Biography

Wolter Keers on Ramana Maharshi

Wolter A. Keers was a Dutch teacher and writer who lectured extensively, throughout Europe during the 1970s and 1980s, on Yoga and Advaita. I brought a large amount of spiritual samskaras into this life. I was born into a family of clergymen. All interest in our household was focused on matters of religion. I must have been taught how to pray almost before I could talk. During a despairing phase of my life, I read Jnana Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. It caused something of an explosion in me. There, in those pages, I finally found someone who had been able to put into words what I had been feeling intuitively. It was a relief to discover that countless seekers, throughout…

This Is It! Meeting William Samuel

William Samuel was a legend who lived life with all the gusto of an adventurer in an epic film. During the Second World War, he commanded OSS troops in China and led an army infantry company in some of the Korean war’s fiercest battles. He loved birds, plants, trees, arrowheads and every aspect of wildlife. A prolific writer of metaphysics, Samuel was also a beloved spiritual teacher, with students scattered throughout the world. Samuel’s major writings include A Guide to Awareness and Tranquility and The Awareness of Self-Discovery. His most recent work, The Child within Us Lives! synthesizes Eastern philosophy, Christian mysticism, and the ideas that arise from quantum physics. William Samuel was a gentle lover of Truth. What makes…

The Fakir Sai Baba

During a classic Asian monsoon season in 1979, while blackish-purple clouds unleashed sheets of rain for weeks at a time, a small, yet powerful book found its way into the damp cottage where we were living in Tiruvannamalai, South India. I’ll never forget the first sentence of the book: “Look, here comes the crazy fakir (Muslim holy man) again!” I could picture the Indian shopkeepers in the center of a busy marketplace watching a young sixteen-year-old-fakir wander throughout their town. The name of this (currently out-of-print) book is The Incredible Sai Baba, written by Arthur Osborne; the name of the small Indian town where the fakir lived is Shirdi. The fakir, Sai Baba of Shirdi, is one of India’s great…

Suri Nagamma

Life-experiences are often fraught with countless complications and “apparent” difficulties. Yet, such experience can also serve as “leaps into the Infinite.” This point is beautifully demonstrated in the life of a simple Indian woman named Suri Nagamma. Some people reading this article may be familiar with her book, Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, a profound collection of letters written to her brother during the time she lived at the Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Compiled in the 1940s, this book represents the poetic and heartfelt accounts of life with one of the twentieth century’s greatest sages. Many may not be familiar with her earlier life. From the beginning, it was outwardly filled with great challenges, challenges which served to strengthen her…

Sri Anandamayi Ma

The Joy of Abidance Anandamayi Ma’s (1896-1982) story is much like that of the Indian poet-saint Mirabai. From birth she exhibited a pure and radiant disposition. Indeed, her mother Didima appropriately named her Nirmala Sundari (the pure and beautiful one). She had a remarkable ability to remember events that occurred when she was very young. At the age of two and a half years, Nirmala and her mother were attending a group devotional singing, when Didima noticed that Nirmala appeared to be in a trance. When others asked Anandamayi Ma about this in later years, she told them she experienced Oneness with the devotional mood of the singers. Although having a very cheerful and sweet disposition, she exhibited an extreme…

Sparks from the Western Mystical Tradition

“If he remembers who he became when he merged with the One, he will bear its image in himself. He was himself one, with no diversity in himself or his outward relations; for no movement was in him, no passion, no desire for another, once the ascent was accomplished. Nor indeed was there any reason or though, nor, if we dare say it, any trace of himself.” —Plotinus Historically, the decades just before and after the advent of Christ created remarkable surges of insight and mysticism. Over four decades before the beginning of Christianity, there was a small island (Samothrace) in the Aegean Sea where many renowned mystics resided. The mysteries of the human spirit, its relation to the body,…

Remembering Lex Hixon

Lex Hixon was a longtime acquaintance of ours. Many people came to know and respect Lex through his radio program In the Spirit, which aired each week on the Pacifica radio station in New York City. Every spiritual teacher in the early 1970s seemed to find a voice on his program. Lex simply facilitated these programs like an open reed, allowing the teachings to flow without interference. Lex’s literary accomplishments were many. His published works include Coming Home (Experience of Enlightenment), Heart of the Koran, Mother of the Buddhas, Atom from the Sun of Knowledge, Great Swan, Mother of the Universe,and his latest book, Living Buddha Zen. When we met Lex and his wife Sheila, we were charmed by their…

Ramana Maharshi

“It is false to speak of Realization; what is there to realize? The real is ever as it is. All that is required is to cease regarding as real that which is unreal.” —Ramana Maharshi In the ancient township of Tiruchulli, in a dry, dusty corner of South India, legend speaks of Lord Shiva saving the land from a deluge on three separate occasions. By planting his trident into the earth, Shiva created a hole for the water to escape into. At the place where he planted his trident stands the large temple of Buminatheswara (Lord of the Earth). Just across the street from this old temple is the house where the young Venkataraman was born in December, 1879. Though…

N. Balarama Reddy

“Once in a way a man of extraordinary spiritual caliber makes his appearance in this world and leaves an indelible impression on the mind of humanity. Such a one was Ramana Maharshi. Ramana taught both through silence and speech. His silence was so powerful as to silence the mind of the seeker with right receptivity. When he used speech for instruction, the effect could be Socratic.” —N. Balarama Reddy When my wife and I first met Balarama Reddy on a visit to India in 1979-1981 he was in his late seventies, with the energy and vitality of a person half his age. There was a lilt in his walk and a regal air about him; keeping up with him during…

Milarepa

“All the water and drink you’ve consumed Through beginningless time until now Has failed to slake thirst or bring you contentment. Drink therefore this stream Of enlightened mind, fortunate one.” —Milarepa Milarepa has been a great inspiration to seekers through-out the world. The fascinating and inspiring account of his life, presented in the book Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa (by Walter Evans-Wentz), has become a classic spiritual biography. Milarepa’s beautiful songs and stories flow directly from his own profound experience and insight, and demonstrate how a great thirst for knowledge and peace can transcend enormous obstacles when steadfastness, sincerity, and tenacity are present. His definition of realization as “the natural state,” cuts through the complexity of religious terminology by directly proclaiming…

Shopping Cart