- *Editor's note*
Hello everyone, the NDS is extremely busy these days, and to make a selection of
highlights of reasonable length it is inevitable that lots of great posts get left
out. In particular, an ongoing series of posts on Monday and Tuesday from Dan, Greg,
Harsha, Sarlo and others about leaders and followers, the charisma of Gurus, the
psychology of followers, failed gurus, minor teachers, etc. is fascinating reading and
highly recommended, but I have been unable to fit it into the highlights format. Of
course it is available in the NDS message archive. See posts headed False teachers,
Charisma, Self-esteem, ego inflated leaders, Osho and other gurus. You have to join
the NDSalon to read the archives but you can set your membership to 'web only' if you
don't want to be deluged with e-mail. You might also like to check out Gene's
beautiful star mandalas in the files section.
xan: "We'll never be able to explain it."
In a way you just have explained it. One is able to experience
the grace of the guru because one has come to regard the
guru as the living Self. It is one's openness to Grace
that Grace seems to respond to, not one's needs or desires.
~ Ramana Maharshi said Self and Grace and Guru are all one thing.
Inquiring into one's source all is there, all is given.
~ The phenomenon of awakening from the dream of limited identity is both
more complex and simpler than the intellect can grasp. How it happens is
unique and intimate for each person.
<snip> I myself know
this inner voice. When I've first "discovered"
it, I was literally amazed: "Hey, it's
fantastic, you're always enlightened!" :-)
Yeah, because this inner voice KNOWS
BY ITSELF perfectly what is RIGHT or
WRONG for ANY problem and without
the need of the intellect's intervention.
Intellect's intervention is only a reaction
of a conditioning accumulated knowledge.
But the difficulty persists because it's
very difficult to distinguish this inner
voice from a subtle but conditioned
FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT (Chogyam Trungpa)
First thought, OK, but which one? :-)
Anyone can have a flash in the pan,
and then another flash, ad nauseum, but getting to the bottom
of identity and cutting that is where I think the real work is. Someone
used the analogy, which I think is a good one about crossing a
bridge. And people can cross the bridge back and forth, back and
forth their whole lives, but crossing the bridge and burning
the damn thing down is another story. That's Understanding.
~ Yep. Down to the root of identity, for sure.
For some it is not crossing and recrossing a bridge
but cutting a path through thick forest. Each step
may seem like the others but is freshly taken.
Dear Neo and Xan,
This short exchange really grabbed my attention.
Neo: As to the fear of being alone, when you finally turn around and
face it, it is really quite a joke. All this time we have been striving for
unity, for oneness, and yet we are afraid of it so we push it away. It
really is funny. It is another trick of the ego to keep the veil over our
Xan: Being in a solitary time in my life I went through a similar facing of
loneliness. I discovered that my fear of being alone was actually an
anticipation of future loniness. Being present now, all that other
Neo: Yes. For me as well.
[Jay gets up on his soapbox...]
The periods of perceived aloneness in my life (and I mean the nobody-around
as loneliness *and* the
swarmed-by-people-but-I-still-feel-like-nobody's-around as otherness), in
retrospect, were pregnant with opportunity.
During the more lucid periods (e.g., when I wasn't feeling sorry for
myself), feelings of aloneness were peaceful, an exquisite lightness of
being (not a reference in any way to Kundera's book). When I embraced
aloneness, I was also able to be more present with others than usual. They
noticed it, too. Sometimes the most extraordinary communication would take
place -- without a word being said. Every movement of the eyes, mouth,
hands, each breath, the wind, even traffic seemed to be in just the right
place at just the right time. The
words, when there were words, were like bells ringing in defining clarity --
not in the lexical or cognitive sense, but in awareness. Total
My perception of aloneness was seamlessly transformed into something greater
that allowed me to be in another's being, so to speak. The veils seemed to
lift in those moments and the clamorous ego became quiet, letting the
fluidity of the moment in as if the moment itself were alive.
While I was aware in the moment, it was when I recognized this awareness and
distilled it into "knowledge" that it disappeared as seamlessly as it came.
perhaps my powers of perception weren't so acute as to allow me to discern
the seams where one state met the other, or even if they were discrete
states? I wish I knew what mechanism it was that triggers recognition in me.
I have to answer that question for myself, as it is probably different for
me than it is for you. The question itself is a good start, I suppose.
[Jay steps down from his soapbox...]
As I read your words, I was touched by the fullness of the exchange -- how
it encompassed so much of many of the clearer experiences of aloneness I
have had with such spare efficiency. That I should find such gems here is,
of course, appropriate and timely.
Neo, I have shared this compulsion to strive and suffered its consequences,
along with the rest of the veils. Xan, that we should all be so
being and leaving the becoming to whatever it is that weaves the Grand
Thank you both. What a team!
The apparently paradoxical
beauty of it that we are at
one, but never "assimilated."
As for the use of "we,"
aren't "we" all "vast,"
don't "we" all "contain
~ As my friend said, "Isn't it great there is only one of us?!"
As I said, "I am all of it."
My reading of the Old Testament is obviously not
as thorough as yours. However, I stand by my
conviction that the descriptions of a "God" who
is judgemental, jealous, wrathful and smites
those he doesn't like do not match my experience
of the pure beingness and silent love of Self.
It's too funny, isn't it, to believe this smiting powerhouse
could be meant as a true image of God?
I mean, this God who is
judgmental, wrathful, jealous - why he behaves
exactly like a person. How about that? Perhaps,
such stories can be understood as saying
that when you try to see God, you will end up seeing
yourself, and seeing what you want and believe
you need to see.
The sages that constructed
the Hebrew text shouldn't be taken as believing
the Unthinkable and Unspeakable One (and the Hebrew
tradition is that the name of G-d cannot be spoken
and that G-d cannot be seen or represented) that gave
form to the universe was a human man who carried
on with various emotional states. Another
explanation seems likely - that the average member
of the Hebrew tribe needed to believe that they had
support of a diety who was tough and who would protect
them as they struggled to carry on in their rough, extremely
war-oriented neighborhood. (Not so much has changed
in five thousand years, huh?) These stories about
a wrathful God gave them something to believe
in that they could relate to - a father-figure -
and this is simplistic to we here in this generation
and time, and with our education and scientific knowledge, no doubt.
That the Hebrew
Bible is considered difficult to understand, has
layers of meaning, and much of that meaning is
imparted directly from teacher to student is a time-
honored tradition. (Yes, its similar to the Tibetan
tradition in having direct teacher to student transmission,
"secrets" not given to the general public, and a belief
that there need to be "levels" of meaning and understanding
when spiritual knowledge is concerned.) Also, certainly,
different books had different authors, and were written
to impart different aspects of Truth, and were written
with different images and metaphors.
By the way, Xan, do you believe that God
has blue skin, or many arms and legs? Does this
keep you from looking more deeply into the Hindu
tradition? Kali has been pictured with a necklace
of skulls. Does this mean I have to believe
that Hindus think God is a bloodthirsty woman
who has bad taste in jewelry?
By the way, my conviction is that *no* image
can match or substitute for direct experience.
And that includes words like "love" "beingness"
and various other words that are no more of
a substitute for Reality than the image
of an angry old man smiting people he didn't like.
This conviction of mine seems quite in line with Hebrew
tradition that warns that no image be understood
as representing ultimate Reality, and that no
easy explanation of Reality is possible. Please note
that the God of Abraham was considered a transformative
God, that face to face encounters left one changed forever,
that he was associated with ideas such as not keeping slaves,
forgiveness for transgressions, mercy to the weak, caring
for strangers, and lovingkindness in relationships.
My only point here is that This, as you are wont to say,
is a God that is too simple and too complex for words and
images - so the Bible is a struggle to constructively use words
and images for That which far surpasses these meager vehicles.
-- Love -- Dan
I was searching for Him with a lamp in my hand,
He was laughing,
When i couldnt find Him,
i changed the lamps
He was laughing more,
I discovered finally when I threw the lamps,
that I am Him.
He came from nowhere,
He has no start,
He has no end.
I confined him to shackles, walls
The walls of idelogy, religion, money, spirtuality, relations
Shackles think they can bind Him.
When he is ready to leave,
the walls are afraid for they are going to crumble,
the chains are scared for they are going to rust.
They start speaking logic, for they think have come in contact with Him.
When He leaves there is no more walls, no more chains
He showed me a glimpse of Him.
Then He is hiding again and I am out.
I am in not seeking anything seeking Him again
I am seeking, I am Trying,
I am searching for Him everywhere,
There are Trees, There are Bushes
I Search for Him behind the Trees, behind the Bushes
I Search for Him in Clouds.
I try to Clear the Clouds.
Finally, I am tired by the Search
I Giveup. I say He is nowhere.
I sit relaxed and He Enters into ME.
Accepting that "my" process of life is natural
is my unique gift from life itself.
Denying that my process of life is natural is
a form of non-acceptance of myself and
is therefore a rejection of myself.
My only fear in life is acceptance of myself.
Not accepting that I am enough is at the
root of judgment of others and ultimately
Self-esteem comes from accepting that
I am enough.
As long as I reject who I am now,
I will continue to live in a state of dependency
or want others to be dependent on me.
I wll not have self-esteem or
the ability to support another's growth.
I am learning to trust my own feelings
and my own experiences and
not give that away to others.
My self-esteem...indeed my very
life depend on it.
Thanks for these insights. It sounds like you've done a lot of inquiry and
thought, and come through a great deal with it.
You are very perceptive, indeed.
I have come through the
"dark night of the soul",
to find love and light was there
all along, just waiting for me
to accept it.
I have denied myself,
my life process for 50 years,
and there is something in me,
that is me, that is saying,
No more denying!
No more giveaways!
No more comparisons!
No more judgments!
No more pipe dreams!
No more illusions!
The veil of illusions is
lifting and showing me
who I am...
who I have been all along.
I will probably always
carry my stuff with me,
conditioned patterns do not
fall away easily.
Yet, I know I have come very far
on my path, which is just one of
many paths we all travel on to
reach one destination,
one home, waiting for us to
acknowledge and accept.
One morning a famous swami of Ahmedabad arrived at the ashram. I understood
he had many wealthy disciples and was himself attired in a costly silk,
ochre-colored cloth. He also had several pieces of luggage, which clearly
indicated he was a man of some means. The swami came into the Guest House
for Gentlemen and introduced himself to me. He wanted to know when he could
see the Maharshi. I told him at 10 a.m. I would be going to the hall and he
could accompany me and at that time I would introduce him to the Maharshi.
During that period, between 10 and 11 a.m. every morning in the Old Hall,
Devaraja Mudaliar, Munagala Venkataramiah and I were going through
Venkataramiah's English translation of a Tamil scripture. Bhagavan would
open and hold the Tamil book in his hand and we would read the English
translation for each verse. Then we would discuss it until we found it
acceptable to Bhagavan.
The swami entered the hall with me at 10 a.m. and I introduced him to
Bhagavan. He was fluent in Sanskrit and other languages, and also was well
versed in all the scriptures. He inquired if he was allowed to ask a
question. The consent was given and he asked Bhagavan if Ishwara, the
personal God, actually existed. The Maharshi replied with one of his
standard rejoinders: "We do not know about Ishwara or whether he exists or
not. But what we do know is that we exist. Find out who that 'I' is that
exists. That is all that is required."
The swami was not satisfied with this answer and continued to discuss the
matter, quoting from various scriptures. Bhagavan then said, "If the
scriptures say all this about it, why question me further ?"
This also was not acceptable to the swami and he proceeded with more
elucidation, at which point Bhagavan cut him off by turning to us and
saying, "Come on. Let us begin our work." It is needless to say that the
swami became quite annoyed and soon left the hall.
Later in the day I met him and he told me that my Maharshi doesn't seem to
know very much. I simply replied, "Yes." And although this visitor was
originally planning on staying for three days, he cut his visit short and
left that very afternoon, without ever going back into the hall to see the
Maharshi. Bhagavan later asked me what the swami said before leaving. When I
told him, he simply smiled.
I remember when another similar incident occurred with a famous swami from
Bombay, brought to the ashram by Mr. Bose. Although this swami too was
well-known, had numerous disciples and was always given high honors wherever
he went, in Bhagavan's presence he was just like everyone else: given no
special seat, no special attention and made to sit on the floor with all the
When the swami had asked his first question, Bhagavan remained silent for a
long time. He must have been wondering why there was no answer. Probably no
one had ever, seemingly, ignored him like that before. The question was:
"Which Avatar (incarnation) are you?" After sometime the Mauni (Srinivasa
Rao) came into the hall and Bhagavan said to him, "He wants to know which
Avatar I am. What can I say to him? Some people say I am this and some say I
am that. I have nothing to say about it."
This was followed by a barrage of questions from the swami, who asked about
Bhagavan's state of realization, about samadhi, the Bhakti school, etc.
Bhagavan answered him very patiently, point by point. The swami listened and
whether or not he was satisfied is hard for me to say. Before leaving the
hall, the swami touched Bhagavan's couch, joined his palms in salutation and
In Day by Day with Bhagavan more conversations with this swami have been
recorded. Mr. Bose reported that before the swami boarded his departing
train in town he told him, "I have truly gained something from this visit to
the Maharshi." Bhagavan also commented after his departure, "It will work."
Whenever he made this observation we understood it to mean that the
conversation the person had with Bhagavan will sink in and ultimately have
Now verses 38-40 follow.
38. As long as a man is the doer, he also reaps the fruit of his deeds, but,
as soon as he realizes the Self through enquiry as to who is the doer his
sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma2 is ended. This is
the state of eternal Liberation.
39. Only so long as one considers oneself bound, do thoughts of bondage and
Liberation continue. When one enquires who is bound the Self is realized,
eternally attained, and eternally free. When thought of bondage comes to an
end, can thought of Liberation survive?
40. If it is said, that Liberation is of three kinds, with form or without
form or with and without form, then let me tell you that the extinction of
three forms of Liberation is the only true Liberation.