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Teaching

Finding Freedom ~
Question, Quotes and Comments

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man, which is, that he must be completely free. As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind.
If you say ‘I am a free soul.
I am a son of God who can bind me’
free you shall be.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi
“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body,
the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him–
that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“All life is an effort to attain freedom from self-created entanglement;
it is a desperate struggle to undo what has been done under ignorance,
to throw away the accumulated burden of the past, to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures.”
~ Meher Baba
“Freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright:
.. real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;
it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage
is to go beyond the limitations of [karmic] law,
to go beyond causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Liberation is our very nature. We are that.
The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Spiritual freedom is freedom from all wanting. . . When the soul breaks asunder the shackles of wanting, it is emancipated from bondage to body, mind, and ego. This freedom brings realization of the unity of all life and puts an end to all doubts and worries.”
~ Meher Baba
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul… it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. He does not want to give you a religion, because religion binds you.”
~ Osho
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
“You are truly free when you are not a person.”
~ Deepak Chopra – The Book of Secrets
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual,

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. — “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963

 

Free Fall


How can we find “freedom”?

Q. What is “freedom”, and how can we experience it?

A. “Freedom” is a word with different meanings.

Here we define “freedom” as ultimate spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief –
which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.

Ultimate “freedom” is our divine birthright, our nature and our destiny. Freedom is ever NOW, never then.

After mystically experiencing “freedom”, great beings like Jesus, the Buddha and Krishna have encouraged us to aspire to this ultimate transcendent experience. Knowingly or unknowingly, all people – including atheists, non-theists, and agnostics – long for “freedom”.

Mystics say that as long we self-identify only with our thoughts in ever changing space/time/causality reality we are inescapably ‘imprisoned’ in a state of psychological bondage, with inevitable suffering; that we experience ultimate “freedom” only in the present moment – the NOW – as we choicelessly self-identify with timeless universal awareness or spirit immanent in each of us.

Essential wisdom teachings of all enduring spiritual, mystical and mythic paths allude to spiritual “freedom”.

Thus, the most important Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, is a teaching by Divine Avatar Krishna about the ultimate spiritual goal (“moksha”) of liberation or “freedom” from the cycle of death and rebirth (“samsara”).

Similarly, all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings were aimed at ending human suffering through attainment of “freedom” from mental fetters or chains (samyojana) of mistaken self-identification with samsara.

When Jesus said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) he meant that we will experience “freedom” on realizing our true self-identity as soul or spirit. And in declaring: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), Jesus showed that we can only find such freedom when we self-identify with ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.

“Freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of the biblical Passover story. Many Jews and Christians annually remember and ritually observe the biblical Exodus legend about God miraculously rescuing Jews from bondage as slaves in Egypt, with Christians recalling that a Passover seder dinner was Jesus’ last supper.   Some Afro-American Christians celebrate by singing the popular spiritual song “Go Down Moses

The Exodus story symbolizes humanity’s eternal quest for spiritual freedom – for societal escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity universally imminent within each of us, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, if any. So Passover rituals of lighting outer candles, can symbolically remind us of humanity’s perpetual quest for the eternal inner light of universal freedom.

Conclusion

We find and experience ultimate freedom only in choiceless awareness beyond our apparent subject/object separateness; beyond our beliefs, religions, ideologies or philosophies. By recognizing and transcending illusory belief barriers which seem to imprison us, we are –

“Free at last, free at last!”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.”


Ron’s Commentary on Finding Spiritual Freedom

Dear Friends,

Spiritual freedom is an ultimate goal of all perennial wisdom paths. Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty.  But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare transcendental state which can be inwardly attained even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like slaves or prison inmates. 

I first deeply reflected on transcendental concepts of “freedom” during the 1950’s on learning of Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology theories concerning self-actuated people, and when I read “Escape From Freedom” by German-born psychotherapist Erich Fromm, who endorsed the fundamental importance of not submitting to outer-dictates from an authoritarian societal system that prescribes inauthentic beliefs and behaviors.

Though I’ve always been instinctively inner-directed, after becoming a lawyer I rarely reflected about inner “freedom” until I had a memorable face-to-face exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, just prior to his 1980 return to India. 

While then residing in my apartment, 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 intensely curious about Guruji’s surprising 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. So I began deeply exploring inner spiritual freedom, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.  

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

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

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
 


Later, I noted that Jesus powerfully alluded to spiritual freedom by prophesying:

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

 
So Jesus was teaching that we will find freedom (from psychologically self-imposed worldly slavery) 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 ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a kind of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.  

However, the masters teach and demonstrate that we can each mentally transcend that “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter what 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


The ultimate possibility of getting out of thoght-jail FREE is explained in the foregoing quotations and essay.  May they encourage our evolution to precious inner freedom, our divine birthright.

And so may it be!

2022 Post-Pandemic Epilogue

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter/Passover/Ramadan/ et al. post-pandemic holiday season!

Two years ago, we entered an extraordinarily unprecedented “new normal” period of fearful pandemic panic. Billions of people worldwide have fearfully kept socially distant from one-another, wearing government-prescribed masks, or have been locked-down and “sheltering” instead of living normally. Observant Christians and Jews were at times barred from worshiping together at Easter services which memorialized the death and resurrection of Jesus, or at Passover seders (like Jesus’ last supper) which ritually observed the biblical Exodus legend of God’s miraculous deliverance of Jews from slavery in Egypt to seek and find freedom in a ‘promised land’.

As an expert retired longtime social justice attorney, I’ve become extremely concerned about obviously unconstitutional authoritarian edicts, laws, regulations and prescriptions for harmful genetic experiments which have prevented billions of people (individually and societally) from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, health and economic “freedoms”. Especially because such edicts threaten imminent tyrannical enslavement of humanity I urgently encourage worldwide revolutionary resistance and refusal to obey them.

Additionally, to address the psycho-spiritual origins of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve also edited and republished the foregoing posting about finding transcendental inner “freedom”.

Paradoxically, this is a time of both catastrophic threat to Earth-life as we’ve known it, and unprecedented opportunity for a wonderful new era of peace and prosperity. Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from resolving current quandaries, it is crucial that we now deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking political, social, health, and spiritual “freedoms”.

Invocation

May today’s writings (and embedded gospel music)
inspire and encourage our democratic worldly progress
toward liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all,
and hasten our fearless inner spiritual evolution,
to a wonderful world where we are 

“Free at last, free at last.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Go Down Moses”

Afro-American spiritual about exodus story, sung by Louis Armstrong and chorus.




Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Look how the caravan of civilization
has been ambushed.
Fools are everywhere in charge.
Do not practice solitude like Jesus.
Be in the assembly, and take charge of it.”
~ Rumi
“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth.
We are all crew.”
~ Marshall McLuhan
“We must learn to live together as [sisters and] brothers,
or perish together as fools.” ..
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,
but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” 
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Cherish or Perish.

Co-exist cooperatively, or

Co-expire catastrophically.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell
“Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
~ Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, scene II
“When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming… The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way… We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening… Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power





Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Dear Friends,

On this ‘April Fools’ day I am deeply concerned that all life on our precious planet Earth is experiencing extraordinary and potentially catastrophic crises perpetrated by insane fools. So this is a time for serious effort to preserve life on “Spaceship Earth”, rather than a day for frivolous thoughts or behaviors.

Worldwide we are facing unprecedented nuclear, ecological, economic, health and interpersonal crises so serious that they threaten all life on our precious planet and cause misery for millions as Humanity allows the world to be ruled and ruined by psychopaths.

Current crises appear to have been precipitated by transnational world “leaders” – a few obscenely privileged financial, corporate, political and religious oligarchs – who without remorse amorally and ignorantly acquire, abuse and misuse power, and excessive material wealth far beyond their conceivable needs; people so insane and insensitive that they are unjustly and brutally harming countless humans and creatures, and myopically scuttling Spaceship Earth, by corrupting and destroying the life support systems which sustain us.

Bucky Fuller and “Spaceship Earth”

Buckminster Fuller


In the mid-1960’s visionary American architect, inventor, and author R. Buckminster Fuller [Bucky] popularized the term “Spaceship Earth” to explain how our precious planet is a single system with its apparent separations inextricably interdependent and interconnected.

Bucky foresaw that to ensure our long-term viability and to avert global catastrophe humanity must wisely and cooperatively inhabit and operate our amazing ‘Spaceship’ – like skilled astronauts. He said:“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”

So I’m wondering whether “Spaceship Earth” has become a “ship of fools”, not only because of those insanely commanding and ‘steering’ it, but also because we its imminently endangered crew foolishly tolerate such insanity without immediately mutinying and claiming command.

Current critical times

Since the 2019 inception of a purported pre-planned coronavirus pandemic crisis, countless people worldwide have been experiencing considerable fear, anxiety, anger, hatred and other polarizing negative emotions. More people are fearful than ever before. And such fears are constantly being psychologically fomented by mainstream news media and internet information cartels.

Whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives may be, we share overriding common needs and aspirations: the same precious Earth biosphere; the same aspirations for health and happiness and enjoyment of God-given rights; and for just democratic societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet.

However, until now virtually all of us in varying degrees have been suffering from an illusory sense of separation from each other and from our ONE common spiritual essence. According to mystics and non-material scientists we suffer from perception deception, mistakenly believing as ‘reality’ all we perceive as separate. But, as Albert Einstein revolutionarily revealed: “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

And, as Alan Watts reminds us, we’ve “been fooled” by our mistakenly perceived separation from Nature:

“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is — rather literally — to be spellbound”.
~ Alan Watts

Perhaps each of us has known subliminally that we are participating in a great cosmic hoax about our supposed separate reality and identity.   And perhaps April Fools’ day has been an expression of that subliminal awareness. But at long last it’s time for us to awaken and together act to preserve life on “Spaceship Earth”.

Conclusion

Humanity urgently needs to nonviolently take charge of navigating “Spaceship Earth”.

As Venerable Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wisely observed:


“We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

As the 99%+ common ‘crew’ of “Spaceship Earth”, we must immediately take charge of guiding our precious planet to assure that it is no longer insanely and unsustainably desecrated; but that it is cooperatively and democratically guided and honored by and for compassionate societies, rather than insanely ruled and ruined by very few “leaders”.

We must choose to “live together as [sisters and] brothers” rather than “perish together as fools.” 

And so shall it be!


Ron Rattner

Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom


“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa


Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
February 18, 1836 – August 16, 1886



Ron’s Introduction to “Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom”

Dear Friends,

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was an exraordinary 19th century Indian holy man who has become likened to Krishna, Buddha, and Christ, as a Divine Incarnation. He was an extremely rare and eccentric mystical genius who taught from his direct experience. Like Jesus, in order to explain abstruse spiritual philosophy to common people, Sri Ramakrishna used parables and illustrations, culled from his observation of the daily life around him.

His exceptional life exemplified the ancient universal non-dualism truths of Advaita Hindu philosophy. However, Sri Ramakrishna’s mystical experiences transcended most precepts of Hinduism, and were similar to experiences of prophets and mystics from other enduring religions.

As a tribute to him Mahatma Gandhi has written:


“His life enables us to see God face to face. .
Ramakrishna was a living embodiment of godliness.”


Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual teachings have been preserved and disseminated globally through “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrisha”, a unique written record of the direct words of a prophet consisting of a very detailed account of the daily life and conversations of Sri Ramakrishna interspersed with his profound and subtle utterances about the nature of Ultimate Reality. Those teachings continue to bless and benefit countless people worldwide, including me.

Sri Ramakrishna’s groundbreaking religious pluralism and spiritual non-dualism teachings were first prominently disseminated by his most important disciple Swami Vivekananda, a renowned sage and eloquent orator, who came to the West beginning in 1893 as the spokesman for Hinduism at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago.

Thereafter to promote Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings, in America Vivekananda established Vedanta Societies, and in India he founded the Ramakrishna Mission. There now exists a thriving Ramakrishna spiritual revitalization movement with numerous Vedanta centers in India, America and worldwide.

My Discovery of Sri Ramakrisha’s Teachings

I first learned about Sri Ramakrishna during my 1982 pilgrimage to India, while at Dakshineshwar, his long-time residence place outside Calcutta (now Kolkata). There – almost a century after Sri Ramakrishna’s transition – I experienced his shakti life-force presence with an intense feeling of déjà vu while visiting a room where he had lived; a place which felt so pleasingly familiar to me that it seemed I could happily remain there forever.

Before visiting Dakshineshwar I knew nothing about Sri Ramakrishna. Nor was I yet aware that Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna’s principal disciple, had often visited him at Dakshineshwar; or that, touched and blessed by Ramakrishna, Vivekananda attained highest spiritual states, became an Indian national hero and first brought Vedantic wisdom to widespread Western audiences and spiritual practitioners. (Nor had I yet learned that Vivekananda was very important to my beloved Guruji.)

On returning home I began reading with fascination about Ramakrishna’s life and his teachings. I learned that (like Saint Francis of Assisi) he was an egalitarian ascetic mystic who completely renounced worldly pleasures and lived in utter simplicity. Ultimately, of all the saints whose stories I’d reflected on, I came to feel most intuitive affinity with Sri Ramakrishna (as well as with Saint Francis of Assisi), both of whom were extraordinary ascetics with similar Divine devotional traits with which I’ve felt great rapport, especially their “gift of tears”.

Moreover, I’ve especially appreciated Sri Ramakrishna’s simple sayings, parables, and spiritual stories, which continue to bless the world.
So to honor Sri Ramakrishna on his February 18th birthday anniversary I have gathered the following collection of his teachings.

Please enjoy and reflect upon them.


Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom Teachings



“The supreme purpose and goal for human life… is to cultivate love.”

“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”

“Try to cultivate love of God. You are born as a human being only to attain divine love.”

“Unalloyed love of God is the essential thing. All else is unreal.”

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”

“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”

“One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit.”

“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”

“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.”

“When the divine vision is attained, all appear equal;
and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low.”

“Men are like pillow-cases. The color of one may be red, that of another blue, and that of the third black; but all contain the same cotton within. So it is with man; one is beautiful, another is ugly, a third holy, and a fourth wicked; but the Divine Being dwells in them all.”

“The sun can give heat and light to the whole world, but he cannot do so when the clouds shut out his rays.
Similarly as long as egotism veils the heart, God cannot shine upon it.”

“God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer.”

“It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God.
In front of the door of God’s mansion lies the stump of ego.
One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump.”

“The water of God’s grace cannot collect
on the high mound of egotism. It runs down.”

“The ego is like the root of a banyan tree, you think you have removed it all then one fine morning you see a sprout flourishing again.”

“All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.”

“As a piece of rope, when burnt, retains its form, but cannot serve to bind, so is the ego which is burnt by the fire of supreme Knowledge.”

“Imagine a limitless expanse of water: above and below, before and behind, right and left, everywhere there is water. In that water is placed a jar filled with water. There is water inside the jar and water outside, but the jar is still there. The [ego] ‘I’ is the jar.”

“Take the case of the infinite ocean. There is no limit to its water. Suppose a pot is immersed in it: there is water both inside and outside the pot. The [wise] jnani sees that both inside and outside there is nothing but [God] Paramatman. Then what is this pot? It is [ego] ‘I-consciousness’. Because of the pot the water appears to be divided into two parts; because of the pot you seem to perceive an inside and an outside. One feels that way as long as this pot of [ego] ‘I’ exists. When the ‘I’ disappears, what is remains. That cannot be described in words.”

“The waves belong to the water. Does the water belong to the waves?”

“Bondage and Liberation are of the mind alone.”

“Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind. If you say ‘I am a free soul. I am a son of God who can bind me’ free you shall be.”

“It is the mind that makes one wise or ignorant, bound or emancipated.”

“By the mind one is bound; by the mind one is freed. … He who asserts with strong conviction: “I am not bound, I am free,” becomes free.”

“A man is truly free, even here in this embodied state, if he knows that God is the true [doer] and he by himself is powerless to do anything.”

*“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”

“Two things are necessary for the realization of God;
faith and self-surrender.”

“God has put you in the world. What can you do about it?
Resign everything to Him. Surrender yourself at His feet.
Then there will be no more confusion.
Then you will realize that it is God who does everything.”

“Surrender everything at the feet of God.
What else can you do?
Give Him the power of attorney.
Let Him do whatever He thinks best.”

“Have faith. Depend on God. Then you
will not have to do anything yourself.
Mother Kali will do everything for you.”

“An ocean of bliss may rain down from the heavens,
but if you hold up only a thimble, that is all you receive.”

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

“Through selfless work, love of God grows in the heart.
Then through his grace one realizes him in course of time.
God can be seen. One can talk to him as I am talking to you.”

“Great men have the nature of a child.”

“So long as one does not become simple like a child, one does not get divine illumination. Forget all the worldly knowledge that thou hast acquired and become as a child, and then will thou get the divine wisdom.”

“Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realize that they know nothing.”

“Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same God.”

“As many faiths so many paths”.

“The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love.”

“Pure knowledge and pure love are one and the same thing.
Both lead the aspirants to the same goal. The path of love is much easier.”

“If you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.”

“Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”

“God cannot be realized if there is the slightest trace of pride.”

“Spirituality automatically leads to humility.
When a flower develops into a fruit, the petals drop off on its own.
When one becomes spiritual, the ego vanishes gradually on its own.
A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness.”

“The tree laden with fruits always bends low. If you wish to be great, be lowly and meek.”

“If you meditate on your ideal, you will acquire its nature. If you think of God day and night, you will acquire the nature of God.”

“Make your meditation a continuous state of mind. A great worship is going on all the time, so nothing should be neglected or excluded from your constant meditative awareness.”

“Man suffers through lack of faith in God.”

“Once a person has faith he has achieved everything.
There is nothing greater than faith.”

“You must have heard about the tremendous power of faith. It is said . . that Rama, who was God Himself – the embodiment of Absolute Brahman – had to build a bridge to cross the sea to Ceylon. But Hanuman, trusting in Rama’s name, cleared the sea in one jump and reached the other side. He had no need of a bridge.”

“The magnetic needle always points to the north, and hence it is that sailing vessel does not lose her direction. So long as the heart of man is directed towards God, he cannot be lost in the ocean of worldliness.”

“Dwell, O mind, within yourself; Enter no other’s home. If you but seek there, you will find All you are searching for. God, the true Philosopher’s Stone, Who answers every prayer, Lies hidden deep within your heart, The richest gem of all. How many pearls and precious stones Are scattered all about The outer court that lies before The chamber of your heart!”

“A boat may stay in water, but water should not stay in boat. A spiritual aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him.”

“Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and goes off with the sugar grain; so pious men lift the good from the bad.”

“Sunlight is one and the same wherever it falls; but only a bright surface like that of water, or of a mirror reflects it fully. So is the light Divine. It falls equally and impartially on all hearts, but the pure and pious hearts of holy men receive and reflect that light well.”

“Forgiveness is the true nature of the ascetic.”

“The compassion that you see in the kindhearted is God’s compassion. He has given it to them to protect the helpless.”

“The Man who works for others, without any selfish motive, really does good to himself.”

“Do yourself what you wish others to do.”

“Wisdom leads to unity, but ignorance to separation.
So long as God seems to be outside and far away, there is ignorance.
But when God is realized within, that is true knowledge.”

“One must be very particular about telling the truth. Through truth one can realize God.”

“Unless one always speaks the truth, one cannot find God Who is the soul of truth.”

“Different people call on [God] by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it ‘jal’, others at another place and call it ‘pani’, and still others at a third place and call it ‘water’. The Hindus call it ‘jal’, the Christians ‘water’, and the Moslems ‘pani’. But it is one and the same thing.”

“So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lily, and has not tasted the sweetness of its honey, it hovers around the flower emitting the buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it noiselessly drinks the nectar. So long as a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of true faith; when he has tasted it, he becomes quiet and full of peace.”

“One should not think, ‘My religion alone is the right path and other religions are false.’ God can be realized by means of all paths. It is enough to have sincere yearning for God. Infinite are the paths and infinite are the opinions.”

“It’s enough to have faith in one aspect of God. You have faith in God without form. That is very good. But never get into your head that your faith alone is true and every other is false. Know for certain that God without form is real and that God with form is also real. Then hold fast to whichever faith appeals to you.”

“Who is whose Guru? God alone is the guide and Guru of the universe.”

“Men bound hand and foot in the endless chain of [karmic] cause and effect cannot free each other.”

“Do not be small minded. Do not pray for gourds and pumpkins from God, when you should be asking for pure love and pure knowledge to dawn within every heart.”

“If you must be mad, be it not for the things of the world. Be mad with the love of God.”

“Pray to God that your attachment to such transitory things as wealth, name, and creature comforts may become less and less every day.”

“Pray to Him anyway you like, He can even hear the footfall of an ant.”

“The truth is that you cannot attain God if you have even a trace of desire. Subtle is the way of dharma. If you are trying to thread a needle, you will not succeed if the thread has even a slight fiber sticking out.”

“Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practice even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action.”

“We laugh at the efforts of the musk deer to find the source of the scent which comes from itself and despair at our efforts to find the peace which is our essence.”

“One cannot be spiritual as long as one has shame, hatred, or fear.”

“Those whose spiritual awareness has been awakened never make a false move. They don’t have to avoid evil. They are so replete with love that whatever they do is a good action. They are fully conscious that they are not the doer of their actions, but only servants of God.”

“It is true that God is even in the tiger, but we must not go and face the animal. So it is true that God dwells even in the most wicked, but it is not meet that we should associate with the wicked.”

“As a boy holding to a post or a pillar whirls about it with headlong speed without any fear or falling, so perform your worldly duties, fixing your hold firmly upon God, and you will be free from danger.”

“Little children play with dolls in the outer room just as they like, without any care of fear or restraint; but as soon as their mother comes in, they throw aside their dolls and run to her crying, “Mamma, mamma.” You too, are now playing in this material world, infatuated with the dolls of wealth, honor, fame, etc., If however, you once see your Divine Mother, you will not afterwards find pleasure in all these. Throwing them all aside, you will run to her.”

“When an unbaked pot is broken, the potter can use the mud to make a new one; but when a baked one is broken, he cannot do the same any longer. So when a person dies in a state of ignorance, he is born again; but when he becomes well baked in the fire of true knowledge and dies a perfect man, he is not born again.”

“The world is impermanent. One should constantly remember death.”

“Disease is the tax which the soul pays for the body, as the tenant pays house-rent for the use of the house.”

“Meditate upon the Knowledge and Bliss Eternal , and you will also have bliss. The Bliss indeed is eternal, only it is covered and obscured by ignorance. The less your attachment is towards the senses, the more will be your love towards God.”

“If you first fortify yourself with the true knowledge of the Universal Self, and then live in the midst of wealth and worldliness, surely they will in no way affect you.”

“When one has love for God, one doesn’t feel any physical attraction to wife, children, relatives and friends. One retains only compassion for them.”

“All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self.”

“As long as I live, so long do I learn.”


Mahatma Gandhi’s Tribute to Sri Ramakrishna

“Ramakrishna was a living embodiment of godliness. His saying are not those of a mere learned man but they are pages from the Book of Life. They are revelations of his own experiences. In this age of scepticism, Ramakrishna presents an example of bright and living faith, which gives solace to thousands of men and women who would otherwise have remained without spiritual light. Ramakrishna’s life was an object-lesson in Ahimsa. His love knew no limits, geographical or otherwise. May his divine love be an inspiration to all.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Invocation

May Sri Ramakrishna’s Universal Divine Love
inspire us to become ego-free Lovers of God;
To Self-realize that we are all equally Divine manifestations
of ONE Universal spirit – which is timeless LOVE.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Go For the Gold:
The Golden Rule For a Golden Age

“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal,
and so will be inadequate.”
“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”
~ Dalai Lama
“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor:
that is the whole of the Torah;
all the rest of it is commentary.”
~ Rabbi Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat, 31a – Judaism
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;
for this is the law and the prophets.”
~ Matthew 7:12 – Christianity
“Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful.”
~ Udana-Varga, 5:18 – Buddhism
“This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”
~ The Mahabharata, 5:1517 – Hinduism
“Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
~ Fortieth Hadith of an-Nawawi,13 – Islam
“Do not unto others what you do not want them to do to you.”
~ Analects 15:13 – Confucianism
“All things are our relatives;
what we do to everything, we do to ourselves.
All is really One.”

~ Black Elk – Native American Spirituality
“Do what you will, so long as it harms none.”
~ Wiccan Rede – Neo-paganism
“Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.”
~ British Humanist Society – Humanism
“Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
~ Native American prayer
“It’s not just religious people who believe in the Golden Rule.
This is the source of all morality, this imaginative act of empathy – putting yourself in the place of another.”
~ Karen Armstrong
“I will be as careful for you as I should be for myself in the same need.”
~ Homer, The Odyssey – Ancient Greece – 700 BC
“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of 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 the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.”
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”
~ Albert Schweitzer


Golden Rule

 
Awakening to a Golden Age.

Dear Friends,

We live in an age of mental malaise. Delusional human behaviors are causing life-threatening environmental, international and inter-personal crises and conflicts. For our peaceful survival on mother Earth, we must transcend these insane behaviors and resolve the problems they have caused.

As Albert Einstein aptly observed: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” So our survival depends on elevating human consciousness, societally and individually.

According to the Dalai Lama,

“Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart. [From] a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.” . . . “Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.” . . “The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”


Thus for humanity’s peaceful survival on our beautiful blue planet, the critical problems now confronting us must be resolved through love and compassion, based on universal human ethics that are “beyond religion” – because religion alone “is no longer adequate”.

How can this happen?

With ever expanding empathy for all life everywhere we must follow ‘the Golden Rule’. For millennia wisdom teachers from virtually all enduring ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions have proposed a simple ethical rule which if consciously and conscientiously followed can change the world.

Its essence is that we do no harm; that we treat all beings with the same dignity that we wish for ourselves and that they wish for themselves.

Though easy to understand, this Golden Rule of reciprocal empathy can not easily be followed until we awaken within – beyond our “optical delusion” of separateness – to our collective connection with all beings and all life everywhere. Then as Einstein suggests we can gradually “widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Eventually, we won’t even need the Golden rule. As my beloved Guruji Shri Dhyanyogi revealed:

“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.”


Ultimately, by following our sacred heart we will be in harmony with all life everywhere.

“This above all: to thine own self be true, 

And it must follow, as the night the day, 

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet


So with awakened hearts let us actualize a Golden Age wherein everyone everywhere treats all beings and all life with the same dignity that they wish for themselves – with an empathetic “genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.”

And so shall it be!

Beautiful Golden Rule Video.


 


Ron’s 11:11 Commentary on Awakening to a Golden Age.

Dear Friends,

For many people these are dark and divisive “new normal” times unprecedented in their lives. But current painful world suffering and turmoil can be seen as darkness before an inevitable dawn; as marking a rare turning point in human history – an immense evolutionary opportunity for disintegration of outdated world political, economic and ecological paradigms that have become painfully and unsustainably anachronous, to make way for a new era of human harmony and conscious connection with each other and with Nature.  

From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are rapidly realizing that everyone/everything is connected by a common Essence – ever-changing energy in a matrix of immutable awareness. Thus, we are evolving from a Newtonian “reality” of polarized duality to a quantum “reality” of holistic connectedness; from either this or that, to this and that are ONE.

With this realization, we can best address current challenges, and transcend pervasively polarizing negative emotions – like fear and anger – with feelings, insights and actions arising from loving-kindness and compassion for all life everywhere.

With benevolent and focused intentions, more and more we can open our hearts to innate human empathy, and thereby realize our collective connection with and deep concern for all life everywhere – even including perceived adversaries or enemies.

With heartfelt concern for all Earth-life, we must do no harm, and treat all beings with the same dignity we wish for ourselves, and that they wish for themselves.

May we collectively join in heartfelt harmony with this crucial ‘golden rule’ ethical principle.

Whereupon with intentions, and actions arising from reciprocal empathy for all life everywhere, may all humankind truly transcend and cooperatively resolve our critical ecologic, economic, international and interpersonal problems, for an enlightened and elevated new age that will bless all life on our precious planet.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Introduction

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, one hundred fifty two years ago. He came to be known and loved by the Indian people and worldwide as “Mahatma”, an honorary Sanskrit term meaning “Great Soul”, like the term “Saint” in Christianity.

During his lifetime, he was recognized as father of Indian democracy, a monumental accomplishment achieved through non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth as God (satyagraha). Gandhi changed himself to change the world by being the change he wanted see.

Though Mahatma Gandhi realized that his life was his message, he often wrote (or was quoted about) his philosophical ideas on subjects of perennial importance. Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words – like his humble life – will be remembered for centuries, and will continue to inspire and actuate countless millions of people worldwide.

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

So, in tribute to this great soul, let us recall some of his inspiring words of wisdom:

“My life is my message”

“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”

“In a gentle way you can shake the world..”

“You may never know what results come of your actions,

but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”


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

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall — think of it. Always.”

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”

“Prayer has saved my life, without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. I feel that as food is indispensable for the body so was prayer indispensable for the soul. I find solace in life and in prayer. With the Grace of God everything can be achieved. When His Grace filled one’s being nothing was impossible for one to achieve.

“Prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart. You may express yourself through the lips; you may express yourself in the private closet or in the public; but to be genuine, the expression must come from the deepest recesses of the heart…

“It is my constant prayer that I may never have a feeling of anger against my traducers, that even if I fall a victim to an assassin’s bullet, I may deliver my soul with the remembrance of God upon my lips.”

“All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.”

“My religion is based on truth and nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realizing Him.”

“Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God.”

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, ‘God is, was and ever shall be’.”

“Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.”

“A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth.”

”Nonviolence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.

Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.

But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through nonviolence…

That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.

And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

“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.”

“Nonviolence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“Nonviolence is not a cloistered virtue to be practiced by the individual for his peace and final salvation, but it is a rule of conduct for society. To practice nonviolence in mundane matters is to know its true value. It is to bring heaven upon earth. I hold it therefore to be wrong to limit the use of nonviolence to cave dwellers [hermits] and for acquiring merit for a favored position in the other world. All virtue ceases to have use if it serves no purpose in every walk of life.”

“It is no nonviolence if we merely love those that love us. It is nonviolence only when we love those that hate us. I know how difficult it is to follow this grand law of love. But are not all-great and good things difficult to do? Love of the hater is the most difficult of all. But by the grace of God even this most difficult thing becomes easy to accomplish if we want to do it.” (From a private letter, dated 31-12-34.)

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”

Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.”

“I do not believe…that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in advaita, I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”

“I do not believe that the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social and the political fields.”

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics
do not know what religion is.”

“Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.”

“The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

“What do I think of Western civilization?
I think it would be a very good idea.”


Dedication and Invocation

As a blessing, may we deeply reflect on Gandhi’s enduring philosophy and exemplary life.

Thereby, like this Great Soul, may we be inspired “from the deepest recesses of the heart” to live in “in a gentle way” that nonviolently blesses all life everywhere as Truth and LOVE.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Be The Change

“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. “
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Mahatma Gandhi ~ October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948




Introduction to “Be The Change”

Dear Friends,

From “Gandhi The Man” we learned that Mohandas K. Gandhi, changed himself to change the world – that from a frail and fearful child, he became Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in known human history.

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this
 ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

~ Albert Einstein (after Gandhi’s 1948 assassination)

“[S]ince the time of Christ there has been no single individual whose life and ideals have influenced the masses more than Mahatma Gandhi’s.”
“God sent him into the world as a prophet who for the first time…went beyond his flock and influenced the great masses of people politically.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Mahatma Gandhi, implemented [the] very noble philosophy of nonviolence in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing. It has represented an evolutionary leap in political consciousness, his experimentation with truth.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from “The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness”


Gandhi’s extraordinary transformation, became epigrammatically encapsulated by the slogan “Be The Change”, which was often attributed to him, though it is not a direct quotation.

The following posting explains the source and significance of the “Be The Change” slogan, consistent with Gandhi’s exemplary life, and his “satyagraha” movement’s resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

It includes:

1) Gandhi’s original quotations and philosophy about changing the world;

2) My explanation of the significance of Mahatma Gandi’s “be the change” philosophy; and

3) An embedded YouTube video performance by talented American rapper MC Yogi who, inspired by Gandhi, has creatively conveyed the Mahatma’s life story in rap with rhymed words and powerful pictures.


Gandhi’s original quotations about changing the world

According to his grandson, Arun Gandhi, he was speaking after a prayer service where people said to him that the world has to change for us to change.

He responded, “No, the world will not change if we don’t change.”

So we must each be the change we want to see.

Similarly, In 1913 Mohandas K. Gandhi published an essay about snakebites that included this passage:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” (*For source, see footnote below)

Also at this time Gandhi published in Hindi a lengthy treatise titled A GUIDE TO HEALTH which included an entire chapter about avoiding and treating snakebites.

An 88 page English translation of that treatise was published in 1921, with statements similar to the above essay quotation. In it Gandhi vehemently asserted that no God created creature is instinctively predatory and dangerous to humans if approached with LOVE.
Thus he declared:

“[W]e are wrong in regarding the serpent as a natural enemy of man.
The great St. Francis of Asissi, who used to roam about the
forests, was not hurt by the serpents or the wild beasts, but they
even lived on terms of intimacy with him. So too, thousands of
Yogis and Fakirs live in the forests of Hindustan, amidst lions and
tigers and serpents, but we never hear of their meeting death at
the hands of these animals.”

“I have implicit faith in the doctrine that, so long as man is not
inimical to the other creatures, they will not be inimical to him.

Love is the greatest of the attributes of man. Without it the
worship of God would be an empty nothing. It is, in short, the
root of all religion whatsoever.”


*Footnote: 1964, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume XII, April 1913 to December 1914, Chapter: General Knowledge About Health XXXII: Accidents Snake-Bite, (From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 9-8-1913), Start Page 156, Quote Page 158, The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi at gandhiheritageportal.org) link ↩



What is the signicance of Mahatma Gandhi’s “be the change” philosophy?

The slogan “Be The Change” symbolizes and summarizes Gandhi’s important moral and spiritual philosophy. And Gandhi’s inspiring life, is of particular political importance in the current unprecedented “new normal” era.

By following Mahatma Gandhi’s example we can avert current threats to life as we’ve known it, and morally ascend beyond all historical precedents, to realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s prophetic “dream” of an idyllic future, and (as foreseen by the Mahatma) “add to [the] inheritance left by our ancestors” .

Mahatma Gandhi and his “satyagraha” movement successfully applied the noble spiritual philosophy of nonviolence and ahimsa to civil disobedience in modern politics. It followed his realization, and determined fearless faith, that unconditional love and forgiveness are the most powerful of human attributes and the foundation of all enduring religious traditions aimed at realizing God as Truth.

The more we live lovingly and fearlessly, the more we find peace and happiness, and as a “critical mass” help to positively transform the world. “Whatever we think, do, or say, changes this world in some way.” Accordingly, all of our fearless, forgiving, and loving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions inevitably uplift this world and all its supposedly separate life-forms.


The Gandhi Rap – Be the change you want to see

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

So Gandhi’s life and words have inspired and actuated countless millions of people worldwide.

One of the those people is a talented American rapper named MC Yogi who has creatively conveyed the Mahatma’s life story in rap with rhymed words and powerful pictures.

You can listen, watch and enjoy his unique Gandhi Rap here:




Dedication and Invocation

Inspired by Gandhi’s example, let each of us consciously live our lives as our message.
And together let us be the change we want see.

This posting is dedicated to inspiring a “critical mass” elevation and transformation of humankind consistent with Gandhi’s exemplary life, and his “satyagraha” movement’s resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

May Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiring example remind us of our common Self-identity as Love with all Life on our beautiful blue planet. And may it encourage and inspire us to live fearlessly and forgivingly with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

“Gandhi the Man”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“My life is my message.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

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

cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

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

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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


Mahatma Gandhi ~ October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948


Introduction to “Gandhi the Man”

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

1) Silva Mind Control

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

2) Why Be Here Now?

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


Gandhi the Man

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once when asked about his teachings, Gandhi aptly replied:


“My life is my message.”


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


On the Earth branch
of the great Cosmic University,

We are all students
and we are all teachers.

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

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

And so it shall be!


Invocation


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

Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

The Emotion Of Devotion – Crying For God
~ Quotations and Ron’s Memoirs

“There is no liquid like a tear from a lover’s eye.”
~ Rumi
“When the tears course down my cheeks,
they are a proof of the beauty and grace of my beloved.”
~ Rumi
“There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of the Power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.”
~ Rumi
“Do you want deliverance from the bonds of the world?
Then weeping profusely, you will have to cry out from the bottom of your heart:
Deliver me, Great Mother of the World, deliver me!….
When by the flood of your tears the inner and outer have fused into one, you will find her whom you sought with such anguish, nearer than the nearest, the very breath of life, the very core of every heart….”
~ Anandamayi Ma
Tears are the solution
for dissolution
of other into Mother –
Mother of All,
Mother of Mystery.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Anandamayi Ma
April 30, 1896 – Aug 27,1982

 
Ron’s Introduction to The Emotion Of Devotion – Crying For God

Dear Friends,

Before my midlife spiritual awakening (over forty years ago), I didn’t cry as an adult. But ever since then I’ve frequently wept for God. And this ‘gift of tears’ has been fundamental to my still unfolding spiritual evolution.

So this posting emphasizes the potentially immense importance of a teary devotional spiritual path, with quotations from spiritual texts and masters, and a brief memoirs summary of my devotional crying experiences.

In other postings I’ve explained that I’ve accepted Eastern nondualism wisdom teachings as fundamental, while remaining primarily spiritually devotional. Also explained, is that we have unique karmic and spiritual paths and perspectives. So each of us must follow our hearts for spiritual evolution.

Whatever our unique path, these SillySutras postings are dedicated to helping us find ever growing happiness in life, as we lovingly evolve (individually and collectively) to ultimate Truth beyond ego-mind illusion.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Quotation Collection on The Emotion Of Devotion – Crying For God


“He who loves me is made pure; his heart melts in joy. He rises to transcendental consciousness by the rousing of his higher emotional nature. Tears of joy flow from his eyes, his hair stands on end, his heart melts in love. The bliss in that state is so intense that, forgetful of himself and his surroundings, he sometimes weeps profusely, or laughs, or sings, or dances; such a devotee is a purifying influence upon the whole universe.”
~ Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8 (Lord Krishna to His disciple Uddhave)

“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.”
~ Isaac of Nineveh, 7th C. Orthodox Saint and Persian Mystic

“There comes a holy and transparent time
when every touch of beauty 
opens the heart to tears.
This is the time the Beloved of heaven 
is brought tenderly on earth.
This is the time of the opening of the Rose.”
~ Rumi

“Jesus wept.”
~ John 11:35

“The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.”
~ Native American proverb

What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.
~Jewish Proverb

“There is a palace that opens only to tears.”
~ Zohar (source of Kabbalah)

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
~ Psalms 126:5

“Weeping may endure for the night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
~ Psalms 30:5

“Man is like an onion.
When you peel away the layers,
all that is left is tears.”
~ Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, Hasidic master

Q. “Under what conditions does one see God?”
A. “Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

“When the child refuses to be comforted by anything except the mother’s presence, she comes. If you want to know God, you must be like the naughty baby who cries till the mother comes.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Crying to God for five minutes is equal to one hour of meditation.”
“The state that we attain by calling and crying to God is equal to the bliss that the yogi experiences in samadhi.”
~ Mata Amritanandamayi  (Ammachi)

“As a [thirsty] stag longs for flowing streams,
so longs my soul for thee, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
My tears have been my food
day and night.
~ Psalm 42.1-3

“You know, if you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna (to Sivananda)

“When, hearing the name of Hari or Rama once,
you shed tears and your hair stands on end,
then you may know for certain that you do not
have to perform such devotions as the sandhya any more.
Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals;
or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

‘Where does the strength of an aspirant lie? It is in his tears. As a mother gives her consent to fulfill the desire of her importunately weeping child, so God vouchsafes to His weeping son whatever he is crying for”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“The waves belong to the Ganges, not the Ganges to the waves. A man cannot realize God unless he gets rid of all such egotistic ideas as ‘I am such an important man’ or ‘I am so and so’. Level the mound of ‘I’ to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236


Ron’s experiences with The Emotion Of Devotion – Crying For God

I cried for twenty four hours upon my profound mid-life Self identity realization. It was first time in my entire adult life that I remember crying. But ever since that unforgettably transformational event, I have often shed profuse tears.

While wondering why I was crying so much, I soon realized that with intense longing I was crying for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.)

Then after meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I gradually learned that I had been immensely blessed with a pronounced predisposition for the spiritual path of Divine devotion – the path of Love. And that my continual longing and crying for God was an extraordinary blessing recognized in all enduring devotional paths; known in Hinduism as Bhakti, and in Christianity as the “gift of tears”.



Though never a frequent flyer, for many years I became – and remain – a frequent crier. Tears have helped purify my body and nervous system permitting ‘peek experiences’ of higher states of consciousness. And I have regularly experienced numerous other spontaneous and unpremeditated actions, feelings and sensations which have helped advance my spiritual evolution.

For example, when not crying I often had what I now call ‘alternative LSD experiences’ of spontaneous – and sometimes ecstatic – Laughing, Singing, and Dancing. Though with advanced age singing and dancing have been curtailed, I still often privately experience spontaneous outbursts of laughing, crying, and calling to God.

Because crying spells and other spontaneous devotional behaviors have happened so often for over forty years, they are mentioned many times in my Memoirs; for example, in an introductory chapter about crying for god and in chapters about déjà vu experiences during pilgrimages to India and Assisi.

Dedication

May the foregoing quotations and teachings from spiritual texts and masters help us all understand the importance of longing for God with the emotion of devotion.

Also may these writings encourage and inspire us to open our hearts with deep respect, empathy and compassion for all people and all Life everywhere – as Divinity manifest.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner
 

Why Do We Suffer?
~ Quotations, Questions and Explanations

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” “In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.” “We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
~ Shantideva (Buddhist master)
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.” “When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now. Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“No pain, no gain!”
~ Proverb
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Compassion is born from understanding suffering. We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body
are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul.
So they are of t merit when they are borne patiently.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~ Aristotle
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Introduction to “Why Do We Suffer?”

Dear Friends,

We are living in very difficult “new normal” times, with billions of people worldwide now enduring great stresses and sufferings. This posting is dedicated to helping us lessen our sufferings, and to enjoy increasing happiness despite unavoidable worldly problems and turmoil.

Although many of the ideas discussed in the foregoing quotations, and following Q & A essay and comments, are from Eastern teachings, they apply to all human suffering in this ever impermanent and illusory 3D world.

Q & A essay: “Why Do We Suffer?”

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent egotistic thoughts, words and deeds, which subject us to the law of karma. Suffering ends when self-identity ignorance ends. Self-knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal, separated, and limited physical persons, happens gradually as we learn from life experience.

Although enduring spiritual traditions propose different dsciplines for attaining such Self knowledge, they can not bestow it, but only point to the Self realization goal. Moreover, each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history. So different methods may apply to different people.

An often recommended practice for overcoming such suffering is mindful introspection to identify, realize and transcend our unskillful inner tendencies.  Such attention and realization can gradually decrease and ultimately free us from mental suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on “Why Do We Suffer?”

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Afterwards I often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning


Thus every painful earth life experience can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Addendum: Discussion of why “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

Dear Friends,

Hereafter I am privileged to share with you a (little known) profound colloquy about why we suffer between two of the most renowned Eastern spiritual teachers of the 20th century: Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda.

On Nov. 29th, 1935, Yogananda made a pilgrimage to holy Mt. Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana. During most of that day Ramana sat silently. However, he responded to a few questions from Yogananda, as follows:

Yogananda: How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected?
What are the instructions to be given them?

Maharshi: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

Yogananda: Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God?

Maharshi: Suffering is the way for Realization of God.

Yogananda: Should He not ordain it differently?

Maharshi: It is the way.

Yogananda: Are yoga, religion, etc., antidotes to suffering?

Maharshi: Who suffers? What is suffering?

(Without responding to these rhetorical questions, Yogananda paused, arose and, prayed for Sri Ramana’s blessings for his own mission.)

Invocation.

With ever expanding and disciplined inner acceptance of inevitable outer problems, and with heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of all other sentient beings, may we

Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,

even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

every time, every place,

and

Forever (S)HE will reign!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Wean Yourself ~ by Rumi

You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?

~ Rumi
The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:
Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!

~ Rumi
Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?

~ Rumi
I long to escape the prison of my ego
 and lose myself in you.

~ Rumi
You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.

Come merge with me, leave this world of ignorance.

Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.

~ Rumi




Wean Yourself

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From any embryo, whose nourishment comes from the blood,
Move to an infant drinking milk,
To a child on solid food,
To a searcher after wisdom,
To a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo,
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”


You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.



Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi translated by Coleman Barks