Light On Arnaud Desjardins – Children Of Light

One day someone asked me, “How can I progress in spite of everyday difficulties?” I gave the somewhat hard answer, “How can you get to the second floor in spite of the stairs?” So the real question on the path is: “How can I progress on the Way thanks to every day difficulties.”

– Arnaud Desjardins

My thanks to  Michel Tardieu for this wonderful website and introducing me to  French Advaita Vedanta Master Arnaud Desjardins. My impression of him is that he was the “real deal” (he passed away just last year) and that one on the advaitan path could learn so much from such a wise and good-hearted teacher.

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http://www.arnauddesjardinsdvds.com/index.php?page=04&lg=e  –  This website contains excerpts from dvd clips of talks given by Arnaud Desjardin. 
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About Arnaud Desjardin’s Guru
Swami Prajnanpad was a traditional Hindu monk who lived on a tiny ashram outside of Calcutta. He was virtually unknown outside of his small circle of students. Prior to this while teaching science at the University level, Swamiji discovered and studied the work of Sigmund Freud. He later incorporated critical elements of early psychoanalysis into the traditional spiritual path of non-dualism that he offered. Arnaud absorbed Swami Prajnanpad’s precise and potent Advaita Vedanta teachings over a period of nine years and was then sent to teach in his own right. For the following thirty years Arnaud guided his body of students, which grew to be about 2000 in number, and inspired other teachers and students from many different paths. Arnaud left his body in August of 2011, though his widespread influence continues to inspire practitioners all over the world. His wisdom and instruction are sought through his French books and films as well as these teachings in English. His senior students sustain his ashrams in France and Canada and continue making Arnaud and Swami Prajnanpad’s teachings available.
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Arnaud Desjardin Speaking to Enlightenment Magazine
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Though Sri Mataji Anandamayi Ma was not, strictly speaking, my guru, she certainly played a major role, to say the least, in my life and my sadhana [spiritual practice]. In fact, she still does today. Her memory is alive deep within my heart and there are several pictures of her on the walls of the ashram where I now teach.From my first physical encounter with her, in 1959, to the day in 1965 when she gave me her blessing to go to Sri Swami Prajnanpad (1891-1974), a relatively unknown master who was to become my guru—though I’d rather say of whom I gradually became the disciple—I considered Mataji as my guru. During those years, I repeatedly stayed with her for extended periods of time. Even after meeting Swami Prajnanpad, I always felt her active influence and kept visiting her, up to my last trip to India a few years before she left her body.To state things simply, I could say that, though in the course of my search and travels I have had the privilege to closely approach quite a few extraordinary beings—Tibetans, Sufis, Hindu gurus and Zen masters, many of whom left a deep imprint in my heart—to me Anandamayi Ma was and remains the embodiment of transcendence, the living proof of the actual existence of a transcendental reality. “Extraordinary,” “superhuman,” “divine”. . . I still feel today that no adjective is big enough to describe her presence, particularly when I met her, in the full blossoming of her radiance. I could barely believe that such a being could walk the earth in a human form, and I have no difficulty understanding how a whole theology was developed around her. I never, never met a sage whose divine appearance I admired so much. In truth, I admired her beyond all words.Thousands of pilgrims were of course similarly touched by her extraordinary presence, but I’d rather insist here on another aspect of Mataji: the relentless way in which she sometimes crucified the ego of those who wanted more than her occasional blessing. In fact, in her ashram, there was a very clear distinction between two kinds of visitors: those who came for her darshan [personal audience] and who received a warm welcome, and those who insisted on being considered her disciples, who were challenged and put on edge, to the limit of what they were able to bear—but never beyond. No guru wants to bring someone to absolute despair or to leaving the path because of unbearable trials. During the years when Denise Desjardins and myself were spending several months within the ashram as candidates to discipleship rather than as mere visitors, we went through a lot of that “special treatment.”Of course I realize, as I am about to recall a few examples of that treatment, that these stories may look very innocent, not so terrible to casual readers. The truth is, it is always easy to hear descriptions of someone else’s sadhana and to imagine: “Oh, had I been in this situation, I would not have been affected in such a way. I would have immediately taken it as a lesson, a challenge to my ego, etc. . . .” When you actually are tested, when your mind and ego are being provoked through situations which sometimes are in themselves very simple disappointments and difficulties, you are not hearing a story anymore. You’re in the fire, plunged into what constitutes the essence of all sadhanas: a persistent, sometimes harsh challenging of your ego and mind through situations which call into question your present identifications and attachments.
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In those years, I was a professional filmmaker, working for French television. One of the things Mataji used to crucify my ego and teach me was the film I was shooting in her ashram. She sometimes granted me exceptional opportunities and then caused me to waste my last rolls, which I had very much been counting on. This was hard to accept. Following the advice of one of her ashramites, I had preciously saved three rolls of film until the very end of my stay. This had caused me to renounce shooting scenes which could have been important. Then, during those last days, every time I started filming, Anandamayi Ma, in front of everybody, either turned her head or winced. This was all the more cruel to me since I believed the person who had asked me to save those rolls had been inspired by Ma. Eventually, Ma only allowed me to shoot one roll. As this was after sunset, I was convinced there would be no visible image on the film. Incredible as it may seem, there was something: three of what may well be the most beautiful shots of the whole film, where Ma can be seen at night surrounded by a few disciples. These miraculous forty seconds were worth the sacrifice of those three rolls. Once she asked me to project the images which to me were most precious with some worn-out Indian equipment, when I knew for sure that it would irremediably damage the film.

I also remember a particular incident. I had always dreamed of meeting what I then called true yogis—not yoga teachers, but yogis having attained mastery over certain energies or developed certain powers. To me, those yogis embodied the whole legend of India. They lived in the high valley of the Ganges where I had not yet been able to go, since the Indian government had not granted me the special permit then necessary to travel to that region. One of those famous yogis was about to come down to the plains to visit Anandamayi Ma. On this very day, Ma asked me if I could travel with my Land Rover to a distance of some 150 kilometers where I was to pick up some luggage and bring it back. The roads were not tarred, it was raining, there was mud all over, so that when I left the ashram, the yogi had not arrived, and when I came back, he had already left. To me, at the time, this was a terrible disappointment indeed, a broken dream.

Every time my ego desperately wanted to be acknowledged by Ma, circumstances were such that I could not see her privately for weeks. But once, when, after having gone through what one usually calls intense pain, I at last changed my inner attitude, she herself took me for a ride in the car. I was alone with her, the driver, and a great pundit whom I very much admired. She had me sit next to her and did not allow anyone else to go with us.

We often had the impression that others were also brought to teach us and that the whole world was consciously or unconsciously serving Mother’s purpose. She was an incredible source of energy, the center of a huge activity.

It is difficult to imagine what surrender to Anandamayi Ma, as some of her closest disciples were living it, could mean. I remember one monk whose ideal of life was to meditate. He had been meditating in an isolated ashram in the Himalayas and was very happy, until Ma appointed him as the swami in charge of the Delhi ashram. Every day, he had to deal with curious visitors, Europeans, people from the embassies and consulates. He was forced to be no longer a meditator but an administrator, immersed head to toe in active life—the exact opposite of what he had been aspiring to. He was working twenty hours a day and I even once saw him slowly fall down. He had simply fallen asleep while walking. Just contemplating Anandamayi’s radiant smile, one could not imagine the pressure she put on some—in the name of ultimate freedom.

To conclude, I’d like to say that, remembering Ma as well as my guru, Swami Prajnanpad, I feel especially grateful for the occasions when they caused me pain, when they brought suffering to my ego. They, of course, never did me any harm. On the contrary, everything they did, whether they smiled or were angry at me, served my ultimate good. But they certainly made me feel severely hurt at times.

And the truth is, one cannot make any progress in one’s sadhana if one’s ego and mind are not sometimes painfully shaken.

Arnaud Desjardins is the author of many books, including two which have been translated into English: Toward the Fullness of Life (Threshold Books) and The Jump Into Life: Moving Beyond Fear (Hohm Press). He resides and teaches at his ashram, Hauteville, in the south of France. (died in 2011)

-Source Enlightenment Magazine
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An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child, who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who makes everything complicated, who spreads suffering everywhere, who is afraid of being happy, and who, because it is easier to bear, has gone back to sleep. The wise man is a happy child. ~ Arnaud Desjardins


The Source Of Vedanta – Inspirational Quotations

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♥♥♥♥♥♥♥~Divine Inspirations ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Vedanta  teaches Oneness of Existence,Unity in Diversity. Also teaches that God is infinite existence, infinite consciousness, and infinite bliss. The term for this impersonal, transcendent reality is Brahman, the divine ground of being. Yet Vedanta also maintains that God can be personal as well, assuming human form in every age.

Most importantly, God dwells within our own hearts as the divine Self or Atman. The Atman is never born nor will it ever die. Neither stained by our failings nor affected by the fluctuations of the body or mind, the Atman is not subject to our grief or despair or disease or ignorance. Pure, perfect, free from limitations, the Atman, Vedanta declares, is one with Brahman. The greatest temple of God lies within the human heart.

♥♥♥♥♥~Divine Inspirations ♥♥♥♥♥
The Source Of Vedanta
There is a story in Mundaka Upaishad that runs like this: Once in a tree there were two birds, one at the upper branch, serene, majestic and divine, and the other at a lower branch, restlessly pecking fruits, sometimes sweet sometimes bitter. Every time, when the restless bird ate a bitter fruit, it looked at the upper bird and climbed a branch up. This occurred a number of times and eventually the bird reached the topmost branch. There it was not able to differentiate itself from the divine bird, and then it learned that there was only one bird in the tree, the upper bird, which is described as divine, the real form of the other restless bird. This is the thought of Vedanta. The fruits in the story are Karma, the restless bird denotes a human soul, and the majestic bird denotes the Absolute. ~ Wikipedia…
♥♥♥♥♥~Divine Inspirations ♥♥♥♥♥

Just added a wonderful website with  old bhajans sung by the incredible Anandamayi Ma. This is a real treat for me. 🙂 I must thank my friend, Michel Tardieu for this wonderful piece of history.
Click the link above, then follow down the page to the music sections with a list of bhajans, and “Menu.”  Then press the bhajan button. There are several bhajans to choose from. You will also hear Ma’s explosive laugh after the first two bhajans.  I don’t know what the joke is about, I cannot tell.  She is really having fun with her bhajans though and her laugh is quite hilarious. The first bhajan is Ram Ram Ram, He Baghavan, Hari Bol, Sita Ram, and one more…

“Nothing But God” – Sri Ramakrishna, Children Of Light

God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.  – Sri Ramakrishna

Initiation occurs at various levels and through various means. In most instances, it consists of a formal ritual in which the Spiritual Master transmits spiritual power (shakti) through a mantra that is whispered into a the disciple’s left ear. But great adepts can initiate by a touch or  glance or even simply by visualising the disciple. Sri Ramakrishna, the great nineteenth-centry master, placed his foot on Swami Vivekananda’s chest and promptly plunged his young disciple into a deep state of formless ecstasy. Not only Vivekananada but other pupils too were plunged into a temporary Samadhi. Here is a short story from Narendra about  his experiences of Samadhi after Sri ramakrishna touched him.    


God’s Love Never Fails!!
(¯`v´¯) .¸¸.•´¯`•.

Sri Ramakrishna wanted to initiate his new pupil, Narendra, into Advaitha Vedanta (the teaching that all this is only the One) and so gave him several Advaitha treatises to read. But the earlier religious background of Narendra would not allow him to accept such teachings. He would rebel saying “It is blasphemy, there is no difference from such philosophy and Atheism. There is no greater sin in the world than to think of oneself as identical with the Creator. I am God, you are God, these created things are God – what can be more absurd than this. The sages who wrote such things must have been insane.” Sri Ramakrishna was amused at his pupil’s bluntness but told him to go on praying to the God of truth and to believe in whatever aspect of Him that was revealed to him. Narendra however, considered the teachings false and continued to resist and ridicule them. But Sri Ramakrishna knew that Narendra was on the path of Jnana (the higher knowledge) and therefore continued to espouse the Advaithic point of view to him. One day he tried to convince Narendra that he was identical with Brahmam. Narendra left the room and began to discuss the situation with his friend Hazra. He said: “How can that be? This jug is God, this cup is God, whatever we see is God, and we, too are God! Nothing can be more preposterous!” Hazra joined in this criticism and both laughed. Sri Ramakrishna was in his room in a state partly in the Samadhi consciousness and partly in this world. Hearing Narendra’s laughter he came out to talk to them. “Hello! What are you talking about?” he said smiling and touched Narendra, who immediately plunged into full Samadhi. Narendra described the effect of the touch:

“That magic touch of the Master immediately brought a change over my mind. I was stupefied to find that really there was nothing in the universe but God! I saw it quite clearly but kept silent, to see if the idea would last. But that influence did not abate in the course of the day. I returned home, but there, too, everything I saw appeared to be Brahmam. I sat down to take my meal, but found that everything – the food, the plate, the person who served, and even myself – was nothing but That. I ate a morsel or two and sat still. I was startled by my mother’s words, ‘Why do you sit still? Finish your meal.’, and began to eat again. But all the while whether eating or lying down or going to college, I had the same experience and felt myself always in a sort of comatose state. While walking in the streets, I noticed cabs plying, but I did not feel inclined to move out of the way, for I felt that the cabs and myself were of one stuff. There was no sensation in my limbs, which I thought were becoming paralyzed. I had no satisfaction from eating and felt as though someone else were eating. Sometimes I lay down during a meal and after a few minutes got up and began to eat again. The result would be that on some days I would take too much, but it seemed to do no harm. My mother became alarmed and said that there must be something wrong with me. She was afraid that I would not live long. When this state altered a little, the world began to appear to me as a dream. While walking in Cornwallis Square, I would strike my head against the iron railings to see if they were real or only a dream. This state of things continued for some days. When I became normal again, I realized that I must have had a glimpse of the Advaitha state. Then it struck me that the words of the scriptures were not false. Thenceforth I could not deny the conclusions of the Advaitha philosophy.

– Ramakrishna Story from Cosmic Harmony