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…)

 

Bhakti, the Song of Love

Don’t forget love;
it will bring all the madness you need 
to unfurl yourself across the universe
.”
~ Meera Bai (1498-1546)

 

I intend here to continue exploring the three different pathways towards realising our true nature. I have some time ago given my attention to Jñāna, which in the Indian tradition is the name given to the means of attaining truth through the investigative qualities of the mind, which are mostly thinking and the power of discrimination. The two other paths towards realisation are the tantric path, which involves the senses, and the path of love, which involves feeling, and is the subject of this essay.

The path of knowledge requires a certain steadiness, orderliness, being thorough, constant. But even somebody set on this logical path of knowledge will be exposed to ineffable, timeless moments of pure love. Some people are best suited to a more loving, encompassing pathway, that would allow them to be just as they are, with all their confusion and overwhelming feelings. I can be the me that I am, as long as I am too this loving, embracing presence to which I can offer myself. In love there is no theory, no guidelines to follow. And it is not a surprise to find this expression of truth as one of the means to the realisation of our true self. This pathway of love has been called ‘Bhakti’ in the tradition of India. All the Indian faith, at least in its more popular expression, is of a devotional nature, and has elevated this simple love for god or truth to the rank of art. That seemed to me a good starting point to embark on this path of devotion, which the Śivānanda Laharī (verse 61) describes as: “The way needle seeks magnet, the way creeper seeks tree, the way river unites with ocean and the way the mind seeks the lotus feet of Śiva.”

An exploration into Bhakti, the path of love and devotion (READ MORE…)

 

Where God Speaks

God is my final end;
Does he from me evolve, 
Then he grows out of me, 
While I in Him dissolve
.”
~ Angelus Silesius (The Cherubinic Wanderer)

 

Angelus Silesius was a German mystic born Johannes Scheffler in 1624. Although a Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism and became a priest. After being a physician for a while, he became known for his mystical poetry. He published two poetical works, “The Soul’s Spiritual Delight“, a collection of more than two hundred religious songs, and “The Cherubinic Wanderer“, a collection of over sixteen hundred alexandrine couplets, from which the following selection is excerpted.

These short mystical poems – like spiritual haikus – are like bubbles sparkling with meaning and depth, infused with humour and sweet tenderness, bearing at their core the accents of a true non-dual understanding. I have attempted to give them a loose classification, each theme with a short introductory text, for better access and clarity. Chew them lightly, and they will never fail to deliver, behind their somewhat naive and archaic attire, the honey of their essence. Angelus Silesius died in 1677.

I hope you enjoy this selection from “The Cherubinic Wanderer” by the poet Angelus Silesius…

~

God is a big word, and it is important to understand what reality is hidden behind such a word.
The poet warns: “To know Him, Knower must be one with Known.”
Enjoy a taste of the nature of God
:

 

Being is not measured
“Turn wheresoe’er I will, I find no evidence
of End, Beginning, Centre or Circumference.”
~ Godhead, 1.2.188

God is not grasped
“God is an utter Nothingness,
Beyond the touch of Time and Place:
The more thou graspest after Him,
The more he fleeth thy embrace.”
~ Godhead, 5.1.25

The knower must become the known
“Naught ever can be known in God: One and Alone
Is He. To know Him, Knower must be one with Known.”
~ Godhead, 8.1.285

God is without will
“We pray: Thy Will be done! and lo! He hath no Will:
God in His changelessness eternally is still.”
~ Godhead, 12.1.294

The Rest and work of God
“Rested God never hath, nor toiled—’tis manifest,
For all His rest is work and all His work is rest.”
~ Godhead, 13.4.166

Enjoy many more poems by Angelus Silesius (READ MORE…)

 

Ripples…

Why do I keep thinking that things happen
That there is drama
All kinds of ups and downs
Desperation between two short-lived chunks of contentment

Why do I keep looking for an escape
Something better, more fulfilling
An adventure for my little self
Lest it would plainly die or disappear

Can I not see the call of steady ground
The unstoppable peace behind it all
The depth of the unfathomable soul
That rise not but stays unshakable 

Can I not see that my worse dramas 
Are but ripples – maybe not even this
That sink into a space so vast 
That nothing – oh nothing! – can move it

Can I not see the blaze of immensity
Running so close, dancing before my very self
Making itself so very obvious and present
That I have to strive to miss it

Can I not see that my blindness, forgetfulness
Is but a futile escape from a release so plain
A readiness to see that just behind my ache 
Stands already revealed my completeness.

 

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

 

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

 

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

 

Dear God

A prayer comes from the heart, and points to something that is beyond words and meaning. Its only function is to throw you back to yourself, to silence. It must be devoid of demands, which can only be objective and an expression of separation. In prayer, the result precedes the wish. Tiger Singleton gives us here two different versions of a prayer:

~

The confused prayer

Dear God, please help me put my illusions back together. All this uncertainty of tomorrow really makes it difficult to hide, and pretend to know what I’m doing.

Dear God, help me hold on, and please make other people change so I don’t have to see the truth I’m afraid of. If you would just give me what I want, it would be so much easier to love and trust you.

Dear God, how can I still protect the image of myself and worship you in everything? They say you are everywhere all the time, but that makes it really difficult to find myself.

Dear God, everything I trust in that’s not you, keeps failing. Why? Wouldn’t life be easier if everything just did what I wanted? By the way, I have plans this weekend so it’s better for all (really for myself) if it doesn’t rain.

Dear God, mosquitoes are stupid, please kill them all. It would be much better for everyone (really myself). Except maybe for nature, clearly though nature is confused about how to do things.

Dear God!! Hello?! Are you listening?! I want to be God. It’s not going so well. Please help.

~

The Sincere Prayer

Dear God, thank you. May you continue to help me see what actually is, rather than looking for what I want.

Dear God, thank you. Your ways are mysterious, yet it’s because of your ways, that this breath flows. I may not always understand, but I always end up seeing a gratitude.

Dear God, thank you. Somehow the rain falls perfectly on time, Im so grateful it’s not up to me. I have a hard enough time managing my own calendar.

Dear God, thank you. You keep showing me it’s okay to let go, no matter how stubborn I might be. Your patience is infinite, and in this I feel your Love.

Dear God, thank you. I feel in some way you are always smiling, not laughing at me, but comforting my impossible fears. As if the sun only pretends not to shine.

Dear God, thank you. I’m so humbled by you. I see it’s a constant invitation for me to relax and let you do what you do. Allowing me an opportunity to return to love.

Dear God, thank you; not for this or for that, but for everything. I see your fingerprints everywhere.”

 

~~~

Text by Tigmonk

Mandala by Elsebet Barner

~~~

 

Tiger Singleton (Tigmonk), founder of InLight Connect, is an inspirational public speaker, satsang facilitator, and author who shares wisdom and insight from the heart. With an open heart, Tiger holds space for a profound exploration into the art of being (you). 

Bibliography:
– ‘An Explosion of Love: The Color of All Things Beautiful’ – by Tigmonk – (The Blooming Heart Center)
– ‘Intimacy, with the Silent Nothing that is Everything’ – by Tigmonk – (The Blooming Heart Center)

Websites:
Inlight Connect (the art of being)
Tigmonk (All… is Incredibly Well)
Already Done (The Poetic Life of Being)

Suggestion:
Fragrance (on the role and nature of prayer)