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Blessings

Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
~ 1 Corinthians 3:19
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring, the most sublime principle in creation.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda – Journey To Self-Realization
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“Full of love for all things in the world;

practicing virtue in order to benefit others,

this man alone is happy.”

~ Buddha
“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
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 
Love is therefore the only law of life. 
He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 
Therefore, love for love’s sake,
 because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda
“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

 



Introduction

In prior memoir chapters I have recounted my midlife transformation from Secular Hebrew social justice litigation lawyer to “Born-again Hindu”, and then to “Uncertain Undo”, devotional and emotional lover of God. [See e.g. Crying For God and other ‘Kundalini Kriyas’]

In this chapter I will explain how, as a newly transformed ‘lover of God’, I came to appreciate rare ascetic and eccentric lovers of God, who’ve often been regarded as God intoxicated “heretics” or “holy fools”.

To help you understand why I have honored spiritual “heretics” and “holy fools” as lovers of God, I will first summarize my devotional history.

Ron’s Devotional history summary

Until my profound midlife spiritual awakening to Self identity as Awareness, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But thereupon, at age forty three I cried for twenty four hours. Then, after the Awakening experience, I initially wondered why I was crying so much. But I soon realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) 

Thereafter, I became and remained an extremely devotional, and inwardly unconventional, frequent crier for God – often ecstatically longing and calling for the Divine.

After meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and receiving his shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga, as “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”, I gradually learned that my continual longing and profuse crying for God was an immense transformative blessing – recognized not only in the bhakti Hindu devotional tradition, but also in various other devotional and mystical spiritual traditions, such as the Sufi Supreme LOVE tradition of Rumi and Hafiz, and the Orthodox/Catholic “gift of tears” tradition of St. Isaac of Ninevah, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi.

I came to realize that my profuse crying spells – which Guruji called kriyas – were purifying my body and nervous system, and permitting ‘peek experiences’ advancing spiritual evolution.  For example, in addition to crying, I began experiencing previously unprecedented and protracted laughing spells, and numerous other spontaneous and unpremeditated actions, sensations, and feelings – like indescribable peace, joy and ecstasy.

Thus, when not crying I often had what I called ‘alternative LSD experiences’ of spontaneous (and sometimes ecstatic) Laughing, Singing, and Dancing. And even as an octogenarian “Uncertain Undo” I still often privately experience spontaneous outbursts of laughing, crying, and calling to God, though with advanced age singing and dancing have been curtailed.

Guruji’s explanation was that:

“There are two kinds of kriyas, one is for purification and the other for the manifestation of joy. ..
Whenever one experiences great joy or bliss, this also manifests physically as crying or laughing.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


St. Isaac of Ninevah, explained that as signs of Grace, “unspeakable joy arises in the soul”, and that:

“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.” 

~ Isaac of Nineveh, 7th C. Orthodox Saint and Persian Mystic


Learning about devotional spirituality

Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening, did I begin learning about spirituality.

On moving from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was ignorant about spiritual subjects, or religions other than Judaism.

I knew nothing about Christian saints, or core Christian teachings. I didn’t even realize that my new “San Francisco” home city was named for history’s most popular Christian saint. Moreover, apart from Christianity, I was ignorant of Eastern spiritual and religious teachings.

Growing up in Chicago, I had become familiar with Judaism’s core teachings:

“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One”;  and
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5

However, I had no idea of their supremely profound esoteric importance.

But my midlife spiritual awakening experiences triggered an unprecedented interest in spiritual subjects. Initially – sparked by inner experiences and amazing synchronicities – I experienced great curiosity about Saint Francis of Assisi, and about Christian teachings which inspired him.

Later I began reading hagiographic stories about other Eastern and Western saints and sages. Gradually, I learned that – apart from Jesus and a few other world-famous exemplars of Divine LOVE – the Divine devotional path has been followed by countless unknowns, especially in certain societies which for centuries have honored and emphasized devotional Love.

And gradually I became inspired by genuine “lovers of God” as exemplars of an important spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined.

Lovers of God as “Heretics”

On discovering Rumi poetry, I learned that Persian culture has long encompassed all aspects of love, culminating with mystical Divine LOVE as the ultimate goal in life. And, similarly, that Sufi philosophy has so honored eccentric lovers of God that it has specifically identified many of them as “masts”persons so overwhelmed with love for God, that they appear externally disoriented.

Also, during my 1982 pilgrimage to India I learned that for millennia India has honored avadhutas, self-realized bhakti mystics living beyond usual egoic consciousness and worldly concerns, without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita, and Avadhuta – Wikipedia)

I especially remember seeing a peacefully smiling elderly man sitting stark naked on a rock in freezing temperatures midst ice and snow near the Himalayan headwaters of the holy Ganges river.

Like Sufi “masts” and Indian avadhutas, worldwide there have been countless unknown lovers of God – who sometimes were so immersed in Divine Love as to be out of touch with the outside world. Western Christianity, Eastern Christianity, and other Eastern mystical religious and spiritual paths have all recognized God intoxicated ‘holy fools’ with extraordinarily unconventional behaviors inconsistent with social norms.

Famous Devotional “Heretic” Prophets

In Western Christianity Paul the Apostle proclaimed that

“The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
(1 Corinthians 3:19)


So, Christianity has at times rejected as foolishness “the wisdom of this world”. And it has endorsed the ‘Imitation of Jesus Christ’ – who preached “Love your neighbors” and even “your enemies”. And ‘heretically’ repudiated socially condoned hypocrisy, brutality and thirst for worldly power and gains; forgivingly endured crucifixion, mockery and humiliation from ignorant crowds; and even audaciously proclaimed the ultimate non-duality ‘forbidden mystical Truth’ – that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

In learning about Jesus’ “heretic” teachings – especially his Sermon on the Mount – I instinctively saw him as an outspoken social justice reformer, and Truth telling political and religious nonconformist. And I intuitively honored him as a wise man, like prophets of other great religions, but not as God’s “only Son”.

I always thought of “God” as ONE universally imminent nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. So I rejected any idea of a personal or judgmental God, and considered the Bible a collection of metaphoric legends – not as ‘the word of God’ who spoke only through special messengers.

And just as I always rejected Torah teachings about Jews as “chosen people”, I could never accept Christian dogma that Jesus was God’s “only Son” because he proclaimed “I and the Father are one”. Nor – like Gandhi – could I morally accept non-egalitarian Hindu scriptures justifying socially stratified caste systems, with some people deemed “untouchables”.

But I accepted that perennially, in historically dark and threatening eras of rampant world materialism, decadence, and violence, there propitiously have appeared renowned wise beings – like Jesus – to prophetically guide Humankind to societal and spiritual renaissance. And that as religious nonconformists and social dissidents these famous reformers often were considered and punished as “heretics” by contemporary worldly authorities.

‘Discovering’ Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna as heretic “holy fools”.

Most famous Christian imitator of Jesus was Saint Francis of Assisi who in midlife – as an eccentric apostle of Love – renounced and relinquished all his worldly possessions and privileges as son of a wealthy merchant, to live as a hermit in the Umbrian countryside; and later to establish an exemplary order of Franciscan Friars who gave away all possessions and survived only on alms while preaching in the streets to common people. Francis so completely identified with Jesus that, near the end of his earthly life, he became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata.


st-francis-of-assisi

St. Francis of Assisi




Perhaps the best known Indian saint of the nineteenth century was Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – an extraordinarily charismatic and eccentric ascetic, sometimes compared to St. Francis of Assisi.
(See Sri Ramakrishna and St. Francis of Assisi, by Sister Devamata, 1935)


Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa



After my midlife spiritual awakening, I felt increasing egalitarian affinity and harmony with people living unconventionally from inside out, rather than worldly outer directed and conventional people.

And in learning about many famous saints and mystics, somehow I clearly felt most affinity with Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.

Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic ascetics, having relinquished and renounced all worldly pleasures and privileges, to live unconventionally in utter simplicity. Both were remarkably unconventional and seemingly erratic “God intoxicated” exemplars of Divine Love and devotional faith – blessed with the ‘gift of tears’ and of spontaneously praying, singing, conversing and calling to the Divine, which as egalitarians they beheld everywhere and in every being.  Both saints eschewed punditry and were simple, unschooled and unscholarly, yet with vast inner wisdom imparted conversationally and recorded by others.

Both historically helped to religiously reform the world by charismatically living their teachings. And both were so eccentrically unconventional that they were even considered insane by some worldly people, including a few friends and relatives.

Perhaps I found exceptional rapport with both St. Francis and Ramakrishna because my own private devotional tendencies and unconventional behaviors seemed similar to theirs, and especially because of inner and synchronistic experiences, including amazing and unforgettable déjà vu of their still palpable divine energies (shakti) during pilgrimages to India and Assisi.

Later, I learned that that renowned mystical poet-masters Hafiz and Rumi, were Supreme exemplars of the Sufi-Persian path of love. But that even in their Persian societies which honored Love, they were considered by Moslem authorities to be “heretics” or “holy fools” because – like Jesus – they realized and truthfully proclaimed their mystical self-identity as Divine LOVE – a fundamentally forbidden heresy to ruling mullahs. Thus, though Hafiz was not executed, his remains could not be entombed in a Moslem cemetery in his beloved birthplace and cultured home city, Shiraz, Iran.

LOVE as the unseen Source of the world we see

Only after first ‘discovering’ famous God intoxicated “Holy Fools”, did I later learn about the countless unknown others who bless this world as LOVE. And gradually I have realized that the eccentric but loving behaviors of all “holy fools” can help reveal that societal sanity requires radical reform of orthodox worldly rules and beliefs.

Moreover, I have realized that Divine LOVE, which they embody and emanate, inevitably advances human spiritual evolution –

That as we open our hearts, we ultimately remember we are ONE spirit eternally encompassing all life as LOVE;

That we are the unseen Source of the world we see!

Invocation – Love for all, Hatred for none!

So let us love GOD with all our heart and soul and with all our might.

And with firm faith, may our guiding motto ever be

‘Love for all, Hatred for none!’


And so shall it be!

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





Harmony ~ Quotations

“Harmony is the secret principle of life.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“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


Disguised Blessings

“Consciousness is the basis of all life
and the field of all possibilities.
Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential.
The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.”
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful

for the evolution of your consciousness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“We have two Governments in Washington:
one run by the elected people—which is a minor part—
and one run by the moneyed interests, which control everything.”
~ Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression


Louis “Studs” Terkel ~ May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008



Disguised Blessings

There is an evolutionary impetus in each of us
for unfolding Consciousness to ever experience itself.

Cosmic harmony assures that, knowingly or unknowingly,
everything that happens to us is in our best interests,
because it affords us an opportunity to evolve.

Paradoxically, life’s most painful and difficult experiences can often prove the biggest blessings, because they provide greatest evolutionary incentives and opportunities.

Studs Terkel tells here how the Great Depression proved a transformative blessing for him:

“I never liked the idea of living on scallions in the left bank garret. I liked writing in comfort. So I went into business, a classmate and I. I thought I’d retire in a year or two. And a thing called Collapse, bango! socked everything out. 1929. All I had left was a pencil … There was nothing else to do. I was doing light verse at the time, writing a poem here and there for ten bucks a crack. It was an era when kids at college were interested in light verse and ballads and sonnets. This is the early Thirties. I was relieved when the Crash came. I was released. Being in business was something I detested. When I found that I could sell a song or a poem, I became me, I became alive. Other people didn’t see it that way. They were throwing themselves out of windows. Someone who lost money found that his life was gone. When I lost my possessions, I found my creativity. I felt I was being born for the first time. So for me, the world became beautiful. With the Crash, I realized that the greatest fantasy of all was business. The only realistic way of making a life was versifying. Living off your imagination.”

Studs Terkel: Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression



Moral of the story:

Look for the blessing in every experience, especially every painful experience. And

When you’re feeling forlorn, 
remember this:

Misery is the mother of Bliss.


Ron’s explanation and epilogue to “Disguised Blessings”

Dear Friends,

In the recent Evolutionary Impetus post I explained my optimistic philosophy that everything happens for the best – to afford impetus for spiritual evolution and that, accordingly, life’s most painful and difficult experiences can often paradoxically prove the biggest potential blessings.

To illustrate how this perennial philosophy of optimism applies both individually and societally, I have posted the foregoing brief autobiographical excerpt from “Hard Times” written by Pulitzer Prize non-fiction author, historian, actor, and radio personality, Studs Terkel, recounting his personal transformation during the US Great Depression (beginning 1929).

Terkel tells that, while many who lost their money and possessions were despondent and suicidal, he felt that he “was being born for the first time”; that: “When I lost my possessions, I found my creativity.”

The “hard times” of the 1930’s described by Terkel led to the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as 32nd US President, on November 8, 1932 [my birth-date] and to pioneering New Deal programs (like Social Security) benefiting most Americans, public work projects, financial reforms and beneficial regulations. For example, the WPA (Works Project Administration) was established and federally funded to employ most unemployed people not only on crucial public works projects but also to further the arts. Hence there were projects employing artists, musicians, actors, and writers – including Studs Terkel.

I became especially inspired by Studs Terkel on learning that as an ardent social justice advocate in hard times, he chose to follow his heart by living as an actor, author and artist rather than a lawyer, even though he had a law degree from the U of Chicago, and was admitted to the Illinois Bar.

So the Great Depression and Terkel’s experience therein showed how the philosophy of optimism can apply both individually and collectively.

Historically, in eras of rampant materialism, misery, greed and violence, invariably there have appeared wise beings to prophetically guide Humankind to societal and spiritual renaissance.

Thus, in his first presidential inaugural address Franklin D. Roosevelt assured Americans


“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.”


And thereupon he initiated the New Deal period in which the US government with numerous visionary public servants beneficially addressed “hard times” with groundbreaking programs and laws.

From an historical perspective I optimistically view current turbulent Trump times as the potential prelude to another period of worldwide political and spiritual renaissance. And I sincerely invite your consideration of a similar philosophy of optimism.

Optimistically viewing current worldwide problems can motivate and enable us to transcend what is happening environmentally and politically as disintegration of an old world paradigm that has become painfully and harmfully anachronous – to make way for a more enlightened and elevated new age that can and will bless all life on our precious planet and beyond.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner




Our Mentality Is Our Reality – Sutra Sayings

“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are.”
~ Talmud
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”
~ George Orwell, 1984






Our Mentality Is Our Reality

Our mentality
is our reality.

Change your mentality,
to change your reality.

Learn to observe,
and to still your mind.

Open your mind and see its Source.

Still your mind and Be its Source.

Change your mentality
and Be –

Reality.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Our Mentality Is Our Reality”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Our Mentality Is Our Reality”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and sutra sayings are based on philosophic concepts similar to those of J. Krishnamurti quoted in De-condition the Mind. And on the crucial principle that: “human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds,” proclaimed by distinguished humanitarian/physician/ philosopher Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

They remind us that our entire space/time “reality” – of apparent separation from each other and Nature – arises with its inevitable problems and sufferings only from thought. And, that we can vastly improve our lives by observing and changing our thoughts, and by stilling and emptying our minds.

Since thought alone creates our problems and sufferings, thought alone can help us gradually transcend them.

May these writings thereby help us live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Our purpose is process –
metamorphic process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara, or illusion,
it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – metamorphic process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source* – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent therein.

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!

Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.




Ron’s Commentary on Purpose of Life.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life has a purpose – individually or collectively?  Or have you wondered: “Why was I born? Why am I living?”

Not until my midlife change of life did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful.  But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.

When I was growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.   Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, usually in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. 

In 1929 Hammerstein in association with composer Jerome Kern wrote lyrics for Why Was I Born, which became and has remained an American classic; it was already one the “top ten” popular songs when I was born in 1932.  

The song’s lyrics began with these perennial questions:

 
Why was I born? Why am I living? What do I get? What am I giving?
 


And they concluded with this perennial answer:


Why I was born? To love you!
 


Until midlife I believed that the song was only about romantic love.  But after spiritual awakening I began to realize that  Oscar Hammerstein’s  lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives.  And I began referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”. 

For example, I realized that Why Was I Born could be interpreted to refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Hafiz and Rumi, as ultimate goal in life.  

And to confirm that realization, with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and answer: 

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? What do we get? What are we giving?  
A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

  
According to the Dalai Lama


“What is the purpose of life?”
is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.


He answers that question by simply stating


“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”


Since midlife, I  have found that reflecting about our life’s purpose if any has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness.

Today I have shared the foregoing apt quotations and essay/poem to help us consider the purpose of life question.  In my experience reflection on life’s purpose, if any, helps us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be, by society or by our mistaken mental reification of projected-perceptions.  

We are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories; we are not the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness.  

By realizing and actualizing our common spiritual identity, may we help transform and transcend this world of suffering. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

I Have Learned So Much ~ by Hafiz

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”
~ Gandhi
“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.

Not any religion
My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless.

Neither body or soul.”
~ Rumi
“There is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.
Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,”
~ Rabia of Basra
“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
“The great religions are the ships,
Poets the life boats. 
Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.”
~ Hafiz


I Have Learned So Much ~ by Hafiz

I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of itself with me
that I can no longer call myself
a man, a woman, an angel
or even pure soul.

Love has befriended me so completely
It has turned to ash and freed me
of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.



-Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky in
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master


Ron’s Reflections on “I Have Learned So Much” ~ by Hafiz

Dear Friends,

“I Have Learned So Much” by Sufi Poet-Saint Hafiz, is one of the most inspiring writings on this website.

Though composed seven centuries ago, Hafiz’s enlightened verses continue to bless the world as LOVE.

And they deeply inspire our soul’s remembrance that – beyond any words or concepts or religious rules – Eternal LOVE is the only Reality.

As we read these illumined verses may we – like Hafiz – be freed as LOVE “of every concept and image (that) mind has ever known.”


And so may it be!

A Golden Compass ~ by Hafiz

“It is written on the gate of heaven:
Nothing in existence is more powerful than destiny.
And destiny brought you here, to this page,
which is part of your ticket – as all things are –
to return to God.”
~ Hafiz




A Golden Compass
~ by Hafiz

Forget every idea of right and wrong any classroom ever taught you

Because an empty heart, a tormented mind, unkindness, jealousy and fear
Are always the testimony you have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.

Come, join the honest company of the King’s beggars –

Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns and those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.

Come, join the courageous who have no choice but to bet their entire world
That indeed, indeed, God is real.

I will lead you into the circle of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,

Those playful royal rogues, the ones you can trust for true guidance –
Who can aid you in this blessed calamity of life.

Hafiz, look at the Perfect One at the circle’s center:

He spins and whirls like a Golden Compass, beyond all that is rational,

To show this dear world that everything, everything in existence
Does point to God.

~ Hafiz

Translation from: I Heard God Laughing ~ by Daniel James Ladinsky



Video of “A Golden Compass”
Audio: La Illaha Illa Allah – Manish Vyas with voice of Ma Prem Sarasa


A Golden Compass ~ by Hafiz



Ron’s Comment on Poetry of Hafiz (1320-1389)

Though Hafiz lived 700 years ago, he remains the most beloved poet of Persia (Iran). Just as many Western people keep copies of the bible in their homes, many Persian and Iranian ancestry people keep copies of Hafiz’ writings which they consider the pinnacle of Persian wisdom. 

To Persians, the poems of Hafiz are not “classical literature” from a remote past, but cherished perennial wisdom from a dear friend. Some consider Hafiz’ writings unique in world literature, with poetry that celebrates every expression of divine love.

Thus, Poet Jason Espada, says:

“The lyrics of Hafiz overflow with a profound appreciation of the beauty and richness of life when seen through the eyes of love. With unerring insight, he explores the feelings and motives associated with every level of love, tracing each nuance of emotion in depth and detail. His poetry outlines the
stages of the mystic’s “path of love” that journey of inner unfolding in which love dissolves personal boundaries and limitations to join larger processes of growth and transformation. Through these processes, human love becomes divine love and the lover merges ultimately with the source and goal of all love, which Hafiz calls the Divine Beloved.

Because of the nuanced subtlety of Hafiz’ original sublime language, his words can be difficult to translate. But in this English translation, by mystically sensitive interpreter Daniel Ladinsky, Hafiz’ message of Divine Love is powerfully communicated.


Thus, I feel that “A Golden Compass” and the other Hafiz poems and sayings quoted on SillySutras.com are the amongst the most beautiful and deeply insightful postings on the entire website.


So enjoy “A Golden Compass” which communicates how everything in and beyond the perceptible Universe leads to and is God –as LOVE. And while reading the Hafiz verses I recommend that you listen to the above embedded audio of the powerfully sung Sufi remembrance of God prayer: La Illaha Illa Allah.

Thus may we remember that “beyond all that is rational”,

Everything is holy.
All is God,
And only God is “real”.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Everything’s Holy

“There comes a holy and transparent time

when every touch of beauty 
opens the heart to tears.

This is the time the Beloved of heaven 
is brought tenderly on earth.

This is the time of the opening of the Rose.”

~ Rumi
“If you put your soul against this oar with me,

the power that made the universe will enter your sinew

from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
t
hat lives in us.

~ Rumi – “That Lives in Us”
“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
“Mind and Manifestation are One”
~ Mary Saint-Marie


Everything's Holy

Everything’s Holy

Everything’s a miracle:

E=mc2 – all manifestation is miraculous.

Everything’s Whole:

Mind and manifestation are ONE!

Everything’s Holy:

All matter manifests from Mystery,
and melts to merge with Mystery –

The mystery of Divinity.

So essence of everything is Divine Mystery, and

Everything’s Holy.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Everything’s Holy”

Listen to



Ron’s Reflections on “Everything’s Holy”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Everything’s Holy” poem was composed many years ago after I was emotionally moved by an inspiring song, written and beautifully sung by Peter Mayer, called “Holy Now”. [See video, with captioned lyrics, embedded below.]

In his lyrics Mayer describes his transformation from an awestruck child hearing in church about wondrous biblical “miracles”, to a spiritual life stage wherein Mayer came to see everything as a divine “miracle” – that everything is “Holy Now”.

Since writing “Everything’s Holy” I have gradually evolved to a state of being with virtually constant gratitude and awareness that all Life is miraculous and holy.

So I’ve learned that we can evolve, from just hearing about rare “miracles”, or observing a few “holy days” or ‘holy seasons’, or visiting rare ‘holy places’, people, or artifacts, to perpetually experiencing the miraculous holiness of everyone/everything/everywhere.

The video below and the foregoing ‘Holiness’ quotations and poem are shared with the heartfelt aspiration that they may further our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Eternal Holy Spirit – that all Life is an endless gift of God’s Grace and LOVE.

And that – with opened Hearts in “a holy and transparent time” – we may realize all space/time phenomena as appearances of

Divine Holiness;
Wholeness;
Godliness;
Grace;
Blessedness;
Life, Light,
LOVE.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Peter Mayer singing “Holy Now” (with lyrics in captions)




Vernal Equinox Blessings

“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
“The winds of grace are always blowing,
but you have to raise the sail.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna





Ron’s introduction.

I first learned of Chapter 3:1-8 of the Book of Ecclesiastes on hearing a popular 1960’s folk song written by Pete Seeger called “Turn! Turn! Turn!” quoting the biblical passages verbatim beginning with: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I then sensed the importance of those passages attributed to King Solomon, but never deeply reflected upon them until after my 1976 midlife spiritual awakening.

Until then, I was largely insensitive to the symbolic importance of time cycles, and I had little inclination to unreflectively celebrate or commemorate new years or new seasons. Only afterwards did I begin learning about importance of astronomical and astrological sciences with increasing appreciation of ancient pre-Christian cultures which recorded time through solar, lunar or lunisolar calendars, such as Persian, Mayan, Islamic, Vedic, Hebrew, Chinese, and Tibetan.

Paradoxically, since my midlife change of life I have become ever more aware of the importance to Earth life of its seasons and cycles in time, while concurrently realizing that cosmically Albert Einstein was right when he told us: “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”; and, that “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think.”

Thus I have realized and written that “time is how we measure NOW”.

Yet, this posting – on the March 20, 2018, vernal equinox day – is sincerely dedicated to helping us learn how auspicious Earth-life cycles and seasons can help us bless and transform our world of time and space, until we ultimately transcend it.

Vernal Equinox Blessings and Opportunities.

The vernal equinox is a traditionally important astronomical event which can mark an especially auspicious new life phase for everyone everywhere, and for all Life on our precious planet.  Especially in Northern climes spring is considered a season for spiritual renewal and rebirth; a time for recognition of our cyclic transition from darkness to light – of both inner and outer illumination. And this can be an especially auspicious time for political progress everywhere on our precious planet.

Thus, as awakening earthly spiritual siblings we can collectively resolve our critical interpersonal and international planetary problems, which threaten all Life on our precious planet, and which can be solved only through our awakened awareness of how and why we humans alone have caused these crises.

Whatever our cultural conditioning, or our spiritual, religious or ethical traditions, we can NOW join together in identifying and  symbolically discarding old defilements, so as to continue earth-life with a fresh clean slate – a process exemplified by the ancient vernal equinox New Year tradition of Zoroastrianism, which is observed by millions people worldwide as Nowruz.

Many religious historians believe that Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and that it has probably influenced humankind, directly and indirectly, more than any other single faith; that it has influenced the major Asian religions, and that many beliefs of  the Jewish, Christian and Muslim monotheistic religions were derived from Zoroastrianism. 

Zoroastrianism teaches that Life’s purpose is to renew the world; to help the world progress towards perfection.  And, that Happiness in Life comes to those who work for the happiness of others.

Key Zoroastrian tenets are: “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.”; “Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you”; and “There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.” 

Like many Westerners I first learned of the wisdom of the Persian mystical tradition through the poems of the Persian Sufi mystics, especially Rumi and Hafiz, some of which are posted on SillySutras.com. Rumi’s poetry is so superlatively beautiful and mystically insightful – even when translated from Farsi – that he has been recently called the “most popular poet in America”, over seven centuries since his death.

And just as many Western people keep copies of the bible in their homes, many Persian and Iranian people keep copies of Hafiz’ writings which they consider the pinnacle of Persian literature.  I feel that the poems and sayings from Rumi and Hafiz quoted on SillySutras.com are the amongst the most beautiful and deeply insightful postings on the entire website, and commend them to your attention by clicking here and here.

If like me you have become inspired to help the world by availing yourselves of the infinite opportunities for transformative blessings offered for everyone everywhere by this auspicious equinox Earth life cycle phase, it is important to remember that such blessings are not automatic but depend on our loving thoughts, words and deeds. The principle was succinctly stated by Indian sage Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who reminds us that:

“The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.”

Conclusion.

We are living in extraordinarily turbulent times with immense dangers and opportunities. But we are encouraged by Rumi’s consoling wisdom:

“Do not be sad.
For God sends hope in the darkest moments. 
The heaviest rain comes from the darkest clouds.” 
~ Rumi


May we collectively view what is happening environmentally and politically as disintegration of an old world paradigm that has become painfully and harmfully anachronous, to make way for a more enlightened and elevated new age that can and will bless all life on our precious  planet.

And let us each from our unique perspectives and with our unique propensities lovingly ‘raise our sails to the winds of grace’ which will hasten a new golden age of peace on earth and goodwill for all.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Turn! Turn! Turn!” – Video.




“Miracles”

“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
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change.”
~ Buddha
“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air,
but simply walking on this earth.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
The real miracle is the love that inspires them.
In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”
~ A Course in Miracles
“All is a miracle.
The stupendous order of nature,
the revolution of a hundred millions of worlds around a million of stars,
the activity of light,
the life of all animals,
all are grand and perpetual miracles.”
~ Francois Voltaire
“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman
“When we do the best that we can,
we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,
or in the life of another.”
~ Helen Keller




“Miracles” ~ By Walt Whitman – “Leaves of Grass

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?



Ron’s Reflections on “Miracles”

Dear Friends,

Miracles are phenomena which can’t be explained scientifically or through common wisdom. Depending on each person’s unique experience of “reality”, different people consider different phenomena to be ‘miracles’.

But, throughout history, spiritually evolved beings – like those quoted above – have humbly recognized and accepted that all earth life is an eternal miracle attributable to Divine Power.

Recognition that all Life is a Divine miracle, can elicit deep feelings of happiness, gratitude, awe, faith, and acceptance of whatever happens in our lives.

So Einstein wisely endorsed living

“as though everything is is a miracle.”

After many years of living more and more “as though everything is is a miracle”, I have experienced ever expanding contentment and happiness with unspeakable gratitude for every moment of life, accepting whatever happens as a Divine play of consciousness.

I now often perceive this entire space/time Universe – like a movie – as a miraculous matrix projection onto a ’screen of consciousness’, with ever impermanent forms and phenomena appearing from and disappearing into an eternally mysterious Source.

Though THAT miraculous Source is ultimately unnameable, I often call it LOVE.

Thus, for me:

“Everything comes from divine LOVE;
and everything that comes from LOVE is a miracle”.


So Divine LOVE is the ultimate miracle.

Accordingly, with immense gratitude I find harmonic resonance with Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s experiential observations that God’s love is an ever present immense gift and grace:

“Every breath we draw is a gift of [God’s] love,

for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”

~ Thomas Merton

Knowingly or unknowingly we are all graced and gifted with Divine LOVE as the eternal Source of constant miracles which bless our lives.

So – like Thomas Merton – may we experience that “every moment of existence is a grace”.

And let us:

Remember with gratitude,

Life is beatitude –

Even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

Every time, every place, and

Forever (S)HE will reign!

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings – “Remember”


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner