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.

25 August 2008

The Road of the Heart

"Some of the God-fire in your heart must have rubbed off on your letter I received last evening. I read it to Baba and the look on His face was very deep. His message for you is that you are very fortunate to experience this Love and that you should, "Plunge in, unafraid."

It immediately brought to my mind something Baba told us one evening just before the accident and made us repeat it a few times. It is the lines of an Urdu couplet by a mystic poet: "Understand well this Love is no joke; it is an Ocean of Fire in which you have to plunge deep and drown yourself."

The road of the mind is narrow, and for a dnyani (seeker) it is a long journey. The road of the heart, however, has no limits and it's the most direct to God. For the dnyani there are a thousand questions to all of which the bhakti (lover) has one answer — and it is all-sufficient and satisfying."

-- Mani Irani

22 August 2008

Thus Man Becomes God

One can find volumes and volumes of prose and poetry about love, but there are very, very few persons who have found love and experienced it. No amount of reading, listening and learning can ever tell you what love is. Regardless of how much I explain love to you, you will understand it less and less if you think you can grasp it through the intellect or imagination.

Hafiz describes the bare truth about love when he says:

Janab-e ishqra dargah basi bala tar-azaq'l ast: Kasi in astan busad kay jan der astin darad.

The majesty of love lies far beyond the reach of intellect;
only one who has his life up his sleeve dares kiss the threshold of love.

The difference between love and intellect is something like that between night and day; they exist in relation to one another and yet as two different things. Love is real intelligence capable of realizing truth; intellect is best suited to know all about duality, which is born of ignorance and is entirely ignorance. When the sun rises, night is transformed into day. Just so, when love manifests, not-knowing (ignorance) is turned into conscious-knowing (knowledge).

In spite of the difference between a keenly intelligent person and a very unintelligent person, each is equally capable of experiencing love. The quality which determines one's capacity for love is not one's wit or wisdom, but one's readiness to lay down life itself for the beloved, and yet remain alive. One must, so to speak, slough off body, energy, mind and all else, and become dust under the feet of the beloved. This dust of a lover who cannot remain alive without God — just as an ordinary man cannot live without breath — is then transformed into the beloved. Thus man becomes God.

-- Meher Baba

So be it. Svaha!

21 August 2008

External Conformity and Spiritual Emancipation

The Two Levels of Christian Life:
1. External Conformity: "[The] stage of external conformity to religious injunctions or traditions is known as the pursuit of Shariat or Karma-Kanda. It covers actions like the offering of daily prayers, visiting of holy places, performance of duties prescribed by scriptures and observance of well established rules of the ethical codes generally accepted by the moral consciousness of the times. The stage of external conformity is useful in its own way as a spiritual discipline; but it is by no means free from evil effects, for it not only tends to make a man dry, rigid and mechanical, but it often nourishes some kind of subtle egotism....

Even at the stage of Shariat or Karma-Kanda allegiance to religions is not infrequently a source of inspiration for many selfless and noble acts for, while these dogmas or creeds are blindly accepted, they are often held with a fervour and enthusiasm which supply a dynamic element to the ideology which has been accepted by the person for the moment. Dogmas and creeds, as compared with barren views and doctrines, have the distinct advantage of being embraced not only by the intellect but also by the heart. They cover and affect a wider part of personality than purely theoretical opinions.

Dogmas and creeds generally, however, are as much a source of evil as of good, because in them the guiding vision is clouded owing to degeneration or suspension of critical thinking. If allegiance to creeds and dogmas has sometimes done good to the individual or to the community to which he belongs, it has more often done harm. Though the mind and heart are involved in allegiance to dogmas and creeds, both function in such case under the serious handicap of suspension of thought. Hence dogmas and creeds do not contribute to unmixed good."

2. Spiritual Emancipation: "The soul often spends several lives in gathering the lessons of external conformity; but there always comes a time when it tires of external conformity and becomes more interested in the realities of the inner life. When the worldly man takes to this higher kind of search he might be said to have become an aspirant. Like the insect which passes on through metamorphosis to the next stage of existence, the soul transcends the phase of external conformity (i.e., Shariat or Karma-Kanda) and enters upon the path of spiritual emancipation (i.e., Tarikat or Moksha-Marga). In this higher phase the soul is no longer satisfied by external conformity with certain rules, but wants to acquire those qualifications which would make its inner life spiritually beautiful....

The rise from Shariat or Karma-Kanda to Tarikat or Moksha-Marga is not to be interpreted therefore as being merely a departure from external conformity. It is not a change from conventionality to idiosyncrasy, from the usual to the unusual, but it is a change from a life of thoughtless acceptance of established traditions, to a mode of being which is based upon thoughtful appreciation of the difference between the important and the unimportant. It is a change from a state of implicit ignorance to a state of critical thoughtfulness. At the stage of mere external conformity the spiritual ignorance of man is often so complete that he does not even realise that he is ignorant. But when the person is being awakened and enters the Path he begins by realising the need for true light. In the initial stages the effort to attain this light takes the form of intellectual discrimination between the lasting and the transitory, the true and the false, the real and the unreal, the important and the unimportant....

When a person gives up uncritically accepted dogmas and creeds in favour of views and doctrines to which he has devoted thought, there is a certain amount of advance insofar as his mind has now begun to think and critically examine its beliefs. Very often, however, the newly held beliefs are seen to lack the fervour and enthusiasm which characterised allegiance to dogmas and creeds. If these newly held beliefs lack motive power, they belong only to the superficial aspect of life and they hang loosely upon the person like an overcoat. The mind has been emancipated from the domination of uncultured emotion, but this is often achieved by sacrificing the co-operation of the heart. If the results of critical thought are to be spiritually fruitful, they must again invade and recapture the heart so as to enlist its co-operative functioning.

In other words, the ideas which have been accepted after critical examination must again be released into active life if they are to yield their full benefit. In the process of practical life they often undergo a healthy transformation and become more soundly interwoven with the very fabric of life.

The transition from external conformity (i.e., Shariat or Karma-Kanda) to the life of inner realities (i.e., Tarikat or Moksha-Marga) involves two steps: (i) freeing the mind from the inertia of uncritical acceptance based upon blind imitation and stirring it to critical thinking, and (ii) bringing the results of critical and discriminative thinking into practical life. In order to be spiritually fruitful, thinking must be not only critical but creative
. Critical and creative thinking leads to spiritual preparation by cultivating those qualities which contribute towards the perfection and balancing of the mind and the heart and the release of unfettered divine life."

19 August 2008

The Nature of Mind

Mind is Nature.

The cultivation of mind is the cultivation of nature.

Nature is Mind.

The love of nature is the love of mind.

Mind and Nature: two sides of the same reality.

Psychology is Cosmology.

Buddha: The purification of mind is the purification of nature.

Christ: The creation of nature is the creation of the mind.

Buddha: To unbound mind is to unbound nature.

Christ: To save nature is to save the mind.

Buddha: To act with wisdom and compassion is to act intelligently with the mind and gently with nature.

Christ: To love God and others is to love the mind and nature.

Mind is Nature. Nature is Mind.

Psychology is Cosmology.

16 August 2008

Only a Little While

"My husband, Jeff, and I (Arlene) had heard of Baba from different people in 1975 before we met each other. I was very fascinated when I first heard about Him and purchased God Speaks: The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose by Meher Baba.

In 1980 my husband and I started talking about Baba and contacted Kitty Davy at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach to order some books. When the box of books came, The Perfect Master, a biography of Meher Baba, was at the top of the box, face up. As soon as Jeff got the box opened for me, I saw Baba's picture on the cover and experienced His beautiful love. Remembering was so sweet, I cried and cried. After a while I could talk and said to Jeff, "I remember, I remember."

I called my twin sister Eileen and told her I had something to show her. She came over right away and when I handed her the book she too said, "I remember knowing Him." Now a flood of thoughts came pouring in. The memory of the summer of 1937; little seven year old twin sisters standing in their play house; the first visit from their beautiful play companion.

As Eileen recalls, "Our friend was sitting across the room in His white robe and sandals, looking radiant and happy. Our little hearts jumped with joy. And we said, 'You will play with us now, you will play with us now.' He nodded His head, smiled happily and put His arms out to welcome us. We ran to Him, to receive His warm embrace. It felt like we were melting into Him.

"Such wonderful visits we remember, like the time we put our mother's big hats on His head. And with each hat we put on, He would make a funny face.

"We remember how much He loved to look in our play purses and always seemed surprised at what He found. How we laughed together. Our most cherished remembrance was serving tea."

Reminiscing about the days we had tea with Baba is always special, Baba sitting and looking so sweet with saucer and tea cup in His beautiful hands. A feeling of something very special seemed to come over us. As we lifted our cups to our lips, Baba's eyes seemed to water and shine with a flow that made our little hearts seem to know He was saying, "I love you, my little ones."

On one visit, Baba put His hands out, palms up, and we knew to put our hands in His. He closed His hands over ours and held our hands in His as He drew us over to Himself. We stood looking into His beautiful face for a long time it seems, enjoying every minute.

He showed us a mischievous side of Himself. We would play a game of slipping our fingers into His. He would pretend He couldn't catch them. Then, just as we thought we were winning, He would close His fingers and catch us every time. How that made us laugh with excitement.

We played hide and seek with Baba. We would put scarves over our heads and He would pull them off, one by one. The expression of joy that would come over His face as he found us hiding under the last one — words cannot describe His beautiful face.

Eileen remembers with delight, "We enjoyed playing that we were actresses on stage. We asked our mother if she would help us fix up a stage setting. She drew a rope across our summer kitchen (that's a small room off the main kitchen). That is where Baba always appeared to us. She hung old drapes over the rope and we took many an extra curtain call there for our playmate, Baba.

"When we came into the summer kitchen one summer morning to play actresses, we saw Baba sitting on the stage. He looked very natural sitting there. As we performed our tap dance and singing and a little play, He would clap and clap. He made us feel so happy and uninhibited. He always made us feel we were pleasing Him. He never spoke but we never noticed or were affected by His silence. His love was so full and everything we did was so pleasing to Him that we only wanted to do more and more. We were never embarrassed even though we were very shy.

"There was one thing He would never let us do and that was touch His feet. He insisted on obedience but he was so loving with it. We never questioned Him, never thought of doing so.

"The last time he appeared to us, He was standing and He said, 'You have seen me for a little while and in a little while I will come again and you will know me. Now I must go and you will not remember these times.' Then his body split into two — two of Him. He went away very quickly into both of us at the same time. Right into us and from that moment until 43 years later, when my sister opened the box and saw Baba's picture on The Perfect Master, she hadn't remembered that He had appeared to us. Neither had I until my sister called me over to her house and I saw His picture and suddenly recalled that He had been with us so long ago. But in Baba's time, it was only a little while."

13 August 2008

55 Maxims

55 Maxims for Christian Living
by Fr. Thomas Hopko

1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheerfull.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.

12 August 2008

Desi Bible to Have Verses from Vedas, Upanishads

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Pictures of a turbaned Joseph and sari-clad Mary with baby Jesus in an "Indianised" version of the Bible is set to create waves across the country. In a unique experiment, the Catholic Church is coming out with a version of the Bible with verses from ancient Indian texts like the Upanishads and Vedas to explain the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
This is an unprecedented attempt to encourage a contextual reading and understanding of the Bible, says the church spokesman, Paul Thelakat.

"The Biblical text remains the same but verses from Vedas and Upanishads have been used to interpret Christian teachings," says Thelakat. As far as Catholics are concerned, they have to live and interpret their Christian faith and scriptures within the given culture, he adds.

Thiruvananthapuram Archbishop Sosa Pakiam, in his preface to the Bible, says a unique feature of the new Bible is that it has many references to the spiritual message and Biblical values found in the scriptures of other great Indian religions.

11 August 2008

Hang Ten

Surfers read the Bible littorally.
-- Anonymous

08 August 2008

Understanding the Guru

"An Indian will listen to his guru, nod his head, and go home and, even if he's a deeply religious person, ignore fifty per cent of what the guru has told him, because his own sense of the world tells him to do that," an Indian man who is well versed in Yogic culture said to me recently. But Westerners who jump heart first into a cloistered Indian subculture do not always find it easy to distinguish what is spiritual from what is Indian-or merely the whim of the guru."

05 August 2008

Keep the Faith

Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing.

Warning: Belief-O-Matic™ assumes no legal liability for the ultimate fate of your soul.

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Hinduism (100%)
2. Mahayana Buddhism (98%)
3. Neo-Pagan (98%)
4. Jainism (94%)
5. Sikhism (93%)
6. New Age (79%)
7. Bahá'í Faith (78%)
8. Unitarian Universalism (75%)
9. Orthodox Judaism (74%)
10. Liberal Quakers (73%)
11. Reform Judaism (69%)
12. Theravada Buddhism (63%)
13. Islam (62%)
14. New Thought (49%)
15. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (48%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (48%)
17. Taoism (46%)
18. Scientology (44%)
19. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (38%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (36%)
21. Secular Humanism (35%)
22. Seventh Day Adventist (35%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (29%)
24. Roman Catholic (29%)
25. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (27%)
26. Jehovah's Witness (27%)
27. Nontheist (21%)