Krishna, The Unmanifest, Unborn, and Imperishable

 

Krishna denotes all manifestations of Bhagavān Viṣṇu — the carefree and effortlessly self-manifest personality who is the fountainhead of all-pervasive consciousness. But Nāma Kaumudī finishes its definition by stating that the word krishna specifically refers to someone who was “raised on Yaśodā’s breast.” So, although krishna refers to consciousness itself (brahman) and although it refers to Viṣṇu as the source of all consciousness (paramātmā) and the epitome of all personality (bhagavān), in the ultimate focus this word denotes a very specific form of Bhagavān: the one who is raised by the loving breast-milk of the queen of Vraja, Śrī Yaśodā Devī. Ultimately, the word krishna refers to the famous Gopa of Vṛndāvana whom the Bhāgavata Purāṇa lauds as the fountainhead of all Viṣṇus, who are themselves the fountainheads of all consciousness, which is the very substance of reality itself.

The most literal, basic meaning of krish- is simply, “pull.” Krishna- means “existence.” It has this meaning because existence is the tangible coagulation of consciousness, a structure pulled into place by consciousness’ gravity. The primary trait of Krishna is that he “pulls,” like a magnet, like gravity.

 

Krishna has already spoken of himself several times as the highest deva, one with Brahman, thus very much invoking the spirit of monotheism. Historically, there is a very strong emphasis on monotheism in the Abrahamic traditions. We hear the very subtle and powerful enunciation of monotheism in the Jewish Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5) This proclamation has had an enormous impact on Christianity and Islam as well. Monotheism is often considered by pious people and scholars in the West to be the acme of religious understanding. But no other religious notion has had a more pernicious consequence in creating bigotry and fanaticism than monotheism. Monotheism has resulted everywhere in “my-theism,” leading to warfare against other people’s religious forms. No one would say, “There is one God, and it is not my God but yours.” The late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz said, “We owe to monotheism many marvelous things, from cathedrals to mosques. But we also owe to it hatred and oppression. The roots of the worst sins of Western civilization—the Crusades, colonialism, totalitarianism—can be traced to the monotheistic mindset…. For a pagan, it was rather absurd that one people and one faith could monopolize the truth.”

Krishna’s monotheism is not of an exclusive sort that says “You must not worship any other god.” On the contrary, it is very inclusive. Of course, depending on the degree of understanding and the quality of one’s inner nature, a person may be inclined to worship this or that deva. But all the devas are included in Krishna and he blesses them all. “But whatever form any devotee with shraddhā (faith, respect) wishes to worship, I make that shraddhā firm and steady. Disciplined by that shraddhā, the devotees who worship those forms obtain their desires. In truth I myself give these to the devotees.” (7.21–22) It may be mentioned in passing that this inclusive aspect of the Hindu religion was much emphasized by Vivekananda, the great Hindu monk of India, in his speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, and he quoted these shlokas from the Gita. It should also be mentioned with some sadness that in some Hindu quarters there is a tendency, often in reaction to exclusivist biblical religions, to make Krishna a sectarian God, in competition with other gods, but the Gita is nothing if not inclusive.

Krishna, as the Unmanifest, Unborn, and Imperishable, is not and cannot be revealed to all. Most of us are caught in the delusion of opposite—us and them, believers and infidels, good and evil, and the like—which arises from desire and hatred, attraction and repulsion; and this illusion arises right at birth, as Krishna says. (7.27) This could lead to a notion similar to “original sin” in Christianity, resulting in a deep sense of personal guilt. But it is possible to be free of this delusion of opposites and come to Krishna realizing that all action is Brahman. (7.29 and also 4.24) Those who know that Krishna is the supreme being (adhibhūta), the highest deva (adhidaiva), and the greatest yajna (adhiyajna) remember him even at the time of death and are united with him.

 

From The Bhagavad Gita by Ravi Ravindra © 2017 by Ravi Ravindra. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.shambhala.com

The Nativity – A Beautiful Light Within

 

What has become of Christmas? With the true meaning lost within the busy quest for self-gratification, there is little time to read of study the real meaning of Christmas, yet our very survival on this planet depends on us elevating our hearts and soul to another level, one where ME becomes we….The soul of man today dwells in unrelenting noise that drowns out all contact with that blissful inner harmony that can only be found in inner silence. This inner and mystical silence wherein the purest spiritual state can be achieved is the Silent Night…”

 

beauty of the arts

The Nativity

In the Christian story of the “Nativity”, the King of Kings as the Son of God is born in a stable among the beasts of burden. This most noble and glorious of Beings is depicted as being born in the most lowly of abodes. His room is a manger fit for animals, his bed is made of straw, his source of heat is the very breath of the beasts that so very wilfully share their quarters with him. The stable is not a castle or a mansion. The Shepherds are not noblemen and there are no servants waiting on him. Why does this most glorious, exalted and long awaited wonderful event transpire through such humility, modesty and lowliness? Why this event is called the Silent Holy Night?

This image of the divine child is a most beautiful symbol revealing very profound principles and truths. The stable sheltering the beasts represents the material aspect of our beings as that which belongs to the body, form and matter. It is that which belongs to the physical self, which houses the animal appetites and the desires of the senses. It corresponds to that which is the lowest aspects of our being, that which binds us to the earth. Just as the blooming of the beautiful sacred lotus flower on the surface of the waters has its roots below the surface anchored in the mud underneath, so too our highest spiritual understanding is rooted in that which is the lowest in us.

The comforting warmth given off by the breath of the beasts is allegorical of the alchemical fire of the vital force resident within every cell in our body. It is this fire that incubates the divine child within us. The darkness of the Holy Night represents the unconscious mind that has begun to be illuminated by a star which the Magi seek to behold and follow to the manger. If we meditate on this beautiful picture of the kings of the East adoring the Divine Child, we realize a beautiful image. The stable is no longer perceived as something lowly when divinity has found abode within it. The radiance of this infant as the unfolding and birthing of a man-god reveals the consummation of the alchemical wedding of heaven and earth. What a beautiful and sacred temple our lowly stable has become as we realize a most wonderful presence within its simple and humble manger! What a blessed and sacred temple the body of man truly is!

The soul of man today dwells in unrelenting noise that drowns out all contact with that blissful inner harmony that can only be found in inner silence. This inner and mystical silence wherein the purest spiritual state can be achieved is the Silent Night. If we keep vigil, and we receive the higher grace of God, then we will become conscious of that Holy Night, where we will perceive the star of the Magi and follow it to its crib in the manger as the inner depths of our beings, and there behold the new born Divine Infant representing our birth into a new and higher spirituality. In this way we will realize our own divinity as our inner master reveals himself and manifests his light into the world.

Merry Christmas and All Best Wishes to all. ~ Steven Kalec

 

The Wonders of Bayeux – Photography

photos by Eve

 

 

Construction of Bayeux Cathedral began in the Roman period, under Bishop Hugues, to continue under William the Conqueror’s brother, Bishop Odo (11th Century). Following serious fire damage during the 12th Century, the cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 13th Century. Construction of the central tower began in the 15th Century, under Bishop Louis d’Harcourt, to be completed only in the 19th Century following major work by Eugène Flachat.

 

 

 

Excerted from an interview with Ram Dass. A Conversation with Ram Dass by David Ulrich 2017 for Parabola Magazine.

“The soul is not part of the incarnation. It comes into the incarnation. And the soul is not afraid of death because it has done it so many times. And now the ego is individual, and the world at this moment is ruled by nations which are egos. And I find, for example, that the United Nations is very ineffective. But then what would we substitute? We could substitute wise beings from different religions or different states—philosopher kings, if you will.

If you want oneness in society, you have to teach people to go inside instead of going outside, because if they want peace, they need to find it within. I remember being at a peace rally. Everybody was yelling, “PEACE PEACE!” That isn’t peace!  Peace is inside, in me and in everybody else. If you want peace, you go down in.”

 

Sometimes a visit to a catheral like the one in Bayeux can also bring you down into the heart. The tranquility and sacred atmosphere of this beautiful interior – once the crowds have left – can be felt. It is easy to sit down and breathe deeply and find that peace in the depths of your own sacred being. We stayed for three glorious days but three days is not enough to discover all the wonderful sites in this special Normandy town. Today I offer some of my photos of the elegant cathedral in Bayeux. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo is provided by the Calvados Tourist Office. Photo from the crypt.

 My photo was does not have the same clarity .

 

Halloween – “The Spirit In The Tree” – Can You See It?

 

Spirit in the tree – the face in the bark, forehead,eyes,nose and lips, and neck. – Best seen from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPIRIT IN THE TREE – For Real And Not trick photography!

 

From my original thoughts on seeing the face in the bark.

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“I don’t know what is happening here. Certainly, I had nothing to do with it. Today, out walking in the local park of the Chateau Tronjoly just down from our home, I was  busy taking photos for “My House” album, when something very odd took my attention.  I saw a face in the bark of an ancient tree.  So here’s what I saw, or what I thought I saw and that is a youngish woman staring back at me. You too may see the face if you look at the photographs  long enough.   I haven’t  changed these photos other than lighten them up a bit.  The  manifestation  occurred  while I was walking down the back of the Chateau,  following the steam as it meandered past the old  ruins of coach-house where upon I found two unusual trees. I had not noticed them before, nor their unusual shape. There is a label on each tree. although I could not read what is written there.

The trees themselves are ancient. I would dare to say they were probably planted hundreds of years ago. The original Chateau dates from the 13th Century. The trees have not been touched or damaged due to their superb location near the Chateau and thus protected.  On my first encounter with the trees, I took long distance photos at first then I moved forward to take an up close.” I pointed my camera and was amazed by what I saw  looking back at me there in the ancient moss covered bark.  Staring at me a nympth like  face!  In real life (3D) it was much clearer than in these photos. Still you can see a likeness to a nympth  in the trunk of the tree,  when leaning away from the computer. The forehead, nose and lips, and neck are clearly defined. The face is so clear and spirit like, the eyes, looking outward – half open, half closed. I moved around the bark on the tree but the face remained clear. I took about six pictures, all  they are extremely clear on my camera, although not so clear up on this screen.  I am not surprised to see such things here in this part of Brittany, so renowned for its spirit like beings, ancient druids and  medieval ceremonies etc. The face is not carved. The bark is natural although he trees are under protection.” ~ eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is some light reading on Tree Spirits

 

 

I have always believed in tree spirits. It just makes sense.  There has been much written about them from way back.  It is believed that spirits and ghosts use trees as a dwelling place when visiting the earth. This theory goes way back to the Old Testament where there are references to “sacred groves”. The early Celts, Romans and Egyptians all believed in tree spirits. The Egyptians believed that it was deities who occupied their trees. In India, shrines have actually been built under trees to gain the favor of a revered spirit. Many have believed that if you cut down a tree with a spirit dwelling in it, you will lose your life. The Celts believe that all trees have spirits. Some of the more common “spirit” trees would be ash, apple, cedar, oak, cherry and pine to name a few. Each of these trees are said to host a particular type of spirit. Are these just superstitions? Perhaps, but I continued my search for answers.

There is said to be a famous haunted tree in Gilberton, Alabama in the United States. A woman named Linnie Jenkins claimed to hear strange noises and crying coming from her pecan tree which was located on her front lawn. It attracted media attention, and by 1981 thousands of people from all over the country came to see the mystical tree. It was discovered that the house had been built on the site of an old Indian graveyard, and many believed the cries heard were from those Indians who had died.

Have you ever heard of Huna? Huna is a philosophy of ancient Hawaiian magical shamanism and healing. In Huna, it is believed that everything is “alive, responsive and aware” therefore everything has a spirit. Huna teaches that spirits are connected even if they are of different life forms. For instance, human spirits connect more closely with other human spirits. But, human spirits connect with animal spirits as well, especially dogs and horses. Huna states that human spirits also have a very spiritual link to the tree. This may be the
reason why so many people are distraught when a tree is destroyed. For reasons unknown to us, we form a connection to it. Wisdom can be gained from trees, especially old trees. Supposedly, tree spirits act as guardians and protectors. How often has a person taken comfort in leaning against a tree trunk or lying on the ground beneath its branches? This brings to mind the children’s story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Even the book Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, refers to tree spirits.

Body Mind and Soul – That’s my Garden!

 

Raked the leaves again this morning. I raked them the day before yesterday too. There are so many now. They rain down in all their rich shades of gold and crimson. Odd when they fall, they twis and twirl then lightly land on the now bare wooded shrubs. So for a short time, like every year, the garden has turned to a reddish, brownish and golden flurry of colour that is quite mystical in many ways.  Looking towards the sky the falling leaves appear like a kaleidoscope when shaken as they tumble down. For me It means a long time spent outside, clearing not only leaves also  broken branches and clearing bracken or pulling weeds. The hard part is lugging everything over to the large old white sacks and filling them to be deposed of. I love the crackle of the leaves under my feet as I walk to fill the bags. The whimsical way small bits of fallen branches lay on and around the garden path are a delight but some would say a mess.  The real magic of this time of year are the hundreds of mushrooms growing among the clutter. More than last year, they just pop up on old tree stumps and between the slate and in shaded areas of grass. I love the smell of the earth this time of year too, its just so sweet after the rain. Especially in that part of the garden that remains untouched. There, the earth is fresh and full of ground covers and where beetles and spiders are busy about their day.  The freshness of this untouched beauty, makes me think of Eden – who knows it may have originated here. I feel this will be our last autumn in the house and although I want to go, I will miss the sweet earth – the smell of bracken and broken mushrooms. The songbirds as they  chirp up high in the trees. My, what a wonderful thing a garden is. ~ Eve

 

photos from my garden.

 

 

 

 

 

today in the garden

 

 

Another View

 

I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light on a summer’s day. Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice: apophatic mysticism, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and kataphatic mysticism, less well defined: an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation. Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole, a kataphatic mystic, as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant momemnts: but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles. Francis and Thérèse were made, really made, any mother superior will let you know, in the dark nights of their lives: no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God’s arms.

Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World

 

 

 

 

The Dweller On The Threshold – Quote From The Tibetan

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Interesting piece from “The Tibetan”  Methinks this needs to  be posted on my blog today. Sorry folks not to have been posting my usual stuff this year, I have two cataracts, one on each eye,  both need to  be removed. Must say cataracts are horrible, they restrict my writing and reading. I will be happy when they are gone and my eyesight is restored. I  cannot wait until I can see well again and I will be able to write again with confidence. The photos used for this post are from a Face Book page, sadly I forget the titles of the images. Sorry.

A little about the Dweller on the Threshold for your interest.  –  “The Dweller on the Threshold is illusion-glamour-maya, as realized by the physical brain and recognized as that which must be overcome. It is the bewildering thought form with which the disciple is confronted, when he seeks to pierce through the accumulated glamours of the ages, and find his true home in the place of light.”  I guess that does not explain  too well the inner significance of the Indweller  – here’s the link  http://www.esoteric-philosophy.net/dweller.html – 

 

THE DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD

“The Dweller on the Threshold is illusion-glamour-maya, as realized by the physical brain and recognized as that which must be overcome. It is the bewildering thoughtform with which the disciple is confronted, when he seeks to pierce through the accumulated glamours of the ages, and find his true home in the place of light.”

“The Dweller on the Threshold does not emerge out of the fog of illusion and glamour, until the disciple is nearing the Gates of Life. Only when he can catch dim glimpses of the Portal of Initiation and an occasional flash of Light from the Angel of the Presence, Who stands waiting beside that door, can he come to grips with the principle of duality, which is embodied for him in the Dweller and the Angel. . . . As yet, my words embody for you symbolically a future condition and event. The day will surely come, however, when you will stand in full awareness between these symbols of the pairs of opposites, with the Angel on the right and the Dweller on the left. May strength then be given to you to drive straight forward between these two opponents, who have for long ages waged warfare in the field of your life, and so may you enter into the Presence where the two are seen as one, and naught is known but life and deity.”

“The Dweller on the Threshold is oft regarded as a disaster, as a horror to be avoided, and as a final and culminating evil. I would here remind you, nevertheless, that the Dweller is ‘one who stands before the gate of God’, who dwells in the shadow of the portal of initiation, and who faces the Angel of the Presence open-eyed, as the ancient Scriptures call it. The Dweller can be defined as the sum total of the forces of the lower nature, as expressed in the personality, prior to illumination, to inspiration, and to initiation. The personality per se, is, at this stage, exceedingly potent, and the Dweller embodies all the psychic and mental forces which, down the ages, have been unfolded in man, and nurtured with care. It can be looked upon as the potency of the threefold material form, prior to its conscious co-operation and dedication to the life of the soul, and to the service of the Hierarchy, of God, and of Humanity.

The Dweller on the Threshold is all that man is, apart from the higher spiritual self; it is the third aspect of divinity, as expressed in and through the human mechanism. This third aspect must be eventually subordinated to the second aspect, the soul.”

“Memory . . . is not simply just a faculty of the mind, as is so often supposed, but it is essentially a creative power. It is basically an aspect of thought, and – -coupled with imagination — is a creative agent, because thoughts are things, as well you know. From ancient recesses of the memory, from a deeply rooted past, which is definitely recalled, and from the racial and individual subconscious (or founded and established thought reservoirs and desires, inherited and inherent) there emerges from the individual past lives and experience, that which is the sum total of all instinctual tendencies, of all inherited glamours, and of all phases of wrong mental attitudes; to these, (as they constitute a blended whole) we give the name of the Dweller on the Threshold. This Dweller is the sum total of all the personality characteristics which have remained unconquered and unsubdued, and which must be finally overcome before initiation can be taken. Each life sees some progress made; some personality defects straightened out, and some real advance effected. But the unconquered residue, and the ancient liabilities are numerous, and excessively potent, and — when the soul contact is adequately established — there eventuates a life wherein the highly developed and powerful personality becomes, in itself, the Dweller on the Threshold. Then the Angel of the Presence and the Dweller stand face to face, and something must then be done. Eventually, the light of the personal self fades out and wanes in the blaze of glory which emanates from the Angel. Then the greater glory obliterates the lesser. This is, however, only possible when the personality eagerly enters into this relation with the Angel, recognizes itself as the Dweller, and — as a disciple — begins the battle between the pairs of opposites, and enters into the tests of Scorpio. These tests and trials are ever self-initiated; the disciple puts himself into the positive or conditioning environment wherein the trials and the discipline are unavoidable and inevitable. When the mind has reached a relatively high stage of development, the memory aspect is evoked in a new and conscious manner, and then every latent predisposition, every racial and national instinct, every unconquered situation, and every controlling fault, rises to the surface of consciousness, and then — the fight is on.”

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“The Dweller on the Threshold, always present, swings however into activity only on the Path of Discipleship, when the aspirant becomes occultly aware of himself, of the conditions induced within him as a result of his interior illusion, his astral glamour, and the maya surrounding his entire life. Being now an integrated personality (and no one is disciple, my brother, unless he is mental as well as emotional, which is the point the devotee oft forgets) these three conditions . . . are seen as a whole, and to this whole the term ‘Dweller on the Threshold’ is applied. It is in reality a vitalized thoughtform — embodying mental force, astral force and vital energy.”

– Djwal Khul, ‘the Tibetan’

 

No One Knows Me! – A Devotees Story From Long Ago.

Sathya Sai Baba in the early days. Under the old Banyan Tree in Whitefield.

 

A brilliant Indian student by the name of Vemu Mukunda had taken science courses at universities in India. Then he left his motherland to conduct post graduate research in Scotland. He took a job in England working in the field of nuclear science. Although outwardly he seemed to have successfully established himself in his chosen field, yet he was not happy. He had left his family, friends, and culture behind and now found himself living in an environment where the advancements in technology were considered the highest goal and his only social life consisted of attending endless rounds of cocktail parties. He felt his life was empty and without purpose and this feeling came to a crisis point when his brother and sister both died back in India. Furthermore the negative use of nuclear science to build weapons of mass destruction weighed on his conscience and made him question his choice of career. He began to sink into a state of chronic depression which was only briefly relieved by the release he felt when he made music on the Indian stringed Veena that he had played since childhood.

 

It was during that period of black despair that a series of strange incidents occurred to bring a new influence into his life. By coincidence, a mutual friend in London had a veena at home that was badly damaged and when he heard of Vemu’s skill with the instrument he invited him to his home to see if he might be able to repair the instrument. Vemu went to the home along with some friends and indeed found the instrument so badly damaged that he was completely unable to get any pleasant sounds out of it at all. However he agreed to take the instrument back to his home and see if he could repair it.

On the way home, the friends who had brought him wanted to stop at a house where they knew the residents were conducting Sai Baba bhajan sessions (sacred singing). Though Vemu had no special interest in doing so, since he was riding with them he went along with the plan.

When they arrived at the house and went in, he saw a picture of Sathya Sai Baba on the wall and immediately had the thought: “Oh, no not him”. His parents had been followers of Shirdi Sai Baba and they felt that Sathya Sai Baba, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, was an imposter and so Vemu had also taken on this attitude. Shirdi Sai Baba left his body in 1918 and many of his original followers were unwilling to believe that he had taken on the Sathya Sai form eight years later (Sathya Sai was born in 1926) even though Shirdi Sai Baba had told his followers just before his death that he would take birth again eight years hence.

Vemu had no interest in the bhajans and so he sat behind the other singers and took no part in the singing. However during a lull in the bhajans the hostess put a veena in his hands and asked him to play something. In an abstracted mood he began to strum the instrument and presently a tune came into his head and he began to play. The others very much enjoyed his playing and when the song ended they asked him to play another song. He agreed, playing the first tune that came to mind. At the end of the second song, he suddenly realized that the two songs he had just played had been composed by two different Indian Saints but the titles of the songs had the same meaning in the respective languages of the composers: “No One is Equal to You”.

Now Vemu looked down at the veena he had been playing and realized that it was the badly damaged one he had been taking home to repair. But mysteriously, every note he had played on it had been completely harmonious. Now he tried to play it consciously and not a single harmonious note would come out of it. He began to feel as if something miraculous had occurred and he felt the hair on his head standing on end.

He thought to himself: “Sai Baba! What power. Is he a black magician?”

After this incident Vemu began to get invitations to play professionally. He accepted whenever it fit into his schedule and strangely, wherever he played he would run into someone who would talk about Sathya Sai Baba. At home his friends in London kept pressing him to attend Sai Baba bhajan sessions. He began to feel that he was being pursued by Sai Baba!

Vemu had been schooled on the principles of science and so his confidence was more on the field of matter than that of the spirit. He felt that the realm of spirit was only a way by which some people escaped from harsh reality. And yet some part of him wanted to proceed into the spiritual realm while the other part wanted nothing to do with it. His mental torment increased and he felt himself being torn in two different directions. He continued to resist the spiritual impulse and yet, the world of physics and materialism had lost its charm for him.

Finally in a state of complete desperation he sat down and addressed a letter to Sathya Sai Baba at his residence at Prasanthi Nilayam. Although he had heard that Sai Baba does not answer directly by writing back, it was said that he would provide the answer in some more direct form. He poured out his heart’s dilemma asking Sai Baba if he should continue in his chosen profession of nuclear engineering, quit and become a full time musician, or renounce the world and become a religious devotee (Sannyasi).

As he boarded a flight to Paris for a Veena concert, he wondered how and in what form he might receive a response to his letter but nothing unusual happened on the trip. On his return to London, he began to feel an inexplicable urge to visit the same home where he had played the damaged veena during the bhajan session. This was curious to him since he didn’t even want to go there the first time. He ignored the urge for a while but finally gave in. Approaching the house, he noticed the “Om Sai” written on the front of the house. The owner of the house, Mrs Sitabai, greeted him at the door and told him she was very glad he had come because she had something for him. They went to the shrine room and she handed him a photograph telling him an unknown visitor had attended the last bhajan session and had asked that the picture be given to Vemu as soon as possible. He looked at the photograph and saw that it was a picture of Sathya Sai Baba playing the veena!

He was immediately overcome with emotion and surrendered to Sai Baba by prostrating before the large photo of him on the wall. Tears of emotion ran down his cheeks. He knew now that he had his answer. He soon quit his job and became a full time musician. His reputation as a skilled veena musician spread and he began to get calls from all over Europe, including as far away as Russia. He felt that somehow his sudden success was due in part to the guiding hand of Sathya Sai Baba and he began to feel that he wanted to return to India and visit him. At about this time his mother and father were also asking him to return to India to see them and so he began to think seriously about making the trip home. But at the back of his mind was a fear that all the events were just coincidences and the result of his own imagination and that Sai Baba might refuse to see him. It would be a great disappointment to him if Sai Baba ignored him.

He decided to write to a friend and have him ask if he should come to visit Sai Baba. Soon afterwards he had a vivid dream in which Sai Baba came to him and rubbed his sacred ash (vibhutti) on his left shoulder beneath his shirt and said to him: “Come to India”. When he awoke the dream seemed very real but he still felt that it might have been created out of his wish to go to India to see the great teacher. After several days of struggle he made up his mind to go so he canceled all his performance reservations and took a plane to India.

When he arrived at Swami’s (i.e. Sai Baba’s) residence he took his place on the grounds at the end of a line of men. One of the devotees told him that he had arrived just in time for Darshan, in which Sai Baba circulates among his devotees giving sight of a holy person. Vemu sat quietly enjoying the feeling of peace that emanated from the place and waited patiently. Soon there was a stir at the other end of the lines and he caught sight of the orange colored robe of Sai Baba as he circulated slowly, gracefully among the devotees, stopping briefly to talk to some, to create vibhutti for some lucky ones, or to take letters from others. As Sai Baba got closer, Vemu felt his excitement and anxiety increase. As he saw the robe and delicate feet approach him he could not bear to look directly into his face, encircled with a halo of hair and so he cast his glance downward onto the ground. His heart was in his mouth and his body became rigid as he noticed the feet approach ever closer. Vemu had written a letter to give to Sai Baba but he had completely lost his wits and did not even think to hand it to him. He felt Baba take the letter from his hand and then he raised him up and he heard him say in a quiet voice: “Go inside and wait”.

Vemu went inside and when at last he faced Sai Baba alone in the interview room, Sai Baba created vibhutti for him and rubbed it on his left shoulder under his shirt just as he had done in the dream. Then Sai Baba began to discuss the obstacles in his life showing complete familiarity with his career struggle, his desire to play the veena, his depression, and other details of his daily life. As the talk ended, Baba circled his hand and produced out of air a five faced rudraksha bead in a gold setting at the end of a gold chain. He gave it to Vemu to wear constantly and told him that he would have great success both in his new career and in his spiritual progress. He then invited Vemu to play the veena at a musical concert to be held at the Sathya Sai College in Brindavan.

When the time of the concert came, Vemu brought along his eighty year old father who had been a close devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. His father told the son he would just sit outside on the outer grounds and wait. But when Sai Baba learned the father was present he immediately called him inside and in Vemu’s words: “For a whole hour Swami talked to my father like a loving mother to her child. After that my father was a changed man.” Now the entire family, Vemu’s father, mother, brother and all the other members of the family are followers of Sathya Sai Baba.

From a story that appears in its original form in Sai Baba, Avatar by Howard Murphet. Birth Day Publishing. San Diego, CA.

This book contains a whole collection of devotee’s stories as well as the personal experiences of the author with Sai Baba.

Basic Rules For Better Living – Quotations

 

Basic Rules For Better Living
by Manly P. Hall

1. Stop worrying

The popular idea that a worrier is a thoughtful and conscientious citizen is false. The Egyptians realized this when they included worry among the cardinal sins. Do not confuse thoughtfulness and worry. The thoughtful person plans solutions, but the worrier merely dissolves in his own doubt. If you think straight, you will have less cause for worrying. The worrier not only suffers the same disaster many times, but undermines his health and annoys all others with whom he comes into contact. There are many things in this world that require thoughtful consideration, but there is really nothing to fear but fear.

2. Stop trying to dominate and posses your friends and relatives

Each of us likes to feel that he is running his own life. The moment we recognize the rights of others to seek life, liberty, and happiness according to their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, we begin to conserve our own resources. It is very debilitating to give advice which is ignored or rejected, and equally disappointing to attempt to posses and dominate persons who immediately resent and combat our dictatorial tendencies. We are hurt when they do not see things our way. If we save advice for ourselves and those who seek it from us, and who are therefore grateful, all concerned will be the better.

3. Moderate ambition

There is a tendency to overlook natural and simple blessings while we plunge on toward distant goals. Each individual has certain capacities. If he can recognize his own abilities and work with them, he can attain personal security. If, however, he is constantly seeking that which is not reasonably attainable, he can never know happiness or contentment. The wise man observes the disastrous results of uncontrollable ambitions, and chooses moderation. It is not necessary to be famous in order to be happy, nor must one be the leading citizen in the community in order to gratify ones social instinct. The ambitious usually pay too much for what they get, and are the more miserable after they get it.

 

4. Do not accumulate more than you need

 

There is no real distinction in being the richest man in the graveyard. Many earnest citizens act as though there were pockets in shrouds. We are supposed to have outgrown the primitive belief that we should bury a mans goods with him so that his spirit might enjoy them in the afterworld. Here, again, the middle course is the wisest. Let us reserve some of our energy for enjoyment, and not give all of ourselves to the task of accumulation. Many a man who has made a million has not lived to spend it. A rich life can be more practical than a monumental bank account.

5. Learn to relax

Great tension is an abomination. The more tense we become, the more stupidly we are likely to act, and, according to the old Buddhists, stupidity is a cardinal sin. Today, many so-called efficient people are perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is not so likely to be due to overwork as to unreasonable driving impulses from within themselves. Some say that they are overtaxing their resources to keep their jobs or to maintain extravagant families. Whether you believe it or not, you are a better producer and a better provider if you do not collapse from psychic exhaustion at some critical moment when you are most in need of good health. If your associates do not realize this, they may be in need of practical counsel.

6. Cultivate a sense of humor

As never before, we must brighten and lighten the corners where we are. The more seriously we take ourselves and our responsibilities, the duller we become. It is a saving grace to realize that, although living is a serious matter, we can take it too seriously. Also bear in mind that genuine humor is not bitter, cynical, or critical. It is the ability to laugh with the world and not at the world. If we must laugh at someone, let it be ourselves. Humor is a spice to living. It adds flavor to work, zest to play, charm to self-improvement, and proves to others that we have a security within ourselves. A sincere, happy laugh, like the joyous rippling of childrens laughter, relieves tension and restores good nature. Incidentally, it makes friends and inspires confidence.

7. Find a reason for your own existence

Unless you believe in something bigger than yourself, have some purpose more vital than accumulation or advancement in business or society, you are only existing, not living. A simple pattern is to realize that the laws of Nature that put you here seem to be primarily concerned with growth. You are a success to the degree that you grow, and you grow to the degree that you become a wiser, more useful, and more secure person. In other words, we live to learn, and by this very process, we learn to live. Broaden your horizon, develop an interest in all that is fine, beautiful, and purposeful. Great internal good comes from the love for music, art, great literature, broad philosophy, and simple faith. Strengthen the inside of your nature, and the outside will be better.

 

8. Never intentionally harm another person

 

 

Never by word or deed return evil for good, or evil for evil. Weed negative and destructive thoughts and emotions out of your personality, or they will ultimately contribute to your misery. As we look around us, we see the tragic results of individuals and nations that harbor grudges or nurse the instincts for revenge. The harmless life saves those who live it from many of the mortal shocks that flesh is heir to. Our critical attitudes and our long memories of evils that others have caused only reduce our present efficiency and endanger health and vitality. Even the selfish man realizes that he cannot afford to keep a grudge, and the unselfish simply will not permit grudges to accumulate because they know better and they believe better.

9. Beware of anger

When ill-temper controls us, we are no longer able to control ourselves. In a moment of anger, we may create a situation which will require years to remedy. Why should we spend our time trying to recover from our own mistakes? If we disapprove, let us state our case simply and quietly, and remember that we should never try to correct another when we have already committed a fault as great as his. A quick temper is a serious handicap in business or in the home. It is useless to say that we cannot control anger. This is as much as to admit that we have lost the power to control ourselves. If we resent the unkindness of others and the collective irritability of this generation, let us make sure that we are not one of the irritating factors.

10. Never blame others for our own mistakes

It is hardly necessary. Each of us seems to have an incredible capacity to do things badly and select unwisely. Actually, we are in trouble because we have not made constructive use of the power and abilities which we received as a birthright. Others can hurt us only while our inner life is too weak to sustain in the presence of trial or test. Instead of resenting misfortunes, and seeking to excuse our own limitations, we must face the facts. Either we are stronger than the problem and can solve it intelligently, or the problem is stronger than we are, and the only solution is to increase our own strength. Others are not to blame for our unhappiness. Each man must seek his own peace of mind, and, as the Arabian Nights so well expressed it, happiness must be earned.