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Insights

Peace, Union, and Ecstasy of the Moment

Peace, Union “As God sent me to you so will I send you to others. And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.” — ACIM T, 134 Peace There is — deep within each of us — a very special, pure, shining, radiant, luminescent core. That core, which traditional Christian theology calls the soul, also referred to as the Higher Self, the True Self, is the final reality of who we are. It is one’s Ultimate Identity. It is not the center of our Being, it is our Being, our essence, our “I Am.” It is that which during moments of anxiety, in the midst of abject fear or uncontrollable excitement, remains…

The Same Truth Is Behind All

Bhagavan once told me that thought comes in flashes, no thought was continuous. It was like the cycle of an alternating current but was so rapid that it seemed continuous as does the light given off by an electric bulb. If one could only concentrate on the intervals between thoughts rather than on the thoughts themselves that would be Self-realization. He always taught that mind and thought were exactly the same, “The mind is nothing but a lot of thoughts.” —Upadesa Saram, v18 And again that ego and mind were identical and arose together, “The ego rising all else will arise.” —Ulladu Narpadu, v26 “The ego is the root of all thought.” —Ulladu Narpadu, v40 Yes, surely but, “The mind…

Tablets of Forgotten Truth

Paul Brunton (1898-1981) was a British author of spiritual books and an awakened mystic in his own right. Although he authored 11 books, he may be best known as for his bestselling work, A Search in Secret India (1934), which has been translated into over 20 languages. My pen would wander on into some account of the scenic life around me, and into further record of many talks with the Maharshi, but it is now time to draw the chronicle to a close. I study him intently and gradually come to see in him the child of a remote Past when the discovery of spiritual truth was reckoned of no less value than is the discovery of a gold mine…

Insights On The Short Path

Intuition knows earthly truth without the intervention of reasoning, while insight knows divine truth in the same direct way. (20-4-151) When the mystery of it all is solved, not merely intellectually but in experience, not only in the person himself but in transcending it, not only in the depth of meditation but in the world of activity; when this answer is richly felt as Presence and God, clearly known as Meaning and Mind, then, if he were to speak he would exclaim: “Thus It Is!” But this is not the beginner’s glimpse: it is the sage’s settled insight. (25-2-24) We need to know the truth, the wisdom-knowledge, but it is not enough. We need to have the living mystic experience,…

Bewildered Ignorance

At first, for bewildered beings Awareness did not arise on the ground. That obscurity of unconsciousness Is the cause of bewildered ignorance. The Dzogchen view is that deluded beings arise because of the failure to see the awareness of the original ground. The awareness, which did not arise on the ground, is the awareness of spontaneous insight, vipashyana, superior insight. This does not mean that rigpa is absent in the beginning. It is very much present. However, when we fail to recognize it, when it fails to recognize itself, the illusion begins. The whole of samsara manifests from that very moment of nonrecognition. In a way, it is very simple. We search so much for the beginning of samsara. However,…

Self-Observation

The only way someone can be of help to you is in challenging your ideas. If you’re ready to listen and if you’re ready to be challenged, there’s one thing that you can do, but no one can help you. What is this most important thing of all? It’s called self-observation. No one can help you there. No one can give you a method. No one can show you a technique. The moment you pick up a technique, you’re programmed again. But self-observation—watching yourself—is important. It is not the same as self-absorption. Self-absorption is self-preoccupation, where you’re concerned about yourself, worried about yourself. I’m talking about self-observation. What’s that? It means to watch everything in you and around you as…

Get In, Get In

Narrated by N. V. Gunaji When there is a sincere desire on the part of a devotee to see Bhagavan and a determination to do so, Bhagavan helps him miraculously and meets him halfway. From the moment I decided to see Bhagavan, everything helped me. I wanted to know more about Bhagavan and his Ashram. So, I went in search of Mr. Sakhdev, who had lent me some Ashram books, at Madhavpur-Vadgaon near Belgaum and there enquired of a man who was tending cattle, about Mr. Sakhdev. Imagine my surprise when the man told me that he himself was Sakhdev! He gave me all the information I needed and confirmed me in my determination. Next, I went to Messrs. Karguppi…

Lieh-Tzu

Taoist Stories for Practical Living Lieh-tzu lived during the Eastern Ch’ou dynasty (770-476 BCE). It is said that he studied under Wen-tzu, who was a student of Lao-tzu. The book the Lieh-tzu contains materials that were written over a period of six hundred years. There were twenty sections which were condensed into the eight sections we have today. Because it contained more stories than formal philosophical discussion, the book was dismissed as a minor work. If it weren’t for the efforts of a scholar of the Eastern Chin (317-420 CE) who edited and wrote a commentary on it, the Lieh-tzu would have probably disappeared into oblivion. Lieh-tzu was a natural hermit. From the scanty information we have about him, we…

I Am Not Going Away. Where Could I Go?

Sri Ramana Maharshi, just before his death when the devotees were grieving over his imminent departure, reassured them with the above statement. What is the meaning of these immortal words? We have the idea that upon death, we are going somewhere; we are departing from this earth, from this world. It is necessary and, I think, very fruitful to thoroughly investigate this situation for oneself. In the first place, what really is “here” and is one ever going anywhere? Also, what is “now” and what is the future? Are not these terms always a function of body-mind-sense activity? In the waking state, I can assert that I find myself “here” (or at such and such a place) in the present….

Zen Stories

Concentration A young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly…

Wisdom of the Sufi’s

Desire An emperor was coming out of his palace for his morning walk when he met a beggar. He asked the beggar, “What do you want?” The beggar laughed and said, “You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!” The king was offended. He said, “Of course I can fulfill your desire. What is it? Just tell me.” And the beggar said, “Think twice before you promise anything.” The beggar was no ordinary beggar; he was the emperor’s past life master. He had promised in that life, “I will come and try to wake you in your next life. This life you have missed, but I will come again.” But the king had forgotten completely—who remembers past…

Wisdom from Around the World

True Wealth One day a very wealthy family took their son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing him how very poor people live. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “Very good, Dad! “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Yeah!” “And what did you learn?” The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps…

True Solitude

In early 1972, the French Benedictine monk Abhishiktananda (Father La Saux) lived in India as a mendicant, spending time in solitude at the sacred hill Arunachala, in South India, and alone in the Himalayas. This is a letter to Marc (his student), who wanted to experience the heart of solitude for himself. Abhishiktananda sent him to Arunachala to learn that true solitude is everywhere. Your pilgrimage must not be interrupted, unless you are compelled to do so by unavoidable outward circumstances. It is part of your spiritual practice. The espresso bar on the corner of the ghats [steps leading to a common bathing area] is no less “brahmic” [sacred] than the arati or the ecstatic Mass. This is precisely what…

True Blessings

A Taoist Tale A man who lived in the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?” Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?” Their household was richer by a fine horse, which the son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing.” A year…

Timeless Tales

Empty Your Cup A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.” Is That So? When a beautiful girl in the village became pregnant, her angry parents demanded to know who the father was. At first, resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom…

Three Stories

Conquering a Kingdom In the early 1900s, when the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi lived in the Virupaksha Cave on the Arunachala Hill, his companions were monkeys, dogs, snakes and other animals. Often the restless monkeys would sit still, as if in a trance, under the large tree in front of the cave. Once, one of the monkeys started moving and was looking restless. Ramana asked him, “What kingdom do you have to conquer?” The monkey again became still. True Love One morning a visitor asked Ramana Maharshi about motiveless action. Ramana did not reply. After a little while he left the hall and walked up the Arunachala Hill, behind the hermitage where he lived. A few people followed him. On…

The Sounds of Walden

I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sac­rifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a sum­mer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I…

The Crack in the Armor of the World

Nearly everyone understands that the sound of thunder follows the flash of lightning; fewer understand that the flash we see with the eyes is also delayed in time, that the flash follows the actual bolt of lightning by a fraction of a fraction of a second. If you explode a giant firecracker on top of Double Oak Mountain, you will see the flash there before I see it here two miles away, just as you will hear the explosion before I do. Light also travels at a finite speed. The flash is fast but not instantaneous. Now, let me ask: Do you see that there is something prior to your own world-view of people, places and things? That is, the…

Surviving the Awakening

Gilles Farcet: There you are, awakened and good for nothing according to the usual criteria of our society. Didn’t you want to retreat from the world? After all, if the only thing that interested you was maintaining that private flame . . . Stephen Jourdain: No, I never felt the desire to retreat . . . Ah, explaining oneself isn’t easy! I insisted on the profoundly, supremely human character of that experience—if one can call it that. Thus, it is legitimate to speak about the repercussions on the human level; but, at that same time, it’s extremely delicate when the awakening suddenly happens; it’s as if you have left earth and found yourself in the center of a black hole,…

Stories from India

Shantanand Saraswati is the elder Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, in Northern India. One of the ways in which His Holiness has taught the ancient tradition of knowledge and meditation is through stories, myths, and incidents from his own experience in contemporary life. The following selections are from a new publication that presents some of the best of these stories, The Man Who Wanted to Meet God. The Indian and the African Money lender An Indian went to Africa. When his money ran out, he went to a moneylender to ask for a loan. Just then, there was a death in an Indian family living in that neighborhood and the mem­bers of the family were weeping. The moneylender asked the Indian…

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