Samadhi Samadhi

European Seminar - Dec 2010

 

(This post was created on 20141220 – but I am only just now getting the chance to publish it.)

Today has meant an unexpected flurry of emails and communication among the Sahaj Marg community – our beloved and revered master has left his body. My math is probably a little off, but the passing happened around 11:15 this morning (local time).

For anyone who’s been around long enough, our guru-ji’s health struggles were no secret. He was up in his years and his health had been somewhat of a roller coaster – periods of illness and infection followed by good health and recovery. This is natural for all humans as they age and it seems to me that the biggest threat to an old human’s physical existence can be the smallest and most mundane occurrence that most of us who are younger take for granted.

My own grandfather was weakened by very concerning health issues, but what had at once threatened his life in a very real way was something that I could easily catch and overcome in a week or less and hardly miss a beat. My guru, Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari (Chariji Maharaj) was very much in line with Nature’s way where this was concerned – and very fitting, too, because one of our Maxims calls us to be in harmony with Nature and to be simple as Nature is simple. I think (and perhaps I’m mistaken) that it had been some years since his health was enough of a threat that we thought he might leave.

This year, however, was very clearly a time of battle for his health. For any abhyasis who subscribe to the Sahaj Sandesh e-newsletter, we were updated as often as was necessary to keep us informed and in a prayerful / meditative condition regarding our master. Just yesterday, a Sandesh was released with a statement from Dr. Sharma indicating that our guru had been very ill for the last two weeks – first with respiratory infection and then / also a urinary infection. His condition was called “worrying and similar to what it was in 2012.”

The hint that things were actually quite serious, and that master may not survive, came in statements from the same Sandesh telling us that the doctors are doing everything possible to help him through it physically, but that there is a spiritual aspect that cannot be treated with medications.

Fortunately, preparations for this day were started long ago and Chariji’s successor has already been appointed. As I understand it, Brother Kamlesh Patel will be the new master of Sahaj Marg. Hopefully, this will alleviate, if not eliminate, any discord our guru’s passing may stir among abhyasis – as happened when the last master left his body.

While I have at times felt particularly drawn to Sahaj Marg’s earlier masters, Chariji is the only one I’ve ever known. In regard to the Marg’s literature, Chariji is, by far, the most prolific author of all the masters and as a result he is the one I’ve learned the most from and in the most direct way.

I’m including a video of Chariji here, which I’ve posted here to Sthapati before. The video is of him talking about our practice of spiritual transmission (which in some ways links our practice to Sufism). For those of us who are more familiar with master, so much more is evident even in this video than just the words that are being said.

I suspect that we’ll hear from Chariji from the Brighter World. Soon enough, his whispers may be coming to us to offer continued guidance in addition to the leadership brought by Kamlesh-ji.

Tonight, and everywhere across the globe, abhyasis and prefects are holding a sitting. Our ashrams everywhere are opening for this purpose and those who are not near an ashram or are not able to go to one are encouraged to sit from their homes or wherever they are.

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Aum Tryambakam Yajamahe – Sugandhim Pushtivardahanam – Urvarukam Iva Bandhanan – Mrtyor Mukshiya Maa Amrtat

 

I’ll share a quote here from my grand-master, Babuji Maharaj in a book titled “Spiritual Training.” I feel, when things like this happen, it’s important to keep one’s compass pointed in the right direction. This quote was emailed out right before Chariji’s passing. I find it encouraging and speaks a bit on the essence of the Sahaj Marg practice. — “God is simple and can be achieved by equally simple means. The hard and fast rules of life and tiring practices prescribed by teachers for realisation have really made matters so complicated that people are led to believe it to be beyond their power and capacity. I may assure you very sincerely that realisation is not at all a difficult thing, only if you earnestly divert your attention to it. Iron will to achieve the goal, together with proper means and guidance, is the only thing required for the complete success.”

On a quite personal note this is a very challenging time for me. The 2014 year has been just about the worst year in memory (although it’s also held some of the very best moments!) and with everything else on my plate, including the recent loss of my birth mother, I really could have done without the passing of Chariji. To say he will be missed is such an understatement it’s practically inappropriate.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha

Aum Shanti

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Additional notes to be added since the above was written:

Last night I found myself able to attend the global satsangh that was held shortly after master’s passing. Local abhyasis gathered at our prefects’ home and a sitting was given. The crowd was smallish but the sitting was incredible, no less. At least three distinct times I felt waves of master’s divine transmission wash over me. The first two nearly knocked me out of my asana. When the sitting was over, we were allowed a few moments to bask in the transmission and I unexpectedly found myself smiling. Unknowingly, I had secured a seat about 10 feet diagonally across a nice framed photo of my recently deceased master, himself in his meditation asana. On a table behind where this photo had been placed, was another table with framed photos on it and on that table was a photo of master that I think I’d purchased online and framed and donated to whomever would want it. The photo looked a little familiar, but the frame itself was very familiar. As my prefects’ home serves as the closest ashram to me, it warmed my heart to see something (I think) I had contributed to the local community. After the sitting was over, the prefect who had given the sitting read from a book called “Devotion” a number of snip-its. As someone who had been in master’s presence many times in the past decades, it was clear to see how his death had affected her. I did my best to hug her with my heart from where I sat. This year, as well as many of the recent years, has left me quite familiar with death and what it means. Strangely, I am nearly completely comfortable with it, but one thing that stings me each time I have a brush with death is the pain I see on the faces of others – that pain is the sad part of death for me and it was very clear that my prefect’s heart was hurting a bit as she read to us and then shared a story about the last time she was in master’s presence.

An extended satsangh was held this morning but I didn’t attend. I wanted to because I knew there would be discussed things that might answer some of the questions I have now, and it was mentioned that a few videos would be shared – which I really wanted to view. But I couldn’t bring myself. Instead, and this has been mostly true since learning of master’s passing, I sat alone in meditation. The heart knows what it wants, and that’s what my heart has sought increasingly as this year winds down to a close.

An email was issued this morning saying that Chariji would be cremated tomorrow in the morning.

Lastly, I mentioned in the main portion of this post that I imagined Chariji would be speaking to us from the Brighter World – and he has spared no time! This morning a message was received. I’m not sure it would be appropriate to share the whisper here, but I can say that it was a welcome greeting this morning!

Thanks

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The Fourth Stage

“God and the soul are no doubt one in principle. That which is Brahman ( God ) is also the soul. Brahman and jiva, the two are the same. Remove the greatness from God and the smallness from the soul, then the reality of both, which is movement and contemplation, will remain one and the same. Atma means movement ( ath ) and contemplation ( man ). Brahman means ( bruh ) expansion and ( man ) contemplation. This is their characteristic. Movement and expansion are the same thing with a difference of degree. Just as the Brahman has its own world, so too the soul has its own world. The difference is in omniscience and limited knowledge, in being great and small. Both of them create their own worlds and destroy them. Brahman also wakes and sleeps just as the soul does, and goes into the state of deep sleep as is evident from the names Vishwa, Taijasa, Prajna which are characteristics of jiva; and Virat, Antaryamin or Avyakrita and Hiranyagarbha which are characteristics of the Brahman.

“Brahman is free from opposite states, whereas jiva or individual soul lives in contradictory states. Misery is the result of the individual soul being a part and because it is desirous of happiness, it experiences misery. There is wholeness, perfection, and fullness in Brahman. He wants neither living ( life ) nor happiness. Therefore, there is no sorrow for Him.

“The Brahman has no idea even of His completeness and perfection. Whatever attributes are found in Him, they are only from the point of view of the jiva. The Brahman does not call Himself Satchitananda. He neither believes in karma nor does he call Himself perfect. It is the jiva only that thinks Him so, and keeps Him as its final goal. If the Brahman says that He is complete, then it means that He has the idea of part and whole and, when the knowledge or idea of the part creeps in, He ceases to remain complete or perfect.

“It has no feeling of bliss in it. It is perfect, complete, and It alone is Brahman.”

-taken from Truth Eternal, by Ram Chandra of Fategarh

A Parody of What’s Inside

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About two weeks ago I experienced a night that was a doozey. I work in the medical IT field and, as it’s the most constantly-evolving field I’ve ever known, there are always changes that put demands on our professionals. One such demand recently placed on me was the requirement to participate in our Windows Services monthly patching. Because of things like this in my life, it’s not uncommon at all that I end up missing satsangh with local abhyasis. I really hate that. The truly fortunate thing, for me, is that Sahaj Marg is a “householder” path and since I’m a very busy grhasta type guy it suits me increasingly well.

I missed another Sunday satsangh that morning because of last night’s patching (which was really this morning’s, 00:00 – 06:00) but lucky for me one of my local prefects emailed out to all the abhyasis the text which was shared and read to everyone after the morning meditation. I found the timing impeccable and the text much needed

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The Universe is You

It is like when you run a marathon, twenty-six miles. Well, for the practised marathon runner the eighteenth mile, nineteenth mile, they are pretty easy. Then he starts to feel fatigue. At the twenty-fifth mile, he’s almost falling. Then comes the second wind. From where does it come? It is coming from within himself. He is drawing upon resources hidden in himself of which he was never aware until he exerted himself to the point of extinction.

Therefore, spirituality says, “Die before you die, and you shall see what is the glory of death itself, what it opens out beyond into: the eternal life that is promised.” It only means doing what the runner is doing, you see: that you run until you are almost collapsing, and then you find the miraculous awakening of fresh powers inside yourself, from inside yourself, of which you could never have dreamt, because you never exerted yourself to that level before. Spirituality says, “That is the outer world; here, you do it inside.” Close your eyes, meditate, and the feeling comes that I’m diving deep into some sort of a bottomless hole, very dark. And then the tendency, sometimes the need, is to open one’s eyes to reassure oneself that one is still in this world of human beings. That is the danger.

It is like the runner stopping at the fifteenth mile to see, “Oh, do I have that hidden resource that Chari was talking about?” You can’t feel it. It’s gone, you see. It’s like, you know, the petrol tank. Sometimes we used to have – I don’t know whether you still have – an emergency small tank which you opened up when the main tank went dry. Some drivers were careless; they left it open all the time. So when it stopped, it stopped finally, because the reserve petrol tank was always open. The idea of a reserve tank is the capacity should be reserved for those emergent occasions when there is no gas station nearby. Then you open it and move to the nearest place. But if you are leaving it open all the time, you have lost the capacity to have control over it, which is what we are doing with our physical energies: draining them to the last possible drop of essence and then, when the need for a reserve comes, it just isn’t there.

So the sensible human way of living is not to drain your reserve capacities unnecessarily – in any field. One of the reasons for morality, for celibacy, is that: reserve your capacity for the ultimate spurt. Don’t waste it on your routine jogging and your swimming: yesterday I did nine, today I did ten, tomorrow fourteen. Then the reserve tank becomes meaningless; it hardly exists for us.

So, you see, when we go into meditation, we learn all these things: that I have to die in my meditation to be reborn in that meditation, and to come out yet the same Paul, the same Bill, the same whatever you are, you see. But with a very, very different outlook on life; with a very, very different inside that has now been opened, changed, cleaned up, refurbished in some mysterious way. Therefore, every time we sit in meditation and we go deep into it, we come out new – renewed, you can say. That is why meditation is refreshing. That is why meditation is never exhausting, you know; however deep you go into it you come out fresh. Pains are gone, aches are gone, more of the heart – which is a very great need. There is solace derived from ourselves, from within ourselves, by ourselves. So we see that, in a very real sense, we are becoming independent of the universe. We seek no solace outside, we get it from inside. Others take renewal from outside, we get it from inside. The others take renewed strength from outside, we get it from inside. Then we find the ultimate experience: that within me is the universe. Not this which I see outside, however vast it might be – ten million, ten billion light-years big, so what? It is only a parody of what is inside. This has no limit that can be measured in terms of light-years. You cannot measure this at all. It is truly infinite.

Being truly infinite, its resources are truly infinite, its potentials are truly infinite; therefore, spiritual law says, go within and you are going towards infinity; go outwards, there is only repetition of the same experience, nauseatingly repeated again and again. But you think you are enjoying a new thing every day. So spirituality says, beware of the external life. That is only a mirror image of your self, you see, like when you stand in a hall of mirrors, and you are there alone, yet you see a hundred of you surrounding you. Here, the Atman, the soul, sees itself reflected in so many other existences. Whether they are real or not, who can say? You think I am real to you, I think you are real to me, perhaps both of us don’t exist. It is in some dreamer’s mind, cosmic dreamer’s mind, you see. It’s frightening. It’s also fascinating.

Frightening, because it is almost impossible to imagine that I don’t exist. We are always afraid of death. That’s a very natural fear. But to be told that perhaps, my dear friend, you don’t exist – even now – would be awful, wouldn’t it? But when you plunge into yourself in meditation and if, by Master’s grace, by the solemnity of your experience, you are able to experience those spiritual states where you find first nothing, then you find yourself all alone, and then you find that the universe into which you are put all alone by yourself is really you…!

The universe is you. You are there as something experiencing yourself in a cosmic form. Then comes this, you know, really brilliant, fascinating experience that “I am the Universe.” Which means you are part of me, everybody is part of me, you are me in a sense, you see. Then comes the possibility of true love, true sympathy. Not because of some charitable instinct of doing good to others, but because in you is also my existence. In keeping you alive, I keep myself alive. In feeding you, I feed myself. In looking after your welfare lies my welfare. In a very real heartfelt sense – not out of a sense of charity, not out of even a sense of brotherhood, but out of a sense of an absolute need – like a car will not run if one of its tires is punctured. We are not being altruistic when we stop and patch up that tire. It will not move if the spark plugs are gone. It will not move if its fuel pipe is cut. So the functioning of the automobile depends on the functioning of every part that is put into it. No part is more important than the others, because all need to function before the car will move.

Similarly, if God is ever to be having peace of mind and contentment and happiness, He must ensure a universe that is content and happy and peaceful. And we, at our scale of existence, have also to ensure it. That is the true need for brotherhood in yoga. Not some artificial Christian sort of brotherhood, you know, where we slap each other on the back and say, “Oh, how wonderful this is! You are here and I am here and what more do we want?” That’s too artificial, too much of an imposition on ourselves. But when I see inside myself that I am the universe and you are all of course in the universe and therefore you are part of me – not just somebody I have to look after, but somebody whom I have to look after if I have to look after myself…

Can you have a bath without wetting your feet? “No, no, I hate my feet, you know, I’ll have a bath like this.” It’s not possible. The whole has to be wet, the whole has to be soaked, the whole has to be dried. In that wholeness, in the consciousness of that wholeness now arises my awakened being, and we see this vast unlimited glory that we are all one. Not in the sense that we are all together, therefore we are one; [but] wherever you may be, wherever I may be, we are still one.

… If I am the universe, whether I feel it or not, whether I perceive it or not – because yoga, meditation, the ultimate truth only enables me to see as I am, not as I am something to be in the future, you see – then by virtue of that fact we are already one organism.

(Excerpts from Heart to Heart, Vol. 1, pp. 99-105, talks by Shri. P. Rajagopalachari)

Seeking Converts: Apply Within

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As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I practice a form of Raja Yoga that has been systematized for the modern grhasta into what is now called Sahaj Marg. My first six months with it kind of led me to put it aside, actually, and view it as a valid-but-not-for-me path. About a year after that (I think), there was a change of heart and after assessing a few things in my life, the Marg felt like a better fit than it previously had. Since that time, I’ve practiced as faithfully and diligently as I have been able while living the householder life (S.M. is actually quite suitable for those living as householders) and I attend satsangh as often as I am able. From time to time, in waves it seems, I’ll write here about concepts or beliefs pertaining to this path. On that note, and leading into the rest of this post, I want to make very clear that Sthapati is not a “Sahaj Marg blog” and never will be. It’s a Joshua/Dhrishti blog and will be.

Still, web searches on the matter will turn up this blog and a number of other online resources for Sahaj Marg, both official and unofficial, legit and bogus. I wonder if it’s because of this that an issue of Sahaj Sandesh was written as it was. The Sahaj Sandesh is an email newletter of sorts that kind of is usually pretty specific – it might mention points of interest regarding upcoming events, or provide a status update on the health of our guru. Those kinds of things. Recently, the Sahaj Sandesh came as a warning, and considering the amount of writing I’ve done about Sahaj Marg here on Sthapati it hits rather close to home. Immediately below, I’ll post the October 5th Sahaj Sandesh and maybe you’ll understand why.
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“Dear sisters and brothers,

“We see ever-increasing instances of people spreading ‘news’ from Manapakkam through social media like Facebook and messaging platforms like SMS, Whatsapp, etc, which is factually incorrect and even misleading. While the intentions of the concerned abhyasis may not be bad or harmful, this leads to widespread dissemination of wrong and at times undesirable information. Please note that any ‘news’ or information for abhyasis will only be done through the official Mission channels like Sahaj Sandesh, or through functionaries of the Mission.

“Abhyasis are also reminded that whenever they use these platforms for sharing unsolicited audio, video or photographic material, they are violating the Mission’s copyright laws and are advised to refrain from doing so. Please be assured that for the willing heart, there is sufficient material to read, hear, view and digest already available in the Mission without having to resort to such content for spiritual motivation.

“With sincere prayers,
Kamlesh D. Patel”

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This kind of rubs me in two ways. The first, and probably the most obvious, is that it looks a lot like abhyasis like myself are advised against doing what I have done (and am doing right now). “Don’t share our information” is what this issue of the Sahaj Sandesh boils down to. I’ve never shared anything that is “factually incorrect” and have cited the source for every Sahaj Marg quote or video or anything that I’ve shared here. So, in my case if something I shared was “factually incorrect,” then it was incorrect when I received it from the works of the Sahaj Marg Masters. And since I’ve not really done any slandering, per se, of this material, I would also find it difficult to believe that anything shared here on Sthapati would be “undesirable” as indicated in the Sandesh. Maybe I’m too focused on myself and Sthapati in this context with the egoic part of my mind wrongly thinking this is somehow referring to me (like I’m THAT important), and maybe there are other things, of which I’m not currently aware, that this Sandesh is actually referring to. At this point, with my very limited knowledge, I’m going to remind myself that nothing I’ve shared here, to the very best of my ability, has been “factually incorrect” or paints the Marg in any “undesirable” light. So for Sthapati, things will likely remain business as usual.

The second way this rubs me is more positive. All copyright threats aside, I find it really reassuring that there was emphatic mention that those who seek will find. You don’t have to go shoving anything in anyone’s face because if they want it and if it’s meant for them to see, then it will find its way to their face anyway. Personally, I don’t feel like Sthapati has shoved anything in anyone’s face in any remotely unsolicited manner. As with anyone who finds official and legit Sahaj Marg websites, Sthapati and its “Sahaj Marg” posts will only turn up if someone 1) goes looking for them or 2) is a subscriber to Sthapati which carries the implication that the subscriber already has interest in whatever content might appear on the blog.

Still, one of the most appealing aspects of my experience with Hinduism is that it doesn’t seek converts. Certain Hindu paths are definitely more prone to “advertising” than are others, but I think I would say that even most of those paths still allow space for potential converts or devotees to say no and leave. With that in mind, this Sandesh reminds me of a response I once received from a past temple president here locally when the Indian mother of my “bahin” in Atlanta called to my temple here in Indiana and asked about a conversion puja (or something, idk exactly how she worded it). The response she received from the then president was along the lines of “absolutely not.” He stated that the temple had no interest in doing anything that even remotely looked like it was seeking converts. Of course, her own local temple was more than happy to perform an equivalent puja for me, if only I made the trip.

So there you have it. Honestly, I’m not sure what this means for future posts on Sthapati. I will continue to share insight gained as I walk my path, and with credit being given where it is due, I’m likely to cite any current or past Sahaj Marg Masters – that’s the point of Sthapati, which is spelled out on the “Samyag Akhyate” page. Although, out of respect for Brother (and next guru) Kamlesh’s request, perhaps I’ll be less direct with this kind of material? I don’t know. Thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Mine is Bigger Than Yours

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I listen to a few talk channels on my car’s satellite radio service, mostly progressive talk channels because I find myself most in alignment with those kinds of views. Recently, there was more talk about ISIS and America’s involvement of late. Lots of things were brought up which I cannot now recall, but I do recall mention of some Air Force (I think?) general who, while speaking of Islamic terrorists, is quoted as having said, “My god is bigger than their god.”

Hilarious.

I remember being a Christian very well, although it’s been a good twenty years. I easily recall that there many times when god was discussed exactly like this. “Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is!” These kinds of “poster slogans” are really about as basic as it can get and quite pathetic. Everything implied in sayings like that, and meaner pronouncements like the aforementioned general’s, should really send people running in the other direction. Too often, however, people are too busy drinking the so-called Kool-Aid to ever stop and really consider what might be in it.

I find statements referencing God’s “size” to be really problematic. Firstly, it’s a blatant contradiction to so many of the other things claimed to be true about God: Omnipresent (all-places). Omnipotent (all-powerful). Omniscient (all-knowing), and so forth. How can you reason that your God is “all” of all those things and then also claim that God has a size – which you do when you say things like the general said.

I suppose, for the sake of argument, that it could be understood that no specific size is being attributed to God. After all, what the general said could be understood in the way I’ve presented it here or it could be more vaguely understood as saying the same as, “However big theirs is, mine is bigger” in which case you technically still don’t know how big “mine” is but you understand that it’s bigger than yours, well … theirs, which apparently does have a finite size because I couldn’t otherwise possibly claim that mine is bigger. Right?

So what’s the issue with that? Well, the issue is still size.

I was once a Pagan (without knowing it). I’ve been a Christian. I returned briefly to Paganism for a time after that. And have, for more than a decade now called myself a Hindu. Certainly if anyone’s understanding of The One has changed or evolved, then mine has – and how! Not bragging, but I have literally seen just about all of the coin’s sides. I understand, from the finite perspective of being in a human body, that assigning attributes to The One somehow “helps” us or something, although I’ll admit that view is increasingly lost on me.

And I think that’s what stood out to me when I heard of the general’s statement about how his (Christian) god is bigger than the Muslims’ God. Surely, it’s vitally important to our own development that we’re careful not to make God too much like our own tiny, measureable selves. How much are we actually reaching to transcend if we’re dummying down That which we’re reaching toward?

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Sting, Stang, Stung?

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Just about the meanest person I know is my best friend. He has his moments of kindness and thoughtfulness, but the mode he operates in the majority of the time is neither of those and his level of self-endearment and selfishness is second only to that of my (terrible, horrible, no good, very bad) birth mother.

It’s not very often that I allow my day to be ruined almost as soon as my feet touch the floor – but today that’s just about exactly what happened. I had an exam for school scheduled for mid-morning, and I awoke early enough to enjoy an enormous volume of coffee, piddle around online briefly AND review some of the test material before I would need to hit the shower and head out. This happened to coincide with his getting out of bed, dressing for work, and leaving for work. As he neared my home’s door to exit he let me know that he would actually be gone only a short while because he was going in for just one client and would then be returning home to then head back out to go to a wedding.

“A wedding?” I asked. “Whose wedding?” “Shawn’s,” he said. “You’re such an asshole” I responded. “What? Why?” “Because you just are” I finally said, shaking my head as I walked away from him. He muttered something like, “ok” and then left. For the next 30 minutes, at least, I was pretty upset. At this point you may be wondering why my best friend going to a wedding would be upsetting. Allow me to provide some background.

He and I have known each other since before we either could drive. In fact, LONG before we either could drive. At this point in our lives, I’m almost proud to say, we’ve known each other longer than we haven’t. For me that means a lot because in any human’s lifespan the number of people who fit that description is usually a very small number – which to me makes these folks real gems. And during this expansive period of human time he and I have seen and been through many dark and wondrous things. On more than one occasion I’ve bailed him out of nastiness that was his own creation. Currently, he’s paying (just about THE lowest) rent to stay in what used to be my home’s temple room – which I was glad to help him with, but which was no easy thing for me to allow.

“Yeah, yeah” you say. What’s that got to do with the price of eggs? Well, for starters I have this apparently ridiculous habit of expecting in return, that which I have given. It works like this: I give you respect, and in return you give the same to me. I give you dedication, and in return you give the same to me. That kinda thing, y’know? This ties directly back to my Best because I’ve been just about the only person in his life who has treated him as I do and helped him as I have. That’s not tooting my own horn, please understand. And on top of all that, I don’t actually – really – expect to receive back all that I have given because I know that he’s not capable.

Still, something in me (ego, perhaps?) thinks it should be natural for a grown person to extend to others the same courtesies they have been afforded. The wedding he planned to attend today was that of a hair client of his, who also works at the gym where my Best works. They’ve known each other well enough to be “friends” for maybe 18 months. And even if it’s twice that long, it still doesn’t compare with the nearly 20 years he and I have been close – in neither duration nor quality of relationship. So many times I’ve asked him to take a day off work to do something together. In virtually every single instance he’s refused flat-out and almost immediately – citing reasons like his boss is a Nazi and wont let him take time off, or there’s not enough time for him to submit the PTO request (even when this was more month in advance!). And yet, to take time off to attend someone’s wedding is no problem.

I’ve asked my Beloved about all of this. He happens to know my Best quite well. His response was that my Best is immature, self-centered, and immensely self-serving and that it should be no wonder that he behaves in the way that he does. I agree, and it makes me feel silly for kind of ignoring the truth about who my Best is. My Beloved has suggested that I tell the Best exactly how I feel about all of this – which is typical for me. But something about these things lately (there’s this and a few other things that have been building up) is keeping me from doing that. Instead, I’ve fond it more manageable to hold my tongue around him and even be a little cold. The Best has remarked once or twice this week that I’ve been “hateful” lately, but as far as I can guess I’m doing him a favor by holding my tongue. People don’t usually enjoy being told about themselves, and those who know me in person can probably attest that if there’s anyone who’ll tell people about themselves, it’s me.

Perhaps going forward I’ll be anyone’s Best, but will refuse having Bests myself until I can do so without certain hopes. I apologize that this post seems to be as much rant as anything, and I’m not entirely certain how much of it ties together well or if I’ve communicated the real point I meant to. At any rate, you can’t get blood from a turnip and I really need to stop trying.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Verdächtigung

So, what gives meaning to a symbol is the who behind the symbol, not the what behind the symbol. I would request all of you not to be fascinated by these explanations of symbols, because while Reality can be expressed in symbolic form, a symbol cannot lead you to Reality. Otherwise, everybody who worshipped the cross should have been liberated long ago. You know, the Hindu temple-goer is often criticized as an ignorant idol worshipper. I don’t see how a Christian is less of an idol worshipper. What are you worshipping? A cross? Is it not an idol?

So, when we put an idea into a material object, that becomes idolatry. Whereas if you remove the object or the essence from its material bondage, that is liberation. So for a soul, liberation is release from the travails of space and time. Please also remember that if you continue with this thinking, one cannot see God, because He is the creator of space and time, but one can experience God. Therefore we have the presence of God, but not the vision of God. Therefore be suspicious of anybody who tells you that he saw God. Be very suspicious! Also, be suspicious of qualities of God – “God is kind. God is benevolent. God is generous.” – because if He were these things, He would also be cruel, un-generous, and unkind. Because where one quality exists, its opposite must exist… Therefore, God cannot have qualities. Therefore God cannot even have a mind, because if He had a mind, He would be subject to good thoughts and bad thoughts.

Now, I think Christianity, somewhere along the way, you know, blundered into this mistake of not only putting God somewhere in heaven, creating a permanent duality between heaven, earth, and hell, but also of attributing qualities to the divine. We are also prisoners of those qualities. You have only to look at abhyasis who say, “Oh, sometimes Master is kind, sometimes he is cruel.”, forgetting this fact, that if you are kind you must be cruel too. No doctor can help you without giving you pain. Does such a doctor exist? I don’t think so.

So you see, when we symbolize life, and say that a pleasurable life is a good life, and a life of pain is a bad life, we are bound to make terrible mistakes. So you see, symbols can be misconstrued, wrongly created, and wrongly used. Symbols are only good for the wise people, like anything else. Money in the hands of a wise man is good. Power in the hands of a wise man is good.

The common people should avoid symbols even more than they should avoid money or power.

You see, we keep coming back to this idea of pain. It is inevitable… Liberation and pain are bound together, until we realize this fact, that pain is a sign of liberation. We are going to avoid pain , therefore we are going to avoid liberation. And the more we go towards pleasure, the more we are going into bondage and suffering.

So, pain is different from suffering. This is you must kindly remember, that there can be suffering without pain, and one can have a great deal of pain without suffering. It is unfortunate that the two have come to be mixed up. That pain is suffering and suffering is pain is a mistake. We suffer more from our pleasures than from our pain. -Chariji Maharaj, The Role of the Master in Human Evolution

The Important One

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A Sahaj Marg book I finished a while ago, like many other of the Marg’s books, has me really pondering some things. I’ve been planning to write a post about the unity of Truth and how it is indivisible and had kept putting it off. Based on reading of late, I kinda feel like this might be that post but I’m still yet unsure.

Let’s see where this goes.

So, within the Sahaj Marg the focus is absolutely on spirituality and not religion. In fact, religion has been referred to as a form of kindergarten which is eventually (when the individual is ready) surpassed, transcended, and left behind. Naturally, abhyasis are encouraged to transcend that component of human existence as soon as he or she is able. It’s because of this that Sahaj Marg doesn’t endorse any particular form of God or murti or mantras, yantras or tantras, etc… Depending on who you speak to within the Sahaj Marg there is assigned more or less value on these things, but the Goal is understood to be far beyond and infinitely more subtle than any component of religion can actually offer.

I think one critique Chariji offers of the Hindu religion (which, btw, he is clear about thinking is the most sublime of humanity’s many paths.) is its depiction of Truth, or rather its multitudinous depictions. Our Vedas are clear in the popular mahavakyam, “Ekam sat – vipraha bahudha vadanti,” but I think in the hands of humans this often becomes a trap of sorts. Instead of focusing on the “Ekam” we focus on the “vipraha bahudha vadanti.” Yeah, sure – we use this to validate the assertion that all paths are valid and contain the same Truth. But even then, the emphasis placed on the One Truth is weak and we still find ourselves having to make a strong effort to see past external differences to find that One. The attention is always given to the “various ways” in which Truth is experienced and expressed. This can be understood to be the foundation of religion, and if not, then certainly the skin it develops.

Deepak Chopra has said that all religion really is, is the attempt at replicating one person’s experience of That. I experience Yoga, I tell you the path I took and possibly even recommend it, and then you attempt to recreate that experience yourself. Voila: The Religion (of Yoga).

Speaking of religion, Yoga was likely never intended to be a religion. Well, at least not a religion that belonged to more than the soul practicing it. Yoga was around long before religion was and that’s a very powerful and indicative piece of knowledge. Truth is one – yoga is one. And those who experience it, experience and name it variously. Ekam Sat, vipraha bahudha vadanti. No where in that mahavakyam do we read, “Truth is one and groups of people experience it collectively.” The minute you have groups experiencing collectively, or trying to, you have religion. You have separation.

If one group says, “We experience Truth like this” and another says, “We experience Truth like that” you can assume they’re speaking of the same Truth – after all if Truth is one, then those experiencing it must be experiencing the Same. But you can also know that something not quite true is being said. A more accurate thing for them to say would be, “We try to experience Truth together in this way.” But even then they’re missing the mark: They are seeking the same Truth, perhaps in the same way, but so long as the individuals within that group have unique karmas and samskaras, etc… you can be sure the experiences will be equally unique – not the same.

Just some food for thought on your Thursday. I’ll close with a quite from the well-known Dr. Vamadeva David Frawley, “The Hindu mind does not seek to impose itself upon people from the outside through force or persuasion. It is not interested in a mere change of names, labels, titles or beliefs. It looks to restoring our linkage with the higher consciousness behind the world, whatever name or form we might want to approach it through. The Hindu mind’s wish is that we reconnect with our true Self and Being that transcends all outer appearances and religious divisions and that we honor all the various expressions that Self takes, which can never be reduced to one religion, philosophy, language or culture.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti