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omshivaya
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Topic: A vedic viewpoint and Finance
    Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 10:17pm
I am opening this thread to post various articles, related to the Vedas: Finance, Self Control, Raising Consciousness etc.
 
This could be taken by anyone as they wish to, but all I am trying to do here is open another gate for TEDdies to venture/explore, for whatever reasons the TEDdy may see fit.
 
I shall post the first article in a few minutes. Smile


Edited by omshivaya - 10/Feb/2007 at 10:38pm
The most important quality for an investor is temperament,not intellect.A temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd nor against it
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 10:41pm

Since this is a long article, I am posting it in parts. I shall post the source in the last post.

 

 

Tantra and Yoga Nidra

by Swami Janakananda

"At the point of sleep when sleep has not yet come and external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed." (Vigyana Bhairava Tantra)

Tantra is a timeless tradition with methods for raising consciousness.

The word Tantra actually means to expand - consciousness, knowledge of life - and to liberate - one's self.

The knowledge on which Tantra is based has been in use since the matriarchal period in prehistoric times, where women were not repressed and mythology was founded on fertility and feminine energy. Tantra still contains elements from that era. The religious aspects of Tantra show that women dominate in the form of goddesses - and women are equal to men in the performance of the rituals.

To meditate or philosophise

The "real" Tantrics use methods and have experiences - they act. They don't philosophise and are reluctant to write down anything at all. If they do, then it is solely for the purpose of inspiring others to do something, to meditate etc., instead of philosophising.

It is therefore important to understand that Tantra is built upon practice and not on theorising, where experience is forgotten and the understanding of terms, mythology and wisdom becomes more important than wisdom itself. Not everyone understands what it means to walk the path of self realisation. For the teacher the object is to teach those who are receptive and who will actually use what they learn. However the teacher withholds his or her knowledge from those who are merely curious or sensation-seeking and who, with regard to the sexual rituals, are only lecherous and without sense for the deeper perspectives - wanting just a little taste only to hurry on to something else. It is important to safeguard the tradition, so that the genuine methods are not lost, misunderstood or diluted.

Intentional language in Tantra and elsewhere

Much of what we find in Tantra is therefore secret; it was either not written down or, when writing was introduced, was written in code language, which in Sanskrit is called Sandhabhasa.

These codes, or paraphrases, may appear as innocent stories - well, not always innocent. They may also have a pornographic content to scare or fascinate the reader so he would not discover the hidden content of the text. The real practices, if they were written down at all, were hidden in rituals, religious or sexual texts, or behind names or numbers that would have had to be swapped with other words. They could only be understood by someone who had already been initiated part of the way - but even then the practices described in the scripts remained veiled in innuendo compared to when one receives guidance directly from another individual, for example, when instructed in advanced meditation.

This was not only an Indian phenomenon; it was also found in other places, among them on Iceland, where it was called Launmál (hidden language), meaning that behind the story, lies another story, an initiation, a practice.

The aspirant is tested

The aspirant receives various tasks over a long period, to ensure that his or her attitude is open and receptive. It is important to know whether the aspirant will misinterpret the teacher's intentions and actions, and if the person in question really will abandon fear and habitual thoughts about his or her own limitations.

Also, the student must be prepared gradually with various easier practices, and above all, his or her patience must be set to the test. Life in an ashram or in the teacher's home can provide the right environment for this training.

A clear and well known example is Milarepa's relationship with his teacher Marpa. Marpa gave the appearance of being a drunken, unreasonable and choleric farmer. But judging from the result of the training he gave Milarepa, he must have been one of the best teachers that ever lived, at least the best for Milarepa - Tibet's great guru. In short, Milarepa had to undergo a twenty year long training, with hardships that on occasions almost wore him out, and frustrations - that made him run away several times - about not being allowed to take part in the secret doctrines, which in all probability contained meditation techniques along the lines of Kriya Yoga and Inner Silence (see previous issues of Bindu).

My teacher Paramhansa Satyananda stayed with his teacher Swami Sivananda for twelve years in Rishikesh. He did mainly Karma Yoga there, which consisted of various practical tasks in the administration of the ashram and with its printing press.

Later he travelled around India as a mendicant. For a period of his wandering years he had the possibility to withdraw and, among other things, practise the methods he had learnt in his daily association with Swami Sivananda. His teacher had also put him on the track of things in the yoga and Tantric tradition, which during his travels he could find, draw forth and investigate - subsequently he was ready to teach others himself. Swami Satyananda was an exceptional teacher - no one else, neither before nor since, has elucidated the Tantric practises to such a degree. I write in the past tense, because he has now retired as a teacher.

Theory or practise

It is my experience that the more one talks of, for example, meditation in theory instead of practising it, the less one's mind believes it is necessary to do it - after all you "know it all already." The problem is that merely "knowing" has no effect. The body and mind have no use for knowing, if the exercises are not applied.

A few years ago I experienced something interesting during a month long Kriya Yoga course that I held. Students come to learn the great Kriya Yoga in silence. They have been prepared by previous courses with various yoga and meditation methods and with a certain amount of theory.

Apart from a few talks and discussions at the start of the course, I felt an urge to just let them meditate, do yoga and to generally be engaged with practical things. In other words, I had no desire to give lectures during the period of silence, which was quite appropriate as the students do not talk, write or read anything. The silence helps to remove the deeper lying tensions and maintains a good balance in the brain while also increasing the ability to experience.

Nevertheless, about halfway into the silent period, I needed to clarify a few things and to theoretically explain a little of how you can let go of automatic reactions and habits in the nervous system and in the mind. The lecture which I gave in the evening was, I am sure, inspiring for both the students and myself.

The following morning the students had a physical yoga class with another teacher. After the class the teacher told me that the awareness and concentration present the other mornings was not really there that morning. The students had daydreamed a little and time and again it seemed as though they had to force themselves to follow the instructions. It only happened that one morning during the entire course - the rest of the time they were quite alert.

When the silence was over, I asked them if they could remember how they felt the morning after the lecture. I promptly received an explanation from one of them and the others agreed. He said that the interesting things they had heard the evening before had filled his head to such an extent, that his mind thought his body no longer needed to do the exercises. It was not necessary - he knew it all already.

 
Concept or experience

What is theory worth, when it is not based on experience? If theory comes first, the intellect will block the experience - with expectations and effort, we can be lead in the wrong direction, while a know-all attitude hinders the openness to follow and receive guidance in, for example, a meditation. It gets in the way of sensitivity and the ability to experience what cannot be written down. It all quite easily becomes indoctrination. You are told how it is, instead of experiencing it yourself. Opinions and concepts become something learnt by rote and clung to, believed in, defended, even though they are not based on personal insight and first hand experience.

Take a word such as meditation. It has widely become a concept. The mind can come up with all sorts of ideas about what meditation is and actually avoid the essential. "Oh, but I have my own meditation," and then you sit and dream a bit. You never leave the limitations of the mind behind. Some even get the bright idea to teach on the grounds of such notions. There are those who say that they receive answers to all sorts of things in their meditation. It is probably true, but oh, they never leave their minds in peace.

It is the same with the word relaxation, which is used today to describe all kinds of things, from hypnosis to music. There are even some good musicians who call their music "meditation." One can only hope that their audience can enjoy the music without allowing themselves to be limited by such a claim.

In the 70's I recognised the problem with these labels as I prepared the release of a Yoga Nidra tape. I wanted to make it clear what Yoga Nidra was about and called it a "deep-relaxation". It only took a few months before that description was used for every kind of possible and impossible relaxation.

Unfortunately, the name Yoga Nidra is also used today for relaxations that have nothing to do with the effective technique that stems from the Tantric tradition and which we are discussing in this issue of Bindu.

Apart from what can be palmed off on us by others, the ideas that people themselves form of meditation can really stand in the way of reaching the relaxed or meditative state; such as the assumption that the mind should firstly be controlled. The mind does not stop, so why fight it and get frustrated?

Learn to bypass it by using a method and allow the mind to calm down by itself.

What does one get from meditation, if it does not give noticeable energy and zest for life in the day to day, and from relaxation, if one does not come out of it with greater clarity, calmness and overview?

Meditation is a break from all impressions, a way of emptying the mind. It is also a search for one's true identity, one's center - and for this you need methods that ensure you don't cheat yourself, but really reach your innermost.

The ritual in meditation helps you bypass the limitations of the mind

Classical meditations from Tantra and Zen show this alternative approach. The Tantric meditation is contained in the ritual. The Tantric ritual consists of methods which continually occupy the mind, leaving the thoughts to do as they please and drift by in the background. There is no need to struggle with them. You have something else to do. And if for a moment you become preoccupied with a thought, then all you need do is realise it, remember what it was you were doing and return to your practise.

Kriya Yoga is an example of this, using methods that open and cleanse the energy flows in the body, raise the level of energy and create an absorption that is independent of the mind's endeavours, expectations and ideas.

In Yoga Nidra one does not try to relax, but rather occupy the mind with the methods given. The relaxation is triggered - it comes by itself.

How long can one concentrate on a thumb for example? One second? Two? The mind wants to go on to something else. Therefore the restlessness of the mind is accommodated and consciousness is transferred to the index finger and so on.

The mind is occupied in such a way that it does not have time for anything else and therefore it cannot hold any tension.

 
Continued in next post


Edited by omshivaya - 10/Feb/2007 at 10:42pm
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 10:56pm
The purpose of the sexual ritual

"While being caressed, sweet princess,enter the caressing as everlasting life."
(Quotations: Vigyana Bhairava Tantra)

The famous or notorious sexual rituals (of which I have written a variation in my book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life) is a good example of Tantric rituals and practises having other purposes than people normally think.

It is usually believed to be an excellent therapy for people with sexual problems, or is thought to help achieve greater sexual freedom, and intensify sexual enjoyment. Yes, it probably can - but it has another purpose.

"At the start of sexual union, keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and, so continuing, avoid the embers in the end."

It is a matter of capturing the mind and the sex drive is well suited for this purpose.

"When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking."

When you are prepared through all the various practises belonging to the ritual, apart from bathing, eating etc., then the desired result is inevitable.

"Even remembering union, without the embrace, the transformation."

The purpose is to expand consciousness and increase the energy.

An uninterrupted experience

"The meaning of life
life itself provides,
until we begin
to inquire "
(Grook by Piet Hein)

The mind can imagine all kinds of things, both too much and too little, and it loves to argue, it loves to discuss. It can prove anything, but it can just as well disprove it.

When you dare to receive directly - when you do not expect sensational "experiences" or demand an answer for everything - then you can begin the transformation. The methods remain secret until you are ready to use them. You learn Kriya Yoga in silence.

Not giving out the methods to the uninitiated is a principle Tantrics have in common with Celtic druids (for whom it was directly forbidden to write anything of what they had learnt), the Egyptian initiates and, to a certain extent, with the indigenous people (Aborigines) living in the deserts of central Australia. Contrary to the Celtic and Egyptian elite, Tantra was and is part of the local culture.

The treasures of Tantra are not only reserved for a learned social class, but also form part of the living tradition in many villages where knowledge and experience is passed on from person to person for generations.

A timeless and living tradition

Anybody who proves to be suitable and receptive can share in the Tantric knowledge. A knowledge that is so comprehensive that the Tantric methods can be compared to contemporary science. In addition to methods to expand, raise and liberate human consciousness, Tantra also contains mathematics, astronomy, methods for healing and art of the highest calibre. It could be said that the Tantric tradition contains all conceivable means of helping people through life - and in mastering themselves.

Unfortunately, it has become fashionable nowadays to associate Tantra with sexual rituals alone. They are, of course, a part of the tradition, just as there are people that benefit from using them - but they are just one part of the rich Tantric tradition.

Nyasa

We are now going to deal with a group of methods and practices that are used in the Tantric rituals - also the sexual ones, but not only there. They can also be part of what we popularly call relaxation and meditation. Their purpose is to alter the state of your physical body and of consciousness, so that you become present, receptive and sensitive to what is further happening in the ritual or in the meditation.

These methods have a collective name: Nyasa.

According to the Oxford Sanskrit English Dictionary, the word Nyasa means: to place, to set on or in, to use, to touch, etc.

What is touched are the body's various parts - what is placed, is a mantra (sound), for example, on the appropriate places.

It is worth noting that the dictionary further defines Nyasa as: "Mental consecration or allocation of various bodily parts to guardian spirits". This definition is correct, as far as I can see, but is insufficient as it stands. One could just as well claim that all science is religion, as theology is still counted among the Sciences.

Apparently the "facts" elucidated in encyclopaedias depend on who is supplying the information; the diverse and at times peculiar or limited definitions of Yoga and Tantra are clear examples of that.

The purpose of using Nyasa in Tantric yoga, in my opinion, is to awaken consciousness, which I hope is apparent from the articles in this issue. With that in mind, however, I will now quote a definition by Agehananda Bharati: "Literally, Nyasa is the process of charging a part of the body, or an organ of another living body, with a specified power through touch."And he continues. "For instance, by placing the firemudra [a way of holding the fingers when touching] on the heart region uttering the fire-mantra 'ram', the adept's heart is made into the cosmic fire..."

Homunculus%20and%20brain

"The little man" (motor homunculus) shows, along the marked band across the cerebral cortex, which regions of the brain are linked with the various parts of the body.

Nyasa can consist of "touching" the various bodily parts by hand. It can be performed by oneself, or by one's partner or teacher. But it can also be done mentally, by thinking of the specific areas and calling them by name - this happens, for example, during the teacher's guidance of Yoga Nidra.

Nyasa also involves the "placing" of a mantra (sound, syllable or a combination of the two - a phrase) on different parts of the body. This is done mentally, or the mantra can be said aloud.

The Sanskrit alphabet, just like runes in their time in the Northern countries, does not only serve as a group of letters used to form words, but also each letter has an inherent power, a vibration that forms the basis of the science of mantra. In one form of Nyasa, the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are distributed over the whole body. This is called Matrika Nyasa:

Matrika%20Nyasa

"Matrika is the source of all mantras, the origin of all sciences and the soil from which all the principles, all sages and all knowledge are born." (Laxmi Tantra)

The above mentioned methods can be combined so that you touch your body or that of your partner, at the same time as you name the mantra for the place that you touch.

Matrika Nyasa is a different form of Nyasa from that which is used in Yoga Nidra. But if you have experienced the deep Yoga Nidra you will be able to see the similarities between one of the larger sections of Yoga Nidra and Matrika Nyasa.

The earth, water, fire, air and ether (space) elements also play a role in Nyasa. The body is divided into five parts, each with its own element.

And as previously mentioned, the body and its various parts can be consecrated to one or more guardian spirits - even to planets or holy places. The name of the spirits or gods, of the planet, place or element are then added to the string of mantras and recited aloud or repeated mentally.

Naturally Nyasa is used because it has an effect on the body and mind - and is not just an empty ritual. Nyasa is related to, and possibly even predates, Shiatsu and Acupuncture. But whereas these other two methods are based on the physical body and their energy points and are mainly used for healing, Nyasa is more than this, in that it also has methods for "touching" and awakening the mind's numerous dimensions, e.g. through the psychic chakras.

The long and deep Yoga Nidra is based on simple and therefore very effective variations of Nyasa, from beginning to end.

The dimensions

Once you have followed the guidance in the deep Yoga Nidra, while lying on your back, you are then familiar with the way you move your awareness through all parts of the body; with the experience of heaviness and lightness, warmth and cold, pain and contentment. And with how you get in contact with the chakras in different ways, and experience certain symbols, landscapes, pictures etc.

There are several dimensions to our being. In daily life we are familiar with the body, breath, thoughts, emotions, moods - and with states like wakefulness, dreaming and sleeping. But there are other states such as the meditative, the shamanic, the hypnotic, the intoxicated ...

The dimensions of the human being are described from the basis of different backgrounds. Jung and Freud introduced concepts such as the conscious, the subconscious, the unconscious and libido.

In the European occult or mystic tradition there are concepts that to a certain degree correspond with other cultures': the physical body, body humours (as in Ajur Veda), vital energy, the astral body and the causal body. Similarly in Europe there is, or was, a concept such as bliss (intense and independent happiness).

In the Indian texts the Upanishads, we find the following description of the human dimensions:

The five sheaths

(from the Paingala Upanishad)

"Then the five sheaths made of food,
vital air, mind, understanding and bliss.

What is brought into being
only by the essence of food,
what grows only by the essence of food, that which finds rest in earth
full of the essence of food,
that is the sheath made of food.
(Anna-Maya-Kosha)
That alone is the gross body.

The five vital airs,
along with the organs of action
constitute the sheath
made of the vital principle.
(Prana-Maya-Kosha)

Mind
along with the organs of perception
is the sheath
made of mind.
(Mano-Maya-Kosha)

The understanding
along with the organs of perception
is the sheath made of intelligence.
(Vijnana-Maya-Kosha)

These three sheaths (of life, mind and intelligence) form the subtle body.

The knowledge of one's own form is of the sheath made of bliss.
(Ananda-Maya-Kosha)
That is also the causal body."

The purpose of Nyasa and of Yoga Nidra is to touch and experience the various planes, to awaken consciousness in areas where it is normally dormant due to tensions. It can be in such ordinary places as organs and muscles. The tensions are thereby released, but that is only one step of the process. The aim is to experience that you are not bound to just one plane of consciousness, but that you consciously contain them all - and that leads to the insight, that one's true identity is the experiencing consciousness behind it all.

It is more than just an idea, it is something you realise - an experience.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead extends this experience beyond life into the realm of death. These teachings help prepare you for the realisation that you are neither the fascinating nor the terrifying planes you encounter after death, but that they too are only experiences that you need not get trapped in on the way.

In order to see the use of Nyasa in another light, let us look at what we call Chakra.

Muladhara Chakra. This article does not contain a complete account of the various major chakras. Muladhara Chakra, the fundamental root chakra, is just one example. It is situated above the perineum, between the sex organs and the anus.

Chakra, the psychic centers

The word Chakra has in our "New Age" been taken out of its original context and debased. Its meaning has become limited to the physical and, at its best, the mental, while lacking the perspectives and possibilities found in the Tantric tradition, from where the term stems. To awaken a chakra and use it consciously is quite a different process from what is going on today; a whole market exists where people promote chakra cream, chakra massage, chakra machines and I don't know what. Psychic sensitivity and the prospect of more profound experiences is drowned in materialism and narrowminded concepts. They play with people's expectations and notions and have no experiences themselves.

I have written about Chakra previously, in Bindu no. 4 in the series of articles on Kriya Yoga, and in a chapter of my book: Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life.

Furthermore, I have explained a little about it in the booklet that comes with the CD
Experience Yoga Nidra.

Energy whirls and flows

The subtle body, or energy body, consists of numerous minor energy whirls or points of consciousness. They are called chakra and are evenly distributed over the whole body (compare with Sei or Gen points in Chinese medicine). Between them flows Prana, the psychic energy (as in Ki or Chi energy) in the nadis (similar to Meridians, see also Bindu no. 4 - "Yoga and the finer energy").

These minor chakras are touched in Yoga Nidra.

In the beginning of the relaxation, you go through the body mentally at such a pace that you have time to just touch the places named in the guidance, but not enough to think of anything else. By thinking of these small chakra, the whole body is gradually made conscious - as are the respective areas in the cerebral cortex (see the illustration of 'The little man').

In itself, the body is one big chakra - a point of consciousness, an energy whirl.

The major chakras

The major chakras have many dimensions. On the physical level they are central areas in the body that are linked to the nervous system and the nadis. They are found at the base of the body, above the perineum: Muladhara; in the spine: Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi; in the head: Lalana; and in the brain: Ajna, Bindu and Sahasrara. There are a few others, but these are the ones most commonly used.

The various dimensions of a chakra

A chakra is not only physical, but consists of all the human dimensions.

A chakra can be regarded as a microcosmic image of an individual, just as an individual possibly is microcosmic in comparison to the universe. That, at any rate, is what the Hopis (in northern Arizona) say:

"The living body of man and the living body of the earth were constructed in the same way. Through each ran an axis, man's axis being the backbone, the vertebral column, which controlled the equilibrium of his movements and his functions. Along this axis were several vibratory centers which echoed the primordial sound of life throughout the universe or sounded a warning if anything went wrong."
(Book of the Hopi, F. Waters)

Awakening

Initially the body is brought into harmony by yoga exercises. Then blockages in the energy flows are removed by breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Yoga creates a solid and lasting balance in the entire organism and in the area of each chakra. Thereafter, additional consciousness is brought into these centers by the use of Yoga Nidra, Kriya Yoga and other Tantric meditations. Now begins a cleansing of the old attachments, habits and inhibitions (vritti) rooted in our actions and mindscape.

Then the chakras are ready for an awakening, where you are not carried away by deeply embedded patterns and behavioural traits (samskara) that have been imprinted on the mind over the years.

During the awakening, which comes and goes at first, until it has become completely established, the encounter with the contents of the various planes of consciousness continues.

"An individual's destiny is determined by his or her unconscious radiation," a Danish writer, Poul Martin Møller once expressed it.

The relationship between body, mind, emotions and vital energy (prana) is communicated through the major chakras. When they are awakened, you gain insight into different levels of your being, and into your normally unconscious reactions. You realise how your states influence the outcome of your actions.

Eventually the chakras can be opened fully - the interpretative filters of the cosmic energy rays or vibrations are gone. When we no longer hold back, but allow all the chakras to communicate freely, with energy flowing unhindered through them, as it does through the universe, then we enter into a greater wholeness as true cosmic beings.

The Rainbow Dharma

by Tan Swie Hian:
"In the wilderness, the voyager told the great white light,
`I cannot look into you.'
The light immediately turned itself into eight rainbows."

Or are the above mentioned phenomena just another way of describing how the various regions of the brain communicate better as a result of meditation - which they do when you see the results of the scientific measurements and listen to people's experiences. Better contact with the emotions and between body and mind is achieved (more about that in the next issue).

Tools for raising consciousness

The way Nyasa rouses the consciousness of various parts of the body and mind, and combines them with mantra (sound), yantra (potent diagrams) and symbols, has much in common with the way a chakra is made conscious or awoken.

The individual chakra can be touched in Nyasa in different ways. Many of them are used in Yoga Nidra. Here are some of them:

  • Through feeling the body's contact areas (in the classical yoga poses, for example);
  • through tones and the finer inner sounds (this happens in Chakra Vajrohan, where tones are sung in each chakra, and through inner NadaYoga, sound yoga - see the previous issue of Bindu - and to a certain degree by a particular form of Indian music);
  • mentally through the mind, which has several dimensions, by naming the chakras, by placing their seed mantra there - and by the use of symbols;
  • through the five elements, their respective symbols and diagrams;
  • through animal symbolism (possibly a connection back to shamanism);
  • through energy, where breathing exercises also play a vital role in cleansing the energy passages (Nadi). In Nyasa, you tune into the frequency of various energy passages by "placing" letters or mantras on the "lotus petals". These petals represent energy passages linked to each chakra;
  • with "keys" in the form of diagrams (Yantras) and symbols that create a contact with the chakras deeper dimensions;
  • through mandala (or deities) as a seat for (or representation of) the cosmic energy that flows through the chakra and keeps it open and clean;
  • and by consciousness itself.

Where does this knowledge of these instruments and symbols come from, one might ask. We know that such things can appear in our dreams, and therefore one could answer, that perhaps they come from that other reality, the inner one. Yes, but they also come from the experiences of the yogis. Descriptions of these keys are nevertheless only signposts along the way, to be confirmed or rejected by one's own experience.

This has been about touching (Nyasa) and a little bit about awakening, but it is far from the whole story.

After a chakra has been cleansed and awoken through yoga methods and guidance, it begins to play a part in one's conscious life. With the awakening follow abilities and a greater sensitivity, a kind of sense beyond the purely physical (see also Bindu no 4 in the article on Kriya Yoga).

Furthermore, some people can see when a chakra is active in another person. My first experience of this was when I saw a spiral shaped cone of bluish grey energy, that projected from the eyebrow center of a Danish yoga teacher I knew in my youth.

Chakras in Yoga Nidra

According to Paramahansa Satyananda, Yoga Nidra actually begins with the experiencing of these chakras.

The chakras are also known in other cultures, as we have seen with the Hopis in the USA, but also by the alchemists in Europe and the Inuits of Greenland and Canada, to mention but a few of the more evident examples.

In the deep Yoga Nidra, we use eight of the major chakras to contact the various planes of consciousness.

On my CD, "Experience Yoga Nidra" I use the mantras (certain sound syllables) connected to each chakra. I also use visual symbols in accordance with the traditions of India and Europe.

When I started to produce "Experience Yoga Nidra" while teaching in the USA, the Indian musician Roop Verma was inspired to record the ancient musical symbols of the chakras. He was the first ever to do this. This special music has been merged with my text and guidance during the deep Yoga Nidra.

Chakras are often spoken of in connection with Kundalini Yoga, a set of methods and meditations that can be used to harmonise and awaken the psychic energy. (The name Kundalini Yoga, however, is also used as the trade mark of a contemporary movement - although they do not teach the original and advanced Kundalini Yoga).

Kriya Yoga is probably the most profound and effective form of Kundalini Yoga. In an awesome way it can strengthen the body's energy field, remove depressions, increase creativity and open you up for a first hand knowledge of the genuine mystical or spiritual aspects of life.

The chakras have corresponding areas in the brain. When they are relaxed and harmonised during Yoga Nidra, the release of unwanted states such as confusion and lack of concentration begins. People who awaken their chakras through yoga and meditation, open up to a previously unknown capacity for communication, insight and creativity.

Consciousness

The awakening of consciousness through Nyasa releases tensions and lethargy, thereby healing illnesses; but primarily, it brings you into contact with all parts of your being.

The guidance in Yoga Nidra through the different areas of the body and mind, does not only make the body more conscious and more relaxed and awake, but trains your ability to utilise the various regions of the brain, both those connected to the physical body and those connected to the chakras.

From the research carried out at The State University Hospital in Copenhagen in the Spring of 1997 - which is discussed in another article here in the magazine - it appears that different regions of the brain are activated according to the part of Yoga Nidra with which the mind is engaged (however, the section of Yoga Nidra dealing with the major chakras was not measured in this research).

Relaxation or cleansing

I have been fortunate enough to learn a Yoga Nidra which is in close accordance with Nyasa as it is used in Tantra. Just to read or study the Tantric texts tells you little or nothing of how Nyasa can be used, as for example in Yoga Nidra.

In the text "Laxmi Tantra", which gives guidance in the Tantric rituals and sexual practises, Nyasa ends a sequence, of which breathing exercises and the cleansing of the five elements are a part. This practise is called Bhutasuddhi, cleansing of the body. Here Nyasa builds a bridge between inner and outer cleansing.

Does this mean that one cleanses the body and mind by mentally "placing" a mantra on a certain body part or merely by thinking of that part? The answer is yes, and furthermore by using a mudra (position of the fingers) or by mentally touching and thereby experiencing a part of the body, the body is brought to life and made conscious.

Micheline Flak teaches yoga in France. She also leads R.Y.E., (research into children's use of yoga in schools) which is described in Bindu no. 6. She made an experiment during Yoga Nidra, first with a group of yoga teachers on a seminar, and later in her daily teaching.

One section of Yoga Nidra involves going through all parts of the body, by thinking of them or feeling them as they are named in the guidance. You start with the thumb of the right hand, then the index finger and so on. In this way, you first experience the right side of the body, and then the left side. It is done in the beginning of Yoga Nidra and normally without interruption.

"When I had guided them through the right side of the body, mentally feeling or touching different parts of the body in the fixed order, I stopped and asked them to notice if there was a difference between the right and the left side of the body. Afterwards when we discussed it, the students were amazed by the difference experienced through such a simple exercise." (Micheline Flak).

The students remarked that they had felt that the side of the body they had just touched mentally was alive, light and at ease, while the other side, which they had not as yet gone through, was still in that normal, slightly heavy and tired state.

From my own teaching I received the following account from a female student, who is now a yoga teacher.

"Many years ago I took part in a three months course at Håå Course Centre. We had placed ourselves comfortably on the floor and as usual we were looking forward to a guided Yoga Nidra with Swami Janakananda. And what a Yoga Nidra! For some reason or other he went through the right side of the body twice - and skipped the left side.

The effect was soon felt! We all experienced a sensation which could be described quite literally as being lopsided. It was a strange feeling of having `lots of vitality' in the right side, whereas it was difficult to get contact with the left. It passed, but I was reminded of how strong an effect Yoga Nidra really has." (Shanti)

In contemporary western culture, the word relaxation is used for all sorts of things. The actual word or term relaxation is not commonly used in Sanskrit in India in connection with yoga and Tantra. There the field of "relaxation" comprises various techniques, which are called by different names, the word cleansing (suddhi) being one of them. But the results of these methods are the same as what we achieve through what we term relaxation. Relaxation means to remove tensions - the body and mind are cleansed of tensions.

That the body and mind actually form a whole is common knowledge today. It is expressed by the word psychosomatic. Tensions of the mind create tensions in the body and vice versa; removing a tension in the mind removes it in the body. In Nyasa, and therefore in Yoga Nidra, this happens without trying to relax. One experiences the body consciously, and that alone releases tensions.

You make a resolution,

Using a resolution in Yoga Nidra is good and effective. It would be foolish not to make one, when you can use it to influence the direction of your life.

You make only one resolution in order not to spread your energy and confuse your mind. If you use a number of resolutions or visualisations, you will probably achieve some results, but nothing deep and lasting.

For half an hour or longer, every day or once in a while, you can allow yourself to relax in the face of your usual thoughts and emotions and let them flow by. By momentarily not hooking on to everything that crops up in the mind, you remember who you are and doubts can not take root. In the relaxed state, your resolution works with an undiminished strength.

(Read more about this in the booklet accompanying the CD).

but...

For the relaxation itself to be effective, the relaxed state should not be induced by techniques or methods that are based on hypnosis - one should not use suggestions to get into an artificial and limited state.

When you experience Yoga Nidra, you will notice that you are never asked to relax, or to imagine that a particular part of the body relaxes - the word relaxation is not used at all during the guidance. That is not what Yoga Nidra is about.

Yoga Nidra consists of techniques that trigger a state where one's being is vitalised - the result is a stable and unbroken state of relaxation in the body and the entire brain while practicing Yoga Nidra. (See also the two articles by Robert Nilsson in this issue).

Nyasa (and thus Yoga Nidra) is fundamentally different to a lot of modern therapies, which are only based on hypnosis, even though they do not call it hypnosis, but use other names and trade marks - yes, sometimes even the word meditation.

"Do not waste your time trying to change people's mentality. After you, some Hitler might come and ruin everything anyway," Swami Satyananda once said to me, when I was ready to return to Europe to teach. He shocked me deeply by using such a potent picture - what did he mean by that?

What help is it to have everything explained to you by an authority before you have experienced it yourself? It is so easy to be influenced by someone who comes along with a powerful image and a "quick" solution and allow yourself be taken in and have the wool pulled over your eyes. People cannot be free, unless you teach them that through their own practice they can achieve real independence of influences and a transformation of body, mind and consciousness.

Swamiji meant, in other words, that rather than try to change people's outlook and habits, I should help them so that they themselves can acquire an overview, insight and wisdom.

Though that does not mean they should avoid being consistent and steadfast.

Experience, insight and realisation are the opposite to hypnosis. Hypnosis is like burning incense in a room that smells in order to hide the odour. The ability to experience, to make conscious, is like cleaning the room and airing it. Personally I do not want methods that program me, but ones that liberate me from old programs and expand my consciousness.

"Everything is hypnosis," you might say - and I can understand why you might think so. We are influenced by all kinds of things from cradle to grave. That is exactly why we need tools to occasionally empty the body and mind of the accumulation of impressions, habits and automatic thinking.

Liberation, after all, lies in using insight and awareness in order to see through one's influences. The wise person does not react against influences, he does not try to stop them, instead he experiences everything, and lets go of what he does not need. It is on this basis that meditation has come into being.

Myths, which we constantly create to avoid a direct experience of life, are very much a form of hypnosis. With hypnosis, notions of reality often take the place of reality itself. Throughout human history there have been countless examples of people wanting to know what they should think about reality, instead of experiencing it for themselves. So armoured, they can disagree with "the others", those who have (allowed themselves to be influenced in having) a different world view to themselves. Different interpretations of reality can then clash and, on a larger scale, create religious and political wars.

The individual whose expectations are not met by the promises of the latest mythology or therapy, often end up in a state of bitterness and frustration - and look for the cause outside themselves. Even the teacher who is available to help one out of limitations is sometimes accused. Regardless of how clever the teacher is, he cannot be held responsible for fulfilling the expectations of the students - provided that he or she has not helped to create the expectations. In the end it is the individual him/herself and society that are responsible for the expectations they have and no one else is answerable if they are not met.

Intolerance towards those who think differently does not arise amongst individuals who are aware and who experience instead of theorising. My experience is personal and I realise that others do not necessarily need my experience and my interpretation - they have their own.

However we all have more or less the same kind of organs and nervous system, and more or less the same kind of mind. We have learned this through both modern science as well as the several thousand year old tradition and experience in yoga and Tantra - therefore one can unearth and preserve techniques and methods that work regardless of which attitude to life, which nationality, background and age one has.

We must each make a choice...

Naturally we need to make a choice in relation to what we want to do with our lives, and therefore a choice of influences and of resolutions that we want to follow. The reverse would be to sit behind the steering wheel of a moving car without taking hold of it and steering. And the higher we set our goal, the easier other things fall into place by themselves.

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence also moves.
All sorts of things occur to help which would not otherwise have happened.
A whole stream of events flow from the decision, bringing all sorts of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no-one could have foreseen."
(W.H. Murray, inspired by Goethe)

"What ever you can do, or dream you can; begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic. Begin it now." (Goethe)

What Goethe expresses here is not a postulate, but an observation which he wishes to convey, which makes him a mystic and not a priest repeating doctrine by rote.

It is obvious that there must be a balance between influences (one's resolution in Yoga Nidra) and making conscious. The expression `to make conscious' does not mean in my language to analyse and judge, but touch, awareness, receptiveness, participation and - the placing of consciousness, Nyasa.

To feel or just to think of a place, is enough to bring life to it. To be aware of the possibilities in life that present themselves, to have the courage to accept them, is to live consciously.

"A great saint, a mahatma, a yogi, a prophet or a gyani lives on this earth like any other human being. He thinks, enjoys and eats like others. The great difference between a yogi and an ordinary man is that he has awakened a dormant faculty in man called awareness, whereas the ordinary man has not. He is always aware. He is called a drastha - a seer. He is the witnesser of events. Your aim on the path to realising and awakening your dormant potential should be to gradually unfold this faculty of awareness within you. Become a seer…" (Paramhansa Satyananda)

Yoga Nidra

To make conscious by thinking of certain places in a precisely determined sequence, or by feeling these areas, or by naming the places mentally, is probably the easiest, the original and perhaps therefore the most fruitful of all Nyasa practises - by experiencing warmth and cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and contentment, and whatever else Yoga Nidra consists of, like Chakras, certain symbols and landscapes that one remembers.

In the deep Yoga Nidra all the parts of your being, all your potentials, are touched, named and vitalised through Nyasa, and it is precisely this experience which creates well-being and clarity.

It is due to Paramhansa Satyananda's genius that we can use this effective method of Yoga Nidra today, and we must credit him for revealing Nyasa through the Yoga Nidra relaxation in a way through which everybody can benefit.

 
 
 
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 10:59pm

Yoga tool-kit for computer users

Yoga can teach you to be compatible with yourself - and your computer work

by Omkarananda

 
Good ideas, perspective and understanding come when we are inspired and have plenty of energy - not when we are stressed and tense.
Every other computer operator complains of tensions and pain!

During the last decade there has been a lot of research done on "mouse injuries" and other problems that arise with continual use of a computer monitor and keyboard. Lena Karlqvist from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concludes after ten years of research that nobody can manage the monotonous strain in the long run without problems. Danish experts believe that the solution lies in rotating the employees or students between computer work and other activities, so that they only sit for a maximum of 4-5 hours in front of a monitor per day. Unfortunately, it is admitted that in many instances this is unrealistic due to increasing specialisation and shortage of time.

Don't let the body come to a standstill in front of the monitor. These four small exercises can be of great help to avoid the build up of tensions in the neck, shoulders and back.

A tool to remain in contact with energy and inspiration

With simple yoga exercises one can release tensions as they arise and consciously put oneself in an inspired and creative mood. Computer users often have tension and pain in the "mouse hand", arm, elbow, shoulder, neck or back. Other common ailments are headaches, eye complaints and lethargy, which also arise due to tensions, and which prevent the afflicted to be him/herself and work efficiently.

Here follows an introduction to a few yoga exercises that are good for relieving tensions that can occur in front of a monitor. For these exercises you do not necessarily need a special place to practise the yoga. It is enough to turn off the monitor, while you print or make a back-up, and do one or a few of the exercises suggested here. After five to fifteen minutes you are ready - with increased clarity and concentration - to continue your work.

Besides this, you can take part in a weekly yoga course, a weekend course or perhaps a residential course. This will enhance the effect of the yoga you do yourself. Gradually you will learn to let go of tensions as they arise. Then they will not accumulate and develop into pain and an occupational hazard.

The exercises in the following short program should be done without effort or haste. The text (but not the pictures, due to copyright) are quoted from the book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda. In the book, which is richly illustrated with instructive pictures, there is a chapter of eye exercises, that are of considerable use for those who sit in front of a computer monitor. The book is inspiring reading.

Tension releasing exercises for the arms and shoulders

1. Extend your arms forward, shoulder level, palms up. Bend your arms, placing your fingertips on your shoulders. Keep your upper arms horizontal. 5-10 times

2. Do the same movement, but with your arms out to the sides of your body.

3. Shoulder Rolling - Rest your fingertips on your shoulders throughout this exercise. Begin with your upper arms at shoulder level, elbows pointing sideways. Then rotate your arms in a circular motion, moving them backwards and down, and then let the elbows meet in front of your stomach. Keep them together as you rise up in front of your chest and face, and then turn them out to the sides, back and down again. 5-10 times. Repeat this exercise in the opposite direction. Shoulder rolling limbers up your shoulders and the upper part of your neck.

Head Rolling

1. exercise

Let your head slowly fall all the way to one side, your nose forward, not towards your shoulder. Hang your head like that for a while, then bring it slowly over to the other side and keep it there briefly. Repeat this 5-10 times.

2. exercise

Turn your head all the way to one side, pause a moment, then turn your head slowly to the other side and pause there. Repeat this 5-10 times.

3. exercise

Let your head slowly sink down to your chest, let it rest there briefly, totally relaxed then slowly raise it and rest it there, hanging it back a while. 5-10 times.

4. exercise

Let your head rotate all the way around 5-7 times in each direction. Do it in a very relaxed way and take your time. Feel the position of the head at any one point of the circle.

5. exercise

Pause immediately after the head rolling: sitting relaxed and completely still with your head upright and your eyes closed.

It is important to do the first three exercises each time as a warm up to the head rolling.

If you have a tendency for dizziness or an extremely high blood pressure, you should do the head rolling very carefully.

This exercise relaxes the neck and shoulder area and has a general relaxing effect on the entire nervous system. Good against headaches and lethargy.

Spontaneous Breathing

This is a breathing exercise, relaxation and meditation exercise. Start by lying on your back with your hands by your sides (or directly following the head rolling, remain sitting in a chair with the hands resting on the legs or in the lap.) The eyes are closed.

Experience your whole body,
the whole body at once,
feel how motionless it is -
concentrate a long time on the motionlessness.

Then begin to experience that
this motionless body is alive, it is breathing;
let it breathe
freely,
avoid slowing down
or speeding up your breathing,
avoid controlling it,
breathe freely,
spontaneously -
go on, go on
as long as possible -
ten minutes - fifteen minutes - half an hour.

After a while
make sure you are breathing with the stomach.
Otherwise use your will a little,
but avoid disturbing
the free rhythm of your breath,
feel -
that you breath with the stomach;
let the stomach expand
as you inhale,
and let the rest follow;
let your stomach sink down and relax
when you exhale;
do not bother about your mind;
breathe freely and spontaneously
with your attention on
your stomach,
go on -
now notice how your stomach
rises and falls
with the natural movements of breath,
go on -

Use this exercise as often and as long as
you like
any time -
but preferably at regular
times.

It is best if you can do the relaxation with subdued lighting.

 


Edited by omshivaya - 10/Feb/2007 at 11:04pm
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 11:09pm
Gayatri Mantra is the most potent mantra of all mantras. It can give anything to anyone.
 
 
The Vedic form of the famous Gayatri mantra is:

Om bhoor-bhuvah-svah
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.

The phrase Om Bhoor Bhuvah Svah is generally added to the mantra,when it is recited.
 

Om generally represents the Supreme Consciousness , and the Bhoor , Bhuvah and Svah are the three planes or levels of consciousness.


tat savitur varenyam  means " that revered God (Solar Principle)" bhargo devasya dhimahi  means " destroy the ignorance with divine wisdom"

dhiyo yo nah prachodayat means " lead our intellects (buddhi) and energy in right direction "


Chanting Method
------------------
Gayatri should be chanted at medium speed, and each mantra chant should be immediately followed by the next chant, such that a cycle (spiral) of chants is formed and pervades around the chanter.

Precautions
-------------
No precautions as such are necessary , but the following are worth noting.

1. The mind should be positive, and no negative thoughts should be entertained. Because, what ever thoughts we entertain during Gayatri chant, gets multiplied.

2. Specific time and place for regular chant is more helpful in the longer run.

About Mantra
---------------

The Gayatri Mantra is one of the keynotes to the transformation of consciousness and is an identical vibration to the vital force in nature. The Gayatri Mantra is extremely powerful and its divine implications are not easily comprehended.

The 24 syllables in the mantra are intended to give the following qualities in physical plane.

1. 'tat' - tapini - fruitfulness
2 'sa' - saphalata - valor
3 'vi' - visshwa - perseverance
4 'tur' - tushti - welfare
5 'va' - varada - yoga
6 're' - revati - love
7 'ni' - sukshma - wealth
8 'yam' - jnana - lustre
9 'bhar' - bharga - protection
10 'go' - gomati - wisdom
11 'de' - devika - subjugation
12 'va' - varahi - allegiance
13 'sya' - simhani - determination
14 'dhi' - dhyana - life
15 'ma' - maryada - time
16 'hi' - sphutaa - penance
17 'dhi' - medha - forecast
18 'yo' - yogamaya - alertness
19 'yo' - yogini - production
20 'nah' - dhanin - protection
21 'pra' - prabhava - idealism
22 'cho' - ushma - adventure
23 'da' - drishya - discrimination
24 'at' - niranjana - service.

The 24 powers of Gayatri mentioned above awaken certain qualities, and along with this awakening, one starts getting success and prosperity i.e., siddhi. Many feel that these benefits are showered by some Gods or Goddesses. But in reality, the development of the subtle force is done within themselves. If they are able to realize the subtle force working in them, they will realize that such benefits do not accrue of their own accord, and that all of them are the results of the interplay of spiritual forces in them. Gayatri sadhana or upasana is no more a blind faith, but is a scientific process.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here I present one form of the Gayatri Mantra, especially for appeasing Maa Laxmi.
 
 
Mahalakshmi Gayatri

Om Mahalakshimi ca vidhmahe
Vishnupatni ca dhimahi
Tanno Lakshmi pracodayat

Meaning: May we realise Mahalakshmi. Let us meditate on that spouse of Lord Vishnu and may Goddess Lakshmi illumine us.

 
 


Edited by omshivaya - 22/Jan/2008 at 5:27pm
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Quote basant Replybullet Posted: 10/Feb/2007 at 9:07am
Thank you. That was absolutely phenomenal. How many times should one recite the gayatri mantra each day or in terms of duration?
 
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Quote omshivaya Replybullet Posted: 11/Feb/2007 at 5:58pm

Basant sir, I present the following method(as I know it from my sources):

 
1) Chanting 108 times daily.
 
2) Choose a specific time and place only. Do not change this time and place. There is a reason for this. When any mantra is chanted at a specific time and place regularly, over a period of time a positive energy builds up in and around that place. Changing the place or time, can make the energy diluted to quite an extent.
 
3) Gaytri mantra should usually be done at a place where you feel most comfortable at and which is clean, not necessarily in the "puja room" of your house. However, avoid the bathroom. I usually prefer my computer room.
 
4) Take a seating position, with legs folded within each other and with hands in namaskar posture. Folded namaskar hands can be placed on the legs for rest but better if they are in front of the chest in ideal namaskar posture.
 
Daily 108 times Gayatri mantra is great.
 
 
My notes: Gayatri mantra is very powerful BUT don't expect money to come to you from it. It's motive is finally to take you to the highest form of attainment, that is spiritual elevation away from materialistic desires.
 
There is a story of Sage Brighu ji and a person who was meditating for attaining enormous wealth.
 
This person who wanted to attain wealth was told that Gayatri mantra can give anything to anyone and it is the most powerful mantra of all vedic mantras, thus it being called the Mother of all Vedic mantras.
 
This person for many years kept chanting Gayatri mantra but it didn't bring him wealth. Frustrated, he finally stopped. Then someone told him to meditate on the Sage Brighu and appease him and Sage Brighu for surely will appear before him and then he can ask for anything.
 
This person started meditating on Sage Brighu and in much lesser time than he had taken to recite Gayatri mantra, a voice was heard by this person. The person was Sage Brighu and he had indeed appeared.
 
However, the person could just hear the voice of Sage Brighu from somewhere but could not see him around. Then he asked Sage Brighu to appear before him so that he could ask for his boon of attaining immense wealth.
 
To this Sage Brighu replied:
 
"I can surely give you anything you want. But I cannot show myself before you. I cannot because Gayatri mAantra that you have been reciting has immense tej(power) in it and it shall burn me if I show myself before you. This is NOT your fault, but is the power of the mantra that you have been reciting".
 
Thus the person understood that Gayatri mantra's power goes beyond just materialistic wealth...the wealth it bestows is beyond all"
 
 
 
 
Some more notes from me: Gayatri mantra is created by Rishi Vishwamitra ji.
 
Why?
Answer: Because Vishwamitra ji wanted to create an indentical world, literally. By just chanting Gayatri Mantra, the great sage was able to create a world just like the world that the gods had created.
 
Imagine, everything started being created: the earth, oceans, trees, fishes, birds, leaves, mountains, water, air, fire...just by chanting the mantra continously devotedly. So what is money in front of all these things. Gayatri mantra is for attaining something much beyond all these.
 
 
Sage Vishwamitra was not a Brahmin. He was a Kshatriya. But since he felt challenged by someone that he couldn't do what a Brahmin could do, he thus created the Gayatri mantra and started meditating upon it,  to prove that the too could do it. And he definitely did prove it, by creating the Mother of all Vedic Mantras. Gayatri mantra is the only mantra in the vedas that contains the power of all oher mantras in vedas.
 
It can be used to attain anything: spirtuality, materialistic wealth, spiritual wealth, siddhi, immortality. Depends on what actually you want. The Gayatri mantra just works as an amplifier, enhancing what you deeply want at the time you are meditating upon it.
 
 
 
 
Anyhow...Basant sir, hope the procedure is explained above in a good way for you to follow. Let me know if you need anything else.
 
I shall try posting some more stories related to the different Gods and Goddesses.
 
Would the TEDdies like to know how great and beautiful our Gods and Goddesses are(in cae someone doesn't know some stuff), and about their background. If yes, then from time to time, I shall post tid-bits about them on this thread.
 
 


Edited by omshivaya - 11/Feb/2007 at 6:23pm
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Quote BubbleVision Replybullet Posted: 11/Feb/2007 at 6:04pm
Om Excellent post.
 
I have not read the post compeletly... will be doing that over a period of time.. Still from what i have already read, it is excellent.


Edited by BubbleVision - 11/Feb/2007 at 6:27pm
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