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How to Spiritually Progress

I am a middle aged Iyer man. I practice Sandhyavandanam not regularly though and I regularly tell shlokas. In addition i recite Vishnu Sahasranama and Yajur Veda Suktas and Sri Rudram from Vishnu Sahasranamam. My question here is what is the next step of progress spiritually as an Iyer. We can't learn much of the Vedas now. Some people of other castes follow Yoga and other guru and improve spiritually. But I feel Iyers are left behind at the max learning upto some sukthas and Sri Rudram, how do I progress hereafter. Many people I enquire about general Hinduism tell to refer to Gurus. But our Gurus like Shankaracharyas are highest spiritual Sadhakas and we can't approach them directly for our spiritual upliftment. The Vathiyars are mostly busy in their profession and teach us only the Suktas. Learning Shlokas is another option but these are approaches only for a Bhakthi Yoga. Reading Puranas and Ithihasas too emphasize on Bhakthi Yoga. What is the approaches of Gnana Yoga available to Iyers now? Who are the Gurus we can approach?
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
I am a middle aged Iyer man. I practice Sandhyavandanam not regularly though and I regularly tell shlokas. In addition i recite Vishnu Sahasranama and Yajur Veda Suktas and Sri Rudram from Vishnu Sahasranamam. My question here is what is the next step of progress spiritually as an Iyer. We can't learn much of the Vedas now. Some people of other castes follow Yoga and other guru and improve spiritually. But I feel Iyers are left behind at the max learning upto some sukthas and Sri Rudram, how do I progress hereafter. Many people I enquire about general Hinduism tell to refer to Gurus. But our Gurus like Shankaracharyas are highest spiritual Sadhakas and we can't approach them directly for our spiritual upliftment. The Vathiyars are mostly busy in their profession and teach us only the Suktas. Learning Shlokas is another option but these are approaches only for a Bhakthi Yoga. Reading Puranas and Ithihasas too emphasize on Bhakthi Yoga. What is the approaches of Gnana Yoga available to Iyers now? Who are the Gurus we can approach?
Though I am not a Brahmin but to my limited understanding I could share some general suggestions.

Spirituality is both external and internal.
From what you wrote about your spiritual practice and recitations etc, its really very good because you are putting in effort.

Thats the biggest and first step as to be commited.
The Gita says " Shraddhaval labhate jnaanam"

One who strives verily begets jnaana.

The very reason you have asked the question as " how to progress spirituality" itself is a blessing and a sign that your system is yearning for an inward journey.

Jnaana unfortunately isnt found in books contrary to popular belief but its confered upon to us either through a Guru shishya parampara or at times by internal awakening where one gets guidance from tapping into the consciousness.

At the same time one can read up for information purposes but to move inward is where we have to have a one to one " conversation" with God.

Ask your ishta devata sincerely to show you some sign as how to proceed.
Wait for the " reply".
It can come through any way and the wait could be long or short depending on what God wills.

But meanwhile one can get in contact with like minded ones or if you prefer iyers as in sharing the same sampradaya than you could start a sat sang to read and discuss about deeper aspects of scriptures.
Then coupled with what your Ishta devata guides you, you could actually embark on your journey.

Go for regular pilgrimage to soak into the vibes for some amount of inner engineering.
All these count.

Also one thing I have noted is the need to de-clutter when we want to embark on a spiritual journey.

Try donating stuff which we do not need.
Clear up the home as much as we can to create visible space.
Once visible space is seen, the same effect is seen internally.
We would start to feel less burden on us.

Do regular donations and some amount of seva too.

Its the whole package..bhakti yoga, jnaana yoga and karma yoga.

You could also do some yoga asanas at home for general well being and sleep early and best alignment with prayer is seen around 3.30an to 4.00am( something you must already be knowing)

Lastly we all should learn to " unlearn"..that is to empty our mind so that it can be filled up by God.
This is where Ramana Maharishi's silent contemplation comes in handy.
Unlearning is actually harder than learning.


Regards
 
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a-TB

Well-known member
I am a middle aged Iyer man. I practice Sandhyavandanam not regularly though and I regularly tell shlokas. In addition i recite Vishnu Sahasranama and Yajur Veda Suktas and Sri Rudram from Vishnu Sahasranamam. My question here is what is the next step of progress spiritually as an Iyer. We can't learn much of the Vedas now. Some people of other castes follow Yoga and other guru and improve spiritually. But I feel Iyers are left behind at the max learning upto some sukthas and Sri Rudram, how do I progress hereafter. Many people I enquire about general Hinduism tell to refer to Gurus. But our Gurus like Shankaracharyas are highest spiritual Sadhakas and we can't approach them directly for our spiritual upliftment. The Vathiyars are mostly busy in their profession and teach us only the Suktas. Learning Shlokas is another option but these are approaches only for a Bhakthi Yoga. Reading Puranas and Ithihasas too emphasize on Bhakthi Yoga. What is the approaches of Gnana Yoga available to Iyers now? Who are the Gurus we can approach?
You have to ask yourself what it means for you to be spiritual. Why do you want to be more spiritual at your middle age and and are you expecting any benefits?

You seem to have defined yourselves with too many identities. All those are meaningless if you explore more. There cannot be a spirituality for an Iyer and another for another caste. Seeing yourself as just a human being is a start but only a start.

If religion is what you seek it has little to do with spirituality
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
You have to ask yourself what it means for you to be spiritual. Why do you want to be more spiritual at your middle age and and are you expecting any benefits?

You seem to have defined yourselves with too many identities. All those are meaningless if you explore more. There cannot be a spirituality for an Iyer and another for another caste. Seeing yourself as just a human being is a start but only a start.

If religion is what you seek it has little to do with spirituality
Everyone starts off with some identities.
Its part of our human mental make up.
Eventually these identities dissolve as one moves on the path of self enquiry.

All of us are " guilty" of having some form of identity.
For eg
1) our name
2) our parents name
3)varna/ jati
4) gender
5) nationality
6) citizenship
7) homo sapien
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
Just to add, we all identify ourselves with many roles till the day we understand " not this, not this".

Didnt Shankara sing the Bhavani Ashtakam where He was denouncing every form of relationship and identification?
Also let us not forget even Adi Shankara demonstated the need to shed His twice born identity when faced with the Chandala who was well versed in Advaita concept.

So lets not be a little " hard" on any new member who asks a question.
How would anyone learn if we keep playing firing squad?

One of the greatest mistake most of us make ( me included) is expecting everyone to agree with our pet ideas.

Its not easy to get over that inclination.
But we can always choose to be a bit welcoming to new comers so that we can keep forum interactive

Off late Forum isnt as interactive.
Anyway here is Bhavani Ashtakam

 
OP
OP
R

ramkumaran

Member
You have to ask yourself what it means for you to be spiritual. Why do you want to be more spiritual at your middle age and and are you expecting any benefits?

You seem to have defined yourselves with too many identities. All those are meaningless if you explore more. There cannot be a spirituality for an Iyer and another for another caste. Seeing yourself as just a human being is a start but only a start.

If religion is what you seek it has little to do with spirituality
i asked a question as an iyer what should i do because i have been brought up in a certain mold , not many identities are involved here . I have my beliefs set based on reciting slokas and reading puranas but what leads me further spiritually. seeing myself as a human being as a start is different i could very well serve humanity in many ways , i won't have asked this question here
 

a-TB

Well-known member
i asked a question as an iyer what should i do because i have been brought up in a certain mold , not many identities are involved here . I have my beliefs set based on reciting slokas and reading puranas but what leads me further spiritually. seeing myself as a human being as a start is different i could very well serve humanity in many ways , i won't have asked this question here
Dear Mr Ramkumaran :

I shared the questions I asked myself some time ago.
Literality is the domain of religion, mythology (Puranic stories) and rituals. In Spirituality one sees essence or unity in diversity. At least that could be one definition of spirituality in the context of this discussion.

My response and questions to you earlier are based on the above context.

Spirituality is about shedding all beliefs and conditioning. Some of the Puranic stories may have deep spiritual significance but the practice in today's world, the focus is on literal interpretation only.

I can share a bit of what I have found thus far only if you are interested.

There are very few teachers available today that I found to have studied Sankara's commentaries with proper teacher. The reason these commentaries are significant is not because Sankara gave yet another opinion. It is because he is able to give a single vision, which is contradiction free across all Upanishads and Gita etc. and without bringing in any faith or theology,

There are lots of work attributed to Sankara and most are just not true. Two major Sankara mutts do not even agree on when Sankara lived . It goes from 9 AD to 5 BC ! Stories and poems attributed to him have no basis. A Swami couple of hundred years ago went through the commentaries which seem authentic because of the single vision it conveys. In matching up other stories and work, that Swami dismissed many commonly attributed works. There are few poems that are consistent with Sankara's teachings and style. I do not have reference to the original work which is in Sanskrit. I found it online only though some years ago

You cannot learn properly from books and certainly not from websites including this one. In that 'spirit' take what I say here only to investigate further.

In the next message let me share one poem that is Adi Sankara's teaching,

You will see that we all carry all kinds of identities beyond the obvious ones when you see the meaning of the verse,

.

All the Best
 
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a-TB

Well-known member
Dasa Sloki (Sankara's works - translation was taken at one time from Kanchi Periyava forum)

So the progression is to go from Om Nama Sivaya to 'Shiva Kevaloham'

I am not an expert in any of these

Na bhoomir na thoyam na thejo na vayu,
Na Kham nendriyam vaa na thesham samooha,
Anaikanthikathwath suspthyeka siddha,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 1

I am not earth, I am not water.
I am not light, I am not wind,
I am not ether, I am not sense organs,
Nor am I a combination of these,
Because they don’t always exist.
I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na varna , na varnasramachara dharma,
Na me dharana dhyana yogadhayopi,
Anathmasrayo aham mamadhya sahanath,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 2


I am not the caste, I am not the caste rules,

I am not stages of life,
I am not rules , I am not the just conduct,
I am not meditation, I am not yogic practice,
For the concept of I and me destroy all these.
I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na matha pitha vaa na deva na loka,
Na veda na yagna na theertham bruvanthi,
Sushupthou nirasthadhi soonyath makathwath,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 3

Neither the mother nor the father.
Neither the celestial gods nor the earth,
Neither the Vedas ,nor the fire sacrifice,
Nor the holy waters, they say, exist in sleep.
But there is no void in sleep, either.
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na sankhyam na saivam na thath pancha rathram,
Na jainam , na meemamskader matham vaa,
Visishtanubhoothya vishudhath maka thwath,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 4

Neither the Sankhya principle,
Nor the doctrine of Shaiva,
Not the principle of pancha rathra,
Nor the doctrine of Jainas,
Nor the principle of Meemasa,
Are Unique experiences,
For the soul is the purest known truth.,
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.



Na shuklam na krishnam na raktham na peetham,

Na peenam na kubjam na hruswam na deergam,
Na roopam thada jyothirakarakathwath,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 5


Neither white nor black,

Neither red nor yellow,
Neither large nor thin,
Neither short , nor tall,
And neither with a form is the soul,
For this soul is the form of the light,
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na jagranna me swapnako vaa sushupthi,
Ne viswo na vaa thaijasa pragnako vaa,
Avidhyathmakathwath trayanam thureeyam,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 6

Neither the state of waking,
Nor the state of dream,
Nor the state of deep sleep is for me,
Neither the earthy feelings,
Nor the glorified feelings of dreams,
Nor the feeling of wakefulness in sleep am I,
For these are the souls of avidya,
And I am the fourth , the thureeya, which is beyond these,
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.


Na sastha na sasthram na sishyo na siksha,

Na cha thwam, na cha aham na cha ayam prapancha,
Swaroopavabadhadhi vikalapa sahishnu,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 7

Neither the origin of knowledge,
Nor the books of knowledge,
Neither he disciple nor the teacher,
Neither you, nor me and nor this world am I,
For this is not tolerated by innate realization,
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na chordhwam na chadho na cha andhar na bahyam,
Na madhyam na thiryang na poorva paraddik,
Viyad vyapakathwath Akandaika roopa,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 8

Neither above , nor below,
Neither inside nor outside,
Neither the middle , nor the across,
Neither the east nor the west am I,
For like the all pervading ether,
I am spread everywhere,
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Api vyapakathwadhi Thathwa prayogath,
Swatha sidha bhavananya asrayathwath,
Jagat thuchamethath samastham thadanya,
Thadekovasishta Shiva kevaloham. 9

Being all pervasive and goal oriented,
Being dependent on its own nature,
Than depending on any out side thing,
This world is trivial as it is different from self.
So I am simply Shiva the self,
For this remains even in sleep,
After everything is taken out.

Na chaikam thadanyath dweetheeyam kutha syath,
Na chaa kevalathwam na vaa kevalathwam,
Na soonyam na chaa soonyamadvaidhakathwath,
Kadam sarva vedhatham sidham braveemi 10

It is not even one and how can it be two,
Neither is it unique and nor not unique,
Neither is it a vacuum nor something different from it,
For it is the essence of non dual reality
So how can I tell about what is established by all philosophy?
 

Lotusinsanskrit

Active member
i asked a question as an iyer what should i do because i have been brought up in a certain mold , not many identities are involved here . I have my beliefs set based on reciting slokas and reading puranas but what leads me further spiritually. seeing myself as a human being as a start is different i could very well serve humanity in many ways , i won't have asked this question here
It is my perception of improvement of spirituality. For the past two years that is after lock down i have started listening Narayaneeyam, Bhagavat Gita and bhagavatham( not the whole of them). Bits and pieces according to the discussion i had with my sister over phone as she is learning and teaching to friends and relatives via many medium according to others confortability via whatsapp or duo or zoom. I used to discuss after reading this forum or somewherelse and she will give her inputs from the interaction she had with others while teaching like comparing similar slokas or text etc ,. She used to say one of my cousin who is also a middle man Iyer (35 years) is spontaneously comparing many texts/slokas while learning bhagavatham. So I feel deeper learning may be one of the improvement in spirituality.

In that way I deeply express my gratitude to many as their discussion on the topics by comparing many (to mention few; bhagavatham and thirukural, bhagavatham and thiruppaavai which i read, written by someone) i personally attended one by Vishaka Hari who has given sangeetha upanyasam on Narayaneeyam. She had recited slokas from narayaneeyam (thasakam 34&35) and sung appropriate songs like bhavayami/seetha kalyana vaibogame for ramayanam and while reciting slokas of Krishna Leela(thasakam37 to 88) she had sung one song related to ambal(nalina kanthimathim) when she talked about Durga maa arrived in jail. I really liked the way she presented by combining many.

So I feel this is also one way of learning/ improving spirituality.
 
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trinetra

Member
I am your exact counterpart. But I have found my Guru. I would suggest you to sincerely follow your sadhana of chanting. If the words feel empty, search for their meanings. You cannot but progress if you chant Sri Rudram daily. A miniscule number of human beings have heard of this and fewer still are blessed to be able to chant it. Carry on with full faith! He will answer.
 
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