Throughout last winter, inmates at the men's maximum security prison in Salem and the women's facility in Wilsonville received weekly teachings for the first time since we started our prison program back in 2003. As a result, we were able to present the foundational teachings of Vedanta in a sequential manner that built upon each other. The men at OSP studied the early sections of the Vivekachudamani, The Crest Jewel of Discrimination, whereas the women at Coffee Creek, received a selection of the fundamental teachings of the Hindu dharma, such as: 24 Cosmic Principles, Karma & rebirth, The Four Fruits of Life, the qualifications of the student and the teacher, the Three Gunas, and more. Also during this time a little worship in the form of arati and chanting was initiated, which created a sweetly powerful atmosphere in the prison chapels, and was greatly appreciated by our students there. The students were thus even more prepared for Babaji's visits than ever.

During Babaji's last visit he brought the teachings into three different institutions, making the trip three times to the nearby prisons and twice to the one further out. One of our students was transferred from TRCI in Umatilla to Deer Ridge Correctional Institute in Eastern Oregon, and to our surprise there is already a good number of men there asking for Babaji to come and give classes. This will begin in June.

Babaji's classes behind these walls are no different from his classes on the outside. He even gets to have private meetings with the students. He presents the charts there too. We place some of what he taught below to create a sense of community with our sangha outside the walls as well as inside. Vedanta classes are self-selecting, and the men and women who attend, visit after visit, are those who are working seriously on themselves, who aspire to liberation, or are simply seeking the way out of suffering. May all beings be illumined!

A Few Notes...

On Renunciation & Projection

The world can't fulfill you. In how many ways does an object disappoint one? Objects can be lost, stolen, they can decay, or we get bored with them.

Without renunciation one cannot have peace. Walk through the minutia of life unconcerned. No-thing matters. If 100,000 pass in an earthquake, this doesn't affect Brahman.

The monk renounces internally and externally. The householder has to become a yogi and live among the objects. If pleasure comes, he will enjoy it. If pain comes, he will bear it. He is the same throughout because he is the Soul, not matter.

All this is illusion; it is covering Reality.

Creation, in Vedic philosophy, means sristhi, projection. You cannot create something out of nothing. Nothing doesn't exist! It is just as in the dreamstate wherein everything is projected from your mind. "We used to look at the universe as a mechanism, but now we see it as a thought." (paraphrasing the scientist, James Jean) God is not a creator, God is a transcendent Reality. Consciousness is not in time and space.

World weariness is distaste for the conventional world. It is like the warrior who drops his sword and goes up on the hill and watches the battle. This is Witness Consciousness.

Form and formless, inside and outside, a snake at rest and then wriggling — these are all examples of one thing in two modes. Formlessness carries form but never gets affected by it.

On Vedanta & Yoga

In the case of ignorance, the seer has identified with the seen and forgotten his Seerhood.

Truth should be simple, but that's at the formless level, beyond ego and mind. There, all is full and one.

Soul is a formless Reality. It associates with form but can never be relegated to form. In the Soul there is no sun, moon, lightning, etc...by It's Light all is lighted.

Holy Mother's three favorite words — the 3 P's — are purity, patience, and perseverance. Purity comes into effect after clearing the mind of obstacles and misconceptions, which takes patience and perseverance.

During presentation of the chart on The Five Koshas:

Atman is Brahman. You have water in the lake and inside the lake is a jar of water. The water is the same, inside and out. This jar is the ego.

If Vedanta has a devil it would be the ego, not an incarnate devil. It is the subtlest. You may be in a high meditation, close to samadhi, when some egotistic thought proposes the false sense of separation.

Western Psychology has people focus on the subconscious and unconscious mind which are full of problems. Yoga psychology tells people to focus on the perfection of the Self. Is it escapism? No. Vedanta shifts the focus from problems to Reality.

It takes another soul to awaken you; books can't do it.

Guru is not a personality but a Principle, a Truth Principle.

Manifestation is in the nature of Reality. The Maya theory doesn't take this into account. You have to go to Tantra for this.

No Bardos!

Babaji presented a chart on the Nine Obstacles to Yoga, one of which is Samshaya, doubt and indecision. He combined these teachings with the concept of bardo, anything that has a beginning, middle or end — anything from a day or month or year in your life to the time of your death. Bardos are a way of describing how our inherently undivided awareness becomes fragmented.

You are deathless. Are you going to betray that at the bardo of the moment of death? If so, you are like a snake in fear of a frog. You should eat that frog outright. Now, that's real croaking!

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