the trees laugh, and the cuckoos laugh, and the clouds laugh, and the stars laugh, and the laughter goes on spreading ….when the mind is gone you are just like a small child. Laughter will arise without any effort on your part. At least I am a break from the whole past, and in the future I want my people to be laughing buddhas. Serious ones we have seen enough of, they have not been able to transform humanity. Let us try another direction – of nonseriousness. Osho –– Zen Master Dogen

REFLECTIONS OF LIFE
Photography by Swami Anand Neelambar   

 

 

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