Perhaps you will agree with me that the world is facing a crisis. What is the cause of it, and what will be the remedy? Will there be a Golden Age any time soon? I am not sure there will be a Golden Age in my life-time, although I want to be proved wrong on that point. Chris Hedges in his book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, wrote the following:
“Sadism dominates the culture. It runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, is at the core of pornography, and fuels the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective. This hypermasculinity has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and the sick. … We accept the system handed to us and seek to find a comfortable place within it. We retreat into the narrow, confined ghettos created for us and shut our eyes to the deadly superstructure of the corporate state.”
No kidding! – How and why do we allow societies to fall into such destruction? Here is an interesting and probably the most true explanation there is from the late, great Sri Yogananda.
Sri Yogananda quotes from Sri Yukteswar Giri
“All nations have to follow the influence of the ascending and descending yugas. The present world crisis is due to the up-ward climb of Dwapara Yuga; in order for the world to become better, evil must be expunged. The forces of evil will cause their own destruction, thus assuring survival of the righteous nations. The conflict between good and evil has been going on since the dawn of history. But as the world is moving upward through the Dwapara Yuga, the electrical or atomic age, there is greater potential not only for good, but also for destruction through the misuse of technology by those who are greedy and desire power.
In keeping with the influence of Dwapara Yuga, technology is rapidly moving the general populance to higher levels of achievement. But this progress also creates a greater gap between the achievers and non-achievers. This foments jealousies and social, economic, and political troubles.”
The Hindu scriptures teach that the earth goes through repeated cycles of evolution and devolution. These world cycles consist of 24,000 years each, and are divided into four yugas or ages – 12,000 years of ascending through these yugas to increasing enlightenment, and then 12,000 years of descending through the yugas to increasing ignorance and materialism. Each half-cycle consists of Kali Yuga, the dark or Materialistic age; Dwapara Yuga, the electrical or atomic age; Treta Yuga, the mental age; and Satya Yuga, the age of truth or enlightenment.
My trip is half over now, must say the time went by quickly. I have been busy taking pics. – lots of them.The heat is well into the 30 degree range with rain sometimes. It’s really too hot to do anything. I have enjoyed my stay in Prashanthi Nilayam and so enjoy the Vedas and the bhajans, also other chants. Oh! how sublime it is here, away from the daily drudge of cleaning, washing and doing the shopping. I have many stories to share with you all, but they will have to wait until my return. My most pleasant surprise has been the superb food, not usually what I expect on my trips here to Puttaparthi.
– love eve xxxx
I’ve dragged out another old document with a travel story from long ago. I can’t remember just what year I visited Pinnawela? I guess it was at least 12 years back. I’d forgotten I’d written this yarn. This adventure, is one worth sharing, although not really in keeping with my blog. I could blog it under Ganesha, I suppose, the Hindu Elephant God Ganesha – the remover of obstacles. I love reading myths about Ganesha, still there’s nothing like a real elephant. To see them is to love them dearly.
Such A Perfect Day at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Sri Lanka
Although the mini-bus was fully air-conditioned and comfortable our three-hour drive from Kandy to Pinnawela proved exhausting.
The boiling sun roasted the countryside making the air thick with dust. Also the war had taken its toll on the roads where we encountered numerous pot-holes and rough patches that caused our stomachs to roll over. Our driver manoeuvred our vehicle to avoid them but it was an “un-perrrrrfect” skill on his part.
My friend Karon who lives in Sri Lanka, helped to make the drive interesting by pointing out favourite landmarks along the way, telling me their history. She also insisted that our driver play her favourite cassette tape. The cassette had only one song – “A Perfect Day,” by Eric Clapton. The song amused me with its endless repetitions of the same four words – dare I repeat them, “Just A Perfect Day.” But after an hour or so our poor driver sighed and pulled at his hair,
“Enough!” he wailed. “Enough, enough, enough.”
I nodded quietly agreeing with him.
We continued our journey to the steady rhythm of Enya singing “In Memory of Trees”.
Our driver gave a mischievous grin, “Wonderful!” he exclaimed and began to sing along, but horribly out of tune.
At exactly 11.40 a.m. the driver informed us we were entering the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. He hurriedly parked the mini-bus and urged us to go quickly because at noon the baby elephants were to be fed.
We rushed to the entrance paid our 50-rupee each fee, then sped to the enclosure where the babies were kept. Oh! What a beautiful sight met our eyes. Miniature elephants of varying size stood eagerly waiting their morning meal. Several really small ones, stomped their feet anxiously as they waited.
Others moved their heads up and down in an attempt to draw attention to their hungry bellies. The older ones trumpeted with undisguised impatience; they had to wait until last. We struggled to get nearer to the orphans but there was a large crowd.
Eventually we managed a front row spot, where I could stretch out my hand to stroke one of the smallest babies. The infant still covered with baby hair felt like a brillo pad! I continued to stroke him/her, but he/she wasn’t having it. He/she roared at me, until I withdrew my hand. The infant although appealing still looked dangerous. The keeper seeing my concern came over and began to feed the baby elephant, who took the bottle greedily. The little thing closed her eyes, her long lashes looked almost like false ones. They were long and thick.
We tried to find out more about the orphans but the keepers were too busy. Our friendly bus driver joined us and offered intriguing details about the orphans. He had been bringing people here for years and had a wealth of knowledge he could share. He told us that most of the orphans had lost their parents in the continuing war in Northern Sri Lanka. We heard that one youngster had been found wandering with a group of wild buffalo and was eventually rescued and brought to the centre only a few days earlier. Another teenager elephant, crippled by a land mine, had been saved by soldiers and brought to the orphanage where the vets had amputated a back leg. The injury had taken three years to heal. The injured elephant had little trouble following the rest of the herd to the river, even on three legs.
After the baby orphans had been fed we made our way down to the river, where the joyful trumpeting of the adults was heard as they wallowed in the water. The elephants were divided into groups to aid them in establishing new family herds. They rubbed and trunk-hosed each other fondly, trying to keep cool in the soaring temperatures. Several youngsters caught my eye as they stood heaving their trunks over their backs splattering mud and water everywhere.
Fascinated by these gentle beasts, I wanted a closer view. I removed my shoes and with Karon’s help, climbed down the steep incline to the riverside. From my new vantage point, I could see that the river run deep in the middle, while flanked on both sides by a steamy jungle. A perfect setting for the wild elephants. Directly in front of me two huge adults, were lying on their sides in the river, being lovingly scrubbed by their keepers. Being within hearing range, I could hear the keepers giving commands to the great beasts who followed them attentively.
“Come closer,” one of the keepers shouted to me.
“Oh! no,” I cried. “It’s too muddy and I may slip.” Being close to the elephants was treat enough but I didn’t want to push my luck.
“Beautiful creatures,” I yelled. “What’s their names?
“This one is Lila.” The keeper nearest to me shouted back while pointing to the beast lying in the water beside him. “I’m the mahout.” (keeper)
Lila eyed me curiously, rolled over, and stood up. He was of gargantuan size!
“Oh!” I exclaimed, gingerly stepped backwards. “Is Lila dangerous?”
The keeper laughed and called a command to Lila who trudged towards him through the thick mud.
He can be dangerous but not with me in charge.” Assured the mahout with a chuckle.
From the rocks. A good vantage point for seeing the elephants in the river
Karon stretched out her hand, “Here take your camera,” she said. “And be careful.” I took several photos of Lila until he came a tad too close. At which time I made a speedy retreat through the rocks. From the safely on the riverbank, I waved to the mahout who continued to brush and wash the elephant.
“Now you’ve been close to a wild elephant,” Karon joked, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “Maybe you will be brave enough to ride one.”
Wiping the sweat from my face, I answered that I only might consider it. Karon took several more photos then we made our way to the cafe overlooking the river. We remained there sipping our ice-cold cola for sometime, watching the elephants. The younger ones as they played with each other, provided us with a glimpse of how elephants inter-act in the wild. The older ones explored the far side of the river, trumpeting as they went. The babies, farther down the river, enjoyed lessons in “elephant hygiene” given by their keepers.
One sad looking male stood chained to a rock. We were told he was ready to mate. He stood in the water, roaring ominously. Very upset with the hoards of tourist. We felt sorry for him as he stood there looking at the females, who flirted outrageously with him. Several of the elephants appeared to be sick, due to the terrible ordeals they had been through. We could only hope that with time and care they would recover and lead normal elephant lives.
At four p.m. the elephants were rounded up and led in a single file back to the orphanage. We stood captivated as each one filed past. Last but not the least; the three-legged teenager strolled by lapping up all the extra attention tourist gave him.
“Ah,” we cried, ” he’s so sweet.”
Sweet, yes, but powerful and majestic beyond measure.
From my travels…………
Properly taken from the Cafe – overlooking the river.
I have no idea what Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is like today. I hear different reports, some suggesting the elephants are not treated too well. On my visit The elephants looked very well cared for considering a cruel war was waging. the orphanage lacked funds, often relying on volunteers to help out. Might add the photos are not mine. They come from the Internet. My photos are on film.
The Meaning of Ganesh in Japan
Ganesha assumes 30 distinctive forms in Japanese iconography, often as a dual entity. One erotic form, specific to Shingon Buddhism, features two embracing male and female forms with elephant heads and human bodies. These are rare idols, worshipped with secret rituals inside temples. Typically, they are made of metal as they must be immersed in oil during worship. Gumyo-ji, an 8th century temple in Minami, Yokohama has one such image. Often, Japanese temple doors feature two long-robed, elephant-headed figures in an embrace.
Young Japanese popularly worship Kangiten as a symbol of conjugal bliss. Many entrepreneurs, especially those whose business involves food and drink, worship Ganesha as Shou Ten, a benevolent obstacle-remover and enhancer of wealth.
Many thanks to the Ganesh blog for details.
Have you made it to the end of this epic read? Need a break? Here’s Lou Reed with “SUCH A PERFECT DAY..” ~ Karon, if you are still reading my blog, this one is for you and Sam!
And it was a perfect day – as Lou Reed describes !
It is interesting to read the notes of Sri Aurobindo, about how he expresses devotion to Sri Krishna. Imagine a man who had little liking for religion, then somehow his intuition tells him that one day he would be in the consciousness of Krishna. (See slide-show at the bottom of the post.)
Asked by a disciple as to why he choose Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo replied: “I could not question. It was Sri Krishna’s Adesh. I had to obey. Later on I found it was for the Ashram and or the work.” (Evening talks with Sri Aurobindo pg 23)
In 1908 when arrested and sent to prison, Sri Aurobindo was shaken in faith and it was the voice from within that assured him. In the famous Uttarpara speech Sri Aurobindo says:”When I was arrested and hurried to the Lal Bazar hajat I was shaken in faith for a while, for I could not look into the heart of His intention. Therefore I faltered for a moment and cried out in my heart to Him,
Sri Krishna Janmashtami
Janmashtami (also known as Krishnashtami or Gokulashtami) is a festival dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna to commemorate his birth on earth. This year it falls on August 17, and on this day (up to midnight), the whole story of Sri Krishna’s birth will be enacted by the devotees in their houses and many delicacies, prepared out of milk and curd, will be distributed as ‘prasad’ (food made sacred by offering to God) to everyone.
In his letters to sadhaks, Sri Aurobindo mentions about Sri Krishna:
“Krishna as a godhead is the Lord of Ananda, Love and Bhakti; as an incarnation, he manifests the union of wisdom (Jnana) and works and leads the earth-evolution through this towards union with the Divine by Ananda, Love and Bhakti.”
“The boy with the flute is Sri Krishna, the Lord descended into the world-play from the divine Ananda; his flute is the music of the call which seeks to transform the lower ignorant play of mortal life and bring into it and establish in its place the Lila of his divine Ananda.”
Krishna by Sri Aurobindo
At last I find a meaning of soul’s birth
Into this universe terrible and sweet,
I who have felt the hungry heart of earth
Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna’s feet.
I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,
And heard the passion of the Lover’s flute,
And known a deathless ecstasy’s surprise
And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.
Nearer and nearer now the music draws,
Life shudders with a strange felicity;
All Nature is a wide enamoured pause
Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.
For this one moment lived the ages past;
The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.
Interesting slide Show with Sri Aurobindo and Sri Krishna
When I look at photos of Sri Yogananda during his last days on Earth, I do not see a weak older man. Indeed not! I see only a serenely beautiful being who has lost all attachments to earthly life.. His expression in this photo is one of utmost peace and bliss. His half open eyes appear to be gazing at something supremely wonderful and beyond us. Perhaps he is gazing upon the realm that is calling him home to the highest light. Here is one of his gems on genius.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matt. 16 -Chapter 26.
“The twin aspects of genius, the passive and the active, are possessed by the fully realized artist; they also form the necessary equipment of the Adept. Yet in very few people are these twin aspects manifested. Nearly everyone has a capacity for the passive aspect, which involves some sort of appreciation of aesthetic values. There are few people totally unresponsive to the beauties of nature, and none at all that is not responsive to its ferocious manifestations. Fewer are able to respond profoundly to the beauty of natural phenomena, and fewer still to so-called works of art. It takes a degree of genius to respond to such manifestations the whole time. Artists in this category are among the saints, some of whom thrilled with rapture at the constant awareness of the total unity, harmony, and beauty of things.
Such were Boehme, Ramakrishna, etc. Some yogis are immersed in an unsullied and vibrant bliss derived from the incessant contemplation of this ‘world-bewitching maya’4-the breath-taking wonder of the great and glamorous illusion which surrounds us.
On the other side of the fence, on the side of active or creative genius, there are yet fewer. Active or creative genius means nothing less than the ability to translate the wonder or the terror of the great lfla (the great play of life) in terms of visual, tactile, audible, olfactory, or some other sensual presentation of phenomena.
But there is a third aspect of genius which is yet more rare. It is the ability to open the door of the theatre and admit the influences from outside, from the swarming gulfs beyond the grasp of the mind, and accessible only to the magical entity whose fantastic feelers can snare the most fugitive impulses as they flash through the holes in space, the kinks in time, to be reflected in the magic mirror of the artist’s mind.”
The involution of a superconscient spirit in inconscinet Matter is the secret cause of this visible and apparent world. The keyword of the earth’s riddle is the gradual evolution of a hidden illimitable consciousness and power out of the seemingly inert yet furiously driven force of insensible Nature.
Earth-life is one self-chosen habitation of a great Divintiy and his aconic will is to change it from blind prison into his splendid mansion and high heaven – reaching temple.
The nature of the Divinity in the world is an enigma to the mind, but to our enlarging consciousness it will appear as a presence simple and inevitable. Freed we shall enter into the immutable stability of an eternal existence that puts on this revealing multitude of significant mutable forms..
Illumined we shall become aware of the indivisible light of an infinite consciousness that breaks out here into multiform grouping and detail of knowledge. Sublimated in might we shall share the illimitable movement of an omnipotent force that works out its marvels in self-imposed limits. Fixed in griefless bliss we shall possess the calm and ecstasy of an immeasurable Delight that creates forever the multitudinous waves and rhythm and the ever increasing onward-going and inward-drawing intensities of its own creative and communicative world possessing and self-possessing bliss.
~ the Indwelling Spirit – Sri Aurobindo – to be continued.
From His Bio.
Man’s present existence in the material world is in this view or vision of things a life in the Ignorance with the In- conscient at its base, but even in its darkness and nescience there are involved the presence and possibilities of the Divine. The created world is not a mistake or a vanity and illusion to be cast aside by the soul returning to heaven or Nirvana, but the scene of a spiritual evolution by which out of this material inconscience is to be manifested progressively the Divine Consciousness in things. Mind is the highest term yet reached in the evolution, but it is not the highest of which it is capable. There is above it a Supermind or eternal Truth-Consciousness which is in its nature the self-aware and self-determining light and power of a Divine Knowledge. Mind is an ignorance seeking after Truth, but this is a self-existent Knowledge harmoniously manifesting the play of its forms and forces. It is only by the descent of this Supermind that the perfection dreamed of by all that is highest in humanity can come. It is possible by opening to a greater divine consciousness to rise to this power of light and bliss, discover one’s true self, remain in constant union with the Divine and bring down the supramental Force for the transformation of mind and life and body. To realise this possibility has been the dynamic aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Sri Yogananda and his masterful Master, were both powerful Indian Saints of the early 20th Century. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Autobiography of a Yogi, and still turn to it time and time again. What inspiration it has been for many people through the decades…. Today, I have posted part of an article by Tom Kenyon on Siddhis and the Powers of consciousness.
Many yogis/yoginis, saints and mystics have reported that they could often see their disciples in distant locations when it was called for. In one account, the yogi Neem Karoli Baba suddenly asked for large amounts of food to be brought to him. Those present report that he consumed a mind-boggling amount of food before going into samadhi (yogic meditation). When the yogi came out of meditation, his disciples asked him what had happened. He reported that he had suddenly seen one of his disciples dying in the desert. The last desire of the dying man was to eat. Baba said that the student had reached a level of attainment where there was no further need to reincarnate. But with the desire for food on his mind, he would have been brought back into the wheel of birth and death merely through the power of this one unfulfilled desire! Baba had taken upon himself the task of fulfilling the man’s last wish for food, and using his yogic powers, he transmuted the desire.
When psychic information is received auditorially, the person is called clairaudient. Such persons have subtle impressions of hearing sounds and/or voices. The inner realms of consciousness are filled with sounds and music that are incredibly beautiful. It has been suggested by some that many of the great composers actually heard the music of these realms and that this music of the spheres greatly influenced their compositions.
Some individuals feel things at a very subtle level and these persons are called clairsentients. There is often a fine line between a clairsentient and an empath. Empaths have highly developed sensitivities and often feel other people’s feelings, especially those around them. Clairsentients may also be empathic, but in addition, they receive psychic impressions in the form of subtle feelings, which are often physical.
Clairgnosis is one of the more fascinating siddhis. When you have a hunch about something, but have no idea how you might know such a thing, this is clairgnosis. (That is, if your hunch turns out to be true. If it turns out to be false, we call that delusion.) Some have suggested that clairgnosis is an attribute of pure consciousness which is omniscient and omnipresent. As one rises higher up the ladder of consciousness, one’s own personal awareness takes on some of these qualities and episodes of clairgnosis increase.
The lesser siddhis also include such things as healing abilities and limited powers of prophecy. This class of yogic powers also includes the ability for awareness to become very small or very large, in other words, not confined by the limitations of the body.
The greater siddhis include such things as levitation (in which the body floats or hovers in air). Again this siddhia is not confined to Indian yogis or yoginis as some believe. There are well-documented sightings of St. Francis of Assisi, for one, hovering in the air. St. Francis exhibited other siddhis as well. In fact, his physical remains have spiritual powers even after his death. While visiting his shrine in Assisi, I was transported into the spiritual realms through the emanations from his crypt! I heard a sound like wind blowing through Aspen trees whenever I stood near his body, and when I returned to my hotel room my skin was red, as if I had a mild sunburn.
By the way, if you are ever at Assisi, here’s a little tip. As you enter the main entrance into the Basilica where St. Francis’s remains are kept, turn to your left. Off to both sides there will be stairs that lead down to the crypt, and it is certainly worth visiting. The problem is that there are usually throngs of people milling about, and it is difficult to find a quiet space. If you proceed further, though, on the main floor, past the stairs, you will see a large altar in the distance. It is the only altar in this part of the church. On the floor, in front of the altar, there is a geometric figure. It sits directly above St. Francis’s tomb, and the emanations from this area are very strong. No one seems to know about it, so you can stand directly on the spot and receive the emanations in relative peace.
The greater siddhis also include such remarkable abilities such as teleportation (like the Abbott I mentioned earlier) and bi-location (being in two places at once). There are other abilities that fall under this category, but they are too numerous to list here.
… Siddhis or yogic powers are attained as a natural consequence of spiritual development. There is, however, a very real dilemma with the siddhis. If not tempered with wisdom, the premature attainment of yogic powers can lead to karmic entanglements.
A short anecdote about a well-known yogi may help to make this clear.
He is quite an extraordinary being, and many years ago, I had the wonderful experience of studying with him during a weeklong retreat. According to a close disciple of his, whom I came to know, the yogi had gone to India for a spiritual retreat in his early twenties, having attained some of the siddhis. He was resting against a tree listening to the beautiful music of a master musician who was caught up in the fervor of bhakti (Divine Love), and due to the intensity of devotion within the music, our yogi was transported into a deep state of samadhi and experienced great ecstasies and bliss.
The concert abruptly ended when it started to rain and the musician rushed indoors. Using his siddhic powers, the yogi caused the rain to stop, and the musician returned to his kirtans (sacred singing). Very quickly our yogi was transported back into samadhi, but his bliss was rudely ended by an old man kicking him in the side. The man was also a yogi, and in a furor he continued to kick the younger yogi, yelling obscenities at him.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “Don’t you realize this area has been suffering from a drought? And you, you stopped the rains for your own selfish desires.” The ancient yogi raised his staff in the air and pointed it at his younger peer. “Mark my words, if you don’t stop this, you will pay a great karmic debt. You will spend a thousand lifetimes as a sea creature!” The old yogi then kicked some dust in the direction of the young man and left before he could respond.
Immediately the younger yogi went into meditation and through his siddhic powers returned the rains. He fervently prayed to God to take away his siddhis, and miraculously they left him. But over the years they slowly returned to a much wiser and less flamboyant man.
Generally speaking, the siddhis are looked upon, by most people, as being more magical and exotic than practical. Part of this is due, no doubt, to a pervasive misunderstanding about their place among other human abilities, such as the ability to reason and to make language, both of which we take for granted.
The siddhis are inherent human abilities, but they only show up when consciousness has reached a certain level of development. When this level has been attained, the siddhis or yogic powers, spontaneously appear. They are like fruits on a tree.
Although one may have an apple tree in one’s yard, only when it has reached a certain level of maturity and development is it capable of manifesting the fruits of its nature. This is also true of the powers of consciousness. We all possess them, in potential, but not all of us will demonstrate them in actuality.
As one looks at the various internal alchemies of the world, they all have their own version of the siddhis and views on how to attain them. Traditionally, this knowledge has been kept secret, and only those admitted to these esoteric schools or spiritual lineages have been given access to the technology of self-evolution.
Personally, I believe that knowledge of the siddhis is a human birthright, and this technology for the acceleration of self-evolution should be made as widely available as possible.
This is an excerpt from a beautifully written letter by a late-devotee (Richard Wright) of Sri Yukteswarji. At the bottom of the page, you will find the link to all the letters from Richard Wright to his friends, telling them about his travels in India together with his experiences with Sri Yukteswar. I am thrilled on finding the Ananda website, to be able to read first-hand accounts’ of Sri Yukteswar life. I would have loved to have met Him but alas! he died long before I was born. Yet in some strange odd way, I feel very drawn to him as if I knew him anyway. – ” Just sayin, maybe next time around.. ” Sorry about the spacing in the letter below, just cannot be correct..
No doubt, you are quite puzzled, perplexed, and annoyed at my apparently greedy silence regarding Swami Sri Yukteswarji; and in one sense I don’t blame you. But in another sense I believe you would not blame me, for this is the reason. I felt this way: far be it from me to attempt to describe one so great and saintly with my limited understanding and superficial glances. I could write reams and reams perhaps about his appearance and the outward aspect of the man, but would I be doing justice to the Saint within? So I waited and waited,hoping to glean more and more of the Saint, the true Swami Sri Yukteswarji.
On every visit we made to his humble Ashrama out in Serampore, just 15 miles outside of Calcutta, I tried and tried to penetrate the Bengali conversation between the two Swamijis, for English is null and void when they are together, although Swamiji Maharaj (as called by others) can and sometimes does speak English, although every time I’ve been present every precious moment is devoted to an exchange of expressions and not wasted on merely passing the time of day. I’ve felt so privileged and elated at just being present in their company, that to utter a word or question in English would have been sacrilegious. But to a certain extent, much less than desired, I’ve had a chance to taste the saintliness of this Great One, in his jovial smile and twinkling eyes.
One quality I have discerned in his merry, serious conversation, is a decided positiveness in his statements—the mark of a wise man, who knows he knows, because he knows God. And so it is, anything I could write would only be based upon the limited external impressions and perception, and not upon the true basis of the saint—his spiritual glory. So, if I’m forgiven for my inaptitude and inability to do the inner man or saint justice, I shall begin my tale (from my notes) on a certain day back in September, as a matter of fact on the 30th.
On this day we left Calcutta, filled with the highest anticipation and full of the great joy that we had been experiencing in the receptions here and there. Our journey to Serampore, just 15 miles out among the villages outside of Calcutta, led us over very picturesque roads crowded with heedless pedestrians or rag-clad natives and most insolent and inert “hump-shouldered” cows and dogs. One common scene that is always of fascination is the water buffaloes with their huge bulkiness, climaxed by a crown of flesh and bone on their shoulders, “worn so,” or created so, by the heavy poles stretching across their necks in the form of a yoke, for centuries and centuries; at least, one would be led to believe that this physiological characteristic had been formed from the constant burden they had to bear over so many centuries, and yet they appear docilely vicious in their huge black, scarcely-haired hides, with long horns swooping and dipping back toward their shoulders, so meek and so fierce, in appearance only, however. It is not uncommon to see herds of them standing majestically
in ponds of mud or dirty water out in the villages.
Well, enough of the cows, or at least of the way I described them, so on we went through the conglomerated, congested, and “un-white-winged” villages, and entering Serampore we passed by the queer shops and motley mass of humanity, turned to the right, and proceeded past the adobe, tile-roofed and thatched-roof huts or hovels, past the favorite eating haunt (a shop) of Swamiji during his school days at the college in Serampore, and suddenly turned to the right again down a narrow, walled lane, then a sudden left turn and there before us towered the humble, but inspiring two-story Ashrama of Swami Sri Yukteswarji, with a Spanish-style verandah on the upper floor or balcony, and the most impressive thing about it was its humble solitude. In grave humbleness I strode behind Swamiji into the courtyard or patio within the Ashrama walls, and likewise the inner portion of the upper story was lined on three sides by a verandah. We proceeded up some old stone steps, hearts pounding, up steps no doubt trod by myriad of Truth-drinkers; up through this crumbling, but sacredly humble abode we continued, the tension growing keener and keener, when suddenly, without ostentation or fore-preparation, there before us near the head of the stairs of this quaint verandah, appeared the Great One, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, standing in his noble pose of great wisdom. He has a decidedly sloping forehead, indicative of a lofty vision and sincerity of purpose, a decided purpose, and God-Wisdom.
Then my heart heaved and swelled as I felt myself blessed by the privilege of being in his sublime presence. Tears nearly blurred my eager sight when Swamiji dropped to his knees, and with bowed head offered his Soul’s gratitude and greeting, touching his feet, and then his own head in humble obeisance to his Guru; he arose and was embraced on both sides of the bosom. It was like the joyous greeting of father and prodigal son, but in this case, triumphant son; no words passed, but the most intense feeling was expressed in the silent words of the heart.
How their eyes sparkled and fired with the warmth of renewed Soul-union! A most tender feeling surged through-out this humble patio; even the sun seemed to elude the clouds to add his blaze of glory to the sublime occasion. Then my humbleness waxed high, and on bended knee and dropped head, I added my Soul’s love and thanks for all I’ve thrilled to and hope to thrill to; touching his feet, calloused by Time and Sacrifice, and receiving his blessings by touching my own head after rising, I stood to face two beautiful, deep eyes, sparkling with joy and wisdom, and introspectively smouldering; the brown iris of his eyes glistened in a ring of ethereal blue.
When man understands even by way of inference, the true nature of this creation, the true relation existing between this creation and himself; and when he further understands that he is completely blinded by the influence of Darkness, Maya, and that it is the bondage of Darkness alone which makes him forget his real Self and brings about all his sufferings, he naturally wishes to be relieved form all these evils. This relief from evil, or liberation from the bondage of Maya, becomes the prime object of his life.
When man raises himself above the idea creation of this Darkness, Maya, and passes completely out of its influence, he becomes liberated from bondage and is placed in his real Self, the Eternal Spirit.
On attaining this liberation, man becomes saved from all his troubles, and all the desires of his heart are fulfilled, so the ultimate aim of his life is accomplished.
So long, however, as man identifies himself with his material body and fails to find repose in his true Self, he feels his wants according to his heart’s desires remain unsatisfied. To satisfy them he has to appear often in flesh and blood on the stage of life, subject to the influence of Darkness, Maya, and has to suffer all the troubles of life and death not only in the present but in the future as well.
Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms. When your conviction of a truth is not merely in your brain but in your being, you may diffidently vouch for its meaning. The rishis wrote in one sentence profundities that commentating scholars busy themselves over for generations. Endless literary controversy is for sluggard minds. What more quickly liberating thought than ‘God is’ – nay, ‘God’? But man does not easily return to simplicity. It is seldom ‘God’ for an intellectualist, but rather learned pomposities. His ego is pleased, that he can grasp such erudition.