January 8, 2018

Hero, Warrior, Sannyasin

There is no other teacher but your own soul.
- Swami Vivekananda


Sri Ramakrishna's life-breath,
Sri Ramakrishna's supreme gift to mankind,
Sri Ramakrishna's victory-song all-where!
The victory-world's delight you were;
Lo, the cyclone-valour of the Absolute!
You awakened your slumbering India,
You awakened humanity's sleep.
In you blossomed the Form Universal.
O hero-warrior sannyasin,
In the core of the creation,
Sleeplessly shall burn
The incense of your self-offering.
- Sri Chinmoy

Swami Vivekananda taught of distinct 
spiritual paths and practices 
suited to four basic personality types:

For the Emotional:
Bhakti-Yoga or Yoga of Devotion

For the Active: Karma-Yoga or Yoga of Unselfish Work

For the Intellectual:
Jnana-Yoga or Yoga of Discriminating Knowledge

For the Meditative:
Raja-Yoga or Yoga of Mind-Control

“Vedanta claims that there has not been one religious inspiration, one manifestation of the divine man, however great, but it has been the expression of that infinite oneness in human nature; and all that we call ethics and morality and doing good to others is also but the manifestation of this oneness. There are moments when every man feels that he is one with the universe, and he rushes forth to express it, whether he knows it or not. This expression of oneness is what we call love and sympathy, and it is the basis of all our ethics and morality. This is summed up in the Vedanta philosophy by the celebrated aphorism, Tat Tvam Asi, ‘Thou art That’. To every man, this is taught: Thou art one with this Universal Being, and, as such, every soul that exists is your soul; and every body that exists is your body; and in hurting anyone, you hurt yourself, in loving anyone, you love yourself. As soon as a current of hatred is thrown outside, whomsoever else it hurts, it also hurts yourself; and if love comes out from you, it is bound to come back to you”  - Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda and the Parliament of Religions
Lecture by Swami Mahayogananda

“Sannyas means courage more than anything else, 
Because it is a declaration of your individuality, 
A declaration of freedom, 
A declaration that you will not be any more part of the mob madness, 
The mob psychology. 
It is a declaration that you are becoming universal; 
You will not belong to any country, 
To any church, to any race, to any religion.”

- Osho

April 16, 2017

Jesus Blessing the Rainbow

When I bring clouds over the earth, you will see the rainbow in the clouds. 
When I see this rainbow, I will remember the agreement between me and you and every living thing on the earth. This agreement says that a flood will never again destroy all life on the earth. When I look and see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the agreement that continues forever. I will remember the agreement between me and every living thing on the earth.
Genesis 9:14-16 Bible (ERV)

Christ the Messenger
Talk given by Swami Vivekananda, Los Angeles, CA,  January 7, 1900

The wave rises on the ocean, and there is a hollow. Again another wave rises, perhaps bigger than the former, to fall down again, similarly, again to rise--driving onward. In the march of events, we notice the rise and fall, and we generally look towards the rise, forgetting the fall. But both are necessary, and both are great. This is the nature of the universe. Whether in the world of our thoughts, the world of our relations in society, or in our spiritual affairs, the same movement of succession, of rises and falls, is going on. Hence great predominance's in the march of events, the liberal ideals, are marshalled ahead, to sink down, to digest, as it were, to ruminate over the past--to adjust, to conserve, to gather strength once more for a rise and a bigger rise.

The history of nations also has ever been like that. The great soul, the Messenger we are to study this afternoon, came at a period of the history of his race which we may well designate as a great fall. We catch only little glimpses here and there of the stray records that have been kept of his sayings and doings; for verily it has been well said, that the doings and sayings of that great soul would fill the world if they had all been written down. And the three years of his ministry were like one compressed, concentrated age, which it has taken nineteen hundred years to unfold, and who knows how much longer it will yet take! Little men like you and me are simply the recipients of just a little energy. A few minutes, a few hours, a few years at best, are enough to spend it all, to stretch it out, as it were, to its fullest strength, and then we are gone for ever. But mark this giant that came; centuries and ages pass, yet the energy that he left upon the world is not yet stretched, nor yet expended to its full. It goes on adding new vigour as the ages roll on.

Now what you see in the life of Christ is the life of all the past. The life of every man is, in a manner, the life of the past. It comes to him through heredity, through surroundings, through education, through his own reincarnation--the past of the race. In a manner, the past of the earth, the past of the whole world is there, upon every soul. What are we, in the present, but a result, an effect, in the hands of that infinite past? What are we but floating wavelets in the eternal current of events, irresistibly moved forward and onward and incapable of rest? But you and I are only little things, bubbles. There are always some giant waves in the ocean of affairs, and in you and me the life of the past race has been embodied only a little; but there are giants who embody, as it were, almost the whole of the past and who stretch out their hands for the future. These are the sign-posts here and there which point to the march of humanity; these are verily gigantic, their shadows covering the earth--they stand undying, eternal! As it has been said by the same Messenger, "No man hath seen God at any time, but through the Son." And that is true. And where shall we see God but in the Son? It is true that you and I, and the poorest of us, the meanest even, embody that God, even reflect that God. The vibration of light is everywhere, omnipresent; but we have to strike the light of the lamp before we can see the light. The Omnipresent God of the universe cannot be seen until He is reflected by these giant lamps of the earth--the Prophets, the man-Gods, the Incarnations, the embodiments of God.

We all know that God exists, and yet we do not see Him, we do not understand Him. Take one of these great Messengers of light, compare his character with the highest ideal of God that you ever formed, and you will find that your God falls short of the ideal, and that the character of the Prophet exceeds your conceptions. You cannot even form a higher ideal of God than what the actually embodied have practically realized and set before us as an example. Is it wrong, therefore, to worship these as God? Is it a sin to fall at the feet of these man-Gods and worship them as the only divine beings in the world? If they are really, actually, higher than all our conceptions of God, what harm is there in worshipping them? Not only is there no harm, but it is the only possible and positive way of worship. However much you may try to struggle, by abstraction, by whatsoever method you like, still so long as you are a man in the world of men, your world is human, your religion is human, and your God is human. And that must be so. Who is not practical enough to take up an actually existing thing and give up an idea which is only an abstraction, which he cannot grasp, and is difficult of approach except through a concrete medium? Therefore, these Incarnations of God have been worshipped in all ages and in all countries.

We are now going to study a little of the life of Christ, the Incarnation of the Jews. When Christ was born, the Jews were in that state which I call a state of fall between two waves; a state of conservatism; a state where the human mind is, as it were, tired for the time being of moving forward and is taking care only of what it has already; a state when the attention is more bent upon particulars, upon details, than upon the great, general, and bigger problems of life; a state of stagnation, rather than a towing ahead; a state of suffering more than of doing. Mark you, I do not blame this state of things. We have no right to criticize it--because had it not been for this fall, the next rise, which was embodied in Jesus of Nazareth would have been impossible. The Pharisees and Sadducee's might have been insincere, they might have been doing things which they ought not to have done; they might have been even hypocrites; but whatever they were, these factors were the very cause, of which the Messenger was the effect. The Pharisees and Sadducee's at one end were the very impetus which came out at the other end as the gigantic brain of Jesus of Nazareth.

The attention to forms, to formula's, to the everyday details of religion, and to rituals, may sometimes be laughed at; but nevertheless, within them is strength. Many times in the rushing forward we lose much strength. As a fact, the fanatic is stronger than the liberal man. Even the fanatic, therefore, has one great virtue, he conserves energy, a tremendous amount of it. As with the individual so with the race, energy is gathered to be conserved. Hemmed in all around by external enemies, driven to focus in a centre by the Romans, by the Hellenic tendencies in the world of intellect, by waves from Persia, India, and Alexandria--hemmed in physically, mentally, and morally--there stood the race with an inherent, conservative, tremendous strength, which their descendants have not lost even today. And the race was forced to concentrate and focus all its energies upon Jerusalem and Judaism. But all power when once gathered cannot remain collected; it must expend and expand itself. There is no power on earth which can be kept long confined within a narrow limit. It cannot be kept compressed too long to allow of expansion at a subsequent period.

This concentrated energy amongst the Jewish race found its expression at the next period in the rise of Christianity. The gathered streams collected into a body. Gradually, all the little streams joined together, and became a surging wave on the top of which we find standing out the character of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, every Prophet is a creation of his own times, the creation of the past of his race; he himself is the creator of the future. The cause of today is the effect of the past and the cause for the future. In this position stands the Messenger. In him is embodied all that is the best and greatest in his own race, the meaning, the life, for which that race has struggled for ages; and he himself is the impetus for the future, not only to his own race but to unnumbered other races of the world.

We must bear another fact in mind: that my view of the great Prophet of Nazareth would be from the standpoint of the Orient. Many times you forget, also, that the Nazarene himself was an Oriental of Orientals. With all your attempts to paint him with blue eyes and yellow hair, the Nazarene was still an Oriental. All the similes, the imagery's, in which the Bible is written--the scenes, the locations, the attitudes, the groups, the poetry, and symbol,--speak to you of the Orient: of the bright sky, of the heat, of the sun, of the desert, of the thirsty men and animals; of men and women coming with pitchers on their heads to fill them at the wells; of the flocks, of the plough men, of the cultivation that is going on around; of the water-mill and wheel, of the mill-pond, of the millstones. All these are to be seen today in Asia.

The voice of Asia has been the voice of religion. The voice of Europe is the voice of politics. Each is great in its own sphere. The voice of Europe is the voice of ancient Greece. To the Greek mind, his immediate society was all in all: beyond that, it is Barbarian. None but the Greek has the right to live. Whatever the Greeks do is right and correct; whatever else there exists in the world is neither right nor correct, nor should be allowed to live. It is intensely human in its sympathies, intensely natural, intensely artistic, therefore. The Greek lives entirely in this world. He does not care to dream. Even is poetry is practical. His gods and goddesses are not only human beings, but intensely human, with all human passions and feelings almost the same as with any of us. He loves what is beautiful, but, mind you, it is always external nature; the beauty of the hills, of the snows, of the flowers, the beauty of forms and of figures, the beauty in the human face, and, more often, in the human form--that is what the Greeks liked. And the Greeks being the teachers of all subsequent European-ism, the voice of Europe is Greek.

There is another type in Asia. Think of that vast, huge continent, whose mountain-tops go beyond the clouds, almost touching the canopy of heaven's blue; a rolling desert of miles upon miles where a drop of water cannot be found, neither will a blade of grass grow; interminable forests and gigantic rivers rushing down to the sea. In the midst of all these surroundings, the oriental love of the beautiful and of the sublime developed itself in another direction. It looked inside, and not outside. There is also the thirst for nature, and there is also the same thirst for power; there is also the same thirst for excellence, the same idea of the Greek and Barbarian, but it has extended over a larger circle. In Asia, even today, birth or color or language never makes a race. That which makes a race is its religion. We are all Christians; we are all Mohammedans; we are all Hindus, or all Buddhists. No matter if a Buddhist is a Chinaman, or is a man from Persia, they think that they are brothers, because of their professing the same religion. Religion is the tie, unity of humanity. And then again, the Oriental, for the same reason, is a visionary, is a born dreamer. The ripples of the waterfalls, the songs of the birds, the beauties of the sun and moon and the stars and the whole earth are pleasant enough; but they are not sufficient for the oriental mind. He wants to dream a dream beyond. He wants to go beyond the present. The present, as it were, is nothing to him. The Orient has been the cradle of the human race for ages, and all the vicissitudes of fortune are there--kingdoms succeeding kingdoms, empires succeeding empires, human power, glory, and wealth, all rolling down there; a Golgotha of power and learning. That is the Orient: a Golgotha of power, of kingdoms, of learning. No wonder, the oriental mind looks with contempt upon the things of this world and naturally wants to see something that changes not, something which dieth not, something which in the midst of this world of misery and death is eternal, blissful, undying. An oriental Prophet never tires of insisting upon these ideals; and, as for Prophets, you may also remember that without one exception, all the Messengers were Orientals.

We see, therefore, in the life of this great Messenger of life, the first watchword: "Not this life, but something higher"; and, like the true son of the Oriental, he is practical in that. You people in the West are practical in your own department, in military affairs, and in managing political circles and other things. Perhaps the Oriental is not practical in those ways, but he is practical in his own field; he is practical in religion. If one preaches a philosophy, tomorrow there are hundreds who will struggle their best to make it practical in their lives. If a man preaches that standing on one foot would lead one to salvation, he will immediately get five hundred to stand on one foot. You may call it ludicrous; but, mark you, beneath that is their philosophy--that intense practicality. In the West, plans of salvation mean intellectual gymnastics--plans which are never worked out, never brought into practical life. In the West, the preacher who talks the best is the greatest preacher.

So, we find Jesus of Nazareth, in the first place, the true son of the Orient, intensely practical. He has no faith in this evanescent world and all its belongings. No need of text-torturing, as is the fashion in the West in modern times, no need of stretching out texts until they will not stretch any more. Texts are not India rubber, and even that has its limits. Now, no making of religion to pander to the sense vanity of the present day! Mark you, let us all be honest. If we cannot follow the ideal, let us confess our weakness, but not degrade it; let not any try to pull it down. One gets sick at heart at the different accounts of the life of the Christ that Western people give. I do not know what he was or what he was not! One would make him a great politician; another, perhaps, would make of him a great military general; another, a great patriotic Jew; and so on. Is there any warrant in the books for all such assumptions? The best commentary on the life of a great teacher is his own life. "The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." That is what Christ says as the only way to salvation; he lays down no other way. Let us confess in sackcloth and ashes that we cannot do that. We still have fondness for "me and mine". We want property, money, wealth. Woe unto us! Let us confess and not put to shame that great Teacher of Humanity! He had no family ties. But do you think that, that Man had any physical ideas in him? Do you think that, this mass of light, this God and not-man, came down to earth, to be the brother of animals? And yet, people make him preach all sorts of things. He had no sex ideas! He was a soul! Nothing but a soul--just working a body for the good of humanity; and that was all his relation to the body. In the soul there is no sex. The disembodied soul has no relation to the animal, no relationship to the body. The ideal may be far away beyond us. But never mind, keep to the ideal. Let us confess that it is our ideal, but we cannot approach it yet.

He had no other occupation in life, no other thought except that one, that he was a spirit. He was a disembodied, unfettered, unbound spirit. And not only so, but he, with his marvelous vision, had found that every man and woman, whether Jew or Gentile, whether rich or poor, whether saint or sinner, was the embodiment of the same undying spirit as himself. Therefore, the one work his whole life showed was to call upon them to realize their own spiritual nature. Give up he says, these superstitious dreams that you are low and that you are poor. Think not that you are trampled upon and tyrannized over as if you were slaves, for within you is something that can never be tyrannized over, never be trampled upon, never be troubled, never be killed. You are all Sons of God, immortal spirit. "Know", he declared, "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you." "I and my Father are one." Dare you stand up and say, not only that "I am the Son of God", but I shall also find in my heart of hearts that "I and my Father are one"? That was what Jesus of Nazareth said. He never talks of this world and of this life. He has nothing to do with it, except that he wants to get hold of the world as it is, give it a push and drive it forward and onward until the whole world has reached to the effulgent Light of God, until everyone has realized his spiritual nature, until death is vanished and misery banished.

We have read different stories that have been written about him; we know the scholars and their writings, and the higher criticism; and we know all that has been done by study. We are not here to discuss how much of the New Testament is true, we are not here to discuss how much of that life is historical. It does not matter at all whether the New Testament was written within five hundred years of his birth, nor does it matter even, how much of that life is true. But there is something behind it, something we want to imitate. To tell a lie, you have to imitate a truth, and that truth is a fact. You cannot imitate that which never existed. You cannot imitate that which you never perceived. But there must have been a nucleus, a tremendous power that came down, a marvelous manifestation of spiritual power--and of that we are speaking. It stands there. Therefore, we are not afraid of all the criticisms of the scholars. If I, as an Oriental, have to worship Jesus of Nazareth, there is only one way left to me, that is, to worship him as God and nothing else. Have we no right to worship him in that way, do you mean to say? If we bring him down to our own level and simply pay him a little respect as a great man, why should we worship at all? Our scriptures say, "These great children of Light, who manifest the Light themselves, who are Light themselves, they, being worshipped, become, as it were, one with us and we become one with them."

For, you see, in three ways man perceives God. At first the undeveloped intellect of the uneducated man sees God as far away, up in the heavens somewhere, sitting on a throne as a great Judge. He looks upon Him as a fire, as a terror. Now, that is good, for there is nothing bad in it. You must remember that humanity travels not from error to truth, but from truth to truth; it may be, if you like it better, from lower truth to higher truth, but never from error to truth. Suppose you start from here and travel towards the sun in a straight line. From here the sun looks only small in size. Suppose you go forward a million miles, the sun will be much bigger. At every stage the sun will become bigger and bigger. Suppose twenty thousand photographs had been taken of the same sun, from different standpoints; these twenty thousand photographs will all certainly differ from one another. But can you deny that each is a photograph of the same sun? So all forms of religion, high or low, are just different stages toward that eternal state of Light, which is God Himself. Some embody a lower view, some a higher, and that is all the difference. Therefore, the religions of the unthinking masses all over the world must be, and have always been, of a God who is outside of the universe, who lives in heaven, who governs from that place, who is a punisher of the bad and a rewarder of the good, and so on. As man advanced spiritually, he began to feel that God was omnipresent, that He must be in him, that He must be everywhere, that He was not a distant God, but clearly the Soul of all souls. As my soul moves my body, even so is God the mover of my soul. Soul within soul. And a few individuals who had developed enough and were pure enough, went still further, and at last found God. As the New Testament says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And they found at last that they and the Father were one.

You find that all these three stages are taught by the Great Teacher in the New Testament. Note the Common Prayer he taught: "Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name," and so on--a simple prayer, a child's prayer. Mark you, it is the "Common Prayer" because it is intended for the uneducated masses. To a higher circle, to those who had advanced a little more, he gave a more elevated teaching: "I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." Do you remember that? And then, when the Jews asked him who he was, he declared that he and his Father were one, and the Jews thought that that was blasphemy. What did he mean by that? This has been also told by your old Prophets, "Ye are gods and all of you are children of the Most High." Mark the same three stages. You will find that it is easier for you to begin with the first and end with the last.

The Messenger came to show the path: that the spirit is not in forms, that it is not through all sorts of vexations and knotty problems of philosophy that you know the spirit. Better that you had no learning, better that you never read a book in your life. These are not at all necessary for salvation--neither wealth, nor position nor power, not even learning; but what is necessary is that one thing, purity. "Blessed are the pure in heart," for the spirit in its own nature is pure. How can it be otherwise? It is of God, it has come from God. In the language of the Bible, "It is the breath of God." In the language of the Koran, "It is the soul of God." Do you mean to say that the Spirit of God can ever be impure? But, alas, it has been, as it were, covered over with the dust and dirt of ages, through our own actions, good and evil. Various works which were not correct, which were not true, have covered the same spirit with the dust and dirt of the ignorance of ages. It is only necessary to clear away the dust and dirt, and then the spirit shines immediately. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." Where goes thou to seek for the Kingdom of God, asks Jesus of Nazareth, when it is there, within you? Cleanse the spirit, and it is there. It is already yours. How can you get what is not yours? It is yours by right. You are the heirs of immortality, sons of the Eternal Father.

This is the great lesson of the Messenger, and another which is the basis of all religions, is renunciation. How can you make the spirit pure? By renunciation. A rich young man asked Jesus, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said unto him, "One thing thou lacks; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasures in heaven: and come, take up thy cross, and follow Me." And he was sad at that saying and went away grieved; for he had great possessions. We are all more or less like that. The voice is ringing in our ears day and night. In the midst of our pleasures and joys, in the midst of worldly things, we think that we have forgotten everything else. Then comes a moment's pause and the voice rings in our ears: "Give up all that thou hast and follow Me." "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it." For whoever gives up this life for His sake, finds the life immortal. In the midst of all our weakness there is a moment of pause and the voice rings: "Give up all that thou hast; give it to the poor and follow me." This is the one ideal he preaches, and this has been the ideal preached by all the great Prophets of the world: renunciation. What is meant by renunciation? That there is only one ideal in morality: unselfishness. Be selfless. The ideal is perfect unselfishness. When a man is struck on the right cheek, he turns the left also. When a man's coat is carried off, he gives away his cloak also.

We should work in the best way we can, without dragging the ideal down. Here is the ideal. When a man has no more self in him, no possession, nothing to call "me" or "mine", has given himself up entirely, destroyed himself as it were--in that man is God Himself; for in him self-will is gone, crushed out, annihilated. That is the ideal man. We cannot reach that state yet; yet, let us worship the ideal, and slowly struggle to reach the ideal, though, maybe, with faltering steps. It may be tomorrow, or it may be a thousand years hence; but that ideal has to be reached. For it is not only the end, but also the means. To be unselfish, perfectly selfless, is salvation itself; for the man within dies, and God alone remains.

One more point. All the teachers of humanity are unselfish. Suppose Jesus of Nazareth was teaching, and a man came and told him, "What you teach is beautiful. I believe that it is the way to perfection, and I am ready to follow it; but I do not care to worship you as the only begotten Son of God." What would be the answer of Jesus of Nazareth? "Very well, brother, follow the ideal and advance in your own way. I do not care whether you give me the credit for the teaching or not. I am not a shopkeeper. I do not trade in religion. I only teach truth, and truth is nobodies property. Nobody can patent truth. Truth is God Himself. Go forward." But what the disciples say nowadays is: "No matter whether you practice the teachings or not, do you give credit to the Man? If you credit the Master, you will be saved; if not, there is no salvation for you." And thus the whole teaching of the Master is degenerated, and all the struggle and fight is for the personality of the Man. They do not know that in imposing that difference, they are, in a manner, bringing shame to the very Man they want to honor--the very Man that would have shrunk with shame from such an idea. What did he care if there was one man in the world that remembered him or not? He had to deliver his message, and he gave it. And if he had twenty thousand lives, he would give them all up for the poorest man in the world. If he had to be tortured millions of times for a million despised Samaritans, and if for each one of them the sacrifice of his own life would be the only condition of salvation, he would have given his life. And all this without wishing to have his name known even to a single person. Quiet, unknown, silent, would he work, just as the Lord works. Now, what would the disciple say? He will tell you that you may be a perfect man, perfectly unselfish; but unless you give the credit to our teacher, to our saint, it is of no avail. Why? What is the origin of this superstition, this ignorance? The disciple thinks that the Lord can manifest Himself only once. There lies the whole mistake. God manifests Himself to you in man. But throughout nature, what happens once must have happened before, and must happen in future. There is nothing in nature which is not bound by law; and that means that whatever happens once must go on and must have been going on.

In India they have the same idea of the Incarnations of God. One of their great Incarnations, Krishna, whose grand sermon, the Bhagavad-Gita, some of you might have read, says, "Though I am unborn, of changeless nature, and Lord of beings, yet subjugating My Prakriti, I come into being by My own Maya. Whenever virtue subsides and immorality prevails, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of Dharma, I come into being, in every age." Whenever the world goes down, the Lord comes to help it forward; and so He does from time to time and place to place. In another passage He speaks to this effect: Wherever thou findest a great soul of immense power and purity struggling to raise humanity, know that he is born of My splendor, that I am there working through him.

Let us, therefore, find God not only in Jesus of Nazareth, but in all the great Ones that have preceded him, in all that came after him, and all that are yet to come. Our worship is unbounded and free. They are all manifestations of the same Infinite God. They are all pure and unselfish; they struggled and gave up their lives for us, poor human beings. They each and all suffer vicarious atonement for every one of us, and also for all that are to come hereafter.

In a sense you are all Prophets; every one of you is a Prophet, bearing the burden of the world on your own shoulders. Have you ever seen a man, have you ever seen a woman, who is not quietly, patiently, bearing his or her little burden of life? The great Prophets were giants--they bore a gigantic world on their shoulders. Compared with them we are Pygmies, no doubt, yet we are doing the same task; in our little circles, in our little homes, we are bearing our little crosses. There is no one so evil, no one so worthless, but he has to bear his own cross. But with all our mistakes, with all our evil thoughts and evil deeds, there is a bright spot somewhere, there is still somewhere the golden thread through which we are always in touch with the divine. For, know for certain, that the moment the touch of the divine is lost there would be annihilation. And because none can be annihilated, there is always somewhere in our heart of hearts, however low and degraded we may be, a little circle of light which is in constant touch with the divine.

Our salutations go to all the past Prophets whose teachings and lives we have inherited, whatever might have been their race, clime, or creed! Our salutations go to all those Godlike men and women who are working to help humanity, whatever be their birth, color, or race! Our salutations to those who are coming in the future--living Gods--to work unselfishly for our descendants.

March 31, 2017

Buddha Mind

Sentient beings are in essence Buddhas.
It is like water and ice.
There is no ice without water.
There are no Buddhas outside sentient beings.

What a shame, sentient beings seek afar, not knowing what is at hand.
It is like wailing from thirst in the midst of water,
Or wandering lost among the poor
Although born a rich man's child.

The cause of rebirth in the six realms
Is the darkness of our delusion.
Treading dark path after dark path
When can we escape birth and death?

Mahayana Zen meditation goes beyond all praise.
Giving, keeping precepts, and the other perfections,
Chanting Buddha's name, repentance, training and many
Other kinds of wholesome deeds
All find their source in zazen.

When you sit even once,
The merit obliterates countless wrongdoings.
How can there be evil realms?
The Pure Land is not far.

If by good fortune you have the occasion
To hear this teaching,
Admire it and rejoice in it.

You will attain boundless happiness
How much more if you dedicate yourself
And realize your own nature directly.

This "own nature" is no nature.
You are already apart from useless discussions.
The gate opens where cause and effect are inseparable.
The road of not-two, not-three goes straight ahead.

Make the form formless form,
Going and returning, not anywhere else.
Make the thought thoughtless thought,
Singing and dancing, the Dharma voice.

How vast the sky of unobstructed concentration!
How brilliant the full moon of fourfold wisdom!

At this very moment, what can be sought?
Nirvana is immediate.
This place is the lotus land.
This body is the Buddha body.


Zen is the meditation school of Japanese Buddhism,
Zen is a transliteration of the Chinese word chan,
Which is itself an abbreviation of chan-na
From the Sanskrit word dhyana,
Meaning meditation, or absolute stillness of the mind.

Swami Vivekananda said of Lord Buddha...

Surely he was the greatest man who ever lived. 
He never drew a breath for himself. 
Above all, he never claimed worship. 
He said, "Buddha is not a man, but a state. 
I have found the door. 
Enter, all of you!"

Lecture by Swami Bhaskarananda

If the heart is in accord with what is,
All single strivings have ceased,
All doubts are cleared up,
True faith is confirmed;
Nothing remains,
Nothing need be remembered.
Empty, clear, self-illuminating,
The heart does not waste its energy.

- Sosan 
The Third Zen Patriarch

February 1, 2017


The material universe and the physical body that I experience through my senses are only one aspect of reality.

All material things are made up of atoms.

Atoms are composed of subatomic particles moving at lightning speeds through huge empty spaces.

Subatomic particles are not material things; they are fluctuations of energy and information in a huge void.

Subatomic particles flicker in and out of existence depending on whether I am watching them or not.

Before my decision to observe them, subatomic particles are probability amplitudes or mathematical ghosts in a field of infinite possibilities .

When I make the choice to observe the subatomic world of mathematical ghosts, the ghosts freeze into space-time events or particles that ultimately manifest as matter.

My physical body and the body of the physical universe are both proportionately as void as intergalactic space.

The essential nature of my material body and that of the solid appearing universe is that they are both nonmaterial. They are made up of non-stuff.

My material body and the body of the Universe both flicker in and out of existence at the speed of light.

My nervous system cannot process these quantum events at the speed at which they are really happening, so it decodes the energy and information soup of the Universe into the experience of solid three-dimensional material bodies.

When I decide to observe the quantum soup of the Universe, made up of non-stuff, it manifests in my awareness as a physical body that I experience as mine, and other bodies that I experience as the Universe.

In my decision to become an observer, I create the experience of my physical body and also that of the physical Universe.

My brain is made up of the same non-stuff or void that exists everywhere. It is a decoding instrument that moves through a vibrating dance of energy and information, and, as a result of this interaction, I start to experience material and solid things.

My brain is a sensor that tunes in to a non-local, omnipresent vibrating field of infinite frequencies.

My body is an experience that I have in space and time. It has a location in space, and it exists in time. It has a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

My world is a continuum of experiences and is therefore comprised of space-time events. It exists as objects in space that have beginnings, middles, and endings.

My brain is an instrument that I use to have experiences.

Where is the me that is using this instrument (called the brain) to have these experiences called the body, which gets born, moves through space and time, and then dies?

Me is the experiencer behind every experience, the thinker behind every thought, the seer behind every scenery, the observer behind every observation.

The experience changes, but the experiencer remains the same. The thought comes and goes, the thinker is always there; the scenery transforms, but the seer remains unchanged, eternal. The real me is the seer, not the scenery.

I cannot experience the experiencer by using my senses, because when I use my senses I begin to have experiences, and then I am no longer with myself, I am with my experience.

I cannot experience the experiencer by thinking thoughts because when I am thinking thoughts I can no longer be with myself, the thinker.

Thoughts are experiences. The thinker is the experiencer. Perhaps the thought is the thinker in disguise, and the experience is the experiencer in disguise.

This is the dilemma.
Is the thinker the thought?
Is the experiencer the experience?

Could the seer be the scenery?
Could the thinker be the thought?

Let us examine both experiencer and experience.

All experiences are space-time events.

They are in the world of dimensions.

My body occupies space. It has height, width, volume. It exists in time. It is time bound.

Even thoughts are flickering space-time events. They occur for a flicker of an instant and have a beginning, a middle, and an end. For a flicker of an instant, they occupy a space and a location in awareness.

Therefore all experience is time bound.

The experiencer, on the other hand, being the silent, non-changing witness in every experience, is timeless.

The experiencer is dimensionless.

The experiencer occupies no space.

Since the experiencer is there before the experience and is there after the experience, it is always there, and being always there, it is eternal.

Eternal, unbounded, spaceless, timeless, dimensionless, the experiencer is Spirit.

Spirit is the real me.

Nonmaterial and dimensionless, Spirit can neither be created nor destroyed.

Spirit is spaceless, timeless, and dimensionless. Fire cannot burn it and water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it, weapons cannot kill it, eternal and unbounded and nonchanging, without beginning and without ending; it is nowhere in particular and everywhere in general. This spirit is the essential me.

How can I find Spirit?
Not by thinking.
Not by doing.
Only by Being.

Only through silence, only by Being can I know myself.

When I am not using memories, when I am not anticipating, when I am just being, then I am just awareness. Then I experience myself as the timeless factor in the midst of time-bound experience.

As Spirit I know that my persona changes, I don't.

I look into the mirror, and I see the change in my persona from ten years ago. But the Me that is looking is unchanged.

It is the prison of memory that creates the boundaries of space-time and causation.

When I escape the prison of memory, I experience the boundless in the midst of boundaries.

Memories are frozen pictures of space-time events.

The me who experiences the memories is the nonchanging space between these space-time events.

I notice the spaces between my thoughts. Thoughts come and go. The spaces are always there.

I am now noticing the spaces between written words, spaces between objects, spaces between thoughts, spaces between sounds, spaces between musical notes, spaces inside a cup, around it, and outside it. I am noticing spaces, spaces everywhere. They are all the same spaces, and they are always there. Before the thoughts came, after they left, the space is. Before the music was born and after it died, the space is. Before the words were uttered and after the speech was silent, the space is. Before and after death, the space is.

The space always is, and in this space I am.

Before birth I am.
After death I am.
I always am.

When I quantify space I create time.
Time is a way of measuring space.

When I quantify time I create space. Space is a way of measuring time.

When I quantify myself I create a person.

When I notice the spaces between sounds and the spaces between words and also the spaces between my thoughts and the background silence behind everything, I realize that all these spaces are the same space.

This space is the entry point. It is the transformational vortex, the corridor, the window to Spirit.

Spirit is beyond the void of space. This realm, beyond the void, is not an empty nothingness; it is the womb of creation.

Nature goes to the same place to create a galaxy of stars, a cluster of nebulas, a rain forest, a human body,
or a thought. That place is Spirit.

Personal time is born in the spaces between personal memories.

Cosmic time is born in the spaces between cosmic memories.

Spirit is the potentiality for space-time events.

Spirit moving within itself creates space-time events and becomes matter.

Spirit and matter are one.
Observer and observed are one.
Seer and scenery are one.

The seer, the observer, the experiencer, the thinker, the field, the witness, and pure awareness are all different words to describe Spirit.

Spirit (the observer) has no height, no width, no length, no breadth, no volume, no space, no duration. It is eternal, unbounded, ineffable and abstract.

Spirit is invisible. It is soundless. It is without texture, without taste, without smell. It is dimensionless, spaceless and timeless.

Spirit is ME.

Spirit is the immeasurable potential of all that was, is, and will be, and it is ME. It is the Field.

When the Field vibrates it creates waves.

The vibrating Field...with its waves of intelligence, information and energy...is the invisible source of the fabric of the space-time continuum.

Waves of intelligence are vibrations of Spirit. Waves of intelligence are also my thoughts and all thoughts everywhere.

Since I am the Field, all thoughts are my thoughts. Some thoughts are experienced more personally. I call them mine.

Some thoughts I experience less personally. I call these other people's thoughts and also the thoughts of animals and Nature.

Some thoughts I experience inside my personal body, and some I experience outside my body. Some are personal, others are impersonal; however, all thoughts are equally mine.

Vibrations in the Field are thoughts in consciousness. They are quantum events in the space-time continuum. These are the ways the observer becomes the process of observation and the experiencer becomes the process of experience. This is the mind in action.

When these vibrations condense or freeze, matter is born. Frozen vibrations are matter. Frozen vibrations are the birth if matter. They are the birth of the web of space-time events. These are the "things" that occupy space and have duration in time.

Matter is the birth of particles from waves. All particles are frozen waves. All material bodies are condensations of frozen vibrations.

Matter is the world of material objects. It is the scenery, the object of experience, the observed.

Spirit moving within itself creates mind, and mind attending to itself precipitates into matter.

The observer observes itself and becomes the observed.

The seer sees itself and becomes the scenery. The seer is the Spirit. The seeing is the mind. The scenery is the world.

Seer, scenery, and seeing are One.
Spirit, mind, and matter are One.

Creation is the self interacting with itself and experiencing itself. Sometimes it is the seer, sometimes it is the seeing, sometimes it is the scenery.

All that exists is me interacting with myself and experiencing myself as Spirit, mind, and matter.

I experience myself subjectively as the mind and objectively as the body and the world.

The body, mind, and world are just different manifestations of myself as different forms and phenomena.

I am that which is beyond and before and after all forms and phenomena.

I am that. You are that. That alone is.

Physicists describe four forces of Nature. These are the strong interaction, the weak interaction, electromagnetism, and gravity.

The strong interaction holds the nucleus of the atom together.

The weak interaction is responsible for radioactive decay and the transmutation of elements.

Electromagnetism gives rise to heat, light, electricity, and magnetism.

Gravity holds the planets together and makes the world go around.

These four forces (electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak interactions) are the matrix of the material universe.

The four fundamental forces of Nature come from one Unified Field. The Unified Field is the source of creation...the dancer.

The Unified Field is the field of dimensionless reality. It is the potentiality for all the information, energy, and matter in the Universe.

The Unified Field is the ground state of all there is. It is the potentiality for space-time and space-time events.

The curvature of space-time is called gravity. It is part of the dance, the process of creation.

The friction within space-time is electromagnetism, which is heat, light, electricity, and energy. It is also part of the dance...the process of creation.

The condensation of space-time as weak and strong forces creates matter...the earth, water, fire, air, and space. It is the expression of the dance or that which is created.

Earth, water, fire, air, and space are matter in its solid, liquid, metabolic, gaseous, and quantum mechanical forms.

Since the Unified Field is the ground state of everything and since the Spirit is also the ground state of everything, the Spirit and the Unified Field are One.

The Unified Field is the consciousness of Nature.

The forces of Nature...heat, light, electricity, magnetism, strong and weak forces, and gravity...are "the mind of Nature."

The material universe is the body of Nature.

Since I and the Unified Field are One in our ground state, I am the witness in the Unified Field, my thoughts or mind are just a different manifestation of the same forces of Nature that we call heat, light, electricity, magnetism, and gravity. My body is just a different manifestation of the same body that I call the Universe.

I am the thinker, the thought, the word, and the flesh. I am the field, the wave, and the particle.

I am the ground state, the forces of Nature, and the material world.

I am the dancer, the dancing, and the dance.

I am the creator, the process of creating, and that which is created.

I am infinite forms and phenomena.

I have invented space. I have created time. I manifest as gravity , which holds the planets and makes the world go around.

I am the source of all energy and all its forms.

I am everything I observe and the observer as well.

I am Existence.

As Existence I am before the beginning, during the middle, and after the end of all forms and phenomena. I am the chair I sit on and the clothes I am wearing and the mountains that I see and the stars and distant galaxies. I am everything in general and anything in particular.

When I see light and color, I am light and color. When I hear sound and music, I am sound and music. I am everything I taste, touch, smell, feel, and see. I am electricity, I am heat, I am cold. I am laughter, I am tears. I am the anger in angry people. I am the jealousy in jealous people. I am the hate in hateful people. I am the love in loving people. I am the compassion in compassionate people. I am everything as it is.

I have no need to attack myself or anybody. I have no need to forgive myself or anybody, because there is nothing to forgive. I have no need to defend myself or anybody. I have no need to hurt myself or anybody.

I am totally defenseless. In my total defenselessness is my invincibility.

I totally surrender to what is because I am what is.

In my world, I am whatever is. There is nothing to forget, nothing to forgive, nothing to remember, no grudges to hold, no conflicts to fight, no one to spite; even in conflict there is no conflict.

In my world there is lightheartedness and carefreeness and silent joyfulness.

In my world there is life in all its moods, in all its contradictions, and in all its manifestations.

I accept this Life as Life itself. Because I accept Life as Life, in my world, nothing ever goes wrong. In my Being is the Universe.

Personality is time bound. It comes about when the present is identified with the past and projected into the future.

Attention devoid of memory or anticipation is life-centered, present moment awareness. Life-centered, present moment, choiceless awareness is timeless.

Time exists only as the continuity of memory using the ego as an internal reference point.

My original state is always present but not in manifestation.

There is no bondage except for the idea of a separate "ME" or "MINE."

The world happens only as an appearance in consciousness. The physical world of form and phenomena is the totality of the known manifested in the infinity of the unknown unmanifest consciousness.

I do nothing. Being manifests, and living happens.

I am that consciousness. You are that consciousness. All that exists is consciousness.

I am infinite, immortal, enlightened.
Infinity, immortality, enlightenment are my natural state.

My natural state is usually overshadowed by the turbulence of the mind. When I go past the dark alleys and passages of my mind, I come to the core of my Being.

At the core of my Being I am in touch with the light and the love and the knowingness that are the inherent properties of my natural state.

At the core of my Being is a principle, an intelligence that generates, orchestrates and organizes the activity of my mind and of my body.

When I am in touch with the intelligence (or principle) at the core of my Being and I become intimate with it, I realize that this same principle is at the core of all Beings and orchestrates and organizes the mind and body of all that lives and moves and breathes.

This principle, this pure intelligence or pure awareness, is the real me. This me projects itself as the personal body/mind and the Universal body/mind.

Curving back within myself, I project myself again and again with infinite, unbounded potential.

I am the animating force of life in all that lives and moves and breathes in all Beings.

I am the light of love that is unity

I am the light of knowingness where Creator, creating, and created are one.

At the deepest core of my Being is an intelligence that is orchestrating the activity of my mind and my body.

When I get in touch with the divine intelligence at the deepest core of my Being, and become intimate with it, I realize that the same intelligence is orchestrating the activity of other minds and other bodies...and in fact, all the activity in the Universe.

This intelligence at the deepest core of my being, and of other Beings, and of the Universe, has been called GOD by many spiritual traditions.

At the deepest core of all Being is the generator, organizer, and dispenser of all the activity that exists in the Universe.

The Creator is the source...the Generation of all information and energy and matter.

The creating is the process...the Organizer of all information and energy and matter.

The created is the outcome...the Dispenser of all information and energy and matter.

GOD is the Totality.
Generator, Organizer, Dispenser.

Be still and know that you are GOD of all Reality.

- From: Everyday Immortality by D. Chopra

January 1, 2017


“If you practice spiritual discipline for some time in a solitary place, you will find that your mind has become strong, and then you can live in any place or society without being in the least affected by it. When the plant is tender, it should be hedged around. But when it has grown big, not even cows and goats can injure it. Spiritual practices in a solitary place are essential.”

Bande Mataram Hymn 
Translation by Sri Aurobindo

Mother, I bow to thee
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving, Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease,
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother, I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands,
When the swords flash out in twice seventy million hands
And seventy millions voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call, Mother and Lord!
Thou who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foemen drave
Back from plain and sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou our heart, our soul, our breath,
Thou the love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother, lend thine ear.
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Dark of hue, O candid-fair
In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free.

O' Mother, here is Your ignorance, here is Your knowledge
Take them both and give me only pure love for You.
Here is Your holiness, here is Your unholiness
Take them both and give me only pure love for You.
Here is Your virtue, and here is Your sin
Here is Your good and here is Your evil
Take them both and give me only pure love for You.
Here is Your dharma, here is Your adharma;
Take them both and give me only pure love for You.

-Sri Ramakrishna

Hymn to the Divine Mother
O thou the giver of all blessings,
O thou the doer of all good,
O thou the fulfiller of all desires,
O thou the giver of refuge –
Our salutations to thee, O Mother Divine.

O thou Eternal Mother,
Thou hast the power to create, to preserve, and to dissolve.
Thou the dwelling-place and embodiment of the three gunas –
Our salutations to thee, O Mother Divine.

O thou the savior of all who take refuge in thee,
The lowly and the distressed –
O Mother Divine, we salute thee,
Who takest away the sufferings of all.

Hymn is taken from the Chandi, a sacred book which sings the praise of the Divine Mother. 
Translation by Swami Prabhavananda & Christopher Isherwood, from Prayers and Meditations

If Not For You

If not for you, there would be a place of emptiness in the heart of the Divine.

If not for you, all the good that you have done would still need doing. 

If not for you, the spark of your ideas would not have ignited the flame in others. 

If not for you, the key role that you have played in life’s drama would remain unfulfilled. 

If not for you, at least one person would not have awakened to their dreams. 

If not for you, your triumphs could not be examples to inspire others. 

If not for you, someone who needed love would not have received it. 

If not for you, a life would have been shortened or never existed. 

If not for you, the song of life would have missed a beat. 

If not for you, your gifts would remain un-given. 

If not for you, another might have suffered in your place. 

If not for you, someone would have no path to follow. 

If not for you, there would be one less smile, one less laugh, and one less hug. 

If not for you, an animal might be homeless and a garden left unplanted. 

If not for you, something would be missing. 

You have always made a difference. 

Who you are is important every day. 

You are the face, the heart and the soul of the Divine. 

Never forget: You make a difference and you are valuable.

Sri Sarada Stotram 
Hymn to Holy Mother 
by Swami Abhedananda

prakrtiṁ paramāṁ abhayāṁ varadām,

nararupa-dharāṁ janatāpa-harām
saran-āgata sevaka-toshakariṁ,

pranamāmi parāṁ jananiṁ jagatām.


kripāyādya samuddhara moha-gatān
taraniṁ bhava-sāgara pārakariṁ,

pranamāmi parāṁ jananiṁ jagatām.

vishayaṁ kusumaṁ parihritya sadā,

caran-āmbu-ruhāmrita śānti-sudhām
piba bhringa-mano bhavaroga-harāṁ,

pranamāmi parāṁ jananiṁ jagatam.

krpāṁ kuru mahādevi suteshu pranateshu ca
caran-āśraya dānena kripā-mayi namo'stu te.

lajjā-patāvrite nityāṁ sārade jnāna-dāyike
papebhyo nah sada raksha kripā-mayi namo'stu te.

rāmakrishna-gata prānāṁ tannāma-shravana-priyām
tadbhāva-ranjit-ākāraṁ pranamāmi muhurmuhuh.

pavitraṁ charitaṁ yasyāh pavitraṁ jivanam tathā
pavitratā-svarupinyai tasyai kurmo namo-namah.

devim prasannāṁ pranatārti-hantrim,

Yogindra-pujyām yugadharma-pātrim
tam śāradām bhakti-vijnāna-dātriṁ,

dayā-svarupām pranamāmi nityam.

snehena badhnāsi mano'smadiyāṁ,

doshān-aseshān saguni-karoshi
ahetunā no dayase sadoshān,

svaṁke grihitva yadidaṁ vicitram.
prasida mātar vinayena yāce,

nityaṁ bhava snehavati suteshu
premaika binduṁ ciradagdha-chitte,

visiñca cittaṁ kuru nah suśantam.

jananiṁ śāradāṁ deviṁ rāmakrishnaṁ jagadgurum | 
pādapadme tayoh shrtvā pranamāmi muhurmuhuh || 

jai! mahāmāyi ki jai!
jai bhagavān sri rāmakrisna dev ki jai
jai swāmiji mahāraj ji ki jai!