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…)

 

Benares my Love

One day long ago, I was stopped on my way, redirected as it were. It was one morning, the time of a glorious encounter with the subtle ethers of a city. Nothing would ever be the same. But what did I know at the time?

In Benares I met the Ganges. But it wasn’t a river. It was something calm, placid, yet charged with a force and power that I had never met before. At night, the river was still not a river. It was an absence, an emptiness. It was dark. And the boats that were aligned on it were like suspended, resting, immobile, placed here by something I could never comprehend. And the waters met here secretly with silence, in the crystalline air where a bell breathed an occasional, happy tone.

In Benares I saw the sun rising. But it wasn’t a sun. It was a bath of golden light spread above the waters. It was giving and fresh like all illumination must be. It was a pointer reminding us tirelessly to turn our attention on ourselves. It was not taken for granted but received. You were being exposed, as all beliefs and limitations ought to be. And in the evening, its setting amongst the heartfelt notes of a devotional song would send shivers down your spine. Then you knew. You would come again tomorrow to be clothed by its golden light. And you couldn’t wait.

A secret meeting with the city of Varanasi or Benares… (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

A World of Delight

If the doors of perception were cleansed, 
everything would appear to man as it is: infinite
.”
~ William Blake

 

I have borrowed the words of the title to another of William Blake’s poems. It points to the realisation that our true nature is intimately married to the world, and that the expression of this understanding is pure, unconditional delight or happiness. This is the Tantric view: in Rupert Spira’s words, “the intimate knowing that Consciousness, what we truly are, is the substance of Reality, that there is only one thing, that there is only Being.” I have gathered here many quotes and pointers on this subject, from various spiritual teachers. They will tell you the story of the world…

 

~~~

 

Tantrism aims to allow man to achieve liberation without renouncing the world, to achieve the paradoxical coincidence of manifestation and divinity.”
~ André Padoux

~

Take the mind away from the world. What remains? You can neither say that it exists or that it does not exist. So you alone remain. Therefore, the world is only a thought.” 
~ Atmananda Krishna Menon

~

An object exists because we think about it; we don’t think about it because it exists.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

In tantra, sadhakas look upon this world as the manifestation of Shakti, the Divine Mother. It is real — not absolutely real, of course. But consider this comparison: Vedanta says, ‘Get away from maya, get out!’ Tantra says: ‘No, no, worship maya. Don’t get out; don’t throw it away; don’t discard it.’ This is the beauty of tantra. It doesn’t deny the world; it says, ‘The world is beautiful; it is true; it is the playground of the Divine Mother, and we are all her playmates.’ According to tantra, we have to realise Brahman through this world, not by negating this world. People are often confused by and fearful of the world, but God did not create the world to frighten people. There must be a purpose of this creation. What is the purpose? Play.” 
~ Swami Chetanananda

~

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We do not perceive a world outside Consciousness. 
The world is our perception of the world. 
There is no evidence that there is a world
outside the perception of it, 
outside Consciousness
.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Discover more of this inner intimacy with the world… (READ MORE…)

 

The Gentle Manner

“Let the Awareness function.
Then the mind becomes quiet. 
Motives disappear; 
tranquility pervades the whole being. 
In that state alone does the perception of Truth come. 
And it comes naturally. 
It is there. 
It is revealed in a gentle manner.”

~ J. Krishnamurti 

 

~~~

Quote by J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

Photo by Alain Joly

~~~

 

Bibliography :
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)

Website:
J. Krishnamurti

 

Tantra, the Song of Life

My world will light its hundred different lamps with thy flame 
and place them before the altar of thy temple.
No, I will never shut the doors of my senses. 
The delights of sight and hearing and touch will bear thy delight
.” 
~ Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)

 

For anyone interested in uncovering the true nature of his or her being, some pathways exist to travel – motionlessly – from being identified to an imaginary sense of self to being established in the real, forgotten, and only self there is: consciousness. These pathways correspond to the different components of our living experience, namely thinking, feeling, and sensing. I have, in previous texts, endeavoured to explore the path of understanding, or Jñāna, that is derived from the exercice of thinking, and the path of love, or Bhakti, born out of feeling. The last pathway to explore is the one that comes through our senses, which is everything we see, hear, touch, taste or smell, everything that is seemingly outside of ourselves and that we have named by the generic term of the ‘world’. This path is best described in India through what is called ‘Tantra’, which after the two other pathways, is one that is all encompassing, that invites the world in, or in Atmananda Krishna Menon’s words brings “the universal under the individual.”

The idea behind tantra is that the world, the totality of our experience, need not be pushed away, or dreaded as an obstacle, but is also a doorway as is the exercice of thought in jñāna, or feeling and devotion in bhakti. The whole world is a possibility because although it is often experienced as an objective reality, it is also the expression or creation of a subjective presence and can therefore be used to trace back and uncover the reality of our own being. We must define what we mean by the world. In any given time or place, we experience a totality. A group of forms and experiences is presented to us and these form the totality of what exists in any given moment. What is this totality and what is it made of? What is this play of forms? Does it have a separate existence? These questions are at the core of the tantric path. If the world, the body, the feelings – our whole experience – are not what we have but what we are, then it opens up a whole new set of possibilities in understanding and accessing our true nature. “Every object is the footprint of God.” says Rupert Spira. …

An exploration into the nature of the tantric path… (READ MORE…)

 

The Mystique of Freedom

Bob O’Hearn is my newly invited guest in ‘The Dawn Within’. Bob has a number of blogs and his writings were somewhat influential when I took on the journey of writing myself. I found his essays particularly crafted and it’s a pleasure to share here with you one of them: ‘The Mystique of Freedom’, excerpted from his blog ‘The Conscious Process’. Bob lives with his Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

 

~~

Pleasure and pain alternate.
Happiness is unshakable.
What you can seek and find is not the real thing.
Find what you have never lost,
find the inalienable
.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta

~~

 

In the vast library cataloguing exceptional human experiences, daunting adventures, and intriguing explorations, the tales of humanity’s search for spiritual liberation are some of the more compelling, and have even formed the basis for most of the world’s religions and philosophies. We all love a good story!

However, as fascinating as the reports may be — these bold testimonies of spiritual heroes and heroines persevering through all manner of adversity to finally attain the pinnacle of human potential, pull the sword from the rock, and ascend blissfully beyond the dreary fate of ordinary mortals — the actual truth is that they are all based on a fundamental case of mistaken identity.

It’s not so much that they have often been seriously ‘airbrushed’ (although that is a regrettable though all too common fate of many of these hagiographies), but rather that they were embarked upon under false pretenses from the beginning. That many of these characters burst out laughing in recognition of that fact at the culmination of their quest does provide a saving grace element to the reports. Let’s examine why. …

Continue reading Bob O’Hearn’s essay… (READ MORE…)