A Short Introduction Written and assembled from sources by Stephen Knapp This is a short description of the basics of Vedic culture and its philosophy. Many people do not know quite what it is, and it is often described incorrectly by many who are not a part of it. However, it is not as mysterious or complex as it is often portrayed to be. So here in the next few pages you can get a quick review and understanding of what it is.
Get up at 4. This is Brahmamuhurta which is extremely favourable for meditation on God. The first spiritual instruction is: Why should you get up at 4 a. Because it gives you more time, and that time can be utilised for sadhana.
The hallmark of a spiritual aspirant is that he is awake among the slumbering, vigilant among the heedless, alert among the indolent and he attains liberation.
Therefore, if others are slumbering when you are awake, at least there will be no disturbance and you will be saving time. Time is the essence of life. If you sleep away you lose time, if you lose time, you lose life.
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: I swallow up everything, including human life. But if time is wasted then Gurudev has to say: Therefore, getting up earlier gives you that time which otherwise you might not have had during your busy daytime hours to practice sadhana. At the same time this period is free of disturbance, the mind is calm and the atmosphere is filled with sattva guna.
When the day dawns and the sun rises and daylight reveals the whole world of names and forms before you, the mind gets thrown into activity. But in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours the world is not visible and therefore the senses do not draw the mind outward and cause extrovertedness.
So, this period is conducive to introspection which is essential for prayerfulness. May God bless you and enable you to follow this instruction. Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana for Japa and meditation for half on hour, facing the east or the north.
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Increase the period gradually to three hours. Do Sirshasana and Sarvangasana for keeping up Brahmacharya and health. Take light physical exercises as walking, etc. The body is the spiritual manifestation of the Supreme Being in its grossest form. The Spirit is the ultimate invisible form of gross prakriti matter as is manifest as the material universe.
This is not only the declared truth in Vedanta Siddhanta and in great hymns like Sivanand Lahari by Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya, that maya is the achintya anirvachaniya sakti unthinkable, indescribable power of Parabrahman.
It is also the direct intutional experience of great God-realised sages who actually beheld and discovered the oneness of prakriti and the Supreme Parabrahman. Thus there is only one prakriti and Purusha. There are not two entities called matter and Spirit. Matter is involved Spirit; Spirit is evolved Matter.
At the grossest terminal of that Reality it manifests as matter and at the subtlest, transcendental, other extreme, it is pure imponderable Spirit, about which the only description is to be silent. It is not for the jewel-box that one prizes or values a piece of jewellery, it is because of the jewel that the box also is important.
If the jewel is not there, the box is not given much attention.
It is because of the presence of the jewel within that the box is treated with great care. It is carefully protected and locked away. Therefore, Gurudev at one stroke touches upon both Spirit and matter. Matter, because it is the container of the Spirit. Spirit, because it is that which makes matter valuable, precious, of importance.
If the Spirit is not there, they burn matter into ashes, they remove it as quickly as possible. Asana a The first part of this instruction deals with japa and meditation.
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