Thursday, October 2, 2008

What is your style of Waking Up?

Aah! The tribulations of life!

Every ONE is struggling...the students, daily-wage earners, entrepreneurs, terrorists, politicians and even the beloved monks - for example, the Tibet movement for liberation.

Is THIS all (simply) a nightmare, with each individual as the AUTHOR of all his/her troubles?

Does THIS world need healing? All sages are trying (with thousands praying with them), but that still seems to be a lot of effort.

Anyway, the enlightened ones say that "nothing needs to be done"? Nothing to avoid, endure or transcend...not even a "waiting" is necessary.

Lisa Hepner says nothing needs to be "healed," only "revealed."

She quotes Joel Goldsmith (The Art of Spiritual Healing):
"Just for a moment imagine that you are experiencing an unpleasant night dream: You are in the ocean, swimming; you have gone out too far; you look back toward the shore and see that there is very little hope of rescue. Even though you shout your lungs out, no one can hear you. And so you are seized with fear. You struggle and strive to reach the shore, and, of course, the harder you fight, the harder the ocean fights you. There is only one thing left for you to do - drown. Yes, drown - but wait! In your fight, you shouted and someone heard you, came over and shook you, woke you up, and behold the miracle! The drowning self disappeared; the ocean disappeared; the struggle disappeared. You awakened and found that you had never left your comfortable home. All that was necessary in order to be released from the struggle was to AWAKEN."

Now, go back to moment when you woke up today!

What was it like to wake up?

I know someone who simply wakes up --- moves out of his bed as if he has just finished a cup of coffee.

Most of us, wake up gradually - slowly, we "come to senses" after an initial disturbance from an alarm clock or some sound or distraction.

What is your style? It could give a critical clue about your spiritual life and help you remove some barriers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

De-mystifying Enlightenment!

Enlightenment is Overrated: Jonathan is not afraid to admit that he has “reached” Enlightenment. He is passionate about bringing "clarity", especially to enlightenment.

Read it all here.

In his opinion:

The great Enlightened masters
(Christ, Buddha, Moses, Lao Tzu, and many others),
did not become Enlightened and retreat into a cave.
They did not merely transcend their egos.
They became great big egos.
They engaged life completely and fearlessly
shook the earth from its very foundation.
They did not seek Enlightenment
as an escape from life,
but as a means to live more completely.


In reality, enlightenment brings you into a deeper,
more intimate relationship with life.
Rather, Enlightenment means
dropping into your body more completely.
It means living life more fully, passionately and fearlessly.

So, are you enlightened? If yes, do you agree?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Greatest Virtues!

How to move from precepts to wisdom? From medicine to magic? From action to meditation? From quality to worth? from achievement & effort to patience & generosity?

More than a thousand years ago, renowned Buddhist sage - Master Atisha, Dipamkara Srijnana set it very clearly:

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

Which one did you like?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are you forgetful & lazy?

A verse in Ashtavakra Gita says:
My son, you may recite or listen to countless scriptures,
but you will not be established within until you can forget everything.

Another one:

If even Shiva, Vishnu, or the lotus-born Brahma were your instructor,
until you have forgotten everything you cannot be established within.

Thus, in Complete Silence, you have access to EVERYTHING!

Yet another one:

Happiness belongs to no one but that supremely lazy man
for whom even opening and closing his eyes is a bother.

Thus, in Complete Stillness, you can accomplish ANYTHING!

Can you DROP all striving and move into effortless zone?

CHECK! Are you coming from THE SOURCE or through ENCYCLOPEDIC MEMORY?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are you a Student or a Master?

What differentiates a master from a student?

Skill? Knowledge?

Here is a story:

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen Master who was renowned for his skill as an archer.

The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. "There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!"

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.

"Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. "You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."

So, what differentiates a master from a student? Degree of Awareness!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A love-intoxicated iconoclast!

Bulleh Shah (1680 – 1757), originally Abdullah Shah, was a Punjabi Sufi poet. He was a direct descendant of Muhammad, through the progeny of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gillani of Baghdad.

His Kafi verses (a style of Punjabi, Sindhi and Siraiki poetry used by the Sufis of Sindh and Punjab, and also by Sikh gurus) still haunt us. During his time, he witnessed communal strife between Muslims and Sikhs. In those circumstances, he was an ambassador for peace and believed that "violence was not the answer to violence".

My favorite is, of course, Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun!

A transcript (translation in italics):

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Na maen momin vich maseet aan
I am neither a believer in the mosque

Na maen vich kufar diyan reet aan
Nor am in non-believing ways

Na maen paakaan vich paleet aan
Neither pious (clean), nor sinful(unclean)

Na maen moosa na pharaun.
I am Neither Moses nor Pharoah

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! I know not who I am

Na maen andar ved kitaab aan,
I am not in the vedas, nor in other holy books

Na vich bhangaan na sharaab aan
Neither in opium, nor in wine

Na vich rindaan masat kharaab aan
Not in an intoxicated waste

Na vich jaagan na vich saun.
Neither in wake-fulness, nor in sleep

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun.
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Na vich shaadi na ghamnaaki
In happiness nor in sorrow, am I

Na maen vich paleeti paaki
Neither clean, nor a filthy mire

Na maen aabi na maen khaki
I am neither of water, nor of earth

Na maen aatish na maen paun
I am neither fire not air

Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Na maen arabi na lahori
Not an Arab, nor Lahori

Na maen hindi shehar nagauri
Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri

Na hindu na turak peshawri
Neither Hindu, Turk, nor Peshawari

Na maen rehnda vich nadaun
Nor do I live in (the city of) Nadaun

Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya
I have not received the secrets of religion

Ne maen aadam havva jaaya
Nor am I born of Adam and Eve

Na maen apna naam dharaaya
Nor have I assumed a name of my own

Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun
I am neither in sitting, nor am I on the move

Bulleh, ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Avval aakhir aap nu jaana
I discovered myself as the beginning and the end

Na koi dooja hor pehchaana
No one else, have I ever known

Maethon hor na koi siyaana
No one is wiser than me

Bulla! ooh khadda hai kaun
Bullah! who then, stands here?

Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun
Bullah! what do I know who I am

Who, then, is reading these lines?

Bulleh Shah, coming from his innermost experiences, has de-constructed the essence of all spirituality.

What else is needed to go beyond the intellect and DIRECTLY experience bliss and infinite love?

J.R. Puri and T.R. Shangari share:

Saturated with the love of God, Bullah became the personification of compassion and forgiveness. He began to see the divine in every being, and distinctions of caste and religion, friend and foe, ceased to have any meaning for him. The following incident of his life illustrates this sublime state of his mind in a beautiful way:

It is said I that "once Bulleh Shah was engaged in meditation inside his chamber. It was the month of Ramzan. Some of his disciples were sitting outside eating carrots. After some time a group of orthodox Muslims who were keeping the fast happened to pass them. When they saw the disciples sitting at a faqir's abode and violating the fast, they were enraged. " They shouted in an angry voice, " Are you not ashamed of eating in the month of Ramzan, and that also at the abode of a faqir?" The disciples replied, "Brother believers, take your path. We are feeling hungry. That is why we are eating. "

The group of believers felt suspicious about their faith. So they asked, "Who are you?" They replied, "We are Muslims. Don't the Muslims feel hungry?". The believers again commanded them to stop eating, but the disciples did not heed. The believers who were on horses, alighted. They snatched the carrots from the hands of the disciples, and threw them away. They also gave a few blows to them. As they were about to leave, it struck them that the pir of these impious people must have been cast in the same mould. So they turned back to ask him what kind of instruction he had given to his disciples. They went to his chamber and said, "Who are you?" Bullah who was meditating with his eyes closed, raised his arms and moved his hands. They asked him again, "Why don't you speak? Who are you?" Bullah once again raised his arms. The riders taking him to be a mad man, went away. Soon after they left, the disciples entered the chamber, raising a hue and cry that they had been beaten. Bullah told them that they must have done something to provoke the believers. The disciples denied to have done any such thing. Bullah said, "What did they ask you?" The disciples replied, "They asked us who we were, and we said we were Muslims." Bullah retorted, "That's why you were beaten. You became something and you suffered. I didn't become anything, and they said nothing to me."

To consider oneself something emanates from the sense of ego. Such a person is still under the sway of maya, and has not had a vision of Truth so far. One who has had such a vision comes to know his true Self and gets liberated from the bondage of caste, religion and country. There are numerous instances in the poems of Bulleh Shah, which show that the soul, like the Lord, has no religion, no caste, no country.

All these distinctions are born out of time and space, but the soul is unborn and timeless. It has neither a beginning, nor an end, nor is it bound by the limitations of caste and religion.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sweet Madness!

Neale Donald Walsch, the most modern messenger from GOD, writes about the perceived "hurt" to Islam (public conversion of “A prominent Italian Muslim” to Catholicism and the Dutch government allowing a movie producer to release a controversial film, which Muslims find insulting to the Holy Qu’ran):

Oh boy, here we go again. Why can’t we just find a way to get along? What is making us do all these things? And why must some of us become so personally and deeply insulted over such matters? Can we not live and let live?

It is interesting that a "healing" solution comes from Islam's own backyard: Sufis, DIRECTLY trained by Prophet Mohammed, believe that:

Beloved ones of God, you may belong to any race, cast, creed, or nation, still you are all impartially beloved by God.

You may be a believer or an unbeliever in the supreme Being, but He cares not. His mercy and grace flow through all His powers, without distinction of friend or foe.

The greatest principle of Sufism is, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah' (God is love, lover, and beloved).

This whole universe, internally and externally, is governed by the source of love, which is sometimes the cause and sometimes the effect. The producer and the product are one, and that One is nothing but love.

A church, a temple or a Ka'ba stone,
Qur'an or Bible or a martyr's bone,
All these and more my heart can tolerate,
Since my religion now is Love alone' (Abul Ala).

As one of God's beloved, a path is opened for his heavenly journey: at the end he arrives at oneness with God, and his whole individuality is dissolved in the ocean of eternal bliss where even the conception of God and man disappears.

Although love is a sweet madness,
Yet all infirmities it heals.
Saints and sages have passed through it,
Love both to God and man appeals.

Hazrat Inayat Khan was inspired to initiate Universal Sufism, which is based on unity of all people and religions, and the presence of spiritual guidance in all people, places and things.

It is debatable whether Sufism predates (or exists outside) Islam as Universal Sufism, but Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan rightly concludes - Sufism may be called the spirit of Islam, as well as the pure essence of all religions and philosophies.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pure Consciousness, the Witness of everything!

As our discussion continues at soulandsubstance, where I have talked about Consciousness - the abstractions to "understand" it and the associated challenges in experiencing truth.

Feel free to participate and come back to enjoy the following excerpts from "Ashtavakra Gita":

You do not consist of any of the elements -- earth, water, fire, air, or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these.

If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from bonds.

Your real nature is as the ONE PERFECT, FREE, and actionless CONSCIOUSNESS, the all-pervading witness -- unattached to anything, desireless and at peace. It is from illusion that you seem to be involved in samsara.

You are really unbound and actionless, SELF-ILLUMINATING and spotless already. The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to stilling the mind.

You are unconditioned and CHANGELESS, formless and immovable, unfathomable AWARENESS, unperturbable: so hold to nothing but consciousness.

Recognize that the apparent is unreal, while the UNMANIFEST is abiding. Through this initiation into truth you will escape falling into unreality again.

Just as a mirror exists everywhere both within and apart from its reflected images, so the Supreme Lord exists EVERYWHERE within and apart from this body.

Just as one and the same all-pervading space exists within and without a jar, so the eternal, everlasting God exists in the TOTALITY of things.

~Ashtavakra Gita

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What is GOD?

Last few days, we have been having a very interesting discussion initiated by soulandsubstance.
She has thrown an An Open Question to Atheists and Agnostics!
Her question is:
If it were theoretically possible for you to change your mind and be convinced that there is a God who created the universe, what would it take for that to happen?
Go, ahead and participate!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Great Invocation!

From the point of Light within the mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into human hearts
May the Coming One return to Earth.

From the center where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide all little human wills
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the center which we call the human race
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Infinite Love!

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk, Sit or lie down, As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.
~Sutta Nipata


The thoughts of the earth are my thoughts
The voice of the earth is my voice
All that belongs to the earth belongs to me
All that surrounds the earth surrounds me
It is lovely indeed; it is lovely indeed.
~A Navajo Song


You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees and the stars;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
~Max Ehrmann in 'The Desiderata'

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Naked Mystic!

Lalleshwari, also known as Lal Ded, Lalla, Mother Lalla, and Lallayogeshwari was a poet, a holywoman, a sufi, a yogi, a devotee of Shiva.

She is hailed as "Forerunner of Medieval Mystics", one of the greatest apostles of light and love that Kashmir has known, and an apostle of Human values.

She was born in the 14th century at Pandrenthan (ancient Puranadhisthana), about four and a half miles to the south-east of Srinagar.

She says:

You are the heaven and You are the earth,
You are the day and You are the night,
You are all pervading air,
You are the sacred offering of rice and flowers and of water;
You are Yourself all in all,
What can I offer You?

Another saying:

Wake up therefore and stir into action O slothful ignoramus!
Squander not the precious gift of life, cast away not before the swine the pearls of wisdom, waste not your breath and effort;
seek out and secure the lamp of faith and devotion and with the help of its light dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Get rid of the notion of 'I and Mine' and, through the dissolution of the thinking and the calculating mind in the supreme effulgence of the Atma, earn the right to
proclaim the victory of Truth over falsehood, of Light over darkness, of Life over death.

P.N. Kaul Bamzai writes:

She ...succeeded in reaching the 'abode of nectar'. But she did not stop there. All around her was conflict and chaos. Her countrymen and women needed her guidance. She had a mission to perform, and well and effectively she did it. Her life and sayings were mainly responsible in moulding the character of her people and setting up tradition of love and tolerance which characterises them even today.

He goes on to share an insightful story:

There is a high moral teaching which Lalla demonstrated when during her nude state a gang of youthful rowdies were mocking her. A sober-minded cloth vendor intervened and chastised them. On this she asked the vendor for two pieces of ordinary cloth, equal in weight. She put them on either shoulder and continued her wandering.

On the way some had salutations for her and some had gibes. For every such greeting she had a knot in the cloth, for the salutations in the piece on the right, and for the gibes in the piece on the left. In the evening after her round, she returned the pieces to the vendor and had them weighed. Neither had, of course, gained or lost by the knots.

She thus brought home to the vendor, and her disciples, that mental equipoise should not be shaken by the manner people greeted or treated a person.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Enlightened Purpose of Words!

Sri Sri Ravishankar says:

The purpose of words is to create silence.
If words create more noise, then they have not reached their goal.

To illustrates, he shares a beautiful story:

When Buddha got enlightened on that full moon day in the month of May, it is said that he maintained silence for the whole week.

He did not say a word. Mythology says that all the angels in the heaven were frightened.

They knew that it was only once in a millennium that someone blossoms like Buddha. Now he was silent!

The angels then requested him to say something. He said:

Those who know, they know even without my saying and those who do not know, will not know even if I say something.
Any description of light to a blind man is of no use.
There is no point in talking to those who have not tasted the ambrosia of life, and therefore I am silent.
How can you convey something so intimate and personal? Words cannot.
And as many scriptures in the past have declared words end where truth begins.

The angels said, “What you say is right. But consider those who are on the borderline, who are neither fully enlightened nor totally ignorant. For them, a few words will give a push, for their sake you speak and every word of yours will create that silence.”

Rumi echoes:
Let the water settle
You will see the moon and stars mirrored in your being.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What is a Bodhisattva?

A bodhisattva seeks to attain enlightenment in order to work towards the liberation of ALL beings.

The bodhisattva attains buddhahood but chooses NOT to pass into complete Nirvana until he may enlightenment of all beings with him.

The traditional form of practice for bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism is known as the six paramitas or spiritual perfections.

Phase #1: Dana - Perfection of generosity and the readiness to give oneself up to the service of others - charity in the broadest sense.
Phase #2: Shila - Perfection of moral virtue and discipline.
Phase #3: Kshanti - Perfection of patience and forbearance.
Phase #4: Virya - Perfection of effort, vigour, heroism and strength.
Phase #5 :Dhyana - Perfection of contemplation.
Phase #6: Prajna - Perfection of wisdom - the culmination and synthesis of all the other paramitas.