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Highlights #643

Click here to go to the next issue.


Monday and Tuesday, March 5th and 6th


Dear Friends,

If you live in the New England area please be noticed that there
will be a Satsang with Carlos at the Friends Meeting
House in Cambridge, Mass on Saturday March 17, at 11 am.

Directions: the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge is located at 5
Longfellow Park, off the Brattle Street a few blocks from Harvard
Square.

More about Carlos at http://riverganga.org/meetCarlos.htm

Carlos just returned from Arunachala Ramanasraman.

Best regards,

Hur

________________________________________________________________


In the Northeast we are swamped by freezing rain and snow and thankfully
most of the schools and colleges have closed. So this morning sharing some
favorite stories. Here is an instance of how after Dilip Kumar Roy's heavy
depression was lifted.

Harsha

How I Came to the Maharshi - IV
By Dilip Kumar Roy

Dilip Kumar Roy is known throughout India as a famous singer, apart from
which he himself composes songs and writes poems, especially devotional
songs and poems to Sri Krishna. For many years he was an inmate of Sri
Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry. Now he is the head of the Hari Krishna
Mandir at Poona where, aided by his foremost disciple, Indira Devi, he acts
as guru to the many Krishna bhaktas who come. This account of his visit to
the Maharshi is taken on his own invitation, from his book The Flute Calls
Still, reviewed elsewhere in this issue.

"It happened in 1945, I think. I was still living as an inmate of Sri
Aurobindo Ashram, even though I had come to feel a growing sense of
isolation and begun to surmise that I was a misfit there. My sadness and
sense of dereliction only deepened with time till what little peace I had
left me completely and I felt all but stranded. But I need not go into the
why and wherefore of it all; I would plunge straight into what keeps me
company as one of the most unforgettable experiences I have ever had. It
does, as it was a landmark in my life.


After having been for weeks in the grip of a deep gloom, I . wrote straight
to Sri Aurobindo. He wrote back at once giving me the needed permission,
which I deeply appreciated.


I took the train to Tiruvannamalai where Ramana Maharshi lived. But as the
train rolled on I felt a deep and growing malaise ... How could I win the
needed peace at the feet of one who was not my Guru when I could not attain
it at the feet of my revered Guru, Sri Aurobindo, whose wisdom and greatness
my heart had never once questioned.


Well, I alighted at the station in a mixed frame of mind...


But it was too late then, for I was already at the gates of Ramanashram. How
could I return now, after having crossed the Rubicon? Besides, I was driven
by an irresistible urge to meet in the flesh the great Yogi who - unlike my
own preceptor, Sri Aurobindo - was available to all at all hours. And, to
crown all, I wanted to test the Maharshi for myself and see whether he, with
his magic compassion, could lift me out of the deep slough I had landed in.


But he did, and against my worst prognostications at that, so that I could
not possibly explain it away as a figment of autosuggestion. I mean - if
there were any auto-suggestion here it could only be against and not in
favour of my receiving the goods. But, as the Lord's ways are not ours, I
won an experience I could never even have dreamed of. So listen with bated
breath.


I can still recapture the thrill of the apocalyptic experience that came to
me to charm away as it were the obstinate gloom which had settled on my
chest like an incubus. But, alas, words seem so utterly pale and banal the
moment you want to describe an authentic spiritual experience which is
vivid, throbbing and intense. Still I must try.


I entered a trifle diffidently a big, bare hall where the Maharshi reclined
morning and evening among his devotees and the visitors who happened to
call. Accessible to all, the great saint sat on a divan looking straight in
front at nothing at all. I was told he lived thus all the time, in sahaja
samadhi, that is a constant super-conscious state. I was indeed fascinated
by what I saw, but I will not even attempt to portray with words how
overwhelmed I was (and why) by what met my eyes. For what is it after all
that I saw? Just a thin, half-naked man, sitting silently, gazing with
glazed eyes at the window. Yet there was something in him that spoke to me -
an indefinable beauty of poise and a plenitude that cannot be limmed with
words. I wrote afterwards a poem1 on him that may give a better idea, but I
must not get ahead of my story.


I touched his feet and then, without a word, sat down near him on the floor
and meditated, my heart aheave with a strange exaltation which deepened by
and by into an ineffable peace which beggars description. My monthold gloom
and misgivings, doubts and questionings, melted away like mist before
sunrise, till I felt I was being cradled on the crest of a flawless peace in
a vast ocean of felicity and light. I have to use superlatives here as I am
trying to describe as best I can my experience of an ineffable bliss and
peace which lasted for hours and hours. I can well remember how deep was the
gratefulness I felt towards the Maharshi on that sleepless and restful night
as I reclined, bathed in peace, in an easy chair under the stars at which I
gazed and gazed in an ecstasy of tears. And I recalled a pregnant saying of
his: "Just be. All is in you. Only a veil stands between. You have only to
rend the veil and then, well, just be."


I had found this favourite remark of his rather cryptic heretofore. But in
that moment I understood for the first time and wrote a poem in homage to
the Maharshi."1
_________________________
1 - This poem has already been published in The Mountain Path of April 1964,
p, 87.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Annamalai Swami

Annamalai Swami, a lifelong devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi, was absorbed in
his Master on November 9, 1995. He was 89-years-old. The Swami's remarkable
story was edited by David Godman and published in 1994 by the Sri Annamalai
Swami Ashram Trust.

Annamalai Swami came to the Maharshi in 1928 and, at the Sage's behest,
undertook the supervision in the construction of the Goshala (cow shed),
Dining Hall, Dispensary and various other projects. In the mid-1940s,
Bhagavan instructed him to leave the ashram and engage in intense sadhana.
He would then occasionally meet the Maharshi on his walks, but never again
in the fifty years that followed did he reenter Sri Ramanasramam, preferring
to live a quiet, austere life in Palakottu. His small ashram borders the
western boundary of Sri Ramanasramam and he was well known to many devotees
and visitors to Tiruvannamalai.

In the passage below, excerpted from Living By the Words Of Bhagavan,
Annamalai Swami relates the incidents preceding his departure from Sri
Ramanasramam.

* * *
MY days as an ashram worker were coming to a close, although I didn't
realize it at the time. In retrospect I can remember only one small incident
which indicated that Bhagavan knew that my time in the ashram was coming to
an end.

I was doing some digging with a crowbar when Bhagavan came and asked me,
"Did you decide to do this work yourself or did Chinnaswami ask you to do it
?"

I told him that Chinnaswami had asked me to do it. Bhagavan was not very
pleased.

"So, he has given you work. So, he has given you work. Why is he giving you
work like this?"

A little later Yogi Ramiah remarked to Bhagavan, "Annamalai Swami is working
very hard. His body has become very weak. You should give him some rest."

Bhagavan agreed with him. "Yes, we have to give him some rest. We have to
give freedom to him."

A few days later I went to Bhagavan's bathroom to help him with his morning
bath. Madhava Swami and I gave him the usual oil bath and massage.

When the bath was over Madhava Swami asked a question: "Bhagavan, the people
who take ganja lehiyam [an ayurvedic preparation whose principal ingredient
is cannabis] experience some kind of ananda [bliss]. What is the nature of
this ananda ? Is it the same ananda that the scriptures speak of?"

"Eating this ganja is a very bad habit," replied Bhagavan. Then, laughing
loudly, he came over to me, hugged me and called out, "Ananda! Ananda! This
is how these ganja-taking people behave!"

It was not a brief hug. Madhava Swami told me later that he held me tightly
for about two minutes. After the first few seconds I completely lost
awareness of my body and the world. Initially, there was a feeling of
happiness and bliss, but this soon gave way to a state in which there were
no feelings and no experiences. I did not lose consciousness, I just ceased
to be aware of anything that was going on around me. I remained in this
state for about fifteen minutes. When I recovered my usual
world-consciousness I was standing alone in the bathroom. Madhava Swami and
Bhagavan had long since departed for breakfast. I had not seen them open the
door and leave, nor had I heard the breakfast bell.

This experience completely changed my life. As soon as I recovered normal
consciousness I knew that my working life at Sri Ramanasramam had come to an
end. I knew that henceforth I would be living outside the ashram and
spending most of my time in meditation. There was a rule that only those who
worked for the ashram could live there full-time. Those who wanted to spend
their time in meditation had to live somewhere else. I thus knew that I
would have to leave the ashram and fend for myself, but the thought of
losing my regular meals and my room never troubled me.

I made a belated appearance in the dining room to eat my last breakfast. As
soon as I had finished eating I went up onto the hill to look for Bhagavan.
I found him sitting on a big rock.

"I have decided to leave the ashram," I said. "I want to go to Palakottu to
live alone and meditate."

"Ah! Very good! Very good! Very good!" exclaimed Bhagavan.

The decision clearly had his approval. How could it be otherwise since it
was Bhagavan himself who gave me the experience which precipitated the
decision?

After getting Bhagavan's permission I packed my possessions and locked my
room. I also locked all the other places that were in my charge.

I took the bunch of keys to Chinnaswami and told him, "I have decided to go
and live in Palakottu. Please take these keys and keep them."

Chinnaswami was, quite naturally, very surprised. "Why are you leaving?" he
asked. "You have constructed all these buildings. You have done so much
here. How can you go after doing all this work? Where will you sleep? How
will you eat? You will have many troubles because you have no way of
supporting yourself. Don't go, stay here."

I told him that I would not change my mind. I also tried to give him the
keys but he refused to accept them. I didn't want another argument with him
so I just handed over the keys to Subramaniam, who was also in the office,
and left.

It was an abrupt change in my life. Within a few hours of having the
experience I was walking to Palakottu, knowing full well that I had left all
of my old working life behind me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


_____________________________________________________________________________


White Wolfe:

out of nothing, the one spirit
ascends and descend as water
one drop became two,
yin and yang,
father and mother,
light and dark,
birth and death
being and not-being
something and nothing
love and higher love
the two became the fertile womb of creation and creatures
dancing as one the endless dancing of the dance of chance
that we who are many may join hands to become a new one
and love may spiral further up and further into higher love forever

a raindrop in the wind descends as one into the good earth
in the fecund darkness it continues its journey downward
seeking the other who is most like itself and they another
muitual surrender so that two coalesce to create a new one
a fresh pond to a stream to a tarn to a river to a lake to a sea
and finally the seas surrender into the infinite deep blue ocean

blue water arising into whites cloud disappearing into blue sky

the way of water is the of surrender, the middle way of sacred love

listen to the water seeking water beneath the still running waters

see the waters dance the dance of chance and listen to it song

the dance is the song of love, the love of the song is the dance

the Beloved calls us to sing and dance, dance and sing

join the the orchestra, the chorus and the ballet,

dance, sing and play for you are love and love is you


_____________________________________________________________________


Jeff Rasmussen:


I've moved my Taoism site to a new location, and have been actively
updating it.

I was hoping to exchange links with other sites. Taoist would be
okay, but I'd like to especially have other practices.

You can take a look at:

http://symynet.com/tao_te_ching/

and contact me, either here, or at [email protected], if you've got a
site.


"bless the web, every strand o' it,"

JR


____________________________________________________________________



Can anyone comment on this, please?

The idea that the world is purely an illusion is a misconception commonly
attributed to Advaita Vedanta; whereas it's really not saying that at all!
It is vitally important to understand this. If not, we're propounding dualism.
Advaita is telling us the entirety of what is, Manifest and Unmanifest,
Immanent and Transcendental, Relative and Absolute, Phenomenal and
Noumenal, Physical and Spiritual, is ONE BEING.

____________________________
love,
Cyber Dervish

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Do you see... *BEING*....as a noun (person, place, or thing) or a verb (meaning
process)?
could it be both?

Ed

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

True.

Advaita Vedanta does NOT view the world/universe as "purely an
illusion." However, it does view it as one would view a film or a
shadow... the film or shadow is there, but it "depends" on something
prior to it. There is something prior to the world/universe that
causes it to be perceived. According to Shankara's interpretation
it's a sort of "overlay" on Brahman. However, this is interpreted
slightly differently by different texts, gurus and all that.

Nowhere in Vedanta however has it ever been stated that the world is
purely an illusion. It's called 'Maya' for a reason -- *as* Maya
it's an existent thing... the confusion comes in because Maya is
referred to often as "unreal." Unreal in the sense, again, of a
movie playing on the screen, or a shadow, but existent as itself,
depending on Brahman to be perceived.

Also, inherent in Hinduism is very much the viewpoint that anything
that does not last is unreal. This viewpoint is not so prevalent in
Western culture (in the West something can be temporary but still
real) so this has to be taken under consideration.

One final point: The 'realized' sage will see all of the above as
conceptual nonsense. Things are as they are, and that's enough.

Namaste,

Omkara

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whose illusion would it be?

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