The Dark In the Light

the pool

the pool

“When the sun rises and shines,
Not all the lotus buds in the lakes and ponds bloom,
Only those that are ready, do.
The rest have to bide their time,
But all are destined to bloom,
All have to fulfill that destiny.
There is no need to despair.”

~ Sathya Sai Baba

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This is the dark time before the light. The light of Spring  hovers but not quite here yet.  We are now through the month of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun. Our ancient ancestors observed this event by watching the stars and the shortening days carefully  chronicling the movement of the sun. They learned that the darkest day is followed by a little more light and warmth when a new cycle of life struggles to emerge into the fullness of the new season.

When we are left to our own devices, our thinking mind tends towards a certain pessimism that all will be dark forever. The light will never return, our minds tells us; it is always darkest before it is pitch black: that is the kind of doom and gloom prediction that often dominate us most during the grimness of the winter months. A perpetual  gloom that descends and refuses to let go.  Our minds are that way. We see only the dark and the cold. Educated as we may be, we are wired to a reptile mind that wants to flee from the gloom and freeze and to return to the light and the warmth. When we imagine only the dark, nothing anyone can tell us will make it otherwise. It is not until we enter the world of fresh observations, sensations and possibilities, that there is a shift in thought. When we sit down to meditate or spend time in nature, or just taking photographs as I have done here, that we rejoin the living world.

Early Spring Primroses

growing in an old stone pot

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Under the Weeping Ash Tree

Under the Weeping Ash Tree

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asnowdrops3

daffs8

The Rose – Photography

 

 

To this day we use flowers to communicate feelings and messages.  In reality, there are no rules to what flower represents a purpose for giving; it’s the sentiment and thought that represents each occasion.  Sometimes a specific flower or color will trigger a memory, special event or personal meaning.  Others love to send flowers specifically for their language or meaning. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, you might expect that red roses imply romance and love, pink roses as an expression of admiration, and yellow roses stand for friendship and devotion.  But with the wide variety of flowers and colors available, different flowers represent different forms of affection and messages.

 

The following meanings from Blossom Town website:

 

  1. Red Roses: A red rose is an unmistakable expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – be it love, longing or desire. Red Roses can also be used to convey respect, admiration or devotion. A deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow. The number of red roses has special romantic meanings associated with them. 12 red roses is the most popular of all which conveys “Be mine” and “I love you” White Roses: White is the color of purity, chastity and innocence. White flowers are generally associated with new beginnings and make an ideal accompaniment to a first-time bride walking down the aisle.
  2. Yellow Roses: Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance. Yellow roses evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth and welcome. They are symbols of friendship and caring. The yellow rose, like the other roses, does not carry an undertone of romance. It indicates purely platonic emotions.
  3. Pink Roses: There are a lot of variations of the pink rose. Over all, pink roses are used to convey gentle emotions such as admiration, joy and gratitude. Light pink rose blooms are indicative of sweetness and innocence. Deep pink rose blooms convey deep gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses also connote elegance and grace.
  4.  A variety of meanings. Who knows!

 

 

January Rose

January Rose

 

 

a favourite colour

a favourite colour

 

a favourite

a favourite

 

 

rainy day rose

rainy day rose

 

classic photography

classic photography

 

rose petals in Leela Palace Hotel, Bangalore

rose petals in Leela Palace Hotel, Bangalore

 

 

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aayellowrose

 

 

India - the market in bangalore

India – the market in bangalore

 

 

my favourite rose so far. taken in a florist shop in france

my favourite rose so far. taken in a florist shop in france

 

 

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“There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”
― Shannon L. Alder

from my friend

from my friend

 

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We Are All Connected, Sai Baba ~ Inspirational Quotations

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Charming old photo of Baba with young school children

….

The Earth is like a one-room schoolhouse in which students of different grade levels are assembled together: first graders co-exist with college seniors, remedial students with the gifted.. Its courses are taught in every language and cover every subject. Students of all nationalities and all races attend this school – all of humankind does. All are on the path toward a spiritual graduation. The lessons in this school are difficult because here we have bodies so we experience illness, death, loss, pain, separation, and so many other states of suffering. Yet, the earth also has such powerful redeeming virtues, like incredible beauty, physical love, unconditional love, soul mates, pleasure for all our senses, kind and compassionate people, and the opportunity for accelerated spiritual growth. Eventually, over the course of many lifetimes, we will learn all these lessons. Our education will be complete, and we will not need to come to Earth again any more.

(Like Baba always said, we are like light-bulbs, all of a different size and shape, each alive with a different wattage. From one hundred wattage power to one thousand wattage power. This is the “current” that runs through us all, and is found in all creatures, from the macrocosm to the microcosm.)

On the astral planes, we discover the advanced dimension that exists beyond our human awareness, and we begin to look into the many mysteries. There we can see and feel the sublime manifestations of what on Earth appears to be solid and material, and we acquire an understanding of these absolute energies at their most elevated vibration. There, we explore the nuances and levels of loving-kindness; compared to Earth and its physical form, it is learning at a higher octave. Even though these lessons are the graduate-level-courses, they are still part of our soul’s curriculum. Our knowledge is always expanding.

From page 19  Chapter 1: We Are All Connected, Miracles Happen, Dr. Brian Weiss and Amy E. Weiss. 

Inspired by Miracles Happen, Dr. Brian Weiss


Swami Speaks About Animals – More Sathya Sai Memories

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I remember way back in 1994 when Baba called us all into the small hall in Brindavan, Whitefield,  for a talk. Among the topics discussed that afternoon was the importance of animals. He told us not to eat meat because by eating meat we do the same harm as the butcher who wields the knife to kill. He also talked that afternoon about marriage. “Don’t become a centipede” he said.  “Remember you have two legs, when you marry you gain another two legs, now you have  four legs. Every time you have a child, another two legs are added to you. Then before you know it, you have become a centipede.” –  Now this sweet story. ~ Enjoy:

 

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“Once in Trayee Brindavan after Morning Darshan had got over and Swami had called a group of devotees for an interview. As Swami was walking towards the interview room, He noticed that a large group of ants had formed a long line and were in the process of picking up the remains of a dead moth. What Swami did after that was absolutely stunning ! He lifted His robe and jumped over the long line of ants! Then beckoning the devotees to come, He stood near the line of ants and was requesting all the devotees to jump over too! Once the devotees had gone in, He beckoned the students and said, “Papam let these ants finish their work, don’t disturb them!”.

For the creator of the universe, the entire universe is His own. He taught us that day that one should expand to encompass each and every sentient and insentient thing into one’s orbit. Others’ pain becomes my own. Others’ joy becomes my own. Therefore how can I hurt anyone? …..Expansion is My life!”

Sai Ram

Story from A. Anantha Vijaya

The squirrell appears to be praying but he is probably eating. This photo was taken last week in a U.K. garden centre…

Swami’s Body – Sathya Sai Memories

 


Sathya Sai Baba and an early devotee discussing the physical body.


Devotee:  Swami, you say that everything is God, but isn’t the body also God?  If everything is God, then the body must also be God?

Sai Baba:  You are asking about the body.  You are thinking about the body, not of God.  If you only think of God, then, for you, there will be only God.  But now you are thinking of the body.  The body is an instrument; it is made of matter; and matter is always changing.  The world also is always changing, but God is never changing.  God is the one unchanging spirit.

Devotee:  Is Swami’s body also just an instrument?Sai Baba:  Swami’s body is like all bodies.  All bodies are just instruments.  All bodies are only temporary.  They have birth.  They have death.  The indweller of the body is permanent.  That is the atma, the one Self.  That is you.  That is the real you.  You are the immortal Self, not the body.

Devotee: Swami, how do we rise up to that highest level?  How do we become perfect?

Sai Baba:  Through love, only through love.  Develop divine love or Prema.  Divine love is completely selfless.  Human love is mostly selfish.  All the time it thinks only of this little ‘I’.  This little ‘I’ is the ego.  Ego is a bad quality.  It sees everything as separate.  It sees everything as dual.  Remove this ego and you will see only unity.  Where there is duality, divinity will not be present.  Think only of the basis of everything.  Think only of God.  Now for you at present there is only desire, desire, desire: I want this!  I want that!  Desires are just passing clouds.  They come and they go.  One moment they give pleasure and the next moment they give pain.  They cannot give permanent joy.  Desires make up the mind.  The mind is nothing but a bundle of desires.  Every thought in the mind comes from desire.  Don’t follow the mind.  Don’t follow those passing clouds.  Desire comes, desire goes, but morality comes and grows.  Morality is very important.  Follow morality; practise it.

Devotee:  Swami, should we think of God as being both father and mother?

Sai Baba:  Your physical mother is only with you for some years.  She is your temporary mother.  Your physical father is also only temporary.  The real relationship is different.  Truth is the real father.  Truth is permanent.  Truth has no birth; it has no death.  Prema, divine love, is the real mother.  Devotion is the real brother.  Wisdom is the real son.  Peace is the real daughter.  For all of these relationships there is no change, there is no birth, there is no death.  They make up your permanent relationship, your relationship with God.

Devotee:  Swami, if Divinity is my permanent relationship and all these others are only temporary relationships, then do I still have to take care of my family at home?

Sai Baba (very firmly):  You must!  That is your duty.  Do your duty.  Take care of your family.

Devotee:  Even if it takes me away from God?

Sai Baba:  No!  No!  No!  No!  Do not abandon your family.  You must take care of your husband and your children.  Do your duty.  Duty is God.  Work is worship.  Do not forsake your duty.

Devotee:  But Swami, not even when God calls?

Sai Baba (laughingly):  God is in you.  He is with you.  He is above you.  He is below you.  He is around you.  He is not calling or sending for you.  He is always with you.  He is you.  You, yourself, are God.  Always think like that.  “I am God.  I am God.  I am atma.  I am everything.”  Think like that and do your duty at home.  God is not sending for you or asking you to come from somewhere.  You are God.  He is always with you.

Devotee:  Swami, is everything predetermined?  Is the time we take to merge already mapped out?  When we finally merge and get realisation, is that moment already written on our foreheads?

Sai Baba:  For atma there is no time and there is no space.  It is beyond time and beyond form.  In this Self all are one.  Remember that unity.  Live in that unity.  Make that your goal.  All are one.  Be alike to everyone.

Devotee:  Then Swami, what is the relationship between the Self and the individual?

Sai Baba:  Where is Self?  It is everywhere.  How do you know?  You do not know.  You have no experience of it, so do some sadhana, some spiritual practice.  Experience it.  Practise it.  Live it.  Realise it.

Devotee:  But Swami, what I wanted to ask is “Do I have an individual higher Self?  Is there an individual higher Self that is specifically related to me?”

Sai Baba:  The individual exists only in your imagination, in your mind.  It is just an illusion.  It is not real.  When the one Self is everywhere, when it is one without a second, then where is the individual?  Only in your imagination.  The Self alone is real.  Realise it.

Devotee:  Swami, is there really no higher being related uniquely to this body, judging me or guiding me?

Sai Baba:  You are still in one hundred percent body consciousness.  Do not stay with this body-consciousness.  Remove it.  Take it away.  What will remain will be God-consciousness.  Then there will be no anger, no hatred, no envy, no jealousy, no desire, no ego, only pure joy, only complete bliss, only bliss, bliss, bliss.

Devotee:  But then what is reborn?   When we reincarnate, what is born?

Sai Baba:  The body is born.  Birth and death only have to do with the body.  Ego relates only to the body.  Reincarnation relates only to the body.  Do not think of the body, think of the atma.  It is one.  It is unchanging.  For that one Self there is no incarnation; there is no reincarnation.

Devotee:  Swami, do I, as an individual, exist at all?

Sai Baba:  I!  I!  I!  Always this I.  First you must ask “Who is this I?  Who am I?”

Devotee (persisting):  But Swami is there no individual anything?

Sai Baba:  When you realise the Self, then there is no separate individual.  You can think of individuals as different light bulbs.  There will be differences in wattage.  There will be differences in age, in colour, in form, in name.  One is a tube light and another is a bulb light.  There will be differences in shape, but everywhere the current that powers them is the same.  That current is you.  You are not a bulb which appears different from any other bulb.  You are the current, the one current that is found in all the bulbs.  That is who you are.

Devotee:  Swami, is there any difference between me and God?

Sai Baba:  You are God.  You are not the ego.  You are God!  You are God!

Devotee (incredulously):  I am God???

source: Ramala Centre, UK.

Finally:

We tend to treat the guru with reverence and respect and yet turn away from each other. The truth is the light that shines brightly in the guru, shines in each one of us too. Let us not dim each other’s light but instead help each other to shine even more brightly.

I remember a story from years ago when Swami was out driving. The driver saw a snake in the road and instead of avoiding it, he run over the snake, killing it. Swami said nothing. When the driver stopped the car, Swami  stepped out and on the back of his orange gown were tire marks, deeply imprinted. The driver said, “Oh Swami what  are those marks on your back?” Sai Baba said, “These are the tire marks that killed the snake.”