Posts Tagged ‘Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’

God is a Word

“In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
and the word was God”
~ John 1:1
“And God said to Moses,
I AM THAT I AM”
~ Exodus 3:14
“An important part of the adventure of life is to get hold of the mind, and to keep that controlled mind constantly attuned to the Lord. This is the secret of a happy, successful existence.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda — Man’s Eternal Quest
“God alone is the Doer.

Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Remember God, forget the rest.

Forget who you think you are,

to know what you really are.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

If you are conscious of anything,
you are 
essentially conscious of yourself.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“This separation between man and man,
between nation and nation, between earth and moon,
between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ;

“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”


"In the beginning was the word  and the word was with God  and the word was God"


God is a Word*

Q. What is God?

A. As the Bible says – God is word:

A word used by different people
to designate their different ideas
of a transcendent power;

An omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotence
which they may intuit, accept or reject,
but can’t ever comprehend.

Nor can such transcendent power
ever be aptly named.

For any designation would
constitute limitation
of the illimitable –

THAT.

So, whether or not the “universe” was created by God,

“God” is a word created by humans.

But, just as ‘a rose by any other name is the same’,
However humankind calls or tries to imagine it

There exists an indescribable infinitely potential and supreme Power:

An Absolute Reality and Existence, and Origin of All,
as

THAT.


Footnote.



*Innumerable words – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify an ineffably infinite divine Power or any of its infinite potential 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 about “God is a Word”

Dear Friends,

The word “God” is extremely common. Countless people commonly curse, exclaim, read, think, or pray to “God”. “In God we trust” appears on all US currency and coins.

But who of us has deeply considered what “God” really means to us or other life-forms? How many times have we unthinkingly uttered or heard such exclamations as “thank God!” “God bless you”, “God love you” – or even curses including the word “God” – without wondering about their significance.

Encouraged by my beloved Guruji I have spent much of my post-retirement life-period reflecting about “God”, and other synonymous words. And I’ve found that our beliefs and concepts about “God” evolve as we evolve spiritually; and that continually contemplating God as non-duality Reality furthers our evolution.

The above poetic essay was composed to propose that “God” is a word used by different people to designate their different ideas of a transcendent power, which ultimately is beyond words. Thus, it explains that humans created the word “God” – with thoughts from ruminations, revelations, intuitions, and speculations, paradoxically trying to identify THAT which is beyond words, beyond all thought.

It is offered to encourage exploration of our common inner Divinity and SELF-identity – in furtherance of our (conscious or subliminal) universal longing for a state of ONENESS with Divinity – with “God” or THAT.


“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

~ Proverbs 23:7


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

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~Buddha


With our continuing reflections and thoughts about “God”, may we increasingly discover and experience our joyously loving common inner Divinity – until ultimately we non-dually melt and merge immortally as ONE Divine LOVE.

And so may  it be!

Ron Rattner

Faith-Based Surrender
~ Quotations and Sayings

“Setting aside all noble deeds,
just surrender completely to the will of God.
I shall liberate you from all sins.
Do not grieve.”
~ Bhagavad Gita 18:66





Introduction

Dear Friends,

As explained in my recent Faith-Based Surrender posting, I’ve become dedicated to inspiring a newly elevated societal view of spiritual concepts (previously separated) as interconnected appearances of Divine Grace, Faith, Humility, and Love, which are beyond all ego illusions. We need to see, from a “New Earth” perspective, that: “What is the root of all these words? One thing: LOVE.” (Hafiz)

So I’ve gathered and offer for our edification, upliftment, and enjoyment the following collection of profound and interrelated quotations on these spiritual subjects.

To help illuminate their meaning, repeated quotations from the same spiritual teachers, poets or authors are included. I apologize for these redundancies, but deem it very important that we now realize why we must let go of and transcend past ego illusions that have precluded our elevated understanding of these key concepts.

Thereby may we be inspired by unconditional and irreversible intuitive Faith, to completely surrender to the will of God – to the infinite power of LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Faith-Based Surrender ~ Quotes and Sayings


“In the end these things matter most:

How well did you love?

How fully did you love?

How deeply did you learn to let go?”

~ The Buddha

“Love conquers all; let us surrender to Love.”
~ Virgil

“Surrender is faith that the power of Love
can accomplish anything,
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”

~ Deepak Chopra

“Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.”
“We have not come here to take prisoners
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.”
~ Hafiz

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.”
~ Hafiz

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love.
But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colors that never before existed.”
~ Hafiz

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that!
It lights up the whole sky.”
~ Hafiz

“Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul’s companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out:
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love.”
~ Rumi

“How did you get here?

Close your eyes and surrender.”

“The hurt that we embrace becomes joy.”

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,

who is an ocean for all beings.”

~ Rumi

“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”

~ Rumi

“Love is the sacrifice of will.

If you cannot leave will behind

You have no will at all.”

~ Rumi

“Be crumbled.
So wild flowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.”
~ Rumi

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,

the former is a Gift from God.”

“Faith embraces many truths

which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”

“Faith is an oasis in the heart

which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”

~ Khalil Gibran

“Steady faith is stronger than destiny.

Destiny is the result of causes, mostly accidental,

and is therefore loosely woven.

Confidence and good hope will overcome it easily.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Grace is ever present. All that is necessary is that you surrender to it.”
“Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being.”
“Abide in the heart and surrender your acts to the Divine.”
“Self surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Place your burden at the feet of the Lord of the universe
who is ever victorious and accomplishes everything.
Remain all the time steadfast in the heart,
in the Transcendental Absolute.
God knows the past, present and future.
He will determine the future for you and accomplish the work.
What is to be done will be done at the proper time.
Don’t worry. Abide in the heart and surrender your acts to the Divine.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Willpower should be understood to be the strength of the mind, which makes it capable of meeting success or failure with equanimity. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one’s attempts always be attended by success? Success breeds arrogance and man’s spiritual progress is thus arrested. Failure, on the other hand, is beneficial, inasmuch as it opens his eyes to his limitations and prepares him to surrender himself. Self surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“By whatever path you go,
you will have to lose yourself in the one.
Surrender is complete only when you reach the stage
`Thou art all’ and `Thy will be done’.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;

nevertheless not My will, but Thy will, be done.”

~ Luke 22:42.


“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven”

~ Matthew 6:10

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you,
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
~ Matthew 17:20


“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”

~ Proverbs 3:5-6


“Surrender your self-interest.
Love others as much as you love yourself.
Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.”
~ Lao Tzu

“When I let go of what I [think] I am,

I become what I might be.”

~ Lao Tzu


“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“Accept disgrace willingly… Accept being unimportant…
Surrender yourself humbly;
then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self;
then you can truly care for all things.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?

Money or happiness: which is more valuable?

Success or failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.

If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

~ Lao Tzu

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

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

~ Lao Tzu

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Knowledge is learning something every day.

Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

~ Zen Proverb

We have nothing to surrender

But the idea

That we’re someone,

With something

To surrender.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Q. How much “ego” do you need?

A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.

~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

“Absolute surrender to God is the criterion of faith. This surrender is not laziness, expecting God to do everything for you – your utmost effort to bring about the desired result is also necessary – rather, it is a surrender through love for God and veneration of His supremacy.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Faith is intuitive conviction,

a knowing from the soul,

that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“It is so wonderful to be good and to be humble.
Egotism repulses, humility attracts. When man behaves in a humble way, he strikes a beautiful chord in the hearts of others. A man of humility easily exercises a spiritual influence on others. Such a one has the satisfaction that he has done his best on this- earth.
The more humble you are, the stronger you will be in Spirit.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.”
~ Matthew 5.5

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

~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“[The Master’s] constant practice is humility.”;
“Humility means trusting the Tao,
thus never needing to be defensive.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”
~ Confucius

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

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

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

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

“Truth will never come into our minds
so long as there will remain
the faintest shadow of Ahamkâra (egotism).
All of you should try to root out this devil from your heart.
Complete self-surrender is the only way to spiritual illumination.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Without an unreserved surrender to His grace,
complete mastery over thoughts is impossible.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t seek God in temples.
He is close to you. He is within you.
Only you should surrender to Him,
and you will rise above happiness and unhappiness.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. Now is the key.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different.
It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it.
Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand
and becoming comfortable with not knowing.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Always say “yes” to the present moment.
What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?
What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now?
Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life —
and see how life suddenly starts working for you, rather than against you.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Not until you surrender does the spiritual dimension become a living reality in your life.
When you do, the energy you emanate and that then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs the world.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender is surrender to this moment,
not to a story through which you interpret this moment
and then try to resign yourself to it.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender comes when you no longer ask, ‘
Why is this happening to me?'”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…
Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life –
and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you,
rather than against you.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“The moment of surrender is not when life is over.
It’s when it begins”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. Perhaps, in a way, that’s where humanity is now: about to discover we’re not as smart as we thought we were, will be forced by life to surrender our attacks and defenses which avail us of nothing, and finally break through into the collective beauty of who we really are.”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Spiritual Work is not easy. It means the willingness to surrender feelings that seem, while we’re in them, like our defense against a greater pain. It means that we surrender to God our perceptions of all things.”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Spiritually, no action is more important than surrender.
Surrender is the tenderest impulse of the heart, acting out of love to give whatever the beloved wants. Surrender is being alert to exactly what is happening now, not imposing expectations from the past. Surrender is faith that the power of love can accomplish anything, even when you cannot foresee the outcome of a situation.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“At the level of spirit, everything is always unfolding perfectly, and you don’t have to struggle or force situations to go your way. It is only your ego mind that is fearful. When you surrender to spirit and listen to the voice of your deeper intelligence, you free yourself from fear and release the obstacles your ego has created.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…
in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past,
from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning.
And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“The deeper you surrender to existence, life, nature,
the more loving, more understanding, more insightful you become.”
~ Rajneesh

“I surrender my anxiety and my sense of urgency. I allow God to guide me in the pacing of my life. I open my heart to God’s timing. I release my deadlines, agendas, and stridency to the gentle yet often swift pacing of God. As I open my heart to God’s unfoldings, my heart attains peace. As I relax into God’s timing, my heart contains comfort. As I allow God to set the tone and schedule of my days, I find myself in the right time and place, open and available to God’s opportunities.”
~ Julia Cameron

“Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.”
“In a real sense faith is total surrender to God .”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The more you struggle to live, the less you live.
Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure….you are above everything distressing.”
~ Baruch Spinoza


“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

“Our real journey in life is interior;
It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.”
~ Thomas Merton

“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance 
that it dazzles the mind
and darkens all its visions of other realities, 
but in the end when we become used to the new light, 
we gain a new view of all reality
 transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”

~ Thomas Merton

“The person who surrenders absolutely to God,
with no reservations, is absolutely safe.
From this safe hiding-place he can see the devil,
but the devil cannot see him.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“Surrender means accepting this moment, this body, and this life with open arms.
Surrender involves getting out of your own way and living in accord with a higher will,
expressed as the wisdom of the heart.
Far more than passive acceptance, surrender uses every challenge as a means of spiritual growth and expanded awareness.”
~ Dan Millman

“May you find grace as you surrender to life. May you find happiness, as you stop seeking it. May you come to trust these laws and inherit the wisdom of the Earth. May you reconnect with the heart of nature and feel the blessings of Spirit.”
~ Dan Millman


Invocation

May we be inspired by unconditional and irreversible intuitive Faith, to completely surrender to the will of God – to the infinite power of LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Faith-Based Surrender

“Setting aside all noble deeds,
just surrender completely to the will of God.

I shall liberate you from all sins. Do not grieve.”

~ Bhagavad Gita 18:66

“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”

~ Rumi
Grace is ever present.

All that is necessary is that you surrender to it.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu
“Two things are necessary for the realization of God;
faith and self-surrender.”
“Surrender everything at the feet of God. …
Give Him the power of attorney.
Let Him do whatever He thinks best.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“Surrender is faith
that the power of Love
can accomplish anything,
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”

~ Deepak Chopra
We have nothing to surrender

But the idea

That we’re someone,

With something

To surrender.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Faith-Based Surrender

Dear Friends,

Because we are living in an illusory ‘reality’ of space/time separation and duality, most SillySutras postings have separately considered fundamental spiritual principles such as God, Love, Faith, Surrender, Ego, Devotion, Humility, Karma, Evolution and Transformation.

However, as a faith-based optimist I now foresee our imminent transcendence and quantum-leap ascension to a new reality beyond the ego illusion of duality separation. So today’s posting is dedicated to inspiring a new elevated view of seemingly separate spiritual concepts as mutually inseparable or interdependent appearances of Divine Grace, Faith, and Love, beyond all ego illusions; thereby encouraging us to instinctively and irreversibly let go of and surrender such ego illusions with supreme faith in God as Source and SELF.

Until now, spiritual stories or parables have often metaphorically likened each of us to travelers on a spiritual journey with a unique path and perspective. In truth we are ONE non-dual Divinity which has incarnated into unique human body/minds to explore infinite possibilities of such existence in ’space/time soul-suits’. But forgetting our true immortality and Divinity, we have egoically self-identified as separate and fallible mortal beings. And while mistakenly believing ourselves mortal, we have feared death, acted selfishly and suffered karmically.

But, after countless reincarnations with countless trials and tribulations we are now remembering and realizing our Divinity, and are in process of returning to existence as ONE Infinite LOVE. To heroically hasten our return process, many of us are skillfully and fearlessly using our thoughts as servants to our souls, instead of ignorantly suffering from ego-mind psychic domination.

And as we approach our return ‘destination’ we are realizing that everything and everyone is equally Divine, though in differing stages of returning to ONENESS. We are remembering that “In the beginning was the word and the word was God” ( John 1:1 ) And that “With our [human] thoughts, we make the world.” ( Buddha )

Thus, as a global team of empathetic humans we are about to achieve a “hundredth monkey” societal “critical mass” enabling us to resolve the current critical mess threatening all Earth-life as we’ve known it. Thereby we will follow our Sacred Heart’s innate empathy, compassion and LOVE for all people and all Life everywhere.

And with unconditional and irreversible intuitive faith, we shall let go of ego, and completely surrender to the will of God – to the infinite power of LOVE.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Beholding Beings Of Light
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
“Everywhere I look, I see the face of God.”
~ Walt Whitman/Ron Rattner
“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Spirituality is very simple.
I am everywhere, says the sage.
I exist in every form of creation.
If I hurt any form, I hurt myself.
If I raise any form to a higher level, I myself, find progress.
It is easy.”
~ Shree Ma

 

Shree Ma

Beholding Beings Of Light

Dear Friends,

Have you ever beheld strangers as divine beings? This happened to me one beautiful sunny Sunday, in January 1985, as I walked along San Francisco Bay to and from the Golden Gate Bridge. And I can never forget that amazingly inspiring experience.

The previous day and night I had been blessed to spend time with Shree Maa, a saintly and beautiful Hindu spiritual teacher who, with Swami Satyananda Saraswati, had recently arrived from India. They were then staying at a small house in Concord, California, east of San Francisco.

Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati were then presiding over extended Navaratri rituals, in homage to the Divine Mother (known to Hindus as Devi, Durga or Shakti). These rituals included a powerful fire ceremony [“yagna”] with appropriate prayers, mantras and offerings to the Divine.

I gladly accepted a friend’s invitation to attend the commencement of these ceremonies in which I fervently joined. Previously, the house in Concord had been owned and occupied by my friend’s dear mother, who had been brutally murdered there by an intruder. We believed that these rituals conducted by saintly beings would help purify lingering negative subtle vibrations from that horrible violence, and bless the departed mother’s soul.

After spending most of the night participating in the ritual fire ceremony, I returned home to San Francisco in an elevated state of consciousness. Unknowingly, after a brief sleep, I awakened the next day still in an elevated state of awareness.

It was a beautiful warm sunny weekend day. So I decided to walk along the Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. Because we were enjoying exceptionally fine weekend weather, the path along the Bay was filled with many people.

For a couple of hours while still in an abstracted state of awareness, I beheld every person I encountered – dozens, without exception – as a divine being emanating and glowing with Divine luminescence.

Again, with Grace I was given the insight that, beyond normal eyesight, reality’s Essence is Divine Luminescence; that every human is divinity masquerading in a precious human form – a “space-time soul suit”.

Since that unforgettable experience by the Bay, I have from time to time again glimpsed strangers as luminescent divine beings. But never yet again in such a protracted and dramatic way. Nonetheless, almost every meeting with another person has become for me a potential ‘holy encounter’ as I recall our common divine essence and identity.

So, I remain forever grateful for the Grace of that vision of the invisible. And for saintly beings like Sree Maa through whom such Grace manifests.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Subject-Object?

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”

~ Albert Einstein
“This perception of division between the seer and the object that is seen, is situated in the mind. For those remaining in the heart, the seer becomes one with the sight.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
‘Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.’
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.”
“All concepts are mental projections of Cosmic Consciousness.
But for name – subject and object are same.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Essence Of Nondualism:
Consciousness = Subject = Object = Self
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Albert Einstein



Subject-Object?

Q. Where does subject end, and object begin?

A. Nowhere.

E=mc2.

Everything’s energy everywhere.

Energy’s endless,
So everything’s endless.

But we mistakenly believe what we perceive.

Thus, as Einstein observed:

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

Subject and object are mere ways of thinking –
perceptual/conceptual projections of Cosmic Consciousness,
which is our true Self.

As twentieth century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi observed:

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything,
you are essentially conscious of yourself.”






Ron’s Subject-Object Commentary:

This “Subject-Object?” essay points to our spiritually limiting illusory belief that we are separate “subjects” observing separate “objects” in space/time.  

Cosmically, as Einstein observed, “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
 
Due to non-locality of space/time ‘reality’, perceived subjects and objects are not separated, but connected.  All perceptions require projected subjective consciousness, which is immeasurable.  So all perceptions are subjective projections of ONE immeasurable consciousness.

Thus everything perceived everywhere is an impermanent holographic energy form of projected consciousness.  Yet we mistakenly believe in objectivity of what we subjectively project and perceive.

Like most Westerners I grew up culturally imbued with mistaken ideas and ideals of “objectivity” of our scientific, academic, journalistic and judicial institutions – of which as an adult I became disabused.
 
And after my midlife spiritual awakening, I began to realize that objectivity is an illusory impossibility; that the idea of objectivity refers only the measurable material world of forms and phenomena, which mistakenly excludes consciousness – the ultimate immeasurable Reality and source of all perceptions.

Despite revolutionary discoveries in relativity and quantum physics, for the past century most materialistic mainstream scientists have remained reluctant to recognize the impossibility of scientifically ‘objective’ accuracy in describing Nature through measurement without reference to immeasurable consciousness. 

Yet more and more visionary scientists have seen and transcended this mistaken materialist view.  As explained by Nobel prize winning physicist Max Planck:


“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature.
 And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


Invocation

May the foregoing quotations and essay
encourage our deep ‘subjective’ reflection and recognition
that Humankind – and all of its institutions –
are part of Nature’s insoluble Mystery,
with which we must mindfully and reverentially be ever harmonious. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Atheists Beware!
~ Verses, Quotations and Explanations

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

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




Atheists Beware!

We reify what we resist.

And as we persist in resisting,

We attract and become what we resist.

So atheists, beware!

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

And as you opine,
you’re becoming Divine.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Atheists Beware!”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Atheists Beware!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dedication and Invocation of “Atheists Beware”

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

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

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

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

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.

Quotations About Religion


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

Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Introduction

Throughout human history, countless beings have died and suffered in the name of religion, which is often asserted to hypocritically justify immoral partisan political or economic desires.

Because of advanced technologies, wars and other violent behaviors which for centuries have caused immense misery, now threaten all planetary life as we have known it. So – at long last – humans urgently need to abandon wars and warlike behaviors, including those waged in the name of religion.

The following quotations and comments about religion, are deeply dedicated to helping us achieve that urgent necessity.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Quotations About Religion

“My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.”
“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

“This is a time for us to remember that in the name of religion more people have died than in all the wars and natural calamities put together. Now more than ever we must understand that the purpose of religion is not to separate us.
True faiths don’t preach hatred and killing, nor did any of the prophets.
It is the people who interpret the scriptures who create the divisions.
Division comes if we put our ego into the teachings of these religions.
Let us strive to be free of that kind of egoism”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“People often ask me, “What religion are you?
You talk about the Bible, Koran, Torah. Are you a Hindu?”
I say, I am not a Catholic, a Buddhist, or a Hindu, but an Undo.
My religion is Undoism. We have done enough damage (with religious dogma). We have to stop doing any more and simply undo the damage we have already done.”
~ Swami Satchidananda – Beyond Words

“The great religions are the ships,

Poets the life boats. 

Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.”

~ Hafiz

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,
 not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or Zen.
 Not any religion, or cultural system.
 I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all. 
I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.
 My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
 Neither body nor soul. 
I belong to the beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,
 First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.”
~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’

“I have learned so much from God

That I can no longer call myself

a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.”
~ Hafiz

“There is one Cosmic Essence, all-pervading, all-knowing, all-powerful.
This nameless formless essence can be approached by any name, any form, any symbol that suites the taste of the individual.
Follow your religion, but try to understand the real purpose behind all of the rituals and traditions, and experience that Oneness.”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“Let us accept all the different paths as different rivers running toward the same ocean.”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”
~ Khalil Gibran – “The Prophet”

“True religion is real living;
living with all one’s soul,
with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.  It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas 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

“A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in.
No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.
They know it is going to rise tomorrow.
When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”
~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think.
Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.
Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts

“Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“Religion is the opium of the masses.”
~ Karl Marx

“Religion is confining and imprisoning and toxic
because it is based on ideology and dogma.
But spirituality is redeeming and universal.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
~ Mark Twain – Autobiography, 1959

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”
~ Aldous Huxley

“There is only one God,
the same God regardless of the labels applied by religion. …

There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity”
~ Sathya Sai Baba

“Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion —
Hindus, Mohammendans, Brahmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest.
But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Siva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well — the same Rama with a thousand names.
A lake has several ghats. At one the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it ‘jal’; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it ‘pani’. At a third the Christians call it ‘water’. Can we imagine that it is not ‘jal’, but only ‘pani’ or ‘water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences.
Let each man follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God, peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

“Among all my patients in the second half of life …
there has not been one whose problem in the last resort
was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.”
~ Carl Jung

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”


Ron’s comments on urgent necessity of nonviolent reciprocal empathy,
beyond religion-based behaviors


Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about religion have been posted to help us avert worldwide catastrophe from false religious interpretations of prophets’ teachings about peace and unity.

Religious prophets have always preached against killing and violence. And every enduring religious, spiritual or ethical tradition has endorsed the “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy and kindness.

For example,

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor:
that is the whole of the Torah;
all the rest of it is commentary.”
~ Rabbi Hillel – Judaism
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;
for this is the law and the prophets.”

~ Matthew 7:12 – Christianity

“Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful.”

~ Udana-Varga, 5:18 – Buddhism

“This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”

~ The Mahabharata, 5:1517 – Hinduism

“Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

~ Fortieth Hadith of an-Nawawi,13 – Islam

Yet, countless people have died and suffered throughout human history in the name of religion, which is often cited to hypocritically justify immoral partisan political or economic desires. Because of advanced technologies, wars and other violent behaviors which for centuries have caused immense miseries, now threaten all planetary life as we have known it. So – at long last – humans urgently need to abandon wars and warlike behaviors.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
~ Albert Einstein


Humanity can no longer survive, without practicing nonviolent universal ethical behaviors which transcend divisive religious beliefs cited to justify immorally violent activities.


“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect
 of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.”

“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama


To end wars and warlike behaviors, it is imperative that we honor our sacred heart’s inner wisdom over divisive religious, political or economic beliefs, so as to transcend problems of violence created from lower ego levels of human consciousness.

With opened hearts let us stop treating others as we don’t wish to be treated ourselves,
by practicing the ‘do no harm’ “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy.

May we begin treating all sentient beings with kindness, compassion and empathy –
with the same dignity that they wish for themselves. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Free Will or Fate?

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” . . . .
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
~ Max Planck
“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or

moving from one part of the room to another?”

A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Ramana Maharshi 
“[T]here cannot be any such thing as free will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is moulded by the conditions of space, time, and causation. 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.”
“This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent,
so there is no word for it.
Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . . . .
“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.
Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man,
which is, that he must be completely free.
As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ultimate freedom is not
freedom of choice,
but freedom from choice.
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”
~ The Kybalion
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. 
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. 
It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. 
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. 
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“It is true that we are not bound. 
That is to say, the real Self has no bondage. 
And it is true that you will eventually return to your Source. 
But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, 
you have to face the consequences. You cannot escape them.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage.
You cannot control the future.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Free-will is a non-entity, a thing consisting of name alone.”
“The will of man without the grace of God is not free at all,
but is the permanent prisoner and bond-slave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.”
“For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.”

~ Martin Luther – The Bondage Of The Will
In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.
~ Baruch Spinoza 
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”
~ Baruch Spinoza
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Not my will but Thy Will be done.”
~ Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Man plans, God laughs” (Mann traoch, Gott Lauch)
~ Yiddish proverb






Free Will or Fate?

Q.  Do we have free will, or freedom of choice, or is our life predetermined or fated?

A.  Our experience of apparent freedom of choice or of predestiny depends on our evolutionary history and perspective.

In space/time ego/mind causality/reality, most “normal” people experience freedom of choice, and make decisions and plans about ostensible options in their lives. And some people consciously choose the attitude or state of mind with which they experience earth life. Because each person is unique, with a unique evolutionary perspective and personality, we each choose our life experiences differently. And as our self awareness becomes more focused, our free will powers increase.

But according to mystics, our belief in free will is ultimately illusory. For example, both Albert Einstein and Ramana Maharshi have asserted that every detail of worldly life “is predetermined.” And Swami Vivekananda told us that “free will” is a self-contradictory concept; that with worldly will there can be no freedom, which is always constrained by the universal law of cause and effect. Similarly, Vivekananda’s master, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, taught that

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

Enlightened saints, sages, shamans and mystics for millennia have reported attitudinally transcending this ever impermanent world reality, and experiencing it as an illusory play of consciousness, sometimes called ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’. Such masters do not self-identify mentally as only mere mortal embodied beings, but experientially as non-dual universal intelligence or spirit, which is the Source and essence of this ever impermanent world. 


They report realizing experientially – as Albert Einstein explained scientifically – that:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one;” [that] “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”, and [that our separate self-identity] “is an optical illusion of consciousness.” 


They define “freedom” as a timeless non-dual immutable spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief – which can only be known experientially, not mentally or rationally.

Free will requires ego/mind separation in space/time.

Since free will implies separation of one who wills or chooses from the objects of his/her will, there can be no free will or free choice without an imagined or conceived doer or chooser separate from objects of his/her actions or choices. And without time there can be no destiny of any supposedly separate doer or chooser.

Thus, in space/time causality/reality, as long as we self-identify as supposedly separate entities distinct from the apparent objects of our perceptions, choices or intentions, we have apparent freedom of choice, until we transcend separate self-identity and experience existence as universal choiceless and timeless awareness, or consciousness without an object.  [*See footnote]

So

Ultimate freedom is not
freedom of choice,
but freedom from choice.
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


But, our ego/mind exercise of apparent freedom of choice creates karmic causes and conditions which can keep us believing in the “optical illusion” – that we are separate entities rather than ONE infinite Potentiality. And with the law of karma we reap as we sow. According to Swami Yogananda,

“If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. If you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”

With Self realization there is transcendence of illusory separate self-identity; whereupon there remains only Being – only Infinite Potentiality – with no separate someone to will or intend or separately experience anything in time.


Thus, upon total transcendence of separate entity identity, there is no free will or free choice, nor is there time in which karmic fate or destiny unfolds –


Only choiceless “Freedom”,

Ever
 
NOW!

Footnote.

*According to Eastern philosophies, Karma is universal law of cause and effect applied at subtle levels to everything we think, do or say during repeated reincarnations as supposedly separate beings. A similar concept is implicit in Western teachings that we reap as we sow [e.g. Galatians 6:7-9]



Ron’s Reflections on Free Will or Fate.

After my midlife change of life, I reconsidered all prior paradigms about self-identity, reality, free choice or predestiny, and began entertaining intriguing ideas about reincarnation and karma.   After experiencing my self-identity as universal consciousness, gradually I realized that space/time reality – which previously I had considered as the only reality – is an ever impermanent projection of universal intelligence which is the essence and matrix of all worldly phenomena.

Ultimately, I concluded that  space/time “reality” is a digitally preprogrammed simulated world – a “holographic theater of the mind”;
so that space/time “reality isn’t really real”.

But even though it appeared to me that “reality isn’t really real”, like all other “normal” people I’ve lived this lifetime mostly behaving as if this crazy space/time world is very real – yet  ever aware of a deep intuitive aspiration to be ‘in this world but not of this world’.  And I’ve never stopped wondering with great curiosity about how and why space/time reality was created and why we are here.    

For example, on returning to San Francisco from a February 1977 miraculous week in New York  where I amazingly experienced many previously foreseen events, I began wondering:

“What is time?”
“Are there really any coincidences or accidents, 
or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”
“Do we really have free will as most people believe?
And if so, what free will?”


Forty years since then, I am still uncertain about answers to those mysterious perennial questions.  But many aphorisms, essays and poems reflecting my theories, intuitions and speculations about them, are posted with apt quotations on SillySutras.com. 

Thus I have posted the above quotations and Q and A essay about free will or fate, proposing that karmically and cosmically our lives are predetermined, but that morally we must live as if we have freedom of choice to heal the world.  

I suggest that cosmically free will is an illusionary aspect of Nature’s predetermined evolutionary ‘incentive system’; that we are subjected to inevitable earthly sufferings which motivate us to transcend them by choosing to improve or peacefully accept our life’s circumstances.  Thus, I think that Nature’s determinism promotes evolution by fating us to make apparent choices, individually and collectively, which ultimately will advance human consciousness until we experientially realize our essential common self-identity beyond death as Infinite Potentiality – Universal spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss, Eternal Life, Light, LOVE.

Mostly I agree with Einstein’s Mystical Views on Free Will or Determinism: that ‘God doesn’t play dice’, so

“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.” 
[* See commentary footnote]


Assuming predestination while always acting morally can help us find happiness.

Whether or not we agree with Einstein and rare mystics that what happens in space/time reality is like a preprogrammed dream predestined by mysterious karmic causes and conditions, I have found that assuming predestination, while always acting morally, can help us find happiness. We can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise, and that it is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary incentive and opportunity. 

Gradually we can thereby accept inevitable difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, without remorse or regret about the past, or worry or fear of the future.  This attitude of assuming everything as predestined has helped me experience ever increasing equanimity and contentment, and to enjoy countless unplanned synchronistic meetings with ordinary people as ‘holy encounters’ with divine beings wearing ‘space/time soul suits’.

Conclusion.

So, whether or not we believe in spiritual evolution or predestiny, I invite your careful consideration of the above quotations and essay.  I hope these ideas can help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting inevitable difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unplanned events and interactions with others.  

And if we do accept predestined karma, let us remember that
when we sow love, we harvest happiness.

Accordingly, (whether or not predestined) I invite you to join with me frequently in the heartfelt affirmation which appears atop every SillySutras.com page.

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


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Commentary Footnote.

*Until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein rejected the “uncertainty” principle of quantum mechanics advanced by most respected physicists of his time. Einstein stubbornly maintained his view, consistent with ancient mystical insights, that ‘God does not play dice with the universe’; that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception; that the ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived.
Some quantum physicists now suggest that recent non-locality experiments show that Einstein erred in rejecting quantum uncertainty theory; that these experiments support what Einstein rejected as “spooky action at a distance”.  However, it is still possible that quantum physicists’ ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from predetermined causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived by mainstream science.


A Day of Grace: Rediscovering the Porziuncola ~ a Synchronicity Story


“Every feature of the Porziuncola lifts the heart and mind to God”
~ St. Padre Pio
“The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.
~ Francis of Assisi
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ Francis Of Assisi
Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Saint Francis of Assisi by Lea Bradovich

A Day of Grace: Rediscovering the Porziuncola

When I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was largely uninformed about religions other than Judaism, and knew virtually nothing about saints. Even though Saint Francis of Assisi was patron saint of my new home, I remained ignorant of his life story until after my profound spiritual opening in 1976.

Then, through a series of synchronistic inner visions and outer events I developed a deep inner rapport with Saint Francis. And his prayer became – and remained – an important part of my daily spiritual practice.

On retirement from law practice in 1992, I made pilgrimages to India and Italy to pay my respects both to my spiritual master Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas and to Saint Francis.

On arriving in Italy in Springtime 1992, I rented a car at the Rome airport and drove northward to the Umbrian town of Assisi, where Francis was born and resided for most of his extraordinary life. As I arrived at the outskirts of Assisi, I immediately experienced a remarkable feeling of déjà vu, and was so overcome with emotion that I had to pull over to the side of the road as I began crying deeply and intensely for a long time.

My subsequent stay in Assisi and excursion to Mount La Verna in Tuscany – where Francis became the first saint to receive the crucifixion stigmata of Christ – proved magical, with unforgettable spiritual experiences.

One of the most profound of those experiences happened as I visited a tiny frescoed chapel called Porziuncola [“the little portion”]. It had been restored from a ruined condition by Francis and his early followers to become first home of the Franciscan order. Here, Francesco lived, wrote his rule, created his order of friars minor and consecrated his friend Clara (Chiara), who became Santa Clara, founder of a female order dedicated to Franciscan ideals of holiness and poverty. Francis so loved this little place that he chose to die there.

As I entered the Porziuncola at Assisi, I experienced a palpable aura of love and was overcome with emotion, cried deeply and intensely and lost track of time. Ever since then, a memory of that exquisitely simple little chapel and its aura of supernal Love has remained enshrined in my heart. Although I have never since returned that holy Assisi place, which Saint Francis named and loved, my cherished memory of the Porziuncola was revived following a surprising and synchronistic ‘holy encounter’ in San Francisco, almost twenty years later. Here’s what happened.

After retirement many years ago, it became my practice to walk almost daily along San Francisco Bay. Most often I walked to the Bay following pedestrian paths beside the Fort Mason Great Meadow, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), our nation’s newest National Park.

As I arrived at Fort Mason on a beautiful and sunny June morning, I was obliged to detour from my usual path to the Bay. The National Park Service had closed the pedestrian paths around the Great Meadow for repaving. So to reach the Bay I had to walk across the grassy meadow. There I saw a very unusual sight. Perhaps hundreds of children, attended by mostly senior adults, many dressed in white, were gathered in the meadow. Many tents were set up for children’s activities, such as face painting and fortune telling. Sweet music was playing on loud speakers.

I was quite impressed by this charming scene, of sweet children and caring adults, and I sensed an especially loving atmosphere pervading the meadow. Curious, I asked the first chaperone I encountered, “what’s happening?”. A lovely senior lady told me that this was a children’s fair sponsored by the Meher School of Lafayette (a San Francisco suburb) for its students and for children from less affluent San Francisco neighborhoods, who had also been invited. [*see footnote]

Francis in the Park

Inspired by the love I perceived and felt there, I continued walking through the meadow and toward the Bay. After hiking out to the end of San Francisco Municipal Pier, I began returning home. Soon, I noticed an unopened bottle of spring water apparently dropped by a cyclist. I picked up the water bottle, determined to give it to someone at the children’s festival in the Great Meadow.

As I arrived again at the meadow, I was met by a tall friendly (and thirsty) man named Peter, who seemed to be watching out at the perimeter of the children’s gathering. Though we’d never met, he somehow seemed familiar. In greeting me Peter asked, “would you like to know what’s happening?” After I recounted what I already knew about the festival and gladly gave Peter the bottle of spring water, he told me more details of this event.

Peter explained that this gathering was like a mini-Umbrian children’s festival inspired by universal values of Saint Francis of Assisi which are similar to those of the Meher School; and, that periodically the school sponsors a play about the life of Francis performed at various venues, including at The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, located in San Francisco’s oldest church in the North Beach district.

I was very surprised when Peter mentioned a national shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi located in San Francisco. Though I’d then lived in San Francisco more than fifty years, I don’t remember ever before hearing about such a national shrine. Moreover as Peter described the shrine, I was amazed to learn that it included an almost exact replica of the Porziuncola at Assisi, recently constructed at the instance of former San Francisco supervisor Angela Alioto.

Peter and I then exchanged stories about our respective springtime visits to Assisi and our heartfelt affinity with Saint Francis. On parting we shared contact information.

A few days later, I received an email invitation from Peter’s friend and colleague, Terry, to tour the San Francisco Porziuncola shrine, which I quickly accepted. Terry, was both music director of the Meher School’s sponsoring non-profit organization, Sufism Reoriented, and a member of the Knights of St. Francis, a volunteer organization which helps safeguard the national shrine.

The tour proved magical for me. With Terry and Peter as guides, I beheld for the first time the San Francisco “Porziuncola Nuova”. Before entering, I noticed carved in Italian on the second marble step a quote from Francesco: “Vi voglio tutti in Paradiso” [“I want you ALL in Paradise”]. On learning what those words meant, I experienced instant heart-felt emotion and tears.

As I entered the sanctuary that emotion deepened, and soon overcome by it I was obliged to sit silently in a pew, just as I did in Assisi. And, as in Assisi, profuse tears flowed. Unable to talk, I sat and cried for a while as Peter compassionately attempted to comfort me. In the San Francisco Porziuncola I didn’t lose track of time as I did in Assisi, and after crying for a while resumed conversation with Terry and Peter.

But I continued feeling so emotional in that sacred space that I was unable to focus on details of the beautiful pictorial art and artifacts around me, which I later observed on other visits.

I did however notice a prominently displayed letter Tau, the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet which in biblical times closely resembled the letter T. [See below.] The Tau was adopted by Francesco as his own symbol or logo which he painted on the walls and doors of places where he stayed, and used in his writings as his only signature. (Synchronistically, I had a few days earlier been discussing with a friend possible use of a Tau as a logo for The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, the new non-profit corporation which I was then forming.)

Before exiting the “Porziuncola Nuova” I gazed upon and gently touched one of the holiest Franciscan relics in the world, a beautifully displayed rock believed to have been used by Francis as a crude tool in his reconstruction of the Porziuncola.

After departing the shrine, Terry and Peter and I adjourned for lunch in a nearby restaurant, where we shared stories of how Divine Grace has continuously blessed our lives, as it did on that magical day.

And in now reflecting on that wonderful day of rediscovery, I realize that it couldn’t have happened but for my synchronistic detours through the grassy Great Meadow and desire to share a bottle of spring water which I happened to find while walking by the Bay.

It seems that Divine Grace often works through synchronicity, and that the more alert we become to such synchronicity the more it happens.

What do you think?

Franciscan Tau


* I later learned that this children’s fair was part of an ongoing national program called Francis in the Schools founded in 2010 by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented.