Tuesday, December 5
- We hear from Poland, Bombay, Hawaii, the Heartland of America, the
Canary Islands, Nova Scotia, the U.K., in these brilliant and startling
posts. You'll have to join the list to see a photo Jan's broken foot and
to see and hear all about his cat, or to find out everything you wanted
to know about nontriality, and to read more of what is here.
Jan had asked of the spiritual experiences of people in the presence of
Ramana Maharshi. Here are selected portions of Professor Krishnamoorthy
Aiyer's description of what happened when he visited the Sage Ramana
again for the second time after many years. The Kundalini experiences
might be interesting to some and may appear bizarre to others. To the
Hindu mystics, they are pretty normal. The description of the Shakti
being finally sucked into the Spiritual Heart and the perception of the
universe being permeated with awareness is a beautiful account from a
genuine mystic and devotee of Sri Ramana.
Love to all
Professor N. R. Krishnamoorthy Aiyer . MY NEXT VISIT to the Maharshi
was in 1934 on a Jayanti Day. He was sitting on a raised platform under
a pondal (thatched roof), specially constructed in front of the
Mother's Shrine. As the celebration was going on, all the devotees were
seated around him. While sitting there, my eyes were intensely fixed
upon the Maharshi and I saw his form assume different manifestations.
It first changed to the Avatar of Vishnu ( Vahar Avatar ). Then his
form changed into that of Ganesha, the elephant God. Next it suddenly
changed and I saw Ramana and Arunachala as one. Then I had the vision
of the whole Arunachala Hill - the top of the Hill was transparent and
inside it I saw a Shiva Lingam, similar to what we see in temples.
Devotees were singing the Marital Garland of Letters. When they began
singing the last couplet, "My Lord let us exchange garlands - the
devotee (the bride) garlands the Lord Arunachala (the groom), and the
Lord garlands the devotee," I suddenly saw garlands of flowers all over
the pondal. The Maharshi had a string of flowers garlanded around his
neck, and all the devotees (including myself) had a string of flowers
around their necks. I saw a large garland around the Shiva Lingam on
the hill top. All these garlands were shining with a dazzling
brilliance. This experience convinced me of the existence of the
deities mentioned in our ancient scriptures.
Later that evening in the Old Hall I sat at the feet of the Maharshi.
He was reclining on the couch gazing westward and I sat on the floor
facing him. Our eyes fixed, one upon the other, were pinned together
for quite a long time. I then saw the form of the Maharshi take the
shape of Ardhanareswara.
Ardhanareswara is one aspect of Shiva - one half is the Mother and the
other half is the Father; one half of the form had a breast and the
other had a trident. Around us the pundits were reciting Sanskrit
verses. As it went on, I began to witness certain changes in my body
taking place. I saw a pair of serpents rising from the base of my spine
in a criss-cross, spiralling manner. They rose to the crown of my head
and spread their hoods. One was red; the other blue. The whole cranium
became suffused with a bright light. My attention was fixed upon the
point between my eyebrows where the serpents' heads were pointed.
All of a sudden there was a splitting of the skull from the top front
to the back. This was followed by an upward gush of a reddish flame
shooting out from the top of my head. While this was flowing out, a
stream of nectar issued from the single breast of the Ardhanareswara
form of the Maharshi and a second stream of nectar flowed out from the
top of Arunachala. Both streams landed on my head and sealed the break
in my skull.
When the skull was sealed I experienced a brilliant light, like that of
an arc lamp, and an indescribable joy and coolness filled my being.
This light and joy continued for several hours. During this time I
didn't move about and I was unconscious of what was going on around me.
You may have seen a light focused on to a concave mirror. Its light is
reflected with a single beam onto a point. Well, sometime about
midnight all the light, like a concave mirror, was focused onto the
Heart. Then all the light drained into the Heart. The Kundalini was
completely sucked into the Heart and the Heart was opened - that is the
seat of Arunachala Ramana.
The Heart is normally closed, but when it was opened - I never knew any
of these things and never read any theory. These are all practical
experiences - a flood of nectar gushed forth and drenched every pore of
my skin, drenched my whole physical system. It poured out, out, went on
coming out in a great flood. The whole Universe was filled with that
The wonder of it was that my awareness was not in the body - my
awareness was over the whole of the space filled with that Nectar. The
whole Universe was Nectar. I call it Nectar; you could call it Ether,
something very subtle, attached with awareness at every point. And
everything living and non-living was like snow flakes floating in that
ocean of Nectar.
If you ask me what my body was, my body was the whole universe of
Nectar, attached to awareness at every point. No particular association
from the one body from where it started - this body was like every
other body. By morning everything subsided, though the underlying
experience remained. I was totally unconscious of my body. I was moving
around like an automaton, unaware of my body. In that state I returned
to Madurai where I was a physics professor.
This was during a Christmas vacation. For the next two weeks I remained
in that state. With the opening of college I was scheduled to give
lectures and my relatives became rather concerned, for my behavior had
Professor N. R. Krishnamoorthy Aiyer
MELODY AND MARCIA
Last week someone to me said, "Melody, you don't have to be happy".
Those words shook my whole body like a thunder bolt. And then they
brought tears of joy.....and a tremendous sense of relief.....and
Up until that moment I hadn't a clue that the " pursuit of happiness"
(one of the principal values held dear by our founding fathers, for
crying out loud) was what tended to *enslave* me, rather than open me
towards more and more liberty.
Identity tends to be built up - based on how well (or how poorly) one
measures their happiness quotient.... a quotient rarely of one's own
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.
I know what you mean about seeing the belief behind the emotion. The
unconscious belief. It is like an axis which the personality or parts
of the personality revolve around but it, itself, is not in the
For myself, I have begun to get glimpses of the idea behind the
emotional reactions I have towards conflict. Somehow I believe that I
am supposed to reconcile the conflict. And if I can't, for whatever
reason, then I fall apart. The idea that I don't have to take care of
it or settle is the thunderbolt experience.
ANDREW, JAN AND DAN
You write of productive thought, problem solving thought,
thought that is a means to an end like getting the car running.
You call it appropriate and so it is.
There is also idle thought, frivolous, apparently addressing
A breakthrough in understanding might very well come with
the metaphysical thoughts arising around the car breaking down.
What the mechanic says about how the car runs might be part of it,
something profound about fuel and spark and timing maybe.
With interest I followed this discussion and although there is no
"right" or wrong", it is correct to state that action is possible
without being conscious of thoughts pertaining to that action. Thoughts
can be compared to the sound of a wooden mast, bending due to the
force, the wind is exerting on the sail. A perfectly flexible mast will
bend but won't give off a sound nor will a perfectly rigid mast.
Whether there is a sound produced by the mast or not, the boat will be
propelled by the wind (action taking place) - unless the mast breaks
down with a very loud sound :) I hope the analogy is clear.
Jan's analogy is useful and
resonant with what I hear Andrew saying.
-- the flexible mast is like the Taoist idea
of the excellent craftsperson,
such as the carpenter who
each piece of wood to
perfection, then assembles
a flawless chair - all without
thinking about it (however,
after years of practice, one
In fact, one might say this:
the infant grows hair without thought
and moves without thinking about it.
later thought is learned.
the carpenter spent years learning to
cut wood and assemble items.
ultimately, thought subsides as
"chair-making" is now beyond
technology and in the realm of art.
one might guess that earlier in his career,
neuronal activity would be measured as more
extensive. as a "master carpenter" brain
waves are concise, specific to the moment,
and aren't self-consciously critiqued.
And to continue the analogy of the ship:
The "action" which is the wind,
ship, and water as gestalt occurs
with no thought whatsoever.
The people on the deck who are
trimming the sails are "using
thought" -- if you equate thought
with neural activity.
The sail-trimmer who is "master sailor", is as if the
sails trim themselves, the movements of
hands are always in the right
place without having to think about it.
It's instantaneous and "on-target".
For the whole, or scene-as-gestalt, it
doesn't depend on thought (or as Andrew might say, no thought
needs to occur). Within the gestalt, thoughts
may be occurring as the deck hands
scramble around. No thought is or can be out
of place in the total gestalt -
The thoughts of individuals
on deck are simply "blips" or ripples
forming within the gestalt.
So, I may or may not be a master carpenter.
I may be a beginning student who thinks excessively about
how to assemble a chair that will "come out right".
I may be a master carpenter who thoughtlessly creates
Yet, as the gestalt which includes student, master, wood,
forest, chair, chair-buyer -- no thought is required.
If the student or master loses any sense of existing separately
from the "scene as gestalt", then for that one, nothing
is out of place, actions are not thought-dependent,
and in fact, thoughts themsevles are actions that
are not thought-dependent.
Water ripples, air ripples on masts,
and the ripples
that are brain waves -- all
aspects of vibrant seamless scene.
> o.k., i knowWho knows?
> there's no one to go anywhere,Is there anywhere to go?
> but here goesWho does?
> going all the way
> not all the way:
> you think you are somebody
> you come and goWho comes and goes?
> you are in an environmentWho is? What environment?
> you imagine othersWho does?
> you sufferWho suffers?
> you let perception create your realityWho does? What does 'letting perception create your reality' actually
mean? Could you explain how those you are referring to here do that?
Are you saying you don't do that? Is that maybe *your* perception?
> all the way:Who is?
> experience is singular
> there is never a moment when you are not
> you are birthless and deathless
> you are free from every kind of thoughtIsn't that a thought?
> you rest in the bliss of beingWho does? Is there anybody to rest?
> love,Who else is there to talk to?
> p.s. you talk to yourself?
Forgive me, I don't usually respond to posts in this way. I don't want
answers to the questions above, but am just pointing out how easy it is
to take a post and imply that somebody doesn't understand by virtue of
the language used which is necessarily dualistic; and how difficult it
is to actually really listen when someone is saying something worth
LILIAN AND SANDEEP
I didn't travel around nor as much as I would like to. Out of my 3
months stay I spent two and a half at Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute
in Pune, practising yoga. Then I went to Gangotri and Himalaya where I
left my heart :)
Well, well, well. You reached Gangotri!!!! That's something.
Did you stay for a few days and see the evening lamp ceremony in the
Goddess temple surrounded by the dark looming mountains.
There is no electricity and the only light illuminating the whole place
is the 200 lit lamps, in the hand of the dancing priest, with the
druming beating surrounded by the stupendous thunder noise of the
Could you trek upto Gaumukh from Gangotri?
I had so little time (I traveled by train) and was so altitude sick
that I didn't manage to see the valey of flowers or other Ganga sources
in the area. Didn't even climb the glacier. But what I saw changed my
life and warms my heart even now. Although it was "only" the mountains
and the river.
Yes, raw nature. And yes the "awesomeness" of only mountains and
There are some pictures from this trip in the archives. I also saw
Ajanta and Ellora, one of the world's wonders.
Ah, so you were at Aurangabad. You must have come from Pune.
At the beginning of my stay I had the appetite for the whole pilgrimage
along the Ganga. But you cannot eat the cake and have it, and I had to
choose. I decided my practise in Puna was more important at the time. I
will be back one day, also to go South, to places like Chiddambarram
and all the wonders of sculpture and achitecture there.
Yes. And you would be entering a totally different country. Don't
forget to move in the back-waters of Kerala. And also the temples of
Madurai, KanyaKumari, Kanchepuram. Unbelievable what can be done with
rock, when you see these structures.
A visit to India is difficult for a foreigner from another climatic
zone. All your senses are overwhelmed by new, strong, often not
pleasant stimuli. Your body pays climatic tribute, you have to watch
what you eat, drink, where you walk or sit.
You are being polite.<s>
India is very difficult, with several centuries of civilization
Mineral water and careful selection of the type of food and the eating
place is a must for overseas visitor.
Also the very mode of travel is an adventure of survival, eh?
Helps if you have an Indian companion.
So visitors' reactions are usually distinct accordingly. For me, it was
like comming home :)
Whereabouts do you live?
(later Liliana responded to Sandeep's question: Could you trek up to
Gaumukh from Gangotri?
I treked to Gaumukh, it was the goal of my trip to Himalayas. I didn't
trek over the glacier though - was too sick. I stayed in a hotel in
Gangotri right across the river from the Goddess temple and each night
I could hear the evening ceremonies performed. They have had installed
the loudspeakers at the temple that bring the chants outside, now. I
sleep very lightly and am easily disturbed but this time I didn't mind
:) I didn't see the lamp ceremony you mention, there. I saw the evening
light ceremonies at Haridvar. Yes, you used the right words: "the
stupendous thunder noise of the gushing Ganga". And yet it sounds like
a lullaby :)
But I saw sth very beautiful in Gangotri. On my descend from Gaumukh I
could see the temple-yard from the distance in the early dusk. And then
I saw those beautifull, rich and clear colours, patches of them,
scattered on the Temple's white background. I couldn't figure out what
it was until I was close enough to recognize figures of the villagers
from the surrounding area that arrived to celebrate Lord Krishna's
birthday. Their attires were in those incredible rich, colours like
red, orange, purple, yellow, green. And they didn't have any design on
them, the colours were not combined together in any elaborate
compositions or cuts, just huge patches of clear, intensive colour they
wrapped in a sophisticated yet simple way around themselves. In this
place with its austere atmosphere it looked exceptionally beautifull.
Ellora already brings you to your knees when you think that all those
chambers, pillars and lace ornaments (especially in Jain temples) were
curved from a solid rock wall. I know the places you mention from art
books, they are all on my list :)
Terry Murphy asked: "Why in particular don't enlightened people get
together to open Taverns or break into Prisons?"
this makes me giggle. and i love your "innocent" question about why
doesn't everyone love each other.
from "my" point of view there are no enlightened people. if you think
you are a person, you aren't enlightened! do you get all the characters
in your dream together to open a tavern? -- hey, wait a minute, isn't
that what is happening right here?--
to me, saving the world is a goofy proposition. it is the seeming
importance of trying to do something in or to your "world" that keeps
one in it. ( and keeps one from knowing the truth) the world is in you,
you are not in a world.
to always be quoting the maharshi seems redundant but as far as i can
see his "method" is the most direct. "who sees a world?" "who sees that
people don't love each other?" does that one really exist? does this
world really exit? finding the answer does not leave you with nothing,
it leaves you perfectly whole and only bliss is served at your tavern.
TERRY MURPHY AND DAN BERKOW
Responding as one who has done much teaching
in "live" arenas:
Let "them" talk, let "them" hear themselves talk.
Perhaps in hearing themselves talk, the speaker
Perhaps the opportunity to hear oneself speak,
reflected back, will give pause.
In this pause is wisdom.
Who is the one who talks?
Who is the one who hears?
When listening, really listen.
I don't think you are hearing what I am saying.
Any holding of opinion is inhibition of
"I" must be there as the one who reacts,
the one who holds opinion, the one
who knows what is "right" for the world.
I never said I knew what was right for the world. In fact, I take a
very dim view of the possibilities. My idea was that the human race
does have a 'right' function in the world ecology, if it is not simply
to be a cancer on the planet. You may well be aiding that function with
your insight and willingness to speak about it. There may be other ways
to aid that function other than the commitment to personally work on
setting individuals free from the confines of ego.
If "I" am not being constructed, nor held,
what cherishing of opinion is there?
If "I" am not being held, what reaction
would there be about whether words might
elevate some unknown listener, or whether
words are said for the speaker?
"I" am not attached to what I am saying, it is my providence, as your
work is yours. "I" am not being constructed or held by what I am
saying, quite the contrary. You are hanging on to your individuality
here in this conversation, where as I am trying to point to the
possibility of enlightened minds *consciously* working together to
*create* values for the future. Submerging their individuality.
When there is speech with no speaker,
then all that is said is, "love" ...
Saying it and being it are not quite the same. Love goes far
We should not be providing answers, we should be helping people find
the right questions.
This was the essential point. You certainly are one of the 'masters'
(or pundits? - can you describe your self?) on this list. You generate
reams of material which all speak to the same point you make above. For
the most part, that sort of material is probably useful to many people,
because people tend to make a lot of assumptions and then rush off to
save the world with them. Causes like, 'save the children' attract
them, when actually there are way too many people on the planet
already. The vast majority of people need to examine their inner
territory and learn who they are before trying to exercise their
powers. "Creators are cold" says Nietzsche. The tao te ching speaks of
the people as 'straw dogs' and notes that "nature faces with equanimity
the decay of its fruits." None of these "I"s has any particular
significance, yours or mine or anyones. I know this. I have spent many
years speaking of spiritual subjects to people, speaking of the
emptiness of the ego. I also spent many years living in a commune where
we had some success actually *living* brotherhood. There is individual
talk to other individuals aimed at reducing their attachment to
individuality; there certainly is a place for that sort of 'preaching.'
There are many on the list to whom such ideas are liberating, so god
bless you in your work and I hope you carry on with it. What I am
trying to do is something different. Like Nietzsche, like the I Ching,
I am talking to the superior man, to the enlightened ones (as well as
the little ones, who will inherit). Unlike the ancient masters or the
modern ones, it appears to me that there are actual enlightened beings
walking around with us, that there have been many people who have
awakened in the last twenty-five years, even a few on the nds list.
People like yourself. The sort of teaching that you do, while
technically correct, may be something of a rut, my friend. Some of us
are not dominated by our egos and don't need to be informed of the
insight that you exclusively promote. Some of us may have something for
*you* to listen to (recall the HIK quote about us all being disciples
and there being no individual teachers).
My experiences in communal living have convinced me that group action
is *far* more powerful in altering minds (raising consciousness) than
individuals preaching out of their own enlightenment. Jesus, Muhammad
and the Buddha all had groups around them, but their groups had very
little effectiveness, except as support for their guys. I mentioned
Vivekananda because of the extraordinary interaction between
Vivekananda and Ramakrishna, and the success of their 'poor boys' even
in the political arena. That two such congenial and elevated minds were
able to coordinate their energies was a foreshadowing of the
possibilites that may exist when numbers of enlightened people can work
together, in a practical way, to elevate the spirituality of humankind.
Practical aspects of this idea include the buddhist style promotion of
goodness in accordance with the individual's own lights (this is
'skillful means,' of course). Further than this is the idea that whole
communities, even nations could be based on spiritual principles (the
Sarvodaya Self-Help Movement, tragically cut short by the Sri Lankan
civil war, comes to mind).
This is visionary stuff, Dan. Not preaching or poetry or suggestive
ideas. Can you see the difference? If your philosophy has you so high
that practicality is lost, then you are putting all your energy into
foliage and none into your roots; ideally the roots go as deep as the
tree goes high. I am speaking of possibilities that have never before
been possible, because too few people could understand the sort of
thing you were saying above, and no internet to bring them together.
But the fact that you feel it desirable to say it *to me* makes me feel
that you are missing the point, not seeing me clearly. I saw completely
through my ego more than thirty years ago, when virtually no one knew
what I was talking about.
You are perhaps familiar with the sutra of Hui-Neng; perhaps with the
philosophy of Hegel. The 'dialectic' recommended by hui-neng to his
disciples involved bringing up the 'other side' to anything that was
being expressed, thus to complete a whole. Talk of the absolute and he
would bring up the phenomenal; speak of the phenomenal and he would
bring up the absolute. Philosophies such as yours dominate this list,
and when I approach my natural tendency is to try to turn some of this
lovely energy into practical channels, because that is what I see as
dialectically the antidote or completion of these ideas. At this point,
'practical channels' does *not* refer to going out and saving the
children, without thinking about it. The start of practicality for
spiritual movements in the global village is for enlightened people to
begin to examine the scope of the problem, not as individuals but as
participating members of a greater whole, a 'more-than-human' (vs
'all-too-human') construct of originally separated minds who realize
they are separate no more. I know you think this is a step behind where
you are coming from, but I would say it is a step beyond (as a cart
follows a wheel, or a shadow follows a form). New ideas are never
understood and accepted very quickly. You have a fixed view and you
cling to it. That which frees us, in the course of time, may become a
hindrance; the buddhist metaphor is of a man who constructs a raft to
cross a river, and once across, insists on carrying the now useless
raft on his back. I hope you are getting a glimmer of what I am saying
Nietzsche said (pardon my German), from the mouth of Zarathustra:
"And life itself told me this secret: 'Behold,' it said, 'I am that
*which must overcome itself again and again.* [italics in original]
The words are not the teaching, indeed, but *the teaching is not the
teaching* either. I once knew a guy who had a computer program which
would replace words in a sentence. He programmed it with the first line
of the Tao Te Ching, "The Name that can be Named is not the true Name"
and used his program to replace 'Name' with random nouns: The Horse
that may be Horsed is not the true Horse; The Wheel that can be Wheeled
is not the true Wheel. And so on. He wrote a very amusing letter about
playing with this, the insight has stuck with me that arose from it. In
Zen they say that nothing is what it seems, but neither is it
otherwise. Names, each of them, are like a path through the meadow or
the woods, a common way where the going is easy, where a Thing is
generally recognizable. Naming a thing brings it into our world, makes
it tameable; something felt but unnameable is frightening, as the
Unknown is frightening. Yet the Unknown is the Mother of all Things.
The words are not the teaching, the teaching is the motive or Will of
the being who is communicating. That Will, to be genuine teaching, is
always at the point of self-overcoming.
The tao te ching often indicates that the teaching is not in words. In
Chapter 15, they explain that the truth is beyond expression, and that
it might be partly communicated by describing the appearance of the
masters of the Way themselves.
Tao Te Ching (feng/english)
The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, reponsive.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding, like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.
Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by a desire for change.
"Not swayed by a desire for change." The sage seeks, like water, the
common level. In chapter 80, the ideal land is pictured, a land where
the people's "food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple,
their homes secure; they are happy in their ways." A place where the
seasons come and go and time is counted only cyclicly, never linearly,
a land where no one is swayed by the desire for change, where people
are fulfilled, complete. The sage is the teaching, and the
savior-continually-being-saved, the uncarved block & melting ice. Words
are no more than birdsong.