Satsang: Rituals For the Deceased; and Meditation, a Key Practice
Rituals For the Deceased
Disciple: If I want to bring the ashes of a loved one to India for the peace and evolution of the Soul, what is the best procedure to follow?
Guru: First of all, it is ideal to disburse the ashes in the ocean or river within thirteen days of the person’s passing. In the meantime, do not bring the ashes into your home.
Also, if you bring the ashes to India, be sure to keep them in a bag separate from your luggage.
Disciples may contact Ma in advance for support in arranging for ceremonies in India. Do NOT bring the ashes to the ashram in Nikora as they should not enter the ashram grounds.
We are also in the process of putting a resource guide together that will contain basic information about how to make these arrangements. In addition, the Rites at Dying Workshop that was held in Antioch will be out on dvd.
Meditation, A Key Practice
Q: Can you explain how and why meditation in particular interacts with or stimulates the kundalini compared with, say, mantra repetition or chanting?
G: Kundalini can be activated through any of the practices, including mantra repetition, meditation and even hatha yoga. Awakening the kundalini is one thing, but taking it to the deeper levels is where the state of meditation comes in.
The path of yoga is said to be the eightfold path. The first two are the yamas and niyamas, which are a guideline given by the yogis to help a person prepare for that final state and experience. They tell how one should live, basically: how the mind should be, how our interactions should be. You don’t want to be distracted in any external way, because the external mind is not going to give the inner experience. The whole point of the process is to go inward. The mind and the senses, therefore, need to be pulled in. The basic guidelines tell how to feel satisfied in life, how to eat in moderation, and other steps that lead to a stronger physical body and a stronger and purer mind, because it is only a strong-willed person and a pure mind that can concentrate.
With this basic foundation, the next step is asanas—that is, hatha yoga, the physical postures to strengthen the physical body—because it is through the tool of the physical body that we interact in the world, and it is also through the physical body that the mind works. The soul is inside the body, but it is working through the mind, and therefore, the physical body is an essential part of that process of being strong.
The next step is pranayama, deep breathing exercises, which help to strengthen the mind. That is the process where the mind, which has a tendency to run around, is slowly but surely taken inward.
Once you are able to stop the mind from running around, then the next step is what is known as pratyahara, the state where your senses are pulled within. The senses want to pull the mind out, and you want to stop that process and pull within.
The next step is dharana, or concentration and after concentration, you perform dhyana, which is meditation. It is meditation that leads to the state of samadhi, or self-realization, the eighth limb of yoga. No matter what practice is used, at some point that level of concentration must come and that concentration must lead to the state of meditation. Therefore, meditation becomes the key practice. Everything below that is just an external practice, but when that external practice has brought you to the state where it is no longer external, then you are beginning to see the fruits of that practice. You may be chanting a mantra, but then you chant it or you repeat it with such concentration that the mantra is dissolved and you are taken to your true state within; then you are beginning to meditate. That’s why meditation is the most profound state, which will take you to that inner aspect, because spirituality occurs within and meditation is the only state that will take the mind internally and finally to the level of the soul.
If you are hungry, you might go to the kitchen and prepare a meal but just preparing the meal is not going to satisfy the hunger. You have to sit down and eat. Meditation is that state of eating. It is what brings the experience of taste and satisfaction of the hunger. No matter what practice may be done externally, at some point that external quality needs to dissolve and become internal, and that’s meditation.