Monday, 28 March 2011

Dhamma from Buddha by Karen Armstrong

The ego is voracious and continually wants to gobble up other things and people. We almost never see things as they are in themselves, but our vision is colored by whether we want them or not, how we can get them, or how they can bring us profit. Our view of the world is, therefore, distorted by our greed, and this often leads to ill will and enmity, when our desires clash with the cravings of others. When we say 'I want,' we often find ourselves filled with envy, jealousy and rage if other people block our desires or succeed where we have failed. Such states of mind are 'unskillful' because they make us more selfish than ever. Desire and hatred, its concomitant, are thus the joint cause of much of the misery and evil in the world. On the one hand, desire makes us 'grab' or 'cling' to things that can never give lasting satisfaction. On the other, it makes us constantly discontented with our present circumstances. The way one craving after another took possession of his mind and heart, human beings were ceaselessly yearning to become something else, go somewhere else, and acquire something they do not have. It is as though they were continually seeking a form of rebirth, a new kind of existence. Craving manifests itself even in the desire to change our physical position, go into another room, have a snack or suddenly leave work and go find somebody to talk to. These petty cravings assail us hour by hour, minute by minute, so that we know no rest. We are consumed and distracted by the compulsion to become something different. 'The world, whose very nature is to change, is constantly determined to become something else,' Buddha says. 'It is at the mercy of change, it is only happy when it is caught up in the process of change, but this love of change contains a measure of fear, and this fear itself is dukkha.'

When people lived as though the ego did not exist, they found that they were happier. They experienced the same kind of enlargement of being as came from a practice of the 'immeasurables,' which were designed to dethrone the self from the center of our private universe and put other beings in its place. Egotism is constricting; when we see things only from a selfish point of view, our vision is limited. To live beyond the reach of greed, hatred, and the fears that come with an acute anxiety about our status and survival is liberating. Anatta may sound bleak when proposed as an abstract idea, but when it was lived out it transformed people's lives. By living as though they had no self, people found that they had conquered their egotism and felt a great deal better. By understanding anatta with the 'direct knowledge' of a yogin, they found that they had crossed over into a richer, fuller existence. Anatta must, therefore, tell us something true about the human condition.
The Buddha believed that a selfless life would introduce men and women to Nibbana. Monotheists would say that it would bring them into the presence of God.


Above all subjects study thine own self. For no knowledge that terminates in curiosity or speculation is comparable to that which is of use and of all useful knowledge, that is most so, which consists in the due care and just notions of ourselves. This study is a debt which every one owes himself. Let us not then be so lavish, so unjust, as not to pay this debt, by spending some part at least, if we cannot all, or most of our time and care, upon that which has the most indefeasible claim to it. Govern your passions, manage your actions with prudence, and where false steps have been made, correct them for the future. Let nothing be allowed to grow headstrong and disorderly; but bring all under discipline. Set all your faults before your eyes, and pass sentence upon yourself with the same severity as you would do upon another, for whom no partiality hath biased your judgement.

Of all that have tried the selfish experiment, let one come forth and say he has succeeded. He that has made gold his idol-has it satisfied him? He that has toiled in the fields of ambition-has he been repaid? He that has ransacked every theatre of sensual enjoyment-is he content? Can any answer in the affirmative? Not one. And when his conscience shall ask him, and ask it will, "Where are the hungry, whom you gave food? The thirsty, whom you gave drink? The stranger, whom you sheltered? The naked, whom you clothed? The prisoned, whom you visited? The sick, whom you ministered unto?" how will he feel when he must answer, "I have done none of these things-I thought only for myself!"

25:42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink;
25:43 I was stranger and you did not take Me in,
naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Today is birth anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu which is observed in West Bengal as Dol Jatra

Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Navadvip, 125 kilometres north of Calcutta, on the evening of a lunar eclipse over 500 years ago. Chaitanya's appearance as the direct avatara of Lord Krishna Himself was foretold in the Srimad Bhagavatam and also in the Vishnu Purana. His complexion was of molten gold and so he was called Gauranga. He was named Krishna Chaitanya, the one who awakens Krishna in the hearts of men, by spiritual master, Keshav Bharati, when he took sanyasa at 24 years of age. Chaitanya was handsome, graceful and brilliant.

He mastered Sanskrit and Vedic scriptures before he was sixteen. Even as a youth He humbled many an erudite Vedic scholar in debate on the interpretation of the Vedanta Sutras. He converted several staunch advaitins(followers of Adi Shankaracharya's monism) to vaisnavism. Differing from the advaitic interpretation of the Vedanta Sutras, Chaitanya propounded the philosophy of achintya-bhedabhe-da-ttatva - that the Supreme Person is simultaneously one with and different (bhedabheda) from His creation; and that the philosophy is so esoteric that it is inconceivable (achintya) to the unrealised human mind. He maintained that between the Supreme Person(God) and the jivatma(living entity), there was an eternal sameness as well as a distinction which endured even after the jivatma had attained liberation (moksa). This was different from Shankara's assertion that the jivatma merged into and became one with a formless and attributeless God.

Krishna-Truth Absolute, becomes locked up in our heart of hearts as soon as we wish sincerely to recite His Name and follow the path of devotion giving up all ideas of self-deception and of deceiving others and want to live in amity with all creation. The contribution of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Vaishnavism to the world literature in its different branches is immense. The best of devotional thought of the world is to be found in the Gaudiya Vaishnavism of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The best of literature of medieval Bengal, both in Sanskrit and Bengali, is the gift of Vaishnava masters.

Free from any kind of social, racial, or sectarian bias or so called caste prejudices, Sri Chaitanya gave to India the highest type of spiritual unity. Roaming alone from one end of the country to the other on foot, He embraced the Pariah and the leper; the Brahmin and the Shudra with equal felicity. The greatest pandit and the most illiterate peasant received the same treatment from Him. The conservative Brahmin and the elite of the society could not remain aloof. Such universal upsurge of the spirit of the nation has hardly been seen at any other time. People forgot that they were the inhabitants either of the East, West, North or South of India; whether a Bengali, an Oriya, a Dravida or man of Upper India. They forgot even their caste or line of Sadhana, whether a Yogi or a Jnani. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rescued philosophy from barren intellectualism and religion from empty ritualism. Bhakti was a super-logical experience in which man as well as the object of devotion came nearer to each other in transcendental bodies. That was the only way to reach the Ultimate Reality which remained incomprehensible to the mere intellect. The very sight of Sri Chaitanya inspired many to Bhakti, - devotion to Sri Krishna and Radha. To see Chaitanya was to love Sri Krishna.
Chaitanya was a spiritual healer of suffering humanity. Full of love for devotees, knowing nothing but Krishna loving all equally, self-restrained, bestowing the highest good on humanity, calmness pervading His nature, as He never teaches any Purushartha other than Bhagavat Prem (Love of God), He puts on bangles of Sandal-wood while He dances, steeped in the ecstasy of love for Krishna.

Chaitanya advocated that the best and simplest method of bhakti in Kaliyuga is to praise the Lord, Sri Krishna, sing His glories and chant the mahamantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama; Hare Hare. He popularised the sankirtan movement by himself leading congregational dancing and singing the glories of the Lord throughout India. As He had prophesied, Krishna's names are being chanted throughout the world today.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Grades of Empirical Realities and Unrealities by Adi Shankaracharya

An image of a Deity shaped artificially, from clay for instance, is unreal in the sense it is nothing but clay, shaped according to one's notions, and the idea of the Deity is superimposed on it. We even immerse the image in waters after the worship, and the clay image disintegrates. But on that account we do not lack devotion or fervour when we worship the Deity through the image, for though the image is artificial and later is discarded, the Deity whom we have invoked and whom we worship in and through it is considered Infinite and Eternal and does not disappear with the image.

A currency-note is only an authorised symbol of the money-value denoted on it, and derives its value from the gold in deposit to support it. Inherently, it has mere paper-value; still, as long as it is not demonetized, it serves the purposes of real money for all our transactions, and we look upon it as such and keep it safely. Similarly, though Isvara is phenomenal since Brahman is the Reality behind Him, He can act, as God as long as the universe and the jivas are there, and we can really live and worship Him, as He is no other than Brahman personified.

The supposed water seen in the mirage is an empirical appearance and empirically unreal for it does not serve the purpose of water. However, it is an experience of which we make literary use.

A reflected image of a face in the mirror is unreal for it does not really exist inside the mirror, but in our brain, though we seem to see it out there; still it serves the purpose of showing our face to us, and helps us do our face. Again a shadow, though not a positive entity, can serve several useful purposes, and give us some knowledge. As an experience it is real, but as a substance it is unreal.

This is His Grace. He is ideal of Perfection and, like a mirror showing us our image, helps us to correct ourselves and realize our true nature. Hence Brahman, though Itself neutral, as Isvara makes possible all our life's activities and ideals and helps us to perfect ourselves.

An image of a Deity shaped artificially, from clay for instance, is unreal in the sense it is nothing but clay, shaped according to one's notions, and the idea of the Deity is superimposed on it. We even immerse the image in waters after the worship, and the clay image disintegrates. But on that account we do not lack devotion or fervour when we worship the Deity through the image, for though the image is artificial and later is discarded, the Deity whom we have invoked and whom we worship in and through it is considered Infinite and Eternal and does not disappear with the image.

A currency-note is only an authorised symbol of the money-value denoted on it, and derives its value from the gold in deposit to support it. Inherently, it has mere paper-value; still, as long as it is not demonetized, it serves the purposes of real money for all our transactions, and we look upon it as such and keep it safely. Similarly, though Isvara is phenomenal since Brahman is the Reality behind Him, He can act, as God as long as the universe and the jivas are there, and we can really live and worship Him, as He is no other than Brahman personified.

The supposed water seen in the mirage is an empirical appearance and empirically unreal for it does not serve the purpose of water. However, it is an experience of which we make literary use.

A reflected image of a face in the mirror is unreal for it does not really exist inside the mirror, but in our brain, though we seem to see it out there; still it serves the purpose of showing our face to us, and helps us do our face. Again a shadow, though not a positive entity, can serve several useful purposes, and give us some knowledge. As an experience it is real, but as a substance it is unreal.

This is His Grace. He is ideal of Perfection and, like a mirror showing us our image, helps us to correct ourselves and realize our true nature. Hence Brahman, though Itself neutral, as Isvara makes possible all our life's activities and ideals and helps us to perfect ourselves.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Non-being then existed not nor being:
There was no air, nor sky that is beyond it.
What was concealed? Wherein? In whose protection?
And was there deep unfathomable water?

Death then existed not nor life immortal;
Of neither night nor day was any token.
By its inherent force the One breathed breathless:
No other thing than that beyond existed.

Darkness there was at first by darkness hidden;
Without distinctive marks, this all was water.
That which, becoming, by the void was covered,
That One by force of heat came into being.

Desire entered the One in the beginning:
It was the earliest seed, of thought the product.
The sages searching in their hearts with wisdom,
Found out the bond of being in non-being.

Their ray extended light across the darkness:
But was the One above or was it under?
Creative force was there, and fertile power:
Below was energy, above was impulse.

Who knows for certain? Who shall here declare it?
Whence was it born, and whence came this creation?
The gods were born after this world's creation:
Then who can know from whence it has arisen?

None knoweth whence creation has arisen;
And whether he has or has not produced it:
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He only knows, or haply he may know not.

Translated by A. A. Macdonell

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

His Holiness Dalai Lama Asks Exiled Government To Amend Constitution, Let Him Retire

Dalai Lama is one of the living legends of the world whom we admire. He is considered to be one of the happiest person in the world.

Profile  of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama (1935-)

In a world torn by sectarian conflict, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has touched the hearts of many. His scientific approach to religion and non-violent approach to politics are shining examples of the application of Buddhist ethics to contemporary problems.

The Dalai Lama has multiple identities-he is believed to be a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, is the spiritual as well as temporal head of the Tibetan people, winner of the 1989 Nobe Prize for Peace, and perhaps the single largest factor responsible for the current global interest in Buddhism.

Born in a peasant's family in Tibet, he was recognised as the reincarnation of his predecessor at age two. He was just 15 when the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950. After 10 years of struggle and facing atrocities by the Chinese, His Holiness along with 80,000 Tibetan refugees, fled to India. Since then, he lived in exile in Dharamashala in Himachal Pradesh.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly appealed to the United Nations and the world community on behalf of Tibet. He has been able to bring a measure of democracy in the traditionally feudal Tibetan society-members of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile are elected directly by the Tibetan diaspora. He has encouraged his people to protest nonviolently against Chinese occupation and has never termed the Chinese as his 'enemy', repeatedly assertng that he feels no hatred towards them whatsoever.

Starting life as head of a nation, the Dalai Lama has grown to be so much more. With his simple message of peace and compassion, he has touched the hearts and minds of millions of non-Tibetan, non-Buddhist people around the world. In 1989, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all oppressed people of the world, he said: "I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings." Despite his worldwide fame, His Holiness identifies himself as nothing more than a Buddhist monk and lives in a simple cottage, practising what he preaches.

Pico Iyer on Dalai Lama from October-November 2003 Edition of Life Positive Plus

What is the real nature of his charisma, his appeal, I thought. And on this particular day, the answer that came to me was: he's suffered. To an almost incomprehensible degree. He's seen more suffering in the incarnation than most of us will see in a thousand lifetimes. If there's one major theme in his life, looked at in a certain light, it's the central Buddhist theme of loss.
He was forced to leave the country he loves and serves, he's seen hundreds of thousands of his people die, often in his service, and he's seen almost every diplomatic advance of 40 years rejected. As Dalai Lama, he accepts all this, no doubt, as his responsibility, his destiny, but there's a human side, too, that can only feel the pain.
And in the middle of this, what is the man famous for? Pure optimism. Happiness, calm, and an invincible sense of peace. His smile, his warmth, all the things that make him what one friend of mine calls "the happiest man alive".It makes you humble, in a way; it also causes you to think.

If someone who has seen and lost all that he has seen and lost-40 years waiting to go back to a home that is slowly, systematically, being destroyed-can look at the light in things, what right does any of us have to feel sorry for ourselves? If he can find hope, how can the rest of us not do so?

Some people would say, and I think with justice, that the Dalai Lama's message, on one level, is a rigorous optimism. Others would just point to his kindness-the equivalent of the Buddha holding up a flower and saying nothing.
But one of them, at least-might be just his life: one long, unbroken trail of separation and tragedy, and yet to look at him, to listen to him you would think that every moment was lit up with pure gold.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Bulleh! to me, I am not known(Punjabi: Bullah Ki Jana Main Kaun) by Bulleh Shah

This is a complete version of the blog on the poem by Bulleh Shah along with its explanations.

Not a believer inside the mosque, am I
Nor a pagan disciple of false rites
Not the pure amongst the impure
Neither Moses, nor the Pharaoh

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Not in the holy Vedas, am I
Nor in opium, neither in wine
Not in the drunkard`s intoxicated craze
Niether awake, nor in a sleeping daze

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

In happiness nor in sorrow, am I
Neither clean, nor a filthy mire
Not from water, nor from earth
Neither fire, nor from air, is my birth

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Not an Arab, nor Lahori
Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri
Hindu, Turk, nor Peshawari
Nor do I live in Nadaun

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Secrets of religion, I have not known
From Adam and Eve, I am not born
I am not the name I assume
Not in stillness, nor on the move

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

I am the first, I am the last
None other, have I ever known
I am the wisest of them all
Bulleh! do I stand alone?

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Explanation to Bullah Ki Jana main kaun

1.Max Mueller

Ancient philosophy, particularly if we consider that it exists now, and seems always to have existed, under three different forms, the Advaita school(non-duality school), the Visishta-advaita school(non-duality school, with a difference), and the Dvaita school (real duality school). The Advaita or non-duality school, chiefly represented by Samkara and his followers, holds that there is and there can be one reality only, whether we call it God, the Infinite or the Absolute, the Unknowable or Brahman, so that it follows by the strictest rules of logic that whatever is or seems to be, can be that one Absolute only, though wrongly conceived, as we are told, by Avidya or Nescience. The human soul, like everything else, is and can be nothing but Brahman or the Absolute, though for a time misconceived by Avidya or Nescience. The desire of each individual soul is not, as commonly supposed, an approah to or a union with Brahman, but simply a becoming what it has always been, a recovering and recollection of its true being, a recognition of the full and undivided Brahman as the eternal basis of every apparently individual soul.
The second school, called Visishta-advaita, or Advaita, non-duality, with a difference, was evidently intended for a larger public, for those who could not bring themselves to deny all reality to the phenomenal world, and some individuality likewise to their own souls.
Brahman does not possess any qualities(visesha), not even those of being and thinking, but it is both being and thought. To every attempt to define or qualify Brahman, Samkara has but one answer- No, No! When the question is asked as to the cause of what cannot be denied, namely, the manifold phenomenal world, or the world as reflected in our consciousness, with all its individual subjects, and all its individual objects, all that Samkara condescends to say is that their cause is Avidya or Nescience.
Avidya is neither real nor unreal, but is something exactly like our own ignorance when, for instance, we imagine we see a serpent, while what we really see is a rope, and yet we run away from it in all earnestness as if it were a real cobra. This creative Avidya once granted, everything else proceeds smoothly enough. Brahman(or Atman), as held or as beheld by Avidya, seems modified into all that is phenomenal. Our instruments of knowledge, whether senses or mind, nay, our whole body, should be considered as impediments or fetters rather, as Upadhis, as they are called, which one feels tempted to translate by impositions. And here the difficulty arises- are these Upadhis, these misleading organs of knowledge, the cause or the result of Avidya?
The omniscience and omnipotence of the Atman are hidden by its union with the body, that is, by the union with the body, senses, Manas(mind), and Buddhi(thought), the objects, and their perception as such. And here we have the simile: As fire is endowed with burning and light, but both are hidden when fire has retired into the wood or is covered with ashes, in the same manner, through the union of the Self with the Upadhis, such as body, senses, i.e., with the Upadhis formed by Avidya from Namarupa, names and forms, there arises the error of the Atman not being different from them, and this is what causes the hiding of the omniscience and omnipotence of the Atman. It is under the influence of that Avidya that Brahman assumes or receives names and forms. Then follow the material objective elements which constitute animate or inanimate bodies, in fact the whole objective world. But all this is illusive. In reality there are no individual things, noindividual souls (givas); they only seem to exist so long as Avidya prevails over Atman or Brahman.

2. Adi Shankaracharya
  From the noumenal point of view, the description of neti, neti applies to maya also.
 We can illustrate it thus
1. Gold is glittering yellow to our eyes and is valuable to us in our life. In itself, what it is who can say? It has no colour or glitter to the touch etc. It has no value to a baby or an animal. To the physicist it is only Protons and Electrons in a particular combination. These are mere relativistic conditional statements, real from a particular point of view only.
2. The sun is brilliant to the eyes and enables them to see. But if the eyes are not there, who can say whether the sun is really brilliant? The ears do not know it as brilliant. Further our idea of the sun is conditioned by distance, our astronomical and scientific knowledge, etc.
3. A book in itself is simply cut and bound paper, with ink spread on it in a particular way. It contains knowledge only to those who know the knowledge and script symbolized in it. the 'book' itself does not know anything; for the white ants it is only food. Thus 'we take out what we have put in', that is, all empirical knowledge is valid from a particular point or points of view. Similarly, our experience of the nature of maya and all its products is relative to, and is conditioned by, the state of our knowledge of Reality. As such, who can say, what maya really is in itself noumenally, and what is its nature from an unconditional absolut point of view in the non-dual state? And who is there to assert about maya itself when there is no experience of the universe or personality in the deep-sleep state or in samadhi, as long as one is in that state? That is why Sankara says maya is anirvacaniya rupa.

Thus, maya-Power, being the principle of Relativity, is experienced in some states and not experienced in others. But though maya, which is posited as an empirical fact, can be negated as an experienced fact in a particular state, the awareness of the Self(Atman) is always there; none can ever in any state negate Brahman as Atman, because it is his very Self, the Ground of all experience. Even to assert its absence, one must be there to witness its absence. However, maya is certainly experienced as long as the phenomenal personality is there and the universe is perceived, just as gold is yellow and valuable to us in life whatever it be in itself, or to the animals or to scientists. The fire may not feel itself hot, but others do feel and describe it as hot. A shadow is non-entity as it is experienced.

3.Chapter X of Srimad Bhagavad Gita

   3. He who knows Me as the beginningless, the unborn and the Master of the worlds-he among mortals becomes undeluded, and he is   freed from all sins.
   4-5. Intelligence, knowledge, sanity, patience, truth, sense-control, mind-control, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear and austerity, benevolence, fame and obloquy-all these diverse modes of the mind seen in all beings proceed from Me alone, their ultimate sanctioner.

4.Chapter 3 of Avadhuta Gita by Dattatreya, son of Atri and Anasuya
  21. I have no such division as long or short. I have no such divisions as wide or narrow. I have no such divisions as angular or circular. I am the nectar of Knowledge, homogeneous Existence, like the sky.

   22. I never had a mother, father, son, or the like. I was never born and never did I die. I never had a mind. The supreme Reality is undistracted and calm. I am the nectar of Knowledge, homogeneous Existence, like the sky.

   25. How shall I, the pure One, the "not this" and yet the not "not this" speak? How shall I, the pure One, the endless and the end, speak? How shall I, the pure One, attributeless and attribute, speak? I am the nectar of Knowledge, homogeneous Existence, like the sky.

   45. I am neither of the nature of the void nor of the nature of the nonvoid. I am neither of pure nature nor of impure nature. I am neither form nor formlessness. I am the supreme Reality of the form of its own nature.

5.Kahlil Gibran
   The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say.

   Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.

   When my cup is empty I resign myself to its emptiness; but when it is half full I resent its half-fulness.

   The real in us is silent; the acquired is talkative.
    Only once have I been made mute. It was when a man asked me, "Who are you?"

6. ASH-WEDNESDAY (1930) by T. S. Eliot

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, What have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice.   

7.Adi Shankaracharya

Universe with its beings does not arise because we superimpose them on Brahman or the Self, as it is mistakenly thought of by some, which is an absurd position, but on the contrary, our conceptions of a given (to us) universe and an equally enigmatic personality, which we find ourselves associated with, the real nature of both of which we do not know, we always superimpose according to our various and ever-changing empirical notions, on the Brahman and the Self. It is illustrated by the common experience of our super-imposing, unwittingly, the notion of a snake on the not-clearly-visible rope in semi-darkness. When we bring in light and see clearly, we find the rope only, the notion of snake with regard to the rope disappears. That does not mean snakes do not exist. But it was not there where we had thought it was. It was not snake but rope only. Similarly, in the transcendental noumenal state, when one has realized one's true nature as Atman or Brahman, no universe is cognized in Brahman and no personality in Atman, there is only Pure Awareness (Prajnanam Brahma). But empirically speaking, the appearance of the universe and the personality may continue to be experienced by others who have not realized the Truth, since the given universe is beginningless and endless and is not the projection of any person within the universe and everyone finds oneself in it.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Christopher Isherwood on Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

A phenomenon is often something extraordinary and mysterious. Ramakrishna was extraordinary and mysterious; most of all to those who were best fitted to understand him. A phenomenon is always a fact, an object of experience. That is how I shall try to approach Ramakrishna.
To the best of my ability, the phenomenon has been described. How should one interpret it? How react to it? Should it be dismissed from the mind, as something irrelevant and inconveniently out of line with everyday experience? Or should it be taken as the starting-point of a change in one's own ideas and life?
A phenomenon has no concern with its aftereffects. If God does actually visit the earth from time to time in human form, is he any the more or the less God because of the number of his disciples or the size of the Church they later build for him?

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his sayings

Sri Ramakrishna a living embodiment of the essence of the Vedanta- the word made flesh in a God-man whose tangible life on earth was not to be distinguished from the wisdom he spoke. His words, therefore, are not abstractions, they have the liveliness of their speaker, as he smiles or is in tears, as he is joking with his disciples or is immersed in a trance, as he is visiting a theatre or worshipping in a temple, as he is singing and dancing or is meditating in silence in the midst of a crowd. This is Divinity in the widest commonality spread; God speaking to you not from the high heavens but from the unlikely corners of your home. And when he speaks you are not struck by the novelty of what he says; you seem to hear something that you must have heard long ago but forgot, something coming upon you with the force of a new experience and a new meaning.

Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

The Only Way

Why shouldn't one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? But it is extremely difficulty.
Once I passed over the bridge at Baghbazar. How many chains it is tied with! Nothing will happen if one chain is broken, for there are so many others to keep it in place. Just so there are many ties on a worldly man. There is no way for him to get rid of them except through the grace of God.

Harmony of Religion
...dogmatism is not good. It is not good to feel that my religion alone is true and other religions are false. The correct attitude is this: My religion is right, but I do not know whether other religions are right or wrong, true or false. I say this because one cannot know the true nature of God unless one realizes Him.

Example To Modern World
Sri Ramakrishna accompanied Mathur on a tour to one of the latter's estates at the time of the collection of rents. For two years the harvests had failed and the tenants were in a state of extreme poverty. The Master asked Mathur to remit their rents, distribute help to them, and in addition give the hungry people a sumptuous feast. When Mathur grumbled, the Master said: "You are only the steward of the Divine Mother. They are the Mother's tenants. You must spend the Mother's money. When they are suffering, how you can refuse to help them? You must help them."

All rivers flow to the Ocean. Flow and let others flow too! The great stream carves out for itself according to the slope of its journey-according to race, time, and temperament-its own distinct bed. But it is all the same water…Go…Flow on towards the Ocean!..

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 30
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
"You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
"They called me the hyacinth girl."
- Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Od' und leer das Meer.
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations. 50
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.
Unreal City, 60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying "Stetson!
"You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70
"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
"Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
"Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Line 42 Od'] Oed' - Editor.

"Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
"Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
"You! hypocrite lecteur! - mon semblable, - mon frere!"

The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Glowed on the marble, where the glass
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 80
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
Reflecting light upon the table as
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion;
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid - troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended 90
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,
In which sad light a carved dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 100
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
"Jug Jug" to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
Spread out in fiery points
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 110
"My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
"Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak.
"What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
"I never know what you are thinking. Think."
I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.
"What is that noise?"
The wind under the door.
"What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?"
Nothing again nothing. 120
"You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
"Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?"
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag -
It's so elegant
So intelligent 130
"What shall I do now? What shall I do?"
I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
"With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
"What shall we ever do?"
The hot water at ten.
And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.
When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said -
I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself, 140
Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,
He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.
And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,
He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,
And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.
Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said. 150
Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.
If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.
Others can pick and choose if you can't.
But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
(And her only thirty-one.)
I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face,
It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
(She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 160
The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same.
You are a proper fool, I said.
Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,
What you get married for if you don't want children?
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot -
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 170
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.


The river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; 180
Departed, have left no addresses.
Line 161 ALRIGHT. This spelling occurs also in the Hogarth Press edition - Editor.

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . .
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
A rat crept softly through the vegetation
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
While I was fishing in the dull canal
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse 190
Musing upon the king my brother's wreck
And on the king my father's death before him.
White bodies naked on the low damp ground
And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.
But at my back from time to time I hear
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on her daughter 200
They wash their feet in soda water
Et O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!
Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc'd.
Unreal City
Under the brown fog of a winter noon
Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants 210
C.i.f. London: documents at sight,
Asked me in demotic French
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.
At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 220
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest -
I too awaited the expected guest. 230
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence; 240
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Bestows one final patronising kiss,
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit . . .
She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover; 250
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
"Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over."
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone.
"This music crept by me upon the waters"
And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
O City city, I can sometimes hear
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, 260
The pleasant whining of a mandoline
And a clatter and a chatter from within
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
Of Magnus Martyr hold
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.
The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
Red sails 270
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
The barges wash
Drifting logs
Down Greenwich reach
Past the Isle of Dogs.
Weialala leia
Wallala leialala
Elizabeth and Leicester
Beating oars 280
The stern was formed
A gilded shell
Red and gold
The brisk swell
Rippled both shores
Southwest wind
Carried down stream
The peal of bells
White towers
Weialala leia 290
Wallala leialala
"Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe."
"My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
Under my feet. After the event
He wept. He promised 'a new start'.
I made no comment. What should I resent?"
"On Margate Sands. 300
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect
la la
To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest 310


Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, 320
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience 330
Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water 350
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water
Who is the third who walks always beside you? 360
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
- But who is that on the other side of you?
What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth 370
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light 380
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
In this decayed hole among the mountains
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
It has no windows, and the door swings, 390
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder 400
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms 410
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar 420
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands
I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam ceu chelidon - O swallow swallow
Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie 430
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih
Line 416 aetherial] aethereal
Line 429 ceu] uti - Editor

This is one of the greatest works by T. S. Eliot

Friday, 11 March 2011

A Lover's Call XXVII by Kahlil Gibran

Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?

Or are you in your chamber where the shrine of
Virtue has been placed in your honor, and upon
Which you offer my heart and soul as sacrifice?

Or amongst the books, seeking human knowledge,
While you are replete with heavenly wisdom?

Oh companion of my soul, where are you? Are you
Praying in the temple? Or calling Nature in the
Field, haven of your dreams?

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?

You are God's spirit everywhere;
You are stronger than the ages.

Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of
You spirit surrounded us, and the Angels of Love
Floated about, singing the praise of the soul's deed?

Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as the ribs
Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?

Remember you the trails and forest we walked, with hands
Joined, and our heads leaning against each other, as if
We were hiding ourselves within ourselves?

Recall you the hour I bade you farewell,
And the Maritime kiss you placed on my lips?
That kiss taught me that joining of lips in Love
Reveals heavenly secrets which the tongue cannot utter!

That kiss was introduction to a great sigh,
Like the Almighty's breath that turned earth into man.

That sigh led my way into the spiritual world,
Announcing the glory of my soul; and there
It shall perpetuate until again we meet.

I remember when you kissed me and kissed me,
With tears coursing your cheeks, and you said,
"Earthly bodies must often separate for earthly purpose,
And must live apart impelled by worldly intent.

"But the spirit remains joined safely in the hands of
Love, until death arrives and takes joined souls to God.

"Go, my beloved; Love has chosen you her delegate;
Over her, for she is Beauty who offers to her follower
The cup of the sweetness of life.
As for my own empty arms, your love shall remain my
Comforting groom; you memory, my Eternal wedding."

Where are you now, my other self? Are you awake in
The silence of the night? Let the clean breeze convey
To you my heart's every beat and affection.

Are you fondling my face in your memory? That image
Is no longer my own, for Sorrow has dropped his
Shadow on my happy countenance of the past.

Sobs have withered my eyes which reflected your beauty
And dried my lips which you sweetened with kisses.

Where are you, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need?
Do you know the greatness of my patience?

Is there any spirit in the air capable of conveying
To you the breath of this dying youth? Is there any
Secret communication between angels that will carry to
You my complaint?

Where are you, my beautiful star? The obscurity of life
Has cast me upon its bosom; sorrow has conquered me.

Sail your smile into the air; it will reach and enliven me!
Breathe your fragrance into the air; it will sustain me!

Where are you, me beloved?
Oh, how great is Love!
And how little am I!

Self Knowledge by Kahlil Gibran

And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."

And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;

And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."

Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

For the soul walks upon all paths.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.