The Art of Meditation: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Meditators
February 26, 2010 on 3:00 pm
At Ma’s India we meet a lot of people interested in meditation. They usually come into our store after a darshan meditation given by our guru Ma Jaya, full of enthusiasm for the practice of meditation. Some are beginners, some are intermediate meditators and some are more advanced. We have meditation tools available for every degree of practice.
The beginning meditation practitioners want all the tools, and for them, we recommend The Meditation Kit. Contained within this meditation kit is a sandalwood mala, incense with holder, bell, sacred water cup, 4 track mantra CD and a 28 page illustrated guide book. In that guidebook of meditation, there is instruction on breathing, mantras, mudras, and a very complete guide for any meditator.
Devdutt Pattanaik has written a series of introductory books on Hinduism which are of great service to the beginning meditator if they are interested in Hindu lore and mythology; for example: Shiva: An Introduction; Devi: An Introduction; Vishnu: An Introduction and Hanuman: An Introduction. All of these books are written in simple narrative style reducing the complexity of Hindu lore to something immediately understandable and lucid.
For intermediate meditators who wish to learn more about Hinduism and devotion, we recommend to them a series of books such as Gita Wisdom by Joshua Greene, a wonderful readable tale of the relationship of Krishna and Arjuna as it is played out in the journey of the Bhagavad-Gita. Also recommended is Hindu Gods and Goddesses by W.J.Wilkins, a composite of the pantheon of gods and goddesses replete in Hindu literature. If one is looking for a particular god or goddess to offer their devotion to, one might wish to purchase Lakshmi – An Introduction, or Hanuman by Chitralekha Singh, two of the most popular deities in Hindu lore and mythology. Also a wonderful read is the seminal epic book, Ramayana, by the foremost authority in Hinduism, William Buck. These are but a few of the many books on Hinduism represented at Ma’s India.
Some more advanced meditators who perhaps have been meditating for quite sometime usually desire some more esoteric study. We immediately direct them to the most renowned expert on mantras, Thomas Ashley Farrand, in his book Chakra Mantras wherein he teaches the use of mantras in activating our secret chakras. This is truly a seminal book on mantras during meditation. Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi is an innovative book telling of how a simple placement of your hands and fingers can allow you to clear space energetically, think more positively, ease tension and even relieve flu symptoms and asthma.
And for the most seasoned and serious mediators truly interested in esoteric books, we recommend Aghora: At the Left Hand of God by Robert Svoboda, a life journey tale of a master teacher into the rare world of Tantrism and Aghora III: The Law of Karma, which brilliantly speaks of karma and how it relates to everyman in his search for truth. These are experiential views into a world rarely seen by western eyes.
There are a host of accompaniments to meditation such as the Meditation Pillow Cushion, an extraordinarily comfortable and popular cushion filled with buckwheat hulls to ensure a good meditation. Made with a removable cover, this meditation cushion offers structural support as well to the meditator. As one becomes more interested in meditation, it is interesting to note that the meditator can travel to certain meditation sites or retreats and bring along their Portable Zafu Meditation Cushion which is inflatable, durable and can be easily used outdoors as well as indoors.
There are many other accompaniments to meditation such as oils, incense, bells and tingshas. The Auroshika Incenses made at the Sri Aurobindo ashram in India capture nature’s finest scents in their incenses. We particularly love Auroshika Sandalwood Indian Incense since sandalwood is the most popular and widely burned incense in meditation practices.
Topped off with Om Tingsha Cymbals to bring you into a d
eep meditative feeling, you will be ready to receive that which you desire from your meditation practice.
Om Shantih Swaha!
Can One Promote Chakra Healing with Various Semi-Precious Stones?
February 24, 2010 on 3:00 pm
Most people consider chakras to be a fanciful description of energetic functions of the body. However, in the East they have long been considered to influence and even govern bodily functions. Chakras are energy centres along the spine located at major branchings of the human nervous system, beginning at the base of the spinal column and moving upward to the top of the skull.
Massage therapists and Reiki practitioners will readily attest to feeling energy emanations from the various points or chakras along the body. And in fact, if one were to allow a willing suspension of disbelief and allow oneself to feel this chakra energy, one could probably subscribe to that belief rapidly also.
We have all heard about certain chakras being open and closed, and in fact, acknowledge the times when we have felt our hearts closed to somebody because of some particular event in our lives or felt our energy diminishing at certain centers within our bodies. We all know of people who have complained their third chakras were never open and therefore they claim to not have ambition or self-esteem as a result. We have also heard of people claiming that those who don’t appear to be in touch with spiritual aspects probably don’t have their sixth or seventh chakras open. Many healers have also attested to the fact that certain illnesses arise because of lack of energy in a particular chakra and have found that when this energy is restored, there is a resurgence of healing in that particular area.
While we at Mas’ India make no personal claims of the reports of healing via the chakra necklaces we carry, we have long heard from buyers of these various necklaces that when they focus on a particular chakra, sensing the lack of energy within a particular chakra, that the wearing of such jewelry has proved beneficial to them, Based on this anecdotal evidence, we offer the following chakra pendants, all in stunning sterling silver:
Root Chakra Pendant with garnet stone, when you feel as if you have lost connection with the energy rooting you to the earth. Lack of this earthly connection has sometimes been associated with back pain.
The Sacral Chakra Pendant made with carnelian, for possible malaise in the pelivc area usually accompanied by a dimishment of libido and loss of creativity.
Heart Chakra Pendant with green onyx stone, for those who perhaps have given so much emotionally that they now feel emptied and exhausted from their labors.
Throat Chakra Pendant with turquoise, for those who feel unable to speak their truth and lack confdence in their assertions.
Third Eye Chakra Pendant with lapis lazuli, one of the most spiritual of stones, is sure to assist anyone in opening and revitalizing the third eye, thus promoting awareness and clarity.
Crown Chakra Pendant with amethyst, reputed to be one of the most healing stones, for those people who have temporarily lost touch with their faith and feel a lack of connection to humanitarian ideals.
All of these chakra pendants with black string are also available as designs in pewter alloy.
For those of y
ou who wish to feel revitalized and powerful in all seven chakras, may we suggest the Chakra Box Gift Set containing all 7 chakra pendants plus a silver chain; or may we suggest the Chakra Bracelet, with all seven stones attractively represented in sterling silver.
Whatever chakra stone you choose, may it be your good fortune to receive healing from them! Om Namah.
Decals and Stickers: Both Message Bearers and Objects of Art and Beauty
February 22, 2010 on 3:00 pm
Decals and stickers, while considered small items, can carry a big message. That’s why we love these decals and stickers sold in Ma’s India.
The Namaste Sticker says, “My soul salutes the spirit and soul within you.” This is a one-word sticker that packs a big wallop. Try saying “Namaste” to somebody and experience a feeling of deep communication and resonance.
Chakra “You Are the Light” Sticker is similar to the Namaste sticker in that when one places this set of three stickers onto any surface, window, door, closet, etc., that same illuminated feeling is evoked.
We personally like the attractive Yoga Sticker, five inches long, that has the Om symbol contained within the “o” letter. This Yoga sticker can be placed on any surface, including your yoga mat or duffel bag, announcing your intention to practice yoga wherever you go.
Three bumper stickers: Namaste, Free Tibet Bumper Sticker, and Save Tibet Bumper Sticker announce a courageous spiritual intention to the world and that you are not complacent in your feelings about the privilege and preservation of human rights.
Of particular note at Ma’s India both for their beauty and similarity to stained glass windows are the Sunseal Decals. Noteworthy is the beautiful blue color present in almost every one of these Sunseal decals. These striking “blues” seem to immediately transport and uplift one’s vibrations just by gazing at them.
The Sunseal Chakra Healing Decal features a stately yogic figure with seven chakras, a wonderful decal for meditation on the chakras. As the sun streams through your window through this decal, it also shines on any chakra upon which you are meditating.
The Sunseal Medicine Buddha Decal actually calls forth the “Medicine Buddha” in Tibetan tradition. If anyone is recovering from an illness, this is the decal for him or her.
The Sunseal Om Mandala Decal brings one’s consciousness into sharp, one-pointed meditation, a true find for anybody beginning meditation.
And many “ah’s” for the Sunseal Midnight Lotus Decal with its brilliant contrast of midnight blue and white. We feel this decal particularly brings the mind into clear focus.
Sunlight’s Eye of Buddha Decal has fast gained popularity and we see this decal in many settings as we drive along or read our periodicals. These eyes are a reminder to look inside and not outside as we are wont to do.
Bring these stickers and other beautiful decals at Ma’s India into your home or office and have readily available to you both inspirational messages and scenes of beauty and meditative awareness.
Om Namah Shantih!
Mysterious and Mystical Cone Incense
February 19, 2010 on 3:00 pm
I sometimes wonder why cone incense is not as popular as stick incense. Its pyramid shape and slow-burning evoke a mysterious and mystical tone. If one insists on remaining practical rather than evocative,however, one can prefer cone incense for no other reason that no residue remains after the firing of it since cone incense, unlike stick incense, has no wooden core.
Cone and stick incense date back to biblical times. Cone incense is seen as early as ancient Egyptian times where gums and resins of aromatic trees were imported from the Arabian and Somali coasts. For many of us, we might never have been aware of cone incense had it not been for Hollywood capturing the essence of the time when the Pharaohs walked the earth . One can always recall movie footage of both Cleopatra and various Pharaohs perfuming and oiling themselves while in their background rose the smoke of cone incense into the rafters of their palaces. Practical usage, of course, includes cone incense and perfumes counteracting unpleasant odors while also driving away demons to assure the beneovolence of the gods. In fact, one can not imagine calling forth a single god or goddess without ringing a ritual bell or lighting some form of cone incense.
Other Hollywood dramatic depictions have been of Cassandra, mythological and tragic prophetess of doom, or of the Delphic Oracle calling forth inspiration and prophecy before falling into a dead trance, while great plumes of cone incense rose to the sky, cone incense being credited with inspiring and enabling a trance state.
Today, we need no longer burn cone incense for purposes of falling into trance states. In fact, many people just use cone incense because they enjoy the smell and the fact that it does bring about a spiritual and religious tone.
Here in Ma’s India we have some wonderful cone incenses. From Sai Baba’s ashram in India comes Nag Champa Incense Cones. When one burns this cone incense, one is reminded of the great guru Satya Sai Baba who still inspires and teaches his chelas in India. This Satya Sai Baba is known for his many miracles and manifestations of vibhutti, a form of sacred ash, and jewelry.
Still most popular amongst cone incense is Sandalwood Incense Cones. Inhaling this fragrant and ancient scent, thought to be the favorite of the Gods, one is instantly transported to the highest spiritual states. This particular cone incense is known for its purifying and uplifting scent.
My favorite are the Laxmi Sandalwood Incense Cones because they evoke the Goddess Laxmi who stealthily enters the sacred prayer space to abundantly grant any devotee’s wishes. Again, the sandalwood scent spiritually uplifts and purifies any room in which cone incense is burned.
Triloka Incense Cones are made according to traditional Indian formulas. Herbs, resins and essential oils are hand pressed, sun-dried and blended in a base of pure sandalwood powder. One can always rely upon Triloka as a popular and trusted maker of fine Indian products and cone incense.
Krishna Leela Incense Cones bring to life the meaning of the word “leela,” a fanciful and dreamy depiction of reality. In this instance, the cone incense allows the devotee to dream perhaps of an idealisic and faraway reality where the Gods and Goddesses walked the earth with mankind in a state of bliss and harmony.
Setting a different tone, we inhale the scent of Super Hit Incense Cones, reminiscent of an island fantasy with sweet and fruity overtones. Not cloying but instantly evocative, this cone incense promises an exotic and delightful experience.
And of course, one cannot forget the wonderful Brass Deep Lakshmi Incense Burner, Goddess Lakshmi waiting ready to receive the cone incense in her beautiful hands so that she may offer our prayers to the gods and goddesses who stand ready to grant our wishes.
Om Sri Mata Laxmi Goddess of Prosperity, our prayer is that you grant all who read this, their wishes for abundance. Om Sri Laxmi Ma Ki Jai!
Yoga Totes and Bags: Meeting a Bag Lady at Ma’s India
February 9, 2010 on 3:00 pm
While shopping in Ma’s India after darshan, I met this lady who referred to herself humorously as a “bag lady.” Seeing she was in her early 40’s, I inquired of her how she had come to view herself as this “bag lady.” She quickly laughed and gestured to the three bags and yoga totes she planned to purchase. I responded, “Well, I guess you’re living up to your name.” She told me that she was a world traveler and sometime early in her travels, she had become interested in bags and yoga totes. She told me that some people collect frogs and other people collect pigs, but for her it’s always been about bags and yoga totes. “I guess it’s because I am always carrying something larger than fits in a purse.”
And now, she said, “It’s become both spiritual and ecological to buy bags and yoga totes such as these. I am very against of course using plastic as we have been told they do not decompose and are polluting our oceans as well as our landfills, and so I buy these wonderful bags and yoga totes for grocery shopping and other miscellaneous purposes.
She further said that she had chosen these bags and yoga totes for various reasons in particular. “I am particularly in love with this Ganesh Shoulder Bag because of its wide shoulder strap. This yoga tote has a hidden zipper compartment under the flap. That makes it even more useful. And I do so love this bright orange color, the color of sanyas.” (As a note, sanyas is another name for renunciate.) “This yoga tote is so comfortable and capacious she added, with Ganesh as its design. While I might not be enamored of frogs and pigs, I do love the symbolism of elephants, those wonderful beings, both for their intelligence and loyalty to their families. And I do know that Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, so I am doubly blessed with this yoga tote and bag.
“This Om Yoga Tote Bag – 18 “inches”, she gestured to, “I plan to use for shopping. It is boldly black and gold with the wonderful Om sign on. I think it’s a very attractive yoga tote for grocery shopping and when I go to the beach it not only holds my bathing suit, cap, lotion and lunch, but reminds me to meditate on “Om” while I am sunbathing.” Continuing, this remarkable lady pointed to the Ganesh, Nataraj and Kali (tie-dyed) Yoga Tote –18-inch bags. “These bags and yoga totes with their long double handles are great for not only my grocery shopping, picking up a few items, but also when I go to my yoga classes and take my water bottles, change of clothes and various other asundry choices. The tie-dyed presentation brings me back to the 60’s and 70’s and I do love that these spiritual figures adorn these yoga totes and bags.”
She then turned to me and said, “Now, do you see why I consider myself a “bag lady?” I could not refute her appraisal of herself in the light of overwhelming evidence of her selection of yoga tote bags, and congratulated her on her choices.
I also referred her to some favorite choices of mine amongst the yoga totes and bags. I told her that I preferred the Shiva Yoga Tote Bag because it doubles as a very attractive spiritual purse in which to put my makeup and other small items. I also appreciate that this yoga tote is made of sturdy denim with the image of Shiva on water resistant vinyl with a closing zipper.
I have found that these bright colors of Shiva on the yoga tote and bag always attract attention and give me the opportunity to share my favorite contemplative, Shiva, whose renunciation was also marked by his infinite compassion for humanity.
And for a very reasonable price, I recommended the Small Om Drawstring Bags which are great for putting gifts such as bracelets or rings in, or even carrying your signature cards or makeup if you are going to a party, and don’t want to wear a yoga tote bag. These come both in satin and cotton.
Then, last but not least, there are the beautifully colored black, purple, turquoise and red Embroidered Om Bags, which are made of four by five inch satin, and will accompany with grace any outfit one may wear. Either makeup or malas will find a satisfactory resting place within these intricately designed pouches.
I must add that the “Bag Lady” congratulated me on my choices also. And what I learned from her is that one doesn’t need to be despairing of becoming a bag lady if these are some of your choices of yoga totes and bags. A happy time was had at Ma’s India that day of shared bags and yoga totes. Om Namah Shiva Ki Jai!