Q. A question was put about a quartet of Sri Ramacharitmanas and replied by Swamiji Maharaj purporting to point out that according to Sant Tulsidas, devotion to God is as easy and enjoyable as taking a morsel to the mouth and eating it. Food gives satisfaction and strength and removes hunger. So devotion to God gives contentment and confidence and removes attachment to the world. In the path of jnana, one has to renounce everything. In bhakti, a devotee can progress on the spiritual path without giving up attachment—but the attachment should be to God alone. Once you completely surrender to God, He looks after all your needs.
29 March 2007
26 March 2007
Vayu (air): to talk and teach
Agni (fire): to shine and fight
Prithvi (earth): to make and art
Apas (water): to serve and heal
Likewise, Yogas can be classified into four kinds:
Jnana: to discriminate absolute reality from relative reality
Raja: to meditate intensively, throwing down distraction
Karma: to perform action without fear of loss or gain
Bhakti: to contemplate the divine with love and devotion
Jnana Yoga utilizes attention (air). Raja Yoga utilizes the breath (fire). Karma Yoga uses the body (earth). Bhakti Yoga uses feeling (water).
One can practice any sort of occupation, while also engaged in any sort of Yoga. A Vayu-Karmi, for instance, might perform the actions of study and teaching, without concern for time lost or money gained; whereas an Apas-Rajan, might work as a healer who meditates 4 hours a day.
No occupation is better than any other. No Yoga is better than any other.
22 March 2007
Sutra 2: Maya is a power, not an entity.
Sutra 3: When the process ends, substance remains.
Sutra 4: When the power ends, entity remains.
Sutra 5: Befriend the process, the power; and liberate maya.
21 March 2007
Susie Q: OK, Billy Bob. So what else is new?
Billy Bob: Dontcha' see, Susie Q? We're thinking, and therefore, speaking and acting, in the wrong way. This whole process of wrong living, of wrong thinking, is called 'maya'. Whatever is wrong, must be immediately replaced with what is right!
Susie Q: Billy Bob, so what are you fixin' to do?
Billy Bob: Well, I'm gonna get me some right thinking under my cap. I'm gonna keep in my mind, the idea that maya is not really real, but is something we humans create. I'm gonna keep in my mind, the idea that maya is not really real, only God is really real. Maya is illusion and the source of further illusion. I'm gonna refuse to suffer the slings and arrows of maya, and take up arms against maya's unreality. I won't sleep until my work against the un-real, against illusion, against maya, is completed!
Susie Q: Good Lord, Billy Bob, you done gone off the deep end!
Billy Bob: Silence, woman! The only way to realize reality, is to defeat that which is not real. We're all wallowing in maya like a pig in mud on a hot summer's day!
Susie Q: Billy Bob, your son was harvesting the corn last week, right?
Billy Bob: Uhh...yeah?
Susie Q: And the week before that, he could barely walk home from the bar. Which of these two sons of yours, do you think, represents your son at his best?
Billy Bob: Well, when he was harvesting, he was working and making something of himself, and also helping out with the chores. When he was drunk, he nearly got himself clobbered by a tree. So, I reckon, he was at his best when he was working.
Susie Q: And how did he go from being drunk, to working on the farm, all diligent and all?
Billy Bob: Let me figure here. I took him in, fed him, got his papers in order, signed him up for AA, and took care of his debts. He owes me about $20,000 by now.
Susie Q: So you cared for him, and loved him, and he was able to go from drunk to gung-ho harvester.
Billy Bob: So what's your point, Susie Q?
Susie Q: My point is quite elementary, Billy Bob. You can't fight against maya, illusion, unreality, as if it were some dragon you fixin' to slay. You have to look at maya with soft eyes, willing to go into the trenches with unreality, ready to become bosom buddies with illusion. Love the car, which apparently is different from God; revel in the tree, which apparently is different from God. Only by fully accepting maya, and renouncing the desire to destroy or even change, maya, can you allow maya to fulfill its purpose. Aim your arrows of love towards maya, rather than scheming for maya's dissolution. Love maya! And then see if maya can resist your love.
19 March 2007
Once a rakshasa (demon) came to a king’s court with three skulls and threatened to eat the king unless he could correctly point out which was the best skull out of the three. The king asked three days’ time, and the demon agreed. Then the king asked his court pundits as to which of them was the best. None could say anything since all the three resembled outwardly all alike.
One intelligent pundit came and passed a rod through one ear of the first skull, and the rod went straight through the other ear.
Then he made the rod pass through the second skull. In this case, the rod, inserted through one ear, came out of the mouth.
Then the rod was made to pass through the third skull. When inserted through one ear, the rod went right into the chest.
The court-pundit remarked that the third skull was the best.
-- Sri Swami Chidananda
11 March 2007
-- Digha Nikaya 16: Maha-parinibbana Sutta
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
-- Philippians 2:12
The Devi Mahatmyam, also known as The Chandi Path, communicates the destruction of the demons of the Great Ego, at the hands of Sri Durgaa, the Divine Mother. Below are the meanings of the Sanskrit names of those demons:
Madhu: Too Much
Kait.abha: Too Little
Ciks.ura: Devoid of Clear Understanding
Mahaahanuh.: Great Deceiver
Asilomaa: Want of Resolution
Parivaarita: Wandering To and Fro
Ugraa: Violent Temper
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
In Sonic Theology, "Abba" sonically resonates with the Sanskrit word "Aabhaa". "Aabhaa" includes meanings such as (1) splendor, light; (2) a flash of light; and (3) beauty, color, appearance. It also means (4) a reflected image; and (5) likeness, resemblance. Definitions #4 and #5 might be relevant for an interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis, where the Beloved creates humanity in His "image" and "likeness". Definitions #1-#3, though, directly related to the Beloved alone, rather than to the Beloved in relationship to humanity. The Beloved is Bright, Shining, and Beauty-Full. The Sanskrit "aabhaa" is also a feminine noun, indicative of the Beloved of the Beloved.
Thus, Jesus, when praying to Abba, the Father, included the Masculine, as well as the Feminine, aspects of Divinity.
07 March 2007
06 March 2007
Filmmakers from Bresson to Tarkovsky to Malick to the Dardenne brothers have sought creative freedom in formal austerity, assiduously stripping away the superfluous and superficial to create space for the essential, the transcendent. Into Great Silence is both a work in a kindred spirit, and an immersion in a divesting of inessentials, not merely as a creative discipline or aesthetic philosophy, but as a total commitment, a way of life, a world unto itself.
03 March 2007
-- Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, Vol. III, Section I, Chapter IV