August 29, 2014 on 10:51 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I read where Tibetan Temple incense is used for empowerment rituals. Could you explain this? Ronald R., Seattle, WA

tibetan-temple-incense

Tibetan Temple Incense

Dear Ronald: I particularly like this Tibetan Temple Incense because the very name reminds me of the many Tibetan Temples that abounded in Tibet before the invasion by the Chinese who destroyed so many of them. It is one of the great tragedies in spiritual annals. But you cannot annul or destroy the influence of the Tibetan legacy when noting that Tibetan incense follows recipes said to have come from the Buddha 2,500 years ago. Tibetan incense is evocative of the times when Tibetan monks used the scent ever lingering to protect their temples, both large and small.

More than other incenses created to cast a desirable influence in the air and evoke spiritual feelings, Tibetan Temple incense when used during its mysterious and esoteric rituals attracts the positive and repels the negative in an environment.

As you have noted, Tibetan Temple incense is used for empowerment rituals. A Tibetan empowerment is a ritual in Vajrayana Buddhism which initiates a student into a particular tantric deity practice. A Tibetan tantric practice is not considered effective until a qualified master has effectively transmitted the power of that practice to the student. In fact, an individual is not allowed to engage in a deity practice without proper instruction for that practice.

Tibetan rituals are always dependent upon transmission of mantra and practice. This can be done through a Tibetan lama initiating a student into a particular practice or lineage. For example, the Dalai Lama has always been known to initiate students into his lineage through perhaps a simple gesture, acknowledgment or gifting of a shawl of that lineage.

Usually, however, a Tibetan empowerment practice is transmitted secretively, only for the eyes of the student and the teacher. When a student becomes empowered through this practice, it usually conveys a strong connection and attachment to his teacher. You can be sure that during that initiation, Tibetan incense is always present.

Tibetan Temple Incense is very earthy incense and is evocative of that special mystery that one feels when contemplating the temples of Tibet. You can be assured that the ingredients are all-natural and are infused with that special quality that distinguishes Tibetan incense from all others. Tibetan incense has always been my favorite.

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August 27, 2014 on 10:51 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have just purchased the Saraswati Statue Sitting and would like to know if there is a special mantra I may invoke to access her gifts. Roland P., Boston, MA

saraswati-statue

Saraswati Statue

Dear Roland: There is a special Vandana mantra that is recited by Saraswati devotees every morning for good luck. While I would like to tell you what it is, there are actually several variations of this mantra which actually just means holy song. Because of space and personal constraints I am unable to tell you which mantra to choose. However, my suggestion is that you look at your beloved Saraswati Statue and intuit the mantra which suits you in your devotion, while of course consulting our beloved Internet for the precise version. Notice that I have capitalized the word internet thus conveying at that time its sacred purpose.

Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge and the arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. Chants to Saraswati often begin and end Vedic lessons.

Saraswati is the daughter of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Durga. It is believed that Saraswati endows humans with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning.

Saraswati has four hands representing the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. Saraswati is usually viewed as having sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus, the symbol of true knowledge, in her second hand.

With Saraswati’s other two hands she plays the music of love and life on a string instrument called the veena. Saraswati is dressed in white, the symbol of purity, and rides on a white swam.

It was thought that only the learned and the erudite attached great importance to the worship of the Goddess Saraswati, usually harkening to the times when the caste system predominated and there was little flexibility or mobility in attaining different stations of life. However, one familiar with Hindu mythology knows that Saraswati is also a symbol of divine compassion and therefore makes her wisdom and knowledge available to all those who seek to avail themselves of her guidance.

Again, for an auspicious and fortuitous day, it i recommended to recite the Saraswati mantra before you start your day! Good luck in choosing the appropriate mantra for yourself.

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August 22, 2014 on 11:07 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am a singer and have always had sore throat problems, probably from too many vocal engagements. But I am writing to tell you how much your Throat Chakra Candle has helped me. Now after an engagement, I remember to meditate on the Throat Chakra Candle and I feel it has helped me immeasurably. Thank you. Rose B., Austin, TX

throat-chakra-candle

Throat Chakra Candle

Dear Rose: I have often talked about the power of intention and prayer, and your writing to me telling me how much you have been assisted by the Throat Chakra Candle only confirms what I know to be true. Oftentimes we are in despair about some health problem that continues to linger on, not aware that there is sometimes invisible help in the form of meditation and intention that can assist us. We find ourselves relying upon medications to heal our problems, not realizing that our illnesses might sometimes have psychological or spiritual origins that can be helped through intention, focus, prayer and meditation.

I particularly have been interested in the brilliantly blue Throat Chakra Candle we carry. Frankly, it is just beautiful to gaze at; the sky-blue color alone brings rest and relaxation to one’s eyes,and therefore, carries over to soothe the mind and heart.

The throat chakra is associated with upper lungs, bronchials, esophagus, trachea, vocal chords, thyroid, and neck, so it is no surprise that you in your work feel good about meditating on our Throat Chakra Candle.

The throat chakra is known as the devotional chakra. A friend of mine had a personal experience of her throat chakra opening when she met a Tibetan teacher who was very practiced in chanting. Obviously, her throat chakra resonated with something that was very strong in this master.

Chanting and singing are often thought of as healing to the throat chakra. Sometimes the throat chakra has been blocked through personal experiences that one is not even aware of. For instance, a friend of mine who was in a difficult circumstance found it difficult to shout out her fear; in fact, she felt that her throat chakra closed in that instance. Apparently, the trauma remained post experience, and her throat felt blocked and solid. Seeking advice from a spiritual teacher, she was told to begin chanting and focusing on her throat chakra. After many months she could feel that space in her throat chakra begin to open, and now feels convinced that if ever in a similar experience, she will be able to shout out what she is feeling.

Thanks so much for your comments about our Throat Chakra Candle!

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August 20, 2014 on 11:07 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I notice that your Bliss Singing Bowl repeats Om Mani Padme Hum around the exterior. Is that mantra of Indian or Tibetan origin? Ray S., San Diego, CA

bliss-singing-bowl

Bliss Singing Bowl

Dear Ray: Om Mani Padme Hum started out as an Indian mantra and then progressed to being known as mainly as a Tibetan mantra. It is the sacred mantra for compassion and means Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus. Of course, the Jewel in the Lotus is the Buddha and devotees do many prostrations to the Buddha while reciting Om Mani Padme Hum. As you noted, the Buddhist mantra is repeated around the exterior of our Bliss Singing Bowl.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum out loud or silently to oneself invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the Tibetan Buddhist embodiment of compassion. Even better is to have your spoken mantra accompanied by the sounds invoked by the Bliss Singing Bowl, considered an exceptional singing bowl by singing bowl masters.

Spinning the written form of the Buddhist mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying this wonderful mantra. These Mani wheels are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.

Deep within the Bliss Singing Bowl is a Tibetan double dorje representing the indestructible diamond-like nature of the Buddha’s teachings. It is my understanding that this diamond like nature of Buddha’s teaching is expressed in the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. The belief is that through meditation and a qualified teacher one can bring about the full and direct experience of the nature of the mind. Mind in Vajrayana Buddhism is understood to be limitless like space, open, fearless and joyful.

You can experience on YouTube many renditions of singing bowls. For those in the know, one realizes that not all singing bowls are alike. Some sites on the Internet are specifically designated to show the differences in the sounds of the singing bowls. It’s my experience that one not only receives an extraordinary sound emitting from our Bliss Singing Bowl but is reminded through gazing at the double dorje inscribed on the bottom of the bowl to the diamond like nature of the Buddha mind. That is an invaluable tool of remembrance. Enjoy your singing bowl; it truly has an exceptional sound.

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August 14, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: What kind of power is in the Rudraksha Power Bracelet? I can really use some. Thanks. Raleigh D., San Diego, CA

rudraksha-bracelt

Rudraksha Power Bracelet

Dear Raleigh: This Rudraksha Power Bracelet certainly does not appear to be a power amulet, totem or anything that on its face looks powerful. In fact, its very simplicity attests to a power that is beyond what one ordinarily thinks of power. It is Shiva power!

Th Rudraksha Power Bracelet is powerful in its simplicity; it bespeaks true spiritual power, which surpasses any attempt at material force, or power. It is the power of the god Shiva whose tears transformed to rudrakshas as he contemplated the suffering of humanity.

There are many types of malas consisting of different beads: some jade, some pearl, some agate or blue sapphire. All of these beads are considered powerful and are means to effect silent contemplation as one counts them one by one saying a sacred mantra.

However, the humble rudraksha beads while not as attractive or shiny as the other beads have in their rough-hewn nature a feeling of connection to the earth, which was Shiva’s gift as his tears fell to the earth.

When one does “japa” or recitation of mantra with the rudraksha beads, the mantra that would be most fitting would probably be the Om Namah Shiva mantra. Om Namah Shiva means I am Shiva, and when one recites, utilizing the rudraksha beads, I am Shiva in Sanskrit or English, you can count on feeling powerful, the true type of power that is inherent in devotional chanting.

As one chants Om Namah Shiva using the rudraksha beads to count with, one can bring to mind the great god Shiva, the Auspicious One, also known as Mahadeva. He is the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism.

Shiva is depicted as an omniscient, contemplative yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder who had three consecutive wives. Shiva is also the patron god of yoga and the arts.

As you place this Rudraksha Power Bracelet on your arm, I am willing to bet you will feel the power of Shiva if you call his name and recite his mantra. Shiva’s power awaits you!

Om Namah Shiva Ki Jai!

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August 12, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can you tell me the meaning behind the Meditation Mandala Prayer Flags? Roland R., Wichita, KS

Dear Roland: Meditation and mandalas have the same purpose. They both direct one’s awareness to a one pointed focus of the mind and also direct your attention inwardly. However, mandalas can be utilized when drawn on the flags to direct one’s attention both inwardly towards the center or then outwardly at the edge towards the center. In both cases with a mandala, your mind becomes drawn into a singleness of purpose, touching upon the quiet and silence within. So you can see that the Meditation Mandala Prayer Flags have dual purposes.

 

meditation-mandala-prayer-flag

Meditation Mandala Prayer Flags

 

Meditation Mandala Prayer Flags have long been used in Tibetan spiritual tradition. Pieces of cloth are printed with symbols or mandalas and then strung along a rope or other piece of material so that they may gently flow in the breeze. It is like prayer in motion. As the wind flows through the mandala flags, the blessings that are imbued within the flags are then wafted into the breeze to bless those who might be in their vicinity or look upon them. Mandala gazing is quite a gentle and graceful form of worship.

The mandala is spiritual and ritual symbolism in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with center point. Each mandala gate is in the general shape of a “t.” While a mandala is of Sanskrit origin, it is particularly used in Tibetan Buddhism.

In common use however, mandala is a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe.

One of my girlfriends, who is a Buddhist teacher, periodically changes the prayer flags in her yard to express her spirituality of the moment. She sometimes trades her mandala prayer flags for animal spirit flags or chakra flags. It is always interesting to see what form of spirituality she is entertaining on a particular day.

I always thought that prayer flags do for us every day what we might omit to pray for at any time. There is always a prayer being expressed outwardly in the world all the time. It is very encouraging and inspiring.

Fly your prayer flags knowing you are blessing the world!

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August 8, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I see Ma’s CD where she talks about igniting intuition? What does that mean? Prem J., Tallahassee, FL

igniting-intuition

Igniting Intuition

Dear Prem: If Igniting Intuition is your first CD  from Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, I envy your experience. You are in for a treat! Ma Jaya was a very cool guru who spoke in very down to earth terms about very esoteric subjects. That was her grace and her talent. Many gurus speak from very lofty heights, and often their disciples or chelas do not understand what they are trying to convey. But for Ma Jaya, her main mission in life was to bring God down to us so that we might integrate the godly into our lives and thence share it with others.

When Ma speaks about igniting intuition, I would firstly say that she was very intuitive; although some have said she was way past intuition. And what I mean by that is that it is true that intuition is that place inside all of us where we can hear our deepest thoughts and wishes. While it sounds great, it can be difficult to access for an ordinary person who is not used to quiet and harmony in their lives. For them, and for those who are used to being influenced by many outside voices in their lives, it is truly difficult to listen quietly to the voice within known as intuition.

Ma, however, was able to “ignite” intuition through her darshans when people met with her to hear her words, through her poetry, paintings and good works that she did constantly throughout her life. Ma Jaya was extremely intuitive in the best sense of the word. Ma Jaya was able to see and know who you were almost immediately upon meeting her. Ma Jaya’s intuition was deep and knowing. Some people have even referred to it as her being “psychic.” However, Ma always said there was deeper truth than mere psychics who gave only a cursory view of someone. In fact, intuition for Ma was when she felt the resonance and being of whoever she was in contact with her. For Ma Jaya, that was deep intuitive knowing, a knowing few of us ever experience.

To say that Ma Jaya ignited intuition was to tell of the experience of being in Ma’s Jaya’s presence when she allowed and invited you through her presence to accompany her into the depths of where she resided. Ma’s intuition was in the place of the soul, and it was where who you were before you were born resided. Ma’s intuition allowed her to see you as you truly were, not as you knew yourself to be or as anyone else thought you were. When you were in Ma Jaya’s presence, your own intuition ignited and you could then see and feel yourself in the deepest way possible, as a soul being, not as a mere human being.

What an extraordinary experience it was to be in Ma Jaya’s presence; you can get a feeling of it through this remarkable CD about igniting intuition. Enjoy!

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August 6, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Has anyone not heard of Deepak Chopra? Raymond P., Ontario, CA

Chopra's Soul of Healing Meditations

Chopra’s Soul of Healing Meditations

Dear Raymond: I don’t know if you’re kidding or not, but I’m going to answer you; frankly, I don’t think so. I presume you’re looking on our Ma’s India site and see his CD Soul of Healing Meditations. Truthfully, Deepak Chopra has proliferated his music, healing meditations and words since I first heard him in the 70’s. He was popular even then and people, especially women, were lined up to see him wherever he appeared.

Deepak Chorea is quite charismatic, I might add, but I feel he’s more than just a clever guy having lots of charisma. Initially, he was a novelty and only “those in the know” knew about him. But today he has become a household word, and his numerous albums, sayings, and words of wisdom and healing are heard and seen somewhere in music, online and spiritual stores.

I for one am very grateful to Deepak Chopra because he has hit the mainstream with much of his work. His work and words on “chakras,” “meditation,” and spiritual wisdom” are influencing many far and wide. And interestingly, what was a female induced phenomenon now has slithered into the male mainstream. And for that I am truly grateful for Deepak Chopra.

All kidding aside and notwithstanding some people have not taken him too seriously, thinking he’s of the woo-woo club, Deepak Chopra has done a great service to humanity. His sonorous voice, which is very compelling, is just the type of voice you would want to lead you into meditation. His vibration is just right. Some meditators have some very annoying voices, but Deepak Chopra’s contains the right type of peaceful resonance that can soothe a soul.

Soul of Healing Meditations is truly for “everyman”, especially those who are curious about meditation. If this is to be somebody’s first experience, let it be one led by Deepak Chopra. This particular CD Soul of Healing Meditations by Deepak Chopra is heart-filled and allows one to relax into the essence of the music. Deepak Chopra’s intonation of words combined with the soothing music of Adam Plack will influence your first time experience in a restorative and wonderful way.

The Soul of Healing Meditations CD is 46 minutes long, just long enough to keep you interested and hopefully not fall asleep. On the other hand, if you should fall asleep, what a great way to do it!

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August 1, 2014 on 10:58 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I think that eventually in a spiritual person’s life one realizes it’s not just about those transient moment of bliss or the colors that happen when you meditate or even those psychic experiences you might pursue along the way when you get on the spiritual path. Even though I have been a spiritual seeker for most of my life, I feel that I am just now approaching a more sincere and serious time in my life and hence wish to find some statue/teacher whom I could model myself after. Any suggestions? Laura P., Santa Rose, CA

kuan-yin

Kuan yin

Dear Laura: I know what you mean. I remember when I first got hooked onto the spiritual life, my friends then were telling me that belief in such and such guru would get me a parking space each time I visited the grocery store. And do you know, that sometimes really happened? But now in my old and jaded way, I say it was just coincidence. But who knows? I think there comes a time when we are tired of doing the same old thing, expecting different results and know that we must make a concerted, dedicated effort to change those patterns that we have gotten used to for many years, not to mention lifetimes. And when we do, we need look no further than Quanyin Statue 16”.

Quanyin was a Buddhist Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is somebody who holds off their own enlightenment so that he or she may serve other sentient beings and encourage them to enter the same enlightened space. Quanyin made the supreme sacrifice, foregoing a possible bliss or renunciation of the world in order to serve others, which brings me to my next question. Quanyin was someone who went beyond her own desires and needs? When do we think of others more than seeing them as useful for our own ends? I think this is one of the questions you are asking yourself.

Quanyin worked to eliminate suffering in the world and wishes to help humanity become peaceful and harmonious. We only have to look at this world now and see how sorely such an attitude is needed. We long for heroes amongst us and most of us fall short. But perhaps that longing for heroes amongst us does not serve us well and we should look to ourselves to perform the tiniest bit of service to another human be that will increase the goodness in the world. Perhaps it is just enough to do a random act of kindness when we feel to do so. That humble approach would be Quanyin’s way.

The Quanyin statue is very modest and unpretentious and mirrors back to you what you are looking for inside. Quanyin is constructed of a beautiful resin and will last forever, both in your heart and your puja table.

Om Sri Quanyin, Om Sri Quanyin, Om Sri Quanyin!

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July 30, 2014 on 10:57 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am so glad you have the sequel to Healing Mantras: Chakra Mantras. I met Mr. Ashley-Farrand in 2009 at a lecture right before he had passed. It was a true honor to hear such a gifted, spiritual man who gave so much of himself to the world. Renee P., Anselm, MA

Chakra Mantras

Chakra Mantras

Dear Renee: You are so right; Mr. Ashley- Farrand was a gift to the world with his many mantras designed to heal or help almost any situation in one’s life. Healing Mantras has been by my bedside for many years and Chakra Mantras is right on top of it. In Healing Mantras, Mr.Ashley- Farrand wrote a practical manual for using mantras and the rhythms of healing sounds to help solve everyday life and health matters. He said, “You can use mantras to help you with any issue and to change your life for the better.”

Even though one was encouraged to do a mantra for any number of days, he truly recommended initially the 40 day discipline, saying that it symbolized Moses’ 40 days in the desert and Christ’s fast of 40 days. He hoped that one would attempt their mantra at least 108 times morning and evening; that practice could fix the mantra in one’s consciousness so that it would start to pervade one’s waking awareness. You might then find yourself using it to help in other situations, such as being stuck in traffic, waiting in a doctor’s office, picking up your kid at school, before an exam and so many other uses.  Mr. Ashley-Farrand was not a spiritual snob. He was anxious that you find a mantra suited for your health, attracting love, mastering fear, self-empowerment and finally, chanting for the planet. In his generosity and compassion, he provided a mantra for every occasion.

In Chakra Mantras, Mr. Ashley Farrand brings previously hidden knowledge from India and Tibet and teaches us how through the use of mantras we may activate our secret chakras which contain the keys to our spiritual progress. Now we all know that chakras are the keys to restoring health in ourselves as we learn to access and heal the energy awaiting us within them. But Mr. Ashley-Farrand in Chakra Mantras, teaches us of another level of accessing chakras so that we can attain higher levels of spiritual energy in which to operate.

It has been said that our chakras retain information about our pasts and that because of the retention of that information within the chakras, we are somehow bound to repeat the mistakes of our pasts. As we practice yoga and kundalini yoga, in particular, as the kundalini rises through the chakras, it has been said that it frees that information within the chakras and we are no longer bound to a sodden repetition of behavior. In fact, we become truly free in our lives and can operate from the present instead of the past.

What a glorious opportunity and challenge for all of us to continue our practices, knowing that they can lead to a final release of all that has plagued us in our efforts to restore health and sanity to ourselves. Hidden, ancient knowledge is transmitted in Chakra Mantras, waiting for us to delve into the mysteries and possibilities of the chakras.

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