Overview

Here at TiltedCandle, I use my understanding of modern hypnotism to unpack ancient spiritual practices and identify common elements in different ancient techniques.

This post indexes the good stuff you can find here on TiltedCandle.

Ultra-short menu:

Blurbs for each one …. More

End of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series

Hamburger Heaven

Culturally, Hindus don’t eat cows.  A Hindu man living in America once told my father he eats cows when he’s over here because, “In this country you have a different breed.”  But in India, he didn’t eat them.

(4 Yogas Main) This ends the TiltedCandle series on Hinduism’s 4 Yogas. Boiled down to the basic drivers that make the 4 Yogas go, we have: wp.me/p2ukOd-5W

  • To identify with the soul and not the body.
  • To love God.
  • Selflessness by priority: to become selfless in devotion to the common good.
  • Selflessness by wisdom: to know the mind of God so well one’s Self is simply not important.

You can see each driver is essentially the same pattern, adapted to different functions of the soul: using deep understanding, or love, or the tendency to take action, or mental focus. Therefore you can put yourself through the same pattern with your mind, your heart, your will, or your identity.

A monk who meditates for a living and a worshipper who participates in ecstatic dance are not really doing different things.  They are using different parts of their humanity to do the same thing.

The pattern of Christianity, to love the world, is not fundamentally different from the Bhakti notion of loving God. In fact, when Christ was asked what the most important commandment was, he said, “To love God. The second most important, which is like the first, is to love your fellow man.”

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Karma Yoga — The Way of Work (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

English: Mother Theresa with Dr. S. Brahmochary

Mother Teresa with Dr. S. Brahmochary

(4 Yogas Main) Karma Yoga — The Way of Work — is for the active type of person. There are two modes.  wp.me/p2ukOd-5S

A. emotional mode. Work with no attachment to success, focused on one’s duty to the community.

B. reflective mode. Witnessing of self, focused on duty with no notion of profit.

In either mode, the essential ingredient is selfless devotion to service.

In modernity, the one person most known for selfless devotion to service is undoubtedly Mother Teresa.  She was already a nun, traveling to her new home convent in Calcutta, when she got what she described as “the Call within the Call,” to serve the needs of the poor and hungry.  She explained that this was a command from heaven.

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Bhakti Yoga — The Way of Love (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

Krishna and Putana - ISKCON desire tree

Krishna and Putana – Hare Krishna (ISKCON) painting

Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Love, is for the passionate type of person (4 Yogas Main).

The process is:

  1. Adopt God as an object of obsessive love.
  2. Connect to God using every form of love:  parent-child, friend, lover.
  3. Adopt a specific manifestation of God — in Hinduism, a particular diety — as your primary image and symbol of God. Make all others secondary.

The Hare Krishnas are the most well-known for Bhakti Yoga.  Their group worship consists of singing and dancing.  The musician sings a round of the chant, which is in Sanskrit (the sacred language of India — think of Latin in Europe), and the congregation repeats it.

Typically this begins with the congregation half-singing, half mumbling the chant — just like Christians singing hymns in church — but they get more and more into it, more and more worked up, like teenagers at a pep rally.

Individual worship may consist of chanting, reading the Bhagavad-Gita, saying rosaries, or so forth.

The purpose of all this is to get the person worked up and emotionally involved with the diety.  The Hare Krishnas have the goal of so fixating on their desire to be with God that they are totally focused on this at the time of their death.  The name of this mental state is “Krishna consciousness” and the effect is to ensure that they go to Krishna in the after-life.

Hindus often regard Christianity as a kind of Bhakti yoga.  Christ said that the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your being.  He also said that the second commandment, which is like the first, is to love humanity in the same way. More

The 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

Facepage of the October 2007 issue of Hinduism...

Facepage of the October 2007 issue of Hinduism Today

(4 Yogas Main) Once a person decides to seek enlightenment, there are 5 Abstentions and 5 Observations that are a preliminary step to the productive work of the relevant Yoga.

5 Abstentions:

  • doing injury
  • lying
  • stealing
  • sensuality
  • greed

5 Observances:

  • cleanliness
  • contentment
  • self-control
  • studiousness
  • contemplation of the Divine

On the one hand, this is basic stuff.  On the other, to actually live it requires great devotion.

There’s a story of a holy man who saw a beetle drowning in a pool of water, and used a branch to fish it out.  It fell back in, and he helped it out again.  They kept on like that, one falling in and the other helping it out, until the man’s student said, “Master, why do you keep doing that when you know it’s the creature’s nature to fall into the water?”

He replied, “Why do you ask when you know it’s my nature to help it out?”

The 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances are part of the path of spiritual renunciation.  You can think of them as prerequisites to any of the 4 Yogas.

Normal People Are On The Path, Too (part of the 4 Yogas of Hinduism series!)

The general teaching in Hinduism is that everyone is on the spiritual path. (4 Yogas main)  This is understood as a long-term evolution of the soul that proceeds through many lifetimes.  Reincarnation teaches that after death we will be reborn as humans (or possibly as animals) and that we have been through many lives leading up to this one.

People who have not progressed far are on the path of desire.

The Path of Desire More

Introducing the 4 Yogas of Hinduism Series

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in...

A sadhu performing namaste (W:Anjali mudra) in Madurai, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hinduism teaches there is a basic pattern to human development. The cosmology teaches people are reincarnated, and (often) that a person is born into their place in the social hierarchy depending on how far along they are. I’m not getting into that part.

There are 4 Yogas, four basic modalities of human spiritual development. They are independent of one another, and appropriate to different kinds of people, according to their characters.

Before the adoption of a yoga, there is the process by which a normal person develops into a spiritual seeker.

As one becomes a spiritual seeker, there is a preliminary clearing-out step in which one adopts the 5 Abstentions and the 5 Observances.

The spiritual seeker will then be drawn to one of the 4 Yogas:

The Way of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga) – note:  links go hot as articles are posted.
The Way of Love (Bhakti Yoga)
The Way of Work (Karma Yoga)
The Way of Meditation (Raja Yoga)

These are basic types, not rigid categories. They are forms by which the human psyche may attain the Divine — either Being with the Divine, or Becoming One with the Divine. Seekers usually have a preference. More

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