Friday, December 30, 2005

Holy Ego!

"I meditate 18 hours a day. What about you?"
"I can fast an entire week. You would droop after just one day."
"Every single day I meditate in the lotus position for three hours."
"I have done four spiritual workshops of seven days each."
"I chant my japa 1008 times every single day, at 4.30 every morning."
"I have moved to Level 2 of the meditation group. He is still struggling with the first one."
"Not everybody can sit with a straight back in padmaasan for two hours every day."
"I gave up eating non-veg...like this (snap of a finger)!"
"I have read every single book ever written on the Upanishads."
"My problem is I don't know what to do with all the love pouring out of me."
"I took him to my Guru...but if he wants to live in darkness, too bad!"

Monday, December 26, 2005

Nothing else is

It is God who desires in you
And it is God who becomes
Desireless in you.
This is total acceptance.
It is God who is a passion in you
And it is God who becomes
Enlightenment in you.
It is God who is anger in you
And it is God who becomes
Compassion in you.
There is nothing to choose at all.

- Osho

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Musings

Three Seekers
One Truth
Their steadfast resolve
Aided by
A steady guiding star
And then finally
After a long, weary journey
Stumbling upon
The light of His presence.

Sheer Grace!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Ego is The Doer

The Sanskrit word for Ego is Ahamkar.

In Sanskrit, each word reveals its soul when you break it into its syllables. In this case, Aham (I am) Kar (the Doer).

Once you truly and irrevocably realise you are NOT the doer, where is the ego?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hit wicket

You want to be
The centre
Of the Universe
All the time.
Forgetting…
When Existence plays darts
It hits bull’s eye
All the time.
And you…
You have chosen
To be there
All the time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Exquisite harmony

Human beings grew up in forests; we have a natural affinity for them. How lovely a tree is, straining towards the sky. Its leaves harvest sunlight to photosynthesize, so trees compete by shadowing their neighbors. If you look closely you can often see two trees pushing and shoving with languid grace. Trees are great and beautiful machines, powered by sunlight, taking in water from the ground and carbon dioxide from the air, converting these into food for their use and ours. The plant uses the carbohydrates it makes as an energy source to go about its planty business. And we animals, who are ultimately parasites on the plants, steal the carbohydrates so we can go about our business. In eating the plants we combine the carbohydrates with oxygen dissolved in our blood because of our penchant for breathing air, and so extract the energy that makes us go. In the process we exhale carbon dioxide, which the plants then recycle to make more carbohydrates. What a marvellous cooperative arrangement - plants and animals each inhaling each other's exhalations, a kind of planet-wide mouth-to-stoma resuscitation, the entire elegant cycle powered by a star 150 million kilometers away.

- Carl Sagan in Cosmos

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Who bows to stone idols?

While reading the Sunday newspaper, your eyes fall upon a vivid advertisement for a fabulous ice cream.

Your mouth starts salivating.

Are you drooling at the printed image? Most certainly not. You are drooling at the prospect of the real thing.

Much in the same way, no one bows to the stone idol. One bows to the Lord.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Consumed by Cleverness?

The problem with being clever all the time is you have no time left for anything else.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Here and Now

When the wind blows through the scattered bamboos, they do not hold its sound after it has gone. When the wild geese fly over a cold lake, it does not retain their shadows after they have passed. So the mind of the superior man begins to work only when an event occurs; and it becomes void again when the matter ends.

- Hung Tzu-ch'eng in Discourses on Vegetable Roots

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Patience and Spontaneity

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

- Lao-Tzu in the Tao-te-Ching

Monday, August 15, 2005

Time's up?

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you are alive, it isn’t.

- Richard Bach

Friday, August 12, 2005

Meditation is the art of losing the meditator

The closest definition of Meditation I have come to is, Meditation is open-ended concentration.

Remember, “open-ended”. Meditation is not an exercise in concentration, or of rigid straight backs for that matter.

The mind has this habit of either dwelling on the past or jumping to the future. It hates staying in the present moment. It normally revels in the gamut of “could”, “would” and “should”. It hates being in the What Is.

Simply put, Meditation is what gets the mind to stay in the What Is. In the beginning there is a meditator who is doing the meditation to achieve an objective. As the meditation progresses, there is no meditator, no objective…just the meditating.

Two things more to contemplate upon.

First, do you remember the geometry theorem we all learnt in school? “The smallest arc of a circle is a straight line.” The present moment is the smallest arc of this circle of life. If this present moment can be perfect, and the next moment, then the moment after that…life becomes a straight line in contrast to the violently rocking boat it is right now. This is what meditation facilitates.

Second, think about this. The body feeds on food, but what does the mind feed on? The mind feeds on “mind stuff” – what the Buddha would refer to as vikars, the knots formed by the mind because of its cravings and aversions, because of its habit of ceaselessly judging the past and restlessly extrapolating into the future, most often at the cost of the present moment.

What happens when the body fasts? The body accesses stored food (fat) to survive. And what would happen if the mind were to “fast” – i.e. stay strictly in the present moment? It begins to dig up and voraciously feed on stored “knots” of mind food. No wonder, after a stint of meditation meditators report feeling “lighter”, “cleaner”.

In the final analysis, the ultimate purpose of meditation is to discover just one answer: Who is it that meditates?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Miracles

Believe in miracles but don’t rely on them.

- sign outside church at Amboli, Mumbai

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Stream of (Un)Consciousness

This is where the mind wandered whilst I was busy chanting this morning in the autorickshaw to work:

… [seen: flooded road] God, when will the waters clear?! Wonder how they get into the shops by the road? …

… [seen: drug store sign] I need to buy some Laviest. All those antibiotics have screwed up my system …

… [bending to bow as the Krishna Temple is seen approaching] I really like this, the way they light up the deity with diyas instead of those ghastly light bulbs …

… [heard: a sharp horn and a shriek of brakes] F***k! That was close! He was just inches away. Ass****!

… [seen: a roadside cart with pineapples] They look so fresh. But look at that filthy plastic on the cut slices. So many flies! Eat this and you’ll shit to death! …

… [leaning forward to check out the ATM] Thank God, it’s working again after the floods. I don’t have to go to the one three blocks away …

… [seen: a cropped view through the auto’s hood of a tight rainbow-coloured tanktop on a very slim girl] Must be anorexic. What do these girls eat these days? You've to pay a price for all extremes …

… [seen: a fork in the road revealing the spot where an old man was crushed under a bus last week] Don’t look there! Can’t forget the white Gandhi cap amidst the thick dark pool of blood …


The chanting ended soon after.

The Deluge

As Mumbai recovers from the deluge, one is reminded of this delightful story:

The flood waters were rising fast and the villagers were evacuating and they told the rabbi, “Rabbi, let’s go. We have organized a bus for all of us. The water’s already up to the knees and rising really fast.” The wise old rabbi shook his head and smiled benignly: “The good Lord shall take care of me.”

A while later the flood waters reached the waist. The remaining villagers came in a boat to pick up the rabbi. The rabbi’s faith was strong and he refused to leave, saying: “The good Lord shall take care of me.”

Two hours later the water was touching the chin and a helicopter droned in above the rabbi’s head. The last of the villagers dropped down a ladder: “Rabbi, climb on. You are the only one left. The waters will be above your head in no time.” The rabbi waved them off. “The good Lord shall take care of me.”

The rabbi drowned and when he faced the good Lord, he grumbled bitterly: “You let me down! I trusted you so completely!”

The Lord protested: “I did my best by you. I sent you a bus, then I sent you a boat and finally I sent you a helicopter… but gosh you were so stubborn! You just wouldn’t heed!”

Why? Why not?

There is only one reason why you do not find any posting here from June 16.

The writing did not happen.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Everything's Just Happening!

All there is, is Consciousness

No me, no you
Nor this, nor that
Nor good, nor bad.

No path, no goal
No seeker, nothing sought.

No doer, nothing ‘done’
No plan made, which wasn’t made for us.

No choice, no volition
All there is, is Consciousness.

All that is seen, heard and tasted
Smelt, felt and thought
All of it, yes, all of it
Is mere stirred up Consciousness.

Five elements, three attributes
Chosen parents, specific conditioning
A catalyst thought
Instant vocalization
Inevitable action
Consciousness ‘gets’ its way.

No volition, yet no non-action
An amazing play!

All there is, is Consciousness.

- shunyayogi

(at the feet of my Master)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

You are this close...

You are watching a bee repeatedly bang its head against the half-closed glass window, wanting to get out. You can see the open window is just inches away.

You wish you could tell the persevering bee, "You are so close. You're just inches away from freedom."

This advice isn't about ego. It's compassion.

Whodunnit

According to what deeds are done
Do their resulting consequences come to be
Yet the doer has no existence:
This is the Buddha's teaching.

– Garland Sutra : 10

Wake up

Buddha was asked:
Are you God? Are you angel? Are you saint?

Buddha replied: I am awake.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Coincidence?!

You are holding a book edgeways. You see an ant begin to walk towards the centre. Then you see another ant walking towards the centre from the opposite end. When the ants meet, they exclaim, "Oh, what a coincidence!"

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Monkey of The Mind

There are two things in our experience that are the epitome of restlessness.

The first is the monkey. Have you ever seen a monkey that isn’t restless? If a monkey is happily perched on a branch, will it sit still? No way. It will scratch furiously, or jump from branch to branch or prance around wondering what to do next.

Now take the mind. Here this moment, there the next. Restless, working itself into a frenzy with What Was or What Could Be. Dipping into the past, projecting into the future.

Both, the monkey and the mind, share one problem: they cannot remain in the What Is.

There is one more aspect in existence that is by nature as restless. The Wind. Here this moment, there the next.

In Hindu mythology, the monkey is the symbol of the thinking mind.

Now do you understand why the “Monkey God” Hanuman is significantly the son of the Wind God? His very name reveals it all. Hanu (subtle)-Man (mind) is that unique "monkey" (mind) that has become calm, non-restless, ever settled in the What Is.

A rare phenomenon indeed, worthy of worship.

Tera tujh ko arpan…

To thee, what is yours

They said Bhakti is surrender
Advaita is acceptance.

They said ‘Insha’Allah’ and
‘Thy Will Be Done.’

They read out the Commandments
They held out the threats
Of the after-life.

They talked of karmic bank balance
And the rebirth penalty of overdraft.

They debated Atma, Paramatma
Awareness, Consciousness
Noumenon, Phenomenon
Choice, Volition
Free Will, Responsibility.

They raised their voices
They chased their tails
They defended forts
They themselves had claimed a while ago
To be Maya.

Meanwhile
Amidst all the churning
The Heart stood still
Anchored in peace
And the song it hummed was serene:

Hoyee hai woh jo Ram rachi raakha
Ko kar tark bhadawey shaakha?!
*

- shunyayogi

* A postscript on the concluding verse:

This is a couplet from the Hindu epic Ramayana by the sage Tulsidas.

The first line is direct, to the point, having the unambiguous authority of an axiom: All that happens is already written.

The second line is a compassionate adjunct.

The thinking mind is akin to a tree: each branch (shakha) branching into branches, each of which branching again into other branches, ad nauseam. Basically, the thinking mind can debate, doubt and question endlessly.

So the second line says: Knowing that all that happens is already written, why do you pointlessly proliferate branches of your thinking mind by your endless debating (tark)?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

When senses go out to graze

The deer is trapped by the sound of music and bells and the male elephant by the proximity of the female. The fish gets caught by the sense of taste. The moth destroys itself by being attracted by the sight of the flame. The bee, attracted by the perfume of the flower, gets trapped in it and dies. Each of them perish because of only one craving, but you have subjected yourself to all of the five temptations. How can you possibly find true happiness?

— Ramesh S. Balsekar in The Final Truth

It’s all there is

They said:
Worship
The stone, the tree
The cow, the monkey
The river, the sea
The living, the dead
The sun, the moon, the planets

They hoped
May be, just may be
One day
At some point
By some grace
You’ll begin to sense
Divinity
In every single thing.

Time isn’t linear

This is what happens when Neo meets the Oracle in The Matrix:

ORACLE
I'd ask you to sit down, but you're not going to anyway. And don't worry about the vase.

NEO
What vase?

He turns to look around and his elbow knocks a VASE from the table. It BREAKS against the linoleum floor.

ORACLE
That vase.

NEO
Shit, I'm sorry.

She pulls out a tray of chocolate chip cookies and turns. She is an older woman, wearing big oven mitts, comfortable slacks and a print blouse. She looks like someone's grandma.

ORACLE
I said don't worry about it. I'll get one of my kids to fix it.

NEO
How did you know...?

She sets the cookie tray on a wooden hot pad.

ORACLE
What's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything.


- From the film The Matrix

Monday, June 06, 2005

Pavlovian device

Ivan Pavlov is best known for his work on “conditioned reflex”, typified by what is called the Pavlov’s Dog experiment.

What Pavlov did was very simple. He put a dog alone in a room and, whenever it was meal time, he would first ring a bell and then give the dog his food. The procedure was repeated day after day. Finally a point came when the dog would start drooling at the mere sound of the bell.

Now see how the wise men, of every hue, deployed this as a device.

The moment you light a candle or a lamp, the moment the aroma of incense sticks impacts your nose, the moment you lay down your meditation mat, the moment the sound of church and temple bells strikes your ears… some minds become ready for prayer.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Seven Questions

Answer these seven questions calmly and honestly:

1. Did you decide when you will be born?

2. Did you decide to whom you will be born?

3. Did you decide your hardware?

[Did you decide what your DNA will be? What your body type will be? Scientists concur the DNA decides 85% of your life - even things like, will you be gay, a pscychopath, obese...]

4. Did you decide your software?

[Did you decide the ‘programming’ you would get? Your mom told you taking someone’s pencil was stealing, your dad taught you killing for sport was sin, your teacher told you the finest way to judge right and wrong was to step into the other person’s shoes…]

5. Can you decide the precise moment of your death?

[You may decide to take a cyanide pill at 11:05 hours but there may be an earthquake, a sneeze, a doorbell; you may decide to jump off the roof but you may break a leg and survive…]

6. Do you have any control over what may impact which of your senses at any given time?

[The sound of car brakes, a whiff of the neighbour’s cooking, the sight of a falling star, the roughness of the escalator handrail…]

7. Can you stop a thought from arising?

[Once it arises, you may be able to slam it down, but can you prevent it from arising?]


Now think about it:

You have no control over the beginning and the end.

You have no control over your hardware and your software.

You have no control over the inputs.

And you seriously think you can have absolute control over the output? You still think you are the doer of your actions?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Happiness is a matter of alignment

When what-you-desire coincides with what-Existence-desires, you call it Happiness.

When the two are at variance you call it Unhappiness.

Friday, May 20, 2005

There’s Always A Price Tag

James Hadley Chase books had some of the cheekiest titles. One of them was also philosophically profound: There’s Always A Price Tag.

Nature ensures that every desire carries within itself its own poison sting. Greater the desire, deadlier the sting.

The desire for Enlightenment is also a desire. But just look at the magnitude, the sheer audacity, of this particular desire: notionally, nothing less than eternal bliss will do.

No wonder these fellows are referred to as “miserable” seekers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rumi-nate

I have lived on the lip
Of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
Knocking on a door. It opens,
I’ve been knocking from the inside!

-- Rumi

Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
Or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

--Rumi

Beyond our ideas of
Wrongdoing and rightdoing
There lies a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase 'each other'
doesn’t make any sense.

--Rumi

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence.
Existence:
This place made from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free of
dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.
The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a
Piece of straw
blown off into emptiness.

--Rumi

Who makes the music: the flute or the flautist?

Come to think of it, what’s a flute? No fancy mechanics, merely a hollow reed. You can see right through it.

When sublime music flows out from it, the Flute says: I created the music. And you shake your head and explain compassionately: No flautist, no music.

The breath of consciousness, the reed of body. Sublime potential.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Morpheus, what is real?

MORPHEUS: What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about your senses, what you feel, taste, smell, or see, then all you're talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

- from the film The Matrix

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Unhappiness defined

An eight year old child was sitting on the grass lawns of the Indian Gymkhana in King's Circle, Mumbai. He had accompanied his father to a discourse by Advaita teacher Swami Chinmayananda.

And in the cool winter night scented with the heady fragrance of green grass, this is what he heard Swamiji say:

Unhappiness is Desires divided by Desires Fulfilled.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Where were ‘you’ when the lights went out?

If you think about it, there are just four possible states for you and me to be in.

There is the waking state. That’s you awake during the day. Working, loving, hating, happy, sad.

And there is the dream state. Mountains and springs and forests arising instantaneously. Old men and infants, births and deaths. Everything and everyone seeming so real in time and space that if I were to enter your dream and say, hey, wake up, this is unreal, you would fight me - in the dream - saying, “No, dammit, this is real!”

And then, of course, there is deep sleep. Sleep so deep that you - as a name and form, as John, Mary, Ramesh or whatever - don’t exist. In fact, the entire manifestation doesn’t exist.

The fourth state is what the Indian sages call turiya - the awakened state when you see the living dream for what it is. You know what they say: you wake up from the personal dream into this living dream; and it is only when you wake up from the living dream that finally Reality is witnessed…in the waking state.

Suppose you get up in the morning after deep sleep. Which means you did not dream, did not know “you” existed. You did not even know if manifestation existed. No dreams, no “me”, no parents, no religion, no wife, no child, no girl friend, no boss. Nothing.Yet you get up in the morning and say, “I slept well.”

Now, think about it: who (or if you like, what) was awake when you were in deep sleep?

Mr. Anderson in The Matrix

My name is Mr. Anderson. I'm just some computer code in the computer left over from the movie called The Matrix.

And when the computer is turned off I am the Reality of dreamless-sleep called Samadhi until the computer is turned on again. And then I wake up to be Mr. Anderson, again.

- posted by Gene Polotas at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rameshbalsekar

Saturday, May 14, 2005

If you trust in God will She protect your camel?

Picture this: it’s a cool morning and I am traveling to work in an auto-rickshaw. I have my rucksack next to me and I am blissfully chanting, with my eyes shut.

In the midst of the chanting, a thought suddenly pops up: what if somebody was to walk away with my rucksack at a traffic signal?

Now this isn’t as simple as it sounds. You know what they say: Trust in God but tie your camel.

So does that mean I must thread my arm round the strap, even as I chant, to prevent the rucksack from being stolen? What about my trust in Existence?

This leads to the thought that I can only go with one of two possibilities:

If my trust in Existence or God is complete it really won’t matter if the rucksack is stolen or not; both will be accepted as the What Is at the moment. However, if my trust is semi-baked, I had better cling tight to my belonging.

Wisdom dictates that if you are shaky on trust, shore up on pragmatism.


Psst: What do you think I did?

Is the wave different from the ocean?

It is a beautiful day and you are standing by the shore watching the ocean.
You see a wave arise, arise, arise and then…it dissolves back into ocean.

As it arises, the Wave says, “I Am, I Am, I AM”.

Then the Wave melts back into the ocean, its identity merged back into the ocean where it came from in the first place.

Then, once again, the wind of Cause affects the ocean, making another wave to arise.

And the nascent Wave says, “I Am, I Am, I Am”. There goes the whole game all over again.

Existence has ordained this:

The ‘Me’ of the Wave shall always return to the ‘I’ of the Ocean.

The most stable point in the see-saw is the centre

… the Buddha had no background to seeking, no guiding hand, no Guru, no one at all to tell him what to do, where to go to seek the answers he sought. So he wandered like a mendicant, making his own path. The prevailing trend among fellow seekers laid great store by denial, on austerities. On denying comforts and courting pain. Hardening the soul as it were. So the Buddha put himself through the greatest austerities, courted extreme pain.

Then, one day something happened that changed his entire life.

He was in a forest, exhausted by his austerities. Broken in his body, weary in his spirit. He had done everything he had been told to do but he was nowhere near his goal. Then, a couple of musicians walked into that part of the forest. They settled down a distance away, unaware of the Buddha’s presence. The older musician said to his younger companion, "If you haven’t understood one thing, you will get nowhere. Leave the strings loose and there’s no music. Tighten them too much and the strings will break. All music is born out of balance."

For a Buddha, that was enough.

Friday, May 13, 2005

But I Am Easy


They said:

Stand up, take a stand
Sign up, join now
Coin a slogan, wave a flag
Fight, set right all wrongs
Oh the world’s doing so horribly
And, you…
You’re too easy

Speak your mind, make a choice
This isn’t okay, that is fine
Pink and blue aren’t the same
Take your pick, leave a print
On the sands of time
Oh God…
You’re too easy

Stand out, leave a mark
Make a name, blaze a trail
Stir up, work up froth
Don’t you want to bequeath
A legacy?
How will you get anywhere
If you’re too easy


He sighed and said:

I concede, I accept
I am bother-less, I am choiceless
I have been terribly spoilt
By the ease of being easy

What do I tell you
How do I begin to explain
Life’s been teaching me
A whole new game

The middle path is wisdom, not compromise
Flexibility is strength, not frailty
Acceptance takes more grit than kneejerk action
And, believe it or not
Resilience comes naturally
To those who truly understand

So I let life live me
And as I weather those storms
I never let myself forget
The bamboo that bows
Stands taller much after
The rigid oak is down

I am still, not stagnant
I am content, not complacent
I have finally experienced
The exquisite poise
(Thank you, Chemistry)
Of dynamic equilibrium


Now…
I have no flags to flaunt
No forts to defend
No isms to lie down for
No desire at all
To leave behind my bust
For pigeons or posterity

Thank God, he said,
I am finally easy.

Who writes, who reads

Man is a programmed instrument.

An intrinsic part of his programming creates the delusion that he is an individual entity and the doer of his actions.

It so happens that some of the programmed instruments are programmed to seek power, some others to seek glory and yet others to seek pleasure. Some of the programmed instruments are programmed to seek their source code.