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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Countless Are the Earths, Spheres, and Devotees

Countless Are the Earths, Spheres, and Devotees

Countless are the gospels, sutras, odes, Upanishads, gathas, quatrains, abhangas, gitas, granths, vanis and Vedas. As Guru Nanak says in his Morning Prayer (Jap Ji):

Endless are the harmonies played by the minstrels; the players prepare endless tunes and measures to sing to Thee, 0 bountiful Creator. Thy Light is within the beings and the beings are all within thy Light...countless are the countries, earths and spheres.
Millions assign to Him ever new names, 0 Nanak.

Countless there are that remember Thee, and countless those that love Thee;
Countless there are that worship Thee, and countless those that seek Thee in austerity and penance;
Countless there are that recite from sacred books Thy praises; and
Countless those that, absorbed in Yoga, stand indifferent to the world;
Countless those Thy devotees who contemplate Thy attributes and wisdom; and
Countless those that practice truth and charity;
Countless are the heroes that boldly face the foeman's steel; and
Countless those who have vowed silence, meditate on Thee with unceasing love.
What power have I to conceive of Thy wonderful nature?
Too poor, am I, to make an offering of my life to Thee.
Whatever pleaseth Thee is good:
Thou art forevermore;
O, Formless One.

-- Guru Nanak, from, The Jap Ji (Morning Prayer)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Book Review: The Harmony of All Religions

Book Review: The Harmony of All Religions

Mixed Media: Book Reviews, Website Reviews, Music Reviews

By James Bean

Copyright October 2006

The Harmony of All Religions

The Author: Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj

Publisher: The Way of Sages
( TheWayOfSages.com )

*JPG IMAGE of the Book Cover:


SantSeviJiYoung75.jpg image by agochar SantSeviJiRaw.jpg image by agochar

Veena Howard translated the English edition of this book from India. In the Editor's Note at the beginning she writes: "From this day onward our whole world has changed. The "shock and awe" witnessed by the destruction of the towers has sent shock waves through all the established value systems. The feelings of fear and distrust have numbed the hearts of people worldwide and have paralyzed the sense of clear vision. But time of despair must be taken as an opportunity, an opening to search for new horizons, to re-assess our values, and to understand other cultures and religions. This is exactly what the great Sant, Maharishi Shri Santsevi Ji, has sought to accomplish by his book, The Harmony of All Religions. Shri Santsevi Ji Maharaj has been teaching the path of mysticism for many decades and believes in the underlying principles of all prominent world religions."

One of the most impressive books I've ever read on comparative religion and comparative mysticism is, The Harmony of All Religions, taking this study to a whole new level. This newly translated book contains chapters on the Vedic Tradition (Krishna, Gita, Hinduism, bhakti, yoga), Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam-Sufism, Sikhism, and Santmat: the Way of Sages, also known as The Path of the Masters. There is also a biography of the author, as well as an editor's note, which affirms the need for a greater, more in-depth understanding of the great world religions and mysticism in an age of increased global travel and communication.

'Depth' is a word I find myself often using to describe the writings of Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj, who resides at the Maharishi Mehi Ashram in Bhagalpur, Bihar District, India. His spiritual discourses on each of the world religions are very scholarly, accurately and eloquently communicating all these "gospels": beautiful and charming accounts of the childhood of Jesus, the enlightenment of Guru Nanak hearing the voice of the One God (Ek Ong Kaar Saat Naam) as he was bathing in the river Bein, Siddhartha leaving the palace, Muhammad's experiences with Allah in the cave of Ghar-e Hira, etc.... providing an in-depth analysis of the sacred texts of these above-mentioned faith-communities, brimming with quotes and footnotes, from not only the well-known world scriptures but lesser-known sacred texts and spiritual classics of the mystics and saints at the heart of these traditions. The chapter on Lord Mahavira and Jainism for instance breaks new ground in the study of a major world religion that has received very little attention in the West. The same can really be said for each of the chapters of this new book on inter-faith studies. The author displays an intimate knowledge of the history, terminology, esoteric writings, and meditation practices used by the various schools of mystics within each of the world religions, often pointing out the shared vision, the common goals and common threads along the way, such as similar ethical principals of ahimsa or non-violence in thought, word, and deed (like the Golden Rule), Dharma, the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, chakras, subtle bodies, meditation techniques including the use of mantras, mystical stages of transcendence, Sound-mysticism (Nada Yoga or Yoga of Sound), Light-mysticism (Dristi Yoga or Yoga of Light), the inward journey or ascension to other realms/heavens, jivan mukti or moksha (salvation, liberation of the soul), self (atma) and God (Paramatma) realisation.

The final paragraph of the book summarises the universalist spirit of peace and harmony (as in the harmony of all religions) in the following way: "In different times and different places Saints appear and their followers name their religion according to the Sage or Saint who propounded that tradition. The appearance of differences can be attributed to time, place, and language. This gives rise to various labels for the common views held by all religions. Likewise, due to excessively zealous followers, these seeming differences are often amplified. When all sectarianism and the temporal and linguistic aspects are removed, the basic principles of all the Saints are in accord and the voices of the Saints are in harmony."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Now what to fear?

Now what to fear?


peacecoexist.gif image by agochar

Now what to fear?

Now what to fear?
Fear merged in Fear,
I know the secret of duality.

Fears always afflicted me,
when I isolated
You from me.

One is he with the One
who sees
the inner-outer as one.

But brute is he
who led by delusion
makes low-high division.

Freed from my 'I',
says Kabir.
I saw Ram [God] in all.

-- Kabir
"Kabir Says...
A collection of One Hundred and Ten
Poems of Kabir",
Sushila Mahajan
Deep & Deep Publications
New Delhi, India

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Recommended Brock-Syriac-Gnostic Books in English

Recommended Brock-Syriac-Gnostic Books in English

Note: Professor Brock is my radio guest, Parts One though Four, during August on Spiritual Awakening Radio. See: http://www.SpiritualAwakeningRadio.com

After that, in September will be the Gnostic Series with Gnostic bishop Stephan Hoeller of Ecclesia Gnostica.

-- James

Recommended Brock/Syriac Books in English

"Brock Bundle" from Gorgias Press

Four new books by Syriac scholar Sebastian Brock are now available from Gorgias Press. It includes: The Wisdom of St. Isaac of Nineveh, Select Poems of Ephrem the Syrian, The Bible in the Syriac Tradition, and Introduction to Syriac Studies.

Gorgias Press: http://www.GorgiasPress.com

Also available are other books by Brock including The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage, and books of other Syriac Saints translated into English.

Note: Gorgias also has several books on the Mandaean Gnostics of Iraq and Iran.

A List of Other Important, Key Syriac Books -- Various Publishers

The Letters of John of Dalyatha, Translated from Syriac-Aramaic by Mary Hansbury, published by Gorgias Press -- a very important new book on Light-mysticism;

The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life, Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications -- an excellent anthology of Syriac mystics and saints, a kind of Syriac "Philokalia" or "Nag Hammadi"-like collection of important texts;

The Book of Common Prayer of the Syrian Church, Bede Griffiths, Gorgias Press;

Daily Readings With....St. Isaac of Syria, Sebastian Brock, Templegate Publishers;

The Luminous Eye -- The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications;

Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles I/II, William Wright, Georg Olms Verlag (Books), contains Acts of Thomas with the Hymn of the Pearl and other hymns, from the Syriac;

A Garland of Hymns from the Early Church, translated from Syriac by Sebastian Brock, St. Athanasius' Coptic Publishing Center, 1989, Mclean, VA USA -- includes some of the Odes of Solomon along with other early psalms;

Other Translations of the Book of the Odes

The Apocryphal Old Testament, edited by H.F.D. Sparks, Claredon Press/Oxford University Press -- contains the best overall complete translation of the Odes to date;

The Odes of Solomon, Wayne Monbleau, Loving Grace Ministries, New Jersey -- uses the J. Rendel Harris translation;

Also see: The Odes of Solomon, translated by James H. Charlesworth;

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New RUMI Book: The Rubais of Rumi: Lovers ..................

New RUMI Book: The Rubais of Rumi: Lovers ..................

Lovers would give up both worlds
and sacrifice hundreds of years of life
for just one moment together,
They jump though thousands of hoops
after the smell of one breath,
and would sacrifice thousands of lives
to satisfy a single heart.

-- Rumi

We found our cure in love.
We bled for love every moment.
Love is our friend every moment.
Every moment love breathes us.

-- Rumi

Lovers are such strange people.
They are not like everybody else.
They don't carry their souls in their bodies.
Instead, their souls carry them.
People run to the river of the waters of Life
in hopes of becoming immortal,
yet the waters of Life
are always running to the lovers.

-- Rumi

The Rubais of Rumi -- Insane with Love
Translations and Commentary by
Nevit O. Ergin and Will Johnson
Inner Traditions


Monday, August 06, 2007

Charts of the Gnostic Universe: The 13 Heavens of Marsans

Charts of the Gnostic Universe: The 13 Heavens of Marsans

The Gnostic Universe as presented by a Syrian Gnostic teacher by the name of Mar Sans

This chart (1 and 2) is courtesy of, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, by Marvin Meyer, from the chapter featuring the book of Mar Sans.

The third chart is from the Sant Mat tradition of India and features roughly the same levels: physical, astral, causal, mental, some transitional realms between mind-planes and spiritual planes, with timeless heavens of pure spirit at the top, the Highest being the Nameless/Soundless Realm. Mar Sans also had at the top: The Unknown Silent One, an amazing example of how mystics, East and West, have reached similar conclusions based on their inner explorations.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lotuses Within Lotuses in the Mystic Sky of Inner Meditation

Lotuses Within Lotuses in the Mystic Sky of Inner Meditation

Radhasoami Reality:
{Radhaswami Dayal ki Daya Radhaswami Sahai:
"Grant Merciful Radhasoami Thy Grace and Protection"}

Swami Ji Maharaj, from, "Bliss and Joy of Shabd....and of Higher Regions",
Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume Two, AGRA, India

O beloved of the Master! Turn inward, withdraw the current from the eyes, and detach yourself from body.

See the illumination in the center of the Mystic Sky, the Thousand Petaled Lotus of innumerable suns, moons and stars.

Flowers of five colours are blooming in the garden, and a mighty stream is running swiftly.

Fringes of rubies, gems, emeralds and pearls are visible.

Flashes of lightning and the dazzling of a powerful Jyoti (flame) are seen.

From within the region of Sahas-dal-kanwal (the Thousand Petaled Lotus) is emanating the incessant tinkling of bells.

Here Maya [illusion] appears in a well-adorned form and makes her Shabd [inner Sound] audible to the Abhyasi [practitioner]. She has robbed many Yogis and Munis. 0 dear! Do not tarry. Go ahead.

Ascend the mountain pass of Banknal [Crooked Tunnel], and behold the spectacles of Trikuti [Three Worlds].

Hear the Shabd [heavenly Sound] of Omkar and the thunder of clouds in Gagan [Mystic Sky].

The Red Sun is seen, and drum and Jew's-harp are heard there.

Triloki Nath (the Lord of the Three Worlds) is majestically seated on the royal throne in that region.

Jogeshwars contemplate this form of Brahm or Triloki Nath i. e., the Lord of the three worlds. What is beyond, they call Shuddh Brahm.

By associating with Sadhus, you can secure entrance to Sunn. Sants call this region Daswan Dwar (Tenth Door).

Exceedingly Great Light is visible and unique dhun (Sound) is audible. This is the region of Rakar or Rarang and Akshar Purush.

Under the guidance of Sants [Saints, Masters], now cross the region of Maha-sunn [Great Void].

Ascend to Bhanwargupha [Revolving Cave or Tunnel] and hear deep and penetrating bansuri (flute).

Proceed on and attain Sat Pad (Sat Lok [True, Eternal, Timeless Realm]).

Rush to Alakh [Realm beyond perception] and Agam [Inaccessible Realm], and sing the Arti of Radhasoami [worship of the Lord of the Soul].

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lighten the Load of Karma Through Inner Light

Lighten the Load of Karma Through Inner Light

Masters say it is a good idea to meditate everyday to lighten the load of karma. The inner currents of Sound and Light wash away karma and give us more divine grace, thus uplifting our destiny to the highest good. The Force known as Shabd Naam (Divine Sound and Light) coming from above, busts into the world of time and space, freeing souls from the laws of karma. We become what we see. If we contemplate the Light of God.........we become That. This is what the Greek mystics called, "Theosis" and, "Divinivation by contemplating the Light of the Godhead." Sant Sevi Ji once made an amazing statement about one of the positive effects of being able to see the inner Light during meditation: "When we see darkness with our eyes closed we are in the realm of death and re-birth [we are unaware of our true nature.]. When we come out of the realm of darkness and enter into the realm of Light, we will at the same time transcend the web of death. It is not possible that we can remain in darkness and be free from the net of birth and death. Having achieved inner Light, we can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death." (Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj, The Harmony of All Religions)

August 1st Satsang from Sant Mat Fellowship: The Mind

August 1st Satsang from Sant Mat Fellowship: The Mind

Sant Mat Fellowship:
{"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."}

Clicking on the library photo above will take you to the Spiritual Awakening online library.

New Thought -- Ahimsa -- Inspiration

This is from the new book, Messages of Sree Sree Mentu Maharaj:

Blessed are those who can make themselves free by giving themselves and all their belongings to the ultimate Source of all sources.

Blessed are those who realize that anything that exists in this dream world is not real. All belong to One. Whoever finds that One in himself finds himself as the owner of the Creator and creations and surrenders to Him.

To surrender oneself and everything is to win that One. Everything belongs to One, and One belongs to everyone. There is no partition of possessions. Every soul belongs to one universal soul. Every life belongs to one eternal life. Any love, libido or emotion is meant for one purpose, the unification of the self with its Reality, the Ultimate Truth. (Sree Sree Mentu Maharaj)


Mind: the Greatest Friend and the Deadliest Foe of Ours!
A Satsang Discourse by Pravesh Kumar Singh,
Chandrapur, India

It is sometimes remarked that in much of eastern mysticism there is an overemphasis on the limitations of the mind when it comes to the numinous, whereas in fact, mind is very much essential in understanding the God.

In my opinion, there is no contradiction in the two points of view. Nowhere, the Indian saints have proclaimed the mind to be useless; in fact, they have very clearly stated that spiritual journey has to begin with the help of mind only. It is the mind which is the boss of, and controls the actions of all the ten organs ("indriya") of the body (five sense organs ("jnaanendriya") and five functional organs ("karmendriya")). Therefore, the mind as such is the reason for one's excessive attachment to the body & the outer (material) world, and the mind only can be the agency for one's detachment ("man ev manushyaanaam kaaranam bandh mokshayo"), variously referred to as the "abujhaa man" (the unwise mind) and the "sabujhaa man" (the wise mind) by Maharshi Santseviji Paramhans in his discourse "Cleanse Your Mind". Lord Buddha had once said that even the best of our friends can not do or bring us as much good as can be done to us by a wise or well-counselled & oriented mind, while, on the other hand, even the worst of our enemies can not do us as much harm & damage as can be inflicted by our own unwise mind or the mind that has been led onto the wrong path.

Indian saints have also made a distinction between the mind ("man") and the intellect ("buddhi"); it is the intellect, unlike the impulsive and inherently restless mind, which renders the faculty to distinguish between what is good and what is bad, what is worth doing and what is not. This intellect has been likened, by the Lord Shree Krishna in his discourse to Arjun, to the driver of the chariot for the rein that is, the mind (which controls & directs the horses in form of the ten organs), implying that the intellect has to be judiciously deployed to keep the mind under good control.

Initial stages of meditation call for a very active role of mind; rather meditation ("dhyaan") or the inward journey commences with the very attempts to turn mind inward and concentrate or focus it. However, the mind is separate or distinct from and much grosser ("jad") than the Absolute Truth or God and hence its capacity to take the individual soul along in the latter's spiritual journey to the Ultimate is limited which is realized by any sincere spiritual seeker in his/her advanced stages of meditation, especially during the surat shabd yog (meditation upon the quintessential unstruck sound or the "anaahat shabd", "saar shabd", or "anaahat naad"). Thus, beyond a particular stage, when that milestone has been reached, the mind is left behind while the individual soul ("aatmaaa") has to carry on alone.

What is most important, the mind derives its capacity to think, ponder, reflect, react etc. only through the pure consciousness that permeates or pervades through it as it (the consciousness) does through each & every thing, the tiniest or the largest, in the universe. If that conscious element ("chetan tatva") is taken away from it. the mind would be left just a dead or inert matter devoid of the ability to think or understand ("yanmanasaa na manute, yenaahurmano matam").

So, in the above senses, yes, limitations of the mind are very much there. But then, the mind is indispensable in the initial stages of meditation; the greater is its orientation and inclination towards the things esoteric, the swifter is the spiritual progress.

It is hoped, this makes the role of the mind, when it comes to the numinous, clear. (Pravesh K. Singh)

Mystic Poetry -- Bhajans of the Sants

The Way to Control One's Thoughts

The mind, by nature, is fond of pleasure, and hence its restless wanderings cannot be stopped unless it tastes something better, sweeter, superior and more captivating. When it takes refuge in the Satguru, and in complete obedience to his instructions, withdraws its attention from the outside world, it witnesses the lustrous inner Light and tastes the Divine Nectar of Nam, an ambrosia of unsurpassed and abiding sweetness. This makes it absolutely contented and motionless. It is then fully controlled. Many sinners have thus been saved through love and devotion to the Lord's Name.

Mystic Verses from Sant Ravidas (also spelled: Raidas)
from the book, Guru Ravidas -- His Life and Teachings, By K.N. Upadhyaya

Manu mero thiru na rahai

My mind remaineth not steady.
It playeth crores of tricks,
And runneth here and there in the world.
Being engrossed in deceit, egotism, and attachment,
Day by day it is entangled all the more.
Like a dog's tail it is never straightened,
Even if one taketh recourse to millions of means.
It is only the wisdom of the Guru and his love,
Which removeth its evil thought and conduct.
The mind then becometh motionless, 0 Ravidas
Taking refuge under the Guru,
it abandoneth all its evil ways at last.

-- Vani 164 of Ravidas

Su kachhu vicharyau tathai mero man thiru hvai rahyau

Think of some way whereby my (restless) mind may become steady.
It has been dyed in the color of God,
And thereby it has become transformed.
That Founder (Master) is blessed
Who hath founded this Path,
And who hath shown accessibility into the Inaccessible.
The One about whom none can say
whether He is with or without a color or form,
That Lord resideth in everyone.
The Holy Feet in the love of which men and gods are thirsty,
Ravidas is absorbed and rejoiceth
in those very Holy Feet.

-- Vani 44, cf. Bani 37

The inner sky of my heart is flooded
with the splendor of my Beloved's form,
As if crores of suns were shining.
The mind is now absorbed in ecstasy,
Gazing intently at the Beloved.

-- Ravidas, Darshan 12