For the last year we’ve been working on a very important project, The Indira Institute. The purpose of the Institute is to bring the universal teachings of Ananda’s line of masters to a much larger audience. Until now, Ananda has concentrated largely on training and supporting devotees, those who want to find God. Noble though this is, there are many people who want to improve their lives and know this involves changing their consciousness, but don’t currently define themselves as spiritual. This is the audience we want to reach.
We’ll start in India by offering a weekend “Signature Course” based on universal principles expressed in the Bhagavad Gita. As we looked closely, we came up with nine themes or gems, so we’re calling the weekend course, Gita Navaratna, Nine Gems for Living the Gita in Modern Life.
We’ve been intensely busy the last few weeks working on this course, feeling a sense of urgency because we will present the very first, prototype version during Inner Renewal Week, which starts on February 16. Recently I realized that these nine gems represent a brief, but complete, overview of the universal spiritual path. Here, then, with nine gems from the Bhagavad Gita, is a five-minute overview of the evolution of consciousness we all must experience.
1. The Inner Conflict
The battle of Kurukshetra is an allegory of the battle between our positive and negative tendencies, represented by the opposing armies. We each must fight this battle in order to regain our natural kingdom of peace, harmony, and happiness.
2. The Imperishable Soul
The soul (a spark of the eternal consciousness of the Creator) reincarnates repeatedly, taking on an ego, or particular body and personality, in each incarnation. In the Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna on how to move from limited ego-consciousness to soul-consciousness.
In order to move from ego-consciousness, (the limited realm that is perceivable by our senses) to soul-consciousness (our eternal Self), we must be willing to offer up the desires and attachments that enmesh us.
4. Directional Development
This takes time. Evolution is like a spiral stairway, and for each individual there are steps leading upward and those that lead downward; things that expand our consciousness and those that contract us. We evolve through four distinct stages: heavy, ego-active but contractive, ego-active and expansive, and light.
Karma is the mechanism by which we learn and evolve. Every thought, word, feeling, and action produces a pulse of energy that is reflected back to us, just as an echo returns a sound to its source. If we project angry or negative energy, we will experience that quality reflected back to us. If we give out love and friendship, the same will be returned. Gradually, the soul learns to act in accordance with higher universal principles.
6. Dharma and Right Action
Dharma has two meanings: universal righteousness, and one’s life purpose. Right actions are activities and duties performed in accordance with dharma. When done without attachment, they lead us toward freedom.
7. Knowing Truth
Pandu symbolically represents discrimination, but he dies young, leaving his sons (our spiritual qualities) as orphans. When our power to know right from wrong dies, we lose our moral compass. We then fall under the control of the blind, sensory mind, which is unable to perceive what brings true happiness.
The heart’s feelings are pivotal. When our emotions are negative, our consciousness contracts. When we guide the feelings in an upward and expansive direction, we not only move toward superconsciousness, but also magnetically draw the support of universal forces.
The ultimate goal of life is to expand our consciousness until it becomes infinite. The most direct pathway to this is through deep meditation.
There is so much more that can be said, so, in a sense, this is just a teaser. We invite you to join us for Inner Renewal Week, which will be live-streamed and also videoed. We also invite your feedback and comments on this wonderful adventure that we are all experiencing together.
You may also be interested in our upcoming radio interview on how to have a happy and healthy marriage. Learn how to tune in here.