Monday, December 28, 2020

Let Go....

"Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception. Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life. Though man's ingenuity for getting himself into trouble appears to be endless, the Infinite Succor is no less resourceful."

-Lahiri Mahasaya  

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Jesus of Nazareth  (Part One). Franco Zeffirelli's 1977 masterpiece

See Part II here.



Monday, December 21, 2020

Cause and Effect

 "The Absolute is the original (bimba) and the world is the reflection (pratibimba) just as the moon causes many refection’s in different pools of water and the reflections differ in their clarity according to the degree of cleanliness of the water reflecting it and just as they appear to be stable or moving if the water is stable or moving, similarly, due to the nature of avidya (ignorance), the jivas (living beings) who are the reflections of the infinite, appear to have different forms and types."

-Adi Shankaracharya, commentary on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

* * *

"Due to ignorance, that which belongs to the mind; the agency of actions, etc, is attributed to the Self;  just as attributed to the moon reflected in water  are the trembling, etc, which belong to water."

-Adi Shankaracharya, Atma Bodha, verse 22

Monday, December 14, 2020

Shraddha (faith) and Titiksha (forbearance)

"There are pearls in the deep sea, but one must hazard all to find them. If diving once does not bring you pearls, you need not therefore conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again. You are sure to be rewarded in the end. So is it with the finding of the Lord in this world. If your first attempt proves fruitless, do not lose heart. Persevere in your efforts. You are sure to realize Him at last."

-Sri Ramakrishna

Monday, December 07, 2020

See the Self in All

 "This is the gist of all worship — to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Siva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Siva, and if he sees Siva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Siva in him, without thinking of his caste, creed, or race, or anything, with him Siva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples."

-Swami Vivekananda

Monday, November 30, 2020

Morning and Evening Prayer (Gandhi)

Ahimsa, satya, asteya,

Brachmacharya, asangraha,

Sharirashram, aswada,

Sarvatra, bhaya varjana,

Sarva dharma samanatva,

Swadeshi, sparsha bhavana,

Vinamra vrata nishtha se,

Ye ekadash sevya hain. 


Nonviolence, truth, nonstealing

Sacred sex, nonconsumerism,

Physical work, avoidance of bad taste,

Fearlessness, respect for all religions

Local economy and respect for all beings. 

These 11 principles 

Should be followed with humility, care, and commitment.


-Mahatma Gandhi, morning and evening prayer


"Prayer does for the purification of the mind, what the bucket and the broom do for the cleaning up of our physical surroundings. And that is why we always commence our proceedings with prayer. No matter whether the prayer we recite is the Hindu prayer or the Muslim or the Parsi, its function is essentially the same, namely, purification of the heart." 

- Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, November 23, 2020

Soham: I Am

Sadhu Om: "To dwell upon ‘I am’ in whatever way is possible is good contemplation (manana). It is the practice that will root out all interest in other things (second and third persons) and make self-abidance easy.

"Good and bad are based on the limiting concept ‘I am the body’. The experience of the jnani is simply ‘I am’. Though it may seem that the jnani sees differences, he never actually experiences any distinctions such as good or bad. He is ever contented with the knowledge ‘I am’. ‘lam’ is both the way and the goal (as Bhagavan teaches us in verse 579 of Guru Vachaka Kovai).

"Bhagavan [Ramana Maharshi] is the greatest siddha. He knows well what work need be done on us and how to do it. Though we do not know it, he is doing his work all the time.

"Erratic behaviour only occurs if a disciple has a profound change of outlook while still retaining some individuality. Bhagavan will always bring about the required change of outlook (the experience of true self-knowledge) together with the loss of individuality, so no outward changes will be seen in those whom he liberates, and no ‘I’ will rise in them to say ‘I have had this change of outlook’, nor will he say anything (that is, he will not say that they have been liberated).

"He used to give the example of a hard-shelled fruit which an elephant swallows whole and excretes unbroken, but when the shell is broken open the contents are found to have been digested. Likewise, when Bhagavan consumes anyone’s ego, they will outwardly appear unchanged. No one can say how many egos Bhagavan has thus consumed‘.

"In one of his verses Muruganar sang to Bhagavan, ‘You have given me sahaja [my natural state] without letting me experience nirvikalpa sama'dhi, close my eyes, or do any sa'dhana’. Such is Bhagavan’s guruship, but if he were asked how he does it, he would say, ‘I don’t know; I just know that I am’.

"There is only a thin line between jnana [knowledge] and ajnana [ignorance or lack of knowledge]. At the right time, a shock may enable one to cross the line and have that small change of outlook.

"'I am’ is neither inside nor outside. Dwell on the fact that ‘lam’ is devoid of limitations. Dwell on the feeling of being. That is self, and it alone exists.

"The karma theory is riddled with loopholes, ambiguities and dubious assumptions. Firstly it presupposes that the ever non-existent ego exists as a doer, and on top of this false assumption it piles up one false assumption over another: the existence of God, a"ga'mya, San‘ciza, pra’rabdha [types of karma], their functions and so on. Do not merely doubt the theory; doubt whether you exist as a doer."

(Recorded by Michael James on 5th December 1977, and appearing in an unpublished work called The Paramount Importance of Self Attention)

Monday, November 16, 2020

How to Meditate


"Sitting in a solitary place, freeing the mind from desires and controlling the sense, meditate upon the Atman which is One without a second, with unswerving attention."

-Atma Bodha, verse 38

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Happy Diwali!

Diwali or Deepavali - the Festival of Light -- symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning "rows of lighted lamps". Houses, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas. The Diwali Festival lasts for five days. It starts at the end of the “cropping season” at the new moon and is celebrated as the festival of prosperity, wisdom, and light.  

Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Lord Ram killed the demon Ravana and rescued Sita from captivity in Lanka. The celebration marks the return of Lord Ram to Ayodha after 14 years of exile. Others celebrate the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. The festival is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists.

To prepare, people clean and decorate their homes, and during Diwali they light candles and lamps, offer prayers for prosperity, and exchange gifts and sweets.

For yogis, it symbolizes the victory of Knowledge over ignorance:

Pavamana Mantra (from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad)

Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya
Om Shanti Shanti Shantih

(Lead us from the unreal to the Real. From darkness to Light. From mortality to Eternity).

Learn more about Diwali here.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Morning Meditation by Adi Shankaracharya

All of Vedanta is contained in this beautiful morning prayer by Adi Shankaracharya. Apparently it was Swami Vivekananda’s favorite prayer which he used to sing often. Swami Vivekananda was a key person in the introduction of the eastern philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world - starting at the 1893 World Parliament of Religion in Chicago.

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प्रातः स्मरामि हृदि संस्फुरदात्मतत्त्वं

सच्चित्सुखं परमहंसगतिं तुरीयम् ।

यत्स्वप्नजागरसुषुप्तिमवैति नित्यं

तद्ब्रह्म निष्कलमहं न च भूतसङ्घः ॥१॥

Praatah Smaraami Hrdi Samsphurad-Aatma-Tattvam
Sac-Cit-Sukham Parama-Hamsa-Gatim Turiiyam |
Yat-Svapna-Jaagara-Sussuptim-Avaiti Nityam
Tad-Brahma Nisskalam-Aham Na Ca Bhuuta-Sangghah ||1||

In the Early Morning I remember (i.e. meditate on) the Pure Essence of the Atman shining within my Heart, …
Which gives the Bliss of Sacchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss essence), which is the Supreme Hamsa(symbolically a Pure White Swan floating in Chidakasha) and takes the mind to the state of Turiya (the fourth state, Superconsciousness),
Which knows (as a witness beyond) the three states of Dream, Waking and Deep Sleep, always,
That Brahman which is without any division shines as the I; and not this body which is a collection of Pancha Bhuta(Five Elements).

Monday, October 19, 2020

Final Message of Thayumanavar

"Withdraw the mind from the senses and fix it in meditation. Control the thought-current. Find out the thought-centre and fix yourself there. Then you will be conscious of the divine Self; you will see it dancing in ecstasy. Live in that delight. That delight-consciousness is the God in you. He is in every heart. You need not go anywhere to find Him. Find your own core and feel Him there. Peace, bliss, felicity, health — everything is in you. Trust in the divine in you. Entrust yourself to His Grace. Be as you are. Off with past impressions! He who lives from within an ingathered soul is a real sage, even though he may be a householder. He who allows his mind to wander with the senses is an ignoramus, though he is learned. See as a witness, without the burden of seeing. See the world just as you see a drama. See without attachment. Look within. Look at the inner light unshaken by mental impressions. Then, floods of conscious bliss shall come pouring in and around you from all directions. This is the supreme Knowledge; realise! Aum! Aum!"  🕉

-Thayumanavar,  January 1742

Learn about Ramana Maharshi and Thayumanavar here.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Revel in the Self

"The discovery that peace, happiness and love are ever-present within our own Being, and completely available at every moment of experience, under all conditions, is the most important discovery that anyone can make." 

 -Rupert Spira

Monday, October 05, 2020

Action vs. Doership

"Trust in Allah but tether your camel first."

-Sufi Proverb

Learn more here.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Take a Stand

"There are three possibilities open to us at every moment: one, to stand as a separate self, which resists what is present and seeks what is not; two, to stand as the open, empty space of Awareness, in which all experience appears and with which it is known; and three, to stand as the light of pure Knowing, out of which all experience is made. Experience will appear in accordance with whichever stand is taken."

-Rupert Spira

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Self-Knowledge vs. Self-Realization

"If, from what has been unfolded so far, you know what awareness is but are not free, you are like the man who heard that there was a large reward for anyone who knew the four Vedas, so he said, 'I k now that there are four vedas. Please give me the money.' But this is not what is meant by the knowledge of awareness. It should be directly and fully known.'"

-Vidyaranya Swami, Panchadasi


Tuesday, September 15, 2020


“The impediments to Self Realization are: 1/ binding attachment to the objects of the senses, 2/ dullness of the intellect, 3/ indulgence in improper and illogical arguments about the nature of enlightenment, 4/ the deep conviction that the Self is an agent and enjoyer.”

-Vidyaranya Swami, Panchadasi


Monday, September 07, 2020

'You' are Not the Body

“You never identify yourself with the shadow cast by your body, or with its reflection, or with the body you see in a dream or in your imagination. Therefore you should not identify yourself with this living body, either.”

-Adi Shankaracharya


Monday, August 31, 2020

Poorna - Fullness

“Can infinity have parts? What is meant by parts of infinity? If you reason it out, you will find that it is impossible. Infinity cannot be divided, it always remains infinite. If it could be divided, each part would be infinite. And there cannot be two infinites. Suppose there were, one would limit the other, and both would be finite. Infinity can only be one, undivided. Thus the conclusion will be reached that the infinite is one and not many, and that one Infinite Soul is reflecting itself through thousands and thousands of mirrors, appearing as so many different souls. It is the same Infinite Soul, which is the background of the universe, that we call God. The same Infinite Soul also is the background of the human mind which we call the human soul.”

― Swami Vivekananda, Practical Vedanta


Monday, August 24, 2020

Impediments in Vedanta

"The impediments are (1) binding attachment to the objects of the senses, (2) an agitated and dull intellect, (3) indulgence in improper and illogical arguments about the nature of moksha and (4) the deep conviction that the self is an agent and an enjoyer."

-Vidyaranya Swami, Panchadasi, IX.43


Monday, August 17, 2020

The "I" is the Light of Consciousness

"The light in the perception of sense objects is the changeless Atma, the One without a second which abides infilling all.

"To see It as It is, the objects must be separated from It or else they must be made to point towards It.

"The 'I' must be removed from body to Atma. Freedom from bondage, peace and happiness will flow from it."

-Atmananda Krishna Menon, Atma-Darshan


Monday, August 10, 2020

Only One Being

"The Truth that is to be Realized may be summarized simply as the Realization that no matter what is arising, no matter how many others are present, there is only One Being. This is precisely different from the childish but common religious notion that even when you are alone there is always Someone Else present, Who will look out for you if you do the right thing. True freedom is not a matter of striking a deal with an All-Powerful Parental Deity; no such God exists. True freedom is in the Realization that there is only God and You are That One."

-Adi Da

Monday, August 03, 2020

Aids to Self-Inquiry

"The wise say that inquiry means reflecting on awareness, discussing it with liberated souls who appreciate the value of scripture, and trying to understand Vedanta's logical arguments proving that one's self/existence is non-separate from other existent selves. One should generate an unbroken thought-current on awareness. Discussions with those not committed to self-knowledge are a waste of time."

-Vadyaranya Swami, Panchadasi

Monday, July 27, 2020


By Marie Howe

(after Stephen Hawking)

Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?

so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money—

nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone

pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.

For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if

the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;

would that we could wake up to what we were
— when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not

at all — nothing

before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.

Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?

No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with

is is is is is

All everything home

Monday, July 20, 2020

Meditate on Atman

“Meditate on the Atman as immovable, Intelligence and non-dual, having given up external and internal self-modifications and the illusion that you are the reflected self (individual soul).”

-Astavakra Gita

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dealing with Change and Fear

"When we understand that there is something very real deep within us which, unlike everything else, while absolutely dynamic, is not subject to change, we begin to recognize the true nature of our Self. According to some commentators, the Sanskrit term for this Self, the Atman, derives from the verbal root ‘at’ — to eat. So Atman would mean, ‘eater of thoughts’ (+ ‘man’ from the verbal root, ‘to think’). There could be no better etymology, for that which ‘eats’ even mind itself can only be our true nature. Thus to realise this Self is indeed Self-realisation.

"Though we seek to modify the circumstances of our lives and be comfortable within ourselves, we are in general afraid of change. Although we are aware each moment is unique, we resist it because we continually repeat in our ignorant way our old familiar patterns and conditionings, our vasanas. When everything is unaltered we feel secure. Actually all we do is freeze our perception into a tight band of limited consciousness. We insulate ourselves from adjustment and dwell in the delusion that our unchanged existence replicates the nature of Brahman. We have seen that it does not. By reinforcing our conditioning it actually weakens and diminishes our ability to cope with the transformation that is at the heart of all life. Thus we retard our spiritual progress and remain bound by our own conditionings, we neither grow nor expand. Our spiritual knowledge and experience likewise remain limited by our not allowing ourselves to accept and be fully open to change."

-Ram Brown Crowell, "Self-Enquiry, Change, and the Nature of Brahman" (from April-June 2020 Mountain Path)

Monday, July 06, 2020

Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Mercedes de Acosta

From Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi

Mercedes de Acosta, a Spanish-American who came to Sri Ramana in 1938, was a Hollywood socialite and scriptwriter for films. Long after meeting Sri Ramana she wrote the book Here Lies the Heart, which was dedicated to: "Thou Spiritual Guide -Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, the only completely egoless, world detached and pure being, I have ever known."

'A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton [No.1] had a profound influence on me. In it I learned for the first time about Ramana Maharshi, a great Indian saint and sage. It was as though some emanation of this saint was projected out of the book to me. For days and nights after reading about him I could not think of anything else. I became, as it were, possessed by him. I could not even talk of anything else. Nothing could distract me from the idea that I must go and meet this saint. The whole direction of my life turned towards India. I felt that I would surely go there.

'I had very little money, far too little to risk going to India, but something pushed me towards my goal. I went to the steamship company and booked myself one of the cheapest cabins on the S.S.Victoria.

'In Madras I hired a car, and so anxious was I to reach the Ashram that I did not go to bed and travelled by night, arriving about seven O’clock in the morning. I was very tired as I got out of the car in a small square in front of the Arunachaleswara Temple.1 The driver explained he could take me no further. I turned towards the Ashram in the hot sun along the two miles of dust-covered road to reach the abode of the Sage. As I walked that distance, deeply within myself I knew that I was moving towards the greatest experience of my life.

'When I first entered the hall, I perceived Bhagavan at once, sitting in the Buddha posture on his couch in the corner. At the same moment I felt overcome by some strong power in the hall, as if an invisible wind was pushing violently against me. For a moment I felt dizzy. Then I recovered myself. To my great surprise I suddenly heard an American voice calling out to me, ‘Hello, come in.’ It was the voice of an American named Guy Hague, who had already been with the Maharshi for a year. He came towards me, took my hand, leading me to a place beside him. I was able to look around the hall, but my gaze was drawn to Bhagavan, who was sitting absolutely straight looking directly in front of him.

'His eyes did not blink or move. Because they seemed so full of light I had the impression they were grey. I learned later that they were brown, although there have been various opinions as to the colour of his eyes. His body was naked except for a loincloth. As he sat there he seemed like a statue, and yet something extraordinary emanated from him. I had a feeling that on some invisible level I was receiving spiritual shocks from him, although his gaze was not directed towards me. He did not seem to be looking at anything, and yet I felt he could see and was conscious of the whole world. Hague whispered, “Bhagavan is in samadhi.”

'After I had been sitting for sometime, Hague suggested that I go and sit near the Maharshi. He said, “You can never tell when Bhagavan will come out of samadhi. When he does, I am sure he will be pleased to see you.“

'I moved near Bhagavan, sitting at his feet and facing him. Not long after this Bhagavan opened his eyes. He moved his head and looked directly down at me, his eyes looking into mine. It would be impossible to describe that moment and I am not going to attempt it. I can only say that at that time I felt my inner being raised to a new level – as if, suddenly, my state of consciousness was lifted to a much higher degree. Perhaps in that split second I was no longer my human self but the Self. Then Bhagavan smiled at me. It seemed to me that I had never before known what a smile was. I said, “I have come a long way to see you.“

'There was silence. I had stupidly brought a piece of paper on which I had written a number of questions I wanted to ask. I fumbled for it in my pocket, but the questions were already answered by merely being in his presence. There was no need for questions or answers. Nevertheless, I asked, “Tell me, whom shall I follow – what shall I follow? I have been trying to find this out for years.” Again there was silence. After a few minutes, which seemed to me a long time, he spoke, “You are not telling the truth. You are just using words – just talking. You know perfectly well whom to follow. Why do you need me to confirm it?” “You mean I should follow my inner self?” I asked. His response was, “I don’t know anything about your inner self. You should follow the Self. There is nothing or no one else to follow.“

'I asked again, “What about religions, teachers, gurus?” He said, “Yes, if they can help in the quest for the Self. Can a religion, which teaches you to look outside yourself, which promises a heaven and a reward outside yourself, be of help to you? It is only by diving deep into the spiritual Heart that one can find the Self.” He placed his right hand on his right breast and continued, “Here lies the Heart, the dynamic, spiritual Heart. It is called hridaya and is located on the right side of the chest and is clearly visible to the inner eye of an adept on the spiritual path. Through meditation you can learn to find the Self in the cave of this Heart.”

'I said, “Bhagavan, you say that I am to take up the search for the Self by atma vichara, asking myself the question ‘Who Am I?’ May I ask who are you?” Bhagavan answered, “When you know the Self, the ‘I’, ‘You’, ‘He’, and ‘She’ disappear. They merge together in pure Consciousness.”

'To write about my experience with Bhagavan, to recapture and record all that he said, or all that his silences implied is trying to put the infinite into an egg cup. On me he had, and still has, a profound influence. I feel it presumptuous to say he changed my life. My life was perhaps not so important as all that. But I definitely saw life differently after I had been in his presence, a presence that just by merely ‘being’ was sufficient spiritual nourishment for a lifetime.

'I sat in the hall with Bhagavan three days and three nights. Sometimes he spoke to me, other times he was silent and I did not interrupt his silence. Often he was in samadhi. I wanted to stay on there with him but finally he told me that I should go Backto America. He said, “There will be what will be called a war, but which, in reality, will be a great world revolution. Every country and every person will be touched by it. You must return to America. Your destiny is not in India at this time.”

'Before I bid a sorrowful farewell to Bhagavan, he gave me some verses he had selected from the Yoga Vasistha. These contained the essence for the path of a pure life: (i) Steady in the state of fullness, which shines when all desires are given up, and peaceful in the state of freedom in life, act playfully in the world, O Raghava! (ii) Inwardly free from all desires, dispassionate and detached, but outwardly active in all directions, act playfully in the world, O Raghava! (iii) Free from egotism, with mind detached as in sleep, pure like the sky, ever untainted, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!

'When I returned from India, undiscerning people saw very little change in me. But there was a transformation of my entire consciousness. And how could it have been otherwise? I had been in the atmosphere of an egoless, world-detached and completely pure being.'

Learn more here.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Happy Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is an opportunity to perform tapas and go deep. Learn more here.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Meditative Perceptions That Can Be Useful to Explore and Transcend, and What to Disregard

by Roy Eugene Davis

When the waves of consciousness cease or are transcended by concentrated meditation, consciousness is one with the supreme Self.

— Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895)

Samadhi [oneness] is realized [experienced and known for what it is] when fluctuations in the meditator’s awareness are stilled. The seer [the perceiver] then abides in its essence of being. When not established in awareness of being, the seer is inclined to identify with changes and transformations that occur in the mind and awareness [and with objective events and circumstances].

— Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras 1:2,3,4

The way to be Self-realized is to remove attention from conditions which confine your awareness. You can do this by using your powers of discernment to know the difference between you as the observer and what is observed, and by meditating until your mind is completely calm and your awareness is clear. Until thoughts and subconscious inclinations are no longer forceful when you are meditating, their influences may cause you to have a variety of subjective perceptions: of light; mildly pleasant or ecstatic sensations; subtle sound frequencies heard; expansion of consciousness; identification with what you are contemplating; or a sense of relating to or communing with a Larger Reality.

1) Light may be inwardly seen because of activation of brain centers or stimulation of optic nerves. Let your attention be attracted to it; then go beyond it. If you see a tunnel of light, go through it to the field of pure awareness beyond it.

2) Mild or extremely pleasurable sensations may be felt when you are mentally peaceful and emotionally calm. Ecstatic sensations may be caused by flows of prana (life force) in the body. Joyousness unrelated to the senses or to movements of life force may be present when you are Self-aware. Experience pleasurable sensations without allowing them to preoccupy your attention or considering them to be the ultimate stage of meditation practice.

3) Subtle sound frequencies that may be heard may be environmental sounds that are amplified in your ear canals or emanations of sounds from the chakras in the spine and head. You can use sounds that are heard as mantras to focus your attention. Listen for very subtle sounds behind the first sounds that are heard. Continue until the sound is pure and constant. Somewhat merge with the sound, then go beyond it while contemplating pure consciousness as the aim.

4) If you are aware that your consciousness is expanding, let it occur while observing the experience.

5) If you become so absorbed in contemplating light, sound, or another object of perception that you feel that you are identified with it, explore the experience while aspiring to awaken to the stage where you are Self-knowing without being identified with an object of perception.

6) If you have a sense of communion with a Larger Reality, explore that experience while aspiring to comprehend the allness of that Reality and your relationship to it.

When meditating, disregard dream-like visual perceptions that are obviously produced by subconscious influences, moods, or random mental processes. Devoid of significance, they are distractions that interfere with contemplation of higher realities.

If, during or after meditation practice, you have what seem to be insights or a sense of inner guidance, after your practice session examine them in the light of reason and common sense to discern if they are of real value. Don’t presume them to be valid just because “they came to you while you meditated.”

If it seems that you hear voices that impart information, know that they originate in your own mind or are fantasies. Music that may seem to be heard is also mind-produced. Your meditative aim should be to transcend subjective phenomena and be Self- and God-realized.

-Roy Eugene Davis


Monday, June 22, 2020

Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God – Swami Mukundananda

Includes beautiful audio of each verse, along with Sanskrit, transliteration, word for word translation, and verse translation - great source to learn/practice correct pronunciation.

Find it here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Souris, daughter of Chalam

Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Souris, daughter of Chalam
from this website

Souris, daughter of Chalam (preceding entry), bore a Westernised name and her family’s way of living was also Westernised. Her father had rejected Indian systems and traditions.

When I saw Bhagavan’s [Ramana Maharshi's] photo for the first time in The Sunday Times, I wondered who that ugly person could be. I thought, ‘not only does he get himself photographed half-naked, he also gets the picture printed in newspapers’. At the same time I loathed him and what he stood for. I discovered that his name was Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, which sounded harsh and artificial to my ears. Bhagavan, Ramana and Maharshi: I did not see any relation between these names. I felt that he had added these titles merely for the sake of self–advertisement, to show himself off.

My aesthetic feelings were so hurt that if I ever saw the Maharshi’s photo in a newspaper I used to turn the page as quickly as possible. At that time, when I was fourteen years old, I couldn’t stand the sight of him. But now, today, I know no other beauty is comparable to the beauty of the Maharshi. It is not merely a feeling; it is a conviction, a sure knowledge. His enchanting smile, his melodious voice, the nod of his head, his wonderful look that splits through the maya of the world, these are found nowhere else in the world.

When my father returned from his first visit to the Ashram in 1936, I was lying down with a headache. Everyone except me crowded round father to listen to his account of the visit. I initially ignored him, but when I heard him say the name of Arunachala my heart got filled with joy. I got up from my bed and sat near father because his story had begun to fascinate me. As I joined him, father was describing Bhagavan’s philosophy of Self-knowledge. He was explaining that Bhagavan teaches that the mind, the intellect, the five sensory organs and the body are not real, and we should know the real ‘I’.

Everyone was listening, but except for me, none of us could grasp or understand the ideas that father was trying to explain. Since my childhood I had wondered: Is the world real or is it a dream? I had known since childhood that behind my mind there is an ‘I’ that has no connection with the mind. I had tried unsuccessfully to reach and know this ‘I’ many times. I knew that the mind was a barrier that prevented the goal from being reached, but I had no idea how to bypass it. When I heard Bhagavan’s teachings, I felt that they were pointing me in the direction of the truth I was seeking.

I went to bed and stretched myself out. Father came and sat near me. He applied some vibhuti he had brought from the Ashram to my forehead and uttered Bhagavan’s name twice. I felt a cool power flowing from my father’s fingers into my forehead. Immediately my headache disappeared. Later I read the booklet Who am I? and started to practise the technique.

At the beginning, each time I tried to banish thoughts one by one, ten thoughts would arise in place of each one I banished. This made me feel depressed. But about ten days after I started my practice, the figure of Bhagavan appeared before me. Till then I had never seen him, except in photos. Immediately all the thoughts in my mind subsided of their own accord, filling my heart with joy and love. I would have stopped such a difficult sadhana on account of my young age, but I soon discovered that the headache that had troubled me since childhood vanished if I meditated.

Ever since I read Brunton’s A Search in Secret India [No.1], the desire to see Bhagavan became intense. His name constantly filled my mind. I spent a whole year yearning to go to Bhagavan before I got a chance to see him. I went along with my parents. We entered Bhagavan’s hall at 8 a.m. As soon as he saw me, Bhagavan smiled as if I were an old acquaintance. It seemed to me that he had been expecting me for a long time. I sat before him and almost immediately fell into a trance. It was so natural; it was like a fish being put into water.

I went to see Bhagavan again with my father in the late 1930s. Though I was often in ecstasy in Bhagavan’s presence, I could not escape from some difficulties. The behaviour, traditions and methods of worship at the Ashram continually grated on me. One evening, while I was sitting in a trance, the person distributing prasad came up to me and said loudly, “Take it.” I stretched out my left-hand because by birth I am left-handed. He responded by rebuking me. I was unhappy since I did not like being shouted at by the attendants.

I did not see meaning in many of the rituals. Whenever the priest brought arati after puja, Bhagavan would stretch out his hand to the flame and then apply vibhuti and kumkum to the forehead. I never understood why Bhagavan behaved in this way like an orthodox Brahmin. I thought that since he was a jnani who always saw the whole world as a foolish game, he should not behave like this. There were many other occasions when I saw him behaving in a way that seemed opposite to his teachings, as I then understood them. I was confused. This confusion was so great that I felt my love for him would diminish. But then I began to correct my attitude.

I said to myself, “What are we before him? If Bhagavan takes arati very devoutly, why should I have any objection?” Because of all these thoughts about Bhagavan and arati, my meditation used to get disturbed. Then, one day, I saw Major Chadwick [No.42] take arati very devoutly and apply vibhuti and kumkum to his forehead. It moved me very much. If, for a Hindu by birth like me, there does not appear much meaning or rationale in the arati, it should appear even more meaningless to a foreigner such as him. From that day on I saw beauty in whatever Bhagavan did.

For me, being in Bhagavan’s presence was like being in heaven. If I am to write how Bhagavan has impressed me, all the vocabulary I can command in the three languages I know would not suffice. When a word issued forth from his lips – generally he did not speak much at all – it was just as astonishing as it would be if words had come forth from an inanimate idol. Above all else I noticed his sparkling eyes; even in the dark one could see them sparkle. And when he looked at us, his sight, like an arrow, pierced right into the deepest recesses of the heart.

At the Ashram I felt that apart from this place the entire world is non-existent. I didn’t like to go away, leaving Bhagavan. I only wanted to stay there.When I came Backfrom the Ashram in 1939, home seemed like a jail to me. But whenever I thought strongly of going Backto Arunachala, Bhagavan would appear in a dream and counsel me, “Why do you worry? I am always with you.“

In one of my dreams Bhagavan appeared and asked me, “Will you choose a writing career or Self-realisation?” I replied in the dream that I would choose Self-realisation. After this dream, people who had read my published stories used to ask, “What are you writing nowadays?” When I answered, “Bhagavan told me to stop,” they would look at me in disbelief.

I continued my sadhana at home. If Bhagavan had not guided me through my dreams during that long period (before I moved to Arunachala permanently in 1950), I would have gone astray many times and would have been deceived by many.

In January 1950, when Bhagavan was in the last stages of his life, I, along with my father, packed up all our belongings and moved to Arunachala, our only refuge, to take up permanent residence there. Within a few weeks of our arrival, Bhagavan gave up the body. We had come to die in his presence, but instead he passed away before our very eyes. We stayed on near his samadhi. For us, there was nowhere else to go.

read more at this website

Monday, June 08, 2020

Q&A with Roy Eugene Davis

Q: What is the most beneficial way to integrate spiritual practices with everyday life?

Roy Eugene Davis: Consider everything you do as spiritual practice. Attend to your daily duties skillfully and efficiently. Wisely manage your material resources. Adhere to wholesome lifestyle regimens. Be cheerfully optimistic. Nurture wholesomeness, harmonious relationships. Improve your intellectual powers. Meditate on a regular schedule. Be mentally calm and emotionally stable at all times. Grow to emotional and spiritual maturity. Nurture your awareness of your relationship with the Infinite.

Q: In light of recent world events I find that I am often anxious and worried about the future.

Roy Eugene Davis: It is best to practice replacing thoughts of worry and fear about an unknown, imaginary future with an appreciation for life as it is now. If we learn to focus on what we have, even if it is meager, instead of what we think we lack, we open our mind and consciousness to the flow of supportive grace that is always with us. In this way we can become positive and optimistic which will result in better health and increased happiness.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Mangala Mantra

Mangala (Auspicous) Mantra
for inner peace and world peace

Svasti prajabhyah paripalayantam
Nyayena margena mahim mahishaha
Go brahmanebhyah shubhamastu nityam
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

May all be harmonious with mankind.
May the leaders of the earth protect us in every way.
May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred.
May all the realms be at peace and be happy.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Razor's Edge

"We find that are mind does not want to undergo the discipline of discrimination, nor does it have the capacity of consistent logical thinking. It has been allowed its willful ways and indulgences and gross pleasures for many births. It cannot be blamed for its follies. It has not known subtler joys. When the mind is made to inquire and is turned towards its source, it fears its own death and protests. The devious mind find various ways to prevent this inquiry. Initially it does not allow the person to attend discourses of Vedanta. Even if he attends, the mind puts him to sleep or distracts him, not allowing the words to register. If heard, the mind refuses to understand. If understood and accepted as logical, the mind calls it 'impractical for this day and age.' This play of the mind is called Maya. We should not yield to its tricks. By consistent and guided inquiry, all our doubts will disappear and we would come to experience the Truth."

-Swami Tejomayananda, introduction to Drig Drshya Viveka (An Inquiry Into the Nature of the Seer and the Seen)

Our course on this wonderful Jnana Yoga text starts Tuesday


Monday, May 18, 2020

What is the Self?

“I am that which knows or is aware of all experience, but I am not myself an experience. I am aware of thoughts but am not myself a thought; I am aware of feelings and sensations but am not myself a feeling or sensation; I am aware of perceptions but am not myself a perception. Whatever the content of experience, I know or am aware of it. Thus, knowing or being aware is the essential element in all knowledge, the common factor in all experience.”

― Rupert Spira

Monday, May 11, 2020

Time to Be Silent

"The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabdha karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent."

-Ramana Maharshi

Read more about Ramana-ashram and containment/sheltering as ways to get quiet and go within here.


Monday, May 04, 2020

Abiding in the Self

"Normally, knowledge is not something to practice. Your mind is open, you perceive something and the knowledge arises in the mind effortlessly. It is object-dependent, assuming your senses are working properly. Self-knowledge, however, is unique because self-ignorance is famously stubborn. It not only persists, it resists. Self-Ignorance -- 'I am small, inadequate and incomplete' -- has been masquerading as self-knowledge for one's whole lifetime and is not usually removed permanently the first time you hear Vedanta. After the initial euphoria the ignorance returns. You hear the truth 'I am whole and completely adequate to deal with anything life has to offer' -- and you recognize it and are uplifted by it. If you want the knowledge to stick you need to practice it. Practicing it means continuously keeping it in mind and applying it diligently to every self-ignorance-inspired projection that arises until all the projections have been negated."

-James Swartz


Monday, April 20, 2020

Valuing the Present Situation

From How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships
By HH the Dalai Lama

"By being born a human, you have taken on a physical support system through which you can easily achieve both your temporary and your larger aims. Now that you have attained this auspicious life form so unique among the myriad forms born into this world, it is important that you do not waste it. If in this situation you practice merely to attain a good life in future rebirths for yourself, you would not be using your potential fully. Or, if you merely aim to liberate yourself from the tangles of suffering, this would also fall short of your inherent potential. With your humanity you should do whatever you can to attain perfect, complete spiritual development."


Monday, April 13, 2020

The Story of Sage Valmiki

'Rishis are Puppet Masters; We Are Merely Puppets"
From Dr. Robert E. Svoboda's Aghora II: Kundalini (‘The Esoteric Ramayana')

“We would never have had the Ramayana at all had it not been for the Rishi Valmiki and his concern over how to spread out the karmas he had incurred through his chosen profession. Valmiki was not born a Rishi; in fact he was a bandit. His job was waylaying people and robbing them or even kill them. Occasionally he would let them go. One day Valmiki caught the celestial troublemaker Narada, and told him he would have to die because he had nothing of value to steal.

“Narada told him, ‘All right I am ready to die, but please tell me why you rob people.’

“Valmiki replied ‘Because I have to feed my family.’

“Narada then asked him ‘Do you think that they are as willing to share in your karmas as they are to share in your income?’

“Valmiki said, ‘Of course they are! But deep inside his mind doubt suddenly took root. Narada told him ‘Before you kill me and add to the weight of your karmas, why don’t you make sure that your family is willing to share them with you?’

“Valmiki returned to his home to inquire and got the shock of his lifetime when one after another his family members refused to have anything to do with his bad karmas. His parents told him, ‘We raised you and supported you while you were growing up; now you have to pay us back. We don’t care where the money comes from; that is your problem,’

“His wife said, ‘I have borne your children and run your household. You owe me a living, and I am not interested in how you provide it. All your karmas are your responsibility.’ His children informed him, ‘We never asked to be born here. You have created us, and now you have to look after us at your own expense. You will have to worry about your karmas yourself.’

“A shaken Valmiki returned to Narada, who had of course foreseen what would happen. Narada then taught Valmiki about how devotion to Vishnu can eliminate bad karmas. Because Valmiki could not pronounce Sanskrit properly he could not repeat ‘Rama, Rama,’ so Narada ordered him to repeat ‘mara, mara,’ instead. Mara means ‘killer,’ which was something Valmiki could relate to.

“Both ‘mara’ and ‘Rama’ have the same letters, the same Bija mantras, which means there must be a definite connection between them. There is also a definite difference in effect between them, due to the order in which the letters are pronounced, in the same way that there is both a connection and a difference between ‘Hara’ (Shiva) and ‘raha’ (secret).

“Valmiki sat down and began to recite. He sat in one position for sixty thousand years without moving. Ant hills grew over him…”

“By repeating ‘mara’, mara’ at top speed Valmiki actually started to repeat ‘Rama, Rama.’ When he emerged he was a Rishi.

“The Ramayana was composed long before it ever happened. First the Rishis got together and decided they wanted a certain type of Lila. Then they commissioned Valmiki to write the script. It was just like writing the script of a drama or a movie for him. Actually it was simpler; he simply opened himself up, and senior Rishis wrote the Ramayana through him.”

“This is what I mean when I say the Rishis are the puppet masters and we are merely puppets. They decide what is to happen and then arrange for it to happen.”


Monday, April 06, 2020

Matter Doesn't Matter

Matter is Nothing More than the Extrinsic Appearance of Inner Experience
By Bernardo Kastrup

"....let us immediately acknowledge the empirically obvious: there is a world beyond and independent of our individual consciousness; a world that we all inhabit. And, alas, we clearly can’t change how this world works by a mere act of individual conscious volition. But to acknowledge this does not require the bankrupt notion of matter outside consciousness. It only requires a transpersonal consciousness within which our individual consciousnesses are immersed.

"Indeed, I maintain that the external world is itself constituted by transpersonal experiential states that simply present themselves to us in the form we call ‘matter.’ As such, ‘matter’ is merely the extrinsic appearance—the image—of inner experience; there’s nothing more to it. In the case of living beings, the ‘matter’ constituting their body is the extrinsic appearance of their individual experiential states (this being the reason why measurable patterns of brain activity correlate with inner experience). In the case of the inanimate universe, on the other hand, ‘matter’ is the extrinsic appearance of transpersonal experiential states.

"‘Matter’ is merely the extrinsic appearance—the image—of inner experience; there’s nothing more to it."

Read the full piece here.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Self-Inquiry (Vichara)

Definition of Self-Inquiry (Vichara)
by James Swartz

"If you think inquiry is closing your eyes and looking within, you are sadly mistaken. You cannot see your face with your eyes open or closed unless you have a mirror. To see yourself you need the mirror of Vedanta, a word-mirror that reveals your self. When you look into a mirror you do not see the mirror, you see yourself. Self-inquiry is Vedanta. It is a lifelong practice of inquiry into the world, the Jiva and the self. Inquiry negates Jiva and the world, leaving only the self."

More here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Finding Peace During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Rupert Spira on Finding Peace During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Way We Live Now

"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless way, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to love and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."

- Kitty O'Meara

sent to me by 200-hr teacher trainee Agatha DeFranco
photo snapped by me last night, courtesy of Mother Earth (Ma Shakti)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Tips for Weathering the Storm

Tips from Parvati Om

-Do not succumb to fear and doubt. If you become overwhelmed, go outside and gaze at the sky. Don’t look for something to focus on, rather let the image of the sky move towards you.

-Remember that love and peace the sustain it all. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says, “With a single fragment of Myself, I stand supporting the whole universe.”

-Be grateful for every moment of health.

-Minimize your time on electronics and watching the news.

-Create a daily routine of self-care. Get up at the same time you normally would.

-Spend time in nature. Stand barefoot on the grass and release stress into the earth.

-Spring is here! Open the windows.

-Breathe deep and with the mouth closed!

-Start a home yoga practice. (sun salutations, headstand, shoulderstand, fish, a few backbends and forward folds, spinal twist and end with deep relaxation)

-Practice yoga nidra

-Meditate on color or the moon or mantra (like Om) or space

-Observe silence – Stop talking and listening for a little while each day.

-Eat Healthily. Sleep well. Laugh. Laugh a lot!

More tips here.