Monday, July 31, 2006

Seek the Boatman

It was a Sunday morning some years ago and, as was his custom, shunyayogi sat cross-legged before his home shrine, looking at his favourite deities with sadness.

The problem was that he had always cherished his intimate “connection” with them: he could talk to them, he could bow to them, he could feel them in his heart. But today, everything seemed changed. There was absolutely no feeling for them, no love, just a dull numbness and a hollow feeling in his chest. And, mind you, this was not the result of any other depressing cause in his life.

His feelings then are hard to describe. Let's say that he felt that his beloved personal deities had "deserted" him. A deep sadness engulfed him. Then, as shunyayogi sat there on his prayer mat, in silent despair, a line from a Hindi film song wafted across from a neighbour’s radio: Milegi na manzil tujhe bin khevaiya.

The astonishing thing was that neither the preceding line nor the succeeding line was heard, just this one line. Sharp and clear. And shunyayogi got goose bumps on hearing it. Existence had spoken.

Roughly translated, the line from the song said: You shan't find what you seek without the boatman.

You see, to spiritual seekers the world over, the boatman is always the guru.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The world is nothing but thought

The mind of the Sage (jnani) never leaves Brahman (that is, Self). But the mind of the ignorant one (ajnani) is such that wandering in the world it suffers, and turning back to Brahman for a while enjoys happiness. What is called the world is nothing but thought. When the world disappears, that is, when there is no thought, the mind experiences bliss (ananda); when the world appears, it experiences misery.

- Ramana Maharshi in Who Am I?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

'Stay connected with the Source'

Staying connected with the Source means being connected all the time, irrespective of whether one is enjoying pleasure or suffering pain in the moment. It is the peace of mind which the human being perpetually wants as ‘happiness’.

Paying too much attention to the pleasure and pain of the moment is what disconnects us from the Source, what separates ‘Me’ from the ‘I’, the identified consciousness from the Impersonal Consciousness, and thus makes us lose our peace of mind. It is the ‘thinking mind’ concerned with the fears, hopes and ambitions of the illusory future, that brings about the separation leading to the loss of the peace of mind. It is the ‘thinking mind’ which disturbs the ‘working mind’ concerned only with doing the job at hand in moment as efficiently as possible.

In order to remember what Advaita Vedanta tells us – We are THAT Source and not ‘this’ body-mind organism – all that one needs to do is remember, never to be unaware of the fact, that while it is ‘this’ which has to do whatever is necessary in the prevailing situation, as a part of the mechanism of daily living, it is always THAT which is the functioning element in any action in ‘this’ body-mind organism. And, it is always the will of THAT which prevails all the time. How can we ever forget the relation between ‘THAT-I’ and ‘this me’?

- Ramesh Balsekar, May 25, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Giving to the worthy

"You often say, 'I would give, but only to the deserving.'
The trees in your orchard say not so,
nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live,
for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights,
is worthy of all else from you."

- Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet and Philosopher