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From Babaji's classes at Retreats, Prisons, and SRV Centers
Spring Visit, April & May 2010

Notes from SRV Hawai'i
In this day and age, Indian Philosophy is focused most around Vedanta, Advaita Vedanta.  SRV spells "serve" and this is what we are about -- via presenting a spiritual education.  We have to look back at these darshanas as the touchstone of what it means to live a spiritual life, as Christ put it, "to have an inner life."

Altruism serves human beings.  Karma Yoga serves God in human beings.  There is a difference.  If you serve human beings they tend to remain human beings, with all their foibles.  But if you serve God in human beings, they tend to become Godlike.

Jnana Yoga is your discrimination between the Real and the unreal.  Spiritual life will demand of you that you make this distinction.  Science has shown us, without even trying to, that objects are empty, which is what Buddhism says.  They are empty because 1) they cannot fulfill you and 2) they are empty of both substance and sentience.

Great beings have come to this earth, who have perceived the imperceptible, the covering power of maya.  "Taking as bow that mighty weapon furnished by the Upanishads, fasten to it the mind made sharpened by thought on Reality alone.  Then, drawing full strength, O student, release and penetrate that mark - the imperishable Brahman."  That arrow, the mind, is to be sharpened on the whetting stone of nondual Truth.  Then pull the bowstring of truth full strength and aim it at Brahman.  You will pierce through maya, the power of obscuration and distortion. 

Deep sleep is a rather miraculous state.  Ten minutes of it will refresh you.  What is deep sleep?  It is formlessness, and it is the only formlessness that most people will be able to manage in this lifetime.  The mind is the ultimate particle accelerator and decelerator, and deceleration happens in deep sleep.  "If thine eye be single you shall know the Truth" -- if you enter into deep sleep and remain aware -- this is what happens.

The body is incidental to samadhi.  Now, we do not teach aversion to the body.  But if we trust and follow this nondual reality we gradually lose our attachment for the world.

There is nothing "out there" in space; only the five elements.  And if you go far enough out you even lose a few of those.  Esoterically speaking, discovering space inside of yourself is key to everything.

A runner running a race in a dream goes nowhere.  And this is what the uninformed person does in every incarnation.  One should prove this to oneself in meditation.  If you get control over the power of projection you will get control over dissolution. 

As you reach towards enlightenment you lose your interest in powers.  You do not try to reject them or avoid them -- you are just not interested.

Be careful when you dissolve the senses into prana (vital energy) because the psychic prana reveals itself then and it will tempt you with healing and other powers.  Krishna says even one of these powers will keep you from realizing Brahman.  You cannot heal anything in Maya.  It is always sick, and even the sickness is an illusion.  It is just all change.  How can you change, change?  Realize your Self first, then enter the fray.  As long as you are using powers, are tempted by them, you are a separate experiencer.  That means an ego.  Be Brahman.

Space is the most subtle element in my Tradition.  The ear is the most important sense.  If you plug your ears you cannot hear me.  But if you shut your eyes you can still hear.  Wisdom is transmitted through space.  And if we purify our mind, Wisdom will go straight to the heart.  New Agers want to bypass the mind and intellect. They do not want to purify these, but instead want to go to the heart and have emotional, blissful experiences.  But these will not lead to transformation until the mind is purified.

If you do not believe in a creator God you are one of two things: either an atheist or an advaitist.  See how strange it is?  The latter has transcended It and the former doesn't believe in It.

[Speaking on the practice of involution:]
When you meditate on the alambanas, you are not going back to connect the five elements and five senses because they are disconnected, but because you have lost the connection that is ever present.

In order to know "who am I" you have to know what you are not.  Once you uncover this ruse you reach a siddhanta, a conclusion, and then can act effectively.

[From one of Babaji's charts:]
Definition of ignorance:
  • Assumption of individuality
  • Engagement in mental projection
  • Maintenance of a separate existence
  • Pretense of personal agency
  • Enforcement of the unreal/denial of the Real
  • Belief in time, matter, evolution
  • Acceptance of birth, growth, death
What are the Four Ways of Seeing God?  Brahman, Ishvara, Antaryami, and Archa.  Archa is the ground floor.  Philosophically, it is hard to say that archa, the symbol, is Brahman.  You have to say it is a manifestation of Brahman, an expression of Shakti, a reflection off the Intelligence - things like that.  So, if I have made my eye single I shall be able to see that Brahman lies behind everything as the immutable, immovable Substratum.  Ishvara (God with form) grants us the gift of negativity so we can rise up and out of maya.  Ishvara is the highest concept of God we can conceive of.  The forms of Ishvara are doorways from form to formlessness.  One indeed does "get to the Father through the Son."  Antaryami is our very Self.  Here, we begin to see that Atman is Brahman.  You see through the five sheaths*.  You are taking your own Consciousness out and using it as a wedge/goad to pierce through the five layers of the nonself which are like clothing we have put on.  "We are not the body gown, nor the life force flowing down."  When Atman disconnects from the five sheaths it automatically makes the connection with the inner Self and the Paramatman. *[5 Sheaths: physical body, life force/prana, dual mind, intellect, ego]

On retreat at Kipukamaluhia, South Point
[Last April, students from SRV Hawaii on the Big Island met for a weekend with Babaji to focus deeply on the inner teachings of Karma Yoga.  A few notes are presented here.]

Every disease, every suffering, starts in the mind.  You sing around the camp fire, "Michael row the boat ashore."  What shore are you talking about?  The shore of rebirth?  You have been rowing there for lifetimes.  But what shore are your angels, prophets, messengers, and Avatars pointing to?  The shore of transcendence.  Get rid of the disease of rebirth in ignorance.

Sri Krishna states, "no one realizes the Truth without renouncing Sankalpa," mental projection from the ignorant mind.  In such projections we have been imagining God as everything from gods to animals, nature, people, etc. -- But God never transforms, never embodies.

All the Indian Darshanas tell you to extract your consciousness from nature.  If you remain in a bath too long your skin will wrinkle.  The eternal bath of maya, too, will wrinkle your skin -- that means old age.  Get free of it; practice Yoga, union.  People nowadays say they follow Yoga, but they ignore Yoga's directive called Kaivalya - isolation from Nature -- and engage in asanas.  Do you really want union with the body and nature?  They decay and die.....

What is Maya?  Nama rupa desha kala nimita (name, form, space, time, causality) -- this describes everything that gives mankind problems.  Brahman, or Atman, your true Nature, is free of these.

The element ether and the sense of hearing -- these are the most subtle of the gross elements and senses.  Om signifies the highest and best of ethers and audibility.  I speak it and you hear it.

Sadhana, spiritual discipline, does not reveal the Self; it just purifies the mind.  Enlightenment will dawn naturally after this is accomplished.

Deep sleep is the samadhi of ordinary people.  It is the only time when an ordinary soul meditates.  The problem with this is the lack of focused awareness in deep sleep.  The mind is all diffused, and a veil of ignorance has fallen over consciousness. 

Manas, dual mind, creates the worlds, but intellect drags you around them, and the ego, ahamkara, does the enjoying and suffering.  The sheath of intellect, vijnanamayakosha, is where the sense of agency is.  They say the Intellect is the upadhi of the Atman.  When pure, Atman reflects best in the intellect.  It might as well be the Atman's very body.

In the West we have been looking at cause and effect in matter, but rarely in the mind.  That is why few know the laws of karma yoga.

[During the Spring Retreat in Hawaii at Kipukamaluhia, Babaji presented a new chart entitled, "Cause and Effect in the Mind," that delineates the effect that ignorant thoughts and actions have at different levels of the psycho-physical being.  "Ignorant thoughts and actions" encompasses all thoughts and actions that do not arise from a state of equanimity.  Put another way, these are thoughts and actions with the subtle or not so subtle intent to gain pleasure or avoid pain.]

  • Emotional
    • increases the tendency of over-sensitivity
    • heightens a false sense of security
    • breeds attachment to weakness and pity
    • ignites anger and other passions
  • Mental
    • strengthens the bond of duality
    • exacerbates the problem of arrogance
    • increases mental imbalance and delusion
    • causes obsession with matter and objects
  • Psychological/Psychical
    • fixes awareness on mind rather than Soul (causes brooding)
    • plays on false hopes and hidden fears
    • advances curiosity in the occult powers (Babaji's comment: when any inkling of something spiritual occurs, we want to fasten it to the metaphysical or occult)
    • invites dalliance with illusory perceptions
  • Intellectual
    • contributes to pride of knowledge
    • allows the birth of misconceptions
    • fosters the ego's notion of doership and agency
    • hampers the need and desire for study (Babaji's comment: You've spent lifetimes meditating on relativity, now spend one lifetime meditating on Reality.)
  • Philosophical
    • stymies crucial ideological conclusions. (Babaji's comment: You find holes in your knowledge and yet you forget that the saints and seers have stated their conclusions about the nature of Reality and relativity based upon their own direct experience.)(Question: What if I make a mistake, a wrong conclusion?  Babaji: If you don't make a conclusion then you will not know the error in it.  Take a chance. Make the commitment and if an error shows, adjust.)
    • seeds doubt and inadvertence in the mind
    • enforces a false belief in relativity
    • divides and weakens one's convictions
  • Spiritual
    • deposits subtle samskaras in the mind
    • undermines the truth of formlessness
    • promotes religious narrowness
    • resists the soul's turn toward peace (Babaji's comment: Ignorant thoughts and actions will keep you in a state of restlessness and discontent.)
Karma Yoga is the philosophy of work:
  • work as worship
  • labor as love
  • service as sacrifice
What have you to gain?  You are the Atman.  Everything has come out of you.  But people seem to have to prove it to themselves by works.

Things that reproduce themselves are seeking to make themselves eternal in a non-eternal world - like Raktabija, the asura who received the boon in which each drop of his blood that touched the earth would create a clone of himself.  Kali just lapped up his blood in midair and Durga slew him!  He should have realized his eternal nature rather than trying to be eternal in the finite realm.

Sadhana, spiritual practice, are the details you set up for Enlightenment.  It is like the Jai Ma Music concerts we would do that included a concert, puja and a meal.  There were countless details to set in place for that one event.  Do not focus on the result or you will miss setting up all the details.

Speaking of sadhana and faith, Holy Mother would say, "If you take a train to Benares at night you arrive the next morning, but you never saw the countryside."  You have to walk the path with faith and determination, despite not seeing everything.  Everything along the way is shrouded in darkness anyway.  This darkness is karma and maya, and also immature and mature awakenings.  Just walk the path -- move through it.

Notes from SRV Hawai'i, Part 2
If you want Science and the Science of Spirit to get along then you should think in terms of vibration and vibrating particles.  The conscious Witness looks out upon this physical realm, looks up the states of waking, dream, and deep sleep from a plateau of formlessness or Consciousness.  From there he can see all levels of vibration, from gross to subtle to causal.

You must possess a ready supply of inspiration to inspire yourself daily.  You have to access it yourself.  No Jesus, Buddha, Krishna -- you can go to Them for Inspiration, but you have to be able to access wisdom on your own, from within.  This is the purpose of your life.  The upward moving prana aids in this and the yogis get ahold of this prana and master it.

Sri Ramakrishna stated: "God is with form and without form.  And God is beyond form and formlessness." You see, there is something unfigureable here.  The mind can't grasp it.  The mind just can't go there.  One drops it, like the burnt out stage of a rocket, when entering There.

"Resist not evil."  If you brood on evil, you give it an assumed reality.  People have such a grip on maya.  But get a grip on the Self instead!

Remembrance is half the battle in spiritual life.

Everyone has a "fix," a solution, but no one tells you what is wrong the way Vedanta does.  Yet, for Vedantists there are no real problems.  Is it that we are living in "la la land?"  No, we are living a divine life, at least a dharmic life, but never a worldly life where all problems cluster, foment, and breed.

We have three choices: worldly life, dharmic life, divine life, and actually, there is a fourth, called videhamukti. What do these consist of?
  • worldly life: evil, ignorant, and/or conventional
  • dharmic life: service and spiritual study
  • divine life: ecstatic, the experience of the seeded samadhis/savikalpa samadhi
  • videhamukti: freedom from all embodiment, gross and subtle
When they say "indivisible Consciousness" that is your gateway, your trail of bread crumbs to the Source, Home.  In this "state" the body-mind mechanism is gone, so you have nothing impeding you.  There are some who want to accomplish this even while in the body.  One should be able to sit for hours just concentrating on Truth.  This is the gateway to the seeded samadhis.

We should never underestimate the power of Truth.  "Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free."  When Christ saw this Truth, He was stunned.  It is infinite.

Be GF free -- Great Fear free!  Make fear afraid of itself, put sleep to sleep, and "put death in its own grave."

Lex Hixon used to say: "Inspect your mind and remove all the negativities from it."  Start with removing the source of the problem and then do as you please.  Bring that Pratibha, that laser-like Intelligence within you, to bear upon all negativity.

God is Existence.  "Existence Is" -- This is the proof of God.  Nonexistence is only non-manifestation -- everything put in "self-storage." Form covers formlessness, from the most subtle to the most gross.

Maya is the scum on the lake of clear mind that obscures the reflection of the Self.  Now, this reflection is in the intellect, not the Soul.  This is why you have to get beyond the intellect to access a higher intuition.

In San Francisco
We tend to see our spiritual life in terms of our earthly life -- that nothing really matters.  Or, we see that what we do in earthly life has obvious effects, like working to put money in the bank, etc.  Sadhana is not so obvious, yet each practice we do accrues worth to our character.

At first, spiritual practice seems ethereal, hazy, but over time you begin to see that every experience in that form of practice is a stake in the heart of ignorance.  And you begin to feel adept.  All of this, as Lord Buddha says, falls like drops of water into a bucket.  You learn to see all the things that come up in life as cyclical, changing.  But you must learn to look for what is unchanging -- the Atman; Buddha nature.  So you approach with caution those things that cause you to think in terms of cycle, change, evolution.  Scientists would have you believe that to see your ancestors you must go to a zoo.  But a billion years ago you were still Atman, and will never be anything else.

Should you enter into Maya?  Only armed to the teeth.  You can associate with name and form, with experiences and objects, but do not ever identify with them.  Remain the Witness.  Become Siva -- steady, unchanging. For -

  • Maya is a cycle
  • Dharma is a circle
  • Atman is the center
Extract yourself from the cycle of maya and mount the circle of dharma.  The circle of dharma is full of precepts, practices, and teachings that are intent on convincing you to awaken.  The dharmic circle consists of holy company, contentment, atma vichara, etc.  The center, Atman, lies right below the surface of that.

The world has nothing to give you, it came out of you.

The existence of objects proves the non-objectifiable.  The existence of form proves the formless: 
Om  purnamadah purnamidam purnat purnamudachyate
purnasya purnamadaya purnamevavashisyate
Om shantih shantih shantih
What is visible is the infinite.  What is invisible is also the infinite. 
Out of the Infinite Being the finite has come, yet being infinite, only infinite remains. 
Om peace, peace, peace. 

You are already That, but the psycho-physical being is stubborn, resistant.  You have to make yourself into Brahman.  Destroy resistance via persistence.

"In the beginning was the Word."  "I and my Father are One."  These two statements pertain to two different levels of Existence.  The first pertains to origins, and the second shows the difference between the Word and That which is the Awareness that reveals the Word.  Unfortunately, Christianity focused on origins alone, leaving Nonduality out of its picture.  As a result we now have a religion based upon creation instead of projection, set in time instead of transcendence, operating in space rather than in the Eternal Moment, and founded in cause and effect rather than in immutability.

That there are many of you present here should not confuse the mind.  In the waking state there appear all these different bodies and minds.  Dreaming too.  But in deep sleep all minds dissolve into the Great Mind, and with them all the bodies that it projects.

You act, and it has a bad effect.  Then you react to that.  This keeps the wheel of karma going.  Do not react to anything.  Remain calm, in equanimity, and then accomplish all acts in that.

"I'm all right, you're all right."  That is the new age mantra.  Nonsense!  Nothing is all right in Maya.  Everything is on the verge -- on the verge of falling apart.  Haven't you noticed?  Is this false sense of security really healthy for realizing your changeless Nature?

[During a class on the Vivekachudamani, The Crest Jewel of Discrimination]
Action and karma only occur in Nature.  Contrast this with the principle of Aparinama, nontransformation.  Shankara [in the Vivekachudamani] is saying your real Self is changeless.

Question:  How do you pray for others?
Babaji: Japa (repetition of the mantra) is our prayer.  Do japa with the particular individual in mind, sitting alongside of Holy Mother and Sri Ramakrishna.  Do it for 40 days after someone's passing from the body.  Perform it like a vow. 

True japa puts emotion and sentimentality out of the equation.  There is a difference between emotion and devotion.  The ordinary soul is like a needle with rust on it which will not seek out the magnet.  One uses a salt solution to remove such rust; then the magnet will attract it.  Like that, wash away the rust of the mind with your tears of devotion.  If you are crying tears of loss, regret, or anxiety for a departed or suffering person, that is not helpful.  It may even be contrary to true aid!  But if the movement of your heart is asking Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother to please save this person I love -- those tears are higher, more along the nature of real compassion.  A Vedantist, of course, does not weep because so and so has died or is dying -- for this is not true.  Death is an illusion.  So pray for their swift and lofty passage....

Notes from Portland and the Oregon Prison classes
[Spoken during a class in Portland where people have endured months of cold, overcast skies]
Recent Portland headline:  Portlanders discover a bright shining orb in the sky that gives warmth and dispels clouds.  But we know that Vedanta dispels the clouds of ignorance.  This ignorance is not necessarily our fault - unless we are not doing our sadhana.

In India, Philosophy and Religion were never kept separate.  Here in the West, religion is steeped in moneymaking and philosophy is used for debate.  India long ago got over debating about the Truth of Reality, and just accepted It.  It is obvious!  With that one put behind them, they began to plumb Its depths.  What we see today in its Wisdom is the result of that millennia's-long dedicated search.

Our daily life is missing something.  It is missing experience of the Self.  But Holy Mother had this.  She told us about moving through her day and being engulfed by a wave of Light, and for days thereafter felt a deep, imperturbable Peace.  Ordinary people only experience something like this in deep sleep, but that is incomplete because it is covered by nescience, the lack of conscious awareness.

Brahman can never be objectified.  This is why It cannot be the form.  It is not the object; It is the eternal Subject.  The experience of Brahman does not produce or maintain a separate experiencer.

Slug consciousness:  Do not leave a slime after yourself.  This is like discovering a constellation and naming it after yourself.  [Slime refers to karmic residue]  Be like a bird and leave no trace as you move through the sky of this world.  Do not be like a slug that leaves a trail of karmic slime over the lettuce leaf.  What does that slug slime consist of?  The six passions and eight fetters mixed up with the three Gunas.

Worldliness: this is your packet of karmic propensity: worldly acts based on lust, greed and mere hope.

Any time you maintain an individual knower you have fear.  There is no fear in the Indivisible.  So if you want to be fearless, renounce the whole shootin' match.  "Renunciation alone is fearless."

Samadhana -- this is the unique ability to concentrate on Brahman alone.  It is not pratyahara (withdrawing senses from objects) or dharana (making the mind one-pointed via contemplating a single object).  It is more like Savichara - absorption in a single principle.

Today's mind is like a barrel full of rotten apples.  This is a big problem for contemporary Western aspirants.  They look at the potential attainments of spiritual life with big eyes but small stomachs.  That is, they enter into prescribed spiritual practice with a mind that is still impure.  But those rotten apples at the bottom will only spoil all the fresh new ones that get piled on top.  So do the purification first, then seek qualities and attributes.

From your position in the Cosmic Self you watch yourself take and leave bodies.  The collective, cosmic, and individual all exist in you.  We have to realize that we are that vast.

We must inspect everything that happens in the physical realm -- black, white and mixed karmas -- and trace it back to the mind.

Beyond thought, energy, and matter is this formless Reality.

The creation theorists and the evolutionists argue with one another.  But Vedantists propose that as a fundamentalist Christian and a scientist we are stuck.  We think that time and space are outside of us -- but it is all inside.

If you want to climb El Capitan, like my brother did, you prepare yourself with all the training and supplies of mountaineering - pitons, ropes, a guide.  Just so, when you contemplate the steep inner ascent to Formlessness, you must think about what you require - the pitons of perseverance, the ropes of scriptural knowledge, and the spiritual preceptor.

Brahman: Chid happens
Purusha: Chit happens
Maya: Shit happens

You heard that God is in everything and everywhere, but you did not render that into a philosophical conclusion:  God is immutable, immovable, indivisible.  The West hasn't had a philosophy connected to valid religion yet.  But in India, religion and philosophy were never disconnected.  Religion for the heart, and philosophy for the mind.

This power of Maya gets into your mind and makes you think in terms of bifurcation.  This bifurcation spreads out and breeds multiplication/diversity and the human mind becomes mesmerized.  This is called vaichitra, maya's power of hypnotization via varieties.  Mayashakti makes what is positive appear negative, and what is negative appear positive.  For example, coming home, drinking beer, and watching TV all night is considered the good life, while using one's free time for practicing spiritual disciplines is considered boring, difficult, or useless.  Such is maya and its powers of confusion and delusion.

I think the most positive thing one can do is spiritual discipline: study, devotion to God, selfless service, meditation on Reality.  A practice that incorporates all this will annul your karmas in one lifetime.  But people do not want to do it because it is so hard.  Complacency and prevarication is easier.  But the result of sporting these two is a compromised life.

While in a restaurant for breakfast, I saw a tag on the table saying that one out of three Oregon 8th-graders has a drinking problem.  So I thought, "take away the alcohol."  Is it so hard?  The problem is that you tell your child not to drink while you have a glass of wine with your wife, daily.  What kind of example are you?  This is the distorting power of Maya.  Society accepts something that is bad and makes it look fine.  Then later, when it backfires, they complain about it but do nothing to make changes to their own behavior.  Then it comes back and haunts them in the form of their children.

Your mind, combined with the insentient Maya, creates everything.  How does this happen?  Via Intelligence.  Everything is a manifestation of your intelligence.  When this dawns on you, you may have savitarka samadhi.  And you are stunned.  You find that everything has come out of you.

Maya is like the poison in a snake.  That is, the snake is sometimes stationary, and other times mobile.  The snake, dead still, represents Brahman; the snake in wriggling motion is Shakti, but the poison inside of it is Maya.  All three modes are portions of one single snake, all three principles exist in one Reality.

If you can minimize the six passions and eight fetters, and then call them qualities of the mind, and then say "I am not the mind" -- then you will get detachment and, finally, peace.  You will never get transcendence without peace. [6 passions: lust, anger, greed, delusion, vanity, jealousy; 8 fetters: hatred, shame, lineage, pride of good conduct, fear, secretiveness, caste, grief]

The New Agers say, "I want to be one with nature," but the Vedantist says that nature has come out of you.  This gives Vedantists a very unique view.

The father of Yoga said that you do not need to believe in God to practice yoga.  You will find God later.  Do not worry about it now, just do the practice.  Step-by-step you will begin to understand in a deeper way.

From the cradle to the grave, man is lost in maya.

There is a barometer by which you can judge your experiences:  if it changes, it is maya.

You want to get the mind up and off the cycle of pain and pleasure, which includes all dualities.

Mankind equals Freedom: he is "freed" in the "om." But if he identifies with his body-mind complex, mankind equals maya.

Use your Intelligence first before you act.  Karma is based on thought.

The mind has been inundated with worldliness, so the teachings have to be poured on, gushing over the sleepy mind to awaken it.

Imagine you have a barrel with a few rotten apples.  Then you come to spiritual life and you start adding in the apples of meditation, study, selfless service, worship -- but they [the immature practitioners] have not purified the mind yet.  This is why people do not make progress.  In Yoga there are five states of the mind field: dull, scattered, restless, one-pointed, and dissolved.  Those first three and their causes are the rotten apples.  You have to get to Ekagra, one-pointed mind.

With the three Gunas lording over us we are weak.  As Swami Vivekananda composed in his hymn to Sri Ramakrishna, "You are to be adored. You are Truth unchanging.  You are the Lord of the Three Gunas.  In my weakness I have neglected, O Remover of Delusion, to worship you earnestly and unceasingly..."  Truth is beyond the three Gunas and all that changes. [Gunas: continuous cycles of restlessness, dullness, and balance]

The six transformation and eight fetters -- these are the signs that you are in trouble.
[6 transformations: birth, growth, disease, old age, decay, death]

For vicissitudes and vagaries use viveka and vairagya. (discrimination and detachment)

Change is of two kinds: Maya and Shakti.  If you have only avarana shakti and vikshepa shakti, the covering and distorting powers of Maya, as your companions, you will remain in ignorance.  But what if you worship it all as Mahashakti, pure dynamism?  You then get ahold of the Prakasha Shakti, the revealing power of Maya.  This propels you out of Maya.  This truly is using fire to fight fire.

The question often comes up, once one has seen the unreality of the world, how do you live in this world?  The answer is: as the Great Actor, the Great Enjoyer, the Great Pretender.  Read your Yoga Vasishtha.....

Whatever you do in the world amounts to nothing, but whatever you do in your spiritual life, with your sangha and guru, are drops in the dharma bucket.  Over time you will become full of merit.

Divine Mother is the dispenser of fruits.  That means She also bestows our comeuppance if we have it coming.  But if we keep Her in mind and heart we will not lose our way.  We will be like the bird that leaves no trace in the sky.  Forgetting Her, we run the risk of being a slug that leaves a slime.  What is that slime?  Good/bad, pleasure/pain -- all the pairs of opposites combined with the gunas and six passions and 8 fetters.  And all this is karmic residue.  My guru, Swami Aseshananda, took the name Asesha--that means, among other things, the bliss of no residue.

"Peace is more powerful than love," states an ancient woman saint.  Satchitananda may be pure Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, but you will never realize It without peace.  And this is what Holy Mother would say: "You need peace first and foremost.  It is the essential thing."

You have to be conscious of your Consciousness, aware of your Awareness.  Then take this in with you into deep sleep and meditation. 

"All action takes place in Prakriti (nature), not Purusha (Self)." Thus states Sri Krishna

Although the peace chants were chanted 5,000 years ago, when you chant them today all those divine beings -- sages and saints  -- are there within you, and in the Eternal Moment.  All the realms are within you.  The kingdoms are within you.  Darkness cannot resist Light, for darkness has no substance.  It is up to you to bring in the Light.  And this means sadhana.  It is not enough to work hard physically and do intellectual work, but a very specialized inner practice is needed.  Christ wanted you to get an inner life.

Peace of mind is more powerful than anything.  All else is unattainable without it.  Peace, peace, peace, say the rishis.  If you can maintain this peace for a long time your life will even out.  Clear your mind before you sit for meditation, clear your mind before you study, even before you go to work.  You should never engage in action with a restless/tamasic mind.

Science used to have more integrity.  It was the search after the nature or knowledge of a thing.  But now the search is a quest for money and pleasure.  It is "How can I use this knowledge to make money,?" or "Will this discovery bring me fame?"

Especially in the U.S., religion and philosophy got sundered.  Philosophy was used, not to point to the Truth, but to debate with other schools, other views.  Religion without philosophy is sentimental and emotional [and even superstitious] -- not clear thinking.  And philosophy without religion is dry, callous, calculating.  Bring them together around a sincere interest in Truth and much good will accrue.

The real separation is name and form.  The act of birth and death take place in nature only.

You have salvation as soon as you take refuge in Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, etc.  You are saved now.  You have a great soul looking after you.  But liberation is a step beyond that.  It requires that you bring out your own Pratibha, your own sparkling Intelligence.

Religion with a capitol R is indigenous to your Soul.  It is your Soul.  There is no such thing as a foreign religion.

Be like a woman with a baby in a house on fire: she will not go looking for an escape plan; she will take the first way out.  Similarly, if you become aware of your precious cargo (your Soul) you feel that you have GOT to get out of maya.  Jesus in the desert and Buddha under the bodhi tree felt this too.  But in their cases it was more like "I have got to get out of this to show others the way."

Do not look up in the sky when you pray to the gods; There is nothing out there but the five elements.  Pray within.  All - ancestors, celestials, gods, etc., are back within you.

If a culture got illumined through its language, as is the case with India, there will be certain salient words regarding spirituality that do not appear or have equivalents in other languages, such as the word "Maya."  Early on, when eastern philosophy appeared in the U.S., maya was translated as "illusion."  But Swami Vivekananda rectified this.  He defined Maya as neither real nor unreal, nor a combination of both.  It is simply name and form in time and space based upon causation.

One can see by the peace chants of India that the rishis were very deep thinkers and, in fact, they were such deep thinkers that they got beyond the thinking mind!

If this substratum really exists, then why do we not see it?  Well first of all, it is not a sensual experience.  It is not even an experience.  Like the salt doll in Sri Ramakrishna's story that merges in its own nature, no one was left to emerge from that ocean and tell of it.

If you have had the nondual "experience" then these are the two things on your mind: Brahman, absolute Reality, timeless, formless, eternal; and Maya, that which obscures Reality.

Mind-only schools do not believe in the ultimacy of creationism or evolution.  They are not "down" with those.  These two theories put Western man between a rock and a hard place.  The world was not created in six days (unless each day is symbolically defined as an age).  And if evolution is the whole truth, then I have to go to the zoo to see my ancestors.  Who but one with animalistic consciousness, or brutishness, would accept that?  But what Christ was trying to tell John was that everything comes out of the Word.  This powerful force of the mind -- the collective mind --  pulls the world together via thought.  Space and time come out of your mind and your mind then plays with them.  Well, better be an adept games-player....

You are creating the worlds of name and form, but Maya is in there obscuring the fact that you are doing this.  This is called root ignorance, and it is also why we do not remember our past lifetimes.  All these lifetimes are not different bodies in actual physical locations, but just dreams. 

The first thing my teacher taught me was Brahman satya, Jagad mithya. I said, "I do not like to think the world is false."  So he said, "Think of it like this, 'Brahman is the only Reality.  The world is not separate from Brahman.'"  That was better, even ingenious!  But this Maya has us all thinking in terms of separation, and all of Western society enforces this.

We do not have a samskara in the West for formlessness.  That is because we do not have any nondual scriptures. 

Out of the particle of your own intelligence all objects have come.  Maybe my mind is Om........

Brahman and Shakti are one, but Maya makes us think they are two different things.   Can you separate heat and fire?

When you meditate you are going to want to shut down the first world, Bhur, the realm of  material objects.  The "fifth element," prana or ether, is the key to the inner worlds.  When you want to know the cause of prana, then you enter the realm of spiritual life.

You have to make a distinction between brain, which is an organ, and mind, which is a state of being.  In your brain are memories, instincts, heredity, etc, but in your mind are the ancestors, gods/goddesses, saints, sages, and the Trinity.

Judging everything by matter is called materialism.

Bumper stickers laud the creationist theory or the evolutionary theory, but the Vedantist stands back and says, "These are all well and good in their own sphere, but what you do not realize is that all this is a projection of your own mind."  Nothing doesn't exist.  You cannot get something out of nothing.  Therefore, the creation came from somewhere, and so did the big bang.  The Great Mind, Mahat, holds both ideas.

The illumined one has gone beyond god and devil and is not dependent or controlled by either.  He/she is Self-Realized.

Religion can be archaic and corrupt, and also be a vehicle for realization -- it all depends on you.

India is a nondenominational country.  They did not have just one scripture or one great teacher.  They have hundreds of each.  Where else do you find this?

Those who want peace give up the world; those who want power go after the world.

The first rule of thumb of any good philosophy is that there is one indivisible, unchanging Reality.

How can you own anything?  Objects do not exist -- they are empty.  And this is the predicament of modern man.  He gloms onto objects and obsesses over them and suffers when they disappear.  But they all come out of him.  Why is he grasping after them?  He has them all in endless supply back within himself.

You have a worldly memory and a divine memory.  The former drags you from birth to death and death to birth, while the latter, if activated via meditation, reveals the path and the goal.

God is not in the world, the world is in God.  Now you have a connection back inside of you.  Such say the mind-only schools.  They have produced hundreds of illumined beings.  What have we produced in the West?  A few saints?  But that is salvation, not liberation.

Take a bell and strike it -- t-o-m -- did you create the sound?  No, it was inherent in the bell.  Om is like this: everything is inherent in it.  When struck, out comes the universe.  Your mind is this Om and you are striking it -- possibly in an unrehearsed way.  If this is hard to follow, then think of it as the Cosmic Mind -- but this is your mind in the end.  You can prove this to yourself via the meditation of involution.  Dissolve earth into smell, water into taste, etc.  You will learn that these elements are not outside of you.  Going further, you dissolve the pranas into mind and the mind into Light.  You now have proved to yourself that you are completely other than matter, gross and subtle, and all of that comes out of the Great Mind like sound from a bell.

Embodiment entails the pain of the six transformations.  The intrepid soul must accept this like a warrior.  Then, beyond warrior is sage-hood.

If you first accept yourself as birthless and eternal -- that you are Consciousness -- and then practice religion, you will never run afoul of religion.

The term or principle of Nonorigination equals the Eternal.  Everything rises and falls from an eternal substratum.

Notes from the Seattle Spring Retreat
Here in the West, we can benefit from looking at our predicament in life.  Like a bird sitting on a barbed wire fence, there is pain and there is pleasure.  To rise above we must realize the Atman.

None of the imagination and creativity the West is so engaged in can match the power of envisionment espoused by the Tantras.  Tantra envisions the deities, sages, saints, and even the Trinity within oneself.  What is a mere silly Hollywood fantasy compared with this?

India had a great resistance to non-Truth.  They identified it with a word, which no one else had done, and called it Maya.

Avatar is the bottle, scripture is the label, Brahman is the liquid.

The neti-neti path is not a path of aversion.

In ignorance the mind is fragmented.  It shifts from one guna to another, from dualism to qualified nondualism, without ever knowing it is making a shift.  So the duality of sentient and insentient, relative and absolute, is imposed to clarify the mind and allow one to recognize its standpoint and its thoughts.

None of us here are realized Advaitists.  We are still qualified nondualists until we have had nirvikalpa samadhi.

Sri Krishna tells us that no one gets into union without renouncing sankalpa, creative imagining.  In the Nirvanashatkam, the Six Stanzas on Nirvana by Shankaracharya, he starts with disidentifying with the antahkarana, the four-fold mind that is the inner cause (manas, chitta, buddhi, ahamkara).  Sankhya's cosmology of the 24 Cosmic Principles shows that the senses, and the subtle and gross elements, came out of manas, dual mind.  Thus, the Antahkarana is the root of all.  We need to hear this again and again to show what great power is in the mind - for good or for ill.  Sri Ramakrishna would say that the mind is the gateway to heaven or the doorway to hell.  Please note: the gods and heavens and hells and devils are all within you.

Hearing is the most subtle of the senses and it is connected to ether.  The sound travels through space/ether, strikes your eardrum, and enters your antahkarana, which, if purified, enters your heart.  In this view, you are integrating all aspects of the nonself.  And it is founded upon spiritual essence: I am Siva!  I am the form of blissful Awareness/Consciousness:  Chidananda rupaha, Shivoham, Shivoham.

Looking at the black space between stars and planets is analogous at the mental level to taking attention off the planets of your thoughts and placing it on the space between thoughts.  Then you get savitarka/nirvitarka samadhi, and receive the overwhelming view of all knowledge.  This later matures into savichara/nirvichara, the ability to select one bit of knowledge, meditate on it, and realize its origin/essence.  And when this happens one realizes that the form is changing but the Essence is ever-present -- stationary and impossible to lose.

Kama has different shades of meaning.  As a binding passion it is lust; as the fruit of dharmic life it is legitimate desire; as an aspiration it is the desire for liberation.

You should engender mumukshutwam, desire for liberation, slowly over time before seeking it. People hear about it and think they want it, until they find out what it entails.  Then they step back, sometimes huge steps backwards.  So develop the desire for moksha before making the ascent.

Analyzing the ego is therapy.  Analyzing the Self is Atma-Vichara.

We are to hear the Truth, contemplate It, and then realize It.  But then we need to bring it out in life.  This seems to justify our individual existence.

Examination of our consciousness sounds easy, but it is not.  It requires time, predilection, and patience.  Like Siddhartha, "I can sit, I can fast, I can wait."  But I also need to contemplate.

By taking to pleasure and suffering pain the soul divorces itself from Atman.  Rather, it should remain in contentment.

If you take a teacher you have a boatman who will take you across the ocean of Samsara.  He will stay the course with you.

"Why are we teaching the scriptures and not strict nondualism?" people ask.  Because it is through the scriptures that people will qualify themselves for the nondual state.

Evolution can be said to occur in the mind, apparently causing the evolution of worlds and objects.  But all this takes place on the substratum of Consciousness.  But the materialists flip this over and make Prakriti/Maya the substratum.

Sometimes, when teaching in the prisons, I say, "Two hours ago your consciousness was allocated to your cell.  Now it is here in class.  What if you were to allocate it everywhere at once?"  Then you would know what the luminary is like.

This is one of the mistakes that is made: you take the teachings all your life, but when death comes you abandon them.  One of the Upanisads instructs the dying person to remember past good deeds, for this causes one to recall the teachings and one's teachers.

Leaping for Nirvikalpa

Swami Aseshananda did not agree with Shankaracharya in the fifth verse of the Nirvanashatkam where he affirms "there is no guru or student."  He did not want us to abandon the teacher and go leaping for nirvikalpa samadhi before we were qualified.  There are ten conditions of the Guru-Sishya relationship that you practice in order to reach that state of "no guru."  In the sixth verse, Shankara affirms, "I have no form or fancy, the all-pervading am I...."  This is very natural even though it is rare, this formlessness.  You have to be willing to vacate the mechanisms of consciousness (antahkarana) and then merge.  Swami Aseshananda would often tell us, "If we all knew who we were, we would not need sadhana."  I'm not sorry to say that I have brought out and insisted that SRV students practice in their own homes, alone and with their kids.

To know a thing is to master it.  And this is transcendence.  But to study a thing while thinking that it is outside of you, and that it contains some secret, runs the danger of you getting lost in Maya.  [the first is yogic analysis the second is materialism/science]

Think about your attachment to name and form, and your senses that want to get into union with objects.  The universe has come out from your own mind.  Why this attachment then? 

Know your mind first.  This will qualify you for knowing the Cosmic Mind.  Some hailstones melt before merging in the ocean.  Just so, some beings are thinking ahead, dissolving the ego, opening to their true nature.  They do not get "pulled apart" at the time of dissolution.

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