Prema Kriya Yoga - Blog - Post Surya e Chandra

Surya and Chandra – The Sun and the Moon, the Yoga of Opposites

“It seems there has always been a rivalry between man and woman. But they are equal; none is superior. Take pride in what you are in this life. You are a soul that has been in male and female bodies in different past incarnations. If you are a woman now and envy men, you may have to reincarnate as a man. And pay attention: if you are a man now and feel superior to women, you may have to be born as a woman.

Man argues that woman is emotional and cannot reason, and woman complains that man cannot feel. Both are incorrect. Woman can reason, but feeling is most important in her nature; and man can feel, but reason predominates in him. The ideal is to balance reason and feeling in one’s own nature. Those who are too feminine do not find freedom of the soul, nor do those who are too masculine. Each gender must strive for balance, learning from each other through friendship and understanding.

In great saints, we see combined ideal male and female qualities. Jesus was like that; all masters are. When you achieve that perfect balance between reason and feeling, you will have learned one of the main lessons for which you were sent here.” Journey to Self-Realization; Yogananda

What does Surya and Chandra mean? Surya is “sun,” and Chandra is “moon.”

We can say that the fundamental goal of all yogic practice is to balance our inner energies: the solar and lunar. In each of us and at different moments in life, and even throughout the day, we can perceive that one of these energies predominates. We are not talking about gender here; the soul has no gender, and in all of us, there is both the more solar and masculine energy and the more lunar or feminine energy; regardless of the body we reincarnate into. We can even observe many women who are more energetically “surya,” and men more “chandra,” so to speak.

In a few words, we can summarize what happens when we practice yoga: we balance these two energies (Surya and Chandra) and, consequently, awaken our spiritual energy of the self or the soul (Atma).

What does this mean, more profoundly?

When our surya energy is more predominant, we can tend to be more energetic, luminous, and strong. Our solar side is our masculine side, exuberant, extroverted, determined, visionary, focused, and healthy. The quality of the sun is warmth: welcoming, joyful, discerning, radiant, and of great physical power. It is an energy that externalizes and acts.

When the chandra energy prevails, we are usually more sensitive, emotional, and introspective. Our lunar side is feminine, relaxed, creative, and receptive. With these qualities, we can surrender more, connect more easily with nature, and perceive ourselves as part of it; we can intuit more of life’s subtleties.

Both energies are extremely important in authentic spiritual awakening; one complements the other. When integrated, we can truly experience the soul, the Self, the Spiritual Light from which we come (Brahma), which sustains us (Vishnu), and to which we dissolve (Shiva).

If we are excessively nourishing and nurturing our more solar and masculine part without cultivating our lunar delicacy, we may become, for example, more aggressive, impatient, egocentric, and arrogant. Denying our more feminine part makes us disconnect from our natural part, suppressing it; leading us to a space of imbalance, illness, and ignorance.

On the other hand, it is also true that if we become emphatically energetically only feminine; this can bring us an exaggerated sensitivity, and thus we let ourselves be carried away by the waves of emotions, losing discernment, the state of observation, and the stillness necessary to see and live in the truth of the Self, with expansion and amplitude.

We can even notice this when we meditate: for meditation to happen more naturally and smoothly, it is necessary to have the ability to immobilize oneself, detach oneself, and be consciously vigilant of everything that happens, inside and outside of us, with detachment and attention; but alongside this “Surya” and “Shiva” aspect, we also need “Chandra” or “Shakti”: to relax, let go, surrender, open up, and be receptive, accepting the process wholeheartedly.

If we go even more into details and depths, this applies to everything in life: it is not enough to discipline and self-control oneself if we create expectations of results without having the patience to let come what must come… And the same happens oppositely: it is of no use to “live in the present” with lightness, flowing in life’s events if we also do not have the willpower to transform ourselves, purify ourselves, and truly elevate ourselves.

The secret of happiness is this inner balance: acting positively toward justice and Dharma (right action aligned with Divine will) and completely surrendering the results to the Divine, without expectations; fully receptive to what is, in a state of gratitude and acknowledgment.

Let us not judge ourselves if we cannot always achieve this harmonic fullness. The fact that we are here and now reflecting, studying, and practicing yoga and meditation is already a sign that we are on this quest, and everything begins with it, incorporating these teachings into our daily lives. With time and patience, this balance and revelation of the Self will surely come when we least expect it.

“In every being, there is a masculine and a feminine nature. The masculine or positive side reveals itself as the powers of discrimination, self-control, and demanding judgment – qualities that express or respond to reason. The negative or feminine nature consists of feeling – love, sympathy, kindness, mercy, joy. In the ideal being, these two aspects are perfectly balanced. But if reason lacks feeling, it becomes calculating, hard, critical; and if feeling has no reason, it becomes blind emotion.” Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita

“The harmonious balance between reason and feeling leads to intuitive perception and the ability to know what is Truth. Achieving this balance, men and women become gods.” Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ

Namaste, much love (prema), in service and in harmony surya-chandra

Spirit and Nature Dance Together: Radha Govinda.

Raquel Bhavani – Prema Kriya Yoga

PREMA KRIYA YOGA - Blog - imagem generica A

What is meditation, and why is it a part of everyday life for a healthy and fulfilling life?

MEDITATION IS A SIMPLE AND NATURAL PROCESS. It is a remembrance (smrit, from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) of our True existence – in Kriya Yoga, for example, one repeats ‘Hong So’ – I am That. In this technique that we will delve into later, we sit silently repeating ‘Hong’ on inhalation and ‘so’ on exhalation; but we can use numerous preparations and techniques that lead us to the authentic meditative state, which we will also share during the course.

Meditation is the cure of cures and, in my humble view, the most important act of every day: the commitment that we should never lose. Just as we take a shower every day to clean the residues from the skin, or when we go to the bathroom to eliminate the toxins that accumulate within; meditation is a natural process of internal cleansing of our subtle energy body and our mental body, and we can say that this inner work, consequently, also purifies the physical body.

The habit of sitting quietly, once or more times a day, for a few minutes or longer, internalized, attentively listening to the breath and observing everything that happens around us and especially within us, with full attention, awareness, and presence… is meditation. This daily act completely and constructively transforms our quality of life and that of everyone who comes into contact with us. Moreover, we can all prioritize this act of self-love and love for others, dedicating a few minutes to this essential practice of life.

The science of yoga explains that everything starts from the mind, or rather, from the vibrations and sounds that emanate in the mind… That’s why it’s so important to heal this deep inner space. The body is the instrument given to us to live in this time on earth, and therefore, we have the duty to heal it and keep it healthy by taking care of nutrition, exercising daily, and purifying it. At the same time, the mind is the instrument on which the body depends to be well, and therefore, an intoxicated and poorly cared for mind consequently generates a sick body. Master Yogananda affirms, “The mind is more important than the body. The Spirit (or the Inner Self) is more important than the mind.”

Meditation has been studied deeply, although we still have much to discover about this ancient discipline for our complete Well-Being.

Here are some of the benefits of meditation proven by modern science:

  • Used for years as a remedy for stress and the serious physical consequences that come with it, and for states of anxiety (including panic attacks).
  • Stabilizes mood and prevents depressive states.
  • In recent years, meditation has been used as pain therapy and even in oncology departments.
  • Calms the heart.
  • Helps with insomnia or oversleeping problems.
  • Improves concentration in everything you do.
  • Increases the production of endorphins – a substance (neurotransmitter) that produces well-being: it is the substance that allows us to numb pain, for example, that is created while practicing sports.
  • Increases the production of Serotonin – a substance (neurotransmitter) that produces contentment: stabilizes the mood that often arises in deep love relationships between partners or between mother and child.
  • Increases the production of GABA – a substance (neurotransmitter) the lack of which exposes the individual to addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, compulsive sex, or others).
  • Greater production of Melatonin – a substance (hormone) that stabilizes sleep.
  • Greater production of HGH – a substance (or growth hormone) that protects against tissue aging.
  • Greater production of DHEA – a substance (hormone) the lack of which exposes us to tumors, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, and others. Our immune defenses depend on this hormone.
  • Reduction in the production of cortisol – a substance (hormone) harmful to the body, such as lowering immune defenses and tissue aging.
  • Thickening of the cerebral cortex (from 8 to 16 thousandths of a millimeter according to a study by YALE and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
  • Ability to consciously produce brain waves in a state of deep relaxation and concentration.

The mental benefits of meditation are:

  • The mind is more serene and lucid.
  • Develops a sense of well-being.
  • Increases mental faculties.
  • Clarifies ideas (even in the most critical moments).
  • Stabilizes mood.
  • Contributes to creating harmony in relationships.
  • Aids concentration at work, in studies, and in competitive sports activities.
  • Develops awareness.

And this is the crucial point: awareness, mindfulness, being present in the here and now.

When we are aware of what we are experiencing in the present moment, then we are fully living the experience of life; when we are not aware (perhaps most of the time in an ordinary human being), we do not live, but let ourselves be lived.

If you meditate every day, you will notice that after a few weeks, things around you will be more beautiful… Colors will be more vivid and intense; you will see more splendid details in the landscape that were previously camouflaged in the background… Sounds, sensations of the body, everything will be naturally and “almost imperceptibly” more “intense” and more vivid.

And yet, the most wonderful benefit of meditation, and the cause of all the other ‘side effects,’ so to speak, is that of “returning Home” or to the “True Self”: it is to remember Who we are. When we are disconnected from our True Essence, we always feel a continuous dissatisfaction that we seek to fill externally, and that never truly fulfills us. Instead, when we begin an inner journey and come into contact with ‘That Being’ that goes beyond the mind and intellect, feelings, and emotions… we discover how to carry with us a “Portable Paradise” in any situation, as Master Yogananda says.

Briefly delving into deeper aspects of meditation, in one of the most important sacred texts of yoga, the “Bhagavad Gita,” we find 8 aspects of the Self that we can experience when meditating. These 8 qualities allow us to identify when such a ‘meditative’ moment occurs. When we are in contact with “That Self,” we perceive one (or more) of these 8 natural manifestations: the Light of the spiritual eye, an unconditional Joy, expansive Pure Love, inner Power or Potency, hearing the vibration of the OM mantra (primordial sound), a state of profound Peace, a light calmness during the day that is inexplicable, and/or Wisdom and intuition in every moment and everyday situation.

Another way to put into words this profound experience of the Divine Self is the term used in classical Indian scriptures: ‘Satchitananda’ – “always present, always conscious, and in ever-new Joy”; translated by Master Yogananda.

Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Yogananda and my spiritual Master on Earth, says that when we meditate until we reach this state of Pure Consciousness (turiya), we ‘burn’ past karmas, purifying what is no longer useful (such as negative habits); and at the same time, awakening and manifesting the karmic seeds that have to do with hidden and often suppressed natural talents during life.

By meditating regularly, without expecting anything – we will have all the benefits, and we will see how, naturally, our life will be enhanced.

It doesn’t matter if you are atheist, Catholic, Buddhist, or belong to any other religious or spiritual group or institution: meditate, and your life will be more “alive,” and you will always know how to receive the “fleeting moment,” the “here and now,” giving less and less power to mental confusion.

Finally, I leave you with an inspiration and reflection from Master Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda’s Master:

“Forget the past. The past lives of all men are obscured by many shames. Human conduct is always uncertain until it is anchored in the Divine Self. All things will get better in the future if you make a spiritual effort now.”

PREMA KRIYA YOGA - Blog - Sobre o karma

On Karma…

The concept of Karma in the philosophy of yoga is a well-known term. People use it in everyday language: “this is my karma” or “such a person has a difficult karma.”

In general, it is understood that when we act or think in a certain way, the response of the Universe will manifest (both in good and bad). We can understand this with simple examples, such as: if I decide to eat a lot of sweets, I will have a stomachache, isn’t it true? No one is “cursing” me… through experience, I understand that this is a truth and a response for me. And I can then decide whether I will eat and feel unwell or moderate and feel well.

What is sometimes not understood is that this response is not always so direct or linear. And what people sometimes do not see is that even the worst material situation of a person is not always an indication of “bad karma,” and not always is a rich and healthy person blessed only with “good karma.” Usually, in almost all situations, karmas are mixed. I have met beautiful, sensitive, rich, and intelligent people who threw themselves out of the window… and I have met people living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, full of joy for life and a desire to learn and improve. Things are not always as we think and judge.

Even the worst material situation of a person is not always an indication of “bad karma,” and not always is a rich and healthy person blessed only with “good karma.”

I believe that, for example, people with greater material difficulties in life have a role in sensitizing those more materially privileged. I am sure that if we have possibilities, a home, food, security, health, and are well with everything essential guaranteed, we also have the responsibility and duty to help others who may be in a less favorable situation.

I also believe that often we choose the type of karma we want to face in this life, and not always someone who has “everything” in life will continue that way forever. Depending on how a person acts in this world, in the next life, they may have a different situation, always for learning and moving forward on the journey. And vice versa. It is not about punishment; it is simply a Universal law that applies to all of us.

We should not, of course, passively accept situations of violence or extreme poverty, saying, “this is my karma, or his or hers…,” but observe what is happening and act wisely with the aim of improving our own situation or that of others.

According to Paramahansa Yogananda, my spiritual teacher, when we enter superconsciousness in the Divine Being, beyond the mind, beyond emotions, in a state of calm and peace, in Divine Bliss, we are beyond even karma and are free. He encourages us to enter deep meditation daily, identify ourselves less with the ego, and remember our Infinite Self, unlimited and no longer conditioned by anything. We simply Are. Hong-So. Om Guru Om.

Raquel Bhavani

PREMA KRIYA YOGA - Blog - Transformacoes Percurso Espiritual

Transformations on the Spiritual Path

Namaste, friends!

Today, I would like to share with you some reflections on the spiritual journey, issues that I notice may not be very clear to many of us, sincere seekers.

It is crucial to understand some teachings of the spiritual path, especially for those who are traversing it more consciously, and to grasp that these teachings go far beyond our intellect and thinking mind. We need to “fish” these teachings at an intuitive level—after all, they are intrinsic to the depths of our Being.

For example, does “being zen” mean not feeling and/or showing emotions? Or does it mean being true and authentic in relation to them?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the second option, we are in harmony. According to my own perception and after almost 20 years of practice, meditation, studies, and over 15 years of teaching different bodies and minds, I humbly understand that the practice of yoga and meditation does not negate our feelings and emotions. On the contrary, at times, they make us feel even more and awaken greater sensitivities to everything that happens within us and around us.

Spirituality does not leave us indifferent or cold, much less insensitive. Quite the opposite, we are more present and attentive, more alive and awake, and therefore, we feel even more.

At the same time, what I realize is that, with these practices, we also become more detached and less identified; we become more observers and less entangled in emotions and situations.

As we detach ourselves from such attitudes, thoughts, and emotions, we become more emotionally mature and more capable of accepting them, and thus, when the time comes, we can also purify them (this doesn’t always happen in “our” time but in Divine time…).

In the moment we surrender, embrace ourselves, and practice compassion (including with ourselves), a release occurs almost spontaneously.

All of this is very subtle and much easier to talk and write about than to actually put into practice… Even for someone who practices and meditates for years, they may sometimes be frustrated with themselves, feeling incapable of change and believing that all their effort to improve was in vain…

The good news is that if we are able to love ourselves as we are, with our “flaws” and “qualities,” practicing and meditating without expectations, truly and genuinely dedicating all the fruits of actions to the Divine Being, the Guru, to God (or however you prefer to refer to this inner Being), I have deep confidence and faith that transformation and illumination will come.