Automatic Heaven


I came across an article posted to Facebook this early afternoon that made me gag. The article, which can be found here, details briefly an incident where a snipit of conversation between two cricket players was caught.

In the conversation one player, who is a Muslim, is telling the other player, who is a Buddhist, that anyone who converts to Islam automatically is allowed into Heaven. Automatically. This kind of pisses me off.

For starters, I’m pretty sure that’s not what the Koran actually teaches. I might be wrong, but I think that’s oversimplifying the doctrines of that religion and I feel like more credit should be given to the path itself. Some years ago Islam was the only religion I studied (this lasted for over a year) and during that time I learned many dark-n-wondrous things about Islam that many others might not know. It’s been a while, but I don’t recall anything so flat or sweeping.

The second thing that struck me is that it appears to somehow be okay for this Muslim man that someone would join his religion JUST for the prize in the box. How cheap is that? And I’m wondering what kind of person he thinks he’s attracting by discounting his own dharma in that way? I would assume an offer as simple and cheap as the one he’s making to this Buddhist would only really be attractive to someone so lazy in their own religious / spiritual life that avoiding Hell is their only real concern. There was no mention of “Islam will make you a better human” or anything like that. Just “join the club, and get the prize.” Pathetic, and frankly dangerous. I think it follows that if someone is lazy enough in their own effort or their own understanding and joins because it means “automatic heaven,” then my guess is that this same person is probably going to make a fool of himself at some point – inviting this kind of fool into one’s “religious club” seems to put the club at risk of looking stupid when this new (selfish and lazy) person inevitably shows his arse. Why would anyone care to risk that – especially when considering a religion like Islam, which is unfortunately already suspect in so many regards?

Thirdly, the offer as it was made implies that the Muslim not only understands very little about his own dharma but also the dharmas of non-Abrahamic believers. If you come from an understanding that Heaven isn’t the final stopping place, then what value is automatic admission through the pearly gates going to hold? Probably, temporary value at best. So to offer heaven to someone who sees it as a pit stop more than anything else seems about the same as making a bid deal out of offering a rented video to someone. They understand that they cannot keep the video, so what exactly is the favor being done here?

The last thing that bugged me about this is what was said to the Buddhist when he apparently refused the heavenly offer. He was met with a response like, “Be prepared for fire, then.” (The actual response may have been differently worded, but that’s pretty much what was said to him. I don’t have the article opened right now.) If one’s offer in conversion was truly as sincere as I’m sure this Muslim man would have everyone believe, then why was the reaction to the answer he received from the Buddhist, “Fine then, but you’re gonna be fucked after you die”? If that response is any indication of the personal development Islam is capable of, I’d say the Buddhist is better off staying with his current dharma. Sadly, I know similar behavior to be true of Christians, also. I know this because once upon a time I was guilty of nearly identical behavior.

The biggest question of all that this brought to my mind is: Where are the Hindus that do this? Where are the Buddhist attempting compulsory conversion of non-Buddhists to Buddhism?

Can anyone point me to resources that illustrate this behavior among Hindus and Buddhists?

Aum Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti


Martyrdom Maybe

As a gay human in the United States Midwest, I’m too familiar with religious bigots and their attitude toward gayness. I know all about “Adam & Eve, Not Adam & Steve” and “Leviticus 18:22” and lots of other conveniently selected piles of bullshit that “prove” gay people choose to be who they are and love who they do. Earlier this week a Facebook friend’s contribution to my feed included his reposting a video of a gay young man (from GA, I think) coming out to his father, grandmother, and step-mother. It doesn’t go well. At all.

I’m including the video in this post as well as other links here and here that tell the story – although watching the video will make the story crystal clear. I’m not sure how long ago this fiasco actually took place, but I came across the repost on Thursday evening, and by Friday’s drive home from work I was hearing about it on the Michelangelo Signorile show on SiriusXM satellite radio (the Progress channel). It had, indeed, already gone viral. You can see the video just below.

There are a few things I found interesting about this whole unfortunate scene.

1) I found it interesting that the woman speaking in the beginning of the video starts the process of kicking him to the curb by assuring him she loves him and that she’s known he is gay since he was a little boy – and then almost immediately after accuses him of making the “choice” to be gay, which is followed later in the video by the adults in the video pummeling him for disagreeing with them. Literally nonsensical hypocrisy at its finest: “I know you were gay since before you even knew what sex is, but you’re definitely making a choice in who you have sexual attraction to.”

2) It was typical and revolting and just plain ignorant when she said she stands by the word of God, meaning the Bible. Newsflash: Jesus cured the young male sex servant of a grown man who approached Jesus asking for a miracle. Jesus fully knew and understood the nature of their relationship, and while even commended the man on his faith. There’s that and a number of other nuggets in that book that would indicate the Bible says very little against homosexuals. Clearly Daniel’s “Christian” family are neither true Christians nor true family.

3) After watching the video on Facebook, I almost immediately went to Daniel’s Facebook page to check out whatever might be happening there. This is where things look odd to me. Without looking at older posts, I can see the video was posted there on Tuesday the 26th and for some reason again on the 27th. Also on the 27th, Daniel posted a status update starting with, “What a day….” wherein he admitted he thought being late to work would be his biggest struggle of the day. He also thanked some people for their support and indicated he enjoyed seeing some other people. And then on the 28th, which is when I first came across the ordeal for the first time (late evening / early night) I found a status post where he said he’d be deactivating his page but that we all should look for a fan page soon. In his video an agreement was reached indicating that he’d be out by midnight on the 28th… supposedly only hours after I first saw the video. If I had to guess, I’d say he probably got out before then – I can’t imagine anyone with enough spine to stand up to their own family and be disowned would likely stick around a few more days until the deadline. I imagine the 26th, 27th, and 28th were very busy, miserable, and exhausting days for Daniel. What keeps standing out in my mind, though, is that he was planning a fan page before he technically was homeless. I understand now that he’s gotten a lawyer and will possibly be prosecuting those family members who assaulted and battered him – which I think he should do. But how actually horrible was this for him if, before he even had to be on the streets, he is planning on fame?

I remember being very scared of telling my parents and even fearing that what happened to Daniel would happen to me. And I recall immense gratitude that my parents didn’t react in that way. I was actually younger, with less life experience than Daniel has already, and I stood to lose more than he apparently does. And when considering my option should I end up homeless, it never once crossed my mind that I would, or even could, get “fans” out of it all. I just find it a bit strange that fame would ever enter the picture when survival would seem the top priority so close to the tragic event.

But what do I know? Not nearly enough, I can tell you that.

It’s my sincerest hope that Daniel’s support (boyfriend, friends, the YouTube community, etc…) keep him safe and that his “ignernt kin” are able to become the good people they think they already are.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Are You Ready?


During my time as a Christian if I one thing was drilled into my noggin’, then it was that Jesus is about to return and you had better be ready to go when he gets here!

Nowadays, I think it’s juvenile and relatively primitive to hold a literal belief in one’s god physically returning, from the sky no less, to “harvest” His favorites among humanity and suck them out of harm’s way before Hell breaks out on everyone else. I can tell you first-hand, that these kinds of beliefs, especially before the turn of a millennium, will literally put that so-called fear of God into a young man. (Unrelated to that fear, but related to the rapture, I used to quite literally believe I would never see a physical earthly death because I couldn’t picture it in my mind and because I just KNEW my lord and savior was going to appear in the clouds and bring me home that way, instead.)

Still, if nothing else then it’s quite the mental picture. I think if we took the broader Christian picture and zoomed out about a million times we might start to touch on the truth of what I think all that hullabaloo is about.

You never know when this life will either end or change, whether fantastically or catastrophically. As the evil uncle in The Lion King sang, “Be preeepaaaaared!” Right? (Random, I know.)

When I ran in Christian circles, it was terribly commonplace to ask someone you suspected not to be saved if they were “ready.” I’m certain, if I asked that question 5,000 times, then I never once really knew what that even means. At the time it meant, quite simply, if a person had a so-called personal relationship with Jesus. But what does it really mean? I suspect something a bit deeper and longer-lasting than a human relationship.

I think in most contexts it mostly means to live as goodly and kindly as you are able and to cultivate a depth with the One. I think this is generally lost on many within the Abrahamic Faiths because of trying to follow the letter of the Word too minutely, too literally. (An unfortunate leftover from the Reformation, I believe.) To be clear, it can easily be lost on the devout of other Faiths, too.

In my experience, Hinduism is the most efficient when it comes to prepping one for whatever might come next, whether your career or your afterlife. In fact, this is the purpose of Yoga… preparation. It’s even been said that it is specifically preparation for death.

The Bible itself, in many places, indicates one must “die to live.” This is a yogic truth! Aspiring yogis, whether they realize or not, are aspiring to die while living. At least, the sincere ones are. And anyone who more than scratches the surface of what Yoga even means, can’t go too far before learning that the goal of Yoga is also dying while alive. It sounds a little macabre, but this form of “death preparation” is simultaneously the more effective way to live the happiest life possible.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

सच्ची भक्ति

I came across a passage in my leisure reading lately on multiplicity and unity and Truth being One. Chariji indicated that he thinks the Hindu religion is the most sublime of all man’s religions, but he also thinks that sometimes seeing Truth so diversely can be a trap of sorts.

The human mind is closely connected to the ego and likes to enshrine its own values and ideas and then, after preserving them, become mummified. By itself, that isn’t a crime, but the historic tendency has been to enshrine at the risk of not only “setting something in stone,” but also inherent to that process is to exclude all else – including the potential for additional growth.

To a degree, a very superficial degree, this is required for bhakti. But true bhakti is to see the One in everything. I think most people don’t realize how “shackle-less” this actually is. This is also made more challenging when one is considerably dedicated to stone images. This kind of dedication serves not only to separate and isolate us from each other, but also slows our spiritual and personal progress considerably. Obviously, with all of that on one’s plate, it becomes more challenging than it already is to grow beyond the “baby bhakti” so many wallow in.

Human birth is an incredible boon and opportunity, but it’s not without its sugar-coated pitfalls.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti



I’ve said before that as humans, we’re in a unique position among the Earth’s inhabitants of being able to govern our own life experiences, above the instinctual lasso that binds other life forms. A big part of this is the absolutely immense capacity we have for being able to watch and learn, or read and learn, or hear and learn… It this point in human history, with nothing new under the sun, we’re very able to know without learning the hard way.

In that spirit, I find myself most often quite ready, willing, and (mostly) able to share wisdom and experiences collected in my current life. The purpose is two-fold: For my own reference later in my journey, and for whatever benefit any reader might take. And quite often, lately anyway, I’ve been learning and allowing myself to be guided through the teachings of the Sahaj Marg Masters/Gurus. I’ve yet to be let down – quite the opposite! At this point I’m certain that if I’d tackled the writings of the Masters, then I’d not have stepped away from the Marg the first time.

In addition to the fabulous readings, in recent weeks my meditations and the transmission received have been particularly potent and effective. Unlike the reading, however, my experiences with meditation and transmission are far more challenging to express here. In fact, they are often difficult to express during my own Sahaj journaling. And, naturally, the things I am able to express while journaling are meant for the journal only.

I really wish so many others who are not currently abhyasis could have the same. I know others’ own experiences are valid for the place and time in which they are gained, and I respect and value that difference, but this doesn’t make me wish less that these experiences could be communicated and shared.

Until things change again, all the grace that is mine to give I gladly forward on to you.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti



The picture above is of something near-n-dear to me. It’s my “asana.” To be clear, the only definition most people know to apply to that word is along the lines of “body posture.” Everyone almost invariably thinks of Hatha Yoga and yoga mats and teachers at the front of the class twisting their bodies into poses the students could only hope to achieve. According to Patanjali, asana is a firm but comfortable posture. Wikipedia mentions some Purana (I think) wherein Shiva, the Supreme Yogi and guru of all yogis, provides 8,400,000 asanas. Of that number, 84 make up the “heart” of yoga poses, and of those 84 apparently only 32 are necessary here on Earth. However, another definition that I’ve encountered (although I forget where) is that an asana is the “mat” on which one sits during meditation (think of the animal skin Shiva is usually shown as sitting on during his meditation). And so, my asana. I came to me from Ikea and probably cost not more than $20, American. Methinks it’s made of cotton and is very durable but not terribly heavy.

I love my asana because of its weight and because of what it’s made of and its color. I usually wrap myself or my legs in it during meditation, but when it’s folded up it makes a great cushion on which to sit for the same purpose. I obviously keep it clean and I’ve been known to use things like Febreeze or other fabric sprays because the pleasantness of the smells seems to help facilitate meditation.

The Sahaj Marg employs a heart-centered meditation / transmission technique. The heart chakra (Anahata Chakra, अनाहत चक्र) is kind of like the “action center” for this sadhana and the color associated with that center of the body is green. Long before I came to Sahaj Marg, green was my favorite color. It’s the color of life and growth. It’s the color of some foundational plants in the vegetarian way of eating. And despite the common misunderstanding that red is the color of love, anyone familiar with any of the esoteric arts will advise you that green is actually the color of love which in my mind, in certain contexts, also makes it the color of God. I suppose this makes my association with Sahaj Marg somewhat serendipitous on a superficial level. I’m fine admitting that it might be entirely in my head, but wrapping myself comfortably in the “aura” of the chakra in question seems to help me dissolve into meditation more readily. Additionally, it’s important to keep items like this reserved for that one use only. This blanket will never be used to cover something up, or to wrap up in against the cold (unless I happen to be meditating in a cold place), my dogs / cat will never have access to snuggling up with this blanket.

I have lots of possessions but there aren’t many items in my life that hold a ton of meaning for me, from a spiritual standpoint. I have mandirs and murtis, ghantas and diyas, etc… many of which are quite special to me. But there’s only this lone asana. With all the symbolism I’ve attached to the object and all the “vibes” it’s been infused with (both from myself and my Guru), it’s no wonder this is a special thing to me and I kind of felt like a show-n-tell post might be warranted. I’ll close with a recent and short story that involved my asana.

I was at the home of a prefect recently for a sitting (in the Sahaj Marg sense of the term) and it was just the two of us (although another sitting was taking place in another part of the home). Their home is absolutely beautiful. The “ashram” part of their home has lots of natural lighting thanks to wonderfully placed and large windows. For my sitting I sat with my back to one of these windows – actually in my favorite place to sit when I’m there. The chair in which I sat is a retro-modern style: boxy and firm, but comfortable and possessing soft angles. Just outside the window are a couple larger bushes / smaller trees. While there, a short but intense summer thunderstorm rolled through with lots of thunder and heavy rain. After the sitting, my prefect painted a mental picture for me of a sight seen by herself: I was there in the chair, slightly wrapped in my green asana and sitting before the window – eyes closed in sadhana / meditation. The trees and sky were the backdrop and the storm passed through, with the sun still ahead of it. This allowed for a layering effect, I imagine: The chair, me, the asana, the window, the trees, the heavy rain, and the sunlight penetrating all of the scene. I jokingly and rather vaguely posted that night on Facebook that I was “nearly a vision” and “nearly glorious.” The greater Truth, though, is that “I” was actually a very small portion of the “vision” experienced by my prefect. In my interpretation, she saw the layering of Nature and the blessing of living in harmony with it – all things working together. This relates to some of the Maxims of Sahaj Marg and brings about a condition of joy and equanimity with myself. I’m exactly where I should be and I am headed, precisely on my own journey, to our common Goal.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti



Today was super productive for me. I awoke earlier than usual for once and made it to morning satsangh. (I usually forego Sunday morning satsanghs during the summer season and instead attend on Wednesdays. The time of satsangh will shift in the fall by a good 90 minutes and I’ll then do my best to attend both, weekly.) After satsangh I went grocery shopping in what had to have been the emptiest grocery store in Indiana. It was heavenly. After that I grabbed a “breakfast” at Starbucks and took my car through the car wash before coming home to unpack said groceries, take the dogs out, and start laundry. Soon after those things, I spent a full 90 minutes scrubbing and vacuuming my car – removing everything from wheelchair scuffs to pop-tart crumbs. (Btw, it turns out that my next oil change will fall right around the time my car hits 100,000 miles!) After the car stuff, I managed a very short nap before running into town to get my hairs cut shorter – something I badly needed. The Best managed this for me, and since we were together I snatched him with me as company while I brought my lunch groceries into the office (saving me from lugging them in tomorrow with everything else I usually bring on Mondays) which was followed by us grabbing a Greek lunch. By the end of today I will also have finished reading the most recent issue of Yoga Journal to arrive in my mailbox, as well as the latest Hinduism Today. And only a short while ago, I finished the latest Sahaj Marg book I’ve been reading, “Reality at Dawn.” None of these things are particularly incredible, but for me this makes for an unusually productive day off. That last one, though, is the reason for this post.

Near the end of Reality at Dawn there is a chapter by the name of “My Vision.” I really had no idea what to expect from a chapter with that title, but I was surprised. The book itself was written by the Marg’s current grand-guru whom we call Babuji. Since coming to the Sahaj Marg, I have nearly always felt a bit more drawn to Babuji and I was glad to read one of his books. The start of the chapter is something that already escapes my memory, but I recall that the bulk of the chapter is rather prophetic and paints quite the picture of how the end of the world may well look, and also what may be some of the main contributing factors. Babuji also details slightly some of what the “after” will be like for survivors and the first generation following.

It shocked me a little – mostly because it’s been a minute since I last read something of that nature. I have to say, much of what Babuji detailed is totally applicable even today.

Despite the surprise of reading a chapter wherein the end of the world is spelled out, it wasn’t terribly alarming. Maybe that’s because of my familiarity with Shaivism and the rudimentary understanding so many have in regard to him being the Destroyer and his Nrtya causing everything to “melt.” I think I’m also at peace with ideas of the end of the world because I know it’s not really the end. Everything, even God, is cyclical in Hinduism. In Hinduism, “every new beginning” really “is some other beginning’s end,” to quote Semisonic’s “Closing Time” song.

As a Hindu I can know peace because of this. Life/Love is all that truly exists, albeit in differing energetic forms. In “A Course in Miracles” one of the first verses I learned and which has stuck with me is, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” Peace, indeed! You can hold hands with the Destroyer and know true, lasting, and deep peace because nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. This is hope and this is what would surely carry me through any possible end-of-times scenario I might experience, for as much of it as I’m able to live through. Everything, on the most minuscule of scales, is coming to an end all the time. Literally. And then, after that ending, there’s more. The same will happen on any scale, even if that scale is cosmic. There’s no need to fear, regardless of how tragic those endings might eventually be, and as a Hindu/Abhyasi I take refuge in knowing my karmas and samskaras are being worked on. Each satsangh, each sitting, each book I read – every effort of each day – is for my progression and betterment of my surroundings and the beings therein.

I think no one in their right mind would welcome an apocalypse, per se. But from where I currently stand, it’s possible to see it coming and watch the progressive arrival with the serene smile of a raja yogi.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti