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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Life and Death" by Blavatsky

Theosophy article: "Life and Death" by Blavatsky

LIFE AND DEATH

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN A GREAT EASTERN TEACHER, H. P. B., COLONEL OLCOTT AND AN INDIAN REPORTED BY H. P. BLAVATSKY
Article by H. P. Blavatsky

MASTER," said Narayan to Thakur, in the midst of a very hot dispute with the poor Babu, "what is it he is saying, and can one listen to him without being disgusted? He says that nothing remains of the man after he is dead, but that the body of the man simply resolves itself into its component elements, and that what we call the soul, and he calls the temporary consciousness, separates itself, disappearing like the steam of hot water as it cools."

"Do you find this so very astonishing?" said the Master. "The Babu is a Chârvâka1 and he tells you only that which every other Chârvâka would have told you."

"But the Chârvâkas are mistaken. There are many people who believe that the real man is not his physical covering, but dwells in the mind, in the seat of consciousness. Do you mean to say that in any case the consciousness may leave the soul after death?"

"In his case it may," answered Thakur quietly: "because he firmly believes in what he says."

Narayan cast an astonished and even frightened look at Thakur, and the Babu--who always felt some restraint in the presence of the latter--looked at us with a victorious smile.

"But how is this?" went on Narayan. "The Vedânta teaches us that the spirit of the spirit is immortal, and that the human soul does not die in Parabrahman. Are there any exceptions?"

"In the fundamental laws of the spiritual world there can be no exceptions; but there are laws for the blind and laws for those who see."

"I understand this, but in this case, as I have told him already, his full and final disappearance of consciousness is nothing but the aberration of a blind man, who, not seeing the sun, denies its existence, but all the same he will see the sun with his spiritual sight after he is dead."

"He will not see anything," said the Master. "Denying the existence of the sun now, he could not see it on the other side of the grave."

Seeing that Narayan looked rather upset, and that even we, the Colonel and myself, stared at him in the expectation of a more definite answer, Thakur went on reluctantly:

"You speak about the spirit of the spirit, that is to say about the Atmâ, confusing this spirit with the soul of the mortal, with Manas. No doubt the spirit is immortal, because being without beginning it is without end; but it is not the spirit that is concerned in the present conversation. It is the human, self-conscious soul. You confuse it with the former, and the Babu denies the one and the other, soul and spirit, and so you do not understand each other."

"I understand him," said Narayan.

"But you do not understand me," interrupted the Master. "I will try to speak more clearly. What you want to know is this. Whether the full loss of consciousness and self-feeling is possible after death, even in the case of a confirmed Materialist. Is that it?"

Narayan answered: "Yes; because he fully denies everything that is an undoubted truth for us, that in which we firmly believe."

"All right," said the Master. "To this I will answer positively as follows, which, mind you, does not prevent me from believing as firmly as you do in our teaching, which designates the period between two lives as only temporary. Whether it is one year or a million that this entr'acte lasts between the two acts of the illusion life, the posthumous state may be perfectly similar to the state of a man in a very deep fainting-fit, without any breaking of the fundamental rules. Therefore the Babu in his personal case is perfectly right."

"But how is this?" said Colonel Olcott; "since the rule of immortality does not admit of any exceptions, as you said."

"Of course it does not admit of any exceptions, but only in the case of things that really exist. One who like yourself has studied Mândukya Upanishad and Vedânta-sara ought not to ask such questions," said the Master with a reproachful smile.

"But it is precisely Mândukya Upanishad," timidly observed Narayan, "which teaches us that between the Buddhi and the Manas, as between the Îshvara and Prajnâ, there is no more difference in reality than between a forest and its trees, between a lake and its waters."

"Perfectly right," said the Master, "because one or even a hundred trees which have lost their vital sap, or are even uprooted, cannot prevent the forest from remaining a forest."

"Yes," said Narayan, "but in this comparison, Buddhi is the forest, and Manas Taijasi the trees, and if the former be immortal, then how is it possible for the Manas Taijasi, which is the same as Buddhi, to lose its consciousness before a new incarnation? That is where my difficulty lies."

"You have no business to have any difficulties," said the Master, "if you take the trouble not to confuse the abstract idea of the whole with its casual change of form. Remember that if in talking about Buddhi we may say that it is unconditionally immortal, we cannot say the same either about Manas, or about Taijasi. Neither the former nor the latter have any existence separated from the Divine Soul, because the one is an attribute of the terrestrial personality, and the second is identically the same as the first, only with the additional reflection in it of the Buddhi. In its turn, Buddhi would be an impersonal spirit without this element, which it borrows from the human soul, and which conditions it and makes out of it something which has the appearance of being separate from the Universal Soul, during all the cycle of the man's incarnations. If you say therefore that Buddhi-Manas cannot die, and cannot lose consciousness either in eternity or during the temporary periods of suspension, you would be perfectly right; but to apply this axiom to the qualities of Buddhi-Manas is the same as if you were arguing that as the soul of Colonel Olcott is immortal the red on his cheeks is also immortal. And so it is evident you have mixed up the reality, Sat, with its manifestation. You have forgotten that united to the Manas only, the luminosity of Taijasi becomes a question of time, as the immortality and the posthumous consciousness of the terrestrial personality of the man become conditional qualities, depending on the conditions and beliefs created by itself during its lifetime. Karma acts unceasingly, and we reap in the next world the fruit of that which we ourselves have sown in this life."

"But if my Ego may find itself after the destruction of my body in a state of complete unconsciousness, then where is the punishment for the sins committed by me in my lifetime?" asked the Colonel, pensively stroking his beard.

"Our Philosophy teaches us," answered Thakur, "that the punishment reaches the Ego only in its next incarnation, and that immediately after our death we meet only the rewards for the sufferings of the terrestrial life, sufferings that were not deserved by us. So, as you may see, the whole of the punishment consists in the absence of reward, in the complete loss of the consciousness of happiness and rest. Karma is the child of the terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the acts of his visible personality, even of the thoughts and intentions of the spiritual I. But at the same time it is a tender mother, who heals the wounds given in the preceding life before striking this Ego and giving him new ones. In the life of a mortal there is no mishap or sorrow which is not a fruit and direct consequence of a sin committed in his preceding incarnation; but not having preserved the slightest recollection of it in his present life, and not feeling himself guilty, and therefore suffering unjustly, the man deserves consolation and full rest on the other side of the grave. For our spiritual Ego Death is always a redeemer and a friend. It is either the peaceful sleep of a baby, or a sleep full of blissful dreams and reveries."

"As far as I remember, the periodical incarnations of Sûtrâtmâ2 are compared in the Upanishads to the terrestrial life which is spent, term by term, in sleeping and waking. Is that so?" I asked, wishing to renew the first question of Narayan.

"Yes, it is so; that is a very good comparison."

"I do not doubt it is good," I said, "but I hardly understand it. After the awakening, the man merely begins a new day, but his soul, as well as his body, are the same as they were yesterday; whereas in every new incarnation not only his exterior, sex, and even personality, but, as it seems to me, all his moral qualities, are changed completely. And then, again, how can this comparison be called true, when people, after their awakening, remember very well not only what they were doing yesterday, but many days, months, and even years ago, whereas, in their present incarnations, they do not preserve the slightest recollection about any past life, whatever it was. Of course a man, after he is awakened, may forget what he has seen in his dreams, but still he knows that he was sleeping and that during his sleep he lived. But about our previous life we cannot say even that we lived. What do you say to this?"

"There are some people who do remember some things," enigmatically answered Thakur, without giving a straight answer to my question.

"I have some suspicions on this point," I answered, laughingly, "but it cannot be said about ordinary mortals. Then how are we, who have not reached as yet the Samma Sambuddha,3 to understand this comparison?"

"You can understand it when you better understand the characteristics of the three kinds of what we call sleep."

"This is not an easy task you propose to us," said the Colonel, laughingly. "The greatest of our physiologists got so entangled in this question that it became only more confused."

"It is because they have undertaken what they had no business to undertake, the answering of this question being the duty of the psychologist, of whom there are hardly any among your European scientists. A Western psychologist is only another name for a physiologist, with the difference that they work on principles still more material. I have recently read a book by Maudsley which showed me clearly that they try to cure mental diseases without believing in the existence of the soul."

"All this is very interesting," I said, "but it leads us away from the original object of our questions, which you seem reluctant to clear for us, Thakur Sahib. It looks as if you were confirming and even encouraging the theories of the Babu. Remember that he says he disbelieves the posthumous life, the life after death, and denies the possibility of any kind of consciousness exactly on the grounds of our not remembering anything of our past terrestrial life."

"I repeat again that the Babu is a Chârvâka, who only repeats what he was taught. It is not the system of the Materialists that I confirm and encourage, but the truth of the Babu's opinions in what concerns his personal state after death."

"Then do you mean to say that such people as the Babu are to be excepted from the general rule?"

"Not at all. Sleep is a general and unchangeable law for man as well as for every other terrestrial creature, but there are various sleeps and still more various dreams."

"But it is not only the life after death and its dreams that he denies. He denies the immortal life altogether, as well as the immortality of his own spirit."

"In the first instance he acts according to the canons of modern European Science, founded on the experience of our five senses. In this he is guilty only with respect to those people who do not hold his opinions. In the second instance again he is perfectly right. Without the previous interior consciousness and the belief in the immortality of the soul, the soul cannot become Buddhi Taijasi. It will remain Manas.4 But for the Manas alone there is no immortality. In order to live a conscious life in the world on the other side of the grave, the man must have acquired belief in that world, in this terrestrial life. These are the two aphorisms of the Occult Science, on which is constructed all our Philosophy in respect to the posthumous consciousness and immortality of the Soul. Sûtrâtmâ gets only what it deserves. After the destruction of the body there begins for the Sûtrâtmâ either a period of full awakening, or a chaotic sleep, or a sleep without reveries or dreams. Following your physiologists who found the causality of dreams in the unconscious preparation for them. in the waking state, why should not we acknowledge the same with respect to the posthumous dreams? I repeat what Vedânta Sara teaches us: Death is sleep. After death, there begins before our spiritual eyes a representation of a programme that was learned by heart by us in our lifetime, and was sometimes invented by us, the practical realization of our true beliefs, or of illusions created by ourselves. These are the posthumous fruit of the tree of life. Of course the belief or disbelief in the fact of conscious immortality cannot influence the unconditioned actuality of the fact itself once it exists. But the belief or disbelief of separate personalities cannot but condition the influence of this fact in its effect on such personalities. Now I hope you understand."

"I begin to understand. The Materialists, disbelieving everything that cannot be controlled by their five senses and their so-called scientific reason and denying every spiritual phenomenon, point to the terrestrial as the only conscious existence. Accordingly they will get only what they have deserved. They will lose their personal I; they will sleep the unconscious sleep until a new awakening. Have I understood rightly?"

"Nearly. You may add to that that the Vedântins, acknowledging two kinds of conscious existence, the terrestrial and the spiritual, point only to the latter as an undoubted actuality. As to the terrestrial life, owing to its changeability and shortness, it is nothing but an illusion of our senses. Our life in the spiritual spheres must be thought an actuality because it is there that lives our endless, never-changing immortal I, the Sûtrâtmâ. Whereas in every new incarnation it clothes itself in a perfectly different personality, a temporary and short-lived one, in which everything except its spiritual prototype is doomed to traceless destruction."

"But excuse me, Thakur. Is it possible that my personality, my terrestrial conscious I, is to perish tracelessly?"

"According to our teachings, not only is it to perish, but it must perish in all its fullness, except this principle in it which, united to Buddhi, has become purely spiritual and now forms an inseparable whole. But in the case of a hardened Materialist it may happen that neither consciously nor unconsciously has anything of its personal I ever penetrated into Buddhi. The latter will not take away into eternity any atom of such a terrestrial personality. Your spiritual I is immortal, but from your present personality it will carry away only that which has deserved immortality, that is to say only the aroma of the flowers mowed down by death."

"But the flower itself, the terrestrial I?"

"The flower itself, as all the past and future flowers which have blossomed and will blossom after them on the same maternal branch, Sûtrâtmâ, children of the same root, Buddhi, will become dust. Your real I is not, as you ought to know yourself, your body that now sits before me, nor your Manas Sûtrâtmâ, but your Sûtrâtmâ -Buddhi."

"But this does not explain to me why you call our posthumous life immortal, endless, and real, and the terrestrial one a mere shadow. As far as I understand, according to your teaching, even our posthumous life has its limits, and being longer than the terrestrial life, still has its end."

"Most decidedly. The spiritual Ego of the man moves in eternity like a pendulum between the hours of life and death, but if these hours, the periods of life terrestrial and life posthumous, are limited in their continuation, and even the very number of such breaks in eternity between sleep and waking, between illusion and reality, have their beginning as well as their end, the spiritual Pilgrim himself is eternal. Therefore the hours of his posthumous life, when unveiled he stands face to face with truth and the short-lived mirages of his terrestrial existences are far from him, compose or make up, in our ideas, the only reality. Such breaks, in spite of the fact that they are finite, do double service to the Sûtrâtmâ, which, perfecting itself constantly, follows without vacillation, though very slowly, the road leading to its last transformation, when, reaching its aim at last, it becomes a Divine Being. They not only contribute to the reaching of this goal, but without these finite breaks Sûtrâtmâ-Buddhi could never reach it. Sûtrâtmâ is the actor, and its numerous and different incarnations are the actor's parts. I suppose you would not apply to these parts, and so much the less to their costumes, the term of personality. Like an actor the soul is bound to play, during the cycle of births up to the very threshold of Paranirvâna, many such parts, which often are disagreeable to it, but like a bee, collecting its honey from every flower, and leaving the rest to feed the worms of the earth, our spiritual individuality, the Sûtrâtmâ, collecting only the nectar of moral qualities and consciousness from every terrestrial personality in which it has to clothe itself, forced by Karma, unites at last all these qualities in one, having then become a perfect being, a Dhyân Chohan. So much the worse for such terrestrial personalities from whom it could not gather anything. Of course, such personalities cannot outlive consciously their terrestrial existence."

"Then the immortality of the terrestrial personality still remains an open question, and even the very immortality is not unconditioned?"

"Oh no, you misunderstand me," said the Master. "What I mean is that immortality does not cover the non-existing; for everything that exists in Sat, or has its origin in Sat, immortality as well as infinity, are unconditioned. Mulaprakriti is the reverse of Parabrahman, but they are both one and the same. The very essence of all this, that is to say, spirit, force and matter, have neither end nor beginning, but the shape acquired by this triple unity during its incarnations, their exterior so to speak, is nothing but a mere illusion of personal conceptions. This is why we call the posthumous life the only reality, and the terrestrial one, including the personality itself, only imaginary."

"Why in this case should we call the reality sleep, and the phantasm waking?"

"This comparison was made by me to facilitate your comprehension. From the standpoint of your terrestrial notions it is perfectly accurate."

"You say that the posthumous life is founded on a basis of perfect justice, on the merited recompense for all the terrestrial sorrows. You say that Sûtrâtmâ is sure to seize the smallest opportunity of using the spiritual qualities in each of its incarnations. Then how can you admit that the spiritual personality of our Babu, the personality of this boy, who is so ideally honest and noble, so perfectly kind, in spite of all his disbeliefs, will not reach immortality, and will perish like the dust of a dried flower?"

"Who, except himself," answered the Master, "ever doomed him to such a fate? I have known the Babu from the time he was a small boy, and I am perfectly sure that the harvest of the Sûtrâtmâ in his case will be very abundant. Though his Atheism and Materialism are far from being feigned, still he cannot die for ever in the whole fullness of his individuality."

"But, Thakur Sahib, did not you yourself confirm the rectitude of his notions as to his personal state on the other side of the grave, and do not these notions consist in his firm belief that after his death every trace of consciousness will disappear?"

"I confirmed them, and I confirm them again. When travelling in a railway train you may fall asleep and sleep all the time, while the train stops at many stations; but surely there will be a station where you will awake, and the aim of your journey will be reached in full consciousness. You say you are dissatisfied with my comparison of death to sleep, but remember, the most ordinary of mortals knows three different kinds of sleep--dreamless sleep, a sleep with vague chaotic dreams, and at last a sleep with dreams so very vivid and clear that for the time being they become a perfect reality for the sleeper. Why should not you admit that exactly the analogous case happens to the soul freed from its body? After their parting there begins for the soul, according to its deserts, and chiefly to its faith, either a perfectly conscious life, a life of semi-consciousness, or a dreamless sleep which is equal to the state of non-being. This is the realization of the programme of which I spoke, a programme previously invented and prepared by the Materialist. But there are Materialists and Materialists. A bad man, or simply a great egotist, who adds to his full disbelief a perfect indifference to his fellow beings, must unquestionably leave his personality for ever at the threshold of death. He has no means of linking himself to the Sûtrâtmâ, and the connection between them is broken for ever with his last sigh; but such Materialists as our Babu will sleep only one station. There will be a time when he will recognize himself in eternity, and will be sorry he has lost a single day of the life eternal. I see your objections--I see you are going to say that hundreds and thousands of human lives, lived through by the Sûtrâtmâ, correspond in our Vedântin notions to a perfect disappearance of every personality. This is my answer. Take a comparison of eternity with a single life of a man, which is composed of so many days, weeks, months, and years. If a man has preserved a good memory in his old age he may easily recall every important day or year of his past life, but even in case he has forgotten some of them, is not his personality one and the same through all his life? For the Ego every separate life is what every separate day is in the life of a man."

"Then, would it not be better to say that death is nothing but a birth for a new life, or, still better, a going back to eternity?"

"This is how it really is, and I have nothing to say against such a way of putting it. Only with our accepted views of material life the words 'live' and 'exist' are not applicable to the purely subjective condition after death; and were they employed in our Philosophy without a rigid definition of their meanings, the Vedântins would soon arrive at the ideas which are common in our times among the American Spiritualists, who preach about spirits marrying among themselves and with mortals. As amongst the true, not nominal Christians, so amongst the Vedântins--the life on the other side of the grave is the land where there are no tears, no sighs, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, and where the just realize their full perfection."

Lucifer, October, 1892

1 A sect of Bengali Materialists.
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2 In the Vedânta, Buddhi, in its combinations with the moral qualities, consciousness, and the notions of the personalities in which it was incarnated, is called Sûtrâtmâ, which literally means the "thread soul," because a whole long row of human lives is strung on this thread like the pearls of a necklace. The Manas must become Taijasi in order to reach and to see itself in eternity, when united to Sûtrâtmâ. But often, owing to sin and associations with the purely terrestrial reason, this very luminosity disappears completely.
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3 The knowledge of one's past incarnations. Only Yogis and Adepts of the Occult Sciences possess this knowledge, by the aid of the most ascetic life.
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4 Without the full assimilation with the Divine Soul, the terrestrial soul, or Manas, cannot live in eternity a conscious life. It will become Buddhi-Taijasi, or Buddhi-Manas, only in case its general tendencies during its lifetime lead it towards the spiritual world. Then full of the essence and penetrated by the light of its Divine Soul, the Manas will disappear in Buddhi, will assimilate itself with Buddhi, still preserving a spiritual consciousness of its terrestrial personality; otherwise Manas, that is to say, the human mind, founded on the five physical senses, our terrestrial or our personal soul, will be plunged into a deep sleep without awakening, without dreams, without consciousness, till a new reincarnation. [In this article Sûtrâtmâ is used for the principle later called the Higher Manas, and Manas for that later called the Lower Manas, or Kama-Manas.--EDS.]

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tell him to go to Hell

A New York Divorce Lawyer died and arrived at the pearly gates. Saint Peter asks him "What have you done to merit entrance into Heaven?"

The Lawyer thought a moment, then said, "A week ago, I gave a quarter to a homeless person on the street." Saint Peter asked Gabriel to check this out in the record, and after a moment Gabriel affirmed that this was true. Saint Peter said, "Well, that's fine, but it's not really quite enough to get you into Heaven." The Lawyer said, "Wait! There's more! Three years ago I also gave a homeless person a quarter." Saint Peter nodded to Gabriel, who after a moment nodded back, affirming this, too, had been verified.

Saint Peter then whispered to Gabriel, "Well, what do you suggest we do with this fellow?" Gabriel gave the Lawyer a sidelong glance, then said to Saint Peter, "Let's give him back his 50 cents and tell him to go to Hell."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ceasing to pretend one wishes to be liberated

Ceasing to pretend one wishes to be liberated

(by Michael Langford)

Let us suppose there were a very quick easy simple
method to end the ego-illusion.

That is to actually end the ego-illusion,
gone ­ dead forever, and not to think,
believe or imagine one has ended the ego.

Just for the sake of illustration,
here is a hypothetical example:

Lets say that someone found a method that required
that one just snap the fingers three times
and the ego would be dead and gone forever,
the thinker, the body, the world, all universes,
all planes, all dimensions, all time and all space
would disappear and what would remain would be
Infinite-Eternal-Being-Awareness-Bliss-Love-Peace.

Let us suppose that the
snap the fingers three times method
were 100% sure to work for everyone who tried it.

Just snapping the fingers three times,
so easy and so quick. In a second or two
the ego illusion, etc., would be gone.

How many people would snap their fingers three times
given the above scenario?

Almost no one. That includes almost everyone who
studies, thinks about or talks about
spiritual teachings, almost none of those people would
snap their fingers three times.

The reason they would not
snap their fingers three times is
in almost every human being
the desire to preserve the ego
is trillions of times greater
than the desire to end the ego illusion.

#1. Some people would be honest and admit that the
reason they do not snap their fingers three times
is because they do not want the ego illusion to end,
or that the desire to preserve the ego-illusion is
greater than the desire to end it,
or because they fear ending the human known.

#2. Others would not be so honest,
and claim that they would indeed like
the ego-illusion to end,
or that their desire to end the ego-illusion
is greater than their desire
to preserve the ego-illusion,
or that they are not afraid of ending the human known.

Those in category #2 would then proceed to think of
some other reason why they do not
snap their finger three times.
Some imaginary, false reason,
to hide the real reason.

Since thoughts can combine in millions
or trillions of combinations,
the number of false reasons that the ego can create
for not snapping the fingers
three times, are almost endless.

Whatever reason the people in category #2 gave
for not snapping their fingers three times,
would not be the real reason.
It would always be a lie created by the ego-illusion,
to hide the fact that they do not want
the ego illusion to end,
or the fact that their desire to preserve
the ego-illusion is greater than their desire
to end the ego-illusion
or the fact that they are afraid
of ending the human known.

Because the ego can create an almost unlimited number
of imaginary reasons, they cannot all be listed.
Different people would find different reasons
not to snap their fingers three times.

In some circles they would say:
“snapping the fingers requires effort,
effort is not the way” or
“snapping the fingers is a practice,
practice is not the way” or
“Snapping the fingers requires a doer,
therefore it cannot be the way”

Now all they would have had to do was snap their
fingers three times and the ego would have been gone
in the above described scenario.

Instead of engaging in all those thoughts that are
created by the ego as a preservation strategy, they
could have just snapped their fingers three times.

But they would not have done it.

Instead of simple sentences like saying snapping the
fingers requires effort, etc.
and therefore it cannot be the way, they might go on
to explain why it will not work.

They might create a whole page of sentences
explaining why it will not work
or create hundreds of pages, of sentences, thoughts,
concepts about why it will not work.

And yet in the above described scenario,
all they would have to have done is to
snap the fingers three times
and the ego-illusion would have been finished.

They might have said:
"If it were really that easy, many people would be
snapping their fingers three times
and thus awakening, therefore it cannot be that easy."

Their thinking it cannot be that easy,
otherwise many people would have
snapped their fingers and awakened is not correct,
because there are almost no humans
who wish to end the ego-illusion,
and therefore the reason why there would be
almost no one awakening using such a simple quick
method is because almost no human wishes to be
liberated from the ego illusion
and therefore almost no one would actually
try the simple quick method
by actually snapping their fingers three times.

They would not be interested in ending the ego
illusion, however,
they might be interested in thinking about
and discussing spiritual concepts
and pretending thinking about and discussing
spiritual concepts had something to do with
ending the ego illusion,
or pretending that thinking about such concepts
was actually making progress towards
ending the ego illusion.

An endless stream of thoughts,
some confused and some clever,
would masquerade as spiritual progress.

Snapping the fingers three times
will not end the ego-illusion,
that was just a hypothetical example.

However, there is an extremely quick rapid method to
end the ego-illusion,
and the examples given above about
almost no one using the direct means,
because almost no one truly wishes to
end the ego-illusion,
and the way the ego directs thought
as a preservation strategy
are actual examples of what people do
when confronted with the possibility
of being liberated now in this lifetime.

One cannot list all of the millions of possible
combinations of thoughts and concepts, however,
the ego will find something that convinces one,
and leads one away from being liberated now,
in this lifetime, by leading one away from the most
direct, quickest means to do so.

An endless maze of thought.
In some people that maze is extremely confused,
and in some people that maze is very subtle,
very clever, very intricate.
Most peoples thinking falls somewhere
in between these two.

An endless maze of thought
leading to ego-preservation,
although usually masquerading as something else.

Some people think their own thoughts are
better than the instructions of a liberated sage.

That is only one of so many thousands of
ego-preservation strategies.

When the extremely intense desire for liberation
arises, one selects those quotes that describe the
direct practice and then actually practices
the described practice.

Before the extremely intense desire for liberation
arises, people either ignore the quotes by
Direct Path sages, or they select quotes that help to
preserve the ego-illusion instead of ending it,
or they make the quotes into an intellectual affair,
agreeing and disagreeing, thinking about the quotes,
discussing them etc.

*Human beings have made almost no inward progress in
the last many thousands of years, with the exception
of a very few who have ended the ego-illusion.
Death, disease, thousands of forms of suffering and
sorrow, violence, fear, war,
cruelty (verbal and physical),
lying, conning, cheating, appear now
just as they did thousands of years ago.

Pretending to care,
when the behavior does not match it.
Someone spends $7.00 to go see a movie
when there are starving people in the world
and yet they consider themselves to be caring.

For the change to occur from the above * to
Infinite-Eternal-Being-Awareness-Bliss-Love-Peace,
the ego-illusion, which is the source of the above
described human condition, must end.

Why does it end in so few humans?

Because the extremely intense desire for liberation
has not yet been awakened.

Prior to its awakening, the fear of ending the ego,
prevents people from turning inward
and removing the ego-illusion.

Comparing the human condition * with
Infinite-Eternal-Being-Awareness-Bliss-Love-Peace
can awaken the intense desire for freedom if one does
a good job of looking at the human condition
and the comparison.

Without the awakening of the extremely intense desire
for liberation, humans stay as they are and all the
supposed inward changes are only superficial.

Thus there is a step by step order necessary
to end the ego-illusion and to remain in freedom.

I will use a few quotes by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
and insert step numbers.
I happen to be compiling some of Sri Nisargadatta's
quotes now, and that is why I am using them,
not because there is some sort of preference to
Sri Nisagardatta's quotes.
Read the quotes very slowly,
treating them as practice instructions
and not topics for thinking, discussion, etc.
For example in the first quote,
the words "unable to see its enormity"
are important keys,
but people tend to read so quickly
they miss some of the details of the practice
instructions. Thus facing the enormity of human
suffering, instead of blocking out 99.99% of human
suffering as people usually do is the first step.

STEP #1:

Questioner: "Have I not suffered enough?"

Nisargadatta: "Suffering has made you dull,
unable to see its enormity.
Your first task is to see the sorrow in you
and around you.

STEP #2:

"Your next to long intensely for liberation.
The very intensity of longing will guide you;
you need no other guide."

STEP #3:

Questioner: "Surely there is something valid
and valuable in every approach."

Nisargadatta: "In each case the value lies
in brining you to the need of seeking within.
Playing with various approaches
may be due to resistance to going within,
to the fear of having to abandon the illusion
of being something or somebody in particular.
To find water you do not dig small pits
all over the place,
but drill in one place only.

Similarly, to find your self
you have to explore yourself."

Questioner: "In the beginning we may have to pray
and meditate for some time
before we are ready for self-inquiry."

Nisargadatta: "If you believe so, go on.
To me, all delay is a waste of time.
You can skip all the preparation
and go directly for the ultimate search within.
Of all the Yogas it is the simplest and the shortest."

Questioner: "You mean to say that all these glories
will come with the mere dwelling
on the feeling 'I am'?"

Nisargadatta: “It is the simple that is certain,
not the complicated.
Somehow, people do not trust the simple, the easy,
the always available.

"Why not give an honest try to what I say?
It may look very small and insignificant,
but it is like a seed that grows into a mighty tree.
Give yourself a chance!

"I simply followed my Guru’s instruction
which was to focus the mind on pure being ‘I am’,
and stay in it.

"I used to sit for hours together,
with nothing but the ‘I am’ in my mind
and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love
became my normal state.

"In it all disappeared ­ myself, my Guru,
the life I lived, the world around me.
Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.

"Whatever happened,
I would turn my attention away from it
and remain with the sense 'I am',
it may look too simple, even crude.
My only reason for doing it
was that my Guru told me so.

"Yet it worked!
Obedience is a powerful solvent
of all desires and fears.
Just turn away from all that occupies the mind;
do whatever work you have to complete,
but avoid new obligations;
keep empty, keep available,
resist not what comes uninvited.

"In the end you will reach a state of non-grasping,
of joyful non-attachment,
of inner ease and freedom indescribable,
yet wonderfully real.

"Nothing stops you but preoccupation with the outer
which prevents you from focusing on the inner.
It cannot be helped,
you cannot skip your spiritual practice.
You have to turn away from the world and go within.”

"As long as you are engrossed in the world,
you are unable to know yourself:
to know yourself,
turn your attention away from the world
and turn it within."

Questioner: "What is the course of training in self-awareness?"

Nisargadatta: "There is no need of training.
Awareness is always with you.
The same attention that you give to the outer,
you turn to the inner.
No new, or special kind of awareness is needed.

"What you need is to be aware of being aware.
Don't be misled by the simplicity of the advice.
Very few are those who have the courage
to trust the innocent and the simple.

"The all important word is 'try'.
Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly
and trying, just trying,
to go beyond the personality,
with its addictions and obsessions.

"You just keep on trying until you succeed.
If you persevere, there can be no failure.

"It is not a matter of easy, or difficult.
Either you try or you don't.
It is up to you."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Death

Death To speak of nothingness, void, eternity, silence and stillness one must come eventually to the subject of death. And not only that, one must come to face death as part of the human condition. You and I, and everyone will die. That is certain.

Death is the ultimate and final entry into Pure Silence. At that point all the struggling, all the grasping and controlling is finished whether we wish that to be or not. Death is our final friend, our destiny as a living being. However, I offer that it is the fear of death, of the unknown finality of it, of the dissolution into nothingness, which has been the central concern of all humanity since the beginning, whether consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously. We know that someday we will not be alive and the fear is that we will not be aware as well. Consider this in yourself right now. Because there is tremendous freedom here if you admit that someday you will be nothing itself.

If you invite this into your consciousness, no matter how painful it seems, you will see the absolute joy of it all. In death the Pure Silence that you are will finally return to the source, the center, the all of Pureness itself. There you will not have body with brain, brain with thought and memory, and memory with emotion. If you consider that, at first it is a little scary. That is the reason religion has invented concepts like heaven to sooth humanity's fears about this. It is my humble opinion that our fear of being nothing, being dead, being silent, is all related to this.

Spend a few moments right now and welcome death to yourself psychologically. Investigate the fact that someday you will be gone, your thoughts, dreams, memories, hopes, goals, desires - everything will be gone. What will be left, what is left, only Pure, gentle, loving Silence. This is you, right now

Forgiveness

ForgivenessForgiveness

by Prem Prakash



In virtually all meditative traditions, one finds instructions to "release" thoughts, "let go" of attachments, and "cease clinging" to likes and dislikes. These verbs imply that a quiet mind is not so much something gained or accomplished, but something already existing, underlying our present chaotic condition. The quiet mind is revealed when we loose ourselves from binding impediments, such as grievances against others.

I was at a yoga retreat a number of years ago, where a woman asked Baba Hari Dass a question about an interpersonal problem that had plagued her for some time. Baba Hari Dass told her that the answer to her dilemma was to let go of the problem.

She sat quietly for a moment, and I could see that his words had deeply penetrated her mind. Suddenly her eyes lit up. As they say, she "got it!" In awe and wonder, she asked, "You mean... it's that simple?" "Yes," Baba Hari Dass responded with a chuckle.

As if unsure of her immense good fortune, she double-checked, "It's really that simple?" What could Babaji do but smile sweetly and re-assure her, "Yes, it is that simple."

It may be that simple for a master yogi, but it certainly doesn't seem that simple, or at least that easy, for us. What is it that keeps us so trapped in emotional suffering, in dissatisfaction, in a guilt-ridden past and a fearful future? My observation is that we have an uncanny resistance to forgiving and forgetting, a drunken unwillingness to release the past and its hangover on our present.

We tend not to see other people in the present. We "hold them to a place," defining them based on previous experiences. We fail to permit them the grace to change, to grow. Instead, we anticipate that their personalities will remain static. Our beliefs then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if others do change for the positive, we refuse to acknowledge their growth by clinging to their past. Thus our relationships remain stuck.

Forgiveness is generally thought of as some special grace that we bestow upon others. First, we interpret someone's behavior as damaging to us or those with whom we identify. Then, out of the supposed magnanimity of our hearts, we give them a break and bestow our forgiveness upon them. I think forgiveness is actually more of a relinquishing of our victim consciousness. Forgiveness is a willingness to release all of our reasons, no matter how seemingly righteous, that keep us from peace. Forgiveness helps us get our power back, reminding us that we are the source of our own experience of the world.

This doesn't mean that bad things don't happen to generally good people, or that we have to meekly accept everything that is directed our way. Free will means we can deliberately choose the environments and beings with whom we would like to share our lives. Most of us have very little free will, however, because we are pushed and pulled by our attractions and repulsions, many of which are unconscious, into experiences over which we have little control. Through forgiveness, we come to recognize that our own consciousness is the origin of our experience. With this recognition, our personal power to control the flow of events in our lives increases, and we garner a certain potency over the manifestation of our world.

Spiritual practice produces the awareness that we are not our bodies. We are consciousness, within which thoughts arise and pass away, similar to the way clouds appear and disappear in the empty sky. As we realize our existence as separate from passing mental conditions, we garner a willingness to release negative thoughts. Security is not obtained by fighting negative thoughts, but by realizing that our identity is not threatened by releasing them. The sky exists regardless of the presence of clouds.

We can learn to see that grievances and condemnation bring suffering, and forgiveness delivers peace. Then we can choose what brings us peace and release what causes us to suffer. One doesn't have to be a great genius to participate in this process. One does, however, need to be willing to let go of blame and guilt allied with the past, and anxieties and fears associated with the future. The peace we are seeking cannot be found in yesterday or tomorrow. The past is a memory and the future mere imagination. Forgive your brothers and sisters, forgive yourself, forgive God, and "be here now", in the peace and spacious freedom that forgiveness provides.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jataka Tales(the parrot told the truth,and died.)

Jataka Tales
How a Parrot Told Tales of His Mistress and Had His Neck Wrung

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta came into the world as a young parrot. His name was Radha, and his youngest brother was named Potthapada. While they were yet quite young, both of them were caught by a fowler and handed over to a Brahmin in Benares. The Brahmin cared for them as if they were his children. But the Brahmin's wife was a wicked woman. There was no watching her.

The husband had to go away on business, and addressed his young parrots thus: "Little dears, I am going away on business. Keep watch on your mother in season and out of season. Observe whether or not any man visits her." So off he went, leaving his wife in charge of the young parrots.

As soon as he was gone, the woman began to do wrong. Night and day the visitors came and went. There was no end to them. Potthapada, observing this, said to Radha, "Our master gave this woman into our charge, and here she is doing wickedness. I will speak to her."

"Don't," said Radha.

But the other would not listen. "Mother," said he, "why do you commit sin?"

How she longed to kill him! But making as though she would fondle him, she called him to her. "Little one, you are my son! I will never do it again! Here, then the dear!" So he came out. Then she seized him, crying, "What! You preach to me! You don't know your measure!" And she wrung his neck, and threw him into the oven.

The Brahmin returned. When he had rested, he asked the Bodhisatta, "Well, my dear, what about your mother? Does she do wrong, or no?" And as he asked the question, he repeated the first couplet:

I come, my son, the journey done, and now I am at home again,"
Come tell me, is your mother true? Does she make love to other men?

Radha answered, "Father dear, the wise speak not of things which do not conduce to blessing, whether they have happened or not." And he explained this by repeating the second couplet:

For what he said he now lies dead, burnt up beneath the ashes there.
It is not well the truth to tell, lest Potthapada's fate I share.

Thus did the Bodhisatta hold forth to the Brahmin. And he went on, "This is no place for me to live in either." Then bidding the Brahmin farewell, he flew away into the woods.

Jataka Tales(Do NOT cleave to these things)

Jataka Tales
The Tortoise That Refused to Leave Home

Once on a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a village as a potter's son. He plied the potter's trade, and had a wife and family to support.

At that time there lay a great natural lake close by the great river of Benares. When there was much water, river and lake were one; but when the water was low, they were apart. Now fish and tortoises know by instinct when the year will be rainy and when there will be a drought.

So at the time of our story the fish and tortoises which lived in that lake knew there would be a drought; and when the two were one water, they swam out of the lake into the river. But there was one tortoise that would not go into the river, because, said he, "here I was born, and here I have grown up, and here is my parents' home. Leave it I cannot!"

Then in the hot season the water all dried up. He dug a hole and buried himself, just in the place where the Bodhisatta was used to come for clay. There the Bodhisatta came to get some clay. With a big spade he dug down, until he cracked the tortoise's shell, turning him out on the ground as though he were a large piece of clay. In his agony the creature thought, "Here I am, dying, all because I was too fond of my home to leave it!" And in the words of these following verses, he made his moan:

Here was I born, and here I lived; my refuge was the clay;
And now the clay has played me false in a most grievous way;
Thee, thee I call, oh Bhaggava; hear what I have to say!

Go where thou canst find happiness, where'er the place may be;
Forest or village, there the wise both home and birthplace see;
Go where there's life; nor stay at home for death to master thee.

So he went on and on, talking to the Bodhisatta, until he died. The Bodhisatta picked him up, and collecting all the villagers addressed them thus: "Look at this tortoise. When the other fish and tortoises went into the great river, he was too fond of home to go with them, and buried himself in the place where I get my clay. Then as I was digging for clay, I broke his shell with my big spade, and turned him out on the ground in the belief that he was a large lump of clay. Then he called to mind what he had done, lamented his fate in two verses of poetry, and expired.

So you see he came to his end because he was too fond of his home. Take care not to be like this tortoise. Don't say to yourselves, 'I have sight, I have hearing, I have smell, I have taste, I have touch, I have a son, I have a daughter, I have numbers of men and maids for my service, I have precious gold.' Do not cleave to these things with craving and desire. Each being passes through three stages of existence."

Thus did he exhort the crowd with all a Buddha's skill. The discourse was bruited abroad all over India, and for full seven thousand years it was remembered. All the crowd abode by his exhortation, and gave alms, and did good until at last they went to swell the hosts of heaven.