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#1720 - Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

I wish to thank Gloria, Joyce, Michael and Mark for covering for me while I was on vacation for three weeks. --Jerry



Questioner: Sri Aurobindo and others refer to you as having had no Guru.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: It all depends on what you call a Guru. He need not be in a human form. Dattatreya had twenty-four Gurus including the five elements- earth, water, etc. Every object in this world was his Guru.

The Guru is absolutely necessary. The Upanishads say that none but a Guru can take a man out of the jungle of intellect and sense perceptions. So there must be a Guru.

Questioner: I mean a human Guru- Maharshi did not have one.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: I might have had one at one time or other. But did I
not sing hymns to Arunachala? What is a Guru? Guru is God or the Self.
First a man prays to God to fulfil his desires. A time comes when he will
no more pray for the fulfilment of material desires but for God Himself.
God then appears to him in some form or other, human or non-human, to guide
him to Himself in answer to his prayer and according to his needs.

Question: When loyal to one master can you respect others?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Guru is only one. He is not physical. So long as there
is weakness the support of strength is needed.

Hari Aum !!!




Existence or Consciousness is the only reality. Consciousness plus
waking we call waking. Consciousness plus sleep we call sleep.
Consciousness plus dream, we call dream. Consciousness is the screen
on which all the pictures come and go. The screen is real, the
pictures are mere shadows on it.

(ramana maharshi)


The state we call realization is simply being oneself, not knowing
anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, he is that which
alone is, and which alone has always been. He cannot describe that
state. He can only be That. Of course we loosely talk of self-
realization for want of a better term.

That which 'Is' is peace. All that we need do is to keep quiet. Peace
is our real nature. We spoil it. What is required is that we cease to
spoil it.

(ramana maharshi)



Having sincere devotion is far greater than being a great scholar

ONCE during a visit to the Ashram in the 1940s I was sitting outside
the Old Hall with many devotees, facing Sri Bhagavan who was reclining
on a couch. A group of learned pundits were discussing certain passages
from the Upanishads with great enthu-siasm and profundity. All,
including Bhagavan, appeared to be attentively listening to this
interesting discussion when, all of a sudden, Bhagavan rose from his
couch, walked thirty metres to the north, and stood before a villager
who was standing there looking lowly with palms joined.

Immediately the discussion stopped and all eyes were turned to Bhagavan
and the villager standing at a distance. They appeared to be
conversing, but at such a distance no one could tell about what. Soon
Bhagavan returned to his couch and the discussion resumed.

I was curious about this villager and why Bhagavan had gone out of his
way to meet him. So, while the discussion continued I slipped away and
caught up with him before he left the Ashram. I asked the villager what
he and Bhagavan had talked about. He said that Bhagavan had asked him
why he was standing there so far away. "I told Bhagavan, 'I am only an
ignorant, poor villager. How am I to approach you who are God

" What did the Maharshi say then?" I asked.

" He asked me my name, what village I was from, what work I did and how
many children I had, etc."

" Did you ask Him anything?"

" I asked Him how I could be saved and how I could earn His blessings."

" What did He tell you?"

" He asked me if there was a temple in my village. I told him there
was. He wanted to know the name of the deity of that temple. I told Him
the name. He then said that I should go on repeating the name of that
deity and I would receive all the blessings needed."

I came back to Bhagavan's presence and sat among the devotees listening
to the learned discussion, in which I had now lost all interest,
realizing that the simple humility and devotion of this peasant had
evoked a far greater response from our Master than any amount of
learning. I then decided that, though a scholar by profession, I should
always remain a humble, ignorant peasant at heart, and pray, like that
villager, for Bhagavan's grace and blessings.

- Prof. K. Swaminathan

Hari Aum !!!


Vicki Woodyard


I would like to have a spirit guide with a little more class but I got
Larry. He favors loud colors and cliches. Having heard of vision
quests, I set out on mine when I was in a low point in my inner life. I
drove out to a piece of clear-cut land right before they built the
subdivision. The sun was just going down, illuminating the signs
saying, "Virgin Estates, tract housing at affordable prices." It made
me squint and then want to throw up. But I stayed with my intention of
finding a spirit guide.

I sat for at least fifteen minutes before seeing a cloud of red dirt
begin whirling in front of me. I grew excited. Was this my answer to
prayer? Then I looked up and saw Larry...and his stick pony.

His mullet shone in the orange glow of the acid rain sunset and I knew
that he was my spirit guide. His cowboy boots were obviously in need of
new soles and he was bowlegged and runty. It was not without
apprehension that I said, "Are you my spirit guide?"

"Yup," he said before spitting out a wad of gum. "I have been sent by
the Big Boss to guide you to enlightenment and other parts unknown. My
pony here is called Ruin. I looked at Ruin and was pleased to note that
his little brown face was honest and friendly. I couldn't say that much
for Larry. Where had he been all of my life if not at a Rehab for
Problem Spirits. I was in deep trouble. But hey, I have an optimistic
streak. At least the Great Spirit had given me....someone.

Larry has been my spirit guide for all of half an hour. I have high
hopes for this relationship. I need someone to give me moxie and lots
of self-approbation. Larry looks like a loser, but what do I know?
Maybe Ruin is the real guru and Larry is just his apprentice. I like a
little mystery.

Vicki Woodyard

Flat Broke

"You have to be flat-broke." Michael Bindel

I was thirsty and wanted something to drink. I looked around and saw a
Coke machine and got all excited. I reached into my pockets and found
that I was flat-broke. Zip. Nada. Unquenchable thirst.

I walked around the building looking for a drinking fountain and the
only one I saw said, "out of order." I was becoming more and more
parched. Damn.

I wandered outside and felt the sun's heat parching me even further. I
heard the sound of water, though. The sprinkler system had turned on
and was watering the lawn in front of the building. I lay down and got
watered, opening my mouth to the delicious spray.

You might say I was flat broke and all wet. Not a bad place to be.

Vicki Woodyard

Happy Birthday to Joyce

Joyce, It's Know Mystery why I'm writing this. You're having a birthday
today. All of us who post here wish you well. You might have invited us
over for cake, though. Eric would have written you a poem and Sam would
have taken your picture. Some of us who post here just hang around nds
like it's a general store. Today we will sing Happy Birthday when you
come in.

Swami Z baked cookies when I told him. He made them look likes stars
and planets and sprinkled them with silver thingies. (Don't eat them;
they taste bad). I had hoped he would make a cake, but he's into the
cookie thing. Pass them around when you have eaten a few.

Okay, Eric, and whoever is sitting around the stove. Put down yer
whittlin' and sing.

"Happy Birthday, dear Joyce, Happy Birthday to you."

Love, Vicki et al


Shawn Hair

cee: the pure consciousness, the self, the guru, is all there is. i was
thinking that it stopped creating. (what i meant by this is that i
thought by practice the self would come to know itself and stop making
illusion) but nothing ever did come out of it, and nothing ever has
been created.

nome: if we dream of something "other," there must be some explanation
for it. so the explanation usually given, including in all the old
texts and scriptures, is that god, or the supreme self, has created it
or dreamed it up. the purpose of such explanations, originally, were to
guide the seeker's mind to the self, to the source, and were not
intended to give further credence to the thing created. thus,
instructions to the seeker were, "if there has been creation, if you
think that is the case, if you think here is where creation has
started, go to that source." so there are all these explanations.
usually, the consciousness is thought to be either a lord of all,
creating, sustaining, and destroying everything, or in some versions,
being a creator. then, after being a creator, god steps aside and lets
everybody else take care of it, something like that. or, consciousness
has created so much within it, and then this play goes on by some
residual energy of the consciousness, something along these lines.

all the explanations are originally intended to point one to pure
consciousness, and not make us think in terms of, "this has actually
happened." however, as is often the case, people do think in terms of,
"it is really going on." when we make the inquiry to know who we are,
we set about looking for a consciousness that is invariable. If it is
variable, it is only thought modifications. it is not consciousness, itself.
consciousness is aware of all change, yet
is unchanging. the characteristic sign of reality, real being, is that
always is just as it is, without beginning, middle, or end,without
change. so we make that inquiry experientially, and we come to find our
iidentity is just the consciousness. we find that the reality is,
indeed, the consciousness. then the question arises, "if the
consciousness is ever the same, if the real self is ever the same, how
has any of this ever come to be?" the question resolves itself further
into, "has it come to be? " we need a "how" if it is really there. we
do not require a reason why or an explanation of how the snake came to
be in a rope, or how the water came to be in the mirage. the whole
point is that there is no water. there is no snake.

likewise is it with the whole creation. how it comes to be experienced
is based upon the idea that it is experienced. when we inquire and come
to know the reality, we find that it did not arise, and it will not
arise in the future. it did not happen. it is not going to happen. so
much so is this the case, that while in deep meditation, all
objectified experience may cease even at its own level. should it not
cease, it is still not created. it does not have to go away because it
is not there to begin with. do you see what I mean?

cee: yes. it's really great because it's not like there is an ego to
kill, there's not something to get rid of, it was never really there.

nome: if there is an ego, one should kill it!

cee: yes! (laughter)

nome: however, the best way to kill it is to find it. o.k? Before you
first decide to cook it, you first have to catch it. you have to find
it. when we make that inquiry to find it, the more we inquire, the less
we see of it. first we eliminate the tracks it leaves behind, the
actions, the "i am the body," ideas, and so forth and so on. then we
eliminate its thoughts. We want to get right down to what the ego,
itself, is. if we hold on to the ego-i, its i-ness disappears and only
an "I-less-I" remains. Maharshi has said, "if we penetrate into the
heart of the ego, only the self is there. "there being only one "i"
--that is why he said so. so, if there is an ego, hunt it down, and
slay it. of course, in the process of hunting it down, your aim is to
destroy it, but when you hunt it down you will find that there is
nothing there to be destroyed. again, that is why it is called maya. in
all the old scriptures, it is said, "it is impossible to explain, maya.
it is without beginning." most people think that means that it has been
around for a long time! --but t means that it is without beginning. It
did not start! (Laughter) that is why it is maya. it did not start.
however, if you think it is there, then it seems to have been going on
for a long time, much like when you start to dream, you feel that the
dream world has been going on for a long time, even though it is all in
your mind. it is like that with the present illusion. it seems like it
has been there, but really it has never been there. we decide to
inquire to know the truth, and when we finally get a good grasp of what
this illusion is,--there is no illusion there.there is nothing to it.
it is like reaching out and grabbing that snake and finding it is just
the rope. nevertheless, you had to bring the light in to make the
motion to see it for yourself.



Having a sangha is like having a family.

You have an uncle Albert who is cranky.
You have your brother and your sister,
and they are a little unpredictable
in terms of their emotional stability
under stress. Your father sometimes
drinks a little too much, and says things
he regrets. Your mother gets upset about
your father.

All this notwithstanding, you do not
complicate yourself by attempting to
trade them in for a better less
dysfunctional family. You are simply
stuck with them because they are your family.

You have to deal with them as they are. If they
really are your family —if you really are
related —then you simply deal with whatever arises.
You simply have no other choice. You know you are
never going to get another family,
this is your family – and that is simple.

(Khandro Dechen)

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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