Deus non alligatur. God is not bound. Nibbanam paramam sukham. Unbinding is the Highest Happiness. The Heart is Divinity. God is the primal radiance of Divinity. Nature is the primal manifestation of Divinity. The Buddha is the primal realization of Divinity. La ilaha il Allah. Allah is Complete Wholeness.

19 December 2006

Orient Yourself

Bhagavad Gita Commentary–Thirty-two–by Swami Nirmalananda Giri

The qualified student

During my first trip to India I met two Australians who told me they had come to India to seek out a “qualified guru.” I laughed and with my usual lack of tact asked: “Are you qualified disciples? Do you think a qualified guru would accept you?” They looked very “taken aback” and then admitted that it was not likely. But when I met them some months later they told me they had gotten initiation from every guru they met. “Just to make sure,” was their explanation. They had not gotten the idea.

But who is a qualified disciple? Krishna tells Arjuna: “That same ancient Yoga has been today taught to you by Me, for you are My devotee and friend; it is the supreme secret.”

Devotee and friend. Here we have the marvelous seeming-contradiction that is the jewel of Eastern religion (including Eastern Christianity): the ability to be simultaneously absolutely reverent toward and yet absolutely familiar with and “at home” with God. The awe, fear, and trepidation, so beloved to Western religion, past and present, simply do not come into it. Why? Because the “orientals” intuit their unity with God, while the “occidentals” feel utterly separated and alien from God. Consequently Western religion demands reconciliation and placation while Eastern religion simply calls us to unity, a unity that is essential and eternal. Westerners doubt their salvation, but Easterners know it is unnecessary. They may have forgotten their unity with the Divine, but they have never lost it. They do not find salvation, they recover it. The infinity of God and their finitude does not daunt them in the least. They rejoice in both as devotees and friends of God.

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