Showing posts from 2009

Faith and Anxiety

Faith and Anxiety cannot co-exist.

Four Sanskrit Words

shunyayogi is very fond of these four Sanskrit words:

Kshetra (The Field of Activity; Domain):

The understanding is that one must be completely aware of one's kshetra. If you are keenly aware of your kshetra, chances are you would begin to get an inkling of your inherent programming.

Sukshma (Subtle):

Going beyond the gross, you become aware of the realm of the subtle. On one hand, your antenna begins picking up the faintest signal and on the other your communication becomes subtle too. A whole new realm opens up.

Maatraa (The Correct Dosage; The Optimum Reaction; The Fine Balance):

This holds true of almost anything - medicine, emotional reaction, indulgences or just about anything else. Too much of a good thing is bad. Too little of a good thing is ineffective. Not more, not less. Just the right amount. That's where wisdom lies.

Sahaj (Smooth and Easy):

Lao Tzu pointed out the unwisdom of using force in any action you perform.

We have all seen Yoga enthusiasts performing asana…

Love and Separation

Separation is the absence of Love, and Love is the absence of separation.

- Ramesh Balsekar

Knowledge and Wisdom

Data ingested is Knowledge
Knowledge digested is Wisdom

The Guest House

This being human is a guesthouse 
Every morning a new arrival 
A joy, a depression, a meanness 
Some momentary awareness 
Comes as an unexpected visitor 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows 
Who violently sweep your house 
Empty of its furniture 
Still treat each guest honorably 
He may be cleaning you out 
For some new delight! 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice 
Meet them at the door laughing 
And invite them in 
Be grateful for whoever comes 
Because each has been sent 
As a guide from the beyond 

- Rumi

Also check out an earlier post The Key Is In The Knowing

Don't Change...

Don't change. Desire to change is the enemy of Love.

Don't change yourselves: love yourselves as you are.

Don't change others: love all others as they are.

Don't change the world: it is in God's hands, and He knows.

And if you do that...change will occur marvelously in its own way and in its own time.

Yield to the current of life...unencumbered by baggage.

- Tony De Mello

(from the book Unencumbered By Baggage by Father Carlos G. Valles S.J.)

Hang loose

A student once complained to the Dalai Lama that mosquitoes were disturbing his meditation.

"What would you have done in my place?" he asked.

The Dalai Lama laughed, "I would drive them away!"

"And what if they still didn't go away?"

The Dalai Lama laughed louder. "I would dispatch them to their next incarnation!"

The key is in the knowing

If you are angry, continue being angry knowing that Anger is arising in you.
If you are feeling lustful, go on and be lustful knowing that Lust is arising in you.
If you are feeling vengeful, go be vengeful knowing that Vengeance is arising in you.
If you are feeling compassionate, be compassionate knowing Compassion is arising in you.
If you feel loving, go ahead be loving because Love is arising in you.
If you feel like chanting, go ahead and chant knowing that the Chant is arising in you.
If you feel like meditating, meditate knowing that Meditation is arising in you.
If you feel like dancing, dance knowing that Dance is happening through you.

Everything is just a happening. Everything.

Swami Sivananda on Prosperity

The secret of prosperity, of course, would be to live within your income, to spend less than what you earn, and not go into debt. That would be the greatest wisdom in a nutshell! If you have not got the cash, then don’t purchase items - go without them.

Yet, there are certain laws of prosperity which stem from eternal spiritual truths. If you begin to feel and think lack (want), you experience lack. If you assert your abundance, then, as the shadow follows the person, abundance follows you.

Desire is poverty. Desire is a feeling of inadequacy. When you begin to desire, you are a beggar already. A millionaire who is always wanting to make another million is really a beggar. A porter who is getting, say, four dollars a day and says, “That is quite enough for me” is greater than a millionaire. For he has not that nagging feeling of lack and the beggarly attitude of desire.

To this end, contentment is the true secret of affirming your abundance. Whatever comes, feel full. Once you have conte…


Only You
Could have inspired
This Salt Doll
To Dive
Into the Ocean.

- offered at the feet of my Guru on his birthday, May 25, 2009

Genes plus Conditioning

I'd known bad men in Paris, and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose. I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation... After all He created men: if He so created them that it was possible for them to sin, it was because He willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into my backyard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so.

- Larry Darrell in W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge

Walk one step and you will be taken a mile

He [Father Ensheim] softly drummed his fingers on the table as though he were turning a notion over in his mind.

"Our wise old Church," he said then, "has discovered that if you will act as if you believed, belief will be granted to you; if you pray with doubt, but pray with sincerity, your doubt will be dispelled; if you will surrender yourself to the beauty of that liturgy, the power of which over the human spirit has been proved by the experience of the ages, peace will descend upon you."

- From W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge

When Duality becomes Dualism

...And what does 'duality' mean? There are pairs of interconnected opposites, neither of which can exist without the other. Duality is the main mechanism by which the totality of Manifestation operates, the very basis for life as we know it, life as it happens. However Ramesh points out: "The ordinary person in every moment judges. The ego is not prepared to accept what-is in the moment." It is when the ego becomes involved in making an apparent choice between the interconnected opposites that duality becomes dualism, the whole becomes split.

- From the Editor’s Introduction to Advaita, The Buddha and the Unbroken Whole by Ramesh S. Balsekar

Good, Bad and Daily Living

When it comes to the art of day to day living, shunyayogi heartily endorses Urdu poet Zauf's sentiments expressed in this verse:

'Gar tu jo bhala hai
toh bura ho nahin sakta, ai Zauf
Bura woh hai
jo tujhe bura mantaa hai.
Aur 'gar tu bura hai
Toh woh sachh kehta hai
Bhalaa uski baat ka
bura kyon mantaa hai.

Roughly translated:

Says Zauf,
If you know in your heart that you're a good soul,
You cannot be otherwise.
The one who accuses you of being 'bad',
is probably 'bad' himself.
However, if you know it within you
that you are 'bad',
then he speaks the the truth.
Why take offense?

Prince Siddhartha Gets A Glimpse

Prince Siddhartha is invited by his father King Suddhodana to the Ploughing Festival at his farm. As his father is engaged in ploughing, Prince Siddhartha sits in the cool shade of the rose-apple tree.

And, as he sits there enjoying the sights and sounds and the splendour of Nature, he is given a deep insight into Life and Living.

This is how Edwin Arnold describes the incident in his wonderful book The Light Of Asia:

But on another day the King said,
"Come, sweet son, and see the pleasance of the spring.
And how the fruitful earth is wooed to yield
Its riches to the reaper; how my realm -
Which shall be thine when the pile flames for me -
Feeds all its mouths and keeps the King's chest filled.
Fair is the season with new leaves, bright blooms,
Green grass, and cries of plough-time."

So they rode
Into a garden of wells and gardens, where,
All up and down the rich red loam, the steers
Strained their strong shoulders in the creaking yoke
Dragging the ploughs; the fat soil rose and roll…

The Faith Vaccine

Anxiety can enter only when Faith exits.

- Dada Vaswani

The Tao Of Forgiveness

One day, the sage gave the disciple an empty sack and a basket of potatoes.

“Think of all the people who have done or said something against you in the recent past, especially those you cannot forgive. For each of them, inscribe the name on a potato and put it in the sack.”

The disciple came up with quite a few names, and soon his sack was heavy with potatoes.

“Carry the sack with you wherever you go for a week,” said the sage. “We’ll talk after that.”

At first, the disciple thought nothing of it. Carrying the sack was not particularly difficult. But after a while, it became more of a burden. It sometimes got in the way, and it seemed to require more effort to carry as time went on, even though its weight remained the same.

After a few days, the sack began to smell. The carved potatoes gave off a ripe odour. Not only were they increasingly inconvenient to carry around, they were also becoming rather unpleasant.

Finally, the week was over. The sage summoned the disciple. “Any thoughts about…

Footloose Sanyasi #6: Encounter with a bhakt

Madhukar Thompson goes to satsang with Gaura Bhakti Guru Gaurahari Das

Thiruvannamalai, Friday, January 30, 2009

He is a Bhakti Marg Yogi in the lineage of the Saint Chaitanya who lived some 500 years ago. While entering the rooftop I encounter four devotees sitting on mats on the floor while one person, a happy looking man, sits in a white plastic chair. This is Gaurahari Das. He sits there holding a drum (a khol) placed on his lap. One meter away from him stands a video camera. It is directed at him.

Gaurahari Das, an American national, welcomes me with a namaste. As soon as satsang begins he distributes a sheet with 10 mantras written on it, in English. Before singing he adjusts the camera and switches it on – pointed at himself.

We begin chanting the first mantra, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Gaurahari beats the drum rhythmically while chanting. Then he chants a few slokas by himself. After ten minutes the sin…

Footloose Sanyasi #5: Mystical Auroville

Madhukar Thompson visits enchanting Auroville

Pondicherry/Auroville, January 18-20, 2009

From a letter to a friend

“Thank you for the prompt reply with all the info on Auroville.

“Sadly, Banu does not work at the Nivas Bhavan guesthouse any longer. Furthermore, I didn’t go visit Jeanethi. Instead I stayed at the Center Guest House which is located bang in the middle of Auroville, some 500 meters from the Matrimandir. It is nestled under and around a hug, old banyan tree. It must be one of the oldest guesthouses in the “city” since a Dutch woman/coordinator is working there – she’s already been there for 25 years. And it was dirt-cheap: Rs. 500 (without attached bath room and shower) including all great and tasty meals and laundry service. Who can beat such a prize? I had a loft all to myself. The entire place was spanking clean.

“On my last day I met with Paola di Paolis at my guest house. We had lunch together. In the beginning she was a bit closed. But as soon as we spoke about Rasha’s…

Footloose Sanyasi #4: A different take on Vedanta

Madhukar Thompson goes to afternoon satsang with Ram

Thiruvannamalai, Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ram is teaching two fundamentals of traditional Vedanta different from what Sri Gangolli used to teach.

According to Sri Adi Shankara (and Sri Gangolli), the deep sleep “state” IS actually Pure Consciousness. According to Ram the deep sleep state is NOT PC (Pure Consciousness) but one of the three states (besides waking and dream state) that comes and goes; a state of pure consciousness but with ignorance of our true nature. The vasanas (tendencies of the mind and body) are resting dormant only to appear again on waking up into the dream or waking state.

The point is: In deep sleep the subjective direct “non-experience” for the “non-sleeper” is that his ego, mind, body and the world don’t exist. Nor is there space and time. So how can there be a seed?

Gangolli/Shankara teach that on waking up, manifestation (or dream) appears in and as consciousness with name and form; consciousness and mani…

Footloose Sanyasi #3: Basking in the loving presence

Madhukar Thompson goes to morning satsang with Mooji

Thiruvannamalai, Saturday, January 17, 2009

I line up for Mooji’s satsang at 08:35; the meeting starts at 10:00. I am told to be early if I want to be seated in the first two rows. Because I believe I will visit Mooji only once, I want to make sure I can observe and participate in his satsang from close quarters.

After reaching the satsang house I sit down and make myself comfortable on my cardboard which rests on a rock. Slowly, slowly the queue behind me grows. When my place seems secured, I go for breakfast at Satya’s Café nearby. Two idlis and two vadas with sambar and coconut chutney and a large coffee. Soon I resume my ‘reserved’ place in the line again. At 9:30 we are climbing up the stairs to the rooftop of the three-storey building. We are blessed with a great view of Arunachala. No music. No talking. Silence. At 10:00 sharp, Sri Mooji walks through the jam-packed mass of people and takes his slightly elevated seat. He closes …

Footloose Sanyasi #2: Three satsangs in three days

Madhukar Thompson has satsang with Ram, meets a Peaceful Presence, bumps into sundry seekers

Thiruvannamalai, Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I go to another session with Ram. We are 11 people. The topic: Enlightenment according to Advaita Vedanta (on the lines of Sri Adi Shankara and Vedas).

In the evening at 20:00 hrs was supposed to be satsang with Pratima, an ex-Osho disciple. She became enlightened (whatever that means) with Poonjaji. I know Pratima from the Poona and Papaji days. On her flyer it says: “In 1993 Papaji asked her to give satsangs which she did for seven years all over the world. In 1993, when Pratima actually asked Papaji In Lucknow if she could give satsang, he is said to have been reading the newspaper. Supposedly he was hardly looking up from the paper when he simply grunted some kind of a yes…” There is no website of Pratima’s anymore. The website that gives “guru ratings” for many gurus says “Pratima Sephton is now a deeksha giver in the Oneness movement.” Her email ad…

Footloose Sanyasi #1: The 3 R’s of Thiruvannamalai

Madhukar Thompson goes to satsang with ‘Rajneesh’, Ramana Baba and Ram

Thiruvannamalai, Monday, January 12, 2009

Last night (Sunday, January 11) I attend my first satsang. It is with ‘Rajneesh’. Yes, the new Rajneesh. Actually, it was quite a sweet satsang although the teachings were not Vedantic but more on the lines of Osho’s.

What he says to me is: “Madhukar, you don’t need a guru. Just listen to your inner guidance. Take all pictures of the gurus down. Even the one from Ramana. Hang up your own picture. Greet yourself every morning. Bow down to yourself, to your divinity.”

This morning (Monday, January 12) I attend satsang with the British yogi Ramana Baba (Muz Murray). He clarifies my own experience about mantra japa (repeating of a mantra). During my entire spiritual search Sri Ranjit Maharaj was the only guru who gave me a mantra. It was ‘Shivoham’ meaning ‘I am Siva’ which again means I am Brahman or the All.

I hardly ever used the mantra because I felt uncomfortable with the brea…