Archive for June, 2011

Posted: June 27, 2011 in Quotes

All is well. You did not come here to fix a broken world. The world is not broken. You came here to live a wonderful life. And if you can learn to relax a little and let it all in, you will begin to see the universe present you with all that you have asked for.

– Esther Hicks

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Posted: June 25, 2011 in Quotes
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All of us, without being taught, have attained to a belief in some sort of divinity, though it is not easy for all men to know the precise truth about it, nor is it possible for those who do know it to tell it to all men.

– Julian

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Quotes

Do not fear the winds of adversity.
Remember: A kite rises against the wind rather than with it.

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Quotes
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Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you…

– JD Salinger

On the Radio by Regina Spektor

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Multimedia
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This is how it works
You’re young until you’re not
You love until you don’t
You try until you can’t
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumping someone else’s blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again

  • No object, no kind of knowledge, can be absolutely real if its existence is only temporary. Absolute reality implies permanent existence.
  • When the truth is known, we are no longer deluded by the appearance.
  • A God who transforms Himself into the visible universe is Himself subject to transformation and change – He cannot be regarded as the absolute reality.
    • A God who creates a world limits Himself by the very act of creation, and thus ceases to be infinite.
  • Within Maya, the mind cannot function without causal relation. But to speak of cause and effect with reference to the Absolute is simply absurd. To seek to know what caused the world is to transcend the world, to seek to find the cause of Maya is to go beyond Maya – and, when we do that, Maya vanishes, for the effect ceases to exist.
    • In other words, the relation between Brahman and Maya is, by its very nature, unknowable and indefinable by any process of the human intellect.
  • The principle of Maya is the superimposition of the ego-idea upon the Atman, the real Self. The ego-idea represents a false claim to individuality, to being different from our neighbor.
    • Superimposition is the apparent presentation to consciousness, by the memory, of something previously observed elsewhere.
    • As long as we remain in ignorance, we shall continue to experience this apparent world which is the effect of superimposition.
    • When transcendental consciousness is achieved, superimposition ceases.
    • Lose the ego-idea in transcendental consciousness, and the world-appearance must necessarily vanish.
  • Brahman is absolute existence, knowledge and bliss.
  • The inner Self, the reality, is never an object of sense-perception, however, – because, in our ignorance, we superimpose the idea of a private individuality – of being Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones – upon our awareness of Existence.
  • A distinction must, however, be made between Maya as a universal principle and ignorance (avidya) which is individual. Individual ignorance is beginningless, but it can end at any moment: it is lost when a man achieves spiritual illumination. Thus the world may vanish from the consciousness of an individual and yet continue to exist for the rest of mankind.
  • Iswara is Brahman united with Maya – the combination of Brahman and its power creates, preserves and dissolves the universe in an endless and beginnningless process.
    • Iswara is God personified, God with attributes.

Brahman may be compared to an infinite ocean, without beginning or end. Just as, through intense cold, some portions of the ocean freeze into ice and the formless water appears to have form, so through the intense love of the devotee, Brahman appears to take on form and personality. But the form melts away again as the sun of knowledge rises. Then the universe also disappears, and there is seen to be nothing but Brahman, the infinite. – Sri Ramakrishna

  • As long as man is within the limitations of Maya, the One is seen as many. Ignorance can do no better than to worship Appearance; and Iswara is the ruler of all appearances – the highest idea which the human mind can grasp and the human heart can love. The human mind can never grasp the absolute Reality, it can only infer its presence and worship its projected image.
  • The absolute reality is beyond good and evil, pleasure and pain, success and disaster. Both good and evil are aspects of Maya. As long as Maya exists, they exist. Within Maya they are real enough.
    • The questions “Why does God permit evil?” is, in fact, most misleadingly phrased. It is as absurd as if one were to ask “Why does God permit good?” Nobody today would ask why rain “permitted” a catastrophic flood; nobody would blame or praise fire because it burns one man’s house and cooks another man’s dinner.
  • Once we become conscious, even dimly, of the Atman, the Reality within us, the world takes on a very different aspect. It is no longer a court of justice but a kind of gymnasium. Good and evil, pain and pleasure, still exist, but they seem more like the ropes and vaulting-hoses and parallel bars which can be used to make our bodies strong.
    • Maya is no longer an endlessly revolving wheel of pain and pleasure but a  ladder which can be climbed to consciousness of the Reality.
    • Every experience offers us the chance of making a constructive reaction to it – a reaction which helps to break some chain of our bondage to Maya and bring us that much nearer to spiritual freedom.
  • If we recognize our brotherhood with our fellow-men; if we try to deal honestly, truthfully, charitably with them; if, politically and economically, we work for equal rights, equal justice and the abolition of barriers of race and class and creed, then we are in fact giving the lie to the ego-idea and moving toward awareness of the universal, non-individual Existence.
  • What is so attractive about Vedanta is its undogmatic, experimental approach to truth. Shankara does not tell us that we must accept the evidence of Brahman as a dogma before we can enter upon the spiritual life. No – he invites us to find out for ourselves.
    • Nothing – no teacher, no scripture – can do the work for us. Teachers and scriptures are merely encouragements to personal effort.
  • The illuminated seer does not merely know Brahman, he is Brahman, he is Existence, he is Knowledge. Absolute freedom is not something to be attained, absolute knowledge is not something to be gained, Brahman is not something to be found. It is only Maya which has to be pierced, ignorance which has to be overcome. The process of discrimination is a negative process. The positive fact, our real nature, eternally exists. We are Brahman – and only ignorance divides us from this knowledge.
  • Rituals plays an important part in the act of devotion, as a physical aid to concentration – for the acts of ritual bring the mind back repeatedly from its distractions and help to keep it steadily upon its object.
  • For what greater fool can there be than the man who has obtained this rare human birth together with bodily and mental strength and yet fails, through delusion, to realize his own highest good?
  • Longing for liberation is the will to be free from the fetters forged by ignorance…
    • Among all means of liberation, devotion is supreme. To seek earnestly to know one’s real nature – this is said to be devotion.
  • Children may free their father from his debts, but no other person can free a man from his bondage: he must do it himself.
    • A sickness is not cured by saying the word “medicine.” You must take the medicine. Liberation does not come by merely saying the word “Brahman.” Brahman must be actually experienced.
  • If you really desire liberation, hold the objects of sense-enjoyment at a distance, like poison; and keep drinking in with delight such virtues as contentment, compassion, forgiveness, straightforwardness, tranquility and self-control, as if they were nectar.
  • Maya is destroyed by direct experience of Brahman – the pure, the free, the one without a second.
  • Ignorance is nowhere, except in the mind.
  • Practice detachment toward all actions. Have faith in the Reality.
  • Ignorance, although beginningless, comes to an end when knowledge dawns.
    • Therefore a man should practice discrimination between the Atman and the individual self.
  • Man in the ignorance of his delusion sees the reflection of Pure Consciousness upon the covering, and mistakes it for the real I.
  • A jar made of clay is not other than clay. It is clay essentially. The form of the jar has no independent existence. What, then, is the jar? Merely an invented name! The form of the jar can never be perceived apart from the clay. What, then, is the jar? An appearance! The reality is the clay itself.
  • The Atman is the reality. It is your true, primal self. It is pure consciousness, the one without a second, absolute bliss. It is beyond form and action. Realize your identity with it. Stop identifying yourself with the coverings of ignorance, which are the masks assumed by an actor.
  • The more a man satisfies his cravings in the objective world, the more his cravings will increase.
    • When craving grows stronger, self-control is lost.
  • The spiritual seeker who is possessed of tranquility, self-control, mental poise and forbearance, devotes himself to the practice of contemplation, and mediates upon the Atman within himself as the Atman within all beings. Thus he completely destroys the sense of separateness which arises from the darkness of ignorance, and dwells in joy, identifying himself with Brahman, free from distracting thoughts and selfish occupations.
  • Mistaking the appearance for the reality, people ignorantly imagine that I am enclosed within a bodily and mental form. In the same way, they imagine Time, which is indivisible and continuous, to be divided into cycles, years and seasons.
    • The sky is not confined by its clouds. I am not confined by the body. How, therefore, can I be affected by the states of waking, dreaming or dreamless sleep? They are merely bodily conditions.
  • How can the physical eyes see anything but physical objects? How can the mind of the enlightened man think of anything other than the Reality? How could a wise man reject the experience of supreme bliss and take delight in mere outward forms? When the moon shines in its exceeding beauty, who would care to look at a painted moon?
  • He has no riches, yet he is always contented. He is helpless, yet of mighty power. He enjoys nothing, yet he is continuously rejoicing. He has no equal, yet he sees all men as his equals.
Q & A
  • Who is the lord? He who leads us out of ignorance.
  • Who is poor? He who is not contented.
  • What should one strive for? To go on learning as long as one lives.
  • What qualities are rarest in this world? To have the gift of speaking sweet words with compassion, to be learning without pride, to be heroic and also forgiving, to be rich without attachment to riches – these four are rare.