Mahavidya – The 10 Tantra Wisdom Goddesses

Tantra and the mahavidya

Tantra is a science, philosophy and art combined in a beautiful complex methodology giving the practitioner the necessary theory and exercises to take the steps to a higher understanding of himself and the universe, ultimately leading to an opening of the soul and a fusion with the divine.

Tantra is an exploration of the energies of the universe to thereby understand the essence behind these energies. These energies are embodied in the wide range of deities present in the Tantric universe, the 10 main ones being the Maha Vidya who represent 10 fundamental, archetypical energies in the universe (poetically called the 10 faces of God).

Each Goddess has her cosmic function in the universal harmony, and meditating upon her leads to a realization of the mysterious nature of God from a certain perspective, awakening different specific aspects in the practitioner who then starts to manifest her qualities in all areas of his/her life.

Mahavidya – Kali

She is often portrayed as dancing on the dead body of her consort Shiva. She has black skin, 4 arms, wide open glaring eyes, a necklace consisting of severed heads and her tongue lolls wildly out of her big wide open mouth, laughing at the attachments of us mortal humans. Indeed a terrible spectacle to behold!

Kali symbolizes death, time and destruction. She is the first Goddess as we have to transcend our fear of time, death and the temporary to truly start on our spiritual path.

Mahavidya -Tara

We invoke Tara in times of need. She is the gentle saviouress who we pray to in times of need and distress. She will guide us safely across the oceans of Maya (the great illusion meaning existence). She is light blue, white and golden and will grant us the miracles we ask for.

Mahavidya -Tripura Sundari

Tripura Sundari is truth, beauty and harmony. She is the ecstatic beautiful face of God. She is the splendor of nature, the profound harmony and principle in all things (ie the golden number).

Mahavidya -Bhuvaneswari

Bhuvaneswari is the goddess of space. She is invoked to increase our consciousness of the vastness of the universe. She also stands for the pursuing of knowledge.

Mahavidya -Tripura Bhairavi

Tripura Bhairavi is the goddess of tapas meaning spiritual practice. She gives the adept a huge power of focus and perseverance to reach any goal.

Mahavidya – Chinnamasta

Chinnamasta is the thunder goddess. With a flash of lightning and thunder she decapitates the adept freeing his consciousness so it no longer is bound to the physical body.

Meditation upon her gives immense courage.

Dhumavati

Dhumavati is the power of the void. She is portrayed as an old crooked hag with rotten teeth. She symbolizes all which is sorrowful, despairing, forsaken and putrefied. She is death itself. She gives us the opportunity to find death in even the most despairing situation by going deeply inwards until we find the deepest truth in the depths of our being.

Bagalamukhi

Bagalamukhi is the power of the sphinx which transfixes us and hypnotizes us. Bagalamukhi is used to stop ones enemies as she hypnotizes them completely.

She is portrayed as a woman of immense beauty who puts anyone who contemplates her into a deep state of trance.

Matangi

Matangi is the Goddess of divine order. As above so below as an ancient quote says.

A great example of the order of the universe are the sciences of fractals or the holographic theory of the universe.

She is also used extensively by artists who use this universal order to channel works of great depth and beauty.

Kamalatmika

Kamalatmika is the Goddess of abundance and spiritual perfection. When the adept has been through all the other Goddesses he/she has understood the universe and is ready to receive all its gifts.



Source by Hans Hvass

3 Natural Steps To Stop Or Reverse Osteoporosis

More than one million skeletal fractures occur annually in the U.S. and 300,000 of these are hip fractures. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of hip fractures will continue to rise worldwide from 1.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million by 2050. Further, what we once thought were the answers to treating and/or preventing osteoporosis have been debunked. Following are some of the more commonly known risk factors:

o Previous history of fracture after age 50

o Decrease in bone mass

o Post-menopause

o Small frame and thin

o Family history of osteoporosis

o Vitamin D deficiency

o Low calcium intake

o Inactive lifestyle

o Cigarette smoking

o Use of certain medications (cortisone, chemotherapy, prednisone, anticonvulsants)

o Low testosterone in men

o Overuse of alcohol and/or caffeine

There are other medical conditions that can result in osteoporosis which are not as commonly known such as parathyroid tumors and digestion and absorption problems. Although there are medications available for the treatment of osteoporosis, there is also a fear of the side effects of medications. These fears have been brought about by the recent discoveries of side effects of hormone replacement therapy, Vioxx and other drugs. The cause and treatment of osteoporosis should not be taken lightly and people at risk would be wise to consult with their physician. That said, in an overview of the treatments shown to be effective at treating and/or preventing osteoporosis, there are three that stand out.

1. Eating balanced meals including fats, carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) and proteins along with calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Given the status of our food sources recently, I believe supplementation is necessary.

2. Exercise has been shown to halt and even reverse osteoporosis. The recommended exercise program should include strength, weight bearing and flexibility training.

3. Sunlight in safe doses has also been shown to benefit bone health from the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin.

Study Shatters Myths about Milk

An article in the March 2005 issue of Pediatrics questions some long-established myths about milk. The authors–PCRM senior nutrition scientist Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.; PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D.; and Susan Berkow, Ph.D., C.N.S.–have reviewed over 50 studies related to the effect of dairy products and other calcium-containing foods on bone density in children, adolescents, and young adults.

They concluded that there is little scientific evidence to support the suggestion that milk builds strong bones or to justify the U.S. government’s artificially high recommendations for calcium intake. A vast majority of studies found that here is no relationship between dairy or dietary calcium intake and measures of bone health.

The authors found no proof that milk is a preferred source of calcium. While milk and other dairy products contain calcium, many factors affect the availability and retention of the calcium from these products, one of these factors being lactose intolerance. Calcium from dairy products is not as well absorbed as that in many dark-green leafy vegetables, but has an absorption fraction similar to that of calcium supplements, calcium-enriched beverages, calcium-set tofu, sweet potatoes, and beans.

Physical activity has been shown to have the greatest positive impact on adolescents’ bone health. Besides safe exposure to sunlight, avoidance of smoking and high salt and caffeine intakes, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables are all good strategies for supporting healthy bone development and maintenance.

PCRM held a conference in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2005 to share the findings of its bone health paper. It was covered by hundreds of media outlets, including Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, CBS News, and CNN.

In discussing calcium supplementation, a story comes to mind. Over twenty-five years ago my mentor was running down a grassy hill when all of a sudden she tripped and fell on her back. At the time she was 68-years old and had been practicing chiropractic for close to thirty years. She asked me to x-ray her spine and pelvis and fortunately there was no fracture. As I was viewing the x-rays, I was shocked to see that her bones were like someone at least thirty years younger, despite the fact that she was also a smoker. She was a strong believer in calcium supplementation and recommended taking 2,500 mg. of calcium daily. She would frequently tell her patients to “flood” their bodies with calcium because calcium absorption is poor. Whether the supplements were working or she just had strong bones, I will never know, but I will never forget that incident.

Protein Does A Body Good?

Studies have shown that protein along with calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health. In a study (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), two groups of men and women aged 65 and older were followed over three years. One group was given calcium and vitamin D supplements and the other half received a placebo pill. The study demonstrated that the men and women who took the supplements and had a diet rich in protein had higher bone density. The placebo group did not benefit from the protein rich diet and had an increase in fractures over the three-year period.

How much protein and what source of protein should an individual consume depends on the person’s biochemical individuality. Let me explain by first telling you the story about Dr. Kelly. Dr. Kelly had become ill with cancer and through his studies determined that he should be on a vegetarian diet. While on the vegetarian diet his health improved tremendously and he felt better than he had in a long time so he decided that his wife should be on this program too. To his surprise, she became very ill and her health began to decline. When Dr. Kelly went back to his studies, he concluded that genetic heritage also played a role in metabolism. To further explain this concept, there are two contrasting groups to consider. The protein intake of Eskimos is estimated at 25 percent of total calories and they consume 2,500 mg. of calcium daily. Yet, their osteoporosis is among the worst in the world. The Bartus group of South Africa consume a diet of 12 percent mostly plant protein, and only 200 to 350 mg per day of calcium, about half our women’s intake. Although the women bear six or more children and nurse for long periods of time, osteoporosis is a very rare disease there. When these women immigrate to the United States, they develop osteoporosis but not as much as Caucasian or Asian women. I agree that there is a genetic difference that is modified by diet, but we cannot ignore the sun factor. The African women were getting more vitamin D than the Eskimos.

The Sun and Vitamin D

In his book, The Healing Sun, Richard Hobday, MSc, PhD explains that traditionally, sunlight deprivation has been linked with weak or brittle bones. The book quotes the writings of a Greek historian Herodotus (480-425 BC) who noted that after the battle of Pelusium (525 BC) there was a remarkable finding in the remains of the Persian and Egyptian casualties. The skulls of the Persians who always protected their heads from the sun with a skull-cap were very thin and fragile. The skulls of the Egyptians were very tough and difficult to break. The Egyptians shaved their heads from childhood to harden the skull by the effects of the sun.

Dr. Hobday relates that there is a relationship between lack of sunshine and certain conditions, one of them being osteoporosis. He explains that there are more hip fractures during the winter than at other times of the year and that these fractures also become more common with increasing latitude. While there is evidence that there is benefit from calcium and vitamin D supplementation, the digestive systems of the elderly become less efficient at absorbing oral supplementation. Therefore, it would be useful to include the benefits that sun bathing would bring from the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Dr. Hobday’s book is very interesting and informative on the benefits of the sun and explains how to safely sunbathe.

The Oregon State University Study

Oregon State University conducted a five-year study and revealed that postmenopausal women who participate in a long-term fitness regimen that includes jumping and resistance exercises using weighted vests can prevent significant bone loss in the hip.

The average age of the women in the study was 66 years at the start and participated in an exercise program for five years. The program included three sessions a week consisting of resistance exercises wearing vests weighted with one to 10 pounds. While wearing these vests they performed squats, lunges, stepping up and down and getting in and out of a chair. Jumping with weighted vests about 50 times a day, three days a week was also part of the program. The women were to jump no more than 4-5 inches and land flat-footed to distribute the force. Caution was taken that there was sufficient knee, ankle and hip strength and stability before subjects participated in these exercises.

Significant improvement was noted in the women’s bone density after five years. Christine Snow, director of the Bone Research Laboratory at OSU and principal investigator in the study stated that “Exercise was as good or better than either estrogen or Fosamax for preventing bone loss.”

Strength Training At The Mayo Clinic

More than ten years ago, scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota took a group of 50 women aged 58-75 and randomized them into two different groups. One was a control group and the other performed back strengthening exercises for two years. While the report did not give the frequency of the exercises performed, I have to assume that three times per week would be reasonable. After two years the strength trainers had stronger back muscles but there was no difference between groups in bone density. Then eight years later, the scientists followed up on the women and tested them again to see if any difference still remained. The women who had originally been strength training still had stronger back muscles and better bone density than the controls. It was further noted that the women in the control group had experienced almost three times as many vertebral fractures than the women who were originally in the strength training group. The controls had 14 crush fractures and the strength trainers had had only 6 crush fractures. This was a very significant difference between groups. Whether the women in the strength training group continued training over the eight year follow-up period is unknown.

Flexibility Training

Flexibility exercises are important to improve mobility of the joints and improve posture. Once your muscles have warmed up, stretches can be performed to improve the range of motion in the joints. Stretches that flex the spine should be avoided or performed with caution. If you have a lower back condition such as sciatica, flexion can cause a flare-up. There is also a greater risk of a spinal compression fracture when osteoporosis is present. I encourage you to “mindfully” continue to exercise on a regular basis to improve strength and mobility. Because it is very important to avoid falls and fractures, paying close attention to movement throughout the activities of daily living is critical. Pilates is an excellent way of improving not only strength, flexibility and balance but it is superior at increasing awareness of movement. Pilates training is now available in local gyms and schools. All levels of Pilates exercises can also be found on DVD.

While thinking about osteoporosis and movement, another story comes to mind about an elderly female patient who came to see me for treatment of back pain. In taking her history, I asked if she had had any fractured bones. She explained that a couple of years prior she was taking out the garbage and by tying the plastic bag in a knot and “snapping” her arms back to pull on the knot, she fractured some bones. This is a good example of why we need to be more aware of how we move once we get more “advanced” in age.

I am excited that we are seeing reductions in fractures with simple strength training protocols. I am hopeful that this information will reach the majority of people so that bone loss can be prevented and/or reversed.

It has not been that long ago that doctors believed that bone loss in post-menopausal women could not be reversed. We had been led to believe that our only hope was hormone replacement therapy. The good news is that with the three natural ways of treating bone loss as outlined above, we can take more responsibility for our bone health and look forward to a better quality of life and independent living.



Source by Cecelia Tiemann

Let Us Salute the Great American, Sanskrit Scholar Ludwik Sternbach

Sanskrit literature is vast, all comprising, varied and ancient. It is impossible to master all the Sanskrit works as it would take very many years whereas the human life is very short.

There are hundreds of scholars who willingly jumped into this vast sea of Sanskrit literature to explore the gems available.

Among the great scholars L.Sternbach stands tall by his wonderful and dedicated work. He was very much attracted by the Sanskrit Subhasita verses and dedicated his entire life in collecting them. The entire Sanskrit world admired him and he was awarded the title ‘Subhasitavidwan’.

His life aim was to publish all the Subhasitas with English translation with detailed notes. So he was in search of a suitable scholar and found Mr Bhaskaran Nair, Director-Professor of the Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiapur, India. So he requested in 1966 Head of the Sanskrit department Jagannath Agarwal to persuade Acharya Vishwa Bandhu to spare the scholar for this valuable cause. It is to be mentioned here that Acharya Vishwa Bandhu, during the days of partition, in 1947, came from Lahore, with huge Sanskrit literature, to conceal it in big gunny bags, taking a big risk. He founded the great Vishweshvaranand Vedic Research Institure at Hoshiapur.

Six years passed. In 1972 he wrote to the Acharya that the work Maha-Subhasita Samgraha was for him like a child and he intended to bequeath the whole of his fortune after his and his mother’s death to the Institute which will take up the publication of this work.

As promised he has given his all for this great cause leaving a small amount to take care of his aged mother. Perhaps this is a unique event of a foreign scholar to sacrifice his entire life and wealth for Subhasita verse publication.

Accordingly the team headed by Bhaskaran Nair has brought out eight volumes of the great work containing about 14000 verses.

Sternbach has written many books. One among them is, ‘Aphorisms and Proverbs in the Katha-Sarit-Sagara’. From Katha-Sarit Sagara, the Ocean of Streams of Stories, which contains nearly thousand such aphorisms and proverbs, he has selected about 697 wise sayings.

His English translation is always superb. He is also famous for his foot-notes and his friends would comment that his work contain often more footnotes than text!

For a sample, we may quote the following:

No one is able, even by doing the utmost.., to overcome the incalculable freaks of marvellously working Destiny.

No one can calculate the caprices of Fate or the waves of the sea.

Good and evil done by a man is made to return upon himself.

Think for a moment, an American by birth has given his everything for the sake of Sanskrit. At the same time he did not forget his duty towards his mother.

Sanskrit Lovers worldwide and Indians in particular will ever remember this great soul.

Let Us Salute the Great American, Sanskrit Scholar Ludwik Sternbach!



Source by Santhanam Nagarajan

Awaken the Giant Within

Every age has its own self- improvement book. First it was Dale Carnegie. His books ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and ‘How to Stop worrying and Start Living’ paved way for many thousands to lead s successful life. Then came Napoleon Hill. His books ‘Success’ and ‘Think and Grow Rich’ sold out thousands of copies around the world and people showed interest in reading them.

Now it is Anthony Robbins. His book, “Awaken the Giant Within’ suits to the modern needs. Based on the latest scientific findings on Brain and psychological aspects the new theory called NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming shows the way to lead a successful life in the modern competitive world.

The book has divided in to four parts, ‘Unleash Your Power, ‘Taking Control – ‘The Master System’, ‘The Seven Days to Shape Your Life’ and ‘A Lesson in Destiny’.

Can anyone change his destiny?

There are three decisions that control your destiny, points out Anthony Robbins.

1) Your decisions about what to focus on.

2) Your decisions about what things mean to you.

3) Your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.

To achieve your goal either you have to find the way or make one.

There are techniques to make the way. First change your belief and personal breakthroughs will begin. Start with the basic belief and reinforce your belief by adding new and more powerful references.

By NAC you can change yourself for good. What is NAC. Neuro Associative Conditioning is a step-by-step process that can condition your nervous system to associate pleasure to those things you want to continuously move toward and pain to those things you need to avoid in order to succeed consistently in your life without constant effort or willpower.

There are ten emotions of power. Love and warmth, Appreciation and gratitude, Curiosity, Excitement and passion, Determination, Flexibility, Confidence, Cheerfulness, Vitality and Contribution are to be planted daily.

After elaborating these vital points the author gives a Seven Days Programme to shape our life. Take control of your conscience emotions, After learning to condition your nervous system you have to condition your metabolism. Then comes relationships. Success is meaningful if only you could share it with someone you love. Then comes Finance. Take control of your financial future. Then comes Code of conduct. Create your code and do not compromise it. Then learn to use your time to your advantage. Have some rest and play. Even God took one day off!

This seven day programme, if carried out successfully, we can repeat it to ensure success.

One woman who was suffering from the fear about snakes took treatment for seven years and yet not cured. Anthony Robbins took it as a challenge and in fifteen minutes time he cured her! Such is the power of NLP.

Beautiful quotations are splashed out throughout the book. A number of anecdotes and real life incidents have been given in every chapter to inspire the reader.

An investment should yield. Yield for good. The investment on this book will surely yield. Not necessarily proportionately but multitimes. Change your life through your own brain and your own programming. This book will show you how! Good Luck.



Source by Santhanam Nagarajan

Rituals And Routines That Help Mourning

Rituals and routines have a powerful effect on how we feel when mourning the death of a loved one. In fact, daily informal rituals and routines are at the very core of the quality of life one experiences. And you don’t need a lot of them to brighten any given day. Are you aware of what you do each day that is a repeat of the day before, how it shapes your attitude, and what initiates that specific routine response? After several days or even weeks, depending on individual circumstances and beliefs, the time comes when accepting the new circumstances of life has to be faced. New rituals and routines is the answer.

A routine is considered to be a regular course or procedure that is followed. Rituals are commonly considered to be spiritual or religious rites of various types and can be of a formal or informal nature. Whether spiritual or secular, daily activities can be planned and carried out by any mourner with a particular intention in mind. Here are several that have helped many mourners in adapting to life without the physical presence of their loved ones.

1. Begin by assessing your current daily routines and how they are affecting you physically or emotionally or both. For example, are you eating more mood foods (which are usually processed foods that are pro inflammatory) or drinking more coffee or alcohol than usual? Are you repeating behaviors as though your loved one is still physically present and its painful? Bottom line: are your routines and rituals hurting or helping your ability to adapt to a new normal.

2. Outdoor routines. Excessive isolation is a major cause of unnecessary suffering, especially if you are saddled with large amounts of unscheduled time. Be sure to leave your home each day to go where you will be around other people and converse with them. They don’t always have to be good friends. Here is a possibility to consider. Instead of having coffee at home each morning, start going to a local coffee shop, gasoline station, chain grocery store or restaurant. Become a regular. Speak to the person behind the counter. Or your stop could be at the library. Perhaps your trip out could include window shopping. Consider finding a productive group to join, one that is right for you.

3. Nature routines. Nature can have a soothing or relaxing effect physically. Find a place that you like to visit that is filled with natural beauty. Put yourself in that environment and focus on the trees, birds, and natural sounds. Smell the salty air or feel the breeze. If there is a park near your home consider it one of your destinations in creating a new routine. If you live near a body of water go to the shore as part of your nature exploration.

4. Exercise routines. Mourners especially need physical outlets for all of the anxiety that builds each day when thinking of the loved one. Your body pays close attention to every word you say to yourself and every though you entertain. The sadness and loneliness builds anxiety that increases tension in muscle. The need for physical outlets for emotional stimuli is critical. Start a walking routine. It can include prayer walking. It has been said that prayer is exercise for the soul. Some mourners I have worked with have joined the YMCA or a local exercise facility. Stretch your muscles regularly through Yoga or progressive relaxation.

5. Gratitude rituals. Focusing on gratitude can have a major impact on your inner life. Some people keep a gratitude list and at the close of each day jot down what they are grateful for on that particular day. Others get on their knees at night or the first thing in the morning and give thanks for what they still have. Still others begin the ritual of talking to the deceased loved one. Be especially grateful to those who listen to you and are willing to be around your pain. As Paul Tillich reminds us, “The first duty of love is to listen.” Consider his observation as you remember those who listen and do not try to steer you to their agenda for grieving.

6. Kindness rituals. Reaching out to others is easier than you think. There are multiple times during the day when we see friends or strangers where a kind gesture can be offered. A simple “thank you” is in itself an act of love. The power and impact of giving and receiving love is commonly forgotten. Holding a door open for someone, taking a shopping cart back to the store for an elderly person, letting someone know you are thinking about them (and love them) even as you grieve, or making a donation to someone in great need are examples of simple expressions of kindness. Think about your present level of kindness and what you can do to increase your kindness quotient.

7. Morning rituals or routines. How do you start your day? Do you have something planned or are you a reactive mourner who simply takes whatever shows up in your thoughts? Get a jump on your day by having a routine or ritual mapped out ahead of time. It can be a major step forward. Think about what you can do to immediately start your day off in a way that enhances self-esteem. Look for something you might accomplish first thing in the morning either by calling someone, doing a household task, or reading an uplifting paragraph or inspirational quote.

In conclusion, keep in mind that one of the tasks of grieving is the creation of new routines. Everything we used to do with our loved one is now quite different without him/her. Grief is transformative. Use the changes it demands as a stimulus to creating useful routines. There are numerous rituals and routines to choose from depending on your interests and belief systems that can help you ease into your new life. Be open to the new and choose to strengthen useful existing routines and rituals or start new ones.



Source by Lou LaGrand

Pollution of the Five Elements

Everything in this universe is made of five elements – earth, water, air, fire and space. These five elements are also present in the human body. If these elements are polluted in the external world, they are also contaminated in the human body, because that which is outside is also inside. However, it needs to be mentioned, that of the five elements, space and fire cannot get contaminated because of their very nature.

The nature of fire, is to burn everything it comes into contact with, to ashes, to its base element. It has no discrimination; it consumes and devours everything it touches.

Space is infinite and holds everything within it and yet is not touched by anything. Nothing exists without space. It cannot be stained; it cannot be contaminated. So, we are left only with the other three elements, earth, water and air that can be polluted.

What is the root cause of these elements is what the Upanishad rishis questioned. Can they exist by themselves? Do they have a consciousness that can say “I exist”? Who says they exist? “I” say they exist.

Who is this “I”?

This “I” is an entity that is aware of its own existence and everything around it. The final question put forth by the Upanishad rishis was “What is the root cause of this “I”?

Who is to say this “I” exists? And they came to the irrefutable conclusion that this “I” is the causeless cause of everything that exists. It needs no proof of its own existence and gives proof to the existence of everything else by its “awareness”. Therefore, this “I” is consciousness that is existence and awareness; what is termed in Sanatana Dharma as “sat” and “chit”. Also this “I” is termed “atman” and is analogous to light for it has the knowledge of everything through awareness. It is also called swayam jyoti, self effulgence. One light does not need another light to illumine its existence. This “I” or light is present in everyone. Just as a light bulb glows within the casing of a glass bulb and yet spreads its light everywhere, this atman shines in the casing of a physical body and yet spreads its light everywhere. When this consciousness revels in the pure awareness of its own existence, it experiences bliss, the highest and purest form of happiness and sheer joy. It is also the ultimate as it is the causeless cause of everything. This is what is called Atman or God. The words atman and I are synonymous. On an individual level it is called Atman, but on a universal level it is called Paramatman. The whole goal of life is in finding this oneness (Brahmatmaikya bhava) or identity of the Atman with Paramatman, individual Self (atman) with the Universal Self (Brahman).

In order to experience this state of oneness of the Self with the Universal Self, Sanatana Dharma prescribed a way of life that took a comprehensive outlook of both the external world as well as the inner world. They regarded everything in this world as sacred and had a reverent attitude towards everything and worshipped the five elements and nature itself.

The next question naturally follows, “How did they worship?

There is what is called Pancha Puja, worship of the five elements. This puja is performed to the main God, be it Vishnu, Lalitambika or Ganesha in the form of the essence of the five elements.

Correspondingly, these five elements are given a special place of residence in the chakras of the subtle body of the human body as mentioned in Kundalini yoga, which is the practice of the yoga or union of Shiva and Shakti.

In this ritualistic puja, the most sacred and auspicious physical offerings representing the five elements are made to the divinity who is worshiped with the chanting of powerful bijaksharas, seed letters in a very reverential manner.

1. Fragrant sandalwood paste representing the earth element in the muladhara chakra, the root chakra is offered while chanting the lam bijakshara, seed letter.

2. Nectarean food representing the water element in the Svadhishthana chakra is offered while chanting the ‘vam’ bijakshara.

3. A lighted lamp representing the fire element in the Manipura chakra, in the solar plexus is offered while chanting the ‘ram’ bijakshara.

4. Fragrant flowers representing the air element in the Anahata chakra, the heart chakra are offered while chanting the ‘ham’ bijakshara.

5. Fragrant incense representing the space element in the vishuddhi chakra, the throat chakra is offered while chanting the ‘yam’ bijakshara.

Ajna chakra, the third eye chakra is the seat of knowledge and is beyond the elements. Sahasrara chakra, the thousand petalled lotus in the crown chakra also does not pertain to the elements and is the place where shakti is united with Shiva.

Physical offerings symbolizing these elements are made through the chanting of mantras and powerful seed letters called bijaksharas. Seed letters resound in space and their vibrations are carried in their subtlest forms through the medium of fire, water, air, earth and space to Paramatman.

The rishis of Sanatana Dharma could control these elements and make them do what they wanted. Their pujas were performed to thank and appease the elements and keep them in balance.

Water is the elixir of life, earth is called Mother Earth for it provides us with everything for our sustenance and air is called prana vayu, vital life giving force. The greatness of each of these elements will be discussed in the next article. How do we show them due respect by developing the right attitude toward them is the subject of the next article.



Source by Usha Prabhakar

Quit Smoking… Seven Smokers All In a Row

Because I help people to quit smoking, I couldn’t help but notice seven smokers all in a row.

Recently when arriving back in my old hometown I drove past the regional hospital and I witnessed a curious sight. On an old brick fence out the front of the original entrance were seven hospital workers all smoking, sitting side by side in a row.

It looked like a scene from the 1970’s although I assume in those days they would have had the luxury of smoking in the hospital canteen or the nurses lunch room. The truly bizarre thing was that it was happening at all.

I suppose given there could be two hundred plus staff that seven weren’t many. In my years of helping smokers to quit I have worked with many nurses and some doctors, even those working in the cancer wards treating those who were there with lung cancer.

I suppose I realised that human behaviour isn’t always logical, sensible or rational, and often it isn’t. My clients have also included many personal trainers and yoga instructors and in the many decades I have trained and instructed martial arts it is still not uncommon for people to go outside for a smoke during a training break.

Smoking has always operated along side people’s efforts to be healthy and to help others. For most of the history of smoking it was not seen as a physical impediment to wellness. Of course we now know the truth about tobacco.

For those who embrace fitness and still smoke, obviously it is not good for them, but now there is a psychological price to pay.

This comes from maintaining a separation of parts, almost like two identities, one that looks in the mirror and sees a person who promotes a healthy life, and another who smokes and feels ashamed on some level of their own behaviour.

Those seven hospital staff would leave their old brick fence and return to the wards where they would again adopt the identity of a professional carer. All the while hoping that no one would uncover their guilty secret.

Some non smoking patients may notice and the smoking patients who are struggling with not being able to easily go outside to smoke would be certain to smell the smoke on their hair and clothes.

We all have our secrets and our multiple identities, but the good news is that using hypnosis that anytime a smoke wants to quit there is a successful pathway for them to do it.



Source by Ian Newton

Brindavan Express by Mr V Desikan

The book under review Brindavan Express written by Mr V Desikan is a fantastic book.

Mr Desikan belongs to Tamilnadu.

He has obtained his degree in electronics from the Madras Institute of Technology and joined in Defence Research and Development organization at Bangalore. He is the recipient of ‘Scientist of the Year (1983) DRDO award from the late Prime Minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi

He has jotted down his thoughts systematically from time to time and like a sculptor creates his dream statue, has written down articles weaving his beautiful thoughts with a humorous touch.

The book has 73 articles under twelve captions namely My roots, Emotions, Life is a game, My living town – Bangalore, Food, Music and Novels, Future Tense, Language, Growing old, Science and Engineering, What is in a name and Mixture.

One of his friends Mr RV Rajan induced him to publish these article in a book form.

The articles were published in a leading English daily Deccan Herald. His style is lucid.

Each and every article kindles readers thought process. His conclusions are compelling and convincing.

As a scientist he dreams towards a better future where every thing is perfect. He points out that the future lies in Nano technology.

There are many quotations through out the book from great men like Rabindranath Tagore, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Shakespeare, G.K.Chesterton etc.

The book makes an interesting reading. He has

The book is neatly printed and can be obtained from leading book shops.

Some excerpts from the book:

About his Boss:

My boss Burman, a confirmed bachelor was in charge of system integration. He was a chain smoker. If he liked someone,he would call him an ‘idiot’ or ‘a fool’ – I was one of his favorite idiots!

On seeing his dream vehicle, the 40 feet long SANGAM:

I went towards my favorite SANGAM and stood there for a long time. I looked at her and gently whispered (what Brutus told Cassius):

‘Forever and forever farewell, my dear

If we do meet again, why, we shall smile.

If not, why then this parting was well made.’

About Sundal:

If there be Chat Centres, fast food outlets all over our cities, why can’t someone open a ‘Sundal Center’?

About KDK (Kumbakonam Degree (Coffee) Kaapi:

Thank you KDK

You bring me joy in the morning

You bring me joy in the morning;

About the requirement of a positive newspaper:

I have a real problem on hand. All my life I have enjoyed sipping my morning coffee, reading the morning newspaper. I have recently discontinued my habit as it is no more a pleasant experience. Now I need a ‘Positive Newspaper’ badly.

I have a dream:

My idea of Next-gen city is that it should be

Totally green and with Zero pollution

With efficient and complete public transportation

With minimum private vehicles

Total Connectivity – Airports, roads, sea (where applicable)

Full Safety

I congratulate Mr Desikan for releasing this wonderful book. I strongly recommend this thought provoking book for the book lovers.



Source by Santhanam Nagarajan

Interview with Brad Dixon, Atlanta Reiki Master

Reiki is a form of laying-of-the-hands energy healing developed by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan, early 1900s. Today 300,000-plus Reiki practitioners live in the U.S. alone. The numbers are increasing in vast amounts.

The following is an interview with Atlanta Reiki Master, Brad Dixon.

>Q: Brad, how many years have you been involved with Reiki? What are your “credentials?”

>I first learned Reiki in 1996 for the improvement of my personal health. I continued my training after moving to Atlanta in 1999 through the Usui Master and Karuna Master levels. I opened my practice, Wellspring Reiki, in 2002, offering both sessions and classes. I recently became certified as a facilitator of La-Ho-Chi, another powerful form of energy work.

>Q: What sort of problems do people come to you with? And how does Reiki affect these clients?

>Reiki works on all levels – mind, body, and spirit – depending upon what the clients’ needs are. Some people come to me for specific health problems while many simply want to explore new means of stress management. A lot of people come for the Reiki experience simply to broaden their horizons.

During a session, they learn about the importance of healthy energy flow through the body’s principal energy centers – called chakras – which are located at the top of the crown, third eye (just above the brow area between the eyes), throat, heart (center of chest), solar plexus (just above the naval), sacrum (just below naval) and root (at the tailbone). A typical Reiki session involves hand placements focusing very high vibrational energy on the chakras to restore them to optimal functioning.

Stress, negative thinking, and unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause our chakras to become imbalanced or even closed. Keeping these important energy gateways properly functioning is vitally important to our health, because disruptions in energy flow frequently lead to illness. So Reiki is great preventative care. It’s also helpful for health problems that have already manifested. Any problem involving mind, body or spirit can benefit from this healing technique. All I can promise, though, is that it’s good for stress reduction and relaxation.

What people experience during a Reiki session varies. Most people sense the energy as soothing heat or pleasant tingling, and some feel completely enveloped in radiant warmth. As the energy breaks away negative feelings like tension and fear, people sometimes drift in and out of sleep or feel like they’re floating. Many of my clients have reported profound experiences.

>Q: Is Reiki difficult to learn? What makes for a good Reiki healer?

>The beauty of Reiki is that virtually anyone can easily learn it. It requires no prior experience with meditation or other healing arts. It’s widely accepted in the Reiki community that this healing art is a gift from a Higher Power (however you choose to define that) that wanted humankind to raise its consciousness. But Reiki isn’t a religion, so even if you reject that idea, you can still learn this healing art, and it will work for you.

In Western Reiki classes based on the traditional system of Reiki developed by Mikao Usui in Japan, there are four attunement levels (I, II, Advanced, III), each of which confer increasingly heightened ability to use this energy. I divide the training into two one-day classes (I/II, Advanced/III), so the basics can be learned very quickly. A lot of important learning, of course, involves regular practice. Many people just want to learn it for use on themselves and friends/family.

For those that feel guided to work with others professionally, I think it’s important to approach the work with good intentions and get your ego out of the way. Don’t let the title “Reiki Master” go to your head. The Level III/Master training can easily be obtained by anyone (in fact, I encourage it).

Reiki energy, by nature, is spiritually guided to do what it needs to do on whatever level (mind, body, spirit) it’s most needed at that moment. So if practitioners just focus their intent on being a clear, open channel for the energy to pass through, remarkable things can happen. With time, practice and dedication, Reiki practitioners can develop heightened intuitive ability to read or perceive energy fields, but seeing auras and getting psychic impressions isn’t necessary to be a perfectly effective Reiki healer.

>Q: Reiki seems to be growing within the mass consciousness. Why do you think that is?

>I believe the explosive growth of yoga, with terminology including chakras, has done much to deepen curiosity and understanding of our energy. On many of my students’ personal paths, Reiki is the next stop after yoga. Many people in the Western world have also embraced the concept of feng shui in recent years, recognizing that the proper flow of energy — or “chi” — through the environment is vital for maintaining a happy home. They are also beginning to realize that this energy flows through their physical bodies as well. Awareness of the importance of maintaining strong levels of life-force energy is rising even in medical circles (I’ve had several doctors come to me for both sessions and classes).

Also driving interest in Reiki is the growth of spirituality. People all over seem to be having spiritual awakenings, pursuing enlightenment in many different fashions. The great thing about Reiki is that people of all religions can practice it. I’ve even had a Southern Baptist minister take my class, and he loved it.

Knowledge of Reiki sped up much faster in the 1980s after the death of Hawayo Takaka. She is much respected for bringing Reiki to the West from Japan in the 1930s, but she introduced some restrictions that weren’t part of the traditional system. For instance, she required that Reiki only be taught orally; nothing could be written down. She also charged an extremely high price for the Master training, $10,000, so there weren’t nearly as many teachers to share the gift. In the years after her death, teachers began charging much more reasonable rates as well as writing books to spread the word.

I believe that the information treasure-trove of the Internet is doing more than anything these days to build awareness of Reiki. Many people are exploring online for alternative means of improving their health. Like me in the 1990s, they’re getting fed up with a medical system focusing on treating symptoms rather than finding root causes. I’m hopeful that the trend toward planting some Eastern practices into Western medicine will continue. The growing acceptance of acupuncture by the medical establishment in this country shows that this merger has already begun.

>Q: What has been your most profound experience(s) with Reiki?

>For me, the most miraculous thing about Reiki is the attunement process, and I feel blessed to get to regularly facilitate it. No one’s quite certain of why this fairly simple ritual works. It requires a student to simply sit peacefully in a chair while I touch their hands and shoulders in a few specific ways while focusing my intent visually and energetically. In 10 minutes or less, they are plugged into this universal life force that is of much higher vibration than energy they could previously access. Even students who already practiced other types of energy work are amazed by the difference.

Attunements are always successful, only requiring the intent of the student to receive it and the teacher to pass it on. Many people believe that angels and spirit guides are involved in adjusting the energy field. Others speculate it’s a latent ability in all of us that simply needs to be turned on. All I know is that I feel profoundly wonderful from the intense energy passing through me during attunements, whatever their source. To my knowledge, no one has ever been able to debunk their success.

Brad Dixon regularly schedules Reiki classes in the Atlanta area, and for affordable prices. Click here to visit Brad’s website.

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Source by Jason Parker

Quitting Smoking – Are You Ready For The Smoking Police?

I notice media stories about smoking but this one really stands out. In China they have made smoking illegal in some cities in office buildings. To police this, keen anti smoker volunteers with government authority come into businesses and fine smokers about $70.

The article was comical, because there were smokers lining the stair wells and corridors and they scattered as the inspectors arrived.

In Australia this wouldn’t be accepted and such volunteers would need to be very brave indeed.

But of course there are many sanctioned restrictions for smokers and these are likely to increase, but I doubt we will see smoking inspectors hanging around restaurants with a tape measure waiting to pounce if they are a few millimetres to close to the diners.

On one level this is funny, but the reality is there is nothing funny about living your life as a social pariah.

You may not see yourself this way, but I live in a busy restaurant area of Brisbane and I observe smokers and those who observe them. There is also a level of discrimination occurring. In many places of employment if you are known, or suspected to be a smoker, then your chance of getting the job is severely reduced.

As time goes on you would have to ask yourself that aside from all the health risks, is it really worth it anymore.

Just imagine that you never had to walk away from a restaurant or a party to smoke, that you never again had to find a lane way in a city to have a cigarette at lunch, or that you never have to smoke outside while your family waits inside for you to return smelling like an ashtray.

What about never having to worry that your friends or work mates will discover your guilty secret. Or having to change clothes and wash your hair before meeting that special person who you think doesn’t suspect what you are doing.

Life can be difficult enough without making it any harder. So why do it. Why not just leave it all behind you? Just start a fresh new life where you breathe fresh air into your lungs instead of toxic smoke.

Advanced hypnosis will quickly give you the freedom you need to step into a new life where all the old habits are gone and you are once again able to build a healthy future for yourself and those in your life.



Source by Ian Newton