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#3196 - Friday, June 13, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

Nonduality Highlights - 


The following is extracted from the MySpace blog of Highlights reader and San Francisco resident Robert. It's an open letter to the Highlights Editors. He writes about his discovery of Nisargadatta, the tussle to understand, the turn around. He also tells about his meetings with Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati Udasina, as well the books of other teachers, and a few of his friends. I think readers will identify and feel a camaraderie with him.    

In an open letter to the Highlights editors, which was originally composed and sent in January, 2008, Robert writes...  

Thanks very much ... for sharing all these wonderful eye openers (in the Nonduality Highlights).
Your work and dedication to the Truth are highly appreciated. I pass these on all or in part
several times weekly...
  I am just beginning to read Adyashanti, thanks to your contributions. Marvelous!  

Working on the MySpace site is an awakening as I now try to formulate and put into words
experiences and understandings worthy of sharing. Most have been shaped by the teachings of the
Masters, but am digging way deep, seeking the recesses of introspection to pull out my own
authentic voice, nay, rather that authentic voice of the ages.

Or rather, that timeless original voice.   S

ometimes, in communications with those of considerable awareness, it is drawn out automatically
and spontaneously either in dialogue or while writing. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) these
words have vanished like writings etched with a twig on the surface of a flowing stream.

Now there’s a vision for a movie somewhere, a master writing as he speaks his lesson, with a twig
dipped in water soluble red ink on a gently clear flowing stream before his Shishyas’ eyes, the
words flowing meaningfully, and then vanishing as swiftly and as smoothly as they appear.

This is often how teachings appear because there is no attention. There is no attention because
there is no real desire to understand. There is no desire to understand, because desires are
extroverted. This looking for happiness in the illusory world that emerges from Mind is doomed to

When I read Nisargadatta, and it was the awe struck serious inflection in my friend’s voice over
the phone that drew me to Nisargadatta, I read him every waking moment I could, from my hour long
bus ride to work, in restrooms and lunch breaks at work, on the way home, and last thing before I
went to sleep, a session chapter of two or three – depending on the reflection time – before lights
out. For month’s.

I read rebelliously not allowing myself to be persuaded by the Master, but challenged his every
teaching in my mind. I could not allow that I was not the body, not the mind, and tried to poke
holes in his answers – and became exhausted trying to do so. And could not. Still, I heard in his
voice and tone, disarming answers – and they really disarmed the questioner, frequently with a
response which twisted the question 180 degrees around – turned the question around back on itself.
I dissected these in my mind word by word until I heard the words behind the words. And then the
silence...the mind numbing silence...

It took six months of introspection – and out of nowhere – click! As if a switch inside the base of
my neck was flipped on, the rush of understanding coursed upward, light speed and infused,
permeated and radiated in my mind. That a-ha moment! It was, I am sure, the section half way thru
the book in which a questioner pins down Nisargadatta to defining and elaborating on his
distinctions, uses and meanings of Mind, Consciousness and Awareness. For once a questioner’s mind
did not stray from Nisargadatta’s responses as other questioners usually did.

The first half reading and wrestling with the book took six months, the second half with an
understanding mind took six days. Amazing. And just as I was wrapping up my reading – the book was
’Orange’at the time – do you remember that first popular orange edition? – then a stranger stuck
his head in the door at Café La Boheme and in the bay window section cubicle where I was also
sipping a coffee, he informed me about Jean Dunn’s works Seeds of Consciousness and Prior to
Consciousness and rushed off to Field’s and gobbled these up too... I tried to engage the stranger,
but he excused himself and disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

I would go to Field’s Bookstore and mine the works for deeper understandings, and in desperation,
a prayer rose from my heart – God why do you always send me ’dead teachers’...and shortly after I met
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati Udasina, the stroked (like Ram Das) master performing the fire ceremony
at the Yoga Society in San Francisco. I will be brief just to say he was the living embodiment
demonstrating infallibly our authentic state with the message that this is our state, not just his, and to
pay attention to our self.

He used to say "You are not the body, you are not the mind. You have a body, you have a mind. You
are like the Big Blue Sky. You are that pure Self. Beingness-Consciousness-Bliss. Realize that
  And then you would feel it...there was no mistaking...once I had to open my eyes to see if I was
still living in the flesh, more than that energized field of pulsation and vibration...only to
realize Nisargadatta admonishing us that we are not what we experience...what am I? Still?

Well – I have some key points I shall be writing about – and which will be honed in MySpace and
transferred to a website. I bounce these off a good friend for reality checks. Some day reality
will check spontaneously. Some days it does.

The points I refer to are in defining terms often used in spiritual teachings but then confusion
arises because of multiple notions. These terms are the many for God, Om, Mind, Awareness,
Consciousness, Salvation and Liberation. For example what is the teacher’s take on Consciousness?
Is Consciousness epiphenomenal and what implications does this understanding of Consciousness have?

In other words is there mind because there is Consciousness; or, is there Consciousness because
there is mind. And what is mind?

Best answer concerning Mind is in the Sankhya Yoga paradigm - Buddhi & Manas. Simple and most
comprehensive explanations and definitions of these terms are in Swami Rajarshi Muni’s Awakening
the Life Force and the most precise expositions are contained in Rammurti S. Mishra, M.D.’s
Textbook of Yoga Psychology.

Concerning liberation and salvation my friend George says in response to correspondence we
exchanged about one of my gifted yet suffering ’pot’ smoking friends:

I wonder how people would react if they were told that there was and is a method to move toward
that state of liberation, the very one which Jesus was immersed in, and that high which the smokers
seek. It must seem outlandish or madness. But they would not have to throw the gospels at one
another, would they?

The best definitions for Om (In the beginning was the Word...) I have found are in Shri Brahmananda
Sarasvati’s tapes and written commentaries of the Mandukya Upanishad, while the base foundation of
the meaning of Fire Ceremony and Myth I have found in Joseph Campbell’s Mythos series...I am not
sure if this is still available...but it is a treasure.

Then there is the definition of myth I believe I got from your NDHighlights which came from The
Quest for Spiritual Freedom—the Gnostic World View by Stephan A. Hoeller in Jay Kinney’s The Inner
  The term ’myth’ should not here be taken to mean ’stories that are not true’, but rather, truths
that are expressed as stories.

My mind grates when the ears hear "’s just a myth" thrown about flippantly.  

David Godman has the best working definitions for ’Truth’ where he elaborates on the meanings of
the terms for the ’Absolute’: the Self, Sat-chit-ananda, God, the Heart, Jnana, Turiya & turyatita,
and Sahaja Sthiti & Svarupa, and finally – Silence as used by Ramana Maharshi in his introduction
of Be As You Are...

Nisargadatta really nails the meanings of Mind, Consciousness and Awareness on the head in I Am
That bottom p. 220 to top p. 224

Salvation & Liberation – these are all terms of our final and ultimate estate; and depending on the
’myth’, are expressed in terms by which all our misery happens because we identify with the Ethnic
or Folk myths, rather than understanding the Elementary Ideas common to all religions and contained
in the various Ethnic expressions of the myth (from Campbell’s Mythos DVD where he expounds Adolf
Bastian’s work).

Wars arise by identifying with the accidentals; peace comes from understanding of the essential.  

Well this will be my thrust...shall keep you apprised.  

All the best for your continued inspiration for humanity, and my humble appreciation for your fine


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