Friday, April 29, 2011

Art such as, Dance, Music, A Path to God-Realisation?

Bharatanatyam Dancer Displaying the Vishnuswaroopa.
 Namaste, Hari Om,

 Can liberation be found through the Arts (i.e. Dancing, Music and even painting)? Yes.

The medium of devotion will always be different, praying sitting, standing, dancing, painting or playing an instrument etc.. But the feeling (Bhava) will be the same devotional love. I have met a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer who have explained the emotions during a devotional dance, its the same as someone reciting mantras, playing an instrument or even meditating (More on Bharatanatyam later on). The love through dance is a devotional and spiritual aspect that allows the dancer to connect with a higher power. Same for the musical instrumnets as you will read below.

The Swaha International Article adds to the point above. Music is also looked upon as a spiritual connection just like Bharatnatyam. Article Can be found here also pasted below from the Swaha International Site;  


Article from Swaha International:

There are various routes to God-realisation; Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga and various other pathways, but one of the easiest, cheapest, quickest, safest and surest way to attain God-realisation is Sankirtan Yoga. It is a universally-accepted fact that sangeet or music is the fountain-source of all our being. The emotional appeal that it arouses embellishes the inner aspiration of humanity. The science of music goes hand in hand with Bhakti Yoga. “Music is a synthesis of the various Yogas or paths to God-realisation” (Swami Sivananda.)

The art or science of music is a means of shuffling of this mortal coil, and for enjoying a sacred pleasure while yet living. Music is Naada Yoga and many adepts in Yoga have recognized that there are vital centres in the subtle body of man which vibrate and produce certain astral sounds. Great minstrels of the Lord such as Mirabai, Purandaradas, Surdas and Narsi communed with their Master through music. When Mantras are chanted or kirtan sung, these inner vital centres are influenced and the spiritual power latent in them is made manifest. This power enables the Nadopasaka-(the spiritual aspirant who has made music his spiritual Sadhana) to acquire absolute control over his mind and senses, thereby enabling him to ascend to the super conscious realms of Samadhi(total absorption in Divinity).
Sangeet breaks the three Granthies or knots of ignorance: Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi. It purifies the Naaries (Naari Shuddhi) and the Praanamaya-Kosha (vital air sheath) and easily awakens the dormant Kundalini that is coiled up in Muladhaara Chakra and eventually induces a divine ecstatic mood (Bhava Samadhi).
In addition, music also destroys the Rajas(materialism) and Tamas(sluggishness) modes of nature and fills the mind with Sattwa (truth). The aspirant who practices this ‘Naad Yoga’ succeeds in rising above Dehadyaasa(identification of body) ,shifting his focus to the spiritual. His choice of music, songs, etc. is guided by ‘bhakti ras’- the essence of devotion. Here it is noteworthy to remember that vulgar music and obscene songs which are usually accompanied by intoxicants is invariably the outcome of passion and base thoughts and has a deep tinge of lust and other negativities. Such songs and music appeal to the gross, lower animal instincts that arouse likewise behavior.

The Lord says to Saint Narada, “I dwell not in Vaikuntha (Heaven), nor in the hearts of Sages and Saints, but where my devotees sing. There I am, O Narada.” Music is not to be neglected or brushed aside. It must be a legitimate ambition of everyone, to be able to sing or play some instrument. Music gives peace and tranquilizes our minds when we are agitated. It is the duty of every one of us to lose no time to earn and keep this rare means with which to propitiate God and enter “Vaikuntha,” the highest aim of life in this human birth. Music is a sacred science, its goal being God- Consciousness.

Importance of an Open Mind

Namaste, Hari Om,

This is a nice question to ask, what is the importance of an open mind. Why should we have an open mind? This quote from Paramahansa Yogananda will set the tone;

"Those who seek prosperity for themselves alone are in the end bound to become poor, or to suffer from mental inharmony; but those who consider the whole world as their home, and who really care and work for group or world prosperity, activate astral forces that lead them ultimately to the place where they can find the individual prosperity that is legitimately theirs. This is a sure and secret law."

Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons 
Copyright © 2011 Self-Realization Fellowship. All Rights Reserved. 

To many times in our lives we come across things that takes us out of our comfort zone, generally we do not like to be out of our comfort zone due to a different feeling or view. Having an open mind challenges our perception and makes us grow once we overcome the challenge of our own perception.

Breaking the daily routine of our life can develop our brains in greater ways, also it will allow us to look at the world from a different view. For example, if we are used to doing the same thing every morning, afternoon and night then we would become mechanical and almost complete these tasks without thinking. If we change our route, read a different book or stimulate our metal capacity by engaging in new topics we can develop our mind and also see our "routine" from a different view.

Try it during your daily routine, instead of driving one way to a location, take an alternative route, your brain will become much more stimulated as the pattern is broken and thinking has increased.

The same should be done for how we look at the world, take your thoughts in a different direction in your daily routine. If you are used to seeing someone for who they are, take a different turn in your thoughts, you might see things you have never seen in someone before.

Traveling is another great way to have an open mind, when someone travels they can see the world from different views while challenging their own mental capacity to process differences. Its always said everything in the world can be found in India, its a figure of speech as not everything in the world can actually be found their. If you look at the land it contains a vast array of culture, biodiversity and conditions.

Take this one step further, traveling and seeing the world will open your mind as with exposure comes experience and growth - But what about traveling within? Looking within to gain spiritual connections and exposure to grow from within? There are many people who find peace from within, the mind is an extremely powerful origin. The below quote is from the Huffpost Living Source site, the author Ed and Deb Shapiro do a great job of taking something deep and making it simple.

"Thoughts may be even subtler, but when used purposefully, they are equally powerful. As we think, so we become: like a domino effect, our thoughts influence our feelings; from our feeling are born our words and our actions; our thoughts affect our behavior and beliefs, whom we care for and whom we dismiss. They also affect the unseen and unknown as we send our thought waves and energy out into the universe. The greatest discovery is that we can change our life and the world by changing the way we are thinking. If we think it's impossible, it's impossible; if we think it's possible, then it becomes highly probable.
"We need to understand our own minds; we need to see our own patterns and expressions," says Joseph Goldstein in "Be the Change." "In a way it is so obvious. If we are full of judgment or anger or fear, we are just contributing to the problem. And if we let judgment go and become more loving and accepting and compassionate in ourselves, then that is what we give to the world." - Huffpost living Source; 

Meditation helps us keep our open mind, we should never judge or cast a negative view on others. When we can recognize each other as a divine spark of light, then we will say, "What does this physical world matter anymore"? What are we really seeing when we see someone else? Always allow yourself to be kind to others, its a hard habit to develop but we all can strive day by day. The power of meditation can go beyond the physical world to help develop our minds to become open. The power of the Chakras (More on this later) will bring your awareness to new levels. The more we look within and reflect upon our actions to others we will become a lighthouse of goodness as we will create positive energy. Someone at a satsang I went to said, "Negative energy is always attracted to positive energy, and if that positive energy is larger, then the negative will loose its effect and eventually become negative" - she was right in this saying because if someone is boiling with a temper, by keeping your cool and calm mind open, you can lower the boiling temper with kind sweet words.

The importance of an open mind will help us transcend and grow past the physical world, we should all try to change our habits to get out of our comfort zone. Not everyone can have life changing events lined up, but it all starts from within, change the way you think or view things and you will see the importance of an open mind.

Jai Shri SitaRama,
- SimpleHinduBhai