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Saturday, February 16, 2008

a few thoughts about enlightenment...

messiah cat
Originally uploaded by alxindia

from another online exchange about spirituality:

"There are spiritual perspectives that claim that one should “do nothing.” This points to the question, is there really anything we can do to arrange or set the conditions toward “realization”? Could it be that the “work” that we do only obstructs from that which we desire? Therefore, if we no longer desire this “state of mind,” and thus abstain from the “work,” would that facilitate its happening more fortuitously? Chiefly because we no longer “desire” it?

Bhagavan Sri Ramana is reputed to have attained realization at age 16 (I think that was the age)." - M.S.

these are great questions. here's my response --

well, yes, and this is one of my major beefs with most spirituality movements in America – in the West, we want to have our enlightenment super-easily and if someone comes along promising us that there's 'no work to do' – wowee! jackpot! and we all get to be smug and go home from the workshops feeling warm fuzzies.

but. how long does that last? & what do we really mean by 'enlightenment'?

(and if I'm already enlightened, how come I don't ACT like it?)

spiritual work needs to be done for 99.9% of the people who are interested in real spirituality and enlightenment stages. there's really no way around that.

even Sri Ramana Maharshi, whom you mentioned, had to do some hard work internally – yes, he got an experience of his enlightenment at 16 years old BUT he had a guru who helped him re-open his energy channels he'd already gained by hard work in some other lifetime.

nor did his enlightenment stages STOP at 16 years old. he kept learning, growing, dwelling in his internal channels, as do all saints of that caliber, throughout his entire life.

for example, most people don't even realize that he worshipped the Divine Mother, the Shakti. he kept a Sri Chakra Yantra on top of his mountain (his guru) Arunachala, and did ritual to it every day.

people like to point to Ramana as an example of someone who 'just woke up' and then 'didn't do anything' but inhabit the silence – but that's a wishful thinking and naive understanding of the complexity of who and what he was, and what he really did.

and – if it's really in the cards for humanity at large to have those kinds of experiences, ie, to 'just wake up' out of the clear blue – why hasn't it happened in MASS numbers? there are oh-so-many spiritual seekers who'd love to have those experiences. if it's so easy – why hasn't it happened?

my response to my own questions – *grinning* – is that hard work IS part of spiritual enlightenment. surrender and ego-subduing is part of that hard work. understanding where we really came from, where the soul originated, is part of that hard work. standing still and open-hearted while our karmas are being burned off and transformed – not running away when the going gets tough – is some really hard work.

finding a spiritual master or guide who actually HAS that kind of understanding and enlightenment and who is willing to help someone else along (many masters aren't that willing because of the karmas involved) – is part of that hard work. even if that guru is a mountain, like in the case of Ramana Maharshi. of course, he didn't see the mountain Arunachala as a mountain, he saw that it was Lord Shiva.

simply put, the reason we don't act enlightened (even if we really are, underneath) is the mountain of karma each of us is carrying, and the negative qualities reinforced from that karmic mountain.

burning off that karma starts freeing our inner self to express itself more clearly and openly and purely. and that's a pretty hard work, at least, in my experience and the tradition that I've dedicated the last 9 years of my life to pursuing – because it goes way beyond normal 'emotional processing' and superficial psychological or behavioral changes.

and, no, I don't think the work itself obscures the enlightenment experience or 'attainment' (which is a funny word, but you know what I mean). in my experience, the work only crystalizes the focus, the divine desire to get enlightened – it hones that yearning for god, and for the inner realization that each of us is That.

also, doing the work keeps us really humble and connected – because at a certain point, you realize there's an endless amount of 'work' to do, and the development of the internal consciousness, of the soul, really never ends no matter how 'enlightened' we are or become.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

turning a page

Originally uploaded by alxindia
my mate Jonathan and I recently sent this message to our friends and family in our spiritual community, about the mahasamadhi (conscious death/passing) of a great spiritual figure, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I thought it was worth posting here as well.

"Dear Divine Souls,

here is an amazing end to an era of spirituality spanning more than 50 years in the West -- and a powerful beginning of the next chapter of this planet's spiritual evolution. millions of people around the world, since 1959, have learned to meditate deeply and achieve samadhi through the technique of TM, Transcendental Meditation, that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought to the world when he left India.

the following (below) are a few thoughts from one of the members of his Purusha program, who was there in Vlodrop, Holland, and saw Maharishi in his mahasamadhi (conscious exit from the body). you can feel the bliss and the beauty of this amazing passing.

many of you called or emailed us to be sure that we had heard the news -- & we thank you for your immense thoughtfulness and kind regard for us in connection with Maharishi. we wanted to let you know our hearts, as well, on this auspicious day.

we are quite sure that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and his master, "Guru Dev" (Brahmananda Saraswati) have given a remarkable blessing to this world in terms of timing (new moon) and expansion of the divine energy they have represented in this world for so long, by this maha samadhi.

it is so inspiring to see how one dedicated divine soul was able to bring the balm of meditation to millions and millions of people all over the globe in 142 countries -- enabling them to touch the silence of eternity, and to drink every day from that ocean of unbounded love.

and now he has passed that torch on to all of us who follow on the path of dharma -- to bring the next steps, the next blessings in this expanding banquet of knowledge and love -- how to operate the miracle mechanisms to relieve the heart broken sufferings of the world, and to realize our true nature and birth right as the divine souls we all are. there is a lot of work for us all to do!

on New Year's Eve last year, Maharishi gave this beautiful talk before going into 3 days of silence at the beginning of 2007:

"Jai Guru Dev. Jai Guru Dev. Jai Guru Dev. With these humble, very humble, very humble feelings of world consciousness offering at the feet of Guru Dev, we are entering in the field of absolute, eternal admiration to the eternal silence that rules the universe.

We are entering into the domain of the eternal administrator of the universe, the Will of God -- so that we nourish our Being with that eternal silent administrative power of Veda, so that the ocean of silence guides and rules over every activity of the individual and every nation -- every incoming and outgoing breath of our single individual life and the life of every nation in our world family -- to display that master management, master administration of total Natural Law, the Constitution of the Universe, the Veda, for all coming time.

All Glory to Guru Dev. Jai Guru Dev. Jai Guru Dev. Jai Guru Dev."

Jai Guru Dev!
Jai Guru Datta!

"I really have to say, hats off to Maharshi -- he really got the whole world to meditate." - Sri Kaleshwar

"Allah Malik Eke." ("All gods are one.") - Shirdi Sai Baba


Alx & Jonathan"

Subject: From a Purusha member in Vlodrop.

> Dear Friends,
> On January 11, 2008, Maharishi gave his farewell address to his worldwide family, saying that he had fulfilled his "designed duty to Guru Dev" and was handing over all responsibilities to his Rajas and Ministers and national leaders, and retiring from activity. It was an emotion-filled tribute that followed, with all the assembled dignitaries of the Movement giving their personal appreciations and cherished memories. He asked his Rajas if he deserved a gift of a memorial, to himself and Guru Dev, for what had been brought to the world: a Tower of Invincibility in each of the countries overseen by the Rajas.
> A couple weeks ago, it was resolved that the first tower would be built right next to Maharishi's house. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Monday January 28. Offers of funding poured in from around the world.
> Today, February 5, 2008, having fulfilled his duty to Guru Dev, Maharishi took mahasamadhi. He has left his mortal body, but he remains with us eternally in spirit, in our hearts, in the very Silence that permeates every grain of creation.
> I remember the first time I saw Maharishi. It was in the auditorium at Humboldt University, California. He walked through the line of people on either side, gently taking the flowers people offered him. I didn't have any flowers, it was a new concept to me to give flowers to a man. But the feeling of gratitude was so overwhelming that it was so natural that I wished I had a flower--anything--to give. He glanced at me with a brilliant gleam in his eye, a smile, and a soft Jai Guru Dev as if to say, "It wasn't necessary, just enjoy." My heart melted in joy. It was a moment made indelible in my memory.
> Tonight, around 7:30 pm everyone here collected in the big meeting tent where Maharaja Raam announced the news (which you can hear on the Maharishi Channel, see link below). We listened to sahasranam, and then did puja to Guru Dev. The air was saturated with incense, purity, and a sanctified transcendental bliss colored with a soft silent sadness. The Rajas and Directors were invited by Maharaja Raam to Maharishi's house, then everyone was invited to go.
> The only time before when everyone was invited into Maharishi's house was just before he entered it the first time, about 10-11 years ago, no doubt with much celebration. This time it was quiet. Only a few whispers. A lady couldn't hold back and wept. Single file we slowly made our way upstairs to the brahmasthan room that Maharishi had spent so many hours in the past 10-11 years, pouring out an inexhaustible flow of knowledge and inspiration and guidance to Movement leaders, to Purusha and Mother Divine, and to the whole world, through every modern system of communication.
> One has time to let the reality of events sink in while waiting in line. My thoughts touched on wonderful memories of Maharishi and also the events of the day. A mixture of joy and sadness on the solid ground of bliss. And a bit of pondering. What would happen now that he isn't directing and prodding his Movement to move at every turn? I felt the thoughts of some others, similar. Others emanated solid confidence. Indeed, this Movement is in very good hands.
> Finally I reached the door of the brahmasthan. I could see the large room was full of Rajas and Ministers, meditating or just silently watching. It was also full of all sorts of gifts from years of celebrations, on tables, on shelves, and free standing. Devatas and elephants, Faberge eggs and flags, gold wish-fulfilling trees and building models, and innumerable other gifts with so much concentrated gratitude emanating from each. It was a beautiful gold and crystal wonderland. But the most striking decoration was the row of huge pictures of Guru Dev above--maybe 8--which Maharishi could see from his couch every day. They dominated everything. Maharishi's life always was 100% devotion to Guru Dev. As he said just a few weeks before, he offered his EVERYTHING to Guru Dev.
> His mortal remains sat upright on a bed, wrapped in white except for his face, garlanded in a few thin strands of flowers from head to foot. Maharaja Raam sat meditating next to the bed. I couldn't stand. My mentor, my teacher, my infallible guide through the perilous roads of life had gone silent. I bowed in prayer of gratitude and a request. Somehow I felt it already answered.
> Such a divine master is so unimaginably rare. It has been our extraordinary great fortune to have been touched by his infinite compassion and transformed by his perfect knowledge. He altered our personal destinies and the destiny of the whole world. I think it is quite fair and true to say he saved the world from annihilation, several times probably. I know he saved me, many times, in ways I can barely comprehend, too personal to describe. You must have your own story.
> Within our hearts Maharishi will always remain. We pray that his work, the work of Guru Dev, will be carried on ceaselessly through his Rajas, Ministers, Directors, Governors, sidhas, meditators, and all lovers of life, to bring permanent Invincibility to every nation and to unfold the full glory of life in enlightenment in every sincere seeker for all generations to come.
> Maharishi gave us everything we need. Now let us move forward, guided by Maharishi and Guru Dev in our hearts, to create the full glory of Heaven on Earth. Nothing else could be more worthwhile to do.
> Jai Guru Dev,
> S.
> Watch for announcements of ceremonies at:
> Maharishi's farewell addresses of January 9, 11, and 12, 2008:
> A beautiful synopsis of Maharishi's achievements can be found here:
> >