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Posts by Ron Rattner

“Gandhi the Man”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“My life is my message.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,

cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.” ….. “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi


Introduction to “Gandhi the Man”

Dear Friends,

Since my midlife awakening, my life has unfolded in previously imaginable ways, like a spiritual mystery story. Instead of a “who done it?” mystery it has been an ongoing “who am I?” mystery.

The following memoirs chapter is titled “Gandhi the Man” because that is also the title of a wonderful Gandhi biography by Eknath Easwaran which significantly furthered my still unfolding spiritual mystery story.

The importance for me of that Gandhi biography can be best understood in context of my recently posted 9/11 tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and from review of three prior memoirs chapters about my introduction to Hindu teachings and to Mahatma Gandhi.

So for your convenience I’ll summarize those prior chapters in this Introduction, but respectfully suggest that if interested you read them separately.

1) Silva Mind Control

At a Silva Mind Control workshop Mahatma Gandhi became my first known inner spiritual guide, when he appeared telepathically to answer questions and counsel me long after his 1948 assassination. Because he was quite famous, I clearly recognized him wearing a white Indian dhoti. However I then knew very little about Gandhi’s life and story, and he had appeared only after I asked the universe to send my most appropriate inner guide. So I soon wondered why the universe had chosen Gandhi to counsel me.

2) Why Be Here Now?

After Silva Mind Control, I was guided to read an extraordinary book called “Be Here Now” which told how Harvard professor Richard Alpert had become Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. The book also included suggestions for Eastern spiritual practices, like repeating (as a mantra) “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…”, an important Hindu name for God. That suggestion soon manifested in my life, in an amazingly unprecedented, way as my “who am I” spiritual mystery story enfolded.

3) “Be Here Now”, “Rama”, and Rainbow Synchronicity

After taking depositions in Hawaii, I stayed for weekend relaxing on a hotel beach, and hiking nearby. On a Friday afternoon I decided to briefly hike (without a backpack) in a mountainous and jungle-like Hawaiian state park across from my hotel. While hiking I lost sight of all trails and became fearful of being lost, hungry and chilled throughout the night.


Then for the first time in my life, I spontaneously began, calling out loud “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…” – fearfully invoking a Divine solution to my plight. And soon I experienced an “Aha moment” suddenly revealing that a nearby meandering mountain stream was flowing down and out of the jungle park. So I walked downstream in it, and kept repeating “Rama”, “Rama”, “Rama” until I was safely back in my hotel.

There I felt extraordinarily peaceful, but very “strange”. In this strange state, I gazed into a large dressing room mirror and beheld in amazement my face and head enveloped in a beautiful multi-colored aura, like those depicted on ancient religious icons. Virtually thoughtless, I then sat for hours intently gazing in wonder at my mirrored auric image, before going to bed.


On awakening Saturday morning, as I immediately recalled this wondrous experience, there ensued a confusing inner dialogue between the “voice in my head” and my thought-free intuition. Whenever my heart was uplifted by recalling that beautiful experience, the ‘voice’ told me that I’d been hallucinating. So, that morning I went out to the beach in a state of confusion.

It was a beautiful calm and sunny day with a few white wispy clouds in the sky. But my mind was not calm. As I sat in the sand, I kept wondering whether or not I’d really seen that beautiful multi-colored aura.

Finally I intuitively resolved my inner debate, and thought: “Yes, it definitely was a ‘real’ aura, but I’m not sure I remember all its beautiful colors. What were they?”


Whereupon, I looked up and beheld a lovely rainbow, with the very same colors I’d seen in the aura. While I’d been lost in thought, a couple of dark clouds had appeared with a quickly passing light tropical shower, leaving in its wake the fleeting rainbow. As a lawyer, I took the sudden appearance of the rainbow as Divine “corroboration” of my rainbow aura experience.

The rainbow’s unexpected appearance, was one of innumerable continuing synchronicities which have blessed and guided my inner transformation process as clues for my ever unfolding spiritual mystery story, which I will continue sharing with you in the following “Gandhi the Man” chapter.


Gandhi the Man

After my synchronistic “Rama” rainbow experience in Hawaii, I felt an inner affinity with “Rama” as a divine name, but didn’t yet adopt a practice of regularly repeating it as a mantra. However, I became intrigued by the powerful potentiality of that practice by a new spiritual friend.

Soon after discovering the Rama mantra in “Be Here Now” and then spontaneously reciting it in Hawaii, I synchronistically met in California an American woman named “Veda Rama”, originally from Boston. She had become a spiritual devotee of Ram Dass in New England (when he was writing “Be Here Now”), and had followed him to the New Mexico Lama Foundation, where she helped to artistically produce and distribute the first hand-assembled and hand-bound editions of that wonderful book. While in New Mexico, she had received the spiritual name “Veda Rama” (meaning “truth of God”).


After meeting Veda Rama I introduced her to my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi. He later initiated her as “Ram Dassi” – the feminine equivalent of Ram Dass (meaning “servant of God”).


She became – and remains – a very dear spiritual friend, with whom I’ve shared countless synchronicity experiences. Those experiences have included my story of how Mahatma Gandhi appeared and counseled me at Silva Mind Control, as my first inner guide – so that I’d become quite curious about Gandhi’s life history. And soon after hearing my Gandhi story, she gave me a beautiful pictorial Gandhi biography titled “Gandhi the Man” by Eknath Easwaran, as a birthday gift.


From reading that biography I learned that Gandhi was a timid and fearful child. So in his early years Gandhi’s beloved nurse Rambha taught him to repeat the name“Rama” whenever he felt afraid. Later throughout his adult life, reciting the Rama mantra became Gandhi’s most important spiritual practice, along with regularly reading the Bhagavad Gita.

Thus, as an adult Gandhi often walked constantly repeating his Rama mantra in rhythm with his steps; and he wrote extensively about the importance of repeating the name “Rama” (the Ramanama).:

“When a child, my nurse taught me to repeat Ramanama whenever I felt afraid or miserable, and it has been second nature with me with growing knowledge and advancing years. I may even say that the Word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.” “The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal….” “Each repetition … has a new meaning, each repetition carries you nearer and nearer to God.”


Even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in fearless forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

Because he walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and spiritually, his words and life have been exceptionally inspiring and powerful. Gandhi changed the world by being the non-violent change he wanted see, particularly the end of the British Raj in India, followed by Indian independence and democracy. 

But few people realize that Gandhi’s legacy includes not just his world renowned campaign for Indian independence, but that he began and named his unprecedented civil rights movement with a brilliantly waged struggle against institutionalized apartheid racism in South Africa.

Gandhi was educated in England as a Common Law barrister, and was not trained in Indian law. So to engage in legal practice he moved from India to South Africa, where for over twenty years he practiced as an idealistic and extraordinarily effective common law civil rights attorney before returning to India, where he became that nation’s most beloved modern hero, and one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in all history.

From his deep and extraordinary spiritual aspiration and determination to realize Truth as God or Rama, Gandhi changed himself to change the world. He transformed from beginning life as a timid child, to become a fearlessly determined civil rights advocate relentlessly pursuing nonviolent secular and spiritual Truth.

Gandhi’s history in South Africa is described in my recently posted 9/11 tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. It tells the inspiring story of how on September 11, 1906, a young lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi organized and addressed an  anti-apartheid  meeting of 3,000 people crowded into the Empire Theater in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Members of the Indian community – both Moslem and Hindu – had gathered there in opposition to a proposed apartheid law that would require Indians to register, be finger-printed and carry special identity cards at all times, and which would further deprive them of civil liberties for failure to comply with the egregiously immoral law.

Gandhi argued that the law be resisted, but warned that resisters realize that they could be jailed, fined, beaten and even killed. The assembly not only declared its opposition to the legislation; its members raised their right hands and swore, with God as their witness, that they would not submit to such an unjust law. Following their September 11th meeting and pledge, Indians refused to register and began burning their ID cards at mass rallies and protests. Thus began the original 9/11 non-violence movement that would literally change the world as the most powerful positive tool for salutary social change.

The September 11th Johannesburg event began a powerful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Thereafter, in 1908 Gandhi carefully coined a new word – “satyagraha” – to describe the movement’s ground-breaking inter-religious spiritual mission.

Satyagraha is Sanskrit neologism combining “satya” (Truth) with “agraha” (holding firmly). But because Satyagraha is rooted in Vedic spiritual wisdom it is extremely difficult to translate into English. It roughly means the non-violent and resolute pursuit of “Truth” as equated with “God”.

Thus, Gandhi’s satyagraha movement was fundamentally spiritual, not just political. It encompassed relentless pursuit of spiritual Truth through the political practice of active, faith-based civil disobedience. It was steadfastly dedicated to asserting and living Divine Truth by nonviolently and respectfully resisting institutional immorality and injustice to achieve societal and political justice.

Beyond mere “pacifism” or “passive resistance”, it encompassed an actively militant, yet resolutely non-violent faith-based assertion of one’s moral beliefs, with open defiance of unjust laws or decrees, and with steadfast remembrance that Divinity [viz. “Truth”] is immanent in all creation, including one’s oppressors.  In addition to practicing satyagraha and ahimsa, Gandhi, was a vegetarian, who lived a non-materialistic, simple life, and practiced aparigraha, non-attachment to possessions.

The more I learned about Gandhi the more he inspired me. I identified with him as a civil rights advocate and as a spiritual truth-seeker. Also his non-attachment to possessions and vegetarianism, was significant for me since I, too, had become a vegetarian living with increasing non-attachment to worldly possessions. And in 1978 my beloved Guruji initiated me with a “Rama” mantra.

Thus, Gandhi’s inner appearance at Silva Mind Control, to counsel me was absolutely appropriate. Gandhiji became and (after over forty years) remains one the few most important humans who have inspired my still unfolding spiritual mystery story – a transformation and transmutation from “Ron” to “Ram”. Even now, I frequently and tearfully call that Divine name.

So, as inspired by Gandhi, “Rama” remains – enshrined in my heart as a constant impetus to my ever evolving spiritual mystery story.

Once when asked about his teachings, Gandhi aptly replied:


“My life is my message.”


Upon deeply realizing and experiencing the universal wisdom of that statement, I was inspired to compose this sutra/poem:


On the Earth branch
of the great Cosmic University,

We are all students
and we are all teachers.

We are all learning love.
And, as Gandhi observed,
our lives are our teachings.

So, as we live
and as we learn,
we each may teach –
peace, love, and compassion.

And so it shall be!


Invocation


May Mahatma Gandhi’s exemplary life,
ever inspire and morally motivate countless humans
to live life peacefully and compassionately
in eternal harmony with Nature and Divinity –
as LOVE!

Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

Honoring the Relentless Pursuit of Truth:
Gandhi’s Original 9/11 Truth Movement
and Dr. King’s Message of World Peace Thru Nonviolence and Love


“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this
ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”
~ Albert Einstein (after Gandhi’s 1948 assassination)

“Many ancient Indian masters have preached nonviolence as a philosophy. That was a more spiritual understanding of it. Mahatma Gandhi, in this twentieth century, produced a very sophisticated approach because he implemented that very noble philosophy of nonviolence in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing. It has represented an evolutionary leap in political consciousness, his experimentation with truth.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from “The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness”
“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi … the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”
~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.






Introduction

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting (on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC), is dedicated to advancing worldwide social justice by inspiring nonviolent civil disobedience to extraordinarily irrational, immoral, and tyrannical edicts of current world “leaders”. The posting highlights histories of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the most prominent and inspiring 20th century spiritual practitioners of nonviolent resistance to those in power.

And it explains how the Gandhian nonviolent Satyagraha truth movement has brought humankind “an evolutionary leap in political consciousness” beyond centuries of spiritual philosophy preached by Indian mystic masters. (See above Dalai Lama quotation)

Background

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, many people regard September 11 as a day that will live in infamy – a day of treachery, often cited (disingenuously or duplicitously) as pretext for an Orwellian era of endless war, violence and dystopian deprivations of civil liberties.
(See PBS Documentary 9/11-Explosive Evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l-8PFk8j5I)

But, paradoxically, few realize that on a century earlier September 11th Mahatma Gandhi launched his extraordinary “satyagraha” peace and justice movement through which Gandhi, and countless others inspired by him, have accomplished much good in the world by non-violently resisting and transforming widespread social injustice and oppression.  As recognized by the Dalai Lama’s above quotation, Gandhi’s nonviolent truth movement represented “an evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

Of countless humans inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s life and words, most prominent and influential has been Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who honored Gandhi as a spiritual “guiding light …. of nonviolent social change”, and who in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods, saying:


“To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.”


During and since Mahatma Gandhi’s extraordinary lifetime, he has been venerated worldwide as one of the greatest spiritual and political leaders not just of our time, but of all times. Because he walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and spiritually, his words and life have been exceptionally inspiring and powerful.

Mahatma Gandhi changed the world by being the non-violent change he wanted see, particularly the end of the British Raj in India, followed by Indian independence and democracy.  But few people realize that Gandhi’s legacy includes not just his campaign for Indian independence, but that it began with his brilliantly waged struggle against institutionalized apartheid racism in South Africa, with ground-breaking inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.  

Gandhi’s Original 9/11 Truth Movement

On September 11, 1906, a young lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi organized and addressed a meeting of 3,000 people crowded into the Empire Theater in Johannesburg, South Africa. Members of the Indian community – both Moslem and Hindu – had gathered there in opposition to a proposed law that would require Indians to register, be finger-printed and carry special identity cards at all times, and which would further deprive them of civil liberties for failure to comply with the egregiously immoral law.

Gandhi argued that the law be resisted, but warned that resisters realize that they could be jailed, fined, beaten and even killed. The assembly not only declared its opposition to the legislation; its members raised their right hands and swore, with God as their witness, that they would not submit to such an unjust law.

Gandhi’s legendary talk at the Empire Theater meeting is dramatically portrayed by academy award winning actor Ben Kingsley in this excerpt from the epic film “Gandhi”:


The next day after the anti-apartheid meeting, the Empire Theater was mysteriously destroyed by fire.

Following their September 11th meeting and pledge, Indians refused to register and began burning their ID cards at mass rallies and protests. Thus began the original 9/11 non-violence movement that would literally change the world as the most powerful positive tool for salutary social change.

Satyagraha

The September 11th Johannesburg event began a powerful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Thereafter, in 1908 Gandhi carefully coined a new word – “satyagraha” – to describe the movement.

Satyagraha is Sanskrit neologism combining “satya” (Truth) with “agraha” (holding firmly). But because Satyagraha is rooted in Vedic spiritual wisdom it is extremely difficult to translate into English.

Gandhi was a spiritual man in search of God, who equated “Truth” with “God”. He grew up inculcated as a Hindu, and in South Africa called the Bhagavad Gita his “spiritual reference book”. However, he acknowledged that he had been influenced by the teachings of Jesus, the writings of Tolstoy, and Thoreau’s famous essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

Thus, Gandhi’s satyagraha movement was fundamentally spiritual, not just political. It encompassed relentless pursuit of spiritual Truth through the political practice of active, faith-based civil disobedience. It was steadfastly dedicated to asserting and living Divine Truth by nonviolently and respectfully resisting institutional injustice to achieve societal and political justice. Beyond mere “pacifism” or “passive resistance”, it encompassed an actively militant, yet resolutely non-violent faith-based assertion of one’s moral beliefs, with open defiance of unjust laws or decrees.

The movement began with the above recounted defiance of South African apartheid decrees, and burning of racially discriminatory ID cards. Later in India it actively defied unjust British Raj laws, like laws forbidding Indians to make their own salt, and requiring export of all Indian grown cotton to be fabricated in England. Gandhi’s “satyagraha” movement disobeyed those laws with the famous “salt march” and by not purchasing British produced fabrics, while fabricating their cotton with spinning wheels. And Gandhi actively opposed the Indian “untouchable” caste system, condoned by the Bhagavad Gita, as well as by immorally exploitive societal customs.

Gandhi often and broadly spoke about “satyagraha”. Here are a few of his apt quotations:

Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves
as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say,
the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase
“passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing
we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The word satya (Truth) is derived from Sat which means ‘being.’ Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. That is why Sat or Truth is perhaps the most important name of God, In fact it is more correct to say that Truth is God than to say God is truth. On deeper thinking, however it will be realized that Sat or Satya is the only correct and fully sign fact name for God.”

“Devotion to this Truth is the sole justification for our existence. All our activities should be centered in Truth. Truth should be the very breath of our life. When once this stage in the pilgrim’s progress is reached, all other rules of correct living will come without effort, and obedience to them will be instinctive. But without Truth it is impossible to observe any principles or rules in life.”

“[W]hat may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person.
But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is honest effort,
it will be realized that what appear to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree.
Does not God himself appear to different individuals in different aspects?
Yet we know that He is one. But Truth is the right designation of God.
Hence there is nothing wrong in every man following Truth according to his lights.
Indeed it is his duty to do so.
Then if there is a mistake on the part of any one so following Truth it will be automatically set right.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi – Mohandas Gandhi on the Meaning of Truth 1/1/1927

“Satyagraha means resisting untruth by truthful means”
“It is a religious duty to fight untruth.
If one remains steadfast in it in a spirit
of dedication, it always brings success.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi – 3/30/1911 Cape Town speech

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

”Non-violence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.
Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.
But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through non-violence…
That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.
And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Satyagraha Conclusion

Thus the “satyagraha” movement has been a militant, but resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

Thereby Mohandas K. Gandhi has become one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in our current history.


Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, Message of World Peace Through Love and Gandhian Nonviolence

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King, a Christian minister, dedicated his life to nonviolent religious spirituality, not just to political social justice.

In 1964 (at age 35) Dr. King became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his nonviolent social activism in opposing racial segregation, poverty, and war. As a dedicated Christian disciple of Jesus, Dr. King

“found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi … the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”


Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life.  Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies.  Gradually their nonviolent missions expanded to encompass universal freedom, peace and social justice for everyone everywhere.
 
On humbly accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, as ‘trustee’ for countless unknown others, Dr. King cited Gandhi’s success in India as a key precedent encouraging nonviolent civil rights activism in the USA, saying:

“This [nonviolent] approach to the problem of racial injustice …. was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries.”


And King described how (because of technological advances which imminently threaten nuclear/ecological catastrophe) the survival of humanity depends upon our nonviolently solving “the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war” by “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men”.

Eloquently he explained that


“[Love is] that force which all of the great religions [Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist] have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.”


Whereupon he recited this wisdom passage from the First Epistle of St John:

“Let us love one another: for love is of God;
and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.

He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love.

If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His

love is perfected in us.” [1 John 4:7-8; 12 ]”


Like Gandhi and Jesus – who also ‘heretically’ preached nonviolent love and forgiveness – King was martyred at (age 39), when his ‘heretic’ truth telling and expanding prophetic powers became intolerable barriers to the US Empire’s military/industrial war plans for Viet Nam and beyond.



Conclusion and Dedication



Today’s posting is deeply dedicated to inspiring a new era of global social justice through peaceful noncooperation and resistance to pervasive “new normal” era political and institutional social injustice, and its insane desecration of Nature on our precious planet.

May the prophetic seeds of political and spiritual Truth first sewn by Gandhi on September 11, 1906, and nurtured worldwide by Dr. King, at long last soon end needless suffering, and allow an unprecedented new era of global peace and harmony, beyond fear and hostility.

And  may humankind now heed Dr. King’s crucial warnings that we must “learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools”; that our survival depends upon “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men [and women]”.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (full audio+text)



Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

 

Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Introduction

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ we are often reminded that our spiritual goal is returning to “godliness” – to Ultimate Reality. This memoirs posting explains how we can advance our evolution toward attainment of that goal, by clearing past mental conditioning to increasingly be here NOW in the precious present.

Because this posting coincides with the Jewish High Holy Days, it recounts my positive experience with Yom Kippur communal practices of: (1) non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us; and of (2) annulment or rescission of obsolete and unhelpful private intentions, resolutions, or vows to ourselves or God. Thus it explains my perspective that such practices, which are premised on societal awareness of inevitable limitation and fallibility of all incarnate humans, can be universally beneficial in advancing everyone’s spiritual evolution.

Also it explains why our spiritual evolution can be furthered by other practices or activities which help us quiet the mind and clear mental pre-conditioning to increasingly live moment by moment in the precious present, with Love as the supreme unifying principle of Life.

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Our mental conditioning operates our physical bodies, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as anxiety, fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is advanced by any activity or practice which helps us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have quieted my mind, recognized and eliminated obsolete beliefs and paradigms which no longer felt valid or useful, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of thinking less, and being more; and of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity, and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been accelerated through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help still the mind and clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated the SillySutras website to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

Jewish High Holy days practices

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten ‘Days Of Awe’ emphasizing religious introspection and repentance, and concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement” and “at-one-ment”]. During services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,” [ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ]

The Yom Kippur observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many observant Jews is the religious high-point of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that Kol Nidre enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And often they feel consequent frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring guilt or frustration for this, Jewish tradition recognizes that it’s best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and abrogation of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melodies, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri); Asian (Moon festivals) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually living more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

My perspectives on “Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present”, encourage our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

Conclusion and Dedication

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms which no longer feel valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

Thus, today’s posting is dedicated to advancing our spiritual evolution on ‘holy days’ and every day by encouraging us to fearlessly forgive the past, and thoughtlessly live in the precious present, as LOVE

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Afterlife?

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.
In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“It is in love that we are made; in love we disappear.”
~ Leonard Cohen
“It is in dying to ego life,

that we are reborn to Eternal Life.”

~ Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (edited by Ron Rattner)
“It is crucial to be mindful of death —
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ Dalai Lama – From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life”
(written with Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD)
Whence come I and whither go I?

That is the great unfathomable question,

the same for every one of us.

Science has no answer to it.

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~ Albert Einstein
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
“Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never Then!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

The mystery of bodily death has long been a central religious and philosophical issue.

Since midlife I have gratefully realized from previously unimagined mystical experiences that inevitable physical death does not end our conscious lifetimes, and that we can enjoy ever growing happiness and soul fulfillment as we lose all ego/mind fears and worries about death and dying.

My profound mystical realizations are explained and discussed in the following Q and A sutra essay verses and comments thereon.

These writings are shared to help inspire our Self realization that beyond ego illusions there is no time, no death or afterlife; that on transcendence of conceptual life, there is only eternal mystery of indescribable and unimaginable Infinite Potentially.

May these writings thereby advance humanity’s ever growing happiness free from fear of inevitable physical death, and all other fearful and negative earthly emotions, and elevate us to harmoniously live together with kindness and compassion, as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Afterlife?

Q:  Is there an afterlife?
A:   After-life is NOW.

Q:  Is there life after death?
A:  There is no death – only Life.

Q:  Then, what is it we call death?
A:  A vacation – eternal life-force vacating a transient vehicle.



Ron’s Comments on “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever considered what if anything happens after bodily death?

The mystery of what happens upon bodily death is an enduring philosophical and religious issue. It is therefore addressed in the above quotations and Q and A sutra essay verses, and in many other SillySutras postings revealing that beyond ego/mind illusions there is no death or afterlife – only Eternal Life NOW.

Background Discussion.

Physical death is inevitable and natural. But for many years it was largely a taboo subject in American society. Euphemistic language was used to describe death. Most Americans feared death, believing it ended life; they usually died in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by family.

Today fear of death remains a major societal issue, impeding spiritual evolution, especially for Westerners.  Such fear arises from mistaken ego identification as only a mortal physical body rather than the eternal life-force which enlivens the body.  But gradually millions of people are transcending fear of death, and leading happier lives after near death [NDE], out of body [OOB] and other mystical experiences.

Since my midlife spiritual awakening I’ve realized that conscious contemplation of physical death can be spiritually important and helpful.
 
On meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing for Self-realization, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those enduring questions.   Ultimately his questions were answered through meditative experience.  Thereafter he taught that:


“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Also I’ve learned that Tibetan Buddhists encourage frequent contemplation of physical death as an important spiritual practice for optimizing opportunities of this precious lifetime, and in preparation for auspicious future lifetimes.  Thus the Dalai Lama has written that:


“It is crucial to be mindful of death —  
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life” by Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD


Inspired by Guruji, the Tibetan Buddhists, and mystical experiences, I developed deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation, and karma.  And gradually I have realized the importance of these subjects.

So I’ve shared many stories, essays and poems about these subjects, which I commend to your attention. (Eg. See “related” posts and audio files linked below.)


Especially after suffering a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, more than ever before I now frequently contemplate my inevitable – and perhaps imminent – death, with unspeakable gratitude for this precious human lifetime and for the evolutionary opportunities and happiness it has brought me.
 
Gratefully I have learned from experience that life is eternal and that “as we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”

So this posting is dedicated to helping us find growing happiness free from fears and worries about inevitable physical death, and related fearful and negative emotions. So that we instead accentuate optimistic and compassionate feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, which bring us ever growing happiness and further our spiritual evolution.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

My Life of “Prayer”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,

for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates
“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”

~ Saint Francis of Assisi
“[Our] 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’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda







Ron’s Introduction to My Life of “Prayer”

Dear Friends,

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening at age forty three, I have experienced a previously unimagined transformative new life-phase of growing inner-awareness in which spontaneous prayer has become fundamental.

So these spiritual memoirs appropriately include the following recollections and explanations of “prayer” in my life, both before and since the midlife awakening. In them I recount how I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, but how after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

These memoirs are written and dedicated to help spiritually “inspire many people”, as requested and foreseen by my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. 


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

My history with “prayer”

I don’t recall spontaneously praying or crying to God prior to midlife.  But I do remember feeling emotionally moved while singing collective prayers, and on hearing chanted cantorial prayers, at organized Jewish high holy day services. Even though I didn’t understand the words, I was especially affected by “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), an emotively powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, to begin Yom Kippur services.

Only after the midlife awakening did I synchronistically begin regularly praying with daily recitations of the “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi – heartfelt recitations which have continued for over forty years.

Before the midlife awakening I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But thereupon, I cried for twenty four hours, and soon realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) And that prayerful ’gift of tears’ still persists.

Two years after the midlife awakening, I met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and received shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga. Thereupon I was given a sacred “Rama” mantra and spiritual name “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”. Afterwards, as Guruji presciently had foreseen, I became and have ever since remained “engrossed in devotion”, intensely yearning for the Divine, and often spontaneously calling and weeping for “Rama” with deep longing.

Also, in addition to the Saint Francis prayer, I began regularly reciting prayers and mantras recommended by Guruji, and soon became a “born-again Hindu”. Though some Hindu prayers were directed to mythological Hindu deities – including the legendary monkey-god Hanuman – in calling, crying or praying to the Divine, I consistently conceived of “God” as formless and invisible. Ultimately, on my acceptance of Advaita non-duality philosophy, “God” as ultimate Reality became (and remains} for me an inconceivable Mystery.

Especially during my extended post-retirement reclusive period, I daily prayed for particular people, envisioning them as enveloped by divine light, while silently praying for everyone everywhere. Sometimes I prayed for specific outcomes, like healing or wellbeing, while continuing to pray for all Life everywhere.


Now, although all specific loving prayers are beneficial, I instinctively pray with faith for best outcomes, without specifying desired results. Especially since miraculously surviving and recovering from a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, I have gratefully given my ‘irrevocable power of attorney’ to The Lone Arranger to determine appropriate outcomes for all Life everywhere.

What is “prayer”?

On first meeting Guruji I simply thought of prayer as ‘talking to God’, and meditation as listening. So I didn’t then even consider calling and crying for God or reciting mantras as “prayers”. But since then my view of “prayer” gradually widened to include those and many other behaviors not previously regarded as “prayer”. Thus my concept of prayer now includes all heartfelt longings for eternal communion with the Divine. And I accept Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that “prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart”. Also, I believe it possible for us to prayerfully open our hearts to all Life, without excluding anyone or anything, even vile enemies. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/how-st-francis-of-assisi-inspires-pope-francis/)

How shall we pray?

Prayer is universal – a concept recognized worldwide by all cultures and people. But it is understood and practiced in different ways at different times.

In perceived dire sudden emergencies or threats most humans spontaneously pray for help, even if they haven’t previously prayed and their instinct to pray is subliminal. Thus, once before becoming a “born-again Hindu”, I suddenly began calling and crying out to God as “Rama, Rama, Rama”, upon fearfully being lost in a jungle-like Hawaiian nature preserve. And I remember instinctively exclaiming “Jesus” when twice almost run down by crazy car drivers, though I’d never before prayed to Jesus.

All humans share a common instinct to return to our Divine Source. But, as unique beings with uniquely conditioned karmic perspectives and limitations, we each experience different evolutionary challenges and different theoretical spiritual paths. So, as we evolve toward realization of our common spiritual Source and Self identity, different practices and behaviors are most appropriate for each of us – including whether, when or how we pray. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/different-person-different-path/ ) In my experience, our inner insights and instincts best help us determine our unique evolutionary paths.

Thus, though I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

I am unqualified to tell others how, when or whether to pray. But it is my aspiration that SillySutras readers may find guidance about prayer and other spiritual practices from these memoirs and cited spiritual quotations. So I will hereafter share my opinions and observations about prayer in our lives.

Observations and quotations about “prayer”

Praying is instinctive. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious denomination. Even Buddhists who don’t believe in a Creator God recite many mantras and pray a lot. 

Different people have differing ideas about meanings and methods of “prayer”. Most often prayer involves asking for divine help or expressing gratitude to God or other higher power. But “prayer” can be broadly considered as all spontaneous, heartfelt, or worshipful longing for or communion with Universal Intelligence, Nature, or Divinity.   And all such selfless loving prayer may be magically powerful.  For example, I’ve become gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers of others helped my miraculous survival and healing from a 2014 near-death taxi rundown. And that all our compassionate prayers are often answered. Mahatma Gandhi has said that prayer “is the most potent instrument of action”; that “with the Grace of God everything can be achieved.”

“Everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way”. So we are all co-creating our earthly mental reality. As Universal Spirit, we are ONE, and we ‘contagiously’ influence one another, positively or negatively. Every thought affects our collective consciousness. We have infinite potentiality to lovingly and prayerfully bless this world. But our fearful and worrisome thoughts and behaviors are tantamount to negative prayers, which can unknowingly afflict the world.  So mental mindfulness helps us avert such worrisome thoughts.

Beyond historically helpful traditional prayer customs and practices, even Western scientific double-blind “placebo effect” studies, now support efficacy of prayer.  A 2006 Washington Post article even asserted that “prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine, far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies.”

The stiller and more focused our minds, the more opened our hearts, and the deeper our harmony with Nature, the more impactful are our prayers. And, whether or not we intentionally “pray”, our focused awareness of conditioned mental propensities can be key to fulfilling our deepest evolutionary aspirations.

It’s best to be givers, not getters. For it is in giving that we receive. So, it’s preferable to pray selflessly for peace and welfare of all others, rather than for perceived self-interests; to ‘pray for God to do through us – not for us’.

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


And it’s best to leave to Supreme Authority details of how to accomplish all our prayerful wishes, rather than to specify them.

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,
for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates


As we evolve beyond our illusionary perceptual/conceptual separation of each other, and all our other mistaken beliefs which theoretically divide ONE Reality, those illusions gradually melt into mystery. And increasingly we realize that we are THAT eternal Self to which we which we pray, and to which we intensely aspire to return. We see that

“[Our] 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’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Becoming “prayer”

There are now, and always have been, rare Avatars, Saints and Buddha-like beings who are completely devoted to blessing all Life, without exception or exclusion. Hence, it is possible to live life as continual prayer, not just with continual prayer. So it can be evolutionarily feasible that ultimately

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


Realization of humanity’s shared evolutionary aspiration.

Realization of such a perpetually prayerful saintly state is humanity’s deepest aspiration. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts, so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with THAT.

Conclusion

SELF Realization of THAT to which we pray, and for which we deeply aspire, is our ultimate destiny. May these writings on “prayer” help advance us toward that destiny.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Becoming Givers, Not Getters


“For it is in giving that we receive.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, peace prayer

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” …
“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –
while you, who deem yourself a giver,
is but a witness.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“You can give without loving,
but you can never love without giving.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson and/or
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“The value of a man resides in what he gives,
and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”

~ Lao Tzu
“Life is for giving and forgiving,
not getting and forgetting.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra sayings

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Dear Friends,

Since meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, l’ve been learning from life that we can bless the world by becoming givers, not getters.

Soon after my shakipat initiation, I attended a group meditation program wherein Guruji entertained and answered audience questions.  His simple response to one of those questions has had lasting impact for me.

A skeptical newcomer asked Guruji:  “What are you getting from what you are doing?”

Guruji responded succinctly and inspirationally: “Gurus are givers, not getters.” 

After gratefully reflecting on Guruji’s saintly motivation, I’ve realized that we  don’t have to become gurus to be givers; that we can all be givers, not getters, by lovingly helping – and not harming – others.

From long life experience I’ve seen that we all can help others, each in our own unique way from our unique perspectives. 

Most people I’ve met are ordinary people (in many different life roles), who are naturally, generous, kind and compassionate, and who are instinctively motivated to be helpful in their relationships with others, even though they live in a materialist society which has become polluted by greed and selfishness.  

As William Shakespeare reminded us, all the world’s a stage on which we each play different roles in an endless cosmic melodrama.  Whatever our roles, we can bless the world by lovingly giving and forgiving, rather than selfishly getting and forgetting.

We are all connected and everything we think do or say changes this world in some way.  So we don’t have to be materially or money rich to bless the world.

For more than forty years I have been daily reciting the peace prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, which reminds us that “It is in giving, that we receive” , and I’ve observed the fundamental truth of that declaration.

So I write today as a heartfelt reminder that each us in our own unique way can help bless the world by giving our loving and respectful kindness to all sentient beings and to our beautiful blue planet.

May we together harmoniously co-create and bless the world as Love by being givers, not getters, and thus by helping, not hurting, everyone everywhere. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Life Is NOW, Never Then!

“That which is timeless is found NOW.”

~ Buddha
“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~ Albert Einstein
Tao and Zen

are NOW,

not then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to Life Is NOW, Never Then!

Dear Friends,

After my mid-life spiritual awakening, which began a new life phase of previously unimagined interest in spiritual evolution, I began to regularly and reflectively walk alone by San Francisco Bay, as an informal spiritual practice.

While walking by the Bay, I synchronistically began “channeling” spiritual sayings, rhymes and poems. Often, too, I’d spontaneously sing original melodies to accompany my poems and rhymes. As I walked, I regularly wrote the words that came to me. But, mostly I forgot the melodies, which I couldn’t write.

One of the few songs with melody that I remembered, I called Life Is NOW, Never Then!

It was telepathically transmitted and received as I joyfully experienced being in the precious present moment – the NOW.

After composing the Life is NOW song I rarely sang it, and it wasn’t otherwise performed or known to others, except for a few of my friends. Later, upon launching the SillySutras website, I recorded and posted an mp3 version of the song.

Also, Rob Tobias, a talented Oregon musician/songwriter/singer and videographer, and longtime partner of my niece Janice Medvin, started filming me for a biographical documentary record of eccentric Uncle Ron’s spiritual journey from litigation to meditation and beyond, which he titled: “Walks With Ron (A Spiritual Memoir)” . During the filming process, Rob heard and liked the Life is NOW song, and ultimately this year he professionally performed and recorded his version of the song.

Embedded below are both my original recording and Rob’s current professional recording of the Life is NOW song. Please enjoy the written and recorded versions of the song, and reflect deeply on their fundamental spiritual message.

May they inspire our spiritual evolution and growing happiness in life, by encouraging our being Here NOW in each precious present moment.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Life Is NOW, Never Then!

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Past is history,
Future’s mystery;
But, life is never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Time is how
We measure now.
But, life is never when.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.



Ron’s singing of “Life Is NOW, Never Then!”

Listen to


Rob Tobias’s professional performance of “Life Is NOW”

Listen to


Dedication

May the Life is NOW song lyrics and recordings inspire our spiritual evolution and growing happiness, by encouraging our being Here NOW in each precious present moment.

And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

My “Miraculous” Experience
on Shri Dhyanyogi’s Mahasamadhi
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”
“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”
~ Dalai Lama
At my death do not lament our separation
…
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“Birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – (1878 – August 29, 1994)

Ron’s Introduction

On observing noteworthy phenomena which we can’t yet explain by known natural or scientific laws, we sometimes call them “miracles” and may attribute them to a Divine power.

Like other rare saints and mystics my beloved “Guruji”, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, occasionally demonstrated  “miracles”  to foster faith in the Divine.  In writings and lectures, Guruji explained that yogic powers (siddhis) might be attained via control of life-force energies, but that they were seldom displayed; that such powers are only used

“sparingly and on occasion for humanitarian and other discretionary ends”,
but not “for self-aggrandizement.”


In prior memoirs, I’ve explained how Guruji has helped me from subtle planes, like a ‘guardian angel’, since before I met him when his body was approximately one hundred years old, and even after his supposed bodily death in India sixteen years later.

I believe that Guruji left his body consciously and intentionally, using his yogic powers; that Guruj’s subtle bodies survived the physical body; and, that from subtle planes he continues to help humanity.

I’d like to explain to you my reasons for this belief.

Why Guruji Survived Supposed Physical Death.

In the Hindu tradition, when a yogi who has previously experienced the highest state of samadhi intentionally leaves his body, this is not the same as death of an ordinary person who has not attained Self-realization. Such a passing is called a Mahasamādhi (great and final samādhi) and is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s gross body at the time of physical death.

Before I received shaktipat initiation from Guruji in 1978, I had already witnessed his yogic power to influence this relative reality from subtle planes. He had clearly appeared in my subtle inner vision when we were physically distant. Thereafter, I had other memorable experiences of Guruji’s subtle powers, which are shared in other memoirs chapters.

In 1980, just before Guruji returned to India from four years in the USA, he stayed in my apartment. At that time Guruji’s American attendant, Lackshman, recounted to me his brief conversation with Guruji following a sparsely attended public meditation program. Driving home, Lackshman had remarked to Guruji that it was too bad so few people had attended that event. Whereupon Guruji replied,

“It’s not important. Most of my work is on other planes.”


And, once when we were alone in his room in my apartment, Guruji told me that he came and went from his physical body as he pleased. (See Human Body – A Precious “Prison”? )

Rudy’s Story

Also, at Guruji’s meditation programs, I heard amazing stories from others who had experienced his extraordinary yogic powers. Perhaps the most memorable of these stories was that of Rudy, a Chicago school teacher who decided to travel on his motorcycle to be with Guruji in California. But before reaching California, and while he was in Colorado, Rudy had an unexpected and “miraculous meeting” with Guruji.

On a curvy mountain highway in Colorado, Rudy’s motorcycle skidded off the road and careened three hundred feet down a steep incline. Just before hitting bottom, Rudy called out Guruji’s name, remembering Guruji’s assurance that “I’m always with you.”

Gravely injured, Rudy became comatose. While comatose he had a miraculous “near death experience” (NDE), which he survived and later recounted in detail.

On ‘the other side’ during the NDE, Rudy was greeted and guided by Shri Dhyanyogi, to save his life. Thereafter, at a California retreat, Guruji explained to Rudy that he had saved his life because Rudy still had much more work to do in this world.

Rudy’s vividly credible description of this amazing incident was convincing testimony of Guruji’s yogic power to influence what happens in this relative “reality”, and to manifest at will on subtle planes of “reality”.

Besides my own extraordinary experiences with Guruji, and hearing of Rudy’s experience, I learned of numerous other “miraculous” experiences of Guruji’s devotees.
(See “This House is on Fire, The Life of Shri Dyanyogi”, as told by Shri Anandi Ma.)

My Experience in San Francisco on Guruji’s Mahasamadhi in India.

One of my most memorable mystical experiences of Guruji’s yogic powers happened just after he left his physical body in India and I was at home in San Francisco. In late August, 1994, I was home asleep when I was suddenly awakened in the middle of the night.

With eyes open, I beheld in amazement an extraordinary and unprecedented vision – an otherworldly, multi-colored bird, translucent with a peacock-like tail and human-like eyes. Nothing about the bird appeared like any ‘real-life’ bird I had ever before seen, or might have imagined.

As I gazed in awe at this ethereal apparition, I was enveloped and transformed by a supernal aura of supreme Peace, which emanated from the bird’s radiant dark eyes. I awakened in the morning puzzled, and wondered about that extraordinary apparition which had enveloped me with ‘peace that passeth understanding.’

The next day, still wondering about the vision, I was sitting at my dining room table when an ‘inner voice’ dictated to me a poem concerning death, a subject I hadn’t then been thinking about.

Listening to my muse, I quickly and spontaneously “channeled” this poem about death, which I later titled Dream Life:

When we come to Earth
They call it a birth
When we leave,
They say we die.

But we really don’t come,
And we really don’t go.
We just dream our lives
But why?

To awaken as Bliss
From all of this,
Joyous that all is
“I”.



Thereafter, within a day or two, I received a rare call from one of Guruji’s early US disciples, Elyse (Indu) of Sacramento. She informed me of Guruji’s death – his Mahasamādhi – on August 29. Only then did I realize that I had received this poem (about life and death as a waking dream) as a ‘parting’ profound message and treasured gift from Guruji.  

So I recited the poem for Elyse. Then I told her about my puzzling otherworldly bird vision. She promptly and aptly interpreted that vision as a mythical Phoenix bird, symbol of immortality, resurrection, and life after death.

Whereupon, I realized that the bird’s dark human-like eyes emanating ineffable supernal Peace were Guruji’s eyes; and, that this unforgettable vision and experience of celestial peace was another parting gift and message from Guruji, for which I am eternally grateful.





2021 Epilogue

Twenty seven years have passed since that miraculous experience of Guruji’s Mahasamādhi, but I still continue to feel his subtle presence and often shed tears of devotion and joy, when I think of him or gaze at his photographic image. And other devotees entering my high-rise hermitage have also experienced his life-force energy (shakti).

Almost twenty years after Guruji’s transition, I had a home visit from my friend Michael O’Rourke, a talented spiritual cinematographer who helped me launch SillySutras.com. I was telling Michael about Guruji, and feeling his subtle presence, while seated in a reclining chair. After a while I had to excuse myself for a bathroom visit. When I returned several minutes later Michael reported to me his extraordinary experience of Guruji’s subtle appearance.

While Michael was gazing at me as I talked about Guruji, he went into an altered state of consciousness. Michael then perceived another face morphing into mine – a face without glasses and with a longer white beard. It was Guruji!

Michael said that amazingly after I got up to go to the bathroom he still perceived the image of Guruji seated in the chair, until after I returned and sat down again.

Guruji once said:

“All those who came to me for Shaktipat …. are my spiritual heirs. For my energy works through them.”


Not only were Michael and others blessed by Guruji’s extraordinary energy in my apartment, I believe that (like he blessed Rudy) Guruji saved my life while I was comatose and near death after a taxicab rundown in June, 2014. (See https://sillysutras.com/another-near-death-experience-rons-memoirs/) So that it is only through Guruji’s grace that I have miraculously survived to gratefully still share these memoirs.

May those reading these stories also receive Guruji’s blessings. In sharing them, I especially wish that they help inspire younger people to whom we bequeath our future, as they inherit the mistakes and learning experiences of their forebears in an extraordinary and unprecedented “new normal” world. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

New Paradigm-ism

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew”
~ Hafiz
“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.”
~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’
“Wherever I look, I see men quarreling 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
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.
It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma 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
“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal,
and so will be inadequate.” . . .
“[T]he time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama
“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.”
~ Alan Watts
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”

~ J. Krishnamurti
“If there is love in your heart you don’t have to worry about rules.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
“Follow dharma, not dogma.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to “New Paradigm-ism”

Dear Friends,

Soon after my spiritual awakening I became concerned and reflected on why Western monotheistic fundamentalism had often resulted in religious crusades, inquisitions, and jihads against alleged heretics or nonbelievers in the one true God or Messiah. And I later learned that some Eastern religions also had violent fundamentalist sects. [see https://sillysutras.com/monistic-musings-reflections-and-questions-on-god-and-divinity/]

The following sutra essay/poem about need for a new societal paradigm of universal kindness and compassion beyond religion, was composed long before launching of the SillySutras website. However, in 2012 it was first posted online together with the above quotations, encouraged by prior publication of the Dalai Lama’s book Beyond Religion: Ethics For A Whole World.

So on initially composing and later posting this sutra/poem, with above quotations, I was mainly concerned about evils perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist religious beliefs. Such concerns are explained in detail in the following mp3 recitation of the poem, in which I propose that humankind transcend religious dogmatism and separatism to harmoniously live together as LOVE.

However as explained in recent postings about Spirituality, Religion and Politics I’ve become increasingly aware that fundamental issues of spirituality, morality and politics are often inextricably intertwined.  Consequently I’ve become concerned that (as well as religious belief systems) political and economic fundamentalism can foment harmful fears and violence.

So I’ve hereafter updated this posting with comments and quotes explaining why we need to end all political, economic, and religious belief “isms” which mentally separate us, to “live ismlessly as LOVE!”

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


New Paradigm-ism

Let’s get beyond
Catholicism – Protestantism – Judaism – Mohammedanism –
Hinduism – Buddhism – Taoism – Confucianism – Shamanism

And all other belief “isms”.

It’s time to end
religious ism schisms.

It’s time to blend religion-ism
with syncretism.

So, let us transcend
Ism dogmatism

And live ismlessly as

LOVE!



Ron’s audio explanation and recitation of “New Paradigm”-ism

Listen to



Ron’s updated explanation and dedication of “New Paradigm”-ism

As explained in the above Introduction, since “New Paradigm-ism” was first posted in 2012, I’ve realized that fundamental issues of spirituality, morality and politics are often inextricably intertwined. So as a deeply dedicated social justice advocate I’ve become aware that, not only religious belief systems, but political and economic beliefs can foment ignorant fears and violence; that as wisely written by Dr. Martin Luther King while wrongfully jailed in Selma, Alabama, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

This is so because:

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


So, in addition to the above quotations about religious fundamentalism,
I respectfully request our careful reconsideration and reflection upon the recently posted quotation collection about Spirituality, Religion and Politics.

May our compassionate reflections advance humankind’s inevitable transcendence of religious dogmatism and illusionary ego/mind separatism, to harmoniously live together as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner