Friday, December 28, 2007

Dadu Dayal, Poet-Mystic from Rajasthan

Dadu Dayal, Poet-Mystic from Rajasthan





Dadu is one of my all-time favorite classic Sants of India. He was a great poet-mystic and spiritual Master of Divine Light, Sound, and Nirguna Bhakti from Rajasthan in the lineage of Guru Kabir. Anyone who studies his teachings will encounter a very genuine, pure version of Sant Mat with the perfect balance of God and guru bhakti, love and mysticism (Surat Shabd Yoga, meditation).

Translations of Dadu bhajans are quite rare in English. Volume 25 in the glorious Encyclopaedia of Saints Series represents the most complete collection of the works of Sant Dadu Dayal in English to date. It is published by Criterion of New Delhi (distributed by Deep & Deep Publications). Nataraj Books is one source where this volume can be ordered from in North America. See link below.

Enjoy! Happy New Year! Meditate!

James
SantMat_Mystic_Blog_at_Yahoo360
http://blog.360.yahoo.com/santmat_mystic
Sant Mat Fellowship:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship
Radhasoami Reality:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Radhasoami-Reality

Sant Dadu Dayal, Encyclopaedia of Saints Series (Volume 25),
Edited by Bakshi and Mittra, Criterion Publications, New Delhi, India
https://www.VedamsBooks.com/no28758.htm
https://www.NatarajBooks.com

Background on Dadu from the Preface

Sant Dadu Dayal was a Saint from Rajasthan. 'Dadu' means brother and 'Dayal' means "the Compassionate One." He lived in the second half of the sixteenth century (1544-1603). His songs are in a Hindi dialect known as Braj Bhasa, being a mixture of Hindi and Rajasthani. Like the earlier Saint Kabir, Dadu came from one of the many low artisan castes that had converted to Islam. He lived in the Jaipur region of Rajasthan, most probably as a pinjari, a cotton carder. He married and had a family of two sons and two daughters.

Dadu gathered around himself a group of followers, which became known as the Dadu-panth. This organisation has continued in Rajasthan to the present day, and has been a major source of early manuscripts containing songs by the North Indian Saints [the Panch Vani]. He himself did not write down any of his compositions. These were recorded by his disciple Rajjab. Another disciple, Jana Gopal wrote the earliest biography. [A translation of the Janma Lila by Jana Gopal is also included in this book]. Dadu clearly experienced the bliss of Sahaja and alluded to it in his songs. Surviving songs do not record the name of Dadu's guru. Certainly much of the imagery used in his songs is similar to that used by Kabir, and similar also to that used by the earlier Sahajiya Buddhists and Nath Yogis.

Some Mystic Verses of Sant Dadu Dayal, a Lover of the Beloved





Results of True Love --- The Vision of the Beloved

One sits fearlessly by repeating God's Name;
the Negative Power can never consume him.
When thou ridest the elephant, 0 Dadu,
then dogs bark in vain.
When love and devotion arise,
one is firmly established in blissful meditation.
With the grace of the Master,
he then drinks the divine Nectar, 0 Dadu.
By being dedicated to the Lord,
millions of obstacles are removed.
A tiny spark the size of a mustard seed
burns a huge amount of wood, 0 Dadu.
Impurities and blemishes of the mind
are burnt up in the fire of separation.
The separated lover will now see
the vision of the Beloved, 0 Dadu.


An Outer Guru that is not an Inner Guru, not a Qualified Teacher

The whole world makes an outer display,
whereas the practice of the Saint is within.
This is the difference between the two;
hence no accord is found between them.

A new pot taken from the potter's furnace
may be decorated with many pictures outside;
But of what use will it be to thee,
0 Dadu, without any contents?
Such are the ones who make outer display of religiosity.

From one who bears no outer religious symbols,
but has unfathomable riches within,
Receive the wealth and keep it within
thy heart, 0 Dadu, and be obedient to such a Saint.

There is a great difference between a Saint and a mimic,
the two are as far apart as earth and sky.
The Saint is absorbed in God, whereas
the mimic pins his hopes on the world.

The One alone dwells within my heart,
Day and night I repeat His Name.
The Name of God alone is true;
keep that within thy heart.
Forsake all hypocrisies and cumbrous practices;
this is the teaching of all Saints, 0 Dadu.





True Sants Focus Our Attention Upon God

Sadagati Sadhava re

Saints are the true redeemers,
They make one see the Creator face to face.
Having themselves crossed the ocean
of the world, they take others across;
They are the saviors of beings.
Dyed in the colour of the Supreme Lord,
They have the blameless Name
as their support;
Always truthful, disciplined, blissful and contented,-
Their wisdom and reach knows no bounds.
In eternal love, in eternal ecstasy,
In eternal company with the essential Truth;
In eternal union, in eternal life,
In eternal knowledge and contemplation are they absorbed.
Crest-jewel of all, bestower of bliss to all,
They are rare in this world.
They are the Swans, the dwellers of the Ocean of Bliss,
Who come for the good of others, 0 Dadu.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Solstice Light from Spiritual Awakening Radio

Happy Solstice Light from Spiritual Awakening Radio





For northern latitude dwellers the colder weather causes many to dwell within in a variety of ways. I have some great meditations during these more solitary winter months! It can be a time for New Year's resolutions, an opportunity to reflect, to be introspective. Over the years I've always noticed that the number of letters and emails from radio listeners peak during Winter.


May interior warmth
cause seeds of contemplation
to sprout into new growth, new life.


Happy Solstice Light from Spiritual Awakening Radio Productions.


Namaste',


James




Thursday, December 20, 2007

Conversations with Maharshi Santsewiji Paramhans

Conversations with Maharshi Santsewiji Paramhans

Sant Mat Fellowship:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship
{"This mysterious path is described in the holy books,
but it cannot be found simply by the study of sacred texts.
It is found by the grace and guidance of an accomplished teacher."}





Special on His 87th Birth Anniversary (20.12.1920)

[English rendering of interactions with Maharshi Santsewi ji Paramahans excerpted from the book titled `Samvaad' (meaning dialogue or conversation) authored by Kumar Ashok and published by Santmat Satsang Publication, Kuppaghat, Bhalpur, India in 2000]

- Translated by Pravesh K. Singh http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sant_santati http://blog.360.yahoo.com/praveshksingh

Q. God is Absolute Knowledge, Absolute Light and Infinitely Powerful. Despite being so, how his own part (jivaatmaa) came into bondage? How it fell into the dark abyss of ignorance?

Ans: When the Supreme Sovereign, God, thought in a playful mood: "Ekoham Bahusyaam" (I am one, Let Me be Many!), a sound or vibration was produced. Rishis called this sound by various names such as `Om', `Sfot', `Udgeeth', `Pranav' etc. Creation or Universe(s) was formed by this very sound or vibration. Two large spheres or realms of creation came into being. The first sphere or realm is called `Chetan Prakriti' (Realm of Pure Consciousness), and the second realm is called `jad prakriti' (Realm of Ignorance or Realm lacking in consciousness of its own). `Chetan Prakriti' is one only, while the `jad prakriti' came to be divided into four spheres namely, `Mahakaaran' (supra-causal) `Kaaran' (causal), `sookshma' (astral) and `sthool' (gross). In accordance with the characteristics of these five spheres, five bodies came to be formed namely; `kaivalya' (conscious body), `mahaakaaran' (supra-causal body), `kaaran' (causal body), `sookshma' (astral or subtle body) and `sthool' (gross body).

Currently the realm we are living in is known as `sthool' or gross sphere and accordingly, `jeev' (unliberated individual soul) is living in the gross body. Thus, the `jeev' is bound by five bodies and five spheres. Just as, within one and the same `mahadaakaash' (larger space or sky) its numerous parts such as `ghat' (space or sky within the body), `pat' (space contained between partitions of curtain or cloth) and `math' (space enclosed within the walls of a room or house) come to be separated from it (the parent larger space or sky) due to the covers of body, curtains and walls, the `jeevaatmaa' (unliberated individual soul), because of getting covered by the layers or sheaths of darkness, light and sound has become separated from its original main stream (God), has forgotten its true nature and has come within the influence of `maayaa' (illusion).

Q. What is the difference between `jeevaatmaa', `chetanaatmaa', `aatmaa' and `paramaatmaa'?

Ans: The `aatmaa' (soul) when attached with `antahkaran' (a collective term used to include mind, intellect, ego etc.) is called `jeevaatmaa'. A soul which has got free of `antahkaran' but is attached with `chetan' (consciousness) is called `chetan aatmaa' (conscious soul). There is no difference as such between the `aatmaa' (soul) and `paramaatmaa' (God). The above concepts can also be put like this: the soul attached with or covered by gross layers is known as `jivatma', that with the cover of consciousness only is termed `chetan atma' and the soul which is free of both gross and conscious sheaths is called `atma' (soul) or `paramatma' (God).

Q. God is surely without a beginning, but what about `prakriti' (Nature or Cosmos) – is it with or without a beginning?

Ans: From the point of view of space and time, nature or creation is without a beginning, but from the point of view of origin or birth, it is with a beginning. Because, space and time come into reckoning only on formation of creation or nature or universes, not before that. Both types of nature or creation, namely gross creation and conscious creation came to be formed through the playful wish of God.

"Ye prakriti dwaya utpatti laya, hovain prabhu kee mauj se.

Ye ajaa anaadyaa swayam hain, haregij na kahanaa chaahiye." (Maharshi Mehi Paramahans)

[The two natures (gross as well as conscious) are formed and destroyed through `mauj' (playful wish) of God. One must never say or believe these to be unborn, or without a beginning.]

Mahabharat says, "Just as the sea waves (rise on and) merge into the sea itself, similarly the nature or creations, too, are created and destroyed (within God only)." – Mahabharat Shanti Parva.

Sant Sundardas ji Maharaj has said,

"Brahma te purush aur prakriti pragat bhaee."

That is, both `purush' and `prakriti' originated from `Brahma'. Here `purush' means `paraa prakriti' (also written as `para prakriti') or conscious nature/realm. In Chapter 15 of Shreemad Bhagwad Geetaa `aparaa prakriti' (part of creation or nature not having consciousness of its own) has been called as `kshar purush' (Destructible Nature or Realm), whereas `paraa prakriti' (Conscious Realm) has been called as `akshara purush' (non-destructible Realm); `purushottam' or God is said to be beyond both these realms. For instance,

"dwaavimau purushau loke ksharashchaakshara eva cha.

Ksharah sarvaani bhootaani kootasthokshara uchyate" (Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta)

[In this universe two types of purush are there – `kshara' (destructible or non-permanent) and `akshara' (non-destructible). Bodies of all the beings in the world are destructible or impermanent, while the individual soul indwelling them is said to be `akshara' (non-destructible']

Nature or creation, too, is said to be without a beginning but not because it is also without an origin like God; it is called so because no time or space can be ascribed to its origin, for these two (space & time) come into reckoning only after the creation or nature is formed. The nature or universe or the creation appeared, with the `mauj' (playful will) of God, within God only; thus its beginning or origin lies in the God who Himself is beyond space & time, without a beginning and an end. God is even said to be the `aadi' (beginning or origin) of `anaadi' (beginning-less or without an origin i.e. nature). Nature or creation is also said to `anaadi saant' (without a beginning – from the point of view of time & space – but with an end).

Q. Lord Mahavir and Lord Buddha have not explicitly made any references to the term `Brahma' or God. Should they be, thus, treated as atheists?

Ans. Though Lord Mahavir and Lord Buddha have not directly used the term `Brahma', they have used words with similar connotations like `attaa', `aatmaa' (Soul), `gahakaarak' (Builder of House) `naath' (Master or Lord) etc. Bhagvan Mahavir has said: "aatmaanam viddhi" (Know your `Self') whereas Lord Buddha has said,

"Attaa hi attano naatho ko hi naatho paro siaa.
Attanawav sudantena naatham labhati dullabham."

[An individual is his own master; how could any body else be his master? Having restrained or controlled himself very well, he attains to the Lord who is difficult of attainment.]

Further,

"Gahakaarak ! ditthosi pun geham na kaahasi.

Sabbaa te faasukaa bhaggaa gahakootam visankhitam.

Visankhaaragatam chitam tanhaanam khayamajjhagaa."

[O Builder of the House! I saw you; now you won't be able to rebuild the house. All your chains or shackles have been broken; crown of the house has collapsed. Chitta has been rid of all the sanskaaras. `Arhattva' (Destruction of desires or cravings) has been accomplished.]

Thus, it is unfair and improper to call them atheists. In fact, the people of their times were prolifically performing animal sacrifices and violent acts in the name of religion; therefore, they did not use directly words like `Ishwara', `Brahma' or `Bhagawaan' or God. The renowned Buddhist monk Bhikshu Jagadeesh Kaashyap had told me this in reply to an identical curiosity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quotes from Jalal-ud-Din RUMI -- Sufi Poet, Mystic, Master

Quotes from Jalal-ud-Din RUMI -- Sufi Poet, Mystic, Master





Quotes of Jalal–ud–Din Rumi (1207-1273), the Persian Sufi Sufi Mystic

· When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

· Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

· Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real Sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.

· Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls.

· Whatever possessions and objects of its desires the lower self may obtain, it hangs on to them, refusing to let them go out of greed for more, or out of fear of poverty and need.

· If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.

· Reason is powerless in the expression of Love.

· If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?

· Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.

· The garden of Love
is green without limit
and yields many fruits
other than sorrow and joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without spring,
without autumn,
it is always fresh.

· Remember God so much that you are forgotten.
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.

· The wine of this fleeting world
caused your head to ache.

· I used to read the myths of love
Now I have become
the mythical lover.

· They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.

· We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee;
we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee.

(Selected by Pravesh K. Singh)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Spiritual Satsang Discourse

A Spiritual Satsang Discourse


Sant Mat Fellowship:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SantMatFellowship
{"This mysterious path is described in the holy books,
but it cannot be found simply by the study of sacred texts. It is found by the grace and guidance of an accomplished teacher."}

Couplets of Swami SantSevi Ji

Begin meditation with internally chanting or repeating the Guru-mantra-incantation (the charged words given by the Guru). And then try to visualize the radiant form or image of the Satguru in the still darkness of the inner sky (with eyes closed). Follow that with focusing your attention at the seat of the soul within, i.e. at the Third Eye or the Inner Eye or the Til Dwaar, by making the two streams of consciousness in your two eyes converge in a Point.

When the two currents of consciousness meet in a Point, Divine Light appears within. Then, practice Surat Shabd Yoga (Yoga of Divine Sound) i.e., try to shift your attention to listening to the Divine Sounds or myriads of melodies (Anahad Naad) ringing inside. Listening to the Divine Sound destroys all the perversions, agitations and fickleness of the mind.

Ascending beyond or transcending myriads of sounds, try to identify and tune in to the
Quintessential Unstruck Melody, called "Saar Shabd" or "Anaahat Naad" which alone is capable of taking you and merging you into oneness with the Supreme Lord; this is the ultimate deliverance, emanci
pation, welfare, or liberation.


Below is from an English rendering of a Satsang Discourse by Maharshi Santsewi ji Maharaj delivered on the auspicious occasion of his 82nd Birth Anniversary (20.12.2002) at the Satsang Hall of Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kuppaghat, Bhagalpur in the State of Bihar, India.
Translated by Pravesh K. Singh


Our life is like a coin. We see one face of the coin at a time while the other face is hidden from us. We don't call a coin genuine if its only one face is genuine. We check the other side, too, and only after we find this also to be genuine, we accept it as a legal tender. Similarly, there are two halves of our lives, too. The life with this body is manifest, explicit, and, hence, visible to all. The other life is that which will remain, even when this body of ours will be no more. We make herculean efforts, try to earn happiness for the life with this body; but we must ponder over what we are doing for the sake of the long life that is to follow after this body will be left or shed here? If we are making no efforts for the after-life, then the (coin of) our life is not genuine, it is not complete. How will we remain happy there (in the after-life)? Just as all of us surely do something for this life, do some trade & commerce, jobs etc., exactly in the same manner we must do some meditation & prayers for our next life, too, so that both this worldly and the other worldly lives may be blissful! In the other world, the meditation alone is our companion; but who will teach us (the art or the right way of) this (meditation)? Sant Kabir Sahab has uttered,

"Bin Satguru nar rahat bhulaanaa.
Khojat firat raah nahi jaanaa."

[In the absence of a True Guru, man keeps on wandering aimlessly here & there without knowing or finding the right path (leading us unto the desired destination).]

Without seeking the refuge of the Guru, man keeps on wandering in search of God, gets 'pareshaan' (worried, stressed, annoyed or vexed) in search of true wellbeing, but without any success. Who becomes 'pareshaan' ('pare' + 'shaan')? He who forgets 'pare' (He who is beyond everyone & everything) and remains falsely mesmerized in his own 'shaan' (glory or attainments) remains 'pareshaan'. Where is the true happiness, peace, well-being? Whatever we may get here is temporary, passing happiness, evanescent peace. If we place all our joys and sorrows (experienced by us in our lives) separately on the two pans of a weighing balance, we will find the pan with miseries on it to be the heavier of the two. How can we get happiness after all? You have earned everything in this world – a lot of wealth, a lot of respect, a beautiful spouse – even then your life is ultimately dominated by sorrows or miseries only. Explaining the right way to get the truly blissful peace, our Gurudev (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans) says that when you are in 'jaagrataavasthaa' (physically awakened state), you are with fourteen 'indriyas' or organs (five organs of action, five organs of senses, 'man' (the mind), 'buddhi' (the intellect), 'chit' (that which renders the feeling of consciousness in us) and 'ahankaar' (ego), so that a large variety of anxieties or worries keep on haunting your mind. When you transit from the awakened state to 'swapnaavasthaa' (the state of dream), only four organs (the mind, the intellect, the chit and the ego) are there with you and naturally, therefore, there are significantly less worries in that state. However, when you move further from the 'swapnaavasthaa' to the 'sushuptaavasthaa' (the state of deep dreamless sleep), only one organ ('chit') remains. Going into this state, you forget even your pains & pleasures that existed in the state of dream. You have a sound slumber and on waking up you feel calm & happy and say, "Today I had a good, uninterrupted sleep". That means that we get pleasure, relief and peace on detaching ourselves from our 'indriyas' (organs). Even in the state of deep sleep, there is still one 'indriya' left. However, sants tell us that when you move even beyond these three states (awakened, dream and deep sleep) into the fourth state, 'turiyaavasthaa' (the state of pure consciousness), all the 'indriyas' are left behind or fall apart. Tulsidas ji says,

"Teen awasthaa tajahu bhajahu bhagwant. Man kram vachan agochar, vyaapak vyaapya anant."

[Meditate upon God (who is beyond the reach of mind, worldly actions and faculty of speech, and is infinitely pervading as well as pervaded) by rising beyond the three states.]

God, being all-pervading, is there within you, too, and you yourself are also within you. If you(, for instance,) want to meet someone who is present in this very Satsang (spiritual gathering) Hall, you don't have to go out of this hall to do so. You can meet him while remaining in this hall only. Similarly, the Absolute Lord resides within us (our bodies) and we too live within us (our bodies) only. Then why all this wandering in the outside world to search for Him? Learn the right way or technique from a Sadguru or a true teacher, walk within yourself, and rid yourself of all the worries, all the stresses & strains, all the sorrows by meeting and merging with the Supreme Soul. In accordance with the Mundak Upanishad, we can say,

"Ek vriksha par do pakshee, ati sakhya bhaav se the rahate. Khaate ek falon ko the, aur ek binaa khaaye hansate."

(The meaning of the above couplet is that) two birds, named
'Jeevaatmaa' (individual unliberated soul) and 'Paramaatmaa' (The Supreme Soul or The God), live together in a tree (called 'shareer' or 'kaayaa' or our body). God is like an onlooker who does not eat the fruits (of the tree) himself and keeps smiling at the 'Jeevaatmaa'. The 'jeevaatmaa', on the other hand, eats (reaps) the fruits and suffers from the (alternating) pains & pleasures. If you want to save yourself from this agonizing state of affairs, you will have to purify your mind by keeping it detached or removed from the sensory objects. Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji says,

"Guru jaap maanas dhyaan maanas, keejiye dridha saadhakar. Inakaa pratham abhyaas kar, shrut shuddha karanaa chaahiye."

[The right way to meditate first consists of purifying our surat (meaning our individual soul here) by rigorously or firmly practicing the 'maanas jap' (mentally reciting or chanting – without using or moving the lips or the tongue – the sacred mantra given by the Guru repeatedly with the fullest attention) and the 'maanas dhyaan' (fixedly gazing at the imagined form of the Guru within us, keeping our eyes closed)]

At another place (Maharshi Mehi says),

"Prathamahi dhaaro Guru ko dhyaan.
Ho shruti nirmal, ho Vindu jnaan."

[Focus your attention, in the first place, on your Guru's image. This purifies the 'surat' and takes us to experience the 'Vindu' (the primeval perfect refulgent point from which all the grossly & subtly visible creation has come to be formed.]

So, firmly practice attentively chanting of the holy name or mantra of the Guru and meditating upon the Guru's form. Thus the 'surat' will be pure and you will get prepared for practicing 'Vindu Dhyaan' (Yoga of Divine Light). Maturing in or becoming adept at 'Vindu Dhyaan', you would move from Darkness into Light, from the Gross (Realm) into the Astral (Realm). There are three layers, namely the Layers of Darkness, Light and Sound, which keep shrouding our soul. Therefore, our Gurudev said further,

"Ghat tam prakash va shabd pat traya, jeev par hain chhaa rahe. Kar drishti aru dhvani yoga saadhan, ye hataanaa chaahiye."

[The 'jiv' (the individual soul) is enveloped by three layers of Darkness, Light and Sound. To remove these shells hiding the soul, we should practice 'Drishti Yoga' (Yoga of Divine Light) and 'Dhvani Yoga or Shabda Yoga or Naad Yoga' (The Yoga of Divine Sound).]

Practice 'Drishti Yoga' (Yoga of Light) and 'Naadaanusandhaan' (Yoga of Sound). This will enable remove the layers of Darkness, Light and Sound (that conceal your Soul from the Supreme Sovereign Soul i.e. God). You will, thus, get to know "Who You Are?" And, when you know yourself, you will also know God. Therefore walk within yourself, not without.

And for this, there is no need to quit your household, family or job. Living in your house with your family members and making an honest, truthful earning, you can attain to Him by meditation. This meditation can be done by all alike – rich or poor, learned or illiterate, male or female, kid or aged. (Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji says,)

"Jitane manush tan dhaari hain, prabhu bhakti kar sakate sabhee. Antar va baahar bhakti kar, ghat – pat hataanaa chaahiye."

[All the human beings are capable of performing devotion to the God. One should do inner or internal meditation (by practicing the 'Maanas Jap', 'Maanas Dhyaan', 'Drishti Saadhan' and 'Naadaanusandhaan' as discussed before) as well as outer or external meditation (seek the company of sants and reading and/or listening to Sacred Scriptures).]

Believe in One God. Have firm, unwavering, indefatigable faith in that He shall be found within (us). Do some honest earning for meeting your and your family's needs. Donate some portion out of your earnings to some righteous, noble cause. This will do well to this world as well as the other world (of yours). Thus, I explained to you the gist of my Gurudev's teachings. I thank you all and end my talk.




Saturday, December 15, 2007

YouTube Video: Huzur Baba Sawan Singh

YouTube Video: Huzur Baba Sawan Singh

Go To:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGt4bXkG4cE

Sardar Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj Sahib was born on the 27th day of July, 1858, in the village of Mehmansing-walla in the district of Ludhiana, the Punjab.

From early childhood he was irresistibly drawn to seek the eternal abode. Born in a Sikh family, Sawan was brought up with the sacred scriptures of his religion, the Guru Granth Sahib (a compilation of mystical poetry written by the Sikh gurus and other Indian and Persian mystics) which spoke at length about an inner music and light that lead a soul back to God.

The turning point in Sawan Singh's life came when he met his spiritual guru, Baba Jaimal Singh, and took initiation under him in the path of surat shabd yoga (union of the soul with the divine inner sound). Such was Sawan's readiness that in just over nine years he became an acknowledged master within the Sant Mat and Radhasoami traditions.

How did Huzur Sawan Singh succeed in reaching Sach Khand, the eternal Realm of Truth according to the Saints, which is beyond time and space?

First, by coming into contact with an authentic master; second, by explicitly following the instructions of his teacher (daily meditation, pure moral life, surrender of the body/mind/soul to the living presence of Shabd, etc.); and third, by realizing experientially that his real Self is neither a body nor a mind but an effulgent wave of Consciousness.

Huzur Sawan Singh died on April 2, 1948. According to his devotees he was not a resident of this planet. Since childhood he had known that his real home was beyond the spatial limitations of the universe.

He was a native of Sach Khand, the Eternal Realm of Truth, a saint who showed humanity that their origin was not of dust but of light-an unquenchable flame that burns in every living being for that alone which is everlasting.




Thursday, December 13, 2007

The LOST Books of the Bible

Spoken recently by James Bean on his radio program called Spiritual Awakening. Which features spiritual book reviews and readings from the writings of many mystics, saints and world scriptures of the East and West.

"Transmigration is another word for reincarnation. It is a very Eastern term. You don't hear it that often in the Bible, because the Bible is also not always complete, as all of you know. It has "transmigrated" for 2,000 years or some time, so some things may be missing there. The true Bible is locked up somewhere and we are never allowed to see it. But some of the newly-dug from ancient sites _ the Bible in some part has come out, and some of it mentions reincarnation." (Suma Ching Hai News 60)

Based on my exploration of the lost books of the Bible, I that comment to be quite accurate. During the last 200 years many ancient Jewish and Christian documents have been rediscovered in the Middle East. And, I should mention that some Christians have been curious about apocryphal scriptures and have preserved some of these "other books" of the Bible for 2,000 years. Many other interesting collections of psalms, letters (epistles), gospels and revelations have survived the centuries, even though only a small number of open-minded seekers have valued their spiritual wisdom.

I want to share with you my encounter with the books of the other Bible. I want to impart to you information about books of mystical poetry, discourses on gaining enlightenment and other amazing documents which might be very helpful to you on your spiritual journey. It's time that this knowledge is revealed so anyone can know how to find the lost or hidden books of the Bible!

A long time ago when I was involved in making a major study of the Bible (the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament), I noticed that Catholic Bibles contain several additional books that aren't in the Protestant Bible. These books are called "the Apocrypha" in the Protestant tradition. Although the original King James Version of 1611 AD did contain these books, it seems that Protestant Bible societies took them out of the Bible a couple hundred years ago to make smaller, cheaper Bibles available to the masses. Today most Protestants think of these disputed books as "Catholic" but, the truth of the matter is the books of "the Apocrypha" for millennia have also traditionally been included in the old Bibles of the Greek Orthodox, Syrian, Russian, Armenian, Egyptian and all other ancient churches.

Translations of most of these books were also found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. The original Greek translation of the Old Testament made in Alexandria around 200 BC also included these other books -- books that have now vanished from the Protestant Bibles in the US!

From my perspective, the two most interesting books of "the Apocrypha" are The Wisdom of Solomon and The Wisdom of Sirach -- two very large collections of proverbs and wise sayings very comparable to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Many people think that the Bible as we know it was put together by Jesus and the apostles during the 1st century AD but, that's definitely not so! For a longer period of time than the US has been a country -- for centuries -- the early Church had no such concept as a closed canon of scripture, a collection of books that they viewed as the "final" or "only" revelation concerning spiritual matters. Rather, Christians during that creative period felt free to compose new scriptures, psalms, odes, proverbs, letters that they felt were inspired, and other documents of a spiritual nature. This was during the early years when Christianity had living apostles and saints, and Christianity was a much more supernatural religion; a mystery religion that put a great deal of emphasis on experiencing the Kingdom of God, or the spiritual realm.

RIGGING THE CURRICULUM

Christianity, like other religions, underwent the process of "mainstreaming" -- settling down or crystallizing -- into a standardized, organized faith. The mainstream consciousness came to believe that "the age of the apostles and prophets was now past." So, since masters and saints (who acted as oracles of the Divine) were no longer being recognized by the masses, some people started to look to past masters for guidance. Christianity entered the stage where the Book became the master, the Book became the guru. The state church of the Emperor Constantine created a fixed list of books which would serve for all time as the rule of faith. They also made lists of books that were to be weeded out of circulation, no longer to be considered as scripture. This process of canonization and censorship, for the most part, happened during the fourth century. It was during this time that most of the "other books" lost their status as scripture. Only a small number of books made it into the this fourth century Bible and sadly, many important mystical books were left out.

EXAMPLES OF DELETED SCRIPTURES

Many years ago when I was reading the New Testament book of Jude I discovered an amazing quote -- a quote which opened me up to the other books of the Bible. Jude, in verse 14 of this short book preserved in the New Testament, quoted from the book of First Enoch 1:9. He also quoted another found in the Hebrew scriptures called the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. I was amazed to find out about the existence of these other books and decided that if Jude, during the 1st century, had access to them, then I wanted to check them out myself! So I started to collect apocryphal writings once considered to be scripture.

The term "apocryphal books" has three basic definitions: 1) secret or hidden writings of an esoteric nature; 2) books not considered inspired by the church but are, nonetheless uplifting to read; or 3) fictitious writings or fantastic stories. In existence are hundreds of apocryphal books representing all three categories. I've tried to collect all of the available apocryphal writings and have found a number of important books amongst them that contain absolutely essential spiritual instruction.

The Books of Enoch are part of the Ethiopian Bible and among the Dead Sea Scrolls. They describe the heavenly journeys of Enoch, the prophet, through the Seven Heavens! Like Hermes Trismegistus of Egypt and the great Medieval mystic Kabir from India, the Jewish prophet Enoch described his visions of the higher planes.

THE ODES OF SOLOMON — NEW TESTAMENT PSALMS

Out of all the apocryphal writings I've collected, I think the Odes of Solomon is the most beautiful. It is the would-be book of New Testament psalms! The Book of the Odes has been described as the first known hymn book of early Christianity. One scholar said of the Odes, "Here are some of the most beautiful songs of peace and joy that the world possesses." Bentley Layton in The Gnostic Scriptures says that the Odes were considered to be inspired scripture and were chanted by Christians who lived in Syria and Mesopotamia about 2,000 years ago. A follower of the Unity School of Christianity published an edition of the Odes a few years back and created daily affirmations based on this ancient book. These ecstatic hymns remind me of Sufi love poetry in the tradition of "the lover and the Beloved". Many have adopted the practice of meditating upon the Odes and report being brought to a deeper level of devotion (bhakti); being caught up in a love-affair with God, the Ocean of Love. That's also been my experience.

"There is no hard way where there is a simple heart,
Good thought finds no wounds,
Nor is there any storm in the depths of illuminated thought.

Surrounded on every side by the beauty of the open country,
one is free of doubt.

Below
is like above." (from Ode 34)

"Open your ears, and I shall speak to you;
Give me yourself, so that I too may give you myself."(Ode 9)

"He filled me with words of truth
that I may speak the same.

Like the flow of waters truth flows from my mouth,
and my lips reveal its harvest,

and it gives me the gold of knowledge
for the mouth of the Lord is the true Word
and the Door of His Light.

And the highest one gave the Word to His worlds,
which interpret His own beauty,
recite His praise,
confess His thought,
are heralds of His mind,
are instructors of His works.

For the swiftness of the Word is ineffable
and like His statement are its swiftness and sharpness.

Its course knows no end,
it never fails, it stands.
Its descent and its way are incomprehensible.

Like His work is its end
for it is the Light and the dawn of thought,

and through it worlds converse...

The mouth of the highest one spoke to them
and he was made clear by His Word.

The dwelling place of the Word is man
and its truth is love." (Ode 12)

The Book of Odes even contains some passages which describe the feminine aspect of the Godhead! "

I rested on the Spirit of the Lord and She lifted me up to heaven,"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARY MAGDALENE

The Gospel of Mary was one of the ancient books found in 1945 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. The preeminence of Mary Magdalene in this Gospel gives one example of the leadership roles of women in early Christianity. Mary is described as an apostle, equal in every way to the twelve apostles and part of the inner circle of Jesus. But more than that, Mary was a kind of spiritual successor to Christ, taking over His role as the spiritual teacher of the other disciples. In every way, the text affirms that her leadership of the other disciples is based upon superior spiritual understanding.

As a recipient of the secret teachings of the resurrected Christ, Mary, in her Gospel teaches the other disciples spiritual knowledge and gives detailed accounts of her visions and travels through the higher planes or heavens accompanied by the radiant form of her Master, the resurrected Christ. She relays to the other disciples the spiritual instructions, the words of Christ that she heard during these encounters, which probably took place during times of deep prayer -- long periods of meditation.

THE ACTS OF PAUL AND THECLA

Speaking of women apostles and saints in early Christianity: The Acts of Paul and Thecla, is the record of the life and times of Thecla, a follower of Saint Paul, the apostle. This book is brimming with accounts of many supernatural and miraculous events during the life of Thecla, very much calling to mind the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt.

This book describes Thecla as "an apostle of God," who, sometimes traveled and at other times lived a monastic life in a cave. She was also a spiritual leader and teacher who instructed people "in the oracles of God". The text records that "many of them abandoned this world, and lead a monastic life with her." She was so highly esteemed that a temple was erected and dedicated to her!

THE BOOK OF PISTIS SOPHIA (FAITH-WISDOM)

After studying the four Gospels of the New Testament I became very curious and puzzled about how each of them concluded. Each of them only devotes a short chapter or two to the teachings and activities of Christ after the resurrection. Logically, wouldn't you think that if someone rises from the dead, that this would immediately become the central, electrifying event that becomes the main focus, if not the obsession of the writers to record these events with extreme detail? Wouldn't you think that the words and deeds of the resurrected Christ would deserve to be the focus of many chapters, if not entire books? And yet, the New Testament simply (and cryptically) says that "there were many other things that Jesus did," and that "He continued to appear to the disciples and instruct them about the Kingdom of God."

Apparently the post-resurrection teachings of Christ were regarded by the disciples as private or advanced, meant only for those followers who were ready for a deeper commitment to contemplation and the spiritual journey. Though they are more difficult to find, there are other documents that do contain post-resurrection teachings including: The Book of the Resurrection, The Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Thomas, Dialogue of the Savior, The Gospel of James, The Books of Jeu, The Letter of Peter to Philip and The Book of Pistis Sophia (Faith-Wisdom).

The largest Gospel ever discovered, Pistis Sophia, was brought to London from Egypt and purchased in 1772 by A. Askew, a London doctor and collector of old manuscripts. The book was published and one of its most famous readers was the great poet-mystic William Blake, who was greatly influenced by it.

This text does document that there was a time when some Christians did believe in the concept of reincarnation and the preexistence of the soul. Like St. Paul's "Damascus Road experience" recorded in the New Testament, Christ is said to have appeared to His followers from inside an incredibly brilliant light and many rays of light. Many interesting dialogues between Christ and His initiates are recorded in this document -- about eleven years-worth! Pistis Sophia also contains many beautiful hymns and prayers. Though reincarnation is mentioned as a reality, the goal of the teachings was to liberate souls from material captivity, reincarnation, the wheel of fate and encumbrances of darkness. Ignorance of the spiritual world was to be replaced with spiritual freedom and souls were given the ability to travel from Earth to Heaven via the Holy Stream of Light: "Seek, all of you, after the Light, so that the power of your soul that is in you may live. Do not cease seeking day or night until you find the mysteries of the Kingdom of Light, which will purify you, make you into pure light and lead you into the Kingdom of Light." This inner vision took place during periods of solitude and contemplation (meditation).

THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY UNEARTHED IN EGYPT!

A number of ancient mystical books were discovered near the city of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. This almost 2,000 year old "time capsule" (a large sealed storage jar containing parchments written in the Coptic language buried by monks during the fourth century) now known as the Nag Hammadi Library, has set in motion a spiritual revolution. Buried under the sands of Egypt for centuries, these censored and forgotten scriptures from the early years of Gnostic Christianity may impart to spiritual seekers of today, knowledge of several mystical traditions that once existed in the West. This ancient library contains spiritual discourses from Christian, Gnostic, Jewish, Pythagorean, Hermetic and other spiritual movements. What have been returned to us are the teachings of various mystics, Gnostics who initiated their students into the "Mysteries of the Kingdom of Light," and wrote down descriptions of their otherworldly journeys into inner space. One of the most talked about books of the Nag Hammadi Library is The Gospel of Thomas, a collection of the spiritual sayings of Jesus on gaining enlightenment.

SAYINGS OF JESUS ABOUT THE LIGHT AND SOUND

The Gospel of Thomas is a "sayings Gospel," a collection of the proverbs and parables of Christ about discovering the Kingdom of God. The theme of these sutras of wisdom is that the Supreme Being is Light, our soul is made of Light, and that by contemplating the Living Light we can reenter paradise.

In the Book of Thomas it is recorded that Jesus was a Master who taught His disciples that "we have come from the Light, from the place where the Light came into being by itself...there is Light within a person of Light, and it shines on the whole world;" and "if one is whole, one will be filled with Light." Also, "He who will drink from my mouth will become like Me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to that person." The image of drinking from the mouth of Christ is describing the process of listening to the Sound, Word or Cosmic Voice of God which transforms the listeners, transporting them to the higher or hidden realities. The quotes are from The Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyer, published by Harper Collins.

LIGHT MYSTICISM OF THE GNOSTICS, THEN AND NOW

One of the central teachings of Gnostic saints was the experience of the inner Light. In fact, having visions of divine Light is a universal experience. People around the world in all cultures have recorded visions of Heaven and encounters with "the Light within". Many have eloquently described in their sacred texts encounters with Light coming from beyond the darkness. Many saints and mystics, including those who wrote various Nag Hammadi texts, describe God or the Supreme Being as a GOD OF ALL-ENCOMPASSING, PURE, BRILLIANT LIGHT. They also believe that we, as souls (our true spiritual identity) are "sparks of the Light," that we are, in reality, "Children of the Light".

The experience of Light mysticism (seeing inner Light) takes place during one's time of contemplative prayer, or meditation. "The rays of primordial Light that illumine purified souls with spiritual knowledge not only fills them with benediction and luminosity; they also, by means of contemplation of the inner essences of created things, lead them up to the Noetic heavens. For this reason Saint Neilos says, "The intellect's proper state is a noetic height, somewhat resembling the sky's hue, which is filled with the Light of the Holy Trinity during the time of prayer." (The Philokalia, Volume IV, writings of Greek Saints, Faber and Faber Books)

"God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness." And, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (The New Testament)

"Understand what the Great Light is." (Nag Hammadi Library In English, Harper Collins)

"I AM the Light that is over all things." (Gospel of Thomas)

"Then we went up to the sixth heaven. And I gazed up on high and saw a great Light shining down on the sixth heaven." ("The Apocalypse of Paul," Nag Nammadi Library In English)

It says in The Dead Sea Scrolls _ A New Translation, Harper Collins, "From the Fount of His Knowledge has my Light shot forth; upon His wonders has my eye gazed."

Also, "Your Holy Spirit illuminates the dark places of the heart of your servant with Light like the sun."

Further to the East, the medieval Saint (Sant) Kabir said, "The light of the soul is equal to that of sixteen suns."

The Mandaean Religion of Iraq has many beautiful hymns and prayers to the Light, and visions of Heaven that often resemble NDEs (modern day near death accounts): "His Light illuminates and His radiance irradiates all the worlds, and the divine beings who stand before Him and shine in their radiance and in the radiance of the Great Light which rests upon them."

Pistis Sophia is published by E. J. Brill Books. Enoch, Odes of Solomon and Thecla are found in The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, Meridian, an imprint of Penguin Books. The Books of Thomas, Mary, James, and others are found in The Complete Gospels, Polebridge Press. An excellent anthology of apocrypha that I highly recommend is The Other Bible, published by Harper Collins! Other good books include: The New Jerusalem Bible (with the Apocrypha), Doubleday; and, The Nag Hammadi Library In English, Harper Collins Books.

As you can see from this brief sampling of apocryphal scriptures, the books that were left out of the fourth century Bible tended to promote personal spiritual experience and contemplation. This earlier spiritual tradition was never fully embraced in the West and that is the reason, in my view, why these other books were left behind.

Long ago, a great poet-mystic said, "The god of time (maya) has put a cover over the teachings of saints and thus concealed them from humanity."