May 22, 2015 on 11:01 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I’d like to tell my girlfriend how much I love and appreciate her, not only for her kindness but the beauty of her soul. What would be a great gift for her? Sam P., San Diego, CA

om-pendant

OM Pendant

Dear Sam: I’d give her the Om Pendant we are carrying in Ma’s India. The beauty of an Om Pendant can only reflect the beauty you see in your girlfriend, not only physically but honoring the spiritual aspect of her. I am assuming that you wish to do this in light of the fact that you are calling upon me as Spiritual Explorer to assist you in your purchase.

This Sterling Silver Om Pendant has the Om surrounded and encased in an exquisite filigree design; it also comes with a cord to wear around the neck. I also have to mention that the price of this Om Pendant is truly reasonable considering the captivating design. I am so convinced that your girlfriend will love this Om Pendant that I wish I were there to see how she responds to it.

At this time in our culture, I think we all know how the word Om, a seed word, has permeated our lives, primarily through yogic and meditation practices that were mostly familiar to those who wished to engage in esoterica, but now has evolved to pretty mainstream engagement.

Did you know that Om is also spelled as Aum, which indicates in the latter’s case that it can be intoned with three syllables, thus making it longer and more drawn out? When thought of as a trinity symbol, it represents Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, in the Hindu religion, similar to the trinity of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in Christianity.

In most cases, however, Om is usually recited at the beginning of a chant, sometimes at the end, and is usually affixed to many mantras at the beginning. Om is a sacred sound that when chanted joins thousands of other chants that are currently being chanted in the universe, thus adding to its potency.

Hindus believe that as creation began, the divine consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as Om. Before creation, it was said to be emptiness or the void. The vibration of Om symbolizes the manifestation of God in form. Just another view of how the word or sound manifested in this universe.

Om to me has always been a comforting sound, bringing me back to an awareness of my self, helping to soothe and restore harmony to any discordant feelings I might be feeling at any moment. When chanted in a group, the Om sound also harmonizes all elements within the group, bringing serenity and peace to all who chant this extraordinary sound.

Enjoy the beauty of Om Pendant, as it will bring peace, beauty and love to all who chant the awesome Om.

Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 20, 2015 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am interested in magic and have heard the name of Aleister Crowley. Do you have anything in your store regarding him? Paul P., Baltimore, MD

complete-tarot-deck

Complete Tarot Deck

Dear Paul: We have in our store the Complete Tarot Kit which will probably answer many of your questions. Not only does it have Susan Levitt’s book Introduction to Tarot, but also the Rider tarot decks of A.E.Waite and the Thoth deck of Aleister Crowley. Ms.Levitt’s book is great for beginners in that she explains the arcane symbolism of the tarot deck with great simplicity and insight and there are wonderful illustrations of the cards.

Both A.E. Waite and Aleister Crowley were members of the esoteric group, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in favor at the end of the 1800’s and beginning of the 19th Century. A.E. Waite’s Rider Deck is truly the most popular deck of all times, even though currently it seems many people are anxious to create their own decks. However, the truth is that most of them derive the majority of their symbolism from the Rider deck. A friend of mine who is a tarot reader prefers the A.E. Waite Rider deck as opposed to the Aleister Crowley deck because of its simplicity of image. She says that the meaning of the cards can become quite apparent because the images are so straightforward and obvious. While considered an expert in her field of tarot, she claims that while learning the basic meaning of the tarot cards can be quite easy, interpretation of the card layout calls for considerable insight and intuition.

The question of Who Was Aleister Crowley is not only a normal inquiry, but was actually asked many times by his contemporaries. Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist and mountaineer. Not only was Aleister Crowley a man who wished to fulfill himself beyond ordinary human abilities and become a master of magic and intellect, but also Aleister Crowley was an eccentric who shocked many people’s sensibilities during his lifetime. Aleister Crowley was suspected at first of being a spy for the Germans, although he was acquitted of that accusation when it was later discovered that British Intelligence had actually recruited Aleister Crowley for their own purposes. But Aleister Crowley possessed a scandalous nature, indulging in many lovers of either sex and was known to be quite promiscuous and licentious.

Referring again to my tarot reader friend, she also told me that for a time she had been enamored of the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck because the cards were so beautiful in color and image. However, she also told me she became disenchanted with the Aleister Crowley deck since she felt it did not adequately reflect the clients with whom she worked.

Aleister Crowley through his adventures and life sought to expand the limits of the human intellect and achieve a greatness and potential that was not always available to the majority of humanity—hence his interest in magic and esotericism. Aleister Crowley wished to be able to control his mind and awaken to consciousness. However, the path Aleister Crowley chose was also replete with scandal, excess and depravity.

Nevertheless, the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck is not to be missed when one is serious about magic and the tarot. The Aleister Crowley deck is full of Kabalistic and archetypal symbols and is truly a work of art.

Thanks for writing. Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 15, 2015 on 11:02 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I was surprised to see the words “pranayama exercises” juxtaposed with each other. Can you consider pranayama an exercise also? Randy P., Okeechobee, FL

pranayama exercises

little book of yoga breathing

Dear Randy: You’re right; I have rarely heard those two words placed in juxtaposition as you said. I have heard pranayama mostly referred to as pranayama or breaths. However, reading the book the Little Book of Yoga Breathing (pranayama made easy) by Scott Shaw, I have been awakened to a new way of thinking and perception.

I love this little extraordinary book of yoga breathing because it is tiny and self-contained and contains in the most readable and lucid fashion different forms of pranayama. The ancient breath control pranayama exercises presented in this book are not something one needs to study under an advanced yogic practitioner in order to gain mastery of them. They are simple, proven practices that you can practice anywhere at any time. I have done them myself waiting in line for a movie, in a doctor or dentist’s office, and in fact, anywhere where I need to develop some patience in waiting.

Choose one of 16 pranayama exercises

Whether it’s at your desk or even just walking, there is an unembellished exercise that you can easily begin. Written in an uncomplicated style, I feel I can easily choose one of the 16-pranayama exercises each day. Whether I want to energize myself to perform any one of a myriad of functions during the day or whether I just want to calm my mind and prepare for meditation, there is a pranayama exercise available for me in this book.

Similarly, when thinking about pranayama as not only an exercise but also something that contributes to physical exercise, Mr. Shaw has a chapter called Pranayama in Motion.

The difference between seated and moving pranayama exercises

As most people know, pranayama has traditionally been done from a seated or stationary position. But now Mr. Shaw shows us that the ancient pranayama techniques may now be incorporated into any physical movement to enhance physical and mental well-being. For instance, one of the movement pranayama exercises is called Dynamic Tension: Lift the Sky. This pranayama exercise is known to tone the body, revitalize the energy and empower the body with newly revitalized energy. The chapter entitled Pranayama While Standing provides excellent mind-body coordination upon completion.

Esoteric and secular disciplines and austerities

Some people might be critical of this book saying that it diminishes the esoteric qualities of discipline and austerities, which were the sine qua non of an ancient yogic teaching. But one can also state that many of those forms of spirituality and pranayama were only available to be practiced by an elite group of persons. However in this more democratic society that we now live in, there is an increasing desire from many awakened to spiritual life to benefit from pranayama exercises that were just available to the few. And this book of pranayama, with easily understood and articulated pranayama practices, certainly fulfills that desire.

If you have a question about “pranayama exercises” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 13, 2015 on 11:01 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can you tell me what is happiness? Joan P., Montego Bay, Jamaica

what-is-happiness

Awakening the Human Spirit

Dear Joan: From what I hear, happiness is illusory at best; it is usually conditioned on fulfillment of any one of many worldly desires that we are in touch with at a time. Therefore, one can only assume also that if those desires are not fulfilled, then we might be plunged back into unhappiness. Hazrat Inayat Khan’s book, The Awakening of the Human Spirit speaks to that dilemma for sure.

The power of asking yourself .. what is happiness?

To even ask the question of what is happiness might be seen as the first step into a spiritual journey; in fact, many people who have been discouraged and disappointed in life and who find themselves at the end of a spiral of seeking outside themselves for happiness, tell me that their disillusionment actually propelled them to begin the search inwardly. Hazrat Inayat Khan tells us that spiritual attainment is the soul’s appetite, and there come a day in life when a person feels the soul’s appetite more than any other appetite.

The 5 things man yearns for.

According to Hazrat Inayat Khan, there are five things that man yearns for: life, power, knowledge, happiness and peace. Because of those yearnings, initially, he might attempt things that do not fulfill them at all. Eventually, says Hazrat Inayat Khan, because one comes to see the emptiness of their search, it becomes a catapult into the soul’s own yearnings to realize itself.

Waiting to be awakened.

In Hazrat Inayat Khan’s book, there is a chapter called “There Will Come a Day of Awakening” where he speaks of the desire for perfection. I think that many of us on a spiritual path are aware of a ceaseless striving for perfection and the consequent disappointment with ourselves that we do not attain what we consider perfection. However, it is fine, according to Hazrat Inayat Khan, if one is awaiting to be awakened spiritually since it is the cry of the soul, often unheeded, to be awakened, unfolded and led towards perfection. Ultimately, it is a natural cry and desire similar to that of a tree that is expanding upwards or a child growing towards adulthood. Similarly,Hazrat Inayat Khan tells us that a soul also desires the same upward growth and expansion.

When one asks “What is happiness?” it is seen as preferable to ask “What is joy?” since joy comes as a result of the soul beginning to unfold and experience in life the purpose that is hidden within itself. One then begins, according to Hazrat Inayat Khan, to value the privilege of living and appreciating everything. Every experience, good or bad, finds a certain joy, and that joy is in the fulfillment of life’s purpose. Hazrat Inayat Khan tells us that joy is not only experienced in pleasure, but also even in pain, in success but also in failures; even in the breaking of the heart there is a certain joy hidden. When one begins to realize one’s true purpose of spiritual attainment, Hazrat Inayat Khan affirms that there is no moment wasted in life. This is fully expressed in the chapter called “Even in the Breaking of the Heart.”

For those who wish to seek divine purpose and fulfillment of their soul, Hazat Inayat Khan’s book will encourage, inspire and make you ask yourself “What is happiness?”

If you have a question about “What is happiness” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 8, 2015 on 11:12 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I was born a male, but feel myself to be a female. It seems that it is becoming more acceptable to be transgender. I am drawn to Hindu spirituality and wonder if there is a god or goddess that I might call upon that reflects a transgender spirituality. Ralph P., Cincinnati, OH

transgender spirituality

Shiva Ardanariswara

Dear Ralph: I am so glad that you have written. In light of the Bruce Jenner revelatory remarks with Diane Sawyer the other night, this issue has become very main stream and has brought forth a dialogue on a subject to which you have long been denied open discussion. Now our society has to reflect upon some of these issues that  have long been forced to stay hidden and undisclosed. More importantly, you are asking if transgender spirituality is available to you, and I am glad to say that Shiva Ardanariswara illuminates the possibility and expanded conception of man into goddess, not just man into god or woman into goddess. That would be the true definition of transgender spirituality.

Transgender Spirituality

Ardanariswara, a Shiva deity, carries within its essence, the quality of both male and female. The right side of Shiva is shown in a dhoti representing the male aspect; the left side is female in more female oriented clothing, thus representing transgender spirituality. Even more exciting is that the 9″ statue of Ardanariswara is made of clay from the Ganges River. I like to think of the Ganges River in India as a body of water that rejects nothing and in fact has welcomed all who come to bathe in its waters. The Ganges makes no distinction as to whether it is male, female or even animal and therefore, transgender spirituality would be welcomed within the pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses.

The Difference Between Western and Eastern Thought

It has always been interesting to me that westerners have such a limited conception of God. Bertrand Russell once said “In the beginning God made man, and man has returned the compliment ever since.” Because of a westerner’s finite view of things, we are told by a small but forceful minority to put God into a small container. Thankfully, God will not have it as witnessed by the Pandora’s box that continues to open and disseminate its contents, much to the horror and surprise of the religious right. However, thankfully, because of the advent of eastern thinkers and other intellectuals, those of us who could find no satisfaction in worshipping a monolithic god with decidedly prejudicial views, could expand their minds and hopefully their hearts to be able to welcome and include differences.

Looking Within for Wisdom

I remember listening to Alan Watts in the 70’s when he told of the differences between eastern and western thought. To summarize, Mr.Watts talked about how westerners would view a tree. Western thought would just see a tree and would see its distinction from its surrounding environment. Eastern thought would see the tree as part of the earth, the sky and everything in its habitat or surroundings. Similarly, conventional thought wishes to circumscribe anything that is outside of its small and limited purview and that of course would include some westerner’s view of sexuality. It is interesting to me that instead of looking to themselves for whatever “sin” or difference resides within their awareness, they are very conscious of differences outside of themselves. It is much easier to bear someone else’s purported transgressions rather than owning one’s own. As Jesus would say, to paraphrase, look to the mote within your eye while judging someone else. That would amount to calling forth wisdom instead of prejudice.

While Ardanariswara perhaps best reflects what you are asking of the Hindu pantheon, let me ask you not to limit yourself to only prayers regarding your sexuality in your efforts towards transgender spirituality.  I understand of course that this topic has become very volatile and revolutionary and has stirred up questions within oneself and others as to acceptance of one’s own and others’ sexual nature. What is important to remember however is that one’s sexual nature is but one piece of a spiritual dynamic that needs to be explored and there are many other gods and goddesses with various attributes within the Hindu pantheon to rely upon. Sometimes we forget that we are multi-faceted creatures, all struggling together to return to the light, requiring that we all become inclusive and tolerant and perhaps not just focus upon one particular aspect of our personal evolution.

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question about “transgender spirituality” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 6, 2015 on 11:11 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am distraught at what is happening in Nepal, not only for the good people of Nepal, but the religious icons and antiquated buildings upon which so many diverse religions have flourished. Why do bad things happen to good people? Simone W., Kansas City,KS

Why do bad things happen to good people

Why do bad things happen to good people

Dear Simone: I too share your feelings. The question of why do bad things happen to good people has been asked by not only philosophers but average persons since the beginning of time. There is of course the story of Job in the Old Testament who lost everything. What the story mainly points outs was how he was ultimately challenged by the loss of his faith during the advent of “bad things” occurring to him And when you write this, I can only imagine that you too perhaps like many people are wondering if faith is justified when you read of horrific happenings such as this terrible occurrence in Nepal.

This question of why do bad things happen to good people and when I say good people, I am referring mainly not only to those who have kept the faith in their spiritual deity or icons, but also those who lead a very moral, if not particularly religious, life led by adherence to kindness and good deeds. It is those people that we think of when we make this inquiry as to why bad things happen to good people.

A comparison of a Jewish Rabbi and Christian Minister

The other day I was comparing the views held by a Christian minister and a Jewish Rabbi, side by side, considering this philosophical and moral question. It appeared that the Christian minister, addressing the question of why do bad things happen to good people, gave many reasons why it was preferable to have a Christian faith. He believed that the years on earth were preparation for a far greater life to come. Everything that happens in between was considered by him as ultimately a test for faith and a possible awakening to the spirit of Christ. While never really answering what is perhaps an unanswerable question, he instead addressed the concept of having faith in an eternity that was to come and an exhortation to utilize the pain as a means to address and confirm one’s faith. For those already of a religious bent, his piece would serve to confirm someone’s faith in their religious path. The basic premise was that there is a God and everything is seen in the light of adherence to the Christian faith.

The Jewish rabbi asked why we would even ask that question since even if the answer were known,it would not serve us in any way. He claims that it would bring us into a place of peace from the answer, but that would be worse than not knowing. It would still leave the dilemma of how to act in the face of another’s suffering. He further tells us that if we could rationalize tragedy, we might be tempted to neatly explain it away.

Futility of asking why do bad things happen to good people

This Rabbi advises us to take our righteous anger and turn it into a force for doing good; to convert our frustrations with injustice and fairness and channel them into a mode of service. He exhorts us to use our outrage to propel us into action. Combat the pain in the world with goodness and alleviate suffering whenever we can.

I agree with this latter viewpoint whether one comes from a Jewish, Muslim,Christian or atheistic background. It is pointless to ask the question. It is even similar to asking why we go from therapist to therapist also asking why we are behaving in a certain way, unwilling in some cases to stop and finally take responsibility for the consequences of less than desirable behavior. There was a time when one felt called to a spiritual life and perhaps retreated from the world. However due to the advent of the internet and news, we have become very aware of the great suffering of humans on a large scale. We can no longer use ignorance or withdrawal from the world as an excuse to buttress ourselves against the pain in this world. The Dalai Lama has called upon us to acknowledge suffering, forgive the miscreants if possible, and use the shock and pain to awaken and reach out to others.

It is my feeling that once awakened,whether through pain or knowing,we can no longer turn our backs on others’ suffering, but must offer greater service and compassion to the world. Thank you for writing and asking this age-old query of why bad things happen to good people, an ultimately unknowable answer. Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question about “Why do bad things happen to good people” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

May 1, 2015 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am sometimes overwhelmed by all the gods and goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. Is there any easier way to learn about them? Rosalind P., Seattle, WA

gods-and-goddesses-deck

Gods and Goddesses Deck

Dear Rosalind: I too am amazed at the number of gods and goddesses within the Hindu pantheon. And if I had to think of an easy and economical way to become informed of them, I would purchase the Gods and Goddesses Deck. Similar to how children learn their alphabet by using cards, this remedy is also available to you.

The deck includes 52 exquisitely illustrated cards, each with its own god or goddess on it, a mantra and meditation corresponding to the specific god or goddess as well as a list of four blessings related to the deity’s myth. Not to be ignored is a self-explanatory foldout leaflet that mentions various symbols of the different gods and goddesses of India that accompany them.

These gods and goddesses cards are very artistically and wonderfully wrought, each one portraying a god or goddess with remarkable attention to detail and absolutely vivid coloring.

Sometimes considering myself a spiritual dilettante with regard to inviting many deities into my life, what I am most appreciated of, is that, depending on my issue or challenge of the day, I can find the appropriate god or goddess that can address them. Not only do I have the opportunity to concentrate and gaze on this deity in a meditative way, I have at hand their particular mantra or meditation. What fortune this is!

I have always said that no matter what religion one decides upon, you cannot doubt that the different gods and goddesses of India offer people a true choice, enabling a person to not only choose a particular deity that addresses the particular challenge they are undergoing, but a god or goddess that contains and speaks to the diversity within each one of us. I have always thought of that as true compassion of the ultimate deity, whether it is Kali, Shiva, Durga or Krishna, some of the deities whom are thought of as the prime movers of the Hindu pantheon.

I have a friend who is a tarot reader and she tells me that when her clients desire a perhaps more spiritually based deck; this Gods and Goddesses deck fits the bill. She claims that there are more advanced spiritual practitioners who are perhaps more interested in cultivating a practice or discipline to help them in their lives. Her clients range from those who wish a quicker fix, wishing to inquire as to whether to purchase some item or enter into a relationship, to those more interested in a practice that promises more inner peace than acquisition of some material or corporeal item.

Feel free to daily, weekly or monthly or however long you wish, place one of these expressive cards on your altar for visualization or meditation and ask that particular deity to come into your life and bless it. I am sure they will hear you. Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 29, 2015 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have just met a Reiki practitioner and had a wonderful healing session. I am excited to see that you have a Reiki Energy Healing Candle at your store. How does that candle heal? Lisa Schor, Miami, FL

Reiki Energy Healing Candle

Reiki Energy Healing Candle

Dear Lisa: I am so happy to hear that you had a wonderful session with your Reiki practitioner. When I had my own session with my Reiki healer, I noticed that she had a wonderfully fragrant candle in her healing room. Coincidentally, it was that Reiki Energy Healing Candle that you have inquired about.

Many candles claim to have certain fragrances within them, but I am always a bit wary of them since I think that we really don’t know where the fragrance derives from. I do know that to create the healing aroma in our  Reiki Energy Healing Candle, that pure essential oils of cedar, lemon balm, and ocean were used. In addition, these candles are made of the finest wax and do not contain lead.

Reiki uses what is called universal life force energy. This is the pure energy that emanates from all living things. Reiki is similar to chiropractic, tai chi and other energy modalities in that Reiki attempts to restore the life energy that has become blocked in our bodies. Once the flow is restored, health can be maintained.

The interesting thing that my healer told me was that Reiki energy knows where to go once the practitioner places their hands on your body. Therefore, the practitioner dos not have to have a medical degree or any other advanced degree of healing. Many times healers speak of absorbing the pain of their patients and are careful to wash their hands after every session. Because of Reiki being so harmless, the practitioner need not worry about that either, although I think it’s a good idea nevertheless.

A Reiki practitioner must learn various symbols in their instruction that enables them to do not only close-up personal healing, but also long distance healing across time and space. Sometimes if I am away on business, I can call my Reiki practitioner and ask her to send me healing energy, and feel immediately better. These Reiki healers certainly know how to remove negative energy, which can so quickly cloud our thinking and start a disease process.

Reiki energy healing is available to all; in fact, one person I know who is an advanced Reiki practitioner does her own self healing when necessary, either by placing her hands upon the affected spot or by reciting the symbols that she has previously learned and directing them to a spot upon her own body.

Each of our Reiki Energy Candles comes with definite uplifting affirmations and healing oils that are varied. I don’t think I have seen another candle that has such a broad variety of oils within the candle. Some of these oils, just to name a few, are rose, patchouli, olive oil, clove, lavender and dragon’s blood. These are but a few of the wonderful oils within these Reiki candles, not to mention the positive affirmations that are included with each candle.

Breathe in the wonderful scent of your Reiki Energy Healing Candle and relax into its healing essence.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 24, 2015 on 11:18 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I just loved the book By His Grace by Dada Mukerjee and wondered what you thought about Baba’s grace to Dada. Lance D., Austin, TX

By His Grace

By His Grace

Dear Lance: As written in By His Grace by Dada Mukerjee, a university professor before he met Baba and became his devoted servant, it was through grace that Dada was able to fulfill a previously-destined role of taking care of Baba Neem Karoli.

Dada had no real interest in spiritual matters even though many years prior to seeing Baba Neem Karoli at a neighbor’s house across the street from where he lived, he had been given a mantra by Baba. At that time, Dada just accepted the mantra, but did not know that it was Baba who had given it to him. As the book reveals, it was also Baba who decided that he would live at the house where Dada and his family resided, and Dada without complaint, acceded to his wishes.

One never knows when grace will descend to favor anyone, and Dada, because of his intellectual background and what could be called disdain for spiritual matters, was especially grateful that Baba Neem Karoli had overcome Dada’s initial hesitation to follow and serve him. Grace comes when it will, most of the times unexpectedly, although in Dada’s case one believes that he must have accumulated much good karma in his previous or current life.

By His Grace speaks of how Baba had hewn Dada from a stubborn, nonreligious and secular man into someone who willingly and steadfastly served this guru whom he came to love, worship and adore. Dada often spoke of how Baba “abused” him and so Baba Neem Karoli did in the form of reprimands and insults. But Dada took all of those with such good nature that one could imagine that when one is in the presence of a master of love and kindness, that the love is what was transmitted rather than abuse.

There are so many stories of Baba as told by Dada that it is truly a rich biography of a holy person with ultimate kindness and compassion for humanity who was a master of instinctual knowing of people and a wonderful sense of joy and humor. Baba Neem Karoli was so loved and revered by his devotees, especially those who took care of him.

Here at Kashi Ashram, we have an extraordinary murti of Baba Neem Karoli complete with a woolen blanket similar to what Baba Neem Karoli was said to wear on his person. When you stand in front of this wonderful murti of Baba Neem Karoli, it has been reported that one may feel an essence of love from Baba. Also in front of Baba’s murti is a dhuni, which is a carved cement square containing a wood fire into which you may offer to the flames what you don’t need in your life. Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati has held many darshans in front of the Baba Neem Karoli temple, and it truly speaks of the grace that her chelas have been privileged to receive from both her and Baba’s darshan.

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 22, 2015 on 11:17 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Could you speak on the Gayatri Mantra? Randall M., Sebastian, FL

Dear Randall: Here it is:

Om bhur bhuvah swaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimaho
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

deva-premal-essence

Deva Premal “The Essence”

If you are interested in chanting this wonderful mantra, you can hear it on Deva Premal’s CD, The Essence. The Gayatri Mantra is the opening track of The Essence and was chanted daily by Deva Premal from the age of five years old. Deva Premal was born to a spiritual family which luckily enhanced her spiritual proclivities and encouraged them as well as her music to flourish. It makes me feel sorry for others who have been similarly spiritually gifted, but because of their upbringing were not encouraged or inspired by their parents. Also fortunately for Deva Premal, she married Miten, a partner who joins her in her spiritual growth, and accompanies her in vocals and guitar. Women, take notice! Don’t give up hoping for a mate that encourages and inspires your spiritual life.

For those who have not yet heard Deva Premal’s music, you can go on You Tube and hear two hours of the Gayatri Mantra as exquisitely sung by her. Deva Premal’s music is not only melodic, but soul evocative in its emotional rendering.

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra of the Vedic tradition. As with all the Vedic Mantras, the Gayatri Mantra does not have an author, but was said to have been revealed to a holy person. Similar to the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, dedicated to the god Shiva, the Gayatri Mantra is also considered to be not different from the divine entity, Gayatri, within the mantra. This means that the Gayatri Mantra is not just a recitation of a holy name, but is a form of divine worship of the Goddess Gayatri.

An interesting fact is that males in the Hindu religion were the only gender to be allowed the practice of reciting the Gayatri Mantra. However, modern Hindu reform movements have spread the practice of this mantra to not only women, but also castes that were considered inferior. Interesting that an enlightened culture in some ways could be so unenlightened in other ways.

When one speaks of Hindi mantras, the Gayatri Mantra holds a superior and foremost place in mantras. The Gayatri Mantra is repeated and cited very widely in Vedic literature and praised in several well-known Hindu texts.

If one is serious about evoking the spirituality inherent in a mantra, it is recommended that the Gayatri Mantra be chanted 108 times morning and evening. What a wonderful practice, for sure!

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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