Insights into Wholeness

‘Science against Obscurantism’ – Giacomo Balla, 1920 – WikiArt

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour

~ William Blake 

 

It really was a thrill. The day when David Bohm was announced to come and participate at our staff meeting. This was back in the years when I was working in Brockwood Park, the school founded in England by J. Krishnamurti. Just realise: one of the greatest theoretical physicist of the 20th century, who worked closely with Albert Einstein and had numerous insightful dialogues with Krishnamurti — participating in creating this very school we were in — was here a humble friend amongst us. My poor English at the time was making rather challenging the understanding of this man’s soft, monotonous voice. But the quality of his thinking and analysis, the speed with which he would come up with and express meanings to the questions that were raised during our dialogues, were indeed impressive. Above all, his humble and unassuming demeanour was touching beyond measure. He was truly a gentle man. 

David Joseph Bohm was born in 1917 in Pennsylvania, USA to a Jewish family of Eastern European descendance. His early career around the Second World War started rather spectacularly, since he was asked by Robert Oppenheimer to work with him in the secret laboratory created to design the atom bomb, but was refused access because of his youthful acquaintances with communist ideas. Soon after this, while completing his Ph.D., he made some calculations that proved useful to the very project which he had just been barred from! But because they were now classified, he “was denied access to his own work; not only would he be barred from defending his thesis, he was not even allowed to write his own thesis in the first place!” wrote his biographer F. David Peat.

 

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David Bohm – Wikimedia

Science itself is demanding a new, non-fragmentary world view, in the sense that
the present approach of analysis of the world into independently existent parts
does not work very well in modern physics
.” 
~ David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)

[…]

Continue reading about David Bohm’s life and insights… (READ MORE…)

 

The Unattainable One

Parvathy Baul – Wikimedia

If you want to attain 
the unattainable One,
Free yourself from all that is
Fragile and temporary.
Know yourself
.”
~ Rasika Dasa

 

In the deepest villages of Bengal, there remains today a community of vagrant singers, both mystical bards and wandering minstrels, the Bauls. For centuries they have been treading the dust of the roads, with a firm and aerial step, at the rhythm of their daily needs and highest aspirations. The term ‘baul’, derived from the Sanskrit ‘vatulā’, means ’he who is affected, or carried away by the wind’. It might also refer to the term ‘vyakula’, meaning ‘impatient eagerness for god’, or ’auliyā’, a word of Arabic origin meaning ‘holy’, ‘ascetic’. But the asceticism of the Bauls is not lost in penances and meditations, is not only about achieving the set goal. It is rather a kind of refinement in the expression of the moment, a healthy ‘madness’ expressing through dance, music, and songs, the love of the divine and the spontaneity of living. Coming from both Hindu and Muslim religions, the Bauls retain nevertheless a fierce freedom of spirit and are rebellious to any ideology, following no ritual, referring to no scriptures. They are ’outside’, offbeat, refreshing and unique. […]

Continue reading about the Bauls of Bengal… (READ MORE…)

 

At the Feet of the Rishis

The true prevails, not the untrue.”
~ Mundaka Upanishad, Hymn III.1.6

सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं

~

 

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In January 1950, in the wake of her freshly acquired independence, India adopted the motto that was to adorn the base of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, one simple phrase: “The true prevails, not the untrue.” How revealing that this country has put on her national emblem a mantra excerpted from the Mundaka Upanishad (Hymn III.1.6). This mantra is a profoundly significant spiritual message, and it will be inscribed on all Indian currency and official documents. The author is unknown, as is the case with all authors of the Upanishads, these ancient texts which Eknath Easwaran described as “towering peaks of consciousness”. The time has come here to pay tribute to these anonymous sages or rishis who produced these famous hallmarks of spirituality.

The Upanishads are a collection of hymns that have been, according to tradition, ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ (Shruti in Sanskrit, ‘that which is heard’), and transmitted orally. They ring in many a spiritual seekers’ memory with names like Isha, Kena, Katha, or Chandogya, and as a source of sacred knowledge. They were embedded in the Vedas – meaning ‘knowledge’ – which are old bodies of text formulated in Sanskrit between the 17th and 8th century BC in northwestern India. These Vedas are made of four collections of hymns – usually in verse – that form the basis of the Vedic religion, namely the Rg-Veda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda. The community and domestic religious life in these ancient times revolved around complex ceremonies, which could easily last a day, a week, or sometimes even weeks or months. This vast literature is filled with cultic formulas, liturgical chants, mythological stories, praises to a God, magic hymns, commentaries, the purpose of which was most often to obtain favors from the Gods. The most important hymns were the ones to Agni, the fire in all its forms, to Soma, the drink of immortality and a special offering in any ritual act, to the Gods (Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and many others) or to nature (the Sun, the Earth, Heaven, Night, Dawn). They may also contain some early philosophical speculations.

What thing I am I do not know. 
I wander secluded, burdened by my mind. 
When the first-born of Truth has come to me 
I receive a share in that self-same Word
.”
~ Rig Veda, I.164.37

Discover and read the gems contained in the Upanishads… (READ MORE…)

 

Photo by Cornelia Kopp on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Rumi

“We are all returning.”
~ The Koran

 

“On the seeker’s path, wise men and fools are one.
In His love, brothers and strangers are one.
Go on! Drink the wine of the Beloved!
In that faith, Muslims and pagans are one
.”
~ Rumi, Quatrain 305

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در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکی است
در شیوه‌ی عشق خویش و بیگانه یکی است
آن را که شراب وصل جانان دادند
در مذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکی است

 

Rumi is a giant. Somebody whose words resonate with the perfume of truth, but about whom we paradoxically know very little. At least I didn’t. Quoted far beyond the small circle of spiritual seekers, he is taken for granted, like a distant angular stone of spirituality. His verses are shared, loved as so many gems of human history, but without showing off. And yet, what depth of understanding they convey! In what subtle and intricate ways they describe the torturous alleys of spiritual endeavour! And with what simplicity!

 

Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always 
widening rings of being
.”
~ ’The Essential Rumi’ (Translated by Coleman Barks)

 

Rumi was a Sufi. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, in 1207, in Balkh in present day Afghanistan, in a family of Sufi tradition. Sufism, which could be defined as ‘the inward dimension of Islam’, has its origins shrouded in mystery. How did it suddenly grow, nobody knows. The word comes from ‘sūf’ which refers to the woollen garment worn by the first mystics who broke away from the mainstream Islamic religion. Sufism didn’t grow in opposition to Islam, the religion that gave it birth around the 9th century, but as a deepening, a going back to the very source and meaning behind traditional Muslim orthodoxy. The Sufi devotee wanted to feel, to know God as the true presence in the heart, not putting an illusory figure at a distance to be worshipped. That’s how Sufism placed love, the love of god, at the centre and expressed it in the most exquisite poetry. That’s how music and dance were allowed and praised. Sufism is understanding and living this primary statement of faith in Islamic religion: ‘There is no god but god.”

Immerse yourself in Rumi’s path of divine love and poetry… (READ MORE…)

 

Kabir Says:

(Painting by Tanya Bonello)

Lift the veil that obscures the heart
and there you will find what you are looking for
.”
~ Kabir

 

Little is known about Kabir. Legends abound and certainties are scarce. He was a weaver, probably spending most of his time working at his handloom. He was born in a Muslim family in fifteenth Century Benares, and became a mystic and a poet whose songs and ‘bānīs’ – meaning ’utterances’ – spread in the whole of India and beyond, mostly handed down orally between seekers and sadhus along the roads, sometimes written down. They were the expression of a simple man, probably illiterate, and his first-hand understanding of the deepest truth of living. 

Kabir wasn’t a philosopher, far from it, and many of his poems were deeply grounded in everyday life. His expression was often ruthless, “I see the world. What a bag of tricks it is!” He execrated the bigotry and hypocrisy of Hindu and Muslim devotees alike, and he never tired of denouncing the contradictions between the religions in place, each asserting their own god, beliefs, practices, about something Kabir knew in his flesh and soul to be one single reality, unbroken, and timeless.

Servant, where dost thou seek Me? 
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash: 
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
nor in Yoga and renunciation. 
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: 
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time. 
Kabir says, ‘O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.’

Discover more of the wonderful poetry and legacy of Kabir (Read more…)

 

The Heart of Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore is certainly one of the fathers of modern Indian literature. His work is immense and fascinating. He is the author of more than a thousand poems, two thousand songs of which he also wrote the music, novels, short stories, plays. He has also written essays on all subjects that were dear to him, from philosophy to politics, from education to the arts, and left many sketches, drawings and paintings. But Tagore was first and foremost a poet, ‘The Poet’, as he is affectionately known in India, and it was through his poetry that he became known throughout the world.

He was born the last child of a Brahmin family from Calcutta, in 1861, and grew up in the shadow of a learned father and religious reformer. He took part in the intense intellectual and social emulation that Bengal experienced in the 19th century, when it struggled with modern Western influences. Educated in the three languages ​​- Sanskrit, Bengali and English, he wrote poems very early, and translated some of his collections into English himself. The publication of ‘Gitanjali’ in Europe and North America made Tagore famous, and he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. His sudden renown allowed him to make numerous trips to various continents for conferences or visits of friendship, in which he tirelessly preached peace, non-violence and unity among men. A friend of Gandhi, Tagore participated in his own way to the emergence of India as a nation. He is the author of many poems and patriotic songs, two of which have become the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. 
This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, 
and fillest it ever with fresh life
.”
~ Gitanjali

 

‘Gitanjali’ (1912) is a succession of dialogues, praises to God, filled with some accents of the most profound spirituality. Face to face with the Master, with the Friend, with the Lord, the poet is alternately filled with aspirations, confusions, caught in lamentations, or in luminous resolutions. These poems combine the finesse of language with philosophical reflection or contemplation, and they do so so harmoniously that we are invited to a double and indissociable meditation.

 

And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, 
knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act
.”
~ Gitanjali

Let’s delve into the spiritual heart of Tagore’s poetry and essays (READ MORE…)

 

 

Swami Bharatananda

~~~

Maurice Frydman is one of most extraordinary people I’ve ever come across and virtually nothing is known about him.” said David Godman, one of the foremost and infatigable exponents of Ramana Maharshi’s life and teachings. Maurice Frydman was born a polish jew in 1894, in Warsaw. Exceptionally bright at school, he was a prolific inventor, spoke many European and Indian languages, and was an earnest and passionate seeker of truth. He has explored many traditions, including Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, and the Theosophical movement of Annie Besant. He devoured books from all possible traditions, particularly interested in all the great writings of Hinduism. Over the years, he met and was close to numerous spiritual teachers like J. krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, swami Ramdas, and Nisargadatta Maharaj. He wrote a book on Ramana Maharshi, ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’, and was responsible for recording and publishing the now classic ‘I Am That’ by Nisargadatta Maharaj. He lived in India during the later part of his life, becoming an Indian citizen, and was associated with Mahatma Gandhi, inventing a new implement on the famous Indian spinning wheel, the Charkha. He was given the Indian name Swami Bharatananda when he was initiated as a Hindu monk or sannyasi by Swami Ramdas. Ramana Maharshi refused him this initiation, saying that “Sannyas is taken from within; not from without”. Maurice also greatly helped to organise the Dalaï Lama’s escape to India and to find places for the Tibetan refugees, like Dharamsala. But, “there is no mention of Maurice in any of the books related to either Dalai Lama‘s escape or the smuggling in of the Buddhist manuscripts from Tibet. I have never seen a person as Self-effacing as Maurice”, wrote V. Ganesan. Maurice Frydman died in Bombay in 1976, after an accident. Nisargadatta Maharaj, who held Maurice in high esteem, and considered him as a true jnani, was by his side. Of the days spent in Ramana Maharshi’s presence, Maurice wrote: “We took a cupful when the ocean was at our feet.”

~~~

Here are two Extracts from Maurice Frydman’s poetry: 

I am at the end of the tether 
and can’t break the cord 

All my going ahead 
is a deceitful dream, 

All my thinking not true, 
all my feeling not pure, 

All my doing not right, 
all my living not clear. 

I am tied to myself 
by myself through myself, 

The knot out of reach, 
I am in your hands.

There is a Heart and a mind, 
and a body and soul 
Waiting for you. 

You will come when you choose, 
And whatever you like 
you are welcome to do. 

 

* * * 

 

Heavy with the mud of many lands 
I was flowing lazily, 

Making obstacles of myself 
out of my unholy accumulations. 

Suddenly I awakened 
to the freshness of endless beauty, 

And felt the eternal environment 
of endless peace. 

My beloved I have found you, 
and yet never were we separated, 

Every drop of my being is you 
and yours is the force of my flow, 

Never are we apart 
and yet I always strive after you. 

The flow of creation will go on 
with me or without me, 

Only do not make me forget 
that I am none 

and that you only exist and create 
in ever-changing mobility. 

 

~~~

Poetry by Maurice Frydman (1901-1977)

Painting by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903)
‘Temples and bathing ghat at Benares’ – wikiart

~~~

 

– Maurice Frydman’s poetry is from the book:
Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi’ – by Laxmi Narain – (Sri Ramana Kendram, Hyderabad)

– Read this more extensive biography of Maurice Frydman here.

Bibliography:
– ‘I Am That’ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Chetana Pvt.Ltd)
– ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’ – by Ramana Maharshi and Maurice Frydman – (Sri Ramanasramam)

Websites:
Maurice Frydman (Wikipedia)
Paula Marvelly, An Interview with Sri V. Ganesan
’The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi’, As Shared by V. Ganesan