Womens’ Ecstatic Visions of God – Poems And Faith

 

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Next week, I will be on holiday and far away from the computer. Gosh! I need a break, time away to relax and indulge myself in photography. I leave you with this post on Truth as seen by several ancient women poets whom I admire greatly. Hoping  you will all enjoy this post as much as I did writing it.   I do enjoy comments, if only a one liner once in a while. They provide me with valuable feedback, without them, I am lost to know what to write and publish here. Here we go with my last post for a while.

 

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n every spiritual tradition, the same truth appears: I am sure you have all noticed that at some time or another. Writing on spiritual matters as I do, I honestly can say, there are as many paths to the divine as there are people.

 

While it is necessary to undertake specific practices in spiritual life – prayer or meditation, the vows of right behaviour and right speech, all the many paths that lead to “being awake and aware at the core of our being” – such practices do not create anything that was not there from the beginning. They only open the door to what is already present within us. We do not pray or meditate or engage in good works in order to reach a goal or to become some way “better,” but because these activities are the fundamental expression of the heart freed of the distortions of ego and dualistic thinking. Nothing we do can bring the Sacred into existence and nothing we do can destroy it: this is the message the mystics have always brought to us.

What follows in this post are several poems from different traditions and different times – all from women, yet each points to this idea of the hidden treasure of Truth that does not change.

 


A small image of Lal Ded
A small image of Lal Ded

The first poem is from Lalla Ded, a fourteenth-century Kashmiri poet. she was also a mystic of the Kashmiri Shaivite Sect. She wrote many devotional and mystic poems, expressing her longing for the Divine.

I was passionate,

filled with longing,

I searched far and wide.

But the day that the Truthful One

found me,

I was at home.

To learn the scriptures is easy,
to live them, hard.
The search for the Real
is no simple matter.

Deep in my looking,
the last words vanished.
Joyous and silent,
the waking that met me there.

– Lalla Ded

 

 


 

Sun Bu-er (1124?) was the most famous woman teacher of Chinese Taoism. She began spiritual practice only at the age of fifty-one, when after raising three children to adulthood, she and her husband undertook study of the Way. Each became a fully realized being and teacher, and SunBu-er left behind a number of Taoist treatises and poems.

Cut brambles long enough,
Sprout after sprout,
And the lotus will bloom
Of its own accord:
Already waiting in the clearing,
The single image of light.
The day you see this,
That day you will become it.
-Sun Bu-er

 

Rabi'a
Rabi’a

 

 

Interestingly, the inner sacred is almost never desribed as residing in a temple, but as being at home, kept from public view behind closed doors, in the inmost rooms of the self. Here is one example of such a poem, by the Sufi saint Rabi’a (717-801), a freed salve who lived in the simplest of huts on the outskirts of Basra, in what is now Iraq.

O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.
Here, I am alone with You.

-Rabia al Adawiyya

 


Painting of Mirabai by GR Sharma
Painting of Mirabai by GR Sharma

From an early age Mirabai felt an irresistible attraction and devotion to Sri Krishna. As a young child she was given a Krisha doll, which she worshipped as if it embodied the living presence of Him. Although people misunderstood her, she considered Krishna to be both her best friend, lover and husband.  Swami Sivananda said of Mirabai  ‘It is extremely difficult to find a parallel to this wonderful personality – Mira – a saint, a philosopher, a poet and a sage. She was a versatile genius and a magnanimous soul. Her life has a singular charm, with extraordinary beauty and marvel.’

That dark Dweller in Braj
Is my only refuge.
O my companion,
Worldly comfort is an illusion,
As soon you get it, it goes.
I have chosen the Indestructible for my refuge,
Him whom the snake of death
Will not devour.

My Beloved dwells in my heart,
I have actually seen that Abode of Joy.
Mira’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible.
My Lord, I have taken refuge with Thee,
Thy slave.

– Mirabai

Dance Of The Soul – Inspirational Quotations

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John Keats tells us in “Selected Letters, ~  Call the world, if you please, “the vale of Soul-making.” Then you will find out the use of the world…There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions– but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception – they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God. How then are Souls to be made?… How but by the medium of a world like this?… Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul? A place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways.… As various as the Lives of Men are– so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, Souls…of the sparks of his own essence.

 

A Tale From Khalil Gibran

The Dancer

Once there came to the court of the Prince of Birkasha a dancer with her musicians. And she was admitted to the court, and she danced before the prince to the music the lute and the flute and the zither.

She danced the dance of flames, and the dance of swords and spears; she danced the dance of stars and the dance of space. And then she danced the dance of flowers in the wind.

After this she stood before the throne of the prince and bowed her body before him. And the prince bade her to come nearer, and he said unto her, “Beautiful woman, daughter of grace and delight, whence comes your art? And how is it that you command all the elements in your rhythms and your rhymes?”

And the dancer bowed again before the prince, and she answered, “Mighty and gracious Majesty, I know not the answer to your questionings. Only this I know: The philosopher’s soul dwells in his head, the poet’s soul is in the heart; the singer’s soul lingers about his throat, but the soul of the dancer abides in all her body.”

 

Quite frankly this is not the most ‘fun’ post I could write. I will have to try harder on the positive side, I feel….

 

 

 

 

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Write Your Own Book – Spirituality

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Write your own book says the sage. Let is be the story you write on your heart. Stay there and read it. Roam around in your own heart not the world. In the world there is only suffering. In my last posts about the Christian Mystics, we gather these blessed souls were speaking from their own book. Their language most definitely was not day-to-day conversation as we know it. The Mystics had revelations which one has to assume came from something deeply heartfelt.

Perhaps this gentle hint  from Bhagawan Nityananda one day will  become a thunder-clap to get on with it. We should take note!  

Here is a small excerpt from B. Nityananda and his message to his devotees.


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Here’s how the story goes:

“My Babaji watched me read endless books. He must have wondered when I would stop reading. It wasn’t that I was holding on to the books – the books were holding me. This is what happens when you have an addiction. You just keep on wanting the same experience and whatever you are addicted to, holds on to you. You can be addicted to wine, drugs, or money. They will hold on to you until you realise that we create our addictions and they keep us prisoner.

Finally one day my teacher called me close to him and said: “What’s that you are reading?” I answered, “It’s an Upanishad”.

Dust! He often used the word ‘Dust’ to describe everything that was not of spiritual value. He went on, “Do you know how this book was written? Books are created by someone else’s mind. The mind creates books. Books have not yet ever created a mind. Where’s your mind? Where has it gone? Instead of reading someone else’s mind, read your own. Put those books aside and meditate. When you meditate, true knowledge will spring forth from you. You won’t have to read books. Inner knowledge is far more superior. Write your own book with your own mind. Meditate. Many books will flow from you.”

What my teacher was saying dawned on me immediately. This truth will dawn upon you too when you tap that centre of knowledge within yourself. So far, you are dwelling only in the eye-centre, which is the centre of the waking state and the throat-centre, which is the centre of dreams. You haven’t yet reached the heart-centre, which becomes active during meditation.

This is the centre of knowledge, a creative centre within, and when you reach that place of knowledge, great poetry and literature spring up spontaneously. This is how the scriptures were written and composed. All the scriptures emanate from this centre of knowledge.

How can you experience your own inner Truth in outer books? Books may be able to draw the map of the Inner Truth. But how can you experience ‘That’ without going inside? My teacher was a being who would make you open your own inner book and read that.

From page 98 Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri – Swami Muktananda

Very old photos most unclear. The message is clear. Make no mistaking this video is a guide for people interested in meditation and teachings from a  deep Eastern philosophy. I “love” this message and hope you will too. This sweet you tube is for everyone and embraces all cultures and paths. Namaste.

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The Astral Planes, Lessons – Spirituality

crocusesWe  humans are not solid matter, we are vibrational beings. All creation is vibration by design of the Creator.  Our thoughts are powerful and can project us while on Earth to any place we can think of. Once we enter the astral realms, we are pure thought. We are our own creators.

I was told long ago, no two deaths are alike. On death, our thoughts project us to the  realm of light that most suits our earthly habits. It’s the reason we are told to keep our thoughts positive and to live to the best of our capabilities. We do not change after death.  We are the same person. Nothing changes other than the body is gone. People with huge ambitions now, will not shed those ambitions on death but seek a way over there to satisfy them. A selfish person here on Earth is not always lucky enough to realize the astral planes, or those helpers sent to guide them home. Such souls can stay earthbound until another time, when help is sent to rescue them.

I read recently of the soul of a man who had died on the “Titantic” then became earth-bound. He roamed the earth for years, often possessing others’ bodies to satisfy his Earthy needs. This soul had come from a wealthy family who had not known suffering or want. He lived only for himself, ignoring all the grinding poverty of others. He simply was blind to it. On death, he too, become blind.  He was in the dark. His darkness was the darkness of ignorance. He did not even realize he was dead. He eventually was given help and guided towards the  light, where he was able to realize his mistakes.  Below is a piece from Sri Yonganda on the astral planes.

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Sri Yogananda from the book ‘Divine Romance’

From my garden - the first crocus
From my garden – the first crocus

Everything in this material world is a copy of it’s counterpart in the astral world; but the material manifestation is a gross one, limited and distorted by the law of relativity.

 

The principle of duality or relativity is inherent in creation; shadow as well as light is necessary to apprehend a universe of separate forms and creatures.

Relativity operates in the astral world too; but on that plane there are no fixed limitations – everything is perceived as different vibrations of light, naught else. In the material world delusion is deeply embedded in that law of relativity, preventing the physical consciousness from understanding things as they really are. You don’t perceive things in their essence as light because the instrumentality of your physical senses is too gross. You instead experience the relative difference between solids, liquids, and gases as so radical that if you leave the solid shore and try to walk across the liquid ocean, you drown. In the astral world, even though you can cognize the shore as solid and the ocean as liquid, there is no drowning in the astral liquid. You differentiate the solids from the liquids only as varying vibrations of light, which do not clash with each other. You can glide just as easily through “solid” light and ‘liquid” light. Or you can walk on liquid light in your solid body of light, as Jesus showed when he walked on the water. To him, both his body and the sea were naught but relativities of astral light, which he could alter at will by the power of mind. He demonstrated that a fully God-realized master can control the astral light underlying material creation. That is how he performed his miracles, such as healing the sick and raising the dead, feeding multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, and resurrecting his own body.

There is not one human experience you can think of for which the astral world has not an exact duplicate. You can experience birth and death and marriage and disease and everything that you see in the physical world. Relativities of light can create sensations and perceptions experienced as real. In the material world, because the law of relativity is so heavily laden with delusive power, man is constrained by those “realities.” In the astral world, everything is changeable at the command of the mind.

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How important it is to live in that finer realm! I am all the time there—even now as I am talking to you. Such happiness comes; there are no words I can use to describe it to you. In this gross world, you get tired of everything; even the most enjoyable things eventually become tedious or boring. But in the astral world the creations of your will are ever new. You will never tire of that world. If you want to be young you can be so. If you want to appear as a man or as a woman or in any form you wish, you can do so. You do not have to worry about money for your needs; a mere command of your will provides whatever you want. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do that here? This earth is so limited; some persons have plenty while others starve. But in the heavenly astral world there are no such inequities; every being has according to his desire. If you want an opulent palace, it is there for you. If you want snow or heat or light or rain, you can have it just by the power of thought. With astral light the mind can create anything. You are free from all limitations when you know the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, which is behind this world.

Leslie Flint transcripts – from his website. Leslie Flint was the greatest voice medium ever to have lived. He has left us a wealth of information by ways of transcripts from voices on the astral planes, each giving evidence of their survival. Leslie, together with other great wisdom teachers, like Daskalos, and the Masters from the East, all agree to the conditions of the soul after leaving the Earth plane.    

http://www.leslieflint.com/transcripts.html

Lucid Dreaming – Stephen LaBarge -Spirituality

fish-dream-big2aawhiteedJust  found an old  document about lucid dreaming.  I’d forgotten all about it, simply  because I do not lucid dream anymore. I used to. When away in India and meditating daily, I found my dreams changed dramatically. I’d fall asleep and find myself literally flying. I could fly anywhere and the feeling of lifting off and flying all over the place was liberating.  In those dreams, I was utterly alive and a feeling of joy and freedom flooded my being. I felt the same euphoria  as (A.F., Bay City, Michigan) describes in paragraph one of the book excerpt posted below. When I stopped meditating daily, my lucid dreams stopped. Also long spells away from India and the guru, also rather took the shine off my dream-world. To truly lucid dream, one does have to be in a heightened state of awareness and fully focused on reaching a higher spiritual state. This is not easy to achieve by any means. 


w York, 1990…               

 


Here is a small excerpt from:

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

Stephen LaBarge, PH.D and Howard Rheingold. Ballantine Books. N.Y. 1990 – Lucid Dreaming

“I realized I was dreaming. I raised my arms and began to rise (actually, I was being lifted). I rose through the black sky that blended into indigo, to deep purple, to lavender, to white, then to very bright light. All the time I was being lifted there was the most beautiful music I have ever heard. It seemed like voices rather than instruments. There are no words to describe the JOY I felt. I was very gently lowered back to earth. I had the feeling that I had come to a turning point in my life and I had chosen the right path. The dream, the joy I experienced, was kind of a reward, or so I felt. It was a long, slow slide back to wakefulness with the music echoing in my ears. The euphoria lasted several days; the memory, forever.”

(A.F., Bay City, Michigan)

“I was standing in a field in an open area when my wife pointed in the direction of the sunset. I looked at it and thought, “How odd; I’ve never seen colors like that before.” Then it dawned on me: “I must be dreaming!” Never had I experienced such clarity and perception — the colors were so beautiful and the sense of freedom so exhilarating that I started racing through this beautiful golden wheat field waving my hands in the air and yelling at the top of my voice, “I’m dreaming! I’m dreaming!” Suddenly, I started to lose the dream; it must have been the excitement. I instantly woke up. As it dawned on me what had just happened, I woke my wife and said, “I did it, I did it!” I was conscious within the dream state and I’ll never be the same. Funny, isn’t it? How a taste of it can affect one like that. It’s the freedom, I guess; we see that we truly are in control of our own universe.”

(D.W., Elk River, Minnesota)

“One night I was dreaming of standing on a gentle hill, looking out over the tops of maples, alders, and other trees. The leaves of the maples were bright red and rustling in the wind. The grass at my feet was lush and vividly green. All the colors about me were more saturated than I have ever seen. Perhaps the awareness that the colors were “brighter than they should be” shocked me into realizing that I was in a dream, and that what lay about me was not “real.” I remember saying to myself, “If this is a dream, I should be able to fly into the air.” I tested my hunch and was enormously pleased that I could effortlessly fly, and fly anywhere I wanted. I skimmed over the tops of the trees and sailed many miles over new territory. I flew upward, far above the landscape, and hovered in the air currents like an eagle. When I awoke I felt as if the experience of flying had energized me. I felt a sense of well-being that seemed directly related to the experience of being lucid in the dream, of taking control of the flying.”

(J.B., Everett, Washington)

an excellent website on the subject of Lucid Dreaming.

https://altered-states.net/barry/newsletter429/

“Unfolding” – Inspirational Quotations

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The great sages of India say:  The Self, which is Knowledge, is the only Reality. Knowledge of multiplicity is false knowledge. This false knowledge, which is really ignorance, cannot exist apart from the Self, which is Knowledge-Reality. The variety of gold ornaments is unreal, since none of them can exist without the gold of which they are all made. Here is a beautiful paragraph from William Segal on just this. The piece is called “Unfolding..”

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Watching quietly, anticipating nothing, I am open to what is here, now. I look at myself reading these words. I read slowly. I see the way I am sitting. I sense my body, the arising and the movement of thoughts, of feelings – the way my breath comes and goes. I am the witness and the witnessing, passively watching and actively being watched.

I see that there can be a further letting go, a beginning relationship to an unchanging inner stillness. Like a white sheet of paper that retains its nature, I remain receptive but unstained, quietly in touch with what is taking place, attention wholly, in the moment. Is there help in a stop? In an unfolding to a fresh time/space? Is there a way to be without doing?

Listening to the silence which is present in the stillness I become aware of a new web of relationships, of a unity bringing the body/mind structure to another threshold. I sense that there is another Reality that can be served. Again, a stop.

Will the fragility of my attention survive the experience of  turning this page?

From William Segal, The Structure Of Man. (Sunderland, Mass: Green River Press, 1987)

Glimpse Of Spirit – Science and Spirituality

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If consciousness is not simply an emergent property of life, as science assumes, but is instead the initial glimpse, we have of Spirit, we ought to stop wasting our time trying to explain how it derives from matter and turn our attention to consciousness itself.

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The image on a television screen provides an analogy for what we then find. The television lights up its screen, and the film in the video we are watching modifies that light so as to produce one of an infinite number of images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we consciously experience – we might think of them as the contents of consciousness. The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to pure consciousness. We know that the images on the screen are composed of this light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself. Our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but normally we are aware only of the many different experiences, thoughts, and feelings that consciousness presents us with. Consciousness proper-pure consciousness, consciousness with no images imposed upon it – is the common property of us all.

When (in introspection of meditation) we detect pure consciousness, we have every reason to think that what I experience is identical with what you experience in that same state.

And identical with what God too experiences, not in degree but in kind. For at that level, we are down to what consciousness is, namely infinite potential – receptive to any content that might be imposed on it. The infinitude of our consciousness is only potential whereas God’s consciousness is actual – God experiences every impossibility timelessly – but the point here is that our consciousness themselves, are in fact identical.

~ Huston Smith

Beautiful Blissful Mother – Children Of Light

Divine Personage of Anadamayi Ma – Life Summary

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Experience of Sublime Holiness

 

It was a cold evening in December 1924, when I was taken to Shahbag for darshan of the Mother by Rai Bahadur Pran Gopal Muhkerjee. We were taken straight to the room where Mother was sitting alone deeply absorbed in meditation. A dim lamp was burning in front of her and that was perhaps the only thing in the room. Mother’s face was completely hidden from our view, as in those days she used a veil exactly like a newly married village girl. After we had waited there for about half an hour, suddenly the veil loosened itself and Mother’s face became visible in all its brilliance and lustre. Hymns containing many veeja-mantras (sound symbols) began to be recited by the Mother in uncommon accents, producing wonderful resonance, which affected the whole surrounding. The stillness of the cold December night, the loneliness of the Shahbag gardens and, above all, the sublimity and serenity of the atmosphere in the Mother’s room – all combined to produce a sense of holiness which could be distinctly felt. As long as we were in the room we felt an indescribable elevation of the spirit, a silence and a depth not previously experienced, a peace that passeth all understanding. We came away from Shahbag late at night with the conviction that we had been in the presence of a superior being whom it is difficult to doubt or deny.

From the book: Mother as Seen by Her Devotees as told by Dr Nalini Kanta Brahma, Professor of Philosophy, Presidency College, Calcutta
“To believe in Him under any particular form is not enough. Accept Him in His numberless forms, shapes and modes of being, in everything that exists. Aim at the whole and all your actions will be whole.”

 

Anandamayi Ma, Cry Only For Him

 

In the summer of 1948, a lady from South India had come to Kishenpur with a party from Hrishikesh. Seemingly absentminded and obviously distressed, she told Ma: “First my husband passed away. I was upset but I could bear it, because I had my only daughter, a lovely talented child. When she was 12, she fell ill and died. Since then I cannot find peace of mind. She was all I had, so beautiful and promising. When she had hardly begun her life, she was torn away from me. Why did she leave me? I cannot understand. For some time I worked in an orphanage. I thought, if I have no child, let me at least serve motherless children. I got attached to these children and they to me. But my heart is still broken. My guru said: ‘Continue your sadhana’. But I cannot concentrate. All the time I am pining for my darling. Nothing appeals to me. I want my child back. What am I to do?”

Ma: “First of all, sorrow comes from the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. You say: ‘My daughter died’, and so you grieve. But who are you? Find out who you are! She was the fruit of your body. As long as you are identified with the body, there must be pain. It is inevitable. So many boys and girls die, young and beautiful, yet it does not affect you deeply. You only think this one child was your own and you have lost her.”

“Then there is another thing to be learnt – all sorrow is due to the fact that one keeps apart from God. When you are with Him, all pain disappears. Let your thoughts dwell on Him. Remember that your daughter is now with Him. The more you think of God, the nearer you will be to her. If you must shed tears, cry for Him.”

“Just as some blossoms fall off without bearing fruit, so do some human beings die young. For a while God had entrusted the child to your care and then He took her back unto Himself. Now He Himself is looking after her. One day you will go there too. Until then keep your mind on God and you will also be with your child.”

“How do you know that your child is not much better off where she is now? How much trouble and distress life has brought you! Would you have desired a similar fate for her?”

“Then again, on the level where there is only one Self, there is no question of birth and death. Who is born? Who dies? All is one Self”

“The same mind that identifies itself with the body can be turned towards the Eternal and then the pain the body experiences will be a matter of indifference. Since the body is bound to get hurt at times, there must be suffering as long as one is identified with it. This world oscillates endlessly between pleasure and pain; there can be no security, no stability here. These are to be found in God alone. How can there be both, the world and the One? On the way there seem to be two, God and the world, but when the Goal has been reached, there is only One. What worldly life is you have seen. Who is yours? Only your Guru, your Ishta (chosen deity); in Him you will find everything and everyone. “I am your child”.

Several months later the same lady came to Varanasi for Ma’s darshan. She looked younger and happier. “I have gotten over my grief,” she said “I am now reconciled to my fate. When Ma said ‘I am your child’, her voice was my daughter’s voice. My hair stood on end and I had a wonderful feeling which I cannot describe in words. From that moment the wound in my heart began to heal. I have gained an inner conviction that my child is happy where she is. I am finding peace and am able to attend to my meditation. Now I am planning to go on a pilgrimage to Badri and Kedarnath. I only wish all bereaved mothers could be comforted as I have been”

~ Old Diary Leaves, Atmananda