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Self Inquiry

Questions About Questions

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to
‘who am I?’ 
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates
the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,

and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself in the end get destroyed.
Then, there will arise Self-realization.”


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Questions are then,
Life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Questions About Questions

Q. When do questions arise?

A. Always then, never now.
Questions are thoughts, and thoughts are then.

Q. Can there ever be a question without a thought?

A. I don’t think so.

Without a question, there can be a thought.
But without a thought, there can’t be a question.

Q. Then, when is there never a question?

A. When there is no questioner.



Ron’s Reflections and Questions About Questioning

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about the Mystery of Divinity and whimsical lines about questionig are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery – which Einstein called “the great Mystery into which we were born”

On birth into new human bodies we experience instant amnesia, forgetting what we knew before we withdrew from dwelling in heavenly domains.   Except for very rare Buddha-like saints and sages, we forget that we are immortal Divine Beings – each experiencing a Divine play of consciousness from a unique perspective.

Whereupon, we experience and suffer from ‘a case of mistaken identity’.  Individually and collectively, we mistakenly self-identify only with our mortal physical forms, their emotions and perceptions, and their stories – and we become like actors playing unique roles in an ever expanding and endless play of consciousness.  
 
As Shakespeare metaphorically observed:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

~ William Shakespeare ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

But knowingly or unknowingly, we are here to experientially remember what we forgot on incarnation into mortal human bodies. 

So our embodied lives become like spiritual mystery stories.  Instead of a ‘who-done-it?’ detective story, each life becomes a ‘who am I?’ spiritual mystery, which we are born to solve. Yet, the ultimate solution to that mystery is beyond our comprehension, imagination or belief.  So we must find it experientially and intuitively, rather than mentally.

However, spurred by unceasing childlike curiosity, our rational minds can lead us to experiential discovery of our immortal self-identity. So we can begin by reverentially and unceasingly asking “Who am I?”.  

“Ask, and it will be given to you …
For every one who asks receives.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10

But ultimately, we discover that

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thus, as observed by twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, only

“When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.”

“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”

The foregoing writings are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery.
 
As spiritual siblings – children of Divine LOVE – may we ever aspire to solve that Mystery.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

What is the Universe?

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,
who is an ocean for all beings.”
~ Rumi
“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same. ….
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.”
~ Rumi
“You are not IN the universe,
you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it.
Ultimately you are not a person,
but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself.
What an amazing miracle.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself.
Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies.
We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
~ Alan Watts
“In oneself lies the whole world,
and if you know how to look and learn,
then the door is there and the key is in your hand.
Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open,
except yourself.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage. You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Objective reality does not exist” …. “the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,

where we are the unseen Source
of the World we see.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

 



What is the Universe?

Q. What is the Universe?

A. The “Universe” is a word – an idea –
symbolizing Humankind’s perception of a space/time/causality “reality”.

But, space/time/causality
is an illusionary relative reality
of apparently separate forms and phenomena;

An ever impermanent appearance of
ONE eternally immanent Ultimate Reality –

An Ultimate Reality which is Infinite Potentiality
beyond space/time/causality;

An Ultimate Reality beyond conceptuality –
unimaginable, incomprehensible, and inexpressible;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
appearing and disappearing
as ephemeral forms and phenomena,
from infinite space/time perspectives;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
expressing and experiencing

ITSELF!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What is the Universe?”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of why “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever read or heard that: “We are the universe” or that “You are the world”?  Such statements have been attributed to various prominent spiritual teachers, including Alan Watts, Deepak Chopra, J. Krishnamurti, and Eckhart Tolle.  

Only after my midlife change of life did I encounter and begin wondering about these teachings. Understanding their meaning has proved very helpful in my life.  So today I have posted the foregoing important quotations and a brief essay/poem, which were inspired by what (I think) I’ve learned about these teachings.

Soon after my midlife awakening as pure awareness – which cracked, but didn’t destroy, my self-woven ‘karmic cocoon’ – I was given numerous glimpses of previously unknown clairvoyant and psychic phenomena which persuaded me that the universe didn’t work the way I’d been taught or thought.   

Having realized – but not always remembered – that I was pure awareness and not just my physical body and its story, I began wondering about the true nature of this world and the universe which we seem to inhabit.   To satisfy my newly aroused cosmic curiosities I began reading teachings of Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti  who was then known worldwide as a contemporary sage. Initially I read a  Krishnamurti book which was was intriguingly entitled:

“You Are The World”.

The book included a Krishnamurti  talk at Stanford University containing this perplexing statement:

In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open, except yourself.”


   
What did Krishnamurti mean?  How could the whole world be within us? 

Though puzzled, I was determined to understand Krishnamurti’s enigmatic assertion.  And gradually that seemed to happen.  

Ultimately I deduced that since Ron was pure awareness encompassing a transient body/mind, so too was everyone and everything else in space/time; that, therefore, all humans share common Cosmic consciousness which encompasses, perceives and projects the world.  

But, because  we  mistakenly perceive and believe ourselves to be separate from each other and Nature, we suffer individually and societally from the universal law of cause and effect – karma.   Thus, our misconceptions of separateness create an illusory world of suffering.

However, as gradually we unselfishly open our hearts with compassion beyond personal desires and affections, our karmic sufferings diminish, and we reap increasing happiness.    As astutely observed by Albert Einstein:


“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” 

( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)


Einstein also revealed to us that what we perceive as ‘reality’ “is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; and that  “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”.

Mystics say that ultimately, upon Self Realization of our true divine identity, our sufferings ceace. In the meanwhile, we avoid or reduce suffering by behaving with remembrance that this space/time world isn’t really real, but an “optical delusion of .. consciousness.”    So, according to the Buddha,


“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,

does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”


To help us “escape the suffering” of this crazy world, today’s profound quotations and “What is the Universe?” essay/poem can remind us of our true divine self-identity as Universal Awareness – that we ARE the Universe. Also embedded below is a highly recommended and very pithy 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””

May these writings and video encourage and inspire us to live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives, as gradually we compassionately open our hearts to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature – as we remember that we are the unseen Source of the World we see.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

We Create “Reality”



Let Life Live Us As Love

“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
“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
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
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”

~ Buddha
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
 causes the [ego] apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“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
“Let us let go of ego, and
Let Life live us as LOVE!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Maitreya – The Next Buddha


“Let Life Live Us As Love”

Einstein revolutionized Western science with his groundbreaking theory of relativity establishing equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e=mc2.

Since then, for over a century, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known for millennia:

That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; that as Einstein observed:

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

Though Einstein’s insights revolutionized quantum physicists’ views of space/time “reality”, most humans haven’t yet changed our way of thinking about such “reality”.  Until now, most people mistakenly keep behaving as if we are separated from each other and from Nature, and not part of it.   This behavior has resulted in continuing selfishness, cruelty, wars and unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet.

But gradually we are awakening.  From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are more and more realizing that everyone and everything are ever-changing energy phenomena appearing from a common immutable Source of Infinite Universal Awareness, which is LOVE.

All of our selfish, disharmonious and unsustainable behaviors have arisen from human ignorance of the true non-dual nature of the Self and all phenomena as Love; and from consequent mental mis-identification with the illusion of physical separation from each other – called “ego”.

Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us in the Rig Veda that

“ Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

Only rare Buddha-like beings, are said to totally transcend ego identification.  So we all experience some degree of separate self-identification.   But all humans are in various stages of an ultimately irresistible evolutionary process of ego attrition and transcendence.

In this world of cause and effect, Nature – not ego – is in charge and determines everything.   But, while believing ourselves separate from Nature, we exercise apparent free will and seemingly make non-predestined choices.

Depending on whether we are in harmony or disharmony with Nature, these apparent choices hasten or impede our evolution, and create or mitigate crises, sufferings and problems.   So, let us ever aspire to be harmonious with Nature:

Ever mindful of our ONENESS with all Life on our precious planet, as Universal Awareness, let us live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

Ever mindful that in space/time Nature is our nature,
let us see and cherish Nature in everything and everyone everywhere.

Ever mindful that Universal Awareness, as Love,
is our ultimate identity and Source:

Let us let go of ego, and
Let Life live us as LOVE!

And So Shall It Be!

 
Ron’s comments and explanation of “Let Life Live Us As Love”

Dear Friends,

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

But initially, I had no idea of the supremely profound esoteric importance of those teachings, or of devotional Love as crucial in all enduring religious and spiritual traditions. Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening and rebirth did I begin experientially learning about spirituality.

Whereupon, gradually I became inspired by “love of God” as a key spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined in frequently crying and calling for the Divine. And ultimately I became convinced that our true nature and identity is LOVE.

That in space/time “reality” everyone, everything, everywhere is an ever-changing energy phenomenon appearing from a common immutable Source of Infinite Universal Awareness, which is LOVE.

So as Rumi profoundly tells us we need not “seek for love, but merely .. seek and find all the barriers [we] have built against it.” Those barriers are mistaken ideas about our true identity, which we can only discover and transcend by looking within.

This process of finding and letting go of ego-mind barriers to experiencing ourselves as LOVE is explained in the foregoing profound quotations and essay/poem.

May they remind us of our common Self-identity as Love with all Life on our precious planet.
And may they encourage and inspire us to live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

The Truth That Sets Us Free

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last”

~ Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space.

He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)





Introduction to “The Truth That Sets Us Free”

Dear Friends,

The following SillySutras poem reveals that Spiritual freedom is Humanity’s fundamental evolutionary goal and inevitable destiny.

The poem’s title and subject were inspired by Jesus’ teaching
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”

Comments and quotations explaining the poem, include an esoteric interpretation of the biblical Exodus Passover story, that was inspired by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech conclusion: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

Please deeply reflect upon and enjoy these writings. May they hasten realization of “The Truth That Sets Us Free”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


The Truth That Sets Us Free

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

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

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

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

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

We shall know this Truth,
and it shall forsooth,
release and set us Free.



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

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Truth That Set’s Us Free”


Dear Friends,

Today’s “The Truth That Sets Us Free” posting of a sutra poem (with voice recitation and quotations) is about Spiritual freedom as our fundamental evolutionary goal. The poem’s title and subject were inspired by Jesus’ teaching “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.

For millennia mystical teachings of all perennial wisdom paths have identified spiritual Freedom or Self realization as our ultimately destined evolutionary objective.

Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty.  But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare state of (freedom from) mind which only can be attained inwardly, even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like felons imprisoned for life.  Knowingly or unknowingly everyone/everywhere longs for Freedom as our divine birthright and ultimate destiny. 
 

I first deeply reflected on philosophical concepts of  “freedom” during the 1950’s when I read “Escape From Freedom” by then prominent author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm. But after becoming a San Francisco civil litigation  lawyer I rarely thought about about inner freedom, until after a memorable exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. 



While residing in my apartment (just prior to his 1980 return to India), Guruji told me: 


“Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body.
Your body is like a prison.
I am like a jailer with the prison key.
I come and go as I please.”



Thereupon, I became extremely curious about Guruji’s revelation that my body was like a prison. And I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji.  (See https://sillysutras.com/human-body-a-precious-prison-rons-memoirs/)


So I began exploration of “spiritual freedom”, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.  

Whereupon, I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech’s concluding words “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last”, and wondered why they were so deeply powerful. 



I realized that those words were rooted in the biblical Exodus Passover story; and intuited that spiritual “freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of that story.  And I concluded that the Passover story symbolizes escape from outer bondage to a Divinely ‘promised land’ within – viz. escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE indescribable eternal Divinity immanent in each of us. viz.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”

~ Deuteronomy 6:4

 
Also I felt that Jesus prophetically alluded to such spiritual freedom by teaching:

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~ John 8:32

 


Thus, Jesus was teaching that we find freedom (from mentally self-imposed imprisonment) only when we transcend entity-identity, and self-identify as ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.



Ultimately, I concluded that our limited and limiting ego-mind ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a sort of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.  



However, the mystic masters teach and demonstrate that we can psychologically transcend that mental “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter our outer circumstances.  



Thus, Rumi reminded us:

“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi

Invocation


May the above verses and writings
encourage and advance our spiritual evolution
to realization of inner Freedom –
Our precious Divine destiny.
And so may we gratefully and joyously BE –

FREE at last, FREE at last!


And so may it be!



Ron Rattner

How Can We Think More Objectively?

“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, quantum physicist
“This whole creation is essentially subjective,
and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once:
scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung
“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha
“Those who know how to think need no teachers.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.”
“All concepts are mental projections of Cosmic Consciousness.
But for name – subject and object are same.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




How Can We Think More Objectively?

Q. How can we think more objectively?

A. We can’t. Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.

Thinking objectively is an oxymoronic misconception.
All thought is subjective; so everyone thinks subjectively.

All concepts are mental projections
of Cosmic Consciousness.

But for name – subject and object are same.

To transcend thinking in the ‘subject-object’ box,
we can intuit our wholeness – as and beyond subject and object.

And realizing that Cosmic Consciousness is our eternal essence,

We can more and more think intuitively, holistically, compassionately and lovingly – but sparingly.

So, with our Heart, not our head,
may we think less, and BE more –

NOW!


Ron’s comments about thinking “objectively”.

Dear Friends,

Do you accept ideas of individual or institutional “objectivity”?

If so, you may question the above posting which contends that scientifically and spiritually: “Objectivity is an illusory impossibility”; that without a separate subject there can be no separate object, and that “our (apparent) separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Like most Westerners I grew up imbued with ideals of honesty and “objectivity” of our scientific, academic, journalistic and judicial institutions. However, as a social justice lawyer in increasingly dystopian times, I’ve become skeptical of those “objectivity” ideas and ideals.
  
But only after my midlife spiritual awakening, did I begin realizing that ultimate objectivity is an illusory impossibility; that the idea of objectivity refers only to a pre-relativity Newtonian world-view of apparently separate energy forms and phenomena, in which we’ve mistakenly measured matter and phenomena which are perceivable, but excluded Cosmic consciousness – the non-dual immeasurable and imperceivable matrix and Source of all our ego-mind conceptions of ‘reality’.

Ultimately I’ve intuited (and irreversibly concurred with quantum physicist David Bohm) that “Objective reality does not exist” that ….“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram” . Thus that all humanly perceived forms or phenomena are merely impermanent holographic projections of immeasurable consciousness – of ONE Reality beyond space/time causality/duality.

Despite last century’s revolutionary scientific discoveries of relativity and quantum physics, most materialistic mainstream scientists remain reluctant to recognize the impossibility of accurately describing Nature through ‘objective’ measurement. Nor do they yet confirm Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Planck’s description of matter

“as derivative from consciousness”; so that “science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature.  …. because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of Nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


So still only cutting edge scientists recognize verity of Einstein’s relativity revelations that

“there is no matter”; that “what we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses”; that “our (apparent) separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”


The foregoing Q and A essay and quotations are shared to help us understand how scientifically and spiritually “objectivity” is an illusory abstraction, causing mistaken belief in the supposed objective ‘reality’ of what we subjectively project and perceive.

Dedication

May reflection on these writings help inspire our evolutionary realization that space/time’s relative ‘reality’, like a mirage, is merely an illusory subjective mental projection of Cosmic Consciousness – our eternal essence and ultimate sole Source and Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Atheists Beware!
~ Verses, Quotations and Explanations

“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that
it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer,
the good and the bad, the real and the unreal;
that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep;
and that He is beyond all these.” …
”God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“I don’t try to imagine a personal God;
it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world,
insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself
in the orderly harmony of what exists,
not in a God who concerns himself
with fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
~ Plato
“There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who,
when danger is pressing in, will not acknowledge the divine power.”
~ Plato
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
The worst moment for the atheist
is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.                    
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”
~ Albert Camus
“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
“Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basri (First female Sufi saint)




Atheists Beware!

We reify what we resist.

And as we persist in resisting,

We attract and become what we resist.

So atheists, beware!

In vehemently denying Divinity,
you are reifying and deifying “God”.

And as you opine,
you’re becoming Divine.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Atheists Beware!”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Atheists Beware!”

The foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed after I’d begun to sometimes see our space/time ‘reality’ as an ever paradoxical play of Divine ONENESS.

Before my midlife awakening to Self identity as Awareness, I don’t remember thinking about existence (or non-existence) of a creator “God”. However, I tacitly accepted the core Hebrew precept: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4), and considered “God” as ONE universally immanent, nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. And I rejected ideas of a humanoid, personal or judgmental God. Hence, after childhood I always interpreted Bible legends metaphorically – not as ‘the word of God’ explicitly spoken through special messengers.

Until my midlife awakening, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But upon awakening to a new life at age forty three, I cried for twenty four hours. Thereafter, while others were frequent flyers, I became a ‘frequent crier’. And I wondered why I was crying so much, until experientially realizing with utter amazement that I was crying with intense longing for “God”. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) 

Since then, I’ve spent much time reflecting about “God”. And I’ve found that my beliefs and ideas about “God” have evolved as I’ve opened spiritually; that my curiosity about God has emanated from a universal human longing (conscious or subliminal) for a state of ONENESS with THAT.

Curiosity about “God” soon sparked interest in “atheism” and “atheists”. (See Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity) Also, I soon realized that – as the Bible says – “God” is word – used by different people to designate their different ideas of a transcendent power; that, whether or not the “universe” was created by God, “God” is a concept created by man. (See God is a Word.)

And ultimately I irreversibly accepted and honored the perennial mystery of Divine Reality beyond space/time duality.  
(See e.g. Mystery of Divinity)

Thus it paradoxically appeared to me that worldly people who adamantly professed with certainty to be most religious – or atheistic – were usually most intolerant of those with other religious, spiritual or philosophic views; that their professed fundamentalist certainty about superiority of their philosophy – masked deep doubt, ignorance or insecurity about the transcendent Divine mystery.

Ultimately, my reflections about “God” resulted in my living a faith-based life. After years of questioning, I found faith beyond belief, beyond dogmas or theology. I found faith in everything everywhere, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon. I found faith in my Self and in Nature. And faith to devotionally follow my Heart. So I became a non-dualist lover of God – a Bhakta – especially inspired by by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who taught and demonstrated that

“[A]ll one’s confusion (about God) comes to an end if one only realizes that
 it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, 
the good and the bad, the real and the unreal.”

(See I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life and Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools”)

So the foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed from a faith-based perspective of Divine ONENESS; that “it is God who manifests …. as [both] the atheist and the believer.”

The poem ironically reveals that, in adamantly resisting “God”, worldly atheists are unable to realize their ultimate divinity – that paradoxically they are what they resist; a realization that is transcendentally Knowable only by rare beings, like Ramakrishna.

Dedication and Invocation of “Atheists Beware”

Inspired by deep curiosity, reflection and intuition about “God”,

may we gradually discover and experience our common inner Divine Source,

Until ultimately our ego-minds melt and merge with THAT:

Universal Spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss;
Eternal Peace, Life, Light, LOVE

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“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
“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
“Our purpose is process –
evolutionary 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 – evolutionary process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each Earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source [*see Footnote] – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent herein.

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 each other the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common spiritual 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 Comments on Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life is purposeful – individually or collectively?

Or have you wondered:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?”
Or “What is the meaning of life?”

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”.  And since my midlife change of life, I’ve found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness. 

So today I’m sharing the foregoing quotations and essay/poem to help us consider perennial  questions about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ of life.

Background  

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

Tentatively, I’ve hypothesized that, as students matriculating on the ‘Earth branch of the great cosmic University’, we’re learning to let life live us as LOVE, until ultimately we realize that LOVE is our common Self-identity and Universal Reality; that beyond this conceptual space/time relative reality, there are no philosophical questions or concepts or purposes, just infinitely potential Cosmic Consciousness as a ‘maha-matrix’ Source of all samsaric illusory mirage-like ‘realities’.

While 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, mostly 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.   

Until midlife I understood Hammerstein’s lyrics to encompass only worldly subjects, like romantic love.  But, after spiritually awakening, I began to realize that Hammerstein’s lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives. And I started referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”.  

When I was born in 1932, one the “top ten” popular songs was “Why Was I Born”, for which Hammerstein (with composer Jerome Kern) had written lyrics in 1929, beginning with these perennial questions: “Why was I born? Why am I living?” “What do I get? What am I giving?” And Hammerstein’s lyrics concluded with this enduring answer: “Why I was born? To love you!”  

Fifty years after Hammerstein’s composition of the “Why Was I Born”  lyrics, I began to realize that as an ultimate goal of Human life Hammerstein’s lyrics esoterically could refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – e.g. to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Rumi and Hafiz.  

So with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and edited his answer to suggest our true Earth-life purpose: 

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!  

Thus I’ve learned that reflecting on life’s purpose, can help 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 our projected-perceptions: 

That we are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories, or 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. We are all Eternal LOVE. 

Invocation

May we help transform and transcend this world of suffering,
by realizing and compassionately actualizing our common spiritual identity, as LOVE. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Pursuit of Happiness
~ Quotations

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-Tzu
“All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.”
~ Shantideva
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,

which is within.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





Introduction.

Dear Friends,

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer. For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self. So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

This posting is a carefully selected collection of wisdom quotations about the Pursuit of Happiness which reveal perennial insights to the fundamental happiness goal of every human being – whether or not they knowingly follow an enduring religious, spiritual, or ethical path or principle.

These Pursuit of Happiness quotations follow my recent posting about why everyone wants happiness, which suggested that incarnation is limitation and that lasting happiness can only be found in transcendence of ego and merger with Source, after eons of inner evolution with ever elevated heart levels of awareness.

Today’s quotations provide pragmatic insights into ways which can help everyone experience increasing happiness as we evolve beyond ego to Self-identification as Eternal spirit, rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. They can help each of us from our unique perspectives find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.

Because we’re each unique with ever fluctuating enegies and unique evolutionary perspectives, different ‘pursuit of happiness’ quotations may apply to different people, concurrently or at different times. Therefore, as you carefully consider these quotations, please follow your heart to determine which ones and when they may apply to your unique perspectives.

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


Pursuit of Happiness ~ Quotations


We hold these truths to be self evident:

that all men are created equal:

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;

that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence


“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

~ Dalai Lama


“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

~ Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Those who are not looking for happiness
are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that
the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King,Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

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

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!”
~ Rumi

“There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”
~ Epictetus

“The people have a right to the truth
as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ Epictetus

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy.
But if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you,

and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.
You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain.
Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;

if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

~ C. P. Snow



“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,

the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
~ Lao Tzu

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu


“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?

Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.

What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“I am happy even before I have a reason.”

~ Hafiz


The word “happiness” would lose its meaning

if it were not balanced by sadness.

~ Carl Jung



“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast



Dealing With Death and Dying
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
you must go deep within yourself.
In meditation, the truth will come to you.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Face death to live life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Death is a vacation –
Eternal Life-force vacating a transient vehicle –
“a space-time soul suit”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is in dying to ego life,
that we are reborn to Eternal Life.”
~ Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (edited by Ron Rattner)


Whats-Really-Real

Introduction

Physical death is inevitable and natural. But when I grew up it was largely a taboo subject in American society. Most Americans feared death, believing it ended life. They usually died in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by family. And mostly they used euphemistic language to describe death.

Though the mystery of inevitable bodily death has long been a central religious and philosophical issue, my childhood Jewish and public school education did not encompass that mystery – nor did my non-liberal arts college curriculum.

Both my grandmothers had died before I was born. My paternal grandfather who I hardly knew died while I was quite young and I was not brought to his funeral. Not until later adulthood did I suffer loss of any other dear person or pet, or think much about death.

Until my mid-life spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my mortal body, its thoughts and its story, and I assumed that death of the physical body ended life. So I had no knowledge, opinion or belief concerning reincarnation or afterlife in ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, or of an immortal “soul”.

Like most other Americans, I had an innate but largely subconscious fear of death, which I discovered during college days in Madison, Wisconsin. While imprudently and unskillfully swimming too far from shore in Lake Mendota, I nearly drowned and unforgettably experienced my usually subconscious fear of death. Fortuitously, in the nick of time, I was sighted and rescued by boaters. For many years thereafter, as a (non-swimming) relatively young and healthy person, I never again consciously confronted or philosophically explored that innate 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 my maternal grandfather and 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. Then, on meeting my beloved Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (on the luckiest day of my life), 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, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those eternal questions.

Inspired by Guruji, I became religiously transformed from “secular Hebrew” to “Born-again Hindu”. And I developed a deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation and karma.

Elsewhere, on SillySutras.com I have shared many experiences, essays and poems on these subjects. (See, for example, https://sillysutras.com/category/afterlife/; also https://sillysutras.com/death-afterlife-rebirth-easter-reflections-on-resurrections/)

Ultimately I concluded from experience, intuition and intellect 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/ )

Consequently, I became ever more detached and less fearful about my own inevitable (and perhaps imminent) bodily death. But, my detachment about my own demise did not negate my compassionate concern for loss of others – especially dear ones – and my wish for their auspicious transitions. This became evident when at age sixty-one I was, at long last, confronted with my dear father’s last illness and passing.

Here is what happened.

Dealing with my father’s last illness and death

My dear father, Harry, came into this world on December 14, 1904, with a very strong body which served him well and without serious disease or disability until age 88. Then beginning in 1993 he had a series of ailments which proved terminal.

First he suffered an extremely painful and protracted case of herpes shingles for which he was treated with Prednisone, a powerful immune system depressant, which weakened him. Soon after recovering from that affliction, while already debilitated he had an intestinal hernia injury, so painful that he was hospitalized and suffered greatly before and after emergency abdominal surgery. Then he soon developed congestive heart disease with lungs filling with liquid and mucus. And finally he was diagnosed with lung cancer – a terminal disease which he had averted despite being a three pack a day cigarette chain smoker from teen age until age sixty. Amazingly, he had will power to immediately quit smoking cigarettes on publication of the 1964 US Surgeon General’s report confirming cigarette carcinogenicity and toxicity.

My Dad had enthusiastically enjoyed his long life, especially after his retirement and move from Chicago to the California Bay Area, near his children. But he was not anxious to prolong that life while he suffered painful terminal disease. Once, when I visited him in the John Muir Hospital, sadly he confided in me: “Ron, they put dogs and cats out of misery, but make people suffer. If Doctor Kevorkian was in this area and not Michigan, he’d be my doctor.”

Though, as a law-abiding “born-again Hindu” I had mixed emotions about euthanasia, I felt great compassion for my father and wanted to do whatever would be spiritually appropriate to mitigate his suffering and assure his most auspicious possible transition. So, I consulted my Brahmin Vedic pundit-astrologer friend Pravin Jani, father of Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma.

Pravinji recommended that I recite certain Sanskrit mantras and that I make two extraordinary charitable donations dedicated to my father: first, that I give to a chosen charity a gift of actual gold – not money; and second, that I purchase and give a holy cow to an Indian ashram. So, with heartfelt compassion for my father, I began reciting the mantras and arranged the unusual donations in his honor.

First, I donated rare American eagle gold coins to New Dimensions Foundation, where I was a Board member. Then, through arrangements by my daughter Jessica who was then living on Ammachi’s Kerala ashram, I acquired and donated to the ashram a holy cow, where it was gratefully received.

“Why” you may ask “is it considered propitious to donate a cow to an Indian ashram?” Because in India cows are are revered as sacred animals by millions of Hindus. Hindus believe that their Divine Avatar Krishna incarnated 5,000 years ago as an enchanting cowherd. He is often described as Bala-Gopala, “the child who protects the cows.” and as Govinda, “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.”

I learned about holy cows during my 1982 sacred pilgrimage to India. One of my most memorable images of that trip, was of stray cows roaming free and obstructing traffic on busy Calcutta streets as our tour bus approached the downtown hotel where we were staying. Later, in the holy city of Rishikesh, I communed with and kissed one of the sacred small cows on the Sivananda, Divine Life Ashram.

Holy Cow at Rishikesh 1982.1

Ron Kissing Holy Cow at Rishikesh, 1982


Many Indian ashrams and rural Indian families have at least one dairy cow, using it for milk, curds, butter, ghee and dung as fuel for pujas (ritual ceremonies). Thus, the cow remains a protected animal in Hinduism today, revered by most Hindus, who do not eat beef.

When I stayed at Ammachi’s ashram in 1992, the ashram had one cow. It’s limited dairy products were used mostly for feeding Ammachi and some swamis, but were insufficient to supply other ashram residents. However, with special dispensation, for a few days Jessica obtained for me one morning cup of curd (yoghurt) which helped heal the severe intestinal upset with which had I arrived at the ashram, suffering food poisoning from a Brahmin wedding feast in Ahmedabad. So the following year I was especially happy to repay that ashram cow’s blessing by donating another sacred cow to be its companion.

Apparently my bovine and gold donations and prayers did not prolong my father’s life. But I have faith that they helped his transition to a heavenly afterlife. When it became evident that Dad’s days here were numbered, at his request he was released from hospital to hospice care at home in March 1994.

To help, I started sleeping at my parents’ Walnut Creek apartment. On the night of March 10, 1994, sensing that Dad’s death was imminent, I stayed awake reciting Sanskrit mantras, especially a mantra recommended by Guruji for auspicious transitions of those destined to die. As I fervently recited mantras, I felt enhanced subtle energies and entered a clairsentient state. Then, though Dad was sleeping in another room, I felt the departure of his spirit. The next morning he was gone, and I helped my mother with required post-death arrangements.

After-death Afterlife Epilogue

That night, exhausted by the stress of prior days, I returned to San Francisco where I slept soundly in my ‘high-rise hermitage’. Just before awakening, and while I was in a semi-sleep state, my father fleetingly appeared in a vivid inner vision. He looked as he did during the prime of his life, rather than as a debilitated old man. He assured me he was fine and then disappeared. When I reported that sighting to Indian friends, they informed me that Dad had died on Maha Shivaratri (the ‘Great Night of Shiva’) considered the most auspicious holy night of the year by millions of Hindus.

Soon afterwards I received another extraordinary assurance of Dad’s favorable transition as I was driving to Shri Anandi Ma’s home in Antioch for a weekend meditation program. En route, I had picked up as passengers Anandi Ma’s parents and brother Umesh at their Berkeley apartment. Like his revered sister, Umesh then spent many hours daily in deep meditation often communing with Guruji’s ishta devata, Hindu monkey-God Lord Hanuman, considered an incarnation of Shiva.

As we traveled to Antioch, Umesh said to me: “Ron, I have a message for you from Hanumanji.” With extreme curiosity, I asked about that message. Whereupon, Umesh replied: “Hanumanji says, don’t worry about your father, we’re taking care of him.”

Six months later, on August 29, 1994, Guruji took mahasamadhi at age one hundred sixteen, and joined the heavenly host caring for my father and countless others. So, heeding Hanumanji’s assurance, I’m not worrying about my father. Instead, as I too approach the end of this precious lifetime, it is my heartfelt aspiration to help through self-purification and compassion not only family dear ones but all other suffering sentient beings with whom we remain inseparably connected.

And so may it be!

Reincarnation
~ Quotes From Famous People

“The entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and . . individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind’s deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one’s current role, rather than with the movie’s director, or God.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“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”
“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
“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.” 

~ Mark Twain





Reincarnation ~ Quotes From Famous People

“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

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

“Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of 
bodies of the world.”
~ Jesus Christ in Gnostic Gospels: Pistis Sophia

“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 (Preface to “The Case for Reincarnation”)

“Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind. The concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences, and that these existences were one’s own, ie, they had the same ego form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body.”  
~ Carl Jung

“Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil – coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and 
believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope 
that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug 
all of humanity in friendly embrace.” “The greatness of the human being is not in the reincarnation of the world but in the reincarnation of ourselves.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand 
times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the 
amplitude of time.”
~ Walt Whitman

“I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. 
We shall rise refreshed in the morning.” And, “Finding myself to 
exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other always 
exist.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of 
millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, 
promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”

~ Jack London

“The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives.”
~ Luther Burbank

“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

“I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives”..“To me this is the most beautiful, the most satisfactory from a scientific standpoint,
the most logical theory of life. For thirty years I have leaned toward the theory of Reincarnation. It seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things.”
~ Henry Ford

“I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before,
and I hope to return a thousand times.”
~ Goethe

“Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty –

for in any case thou wilt live again!”

~ Freidrich Nietzsche

“The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.” “It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Celts were fearless warriors because “they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another…”
~ Julius Caesar

“Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar.”
~ William Wordsworth

“My life often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was an historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.

I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries 
and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer;
 that I had been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me.”
~ Carl Jung

“I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the
 dead are in existence.”

~ Socrates

“As a man, casting off worn out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, entereth into ones that are new.”
~ Epictetus

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once;
everything in nature is resurrection.”
~ Voltaire

“He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships become newly born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another.”
~ Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

“All pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies.”

~ Josephus (Jewish historian from the time of Jesus)

“All human beings go through a previous life… Who knows how
 many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be 
brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of
 spiritual worlds?”
~ Honore Balzac

“Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“What is of particular importance . . is conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. This conviction, will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul … are within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma.
~ Rudolf Steiner

“When the physical organism breaks up, the soul survives.
It then takes on another body.”
~ Paul Gauguin

“Friends are all souls that we’ve known in other lives. We’re drawn to each other.
Even if I have only known them a day, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to wait till I have known them for two years, because anyway, we must have met somewhere before, you know.”
~ George Harrison

“Know, therefore, that from the greater silence I shall return…
Forget not that I shall come back to you…
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind,
and another woman shall bear me.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead?
The soul never dies and the body is never really alive.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stories from Behind the Stove