Monday, August 29, 2011
The Mandaean Religion of Iraq - Exploring the World Religions
By James Bean
Copyright January 1998 - All Rights Reserved
The story of the Mandaeans (Man-day-yens) somewhat resembles the experience of Native American tribes; may they survive; may their ancient wisdom be shared with humanity.
In the 1970's professor Kurt Rudolph wrote his definitive book on the nature and history of the Gnostic religion called, "Gnosis." In the chapter titled, "A Relic: the Mandaeans," he recorded that at the time there were only about 15,000 Mandaeans left and the number of Mandaean priests were rapidly dwindling. He described them as a community in somewhat of a state of crisis not only due to a shortage of priests but also because of the growing spiritual and cultural gap between the elders (who are the keepers of the ancient Knowledge) and the younger generations of Mandaean laity. Kurt Rudolph wrote, "The continued existence of the community will essentially depend on whether or not it succeeds in solving the problem of a necessary adaptation to the modern world. Only in this way will the oldest Gnostic religion, with its two millennia of history in which it developed its independent Aramaic idiom and lifestyle as did no other Gnostic sect of the past, be able to survive in the future." ("Gnosis," Harper Collins) And those words were written long before the rise of Saddam Hussein, the Gulf War, and the current madness that has cursed that region for many years.
Some Mandaeans (literally, "possessors of secret Knowledge") live in Iraqi cities like Baghdad and Basra. There's a large Mandaean population that resides in smaller market towns and villages of the marshland in southern Iraq, and near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Iran also has a Mandaean population; many of them dwell along the river Karun in Rhuzistan province. The Prophet Mohammed called them "Sabians," i.e. "baptists or "baptizers," a name which occurs in the Quran and which enabled them to continue under Islam. Islam also categorized them as "a people of the book," a religion that possesses their own ancient scriptures. Another factor that has traditionally enabled them to operate in the Islamic world is their affiliation with John the Baptist. John the Baptist is one of their greatest prophets.
Though the historic connection between John and the Mandaeans is hard to verify, it is indeed possible they are descendents of disciples of John the Baptist, who 2,000 years ago had a large number of followers which believed him to be a great Master if not the awaited Messiah. After John's death, the New Testament portrays Jesus as being the spiritual successor, but other leaders in John's community might have seen things differently. Like Jesus, others might also have claimed to be John's successor and thus would have become the leaders of a John-community that maintained it's independence from the Jesus Movement, instead remaining what they were -- an unorthodox baptismal sect of the Trans-Jordan.
According to scholars of Mandaean studies like Werner Foerster, indeed the origins of the Mandaeans do go back to the Jewish tradition of first century AD Palestine and the region of the Jordan river. Foerster states in "Gnosis II," published by Oxford University Press, that in the context of the Jewish war of independence and the consolidation of Orthodox Judaism after AD 70, "its position as a minority opposition evidently led to the persecution of the community and finally to its emigration from its native Jordan territory to the east, to begin with in Harran and the median hill country, then in the southern regions of Mesopotamia." Eventually the community settled in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where they could continue the ritual of baptizing initiates in "living waters" (rivers) symbolizing the connecting of their souls with "heavenly Jordan rivers of Light."
FAMILIAR-SOUNDING NEW TESTAMENT-ISH OR JESUS-LIKE SAYINGS
This ancient religious community, also known as the Nazoreans, still uses a dialect of the Aramaic language; they possess a huge quantity of wonderful scriptures, mostly in the form of psalms or hymns.
Before I begin a study of some visionary writings in the Mandaean scriptures I want to share some examples of passages that sound somewhat "familiar" to our ears -- new testament or Jesus-like passages. These would be words spoken by those who came from the same Aramaic-speaking Semitic milieu as did Jesus and other Messiahs of the middle east:
"I am a shepherd who loves his sheep;
I protect the sheep and the lambs...
I carry them and give them water to drink
from the hollow of my hand
until they have drunk their fill."
"A fisherman am I,
who am the elect
among the fisherman,
the chief of all the fish-catchers."
"Give bread, water and shelter to the poor
and persecuted people who suffer persecution."
"Love and support one another."
"When you see anyone who is hungry,
then satisfy his hunger.
When you see anyone who is thirsty,
then give him to drink,
for whosoever gives, receives."
"Whoever releases a prisoner will find
a Messenger of Life advancing
to meet him."
"My chosen! Do not put your trust
in the kings, rulers, and rebels of this world,
nor in military forces, arms, conflict,
and the hosts which they assemble,
nor in silver and gold...
their gold and their silver
will not save them.
Their authority passes away
and comes to an end."
The words "seek and you will find" appear on numerous occasions in the Mandaean scriptures as well, in fact, much more often than in the New Testament. And, the term "Place of Life," often used in the Mandaean texts, also appears in the Gospel of Thomas.
THE FIRST WAVE OF GNOSIS
There was some kind of transformation in thinking that took place 2,000 years ago in the middle east which lead to the birth of scores of new religious movements both within and outside of Judaism, including the Sethians, the Essenes, and various forms and expressions of Christianity. Many of these are categorized as "Gnostic," meaning they focused upon spiritual/mystical Knowledge. This was the time of the first wave of Gnosis in the western world -- the spark was lit. Some souls started to believe that it was possible for them personally to KNOW the Mysteries of God and the Heavens, and they sought spiritual wisdom & guidance from various masters, mystics, prophets and apostles that were around at that time. For the Nazoreans (Mandaeans), John the Baptist was God's Teacher who had been sent "from the Light" to baptize or initiate souls into the experience of the Knowledge of Life, the "Great Life," a Name for God in the Mandaean scriptures.
There are some examples of visionary literature in the Dead Sea Scrolls, various descriptions of things going on in the heavens. The Mandaean texts seem to be a continuation of that visionary tradition of Light-mysticism and Ascension-mysticism. In my view the Mandaean scriptures probably represent the most heavenly or otherworldly documents of the west, brimming with out-of-this-world visions of God, descriptions of the heavens, souls, angels, and life after death. They speak directly to both the heart and soul of the reader through hymns and prayers of incredible beauty.
THE COMING OF THE MESSENGER OF LIGHT
The role of the Heavenly Messenger is to give the mystic experience of LIGHT to souls and eventually guide them back up to the Place of Light, the Mandaean term for the highest heaven where the Great Life (God) resides. Here are a couple of passages from Mandaean holy books on Manda-d-Hiya -- the great heavenly redeemer:
The Illuminator of the Worlds of Light
IN THE NAME OF THE GREAT LIFE,
SUBLIME LIGHT BE PRAISED
"From the Place of Light I came forth,
from you, Bright Habitation.
I come to touch hearts,
to measure and try all minds,
to see in whose heart I dwell.
Whoever thinks of me, of him I think;
whoever calls my Name, his name I will call.
Whosoever prays my prayer from the earth,
his prayer I will offer from the Place of Light.
"I came and found the truthful
and believing hearts.
When I was not dwelling among them,
yet my Name was on their lips.
I took them and guided them up
to the World of Light.
"I became the Illuminator
of the Worlds of Light.
I became a king to the Nazoreans,
who receive praise and stability
through my Name.
And by my Name they ascend
to the Place of the Light.
As for the elect righteous
who put me on as a garment,
their eyes were filled with Light,
and Manda-d-Hiya [Knowledge of Life]
was established in their hearts."
EMBRACED BY THE LIGHT
The mystical encounters recorded in the scriptures of the Mandaeans may seem at times like ancient near-death experiences (NDE's), the visions of souls who were embraced the Light long ago:
"When I arrived at the water-brooks,
a discharge of Radiance met me.
It took me by the palm of my right hand
and brought me over the streams of death.
Radiance was brought and I was clothed in it.
Light was brought and I was wrapped in it...
"[Prayer] Son of the Good Ones,
show me the way of the divine beings
(spirits, angels) and the ascent upon
which your father rose up to
the Place of Light.
"He [the discharge of Radiance] rose
and took me with him
and did not leave me
in the perishable dwelling."
This is my interpretation. In the above account, after this soul crossed over to the other side, it was met by a "discharge of Radiance," (according to another translation) a deliverer or guide who not only escorted the soul into the beyond, but also gave the soul its heavenly robe of Radiance -- a garment made of Light. It's unclear to me if the soul literally was given a robe to put on, or if perhaps this is another way of describing the process of leaving the body at death, taking OFF the robe of the physical body, which caused the soul to see itself as a being of Light. In any event, the soul then prays for its helper and guide to be escorted upward to the Place of Light. In another version of this account it says:
"I lifted mine eyes to heaven and my soul
waited on the House of Life.
And the Life (God) who heard my cry
sent toward me a deliverer."
This version also describes the encounter with the heavenly being (discharge of Radiance) who escorted the soul over the waters of death, and accompanied it during the ascension up to the Light-world. The hymn concludes with these words:
"Life supported life, Life found its own.
Its own self did Life find,
and my soul found that
for which it had looked.
Renowned is Life
VISIONS OF THE GREAT LIFE IN THE PLACE OF THE LIGHT
Souls in the Place of the Light are described as luminous beings living in a world of infinite Light with a Supreme Being of Light. The heavens of hyperspace are traversed by spiritual streams of "Living Waters," tributaries of the Heavenly Jordan river of Light. And souls are described as radiant beings that shine upon each other like stars do in the center of our galaxy:
"They are a thousand thousand miles
distant from one another
and yet one is illumined
by the other's Radiance."
The primary name for the highest God in the Mandaean tradition is "The Great Life." Many of the hymns in the Canonical Prayerbook begin with this invocation:
"In the Name of the Great Life,
Sublime Light be Praised."
"Living One," a term found in the Gospel of Thomas and in eastern Gnostic writings, is used in Mandaean texts for God. The Great Life is also referred to as the King of Light, a limitless Radiant Being of compassion and love:
"He is the Light, in Whom is no darkness,
the Living One, in Whom is no death,
the Good One, in Whom is no malice,
the Gentle One, in Whom is no confusion,
the Kind One, in whom is no venom of
bitterness." (Gnosis II)
The term "Great Spirit" is also used on several occasions in the Mandaean scriptures. ////////
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Philosophy of Liberation -- Light and Sound on the Path
Happy 2011 Independence Day India (Night View of India From Space)
The Kabir Radio Series: The Poet Kabir - the "Rumi" of India, Parts One Through Five - Spiritual Awakening Radio PODCASTS:
Sant Mat Video: "The Light-Bearers
For Online Sant Mat Books (Yoga of Inner Light and Sound, Harmony of All Religions, the Writings of Swami Ji Maharaj/Sar Bachan Poetry, Radhasoami Mat Prakash, Light On Ananda Yoga, Two Radhasoami Libraries, Kirpal Singh Library, Classic Sants of India, Tulsi Sahib, Adi Granth, Kabir, Anurag Sagar), See:
Awakening, is a process of peeling away the many layers of illusion that we are in. Letting go of our judgements and need to define. Letting go of our ego and even our identity, until we no longer feel separate from God.
"If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present."
-- Lao Tzu
"You wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck." (Rumi)
Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over and entire nation?
A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.
"Feel yourself being quietly drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love." (Rumi)
"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much
as your own unguarded thoughts." (Buddha)
"With our thoughts we make the world." (Buddha)
"Whatever man thinketh, that he obtaineth. If he were to dwell on the Absolute........he would become immortal." (Sant Namdev quoted in the Adi Granth, Sikh Scriptures)
"Wherever one's thought dwells, there will that person rest. At his pleasure, he may go to the delusion of unreality or he may merge into the Lord of the self. Where thou keepest thy mind while living, to that abode shalt thou go after death. The soul finds lodging in a place wherein it has hitherto been immersed." (Dadu Dayal)
Accumulated thoughts of living beings cause births and deaths for them again and again
"The thoughts are of various types and each thought has its hidden import. The thoughts which are soaked in attachment and illusion, form the basis of transmigration. But the thoughts which are immersed in selfless service (seva), lead one to salvation. The flow of thoughts in the mind knows no end. Not a single moment passes without those, so much so, that during sleep even, they occur in the form of dreams. What are those thoughts? Desire for anything assumes the form of a thought. The moment a desire to attain something or the other, arises in the mind, that very moment, man is thrown into an ocean of thoughts. These very thoughts become the basis of resolutions and options which cause one to enter into different forms after death. Whatever the nature of thought at the time of death determines the next form or birth for that soul.
"All the doubts and desires should be made to merge with the Shabd or Word [the Divine Current of Light and Sound], to get rid of horrible consequences of innumerable births and transmigration. Except for the desire to recite Naam, no other desire should take hold of the mind......By remembering the Lord, one attains God-realization and when this stage is reached, then there is no need to resort to any other means of attain salvation [moksha]." (The Second Master, The Shri Paramhans Advait Mat Granth)
Live purely. Be quiet.
Do your work with mastery.
Like the moon, come out
from behind the clouds!
-- Siddhartha Gautama
"Perform virtuous acts, you will receive happiness. Also do 'sumiran' (remembering God's name, or meditating on the Divine Sound) regularly." (Swami Harinandan Baba)
"The practice of meditation should be an essential part of the practitioner's daily routine." (Maharshi Mehi)
"In case of any trouble, one should always remember the Satguru, as He is always present with the disciple in His Nij Roop (Real Form)." (Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Prose)
"To accept His teachings and act in accordance with them is the external form of Satguru Bhakti [devotion to a living master]. To hear the Shabd within is the internal form of Satguru Bhakti." (Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Prose)
"To hear the Shabd that is ringing within us is devotion to Shabd [Shabd Bhakti]; to serve and love the heart (person) in which the Shabd is manifest is Satguru seva, and He alone is Satguru and the Shabd is His Nij Saroop (Real Form)". (Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Prose)
"In each heart the Divine resides hidden; each heart is permeated with divine Light. By intense focus one is able to break the door open and reach the Realm of the Divine. By the grace of God the door shatters, and the mind becomes immersed in the sweet drizzle of divine Sound. By focusing on the divine Sound (Shabda) the consciousness goes beyond the realm of death and rebirth." (Guru Nanak)
"The great Sage Maharishi Mehi compared the ascending of consciousness to a fish swimming upstream. The mind must go inward, which is the reverse of its usual and easy outward path. Just as the fish struggles against the current, so an equal effort must be made to go against the current of the mind. By going inward against the current of the mind, one experiences the divine joy. In the words of Sant Maharishi Mehi: 'The stream of celestial nectar is flowing from the subtle canal of the sushumna nerve. Like a fish the consciousness current is moving upstream. Like a fish making its way upstream, the mind travels with consciousness away from the senses (the current) with great difficulty. (This will seem to the mind a difficult and 'unnatural' course, as the mind is habituated to move toward the senses and the sensory objects.)'" (Swami Sant Sevi Ji, Harmony Of All Religions)
Excerpts from the Book: Moksha-Darsan (Philosophy of Liberation), a Primary Text for Understanding Sant Mat (The Path of the Masters)
Philosophy of Liberation
By Maharishi Mehi
All rights reserved ©2006 Santmat Society
1. Stillness or steadiness is the essence of Shanti.
(Shanti is a Sanskrit word with several English meanings: peace, tranquility, bliss, etc. The peace which results from some degree of communion with God is Shanti.)
2. He who has attained Shanti is a saint.
3. Sant Mat encompasses the thoughts and way of saints.
4. The desire for attaining Shanti is natural in human beings.
In the Upanishads the formula for the attainment of Shanti is expounded by the seers and saints of these ancient works. Similar views have been expressed by the saints of all times, including such saints as Guru Nanak Sahab and Kabir Sahab who expounded their views in the Punjabi and Hindi languages respectively. Such expressions are for the inspiration and edification of all people.
However, the Upanishads uniquely and fully describe the means for attaining Shanti and describe the means for attaining the Highest Wisdom. That is why the Upanishads are considered the foundation of Sant Mat. Further, a comprehensive exposition of the Divine Word-Sound is given in the Upanishads which leads to the Highest Wisdom. The Upanishads explain the yogic techniques and systematic views of transcending thought and attaining the Absolute through the use of sound (Yoga of Surat-shabda). Sant Mat follows the yogic path as prescribed in the Upanishads and specifically employs Surat-shabda-Yoga in its practices. The result of such practice is the attainment of the Highest Goal, the knowledge of the Supreme.
This is not to undermine the teachings of other saints, but rather to say that in the Upanishads are found the basis of the teachings of these saints. Often the teachings of various saints would, on the surface, seem contradictory to each other or even contradictory to the principles of the Upanishads. In fact, there is an unbreakable unity in the spiritual views of all saints. In different times and in different places saints appear, and their followers name their tradition in respect to the particular saint. The appearance of differences can be attributed to time, place and language, giving varied labels to views which are in reality the same. Likewise, due to excessively zealous followers these seeming differences are often accentuated. When all sectarianism and the forms of the particular time or place of the writings of a saint are removed, the basic principles of Sant Mat are in unity. The Ultimate, Unbounded, Infinite state (as described in section 11) is the unique possession of a saint. Further, the means to attain this state (as described in section 59 and 61) are found in the writings of the saints. Even though there are differences in the name and form of the Deity of worship, the underlying unity of the Unbounded dissolves these seeming differences (according to the idea expounded in section 86).
Surat-Shabda-Yoga as a means to attain the Unbounded state is an integral and indispensable aspect of the Sant Mat tradition. Any tradition devoid of this essential aspect is not true Sant Mat. Various saints describe the Yoga of Surat -Shabda, and from these descriptions we become aware of the significance of Surat-Shabda-Yoga. The following are some words of the great saints, concerning the importance of Surat-Shabda-Yoga:
Guru Nanak Sahab states:
"The invisible and supra-sensory name of God (Divine Word-Sound) is extremely sweet and lovely."
Tuls Das states:
"I offer homage to the Divine Name of the Universal Being, Ram, which is the cause of the sun, the moon and the fire. That Divine Universal Name is the form of the creator, maintainer and destroyer."
............One will not succeed in Yoga if purity of character is disregarded. Lying, stealing, smoking, taking of drugs (including alcohol), violence, and adultery are all obstructions to the successful practice meet the Supreme Sovereign).
53. Listening to and study of the discourses on this sacred knowledge is an important step in the Sant Mat tradition. Listening to satsanga (spiritual discourses) is prescribed as an essential activity.
54. The personal and private instruction in the art of this spiritual practice should be received from a Sadguru (an accomplished spiritual master). Once the technique has been learned, one should practice it regularly and daily according to the instructions given by the master.
70. Through constant practice of the Meditation of Sound, the practitioner also experiences the Divine Light. Just as upon attending a concert, one cannot help but notice the beautiful setting, of Upper Nature, the plurality of sounds ceases to exist, and only then can the Essential Divine sound be experienced. Other sounds of the various Realms are not experienced at this level of the State of Oneness because diversity does not exist in the state of Oneness.
75. The State beyond Sound is acknowledged in the writings of saints as the goal of their teachings. In addition, their writings accept repetition of a Divine name, concentration on a form of the Divine, fixing the mind on a point and concentrating on the inner sounds of the different spheres as a means to reach the Soundless State. These four techniques are therefore essential in Sant Mat.
76. Without achieving perfection in the Yoga of Sound, the realization of the Supreme Sovereign God or the Knowledge of the Self cannot be achieved.
77. Without resolute devotion to the guru (a spiritual master), even by means of the Yoga of Sound, the realization of the Supreme Sovereign God is not possible. Without the help of the master, it is not possible to attain the full devotion for the Divine and the highest good.
82. The recognition of a true spiritual master is the most difficult of tasks. However, the one who has purity of character (rectitude), who practices diligently the Yoga of Sound, and who can explain clearly Sant Mat (the path of saints) can be accepted and trusted and given devotion as a spiritual master. A person without rectitude or purity of character, regardless of the other qualities just mentioned, should not be regarded as a true master.
If one has accepted a spiritual teacher and later finds him or her lacking in rectitude, that teacher should be abandoned. In spite of the teacher’s exquisite knowledge, association with that teacher is not desirable if he or she is lacking in moral character. As the aspirant is particularly affected by the teacher's moral character, it is imperative to avoid teachers without moral virtues. Purity of character is the essential quality of a teacher and if purity is lacking that teacher is no better than an animal. A teacher lacking purity of character or other essential virtues is a false spiritual teacher. The fruits of accepting a true master are immense. Unfortunately, true teachers are few and difficult to find. A spiritual master who is wise, pure and a practitioner of the Yoga of Divine Sound gradually imparts his or her virtues to the student. The good will of the spiritual teacher cannot but help affecting the aspirant in a positive manner because one is affected by the power of a higher vibration. Section 77 describes the qualities of the teacher and how the aspirant benefits from his or her relationship with the teacher.
The master who practices the Yoga of Sound but is negligent in his moral character and in his spiritual knowledge is harmful to the seeker of spiritual knowledge. If one has accepted such a master, disregarding the importance of rectitude and knowledge, the aspirant would be deprived of the benefits of the association with a true preceptor, mentioned in the previous paragraph. In addition, in following an immoral teacher the aspirant would have the difficult task of not going astray, much less advancing on the spiritual path. However, without the aid of a true teacher this spiritual task can be undertaken by a few steadfast learned disciples. For most it is almost impossible to undertake this task. of gaining grace as described in the writings of the saints.
83. The aspiration to serve with love and behave humbly before the teacher arises naturally in the hearts of students. Therefore, devotion to the spiritual teacher is also natural. To say anything against devotion to the teacher is pointless. And also, the wise will not give devotion to an unworthy teacher and will influence other aspirants to do the same.
84. The four essential elements an aspirant of the spiritual path needs are the following: one, association of saints and hearing of things spiritual; two, moral rectitude; three, dedication to the teacher; and four practice of meditation. These essentials have previously been discussed; association is referenced in section 53; moral rectitude is addressed in section 60; meditation is referenced in sections 54 through 59. In Sant Mat an intense eagerness to acquire these essentials must be present. However, devotion to the teacher is paramount to the other three essentials and is the key to achieving the other three.
85. The desire of an individual to be free from sufferings and to attain the happiness of absolute peace is naturally present in the hearts of all. The purpose of Sant Mat is to provide a system which fulfills the desires of attaining absolute peace.
87. The practice of Nadanusandhana (the Yoga of Sound) is not mere child's play. Its full practice cannot be exercised by one who lacks Yama and Niyama (virtues and moral rectitude). See the following section 88 for more detail on Yama and Niyama.
There are sounds due to gross vibrations in the material body. To meditate on these gross sounds and believe it to be as the full practice of the Yoga of Sound shows a lack of knowledge of Yoga. According to the literature of the Sants (Saints), Yama and Niyama are essential for mastery in the practice of the Nadanusandhana (Yoga of Sound [Nada-nu-sandhana, the spiritual practice of inner Sound meditation, also called Surat Shabd Yoga]).
88. Yama consists of five disciplines: satya (truthfulness), ahimsa (non-violence), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacarya (continence), and aparigraha (control of greed or non-possessiveness).
Niyama also consists of five practices, which are the following: sauca (internal and external purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (penance), svadhyaya (study of spiritual matters) and lsvara pranidhana (meditation on God).
89. In following Yama and Niyama, one exercises aversion from the five sins, serves the spiritual master, attends satsang, and practices meditation as referred to in section 60.
90. A comfortable asana (a pose of sitting or posture) of keeping the head, neck and trunk straight and steady is a must for meditation. Without the ability to sit in such a steady posture for prolonged periods, meditation cannot be practiced.
91. Meditation should be practiced being alert, without being drowsy, shutting the eyes comfortably and without turning the eyeballs or pressing them in any way.
92. The practice of meditation should be an essential part of the practitioner's daily routine. The preferred time of meditation is Brahmamuhurta ([Hour of God: Brahma-mu-hurta, or Amrit Veela: Hour of Elixir]: very early in the morning: 3:00 A.M.). Likewise one should meditate at mid-morning and then again in the evening time. While falling asleep, one should also engage his mind in meditation. Further, it is good to practice Manas japa [Simran] or Manas dhyana [Dhyan] while working.
93. Before learning the Nadanusandhana (meditation on inner Sound) in practicing Manas japa (mantra repetition), Manas dhyana (focusing on the form of the master or deity) and Drshti Yoga ([inner Light meditation in the Third Eye Center or Eye-Focus] focusing on a Point that is practicing one-pointedness), one should meditate with eyes and mouth shut. Upon learning Nadanusandhana (Yoga of Sound [Inner Sound meditation]) from the Master, one should also close the ears.
94..........In the initial stages of dhyana (absolute concentration), pratyahara is practiced. [Note: Pratyahara means to bring back. Bringing back or refocusing one's attention during meditation, bringing the mind distracted by worldly thoughts back to the Focal Point during meditation.] Through the means of pratyahara, the mind is brought back repeatedly to the Focal Point. By this constant practice of pratyahara, one is eventually able to concentrate for a short period on the Focal Point. This state of concentration is called dharana (steadiness of concentration or absorption). When absorption is maintained for longer and longer periods of time, then it is dhyana (absolute concentration). Then in this state of dhyana, one is able to grasp the Streams of spiritual Sounds (described in section 60) and finally achieves samadhi (Unity [Union, Absorption, Oneness in deep meditation]). Drshti Yoga (seeing the inner Light---the Yoga of Vision) will greatly facilitate pratyahara and dharana......
............The saints and true teachers are known to be impartial; their blessings fall like the rain. However, the rain, while falling on all, tends to collect in deep pools just as the grace of the saints while showering on all flows rapidly and collects in the deep pools of the aspirants who are devoted. It is not surprising that the aspirants through their devotion draw the grace of the master towards them. Aspirants who give great attention to the ways of the teacher are worthy of the gift of knowledge. Obviously, not the careless one, but the one who honors the gift and cares for the receiving bowl receives the gift of the grace of the teacher. Making oneself worthy is the secret of devotion to the master, and will greatly facilitate meditation explained in detail in section 59.
105. The means to attain the direct knowledge of the Supreme Sovereign
God (Summary of the Philosophy of Liberation)
Before learning the technique to attain the direct knowledge of the Supreme Sovereign, intellectual understanding of the essential nature of the Supreme Sovereign God and one's own self is necessary. Through hearing and studying the discourses of spiritual teachers and contemplation, such knowledge can be acquired. Along with knowledge of the order of creation, the reason for not having the direct knowledge of both should be sought. Through intellectual understanding of the essential nature of the Supreme Sovereign, it is determined what needs to be attained. One should be able to discern whether it is the body which realizes the Supreme or the Self, Knower within the body.
Also, for this realization should the practices be of an external nature (outwardly devotional practices) or internal nature (Yoga of Vision and Yoga of Sound)? Having come to an understanding, these wanderings will be left behind. After gaining the intellectual knowledge of one’s Self, one will understand whether one is suited for attaining this Knowledge. Once, intellectual knowledge of the order of creation and the reasons for not having direct knowledge of God and one’s own Self are understood then the means will be brought to light. With this revelation one will be able to go be ultimately merging in Soundlessness or the Supreme Sovereign God. The internal practice of meditation ends here: the Supreme God is realized and the work is completed.
98. The practitioner should support himself in gainful employment, living on one’s own earnings. The aspirant is best content with a few things.
99. The aspirant should keep himself free of impulses such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, egotism, jealousy and fear. In his interest for spiritual progress, the practitioner should create pure mental habits: compassion, mercy, contentment, forgiveness and humbleness.
100. The following should be avoided because they cause unsteadiness of the mind: intake of intoxicants, including alcohol and various non-prescription drugs, and eating of meat and fish.
101. Through association of saints, the hearing of spiritual talks and study, wisdom can be acquired. Wisdom is essential in determining what is the right way to live your life. Without wisdom one can make poor decisions, which result in undesirable consequences.
...........In conclusion, as has been stated the microcosm and macrocosm are interconnected as they are completely permeated by the realms described above. Likewise, to go beyond all the realms is to go beyond all concealments. Further, in whatever realm the individual dwells, he dwells in that realm both in the microcosmic sense as well as the macrocosmic sense. In addition, if one ceases inhabiting one of the Realms, then he leaves behind both the microcosmic as well as the beyond the concealments of Causal Nature imposed on the creation and the Self and then will meet with the Supreme and experience direct knowledge of the Supreme Sovereign God.
(Philosophy of Liberation, By Maharishi Mehi)
The soul (Surat), seeking to glimpse the Absolute,
concentrates through its gaze at the tenth door,
Watching the luminous point, the pole star, the Moon and the Sun,
Surat hears many sweet sounds of the five
Mehi says, this is the quintessence of Santmat;
And he has only repeated the words of the saints,
He has understood and tested them fully,
They are so very true and are of great benefit to all.
-- Maharishi Mehi
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
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