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Spirituality

Svadhyaya: The Path Of Understanding Your True Self

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Svadhyaya is one of the five niyamas (yoga principles) that focuses on the study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches, and actions. In the process of practicing this niyama, we get engaged in the realization of our own essence. Svadhyaya serves as a ‘prism’ through which can we see the Divine within us. In this article, I will dive deeper into what svadhyaya is, why it is so important to practice it and what you can do today to step on the path of understanding your true self.

What Is Svadhyaya?

Svadhyaya is a compound Sanskrit word composed of ‘sva’ (स्वा) and ‘adhyaya’ (अध्याय). ‘Adhyaya’ means “a lesson, lecture, chapter; reading”. ‘Sva’ means “own, one’s own, self, the human soul”. Therefore, Svadhyaya literally means “one’s own reading, lesson”.

According to the Yoga sutras (Sutra 2.44), one who practices Svadhyaya acquires the ability of deep concentration, approaches the higher consciousness and becomes able to comprehend the higher truths.

There are several interpretations of this principle. Its first meaning is self-analysis, self-realization, self-education, awareness of oneself as a whole structure in various aspects: mental, emotional and spiritual. The second meaning of this principle is the study of the Scriptures, spiritual literature, Vedic sources of spiritual knowledge. And the third meaning is chanting mantras aloud (performing Japa).

It is necessary to practice Svadhyaya daily. For most of us, it is difficult to break away from our daily routine, but it is necessary to find an hour or two and devote them to spiritual self-improvement or reading spiritual literature. Compare how much energy you spend on questions of the material world, and how much time you devote to the spiritual world? When embarking on the path of spiritual self-improvement, you need to set your priorities correctly.

Understanding The True Essence Of SELF

Svadhyaya definition Image

Stop for a moment and think: what is life? The pursuit of ephemeral happiness? The endless bustle of everyday life? Or just boring aimless vegetating, when you don’t have the ability to see the true meaning of life and just go with the flow?

In most cases, people’s idea of life is misleading.

Many of us wake up every morning and force ourselves to go to work that we hate. After work, we come home and fall on the couch in front of the TV. We have our dinner and go to bed. And this is how most of us live. We live the same day again and again and call it “life”.

We are like robots, performing our functions, without thinking about the true meaning of what we do and for what reasons. This kind of life does not bring joy and does not give a sense of satisfaction.

Yoga is designed to help us become better, get rid of the obscurations that fill our lives. When we realize all the frailty and meaninglessness of our existence aimed at satisfying material needs, we begin to understand that the main goal of life is to cultivate our spirit. Therefore, eventually, everyone who follows a true spiritual path begins his journey of spiritual self-improvement, to break the shackles of the material world and free himself from the illusion of earthly values, unleash his inner light and illuminate not only his path but also to share it with those who are still in the darkness.

Gradually, as we practice moral principles, we begin to notice how we are moving forward. So, we should not miss any opportunity for self-development and self-improvement. And Svadhyaya serves us as a wonderful tool for gaining self-knowledge.

Our eternal Spirit experiences difficulties when it is imprisoned in a body that is affected by the material nature that binds it to the cycle of rebirth in the material world. It is necessary to learn how to limit the manifestations of the ego that forces us to focus on the material needs.

When we are involved in a process of constant self-development we gain control over our ego.

We need to always remember that all the knowledge we need is already within us. All we need to do is just reveal it. Every time we study the spiritual scriptures we are not learning something new but reminding ourselves of what we already know and always knew deep inside. The knowledge that we need for our development is hidden from us behind the limitations of our materialistic minds and opens gradually as the level of our spiritual awareness increases.

Jnana Yoga And Svadhyaya

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The teaching of yoga is divided into several branches. Each of the branches leads a person to the knowledge of his true Self, to the flowering and growth of his soul.

Hatha yoga, for example, helps us learn to control our physical body since it is a temple of the spirit.

Raja yoga helps us unlock our inner potential, develop our mental abilities, learn to control our mind, and strengthen our willpower.

Bhakti yoga is designed to awaken unconditional love and unselfishness, which leads to the realization of the unity of being.

Jnana yoga is a way of knowing and studying, which allows us to plunge into the amazing world of truths that lie at the heart of being. Yoga of wisdom, as it can also be called, will allow you to find answers to such questions as: “Who am I and why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? What exists outside of visible reality? What will happen to me after I leave this life?”

Svadhyaya is the basis for practicing Jnana yoga because it is the beginning of the path of knowledge and understanding of one’s own nature. When we learn about ourselves with the help of Svadhyaya, we also come to the realization that the opportunity to be happy is hidden in each of us. And the knowledge of self will lead us to liberation from the false ideas and illusions of the material world, change our worldview and we will gradually come to an understanding that each of us is a part of the whole.

Svadhyaya And Mantra Chanting

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As mentioned above, Svadhyaya leads to the opportunity to attain deep concentration. Mantra chanting is one of the tools we can use for this.

When we are involved in mantra chanting, it is important not just to repeat the text of the mantra, but also to understand its meaning.

By chanting mantras, we can purify the surrounding space. Even just listening to mantra chants can clear your mind. When you listen to their sounds with reverence, they can lift your consciousness to a higher level.

It is believed that the sacred Sanskrit sounds tune us in harmony with the vibrations of the cosmos. Thus even if you just listen or read mantras, it can have a beneficial effect on your aura and contribute to your spiritual development.

Studying The Vedas

The Vedas are considered the most ancient Scriptures. The Sanskrit word “Veda” means ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’, ‘intelligence’. Therefore, the Vedas teach us to understand what we read, to comprehend the deep meaning.

The Vedas are written in early Sanskrit and contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for the priests of Vedic religion. They have been directly revealed to seers among the early Aryans in India and preserved by oral tradition. The four chief collections are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

Reading and studying the Vedas allow us to touch the sacred wisdom of spiritual truths. This is not just a repository of mantras, hymns, and mandalas. The sages of the past shared their spiritual knowledge and experience in the Vedas, and now we have the opportunity to touch these divine truths that can help us start a meaningful and conscious life.

Initially, the knowledge that the Vedas contain was passed orally from teachers to students, who, in turn, memorized mantras by constant repetition. Because the Vedas have been preserved through constant self-study, they also belong to the practice of Svadhyaya.

Later the Vedas were recorded in writing. The Vedas are compiled by the sage Veda Vyasa, who divided them into four parts: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

Veda Vyasa Image
Veda Vyasa

Rig Veda is considered one of the oldest religious sources of knowledge in the world, a sacred collection of mystical hymns written in Sanskrit.

Sama Veda is the Veda of chants.

Yajur Veda is a collection of mantras used for worship rituals.

Atharva Veda is a collection of mantras and magical incantations and healing spells.

The final part of the Vedas is the Upanishad (Vedanta). The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads. It describes how the four Purusarthas (objects of human pursuit) can be achieved. These four Purusarthas are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

Studying Sacred Scriptures And Spiritual Literature

Svadhyaya also implies the study of other spiritual Scriptures. By reading sacred texts and Vedic literature, we discover a treasure trove of spiritual knowledge that was left to us by the Great teachers of the past.

When we practice Svadhyaya we constantly study from sacred sources of spiritual wisdom with reverence and respect. In doing so, we establish a connection with the spiritual masters. As we dive into the sources of spiritual wisdom, we come into contact with the exalted spirit of those who left us this treasure. In this way, we rise in spirit to their level while reading their creations.

It should also be borne in mind that just reading spiritual literature is not enough. It is important to understand the inner meaning hidden in every thought of the author, manifested in his work.

After reading spiritual texts it is important to take time for analyzing, reasoning, learning and thinking about the ways you can apply this wisdom to your life.

Veda studies image

Most religions are based on faith and they ask you to take sacred texts on faith. However, when we talk about svadhyaya practice, we mean the deep understanding and analysis of everything we learn. Only by understanding the essence of the Scriptures, can this knowledge penetrate into our subconscious mind.

Analyzing what you read, applying it in your life, comparing it with the experience you have already received on your spiritual path, you get precious experience and spiritually grow.

Thus, the books of Great spiritual masters provide us with support in difficult moments of life and are a motivation for spiritual self-improvement.

Other than the ancient Vedic Scriptures it is also very important to read spiritual books of modern authors, communicate with spiritual Teachers, spiritual mentors, visit lectures on spiritual topics and attend seminars. Any “immersion” in the spiritual atmosphere somehow affects our consciousness, increases the vibration of our consciousness and allows us to reach a higher level of awareness.

The Bottom Line

We should always remember that when we start our spiritual journey we grow, and our worldview constantly changes. Therefore reading spiritual literature after a while, we can comprehend more or perceive it differently than we previously learned and understand. The mind perceives only what it reads that resonates with the level of spiritual development of the reader. So don’t be lazy to read a book you have already read before again and again. You may discover something new that you missed or misunderstood.


Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

How To Raise Your Consciousness To Sattva Guna?

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Sattva Guna, the quality of purity and peacefulness, is one of the three gunas in yogic philosophy. Tamas (darkness and lethargy) and Rajas (energy and passion) are the other two gunas.

Sattva guna gives the opportunity to experience internal happiness and provides a platform and the necessary qualities for starting a real spiritual path. As long as the consciousness is filled with many negative qualities of Rajas and Tamas, the spiritual path is almost impossible. The beginning of the spiritual path is always accompanied by the state of Sattva guna.

In this article, I will share with you how to raise your consciousness to Sattva guna. But first, let me explain what gunas are.

What Is Guna?

Guna can be translated as “quality, peculiarity, attribute, property” and implies that, like strands of a rope, the gunas are woven together to form the objective universe. Awareness of the gunas tells us whether we are genuinely moving forward in life (sattva), running in place (rajas), or losing our way (tamas).

There are three gunas that have always been and continue to be present in all things and beings in the world. These three gunas are called:

  1. sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious);
  2. rajas (passion, active, confused);
  3. tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic).
Three gunas image

All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.

“Action that is virtuous, thought through, free from attachment, and without craving for results is considered Sattvic;
Action that is driven purely by craving for pleasure, selfishness, and much effort is Rajasic;
Action that is undertaken because of delusion, disregarding consequences, without considering loss or injury to others or self, is called Tamasic.”

— Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, verses 23–25

The three gunas are constantly interacting with one another. While the gunas themselves are permanent in essence, their interactions are transitory.

Samkhya philosophers say that life exists for the purpose of acquiring experience and knowing the Self. The gunas are meant to facilitate this spiritual endeavor. They reveal, conceal, and stir us up – all for the purpose of bringing us closer to Purusha.

Tamas Guna

Tamas Guna Image

The cause of Tamas is the original ignorance – the identification of oneself with the matter. From this identification, desire and fear come. The desire for pleasure and fear of suffering. Thus, the living being is immersed in material existence.

Avidya means ignorance, which does not allow you to perceive knowledge or feel it. This is like not knowing the language, which does not allow you to understand speech. Avidya is fundamental blindness about reality.

Under the influence of Avidya, one can acquire knowledge, but cannot fully understand it. In order to fully understand the knowledge, one should reach Sattva guna consciousness.

The causes of Tamas:

  • pleasures and attachment to them;
  • incorrect lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, activity;
  • misconceptions;
  • immersion in the matter;
  • ignorance;
  • lack of external and internal cleanliness;
  • lies;
  • violence;
  • greed;
  • prohibited activities;
  • gambling;
  • alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicating substances.

Rajas Guna

Rajas guna image

The cause of Rajas is lust. Lust is an all-consuming desire for pleasure.

Rajas manifests itself in the form of excessive activity, which is caused by strong desires. Lust denotes strong desires that occupy a person, turning him away from God and his spiritual path.

The causes of Rajas:

  • attachment to the objects of pleasure;
  • active and unrestrained mind;
  • uncontrolled feelings and emotions;
  • pleasures;
  • attachments to material goals.

Sattva Guna

Sattva guna manifests itself as purity, true knowledge, and harmony. It is free of fear, violence, malice, and wrath. Sattva is a quality of goodness, joy, forgiveness, nobility, contentment, and satisfaction.

The causes of Sattva guna:

  • gaining knowledge;
  • getting rid of undesirable qualities;
  • proper lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, activity;
  • striving for spiritual self-awareness and knowledge;
  • non-attachment to the results of any activity;
  • following the Yama and Niyama principles;
  • limited entertainment;
  • non-attachment.

In order to reach Samadhi (Liberation) the Sattva consciousness should be attained. It is possible to increase Sattva by reducing Rajas and Tamas. Here are some recommendations on how to do it.

9 Ways To Increase Sattva Guna

#1: Go to bed early, and get up early

Sattva guna sleep image

Avoid staying up late, especially in the hours leading to midnight, because that time period is tamasic. In other words, when you’re staying up late you are increasing Tamas guna.

Morning hours are saturated with Sattva. If you are awake during those hours, you naturally absorb vital energy. Brahma Muhurta time, which begins 90 minutes before sunrise and ends at sunrise, is especially beneficial for spiritual practices and raising your vibrations.

#2: Eat sattvic foods

According to the Bhagavad Gita, only a vegetarian food is sattvic.

Food that is wholesome, pure, and obtained without difficulty is sattvic food, food that gives immediate pleasure to the senses is rajasic food, and food that is unclean and causes distress is tamasic food.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.28

Even though onion and garlic are considered vegetarian foods, they are known to increase Tamas guna. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid them along with other non-vegetarian food.

#3: Meditate daily

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Regular meditations are important for increasing Sattva guna. Meditation helps to clear the consciousness by detaching it from matter. When we meditate we are able to connect to higher levels of consciousness which leads us to Sattvic happiness.

#4: Regulate your sex life

It is important to understand that the nature of sex is rajasic. Therefore it is important to take your sex life under control, and if not avoid it, then at least regulate it.

#5: Keep your house and your body clean

Clean your house on a regular basis. Make sure it is always clean and has a harmonious atmosphere. Keep your body clean, don’t skip the showers. Wear clean clothes.

It is also important to detox your body regularly by using Ayurvedic detox tips.

#6: Study the Sacred texts regularly

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You don’t have to be a devotee of Hindu philosophy in order to study Sacred texts such as Bhagavad Gita. You can choose any Sacred text for your studies. It can be the Bible, the Upanishads, The Dao De Jing, etc.

#7: Spend time alone with nature

Sages of bygone ages turned to the forests and the mountains for spiritual realization. Such a practice can have a big positive effect on the mind and deepen our spiritual connection with the world around us. Therefore, it is essential to find time to spend it alone with Mother Nature. Allow Her to nourish you in solitude.

#8: Consciously slow down

A fast-paced life combined with excess use of gadgets increases Rajas guna. A stressful lifestyle leads to an overactive mind, anxiety, and health problems. Internet addiction makes the mind restless.

To increase Sattva guna, make sure you consciously slow down your life and spend quality time away from technology. It will give your mind the necessary rest and you will see that you become less stressed and more relaxed and opened to new knowledge.

#9: Practice Bhakti Yoga

According to Samrat Kumar, Bhakti yoga is an Indian tradition of “divine love mysticism”, a spiritual path “synonymous for an intimate understanding of oneness and harmony of the eternal individual with the Divine (the universal Being) and all creatures, a constant delight”.

Bhakti Yoga practice elevates you to Sattva guna first and then makes you transcend to the level of Brahman. This is the quickest way to elevate your consciousness.

The Bottom Line

To raise your consciousness to the level of Sattva guna means to stop perceiving the world as a source of pleasure and turn your eyes inward, understand yourself, and gain knowledge of your true nature.

Both the search for self and the attainment of Sattva guna is a difficult and lengthy process that must be constantly supported by effort, conscious self-discipline, and benevolent actions.


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Spirituality

Who Are The Archangels? Their Divine Mission And How To Connect

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Who are the Archangels? What is their divine mission? Are there hierarchies? How to connect and communicate with Archangels? This article will explore all of these questions.

Who Are The Archangels?

Archangels are heavenly creatures that reveal the facets of the divine in our earthly life, helping spiritual awakening and transformation.

In translation from ancient Greek, “arch” means the main, chief; “angel” or “Angelos ” is translated as a messenger. In other words, an Archangel is the one who is the main messenger of God on Earth.

Let’s dive deeper into details of who these archangels are and how to contact them.

Angelic Hierarchies

Several types of angelic hierarchies differ slightly from each other. Ancient theologians mentioned there are 9 to 11 ranks in the hierarchy. This division is based on the sacred knowledge of the New and Old Testaments.

Let me introduce to you the Areopagite angelic hierarchy, with which the Archangels occupy the third sphere.

First sphere (according to old Testament sources)

  1. Seraphim
  2. Cherubim
  3. Thrones (included into new Testament sources)

Second sphere (according to New Testament sources)

  1. Dominions
  2. Forces
  3. Powers

Third sphere (according to the Old Testament and New Testament sources)

  1. Principalities or Rulers
  2. Archangels
  3. Angels

As you can see, in the 9th place in the hierarchy are Angels. In our dual world, they are close to us and always ready to help. But the first ones who are closest to us outside of the dual world are the Archangels. We can say that they are a link between Heaven and Earth. Together, Angels and Archangels represent our body and soul.

Religious View of the Angelic Hierarchy

Who Are The Archangels And What Is Their Mission Image

Interestingly, Angels and Archangels are celestial entities that occur simultaneously in several religions. Even their names are very similar. Let’s look at who the Archangels are from a religious point of view.

Christianity

Christians believe the Archangels are the highest rank of the Angels and call them Taxiarches which means “commander”.

The Eastern Orthodox Tradition mentions “thousands of archangels. However, only seven Archangels are venerated by name:

  • Archangel Michael (in the Hebrew language means “Who is like God?” or “Who is equal to God?”): the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
  • Archangel Gabriel (means “God is my strength” or “Might of God”): the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it.
  • Archangel Raphael (means “It is God who heals” or “God Heals”): is depicted leading Tobit with his right hand and holding a physician’s alabaster jar in his left hand.
  • Archangel Uriel (means “God is my light”, or “Light of God”): is depicted holding a sword in his right hand, and a flame in his left.
  • Archangel Sealtiel (means “Intercessor of God”): is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.
  • Archangel Jegudiel (means “Glorifier of God”): is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.
  • Archangel Barachiel (means “Blessed by God”): is depicted holding a white rose in his hand.

These names were revealed in revelations to the monk Amadeus Mendes da Silva (Amadeus of Portugal), who lived in the 15th century.

In addition to Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Coptic Orthodox Church recognizes four more archangels by name:

  • Archangel Suriel: “Prince of God”;
  • Archangel Zedekiel: “Grace of God”;
  • Archangel Sarathiel;
  • Archangel Ananiel: “Rain of God”.

In Roman Catholicism, three Archangels are mentioned by name:

  • Gabriel;
  • Michael;
  • Raphael.

The Protestant Bible mentions names for three archangels:

  • “Michael the archangel”;
  • The angel Gabriel (who is called “the man Gabriel” in Daniel 9:21);
  • “Abaddon”/”Apollyon” (mentioned in Revelation 9:11).

Within Protestantism, the Anglican and Methodist tradition recognizes four angels as archangels:

  • Michael the Archangel;
  • Raphael the Archangel;
  • Gabriel the Archangel;
  • Uriel the Archangel.

Judaism

In Judaism, each Archangel is associated with a particular planet. They are known as Azriel, Materiel, Jerahmiel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel, Samael, and Reuel. The main guardian and protector of the Jews is undoubtedly Archangel Michael. According to legend, he is located in the heavenly Jerusalem, in the Temple where he performs sacrifices.

According to Kabbalah’s teachings, there are many Archangels that are presented as aspects of God on Earth. The main ones correspond to a certain element:

  • Archangel Michael represents the Fire element and assists people with awakening them to pursue their spiritual truth, urging them to burn away their sins and seek holiness that will purify their souls, and sparking their courage to take the risks God wants them to take to become stronger and help make the world a better place.
  • Archangel Gabriel represents the Water element and helps people with understanding God’s messages.
  • Archangel Raphael represents the Air element and helps people with healing body, mind, and spirit.
  • Archangel Uriel represents the Earth element and helps people with knowledge and wisdom.

Each Archangel has 12 Angels under his command.

Islam

Angels In Islam Image

In Islamic religious tradition, the archangels are mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

Islam preaches that the highest goal of Archangels is to be messengers between Allah and people. According to this religion’s teachings, archangels were created from a luminous origin by Allah.

The main Archangels according to Islamic tradition are:

  • Gabriel (Jibrail or Jibril in Arabic): responsible for transmitting God’s revelations to all prophets;
  • Michael (Mikail in Arabic): responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth.
  • Raphael (Israfil in Arabic): responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day.
  • Azrael (Azra’il in Arabic, also called Malak al-Maut, literally “angel of death”): responsible for taking the soul of the dead to heaven or hell.

The prophet Muhammad said that during the performance of prayer, all the Archangels make a plea to Allah for forgiveness and mercy of the person in prayer. And on the sacred night of Laylat al-Qadr, the heavenly forces descend to earth and their presence is felt everywhere.

Mission Of The Archangels On Earth

To answer the question: “Who are the Archangels?” we need to understand what their mission and powers are.

These heavenly forces manage groups of Angels and guide their activities. In addition, they are heavenly teachers and, as divine messengers, share sacred knowledge with people. Often these messages are transmitted through the Higher Self of a person, in the process of meditation, in solitude, during the practice of silence (when the mind becomes calm and does not interfere with hearing messages from the Higher realms).

Archangels occupy huge spaces in the Universe. They are powerful energy, a great force, the key to the unknown. It is difficult to understand and realize the full power of these divine beings since they vibrate at the ninth frequency. They are called Disembodied celestial forces. We, who are in the earthly incarnation, have bodies of the third and fourth densities and can raise our vibrations by spiritual practices to the fifth frequency.

In order to be able to communicate with the Archangels and identify them in the prayers, people invented images and assigned names to some of them.

The possibilities of the Heavenly Patrons are limitless. They never refuse to give their support. They are able to influence the natural forces and prevent natural disasters, help to solve interethnic conflicts and end wars.

According to ancient legends, Archangels could appear to people in human form. Since ancient times, they have transmitted their messages to people through their revelations to the chosen ones. They appeared before the prophet Daniel, Jesus, and the soothsayer Balaam.

It is clear that there are a countless number of Archangels in different traditions. However, let’s focus on the most revered ones that are described in various sources.

The most known Archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Sealtiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, Jeremiel, Sachiel, Zadkiel, Samuel, and Jophiel. Each of them has a specific mission that deserves closer attention.

Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael Image

Michael in the Hebrew language means “Who is like God?” or “Who is equal to God?”.

The people of Israel have always considered him their protector. Michael is the patron Saint of the military, sailors, merchants, police, and Lightworkers. But everyone can turn to him for protection and help.

This Heavenly Teacher can help you increase your self-esteem, discover your talents, solve difficult situations, realize the true path, overcome your fears, and protect you from physical and emotional dangers.

Michael has been depicted from the earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan and in his left hand, he holds a green palm branch. At the top of the spear, there is a linen ribbon with a red cross.

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel Image

Gabriel means “God is my strength” or “Might of God”.

He is the herald of the mysteries of God.

Archangel Gabriel is often depicted as follows: in his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery. He is clothed in blue or white garments. He can also be depicted carrying a lily.

Exegesis narrates that Muhammad saw Gabriel in his full angelic splendor only twice, the first time being when he received his first revelation. Gabriel was the angel who informed Zachariah of John’s birth, as well as Mary of the future nativity of Jesus. Also, Gabriel was one of three angels who had earlier informed Abraham of the birth of Isaac.

It is believed that Gabriel brings good news and shares secret divine knowledge. He helps with conception, heals infertility, supports parents and guardians, and helps people involved in creativity, journalism, and broadcasting.

Archangel Raphael

Archangel Raphael Image

Raphael means “It is God who heals” or “God Heals”.

He is an archangel responsible for healing. It is this heavenly teacher who is most asked to heal, reduce, and relieve pain. He helps to heal not only people but also animals.

Archangel Raphael is a patron of medicine, medical workers, healers, the blind, happy meetings, nurses, physicians, and travelers. When a person is ready, Raphael can assist him/her with the third eye opening, the development of clairvoyance, and psychic abilities.

Raphael is said to guard pilgrims on their journeys, and is often depicted holding a staff. He is also often depicted holding or standing on a fish, which alludes to his healing of Tobit with the fish’s gall. Early mosaics often show him the clothing of a Byzantine courtier.

The color of Raphael’s energy is emerald. Therefore, for healing, you can visualize how the patient’s body is enveloped in a gentle, emerald energy cocoon.

Archangel Uriel

Archangel Uriel Image

Uriel means “God is my light”, or “Light of God”.

In Hermetic Kabbalah, Uriel’s name is commonly spelled “Auriel”. He is regarded as the archangel of the North, and of the element of Earth.

Uriel helps people gain knowledge and wisdom.

He is intended to warn mankind of future misfortunes by sending information to people through the prophets. Thus, in ancient times, Uriel warned Noah of an imminent flood.

It is believed that it is Archangel Uriel who brought to earth the knowledge of alchemy.

Uriel provides assistance and support to researchers, writers, alchemists, people who have chosen the spiritual path, and those who study various sciences. He is considered an “educator of the mind”.

Archangel Uriel is usually depicted holding a sword in his right hand, and a flame in his left.

Archangel Sealtiel (Saint Selaphiel the Archangel)

Archangel Sealtiel Image

Sealtiel means “Intercessor of God”.

He helps people interpret dreams, break addictions, protect children, preside over exorcisms, and rule over music in heaven.

Sealtiel is the Patron Saint of prayer and worship. He encourages prayer and, as an intercessor, prays for people, for their health and salvation. He is assisted by Prayer Angels. Together, they help our prayers and requests rise to the level of God.

He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.

Archangel Zadkiel (Sachiel, Zedekiel, Zadakiel, Tzadkiel, Zedekul)

Archangel Zadkiel Image

Zadkiel means “Grace of God”.

Archangel Zadkiel is the archangel of freedom, benevolence, and mercy. He is the Patron Angel of all who forgives. Rabbinical tradition considers him to be the angel of mercy.

He represents divine generosity, mercy, absolute freedom, compassion, and justice. It was Zadkiel who stopped Abraham when he wanted to sacrifice his son.

Archangel Zadkiel helps to heal the soul and transform the negative emotions of resentment, condemnation, and anxiety into faith, compassion, and forgiveness. Zadkiel promotes unconditional acceptance, first of all, of yourself, your divine essence, and then other people. He helps in learning, research, improves memory.

He is usually depicted holding a knife or dagger.

Zadkiel is associated with the violet color.

In Jewish mysticism and Western ritual magic, Zadkiel is associated with the planet Jupiter.

Archangel Jegudiel

Archangel Jegudiel Image

Jegudiel means “Glorifier of God”.

Archangel Jegudiel is the patron of all who work in some field of endeavor, and the crown he holds symbolizes the reward for successful spiritual labors.

Along with his subordinate angels, he is the advisor and defender of all who work in positions of responsibility to the glory of God, and as such is resorted to by kings, judges, and others in positions of leadership.

Archangel Yehudiel is known from the time when he helped Moses and the people of Israel who followed him on a 40-year journey through the desert.

His mission is to give strength to those who serve God, fulfill their vows, become monks, and go on pilgrimage.

Archangel Jegudiel is usually depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand, as a sign that he can both pardon and punish.

Archangel Barachiel 

Archangel Barachiel Image

Barachiel means “Blessed by God”. His name was heard from the revelations received by the monk Amadeus of Portugal in the XV century.

Archangel Barachiel is the chief of the guardian angels. He is a patron of family and married life.

Traditionally, Barachiel is associated with the month of February and the Zodiacal sign Pisces. He is also considered the ruler of the planet Jupiter and the zodiacal sign Scorpio.

He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand which symbolizes the reward for those who behave morally and pray hard. In Roman Catholicism, Barachiel is depicted holding a bread basket or a staff, both of which symbolize the blessings of children that God bestows on parents.

Archangel Sachiel

Archangel Sachiel Image

Sachiel means “the covering of God”.

Kabbalah associates him with the planet Jupiter – generous, helping in learning, creativity, and meditation. In the canonical texts, he is the conqueror of demons and evil.

Archangel Sachiel is associated with the zodiacal sign Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter.

He is responsible for matters involving money, finance, law, politics, and religion.

Archangel Jerahmeel

Archangel Jerahmeel Image

Jerahmeel means “God’s exaltation”.

He is an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God. His mission is to bring the lost back to God. Jerahmeel shares with humanity prophecies and revelations; helps to discover psychic abilities and clairvoyance.

He is depicted holding balance scales in Orthodox iconography. Scales symbolize harmony and divine justice.

Archangel Jophiel (IophielIofielJofielYofielYoufielZophiel)

Archangel Jophiel Image

Jophiel means “beauty of God”, “divine beauty”.

Jophiel is a non-canonical archangel of wisdom, understanding, and judgment.

Archangel Jophiel represents divine beauty and patronizes people of art, gives inspiration, creativity, and a sense of beauty. Jophiel helps to create comfort and beauty in everything – at home, at work, in clothing, in relationships with other people.

Archangel Jophiel’s mission on Earth is to ignite a creative spark in people, to make the world kinder, more harmonious, and calmer.

Archangel Chamuel

Archangel Chamuel Image

Chamuel means “One who seeks God.”

He represents unconditional love and mutual understanding. Chamuel helps people find a purpose in life, establish relationships, find a job, move up the career ladder, and open your heart to love.

Chamuel is also considered the patron angel of people who have gone through relationship trauma (such as divorce), people who are working for world peace, and those who are searching for items they’ve lost.

How To Communicate With Archangels?

The heavenly teachers do not violate the freedom of people and do not affect their lives without their personal consent. They can help only in the case when the person consciously asks for help. And they are happy to respond to the call.

It is important to know that any person can communicate with Archangels, regardless of whether they belong to any religion, spiritual or esoteric traditions.

Archangels exist in the ninth dimension. Spiritual practices help to open a portal, gate, or corridor through meditation in order to gain access to this dimension. But you need to have a clear understanding of why you’re doing this and be aware of the responsibility of your actions.

Set up clear intention! The intention may be to re-connect with God-Consciousness, to learn unconditional love, to get answers to unsolved questions, to receive instructions for your spiritual development, and so on. Egoistic interest should in no case be at the heart of these intentions.

The simplest way to communicate is to call and pray. Your prayers can be either canonical or arbitrary, coming from the heart.

Helpful Tips On How To Communicate With Archangels:

  1. The most important thing is FAITH. Distrust can destroy any of your intentions.
  2. Do not offer “a deal” to Archangels, such as “if you help me, I will do this and that…”. You can only communicate with the Higher realms in the language of love and gratitude.
  3. Do not ask for revenge or punishment of anyone. Otherwise, all the negativity will come back to you.
  4. Choose a quiet, peaceful place to address the Archangel, where you feel safe and at peace.
  5. Don’t tell anyone about your intention. Let this be your little secret.
  6. It is desirable to cleanse before you communicate with Archangels. For a few days, give up non-vegetarian food.
  7. Take a shower or a salt bath before starting your communication.
  8. Be quiet and calm. Light a candle, incense. If this is not possible, then just imagine that you did it. Visualize how the light coming from the candle clears the space around you and in your mind.
  9. Sit comfortably. Place your hands in front of the Heart chakra with your palms facing each other. Read the appeal to the Archangel emotionally, heartfelt, and sincerely. Clearly indicate what you need help with.

The appeal may read like this: “Great and powerful Archangel (name), I call you into my life and ask you to help me restore my health (bring peace to my family, etc.). I accept your help and guidance with love and gratitude!»

After that, stay in peace and quiet for as long as you feel it needed. You should be in a meditative and peaceful state. Pay attention to the feelings, and emotions that fill you. You may receive some information or visions that you’ve never had before. Try to understand what they are telling you. At the end, thank the Great heavenly powers for their help!

Important! Everyone gets their own personal experience from such communication. There is no universal rules here.

The Bottom Line

Archangels are heavenly disembodied teachers and helpers who are happy to respond to our requests and prayers. Communication with them helps us to make our life more conscious, harmonious, and happy. They can help us to find our purpose, see the facets of the divine in our earthly life, spiritually awaken, and transform our consciousness to a higher level.


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Asteya: Surprising Ways You Could Be Stealing Without Knowing

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Asteya is the Sanskrit term for “non-stealing” and the third Yama of Patanjali’s 5 Yamas of the Yoga Sutras. Most people who practice yoga and follow a spiritual path are pretty sure they never steal. However, this yoga principle means so much more than not physically taking something from someone else. In this article, I want to share with you profound knowledge of what asteya really means and how we can be stealing without even knowing it. Also, I’ll give you some tips on how you can practice Asteya in your daily life.

What Is Asteya?

The word “asteya” is a compound derived from the Sanskrit language, where “a” refers to “non-” and “steya” refers to “practice of stealing” or “something that can be stolen”. Thus, asteya means “non-stealing”.

Asteya is an ethical principle that means not taking what is not ours and not striving to possess what is not ours, as well as honesty and decency.

Asteya is the third Yama of Patanjali’s Five Yamas.

best books for spiritual awakening Patanjali image

Patanjali’s Yamas include 5 ethical and moral principles:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
  5. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity, or sexual restraint.

All of them impose certain moral restrictions on the actions that we make in our desire to possess the goods that we believe we should have. Most of us, always desire more than what we already have. However, according to yogic philosophy, we always get exactly what we need and what we deserve. And if we think that we deserve or need more than what we already have it means that our ego is overactive and our mind is in disharmony with our spirit.

It is essential to understand that the availability of benefits, both material and non-material, depends on the amount of energy we have accumulated. When we are possessed by our desires, we lose our energy. And what is more important is that we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to self-actualize on the spiritual path, because any desire to gain material possessions leads to the waste of internal spiritual potential.

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As long as a person does not realize that the only source of true happiness is not outside but inside of him, in his spirit, he will not be able to give up external goods that bring him only the illusion of happiness, since it is material, and therefore temporary and transient.

The ego “steals” the spirit of a person, pushing him to such thoughts and actions that, according to egoistic needs, lead to wasting time and effort on something that the person does not really need. For all that he needs, he already has.

We all need to realize that ego can never be satisfied. It will be pushing you for desiring more and promising absolute happiness when you satisfy your desires. Your ego will demand more and more from you and eventually you will start feeling more and more unhappy because you are never satisfied no matter how many material possessions you receive.

It is essential to realize and accept the fact that nothing in the external material world really belongs to us. All the material things that we have are only temporarily our own. The only thing we really have is the spirit. We have come to this planetary incarnation to gain spiritual experience, and this is the only thing we should strive for in our life.

And therefore, we should always remind ourselves to be satisfied with the number of material goods that we have since their true purpose is to help our spiritual development. All the necessary goods that we need for the exact moment we already have. Even if you feel it’s too little, remind yourself that you need to experience this exact “little amount” for your spiritual development, that you need to learn to be satisfied with that “little” that God gives you.

To keep the soul in the body there is no need to get money and material goods dishonestly. We must resolutely get rid of the desire to possess unnecessary material things, realizing that these surpluses only burden the person.

The main focus on the Spiritual Path should not be to receive unnecessary benefits from external objects but to be able to have as much as necessary to advance along the Path.

The Four Types Of Stealing

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According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti teaching, there are four types of stealing:

#1: Physical theft of any material object

Ordinarily, those persons who steal material objects are called thieves. But thieves are not only those persons who flee with stolen objects after committing armed robbery. Whatever is taken in possession by the use of brute physical force, of arms or of the strength of intellect, whether it is money or goods, amounts to theft, because behind such actions there is the intention of taking others’ property deceitfully. However, acceptance of anything like money, crops, gold, etc., in exchange for money in a proper way is not theft.

#2: Psychic theft

Here you did not take material possession of anything, but you planned it in your mind. This also called “theft”, because you have mentally stolen. Only the fear of law or of adverse criticism prevented you from doing the action physically.

#3: Depriving others of their due physically

Even if you do not take possession of what belongs to others, but you deprive others of what is their due, you become responsible for their loss. This is also stealing.

#4: Depriving others of their due mentally

If you do not actually deprive anybody of what is justifiably their due, but you plan in your mind to do so, that too amounts to theft.

Siddhi

what is spiritual maturity image

Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as “perfection”, “accomplishment”, “attainment”, or “success”.

The one who follows this virtue perfectly in his life gets everything he needs in the very near future. But these are not necessarily material things. It can also be health, knowledge, or, for example, favorable circumstances — everything that appears in an intangible form and, as a rule, what you really need at the moment.

To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Chapter II, Sutra 37)

When we don’t follow the Asteya principle, we will have to pay back whether we like it or not. If we take or desire something that does not belong to us, sooner or later we will have to pay a karmic debt. It’s not necessarily going to be something material taken away from us, it can be a loss of health, a loss love, a loss of a job, a loss of happiness, a loss of loved ones, etc.

Suprising Ways You Could Be Stealing Without Knowing

Now let me share with you some surprising ways you could be stealing without knowing that go far beyond material possessions.

#1: Desiring something that belongs to somebody else

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Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that “(Even) sitting and wishing ‘I wish I had those looks’; ‘I wish I had that voice’; ‘I wish I had that car’; ‘I wish I had that power’; ‘I wish I had that money’, you have stolen.”

These kinds of thoughts can be very destructive to you and to the person who owns whatever you desire to have. You are mentally vamping that person and “stealing” his energy. These thoughts lead to jealousy and anger.

Instead of wanting what other people have, switch your attention to what you already have. Focus on gratitude and notice every little gift God gives to you. If you start practicing gratitude instead of “wishing” and “wanting”, very soon you will notice that you have enough and moreover you will feel happy with whatever you have at the moment.

#2: Desiring abilities, talents, qualities, gifts, skills that other people have

It may seem like you get inspired by the way some people express themselves, their talents, creative abilities, etc. You may think: “I wish I was as charismatic as him”, or “as confident as her”, or “as professional and focused as him”, etc. It may seem like an admiration of somebody’s talent, however, it’s not what you think it is.

The feeling of lack of something sounds in your head like “I don’t have this, but I want it!”. First, you start following this person’s Instagram page for daily inspiration. Then you do more research on him/her, start watching his/her videos, reading his/her blog. And the more you do it, the worse you feel about yourself. Slowly and gradually your inspiration gets replaced with envy and jealousy for what they have and what you don’t.

Every time you think: “I wish I had her/his …”, you mentally steal.

Moreover, by thinking these thoughts you may also be causing self-harm by not allowing your own unique gifts to flourish. You see, you steal your own light when you cannot acknowledge and honor the unique gifts that you bring in the world.

Simply recognize all the virtues that you appreciate in others and realize that they are present in you in seed form. You only have to nurture them.

– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Instead of wishing somebody else’s gifts start noticing your own talents and unique qualities! If we are grateful and appreciate your own unique gifts, the expression in the same instance could be something like, “I truly admire blessings that the Divine has showered upon you, and I feel so blessed and happy that I have a friend with such wonderful gifts. Shine on!” In this case, you are looking at others’ blessings as your own blessings too. Thus, you become capable of an enthusiastic and heartfelt expression of appreciation!

#3: Worrying about the future or brooding over the past

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When we worry about the future or brood over the past we steal energy from the present moment and the opportunity of dwelling in the pure bliss of our being, of living in this very moment.

Think about how many times during the day you’re thinking about planning for the future or worrying about something that may happen? How many times during the day indulge in the memories of your past? All these thoughts distract you from the joy of the present moment. Even when you’re making plans or sharing memories, make sure you are mindful and present in the now.

Asteya principle teaches us not to steal the pure joy of the now of our lives.

#4: Staying in your comfort zone

When you remain in your comfort zone, you steal away your own possibilities to enjoy the best things in life. You restrict your own potential, progress, and growth into the world of limitless opportunities. 

Moreover, when you don’t open up your potential, you restrict the world from enjoying the benefits your inner Light can bring! You have your own unique mission that brought you to this planet. This mission is somehow connected to the collective evolution of human beings. And by staying in your comfort zone, you are suppressing your Light, thus you’re stealing the part of your contribution into collective evolution.

#5: Stealing time

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People have a tendency to steal time not only from themselves, but also from others.

Asteya teaches us to watch how we use our time. We can invest our time in searching for truth, reconnecting with our Higher Self, and fulfilling our mission on Earth. Or we can use our time to pursue illusory things that feed our ego.

There is nothing stable in the outside world. We live inside a huge game of God – “Maya”. Inside this game, everything changes, nothing is permanent. It’s like sandcastles: you can build a castle on the sand but you can’t expect that it will be permanent. One wave can destroy it. And if you are too attached to the castle, its destruction can cause you suffering.

On the contrary, your spirit does not change, it is something that will never leave you. And the better connection you have with your spirit, the more secure you will feel in life.

Therefore, Asteya teaches us that time is precious. And if we spend it on chasing temporary things, instead of investing it into spiritual development, then we violate Asteya.

If we “steal” time from another person, especially from a spiritual practitioner, guru, teacher, master, or yogi, then we also strongly violate Asteya. You see, if you steal time from people who are already wasting it, it is not a big deal. But if you steal time from a person who is focused on spiritual practice, then there is a very strong penalty for this. Hence, there are a lot of legends (for example, the Mahabharata is literally full of such legends), when yogis meditate, and someone disturbs them from this state, then a powerful flow of energy burns the offenders.

A person who practices Asteya does not steal either their own or someone else’s time. Such a person tries not to attract the attention of other people and respects their time. When a person begins to sink into Asteya, he mostly speaks to the point. His words and questions are very constructive.

People who violate the principle of Asteya always try to draw attention to themselves. Such people may ask lots of questions, send you lots of text messages/emails, but they are not really interested in your answers. All they care about is to get your emotional attention. These situations need to be monitored! Value your time by not letting people steal it from you.

How to Practice Asteya?

As you can see, Asteya practice includes not just taking away something material from other people but also removing such qualities as greed, jealousy, envy, desire for someone else’s property, etc.

Here are helpful tips on how you can make Asteya a part of your daily life.

#1: Practice non-attachment

how to practice asteya image

Start with removing all attachments to existing material things and non-material objects, whether they are fame, success, titles, or any achievements in this world. One who is not attached to anything, is free from possessive claims and does not want anything for himself personally, and accordingly does not consider himself the owner of anything.

#2: Be satisfied with what you have

Every time you start thinking: “I wish I had this or that”, switch your focus to gratitude. Start counting your blessings instead of daydreaming. Bring your attention to the present moment and find at least 10 things you are grateful for.

#3: Value your time

Don’t let others steal your time. If you see that a person asks for help but never follows your advice, asks questions but doesn’t care about your answers if you feel energetically exhausted every time you talk to this person, you’re dealing with energy vampires who are stealing your time and energy. In situations like this, you need to remember about Asteya. Do not let other people steal your time!

#4: Pay your debts

According to Asteya principle, it is not good to take credits. We should strive to live according to our financial possibilities. However, for most of us, credits became a common thing and we can’t imagine life without them. If you already have debts and credits but you still want to practice Asteya, try to pay your debts in time. Do not delay!

#5: Don’t buy lottery tickets

A lottery is a disregard of Asteya. The initial intention is based on the desire of having more than you already have. Greed makes people buy lottery tickets. And the lottery itself is receiving something that isn’t yours.

The Bottom Line

Do not seek to enrich yourself or improve your financial situation at the expense of others. Do not desire more than you have. And most importantly, always remember that all the things that we have been given to us only for temporary use. Focus on your spirit and your soul. Remember that true happiness is always internal. If your happiness and satisfaction depend on external things, you will eventually lose it and it will lead to suffering.


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