Blessings of Simplicity: By Dr. Mourad Rashad

Have you ever asked yourself, “do I understand life”? Is life what I think it to be?

To start asking yourself about what you take for granted is the beginning of true understanding. This is the first step taken by any prophet, wise man, or a sage.

What triggered these questions in the hearts and minds of these great men? Life itself forced these questions. Worldly living and suffering brought these questions about. The simplicity and humility of these men in response to life allowed these questions to emerge.

Simplicity means that you are not sophisticated. Being sophisticated shows that one is worldly wise; one is well versed in the ways and methods of the world. Sophisticated shares the same root with the word sophistry, signifying something very plausible, but fallacious and misleading.

No one is born sophisticated. Sophistication is something that we learn. Children are born light and natural.

The prophets remain like children. They do not wish to become clever. Instead, they want to widen and deepen their understanding of life.

For the prophets and sages of old, the ways of the world, did not appeal to them and did not satisfy their hunger for a truer meaning to life. These great men were of this type, they were simple, they were direct in their understanding, and they did not allow sophistication and clever ways of the world to mislead them.

I finish with a quote from the Bible where Jesus makes the same point.

“Truly I say to you, Unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.”
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From the Author: My name is Mourad Rashad. I am 57 years old and live in Cairo, Egypt where I was born. I hold a PhD in Pathology from the Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, where I am a Professor. I have a private practice as an internist specializing in geriatric medicine.

I am a Muslim, and have read all of the Quran as well as the Bible. I became exposed to Mysticism early in life, through my father who was an avid reader of the mystic masters, and who took me with him to attend spiritual gatherings in Cairo. I have read extensively in Zen, Sufism, Advita, Gnosticism, Taoism. I was a disciple of the late Padamanabhamenon (Gurudev), who is the son and successor of the late Atmananda (Gurunathn), who was a contemporary sage to Sri Ramana Maharishi.

I have written a book in collaboration with a fellow Egyptian mystic entitled “The Mysticism of Jesus Christ”, where we discussed and interpreted the sayings of Jesus Christ in the four canonical Gospels, and as well as in the Gospel of Thomas.

Crisis, Fear, And Transformation: By Rita Steinmetz-Minassian

No doubt that in the current economic context, many people are in panic around the world because of huge losses on the stock exchanges of the planet. Except a few conscious business leaders, how many of them are considering this crisis from a spiritual perspective? There is some evidence that the transformation we’re going through is beyond simply economical issues, but is a gate to a new era, a new age.

According to the belief of the Mayan civilization, the world is organized upon a cyclic system: many centuries BC, the Maya calendar predicted the end of a cycle of 26 000 years in 2012 and then the starting over a new one. The book of the Apocalypse, refers to a chaos that St John calls “The Judgment day “ that will occur during “the End of the times”.

Of course, this predictions are symbolic and metaphorical. The original meaning of these words implies a time for “Revelation”. A time for people to transform the way they think, they behave and reveal their inner truth to live in a conscious way.

It’s been at least 5000 years that Sciences like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have been advocating a holistic approach to human beings. It is now being accepted in modern medicine as well that we’re not just flesh and blood that can be opened, cut and sewed like rag dolls…but energetic systems to be considered. We are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being and connected on a global basis. Our thoughts and prayers affect the world and each other.

Like is like, the law of attraction was already known through the famous “Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you”. Our economy is paying the price of morally corrupt decisions and actions based on greed and only on profit margin…

According to esoteric systems, we’ve now entered The Era of the Aquarius that is not, like some people may think, the confabulation of a group of hippies of the 70’s, but a challenging period of time for Humanity that gives us the opportunity to live this famous New Age predicted since centuries in many civilizations, beyond one religion or belief, through inner transformation.

There are many tools to help us to operate this transformation. Some traditional ones like yoga, meditation and mantras help us to connect our higher self giving us a conscious awareness of what we’re living “here and now”. Other ones are more contemporary and give us the opportunity to face the shadow within us like psychology, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and other forms of counseling.

As we’re all bounded, we attract what we are through the law of attraction. We can represent this unity by similarity with a diamond, a unique gem with many different facets: each one of them representing one person…If we apply that metaphor to our interpersonal experiences, in a very honest way, we can see how each person around us represents a part of our personality with both positives points and flaws.

Very often, the characteristic of the persons and the world around us are  shown to us in a exaggerated way in order to wake us up and oblige us to see what’s wrong within us!This perspective really  helps us “investigate” and ask ourselves: “what part of my personality is attracting that person/attribute/lack/experience…?”Mirror, mirror on the wall… the other then becomes the reflection of our real “me”, free from the mask of our ego.

“A lot of chaos is needed to create a butterfly”, thus spoke Zarathustra. We  are in the middle of the chaos, creating the butterfly depends on all of us. This period of profound change, pushes us to reorganize our entire system  and to clean it deeply. No GDP can measure what’s really worth living in life.

“Be the change that you want to see around you” said  Mahatma Gandhi. let’s face the mirror and go for this challenge.

Rita Steinmetz-Minassian – www.rita-akasha.vpweb.fr

Editor’s Note: Rita Steinmetz-Minassian resides in France and her native tongue is French.  She is the Founder and spiritual trainer at the Akasha Institute. Please visit her website for more information.

The Only True Love: By Dr. Mourad Rashad

If you love a person, you start seeing things which are not there. No woman is as beautiful as you think when you love her, because you project. You have a dream girl in the mind and that dream girl is projected. Some how the real girl functions only as a screen on which you project your dream girl.

That is why every love comes to a frustrating point sooner or later, because how can the girl go on playing the screen? She is a real person; she will assert, she will say, “I am not a screen!” How long can she go on fitting in with your projection? Eventually, you feel things do not fit. In the beginning, she yielded, in the beginning you yielded. You were a projection screen for her; she was a projection screen for you.

Nobody can play a screen for you forever and nothing can remain a screen for you forever, because it is uncomfortable and not natural. How can somebody adjust to your dream? How can anything adjust to your dream? Everything has his own reality, and the reality asserts and shows itself.

If you love a person, you project things, which are not there. If you hate a person, again you project things, which are not there. In love, the person becomes a god. In hate, the person becomes a devil — and the person is neither god nor devil. The person is simply himself or herself. These devils and gods are projections.

Similarly, you love your world; the real world is a screen for you, a screen for the beautiful world in your own mind, which you project. You see things in your loved world, which are not there; you imagine that they are there. That is why your loved world frustrates you, betrays you, annoys you and finally you die, your loved world kills you.

The real world cannot remain a screen for you. It has to show you what it is made of, and it has to show you its truth. You cannot see its truth unless you stop projecting your dream world, you stop loving the world in your mind, and you stop loving your ego, which is the world, stored up as mind.

If you love, you cannot see clearly. If you hate, you cannot see clearly.  When there is no liking, no disliking, your eyes are clear, you have clarity. Then you see the other as he is or as she is, you see the world stored up in your mind, which is projected, or you see your ego as it is.

Moreover, when you have clarity of consciousness, I say clarity of consciousness not clarity of mind. The mind or ego can never be clear. The mind or ego are only consciousness transformed through our preferences, desires and conditioning. I say when you have clarity of consciousness, which means you are no longer an ego, you are no longer a mind, but you are the clarity, the light, and the purity of consciousness. Then, the whole existence reveals its reality to you. The whole world unravels its identity to you.

That reality and that identity is God, that identity is the Divine, that reality is the Sublime Truth. You come to discover that your ego, your mind, your projected world was hiding and transforming the Original Divine Existence.

One can say, when man’s consciousness regains its liberty from the influence of the ego or mind, it returns to the original unity. Unity of man’s consciousness and this Divine Existence. Where man’s consciousness mirrors faithfully the immediate experience and functions as an integral part of this Divine Existence, and follows it without any separation, any division or any cleavage.

This is the state of Love, this is The Divinity, this is the Ultimate and this is the Sahaja-Samadhi. This is seeing, experiencing and living without your mind, without your projections, without your ego, this is the state of Egolessness, this is Sahaja-Samadhi.

Editor’s note: Dr. Mourad Rashad is an insightful and brilliant writer on love, life, and the nature of reality. Mourad is a long time member of HarshaSatsangh.

The True Meditation: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

What is spiritual wisdom other than being gentle and easy with oneself and others in awareness? Gain and loss, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, are threads of life. Life lived in awareness is the only meditation.

Our talents and strengths do not raise us above anyone. Our shortcomings do not diminish our original nature. That is just how it is. Sages see action and inaction, speech and silence to be the same. So there is no need to struggle. To simply be aware of oneself as pure and clear being is the true meditation.

The steadiness of awareness and balance is a gift of grace. It is the blessing of love that springs forth from the heart of sages. In the company of good and wise people who know the nature of reality, the ego gradually loses its hold and pure awareness reveals itself as the eternal presence. That is the real meditation.

Namaste

What Is Enlightenment? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

What Is Enlightenment?

“The state we call realization is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, he is that which alone is, and which alone has always been. He cannot describe that state. He can only be That.”  Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

What is Enlightenment? Did you know that it is simply the state of being yourself. Does this sound too simple to you?

There is so much talk about Enlightenment these days. Gurus, teachers, self-help experts, and personal development specialists go on talking about the wonders of Enlightenment. Well why not? They are selling something, a vague but an attractive idea of bliss and happiness; and there are plenty of buyers.

My friends, where is the glamor in being one’s own Self?

That is all what Enlightenment is. But we run from this simplicity.

There are many extraordinary Samadhis, visions, and powerful mental experiences on the spiritual path.

These can be captivating. Ultimately, all these things are transient. That is why there is no point in being attached to such phenomena and pursuing it. These cannot add an iota of substance to our natural reality.

Beyond all the imagination, there is only who you truly are. In face of your own Self, all the glamor of visionary experiences and mental states becomes zero. You are the ground of being on which all the experiences play out.

Ultimately, you are going to have to introduce yourself to yourself. The reality at the core of your Being turns out to be simply you. Bhagavan Ramana once said, “There is only you. There is nothing but you.” 

Indeed, Self-Realization is the ordinary state. That is why it is called the Sahaj or the easy and natural state. What could be more natural than simply being yourself?

Karma, Reincarnation, and Suffering: By Alan Jacobs

There is a great deal of misery and anxiety occupying peoples’ minds these days about the suffering currently undergone on the Planet through terrorism, local armed conflicts, starvation, disease and economic depression. Many atheists and agnostics base their skepticism about the existence of God on the observation that a benign and benevolent God of Love could not possibly exist, or else he would not permit so much world suffering.

According to sages, the highest teachings of the world religions are contained in the idea that we are all “One” and that we come from the same divine source to which many names can be given. Sri Ramana used to say that, “God is the actual form of love”. So why then so much suffering in the world?  From the standpoint of our own teaching, that of the great Sage, Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, we must first understand that this plane of existence must be seen as a field of Karma in which the plan for human evolution is embedded.

As the Bhagavad Gita, and Ramana Maharshi point out, men and women are born into this planet with Karma or Destiny preordained by Iswara or Almighty God, for their own spiritual development. This was stated to Paul Brunton in his dialogue with Ramana and is fully recorded in the Book ‘Conscious Immortality’.

Nobody actually dies in Reality. Lord Krishna told Arjuna “Do not grieve!” After an interval of rest, the soul or jiva is reborn into a new life, again chosen from its latent tendencies, accumulated in previous lives, for his or her spiritual growth. This cycle continues until as a result of meritorious deeds they are, then through Grace, eventually brought to this teaching which in due course will lead them to Self Realisation. Then the whole Karmic scheme collapses and nature of God as Love is realized.

Sri Ramana’s point of view is well and fully expressed in a long answer given in Talks No. 272 on October 23rd. 1936. Also David Godman’s excellent anthology ‘Be As You Are’ has a long Chapter , N0.20., entitled Suffering and Mortality, and a further Chapter called Karma, Destiny and Free Will, with all the appropriate answers to this unnecessarily vexatious question. For those who are troubled by the problem of world suffering they would do well to read this material. Briefly Bhagavan states that from a higher perspective the question concerning the triad of world, God and individual should be seen as inventions of the mind. From a lower perspective, instead of worrying about the world, we should allow ‘He who created it to look after it’.

If this is accepted then the sufferings which people endure are benign in the sense that this is their preordained karma for the soul’s spiritual development. Bhagavan once said that all suffering leads to God Realisation. Nobility of soul and very many virtues are only born out of suffering. This samsara which is a time of purgation and purification uses suffering to bring its children back to true values rather than linger in  the hedonism of a decadent and corrupt culture. As Hafiz wrote

“Never the greatest man that yet was born

Has plucked a rose so soft it has no thorn.”

We live in a world based on the law of polar opposites, which we have to surmount.

There has always been suffering on the planet. The suffering endured in the two great world wars makes contemporary suffering almost infinitesimal in comparison. At the same time we must never be hard hearted and indifferent to any suffering, and always act with compassion. As Bhagavan taught, if suffering comes our way, and in our path, we must do our utmost to relieve it. The Jnani is all compassionate, not only to human beings but to animals and plants as well. The greatest help we can bring to Humanity is our own Self Realisation which mitigates world suffering both amongst believers and the faithless.

The question is often asked “how do I deal with suffering when it happens?” Primarily one must ‘accept’ that whatever it is , ultimately it is all for the best. The human mind cannot understand the Higher Wisdom. With this form of surrender, one gradually perceives the lesson that we were meant to learn from our suffering. Every day living is full of stress, anxiety, loss and disappointment. After the acceptance to which I have referred we must hand over the whole burden of our life to God or the Sat Guru in our Heart as an act of surrender. Then he carries our burden, and all our cares are his.

Ultimately we must accept that everything which happens from galaxy to atom does not move without the permission of the Divine Will. Who are we with our petty egotistic humanoid perception, based on personal pleasurable satisfaction, to question the actions of the Master of the Universe, which are beyond our intelligence to  even remotely fathom?

Alan Jacobs

Note from the Editor: Alan Jacobs is prominent devotee of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and has written a number of articles on this site. Alan’s article on self enquiry is given below. It also contains more information about  Alan. Alan is also the moderator for the largest Sri Ramana group on yahoo groups called HarshaSatsangh.

https://luthar.com/aids-to-self-enquiry

Is The World An Illusion? By Alan Jacobs

Unreality of the World

The Guru Vachaka Kovai, the Garland of Guru’s sayings, is a comprehensive collection of the Maharshi’s Sayings, composed and strung together by the great Tamil Poet Muruganar.This translation is by Professor K.Swaminathan.

In Part 1, after the invocation there is a long section called ‘The Quest’, and part 2 is entitled the Unreality Of The World, and continues from verse 63 to 70.. Verse 69 states

The world perceived by the poor jiva

Lapsed from its own Being true,

Buried in darkness, and believing

That it is but the body, alas,

The world thus seen is non-existent;

Yes, it is indeed unreal.

The thrust of this verse, and those like it is underlined by the often quoted passage in Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 24th August, 1946, quoted in the marvelous book Muruganar’s Padamalai, edited by David Godman.  On page 283 of the Chapter entitled The Reality Of The World Appearance we read.

Bhagavan:” In the sadhak stage [the stage of being a spiritual seeker] you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets he is Brahman, who is Real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self, and also that there is nothing other than his own Self, he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.”

Like very many sadhak’s I found it difficult to be convinced that the world we perceive is ‘unreal’. I realised that the concepts of space, time, and causality are inherent in the organ ofcognition and create the screen of consciousness on which the world stage, actions and pictures are projected.Also that quantum physics has confirmed that what we see, feel, smell , touch and taste is not what it appears to be, but subtle energies in constant movement. But, It was not until I read the Advaita Bhoda Deepika, The Lamp of Non-Dual Knowledge, a short work, highly spoken of by Bhagavan that I followed the complete logic of this point of view.

I summarise my findings as follows, largely based and inspired by Chapter 1 of this marvellous treatise, entitled On Superimposition.

1. All is Absolute, pure, infinite Consciousness, non-dual, Supreme Intelligence, the Self-Existent Self or Brahman.

2. Maya or Illusion, the powers of veiling and projection are inherent powers in Brahman.

3. These powers manifest an apparent, but unreal Universe. Unreal because it was NOT before manifestation and will NOT BE after dissolution. Therefore it is likened to a dream in the Supreme Intelligence or Mind of Brahman. Thus the apparent Universe is but an appearance based on Brahman. It does not exist apart from Brahman. It could be termed, therefore, a confusion between the Real and the Unreal, or neither Real nor Unreal, or both Real and Unreal. In the Vedanta, the term Real is applied to the Immutable or Unchanging. The apparent world is constantly changing, in a state of flux, becoming and decaying, so it cannot be termed Real in this sense, whereas Brahman is immutable, unchanging and eternal.

4. The ignorant ‘jiva’ (the ajnani) or individual soul is reborn and dies continuously through many lifetimes, until Self Realisation. It carries forward from each life the seeds of many latent tendencies from previous lives, although its True Nature is also the Absolute Pure Consciousness of Atman-Brahman. But because of the implicit Maya, projection and veiling, inherent in the Self of Pure Consciousness or Brahman, it identifies with its insentient body and creates a Universe from its latent tendencies (vasanas) through the mind, (organ of cognition, the brain and sensorial adjuncts). The mind is a wondrous power in the Self. The world it sees, composed of latent tendencies , and thoughts is therefore of the nature of a dream, even an hallucination, and may be termed ‘unreal’.

5. The latent tendencies inherent in each jiva at the time of each life, are selected by Isvara, an adjunct of Brahman, for its spiritual development. So all is benign, based on Love, essentially. This is stated By Bhagavan in answer to a question by Paul Brunton quoted in the book Conscious Immortality on Page 130 , Chapter 10.

6. The mind-body complex, personal individuality, other sentient beings, and the Universe of multiplicity, are therefore a superimposition on the Self which is now living from reflected Consciousness, mirrored by egotism and the latent vasanas.

7. Through Grace, the jiva receives the teachings of Advaita from a Jnani, and when fit, through assimilation of this Knowledge and mental purification through right intellectual discrimination, spiritual practice and devotion, he or she is shown the way to awaken from the dream of suffering and transient joy (samsara). The means are through Self Enquiry into the source of the ego, the Self and the illusory nature of the Universe.

8.At the same time one lives one life as if it was real, knowing it to be unreal, and accepting all that happens as ultimately for the best.

9. When there is an awakening from the dream of life, the transmigration of the jiva is over. The immortal Self of infinite Consciousness is Realised directly and one lives from that state of ‘sahaja’ until the mind-body falls off in death, and one is absorbed into Brahman or Infinite Consciousness, no longer a separate individual identified with its body-mind. All is the Self, and the world is seen to be Real because its substratum is now known to be Brahman.

I hope this essay, into a difficult metaphysical question may be helpful to seekers baffled by the world illusion.

Final comments:

Re-reading Bhagavan’s Eight Stanzas to Arunachala, a marvelous poem, I came across this verse which sums up my Essay. I add it as an addition, as it seems to sum the whole question up, very succinctly.

6. Thou art Thyself, the One Being, ever aware as the Self-luminous

Heart! In Thee there is a mysterious power (Shakti) which without Thee is nothing. From it proceeds the phantom of the mind

emitting its latent subtle dark mists, which illumined by Thy light (of consciousness)

reflected on them, appear within as thoughts whirling in the vortexes

of prarabdha, later developing into the psychic worlds and projected

outwardly as the material world transformed into concrete objects which are

magnified by the outgoing senses and move about like pictures in a  cinema show.

Visible or invisible, oh hill of grace, without Thee they are nothing!

Alan Jacobs