DVD Software

DVD Video Software Suite: One of the best Free software packages available. Will do just about everything you could want. Easy to use and setup. Works on XP, but is specifically designed for 7 and 8. You can edit video files, change format and frame size, quality, extract DVD movie files, burn pre-prepared VOB files to DVD as if you’re authoring a DVD and copy a disc.

I’ve been recording some interesting shows from my Digital TV onto USB flash drive sticks. I’ve been able to get SD @ 2 Gigs an hour and HD @ 4 Gigs an hour. During the recording process the file is split into 1 Gig bits but that doesn’t affect playback at all, it’s pretty seamless on the TV as well as on the computer. The video thus captured contains, usually, about 15% commercials sometimes going on for 5 to 6 minutes at a time which they strategically place right in the middle of a tense scene! What it does is change a 2 hour film into a 2 and a half hour film, sometimes even a 3 hour movie (6 to 12 Gigs!). It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it’s more pronounced for the stations that have the highest ratings. There’s a government funded Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, here that uses commercials but infrequently. They don’t edit their programs and insert audio and visuals right in the middle of an important scene like the major stations do, so their movies are better to record. They show a movie almost every night and most likely it’s a foreign one; they hardly ever show English language films and when they do it’s got to be a classic of some type. They have subtitles on screen in yellow and you can also get, not often, a full screen overlay of prepared subtitle like text that changes colour depending upon who’s saying what, and that includes voice overs on commercials. It’s useful if you watch Music TV and want to know what the lyrics are!

Anyway, in order to watch again, at a later date, you need to edit out as much as you can of the commercials and that gets very tricky with most non-linear editors. Most Video Production software allows you to edit a file down to what you want in terms of a start and end time, but that’s no good when you need to remove commercials; there are some programs that have multi-trim, where you select pieces of the video you want to save and then it merges the bits into one file. With linear editors you simply select what you want to remove and you can do that as often as you like; the file is then processed down to one file with the bits gone. The software I’ve tried isn’t professional quality and don’t be fooled when a program is advertised as the “Pro” version because that doesn’t mean it’s designed for professionals! What I’ve tried is quite difficult to use precisely, meaning you have to be very careful when you attempt to remove something from the video, because although you can use frame by frame selection, the cutting isn’t as accurate as it could be. In “Lightworks” for example, which is a professional editing program, [now available for free for Windows and Linux, if you get it without codecs and certain output applications] you can get greater precision and have more control over audio, plus you can capture live from HD cameras, TV cameras, movie cameras, and your standard home Movie Camera. “Lightworks” is made for professionals and the output is formatted to go either to air, via TV, or onto film, and as such even has it’s own compression formats which are not compatible with things like Windows Media Play or VLC Media player, even if you have installed Codec Updates which you can get from the Web. [It uses a $3000 Video-like card and often a $2000 console for record/play/back/forward/etc etc.]

Removing commercials from some files is fairly useless really, because the original movie is edited so that the commercials start long before the movie scene cuts to the video of the commercial. You’d need to edit the audio part of the file to get rid of as much of that as possible, but with most software that’s virtually impossible.

The other problems is that quite often audio and video get out of sync when played back. It happens a lot when you change the format of a DVD Rip. In Australia they use the PAL standard, 25 fps and 50 fps, while in USA and Europe they mostly use NTSC that has 29.97 fps or 24.9 fps or 60 fps. When you playback these videos, if you are in a country that supports a different standard, the audio can get out of sync because, for example, NTSC gets played back slightly faster, while PAL gets played back slightly slower, whereas the audio stays the same speed and length. This problem is most visible on downloaded movie files that come from DVD rips no matter whether standard DVD, Dual Layer DVD or Blue Ray. When the movie plays on a screen it is slowed down a fraction or sped up a fraction to comply to the standard being used, and when it’s ripped, the frame rate can be changed to 25 or 30 fps without realising that doing so makes the audio go out of sync, sometimes by up to 8 seconds! In VLC Media player you can compensate during playback by adjusting the sync manually, and in Virtual Dub you can get the file processed automatically so it alters the fps rate so the audio and video are of the same length, supposedly thus syncing them together. The limitation: this is only good for watching movies on your computer.

There’s also a government free to air network with 4 Channels, 2 for kids, 1 is a 24 hour HD news station and the other is done just like a regular channel but with no commercials at all, apart from advertising for their own up coming shows, but these don’t get edited into anything and are shown at the start and end of programs. They don’t play many movies, though, and the type of thing that gets aired is what they describe as a classic, things like “The Way We Were” with Barbara Streisand or “The Great Gatsby” or “The Godfather” parts 1, 2 and 3.

I’ve recorded such movies and the results have been quite good; I’ve even recorded them onto DVD as playable movies without any great difficulty. One good aspect of recording from TV is that most of the frame sizes, or resolutions, are more or less the same, whereas stuff you can download from the Web can come in any size, any frame rate and any format. With them, it’s not very easy to make them into playable DVDs. It not only takes a very long time, but quite often the aspect ratios are wrong when put onto the DVD by the authoring software. I’ve even found that Windows DVD Maker has this problem despite it being possible to set which aspect ration you want to use, 16:9 or 4:3. It often reverts to 4:3 when I’ve set output at 16:9 because I’m using a high definition wide screen input!

This link will take you to “Free DVD video Software,” from where you may download the Win XP, 7, 8 suite @ 51 Mb.



Self-Realization Fellowship

Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the most famous of the Yogis to have lived and worked in the West; he began this adventure in 1920 when he was invited to attend a conference of Religious Liberals in America, which he attended. He had enough financial resources to remain and began to work on his poetry and writings until he started doing lecture tours. These were very well attended by packed houses and through them he was able to teach many Westerners the science of Kriya Yoga.

Later he would purchase an estate in California and make it the headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship. From there he sent out the teachings of Kriya Yoga by the mails and published a magazine called East-West; it eventually changed name to Self-Realization.

He began to work on his autobiography and would write chapters out of order, for later use. He visited the White House where he was introduced to President Coolidge.

He completed his autobiography by 1948, but made major additions to it in 1952.

Many well known people have been influenced by his teachings, including George Harrison.

The mail order Yoga class extends for a 3 year period and is cost free apart from postage. There are no criteria involved to enrol. Anyone is welcome to do so if they feel drawn to the teachings. Lessons are provided in a number of languages apart from English and are mailed every two weeks. Numerous topics are covered but the central focus is on strengthening the will and contacting the Almighty via the Medulla Oblongata.

Here is an excerpt from Autobiography:


The northern Himalayan crags near Badrinarayan are still blessed by the living presence of Babaji, guru of Lahiri Mahasaya. The secluded master has retained his physical form for centuries, perhaps for millenniums. The deathless Babaji is an AVATARA. This Sanskrit word means “descent”; its roots are AVA, “down,” and TRI, “to pass.”
In the Hindu scriptures, AVATARA signifies the descent of Divinity into flesh.

“Babaji’s spiritual state is beyond human comprehension,” Sri Yukteswar explained to me. “The dwarfed vision of men cannot pierce to his transcendental star. One attempts in vain even to picture the avatar’s attainment. It is inconceivable.”

The UPANISHADS have minutely classified every stage of spiritual advancement. A SIDDHA (“perfected being”) has progressed from the state of a JIVANMUKTA (“freed while living”) to that of a PARAMUKTA
(“supremely free”-full power over death); the latter has completely escaped from the mayic thraldom and its reincarnational round. The PARAMUKTA therefore seldom returns to a physical body; if he does, he is an avatar, a divinely appointed medium of supernal blessings on the world.

An avatar is unsubject to the universal economy; his pure body, visible as a light image, is free from any debt to nature. The casual gaze may see nothing extraordinary in an avatar’s form but it casts no shadow nor makes any footprint on the ground. These are outward symbolic proofs of an inward lack of darkness and material
bondage.  Such a God-man alone knows the Truth behind the relativities of life and death. Omar Khayyam, so grossly misunderstood, sang of this liberated man in his immortal scripture, the RUBAIYAT:

“Ah, Moon of my Delight who know’st no wane,

The Moon of Heav’n is rising once again;

How oft hereafter rising shall she look

Through this same Garden after me-in vain!”

The “Moon of Delight” is God, eternal Polaris, anachronous never.The “Moon of Heav’n” is the outward cosmos, fettered to the law of periodic recurrence. Its chains had been dissolved forever by the Persian seer through his self-realization. “How oft hereafter rising shall she look . . . after me-in vain!” What frustration of search by a frantic universe for an absolute omission!

Christ expressed his freedom in another way: “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” {FN33-1}

Spacious with omnipresence, could Christ indeed be followed except in the overarching Spirit?

Krishna, Rama, Buddha, and Patanjali were among the ancient Indian avatars. A considerable poetic literature in Tamil has grown up around Agastya, a South Indian avatar. He worked many miracles during the centuries preceding and following the Christian era, and is credited with retaining his physical form even to this day.

Babaji’s mission in India has been to assist prophets in carrying out their special dispensations. He thus qualifies for the scriptural classification of MAHAVATAR (Great Avatar). He has stated that he gave yoga initiation to Shankara, ancient founder of the Swami Order, and to Kabir, famous medieval saint. His chief nineteenth-century disciple was, as we know, Lahiri Mahasaya, revivalist of the lost KRIYA art.

[Illustration: BABAJI, THE MAHAVATAR, Guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, I have helped an artist to draw a true likeness of the great Yogi-Christ of modern India.—see babaji.jpg]

The MAHAVATAR is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully-illumined masters-one with the body, and one without it-is to inspire the nations to forsake suicidal wars, race hatreds,
religious sectarianism, and the boomerang-evils of materialism.
Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times, especially of the influence and complexities of Western civilization, and realizes the necessity of spreading the self-liberations of yoga equally in the West and in the East. That there is no historical reference to Babaji need not surprise us.  The great guru has never openly appeared in any century; the misinterpreting glare of publicity has no place in his millennial plans. Like the Creator, the sole but silent Power, Babaji works in a humble obscurity.

Great prophets like Christ and Krishna come to earth for a specific and spectacular purpose; they depart as soon as it is accomplished. Other avatars, like Babaji, undertake work which is concerned more with the slow evolutionary progress of man during the centuries than with any one outstanding event of history. Such masters always veil themselves from the gross public gaze, and have the power to become invisible at will. For these reasons, and because they generally instruct their disciples to maintain silence about them, a number of towering spiritual figures remain world-unknown. I give in these pages on Babaji merely a hint of his life-only a few facts which he deems it fit and helpful to be publicly imparted.

No limiting facts about Babaji’s family or birthplace, dear to the annalist’s heart, have ever been discovered. His speech is generally in Hindi, but he converses easily in any language. He has adopted the simple name of Babaji (revered father); other titles of respect given him by Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciples are Mahamuni Babaji Maharaj
(supreme ecstatic saint), Maha Yogi (greatest of yogis), Trambak Baba and Shiva Baba (titles of avatars of Shiva). Does it matter that we know not the patronymic of an earth-released master?

“Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of Babaji,” Lahiri Mahasaya said, “that devotee attracts an instant spiritual blessing.”

The deathless guru bears no marks of age on his body; he appears to be no more than a youth of twenty-five. Fair-skinned, of medium build and height, Babaji’s beautiful, strong body radiates a perceptible glow.  His eyes are dark, calm, and tender; his long, lustrous hair is copper-colored. A very strange fact is that Babaji bears an
extraordinarily exact resemblance to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. The similarity is so striking that, in his later years, Lahiri Mahasaya might have passed as the father of the youthful-looking Babaji.

Swami Kebalananda, my saintly Sanskrit tutor, spent some time with Babaji in the Himalayas.

The peerless master moves with his group from place to place in the mountains,” Kebalananda told me. “His small band contains two highly advanced American disciples. After Babaji has been in one locality for some time, he says: ‘DERA DANDA UTHAO.’ (‘Let us lift our camp and staff.’) He carries a symbolic DANDA(bamboo staff). His words are the signal for moving with his group instantaneously to another place. He does not always employ this method of astral travel; sometimes he goes on foot from peak to peak. “Babaji can be seen or recognized by others only when he so desires. He is known to have appeared in many slightly different forms to various devotees-sometimes without beard and moustache, and sometimes with them. As his un- decaying body requires no food, the master seldom eats. As a social courtesy to visiting disciples, he occasionally accepts fruits, or rice cooked in milk and clarified butter. “Two amazing incidents of Babaji’s life are known to me,” Kebalananda went on. “His disciples were sitting one night around a huge fire which was blazing for a sacred Vedic ceremony. The master suddenly seized a burning log and lightly struck the bare shoulder of a chela who was close to the fire. “‘Sir, how cruel!’ Lahiri Mahasaya, who was present, made this remonstrance. “‘Would you rather have seen him burned to ashes before your eyes, according to the decree of his past karma?’ “With these words Babaji placed his healing hand on the chela’s disfigured shoulder. ‘I have freed you tonight from painful death. The karmic law has been satisfied through your slight suffering by fire.’ “On another occasion Babaji’s sacred circle was disturbed by the arrival of a stranger. He had climbed with astonishing skill to the nearly inaccessible ledge near the camp of the master. “‘Sir, you must be the great Babaji.’ The man’s face was lit with inexpressible reverence. ‘For months I have pursued a ceaseless search for you among these forbidding crags. I implore you to accept me as a disciple.

“When the great guru made no response, the man pointed to the rocky chasm at his feet. “‘If you refuse me, I will jump from this mountain. Life has no further value if I cannot win your guidance to the Divine.’ “‘Jump then,’ Babaji said unemotionally. ‘I cannot accept you in your present state of development.’ “The man immediately hurled himself over the cliff. Babaji instructed the shocked disciples to fetch the stranger’s body. When they returned with the mangled form, the master placed his divine hand on the dead man. Lo! he opened his eyes and prostrated himself humbly before the omnipotent one. “‘You are now ready for discipleship.’ Babaji beamed lovingly on his resurrected chela. ‘You have courageously passed a difficult test. Death shall not touch you again; now you are one of our immortal flock.’ Then he spoke his usual words of departure, ‘DERA DANDA UTHAO’; the whole group vanished from the mountain.” An avatar lives in the omnipresent Spirit; for him there is no distance inverse to the square. Only one reason, therefore, can motivate Babaji in maintaining his physical form from century to century: the desire to furnish humanity with a concrete example of its own possibilities. Were man never vouchsafed a glimpse of Divinity in the flesh, he would remain oppressed by the heavy mayic delusion that he cannot transcend his mortality. Jesus knew from the beginning the sequence of his life; he passed through each event not for himself, not from any karmic compulsion, but solely for the upliftment of reflective human beings. His four reporter-disciples-Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John-recorded the ineffable drama for the benefit of later generations. For Babaji, also, there is no relativity of past, present, future; from the beginning he has known all phases of his life. Yet, accommodating himself to the limited understanding of men, he has played many acts of his divine life in the presence of one or more witnesses. Thus it came about that a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya was present when Babaji deemed the time to be ripe for him to proclaim the possibility of bodily immortality. He uttered this promise before Ram Gopal Muzumdar, that it might finally become known for the inspiration of other seeking hearts. The great ones speak their words and participate in the seemingly natural course of events, solely for the good of man, even as Christ said: “Father . . . I knew that thou hearest me always: but BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE WHICH STAND BY I SAID IT, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” {FN33-2} During my visit at Ranbajpur with Ram Gopal, “the sleepless saint,” {FN33-3} he related the wondrous story of his first meeting with Babaji. “I sometimes left my isolated cave to sit at Lahiri Mahasaya’s feet in Benares,” Ram Gopal told me. “One midnight as I was silently meditating in a group of his disciples, the master made a surprising request. “‘Ram Gopal,’ he said, ‘go at once to the Dasasamedh bathing GHAT.’ “I soon reached the secluded spot. The night was bright with moonlight and the glittering stars. After I had sat in patient silence for awhile, my attention was drawn to a huge stone slab near my feet. It rose gradually, revealing an underground cave. As the stone remained balanced in some unknown manner, the draped form of a young and surpassingly lovely woman was levitated from the cave high into the air. Surrounded by a soft halo, she slowly descended in front of me and stood motionless, steeped in an inner state of ecstasy. She finally stirred, and spoke gently. “‘I am Mataji, {FN33-4} the sister of Babaji. I have asked him and also Lahiri Mahasaya to come to my cave tonight to discuss a matter of great importance.’ “A nebulous light was rapidly floating over the Ganges; the strange luminescence was reflected in the opaque waters. It approached nearer and nearer until, with a blinding flash, it appeared by the side of Mataji and condensed itself instantly into the human form of Lahiri Mahasaya. He bowed humbly at the feet of the woman saint. “Before I had recovered from my bewilderment, I was further wonderstruck to behold a circling mass of mystical light traveling in the sky. Descending swiftly, the flaming whirlpool neared our group and materialized itself into the body of a beautiful youth who, I understood at once, was Babaji. He looked like Lahiri Mahasaya, the only difference being that Babaji appeared much younger, and had long, bright hair.

“Lahiri Mahasaya, Mataji, and myself knelt at the guru’s feet. An ethereal sensation of beatific glory thrilled every fiber of my being as I touched his divine flesh. “‘Blessed sister,’ Babaji said, ‘I am intending to shed my form and plunge into the Infinite Current.’ “‘I have already glimpsed your plan, beloved master. I wanted to discuss it with you tonight. Why should you leave your body?’ The glorious woman looked at him beseechingly. “‘What is the difference if I wear a visible or invisible wave on the ocean of my Spirit?’ “Mataji replied with a quaint flash of wit. ‘Deathless guru, if it makes no difference, then please do not ever relinquish your form.’ {FN33-5} “‘Be it so,’ Babaji said solemnly. ‘I will never leave my physical body. It will always remain visible to at least a small number of people on this earth. The Lord has spoken His own wish through your lips.’ “As I listened in awe to the conversation between these exalted beings, the great guru turned to me with a benign gesture. “‘Fear not, Ram Gopal,’ he said, ‘you are blessed to be a witness at the scene of this immortal promise.’ “As the sweet melody of Babaji’s voice faded away, his form and that of Lahiri Mahasaya slowly levitated and moved backward over the Ganges. An aureole of dazzling light templed their bodies as they vanished into the night sky. Mataji’s form floated to the cave and descended; the stone slab closed of itself, as if working on an invisible leverage. “Infinitely inspired, I wended my way back to Lahiri Mahasaya’s place. As I bowed before him in the early dawn, my guru smiled at me understandingly. “‘I am happy for you, Ram Gopal,” he said. “The desire of meeting Babaji and Mataji, which you have often expressed to me, has found at last a sacred fulfilment.”

“My fellow disciples informed me that Lahiri Mahasaya had not moved from his dais since early the preceding evening. “‘He gave a wonderful discourse on immortality after you had left for the Dasasamedh GHAT,’ one of the chelas told me. For the first time I fully realized the truth in the scriptural verses which state that a man of self-realization can appear at different places in two or more bodies at the same time.” Lahiri Mahasaya later explained to me many metaphysical points concerning the hidden divine plan for this earth,” Ram Gopal concluded. “Babaji has been chosen by God to remain in his body for the duration of this particular world cycle. Ages shall come and go—still the deathless master, {FN33-6} beholding the drama of the centuries, shall be present on this stage terrestrial.”

The ebook Gutenberg version of Auto contains references to footnotes and images, but these are not included in the file except sparingly.

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To see Self-Realization Fellowship homepage, click the link below. There are audio samples, and many books, DVDs and Cds to buy. You can also get an application to study SRF lessons without cost.

Self-Realization Fellowship