Self-Realized sages are like parrots. You see them in their youth, in middle age, and then in their old age.
They do not change their message and keep saying the same thing over and over again.
On the outside, such sages appear the same as anyone else.Yet, within, the perpetual fountain of love for all beings becomes an ongoing stream that can barely be contained. So they do not mind repeating themselves again and again.
Self-Realized sages are like parrots. But unlike parrots, their utterances come from the depth of their experience, the direct knowledge of the Heart. Such words, although always the same, are energized by the power that can transform a human being.
The devotees of Sri Ramana, even those who did not have much learning, used to say, “He made us like Himself”. The simple silence of a Self-Realized sage exerts a powerful influence that follows a devotee until the Self is realized as one’s own Heart.
The classic Goddess scripture Tripura Rahasaya is well known to Sanskrit scholars and now a number of translations exist in English.
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi often quoted from Tripura Rahasya and considered it one of the greatest works that expounded Advaita philosophy. Bhagavan’s close devotee Munagala Venkataramaiah (later known as Swami Ramanananda Saraswathi) translated Tripura Rahasya into English in 1936. That was the first translation of this classic, I believe. A number of Sanskrt scholars since then have made their own translations into English.
In many Hindu scriptures like Tripura Rahasaya, the ultimate Guru is Devi, the Supreme Goddess. She gives instructions to the sages so they can know the highest truth of Reality and attain Self-Realization.
In the path of Tantra, the sciences explaining the mystery of mantra, mind, and breath are explored and explained. Tantric texts focus on the nature of the divine energy within the body, also known as Kundalini Shakti, that moves through the chakras (centers of power) giving rise to various super-conscious experiences and leads to Samadhi.
When the aspirant is spiritually mature, the Shakti, the Supreme Goddess Herself, takes and merges the mind of the devotee in the Heart and then reveals HerSelf to be the Heart. Then there is no more Goddess or devotee and the universe disappears.
Eternal Bliss as Self-Revelation, the very essence of Beauty, remains as ItSelf. That is what the ancients called Sat-Chit-Ananda. The One without a second. That is the Self. That is Brahman.
Lord Krishna is also known as Gopala, or protector of the cows. His love for and relationship with the cows of Vrindavan forms a major part of His transcendental past times. Among the artwork depicting His holy image, there are just as many showing Him with His beloved cows as there are images depicting Him with His beloved Radha and the gopis. As Giridhara, He lifted the mountain of Govardhana to protect the citizens and the cows from destruction. When He played His flute, the cows were there, His most ardent audience. When He wanted to eat, the cows were there, His most willing suppliers of milk and butter. When He wanted affection, the cows were there, His most unselfish companions, wanting nothing from Him but His caress and His embrace, which they freely returned. And so, it is not surprising that from these stories and for other reasons, the practice of offering Him prasadam made with dairy, and bathing His image in milk developed and took hold as the cornerstone of devotional rituals.
At abishekam, a devotional service, the offering of milk is one of the most common items donated by devotees. Sometimes mixed with honey and other items, the milk is poured onto the deity and flows freely and amply throughout the ritual, allowed to drain into metal bowls, collected and then poured back into the bottles for the devotees to take home, now blessed by the Lord. A small vessel is also passed around the room, with each of us given a small spoonful to drink the blessings of Divinity. Food is also offered to the Lord for prasadam and usually contains milk and ghee, a form of clarified butter. After the puja is complete, the food is shared by devotees partaking of the Lord’s blessings, gathering together in the sangha of God’s worship.
What appears as a charming expression of devotion now has lurking behind it a vile abuse of this most sacred creature of the Lord, both in India and here in America, knowingly perpetrated by the suppliers of the dairy products and unwittingly financed by the Lord’s devotees. While I converted to a vegetarian diet years ago, I continued to include some dairy in my diet, although very limited due to my developing concern with ahimsa and allergic skin reactions. But I continued to accept the prasad, I continued to pour the milk when the occasion arose and I relished the sweets and the wonderful Indian cuisine so freely shared where I worship. I told myself that any hesitations I had should be quashed within myself because these were offerings to God and had been blessed and cleansed of any sins committed in their procurement. Lately, though, I was becoming uneasy about it, but not voicing my thoughts and not knowing quite how to voice my developing uncertainty over the source of these offerings.
Until recently, when Kamleshji, another devotee on a bhakta forum posted a message directly confronting this subject, and ripping open my cloak of uncertainty to the naked truth that cannot be denied if one looks with one’s eyes open, if one hears with one’s heart and if one thinks with one’s conscience. From his post and subsequent communications from him, I quote a few lines below…
“….as devotees of Lord Sri Krishna we must definitely pay attention to the plight of His most beloved animal, the Cow (Go-mata).
Just recently on Sri Krishna Jayanthi, we bathed Lord Sri Krishna in milk, curd, ghee and offered Him His favourite naivedhyams such as paal payasam, ghee and butter.
However we must be aware how this milk is obtained in this Kali yugam, especially where milk is obtained in commerical farming techniques (as in big cities in India and especially here in the US). Before this exploitative factory farming age, our saints used to procure Milk products in harmony and without cruelty, the milk was taken from the cow only after the calf has had it’s fill and the cow was worshipped as Go-matha. Such offerings are certainly pleasing to the Lord.
However in the present age, factory produced milk is a very cruel exploitative product of torturing cattle. The poor cows are enclosed in a tiny space, chained in its own waste in darkness, cold and filth for the rest of its life. It is pumped with insane amounts of hormones, and other toxic medications to artifically increase milk production.
These large amounts of hormones, antibiotics and other unnatural feed, cause the cow to grow large and make it prone to bone fractures and other very painful diseases. To add to this torture the cows are artifically inseminated to produce calves to ensure regular supply of milk.
The most unfortunate of the calves are male calves (called Bobby calves) who are considered to be useless and are sold off to be butchered for meat when they are just five days old. The mother cows separated from their calves cry in agony, yet they are not spared and are administered more hormones to continue milking them.
After milking the cow till it has been exhausted and after ensuring that the cow cannot yield anymore milk, it is sold off to be slaughtered in the most brutal manner for meat and leather. I request all bhaktas to please think about this, will our Lord ever accept our abhiseghams and Naivedhyams if it means that His favourite innocent animals are killed slowly and extremely painfully all their lives? Let us not act in an adharmic manner and perform unthinkable atrocities and sins by offering factory produced milk and milk based products especially in our sacred rituals and also in our diets. I can only be certain that we shall never suceed in our sadhana if it causes so much needless pain for innocent animals.
Lord Sri Krishna, vividly describes the three types of foods, Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Milk in the olden days was definitely Sattvic however now it is 100% Tamasic due to the abundant violence and abuse it entails. Drinking such milk is equal to eating beef. In fact the animals raised for meat do not have to suffer so much as these unfortunate dairy cows are made to suffer.
We cannot afford to fool ourselves into believing that just because we are vegetarians and do not eat beef, we are protecting the cows. We need to challenge our age old habits and tradition if they are in direct contrast to the principles of non-violence and dharma laid down by Sri Krishna in Gita.”
His post prompted me to respond to him and to also go online to view some of the websites which I knew would show me the truth, as painful as it might be to watch and to listen. I am now convinced that I must be even more vigilant in my avoidance of all dairy products where I do not know the source. I will also post several more blog entries examining this subject in more detail, in the hope that each of us can look more honestly into our hearts about what we put into our mouths and onto our bodies, and onto the Lord.
The Luthar.com blog already has several articles on the subject of vegetarian diet…this short series is specifically examining the vegan diet. We will look at ahimsa as the foundation for a vegan diet, the economic incentives fueling the abuse, the ways in which the dairy cows are abused, including their offspring, and how they are slaughtered in the end. We will examine the human health consequences of ingestion of dairy products and the environmental effects of the mass procreation of cows for human consumption. We will explore the organic industry as well. We will post photos and links to videos so you can see for yourself what is happening to the dairy cows. We will also post links to organizations geared to helping the abused cows and offering alternatives to the current system. We will offer suggestions and ideas on how to substitute other products in our diet and in our worship. We ask that you the reader examine the facts with an open heart. Together with Kamleshji, who has studied the subject extensively and speaks with eloquence and fortitude in His devotion to the Lord on this subject, I will continue to post, seeking His blessings and inspiration.
Today is Ganesh Chaturthi and I take this opportunity to post the first in this series on this day with this prayer…that I serve the Lord without reservation acting as best I can on His wishes, and that I open my mind and my heart enough to let Him speak through me as He guides me. Ganesha Saranam!
Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati;
Tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanah.
If one offers Me with love and devotion of a leaf,
a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it with joy. BG 9.26
When I was a child, the idea that I could only know “me” and not others was both strange and fascinating. It still makes me smile. What can anyone really and truly know with complete and absolute intimacy?
What is your deepest knowing? How do you know that you know?
Perceptions and experiences occur in the mind. In what does the mind occur?
Who Am I? The legendry mystical question, the path of many sages such as Ramana, Nisargedata, Krishna Menon, Shancara …etc. All these sages followed the enquiry “who am I” to its end.
“Who am I?” is not really a question because it has no answer to it; it is unanswerable. It is a device, a process, a methodology and a meditation not a question. It is used as a mantra. When man constantly inquires internally: “Who am I? Who am I?” Man is not waiting for an answer. The mind will supply many answers; all those answers have to be rejected. The mind will say: “I” is the essence of life. “I” the eternal soul. “I” is divine,” and so on and so forth. All those answers have to be rejected: neti neti — one has to go on saying: “Neither this nor that.”
When man has denied all the possible answers that the mind can supply and devise, when the question remains absolutely unanswerable, a miracle happens: suddenly the question also disappears. When all the answers have been rejected, the question has no grounds, no supports internally to stand on any more. It simply flops, it collapses, and it disappears.
When the question also has disappeared, then man knows. But that knowing is not an answer: it is an existential experience. Nothing can be said about it, or whatever will be said will be wrong. To say anything about it is to falsify it. It is the ultimate mystery, inexpressible, indefinable. No word is adequate enough to describe it. Even the phrase “essence of life” is not adequate; even “God” is not adequate. Nothing is adequate to express it; its very nature is inexpressible.”
When Hui-k’o went to see Bodhidharma, this interchange took place;
“Peace of mind”, replied Hui-K’o.
“Show me this mind of yours”, said Bodhidharma, “and I will pacify it”.
“But when I seek my mind, I cannot find it”, was the reply.
“THERE!” said Bodhidharma, “I have pacified your mind!”
“YES!” said Hui-K’o, and laughed.
Now, what next after this revelation of knowing who you are?
Question: I am that which causes awareness to flow from the grossness of the lower mind to the un‑differentiated bliss of the superconscious. I am not mind, but upon me the mind rests. I do not move, yet through me all things move. I am neither this nor that. What am I?
Gururaj Ananda: That you are.
Who am I if I am not the mind? Who am I if I am not the body? What makes you presume that you are not the body and not the mind. What point of reference have you to tell you that I am not the mind and neither the body? Show me that point of reference.
When I say to myself, “I am that I am,” who is this that I am that I am? Who is this Brahmas mi‑‑I am Brahma? Who is this that could say, “I and my Father are one?” Who is this that could say that I, as the mind and body, is non‑existent?
Then what part of you is existent to make you cognize your non‑existence? You don’t know, that is for sure.
Your mind is a reality, your body is a reality, and the spiritual self within you is a reality, but it is only the mind that could cognize its own realness which is also, at the same time, erroneous.
You say I am this body. Now this body has been changing so much. I was an infant, then l grew up into adolescence, became an old man…
So this body is the same body, but over a period of time ‑‑ which you regard to be time ‑‑ has gone through various changes. Who is that which perceives this particular form of reality?
The spirit that is within you, the Divinity that is within you, is non‑cognizable and neither would it cognize anything besides itself in its own cognition.
The mind says this is a handkerchief. Why does the mind say this is a handkerchief? Because my mind, or a certain recollection or experiences that has gone through me in this lifetime or even in past lifetimes, perhaps, make me cognize this to be a cloth, a piece of cloth to be used on my nose.
Now, where does this come from? What tells you that this is a nose and that’s a handkerchief? So you go further back to realize that my mind is saying that, then you will ask yourself what perpetuates this mind in this mold of having this particular kind of cognition?
And like that you go on and on and on until you reach a point which is zero. Then only can you say, “I’m not the body.” Then only can you say, “I’m not the mind.”
Look, I can touch, feel, smell, taste, go to bed and make love, go to the toilet. Is the body then not functional? Of course it is functional. Then why do I deny the body?
I deny the body because I feel within myself‑‑or rather some force is feeling within myself‑‑that I am far beyond the body and the mind. Now, the greatest mistake that has been made‑‑or is being made by various theologies‑‑is the denial of the body and mind. Let’s look at it from a different angle. Do not deny this body. Do not deny this mind. And do not deny that which cognizes the body and the mind.
So how are you dealing with yourself, then? We’re still going to come to the cognitive factor. But at this moment how do you stand? You stand in the position of saying, my body exists, my mind exists, and the cognitive factor also exists, so therefore I am existence and being existing I can deny nothing. For I am that I am.
There is no differentation between your body and your mind and your cognitive self. The I that cognizes the very existence of this body and this mind is thought forms which we can call the ego self that is forever trying to preserve itself in the cognitive factors of saying I am this handsome guru [comments and laughs from audience]. Who’s saying that? That stupid ego self.
Now, what is the ego worth? The ego is worth nothing, because it is just a formation of patterns which you have superimposed upon yourself through the various experiences that you have gone through, and that has left impressions. And those impressions is that which we call the ego.
Now, I put my hand on this table and I remove this hand. But an imprint is there. The hand is not there anymore, but an impression or an imprint of the hand is existing on this table. Get out your magnifying glass and you will see it. What reality is there in this imprint? Nil!
This very imprint that cognizes me as a body, this very imprint that cognizes me as a mind. So my body and mind is totally dependent upon that imprint. And yet, what is the reality of this imprint? Nil. It’s an impression created through patternings of experiences.
So now if I deny this imprint, or if I do not attach value to this imprint in bringing about the recognitions of the existence of this body and this mind, then I am basing the existence of this body and this mind with something that has no substance but which has just created an impression there, presuming that this mind and this body is real.
So now, what have we done so far? We are accepting the reality of the mind and the body, and, at the same time, we are denying the mind and the body. Because both are true. You are not the body, yet the body; you are not the mind, yet the mind. Then what is your reality? And how are you going to prove this reality?
You can only prove it by inference. Or by the very factor that reality requires no proof. It exists because of its own existence. The only time you can prove reality is when you have a reference point. And where can there be any reference point as as far as Divinity is concerned.
There is consciousness and non‑consciousness. Non‑ consciousness means you are not aware. And conscious means that you are aware. Now, what proof is there of awareness. Does awareness require any proof? Does the light burning there require any proof that it is burning? Its very act of giving light is its own proof.
You do not need to prove anything. Because when it comes to the highest level, you need a point of reference, and the highest level being the one, without a second, cannot have a reference point.
I exist, I exist, because I exist. That’s all. And because I, the real me to which I have no reference point exists, I can only refer it back to a grosser level of the mind and the body, which finds its existence in that which I cannot prove is existing.
I’m taking the highest factor in life and bringing it down to the grossest factor and that is what I could compare things with. But when we reach the point beyond comparison ‑‑ Beautiful word. You’re pairing up things in comparison. There have to be two to compare. But what if I want to exist as I am in my full totality, then will I not lose the idea of comparing myself to anything else? And the very moment I lose the idea of comparing myself to any subject or object, that is the very moment when I will lose the ego self, that imprint that is existing in my experience. Or the impression of the experience. Then where will I be? I shall be incomparable.
I shall be the source of existence itself, which I am. Not in reality, but in actuality. For reality changes from day to day. What is real to you today might be unreal to you tomorrow. You see. But when I become actual, when I become the source and recognize that source within me, or the source recognizes itself, then I will say, let me enjoy this body. Let me enjoy this mind, for it is a product of a collection of impressions. And if they are there, let me make the best use of it.
Here we are fusing two factors. The fusion lies in the fact that that which is created by impressions‑‑or maya or illusion‑‑, is brought into reality, and reality is converted into illusion. So I make the best of both worlds.
For example, let’s see what example we can use. Say I loved a woman very much, I was deeply involved with that woman. Fine. And she has left me. She has jilted me or died or whatever or jumped in the lake. Now, is she there or is she not there? She’s dead, we know. But is she there or is she not there? She is there because you think she is there. What makes you think she is there is because those impressions, those experiences, and you are reliving something so far in the past which has no reality today, which has become an illusion. Because she is not there. I have developed a dependency upon her when she was there. So what am I living on now? On dependencies.
I am existing with a reality, which is my body and my mind. Though in essence it is unreal, but for the moment of three score years and ten, let me do the best with it I can. Why not. Who would deny me that right? And why should it be denied to me? You think all these organs we have are there just for the fun of it or for the show of it? You think I have ears and I must not hear? Or I have eyes and I must not see? Or a nose and not smell? Or any other organ of my body that has been there created through an evolutionary process and not to be used. Why should I not use every organ in this body of mine to its fullest value? Honestly and sincerely.
So these monks say become celibate, become this and that, become this and I don’t know what all. I say, “become yourself!” Be yourself!
Be yourself. How can I make myself be myself? Ahh! How can I make myself be myself? And the answer to that riddle is so simple. Do you know that beautiful hymn which I like very much, lead thou me on, kindly light, one step at a time is enough for me. Don’t you know that beautiful hymn?
Firstly, I must admit to myself that I’m living a fragmented life. Part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is pulling that way, part of my mind is floating up there in Chicago and another part somewhere in some heaven or some hell which has no existence in reality.
Admit to oneself that I’m fragmented. Lead thou me on, kindly light to integration away from fragmentation. Let me be whole. Let me function in this life holistically. Let me not find any more the discriminatory factors between body, mind, and spirit. Let me regard it to be one continuum. And this continuum, after finding through spiritual practices and meditation, when you find this continuum of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, this continuum will extend and extend and develop so much that the entire universe becomes you and you become the universe.
Existence and non‑existence, what am I going to do about it? I’m both. I am existing, and at the same time, the impressions which I’m existing upon is non‑existent.
So let me tell you this, that 99.999% of your problems in your mind are self‑created without any damn substance. So that which you have created without substance… very easy way out of it‑‑pull the chain!
That is the secret of life. Forget the past. It is gone. Do not project yourself into the future, it might not be there. But live for this moment. Live for this moment. And then you’ll preserve your physical health, you’ll preserve your mental health, you’ll become integrated in mind, body and spirit, and you’ll enjoy life. For life is joy. So, as I always say, enjoy the joy. Why deny yourself of that beautiful joy of this so‑ called existence when you can have fun.
What’s wrong with fun. Enjoy it. But be honest and sincere, that’s important.
August summer from awesome meadow sings,
I never tire from commune with my Soul,
In silent wood’s enchanted shades, where broad
Shafts of sunlight fall in full accord
Gilding leaves of green. The dusty lane’s my goal,
Which ends where the higher path begins.
The air, the fair horizon, crystal springs,
Rosy lips of dawn, which one yearns to kiss
This hem of heaven’s robe in joyful bliss.
Come! let’s gaze at gleaming stars so chaste
They shine on Mother Earth through veils with haste.
Let pine trees imparting scented breath
Waft you along to life away from death,
To sapphire streams and fields of emerald green.
Let Nature’s radiance reveal her sheen
On the solemn beauty of your furrowed brow.
True love latent in your heart, here and now,
Will ever grace this sacred, monumental hour.
I am starting with this post a series of articles dedicated to the teachings that Gururaj Ananda Yogi gave to his chelas during 12 years. Gururaj Ananda Yogi (birth name: Purushottam Narsinhram Valodia, 3 March 1932, Gujarat, India – died 17 May 1988, Cape Town, South Africa) was the founder of International Foundation of Spiritual Unfoldment. Gururaj Ananda Yogi started giving satsang in his living room at his home in South Africa and during 1974 with the help of some of his disciples in South Africa started The South African Meditation Society and The International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment. Since that date to 1988 when he passed away he traveled around the world lecturing and had chelas in several countries, particularly Spain, USA and the UK countries he visited twice a year since he started teaching. His teachings were recorded and more than 3,000 hours of recorded material are now being edited and transcribed to be published in different media. Some of his disciples are today teachng meditation and there are centers in many parts of the world. I actually dedicate myself full time to teach meditation and maintain meditation centers in Barcelona, Asturias, Bilbao and Madrid
Nothing to do
Nowhere to go
Pulsating life that laughs back at
This bunch of impressions
That feel have an existence by its own
But just exist as impressions of this singled drop of water
Moment by moment, this form performs within this universal dance
And carries images to this singled drop of water
Still pictures of a film
Only existing in its own maya of mind
Clouds that hide the sun
Amazing sun that created those very same clouds
At times merging into my soul – a moment of perfection,
Vain seems my learning, and incomplete
The world’s knowledge gathered through its lifetime,
Impressions of what is, moment by moment, gathered in this singled drop of water
At this moment into timelessness, spacelessness, perfection;
Vain is all art, cults, creeds, humanity – all incomplete
Illusions! Mirages! And then that moment lapses:
The limitless becomes limited, the infinite becomes finite
The machinery of mind starts rolling in its own disturbance –
Surveying the din and tumult of the world,
All existence becomes real and time is divided;
The mind gropes in its own darkness
Real becomes the multitude stricken with pain –
All striving for wealth or fame or a dreamed “forever” prince.
A strive for perfection – the aim of all – consciously or unconsciously.
Knowledge and art and cults and creeds are not in vain
In the world of mind; toiling, striving, fathoming –
Seeking completeness from without
Images gathered reflected back in this moment of delight.
I that have tasted of infinity
Fight with my own mind at times, to loosen its bonds,
And try to seek within
For another moment of eternity
Through these series of articles I will be introducing the teachings of Gururaj Ananda Yogi from which many will be able to benefit