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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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#1409 - Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  



I have been out of town for nearly 2 months and couldn't post
messages as I had limited access to the internet. I am glad to be
back in town and back in the Holy Satsangh of Bhagavan's devotees.

Madhavi Ammal

Srimati Madhavi Ammal was the sister of K.K. Nambiar. She, like her
brother, was an earnest devotee who looked upon Bhagavan as her
Master and Lord.
K. K. Namabiar writes in his book, The Guiding presence of Sri
Ramana: "My sister, K. K. Madhavi Ammal, was deeply religious. She went to the Ashram quite often, much against the will of her husband, who sometimes even scattered the fruits, flowers, etc., got ready by her for being taken to Bhagavan. One day Bhagavan had some tooth trouble and one tooth had to be removed. My brother-in-law, the doctor in charge of the hospital nearby, was sent for. He went inside Bhagavan's hall fully clad in a suit, approached Bhagavan's sofa and asked him to open his mouth. 'Bhagavan, Vayi thora!' was what he said, to the amusement of devotees gathered in the hall. The tooth was extracted and the doctor left, a changed man. He no longer stood in the way of my sister visiting the Ashram as often as she wished.  He even felt that the hand which had touched Bhagavan was able to perform surgery more successfully thereafter. He, too, now visited the Ashram, prostrated before Bhagavan, and sat in the hall like other devotees in meditation."

Madhavi Ammal was fortunate in having many opportunities to talk
freely with Bhagavan and appeal to him directly for upadesa. Bhagavan
made things easy for her in many ways, one of which was to speak to
her in Malayalam, her native language. He gave a patient hearing to
her tales of woe, which were many. A devotional entreaty of hers can
be seen in the archival films. In the following narrative, Madhavi
seems to have almost wrested the upadesa from the Guru by her

I knew full well that Sri Bhagavan gave no formal upadesa but I kept
on asking for it whenever an opportunity presented itself. Invariably
Sri Bhagavan used to reply, "Who is the Guru and who is the sishya
(disciple)? They are not two. There is but One Reality. It is in you
and It can neither be given nor taken. But you may read books for
intellectual understanding."

On March 12, 1934 after prayers at the Shrine of Sri
Mathrubhuteswara, I went to the old hall. Only the attendant Madhava
Swami was with Sri Bhagavan. When I made my usual request Sri
Bhagavan laid aside the newspaper he was reading and sat in
padmasana, quite absorbed. I then recited a general hymn of praise to
the Guru in Telugu and also "Aksharamanamalai" in Telugu (the hymn on
Sri Arunachala by Sri Bhagavan). Sri Bhagavan turned to Madhava Swami
and said, "She has prayed to Sri Arunachala." This struck me as
meaning that Sri Arunachala will give the initiation and also that
Sri Bhagavan and Sri Arunachala are not two. Sri Bhagavan resumed his
state of absorption and I had my persistent request for upadesa. But
he continued to sit motionless. Finally I begged of him, "Am I not a
competent person to receive upadesa? Sri Bhagavan should himself tell
me about this. Even if Sri Bhagavan confirms this how is it that I
adopted him as my Guru immediately on hearing of him (she was just
told that a rishi lived at the foot of the Hill)? Will it all be in
vain?" Immediately on my speaking thus I found a bright light
emanating from Sri Bhagavan's holy face, and the effulgence filled
the whole Hall. I could not see Sri Bhagavan's body but only the
brilliance. I shed tears in profusion. The whole incident could have
lasted just two seconds! I prostrated to Sri Bhagavan. There was a
smile on his face but no movement otherwise. After a while Sri
Bhagavan turned to me as if to ask, "Are you rid of your mania?" Yes,
I was. He then took a piece of paper, wrote a sloka (verse) on it and
gave it to me saying, "You can make use of it in meditation."

This is the sloka: "I adore Guha the Dweller in the Cave of the
Heart, the Son of the Protector of the Universe, the Pure Light of
Awareness beyond thought, the Wielder of the weapon of Jnana Sakti
and the Remover of the ignorance of blemishless devotees."

And again he smiled graciously.

This was wonderful upadesa indeed by a Master rare to see. My Master
taught me the great truth that there is only ONE. The proper Guru is
one who shows what is. This was but a practical demonstration of the
saying, "The Master's face reveals Brahman. You attain Brahman
through Grace."

-- From

Hari Aum !!!

Live Journal

19th April 2003  

K and A left, as is their way, early in the morning. They came for tea and honey, gave away a pile of old tribal textiles and objects and asked me to distribute them. I asked why they stay with the Vipassana community and they answered: peace of mind, and community of like minds.

S and A left, as is their way, on the other side of a social gathering. A dozen friends sat outside in the night eating grilled salmon, and having conversation. About 30 feet away a bonfire, with three boys on the cusp of adolescence, who have known each other for years but who gather together infrequently. They threw sticks into the fire and taunted the flames with feints, as is the way of boys. I told them my best and true ghost story, or urban legend, there at the fire.

Someone mentioned jumping over the fire but it was too big. Someone else mentioned firewalking but it was not that kind of gathering.

There was a tremendous amount of love and goodwill present. Most of us go back a long way together and have lived several lifetimes since we've met.
It was possible to speak one's heart and reveal one's inner self effortlessly. I left feeling as if I had connected meaningfully with almost everybody there.

And it was obvious they'd had a satisfying visit.

A and I discussed that I might come in September, and hike the Devon and Cornwall coast, painting and drawing.  

23rd April 2003  

A wonderful simple day.
The space between the new bamboo fence and the shed is now a shady outdoor workshop with a solid worktable.
We sanded an old dresser for my son and rubbed it with tung oil until it gleamed. I set up my easel in the yard and painted with oils,
just the sky. I have been wanting to paint only sky.
The weather's been golden and dry. I've been draping my canvas with saran wrap overnight and leaving it outside.
Worked in the garden too spreading rock dust and planting squash and cucumbers in cooler shady niches.

Jon just made molasses cookies. I'll turn in early, I think, with a book.  

Hypersketch Bio: Shunryu Suzuki May 5, 2002  

If it is raining out, do not walk fast, because it is raining everywhere.  

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find
perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is
difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of
transience, we suffer.  

The mind which is always on your side is not just your mind, it is
universal mind, always the same, not different from another's mind.  

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual
everyday routine.  

If I suffer while I am dying, that is all right...Maybe everyone will
struggle because of physical agony or spiritual agony, but that is not a
problem. We should be very grateful to have a limited body like mine or
like yours. If you had a limitless life, it would be a great problem for
you...A human being is a human being. We can enjoy our life only with our
limited body. This limitation is a vital element for us. Without
limitation nothing exists, so we should enjoy the limitation: weak body,
strong body; man or woman. The only way to enjoy our life is to enjoy the
limitation that was given to us.  

All descriptions of reality are limited expressions of the world of
emptiness. Yet we attach to the descriptions and think they are reality.  

To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it is like a painting
of a cake on paper which you cannot eat. There is no taste, and you will
give up, because it doesn't mean anything, even though you sit seven
days. But our true zazen cannot be like that. If Zen was like that, it
would have vanished from this world a long time ago. Zen is still alive
because of the other side of the truth. Only when each one of us feels
the truth, appreciates the truth, accepts the truth, and is ready to
follow the truth, will it work. When someone puts himself outside of the
truth in order to study the truth, he won't know what to do when
something happens to him.  

In Buddhism, mind and being are one, not different. As there is no limit
to cosmic being, there is no limit to our mind; our mind reaches

Even if we successfully compete in the visible world, our work will be
neglected before we die. It is important to work for future generations,
for our descendants. We must be proud to do something even though people
do not usually know its value. To devote yourself in this kind of work is
to have eternal life. However, if you are occupied by a near-sighted
idea, you will lose your value and you will not find your true composure.  

Hell is not punishment, it's training.  

You stick to naturalness too much. When you stick to it, it is not
natural any more.  

_Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, a Japanese Zen priest belonging to the Soto
lineage, came to San Francisco in 1959 at the age of fifty-four_ From
1959 until his death in 1971, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki taught the
principles and practice of Zen Buddhism to receptive audiences in San
Francisco. In 1961, Suzuki founded the San Francisco Zen Center._Zen
Mind, Beginner's Mind, a skillfully edited compilation of his lectures
published in 1970, has sold over a million copies in a dozen languages. 

Live Journal

From my mom's teacher
Swami Veda Bharati, a great teacher from Rishikesh, India, started a foundation a few years ago to disseminate the unique style of teaching yoga science and philosophy that was developed by his guru, Swami Rama, from the 1960s onward. That foundation has a broadcast-style yahoogroups list here, and I thought this morning's post, part of a series on the education of children, was really good.

It is said that the ancient people wrote no stories in the sense of psychological development of a person. On the other hand, every story had a moral. Today we have dropped that moral from the story. And that needs to be reintroduced. It needs to be reintroduced in such a way that it is not an obeisance to a commandment, but that it has an experiential base. So that, for example, a child discovers through meditation that non-violence requires greater strength than violence and that to turn the other cheek is not an act of cowardice, but an act of teaching the other person the value of non-violence.

--Swami Veda Bharati  

The Spiritual ChicksSM Guest Article

Regarding the Baseball Strike


Jerry Katz
Founder & Editor, Nonduality Salon

The year after the baseball strike I was in Los Angeles and was offered front row tickets right next to the left field dugout. Suddenly all my frustration about the strike and all those thoughts about how I'll never watch another baseball game, went out the window. "Front row seats, huh? Umm ... okay!"

Me and my best friend went to see the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves.

It was opening day and the players were very friendly. Before the game started they were talking to kids in the stands, smiling at fans. They were trying to make up for the strike, which caused the previous year's World Series to be cancelled. Fans were pretty pissed.

One kid was in full Dodger uniform and thrilled to be talking to the players. He stood for the essential joy of the whole institution of baseball, and especially the joy of his own self.

I felt his joy and everywhere I turned I felt it, and in every breath of stadium air. The baseball in all its orbits -- grass high, waist high, sky high -- that white ball is concentrated joy because the whole game is about the presence of the white ball.

Sometimes the ball gets hit to you. This day Chipper Jones lined a foul ball right into my bare hands. The ball bounced out, but heck, even major leaguers drop line drives, right?

When that ball comes to you, you see it coming and it comes. It might slap your palm, sting, and fly out. But you've touched it. You know it. You've seen the ball is not only white but as it spins there is a tinge of red in the cloud of its spin.

Then for a fraction of a second as the ball slaps your hand you see the white ball is embossed with a red seam. The red seam, the ball flying away, the river of blood within the perfect thing that is you, the realization that you've collided with yourself ... and joy flying off everywhere.

Jerry Katz plays shortstop for Nonduality Salon:

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