Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma, Interview, Society, Spirituality

Episode 36: Vedic Living — Interview with Akshay Kanade

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Krishna and the Cow

“Veda”

means “knowledge” and

“Sanatana Dharma”

is a more accurate term for “Hinduism”. Why? “Hinduism” was a colonial term given to ‘those living near the Indus River’, and, as another point of gentle contention — there is not a real basis for the Aryan invasion or civilisation, so that is most likely based on colonialism, too. (However, we still use it in our episode, as it’s a familiar term and also is still embraced by many). But, for the record…

“Sanatana”

means “eternal”

and “Dharma”

means “natural way”.

Thus, Hinduism is not a religion nor even the best terminology to use. Anybody, regardless of race, class, caste, career, gender, or global location on the map can follow the “eternal, natural way”! Lao Tzu also wrote the Tao Te Ching, which is indeed the “eternal, natural way”. Buddha also found the “eternal, natural way” and taught it for 40+ years. So there is a harmony amongst all dualistic so-called divisions that simply seek to emanate the same message, brought forth through different languages and cultures and times.

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Akshay Kanade was born in India and now lives in New York City. How can a man working on Wall Street live in tune with the Vedic mind, body, and spirit? This seems quite tricky from my point-of-view, as a modern woman living in London! It is said that the main attributes that use up Prana the quickest are forcefulness and speaking. Ask anybody living in the city how gentle they are to themselves and to others, with actions, speech, and mind. It’s commendable that we can still live this way in 2019. Akshay talks with me about his ventures with Sanatana Dharma and shares the breadth of his knowledge with us.

He outlines that there are four main goals of living the eternal, natural way:

Dharma – hard to translated directly, but is can be said: as living a moral life with duty; doing what one is supposed/meant to do with dilligence. It upholds both the individuals in society and the entire universal cosmos.
Artha – economic and material well-being as a baseline for every human being
Kama – wishes or passions of the senses
Moksha – liberation from the cycle of birth and death

This ties nicely into the Dharmic literature, as a whole, being a basis for human living. They are considered “Apaurusheya” or “authorless”. The literature fits into either of these two categories:

Shruti – “Heard” or “Perceived as an eternal sound” and written down immediately once heard

Shruti literature includes The four Vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda; Upanishads; Brahmanas; and Aranyakas

Smriti – “Remembered” or passed down through a disciplic succession and eventually written down

Smriti literature includes: The Mahabharata; Ramayana; The Puranas; Sutras; Panchararatras; Dharma Shastras; and more

Within the Vedas lie texts on Ayurveda, or the science of keeping the body in good health and balance. Ayurveda is still being refined until today and encompasses: regulating diet, meditation and psychiatry, admistering correct medicines, massages, and advice on personal lifestyle/habits.

Akshay and I even touch on whether or not the gods, goddesses, and historical figures in the Dharmic literature were real figures. History is always up for debate, so, you can decide; yet Akshay gives compelling evidence that Lord Ram, for example, was indeed real based on archaeological evidence.

Another amazing doctor he mentions is Dr. R M Shukla from Pune, India, who works with Resonant Frequency Imaging (RFI) to record various effects on the human body and mind. As Akshay mentioned, he also caught the vibration of the Gita when it was spoken so many thousands of years ago!

Without giving too much away, please listen to our episode! If you can be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes, this would really help our show move forward.

*Akshay has innumerable resources available for Vedic living and Dharmic learning, so please get in touch with him on LinkedIn.

 

Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma, Interview, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 17: Hinduism is not a Religion: Perspective with Karthik


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In this episode, I talk with Karthik, a native Indian who now lives in London. He believes that Hinduism is not a religion; it is more of a lifestyle, where one really chooses who and what to worship or not at all.

Hindus obtained their name from the River Indus, denoting a group of people who lived around the area. The Greeks actually gave this name to the Indians living there, and ever since, more and more people referred to these guys as “Hindus” and even called India “Hindustan” for a while. The name stuck.

I ask Karthik about this, and he agrees with me that “India is still proud to be the ‘Land of the Hindus'”.

Karthik comes from the state of Tamil Nadu: the city is Madurai, nicknamed the City of Temples and the Athens of the East. His family also studied the Tirukkuṛaḷa book considered one of the greatest works in ethics and morality, known for its non-secular nature; yet many are unfamiliar with the text in the wider world. He also tells us the way his family personally practices Hinduism and some magical stories about some of the gods; but the gods are not what Hinduism is really all about. You have to listen to our podcast to be let in on the secret.

Here’s one hint, though: there’s a saying in India, “First honour your mother… then your father… then your guru… then God.” 

 

Satsang

Episode 3: Organic & Spontaneous Satsang in London

Current Episode

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In this episode, I share the recent insights gathered in a spontaneous Satsang, unplanned and natural. There will be more organic Satsangs in the future. A Satsang is a sacred gathering, where beings meet to come to meet Themselves, as They really are — or meet reality, as it is.

Satsangs are lacking in Western societies by and large, and non-duality is not a buzz word on the streets and isn’t ready as a conversation starter at the cocktail bar, yet they have been going on in India since time immemorial. Regardless of this notion, we can also come together in a virtual Satsang where we share from across the globe and meet non-dual awareness together no matter your country, upbringing, age, or background. Those don’t matter, because they are not who you are!

In 2012 and 2016, I sat with my guru, Mooji, in Bethnal Green in London. He taught the way of the Satsang with the help of his master, Papaji, and his master, Sri Ramana Maharshi. Mooji has shown me the light that I needed to be propelled, against all odds, to awaken to my true nature. You can, too. Here’s a preview below of a Satsang by Papaji, a wise and hilarious character, now gone beyond. Enjoy, and om namo Buddhay!

Buddhism

Episode 2: Buddhist Methods of Awakening

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Have you been wondering what the difference is between Zen, Tantra, Dzogchen, Mahayana, Theravada, and all these Buddhism’s?

In episode 2, we go over a brief overview of the Buddhist traditions and what sort of material you can put into practice, today. I understand that everybody has a different temperament and no two humans are the same, so there’s a wide variety of techniques to help you awaken. I’ll let you listen, but here’s a few more tips:

If you have a keen intellect and been to years of university and enjoy a good book, then maybe studying Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist canons will be beneficial for you. There are 84,000 in all, so you won’t be curled up for reading! “Sutra” or “Sutta” means “string/thread” — a discourse as part of an entire tapestry. So take each as both a part and a whole. Don’t think you have to read in chronological order or get through all of them. (That’s for monk-hood, right there!) You can choose what you feel drawn to here, in this collection of Buddhist suttas.

Do you love the outdoors? A woodsman? A hiker? Skiing down the slopes of a snowy mountain, somewhere north? Dzogchen is be a good bet! Dzogchen, my favourite practice, pulls your attention outwards into the widest expanse possible. Beyond body, beyond mind, beyond environment… but interacting with all of them. When you’re in nature, and you’re thinking and strategising, just notice that… and then open into the wider expanse of your noticing. Where are the thoughts now? Are they controlling you, or are they simply happening in this larger awareness? The trees are still, the sky is wide, and you are here. Present. Pain can happen, happiness, joy, stress, stillness, worry — anything! But keep opening. Open to that. You can handle it, because it’s part of you but it’s not all that you are. You are larger than you ever know. You are awareness, itself. What colour are those tree branches? How is the ripple of the wind on your skin, underneath your fleece? What is that noise, over there?

Or, if you’re crazed by the arts — acting, throwing paint on canvas or yourself, a gallery-watcher, writer, poet, or feel the pull of a higher sense of the mystical, I recommend Tantra. Tantra is an unlimited practice which includes yoga, visualisation “meditation”, and drawing/gazing at/colouring mandalas. Yoga is a fluid practice, challenging the notions of what’s possible by the body/mind continuum. Yoga asanas can be interpreted in different ways, by both the Vedas and Patanjali up to the present day, but you will find truth in there — after all, you’re using your own body and mind which is in your own awareness! So play with yoga. Also play with visualisation. You can

Mother, father? Car mechanic? Love to bake and see the organic order in the vegetables you chop, the molasses on your spoon, the cinnamon in your nostrils? Zen. If you’re active and enjoy your dynamic life, both focused and intensive, then Zen is your friend. It’s the best combination of both worlds. When you’re focused on a task, then you commit yourself just to that task. If you chop, you chop. If you taste, you taste. If you need to stop chopping and take care of the baby or the dog, do that. Do it mindfully, fully. Move your attention from one task to the next with focus and awareness that you’re doing that or that it’s happening. Most importantly, when a friend comes to visit, be with that friend.

And for the more adventurous of spirit, advanced spiritual seekers, and those who want to delve deep into the question of existence itself, try non-dual self-enquiry or the netti-netti method.

The Buddha noted that any teaching is just a raft, bringing us across the water. When the raft arrives, there’s no need for the raft anymore.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t be shy to get in touch. We share this life together — not separately.