The Lord of the Dance

The most famous form of Shiva is the Lord of the Dance, ‘Nataraja’, the form in which all other forms of Shiva are included. In one sublime pose, in one movement, one dance, is described the whole process of life and death, of ignorance and understanding. Ananda Coomaraswamy remarks: “Whatever the origins of Shiva’s dance, it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of. … Its deepest significance is felt when it is realized that it takes place within the heart and the self.” This is Shiva’s secret, buried in what is our most intimate and well known experience: consciousness. It is said that this dance encompasses all of our human experience and the spiritual processes at work on the path to realising our true nature. Indian ancient scriptures divide them in five, namely creation, preservation, destruction, veiling, and grace. I have gathered here many quotes and pointers from various spiritual teachers and poets, that remind us of the eternal truth behind Shiva’s main appearances. Let’s have a taste of it or, in more Indian terms, feel the significance and rasa of Shiva’s eternal dance:

 

O my Lord, Thy hand holding the sacred drum 
has made and ordered the heavens and earth 
and other worlds and innumerable souls. 
Thy lifted hand protects both the conscious
and unconscious order of thy creation. 
All these worlds are transformed by Thy hand bearing fire. 
Thy sacred foot, plated on the ground, 
gives an abode to the tired soul 
struggling in the toils of causality.
It is Thy lifted foot that grants eternal bliss 
to those that approach Thee.
These Five-Actions are indeed Thy Handiwork
.”
~ Chidambara Mummani Kovai

 

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When the Actor beateth the drum,
Everybody cometh to see the show;
When the Actor collecteth the stage properties
He abideth alone in His happiness
.”
~ Manikkavacakar (9th-century Tamil poet)

 

~~

 

Shiva, the Great Yogi’:

When we say ‘Shiva’, there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word ‘Shiva’ means literally, ‘that which is not’. Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.”
~ Sadhguru

~

The reason for removing or letting go of all objective experience, all thoughts, images, feelings, sensations and perceptions is to reveal that aspect of the mind that cannot be removed from itself, that cannot be let go of, that is to reveal the essential, irreducible essence of mind. That essential, irreducible essence of mind is inherently free of all objective qualities.”
~ Rupert Spira

More quotes and pointers on Shiva’s dance of life and death (READ MORE…)

 

The Quality of Now

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Try to find, to feel in yourself the experience of a past or future. See that it’s not possible, that the past or the future is always an idea or a concept… Really ponder the implications of that, the past is not there, the future is not there, it’s never there… Try very hard, feel it, see how this feeling-understanding that there is no past or future affects the quality of the now, see how it impacts the way you move, the quality of your relationship, your daily activities… For each of these three examples, you can do it either with the past or with the future… Experience the new vulnerability in yourself…

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

As long as there is an observer there must be living in the past, obviously. And all our life is based on the past, memories, knowledge, images, according to which you react, which is your conditioning, is the past. And living has become the living of the past in the present, modified in the future. That’s all, as long as the observer is living. Now does the mind see this as a truth, as a reality, that all my life is living in the past?
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-present is the present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of time today, is to try to count without the number ‘One’.
~ Ramana Maharshi

~

Now if there is no future, because the future is now and the past is now, then what is action? We said action as we know it now is based on the past – memories, regrets, guilt, experience, which is all knowledge, or the future, the ideal, the concepts – right? Theories, faiths, you act according to that. So you are acting according to the past or to the future. But the past and the future are now – right? So what is action? You understand my question? Please do – don’t give up. You have to exercise your brain, your intellect, your energy to find out, your passion to find out.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

The ego struggling to survive either clings onto its accumulated memories, or projects desires into the future, thus using up a considerable amount of energy. Accumulation, choosing, elaborating, all take place on a horizontal plane, in time and duration. The energy constantly turns back upon itself, creating a vicious circle. Being uninvolved with this movement, this dispersal, this sterile swinging between past and future, puts to rest the energies that sustain these habit-patterns, and we finally awake to liberating awareness. Then the energies converge vertically in the eternal now.”
~ Jean Klein

 

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Picture by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘Be As You Are’ – by Ramana Maharshi (Edited by David Godman) – (Penguin Books)
– ‘Who Am I‘ – by Jean Klein – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Ramana Maharshi (Wikipedia)
Jean Klein (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)

 

 

A Path, What Path?

The question of the ‘spiritual path’ is a difficult one, that seems to draw different points of view and approaches, both from students and teachers. I have gathered here many quotes and pointers on and around this subject, from various spiritual teachers and poets of the eternal and the infinite. I hope that this will bring some clarity, or at least give a better overview of this ‘thing’ we call the Path… Yes, what path?

 

How shall I cross the ocean of the world?
Where is the path? 
What way must I follow?
I know not, Master.
Save me from the wound of the world’s pain.” 
~ Adi Shankara

~

This is an excerpt of the famous discourse Krishnamurti gave in 1929 the day when he announced the dissolution of the Order of the Star, the organisation built around his person:
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.”
~ J. Krishnamurti 

~

In the direct approach the premise is that you are the truth, there is nothing to achieve. Every step to achieve something is going away from it. The “path,” which strictly speaking is not a path from somewhere to somewhere, is only to welcome, to be open to the truth, the I am. When you have once glimpsed your real nature it solicits you. There is therefore nothing to do, only be attuned to it as often as invited. There is not a single element of volition in this attuning. It is not the mind which attunes to the I am but the I am which absorbs the mind.”
~ Jean Klein

~

The mind that seeks happiness is like a current in the ocean that longs for water. The mind that resists suffering is like a current in the ocean trying to escape from the water. See what happens to your longing and your suffering when this becomes clear. This understanding is the true alchemy, not the transformation of one experience into another, but rather the revelation of the true nature of all experience.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

More quotes and pointers on the subject of the spiritual path (READ MORE…)

 

The Natural State

‘The natural state’ is an expression borrowed from Joan Tollifson that refers to enlightenment. This is a beautiful way to look at what is often thought to be an extraordinary event. Rupert Spira says nothing less, when he defines it as ‘the absence of resistance to what is’, or simply: ‘this’.

 

Thought doesn’t know truth; it dissolves in it. 
Feeling doesn’t find love; it merges in it. 
Perception doesn’t see beauty; it dies in it
.”
~ Rupert Spira 

 

 

Enlightenment could be defined as the absence of resistance to what is, 
the total intimacy with whatever is taking place 
without any desire to reject or replace it; 

so intimate that there is no room for a self to separate itself out from the whole, 
to stand apart and look at the situation from the outside, 
to judge it as worthy or not worthy, good or bad, 
right or wrong, desirable or undesirable; 

so intimate that there is no room, nor any time, 
in which a separate self could take refuge inside the body 
and so finds itself without boundaries or borders 
pervading the whole field of experience; 

so intimate that there is no ‘me’ on the inside 
and no object or other on the outside,
but only seamless intimate experiencing; 

so intimate that there is no room for a ‘self’ and an ‘other’, 
a ‘me’ and a ‘you’, a ‘this’ and a ‘that’, a ‘now’ and a ‘then’. 

So utterly now and here that there is no time for time 
and no place for distance or space
.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

~~

 

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful relief to recognize that nothing could actually be any other way right now than exactly how it is, that THIS is how the universe IS, that everything belongs? And already, it has completely changed! Can you feel the freedom in knowing that there is no “you” who “should” be doing a better job? How wonderful to see that enlightenment is not a special attainment that only a special few can reach, but rather that enlightenment is the natural state, the groundlessness that is always already fully present. Rather than something we lack and need to attain, it is what we always already ARE.”
~ Joan Tollifson

 

~~

 

As this intimate oneness, it is known as love. 
In its untouchable-ness it is known as peace and 
in its fullness it is known as happiness. 
In its openness and willingness to give itself to any possible shape 
(including the apparent veiling of its own being), 
it is known as freedom and, 
as the substance of all things, 
it is known as beauty. 
However, more simply it is known just as ‘I’ or ‘this’
.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

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Picture by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Nothing to Grasp’ – by Joan Tollifson – (Nonduality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
– Joan Tollifson

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)

 

The Fleeting Entity

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. The ‘fleeting entity’ is an expression he used to describe the separate self. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Keep on looking in what way almost all your thoughts, feelings, activities, are based upon the belief that you are going to die… See that underneath all of that is your fear of disappearing…

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

This imaginary identification of our self with an object, the body, creates the apparently separate self. … This apparently separate self, being made out of an intermittent object, is, by definition, unstable, always threatened with change, decay and disappearance. Hence the fear of disappearance that resides at its heart and its natural corollary, seeking.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Addiction of any sort, be it to inappropriate sexual behaviour, alcohol, drugs, smoking or any milder form of behaviour, almost always has its origin in the belief and, more importantly, the feeling of being a separate, limited, located self.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Fear and seeking manifest in the most innocuous forms of behaviour, the most common of which is unnecessary thinking, the almost constant mental chatter or commentary that most of us are familiar with. This innocuous commentary is the simplest form of the ‘resistance to what is’. It is the repetitive background chatter that ensures that attention is almost always diverted away from the immediacy, intimacy and simplicity of ‘what is’. This is the primal addiction.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Between living and death there is time. Time, that interval between what actually is and something which we call death, of which we are afraid. This interval between life and death is brought about by thought. Of course there is actual dying: the physical organism, through disease, accident, through usage, dies. But there is fear of death and the sorrow of death as a psychological ending. So there is not only the fear of physical dying, but also the fear of losing all the things that one has learnt, the memories, the experiences, the affections, the family, the hopes, the works, the character, all that one has developed, cultivated, nourished – fear of their coming to an end.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

We cling when we fear that without identifying with something or as something, “myself” will lack substance entirely, rendering ordinary life devoid of meaning. Even a glimmer of the possibility of emptiness and meaninglessness can feel terrifying—like glimpsing a bottomless void into which one might fall forever. And of course we fear death which, although many attempt to hold it at bay with religion and spirituality, will mean the end of the entire self-centered production called ‘my life’.”
~ Robert Saltzman

~

It all begins with ‘I, the body’,

That is the root of all suffering,

which our addictions seek to alleviate.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

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– Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)

 

And There was Life…

I’d like to share a particular side in Krishnamurti’s writing: his exquisite descriptions of nature. You find them in ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ and in the three series of ‘Commentaries on Living’. They usually start a chapter, and are an opening to his inner observations. They are a testimony to his looking at the world in a way that is always new and fresh, uncontaminated by thoughts, by the past. They are an exemple of a non-duel apprehension of life, of nature, and of the thousands happenings.

~

Again, it has been a clear, sunny day, with long shadows and sparkling leaves; the mountains were serene, solid and close; the sky was of an extraordinary blue, spotless and gentle. Shadows filled the earth; it was a morning for shadows, the little ones and the big ones, the long, lean ones and the fat satisfied ones, the squat homely one and the joyful, spritely ones. The roof-tops of the farms and the chalets shone like polished marble, the new and the old. There seemed to be a great rejoicing and shouting among the trees and meadows; they existed for each other and above them was heaven, not the man-made, with its tortures and hopes. And there was life, vast, splendid, throbbing and stretching in all directions. It was life, always young and always dangerous; life that never stayed, that wandered through the earth, indifferent, never leaving a mark, never asking or calling for anything.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~~

Then, far away, came dawn. In the east there was spreading light, so young and pale, so quiet and timid; it came past those distant hills and it touched the towering mountains and the peaks. In groups and singly, the trees stood still, the aspen began to wake up and the stream shouted with joy. That white wall of a farm-house, facing west, became very white. Slowly, peacefully, almost begging it came and filled the land. Then the snow peaks began to glow, bright rose and the noises of the early morning began. Three crows flew across the sky, silently, all in the same direction; from far came the sound of a bell on a cow and still there was quiet. Then a car was coming up the hill and day began.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~~

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as the sun went down behind the hills; the air was still and not a leaf moved. Everything seemed held tight, in the light of a cloudless sky. The reflection of the evening light on a little stretch of water by the roadside was full of ecstatic energy and a little wildflower, by the wayside, was all life. There is a hill that looks like one of those ancient and ageless temples; it was purple, darker than violet, intense and vastly unconcerned; it was alive with an inward light, without shadow, and every rock and bush was shouting with joy.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~~

DFE5DEB5-6291-454D-8BDE-1A3A2DF98897Demand is born out of duality: ’I am unhappy and I must be happy’. In that very demand that I must be happy is unhappiness. When one makes an effort to be good, in that very goodness is evil. Everything affirmed contains its own opposite, and effort to overcome strengthens that against which it strives. When you demand an experience of truth or reality, that very demand is born out of your discontent with what is, and therefore the demand creates the opposite. And in the opposite there is what has been. So one must be free of this incessant demand, otherwise there will be no end to the corridor of duality. This means knowing yourself so completely that the mind is no longer seeking.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

 

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Head picture from Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America,US)
– ‘Commentaries on Living, I, II & III’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Quest Books,U.S.)

Websites:
J. krishsnamurti
Krishnamurti Foundation Trust

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)

 

This Moment…

Here is a reminder from Joan Tollifson. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

What is happening in this bodymind right now? Reading words on a computer screen, hearing sounds, seeing shapes and colors, breathing. And what else is going on? Is there expectation, curiosity, excitement, boredom, restlessness? Can we take a moment to pause and be aware of how it is right now, without trying to modify or correct it in any way, but simply being awake to the bare actuality of this moment, just as it is?
~ Joan Tollifson

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

It is extremely difficult to be aware of dullness, to be aware of greed, to be aware of ill-will, ambition, and so on. The very fact of being aware of ‘what is’ is truth. It is truth that liberates, not your striving to be free. Thus, reality is not far, but we place it far away because we try to use it as a means of self-continuity. It is here, now, in the immediate. The eternal or the timeless is now and the now cannot be understood by a man who is caught in the net of time.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

Happiness is the absence of resistance to what is.
It is the highest spiritual practice.
However, it is not a practice of the mind;
it is the ever-present nature of Myself, Awareness
.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

You must leave behind you the idea of improving. There is nothing to be found, nothing to achieve. Searching and wanting to achieve something are the fuel for the entity you believe yourself to be. Don’t project an idea of reality, of freedom. Be simply aware of the facts of your existence without wanting change. Seeing things in this way will bring you a state of deep relaxation both physical and psychological. Even this state becomes an object of perception and dissolves in your observation where there is no longer observer or state observed. …
The only way out is to simply observe
.”
~ Jean Klein

~

Traffic sounds, bird songs, an airplane flying over, wind rustling the leaves, a television in another room, children’s voices, a dog barking. Shapes, colors. The movement of breathing, the sensation of contact with the chair, a cool breeze gently touching the skin, a tingling in the feet, maybe an uneasiness in the belly or a tightness in the throat, perhaps a vague sense of anxiety or discontent, these words registering in the mind.

Does this present happening take effort, or is it all happening effortlessly by itself?

This moment is utterly simple and straightforward, totally obvious, completely unavoidable, effortlessly being just exactly the way it is, however that is. It may be painful or unpleasant, but there is nothing confusing about the present moment until we start thinking.”
~ Joan Tollifson

 

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Joan Tollifson’s reminders are from her essay: ‘How Simple Can This Be?

The picture is from: Sasin Tipchai / Pixabay

Bibliography:
– ‘Nothing to Grasp’ – by Joan Tollifson – (Nonduality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The Book of Listening’ – by Jean Klein – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
– Joan Tollifson
J. Krishnamurti
Rupert Spira
Jean Klein

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)