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.

30 September 2007

When God Appears

Allah's Call

"O angels, bring him back to me.
Since the eyes of his heart were set on Hope,
Without care for consequence I set him free,
And draw the pen through the record of his sins!"

A lover was once admitted to the presence of his mistress, but, instead of embracing her, he pulled out a paper of sonnets and read them to her, describing her perfections and charms and his own love toward her at length. His mistress said to him, "You are now in my presence, and these lovers' sighs and invocations are a waste of time. It is not the part of a true lover to waste his time in this way. It shows that I am not the real object of your affection, but that what you really love is your own effusions and ecstatic raptures. I see, as it were, the water which I have longed for before me, and yet you withhold it. I am, as it were, in Bulghara, and the object of your love is in Cathay. One who is really loved is the single object of her lover, the Alpha and Omega of his desires. As for you, you are wrapped up in your own amorous raptures, depending on the varying states of your own feelings, instead of being wrapped up in me."

Eternal Life is gained by utter abandonment of one's own life. When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him, and not so much as a hair of the lover remains. True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory the shadows vanish away. He is a true lover to God to whom God says, "I am thine, and thou art Mine!"

-- Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi (Rumi), born 30 September 1207 CE, exactly 800 years ago today (30 September 2007 CE)

28 September 2007

Toward Heaven

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said: "Abba, as much as I am able I practice a small rule, a little fasting, some prayer and meditation, and remain quiet, and as much as possible I keep my thought clean. What else should I do?" Then the old man stood up and stretched out his hands toward heaven, and his fingers became like ten torches of flame. And he said: "If you wish, you can become all flame."

26 September 2007

Before Your Fall

...With the Sign of the Cross, the old monk Abba
Joseph trapped in his cell a dark and miserable demon
who had come to tempt him. "Release me, Father, and let
me go," pleaded the demon, "I will not come to tempt you
again". "I will gladly do that, but on one condition,"
replied the monk. "You must sing for me the song that
you sang before God's Throne on high, before your fall."

The demon responded, "You know I cannot do that; it will
cause me cruel torture and suffering. And besides, Father,
no human ear can hear its ineffable sweetness and live,
for you will surely die." "Then you will have to remain
here in my cell," said the monk, "and bear with me the
full struggle of repentance." "Let me go, do not force me
to suffer," pleaded the demon." "Ah, but then you must
sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan."

So the dark and miserable demon, seeing that there was
no way out, began to sing, haltingly, barely audible
at first, groping for words long forgotten. As he sang,
the darkness which penetrated and surrounded him began
slowly to dissipate. The song grew ever louder and
increasingly stronger, and soon the demon was caught
up in its sweetness, his voice fully lifted up in worship
and praise. Boldly he sang of the power and the honour
and the glory of the Triune God on High, Creator of the
Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible
and invisible. As the song sung on high before all ages
resounded in the fullness of its might, a wondrous and
glorious light penetrated the venerable Abba's humble cell,
and the walls which had enclosed it were no more. Ineffable
love and joy surged into the very depths of the being
of the radiant and glorious angel, as he ever so gently
stooped down and covered with his wings the lifeless body
of the old hermit who had liberated him from the abyss of hell.

19 September 2007

Prophetic Vision

There lived a saint Syed Hasan Rasul-mema who was well-known as an adept in giving spiritual aspirants a vision of the Prophet Mohammed. His wife once requested him to give her, too, such a vision. The saint agreed and asked her to prepare herself by bathing and adorning herself with beautiful garments and jewellery as befitting a bridal occasion. The wife was delighted and busied herself accordingly.

In the meanwhile, her brother came to the house and the saint said to him: "Go and see what your sister is doing. Is it befitting her age that she occupies herself thus? I have become old now and indifferent to such enticements. Is she thinking of marrying again?"

The brother was shocked to find his sister in fact dressed like a bride and taunted her: "Are you in your proper senses? What is the meaning of making yourself up as a bride at your age? You must be surely mad. Or perhaps your husband is right and you are thinking of a second marriage."

The saint's wife crumpled up completely at being made to look such a fool, and in a fit of anger and intense disappointment, she shattered her bangles, tore her clothes and burst into uncontrollable tears and wails. After a time, she became exhausted and fell into sleep; and in that sleep she had a vision of the Prophet Mohammed.

She woke very cheerful and happy, and told her husband of the experience. But she asked him why he had treated her as he did. He replied: "You had pride in your heart. You never really believed that I was capable of giving to anyone a vision of the Prophet. In the situation I created, you were humiliated, and as soon as that occurred, the vision was granted. In the same way the aspirant never achieves the Goal as long as the ego is active within him in any form."

-- It So Happened: Stories from Days with Meher Baba, William Le Page, pp. 96-97

11 September 2007

Lord of the Meeting Rivers

Daughter of the Mountains

The demons lead by Taraka, rose from the netherworld and drove the devas, gods, out of the heavens. The gods sought a warrior who would help them regain the celestial realm.

“Only Shiva can father such a warrior,” informed Brahma.

But Shiva, immersed in meditation, was oblivious to the problems of the gods. As he performed tapas, meditations that produce great heat and energy, his mind was filled with great knowledge and his body became resplendent with energy. But all this knowledge and energy, bottled within his being, was of not use to anyone.

The gods invoked the mother-goddess, who appeared before them as Kundalini, a coiled serpent. “I will coil myself around Shiva, wean out his knowledge and energy for the good of the world and make him father a child,” said Shakti. Shakti took birth as Parvati, daughter of the Himavan, lord of the mountains, determined to draw Shiva out of his cave and make him her consort.

Everyday Parvati would visit Shiva’s cave, sweep the floor, decorate it with flowers and offer him fruits hoping to win his love.

But Shiva never opened his eyes to look upon her charming face. Exasperated, the goddess invoked Priti and Rati, goddess of love and longing, to rouse Shiva out of his mediation.

These goddesses entered Shiva desolate cave and transformed it into a pleasure garden filled with the fragrance of flowers and the buzzing of bees.

Guided by Priti and Rati, Kama, the lord of desire, raised his sugarcane bow and shot arrows dripping with desire into the heart of Shiva.

Shiva was not amused. He opened his third eye and released the flames of fury that engulfed Kama and reduced his beautiful body to ashes.

The death of Kama alarmed the gods. “Without the lord of desire man will not embrace woman and life will cease to be.”

“I shall find another way to conquer Shiva’s heart. When Shiva becomes my consort, Kama will be reborn,” said the daughter of the mountain, Parvati.

Parvati went into the forest and performed rigorous tapas, wearing nothing to protect her tender body form the harsh weather, eating nothing, not even a leaf, earning the admiration of forest ascetics who named her Aparna.

Aparna matched Shiva in her capacity to cut herself from the world and completely master her physical needs. The power of her tapas shook Shiva out of his mediation. He stepped out of his cave and accepted Parvati as his wife.

Shiva married Parvati in the presence of the gods following the sacred rites and took her to the highest peak of the cosmos, Mount Kailasa, the pivot of the universe. As the world revolved all around them the two became one and Kama was reborn.

Parvati melted Shiva’s stern heart with her affection. Together they played dice on Mount Kailas or sported on the banks of Lake Manasarovar, discovering the joys of married life.

The goddess awakened Shiva’s concern for the world by questioning him on various issues. As he spoke, he revealed the secrets of the Tantras and the Vedas that he had gathered in eons of mediation.

Inspired by her beauty, Shiva became the fountainhead of the arts, of dance and drama. He sang and danced to the delight of the gods who were pleased to see his enchantment with the goddess.

Parvati gave Shiva’s aura to the gods. “From this will rise the warlord you seek,” said the goddess.

The gods gave Shiva’s aura to Svaha, consort of Agni, the fire god. Unable to bear the heat of the auro and the god Agni for long, Svaha gave the aura to Ganga the river goddess who cooled it in her icy waters until Shiva’s aura turned into a seed.

Aranyani, the goddess of the forest, embedded the divine seed in the fertile forest floor where it was transformed into a robust child with six heads and twelve arms.

Six forest nymphs called the Krittikas found this magnificent child in a lotus. Over come by maternal affection they began nursing him. The six headed son of Shiva, born of many mothers, came to be known as Kartikeya.

Parvati taught Kartikeya the art of war and turned him into a the celestial warlord called Skanda.

Skanda took command of the celestial armies, defeated Taraka in battle and restored the heavens to the gods.

With Parvati by his side, Shiva became a family man. But he did not abandon his ways as a hermit: he continued to meditate and immerse himself in narcotic dreams. His carefree attitude, his refusal to shoulder household responsibilities sometimes angered Parvati. But then she would come to terms with his unconventional ways and make peace. The consequent marital bliss between Shakti and Shiva ensured harmony between Matter and Spirit and brought stability and peace to the cosmos.

Parvati thus became Ambika, goddess of the household, of marriage, motherhood and family.

Hello, where's the Living Buddha registration counter?

San Francisco, California (USA) -- A controversial 54 year old performance artist and American Buddhist yogi named Dennis Conkin will report to the Chinese Embassy in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, September 5 at 10 a.m. to comply with new Chinese regulations that require Living Buddhas of the Tibetan Buddhist religion to register with the Chinese government.

"I am aware of the new regulations, so I am reporting as required to the Embassy for instructions on how to proceed. I'm not sure if the Chinese government wants a dossier of my relevant past lives or whether I'm just supposed to show up. Maybe they'll have some spiritual experts already available at the Embassy to look at my past life aura or something," Conkin said. "Maybe they can clear up some confusion I have about a couple of recent incarnations. That would be so helpful to me. And much cheaper than going to Tibet."

"I'm encouraging everyone who possesses Buddha-nature to go to their nearest Chinese Embassy and register for recognition. Validation is so important to a healthy sense of self-esteem and well being," Conkin said

The new regulations were instituted by the Chinese government effective September 1, 2007 and are aimed at curbing the spiritual and political power of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and other Tibetan religious leaders , The regulations are also aimed at preventing the recognition of the next Dalai Lama by Tibetan religious leaders.

Conkin, a full time student at San Francisco City College, is sanguine about the prospect of being recognized as a holy incarnation by the Chinese government. He says he's had little success being recognized by authentic Tibetan Buddhist teachers as well.

"Well, so far the only recognition I've ever had is from the Universal Life Church who said that If I send them the required fee, they will send me a certificate that says I'm a Lama," Conkin said. "They haven't made one that says Living Buddha, yet." he said. "They should. It would be a best seller."

Reaction from Tibetan Buddhist Lamas has been mixed, Conkin says. "Some of them have gotten quite pissed off with me, others just crack up and laugh a lot. It's been a really great meditation about the nature of self-delusion and deception," he said.

Conkin says the Chinese government might consider a similar form of meditation.

"Whoever in the Chinese government cooked up this absurd plan to require TIbetan Buddhist tulkus or incarnate Lamas to seek their approval and registration might consider such a meditation," Conkin said "Or at least start watching their breath, they need to get a serious grip on reality."

Conkin is available for interview and comment at 415 756 1546

02 September 2007

Upset for the Ages

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Chances are, most of the 110,000 fans at the Big House had no idea exactly where Appalachian State is located.

By the time they saw a blocked field goal in final seconds, this much was certain: The little Mountaineers pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history.

Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32.

The team from Boone, N.C., took the lead with 26 seconds left when Julian Rauch kicked a 24-yard field goal. Corey Lynch blocked a 37-yard try on the final play, and the Mountaineers sealed a jaw-dropping upset that might have no equal.

"It was David versus Goliath," Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson said.