Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:



Highlights #1015

Click here to go to the next issue.

Search all Editions of the Nondual Highlights

Nondual Highlights Home Page: access to all issues by number


Image originally posted to Hafiz list, by Moustafa Arablou



Mercedes De Acosta

Excerpts from her book: Here Lies The Heart

the whole direction of my life turned
toward India and away from Hollywood. I felt that I
would surely go there although there was nothing at this
time to indicate that I would.

...I used to go constantly to Adrian's. When we came
from the studio we often had dinner by ourselves in his
house or he would give parties and ask me to help him
arrange the table or receive his guests. At one of these
dinners I met Paul Brunton who had written a book called
A Search in Secret India. When I read this book it had a
profound influence on me. In it I learned for the first
time about Ramana Maharshi , a great Indian saint and
sage. It was as though some emanation of this saint was
projected out of the book to me. For days and nights
after reading about him I could not think of anything
else. I became, as it were, possessed by him. I could
not even talk of anything else.

So much so, that as a joke, Adrian made a drawing of me
peering out from behind a group of Indians and wrote
under it A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA. But nothing could
distract me from the idea that I must go and meet this
saint. From this time on, although I ceased to speak too
much about it, the whole direction of my life turned
toward India and away from Hollywood. I felt that I
would surely go there although there was nothing at this
time to indicate that I would. Nevertheless, I felt I
would meet the Maharshi and that this meeting would be
the greatest experience of my life.


And this time I wanted most of all to go to India to see
the great Indian sage and saint, Ramana Maharshi, and I
felt that I must go at once.

I had very little money, far too little to risk going to
India, but something pushed me toward it. I went to the
steamship company and booked myself one of the cheapest
cabins on an Indian ship, the S.S. Victoria sailing from
Genoa to Bombay toward the beginning of October.


I left Pondicherry and spiritually turned my heart
toward Tiruvannamalai where the Maharshi lived. To get
there, however, I had to return to Madras. On my way to
Madras I had an amusing experience. This particular day
I traveled third class in order to study the native
types, but the only occupants of the coach besides
myself were an old Indian (wearing a loincloth) and a
well-dressed young Indian barrister. Presently the
conductor appeared and began to talk very excitedly to
me in the language of southern India-Tamil. I shrugged
my shoulders and said in English that I did not
understand Tamil, at the same time displaying my ticket
and making signs that I hoped there was nothing wrong
with it. The old man leaned forward and, in the most
scholarly English, asked if he might translate for me
and explain what the conductor was saying. I was
delighted and asked if anything was wrong with the
ticket. "It is not your ticket he is asking about. He is
asking if you believe in the unity of the Divine and the
individual soul."

Not a little staggered by this question, I tried,
however, to appear as though such an inquiry from a
railroad conductor was the most natural in the world. I
then replied that I was of the opinion that there is no
separation between the Divine Source and the individual
soul. My interpreter conveyed my sentiments to the
conductor who beamed at me and nodded and bowed, making
me understand that he, too, held these same views. He
then mumbled something and rushed off into the other
coach. "He says he is going to collect the tickets," the
loinclothed one remarked, "but he will soon return for
further conversation." He not only returned, but he
settled himself down next to me, peering into my face,
and until I reached my destination we four discussed the
Vedas, the old man translating from time to time to the

In Madras I hired a car and, so anxious was I to arrive
in Tiruvannamalai that I did not go to bed and traveled
by night, arriving about seven o'clock in the morning
after driving almost eleven hours. I was very tired as I
got out of the car in a small square in front of the
temple. The driver explained that he could take me no
further as there was no road up the hill where Bhagavan
could be found. I learned then to call the Maharshi
"Bhagavan," which means Lord and is a title by which he
was always addressed.

A religious ceremony was in progress, and men wearing
bright-colored turbans and women in their festive saris
were already surging into the square, carrying garlands
of flowers and images of Siva. I did not linger to watch
them, but turned toward the hill of Arunachala and
hurried in the hot sun along the dust-covered road to
the abode about two miles from the town where the Sage
dwelt. As I ran those two miles up the hill, deeply
within myself I knew that I was running toward the
greatest experience of my life. I was no longer tired
and I was unaware of the distance and of the heat of the
sun on my uncovered head. I ran the whole way and when I
reached the ashram I was not even out of breath.

Though only 2,665 feet high, Arunachala dominates the
landscape. It looks as though a giant hand had quietly
opened and dropped it into place. From the south side of
the ashram it is just a symmetrical hill with two almost
equal foothills, one on either side. But its aspect
changes as the sun moves and the light varies. It has
many faces and early in the morning a white cloud often
drapes what seems to be its brow-in reality its summit.

The ashram was a small place. I remember only a stone
hall where day and night Bhagavan sat on a couch. Not
far from this hall, scattered around the hill, were
small houses where some of the disciples lived including
his brother. I am told that all this has greatly
changed. Once the Sage's great spiritual reputation
began to spread, the ashram grew larger. In my time
comparatively few people journeyed to see Bhagavan and
only a few Western women had ever been there.

In 1943 Heinrich Zimmer, the famous authority on Indian
spiritual thought, wrote a book about the Maharshi
called The Way of the Self for which Jung wrote a
preface. In recent years, and especially since his death
in 1950, Bhagavan has become widely known all over the

The Sage in Somerset Maugham's book The Razor's Edge is
supposed to be Ramana Maharshi. It is possible that this
is so as a few weeks before my visit to the ashram,
Somerset Maugham had been there. I was told that an
English author had come to see Bhagavan and had fainted
when first coming into his presence. I asked his name
but they did not know how to pronounce it. One of the
disciples retired and came back with Somerset Maugham
written on a piece of paper. A few years later I saw Mr.
Maugham in New York and inquired if he had actually been
to see the Maharshi. He said he had, but I did not feel
I should trespass on a possible spiritual experience by
asking if it was true that he had fainted.

When, dazed and filled with emotion, I first entered the
hall, I did not quite know what to do. Coming from
strong sunlight into the somewhat darkened hall, it was,
at first, difficult to see. Nevertheless, I perceived
Bhagavan at once, sitting in the Buddha posture on his
couch in the corner. At the same moment I felt overcome
by some strong power in the hall as if an invisible wind
was pushing violently against me. For a moment I felt
dizzy. Then I recovered myself.

To my great surprise I suddenly heard an American voice
calling out to me, "Hello, come in." It was the voice of
an American named Guy Hague , who originally came from
Long Beach, California. He told me later that he had
been honorably discharged from the American Navy in the
Philippines and had then worked his way to India, taking
up the study of Yoga when he reached Bombay. Then he
heard about Sri Ramana Maharshi and, feeling greatly
drawn to him, decided to go to Tiruvannamalai. When I
met him he had already been with the Maharshi for a
year, sitting uninterruptedly day and night in the hall
with the Sage.

He rose from where he was sitting against the wall and
came toward me, taking my hand and leading me back to a
place beside him against the wall. He did not at first
speak to me, allowing me to pull myself together. I was
able to look around the hall but my gaze was drawn to
Bhagavan who was sitting absolutely straight in the
Buddha posture looking directly in front of him. His
eyes did not blink or in any way move. Because they
seemed so full of light I had the impression they were
gray. I learned later that they were brown, although
there have been various opinions as to the color of his
eyes. His body was naked except for a loincloth. I
discovered soon after that this and his staff were
absolutely his only possessions. His body seemed firm
and as if tanned by the sun, although I found that the
only exercise he ever took was a twenty-minute walk
every afternoon at five o'clock when he walked on the
hill and sometimes greeted Yogis who came to prostrate
themselves at his feet.

The rest of the time, day and night, and for over half a
century, he had been sitting on his couch. He was a
strict vegetarian, but he only ate what was placed
before him and he never expressed a desire for any kind
of food. As he sat there he seemed like a statue, and
yet something extraordinary emanated from him. I had a
feeling that on some invisible level I was receiving
spiritual shock from him although his gaze was not
directed toward me. He did not seem to be looking at
anything, and yet I felt he could see and was conscious
of the whole world. "Bhagavan is in Samadhi," Guy Hague

Samadhi is a very difficult state to explain. In fact I
do not think anyone has ever explained it. Doctors have
tried to analyze it from a medical and physical point of
view, and have failed. I have heard it described as "a
state of spiritual ecstasy in which consciousness leaves
the body." But this is not the whole phenomenon, as the
breath stops and so does the beating of the heart. But
it is not a form of trance as in the trance state both
of these continue. It is claimed that Samadhi is a state
attained only by highly Enlightened people--people who
have reached Spiritual Illumination. It is a state where
the spirit temporarily leaves the body and goes into one
of bliss. All the Enlightened Ones who have attained
Samadhi describe it as Bliss. In the last century the
great saint Ramakrishna often went into Samadhi. The
Maharshi would go into it for hours at a time, and often
for days. When I arrived at the ashram he had already
been in it seven hours.



This sentence from Greg Goode was on the ND Highlights
and caught my eye: "And what did you think of the
well-known argument between Gangaji and Andrew Cohen?" I
think a good way to get my eye(I) uncaught would be by
knowing what went down between these two. Did she bite
his ear or did he hit her after the bell? So, what


Harsha returns to explain historical appeal of styles of

This is hilarious... Look at it this way. Everyone
is shuffling one way or the other. Whether it is the
Advaita Shuffle or the anti Advaita Shuffle, the Yoga
Shuffle, or the modified Advaita Shuffle or the Tantra
shuffle or the Neo versions of various shuffles. Whether
it is the guru shuffle or the student shuffle, and
whether it is the intellectual shuffle or the emotional
shuffle, or the bliss shuffle, shuffling happens. Any
point of view on which type of Shuffling is best will
quickly lead to an opposing view. The central question
always is "Where do I stand." To Know Where One Stands
One must Know One's Own Self. Well, if you are always
shuffling and watching other people shuffle and trying
to decide which is the most competitive shuffle, then
the question, "Where do I stand" cannot capture the
attention and hold your interest and is of limited
value. In such a case where is the harm in shuffling?
Any type of shuffling will do. Shuffle away.


Bob, you deserve an answer! It had to do with Andrew
accusing Gangaji of doing the "advaita shuffle" to avoid
those really tough questions.

When this first came up on NDS, there were some funny
posts in response, if anyone cares to read those too.



Non-attachment is a natural characteristic of your
deepest part - Consciousness. Bliss is a by-product of
Awakening. It's not a problem being in bliss – the
deepest part of you doesn't get attached to bliss.
However, bliss is a preferable state to be in for a
*human being*. Anyone who says that they do not
distinguish between a toilet and a palace is being
misleading, and possibly, has been mislead to talk about
things of which they have *no* direct, first hand
experience. The deepest part of you - Consciousness -
has no preferences, but you as a "human being" by nature
do have preferences.

The reason why I stress as "as a human being" in my
current writings is because some people have the strange
misconception that they are "nothing" rather than
"nothing plus a body" - and the term "body" here is
shorthand for the whole package including mind, emotion,
intuition etc. Even more hilariously they go around
trying to disabuse other people of the idea that they

"But I don't exist" they proclaim "and you don't exist
either!". It's hilarious in the pub, but ridiculous on
the street.

Boldly, and foolishly they declare, "You don't exist.
There is no-one there".

This has become something of a fashion in some circles,
and like many fads, like skateboarding, break-dancing
and roller-blading, will pass but not before leaving a
number of casualties in it's wake.

There may even be fatalities.

Here lies poor demented.
He declared he didn't exist
And with that,
and a ten ton lorry,
his Fate was cemented."


Dave, are you trying to tell me I exist? That's funny on
the street, you know, but totally out of line here on

I believe I might narc you to the
authorities, if Gene will ever tell me who THEY are.

At any rate, I have this splendid anti-meditation
meditation I like to do while walking to work. As I
walk, I take in as much sensation as possible. Then, I
begin to take in hyper-sensation. Essentially, seeing
what is beneath the skins of those bodies I am moving
through. Bricks, thru-wall flashing, weatherstripping,
metal studs or masonry, carpet, cabling, nails, tacks,
dustmotes. You get the picture, finer and finer grain.
Somedays, it seems that I am walking through a giant
coded stage set. Really, if I could simply believe it
enough, I could move entire buildings. Why do they stay
stuck? It befuddles me. They are being held in place by
others' thoughts, and others inability to see what I am
seeing, the groundless data that makes the stageset. If
we could just all get on board, we'd be shifting the
stage set with ease.

This is, actually, much easier to do with my "own body",
this sort of hypermaterialization and stageset shifting.
Hypervisualization of innards, layer upon layer of
innards, innards of the gut sort and beyond, a whole
stage set of workings, and these more obligingly shift.

The curious thing about my "own body" is that sure, it
shifts, but that puts a sort of pressure on when the
body isn't doing the shifting. So, you might say that
the body, this stratification of coded material, is a
mind in its own.When I push on it with my "own mind", I
push against its "own mind" if the two aren't in
alignment. This causes all sorts of knots and

So, this makes me wonder a bit about the city, its "own
mind" (versus my "own mind" and the "own minds" of
others) and how much knottiness and crankiness are
inadvertently being created.

But then, knottiness and crankiness are just more code.
Another layer of innards.

Doesn't prove that anything exists, but it sure beats
playing scrabble.


Saying something, implies something is being said.

Saying nothing exists, implies there is something
  being said about nothing existing.

How silly.

Nothing has ever been said, about what can't be said.

Say what?


The body wanted immortality, so it invented... SEX! The
mind wanted immortality, so it invented...

Splendid, indeed! And tanks fer dat!!!

Many who live almost totally in-the-head, fail to enjoy
the life of the body. Afterall, IT has a life too,
doncha know!?

Many who talk about Enl... and Awa.. and Lib..., seem to
forget that Sex is the physical, material, form that E,
A, and L are patterned after.

The body wanted immortality, so it invented... SEX! The
mind wanted immortality, so it invented...

Trouble is, of course, the body can do what the mind can
never do - have BABIES!! Oh sure, it can talk about
having babies, but where's the PROOF!? Just more words,
just more talk.

Sex, now there's a trick. Cell division, replication,
duplication, what glorious concepts, being in TWO PLACES
at ONCE!

Just imagine, all the fun one could have if one could
actually BE in two places at once (not in imagination,
in reality). One could be King of the World!

The mind wants immortality, just like the body does, but
the body is much further along, evolutionarily, than the
mind is, and the mind don't like that much, being so far
behind the body, being secondary to the primary life of
the body.

So, it invents stories, to wile away the hours, to wile
away the life, and pretends that the STORIES are little
BABIES. Babies, that it sends out into the world, to
live in other peoples' brains, in hopes that they'll
grow, there, into something approximating the Parent.
And, the really hilarious thing is, some people actually
BELIEVE they can DO IT!!!

We call them - teachers, gurus, masters.


"But I don't exist" they proclaim "and you don't exist
either!". It's hilarious in the pub, but ridiculous on
the street. Boldly, and foolishly they declare, "You
don't exist. There is no-one there". --Dave Oshana

You're being too fair here! Not everyone who claims not
to exist allows others not to exist as well. They don't
always spread the wealth like that. In this verbal
nondual skateboarding game, many people say of
*themselves* that they don't exist, but lament that the
other one still *does* exist. The other person's worst
fault might just be not to have gone to nondual language


I know a lot of things about a lot of teachers who say
they are "permanently resting in the Self and beyond
duality." As they say in New York, "so what else is
new?" Greed, dishonesty, intolerance, arrogance, theft,
sexual predation, manipulation. The world turns.... The
way you find that kind of stuff out is to get to know
the teachers offstage.




One group of individuals hungering for attention and an
escape from the tedium of their lives.

Add one dollop of self-loathing to each over the course
of their lives.

Stir in one bigtime guru who says it's all ok

Mix together with dozens of suggestions and

Sprinkle liberally with mass hypnosis

and presto! You've got bliss!




hey you. yes you.
whatcha doin'? believing in stuff?
oh, how delightful!

there is so much to believe and to believe in, isn't
there? keeps one going too.

what's that? ah, you believe that if you believe in
enough stuff, some of it is bound to be the right stuff
to believe. so, your bases are covered!

oh no, you say. you only believe in what's true. and of
course since you believe it, it is true. and you can
prove it.

you have all these decorations and testimonials to back
you up. you have the words of those you call master. you
have your experiences and your very own logic to
describe and define your experiences. you have your
lineages, scriptures, visions, teachers, preachers,
learned friends, and the truth of your convictions to
mine for proof of your belief.

you have nothing but a misty fabrication that will
dissolve in one moment leaving no trace.

you can run but you can't hide - michael



That there is:
No high without low;
No thing without some thing.
No Duality without non-duality
as No thing exists independently
there is No thing.


Question: with such a meaningless/meaningful post
as this, why did you sign it? Why did you provide the
dancefloor, upon which these meaningless/meaningful
words could be read? Why do you sign your name with
"Love". Why do you point the reader elsewhere than allow
them to dwell in the utter
meaninglessness/meaningfulness of the event?

Question: is Enlightenment, just the clever, sometimes
enigmatic, sometimes high-sounding words we use to
impress ourselves? If we are not there to hear it, then
who's Enlightened?




Dance of Identity (0/1)

Must get it right, lest
Pumpkin status be reached
'fore midnight,

Black tie or clown,
The preferred manner
Is able to make standard

The Way; say
"I meant to do that",
Cue others self-doubt,

Thus to own the context
And to be empowered
To punch their tickets;

Live wire, or
Poor conductor;
Flux collapses momentarily...

Perpetual bulb shining
Bright, filament of
Your own imagination,

You see not that
You generate your
Own current events,

But when you blow it
You re-fuse to switch,
Short, in the circuit;

Heated by the passion
Of difference,
Radiant, not embarrassed,

Seeing not (for lights are out)
That the world you see
Is what you protest...

"Sacred mirror of inverse
Cavitation, regress
Forever from me... "



hey, you've heard of the Hinayana School of Buddhism?
I'm into the BennyHinnayana School of Buddhism. It's
Buddha in a white leisure suit. He holds up a flower, a
fat lady falls down on the stage and starts shaking like

top of page


Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: