#1956 - Thursday, October 21, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
- #1956 - Thursday, October 21, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
There Will Be a Great War
Mercedes de Acosta:
A Search in Secret India (Paul Brunton's book) had a profound influence on me. In it I learned for the first time about Ramana Maharshi, a great Indian saint and sage. It was as though some emanation of this saint was projected out of the book to me. For days and nights after reading about him I could not think of anything else. I became, as it were, possessed by him. I could not even talk of anything else. Nothing could distract me from the idea that I must go and meet this saint. From this time on, although I ceased to speak too much about it, the whole direction of my life turned toward India. I had very little money, far too little to risk going to India, but something pushed me towards it. I went to the steamship company and booked myself one of the cheapest cabins on an Indian ship, the S. S. Victoria, sailing from Genoa to Bombay toward the beginning of October.In Madras I hired a car, and so anxious was I to arrive in Tiruvannamalai that I did not go to bed and traveled by night, arriving about seven o'clock in the morning after driving almost eleven hours. I was very tired as I got out of the car in a small square in front of the temple [Arunachaleswara Temple]. The driver explained he could take me no farther.I turned toward the hill of Arunachala and hurried in the hot sun along the dust-covered road to the abode about two miles from town where the Sage dwelt. As I ran those two miles, deeply within myself I knew that I was running toward the greatest experience of my life. When, dazed and filled with emotion, I first entered the hall, I did not quite know what to do. Coming from strong sunlight into the somewhat darkened hall, it was, at first, difficult to see; nevertheless, I perceived Bhagavan at once, sitting in the Buddha posture on his couch in the corner. At the same moment I felt overcome by some strong power in the hall, as if an invisible wind was pushing violently against me. For a moment I felt dizzy. Then I recovered myself. I was able to look around the hall, but my gaze was drawn to Bhagavan, who was sitting absolutely straight in the Buddha posture looking directly in front of him. His eyes did not blink or in any way move. As he sat there he seemed like a statue, and yet something extraordinary emanated from him. I had a feeling that on some invisible level I was receiving spiritual shocks from him, although his gaze was not directed toward me. He did not seem to be looking at anything, and yet I felt he could see and was conscious of the whole world.After I had been sitting several hours in the hall listening to the mantras of the Indians and the incessant droning of flies, and lost in a sort of inner world, (a devotee) suggested that I go and sit near the Maharshi.I moved near Bhagavan, sitting at his feet and facing him. Not long after this Bhagavan opened his eyes. He moved his head and looked directly down at me, his eyes looking into mine. It would be impossible to describe this moment and I am not going to attempt it. I can only say that at this second I felt my inner being raised to a new level - as if, suddenly, my state of consciousness was lifted to a much higher degree. Perhaps in this split second I was no longer my human self but THE Self. Then Bhagavan smiled at me. It seemed to me that I had never before known what a smile was. I said, "I have come a long way to see you."There was silence. I had stupidly brought a piece of paper on which I had written a number of questions I wanted to ask him. I fumbled for it in my pocket, but the questions were already answered by merely being in his presence. There was no need for questions or answers. Nevertheless, my dull intellect expressed one."Tell me, whom shall I follow - what shall I follow? I have been trying to find this out for years by seeking in religions, in philosophies, in teachings." Again there was silence.After a few minutes, which seemed to me a long time, he spoke. "You are not telling the truth. You are just using words - just talking. You know perfectly well whom to follow. Why do you need me to confirm it?" "You mean I should follow my inner self?" I asked. "I don't know anything about your inner self. You should follow THE Self. There is nothing or no one else to follow."I asked again, "What about religions, teachers, gurus?""Yes, if they can help in the quest of the Self. But can they help? Can religion, which teaches you to look outside yourself, which promises a heaven and a reward outside yourself, can this help you? It is only by diving deep into the spiritual Heart that one can find the Self." He placed his right hand on his right breast and continued, "Here lies the Heart, the dynamic, spiritual Heart. It is called Hridaya and is located on the right side of the chest and is clearly visible to the inner eye of an adept on the spiritual path. Through meditation you can learn to find the Self in the cave of this Heart."It is a strange thing but when I was very young, Ignacio Zuloaga said to me, "All great people function with the heart." He placed his hand over my physical heart and continued, "See, here lies the heart. Always remember to think with it, to feel with it, and above all, to judge with it." But the Enlightened One raised the counsel to a higher level. He said, "Find the Self in the real Heart." Both, just at the right moment in my life, showed me the way.I definitely saw life differently after I had been in his presence, a presence that just by merely "being" was sufficient spiritual nourishment for a lifetime. There was a change - a transformation of my entire consciousness. And how could it have been otherwise? I had been in the atmosphere of an egoless, world-detached, and completely pure being. I sat in the hall with Bhagavan three days and three nights. Sometimes he spoke to me; other times he was silent and I did not interrupt his silence. Often he was in samadhi. I wanted to stay on there with him but finally he told me that I should go back to America. He said, "There will be what will be called a 'war', but which, in reality, will be a great world revolution. Every country and every person will be touched by it. You must return to America. Your destiny is not in India at this time."Before leaving the ashram, Bhagavan gave me some verses he had selected from the Yoga Vasishta. He said they contained the essence for the path of a pure life.
"Steady in the state of fullness,
which shines when all desires are given up,
and peaceful in the state of freedom in life,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!""Inwardly free from all desires,
dispassionate and detached, but outwardly active in all directions,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!""Free from egoism, with mind detached as in sleep,
pure like the sky, ever untainted,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!""Conducting yourself nobly with kindly tenderness,
outwardly conforming to conventions, but inwardly renouncing all,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!""Quite unattached at heart but for all appearance acting as with attachment,
inwardly cool but outwardly full of fervour,
act playfully in the world, O Raghava!"
I sorrowfully said farewell to Bhagavan. As I was leaving he said, "You will return here again." I wonder. Since his physical presence has gone I wonder if I shall. Yet often I feel the pull of Arunachala as though it were drawing me back. I feel the pull of that sacred hill of which he was so much a part and where his mortal body lies buried.Mercedes de Acosta, Here Lies the Heart
Nisargadatta Maharaj1. "Go deep into the sense of 'I am'
and you will find.
How do you find a thing you have mislaid or forgotton?
You keep it in your mind until you recall it.
The sense of being, of 'I am' is the first to emerge.Ask yourself whence it comes,
or just watch it quietly.
When the mind stays in the 'I am', without moving,
you enter a state that cannot be verbalized
but can be experienced.
All you need to do is to try and try again."
2. "I see what you too could see, here and now,
but for the wrong focus of your attention.
You give no attention to your self.
Your mind is all with things, people and ideas,
never with your self.
Bring your self into focus,
become aware of your own existence.
See how you function,
watch the motives and results of your actions.
Study the prison you have built around yourself,
3. "We discover it by being earnest,
by searching, inquiring,
questioning daily and hourly,
by giving one's life to this discovery."
4. "Look at the net and its many contradictions.
You do and undo at every step.
You want peace, love, happiness
and work hard to create pain, hatred and war.
You want longevity and overeat,
you want friendship and exploit.
See your net as made of such contradictions
and remove them --
your very seeing will make them go."
5. "How do you go about finding anything?
By keeping your mind and heart on it.
Interest there must be and steady remembrance.
To remember what needs to be remembered
is the secret of success.
You come to it through earnestness"
6. "What is supremely important is to be free
the goal and the way must not be on different levels;
life and light must not quarrel;
behaviour must not betray belief.
Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness;
you must not go back, undo, uproot,
abandon the conquered ground.
Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit
will bring you to your goal."
7. "Take the first step first.
All blessings come from within. Turn within.
'I am' you know.
Be with it all the time you can spare,
until you revert to it spontaneously.
There is no simpler and easier way."