india_2005-09326 September 2005

Twenty-five years ago there was no TV in India except for the largest cities. Now there are TVs in most homes, even in remote areas. Once there was only one channel, now there are 37 even in Rishikesh, 100 in Delhi, with news, comedies and soap operas, where there are always problems. It goes on 24/7 and you never have to be alone.

We as humans have only one channel – the mind. Sometimes it gives us laughter via a sitcom, or sometimes tears in a tragic soap. With TV we always have the option to change channels or turn it off. But who changes our channels, and who can turn it off?

The first rickshaws had only wooden seats and no shock absorbers. Potholes created a jarring effect for the rider. Later, cushions and shock absorbers helped to protect the traveler.

So in life, if we have a certain buffer against difficulties, we can expect a certain degree of consistency. But even if we’re mentally prepared, there’s always the unpredictability of life. Not only is life uncertain, but so is our mind’s reaction to such events.

Even if we assume the role of observer, watching the mind, we can distance ourselves somewhat from the “trauma.” But without an inner space from which to access our freedom, we can’t make all the choices appropriate to our life.

Isaac Newton once had a cat who had a kitten. He had at first made a hole in the door for the cat to come and go, and then a smaller hole for the kitten to come and go,

As school children , some of us enjoyed playing pranks, because the role of prankster seemed legitimate. Now we look back on those actions with a certain degree of objectivity. As an observer, we see ourselves more clearly. The challenge is to bring this into the present.

indian-people-168The more objective I am, the better it is for me, and for those around me. “Sama” is the capacity to have some degree of control over my own mind. “Dama” is the fitting response to life’s situations. “Samadama” is therefore the ability to control the mind and respond accordingly to life.

There are three different states of awareness: Jagrat, or awareness of the mind’s activities; Swapna, or the meditative state, balanced between the inner and outer dimensions; and Sushupti, a state of sleep in which the mind is effectively unconscious.

In some parts of India, summer heat reaches 40-45 Celsius, equal to 110 Fahrenheit. So when 30C seems sizzling hot in Tokyo, it’s pleasant in Delhi.

How do we explain sweetness? It’s a subjective experience that we can compare to that of others, because we can introduce a standard – like a piece of chocolate.

But when it comes to mental states of mind, it isn’t so easy to compare one person’s joy or sorrow to that of another. For example, the taste of chocolate is similar between people, but not the death of one’s mother.

At the seashore, we see variability in the waves – each one different – and yet there’s an invariability in that all waves are composed of water. Similarly, cotton clothing comes in every pattern and color – each different – and yet all are made of cotton.

When we cognize an object, we think of it and all its associate memories. But when we turn our eyes away and cognize another object, the first one fades and the second one takes ascendancy with all its associations and memories.

Each time we see, hear, taste, touch or smell – we assume a role of activity and observation. We wear many variable roles. Variable is the key word. What comes will also go. What comes into being will definitely have an end.

india_2005-075The knower of the variables, however, must be invariable. Say an observer is in a room every day, thus can he see who comes and goes each day from that room. But if the observer doesn’t stay in the room, there is no knowing what really happens in that room.

Consider now the emotions that come and go. Only if the observer is present and aware can the fluctuations of the mind be observed.

In the dream state, the body remains and the mind travels far and wide. For example, the dreamer may see Swamiji in orange robes, skiing downhill, and playing tennis.

Dream time/objects/universe is created by the observer. But here the dreamer is variable. Only upon awaking does the observer realise that “I” is invariable while all else is variable.

Although ocean waves are invariably water, water is not invariably – only incidentally – in the form of a wave.

The experiencer is incidental whereas the observer is intrinsic. Experiences do not alter my intrinsic self – they are only transient states of being for the invariable Self.

Atma is the intrinsic invariable who sustains all the roles of variability and is yet at the same time free of all those roles and their manifold variables.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. 

His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. Stellar Astrology offers a compilation of Vedic astrology techniques, in-depth celebrity profiles, and analysis of world events. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.