Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Grace as Mother

"It is impossible for anyone to get established in the experience of reality, being-consciousness, except through the power of grace, the Mother [chit-para-sakti]. Other than through grace, the Mother, no one can attain reality, the experience of Sivam, which is truth. Except through that exalted light, which is the grace of consciousness, the supreme power, it is impossible to transcend the conceptualizing power of the mind. The ego can only be destroyed by the power of grace, not by the dark, perverted knowledge [suttarivu]."

~ Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Hymn of the Pearl

At once, as soon as I saw it,
The Glory looked like my own self.
I saw it in all of me,
And saw me all in all of it,
That we were two in distinction,
And yet again one in one likeness.

- Gnostic, The Hymn of the Pearl


The Pearl is a symbol of the Sahasrara Chakra,
at the crown of the head,
where Self-realisation is attained.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


According to Yoga philosophy, Dharma (sometimes translated as 'religion' but by no means the same thing) is an innate sense of morality, it is something built into human beings. It cannot be abolished without abolishing humanity itself. It is a huge part of what makes individuals and societies human.
It is easy to sympathise with Richard Dawkins and other scientists who are justifiably fed up with the irrational bigotry and deluded literalism peddled by most religious organisations. But perhaps rather than trying to abolish religion, Science should strive to discriminate that which is innate in religion from that which is an accretion of prejudices, that which has its origin in the Self from that which has been imposed on it. If scientists want to proscribe belief altogether they should practise what they preach and take doubt to it's logical conclusion, they should practise vichara (the yoga practice of stripping away everything that is not the Self through doubt/rejection of sense impressions/thoughts). There are so many fundamental things we all take on faith without evidence - eg. that individual selves exist, that time and space exist.
Perhaps there are good arguments for scrapping religion altogether and starting from scratch to discover our innate morality, but are we going to give up the culture which is intertwined inextricably with it? Are we going to toss out the baby of Bach, Michelangelo, or Blake, with the bathwater of the inquisitions, crusades, etc? These artists - prolific generators of culture - may have disagreed with the prevailing religious attitudes of their times but they were also deeply devoted to God (to the ideal of universal Selfhood).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shirdi Sai Nath

Shirdi Sai (or Sai Nath) was a completely Self-realised saint who lived in Shirdi, India, in the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th. Shirdi Sai (a name which just means 'Saint of the town of Shirdi') is widely considered in India to have been an Avatara (Incarnation) of Paramatman (the Supreme Self).

When William Blake was asked if he thought Jesus was an Incarnation of God, he said something like: "Yes, but so are you, and so am I", i.e. on one level everyone is an Incarnation of the single Self - a consequence of the Non-duality of Being.

Sai never said "I am God", preferring to describe himself as a humble servant of God. He always said- "Allah Malik" (God is the sole Proprietor or Owner). In the following quotation; however, He speaks as the Supreme Self - something only an utterly egoless person can do:

"Be wherever you like, do whatever you choose, remember this well that all that you do is known to Me. I am the Inner Ruler of all and seated in their hearts. I envelope all creatures. I am the Controller - the wire-puller of the show of this Universe. I am the Mother - origin of all beings - the harmony of the three gunas (attributes), the propeller of all senses, the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. Nothing will harm who turns his attention towards Me,
but Maya (Illusion) will lash him who forgets Me. All the insects, ants, the visible, movable and immovable world is My body or form."

"You need not go far, or anywhere in search of Me. Barring your name and form, there exists in you, as well as in all beings, a sense of Being or Consciousness of Existence. That is Myself. Knowing this, you see Me inside yourself as well as in all beings. If you practise this, you will realize all pervasiveness and thus attain oneness with Me."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
- The Third Zen Patriarch

Even the idea of a single Self is a mental concept.

It is neither true nor untrue.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Drops and Oceans

"Know that the world is a mirror from head to foot,
In every atom are a hundred blazing suns,
If you cleave the heart of one drop of water,
A hundred pure oceans emerge from it."
- Mahmud Shabistari

In this poem of Shabistari we see that the world is a mirror of the Universal Self. There is nowhere It can look without seeing Itself. It also recalls Kabir's saying about the the drop (the individual self) falling into the ocean (Supreme Self) - the ocean also falls into the drop. Thus ego annihilation/Self-realisation is not just an experience of loss, but of immense fullness.

Mahmud Shabistari (1288 – 1320s) is one of the most celebrated Persian Sufi poets of the 14th century. He was born in Tabriz in 1288 (687 AH), where he received his education. He became deeply versed in the symbolic terminology of Ibn Arabi. He wrote during a period of Mongol invasions. His most famous work is a mystic text called "The Secret Rose Garden" (Gulshan-i Rāz) written about 1311 in rhyming couplets.
"When the Quran asserts, 'Everything perisheth save His Face', the Sufis understand this truth as referring not to some future eschatological event but to the here and now. At this very moment, which is also the eternal now, everything is non-existent and has perished in itself save the the Face of God, and right now in whichever direction one turns there is His Face, if one could only see. To understand this reality is to realise the meaning of the oneness of Being."
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Garden of Truth

Jung drops the bundle

While recovering from an illness in 1944, Carl Jung had the following experience of ego annihilation:

"...a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of Earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me - an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained: it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: that is what I am. 'I am this bundle of what has been, and what has been accomplished.' This experience gave me the a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence. Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a fait accompli, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything."

- Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Huang Po

"Only awake to the One Mind
and there is nothing whatever to be attained."
- Huang Po