Daily Routine of a new meditator


Wake up – sit up in bed, repeat the three oaths one took at the time of initiation

Full bath or half-bath

Meditation, ideally doing kiirtan (chanting Baba Nam Kevalam) before meditation; finish with “Guru Puja

Yoga asanas (postures)


— Daily work —


Meditation, ideally doing kiirtan (chanting Baba Nam Kevalam) before meditation; finish with “Guru Puja

Yoga asanas (postures)





The power of a symbol: the pratiik

This is the symbol of Ananda Marga called the “pratiik“. Pratiik means emblem.
Shrii Shrii A’nandamu’rti:


“A triangle with one vertex up superimposed on another triangle with one vertex down, with the rising sun having a swastika inside. These are symbols of energy, knowledge, advancement and permanent victory, respectively.”

The triangle pointing downwards symbolizes internal development or meditation for self-realization. The triangle pointing upwards symbolizes action in the external world. The two triangles are in perfect balance. A person strives for balance between their internal life with their external life – service in the world.

The rising sun indicates progress that is the result of a balanced way of life. Thus the spiritual aspirant is progresses towards their goal of self-realization.

This spiritual victory is indicated by the swastika. Swastika is is a Sanskrit word that means “to have a good existence of a permamnet nature.” It is composed of su which meaning “good” and asti which means “to become.”

The Pratiik is a symbol that expresses a universal ideology of Self-Realization and service to humanity.

20 Science-Based Reasons to Make Meditation Your New Year’s Resolution

This article was taken from http://www.fulfillmentdaily.com

The Challenge: Stress, work and life challenges can get the best of us.
The Science: Research shows that meditation is linked to a host of benefits from happiness to health!
The Solution: Meditate to feel calmer, happier, healthier, more productive and more in charge.

Trying to find a New Year’s Resolution that’s really worth it? How about one that will boost your resilience?

This coming New Year will hopefully be full of wonderful surprises, but undoubtedly – like every year –  will also throw some challenges at us.  I started meditating soon after 9/11.  I was living in Manhattan, an already chaotic place, at an extremely chaotic time. I realized I had no control over my external environment. And I realized this would always be the case. No matter what we do, we never have full control over our jobs, partners, health, or environment.

However, there is one place we can have a say over: the state of our mind. As a friend once said to me “When my mind is ok, then everything is ok.” This statement is so simple yet also so profound. When I started meditating, I realized I was clamer despite any situations I encountered. What I didn’t realize, was that it would also make me healthier, happier, and more successful. Having witnessed the benefits, I devoted my PhD research at Stanford to studying the impact of meditation. I saw people from diverse backgrounds from college students to combat veterans benefit. In the last 10 years, hundreds of studies have been released.

Here are 20 scientifically-validated reasons you might want to get on the bandwagon come Jan 1 (if not today!)

It Boosts Your HEALTH

1 – Increases immune function (See here and here)

2 – Decreases Pain (see here)

3 – Decreases Inflammation at the Cellular Level (See here and here and here)

It Boosts Your HAPPINESS

4 – Increases Positive Emotion (here and here)

5 – Decreases Depression (see here)

6 – Decreases Anxiety (see here and here and here)

7 – Decreases Stress (see here and here)

It Boosts Your SOCIAL LIFE

Think meditation is a solitary activity? It may be (unless you meditate in a group which many do!) but it actually increases your sense of connection to others:

8 – Increases social connection & emotional intelligence (see here and – by yours truly – here)

9 – Makes you more compassionate (see here and here and here)

10 – Makes you feel less lonely (see here)


11 – Improves your ability to regulate your emotions (see here) (Ever flown off the handle or not been able to quiet your mind? Here’s the key)

12 – Improves your ability to introspect (see here & for why this is crucial see this post)

It Changes Your BRAIN (for the better)

13 – Increases grey matter (see here)

14 – Increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control (see here andhere)

15 – Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention (see here)

It Improves Your PRODUCTIVITY (yup, by doing nothing)

16 – Increases your focus & attention (see here and here and here and here)

17 – Improves your ability to multitask (see here)

18 – Improves your memory (see here)

19 – Improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box (see research by J. Schooler)

It Makes You WISE(R)

It gives you perspective: By observing your mind, you realize you don’t have to be slave to it. You realize it throws tantrums, gets grumpy, jealous, happy and sad but that it doesn’t have to run you. Meditation is quite simply mental hygiene: clear out the junk, tune your talents, and get in touch with yourself. Think about it, you shower every day and clean your body, but have you ever showered your mind? As a consequence, you’ll feel more clear and see thing with greater perspective. “The quality of our life depends on the quality of our mind,” writes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We can’t control what happens on the outside but we do have a say over the quality of our mind. No matter what’s going on, if your mind is ok, everything is ok. Right now.

It Keeps You REAL

Once you get to know your mind, you start to own your stuff and become more authentic, maybe even humble. You realize the stories and soap operas your mind puts you through and you gain some perspective on them. You realize most of us are caught up in a mind-drama and become more compassionate towards others.

And…the more you meditate, the more you seem to benefit, research studies such as this one suggest.

Myths about Meditation

Having an empty mind—nope, in fact, when you start meditating, you’ll find its quite the opposite

Sitting in lotus position—nope, you can sit on the couch (just don’t lie down, you’ll fall asleep)

Sitting for an hour a day—nope, small doses work just fine, (see here and – by yours truly – here)

Chanting in a language I don’t understand—nope, not unless that floats your boat

Buddhist, Hindu or religious—nope, not unless you make it so

Weird—what’s so weird about sitting and breathing? Besides, US congressmen, NFL football leagues and the US Marine Corps are doing it, how weird can it be?

Wearing robes—what?

“I can’t meditate” because…

I tried it once or twice and it didn’t work for me – did you know there are many different ways to meditate? There are so many techniques (Mindfulness, Transcendental Meditation, Loving-Kindness Meditation, Compassion, Yoga Nidra, Sudarshan Kriya, Vipassana), you have to find the shoe that fits.

I can’t clear my mind—no worries, while you’re sitting there you’ll experience the noisy chaos of a wound up mind that’s unwinding: tons of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Don’t worry about how you feel during, notice how you feel after and throughout the rest of the day

I can’t sit still—that’s ok, just sit comfortably, fidget if you need to

I get anxious—that’s also normal, all the junk’s coming up, learn some breathing practices to calm yourself down, exercise or do yoga before meditating

I hate sitting still—that’s fine, then go for a walk without your earphones, phone etc; or start with yoga; or do breathing exercises…give yourself time to just “be” without constantly “doing” something

I don’t have time – if you have time to read an article about meditation all the way through, you have time to meditate. Think of all those minutes you waste every day on the internet or otherwise, you can definitely fit in 20 minutes here or there to give your life a boost! Gandhi is quoted as saying “I’m so busy today, that… I’m going to meditate 2 hours instead of 1.”

Stages of spiritual development

The practice of Tantra can be divided into several stages. Everyone has his or her own individual saḿskáras (karmic reactions), and there is no denying that at the initial stage human beings are normally animals (and have hence been called “rational animals”).

A human being who lacks viveka [discrimination] is actually worse than an animal. Animals are undeveloped creatures, and thus certain behaviour on their part may be condoned. But humans are developed, so improper conduct by them cannot be condoned. The initial stage of sádhaná (spiritual practice) is meant for people of animal nature and is thus called pashvácára or pashubháva [pashu = “animal”].

When sádhakas (practitioners of sa’dhana’) advance in the process of sádhaná, guided by the instructions of the preceptor, they develop an ideation proper for human beings. At this stage they are called viira [heroic]. Just as animals are controlled through external pressure, in the stage of pashvácára sádhaná disciples must be controlled by the external application of pressure of circumstances. This will help establish them in viirabháva. But those who are more elevated than animals do not depend on external pressure for spiritual progress. Their progress is determined by both external pressure and internal urge.

Sarve ca pashavah santi talavad bhútale naráh;
Teśáḿ jiṋána prakásháya viirabhávah prakáshitah;
Viirabhávaḿ sadá prápya krameńa devatá bhavet.

–Rudrayámala Tantra

“Under ordinary circumstances all are animal-like in the initial stage. When spiritual thirst awakens in animal-like people they become viira, and when they are fully established in viirabháva they become devatás [gods].”

The science of Tantra is based on this truth. Hence there is no contradiction between Tantra and science. People are found at all different stages, according to their ideation – animal-like, heroic, or god-like – as they ascend on the scale of evolution. A competent preceptor imparts lessons to his disciples after considering the degree of their spiritual and psychic elevation.

Glossary / Vocabulary


karmic reaction.  Karma means action – for every action there is a reaction – a karmic reaction or saḿskára. As one sows so shall one reap. The saḿskáras are stored in the mind awaiting the time when they are expressed. We talk about a saḿskára getting ripened so that it can be expressed or experienced. When a saḿskára is expressed one is freed from that saḿskára. The more one progresses on the spiritual path, the more saḿskáras one expresses/ experiences.


The law of karma: for every action there is a reaction


The following section explores the law of karma – the law of action and reaction. This has to be one of the most important concepts in human life, and yet so few people have a clear grasp of it! It is well worth persisting with one’s study of the law of karma until it is crystal clear. Unless otherwise stated the following quotations are from Shrii Shrii A’nandamu’rti, founder and guru of A’nanda Ma’rga.


The microcosms reap the consequences of their original activities. Is this ordained by the Supreme Entity? Yes, it is, although He does not inflict punishment on anyone directly. He has only ordained that every action will contain the seed of reaction. He has given the freedom to developed microcosms to decide whether to act or remain inert or whether to perform virtuous deeds or sinful ones.

[Note: The Supreme is beyond gender. The use of the pronoun “He” is due to English language lacking a neuter pronoun]


The more microcosms [living beings] advance along the path of Pratisaiṋcara [the “return phase” of the creative cycle where movement is from crude to subtle], the more developed they become, and the more freedom they are granted to act independently. Of course they can only enjoy as much freedom as the Supreme Authority chooses to give them. The amount of suffering caused by reactive momenta [karmic reactions] depends upon how microcosms use or misuse this freedom. It serves no purpose whatsoever to blame the Supreme Entity for this suffering. After all, you have been given the freedom, the full liberty, to perform the original deeds as you think fit. Since every action contains a seed of reaction you will have to undergo the reactions of your actions. These seeds or reactive momenta are expressed through your non-original deeds (saḿskára múlaka) over which you have no control.



karma 2


Sanskrit spiritual aphorisms: Slokas and Sutras

Here are some Sam’skrta (Sanskrit) spiritual aphorisms known as Slokas or Sutras. They have been used for at least 15,000 years and remain an important way of teaching spiritual truths in a form that is both condensed and potent.

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Bhaktirbhagavato sevá bhaktih premasvarupińii;
Bhaktiránandarúpá ca bhaktih bhaktasya jiivanam.

[Devotion is the spirit of service to the Supreme Entity. It is an embodiment of selfless love, an embodiment of bliss, the very life of a devotee.]


Namaste paramaḿ brahma namaste Paramátmane
Nirguńáya namastubhyaḿ sadrúpáya namo namah.

[Salutations to the Supreme Entity, I salute the Supreme Cognitive Faculty. I salute the Non-attributional Entity. Salutations to the Supreme Being.]


Shánto viniito shuddhátmá
Shraddhávána dhárańákśamah;
Samarthashca kuliinashca
Prájiṋah saccarito yatih;
Evamádi guńaeryuktah
Shishyo bhavati nányathá.


“A disciple must always be samartha (ready to carry out the instructions and commands of the master). He or she must be prájiṋa and yati – that is, must have the requisite knowledge and experience, and must have full control over the mind. One who is of noble soul, of noble conduct and of tranquil mind, who is modest and reverent, and possesses a sharp memory and perseverance, who has all-round competence and is zealous in the practice of raising the kulakuńd́alinii, and who is well-informed and self-restrained, is an ideal disciple.”


Mananát  tárayet yastu sa mantrah parikiirtitah

Mantra is defined as “That which, when contemplated upon leads to freedom from [all sorts of bondages] is called a mantra.”

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Yoga Ethics – Yama & Niyama – why so important?

yama niyama header

In the following Shrii Shrii A’nandamu’rti clarifies why Yama and Niyama (cardinal human moral principles) are so crucial in the life of a spiritual aspirant. Underlining their great importance, we find that in the eight branches of Yoga  –  known as “Ashtaunga Yoga” – the first TWO branches are Yama and Niyama. The are literally the foundation on which everything else in spiritual life is built.

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The first stage of sádhaná (spiritual pracatice) is yama and niyama (strict moral observances), the foundation of spiritual life, the light which dispels the darkness of static ignorance.

By perfecting the ten principles of yama and niyama, spiritual aspirants gain the spiritual vigour required to wage the constant war against the dullness of staticity. Theirs is a valiant and relentless fight against the obstacles created by avidyámáyá [the cosmic crudifying force] which try to detract them from the path of the attainment of Brahma, their supreme goal, their final desideratum, their polestar, the only ideal of their lives.

In the social sphere they struggle not to reform society for the sake of reformation, but to combat the defects and inconsistencies in all walks of life which are detrimental to spiritual life and a stumbling block on the path of attaining the Supreme goal. In short, they seek to build a balanced, harmonious spiritual society. Their endeavour to remove the thorns scattered along the path of progress is ceaseless.

Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 5

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The reading continues:

“Usually those people whose sole aim is to bring about social, intellectual and economic reforms collapse in exhaustion after achieving a certain amount of success and either give up or get confused. But this does not happen to sádhakas [spiritual aspirants] because their main focus is not the struggle, but how to reach the goal. Thus they wage a ceaseless struggle against all kinds of defects and distortions with their two most important weapons: yama and niyama. All sádhakas are soldiers whose rations are knowledge, whose drink is action and whose salt is devotion.”

Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 5

Yoga Ethics – Yama & Niyama – explained

yama niyama header


(i) Ahim’sa’: Not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action, is Ahim’sa’.

(ii) Satya: The benevolent use of mind and words is Satya.

(iii) Asteya: To renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others is Asteya. Asteya means ” non-stealing.”

(iv) Brahmacarya: To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma is Brahmacarya.

(v) Aparigraha: To renounce everything excepting the necessities for the maintenance of the body is known as Aparigraha.


(i) Shaoca is of two kinds — purity of the body and of the mind. The methods for mental purity are kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful.

(ii) Santos’a: a state of proper ease. Being contented with the earnings of normal labour, without any undue pressure on the body and mind. To remain contented, one has to make a special type of mental effort to keep aloof from external allurements.

(iii) Tapah: To undergo physical hardship to attain the objective is known as Tapah. Upava’sa (fasting), serving the guru (preceptor), serving father and mother, and the four types of yajina (actions), namely, pitr yajina, nr yajina, bhu’ta yajina and adhya’tma yajina (service to ancestors, to humanity, to lower beings and to Consciousness), are the other limbs of tapah. For students, study is the main tapah.

(iv) Sva’dhya’ya: The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books is sva’dhya’ya. The philosophical books and scriptures of Ananda Marga are A’nanda Su’tram and Subha’s’ita Sam’graha (all parts), respectively. Sva’dhya’ya is also done by attending dharmacakra (group meditation) regularly and having satsaunga (spiritual company), but this kind of sva’dhya’ya is intended only for those who are not capable of studying in the above manner.

(v) Iishvara pran’idha’na: This is to have firm faith in Iishvara (the Cosmic Controller) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity, and to think of oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument, in all the affairs of life.

Half Bath – Vya’pak Shaoca – “thorough cleanliness”


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Vyápaka shaoca (“thorough cleanliness”) or “half bath” is done prior to meditation, yoga postures (a’sanas), eating and sleeping. Use cold water, or in very cold weather, luke warm water can be used.

  1. If needed empty bowels and bladder; clean the urinary organ with water. Wash hands with soap.
  2. Wash hands up to elbows (no soap needed)
  3. Blow nose to clear any mucous; ensure nasal passage is clear
  4. Hold water in mouth then splash water in the eyes at least 12 times; spit out water
  5. Flush nostrils with water ( na’sa’pa’na’) but only if your stomach is empty: cup water in right hand and pour it into the nose to flow into the mouth; spit out; repeat at least 3 times
  6. Wash ears and neck: wet hands, place at back of neck and behind ears
  7. Clean from the knees down to the feet with running water or with wet hands