Thursday, September 20, 2018

Ramana Maharshi - On Silence




Question: How can silence be so powerful?

Ramana: A realised one sends out waves of spiritual influence, which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. We may listen to lectures upon truth and come away with hardly any grasp of the subject, but to come into contact with a realised one, though he speaks nothing, will give much more grasp of the subject. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as instruments.

The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveals the light of Self-knowledge that shines as the residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever 
if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple.

Question: Why does not Bhagavan go about and preach the Truth to the people at large?

Ramana: How do you know I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge; it can really be done in silence only. What do you think of a man who listens to a sermon for an hour and goes away without having been impressed by it so as to change his life? Compare him with another, who sits in a holy presence and goes away after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is the better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force?

Again, how does speech arise? First there is abstract knowledge. Out of this arises the ego, which in turn gives rise to thought, and thought to the spoken word. So the word is the great grandson of the original source. If the word can produce an effect, judge for yourself how much more powerful must be the preaching through silence.

Question: Does Bhagavan give initiation [diksha]?

Ramana: Silence is the best and the most potent initiation. That was practised by Sri Dakshinamurti. Initiation by touch, look, etc., are all of a lower order. Silent initiation changes the hearts of all.

Dakshinamurti observed silence when the disciples approached him. That is the highest form of initiation. It includes the other forms. There must be subject-object relationship established in the other diksha. First the subject must emanate and then the object. Unless these two are there how is the one to look at the other or touch him? Silent initiation is the most perfect; it comprises looking, touching. It will purify the individual in every way and establish him in the Reality.

Questioner: Swami Vivekananda says that a spiritual Guru 
can transfer spirituality substantially to the disciple.

Ramana: Is there a substance to be transferred? Transfer means eradication of the sense of being the disciple. The master does it. Not that the man was something at one time and metamorphosed later into another.

Question: Is not Grace the gift of the Guru?

Ramana: God, Grace and Guru are all synonymous and also Eternal and immanent. Is not the Self already within? Is it for the Guru to bestow it by his look? If a Guru thinks so, he does not deserve the name.

The books say that there are so many kinds of initiations: initiation by hand, by touch, by eye, etc. They also say that the Guru makes some rites with fire, water, japa or mantra and calls such fantastic performances initiation, as if the disciple becomes ripe 
only after such processes are gone through by the Guru.

If the individual is sought he is nowhere to be found. Such is the Guru. Such is Dakshinamurti. What did he do? He was silent when the disciples appeared before him. He maintained silence and the doubts of the disciples were dispelled, which means that they lost their individual identities. That is true knowledge [jnana] and not all the verbiage usually associated with it.

Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and emphatic the scriptures may be they fail in their effect. The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. These questions arise because of the feeling that, having been here so long, heard so much, exerted so hard, one has not gained anything. The work proceeding within is not apparent. In fact, the Guru is always within you.

Question: Can the Guru's silence really bring about advanced states of spiritual awareness?

Ramana: There is an old story, which demonstrates the power of the Guru's silence. Tattvaraya composed a bharani, a kind of poetic composition in Tamil, in honour of his Guru Swarupananda, and convened an assembly of learned scholars [pundits] to hear the work and assess its value. The pundits raised the objection that a bharani was only composed in honour of great heroes capable of killing a thousand elephants in battle and that it was not in order 
to compose such a work in honour of an ascetic.

Thereupon the author said, "Let us all go to my Guru and we shall have this matter settled there."

They went to the Guru and, after they had all taken their seats, the author told his Guru the purpose of their visit. The Guru sat silent and all the others also remained in silence. The whole day passed, the night came, and some more days and nights, and yet all sat there silently, no thought at all occurring to any of them and nobody thinking or asking why they had come there. After three or four days like this, the Guru moved his mind a bit, and the people assembled immediately regained their thought activity. They then declared, "Conquering a thousand elephants is nothing beside this Guru's power to conquer the rutting elephants of all our egos put together. 
So certainly he deserves the bharani in his honour!"

Question: How does this silent power work?

Ramana: Language is only a medium for communicating one's thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise. Other thoughts arise after the "I"-thought rises and so the "I"-thought is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.

Silence is ever speaking. It is a perennial flow of language, which is interrupted by speaking. These words I am speaking obstruct that mute language. For example, there is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the Eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.

What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known instantly in silence, or in front of silence. Dakshinamurti and his four disciples are a good example of this. This is the highest and most effective language.

Questioner: Bhagavan says, "The influence of the Self-realised being [jnani] steals into the devotee in silence." Bhagavan also says, "Contact with great men [mahatmas] is one efficacious means of realising one's true being."

Ramana: Yes. What is the contradiction? Do you differentiate between a jnani and great men?

Questioner: No

Ramana: Contact with them is good. They will work through silence. By speaking their power is reduced. Silence is most powerful. Speech is always less powerful than silence, so mental contact is the best.

Question: Does this hold good even after the dissolution of the physical body of the jnani or is it true only so long as he is in flesh and blood?

Ramana: Guru is not the physical form. So the contact will remain even after the physical form of the Guru vanishes. One can go to another Guru after one's Guru passes away, but all Gurus are one and none of them is the form, you see. Always mental contact is the best.

Question: Is the operation of Grace the mind of the Guru acting on the mind of the disciple or is it a different process?

Ramana: The highest form of Grace is silence. It is also the highest teaching.

Questioner: Vivekananda has also said that silence is the loudest form of prayer.

Ramana: It is so for the seeker's silence. The Guru's silence is the loudest teaching. It is also Grace in its highest form. All other instructions are derived from the mind and are therefore secondary. Silence is the primary form. If the Guru is silent, the seeker's mind gets purified by itself in the Guru's presence.

Questioner: Sri Bhagavan's silence is itself a powerful force. 
It brings about a certain peace of mind in us.

Ramana: Silence is never-ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. The silence of Dakshinamurti removed the doubts of the four sages. Mouna Vyakhya Prakatita Tattvam means the Truth expounded by silence. Silence is said to be exposition. Silence is so potent.

For vocal speech, organs of speech are necessary and they precede speech. But the other speech lies even beyond thought. It is in short transcendent speech or unspoken words [paravak].

Question: Can everyone benefit from this silence?

Ramana: Silence is the true teaching. It is the perfect instruction suited only for the most advanced seeker. The others are unable to draw full inspiration from it. Therefore they require words to explain the Truth. But Truth is beyond words. It does not admit of explanation. All that it is possible to do is to indicate it.

Questioner: It is said that one look of a mahatma is enough, that idols, pilgrimages, etc., are not so effective. I have been here for three months, but I do not know how I have been benefited by the look of Maharshi.

Ramana: The look has a purifying effect. Purification cannot be visualised. Just as a piece of coal takes a long time to be ignited, a piece of charcoal takes a shorter time, and a mass of gunpowder is instantaneously ignited, so it is with grades of men coming into contact with mahatmas. The fire of wisdom consumes all actions. Wisdom is acquired by association with the wise [satsanga] or rather its mental atmosphere.

Question: Can the Guru's silence bring about realisation if the disciple makes no effort?

Ramana: In the proximity of a great master, the subtle impressions that lead to desires [vasanas] cease to be active, the mind becomes still and absorption in the Self [samadhi] results. Thus the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the master. To remain unshaken in it further efforts are necessary. Eventually the disciple will know it to be his real being and will thus be liberated even while alive.

Question: If the search has to be made within, is it necessary 
to be in the physical proximity of the master?

Ramana: It is necessary to be so until all doubts are at an end.

Questioner: I am not able to concentrate by myself. I am in search of a force to help me.

Ramana: Yes, that is called Grace. Individually we are incapable because the mind is weak. Grace is necessary. Serving a sadhu or a mendicant will bring it about. There is however nothing new to get. Just as a weak man comes under the control of a stronger one, the weak mind of a man comes under control easily in the presence of strong minded sadhus. That which is only Grace; 
there is nothing else.

Question: Is it necessary to serve the Guru physically?

Ramana: The scriptures say that one must serve a Guru for twelve years in order to attain Self-realisation. What does the Guru do? Does he hand it over to the disciple? Is not the Self always realised? What does the common belief mean then? Man is always the Self and yet he does not know it. Instead he confounds it with the non-Self, the body, etc. Such confusion is due to ignorance. If ignorance is wiped out the confusion will cease to exist and the true knowledge will be unfolded. By remaining in contact with realised sages the man gradually loses the ignorance until its removal is complete. The Eternal Self is thus revealed.

Question: You say that association with the wise and service of them is required of the disciple.

Ramana: Yes, the first really means association with the unmanifest Truth [Sat] or Absolute existence, but as very few can do that, they have to take second best which is association with the manifest Truth, that is, the Guru. Association with sages should be made because thoughts are so persistent. The sage has already overcome the mind and remains in peace. Being in his proximity helps to bring about this condition in others, otherwise there is no meaning in seeking his company. The Guru provides the needed strength for this, unseen by others.

Service is primarily to abide in the Self, but it also includes making the Guru's body comfortable and looking after his place of abode. Contact with the Guru is also necessary, but this means spiritual contact. If the disciple finds the Guru internally, then it does not matter where he goes. Staying here or elsewhere must be understood to be the same and to have the same effect.

Question: My profession requires me to stay near my place of work. I cannot remain in the vicinity of sadhus. Can I have realisation even in the absence of satsanga?

Ramana: Sat is Aham Pratyaya Saram, the Self of selves. The sadhu is that Self of selves. He is immanent in all. Can anyone remain without the Self? No. So no one is away from satsanga.

Question: Is proximity to the Guru helpful?

Ramana: Do you mean physical proximity? What is the good of it? The mind alone matters. The mind must be contacted. Satsanga will make the mind sink into the Heart.

Such associations both mental and physical. The extremely visible being of the Guru pushes the mind inward. He is also in the Heart of the seeker and so draws the latter's inward-bent mind into the Heart.

Questioner: All that I want to know is whether satsanga is necessary 
and whether my coming here will help me or not.

Ramana: First you must decide what is satsanga. It means association with Sat or Reality. One who knows or has realised Sat is also regarded as Sat. Such association with Sat or with one who knows Sat is absolutely necessary for all. Shankara has said that in all the three worlds there is no boat like satsanga to carry one safely across the ocean of births and deaths.

Satsanga means association [sanga] with Sat. Sat is only the Self. Since the Self is not now understood to be Sat, the company of the sage who has thus understood it is sought. That is satsanga. Introversion results. Then Sat is revealed.



 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Clare Blanchflower - Mirror of Perfection



I promise you nothing
For I have nothing to give
Nothing to prove
And nothing to be
No thing here
Just a report
From the emptiness of nothing
The expansive land of everything
This quaint country
Called human existence
Expressing now
Here
I can teach you nothing
I have nothing to teach
These words are a whisper
The breath of silence
Touching you
Truth awakening it’s own essence
In you
Stirring the seeds
Grace planted
Eons ago
Pay no attention to the words
Feel the essence that is woven
Between and beyond
These words
That cannot really begin to describe
The wordless wonder
But point inexorably to
The experience
Of this
This
Words that spark aliveness
Shooting arrows of truth’s fire
Igniting the driest wood
And warming that which is damp
Every spark
Beaming rays of golden knowing
Magnetising Self’s perfection
To collect the rest of itself
Home
Home to
Wholeness itSelf
To the field
Where all things reside
As beauty
Reflected by nothing
Pure perception
Of a world emanating truth
The appearance of love
Crafted from the presence of holy knowing
Where nothing happens
Yet everything is happening
To no one
What sublime hilarity
A divine paradox
This life unfolding
In the light
Of grace
Luminously available
To all who
Truly
Long to see
Their own Breath
In the mirror
Of perfection



 

U.G.Krishnamurti - The mystique of enlightenment



“We are all living in a ‘thought sphere’. Your thoughts are not your own; they belong to everybody. There are only thoughts, but you create a counter-thought, the thinker, with which you read every thought. Your effort to control life has created a secondary movement of thought within you, which you call the ‘I’. This movement of thought within you is parallel to the movement of life, but isolated from it; it can never touch life. You are a living creature, yet you lead your entire life within the realm of this isolated, parallel movement of thought. You cut yourself off from life — that is something very unnatural.

 The natural state is not a ‘thoughtless state’ — that is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated for thousands of years on poor, helpless Hindus. You will never be without thought until the body is a corpse, a very dead corpse. Being able to think is necessary to survive. But in this state thought stops choking you; it falls into its natural rhythm. There is no longer a ‘you’ who reads the thoughts and thinks that they are ‘his’.

 Have you ever looked at that parallel movement of thought? The books on English grammar will tell you that ‘I’ is a first person singular pronoun, subjective case; but that is not what you want to know. Can you look at that thing you call ‘I’? It is very elusive. Look at it now, feel it, touch it, and tell me. How do you look at it? And what is the thing that is looking at what you call ‘I’? This is the crux of the whole problem: the one that is looking at what you call ‘I’ is the ‘I’. It is creating an illusory division of itself into subject and object, and through this division it is continuing. This is the divisive nature that is operating in you, in your consciousness. Continuity of its existence is all that interests it. As long as you want to understand that ‘you’ or to change that ‘you’ into something spiritual, into something holy, beautiful or marvelous, that ‘you’ will continue. If you do not want to do anything about it, it is not there, it’s gone.

 How do you understand this? I have for all practical purposes made a statement: “What you are looking at is not different from the one who is looking.” What do you do with a statement like this? What instrument do you have at your disposal for understanding a meaningless, illogical, irrational statement? You begin to think. Through thinking, you cannot understand a thing. You are translating what I am saying, in terms of the knowledge you already have, just as you translate everything else, because you want to get something out of it. When you stop doing that, what is there is what I am describing. The absence of what you are doing — trying to understand, or trying to change yourself — is the state of being that I am describing.” 



Monday, September 17, 2018

The most sacred and simple mystery of all




. . . Reach out beyond knowing
and embrace oneness.
Healing as you go, breathe the
living word restoring creation.
Share the spiritual fire and let the
mystic light of God fill you
to overflowing.

Ultimately there is only one truth,
one pure blessed reality:
That the powers of love will pervade
and overcome all things.
We will rest in utter completion
of wonder.

We are not alone, but we are within
the same mystical unfolding.
Happy are we only in as far as
kindness and vision live within,
shining outward.

Words are shadows; acts are born
of real caring and loving.
A truth in stillness do we share
in the moments beyond time,
fleeting touches of an ultimate
total embrace.

Within these things lies the most
sacred and simple mystery of all:
We are loved, utterly
and completely.

 ॐ

 – Excerpted from a 5,000-year old Sanskrit poem
translated by Michael Meehan, SJ and published in
Mysticism and the New Age: Christic Consciousness in the New Creation
by George A. Maloney, SJ (Alba House, 1991)




Sunday, September 16, 2018

Rumi ♡ So drunk...


 

It is the rule with drunkards to fall upon each other,
to quarrel, become violent, and make a scene.
The lover is even worse than a drunkard.
I will tell you what love is: to enter a mine of gold.
And what is that gold?
The lover is a king above all kings,
unafraid of death, not at all interested in a golden crown.
The dervish has a pearl concealed under his patched cloak.
Why should he go begging door to door?
Last night that moon came along,
drunk, dropping clothes in the street.
"Get up," I told my heart, "Give the soul a glass of wine.
The moment has come to join the nightingale in the garden,
to taste sugar with the soul-parrot."

I have fallen, with my heart shattered -
where else but on your path? And I
broke your bowl, drunk, my idol, so drunk,
don't let me be harmed, take my hand.

A new rule, a new law has been born:
break all the glasses and fall toward the glassblower.



Fred LaMotte - I'll make sure you get home



The art of sipping this wine
is a subtle discipline:
the rule is only
one glass at a time.
Each breath is enough
to inebriate both
body and soul.
Was it your heart or mine
that was a cup
for the other's lips?
Was I the host
and you the guest,
or vice versa?
And who pays the bill?
The secret is,
we don't have to settle.
The tip is incalculable
anyway.
O God, we go reeling
out of this tavern.
Here's my shoulder,
give me your arm.
My devotion to your path
will keep us both
from stumbling.
And here's my chest,
with its broken gate
wide open.
I'll make sure you get home. 



 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bob O'Hearn - A little joke



We are usually much too busy to recognize it, but prior to our engaging adventures in consciousness – that ever-changing theater of desire, knowledge, and experience — there is only awareness, the same state in which we now exist.

Somehow, in the scheme of things, a kaleidoscopic realm of time and space miraculously appears. It’s a wild, whirling world of endlessly modifying phenomena, in the midst of which I find myself just sitting, or just standing — localized in any case as the immediate matrix of attention.

Just as in deep sleep, there is no actual “myself”, no awareness of a person, until a thought manages to dredge itself up from the back lot of oblivion and create the sense or facsimile of a subject. That subject wasn’t there previously, and yet here it is now — here “I” am.

Upon inspection, we can recognize that subjective sense for what it is — a mental construct, a fabrication created out of thin air, like a rabbit pulled from a magician’s hat. Nevertheless, our habitual assumption is to take it as our personal identity, because that is how habits work — they are simply the mind’s default position in the midst of this infinite mystery. However, when we turn our attention back to the mind itself, there is nothing there that we can grasp – no mind, no thing at all. There is definitely something humorous about that – a kind of little joke — though few are those who get the punch line.

Well and good, but beyond our contrived individual self-sense, what about the “Absolute”, one might ask. Upon some investigation, what we can notice is that humans play feed-back loops of their own mental accumulations and somehow sort out from that vast collection of sense impression files and filtered memory programs one particular fantasy of interpretation on perception which they subjectively determine constitutes the “Absolute”, “God”, the “Self”, etc..

Subsequently, they are prone to indulge their imagination with that mentally fabricated construct until another more appealing fantasy of interpretation is formulated, based on a new set of sense impressions and filtered programs arising as perception and designated as “Transcendental”.

Because the mind cannot grasp itself, it is claimed that this so-called “Absolute” cannot be known, and that is true to the extent that it has never been other than the mind itself, in the same way that the eye cannot see itself except as a reflection. For an auditory reference, the “Absolute” is the sound of one hand clapping.

Just so, when we awaken from sleep in the morning, for a moment there is only pure awareness. Then we get busy again, weaving and superimposing an increasingly complex story line on the bare bones of existence. It’s an extended narrative centered around this fictional character with whom we are habitually identified, merely by the nature of our seeming appearance in space time, which is actually a compounded mental event too, and a humorous one at that.

Now, when there is just sitting, or just standing still, there is no history of a person, no anticipation of some future for a person, no sense of a person present here, nor regrets for past indiscretions perpetrated by any such person. There are no time calculations or projections, no creation or destruction, no wanting or avoiding, nor any Absolute to be known, felt, worshiped, or denied. None of that arises to confirm a personal identity which is subject to any of it. It is not happy or sad, nor can any quality or emotional flavor be pinned on it, since it is all transparent, like empty sky.

I love the sky, I truly do, and because it is so empty I can disappear in it, as if I never was, as if none of this ever happened, as if nothing ever happens at all. Maybe suffering means to linger on, and not disappear. How dreadful! In any case, what is there to even disappear? Nothing can actually come or go, except as a kind of cloud, a cloud of moisture’s imagination. Really, there is just the vastness of sky, stretching infinitely in all directions, and yet, we all love the first signs of rain. Just so, when we hear the phrase, “Once upon a time . . .” we anticipate a good story will follow.

Beyond all stories of rain or shine, there is awareness, but it is not self-conscious. There is no “I am the sky” or “Here comes the sun.” It is all just standing still, as the sky, as aware space, as clear light that does not even think of itself as light. It does not reflect back on itself, and so there is no “itself”, any more than there is “myself”. It is not bliss, it is not anything with a name. Some say emptiness, but it is empty of emptiness too.

Why? Because, paradoxically, it is filled with everything, everything is here. It never goes away. Things seem to come and go to the mind entangled in a duality of subject and objects, but that is only the play of consciousness, which is a kind of miracle too: that there is anything at all, rather than nothing whatsoever.

Yes, it is like a little joke, a quiet and relaxed bit of lighthearted humor that is barely noticed at all, and only mentioned because it is a good reason not to take anything seriously, especially the character called “myself”, the one sitting or standing still and just staring out into itself.

Maybe there is a slight hint of a smile, because that is all there is, this nameless mystery filled with everyone and everything — all just fervently going about the humorous business of characters juggling props in a dream theater of itself, the totality of the universal existence, both manifest and unmanifest, absolute and relative, and so forth and so on, right up to the end of this run-on sentence.

Just so, we may be both asleep and awake simultaneously, though we tend to imagine that we are this or that exclusively, based on ideas that have no real source anywhere but in our own mind. Perhaps it might seem as if others appeared who implanted programs and filters that conditioned our perception along the way. However, even that illusion has been part of the play, the convincing drama of self and others and all the stuff they get up to — tears and laughter, and sometimes just sitting or standing, like imagined characters in a dream.

We love our dream characters, because creators love their productions, and thus time enters the picture, just so that all these various interdependent stories can unfold at their perfect pace, allowing for ingenious subplots to modify consciousness and reveal the endless nature of experience as it expands, smoke-like, to infinity.

Then, once upon a time, a temple bell in primordial space reverberates at the break of dawn, and we immediately forget everything all over again. This too is part of the little joke, barely noticed in the scheme of things, the source of that smile on the Buddha’s face, 
the unfathomable gift of an amazing grace.



HERE 

 

Bob O'Hearn - The Joy of Failure





At the spiritual game I’m frankly a failure
(to sum this adventure up succinctly).

Here’s the trick: fail completely!

Be a fool, a ridiculous lout –
don’t hold back, honk your snout!

With this gorgeous moon sashaying about,
why burden your face with a heavy pout?

Feel the relief when hope falls apart,
let that arrow pierce your heart.

Give up the struggle, relax, get lazy.


If you still depend on the favor of gods,
notice the gods themselves are often crazy.

The more that’s learned the more forgotten,
till we can’t tell the ripe from rotten.


Trying to see the one who’s seeing?



First become a human being.

If you fix your gaze on the sun you’ll go blind –
blink your eyes, show me your mind.

Wherever you roam, whatever you find,
to all you meet, at least be kind.