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  • snehashila2
    Good-bye to our dearest Brother and Friend, Ongkar Your undying dedication and enthusiasm will always help light my path. May all the angels carry you to the
    Message 1 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
      Good-bye to our dearest Brother and Friend, Ongkar

      Your undying dedication and enthusiasm will always help light my path.

      May all the angels carry you to the highest Heavens!

      All love and affection,
      Snehashila


      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Dear Terri,
      >
      > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master would
      > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the confines
      > of the mind.
      >
      > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
      > saying the full koan:
      >
      > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of one
      > hand clapping?"
      >
      > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
      >
      > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my little
      > kid's brain. :-)
      >
      > Niriha
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
      > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi Martin,
      > >
      > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand" but I
      > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
      > >
      > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally during
      > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
      > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences or if
      > > they just come forward when we are ready.
      > >
      > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
      > >
      > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them. Perhaps
      > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently during
      > > such a long event???
      > >
      > > Terri
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
      > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking moments
      > > of enlightenment which
      > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds when
      > > time stops and suddenly,
      > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to what it
      > > must look like from the
      > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according tho
      > > the mind�s opinion,
      > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
      > > everything is so clear and so
      > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next second
      > > you are back, finding yourself
      > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a little
      > > taste of it stays an keeps
      > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
      > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
      > > impossible for me to retell on
      > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know that
      > > you know what it is like
      > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
      > > be "clapping with one hand"
      > > >
      > > > Martin
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • niriha7
      Richard, I am wondering where to find the commentary on the daily poems that Ivan posts on his site. Also, I might mention, to find Ivan s poems, it is
      Message 2 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
        Richard, I am wondering where to find the commentary on the daily
        poems that Ivan posts on his site. Also, I might mention, to find
        Ivan's poems, it is necessary to scroll down to the very bottom of the
        home page of http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com until his name - Ivan M.
        Granger is found. It is highlighted so by clicking on it, it is
        possible to go to the page with all of his poems. It is hard too find
        at first since he does not highlight himself.

        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
        <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
        > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger offers
        > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
        > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
        > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found they
        > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
        > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less familiar
        > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
        >
        >
        > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
        > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious pleasure
        > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
        > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
        > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
        > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the perception of
        > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an accurate
        > reflection.)
        >
        > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
        > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi Masters
        > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of the
        > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell (Hafiz)and
        > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
        > translations of these sacred classics.
        >
        >
        > For example a poem by Hafiz
        >
        >
        > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
        > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
        > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
        > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
        > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
        > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
        > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
        >
        > ...
        >
        > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
        > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
        >
        > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
        >
        > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
        > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
        > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love with
        > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
        > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for places of
        > divine illumination.
        >
        > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution from
        > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt threatened
        > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own heart
        > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
        > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
        > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences. For
        > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an allegory of
        > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors developed a
        > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between the
        > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in essence,
        > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
        > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems insufficient
        > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine of the
        > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual poet
        > faces.
        >
        > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much more
        > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized for
        > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more freedom
        > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form accessible to
        > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
        >
        > ***
        >
        > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the Day
        > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri Chinmoy's
        > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose something
        > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have been.
        >
        > Ami Sukhere Dharite
        >
        > "I desired to grasp happiness.
        > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
        > All my hopes have grown into
        > fathomless pangs.
        > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
        > The jaws of destruction-night.
        > Yet my perishing life stretches
        > Its arms towards You
        > For Your Protection Feet."
        >
        > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
        >
        >
        > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism but
        > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
        > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I feel
        > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the Supreme.
        > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
        > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
        > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the poem.
        > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
        > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
        > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
        > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
        spirituality.
        >
        >
        > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about his
        > songs that embody helplessness
        >
        > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
        > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel helpless;
        > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that this
        > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions this
        > helplessness is of great help to us.
        >
        > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness. Knowing
        > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
        > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not want to
        > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a point
        > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I have
        > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
        > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
        >
        > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies itself
        > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the Source,
        > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive. But the
        > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
        > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to time
        > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the idea
        > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
        > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the mind can
        > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
        >
        > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in front of
        > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light. The mind
        > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to accept
        > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be another way
        > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That is
        > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only my
        > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us tremendously..."
        >
        >
        http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessness/
        >
        > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
        >
        > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth viewing.
        > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and splendour
        > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his failure in
        > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
        >
        >
        >
        > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
        > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful it
        > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many ways a
        > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is not
        > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
        >
        > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
        > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am grateful to
        > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
        > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the series "My
        > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction to Sri
        > Chinmoy's poetry.
        >
        > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
        > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri Chinmoy. It
        > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which includes an
        > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry shares
        > with other great poets.
        >
        > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Greetings,
        >
        > Richard
        >
        > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
        > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
        >
        > (Still working on the art of a short post)
        >
        >
        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > Hi Martin,
        > >
        > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger that I
        > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted Ivan to
        > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a section of my
        > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
        > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret his
        > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
        > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it sounds
        > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood easily on
        > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
        > >
        > > Goodnight Moon
        > >
        > > Beloved, tell me —
        > >
        > > Why do you come
        > > only when I
        > > orphan my ambitions?
        > >
        > > Why do you show
        > > only when all hope
        > > has fled?
        > >
        > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
        > > will you meet me
        > > only on my funeral bed?
        > >
        > > And, tell me —
        > >
        > > Why won't the dead
        > > stay dead?
        > >
        > >
        > > - Ivan Granger
        > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
        > >
        > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
        > >
        > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
        > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been dead
        > > — though I had been more alive than ever before. This radiant, silent
        > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic poetry as
        > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he wrote, "I die
        > > daily."
        > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
        > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan flickered in
        > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
        > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I was
        > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real to me once
        > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my identity had
        > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
        > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took effort to
        > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
        > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self became the
        > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took on the
        > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
        > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty Dawn
        > > were composed.
        > >
        > >
        > > Beloved, tell me —
        > >
        > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
        > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic device
        > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of love and
        > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of relationship,
        > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
        > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is Self. Even
        > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
        > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to the
        > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of profound
        > love.
        > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
        > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
        > >
        > >
        > > Why do you come
        > > Only when I
        > > Orphan my ambitions?
        > >
        > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful state only
        > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all aspirations. It
        > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my daily
        > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had slipped back
        > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously mapping out
        > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced the idea of
        > > who Ivan was.
        > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan substance
        > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and begin
        > > to grow.
        > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down plans, the more
        > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the more
        > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
        > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of existence,
        > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to. When the
        > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
        > >
        > >
        > > Why do you show
        > > Only when all hope
        > > Has fled?
        > >
        > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the hope that
        > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct, will
        > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
        > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the muscles of
        > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time — and the natural
        > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
        > >
        > >
        > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
        > > Will you meet me
        > > Only on my funeral bed?
        > >
        > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is sweet.
        > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical; bliss
        > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is much more
        > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
        > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
        > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the Beloved
        > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely for a
        > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of spiritual
        > > marriage.
        > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft shining
        > > glory once more.
        > >
        > >
        > > And, tell me —
        > >
        > > Why won't the dead
        > > Stay dead?
        > >
        > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the rush of
        > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This "death"
        > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
        > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of final
        > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I could say
        > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
        returned.
        > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
        > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
        > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
        > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with great
        > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
        > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to the
        > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless, blissful
        > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord. The
        > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more desire to call
        > > it back from its place of rest.
        > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the graveyard and
        > > the birthing room — letting go of Ivan more completely and learning
        > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the Divine
        > > can shine through more and more clearly.
        > >
        > >
        > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not cease to
        > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a social
        > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the world.
        > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it. You
        > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the needs
        > > of the moment.
        > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real ego.
        > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no longer a
        > > thing, it is something you do.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
        > > <no_reply@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking moments
        > > of enlightenment which
        > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds when
        > > time stops and suddenly,
        > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to what it
        > > must look like from the
        > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according tho the
        > > mind´s opinion,
        > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
        > > everything is so clear and so
        > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next second you
        > > are back, finding yourself
        > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a little
        > > taste of it stays an keeps
        > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
        > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
        > > impossible for me to retell on
        > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know that
        > > you know what it is like
        > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
        > > "clapping with one hand"
        > > >
        > > > Martin
        > > >
        > >
        >
      • one_prachar
        Dear Richard Please do not learn the art of the short post! Your art is far more elevating and illumining. Thank you Prachar ... spirituality. ...
        Message 3 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
          Dear Richard

          Please do not learn the art of the short post!

          Your art is far more elevating and illumining.

          Thank you

          Prachar

          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
          <no_reply@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
          > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger offers
          > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
          > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
          > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found they
          > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
          > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less familiar
          > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
          >
          >
          > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
          > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious pleasure
          > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
          > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
          > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
          > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the perception of
          > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an accurate
          > reflection.)
          >
          > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
          > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi Masters
          > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of the
          > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell (Hafiz)and
          > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
          > translations of these sacred classics.
          >
          >
          > For example a poem by Hafiz
          >
          >
          > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
          > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
          > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
          > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
          > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
          > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
          > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
          >
          > ...
          >
          > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
          > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
          >
          > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
          >
          > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
          > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
          > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love with
          > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
          > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for places of
          > divine illumination.
          >
          > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution from
          > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt threatened
          > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own heart
          > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
          > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
          > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences. For
          > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an allegory of
          > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors developed a
          > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between the
          > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in essence,
          > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
          > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems insufficient
          > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine of the
          > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual poet
          > faces.
          >
          > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much more
          > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized for
          > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more freedom
          > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form accessible to
          > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
          >
          > ***
          >
          > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the Day
          > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri Chinmoy's
          > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose something
          > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have been.
          >
          > Ami Sukhere Dharite
          >
          > "I desired to grasp happiness.
          > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
          > All my hopes have grown into
          > fathomless pangs.
          > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
          > The jaws of destruction-night.
          > Yet my perishing life stretches
          > Its arms towards You
          > For Your Protection Feet."
          >
          > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
          >
          >
          > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism but
          > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
          > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I feel
          > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the Supreme.
          > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
          > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
          > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the poem.
          > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
          > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
          > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
          > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
          spirituality.
          >
          >
          > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about his
          > songs that embody helplessness
          >
          > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
          > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel helpless;
          > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that this
          > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions this
          > helplessness is of great help to us.
          >
          > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness. Knowing
          > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
          > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not want to
          > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a point
          > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I have
          > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
          > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
          >
          > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies itself
          > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the Source,
          > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive. But the
          > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
          > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to time
          > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the idea
          > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
          > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the mind can
          > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
          >
          > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in front of
          > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light. The mind
          > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to accept
          > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be another way
          > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That is
          > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only my
          > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us tremendously..."
          >
          >
          http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessness/
          >
          > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
          >
          > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth viewing.
          > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and splendour
          > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his failure in
          > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
          >
          >
          >
          > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
          > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful it
          > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many ways a
          > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is not
          > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
          >
          > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
          > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am grateful to
          > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
          > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the series "My
          > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction to Sri
          > Chinmoy's poetry.
          >
          > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
          > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri Chinmoy. It
          > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which includes an
          > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry shares
          > with other great poets.
          >
          > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Greetings,
          >
          > Richard
          >
          > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
          > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
          >
          > (Still working on the art of a short post)
          >
          >
          > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > > Hi Martin,
          > >
          > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger that I
          > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted Ivan to
          > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a section of my
          > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
          > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret his
          > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
          > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it sounds
          > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood easily on
          > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
          > >
          > > Goodnight Moon
          > >
          > > Beloved, tell me �
          > >
          > > Why do you come
          > > only when I
          > > orphan my ambitions?
          > >
          > > Why do you show
          > > only when all hope
          > > has fled?
          > >
          > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
          > > will you meet me
          > > only on my funeral bed?
          > >
          > > And, tell me �
          > >
          > > Why won't the dead
          > > stay dead?
          > >
          > >
          > > - Ivan Granger
          > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
          > >
          > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
          > >
          > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
          > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been dead
          > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This radiant, silent
          > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic poetry as
          > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he wrote, "I die
          > > daily."
          > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
          > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan flickered in
          > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
          > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I was
          > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real to me once
          > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my identity had
          > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
          > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took effort to
          > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
          > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self became the
          > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took on the
          > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
          > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty Dawn
          > > were composed.
          > >
          > >
          > > Beloved, tell me �
          > >
          > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
          > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic device
          > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of love and
          > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of relationship,
          > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
          > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is Self. Even
          > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
          > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to the
          > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of profound
          > love.
          > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
          > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
          > >
          > >
          > > Why do you come
          > > Only when I
          > > Orphan my ambitions?
          > >
          > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful state only
          > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all aspirations. It
          > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my daily
          > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had slipped back
          > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously mapping out
          > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced the idea of
          > > who Ivan was.
          > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan substance
          > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and begin
          > > to grow.
          > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down plans, the more
          > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the more
          > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
          > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of existence,
          > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to. When the
          > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
          > >
          > >
          > > Why do you show
          > > Only when all hope
          > > Has fled?
          > >
          > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the hope that
          > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct, will
          > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
          > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the muscles of
          > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the natural
          > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
          > >
          > >
          > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
          > > Will you meet me
          > > Only on my funeral bed?
          > >
          > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is sweet.
          > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical; bliss
          > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is much more
          > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
          > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
          > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the Beloved
          > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely for a
          > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of spiritual
          > > marriage.
          > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft shining
          > > glory once more.
          > >
          > >
          > > And, tell me �
          > >
          > > Why won't the dead
          > > Stay dead?
          > >
          > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the rush of
          > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This "death"
          > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
          > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of final
          > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I could say
          > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
          returned.
          > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
          > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
          > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
          > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with great
          > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
          > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to the
          > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless, blissful
          > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord. The
          > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more desire to call
          > > it back from its place of rest.
          > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the graveyard and
          > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and learning
          > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the Divine
          > > can shine through more and more clearly.
          > >
          > >
          > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not cease to
          > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a social
          > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the world.
          > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it. You
          > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the needs
          > > of the moment.
          > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real ego.
          > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no longer a
          > > thing, it is something you do.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
          > > <no_reply@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking moments
          > > of enlightenment which
          > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds when
          > > time stops and suddenly,
          > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to what it
          > > must look like from the
          > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according tho the
          > > mind�s opinion,
          > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
          > > everything is so clear and so
          > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next second you
          > > are back, finding yourself
          > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a little
          > > taste of it stays an keeps
          > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
          > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
          > > impossible for me to retell on
          > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know that
          > > you know what it is like
          > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
          > > "clapping with one hand"
          > > >
          > > > Martin
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • carr_terri
          Hi Niriha, Hmmm....after reading that your mother had an interest in Buddhism and was introducing koans to you as a child, I was about to reply that you were
          Message 4 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
            Hi Niriha,

            Hmmm....after reading that your mother had an interest in Buddhism
            and was introducing koans to you as a child, I was about to reply
            that you were very 'lucky' to have a parent who was so open to
            eastern spiritual concepts.

            But I can see how it would be a little too much for a young kid's
            brain ;-). I have to say I have never really explored Zen or koans.
            The times when I have come across koans, I get little inspiration
            from them. Are they sort of like a spiritual brain teaser?

            I like Martin's explanation of a momentary experience of inner
            enlightenment. Perhaps a similar inner enlightenment is needed
            to "get" what is contained in the koan?

            Sorry for asking the obvious but I am slow....

            Terri


            --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
            <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Dear Terri,
            >
            > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master would
            > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the confines
            > of the mind.
            >
            > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
            > saying the full koan:
            >
            > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of one
            > hand clapping?"
            >
            > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
            >
            > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my little
            > kid's brain. :-)
            >
            > Niriha
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
            > <no_reply@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Hi Martin,
            > >
            > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand" but I
            > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
            > >
            > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally during
            > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
            > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences or
            if
            > > they just come forward when we are ready.
            > >
            > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
            > >
            > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them.
            Perhaps
            > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
            during
            > > such a long event???
            > >
            > > Terri
            > >
            > >
            > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
            > > <no_reply@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
            moments
            > > of enlightenment which
            > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
            when
            > > time stops and suddenly,
            > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
            what it
            > > must look like from the
            > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
            tho
            > > the mind´s opinion,
            > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
            > > everything is so clear and so
            > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
            second
            > > you are back, finding yourself
            > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
            little
            > > taste of it stays an keeps
            > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
            > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
            > > impossible for me to retell on
            > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
            that
            > > you know what it is like
            > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
            > > be "clapping with one hand"
            > > >
            > > > Martin
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • niriha7
            Dear Terri, You asked if Koans are spiritual brain teasers. Yes. My understanding is that they are given by a Zen master to his student with the idea that
            Message 5 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
              Dear Terri,

              You asked if Koans are spiritual brain teasers. Yes. My
              understanding is that they are given by a Zen master to his student
              with the idea that the student will discover that the *riddle* cannot
              be solved intellectually; it cannot be solved by the mind. Here is an
              abbreviated form of an answer quoted from Gary Smith:

              A similar Koan is " What is the sound of one hand?" Of course, in
              terms of the conventional world there can be no sound from a single
              hand. Sound logically needs two hands clapping. However, the question
              presumes that one hand clapping has already created a sound and that
              it can be heard. The question is not about sound or hands clapping,
              although this is quite conceivable within the context of Zen. The
              question is rather about hearing the impossible, which is only termed
              impossible within the framework of conventional reality. The Zen
              master is therefore pressing and encouraging the student to critique
              ordinary reality and to force the mind into other areas of understanding.

              I have included his entire article at the end of this post since I
              think it is well written and interesting.

              You said, "Sorry for asking the obvious but I am slow. . ." I don't
              think there is anything obvious about Zen Koans. And who says we
              should know everything about everything anyway?! ;-) For me
              personally, I am deeply grateful that by being students on Sri
              Chinmoy's path, we have a direct, immediate and powerful way to
              transcend the mind with the emphasis being on the spiritual heart.

              You are correct that I was very lucky to have a parent who was open to
              eastern spiritual concepts. You are also correct in saying that
              sometimes it was too much for a young kid's brain.

              I clearly remember listening to a discussion between my mother and her
              brother who had just returned from eight years in India where he
              studied Sanskrit and studied with a Guru. They were having a
              discussion about Sri Aurobindo. My uncle was deeply interested in Sri
              Aurobindo's philosophy and spoke often of it. This particular evening
              I shall never forget because as I listened to the discussion between
              my mother and her brother, suddenly I burst into tears and announced,
              "I NEVER want to grow up because I won't be able to understand
              anything!" I was furious and scared. To this day, Peter Pan is a
              favorite of mine and one of the many characters that I identified with
              as a kid - Zorro and Mighty Mouse being two more but not Superman. I
              appreciated Superman but did not identify with him. The contradictory
              aspect of this however is the fact that I secretly believed there was
              no difference between me and adults and would carry on conversations
              with them as if this were so...The confusion of trying to sort out
              life from a child's perspective perhaps should not be underestimated.

              Now if I had had the opportunity to be in the presence of Sri Chinmoy
              as a child that would have been an entirely different experience. I
              am deeply happy both for the children who have grown up with the
              direct experience of meditating with Guru as well as the children who
              are now in their young and formative years and having this experience.
              It is entirely different to have the heart spoken to directly through
              meditation with Guru and having association with eastern spirituality
              through intellectual discussion. However, many things entered into my
              awareness from having this influence in my life and I am most grateful
              for it.

              Most intriguing for me was stories I heard of the master and disciple
              relationship. I recall thinking about how I would like the challenge
              of being a disciple and the image that often came to mind was being
              asked to sweep a floor (the same floor) for eight hours a day every
              day and I just knew I was humble enough to do it! I still laugh when
              thinking how that was my concept of the spiritual life though
              symbolically it is correct.

              Another image of the spiritual life that captured my imagination was
              that of being a renunciate - I was sure I could do that also! I think
              I started by giving my record collection to my sister but since we
              shared a bedroom maybe that was not such an act of renunciation. :-)

              Once in high school I fasted for five days and was more pleased with
              losing a couple of pounds than with any benefit to my consciousness.
              Twiggy had just made the scene as a model from England who was more
              akin to a twig (hence the name) than to a real person. No girl in
              high school could be thin enough after she was promoted by the
              fashion/advertising industry as the ideal - a living Barbie doll.

              Going back to the original point, I feel that the spiritual influence
              of both my mother and my uncle was far more positive than confusing.
              I am so grateful to my mother for her deep influence on my thinking
              and my reading interests during my adolescent and teen years

              Most fortunate of all is the fact that all of my brothers and sisters
              (six) and both my parents have been in Sri Chinmoy's presence at least
              once. Guru has most compassionately honoured my mother and father in
              a Lifting Up the World With a Oneness Heart ceremony and one brother,
              Swapan is a student of Guru's.

              Niriha

              PS I am enjoying your contributions here!


              Understanding the Meaning of Zen Koans

              This article will analyse and attempt to show how important the Koan
              method is for the understanding Zen.


              Zen Buddhism has become popular in the West as a result of the
              importation of these spiritual ideas by, amongst others, Dr. T.
              Suzuki. Zen promotes a very different way of understanding and dealing
              with reality. One of the most baffling aspects of Zen to the Western
              mind is the practice of Koans. Koans are teaching tool used to break
              down the barriers to enlightenment.

              What are the purposes of Koans?

              Koans are a method of training the mind in order to achieve the state
              of Satori. Satori is a very difficult concept to describe in a few
              words. It is essentially the goal of all Zen mediation and can be
              compared to the term enlightenment or insight into the nature of
              reality. These two aspects, Koan exercises and Satori are the central
              aspects of Zen. A further aspect to Zen should also be considered.
              This is the practice of Zazen. Zazen is the practice of mediation that
              involves sitting cross-legged in deep contemplation.

              Another term for Zazen is "Dhyana". This term means to perceive or to
              reflect upon. Zazen is used to reach the conclusion of a Koan.
              Therefore the Koan and Zazen methods are essential in Zen training.

              Koan literarily translated means "A public document". It refers to a
              statement made by a Master to a student of Zen or a discussion or
              dialogue between Master and student. The purpose of a Koan is to open
              the mind and perception to the truth. Koans are questions or riddles
              designed as instruments by the Zen Master to aid the student in
              finding the truth behind the everyday images of reality.

              How do Koans function?

              Koans are not rational questions with final linear conclusions. They
              are especially designed for one purpose; this purpose is to open the
              mind that has been closed by habitual responses to the world and reality.

              The above statement needs a bit of explanation. Our perception of the
              world is clouded by, firstly, the habitual responses that we are
              taught by society and secondly, by the habit forming creation of our
              own selves or ego's. In everyday life and through societal education,
              we develop ideas about reality and possibilities that our peers
              verify. We accept these "laws" as immutable on the basis of their
              habitual occurrence and certification by society. For example,
              scientific authorities state that there is a law of gravity and that
              time is linear and proceeds form one second to the next. These
              "truths" are supported and bolstered by schools, society and our peers
              until they become unquestionable fact. This also applies to our ideas
              of human personality and of ourselves. Change then becomes an almost
              impossible task within the framework of conventional society.

              However, science has already placed question marks next to the
              accepted facts of western society. Einstein's theory of relativity and
              quantum physics are just two examples. The purpose of Zen Koans is to
              upset or dislocate the mind from these habitual ideas of reality and
              open the mind to the other possibilities and, eventually, to Satori or
              knowledge of reality.

              The Koan works at various levels and on various stages of the
              student's progress in understanding Zen. At its most elementary stage
              the Zen Koan is intended to question what the student takes for
              commonplace reality and to question that which is seen to be logically
              impossible. It is only in this way that the student can be prepared
              for spiritual reality that transcends or goes beyond ordinary logical
              knowledge.

              The following is an example of a Zen Koan.

              The Monk Mayo asked this question of the Sixth patriarch: "What is
              Zen?" the Patriarch replied that, "when your mind is not dwelling on
              the dualism of good and evil, what is your original face before you
              were born?"

              This question seems nonsensical, but this is only so when measured
              against the linear logical requirements of society. The question is
              intended to open the initiated mind to possibilities beyond the
              rational. It is also designed so as to waken the student to the
              possibility that spiritual answers require a different mode of thought.

              Zen master Dogen had a saying that is appropriate in the present
              context. He said that in order to perceive reality we must "drop mind
              and body". In other words, it is essential to drop all habits of
              thought and preconceptions in order to understand the truth. The Koan
              forces the student to face this type of thinking. The answer to the
              question " what is your original face before you were born?" cannot be
              answered on the level of rational logic. It points towards the
              possibility of knowing or understanding without the constructs of
              reason and habitual response. The question suggests we have to
              approach spiritual reality as if we had knowledge of things before we
              were taught the ways of thinking of this world: in other words, "
              before we were born".

              In trying to answer the Koan, the student will come to a mental
              "precipice", as it were, where all the methods and procedures of
              accepted thinking no longer function. The purpose of the Koan is to
              shove the student over this precipice into an area of experience that
              is completely new. This is the spiritual reality that the Zen master
              is attempting to guide the student towards.

              A similar Koan is " What is the sound of one hand?" Of course, in
              terms of the conventional world there can be no sound from a single
              hand. Sound logically needs two hands clapping. However, the question
              presumes that one hand clapping has already created a sound and that
              it can be heard. The question is not about sound or hands clapping,
              although this is quite conceivable within the context of Zen. The
              question is rather about hearing the impossible, which is only termed
              impossible within the framework of conventional reality. The Zen
              master is therefore pressing and encouraging the student to critique
              ordinary reality and to force the mind into other areas of understanding.

              Written by Gary Smith - © 2002 Pagewise




              --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
              <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Niriha,
              >
              > Hmmm....after reading that your mother had an interest in Buddhism
              > and was introducing koans to you as a child, I was about to reply
              > that you were very 'lucky' to have a parent who was so open to
              > eastern spiritual concepts.
              >
              > But I can see how it would be a little too much for a young kid's
              > brain ;-). I have to say I have never really explored Zen or koans.
              > The times when I have come across koans, I get little inspiration
              > from them. Are they sort of like a spiritual brain teaser?
              >
              > I like Martin's explanation of a momentary experience of inner
              > enlightenment. Perhaps a similar inner enlightenment is needed
              > to "get" what is contained in the koan?
              >
              > Sorry for asking the obvious but I am slow....
              >
              > Terri
              >
              >
              > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
              > <no_reply@> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > Dear Terri,
              > >
              > > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master would
              > > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the confines
              > > of the mind.
              > >
              > > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
              > > saying the full koan:
              > >
              > > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of one
              > > hand clapping?"
              > >
              > > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
              > >
              > > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my little
              > > kid's brain. :-)
              > >
              > > Niriha
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
              > > <no_reply@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Hi Martin,
              > > >
              > > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand" but I
              > > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
              > > >
              > > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally during
              > > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
              > > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences or
              > if
              > > > they just come forward when we are ready.
              > > >
              > > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
              > > >
              > > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them.
              > Perhaps
              > > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
              > during
              > > > such a long event???
              > > >
              > > > Terri
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
              > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
              > > > >
              > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
              > moments
              > > > of enlightenment which
              > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
              > when
              > > > time stops and suddenly,
              > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
              > what it
              > > > must look like from the
              > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
              > tho
              > > > the mind´s opinion,
              > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
              > > > everything is so clear and so
              > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
              > second
              > > > you are back, finding yourself
              > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
              > little
              > > > taste of it stays an keeps
              > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
              > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
              > > > impossible for me to retell on
              > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
              > that
              > > > you know what it is like
              > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
              > > > be "clapping with one hand"
              > > > >
              > > > > Martin
              > > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • niriha7
              Dear Richard, I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have learned the art of
              Message 6 of 25 , Mar 1, 2006
                Dear Richard,

                I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have learned
                the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a perfect
                length as necessity dictates.

                ^ ^
                6 6
                \_/

                --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                <no_reply@...> wrote:
                >
                > Dear Richard
                >
                > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                >
                > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                >
                > Thank you
                >
                > Prachar
                >
                > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                > no_reply@ wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
                > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger
                offers
                > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
                > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found they
                > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
                > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less familiar
                > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                > >
                > >
                > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
                > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                pleasure
                > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
                > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
                > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the perception of
                > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                accurate
                > > reflection.)
                > >
                > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
                > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                Masters
                > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of
                the
                > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell (Hafiz)and
                > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                > > translations of these sacred classics.
                > >
                > >
                > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                > >
                > >
                > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                > >
                > > ...
                > >
                > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                > >
                > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                > >
                > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
                > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love
                with
                > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
                > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for places of
                > > divine illumination.
                > >
                > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution
                from
                > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt threatened
                > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own
                heart
                > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
                > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
                > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences.
                For
                > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an allegory of
                > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors developed
                a
                > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between
                the
                > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                essence,
                > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                insufficient
                > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine of the
                > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual
                poet
                > > faces.
                > >
                > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much
                more
                > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized
                for
                > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more freedom
                > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form accessible to
                > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                > >
                > > ***
                > >
                > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the
                Day
                > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                Chinmoy's
                > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                something
                > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have been.
                > >
                > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                > >
                > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                > > All my hopes have grown into
                > > fathomless pangs.
                > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                > > Its arms towards You
                > > For Your Protection Feet."
                > >
                > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                > >
                > >
                > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism
                but
                > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
                > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I feel
                > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the Supreme.
                > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
                > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the
                poem.
                > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
                > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
                > > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
                > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                > spirituality.
                > >
                > >
                > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about
                his
                > > songs that embody helplessness
                > >
                > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
                > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                helpless;
                > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that
                this
                > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions
                this
                > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                > >
                > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                Knowing
                > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
                > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not want
                to
                > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a
                point
                > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I
                have
                > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
                > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                > >
                > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies itself
                > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                Source,
                > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive. But the
                > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
                > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to
                time
                > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the idea
                > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
                > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the mind can
                > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                > >
                > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in front
                of
                > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light. The mind
                > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to accept
                > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be another way
                > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That
                is
                > > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only
                my
                > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                tremendously..."
                > >
                > >
                >
                http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                ss/
                > >
                > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                > >
                > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth viewing.
                > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                splendour
                > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his failure
                in
                > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
                > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful
                it
                > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many ways a
                > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is
                not
                > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                > >
                > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
                > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am grateful to
                > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
                > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the series "My
                > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction to Sri
                > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                > >
                > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
                > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri Chinmoy. It
                > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which includes an
                > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry shares
                > > with other great poets.
                > >
                > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Greetings,
                > >
                > > Richard
                > >
                > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                > >
                > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                > > wrote:
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Hi Martin,
                > > >
                > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger
                that I
                > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted Ivan
                to
                > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a section of
                my
                > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
                > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret
                his
                > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                sounds
                > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood easily
                on
                > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
                > > >
                > > > Goodnight Moon
                > > >
                > > > Beloved, tell me �
                > > >
                > > > Why do you come
                > > > only when I
                > > > orphan my ambitions?
                > > >
                > > > Why do you show
                > > > only when all hope
                > > > has fled?
                > > >
                > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                > > > will you meet me
                > > > only on my funeral bed?
                > > >
                > > > And, tell me �
                > > >
                > > > Why won't the dead
                > > > stay dead?
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > - Ivan Granger
                > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                > > >
                > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                > > >
                > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
                > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been
                dead
                > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                radiant, silent
                > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic poetry as
                > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he wrote, "I
                die
                > > > daily."
                > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
                > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan flickered
                in
                > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
                > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I
                was
                > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real to me
                once
                > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my identity
                had
                > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took effort to
                > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self became
                the
                > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took on the
                > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty
                Dawn
                > > > were composed.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Beloved, tell me �
                > > >
                > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
                > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic
                device
                > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of love
                and
                > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                relationship,
                > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is Self.
                Even
                > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to
                the
                > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                profound
                > > love.
                > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
                > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Why do you come
                > > > Only when I
                > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                > > >
                > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful state
                only
                > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                aspirations. It
                > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my
                daily
                > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had slipped back
                > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously mapping
                out
                > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced the idea
                of
                > > > who Ivan was.
                > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                substance
                > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and
                begin
                > > > to grow.
                > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down plans, the
                more
                > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the
                more
                > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                existence,
                > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to. When the
                > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Why do you show
                > > > Only when all hope
                > > > Has fled?
                > > >
                > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the hope
                that
                > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct,
                will
                > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the muscles
                of
                > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                natural
                > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                > > > Will you meet me
                > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                > > >
                > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is
                sweet.
                > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical;
                bliss
                > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is much
                more
                > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
                > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the
                Beloved
                > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely for a
                > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                spiritual
                > > > marriage.
                > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                shining
                > > > glory once more.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > And, tell me �
                > > >
                > > > Why won't the dead
                > > > Stay dead?
                > > >
                > > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the
                rush of
                > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                "death"
                > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of
                final
                > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I could say
                > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
                > returned.
                > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                > > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
                > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with
                great
                > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to
                the
                > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                blissful
                > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord.
                The
                > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more desire to
                call
                > > > it back from its place of rest.
                > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the graveyard
                and
                > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                learning
                > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                Divine
                > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not cease to
                > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a social
                > > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the
                world.
                > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it.
                You
                > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the
                needs
                > > > of the moment.
                > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real
                ego.
                > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no longer
                a
                > > > thing, it is something you do.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                moments
                > > > of enlightenment which
                > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds when
                > > > time stops and suddenly,
                > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to what
                it
                > > > must look like from the
                > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according tho
                the
                > > > mind�s opinion,
                > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                > > > everything is so clear and so
                > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next second
                you
                > > > are back, finding yourself
                > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                little
                > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
                > > > impossible for me to retell on
                > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                that
                > > > you know what it is like
                > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
                > > > "clapping with one hand"
                > > > >
                > > > > Martin
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • niriha7
                It is entirely different to have the heart spoken to directly through meditation with Guru THAN* having association with eastern spirituality through
                Message 7 of 25 , Mar 2, 2006
                  It is entirely different to have the heart spoken to directly through
                  meditation with Guru THAN* having association with eastern
                  spirituality through intellectual discussion. However, many things
                  entered into my awareness from having this influence in my life and I
                  am most grateful for it.

                  *By mistake, I wrote *and*.




                  --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Dear Terri,
                  >
                  > You asked if Koans are spiritual brain teasers. Yes. My
                  > understanding is that they are given by a Zen master to his student
                  > with the idea that the student will discover that the *riddle* cannot
                  > be solved intellectually; it cannot be solved by the mind. Here is an
                  > abbreviated form of an answer quoted from Gary Smith:
                  >
                  > A similar Koan is " What is the sound of one hand?" Of course, in
                  > terms of the conventional world there can be no sound from a single
                  > hand. Sound logically needs two hands clapping. However, the question
                  > presumes that one hand clapping has already created a sound and that
                  > it can be heard. The question is not about sound or hands clapping,
                  > although this is quite conceivable within the context of Zen. The
                  > question is rather about hearing the impossible, which is only termed
                  > impossible within the framework of conventional reality. The Zen
                  > master is therefore pressing and encouraging the student to critique
                  > ordinary reality and to force the mind into other areas of
                  understanding.
                  >
                  > I have included his entire article at the end of this post since I
                  > think it is well written and interesting.
                  >
                  > You said, "Sorry for asking the obvious but I am slow. . ." I don't
                  > think there is anything obvious about Zen Koans. And who says we
                  > should know everything about everything anyway?! ;-) For me
                  > personally, I am deeply grateful that by being students on Sri
                  > Chinmoy's path, we have a direct, immediate and powerful way to
                  > transcend the mind with the emphasis being on the spiritual heart.
                  >
                  > You are correct that I was very lucky to have a parent who was open to
                  > eastern spiritual concepts. You are also correct in saying that
                  > sometimes it was too much for a young kid's brain.
                  >
                  > I clearly remember listening to a discussion between my mother and her
                  > brother who had just returned from eight years in India where he
                  > studied Sanskrit and studied with a Guru. They were having a
                  > discussion about Sri Aurobindo. My uncle was deeply interested in Sri
                  > Aurobindo's philosophy and spoke often of it. This particular evening
                  > I shall never forget because as I listened to the discussion between
                  > my mother and her brother, suddenly I burst into tears and announced,
                  > "I NEVER want to grow up because I won't be able to understand
                  > anything!" I was furious and scared. To this day, Peter Pan is a
                  > favorite of mine and one of the many characters that I identified with
                  > as a kid - Zorro and Mighty Mouse being two more but not Superman. I
                  > appreciated Superman but did not identify with him. The contradictory
                  > aspect of this however is the fact that I secretly believed there was
                  > no difference between me and adults and would carry on conversations
                  > with them as if this were so...The confusion of trying to sort out
                  > life from a child's perspective perhaps should not be underestimated.
                  >
                  > Now if I had had the opportunity to be in the presence of Sri Chinmoy
                  > as a child that would have been an entirely different experience. I
                  > am deeply happy both for the children who have grown up with the
                  > direct experience of meditating with Guru as well as the children who
                  > are now in their young and formative years and having this experience.
                  > It is entirely different to have the heart spoken to directly through
                  > meditation with Guru and having association with eastern spirituality
                  > through intellectual discussion. However, many things entered into my
                  > awareness from having this influence in my life and I am most grateful
                  > for it.
                  >
                  > Most intriguing for me was stories I heard of the master and disciple
                  > relationship. I recall thinking about how I would like the challenge
                  > of being a disciple and the image that often came to mind was being
                  > asked to sweep a floor (the same floor) for eight hours a day every
                  > day and I just knew I was humble enough to do it! I still laugh when
                  > thinking how that was my concept of the spiritual life though
                  > symbolically it is correct.
                  >
                  > Another image of the spiritual life that captured my imagination was
                  > that of being a renunciate - I was sure I could do that also! I think
                  > I started by giving my record collection to my sister but since we
                  > shared a bedroom maybe that was not such an act of renunciation. :-)
                  >
                  > Once in high school I fasted for five days and was more pleased with
                  > losing a couple of pounds than with any benefit to my consciousness.
                  > Twiggy had just made the scene as a model from England who was more
                  > akin to a twig (hence the name) than to a real person. No girl in
                  > high school could be thin enough after she was promoted by the
                  > fashion/advertising industry as the ideal - a living Barbie doll.
                  >
                  > Going back to the original point, I feel that the spiritual influence
                  > of both my mother and my uncle was far more positive than confusing.
                  > I am so grateful to my mother for her deep influence on my thinking
                  > and my reading interests during my adolescent and teen years
                  >
                  > Most fortunate of all is the fact that all of my brothers and sisters
                  > (six) and both my parents have been in Sri Chinmoy's presence at least
                  > once. Guru has most compassionately honoured my mother and father in
                  > a Lifting Up the World With a Oneness Heart ceremony and one brother,
                  > Swapan is a student of Guru's.
                  >
                  > Niriha
                  >
                  > PS I am enjoying your contributions here!
                  >
                  >
                  > Understanding the Meaning of Zen Koans
                  >
                  > This article will analyse and attempt to show how important the Koan
                  > method is for the understanding Zen.
                  >
                  >
                  > Zen Buddhism has become popular in the West as a result of the
                  > importation of these spiritual ideas by, amongst others, Dr. T.
                  > Suzuki. Zen promotes a very different way of understanding and dealing
                  > with reality. One of the most baffling aspects of Zen to the Western
                  > mind is the practice of Koans. Koans are teaching tool used to break
                  > down the barriers to enlightenment.
                  >
                  > What are the purposes of Koans?
                  >
                  > Koans are a method of training the mind in order to achieve the state
                  > of Satori. Satori is a very difficult concept to describe in a few
                  > words. It is essentially the goal of all Zen mediation and can be
                  > compared to the term enlightenment or insight into the nature of
                  > reality. These two aspects, Koan exercises and Satori are the central
                  > aspects of Zen. A further aspect to Zen should also be considered.
                  > This is the practice of Zazen. Zazen is the practice of mediation that
                  > involves sitting cross-legged in deep contemplation.
                  >
                  > Another term for Zazen is "Dhyana". This term means to perceive or to
                  > reflect upon. Zazen is used to reach the conclusion of a Koan.
                  > Therefore the Koan and Zazen methods are essential in Zen training.
                  >
                  > Koan literarily translated means "A public document". It refers to a
                  > statement made by a Master to a student of Zen or a discussion or
                  > dialogue between Master and student. The purpose of a Koan is to open
                  > the mind and perception to the truth. Koans are questions or riddles
                  > designed as instruments by the Zen Master to aid the student in
                  > finding the truth behind the everyday images of reality.
                  >
                  > How do Koans function?
                  >
                  > Koans are not rational questions with final linear conclusions. They
                  > are especially designed for one purpose; this purpose is to open the
                  > mind that has been closed by habitual responses to the world and
                  reality.
                  >
                  > The above statement needs a bit of explanation. Our perception of the
                  > world is clouded by, firstly, the habitual responses that we are
                  > taught by society and secondly, by the habit forming creation of our
                  > own selves or ego's. In everyday life and through societal education,
                  > we develop ideas about reality and possibilities that our peers
                  > verify. We accept these "laws" as immutable on the basis of their
                  > habitual occurrence and certification by society. For example,
                  > scientific authorities state that there is a law of gravity and that
                  > time is linear and proceeds form one second to the next. These
                  > "truths" are supported and bolstered by schools, society and our peers
                  > until they become unquestionable fact. This also applies to our ideas
                  > of human personality and of ourselves. Change then becomes an almost
                  > impossible task within the framework of conventional society.
                  >
                  > However, science has already placed question marks next to the
                  > accepted facts of western society. Einstein's theory of relativity and
                  > quantum physics are just two examples. The purpose of Zen Koans is to
                  > upset or dislocate the mind from these habitual ideas of reality and
                  > open the mind to the other possibilities and, eventually, to Satori or
                  > knowledge of reality.
                  >
                  > The Koan works at various levels and on various stages of the
                  > student's progress in understanding Zen. At its most elementary stage
                  > the Zen Koan is intended to question what the student takes for
                  > commonplace reality and to question that which is seen to be logically
                  > impossible. It is only in this way that the student can be prepared
                  > for spiritual reality that transcends or goes beyond ordinary logical
                  > knowledge.
                  >
                  > The following is an example of a Zen Koan.
                  >
                  > The Monk Mayo asked this question of the Sixth patriarch: "What is
                  > Zen?" the Patriarch replied that, "when your mind is not dwelling on
                  > the dualism of good and evil, what is your original face before you
                  > were born?"
                  >
                  > This question seems nonsensical, but this is only so when measured
                  > against the linear logical requirements of society. The question is
                  > intended to open the initiated mind to possibilities beyond the
                  > rational. It is also designed so as to waken the student to the
                  > possibility that spiritual answers require a different mode of thought.
                  >
                  > Zen master Dogen had a saying that is appropriate in the present
                  > context. He said that in order to perceive reality we must "drop mind
                  > and body". In other words, it is essential to drop all habits of
                  > thought and preconceptions in order to understand the truth. The Koan
                  > forces the student to face this type of thinking. The answer to the
                  > question " what is your original face before you were born?" cannot be
                  > answered on the level of rational logic. It points towards the
                  > possibility of knowing or understanding without the constructs of
                  > reason and habitual response. The question suggests we have to
                  > approach spiritual reality as if we had knowledge of things before we
                  > were taught the ways of thinking of this world: in other words, "
                  > before we were born".
                  >
                  > In trying to answer the Koan, the student will come to a mental
                  > "precipice", as it were, where all the methods and procedures of
                  > accepted thinking no longer function. The purpose of the Koan is to
                  > shove the student over this precipice into an area of experience that
                  > is completely new. This is the spiritual reality that the Zen master
                  > is attempting to guide the student towards.
                  >
                  > A similar Koan is " What is the sound of one hand?" Of course, in
                  > terms of the conventional world there can be no sound from a single
                  > hand. Sound logically needs two hands clapping. However, the question
                  > presumes that one hand clapping has already created a sound and that
                  > it can be heard. The question is not about sound or hands clapping,
                  > although this is quite conceivable within the context of Zen. The
                  > question is rather about hearing the impossible, which is only termed
                  > impossible within the framework of conventional reality. The Zen
                  > master is therefore pressing and encouraging the student to critique
                  > ordinary reality and to force the mind into other areas of
                  understanding.
                  >
                  > Written by Gary Smith - © 2002 Pagewise
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
                  > <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Hi Niriha,
                  > >
                  > > Hmmm....after reading that your mother had an interest in Buddhism
                  > > and was introducing koans to you as a child, I was about to reply
                  > > that you were very 'lucky' to have a parent who was so open to
                  > > eastern spiritual concepts.
                  > >
                  > > But I can see how it would be a little too much for a young kid's
                  > > brain ;-). I have to say I have never really explored Zen or koans.
                  > > The times when I have come across koans, I get little inspiration
                  > > from them. Are they sort of like a spiritual brain teaser?
                  > >
                  > > I like Martin's explanation of a momentary experience of inner
                  > > enlightenment. Perhaps a similar inner enlightenment is needed
                  > > to "get" what is contained in the koan?
                  > >
                  > > Sorry for asking the obvious but I am slow....
                  > >
                  > > Terri
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                  > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Dear Terri,
                  > > >
                  > > > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master would
                  > > > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the confines
                  > > > of the mind.
                  > > >
                  > > > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
                  > > > saying the full koan:
                  > > >
                  > > > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of one
                  > > > hand clapping?"
                  > > >
                  > > > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
                  > > >
                  > > > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my little
                  > > > kid's brain. :-)
                  > > >
                  > > > Niriha
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
                  > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Hi Martin,
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand" but I
                  > > > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally during
                  > > > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
                  > > > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences or
                  > > if
                  > > > > they just come forward when we are ready.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them.
                  > > Perhaps
                  > > > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
                  > > during
                  > > > > such a long event???
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Terri
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                  > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                  > > moments
                  > > > > of enlightenment which
                  > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
                  > > when
                  > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                  > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
                  > > what it
                  > > > > must look like from the
                  > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
                  > > tho
                  > > > > the mind´s opinion,
                  > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                  > > > > everything is so clear and so
                  > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                  > > second
                  > > > > you are back, finding yourself
                  > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                  > > little
                  > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                  > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                  > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
                  > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                  > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                  > > that
                  > > > > you know what it is like
                  > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
                  > > > > be "clapping with one hand"
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > Martin
                  > > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >
                • richard13_oxford
                  Dear Prachar and Niriha Thanks for your words of encouragement. Regards, Richard ... http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne
                  Message 8 of 25 , Mar 2, 2006
                    Dear Prachar and Niriha

                    Thanks for your words of encouragement.


                    Regards,

                    Richard



                    --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear Richard,
                    >
                    > I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                    > marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have learned
                    > the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a perfect
                    > length as necessity dictates.
                    >
                    > ^ ^
                    > 6 6
                    > \_/
                    >
                    > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                    > <no_reply@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Dear Richard
                    > >
                    > > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                    > >
                    > > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                    > >
                    > > Thank you
                    > >
                    > > Prachar
                    > >
                    > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                    > > no_reply@ wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
                    > > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger
                    > offers
                    > > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                    > > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
                    > > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found they
                    > > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
                    > > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less familiar
                    > > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
                    > > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                    > pleasure
                    > > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
                    > > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                    > > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
                    > > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the perception of
                    > > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                    > accurate
                    > > > reflection.)
                    > > >
                    > > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
                    > > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                    > Masters
                    > > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of
                    > the
                    > > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell (Hafiz)and
                    > > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                    > > > translations of these sacred classics.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                    > > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                    > > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                    > > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                    > > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                    > > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                    > > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                    > > >
                    > > > ...
                    > > >
                    > > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                    > > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                    > > >
                    > > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                    > > >
                    > > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                    > > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
                    > > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love
                    > with
                    > > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
                    > > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for places of
                    > > > divine illumination.
                    > > >
                    > > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution
                    > from
                    > > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt threatened
                    > > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own
                    > heart
                    > > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
                    > > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
                    > > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences.
                    > For
                    > > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an allegory of
                    > > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors developed
                    > a
                    > > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between
                    > the
                    > > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                    > essence,
                    > > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                    > > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                    > insufficient
                    > > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine of the
                    > > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual
                    > poet
                    > > > faces.
                    > > >
                    > > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much
                    > more
                    > > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized
                    > for
                    > > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more freedom
                    > > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form accessible to
                    > > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                    > > >
                    > > > ***
                    > > >
                    > > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the
                    > Day
                    > > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                    > Chinmoy's
                    > > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                    > something
                    > > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have been.
                    > > >
                    > > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                    > > >
                    > > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                    > > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                    > > > All my hopes have grown into
                    > > > fathomless pangs.
                    > > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                    > > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                    > > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                    > > > Its arms towards You
                    > > > For Your Protection Feet."
                    > > >
                    > > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism
                    > but
                    > > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
                    > > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I feel
                    > > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the Supreme.
                    > > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
                    > > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                    > > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the
                    > poem.
                    > > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
                    > > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
                    > > > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
                    > > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                    > > spirituality.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about
                    > his
                    > > > songs that embody helplessness
                    > > >
                    > > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
                    > > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                    > helpless;
                    > > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that
                    > this
                    > > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions
                    > this
                    > > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                    > > >
                    > > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                    > Knowing
                    > > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
                    > > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not want
                    > to
                    > > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a
                    > point
                    > > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I
                    > have
                    > > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
                    > > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                    > > >
                    > > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies itself
                    > > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                    > Source,
                    > > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive. But the
                    > > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
                    > > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to
                    > time
                    > > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the idea
                    > > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
                    > > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the mind can
                    > > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                    > > >
                    > > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in front
                    > of
                    > > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light. The mind
                    > > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to accept
                    > > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be another way
                    > > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That
                    > is
                    > > > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only
                    > my
                    > > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                    > tremendously..."
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                    http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                    > ss/
                    > > >
                    > > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                    > > >
                    > > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth viewing.
                    > > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                    > splendour
                    > > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his failure
                    > in
                    > > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
                    > > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful
                    > it
                    > > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many ways a
                    > > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is
                    > not
                    > > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                    > > >
                    > > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
                    > > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am grateful to
                    > > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
                    > > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the series "My
                    > > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction to Sri
                    > > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                    > > >
                    > > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
                    > > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri Chinmoy. It
                    > > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which includes an
                    > > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry shares
                    > > > with other great poets.
                    > > >
                    > > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Greetings,
                    > > >
                    > > > Richard
                    > > >
                    > > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                    > > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                    > > >
                    > > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                    > > > wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Hi Martin,
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger
                    > that I
                    > > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted Ivan
                    > to
                    > > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a section of
                    > my
                    > > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
                    > > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret
                    > his
                    > > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                    > > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                    > sounds
                    > > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood easily
                    > on
                    > > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Goodnight Moon
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why do you come
                    > > > > only when I
                    > > > > orphan my ambitions?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why do you show
                    > > > > only when all hope
                    > > > > has fled?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                    > > > > will you meet me
                    > > > > only on my funeral bed?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > And, tell me �
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why won't the dead
                    > > > > stay dead?
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > - Ivan Granger
                    > > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
                    > > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been
                    > dead
                    > > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                    > radiant, silent
                    > > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic poetry as
                    > > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he wrote, "I
                    > die
                    > > > > daily."
                    > > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
                    > > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan flickered
                    > in
                    > > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
                    > > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I
                    > was
                    > > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real to me
                    > once
                    > > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my identity
                    > had
                    > > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                    > > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took effort to
                    > > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                    > > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self became
                    > the
                    > > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took on the
                    > > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                    > > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty
                    > Dawn
                    > > > > were composed.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                    > > > >
                    > > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
                    > > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic
                    > device
                    > > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of love
                    > and
                    > > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                    > relationship,
                    > > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                    > > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is Self.
                    > Even
                    > > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                    > > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to
                    > the
                    > > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                    > profound
                    > > > love.
                    > > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
                    > > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why do you come
                    > > > > Only when I
                    > > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful state
                    > only
                    > > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                    > aspirations. It
                    > > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my
                    > daily
                    > > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had slipped back
                    > > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously mapping
                    > out
                    > > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced the idea
                    > of
                    > > > > who Ivan was.
                    > > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                    > substance
                    > > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and
                    > begin
                    > > > > to grow.
                    > > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down plans, the
                    > more
                    > > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the
                    > more
                    > > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                    > > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                    > existence,
                    > > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to. When the
                    > > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why do you show
                    > > > > Only when all hope
                    > > > > Has fled?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the hope
                    > that
                    > > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct,
                    > will
                    > > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                    > > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the muscles
                    > of
                    > > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                    > natural
                    > > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                    > > > > Will you meet me
                    > > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is
                    > sweet.
                    > > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical;
                    > bliss
                    > > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is much
                    > more
                    > > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                    > > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
                    > > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the
                    > Beloved
                    > > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely for a
                    > > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                    > spiritual
                    > > > > marriage.
                    > > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                    > shining
                    > > > > glory once more.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > And, tell me �
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Why won't the dead
                    > > > > Stay dead?
                    > > > >
                    > > > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the
                    > rush of
                    > > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                    > "death"
                    > > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                    > > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of
                    > final
                    > > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I could say
                    > > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
                    > > returned.
                    > > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                    > > > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
                    > > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                    > > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with
                    > great
                    > > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                    > > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to
                    > the
                    > > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                    > blissful
                    > > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord.
                    > The
                    > > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more desire to
                    > call
                    > > > > it back from its place of rest.
                    > > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the graveyard
                    > and
                    > > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                    > learning
                    > > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                    > Divine
                    > > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not cease to
                    > > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a social
                    > > > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the
                    > world.
                    > > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it.
                    > You
                    > > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the
                    > needs
                    > > > > of the moment.
                    > > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real
                    > ego.
                    > > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no longer
                    > a
                    > > > > thing, it is something you do.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                    > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                    > moments
                    > > > > of enlightenment which
                    > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds when
                    > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                    > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to what
                    > it
                    > > > > must look like from the
                    > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according tho
                    > the
                    > > > > mind�s opinion,
                    > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                    > > > > everything is so clear and so
                    > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next second
                    > you
                    > > > > are back, finding yourself
                    > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                    > little
                    > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                    > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                    > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to be
                    > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                    > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                    > that
                    > > > > you know what it is like
                    > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
                    > > > > "clapping with one hand"
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > Martin
                    > > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • jan_klaile
                    Hello Niriha! I must admit I was not reading at that time. But Martanda just showed me your greeting. Thank you very much :0)! I really must shape up with
                    Message 9 of 25 , Mar 2, 2006
                      Hello Niriha!

                      I must admit I was not reading at that time. But Martanda just showed
                      me your greeting. Thank you very much :0)!

                      I really must shape up with picking up the good habit of being more
                      active in the inspiration group! Just now while running, poems and
                      stories were playing in my head and I thought I could share these with
                      the inspiration group, because they were quite nice. I just have to
                      recall them...

                      Oh well...Now I must get going...

                      Warm greetings to all!

                      Jan in Oslo :0) : 0 ) : o ) : 0 )



                      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Hello Jan,
                      >
                      > Though you may not be reading now, some time ago you wrote:
                      >
                      > I was so thrilled to see many familiar names (Purnakama, Snehashila,
                      > Niriha...many more)and curious and happy to see many new names for
                      me
                      > (Sharani, Predrag of the Heart...many more. I've really appreciated
                      > the posts and hope to come with a contribution soon. Cheers! :0)
                      >
                      > I meant to respond at the time but internet connections were not
                      > reliable during our trip and a recurring theme while on the internet
                      > was *your connection has timed out* and with no warning, puff. . .
                      the
                      > connection was broken.
                      >
                      > I want to mention that before reading your energetic and
                      enthusiastic
                      > post I had the thought that we had not heard from you for a while
                      and
                      > I was actually hoping that you were alright. Then two day later,
                      > voila, there you were. I was happy to discover that you were just
                      fine.
                      >
                      > Niriha
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, jan_klaile
                      > <no_reply@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Yo DUDES :0),
                      > >
                      > > I'm so happy to see you here! I've been thinking of our time
                      together
                      > > on the European World Harmony Run and what great times we had, and
                      > > I've developed smiles many times with a good feeling in my heart.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > ...Actually, I just came from a run. I was inspired to run from
                      work,
                      > > our small Madal Bal wholesale in town, home. I thought it would
                      take
                      > > two hours, but to my great surprise it only took a little over an
                      > > hour. That is so encouraging! I think I'll run to work tomorrow.
                      > >
                      > > Work has been so hectic at times that running long distances fast
                      > > really feels like the most pleasurable rest. As Sri Chinmoy has
                      said
                      > > "Rest is change of activity". And it is so true!
                      > >
                      > > My running was having heavyweight ups and downs for a month or
                      two,
                      > > but now I feel I'm back on track. And it feels great!
                      > >
                      > > Thank you Martin for your wonderful (and quite painful) knee
                      stretch
                      > > you showed my in VYBORG, Russia! It has been helping me a lot,
                      > > because my knee is still inflamed, and the stretch helps me go out
                      > > running anyway. Once I did a 4k run and my knee was hurting, and
                      I
                      > > was sooo slow. But, when I came home I did your stretch very
                      > > concentratedly, feeling I was invoking and absorbing grace from
                      above,
                      > > and then just for the fun of it I went out for another 4k lap,
                      and,
                      > > guess what, I was able to do my fastest lap ever on that track!
                      Wow!
                      > > Now there's a mind-breaker for you!!!
                      > >
                      > > Colm, you are on so many pictures of the WHR slideshow! And it's
                      > > wonderful to look at you! Remembering your cheerfulness and
                      leaping
                      > > enthusiasm (and wonderful Irish accent :0)) gives me these same
                      > > qualities (maybe without the Irish accent :O))
                      > >
                      > > Martin! I'm happy to see your beautiful koan here for everyone
                      > > tosavour. I remember when you recited it to me so beautifully,
                      and it
                      > > created a very special, sacred atmosphere.
                      > >
                      > > Well, it's soon getting past my bed-time, so I gotta go!
                      > >
                      > > A hearty cheer for you both!
                      > >
                      > > Jan :0) )
                      > >
                      > > PS. If anybody else had the stamina to read this message, too, I
                      say
                      > > a hearty hello to you! I haven't written in ages (though I've
                      been
                      > > eavesdropping quite often for the past 2 months). I hope to write
                      a
                      > > post for everyone in the next couple of days. I was so thrilled
                      to
                      > > see many familiar names (Purnakama, Snehashila, Niriha...many
                      more)
                      > > and curious and happy to see many new names for me (Sharani,
                      Predrag
                      > > of the Heart...many more. I've really appreciated the posts and
                      hope
                      > > to come with a contribution soon. Cheers! :0)
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, colmbolmcolm
                      > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Hey Martin!
                      > > >
                      > > > I certainly agree, those few seconds are priceless. I reckon the
                      > > > heart is a champion at claping with one hand, but the mind is
                      > > > hopeless. The mind needs to go to 'the clapping with one hand,
                      > > > school of the heart' and stay there. Although the mind is
                      sneeky, it
                      > > > would try to get expelled from this school by clapping with two
                      > > > hands! However I hear that the principle of this school of the
                      > > > heart, Mr. Soul, is very compassionate and will try every means
                      to
                      > > > encourage the student to do his very best, even when the student
                      has
                      > > > been mischievous!
                      > > >
                      > > > Colm.
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                      > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                      > > > moments of enlightenment which
                      > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
                      when
                      > > > time stops and suddenly,
                      > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
                      what
                      > > > it must look like from the
                      > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
                      tho
                      > > > the mind´s opinion,
                      > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                      > > > everything is so clear and so
                      > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                      second
                      > > > you are back, finding yourself
                      > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                      little
                      > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                      > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                      > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to
                      be
                      > > > impossible for me to retell on
                      > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                      > > > that you know what it is like
                      > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
                      > > > be "clapping with one hand"
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Martin
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • sharani_sharani
                      And we have to add words of encouragement and praise for Richard s new gallery album as well. I especially like the photos of the gardens at Oxford - Misty
                      Message 10 of 25 , Mar 2, 2006
                        And we have to add words of encouragement and praise for Richard's new
                        gallery album as well. I especially like the photos of the gardens at
                        Oxford - Misty Path in particular. How appropriate to have pictures of
                        fog included in shots of England (or at least so I hear). I don't
                        recall you announcing this new addition of photographs to your
                        repertoire here on the Inspiration Group. Since it's been a little
                        while and you're feeling shy(?) then I'm here to say "by all means,
                        check them out!" Just visit
                        http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/gallery/members/richard_pettinger

                        Sharani

                        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                        <no_reply@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dear Prachar and Niriha
                        >
                        > Thanks for your words of encouragement.
                        >
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        >
                        > Richard
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                        > wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Dear Richard,
                        > >
                        > > I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                        > > marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have learned
                        > > the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a
                        perfect
                        > > length as necessity dictates.
                        > >
                        > > ^ ^
                        > > 6 6
                        > > \_/
                        > >
                        > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                        > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > Dear Richard
                        > > >
                        > > > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                        > > >
                        > > > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                        > > >
                        > > > Thank you
                        > > >
                        > > > Prachar
                        > > >
                        > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                        > > > no_reply@ wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
                        > > > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger
                        > > offers
                        > > > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                        > > > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
                        > > > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found
                        they
                        > > > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
                        > > > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less
                        familiar
                        > > > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
                        > > > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                        > > pleasure
                        > > > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
                        > > > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                        > > > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
                        > > > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the
                        perception of
                        > > > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                        > > accurate
                        > > > > reflection.)
                        > > > >
                        > > > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
                        > > > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                        > > Masters
                        > > > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of
                        > > the
                        > > > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell
                        (Hafiz)and
                        > > > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                        > > > > translations of these sacred classics.
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                        > > > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                        > > > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                        > > > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                        > > > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                        > > > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                        > > > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > ...
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                        > > > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                        > > > >
                        > > > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                        > > > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
                        > > > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love
                        > > with
                        > > > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
                        > > > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for
                        places of
                        > > > > divine illumination.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution
                        > > from
                        > > > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt
                        threatened
                        > > > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own
                        > > heart
                        > > > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
                        > > > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
                        > > > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences.
                        > > For
                        > > > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an
                        allegory of
                        > > > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors
                        developed
                        > > a
                        > > > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between
                        > > the
                        > > > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                        > > essence,
                        > > > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                        > > > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                        > > insufficient
                        > > > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine
                        of the
                        > > > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual
                        > > poet
                        > > > > faces.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much
                        > > more
                        > > > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized
                        > > for
                        > > > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more
                        freedom
                        > > > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form
                        accessible to
                        > > > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                        > > > >
                        > > > > ***
                        > > > >
                        > > > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the
                        > > Day
                        > > > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                        > > Chinmoy's
                        > > > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                        > > something
                        > > > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have
                        been.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                        > > > >
                        > > > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                        > > > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                        > > > > All my hopes have grown into
                        > > > > fathomless pangs.
                        > > > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                        > > > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                        > > > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                        > > > > Its arms towards You
                        > > > > For Your Protection Feet."
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism
                        > > but
                        > > > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
                        > > > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I
                        feel
                        > > > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the
                        Supreme.
                        > > > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
                        > > > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                        > > > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the
                        > > poem.
                        > > > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
                        > > > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
                        > > > > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
                        > > > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                        > > > spirituality.
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about
                        > > his
                        > > > > songs that embody helplessness
                        > > > >
                        > > > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
                        > > > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                        > > helpless;
                        > > > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that
                        > > this
                        > > > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions
                        > > this
                        > > > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                        > > Knowing
                        > > > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
                        > > > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not
                        want
                        > > to
                        > > > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a
                        > > point
                        > > > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I
                        > > have
                        > > > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
                        > > > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies
                        itself
                        > > > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                        > > Source,
                        > > > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive.
                        But the
                        > > > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
                        > > > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to
                        > > time
                        > > > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the
                        idea
                        > > > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
                        > > > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the
                        mind can
                        > > > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in
                        front
                        > > of
                        > > > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light.
                        The mind
                        > > > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to
                        accept
                        > > > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be
                        another way
                        > > > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That
                        > > is
                        > > > > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only
                        > > my
                        > > > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                        > > tremendously..."
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                        http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                        > > ss/
                        > > > >
                        > > > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                        > > > >
                        > > > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth
                        viewing.
                        > > > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                        > > splendour
                        > > > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his
                        failure
                        > > in
                        > > > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
                        > > > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful
                        > > it
                        > > > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many
                        ways a
                        > > > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is
                        > > not
                        > > > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
                        > > > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am
                        grateful to
                        > > > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
                        > > > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the
                        series "My
                        > > > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction
                        to Sri
                        > > > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
                        > > > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri
                        Chinmoy. It
                        > > > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which
                        includes an
                        > > > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry
                        shares
                        > > > > with other great poets.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Greetings,
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Richard
                        > > > >
                        > > > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                        > > > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                        > > > >
                        > > > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                        <no_reply@>
                        > > > > wrote:
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Hi Martin,
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger
                        > > that I
                        > > > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted
                        Ivan
                        > > to
                        > > > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a
                        section of
                        > > my
                        > > > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
                        > > > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret
                        > > his
                        > > > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                        > > > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                        > > sounds
                        > > > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood
                        easily
                        > > on
                        > > > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Goodnight Moon
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why do you come
                        > > > > > only when I
                        > > > > > orphan my ambitions?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why do you show
                        > > > > > only when all hope
                        > > > > > has fled?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                        > > > > > will you meet me
                        > > > > > only on my funeral bed?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > And, tell me �
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why won't the dead
                        > > > > > stay dead?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > - Ivan Granger
                        > > > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
                        > > > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been
                        > > dead
                        > > > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                        > > radiant, silent
                        > > > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic
                        poetry as
                        > > > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he
                        wrote, "I
                        > > die
                        > > > > > daily."
                        > > > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
                        > > > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan
                        flickered
                        > > in
                        > > > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
                        > > > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I
                        > > was
                        > > > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real
                        to me
                        > > once
                        > > > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my
                        identity
                        > > had
                        > > > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                        > > > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took
                        effort to
                        > > > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                        > > > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self
                        became
                        > > the
                        > > > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took
                        on the
                        > > > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                        > > > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty
                        > > Dawn
                        > > > > > were composed.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
                        > > > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic
                        > > device
                        > > > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of
                        love
                        > > and
                        > > > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                        > > relationship,
                        > > > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                        > > > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is
                        Self.
                        > > Even
                        > > > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                        > > > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to
                        > > the
                        > > > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                        > > profound
                        > > > > love.
                        > > > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
                        > > > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why do you come
                        > > > > > Only when I
                        > > > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful
                        state
                        > > only
                        > > > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                        > > aspirations. It
                        > > > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my
                        > > daily
                        > > > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had
                        slipped back
                        > > > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously
                        mapping
                        > > out
                        > > > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced
                        the idea
                        > > of
                        > > > > > who Ivan was.
                        > > > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                        > > substance
                        > > > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and
                        > > begin
                        > > > > > to grow.
                        > > > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down
                        plans, the
                        > > more
                        > > > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the
                        > > more
                        > > > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                        > > > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                        > > existence,
                        > > > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to.
                        When the
                        > > > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why do you show
                        > > > > > Only when all hope
                        > > > > > Has fled?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the
                        hope
                        > > that
                        > > > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct,
                        > > will
                        > > > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                        > > > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the
                        muscles
                        > > of
                        > > > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                        > > natural
                        > > > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                        > > > > > Will you meet me
                        > > > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is
                        > > sweet.
                        > > > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical;
                        > > bliss
                        > > > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is
                        much
                        > > more
                        > > > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                        > > > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
                        > > > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the
                        > > Beloved
                        > > > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely
                        for a
                        > > > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                        > > spiritual
                        > > > > > marriage.
                        > > > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                        > > shining
                        > > > > > glory once more.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > And, tell me �
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Why won't the dead
                        > > > > > Stay dead?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the
                        > > rush of
                        > > > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                        > > "death"
                        > > > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                        > > > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of
                        > > final
                        > > > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I
                        could say
                        > > > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
                        > > > returned.
                        > > > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                        > > > > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
                        > > > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                        > > > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with
                        > > great
                        > > > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                        > > > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to
                        > > the
                        > > > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                        > > blissful
                        > > > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord.
                        > > The
                        > > > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more
                        desire to
                        > > call
                        > > > > > it back from its place of rest.
                        > > > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the
                        graveyard
                        > > and
                        > > > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                        > > learning
                        > > > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                        > > Divine
                        > > > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not
                        cease to
                        > > > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a
                        social
                        > > > > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the
                        > > world.
                        > > > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it.
                        > > You
                        > > > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the
                        > > needs
                        > > > > > of the moment.
                        > > > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real
                        > > ego.
                        > > > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no
                        longer
                        > > a
                        > > > > > thing, it is something you do.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                        > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                        > > moments
                        > > > > > of enlightenment which
                        > > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting
                        seconds when
                        > > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                        > > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in
                        to what
                        > > it
                        > > > > > must look like from the
                        > > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly,
                        according tho
                        > > the
                        > > > > > mind�s opinion,
                        > > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                        > > > > > everything is so clear and so
                        > > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                        second
                        > > you
                        > > > > > are back, finding yourself
                        > > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                        > > little
                        > > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                        > > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                        > > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out
                        to be
                        > > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                        > > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                        > > that
                        > > > > > you know what it is like
                        > > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
                        > > > > > "clapping with one hand"
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > Martin
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > >
                        >
                      • niriha7
                        As I was saying, Let s just say that your messages are a perfect length as necessity dictates. ^ ^ & & _/ ... perfect ... they ... familiar ... perception
                        Message 11 of 25 , Mar 3, 2006
                          As I was saying, "Let's just say that your messages are a perfect
                          length as necessity dictates."

                          ^ ^
                          & &
                          \_/


                          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                          <no_reply@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Prachar and Niriha
                          >
                          > Thanks for your words of encouragement.
                          >
                          >
                          > Regards,
                          >
                          > Richard
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                          > wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Dear Richard,
                          > >
                          > > I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                          > > marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have learned
                          > > the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a
                          perfect
                          > > length as necessity dictates.
                          > >
                          > > ^ ^
                          > > 6 6
                          > > \_/
                          > >
                          > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                          > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > Dear Richard
                          > > >
                          > > > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                          > > >
                          > > > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                          > > >
                          > > > Thank you
                          > > >
                          > > > Prachar
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                          > > > no_reply@ wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable commentary. At
                          > > > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger
                          > > offers
                          > > > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                          > > > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning of the
                          > > > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found
                          they
                          > > > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of sacred
                          > > > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less
                          familiar
                          > > > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer Poets.
                          > > > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                          > > pleasure
                          > > > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but mostly,
                          > > > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                          > > > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal, permissive
                          > > > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the
                          perception of
                          > > > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                          > > accurate
                          > > > > reflection.)
                          > > > >
                          > > > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous conclusion on
                          > > > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                          > > Masters
                          > > > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the attention of
                          > > the
                          > > > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell
                          (Hafiz)and
                          > > > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                          > > > > translations of these sacred classics.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                          > > > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                          > > > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                          > > > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                          > > > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                          > > > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                          > > > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > ...
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                          > > > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                          > > > >
                          > > > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                          > > > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an insane
                          > > > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in love
                          > > with
                          > > > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating ecstasy of
                          > > > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for
                          places of
                          > > > > divine illumination.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution
                          > > from
                          > > > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt
                          threatened
                          > > > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own
                          > > heart
                          > > > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to avoid
                          > > > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi mystics
                          > > > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine experiences.
                          > > For
                          > > > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an
                          allegory of
                          > > > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors
                          developed
                          > > a
                          > > > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read between
                          > > the
                          > > > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                          > > essence,
                          > > > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                          > > > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                          > > insufficient
                          > > > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine
                          of the
                          > > > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a spiritual
                          > > poet
                          > > > > faces.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered much
                          > > more
                          > > > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be criticized
                          > > for
                          > > > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more
                          freedom
                          > > > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form
                          accessible to
                          > > > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                          > > > >
                          > > > > ***
                          > > > >
                          > > > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem of the
                          > > Day
                          > > > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                          > > Chinmoy's
                          > > > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                          > > something
                          > > > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have
                          been.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                          > > > >
                          > > > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                          > > > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                          > > > > All my hopes have grown into
                          > > > > fathomless pangs.
                          > > > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                          > > > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                          > > > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                          > > > > Its arms towards You
                          > > > > For Your Protection Feet."
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and pessimism
                          > > but
                          > > > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
                          > > > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I
                          feel
                          > > > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the
                          Supreme.
                          > > > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the Divine
                          > > > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                          > > > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the
                          > > poem.
                          > > > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
                          > > > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word "surrender"
                          > > > > means different things to different people. It can be difficult to
                          > > > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                          > > > spirituality.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question about
                          > > his
                          > > > > songs that embody helplessness
                          > > > >
                          > > > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I say, "Go
                          > > > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                          > > helpless;
                          > > > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that
                          > > this
                          > > > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare occasions
                          > > this
                          > > > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                          > > Knowing
                          > > > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind runs to
                          > > > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not
                          want
                          > > to
                          > > > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a
                          > > point
                          > > > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it says, "I
                          > > have
                          > > > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to invoke
                          > > > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies
                          itself
                          > > > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                          > > Source,
                          > > > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive.
                          But the
                          > > > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and mind
                          > > > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to
                          > > time
                          > > > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the
                          idea
                          > > > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very painful, even
                          > > > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the
                          mind can
                          > > > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in
                          front
                          > > of
                          > > > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light.
                          The mind
                          > > > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to
                          accept
                          > > > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be
                          another way
                          > > > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are hopeless. That
                          > > is
                          > > > > where some songs in which helplessness is being expressed-not only
                          > > my
                          > > > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                          > > tremendously..."
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                          http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                          > > ss/
                          > > > >
                          > > > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                          > > > >
                          > > > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth
                          viewing.
                          > > > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                          > > splendour
                          > > > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his
                          failure
                          > > in
                          > > > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
                          > > > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and powerful
                          > > it
                          > > > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many
                          ways a
                          > > > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all poetry is
                          > > not
                          > > > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come across
                          > > > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am
                          grateful to
                          > > > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
                          > > > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the
                          series "My
                          > > > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction
                          to Sri
                          > > > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
                          > > > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri
                          Chinmoy. It
                          > > > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which
                          includes an
                          > > > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry
                          shares
                          > > > > with other great poets.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Greetings,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Richard
                          > > > >
                          > > > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                          > > > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                          > > > >
                          > > > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                          <no_reply@>
                          > > > > wrote:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Hi Martin,
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger
                          > > that I
                          > > > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted
                          Ivan
                          > > to
                          > > > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a
                          section of
                          > > my
                          > > > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he said I
                          > > > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not interpret
                          > > his
                          > > > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                          > > > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                          > > sounds
                          > > > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood
                          easily
                          > > on
                          > > > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Goodnight Moon
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why do you come
                          > > > > > only when I
                          > > > > > orphan my ambitions?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why do you show
                          > > > > > only when all hope
                          > > > > > has fled?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                          > > > > > will you meet me
                          > > > > > only on my funeral bed?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > And, tell me �
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why won't the dead
                          > > > > > stay dead?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > - Ivan Granger
                          > > > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
                          > > > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan had been
                          > > dead
                          > > > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                          > > radiant, silent
                          > > > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic
                          poetry as
                          > > > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he
                          wrote, "I
                          > > die
                          > > > > > daily."
                          > > > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
                          > > > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan
                          flickered
                          > > in
                          > > > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
                          > > > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized that I
                          > > was
                          > > > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real
                          to me
                          > > once
                          > > > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my
                          identity
                          > > had
                          > > > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                          > > > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took
                          effort to
                          > > > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                          > > > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self
                          became
                          > > the
                          > > > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took
                          on the
                          > > > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                          > > > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and Empty
                          > > Dawn
                          > > > > > were composed.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
                          > > > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic
                          > > device
                          > > > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of
                          love
                          > > and
                          > > > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                          > > relationship,
                          > > > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                          > > > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is
                          Self.
                          > > Even
                          > > > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                          > > > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often refer to
                          > > the
                          > > > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                          > > profound
                          > > > > love.
                          > > > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to is more
                          > > > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why do you come
                          > > > > > Only when I
                          > > > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful
                          state
                          > > only
                          > > > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                          > > aspirations. It
                          > > > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my
                          > > daily
                          > > > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had
                          slipped back
                          > > > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously
                          mapping
                          > > out
                          > > > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced
                          the idea
                          > > of
                          > > > > > who Ivan was.
                          > > > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                          > > substance
                          > > > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root again and
                          > > begin
                          > > > > > to grow.
                          > > > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down
                          plans, the
                          > > more
                          > > > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the
                          > > more
                          > > > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                          > > > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                          > > existence,
                          > > > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to.
                          When the
                          > > > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why do you show
                          > > > > > Only when all hope
                          > > > > > Has fled?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the
                          hope
                          > > that
                          > > > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental construct,
                          > > will
                          > > > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                          > > > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the
                          muscles
                          > > of
                          > > > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                          > > natural
                          > > > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                          > > > > > Will you meet me
                          > > > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is
                          > > sweet.
                          > > > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical;
                          > > bliss
                          > > > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is
                          much
                          > > more
                          > > > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                          > > > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my experience
                          > > > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the
                          > > Beloved
                          > > > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely
                          for a
                          > > > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                          > > spiritual
                          > > > > > marriage.
                          > > > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                          > > shining
                          > > > > > glory once more.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > And, tell me �
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Why won't the dead
                          > > > > > Stay dead?
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the
                          > > rush of
                          > > > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                          > > "death"
                          > > > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                          > > > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of
                          > > final
                          > > > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I
                          could say
                          > > > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
                          > > > returned.
                          > > > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                          > > > > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
                          > > > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                          > > > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with
                          > > great
                          > > > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                          > > > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes accustomed to
                          > > the
                          > > > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                          > > blissful
                          > > > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own accord.
                          > > The
                          > > > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more
                          desire to
                          > > call
                          > > > > > it back from its place of rest.
                          > > > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the
                          graveyard
                          > > and
                          > > > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                          > > learning
                          > > > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                          > > Divine
                          > > > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not
                          cease to
                          > > > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a
                          social
                          > > > > > construct or personality to better interact with people and the
                          > > world.
                          > > > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck within it.
                          > > You
                          > > > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to suit the
                          > > needs
                          > > > > > of the moment.
                          > > > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but no real
                          > > ego.
                          > > > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no
                          longer
                          > > a
                          > > > > > thing, it is something you do.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, martin_the_dude
                          > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                          > > moments
                          > > > > > of enlightenment which
                          > > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting
                          seconds when
                          > > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                          > > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in
                          to what
                          > > it
                          > > > > > must look like from the
                          > > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly,
                          according tho
                          > > the
                          > > > > > mind�s opinion,
                          > > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a second
                          > > > > > everything is so clear and so
                          > > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                          second
                          > > you
                          > > > > > are back, finding yourself
                          > > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                          > > little
                          > > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                          > > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                          > > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out
                          to be
                          > > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                          > > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway know
                          > > that
                          > > > > > you know what it is like
                          > > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
                          > > > > > "clapping with one hand"
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > Martin
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          > >
                          >
                        • vasanti_hd
                          What words to choose for a loss that is felt so deeply by many of us. When someone dear leaves, it is as if a part of oneself is taken away. Prefering Sri
                          Message 12 of 25 , Mar 3, 2006
                            What words to choose for a loss that is felt so deeply by many of
                            us. When someone dear leaves, it is as if a part of oneself is taken
                            away. Prefering Sri Chinmoy's words to my own, I just want to post
                            this excerpt of the Buddha-play here:

                            The Buddha Needs A Few Mustard Seeds (act I, Scene Iii)
                            from
                            http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/siddhartha-becomes-buddha/16.html

                            (Gautami returns to the Buddha.)

                            GAUTAMI: O Master, I have been to many places. Each family has lost
                            someone. It seems that there is no family that has not suffered from
                            death.

                            BUDDHA: Gautami, you are right. No family on earth can say that
                            death has not visited it. You are suffering, and like you many, many
                            others are suffering. Many have suffered and many will suffer. Not
                            just many, Gautami-all. Everyone has to suffer from death. We came
                            from Light and we shall go back to Light.

                            GAUTAMI: But, Father, he was my only child. How can I be consoled?
                            Who will console me?

                            BUDDHA: Who will console you, Gautami? I will console you.

                            GAUTAMI: Please console me, Father. You are the only one who can do
                            it.

                            BUDDHA: Gautami, as long as there is life there will also be death.
                            Birth is bound to be followed by death, and death is bound to be
                            followed by birth. Now, Gautami, I shall tell you the cause of
                            sorrow. You have lost your only child. Your life is overwhelmed with
                            sorrow. But the cause of your sorrow is not death. The cause of
                            sorrow is desire. The day you conquer desire you conquer sorrow,
                            too. Pray and meditate. You will conquer desire, and at that moment
                            you will see that Light and Delight have become your constant
                            friends.

                            GAUTAMI: O Sage, you are my Master. Today I know you. I have nobody
                            on earth, nobody. I have no husband, I have no child-nobody but you.
                            You are my All. You have consoled me. Now what I need from you is
                            inner illumination. I shall dedicate my entire life to you
                            unconditionally, wholeheartedly. It is through my dedicated service
                            to you, Master, that I shall achieve my illumination.

                            BUDDHA: Gautami, you are right, absolutely right. My child, your
                            life is destined to enter into the realm of eternal Bliss. Meditate
                            on God. Meditate on Truth. You will attain Peace, Joy and Bliss.

                            Excerpt from Siddhartha Becomes The Buddha by Sri Chinmoy.

                            In deepest oneness
                            Vasanti




                            --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, snehashila2
                            <no_reply@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Good-bye to our dearest Brother and Friend, Ongkar
                            >
                            > Your undying dedication and enthusiasm will always help light my
                            path.
                            >
                            > May all the angels carry you to the highest Heavens!
                            >
                            > All love and affection,
                            > Snehashila
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                            <no_reply@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Dear Terri,
                            > >
                            > > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master
                            would
                            > > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the
                            confines
                            > > of the mind.
                            > >
                            > > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
                            > > saying the full koan:
                            > >
                            > > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of
                            one
                            > > hand clapping?"
                            > >
                            > > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
                            > >
                            > > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my
                            little
                            > > kid's brain. :-)
                            > >
                            > > Niriha
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
                            > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > Hi Martin,
                            > > >
                            > > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand"
                            but I
                            > > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
                            > > >
                            > > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally
                            during
                            > > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
                            > > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences
                            or if
                            > > > they just come forward when we are ready.
                            > > >
                            > > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
                            > > >
                            > > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them.
                            Perhaps
                            > > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
                            during
                            > > > such a long event???
                            > > >
                            > > > Terri
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                            martin_the_dude
                            > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                            > > > >
                            > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                            moments
                            > > > of enlightenment which
                            > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
                            when
                            > > > time stops and suddenly,
                            > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
                            what it
                            > > > must look like from the
                            > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
                            tho
                            > > > the mind�s opinion,
                            > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a
                            second
                            > > > everything is so clear and so
                            > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                            second
                            > > > you are back, finding yourself
                            > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                            little
                            > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                            > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                            > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to
                            be
                            > > > impossible for me to retell on
                            > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway
                            know that
                            > > > you know what it is like
                            > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
                            > > > be "clapping with one hand"
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Martin
                            > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            >
                          • richard13_oxford
                            Hi Sharani, Thanks for review. We have plenty of opportunity for foggy pictures in England, you can see some more at Pavitrata s Gallery:
                            Message 13 of 25 , Mar 4, 2006
                              Hi Sharani,

                              Thanks for review. We have plenty of opportunity for foggy pictures in
                              England, you can see some more at Pavitrata's Gallery:

                              http://tinyurl.com/msmgo

                              I particularly like
                              http://tinyurl.com/n6kjc - The Morning Run


                              For those interested in digiloka I bought an Olympus X-705 5 million
                              pixels 3* optical zoom

                              from Amazon.co.uk
                              http://tinyurl.com/mhoe3 It now only costs £89.99. Pavitrata reliably
                              informs me its very good value. Its very easy to use, the only slight
                              downside is it uses batteries fairly quick, but their standard AAA so
                              easy to replace.


                              I took some more pics today. Prizes if you can spot which photos are
                              not of Oxford Colleges.

                              http://tinyurl.com/owlu5

                              and
                              http://tinyurl.com/mpnnj



                              Regards,

                              Richard





                              --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                              <no_reply@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > And we have to add words of encouragement and praise for Richard's new
                              > gallery album as well. I especially like the photos of the gardens at
                              > Oxford - Misty Path in particular. How appropriate to have pictures of
                              > fog included in shots of England (or at least so I hear). I don't
                              > recall you announcing this new addition of photographs to your
                              > repertoire here on the Inspiration Group. Since it's been a little
                              > while and you're feeling shy(?) then I'm here to say "by all means,
                              > check them out!" Just visit
                              > http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/gallery/members/richard_pettinger
                              >
                              > Sharani
                              >
                              > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                              > <no_reply@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Dear Prachar and Niriha
                              > >
                              > > Thanks for your words of encouragement.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > Regards,
                              > >
                              > > Richard
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                              > > wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > Dear Richard,
                              > > >
                              > > > I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                              > > > marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have
                              learned
                              > > > the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a
                              > perfect
                              > > > length as necessity dictates.
                              > > >
                              > > > ^ ^
                              > > > 6 6
                              > > > \_/
                              > > >
                              > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                              > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Dear Richard
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Thank you
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Prachar
                              > > > >
                              > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                              > > > > no_reply@ wrote:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable
                              commentary. At
                              > > > > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan Granger
                              > > > offers
                              > > > > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                              > > > > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning
                              of the
                              > > > > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found
                              > they
                              > > > > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of
                              sacred
                              > > > > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less
                              > familiar
                              > > > > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer
                              Poets.
                              > > > > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                              > > > pleasure
                              > > > > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but
                              mostly,
                              > > > > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                              > > > > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal,
                              permissive
                              > > > > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the
                              > perception of
                              > > > > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                              > > > accurate
                              > > > > > reflection.)
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous
                              conclusion on
                              > > > > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                              > > > Masters
                              > > > > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the
                              attention of
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell
                              > (Hafiz)and
                              > > > > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                              > > > > > translations of these sacred classics.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                              > > > > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                              > > > > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                              > > > > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                              > > > > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                              > > > > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                              > > > > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > ...
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                              > > > > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                              > > > > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an
                              insane
                              > > > > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in
                              love
                              > > > with
                              > > > > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating
                              ecstasy of
                              > > > > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for
                              > places of
                              > > > > > divine illumination.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much persecution
                              > > > from
                              > > > > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt
                              > threatened
                              > > > > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within your own
                              > > > heart
                              > > > > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to
                              avoid
                              > > > > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi
                              mystics
                              > > > > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine
                              experiences.
                              > > > For
                              > > > > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an
                              > allegory of
                              > > > > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors
                              > developed
                              > > > a
                              > > > > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read
                              between
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                              > > > essence,
                              > > > > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                              > > > > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                              > > > insufficient
                              > > > > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine
                              > of the
                              > > > > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a
                              spiritual
                              > > > poet
                              > > > > > faces.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered
                              much
                              > > > more
                              > > > > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be
                              criticized
                              > > > for
                              > > > > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more
                              > freedom
                              > > > > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form
                              > accessible to
                              > > > > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > ***
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem
                              of the
                              > > > Day
                              > > > > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                              > > > Chinmoy's
                              > > > > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                              > > > something
                              > > > > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have
                              > been.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                              > > > > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                              > > > > > All my hopes have grown into
                              > > > > > fathomless pangs.
                              > > > > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                              > > > > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                              > > > > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                              > > > > > Its arms towards You
                              > > > > > For Your Protection Feet."
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and
                              pessimism
                              > > > but
                              > > > > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry and the
                              > > > > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I
                              > feel
                              > > > > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the
                              > Supreme.
                              > > > > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the
                              Divine
                              > > > > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                              > > > > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect with the
                              > > > poem.
                              > > > > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round to it.
                              > > > > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word
                              "surrender"
                              > > > > > means different things to different people. It can be
                              difficult to
                              > > > > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                              > > > > spirituality.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question
                              about
                              > > > his
                              > > > > > songs that embody helplessness
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I
                              say, "Go
                              > > > > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                              > > > helpless;
                              > > > > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to say that
                              > > > this
                              > > > > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare
                              occasions
                              > > > this
                              > > > > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                              > > > Knowing
                              > > > > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind
                              runs to
                              > > > > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not
                              > want
                              > > > to
                              > > > > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to come to a
                              > > > point
                              > > > > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it
                              says, "I
                              > > > have
                              > > > > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to
                              invoke
                              > > > > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies
                              > itself
                              > > > > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                              > > > Source,
                              > > > > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive.
                              > But the
                              > > > > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and
                              mind
                              > > > > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from time to
                              > > > time
                              > > > > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the
                              > idea
                              > > > > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very
                              painful, even
                              > > > > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the
                              > mind can
                              > > > > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in
                              > front
                              > > > of
                              > > > > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light.
                              > The mind
                              > > > > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to
                              > accept
                              > > > > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be
                              > another way
                              > > > > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are
                              hopeless. That
                              > > > is
                              > > > > > where some songs in which helplessness is being
                              expressed-not only
                              > > > my
                              > > > > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                              > > > tremendously..."
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                              http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                              > > > ss/
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth
                              > viewing.
                              > > > > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                              > > > splendour
                              > > > > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his
                              > failure
                              > > > in
                              > > > > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like "The
                              > > > > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and
                              powerful
                              > > > it
                              > > > > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many
                              > ways a
                              > > > > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all
                              poetry is
                              > > > not
                              > > > > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come
                              across
                              > > > > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am
                              > grateful to
                              > > > > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the significance of
                              > > > > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the
                              > series "My
                              > > > > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction
                              > to Sri
                              > > > > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would also
                              > > > > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri
                              > Chinmoy. It
                              > > > > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which
                              > includes an
                              > > > > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry
                              > shares
                              > > > > > with other great poets.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Greetings,
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Richard
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                              > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                              > <no_reply@>
                              > > > > > wrote:
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Hi Martin,
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan Granger
                              > > > that I
                              > > > > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted
                              > Ivan
                              > > > to
                              > > > > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a
                              > section of
                              > > > my
                              > > > > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he
                              said I
                              > > > > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not
                              interpret
                              > > > his
                              > > > > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                              > > > > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                              > > > sounds
                              > > > > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood
                              > easily
                              > > > on
                              > > > > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you speak of.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Goodnight Moon
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why do you come
                              > > > > > > only when I
                              > > > > > > orphan my ambitions?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why do you show
                              > > > > > > only when all hope
                              > > > > > > has fled?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                              > > > > > > will you meet me
                              > > > > > > only on my funeral bed?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > And, tell me �
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why won't the dead
                              > > > > > > stay dead?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > - Ivan Granger
                              > > > > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously in a
                              > > > > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan
                              had been
                              > > > dead
                              > > > > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                              > > > radiant, silent
                              > > > > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic
                              > poetry as
                              > > > > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he
                              > wrote, "I
                              > > > die
                              > > > > > > daily."
                              > > > > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I remained
                              > > > > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan
                              > flickered
                              > > > in
                              > > > > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent experience.
                              > > > > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized
                              that I
                              > > > was
                              > > > > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real
                              > to me
                              > > > once
                              > > > > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my
                              > identity
                              > > > had
                              > > > > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                              > > > > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took
                              > effort to
                              > > > > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                              > > > > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self
                              > became
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took
                              > on the
                              > > > > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                              > > > > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and
                              Empty
                              > > > Dawn
                              > > > > > > were composed.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a distinct,
                              > > > > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an artistic
                              > > > device
                              > > > > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of
                              > love
                              > > > and
                              > > > > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                              > > > relationship,
                              > > > > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                              > > > > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is
                              > Self.
                              > > > Even
                              > > > > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                              > > > > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often
                              refer to
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                              > > > profound
                              > > > > > love.
                              > > > > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to
                              is more
                              > > > > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why do you come
                              > > > > > > Only when I
                              > > > > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful
                              > state
                              > > > only
                              > > > > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                              > > > aspirations. It
                              > > > > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day, organize my
                              > > > daily
                              > > > > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had
                              > slipped back
                              > > > > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously
                              > mapping
                              > > > out
                              > > > > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced
                              > the idea
                              > > > of
                              > > > > > > who Ivan was.
                              > > > > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                              > > > substance
                              > > > > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root
                              again and
                              > > > begin
                              > > > > > > to grow.
                              > > > > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down
                              > plans, the
                              > > > more
                              > > > > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of life, the
                              > > > more
                              > > > > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                              > > > > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                              > > > existence,
                              > > > > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to.
                              > When the
                              > > > > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why do you show
                              > > > > > > Only when all hope
                              > > > > > > Has fled?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the
                              > hope
                              > > > that
                              > > > > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental
                              construct,
                              > > > will
                              > > > > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                              > > > > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the
                              > muscles
                              > > > of
                              > > > > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                              > > > natural
                              > > > > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                              > > > > > > Will you meet me
                              > > > > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of bliss is
                              > > > sweet.
                              > > > > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost physical;
                              > > > bliss
                              > > > > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is
                              > much
                              > > > more
                              > > > > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                              > > > > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my
                              experience
                              > > > > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union with the
                              > > > Beloved
                              > > > > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely
                              > for a
                              > > > > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                              > > > spiritual
                              > > > > > > marriage.
                              > > > > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                              > > > shining
                              > > > > > > glory once more.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > And, tell me �
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Why won't the dead
                              > > > > > > Stay dead?
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > This is the real question. When the little self dies, the
                              > > > rush of
                              > > > > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                              > > > "death"
                              > > > > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                              > > > > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the blessing of
                              > > > final
                              > > > > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I
                              > could say
                              > > > > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead. Ivan had
                              > > > > returned.
                              > > > > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                              > > > > > > What I am now discovering is that there are typically two
                              > > > > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                              > > > > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state and, with
                              > > > great
                              > > > > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                              > > > > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes
                              accustomed to
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                              > > > blissful
                              > > > > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own
                              accord.
                              > > > The
                              > > > > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more
                              > desire to
                              > > > call
                              > > > > > > it back from its place of rest.
                              > > > > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the
                              > graveyard
                              > > > and
                              > > > > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                              > > > learning
                              > > > > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                              > > > Divine
                              > > > > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not
                              > cease to
                              > > > > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a
                              > social
                              > > > > > > construct or personality to better interact with people
                              and the
                              > > > world.
                              > > > > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck
                              within it.
                              > > > You
                              > > > > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to
                              suit the
                              > > > needs
                              > > > > > > of the moment.
                              > > > > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but
                              no real
                              > > > ego.
                              > > > > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no
                              > longer
                              > > > a
                              > > > > > > thing, it is something you do.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                              martin_the_dude
                              > > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                              > > > moments
                              > > > > > > of enlightenment which
                              > > > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting
                              > seconds when
                              > > > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                              > > > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in
                              > to what
                              > > > it
                              > > > > > > must look like from the
                              > > > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly,
                              > according tho
                              > > > the
                              > > > > > > mind�s opinion,
                              > > > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a
                              second
                              > > > > > > everything is so clear and so
                              > > > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                              > second
                              > > > you
                              > > > > > > are back, finding yourself
                              > > > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                              > > > little
                              > > > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                              > > > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                              > > > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out
                              > to be
                              > > > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                              > > > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I
                              anyway know
                              > > > that
                              > > > > > > you know what it is like
                              > > > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to be
                              > > > > > > "clapping with one hand"
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > Martin
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                            • pavitrata27
                              Hi Richard, Congrats on a great set of Gallery photos, very impressive. Also, thanks for the bespeak re my pix! Indeed you have a great little camera, even
                              Message 14 of 25 , Mar 4, 2006
                                Hi Richard,

                                Congrats on a great set of Gallery photos, very impressive.

                                Also, thanks for the bespeak re my pix!

                                Indeed you have a great little camera, even though it is AAA and not
                                Lithium-Ion battery based.

                                There are several things you can do to maximise battery power with a
                                camera using AAAs. 1) Turn the auto-review off, or minimise the amount
                                of time the auto review stays on for. There should be an option for
                                this in the camera setup-menu. 2) If you really want to conserve
                                power, turn the LCD screen off altogether. This is tough, as
                                'chimping' (looking at one's pix on the LCD screen!) is half the fun
                                of a digi-camera. 3) Don't upload from the camera, if you are
                                transferring to a computer. Use a card-reader. 4)Get NiMH (Nickel
                                Metal Hydride) rechargeables. Some of the new chargers take only an
                                hour to charge.

                                If you are using the Camedia Master software that came with the camera
                                make sure you have your pictures backed up somewhere. If you ever
                                needed to reinstall it, it will wipe out the folder where it stores
                                your pix!!

                                Also if you want to email your pix, Camedia Master is useless, as you
                                have to pay for the full edition for easy emailing. You might want to
                                look at Picasa 2, a free editing program from Google. Just Google
                                'Picasa 2' and click the Google download link page. It has neat
                                editing facilities plus some other great features, and is excellent
                                for rapid preparation of pix for emailing.

                                Happy visioning!
                                Pavitrata

                                -- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                                <no_reply@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > Hi Sharani,
                                >
                                > Thanks for review. We have plenty of opportunity for foggy pictures in
                                > England, you can see some more at Pavitrata's Gallery:
                                >
                                > http://tinyurl.com/msmgo
                                >
                                > I particularly like
                                > http://tinyurl.com/n6kjc - The Morning Run
                                >
                                >
                                > For those interested in digiloka I bought an Olympus X-705 5 million
                                > pixels 3* optical zoom
                                >
                                > from Amazon.co.uk
                                > http://tinyurl.com/mhoe3 It now only costs £89.99. Pavitrata reliably
                                > informs me its very good value. Its very easy to use, the only slight
                                > downside is it uses batteries fairly quick, but their standard AAA so
                                > easy to replace.
                                >
                                >
                                > I took some more pics today. Prizes if you can spot which photos are
                                > not of Oxford Colleges.
                                >
                                > http://tinyurl.com/owlu5
                                >
                                > and
                                > http://tinyurl.com/mpnnj
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Regards,
                                >
                                > Richard
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                                > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > And we have to add words of encouragement and praise for Richard's new
                                > > gallery album as well. I especially like the photos of the gardens at
                                > > Oxford - Misty Path in particular. How appropriate to have pictures of
                                > > fog included in shots of England (or at least so I hear). I don't
                                > > recall you announcing this new addition of photographs to your
                                > > repertoire here on the Inspiration Group. Since it's been a little
                                > > while and you're feeling shy(?) then I'm here to say "by all means,
                                > > check them out!" Just visit
                                > > http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/gallery/members/richard_pettinger
                                > >
                                > > Sharani
                                > >
                                > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                                > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > Dear Prachar and Niriha
                                > > >
                                > > > Thanks for your words of encouragement.
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > Regards,
                                > > >
                                > > > Richard
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7 <no_reply@>
                                > > > wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Dear Richard,
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I agree wholeheartedly with Prachar! In addition, I have often
                                > > > > marvelled at how concisely you say things so you actually have
                                > learned
                                > > > > the art of short posts. Let's just say that your messages are a
                                > > perfect
                                > > > > length as necessity dictates.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > ^ ^
                                > > > > 6 6
                                > > > > \_/
                                > > > >
                                > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, one_prachar
                                > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Dear Richard
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Please do not learn the art of the short post!
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Your art is far more elevating and illumining.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Thank you
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Prachar
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, richard13_oxford
                                > > > > > no_reply@ wrote:
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > I agree this is an excellent poem with a remarkable
                                > commentary. At
                                > > > > > > Poetry Chaikhana http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/ Ivan
                                Granger
                                > > > > offers
                                > > > > > > a daily poem from many different spiritual traditions, he also
                                > > > > > > includes a daily commentary on the significance and meaning
                                > of the
                                > > > > > > poem. I always enjoy reading these commentaries and have found
                                > > they
                                > > > > > > help me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of
                                > sacred
                                > > > > > > poetry, especially from spiritual traditions which are less
                                > > familiar
                                > > > > > > to me (Like Taoism and Zen Buddhism)
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > It is easy for people to misinterpret spirituality and Seer
                                > Poets.
                                > > > > > > Unfortunately there are even some people who take a malicious
                                > > > > pleasure
                                > > > > > > in distorting Sacred Texts to pursue their own agenda, but
                                > mostly,
                                > > > > > > misunderstanding stems from unfamiliarity. For example in the
                                > > > > > > Victorian age Islam was viewed (wrongly) as a liberal,
                                > permissive
                                > > > > > > religion with loose moral values. Today of course the
                                > > perception of
                                > > > > > > Islam has swung to the other extreme, (neither views being an
                                > > > > accurate
                                > > > > > > reflection.)
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > But how did the Victorians come to such an erroneous
                                > conclusion on
                                > > > > > > Islam? In the nineteenth Century the poetry of the great Sufi
                                > > > > Masters
                                > > > > > > like Rumi, Hafiz and Omar Khayyam were brought to the
                                > attention of
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > Western world through commentators such as Gertrude Bell
                                > > (Hafiz)and
                                > > > > > > Edward J. Fitzgerald (Khayyam) they offered (broadly) literal
                                > > > > > > translations of these sacred classics.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > For example a poem by Hafiz
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > NOT one is filled with madness like to mine
                                > > > > > > In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,
                                > > > > > > There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.
                                > > > > > > With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,
                                > > > > > > A glass to mirror forth the Great King's face;
                                > > > > > > One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place
                                > > > > > > To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > ...
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Excerpt from: With Madness Like to Mine:
                                > > > > > > http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/hafiz/bell/17
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Translated Gertrude Bell 1897
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > A literal interpretation of this poem would miss the mystical
                                > > > > > > dimension of Hafiz's poetry. His madness is not that of an
                                > insane
                                > > > > > > person. His madness is that of a bhakti yogi passionately in
                                > love
                                > > > > with
                                > > > > > > God. The term "wine" is a metaphor for the inebriating
                                > ecstasy of
                                > > > > > > communion with God. The tavern is similarly a metaphor for
                                > > places of
                                > > > > > > divine illumination.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Unfortunately in the time of Hafiz, he suffered much
                                persecution
                                > > > > from
                                > > > > > > the religious orthodoxy. Those in positions of power felt
                                > > threatened
                                > > > > > > by saints who exclaimed God could be experienced within
                                your own
                                > > > > heart
                                > > > > > > and not just through conventional power structures. Thus to
                                > avoid
                                > > > > > > persecution and protect his own life, Hafiz like many Sufi
                                > mystics
                                > > > > > > developed a language or code of metaphors for Divine
                                > experiences.
                                > > > > For
                                > > > > > > example wine, taverns and "Romantic Love" (which was an
                                > > allegory of
                                > > > > > > the real "Divine Romance" with God). Also these metaphors
                                > > developed
                                > > > > a
                                > > > > > > usefulness of their own, it encourages the reader to read
                                > between
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > lines and consider the inner meaning of the poem, which is in
                                > > > > essence,
                                > > > > > > the effect of good poetry. Also, it is so hard for a mystic to
                                > > > > > > describe the ecstasy and love of God, that any word seems
                                > > > > insufficient
                                > > > > > > and inadequate. Thus using terms such as "drunk with the wine
                                > > of the
                                > > > > > > Beloved" indicates the severe limitations of language a
                                > spiritual
                                > > > > poet
                                > > > > > > faces.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Many modern translators such as Daniel Ladinsky have offered
                                > much
                                > > > > more
                                > > > > > > "liberal" translations of the Sufi Poets. They could be
                                > criticized
                                > > > > for
                                > > > > > > not sticking rigidly to the original but it allows them more
                                > > freedom
                                > > > > > > to convey the mystical essence of the poetry in a form
                                > > accessible to
                                > > > > > > modern readers. (http://tinyurl.com/ns3k6 )
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > ***
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > There is a kind lady who often writes to me about the poem
                                > of the
                                > > > > Day
                                > > > > > > at Poetseers. Once she made the observation that one of Sri
                                > > > > Chinmoy's
                                > > > > > > poems was so downbeat and depressing, could I not put choose
                                > > > > something
                                > > > > > > happier? I can't remember which poem it was, but it could have
                                > > been.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Ami Sukhere Dharite
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > "I desired to grasp happiness.
                                > > > > > > Alas, all I have grasped is a sky of sorrow.
                                > > > > > > All my hopes have grown into
                                > > > > > > fathomless pangs.
                                > > > > > > My aspiration-heart is thrown into
                                > > > > > > The jaws of destruction-night.
                                > > > > > > Yet my perishing life stretches
                                > > > > > > Its arms towards You
                                > > > > > > For Your Protection Feet."
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Translation of Ami Sukhere Dharite. (unofficial)
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > At first glance this does embody great hopelessness and
                                > pessimism
                                > > > > but
                                > > > > > > since I have a little experience of Sri Chinmoy's poetry
                                and the
                                > > > > > > poetry of Bhakti poets like Ramprasad Sen. I love it because I
                                > > feel
                                > > > > > > the helplessness embodies a real hope for the grace of the
                                > > Supreme.
                                > > > > > > When we become aware of our weaknesses and surrender to the
                                > Divine
                                > > > > > > Grace it is actually a beautiful moment, but if you have not
                                > > > > > > experienced such a spiritual state you may not connect
                                with the
                                > > > > poem.
                                > > > > > > I thought about writing a commentary but never got round
                                to it.
                                > > > > > > There's a lot to explain, even the meaning of the word
                                > "surrender"
                                > > > > > > means different things to different people. It can be
                                > difficult to
                                > > > > > > explain spiritual poetry to those who have no background in
                                > > > > > spirituality.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Sri Chinmoy has written an interesting answer to a question
                                > about
                                > > > > his
                                > > > > > > songs that embody helplessness
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > "...Most of the time I say to take the positive aspect. I
                                > say, "Go
                                > > > > > > forward, go forward!" But there comes a time when we do feel
                                > > > > helpless;
                                > > > > > > we feel that we are like a babe in the woods. I wish to
                                say that
                                > > > > this
                                > > > > > > helplessness is not a negative aspect. In fact, on rare
                                > occasions
                                > > > > this
                                > > > > > > helplessness is of great help to us.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > The mind very often does not want to accept our helplessness.
                                > > > > Knowing
                                > > > > > > perfectly well that it is doing everything wrong, the mind
                                > runs to
                                > > > > > > this side and that side like a mad elephant. The mind does not
                                > > want
                                > > > > to
                                > > > > > > admit that it can make any mistake. So the mind has to
                                come to a
                                > > > > point
                                > > > > > > where it is totally tired, completely exhausted. Then it
                                > says, "I
                                > > > > have
                                > > > > > > tried in every other way. I am helpless. Now let me try to
                                > invoke
                                > > > > > > God." At that time helplessness helps us.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > The heart can never be helpless because it always identifies
                                > > itself
                                > > > > > > with divinity. It has the capacity to identify itself with the
                                > > > > Source,
                                > > > > > > with the Supreme. That is why the heart is always positive.
                                > > But the
                                > > > > > > vital and mind sometimes become helpless. When the vital and
                                > mind
                                > > > > > > become sincerely helpless, we can make progress. So from
                                time to
                                > > > > time
                                > > > > > > if you can sing Bedanai bhara and other songs that express the
                                > > idea
                                > > > > > > that life is full of suffering, songs which are very
                                > painful, even
                                > > > > > > pathetic, then it will help you. On rare occasions, if the
                                > > mind can
                                > > > > > > recognise its helplessness, then you will go forward.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > The mind never wants to surrender. Even if you bring light in
                                > > front
                                > > > > of
                                > > > > > > the mind, the mind does not want to surrender to the light.
                                > > The mind
                                > > > > > > has to be dealt with in various ways. If it does not want to
                                > > accept
                                > > > > > > light the way the heart accepts it, then there should be
                                > > another way
                                > > > > > > to make the mind feel that you are useless, you are
                                > hopeless. That
                                > > > > is
                                > > > > > > where some songs in which helplessness is being
                                > expressed-not only
                                > > > > my
                                > > > > > > songs, but songs by Ramprasad and others'can help us
                                > > > > tremendously..."
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                                http://www.srichinmoysongs.com/on-music/on-songs-which-embody-helplessne\
                                > > > > ss/
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/f8wm3
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > (The poetry and songs of Ramprasad Sen are definitely worth
                                > > viewing.
                                > > > > > > His poetry alternates between exalting the divine power and
                                > > > > splendour
                                > > > > > > of his beloved Kali with complaining like a child about his
                                > > failure
                                > > > > in
                                > > > > > > attaining union with the Divine.) http://tinyurl.com/fnj3k
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Having said all that with some of Sri Chinmoy's poems like
                                "The
                                > > > > > > Absolute" and "Immortality" every word is so perfect and
                                > powerful
                                > > > > it
                                > > > > > > seems superfluous to add ones own limited judgement. In many
                                > > ways a
                                > > > > > > commentary would only distract from the poem. After all
                                > poetry is
                                > > > > not
                                > > > > > > really something to be dissected like a science experiment.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > However, everything has its place, many people rarely come
                                > across
                                > > > > > > sacred poetry and thus can easily misunderstand it. I am
                                > > grateful to
                                > > > > > > those who are able to elucidate and illumine the
                                significance of
                                > > > > > > poetry. I enjoyed Arpan's thoughtful commentaries on the
                                > > series "My
                                > > > > > > God Hunger Cry" I think they were a very useful introduction
                                > > to Sri
                                > > > > > > Chinmoy's poetry.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > If you are interested in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy I would
                                also
                                > > > > > > recommend viewing Vidagdha's thesis on the Poetry of Sri
                                > > Chinmoy. It
                                > > > > > > is a scholarly discussion of Sri Chinmoy's poetry which
                                > > includes an
                                > > > > > > examination of the similarities and common themes his poetry
                                > > shares
                                > > > > > > with other great poets.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/sri_chinmoy_poetry/thesis
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Greetings,
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Richard
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/oqe5r - My Blog
                                > > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/qq2ll - My Pictures
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > (Still working on the art of a short post)
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                                > > <no_reply@>
                                > > > > > > wrote:
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Hi Martin,
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Your post reminded me of a poem and commentary by Ivan
                                Granger
                                > > > > that I
                                > > > > > > > found on www.Poetseers.org. Since I have actually contacted
                                > > Ivan
                                > > > > to
                                > > > > > > > ask permission to reprint his poem and explanation on a
                                > > section of
                                > > > > my
                                > > > > > > > homepage (the section is still under construction) and he
                                > said I
                                > > > > > > > could, I am also copying it here. Though he does not
                                > interpret
                                > > > > his
                                > > > > > > > poems, in this case he did and I found both the poem and his
                                > > > > > > > explanation to be intriguing and inspiring - no, actually it
                                > > > > sounds
                                > > > > > > > wonderful and is certainly something that can be understood
                                > > easily
                                > > > > on
                                > > > > > > > an intuitive level and through the glimpses that you
                                speak of.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Goodnight Moon
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why do you come
                                > > > > > > > only when I
                                > > > > > > > orphan my ambitions?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why do you show
                                > > > > > > > only when all hope
                                > > > > > > > has fled?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                                > > > > > > > will you meet me
                                > > > > > > > only on my funeral bed?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > And, tell me �
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why won't the dead
                                > > > > > > > stay dead?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > - Ivan Granger
                                > > > > > > > - Contemporary Spiritual Poets
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Commentary By Ivan Granger
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Early in 2002, I spent several weeks almost continuously
                                in a
                                > > > > > > > blissful, egoless state. I had been dead; that is, Ivan
                                > had been
                                > > > > dead
                                > > > > > > > � though I had been more alive than ever before. This
                                > > > > radiant, silent
                                > > > > > > > state of no self is what is often referred to in mystic
                                > > poetry as
                                > > > > > > > being dead. This is what Paul the Apostle meant when he
                                > > wrote, "I
                                > > > > die
                                > > > > > > > daily."
                                > > > > > > > I don't want to suggest that during that time I
                                remained
                                > > > > > > > perfectly seated in that egoless state. Some days, Ivan
                                > > flickered
                                > > > > in
                                > > > > > > > and out. But, in general, it remained a consistent
                                experience.
                                > > > > > > > After perhaps two months in that state, I recognized
                                > that I
                                > > > > was
                                > > > > > > > no longer consistently in it. Ivan was back. He seemed real
                                > > to me
                                > > > > once
                                > > > > > > > again. He seemed to be me again. For various reasons, my
                                > > identity
                                > > > > had
                                > > > > > > > become stuck in the idea of Ivan again.
                                > > > > > > > The seat I had reclined in so comfortably now took
                                > > effort to
                                > > > > > > > climb into. Some days I couldn't even reach it.
                                > > > > > > > My normal non-dualistic perception of the shining Self
                                > > became
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > > dualistic perspective of devotee once again. My poetry took
                                > > on the
                                > > > > > > > plaintive tone of a jilted and desperate lover.
                                > > > > > > > It was during this time that poems like Goodnight Moon and
                                > Empty
                                > > > > Dawn
                                > > > > > > > were composed.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Beloved, tell me �
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > In many of my poems I refer to the Divine as a
                                distinct,
                                > > > > > > > externalized Person or Presence. Often it issimply an
                                artistic
                                > > > > device
                                > > > > > > > that acknowledges the limitations of language in speaking of
                                > > love
                                > > > > and
                                > > > > > > > devotion. Language tends to conceive of love in terms of
                                > > > > relationship,
                                > > > > > > > and relationship implies something outside of oneself.
                                > > > > > > > My experience is that the Divine is One, the Divine is
                                > > Self.
                                > > > > Even
                                > > > > > > > though there is no "other," there is overwhelming love.
                                > > > > > > > In order to communicate this immense love, I often
                                > refer to
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > > Divine as Mother or Beloved or some "other" relationship of
                                > > > > profound
                                > > > > > > love.
                                > > > > > > > In Goodnight Moon, however, the Beloved referred to
                                > is more
                                > > > > > > > properly perceived as separate, a distant, missed lover.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why do you come
                                > > > > > > > Only when I
                                > > > > > > > Orphan my ambitions?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > I found during this time of struggle that the blissful
                                > > state
                                > > > > only
                                > > > > > > > embraced me when I let go of all plans, all goals, all
                                > > > > aspirations. It
                                > > > > > > > is not that I couldn't make some plan for the day,
                                organize my
                                > > > > daily
                                > > > > > > > work, that sort of thing. What I found was that I had
                                > > slipped back
                                > > > > > > > into a reflexive pattern of consciously and unconsciously
                                > > mapping
                                > > > > out
                                > > > > > > > the activities of my life in ways that quietly reinforced
                                > > the idea
                                > > > > of
                                > > > > > > > who Ivan was.
                                > > > > > > > These ambitions were the things that slowly gave Ivan
                                > > > > substance
                                > > > > > > > again, allowing that false sense of self to take root
                                > again and
                                > > > > begin
                                > > > > > > > to grow.
                                > > > > > > > The more I let go, the more I stopped laying down
                                > > plans, the
                                > > > > more
                                > > > > > > > I refrained from anticipating every possible turn of
                                life, the
                                > > > > more
                                > > > > > > > Ivan would fade and the bliss would once more shine through.
                                > > > > > > > When Ivan completely, though temporarily winked out of
                                > > > > existence,
                                > > > > > > > there was nothing for this gridwork of ideas to cling to.
                                > > When the
                                > > > > > > > ambitions are orphaned, and the Beloved comes.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why do you show
                                > > > > > > > Only when all hope
                                > > > > > > > Has fled?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > These ambitions are rooted in a self-deluding hope, the
                                > > hope
                                > > > > that
                                > > > > > > > the ego self, which is fundamentally unreal, a mental
                                > construct,
                                > > > > will
                                > > > > > > > be able to prove itself to be real through some action.
                                > > > > > > > Once this false hope has fled, it is as if all of the
                                > > muscles
                                > > > > of
                                > > > > > > > the spiritual body can relax for the first time � and the
                                > > > > natural
                                > > > > > > > bliss can finally flow unhindered throughout the awareness.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why, Honeyed Moon,
                                > > > > > > > Will you meet me
                                > > > > > > > Only on my funeral bed?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > The Beloved is honeyed because the experience of
                                bliss is
                                > > > > sweet.
                                > > > > > > > When you relax deeply into bliss, it becomes almost
                                physical;
                                > > > > bliss
                                > > > > > > > takes on a taste that can be compared to honey, though it is
                                > > much
                                > > > > more
                                > > > > > > > sublime and expansive than any sensory experience.
                                > > > > > > > In this poem, the Beloved is the moon because my
                                > experience
                                > > > > > > > during this difficult time waxed and waned. My union
                                with the
                                > > > > Beloved
                                > > > > > > > was, at times full, but sometimes thin or hidden completely
                                > > for a
                                > > > > > > > time. And all I wanted was to return to the blissful bed of
                                > > > > spiritual
                                > > > > > > > marriage.
                                > > > > > > > Yet, I found when Ivan "died," the Beloved rose in soft
                                > > > > shining
                                > > > > > > > glory once more.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > And, tell me �
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Why won't the dead
                                > > > > > > > Stay dead?
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > This is the real question. When the little self
                                dies, the
                                > > > > rush of
                                > > > > > > > joy is so complete that nothing else can compare to it. This
                                > > > > "death"
                                > > > > > > > is the highest good, you only want to remain that way.
                                > > > > > > > Yet I had to admit that I hadn't received the
                                blessing of
                                > > > > final
                                > > > > > > > formless freedom from the ego self. On a certain level I
                                > > could say
                                > > > > > > > that Ivan had died. Yet the ego hadn't remained dead.
                                Ivan had
                                > > > > > returned.
                                > > > > > > > So, why won't the dead stay dead?
                                > > > > > > > What I am now discovering is that there are
                                typically two
                                > > > > > > > experiences of the liberating spiritual death.
                                > > > > > > > A few radiant ones step into the blissful state
                                and, with
                                > > > > great
                                > > > > > > > poise, completely let the ego fall away.
                                > > > > > > > More typically, though, one gradually becomes
                                > accustomed to
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > > death of the ego through repeated dips into these selfless,
                                > > > > blissful
                                > > > > > > > waters until the final attachments release of their own
                                > accord.
                                > > > > The
                                > > > > > > > ghost of the little self returns until you have no more
                                > > desire to
                                > > > > call
                                > > > > > > > it back from its place of rest.
                                > > > > > > > This is where my practice currently resides, in the
                                > > graveyard
                                > > > > and
                                > > > > > > > the birthing room � letting go of Ivan more completely and
                                > > > > learning
                                > > > > > > > more and more not to reflexively call him back. This way the
                                > > > > Divine
                                > > > > > > > can shine through more and more clearly.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > On a certain level you can say that the ego does not
                                > > cease to
                                > > > > > > > exist when it "dies." There is still value in cultivating a
                                > > social
                                > > > > > > > construct or personality to better interact with people
                                > and the
                                > > > > world.
                                > > > > > > > But you no longer identify with it. You aren't stuck
                                > within it.
                                > > > > You
                                > > > > > > > constantly and intentionally create and recreate it to
                                > suit the
                                > > > > needs
                                > > > > > > > of the moment.
                                > > > > > > > In other words, there is still an ego function, but
                                > no real
                                > > > > ego.
                                > > > > > > > The ego switches from being a noun to a verb. It is no
                                > > longer
                                > > > > a
                                > > > > > > > thing, it is something you do.
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > Reproduced with Permission Ivan Granger
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                                > martin_the_dude
                                > > > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                > > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short,
                                breathtaking
                                > > > > moments
                                > > > > > > > of enlightenment which
                                > > > > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting
                                > > seconds when
                                > > > > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                                > > > > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in
                                > > to what
                                > > > > it
                                > > > > > > > must look like from the
                                > > > > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly,
                                > > according tho
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > > > mind�s opinion,
                                > > > > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a
                                > second
                                > > > > > > > everything is so clear and so
                                > > > > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                                > > second
                                > > > > you
                                > > > > > > > are back, finding yourself
                                > > > > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And
                                still a
                                > > > > little
                                > > > > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                                > > > > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                                > > > > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out
                                > > to be
                                > > > > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                                > > > > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I
                                > anyway know
                                > > > > that
                                > > > > > > > you know what it is like
                                > > > > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like
                                to be
                                > > > > > > > "clapping with one hand"
                                > > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > > Martin
                                > > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                              • purnakama2000
                                Dear Snehashila, I read your post at school yesterday, and it was the first I had heard the very sad news. I did not have a class at the time, so I was able to
                                Message 15 of 25 , Mar 4, 2006
                                  Dear Snehashila,

                                  I read your post at school yesterday, and it was the first I had
                                  heard the very sad news. I did not have a class at the time, so I
                                  was able to absorb the news in solitude.

                                  I never spoke to Ongkar personally, but the sadness that I feel is
                                  as if he was a close friend. I will always remember his powerful and
                                  cheerful presence, the crazy skits that he would put on at the
                                  circus with the other British fellows, and his undying love and
                                  dedication to Guru. He will be sadly missed by all.

                                  I found this aphorism when I came home yesterday.

                                  "Souls come into the world
                                  To fight against ignorance night,
                                  And they depart from the world
                                  Carrying God's Victory-Banner
                                  To Heaven"

                                  Sri Chinmoy - Seventy Seven Thousand Service Trees #41,649

                                  What a fitting aphorism for our dear brother Ongkar,who I'm sure
                                  already has God's Victory-Banner held high.

                                  Purnakama
                                  --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, snehashila2
                                  <no_reply@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Good-bye to our dearest Brother and Friend, Ongkar
                                  >
                                  > Your undying dedication and enthusiasm will always help light my
                                  path.
                                  >
                                  > May all the angels carry you to the highest Heavens!
                                  >
                                  > All love and affection,
                                  > Snehashila
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                                  <no_reply@> wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Dear Terri,
                                  > >
                                  > > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master
                                  would
                                  > > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the
                                  confines
                                  > > of the mind.
                                  > >
                                  > > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall her
                                  > > saying the full koan:
                                  > >
                                  > > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of
                                  one
                                  > > hand clapping?"
                                  > >
                                  > > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
                                  > >
                                  > > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my
                                  little
                                  > > kid's brain. :-)
                                  > >
                                  > > Niriha
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
                                  > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Hi Martin,
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand"
                                  but I
                                  > > > really appreciate your description of moments of enlightenment.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally
                                  during
                                  > > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if Guru
                                  > > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these experiences
                                  or if
                                  > > > they just come forward when we are ready.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value them.
                                  Perhaps
                                  > > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
                                  during
                                  > > > such a long event???
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Terri
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                                  martin_the_dude
                                  > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short, breathtaking
                                  moments
                                  > > > of enlightenment which
                                  > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting seconds
                                  when
                                  > > > time stops and suddenly,
                                  > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in to
                                  what it
                                  > > > must look like from the
                                  > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly, according
                                  tho
                                  > > > the mind�s opinion,
                                  > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a
                                  second
                                  > > > everything is so clear and so
                                  > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                                  second
                                  > > > you are back, finding yourself
                                  > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still a
                                  little
                                  > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                                  > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                                  > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out to
                                  be
                                  > > > impossible for me to retell on
                                  > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway
                                  know that
                                  > > > you know what it is like
                                  > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
                                  > > > be "clapping with one hand"
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Martin
                                  > > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  >
                                • do_slava
                                  I believe, Sri Chinmoy has written this aphorism inspired by such good souls as Ongkar: I shall leave this world With my life s peace-beauty And my heart s
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Mar 5, 2006
                                    I believe, Sri Chinmoy has written this aphorism inspired by such
                                    good souls as Ongkar:

                                    I shall leave this world
                                    With my life's peace-beauty
                                    And my heart's bliss-fragrance.

                                    #17,597
                                    Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees
                                    by Sri Chinmoy


                                    --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, purnakama2000
                                    <no_reply@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Dear Snehashila,
                                    >
                                    > I read your post at school yesterday, and it was the first I had
                                    > heard the very sad news. I did not have a class at the time, so I
                                    > was able to absorb the news in solitude.
                                    >
                                    > I never spoke to Ongkar personally, but the sadness that I feel is
                                    > as if he was a close friend. I will always remember his powerful
                                    and
                                    > cheerful presence, the crazy skits that he would put on at the
                                    > circus with the other British fellows, and his undying love and
                                    > dedication to Guru. He will be sadly missed by all.
                                    >
                                    > I found this aphorism when I came home yesterday.
                                    >
                                    > "Souls come into the world
                                    > To fight against ignorance night,
                                    > And they depart from the world
                                    > Carrying God's Victory-Banner
                                    > To Heaven"
                                    >
                                    > Sri Chinmoy - Seventy Seven Thousand Service Trees #41,649
                                    >
                                    > What a fitting aphorism for our dear brother Ongkar,who I'm sure
                                    > already has God's Victory-Banner held high.
                                    >
                                    > Purnakama
                                    > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, snehashila2
                                    > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Good-bye to our dearest Brother and Friend, Ongkar
                                    > >
                                    > > Your undying dedication and enthusiasm will always help light my
                                    > path.
                                    > >
                                    > > May all the angels carry you to the highest Heavens!
                                    > >
                                    > > All love and affection,
                                    > > Snehashila
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
                                    > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Dear Terri,
                                    > > >
                                    > > > "Clapping with one hand" is part of a Zen koan. A Zen master
                                    > would
                                    > > > give koans to his students as exercises in going beyond the
                                    > confines
                                    > > > of the mind.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > My mother had a strong interest in Zen Buddhism and I recall
                                    her
                                    > > > saying the full koan:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > "You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound
                                    of
                                    > one
                                    > > > hand clapping?"
                                    > > >
                                    > > > There were many more koans that she mentioned to us kids.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I never really *got* it and found instead that it confused my
                                    > little
                                    > > > kid's brain. :-)
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Niriha
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
                                    > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Hi Martin,
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > I do not remember what is meant by "clapping with one hand"
                                    > but I
                                    > > > > really appreciate your description of moments of
                                    enlightenment.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > I remember having experiences like this very occasionally
                                    > during
                                    > > > > Christmas trips, or during celebrations. And I wonder if
                                    Guru
                                    > > > > deliberately picks the moment for us to have these
                                    experiences
                                    > or if
                                    > > > > they just come forward when we are ready.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > In any case, I wish they were more frequent!
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > I guess these moments are rare so that we really value
                                    them.
                                    > Perhaps
                                    > > > > someone who runs 3100 miles has such moments more frequently
                                    > during
                                    > > > > such a long event???
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Terri
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                                    > martin_the_dude
                                    > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > I guess everybody is familiar with this short,
                                    breathtaking
                                    > moments
                                    > > > > of enlightenment which
                                    > > > > > are presented to us from time to time. The fleeting
                                    seconds
                                    > when
                                    > > > > time stops and suddenly,
                                    > > > > > and absolutely unexpected, you are offered an insight in
                                    to
                                    > what it
                                    > > > > must look like from the
                                    > > > > > higher worlds. Somehow you are lifted, and mostly,
                                    according
                                    > tho
                                    > > > > the mind�s opinion,
                                    > > > > > "undeserved" you experience something beautiful. For a
                                    > second
                                    > > > > everything is so clear and so
                                    > > > > > simple - "Yeah! I knew it all the time" .... but the next
                                    > second
                                    > > > > you are back, finding yourself
                                    > > > > > playing the same old role in the divine game. And still
                                    a
                                    > little
                                    > > > > taste of it stays an keeps
                                    > > > > > reminding you where to go and what to aspire for.
                                    > > > > > I tried hard to give an written example but it turned out
                                    to
                                    > be
                                    > > > > impossible for me to retell on
                                    > > > > > of this blessings i have received - nevertheless I anyway
                                    > know that
                                    > > > > you know what it is like
                                    > > > > > when sometimes we are allowed to feel what it is like to
                                    > > > > be "clapping with one hand"
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > Martin
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > >
                                    >
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