lunes, 31 de mayo de 2010

Planet ISKCON - 37 new articles


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"Planet ISKCON" - 37 new articles

  1. Japa Group: Krishna Sees Me At My Station
  2. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Winter Cooking Retreat With Kurma
  3. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: No Sunday Feast Recording This Week :(
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Aniruddha Prabhu
  5. Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Foolish rascals think that life can exist without the soul
  6. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Vyasa-puja pictures
  7. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  8. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  9. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  10. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  11. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  12. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  13. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  14. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  15. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  16. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  17. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  18. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  19. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. New Vrndavan, USA: Seasonal Kitchen Assistant Wanted (non-cooking)
  22. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: “Today” by Billy Collins
  23. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '452' from The Yellow Submarine
  24. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Little Drops of Nectar: In NYC' from The Yellow Submarine
  25. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'His Passing Away' from The Yellow Submarine
  26. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Lost Cargo' from The Yellow Submarine
  27. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Prabhavishnu Swami
  28. Lord Jagannatha's 16th Century History
  29. Japa Group: Deeply Impressed In My Mind
  30. Gouranga TV: Nitaj-Gauranga Festival 8/9
  31. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Govinda Maharaja leads a memorable kirtan on Saturday night
  32. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Reading from chapter 27 of Nava-vraja Mahima
  33. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Kesava Bharati Maharaja speaks on the ten offenses at Saturday’s initiation ceremony
  34. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Festival darsana and initiation names
  35. Sri Nandanandana dasa: Visiting the Grave of Jesus in Srinagar, Kashmir
  36. Siksa outside Iskcon
  37. Sri Nandanandana dasa: Yoga and Meditation: Their Origins and Real Purpose, by Stephen Knapp
  38. More Recent Articles
  39. Search Planet ISKCON

Japa Group: Krishna Sees Me At My Station

It remains the most introverted and prayerful time of the day even though it is not suddha-nama. Krishna sees me at my station without fail always chanting early, always chanting steadily.

From Bhajan Kutir #452
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Winter Cooking Retreat With Kurma

Would you like to spend a  relaxed, fun and informative weekend at Hare Krishna Valley? Do you want to increase your cooking repertoire and learn to prepare delicious vegetarian meals?

Well this winter Kurma Prabhu will host a Bhakti Yoga Cooking Retreat at Hare Krishna Valley! The retreat will run from the evening of Friday August 13th. till the afternoon of Sunday August 15th.

Kurma dasa is one of the world's leading proponents of pure and natural vegetarian cuisine. See for yourself at his website. Tuition is all hands-on!

Hare Krishna Valley is an ideal location to hold weekend cooking classes. The surrounding State Forest creates a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere.

Kurma will share generous amounts of shopping and gardening hints, as well as nutritional and historical information, elaborate printed notes and recipes. The fee is $245 per person, which includes all meals, two sumptuous vegetarian banquets, and cozy accommodation.

To obtain more information or to register, please contact Keshava dasa on 0405 577 453 or email

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: No Sunday Feast Recording This Week :(

Due to technical difficulties with the Mic, we were unable to record our live broadcast of the Sunday Feast and so we are unable to post a recording this week. We apologize for any inconvenience as many devotees were hoping to catch a recording of the amazing 8pm arati again.

We hope to resolve the problem and to resume with live broadcasts and videos with the upcoming Sunday Feasts!
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Aniruddha Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.7 - Devotional service in Krishna consciousness surpasses all three modes of material nature.

Email to a friendRelated Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Foolish rascals think that life can exist without the soul

Without the basic principle of soul, the body cannot be produced. So-called scientists have tried in many ways to produce a living body in their chemical laboratories, but no one has been able to do it because unless the spirit soul is present, a body cannot be prepared from material elements. Since scientists are now enamored of theories about the chemical composition of the body, we have challenged many scientists to make even a small egg. The chemicals in eggs can be found very easily. There is a white substance and a yellow substance, covered by a shell, and modern scientists should very easily be able to duplicate all this. But even if they were to prepare such an egg and put it in an incubator, this man-made chemical egg would not produce a chicken. The soul must be added because there is no question of a chemical combination for life. Those who think that life can exist without the soul have therefore been described here as abudhah, foolish rascals.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.3.18

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Vyasa-puja pictures

New Vraja Dhama

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1966 May 30: "Ekadasi: In the evening there was meeting. About 10 students attended. Myke brought his tanpura and it added to the tune of Samkirtan. Mr. Goldsmith has agreed to join the International Association for Krishna Consciousness."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1966

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 May 30: "So I am leaving for Montreal and the second chapter for trying for visa will begin. I do not know what is in the future, but I have desired that I may go to London, and try to establish a center there for European activities."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 May 30: "Standard practices for initiated devotees are: Must attend evening and morning classes, Should not extensively mix with non-devotees, Should not eat food cooked by non-devotees, Should not waste time in idle talks, Should not become engaged in frivolous sports, and Should always chant and sing the Lord's Holy Names."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 May 30: "So long we are individual souls, there must be disagreement. But not when one is surrendered unto Krishna. There cannot be any disagreement in discharge of duties in Krishna Consciousness."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 May 30: "Please go on preaching. There is no necessity of attending a university. Utilize what talents you have already in Krishna's service and He will give you the intelligence to increase more and more."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 May 30: "On May 18th we opened very large headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. Many outsiders came. I installed two very large Gaura Nitai deities. Things are going on very nicely in the Western countries."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 May 30: "In the Kuruksetra University a class should be opened for studying Krishna Consciousness offering BA, MA, PhD. I can arrange for many foreign students to come there."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 May 30: "If we accept the Varnashrama principle, surely everyone will be engaged in their occupation and unemployment will be finished. Propagate this movement on the principles of Bhagavad-gita and all problems of human society will be solved."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1966 May 29:
"Dasami: There was no expenditure today. Karl came to dine with us. He is informed of last night's incidence. I have told him that I wish to live in separate apartment. He is trying for that."
Prabhupada Journal :: 1966

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 May 29: "I do not know what I can do in these legal matters. That perennial watch-dog is playing some mischief. In the church there is everything as required by the law. So best thing is to occupy the church. That is my opinion."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 May 29: "Person means not a dead stone. Person means all living entities. We cannot understand. A stone in the spiritual world; if I ask it to move, it will move automatically. In the material world it will not."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 May 29: "Increase your school and college programs and try to have a regular credited course at the University. Your proposed asrama can be located anywhere, it doesn't matter. Just wherever you can attract most people."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 May 29: "As for dedication, please use the following:'Presented to my friends and devotees who like to read my books and approached to request me to render the great Caitanya-caritamrta into English.'"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 May 29: "If you give the right protection to the cows, then they will give so much milk, that the ground will be muddy with milk. European and American civilization will be finished on account of this sinful activity of killing the cows."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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New Vrndavan, USA: Seasonal Kitchen Assistant Wanted (non-cooking)

Malati Dasi : Spend your summer in the Appalachian Foothills of West Virginia, New Vrindaban, Land of Lord Krishna!

Our dedicated Kitchen Maintenance Person needs an Assistant who can share the service (and stipend) through the spring-summer months. As this is a non-cooking service, un-initiated persons are welcome. Service hours are flexible. Must be following four principles, willing to participate in spiritual programs and be in good health. Contact for details:

Call: malati dasi 304-845-9591

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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: “Today” by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Filed under: Poetry
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '452' from The Yellow Submarine SDGonline Daily updates

3:53 A.M.

I slept peacefully last night and woke with the alarm at 2:30. I felt a bit sleepy but chanted at a regular pace. I have now done eight rounds. I took shelter of the holy names as I passed the words quietly through my mind. I was in a reverent mood and paying attention. I reached for Radha and Krishna in Their names. It remains the most introverted and prayerful time of the day even though it is not suddha-nama. Krishna sees me at my station without fail always chanting early, always chanting steadily.

You are not on the level
of Haridasa Thakura
or other great chanters,
but you follow in their
footsteps. You do as your
mentor taught you long
ago. You have never stopped
chanting from when you
began in 1966. Even if you
begin with sleep in your
eyes, you perform the yajna
faithfully, and pick up speed
and attention. On each given
day, you improve. How
much more time do I have
to improve, and how much
will I make it better
to enter the sacred stage?
You do not seem to leap
ahead, but you remain
steady and push on.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Little Drops of Nectar: In NYC' from The Yellow Submarine SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

Wherever Prabhupada goes in his 11th floor suite in the 55th Street temple in Manhattan, he is surrounded by devotees who worship him and want to serve him. Tamal Krishna Gosvami wants to help him open the door to his room, Hari Sauri, dressed in his gamsha, is ready to give Prabhupada his massage, Ramesvara Maharaja wants to lead and guide the way and be the first to accompany him through the hallway. Prabhupada accepts all the service and attention in a matter-of-fact way, neither encouraging it nor discouraging it. It is 1976, and this is his first and last visit to the skyscraper temple. Things have changed completely from when he was first in New York City in 1965. At that time he was all alone with no one to help him and no money to meet his essential needs. He was staying in a windowless studio lent to him by an acquaintance yogi, Dr. Misra. Now he has more helpers than he needs, and he is maintaining them and engaging them as disciples for their own good. He doesn't need ten people to walk down the hall with him or two hundred people to hear him lecture in the temple, but he accepts it as service to his Guru Maharaja.

This was why he came to America, to convert the westerners to Vaisnavas, and now it has come to pass. He does not accept it as glory to himself or as sense gratification but as duty, as a preacher. It is the purity of his success to allow all these men to surround him and to tend to him, even if it may be a little infringing on his privacy. He is the same person he was in 1965, humbly serving his spiritual master, but now he has money and men and women. It has not changed his heart in his original intent—to spread Krishna consciousness as a humble servitor of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'His Passing Away' from The Yellow Submarine SDGonline Daily updates

Poet Sharon Olds writes
moving visceral poems of
her mother's passing away.
She was there in the hospital
room until the end, and she
threw the ashes in the sea
from a boat.

I never even heard of my mother's
passing away. Just assumed she
died because she was so old.

I never saw the death certificate.
I found out my father died ten
years after the fact, and saw the
death certificate that said he died
of heart attack at 78. But I was
disowned by them, so I had no
contact at the end.

But I was present for the passing
away of Prabhupada. I saw him
in his last days when he was so
shriveled up but dignified and noble.
I massaged his feet with talcum
powder because it gave him some ease.
I heard some of the last words he
said. I gave up hope that he would
live before some of the others
did. I just didn't think it was possible. It
seemed he wanted to leave.
It seemed Krishna was taking him

On the last day I stood from
morning to night at the foot
of his bed and watched the
comings and goings. He was
completely inside himself
and made no outer signs.
Only in the last fifteen
minutes he moved in a
kind of involuntary dance
with his arms and legs,
then he opened his mouth
and you knew he was

I was numb, not grief–
stricken. I had a terrible
headache, and I hadn't
eaten all day but I
was numb. Immediately
afterwards I stood by
and observed some of
the preparations of his
body. Then I went to a room
in the guesthouse and made a
few notes, what I'd overheard
people say. "You don't know
what you miss until it's taken
away." "He was with us for
only eleven years." But I
didn't have many feelings.

Only days later I broke
down crying. I went back
to America after the mahat
. I carried the tapes
of his last conversations because
I was going to write his biography.

I went to Dallas, and I became
obsessed with listening to the
tapes and giving daily lectures
on the last days and passing
away of Srila Prabhupada.
I kept it up for a month
until I went to LA
There the mood was
different. The leaders
said, "Let us serve
Prabhupada and acknowledge
his passing away by
having the biggest Christmas
marathon of distributing his
books. The biggest in history."
They interrupted my mood of
concentrated mourning and giving lectures
about his passing away. I couldn't mourn by
distributing books. I
missed him and tried
to do my duties at Back
to Godhead
And then we started
being spiritual masters.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Lost Cargo' from The Yellow Submarine SDGonline Daily updates

Free write

A giant cargo ship, the "Riverdance," has been turned over at sea and washed to shore. It appears like a huge whale or leviathan, but it has been tossed onto the beach by the powerful waves of the sea. Small figures of human beings stand on the shore and gawk at it. This shows how powerful material nature is, to toss a big ship like it was a child's bathtub toy. The material nature in the form of storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc., is just a small fragment of the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the time of the annihilation of the world we will experience long periods of flooding rain, tsunamis and long years of blazing fire. The only way to escape these catastrophes is to transfer to the spiritual world. Otherwise the material worlds will be wound up in the body of Maha-Vishnu, where the conditioned souls will experience an extremely long period of dormancy-like sleep. When this period of dormancy is over, the living beings will come out again and take birth in a new form according to the karma they left off in the last period of creation.

One may think the periods of catastrophe and dormancy are arranged by God's cruel nature, but actually they are the working of nature's law, and the suffering is experienced only by those who stubbornly disobey the laws. For the devotees of God, they are spared from the cataclysms of birth, death, disease and old age and the destruction at the time of annihilation and the period of dormancy and sleep-like suspension. The devotees go to Krishna in the spiritual world and experience a life of eternity, knowledge and bliss without disruption.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Prabhavishnu Swami

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.6 - The cause of bhakti is not dependent on anything but bhakti.

Email to a friendRelated Lord Jagannatha's 16th Century History

By Pankajanghri das

Then one night Lord Jagannatha appeared to Jagadisha in a dream. The next morning, the Lord told him, when Jagadisha went for his daily bath in the Gaìga a log would touch his head and restore his vision

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Japa Group: Deeply Impressed In My Mind

O Krsna! Thakura Bhaktivinoda has warned us that inattention is the main door into the house of aparadhas. O Krsna! Please let me taste some pleasure in Your names, so I can focus my full attention on chanting. May Your holy names become deeply impressed in my mind.

From the Art Of Chanting Hare Krsna by Mahanidhi Swami
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Gouranga TV: Nitaj-Gauranga Festival 8/9

Nitaj-Gauranga Festival 8/9 Czech deity installation

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Govinda Maharaja leads a memorable kirtan on Saturday night

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Reading from chapter 27 of Nava-vraja Mahima

“How Radha Syama came to Hungary”

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Kesava Bharati Maharaja speaks on the ten offenses at Saturday’s initiation ceremony

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Festival darsana and initiation names

from today’s Nrsimha Caturdasi in New Vraja Dhama.

Due to slow internet connection the initiation pictures will be posted later

Sivarama Swami Maharaja:

Hari-nāma dīkṣā

1. Molnár Gábor (Budapest) – Gopa-gaṇa dāsa
servant of the multitude of cowherdboys

2. Eördögh Richárd (Budapest) – Rasikānanda dāsa
servant of Kṛṣṇa, one who has a great taste for bliss

3. Merő Mátyás (Budapest) – Madhupati dāsa
servant of Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of sweetness

4. Schnitchen Csaba (Budapest) – Śākṣī-gopāla dāsa
servant of the witness Gopāla

5. Halmai Zoltán (Budapest) – Sārathi dāsa
servant of Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna's charioteer

6. Somogyi Tibor (NVD) – Triyuga dāsa
servant of Kṛṣṇa, who appears in three yugas

7. Antardhī dāsa (NVD) – Antardhī dāsa

8. bhakta Denis (Russia) – Daśāvatāra dāsa
servant of Kṛṣṇa who has ten incarnations

9. bhakta Sherhat (Turkey) – Nṛsiṁha-Kṛṣṇa dāsa
servant of Nṛsiṁha, who is  Kṛṣṇa

10. Bocsor Ildikó (Budapest) – Yamunā-jīvana devī dāsī
servant of Kṛṣṇa, who is the life life of the Yamunā

11. Eördöghne Kussinszky Brigitta (Budapest) – Bhakti-devī devī dāsī
servant of the goddess of devotion

12. Molnár Gáborné Blaskó Rita (Budapest) – Rūpāśrayā devī dāsī
servant of Rādhā, who is the repository of beauty

13. bhaktin Teresa (Romania) – Tejaśrī devī dāsī
servant of Rādhā, who has divine power and grace

14. bhaktin Anna (Sweden) – Ādi-gopī devī dāsī
servant of the first gopī, Śrī Rādhā

15. Caitanya Carana (UK) – Cakorī Rādhā devī dāsī
servant of Rādhā, who is like a bird only drinking the moonlight of Kṛṣṇa' face

16. Indira Suryakantbhai Patel (mother of Varṣāṇā dd., UK) – Sukaṇṭhī devī dāsī
servant of Rādhā, who has a sweet voice

Gāyatrī initiation

Gaṇaśyāma dāsa (NVD)
Sanātana dāsa (NVD)
Savyasāci dāsa (NVD)
Dvaipāyana dāsa (NVD)
Nandagopa dāsa (Budapest)
Mohana dāsa (Budapest)
Candragupta dāsa (Budapest)
Mādhava dāsa (Budapest)
Brajalatā devī dāsī (Budapest)
Vaidarbhī devī dāsī (Budapest)
Cakorī Rādhā devī dāsī (Anglia)
Ānanda Caitanya dāsa (Anglia)

Candramauli Swami Maharaja:

Hari-nāma dīkṣā

1. Bhakta Milej – Mahāsiṁha dāsa
servant of Nṛsiṁhadeva, the great lion

2. Bhaktin Ruzica – Śraddhā devī dāsī
servant of Lakṣmī who is faithful

3. Bhakta Boris – Mahātmā dāsa
servant of Nṛsiṁhadeva, the great personality

Gāyatrī initiation

Vṛndāvaneśvarī devī dāsī

BB. Govinda Swami Maharaja:

Hari-nāma dīkṣā

bhaktin Enikő – Acyuta-gopī devī dāsī

Gāyatrī initiation

Śrī Prahlāda dāsa

Niranjana Swami Maharaja:

Gāyatrī initiation

Viśvarūpa dāsa
Ati-sundarī devī dāsī

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Sri Nandanandana dasa: Visiting the Grave of Jesus in Srinagar, Kashmir

Visiting the Grave of Jesus in Srinagar, Kashmir

By Stephen Knapp

            I had visited the place that is called the grave of Jesus in Srinagar, Kashmir in June of 2007. And, actually, unless you know the history and controversy about this little building, there is not much that will give any indications of this being the grave of Jesus. But it is good that I went when I did, because now it is locked and off-limits to foreigners, especially westerners.

            This place is also called the Roza bal, or Rauza bol, which means "tomb of the prophet." This is the burial place of Yuz Asaph (or Asaf), in the center of Srinagar's old part of town. The name  Yuz Asaph is said to relate to Jesus. Some people believe it is the grave of Jesus and others think it is all based on faulty premises, meaning it is merely a rumor or urban legend. However, there is a complete line of logic behind this, so I will only give you the evidence and what people say and you can decide for yourself. That way, if you are ever in Srinagar, you can have some understanding of the significance of this place and check it out yourself.

        To visit this grave of Jesus, you will find it in Anzimar next to a small Muslim cemetery in the Khanjar (Khanyar) quarter of Srinagar's old town. You find Rauza bal Khanyar down a narrow alley in an old, wooden mausoleum. The grave itself is inside the building. The sign in front says that it is the tomb of Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph and Syed Nasir-u-Din. Thus, this is a grave of two people, with Nasir-u-Din being a Muslim saint. Some say that Youza Asouph (or Yuz Asaph) means the gatherer, which could be in relation to the idea that Jesus was a gatherer of the lost tribes of Israel, some of whom were known to have come to Kashmir. Others say the name means the leader of the healed, since Jesus was a healer. While still others say the name Youza Asouph means Joseph's son.

You enter the rectangular building through a small doorway on the side of the structure. This leads into a small hall that allows to you to look through a few windows at the small central room inside with the sarcophagus. If the inner doorway is unlocked, you can go in for a closer view. On your way in you will see an inscription on a board that explains that Yuz Asaph (or Asaf) came to Kashmir many centuries ago and dedicated himself to the search for truth. The single inner chamber has a cheap looking, raised wooden frame in the shape of a sarcophagus for two graves, each covered with heavy, embroidered cloth. The first and smaller grave is for an Islamic saint Syed Nasir-ud-Din, buried here in 1451, a descendent of Imam Moosa Ali Raza, said to be a great devotee of Jesus. The larger grave behind it is for Yuz Asaph. A document signed by five Muslim judges (Muftis) of that time certifies that the tomb contains the remains of the prophet Yuz Asaph. Near this along the side of the inner chamber is a stone with the imprint of two feet showing what seem to be nail wounds (a round wound on the left foot and an arc-shaped wound on the right foot), the scars Jesus would have suffered from his crucifixion. Some people feel this is the sign for the identity of who is buried here. It is the custom for pilgrims to place candles around the gravestones, and when years of wax was removed by Professor Hassnain, not only did he discover the footprints, but he also found a cross and rosary. As typical with Muslim mausoleums, these graves are replicas and the actual graves are in a crypt under the floor in the basement. However, some also say that due to age, the ground gave way years ago and the original grave simply sank into the ground, with the present sarcophagus built over it. A look into the real burial chamber is provided by a small opening. But that window is now covered by a cloth to block the view. The grave which contains the remains of Yuz Asaph also points east to west, according to Jewish tradition.

            Previously, several decades ago, the central shrine in the house was surrounded by beautifully carved wooden panels. But these have now been removed and replaced with glass windows. These windows, of course, let you see the fake sarcophagus inside, which is covered with the cloth, as well as the two feet carved into the stone block at one end. You can also see this from outside through the windows of the house, but the stone with the feet can be seen only as long as the doorway is unlocked and you can get in. It is also now painted green, the color for Islam. Whatever else was once inside, including various relics, scrolls, and information regarding the place, have now been removed.

            Suzanne Olsson, while appearing in the video "Jesus in India" by Paul David (2008), mentions that in her research she was told by local authorities that below the main floor, the real graves do not contain any bodies. But behind the wall was a ledge where the body of Yuz Asaph was actually placed, and then the ledge was sealed. That is the actual grave behind the false wall. She at one time had the permission to take DNA samples from the body through a small opening in that wall. This way she could verify the age and possible identity of the person buried there. But Islamic militancy arose before she could accomplish that and kept her from doing it. Thus, possible verification of this may now never be possible.

            However, when talking with the local Muslims who live nearby, they will tell you adamantly that it is not the grave of Jesus, but is the tomb of a Muslim prophet, Youza. If you ask too much, or insist on an alternative view, they will tell you that you are committing an offense to Islam and the Koran. Nonetheless, the tomb is built in an east-west direction, the same as the Jewish tradition, in line as a follower of Moses, and is not in the direction facing Mecca. But this is inconsequential to the locals. Therefore, without background information, you would never know the significance of this place.

            The locals will also tell you that the grave is that of a messenger of God who liked the Muslim people and settled there. They admit that the grave is ancient, but they forget that the person buried there arrived hundreds of years before Islam was ever an established religion. But they do not think it was Jesus. So even among the local people different versions of the story about the grave circulate. Also, some Muslims feel that in the end, after the crucifixion, Jesus was lifted up to heaven because if he had actually died on the cross, it would be a sign that he had failed in his mission.


             The grave has been maintained by attendants since its construction, which is established by ancient records to be as far back as 112 CE. The premise is that Jesus' Hebrew name was Yuza, similar to Yuz. In Arabic and in the Koran his name was Hazrat Isa or just Isa, and Issa in Tibetan, both of which are similar to the name Isha in Sanskrit. This tradition has been carried down through the Farhang-Asafia, Volume One, which explains how Jesus healed some leper who then became asaf, meaning purified or healed. The word yuz means leader. Thus, Yuz Asaph became a common reference to Jesus as "leader of the healed."

            There are other accounts of how Yuz Asaph preached throughout Persia, present-day Iran, converting many people. Some of these details can be found in Agha Mustafai's Ahivali Ahaliau-i-Paras which confirms that Jesus and Yuz Asaph are the same person. Even the well-known Emperor Akbar had a court poet who referred to Jesus as Ai Ki Nam-i to: Yuz o Kristo, which means, "Thou whose name is Yuz or Christ." Also, at Akbar's city, Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, as you enter the main gate toward the mosque, there is an inscription which states: "Jesus (Peace be with him) has said: 'The world is a bridge. Pass over it, but do not settle down on it!'" 

            Other records and place names that relate to Jesus point to his presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Acts of Thomas describe the journey of Jesus and Thomas in Pakistan (then Taxila) at the court of King Gundafor in the 26th year of his rule, which would be about 47 CE.

            Also, when Jesus came to Kashmir he came with a group of followers which included his mother, Mary, who must have been over 70 years old, and was no doubt weakened by the journey. Seventy kilometers east of Taxila, and 170 kilometers west of Srinagar on the border of Kashmir, is a small town called Mari, or Murree in English, near Rawalpindi. In that town is a very old grave called Mai Mari da Asthan, meaning "the final resting place of Mother Mary." This is a tomb in Jewish style, aligned on the east-west line, while the Muslim tombs are always aligned on the north-south axis. Here is where she must have died before Jesus reached Kashmir, which was considered paradise, or heaven on earth. Even to this day this grave is maintained by Muslims as the resting place of Jesus' mother because he (Isa) is considered one of the main prophets of Islam. However, the British knocked down the original shrine to Mother Mary to build a fort at that place because of the view over the surrounding area, and because they did not believe in Mary being buried there. Out of respect, the local people gathered the rocks of the grave and put them back near the original site. So, it is not in the same place as where the body was located.

Also near the villages of Naugam and Nilmag, about 40 kilometers south of Srinagar is a large plain called the Yuz Marg, the meadow of Jesus. It is said that from Murree, Jesus proceeded to Srinagar entering Kashmir from the pass now called Yuz Marg, and he rested at Aish Muqam, about 50 miles south of Srinagar, where a sanctuary was erected containing the horns of 'God's ram' and a walking stick that is considered Moses' stick, later used by Jesus. It is also here that some of the tribes of Israel are supposed to have settled after 722 BCE to live as shepherds, which is still a major occupation in the area today.

            More evidence of Jesus in Kashmir is found in an inscription that was carved on the sides of the steps at the threshold on the Throne of Solomon in Srinagar. Behind the Boulevard near Dal Lake is Shankaracharya Hill which rises 1100 feet above the city. At the summit is a Hindu temple for Shiva, but an earlier temple was built here around 200 BCE by Ashoka's son. One temple that had been built was by King Laltaditya in the 6th century CE known as Gopadri. The road at the base of the hill where the State Government officials are located is still known as Gupkar road in connection with that temple. This is the oldest known site in Srinagar, believed to date back to 2500 BCE when the original sandstone structure had been built by King Sandiman. It is also said that the philosopher Shankaracharya visited Kashmir many centuries ago and had stayed on the hilltop to meditate. The top of the hill also provides a great view over the lake. But due to security reasons cameras are not allowed through the final checkpoint when going to the hilltop Shiva temple. The temple as we find it today is built on a high octagonal plinth, reached by a flight of 270 steps, the side walls of which used to have inscriptions on them. The main interior shrine is a small circular room with a lingam about three feet tall. A new ceiling has inscriptions in Persian which connects its origin to the reign of Shah Jahan. 

            The hill used to be called Takht-i-Sulaiman, the Throne of Solomon, which definitely represents some of the history of this region, and why some people think that King Solomon had been here. Other factors to consider is that there was an inscription on the remnants of the old building which states that the new temple was restored in 78 CE by King Gopadatta (or Gopananda), who ruled Kashmir from 49-109 CE. According to tradition, Solomon had visited the land of Kashmir. In fact, the local Muslims know Kashmir as "Bagh Suleiman," the Garden of Solomon. This would go in accord with the theory that some scholars believe that Kashmir was the "Promised Land," or the "Land of the Fathers" that the "ten lost tribes of Israel" wandered to in northern India where they found peace and tranquility. This was after they had moved eastwards when they had been driven out of Israel by the Assyrians, never to be heard from again. Therefore, it may have indeed been Solomon, as tradition declares, who divided the Barehmooleh Mountain and created an outlet for the water that later formed Dal Lake. He also may have constructed the original building of the Takht-i-Suleiman on top of what is now Shankaracharya Hill.

            The meaning of the inscriptions on the Throne of Solomon is described in detail by Mullah Nadiri, a historian during the rule of Sultan Zainul Aabidin, in 1413 in his book on the history of Kashmir, Tarikh-i-Kashmir. He relates that Gopananda, or Gopadatta, ruled Kashmir and had the Temple of Solomon refurbished by a Persian architect. During the renovation four sayings in ancient Persian were set in stone that said, in essence, that Bihishti Zagar is the constructor of these columns in the year of 54. Khwaja Rukun, son of Murjan, had these columns built. In the year 54, Yuz Asaf proclaimed his prophetic calling. He is Jesus, prophet of the sons of Israel.

            Unfortunately, these inscriptions are another artifact that has been removed from the premises, so you can no longer find these carvings in the building if you try to look for them. Nonetheless, Mullah Nadiri goes on to relate that during the rule of Gopadatta, Yuz Asaf came from the Holy Land to the Kashmir valley and proclaimed to be a prophet and preached to the people. Gopadatta ruled sixty years and two months before he died. It is calculated that Jesus came to Kashmir nearly 16 years after the crucifixion and lived to be around 80 years old. Even the Koran (23.50 or 52) intimates that Jesus did not die on the cross, but survived the crucifixion and ascended to live in a peaceful hill-side watered by a fresh spring.

            All this seems to indicate that not only did Jesus come to India to learn the spiritual knowledge of the Vedic Brahmanas and Buddhists as other records have described, but after returning to his land of Israel to preach and was later crucified, he did not die on the cross but suffered and recovered. After that he ascended to heaven, known as Kashmir, where, after some years, he died and was buried in Srinagar.

            According to various records, during his missing years Jesus was supposed to have studied for four years at the temple of Jagannatha Puri. In this regard, the 145th Shankaracharya at Jagannatha Puri was asked if Jesus had come there, and he agreed that Jesus came to Puri. He explained that the truth of Jesus' visit to India was hidden in order to propagate lies, rather than let it be known that he came to India to study amongst the Brahmanas to acquire his deeper spiritual knowledge. The Shankaracharya mentions that Jesus studied the Vedic code of conduct on being compassionate, merciful, forgiving, etc. But most Christians deny this.

            However, the book "The Life of Saint Issa" from the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh explains that he later criticized the Brahmanas and the caste system and later was forced to leave. Then he traveled north to Kapilavastu (present-day Lumbini), the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal, and studied with the Buddhists. This is said to be where he got more of his wisdom. Then he went to Lhasa in Tibet for five years. After that he went homeward and then to Greece for sometime before going on to Egypt. Then at the age of 25 he went to Heliopolis and studied for five more years before returning to his homeland at the age of 30.

            The Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, near Leh, is another place that I have been fortunate enough to visit. They have a big festival every year with masked dancers, and people from all over attend. It was here that one of the books that stirred great interest in the idea of Jesus going to India was discovered.

            "The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ" by Nicolas Notovitch describes his finding a document on Issa at the Hemis Buddhist Monastery, which took place in 1886. He describes how he was there for several weeks after breaking his leg from a fall from his horse. After becoming acquainted with the monks, one showed him the document on the life of Issa, the name used in India for Jesus. He had the text translated, first into Russian, and then published it his book in France in 1894. Though critics such as Max Muller and others attacked Notovitch to debunk his claims, Notovitch in turn said he talked in private to a Catholic priest at the Vatican who told him that the Vatican library had 63 documents of various oriental languages that referred to Jesus traveling in India. These had been brought to the Vatican by missionaries from India, China and Arabia.

            Later, there were others who also claimed to have seen that same document or scroll at the Hemis Monastery on "The Life of Saint Issa." This then helped confirm that Jesus studied amongst the Hindus and Buddhists and valued their teachings and learned from them, setting the example that his followers should also exhibit such respect and value for other religions.

            This document at Hemis was later seen by Swami Abhedananda who was able to read and translate it, which he discussed in his book, "Journey into Kashmir and Tibet." He visited Hemis in 1922 and relates in his book how a monk showed him the manuscript while he was there. The monk told him it was an exact translation of the original that could be found in the Marbour Monastery near Lhasa, which was in the Pali language, while the Hemis one was in Tibetan. Swami Abhedananda lived at an ashrama called the RamaKrishna Vedanta Society in Kolkata, which you can still visit today. His book is also still available today and provides for very interesting reading.

            Nicolas Roerich, a Russian born Jew who converted to Christianity, claims to have also seen the Hemis Monastery document in 1926. 

            Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the document at the Hemis Monastery seems to have since disappeared with present day monks knowing nothing about it. Some feel that certain Christian missionaries or agents had gone there to deliberately confiscate it to prevent any such evidence from being available any longer.

            The story of Jesus' crucifixion is also interesting because, generally, most people die on the cross by starvation or suffocation when the ribs press down on the lungs so that the person can no longer breathe. This often takes several days. According to tradition, Jesus was nailed on the cross in the early afternoon of a Friday and taken down as dusk was approaching, after being nailed on the cross for only four or five hours. So it is most unusual that a young and healthy person like Jesus died after only four hours on the cross. Thus, it is more likely that as a yogi he was able to enter an altered state and appear as if dead, only to be revived later. This is not uncommon with some yogis in India. Furthermore, there are modern commemorations of Jesus' crucifixion wherein people are crucified every year in the Philippines and Mexico and survive quite easily. A person does not die of crucifixion after only four hours. Thus, it is quite likely that he survived the crucifixion and died elsewhere. 

            Nonetheless, there were no witnesses to any resurrection, and it certainly cannot be investigated historically. So there is plenty of room for speculation about this from all sides, and that is mostly what we have. However, if he had survived the crucifixion, it would make sense that he would want to leave Jerusalem and the area to be free from any threat from the Roman soldiers. Thus, there is the idea he went to Kashmir where some of the lost tribes of Israel are said to have relocated. Thus, even today, one can recognize similarities with the Jewish culture in Kashmir, such as with some of the foods, clothes, butcher knives, heart-shaped boat paddles, etc.

            Of course, when talking to most Christians, they are often convinced that Jesus never went to India. They feel that there would be no need for him to learn from any Hindus or Buddhists. Plus, the Bible gives no information about the 18 missing years of his life (between the ages of 12 and 30). But that is the question, what happened during those 18 years?

Except within certain esoteric circles the shrine itself had not been discussed for some time after Notovitch, Swami Abhedananda, and Nicolas Roerich had brought attention to it. Then it again came into the limelight when a local journalist, Aziz Kashmiri, argued in his 1973 book, Christ in Kashmir, that Jesus survived the crucifixion some 2,000 years ago, migrated to Kashmir and was buried in Srinagar. The modest stone building with traditional multi-tiered roof again slipped into oblivion but came into focus again in 2002 when Suzanne Olsson arrived in Srinagar, claiming to be Christ's '59th descendant' and seeking DNA testing of the shrine's remains. 

Olsson, though, doesn't seem to be alone in her conviction. There are some who support her view. Renowned Kashmiri academic Fida Hassnain's 1994 book, A Search for the Historical Jesus, was about this legend. Later, he co-authored a book on the subject with Olsson, Roza Bal the Tomb of Jesus. The stories of Jesus in India date back to the 19th century and now find mention in a plethora of texts by scholars of varied persuasions — Islamic, Buddhist and Christian.


             In the end, even after visiting the Roza Bal, what you think of it or believe about it all depends on your research, what books you read, or who you talk to about it. The conclusion is yours, but if you do look into it, at least you have taken the privilege to ask and to investigate the issue rather than remain in the confines of some dogmatic dictates hammered into you by others. In the end, truth prevails, but sometimes it may take some time for the truth to become clear.


James Deardorff has also done some serious research on this topic, which you can see at his website

Suzanne Olsson, author of "Roza Bal: The Tomb of Jesus" with Dr. Fida Hassnain, has also done much research, as described in her books and her website at:

Arif Khan, editor of the website, has made an attempt to gather all such knowledge and evidence concerning the issue of Jesus in India. A variety of photos and a few videos of the tomb of the tomb of Jesus in Srinagar can be found on his website, which is especially helpful for those who have not or cannot go there.

Email to a friendRelated Siksa outside Iskcon

By Sivarama Swami

Who can be a siksa-guru for ISKCON's members and what are that person's qualifications? What is the siksa-guru's relationship to the diksa-guru and to Srila Prabhupada? Can Vaisnavas outside ISKCON act as its members' siksa-gurus? If so, how? If not, why not?

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Sri Nandanandana dasa: Yoga and Meditation: Their Origins and Real Purpose, by Stephen Knapp


Yoga and Meditation: Their Origins and Real Purpose

By Stephen Knapp

            First of all, yoga is not a religion, it is a spiritual science that has been practiced and developed over thousands of years. Archeological evidence shows figures in yogic positions from the Indus Valley region that date as far back as 3000 BCE. Yoga is also mentioned in various Vedic literature, such as some of the Upanishads, including the Katha, Svetashvatara, Taittiriya, and Maitrayani, as well as the Bhagavad-gita, the Bhagavata Purana, and others, all of which date back thousands of years. Therefore, yoga, which is essentially theistic, was known many years before Patanjali. Although he is often given the credit for it, he merely codified it in his Yoga Sutras, which is the text many people are aware of, and which is said to have been written somewhere between the fourth century BCE and the fourth century CE. In this way, it should be clear to anyone that yoga and meditation have their origins in the Vedic system, which some call Hinduism.

            Furthermore, hatha yoga is described in such early texts as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama, the Gheranda Samhita by the sage Gherand, and the Shiva Samhita. Lord Shiva is said to be the originator of the system found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This is highly regarded by the Nath tradition founded by Gorakshnath and his teacher Matyendranath, who was accepted to be a disciple of Lord Shiva. Yogi Gorakshnath wrote the Goraksha Samhita. A later text on yoga is known as the Hatharatnavali by Srinivasabhatta Mahayogindra. Thus, without this ancient culture, there would be no yoga process as we know it today.

            In the Vedic tradition, yoga is the system which is the application of the Sankhya system. The Sankhya philosophy is another of the Vedic systems. The original Sankhya system, as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Lord Kapila, acknowledges matter and spirit as two separate principles of reality. Sankhya analyzed such factors as purusha and prakriti (spirit and matter), the creation and development of matter through excitation of the purusha, how the world evolved, how the modes of nature operate and affect us, how ahankara (false ego) causes our identification with matter and bondage to the material world, the five organs of action and five senses of perception, the subtle elements, the gross elements, etc. The goal of this system is to understand that the real self is eternal and free, but because of ignorance the soul identifies with what is temporary and, therefore, suffers. Through this kind of analysis of the material world it is expected that one will realize the difference between matter and spirit and attain freedom from false identification. After this stage is attained, release from existence in the material world is reached through spiritual training, meditation on the real self and Superself, and the practice of yoga.

            In this way, Sankhya is the theory, while yoga is the practice. The complete system of yoga is very complex and has many steps to it, each of which must be perfected before one can go on to the next step.

            Hatha yoga is one of the first types of yoga with which people become acquainted. However, it is not a separate system of yoga as many people seem to think. It is one of the eight steps of raja or astanga yoga. Nonetheless, it can be used separately if only for helping keep the body and mind fit and in shape.

            The word hatha consists of two bija or seed mantras, namely ha (prana) and tha (the mind or mental energy). Ha means the prana or energy flowing within the body and that associated with the sun, while tha means the mind or mental energy, or that associated with the moon. Thus, hatha means to bring in balance the energies of the sun and moon, or unify the vital energy of the body with the mental. This opens the door to higher consciousness, which culminates in samadhi during meditation, if one continues to develop it to that stage. With the use of hatha yoga, the body can become more subtle, or what is called a yoga body.

The purpose of yoga is to suspend the flickering nature and internal dictations of the mind. Being free of the dictates and influence of the mind would allow one at least a glimpse into the spiritual reality that was discussed in the Sankhya system. Yoga is also to attain relief from the pain that exists from such things as ignorance, which brings attachment, which then leads the way to fear and hatred, as well as the fear of death. The practice of yoga and renunciation is for bringing freedom from such pains and suffering, and allowing us to enter our natural state of never-ending happiness and bliss, which is the normal condition of the soul, our real identity. Although the basis of the yoga system may be quite popular, few people can actually reach the higher levels of self-realization through this process in this day and age.

The Sanskrit root of the word yoga is yuj, which means to bind, link, or unite with the object of our meditation. Thus, it is to unite the mind, intellect, the will, body, and soul to God, or the jivatma to the Paramatma, the individual soul to the Supersoul, through the discipline of yoga. Furthermore, the word religion comes from the Latin word religio, which also means to bring back or bind to God. Thus, there is no difference between the goal of yoga and the deeper goal of religion.

Religion as we know it today, however, often deals with externals, such as how we act, what we do, and customs and rituals. Spirituality, on the other hand, may also use rituals and practices, but is focused on our internal changes and development, and is, thus, more personal and individualistic. It does not depend on a church or our connection with an institution, though that may help and is recommended in particular situations. Neither does it depend on a strict dogma, but it goes beyond all that. This is the Vedic system. The goal of religion may be to reach heaven, but the goal of Vedic spirituality, from which originates the yoga system, is moksha, or liberation from all forms of materialistic limitations, a reawakening of our real spiritual identity, and even entrance into the spiritual dimension.

The purpose of any true spiritual path is to raise our consciousness to the point of allowing us to directly perceive the spiritual strata. Being spiritual means to recognize one's spiritual identity and practically see the transcendental essence of all others. It also means to see that we are all parts and parcels of God and to respect each other in that light. That is one of the higher goals of yoga.

To proceed in this way, we need to understand that all things that are spiritual function on a higher plane of existence, one that is hardly perceptible by our mind, intelligence, or senses. The spiritual dimension can only be detected when our consciousness reaches a higher level of awareness, beyond the influence of the mind and senses. It is similar to radio and television waves. These are not perceptible by our mind or senses. They remain invisible, yet they are all around us. In our base level of awareness, or unawareness, we may think that such things as radio waves and television frequencies are not real. Of course, we may be viewed as quite uneducated by those who are familiar with their existence. So the thing is, even if you cannot perceive them, if you have a receiver that can detect or even utilize such subtle waves or frequencies, then you will know that radio and television waves are not only a fact, but can be used for many practical purposes.

The same thing goes for yoga, or a genuine spiritual path. It is meant to bring our consciousness up to a higher level of awareness, to fine tune it so that we can receive or perceive the higher vibrations of the spiritual strata. As we practice such a genuine spiritual tradition, our consciousness can become refined and focused enough so we can receive the subtle frequencies and perceive the reality of the spiritual domain. Then we can have our own spiritual experiences. The point is that the more spiritual we become, the more we can perceive that which is spiritual. As we develop and grow in this way, the questions about spiritual life no longer remain a mystery to solve, but become a reality to experience. It becomes a practical part of our lives. And how to reach that level of perception is supplied in the Vedic methodologies that have been preserved and handed to us by the previous sages who have also used them for their own development and spiritual experience. And that is what the Vedic process has been giving to humanity for thousands of years.

The Vedic system is practically non-denominational. It is not for any one culture or ethnic group. It is for all of humanity and is called Sanatana-dharma. Sanatana-dharma is both a path and a state of being. It means, essentially, the eternal nature of the soul, that which always exists, and our eternal duty, which is to attain that spiritual perception. We are all spiritual beings within material bodies, so the goal and our main duty in human existence is to regain that spiritual identity. This is attained by a reawakening of our higher consciousness and the direct perception of our spiritual identity. It is through the process of yoga and the path of Sanatana-dharma that we can reach this higher awareness and perceive exactly who we are. This is precisely the ultimate purpose of yoga.

            Nowadays people often practice yoga merely for improving their physical fitness, or for their mental and overall well-being. There is nothing wrong with that, and yoga can do that most efficiently. But there is also a higher aspect of yoga, which for some has been forgotten. The great rishis of old in India gave it for our preparation to reach higher states of consciousness. And such training was performed for years to attain more developed states of being. Thus, the process of hatha yoga was given to prepare one for entering the elevated stages of meditation. Hatha yoga is a beginning process for preparing the body and mind for spiritual awakening through the practice of raja or astanga yoga. Thus, it is also quite effective in reducing any diseases, physical defects, or mental disturbances. And this is why some people use it as a preventative medical therapy. It is the imbalance in the energy system that contributes much of the psychic or mental diseases that people suffer. Hatha yoga, along with breathing exercises, pranayama, can eliminate many such problems. However, it is not enough to use only particular asanas or yoga postures to remedy certain problems. It must be used holistically to treat the whole person so the student, or the sadhaka, can rise to a higher level of being. The person's character, thought processes, mind, senses, and physical nature, must all rise to a more refined level of existence. That is what is needed, otherwise the goal of yoga remains incomplete. This, it seems, is what has been forgotten by many modern yoga teachers.

In order for the mind to be purified, the body also has to be purified, or prepared spiritually. Hatha yoga is that preliminary process by which we prepare the body, nervous system, mind, lungs or breathing, and nadi channels so the energy within can flow most efficiently for states of deep meditation. This is the objective of hatha yoga.

The benefits of yoga are various and numerous. On the mental level it strengthens concentration, determination, and builds a stronger character that can more easily sustain various tensions in the materialistic world. The assortment of asanas or postures also provide stronger health and keeps ills such as diabetes, high and low blood pressure, etc., away or in check. It improves physical strength, endurance, flexibility, back pain, digestive disorders, and arthritis. It promotes detoxification of the body, toning of muscles, and relief from stress and anxiety. Certain diseases can be prevented or improved by performing yoga on a daily basis.

Students also use yoga to find relief from the stress of study, tests, homework, and pressure to keep up good grades. Yoga has been shown to provide an increase of energy, so students can use that toward school work and improve their academic performance.

With the practice of pranayama and asanas, the glands and muscles also increase in capability, which helps cure or prevent various diseases caused by bad food habits and irregular lifestyle. Problems such as constipation, cardiovascular and respiratory difficulties are examples of this. Yoga also strengthens the heart and keeps the veins healthy. It improves the entire digestion process, making every part of the body healthy, light, and active. Yogic exercises also work to dissolve fat, which makes the body light, healthy, fit, and attractive.

It is understood that physical growth or the anabolic process continues to the age of 18. From 18 to 35 there is a balance or neutral stage between the anabolic and catabolic or degenerative processes. But from 35 onward the catabolic or deteriorating process sets in. Yoga and meditation can significantly reduce that decline caused by the catabolic process. That is because our body's cells, organs, and nerves are affected by the attitude or energy we send through the body. They have their own consciousness and are influenced by the collective consciousness we create, that we live in by our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Thus, positive thoughts and spiritual practices bring uplifting results to the body. Since yoga and meditation can help establish a prolonged state of mind and body that is positive and progressive, it naturally helps rejuvenate the body and sustains life and good health, besides leads us to spiritual consciousness.

            In the changes that the body undergoes through a serious practice of hatha yoga, the body can become more subtle, flexible, and balanced so that the affects of old age are greatly reduced. However, those who practice yoga seriously and not merely for outer beautification and health reasons can progress to the higher forms of yoga. They can develop or feel the superior indwelling pleasure and peace that is attainable through the full progression of yoga, which leads to self-realization, the real goal of yoga. Nonetheless, a person will still feel benefits from whatever practice they make. Even on an elementary level, a higher state of peace, tranquility, and even meditation can be attained.

            Even if yoga is performed only for good health, the higher brain centers are still activated to varying degrees and can become further opened with steady practice in preparation for higher consciousness.

            As one progresses through hatha yoga and engages in meditation, a person can taste a mental calm that is experienced when the mind becomes stable and steady, and more closely connected with our real spiritual identity. Thus, a person becomes attracted to the meditation sessions, and other outer or sensual forms of pleasure or happiness become less significant. As one's self-fulfillment increases, it becomes easier to naturally avoid those activities that are not conducive to peaceful living and healthy well-being.

In the preliminary stages, yoga is, essentially, for controlling the flickering nature of the mind, and for developing one's finer qualities and expanding one's consciousness from material to spiritual awareness. It is explained that yoga is the process of completely calming the movements of the mind, which include perceived knowledge, misconception, imagination, sleep, and memory. When these are stabilized, then it can be called yoga, which offers the opportunity for the seer to become established in his own essential and fundamental nature, full of bliss and light. Further than this, yoga is the attempt and the process to realign our selves with the Supreme Self, God.

When you progress in yoga in this way, you can feel the unwanted burdens of the mind fall away, such as anxiety, anger, greed, envy, hate, discontent, etc. Then other qualities like peacefulness, tranquility, contentment, and blissfulness will be felt. These are the natural qualities of the soul which everyone is trying to find and are some of the many things that can be accomplished with yoga.

            As we continue to develop in yoga, we separate ourselves from the general vibrations of selfishness, greed, and anger that often pervade this planet. But we also contribute to the uplifting vibrations in the social or mass consciousness that this world so much needs these days. If we all can continue to work in this way, there could be a major shift in planetary consciousness for the upliftment of humanity for the greater good. Thus, our own spiritual progress becomes a positive influence on the whole planet.

            As you make further progress, you may enter into the deeper levels of understanding and transcending the mind and gradually go so far as to attain realizations as to what your own spiritual identity is and what your relationship is with the Absolute. Becoming free from material life and regaining one's spiritual identity is the superior goal of all yoga.

            The process for attaining a closer attunement or relationship with God is further introduced in my article "The Secrets of Bhakti Yoga", and a more full explanation of the yoga processes is provided in my book, "Yoga and Meditation: Their Real Purpose and How to Get Started," both of which can be found on my website at:, or at my blog at

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