I get my ideas mainly when I am meditating – but sitting in hot soapy suds in a huge marble bathtub would also be great – that is, if Tiru was not prone to drought….
In my teens, someone gave me a black hardcover book with many of its pages loose, as I recall, and I found that I simply could not put it down. The author was Emmet Fox, a New Thought spiritual leader of the early 20th century, famous for his large Divine Science church services held in New York City during the Great Depression. I realized I was reading pure mystical material that thrilled me in some primeval way. One fascinating subject that Fox spoke of was the protective sheaths that all humans are born with. He claimed that, when we stray from our true nature (which is love), we blast holes in these invisible sheaths through which discarnate entities can enter and make their homes within. Gradually, these entities (you can think of them as deadly viruses) cause unimaginable havoc. They do their work mainly by separating us from the knowing that our essence is the blissful and immortal Self.
Discarnate entities, you say? What are those? Well, let me answer you like this: Almost every evening when I travel to the Ashram, I pass one or more funeral processions making their way to some burning ground or the other. The locals celebrate these deaths in oddly primitive ways, by bursting crackers and dancing wildly in front of the slow heavily flower-garlanded vehicle that carries the corpse. Apparently this is to let the spirit know that it is not safe to return to this realm, and to speed it on its way to another realm of consciousness. Something like this anyway.
Now imagine for a moment who these dead people might be—for sure, not all of them have reached the end of their lives peacefully and are relieved to leave their bodies. Many are wrested away, without their permission, from full and busy lives, from wives, parents, children and work. When Death comes with a sure tread and the earth game is temporarily over, we may protest, but to no avail, for no one can deny the superior might of Lord Yama, the Grim Reaper, who throws his deadly noose over his victim and relentlessly drags the spirit away.
It is these restless spirits who hover around the earth plane, unwilling to leave before finishing their work, or simply lost, disoriented and confused. And if they find a weak and unprotected human, they immediately fly in and start to nest. Ah, now they have a way to continue to live on this plane of reality, and even better, the poor human has absolutely no clue that there has been a hostile takeover.
So how does one unknowingly blast holes in protective sheaths? Well, there are many explanations, but simply put, we do this when the egoic self, the relative and finite self, expands out of all proportion and forgets that it is merely a servant of Spirit. The sense of separation in these people is so strong and convincing that they appear to exist above and beyond all other beings, in a world of their own, their only driving urge being to feed and gratify this growing monster of mini-me, in one way or another. Often they have a bottomless hunger to acquire the ephemeral goodies of this world, but it is not just things they want to acquire, but other weak humans too, just to reassure themselves of their own worth, and no matter the harm done to others. In this quest to be superior, they will often do anything, and so leave a shocking wake of destruction. Only a few are exempt from their caustic effects, say those connected to them by blood, however, and yet in the long run even these beings are negatively impacted, for the discarnate entity can only survive on prana (the vital essence of a living human); when its original host is drained, it moves on to feed on those in the immediate vicinity.
Is this woman completely mad? you might be thinking. Has she finally lost the plot? No, let me assure you I have not. I am merely opening up to you in a new way, revealing what I mostly keep hidden from the mundane world for obvious reasons. In fact, I write spiritual fiction, and have just completed the Moksha Trilogy (only the third of these three novels is yet to be published). The first deals with the demon invasion on an ancient civilization, the second deals with a psychopath (severe mental/emotional disease is the first result of being possessed) and the third too deals with demons, but in a different way, as when lower consciousness gets so strong that it turns essentially fine humans into monsters.
Now, if you look carefully at all the major religions, as well as old religions that are shamanistic in nature, you might see that the spirit world dominates. Right outside my home lives a shaman to whom the locals flock. Almost every day I see him chasing spirits away with herbs and smoke and incantations. Some things never change! I have also seen these entities myself, and witnessed their operation in others. (Most super-empaths have extraordinary senses and it is not difficult to spot when things are off.)
A true story for you: one of my friends in Manhattan had a guru who was a beautiful woman from the Far East. He showed me a photo of her when she was young and I was blown away: classically lovely with a serene face and dressed in dazzling white. A few years later, I watched a video of her and couldn’t believe it was the same teacher. This woman was crazy, wild, loose in her sexual and financial morals (as I heard from reliable sources), and given to public fits and tantrums. Someone told me that her teacher had been a venerable Chan master, so I went to a monastery and spoke to an erudite Buddhist about her. He was reluctant to say a lot, but he did give me more than enough to chew on. He said the woman had begun her spiritual quest at a very young age and was clearly destined for greatness, as evidenced by the remarkable disciple and intelligence she showed in pursuit of her goal. One day years later she had had an experience that convinced her she was enlightened, but when she told her guru about it, he warned her to continue her practice until her ego was completely burned to ashes.
She got furious with him, and accused him of hating women and wanting to keep them down. She left the order and began to attract a large following, but soon her disciples started to get worried because she was changing before their eyes. Yes, this pure woman was turning into a rambunctious harridan; apart from other alarming signs of degeneration, she would burst into loud peals of laughter in the middle of a talk and had begun to worship money.
I don’t know what happened to her, but I do hope she sought the help of her old master and is now free. That would be ideal, of course, but in many cases, the victim dies in thrall. And then the nightmare continues into other lifetimes until the spirit once again resurrects itself and begins the real journey to light again.
Seekers are especially prone to demonic attack, simply because the inner light and the prana are strong, which is why we must take extraordinary measures to keep ourselves safe. How do we protect ourselves? It’s really quite simple. First, we find a teacher who is light itself and commit to him or her, heart and soul. We become intensely aware of how powerful our thoughts, words and actions are, and monitor them carefully. If we mess up, as humans generally do, we quickly make amends. We put our inner journey first and realize more and more deeply that nothing external can give us the peace and joy we seek. All of this increases our inner light. At some point we grow so strong and luminous that no demon or discarnate entity will dare to approach us, and now we can finish our awesome work, which is become the blazing light itself and a beacon to those still lost in Maya’s mesmerizing dream.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, who, Himself the Lord of all Demons (Ganas), can guide us through the most dangerous thickets and into the eternal sunlight of our Spirit!
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi reminds us, “True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self and that it can never become non-existent.” Read on and thanks for a great post, Harsh!
Losing a loved one is a natural cause of grief for us.
We have to eventually reconcile with the fact of death of those we loved, and cherish the joy that arises in the heart when we think of them.
Sri Ramana reminds us, “True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self and that it can never become non-existent.”
Sages teach us that the death of the body is inevitable. We are not the body but the Spirit. That is the message of Bhagavad-Gita as well.
Venkatraman was born into a middle-class south Indian family. One day, while still in school, he was consumed by a terrible fear of death. Instead of running to the frig for an ice-cream or a snack, or turning on some wild music or the television to distract him from his dread of the unknown, he lay down and simulated being dead. In a short while, he realized that even if his body were to dissolve back into the elements, his spirit would survive, for it was immortal and blissful. The fire of wisdom (jnana) burned down his relative self completely and he emerged from this experience as a fully awakened sage.
Many years later, a great man threw himself at the feet of the young sage; when Ramana answered a question that had been bedeviling him, and in such a way that his confusion cleared immediately, Ganapati Muni conferred upon him the title of Ramana Maharshi (which means, Ramana, the Great Sage).
Mundane life is so compelling in its appearance of reality that often we never transcend body, mind, emotions or who we are convinced we are in the external world. In other words, we fall irrevocably in love with a false identity, which is merely a covering for our Spirit. So playing dead has its uses, for a corpse has no identity and therefore the underlying truth of our existence can be experienced.
Someone recently sent me this incredible saying by a Chan master:
“Beyond meditation practice, there is attitude. A beginner must learn to cultivate what is called, “the poise of a dying man”. What is this poise? It is the poise of knowing what is important and what is not, and of being accepting and forgiving. Anyone who has ever been at the bedside of a dying man will understand this poise. What would the dying man do if someone were to insult him? Nothing. What would the dying man do if someone were to strike him? Nothing. As he lay there, would he scheme to become famous or wealthy? No. If someone who had once offended him were to ask him for his forgiveness would he not give it? Of course he would. A dying man knows the pointlessness of enmity. Hatred is always such a wretched feeling. Who wishes to die feeling hatred in his heart? No one. The dying seek love and peace. ~Chan Master Hsu-Yun
If we are wise, we will contemplate the fact that, at some point, without our permission, and usually without warning, our body and mind will dissolve back into the elements. At the second of physical death, all our assets and possessions are forgotten and left behind. Perhaps only then will we realize with a shock that all the negative emotions we have harbored while embodied, propelled by egoic fear and desire, are mere toxic phantoms that have led us astray. Unfortunately it will be too late, for once again we are at the mercy of powerful karmic forces and we have no power to determine what karma will be projected from our mountainous accretion to create our next incarnation. But, if today we accept that our true nature is nothing less than pure-existence, awareness and bliss (another name for love), then we can bring that realization into our lives today and walk confidently towards the blazing light.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, who helps us as we walk the narrow path that leads into the heart of cosmic love!
Long ago, I asked Brian Weiss (Many Lives Many Masters) how i could tell whether something i experienced was ” real” or coming from my imagination, and he said everything is equally valid and grist for the mill…mystics say there is no different between the waking and the dream state – both are ephemeral and unreal….meaning, neither lasts.
A friend told me yesterday that he’d watched a graphic video set in some Muslim country, sorry, I don’t recall which one. Apparently a woman burned a Koran and was caught in the act by a bunch of raging fundamentalists. She was then publicly stoned, mutilated and battered to death. (Now, even if she felt compelled to do this for some excellent reason, I wondered horrified, why let anyone know? Some things truly boggle my imagination.) Anyway, her murder was caught by a photographer, who put his video up on the net, where it went viral. In one word, gruesome; only demons could behave like this.
Hypersensitive as I am, I could not bear to listen to the whole wretched story, but I was curious to know how he had felt as he watched it. He said that, due to a powerful metaphysical experience he had recently undergone, his entire way of viewing reality has changed. So he had viewed the terrible scene with equanimity, knowing the entire script was written in the flaming alphabet of karma.
I was not impressed by his calm simply because he was describing the dispassionate view of the sage, who sees all the hidden codes that spark off relative reality, and is therefore not bothered by the burning questions of the un-enlightened. But the genuine sage combines this wisdom with incredible compassion—not just for the victim, but for the aggressor/s, who possibly have no clue that what goes around is bound to come around, and that the ghastly abuse of that poor woman will, sooner or later, be their own fate, multiplied, when the karmic pendulum swings back with a vengeance.
I love Ramana Maharshi for a host of reasons. One major one is that, despite being able to read all the codes that generate relative reality, he still felt immense love for all beings, and especially for animals, who approached him with their problems and viewed him like a generous and loving father. There are hundreds of stories of his unbelievably sweet bond with all kinds of animals and birds, and every time I read one, tears spring to my eyes. In fact, when he was in the last stages of a painful cancer and about to die, he said: have the peacocks been fed?
When I make a close friend, I look for two traits working in tandem: intelligence combined with sweetness or kindness/compassion. I am repulsed by the cold intelligence of those who smugly claim they can watch the intense suffering of our world with equanimity. Some swear they love animals, for instance, but will simultaneously wound their human friends/mates with a variety of deceptions and broken promises. Is this not a shocking lack of empathy? Advaita is not two, and this means that love is not portioned out to this one, and not that one, no matter their outer form, but to all beings, spontaneously and without expectation of return. The Buddhists remind us that a great eagle needs two wings to fly—one being wisdom, the other compassion. Wisdom alone can be cold and callous, while compassion minus a comprehension of the nature of both absolute and relative reality can easily go the wrong way.
In eastern terms, every single thing that happens is the result of past karma (thought, speech and action), but that does not mean we cannot feel empathy for those in pain, and then do everything we can to assuage their anguish (although we are strongly advised not to ourselves veer off course while doing so). If we take care of ourselves, then we will be in a position to be there for others. And in Advaitic terms, as Ramana Maharshi so simply stated, finally, there are no others.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva in the form of a hill of fire and light, who blasts open our spiritual heart so that we realize our Oneness with all beings!
My intense emotional reactions to suffering often paralyzed me into depression. By the time I was in my teens, I already knew that in order to survive, I would have to make peace with the patriarchy. The concept of brawn over brain seemed to have distorted the collective psyche, for everywhere, among rich and poor, educated and illiterate, I saw perverted masculinity. Instead of cherishing their womenfolk, many men viewed their own sisters, wives and daughters as rivals to be diminished and trounced, and sp they smashed feminine self-esteem to smithereens. As a result, sexual union was often reduced to the usurpation of the female body, and marriage, in many cases, to no more than a legal form of rape.
Fortunately, in my late teens I stumbled onto the priceless tools of eastern philosophy. Focusing on the theories of karma and reincarnation, I trained myself to apply this spiritual knowledge to all situations. My intent was to restore myself to peace so I could get on with life. Soon everything really did begin to fall into place. Contrary to mainstream thinking, karmic software is not designed to punish; instead it throws abusers into situations where perpetrator becomes victim. Gradually we come to see that each of us perceives but a fragment of the cosmic picture; ultimately there is no separation and we are truly one. This process evokes empathy and the melting of destructive patterns, and therefore karma is our friend, for it helps us evolve.
We also learn to question our instinctive perceptions. We may see a husband striking his wife, for instance, and be gripped by a terrible anger; however, not being omniscient, we cannot see the events (in this or past incarnations) that preceded this beating. Perhaps the woman being brutalized has brutalized; the molested child has molested; the honest man reduced to poverty by a ruthless rival has himself been a lethal shark. None of which means that we should stand by passively and watch evil being done; on the contrary! Humans of integrity must always be willing to protect the weak, the gullible and the innocent, even while accepting that there is more to any picture than meets the eye; in simple words, when we step in to help, we must do so as instruments of the Divine, and not from the limited ego.
In an ideal world, man and woman would consider each other equal but different. A couple is much stronger when their bond is energized by respect, love, harmony and co-operation. As for those who commit themselves to celibacy, they too must find ways to unite male and female aspects within themselves. For both the committed couple and the celibate, Tantra is one teaching that offers a variety of profound solutions.
The human race appears to have oscillated between diametrically opposed archetypes—absolute patriarchal power, and the holistic paradigm of ancient cultures, where male and female are revered as divine halves of a whole. Sex alone can never satiate the human soul; what is called for is the intimate bonding of equals and mutual appreciation. In so empowering each other, man is encouraged to grow into awesome grandeur, and woman reclaims her sacred role as primal healer. If we are to transform prevalent disturbing male-female equations, each of us must first become aware of the insidiously deep layers of conditioning that have seeped into the collective subconscious. Then we must shine our torch fearlessly onto our own dysfunctional views of the opposite sex and melt the blocks within our own psyches. To refine one’s own self, as one of my gurus said, is to refine our experience of the world. And while it can be agonizing to use the mind to unearth embedded the subconscious codes that block us from giving and receiving joy, the rewards can be rich.
For those who wish to begin this herculean task, I recommend seeking out an authentic form of meditation—such as Atma-Vichara (Self-investigation), the direct path to higher consciousness as taught by Ramana Maharshi. Direct investigation into one’s true nature has the power to dissolve all relative darkness, along with the countless fear-based separations humans automatically set up as barriers between self and other. After all, in the realm of the Absolute we are neither man nor woman, ugly nor beautiful, young nor old, rich nor poor, intelligent nor dumb; instead, we are the perfect manifestation of one single energy, whose ground is the incandescent Divine.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, who destroys all that blocks us from knowing we are the immortal and blissful Self!
I honestly don’t suffer from this crippling doubt that many writers and artists claim they do, but this is perhaps because I focus on writing spiritual fiction and feel the awesome support of all my teachers….read on….