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Posts Tagged ‘Non-dualism’

Death? Afterlife? Rebirth?
~ Easter Reflections on Resurrections.

At my death do not lament our separation …
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3
“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, Krishna to Arjuna
“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
death, as men call him, ends what they call men
–but beauty is more now than dying’s when…
~ e. e. cummings
“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 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


Tree of Life


The Last Supper



The biblical story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

As countless millions traditionally commemorate the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus Christ following his physical death by crucifixion, let us contemplate the deep significance of that story.  Whether we regard it as historic or metaphoric, the story raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

Physical death is inevitable, but Life is perpetual.

Death of the physical body is inevitable and unavoidable. After birth, “no matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.” Uncertainty exists only about time of death, and about whether there is conscious life after physical death.

For millennia seers, saints, philosophers and mystics have addressed perennial questions of life after physical death and of our true identity and reality. Since the beginning of the 20th century when Albert Einstein revolutionized Western science with his theories of special and general relativity, quantum physicists and other non-materialistic scientists have begun confirming ancient mystical insights.

Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD coined the term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] in his 1975 best-selling book “Life After Life”. Since then NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by millions who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists have cited testimonies about NDE’s and other extraordinary mystical experiences as evidence that consciousness survives physical death.

For example, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, respected scientist, author and pioneering authority on death and dying, believed in survival of spirit after physical death, and used butterflies as symbols of the death process.

Soon after World War II, she visited the children’s barracks at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. There, amazingly, she observed hundreds of butterfly images drawn by the inmate children on the walls, even with pebbles and fingernails. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the walls, she wondered why they were there and what they meant.

Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the imprisoned children must have known that they were going to die and intuitively were using butterflies as images of the physical death process. Dr. Kubler-Ross thus explained in The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Living and Dying:

“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .It also provided the imagery that I would use for the rest of my career to explain the process of death and dying.”


Dr. Kubler-Ross’s writings have inspired many other non-materialist scientists who have followed her lead. Also, of great importance in helping us understand whether spirit survives physical death were the ground breaking scientific studies by Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who for forty years studied children world-wide who spontaneously remembered past lives. Dr. Stevenson objectively validated and documented about twelve hundred such cases.

Thanks to the ‘leading edge’ work of Dr. Kubler-Ross and Dr. Stevenson, and of distinguished non-material scientists inspired by them, there now exists overwhelming scientific evidence that consciousness and mind are independent of physical bodies; that our physical bodies and brains are not originators of consciousness and mind, but their receptors, tuners and transducers.  And that until we evolve beyond space/time duality reality, apparent reincarnation or rebirth may happen after death of the brain and physical body.

What survives physical death?

If – like snowflakes – each of us manifests as an absolutely unique physical form, what is it about us that can survive death of that unique form, and be “born and reborn”?

“Reincarnation” is often understood to be the transmigration of a “soul” – viz. apparently uniquely circumscribed spirit – to another body after physical death.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s most cited ancient scripture, Divine Avatar Krishna instructs Prince Arjuna that:

“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”; “The soul never takes birth and never dies” but “when the body is destroyed” or when “giving up old and worn out bodies . . [it] accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2


Though in Buddhism there is no concept of separate soul or individual self that survives death, Buddhists believe in rebirth. Like most mystics, Buddhists say that in addition to our physical body, we are enveloped by subtle astral and mental bodies, which survive death of the physical body and become consciously associated with successive physical bodies.

Thus the Dalai Lama says that:

“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.”


A detailed and compelling description of afterlife can be found in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Chapter 43 – The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar .   There Yogananda credibly recounts a long discussion with his physically deceased Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who – like Jesus – resurrected to explain to his disciple Yogananda many details of afterlife.  [You can read that extraordinarily fascinating story at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_43

Many psychics say that on physical death “we” survive and enter different realms. eg. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

But ancient Vedic and Buddhist non-dualism philosophies (“Advaita”;”Advaya”) have for millennia taught that this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”… .

“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha


Notwithstanding the Buddha’s non-dualist teachings, the Dalai Lama says he practices death and rebirth eight times daily. And, as Tibetan Bodhisattva of Compassion, he intends to return until all sentient beings are liberated from suffering.

If you had the option of a one-way exit pass to ‘heaven’, would you volunteer as a Bodhisattva to come back to this crazy world?

Vivekananda and Einstein.

The ancient Eastern non-dualism teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda, principal disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, at and after the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, Vivekananda equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:

“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.”


“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?
 
“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”


“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”


~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Revered 20th century Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi – who was a renowned exponent of non-dualism – taught that for self-realized beings there is no reincarnation, but that reincarnation exists until self-realization – that self-realization reveals this entire world of space/time/causality as illusionary maya or samsara. Thus, responding to the question: “Is reincarnation true?”,  he said: 

“Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”


Einstein’s revolutionary non-mechanistic science and unconventional religious ideas were consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, because they questioned the substantiality of matter, the ultimate reality of space, time and causality, and reincarnation. Like Vivekananda, Einstein said:

“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”

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

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




“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, …Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.”

~ Albert Einstein


Ron’s Explanations and Reflections on Reincarnations and Resurrections.

Dear Friends,

As an 89 year old octogenarian, I have long reflected upon crucially important perennial questions concerning life, death, afterlife, and rebirth. And thereby I’ve been blessed to realize that consciousness we call “life” continues eternally after inevitable physical death.

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

Then in my early forties, I had irreversibly transformative experiences of spiritual self-identity and afterlife: I began to realize that I was not merely my mortal body, its thoughts and story, but eternal and universal awareness. And I started seeing visions of apparent past lives, and inner and outer appearances of deceased people, including my maternal grandfather and Mahatma Gandhi, who I now regard as my first perceived inner guide.

So, I began accepting Eastern ideas of reincarnation and transmigration of an eternal soul, while gradually losing fear of inevitable physical death. Then, on meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; and, that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those eternal questions.

Inspired by Guruji, I developed a deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation and karma. Elsewhere, on SillySutras.com I have shared many experiences, essays, quotes and poems on these subjects. (See, e.g., https://sillysutras.com/category/afterlife/ ;https://sillysutras.com/category/life-and-death/; https://sillysutras.com/category/reincarnation/ )

Ultimately I’ve concluded that cosmically there is no death; that “birth and death are virtual, while Life is perpetual” and that “as we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.” (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/know-death-to-know-life-know-death-to-know-that-there-is-no-death/ )

Consequently, I’ve become ever less fearful about my own inevitable and perhaps imminent bodily death, and often witness Earth-life like an illusionary play or movie, rather than Reality – which I now consider timeless LOVE as Infinite Potentiality beyond comprehension, imagination or description.

Moreover, I’ve become persuaded that from a Self–realized ‘Buddha’s eye view’ all our supposedly separate lifetimes, incarnations, emanations or appearances can be Seen timelessly and concurrently – formed like ink blots in a ‘big bang’ Rorschach test; but that (except for rare Avatars or Buddhas) we are karmically challenged to live each supposed space/time lifetime as lovingly and empathetically as possible, while ever mindful that we are not separate mortal entities but indivisible formless and eternal Infinite Potentiality as LOVE.

To encourage our deep insights on perennial questions of afterlife and reincarnation, like “Who am I?” and “What is death?”, I have shared the foregoing writings.

On Easter and every day, may they help us discover within ever expanding fulfillment and happiness during our precious ephemeral lifetimes on planet Earth.

And so may it be!

2022 Epilogue.

Dear Friends,

Since the 2019 equinox holidays we have entered an unprecedented “new normal” era of post-pandemic social, psychological, political, and economic turbulence, violence, and polarity, with possibly imminent nuclear war or other omnicidal catastrophe ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

More people than ever before are suffering fears of death, illness, impoverishment, or imminent calamity, and are unable to live normally. They’ve been deprived of God-given human rights and necessities, and prevented from engaging in customary economic and social activities. Some are homeless or ‘sheltering’ unable to reverently commemorate the equinox holidays with others. 

More than ever before our species is ignorantly, insanely and unsustainably plundering, polluting and pillaging our planet’s precious resources and destroying it’s precious ecosystem and climate.

But, paradoxically, this is also a time of epochal opportunity, not only a time of immense suffering and potentially imminent catastrophe caused or condoned by our species. Thus, this an especially appropriate time for us to deeply reflect upon our fundamental life purposes, priorities and responsibilities as sentient Earth beings.

Because ignorance of our immortal Self-Identity causes continual fearful sufferings which impede evolution and progress, it is crucial that we transcend fears. So to help us overcome our fears and enter an unprecedented new era of peace and prosperity, I have today posted the foregoing writings and reflections.

Dedication

These writings concerning life and death, afterlife and reincarnation, and Ultimate Reality as timeless LOVE, are deeply dedicated to encouraging our continuing curiosity and reflections about our common and non-dual eternal and Infinite Self-identity.

May they help us discover ever expanding fulfillment and inner happiness during our precious ephemeral lifetimes on planet Earth, whatever our ideas about death, afterlife or rebirth.

Invocation.

May we – in this precious human lifetime
on our wonderful planet Earth –
realize together our common dream for a new reality,
where everyone everywhere is happy.

May Everyone Everywhere Be Happy!
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!”


And so shall it be!!

Ron Rattner

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


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


Introduction

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

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

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

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

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

“My life is my message”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dedication and Invocation

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

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.
It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.
Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You are “gods”; you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82:6
“Let never day nor night unhallow’d pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.”
~ William Shakespeare
Remember God, forget the rest.
Forget who you think you are,
to know what you really are.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Ron’s Introduction to his “Monistic Musings”

Dear Friends,

After my spiritual awakening I began wondering why many monotheistic religious fundamentalists – especially Jews, Christians and Moslems – historically espoused different, dogmatic and disharmonious views of their “ONE God”. And I reflected on why monotheistic fundamentalism had often resulted in religious crusades, inquisitions, and jihads against alleged heretics or nonbelievers in the one true God or Messiah.

Later, after my introduction to Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist non-dualism teachings (which I accepted as valid and consistent with Western monotheism), I learned that those Eastern religions also had violent fundamentalist sects; that for example Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by an opinionated Hindu fundamentalist opposed to Gandhi’s advocacy of egalitarian and nonviolent Hindu-Muslim tolerance and cooperation.

As I reflected philosophically, I rhetorically asked and answered the following musings about monotheism, God, and divinity which I’ve called “Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity”.

These rhetorical ruminations have increasingly helped me remember and revere the Divine Holiness of everyone, everything, everywhere, with ever expanding gratitude for this hallowed human lifetime.

They are shared with the deep aspiration that they may similarly inspire all of us, until ultimately we realize that everything’s holy; and, that nothing’s really Real, but Divine LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity

Q.  What is “God”?

A.  “God” is a word – a noun –
with countless connotations,
different for different people –
all believing or disbelieving in “God”.

Thus, “God” did not create humans,
but humans created “God” – with thoughts from
ruminations, revelations, intuitions, and speculations.

For many monotheists
“God” is a universally Supreme Deity,
and sole Creator and Ruler of the universe;
and, “God” is a “he” word,
meaning an anthropomorphic male deity,
with supernatural yet human-like qualities.

But, in this duality “reality”,
gender is everywhere in everything.
So, how can there be just one such God?

Isn’t it so that for every such God,
there’s got to be a Goddess;
for every “he” God, a “she” God?

Thus, mustn’t any unitary Divinity,
be beyond gender and duality –
and so, transcend this polarity “reality”?

And if Transcendent,
though universally immanent,
mustn’t such a sole Divinity
be infinite, ineffable and inconceivable?

So how can we describe,
denominate, or depict THAT?

Even if we neuter it,
how can we name it?

Doesn’t any designation of unitary Divinity,
tend to divide and disrupt humanity?

What about atheists who ardently deny Divinity,
versus convinced theists and deists?
And what about religious fundamentalists?

Aren’t “God”, Allah, and Adonoi,
the same ‘Supreme Being’?

And if there is just one “God”,
how can that one God
be a different “true God”
for Christians, Muslims, and Jews
and their diverse denominations?

If one “true God” is the same
for all those religions,
what do they fight and shout about?

‘Methinks they protest too much’
because they really can’t conceive Divinity.

Don’t their fundamentalist shouts
disclose their doubts
about the identity of Divinity?

And isn’t there a connection between
monotheistic fundamentalism
and messianic fanaticism?

If one “true God” is the sole benevolent
Creator and Ruler of the Universe,
why did “S/He” create a world
with so much suffering and sorrow?

Why not a perpetual paradise without evil?

How can “S/He” allow holocausts
and other terrible calamities?

In projecting “God” as Creator,
don’t we just reify and deify
our doubts about Divinity?

Did “God” create karma and causation?
If so, why?

So, can we get beyond speculating and
arguing about “God” and Creation?

And can we transcend
dogmatic divisive designations of Divinity?

Can’t we be tolerant
of all benevolent religions,
moral codes, and philosophies?

Can we – as the Buddha –
avert theistic speculation
that “tends not to edification?”

Buddhists aren’t theists or deists.
They don’t believe in a Creator God –
but they pray a lot.

I wonder who they’re praying to?

And I wonder who’s listening to their prayers –
and to everyone else’s prayers?

Isn’t it the same universal Awareness?

If so, how can we ever know?

How can we infer, find,
and know “God”
only through reason,
rather than revelation,
inner insight, or intuition?

If there is a universal Divinity
transcending our “reality”,
what is it’s identity?

Can we ever know such Divinity –
mystically, experientially, intuitively –
while yet dwelling in duality?

Can we know the Immortal
before leaving “this mortal coil”?

Or must first we depart or die,
to be “born to Eternal life”?

To know the Immortal,
must we abjure desire
for earthly pleasures and ways
of this world?

Can’t we be “in this world
but not of this world”?
If so, how?

How, when and where shall we seek God?

Shall we follow doctrines, dogmas, or ideologies
from ‘outer’ authorities or theologies?

Or, as unique beings,
shall we each look within
and follow our Sacred Heart?

Doesn’t inner infinity ‘create’ outer “reality”?

So, isn’t inner infinity true Divinity?

And isn’t true Divinity
Eternal Mystery?

The Bible says:
“Ask, and it shall be given..; seek, and ye shall find.”

So, now that we’ve asked all these questions,
will “God’” answer them?

God Knows!?



Ron’s Dedication of “Monistic Musings”

Dear Friends,

As explained in the above introduction, my curiosity and continuing reflections about disharmonious monotheistic views of One God and the true Messiah motivated the foregoing “Monistic Musings”, and have helped me increasingly experience the Divine Holiness of everyone, everything, everywhere.

So these musings are dedicated to inspiring all of us to see ourselves as “children of the Most High” [Psalm 82:6], until ultimately – beyond all illusory ego-mind perceptions of separation from each other and Nature – we inevitably realize our common SELF identity as Divine LOVE!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies
~ You are not what you think you are!

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”; you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“Your own will is all that answers prayer,
only it appears under the guise 
of different religious conceptions to each mind.
We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
Essence Of Advaita
E = mc2 = Consciousness
Subject = Object = Consciousness
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = SELF.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Ron’s Introduction to “Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies”

Dear Friends,

Advaita-Vedanta means non-dualism: it is the oldest extant school of Hindu philosophy.

The following sutra-poem was composed after my midlife spiritual awakening. With the above quotations, and following explanations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

These insights are especially important now because of current quickened “new normal” era cosmic energies which are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity toward unprecedented 5D lasting happiness beyond suffering in illusory 3D matrix reality,

So I have updated this posting and dedicate it to our inclusion in the awakening “critical mass”, and attainment of lasting happiness in these unique times.

May we consider and enjoy it accordingly!

Ron Rattner


“You are not what you think you are!”

You are not what you think you are:
You are not a person, or a personality.
You are not a body, or a nobody.
You are not your mind, or your thoughts.
You are infinite Eternal Awareness.

You are the screen, not the movie.
You are Rama, not the drama.
You are the glory, not the story.
You are the Whole, not your role.

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!


Ron’s audio recitation of “You are not what you think you are!”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

Dear Friends,

As revealed by the foregoing quotations and sutra-verses, we’re not what we think we are, but Infinite Eternal Awareness!

Until midlife I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and believed that bodily death ended life.

But then I was then blessed with a synchronistic spiritual awakening, which revealed previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true non-duality Self-identity and ultimate Reality, and bestowed ever increasing happiness and peace of mind.

The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Encouraged by my Guruji, since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by realizing the illusion of “ego” and the true reality of non-duality.

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

Thus, for millennia humans’ ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent brutal insanity, selfishness and suffering. 

Yet, for countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; but that it is possible to transcend inevitable karmic suffering of space/time body/mind 3D human existence through Self-Realization of infinite spiritual Reality – which is the Source and essence of all perceived creation.

Thereby we ultimately learn that:

1) We are not merely our mortal bodies. What we call “death” is just a vacation – eternal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles. Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

2) We are not our genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’. 

3) We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But no matter how we are ‘labeled’, we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.
 
Concluding observations and dedication 

The foregoing perennial wisdom insights are especially important in these painfully turbulent and troubled post-pandemic “new normal” times. Paradoxically, they provide a unique opportunity for a “critical mass” of humankind to compassionately transform the world!

Although much of humanity continues to suffer illusory separation from each other and Nature, many others are awakening. Deeply disturbed by irrational and immoral interruptions of their normal lives, more and more people are compassionately awakening to our sacred connection with, and deep moral responsibility to cherish and lovingly preserve, all life on our precious planet Earth.

Moreover, currently quickened cosmic energies are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity to ascend toward unprecedented lasting 5D happiness beyond suffering in the illusory 3D matrix reality.

Such “critical mass” ascension will transcend current insanely unsustainable ecological desecration of precious planet Earth, and end barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms, which now catastrophically threatens unprecedented destruction of all Earth life as we’ve known it..

Therefore, this updated Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies posting is dedicated to inspiring the spiritual awakening of a “critical mass” of our global family, and thereby our attainment of unprecedented happiness in these uniquely troubled times, until our ultimate spiritual Self Realization – as Infinite Non-Duality Reality.

And so shall it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

Video

Also embedded and highly recommended below is this powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled: “I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White” and also “I Am Not a Label; We Are One Race, The Human Race”

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


[*Prince Eo a/k/a “Makmantis X” also posted this video on Facebook titled: “This literally made me question everything.” There have been over 100 million YouTube and Facebook views. Prince credits his spiritually inspired perspectives to enduring ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.]

Who am ‘I’, and What is What?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

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

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

~ Rumi
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”
After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are.
The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Introduction to “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

Twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi (pictured above) was renowned for his teachings of constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. The following “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra verses were inspired by those “Who am I?” teachings.

But I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story. It happened after an unforgettably realistic out of body (OOB) experience during a 1974-5 “pot luck” New Year’s Eve party, where I unknowingly ingested marihuana.

Such “Who am I?” questioning resulted in a life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Over forty five years since that previously unimagined midlife awakening, I continue to irreversibly accept non-dualism teachings as pointing to ultimate Truth beyond ego-mind illusion. So I’m gratefully sharing this posting so that it may help others (as it helped me) find ever greater happiness in life.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

WHO AM ‘I’ and WHAT IS WHAT?

What lives?   What dies?

What laughs?  What cries?

What sleeps?  What wakes?

What gives?  What takes?

What thinks?  What knows?

What comes?  What goes?

What’s grief?  What’s bliss?

What’s that?!  What’s this?!

The quest is in the question; and

THE QUESTION IS THE ANSWER!

The question is the answer?



Ron’s audio recitation of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

As stated in the introduction, “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” was first inspired by ancient nondualism wisdom teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. However, I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, at a time when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story.

After repeatedly asking “Who am I?” I experienced a previously unimagined life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my later discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Here is the memoir story about how my life was blessed and transformed by instinctively and irresistibly asking “Who am I?”.

Over forty five years ago, after unwittingly ingesting a marihuana-laced cake at at ‘pot-luck’ New Year’s party, I had an unforgettable out of body experience (OOB) in which from a bedroom ceiling I perceived my body and thoughts as detached below me. Thereupon, I constantly and irresistibly started wondering, if I’m not my body and thoughts, “Who am I?”. 

Fifteen months later, my “Who am I?” question was amazingly answered, when I suddenly realized my true Self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my body/mind and its story, as previously believed. 

Whereupon, I experienced an unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which completely and irreversibly changed my prior ideas of Self-identity and Reality, and began a previously unimagined and continuing new life phase of ever increasing happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude, with faith in the mystery of Divinity: a continuing process of increasingly incorporating into my daily life the realization of Self-identity as eternal universal awareness, rather than as a merely mortal body/mind and its thoughts.

As a secular Jewish lawyer, I had been ignorant of any spiritual or esoteric teachings which might explain my extraordinary awakening experience. But afterwards I was soon synchronistically led to profound non-dualism teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization.

At the time of my awakening I hadn’t yet learned about synchronicity. But retrospectively I’ve realized that my asking “Who am I?” was a wonderful synchronicity.  And that synchronicities are constantly present as important blessings in our lives.  So  that

“Life will give [us] whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of our consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle



Identifying “Ego”as Source of all Unhappiness and Suffering

In explaining the self-inquiry (vichara) process Sri Ramana identified “ego” as the source of all human unhappiness, and taught that by transcending “ego” we are freed from all unhappiness and suffering.

He defined ego as mistaken self-identification with thought, and equated it with mind and memory. And he identified the ‘I’ thought as root of the ego-mind and, hence, source of all suffering.

For example, he said:

“All bad qualities centre round the ego. .. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.”

“The mind is only a bundle of thoughts [with] their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”

“All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”



And he taught that

“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”



Sri Ramana recognized that the “Who am I?” question could never be answered rationally, but only through the inconceivable and ineffable experience of Self-realization. He explained that:

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



Ultimately, I realized the supreme wisdom of Sri Ramana’s ancient non-dualistic method for efficiently dissolving ego, while I’ve remained mostly engrossed in the emotion of devotion. Thus as a frequent crier for God, while ever mindful that I’m only calling and crying to universal Self; that

“[Our] own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Moreover, I’ve also realized that since “ego” is the apparent sole source of all human suffering, all enduring spiritual paths, scriptures and teachings are aimed at ending ego; that for millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego is the only spiritual teaching.

And after decades of observation and experience, I still see “Who Am I?” as a key path to be considered by those with spiritual aspirations;  that persistently asking “who am I”, with constant curiosity, patience and acceptance of inevitable uncertainty can significantly enhance and advance spiritual evolution.

Accordingly, many SillySutras quotations, essays and poems are dedicated to furthering our happiness by recognizing and transcending “ego” through various disciplines, including the nondualism path of self-inquiry, addressed in today’s “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra-verses.

Invocation

May today’s Who am ‘I’ and What is What? posting,
help us live ever happier lives,
and advance our spiritual evolution
until we realize that

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

Undo Ego!

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego,
the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
“Undo Ego!
Use it to lose it.”

“As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Lau Tzu


Undoing

Undoing

There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

Then, when nothing’s undone,
there’s nothing to do,

But to BE –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Undoing”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Undo Ego”

Dear Friends,

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as a fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization. Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ) And the Dalai Lama says that ego is the “number-one enemy of compassion.”

Spiritual teachers refer to “ego” as mistaken human self-identity as a personality separate from eternal Infinite Potentiality – our true identity. 
Ego is often described as a psychological prison, causing inevitable karmic suffering. 

“The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:

Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!”

“Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi


I have posted the foregoing quotations, sutra sayings and poem about undoing ego to remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as Infinite Potentiality. 

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our spiritual evolution.

For example, in spiritual memoirs I tell how (after many years of reciting and following prescribed prayers and practices) I became an “Uncertain Undo” looking within to discover and discard remaining ego impediments to spiritual evolution and realization – as eloquently advised by Lao Tzu and Rumi.

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

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

~ Lao Tzu



“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi



Whimsically I’ve suggested that everyone should “seek relief from belief”; because “on the path of Undo we’ll never be through ’til we’re an undone ONE”. So as an “Uncertain Undo” I’ve gradually been letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about humanity, self-identity and reality.



My present paradigm is that we live earth-lives to learn from experience our essential common self-identity as LOVE – each from a unique karmic perspective. 

That each of us is here to transcend suffering by uncovering and undoing our unique barriers to Self realization – our mistaken ego identities and tendencies. As we mindfully identify those mental mistakes, it becomes possible for us to use ego, to lose ego. As revealed in the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s best known scripture, it is possible for our mind to become our “best friend”, rather than “worst enemy”


One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends.

But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna


Dedication


This posting is respectfully offered to help remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we mistakenly think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source. 



Also, these undoing ego writings are sincerely intended to help us live ever happier lives, until we all become “an undone ONE”.



And so shall it be!


Ron Rattner

Uniquely The Same

“You are the light of the world.”
~ Matthew 5:14
Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;
and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.
~ Rumi
“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7
“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One –.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
And this is the reason the cosmos first
needs to be divided into the tiniest parts,
and enormous shatterings must take place
in order to separate the smallest particles.
And after they are polished up and clarified, behold:
each speck will contain the whole of all existence,
and it all is filled with God’s light and his glory.
~ Rabbi Avraham Kook
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. 

The horizontal threads are in space.
 The vertical threads are in time.

At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual.

And every individual is a crystal bead. 

And every crystal bead reflects not only the light 
from every other crystal in the net,

but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

Dear Friends, 

The following “Uniquely The Same” sutra poem tells us that we are unique in form, but in Essence eternally identical.

Together with the above quotations and following recitation and explanation, this posting is dedicated to reminding us that as identical Cosmic Consciousness, we are “the light of the world” – our Sacred Heart’s Eternal Light of Universal Awareness.

Also, that we can experience ever increasing happiness and soul fulfillment as we evolve toward destined Self-realization, by mindfully remembering our true Self identity and using our mind as our best friend, rather than worst ego enemy.

Please enjoy and consider this posting accordingly.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Uniquely The Same

We are all
uniquely the same.

In form we’re unique,
but in Essence identical:

Spirit, Light, Life, Love.

Deeply, but subconsciously,
we share common Cosmic Consciousness –

Common “I”ness.
Common “I am” ness.

As ever more we experience our Universality,
We shall ever more transform our “reality”.



Ron’s audio recitation of Uniquely The Same.

Listen to


Ron’s Comments on “Uniquely The Same”

Dear Friends, 

Today’s posting is dedicated to our remembering and realizing that our true Self-identity is as “the light of the world”– our Sacred Heart’s Eternal Light of Universal Awareness; that although we appear separated, spiritually we are ONE.



As Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount reminds us, we “are the light of the world”  – a world in which the law of the Prophets must persist “until heaven and earth disappear” [Matthew 5:14-18]. 

Except for rare Avatars and Bodhisattvas virtually all incarnate humans are in process of evolving from humanity toward Divinity.

As we mentally experience ourselves as separate from Nature and everyone and everything else, we are subject to karmic law of cause and effect. But we can experience ever increasing happiness and soul fulfillment as we evolve toward destined Self-realization, by mindfully remembering our true Self identity, and by using our mind as our best friend, rather than worst ego enemy.

Thus Hinduism’s best known scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, reveals this core teaching about achieving spiritual liberation or Moksha.

One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind,
it is the best of friends.

But for those who fail to do so,
the mind remains the greatest of enemies.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna


However, until we are blessed to transcend karmic causation and achieve Self-realization that we “are the light of the world”

“Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation, and that which obeys the law of causation cannot be free.” . .
“The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law, to go beyond causation.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga


Dedication

May these “Uniquely The Same” writings help inspire our ever increasing happiness, and spur our evolutionary advancement toward Self-realization of our universal goal that we are “the light of the world”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Our purpose is process –
evolutionary process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is Earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara,or illusion, it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine Earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – evolutionary process.

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

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from each other the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common spiritual Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!


Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.




Ron’s Comments on Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

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

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

According to the Dalai Lama “What is the purpose of life?”  is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.  And since my midlife change of life, I’ve found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness. 

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

Background  

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

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

While growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.  Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, mostly in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.   

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

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

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

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

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? 
What do we get? What are we giving?  

A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

Thus I’ve learned that reflecting on life’s purpose, can help us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be by society, or by our mistaken mental reification of our projected-perceptions: 

That we are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories, or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting Earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness. We are all Eternal LOVE. 

Invocation

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Discovering Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Non-dual Devotion
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
“Love is verily the heart of all religions.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Investigation into the Self is nothing other than devotion.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi — Vivekachudamani, verse 32
“On scrutiny, supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same. To say that one of these two is a means to the other is due to not knowing the nature of either of them. Know that the path of jnana and the path of devotion are interrelated. Follow these inseparable two paths without dividing one from the other.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“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
“Pure knowledge and pure love are one and the same thing.
Both lead the aspirants to the same goal. The path of love is much easier.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“Love is seeing the unity under the imaginary diversity.
“Love says ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says ‘I am nothing’. Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“He who loves me is made pure; his heart melts in joy.
He rises to transcendental consciousness by the rousing of his
higher emotional nature. Tears of joy flow from his eyes; his
hair stands on end; his heart melts in love. The bliss in that
state is so intense that forgetful of himself and his surroundings he sometimes weeps profusely, or laughs or sings, or dances; such a devotee is a purifying influence upon the whole universe.”
~Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8 – supreme devotion (para-bhakti) as described by Sri Krishna to His disciple Uddhave.
“[I]f you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.” … “Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”
~ Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following stories (about my memorable pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai, South India), illustrate fundamental spiritual Truths about every human being. They tell how I resolved (as illusory) a seeming paradoxical conflict between my deep devotional tendencies (as a “frequent crier”) to spontaneously cry and call out-loud to God, and my irreversible intellectual and intuitive acceptance of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s non-duality wisdom path of constant silent self-enquiry of “who am I?”.

These memorable pilgrimage stories recount how my mental dilemma was resolved, with realization of the following spiritual principles:

Just as every snowflake temporarily manifests a unique crystalline form but shares an enduring watery essence, so too every human (including Self-realized saints, sages, and seers) impermanently manifests a uniquely limited physical form and perspective in each mortal lifetime, but shares ONE immortal and infinitely potential, spiritual Source – non-dual Universal Awareness as LOVE.

The stories also reveal as ultimately illusory any apparent conflict between different spiritual paths, religious rituals, or behaviors – like Sri Ramana Maharshi’s wisdom path of silent self-enquiry and Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s devotional path of praying and crying to God, or between strict priestly conformance with religious rituals and their utter disregard by avadhutas; that all such apparent conflicts are transcended by LOVE; that even Sri Ramana Maharshi declared that “the end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”

Please read, reflect and enjoy these stories.

Ron Rattner

Discovering Non-dualism

During my early days as a “born-again Hindu”, I discovered wisdom teachings of legendary twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality via relentless self-inquiry – incessantly asking “Who am I?”.

Intellectually I soon became convinced of the ultimate Truth of Sri Ramana’s non-dualistic teachings. Non-dualism even seemed quite consistent with my early Jewish acculturation with the fundamental prayer: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29

Yet, seemingly paradoxically, I displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of calling and crying to the Divine. And I identified with Shri Ramakrishna, as a bhakta – a devotional practitioner – more than with Sri Ramana Maharshi, who was an exemplar of the silent inner wisdom path – a jnani.

Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found only limited time to read and reflect on non-duality and other spiritual wisdom teachings, mostly on weekends. So I used to jokingly tell spiritual friends that I prayed and cried as a bhakta on weekdays but on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”

On retirement from law practice in January 1992, I journeyed to India, intending to further explore the Advaita path of non-duality. After planned visits to see my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, in Ahmedabad and my daughter Jessica at Ammachi’s Kerala ashram, the India trip itinerary concluded with a spiritual sojourn in the Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai, near sacred Mount Arunachala, where Sri Ramana Maharshi had resided for most of his adult life. This would be an opportunity to me to become an every day – not just a seventh day – advaitist.

Pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai

So, in February 1992, together with my daughter Jessica I traveled by train from Ammachi’s ashram in sultry Kerala to the Ramana ashram at the much more arid Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai. While I stayed at Ammachi’s ashram, Jessica had been so busy doing her assigned daily tasks (seva) that we had very few opportunities to visit together alone. So, I was hoping to spend ‘quality time’ with her and to have her as my Tiruvannamalai guide, since she had previously visited the Ramana ashram. But that didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, I had a wonderful stay in Tiruvannamalai with memorable experiences on and near Mount Arunachala. And at the Ramana ashram I largely resolved my confusion about the imagined conflict between non-dualism and devotion. Here’s what happened:

Ramana ashram

On our arrival at the Ramana ashram Jessica and I were assigned a pleasant cottage room with private toilet which, though quite basic, was much more comfortable than my small noisy cell at Ammachi’s ashram. Moreover, I immediately had much more vitality at the Ramana ashram than at the Kerala ashram, where I had experienced diminished energy.

But to my surprise, Jessica informed me that instead of being my guide and companion she wished to dedicate her stay in Tiruvannamalai to solitary spiritual practices. She told me that as a spiritual austerity she had decided to daily circumambulate barefooted sacred Mount Arunachala and its adjoining holy sites – an ancient practice known as giri pradakshina encouraged by Sri Ramana Maharshi and practiced for centuries by him and many other saints and pilgrims.

Ambivalently, I was pleased that Jessica was prioritizing such spiritual practices, but disappointed at not having anticipated ‘quality time’ with her. So every morning well before sunrise, while I still slept, Jessica left our cottage and each day I was on my own, except in evenings before we retired in our shared cottage.

Virupaksha cave

Most days while Jessica was walking barefooted around Mount Arunachala I walked in sandals up the mountain – from the ashram to Virupaksha cave, a shrine place where Sri Ramana had lived for sixteen years. Though the cave was a public shrine, I was always there in solitude with no other visitors present. As I meditated there, I gratefully experienced and communed with Sri Ramana’s subtle peaceful presence.

One day I departed the cave in a dream-like ‘altered state of awareness’ and began slowly walking down the mountain with a stilled mind. Dressed in white I was so descending the narrow rocky path to the ashram, when – as if in a dream – I beheld coming up the path toward me three very elderly men, with long gray hair and long beards each wearing a white robe or dhoti. Each appeared as an archetypical ‘holy man’.

When we met on the mountain path, as if in a waking dream, each of the old men silently kneeled and kissed my sandaled feet. No word was uttered. After this silent ritual they continued walking up the Arunachala path and I continued descending to the ashram with a perfectly stilled mind.

Though that experience was unforgettable, I can’t specify its significance . However, I felt I had received inexpressible blessings from those holy men; that only in such a spiritually elevated environment could such a boon occur. But, presumably, from Sri Ramana’s non-dual perspective, attachment to any such outer illusionary experience impedes ultimate inner experience of Oneness with All.

Sri Ramana’s samadhi shrine

When not on Mount Arunachala, most of my time spent at the ashram was at the large samadhi shrine hall, where Sri Ramana is entombed. There I continued to often experience the subtle peaceful presence of Sri Ramana, though not as powerfully as at Virupaksha cave.

The samadhi shrine is a memorable place which, since Sri Ramana’s mahasamadhi in 1950, has continued to magnetically attract devotees from all over the world. Sometimes I meditated sitting there, sometimes I meditatively walked around the hall, and sometimes on the porch I read books about Sri Ramana which I obtained at the ashram office.

Reconciling Ron’s Devotion with Sri Ramana’s Non-duality

Another blessing of my stay at the Ramana ashram was that while there I largely resolved the seeming dichotomy between my deep devotional tendencies and non-dual self-identity. I learned that Ramana had taught that “supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same”. And I realized that perception of paradox depends on an illusory ego-mind perspective; while from an elevated perspective ultimate devotion (Divine love, bhakti) and ultimate Self awareness (wisdom, jnana) are “one and the same” – like obverse sides of the same coin.

Though not permanently abiding in a state of elevated awareness, like Sri Ramana or Guruji, I had previously been blessed with unforgettable ‘peek’ experiences of Self-identification as pure Awareness and of seeing everyone and everything as Divine. And at the ashram I read a Sri Ramana biography that sparked the bhakti/jnana insight which helped me reconcile the seeming conflict between my distinct devotional tendencies and my irreversible acceptance of advaita non-duality philosophy.

As I read about Sri Ramana’s “enlightenment” experience I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, which usually associates Sri Ramana only with advaita wisdom, the great Sage also displayed and acknowledged the bhakti emotion of devotion.

At the time of his absorption in the Self, Sri Ramana was in his seventeenth year and living in the Indian city of Madurai. Thereafter he experienced dramatic daily life changes. With the emotion of devotion, Sri Ramana began to regularly visit the renowned Meenakshi temple in Madurai. As much later he recalled for his biographer:

“One of the new features related to the temple of
Meenakshi sundaresvrar. Formerly I would go there rarely with
friends, see the images, put on sacred ashes and sacred
vermillion on the forehead and return home without any
perceptible emotion. After the awakening into the new life, I
would go almost every evening to the temple. I would go alone and stand before Siva or Meenakshi or Nataraja or the sixty-three saints for long periods. I would feel waves of emotion
overcoming me. The former hold (Alambana) on my body had been given up by my spirit, since it ceased to cherish the idea I-am-the-body (Dehatma-buddhi). The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears. This was God’s (Isvara’s) play with the individual spirit. I would stand before Isvara, the Controller of the universe and the destinies of all, the omniscient and omnipresent, and occasionally pray for the descent of His grace upon me so that my devotion might increase and become perpetual like that of the sixty-three saints. Mostly I would not pray at all, but let, the deep within flow on and into the deep without. Tears would mark this overflow of the soul and not betoken any particular feeling of pleasure or pain.”
~ Self Realization, The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, by B.V. Narasimha Swami pp. 23-24.1

Thus, even after his Self Realization, Sri Ramana had prayed for devotion. And his prayers were often accompanied by, and answered with, copious tears. Sri Ramana’s experience shows that highest knowledge is the same as the highest devotion; that jnana and Para bhakti are the same.

On reading Sri Ramana’s dramatic experience I was reminded that devotional tears are the ‘language of the heart’; that tears can express our ineffable joy in ephemerally becoming one with THAT, while also they may betoken our ceaseless longing to be merged forever as THAT.

As Mother Meera has observed:

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

~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236

Thus, intense feelings of the heart, which are otherwise inexpressible, are communicated by tears; and, as we soulfully pray to the Beloved with love and longing, our tears may say what words can not say; and our Heart of Hearts may answer us with tears more eloquent than any other language.


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

Yogi Ramsuratkumar


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

When I visited Tiruvannamalai I was already aware that – like each snowflake – every human is absolutely unique; that thus each supposedly Self-realized spiritual teacher, seer, saint, guru, yogi, or even avatar uniquely manifests and expresses different aspects of our infinitely potential common Cosmic consciousness. While in Tiruvannamalai I was unforgettably reminded of the uniqueness of each supposedly enlightened teacher on meeting a respected local living saint, Yogi Ramsuratkumar.

People at the Ramana ashram urged me to visit this Yogi, saying that he was was an avadhuta, a mystic living simply beyond worldly social standards. I was told that he was giving morning darshans at his small house near the great Annamalaiyar temple in the center of town.

So one morning, instead of communing with Sri Ramana, I walked into town, bought fruit to offer as prasad [a divine gift] to Ramsuratkumar, and came to his house where already standing outside there was a line of devotees awaiting admittance, each also holding food or flowers to offer him. Especially noteworthy was a richly attired middle aged Indian woman, who was holding a large round silver tray laden with an elaborate array of beautiful fruits and flowers.

I took my place at the end of the line and waited with curiosity in the hot sun. Ultimately, when there were about twenty or more people standing in line, the door opened and Yogi Ramsuratkumar appeared with an attendant to greet each devotee, one by one. With most people he exchanged a few words, accepted their offering and sent them on. Only occasionally did he invite a devotee to enter his house for darshan.

Amazingly, when the woman with the silver tray proffered her elaborate offering, he not only rejected it but seemed to sternly chastise her in Telegu and peremptorily sent her away. (Whereupon I surmised that Ramsuratkumar had determined from her subtle field that the woman was an unworthy aspirant with defiled motives.)

When I reached the head of the line, the Yogi kindly accepted my modest offering and invited me to enter his house parlor with only a few others – an Indian family of mother and father with two young children and a young western woman. Each of us was invited to sit in the parlor on a plain folding chair facing the swami who was standing in front of us.

To my surprise, the house appeared to be very dusty and dirty, and the Yogi looked as if he hadn’t bathed or washed his clothes for a while. Notwithstanding his unkempt appearance and environment my subtle ‘radar’ detected this yogi’s inner purity and I began softly weeping. Later, I concluded that while an attitude of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” might be appropriate for most people, Ramsuratkumar demonstrated that in spirituality it is inner purity rather than outer appearance that is crucial.

After we were seated in his parlor, and offered tea, the yogi enquired of each guest our origins and reasons for visiting him. Thus, he asked me in English from whence and why I had come to India. With tears still seeping I explained that I had come as a spiritual pilgrim to honor my beloved Guruji in Gujurat; and that I was in Tiruvannamalai to honor Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Thereupon, while standing before me the Yogi raised his right hand in blessing pose and in English he intermittently and repeatedly decared “my Father blesses you”. While so blessing me with his raised right hand, the yogi held between the fingers of his left hand and puffed alternately on three lighted bidis (Indian hand-rolled cigarettes, like those sold and smoked by Nisargadatta Maharaj).

Though it didn’t surprise me to see a smoking saint, never before had I imagined a holy man smoking three cigarettes concurrently. So it was apparent – as I had been informed – that Ramsuratkumar was an avadhuta, who lived simply and unconventionally without concern for social standards. In all events, I was and remain ever grateful for his blessings.

Conclusion

Since my 1992 pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai (and more than ever before as an octogenarian), I have remained unspeakably grateful for my continuing “gift of tears” as a supreme devotional blessing ultimately consistent with highest wisdom of non-duality Self-identity. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/crying-for-god-and-other-kundalini-kriyas-rons-memoirs/ ) And especially since darshan with Yogi Ramsuratkumar I have gratefully appreciated the infinite human manifestations of non-duality Reality as LOVE.

Was Einstein an Atheist?

“I don’t try to imagine a personal God;
it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world,
insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
~ Plato
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” ….”God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)


Was Einstein an Atheist?

Introduction

This essay reveals that Albert Einstein was not an atheist or a monotheist; that he was annoyed by anti-religious atheists who selectively quoted him to support their erroneous contention that Einstein was an atheist.

Einstein explicitly denied that he was an atheist. But he revered and did not deny or disbelieve the existence of an impenetrable supreme universal power – which he called Universal Intelligence. He was a modern Western non-dualistic mystic whose religious views paralleled the most elevated non-dualistic ancient Vedic and Buddhist philosophies.

Discussion

Albert Einstein was not only an acclaimed scientist but a wise philosopher and a pragmatic “true mystic” … “of a deeply religious nature.” (New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)

Einstein did not believe in a formal, dogmatic religion, but was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe.

He often commented publicly on religious and ethical subjects, and thereby became widely respected for his moral integrity and mystical wisdom, as well as for his scientific genius.

Einstein rejected prevalent religious ideas about God, and individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death. But in an essay entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained his reverence for God as Eternal Universal Intelligence. He said:

I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. [The World As I See It]

Because Einstein repeatedly rejected all conventional theistic concepts of a personal “God”, atheists often eagerly have claimed that Einstein was one of them, selectively citing Einstein quotes.

Thus, prominent atheist/scientist Richard Dawkins, devoted an entire section of his book “The God Delusion” to Einstein. And atheist author Christopher Hitchens cited many Einstein quotations in “The Portable Atheist”, mistakenly claiming Einstein rejected all belief in “God”.

Often cited by atheists is a 1954 letter, sometimes called Einstein’s “God” letter, which recently sold for $3 million dollars in an eBay auction. Handwritten by Einstein – a non-observant Jew – to German-Jewish philosopher and author Eric Gutkind, the letter explained Einstein’s rejection of theistic Jewish “God” concepts, superstitions and religious exceptionalism, despite his great appreciation of Jewish culture. It said:

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.” …….. “For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality ..than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

Though Einstein rejected the concept of “God” as it has been defined by most theistic religions, he also clearly rejected atheism, which he associated with mistaken certainty regarding nonexistence of a Supreme Power. Thus, he said:

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. … But I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

“There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.” “I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what that is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human toward God.”

“[T]he fanatical atheists…are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’—cannot bear the music of the spheres.”

When once asked by an atheist whether he considered himself religious, Einstein responded:

“Yes, you could call it that. Try and penetrate with our limited means 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.”

Despite his rejection of any personal God, Einstein suggested that he would never seek to challenge orthodox religious belief in the existence of a supreme universal power, because “such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook.” Also at times Einstein used the “God” word to explain his reverence for Universal Intelligence.

Thus, he said:

“That deeply emotional conviction of a presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

And throughout his adult life, Einstein repeatedly affirmed his religious awe of that mysterious eternal power which reveals itself in “the lawful harmony of all that exists.”

Conclusion

Albert Einstein was not an atheist; he did not deny or disbelieve the existence of a supreme universal power. He was a modern Western non-dualistic mystic whose religious views paralleled the most elevated non-dualistic ancient Vedic and Buddhist philosophies.

Einstein’s rejection of prevalent religious ideas about God and individual survival of physical death and afterlife was consistent with his revolutionary non-mechanistic science as well as with ancient Eastern non-dualistic teachings that apparent separation between subject and object is an unreal “optical illusion of consciousness.”

But Einstein’s mystical views – like his non-mechanistic science – have been very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because they question the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality.

Like those ancient non-dualistic mystics, Einstein said:

“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”

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

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

And like non-dualistic Eastern mystics, he was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe, whose Source he venerated, saying:

“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”

Thus, Einstein was a non-dualistic mystic who venerated a supreme universal power which he called Universal Intelligence. He was not an atheist or a monotheist.

Thousands of years ago mystics were able to solve the deepest mysteries of physics with only their power of mind. Einstein made great strides in at long last reconciling modern physics with ancient mysticism.

May he ever inspire contemporary scientists to transcend mechanistic mental blinders and to merge physical science with mystical science, bringing us out of the darkness of ignorance into a bright new age of peace and harmony on our precious planet.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


How I See the World – PBS  Documentary Film About Einstein:






George Bernard Shaw pays tribute to Albert Einstein