Blog: Mystical things happen around Masters
When I was with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi training to become a TM teacher I would sit on the right side of the venue up near the front of the room on a bench next to the wall, this gave me an unobstructed view of Maharishi and the first several rows of people.
In those days we only had black and white video cameras and to get decent quality video a lot of artificial light was required. One day Maharishi was in the middle of a talk and one of the young men who attended to what was needed suddenly stood up and went up onto the stage, and stood quietly waiting, I did not see Maharishi wave him up, he just did it.
Maharishi stopped talking for a moment and looking at the assistant pointed up to the video lights. Then his assistant left the stage and as he was walking past me I asked what Maharishi had wanted. He told me that Maharishi had instructed him to tell the men making the video to put scrim on the lights next time. Scrim is a thin screen that is hung in front of lighting to reduce the glare and brightness of the lights, it makes it somewhat more comfortable when sitting for some time in front of them.
I thought this was curious so I was looking up at the lighting when suddenly all the lights imploded and when out, I could see a fine glass dust raining down for two feet then disappearing. No one sitting under the lights indicated that anything had fallen on them.
Over the time I spent in Maharishi’s presence such things were not uncommon to observe.
Blog: Women Saints and Masters
Becoming Enlightened takes courage, perseverance, trust, faith, surrender, and Grace. In the end you have gone nowhere, come full circle, walked the pathless path, and passed through the gateless gate. Enlightenment is for everyone, it matters not if you were born a man or a woman. Here are a few short stories about some of my favorites quoted from different sources.
Zongchi appears in a well-known story. One day Bodhidharma addressed his disciples, asking them what they had attained. Daofu said, “My present view is, without being attached to the written word or being detached from the written word, one still engages in the function of the Way.”
Bodhidharma said, “You have my skin.”
Then Zongchi said, “It’s like Ananda seeing the pure land of the Buddha Akshobhya. Seen once, it isn’t seen again.”
Bodhidharma said, “You have my flesh.”
Daoyu said, “The four elements are originally empty; the five aggregates are nonexistent. There’s not a single dharma to attain.”
Bodhidharma said, “You have my bones.”
Huike made three bows and stood still.
Bodhidharma said, “You have my marrow.”
Huike had the deepest understanding and would become the Second Patriarch.
Zongchi was the daughter of a Liang Dynasty emperor. She was ordained a nun at the age of 19 and eventually became a disciple of Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of Zen. She was one of four dharma heirs of Bodhidharma, meaning that she completely understood his teachings.
(A dharma heir is also a "Zen master," although that term is more common outside of Zen.)
Gargi Vachaknavi was born about the 7th century BC and was an ancient Indian philosopher. In Vedic Literature, she is honored as a great natural philosopher, renowned expounder of the Vedas, and known as Brahmavadini, a person with knowledge of Brahma Vidya. In the Sixth and the eighth Brahmana of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, her name is prominent as she participates in the brahmayajna, a philosophic debate organized by King Janaka of Videha and challenges the sage Yajnavalkya with perplexing questions on the issue of atman (soul). She is also said to have written many hymns in the Rigveda. She remained a celibate all her life and was held in veneration by the conventional Hindus.
Gargi, was the daughter of sage Vachaknu in the lineage of sage Garga (c. 800-500 BCE) was named after her father as Gargi Vachaknavi. From a young age she evinced keen interest in Vedic scriptures and became very proficient in fields of philosophy. She became highly knowledgeable in the Vedas and Upanishads in the Vedic times and held intellectual debates with other philosophers.
Liu Tiemo was a Zen Master borne around 780-859, was known as the "Iron Grindstone” she was a peasant girl who became a formidable debater. Liu was called the "Iron Grindstone" because she ground her challengers to bits. Liu Tiemo was one of 43 dharma heirs of Guishan Lingyou, who was said to have 1,500 disciples.
Blog: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras opens with:
“Here, now, is the teaching of yoga.”
We can take this first sentence from Patanjali and break it down, if we do that we find that you could just use the word “Here” or the word “Now” and that is enough to communicate the entirety, the whole intent.
There is nothing but “yoga” nothing but Union, a unified diversity in its fundamental nature, omnipresent, infinite, the present moment, the true sacred space.
The word “yoga” means to “unite” except this in and of itself is problematic as the suggestion of uniting implies that there is a separation… there is not.
All spiritual teachings are for the unenlightened, for the “Enlightened”, those who have realized the truth of their essential nature, the Self, there is only Unity whether it is called the Absolute, Being, Amness, Oneness, or “the Relative” the essence of all there is.
The moment you become a seeker, someone on the spiritual path, there is separation, there is duality. Life lived in duality is a life of subject and object this is a mistake of the intellect. A covering, a veiling has taken place. Even that veil is the Absolute pure oneness.
It is not that seeking is bad or irrelevant as it is a means to Self discovery, in fact seeking is a prerequisite for Self realization. But, seeking can build a wall between the self and the Self; in the end the self must be given up in self surrender.
Enlightenment is not an end point, it is a coming home, it is, as Maharishi noted, it is “normal” life, it is a constant unfoldment of wonder and infinite possibilities.
Blog: How Realized men and women can make mistakes.
For a long time I have been bothered by the fact that the Realized man or woman can make mistakes. I remember reading a Sage once said that in matters of the Spirit and one's personal evolution you can take the Master's words to heart and base your life on them, but in maters of the "relative" you may ask but you should make the decisions on your own as the Master's may or may not have any knowledge of what you are asking and can get it wrong. In doing research on this I came across the following in "Pathways through to Space" by Franklin Merrell Wolf.
The Meaning of Omniscience
"What is Omniscience? Those who have familiarized themselves to any extent with mystical or quasi-occult literature will have found it stated there are levels or states where a man becomes Omniscient, and yet, at the same time, it will be emphasized that no man is infallible. From the relative standpoint these two statements seem incompatible and the result is mystification, to say the least. But when properly understood both statements are true. The fact is, no man is omniscient on the relative level; and though the knowledge of such a one may be very great, transcending even the relative knowledge of any figure that has appeared upon the screen of history, yet beyond his attainment, whatever it may be, there lie further mysteries awaiting his resolution. In other words, We find no conceivable end to evolution. But while all this is true, there is another sense in which a man may Awaken to Omniscience, and may do so instantaneously. In fact, such an Awakening cannot be a matter of gradual attainment, for the Infinite is never Realized by progressive additions of finite manifolds. It is all a question of level or state. The SELF is All Knowledge and, as It encloses, but is not enclosed or restrained by, space, time, and causality, there is no question of development on this level, in the sense of progression by finite steps. He who has Realized himself as the SELF is at once Omniscient. But it should be remembered that the SELF is absolute Emptiness, Darkness, and Silence, from the relative standpoint. The SELF is the Knowledge whence all proceeds, but this Knowledge is not of the subject-object type nor anything that could be conceived within the cognitive framework of the latter. The Silence is All-Knowledge, while knowledge in the field of subjective-objective becomes, and of this it is impossible to predicate infallibility".
and another paragraph...
"Now, on the level of Meaning a man may Know with absolute certainty and yet express himself incorrectly when trying to fit his ideas within the already existing forms of expression. In this case, he shows himself to be quite fallible and yet Knows what he is talking about, however incorrect his expression may be. If careful discrimination is not employed, it is easy for the outer man, even though he has Awakened to Realization to fall into confusion at this point. Knowing the certainty that applies on the level where He really IS, then as outer man he attaches this certainty to his formal expressions and thus falls into error. Outer correctness, or approximation to correctness, must be acquired by effort, even though the man has attained to a high order of Realization. In formal knowledge, including all knowledge of things, whether gross or subtle, and all knowledge of relationships, processes, etc., technique is essential, including all possible methods of checking and control. Naturally, some men have gained more capacity in this than others and so, in matters falling in their respective fields, have relative authority not possessed by others. Thus, in a matter of formal or empiric knowledge, it may often happen that a man who has not reached beyond the egoistic or 'self-conscious' level can very easily correct another who is genuinely implanted in the Silence. The latter does have, however, decisive advantages when seeking mastery in any relative field. He can acquire knowledge in the relative sense in but a fraction of the time required by others, for H has the advantage of commanding perspective. But in any case, even for Him some effort and time are required. Transcendent Knowledge, or Knowledge on the level of Meaning, is acquired instantaneously and with certainty, but the attainment of relative knowledge always demands some time and effort, and never gives certainty".
I hope you find this useful in understanding how mistakes are made even by those of Realization.
Question: What is the value of a long-term meditation practice?
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught that for pure consciousness to be gained and supported the physiology needed to become robust, stable, and flexible. That the Samskaras, the stresses lodged in the physiology need to be burned up, unwound, lessened… Maharishi was once asked if a man could get enlightened in 10 minutes and he replied “yes but it would take 10 men to hold him down”. The idea of this is that it is better to systematically work over time and not force. The reason for this is that although it is rare sometime some individuals may become insane due to the intensive release of stress or suffer extensive agony.
In the Vedic literature there are writings about 108 holy ways of ‘transcending’ or experiencing higher states of consciousness and 8 unholy ways. The general idea of that statement appears to be that with all the options for spiritual growth available why take unnecessary risks. However, it is important to note that, transcendence can come through unexpected experiences, such as physical or mental trauma. If we have moments or openings into insights and experiences through traumatic experience that may be a gateway that helps us seek out a qualified spiritual teacher who can help us to understand what has transpired and follow a spiritually oriented life.
If we do take the practice of meditation seriously then over time we build a physiology that can support higher consciousness. In the end, spiritual literature, such as the Veda, Kashmir Shaivism, Christian, Buddhist, etc., usually state that enlightenment comes through Grace. That it is our spiritual practice that creates the space for that Grace to take place. No one comes into higher consciousness unless the Grace is there. Grace is earned by right spiritual practice like proper meditation. Once the physiology is stable it may be possible to attempt special practices to speed up the process but only under the guidance of a qualified master.