Tag Archives | Albert Einstein

“Miracles” ~ By Walt Whitman

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein
“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman



Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?


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When and How Shall We Think?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society
that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.
Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.
Intuition tells a man his purpose in life.
One never goes wrong following his feelings.
I don’t mean emotions, I mean feelings, for feelings and intuition are one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
~ King Solomon – Proverbs 23:7



Q. When and how shall we think?

A. The power of thought is like a tool.
Don’t use it, unless you choose it.

Before thinking, still the ‘voice in your head’;
and, feel and listen to your Heart.

Think first with your Heart, not your head.

As stated in ancient Indian scriptures:

“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7


In your Heart shines the Eternal light of Truth – the light of Love.
Logic has its limits. But Truth and Love are boundless and timeless.

So, as Einstein implies:

Honor your Heart, over your rational mind.
Use your mind to serve and follow your Heart.


Related Post: How Can We Think More Objectively?

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Synchronicity Story: Miraculously Manifesting Memories of a Spiritual Pilgrimage to India and Nepal

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
~ Albert Einstein


Ron Meditating On Ganges With Sant Keshadavadas, 1982


As explained in other posts, during a traumatic 1976 divorce, I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening.  Two years later, I met a 100 year old Hindu guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and evolved from being a secular Hebrew, to becoming a “born-again Hindu”. Then gradually I developed ever increasing interest and curiosity about Indian spirituality and culture. After a few years, the “universe” presented me with an ideal opportunity to satisfy that curiosity.

In 1981, soon after my beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, had returned to India, I met Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher known as a singing saint. Especially in the absence of Guruji, I appreciated Sant Keshadavadas’ loving demeanor, singing, stories and teachings. So I frequently attended programs at his Oakland, California “Temple of Cosmic Religion”. Thereafter, on learning that Sant Keshadavadas would be conducting a spiritual tour of Indian holy places, I wanted to join that tour.

So after obtaining Guruji’s approval, in January and February 1982, I journeyed with Sant Keshadavadas on a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage to Japan, India and Nepal. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of my lifetime.

Never before had I been in a land with such a palpably spiritual ambiance as I experienced everywhere in India. Our tour group crossed the length and breadth of that vast country (mostly by airplane and local buses) visiting many spiritual shrines and meeting saintly beings, like Mother Teresa and Satya Sai Baba. And I had numerous wondrous experiences. (In other chapters I have recounted some of those experiences.)


Ron with Mother Teresa, Calcutta, 1982

Sai Baba blessing Ron, Bangalore, 1982



Ten years after that trip, in 1992 I retired from law practice and returned to India to pay my respects to Guruji, who at age 114 requested that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. Though initially bewildered by this request, I knew that such memoirs needed to describe experiences during my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’. But I hadn’t kept a diary during that pilgrimage trip, and had to rely mostly on memory to tell about it.


Thereafter, many years passed during which I lived in introspective semi-seclusion, without a TV, computer, newspaper, or radio news of the “real world”, meditating, praying, seeking answers to ultimate questions, and “enlightenment”. During these years I did not yet feel ready to honor Guruji’s request that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. But I was always mindful of the importance of fulfilling his wishes.

A few years ago, while thinking about Guruji’s request, I discussed it with two long-time spiritual friends. I told them that as I was delaying in writing and publishing my spiritual memoirs they were being edited by time, as my memories waned. And I expressed concern about whether I could remember sufficient details of the 1982 pilgrimage to India, suggesting that my friends might be able to help me remember stories I had previously shared with them.

Thereafter, within a couple of weeks, the universe produced an amazing synchronicity – a “manifestation miracle” which re-kindled memories of that momentous trip.

Here is what happened:

One afternoon while walking to the Marina Green adjoining San Francisco Bay I intended picking some dandelion and fennel leaves for my salad. But as I passed across the street from the Marina Safeway supermarket, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a plastic bag in which to carry my ‘harvest’. After momentarily considering a detour into the Safeway, I decided instead to keep my eyes peeled for stray bags which then commonly could be seen then blowing around in the public park area where I was walking.

Soon I saw at a distance on the sidewalk ahead of me a white plastic bag, and presumed that it was just what I needed. But as I approached it, I saw that it was far too large for my purposes. So, rather than leaving it cluttering the sidewalk where it might be blown into the water, I decided to put the plastic bag into a nearby waste dumpster.

I picked up the bag, walked a few a yards to the dumpster, and opened the dumpster lid prepared to discard the bag. But I was diverted by a surprising sight. Clearly visible, at the very top of the refuse pile in the dumpster, were about a dozen commercial VHS video tapes, which I began to examine with curiosity.

As I looked at the video titles, I saw that they all seemed to relate to spiritual subjects that interested me, like yoga. Though never before a ‘dumpster diver’, I decided that I’d like to take all those videos home and check them out.

Thereupon, I wondered momentarily how I might carry them, forgetting the large plastic bag that had led me to the dumpster. Then, remembering that bag, I laughed as I realized that the universe had not only led me to the videos, but had provided me a bag perfectly sized to carry them home. So I put them in that bag, which when loaded became quite heavy.

So, unable to continue walking as planned, I returned home with the heavy bag of videos but without dandelion or fennel for my salad. At home I discovered that the universe had just produced perhaps the most extraordinary “manifestation miracle” of my life.

On examining the videos, I found one titled “Call of the Flute – Spiritual Journey To India And Nepal”*. To my delight and amazement, I discovered that it was all about my 1982 pilgrimage to India with Sant Keshavadas.

And then I remembered that a team of professional videographers, led by a devotee of Sant Keshavadas, David Karp, had accompanied our tour group. Apparently afterwards they had produced and distributed this one hour documentary video for display on some non-network and cable television outlets. I had never acquired a copy of the video, and don’t recall ever before seeing it.

Yet somehow, over twenty years later, a copy of that video had synchronistically manifested for me in a Marina garbage dumpster which I unexpectedly visited at a rare time when the video was visible at the top of the garbage pile.

And on viewing the video I found that it included numerous scenes which had been filmed when I was present, thus serendipitously rekindling memories of that momentous trip, and fulfilling my recently expressed desire for such reminders.

Who can explain such synchronicity “miracles”? Nonetheless, despite their mysterious origins, such synchronicities can fill us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous life on this precious planet, and remind us that we are part of Nature, connected and interdependent with all Life everywhere.

Einstein once observed that: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” As I have been ever more blessed by such noteworthy and amazing “coincidences”, they ever more inspire and infuse me with heartfelt gratitude for the grace of this lucky life, and for the omnipresent but ‘anonymous’ Divine Source – The Lone Arranger – of all appearances therein.

*Videographer David Karp has generously permitted me to share with you on You Tube this documentary video, which so miraculously manifested for me just when I was trying to recall details of our 1982 pilgrimage to India and Nepal.



“Call of the Flute – Spiritual Journey To India And Nepal”




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Women in Art: Morphing Madonnas as Metaphor

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

Sri Anandamayi Ma


This “Women in Art” video (below) creatively morphs together portraits of different unique beings. Apart from its exceptional visual beauty and creativity, it can be experienced as a metaphor for our ever evolving human consciousness.

From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are gradually realizing that everyone/everything is connected by their common essence: ever-changing energy in a matrix of immutable awareness.

Thus, we are evolving from a Newtonian “reality” of polarized duality to a quantum “reality” of holistic connectedness; from either this or that,
to this and that are ONE.

Women in Art

YouTube Preview Image

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUDIoN-_Hxs


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Happy New Year!

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“In this world of relativity,
we are all relatives.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Everything we think, do or say
changes this world in some way.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”

Solar System


Dear Spiritual Sisters and Brothers –
Children of the Divine –


As fellow travelers on spaceship Earth,
let us welcome this new year not only
as the beginning of another of our precious planet’s
annual revolutions around the sun,

But as the dawning of a revolutionarily enlightened new age.

Let us resolve collectively, consciously and cooperatively
to compassionately participate together in an evolutionary leap
into an auspicious new age of harmony, peace and joy
for all Humankind and for all life on our precious planet.

The personal and planetary are intimately connected.

Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being; and,
consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’.

So, rather than just wishing that 2014 be a great year,
or passively awaiting fulfillment of promising prophesies,
let us actively actualize our collective aspiration
for evolutionary transformation,

With peace on earth and goodwill to all.

A resolution can be both a wish or determination to do something,
AND an accomplishment and manifestation of that wish.

So, as a planetary family, let us NOW
resolve to resolve our pressing international and interpersonal problems –
problems that we cannot resolve alone.

To fulfill our deepest aspirations,
let us envision, imagine and see
our precious planet as we wish it to be,

And then – to manifest our vision –
let us compassionately contribute our own unique gifts
from our own unique perspectives,
in our own unique ways.

To help us envision the world as we wish it to be,
here is a video link to John Lennon’s
inspired and ever inspiring song “Imagine”,

May listening to John’s singing
encourage us to ever more manifest 
the immense beauty and compassion of
our true inner nature and limitless potentiality,
and thereby to transcend all obstacles as –
LOVE.

AND SO MAY IT BE!



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Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero




“Be grateful for whoever comes,  because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
~ Rumi

“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
~ Buddha

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled  by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
~ Buddha

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
~ Aesop

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
~ Hafiz


“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters



“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters 


“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”              
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings

“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
***
So an attitude of gratitude
Brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!


Beautiful Gratitude Video
YouTube Preview Image

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Discovering How Consciousness Holographically Projects ‘Reality’ ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Reality isn’t real.”
“Reality is a holographic theater of the mind.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = Self.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”
~ Buddha
“Objective reality does not exist” ….
“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm
“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.”
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“We human beings consider ourselves to be made up of “solid matter.”
Actually, the physical body is the end product, so to speak, of the subtle information fields, which mold our physical body as well as all physical matter. These fields are holograms which change in time (and are) outside the reach of our normal senses. This is what clairvoyants perceive as colorful egg-shaped halos or auras surrounding our physical bodies.”
~ Itzhak Bentov -“Stalking the Wild Pendulum”
Q. Does Objective Reality Exist… Or Is The Universe A Phantasm?
A. “What is ‘there’ is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality? Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion.”
~ Michael Talbot – “The Holographic Universe”


Fractal

After the unforgettable inner experience of seeing my thoughts manifest as separate kaleidoscopic thought-forms outside my body or brain, [See Beginning a New Year and a New Life With a New Mystery] I deeply intuited that thought was the genesis of all phenomenal reality. But I had no idea of how that could happen, and became quite curious about any such “creation” process.

Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find. Gradually and synchronistically I was given answers, which confirmed my initial intuition about the origin of manifest ‘reality’. I had no computer then, or mathematical or scientific background or aptitude, so most of what I was learning came intuitively and from Eastern mystical writings, which previously were completely unknown to me.

And gradually I also became acquainted with ‘cutting edge’ scientific models of holistic reality.

In 1977, on recommendation of Dr. Lee Sanella – who later led me to Guruji – I attended lectures by unconventional Israeli engineer, inventor, adept inner explorer, and whimsical artist Itzhak Bentov who was then proposing a scientific approach to understanding consciousness in his wonderful book called Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness.

Bentov’s talks and book proposed a scientific and holographic model of the universe consistent with his mystical insights, and with my mysterious psychic and clairvoyant experiences. Bentov suggested that all manifestation results from oscillating electronic fields; that humans are multi-dimensional electromagnetic holograms mentally generating interference patterns with all other manifest consciousness in the universe, and thereby holographically experiencing various apparent realities. Bentov proposed that the universe and thought are inseparable, and that the thoughts of all human beings affect each other and in turn the whole universe.

Until then, I had never heard of holograms and didn’t clearly understand what Bentov was saying about them. But I had previously channeled that “This world is wrought with naught but thought”, and I intuited Bentov’s credibility and authenticity, and was inspired to better understand his ideas about holograms. And soon thereafter that happened.

With my children, I visited The Exploratorium, a wonderful San Francisco science museum, which “coincidentally” then had an exhibit explaining and demonstrating holography, including an amazingly lifelike three dimensional holographic display of Holstein cows. From that exhibit I began to understand holograms. And on viewing the lifelike holographic Holstein images I became intuitively and irreversibly convinced that Bentov’s holographic hypothesis was correct; that our entire universe is an immense holographic informational field, a virtual consensual reality perceived and experienced by each of us – as Universal Awareness energy vortices – from infinite perspectives.

Later, in early 1981, I had an amazing “peek” experience in a meadow on Mount Shasta wherein with microscopic/x-ray vision I holographically beheld images of saintly beings in every atom of every cell of every blade of meadow grass. [See A Magic Mushroom in a Magic Meadow on a Magic Mountain]

Afterwards, I became acquainted with the cutting edge holographic theories of Dr. David Bohm, a foremost theoretical physicist, who had worked closely with Albert Einstein and had advised the Dalai Lama and J. Krishnamurti on theoretical physics. Though I did not read Dr. Bohm’s books, I listened to him in masterful radio interviews by my friend Michael Toms, of New Dimensions Foundation, where I was a Board member for approximately twenty years.

In 1991, Michael Toms interviewed for New Dimensions Michael Talbot, author of an exciting new book entitled “The Holographic Universe” which eloquently described and augmented Dr. Bohm’s holographic conception of reality with holographic brain theories of Stanford neurophysiologist Dr. Karl Pribram, of which I was previously unaware.

Working independently in the field of brain research, Pribram had also become persuaded by the holographic nature of reality. He theorized that the human brain can be modeled as a hologram wherein memories are encoded not in neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image.

As a sensitive and talented intuitive with a history of many paranormal and mystical experiences unexplained by conventional science, Michael Talbot’s life experience enhanced his insight into the significance of the Bohm and Pribram scientific theories. Talbot concluded that holographic theory could scientifically explain psychic phenomena. *

Fascinated by Talbot’s ideas*, I eagerly read “The Holographic Universe” and more than ever before was persuaded by holographic theories of “reality”, both intuitively and scientifically.

Beyond my intuitive insights, the information in Talbot’s book convinced me that universal consciousness projects space-time/causality “reality” holographically, and that holographic theory can largely explain ‘paranormal’ phenomena and mystical experiences, yet unexplained by conventional science. Since reading Talbot’s book I have continued to explore cutting edge scientific explanations for our “universe” without discovering any idea that has changed my insight about the holographic nature of space/time reality.

In 1893, Swami Vivekananda came to the West from India and eloquently explained to Westerners how according to ancient Indian Advaita philosophy this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called “maya” or “samsara”; he equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation”, explicating that “Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen. In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”

And Vivekananda presciently predicted Western scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence beyond relative reality.

Thereafter, in 1916, Einstein published his general relativity theory which revolutionized Western science. But Einstein’s non-mechanistic science has been very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because his mystical view questioned the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality. Gradually, however, we are seeing the fulfillment of Vivekananda’s prediction as more and more Western scientists like Einstein verify the accuracy of the ancient Vedic science.

Like Vivekananda and the ancient Vedic seers, Einstein questioned the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality. He said:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”


And like the ancient Vedic inner explorers, Einstein intuited and venerated an ultimate universal Reality beyond time, space, and causation, saying:

“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”

With deepest veneration of that ONE Infinite Existence beyond relative reality, these memoirs are offered with the heartfelt prayer that Humankind shall realize at long last that – as Swami Vivekananda eloquently observed –


“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ; and that “Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

Footnote.


* Here is an excellent article, THE UNIVERSE AS A HOLOGRAM, written by Michael Talbot which summarizes his ideas about holographic reality. Also, you can now find on-line rare audio and video interviews of Talbot, who died at age 38 shortly after the 1991 publication of this book. And you can obtain mp3 interviews from New Dimensions Media.
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Human Fallibility and Divine “Perfection” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Follow your heart, even if it contradicts my words”
~ Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society
that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Buddha
“All is Perfection,
but nobody’s perfect.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Incarnation is limitation.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“All people are flawed;
None are perfect.
But the most flawed,
Are those who claim or think they’re perfect.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas




Many of us have faith in an omnipresent and omniscient Divine Perfection which is beyond comprehension, imagination or description.  And, knowingly or unknowingly, we seek such Perfection here on Earth.  But in our phenomenal duality reality “perfection” is an idea, which implies it’s opposite – imperfection. We can’t have one, without the other. So, a “perfect” person isn’t possible.
[see, e.g. http://sillysutras.com/is-personal-perfection-possible/ ]

Some of us may be blessed to meet inspiring spiritual teachers, gurus or saintly people on whom we may project and, accordingly, in whom we may perceive perfection.  I have done this with my beloved and venerable Hindu guru, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and with a few other “enlightened” spiritual teachers.  But, ultimately, I have learned from inner and outer experience that incarnation is limitation, and that however evolved an incarnate being may be s/he is fallible.  Here on Earth, where we experience life via physical bodies, it seems that human fallibility ‘goes with the territory’ – that “to err is human”.

Once while my friend Joy Massa was walking in the woods with our beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, he advised Joy:
“Follow your heart, even if it contradicts my words”.  

This teaching was exceptionally noteworthy in view of the ancient Hindu tradition of complete surrender to the Guru. So I have reflected much about Guruji’s extraordinary message to Joy. And I have particularly wondered why Guruji did not directly give that profound teaching to most other disciples – including Ron.

I believe that when Guruji gave us personal teachings, they were appropriate to our particular state of evolution and to our unique karmic constraints. Thus, Guruji was especially encouraging Joy – an exceptionally intellectual person – to honor her ‘inner’ Guru’ over her intellect or outer authorities. Joy already was quite skeptical of outer religious authority and e.g. had rejected certain Catholic Church dogma, such as Papal infallibility.

Moreover, it appears that despite Guruji’s highly elevated state of evolution and extraordinary powers, he was acknowledging to Joy – with rare saintly humility – even his own earthly limitations. 

In my experience, while living in this ever changing world, we need to rely vigilantly both on our powers of discrimination and on our divine intuitive insights. But, that whenever in doubt, it is wise for us to to honor intuition over intellect, and to find guidance in our heart – not our head; and, that we must still our mind so as to hear our heart, instead of listening to the ‘voice in our head’. Accessing our inner wisdom helps transcend many earthly limitations and to solve problems created by lower levels of human consciousness.

Here is an apt and insightful essay by spiritual author and teacher Andreas Mamet, entitled “The Braid”. *[see footnote] 

The Braid
by Andreas Mamet

Our quest for spiritual empowerment has at its core the association with those who we believe can assist us in our endeavors by virtue of their accomplishments. For this reason, we seek out teachers and gurus.

When we imagine how an accomplished teacher might look like or behave, we draw many inferences from our Judeo-Christian belief system, which describes God as perfect and infallible. We conclude that a person who experiences nearness to God, or even full God-Realization, is infallible. We believe that such a person is perfect in making decisions and can do no wrong. This is what I believed three decades ago, at the beginning of my spiritual journey. Now, almost 30 years later, after much observation, I have come to think otherwise. Mistakes do not stop after an individual becomes God-Realized or finds her/himself emanating more and more Divine Light. Errors of judgment remain a possibility. This was one of the more surprising realizations for me, as I believed in the myth of infallibility.

This myth is promoted often by the priest archetype, the “god professional,” in as much the following illusion is projected: God is infallible. I am close to God. Thus, I am infallible, and you need to do exactly as I say. This defines very much the traditional guru-disciple relationship of olden days, reaching into our present. It is, however, to be noted that recent decades have shown many instances wherein gurus have imploded their structures by making decisions that, in the end, displayed poor judgment and created havoc. This left their disciples spinning, forced to wonder what happened here and come to their own conclusions or responses.

One response was that the guru or teacher is so enlightened that he merely gave this experience to us as lesson to learn. That is the “denial response,” seeking to uphold the illusion of the infallible master, justifying the continuing, uncritical association of the individual with the guru arechetype. The stance of total devotion and surrender is maintained.

There is a story that deals with the theme of total surrender as is often asked of the disciple archetype. Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher at the beginning of the twentieth century, was on a trip by car. At one point the lights stopped working, and Gurdijieff asked his disciple to sit on the hood of the car and hold a flashlight. The disciple was about to climb up to do as asked when Gurdjieff stopped him, asking, “Does it not occur to you that this is a completely idiotic request?”

Yes, there are beings who are very close to the Divine. They emanate qualities that are breathtaking. When you come into their company, powerful experiences take place instantly. It is those experiences that lead us to assume the teacher is perfect, a satguru. This assumption is an illusion. Yes, enlightenrnent may be there. But infallibility is not.

This puts the entire concept of unconditional surrender out of commission. It places upon us the need for total responsibility and minute-to-minute alertness. We are to wake up from the sleep that lets somebody else tell us what to do and how to act. Every second, we are required to display intelligent wisdom, discernment, and accept or reject what is placed before us on the grounds of this discernment. Had the Gurdjieff disciple displayed this (hard-to-attain) ability, he would have told Gurdjieff, “No.”

But, to reject the action of a being we feel is God-Realized or God-Near is a most difficult thing. We are prepared to sacrifice our common sense and intelligent discernment for an act of idiocy if we believe that God is merely testing us. To reject a Buddha is most difficult. “When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” The Buddha himself said that. What does this mean? It means that after a thorough and deep relationship with an awakened being, the attachment is so huge, it becomes an obstacle in the disciple’s process of liberation.

This is the image that I have created for myself to understand what happens in the arising of God-Nearness: It is like a braid. You take one strand of hair and braid it with another strand of hair. The strands become completely intertwined, utterly close … one section, the human; the next, the Divine.

This, to me, represents the reality of things. Hence, the entire system of Asian teachers, Tibetan lamas, and others based on surrendering to a “high consciousness” are promoting an illusion. I feel we have entered an era wherein this illusion will be revealed. The fact of the remaining humanness of the one who experiences God-Nearness will become more evident, and the old, traditional system of unconditional surrender will be recognized as inappropriate. It will gradually disappear.

This creates a problem of different kind. It remains a fact that there are those who, on the grounds of superior and long-established practice, have indeed generated a God-Nearness that supersedes our own. This simply has to be admitted and acknowledged. Respect is due where respect is due. It should be expressed. When a transmission of light and wisdom is given, respect and gratitude are to be given in return.

But we should be able to turn on a dime. The second a teaching or request is expressed that is inappropriate or simply painfully outdated (women on the left, men on the right, old patriarchal illusions and power structures promoted), it should be challenged on the spot. In this way, old traditions that simultaneously carry blessings and ignorance are stimulated by infusions of needed reform. Teachers who carry blessings and unreflected garbage of olden days are given food for thought. If these infusions are not accepted, considered to be sacrilegious gestures, then we should be willing to turn on our heels and walk.

In the end, the Divine Experience will come to us on the grounds of our longing for it. That is the basis. The longing for the Divine will fill our body with the experience of the Divine. Translate your longing into fervent, ceaseless practice. Call the Divine until the Divine is tired of hearing your voice and descends into your body completely to get rid of your crying.

* Andreas Mamet’s other writings can found on his blog and Facebook pages.


Ron’s Conclusion

Ultimate Truth is Mystery – unimaginable and intellectually inexpressible.

But, highest wisdom pointing us to that Mystery, is implicit in Shri Dhyanyogi’s precious teaching “Follow your heart, even if it contradicts my words”; it guides us to “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.” ~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

Heeding that wisdom, may each of us look within and ultimately be guided by our divine intuition – our sacred Heart, rather than by fallible ‘outer authorities’.

And so shall it be!

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Interdependence Way, On Independence Day

“Everything depends on everything else. Nothing exists on its own.
On account of all the influences that come to bear upon them, things appear, exist, and disappear, and then reappear again. But they never exist independently.”
~ Dalai Lama – Little Book of Inner Peace
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
Independence is illusion:
Everything is interconnected and interdependent.
Nothing exists independently.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
With malice toward none, and with empathy for all,
Let us end the iniquity of inequity in our society,
So “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings – inspired by Abraham Lincoln
“Universal peace, compassion and genuine collaboration

will not come through prayer. It will only come through action.”

~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“We are all cells in the body of humanity — all of us, all over the world.
 Each one has a contribution to make,
 and will know from within what this contribution is,
 but no one can find inner peace except by working,
 not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.”

~ Peace Pilgrim


Interdependence way

On July 4, 1776, thirteen American colonies declared their independence from British rule, in an historic document written by Thomas Jefferson. The philosophy of their Declaration of Independence was that under “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” government is established by people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown as illegitimate if it no longer does that. The US founding fathers recognized, that governments and their chartered organizations do not exist by Divine right; they are established by people to serve people – not to exploit or oppress them – and they are illegitimate unless they serve human rights and happiness.

Since 1776, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” still prevail, but the world has changed immensely: The thirteen North American colonies have become the richest most powerful nation in world history – an empire much vaster than the British empire which it succeeded. Human population has grown meteorically, from approximately 800 million (with 2.5 million people inhabiting American colonies) to almost 7 billion and growing rapidly. Through amazing technological and scientific advances the world has become much smaller and most people have become part of an instantly interconnected and largely interdependent global community, sharing critical information in an unprecedented new age of world-wide ecologic, economic, political and social crises and opportunities.

Most severe global crises have been caused by inequitable governmental laws and policies which do not serve human rights and happiness, and by powerful transnational corporations which unsustainably exploit our precious planet, while prioritizing profits over people and often evading equitable taxation. Within the spirit of the 1776 Declaration of Independence such laws and policies are illegitimate and must democratically be ended through societal recognition of the oneness of humanity and universal responsibility to benefit all humankind and all life.

Thus, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said:

“In our world, we need a clear awareness of the interdependent nature of nations, of humans and animals .. Everything is of interdependent nature. .. [M]any problems, especially man-made problems, are due to lack of knowledge about this interdependent nature.”

“Today’s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate. Some could even exist in total isolation. But nowadays, whatever happens in one region eventually affects many other areas. Within the context of our inter-dependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others.

“I believe that to meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his or her own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”


As Americans commemorate their political independence from tyrannical rule, it is appropriate that we deeply reflect on current planetary crises, inequities, and opportunities, in light of the egalitarian principles which launched the US nation in 1776. Such reflection will reveal that in today’s small world, we can best promote our own lives, liberty, and happiness by – individually and corporately – recognizing our “universal responsibility to work not just for our own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”

To that end, let us join with our wholehearted intentions and appropriate actions to end unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet and the iniquity of global inequity, in the spirit of the following global declaration of interdependence sponsored by We The World:

We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To insure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations.

Click here to sign the Global Declaration of Interdependence!.

If you are interested in the psychological need for a new interdependence worldview, here is a you tube link to ‪Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview‬, an excellent one hour documentary movie:

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Synchronicity Story: An Amazing Experiment With Time ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”
~ Albert Einstein

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”
~ The Kybalion




Introduction

In April 1976, during a traumatic divorce, I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening. Thereupon, I began having many extraordinary psychic or mystical experiences previously unknown to me, including experiences which challenged my prior ideas about linear time and free will versus destiny.

In January and February, 1977, I was having so many unusual premonitions, dreams, synchronicities and precognitive experiences that I started making diary notations about them, though I’d never before kept any such diary. These extraordinary experiences radically challenged my “normal” linear time paradigm, and motivated me to try understanding what they meant and why they were happening.

At the end of February, 1977, I spent a week in New York City, so filled with amazing synchronistic and precognitive experiences, that I became convinced it was possible to mystically transcend serial time perception.

Before telling you what happened to me in New York that week, I must recount prior circumstances and events in San Francisco which were crucially related to those New York experiences.

Extraordinary experiences in San Francisco

One month before my New York trip, on January 22, 1977, I had an unforgettable mystical experience of traveling astrally super-fast to an unknown place. The inner experience happened when I was partially awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night. I was out of my body and traveling with a whirring/whistling sound, so swiftly that intuitively it seemed I was moving faster than the speed of light – a supposed physical impossibility.

My first destination was a room which appeared from its furnishings to be a typical hotel room. After observing the room, I suddenly traveled right through many walls in the same building and stopped in another similarly furnished apparent hotel room – again a supposed physical impossibility.

In the second room, I looked out the window and saw far below what I thought was a kidney shaped swimming pool on a platform, surrounded by geometric designs. At that point I briefly awakened in wonderment about this unprecedented experience, and later recorded it in my diary.

At this time, I was seeking explanations for my extraordinary experiences by attending various psychic/spiritual programs, including events sponsored by Arica Institute. Arica was a spiritual mystery school founded by Chilean mystic Oscar Ichaso, who used enneagrams – nine star polygons – to esoterically model and analyze human personalities. On Monday, February 7, 1977, I attended an Arica program in San Francisco where I was encouraged to visit Arica’s new beautiful headquarters facilities in New York City.

Also, during this same time period, I experienced several unusually vivid dreams, wherein I saw an unknown dark haired woman with short bangs, and became very curious about her identity and why she was in my dreams.

After jogging to the Golden Gate bridge each morning, I regularly walked to my office in the financial district. On the way to my office I often passed a store front Christian Science reading room on Polk Street where I read the selected bible passages displayed in the window. On Tuesday, February 8, 1977, the day after the Arica meeting, I had walked a short distance past the Christian Science reading room without stopping, when suddenly I felt impelled to go back and read the bracketed bible passage then on display in the window.

It was from Genesis, Chapter 29, about Jacob and his uncle Laban and Laban’s two daughters, Lea and Rachel who were both betrothed to Jacob. Jacob loved Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter, but couldn’t marry her until after he had first worked for Laban seven years, married Lea, the eldest, and then spent seven more years laboring for Laban as a condition to his marriage to Lea.

The commentary noted that because of Jacob’s love and devotion for Rachel, the two seven year periods passed quickly – as if ‘time stood still’. That night I noted this in my diary.

In New York I was to participate in a week of class-action depositions. Since I was unfamiliar with New York city I asked my uncle Richard, a New York resident, to reserve a room for me at a hotel near the Rockefeller Center deposition site. He picked the Wellington. But thereafter I learned from other lawyers attending the depositions that the New York Hilton was closest to the deposition site. So I called the Hilton from San Francisco, but was told they were then booked. So, I planned to stay at the Wellington.


A miraculous trip to New York City



Here is what happened during my 1977 trip to New York which forever changed my views about the ‘reality’ of serial time:

On Monday, February 21, 1977, I boarded an airplane flight from San Francisco to New York City. En route I began reading a book by J. W. Dunne, entitled “An Experiment With Time” about precognition and human experience of time. I had just purchased the Dunne book, after reading “The Roots of Coincidence” by Arthur Koestler which discussed time seriality and synchronicity in light of observations by physicists. I was trying to understand the numerous precognitive and synchronistic experiences that then had been regularly occurring in my life for almost a year since my rebirth experience.

Dunne’s book proposed that past, present and future all happen concurrently, though ‘normal’ human consciousness experiences them linearly, except in dreams. Dunne’s theory was based on his own precognitive dreams and induced precognitive states. Though Dunne’s essay was originally published in 1927, this was my first exposure to these fascinating ideas about linear time. Soon, however, my amazing experiences during the week in New York convinced me of the probable validity of Dunne’s theory.

I arrived at JFK airport Monday evening, checked into the Wellington Hotel, and was assigned an uncomfortably warm room, in which I didn’t want to stay another night. On awakening Tuesday morning, I called the Hilton where I was able to reserve a room. So, I checked out of the Wellington and into the Hilton, where I was given room 2541.

On entering my new Hilton room I gazed out the window and was astonished to see below me an extraordinary mosaic art display of colored tiles arrayed in geometric forms. I immediately recognized it as the apparent “raised platform” with the same geometric design which I had mistakenly perceived as a swimming pool in my January 22 astral time travel experience. But instead of a swimming pool on a raised platform, I was viewing the roof of the Ziegfeld Theater, as covered with this artistic mosaic tile display.

Thereupon, I realized with amazement that my astral travel vision had been precognitive and, moreover, that my perception then that I was traveling faster than the speed of light – and thus traveling into the ‘future’ – was probably correct.

Soon after checking into the Hilton, I attended the first deposition at 1345 Avenue of Americas, in the offices of Arthur Anderson Co. Synchronistically, the extraordinary Ziegfeld Theater rooftop display was also visible from from the deposition conference room.

On Tuesday evening after the first deposition and before dinner, I decided to visit the New York Arica Institute headquarters, as suggested by San Francisco Arica people. Located at 24 West 57th Street, it proved unusual and beautiful as they told me – with even an interesting art gallery. There was only one other visitor when I arrived at Arica that evening – Pat, a dark haired woman with short bangs, wearing jeans and a denim jacket, who was viewing displayed art works.

We soon began chatting and learned that we were both quite interested in similar psychic phenomena. Pat, like me, had attended and valued Werner Ehrhard’s est training and had been having numerous psychic experiences following a recent divorce. She told me that she was self-employed as a free-lance model. (I later learned that she was then one of New York’s top fashion models.)

After talking for some time at Arica, we went to a nearby small restaurant where at dinner we were engrossed in conversation about logic versus experience of psychic phenomena and precognitive dreams – a conversation that seemed only to have begun when we needed to part. So we agreed to and did meet again for dinner the next night, Wednesday, February 23. And again we continued conversing about seemingly illogical but very real psychic phenomena which we had experienced.

On parting, I invited Pat to join me for dinner on Friday night, since I had a dinner engagement with my uncle and aunt on Thursday night. Until then, I had planned to return to San Francisco on Friday evening after the depositions, but decided that I’d like to stay in New York to see Pat again. She told me that she’d like to meet me again, but wouldn’t know if that was possible until Friday. So, we agreed that she would let me know by calling me at the deposition. I gave her a phone number which I’d been told would directly connect to the Arthur Anderson conference room where the depositions were happening.

That Wednesday night, I awakened suddenly from a sound sleep with the “ahaa!” realization that Pat was the dark haired woman with bangs who I’d earlier seen in San Francisco dreams. In a phone conversation the next day, I asked her if she’d always styled her hair with bangs. She replied that she hadn’t worn it that way for a long time, but that she had just had her hair cut with bangs, the week before we met. (So, when I saw her with bangs in my dreams, she wasn’t yet wearing them.)

On Thursday night I had dinner with my uncle Richard and aunt Roseanne. This was our first meeting since my spiritual awakening. So, tactfully, I tried to explain my recent experiences and new intense interest in psychic phenomena and precognition. But it seemed that these subjects were a bit too ‘far out’ for them.

On returning to my Hilton Hotel room before bed-time, I decided to read passages from the Gideon bible which I found in a drawer under the telephone. Randomly, I first opened that bible to the Book of Numbers where synchronistically I read this passage about significance of dreams and visions:

And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! (Numbers 12:6-8)


Next, I decided to review again Genesis 29:16 et. seq., the passage about Jacob and Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel, which had so intrigued me two weeks earlier in the Christian Science Reading Room window.

And finally I ruminated deeply about the meaning of this passage, suggesting infinite possibility of ‘miracles’:

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes” ~ Mark 9:23.


An amazing day



I arose Friday morning intending to stay in New York that night only if I could spend another evening with Pat, the lovely dark haired ‘woman of my dreams’. Otherwise, I would return to San Francisco on an evening non-stop flight. I received no phone message from Pat during the morning deposition session. Assuming she couldn’t meet me, I checked out of the Hilton at 1 p.m., and left my bags in the hotel lobby baggage room.

Only after checking out, was I informed by the Hilton desk clerk of Pat’s unsuccessful attempt to reach me there, and of her answering service call-back number. But I wasn’t able to contact her until after 5 p.m.

When I finally reached her, she told me she’d been trying to call me at Arthur Anderson all afternoon to arrange our meeting, but that no-one answered the Anderson private line number, so she had given up on seeing me, and had returned home outside Manhattan. By this time, it was too late for me to catch the hotel limousine bus service to JFK for the evening non-stop to San Francisco.

So I stepped up to the Hilton front desk and registered for a room for one night. Synchronistically, I was given room 2506 on the very same floor and very same side of the hotel as room 2541 (where I had been staying until then), except at the opposite end of the corridor. I entered the new room looked out the window, again beheld the extraordinary colored tile mosaic art display on the roof of the Ziegfeld Theater, and began crying. At long last I realized why in my January 22nd astral travels into the future I had moved through many walls from one hotel room to another. I had moved from Hilton room 2541 to room 2506. How AMAZING!!

Unexpectedly alone in New York on a Friday night when I had planned to return to San Francisco, and wondering how I would spend the evening, I went down to the hotel lobby bar for a drink. There I met an English woman named Pam, who told me she was visiting from London to spend time with her friend, actor Rex Harrison, who was then starring on Broadway in “Caesar and Cleopatra”, which had just opened at the Palace Theater.

Pam urged me to join her at the play that night and promised to introduce me to Rex Harrison after the performance. That sounded interesting, so I agreed to see “Caesar and Cleopatra” with her.

Then, I asked Pam what she did in London when not vacationing. She told me she was an actress on leave from the London production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. We talked a bit about Fiddler. I had seen the movie adaptation of the play, but not the play, and as we talked I was reminded of how much I had enjoyed the film.

Set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, the Fiddler story centers on Tevye, a village milk man and father of five daughters, and his thwarted attempts to follow religious traditions and maintain family unity in turbulent times; how he coped with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters and with the edicts of the Tsar banishing the Jews from their villages and dwellings.

The story was set at the very time when my beloved Jewish father, Harry, was born in a similar Ukrainian village. Especially because my father and his extended family were obliged to flee for their lives from Tsarist Russia, in the same way as the fictional characters in Fiddler were obliged to flee, I was exceptionally interested in the story and loved the music.

While Pam and I chatted about Fiddler, she mentioned that a Fiddler revival was then running on Broadway with Zero Mostel in the lead role, as Tevye the milkman. I had always wanted to see a Fiddler production but didn’t know until that moment that it was being performed on Broadway. On learning this, I diplomatically explained to Pam that though it would be fun to meet Rex Harrision with her, I would prefer seeing Fiddler on the Roof.

I’d heard that with Zero Mostel, the original star, the play was wonderfully entertaining, and perhaps better than the movie in which Mostel wasn’t cast. So, after explaining this to Pam, I quickly went to the Winter Garden Theater box office where I was able to get a good center balcony single seat.

Thus on Friday, February 25, 1977, I was unexpectedly about to see a Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof”, with Zero Mostel, because I had unexpectedly failed to return that night to San Francisco as planned, and had unexpectedly remained in New York City, where I was unexpectedly staying at the Hilton Hotel, in a 25th floor room at the opposite end of the corridor from the 25th floor room where I had unexpectedly stayed earlier in the week, after unexpectedly checking out of the Wellington Hotel.

As I sat that night in the Winter Garden balcony awaiting the opening curtain, I read the brief playbill story summary. But nothing therein prepared me for my emotional experience during scene six of the first act. Prior to that scene, a young man named Perchik – an itinerant bible scholar passing through Tevye’s village – had met kind hearted Tevye, who gave Perchik room and board in exchange for Perchik’s commitment to teach bible lessons to Tevye’s daughters.

Amazingly, act one, scene six, opened with Perchik giving Tevye’s daughters a lesson about Jacob and Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel, from Genesis 29:16 – the same passage that had engrossed me in San Francisco when I read it in the Christian Science Reading Room window and again when I read it in my hotel room Gideon Bible.

For me this was such a miraculous, mysterious, and meaningful synchronicity, culminating so many similar amazing events during my extraordinary week in New York, that I spontaneously burst into tears. And I kept crying for the remainder of the play.

Conclusion

On returning to San Francisco from that miraculous week in New York, I began wondering:

“What is time?”

“Are there really any coincidences or accidents, or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”

“Do we really have free will as most people believe?

And if so, what free will?”


What do you think?

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Einstein’s Mystical Views & Quotations on Free Will or Determinism

”All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”
~ Buddha
“The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise. What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm: there are no isolated things or events. Underneath the surface appearance, all things are interconnected, are part of the totality of the cosmos that has brought about the form that this moment takes.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,
such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,
or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or
moving from one part of the room to another?”
A.  “Everything is predetermined.”
~  Sri Ramana Maharshi 
“Nothing perceivable is real.
Your attachment is your bondage.
You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj 
In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.
~ Baruch Spinoza 
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Nothing in the universe happens by chance or accident.  The universe is a coherent concurrence and interaction of innumerable conditions attendant on the infinite number of energy patterns.  In the state of Awareness, all this is obvious and can be clearly seen and known.  Outside that level of awareness, it could be likened to innumerable, invisible magnetic fields which automatically coalesce or repel one’s position and which interact according to the positions and relative strengths and polarities.  Everything influences everything else and is in perfect balance.
~ David R. Hawkins
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. .
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Everything happens through immutable laws, …everything is necessary… There are,  some persons say, events which are necessary and others which are not. It would be very comic that one part of the world was arranged, and the other were not; that one part of what happens had to happen and that another part of what happens did not have to happen. If one looks closely at it, one sees that the doctrine contrary to that of destiny is absurd; but there are many people destined to reason badly; others not to reason at all others to persecute those who reason.”
~  Voltaire
“The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
~ Max Planck
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)


Introduction

On Albert Einstein’s March 14th birthday anniversary, we honor him not only for his extraordinary scientific genius and moral integrity, but for his mystical wisdom and intuitive realization of ineffable Reality beyond human comprehension.

In other posts (linked below) we have shown that although Einstein rejected conventional views about God, individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death, he was not an atheist but a deeply religious mystic. Though Einstein did not believe in formal dogmatic religion, his views on religion were consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, like Indian Advaita Vedanta philosophy, as well as with his revolutionary non-mechanistic science. So he was an exemplar of the inevitable confluence of Western science with Eastern religion.

Here we highlight Einstein’s unconventional views about free will and determinism and show how they were also largely consistent with highest Eastern non-duality mystical teachings.

Discussion

Until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein rejected the “uncertainty” principle of quantum mechanics advanced by most respected physicists of his time. Einstein stubbornly maintained his view, consistent with ancient mystical insights, that “God does not play dice with the universe”; that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception; that the ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived.

In a 1929 interview, when the argument about quantum mechanics “uncertainty” was at its height, Einstein modestly said: “I claim credit for nothing”, explaining that:

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
[Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.]


Though theologians have mostly believed that people choose and are morally responsible for their actions, Einstein agreed with medieval philosopher Baruch Spinoza that one’s actions, and even one’s thoughts, are determined by natural laws of causality.

Spinoza said:

“In the mind there is no absolute or free will;
but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause,
which has also been determined by another cause,
and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.”

 

Thus, in 1932 Einstein told the Spinoza society:

“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free
but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”


Einstein’s belief in causal determinism seemed to him both scientifically and philosophically incompatible with the concept of human free will. In a 1932 speech entitled ‘My Credo’, Einstein briefly explained his deterministic ideology:

“I do not believe in freedom of the will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper.”


Einstein’s 1931 essay “The World As I See It” contains this similar passage:

“In human freedom in the philosophical sense I am definitely a disbeliever.
Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with
inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying, that “a man can do as he will, but not
will as he will,” has been an inspiration to me since my youth, and a continual
consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships
of life, my own and others’. This feeling mercifully mitigates the sense of
responsibility which so easily becomes paralyzing, and it prevents us from taking
ourselves and other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in
which humor, above all, has its due place.”


Schopenhauer – who had studied Buddhism – postulated that human experience is but a reflection and manifestation of universal law – not human “will”; that humans must adhere to the imperatives of natural laws (like gravity and magnetism) which harmoniously rule everywhere without exception. Thus Schopenhauer said:

“The fate of one individual invariably fits the fate of the other and each is the hero of his own drama while simultaneously figuring in a drama foreign to him—this is something that surpasses our powers of comprehension, and can only be conceived as possible by virtue of the most wonderful pre-established harmony.”


So in rejecting “free will” and other prevalent theistic religious ideas while humbly expressing his awe, reverence and cosmic religious feeling at the immense beauty, harmony and eternal mystery of our Universe, Einstein was influenced by both the philosophies of Spinoza and Schopenhauer and by his intuition and his science.

But despite his deterministic philosophy and science, Einstein realized that people’s belief in free will is pragmatically necessary for a civilized society; that it causes them to take responsibility for their actions, and enables society to regulate such actions.* So he said:

“I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. . . I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him.”*


Thus Einstein dedicated his life to going beyond the “merely personal” and acted morally with a self-described “passion for social justice”. In a letter to his sister, Einstein stated that “the foundation of all human values is morality”. And in addressing a student disarmament meeting, he said:   “The destiny of civilized humanity depends more than ever on the moral forces it is capable of generating.”

But, like the non-dualistic mystics, Einstein believed that morality was for humanity not divinity. He said: “Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.”

Determinism versus morality and social justice questions

Since acting morally implies human freedom of choice, how can we reconcile Einstein’s passion for social justice and morality with his deterministic ideology that “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.” ?

How would Einstein explain the apparent contradiction between his many idealistic efforts as a social justice activist, pacifist, and democratic socialist and his deterministic philosophy and science? Would he attribute his efforts and passion for a peaceful, civilized society to a pre-destined causal compulsion?

We can only speculate. But it is quite possible that Einstein would have agreed with Isaac Bashevis Singer’s statement that “We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”

According to Eastern non-dualism, as long as we self-identify as limited persons within space/time/causality we have apparent free choice but are inescapably subject to the law of karmic causality. Thus our every thought, word or deed inevitably reaps its corresponding reward of either suffering or joy in this or another lifetime. Only when we self-identify with spirit or soul, do we transcend this illusory impermanent world of samsara and its inevitable causal sufferings.

This was explained by Swami Vivekananda as follows:

“[T]he soul is beyond all laws, physical, mental, or moral. Within law is bondage; beyond law is freedom. It is also true that freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright: that real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”
“[T]here cannot be any such thing as free will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is moulded by the conditions of space, time, and causation. Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation, and that which obeys the law of causation cannot be free.”
“The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law, to go beyond causation.” [by self-identifying with soul or spirit] . . . . “This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga


Conclusions

Like ancient non-dualistic mystics, Einstein had realized – through his revolutionary non-mechanistic science – that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; and that “Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.” Consequently, he knew that from an ever mysterious Cosmic perspective, our apparent phenomenal reality is but an illusionary play of consciousness.

But, Einstein’s acceptance of the necessity for recognizing humanity’s freedom to choose a moral rather than evil destiny was also consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings that we ‘reap as we sow’ until we transcend this illusionary world, as well as with prevalent Western religious ideas that we are morally responsible for our actions.

Thus, Einstein’s insistence that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception and that morality is for Humanity not Divinity was consistent with ancient non-dualistic mysticism as was his rejection of a personal “God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation”.

Though Einstein had not achieved the mystic goal of attaining “freedom” from causality while living, his mystical wisdom and professed behaviors in not “taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper” were consistent with a very evolved – if not “enlightened” – state of being.

*Einstein’s views on pragmatically living with supposed free will notwithstanding a belief in universal determinism, were similar to those of Leo Tolstoy, whose epic War and Peace novel reflected Tolstoy’s view that all is predestined, but that we cannot live without imagining we have free will. Like Einstein, Tolstoy was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer and, also, he was later enthralled by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
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The Truth That Sets Us Free

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’,
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)



Trapped in earthly domain
of fear, death and pain,
we long for liberty.

Jailed in cages we’ve wrought,
with hoary thought
that mere body/minds are we,

We’re deceived by perceptions,
and caught by conceptions,
of supposed mortality.

But prison’s illusion,
and we suffer confusion
of our true identity.

For we’re beings of light
Eternal and bright,
and so shall ever be.

We shall know this truth,
and it shall forsooth,
release and set us free.



Ron’s audio recitation of The Truth That Sets Us Free

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Evolving ‘Out Of The Box’: Inside/Outside Insights

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness
that created it. ”
~ Albert Einstein
“The release of atom power ..changed everything except our way of thinking…
the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

~ Albert Einstein
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Humanity is evolving out of the box and into the light of creation.”
~ Ellie Crystal




Individually and societally, humankind have been caught in a box –

a psychological box created by mistaken perceptions and ideas
of separation from Nature and each other.

We’ve mistakenly regarded ourselves and others as mere limited entities,

rather than as limitless souls – spirit drops in an infinite ocean of Eternal LIght.
 And, our world-views have been mostly based on such unrealistically limited ideas of who and what we are.

Thereby, individually we’ve been caught in a mistaken self-identity box;
and societally we’ve been “boxed in” by an outmoded Newtonian pre-quantum worldview. Though quantum science now knows that “reality” can’t be reduced
 to objects or entities in space, we’ve kept acting as if this is so.


We’ve thus been self-limited by our mistaken ideas of reality and of our true identities, powers and possibilities –
 which are infinite, though yet largely unknown and unrealized.


But, spurred by critical inter-personal and planetary crises, 
and blessed with an evolutionary impetus in each us, 
more and more people are realizing their true spiritual nature
 and awakening with compassion from their imagined limitations.

From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are gradually realizing that everyone/everything is connected by their common essence:
ever-changing energy in a matrix of immutable awareness.

We are evolving from a Newtonian “reality” of polarized duality
to a quantum “reality” of holistic connectedness; from either this or that, to this and that are ONE. And so we are beginning to envision and implement
 ‘Out Of The Box’ solutions to current crises.



And as we evolve ‘Out Of The Box’ and into the Light of creation,
we shall soon reach a critical mass tipping point which uplifts human consciousness to transcend and resolve crises created by outmoded and illusionary beliefs.



And so it shall be!

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How Shall We Solve Our Planetary Problems?

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

~ Albert Einstein
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~ Buddha
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

~ King Solomon – Proverbs 23:7
“The release of atom power .. changed everything except our way of thinking
…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart.The key point is a call for a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.”

~ Dalai Lama (From “Humanity and Ecology”)
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
 and the rational mind is a faithful servant.

We have created a society
 that honors the servant
 and has forgotten the gift.”

~ Albert Einstein
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.
Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.
Intuition tells a man his purpose in life. One never goes wrong following his feelings. I don’t mean emotions, I mean feelings, for feelings and intuition are one.”

~ Albert Einstein




Q. How can humankind solve its critical planetary problems?

A. By addressing them intuitively from an elevated heart level of awareness.

The critical problems now confronting humanity have arisen from an egoic mental level of human consciousness, which must be transcended for our peaceful survival on planet Earth. As Albert Einstein aptly observed: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

To solve critical human problems we must elevate our individual and collective level of consciousness, from the human mind – which is thought – to the human heart, which is intuition. And then, with “a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness” [Dalai Lama], we shall intuitively see and cooperatively solve our problems.

Only with feelings, insights and actions arising from loving kindness and compassion for all life everywhere, can humankind truly transcend and cooperatively solve its critical ecologic and economic problems.

With benevolent and focused intention, more and more we must open our hearts to our innate empathy, kindness and compassion, and thereby realize our collective connection and concern with all life everywhere.

To experience your true loving nature, please watch this beautiful Korean video, and see if it doesn’t open your heart to innate feelings of empathy for all life everywhere:

YouTube Preview Image

With opened hearts we can and we shall solve our critical planetary problems.

And so it shall be!

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Let’s Leap To Quantum Consciousness

“With quantum theory we have to leave behind our naive picture of reality as an intricate clockwork. We are challenged by quantum theory to build new ways in which to picture reality, a physics, moreover, in which consciousness plays a central role, in which the observer is inextricably interwoven in the fabric of reality.”
~ Adam McLean
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein



Imagine how blessed our lives would be
if everyone could really See

How everything is energy.

So, let’s take a quantum leap:

From particle to wave,
From lost to saved,

From I to Thou,
From then to Now,

From doing to Being,
From having to Seeing,

From ego to Soul,
From part to Whole.



Ron’s audio recitation of Let’s Leap To Quantum Consciousness

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Faith ~ Quotes

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”
~ William Shakespeare



Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,
beyond the reach of proof.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“The heart has its reasons
that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha
“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms this knowledge,
this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, ’God is, was and ever shall be’.” 

~ Mahatma Gandhi


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Was Albert Einstein an Atheist?

“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
~ Plato
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” ….”God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramansa
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Albert Einstein



Albert Einstein was not only an acclaimed scientist but a wise philosopher and a pragmatic “true mystic” … “of a deeply religious nature.” (New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)

Einstein did not believe in a formal, dogmatic religion, but was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe.

He often commented publicly on religious and ethical subjects, and thereby became widely respected for his moral integrity and mystical wisdom, as well as for his scientific genius.

Einstein rejected prevalent religious ideas about God, and individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death. But in an essay entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained his reverence for God as Eternal Universal Intelligence. He said:

I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. [The World As I See It]


Because Einstein repeatedly rejected all conventional theistic concepts of a personal “God”, atheists often eagerly have claimed that Einstein was one of them, selectively citing Einstein quotes.

Thus, prominent atheist/scientist Richard Dawkins, devoted an entire section of his book “The God Delusion” to Einstein. And atheist author Christopher Hitchens cited many Einstein quotations in “The Portable Atheist”, mistakenly claiming Einstein rejected all belief in “God”.

Often cited by atheists is a 1954 letter, sometimes called Einstein’s “God” letter, which recently sold for $3 million dollars in an eBay auction. Handwritten by Einstein – a non-observant Jew – to German-Jewish philosopher and author Eric Gutkind, the letter explained Einstein’s rejection of theistic Jewish “God” concepts, superstitions and religious exceptionalism, despite his great appreciation of Jewish culture. It said:

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.” …….. “For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality ..than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”


Though Einstein rejected the concept of “God” as it has been defined by most theistic religions, he also clearly rejected atheism, which he associated with mistaken certainty regarding nonexistence of a Supreme Power. Thus, he said:

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. … But I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

“There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.” “I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what that is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human toward God.”

“[T]he fanatical atheists…are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’—cannot bear the music of the spheres.”


When once asked by an atheist whether he considered himself religious, Einstein responded:

“Yes, you could call it that. Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion.”


Despite his rejection of any personal God, Einstein suggested that he would never seek to challenge orthodox religious belief in the existence of a supreme universal power, because “such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook.” Also at times Einstein used the “God” word to explain his reverence for Universal Intelligence.

Thus, he said:

“That deeply emotional conviction of a presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”


And throughout his adult life, Einstein repeatedly affirmed his religious awe of that mysterious eternal power which reveals itself in “the lawful harmony of all that exists.”

Conclusion

Albert Einstein was not an atheist; he did not deny or disbelieve the existence of a supreme universal power. He was a modern Western non-dualistic mystic whose religious views paralleled the most elevated non-dualistic ancient Vedic and Buddhist philosophies.

Einstein’s rejection of prevalent religious ideas about God and individual survival of physical death and afterlife was consistent with his revolutionary non-mechanistic science as well as with ancient Eastern non-dualistic teachings that apparent separation between subject and object is an unreal “optical illusion of consciousness.”

But Einstein’s mystical views – like his non-mechanistic science – have been very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because they question the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality.

Like those ancient non-dualistic mystics, Einstein said:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”


And like non-dualistic Eastern mystics, he was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe, whose Source he venerated, saying:

“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”


Thus, Einstein was a non-dualistic mystic who venerated a supreme universal power which he called Universal Intelligence. He was not an atheist or a monotheist.

Thousands of years ago mystics were able to solve the deepest mysteries of physics with only their power of mind. Einstein made great strides in at long last reconciling modern physics with ancient mysticism.

May he ever inspire contemporary scientists to transcend mechanistic mental blinders and to merge physical science with mystical science, bringing us out of the darkness of ignorance into a bright new age of peace and harmony on our precious planet.

And so may it be!

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Quotations About Religion


“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.”
~ Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Kyaikto, Burma


“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama


“There is one Cosmic Essence, all-pervading, all-knowing, all-powerful. This nameless formless essence can be approached by any name, any form, any symbol that suites the taste of the individual. Follow your religion, but try to understand the real purpose behind all of the rituals and traditions, and experience that Oneness.”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”
~ Khalil Gibran~ “The Prophet”

“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.  It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology.  Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.  ”
~ Albert Einstein

“A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“This is a time for us to remember that in the name of religion more people have died than in all the wars and natural calamities put together. Now more than ever we must understand that the purpose of religion is not to separate us. True faiths don’t preach hatred and killing, nor did any of the prophets. It is the people who interpret the scriptures who create the divisions. Division comes if we put our ego into the teachings of these religions. Let us strive to be free of that kind of egoism”
~ Swami Satchidananda

Let us accept all the different paths as different rivers running toward the same ocean.
~ Swami Satchidananda

“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it is going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”
~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.
Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.” ~ Alan Watts

“. . Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“Religion is confining and imprisoning and toxic because it is based on ideology and dogma. But spirituality is redeeming and universal.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
~ Mark Twain – Autobiography, 1959

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”
~ Aldous Huxley

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,
 not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or Zen.
 Not any religion, or cultural system.
 I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all. 
I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.
 My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
 Neither body nor soul. 
I belong to the beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,
 First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.”
~ Jalaluddin Rumi, ‘Only Breath’

“There is only one God, the same God regardless of the labels applied by religion. …
There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity”
~ Sathya Sai Baba

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion — Hindus, Mohammendans, Brahmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest. But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Siva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well — the same Rama with a thousand names. A lake has several ghats. At one the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it ‘jal’; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it ‘pani’. At a third the Christians call it ‘water’. Can we imagine that it is not ‘jal’, but only ‘pani’ or ‘water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences. Let each man follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God, peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

“People often ask me, “What religion are you? You talk about the Bible, Koran, Torah. Are you a Hindu?” I say, I am not a Catholic, a Buddhist, or a Hindu, but an Undo. My religion is Undoism. We have done enough damage (with religious dogma). We have to stop doing any more and simply undo the damage we have already done.”
~ Swami Satchidananda – Beyond Words:

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”

“Among all my patients in the second half of life … there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.”
~ Carl Jung

 



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Power Source

“Knowing you don’t know is wholeness.
Thinking you know is a disease.
Only by recognizing that you have an illness
can you move to seek a cure.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Without stirring abroad, one can know the whole world;
Without looking out of the window one can see the way of heaven.
The further one goes the less one knows.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein



It is said that “knowledge is power”.

However, transcendent power comes
not from mental knowledge, but from thoughtless Knowing;

And, until we really Know,
it is approached from unknowing –

What we think we know, but don’t.

We become ever more powerful as we
forsake our false beliefs,

And ever open to the vast Unknown –

To the Eternal Mystery –

To the Tao –

To the Universal Source of all Power.



Ron’s audio recitation of Power Source

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Harmony ~ Quotations and Sayings

“Live harmlessly in harmony.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Stay in cosmic synchrony,
as you play in Nature’s symphony.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Don’t disrupt and polarize,
but syncretize and harmonize.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




“When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution
then nothing is impossible.”
~ Rig Veda

“A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.
If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden.
But if these minds get out of harmony with one another
it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton

“Grant that I may become beautiful in my soul within,
and that all my external possessions may be in harmony with my inner self.
May I consider the wise to be rich,
and may I have such riches as only a person of self-restraint
can bear or endure”
~ Plato

“A life in harmony with nature, the love of truth and virtue,
will purge the eyes to understanding her text.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony,
and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.”
~ William Wordsworth

“Life’s errors cry for the merciful beauty
that can modulate their isolation
into a harmony with the whole.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“In art, and in the higher ranges of science, there is a feeling of harmony which underlies all endeavor. There is no true greatness in art or science without that sense of harmony.”
~ Albert Einstein

“My feeling is religious insofar as I am imbued with the consciousness of the insufficiency of the human mind to understand more deeply the harmony of the Universe which we try to formulate as “laws of nature”
~ Albert Einstein

“Affirm divine calmness and peace, and send out only thoughts of love and goodwill if you want to live in peace and harmony. Never get angry, for anger poisons your system.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Put on love, which binds everything together in harmony.”
~ Colossians 3: 12-17

“Just as light brightens darkness, discovering inner fulfillment can eliminate any disorder or discomfort. This is truly the key to creating balance and harmony in everything you do.”
~  Deepak Chopra

“The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.”
~ Heraclitus

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.
A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”
~ Plato (The Republic)

“Out of clutter find simplicity. From Discord make harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life’s relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend;
you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left”
~ Aldo Leopold


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Kalu Rinpoche, the Zen Master and the Orange

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein


Kalu Rinpoche (1905 – May 10, 1989)



Is “reality” absolute or relative?

And how should the answer to that question influence our worldly ways?

Our phenomenal Universe is miraculous, marvelous, and meaningful.  But it is ever changing and impermanent – a “relative reality” of space, time and causality which some mystics call illusion, samsara, or maya.

It arises and appears in an unchanging mysterious matrix of Infinite Potentiality, which some call “Absolute Reality”.

When aware or awakening to this distinction between Absolute and relative reality, we may realize that while we are apparent entities in this world, our Source and ultimate identity transcends this world;  that we are ‘in this world but not of this world’.

Thus realizing the impermanence and relativity of our phenomenal reality, we may ponder on its meaning and purpose and, accordingly, on how to best behave herein: viz. what thoughts, words or deeds (if any) are most appropriate and skillful?

SillySutras.com is dedicated to suggesting possible answers to perennial questions about how to  best be in this world.   Even spiritual masters and great scholars can disagree on such answers.

So, ultimately, each of us must intuitively answer such questions for ourselves.

In the opening chapter of “Thoughts Without a Thinker”, concerning psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective, author psychotherapist Mark Epstein recounts this apt anecdote about a meeting at the home of a Harvard University psychology professor of two prominent teachers of Buddha-dharma with different ideas about dharma.

“In the early days of my interest in Buddhism and psychology, I was given a particularly vivid demonstation of how difficult it was going to be to forge an integration between the two.  Some friends of mine had arranged for an encounter between two prominent visiting Buddhist teachers at the house of a Harvard University psychology professor.  These were teachers from two distinctly different Buddhist traditions who had never met and whose traditions had in fact had very little contact over the past thousand years.  Before the worlds of Buddhism and Western psychology could come together, the various strands of Buddhism would have to encounter one another.  We were to witness the first such dialogue.

The teachers, seventy-year-old Kalu Rinpoche of Tibet, a veteran of years of solitary retreat, and the Zen master Seung Sahn, the first Korean Zen master to teach in the United States, were to test each other’s understanding of the Buddha’s teachings for the benefit of the onlooking Western students.  This was to be a high form of what was being called  ‘dharma’ combat (the clashing of great minds sharpened by years of study and meditation), and we were waiting with all the anticipation that such a historic encounter deserved.  The two monks entered with swirling robes — maroon and yellow for the Tibetan, austere grey and black for  the Korean — and were followed by retinues of younger monks and translators with shaven heads.  They settled onto cushions in the familiar cross-legged positions, and the host made it clear that the younger Zen master was to begin.  The Tibetan lama sat very still, fingering a wooden rosary (mala) with one hand while murmuring, “Om mani padme hum” continuously under his breath.

The Zen master, who was already gaining renown for his method of hurling questions at his students until they were forced to admit their ignorance and then bellowing, “Keep that don’t know mind!” at them, reached deep inside his robes and drew out an orange. “What is this?” he demanded of the lama.  “What is this?”  This was a typical opening question, and we could feel him ready to pounce on whatever response he was given.

The Tibetan sat quietly fingering his mala and made no move to respond.

“What is this?” the Zen master insisted, holding the orange up to the Tibetan’s nose.

Kalu Rinpoche bent very slowly to the Tibetan monk near to him who was serving as the translator, and they whispered back and forth for several minutes.  Finally the translator addressed the room: “Rinpoche says, ‘What is the matter with him?  Don’t they have oranges where he comes from?”

The dialog progressed no further.”


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Free Will or Fate?

Ultimate freedom is not freedom of choice,

but freedom from choice.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”

~ The Kybalion
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“It is true that we are not bound. That is to say, the real Self has no bondage. And it is true that you will eventually return to your Source. But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, you have to face the consequences. You cannot escape them.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Q.  Do we have free will, or freedom of choice, or is our life predestined or fated?

A.   In our space/time causality/reality, we have apparent free will, but it is limited by karmic predetermination.* Both free will and karmic pre-destiny are inevitable incidents of ‘normal’ human experience.  However, some rare beings have gone beyond both free will and predestiny.

Because each person is unique, each experiences apparent free will and karmic pre-destiny differently, depending on their unique evolutionary history. 

For millennia enlightened saints, sages, shamans and mystics  have reported transcending this ever changing reality, and experiencing it as an illusory play of consciousness, sometimes called ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’. Such masters no longer self-identify as mere mortal embodied beings, but as universal spirit or intelligence. 

They have realized experientially – as Albert Einstein explained scientifically – that: “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one;” [that] “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”, and that our separate self-identity “is an optical illusion of consciousness.” 

Since free will implies separation of one who wills or chooses from the objects of his/her will, there can be no free will or free choice without an imagined doer or chooser separate from objects of his/her actions or choices.

Thus, in space/time causality/reality, we each have apparent free will (which is uniquely limited by our predestined karma*) until we transcend separate self-identity as supposed entities distinct from the apparent objects of our perception, and experience ourselves as universal choiceless awareness, or consciousness without an object.
 
But, as long as we self-identify as subjects separate from supposed objects of our choice or intention, our exercise of supposed free will can create karmic causes and conditions which keep us believing in the “optical illusion” that we are separate entities rather than ONE universal intelligence.

With Self realization there is transcendence of illusory self-identity as a separate subject in a subject-object causality reality; and, thereupon there remains only Being – only emptiness – with no separate someone to will or intend or separately experience anything.

Thus, upon transcendence of separate entity identity,
there is no free will or free choice,
nor is there time in which karmic fate or destiny unfolds –

Only thoughtless, timeless, choiceless Awareness,
ever

NOW!

*According to Eastern philosophies, Karma is universal law of cause and effect applied at subtle levels to everything we think, do or say during repeated reincarnations as supposedly separate beings. A similar concept is implicit in Western teachings that we reap as we sow [e.g. Galatians 6:7-9]


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Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate? ~ An Amazing Synchronicity Story

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”

~ The Kybalion




I have elsewhere shared how in February, 1977, I spent a week in New York City, so filled with amazing synchronistic and precognitive experiences, that I became convinced it was possible to mystically transcend serial time perception. ( Synchronicity Story: An Amazing Experiment With Time )

Later, on learning that Sri Yukteshwar, Paramahamsa Yogananda’s guru, was an expert Vedic astrologer, and that the father of my Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, was also a Vedic astrologer, I became interested in astrological predictions and (for the first time in my life) was opened to possible validity of astrology – both Eastern and Western – as an esoteric science.

Indian or Vedic astrology is called Jyotish, which is Sanskrit for “light”; it is an ancient tradition going back thousands of years. Commonly, Indian astrologers (like those from other traditions) cast and interpret a personal chart based on each person’s unique time and place of birth.

But, there is another very rare branch of Jyotish astrology called Nadi reading in which the astrologer, a Brahmin priest, doesn’t cast a personal chart, but through analysis of one’s thumb prints locates and interprets notations supposedly first written on palm bark or leaves thousands of years ago by Indian sage Bhrigu.

Few people in the world have ever heard about, much less seen, an Indian Nadi reader.  On first hearing of Nadi readers, I skeptically dismissed claims of their authenticity and accuracy as too “far out” and beyond my Western programmed paradigm. But gradually I heard credible reports which began changing my mind.

First, my Harvard trained friends Bizhan and Deborah recounted to me their amazing experience with a Nadi reader. Later, I learned that Swami Kriyananda, a well known Western teacher, author, and direct disciple of Paramahamsa Yogananda, was so impressed with the extraordinary accuracy of his Nadi reading, that in 1967 he had published a book about it, entitled India’s Ancient Book of Prophecy.

Last year, I was discussing questions of free will and destiny with my long-time Jyotish astrologer friend Jackie Haller, when she mentioned Kriyananda’s Nadi reader experience. Intrigued by Jackie’s comments, I soon did an extended internet search and refreshed my memory about Kriyananda’s experience.

The next day, while visiting at the Fort Mason Italian-American Museum, I was telling my friend Joy Massa about Kriyananda’s experience with a Nadi reader, when a woman near us “coincidentally” overhead the conversation and joined us to recount lucidly and in some detail her personal amazing experience with a Nadi reading in Tamil Nadu, South India. She also told us about Deepak Chopra’s amazing experience with a Nadi reader, of which I was then unaware.

Because of Chopra’s high credibility, I soon searched and found the following description of his experience, in the “Book of Secrets”, Chapter 13. For Deepak Chopra, it was a life changing experience. And, on reading his eloquent story, I wondered again:


“Are there really any coincidences or accidents, or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”

“Do we really have free will as most people believe?

And if so, what free will?”


Perhaps you, too, will wonder about these questions after reading Deepak Chopra’s fascinating story.

“Book of Secrets”, Chapter 13, by Deepak Chopra:

SEVERAL YEARS AGO IN A SMALL VILLAGE outside New Delhi, I was sitting in a small, stuffy room with a very old man and a young priest. The priest sat on the floor swaying back and forth as he recited words inked on bark sheets that looked ancient. I listened, having no idea what the priest was intoning. He was from the far south and his language, Tamil, was foreign to me. But I knew he was telling me the story of my life, past and future. I wondered how I got roped into this and began to squirm.

It had taken strong persuasion from an old friend to get me to the small room. “It’s not just Jyotish, it’s much more amazing,” he coaxed. Indian astrology is called Jyotish, and it goes back thousands of years. Visiting your family astrologer is common practice everywhere in India, where people plan weddings, births, and even routine business transactions around their astrological charts (Indira Gandhi was a famous example of someone who followed Jyotish), but modern times have led to a fading away of tradition. I had chronically avoided any brushes with Jyotish, being a child of modern India and later a working doctor in the West.

But my friend prevailed, and I had to admit that I was curious about what was going to happen. The young priest, dressed in a wrapped skirt with bare chest and hair shiny with coconut oil—both marks of a southerner—didn’t draw up my birth chart. Every chart he needed had already been drawn up hundreds of years ago. In other words, someone sitting under a palm tree many generations ago had taken a strip of bark, known as a Nadi, and inscribed my life on it.

These Nadis are scattered all over India, and it’s pure chance to run across one that applies to you. My friend had spent several years tracking down just one for himself; the priest produced a whole sheaf for me, much to my friend’s amazed delight. You have to come for the reading, he insisted.

Now the old man sitting across the table was interpreting in Hindi what the priest was chanting. Because of overlapping birth times and the vagaries of the calendar when we are speaking of centuries, Nadis can overlap, and the first few sheets didn’t apply to me. But by the third sheet or so, the young priest with the sing-song voice was reading facts that were startlingly precise: my birth date, my parents’ names, my own name and my wife’s, the number of children we have and where they live now, the day and hour of my father’s recent death, his exact name, and my mother’s.

At first there seemed to be a glitch: The Nadi gave the wrong first name for my mother, calling her Suchinta, when in fact her name is Pushpa. This mistake bothered me, so I took a break and went to a phone to ask her about it. My mother told me, with great surprise, that in fact her birth name was Suchinta, but since it rhymed with the word for “sad” in Hindi, an uncle suggested that it be changed when she was three years old. I hung up the phone, wondering what this whole experience meant, for the young priest had also read out that a relative would intervene to change my mother’s name. No one in our family had ever mentioned this incident, so the young priest wasn’t indulging in some kind of mind-reading.

For the benefit of skeptics, the young priest had passed nearly his whole life in a temple in South India and did not speak English or Hindi. Neither he nor the old man knew who I was. Anyway, in this school of Jyotish, the astrologer doesn’t take down your birth time and cast a personal chart which he then interprets. Instead, a person walks into a Nadi reader’s house, the reader takes a thumbprint, and based on that, the matching charts are located (always keeping in mind that the Nadis may be lost or scattered to the winds). The astrologer reads out only what someone else has written down perhaps a thousand years ago. Here’s another twist to the mystery: Nadis don’t have to cover everyone who will ever live, only those individuals who will one day show up at an astrologer’s door to ask for a reading!

In rapt fascination I sat through an hour of more arcane information about a past life I had spent in a South Indian temple, and how my transgressions in that lifetime led to painful problems in this one, and (after a moment’s hesitation while the reader asked if I really wanted to know) the day of my own death. The date falls reassuringly far in the future, although even more reassuring was the Nadi’s promise that my wife and children would lead long lives full of love and accomplishment.

I walked away from the old man and the young priest into the blinding hot Delhi sunshine, almost dizzy from wondering how my life would change with this new knowledge. It wasn’t the details of the reading that mattered. I have forgotten nearly all of them, and I rarely think of the incident except when my eye falls on one of the polished bark sheets, now framed and kept in a place of honor in our home. The young priest handed it to me with a shy smile before we parted. The one fact that turned out to have a deep impact was the day of my death. As soon as I heard it, I felt both a profound sense of peace and a new sobriety that has been subtly changing my priorities ever since.


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