Holualoa class on Feb. 1, 2009
Mother is calling us....
[Babaji's introduction to our class began with a simple offering to Goddess Saraswati, whose puja (special worship) was the day before. Saraswati is depicted as a four-armed Goddess. In two hands She holds the Vina, representing the music of the spheres and the primal vibration, Om. In another hand She holds a scripture and in the other a japa mala. Behind her is a peacock representing the glitter of the world and in front of Her is a white swan, symbolizing the Atman, the stainless Self. Candles, incense and sacred chants were offered to our SRV Ideals: Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. Then flowers, a lei, and an ancient hymn were offered to Saraswati Ma, the Vak Devi, Goddess of the Word, which became the centerpoint of Babaji's class held at Morning Dew Farm in Holualoa. The following are notes from a student's notebook.]
Name and form are never the Reality; they are Maya. Reality is changeless, eternal, birthless and deathless. Name and form are constantly changing. All change takes place in Maya.
True ahimsa (nonviolence) is knowing that nothing can be destroyed, what to speak of the Atman (the Self/Soul). Creation, preservation, and destruction do not actually occur -- they are only going on in Prakriti/nature. What is happening is actually projection and withdrawal facilitated by the mind in a process called sankalpa (desire-based mental projection).
What are the mechanics of Sankalpa? The first thing that must happen is to "separate" yourself from Brahman via that apparent mechanism called ahamkara (ego). This ahamkara is a principle of creation; creation cannot begin without it. Then, to engage in sankalpa (mental projection/creative imaginings that project all name and form) you need mind.
If your senses are purified you create a sacred space and perform ritual, sanctifying the atmosphere. You feel peace. In doing this, you have taken a few particles [see notes below on "particle theory"] and brought your concentration to bear upon them, and the result is that time stops. Time stops in dreamless sleep, death and samadhi. When mind stops vibrating, putting a stop to sankalpa (creation/projection), then time, space and causation cease.
If you believe Sri Krishna's statement in the Bhagavad Gita:
"Na hi jnanena sadrsham pavitram iha vidyate...Verily there is no purifier in this world like knowledge...", then you have to think about what the word impurity means. In Tantra, Yoga, and Vedanta, we mean whatever is far from Atman, the Source. There is no moral or immoral judgment as in Christianity. How far has a thing gotten from its Source? -- that is the criteria of impurity.
Saraswati is the Vak Devi. [not the Vog Devi] Vak means the Word, which means Om. Om is very close to the Source, Brahman. When something is not vibrating, it is cohesive. That is Om.
Intelligence is the first compound from Brahman, and it is identical to Om, the Word. Therefore we can make sense of the Vedantic idea that Reality doesn't create. It is immutable, unchanging, birthless, deathless, ever-pure. It doesn't go into different states and it doesn't transform. If you accept this you are an Advaitist (nondualist), and you never stray from your Source.
This Reality is not a matter of intuition, but of realization. You can't follow the path of pleasure and get there, for you would still be taking the senses, the breath, name and form, and the waking state to be real.
We are all good meditators in deep sleep, called susupti, but in that state we do not bring our consciousness to bear. We are impeded by the impediments to yoga, such as dullness, restlessness, and ignorance.
The efficacy of the Mother Path
The Mother Path doesn't just mean Tantra. There are Vedic goddesses too. If you are following a Vedic Goddess, like Saraswati, you will see that She has a vina, representing the music of the spheres/Om, and also a japa mala, which mean's She's got a practice for us, and She's holding a book, representing the scriptures. But notice that Her hand holds the japa mala above the book, signifying that spiritual practice culminating in realization is higher than mere reading of the scriptures. In the Mother Path, the Mahashakti is your Ideal. She is the highest Shakti and can appear in different forms, like Kali, Durga, Saraswati and others. Further, the Mahashakti is the progenitress of Om.
So if you are engaged in a spiritual practice and studying the scriptures; if you've put the peacock of the world behind and the swan (the pure Self) is coming forward, then you are following the Mother Path, the Mahashakti. She exists in all of us undivided, but we have divided ourselves. If you are kind, philosophically speaking, you would say we did this for Sport. But nondualists would say, "Why would you do that? Your playground is birth, death, growth, disease, old age, and death -- is that fun? You are mucking about with anger, lust, greed, jealousy, fear, and pride, all mixed up with the glass shards of pleasure and pain -- some playground!"
But Divine Mother, the Mahashakti, is waiting to call you from the playground. I remember when I was a boy in Portland and we had just moved from Alaska. My mother would call me using the Eskimo mother's call, "Hoo-hoo!" She would belt out, and no matter how far away we were we would hear her calling and immediately drop whatever we were doing and run home. This call from Mother is the Word; It is Intelligence that calls us. It is heard as Om or seen as Light, depending upon one's temperament. This is the most refined particle of all. It is like a sugar cube that has melted in tea, becoming a uniform mass of sweet, homogenous liquid. Everything is soluble into Brahman. In actuality, all forms are already dissolved -- they aren't truly solid; matter is changing at a billionth of a second. So all we have to do is meditate by way of involution -- going back inside our Consciousness...dissolving particles of matter into life force, and particles of life force into thought, then particles of thought into Intelligence, then Intelligence/Om into Brahman.
Science, society, and conventional religion make us believe in name and form. The Buddhists are telling us it is all impermanent. Buddhism is not different from Vedanta; it is one line of philosophical development. Buddha was an Indian Rishi. Vedanta and Buddhism are one line, just like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are one religious stream.
A New Particle Theory
[Babaji next presented 2 of his charts, one on Aparinama -- non-transformation of Reality, and the other on the Advaitic "particle theory": from Atomic Particles to Atmic Particles. This latter chart is a foundation for all mention of particles in these notes. In brief, the idea is that matter and all physical bodies occupy physical space. Scientists have discovered smaller and smaller objects that change at a billionth of a second and are so small it begs the question whether they have mass or existence at all. What happens when particles become so small they "disappear"? Babaji proposes that physical space "collapses" and one becomes aware of the space of prana, lifeforce. There are several other kinds of "space", each more subtle, that one can enter into through the process of involution, and in these different kinds of space (lifeforce, thought, Intelligence) one traverses the realms of the ancestors, angels, saints, gods and goddesses, sages and illumined beings, and the Trinity overseeing creation, preservation and destruction of all realms - and beyond Them to the Ever Free. The main point to keep in mind is that all these realms and types of space are states of consciousness existing within us. Name and form, gross or subtle, all come out of us. As Babaji is frequently pointing out these days, the brain is an organ connected to the senses; but the mind is more expansive, containing realms of consciousness. "That is why the Christ said, "My Father's mansion has many rooms."
Whence comes the ability of my mind to make matter solid? And whence comes the ability of my collective mind to create worlds of name and form in which sport my ancestors, the celestials, etc.? Such is the power of the mind.
The Great Master used to say, "One ray of Light from the Wisdom Goddess stuns a thousand scholars." What the scientists can't "cop" to is the disappearance of physical space. They keep on "discovering" some new little particle of matter, and then become like hens clucking over the latest hatching of insects in the barnyard.
[Babaji presented a chart on the 5 Akashas (space/dimensions/atmospheres): Bhutakasha, Pranakasha, Chittakasha, Jnanakasha, Chidakasha]
These different akashas are like those Russian Dolls that are nested within each other. One doll contains many increasingly smaller dolls. Lord Vasishtha states, "The Ego projects the bhutakasha as if it imprisons the Chidakasha." The Chidakasha is the spaceless space of Pure Indivisible Reality, ever free, blissful, and the nature of pure Awareness. In reality It can never be covered or imprisoned, but the Ego deludes itself in the process of sankalpa, desire-based projection of the different akashas, subtle to gross. This is like blazing a trail without leaving breadcrumbs to find your way back...until the process of awakening commences.
Waking up means dharma, divine life, samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna used the analogy of a small child who asks his mother to wake him up when he feels the call of nature. But his mother tells him that he himself will wake up when that happens. So when the urgency of our predicament in Maya dawns upon us -- this changing realm amidst the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, birth and death -- we get the urge to seek our Source.
Beings today have a death-grip on the atomic particle. This is the 5th and worse of all hells according to Vedavyas. This death grip is clinging to life or fear of death. You, the birthless, deathless Self/Atman are like a snake in fear of a frog. If you concentrate on physical objects you remain in samsara, the wheel of birth and death in ignorance of your true nature. But here is the efficacy of the mantra. The mantra contains Om and the name of a great Seer. Concentration on the mantra will loosen the hold of matter upon your mind.
The first great saying in Vedanta that you learn is: Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman, All this is Brahman. But we know that Brahman doesn't change. Therefore, to realize the import of this statement you should ex-out everything that changes; for all that is Maya.
The first samadhi one experiences is one of amazement when one perceives what is within oneself. The next samadhi is when one is able to set aside the infinite expanse of knowledge within and concentrate on a single particle of this living wisdom. There can be no sense of ownership around this knowledge. It is impossible to know all of it anyway. One only develops the ability to move from one particle of knowledge to another in peace and bliss, ever aware of the Source of all this knowledge. Then you reach a point where the mind makes a shift. It is no longer a question of whether name and form is Maya or ignorance, or bondage. You perceive that everything emanates from Intelligence, everything is a manifestation of knowledge, jnana -- and here She is calling you Home.
Om -- there are no particles in Om -- It is homogenous Intelligence. "Om drsyam pratitam pravilapayan san, etc," which means to reduce everything you see into Brahman, which is an indeterminable mass of blissful Conscious Awareness. Rendering the inside and the outside into one indivisible Reality -- where is inside and outside in this realization? -- meditate on That and pass your days in peace and contentment. [quoting from the Vivekachudamani]
Time and Enlightenment
In Ancient India there were different kinds of ashrams: ocean, forest, and mountain ashrams. People would go there and meet great Wisdom emanations, like Vishvamitra, Gautama, Valmiki and others -- beings whose teachings have lasted for thousands of years. This is why we're grateful for Babette's ocean ashrama and Kanya's mountain ashram and Bhama's too. [these are the homes we are holding Babaji's Hawaii classes in]
Desha, kala, nimitta (space, time, and causation) -- When sages entered into a discussion on this topic you knew you were about to hear something supramundane. Why discuss space, time, and causation? In order to place them in the category of maya for the purpose of transcending them. This is to be done with the mind, primarily, because as long as the collective mind of humanity is active, maya (time, space, causation) will continue.
So what does it mean to think about time, space, and causation? If you think about space, then you have to think in terms of particles, for everything we sense is made of particles, gross or subtle, and they all exist in space, gross or subtle [according to Indian philosophy there are 5 kinds of space, the physical space our bodies exist in being the most dense]. If you think about time, then you think about what is most valuable in time -- enlightenment. [by transcending particles, one transcends space; in enlightenment, one transcends time.] Next week I will bring the chart on causation, which is based upon the search for origins. [realizing the ultimate Source (Origin) transcends the law of cause and effect.]The Three Levels of Philosophy
If you want to clear your doubts, you take recourse to knowledge. You meditate on a sloka, a sacred verse. The rishis of the Upanisads generally did not express an Advaitic [nondual] perspective that left out name and form. Pure Advaita (nondualism) is for those who are finished with name and form. The rishis expressed their realizations through dualism, qualified nondualism and nondualism--another "triputi" (threesome). Most people operate at the level of dualism. Qualified nondualism is for people who see their connection with Reality and want to proceed through that connection. One such analogy from the Upanisads is the description of Brahman in the individual soul as sparks coming off a fire. The sparks are small and quickly go out, but they are still fire.
Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda) emphasized these three levels of philosophy so we could look at religion and philosophy and see where we are and where we are heading. His purpose was also to help us understand that each level is valid and has its culmination in Advaita. Advaita doesn't dismiss the preceding levels.
Madhva was the ancient propounder of Dvaita (dualism). His idea is that there is God and there is the creation, and they are separate realities. This is a rub on nondualists. The nondualists, some of them, don't even accept the scriptures because the Truth is within each of us, there's no need to take a Guru. But the problem with this view is that spiritually immature people take the ego, nature, maya, etc as Truth. That's why in the ancient ashrams, the Teachers there made sure that a person was truly qualified and ready for this highest truth of Advaita. They taught by stages. Swami Vivekananda gave the example of flying to the sun in a spaceship and taking pictures along the way. Each picture is different only due to the stage at which the picture was taken. But they are all pictures of the sun.
Ramanuja was the ancient propounder of Qualified Nondualism. He came and said that God and the creation have a connection. Madhva said creation is a separate reality, but it is dependent on God--so there is no final contradiction here. And this is the difference between the Eastern view and Western Secularism and Science. Also, a case could be made to cite that (fundamentalist) Christianity is not only dualistic, but that their dualism is not based upon God and mankind having a connection. For, man is a sinner, and further, those who do not accept Christ go to dust or to hell with no redemption possible. What kind of connection is that with one's God?
Qualified nondualism is a crucial step on the way to Advaita. Few people can go from dualism to Advaita. Sri Ramakrishna, in his teaching analogies, said to go up every step and not jump over any. By doing this you realize that each step, from the bottom to the top, is made of the same ingredients - brick, lime, and brick dust. Qualified nondualism is beautiful. When you experience it, you won't be a dualist anymore.
The great Avatars have all been established in Advaita, but have the ability to come down to the level of qualified, dualism, and even fundamentalism. They can teach at these levels, but we mustn't label Them accordingly, for They do this in order to help others understand the next step in their spiritual awakening. They Themselves remain ever established in Advaita. We need to become conversant with these three levels of philosophy. A person who gets attracted to Sri Ramakrishna is an Advaitist and a nondualist. In the comprehensive and living Advaita expressed in Sri Ramakrishna's life, one realizes that everything becomes a fit vehicle for realization.
Swamiji thought the Advaita could be communicated in a way that is accessible. "The abstract Advaita must become living - poetic - in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering yogi-ism must come the most practical and scientific psychology -- and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it."
Shankaracharya resurrected Advaita. It was always present in the teachings of the rishis, but different overlays throughout the centuries had covered it. Shankara brought forward again the Four Mahavakyas, the Four Great Statements that appear in the upanisads.
- Aham Brahmasmi, I am Brahman: This is the most nondual of the four.
- Tat twam asi, That thou art: This one speaks to the One Essence in different forms, that is, the Self and the apparent self, or the Universal Soul and the individual soul.
- Prajnanam Brahma, Brahman is Consciousness: Here is a philosophical statement. It gives a clue into the way the rishis thought. God is Consciousness.
- Ayam Atma Brahma, This Self is Brahman: Like tat tvam asi, this statement reveals the lack of difference between the apparently individualized soul, and the supreme Soul.
In my way of thinking there are three kinds of Self/self:
1) The projected self, called ahamkara, which is the false self,
2) The individual Self, called Purusha, the Indweller in the body, which is the real Self modified by the five sheaths, and
3) The ultimate Self, called Atman/Brahman, the real Self without modifications.
The Seer is attached to the seen -- this is the cause of bondage and suffering. But you haven't yet meditated on the seen [objects, gross and subtle] and made the connection between the Seer and the seen, which leads to understanding or full comprehension [which is Mother, see Hawaii notes from 2/1/2009]. This understanding is Intelligence, and it leads us back to Atman. I'm seeing with these eyes because of a subtler cause; I'm hearing with these ears because of a subtler cause....
My knowledge has to get out of the way, and eternal knowledge has to come forward. That is, when the sense of ownership and the sense of agency are attenuated, one is able to see the sense of separation, the final veil. You will then see that matter and Spirit are one in Brahman.
Holy Mother's last statement was spoken from a nondual standpoint. [She said: "If you want peace of mind do not find fault with others. Rather, see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger. Indeed, the entire world is your very own."] When She says, "don't find fault," that means that "all is Brahman." And when She says, "no one is a stranger," this means "all are Brahman." When she says "the entire world is your very own," that is only possible from the standpoint of All is Brahman. For when you are practicing neti neti, not this not this, you will have to refute the world of name and form.
It is important to keep the perspectives of the dual level (relativity) and the nondual "level" (the absolute) sacrosanct, each in its own field. You cannot apply the nondual perspective to the relative and the relative to the absolute. Confusion and delusion result.Time and Enlightenment Chart
[Babaji presented the chart, Time and Enlightenment, which is one in a series of charts unwrapping the concepts of space, time, and causation, as well as name and form.]
With space/desha, we have particles. With time/kala, we think in terms of enlightenment. The Advaitists won't like this, since it implies a process, but their "dish" is already cooked (they've transcended maya/time, space, causation). The rest still have to get from "here" to "there." With Causation, we think in terms of Origins.Samsara to Kramamukti
The apparent (i.e., unreal) process of enlightenment starts with the transcendence of samsara, which is the dream of transmigration in assumed bondage. At this stage struggling and aspiring beings believe in the concept of gradual enlightenment, called Kramamukti. To be at this level one 1) assumed an ego; 2) has projected the worlds in space and time via the mind's process of sankalpa; 3) believes in the actual existence of matter and energy as being real; 4) is identified with the body and senses; 5) is attached to physical objects for gross enjoyment and possession. Most beings, from the grossly ignorant to the most intelligent scientists fall into this level and operate under these assumptions.Kramamukti to Jivanmukti
Kramamukti is gradual enlightenment. This is like duality and nonduality at once--a contradiction. It is a fallacy, like belief in a post-mortem emancipation. But this is the way our process happens; it is like a rule that we follow. It has to be allowed but it can't be believed in. Many people want to ex-out the cosmology as part of their nonduality, but I think that is pulling the carpet out from under people.
At this level, on the way to Jivanmukti, one observes moral and ethical rules; pursues a practical and rational mind, giving up pipe dreams, superstitions, fantasies, etc...; gains holy company and adheres to dharma. Holy Company and a dharmic path follow naturally when the first two are satisfied (but which themselves are incapable of satisfying). And then there is the study of nondual scriptures and the practice of meditation.Jivanmukti to Videhamukti
Jivanmukti is individual enlightenment. At this level, on the way to Videhamukti, one engages in selfless service with mature compassion.
What is mature compassion? To have compassion for something that is perfect (the Atman) is futile; and to have compassion for bodies and egos is misplaced. So Vedantists are more about Love. You're not serving egos or the human race, you are serving God - though not for that person in whom God dwells, but for yourself. You are the one who is learning. Any kind of service is for yourself. You can't help others, you can only help yourself comprehend only Great Self. Of course, It doesn't need help. This is the way you get rid of agency and ownership. Agency and ownership are what keeps the ego intact.
Next, one attains formless samadhi. That is, samadhi gets further honed, more and more subtle; for, in order to have attained the state of jivanmukti one would have experienced formless samadhi already. At this point [attaining Videhamukti, freedom from embodiment] you have a choice of either returning to jivanmukti in order to help awaken others, or merge and be a "hailstone" falling into the Ocean of Consciousness, as Shankara put it. I was told by a swami of the Ramakrishna Order that a monk is someone who takes a boat across the river and, after arriving, burns it. He's not going back. Now, this is hard for those still attached to form, but real freedom consists of a whiff of this.
[Babaji referred again to the analogy of the playground consisting of the six transformations, six passions and eight fetters all mixed up with pleasure and pain (see 2/1/2009 Hawaii notes)--why would we want to come here?! To this he added Shankaracharya's famous hymn Bhaja Govindam, citing the verse: "When a baby I was attached to my mother's breast, when a boy I was attached to sport; when a young man I was attached to a young woman; when old I was attached to anxiety; but, alas, to the Supreme Brahman I was never attached."] I should always have been attached to Brahman. My parents and teachers should have taught and embodied this for me!
Videhamukti to Sarvamukti
Videhamukti is freedom from embodiment. At this stage, on the way to Sarvamukti, one attains equanimity and unified vision; and one attains absorption in Absolute Reality.Sarvamukti
One perceives Brahman everywhere, in everything. According to the Great Master, this is the last word in spiritual life.
Making a Place Within
[Babaji began this Sunday's class intoning the following Vedic slokas (verses)]:
Om -- Nityo'nityanam chetanashchetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tamatmastham ye'nupasyanti dhirah
tesham shantih shashvati netaresham
That one, the eternal among non-eternals, the intelligence of the most
intelligent, who though ever one fulfills the desires of the many - those who realize that One as existing in their own self, to them belongs eternal peace, and to none else.
Om peace, peace, peace.
Om -- Satyena labhyastapasa hyesa atma
samyag-jnanena brahmacharyena nityam
antah sharire hi jyotirmayo hi shubrah
yam pasyanti yatayah kshinadoshah
The Self is attained through veracity, concentration, wisdom and
continence, all constantly cultivated. When mental impurities
dissolve, the seer beholds It, stainless and resplendent, existing
everywhere, even here in this very body. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
[These notes are taken from a student's notebook]
So we meet at Morning Dew Farm in the afternoon to remind ourselves again and again about Brahman and Shakti. Brahman is the formless Reality and Shakti is Its dynamic Power. Sri Ramakrishna likened Brahman and Shakti to a snake and its wriggling motion.
Realizing Brahman -- It's actually perceiving our own awareness. The mistake we make in the West is we think that God is in space somewhere. So we tend to think in terms of space and time and therefore fall into the net of causality--cause and effect, i.e. karma.
Last week I was speaking of the different ashramas. [See notes from 2/8/09.] Ashrams dotted the landscape of India. You would go to these forest, ocean, mountain, or plains ashrams to retire from daily life. Families would come to receive the teachings directly from a sage. You would go to have your doubts dispelled. When you are alone you are faced with yourself and with your projected self, the ego.
What is this projected self, this ego? You call yourself a name, you like some people and not others, you are fat or thin--basically it is your personality.
According to those ashram teachers, you were like a magnet with all these iron filings clinging to it, each filing representing an aspect of the not-Self. And you take these as your real Self and feel separate from God and others. But who are you when you aren't awake or dreaming? Do you only exist in the projected self? Where does my ego that beholds objects go in dreamless sleep? If I didn't exist at that time, then why did I wake up again?
The minute you wake up is a new start to your spiritual life. This is how Sri Ramakrishna thought of it. So when you wake up, and consciousness connects with your brain, there should come first the thought of God. And as you fall asleep, your thought should be "my Divine Mother, my Divine Father," as you slip into sleep.
Consciousness is boundless. It can contract and expand in a flash, as it were. When the rishis though of Reality, the nature of Reality, Brahman would rush to mind and they would direct this awareness to the practical. If they didn't, they would be absorbed into Brahman. We see this in the life of Sri Ramakrishna. [His mind was ever inclined to absorption in Brahman, and with effort he would keep it directed to the devotees in order to teach. But anything could cause his mind to ascend to the nondual Reality. One time he was taken to the zoo in Kolkata. Outside was a stone lion. The lion is the vehicle of the Divine Mother, so his mind instantly became absorbed in the thought of Her and he lost outer sense awareness.] So when you look at objects, you want to know what is behind them...and what is behind that, and so on, until you reach the Ultimate.
The rishis thought and talked about space, time, and causality--that is, if you could keep your mind off of Brahman long enough, these are the things you will think about. Why? Because they are more pure. In the West, when we think of purity, we think in terms of morality. But in the East, purity denotes how close to the Source a thing is. Those things that are far from the Source are more impure, so they called them nivrtti - to be renounced. They realized the Source as nameless and formless. If you want to realize It, you have to sift through maya and penetrate it.
If the brain is blown out by a bullet, the brain dies, but mind continues. The brain is like a diode in a radio. If it is crushed, the radio won't function, but the radio waves are still present. Mind is a universal principle. As manas, it is individual; as buddhi it is collective; as Mahat, it is cosmic.
I think the West has a problem because they think of time first, as in the expression, "time, space and causation." But the rishis put space first, as in desha, kala, nimitta - "space, time and causality." You can have space without time, and that is the space of pure Spirit (Chidakasha).
Just like trees and grasses are born and die on the solid foundation of the earth, all particles of matter, energy, thought, and intelligence, are born and die on the "solid" foundation of Awareness. We have to be aware of Awareness. So if you become aware that everything is being born and is dying, and that this is only the appearance, you then realize that all is happening "atop" the Causeless Cause (Brahman). This is like waves rising and falling on the breast of the ocean, as they say.
[Babaji presented the chart on the Five Akashas (space, or dimensions)]
The mithya purusha (false self) has ensconced himself in the bhutakasha only, the space of physical objects. One who does this thinks only in terms of the physical. Even when mithya purusha thinks of knowledge or intelligence, it is only in terms of the physical. [this is like Sri Ramakrishna's point about the scholars of his day being like vultures who soar high in the sky of the intellect, but their attention is nevertheless fixed on the carcasses lying in the carrion pit below. In other words, their intelligence is only used for finite rewards of name, fame, and wealth].
The yogic secret is to use the prana (subtle life-force) to charge up the chitta (mind's thoughts). You have to source this prana. People generally access this via the breath. So, if you are thinking right now to yourself, "Babaji, you're speach is too boring and I'm getting sleepy," then breathe! Awareness will come coursing back.
While living in the body, one should create and maintain an inner spiritual location. You created an outer space when you incarnated, called the physical body. Now, while living, you have to create an inner space to rest in. Will you choose a space of life-force, thought, intelligence, or Consciousness? - that is the question. But in all that you do, keep the Nameless/Formless Reality as your unerring compass. You can't get out of the Chidakasha (Space of Pure Consciousness). Holy Mother said we can't go outside the circle of Sri Ramakrishna--we are sparks off of Ishvara.
[Babaji presented the chart on Causation, Origins, and Reincarnation. In this chart, Babaji delineates seven levels of cause from the Ultimate, called the Causeless Cause, to the most gross of all causes. In brief these levels are described as follows:
- Causeless Cause: Brahman, the substratum of all changes, subtle or gross, which never undergoes any change.
- Remote Cause: Ishvara/Ishvari (Godhead), Mahat (Cosmic Mind), Om (Primal Vibration)
- Cosmic Cause: Maya (name and form in time and space--makes the indivisible Reality appear divided), niyati, kala -- subtle principles like time, attraction, diversity, cosmic laws.
- Subtle Cause: intellect, ego, chitta (thought), manas (individual/dual mind), desire, karma.
- Primordial Cause: such things as Prana (life force), tanmatras (audibility, tangibility, visibility, flavor, odor -- subtle principles from which the 5 elements evolve).
- Efficient Cause: Panchamahabhutas, the five great elements, which are still subtle, and which evolve out all physical objects, like bodies, planets, etc.
- Material Cause: the brain (connected to the mind), food, energy, sperm, ovum, body.]
If you are coming down here (to earth and embodiment), you have to have ego. Everyone has ego -- even the Great Teachers. But theirs are wonderful egos, beneficent. So how are you going to use your ego? This is the main point with regard to ego. Sri Ramakrishna spoke of the ripe and unripe ego. The unripe ego, apakvahamkara, binds the individual through "I," "me," and "mine" identified with the sense of ownership, agency, and the sense of separation. The ripe and ripening ego, pakvahamkara, surrenders these and looks upon him or herself as the servant, devotee, or child of God.
At all levels of cause, except the Remote and Causeless Cause, Maya controls. Maya is even present in the realm of Ishvara, since That is still a form. But Ishvara is the controller of Maya, whereas on other levels maya controls most beings.
Sri Ramakrishna is working through all of us as Ishvara-prana (the life force of Ishvara). Ishvara has a subtle energy too. It is the subtlemost side of prana, a manifestation of the Mahashakti.
In this day and age, and here at the level of the material cause of objects, Reality is difficult to perceive. So here, the mantra given by our precious guru is our anchor. It is our way of going within, making a space within.
Swamiji (Vivekananda) constantly disidentified with his projected self. "I'm a non-entity," he would say, "a voice without a form....".
Most everyone outside of Christiandom thinks that the Christians are narrow and uninformed for not believing in reincarnation, especially since this principle is even mentioned by Jesus in the Bible with regard to John the Baptist's previous incarnation. But it's okay that the Christians don't believe in reincarnation. One should live one life at a time. One should be fully present for this life. The chart about levels of cause I am displaying here is for deeper thinkers, those who want to know why they were born. In my way of thinking, this intense impetus to know defines Jesus's saying about loving the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.
There is a string, or golden sutra (thread) running through the necklace of pearls. That string that holds everything together is the Atman (the Self). It is indestructible. It is the one sentient Principle. Inner analysis brings the first real glimmerings of spirituality. In a series of deep recollections, the jiva scrutinizes life, even to infanthood, and glimpses past lifetimes. "By perceiving its origin, the jiva (individual soul) courts Freedom," states Lord Vasishtha.
"If higher knowledge is not already in the soul, then rebirth continues and there will be no other recourse than to suffer cause and effect. Even striving for light will not bestow any real benefit, for to seek enlightenment without the mantra, the teachings, and the guru is like trying to grow crops only at night." -- Lord Vasishtha, quoted from the chart.
It is extremely rare not to have a teacher and still gain enlightenment. Most great beings crow jubilantly about their teacher and lineage.
Yoga speaks of five kinds of seekers:
- The first is born with a desire for liberation. These large cross-section of beings usually get distracted from it in the course of life.
- The second attempts to get spiritual experiences by using drugs or elixirs.
- The third uses mantra. These often repeat it mechanically and/or have taken the mantra on their own from a book or hearing it casually. But one must get the mantra from an authentic teacher and then unwrap its meaning, repeat it with devotion, bring the light of Consciousness to bear upon it. Patnjali and Vedavyasa state that the three aforementioned types of yogis do not gain enlightenment.
- The fouth does austerity. It is via austerity -- spiritual practice, serving beings as God -- that you make a space within yourself. You will feel, at least by the time of death, that you are a rock; you have faith. Belief can be shaken, but Faith cannot......
- The fifth kind of seeker has spiritual knowledge at birth.
[Babaji closed this class by leading the sangha in the following ancient Vedic chant:
Om asato ma sadgamaya tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
mrtyor ma amrtam gamaya abhirabhira mai edhi
rudra yate dakshinam mukham tena mam pahi nityam
Om shantih shantih shantih
Lead us from darkness to light. Lead us from lower truth to higher Truth. Lead us from the unreal to the real. Lead us from the illusion of death to Eternal Life, and reach us through and through with Your sweet and benign Presence. Om peace, peace, peace.
[Class was followed by a sangha dinner and then we all gathered for arati and satsang. As the Kona sun set over the ocean and quiet fell upon the farm, light and incense were burned and flowers offered with mantras and devotion. Together we sang Hari Om Ramakrishna. Afterwards, Babaji invited us to ask questions from class, our studies, or our lives. A few exchanges are noted down below.]
[The first question asked concerned ceremonial purity at the altar, which elicited a subtle discourse on the aim of practices of purity. Early on in his answer, Babaji recited this verse from the Vivekachudamani, the Crest Jewel of Discrimination, by Shankaracharya.]
Drsyam pratitam pravilapayan san
san-matram ananda-ghanam vibhavayam
samahitas san bahir-antaram va
kalam nayethah sati karma-bandhe
Reduce the world which you see all around you into Brahman, which is an indeterminate mass of pure, conscious Awareness. Rendering the external and the internal into one indivisible principle, meditate upon That. Then pass your time contentedly and be free.
It is a very special ability of consciousness to make inside and outside one. Holy Mother states, "The universe is thought made manifest." The further you trace origins back, the closer you get to formlessness.
The Tantric way is via deification of objects. It is the same as the end of Vedanta: seeing God in everything. The problem is, is that maybe this place is already pure; maybe everything is inherently pure, but I am not seeing it that way. I have to bring my consciousness to bear upon it. If you leave a penny in the shower, over time it turns green--the patina has come out. It is the same with sesame oil--you have to gather many seeds, make a press, and extract the oil with much effort. And the same is true with us. God is here, within, but we have to exedrt (sadhana) to bring It out.
The pujari uses the mrga mudra, which means, what is here ("pointing" to the Self within) is there (pointing to the altar). I don't look at the altar as an object to own, to enjoy, to be sad if it gets lost or broken, or something I might get bored with -- and that is the challenge in worship too. [This pure relation with the act of ceremonial worship and deification of the objects of worship is also to train us to see all objects with this eye of purity and selflessness.]
Sri Ramakrishna said that if one is sick he calls a doctor; if you have a lawsuit then call a lawyer; but if you have spiritual doubt..."who ya gonna call?" ["Ego busters!" laughed most of the sangha there, including a couple teens.]
Question: Why are we so spiritually lost? [In class, Babaji had said that saving the poor and lowly did not mean only the financially poor, but the spiritual poor. "We, especially the West, are spiritually bereft," he said.]
The idea of impoverishment or wealth does not pertain just at the money level. Avatar gets born often in poor families of the pious. When Sri Ramakrishna's father received the vision of Lord Vishnu who told him He was pleased with his devotion and would take birth as his son, Kshudiram demurred, saying, "Lord, I am poor, I will not be able to serve You properly." But the Lord replied, "Do not worry. I will tale care of everything." The worldly, the reclusive, the renunciate, the intellectual -- all have different levels of impoverishment or wealth. "The meek will inherit the earth."
The yogi sits crosslegged at the time of death and actually simulates death. He's not afraid of dying, he's trying to attain samadhi...will I make the grade?
My mind is an overgrown jungle. I will take this machete and clear one acre. I will construct a temple on it and clear the rest later. So make a place for yourself to rest in. You know that at any point your world could be destroyed -- your personal world, your geographical world -- the sun comes a little closer, water dries up, and you're gone! Prepare a place for yourself within. It is thus that Ramprasad sings:
O mind, you clearly do not know how to till the soil.
You allow your fertile expanse to lie fallow.
With proper cultivation, the land of pure awareness
becomes golden with the harvest of Truth.
Protect the precious field of your soul
with the fence of Kali's Name,
and the fruit of your dedicated efforts
will not be stolen by the egocentric world.
The fiery fence of Kali, Kali, Kali is impenetrable.
Even Death dares not approach it.
Be utterly confident, O simple-minded poet.
Encircled by the resonance of Mother's Name,
your meditations in song will remain fruitful
for days, years, even centuries.
The soul is the field of your own free decision.
Dedicate yourself to constant cultivation
and the harvest will be without limits.
Your spiritual guide has given you
the mystic syllable of Kali's Essence
as potent seed to sow,
and water for irrigation flows abundantly through
your heart as love and devotion.
This dusty troubadour pleads with everyone:
"If you find farming difficult,
Please bring these poems with you."
translated by Lex Hixon in Mother of the Universe, Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment