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#1915 - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
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This issue features an excerpt from a newly published book, The Nature of Man According to the Vedanta, by John Levy. This series will constitute the first lengthy quotation of Levy on the internet; there is virtually nothing at present. Also there are quotations from the thoughtful Alpha World list. And there is an installment of In Nonduality Salon.
The Nature of Man According to the Vedanta
by John Levy
About the Author
John Levy was a wealthy English mystic, teacher, musician, and artist who was an expert in Asian folk music and hosted a radio program about this subject on the BBC. At one point in his life, Levy decided to give away his entire fortune and go to live for a time in India with nothing. He spent many years there with his guru, Krishna Menon, assisting him with the English translations of his guru's books Atma Darshan and Atma Niviriti.
Levy then brought his knowledge of Advaita Vedanta to the west in an accessible form through his teaching work and the publication of his books. He died in London in 1976.
from Preface, A Life in Retrospect
It was in Paris that my real education began. I was nineteen when I went there to be a draughtsman-apprentice to the architect Auguste Perret. He received me in person and at first I was rather awed by his presence, with his bearded dignity, his proud stance to which high heels discreetly lent support, and his manner of speaking like an oracle, full of the consciousness of his achievement. He was, in fact, one of the foremost architects of his time and the first, I believe, to make use of reinforced concrete logically and unashamedly, some will say for good and others for bad. At all events, logic and audacity are in themselves qualities to be admired, and he did much to rid the world of nineteenth-century sham: for that, all lovers of honest building must be grateful. Monsieur Auguste, as we called him, used to sit in his chair facing a photograph of the Parthenon. The remarkable thing was that every design which bore his name could not have come from any other source, although he was never seen to make a single drawing and he left all the details to be worked out by draftsmen, many of whom, like myself, were young men from foreign countries who thought it an honor to be able to work under his direction. Moreover, since he was his own contractor and employed his own engineers, one had the unique experience of making the architectural designs, the structural drawings and of supervising the work in progress on the building-yards, a combination which gave me my first real insight into the underlying unity of all things. That is why I said my real education began in Paris.
I began to study medieval music, and especially the music of Guillaume de Machaut, for he seemed to be more consciously concerned than his successors with metaphysics. I looked into the symbolism of ancient art and poetry. I also began reading a great many books in the hope of discovering the truth, whatever it might be. I read Greek philosophy in all its variety and found it to be quite unrelated to any present practical possibilities. Occultism and theosophy, both products of our time, while expressing a certain aspiration, lapsed in the end into wistful obscurity, when not into intellectual snobbery; as did also the many other untraditional schools of thought with which the world abounds. I read the works of Ouspensky and was taken to see him: though his writings helped me then, I found later that he only travestied some quite genuine teachings and methods of the East. And then, at last, I was introduced to the writings of Rene Guenon. I owe to Guenon the sudden understanding that I and the universe are one and that this essential unity can be realized. Now I find much to criticize in his attitude: and, in particular, his statement of Vedanta is often misleading. But his writings opened my eyes then and gave me a foretaste of the truth. His expression, 'the Supreme Identity,' by which he referred to this essential oneness of the individual soul and the universal soul, struck the deepest chord in my being.
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The Nature of Man According to the Vedanta
by John Levy
Pleasure is continually disappointed, reduced, deflated,
in favour of strong, noble
values: Truth, Death, Progress, Struggle, Joy, etc. Its victorious rival is Desire, we
are always being told about Desire, never about Pleasure.
Roland Barthes (1915 1980), French semiologist: The Pleasure of the Text, 1975.
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"The most exquisite pleasure is giving pleasure to others."
Jean de La Bruyere
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Mental pleasures never cloy; unlike those of the body,
they are increased by repetition,
approved by reflection, and strengthened by enjoyment.
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Who was Barbara? asked Harriet quickly.
Oh, a girl. I owe her quite a lot, really, replied
Winsey, musingly. When she married
the other fellow, I took up sleuthing as a cure for wounded feelings, and its really
been great fun, take it all in all. Dear me, yes - I was very much bowled over that time.
I even took a special course in logic for her sake.
For the pleasure of repeating Barbara celarent
darii ferio baralipton. There was a
kind of mysterious romantic lilt about the thing which was somehow expressive of passion.
Many a moonlight have I murmured it to the nightingales which haunt the gardens of St.
Johns ( ).
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison.
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"Lies are essential to humanity. They are perhaps as
important as the pursuit of pleasure
and moreover are dictated by that pursuit."
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"Beware of over-great pleasure in being popular or even beloved."
In Nonduality Salon
The Highlights of the Nonduality Salon list from between August, 1998 and May, 1999, the period of time prior to the creation of The Highlights.
Me1: Life IS a dream man. Maybe you are just dreaming we are
on that list.
Your name appears man but you just ain't there, know what I mean, dream
Me2: Maybe you haven't said anything worth responding to. Or
maybe they are
just too busy jacking each other off, you know, in their non-dual way so to
speak. Or maybe man, you're just not part of the tribe, you know, not part
of the shared common ground of time and place, you know, all those dualist
experiencial bonding stuffings in the brain cells of experience.
Me3: Shit. Common friendly at your neighborhood bar, even if
exclusion predominated, would be more non-dual, would it not?
Me2: Don't ask me
life is but a mystery
but I think
more than two
enlightened beings in any group is a waste of time
Me1: because life is but a dream.
Me3: Jesus. So, Me2, you think this group is a waste of your time?"
Me2: Well, there are already too many e-mails to read. Already
too many with
answers or responses. Already too much cleverness et al; too much ego posing
as non-dual knowing
Me3: And what was that?
Me1: Life is but a dream
Me2: I really must go.
Me3: I think I already left.
Me1: Why don't you start your own group like this here and you
can talk to
yourselves. That's all your're really doin' anyway; you know
Me1:M2:Me3: Life is but a dream!
Love to you all, and to all a goodnight, wherever you are.
~ ~ ~
December 25, 1998
It is three days past the death of the old!
It is time for each... the 'Christ' to behold.
Look into the eyes of one that you love,
behold, the 'Christ', the true gift from 'above'.
It matters not... which prophet we follow!
It matters not... in which creed we wallow!
These are the 'mind prisons' of mortal men,
who, the meaning of *Love*, just will not ken.
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Recognition is the final refuge of the ego. I have found that
for recognition as this or that has outweighed my desire to be
available. I claim, as others claim, to have the truth, to be
enlightened and wish to be called: sage, mystic, master, teacher, guru,
savior, messiah, Christ, Buddha etc.
I take refuge in the fact that Ajja, Ramesh Balsekar, Swami
Saraswati, Dr. Vijai Shankar, His Holiness the Dali Lama, Jesus, Buddha
and others have echoed my words, thoughts, feelings and interpretation
and it is here that I will stand.
I find it humorous that you all seek and when you find you
messenger. I laugh because the truth that you seek is in every living
thing. It is alive in all forms of existence and nonexistence. I chuckle
at the meandering and rubbish that displays itself as this or that. I
encourage those that would mock my words. At least these have taken a
side. The path to pure light and the path to pure darkness is the same
path. At least those that argue within the context are heading in the
right direction. Those of you, however, that sit and watch, and cry I
dont understand you must be wrong. For you I say the only stupid
question is the one not asked. These are serious matters and you deserve
Enlightenment is a process. Awakening, Symbolism, Duality,
Understanding, Acceptance, Advaita. It is simple. You my friends are not
so. You are complicated. You need qualification. You need encouragement.
You need recognition. You need.
You need others to do the thinking for you. You see? Isnt
You seek to think for yourselves and yet you allow others do the
thinking for you. Is it any wonder you can not see? Yet, rather than
think for yourself, you choose to read the words of others. This is fine
however, whether you ridicule my words, or just refuse to absorb and
practice the words of the masters you cannot define for me the
In order to accept and kill the need for recognition, I accept
that I am the last of all beings to become enlightened. I am the guy who
was the stupidest, lamest, wrong pathed, embodiment of all that is not
enlightened and in doing so have achieved that which I have desired. The
only question that remains now is the anger that I feel for all of you
masters. Why did you let me wander so long? Why did you not show me,
guide me, direct me and assist me? And why now do you not acknowledge
that which I posses? If you can answer these questions for me, then you will know exactly
what I mean and I have done my job. The truth is not in the answers for
the answers are always there. The truth is in the questions.
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This is not a Salon
The following is adapted by Jerry Katz from Thomas Merton:
"This is not a Nonduality Salon -- it is an electronic
('Who was that Nonduality Salon I seen you with last night?') What I
relate are electronic impulses. What I do is live. How I meditate and
relate to all this stuff, is breathe. Who said Nonduality? Wash your
mouth out if you said Nonduality. If you see a quote by Nisargadatta go
by, shoot it. Who said 'Love'? Love is in the movies. (You have mail.)
The spiritual life is something that people worry about when they are so
busy with soemthing else they think they ought to be spiritual.
Spiritual life is guilt. Out here is seen the Avadhuta Gita, the New
Testament, the Lankavatara Sutra, every link on the Nonduality Salon
website: that is to say, the wind comes through the trees and you
breathe it. Is it supposed to be clear? I am not inviting anybody to try
it. Or suggesting that one day the message will come saying NOW. That is
none of my business."
---adapted from Thomas Merton for the Nonduality Salon
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