Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sufi Proverb

"Trust in God But Tether Your Camel"

-Sufi Proverb

This is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita.

Beautiful exposition on the proverb from this site:

A Master was traveling with one of his disciples. The disciple was in charge of taking care of the camel. They came in the night, tired, to a caravanserai. It was the disciple’s duty to tether the camel; he didn’t bother about it, he left the camel outside. Instead of that he simply prayed. He said to God, “Take care of the camel,” and fell asleep.

In the morning the camel was gone — stolen or moved away, or whatsoever happened. The Master asked, “What happened to the camel? Where is the camel?”

And the disciple said, “I don’t know. You ask God, because I had told Allah to take care of the camel, and I was too tired, so I don’t know. And I am not responsible either, because I had told Him, and very clearly! There was no missing the point. Not only once in fact, I told Him thrice. And you go on teaching ‘Trust Allah’, so I trusted. Now don’t look at me with anger.”

The Master said, “Trust in Allah but tether your camel first — because Allah has no other hands than yours.”

If He wants to tether the camel He will have to use somebody’s hands; He has no other hands. And it is your camel! The best way and the easiest and the shortest, the most short, is to use your hands. Trust Allah. Don’t trust only your hands, otherwise you will become tense. Tether the camel and then trust Allah.You will ask, “Then why trust Allah if you are tethering the camel?” — because a tethered camel can also be stolen. You do whatsoever you can do: that does not make the result certain, there is no guarantee.

So you do whatsoever you can, and then whatsoever happens, accept it. This is the meaning of tether the camel: do whatever is possible for you to do, don’t shirk your responsibility, and then if nothing happens or something goes wrong, trust Allah. Then He knows best. Then maybe it is right for us to travel without the camel.

It is very easy to trust Allah and be lazy. It is very easy not to trust Allah and be a doer. The third type of man is difficult — to trust Allah and yet remain a doer. But now you are only instrumental; God is the real doer, you are just instruments in His hands.

Artwork available here.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sri Lalitha Sahasranama

Navratri (9 Nights of the Divine Mother) is September 29 to October 8, and is celebrated locally and beautifully at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center.

More on the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama here.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Fear = Ego

Our path on this Earth has ups and downs,
Sometimes the road is barricaded by all kinds of challenges;
Sometimes, at a crossroads in our life, there are no signs.
Here comes the question, beloved travel companion:

Where to go? Which is the right direction?
We do not know! There are many hazards and the path is dark!
We don’t have intuition and courage is lacking!
But we cannot stop — Life itself rushes us!

Once, someone told us that within us is hidden
All the recorded knowing of Life on Earth;
If we knew how to access it, there would be no problems,
The wise solution would dissolve any dilemma.

Any man has access to this vast library,
For the key is within us, as well as in every human being;
There is one condition: to banish all fear,
Right now, in this moment, without delay!

Fear is an emotional state, closely connected to the “ego”.
This fiction — a bizarre construction,
Fearful by nature, in all its endeavors,
Which create its structure and its frail universe.

Fear and “ego” are one — there is no duality,
Here we are, therefore, confronted with this figment of imagination;
As “ego”, we are fear as well — this is our structure,
Each time we function in this state.

When either fear or the “ego” are encountered in a real way,
Without any motivations — only as a simple meeting,
It dissipates in a flash — in its place, an absolute “void” appears;
We spontaneously become immense, without beliefs or acts of will.

The inactivity of the mind — the personal mind,
Leads us to experience the Universal Mind;
Through it, the Wise man finds the path of Love,
These facts create our journey, through spontaneous action.

Only in peace, harmony, in the revelation of our being,
We will know, from experience, which is the right path.
Living on Earth — the right direction will spring from
The beauty of Love and Sacred Integrity.

—Ilie Cioara

Monday, September 09, 2019

Ramana Grace

"That even ‘lower’ life forms such as birds and beasts can attain the supreme state through the grace of the great ones [mahapurushas] was explicitly demonstrated by Bhagavan through the following incident. Bhagavan [Ramana Maharshi], ever shedding grace by remaining in the meditative state of Self-abidance, once externalised his attention, turned towards his devotees with a smile, and suddenly asked the following question.

"‘Do you know what state Lakshmi is in now?’

"Having never witnessed such a scene before, the devotees were puzzled by this unusual question. There was a cow standing in front of him with a motionless and fixed expression on her face.

"The ever-cheerful Bhagavan said, to the astonishment of the devotees, ‘She is in nirvikalpa samadhi,’ revealing by this brief comment the extraordinary power of his grace.

"The cow, affectionately called Lakshmi, was closely associated with the ashram. When she came, as usual, for Bhagavan’s darshan and stood in his presence, Bhagavan looked at her with great affection and started stroking her head. As a consequence of receiving this hasta diksha [initiation in which the Guru places his hands on the disciple’s head] she experienced immediately the state nirvikalpa samadhi.

"Although it is common to come across many human beings with bestial natures, it is extremely rare to see an animal with human nature.

"Bhagavan himself once pointed out the sanctity of Lakshmi by saying, ‘We don’t know what austerities she has performed in her previous births. It may be that she is in our midst only to complete her unfinished tapas!’

"After her nirvana, her body was entombed within the ashram premises in the presence of Bhagavan. It was done in the traditional manner, and a memorial was built on top. Among all those who took refuge in Bhagavan, only Lakshmi had the good fortune of having an epitaph written by Bhagavan himself confirming her liberation. This is what Bhagavan wrote on that occasion: ‘Lakshmi the cow was liberated under the star of visaka on Friday, the twelfth day of the bright half jyesta in the year sarvadhari [18th June 1948].’

"Among the fortunate animals that were the recipients of Bhagavan’s grace, there were others such as dogs, peacocks, squirrels and crows. Indeed, the life history of each one of them is wonderful. When it is seen that even animals attained mental quiescence by the extraordinary power of Bhagavan’s presence, will it not be superfluous to say that human beings attained the same? During the half century of his manifestation as grace divine at Arunachala, innumerable were the instances and infinite were the ways in which Bhagavan showered his grace on all those who approached him." 🕉

from Timeless in Time, by A.R. Natarajan

Monday, September 02, 2019

The Heart of It

'All the philosophies, world-views, ethical systems, practices, and rituals have only one intention: to wake us up from the sleep in which we dream that we are separate from what we experience.'

-Ken McLeod