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#1825 - Friday, June 11, 2004 - Editor: Gloria  


Fleeting is this world
Growth and decay its very nature
Things spring to being and again they cease
Happy the marvel of them and the peace.

- Nidana Vagga

From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000.


If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- Mother Teresa  

 "Summer Light" photo by Al Larus  

It's the birthday of poet and playwright William Butler Yeats.  

"Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth 
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun; 
Now I may wither into the truth."  

"Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart."

The Two Trees

BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with metry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Joves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile.
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For ill things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.

more poems:

  Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths  

Arthur Osborne : from "My Life and Quest"


It was about 6 o'clock one June morning in 1956
that the first awakening to Reality occured.
I was alone in the room when I awoke and set up
in bed. I just was - my Self ,the beginningless,
immutable Self. I had thought 'nothing is
changed'. In theory I already understood that it
is not anything anew ; what is eternal
cannot be new , what is new cannot be eternal.
The only description is what Bhagavan has given:
"It is as it is."

Only now I experienced it. There was no
excitement , no joy or ecstasy , just an
immeasurable contentment, the natural state,
the wholeness of simple being. There was the
thought: 'It is impossible ever to be bored.'
The mind seemed like a dark screen that had shut
out true consciousness and was now rolled up and
pushed away.

I do not know how long this experience lasted .
In any case, while it lasted it was timeless and
therefore eternal. Imperceptibly the mind closed
over again , but less opaque , for a radiant
happiness continued . I had my bath and shaved
and dressed and then went into the sitting room,
where I sat down and I held the newspaper up in
front of me as though I was reading it , so that
no one would see the radiance.
I was too vibrant with happiness really to read.
Why did I want to hide the radiance?
Why did I not shout and dance with joy?


taken from
'The Maharshi' Newsletter , Mar/apr. 2002
from Arthur Osborne's new book, "My Life and Quest"

Ben Hassine ~ Awakened Awareness

Typed from: Buddhism Is Not What you Think, Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs, Steve Hagen    

Truth Is Nothing In Particular (pages 164 - 167)  

After Katagiri Roshi gave me permission to do a little teaching, it
took me only a short time to realize how impossible it was to teach
anything about Truth. I'd try to make a point, but every time I'd say
something I felt I had to tack on, 'Well, that's not quite what I
meant.' I soon realized that I could never actually say what I mean.
Not fully. What I was trying to do was literally impossible.

I wanted to quit. I went to Katagiri Roshi and told him of my
misgivings. 'We can't talk about this,' I said.

'But you have to say something,' he replied. 'If you don't say
anything, nobody will understand.'

Usually when people tell you something, they litterally mean what
they say. But Dharma words are never offered in this way. Nothing is
being presented that you are expected to take, memorize, or add to
your idea bank. You already have whatever the Dharma teaching is
pointing out. Dharma words are more like a reminder to take note of
what you already see and know but have long forgotten.

We sometimes find it disquieting just to sit and listen, not taking
hold of anything. We hear a Dharma talk, and afterward when someone
asks us about it, we say, 'It was good.'

'What was it about?' they ask.

To our surprise, we find we can't say. Still, we feel like we got a
lot out of the talk, even though we didn't walk away with anything
particular --that is, with anything we could grasp.

It's a subtle point, but we need to come back and hear it repeatedly:
Dharma teachings are unlike all other kinds of teaching. Dharma
teaching never says, 'Here it is; this is what you need to know; this
is what you should believe.' Instead, Dharma teaching is about waking
up to what cannot be put into words, what cannot be grasped, what
cannot be conceptualized --but what can only be pointed out, can only
be directly seen.

Two Zen students are talking. The first one says, 'Zen is hard
practice. You have to discipline yourself, day and night.' The other
responds, 'That's not true at all. Zen is natural and easy, just like
flowing water seeking its level.'

The first student is convinced she's right, so she decides to go to
the teacher for confirmation. 'Zen practice is difficult,' she
begins. 'It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. Isn't that so?'

The teacher looks at her and says, 'You're right.'

Delighted that the teacher has confirmed her understanding, she
immediately seeks out the other student and confronts him. 'Roshi
agrees with me!' she says. 'Zen practice is hard work.'

The second student thinks, 'How can this be? Zen is natural. There's
nothing difficult about it all.' And so off he goes to see the

'Zen is natural and easy', he begins. 'It's like leaves tumbling from
the trees in autumn. Wouldn't you agree?'

'You're right,' the teacher tells him.

Unfortunately, the teacher's attendant has been on hand to hear both
of these encounters. After the second student leaves, he can no
longer contain himself. 'Wait a minute!' he blurts out. 'You told the
first one that she was right when she said that Zen is difficult, and
you told the second one that he was right when he said that Zen is
easy. Well, which is it? It can't be both!'

'You're right,' says the teacher.

What are we to make of such a story? Is it just silly? Stupid?
Contradictory? Irrarional? (If you think that the Zen teacher will
just keep saying 'you're right' to anything people ask, you're

The problem we fall into is that we try to take hold of of things.
And as long as we do, we'll not see what this story is pointing to
--that the Real World, which is always in full view, is always just
beyond our conceptual grasp. Though reality can be pointed to, it
can't be directly spoken of or described.

It's so much easier for us to grasp at explanations and stories than
to just see. As we box up the world in our minds, we keep insisting
that the things must be like this or they must be like that --or else
we decide that the whole thing is ridiculous. Or, if we feel
magnanimous, we might say something like, 'Yes for you it's like
that, but for me it's like this.' In doing any of these things, we
miss (or avoid or ignore) Reality.

We need to stop looking for a particular thing, a particualr concept,
a particular teaching, a particular answer to bail us out. We fail to
see that whatever we would take hold of is cut and removed from the
Whole. We simply will not find Truth --Dharma, Reality-- within our
ideas and beliefs.

We live through experience, not through description. Though we want
to share our experiences with others, we actually can't. To share a
sunset with someone, there's no point in describing the sunset (or
debating about how best to describe it). Just stand next to the
person and watch the sun go down without saying a word.

The ultimate failing of a teacher is to believe that what they tell
their students is Truth. When the student takes hold of that belief,
such a teacher will be incapable of taking it away and thus letting
the student taste freedom.

Ultimately, we need to abandon any notion that taking hold of some
particular thing --some particular idea, belief, ritual, religion,
perspective, form of dress, or way of acting-- is going to bring us
Truth. Finally we have to stop looking for something to save us,
something to stand under, to identify with, to improve us, to make us

We must abandon understanding and being understood. As we do, we can
come into this moment, fully alive and awake.

Published by HarperSanFrancisco

Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths

New on David Godman's site:

Guru Vachaka Kovai Part II

5. Guru Vachaka Kovai 502-871 (Verses 502 through 871)

Guru Vachaka Kovai

Guru Vachaka Kovai

(The Garland of the Guru’s Sayings)


by Muruganar

Sri Muruganar


     In the late 1920s Muruganar, an accomplished Tamil poet who had lived with Bhagavan for several years, began to collect the verbal teachings of his Guru, Ramana Maharshi. He recorded them in four-line Tamil verses. No questions were recorded, just the answers and statements on a wide variety of spiritual topics. By the late 1930s, Muruganar had completed over 800 of these verses, virtually all of which recorded a direct teaching statement that Bhagavan had uttered. In 1939 a decision was made to publish these teachings in book form. Bhagavan then asked Sadhu Natanananda, a Tamil scholar and devotee, to arrange the verses by subjects since there was no particular order or sequence in the material that Muruganar had amassed. After Natanananda had done this work and shown it to Bhagavan, Bhagavan himself thoroughly edited the work, modifying the sequences and adding many revisions. In addition to making these textual corrections, Bhagavan also composed new verses that he added at appropriate places in the text. Because of the care and attention that Bhagavan put into checking and revising these verses, we can be sure that their contents have his full approval.

     Many of Bhagavan’s verbal teachings were recorded during his lifetime, but few of them were reviewed and edited by him. Guru Vachaka Kovai is the biggest collection of Bhagavan’s spoken teachings that was thoroughly checked and revised by him during his lifetime. As such it has a unique place in the Ramana literature.

     A second edition of the Tamil work was brought out in 1971. This contained many additional verses that Muruganar had composed since the first edition of the book came out in 1939. This new edition of the work contained a total of 1,284 verses, 1,254 composed by Muruganar and the remaining twenty-eight by Bhagavan himself.  [...]

A few months ago I asked Michael if I could post his translation on my site since it appeared very unlikely that he would get round to making a final version in the near future. Michael agreed and asked that it be billed as a ‘work in progress’, not a completed work. I wish here to express my gratitude and appreciation to Michael for allowing this incomplete work to be given a public airing.

     The manuscript I worked with had many oddities and rough edges, most of which I have left untouched. I don’t want to impose my own editorial red pencil on Michael’s endeavours; I just want to express a wish that he one day complete the work and bring out a final, definitive version. I have, however, standardized some of the spellings and added attributions to the notes that follow many of the verses. Both Muruganar and Sadhu Om have written commentaries on Guru Vachaka Kovai. When these have been utilized, I have added the appropriate names at the top of the notes. When there are no published Tamil sources for the notes, I have attributed them to Michael James. However, since Michael worked closely with Sadhu Om as he was preparing these notes, I think it is safe to say that most of them represent supplementary verbal comments by Sadhu Om that Michael added in order to clarify the original text.

     Finally, Michael wishes to make it known that anyone is free to use this material. However, this does not mean that he is giving away any of the rights to this work. He intends to complete the editorial work one day and to bring out his own edition of the work.
     I am posting the first third of the work today. The remainder will be added in installments over the next few months.

The verses 1-501 are split into 4 PDF documents: 

1. Guru Vachaka Kovai 1-153 (Verses 1 through 153)

2. Guru Vachaka Kovai 154-265 (Verses 154 through 265)

3. Guru Vachaka Kovai 266-383 (Verses 266 through 383)

4. Guru Vachaka Kovai 384-501 (Verses 384 through 501)

Guru Vachaka Kovai Part II

5. Guru Vachaka Kovai 502-871 (Verses 502 through 871)


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