Tuesday, February 27
- JAMES TRAVERSE
-- Hi Michael, Your comment....... "Then there is the so-called
pathless path that leads to the gateless gate. Very few find
this. Why? That's just the way it is! Do not think these few are
special or superior in anyway. They are just ordinary people.
They have done nothing to deserve their awakening. And they will
tell you that it just happened."
I feel that everyone finds this- eventually. It is true that
some folks spend entire lifetimes pursuing some other paths.
Even the Buddha spent many years exploring austerities before he
realized that 'you can't get there from here'. I feel that folks
on other pathways are the same as the Buddha - they need to
explore in their particular way until they have exhausted
... 'a little faith'.... I feel that folks may use 'a little
faith' (be inspired by the peace of someone like Ramana
Maharshi) to help them give up a path that is not working, and,
I also feel that the faith that they have in their present path
is their biggest obstacle! Another word for the pathless path is
the Unknown and folks would much rather stay with what they
know. Ultimately folks come to the understanding that they have
to abandon 'everything' they know, including faith, and step
into the Void - Or - their suffering is so intense that they
have to let go (die to what they know). Either way, they embrace
the pathless path.
And, as you say, folks at this point have many things in common,
like their attachments are -HAH- gone ...they exhausted them
through their previous practices- Is this doing something to
deserve their awakening? No, it was their doing, following
paths, that kept them trapped!
So, I feel that all paths eventually tie into the pathless path.
Many many folks wander around quite a bit before they get there
and others go more directly.
Hi Jerry et al, Since our gathering in Halifax last month I have
been wondering about a more elaborate gathering? I have been
following the posting on NDS for only a few months so I do not
know if this has come up before.
What made me think this is the requests for connecting with each
other that people have sent and at our meeting, you talked about
a kind of 'next step'.
People say for nonduality there are no tools as such becasue all
tools breakdown like they are approaching a neutron star. There
is no cause for understanding of nonudality because all logic
(cause-effect chain) breaks down. That way everything is
useless, so it is a kind of trivial answer.
Look at it another way, everything is a tool including the most
battered ego (poor thing, it must file a defamtion case on
ego-bashers). Everything you see is, and has to be, a tool to
understand nonduality because otherwise nonduality can not reach
out to that 'thing' (such as intelligence, karma, bhakti etc)
which is unfit to reveal nonduality. Which means intelligence
etc are tough to crack even for nonduality, which means they are
more than nonduality.
Why? I hate to quote scriptures (being a devil myself!) but
chAndogya upaniSat says citta is brahman (intelligence is
brahman) and to the extent people are ruled by intelligence (not
have not yet transcended it) for them intelligence really acts
as a defacto brahman.
karma must be a tool to understand brahman, otherwise the term
"karma yoga" becomes a contradition. When people renouce the
fruits of their karmas at that time they become liberated and
that is how I suppose people do "karma yoga" union through
karma. if fruit of action is not renoounced then karma will lead
to another karma and so on. Guess this is basics but I will
If bhakti does not lead to union, then it is a routine boring
puja and chanting. Devotion itself is another name for merging,
because in devotion there are no two different objects (God and
me). If a bhakta still thinks he is different from paramAtma
then it is not bhakti, just a regular service to a boss, king or
some mafia leader.
Hope this confuses.. :-)
(Please dont copy my notes to holier message boards.)
Hope you enjoy the reading.
AS I SAW HIM - 9
By Arthur Osborne
In December of 1941, Arthur Osborne, a university lecturer in
Siam, was imprisoned by the Japanese. After three and a half
long years, the Japanese were defeated and he was released. He
then traveled to India and settled near Sri Ramanasramam, where
his wife and children were waiting for him.
He had heard of Ramana Maharshi, read his teachings and seen
pictures of him, but doubts remained whether the Maharshi was an
actual Guru who actively guided seekers to salvation. It wasn't
long before this doubt was cleared. He ultimately founded the
ashram journal, The Mountain Path, and left a unparalleled
legacy of literature on the Maharshi and his teachings.
Let us follow him as he tells how his heart and mind were joined
to the silent Sage of the holy Arunachala Mountain.
I ENTERED THE ASHRAM hall on the morning of my arrival, before
Bhagavan had returned from his daily walk on the hill. I was a
little awed to find how small it was and how close to him I
should be sitting; I had expected something grander and less
intimate. And then he entered and, to my surprise, there was no
great impression; certainly far less than his photographs had
made. Just a white-haired, very gracious man, walking a little
stiffly from rheumatism and with a slight stoop. As soon as he
had eased himself on to the couch he smiled to me and then
turned to those around and to my young son and said: "So Adam's
prayer has been answered; his Daddy has come back safely." I
felt his kindliness, but no more. I appreciated that it was for
my sake that he had spoken English, since Adam knew Tamil.
During the weeks that followed he was constantly gracious to me
and the strain of nerves and mind gradually relaxed but there
was still no dynamic contact until the evening of Karthikai
when, each year, a beacon is lit on the summit of Arunachala.
There were huge crowds for the festival and we were sitting in
the courtyard outside the hall. Bhagavan was reclining on his
couch and I was sitting in the front row before it. He sat up,
facing me, and his narrowed eyes pierced into me penetrating,
intimate, with an intensity I cannot describe. It was as though
they said: "You have been told; why have you not realized?" And
then quietness, a depth of peace, an indescribable lightness and
Thereafter love for Bhagavan began to grow in my heart and I
felt his power and beauty. Next morning, for the first time,
sitting before him in the hall, I tried to follow his teaching
by using the vichara, 'Who am I?'. I thought it was I who had
decided. I did not at first realize that it was the initiation
by look that had vitalized me and changed my attitude of mind.
Indeed, I had heard only vaguely of this initiation and paid
little heed to what I had heard. Only later did I learn that
other devotees also had had such an experience and that with
them also it had marked the beginning of active sadhana under
My love and devotion to Bhagavan deepened. I became aware of the
enormous grace of his presence. Even outwardly he was gracious
to me, smiling when I entered the hall, signing to me to sit
where he could watch me in meditation. His face was like the
face of water, always changing and yet always the same. He would
be laughing and talking, and then he would turn graciously to a
small child or hand a nut to a squirrel that hopped on to his
couch from the window, or his radiant, wide-open eyes would
shine with love upon some devotee who had just arrived or was
taking leave. And then, in silence, a moment later, his face
would be rock-like, eternal in its grandeur.
He was unperturbed whatever happened; the majesty of his
countenance was inexpressible; and yet it is no less true that
he was swift and spontaneous in response and that his face was
the most human, the most living, one had ever seen. He attained
Realization without learning and never displayed erudition, and
yet he made himself better versed in the scriptures than the
pundits who came to him for elucidations. He was all compassion,
and yet his countenance might appear immovable, like stone. He
was all love, and yet for weeks together he might not favor a
devotee with a single look or smile. He replied to all
graciously, and yet many trembled and feared to speak to him.
His features were not good and yet the most beautiful face
looked trivial beside him. He often appeared scarcely to notice
devotees, and yet his guidance was as unremitting then as it is
One day a sudden vivid reminder awoke in me: "The link with
Formless Being? But he is the Formless Being!" And I began to
apprehend the meaning of his Jnana and to understand why
devotees addressed him simply as 'Bhagavan', which is a word
meaning God. The vichara, the constant 'Who am I?', began to
evoke an awareness of the Self as Bhagavan outwardly and also
simultaneously of the Self within.
Bhagavan sought to free us from psychic as well as physical
desires, and he therefore disapproved of all freakishness and
eccentricity and of all interest in visions and desire for
powers. He liked his devotees to behave in a normal and sane
way, for he was guiding us towards the ultimate Reality where
perceptions and powers which men call "higher" or "miraculous"
are as illusory as those they call "physical". A visitor once
related how his Guru died and was buried and then, three years
later, returned in tangible bodily form to give instructions.
Bhagavan sat unheeding. It was as though he had not heard. The
bell rang for lunch and he rose to leave the hall. Only at the
doorway he turned and quoted:
"Though a man can enter ever so many bodies, does it mean that
he has found his true Home?"
I observed that he shunned theoretical explanations and kept
turning the questioner to practical considerations of sadhana,
of the path to be followed. He never encouraged any to give up
life in the world. He explained that it would only be exchanging
the thought "I am a householder" for the thought "I am a
sannyasin." Whereas what is necessary is to reject the thought
"I am the doer" completely and remember only "I am"; and this
can be done by the means of the vichara as well in the city as
in the jungle. It is only inwardly that a man can leave the
world by leaving the ego-sense; it is only inwardly that he can
withdraw into solitude by abiding in the universal solitude of
the heart, which is solitude only because there are no others,
however many forms the Self may assume.
Daily I sat in the hall before him. I asked no questions for the
theory had long been understood. I spoke to him only very
occasionally, about some personal matter. But the silent
guidance was continuous, strong and subtle. It may seem strange
to modern minds, but the Guru taught in silence. This did not
mean that he was unwilling to explain when asked; indeed, he
would answer sincere questions fully; what it meant was that the
real teaching was not the explanation but the silent influence,
the alchemy worked in the heart.
I strove constantly by way of the vichara according to his
instructions. Having a strong sense of duty or obligation, I
still continued, side by side with it, to use other forms of
sadhana which I had undertaken before coming to Bhagavan, even
though I now found them burdensome and unhelpful. Finally I told
Bhagavan of my predicament and asked whether I could abandon
them. He assented, explaining that all other methods only lead
up to the vichara.
Early in 1948 constant physical proximity had ceased to be
necessary and professional work had become urgently necessary.
Work was found in Madras. Thereafter I went to Tiruvannamalai
only for weekends and holidays, and each visit was revitalizing.
I was there at the time of one of the operations that Bhagavan
suffered and had darshan immediately after it, and the
graciousness of his reception melted the heart and awoke remorse
to think how great was the reward for so little effort made.
Toward the end, Bhagavan was aged far more than his years. He
looked more like ninety than seventy. In one who had a strong
constitution, who had scarcely known sickness except for the
rheumatism of his last years, and who was impervious to grief of
worry, anxiety, hope or regret, this would appear incredible;
but it was the burden of his compassion. "He who taketh upon
himself the sins of the world."
Devotees came and sat before him, burdened with sorrows,
tormented with doubts, darkened with impurities, and, as they
sat, felt themselves free and lightened. How many have come and
sat there weighed down with the grief of failure or bereavement,
and the light of his eyes has dissolved their pain until they
have felt a wave of peace flood their heart. How many have come
primed with questions which seemed to them all-important and
which their thought and reading has failed to solve; it might be
in desperate hope or as a challenge that they brought the
questions, but as they sat there the questioning mind itself was
brought to tranquility and the questions faded out, no longer
needing to be asked. And then, if they opened their hearts, a
deeper understanding was implanted there. Those who sought
refuge in him felt the burden of their karma lifted; and it was
he who bore the burden.
I was there that fateful April night of the body's death and
felt a calm beneath the grief and a wonder at the fortitude
Bhagavan had implanted in his devotees to bear their loss.
Gradually one after another began to discover in his heart the
truth that Bhagavan had not gone away but, as he promised, is
Since that day his presence in the heart has been more vital,
the outpouring of his Grace more abundant, his support more
powerful. I have been to Tiruvannamalai since then also, and the
Grace that emanates from the tomb is the Grace of the living
I have not given a clear picture of the man who was Ramana, but
how can one portray the universal? What impressed one was his
complete unself-consciousness like that of a little child, his
Divinity and intense humanity.
We shall not see the Divine Grace in human form or the love
shining in his eyes, but in our hearts he is with us and will
not leave us. His Grace continues to be poured out, not only on
those who knew the miracle of his bodily form, but on all who
turn to him in their hearts, now as before.
From Ramana-Arunachala by Arthur Osborne
Where cause and effect no longer holds, nor inside and outside,
nor any quality, where there is neither space nor time -- can it
be said there is neither "being" nor "nonbeing", can it be
called "nameless", "timeless" -- or is that saying too much?
Mark wrote: "why do I persist in this annoying boat schtick? No
reason. just am. Yes, faith is often the vehicle that carries us
on. It may be the boat that brings us to the proverbial 'other
"'What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a...you
never...well I...what have you been doing, then?'`Is it so nice
as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared
to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the
cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating
fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
'Nice? It's the ONLY thing' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he
leant forward for his stroke. 'Believe me, my young friend,there
is NOTHING..absolute nothing... half so much worth doing as
simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on
dreamily: 'messing...about...in...boats; messing....' "
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
YUM, Beth, YUM!!! The Wind in the Willows is one of my all time
favorite books!!! (I want to do a spiritual radio show called
"Piper at the Gates of Dawn"). Here's another story close to my
heart, in which the boat is no longer needed because of the
trick that Rabbit played on me...
Otter's Grandchildren, a Tale of Success By Rhonda H. Rucker
There's an old Cherokee legend that tells how Rabbit tried to
trick Otter out of his sleek, shimmering coat.
The animals wanted to hold an honor dance for the creature with
the most beautiful fur coat. After meeting at the great council,
they decided the honor should go to Otter.
Rabbit was sent to notify Otter and to lead him to the dance. On
the way back, Rabbit tricked Otter into camping at a so-called
sacred place where fire falls at night. To protect his coat,
Otter needed to remove it and hang it on a far-off tree. In
addition, he needed to sleep next to the river in case he caught
After Otter fell asleep, Rabbit created a firestorm by throwing
hot coals in the air above Otter. During the resulting chaos,
Rabbit ran off with Otter's coat. Otter dove into the river,
where he discovered the delights of swimming, and he's been
there ever since.
Gayle Ross tells a longer version, which is wonderful!
Love, Mark ps I know I'm all wet, but hey, the water's lovely!
THE UNSEEN & UNSEEING I
There was an invisible man who was much interested in knowing
himself, but was frustrated since there was nothing he could see
about himself. To compensate for conditions, he concocted an
imaginary persona & life for himself which he could picture in
his mind AND study, and being aware that it was entirely his
creation, anything he learned there from would be an indirect
lesson about himself -- the creator of the imaginary mental
Any who does not recognize this as a singular stroke of genius
is bleary eyed; anyone who does not recognize the practical
significance of the story will remain that way.
OH-O, SAY CAN YOU SEEEEE?
When not fighting for survival, a man's eyes stay stuck on far
away places, (also his "I's").
Daydreaming is the brain's re-processing of memory files when it
has nothing contemporaneously better to do.
Quote of The Day: "When I feel unusually happy I do not feel
particularly concerned about the idea of being more conscious,
Is there something I should be learning from this?!"
Secret of The Day: Nobody knows who the "you" is in them that
can be aware of the thoughts in them.
Consciousness is a cripple who walks only by use of other
people's thoughts, (truth is; he's legless, and all thoughts are
Consciousness must eternally be propped up by some thought --
any thought -- to even exist. Some life, huh?! Forever dependent
for your mere existence on the help of strangers & passers-by
with whom you may have nothing of practical value in common.
If your thoughts are continually reacting to the thoughts of
others, and you believe that you actually think -- then the
joke's on you.
YOU NEED TO REMAIN RICH
There was a man who had a great fortune, but every time he left
his house, part of it was lost.
...(A man always out in the yard chasing the dog is a
laughingstock. Hint for The Day: Use this info on yourself.)
A man who can be discouraged deserves to be discouraged.
... (Not really: "deserves" does not herein mean what you would
think; but rather it signifies a conscious recognition of the
mortally unavoidable -- to-certain-things-born.)
What's on de menu: Those with nothing worth talking about --
talk about themselves, and those with nothing worth thinking
about -- you got it.
Escape Info for The Day: Don't think about you -- think about
Quiz for The Day: (a): While the brain monitors everything else
going on in a man, it shows little interest-in, or much
tolerance-for the frustration inherent in trying to monitor
itself. (b): The brain wants to think, but not about itself.
(c): All brains have an interest in being more conscious, but
few have enough to make them actually DO anything about it.
......(Make room for those awaiting bus Number 8.)