Posts tagged hinduism

Alan Watts – Guru, Scoundrel or ‘Spiritual Entertainer’?

I’ve been listening to more Alan Watts recently and stumbled across this old post that you may enjoy. Does it matter that our spiritual guru’s are rascals? Or does it just make them more endearing and human. More real?

Riding effortlessly on a large green turtle

‘There was a young man who said Dan, for it certainly seems I am, a creature that moves in determinate grooves, I’m not even a bus I’m a tram.’ 

Alan Watts is a man who has taught me much, giving me insight and inspiration and always a good laugh.  Although he died in the early ’70’s his legacy lives on in his many books, recordings and the seemingly endless clips on Youtube.

Alan’s words deeply resonate with me, he was a man who didn’t seem to take himself or life too seriously.  I am always heartened by his mischievous belly laugh, which for me, was an integral part of his appeal (and teachings!).

Under a Thai Sun, Prachuap Kiri Khan, Thailand

By his own admission, Alan was a ‘spiritual entertainer’; but he was surely being modest, he was much more than that to so many folk.  He was a scholar who…

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Sweet Child on the Road

Oh Atman! Oh soul!
Sweet child on the road.

Oh mother who feeds
Her family with peace.

Oh father in sky,
Can’t you hear the lowly cry?

Oh truth, oh lies
All unfolding in time.

Oh existence, oh knowledge,
Oh bliss absolute.

Oh teacher, great silence,
So loving and wise.

Oh yoga, dissolution,
Ascend material resolution.

Oh guru, pure light,
Resting easy at your side.

Oh wisdom in life
So many ways to delight.

Oh death, take me home,
Leave with grace these skin and bones.

Oh Atman! Oh soul!
Forever love this mortal stone.

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Savitri – Sri Aurobindo

I recently visited Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India for the second time, a place I find deeply inspiring.  Auroville is a community envisaged by the sage Sri Aurobindo, a place free of binds to nations or corporations.  A work in progress, a place that strives to embody a new society based on sound ethics and virtue, a positive vision of how we could live in various degrees of harmony.  

I had not read Aurobindos poetry until recently and when I did, felt deeply moved by the potency and diversity of his work. Here are two small exerts from Savitri, regarded by many as his most profound and essential writing.

 

“and he saw like one walking into a dream

some timeless beauty and reality,

the moon-gold sweetness of heaven’s

earth-born child.”

“a few can climb to an unperishing sun,

or live on the edge of the mystic moon

and channel to earth-mind the

wizard way.”

“The two longing to join, yet walk apart,

Idly divided by their vain conceits;

They are kept from their oneness by enchanted fears;

Sundered mysteriously by miles of thought,

They gaze across the silent gulfs of sleep.”

“A marvellous sun looked down from ecstasy’s skies

On worlds of deathless bliss, perfection’s home,

Magical unfoldings of the Eternal’s smile

Capturing his secret heart-beats of delight.”

Namastex

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The Poetry of the Bauls

Bauls, the wandering mystics and minstrels of Bengal. Their branch of thought pre-dates even the Rig Vedas; for me their poetry and songs evoke all that is magical about India.

My soul cries out,
caught in the snare of beauty
of the formless one,

As I cry myself,
Night and day,
Beauty amassed before my eyes,
Surpasses moons and suns.

If I look at the clouds in the sky,
I see his beauty afloat.
And I see him walk on the stars,
Blazing within my heart.

I am returning to India in early January and ‘Riding effortlessly……’ will switch from a mainly poetry based blog to being a mainly travelling poetry blog.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas time and prosperous New OneX

 

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Some Thoughts on Yoga and Yoga Asana


Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. (B.K.S. Iyengar)

Teach what is in you, not as it applies to you, to yourself, but as it applies to the other. (T. Krishnamacharya)

Before you’ve practised, the theory is useless. After you’ve practised, the theory is obvious.

Crave for a thing, you will get it. Renounce the craving and the object will follow you by itself. (Swami Sivananda)

The difference between yoga and bodybuilders is that bodybuilders have a body of a bull and the heart of gazelle – and yogis the heart of a bull and the body of a gazelle. (Sri Kartakeya)

Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. (Swami Chidananda)

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds:
Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. (Patanjali)

The pose begins when you want to leave it.

Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked. (Yoga Sutras)

In the lamp of the heart; put the oil of dispassion, insert the wick of devotion, and kindle the light of knowledge, by constant meditation; The darkness of ignorance will be dispelled and you will be fully illumined. (Swami Sivananda)

Do your practice, the rest is coming. (Patthabi Jois)

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Happy Diwali – The Festival of Lights

Today is Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Although it is much more than that. Diwali is a five day festival with each day having a different significance.

Diwali is celebrated by millions (maybe billions!) all over the world, and tonight clay lamps will be lit and fireworks will be let loose; keeping evil spirits at bay. Diwali is huge and even a national holiday in Trinidad and Tobago.

Krishna fighting the Narakasuras

My first memories of Diwali were at school and being brought up in Leicester, England.  A county where Hinduism is now the main religion.  Many of my friends were Hindus and Diwali seemed to mean as much as Christmas at my school.  We made small clay lamps and filled them with butter, we went down to the huge street parties in Leicester centre and enjoyed the sweets and vibrancy of it all.

Diwali translates to something like ‘row of lamps’, the festival embodies the triumph of good over evil, symbolised by Krishna battling the Narakasura’s army (see picture above).  In India, it marks the end of the harvest in most areas and prayers are offered for the coming harvest.  This is a very similar sentiment to Samhain, the Celtic Festival, which would have been celebrated around this time, although the Roman Catholic Church changed the date to 1st November.   Essentially Samhain is a festival for the dead, a time when the door to the otherworld is open and spirits may wander this world.

It is worth noting that drinking alcohol has always been part of the Samhain mythology, I shall be enjoying a few ales this evening with my father and celebrating both of these festivals.  I embrace both equally, the festival of light and of dark and the inner space in which they both dwell.

Cú Chulain going into battle in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, which is said to begin on Samhain.

Wishing you all fertile times aheadx

“Who is there to take up my duties?” asked the setting sun,

“I shall do what I can my Master” said the earthen lamp.

Rabindrath Tagore

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Strange Desires

Out of the wild woods,

The moon rose.

Out of her breast,

Rage on

Without remorse;

Recourse.

 

Love your mother

Young pearl diver

Of the bottomless blue.

When fresh winds call;

Release the

Poems of your heart,

As doves, watch them go.

 

Where whispers fall as

Strange desires,

Speak of this sight

And this alone.

 

In the mornings love

Of beginning,

Your lover sings

Of life’s young spring

And her womb

Is fecund with

New love and old.

 

Soft wind kissed,

But not woeful,

There is no shame

To seek;

Chain-less.

And feigning innocence.

 

I strap my limbs

To the cause,

I hide in caves

As the planets battle

For supremacy of the sky,

Wandering around graves

In circular patterns.

Fit to drop

Into red rivers,

Way past

This worlds end.

 

Something calls

And tugs

At the heart’s shadow

And somehow,

Things unseen mean more.

 

The carnival

Is just beginning.

 

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Children of the Soil

Painting by Seema Kohli

Children of the soil

One and all,

Wayward spirits stray

Far from the apple tree,

At play.

 

The shadows of leaves

Blot out the sun,

In this shade we shelter

And come undone.

 

The translucent veneer

Of the peace that we found,

Is born in the one,

Unifying sound.

 

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Do you want to be the creator or the victim? – An evening with Ram Dass

“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”

“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”

“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”

“If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible.”

Worth a watch just for the crochet story alone…….

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”

“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”

“Be here now.”

Ram Dass

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Goodbye India

Sadhu at Gaumukh, Source of the Ganges

Sadhu at Gaumukh, Source of the Ganges

I’ve had India on my mind recently and dug out this piece of writing, written on an Air Egypt flight as we began our ascent, leaving Delhi far behind in the distance……

Goodbye India
26th August 2011

Goodbye India you cosmic illusionist, you loveable rogue, you raging metaphysical conundrum, you noxious gas and crippling poverty, you glutton, you fiend, you epic lover and timeless dreamer, you warm smiling believer.
You open to all comers, you wanton destroyer of hope, you countless idols cloaked in smoke, you desperate coin collector, you flower neglecter, you pile of burning plastic, you trip the light fantastic, you ever smoking gun, you bootless army of fun, you astronaut, you nuclear force, you lit funeral pyre, you heartless wanderer, you chai sipping trader, you spice baron philanderer, you playing the bamboo flute, you wind that passes between new leaves, you flaying the hay, you knee deep in rice, you who worship statues of cracked clay, you who knows not to think twice.

You river of tears, you quenched dry mouth resonating each year, you electric monsoon, you mountain caressed by light of full moon, you fork of twisted lightning, you dry starving masses, you burgeoning middle classes, you Technicolor Maya, you mango tree admirer.

You white horse wedding, you street sweeping Bedouin, you lucky boy child, you bejewelled blushing bride, you Goddess carried high, you feast ‘til morning light, you hopeless fool, you infinite bard, you wonderful emptiness, you sit motionless in deep bliss, you frenzied urban sprawl, you devout morning call.

You holy cow, you seat of all knowledge, you poetry in life, you path to all wisdom, you Mother, you Brother, you heartless lover, you bathing in a stream, you touch all spaces in-between, you the building blocks of greatest civilization, you the peak of mans endeavour, you the base of all oppression, you the seed of the great pollination, you the sweeping cosmic vibration.

You jagged granite giants, you ragged yet compliant, you Orange clad and defiant, you marauding Elephant army, you archer in the night, you God of war, of fire, of love, of wealth, wisdom, peace, of Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Shiva…belief.

You packs of Brahmin liars, you blissful mendicant inspired, you wandering sage, you yatra to the heavens, you not of living self, you path to destruction, you cry of newborn child, you doting Mother mild, you open galaxy, you closed book, you at the feet of your master, you who reciting ancient truth, you lost in the forest, reckless and aloof, you not to be understood, you with history drenched in blood.

You reclining lord in bloom, you of vast barren plain, you verdant deep forest, you of old blue tongue, you of forgotten traditions, you of highest ambitions, you tales of old, you colour, you light, you exotic princess reciting incantations to full moons from towers above souks in pale moonlight, you noble prince with sword in hand taming dragons with the flick of mighty hand, you dead in a rotting puddle, you limitless, you of family feud, you of drama, you of moods.

You wanting to be free, you craving for sanctity, you hangman of self, you executioner of suffrage, you monster of man, you demon harbouring lost souls, you hashish delusion, you opium filled lung, you vivid junky exhaling, you living in a cave, you marauder of faiths, you dinosaur, you sloth, you sweet heavenly offering, you street-side proffering, you steam rising from masala, you sumptuous maharajah, you lover on screen, you dancing banyan tree.

You stillness in life, you ever tooting trike, you flashing spinning top, you pilgrim with bells in hand, you prostrate on holy land, you everything touched with love, you temple on a hill, you pristine white dove, you thin desert sand, you the heart of the world, you the future of human-kind, you holding all the aces, you billion smiling faces, you nepotistic clown, you battle weary crown, you embracer of lost cause, you undying, ever glowing, candle in the storm, you lifting us all higher, you confused when rambling forth, you black crystal pond, you resting, gentle, perfect lotus, you India are the mighty force, you India will be the one, you India alone, know the tune to our song.

Buddha in the Himalayas, Langzha, Spiti Valley

Buddha in the Himalayas, Langzha, Spiti Valley

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