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Nondual Highlights Issue #1829 Tuesday, June 15, 2004 Editor: Mark

Q: What was there in Maharaj' s teaching that you find specially unique?

RB: The uniqueness is that he asks you to do nothing. In fact, if somebody asks you to do something, there must be a 'you' to do something, is it not? And Maharaj' s whole basic teaching was, "Everything that happens is a spontaneous functioning of Totality". So, the 'you' really does not exist, you see. But, nonetheless, since there is a 'you', the 'you' has to be told, "You are That". Ultimately the understanding would be that there is no 'you' and there is no 'That', and there is no 'me' and there is no 'That'. So there is no 'me' to become 'That'. 'That' is all there is! 'That' being Consciousness or Totality or God or whatever you call it.

Q: So, in a way you have to go through the 'you' first so that the 'you' understands.

RB: Yes, sure, that is correct. You see, I repeatedly say that, "The teaching begins with an individual". The teaching must begin with an individual. So the teaching has to be understood in the first place intellectually. Unless in an extremely rare case, the guru says something and it is accepted wholeheartedly, then afterwards there is no longer any questions coming up, you see. But that happens very, very rarely. So, I always say that, "The seeking must begin with an individual". The seeking proceeds according to its own pace and according to the destiny of that body-mind organism through which the seeking is happening. The seeking, which begins with an individual, cannot end until the individual is wholly annihilated. That is to say, the understanding happens - it becomes clear that there cannot truly be any individual. In the beginning, the individual thought he was only a body-mind organism programmed by Totality or Consciousness or God in such a way that the seeking has to happen through that body-mind organism. So therefore, the seeking can only end when there is the total understanding that there is no individual to understand anything, there is no individual to achieve anything and that awakening or enlightenment can only happen. That can happen only when this is understood, that is to say that there is truly no individual. In other words, the sense of individual personal doership, the sense that one is a separate entity with free will, unless that is totally annihilated, enlightenment cannot happen. According to me, enlightenment is the absence of the 'me' and the 'me' is a sense of personal doership, you see. So for a 'me' to want enlightenment is a contradiction in terms. Enlightenment can only happen when the 'me' is destroyed. Therefore, so long as there is a 'me' wanting enlightenment, enlightenment cannot happen! That is the basic truth.

AMIT GOSWAMI: May I ask you a question? Where would you place the practice of equanimity, the state of complete equanimity in this scheme of things ?

RB: Sorry?

AG: The practice of equanimity in Buddhism and Vedanta, which places a very high degree of emphasis on not only understanding but also approaching a state of neither. In The Bhagavad Gita it states repeatedly, "a state of neither ups nor downs".

RB: May I know your name?

AG: Amit Goswami.

RB: Oh, I see. You see, Mr. Goswami, I have written a small book called Selections from The Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a very broad-based thing, with a very wide teaching and anyone can get what he needs from The Bhagavad Gita. So, a karma yogi (someone devoted to right action) like Tilak, said, "All that The Bhagavad Gita preaches is karma yoga". Then there is bhakti marg (devotional path), you see. They say, "The basis of The Bhagavad Gita is bhakti marg". And in Advaita yoga (direct knowledge), it is said that, "The basis of The Bhagavad Gita is that Arjuna is told that there is no 'you' to do anything". Arjuna did not want to fight because he says, "There are arranged before me, my cousins and friends and even preceptors. How can I kill them?" That is how The Bhagavad Gita started. And repeatedly, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "You cannot kill them", he says, "I have already killed them."

AG: True, but Krishna is also emphasising the idea of equanimity all the time.

RB: I know. All that Lord Krishna has said, other than this, is for the 'you' who still thinks he is Arjuna, you see. So, because there is a 'you' still wanting, there is a 'me' wanting to know. The rest of the Gita is addressed to this 'me' who wants to do something and be something. So that is the rest of what the Gita is about. But basically, as far as I am concerned, all that Lord Krishna tells Arjuna is, "You think you are going to kill them. I have already killed them. You are only an instrument." Further, Lord Krishna later says, "You may think or you may decide not to fight, your own energy through the programmed body-mind organism will make you fight irrespective of whether you want to fight or not". That is told towards the end of the program, in the 18th, it says very clearly, "You may not want to fight, you may decide not to fight and yet the energy inside your body will not allow you not to fight."

AG: So, what you are saying is that people who choose the path of bhakti (devotion) or path of karma (action), that their approach would be somewhat different than the jnana path (knowledge) which you are practising.

RB: Yes, but I would go further, Mr. Goswami. That is to say, you said that some people choose the path of bhakti, karma or jnana. That is what you said. My point, Mr. Goswami is that nobody can choose any path.

AG: The choosing itself is an illusion, but that is the way ...

RB: Forget about the illusion. What I am saying is no individual can choose.

AG: The chooser is always the One. That is agreed. But we have to use a language, so I am just linguistically speaking.

RB: No, no, no. There is no 'figuratively speaking'. I tell you literally why I say you cannot choose. You see, all that you or that anybody thinks he is, is really a body-mind organism programmed in such a way that only certain things can happen.

AG: Well, programming is not all of it. There is also creativity.

RB: That is the point. That is exactly it. So, my point is that nobody chooses what he would like to do. Nobody can even choose what to do in life. You said, "Which path should we seek in spirituality?". My point is that even your seeking spirituality is not in your hands. Therefore, if seeking is happening through a body-mind organism, seeking for spirituality or seeking for Truth or God or enlightenment or whatever you choose to call it, that is because this body-mind organism has been programmed so that this seeking will happen.

AG: That is right.

RB: And, on the other hand, if there is someone who is seeking money, what I am saying is that it is the same Power which is seeking enlightenment through this body-mind organism and which is also seeking money through another body-mind organism. For that purpose, that body-mind organism has been so programmed.

AG: But Sir, perhaps we can at least talk about a progression, an evolution of the being, so that the person who is seeking money versus the person who is seeking God. There must be some progressive difference. There is a progressivity from that being to this being.

RB: If you say progress, do you mean the progress of that individual who was only seeking money and who is now seeking towards spirituality? I would say no.

AG: Well, there is the idea that there is reincarnation and we go through karma. It's is a pretty powerful idea and basically the Hindu religion and Vedanta support it, The Bhagavad Gita included.

RB: There is 'your' will and the will of that Supreme Power. My unequivocal answer is that 'my' will cannot prevail. I know that from experience. Therefore it must be God's will that will prevail. So, if I accept that wholeheartedly and say that what prevails is God's will, not mine, then I must also accept that all actions which happen through all body-mind organisms.

AG: All happens through God s will.

RB: All is God's will and not mine nor his. So, everything that happens is because of God' s will.

- Excerpt from interview with Ramesh Balsekar

Much more here:

Total Surrender

God wants proof that you are totally surrendering yourself to Him. Tests will come. If you fail the tests, then your surrender is not complete. If your surrender is complete, no matter what test comes, you will pass it. Once you pass the tests, you don't have to worry about anything that happens in your life, because you are not responsible for your actions. Whatever comes, comes from God. Whatever goes is taken away by God.

It's not that easy in the beginning because the ego will not allow you to surrender in this way. Until you become the master of the ego and give yourself into the hands of God, the ego will create doubts in you.

The ego is terrible. Even in surrender some people say, "Should I let God do everything? Shouldn't I do something, too? God helps those who help themselves!" That is also a type of devotion, no doubt. But unfortunately, then, even in surrendering, a little ego slips in.

This type of devotee says, "You have to surrender. You have to depend on God, but still you have to hold onto Him." Have you ever seen the mother monkey jumping around with the baby monkey? The baby monkey catches the stomach of the mother. It holds with the fore paws and the legs. It holds her entire body, hanging underneath. The mother monkey doesn't even worry about the baby. She just jumps from branch to branch. It's the baby's duty to cling to the mother. Whenever the baby wants to go somewhere, all it has to do is take hold of the mother, and then the mother jumps. When the mother jumps from branch to branch, who has the fear of falling down? The baby. The baby is depending upon its mother, no doubt, but it still depends on its own strength. "God, I won't leave You. I'm holding on tight."

There is another animal who also depends on its mother for its movement - the kitten. Whenever the kitten wants to move, all it has to do is meow. The mother comes, picks it up by the back of the neck, and jumps here and there. When the mother jumps with the baby, who has the fear of dropping the baby? The mother. Both the baby monkey and the kitten depend upon their mothers for their movement. But in the first case, the anxiety is in the heart of the baby monkey, whereas with the cat, the responsibility rests with the mother. The kitten is totally free: "It's none of my business. You take me wherever you want. I don't know anything. All I know is to meow."

So there are two different schools of thought, even in surrendering. One group says, "You must be like a little monkey and hold on, and then She will take you." The other group says, "Even to hold on, where would I get the strength if She didn't give it to me? So, why should I worry? I am Her child."

It is very difficult to have that kind of total surrender to God because the ego enjoys its supremacy. It won't give up that easily; there will be a big fight. You have to prove your capacity.

If you totally surrender yourself into the hands of God, you will feel, "God, I didn't plan to come here. You sent me here. You have a purpose. I don't know what that purpose is. If I could ask You for anything, it would be this, ’Let me always remember that You are working through me. I am not responsible for any of these things. Please let me not forget this.’"

You might ask, "Then what is free will?" Free will means you are free to take responsibility into your own hands or to give it into the hands of God. If you take the responsibility yourself, after going through all the problems, difficulties, and turmoil, you will finally say, "I am tired, God. I'm not going to try to handle this anymore. I know I cannot. So the best thing is for me to put the reins in Your hands. Let me take the back seat. You drive."

That happens when your ego has been completely cleaned. Then, even though it might appear to others that you are doing something, you will know that you are not doing it. You are being made to do it. His power will make you think, make you do. Your job is to simply allow it to happen. Then your life will be super, super peaceful.

- Swami Satchidananda

More here:

Profound and tranquil, free from complexity,
Uncompounded luminous clarity,
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas;
This is the depth of the mind of the buddhas.
In this, there is not a thing to be removed,
Nor anything that needs to be added.
It is merely the immaculate,
Looking naturally at itself.

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

- Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

XVII (I do not love you...)

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

- Pablo Neruda

Professor takes scholarly bite out of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

By GAIL SCHONTZLER, Chronicle Staff Writer

The tote bag says it all -- "Buffyologist."

Some professors might be embarrassed to let their colleagues know they'd recently attended an international conference on the deeper meanings of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Not Alanna Brown, 60, an award-winning English professor at Montana State University.

She has the red tote bag to prove it, as well as six seasons of "Buffy" on DVD and several books, including "What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer's Spiritual Guide."

"I cannot be humiliated," Brown declared during an interview in her living room. She cackled, hamming it up for a photographer. "Buffyologists are a fun group."

Fun, but also serious and passionate.

The third international Buffy conference, held two weeks ago in Nashville, Tenn., drew more than 325 people from 16 different countries.

The conference was "fabulous," said Brown, who received travel expenses from her college to attend and present her academic paper on "The Monstrous Within and Without."

Some 190 scholars, from psychology, religion, media and other fields, presented papers on such topics as existentialism, witchcraft, masculinity, slayer slang, and sex and pain.

It may sounds frivolous or campy, but Brown argues that "Buffy" is part of something important going on in today's culture, particularly among younger people. They are struggling to find their way in a world where the old values no longer seem to apply.

For many people, she said, the old bedrock ideas -- the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, Enlightenment world views -- are breaking down in a fast-changing, pluralistic, technological era.

A new world view has not yet emerged, and it's in fantasy that people are exploring new visions, Brown said. Hence, the popularity of Harry Potter, "The Lord of the Rings" and "Buffy."

In such fantasies people reinforce values like community, loyalty, forgiveness and compassion, and consider how to face "the monstrous within ourselves."

Buffy, which ended a seven-season run this spring, told the story of a beautiful blonde teenager who engaged in hand-to-hand combat with evil, while dealing with such moral issues as inter-racial (human-vampire) love affairs.

Brown said she grew up when the only strong female role model was Nancy Drew, girl detective, so she was first drawn to Buffy as a model of female strength and courage. Then she was hooked by the show's word-play.

Far more than that is going on in "Buffy," however.

Ideas of good and evil, love and hate became confused when, for example, Spike the vampire realized he loves Buffy, Brown said.

Then Spike wondered if it would still be OK for him to kill bad human beings and suck their blood.

"It's a very funny show," she said.

Yet in a serious way, Brown wrote, "Buffy" provided "wonderful models, not of perfection, but of the striving ... and the acts of courage and love that reflect the heroic in us all. ... What a brave new world."

The last episode is over and the show is headed for reruns, but Brown is confident that "Buffy" will refuse to die.

"It will be a classic," she said.

- Contributed to NDSN by Mary Bianco

A Western Ballad

When I died, love, when I died
my heart was broken in your care;
I never suffered love so fair
as now I suffer and abide
when I died, love, when I died.

When I died, love, when I died
I wearied in an endless maze
that men have walked for centuries,
as endless as the gate was wide
when I died, love, when I died.

When I died, love, when I died
there was a war in the upper air:
all that happens, happens there;
there was an angel by my side
when I died, love, when I died.

-Allen Ginsberg

"Forgiveness is both a preparation and an end in spiritual life - a theme we return to often. To forgive, we must face the pain and sorrow of our betrayal and disappointment, and discover the movement of heart that opens to forgive in spite of it all... In the end, it is a compassionate letting go, for our own sake as well as the sake of others.

"It is like the meeting of two former prisoners of war. When one asked, 'Have you forgiven your captors?', he other replied, 'No, never.' The first ex-prisoner looked with kindness at his friend, and said, 'Well, then, they still have you in prison, don't they.'

"Without the wise heart of forgiveness, we carry the burdens of our past our whole life."

- Jack Kornfield from
After the Ecstasy, The Laundry,, published by Bantam.

And who is the first person we need to forgive? That guy or gal who annoys the heck out of us each day! Instead of scowling at him in the mirror this morning, how 'bout we blow her a kiss? -dg

- Jack Kornfield quote and comment by dharmagrandmother, posted to DailyDharma

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