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Reincarnation

The Sacred Secret of Life

“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
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
Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now!
It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.
~ Leo Tolstoy
“The more we live moment by moment,
the more momentous our lives.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings







The Sacred Secret of Life

We evolve and revolve
ever seeking to solve
the sacred secret of life.

But the further we go
the less we know
the sacred secret of life.

The longer our history,
the greater the mystery of
the sacred secret of life.

Yet we never stop trying –
keep birthing and dying, for
the sacred secret of life.

Tho’ we may never solve it,
we’ll ever evolve it:
The sacred secret of life.

So in Awe we bow
to the ever NOW—

The sacred secret of Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem and quotations, are about a key wisdom concept which is so important that with poetic license I’ve called it “the sacred secret of life”.

Soon after my midlife spiritual awakening, I was synchronistically introduced to Eastern spiritual wisdom through a friend who urged me to read an extraordinary book with an intriguing title – “Be Here Now”. It told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Harvard Ph.D, into Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.

“Be Here Now” was for me unlike any other book I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me, with many suggestions and ‘recipes’ for spiritual practices.

Some suggestions interested me, though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them. But the book and its memorable title planted seeds for spiritual practices which I later adopted. The first of these practices – simple repetition as a mantra of the word “Rama”, a Hindu name for God – soon manifested in my life, in a surprising way and with remarkable continuing consequences.

Gradually the book’s memorable title “Be Here Now!” became for me a key slogan for spiritual awakening; a reminder to live with a quiet mind in the present moment. Through experience and other spiritual teachings, I began to realize the profound evolutionary importance of mental stillness.

I was especially influenced by the teachings of contemporary sage J. Krishnamurti about how “freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.” Much later I felt great resonance with the writings of contemporary teacher Eckhart Tolle, which emphasized “The Power of Now.” Perhaps most important were my experiences in following my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly”.

Only after many years of meditating regularly did my ‘monkey mind’ finally cease its ceaseless chatter, permitting me to choose whether “to think or not to think” – an option to enjoy precious moments of choiceless awareness. And by learning to live with a quiet mind in the present moment, I understood Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras’ key aphorism that “Yoga is the cessation of mind”; and I discovered that “The more we live moment by moment, the more momentous our lives;” and that “when all thoughts cease, we are at peace.”

Each of us has a unique karmic history and space/time perspective. So each of us has unique challenges and a unique ‘recipe’ for spiritual opening. But the ‘ingredients’ in every such ‘recipe’ are the same – only proportions differ. And precious presence – ‘being here now’ – is crucially important for everyone, not just those who knowingly seek spiritual opening.

Being present is sometimes called being “in the zone” with a focused or stilled mind. Have you ever noticed how star artists and athletes perform at peak levels while “in the zone”?

Moreover, whether or not we are interested in Eastern wisdom or mindfulness or peak performance, every human being wants happiness, with minimal suffering. And to be in a state of precious presence with a stilled mind is of critical importance to experiencing happiness.

So for me “Be Here Now!” – like “Seek relief from belief” and “Undo Ego!” – has become a key motivational motto encapsulating a crucial wisdom concept.

Thus today’s quotations and poem are offered to inspire our ever expanding realization that “life can be found only in the present moment”, and that ultimately the Eternal happiness we all seek is beyond space and time, but paradoxically ever here NOW.

May we all experience growing happiness by learning to live in precious presence with ever quieter minds, thereby radiating love and joy which blesses the world, ever NOW.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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

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

~ The Kybalion
“You are truly free when you are not a person”.
~ Deepak Chopra – The Book of Secrets


Deepak Chopra



Introduction to Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate?

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

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

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

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

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

First, two Harvard trained married friends recounted to me their amazing experience with a Nadi reader. Later, I learned that Swami Kriyananda
(J. Donald Walters), a well known Western teacher, author, and direct disciple of Paramahamsa Yogananda, was so impressed with the extraordinary accuracy of his Nadi readings, that in 1967 he had published a book entitled India’s Ancient Book of Prophecy.

In 2011, I was discussing questions of free will and destiny with my long-time Jyotish astrologer friend Jackie Haller, when she reminded me of Kriyananda’s Nadi reading experiences. Intrigued by Jackie’s comments, I soon did an extended internet search about Kriyananda’s prophesy book. It was out of print, but I found online summaries of his amazing story.

The next day, while visiting at the Fort Mason Italian-American Museum, I was informing my friend Joy Massa about Kriyananda’s Nadi readings, when a woman near us “coincidentally” overhead the conversation and joined us. Spontaneously she recounted lucidly and in some detail her personal amazing experience with a Nadi reading in Tamil Nadu, South India. She told us that she’d become interested in such prophesies from friends and after reading about Deepak Chopra’s extraordinary experience with Nadi readers.

Chopra was then well known to me as a knowledgeable and credible spiritual author. So I soon found and read, for the first time, his following life changing prophesy experience, in his “Book of Secrets”, pp 213-216.


“The Book of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra:

YOU ARE TRULY FREE WHEN YOU ARE NOT A PERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Conclusion

Chopra’s astonishing story confirmed that it is possible to mystically transcend ordinary serial time perception. And it renewed for me these perennial questions about free will and fate, which began with my February 1977 synchronicity experiences in New York:


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

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

And if so, what free will?”

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



Addendum, 2018

The foregoing synchronicity story, mentions (without including details) Swami Kriyananda’s amazing Nadi readings.

Such details, personally written by Kriyananda, (J. Donald Walters) appear below in a summary, titled: “Astounding Predictions”. Also, (citing Sri Yukteshwar, who was an expert Vedic astrologer, and Paramahamsa Yogananda’s guru) Kriyananda’s summary addresses the perennial questions about free will and fate which conclude the foregoing story.

Accordingly, the summary is herein excerpted from a chapter titled “Experiences of Infinite Consciousness by Swami Kriyananda, (J. Donald Walters)” published in “The Akashic Experience”, by distinguished Hungarian philosopher and author Ervin László.


Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters ) –
May 19, 1926– April 21, 2013


ASTOUNDING PREDICTIONS, by Swami Kriyananda,
(J. Donald Walters)

Many years ago (1959) in Paliala (Punjab), India, a son of the Maharaja of Patiala, a student who was taking a course I was giving in Raja Yoga came to me one day at the home of Balkishen Khosla, where I was staying, and asked, “Swamiji, have you ever heard of Bhrigu?”

When I couldn’t place the name, he helped me by adding, “Bhrigu is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna [speaking in the voice of God] says, “Among saints, I am Bhrigu.”” Of course then I recognized the name. Bhrigu lived in India in very ancient times.

Raja Mrigendra Singh, my visitor, went on to say, “Bhrigu wrote a sanhita [scriptural document) predicting the lives of innumerable individuals yet to be born, some of whom are actually living today.”

This seemed to me, of course, almost too fantastic. Yet I had already encountered examples of the bizarre and the unusual in that mystical land. To preface what came next, let me recount an ancient Indian tradition, which my “spiritual grandfather” (my guru’s guru), Swami Sri Yukteswar, clarified and, so to speak, “pruned” of inaccuracies that had crept in under the disintegrating influences of time. The tradition concerns four ages, explained by Swami Sri Yukteswar as being brought about by sidereal movements within the galaxy. That system is too complex for explanation here, but it is also related to the Akashic influences.

Sri Yukteswar stated that the earth recently entered Dwapara Yuga, the second of those ages, in which human beings will come increasingly to understand that energy is the basic reality of matter. In this Dwapara age also, humans will gain insights into the essentially illusory nature of space. Thus, in the centuries to come we will learn how to travel to other planets and to demolish the sense of spatial distance. This we have accomplished already to some extent, with the invention of the telephone, radio, television, internet, and air travel.

It is said that in the third of the ascending ages, Treta Yuga, humans will develop insight into the essentially illusory nature of time. We will understand that time and space are much more elastic than they have seemed; time itself will be increasingly perceived as a continuum, comparable to a river that, when observed from a bridge, is seen to consist not only of what flows directly under the bridge but also of the water flowing down to the bridge from upstream. In other words, the future already exists, being the result of flowing influences from the past, and will not change significantly with anything added to the water- perhaps cast into it from the bridge.

Hints of this reality are suggested already even today. They will become so obvious in the third yuga as to be universally accepted. Particularly gifted individuals will be able, beyond the denials of any cynic, to predict specific events far into the future.

Even today, predictions have been made, mostly regarding the lives of individuals but also regarding world events, that have turned out to be startlingly accurate. The knowledge of enlightened sages, moreover, has always shown itself in this respect to be quite extraordinary.

I was told a story, based on the personal experience of someone I knew who had visited a saint in Howrah, West Bengal. He had asked the saint how accurate and how specific a prediction could be. The saint responded by foretelling several completely unexpected events that would occur to him that very afternoon. What he said (and here, I am able only to paraphrase) went something like this: “When you leave here. you will be obliged to take a detour because a crowd will have gathered in the street in
front of a burning building. On that detour, you will see an accident on the right side of the street. but it will not impede you. and you will have a safe journey home.” The details were not exactly as I’ve related them here, but what actually occurred was comparable. I was assured that the prediction had come to be fulfilled in every respect.

Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi contains many predictions of a similar nature. I’d like to emphasize that I myself lived with the author of that book as his close disciple and am fully convinced of its, and of his, veracity.

Back, then, to my own experience with Raja Mrigendra and Bhrigu’s text, which was extraordinary. Raja Mrigendra told me that not many miles from where we were, “in the town of Barnala, there is a partial copy of that ancient document, in manuscript form. It contains predictions of the lives of individuals, including many who are living today. I found there a reading for myself. Would you,” he continued, “be interested in going there to see whether the sanhita contains something about you?”

“Are its predictions only general?” I asked. “Might it say about me, for instance , that I’ve come from a distance and appear to be interested in spiritual matters?”

“Nothing like that!” he replied confidently. “If it says anything at all, it will be much more specific.”

Well. naturally I was intrigued! We went by car the next day to Barnala, a town that in no way suggested mystical wonders, being an assemblage of completely ordinary, somewhat dirty streets and buildings, none of them even interesting. The structure that housed the miraculous document was quite as nondescript as anything in its surroundings. We were the first to arrive. and I was introduced to the custodian, a brahmin whose name (if memory serves) was Pundit Bhagat Ram. He welcomed us, showing my friend the deference due to his social position.

Passing lightly over the formalities, a horoscope was cast for the moment when I asked for a reading. The pundit went into an inner room where the stored document was piled on many shelves in bundles. He retrieved a small bundle numbered (I vaguely recall) 54. Opening the bundle, and dividing it into three piles, he kept one himself, gave one to Raja Mrigendra, and handed the third stack of pages to me, telling the two of us to look for a page showing a horoscope similar to the one he had drawn up. We each went carefully through them. I! was I who came upon a page that seemed to me similar to his design. It was the right one.

“The readings”, Raja Mrigendra had told me, “usually tell a person his last life, his present one, and his next one”· My reading began, as he’d predicted, with my previous life. It told me that in that life I had been born in India. My name was Pujar Das, I lived in Karachi (identified by the first letter in the name of that city, and also by its geographical location), was married, and was financially well off. We had no children. There followed a brief description of my life up to the time where my wife and I went on a
pilgrimage and came to a desert (probably in Rajasthan), there reaching the place where the ancient sage Kapila (founder of the Sankhya system of philosophy) had once had his ashram. There I met my guru, I resolved to stay there and seek God, sending my wife home. A fair amount of information followed, all of it both interesting and instructive, but too personal for inclusion here. None of it was verifiable. of course, though it’s true that in my present life I have felt strangely attracted to living in the desert.

“In the present life”, it continued, “he was born in a mlecha [unclean,’ an ancient word for Western] country, is well known as a seer of Ashtanga Yoga [the teaching of Palanjali), and is traveling and teaching in this country. His name is Kriyananda.” This piece of information brought me up sharply. I was astounded.

Kriyananda is a most unusual name, though two or three monks (sannyasis) have taken it since I did. Several more people had entered the room by now. and I passed the page around to them to see if they could verify whether this name was indeed written there. They all concurred that it was. The “reading” omitted mention of my next life but made a few predictions for this one that were interesting and hope inspiring, if a little vague.

The fact that it mentioned me by name, however, was itself simply amazing. What it said about this life, also, was more or less accurate, though general. Would I have liked more specificity? I’m not so sure.

Sometimes it’s more helpful to have a general sense of one’s direction than to be burdened with too many details, whether alarming or giving comfort.

What was I to think? The reading dosed by saying. “There will be no more readings today.” Everyone in the room, accordingly, left with us.

I was fascinated enough by all this to speak about it to friends. It seemed to offer evidence, above all. that there was much more to India’s ancient civilization –as I of course already knew to be the case –than cowherds, farmers, and primitive villages. Surely what it suggests, rather, is a legacy of extraordinary wisdom. This was ammunition that would help to substantiate any book or lecture on those ancient teachings.

A few weeks later I was giving lectures and classes in New Delhi, where this new interest led to another segment of the Bhrigu sanhita. Here I received another reading. It slated , “I have already given him a reading in my Yoga Valli. That one was according to astrology. This one will be according to the power of yoga .” Instead of once again telling me my last life. it went back to an earlier life.

“In the time of Kurukshetra [the historic war described in the ancient epic the Mahabharata], he was the ruler of a small state in Bharatavarsha [India]. Fearful of having to support the wrong side in that conflict, he handed over his kingdom to his son and went into the forest for a life of seclusion and meditation. There he took initiation from a guru· The reading went on to describe that man’s life, saying that after it, owing to his good deeds. he spent some 700 years in the astral world.

Fascinating! In many ways that subtle region has always seemed more real to me than this physical world, though what remain are strong impressions rather than clear and specific memories. Again. I purposely omit here details of that past life that are personal and not germane to these pages.

What ensued then was even more astounding than the reading in Barnala. “This life,” it continued, “is the eighth since thai one during the time of Kurukshetra. In the present life he was born in Romania. lived in America, [both statements were correct], and his father named him James. [James is in fact my first name, though I was always known by my second name, Donald.] He has two brothers. but no living sister is possible, though one will die in his mothers womb. [My mother admitted to me, after my return to America. that she had had one miscarriage.] After meeting his guru, Yogananda. his name will become Kriyananda. Within two months from the time he receives this reading he will return to his own country. where he will be lovingly received by his (spiritual) brothers and sisters, and will be given [appointed to] a high position.”

Interestingly. I was in fact summoned back to America within two months. On my return voyage, while visiting Japan, I received word that Dr. M. W. Lewis, the elderly vice president of my guru’s organization, had just left his body. Shortly after my arrival in California I was appointed to replace him.


Continuing Questions

Perennial questions about free will and fate mentioned in the foregoing synchronicity story, have continued for me since I began wondering about them over forty years ago. Accordingly numerous other SillySutras.com writings deal with these questions. The most recent and comprehensive essay with numerous quotations is titled “Free Will or Fate” and is posted at https://sillysutras.com/free-will-or-fate/.

Perhaps an epigrammatic answer to esoteric perennial questions about free will and fate is suggested by the title of Deepak Chopra’s Nadi reading story:


“You Are Truly Free When You Are Not A Person”.

.



When Does Life Begin?

“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

“The two most important days in your life

are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

~ Mark Twain

“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






When Does Life Begin?

Q. When does life begin?

A. Never.

Life never begins,
because it never ends.

Life transcends time.
Life is timeless.

Human conception, birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.

So, the beginning of Life,
or the end of Life,
are self-contradictory ideas arising in,
and subsumed by –

Eternal Mystery.



Ron’s audio recitation of “When Does Life Begin?”

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Ron’s Explanation of “When Does Life Begin?”

Dear Friends,

Throughout human history philosophers have pondered about “life”.  And for millennia rare mystics and inner explorers in deep meditation have reportedly discovered an indescribable state of Universal Awareness beyond this reality which is sole Source, yet immanent in, all “Life” and in our process of birth and death.

With poetic license I have sometimes speculated about the meaning of “Life”, and occasionally I’ve equated it with Universal Awareness.
(e.g. https://sillysutras.com/what-is-life/)

In that context, the foregoing whimsical poem (composed many years ago) rhetorically asks and answers the unanswerable question – “When Does Life Begin?”.

In Buddhist and other spiritual teachings birth and death are inherent in “life”; which at subtle mind levels metaphorically continues after death and before rebirth.

Thus, today’s poem and preceding quotations are offered to enigmatically inspire our spiritual evolution beyond fear of death, and toward experiencing ever subtler states of mind and higher levels “life”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Birth On Earth a Death Sentence?

“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

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
“And 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

Q: What is death?
A: “Death is a vacation –
Eternal Life-force vacating a transient vehicle –
“a space-time soul suit”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Is Birth On Earth a Death Sentence?

No matter how we strive,
No body leaves alive.

But we never really die – you see,
Just leave our physicality

To melt and merge with mystery,
The mystery of Divinity.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Is Birth On Earth a Death Sentence?”

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Ron’s comments on “Is Birth On Earth a Death Sentence?”


Dear Friends,

Physical death is inevitable and natural. All physical bodies are mortal and die; only time of physical death is unknown.

Knowingly or unknowingly most people fear physical death because they self-identify only with their physical bodies, mistakenly believing that bodily death ends life, and are ignorant of what if anything happens after physical death.

Eminent Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death after being unjustly tried and convicted for allegedly corrupting the youth of Athens. Just before he died of a coerced suicide, by drinking hemlock, Socrates proclaimed that fear of death was fear of the unknown:


“To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”


Like most other Americans, I was acculturated with an innate but largely subconscious fear of death. Then in my early forties, I had irreversibly transformative experiences of spiritual self-identity and afterlife:

I realized that I was not merely my body, its thoughts and story, but eternal and universal awareness. And I began seeing visions of apparent past lives, and inner and outer appearances of deceased people, including Mahatma Gandhi, my first perceived inner spiritual guide.

So, I began accepting Eastern ideas of reincarnation and transmigration of an eternal soul, while gradually losing fear of inevitable physical death. Ultimately I concluded from experience and intuition that cosmically there is no death; that “birth and death are virtual, while Life is perpetual”. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/know-death-to-know-life-know-death-to-know-that-there-is-no-death/ )

The foregoing whimsical poem and quotes about birth and death can help remind us that as we lose fear of death we gain ever increasing peace of mind and happiness.

And so may it be!
Ron Rattner


Evolutionary Impetus

toward the Source
“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
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
“Man’s highest aspiration – his seeking for perfection, his longing for freedom and mastery, his search after pure truth and unmixed delight – is in flagrant contradiction with his present existence and normal experience. Such contradiction is part of Nature’s general method; it is a sign that she is working towards a greater harmony. The reconciliation is achieved by an evolutionary progress.

 Life evolves out of Matter, Mind out of Life, because they are already involved there: Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Mind, May not Mind be a form and veil of a higher power, the Spirit, which would be supramental in its nature? 

Man’s highest aspiration would then only indicate the gradual unveiling of the Spirit within, the preparation of a higher life upon earth.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Cosmic consciousness is infinite evolutionary impetus in each of us.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Every adversity is an evolutionary opportunity
for everyone, everything, everywhere.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


toward the Source


Evolutionary Impetus

Q. Is human spiritual evolution possible? If so, is it optional or inevitable?

A. Humankind are self conscious integral aspects of a conscious, orderly and harmonious universe.
As part of such conscious cosmic order, there is an evolutionary impetus in each of us for ever expanding universal consciousness to experience itself.

We are all “pre-programmed” to transcend ego’s “optical illusion” of seeming separation as body forms from all other forms (and so from the universe), by evolving from this separation illusion to experiential realization of cosmic Oneness of all forms and phenomena as undivided Awareness.

Our universe is an ever oscillating and vibrating energy “reality”.
So, our evolutionary pre-programming involves subtle vibratory vortices – or chakras – each potentially resonant with ever ascending vibratory levels of Awareness.   As evolutionary energy – sometimes called kundalini – is awakened and activated in each being it gradually purifies and eventually opens these subtle energy centers, until ultimate transcendence is attained.

Everything that happens to us until we transcend ego’s “optical illusion” is in our best interest, because it affords an opportunity to evolve.

Although our evolutionary “pre-programming” assures that such transcendence is ultimately inevitable, our progress rate is optional, depending on what we think, do and say – individually and collectively – while misidentifying ourselves as separate.

For example, compassionate words, thoughts and deeds hasten spiritual evolution, while selfishness deters it.
But, cosmic consciousness will eventually provide life experiences leading to transcendence.

Paradoxically, life’s most painful and difficult experiences often prove the best evolutionary opportunities, and biggest blessings,
because they most challenge and motivate surrender of ego misidentification and provide greatest transcendence incentives.

So, human spiritual evolution is inevitable, but rate of evolutionary progress is optional.



Ron’s explanation and comments about “Evolutionary Impetus”

Dear Friends,

Throughout world history, philosophers and theologians have perennially asked:

‘How could an all loving, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Divinity have created this world with so much suffering, evil, violence, and misery?’

For example, influential German Christian philosopher Gottfried Leibniz optimistically postulated that God created Earth, though imperfect, as  “the best of all possible worlds”.  In his Theodicée, published in 1710, Leibniz described a harmonious universe in which all events are linked by cause and effect, and in which apparent evil is compensated by some greater good that may not be evident to the limited human mind. 

French philosopher Voltaire sharply satirized and questioned that optimistic philosophy in his popular novella, “Candide”.  Without addressing subtleties of Leibniz’ philosophy, or possible causes of evil, karma or ‘original sin’, Voltaire’s protagonist “Candide” discovers, after many emotional ups and downs, that everything does not seem to happen for the best; and he concludes that each person must learn from past mistakes, and proceed stoically with kindness and virtue, no matter the pain and difficulties confronted. 

After many years of experience and reflection, I have adopted a philosophy more harmonious with Leibniz than Voltaire: that everything in space/time does happen for the best – to afford impetus for spiritual evolution; that human suffering, evil, and misery are not “created” by God but by mysterious karmic causes and conditions arising from unskillful Human behaviors; that what many call “God” is indescribable, impersonal and nonjudgmental Universal Awareness which is the mysterious Source and ever immanent Essence of space/time “reality”.  I have also adopted the non-dualist philosophy that our ever impermanent energy “reality” is like a mental mirage, arising only from projected Human thought; that true Reality is universal Infinite Potentiality beyond the Human mind.   

In many Silly Sutras postings I have shared these philosophies, to encourage others to decide for themselves about such perennial questions. So, my theories are not offered as expressing ultimate spiritual truths, but to inspire our intuitive and experiential introspection on ideas (often paradoxical), about who and what we are and our life’s purpose and plan, if any.

Retrospectively, I have become convinced that my life has unfolded and evolved perfectly, as if a Divine novelist was writing Ron’s life-plan script. Accordingly, my attitude toward life’s inevitable ups and downs became that everything happens ‘for the best’ – to promote our evolution; that in every adversity there is an evolutionary opportunity. (See e.g. I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life. )  So, paradoxically life’s most painful and difficult experiences often prove the best evolutionary opportunities, and biggest blessings, because they most challenge and motivate surrender of ego misidentification and provide greatest transcendence incentives. 
 
The above posting, “Evolutionary Impetus”,  considers whether human spiritual evolution is possible, and if so, whether it is inevitable or optional.  And it elaborates my philosophy that whatever happens to us until we transcend ego’s “optical illusion” of separateness is in our best interest, because it affords incentive to evolve.  It suggests that human spiritual evolution is inevitable, but that rate of progress is optional depending on our behaviors while misidentifying ourselves as separate entities. 

May these philosophical theories inspire our continuing intuitive and experiential introspection about who and what we are, and our life’s purpose and plan, if any.

And may they help us find ever more joy and fulfillment in our unique life experiences.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Can We Be Born-Again?

“As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is 
our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.”
~ 

Leo Tolstoy

“God generates beings, and sends them back over and over again,
till they return to Him.”
~ Koran

“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3

“Lord Krishna said: …. The learned neither laments for the dead or the living. Certainly never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these kings and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future. Just as in the physical body of the embodied being is the process of childhood, youth and old age; similarly by the transmigration from one body to another the wise are never deluded.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“But know that by whom this entire body is pervaded, is indestructible. No one is able to cause the destruction of the imperishable soul. The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible and infinite, only the material body is factually perishable….”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time, nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed. Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.” “The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna



© Elizabeth Lyle, www.dreamingheart.com



CAN WE BE BORN-AGAIN?

We’re born –
and born-again,

And born-again,
and born-again,

Until when –

We realize
we were never ever born.

And then –
we’re never born again.



Ron’s comments and recitation of “Can We Be Born-Again?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Can We Be Born-Again?”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Born-Again” poetic essay explores the perennial mystery of inevitable bodily death by whimsically addressing possible afterlife, rebirth or reincarnation. The poem was written only after an extended reflective process, hereafter described.

In online spiritual memoirs – tentatively titled: “From Litigation to Meditation – and Beyond”: An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from Secular Hebrew; to Born-again Hindu; to Uncertain Undo – I have told how after a midlife spiritual awakening I began experiencing gradual inner transformation.

After meeting my Guruji from India, I was soon calling myself a “Born-again Hindu”, with extreme enthusiasm about encountering such a great yogi.   (See The Luckiest Day of My Life ~ Meeting My Spiritual Master )  Initially I only considered myself to be “Born-Again” psychologically – but not physically. 

Later, after much reflection, I accepted Hindu and Buddhist theories of physical rebirth or reincarnation – that all humans are repeatedly ‘born again’ in supposedly separate bodies with separate karmic destinies, until achieving the spiritual ‘goal’ of Self-realization or merger with ONE mysterious Divine Source and matrix.

Ultimately, after many amazing mystical experiences, I further accepted ancient Eastern non-duality teachings questioning the reality of any rebirth because this ever impermanent space/time duality reality is an illusory and unreal play of Cosmic consciousness – maya or samsara. Such non-dualist teachings like Advaita-Vedanta say that humans egoically and mistakenly mentally self-identify with their optical illusions of apparent separation from each other and Nature until “enlightenment” or Self-realization. Whereupon the illusion of separation and duality ends forever.

My recognition and acceptance as true Reality of spiritual non-duality was validated and corroborated when I learned of Einstein’s revolutionary discoveries about space/time that:

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

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


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


“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”


“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the [quantum] field and matter, for the field is the only [manifest] reality.”


So I began believing that we were never truly born or reborn in space/time, which is merely “an optical illusion of consciousness.” But I realized that only very rare Buddha-like beings who non-dually merge with Cosmic consciousness need never be “Born-Again”.

However it seems apparent that the vast majority of humans remain karmically compelled to continue existing as space/time entities until overcoming all vestiges of our hallucination of separation from each other, from Nature, and from our sole Source and spirit.

Though still evolving, I have been experiencing ever growing happiness and ever less fear of death by self identifying as Eternal spirit rather than as a merely mortal physical body – more and more as Ram and less and less as Ron. So I consider Ron as a gradually disappearing ‘fundamentalist non-dualist’.

Because fear of inevitable physical death remains a major societal issue, impeding our spiritual evolution, I hope that my “rebirth” writings and story will help all of us transcend such fear, and thereby lead ever happier lives.

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 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
“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)





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,

The mystery of inevitable bodily death has long been a central religious and philosophical issue. To encourage our conscious curiosity about inevitable physical death I have posted the foregoing poetic essay, whimsically suggesting that there is no death or afterlife – only Eternal Life NOW.

Have you ever reflected on your inevitable physical death,
even if you are not old or infirm?

Have you considered the mystery of what if anything happens after bodily death?

Are you fearful of death?
If so, why?
If not, why not?

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 merely the 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.

Following my midlife spiritual awakening I came to realize 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 eternal 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


After meeting Tibetan Buddhists I learned that they encourage frequent contemplation of physical death as a spiritual practice for optimizing opportunities of this precious lifetime, and in preparation for an auspicious next lifetime.  

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 Dalai Lama and other Tibetans, and by numerous inner 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 on SillySutras.com I have shared many experiences, essays and poems about these subjects, which I commend to your attention.
(Eg. See “related” posts linked below.)

Especially after being run down and seriously injured by a taxicab in 2014, 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 I hope that this posting helps us find growing happiness free from fear of inevitable physical death.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

We Are All Relatives!

“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”

~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”
“In this wonderful world of relativity,
we are all relatives.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven

is my brother and sister and mother.”

~ Matthew 12:50





We Are All Relatives!

In this wonderful world of relativity,

We are all relatives.

We are all connected kith and kin,

With our precious planet,
and all Life therein.

We all belong here,
as we all long here –

For everlasting LOVE.

So as ONE earth-life family,
let us live our lives with LOVE

As the Kin-dom of Heaven,

Blessed on Earth,
as it is Above.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “We Are All Relatives”

Listen to


Mind Your Mind: You Will Take It With You

“[Physical qualities] cannot be carried over into the next life.
The continuum of the mind, however, does carry on.
Therefore, a quality based on the mind is more enduring. …
So, through training the mind, qualities such as compassion, love, and the wisdom [of] realizing emptiness can be developed.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama




Mind Your Mind: You Will Take It With You

My friend Konrad’s beloved mother used to say:

“If I can’t take it with me, I refuse to go.”

Despite her protestations – like every other person in the history of humanity – she was obliged to leave this world without taking with her anything fiscal or physical.

But her wonderful sense of humor survived her departure.

In this phenomenal world, everything’s energy; our worldly life-forms are but gross and subtle energy vortices in a field of universal awareness.

As the Dalai Lama observes, our subtle mental forms survive the death of our dense physical forms. So when we leave our physical body, our mind persists – and we will take it with us – somewhere.

Thus it’s wise for us to prepare for future ‘mind trips’ by training and stilling our mind to cultivate compassion, love and wisdom, with a wonderful sense of humor –

NOW.

What is Reincarnation?

“Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept, but it is part of the history of human origin. It is proof of the mindstream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities. It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”
~ The Dalai Lama
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




What is Reincarnation?

Q. What is reincarnation?

A. Cosmic bio-recycling.


Q. What reincarnates?
A. An energy vortex – a “psyche-clone”.