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Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning either “coiled up” or “coiling like a snake.” Kundalini is mainly associated with Hinduism. However, Kundalini as a spiritual experience is thought to have parallels in many of the mystical and gnostic traditions of the world’s great religions.

The early Christians might have referred to the concept as ‘pneuma’, and there are some recent parallels in contemporary Christian Charismatic ‘Holy Ghost’ phenomena. Religious studies also note parallels in Quakerism, Shakerism, Judaic Shuckling (torso-rocking prayer), the swaying zikr and whirling dervish of Islam, the quiverings of the Eastern Orthodox hesychast, the flowing movements of tai chi, the ecstatic shamanic dance and the ntum trance dance of the Bushman. kundalini1

Picture Courtesy: Ellie Crystal

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~Anthroposophy~

Reach your Higher Consciousness

Reach your Higher Consciousness

Anthroposophy, a spiritual science was founded by  Rudolf Steiner and it is a philosophy (or as some claim, a religion) that sprung from the Theosophy movement.

Rudolf Steiner, was an Austrian philosopher, literary scholar, architect, playwright, educator, and social thinker, who is best known as the founder of Anthroposophy and its practical applications.

He characterized his system of Anthroposophy as follows:

”Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe… Anthroposophists are those who experience, as an essential need of life, certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe, just as one experiences hunger and thirst.”  

 The main focus of an anthroposophist is to be “more human” by becoming more conscious about one’s thoughts and deeds. One may reach higher levels of consciousness through meditation, observation and openness over a lifelong “quest”.

 

Picture Courtesy: Ellie Crystal

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The Altar of the Guaracy Spiritual Tent in Rio North Zone.

The Altar of the Guaracy Spiritual Tent in Rio North Zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Picture Courtesy: Internet

 

Umbanda is the name of an Afro-Brazilian religion that mixes teachings of Alan Kardec’s spiritism , Catholicism and sects brought by the African slaves. Umbanda practices are usually directed by a man or woman called “Pai (or Mãe) de Santo” (saint’s father or mother), a medium that could incorporate died people’s spirits, called “Entidades” (Entities).
These spirits could be Caboclos (Indians), religious figures, doctors, african or brazilian negros as “Pretos Velhos”(Old Blacks). These happen in meetings called “Sessões”(Sessions), in the Tent, a big room with an altar, where members sing “Pontos” (Points, chants for an entity), dance or just hold the entity’s counsels.
Umbanda is often confused with ‘macumba’ by some Brazilians. ‘Macumba’ is another Afro-Brazilian religion, or Black Sorcery, considered by Umbanda specialists as a distortion, because it is based on evil practices, destined to harm presumed enemies, evoking undeveloped spirits, that could be equivalents to the Catholic Hell creatures.
The true Umbandists just practice White Sorcery rituals. In other words, it is done to improve a person’s life, to practice a goodness and never to harm anybody.

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In my previous article, I did mention that Maizbhandar creates the space and ambience for all the World Religions to come together and unify in one gigantic melting pot. After another discussion with a Professor of mine (who has a sound knowledge on Maizbhandar) I got to get the scoop on something else that grabbed my attention; as in why do people from various Religions go to Maizbhandar? My point is that normally when people go to Shrines and places like these it’s in most cases for the purpose of conversion. As per what I got to know, Maizbhandar has a different way of thinking; it’s ideology doesn’t want people to convert, rather it’s wants to get you closer to God, The Creator, The One behind this whole Intelligent Design.

Maizbhandar Ideology believes that no matter what Religion you are, you can go and offer prayer in any other Church, Mosque, Shrine or Temple; you do not necessarily have to be of that Religion to go and offer prayer there, you can just go if you wish. And the whole logic behind this is that when you go to offer prayers in Churches or Mosques and feel the presence of God, it means that you prayers have been heard or acknowledged or approved.

People from various Religions go there but conversions don’t take place, because from the Maizbhandar point of view Religion is there to maintain order in society but it’s not the only way to reach God. Can you imagine a society without Religion, people would go bonkers! It’s a combination of a good understanding of Religion and Spirituality that one may understand the Nature of God. Since Spirituality is more universal, not matter what Religious differences, people would learn to unify and hence there would be less conflict in the name of Religion.

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endless-knot3The Mystical Knot is one of the eight auspicious signs that symbolize the Eight Fold paths of Buddhism. The Knot is also known as the ‘Mystic Dragon’ and is a symbol of Eternity and Unity.
The Tibetans first identified the sacred geometry contained within this Knot. It is said to be a symbol of unending love, interconnectedness of all beings and good fortune. Those wearing or displaying this powerful mystic knot symbol will enjoy good fortune.

As you can see the Knot has no beginning and no ending; this is meant to symbolize the infinite wisdom of Buddha. This Endless Knot is also said to be the perfect insignia for undying and unconditional love. It is a lucky symbol ensuring that the love in the marriage or relationship will last. It symbolizes endless-togetherness. Many feel that the symbol exhibits the link or weave between Wisdom and Compassion. It is also said to signify the interplay of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their unification and to the harmony in the universe.  

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Most people have a tendency to blur the line between Religion and Spirituality, I too was one of those people in the beginning. Till now with all the reading and research that I have done to clear the fog in my head, I came up with things that I felt are the distinctions between the Two; however this is not intended to imply one over the other.

Religion is more of an organized system of beliefs and symbols. For anything to be a Religion is has to have certain rituals and practices that are designed and believed to bring one closer to God. Spirituality on the other hand is the quest for answers to ultimate questions, and it doesn’t lead to or have any specific practices. Spirituality is more of a mystery. It is this mystical entity that shapes souls, whereas Religion shapes history. Religion is very much rooted in words and cultures and is dogmatic. Spirituality however transcends reason, language and culture and is metaphorical in nature.  Spirituality is focused more on individual growth whereas Religion focuses on establishing community.  Religion is more behavioral based and outward where Spirituality is more emotion based and inner experienced.

Spirituality is more universalizing, while Religion is more in particularizing, as in one group from another. Finally Spirituality is transformative and it trancends ego, whereas Religion is translational and it consoles the ego. It emancipates and gives a sense of place and psychological security.

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