“We are beings of light –
Eternal and bright,
and so shall ever be.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness.
The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191
Beholding Divinity in a Crowded Courtroom
After my spiritual opening, I gradually realized – experientially and inferentially – that the common Essence of everything in our phenomenal “reality” is the light of pure Awareness.
This process of awakening began with the profound but simple insight that: “I am not my body, its thoughts, or the role in life with which I’ve identified, but pure awareness”. That insight was soon validated by my unforgettable Yosemite experience of beholding as Essence the luminescence of “ten thousand suns”.
Thereafter I gradually reasoned that what is true for Ron must be true for everyone else in our phenomenal “reality”; that pure Awareness, Light and Love, is the Essence of everyone – not just Ron. That inference was soon re-confirmed by more extraordinary mystical experiences which showed me that Divine luminescence is the essence everything – every form and phenomenon, not just sentient beings.
I’ll tell you about one of those memorable mystical experiences which showed me that the eternal light of Awareness is the Essence of everything and everyone.
It happened in a crowded San Francisco courtroom filled with lawyers, soon after my shaktipat initiation by Guruji, who was still then in the Bay Area. By that time, especially after meeting Guruji, I was experiencing an intense longing to return to God, and had been praying fervently for a way to exchange my life of litigation for a life of meditation. But I needed the income from lawyering to help support my young children.
Synchronistically, I was then shown that the Divine is immanent in everyone everywhere – even in crafty lawyers in crowded courtrooms; that experiencing nearness to God is mostly dependent on our state of mind rather than our physical environment.
This revelatory experience happened one morning in the San Francisco Superior Court, Law And Motion department, where all pending civil pre-trial motions were argued and decided. All lawyers were then required to check-in and be seated by 9 am, though dockets were usually quite long and hearings on scheduled motions took up most of the morning.
That day my motion was docketed toward the end of the calendar, assuring a long wait before it was called. I arrived at 9 am, at the last minute, when the courtroom was already filled with seated lawyers awaiting their turns to present legal arguments. I could see only one remaining vacant seat which synchronistically was next to my adversary, who was seated beside the center isle. He was a very amiable, skilled and prominent lawyer, but we did not then have a friendly rapport.
With ‘righteous indignation’, I had become convinced that he was knowingly representing a dishonest client with an obviously contrived and unjust cause. Moreover, I judgmentally considered his pre-trial tactics in our case to have been ethically questionable.
Reluctantly, I seated myself next to him with my motion papers in a small brief case on my lap. Because of the inevitable long wait before our late calendared motion would be called, I decided to close my eyes and meditate. Inadvertently, I went into a very deep state of meditation.
When the case was finally called for argument, I could barely hear the bailiff’s distant pronouncement: “Number 34, R______ versus D_____.”
I opened my eyes, but for the first time in my life I was totally sightless and unable to perceive anyone or anything in that courtroom. Instead of seeing the people and objects in the courtroom, my field of vision was filled only with an amazingly luminescent and radiant effulgence – like a golden mist or miasma.* [See footnote] However, I could sense my adversary getting up and walking up the aisle to the front of the courtroom.
Sightless, I stood and followed him up the aisle. As I was walking without normal vision, the gold effulgence began to clarify. Instead of just a golden mist, I began seeing everything and everyone in the courtroom – including my mistrusted adversary – as silhouetted lines of gold light. It was if a Cosmic artist was sketching in golden outline the shape of every person and every object.
I reached the counsel table, perceiving my adversary (and everything else) only as lines of golden light. And I wondered, with considerable concern, how I could present an important case without being able to view my carefully prepared notes and citations.
Then, just as my adversary and I were asked by the Judge to state our names and to identify the parties for whom we were appearing, my normal eyesight was suddenly restored. It was as if a Divine ‘trickster’ had temporarily blinded me to bestow an enormous insight, and then had waited until the last possible moment before restoring my normal eyesight.
Soon afterwards, I recounted my courtroom experience to my friend Kusuma, one of Guruji’s translators, who then asked him about it. Guruji told Kusuma that with elevated awareness I had perceived everyone and everything in the courtroom from a subtle causal dimension.
Ever since, I have recalled that marvelous experience as an immense blessing which not only revealed and reconfirmed to me that the essence of everyone and everything is the eternal light of Cosmic Consciousness, but which vividly demonstrated that to commune with Divinity I didn’t have to retreat to an ashram, mountain top, cave, or forest – like yogis of bygone eras – but could experience eternal luminosity and numinosity even while continuing my worldly life as a litigation lawyer in a vast urban area; that experiencing God is dependent on our state of mind rather than our physical environment.
* Sri Aurobindo and Aurobindo’s Mother have written descriptions of the light of Supramental Consciousness as appearing to them like “a warm gold dust” “a multitude of tiny golden points”. These are the only descriptions which I have as yet been able to find in mystical literature and poetry comparable to my marvelous courtroom vision.
My realization that Divine awareness depends on our state of mind rather than our physical environment was soon put to its first severe test when the foregoing case was scheduled for trial at the very same time Guruji was giving a retreat at the ‘paradise’ island of Maui, Hawaii.* I intensely wanted to attend that retreat but instead was obliged to conduct a six week jury trial in San Francisco.
So, rather than being with Guruji in paradise, I spent a month and a half in court with my crafty opponent, who appeared with two assistants – a young lawyer and a paralegal – to eloquently and skillfully present his client’s unethical case.
I didn’t again perceive him as Divine light but, constantly remembering the Divine, I silently recited my Ram mantra whenever he was speaking to the judge or jury. It was a civil case, so to prevail we needed votes of only nine of the twelve jurors. But ultimately all twelve jurors voted my client a large cash judgment. Civil and divine justice prevailed.
*Below is a photo of Guruji taken by my friend Ram Dassi in front of the giant Buddha statue at the Lahaina, Maui Buddhist temple, while I was remembering Rama in a San Francisco courtroom.