Posts Tagged ‘Divinity’

Kol Nidré ritual prayer

Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre

Introduction

Dear Friends,

Concurrent with Jewish high holy days I recently posted memoirs about Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present which describe and explain “Kol Nidrei” the Jewish Yom Kippur opening prayer, that repents “sins” and seeks Divine forgiveness or rescission of the past year’s obsolete vows, intentions or behaviors. That memoirs posting describes the hauntingly beautiful “Kol Nidrei” melodies which powerfully project deep sacred meaning beyond the prayer’s vocalized Aramaic words.

However, the posting fails to include audio-visual performances of Kol Nidrei.

So as a musical epilogue to Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present I have hereafter embedded two exemplary YouTube performances of the ancient Kol Nidrei ritual prayer:

1) A an historic 2003 video recording of American Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre at Amsterdam’s 17th century Portuguese Synagogue, one of the world’s most architecturally important synagogues. This performance was produced and repeatedly aired by PBS stations during Jewish holidays and fund-raising drives for years thereafter. It was part of a Jewish sacred music concert in Europe, arranged by PBS.

2) A legendary orchestral performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré (his deceased wife) of German composer Max Bruch’s “Adagio after Hebrew Melodies”, Op 47, for cello and orchestra. Bruch, a Christian Protestant, was “deeply moved” by the haunting beauty of the ancient “Kol Nidrei” liturgical music. And he considered the cello’s tenor tone as ideally evoking a Jewish cantor’s voice. So In 1880 he composted his still popular Op 47, with beautiful ancient Jewish melodies.

Conclusion

Spiritually, Kol Nidrei melodies have for centuries emanated and communicated instinctive human awareness of our unavoidable fallibility as physically incarnate earth-beings unable to live without error or beyond the “sin” of missing the mark for ethically perfect behaviors.

Please enjoy these haunting melodies, accordingly.

Ron Rattner

Videos

2003 video recording of American Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre at Amsterdam’s 17th century Portuguese Synagogue



Max Bruch’s “Adagio after Hebrew Melodies”, Op 47, for cello and orchestra, performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré (his deceased wife)




Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake


Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Introduction

Dear Friends,

In lunar/solar new moon and equinox seasons of major religious ‘holy days’ we are often reminded that our spiritual goal is returning to “godliness” – to Ultimate Reality. This memoirs posting explains how we can advance our evolution toward attainment of that goal, by clearing past mental conditioning to increasingly be here NOW in the precious present.

Because this posting coincides with the Jewish High Holy Days, it recounts my positive experience with Yom Kippur communal practices of: (1) non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us; and of (2) annulment or rescission of obsolete and unhelpful private intentions, resolutions, or vows to ourselves or God. Thus it explains my perspective that such practices, which are premised on societal awareness of inevitable limitation and fallibility of all incarnate humans, can be universally beneficial in advancing everyone’s spiritual evolution.

Also it explains why our spiritual evolution can be furthered by other practices or activities which help us quiet the mind and clear mental pre-conditioning to increasingly live moment by moment in the precious present, with Love as the supreme unifying principle of Life.

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Our mental conditioning operates our physical bodies, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as anxiety, fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is advanced by behaviors which help us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have quieted my mind, recognized and eliminated obsolete beliefs and paradigms which no longer felt valid or useful, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of thinking less, and being more; and of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity, and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been hastened through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help still the mind and clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated the SillySutras website to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

Jewish High Holy days practices

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten ‘Days Of Awe’ emphasizing introspection and repentance, and concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement” and “at-one-ment”]. During religious services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth
who continually does good and who never sins,”
[ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ]

The Yom Kippur religious observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many observant Jews is the spiritual high-point of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that the Kol Nidre prayer enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And consequently they often feel frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring such guilt or frustration, Jewish tradition recognizes that it’s best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and abrogation of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melodies, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Ron’s Comments on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar/solar new moon and equinox seasons of major religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri); Asian (Moon festivals) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually being more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

The foregoing perspectives on “Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present”, respectfully encourage our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

Conclusion and Dedication

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and ideals which no longer feel valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

Thus, today’s memoirs posting is dedicated to advancing our spiritual evolution on ‘holy days’ and every day, by encouraging us to fearlessly forgive the past, and to ever BE thought-free in the precious present – as Eternal LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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.


Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Faith is intuitive conviction, a knowing from the soul,
that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I’m only a cockeyed optimist . . .
stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can’t get it out of my heart!”
~ Oscar Hammerstein II, South Pacific, lyrics

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”
~ Helen Keller

“The highest thinkers of the ages,
the seers of the tribes and the nations,
have been optimists.”
~ Helen Keller

“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colorblind.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Steady faith is stronger than destiny.
Destiny is the result of causes, mostly accidental,
and is therefore loosely woven.
Confidence and good hope will overcome it easily.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Even faith in God is only a stage on the way.
Ultimately you abandon all, for you come to something so simple that there are no words to express it.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Optimism optimizes opportunity.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Hanuman


Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction to “Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist”

Dear Friends,

In prior postings I’ve told how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”, and defined faith as distinguished from belief. And I’ve explained that inner faith in the Divine, is the same as faith in one’s Self, and that such inner faith can bring us previously unimagined happiness.

Today I’ll tell how I found faith in Divine Self in a midlife transition from self-reliant secular litigation lawyer to devotional “born-again Hindu”; and how that faith became an optimistically unshakable conviction that everything happens for the best, until we transcend the ego illusion of existing separately in space/time.

And because these memoirs are published on commencement of important Equinox religious holy days, I’m including a 2022 Equinox Epilogue.

Memoirs of “Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist”

Soon after receiving 1978 shaktipat initiation from my beloved Guruji, I began daily Sanskrit recitations of a Ram mantra and the Hanuman Chalisa – a rhymed poetic ode to the mythological Vedic ‘monkey-god’ Hanuman (pictured above). The Hanuman Chalisa (composed by poet-saint and philosopher Tulsidas) metaphorically venerates Hanuman, who faithfully served Hindu avatar Rama, as the epitome of faith in God.

Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (with whom I feel deep devotional affinity) often cited an epic Ramayana story about Hanuman heroically leaping over the sea between South India and Shri Lanka (Ceylon) to serve Rama, as illustrating the epitome of divine faith. In the Gospel of Ramakrishna, he taught:

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


While repeatedly reciting Ram mantras and the Hanuman Chalisa, I felt their devotional energy while unconcerned about their precise Sanskrit meaning. And I became instinctively harmonious with Ram, as Divinity. Even today (at almost age ninety), I still often instinctively call out to Rama in devotionally honoring the Divine. And Hanuman energy became and remains for me symbolic of both enduring Faith and immutable optimism.

After I became an instinctive Rama devotee, I realized that my initial secular self-confidence and optimism had gradually grown to heartfelt Faith in God; that I’d evolved from being a pragmatic secular optimist into living a devotional faith-based life, with both conviction and optimism.

Also, I realized that with Faith it’s always best follow one’s conscience in all behaviors, and to surrender outcomes of such conscientious behaviors to Divine Source (or Tao) – to let go and go with the flow; because karmically whatever happens could not be otherwise. So, to clear our karma, we must non-judgmentally and forgivingly accept and bless everything and everyone NOW, as ephemeral and illusory appearances in ever impermanent space and time of our sole Divine Source – ineffable, immutable, and Eternal LOVE.

My insights revealed that our earthly sufferings arise from fearful and illusory ego-mind thoughts because we forget our true Divinity and immortality.
But that as omnipotent immortal spirit we have nothing to fear from anything that seems to happen in always illusory ego-mind space, time, and duality. Moreover, that our transcendence of ego-mind is inevitable, and always advanced by our loving behaviors.

2022 Equinox Epilogue

These memoirs are published concurrent with commencement of the Jewish High Holy Days, and the Hindu Navaratri shraddha period. In prior times I participated in both Jewish and Hindu religious ritual observances of these important holidays.

But in recent years, I’ve stopped attending all scheduled religious ritual services. As an innately faith-based optimist, I now continuously honor God every day and everywhere with Divine intentions, behaviors, and prayers, and with the SillySutras spiritual poetry and philosophy website.

Yet, I’ve instinctively realized that beyond ego-mind’s persistent “optical illusion” of a space, time, and duality worldly “reality”, all that is, was, or will be is NOW. Thus, that being a worldly faith-based optimist (with hope for the future) is like aspiring to an “impossible dream” of a never-attainable mental mirage – a time-based dreamlike fantasy “reality” that can never exist.

Optimists instinctively hope for the best. But “hope” is always “then” while Life is only NOW, ever NOW, never then.

However, since inception of the current historically unprecedented post-pandemic “new normal” era, I’ve become optimistically convinced, and foresee, that a “critical mass” of energetically elevated humans will soon co-create (as a cooperative global family) an infinitely more compassionate world, without fearful ego-mind deprivations and sufferings.

And these faith-based equinox memoirs are deeply dedicated to inspiring and hastening our imminent fulfillment of that optimistic prediction.

Conclusions

I’ve become and irreversibly remain a faith-based optimist, despite apparent cataclysmic threats against survival of human life as we’ve known it.  And I equate my instinctive optimism with inner Faith in our sole Divine Source – ineffable, immutable, and Eternal LOVE.

Therefore I’m especially grateful to be able to now share these memoirs with you to help us realize and enjoy supreme fulfillment and happiness from ever optimistic faith in Divine LOVE, until we ascend and transcend all ego-mind perception-deception illusion.

Invocation

“May we ever ascend –
as LOVE and Light,

Beyond-all suffering,
from ego-mind fright.”


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Cockeyed optimist” video

To further encourage our heartfelt faith-based optimism, I’ve embedded below a YouTube video performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘cockeyed optimist’ song from “South Pacific”.

Please optimistically enjoy it as we energetically ascend as Love and Light,
beyond all suffering from ego-mind fright.



Honoring God’s “Holy Fools”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
~ 1 Corinthians 3:19
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~ 1 John 4:7-8
“Full of love for all things in the world;

practicing virtue in order to benefit others,

this man alone is happy.”

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring,
the most sublime principle in creation.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life. 

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

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

 



Honoring God’s “Holy Fools” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,


Prior memoirs have recounted my midlife transformation from “Secular Hebrew” social justice litigation lawyer to “Born-again Hindu” devotional-emotional lover of God, and then to “Uncertain Undo” seeking ‘relief from belief’, because ‘on the path of Undo, we’ll never be through, ’til we’re and undone ONE!’.
[See e.g. Crying For God and other ‘Kundalini Kriyas’]

This memoirs chapter tells how, as a newly awakened ‘lover of God’ (Bhakta), I’ve discovered and honored “Holy Fools” – rare ascetic and eccentric lovers of God, who don’t live in ordinary worldly ways.

I’ve learned that throughout human history there have been very famous “Holy Fools”. Only after first ‘discovering’ such famous “Holy Fools”, did I later learn that in all human societies there are countless more unknown God intoxicated “Holy Fools”; and that they timelessly bless this world as LOVE.

In some Eastern societies they are called “masts”, a word which originates from the Sufi term mast-Allah, meaning “intoxicated with God”.

In Hindu societies they are called Avadhutas, who are overwhelmed with inner love for God. For millennia India has honored Avadhutas, as self-realized bhakti mystics living beyond worldly ego-mind consciousness and concerns, and without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita)

To help you understand why I have honored spiritual “heretics” and “holy fools” as lovers of God, here is a summary of my devotional history:

Ron’s Devotional history

Until my profound midlife spiritual awakening, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But then I cried for twenty four hours. Thereafter, I began wondering why I was crying so much. But soon I realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) And I became and remained an extremely devotional, and frequent crier for God – often ecstatically longing and calling for the Divine.


After meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and receiving his shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga as “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”, I gradually learned that my continual longing and profuse crying for God was an immense transformative blessing – recognized not only in the bhakti Hindu devotional tradition, but also in:

1) Sufism epitomized by enlightened Muslim mystical poets Rumi and Hafiz who realized that all appearances in our seemingly complex earthly “reality” are manifestations of ONE eternal LOVE; and

2) in the Orthodox/Catholic “gift of tears” tradition of St. Isaac of Ninevah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.


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


Guruji’s explanation was that:

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


Learning about devotional spirituality

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

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

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

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

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

However, I had no idea of their supremely profound sacred significance.

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

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


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

Lovers of God as “Heretics”

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


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

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

Like Sufi “masts” and Indian avadhutas, worldwide there have been countless unknowns societally honored as God intoxicated ‘holy fools’ with extraordinarily unconventional behaviors inconsistent with social norms.


Famous “Heretic” Prophets

Supremely eminent Greek philosopher Socrates, who taught the Delphic oracle’s fundamental transformative spiritual maxim “Know Thyself”, was considered an heretic and was sentenced to death after being unjustly tried and convicted for allegedly corrupting the youth of Athens. He was an archetypal wise ‘fool’ whose distinctive teaching method consisted in exposing foolishness of the world. For example, just before Socrates died of a coerced suicide, by drinking hemlock, he declared that fear of death was fear of the unknown.


In Western Christianity Paul the Apostle proclaimed that

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


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

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

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

And just as I always rejected Torah teachings about Jews as “chosen people”, I could never accept Christian dogma that Jesus was God’s “only Son” because he declared “I and the Father are one”.

Nor – like Gandhi – could I morally accept non-egalitarian Hindu scriptures justifying socially stratified caste systems, with some people deemed “untouchables”.

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

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

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

st-francis-of-assisi

St. Francis of Assisi



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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE as the unseen Source of the worlds we see

Following the midlife spiritual rebirth and awakening, I’ve gradually discovered that LOVE is all that is, was, or will be; that LOVE is our true SELF-identity, and the unseen timeless Source of all worlds we see.

So I’ve realized that all God’s “holy fools” bless this world as living LOVE. And that their eccentricities and ‘heresies’ can help reveal that societal sanity requires radical reform of orthodox worldly rules and beliefs.

Dedication and Invocation – Love for all, Hatred for none!

This memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to inspiring a critical mass of humanity increasingly to honor each other and all life as ONE LOVE – beyond the endless ego-mind illusion of a space/time duality universe

And let us ever remember that we are the unseen Source of all worlds we see!

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

And with firm faith, may our guiding motto ever be

‘Love for all, Hatred for none!’


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Choosing To Live A Miraculous and Holy Life ~ Ron’s Memoirs


“There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”

~ Walt Whitman

“For everything that lives is Holy,

life delights in life.”

~ William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“Try and penetrate the secrets of nature and you will find that,
behind all the discernible laws and connections,
there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.
Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,

the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
~ John 4:48

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,
May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968
Capuchin Franciscan Friar with stigmata


Dear Friends,

On observing noteworthy mysteries which we can’t yet explain by known natural or scientific laws, we may call them “miracles” and attribute them to an Infinite or Divine Power, beyond human comprehension. Whether or not we call these phenomena “God” or Nature or Universal Intelligence, we can (like Albert Einstein) choose to live “as though everything is a miracle.” This memoirs posting outlines how I’ve begun regarding everything and everyone as divine and holy miracles.

My last “Miraculous Lotus Flower” memoirs posting told how I was obliged to change my description of a supposedly “real” blooming flower by physical proof revealed by my daughter Jessica Eve Rattner. However, I’ve been especially inspired by Sri Ramakrishna’s Teachings About God in All Beings to always remember that we have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God – to see that everything is a Holy miracle – with love beyond fear or proof.

Today’s memoirs chapter discusses Divine “miracles” that can’t ever be scientifically or rationally explained, but are best accepted with faith as perpetual “unsolved” mysteries arising from “acts of God”. Perhaps the most inspiring such miraculous story yet posted on the SillySutras website is “Why The Choir Was Late” Similarly many other posted true synchronicity stories can be regarded as Divine mysteries beyond proof.

Some more unsolvable “miracles”

1) From May 1976 to February 1977, I had so many previously unprecedented premonitions, dreams, synchronicities, and precognitive and astral experiences that I began wondering whether we can astrally bi-locate, travel and transcend serial time. This still remains a question beyond scientific proof.

2) During April – May 1978, I synchronistically met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, who demonstrated yogic powers which I’d never previously imagined possible. These were Guruji’s rarely demonstrated “signs and wonders” [John 4:48] that motivated me to receive his shaktipat initiation. Soon thereafter at Guruji’s request, I drove him and his designated successor, Shri Anandi Ma, for an unforgettable sight seeing trip from Oakland to San Francisco to see Grace Cathedral and Saint Mary’s Cathedral.

En route as we passed the high-rise building, where my law office was on the 21st floor, I exclaimed spontaneously: “Guruji, my office is at the top of that building”. “Very good,” he responded. And we drove on. The next morning, my twenty first floor air conditioned office was completely suffused with the ambrosial fragrance of roses. But, its windows were sealed, and there were no roses in the entire law office suite. So afterwards I questioned Shri Anandi Ma about the rose fragrance. Smilingly she replied: “Oh, that’s Guruji’s calling card, when he makes astral visits”. So, how did that astral visit happen? It’s still a “miracle” beyond scientific proof.

3) During Guruj’s last months in the USA (in 1980-81), he affirmed to me his yogic ability to travel astrally at will. He 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.” But such astral traveling still remains a “miracle” beyond scientific proof.

4) In May 1992, after an unforgettable déjà vu pilgrimage to Italy to commune with Saint Francis of Assisi, I drove to the Southern Italy Adriatic town of San Giovanni Rotondo to pay my respects to Padre Pio, a famous stigmatist and Capuchin Franciscan Friar, known for his miraculous deeds, astral appearances, and for sometimes manifesting subtle fragrances of roses with violets.  While I prayed and meditated at his holy tomb, I was unforgettably suffused with those fragrances. Later, I had repeated experiences of flower fragrance ‘visits’ from Guruji and other mystics. Those flower fragrance manifestations are still “miracles” beyond scientific proof.

5) In May 1993, intuiting that our daughter Jessica has just arrived from India on a world tour (with her spiritual teacher, Ammachi,) Jessica’s mother Naomi opened her San Francisco front door to discover strewn on her front porch the mysterious appearance of many rose petals. Later, Ammachi sent Naomi a packet of similar rose petals, without revealing or claiming to be the source of this rose petal ‘miracle’.

Soon thereafter while reading “The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.” I was repeatedly reminded and thought of Jessica. Then I synchronistically discovered (at “Christ in the Desert” a remote New Mexico monastery) that during Therese’s brief life as a Carmelite nun she often threw rose petals; and that during her last illness she had announced:

“After my death I will let fall a shower of roses”.


Saint Therese of Lisieux,
“The Little Flower of Jesus”,
January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897


Since Therese’s passing many manifestations of rose petals and other posthumous “miracles” continue to be attributed to her. But Naomi’s rose petal manifestation “miracle”, remains an unsolved mystery beyond scientific proof.

Spiritual importance of seeing everyone and everything as divine and holy miracles beyond proof.

1) Every incarnate human is unique, with a unique “reality” “created” by his/her individual thoughts and behaviors. And we each have personal freedom to think and behave as we choose.

2) But our freely chosen thoughts and behaviors unavoidably subject us to the universal law of cause and effect; and thereby to karmically ‘reap as we sow’ either joy or suffering, depending whether we are lovingly kind, compassionate, and helpful or fearfully selfish, hedonistic and harmful.

3) If we always choose, to live with love beyond fear or proof; to perceive only Divine spirit or God; and to see that everything is a Holy miracle – we gradually create states of consciousness beyond karmic suffering and we ‘reap’ increasingly joyous lives. Ultimately we are destined to awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity as LOVE.

Dedication of Choosing To Live A Miraculous and Holy Life

This memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to elevating our ever evolving earthly “reality” by encouraging a “critical mass” of Humankind to choose living with loving, kind, compassionate, and helpful thoughts and behaviors.

May it inspire us to always remember that we have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God – to see that everything is a Holy miracle – with love beyond fear or proof, until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


My Miraculous Lotus Flower
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

~ George Orwell, “1984”

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

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

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,

they are modes in which we think.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“The universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist and Einstein protege

“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.

And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”

~ A Course In Miracles (ACIM)

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist

“I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

“We do not see things as they are;

we see things as we are.”

~ Talmud

“Whatever we think, do, or say,

changes this world in some way.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, with Miraculous Lotus Flower


Introduction to “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

Dear Friends,

Today I’m privileged to share with you a recent true memoirs story, symbolizing the fundamental spiritual principle that every incarnate space/time human is unique, with a unique “reality” which we “create” with our thoughts and behaviors. And that to evolve we need to be ever open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs. Hence human societies could not have advanced if we inflexibly believed that the earth was flat, or was the center of our solar system.

My evolving “reality” history

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening, I’ve realized that many prior beliefs and paradigms about “reality” were fundamentally mistaken and limiting; requiring acceptance of never previously imagined new “realities” through open minded questioning and mindfulness, crucial for life-long learning and spiritual evolution.

Thus since 1976, I’ve learned (from mystic masters, quantum science, and out of body experiences) that we each ‘create’ an illusionary space/time “reality” through “an optical illusion of consciousness” with our unique thoughts, words, and behaviors – whereby we mistakenly perceive, project, and self-identify ourselves as supposedly mortal entities separate from each other, Nature, our precious planet, and from our ultimately inseparable Universal essence as infinite LOVE. (See e.g. Our Mentality is Our Reality)

Also, I’ve learned that in this illusionary space/time reality everything is energy [e=Mc2] appearing and disappearing within Universal consciousness. But most humans mistakenly identify only with their thoughts, instead of their consciousness of those thoughts, and don’t realize that cosmically we are merely energy vortices ‘disguised as persons’. However, as we elevate our energies beyond polarizing fears and negative emotions and radiate innate common love and compassion, we gradually transcend space/time sufferings and reap ever increasing karmic rewards, as ‘givers not getters’. And (as in the following memoirs story) those rewards often appear through amazing synchronicities.

My Miraculous Lotus Flower

This miraculous lotus flower story exemplifies my still continuing life-long “reality” realization process:

In December 2017 my former neighbor Simran Alden (a real estate broker, raised in India before emigrating to the US) left a colored flower at my front door taped to an envelope with information about year-end real estate taxes. Because of color blindness, presbyopia, and other age-related visual limitations I couldn’t discern the flower’s botanical identity or color, nor could I see it clearly. It appeared to me to be a very “real” but dried-out cut flower. So to revive and preserve it’s beauty for a few days, I carefully put it into a tube of fresh tap water.

On awakening the next day I saw a beautifully opened flower, which I assumed would soon fade and wither with age. But miraculously it stayed “alive” and beautiful. And I soon believed that the “real” flower was forming roots on seeing as organic material in the water tube.

So I regularly refilled the tube with filtered water (rather than tap water), and delightedly observed my miraculously blooming “real” flower, which I kept in prominent view on my dining room table.

When Simran Alden later phoned me about my condominium’s market value, I thanked her for the flower she’d given me in December, and told her that I was still enjoying its beauty. However, I don’t remember telling her that I believed it to be “real” and had been watering it regularly. Afterwards I emailed Simran a photo of me enjoying the flower. And I enjoyed and carefully watered my miraculous “real” flower for over four more years.

But that suddenly stopped in June 2022.

At the beginning of June, 2022, my 2008 large screen iMac, running a long outdated OS 10.9 operating system irreparably stopped working. The old iMac contained all of my essential digital data, and was not separately backed-up. So I urgently needed to save its data and replace it with another iMac which would still run OS 10.9; or I’d be involuntarily ‘retired’ as an online spiritual philosopher, sponsored by The Perennial Wisdom Foundation.

Thanks to Divine grace and many amazing synchronicities, I’m “back in business” as a spiritual philosopher, and still able to compose spiritual memoirs.

Here is what happened:

On the June 1st ‘death’ of my iMac, I immediately contacted my almost 93 year old long-time friend and computer ‘guru’, “KJ”, about my urgent dilemma. With compassion “KJ” began expertly guiding my replacement of the 2008 iMac with a late 2012 model that would still run OS 10.9. Also he instructed my daughter Jessica about finding a successor iMac on Craig’s List. Jessica successfully found a replacement iMac, and on June 7th she brought it to my apartment. It still needed to be carefully converted to run my OS 10.9 data. And (with “KJ’s” expert assistance) that finally happened on June 23, 2022. The next night “KJ” passed peacefully in his sleep. If “KJ” had departed on June 1st instead of June 24th, I couldn’t be sharing this memoirs story with you.

Jessica’s lotus “reality” revelation

On arriving at my apartment on June 7, 2022 with the 2012 replacement iMac, my dear daughter Jessica Eve Rattner, (now a prize-winning documentary photographer and UC Davis Master of Fine Arts, with keen color and visual perception) iconoclastically shattered my miraculous flower “reality” image. Looking at the flower, she immediately perceived and impishly revealed to me that the tubed bloom was an not an organically botanical flower, but a cotton woven and fabricated pink lotus.

Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, after learning Jessica’s lotus flower “reality”


As Simran probably knew, the pink lotus is the official National Flower of India, and is prominent in ancient India’s history, art, and teachings. It has long been an extremely sacred symbol of the spiritual path, enlightenment and resurrection.

So I now view the flower as an auspicious synchronistic blessing, but Jessica’s “reality” revelation has compelled me to stop believing it miraculous.

Dedication of “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

May this lotus flower story auspiciously symbolize the infinite potential blessings of our ever evolving earthly “reality”, which we “create” with our ever changing thoughts and behaviors.

May it remind us to always be open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs, until we ultimately transcend all incarnate “reality”.

Until then may we ever BE kind and compassionate, and pray:

“Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Synchronistically Discovering The Inner Spirit Of ’76, at Age Seventy Six, in 1976
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“The ego cannot be done away with. As long as ‘I-consciousness’ exists, living beings and the universe must also exist.
After realizing God, one sees that, it is He Himself
who has become the universe and the living beings.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samādhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“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.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“The ego cannot begot rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa




Introduction

Dear Friends,

As Americans commemorate our founding fathers’ July 4th, 1776, declaration of political independence from tyrannical British rule, this memoirs chapter tells how at age 76, in 1976, I synchronistically discovered a profound inner ‘Spirit of ’76’ evolution process (still unfolding at almost age ninety) revealing how we shall transcend previously unimagined fearful ego-mind obstacles to enjoyment of a god-given happy life.

Synchronistically Discovering The Inner Spirit Of ’76 at Age Seventy Six in 1976

On New Year’s Eve 1974-5 I was blessed with a transformative out-of-body experience (OOB), which impelled my relentless investigation of its profound meaning. Until then, like most Westerners, I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and assumed that inevitable bodily death would forever end my life.

However in spring 1976, at age seventy six my quest for meaning of that OOB was suddenly rewarded by an extraordinary and spontaneous aha spiritual rebirth and re-awakening experience, which forever changed my Self-identity and reality paradigms. And it began a profound spiritual-evolution process, revealing previously unimagined and continuing discoveries which are still unfolding at almost age ninety.

Synchronistically my spiritual awakening at age 76 happened during the auspicious 1976 bicentennial commemorations of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence which widely celebrated “The Spirit Of ’76” .

Spirit Of ’76 Background


On July 4, 1776, thirteen American colonies declared their independence from British royal rule, in an historic document inspired by Thomas Paine’s Quaker philosophy and written by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence morally proclaimed that under “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” government is established by people to secure their “Life, Liberty and . . pursuit of Happiness”, and is to be overthrown as illegitimate if it no longer does that.

Thomas Jefferson who authored the Declaration of Independence later explained that its principles

“promised to lead America—and other nations on the globe—into a new era of freedom. The revolution begun by Americans on July 4, 1776, would never end. It would inspire all peoples living under the burden of oppression and ignorance to open their eyes to the rights of mankind, to overturn the power of tyrants, and to declare the triumph of equality over inequality.”

Thus the Declaration unequivocally affirmed the inherent god-given human right to “Life, Liberty, and Happiness”. Though it emphasized outer liberty from immoral and inequitable political oppression, it’s spiritual philosophy also includes perpetual freedom from inner oppression, because (as Thomas Payne revealed) “our greatest enemies . . . are within.”

My Inner Spirit Of ’76 Discoveries

Synchronistically, at age 76 in 1976 I began discovering within that:

1) Spiritually we are not mere separate mortal physical bodies but ONE immortal and universal consciousness. Our mortal physical bodies are only impermanent energy vehicles with which we explore earth’s dense 3D environment. But because we are eternal consciousness we never die, just replace our temporary ‘space/time soul suits’ with new models.

2) Planet Earth’s space/time relative “reality” isn’t really real, but an energetic optical illusion of universal consciousness – like a dream or mental mirage, which Eastern religions call samsara or maya.

3) In space/time everything is energy [e=Mc2] appearing and disappearing within universal consciousness. But most humans mistakenly identify only with their thoughts, instead of their consciousness of those thoughts, and don’t realize that in Reality we are consciousness disguised as persons.

4) Because we mistakenly think that we’re only individual persons or entities separate from each other and Nature, we ‘create’ an illusory reality with our ever changing thoughts, words and behaviors.

5) Our self-identification with thought is ego. Ego-mind ideas about supposed separate self-identity and reality inescapably subject us to to the karmic law of cause and effect, whereby “every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards” – either joy or suffering. Thus ego-mind self-identification metaphorically confines us in psychological prisons in which suffering is inevitable, and which restrict realization of our infinite potentialities.  

6) As long as humans choose to physically incarnate on Earth some separate ego-identity is inevitable and unavoidable.

7) Such Earthly ego-identity can be either harmful or helpful:
Egos are harmful when they are fearful, selfish, materialistic, or hedonistic; but when we fearlessly devote our precious human lives to serving others our egos are helpful. (Eg. see Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6:05-6)

8) Maintaining a helpful ego of service or devotion to God in our chosen worldly activities is highly desirable. Helpful ego-minds quicken our transcendence from cause and effect earthly sufferings; but harmful ego-minds prolong such sufferings.

9) Thus, I’ve discovered (in the Spirit of ’76) that harmful and fearful inner ego-minds can be “our greatest enemies” by preventing our realization and enjoyment of innate human freedom from inner oppression. However, the energy frequency of LOVE always eradicates and dissipates fear as an assured antidote to fearful ego-minds.

10) So as fearless servants and instruments of Divine LOVE we are invariably destined to ultimately enjoy our innate God-given freedom from all inner-ego oppression.

And so shall it be!

Conclusion, dedication, and invocation

The energy of Divine LOVE always prevails over fearful energy. So as instruments and servants of God, we will invariably evolve human consciousness –beyond our mistakenly perceived separation from each other– by fearlessly realizing and actualizing our common Oneness with all Life as LOVE.

This memoirs posting is dedicated to hastening that transformation until we have merged and melted into ONE Universal Awareness – as Divine LOVE.

Thus may we always BE and pray:

Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Farewell Carol:
Tribute to an Unforgettable Friend
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“May the Lord give you peace.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
~ Rumi


Carol Schuldt, ‘Queen of the Beach’, (6/26/33–12/01/18)

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

June 26, 2022 is the 89th birthday anniversary of my unforgettable departed friend Carol Schuldt. Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit, whose authentic and inner directed spiritual life was in inspiration for me and countless others.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and heart failure,  Carol painlessly left her body at age 85 on December 1st, 2018.   A week later her body was interred in a wild nature place overlooking the Pacific Ocean, after spontaneous rituals and stories were shared by Carol’s friends on a beautiful sunny afternoon. 

In tribute to Carol, this posting recounts my memoirs of our friendship, outlines Carol’s extraordinary spiritual history,  tells a miraculous synchronicity story about how I tearfully bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi, and concludes with my eulogy to Carol.

Carol Schuldt & Ron Rattner, @ Ron’s 80th birthday party, 11/11/’12

Background

Carol was a a legendary San Franciscan, sometimes known as ‘Queen of the Beach’ or ‘Mother Teresa of the Sunset’. She lived as a life-long nature lover and natural born shaman, authentically, intuitively, generously and spontaneously. (See Carol’s SF Chronicle obituary)

Carol and I had innumerable synchronistic encounters, after we first met in the 1980’s. And we repeatedly shared our many ‘miraculous’ synchronicity stories (a few of which are posted here on SillySutras.com).

Before meeting Carol, I miraculously ‘discovered’ and became a lover of St. Francis of Assisi. And soon after meeting Carol, I regarded her as a ‘female St. Francis’ who constantly communed with Nature, even with the sun, the moon, and many nonhuman lifeforms.

So in tribute to Carol’s transition, I write now about her spiritual history, and how I tearfully bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi.

Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.

Carol and I first met long ago while sitting at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where I walked and where she often came to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun (without a wet suit). Afterwards we exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives stemming from our countless experiences of synchronicities, or meaningful ‘coincidences’.

I deeply appreciated Carol as an amazingly free spirit with great instinctive wisdom and generosity.  Before we met, she’d already become a ‘living legend’ throughout and beyond her San Francisco ocean front neighborhood. And many stories were written or told about her. For example, an excellent story: “A Benevolent Queen of the Beach” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 25, 2000. And in 2005 Carol was interviewed on film by the SF Public Library, about her history and life in the ‘hippie’ 1960’s.

The Chronicle article told of Carol’s exceptional inner wisdom even from childhood, when at Catholic school she adamantly refused to worship a bloody Christ on a crucifix, and was the only child exempted therefrom by the nuns, who recognized her wisdom.

The article also told how Carol had dedicated her life to helping troubled souls – especially young people. But that paradoxically Carol experienced great family tragedy with all of her three children: her two daughters whose lives were lastingly impacted by drug addiction, and her son Pete who was permanently brain damaged in a childhood car accident. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol was sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”. And as a daily swimmer/surfer she also became known as ‘Queen of the Beach’.

From childhood Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit. She never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern religious path, despite attempted childhood Catholic inculcation. Instead, she instinctively followed her own unique spiritual path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, organic gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people.

Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.

Carol’s muraled house and aesthetic organic garden have symbolized her unique lifestyle as a ‘female St. Francis’. Especially noteworthy is an artistically beautiful St. Francis of Assisi “Peace & Joy” mural at her home’s entryway – a delightfully surprising tourist attraction for visitors to San Francisco’s ocean beach area. On Carol’s roof top (above the mural) is an artistic portrayal of ‘Brother sun’, her main deity, and unfurled above the roof is a red Tibetan prayer flag, symbolizing Carol’s respect for the Tibetan culture and Dalai Lama.

Thus Carol’s house has eloquently exemplified her simple inner-directed life of instinctively communing with Nature, often without concern for outer–directed societal standards.

Carol’s St. Francis mural

Ron’s Synchronicity Story: “Goodbye St. Francis”= Farewell Carol

During forty years of living in the same San Francisco high-rise hermitage, my apartment has been adorned with many pictures and portrayals of St. Francis, my favorite saint, and of the peace prayer which he inspired. And until four years ago St. Francis in a stone statue also presided over my outside deck garden.

But in July 2018, I was obliged to remove everything from my outdoor deck so it could be renovated and repainted. Thereafter, I realized that I could no longer physically maintain my deck-top garden. So I decided to give away the plants and planters blessed by my St. Francis statue. While I was looking for new homes for my plants, the St. Francis statue was kept in an inconspicuous corner of my bedroom which was temporarily filled with many deck plants.

On December 1, 2018, my long-time neighbor and community gardener friend, Jan Monaghan, came to take pictures of my plants and planters, to help me find a new home for them. While showing Jan the St. Francis statue, I suddenly and inexplicably started crying, thinking and saying “goodbye Saint Francis”.  Thereafter for several hours I remained tearful.

The next day, Sunday December 2nd, I learned (via email) that Carol’s soul had departed her body Saturday evening, and I intuited that while Ron was tearfully saying goodbye to St. Francis Carol’s soul was astrally bidding Ron ‘adieu’.

On Monday morning, realizing that my St. Francis statue needed a proper and prominent new place to stand, I decided to move it to my my high-rise hermitage view living room, where I spend most indoor waking hours. So I telepathically told the saint in the statue that (on returning from a brief walk) I was moving him to a perfect place on my living room wool carpet, and that I would find an appropriate indoor pedestal for him there ASAP.

Soon thereafter, I took a brief walk on nearby Vallejo street. After walking for about fifteen minutes I beheld an amazing manifestation miracle. Amongst a curbside pile of discarded objects, I saw a perfect pedestal for St. Francis, which I carried home. On returning home, I moved St. Francis to a new perfect place on my living room carpet where he now resides on that miraculously manifested pedestal. And just as Carol’s St. Francis mural appears below a red Tibetan roof-top prayer flag, my St. Francis statue stands beneath a red Tibetan Kalachakra thangka mandala, symbolizing respect for the Tibetan culture, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

St. Francis statue on pedestal in Ron’s high-rise hermitage

Meaning of the farewell Carol synchronicity story?


“Miraculous synchronicities in time,
are meaningful reminders of eternal Reality
beyond time”.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,

pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,

and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Eulogy to Carol Schuldt

After briefly blessing this world as a female St Francis,
the divine soul we’ve known as Carol Schuldt,
has returned to the Sun,
from where she’ll reappear eternally
for endless new lifetime adventures,
in endless new forms, of
LOVE.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Seeing GOD
~ Ron’s Memoirs

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

“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“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.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“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
How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will
 see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.
~ Lao Tzu
“True yogis, uniting their consciousness with God, see with equal eye,
all living beings in God and God in all living beings.” . . .
“For those who see me everywhere and see all things in me,
I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to me.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 6:29-30, Krishna to Arjuna
“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.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa




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

Ron’s Introduction to “Seeing GOD”

Dear Friends,

This memoirs posting about “Seeing God” is inspired by the timeless teachings of famed 19th Century Indian holy man and Avatar, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, which have helped me and countless others.
(See key quotations above and at “Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom”)

Sri Ramakrishna often experienced communion with the Divine, and from this rare perspective taught that God is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.

Beginning with the following essay-poem about “Seeing God”, this memoirs posting explains why I’ve long experienced great inspiration and felt affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as a Supreme ascetic exemplar of Divine devotion; and it recounts my post-awakening history of gradually perceiving everything as Divine and Holy. The posting includes an attached appendix pdf, about Ramakrishna’s history and his teachings.

Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual Truth teachings have already helped millions of people transcend fearful mental sufferings. And in the current unprecedented post-pandemic polarized and fearful era these teachings can help countless more humans find peace of mind by realizing that everyone and everything is Divine and Holy.

Thus today’s posting about “Seeing God” is deeply dedicated to helping us fearlessly realize – and possibly perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine LOVE! 

And so may it be!

Seeing GOD

Q. What is God?

A. What isn’t God?

Q. Is it possible to see God?

A. Is it possible to not see God?

God is ONE: God is All –
God is immanent in and manifest as
everything and everyone everywhere.

So, everyone sees God everywhere.

But few know it.

 

Ron’s audio recitation of “Seeing GOD”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Seeing GOD”

Dear Friends,

Before my mid-life spiritual awakening I’d never imagined seeing God, nor wondered whether that was possible. But after the awakening (and previously unimagined mystical experiences) I’ve gradually realized that everyone and everything we perceive is pure spirit, Divine and Holy; that God as Universal Awareness is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE. And because of that realization, though physically limited I’m psychologically happier now than ever before in this almost 90 year lifetime.

Encouraged by my Guruji to share spiritual learning experiences, I’m hereafter chronologically outlining the high-points of my history of gradually finding growing happiness by seeing everything as Divine and Holy.

Before midlife.

Beginning during my pre-adult Jewish acculturation, I accepted the core monotheistic Bible proclamation:

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

Whereupon, I instinctively conceived of “God” as formless and invisible, and assumed it impossible to perceive God. And, until after my mid-life awakening, I didn’t understand Jesus’ esoteric pronouncement that “I and the Father are ONE”  [John 10:30]. But after the awakening, that gradually happened.

Beginning after midlife.

In summer 1976, while crying for God with total surrender on a Yosemite mountain top, I beheld within (but did not merge with) the previously unimagined Divine light of ten thousand suns. Thereafter I believed I’d inwardly seen God as formless luminescence, but continued to assume it impossible to outwardly perceive God.

Then, following my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’ pilgrimage to India, I discovered the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and began wondering about possibly “seeing God” outwardly. I hadn’t yet learned about Sri Ramakrishna before traveling to India. But that happened when our tour group visited Dakshineshwar, his long-time residence place outside Calcutta (now Kolkata).  There – almost a hundred years after Sri Ramakrishna’s mahasamadhi – I experienced his presence as shakti life-force with an amazingly intense feeling of déjà vu, while visiting a room where he had lived; a place which felt so harmoniously familiar to me that it seemed I could happily remain there forever.

On returning from India to the U.S., I began reading with curiosity and fascination about Ramakrishna’s amazing life and his teachings.  I learned that like Saint Francis of Assisi, he too was an 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 ascetic exemplars of non-dual Divine Love and devotion, blessed with ‘the gift of tears’.  Though Francis had lived in a vastly different age and culture seven hundred years before Sri Ramakrishna, they had similar devotional traits with which I’ve felt great rapport.

Ramakrisha’s history and teachings about God and Love.
See: Ramakrisha biography and teachings

Sri Ramakrishna’s amazingly unique spiritual life experiences and his timeless teachings are chronologically summarized in the attached biographical pdf file linked above and here. That biography recounts how his spiritual life-path began as a devotional Hindu bhakta rather than as a wisdom path jnani, like Sri Ramana Maharshi.

At first he scrupulously and successfully practiced traditional Hindu devotional paths.  Thereafter, with intense aspiration, he quickly realized the non-dual, transcendental or Brahman aspect of God which is Divine communion beyond human description. Then, with persistent and amazing aspiration, he took initiations into Islam and Christianity. And he assiduously followed their sadhanas, which culminated in his realization of God by each monotheistic religious path. From then on he mostly remained in blissful samadhi.

While continuously existing in states of spiritual ecstasy, Sri Ramakrishna affirmed (to his principal disciple Swami Vivekananda and others) that he had indeed “seen God”.   And ultimately he taught that God is All – immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.

My Hindu devotional practices before and after “shaktipat.

Before and after my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, I instinctively began and later followed only one of the various Hindu devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced; I worshipped God as “Rama”, like my beloved Guruji.

In previous memoirs I have explained the importance of the Rama mantram in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting “Rama” before receiving shaktipat initiation from Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. And I’ve told why I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery from near death taxicab rundown injuries eight years ago.

Also, I’ve told how Mahatma Gandhi – my hero and first inner spiritual guide – recited “Rama” from childhood until his assassination; that even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

After my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, as instructed by Guruji I began worshipping God as “Rama”. And as foreseen by Guruji, I became (and remained) constantly “engrossed in devotion” and blessed with the ‘gift of devotional tears’.

Ultimately I long ago irreversibly accepted Sri Ramakrishna’s timeless teachings, but couldn’t follow the many other devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced, except worshiping God as “Rama”.

As sometimes recommended by Ramakrishna, I daily worshiped God as Rama with the attitude of Hanuman, by repeatedly reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, and Ram mantras for many years. Hanuman became and remains symbolic of my Supreme devotion and Faith in God. And I became instinctively and spontaneously harmonious with “Rama”, as God.

Although, I eventually stopped reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, the Rama mantram has remained as an inherent and autonomic essence of my existence. Like my hero Mahatma Gandhi, the name “Rama” is constantly “in my heart, if not actually on my lips”.

Even now at almost age ninety, I often spontaneously tearfully call out “Rama” gratefully remembering that I’m feeling and seeing God in everyone and everything everywhere.

Dedication of “Seeing GOD”

May the foregoing quotations, verses, and teachings encourage us all to ever remember – and perhaps perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine!

And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner