Monday, April 26, 2010



Meditation can be learned, and it must be practiced according to accepted rules. By its means it is possible to realize the personal Brahman, who, in union with Maya, creates, preserves, and dissolves the universe, and likewise the impersonal Brahman, who transcends all forms of being, who eternally is, without attribute and without action.

Know God, and all fetters will be loosed. Ignorance will vanish. Birth, death, and rebirth will be no more. Meditate upon him and transcend physical consciousness. Thus will you reach union with the lord of the universe. Thus will you become identified with him who is One without second. In him all your desires will find fulfillment.

The truth is you are always united with the Lord. But you must know this. Nothing further is there to know. Meditate and you will realize that mind, matter, and Maya (the power that unites mind and matter) are but three aspects of Brahman, the one reality.

Fire, though present in the firesticks, is not perceived until one stick is rubbed against another. The self is like that fire: it is realized in the body by meditation on the sacred syllable OM
Let your body be the stick that is rubbed, the sacred syllable OM the stick that is rubbed against it. Thus shall you realize God, who is hidden in the body as the fire is within the wood.

Sit upright, holding the chest, throat, and head erect. Turn the senses and the mind inward to the lotus of the heart. Meditate on Brahman with the help of the syllable OM. Cross the fearful currents of the ocean of worldliness by means of the raft of Brahman—the sacred syllable OM.


TThe Upanishads

Sri Swami Sivananda
A Treasure of Wisdom
Origin of the Upanishads
Significance and Ideal

A Treasure Of Wisdom
Prostrations to Satchidananda Parabrahman, who is the prop, basis and source for everything! Salutations to all Brahmavidya-Gurus or the preceptors of knowledge of Brahman!

There is no book in the whole world that is so thrilling, soul-stirring and inspiring as the Upanishad. The philosophy taught by the Upanishads has been the source of solace for many, both in the East and the West. The human intellect has not been able to conceive of anything more noble and sublime in the history of the world than the teachings of the Upanishads.

The Upanishads contain the essence of the Vedas. They are the concluding portions of the Vedas and are the source of the Vedanta philosophy. Profound, original, lofty and sublime thoughts arise from every verse. They contain the direct spiritual experiences or revelations of seers, or sages, the Rishis. They are the products of the highest wisdom, supreme divine knowledge. Hence they stir the hearts of people and inspire them.

The glory or grandeur of the Upanishads cannot be adequately described in words, because words are finite and language is imperfect. The Upanishads have indeed greatly contributed to the peace and solace of mankind. They are highly elevating and soul-stirring. Millions of aspirants have drawn inspiration and guidance from the Upanishads. They are the cream of the Vedas. They are treasures of incalculable value. They are rich in profound philosophical thought. Their intrinsic value is very great. There is immense depth of meaning in the passages and verses. The language is beautiful.

The Upanishads give a vivid description of the nature of the Atman, the Supreme Soul, in a variety of ways, and expound suitable methods and aids to attain the Immortal Brahman, the Highest Purusha.

Ages have passed since they were first presented to the world. Even now they are remarkably sweet and charming. Their freshness is unique. Their fragrance is penetrating. Many cannot live today without the study of Upanishads daily. They give supreme food for the soul.

It is said that Schopenhauer, the renowned philosopher of the West, had always a book of the Upanishads on his table, and was in the habit, before going to bed, of performing his devotions from its pages. He said, "In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death."

The Upanishads have undoubtedly exercised and will continue to exercise a considerable influence on the religion and philosophy of India. They present a view of reality which would certainly satisfy the scientific, the philosophic, as well as the religious aspirations of man.

Origin Of The Upanishads
The Upanishads are metaphysical treatises which are replete with sublime conceptions of Vedanta and with intuitions of universal truths. The Indian Rishis and seers of yore endeavoured to grasp the fundamental truths of being. They tried to solve the problems of the origin, the nature and the destiny of man and of the universe. They attempted to grasp the meaning and value of knowing and being. They endeavoured to find a solution for the problems of the means of life and the world and of the relation of the individual to the ‘Unseen,’ or the Supreme Soul. They sought earnestly satisfactory solution of these profound questions: Who am I? What is this universe or Samsara? Whence are we born? On what do we rest? Where do we go? Is there any such thing as immortality, freedom, perfection, eternal bliss, everlasting peace, Atman, Brahman, or the Self, Supreme Soul, which is birthless, deathless, changeless, self-existent? How to attain Brahman or Immortality?

They practised right living, Tapas, introspection, self-analysis, enquiry and meditation on the pure, inner Self and attained Self-realisation. Their intuitions of deep truths are subtle and direct. Their inner experiences, which are direct, first-hand, intuitive and mystical, which no science can impeach, which all philosophies declare as the ultimate goal of their endeavours, are embodied in the sublime books called the Upanishads.

Some Western scholars have fixed the age of the Upanishads as B.C. 600, or so. They regard that all of them belong to the pre-Buddhistic period. This is a sad mistake indeed. The Upanishads are the knowledge portion, or Jnana-Kanda, of the Vedas. They are eternal. They came out of the mouth of Hiranyagarbha, or Brahman. How can one fix the date of the Upanishads? They existed even before the creation of this world.

The Upanishads are a source of deep mystic divine knowledge which serves as the means of freedom from this formidable Samsara, earthly bondage. They are world-scriptures. They appeal to the lovers of religion and truth in all races, and at all times. They contain profound secrets of Vedanta, or Jnana-Yoga, and practical hints and clues which throw much light on the pathway of Self-realisation.

There are four Vedas., Rik, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. There are as many Upanishads to each Veda as there are Sakhas or branches (subdivisions). there are 21, 109, 1000, and 50 subdivisions to Rik, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas respectively. Thus there are one thousand and hundred and eighty (1,180) Upanishads.

Significance And Ideal
Knowledge of the Upanishads destroys ignorance, the seed of Samsara. 'Shad' means to 'shatter' or 'destroy'. By having knowledge of the Upanishads one is able to sit near Brahman, i.e., to attain Self-realisation. Hence the name 'Upanishad'. Knowledge of Brahman is called 'Upanishad', because it leads to Brahman and helps aspirants to attain Brahman. The term 'Upanishad' is applied to the book also in a secondary sense, by courtesy.

The following two ideas dominate the teaching of all the Upanishads: (1) Final emancipation can be attained only by knowledge of the Ultimate Reality, or Brahman (Brahmajnana): (2) He who is equipped with the four means of salvation, viz., Viveka, (discrimination), Vairagya (dispassion), Shad-Sampat (the six-fold treasure; self-control, etc.) and Mumukshutva (yearning for liberation), can attain Brahman. The Upanishads teach the philosophy of absolute unity.

The goal of men, according to the Upanishads, is realisation of Brahman. Self-realisation alone can dispel ignorance and bestow immortality, eternal bliss, and everlasting peace. Knowledge of Brahman alone can remove all sorrows, delusion and pain.

The Upanishads are rightly called the Vedanta, the end of the Vedas, that which is reserved for those who have freed themselves from the bonds of formal religion.

The Upanishads are not meant for the masses, as they contain the highest speculations of philosophy. They are meant only for the select few, who are fit and worthy to receive the instructions. Hence the term 'Upanishad' signified at first 'secret teaching' or 'secret doctrine'. As already stated, Sadhana-Chatushtaya (the fourfold means) is the primary qualification of an aspirant of Jnana-Yoga, or one who seeks the knowledge of the Upanishads.

Study the Upanishads systematically. Acquire the four means of salvation. Meditate on the non-dual Atman or Brahman and attain ever-lasting Bliss!

By the way. just studying the upanishads
without the purity of heart will not lead to Self-realization, but only to
intellectual knowledge.


Under the Bo Tree

He sat under the tree, his legs crossed in the traditional
posture— his back erect, hands folded on his lap, eyes staring at the darkness, not a muscle moving. He had been there for hours.
During the day, he had seen the patterns of light and shadows change and move over the thick carpet of grass, and the forest creatures come and go.
With unwavering attention, the sage heard the sounds flow like
an unseen river, sometimes cheerful, sometimes menacing. He
saw the rim of the sun touch the distant trees, he saw the air
grow misty, and then, without a warning ,like a tiger pouncing
on it’s prey, the night swallowed the forest.
There has been awareness of these things, but it did not belong
to him. He was not the one being aware. Awareness simply was, and in awareness, all things appeared and vanished, unimpeded, blissfully. The burning pain in his legs, the weight of tired muscles pulling at his back, the thirst, the hunger were there, happening in the distance like the croaking of frogs which didn’t disturb the silence. The night, the pain, the buzzing of insects happened in a clear bubble of alertness that objected to nothing.
Then, over the eastern horizon, above the blackness of the
distant trees, the darkness trembled with a touch of blue and
the morning star rose. Today, it was like no other star could ever be. It’s light was love, its sweet fury, irresistible. His mind
opened under this light like a flower. And, then, the flower grew,
expanding so rapidly that it left him breathless. His mind
swallowed the night, as the night had swallowed the forest.
When the sun finally rose, it rose within. There was nothing but
himself and he was nothing. The Void breathed peacefully,
letting all things be in perfect emptiness. There was no sorrow,
no suffering, only the bliss of non-being in which everything was.


Reality is dry, it lacks spice,
it doesn't stimulate mind's taste buds
as fantasy does, but fantasy is too
superficial and fragile to deeply satisfy.
So People marinate reality in ritual and

Ritual is a slow dance that hypnotizes
with symbolic repetition . Myths are
stories about primordial needs. Add a
little wisdom, a few prohibitions, a few
promises of better things to come, and
you have a religion to sweeten reality's
harsh taste.

Few people want to do a rigorous dissection
of reality, when the seduction of ritual
and myth can so easily put fears to sleep,
and season reality to taste.

Pete Sierra

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The philosophy of Non-Dualism is the point of view that there is one Absolute Reality without a second and that each of us is one with that Reality, just as a wave is one with the ocean. It asserts that experiencing Ultimate Reality is the goal of life. Advaita, another name for Non-Dualism, sees other religions, practices and philosophies as tools that ultimately lead to the direct experience of Absolute Reality.
To discriminate between what is real and what is not real, it is necessary to define what is meant by real and not real. In this philosophy only that which neither changes nor ceases to exist is real. No object or knowledge can be absolutely real if its existence is only temporary. The unreal includes every “thing,” all names and forms, our minds and thoughts, everything. The universe looks real but is not permanent. It is an illusion. We can’t say it exists nor can we say it doesn’t exist. It is neither real nor non-existent. It is magical. It’s a mystery.
Reality is not a thing at all. It is no-thing, nothing. An innocent term for it would be pure spirit, or pure consciousness. It has no parts. If we look for it, we are an eye looking for itself. It is experienced but cannot be described. It is ineffable. This Pure Consciousness is permanent existence, knowledge and bliss and is one with man’s inner self.
When we wake up from a dream the dream world disappears. Non-Dualism teaches that when we wake up to reality this world disappears. The world of thought and matter is a misreading of pure spirit and nothing more. It has a phenomenal or relative existence superimposed upon Absolute Reality by ignorance and remains superimposed until ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of Reality, commonly called Spiritual Enlightenment.

Nonduality has many different expressions and names, such as Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Advaita Vedanta, and others. In Western philosophy, it is sometimes called monism, which means simply that reality is one without a second. In essence, Nonduality teaches that nothing exists but consciousness, and consciousness is what you are. It is not a religion, or a system of belief, or an ideology. In fact, it does not require belief of any kind; all it requires is self-discovery. It is nothing more than seeing, understanding, or awakening to one's own nature, which can occur in a split second. It is a completely natural shift from a separate identity to an inclusive identity.
When Buddha, whose name means "the awakened one," was asked what made him different from others, he replied simply, "I am awake." He also taught that enlightenment is already inherent in all beings. Everyone, therefore, is a potential Buddha; everyone can awaken spiritually.
But there are as many gateways to becoming awake as there are people. Each person is unique; each approaches and expresses spirituality differently. Yet, each gateway is also an illusion; upon passing through the gate, it is instantly self-evident that there never was a gate blocking the way. The discovery is humorous, because it reveals that what you have searched for you have never lost or can ever lose. The search is as silly as a fish swimming in a lake and looking for water.
The search is fulfilled in the discovery of your own nature, but the truth of your nature is always available, always self-evident, always obvious. It is ever here, ever now, always who and what you already are. Thinking that it is elsewhere, or must be found, is what classic Nonduality texts call illusion.
individuals in this list self identify as presenting nonduality. They come from different religious, political and cultural traditions.
[edit] Ancient and Medieval Western philosophers
Hildegard of Bingen
Jesus (according to the Gospel of Thomas)
Mechthild of Magdeburg
Meister Eckhart
John of the Cross
Teresa of Avila
[edit] Modern Western philosophers
F. H. Bradley
Mary Baker Eddy
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Buckminster Fuller
Georg Hegel
William James
Franklin Merrell-Wolff
Friedrich Nietzsche
Bertrand Russell
Friedrich Schelling
Baruch Spinoza
A.N. Whitehead
Ludwig Wittgenstein
[edit] Asian Philosophers and Teachers
Ramana Maharshi
Nisargadatta Maharaj
Ramesh Balsekar
Jiddu Krishnamurti
Lao Tzu
Meher Baba
Chuang Tzu
Swami Vivekananda
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
H. W. L. Poonja
Wang Yangming
Wang Fuzhi
Yi I
Kaibara Ekken
[edit] Authors, poets and musicians
Richard Bach
Stuart Davis
Kahlil Gibran
Aldous Huxley
Herman Melville
Thomas Traherne
Neale Donald Walsch
Alan Watts
[edit] Contemporary Teachers
Adi Da
Douglas Harding
Byron Katie[14]
Barry Long
Richard Rose[15]
Eckhart Tolle
Ken Wilber


Obsession is a way (sAdhana) that can put away error until all that is left is the Truth. This is the way of knowledge, jnana yoga.

The traditional stages from ignorance to enlightenment come naturally to the obsessed. There are three clear steps:

1. First we must hear the truth from a qualified teacher. If one is not available, we learn by reading including the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. We gain an intellectual understanding of the subject. This is called shravaNa.

2. Next we reflect (obsess) on what we have heard or read to remove any doubts we have about the teaching. This is called manana.

3. Last we meditate on the meaning of what we have intellectually understood until there is total conviction. Let it really soak in. This is called nidhidyAsana.

This last step does not add to the teaching but rather in it we dwell upon what we have learned as intensely as possible. This can be done in the following ways. We can repeatedly listen to the teachings and reread the material. Writng as I am doing now is useful. It seems to help make the material my own. Discussion with those who have faith in the teachings is also useful (I have trouble finding them.) Teaching the material to others is good if you can find someone who will listen. Finally, it is good to contemplate on what we have learned in a secluded place, essentially meditating on the Vedantic teaching.

This is the path of jnana yoga, the sAdana of Shankaracharya.
jnana\juh-NAH-nuh\ , noun;
1.Absolute knowledge acquired through meditation and study as a means of reaching (in Hinduism) Brahman; (in Buddhism) a state of awareness independent of conceptual thought.

As the obsessed, we are fortunate to have a running start in this path because it is natural to us.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Understanding and Self-realization are not the same. However, there is an indelible link between the two. Intellectual understanding opens wide the consciousness of a new and wondrous perspective, and sets the stage for direct apperception, for clarity of awareness, for re-cognition of eternal Truth.

Understanding is, at least in my experience, a result of a long term obsession with Absolute Reality and the search for Truth. I consider this effortlessly perpetuated obsession to be a gift.

On the superficial level, understanding provides legitimacy because it is consistent with the conclusions of great thinkers, some of whom were fully enlightened men. There is great comfort in this.

On a deeper level, understanding is a by-product of recollection. Recollection is remembering, in this case gathering together scattered thoughts about Absolute Reality, God or whatever you want to call it. It is similar to meditations like simran or japam and in like manner has the effect of purifying the mind by nullifying useless thoughts and attachments that stand in the way of conscious union with Absolute Reality. Recollection is essential for spiritual progress according to Shankara and enhances the ability to discriminate between the Absolute and the relative.

Recollection is an authentic method of purification meaning it results in actual spiritual progress. Shankara says in the Crest Jewel of Discrimination, “Thinking about the highest Truth taught in Vedanta leads to the highest Illumination.”
Truth is of two kinds: (1) that which is known through the five ordinary senses and by reasoning based thereon; (2) that which is known through the subtle, supersensuous power of yoga.

Knowledge acquired by the first means is called science; and knowledge acquired by the second is called the Vedas.

Wisdom is of Brahman alone.



I am born in this body
through a dark and dreary passage
groping into a world already in the dark.
I see the scene on the screen.
I cry, I feel I sleep.
I forget the screen.
Now my mother then my father
fill the screen.
I talk, I walk I crawl the vast expanse of my crib,
and chatter till I am fed, again,
secure under the blanket.
Darkness is so comforting.

I learn the language, the idiom of the world,
feeling my way through the jungle of notions
and sentiments.
I study the Vedas, sastras, the puranas,
and the classics, grammar, logic,
and philosophy. relentless words
labyrinthine that shroud the Reality.

I see my body. I like it. I love it.
I take care of it as it crumbles
right under my nose.
I wash it, aromatize it, decorate it,
as the winds wither it.

I look around and like what I see.
I smell the flowers,
and watch the rainbow melt
into the liquid sky.
The sun smiles, the rains drench, the stars shine
and the seas moan in utter ecstasy.


The mind churns, the heart races.
I like some things, hate others.
Feelings, fears, emotions, desires,
strange modifications of the mind
that haven’t been there before.
I seek pleasure, shun pain.
I make friends, feel the pangs of flesh.
I indulge. It’s all so real.
Passion guides and instinct rules.
I see the scene, the screen is blurred.

I work, work to live, live to eat,
and eat to indulge.
The body takes charge and controls the mind.
I work, I rest. I win, I lose.
I get me a partner, a helpmate,
to double my rapture,
to have all I want and more.
I persue more happiness working harder
making more and spending more,
aiming to suck up all the pleasures of the world
in one giant gulp.

I sing I dance I write,
I scale the heights of art info
and emptiness most empty.
I build forts and mansions,
I dare the mysteries of the skies
and dive into oceans to steal their secrets.
I probe the laws of nature
I distil the alchemy of the elements
and unravel the implicit formulae of existence
I peer countless miles into space
seeking the alleged Creator.
Having found none
I feel that I am greater than He or She
as the case may be.


Miracles do not a seer make,
when he fails to see his own mistake.

I have many a brother and sister,
aunts and uncles,
and children and children’s children,
manservants and maids to please.
But I am alone at night, though consorted,
for reasons beyond explanation.
What is company that is least companionable?
What is company for one who remains most alone?
And the children get sick and the old timers drop,
and sometimes the young ones too.
The heart aches and the mind follows suit.
The mind agitated agitates the spirit.

The arts evanesce and the sciences cease
and literatures languish
though I still am,
breathing through a thousand noses
eating through a thousand mouths
and merging in a thousand minds.
I give up I care no more.
I do and not do the things I do,
I give up the fruits of my labor
so others may gain, I give up
my stake in the action
and gain relief beyond satisfaction.
The end all is the new be-all.

The fog clears and heart stops
and I can see where I’ve been
and where I need to be,
Where it’s really Real.

I think I am dead.
The limbs do not move, the senses do not sense,
the organs do not act.
Darkness ensues presently.
I look within me and take note of it all.
Nothing matters now.
I finally gain control over it all,
more alive than when I was alive,
now that I am dead to the outer world.

I dive into the core of my being
where I disappear for all eternity
and beyond. I feel
nothing see nothing hear nothing.


conscious, blissful, higher than the transient worlds
and ephemeral gods.
Fire doesn’t burn me nor winds dry
seas don’t drown me nor weapons hurt.
I am when I don’t think that I am,
when I don’t know that I am.

My questions cease my quest’s done,
my doubts vanish, leaving answers
clear as crystal.
No darkness lingers in Superior Light,
no question rise in Superior Knowledge,
the knowledge that I am I and no other,
that I alone exist and no other,
I am all and all is me.
I create all in the nooks
of my mind which therefore
cease when the mind ceases, and I remain forever.
Time is but a shadow of the mind
as is space which
ceases when the periphery
is consumed by the center.

The world is only a wink away,
but wholly separated by that wink
for one whose winks destroy it
and establish the Self instead.
Such a one is the master of the world,
it’s mighty creator and destroyer-at-will.
The world is an idea? Whose?
The world is a thought? Who thought it up?
It’s leela? Sport for whom?

First I am.
Not the I that was born,
but the I that’s always been.
I am therefore I think I act I speak.
And after I have thought enough
and spoken enough and acted enough,
I still am,
happy without seeking to be,
and blissful without trying to be.
in the Perennial Present,
the Pure Consciousness
unchanging and unchangeable,
ageless timeless nameless formless.


From the mountain Path
Ardanna issue 2000

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Greetings to those who constantly think about Advaita Vedanta. It is good to be in your company. It is useful to be aware that this obsession is an actual spiritual practice that helps to remove obstacles to enlightenment.

To arrive at this inspiration one has usually lived through many levels of truth. To move to a higher level requires a sublation or transformation which can be seriously difficult. The seeker must have strong motivation to soldier through these changes.

Why are so few people seriously interested in spiritual progress? I asked this question of well known author Dennis Waite (Back to the Truth, One, and other books) and received this answer:

"Most people are simply too involved with appearance - 'my life'; identified with themselves as a person seeking happiness through status, achievements, material acquisition or avoiding pain, loss, death and so on. I always think that only those people who have come to the realization that nothing that life has to offer can ever be enough become seekers. And even among seekers, if you ask them if they would take instant enlightenment if it were on offer, most would say 'well there are a few things that I want to do first.'

Basically one has to have mumukshutva - the desire to attain enlightenment (to want to know the Truth) to the exclusion of every other desire."

Very few have realized that discovering the truth about themselves and the world is the only worthwhile pursuit. Total dissatisfaction with life is almost an essential requirement for the seeker, driving him to look for meaning elsewhere. One seems to need to hit bottom like an alcoholic to seriously look for the answers about life. The alcoholic must resolve his attachment to alcohol to regain his life but to become realized one has to lose his attachment to everything. I think that takes a very serious downer and to survive it one must have fundamental faith that Reality is there.

Shankara wrote about this in this famous poem:

"Moha Mudgaram – ‘The Shattering of Illusion'

Who is thy wife? Who is thy son?
The ways of this world are strange indeed.
Whose art thou? Whence art thou come?
Vast is thy ignorance, my beloved.
Therefore ponder these things and worship the Lord.
Behold the folly of Man:
In childhood busy with his toys,
In youth bewitched by love,
In age bowed down with cares and
always unmindful of the Lord!
The hours fly, the seasons roll, life ebbs,
But the breeze of hope blows continually in his heart.
Birth brings death, death brings rebirth:
This evil needs no proof.
Where then 0 Man, is thy happiness?
This life trembles in the balance like water on a lotus leaf and
yet the sage can show us, in an instant, How to bridge this sea of change.
When the body is wrinkled, when the hair turns gray,
When the gums are toothless, and the old man’s staff shakes like a reed beneath his weight,
The cup of his desire is still full.
Thy son may bring thee suffering,
Thy wealth is no assurance of heaven:
Therefore be not vain of thy wealth,
Or of thy family, or of thy youth, all
are fleeting,
All must change.
Know this and be free. Enter the joy of the Lord.
Seek neither peace nor strife with kith or kin, with friend or foe.
0 beloved, if thou wouldst attain freedom,
Be equal unto all."

The faith I indicated is described here by Father Keating, creator of Centering Prayer. "Faith is the surrender and response to the ultimate Reality before it is broken down into the various belief systems that the human family has received from its divine Source through natural means or supernatural revelation."

When the usual belief systems become cardboard nutrition for the soul we still have Advaita, the final level of Truth.