Spirituality Insight


Varaha shows how one can merge with the supreme self or Paramatma



Varahopanishad is the discussion between the Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu with Ribhu maharshi. It is the 98th of the 108 Upanishads.
After undertaking penance for 12 deva years, sage Ribhu visits Varaha who wishes to grant a boon. He asks Varaha to explain the concept of Brahman, the ultimate reality, the knowledge of which brings liberation.
Its five chapters in 247 verses discuss the tattvas, supreme knowledge, non-dualism, stages of learning, and yoga.

Tattvas are principles which, Varaha states, include the sense organs, organs of action, vital airs, principles of perception and faculties of knowledge.

He further explains the elements, the gross, subtle and causal bodies, states of consciousness, stages of change, infirmities, the body’s sheaths, foes, jiva aspects, gunas, types of karmas, the types of actions, and of thought and directions, making up 96 tattvas. The supreme is beyond these tattvas and worshipping him removes ignorance and takes a person to salvation whatever outer bodily form he maintains.

In Chapter 2, Varaha explains brahmavidya.


One attains spiritual liberation through sincere desire for it and by building shama, the six virtuous qualities, which are tranquillity, self-restraint, not craving reward, endurance, faith and meditation.
He further explains that those who know their self, have no thought of caste or their stage of life. Discussing sankalpa, he says that a person becomes what he thinks, and it is thought that gives the world its appearance. The cycle of birth is a dream and a jivanmukta is one who is liberated from samsara through self-knowledge.
Meditating at the right time expands one’s wisdom to that of the liberated soul, bringing the soul close to the supreme soul. AUM is the means to meditate upon the nature of the self and the supreme self.

In Chapter 3, Varaha explains that in the eyes of God, everyone is equal and is the absolute


Through the Avadhuta Gita, Dattatreya explained the non-duality of existence and that liberated souls merge into the formless one.


Through the Avadhuta Gita, Dattatreya explained the non-duality of existence and that liberated souls merge into the formless one.
Avadhuta Gita with its teachings of Dattatreya means ‘song of the liberated soul’ and is based on Advaita Vedanta, that is, non-duality.
Also known as Avadhuta Grantha, Dattatreya Gita, Datta Gita Yoga Shastra or Vedanta Sara, it is about the nature of a spiritually liberated person. Parts of the Avadhuta Gita are found in the Bhagavata Purana and other Hindu texts. The written text dates to the 9th or 10th century and comprises 289 shlokas in eight chapters of which it is believed that the last chapter is an addition by someone else.


The Avadhuta Gita speaks of the liberated soul who is not interested in dogmas, habits, rituals or surface morality.

The essence and the whole of Vedanta is this Knowledge, this supreme Knowledge: That I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self.
Verse 1.5

The mind indeed is of the form of space. The mind indeed is omni-faced. The mind is the past. The mind is all. But in reality, there is no mind.
Verse 1.9


Know the Self always to be everywhere, one and unintercepted. I am the meditator and the highest object of meditation. Why do you divide the Indivisible?
Verse 1.12

That which has form is visible to the eye, while formless is perceived mentally. That (the Self), being beyond existence and non-existence, is called intermediate (neither material nor mental, but beyond both).
Verse 2.18

The external existence is the universe, the inner existence is called prakriti (cosmic mind). One should try to know that which is more interior than the inner existence.
Verse 2.19

Illusory knowledge relates to what is outside, correct knowledge to what is inside. Try to know that which is more interior than the inside, that which is like water within the kernel of the coconut.
Verse 2.20

It has been said that the destiny of those devoted to action is the same as their thought at the end, but it has not been said that the destiny of those established in yoga is the same as their thought at the end.
Verse 2.26

There is never any you and I. The discrimination of family and race is false. I am indeed the Absolute and the Supreme Truth. In that case how can I make a salutation?
Verse 6.22

The enlightened one is a yogi devoid of yoga and the absence of yoga. He is an enjoyer, devoid of enjoyment and the absence of enjoyment. Thus, he wanders leisurely, filled with the spontaneous joy of his own mind.
Verse 7.9

There is neither existence nor non-existence, all is Atman. Shake off all ideas of relativity; shake off all superstitions; let caste and birth and Devas and all else vanish.

Why talk of being and becoming? Give up talking of dualism and Advaitism! When were you two, that you talk of two or one? The universe is this Holy One and He alone.

Talk not of Yoga to make you pure; you are pure by your very nature. None can teach you.

(Vivekananda’s translation)

Teachings of The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, spreads the message of kindness, tolerance and compassion.


Dalai Lama is the Tibetan spiritual leader and represents Buddhist values and traditions. He is considered incarnation of Avalokitesvara or the lord who looks upon the world with compassion. He is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Dalai means ocean or big in Mongol and lama means master or guru in Tibetan.
Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th and current Dalai Lama is a revered figure across the world and is recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.
Altan Khan of the Ming dynasty created the title of the Dalai Lama in 1578 and the fifth Dalai Lama was granted seal of authority over Buddhism by the Shunzhi Emperor of China.


Happiness and Compassion
If you want others to be happy practice compassion. If you want to be happy practice compassion.
– Meditation for Living In Balance: Daily Solutions for People Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness
All major religions basically carry the same message. Love, compassion and forgiveness … to make it part of our daily life.
– Especially for Christians: Powerful Thought-provoking Words from the Past by Mark Alton Rose

It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.
– Ocean of Wisdom: Guidelines for Living

The Sameness of Human Beings
Today we face many problems. Some are created essentially by us based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, economic status, or other factors. Therefore, the time has come for us to think on a deeper level, on the human level, and from that level we should appreciate and respect the sameness of others as human beings.
– The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness

A Biased Mind Cannot Grasp Reality
“A society, which has many religions, should also have many prophets and sources of refuge.

In such a society, it is very important to have harmony and respect amongst the different religions and their practitioners.
We must distinguish between belief and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your own religion. At the same time, you should have respect for all other religions.”
– Excerpt from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s address to the inter-faith seminar organised by the International Association for Religious Freedom, Ladakh Group, in Leh.

Establishing Harmony Within Religious Diversity

… Here there are two possibilities of what can happen. The first one is that because of close contact between different traditions, sometimes there’s a little sense of insecurity about our own tradition. The other tradition comes into more contact with us, so we feel a little bit uncomfortable. That’s a negative possibility.
The second possibility is that because of this reality of more communication, the opportunities to develop genuine harmony between traditions have grown. This is a more positive possibility and so now we must make effort to establish true harmony. … through close contact, we can learn new things from each other; we can enrich our own traditions.

– www.dalailama.com

Yoga Vasistha

Yoga Vasistha is a spiritual instruction given to Rama by sage Vasistha. After settling down as King of Ayodhya Lord Rama is disgusted with the prospect of continuing his worldly duties. He approaches the sage seeking knowledge and the means to shed his mortal coil. The six books of the Yoga Vasishta chronicle the progressive states which Rama undergoes in his search for enlightenment and finally in shedding his mortal coil.

By Madhuri Y

YOGA Vasistha is believed to have been written by sage Valmiki. It is also known as Maha Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasistha Ramayana and Jnanavasistha. Translated into Persian in the 14th and 15th centuries, it is based on Advaita Vedanta, that is, there exists one reality and one God.

The Yoga Vasistha comprises six books:
1. Vairagya Prakaranam is about Rama’s frustration with life and suffering, and states the need for dispassion.
2. Mumukshuvayahara Prakaranam describes the nature of people who seek liberation.
3. Utpatti Prakaranam speaks of the birth of all creation and the birth of spiritual inclination in Lord Rama.
4. Sthiti Prakaranam speaks of existence, the nature of the world and of Advaita or non-duality. It also speaks of free will and of the human creative power.
5. Upashama Prakaranam speaks of meditation, patience, the feeling of oneness and its power to liberate a person.
6. Nirvana Prakaranam speaks of freedom and liberation and of an enlightened Rama.

How Kacha Attains Liberation

VASISTHA narrates the story of muni Kacha who is the son of Brihaspati. One day, Kacha approaches his father and seeks the path of enlightenment and the means to separate prana from mundane cares.
Brihaspati tells him that the ocean of births can be crossed only by renouncing everything. Kacha retires to the forest to meditate. At the end of eight years, when Brihaspati visits him, Kacha asks him why despite renouncing everything, his mental pain has not subsided.
Advising him that he should give up everything, Brihaspati departs. Kacha now gives up even the bark of trees worn as clothes and all other essentials. After some years, he visits his father, prostrates and asks why he is unable to get peace of mind even though he has renounced everything.
Brihaspati responds that mastery over mind leads to renunciation. It is only then that Kacha can free himself of all pain.
Kacha understands that so far, he has been inquiring into what the mind is and had not been able to come to a conclusion. He finally understands that any effort to separate the body from the mind is useless because they themselves are different from one another. Even this understanding does not resolve his doubt regarding the mind. Once again, he seeks Brihaspati’s advice.
The guru tells him that wise people understand that the mind is nothing but ahankara, or the ‘I’. ‘I’ creates impurities in soul.
Kacha recognises that it is difficult to avoid the idea of ‘I’ and asks his father how it can be broken.
Brihaspati replies that the only principle is of the non-dual, the endless, the supreme jnana. He advises Kacha to meditate upon this steadiness and that he can free himself of all pain and attain true calmness. Ahankara is unreal and hence, when such effort is made, it perishes. It cannot grow in an atmosphere where one meditates upon the eternal. Kacha can then be free from the differentiations of I and He. He blesses Kacha with the ability to remain in supreme reality.
Kacha, after abandoning the idea of ‘I’ is able to meditate upon the supreme reality. He turns into a jivanmukta or one without vikalpas with nothing that could trouble his mind.
Vasistha has led Rama to a desireless state and finally to emancipation.

Bhagwan Parshvanatha

With the knowledge that attachment and desire for pleasures causes suffering, Parshvanatha retired to the forest at 16

By Madhuri Y

Parshvanatha was sixteen years old when his father told him that it was time for him to marry. But, Parshvanatha decided that enjoying pleasures increases the desire for more. He knew that the soul experiences sufferings due to attachment which in fact causes pain.

The desire for pleasures, he understood, causes greed, theft, adultery and all vices and crimes. Due to these acts, the soul is forced to take birth in lower forms and to suffer hell.

Feeling that he had wasted his life so far, he decided to shun pleasures. He went to the forest, became naked and turned into a monk.

He undertook the 12 meditations, he fasted and observed the 28 primary and the 94 secondary rules of monks. He meditated, eventually attaining liberation on the Parasnath Hills.

Parshvanatha preached four vows – non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing and not owning things. He is believed to have preached for seventy years in Kashi, Kosi, Kosala, Panchala, Magadha, Avanti, Anga, Vanga among other regions.


Anuvratas (Vows of Limited Nature)

1 Ahimsa: Non-violence: Not causing intentional hurt. This is the principle behind their vegetarianism. Not causing unintentional hurt which involves drinking filtered water, not eating at night to name a few. Jains can use violence in self-defence though.

2 Satya: Truthfulness: Being truthful, conducting business with honesty. Not doing something when that inaction is dishonest is not allowed by this principle.

3 Asteya: Non-stealing: Not stealing, cheating or not paying tax.

4 Brahmacharya: Chastity: Having sex only with the spouse, avoiding sexual indulgence even with spouse and if possible, to give up sex after having a son.

5 Aparigraha: Non-attachment: Possessing only what they need, using surplus possessions to benefit others, living simply and not using too many resources.

Guna Vratas (Vows of Merit)

6 Dik Vrata: Limited area of activity: Restricting the area of travel to reduce the area in which they may bring harm.

7 Bhoga-Upabhoga Vrata: Limited use of resources: Limiting the use of items like food, clothing and other items to just what they need.

8 Anartha-Danda Vrata: Avoiding punishable sins: Not thinking or speaking ill of others, not being inconsiderate, self-indulgent or watching or listening to that which is immoral.

Shiksha Vratas (Vows of Discipline)

9 Samayik Vrata: Meditation: Meditating daily in one place for 48 minutes.

10 Desavakasika Vrata: Limited duration of activity: Restricting certain activities to specific times.

11 Pausadha Vrata: Limited ascetic life: Adopting the life of a monk for a day.

12 Atithi Samvibhaga Vrata: Limited charity: Giving to monks, nuns and the poor.


Sun God Surya exemplifies blend of spiritual, mental and physical health hallmark of Hinduism.

Words: Madhuri. Y

Worshipping Surya endows physical and mental health, intelligence, long life, prosperity, confidence and fame.

It also guides one towards spiritual pursuits. Each mantra used in worship has significance of its own.

Aditya Hridaya Mantra

Surya son of sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi is also known as Aditya.

When Lord Rama felt fatigued fighting Ravana, sage Agastya gave powerful Aditya Hridaya mantra for Rama to recite.

Rama recited it three times before taking on Ravana with renewed vigour and defeating him.

Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri mantra is a prayer to the presiding deity of the sun, known as Savita or Gayatri.

It was traditionally shared by father with son during the latter’s upanayanam (thread ceremony).

Men and women recite the mantra today which calms the mind, enhances concentration and leads to good health.

Surya Ashtakam

Surya ashtakam originated from Lord Shiva and is believed to bring wealth and fame in addition to blessing with children who have none.

Surya Sahasranamam

While narrating how King Yudhishthira prayed to Surya, sage Vaisampayana recites the Surya sahasranama to King Janamejaya. It comprises the 1008 names of the Sun god. Reciting these names at sunrise brings patience, memory, energy and prosperity. It also protects one from grief and danger.