Posts Tagged ‘death’

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

“All the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light from a single candle.”
~ Francis Of Assisi (The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi)

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips,
be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ Francis Of Assisi

“Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [ “I wish all in heaven!”]
~ Francis of Assisi

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Francis of Assisi


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

Saint Francis of Assisi ~ September 26, 1181 – October 3, 1226


Saint Francis of Assisi
[*See footnotes]


Saint Francis of Assisi is one of history’s most beloved saints. For almost eight hundred years since his canonization by the Catholic Church (in the year 1228), he has been remembered and revered not only by Christian denominations, but by countless others world-wide, who have been inspired by his life of universal love, his teachings, and his oneness with Nature.
More than three million people come every year to his tomb in Assisi.

He is patron saint of Italy and of many other places, like San Francisco, a city blessed with his name, his spirit, and a national shrine including the Porziuncola Nuova, the only papally declared holy place in the USA. Also, he is patron saint of birds, animals and ecology and is so remembered on his annual October 4th Feast Day celebration.

Francis loved peace, communed with all living creatures, and lived a life of kindness, simplicity and poverty in contrast to the wealth and apparent corruption of the Church. He was the founder of the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, and inspired founding of the Poor Clares order for women, and a third secular order for laity sworn to peace.

After living a worldly life of youthful revelry for the first half of his short lifespan, Francis volunteered to fight in a war between Assisi and neighboring Perugia. He was captured during a bloody battle at Collestrada, and was imprisoned and chained in solitude for a year in a dark Perugian dungeon, until ransomed by his wealthy father. Beginning during this time, and thereafter, he suffered a period of protracted physical and psychological illness, remorse and reflection. After fervent prayer, deep introspection, and profuse tears, Francis ultimately decided that money and worldly pleasures meant nothing to him, and as a traumatized battle survivor he came to abhor war. Whereupon, he devoted his life to solitude, prayer, helping the poor, caring for lepers, and promoting peace. Seeing himself as God’s troubadour or fool, he lived in absolute poverty, patterning his life after the life of Jesus and dedicating himself to God.

On returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, where he begged at Church doors for the poor, Francis received a mystical message from Jesus while praying in the ruined church at San Damiano outside of Assisi. There while he was enchantedly gazing at the painted wooden crucifix – a Byzantine image of the crucified Christ still alive on the cross – the silent voice of Jesus telepathically ‘spoke’ to Francesco, instructing him: “Francesco, Francesco, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” Thereafter, he devotedly began rebuilding San Damiano and other ruined churches.

Though Saint Francis took literally that mystical message from the crucifix, its true meaning was metaphoric and profound. And by the end of his short lifespan, Saint Francis and his orders had by their example inspired a renaissance of the Catholic Church.

Francis’ exemplary lifestyle inspired and attracted followers who joined with him in his in his Divine mission and life of poverty. Clad in ragged, gray robes with rope belts, they went out barefoot in pairs to spread the Gospel. When they needed food or shelter, they asked someone for it. It was against their rules to “own” anything. Thus, they were known as the “begging brothers”.

In 1209 Francis received permission from Pope Innocent III to form a brotherhood, a religious order of the Church called the “Friars Minor,” (littlest brothers). As “friars” they worked in communities, actively preaching and helping residents, as distinguished from “monks” who then usually lived alone in isolated places. They soon acquired the name “Franciscans”, proliferated and today remain important international symbols and instruments of Francis’ legacy.

The Franciscans’ first headquarters was a simple, tiny chapel near Assisi which Francis received from the Benedictines, and personally restored, naming it “Porziuncola” [“a small portion of land”]. The Porziuncola became Francis’ most beloved and favorite place. Because of his presence and prayers there, it was and continues to be one of the world’s rare holy places. Here, Francis lived, fervently prayed, wrote his rule, created his order of friars minor and consecrated his friend Clara (Chiara), who became Santa Clara, founder of “the poor Clares”, a female religious order dedicated to Franciscan ideals of holiness and poverty. Francis so loved this little place that he chose to die there.

In 1216, while Francis was fervently praying in the Porziuncola, a light filled the chapel and he beheld above the altar a vision of Christ, the Virgin Mary and a company of angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis replied: “Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [I wish all in heaven!] And Francis then asked that all those persons who shall come to this church, may obtain a full pardon and remission of all their faults, upon confessing and repenting their sins. The request was granted based on Francis’ worthiness, and the indulgence was later officially confirmed by Pope Honorius III, and became known as “The Pardon of Assisi”.

Francis was extremely democratic and humble. He referred to himself as “little brother Francis” and called all creatures “brothers” and “sisters”. He loved Nature and pantheistically considered it to be the “mirror of God on earth.” He spoke of “Sister Water” and “Brother Tree” and in one of his writings, he referred to “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”. There are legends about sermons he preached to trees full of “Sister Birds” in which Francis urged them to sing their prayers of thanks to God. And it is said that rabbits would come to him for protection.

In another legendary story, Francis spoke to a wolf which had been terrifying the entire village of Gubbio, scolding “Brother Wolf” for what he was doing. That wolf not only stopped his attacks but later became a village pet, and was fed willingly by the same villagers, who missed “brother wolf” after he died.

Francis was determined to live the gospels and was strongly influenced and motivated by Jesus’ teachings. “Give to others, and it shall be given to you. Forgive and you shall be forgiven” were his frequent teachings.

Also as a traumatic battle survivor and war hostage Francis cherished peace. So, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” ~ Matthew 5:9 and “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ~ Matthew 5:44 were often recited by him.

According to a recent biography, Francis was “the first person from the West to travel to another continent with the revolutionary idea of peacemaking.” On a mission of peace, Francis journeyed to Egypt in 1219 idealistically hoping to end the 5th Crusade by converting the Egyptian leader – Sultan Malik al-Kamil – to Christianity. Though his visionary peace mission did not succeed, it proved nonetheless a miraculous portent and important symbol of potential reconciliation between Christians and Muslims and others.

At a time when most Christians demonized Muslims as enemy “infidels”, Francis regarded and treated Muslims with respect, never echoing the negative comments or conduct of his contemporary Christians. Moreover, in Egypt Francis – a devout and gentle peacemaker – was appalled by the crusaders’ sacrilegious brutality.

Francis arrived in Egypt during an ongoing violent and bloody conflict at Damietta, an important city on the Nile, besieged by the Crusaders. There, in the midst of horrible bloodshed, Francis miraculously crossed battle lines totally unarmed and vulnerable, and was able to reach the Sultan’s encampment unharmed and welcomed. Moreover, Francis was admitted to the august presence of the sultan, who was nephew of the great Saladin who had defeated the forces of the ill-fated Third Crusade.

The Sultan was a wise and pragmatic devout Sunni Muslim, influenced by Sufi mystical teachings. He was ready to make peace, and reciprocated Francis’ peaceful and respectful attitude. For at least several days Kamil hosted and dialogued with Francis as an honored guest, before having him safely escorted back to the Crusader encampment. The Sultan – who was amenable to philosophical conversation, but not to conversion – probably noted and honored Francis’ sufi-like appearance and peaceful demeanor, and his regular greeting – “may the Lord give you peace” – uncommon for Christians, but similar to the Arabic “salam aleykum” greeting.

Reciprocally, Francis was deeply impressed by the religious devotion of the Muslims, especially by their fivefold daily call to prayer – call of the muezzin.

On returning to the crusader camp Francis desperately tried to convince Cardinal Pelagio, whom the pope had authorized to lead the 5th Crusade, that he should make peace with the Sultan. But the cardinal who was certain of victory would not listen. His eventual failure, amidst terrible loss of life, brought the barbaric age of the crusades to an ignominious end.

In 1224, near the end of his earthly life, according to legend, Francis became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata. It happened after he had been taken to Mount Alverna, a wild nature place in Tuscany, to be in solitude for a forty day retreat.


Though already in a very feeble state, he fasted and prayed intensely with deepest longing for God. In the midst of his fast, while he was so praying he beheld a marvelous vision: an angel carrying an image of a man nailed to a cross. When the vision disappeared, Francis felt sharp pains in various places on his body.

In locating the source of these pains, Francis found that he had five marks or “stigmata” on his hands, feet, and sides—like the wounds inflicted with nails and spears on Jesus during His crucifixion. Those marks remained and caused Francis great pain until his death two years later.

On October 3, 1226 A.D. Francis died in a humble cell next to the beloved Porziuncola, his favorite holy place where the Franciscan movement began. He was blind from trachoma, suffering from malaria and other illnesses, emaciated and racked with pain from the stigmata and other wounds. As he lay dying, the brothers came for his blessing. They sang “Song to the Sun”, a song which Francis had composed.

Sometime before he drew his last breath, he said, “Let us sing the welcome to Sister Death.” Francis welcomed ‘Sister Death’ knowing that “it is in dying that we are reborn to eternal life”, the concluding line of a beautifully inspiring and best known peace prayer mistakenly attributed to him. (**See Footnote)

In conclusion, we offer that prayer in grateful tribute to his blessed life and legacy. May he ever inspire countless beings to become instruments of Divine peace and love, in perfect harmony with Nature and the kingdom of heaven.

“Vi vogliamo tutti in Paradiso”; “We wish ALL in Heaven”.


And so it shall be!



Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
despair, hope;
darkness, light;
discord, harmony;
sadness, joy;

Divine Mother/Father, grant
that we may seek not so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to BE LOVE.

For it is in giving, that we receive;
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying – to ego life –
that we are reborn to Eternal Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of the Prayer of Saint Francis Of Assisi

Listen to



Footnotes

* This narrative is based on Ron Rattner’s intuitive interpretation of many disparate and sometimes conflicting historical accounts of the life of Francis of Assisi. The reader is free to accept or reject any part of it.

**This inspiring peace prayer does not appear in any of Saint Francis’ known writings. According to researchers, the first appearance of this prayer was in a French language magazine, La Clochette, in 1912; it was probably then first written by a forgotten Catholic Priest, Father Bouquerel. Later, the prayer was translated into English and widely distributed on cards with a reverse side picture of Saint Francis, without any claim that he wrote the prayer. But, because of his picture and because it invokes his spirit, the prayer thereafter became commonly known as the Prayer of Saint Francis. The foregoing version of the prayer has been edited by Ron Rattner.


My ‘Near Death’ Experience
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




My ‘Near Death’ Experience ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following memoirs chapter recounts an extraordinary 1979 out of body [OOB] experience, in which I initially thought I was dying of a stroke. But it soon proved not to be a stroke or a near death experience [NDE].

However, because I wasn’t afraid of dying (though not “enlightened” by the experience), I’ve compared it to the famous Self-Realization experience of renowned 20th Century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Since 1979 I’ve been blessed with many more amazingly related experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn.

So in 2022 I’m republishing and augmenting this memoirs story before my probably imminent transition at almost age ninety.

Like all other SillySutras postings this memoirs chapter is dedicated to helping us live ever happier earth lives. And in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, this posting is particularly intended to help console those bereaved by deaths of dear ones. May they not worry, and be happy.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

Ron Rattner

Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Realization Death Experience.

A few years after the death of his father, the famous sage was suddenly overcome with a fearful premonition that he too was about to soon die, which impelled him to investigate the bodily death experience. So he introspectively imagined that he was dying, and thereby Self-Realized that he was not his mortal body, but eternal consciousness of the body and all else.

Long afterwards, in response to a devotee’s question about his “enlightenment” Sri Ramana replied as follows:


“The shock of the fear of death made me at once introspective or ‘introverted’. I said to myself mentally, ‘Now that death is come, what does it mean? Who is it that is dying? This body dies’. ….The material body dies, but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. I am therefore the deathless Spirit. … Fear of death vanished at once and for ever. The absorption in the Self has continued from that moment right up to now”.


My Almost ‘Near Death’ Experience

In early 1979 I too had an extraordinary presumed near death experience. Unlike Ramana Maharshi’s pretended death experience, I really believed I was dying of a stroke, and decided to observe the death process without resistance. Unlike Sri Ramana’s experience, my supposed death experience didn’t result in my instant “enlightenment” or permanent absorption in the Self. But, it was an extraordinary and unforgettable event, and it spurred my gradual transformation process of more and more identifying with spirit rather than body/mind; a process which began with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

After receiving shaktipat initiation from Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji) in 1978, I began following his practices. But, with Dhyanyogi’s approval, I also continued exploring spiritual mysteries by attending various other events and lectures. When asked about our seeking information from other teachers, Guruji said it was OK but unnecessary.

My supposed near death experience happened after I’d attended an inspiring lecture and experiential program given by Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. At the program I whole-heartedly participated in a Sufi remembrance of God ritual called Zikr, featuring repetition of names of Allah. Fervently repeating in unison with other participants: “La Ilaha Illallah” , “La Ilaha Illallah”, I vigorously rotated my body, head and neck, and became quite ‘high’ and rapturous.

The next morning I awakened feeling fine, and prepared to attend an important Federal Appeals Court hearing. I had put on my grey pinstriped suit trousers, shirt and tie, and was in the bathroom, when suddenly I collapsed and fell onto the tiled floor in a supine position. I was unable to move my head or body up or over, but discovered that I could inch along on my back like a caterpillar. In that manner with tremendous difficulty, I managed to move out of the bathroom and into my carpeted living room floor, still in a supine position.

I was not then near a phone and couldn’t call for help. Lying on my back, without pain, I said to myself mentally,

“I must have suffered a stroke and am about to die.
Now I will see what happens when I die.”


I closed my eyes and went into a deep state of relaxed awareness.

Suddenly my consciousness was astrally projected into the cosmos, where it was surrounded by magnificent luminescent silver, blue and gold heavenly bodies (like in pictures from the Hubble telescope).

Next, my inner vision shifted from outer space to vividly beautiful, luminescent and intricate geometric yantras – like mandalas associated with Vajrayana Buddhism, only more ethereal.

As I was silently sensing these celestial scenes, thought returned. First, I thought that dying was quite an interesting experience. Then, suddenly, I thought:

“I never took Naomi off my life insurance policies. I can’t die now.”


The ethereal visions immediately ended and consciousness returned to my supine body on the carpeted floor.

I don’t remember how much time had passed before my return to body consciousness. But when that happened I found that I could move easier and managed to slither supine to answer a telephone when it rang.

Synchronistically, it was a call from my friend Kusuma, who had been one of Guruji’s translators and cooks. I told her what happened, and she dispatched Stan, a disciple of Dhyanyogi then living in San Francisco, to come help me. By the time Stan arrived, I was able to crawl with difficulty to the front door to let him in. He called my doctor who said my symptoms sounded like extreme vertigo from an inner ear problem, not a stroke. Later, Kusuma asked Guruji about my dizziness symptoms. He told her that they came from “shakti”, intense kundalini spiritual energy activated in my head.

What I learned

Following my nearly ‘near death’ OOB experience, my identification with immortal spirit was immeasurably enhanced, while psychological fear of bodily death diminished.

But I didn’t become “enlightened” enough to transcend long-lingering psychological traumas of my contentious divorce. So, after reverting to usual consciousness I soon removed my former wife Naomi’s name as a beneficiary on my life insurance policies.

Also I became curious to learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and the spiritual symbolism of yantras and mandalas, like the Sri Yantra below and on SillySutras’ home page. This led to my receiving Tibetan Buddhist refuge, empowerments, and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, a Very Venerable Tibetan Buddhist master, and then from other Tibetan lamas, including H.H. the Dalai Lama – who became a living hero for me.

Remaining Fear of Death

Because of my calm fearlessness during the assumed ‘near death’ OOB experience, I wondered whether I’d transcended all fear of death. That question was soon answered when a deranged young driver raced his car right at me as I was walking across an intersection on Broadway, the busy four lane street where I live.

Instinctively and reflexively I jumped out of the way, and screamed “Jesus!” so loudly that it probably could have been heard for a block or two away. Thereafter, for several hours I had a “fight or flight” adrenaline rush. Moreover, since then I’ve had several similar (though less intense) precarious experiences while crossing San Francisco streets.

So, despite my serenity during the assumed near death experience, some instinctive fear of bodily death or injury remains, even though I accept physical mortality as unavoidable. As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahanse revealed some ego/mind (either helpful or harmful) is inevitable even for Mahatmas returning to their bodies from nirvikalpa samadhi. Hence while incarnate on earth we cannot avoid living with egos.

While yogis in other times and places could attain and maintain elevated states of awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves, such stress-free physical environments aren’t available for most humans living in present day US society.

For me attempting to live authentically and sanely in our crazy US culture has at times been quite challenging. I’ve found that in San Francisco courtrooms and environs midst societal insanity, without some ego I’d would have been metaphorically and actually run over while traversing my spiritual path, as well as while crossing streets. So I now accept physical ‘fight or flight’ bodily self-preservation instinct as “normal” and necessary.

Suzuki Shunryū, Roshi, who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States, was once asked by a student:

“How much “ego” do you need?”  He replied: “Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”


I wonder now what past spiritual masters would have done when suddenly confronted with immediate bodily threat? It’s quite unlikely that they would’ve shouted “Jesus”, with an adrenaline rush. Maybe they would have stepped quietly out of harms way. Or, like Gandhi, uttered “Ram” with their last bodily breath.

What do you think?

2022 Epilogue: More Related Learning Experiences

Since first publishing this memoirs chapter I’ve been blessed with many more related synchronistic and mystical experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn. Hereafter I’ll discuss some of them:

1) Another near death experience?

I’ll first recount to you a critical taxicab rundown experience that happened over eight years ago.

My 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being hit as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab while crossing a busy San Francisco intersection which can be seen from my high-rise view apartment.

I’m unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

My wise expert MD friend, Dr. Solomon Sevy, (who retired after decades of Kaiser California clinical experience as a pediatric cardiologist) succinctly summarized his “diagnostic” opinion after reviewing my medical records.
Dr. Sevy told me:


“Ron, you should be dead!”


My my medical records reviewed by Dr. Sevy revealed the following bodily injuries and symptoms, radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

Traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain .6” out of normal alignment; massive soft tissue tears and other traumatic shoulder injuries, temporarily rendering both shoulders largely non-functional, with prosthesis recommended for left shoulder; multiple facial fractures, bruises and swelling, with broken nose, fractured sinus areas, etc.; facial lacerations requiring sutures; lacerated and bleeding liver; cracked ribs; slight spinal fracture; excessive external bleeding, with anemia requiring prompt two unit blood transfusion; tibial plateau (“bumper”) fracture and extreme swelling of right knee and leg, with large knee wound, open and seeping for over two months; continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD]; retrograde amnesia; mental confusion, headaches, dizziness, and dyslexia.


Today at almost age ninety, I’m again living alone without caretakers in my high-rise hermitage. Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous.

Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and (until the pandemic lock-down with closure of SF Bay public toilets) I’d resumed a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy. And I still don’t voluntarily take prescribed allopathic drugs.

Unlike most people who can describe their near death experiences I can’t tell you what happened while I was comatose due to residual post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD] and retrograde traumatic amnesia. So I don’t know if it was a conventional NDE.

But I consider my bodily survival and recovery an immense spiritual blessing and am psychologically happier than ever before in this precious human lifetime.

Further details of this Divine blessing are recounted in a prior memoirs chapter titled: “Another near death experience?”.

2) Another vertigo seizure?

The foregoing 1979 almost near-death OOB story began with a completely disabling vertigo experience, which I mistakenly thought was caused by a cerebral stroke. Since then I’ve had many episodes of varying degrees of dizziness, especially after the 2014 taxicab rundown. But not until this week (over forty years later) have I again been completely incapacitated by vertigo from a possible stroke seizure.

In 1979 my extreme dizziness was medically diagnosed as a middle-ear problem, but explained by Guruji as a kundalini cerebral “shakti” kriya. This week, without asking for assistance, I introspectively self-diagnosed the disabling dizziness as kundalini “shakti”.

Here’s what happened:

On August 12, 2022 I was composing my Cartesian Critique essay about confusing thinking with being. While writing about how most humans mistakenly self-identify with their thoughts, rather than consciousness of their thoughts and behaviors, I had a rare inner epiphany.

Whereupon I was suddenly stricken with intense vertigo, like the vertigo I experienced over forty years ago when I was young and healthy. Now at almost ninety I am physical injury and age limited and subject to recurrence of serious taxicab rundown traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, ubiquitous environmental heath threats are causing even young and apparently healthy people to often experience physically fatal strokes.

Nonetheless, as I will hereafter explain, in all apparently paradoxical rational versus intuitive dilemmas, with complete faith I’ve learned to follow my heart. And my heart said:

“You’ve been immeasurably blessed; keep composing and sharing to help others”.


My heart clearly confirmed this perennial wisdom:

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,

the former is a Gift from God.”

“Faith embraces many truths

which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

In 1979, I accepted my primary care doctor’s medical diagnosis of an inner-ear problem, not a stroke. In 2022, without seeking a medical diagnosis, I’ve followed my Sacred Heart and keep composing to help others.

Explanation

1) In all space/time relative “reality” everything’s energy [E=mc2].

2) In earth’s dense three dimensional [3D] energy sphere, humans (individually and collectively) create “reality” with their thoughts.

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~ Buddha

3) Each incarnate human is individually unique, creating a unique personal “reality” with apparent freedom of choice, which subjects them to experience the karmic consequences of their unique thoughts and behaviors.

“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

4) We each have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”
“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
“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.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Conclusion and Dedication

By following my Heart with Faith, I choose to create a new Earth “Reality”;
an elevated energy dimension beyond all current environmental catastrophes, wars, deprivations, diseases, miseries and sufferings now being inflicted upon and fearfully experienced, and condoned or denied or allowed by most humans.

Therefore I refuse to reify this illusionary mental mirage-like samsara ‘reality’ which is constantly discussed and reported on by global “leaders”, institutions and media. Instead I constantly meditate and pray for Nature, and all its life-forms on our precious planet; and for the happiness of everyone and everything everywhere.

Inspired by Jesus Christ – the historic paragon of LOVE – my prayers forgivingly include even those who insanely and selfishly despoil and unsustainably exploit earth-life through their ignorance of our common eternal Self identity as timeless LOVE.

And I deeply dedicate this memoirs chapter to inspiring a “critical mass” of other empathic humans, who together will collectively transcend current earthly psychopathic insanity, by co-creating an envisioned wonderful
New Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


© The Perennial Wisdom Foundation – “From Secular Hebrew, to Born-Again Hindu, to Uncertain Undo – An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from Litigation to Meditation – and Beyond.”
~ by Ron Rattner


Afterlife?

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.
In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“It is in love that we are made; in love we disappear.”
~ Leonard Cohen
“It is in dying to ego life,

that we are reborn to Eternal Life.”

~ Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (edited by Ron Rattner)
“It is crucial to be mindful of death —
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ Dalai Lama – From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life”
(written with Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD)
Whence come I and whither go I?

That is the great unfathomable question,

the same for every one of us.

Science has no answer to it.

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~ Albert Einstein
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
“Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never Then!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

The mystery of bodily death has long been a central religious and philosophical issue.

Since midlife I have gratefully realized from previously unimagined mystical experiences that inevitable physical death does not end our conscious lifetimes, and that we can enjoy ever growing happiness and soul fulfillment as we lose all ego/mind fears and worries about death and dying.

My profound mystical realizations are explained and discussed in the following Q and A sutra essay verses and comments thereon.

These writings are shared to help inspire our Self realization that beyond ego illusions there is no time, no death or afterlife; that on transcendence of conceptual life, there is only eternal mystery of indescribable and unimaginable Infinite Potentially.

May these writings thereby advance humanity’s ever growing happiness free from fear of inevitable physical death, and all other fearful and negative earthly emotions, and elevate us to harmoniously live together with kindness and compassion, as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Afterlife?

Q:  Is there an afterlife?
A:   After-life is NOW.

Q:  Is there life after death?
A:  There is no death – only Life.

Q:  Then, what is it we call death?
A:  A vacation – eternal life-force vacating a transient vehicle.



Ron’s Comments on “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever considered what if anything happens after bodily death?

The mystery of what happens upon bodily death is an enduring philosophical and religious issue. It is therefore addressed in the above quotations and Q and A sutra essay verses, and in many other SillySutras postings revealing that beyond ego/mind illusions there is no death or afterlife – only Eternal Life NOW.

Background Discussion.

Physical death is inevitable and natural. But for many years it was largely a taboo subject in American society. Euphemistic language was used to describe death. Most Americans feared death, believing it ended life; they usually died in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by family.

Today fear of death remains a major societal issue, impeding spiritual evolution, especially for Westerners.  Such fear arises from mistaken ego identification as only a mortal physical body rather than the eternal life-force which enlivens the body.  But gradually millions of people are transcending fear of death, and leading happier lives after near death [NDE], out of body [OOB] and other mystical experiences.

Since my midlife spiritual awakening I’ve realized that conscious contemplation of physical death can be spiritually important and helpful.
 
On meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing for Self-realization, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those enduring questions.   Ultimately his questions were answered through meditative experience.  Thereafter he taught that:


“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Also I’ve learned that Tibetan Buddhists encourage frequent contemplation of physical death as an important spiritual practice for optimizing opportunities of this precious lifetime, and in preparation for auspicious future lifetimes.  Thus the Dalai Lama has written that:


“It is crucial to be mindful of death —  
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life” by Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD


Inspired by Guruji, the Tibetan Buddhists, and mystical experiences, I developed deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation, and karma.  And gradually I have realized the importance of these subjects.

So I’ve shared many stories, essays and poems about these subjects, which I commend to your attention. (Eg. See “related” posts and audio files linked below.)


Especially after suffering a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, more than ever before I now frequently contemplate my inevitable – and perhaps imminent – death, with unspeakable gratitude for this precious human lifetime and for the evolutionary opportunities and happiness it has brought me.
 
Gratefully I have learned from experience that life is eternal and that “as we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”

So this posting is dedicated to helping us find growing happiness free from fears and worries about inevitable physical death, and related fearful and negative emotions. So that we instead accentuate optimistic and compassionate feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, which bring us ever growing happiness and further our spiritual evolution.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

My “Miraculous” Experience
on Shri Dhyanyogi’s Mahasamadhi
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”
“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”
~ Dalai Lama
At my death do not lament our separation
…
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“Birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – (1878 – August 29, 1994)

Ron’s Introduction

On observing noteworthy phenomena which we can’t yet explain by known natural or scientific laws, we sometimes call them “miracles” and may attribute them to a Divine power.

Like other rare saints and mystics my beloved “Guruji”, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, occasionally demonstrated  “miracles”  to foster faith in the Divine.  In writings and lectures, Guruji explained that yogic powers (siddhis) might be attained via control of life-force energies, but that they were seldom displayed; that such powers are only used

“sparingly and on occasion for humanitarian and other discretionary ends”,
but not “for self-aggrandizement.”


In prior memoirs, I’ve explained how Guruji has helped me from subtle planes, like a ‘guardian angel’, since before I met him when his body was approximately one hundred years old, and even after his supposed bodily death in India sixteen years later.

I believe that Guruji left his body consciously and intentionally, using his yogic powers; that Guruj’s subtle bodies survived the physical body; and, that from subtle planes he continues to help humanity.

I’d like to explain to you my reasons for this belief.

Why Guruji Survived Supposed Physical Death.

In the Hindu tradition, when a yogi who has previously experienced the highest state of samadhi intentionally leaves his body, this is not the same as death of an ordinary person who has not attained Self-realization. Such a passing is called a Mahasamādhi (great and final samādhi) and is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s gross body at the time of physical death.

Before I received shaktipat initiation from Guruji in 1978, I had already witnessed his yogic power to influence this relative reality from subtle planes. He had clearly appeared in my subtle inner vision when we were physically distant. Thereafter, I had other memorable experiences of Guruji’s subtle powers, which are shared in other memoirs chapters.

In 1980, just before Guruji returned to India from four years in the USA, he stayed in my apartment. At that time Guruji’s American attendant, Lackshman, recounted to me his brief conversation with Guruji following a sparsely attended public meditation program. Driving home, Lackshman had remarked to Guruji that it was too bad so few people had attended that event. Whereupon Guruji replied,

“It’s not important. Most of my work is on other planes.”


And, once when we were alone in his room in my apartment, Guruji told me that he came and went from his physical body as he pleased. (See Human Body – A Precious “Prison”? )

Rudy’s Story

Also, at Guruji’s meditation programs, I heard amazing stories from others who had experienced his extraordinary yogic powers. Perhaps the most memorable of these stories was that of Rudy, a Chicago school teacher who decided to travel on his motorcycle to be with Guruji in California. But before reaching California, and while he was in Colorado, Rudy had an unexpected and “miraculous meeting” with Guruji.

On a curvy mountain highway in Colorado, Rudy’s motorcycle skidded off the road and careened three hundred feet down a steep incline. Just before hitting bottom, Rudy called out Guruji’s name, remembering Guruji’s assurance that “I’m always with you.”

Gravely injured, Rudy became comatose. While comatose he had a miraculous “near death experience” (NDE), which he survived and later recounted in detail.

On ‘the other side’ during the NDE, Rudy was greeted and guided by Shri Dhyanyogi, to save his life. Thereafter, at a California retreat, Guruji explained to Rudy that he had saved his life because Rudy still had much more work to do in this world.

Rudy’s vividly credible description of this amazing incident was convincing testimony of Guruji’s yogic power to influence what happens in this relative “reality”, and to manifest at will on subtle planes of “reality”.

Besides my own extraordinary experiences with Guruji, and hearing of Rudy’s experience, I learned of numerous other “miraculous” experiences of Guruji’s devotees.
(See “This House is on Fire, The Life of Shri Dyanyogi, as told by Shri Anandi Ma.”)

My Experience in San Francisco on Guruji’s Mahasamadhi in India.

One of my most memorable mystical experiences of Guruji’s yogic powers happened just after he left his physical body in India and I was at home in San Francisco. In late August, 1994, I was home asleep when I was suddenly awakened in the middle of the night.

With eyes open, I beheld in amazement an extraordinary and unprecedented vision – an otherworldly, multi-colored bird, translucent with a peacock-like tail and human-like eyes. Nothing about the bird appeared like any ‘real-life’ bird I had ever before seen, or might have imagined.

As I gazed in awe at this ethereal apparition, I was enveloped and transformed by a supernal aura of supreme Peace, which emanated from the bird’s radiant dark eyes. I awakened in the morning puzzled, and wondered about that extraordinary apparition which had enveloped me with ‘peace that passeth understanding.’

The next day, still wondering about the vision, I was sitting at my dining room table when an ‘inner voice’ dictated to me a poem concerning death, a subject I hadn’t then been thinking about.

Listening to my muse, I quickly and spontaneously “channeled” this poem about death, which I later titled Dream Life:

When we come to Earth
They call it a birth
When we leave,
They say we die.

But we really don’t come,
And we really don’t go.
We just dream our lives
But why?

To awaken as Bliss
From all of this,
Joyous that all is
“I”.



Thereafter, within a day or two, I received a rare call from one of Guruji’s early US disciples, Elyse (Indu) of Sacramento. She informed me of Guruji’s death – his Mahasamādhi – on August 29. Only then did I realize that I had received this poem (about life and death as a waking dream) as a ‘parting’ profound message and treasured gift from Guruji.  

So I recited the poem for Elyse. Then I told her about my puzzling otherworldly bird vision. She promptly and aptly interpreted that vision as a mythical Phoenix bird, symbol of immortality, resurrection, and life after death.

Whereupon, I realized that the bird’s dark human-like eyes emanating ineffable supernal Peace were Guruji’s eyes; and, that this unforgettable vision and experience of celestial peace was another parting gift and message from Guruji, for which I am eternally grateful.





2021 Epilogue

Twenty seven years have passed since that miraculous experience of Guruji’s Mahasamādhi, but I still continue to feel his subtle presence and often shed tears of devotion and joy, when I think of him or gaze at his photographic image. And other devotees entering my high-rise hermitage have also experienced his life-force energy (shakti).

Almost twenty years after Guruji’s transition, I had a home visit from my friend Michael O’Rourke, a talented spiritual cinematographer who helped me launch SillySutras.com. I was telling Michael about Guruji, and feeling his subtle presence, while seated in a reclining chair. After a while I had to excuse myself for a bathroom visit. When I returned several minutes later Michael reported to me his extraordinary experience of Guruji’s subtle appearance.

While Michael was gazing at me as I talked about Guruji, he went into an altered state of consciousness. Michael then perceived another face morphing into mine – a face without glasses and with a longer white beard. It was Guruji!

Michael said that amazingly after I got up to go to the bathroom he still perceived the image of Guruji seated in the chair, until after I returned and sat down again.

Guruji once said:

“All those who came to me for Shaktipat …. are my spiritual heirs. For my energy works through them.”


Not only were Michael and others blessed by Guruji’s extraordinary energy in my apartment, I believe that (like he blessed Rudy) Guruji saved my life while I was comatose and near death after a taxicab rundown in June, 2014. (See https://sillysutras.com/another-near-death-experience-rons-memoirs/) So that it is only through Guruji’s grace that I have miraculously survived to gratefully still share these memoirs.

May those reading these stories also receive Guruji’s blessings. In sharing them, I especially wish that they help inspire younger people to whom we bequeath our future, as they inherit the mistakes and learning experiences of their forebears in an extraordinary and unprecedented “new normal” world. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Reincarnation
~ Quotes From Famous People

“The entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and . . individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind’s deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one’s current role, rather than with the movie’s director, or God.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“We are born and reborn countless number of times,
and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  
Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear ?
 When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.” 

~ Mark Twain





Reincarnation ~ Quotes From Famous People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

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

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

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

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

~ Jack London

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

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

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

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

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

for in any case thou wilt live again!”

~ Freidrich Nietzsche

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

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

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

~ Albert Schweitzer

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

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

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

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

~ Socrates

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

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

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

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

~ Josephus (Jewish historian from the time of Jesus)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



How Can We Become Immortal?

The dewdrop belongs to the sea.

Separated, it is vulnerable
to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;

but when the droplet returns its source,
it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.

So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Eternal Life is gained
by utter abandonment of one’s own [ego] life.
When God appears to His ardent lover
the lover is absorbed in Him,
and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows,
and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time,
 nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
 The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless,
 and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
 Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.”

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2
What is birth? Is it of the “I-thought” or of the body?
Is “I” separate from the body or identical? How did this “I-thought” arise?
Is the “I-thought” your nature? Or is something else your nature?
The “I” of the wise man includes the body but he does not identify himself with the body. For there cannot be anything apart from “I” for him.
If the body falls, there is no loss for the “I”. “I” remains the same.
If the body feels dead, let it raise the question. Being inert, it cannot “I”.
“I” never dies and does not ask.
Who then dies? Who asks?
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Today’s Q and A essay, quotations, and comments about immortality are shared to help those who fear death avert and transcend inevitable suffering by remembering that we are not merely our mortal bodies and stories, but ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting lives from infinite perspectives in transitory earthly space/time vehicles, which are all the same ‘under the hood’!

Though based upon perennial wisdom, these writings are particularly important in current critical times, which insanely, unsustainably and catastrophically threaten all Earth Life as we’ve known it.

So it is especially appropriate for us to now deeply reflect upon these writings.

How Can We Become Immortal?

Q. How can we become immortal?

A. To become immortal,

BE more than a mortal.

Consider:

What lives? What dies?

What exists? What persists?

Observe:

That every thing and every phenomenon
that arises and appears on the screen of our consciousness

Is but a fleeting holographic mirage projected in space/time,
by and within the Infinite Light of Eternal Awareness;

That nothing is permanent in the ever changing universe,
where all that appears, disappears.

Be aware:

That only Eternal Awareness
exists and persists beyond time.

So, to be immortal,
just don’t be a mortal –

BE:

Eternal Awareness

NOW!



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “How Can We Become Immortal?”

Dear Friends,

To reveal important information yet unknown to those who fear death, today’s Q and A essay (with quotations) asks and answers a deliberately deceptive rhetorical question:
 
 
“How Can We Become Immortal?”  

In Truth we’re already immortal – we are ONE eternal spirit. But (except for rare Buddha-like beings), we’ve forgotten our immortality, and suffer societally from universally mistaken identity.

From childhood we were taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego-mind image: with a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We were taught that we were each born into Nature as limited beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

Sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us for millennia that we’re not what we were taught or think we are.  That our self-identification as merely mortal physical bodies, seemingly condemned to inevitable death in space/time, is an ego-mind illusion – like a mirage; that we suffer from perception-deception; and, that our True Self-identity and Reality is not what it impermanently appears to be.


“We are not merely mortal drops
in an ocean of ephemeral forms,
but the eternally Infinite Ocean of Universal Awareness,
appearing as drops!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


So today’s writings are dedicated to helping us remember that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  That we are ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But that we’re all the same ‘under the hood’! And that we can transcend inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through Self-realization of our universal spiritual essence.

Urgency

After insanely and unsustainably pillaging and plundering our precious planet, humans are now confronting possibly imminent end of earth life as we have known it. Such potentially omnicidal ecological catastrophe can be averted only from elevated human consciousness, beyond that which created this dire insanity. So today’s writings are especially important in these critically crazy times.

We must at long last awaken from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness, to transcend the ignorance of our immortality which has spawned these crises. And we must resist control by a few hierarchic psychopaths who promote fear to dominate and greedily exploit Humankind.

Dedication

Whatever our ethical, religious, or spiritual path, if any, let us together deeply reflect upon today’s quotes and verses about our true immortality.  May they spur our inevitable awakening as the “kingdom of heaven within” – as eternal LOVE.   

Thus Awakened, may we harmoniously, cooperatively and compassionately lovingly resolve our common crises for the common good.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner



Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

”Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
~ Chuang-Tzu
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time
nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless
and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2




Ron’s Introduction to Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why the world seems so insane?  Why billions of people worldwide suffer unnecessarily from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities?  Why even in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is ubiquitous?  Why even materially rich people are often depressed, addicted or mentally ill?  

To help us answer those questions, I’ve posted below “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”  a pithy whimsical poem which emphasizes the crucial spiritual truth that Life is eternal, though suffering is optional. In comments following the poem I’ll explain it’s origination and dedication.

Ron Rattner
 
Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

Life is perpetual;
Happiness is optional.

God gives Life eternal.
Humankind makes it sublime or infernal.

Timeless delight,
or endless night:

However we choose it,
we never can lose it.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”

Listen to



Ron’s commentary on “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”

Dear Friends,

Long before my mid-life spiritual awakening, I often wondered about seeming needless injustice and suffering in our supposedly ‘advanced’ societies.

And I attributed societal suffering to societal insanity. But only after spiritual awakening, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. With continuing curiosity, I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality. That process of constant questioning has proved immeasurably helpful.

Thereby, I’ve often been blessed with simple spiritual answers to seemingly complicated questions about insane human behaviors which cause needless suffering in our beautiful world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.   Like Dr. Seuss, I’ve discovered that: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple”; that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life often can be resolved with simple answers from elevated levels of inner awareness.  

I have found that human suffering arises from ignorance of our true nature and spiritual Self-identity; that we inevitably suffer karmically while seeking happiness through satisfaction of ephemeral worldly desires, because lasting happiness can only be found within; and, that our experience of happiness depends upon our self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as only impermanent mortal bodies and their stories.

So inspired by my beloved Guruji, I’ve shared many SillyStutras writings about happiness, to help us discover within that eternal happiness is our true nature.

Recent realization and dedication

The foregoing pithy poem was composed many years ago. But only recently have I discovered an ancient phenomenon which significantly impedes and complicates humanity’s quest for happiness. While vehemently rejecting current governmental pandemic edicts denying billions of people their core freedoms and human rights, I began relentlessly researching the source of this extraordinary phenomenon.

Thereby, I found persuasive evidence that our societies, enterprises and “leaders” are afflicted and dominated by ancient subhuman malignantly evil energies or entities which parasitically polarize, divide and exploit humankind, by provoking anger, anxiety, and fear. [See Discovering and Escaping an Illusory Matrix “Reality”; and “Is the world being ruled and ruined by psychopaths?”]

And I’ve realized that countless beings who are now dependent or dominated, or are hungry, sick, impoverished, or enslaved, are being forced or instinctively intimidated to prioritize physical survival over seeking happiness within to discover that life is Eternal.

But as we begin a rare Aquarian Age of peace, justice and goodwill, I’m confident that Humanity is about to recognize, reject, and replace current exploitive autocratic leaders and systems with loving societies serving people and planet over profits.

And this posting is deeply dedicated to contributing to that transcendent new Age.

Invocation

May today’s writings help us recognize
current extraordinary difficulties
as rare evolutionary opportunities,
and encourage us to nonviolently and non-judgmentally
resist and transcend them
with innate love, forgiveness, righteousness and justice.

May we thereby live ever happier, peaceful and harmonious lives.

 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


When Does Life Begin?

“Whence come I and whither go I?
That is the great unfathomable question,
the same for every one of us.
Science has no answer to it.”
~ Max Planck

“The two most important days in your life

are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

~ Mark Twain

“Death is truly part of life …
‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”

“This happens at the gross level of the mind.

But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”

~ Dalai Lama

“Birth and death are virtual,

but Life is perpetual.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“As we lose our fear of leaving life,

we gain the art of living life.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to When Does Life Begin?

Dear Friends,

The following mystical poem (composed many years ago) rhetorically questions our ideas of birth and death. It whimsically asks and answers the unanswerable question – When Does Life Begin?

Explanations and interpretations are included in comments which follow the verses. Please enjoy!

Ron Rattner


When Does Life Begin?

Q. When does life begin?

A. Never.

Life never begins,
because it never ends.

Life transcends time.
Life is timeless.

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

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

Eternal Mystery.



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

Listen to



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

Dear Friends,

The word “Life” is an idea – a mental concept arising in human consciousness – with different meanings for different people. Definitions of “life” can differ when applied to space/time, to phenomenal realms beyond space/time, or to Ultimate Reality beyond conception, comprehension, imagination, or description.  (See e.g. my speculations about the meanings of “Life” at https://sillysutras.com/what-is-life/)

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered about the purpose or significance of “life” on Earth. And for millennia rare mystics and other inner explorers have reportedly discovered in deep meditation an infinitely potential Universal Awareness – which is the sole Source of all we call the “real world”; an indescribable ultimate and trancendant Reality beyond space/time’, yet everywhere immanent in it.

In Buddhist and other enduring spiritual teachings birth and death are inherent in “life”; which at subtle mind levels metaphorically continues after physical death and before rebirth.   Thus the Dali Lama says that according to Tibetan Buddhism:

“Death is truly part of life …
‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”

“This happens at the gross level of the mind.

But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”

~ Dalai Lama

Most humans self-identify as mortal beings, and fear inevitable physical death, believing it ends life. But fear of death deters our spiritual evolution and loving behaviors, and causes karmic suffering.

So today’s poem and quotations are offered to enigmatically inspire our spiritual evolution beyond fear of death, and toward experiencing ever elevated levels “life”, with ever growing happiness and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations.

Invocation

May these teachings about “life”
help us realize that physical death is normal and necessary,

and not to be feared;

that it opens us to ever expanding

new vistas of self-discovery and fulfillment

of our deepest aspirations as eternal souls;

that beyond physical birth and death

we are destined to discover and enjoy

ever increasing inner peace and happiness,

until we melt and merge with Mystery –
The mystery of Divinity.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Dreamers Awake
~ and End Double Bubble Trouble

“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe.”
~ Aitareya Upanishad
I am, you anxious one.
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am waiting.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”
~ Jalaluddin Rumi
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu

 

Bubbles

Dreamers Awake, and End Double Bubble Trouble

Eastern mystics say that this world is like a mirage,
an illusion which they call maya or samsara;
that “all that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream”
…*

Science now agrees that our material world,
and all in it, are impermanent
ever changing quantum energy systems or processes;
that “Matter has melted into Mystery.”

Our ego says we are a person,
living in a solid, material universe.
But science says that we are a conscious
quantum energy process.

So, we live in a double bubble of imagined solidity:
an ego bubble of imagined personal identity,
within a paradigm bubble of imagined world “reality”.

But what happens if our bubbles burst?

If our ego bubble bursts, what’s left of us?

If our worldview paradigm bursts,
what’s left of our “reality”?

If the universe is like a dream,
who is the Dreamer?

If each being is like a dream,
who is the dreamer?

If we are just a dream within a dream,
what will be if we awaken from our dreams?

The answer to each bubble bursting,
dreamer awaking question is the same:

“ETERNAL AWARENESS”

NOW!

*Edgar Allen Poe.

 

Ron’s Comments on “Dreamers Awake, and End Double Bubble Trouble”

Dear Friends,

For millennia Eastern mystics and sages have likened our supposedly awakened earth life to nocturnal dream life, suggesting that we are not truly awake as long as we self-identify as entities separate from God, Nature and all else in our perceived world of forms.

And to help us awaken from this ‘dream-life’ they have counseled “know thyself”.
 
So, in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3, supposed sage Polonius counsels his son, Laertes:

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.

What is the deep meaning of Polonius’ advice?
Who or what is the Self to which we must be true?
And how can we be true to ourself, unless we  first know ourself?

According to Rumi,

“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’

and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

Yet most people don’t reflect on these questions.  Instead, we self-identify only according to our perceptions of physical separateness and mortality in an apparently objective ‘solid’ world.

After years of ruminating on “who am I”, what is death, and what is ‘reality’,  I have increasingly self identified – rather than only  as a mortal physical body in a seemingly ‘solid’ universe – as timeless Awareness in an ever impermanent holographic universe – a dream-like kaleidoscopic  theater of the mind. 

This radical – yet simple – change of perspective, has greatly helped me live a happier life, often as an observer of my own “soap opera”, accepting it with less and less fear of adversity and inevitable physical mortality.  This changed perspective has revealed to me that:

“As we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”  

Based on that realization, I have composed and posted above “Dreamers Awake, and End Double Bubble Trouble” to explore the perennial questions : “Who am I?”;  “What is ‘reality’”? and “What is ‘death?”

May these writings help us lead ever happier lives by encouraging our deep reconsideration and reflection upon our own self-identity, and supposed mortality, in accordance with revelations of quantum physicists and ancient saints and sages.  

May everyone, everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Living on ‘borrowed time’?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“However we may strive,
no body leaves alive”.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“We mark birthdays annually,
but celebrate Life constantly.
For birth and death are virtual,
while Life is perpetual –
a perpetual  blessing.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Hariharanda Giri (5/27/1907-12/03/2002).



Dedication.

This memoirs story honors and is gratefully dedicated to my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, (pictured below) who at age 114 asked that I write and publish spiritual memoirs, foreseeing that they would “inspire many people”. (See https://sillysutras.com/introduction-to-rons-memoirs/ )

Introduction.

Growing up I rarely thought about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.

Not until a transformative midlife awakening to self-identity as eternal spirit, followed by inner visions of apparent other lifetimes, and meeting my Guruji, who taught about death, dying and beyond, did I begin deeply reflecting about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.

And eventually I even began wondering whether our lifespans might be karmically predetermined upon birth. That question was triggered over thirty years ago when I received a memorable Vedic astrology prediction that I would die “at age eighty four”, based upon my precise time and place of birth.

Here is what happened.

Story of death prediction.

After Guruji returned to India in 1980, I met and learned from many other spiritual teachers, in addition to Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma, while always maintaining my heartfelt inner relationship with Guruji – above all other teachers.

Especially after my 1982 pilgrimage to India, for many years I considered myself a “born-again Hindu” and was especially attracted to Indian spiritual teachers. Thus in August 1986 I attended programs given by Sri Hariharinanda Giri, a self-realized Kriya Yoga initiate of renowned Master and Vedic astrologer Sri Yukteswar Giri and of Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who continued a spiritual lineage beginning with “Mahavatar Babaji” – an ethereal being who apparently I beheld at the 1982 Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.

Inspired by Sri Yukteswar, Hariharinanda Giri [affectionately known as ‘Baba’] had become an expert Vedic astrologer, and offered optional readings to those receiving his Kriya empowerments. So on August 10, 1986, I had a private astrological reading with Baba in which he interpreted my Vedic chart – which I called a ‘karmic map’.

In Vedic astrology or Jyotish, the ascendant sign is often deemed the most defining element in the chart. Both my Vedic and Western astrology charts show Libra – which is ruled by the planet Venus – as my ascendent or rising zodiac sign.

And so in his reading Baba emphasized this significant aspect of my chart. But in his Indian English he unwittingly mispronounced the name of my ruling ascendant planet, Venus. In a tape recorded session, two or three times he approvingly told me: “Your Penus is rising”. And he lovingly offered enlightened advice for my skillful spiritual behavior under that auspicious rising sign.

On conclusion of his reading Baba showed me my written chart, and asked if I had any questions. I pointed to a notation at the top, and asked him what it meant. Whereupon Baba turned off the tape recorder and replied: “That shows when you will die.”

Until then I had never heard that Vedic astrology could determine time of death from a chart based on planetary configurations at time of birth. Nor had I begun to contemplate my time of death. So in response to this surprising revelation, I simply exclaimed, “Oh!”

Whereupon, without my asking him, Baba voluntarily told me:


“You will die at age eighty four”
.


Post-prediction death reflections.

After Baba’s surprisingly specific death prediction, I continued to reflect on death and gradually discovered persuasively apt writings about esoteric ancient Vedic philosophy, astrology and prophesy, as well as about Einstein’s revolutionary relativity science. And I found credible quotes from non-dualist masters suggesting that not only one’s lifespan but our actions, and even our thoughts, are predetermined by natural laws of causality until we transcend the ‘wheels of karma’. [See Einstein’s Mystical Ideas About God, Death, Afterlife, and Reincarnation; and Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate? ~ An Amazing Synchronicity Story ]

On my 84th birthday anniversary (on November 8, 2016) I completed a full 84 year Uranus cycle, of exactly 1008 months. So since then I’ve increasingly wondered how much time is left for Ron Rattner; whether he is imminently ‘scheduled’ to say “bye-bye” to this twenty first century. And more and more I’ve gratefully recognized every day as a bonus, and every breath as a blessing. Thus today on my 88th November 8th birthday anniversary, I’m feeling more grateful than I ever before imagined for this precious lifetime on Earth.

Conclusion.

Life is eternal, but human lifetimes are ephemeral. So as an octogenarian (not knowing when this precious lifetime will end), I’ve been augmenting and updating my Silly Sutras postings concerning physical death – a profoundly important spiritual subject. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/dealing-with-death-and-dying-rons-memoirs/)

May these writings motivate our reflections upon our inevitable physical departure from this relative “reality”, where “however we may strive, nobody leaves alive”.

And may they hasten fulfillment of our deepest aspirations for Self realization beyond “birth and death”, as Eternal Life, Light, LOVE. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas