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Spircon -- Light and Sound on the Path

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    Spircon -- Light and Sound on the Path -- Digest of Spiritual Quotes, Satsang Discourses, and Announcements Sant Mat recognizes the great Sages, and Saints of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2012
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      Spircon -- Light and Sound on the Path -- Digest of Spiritual Quotes, Satsang Discourses, and Announcements






      Sant Mat recognizes the great Sages, and Saints of the different traditions who are accomplished in the spiritual goal of human life. Sant Mat respects the Saints, Prophets, and Sages of all traditions: Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Rumi, Baha'u'llah, Mira Bai, etc... Furthermore, Sant Mat believes in the uninterrupted continuation of the emergence of Saints (Masters, Sant Satgurus) on this Earth.


      NOTE: To enjoy all the spiritual quotes, articles, photos, art and icons below, if you're viewing this via email, always click: "Display Images", or "Show Images" for full HTML colors, fonts, and images.


      Contents Below -- In This Issue/Mailing/Blog/Digest:

      * Spircon 2013 Agra Announcement -- Toward a Science of Consciousness;

      * Focus On What Matters;

      * Various Links to Podcasts, Online Books, Blogs and Websites;

      * Behold the Universes Within You;

      * Excerpts from Swami Ji's Letters -- From Master To Disciple;

      * A Tree of Sant Mat: The Murar Declaration and the Inter-Faith Spircon 2010, A Historic Event Held in Agra -- A Basis For Fellowship -- Those Who Attended;

      * Article: An Inclusive Rather Than Exclusive Spirituality: Kirpal Singh and the Lesson of Nag Hammadi (Gnostic Scriptures Found in Egypt);

      * Kabbalah and Inner Light & Sound Mysticism;

      * The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah (Prophet and Mystic of the Bahai Faith);

      * A Radhasoami Prayer by Shiv Brat Lal; and,

      * The Cave of Hands.


      Links

      PODCAST: Inner Space: Close Your Eyes And See: Spiritual Awakening Radio -- Program Length: 60 Minutes. Click to Stream or Download MP3:

      * Many More Podcasts-On-Demand: Spiritual Awakening Radio, and, Sant Mat Satsang Podcasts via Youtube, HealthyLifeNet, and Blog Talk Radio -- GO TO:

      * Background: An Introduction to Sant Mat Spirituality -- GO TO:

      * Sant Mat Library Online -- Recommended Reading -- GO TO: http://www.SpiritualAwakeningRadio.com/library.html

      * Sant Mat Blog With Extensive Archive and Search Engine:

      * Daily Spiritual Quotes via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr:

      * Email/Mailing Lists and RSS Feeds via Yahoo Groups:
      Also, Sant_Santati, Spiritual Awakening at Yahoo, etc.....






      Major Inter-Faith Sant Mat and Radhasoami Event: Toward Science of Consciousness: Spircon 2013: March 3rd Through the 9th, to be Held in Agra -- For More Information, GO TO:




      Focus On What Matters:

      "The essence of life is in remembering God." (Kabir)

      "We are all pilgrims treading the same path and desirous of reaching the same destination ultimately."(Huzur Maharaj)

      "Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter." (Swami Vivekananda)

      "Having been blessed with this human form, one must make proper use of their 'Pradhan Buddhi' or Supreme intellect by utilizing it for the attainment of Self-Realization and thus make fruitful or productive this human birth." (The Shri Paramhans Advait Mat Granth)

      "The desire of an individual to be free from sufferings and to attain the happiness of absolute peace is naturally present in the hearts of all. The purpose of Sant Mat is to provide a system which fulfills the desires of attaining absolute peace." (Maharshi Mehi)

      "Be regular and lovingly devoted to your holy meditations, as that is the central pivot around which the whole sacred teaching revolves and therein an all around development of the soul is granted." (Kirpal Singh, Spiritual Elixir)

      "What matters is the bead that only bows to the Beloved,
      And the tongue that only speaks in adoration of God."
      (Sant Namdev)

      "Be ready at all times for the gifts of God, and always for new ones." (Meister Eckhart, German Mystic)

      Be at peace with your own soul,
      Then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.

      Enter eagerly into the treasure
      house that is within you,

      And you will see the things that are in heaven;
      For there is but one single entry to them both.

      The ladder that leads to the Kingdom in hidden within your soul...

      Dive into yourself and
      in your soul you will discover
      The stairs by which to ascend.

      -- Saint Isaac of Nineveh






      From Master to Disciple -- Excerpts from Swami Ji's Letters

      "Always remember the Lord. My blessings to you are that with a sincere mind, sincere spirit, sincere love, sincere devotion, sincere yearning and sincere attention in the contemplation of the Guru, you may peruse this letter."

      "He is present with you all the time in Shabd Form. Therefore, banish all worry, and look with sincere attention and spirit, and you will get His vision."

      "Always remember the Lord, and, knowing that He is always with you, imbue yourself with His love."

      "Lord in Shabd Form is always with you and is never far. Have patience, and you will get a glimpse of True Light."

      "Be saturated with His love and yearning. Keep away from evil tendencies and leanings. Combating with mind and its forces, remain absorbed in Shabd."

      "Rest assured that His loving memory will always remain with you inwardly in a subtle form. This gift is bestowed on you as a matter of grace, for you have done nothing to incur so much of Huzur's pleasure as to deserve such a great gift. Just as a charitable person gives to an importunate beggar out of his habitual compassion, so to you also, He has given, given, given."

      "I wish you all health and happiness, but keep uppermost in your mind Bhajan, Dhyan and devotion to the Supreme Being. The Grace of the Supreme Being on you is the same, as it was before. Attune yourself to the Will of the Lord. Renouncing all thoughts of the past and future, keep your spirit immersed in Shabd at the time of Bhajan."

      "Fix your spirit in Shabd, and Shabd is in Gagan. Fill your heart with yearning; and heart is at Trikuti. Unite your spirit with Shabd and see beauteous sights. The Til is located within Sukhmana (an artery of the human body, which lies between Ida, on the right and Pingla, on the left), and the form of Jyoti is in the Til. Sit in Bhajan after making your mind and spirit calm, with the help of love and yearning. By the Grace of the Guru, your object will be gained; rest assured, and have no fear whatsoever." (Soami Ji Maharaj's Letters To Huzur Maharaj)

      Know Thyself and the Inner Master: "Realize your real form within, and then proceed further with your Surat (attention-faculty of the soul). Radhasoami enjoins upon you to ascend and meet the Shabd Guru." (Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Poetry, Book One)

      "When your eye turns inward in the brain and you see the firmament within, and your spirit leaves the body and rises upward, you will see the Akash in which is located Sahas-dal-kanwal, the thousand petals of which perform the various functions pertaining to the three worlds. Its effulgence will exhilarate your spirit." (Hidayatnama or Esoteric Instructions, Sar Bachan Poetry, Volume One, Swami Ji Maharaj/Sant Radhasoami Sahib)

      "Rigorous practice of inner meditation will unravel the fourteen levels: the seven levels of 'Pind' or body and the seven levels of 'Brahmaand' or the macro-cosmos, namely: Ajnaa Chakra, Sahasra-Dal-Kamal, Shoonya, Maha-Shoonya, Bhanwar Gufaa and Sat Lok. But for this to happen you will have to, while alert, focus your attention at the place prescribed by the Guru.

      "On reaching into the 'Shoonya' or Void, you will listen to the Sound or Word, the Sound (primeval or Quintessential Sound) through which God has been calling you right from the beginning since you separated from Him." (Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)






      Behold the Universes Within You by Learning the Right Method from an Accomplished Guide (Forwarded post by Pravesh K. Singh)

      That a droplet is contained inside the ocean is common knowledge.
      But very rare are those who can behold the ocean (universes) to be contained within the droplet (body).
      -- Sant Kabir Sahab


      The Drop is within the Sea, and the Sea is within the drop!
      Who gets to know (experience) this? He who has learnt the right skill.
      -- Guru Nanak Dev


      Sleeping alertly (without slipping into the state of ignorance or unawareness), yogis visualize the various cosmos within their wombs.
      -- Goswami Tulsidas


      ...Just as applying that lamp-black, meditators, the accomplished beings and the wise...
      Relish seeing the wondrous spectacles of numerous stellar bodies, mountains and forests within them.
      -- Goswami Tulsidas


      All the features of the Macro-cosmos are there within the body.
      -- Jnana Sankalini Tantra


      As in the body, so in the Universe.
      As in the Universe, so in the body
      -- Yajur Veda


      All knowledge is within, all deities live within.
      All holy places lie within, but can be seen only with the art taught by the Guru.
      -- Jnana Sankalini Tantra


      The Cosmos is within the body; I have seen what lies even beyond these.
      -- Sant Tulsi Sahab


      We entered the house of realization,
      we witnessed the body.
      The whirling skies, the many-layered earth,
      the seventy-thousand veils,
      we found in the body.
      The night and the day, the planets,
      the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets,
      the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple,
      and Israfil's trumpet, we observed in the body.
      Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran --
      what these books have to say,
      we found in the body.
      Everybody says these words of Yunus
      are true. Truth is wherever you want it.
      We found it all within the body.
      -- Poem # 4, Page 20, The Dervish Way by Sufi mystic Yunus Emre


      The microcosm is hidden in the creation of man
      and the macrocosm is the outer universe.
      But for prophets the outer universe is the microcosm
      while the inner universe is the macrocosm.
      -- The Conversations (Maqalat) of Shams of Tabriz
      (Hazret Shams al-Din of Tabriz), Rumi's master






      A Tree of Sant Mat: The Murar Declaration and the Inter-Faith Spircon 2010, A Historic Event Held in Agra

      "We are all pilgrims treading the same path and desirous of reaching the same destination ultimately. Satsang movement has been started to spread the true religion and peace and tranquility in the world and to draw people towards the Holy Feet of Huzur Radhasoami Dayal. This object can be better served by maintaining mutual affection and brotherly relations among different Centres of Radhasoami Faith and working in cooperation to attain the common goal 'as the object of worship of everyone is the same (i.e. Merciful Radhasoami) and the Original Home of everyone is the same (i.e. the Abode of Radhasoami) and the real teachers of everyone are the same Bani and Discourses of Merciful Radhasoami, obviously then, all should have amity and heart-felt love and affection for each other.'" (Huzur Maharaj, Prem Patra)

      ".....The letter of Invitation was sent to Revered Leaders of seven Centres and also the draft of proposed Declaration on the lines of the one adopted by the Sabha at Murar was sent for consideration. Revered Baba Kehar Singh ji Maharaj of Taran Taran and Revered Kanwar Singh Sahab of Dinod participated in the Conclave. The Revered Leaders of Beas and Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission Delhi were going to be out of India on the dates set for the Conclave. Revered Baba Gurinder Singh ji Maharaj of Beas promising to visit Dayalbagh before the end of the celebrations did come on 16th March, 2011. He met Revered Dr. Prem Saran Satsangi Sahab and the two Leaders signed a General Statement declaring that "in all humility the two Satsangs declare once again their adherence in true letter and spirit to the guidelines contained in the Joint Statement (of Param Guru Sahabji Maharaj and Baba Sawan Singh ji Maharaj signed in 1932)." Revered Babaji was welcomed by President, Radhasoami Satsang Sabha on behalf of Satsangis of Dayalbagh of whom 7000-8000 were present and Satsang held. Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission has conveyed full support for Murar Declaration. Revered Agam Prasad Mathur Sahab of Pipal Mandi participated in the SPIRCON Seminar as Chief Guest of Honour and has indicated his support for the Declaration. Mahantji of Tulsi Math of Hathras attended SPIRCON throughout. Representatives of Soami Bagh and Dr. Hazra Group too were invited of which the latter attended SPIRCON."

      The Murar Declaration: A Basis For Fellowship

      Param Purush Puran Dhani Soamiji Maharaj was pleased to declare the Satsang open to general public on the occasion of Basant in the year 1861. This can be said to be the day when Radhasoami Faith was started. To mark the completion of 150 years of this momentous occasion, a year-long celebrations were organised in Dayalbagh and in all the Branches affiliated to it beginning from Basant 2010 and culminating at Holi 2011. Coincidentally, during this period Radhasoami Satsang Sabha, which is the main organising body of Dayalbagh Satsang also completed its 100 years in March 2010. Apart from a Special Meeting for thanksgiving held on 26th March, 2010 (the precise date) at Dayalbagh, a special session of the Sabha was also held at Murar which is the birth-place and home of Param Guru Sarkar Sahab, the fourth Revered Leader of the Faith and under whose inspiration the Sabha was formed.

      In this year of general rejoicing and thanksgiving, it was felt that it would be in fitness of things to send out a message of goodwill and cooperation to various Satsang Centres inspired by the Message of Param Guru Huzur Maharaj (the second Revered Leader of the Faith) in the Prem Patra:

      "We are all pilgrims treading the same path and desirous of reaching the same destination ultimately. Satsang movement has been started to spread the true religion and peace and tranquility in the world and to draw people towards the Holy Feet of Huzur Radhasoami Dayal. This object can be better served by maintaining mutual affection and brotherly relations among different Centres of Radhasoami Faith and working in cooperation to attain the common goal 'as the object of worship of everyone is the same (i.e. Merciful Radhasoami) and the Original Home of everyone is the same (i.e. the Abode of Radhasoami) and the real teachers of everyone are the same Bani and Discourses of Merciful Radhasoami, obviously then, all should have amity and heart-felt love and affection for each other.'"

      It was considered desirable that the Radhasoami Satsang Sabha, Dayalbagh should issue a Declaration emphasising the need for maintaining brotherly and good relations amongst all Centres which would help in spreading the Message of Huzur Radhasoami Dayal faster and more effectively and bring about understanding of the Religion. The joint statement issued by Param Guru Sahabji Maharaj, the Fifth Revered Leader and the Founder of Dayalbagh and Baba Sawan Singh ji Maharaj, the second Revered Leader of Beas Satsang when he visited Dayalbagh in 1932 provided the guiding principle. The Joint Statement stated that because of the understanding reached about the commonality of fundamental beliefs held and practices followed at the two Centres:

      "Satsangis connected with Radhasoami Satsang Sabha Dayalbagh and Beas Satsang will be able to maintain brotherly and affectionate relations with each other. Both the Satsangs will make arrangement for their Satsang independently and every Satsangi will have the right to join the Satsang of his choice and to follow the lead of Head of the Satsang Whose Guidance he likes. The Satsangis would make effort to strengthen the relations of brotherly love. They should abstain from unnecessarily instilling their own ideas and feelings in the minds and hearts of other Satsangis...."






      THE CONCLAVE: Those Who Attended

      In keeping with the concept of Murar Declaration and its objective, it was considered desirable to enlarge the basis for cooperation among different Centres of Radhasoami Faith in the light of the observations made by Param Guru Huzur Maharaj as cited in the note regarding Murar Declaration. Hence immediately following the two-day Seminar on Religion of Saints ('Sants') -- Radhasoami Faith: Spiritual Consciousness Studies (SPIRCON-2010) which was held under aegis of Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed University) and in which practitioners and scholars of Sant Mat from India and various parts of the world participated, it was decided to hold a Conclave of Leaders of different traditions of Radhasoami Faith on 14th November, 2010 at Dayalbagh. In sending out invitations for participation for the Conclave, three criteria were identified that they should:

      (1) recognise Param Purush Puran Dhani Soamiji Maharaj as Avtar of Radhasoami Dayal

      (2) accept Radhasoami Naam as the true Nij Naam and consider

      (3) the practice of Surat Shabda Yoga under the guidance of a living Sant Satguru as the way for attaining salvation.

      Accordingly the letter of Invitation was sent to Revered Leaders of seven Centres and also the draft of proposed Declaration on the lines of the one adopted by the Sabha at Murar was sent for consideration. Revered Baba Kehar Singh Ji Maharaj of Taran Taran and Revered Kanwar Singh Sahab of Dinod participated in the Conclave. The Revered Leaders of Beas and Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission Delhi were going to be out of India on the dates set for the Conclave. Revered Baba Gurinder Singh ji Maharaj of Beas promising to visit Dayal Bagh before the end of the celebrations did come on 16th March, 2011. He met Revered Dr. Prem Saran Satsangi Sahab and the two Leaders signed a General Statement declaring that "in all humility the two Satsangs declare once again their adherence in true letter and spirit to the guidelines contained in the Joint Statement (of Param Guru Sahabji Maharaj and Baba Sawan Singh ji Maharaj signed in 1932)." Revered Babaji was welcomed by President, Radhasoami Satsang Sabha on behalf of Satsangis of Dayalbagh of whom 7000-8000 were present and Satsang held. Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission has conveyed full support for Murar Declaration. Revered Agam Prasad Mathur Sahab of Pipal Mandi participated in the SPIRCON Seminar as Chief Guest of Honour and has indicated his support for the Declaration. Mahantji of Tulsi Math of Hathras attended SPIRCON throughout. Representatives of Soami Bagh and Dr. Hazra Group too were invited of which the latter attended SPIRCON.

      At the Conclave held on 14th November, 2010 a Declaration was issued signed by Leaders of Dayalbagh Satsang, Dinod and Taran Taran Satsang.






      DECLARATION

      The following is the text of the Declaration which was signed by Revered Dr. P.S. Satsangi Sahab, Revered Baba Kehar Singh Sahab and Revered Kanwar Singh ji.

      "Radhasoami Dayal incarnated Himself in the year 1818 in the form of Param Purush Puran Dhani Soamiji Maharaj in this world for the redemption of jivas. On Basant day in 1861, He declared open His Satsang to public in general which was an event of unparalleled Mercy since the beginning of creation. By His grace Satsang has been making steady progress ever since. The Nijdhar has continued to function in different human forms continuously. We have the assurance that the Nijdhar will not return until it had completed its task of redemption of all the jivas.

      2. In course of time, several Centres of Radhasoami Satsang have got established. It is with the strength of Nijdhar that the Sant Satgurus of different Centres are maintaining progress of their respective communities.*

      3. We are all pilgrims treading the same path and desirous of reaching the same destination ultimately. Satsang movement has been started to spread the true religion and peace and tranquility in the world and to draw people towards the Holy Feet of Huzur Radhasoami Dayal. This object can be better served by maintaining mutual affection and brotherly relations among different Centres of Radhasoami Faith and working in cooperation to attain the common goal "as the object of worship of everyone is the same (i.e. Merciful Radhasoami) and the Original Home of everyone is the same (i.e. the Abode of Radhasoami) and the real teachers of everyone are the same Bani and Discourses of Merciful Radhasoami, obviously then, all should have amity and heart-felt love and affection for each other."

      4. As Satsang completes 150 years, it is the right time to take an initiative in this direction. We recognise all those belonging to larger Radhasoami community who satisfy the following criteria:

      (A) Recognise Param Purush Puran Dhani Soamiji Maharaj as Avtar of Radhasoami Dayal

      (B) Accept Radhasoami Naam as the true Nij Naam and,

      (C) the practice of Surat-Shabda-Yoga** under the guidance of a living Sant Satguru as the way for attaining salvation.

      In order to strengthen the Satsang movement for attainment of its goal we make the following declaration:

      (1) That all Satsang Centres and the Satsangis affiliated to them would maintain and promote brotherly relations and affectionate behaviour towards the followers of Radhasoami Faith attached to different Centres.

      (2) Each Centre will continue to make separate arrangement for Satsang as it deems proper. It will be open to a Satsangi to join any Centre according to his/her inclination and to follow the lead of the Sant Satguru Whose Guidance he/she wants.

      (3) Each Centre will be free to manage its properties according to its wishes but access to the shrines under their management will be provided to the followers of the Faith attached to different Centres.

      (4) No Satsangi by any written word or utterance will make any statement which may be derogatory to other Satsang nor try to instil his/her ideas and feelings in the minds of others.

      We enjoin upon Satsangis attached to various Centres to follow this Declaration in letter and spirit.


      (* & ** NOTE: For the benefit of some in the West it should also be said: Surat Shabd Yoga in all of the above-mentioned communities is taught to students at no cost. There is no charge, no money involved whatsoever, in order to learn the practice. There are no membership fees or payments required for "membership dues" or monthly "discourses". In order to qualify to learn the Inner Light and Sound meditation practice known as Surat Shabd Yoga one simply needs to be willing to learn from a living teacher, adhere to the vegetarian diet and the other basic ahimsa principles universally taught in all of the Sant Mat communities listed above.)






      An Inclusive Rather Than Exclusive Spirituality: Kirpal Singh and the Lesson of Nag Hammadi, by James Bean
      Copyright October 2012 -- All Rights Reserved

      The "old school" approach of sectarianism consists of a narrow belief that one's own path is the "one-and-only true" one. That's the old-fashioned approach of shutting out the rest of humanity and the cosmos. Fundamentalism can be a kind of mental tyranny or idolatry, the worship of one's own belief-system or interpretation as a god, a "finger pointing at the moon" that often gets mistaken for the moon itself.

      I love this passage from Maharshi Mehi on the dangers of sectarianism, showing how hard-headed and hard-hearted sectarianism is a form of violence. Sectarianism according to enlightened Masters is not a virtue. It is a vice. Coexist!

      "In different times and different places saints appear and their followers name their religion according to the sage or saint who propounded that tradition. The appearance of differences can be attributed to time, place, and language. This gives rise to various labels for the common views held by all religions. Likewise, due to excessively zealous followers, these seeming differences are often amplified. When all sectarianism and the temporal and linguistic aspects are removed, the basic principles of all the saints are in accord and the voices of the saints are in harmony."

      There are the great world religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, the Bahai Faith, Aboriginal/Indigenous/Native American/Sami People, etc... In addition to comparative religion there is also comparative mysticism, the study of various schools of spirituality or mystics that are, or once were, operating within many of these above-mentioned faith communities, East and West. Viewing religions through this particular "lens", one's list may include: Kabbalah, Gnosticism (Valentinians, Barbeloites, Nassenes, Manichaeans, Cathers, Bogomils,), Hesychasm (Eastern Orthodox mysticism), Syriac and other forms of Monasticism, Quietism, the Beguines, Gottesfreunde or Friends of God, to name a few in the Christian category, Sufism, numerous lineages of Saints, Sant Satgurus and Bhaktas based in India.

      "The great Seth wrote this book...... He placed it in the mountain that is called 'Charaxio,' in order that, at the end of the times and the eras..... it may come forth and reveal..... the great, invisible, eternal Spirit....... The Gospel of the Egyptians. The God-written, holy, secret book." (Gospel of the Egyptians, The Nag Hammadi Library)

      In December 1945 a collection of ancient scriptures -- fifty two books -- was unearthed near the village of Nag Hammadi in Egypt. These texts had been placed in a clay storage jar, sealed, and buried sometime during the Fourth Century AD. They most likely were hidden there at the time by monks who lived at a nearby monastery founded by Saint Pachomius. They would have been sacred texts once part of the library of this monastic community, one of several Pachomian monasteries operating in Egypt.

      "The god of time (illusion) has put a cover over the teachings of Saints and thus concealed them from humanity." (Swami Ji Maharaj)

      Rather than confining themselves to only reading the Old and New Testaments or teachings exclusively from Orthodox Christian sources, these monks had a surprisingly diverse collection of writings that can only be characterized as inter-faith and multi-tradition. In other words, they were also studying the scriptures of other religions and mystical movements of their day.

      The papyrus codices of the Nag Hammadi scriptures includes Christian texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of the earliest known sayings of Jesus, Dialogue of the Saviour, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Book of Thomas the Spiritual Athlete, Teachings of Silvanus, and Apocalypse of James (Parts I & II).

      There are also many examples of mystical or Gnostic Jewish texts. Perhaps the oldest book of the Nag Hammadi library, Eugnostos the Blessed, is one of many that originate with a sect known as the Sethians, who practised a somewhat Kabbalah-like form of Jewish mysticism.

      Several important Nag Hammadi books are part of the Corpus Hermeticum, sacred texts of the Hermetic tradition, an esoteric religious and philosophical mystery school or school of spirituality based in Egypt attributed to Hermes Trismegistus ("Thrice-Greatest Hermes"). These include: The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth Heavens or Planes, Asclepius, and The Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving.

      Scholars have noticed there is a strong influence of Neoplatonism, a mystical philosophy based on the teachings of Plato, present in many of the Nag Hammadi texts and Gnostic gospels. Both the Corpus Hermeticum and Nag Hammadi Library refer to India on a couple of occasions, and one Nag Hammadi book by the name of Zostrianos mentions the Persian Prophet Zoroaster. The books of Nag Hammadi are in the Coptic language and are copied by monks from much earlier Greek manuscripts. Some of the writings seem to originate in Syria, just north of Israel, including the Gospel of Thomas (Sayings of Jesus) and book of Mar Sanes.

      The Sentences of Sextus is a Pythagorean text, a collection of proverbs popular with many during the early centuries C.E.. The Pythagoreans were, as the name suggests, followers of Pythagoras, a sect that believed in a fascinating combination of mathematics and mystical beliefs and practices including reincarnation, transmigration of the soul, and hearing the Music of the Spheres, the Harmony of All Harmonies. They also adhered to a vegetarian diet. In fact, for most of the last two thousand years in the western world the word "vegetarian" has been synonymous with "Pythagorean", such was their influence on Pagan, Jewish, and Christian traditions. Vegetarians have been referred to as "Pythagoreans" up until recently, when the word "vegetarian" became fairly popular.

      Some of the scriptures of Nag Hammadi are from a moderate, more mainstream Gnostic Christian movement called the Valentinians, founded by Saint Valentinus of Alexandria. Many suspect that many of the Pachomian monks had been followers of Valentinus and brought their scriptures with them when they joined the monastery near Nag Hammadi.

      From the point of view of the monks contemplating the words of these scriptures, their interest was not a schizophrenic or contradictory eclectic spirituality. All these writings do have much in common, common themes and threads, a universal wisdom that transcends narrow religious sectarian boundaries, a rich treasure-trove of spirituality. What a fascinating version of Christianity these people had: "a faith once entrusted to the Saints". (Book of Jude)

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